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Just Desserts Game
Just Desserts Game
Price: $14.16
27 used & new from $8.41

4.0 out of 5 stars Dude! It's flux without the gnarly bits!, May 28, 2015
This review is from: Just Desserts Game (Toy)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Hearing this game was by the creators of Fluxx scared me at first because I have discovered that I hate that game. Fluxx requires you to constantly memorize an every-changing series of requirements, and quite frankly it gave me a headache. Fluxx also had horrible ugly artwork, and wasn't any fun.

This game, on the other hand, is loads of fun, has some great artwork, and manages to have quite a sense of humor.

I played this game with my wife, and immediately afterward she wanted to play it again. The guests are all hilarious archetypes that everyone is familiar with, and the game is incredibly easy to learn.

The game is a bit unbalanced because guests want way more veggies than there are, but perhaps that is just part of the dynamic of which cards to avoid and which to go after. Likewise I think with two or three players it's good but five would be a stretch for the number of cards because of how many desserts it generally takes to satisfy a guest. This game isn't perfect but for a first edition (which I believe it is) it's a fine new addition to your game library. Recommended for anyone who is looking for a fast and easy game to play with people who like desserts.

Record of Lodoss War - The Complete Series (Collector's Edition)
Record of Lodoss War - The Complete Series (Collector's Edition)
DVD ~ Takeshi Kusao
3 used & new from $99.95

2.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic anime marred by a horrific DVD release at ungodly prices!, May 28, 2015
I checked this one out at the library a while back and the dvd transfer was horrifically muddy and washed out, not to mention flat and pixelated. The English dub is okay, but the main hero's voice is probably the whiniest I've ever heard. On top of that, the dads skipped like crazy because they were scratched to infinity and beyond.

Even through all that, the knights and dragons motif and great artwork and music helped to make this one a classic. The battle with the dragon is not to be missed. The ending to the show is a bit anti-climactic compared to what i was expecting, but still, there aren't enough fantasy anime in the western style so this one doesn't have much competition.

This dvd release is ridiculously expensive and extremely poor quality compared to modern dvd releases. I have recently seen this series Blu Ray release synced up to the English dub included here and it completely blew my mind. It appears that over in Japan they rescanned the entire show from original elements ala Magic Knight Rayearth and Ah My Goddess. The effect is truly stunning. This release is a two star product, but the new Blu Ray release (with the English dub) is easily a five star product because it looks like the show was animated yesterday. The colors are deep and vivid, the artwork is amazing, and the everything is just so dang epic! Unfortunately in this dvd release monsters look like blobs, hits to the characters are hard to even see, and everything looks like you're watching it through dirty cheesecloth.

You can clearly see the difference cleaner masters make in other recent DVD rereleases of old anime classics like the newest release of Castle of Cagliostro and others. So my advice is... Don't buy this dvd set. Wait for someone to get their act together and release a new dvd boxset using the new HD transfers from Japan. You don't need Blu Ray to make this show look great, but you sure as Swords and Dragons need a new master so all the original detail in the artwork is visible.

Audio Technica AT-LP60 Fully Automatic Stereo Turntable System, Silver
Audio Technica AT-LP60 Fully Automatic Stereo Turntable System, Silver
Price: $99.00
88 used & new from $79.55

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The disc spins and the needle reads, but that's the only good thing I can say about it, May 22, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I wanted to like this turntable, I really did. If you are getting into LPs late the game like I am, you don't have many options for buying turntables so I decided to get this one that was recommended by CNET.

The good news:

It spins, and reads...records. Yay!

The bad news:

Oy! Where to begin?

First of all, when it arrived it had this plastic piece that could go over the mat, but I couldn't figure out what it was for. The manual was no help at all. I tried playing a record without it. The needle couldn't reach the record except where there were bumps. I added the plastic piece. The records either sort of played right, or (most of the time) played suuuuuperrrrrr sloooooooooow. I figured the problem was I needed a mat that made the needle reach the actual record with a good connection. I played ten bucks and got a nice cork playmate (3/16" Thick). Problem solved! The records now played correctly! But wait, shouldn't it have done that out of the box? Oh, and I had to put that cork mat on TOP of the playmate included for the needle to have a good connection. So the included mat was clearly the wrong thickness entirely. Well that's fine and well but...

It doesn't matter WHAT your mat thickness is, the needle doesn't have enough clearance above with the cover closed to go back to its resting cradle when it reaches the end of the record. So you have to start the record, and leave the dust cover open, thus letting dust get on your records! I found this out because when it reached the end of the record the needle kept bumping the cover and starting the last song again somewhere in the middle. Bad design. Very bad design.

All that is forgivable, but in addition there is no ground wire! Yes, there is a built-in pre-amp but EMI (electro-magnetic interference) causing a MASSIVE amount of low-end static hum with nothing even playing. If the pre-amp filtered it out that would be fine, but instead it AMPLIFIES it! I am buying a dedicated pre-amp to see if it helps, but the lack of a ground wire (and according to Audio Technica's support there is no way to add one) s a serious problem.

And lastly, the RCA cables included are HARDWIRED to the machine, meaning if they give out there is no way to replace them. These cables are cheap and UNSHIELDED, again, causing the horrible EMI interference.

The device keeps two stars because it actually does play, but that's it. Audio Technica needs to move into the modern age and allow replaceable cables, ground wires, some way to reduce EMI, and oh yeah, a functional design that works out of the box.

MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom
MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom
by Tony Robbins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.00
134 used & new from $7.43

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag of fluff, self-praise, and things you probably already knew, May 22, 2015
I've been reading financial books for quite a while, and most of them have little to no practical advice for the average real-world person. There are a few few that give good philosophical advice (The Millionaire Next Door, the Automatic Millionaire), but most seem to give more fortune cookie wisdom than anything else, or encourage risky behavior (Rich Dad, Poor Dad).

There is some useful "self-help" philosophical upbuilding here, but it's so watered down, and interspersed with so much name-dropping, self-praising fluff that it's kind of hard to find. Oh, and if you are looking for REAL sound financial advice for the AVERAGE person, who sure won't find it here.

This is a book about investing, plain and simple. It's not about getting out of debt. It's not about saving money. It's not about the simple math that gets people ahead. It's about investing. Knowing that, you'd be better off reading Investing For Dummies if you want to know about all the options and what they do (that book's an all-meat buffet, but if you're in a hurry, that's what you want). If you need a good book on the complete financial picture, even better would be Personal Finance For Dummies, or the 20-something version if you are young. They both have good general advice for anyone, but they aren't self-help-motivational books, so you'll have to get that somewhere else.

The only financial book I personally recommend to anyone is Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. I've read it two or three times and plan to again. I've bought three copies. People often say you shouldn't take advice from people who's lives don't reflect the success they say you'll get, and heck even Dave Ramsey says that, but to me the real proof is in what happens in the lives of people who read the darn book! I don't see MONEY: Master the Game with tons of reviews beneath saying how the book saved people money, got them out of debt, and made them millionaires. After reading Total Money Makeover, 18 months after reading it I went from thousands of dollars in debt to debt free with an IRA and thousands in the bank!

People often criticize "mythical, magic 12% returns" and Tony Robbins does so in his book. But the truth is, there is nothing mythical or magical about it. There was recently an article in the New York times where a former top official from Vanguard (President I think? CEO maybe?) said (in plain language and basic math) that if you investing in an INDEX fund and left it there until retirement, you would have MILLIONS of dollars! Now, my older sister for instance, will say "Of course he would SAY that. He worked for Vanguard and they SELL index funds!" Just the same, I see no catch, no logical fallacy. I created my own index of the entire New York stock exchange using an online investing service, and guess what? It's average annual return is (you guessed it!) 12%.

Do you want to retire a millionaire? Nothing in this world is certain, but in my humble opinion, the easiest, safest bet, is to get out of debt, set aside money for emergencies, and start pumping money into an index fund (preferably with either a nice tax break now or in the future). If you in debt and your finances look hopeless, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Total Money Makeover at the public library. Likely you will benefit so much you will buy copies for yourself and others and change your whole outlook on life.

If you want just another motivational book loaded with fluff, you can skip TMM which is short, breezy, entertaining, and to-the-point and read this mammoth book with tiny print instead. I won't recommend it.

Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures
Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures
by Maggie Stiefvater
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.49
47 used & new from $9.27

5.0 out of 5 stars The Trouble With Fuzzles, May 14, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been evaluating children's books lately, and while some of them are charming, a lot of them are boring and poorly written. This is one of the best written stories of it's type I have seen in recent memory.

The story moves quickly, the characters are nice archetypes with enough personality to keep them interesting, yet grounded, and the world is a beautiful blend of fantasy and reality (it's our world, except "magical" creatures are everywhere, and differentiated from normal creatures to the point where they are special veterinarians for them, etc.

The main character could use a bit more strength of her gender identity (it took me a while to realize Pip was a girl), but everything else about the characters in this book is very good. And in the case of the fantastical creatures, the characters are absolutely fantastic. My personal favorite is the hypochondriac perpetually fearful unicorn.

Unlike the other books I've read in similar style (a young protagonist's perspective as they go through fantastic adventures), the writer manages to keep things fast moving, and always entertaining. There's no part of the story that drags.

If you have children of the appropriate age bracket that like fantastical creatures they'll love this one.

Mass Destruction
Mass Destruction
Offered by You Name the Game
Price: $19.99
47 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic!, May 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mass Destruction (Video Game)
I came across this one on a list of hidden gems online, and so took a chance. As I play yet more and more old Playstation era games, sometimes I really do feel like I'm sifting through the dross for the 50th time, and only getting more dross for my efforts. But not this time.

I happen to deeply love simple polygon graphics that are crisp and clear, and high resolution. It's saddened me many times over the years how instead of beautiful simple graphics, so often developers would instead makes games with overly complex graphics (complex texture maps) that looks absolutely terrible. But here...the palm trees look like their fronds are made of simple polygons. Everything has the complexity of say, a N64 game. But this is not lazy simplicity, but beautiful simplicity. Perfect.

The controls are simple, and so is the gameplay. There are other games like this, and they are often filled with narrow corridors to get stuck in, overpowered enemies that kill you in one or two hits on the first level, and frustrating gameplay. None of that is to be found here. Instead, you have sharp, responsive controls, fast, fun gameplay, and short, sweet levels that are an absolute blast to play.

If you are a fan of arcade-style games, like simple graphics (which are thankfully making a comeback these days), or just enjoy a good, simple, fun game without the frustration, this is the game for you. A true gem and highly recommended.

Fubarnomics: A Lighthearted, Serious Look at America's Economic Ills
Fubarnomics: A Lighthearted, Serious Look at America's Economic Ills
by Robert E. Wright
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $5.47
82 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars The Author Knows Things That Just Ain't So - Correlation does not equal causation, May 12, 2015
I checked this one out at the library because I really enjoy books on Economics, Psychology, and History, and thought it might prove entertaining. But unlike some of my more recent happy discoveries like "What to Expect When No One Is Expecting" and "Happy Money" which talk about real issues in the economic/psychology field with real-world personal repercussions, this book comes across as a person who has a little knowledge and thinks he knows everything, shouting all the louder as his arguments become more and more ridiculous. It's not a terrible book, it's just not particularly clever, entertaining, or accurate. I didn't read it all the way through, because, even though I expected to disagree with it, I did not expect to be both bored with it and doubting the source of it's arguments.

As I started the book the author quickly jumped on the blame bandwagon for popular targets. He claims to be on no one's side, but he's definitely not interested in hearing both sides of the story. I felt myself becoming offended because I have been an employee of a City Government, and my father owned his own construction business for many years. The author takes delight in pointing out how terrible all Government is, despite saying repeatedly that the U.S. is the greatest country on Earth (huh?). He goes on and on about how corrupt the construction industry is, as if every private construction business that does "custom" work were filled with pirates and thieves. I don't see any gratitude for the people who are working hard to keep the country from falling apart, any acknowledgement of the the scrutiny that public officials are held to that private business can neatly slip out of (when a business owner is corrupt they get fined, when an official is corrupt, they go to prison, as two people I used to work with were sentenced to YEARS in prison). Likewise, there's no mention of the the forces that work against honest construction business to undermine their profits (greedy home and business owners who commit fraud and theft, refusing to pay their bills, worker's compensation's skyrocketing cost, regulations and codes that are different in every state, city, county, etc). And yes, the author takes a similar view to education and health care as he does to everything else. Just pick on the little guy (raise the cost of health care even more, get rid of the low-cost government colleges) and see what happens.

There are repeated cases in this book of the author taking a problem in one place, and seemingly randomly assigning a cause without providing sufficient evidence or even logical argument to support his hypothesis.

If you want to hear about some real ways to help the economy in various sectors, try the book "End Unemployment Now". The title of that book is misleading, because it points out (using REAL mathematics from an extremely qualified economist) how ending Economic INEQUALITY would have more of a beneficial effect on more areas of life in the U.S. than just about anything else (and yeah, the author of THIS book makes himself look pretty stupid by blaming wealth redistribution for problems that have nothing to do with it). Lack of competition is the source of many of the problems this book points out, but as EUN points out, it's a better idea to introduce more competition any way you can than to just pick on random entities you happen to not like, or draw comparisons that fit poorly.

I give this one two stars because it's not atrocious. It's just not very good.

$9.99 SALE (1) New Turntable Toys TC-1 Cork Turntable Mat Audiophile LP Record Platter Mat (3/16" Thick) Dampens Noise & Vibrations and Enhances Details,Mid & Low Bass and Emotions
$9.99 SALE (1) New Turntable Toys TC-1 Cork Turntable Mat Audiophile LP Record Platter Mat (3/16" Thick) Dampens Noise & Vibrations and Enhances Details,Mid & Low Bass and Emotions
Offered by Audio 456
Price: $17.95
2 used & new from $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Two birds with one stone: An EXCELLENT upgrade for a turn-table, May 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I recently bought a Audio Technica AT-LP60, and it would frequently suddenly SLOOOOOOOW DOOOOOWWWWNNNN in the middle of playing music, probably due the the fact that the needle wouldn't reach the record unless it was propped up with a plastic piece. The mat was WAY too thin, and had a nasty fold in it to boot. I bought one of these hoping to be able to get rid of the plastic piece and possibly help with the horrible static distortion I also get from the record player.

I was helpfully warned by the seller that this is a THICK piece that is too thick for most players, but I proceed anyway because a thick piece was what I needed. In actuality it's still too thin to be the only piece needed, but placed on top of said included mat, it's just about perfect. When I use the lift/drop button my the player, the gap isn't high enough, but the on/off button easily has the needle clear the record and it has a nice tight connection to the record during play (no skips, etc).

Static distortion reduction varies with what record is playing for some weird reason, but with the cork on top, there is zero record slippage and zero distortion playing Journey's album "Escape". It is also much nicer looking than the mat that came with the player. If the record seems to wobble after putting this product on, makes sure you put it on facing the right direction so any bulge faces down, then use your hand to flatten it against the player to make any subtle bulges flatten out. Thereafter any warping should be minimal and not detract from playback.

This is a ten dollar product with five dollar shipping that fixes a hundred dollar problem. The service is fantastic and the product works beautifully. Highly recommended.

Destiny - Standard Edition - PlayStation 3
Destiny - Standard Edition - PlayStation 3
Offered by Lotsa Electronics
Price: $32.00
121 used & new from $19.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty graphics and many, many, many flaws, May 12, 2015
I've taken to calling this game Halo:Destiny since, let's face it, it's (sort-of) MMO Halo.

From the Halo heritage you get really pretty graphics, good sound design, smooth controls, and a FPS perspective, with a story told in bits and pieces (most of them incomprehensible) as missions unfold. And from the MMO side you get...pretty much nothing.

I'm at Level 8 and so far I have run into another human being a total of 4 times that I can remember, each time for no more than a few seconds. Either they ran right past me, or they started shooting at me and I ran away. Contrast this with the (admittedly very few) other games I have played online. DC Universe is likewise a game you play pretty much solo, but that game does not kill you over and over and over in a few minutes because your missions tend to have other people doing the same thing and probably keeping you from getting killed. Mass Effect 3 has fights where a few people join up and then go tend rounds blasting at various enemies, and you CAN fight alone and ignore other players, but since you share objectives you are going to revive someone else who dies and help them take out the big enemies. Contrast that with this game. There's no Lobby to meet up with other players before a mission. There's no split-screen co-op (unlike Phantasy Star Online and Star Wars:Battlefront II), and if there were it would fix just about everything. Instead you are basically playing a Halo game that requires an online connection to play, and that is poorly balanced for single-player as you will get overwhelmed again and again by enormous seas of enemies. In fact, so far this game is LESS social than any Halo game I have played, because at least in those you had NPCs who would hop in the car with you, and fight against enemies alongside you. Likewise, in Journey thought encounters with other players are few and far between, you have an elegant way to communicate non-verbally, and simple puzzles and areas of exploration where the other anonymous players can help you out. Here, it's like you are alone in the desert and if you bump into someone they are a stranger on a different mission headed in the opposite direction.

Speaking of the desert

Yes, the graphics sure are pretty. Too bad the environment designs are so incredibly bland. I am really getting tired of seeing barren Russia and the surface of the moon. At least Halo had some forests. Where are the jungles? The waterfalls? The lakes, rivers, mountains? By this time Bungie REALLY should have more variety in their environments, especially when you are stuck there all alone. Yeah, yeah, there's more environments unlocked as you complete the story missions. But since you are going to die over and over and over again on those same environments, the lack of variety and sense of wonder after you get to the tower (the first 20 minutes are awesome though) is really sad.

I can't see her face

I can't help but think that this game would be better if like Mass Effect 3, you were dropped into the middle of epic battles between human end computer players, fighting swarms of them alongside random strangers of various skills, appearances and abilities. But my second greatest irritation is purely cosmetic. The game is in First Person, and you never get to look at your character unless you are on the tower, where is shifts to Third Person. Clearly it's POSSIBLE for the game to render Third Person, there just appears to be absolutely no way to switch to it while playing the main game. Which is a crying shame, because I'm not a fan of First Person. To make matters worse, at the start of the game you can to customize this crazy awesome appearance for your character. But then, unlike say Mass Effect, you are not treated to cut-screens sans helmet, there is no in-depth story that unfolds with choices to tell the story of YOUR characters, and really (so far) you NEVER see your character's face. How stupid is that?

Granted, for an FPS, yes, there's fun to be had. But as a fan of games of all kinds, it is extremely irritating to be stuck in First Person and only be reminded that your character is female when she grunts in pain after getting hit with a missile to the face.

All that considered, this game is fun in small bursts for me. The main thing that's going to keep you going is leveling up and loot drops that allow you to better your equipment. If you have insomnia, I'm pretty such this game will cure it. Just keep in mind, this game is not the next step in FPS or MMO territory. It's just a regurgitation of everything that has come before. Wait for it in the bargain bin or check it out at the library when you feel the urge to die endlessly shooting space zombies in the middle of the night whilst slowly leveling up and improving your gear.

Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver Oxidized Celtic Tree of Life Round Pendant Necklace, 18"
Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver Oxidized Celtic Tree of Life Round Pendant Necklace, 18"
Price: $17.73

4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely and inexpensive, but not reversible and needs a better chain, May 8, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I got this for my wife and she absolutely loved it. Unfortunately the chain is very thin and difficulty to clasp. The lovely pendant also has a tendency to get reversed easily which makes putting it on even more frustrating.

The price is great, the necklace is beautiful, but if it were identical no matter which way it faced and had a slightly sturdier chain with a slightly bigger clasp and end link it would be perfect.

As it is, it is still a VERY nice inexpensive gift for a lady who likes Celtic designs.

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