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The Babadook
The Babadook
Price: $3.99

0 of 1 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
Offered by Life and Home
Price: $61.99
23 used & new from $55.00

2 of 2 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
Price: $86.25
35 used & new from $61.97

1 of 1 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: $24.99

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: $5.36
9 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: $10.24
12 used & new from $3.53

1 of 1 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
3 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!).

Converse Women's Chuck Taylor All Star Hi Top Sneaker
Converse Women's Chuck Taylor All Star Hi Top Sneaker
Price: $24.94 - $264.96

3.0 out of 5 stars Loved the Look, Hated the Feel, October 13, 2014
I lived a sheltered and deprived youth wherein I was deprived of Chucks growing up. At age 32, I remedied that by buying them locally. My review will have some 'No duh!' moments to those of you who've worn these shoes before, but here you all go:

The look is classic and minimalist; there's no gimmicks here. No air cushions, pumps, LED's, springs or rocket thrusters on the bottoms. They are canvas and rubber. This becomes super obvious when you get the box - it's long and narrow like the box you'd see at a take-out Philly shop. The shoes are folded in on themselves. I can appreciate that.

What I found I didn't like was essentially everything else. I have the high tops, and I basically need to lace these bad boys all the way up to feel like they won't shift on my foot and ankle (they run big, BTW). And since they're just canvas uppers, lacing them up all the way still doesn't give the wearer a sense of support along the ankle. But I'm not playing basketball in these things, so that's probably not a big deal.

The soles of these get me though - no cushion or support. Stepping on a curb or a rock allows you to feel the entire contour of said curb or rock. The whole shoe contorts around the object and, subsequently, so does your foot. No real sense of support or even protection. I've had sandals that have had firmer arch support!

Really, these shoes are about style. I'm glad I bought them because I like the way they look. But I'll likely go back to New Balance or some such company whenever these Chuck's need to get chucked. I'm less interested in looks and more in comfort and support. But, again I should emphasize - they look pretty sweet!

Parker SR1 Stainless Steel Straight Edge Razor and 5 Shark Super Stainless blades
Parker SR1 Stainless Steel Straight Edge Razor and 5 Shark Super Stainless blades
Offered by Super Safety Razors
Price: $22.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Low Cost Entry to Straight Razor Shaving, October 12, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I wanted to try straight razor shaving on the cheap. I like shaving with safety razors, and this shavette seemed an interesting alternative to spending money on a razor that needed to be honed. This way I can snap my DE razors in half and use them with the shavette to experiment while keeping costs down.

This shavette is smaller than a typical straight edge razor (because the safety razor blades it uses are inherently smaller) so it won't cover as much real estate per pass. That's maybe a good thing for beginners, so they can concentrate on technique with smaller passes rather than having to deal with a larger blade.

This shavette is cheap, and it shows. The scales are slightly off in how they meet one another. The etching decorations are slightly pitted on the scales too. Also, the locking mechanism on the spine on the blade holder will come loose when the blade is folded into the scales too quickly. Thankfully, it stays locked in place during is use, and really isn't a problem. Loading a blade isn't too tough: on the outer, rounded end of the blade holder is a recessed portion that allows you to place a fingernail in to separate the two parts of the blade holder. In between those two parts are two copper pins that keep the blade itself aligned. When closing the two halves, you just need to slightly raise one over the pins, then click it down onto them, and swing the locking mechanism in place.

All of that sounds convoluted on paper, but if you have this razor in front of you it should make sense.

It's definitely a different shaving experience than with a DE safety razor. Invest in a styptic pen and/or alum bar. And go SLOWLY. Pay close attention to the angle of the blade. I generally have shaved well with it, but constantly nick my chin and upper lip. The more contoured portions of your face require special care.

Overall, I'm glad I bought this. I need a lot more practice with it. I think the shavette offerings by Dovo look like they are of a higher quality than this, but despite it's short comings, the actual shaving action of this Parker is consistent. As long as you realize that $20 gets you the bare minimum experience, this is a good entry to seeing if you might enjoy straight razor shaving.

Merkur 25C Long Handle Safety Razor, Open Tooth
Merkur 25C Long Handle Safety Razor, Open Tooth
Offered by Jaurasee
Price: $32.99
5 used & new from $32.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Well-made, Comfortable 'Beginner' Razor., October 1, 2014
I'm newish to wet shaving, and I have a total baby face. My facial hair is sparse, but if I let it grow out eventually it just looks creepy.

I own a Feather Popular DE razor (which works well, is inexpensive and very light weight). I also own a Merkur 34c because this is considered to be the 'catch all' razor that many websites claim sets the standard. It is much heavier than the Feather, and seems to be more aggressive in its shaving action. I've practiced with it, but often cut my chin and lips. And despite trying different razors, the shave quality hasn't been as close as I'd like.I find that odd since I don't have much to shave.

I then bought this 25c after reading that many felt it was a better beginner razor than the 34c. I have to agree with them. I actually get a consistently close shave with the 25c than the other two. This surprises me since the blade is situated in such a way as to be less aggressive than the others. I also feel more comfortable shaving faster with this razor. It's an overall more mild razor to use.

Unlike the Feather, it has the same heft that the other Merkur models have which greatly aids in the shaving action: no pushing the razor into the face, but rather let the weight of the head draw the blade down in short strokes.

Unlike the 34c, this has a long handle. I've since become more accustomed to the 3 inch handle of the 34c, but it took getting used to. I don't have large hands, but the short handle was uncomfortable to use at first. I enjoy the longer handle personally. I grip it the same as the short (like a dart, towards the end) because this allows the weight of the head to draw down across your skin more easily. Some say the shorter handle is better because you can maneuver it more easily along the contours of your face. I don't think it makes a difference. I flat out felt that the Feather Popular and this Merkur 25c were just more comfortable than the 34c.

The comb is interesting on this too. It's an open comb, unlike the bar that the Feather and 34c (and many others) sport. Its designed for allowing longer hairs and beard growth through to the blade more easily. Since I don't possess a manly beard, I can't attest to that. It DOES seem to keep more shaving soap/cream on my face right up until it meets the blade. Less seems to get pushed away. That might just be my imagination though.

On thing I dislike about this razor is that it comes apart in three pieces instead of two. The 34c is easier to replace the blade on because it is two pieces. The Feather is even simpler, as it is a butterfly style. The three piece can be slightly cumbersome to change out, but it's not rocket science. You get used to it. It's just a minor quibble of mine.

When I shave with this razor, unlike the others, one pass is generally sufficient and I don't get the stinging razor burn or nicks like I do with the 34c. My shaves are more efficient, and my skin is generally much smoother when using this razor. With the other two, I need to do multiple passes in various directions.

I guess this razor just agrees with my face.

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