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Customer Reviews: 740
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Kevin Nicholls "jaded, aging hipster" RSS Feed (Milford, MI)
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CANIDAE Grain Free Pure Land with Fresh Bison for Dogs
CANIDAE Grain Free Pure Land with Fresh Bison for Dogs
Price: $54.99
13 used & new from $52.65

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fancypants dog food for your fancypants dog., November 25, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Okay, I didn't actually eat this, but my dogs did, and they're fairly picky. (Well, fairly picky about dog food. Not at all discriminating about old Taco Bell wrappers in the trash...)

I really liked seeing that there's a convenient way to give them food that's more than processed cereal, but that also doesn't take up room in my refrigerator or that needed preparation. I also appreciate that this is made by a smaller, domestic company. Back in 2007, my dogs just squeaked by not getting poisoned with melamine from another higher-end brand we used to be loyal to. The chances of that happening with Canidae's products seems remote.

The downsides... well... there are two:

First, this is pretty expensive for anyone who isn't committed to a very, very specific diet. If you're just looking to switch things up from Kibbles 'n' Bits, this probably isn't what you're looking for.

The second downside is perhaps a bit more nuanced. My two dogs are completely different mixed breeds, and the flatulence this seems to inflict is unholy. On one hand, I can accept the "Well, every other dog food is junk, and they need to adjust". On the other, it's like something has actually died in the room. Ugh.


Timex® Men's T46866 Intelligent Quartz Fly Back Chrono Compass Silver Case Brown Strap Watch
Timex® Men's T46866 Intelligent Quartz Fly Back Chrono Compass Silver Case Brown Strap Watch
Offered by David's designer Boutique
Price: $164.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Looks nice, but the band is for tiny wrists., November 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The watch looks much more expensive than the Timex brand would have you think, and the fit and finish are a touch above what you might expect in this price range. In terms of having a sporty but subdued look, Timex has really nailed it.

The compass is a cool feature that you don't see too often, and getting things working doesn't require keeping a manual in your pocket.

The major downside for me, is how tiny the band is. Admittedly, I'm near the last two notches on most bands... but it's exceedingly rare that I come across watches that just don't fit. And for what it's worth, my wrists are bony, and my hands and arms are pretty average sized for someone about 6'1".

It's a shame, because the strap is a really nice quality for this price range, but for the cost of replacing it with a bigger one of similar quality, you could buy yourself a nicer watch... which is what I plan to do.


Big Hero 6 Armor-Up Baymax Action Figure
Big Hero 6 Armor-Up Baymax Action Figure
Offered by TTstores
Price: $13.78
132 used & new from $10.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Big Bandai Fun, but maybe for older kids..., November 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My six year-old was super excited to see this come out of an Amazon box today, and I have to say, I was pretty impressed. The packaging is really nice, and Baymax looks very, very cool in the box.

We put the armor on, and made some quick discoveries. First, much like in the movie, Baymax's transformation, the pieces take some effort to put on, and once they're on, they don't stay very well. Particularly, the helmet and legs.

Second, being something of an 80's kid, I saw the Bandai logo and immediately knew what to expect. And as a Bandai toy, if you know what you're getting yourself in to, this is probably a five-star purchase. For the money, it's HUGE, and the detail is nice. If the word "Robotech" means anything to you, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

On the other hand, if you're just looking for a Baymax toy for your young child, this is going to drive you nuts. It's not really made for getting bashed around in a toybox, and for younger people, putting all of the pieces together could be frustrating. Even though this is listed as "4 and up", keep in mind that just means that there a pieces a child 3 and under could choke on. Personally, I don't think I'd buy this for a kid younger than 6.


Nesco VS-02 Food Vacuum Sealer, Black/Silver
Nesco VS-02 Food Vacuum Sealer, Black/Silver
Price: $59.99
67 used & new from $47.99

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kind of big. Kind of heavy. Kind of great., November 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There's a lot to like about the the Nesco VS-02, starting with the impressive vacuum power. I've used cheaper sealers in the past, and they never performed like this!

Personally, I can't stand even the slightest bit of freezer burn, and so far, the VS-02 hasn't disappointed. Everything I've sealed looks almost professionally prepared, and has me confident enough to start buying "family size" packs of meat at the store, and saving some money.

Speaking of saving money, I'm not sure what's up with Nesco's pricing on replacement bags. I'm usually hesitant to go astray from OEM recommendations, but I came across these bags, which seem to be the same thing in bulk packaging. All things considered, the seal is just heat applied to plastic, so if you can get the roll to fit, just about any brand probably works.

The only real downside is that this is much larger and heavier than it appears in pictures. More likely than not, this isn't something that's going to be kept on your countertop -- but because it's fairly heavy, I'd be apprehensive about buying it for someone who has trouble bending and lifting.

Otherwise, I've been really impressed. It's probably overkill for the one-off "I want to seal my bag of Doritos" kind of use, but otherwise, I'd probably put it towards the top of my shopping list if I needed a sealer.


Canon MAXIFY MB5020 Wireless Office All-In-One Inkjet Printer, Print, Copy, Scan & Fax
Canon MAXIFY MB5020 Wireless Office All-In-One Inkjet Printer, Print, Copy, Scan & Fax
Price: $149.00
24 used & new from $118.04

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A monster printer that doesn't justify itself., November 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The hardest part in living with the MB5020, is trying to figure out who this printer is for.

Presumably, it's for people who are burning through Pixma MX922 ink cartridges like mad, and for "real" offices. Thing is, if you're actually doing any sort of hi-cap printing, you're not going to want to do it with an inkjet that has replacement cartridges that go for $30 a pop. Sure, it holds more ink, but you're not really getting much savings over the half-as-big Pixma carts that cost half as much. If you're doing anything close to the 30,000 pages/month that this printer is rated for, you'd be nuts to drop enough money to keep yourself in ink, instead of going laser.

On the other hand, the scanner is pretty quick, and the ADF can hold 50 pages, which is really nice. Maybe it's mostly for people who need that kind of scanning capability.

Speaking as a middle manager, this seems squarely targeted at middle managers who have some semblance of purchasing authority, and don't care about ongoing costs.

Because this is a "real" office printer, there's a minimalist administration function, but it's not really designed for AD integration, and there are only a handful meaningful of local settings you can make. Even the lowly HP OfficeJet 6830 comes with a more substantial JetDirect interface.

Apparently, Canon also thinks that part of a "real" office is that you have infinite space, and no concern for design. The paper tray design is nothing short of ludicrous. Seriously, it's the most nonsensical paper mechanism I've seen. It's almost as though the paper tray was a complete afterthought -- from the awful design, to the unbelievably flimsy plastic it's made from. Ugh. For a printer this huge, it's really confusing.

Yes, it prints under any common wireless protocol around, which is nice... I guess. However, as we approach 2015, there are printers for under a hundred bucks that speak AirPrint and Google Cloud. You'd think there might be native scan-to Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive... And there is... sort of... but it takes some clunky configuring on a Mac or Windows computer, and is less than graceful to use.

Taking everything in to consideration, there's really nobody I could recommend this for, unless you have a frequent need for more than 10 pages in your ADF. It's overkill for most home offices, but it's not built well enough for more than a small workgroup. It doesn't really print better than other inkjets, it isn't substantially cheaper to run... As a product, the MB5020 is a mess. Other MAXIFY printers may be better, but I'd avoid this specific model.


The Endless River (Vinyl)
The Endless River (Vinyl)
Price: $32.99
52 used & new from $16.10

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding album, but the vinyl version is a disappointment., November 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Endless River (Vinyl) (Vinyl)
I've somehow managed to enjoy Pink Floyd throughout the span of their career -- yes, even A Momentary Lapse of Reason. And where I was expecting The Endless River to be more of a continuation of The Division Bell, I was really pleased to find that the soundscapes in this largely-instrumental album seem to have referential influences to the span of Pink Floyd's career.

Unquestionably, people will dismiss this album as pretentious, while others will consider it a fantastic swan song. I won't really take sides there, but I'd like to share my impressions on the vinyl version of The Endless River:

As much as I enjoy Pink Floyd... as much as I'm willing to lay down for rarities or "Deluxe" versions (by the way, if you haven't figured it out yet, they're going to have a new "anniversary" version of Dark Side of the Moon every 5 - 10 years, well after you're dead and buried), I have to say that this really feels like the biggest cash grab yet.

The gatefold cover has an almost rubberized anti-slip feel to it, which is kind of cool, except that mine came with a ton of manufacturing flaws, like fingerprints where the coating was over-applied. The included picture album is nice, but the stock is the same quality you'd expect from a CD booklet, albeit larger.

The albums themselves look "half full". Granted, Pink Floyd was a pioneer (if not originator) of AOR, but literally every side of each album is 50% leadout. I'd get it if there was some sort of "every series of 3 or 4 songs is a cohesive piece", but that's really not the case. The 180 gram vinyl is an absolute expectation in this price range, but even there, one of my labels is off-center, and the albums arrived absolutely filthy.

You might be thinking "Really? That's all stuff you're complaining about?", which is valid, if this cost about 50% less, or had more content. And you might say "But it's a gatefold with two 180 gram pressings." Sure, but so is the anniversary edition of Ten, just for example's sake.

For the music and content, I think The Endless River is an important piece for any Pink Floyd fan to own, even if it's to complete your collection. But unless you're a collector, I'd strongly consider getting this on CD instead of throwing down so much for such a disappointing vinyl package.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 2, 2014 11:30 AM PST


Prayers for the Stolen
Prayers for the Stolen
by Jennifer Clement
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.90
83 used & new from $5.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A story of despair that's truer than you might think., November 7, 2014
This review is from: Prayers for the Stolen (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Jennifer Clement wove a sad tale of a young woman coming of age where drug cartels control rural Mexico. The imagery is harsh and the descriptions engage all the reader's senses. The novel is short, an easy read, but very depressing. I don't plan to read it again.

The novel moves through time with the stream of consciousness of Ladydi. Not shockingly, Lady Diana is revealed as the source for the main character’s name. The book is written first person and Ladydi doesn’t use quotation marks when quoting a conversation. I missed the quotation marks and didn’t enjoy the choppy style of writing.

The main characters are all Mexican women. The small mountain-town Ladydi grows up in has no male inhabitants, and all residents live every day in fear. All babies born are said to be boys to protect the girls from abduction by the drug cartels. The girls are raised to look like boys and look unattractive. Their daily life is grim, and nearly hopeless.

Rita, Ladydi’s mother, teaches her at young age that God will be sure to deny anything you pray for. "Do not bring attention to what you actually want, instead pray for spoons." If you're particularly religious, you're probably going to take issue with some part of the book.

All things being equal, Prayers for the Stolen offers up an intriguing look at Mexico during an incredibly dangerous period of time. If you're familiar with Juarez City and its deep roots in narcotics and corruption, the insight will be striking. The more casually aware you are, the less interesting I'd presume the book gets for most readers. Combined with a writing style that isn't always straightforward, I'd have a hard time recommending it to everyone. If you fall within the somewhat limited target audience, though, it's worth your time.


CANON PIXMA iP110 Wireless Mobile Printer With Airprint(TM) And Cloud Compatible
CANON PIXMA iP110 Wireless Mobile Printer With Airprint(TM) And Cloud Compatible
Price: $159.00
31 used & new from $159.00

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If you need the smallest footprint, it's not horrible., November 6, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been kind of a printer horse for going on two decades, and I think I've found the first printer that has left me totally stumped. Not stumped getting it setup. That was actually really easy, like most Canon printers. AirPrint worked just fine from my iPad, Google Cloud Print worked just as well from my Android tablet, and my MacBook Pro quickly found the printer, and getting it going was a snap.

That's all fine and good, but that's also true of the Canon Pixma MG3520 which at the time of this review, costs nearly 75% less. Admittedly, it doesn't peak at 9000 dpi (which takes an eternity to print on this), but it does have a scanner / copier. And even though it uses expensive all-in-one color cartridges, you could throw it out and buy a new printer almost three more times, before hitting the price of the iP110.

The only reason I can see buying this is portability -- which, of course, is how it's positioned. But even there, it's really confusing. As a compact printer, the thing weighs a ton. It may be dimensionally compact, but don't plan on taking this puppy with you, when you're going out with your tablet or laptop. This is made to look pretty, and play nicely with AirPrint / Cloud Print. If that's worth a premium to you, there's not a lot of competition to compare this to.

Otherwise, the redeeming qualities beyond Canon quality and US-based support are pretty sparse.


Camelbak Products Forge Vacuum Mug, Black Smoke, 16-Ounce
Camelbak Products Forge Vacuum Mug, Black Smoke, 16-Ounce
Price: $25.99
13 used & new from $19.61

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Climbing a mountain? Need coffee while you do it? Here you go., November 6, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
At first blush, I thought this was a nice travel mug looking to unseat my extensive collection of 16-ounce Contigo Autoseal tumblers as part of the must-have trinity before leaving for work. (The other two items: car keys, and my laptop.)

As a simple "will be outside for the duration of time it takes me to walk from my house to my car" travel mug, it's about as luxurious as it gets. It fits under my Keurig, just like my Contigo collection -- a must-have feature. It keeps my coffee hot for hours on end -- another important function. And, it appears to be bomb-proof. That's what got me thinking that this is really designed for much more.

Of course, I recognized the Camelbak name from their line of hydration backpacks for people infinitely more athletic than me. But it wasn't until I held this mug that I truly appreciated that it's made for people who are going climbing on actual mountains -- probably more than for people who want some coffee while driving to the community center before screwing around on the rock wall.

This mug begs to be abused, and is built well enough to take most of what you could throw at it (assuming you're not able to throw fireballs that would burn long and hot enough to melt the plastic). If that's what you need in a mug, look no further. If you plan to go zip-lining in between meetings, look no further. If you want people to think you're "outdoorsy", look no further. If you just want some coffee without it spilling or getting cold after ten minutes, consider the Contigo tumbler (which is infinitely cheaper at warehouse clubs) instead.


ACDelco ANI405 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench 500-Feet-Pound
ACDelco ANI405 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench 500-Feet-Pound
Price: $76.99
6 used & new from $61.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for the shadetree mechanics out there., November 6, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Admittedly, I'm not a professional mechanic. Though, I do like to do basic auto maintenance, including rotating my tires -- which is probably 80% of the use I get out of an impact wrench.

Before this, I was using a "cheapest you can get me" model from Harbor Freight, which has actually served me pretty well over the years. But, I've noticed lately that the performance has been kind of flaky, and was looking for a replacement.

Right off the bat, this is probably twice as heavy as my old impact wrench. You can feel the difference in quality immediately, just holding it in your hand. Connected to my compressor, I was really taken aback by how smooth the operation is, compared to my old one. If I had known there could be this big of a difference, I never would have put up with that cheap old thing. Especially when the price (as of the time of this review) with the coupon promotion makes this squarely in the bottom of Harbor Freight pricing.

Another nice thing that never would have occurred to me otherwise, was how easy it was to get my impact sockets on and off, but also how secure they felt. If this is your first impact wrench, it's not going to seem like anything special. But if you're upgrading, like me, you'd swear this should cost way more.

There were a few things that keep me from giving this a five-star rating though. For starters, the trigger seems too recessed to me, and I really don't care for the quality of the plastic it's made from. Second, while I think we all know we're not getting GM mechanic-grade tools just because they say "AC/Delco" on them, this is a licensed product -- which is to say: it was made in a Taiwanese factory that has no association with AC/Delco beyond paying them to use the name. And finally, I was a bit disappointed to see that this didn't come with a case (I'm thinking a cheap, junky, "costs 13 cents to make" case, nothing special) or a small container of lubricating oil.


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