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Michael McKee "mystic cowboy" RSS Feed (Port Townsend, WA United States)
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Omron Alvita Ultimate Pedometer, Gray
Omron Alvita Ultimate Pedometer, Gray
Price: $29.99
3 used & new from $29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good pedometer - not great instructions, April 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I got my first pedometer free from my doctor. The receptionist gave one to each patient for a while. That thing was about what you'd expect for free, not terribly reliable or accurate.

This also came to me at no cost as a review product. That's not to say that it's cheap. Omron is the brand of my blood pressure monitor, which has been reliable and accurate for the last couple of years and is still going strong. The pedometer seems to be as well made. Once I figured out how to set it up, it's been accurate.

I try to get 10,000 steps, or more, in each day, so having a pedometer is very useful. I've tried the built in pedometer in my iPod Nano and my Nexus phone. Both have a tendency to miss steps or even just stop arbitrarily. The Omron Alvita doesn't do that. It's been accurate, as far as I can tell. To set my stride length, I let it count steps over a measured course then calculate my stride length. On subsequent walks it seems to be very accurate on reasonably level ground. When I go up and down steeper or uneven ground it's less so, but that's how these things work.. The device will do more, but all I really want is a step count and distance traveled.

My only problem was with the rather sparse and unhelpful operating instructions. Those could be better. For example, the instruction sheet doesn't offer a caption for each button. It just give a bigger images of the icons on the buttons. I figured the thing out on my own. It's not that complicated. Good unit, bad instructions.


Case Logic DSM-101 Luminosity Small DSLR Messenger Bag (Black)
Case Logic DSM-101 Luminosity Small DSLR Messenger Bag (Black)
Price: $59.99
2 used & new from $59.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Well made bag for small DSLR cameras, April 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
First the positive.

*The bag is very well constructed of what look like quality materials.
*Very light weight, yet adequately padded.
*Included rain cover.
*Detachable shoulder strap and hand strap.
*Dual closure.
*Can be used as a fanny pack by threading a belt through the large loop on the back.

Neutral.

*This bag is sized for fairly small DSLR cameras like the Canon Rebel or Nikon D5200, with smaller lenses. It is too narrow, side to side, for a larger camera and extra lenses.. It would fit a smaller camera with a kit lens or two and and either a small speedlight or prime lens, like a nifty fifty. I tried putting a Nikon D600 with a 17-35mm 2.8 lens and that pretty much took up the whole bag. On the other hand, it's a bit too deep top to bottom for a mirrorless system camera like my Sony NEX-6. The camera goes deeply enough into the bag that I have to look inside to reach the camera.

Two repositionable interior flaps.

Not great.

*There is one small pocket on the front of the bag. I'd like another on the outside of the flap for things like extra memory cards, a lens cloth or pen and possibly extra batteries. Those are things that it's nice to have very handy and not open the bag for.

*No pocket or flap for iPad storage.

*The bag has the ability to have the top flap fold flat and stay open. I'm not sure what's that for. The idea of having a flap is to keep stuff in the bag. It can't do that when it's open. I've used a Think Tank Retrospective bag that used a magnetic catch to have a silently opening bag, a Lowepro one, too. That's what I think Case Logic was trying to imitate, but I'm not thrilled with how they did it.

Conclusion:

This is a decent and very lightweight bag. It's not for larger cameras or compact ones. If you have the appropriate size, this is a good bag that will protect your gear.


OXO Good Grips Complete Grate and Slicer Set
OXO Good Grips Complete Grate and Slicer Set

5.0 out of 5 stars Inexpensive and functional mandolin, April 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In this case mandolin refers to a type of slicer, not the musical instrument. There are two slicer boards, one slices both horizontally and vertically, which makes it great for making shoestring potatoes. There are two grater boards, fine and coarse, which are pretty standard cheese grater type boards. The boards fit in the bottom unit. The stuff that's been grated or sliced falls into the unit, keeping everything neat. No stray bits of cheese running around the kitchen. There's a food holder that you place on the food to be grated or sliced, saving fingers. I used to work in restaurants and have seen two people slice part of their finger off using motorized slicers. The blades on the slicer boards are certainly sharp enough to remove a finger tip. Use the holder and you should be safe.

Everything fits into the bottom for storage, making the set easy to store. The boards are different colors so, once you've learned which board is which color, it's easy to grab the right piece for the job. All in all, this is a well implemented slicer/grater at a good price, which is dishwasher safe and easy to store.


One Simple Change: Surprisingly Easy Ways to Transform Your Life
One Simple Change: Surprisingly Easy Ways to Transform Your Life
by Winnie Abramson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.90
69 used & new from $7.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start simple, March 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The ideas presented in this little book seem very basic and obvious. That may be true but it's amazing to consider how many of the simple tasks I'm not doing. One Simple Change is a great reminder that the simple acts and attitudes in life make a big difference. Highly recommended.


insync Natural Probiotic Supplement, 45 Count
insync Natural Probiotic Supplement, 45 Count
Price: $20.23
6 used & new from $15.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for gut health, March 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I went to the doctor for what had turned into chronic stomach pains. It wasn't life threatening, just acid indigestion. I had self-prescribed an acid blocker. It worked but the doc wasn't happy with that. He explained that as we age we simply don't digest food as well as we once did. Goodbye cast iron stomach. His suggestion was to take digestive enzymes and probiotics. That worked. I seldom have gut problems anymore. I don't know for sure which part of the program is the most important, but since the system works I'll stay with it.

One of the problems with probiotics is that they are living organisms and won't survive unless they are taken care of. Mostly that means refrigeration, which can be difficult to do when traveling. insync probiotics don't require that, which makes them very handy. I've been free of digestion problems since I switched to them, so I have to assume they work. It's hard to tell with supplements.


MRM Veggie Protein Nutritional Supplement, Vanilla, 570 Grams
MRM Veggie Protein Nutritional Supplement, Vanilla, 570 Grams
Price: $14.55
38 used & new from $14.55

4.0 out of 5 stars Great formula - some stevia aftertaste, March 26, 2014
I give the protein formula 5 stars for the wide mixture of healthy components. It's a nice balance of pea protein, brown rice protein, hemp protein, ground flax and chia seed powder. The pea offers Branched-chain amino acids which are excellent for resistance exercise as they help speed recovery and decrease muscle soreness. Both the brown rice and the hemp protein have some fiber as do the flax and chia. The ground flax also is a good source of omega-3 acids. There's also protease, which helps protein digestion and the bromelain, which is a good general digestive enzyme. Add in a dried fruit/vegetable blend for anti-oxidants (ORAC) and this makes as healthful a supplement as I've found. That's the good news. It's also vegan if that's important to you. It is for me.

The bad news is the artificial sweetener aftertaste from the stevia concentrate and the xylitol (a sugar alcohol). These have little or no glycemic response, which is positive. Unfortunately, they do produce a definite aftertaste that I don't like. They are also present in higher concentrations than I'd like, making the protein powder sweeter than necessary. I'd prefer to have less sweetness, which would allow me to add extra sweetener if I desire.

Bottom line: 6 stars for the formula, 3 for the over-sweet initial flavor and artificial aftertaste. When I add about two thirds of a scoop to my cereal along with unsweetened almond milk the flavor is not to bad to keep me from using the Veggie Protein powder. I'm also thinking of mixing this with a container of PlantFusion protein powder to dilute the sweetness and incorporate the PlantFusion's excellent amino acid profile.


Jarrow Formulas Prostate Optimizer, 90 Count
Jarrow Formulas Prostate Optimizer, 90 Count
Price: $23.95
29 used & new from $23.91

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Potent with all the herbal prostate health components, February 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm 60 now. I started taking a prostate complex when I was 35. The main active ingredient for prostate health is saw palmetto berry extract. Prostate Optimizer has that and also has a number of anti-inflammation components, which almost all men could benefit from as the age.

Does saw palmetto work? During my last annual physical my doctor commented during that unpleasant part of the exam that my prostate was the size of a 30 year old. Since I have friends who suffer from benign prostate enlargement and have attendant problems, I have to say that taking a prostate health supplement has served me well.


#1 Krill Oil 1000mg - Double Strength Krill GOLD, 60 Softgels - IKOS 5-Star Certified, Multi-Patented, GMO-free, Hexane-free, Cold-Pressed NKO Neptune Krill Oil with Astaxanthin
#1 Krill Oil 1000mg - Double Strength Krill GOLD, 60 Softgels - IKOS 5-Star Certified, Multi-Patented, GMO-free, Hexane-free, Cold-Pressed NKO Neptune Krill Oil with Astaxanthin
Price: $29.21
7 used & new from $28.95

4.0 out of 5 stars potent, February 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It's hard to review supplements as so much of the potential benefit from them is hard to single out. I do know that when I take regular omega-3 supplements I ache less. Krill oil has some benefits over fish oil. As it is lower on the food chain there's less mercury and other heavy metal contamination. Nutrigold Krill oil has a high concentration of oil, 1000mg, which offers all three essential omega-3 components, EPA, DHA and Astaxanthin. The latter is often in lower concentration in other Krill oils, sometimes not mentioned on the label at all. Astaxanthin apparently enhances absorption of DHA. All in all, this offers a potent combination.

Negatives? The pills are larger than my wife likes to swallow. She needs lower dose capsules taken more often. The gels have a fairly strong fishy smell. It's nothing I can't live with, but it's there. I will buy more of this product.


Healthy Joints for Life: An Orthopedic Surgeon's Proven Plan to Reduce Pain and Inflammation, Avoid Surgery and Get Moving Again
Healthy Joints for Life: An Orthopedic Surgeon's Proven Plan to Reduce Pain and Inflammation, Avoid Surgery and Get Moving Again
by Richard Diana
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.64
51 used & new from $8.45

4.0 out of 5 stars okay, February 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There is some useful information in this book once you get past the stories of how Richard Diana was on a Superbowl team with the Miami Dolphins. He does come back to that fact a number of times. In fact a good percentage of the book consists of that and similar stories. However, if the stories convince someone to eat for pain and inflammation relief, that's great. For more information and fewer stories I prefer Meals that Heal Inflammation: Embrace Healthy Living and Eliminate Pain, One Meal at a Time by Julie Daniluck, as it has more data and specific meal plans.

I believe that Dr. Diana does have some good ideas about how to eat properly for the control and elimination of inflamation. The emphasis is on whole foods and the avoidance of processed foods and sweeteners. I can say that such a diet has helped my condition immensly since I took up an anti-inflammation diet a few years ago.

There is some evidence that eating meat also contributes to inflammation, though that isn't mentioned. Dr. Diana does recommend eating grass fed beef instead of feed lot cattle, which may be better inflammation wise, though there are no real robust studies on the subject.

If you hurt,if you have any kind of cardi-vascular disease, which is aggrevated by inflammation try controlling your inflammation with diet and exercise. That combination works and has better long term benefits for overall health with fewer side effects. Give it a try


TASCAM TM-2X - X-Y Pattern Stereo Cardioid Mic for DSLR Filmmaking
TASCAM TM-2X - X-Y Pattern Stereo Cardioid Mic for DSLR Filmmaking
Price: $85.55
12 used & new from $78.77

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great audio quality, January 21, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been using a Zoom H1 for audio when shooting video. It will connect to my D600 with a cable, however it has no line input control, and isn't designed to mount on a camera. That requires recording separately and mixing the sound in during post production. It works but the process is more complicate than I'd like.

The Tascam solves those problems. The sound quality is excellent, and it makes an excellent ambient recording mic. If you need to isolate one person, this isn't the right unit. You'd do better with a more directional mic or even a shotgun.

I'd like a continuous control for line level control, however I've found the two levels adequate. I'm happy.


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