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Coolkayaker "ck1" RSS Feed (Fox Valley, Illinois USA)
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Leaves of Grass
Leaves of Grass
Price: $1.75

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is this the same man?, June 20, 2014
This review is from: Leaves of Grass (Kindle Edition)
Who is this man "Walt Whitman" of whom you all speak? Is he the venerated American chocolatier, famous for his sampler?


Maxpedition Mini Pocket Organizer
Maxpedition Mini Pocket Organizer
Price: $16.71 - $25.87

5.0 out of 5 stars It's about thickness when it comes to cargo pants., June 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I like to put belongings in my cargo pants pocket, so my EDC bag has to fit the pocket and be thin. I have EDC, Fatty Maxped bags, but they are too wide and too thick. I have watched many online videos, and no one emphasizes the thickness factor. I have found that even two ball-point pens in a small pocket, if they are placed to hit upon one another when this is closed (i.e. one on one side, the other on the other, but when closed, they hit) is too thick for a comfortable pocket carry.

These Mini Pockets are perfect for pens, flash drive, miniscrew driver sets, ruler, nail clippers, mini Bic lighter, etc. in cargo pants pockets if one keeps the items in them orderly, and it takes a some effort to make sure than each item nests in between other items on the other side of this pocket when it is closed. It's important to note that the EDC Maxped and the Fatty Maxped organizers are slightly too wide for my cargo pockets,too. They slip in with effort only, and truly do not feel good in there. I considered the Micro Pocket Organizer, but that one seems a tad too small, short, has a single zipper and doesn't hold enough, I think (but I do not own that one). The Mini is the ideal width for standard cargo pants pockets.

So, all those online videos one sees about how much stuff they can jam into this bag don;t pertain to me...I can't jam 2-3 layers of overlapping gear into this and comfortably place it in the side lower pockets of my cargo pants. The solution? Buy TWO of these Minis. With two, I can have one layer of items in each, put one in each thigh pocket of my cargo pants to distribute the weight, and maintain a superb thickness for carrying. I can even carry one in each rear pocket, like a thick wallet, if I wanted to (but I can't sit down).

Although some may balk at buying two at around eighteen bucks apiece, one single Fatty Maxped alone costs only about nine dollars less than two of these and, in my opinion, gives a person much fewer options for carrying in pockets, glove compartments, truck consoles or anyplace. To me, it's well worth the nine bucks difference or so for the comfort, flexibility and storage of this daily carry item.


How to Write a Damn Good Thriller: A Step-by-Step Guide for Novelists and Screenwriters
How to Write a Damn Good Thriller: A Step-by-Step Guide for Novelists and Screenwriters
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $11.04

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hold on, hold on. Do you need this book?, June 5, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Mr. Frey has other books on writing, but I have only read this one.

It does cover the basics of thriller writing: the "ticking clock", the first or third person narration being the most effective points of view, the need to start with a "bang", the three-act format, "the McGuffin", hero, protagonist, etc. If these terms are familiar to you, particularly as they are part of every book on writing, then you will not need this book.

I will give Mr. Frey a star or so for his voice, which is clear and friendly, sometimes humorous, and easy to read. This book's prose is smoothly written and easy to follow and the chapter layout is clear and appropriate.

But, what does this book provide that is unique to the budding thriller writer? Examples. And examples. And even more examples. James Frey speaks of any concept--for instance heroes and villains--and, literally, gives twenty examples of movies and books with heroes and villains. It's mind-numbing, and almost comes off as "filler" to pad out a book as it goers on for chapter after chapter. One or two examples of each concept would be sufficient. And, he doesn't even stop there: then he asks us, the readers, to follow along as he plots out his own "sample" thriller books. This is fair enough and potentially useful, but he has about five personal examples of sample plots going throughout the entire book! He reiterates each of them in every single chapter. It's the instructional equivalent of hitting the students on the head with a hardcover edition of Infinite Jest when the students are pleading that they already understand the concept. It's downright painful.

Finally, Mr. Frey's book shows two annoying traits, both off-putting and unnecessary, and both strident enough to prevent me from ever buying another book by James N. Frey. The first is his constant, chapter-after-chapter justification that the high-brow snobs, such as those that write reviews for The New York Times Book Reviews, see genre, "high concept" fiction as the low-end of the craft. Frey goes on, then, to brow-beat literary fiction at every turn available to him. Reading between the lines, Frey's determination to establish thrillers and genre fiction as works equal to "depressing" literary fiction (his word, not mine) is overdone and comes off as "sour grapes", as if he personally failed at penning thematically-important, character-drive literary fiction (or was rejected in his efforts to do so) and now the chip on his shoulder is as large as an Napoleon's gold epaulet.

The second annoying trait is that, exceedingly often, Frey tells us what is included in his other books. He mentions one or two every chapter, stating that he has already gone over this in his other book. Not only does it reek as being self-serving, it breaks you out of the experience of reading each time, just as a loud commercial interrupts your favorite television show. Frey, we paid eleven bucks to read THIS book, not your others; if the information is in those books, cut and paste the section to which you refer here in the proper section of the book we just bought.

All in all, my suggestion on this book: pass on it.

Not to leave my fellow nascent authors without any guidance, here are three books on writing that are exceptional. I do not work for these writers, their agents or publishers, or their mothers or fathers.

Sol Stein's How to Grow a Novel, and his Stein on Writing (I have linked one here, you can see the other by clicking his name)
Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies
And Paula Larocque's lovely instruction on how best to write the building block of all stories: the sentence.
The Book on Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Well
Finally, for the process of writing itself, the work ethic, the rejections, the spoils and the glee, it ios now and forever more, Annie LaMott's Bird By Bird.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Keep the fingers to the keyboard and the head held high, my fellow authors. --Sven


Duracell Procell AAA 24 Pack PC2400BKD09
Duracell Procell AAA 24 Pack PC2400BKD09
Offered by Medical Products Depot
Price: $9.75
44 used & new from $5.16

3.0 out of 5 stars Not great, May 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
ProCells are, in my experience, not nearly as long lasting as Energizers. That said, they are cheaper. I thought I'd give the Procells one more try since they box is orange and black and newer looking than the older black and some red boxes.

Well, as of late May, 2014, Amazon shipped me the known-to-be-average old Procells in the black and red box. These are tghe disappointing ones.

Suggestion: wait for the new fresher ones in a few months. Or, just pony up and buy Energizers.


Caldesene Baby Care Powder, 5 Ounce
Caldesene Baby Care Powder, 5 Ounce
Offered by AmericanWholesale
Price: $4.61
12 used & new from $3.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for foot smells., May 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the highest concentration of zinc in a powder I could find. I use it in my child's soccer shoes and Docksider type boat shoes. The wretched stench is mitigated (but not resolved) with this powder, at the expense of having happy footprint trails of powder all over my house. At least I can sleep at night.


Winegard FreeVision FV-30BB HDTV Antenna
Winegard FreeVision FV-30BB HDTV Antenna
Price: $39.20
48 used & new from $29.35

5.0 out of 5 stars The flat antennas did not work for me., May 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Bottom line: I live 40 miles outside of Chicago stations, and I tried an RCA brand black box type antenna and it did not work, and I tried a powered (plug in) RCA black box antenna and it did not work (powered antennas are for long cable runs, e.g. attic to TV, not for drawing in stations, I now know), and the Mofu Leaf flat wall hanging antenna: all are a no go. No meaningful stations.

Then, I bought this one, a last try. Bada bing...15 good quality stations, most in HDTV. I hung this off my window curtain rod and the cable goes from the TV directly to it (admittedly, it's unsightly and my friends now call me Jethro). Bam...much better than the ones I tried before. This one is a keeper.


Dap 37584 Liquid Cement Crack Filler-Quart Bottle
Dap 37584 Liquid Cement Crack Filler-Quart Bottle
Price: $9.98
19 used & new from $8.91

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thin and gets in there, the cracks., May 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was going to use outdoor silicone for my concrete driveway gaps, but decided to give three bottles of this a whirl. This Dap product has the advantage of being super thin when it comes out of the bottle tip (unlike silicone, which is thick) so that I can use this for finer cracks and it works itself down in there. That said, for some reason, it doesn't seem to fill the cracks well. I have sections of 1/8 to 1/4 inch cracks that I have gone over three times with this Dap juice, and it still has gaps in the crack. Agains, it's the seepage downward that is the key, and perhaps it's fine.

I plan to use this for the deeper part of the cracks (it says on the bottle not to use for cracks greater than 1/2 inch wide). a couple of passes, and then clear silicone over the top of the crack with silicone canister and caulk gun.

This stuff does dry in a few minutes. I can see why Amazon reviewers have mentioned that it was hard when they got it. I bought mine at a building store, so those are the three I used. I have another three from Amazon that sound good when I shake the bottle, but I will tell when I open it. You will use the entire bottle because you cannot cover it and save it, even for a half hour. So, just plan on using the entire thing before it hardens. Also, when you razor off the tip, make it smaller than you would a caulk cartridge of bathroom caulk or silicone. Why? The juice in here is thin, and I cut it too wide and it basically poured all over the edges of the cracks. Since it's thin, a small opening would have been better.

Update: These Amazon bottles do not have any seal on the top. The ones I bought from a large home box store has seals inside the spout, sort of like builders' caulk or inside a new catsup bottle. Well, these were just open once one unscrews the spout top. Mine worked well, but I believe it to be slightly thicker than the ones from the home store, perhaps from being exposed to air to some degree. Amazon raised the price of these and they are more expensive than the home store by more than a buck (but there's no sales tax here). I would suggest either buying locally so you can assure freshness by shaking it to see if it's liquid and not hard and by unscrewing the spout to see if it is sealed, or buying exactly what you can use from Amazon, not a bottle more (and returning it if it's hardened already). You can always buy more, but this stuff is not going to store well.


Nite Ize GTMP-11-A1 Gear Tie Tube
Nite Ize GTMP-11-A1 Gear Tie Tube
Price: $17.22
39 used & new from $16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars More uses than meets the eye, May 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is one of those products that you must buy and then you will find a gazillion uses for it. This package is economical (compared to buying each individual item), and the variety of sizes are well thought out.

That said, these are not inexpensive. I bought some hook and loop ties at a huge discount to these Nite-Ize products, and they are pennies each. The hook and loop is actually better for cables (headphone, computer, etc.) as they are larger, and they stay on the cable. These Nite Ize products, particularly the small ones, are devastatingly easy to lose.

Here are the cheaper cable ties:
Monoprice Hook & Loop Fastening Cable Ties, 6", 50 pcs - Black

That said, if you want to secure things that are not cables--if you want to bundle things together like artificial flowers, a small rug or mat, a rolled poster or map, etc.--then these are quite good. I have had no issues with breakage, and find them useful (as are the fifty pack of 6 inch hook and loop ties).


Carson 3D Series Binocular with High Definition Optics and ED Glass (TD-042ED,TD-842ED,TD-050ED)
Carson 3D Series Binocular with High Definition Optics and ED Glass (TD-042ED,TD-842ED,TD-050ED)
Price: $239.99 - $310.00

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some serious things to think about: the case!, May 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These are good binoculars. I like the rubberized finish, the glass, the size and weight. I am giving it strongs marks, although for the price point, there are other options. Also, historically, Carson keeps edging the price up--even one month after I bought them here, they are forty dollars more than I paid. So, as they get more pricy, one must consider other options (too numerous to mention here, but including Pentax, Nikon, Steiner, lower end Zeiss, etc). Carson introduced these at an even lower price point than I paid, so watch that price carefully if you are interested in this model.

Why the stars deduction? Part of the reason I purchased this model over others is the included shoulder harness and case. The Carson flip down padded case is quick and efficient; there are videos on your favorite online video channel of the case, and it's important to see it so that you know if you want something like it.

I thought I would like the BinoArmor case system, but now that I have it, I do not like it for its intended purpose.

As others have stated, the rubber elastic that keeps the binos in place is already slightly loose, and will stretch over time and allow the binocs to fall out when they are not secured to one's neck. One single, non-adjustable elastic strap is all that is holding the binoculars in the case. Also, I find the case cumbersome to the point that, if I am birding or at a baseball game, I do not want it on my chest; it's too bulky and rather annoying. Sure, I can unhinge it in 10 seconds, but then I have this huge padded case hanging open and away from my chest, it's truly in the way. It looks stupid and it feels stupid. You may not mind it there for taking a quick look at a bird, but to gaze across a meadow while hunting, to flip the binos up and down constantly as one does at a sporting event (I,e. for most common uses) trust me...you will want to leave this BinoArmor case back in the car.

There are little mesh pockets along each side of the case, large enough for a film canister, a len cleaning pen (such as sold by Carson), etc. But, when you flip the case down to use the binoculars, everything in the mesh pockets falls out: they are now upside down! Additionally, one cannot store anything in the case itself because of this opening up design. For such a bulky case to not be able to carry anything other than the binoculars themselves is a waste (pockets go upside down, as stated above; and the insides open up, so anything in there--lens cloth, instructions, etc.--will fall out onto the ground at your feet).

I find traditional len caps somewhat of a burden and easily lost, but in this instance, they would provide a sweet alternative to the case. But, none are provided with these binoculars. None can be ordered from Carson based on a thorough read of their website and I have found none that fit well after-market. I never thought I'd say this but: please bring me back my lens covers! The padded case does NOT keep the lenses as dust free as one would want, as dust and dirt can easily blow into the padded case through its many openings, such as for the harness/binoc straps on each side. The option of lens caps would be an improvement from Carson. For instance, since the case is too bulky, especially when hanging open off my chest at a baseball game, I would much rather have the binoculars, uncased, harnessed to my chest with lens caps in place. Not an option with these binoculars: no available lens caps. That is to say, it is not the binoculars that are too large, it's the case.

The glasses themselves are good. There is, in fact, great light transmission in low light conditions. I have seen better such as my Zeiss (yep, they cost twice as much) Victory Compact, but the Carson is impressive. Whether one could tell the difference between the ED glass here and non-ED glass on similarly priced models I will leave to the compulsive zealots who review such things. I think the view is fine, but not necessarily better than some Nikon mid-range binoculars that I own, and past Steiner binoculars that I have owned truly shined.

The 3D in the name--which sounds awesome, like some form of three dimensional viewing breakthrough-- actually stands for, according to Carson's own videos and the box for this product, Design, Depth and Dimension. Huh??!

I wanted to be clear about the shortcomings of the "system" of use and storage for these binoculars. Some would say the case and storage are relatively unimportant. I disagree; the case and the ability to handle, use and store fine glass is of vital importance. You will use the case and the strap system every single time you use the binos. The Carson lens protection and case system comes up short.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 19, 2014 7:09 AM PDT


Sharpie 1883338 King Size Permanent Marker, Black, 4-Pack
Sharpie 1883338 King Size Permanent Marker, Black, 4-Pack
Price: $5.99
24 used & new from $4.67

4.0 out of 5 stars Too big for alopecia spots on brunettes, May 17, 2014
I use these Sharpie markers to color in the alopecia areata spots on my brunette head. Just move the long hair out of the way, and smear this on the fleshy spots. Works well for spots up to 3/4 inch; I have found that spots larger than that size tend to color in poorly and appear like somebody used magic marker on my head.

I find the King Size markers to be far too large for effective dobbing of my spots. One would think this would be idea, and that the smaller, finer pointed ones would be too pointed and make unsightly lines. Well, the smallers ones are better; the thick King sized ones do not permit the finesse necessary for cosmetic perfection.

I have tried eyebrow pencils and Marks-A-Lot brand, but both of those run in rainstorms. I have streaks of black like ruined mascara down my neck when I have hit a downpour with those products. The Sharpie, conversely, stays in place and doesn't ruin my neck or my clothes.

When you first put this on, smudge it around with a paper towel; it has a working time of approximately thirty seconds, after which it cannot be blended on your skin. If I have a particularly nasty outbreak of "pecia", as we call it, I will have my wife apply to the back of my squash because there are so many spots that I cannot see them well by holding a mirror to the back of my head.

I will note that there is a faint odor of magic marker from this product for about the first hour or so after one applies it to their head skin. If there are plans for a dinner party, unless you want the hosts to think that you were wearing an advertising sandwich board all day, you might want to apply the Sharpie long before you leave the house.

When I sweat, the marker does get slightly mobile. What do I mean? If I lay back on a pillow, it will stain the pillow. This is particularly important, once again, at the dinner party. You will want to avoid high backed, upholstered chairs.

Finally, I have never had a lack of hair re-growth from the toxicity of this product on my head. Seems as though the nascent hairs, typically white in color, do not mind the daily bath of Sharpie. I have not experienced yet any ill effects such as loss of memory or dulled ability for computations, but I will update this review should that occur (if I remember to update it).


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