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Armando N. Roman RSS Feed (Hillsboro, OR)

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Minecraft Animal Toy (6-Pack)
Minecraft Animal Toy (6-Pack)
Offered by The Gaming Broker
Price: $21.33
123 used & new from $15.32

5.0 out of 5 stars All of the main animals in one set? I'll take two!, September 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What is there to say about Minecraft at this point? It's a phenomenon, and Mojang did a great job making sure their game got toys that kids would love. Mini plush animals and creatures, cardboard box heads, foam swords and pickaxes, and of course the action figures. As nice as it is to have a Steve, Creeper or Enderman, you gotta have some animals to go along with them! My daughter adores this set, and if she wrote reviews, she'd give it 5 stars as well. Some have mentioned that the price is high for six figures, but I actually think it's priced just right, provided you're getting this at regular retail or less. If it's anything more, shop around!

All six figures in this set look perfect, with the Minecraft-y markings of little squares here and there on their bodies to add some detail. Even the sheep, who could have been left completely white, and not many would've noticed, has a mixture of white and cream colored wool. Each figure is well-made, and will have a hard time breaking. All of the joints are sturdy and none of the figures we got had any loose limbs or anything.

Each of the figures is articulated differently, due to their different body types. The chicken can rotate its face, and you can move the wings up and down. Next is the ocelot, who can move his head around, and its tail is on a ball joint so you can adjust it. The tame wolf can move his head around, his legs can move forward and back, and his tail moves from side to side. As for the pig, its head moves around, and its legs move differently- the front legs move like the wolf's, but the back legs can move forward, so you can get it in a sitting position.

The sheep was my favorite of the bunch because of how they designed the legs. Instead of being able to move them around, the legs actually go up into its body a little bit, kind of like a pogo stick. I've been playing the game for a while, and haven't seen a sheep bound around yet, but man is it funny seeing this little sheep figure do that. Finally, there's the cow, who just like the others, can move its head around, and the legs all move forward and back.

These toys would make excellent birthday cake toppers, or you could use the whole box as a perfect stocking stuffer in a few months for "the holidays". Either way, if your child or grown-up-fan-of-Minecraft doesn't have this set, get it for them without worry. They'll be happier than a villager who just traded an emerald for 20 pieces of wheat.

Kung Fu Hustle [Blu-ray]
Kung Fu Hustle [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Stephen Chow
Price: $12.38
35 used & new from $5.89

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the few movies I wish I could live in., September 18, 2014
This review is from: Kung Fu Hustle [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I first watched Kung Fu Hustle in theaters when it came out, with a whopping 3 other people in the theater on opening weekend. Back then, I didn’t know what the heck I was watching. One minute it was serious, with this opening scene showing how fearful the Axe Gang is, then we’d get one character running around like Wile E. Coyote, complete with rotating legs. Coming out of the theater, I didn’t know how I felt about it. It wasn’t until I watched it again on dvd a few months later that I finally “got” it, and Kung Fu Hustle has since been one of my favorite movies ever. It may be on the weird side, but there’s something for everyone here. I’ve watched the movie with many people over the years, with a lot of them not being big on martial arts movies. You know what? They loved it. It had been a while since I saw the movie, so I watched it again recently, and I’m happy to say that it definitely still holds up for the most part.

The movie opens showing us the dreaded Axe Gang, who rules over the city with an iron fist. Other gangs fear them, and even the police have to do what they say if they want to survive. Two bumbling would-be Axe Gang members, Sing and his chubby friend, waltz into Pig Sty Alley one day, claiming to be members of the gang, and try to blackmail their way out of paying for a haircut. Things go sour fast, and the residents of the lower class apartments won’t have it. Luckily for Sing, the real Axe Gang shows up, and they start a huge fight with several martial arts masters in the building. They clear out the Axe Gang, but are banished for fear of brining more danger to the area. Meanwhile, Sing needs to prove himself if he wants to be a real member, and is sent out to find The Beast- a man who became so obsessed with fighting, that he was put in an insane asylum.

The plot may be a little cluttered, but trust me- it works. It’s best not to take the movie too seriously, even with the dramatic bits, as it flows better once you do so. There are some truly touching moments here and there, including someone from Sing’s past, yet Stephen Chow never pushes it too far. Kung Fu Hustle is all about great fights and good laughs. Every time I watch it, I notice something new, even during the fight scenes. The opening fight is great, and every one that comes after it manages to be just as exciting. There’s one key fight scene where two characters utilize a guqin (think of it as a harp that lays down) to deliver attacks, and combined with the music they make while attacking, it makes for something you’ll never forget. All of the characters are memorable as well. From a tailor who fights using the rings on his clothes hanging poles to a baker that fights with various sticks in his bakery, to a hard working man with lethal kicks to a landlady you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. I absolutely -love- the characters in this movie! And I know I sound like a complete fanboy at this point, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I love the soundtrack too. Originally, Stephen Chow was going to go with a more hip hop oriented soundtrack. Instead, he went with more traditional instruments, and I’m very glad he did. Not because I don’t like hip hop, but because some of the pieces here really set the tone of the fights. Look up Blade of Guqin, Decree of the Sichuan General, Fisherman’s Song of the East China Sea and Zhi Yao Wei Ni Huo Yi Tian. They’re masterpieces.

Honestly, the only downside to the movie is the CG. The CG special effects weren’t passable when the movie came out, and watching some of them now is embarrassing. The first one that comes to mind is when one character is bitten on the lips by a snake. It’s not all bad, maybe around 70%. It’s not enough to bring the movie’s score down, it’s just a little bothersome when watching it, knowing that some movies with even lower budgets in this day and age look a lot better than some of the things here.

It’s worth mentioning that the Axe Kickin’ Edition DVD is still the only ‘uncensored’ version of the movie, with slightly more blood in one key scene, and something else uncensored on a floor (take a guess). It was kind of disappointing to see that the blu-ray version is the same as the original dvd release, but it’s no big deal. The extra blood never added anything anyway. I also have to point out that the subtitles here are better than the original DVD’s. All the special features are included, with my favorite being the commentary track with Chow and several others. It’s subtitled, and they talk about lots of things regarding the movie, as well as regular stuff, like trying to decide on a place to go for lunch after they’re done recording.

If you’re looking for a martial arts movie that’s different from anything else out there, Kung Fu Hustle is all you need. It’s one of the few movies I’ve seen where I’m constantly thinking about the fight scenes and different characters on a weekly basis. I can’t wait to see what Chow does with the sequel when he finally gets around to it.

Adventure Time 12" Plush: BMO
Adventure Time 12" Plush: BMO
Price: $18.99
8 used & new from $16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Can we get a stuffed Magic Man too??, September 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Adventure Time mini plush characters that have come out over the last couple of years have been great. Tons of fan favorites have been made with good quality and at a great price. Now it's time to go big! If you thought the previous 8 inch BMO was cute, wait until you see this!

BMO stands at 12 inches tall...though s/he can't really stand. Sitting, however, works just fine. BMO is super soft and perfect for cuddling. This could even be used as a pillow! All the details like the buttons are sewn in, so there's no worries about small parts being hazardous for younger kids. Stitching is perfectly done with no stray threads or lopsided limbs.

There is no talking feature or anything. This is just a simple stuffed handheld system. For just a few bucks more than the 8 inch one, I'd say it's a great deal. Now if only the Regular Show stuffed characters (especially Rigby) would look this good.

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature First Sips Trainer Cup, 5 Ounce
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature First Sips Trainer Cup, 5 Ounce
Offered by Best Service Stores
Price: $10.04
7 used & new from $6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Sheesh, at this price, it should be diamond crested., September 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My daughter's almost 1, and has been using cups for a while now, but not a sippy cup. The Tommee Tippee bottles we've used recently were great- she loved them and took to them instantly, so I figured the sippy cup by them would fare just as well.

After a couple of weeks, Zoey hasn't thought much of it. She'll take a few sips, then throw it aside. It could be that she just plain doesn't want to use a sippy cup yet. She's able to get the water or milk out of the cup perfectly fine, and when I squeezed it to see if too much or too little was coming out, it seemed normal. The spout feels a lot like the nipples on the bottles by the same company, and the other materials are of good quality. Washing it in the dishwasher doesn't do any damage, though I always hand wash it first just to be safe.

The one downside is the lid can be a little difficult to get on all the way at times. I'm constantly double checking to make sure it's on. Aside from that, the price may be a bit iffy, but this is a quality sippy cup all around.

Spot It
Spot It
Price: $9.99
187 used & new from $6.60

4.0 out of 5 stars One of those rare all-ages games everyone can enjoy., September 11, 2014
This review is from: Spot It (Toy)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Take one look at the commercial for this game, and you'll probably roll your eyes, thinking that Spot It looks like just another matching game. Well, it kind of is, and it looks simple at first, but when you're actually playing it, especially with several people, it gets pretty hectic. Spot It is one of the few games I've played where I'll get disappointed if I don't notice the matching object and someone beats me to it. After all, all the pictures are RIGHT THERE!

I played this with my daughter, who's 7 years old, and she had a blast playing it. At first, she wasn't too sure about playing because it doesn't have the presentation of say, Nightmare Before Christmas Operation or Don't Break the Ice. After one game though, she was hooked and we kept playing.

There are a couple of different ways to play Spot It, all of them equally fun. Every single card has at least one object that's on the other cards. Watch the commercial for this game in the images section at the top of this page and see if you can spot the matching objects yourself. It's crazy how they managed to have just a couple of objects on the cards, have so many different ones, and yet there's still one thing on them that's on every single card.

This would be a great game to have at a kid's party, and a blast to play together with your family. It's a steal at the current price, so you're not losing much if you end up not liking it. I'll probably be picking up one or two of the different versions in the future.

Haggar Men's Performance Solid Gabardine Straight Fit Plain Front Slack, Dark Grey, 32x32
Haggar Men's Performance Solid Gabardine Straight Fit Plain Front Slack, Dark Grey, 32x32
Price: $32.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mike Haggar would approve of these pants...then piledrive someone while wearing them., September 10, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I haven't owned any kind of slacks since I was a junior in high school (2001!) when I needed a pair for choir performances. Yeah, it's always good to have a pair of nice pants for things like interviews, special occasions, or just to feel good when you want to look nice. When I saw these in a nice dark grey color, I went for them right away, knowing they'd come in handy at some point. With my limited experience with pants like these, I can't compare them to any other brands, and I don't know exactly what usual-wearers would expect or want to know. What I -can- tell you is that they're very comfortable, thin enough to wear on summer days but not so thin that they'll whittle away after a few uses (H&M I'm looking at you), and the wrinkle-free feature is the real deal.

I'm a size 30 waist, but usually have to get my pants a little bigger so my legs can fit better with more room. I went with the 32 waist for these pants, and they felt like a 30...maybe 31. It wasn't uncomfortable by any means, just more snug than I expected for a 32 waist, and pants of this material. Still, they felt good when I walked around. The pockets have enough room for the usual objects like keys, a phone, etc. All the belt loops are sewn on perfectly and I didn't have any bad stitching elsewhere.

For the price, these are a pretty good deal. About half of retail? I'll definitely get another pair sometime in the future. I can't wait to wear these to breakfast at the Masonic Temple next month...provided I wake up in time.

Hayabusa Tokushu Striking Shin Guards, Medium, White/Slate Grey
Hayabusa Tokushu Striking Shin Guards, Medium, White/Slate Grey
Offered by MMAWarehouseLLC
Price: $79.99
6 used & new from $79.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Protect your shinny shin-shins the right way., September 9, 2014
Shin guards have come a long way since I first started using them in 1997. Back then, all you could really find were cheap spandex ones with little padding, or extremely plastic-y foam ones that would crack and chip away with good, regular use. I was stuck with the latter for several years, and while I didn't mind at the time (mainly because I was 13), I knew I needed something much better for sparring and competition in this day and age. Hayabusa has been my go-to brand for the good stuff, and after getting a pair of their Tokushu 16 oz gloves recently, I could see why they're the #1 trusted brand in fight gear. These guys don't mess around! I was originally torn between the Ikusa and Tokushu shin guards, but managed to get an excellent deal on the Tokushu ones, so that's what I went with. I was not disappointed!

I'm 5'11" 156 lbs, and my shoe size is 10.5 in most brands, 11 for Nike. I ordered a medium pair of these shin guards and they fit me perfectly. The instep protection goes to just under my big toe. Getting them on is simple- you use two straps on the back to adjust the tightness, and your foot goes through two elastic bands that ensure these won't be going anywhere. The shin guards themselves aren't made of real leather, but feel a lot like Vylar- the same material the Tokushu 16 oz gloves are made of. Strangely enough, the Hayabusa site doesn't say what the material is for the shin guards, but I'm sure it's Vylar.

The shin guards are very lightweight and feel great on my legs. I'll admit, I haven't practiced my kicks in a long time, but when I put them on and practiced a couple of round kicks with them, everything felt fine! Hitting the pad felt great, and I didn't feel much impact on my shins when I hit it. Ditto for blocking kicks with them. These will protect your shins big time. Some shin guards will move around when struck, and you have to adjust them again. Not here. After 30+ minutes of just kicks, they were in the same spot as they were when I put them on.

There's nothing negative to say about these. The material is well-made and will hold up for a long time, the velcro straps stay secure during intense sessions, and they're easy to clean. I will say that before ordering, you should definitely check the size chart on Hayabusa's site. You won't be disappointed when you get them!

HomeFlav Shock Proof and Impact Resistant Blue Tritan Water Bottle with Convenient Spout and Spout Shield Blue
HomeFlav Shock Proof and Impact Resistant Blue Tritan Water Bottle with Convenient Spout and Spout Shield Blue
Offered by HomeFlav
Price: $13.99
2 used & new from $13.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eiffel 65 would approve of this. Wait, does anyone even know who they are?, September 8, 2014
After my big Thermos water bottle broke from one tiny fall onto tile flooring (the metal ring that kept the lid closed snapped off), I was in need of something a little more sturdy. Fortunately, the guys at HomeFlav had me covered with this little beauty. Their water bottle is tough, holds a perfect amount of water, and is sure to last a long time, with no pieces that are in immediate danger of breaking in case it takes a tumble.

The bottle has a very simple, nice design to it. I may not be a fan of the blue color, but it's been incredibly useful when I go running, or when I'm out on a really hot day, and that's what matters. The black bite 'valve' acts as a cap for the nozzle to prevent anything from getting in, and so water doesn't spill out if the nozzle is sticking up and the bottle falls over. You have to bite down on the valve to get water to come out. I guess this is a useful feature, but I never used it again after trying it out the first time. I like that the rubber straw goes so far down that it nearly touches the bottom of the bottle, ensuring that you can get just about every last drop of water. The lid stays on perfectly without any leaking problems, and the bottle feels comfortable in my hand when carrying it around. There's also a white ring that you can hang onto or strap it to a backpack or whatever else you may have. And for what it's worth, there was only a tiny bit of plastic-y smell in the bottle out of the box, and it was gone after a quick rinse with soap and water. I've put mine through the dish washer several times in the past month and it still looks brand new!

I don't have any problems with this water bottle. It's perfectly priced, the straw gives you a generous amount of water with each sip, it's compact while still getting you 14 ounces on the go, and it can take a beating. I've dropped mine a couple of times from about 4 feet onto concrete and hard floors, and it didn't crack. This would be perfect for anyone who needs a reliable bottle.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 9, 2014 5:28 PM PDT

Nerf Rebelle Agent Bow Blaster with purple arrows
Nerf Rebelle Agent Bow Blaster with purple arrows
Price: $29.99
9 used & new from $29.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Brave Hunger Avengers has a nice ring to it for a Nerf team, right?, September 7, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you thought the Rebelle series by Nerf was great, wait until you check out these new weapons. My daughter already loved the Heartbreaker Bow a lot, but this thing has completely replaced it thanks to the more realistic design. Where the Heartbreaker used darts and had a handle you pulled back, this Agent bow uses full fledged Nerf arrows and requires the user to pull back the string itself. The result? A Nerf bow that really packs a punch! Seriously, this sucker is right up there with the Powerbelle Blaster in terms of power, and will give anyone in a Nerf war a run for their money.

Let me get the negatives out of the way first, because there are few, and because they don't matter! The whole "agent" gimmick this bow is a part of is a cool idea on paper, but not executed well at all. Each of the arrows has a "secret message" on the fletching that can be read with [and without] the included decoder. The messages are simple lines like "LOL" and "Run!". Yeah, they're pretty dumb. Why not include a special pen to write your own messages instead, so you could shoot arrows to other people on your team, like where an opponent is hiding, or give orders like to move in from the left? There's also a red light that appears to help with targeting when you press the button on the front of the bow, right on the grip. It's a nice feature, just not necessary to use the bow. This is the only reason batteries are brought up on the box. The bow does NOT require batteries to fire!

Now for the bow- everything else about it is perfect! The string is very strong and once you get used to shooting the arrows, you can nail targets from over 70 feet with ease. Right out of the box I tried a test shot in my hallway from the wall of my living room, and was legitimately surprised to see how fast the arrow shot, and that it could have kept going, had it not been for the wall down there. This is definitely an outdoor toy! The arrows aren't heavy, and the tips are hollow, so they won't hurt too much when hit by one. Still, if it's from a close distance, you'll be feeling it for a while. My daughter is having a blast practicing shooting down cans and other objects, which should hold her over until her friends get some arsenal.

There's also a small quiver clip that attaches to the top of the bow, as you can see in the stock image. It only holds three arrows, and I'm sure Nerf will be putting out a quiver sometime in the future since these bows are doing so well. Assembling the bow is easy, and only requires a screwdriver to secure a small screw in place when you snap the two halves of the bow together. The string is already attached to both ends when you take it out of the box, so putting this together will only take you a minute.

I'm really happy with how quickly Nerf stepped up with the Rebelle series, and so is my daughter. To have a play bow that shoots arrows instead of darts is a welcome change, and I'm already seeing arrows in weird places when I get home from work. You might want to get one for yourself for self-defense too!

The Secret World of Arrietty (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
The Secret World of Arrietty (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
DVD ~ Bridgit Mendler
Offered by Best in West
Price: $26.98
58 used & new from $13.13

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A rainy day movie by Studio Ghibli., September 6, 2014
The Secret World of Arrietty, despite being one of Studio Ghibli's more recent films, seems to be one that most people don't talk about. I was wondering if this was because Arrietty was disappointing or maybe even not a good movie, but based on reviews here and other big movie sites, it maintains a great rating overall. So why don't we hear about this one a lot like we do Totoro, Laputa, Howl's Moving Castle or Spirited Away? I've had the movie for about 6 months now, and finally decided to give it a shot, and now I see why you rarely see any mention of Arrietty when Studio Ghibli is being talked about: the movie's just okay. There's nothing that makes it stand out. There's only one character that I found interesting, and he's on-screen for maybe 5 minutes max. It has a slightly dramatic tone because of one story element, and yet it's not touched on very much.

Arrietty is a Borrower- a little person who takes things from humans. It's not stealing though, as they take things that humans won't notice missing, like a single cube of sugar, a single tissue from a tissue box, etc. She lives with her mom and dad under the floor boards in a human's home, and they could very well be the last of their kind, as they haven't seen any other Borrowers in the area. One day a young, terminally ill boy named Sho moves into the house with his caretaker and another woman, causing much stress to Arrietty's family. Sho is a nice boy with a heart condition that requires surgery soon, and he mainly spend his time reading in bed. His caretaker, Haru, is an uppity old woman with a grudge against Borrowers for some reason, and is suspicious of them living somewhere nearby. Borrowers have a thing where, if they're spotted by humans, they need to move, for their own safety. To make things more difficult, there's a large crow and a fat cat in the area, who have no problem taking off after anything little.

It's hard to say much about this movie without ruining anything for two reasons. One being that barely anything happens, and the other reason being that when something DOES finally start to happen, much later in the film, even that takes a while to build up enough to the point where it's even remotely dramatic. For the first half of the movie, most of the attention is on Arrietty and her family, how they get around the huge human home to get supplies, with bits and pieces of Sho trying to live a relaxing life. I don't think it's much of a "spoiler" to say that Sho -does- see the little people (come on, just watch the trailer and look at the box's cover), and once spotted, it takes a while for Arrietty's family to pack up and get going. There's no real conflict of any kind here, although the same can be said for several other Ghibli movies. My Neighbor Totoro is 90% care-free until the very end, and the same applies for The Secret World of Arrietty. The difference, however, is that Totoro is far more interesting, has some cute and humorous scenes, and more interesting characters. Sho is sick, so he doesn't do much, and when he talks, it's very quiet and calm, no matter what's going on in the home, or what threat arises. Haru is just a...not so nice lady. Arrietty is a very cool young girl, a lot like Kiki, but isn't given a whole lot to do. Her dad is only in a handful of scenes before he goes off to look for a new home, and her mom is scared of everything human-related. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I spent a lot of this movie waiting for something to happen, be it conflict or a funny scene of some kind. The whole movie felt like a long trailer.

Watching The Secret World of Arrietty, I finally figured out what's seemed so off with Studio Ghibli's movies starting with Howl's Moving Castle: it's the art. Don't worry, I'm not saying it's bad- it's just that they don't seem to have a set style any more. The character designs are still very traditional and match their past work, yet the backgrounds have gotten extremely detailed and complex. It looks weird having basic character designs with not a lot of detail on these fancy backgrounds. Key examples include the doll house and the items that surround it. There's a large doll next to the house, and it looks like it was done with completely different tools from the rest of the scene. I also find it weird when certain characters or animals suddenly get tons of detail in their facial expressions. Haru's face doesn't have many wrinkles most of the time, until she gets an evil grin, she suddenly looks like the Grinch when he's thought of something wicked. Another example, in a different movie, is Yubaba from Spirited Away. She has tons of wrinkles and detail in her huge head. Compare the lack of detail in any other character in that movie and you'll get what I mean.

I also watched the movie with the original Japanese dialogue with English subtitles. I haven't been fluent in Japanese for over 10 years now, but even a beginner in the language could tell you that the subtitles aren't very accurate. Oh, "sugoi" (an expression like "wow") suddenly equals a sentence all by itself? I didn't know that. "Sumimasen" is also translated as "thank you" for some reason. It doesn't mean that. No. It means "excuse me". These are just small examples, and I doubt very many people be annoyed like I was. It just made me want to give the English dub a shot. At the same time, I looked up info on the dub, and it turns out that Disney added in a little bit of extra dialogue at the end. Some people flipped out, claiming that it ruins the movie. I don't think so, though I don't think it was necessary either.

3 stars may seem harsh to some. I didn't love the movie, and I didn't dislike it either. It kept my interest from beginning to end, for better or worse, and it had some pretty good music too. I probably won't be watching it again for a while- there just isn't anything that makes me want to come back for another viewing. It's one of those movies where you watch it and move on. It's a shame too, because if they had done more with Sho's condition, or upped the stakes a little during the would-be climax, this could have been something special. I suggest borrowing Arrietty ( pun intended, really!) from a friend before going with a purchase. Here's hoping The Wind Rises has more substance.

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