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Customer Reviews: 528
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Michael McKee "mystic cowboy" RSS Feed (Port Townsend, WA United States)
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Stanley ATS-106 TV Top Shelf-Small Size, 6-Inch Width
Stanley ATS-106 TV Top Shelf-Small Size, 6-Inch Width
Price: $29.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Handy shelf for TV or monitor, April 25, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Do you need a simple shelf on your TV or monitor? This works. It clips on with a simple lever flick. Look at the back of the box for directions. The description says small and it is, about 6" wide. It also won't hold anything heavy. Amazon sent two for review which works for me. I put a small sound bar on top of my computer monitor, which has lousy speakers. One shelf would work for an Apple TV or something that size, even a small DVD player. For anything larger you'd need 2.


XSories Big U-Shot Monochrome Monopod Telescoping Camera Pole 3 Feet Extension
XSories Big U-Shot Monochrome Monopod Telescoping Camera Pole 3 Feet Extension
Offered by XSories
Price: $49.99
4 used & new from $49.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great lightweight extender pole for lightweight cameras or lights, April 12, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This stick is light and compact. A simple twist unlocks the pole to telescope in and out. The ball head locks tightly. I guess by the name that U-shot means selfie stick. Whatever. I have little or no use for snapshots of myself.

It is good for holding lightweight cameras to catch different angle shots. I've used my Sony NEX 5-n for overheads, both stills and video. At a bit over a pound that's about all the weight that is reasonable to hold at the end of a three foot pole. What I mostly use it for is holding a flash with a lightweight modifier. That allows for some great light, especially for street or event photography. It works for portraits, too. It would also work perfectly with a GoPro.

I don't think of this as a monopod. It's an extension arm. For a monopod the handle is on the wrong end and the pole is not stout enough to take anything near walking stick kind of stress. Also, take the 6.5 pound weight capacity with a big grain of salt. The head might hold that much weight. The super lightweight pole would quickly get metal fatigue. Also, the physics of holding that much weight at the end of a pole is bad. That much leverage would take a very strong arm and grip to hold up. I wouldn't try it, nor would I put an expensive and heavier camera on the stick. So, with, at most, a pound or two on the stick it's great.


The Diet Cure: The 8-Step Program to Rebalance Your Body Chemistry and End Food Cravings, Weigh t Gain, and Mood Swings--Naturally
The Diet Cure: The 8-Step Program to Rebalance Your Body Chemistry and End Food Cravings, Weigh t Gain, and Mood Swings--Naturally
by Julia Ross MA
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.18
95 used & new from $6.32

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good protocol - Very shaky science, April 5, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm of two minds about this book. That I'm getting results following the recommendations is very positive. And, after catching numerous factual errors, I'm very hesitant to trust any of the author's science without further confirmation. The first problem I noticed was when she mentioned grain from genetically modified grasses that contained gluten: wheat, oats and barley. Then she mentioned that grains, not grasses such as rice. were better choices. Three factual errors in two paragraphs definitely caught my attention.

I know that most people think that our grains are pretty much all genetically modified. Not true. In 2014, Monsanto, in its infinite greed, announced their first genetically modified wheat, a Roundup ready product. Our current grains are the result of selective breeding, not genetic modification. Humans have been doing that for thousands of years. I'm not saying that modern wheat is what we evolved to digest, just that Ross' facts are wrong. There's also the statement that oats contain gluten. They don't. Many oat products are processed in the same facilities as wheat and get some contamination. That's bad for celiac sufferers. The rest of us shouldn't be affected. And, there are certified gluten free oats available. And the part about rice not being a grass. Hello. Flat out wrong.

There are many more errors. I'll only mention one that causes me to think that her fact checking is stunted. She advises against soy milk because a 98 study notes that Japanese women have a high incidence of osteoporosis and that they eat a lot of soy. So do Chinese women and they have a much lower incidence of hip fracture than Americans. Does that indicate that the calcium loss may be from another cause. Actually, in many prospective studies specifically aimed at determining whether or not soy contributes to calcium loss, the worst that can be said is that it has no effect, and there are numerous studies that suggest that it may help with bone density. Further on the subject of soy, Ross mentions that it can have estrogen like effects. It does. In some huge and good studies there is the consistent outcome that the more soy people consume the less reproductive cancer (breast, ovarian, uterine and prostate) people develop.

Beyond the facts is her almost idolization of Robert Atkins, inventor of the Atkins diet. Another fact. When he died, he had significantly blocked arteries and congestive heart failure. Not good advertisements for the animal protein and fat diet. Oh, about weight, which is kind of the subject of the book - Atkins was clinically obese.

Bottom line. I'm willing to continue with the supplementation as the suggested substances are relatively inexpensive and look to be non-harmful. I'm not willing to follow her food suggestions.


Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk, Premium, First Pressing, 13.66 Ounce (Pack of 6)
Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk, Premium, First Pressing, 13.66 Ounce (Pack of 6)
Price: $12.40
10 used & new from $12.40

4.0 out of 5 stars Great coconut milk - less than great packaging, April 3, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been using Thai Kitchen coconut milk for years. When I got the chance to review it for Amazon Vine I thought why not? This coconut milk can work as a replacement for regular milk. For that purpose I thin it at about 2 parts water to 1 part coconut milk. Otherwise it's pretty thick. It does require running through a blender to get the separated fat and coconut water back into a smooth drink. Dairy causes congestion for me and I've been using substitute milks for the last few years, after I finally had to do without milk for a while and realized how much better I felt.

If the can is left in the fridge for a while the fat and milk will totally separate. The fat can be whipped into delicious whipped cream and eventually a sort of butter if you go at it long enough.

I like that this is first pressing or virgin as some coconut milks are extracted with the use of harsh chemicals. The pressing avoids that. I also like the idea of organic though I didn't used to think that the palms needed much spraying but then read that coconut farmers were using injected pesticides. Since these are not grown in the US who know what nasty stuff growers are using. Some insecticides are actually nerve poison.

So why the 4 stars instead of 5? Nowhere on the can does it say that the can is BPA free. BPA is being taken out of plastics in most of the western world but not cans. As about the only canned food that I buy anymore I wish that Thai Kitchens would make the cans BPA free. I would avoid these if it were practical but I can't buy a better alternative locally.


Sennheiser OCX 686G Sports Ear-Canal Ear Hook Headset
Sennheiser OCX 686G Sports Ear-Canal Ear Hook Headset
Price: $88.50
7 used & new from $70.80

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good sound. Comfortable clips. Android compatible sound controls., March 31, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Comfortable ear clips., good sound, clear mic, and most importantly for me the volume buttons work with my Android phone (Nexus 5). The cord length is right for a shirt pocket but a bit of a stretch for a jeans pocket. They also have something my old phones didn't a lapel clip. I'm mixed on that. No big del.

My audio education came from having a former recording sound engineer for a roommate for two years. He didn't turn me into an audiophile. That's too expensive and too time consuming. He did train me to like a well balance sound with no obvious emphasis on either the bass or treble. That's mostly what the Sennheiser' give.

I'd say that the phones are a bit warm. Most people probably prefer that. At least that's what the guy who sold me my current speakers said as he tried to talk me out of what are essentially studio monitors. These certainly don't have the almost clinical precision of my speakers but I don't expect that from earbuds. When I first got them I thought the treble was a bit harsh but I burned them in for three days and really like the sound. If you like a lot of bass, these aren't for you. The bass is there but it's balanced, just what a jazz fan like me likes. The sound good to me with rock, classical and bluegrass. I'm a little schizo in my tastes but there it is.

I don't even notice the ear hooks, even wearing glasses. They are soft and just disappear. The things stay in my ear in the gym. I often brush my old earbuds out walking by a machine too closely. They're fine for trail jogging, too. The green color is not my favorite. I can live with it.


Ultra BRIGHT LED Headlamp - 200% More Comfortable with EXTENDED Battery Life - Fully Adjustable - Includes Red Beam - Fully Dimmable - Strobe Light - 100% Water Resistant - Perfect for: Camping, Running, Fishing, Reading, Hunting, DIY & Much More - Now With a Lifetime Warranty --3*AAA Batteries Included-- Atomic Black - Divine LEDs
Ultra BRIGHT LED Headlamp - 200% More Comfortable with EXTENDED Battery Life - Fully Adjustable - Includes Red Beam - Fully Dimmable - Strobe Light - 100% Water Resistant - Perfect for: Camping, Running, Fishing, Reading, Hunting, DIY & Much More - Now With a Lifetime Warranty --3*AAA Batteries Included-- Atomic Black - Divine LEDs
Offered by Divine LEDs
Price: $67.99
3 used & new from $22.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good headlamp at a reasonable price, March 24, 2015
I was given this light with the understanding that I would post a review. I wasn't asked to post a positive review, just review the headlamp. I ordered another at the regular price for my wife.

I'm a bit of a flashlight nut and have what my wife thinks are too many. She's wrong but don't tell her I said so. One problem with a flashlight is that you have to use a hand to hold one. For most things that's alright but I do landscape photography and have to hike into or out of locations in the dark. The best photo light usually happens around dawn and dusk. When hiking it's really nice to have a headlamp. This will replace my old model, which will live in my car trunk for emergencies.

LED technology has improved greatly in the last couple of years. The Divine LDE incorporates those changes. The lamp is smaller and brighter than my old Petzel model. It has amazing battery life if the included technical parameters are to be believed.

Spotlight :
low power - 4 lumens - 150 hours - lighting distance 6m (19 ft)
middle power - 47 lumens - 56 hours - lighting distance 20m (65 ft)
high power - 90 lumens - 43 hours - 40m (130 ft)

Floodlight :
low - 4 lumens - 250 hours - 8m (26 ft)
high - 16 lumens - 90 hours - 24m (79 ft)
The foot distances are only approximate, but then the distances are only estimates anyway.

My testing gives a bit smaller distances but that depends on how acclimated your eyes are to the dark and how bright the surrounding area is, as well as how good your night vision is.

I would use the headlamp riding my bicycle on lit streets but not in the woods. I'd want at least twice the lumens for that. That's fine as I have a light on my bike. It should be fine for running. I certainly can't outrun the light beam.

The headlight has a red bulb that isn't listed in the the description. That's great for operating my camera at night as it doesn't ruin my night vision.

I originally thought all the lighting modes, which are operated with just one button, would prove too complicated. I was wrong. The implementation is clever. The written descriptions are not very good.

To turn the light on, click the top button. The spot beam will turn on at its brightest setting. Wait a second then press and hold the button for over a second. The description lists three power modes. I found that by holding down the power button the light dims continuously until it reaches its lowest power.

To use the floodlight mode, click the light on. The spotlight will activate. Quickly click the button again to turn the headlamp off. The click again quickly and the floodlight bulbs will turn on. You can lower the intensity in the same manner as with the spot. With the lamp on, click and hold the power button and the power will fade to its lowest setting. You can lift your finger off the button at any time to set the intensity where you want it.

To access the red bulb, with the lamp off, click and hold the power button. After a couple of seconds the red bulb will come on. The headlamp will stay in red bulb mode when you turn the headlamp off and re-start it. To turn the light back into the normal mode, turn the lamp on. Then click the lamp off for a second, then hold the button down for a couple of seconds. The lamp light will turn from red to white, actually bluish white. The light has a flashing red bulb mode, but I can't access that reliably.

The headband adjusts from very small to quite large. I like being able to adjust the headband as the elastic will lose its stretch and the strap will need to be tightened. The lamp is as comfortable as these things get. I forget that I have it on after a couple minutes.

Another nice feature is the ability to adjust the angle on the headlight. Straight out is a bit high for walking, but works with the lowered head angle on a bike. There are three other angles. The lowest is almost 90 degrees straight down, which is great for illuminating hand work or a book.

The battery compartment will hold NimH batteries, but just. I put eneloops in as they both hold a longer charge and are rechargeable. The battery direction markings are faint and hard to read. I had to hold the battery compartment open under a lamp to make the directions out. I'll make sure to note the battery directions when I have to reload. The light comes with a set of Eveready batteries and not some cheap off brand.

The product description indicates that the unit is water resistant. I walked in a light drizzle and it worked fine. The seals don't look terribly robust but I'm not going to walk bareheaded in the rain if I can help it anyway. That's why raincoats have hoods.

Bottom line, this is good enough that I'll buy a second headlamp.


Smith's DRET Diamond Retractable Sharpener
Smith's DRET Diamond Retractable Sharpener
Price: $8.50
51 used & new from $5.62

5.0 out of 5 stars A bargain, March 21, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This medium grit steel is light and compact enough to throw in a backpack. It keeps a working edge on my camping knife. I'd use a finer grit for a pocket knife or kitchen knives, but that's not what I use this for.


Cold Steel Paring Knife Kraton Handle with 3.00-Inch Blade
Cold Steel Paring Knife Kraton Handle with 3.00-Inch Blade
Offered by Stealth Rabbit
Price: $8.97
29 used & new from $6.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Good deal, March 21, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a decent paring knife at a great price. The handle is big enough to grip, unlike the Forschner paring knife I normally use. The steel takes a good edge but dulls pretty quickly, even when I steel it every time I use it.


Mr Beams MBN352 Networked LED Wireless Motion Sensing Spotlight System with NetBright Technology, 200-Lumens, Brown, 2-Pack
Mr Beams MBN352 Networked LED Wireless Motion Sensing Spotlight System with NetBright Technology, 200-Lumens, Brown, 2-Pack
Price: $69.99
2 used & new from $69.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The right solution, March 21, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I live near Puget Sound, which has a lot of overcast added to short days in winter. I also live in a small city that doesn't have streetlights in most neighborhoods, including mine. That means for 3-4 months each year we need supplemental light to just get from our cars to the house. Since we have 3-way switches on our deck we can't set up a motion sensor to light the porch lights. In the summer it's light late. In the spring and fall our solar path lights get enough sun to be effective. Enter Mr. Beams.

I set one light to illuminate the path and one to cover the steps. Having the two lights networked is brilliant as there is no dead zone in the 60 feet between the lights. The lights are bright enough to illuminate the way and can be focused where needed. The only negative is the fixed motions sensors. That made mounting the lights tricky and I had to put the one over the steps on a post to get the sensor to catch our movement. Having to build the post is why they only get four stars. I also wish they had a switch that I could turn off as I won't need them again until October.


It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War
It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War
by Lynsey Addario
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.61
79 used & new from $14.04

9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It will probably make a good movie, March 21, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I wish I liked this book. All the elements are there: A plucky protagonist, danger drama, love, war. No luck. Normally, when I get a book for review I feel obligated to finish it. I just couldn't get through "It's What I Do".

I have three problems, each cost the book a star. First, amateur writers, especially ones who write an autobiography, have no sense of ebb and flow of tension. The story is mostly told in the manner of , "I did this, and I felt," and so on. Events are not built up to the way a movie writer would handle the story. All events take on the same emotional importance. For instance, the terror of being fire on by Taliban holds no more drama than anger at an editor because he wouldn't run Addario's photo.

The second problem comes from the way everything is about Addario. She sees her first famished refugees and the story isn't about them but about how that's the first time she has seen that. Did she have drivers or interpreters? The story doesn't tell us. Who were the everyday people in these places she visited? There are so many opportunities to take us into the location and culture, even the conflicts but the narrative always returns to Addario.

My third problem is with this book comes from the author's motivation. At first I though that this was a talented and brave conflict photographer. Okay, anyone who wins a Pulitzer prize is good, so the first part stands up. Brave? I'm not so sure. When Addario finds out that she is pregnant, a condition that supposedly makes her happy, and should cause her to take more care, she seems to hesitate about two minutes over going back into a conflict zone. The warning signs of an adrenaline junky suddenly all jumped out of the narrative. Is she brave or does she just crave the action? Not knowing her I can't tell for certain, but that's when I quit reading.

A final point that I didn't take off for is the dearth of photos. It's an autobiography so words are what the book is about so I didn't subtract for the lack. Just saying.


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