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Reviews Written by
Brian K. Miville "Brian M." RSS Feed (New Hampshire)

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The history of New Hampshire
The history of New Hampshire
Price: $5.99

1.0 out of 5 stars but even worse is all kinds of odd script that is gibberish ..., April 14, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is for the Kindle ebook version. The book starts at chapter XIII and I don't think the books is complete (as it is too short in length for it to be complete). What is more is it has many typos, but even worse is all kinds of odd script that is gibberish and not actual words (i.e. strange symbols.) In other words, the ebook version is incomplete and unreadable in every sense of the word.

Man With No Name Triple Feature (The Good, the Bad & The Ugly / A Fistful of Dollars / For a Few Dollars More)
Man With No Name Triple Feature (The Good, the Bad & The Ugly / A Fistful of Dollars / For a Few Dollars More)
DVD ~ Clint Eastwood
Offered by cds_dvds_guaranteed
Price: $29.97
20 used & new from $8.44

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What can I say?, February 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Most people looking at buying this trilogy have probably already seen, or already know well, the movies and story lines. Clint Eastwood plays "The man with no name" in this 3 movie set. The stories and characters are not really connected in any way except that Clint's is a set type that one takes to mean is meant it is the same person through all three films. Brooding, mysterious and motivated by various things for various reasons. Many people take for granted what Sergio Leone did for the Western genre of movie. Gone were the days of the formulaic, singing-on-horseback "Lone Ranger" types with stereotypical good guy lead. Raw, gritty and violent was the name of the game, and Leone brought more of an artistic touch to his style of delivery.

For the packaging you get a DVD case of normal width containing two discs. "A Fist Full of Dollars" and "For a Few Dollars More" are on one disc, each a different side, and "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" on it's own separate disc. Video transfer quality is decent....but don't expect HD quality....just not going to happen on 3 60's era movies. Sound quality is decent, but again not perfect due to the age of the films.

Wanted: Dead or Alive - The Complete Series - Special Edition
Wanted: Dead or Alive - The Complete Series - Special Edition
DVD ~ Steve McQueen
Price: $15.49
23 used & new from $11.52

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a show., February 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I had vaguely known about this show because I had seen replicas of the famous "Mare's Leg" McQueen used in the show, but I had never actually seen an episode (forgivable I hope since I was born in 1979.) On saw this here on Amazon one day, and on impulse I bought it to watch while I was on the treadmill exercising. I have always liked Steve McQueen as an actor, own a couple of his movies and see several others, so I figured this would fit the bill since I have been in an "Old West" kind of mood buying up classic western movies to watch. Boy was I surprised at what a gem this show turned out to be. I'll break this review up into sections about the show itself, and then the packaging format and reproduction quality.

The show itself:

So how does the show rate. Well, judging by my 5 star review you can guess how I feel. This show came early in Steve McQueens acting career, yet you probably would never have guessed. The seriousness and professionalism he brought to such great roles in movies like The Sand Pebbles and The Great Escape are equally evident in this show. The dialogue doesn't feel forced, McQueen acts, speaks and moves as if really Josh Randall, bounty hunter. The support cast can vary in some cases from well done, to stereotypical of the day (for example, in one episode McQueen captures an "Apache" and forces him to take him to water...the "Apache" has rather light colored eyes and the credits indicate a rather Germanic last name), but it is made up for with some classic greats like Alan Hale Jr. (the Skipper from Gilligan's Island) giving great performances. Now, I won't fool you into believing that the plot lines and acting are at the cinema level of such great movies as Sergio Leone's "Man with no name" trilogy, Unforgiven or Open Range. But how could a 24 minute long (not including credits), black and white TV series from the late 50's approach the level of a 3 hour Hollywood movie with multi-million dollar budgets? No, it isn't Oscar level, but the episodes still give you good plots and writing for the 24 minutes. Some can be formulaic (like when McQueen plays the humble good guy and gives over his bounty money to the down-and-out person of said given episode.) But for the most part you get hit with catchy situations that don't necessarily seem as if they came out of a Louis L'amour novel. As long as you can accept the limitations that such a short TV show from that time period had to work with then you will be quite satisfied all around with what this show offers you.

Packaging and video transfer reproduction:

There are 12 DVD's, each in it's own paper sleeve, and held inside a DVD case that is roughly the width of 2 1/2 or 3 regular sized DVD cases. Some would see this as a minor negative. Frankly it does not bother me since I have started converting my CD and DVD collection into jewel case/DVD case-less packaging. Now, as soon as I get a DVD or CD in I pull out the disc, all the papers/artwork that come with it, stick the disc in a Case Logic disc case and put the papers/artwork in a special box dedicated to it. This way I can pick up a case (usually divided into categories like "TV shows", "War movies", "Westerns", etc.) and have instant access to a whole collection. But if you still use CD DVD cases be aware the packaging is not quite as good as many other multi-disc DVD cases.

The reproduction to digital of the original show, for the most part is very good. You will get the occasional audio oddity, like low volume or the odd "click" or "pop". I have not watched all the episodes yet, but of those I have watched the video is just fine. So the only issue I have found so far have been audio only.

The moral of the story:

For under $20 you get 94 episodes, bonus material, a great actor just coming into his stride, respectable video/audio quality and overall a well made show. What more could you ask for!?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 18, 2015 3:04 PM PDT

Camp Chef True Seasoned  Cast Iron Pie Pan 10" CIPIE10
Camp Chef True Seasoned Cast Iron Pie Pan 10" CIPIE10
Offered by OpticsPlanet, Inc
Price: $17.99
11 used & new from $17.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As another reviewer says...., January 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
....this ain't Lodge. I had been looking for a nice pie pan for a while now. Something with function, but that also looks pretty good. I use cast iron from Lodge a lot (I own over a dozen of Lodge's products) but for some reason never thought to look into cast iron pie pans. To my surprise I found two here on Amazon. The other alternative had a good price point, but not quite as good on the reviews, and not nearly as elegant as this pan. The fluting along the edge is not quite as pronounced in person as it shows in the pictures, but it still looks nice enough. And the scrolling handles are a nice touch as well. So I went ahead and ordered one of these. Upon opening the box two things struck me. A slight smell of what one could mistake as machining oil. But a quick scrub with some mild soap and water before the first round of seasoning and the smell disappeared. So not much of a problem there. Second thing that struck me was the pretty rough finish. There were a couple of spots where bare metal could just barely be seen poking through. The pan had a matte black color very reminiscent of matte aluminum anodizing. And the edges of the pan were a bit rough, some grinding spots here, a small chip there. But as I said, I gave it a quick wash in some mild soap and water, coated with some peanut oil, and set it into the oven at 450 degrees. As one reviewer noted, the first few rounds of seasoning found the pan sort of drinking up the oil pretty good. I kept at it, and after 8 coats of seasoning the finish is now black and shiny like my Lodge pans. The rough spots around the edge don't look so bad under that coat of seasoning, actually kind of adding to the charm (sort of like how pre-ripped jeans were such a fad for a while), and the rough texture has mellowed out quite well an should do so even more over time as the pan gets used. So in the end I am taking off one star only for the initial look of the product. I did not mind the seasoning process since I do that even with brand new Lodge equipment (remember, "pre-seasoned" does not instantly mean it is non-stick out of the box, it just means it is ready to cook with). And after the process things worked themselves out in the end.

So bottom line, with Lodge not currently making a pie pan, and with the other given options, I think this is worth the price point. Will I buy another? As of right now, yes. That may change if Lodge suddenly up and releases their own pie pan. But I don't see that happening any time soon. So for now I am content with this product.

Original Album Series -  Testament
Original Album Series - Testament
Price: $24.70
39 used & new from $12.29

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I like the trend., January 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
OK, first things first. Testament. Box set. Great deal! That says it most.

I have been in a thrash kind of mood, and have been collecting CD's from some of the greats that I didn't already have on hand. Someone I know mentioned Testaments newest release (Dark Roots of Thrash) and it reminded me I had no Testament in the collection. So I sealed the deal with Amazon with zero hesitation. How can you not be happy with 5 discs under $30 and free shipping!?

Now, I want to say straight up that I like this trend that has popped up where labels release old CD's in stripped down box sets. I have written before that I don't really care about extraneous materials like liner notes, and I have even moved to a jewel case-less collection as a means to save space. So I have no regrets that these box sets have no liner notes. I still buy CD's because the more fickle MP3 crowd makes used CD's so much cheaper, and box sets like these a value. These box sets are the best of both worlds because they allow the labels/artists to milk a bit more from old releases, and the consumer can jump start a collection dirt cheap. I hope this continues and more collections become available at bargain prices!

Sun's Tea (TM) 8oz Ultra Clear Glass Tea/Coffee Cup & Clear Glass Saucer, Set of 2
Sun's Tea (TM) 8oz Ultra Clear Glass Tea/Coffee Cup & Clear Glass Saucer, Set of 2
Offered by Sun's Tea
Price: $19.99
4 used & new from $6.98

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple yet elegant!, October 18, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
For years I have just been using a big old mug to drink my tea. I finally decided to get myself some real teacups, and while browsing here on Amazon I found this set and was instantly smitten! The cups are made of borosillicate glass (as I read it, the same stuff that Pyrex measuring cups are made of) so are crystal clear, yet a bit more resistant to thermal shock. I have had a little experience with borosillicate teaware since I own a Yama Glass "Sitka" teapot I bought here on Amazon. I have used it for almost two years now, and that particular product has held up very well over that time period, so I expect the same from these teacups. Yes they are a bit thin in a general sense, but not really when compared to other teacups. So while borosillicate glassware is fairly durable, for the most part I do treat it gently. I handwash my teaware and nothing goes in the dishwasher, so that will never be an issue for me. The cup holds the stated 8oz of liquid (confirmed with a measuring cup), which is perfect for tea. The crystal clear glass allows the true color of the liquor to shine, the saucer is a nice size and pretty thick, and the handle on the cup is a perfect size even for my tree trunk sized fingers, and it stays cool no matter how hot the water is that goes into it. It is in every respect a nice and simple yet elegant cup and saucer that, as long as you treat it with care, should last you quite a long time.

The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1990 (10 CD)
The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1990 (10 CD)
Price: $37.61
134 used & new from $28.11

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect entry to ZZ Top, July 14, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I will be honest, I never gave ZZ Top their proper due. Most of my exposure came from radio, where the 80's synthesizer hits ruled. Now, that is not to say I did not/do not like these songs. Rather, I looked at them as good background music....something one is indifferent to. But I have been on a kick picking up a lot of older music I liked but never had bought. So I saw this box set was up for pre order and on impulse got it. I am ever so glad I did! While "La Grange" and "Cheap Sunglasses" should have proven to me what kind of great sound was there I was quite surprised at their oldest offerings. Truly great blues rock! I am now a steadfast "early Top" fan. And this box set got me into this great period for dirt cheap money! Some may see the packaging as a con. I don't. I would rather have this kind of packaging at this price rather than the addition of liner notes and an extra $20. Let's be honest, in today's internet frenzied world who really needs liner notes? Need lyrics? They are a Google search away. Want to know who wrote or produced a song, or similar information. Google. I don't think I have ever bought a CD and looked at the liner notes more than once since the year 2000. If I need that info I just jump on the internet. Now I will grant one thing. The cardboard sleeve may not be the best for long term playing, taking it out and putting it in over and over again. But I load everything into my iTunes player so for me it is not a big deal. The only reason I still buy CD's is because I am a bit neurotic and like having physical hardcopies just in case (a lesson learned after a hard drive crash that left me re burning my whole collection for 3 weeks straight). Plus you can find some amazing used CD's in great condition for a fraction of the price of buying the MP3 or as a new CD. But I digress...

Overall it is hard to hold any negatives against this box set. You get every penny you pay for from it. As others mention it's mastering is spot on (I think too many arm-chair Mac Book users with fancy sound processing programs that are griping about "brickwalling" need to calm down and take a step back). So it sounds nice and rich. If you are a new ZZ Top fan you get the first 10 albums for a great price. If you are an old ZZ Top fan you apparently get a better sounding set of copies (though since I have not heard of any of the "6 pack" "Smoke, Chrome.." and so on I have to take their word for it). Either way this is a winning combination!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 23, 2013 5:17 PM PDT

Lodge LPP3 Square Ribbed Panini Press, 8.25-inch
Lodge LPP3 Square Ribbed Panini Press, 8.25-inch
Offered by KRA Enterprises
Price: $35.28
7 used & new from $19.99

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy uni-tasker (w/tips and recipes)., December 10, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have been on a cast iron craze lately. I have been collecting Lodge products, and eventually it came to this little uni-tasker. I waffled a I said, it is a uni-tasker. Some reviewers say they use it for other things like grilling chicken and such. But I was looking to straight up make paninis. In the end I just decided to go for the bull and get it. And boy am I glad I did! You have a few options in how you can use this item...the Lodge grill pan is the best since the ridges in the bottom of the pan match those on the panini press. However, if you don't mind too much if the bottom of your panini does not have ribs you can use a plain flat bottom skillet (make sure your skillet is big enough in diameter!) The third option is the one I am using at the moment, which is the Lodge pro 2 burner griddle. I use the ribbed side, which does not match the panini press (the ribs are narrower and spaced further apart) but accomplishes the general idea. I do plan on getting the ribbed grill pan at some point, but for now things work well this way.

So, when the product arrived I gave it the usual 2 or 3 extra pre-seasonings using palm oil shortening in a 350 degree oven. Then it was time to get to work. I placed my pro 2 burner griddle on med. high heat (I have an electric stove, so used the 5 1/2 mark on the front and rear burner knobs) to pre-heat for about 10 minutes. I placed the panini press on a third burner to pre-heat by itself using the same setting, 5 1/2. Made up the panini using olive oil brushed on the outside of the bread, set it down on the griddle and (with a gloved hand!...don't forget the handle will get very hot!!!!!) waited about 3 minutes. The press stuck a bit to the bread on top a bit (I continue to have this minor issue, and I think it is not because of the seasoning lacking, but just the way the ribs kind of like to hold the bread a little bit), but I took a butter knife and used that to kinda just hold the bread lightly while I pulled out...pop, press came off just fine. Alas the bread on top was mildly toasted, but not browned (tasted just fine, and was like white toast, but definitely not what you expect from a panini). The bottom, however, was just fine, excellent, perfect in every way. This led me to believe the press was either not hot enough to begin with, or that I needed to compensate for the fact that the minute it goes on top it is losing heat where the pan underneath always has heat. So the next time I made a panini I pre-heated the bottom pan as normal (5 1/2 setting), but the press I heated to a higher temp (7 1/2). With 10 minutes of pre-heating it actually started to lightly smoke, so I could tell I had it much hotter. And sure enough this time the top and bottom came out an even dark brown. The actual process of grilling the panini only took about a minute and a half to two minutes. Dark, brown, delicious!

So that is the biggest tip I can give. Pre-heat your panini press to a decent degree higher than your bottom pan.

One other thing to note has to do with cheese. When using sliced cheese or at least a light amount of shredded you should have no problems. However, I made a panini today using a good mound of shredded cheese, and while the whole sandwich was warmed all the way through the cheese deep in the middle did not melt to that stringy, classic "grilled cheese" kind of consistency. So a little experimenting in that scenario may be needed.

So here are some "recipes" (I hesitate to really say they are such since, well, it is just a grilled sandwich after all.) So far they have all been using homemade artesian bread from my Lodge dutch oven. It is a buttermilk, cheddar and herb bread that is proving awesome for paninis (and if anyone wants the recipe I can gladly post it here if they like along with instructions on how to make great bread in your dutch oven!) Actually, I must correct batch of panini were made on store bought, fresh made artesian sourdough (available from the bakery at Hannafords). Tasted good too, but the Buttermilk/cheddar/herb bread is better in my opinion.

Turkey/Bacon/Cheddar/onion panini:
Get some sliced turkey from the deli. Some nice sliced sharp cheddar. Cooked bacon slices. Sauté up some onions (by all means use raw onions, but onions sautéed in butter have such a wonderful sweet flavor and texture!) Take your bread slices (about 1/2" thick slices work best) and brush on some olive oil one side of both slices. Assemble your panini w/ olive oil sides facing out. Place on grill/pan, plop on the panini press and cooked to desired color on the bread is reached (should not take more than a few minutes) using the instructions/tips noted above in main review.

Bacon/Cheese/onion panini:
Take some bacon slices. Get a fine variety of shredded cheese. In this case I used cheddar, jack and a quesadilla cheese. Once again bring out my favorite style onion, the sautéed kind. To get the best results lay down half your cheese on the bottom slice, stack on your bacon, onions, and then the other half of your cheese followed by your final slice of bread. The cheese on both sides helps to "glue" everything together when all melted. From here on ditto above.

Roast beef/mushroom/Cheddar panini:
Pretty self explanatory. Get some sliced roast beef from your local deli. Sauté up some mushrooms (yeah, I know, sautéing vegetables adds more work...but trust me, it is WORTH it!). Sliced mild or sharp cheddar (I don't care much for swiss cheese, but I assume it would also make a nice substitution here). From here on ditto above.

Some other ideas I am planning on trying at some point:
Bacon/sun dried tomato (processed into a paste)/spinach/cheddar
Sautéed green pepper/sautéed onion/sautéed mushroom/cheddar
Italian sausage/sautéed onion/sautéed pepper/mozzarella/marinara sauce
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 18, 2013 5:37 AM PST

House of Gold & Bones Part One
House of Gold & Bones Part One
Price: $9.99
135 used & new from $2.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice addition to the catalog., October 26, 2012
I bought Stone Sour's debut album when it first came out but sort of fell out of the loop with both them and Slipknot. But a few months ago I got back into things and got caught up. It was not long after that when we get the new single/s Gone and Absolute. The we got tempted even more with RU486 released just before the album dropped. So I have been looking forward to this release for a while. I must say overall it does not disappoint. I would not call it the best release of yet....for me it is the debut album. I would put HOG&B on par with Come What(ever) May, with maybe a slight nod more to that album, but that may just because it is more familiar to me at the moment. I will say that the last couple songs just seem to be lacking that little "oomph", and mostly why I am gigging a star (no it has nothing to do with liking slow vs. fast song). Most songs either have a good guitar hook (the intro to Gone Sov. for example) or play on Corey's vocals (Absolute or Rumor of Skin for example), and I guess for me the last couple songs didn't really put either out there. But this should not be taken to mean the last couple songs sucked. If they did I would be giving this 3 or 2 stars. Nope, bottom line is this is a pretty good album that will probably pull in the guys a bunch of awards and go multi platinum.

Live & Inspired [2 CD][Explicit]
Live & Inspired [2 CD][Explicit]
Price: $11.99
31 used & new from $7.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great live album!, May 31, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Just picked this up and gave it a good listen. As others have mentioned, this was recorded in 2007, and as such only contains content from albums up to that point. Been a smacker since they were just an up and coming local act outta Mass (I own a copy of the very first release of "All Wound Up" and even had to buy a second copy when they started selling them with "Whatever" as an add on single packaged with the album). Been following along ever since. I don't do concerts much (really at all) and like to get my "live" experience from recordings. So I take Live albums serious


This is clearly a soundboard recording and not a bootleg recorded version. All channels are crisp and clear, crowd noise minimal. So what you get is a full force sucker punch to the ears! This is just as a "live" recording should be!

They nailed it with regards to song selection. They mixed up some good song choices from their albums to that date.

All the songs have a great feel to them. Godsmack has been one of those acts that makes great studio music, but excelled more so on the stage. You can feel the energy in this recording.

Sound quality-wise this ranks up there with stuff like Metallica's Live S*** Binge and Purge or Iron Maiden's Live After Death recordings. Same energy and vibe too.

Only minor quibble:

The cover songs, in my opinion only, are not knocking me out of my seat. Don't take that to mean I don't like them (if I did not I would not be giving this 5 stars). Just that they did not "WOW" me. But then again I would probably say I am a Metallica fan first, and an all piano cover of NEM is not as great as the original, so I may be biased.

Bottom Line:

Great sound. Great song selection. Great vibe. A worthy addition to your G-smack collection.

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