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Derek R. Whaley's Profile

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Derek R. Whaley "Derek R. Whaley" RSS Feed (Felton, CA)

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Organic Sourdough Starter--The Real One from San Francisco with No-Questions-Asked Replacement Guarantee and a Free Plastic Dough Divider/Scraper
Organic Sourdough Starter--The Real One from San Francisco with No-Questions-Asked Replacement Guarantee and a Free Plastic Dough Divider/Scraper
Offered by SourdoughBreads
Price: $12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This whole kit was perfect. I had it sent to me in New ..., February 18, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This whole kit was perfect. I had it sent to me in New Zealand and I finally am on my way to having real San Francisco sourdough (it still needs a while to get that flavour, though). I missed the taste when I moved here so had to bring it back somehow. I also have used the instructions to create my own local sourdough that outpaces all the other locals by a mile. Win!

Komputerbay 2GB DDR2 667MHz PC2-5300 PC2-5400 DDR2 667 (200 PIN) SODIMM Laptop Memory
Komputerbay 2GB DDR2 667MHz PC2-5300 PC2-5400 DDR2 667 (200 PIN) SODIMM Laptop Memory
Offered by Komputerbay
Price: $20.49
10 used & new from $18.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, February 18, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It did everything it said it would and has passed every RAM check. No complaints.

Frozen [Blu-ray]
Frozen [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Kristen Bell
Price: $24.96
82 used & new from $12.05

5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Highly Overrated, March 19, 2014
This review is from: Frozen [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
An unnecessarily complex story with mostly forgettable -- and sometimes quite pointless -- songs and starring antiheroes and Germanic politics. Not exactly something your children will really understand. In fact, not something most people will understand or should really even care about. I'm still confused if I am supposed to root for or be against the queen. Oh, and she is a queen...a real queen, as in one that rules a country in her own name (though the country itself is rather small and vague à la The Beast's realm in Beauty & The Beast). While I applause Disney actually including a queen regnant in a film as a costar, this film's only real strength is its visual splendor. Its plot is something generally absent or directionless. I'll stick with The Lion King, thank you. Or even The Princess & The Frog.

San Lorenzo Valley, The (Images of America)
San Lorenzo Valley, The (Images of America)
by Lisa Robinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.45
19 used & new from $12.00

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Barbarian Report: At Last, A History of SLV!, July 19, 2012
Despite the many dozens of books that reference in some way or another the San Lorenzo Valley in Santa Cruz County, California, there are almost no books that directly address the history of the valley as a whole. A recent publication about the history of the water district is the only real exception to this rule. Thus, this Arcadia book by SLV Museum president Lisa Robinson is a much-needed item, especially for Santa Cruz County residents.

As with all Arcadia books, there are more photographs in this volume than anything else, though Robinson includes highly-detailed captions for nearly every image. Yet also a typical flaw of Arcadia Publishing is that the images are almost exclusively of the San Lorenzo Valley prior to 1945. That leaves over 65 years of history untouched, and a lot has happened in those years. So, to that degree, I would call this more of an early history of SLV rather than a complete history.

Perhaps the most interesting and, unfortunately, most concise section of this book is its introduction that describes the history of the valley prior to the post-Gold Rush settlement of the region. From the Ohlone Indians to the Spanish and Mexicans, the history of the San Lorenzo Valley is interesting from its first entry into historical sources, but due to a lack of photographic evidence, Arcadia shuns dedicating large sections of their books to text-only narratives.

Moving past the introduction, Robinson follows the history of the valley by focusing on certain areas of commonality. The story begins with the taming of the Valley by the early settlers and the establishment of the first companies. It then moves into the logging industry, followed quickly by the railroad. The railroad chapter introduces tourism in the Valley, so naturally Robinson follows with lodging in the fourth chapter. She then continues the story of tourism by showcasing various tourist spots throughout the valley, namely California Redwoods Park, and Big Trees Park. Moving away from tourism, Robinson introduces some of the many historic homes in the Valley in chapter six, then follows in the subsequent chapter with a survey of the historic business buildings. Chapters eight and nine discuss schools, churches, and social clubs. Finally, the story is wrapped up eloquently, though quickly, with a look at Valley life.

Perhaps the biggest letdown of the book is that it is so short. Arcadia Publishing is very restrictive in their book deals and focus primarily on photographs rather than content. Robinson, working within this medium, did a superb job of showcasing the many historical details in the San Lorenzo Valley as well as many of its lasting monuments from days long past. While a longer, more thorough historical book is still sorely needed, this book brings to light much material for discussion and debate.

On a more critical note, Robinson revealed many times to me personally that the history of Felton and Ben Lomond, as well as other areas such as Zayante and Lompico, are less known today, and that those areas require much more dedicated research. Because of this, this San Lorenzo Valley book is heavily biased toward Boulder Creek and its history. This is not intentional, and it was avoided whenever possible, but the history of Boulder Creek and Brookdale are simply better recorded and documented. Perhaps someday soon, a thorough book addressing the early histories of Felton and Ben Lomond will be made to correct any unintended bias.

Regardless, this book is a fun and fast read that will throw light on many previously-unknown historical facts related to the San Lorenzo Valley. It is a must-read for all residents of north Santa Cruz County, and many tourists to the area would do well to pick a copy up as well because it would act as a fun travel guide too.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 3, 2013 11:14 PM PDT

The Lego Book
The Lego Book
by Daniel Lipkowitz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $7.51
112 used & new from $0.29

43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The History of Lego from 2000, February 11, 2010
This review is from: The Lego Book (Hardcover)
I've now read in their entirety both the Lego Book and the Minifig Book which form the core of this collection. As a collector of Legos since their heyday in the late 1980s (think Pirates) to the present, I've seen a lot of Lego memorabilia. When I received this book collection for Christmas, I was really, truly hoping that DK was intending to focus on the complete history of Lego and the Lego minifigure. Sadly, I was mistaken.

Don't get me wrong, the books are beautifully illustrated in full color on quality paper in a cute little collectors box. But in the end, I feel rather let down. For the main book, I was let down by the content. The book focused on the history of Lego for the first dozen pages or so but then switched to the individual themes. I was actually okay with that. I mean, if you want to see the complete line of Legos from the 1950s to the present, buy the 2008 set collectors guide. I would have liked to see a bit more of a review of the early town and train themes and how they developed prior to the creation of the minifig, but I was generally okay with the content and quality of the brief history of Lego.

The theme sections are what really got me down. I know Lego sponsored this DK book but, technically at least, this is not a Lego production. It is independent. It has no Lego set number, no Lego pieces, only pictures. Yet somehow it is very obvious from the very start that this book was designed and funded by Lego. The majority of the themes have at least one page focusing on the most recent sub-theme of a series. Be it the 2007 Castle line, the 2008 Space Police, the 2007 Clone Wars, or the recent City themes. They are very present throughout this book. What really irked me was the treatment of the Lego Pirates. They dedicate one spread to the 1989-1996 series of Pirates and another full spread to just the 2008 line. That just seems insulting. The 2-year Westerners series is crammed on the same spread as the Adventurers and Time Cruisers. Meanwhile, other lines like Star Wars (1999-present) get four full spreads or more. I couldn't even see examples of some of my favorite Space lines such as M-Tron, Blacktron II, or Spyrius. They just weren't there! The objectiveness of this "Lego Book" is very much in question and I would rather call it the "History of Lego from 2000" than anything else.

My larger gripe, though, is with the accompanying Lego Minifigure book. Where the Lego Book lacked in content, the minifig book lacked in everything except visual appeal. Even at times that was in question, though. As with the Lego Book, the minifig book is in full color and on good quality paper. It fits snugly beside the Lego Book in its collector's box. Yet I have a feeling that significantly less time was spent on this younger cousin of the larger Book. Any editor who read this would laugh out loud. Indeed, I have yet to find a page that doesn't have a spelling, grammatical, or factual error. In almost all cases there are multiple such problems on the pages. Besides being about as non-comprehensive as the Lego Book, barely covering more than the last decade's worth of minifigures, the style of this book is extremely wanting. Many pages I have found odd and hardly interesting facts on the wrong page (the fact that Prof. Snape's head was the first glow-in-the-dark minifig part appearing on the page AFTER that minifig was shown comes to mind). In other places, the same exact minifig appears twice, sometimes on the same page even, often with a different date despite the fact that they are the same exact figure. In other cases, I have found incorrect dates for figures, or even incorrect names. One funny error notes that the Clone Wars in Star Wars took place over 300 years, rather than the canonical 3 years. In virtually all aspects, the minifig book lacks the quality-control checks and editing I would expect from DK. It is as though the people who arranged the hodgepodge of images also created the captions with absolutely no oversight. Were the minifig book sold separately, I would probably demand a full refund from the publisher out of sheer anger at the poor editing of this book. While the visual appeal is arguably good, the writing of some of the poorest quality I have seen in a publication.

So, my advice is to buy this set if you want it purely for the images. It is a great visual feast of Legoness. However, if you expect deep content and a fun jaunt back into the history of Lego, I'd suggest you wait for another book because this will leave you scratching your head asking: "Didn't Lego make more sets before 2000?"
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 13, 2014 10:55 AM PDT

LEGO® Castle King's Castle Siege
LEGO® Castle King's Castle Siege
Offered by Kent Toys
Price: $349.95
12 used & new from $299.99

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your 1980s LEGO Castle, December 29, 2008
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
LEGO castles have been produced roughly every other year since the early 1980s and most of them have a trait that this one lacks: a base plate. That being said, I think that LEGO took the Castle series in a new direction with this move. Until this set, LEGO always released their castles on solid base plates with hills and valleys, making the castles seem formidable, while being constructed with less pieces and remaining static in nature. The new 2008 castle leaves the entire base on solid ground with detachable corners and walls and a removable tower, making the entire set far more variable, expanding play and display tremendously.

Another error of some castles have been the reuse of the same "generic" castle minifigures, often available in other smaller sets. While this is still the case here, the use of more faces has expanded the available minifig combinations. The inclusion of the red evil dragon also creates a feeling of newness with this castle, while at the same time providing a valid enemy for the castle folk. Four skeletons reinforce this feeling of good vs. evil (hence Castle Siege!).

Overall, I think that this is a very nice castle with many opportunities for expansion using other Castle sets and a level of variability not available since the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets castle. I would not consider it an advanced set, but it feels like a nearly complete set. The only criticism I really have is that the courtyard in the center of the castle feels very bare, much like Fort LEGOREDO in the late 1990s. Unlike LEGOREDO, however, there are many accessory sets that can help fill this space, especially the 2008 LEGO Advent Calendar (no longer available). Ultimately, I recommend this set for any fan of the LEGO Castle theme, but if you are seeking a castle like those of the 1980s and 90s, this will probably not satisfy you. This fortress is designed for a new age of LEGO Castles (II)!

Mayfair The Settlers of Catan Board Game
Mayfair The Settlers of Catan Board Game
Offered by carmelite22
Price: $89.99
11 used & new from $25.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Game Ever, July 18, 2005
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
I was introduced to Settlers like many, a naive player with no expectations except that it was another lame nerd game. No game has ever proved me more wrong. Settlers is easy for anyone to play, will keep all players interested for the entire game, and will never get old. I know both guys and girls who love this game. Strangely, it is also the only game that I have never won once yet still enhoy entirely. The two expansions, Seafarers and Cities & Knights, only make the game better. With the option to increase the player size to a maximum of 6 players, this game wins on my list of best games ever created. 1996 Game of the Year still remains my best game of all history thus far.

Ancestral roots of sixty colonists who came to New England between 1623 and 1650: The lineage of Alfred the Great, Charlemagne, Malcolm of Scotland, Robert the Strong, and some of their descendants
Ancestral roots of sixty colonists who came to New England between 1623 and 1650: The lineage of Alfred the Great, Charlemagne, Malcolm of Scotland, Robert the Strong, and some of their descendants
by Frederick Lewis Weis
Edition: Hardcover
25 used & new from $27.81

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Consistancy, August 30, 2003
Out of every author of genealogical records, none other's system works as well as Frederick Weis's. His in-depth research and organization make it nearly impossible to get lost. And still, he keeps up with an excellent bibliography as well as a great abbreviation page. The great thing about Weis, however, is that he doesn't like to speculate and just gets to the point with his writing. This is a must read for anyone connected to John of Gaunt or anyone else mentioned in the book.

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