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Profile for J. M. Taylor > Reviews


J. M. Taylor's Profile

Customer Reviews: 192
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Iron Man T Shirt Funny Chemistry Shirt Periodic Table Element Elemental Geeky Fe
Iron Man T Shirt Funny Chemistry Shirt Periodic Table Element Elemental Geeky Fe
Offered by shop4yoo-US
Price: $19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun shirt of good quality, July 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Clever shirt, and the material feels like its high quality and denser than the shirts you find at the big box stores locally. It's washed well and hasn't shrunk on me. The red and yellow are nice and bright. Cool buy - I've gotten lots of compliments on it the few times I've worn it out and about.

Cole and Mason HP03780 Button Acrylic Salt and Pepper Mill Set
Cole and Mason HP03780 Button Acrylic Salt and Pepper Mill Set
Offered by Kitchen Essentials
Price: $14.50
2 used & new from $12.97

2.0 out of 5 stars Too small and comes apart with use, July 29, 2015
I bought these on a whim. In person, it is impressive how tiny they are. I don't have huge bear paws for hands, but trying to grind with these was uncomfortable and awkward. The pepper mill lid would also work its way loose as I was using the mill no matter how tight I turned the knob on top. This, of course, makes dialing in the coarseness of the pepper kind of useless. They look kind of neat, but they hold so little spice and are difficult to use, I say pass on them.

Sony Xperia Z3v, Black 32GB (Verizon Wireless)
Sony Xperia Z3v, Black 32GB (Verizon Wireless)
10 used & new from $248.77

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing , Little-Known Phone That Only Suffers from Lack of Accessories!, May 25, 2015
My smartphone background is this: iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S4, and a Note 4 for only a few days. And then I picked up the Xperia.
I won't bore you with details about how and why I bounced from Apple to Android; it doesn't matter. I was due for an upgrade on my S4, and despite it being a pretty good phone, I wanted something else. Due to an incorrect label at a local store, I got a great deal on a Note 4. It's a fine phone, approximately the size of your neighborhood IMAX screen. And it came with the same bloated Touch Wiz UI that I had grown tired of with the S4. And the stylus? Forget it. It was a fun novelty but, I had no need for such a thing. So back it went for the Xperia.

And I'm ridiculously happy I got it!

The 5.2inch display is beautiful with great viewing angles, and sharp colors. The camera is fantastic - nobody talks about it! It's quick to load and snap off pictures. It has a fantastic auto mode, but lots of interesting other modes (The AR function is a fun diversion - I spent fifteen minutes lobbing 3D suction cup arrows at my cat. That says more about me than I'd like it to). A genius idea on Sony's part was to place a hardware button on the lower right side that is dedicated to launching the camera in landscape mode. You hold it down for a hair over a second to launch it so it doesn't fire up accidentally. Another reviewer called this a camera that happens to be a smartphone. That's very apt.

The phone is currently running KitKat 4.4.4 but I just got a bunch of downloads that optimize it for Lollipop whenever that drops. The phone is very fast to operate and to boot. I think that Sony does include some unnecessary bloatware, but its not to the point of Touch Wiz and can be easily disabled. Verizon is also a culprit here, as they dump tons of junk on all of their smartphones. The Sony UI (I don't know if it has a name) is still clean and uncluttered. It's very responsive and easy to navigate. They have 'sub-widgets' which is interesting. When you press the button that shows all your open apps, there is a small area with four tiny widgets. By default, they are a timer, a calculator, screen capture and internet browser window. They are tucked away in there, but its nice to have them and they don't take up home screen real estate.

This Xperia has two front facing stereo speakers. They're kind of tough to see both in pictures of the phone and in real life. Like the HTC One M9, they are great to have. They sound nice and loud, and have good clarity, but not much lower end (as to be expected). A huge step up from the little speakers mounted on the back of phones. More manufacturers should follow this speaker placement design. You have access to an equalizer for the songs, as well as HighRez play back which bumps the clarity of your downloaded music.

The phone itself is a glass-encased monolith. It is large, but not Note 4 large. It is, of course, waterproof in 5 feet of fresh water for 30 minutes as long as all of the little port flaps are closed. The flaps for the micro USB port for charging can get annoying after awhile, but the Xperia supports Qi wireless charging out of the box, which helps negate that. This wireless charging even works with a case on the phone (I have an OtterBox Defender, and despite its bulk, I'm able to charge overnight just fine without removing the phone. You will need to purchase a Qi wireless charging pad separately, but there are lots of designs for fairly low prices available on Amazon. For sheer convenience, a wireless charger is totally worth it.

The battery life has been great on this phone. I'm not a huge gamer, but I check Facebook and Instagram regularly, text, check email and surf the interwebs. The battery is a Li-ion 3200 mAH, which is bigger than my S4 and creeps up on the Note 4. Unfortunately, the battery is NOT removable like it is with the Note 4. There is a Stamina mode and Ultra Stamina mode that help you eek out more battery life. You also get a clock that shows you approximately how much time you have left on that charge.

Speaking of cases, you'll want one. That beautiful glass body likely won't hold up to a drop. Unfortunately, there are not many cases made just for the Z3v (cases made for the Z3 model will NOT fit the Z3v, so double check before buying it!). My Otterbox protects the phone well, but literally doubles the thickness of the phone, negating it's slim, sexy dimensions.

There are plenty of review sites that will give you specs and a more professional breakdown of the pros and cons of the Xperia Z3v, so my review is pretty casual. This is a phenomenal, competitive, and desirable phone that can stand up to the Apples and Samsungs out there. Why Sony, and to a lesser extent Verizon, haven't aggressively advertised this device is beyond me. This phone suffers from not being promoted adequately. Which is a shame, because so far its easily the best, most refined smartphone that I've owned.

The Babadook
The Babadook
Price: $3.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lackluster as a Monster Movie, Disturbing if a Metaphor for Unchecked Psychosis, February 9, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I just finished watching this a half hour ago after hearing about how 'groundbreaking' it was. I usually don't write reviews on movies because they are so subjective regarding what is 'good' and what is 'bad'. For example, my friend loves Adam Sandler movies whereas I want to punch him in the face whenever he is on screen. See? Subjective.

Here's my spoiler-free review of The Babadook. It was advertised as a horror movie or monster flick, with the trailer giving me the impression this is a 'mom versus creature as she tries to keep the son safe'-style outing. This was not entirely the case. Another reviewer stated that they interpreted it as more about psychosis or mental illness, and frankly that seems more plausible upon reflection. The Babadook seemed to me to be more of a symptom or manifestation of a severe psychotic break that the mother was suffering from do to events that transpired years before the movie took place.

As a movie exploring severe mental illness with it's 'flare ups' and recessions, I think it was actually quite effective. Disturbing really. Honestly, the more I look at it in terms of a psychotic break, the more the movie elicits an uneasy, almost sick feeling. As the aforementioned 'monster under the bed' takeaway, it seemed really dull and uninspired. Fairly derivative too. So however you, the viewer, choose to interpret the plot may determine your level of enjoyment.

The interior sets were kind of cool. The house, especially at night, had a dingy blue-gray look, and seemed very minimalist. To me, it forced the characters to really be the center of attention. The actress who played the mother was quite good. She was great at appearing emotionally beaten down and really conveyed how the character was just going through the motions of her life. The other main character, her son, was one of the most obnoxious creatures I've seen on screen in quite awhile. I don't know if that was done intentionally so that the audience could sympathize with his mom always being pushed to the brink or not. All I know for sure is that if Trojan ever wanted to make an effective ad to sell condoms they should just show some scenes with that kid in it. Their stock would soar.

In short, the movie is pretty over-hyped (like so many other low-budget horror flicks), but it IS fairly disturbing if looked at under the guise of an all too plausible unchecked mental disorder. The acting is good, but the whole thing takes awhile to build up steam to the climax.

Lodge Pro-Logic P14W3 Cast Iron Wok, Black, 14-inch
Lodge Pro-Logic P14W3 Cast Iron Wok, Black, 14-inch
Price: $49.96
28 used & new from $49.96

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Wok for Average Homeowner's Ranges, December 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've got a junky electric range that came with my apartment. I tried using other types of woks such as carbon steel and stainless steel, but the burner output wasn't anywhere near enough to properly stir fry using those other pans. As soon as the food was tossed into the pan, the temperature dropped exponentially. So instead of a nice searing effect occurring, the food would just boil in its own juices. Even making smaller batches wasn't especially helpful.

I bought this beast and the difference is night and day! It's heavy enough to survive an atomic blast, and it's dense enough to retain all the heat my electric burners can put out.

Other reviewers break it down more eloquently, but here's how I think of it: This wok is a giant battery. You see, heat is a form of energy. As this wok sits on the burner, the dense cast iron absorbs the heat from the electric coils. It has a smallish yet thick base on its bottom that sits on the burner like a pedestal. Like all cast iron, the wok is slow to heat up (charge) but when it does it hangs onto that heat. When food is tossed into it, the temperature drops a little but it recovers quickly due to this stored charge (in keeping with the battery analogy). With the charge stored in the dense cast iron, the cook is not as dependent on the heat source as he or she is with a thinner metal. Which is great when the only heat source available is less powerful than one would like.

The down side to all of this is that the cast iron holds onto this heat (charge) a lot longer than with less dense materials. So when cooking with higher heat (like a stir fry), the cook needs to be ready to extract the food from the hot and heavy wok to a plate so as not to burn the food. Because this is a heavy Cantonese style wok (with two handles, a bit like a colander sans holes) you should approach this wok as being essentially stationary from cook start to finish. It can be super unwieldy, especially when filled with hot oil.

Results? Stellar, at least compared to my previous woks. I'm a novice cook, and only really cook for myself, but there truly is a night and day difference using the Lodge wok. There isn't any boiling or braising that occurs when meat is added to the wok; It sears and achieves this nice smokey flavor. I have literally tossed the most random odds and ends into this wok and have been very pleased with the results. The average home range (let alone the stock range in a one bedroom apartment like mine) can't crank out the high temps required to make the thinner carbon steel jobs work. This cast iron wok is a type of bridge between residential stoves and the necessary sustained high heat needed to stir fry.

Downsides are few: It IS a beast of a pan! Heavy and large, you won't be slinging food around like a TV chef with this. Storage might be tricky depending on your space. It also comes pre-seasoned, but I wouldn't call it non stick. It needs to be used lots to smooth out the rough surface. Avoid using acidic ingredients out of the gate since it will strip off some of the seasoning. The bottom of my wok keeps losing its seasoning after I tossed some diced green chilies in it. I'll live.

Sorry this is so long. Here's the TL, DR: This wok is bomb for most average homeowners!

All-Clad 4110 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Fry Pan Cookware, 10-Inch, Silver
All-Clad 4110 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Fry Pan Cookware, 10-Inch, Silver
Offered by Concept Kitchen
Price: $114.95
39 used & new from $60.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There Really is a Difference!, December 26, 2014
I began cooking with stainless steel and cast iron because, like many other reviewers, non-stick pans seemed sketchy to me. I wanted to buy pans once and then use them for years. Most non-stick coatings begin to come off sooner rather than later.

I initially bought a full set of Cuisinart stainless pots and pans. They were fine; they worked well for a stainless novice like me and cleaned up well enough.

But one day, I was at a local store and found this All-Clad 10" skillet sitting all by itself for a decent (for All-Clad) price. I'd promised myself that I'd never pay that much money for a flippin' pan (I bought the Cuisinart SET for $150.00) but in a moment of finding a smokin' deal, and shear curiosity, I plunked down the plastic and took it home.

I must say: there really IS a difference with All-Clad! The Cuisinarts all have an aluminum disk on their bottoms, and the sides are very thin. This pan is heftier, and overall more solid feeling than the cheap stuff. It has these two monster rivets holding the handle on nice and tight. If someone broke into my apartment while I was making dinner, I feel like I could bop them over the head with this skillet and continue cooking while waiting for the cops to show up (forgive the hyperbole).

Cooking is a more positive experience. With my cheap pans, I'd just about given up on not having food stick or leaving all the wonderful crispy stuff on the food as opposed to the pan. This All-Clad takes less heat from my range to heat up and food releases much more easily. When I brown a chicken breast I actually brown the meat and not the pan! There is still some fond left, but not like before.

Some reviewers complain about the handle - I don't think its an issue. It's a pan, so I'm not hanging on to it all the time. It's long and thin, and shaped like a 'U'. Purely functional.

I liked this pan so much I went and ordered their 3qt Saute pan with lid. I've also boxed up some of my Cuisinart skillets to give to Goodwill. I'm sad I spent the money on cheaper pans before this one, but that's life.

All told, these pans are expensive. But like cast iron pieces, you could very well be handing these down to your grand kids. I can justify the expense if I know I'll get a good return on my investment.

The Ringer Cast Iron Cleaner XL 8x6 Inch Stainless Steel Chainmail
The Ringer Cast Iron Cleaner XL 8x6 Inch Stainless Steel Chainmail
Offered by Quiverr
Price: $19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Works well, seems very durable., December 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I used this for the first time tonight on my new Lodge wok. It doesn't have much seasoning yet so everything stuck. This scrubber was awesome! Other stuff I've used has either been to coarse or too soft. But this chain mail swatch is perfect. I also like that I can put it the dishwasher. Well done!

Plasticolor 004450R01 Star Wars Storm Trooper Lanyard/Key Ring
Plasticolor 004450R01 Star Wars Storm Trooper Lanyard/Key Ring
Price: $5.14
8 used & new from $2.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff!, November 15, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this to wear at my job as an RN. It is a quality item, has the required break away feature and satisfies my inner Star Wars nerd. Good stuff!

Got2b Playful Texturizing Crème Pomade, 2-Ounce (Pack of 2)
Got2b Playful Texturizing Crème Pomade, 2-Ounce (Pack of 2)
Price: $8.44
10 used & new from $7.61

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lousy for facial hair shaping, November 15, 2014
I didn't use this on my head as I shave it, but I did buy some at Target to use on my mustache to try and train it to the sides. I've never used pomade so maybe my expectations are off, but this stuff is lousy for my purposes. It's very runny, and has a strong chemical smell. It's ability to hold the facial hair to the sides is negligible. Facial hair is generally coarser than the hair on one's head, but I still felt some hold should be evident. For holding your face fuzz in place, try another pomade or a mustache wax. This stuff is fairly inexpensive, but not worth it in the end.

Swissco Tortoise Moustache/Boot Comb
Swissco Tortoise Moustache/Boot Comb
Price: $8.00
5 used & new from $8.00

4.0 out of 5 stars I like the extra length of this comb compared to the ..., November 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I like the extra length of this comb compared to the Kent mustache combs, but I think the Kent is slightly better. It has a curve across the ends of the teeth that conforms to my chin and upper lip. Also, the teeth are set closer together on the Kent, which I think keeps the stache look nicer. But, this Swissco is a close second. It has a bigger handle than the Kent, so it's a bit more comfortable to use. I think It would work great if my beard was longer than it is. The teeth are nice and smooth, and don't poke your skin. You really can't go wrong with this boot comb (Let's be honest: At the end of the day, it's still just a comb!).

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