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Customer Reviews: 1666
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Michael A. Duvernois RSS Feed (Madison, WI)
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OXO Good Grips GreenSaver Crisper Filter, One Pack
OXO Good Grips GreenSaver Crisper Filter, One Pack
Price: $5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seems to work at least a little for salad greens, April 14, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm a big fan of OXO kitchen gadgets ever since I got an early measuring cup of theirs. You could see the markings from above! This is a new venture of theirs, into gadgets to keep freshies fresher for longer in your fridge. With changes of the charcoal filter required every few months, this is an item that will require periodic purchases, usually a big negative to me.

But the filter seems to somewhat improve the lifetime of salad greens (in particular) in my fridge. And has also gotten me thinking about the high and low humidity "crisper" drawers and what should be in each of them.


ullu Handcrafted Premium Leather Snap-On Case for iPhone 6 Plus - Retail Packaging - Olive
ullu Handcrafted Premium Leather Snap-On Case for iPhone 6 Plus - Retail Packaging - Olive
Price: $60.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice looking, fine quality case for the iPhone 6 Plus, April 14, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The sizing is perfect for the phone, and the color is I think an excellent general use color. It goes well with surroundings and doesn't stand out in a jarring manner. Subtle. The quality of the case is exceptionally good. It feels like a luxury item (and the price does go with it). Myself, I'd prefer a case without the "ullu" and the owl since they mean nothing really to me.


Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed - Quality All-Purpose Mix, 20-Pound (Not for sale in Louisiana)
Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed - Quality All-Purpose Mix, 20-Pound (Not for sale in Louisiana)
Price: $56.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Northern grass seed, April 14, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
About half of the weight is a coating to absorb more water and enhance the germination (since folks often fail to adequately water their grass seed). The seed itself is a mix of annual and perennial ryes mostly. I applied the seed with a hand held spreader over several thin areas and a pair of completely bare (<100 square foot) areas in a mix of sun and shade. The ground was prepared ahead of time and I've been so-so about watering, but after two weeks we have significant sprouting. Looking good!


Ortho Tree and Shrub Insect Control Plus Miracle-Gro Plant Food Concentrate (Systemic Insecticide Fertilizer)
Ortho Tree and Shrub Insect Control Plus Miracle-Gro Plant Food Concentrate (Systemic Insecticide Fertilizer)
Price: $18.99
9 used & new from $14.37

3.0 out of 5 stars Systemic insecticide and fertilizer combined, check the granules as well, April 7, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I think the granules are easier to use than this concentrate, but the liquid might be safer as far as bees are concerned as it soaks in right away and doesn't sit on the surface. Have used both on some perimeter shrubs in my back yard. My main goal was to keep the Japanese Beetles off of the shrubs, while the fertilizer was a bonus. Seems to have worked well as an insecticide, but harder to evaluate it as a fertilizer.


Hefty Slider Storage Bags, Quart, 40 Count( Pack of 9)
Hefty Slider Storage Bags, Quart, 40 Count( Pack of 9)
Price: $47.86
3 used & new from $38.80

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice easy zipper, heavy weight bag, but doesn't always seal air or liquid tight, April 5, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
On one hand, these are nice, strong heavy weight quart zipper/slider bags with an easy-working slide, but about half of the time, I can't get the bag to be either air or liquid tight. I think there's some flaw in the design, and it appears that some other reviewers (including America's Test Kitchen) agree with that. The leak is small, but definitely present.

I have been using these in situations in which there is no liquid and a (possible) small air leak isn't a big deal. Veggies stored overnight in the fridge. Dry leftovers for short term fridge storage. That sort of thing.


Seveneves: A Novel
Seveneves: A Novel
by Neal Stephenson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.92

5.0 out of 5 stars An epic end-of-the-world and then the story begins novel, March 28, 2015
This review is from: Seveneves: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a thick tome, and like many Stephenson novels the setup takes 3/4 of the book and then there's the realization that the back cover is threatening, and a lot needs to happen but there are still a ton of loose ends at the end. Okay, that's my biggest criticism of the writing of the book. Otherwise it's a hugely compelling (I stayed up until nearly dawn to finish the book) story set in a near future Earth doomed by the destruction of the moon. (SPOILERS AHEAD) Getting into space is seen as the best survival option, and a small number of folks do make it to orbit before the end. There are also hints of other survival attempts underground and deep in the ocean. The folks in orbit have a rough time of it, and end up with only eight women (seven of whom are young enough to bear children). Their genetically engineered off-spring form the new races of post-humanity which five thousand year later return to the Earth. (SPOILERS MOSTLY OFF)

I would happily argue the absurdity of some of the plot devices and express unease at the notion of a society holding strong views and even an epic creation story for five thousand years, but I enjoyed the book a lot. It was especially interesting to be reading this right after Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora which I found to also, at its core, be about a great love of the Earth, the center for humanity despite disasters of all sorts.


Honeywell 50-Pint Energy Star Portable Dehumidifier, DH50W
Honeywell 50-Pint Energy Star Portable Dehumidifier, DH50W
Price: $249.99
10 used & new from $239.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loud, but effective dehumidifier, March 27, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The volume of these critter, even at the low setting, means it's really intended for non-occupied space in the house or basement. I have it in a workspace in my garage where the noise is no bother and it gets fairly damp, especially in the Spring and Summer.

The Honeywell dehumidifier is ready to go right out of the box with an installed air filter and the installed front-mounted water tank. Most likely, you'll want to connect a garden hose to a drain so that you don't have to empty the water tank periodically. That connection is easy to make for a gravity feed drain. Especially good is the control system which you can set for a specific humidity level, "run the dehumidifier to keep the humidity at 40% relative" for example. There's a high (very loud) and low (loud) level and a timer as well. There's an automatic shutoff for a full water reservoir, but with a drain hose that isn't relevant.

The unit rolls around easily on a solid floor, and is light enough to carry around if needed. One quoted feature that's interesting is that the dehumidifier is rated for operation at temperatures down to 41F. That could be very nice for some basement and garage humidity issues.


Philips 455931 60 Watt Equivalent A19 LED Light Bulb Dimmable Warm Glow, Frustration Free, 2-Pack
Philips 455931 60 Watt Equivalent A19 LED Light Bulb Dimmable Warm Glow, Frustration Free, 2-Pack
Price: $19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Reddens while dimming LED bulb, March 27, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The bulbs work well, with a decent yellow-red soft white color fully "on" and then reddening significantly as the dimmer is lowered. It's not a bad simulation of an incandescent light on a dimmer save for the lowest about 10% of the dimmer range. We have one in a bedside lamp that has an attached dimmer on it. In this application, for reading, the bulb is practically usable from about 50% of range to full power. Over that range the color effect is small but noticeable. I think for the right application these are excellent LED bulbs, though the lumens per Watt are not the best for general, wholesale replacement of household bulbs. For a dimmer situation in which you really like the reddening (mood lighting really) these are great.


BIC Flex 5 Disposable Razor, Men, 3-Count
BIC Flex 5 Disposable Razor, Men, 3-Count
Price: $9.99
8 used & new from $4.25

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Similar to the Gillette Fusion razor and definitely a good shave, March 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I typically use an electric razor, but sometimes when traveling I just take a disposable razor with me instead. So this past week, I was in Puebla, Mexico for the inauguration of the new HAWC gamma ray observatory, okay, that's enough of a digression, and I took one of these Bic Flex 5 razors with me. It's a great shave, cuts nicely along all of the facial contours, and the blade looks good after a week. The shaving result is about the same as with my electric at home in terms of my satisfaction with it. The disposable is probably cutting a little closer, but hard to tell. I use this razor in the shower with very hot water.

Will update when I get 3-4 weeks out of the razor before it gets too dull. That's my mark of a useful disposable lifetime, especially with the complexity of this razor. You're throwing quit a bit away when you're done with the razor.


Aurora
Aurora
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.26

5.0 out of 5 stars Science fiction also clearly reflects the time and place in which it's written, March 16, 2015
This review is from: Aurora (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Kim Stanley Robinson wrote what I think of as the great terraforming novels, Red, Green, and Blue Mars, along with a book that perfectly captured the feel of working in Antarctica (well, Antarctica). Taking those novels of terraforming and small, isolated societies to an extreme degree, we have Aurora, a novel of a generational starship which must be its own closed cycle system, carefully husbanding micro-nutrients for hundreds of years. And then arriving in a new star system to adapt, terraform, and conquer a new world.

(SPOILERS)

The generation ship carries multiple small ecosystems based on Earth variations, and a population under strict reproductive controls. Much of the telling of the tale is via the ship's computer which is gaining sentience, and makes for limited omniscience in the narration at times. I found there to be a lot of excellent, interesting technical detail in the construction of the ship, the ecosystems, the surveillance systems, and the ship's culture. Though the overall culture perhaps tended towards farming and away from ship technical issues. Perhaps strange for living in a science fiction world, what could be more SF than living on a spaceship?

But science fiction reflects what's happening when it's written. We're sitting here on an Earth with runaway climate change and little near term prospect for fixing that. In Aurora, when things go wrong on the world to be colonized, the ship returns towards Earth with its population. They want to come home, not go to some hard-to-transform planet. Home of their great-great...grandparents anyway. And ultimate joy in the book is found in body surfing the waves on a new beach, on a partially re-terraformed Earth, still with ocean levels up high, but coming under control. Imagine! The generational starship is useless. Coming back home and swimming in the surf is the name of the game. Definitely not what would have been written even ten or fifteen years ago.

I loved the book, even if I disagreed with what the characters were doing, or choices that the author made. I respected those choices, and was along for a great ride. This Spring I'll be out, planting in my garden, living in a science fiction world as well I do believe.


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