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SteelSeries Siberia P300 Comfortable Gaming Headset for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3
SteelSeries Siberia P300 Comfortable Gaming Headset for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3
Price: $99.99
2 used & new from $96.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable, durable...but two caveats, July 21, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The amount of PS4 headsets has been relatively scarce until the last six months. All of a sudden, they seem to be coming out of the woodwork. But, for the longest time, it seemed like the only decent headset you could get was the Sony-branded wired and wireless headset. For the last six months, I've been using the Sony Gold Wireless headset and, with a few notable complaints, have enjoyed it. I'm always looking for a better headset, though, so when I was offered to try this SteelSeries PS4 headset, I couldn't refuse.

I've written more than a few headset reviews. I tend to break them down into the following categories: Sound quality, mic quality, comfort and durability. For this particular review, because there's not a whole lot of *good* competition for PS4 headsets, I'll also compare my experience to the Sony Wireless headset, as well.

Sound Quality

I was surprised with how good the sound is with this headset. I haven't had much experience with Siberia headsets. I've mainly dabbled in Logitech, Plantronics, Corsair and Razer. This headset has good depth of sound. The bass is booming, but it's not overpowering. Hearing voices is not a problem (I tried with a couple games and movies) and they all have a good timbre to them. It doesn't mimic surround sound, like a lot of headsets try to do. It's simply stereo, but the sound that's here is really nice.

Mic Quality

This one is a bit trickier to test. But I've used it in party chats and everyone can hear me fine. It also does a pretty good job of not picking up other noises in the room, which my friends appreciate. One nice feature that's reminiscent of my Razer headset is that the mic is retractable. So if I'm simply using the headset, I don't have an annoying mic in my face.

Comfort

Siberia has taken a page from my absolute favorite (from a comfort perspective) headset: The Plantronics 770. That headset was easily the most comfortable headset I have ever worn. And the design here is virtually the same. By not having a true heavy top, the headset doesn't press down on your skull. Some headsets (the Sony Gold Wireless included) can sometimes feel like vice grips. This feels as close to not wearing a headset as possible. It's incredibly comfy and this is the biggest selling point for this.

Durability

This headset feels very firm and sturdy. It feels well-made and expensive. Compared to the Sony headset, this one feels much sturdier. I'm always afraid the ear cups of the Sony model are going to break off. They feel a little wobbly. This headset feels very secure and I'm not afraid of breaking it.

Overall, I do prefer this headset to the Sony one, mostly because of the comfort and durability. That said, I have two complaints. The first is that it's wired, so it has to plug into your controller. This is both a benefit and a hindrance. The wire sometimes gets in my way and I have to walk around with the controller, or have it near me if I'm watching a movie. But, on the flip side, you don't have to charge it like you would a wireless headset. So it's a trade-off, but honestly I personally prefer wireless headsets. My other complaint is kind of major to me. This headset is lacking a volume control. Since sound between movies, games, etc. can oftentimes be mixed differently, the sound can be quiet in one and super loud in another. In order to change the sound on the PS4, you have to exit what you're doing, go to settings, devices, audio devices and then change the volume...but you're also doing this without the game/movie playing, so it can sometimes be a guessing game on whether something is too loud or too quiet. I'm not sure if this is a complaint about the headset, the PS4 for both...but the Sony Gold Wireless headset does come with a volume control on the headset.

In the end, it's kind of a draw between the two. I think overall this headset nudges out the Sony due to the durability and comfort. The sound quality is a toss-up, based on personal tastes. Both sound really good, personally. But the lack of sound control is a huge detriment, for me.


Grillight 1300824 Stainless Steel LED Grilling Spatula
Grillight 1300824 Stainless Steel LED Grilling Spatula
Price: $24.15
13 used & new from $19.32

4.0 out of 5 stars A novelty, but actually useful, July 16, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I was offered a chance to review this item, I kind of chuckled to myself at the novelty of it but thought, "well, I do need a new spatula!" And, truthfully, this Grillight LED Grilling Spatula is kind of a novelty item on the surface. But, I have to admit it's a little more useful than I expected it to be. Firstly, the spatula itself is incredibly well-made and worked great when I used it on my grill. It has a nice heft to it. The first time I used the spatula, I didn't use the flashlight part of it. I kind of laughed about it with friends. Then, about a week ago, I got home a little later from work but wanted to grill some burgers. It was a getting darker outside and with the way my grill is positioned on my deck, what remained of the sun was behind the grill. So, I tried the LED light portion of the spatula and it worked wonders. I could see the color of the meat and the light was perfectly pointed so that I could see everything I was doing. It worked wonderfully.

So there you go. If you do a lot of grilling at dusk/evening, then this is a good purchase.


The Truth and Other Lies: A Novel
The Truth and Other Lies: A Novel
by Sascha Arango
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.14
60 used & new from $8.55

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting plot surrounded by stilted writing/translation, July 16, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When a book has been translated from another language, a lot of the story rests on the shoulders of the translator. A translator can make or break a book. Sometimes, they'll literally translate everything and the result can be clunky. Sometimes, they'll put more time into the translation--maybe they're an author themselves, or want to be one--and the results can be fantastic. I'm not sure if The Truth and Other Lies had a good translator or not, but the result is clunky.

The author, Sascha Arango, is apparently a celebrated screenwriter in Germany. You can kind of get that feeling, reading this novel, because like a good screenwriter, the focus is on plot. There's very little in terms of set decoration or lengthy passages describing the characters or their environment. Clocking in at under 260 pages, it is razor-focused on the plot. As such, I never really got a feeling for most of the characters, who've been reduced to archetypes, for the most part. You got the ever-suffering wife, who is always pleasant and wonderful. The dying book publisher who just wants a final hit before he passes. The beautiful mistress/assistant at the publishing house. The nosey receptionist. The shrewd detective. All crime fiction caricatures.

At the center of the novel is Henry Hayden, probably the most unlikeable protagonist I have encountered since Libby Day in Dark Places. He's selfish, egotistical, cold and calculating. He's cheating on his wife, but, worse, he's a world-famous and rich author who hasn't written a piece of fiction, ever. His wife is the writer. But since she's the aforementioned Mary Sue, she doesn't want credit for the work and so our cold and calculating protagonist says all of the books are his. Unfortunately, the mistress gets pregnant. Henry decides to take matters into his own hands...and, well, causes a chain of reactions that push the story forward. From this point on, Henry tries to stay one or two steps ahead of the police and the truth.

I have to admit, the story kept me interested throughout most of the slim book. Even though I absolutely hated the main character and found the writing to be unwieldy, I wanted to know how it would end. Unfortunately, I also found myself re-reading passages because either the author or the translator was absolutely terrible at writing transitions. The story would just make unnecessarily abrupt changes where you're not exactly sure what happened. It did not have the flow that other great crime stories should. It stuttered along.

I did enjoy it, for the most part. But I was hoping for something a bit better.


It Follows
It Follows
DVD
Price: $12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling, July 15, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: It Follows (Amazon Instant Video)
While watching It Follows, the one thought that kept popping in my head was A Nightmare on Elm Street. Not that the villain in It Follows reminded me of Fred Krueger. Or that the plot was similar in any coherent way. But the feeling the movie gave me. That on-the-edge-of-your-seat feeling that you're watching something special and that you're not quite sure what's real and what's not. While Elm Street movies started making the line between dream and reality very specific, the first A Nightmare on Elm Street made the waking life and dreaming life feel incredibly similar. It kept you on your feet and added a feeling of surreality to the story.

It Follows keeps that surreal feeling throughout. Writer/Director David Mitchell creates a location that seems to be timeless. And I mean that quite literally. It's impossible to really nail down the time the movie is set...or if it's even truly set in our world. On the outside, it looks like a typical American town. But the small details offset this feeling. One of the teens reads an e-book on a clam-shell e-reader. But the teens watch old movies on an old-school CRT television. The town itself has an 80s vibe to it, but there's aspects of it that feel out of place or vaguely futuristic. It's also filmed in a kind of lackadaisical manner that adds to the dream-like quality. Then, there's the score itself. What a surprise it was. It apes the techno musicality of 80s movies, but gives it a harsher edge. As a lover of 80s horror and, in particular, A Nightmare on Elm Street, It Follows really struck a chord with me.

Other horror movies were obviously an inspiration for David Mitchell, as well. The villain in the movie slowly and assuredly stalks the teenagers, moving like so many slow-footed monsters from 70s/80s horror. The idea behind the film, that of sex passing on some unstoppable demon that you are then forced to pass on, is reminiscent of The Ring. But Mitchell never rips-off these ideas. He uses them to create a wholly original concept. The idea that this demon or monster can take any form, but is slowly walking straight for you is creepy and intense. It's used to great effect in a lot of scenes, where the camera will pan and the viewer is instantly looking to see if someone is walking toward the victims or if it's just a casual passerby.

It's an absolute gem of a horror film. One I definitely recommend to any horror fan.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 15, 2015 9:10 PM PDT


Within These Walls
Within These Walls
by Ania Ahlborn
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.41
89 used & new from $1.70

3.0 out of 5 stars Like some reviewers, June 1, 2015
This review is from: Within These Walls (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Like some reviewers, I'm finding this novel a bit difficult to review. I absolutely hated the way it began. I understand that a novel has to begin somewhere, but the whole discussion/divorce/etc setup took forever for me to get through. It was so poorly written and just pedantic for me. But once all of the fluff got thrown aside and we actually got to the house, things picked up considerably for me. In between the current story, we have some flashbacks to the charismatic cult leader that ties into the mystery/ghost story. It's a little Charles Manson mixed with a ghost story.

The actual ghost story is pretty decent, if not revelatory. It's nothing too exciting or thrilling, but the mystery had enough of an edge to keep me reading in order to figure out how it'd play out. Honestly, I have been trying to figure out how to review this one and it's gotten to the point that I had to submit something. So sorry for not the best review. The book's decent but not fantastic. 3.5 stars.


Classic Brands Cool Sleep Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Gusseted Pillow, Standard
Classic Brands Cool Sleep Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Gusseted Pillow, Standard
Offered by Mattress Firm Inc.
Price: $39.00
2 used & new from $39.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly good foam pillow., June 1, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Honestly, I haven't had much luck with the memory foam pillows. As a side-sleeper, I find them to either be too thick/hard or too thin/soft. So I was surprised when I tried this one and, when combined with another normal pillow, had just the right amount of firmness to be supportive of my neck. I personally find the whole "cool" pillow fad a marketing speak thing. This pillow never feels cooler than a normal pillow to me. Nor have any of the cooling pillows I've tried.

But for me, this is probably the best memory foam pillow I've used. Would recommend and would purchase.


Black & Decker BL4000R XL Blast Party Blender, Red
Black & Decker BL4000R XL Blast Party Blender, Red
Price: $65.30
13 used & new from $46.59

4.0 out of 5 stars For the money, it's a good drink blender, June 1, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I make drinks, I don't mess around. I have been a loyal customer of the Margaritaville machines for about five or six years, now. I absolutely love those, the way they blend/shave the ice and the way they output a great margarita. But, they are super expensive. I don't think this model stands up to those models, but again, for the price, it probably wouldn't.

The Black & Decker model comes with a variety of buttons that can auto-make whatever drink you want (margaritas, daiquiris, shakes, smoothies) and it comes with a little book of drink recipes that go beyond the typical daiquiris. The motor works nicely and while some reviewers smelled a hot smell, I haven't run into that problem.

I still think I'll rely on my Margaritaville machines, but for the price it's a really nice drink maker.


Fluxx 5.0 Card Game
Fluxx 5.0 Card Game
Price: $13.08
24 used & new from $8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fluxx is such a weird and fun little game, June 1, 2015
This review is from: Fluxx 5.0 Card Game (Toy)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Fluxx is such a weird and fun little game. I'm a huge board game lover. There's nothing more fun than getting a group of people together to tackle some hardcore games like Pathfinder Card Game or Arkham Horror. But not all of my friends want to spend hours at a time slogging through a complex game. For them, I bring out Sushi Go! or something similar. Fun, deceptively easy and quick. That pretty much describes Fluxx.

Fluxx is a game I never played until this version. In the beginning, the rules are simple: Draw a card, play a card. But in the deck are a variety of cards that change the game: New Rule, Action, Keeper and Goal. New rule does just that, introduces a new rule to the game. Action cards have you do one time things like steal cards or eliminate rules. Goals redefine what it takes to win and keeper cards are used to meet goals.

Basically, as the game continues, the gameplay keeps mutating based on what you play. There's not as much strategy as in other games; in fact, part of the fun of Fluxx is the randomness that results. So those individuals in your group who absolutely have to win or are super competitive will probably scream in rage sometimes.

Overall, this is a fun, relatively quick game that I've used in between longer sessions. I think people enjoy Sushi Go! a bit more for that, but I do get a laugh out of playing Fluxx and I'd recommend it to those looking for a lighter, fun game.


Samsung Counter Top Microwave, 1.1 Cubic Feet, Stainless Steel
Samsung Counter Top Microwave, 1.1 Cubic Feet, Stainless Steel
Price: $189.00
6 used & new from $189.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good., June 1, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When is a microwave not a microwave? Apparently, when you're using this product. I was surprised at just how flexible this particularly microwave was, when compared to the old microwave I've been using.

This Samsung microwave is compact and stylish. I love the stainless steel look of it. It's a little more compact than my previous model. But it works really well. I find that it cooks my food a little hotter/quicker than my previous microwave. The grilling unit is what surprised me. It works pretty well. Obviously, for a lot of things I'll rely on my gas grill. But it's a really nice feature that reminds me of a toaster oven.

I've never used a Samsung microwave (honestly, outside of a TV and a vacuum, I've never used Samsung period), but they made a really nice one here.


Gillette Fusion Proglide Styler 3-In-1 Men's Body Groomer With Beard Trimmer
Gillette Fusion Proglide Styler 3-In-1 Men's Body Groomer With Beard Trimmer
Price: $18.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ouchie, May 14, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Great to trim your beard, as long as you want one of three sizes. Ok for your chest and torso. Bad news bears for your nether regions. Unless you want to use the attachments to trim down there. Without them, you will hurt your outer anatomy. If you want smooth, spend extra for a real body groomer. Your balls will appreciate it.


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