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Patrick O "A lover of truth, beauty, and occasionally silliness" RSS Feed (Sacramento, CA United States)

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LeapFrog Count Along Cash Register
LeapFrog Count Along Cash Register
2 used & new from $19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Shop til you drop, June 29, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Like many of the LeapFrog toys, this cash register offers a fun learning experience. The singing style will be familiar to anyone with LeapFrog toys a style that is engaging for kids, inviting, and yet generally less irritating for parents.

Pretty basic functions. The included items each have a picture on the screen. Touch one and it says its name and "cost". It counts the coins as you put them in in the slot. Numbers 1-9 are at the bottom, which it also says aloud as you touch them. There's a "scanner" button on the side that has more general comments, which is useful if you're wanting to use items that aren't part of the included set. It doesn't actually scan anything, so everything is push button and static screen. There's a membership card that you can slide through a slot on the side that has even more variety of comments. Get the full check out experience!

My kids, ages 4 and almost 2, liked it right away and have been playing with it for the last few days, both with the items and with things they've pulled out from the kitchen. Since they liked playing store anyhow, this was a good set for them. It's basic without being too simplistic, and I like that there's some ability to work with items beyond just what is included (which are close enough to be identified without being anything near realistic looking). No small parts, even the coins are quite large.

Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays
Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays
by Cynthia Ozick
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Me say this good book, June 26, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It is surprising that this book was offered for our consideration. Ozick does not regard Amazon reviewers very highly, certainly not as a group and seemingly begrudgingly in rare instances. Add to this the fact that I am also an academic and I fear that anything I write will not even merit a parentheses in consideration. That said, I write not as a literary critic but as a simple book reviewer.

Book reviewers here on Amazon aren't critics at all. We're more like co-consumers, suggesting whether an item is worth buying based on our experiences. The better reviews add some useful insights, building on the product description in a--hopefully--honest way.

A literary critic isn't in the business of consumer counselor. Rather, a literary critic seeks to understand a written work, putting it into its cultural and historical context, adding insights into ideas and patterns and contributions of the work to broader conversations.

Amazon reviews abound. The work of literary criticism has fallen on rough times. Ozick is an amazing writer. I got this book mostly so that I could learn from her style and approach. I had friends who raved about her work. This skill is quickly apparent not only in style but also in content. Though English lit was one of my least favorite subjects, since I was very young I have loved reading all kinds of books, articles, you name it. I didn't like how critics pulled apart and took the joy out of a text. But it seems I was not given the best examples. Ozick offers a call towards the place and purpose and need for intelligent literary criticism and then, in later essays, describes particular examples, adding a mostly cohesive call towards a dying art in our age of click bait and celebrity distractions.

I wasn't expecting to be drawn in as much as I was. So, yes, I recommend buying this book even if you're not particularly enthralled with the topic of literary criticism. You will be by the end of the first chapter and the rest will make for a valuable treat.

Sleep Master Memory Foam 4 Inch Tri-Fold Comfort Mat
Sleep Master Memory Foam 4 Inch Tri-Fold Comfort Mat
Price: $95.38
6 used & new from $92.78

4.0 out of 5 stars Great nonpermanent guest option, June 24, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We live about a day's drive from both sides of our extended family. One day south is my family. One day north is her family. So, we have an extra guest room for visitors. But we already have had times where people come in larger groups. So, we've been looking for a way to have expanding guest options without resorting to couches (which are comfortable but not very private).

This is a great option for us. It's not very thick, so probably best for teens or younger. I'm at 220 and I feel the floor on it. But I have a nice bed of my own. So the thickness is fine with us, as we have young kids and a number of younger cousins, and anything thicker wouldn't fold down as well. We have a basic trundle bed frame we keep in the garage and this works well on it, or folded out underneath our daughter's Kura bed. It doesn't fold down very small, but small enough to get out of the way. This folds up and fits easily in a closet or underneath our daughter's bed, taking up one side.

For those who aren't very heavy, this is a great option for nonpermanent uses. Better than a cot and much better than a sleeping bag. Usable on a floor.

Black & Decker 20v Cordless Glue Gun System
Black & Decker 20v Cordless Glue Gun System
Price: $79.99

5.0 out of 5 stars makes for a sticky situation, June 23, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Works great. Warms up fast, is precise and the battery seems to last as long as you'd need it. Using this for both bigger projects and assorted crafts. Not something to let kids play around with, the glue is about 325 degrees at first, but makes a lot of projects easier and, honestly, it's a fun enough tool that I've been looking for things to glue and getting more done than I would have first thought.

No complaints about the glue gun itself. The box advertises a guidebook that has tips and project ideas, which sounds great, only it's nowhere to be found and customer support hasn't answered my message about it after a few days.

Comes with two sticks, but it seems it will play well with a variety of other options once those run out. I was on the fence about getting this at first, but now I love it.

Modern Manners: Tools to Take You to the Top
Modern Manners: Tools to Take You to the Top
by Dorothea Johnson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.62
71 used & new from $8.07

5.0 out of 5 stars Don't do that, do this, June 22, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The internet has a lot of resources, but you have to know what to ask it. Then you find yourself in a situation where you wish you knew what to do, what to say, which fork to use, and in this moment of social need it's entirely gauche to pull out your phone and wander through the morass of varying degrees of authority.

That's where this book comes in. The intended audience is young professionals, new to the workforce, and so a lot of it relates to business decorum and etiquette. Only a very small portion is limited to such situations, as almost every professional context, or socially rigorous ones, will involve varying levels of expectation and uncertainty about navigating through the moments.

Great for new grads (college or high school), it's also quite useful for those who have been newly promoted or who find themselves among a higher (even if not better) class of acquaintances.

The format is great. To the point, with illustrations that don't necessarily add too much but do give helpful texture. Dorothea Johnson is the main writer, offering both tips and anecdotes, with Liv Tyler jumping in every so often with her own stories of overcoming social expectations. These add practical context to the tips as well as comforting consolation. At one point she confesses to panicking over a place-setting in front of her, with its wide array of regulated cutler before settling into the lessons of her grandmother (Dorothea Johnson) and making her way onward with steadiness. Strangely comforting as if Liv Tyler can panic at a social event, it means we don't need to add self-recrimination to our contextual ignorance. People are social and we're all a little ignorant and goofy about what to do. This book gives a needed boost that certainly won't cover every situation but covers enough to get started.

Plus, it's an entertaining read, well-written and organized, a good amount of information without being overwhelming.

As someone who recently transitioned from a long life as a graduate student, and now find myself no longer the expected impoverished rube but often the sophisticated professional, this book was quite worthwhile, both in learning what I don't know, confirming what I already learned somehow, and fixing what I thought was correct. For instance, I once read that we fold our arms when talking to people who we find interesting, but Johnson informed me this is often perceived as a negative stance--so no indulging that!

A good book to keep around, light reading and re-reading, a gift for the newly cultured for whatever reason, or just to make sure you're at the top of your game when you finally get invited to the Queen's for lunch.

Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC SonicPro High-Resolution Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation
Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC SonicPro High-Resolution Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation
Price: $299.00
14 used & new from $299.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hear what you want to hear, not what you don't, June 19, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am very noise sensitive and tend to have music on both to listen to and to cover other noise. I have a pair of Etymotic Research MC5 Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones (Black) that got me through graduate school and apartment life, and I still like them for near total noise blocking. But they're not very comfortable for long term, and don't have the best sound quality (though they're decent to be sure). As I continue to work in an office with varying levels of busyness as well as work from home where there is a park and car noise outside, and young kids inside, I have been looking around for a solution. These may not be perfect for my goals, but they're very close and exceed them in some ways.

First, they're not total noise blocking. Anything sudden, like loud talking, crashes, etc. doesn't get blocked. Anything more consistent definitely does, blocking a lot of distant talking and regular overall noise. The noise blocking is very subtle when you turn it out. It sounds like the barest boost to the audio, but there is no added hiss or other tones. This is great because the overall sound quality is amazing.

Perfect for travel or for a busy office, or just to get away into some music even if you can't get away from people. These are going to get a lot of use at work, home, and travel.

Night Therapy Memory Foam 4 Inch Pressure Relief Mattress Topper, Full
Night Therapy Memory Foam 4 Inch Pressure Relief Mattress Topper, Full
Price: $120.37
3 used & new from $118.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Great for a good price, June 19, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Toppers are a great and fast way to improve a night's sleep without paying too much money. Full size memory foam mattresses are nice, but it's really just the top that makes the difference anyhow, and after a long life span, even those need some help. I've been a memory foam fan for about ten years and a topper fan for most of that, with guests also saying our guest bed (which has a cheap-end Ikea queen regular mattress) is one of the most comfortable they have slept on. With it time to spruce up our regular matters another topper seemed to do the trick and this was a perfect balance between comfort and price. Pay more and you'll get better, but most folks don't need the difference and we certainly didn't. The aroma isn't worse than any other foam topper I've used. Open it up, let it lay out for a day or so, then put it on your bed the day after you open it. Well worth the investment for a nights sleep and I have no problem recommending this night therapy brand. Will update if there are issues.

Bartelli Soft Edge Automatic Electric Can Opener - Red
Bartelli Soft Edge Automatic Electric Can Opener - Red
Offered by Top Auto Gadgets
Price: $29.99
3 used & new from $19.99

1.0 out of 5 stars worked a month, June 18, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Got it in early May, stopped working right in mid-June. It runs, but no longer cuts a can open. The motor stays on, but it slips off and doesn't do a thing. Was absolutely wonderful for the month, really impressive how it works, but it really has a durability issue. Something slips or breaks in it and it instantly goes from great to a waste.

Seventh Generation Free and Clear Sensitive Skin Baby Diapers with Animal Prints, Size 3, 155 Count (One Month Supply)
Seventh Generation Free and Clear Sensitive Skin Baby Diapers with Animal Prints, Size 3, 155 Count (One Month Supply)
Price: $47.99
4 used & new from $47.99

5.0 out of 5 stars piece of mind for sensitive skin, June 14, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Really good for sensitive skin or other concerns, including environment. Here in California, water usage is a bigger issue than landfill, so washing cloth diapers isn't really an option, yet it's nice to have a choice better than the mass brand disposables. These are perfectly fine for regular use, though not really in times of sickness (where leaks are more likely). They don't absorb quite as much so be careful, but they make up for that in other ways. Recommend as long as you are aware of the pluses and minuses of these in comparison with the other brands. If you're not as concerned about chemicals or related issues, and just want cheap diapers that offer good leak protection, you likely won't appreciate these.

BURTON Women's Crystal Pullover Hoodie, Medium, True Black
BURTON Women's Crystal Pullover Hoodie, Medium, True Black
Price: $89.95
3 used & new from $62.64

5.0 out of 5 stars stay warm while looking great, June 11, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Very comfortable, and quite warm for it's thickness. My wife really likes the overall cut and fit. Perfect for travel and very handy to have along for planned adventures or for being out on a surprisingly cool evening.

The only minor complaint was the way the hood is designed, which makes it look a bit like a burka when up, and doesn't tighten across the neck so lets in a bit of the cool air. At the same time, this design helps it fit in both rugged and more civilized settings. It looks great.

This really is a well-designed and multi-purpose hoodie, sure to get a lot of use in a lot of different places.

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