Profile for Strategos > Reviews

Browse

Strategos' Profile

Customer Reviews: 612
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,543
Helpful Votes: 5015


Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Strategos "The Guardian of Time" RSS Feed (In Space above Planet Earth)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
All You Need is Kill (manga): 2-in-1 Edition
All You Need is Kill (manga): 2-in-1 Edition
by Ryosuke Takeuchi
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.88
72 used & new from $8.43

5.0 out of 5 stars The movie is good, the book is terrible, and this....this is AMAZING!, June 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I first heard about All You Need is Kill after seeing the film Edge of Tomorrow. That movie was cool, but seemed like maybe they cut and chopped it to make it more "American" and less Japanese. And when I read the book I realized this was very much the case. The movie was fun, and had some fantastic action. The ending seemed a bit...forced compared to the rest of the film though. Reading the book I realized that this was because the ending was completely changed from what is kind of a sic-fi classic feel that would have been a great film in the hands of say... Ridley Scott, into something a bit less of a downer.

The book was no prize winner either though. It's depressing, dark, gritty, poorly written, and thoroughly unlikable in every way, from it's constantly dark and dismal atmosphere to it's extremely de-humanized human cast. But when I spied the manga in a bookstore and gave it a quick look I was shocked...in the best possible way.

Evangelion Meets Groundhog Day Meets Starship Troopers Meets Bubblegum Crisis Meets Awesome, Awesome, Awesome!

You know how the very very best Anime and Manga manages to carefully tread the line between Eastern and Western styles, with things that would clearly never happen (or almost never) in American pop-culture (like strong women who aren't trying to be men, or an existential/philosophical crisis), and yet enough character development, extroverted action, and quick-snap whiz-bang attitude to keep you from falling asleep or scratching your head? I'm talking like Macross, Gundam, Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, you get the idea. Well, this Manga PERFECTLY walks that line.

Eye Candy

I checked this book out at the library after seeing it's stunning artwork in a bookstore. After reading maybe an eighth of it I knew I had to buy it immediately. Yeah, it's art is dark and grisly as a horrible monster attack on the human race would be. It's also absolutely gorgeous with mechs that are far more Japanese than American in style. They look like people are wearing plug-suits from Evangelion and the suit over them is from Bubblegum Crisis or Starship Troopers (the book). In other words, the suits and mech/jackets look AWESOME. Not like the clunky junk from the movie. No, these look like the kind of awesome that the Japanese military really would build to fight an interstellar war, with helmets that completely cover the head, and HUD read-outs like Iron Man's Suit or (again) Starship Troopers. The action is absolutely amazing, and there are lots of full-page or nearly-so pieces of art that are absolutely incredible.

Judge a Book By It's Cover

Yeah, yeah, great art. And a story to match. All of the extraneous and confusing junk from the book was streamlined, improved, and generally made both more understandable and more entertaining. And to top it off, everyone is ENORMOUSLY more likable. Instead of being constantly confused by everyone's behavior, masterful art angles, attention to detail, and editing make everything obvious.

The first time you encounter Rita, you are in awe. When you see how tiny and cute looking she is, the POINT of the book becomes crystal clear. It is not about physical build, but about mental skill. This is something that ONLY the Japanese could comprehend and push so dramatically. As the plot develops and we see why Rita is the way that she is, we grow to love her just as the protagonist does (who seems much less of a loser than in the book).

By the end of the book, I was overwhelmed with heartbreaking emotion at the conclusion. It was exciting. It was moving. It was incredibly entertaining. It made me wish there was an anime film or OVA or TV show because it was just so GOOD! And yes, all that despite the fact that I had already read the book and knew how it ended.

All You Need is This Manga

If you like a good action manga, sci-fi, or mecha, or even just appreciate great artwork and a great story, you are going to love this manga. Not recommended for young kids though, as they will both not comprehend the story, and the gruesome death-by-alien-monster artwork would be disturbing. To everyone in the target audience, it's a must-read.


Six Impossible Things
Six Impossible Things
by Fiona Wood
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.50

5.0 out of 5 stars A smart, beautifully written teen book, June 24, 2015
This review is from: Six Impossible Things (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I think of books, movies, TV shows etc for teens I think of irresponsible, stupid, brainless, stereotypical, boring stuff that's completely out of touch with how young adults actually feel and act.

I got no such feelings from this book. It's heart-felt, authentic, and beautifully well written. As another reviewer mentioned the language could be cleaned up a bit if it's for young teens. For older teens the protagonist and his love interest are too young. But for adults who want to re-live their teen years or teens who don't mind a bit of rough language (you know, like your average teen comedy) this one is a winner. And the author DOES keep it more PG-13 than most who are aiming for a teen audience (again, more authentic considering the age of the protagonist).

Give this one a read if you want to remember being a young teen through a short (large typeface, lots of bland space, 282 pages) enjoyable story.


Magonia
Magonia
by Maria Dahvana Headley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.78
71 used & new from $8.41

5.0 out of 5 stars I struggled and wrestled and eventually gave in to the awesome of Escaflowne, John Carter, and The Fault in Our Stars, June 24, 2015
This review is from: Magonia (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a difficult book. Not a difficult book to read, just....difficult. On the one hand the protagonist is an annoying 16 year old who talks like she's 12, her best friend is a magically gifted hacker who's too good to be true and also talks like he's 12, the entire prologue is a like a badly written Fault In Our Stars Knock-Off, and the entire story is incredibly formulaic and predictable. Oh, and generally-speaking the writing is sloppy and kind of comes off as a hack job. Then why the five stars?

My older sister used to say that Science Fiction (which this is definitely not) was great not because of it's writing (which she considered to be poor), but because of it's wonderful, fantastic, mind-blowing ideas. This book...

A Princess of Magonia

Yes, this book reminds me of John Carter/A Princess of Mars, because the protagonist Aza (what a horrible name!) has what can only be described as an out-of-body experience where she is transported to a place we know to be lifeless, and it is instead filled with an entire WORLD of awesome. And just like John Carter, she now magically has insane levels of power over everyone else. Formulaic yes, but on top of that...

Skies of Magonia

Some will say this book is like a Miyazaki film, but that's not right. It's more Vision of Escaflowne. Both have an ordinary girl turned magical-girl, a war between sky pirates and an "evil" empire, awesome shades of steam-punkish wonder (yeah, yeah Magnolia has no steam-tech, but it FEELS similar). Really, the whole "sky pirates" angle is awesome beyond all belief, made even more amazing by the fact that the "technology" of this magical world is that everyone there is a bird/person/creature that can either lift giant objects together, or sing magical wondering into existence, or both.

The Fault in Our Frail Drowner Body

Some will complain about the beginning of this book, and maybe I even did. But the thing is...despite the formulaic story, the shoddy writing, and the annoying protagonist, I just kept reading. It was, despite itself, a "page-turner". So when things DID finally get going...oh man oh man!!!!

Judge a Book By It's Cover

What drew me to this book was it's awesome, AWESOME cover art. But what kept me going was the imagination in the story. There are touches of genius at work here, and when the story leaves Earth behind it's easy to just become completely absorbed by it. At times the writing is excellent in it's pacing, and there are no dialog tags to be found because the characters are too strongly written to need them and the author has mastered the difficult technique of writing without them (a sure sign of amateur writing is every other sentence ending with "said.")

While reading the beginning of this story I was wildly frustrated because I felt that the story was so good the book could be a classic if it just was written a bit better. If the author studied some of the fiction masters like Brandon Sanderson she could flesh out the book better and make you feel even more like you are THERE. As it is the book is high on imagination and low on description. And yet, and yet, as I kept reading all the way through I determined that the ideas, the imagination contained in this book is simply too good. While it's no classic (quite), I do think it has what it takes to be a hit.

I hope the author continues to write, and writes more in this world. Because there are still a lot of questions unanswered, and if she just studies some modern masters of fiction I KNOW her writing could be greatly improved. And then, we will have a masterpiece. Until then, we have a shining bit of magic in a cold dreary world, and I thank the author for that.


Inside Out (2D BD Combo Pack) [Blu-ray]
Inside Out (2D BD Combo Pack) [Blu-ray]
Price: $22.99

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Laughed and I Cried, and I Left the Theater Deeply Moved, June 21, 2015
Inside Out is probably the biggest gamble that Pixar ever made trying to tell an animated story. It's more geared to adults than any other film they have ever made. It's complicated, with a lot of very complex metaphors. It attempts to tell a story far more related to the real world than any they have ever told as far as I can tell. There's no witches, magic, space-rangers, talking inanimate objects, or the like. And yet...

I knew from the trailers and reading a book about Pixar that this film was going to be different from the other ones that Pixar has released. I knew it was a gamble. But it also struck me as being more intelligent, more thoughtful, and perhaps more from the heart and soul than some of their other films (and that takes some doing). I was not wrong and I am glad I ventured out to a theater to see this film.

It's an ambitious undertaking to try to tell a story about the emotions in control of a person's mind, and even moreso when you dive into the other parts of their brain like the subconscious, dreams, and memories. On the surface this is a story of creatures trying to do their job who run into problems (two of the emotions get lost and have to find their way back), and the little girl who's life is undergoing changes that make her inability to express said emotions somewhat heart-breaking. But there is so much more going on here.

You can looks at this film and think that the people in it are being pushed around by the emotions in their head. You can see it as people being at the mercy of these emotions and other forces. Or...you can look deeper and see the introverted message of this film. That everything that happens inside of this young girl represents her reactions to events in her life. Have you ever felt that your dreams were really bizarre? Did you ever feel like you were out of touch with your emotions? Did your train of thought ever derail? In this film all of those events literally happen. And to me, there's a strong message about accepting yourself, and the different parts of yourself, and no telling them to just go away when times get tough. In my mind, as everything that happens to the girl in the real world is very much plausible for just about every kid growing up, the adventure inside of her head is actually happening in a similar way to every kid growing up (whoa!).

The entire journey is more consistently funny than any other Pixar film I've seen, as the dialog is extremely witty, the adventures more clever (a film studio that literally is "Dream Productions", maintenance workers sending commercial jingles up to a person's conscious mind because they think it's catchy, etc), but the true brilliance came in the mastery of the ordinary. All of us know what's it's like to be sad and embarrassed, or to lose part of ourselves, but those simple moments captured in this film had me tearing up like I was watching a Frank Capra film.

Very early in the film the child has a sad reaction that hit me very hard, but at the end of the film I felt an entire stream of tears falling off my face. It wasn't anything that everyone on Earth hasn't experienced in real life (family love when you are deeply sad) but the honesty of it got to me. My wife wasn't touched by any of that, but when a cherished memory is sacrificed to save the girl, she was crying too.

This isn't a sad movie, or a depressing one, but it a deeply touching one. It is also very much an adult, intelligence, introverted movie. Some kids may enjoy it, but others may not (the kid behind us in the theater said quite loudly that he was bored). As for me, I wanted to own this one. I'm not a Pixar fan in general, but I am a fan of this film. If you enjoy intelligence and heartfelt films go see it. You will probably deeply enjoy it, and might even feel yourself changed for the better.


Flight of the Navigator
Flight of the Navigator
DVD ~ Joey Cramer
Price: $4.99
113 used & new from $2.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely classic Disney Sci-Fi, June 21, 2015
This review is from: Flight of the Navigator (DVD)
Let's see. We have a blessedly short and to the point (an hour and a half) family friendly sci-fi adventure film starring Joey Cramer (one of the child princes of 80's sci-fi along with Barret Oliver and Noah Hathaway [seriously, he was in Runaway with Tom Selleck, and I-Man with Scott Bakula]). We have a very young and sweet Sarah Jessia Parker. We have have an excellent heavily synthesized classic 80's sci-fi soundtrack by Alan Silvestri. Oh yeah, and we have Paul Reubens as an alien spacecraft robot acting wild and silly with a voice very much like his most iconic character.

This is a film from back in the day when Disney was recovering from the darker films of the 70's and rediscovering sic-fi and family entertainment that was lighter in tone. As a child of the 80's, I grew up watching this film on the Disney child like CRAZY when I was a kid and quoted it to the point of irritating all the grown ups (Mom:"Take out the garbage." Me:"Compliance!"). The first third of the film is serious in tone, but well directed and realistic. As a kid watching the film I felt exactly the way David did in the first third. ("What the heck is going on?") The beginning of the movie hints that aliens are a-foot right from the awesome intro credits (a wonderful fake-out to this day), through a mysterious flying object (another great fake-out), and "into the woods". There is a mild amount of suspense that young kids will get into, but no horrible nightmare inducing suspense, just a mild scare. All this makes it absolutely fantastic when things take a sudden turn sideways with no warning and no shock whatsoever until David returns home and finds...EVERYTHING is wrong. The change is so jarring that kids who taped the film on TV back in the day might have thought they had accidentally cut part of the film. Just like David, kids watching the movie see that everything is fine, and then suddenly...it ISN'T.

Again, the first third of the film is cool, and as everyone tries to figure out what happened to David things just get more and more cool weird sci-fi as clearly something extraordinary happened to him that he is unaware of, and the scene where NASA hooks him up to a computer and asks him questions is absolutely priceless as his subconscious is telling them all sorts of insanity that he consciously has no memory of.

It's once David gets on board the alien spacecraft that the film really begins though, and the reason why this film is such a total classic. I had a friend over last night and we watched the film together on my projector. Both of us hadn't seen the film since we were about 12 or so, and the film was every bit as awesome as we remembered. My friend said something to me that I think is very true. He said this film is every 12 year old kid's dream come true because (surprise, surprise to anyone who looked at the cover image) he get to FLY THE SPACE SHIP!!!!

Seriously, every male pre-teen in the modern world has probably dreamed of flying...a SPACE SHIP!!!!! So as David at first reluctantly, and then then slowly more willingly becomes the navigator of the alien craft, we are taken along for the ride and just get to image how awesome it would be to be a kid and have such incredible wondrous power at our command. It's right up there with riding a dragon or being able to fly like Superman. And as my friend said, for a third of the film the space craft is just sitting, WAITING for the kid to climb aboard and save it's robot so he can go home.

Looking at this film now, I see a lot more awesome subtext than I did as a kid. The ship's early movements once David gets aboard are exactly what you would expect with a kid at the controls. Things that might seem like plot holes (Why wouldn't the robot just read David's mind and take him home? Why would the robot endanger the craft and David's life by releasing the controls?), make a lot more sense in hindsight when you consider the deep empathy and friendship that the robot Max displays. When you think about it, David was never really in any danger, and Max is learning about what it's like to be a child first-hand, playing with the boy David to learn more about him. The ship's commanding robot is a bit of puppetry that's made absolutely life-like largely due to Paul Reubens' charming performance. You could argue that this performance jumps too far from the serious tone first displayed to a total goofball Pee-Wee Herman once it reads David's mind, but on the other hand, if you consider what Max gained from absorbing the child's complete mind (everything that David knows all in one shot) it makes perfect sense.

My friend and I were laughing together like crazy watching some of the better moments of this film even in the beginning, and he kept saying to my wife "Look! Look! You have to see this part!" when something cool was about to happen. And all the jokes that me and my family laughed at back in the 80's in reference to pop culture "(Too many twinkles!" "Just said he wanted to phone home...") are still absolutely hilarious for a 30-something who grew up with this film watching it today.

This film is available for purchase for almost nothing at all. It's short, fun, family-friendly, and very, very well made. It has a realistic tone to it that makes everything seem very believable. It's enjoyable for a family, but for a young boy it's absolutely fantastic.

After all these years, I worried after buying the DVD that I would never watch it, that it would not hold up. On a warm summer night with a good friend I watched on a huge screen, cranked up the volume, and was 12 years old again. If you loved this film as a kid, or have a young sci-fi loving kid, I highly recommend this film. It's a part of my psyche and stoked my love or great sci-fi. It taught me to be curious about "light-speed theory"and to dream of the stars. Thank you Disney!


Blue Jays
Blue Jays
Offered by Backtracks
Price: $139.99
48 used & new from $2.19

5.0 out of 5 stars A great album if you love the Moody Blues, June 17, 2015
This review is from: Blue Jays (Vinyl)
I picked this one up used at a local music store on LP.

It's a lovely soft rock album with the Moody Blues' signature harmonies and orchestrations. It is missing the talents of some of the members of the band, but just the same, it makes for some great mellow afternoon listening.

Listening to this album at home through the old stereo, I felt like I needed to break out the Lava Lamp and felt old 1970's sunshine. It's such a melodic mellow album that I'm sure you could put it on low volume and fall asleep to it. If you just want some background music, or want to be immersed in an album where all the songs flow together beautifully (and like the Moody Blues of course), pick this one up.


Jurassic World
Jurassic World
DVD ~ Chris Pratt
Price: $19.81

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jurassic Park + Westworld = Jurassic World?, June 17, 2015
This review is from: Jurassic World (DVD)
Way back in 1973, the writer of Jurassic Park directed it's prototype "Westworld". It was a story about an amusement park with dangerous sounding attractions based on futuristic technology, which of course went awry and killed absolutely everyone. The moral of the story? The dangers of technology, and the tendency of creations to turn on their creator (and the fact that despite appearances, consequences always catch up with us even in a world designed to be free of them)

When Jurassic Park came out back in 1993, it a different sort of movie. Rather than another example of darkly disturbing commentary on human nature like so much sci-fi of the 70's, it played on our fears of genetic manipulation of nature much as the comics and sci-fi of the 60's played on our fears of nuclear technology. Instead of robots, the monsters were genetically engineered dinos. Instead of a disturbing borderline horror film (the end of Westworld played out like the end of Pit And The Pendulum), Jurassic Park was a bonafide sci-fi thriller.

Like the best of James Cameron and George Lucas' films, Jurassic Park used smoke and mirrors and careful editing more than CGI cartoonery to create it's effects (both special and psychological). The whole point was to show you as little of the monsters as possible, so that when they finally leaped of the screen they scared the popcorn and soda out of you (the first time I saw Jurassic Park at age 13 I was so terrified I couldn't return to the theater after using the bathroom following the T-Rex attack, and that bathroom was filled with people after that famous attack). The grittiness of the film-making (the flashlight making the T-Rex's pupils dilate, it's breath blowing Doctor Grant's hat off, the kids sinking into the mud as their jeep is crushed under the weight of the T-Rex) is what made that film what it is.

Subsequent Jurassic Park films ranged from the horrific Lost World which tried to duplicate the original Jurassic Park's tone and failed miserably, to the third Jurassic Park which seemed to freely admit at every turn that it was only pretending to be a cool serious film (the adventure seekers were fake, the mercs were fake, everyone was left-overs and they knew it). And then we have Jurassic World.

A Reconstruction of the Jurassic Universe

In recent years people have complained about all the sequels being pumped out by film studios, but seem to be having a delayed reaction. In the early 2000s we were treated to some of the worst sequels ever made as we got Men in Black II, The Lost World, Mission Impossible II and III, and more direct-to-video releases than you can shake a stick at. What people seem to have forgotten recently, is that just because a sequel is made does not mean it has to stink. After the Christopher Nolan darker and edgier phase that popular comic and sci-fi franchises went through, there was a glorious reconstruction not only in animation (as Pixar merged with Disney), not only in comics (as Marvel took control and unleashed a torrent of awesome on the world), but also in popular sci-fi and popular action entertainment as those lessons learned trickled down and gave us Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and Men in Black III. In short: Jurassic World is not just another sequel. It is a full-blown reconstruction of the Jurassic Park mythos.

What this means is that this film does not even try to be Jurassic Park. It's not filled with smoke and mirrors atmosphere, rain-drenched suspense-building, and life and death chases and escapes. Instead, it is a colorful film (literally) that subverts genre conventions by lamp-shading them out in the open. There are blatant references to the original Jurassic Park, and previous Steven Spielberg films, at once filled with appreciation, whimsy, and a certain love for all that they were and are. You won't be on the edge of your seat with tension, but you will be yelling and cackling at the screen as motorcycles are ridden beside raptors and winged dinosaurs attack tourists from the skies. A telling sign is that after kids escape an attack from the supposedly scary ultimate dino, instead of puking and shaking like the kids from the first JP, they are high-fiving each other. Yeah, this movie knows not to take itself too seriously and just try to have fun with it.

If I meet Judy Greer...

It's silly I know, but after reading Judy Greer's bio I'm thrilled that if I ever see her in real life I can finally say I saw her in a film (Judy! I know you from Jurassic World! And also that one car insurance commercial!). This film might not feature any "movie stars" but it has a pretty great cast. You will recognize the female lead from Spider Man 3 and Lady in the Water. You'll recognize her boss from Amazing Spiderman. And yeah, you'll recognize "Star Lord" from Guardians of the Galaxy. The two brothers are kind of generic and a little bland, but overall everyone keeps the tone of the film in the right place.

Guardians of Jurassic World

So there you have it. This is a roller coaster of a film that's bright, fun, and (at times) pulse pounding.

The Good

GREAT use of animatronics for Rapters etc. Some humor injected into scenes that would otherwise be a bit too terrifying to keep the tone light. Chris Pratt's fantastically charming performance that makes you love his character without cheesing it up too much. Claire's moment of awesome blasting a dino, and her crowning moment of awesome that caps the end of the movie. Riding motorcycles alongside rappers! Cool sets. Dino Deathmatch! Mostly snappy dialog and likable characters with a decent amount of character development. Dr Wu played by the same actor from Jurassic Park.

The Bad

The Jurassic Park theme plays as we see... the park? Cheesy CGI for dinos hatching in the opening seconds of the film. The Jurassic Park theme plays before we have ever even seen a dino aside from the ones hatching. The plot is non-existant except for the premise of Westworld (amusement park breaks down and chaos ensues). The parts with the two brothers alone drag in spots due to somewhat poor acting skills on the part of the older one. Some of the film's editing could have been tighter. Music is passable but not particularly memorable. Some CGI is a bit too cartoonish.

The Ugly

Chris Pratt seems to be a sexism magnet. Claire blasts a dino looking like fem-rambo and the kids (who have only seen Owen getting pecked at and Claire blasting the dino [he's done NOTHING awesome that they've seen]) say "Not you! We want to go with him!" Not cool. Not cool.

There's a scene where a side character who I wanted to like gets repeatedly dropped by winged dinos, dragged underwater (screaming the whole time) and then eaten by a giant sea dino. This broke the light-hearted tone of the film and took things a bit too far on the sadistic side.

Bryce Dallas Howard (who countless watchers were probably mistaking for Jessica Chastain and Emily Browning) looks like such a doll face that her face appeared to be the best special effect of the film at first (seriously distracting).

BDH/Claire wears ridiculous high heels the ENTIRE film, running through mud and from dinos without once kicking them off. Is this a statement that women can be tough and not discard the feminine trappings that enslave them? A feminist/antifeminist/modernist/post-modernist message? Who knows but it sure is ridiculous. About on par with Amanda Seyfried running for her life in the flick In Time in similar ridiculous footwear. I only hope if we ever get a female freerunning film based on Mirror's Edge the woman wears a dang pair of sneakers.

If you like fun, bright, colorful, and slightly wacky/over-the-top roller coaster blockbusters you should love this film. Skip the two movies between the original and this. I plan to buy the Blu Ray.


Take the Rich off Welfare
Take the Rich off Welfare
by Mark Zepezauer
Edition: Paperback
44 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A slightly flawed but nonetheless exhaustive list of the waste of "wealthfare", June 6, 2015
I picked this one up at the library thinking it was going to be an opinion piece, and to a degree it is. But mostly, it is simply a LIST of what the author feels is government waste giving away to all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons. All sources are stated at the end of each chapter, and it's clear that the author has done his homework.

The writing style is humorous and entertaining, and the author does his best to keep his political leanings out of the picture and just to talk about waste no matter whose fault it is. He does make a few mis-steps here and there due to his own philosophies, and a lack of some technical knowledge, but overall his principles are sound.

The overall principle is really simple. The world would be better off if pretty much ALL subsidies, tax breaks, etc were taken away. This would result in what is known as "free market economics" rather than what we have "oligopoly". Well intentioned laws created to help the weak and poor have instead resulted only in the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, whilst creating products and services that no one wants or needs that destroy the environment and bankrupt the country. Fun!

As I said, the author makes a few mis-steps, but that cannot be blamed for the most part. He sees subsidies on corn and cries foul, not understanding that biofuel (while not perfect) presented a possible alternative to gasoline which is inferior in many ways. While corn might not be the best solution, he ignores the fact that entire countries have broken the back of the oil monopolies by switching to "alternative" fuel sources for their transportation (watch the excellent documentary "PUMP" for more info). I can't blame the author for not knowing about all that, because the economics and politics are complicated enough that no one understood exactly what was going on for quite a while due to misinformation campaigns.

He likewise decries the interference of government in times where I feel government intervention really WAS necessary. It is well known in the tech industry that telecommunications companies do everything in their power NOT to make progress and upgrades in their standards due to their allergy to spending money that effect their profits in any way. Thus, when the Internet/Cell Phone/Television standards of the USA get truly atrocious the government MUST get involved to keep the country from turning into a third world country. So...yeah, not ALL government spending is bad. In my opinion anyway.

All that said, if you want to understand where the money is going, this is the ticket. If you WANT the government to build weapons and keep generating nuclear waste etc you are going to hate this book because it's down on waste, and calls most spending wasteful and destructive. Likewise if you are a big believer in tax cuts, subsidies, and prolonged warfare you want to steer clear of this book.

For most others, this is going to be a very interesting and enlightening book. Just don't take it TOO seriously. You can feel free to disagree with individual points just as I do, but it's good to know the spending exists, just the same (whether you are for or against it).

Good read. Recommended for people who want to know where the government money REALLY goes.


Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter
Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter
by Tom Bissell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.82
102 used & new from $3.74

2.0 out of 5 stars I'm inspired...for all the wrong reasons..., June 6, 2015
This book caught my eye at the local library so I decided to give it a go (especially since it's written by a local). I'm extremely torn about how I feel about this book but I'll try to make my feelings clearer than the author makes his.

First, this book does not really have an objective despite what the author may say. It's isn't trying to prove anything objectively. It's not out to vindicate games as great entertainment, or academically essential, or even non-destructive to society. And it certainly doesn't make any kind of clear statement about whether video games are art one way or the other.

The author appears to be trying to create a book of essays, written solely by himself, and to write every point of view. This comes across as incredibly contradictory. One minute he's ashamed of video games. The next he's chatting with the game creators about how wonderful they are. One minute he's telling you that the negatives or games are exaggerated, the next he's telling you about getting high and playing Gran Theft Auto.

He's TRYING to come across as some kind of literary talent, but instead he ends up sounding like a pretentious whiny loser laying on the floor smelling like death moaning about how empty his privileged life is and how his only friend is a violent video games. PLEEEEEASE......

Don't get me wrong. There are times when descriptions of games and feeling associated with them are quite entertaining. Unfortunately, the author frequently makes broad statements about the limitations of games that make him sound INCREDIBLY outdated despite the fact that this book was only written a few years ago. In the time since it's publication we got Kickstarter, Steam Green-Light, and the Indie Game Revolution. We got the Mass Effect Trilogy, Child of Eden, Journey, Valkyria Chronicles, Xcom Enemy Within, Beyond:Two Souls, Batman:Arkham City, Minecraft, Hearthstone, and Destiny. All of the limits of the game industry he whines and moans about, the lack of artistic merit, story, writing, etc, etc, is laughable considering how much the world of gaming has changed.

What's worse, it's clear from his writing that this author had extremely limited experience playing the broad range of what gaming has to offer. He writes about popular games, and nothing else. There's no Panzer Dragoon, Dragon Froce, Alpha Centauri, or Rez to be found here. There's no Dues Ex, Burning Rangers, or even Ace Combat 4. A lot of what the author says rings false simply because his arguments are the equivalent of someone listening to only radio Pop Music and then whining about the limitations of ALL Music. It's ridiculous.

The fact that this book is at times entertaining, and very short has inspired me. I KNOW I can write a better book than this, and I KNOW I know a whole heck of a lot more about video games than this guy does. So I'm going to try to write my own collection of essays on the subject and get it published. I highly doubt the world needs book written about an author who loves doing every violent destructive thing he can even in games not designed for that (what a psycho man-child that makes him sound like), but I think the world could use a book about how much video games have added to my own life. So I'm going to write one.

Yeah, I'm divided on this book. It's mostly garbage but the good parts inspired me to want to write a book! Maybe it will do the same for you. Let the failure of others inspire you to greatness!


Serta Roswell Firm Mattress, Queen
Serta Roswell Firm Mattress, Queen

5.0 out of 5 stars Back pain be gone!, June 6, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My previous mattress was an Englander Extra Firm Pillow Top Queen Size, and while it pretty much broke the bank at the time I desperately needed it because of horrific back pain every morning on waking due to sleeping on a worn out mattress. That mattress was extremely comfortable on the surface but also provided adequate support. It however, was not quite as good as the same model without pillow top, because in truth you sleep better and need firmness more than softness if you have back problems (in my experience). Given that the Englander Twin Mattress and now four year old Englander Queen (which was not providing quite good a night's sleep at it used to) were the best sleep I'd ever had in my life, and I had seen Serta mattresses as the Mercedes Benz/Rolls Royce/Cadillac of mattresses al my life but never owned one, I was curious as to how this model would stack up.

An elderly friend told me in casual conversation that she had known people who owned Serta mattresses and loved them, and other who hated them. "When you first get it, walk all over it to break up the form." she told me. I unpacked the ENORMOUS packaging it arrived in, set it up with my wife's help, and moved all over it on my knees to break up the foam tension. Sure enough, at first it felt like a cement slab, but as I heard the foam crunching it softened just a tad.

I put the pillow-top water-proof cover on it and everything else needed, preparing to possibly not have a good night's sleep. I told my wife that if we didn't like it we'd go back to the old awesome Englander. I needn't have worried. I haven't slept this well since my Englander was brand new.

I noticed several things quickly. Like the other top grade mattresses I owned, I slept cool at night and felt very well supported. Even just a few minutes laying on it produced a feel of recharge (a sign of a good firm mattress that's well made). The "motion isolation" works very well. When I get out of bed the rest of the bed doesn't bend and bounce. It's comfortable in all sleep positions but especially if you are lying on your back due to the excellent support (even, firm, with the right amount of give to comfort without putting stress on joints).

The best thing of course, is that despite my recent back pain (especially in the morning getting out of bed) I woke up virtually pain free after a night on this mattress, having slept deeply, and waking refreshed. My 10 cents is that this means the mattress is providing very good support, not doing anything to cause discomfort, and increasing respiration and blood circulation in the night (I can't prove it, but that's what I believe).

The only downside I can see is that the warranty seems to be written specifically to make it very difficult to get warranty service. I fully expect this mattress to last 5 to 10 years. I look forward to seeing how long it's excellent support lasts. Out of the box is an EXCELLENT mattress for people who require an extra firm mattress or suffer from back pain.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 6, 2015 9:55 PM PDT


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20