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Robby Nichols RSS Feed (Chicago, IL USA)

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iLLumi Projections par20 ** 6 pack ** 110v 120v 130v 50W PAR20 Halogen spot flood light bulb 50 watts E26 4000H lifetime
iLLumi Projections par20 ** 6 pack ** 110v 120v 130v 50W PAR20 Halogen spot flood light bulb 50 watts E26 4000H lifetime

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and horrible quality bulbs. Do not waste your money., December 4, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
3 put of the six bulbs have burnt out within the first 6 days. These are awful, cheap bulbs. I am extremely frustrated and dissatisfied. I will not be buying from this company again.

Caught Stealing: A Novel
Caught Stealing: A Novel
by Charlie Huston
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.98
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars North By Northwest Meets Die Hard, July 4, 2009
In Caught Stealing, Charlie Huston's electrifying debut, readers are introduced to Hank Thompson, a washed up former baseball player who seems content to drink until his kidneys throw in the bar towel. When Hank agrees to watch his neighbor's cat, he unwittingly inherits a highly sought after item that threatens to tear apart his already fragile existence. Chased through the streets of New York City by a colorful cast of villains, including two Russian gangsters in matching track suits, a Samoan enforcer named Bolo, and one seriously corrupt cop, Thompson must stay alive long enough to find out what they want and how to deliver it before time runs out.

Despite the story's relentless pace and excessive violence, the author infuses his hero with enough humanity to keep the reader fully engaged. A rising star in the hard-boiled crime genre, Charlie Huston writes uncensored, rapid-fire dialogue that positively jumps off the page. Caught Stealing is the first installment in an outstanding trilogy that is already a cult phenomenon in literary circles. It is truly an absolute gem of a thriller that will leave readers breathless and begging for more.

DVD ~ Shane Carruth
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Guerrilla Cinema, June 23, 2005
This review is from: Primer (DVD)
Primer is an experiment. Attempt to judge it in any other context and you have failed to see the point.

What Aaron and Abe create in the movie is fascinating because it is capable of doing the impossible. The very same principle is what makes Primer such a remarkable piece of work.

Making a truly thought-provoking film with a budget of $7,000 and a running time of 78 minutes just does not happen in Hollywood.

And while Primer is ultimately a small step rather than a giant leap for independent filmmaking, it is encouraging to see even the most obscure of ideas find a home (or at least a garage) on the silver screen.

[from the trailer]

What is truly wanted?

To repair it all.

BLACKBOX: A Novel in 840 Chapters
BLACKBOX: A Novel in 840 Chapters
by Nick Walker
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.49
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Under the Radar, October 8, 2004
Now this is craftsmanship. Nick Walker has written a debut novel that reminds me a bit of the device from which it takes its title. A piece of work primed to slip unnoticed into a plethora of similar machinery yet able to survive in the wake of critical disaster (for which BLACKBOX proves quite an easy target). All Palahniuk comparisons aside (Survivor), BLACKBOX withstands its own endless cliches, thin plotlines, and high concept writing. The result is a welcome vacation from an otherwise monotonous literary year. Despite its faults, Walker's creation proves extremely difficult to put down. Conversely, the reader discovers no deeply profound life lessons or tragic true stories of triumph against all odds inside this book. What one WILL find is 840 chapters, 20 different narrators (none of which can truly be labeled a protagonist), 2 suicides (depending on your perspective), at least 10 instances of public vomiting, and ultimately one of the most darkly hilarious novels in recent memory. At the center of it all lies the story of a doomed long distance love affair and the people caught in-between. Walker has spun a wicked web that catches you from the beginning and doesn't let up until the final word. It is a tale of what could have been but (realistically) never is. I wouldn't have it any other way.

The Anthology
The Anthology
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69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Art of Moving Butts, December 6, 2003
This review is from: The Anthology (Audio CD)
There is a whole generation out there full of people who just barely missed out on the evolution of rap music into what it is today. These are guys who weren't alive when hip-hop was born. These poor souls were still trying to master the alphabet when Run-D.M.C. started raising hell in '86. The only reason these kids even recognize artists like Grandmaster Flash or Kurtis Blow is from playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Just think of the thousands of rap listeners around the world who know nothing of the very foundation of what they now hear on the radio.
It is a tragedy, but one that can be rectified, starting with an introduction to the rhythm that has been eagerly waiting for you at the end of that dark tunnel. However, since you are a little behind, your Quest should begin... well... at the end. Not unlike the Cliff�s Notes version of Crime and Punishment, Anthology is an abbreviated guide through masterful art. As a sort of microcosm of this notion, I will now do my best to tell you everything that you need to know before buying this album.
Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (MC, MC, DJ respectively) are the primary members of A Tribe Called Quest. They are responsible for an extremely successful discography of jazz-rap that, along with the work of De La Soul, brought Afrika Bambaataa's Zulu Nation back into the spotlight.
A Tribe Called Quest stands as one of the most innovative hip-hop groups in history. To the naked ear, the Tribe's music just sounds like a couple guys freestylin' over a simple bass line. After subsequent listens, however, their music reveals incredibly smart rhymes that actually flow with the beats magnificently. In turn, they take the songs to a whole new level.
Although this album merely scratches the surface of the Tribe's legendary career, Anthology is absolutely, without question, the best place to start for newcomers. Unfortunately, for the group's more seasoned travelers, it provides no new material worth checking out. The special edition features a few remixes, but these should be reserved for fanatics only (none of them really sparked my interest).
Track by track:
Check The Rhyme - This track made it all the way to #1 on the Hot Rap Singles chart back in 1991. Originally from the Tribe's critically lauded second LP, Low End Theory.
Bonita Applebum - Q-Tip has a crush. Hmmm... maybe a song would help seduce her...
Award Tour - Another chart-topper, Award Tour is driven by fantastic rhymes from Tip and Phife Dawg along with an irresistible keyboard loop. Essential lyric:
"I learned how to build mics in my workshop class
So give me this award, and let's not make it the last"
Can I Kick It? - Yes they can. More specifically, the Tribe kicks it to a Lou Reed guitar loop on this classic track from their free-flowing debut, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm.
Scenario - The second hit single spawned from Low End Theory, this song is also famous for formally introducing Busta Rhymes to the music world.
Buggin' Out - They just repeat the title over and over for the chorus... so why do I like this song so much?
If The Papes Come - First appearing on the soundtrack to the motion picture Mi Vida Loca, this track is an amazing gem of the bizarre variety.
Electric Relaxation - 1993's Midnight Marauders proved that lightning really can strike thrice. Electric Relaxation is just plain cool. No... ice cold.
Jazz (We've Got) - Seriously, if you enjoy what you hear on Anthology go out and buy Low End Theory. This one is yet another smooth classic off that album.
I Left My Wallet In El Segundo - A journey to the middle of nowhere (anywhere would�ve been better). This is my personal favorite Tribe track. It got in my head in '91 and hasn�t left since.
Hot Sex - First appearing on a rare club compilation, Hot Sex was later appropriately placed on the Tribe's 5th LP, The Love Movement.
Oh My God - Undeniably catchy single from Midnight Marauders.
Stressed Out - A Tribe Called Quest hit a bump in the road with Beats, Rhymes, and Life (4th album). Although the disc is more highly regarded these days, the listener is forced to wait until track 13 for its first contribution to Anthology. Stressed Out is more R&B flavored and features Faith Evans.
Luck of Lucien - Not sure if I've ever used the term "groovy" to describe a song before, but Luck of Lucien is as close as they come. Also, make sure and listen to Phife's conversation in the background during the break. Good stuff.
Description of a Fool - The closing track on People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm... and the beginning of a legacy.
Keeping It Moving - Underrated 2nd track from Beats, Rhymes, and Life. Really has a nice beat and Tip does his usual best.
Find a Way - Wonderful single off of The Love Movement. Probably the Tribe's best slower paced song.
Sucka N***a - Listen before judging. Remember, these are not a hardcore rappers.
Vivrant Thing - A really good bonus track. I call it bonus because it's from Q-Tip's first solo album, Amplified (excellent).

Bottom line: While not offering any quality new or rare material, Anthology (being a greatest hits disc) doesn't disappoint, featuring the simple beats and intelligent rhymes that fueled the Tribe�s success for over a decade. If you're not that familiar with the Tribe, you gotta get, you got-got ta get it!

Room on Fire
Room on Fire
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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sophomore Smash, November 14, 2003
This review is from: Room on Fire (Audio CD)
If you aren't familiar with The Strokes or their music, buying Room On Fire is a risky decision. Not because it isn't a terrific record. The problem is that the hype around this album is enormous, making for expectations that are simply unrealistic (especially for newcomers). The situation is pretty much the same as when Is This It?, the band's highly acclaimed debut, was released. If you go into a record store looking for the holy grail, you're going to be sadly disappointed. On the other hand, if you take the time to read the reviews here at Amazon, you will be more properly prepared for the journey into the thick jungle brush of your local Best Buy (or wherever you buy your music).
The Strokes are five seemingly average white guys hailing from the always magnificent New York City: Julian Casablancas (vocals), Nick Valensi (guitar), Nikolai Fraiture (bass), Fabrizio Moretti (drums), and Albert Hammond, Jr. (guitar)
Please stop me now if I'm going too fast.
Initially, the band made a splash with their live shows. Rave reviews soon spread across the Atlantic, beginning their crash course to stardom. The Modern Age EP appeared in 2001, containing just three tracks, but packing an unexpected punch. The UK press eagerly jumped on the Strokes' bandwagon and secured substantial publicity for the band. Extensive touring in both continents earned the band a major record deal with RCA. The US version of Is This It? was finally released in late 2001. First impressions were sketchy, but subsequent singles, more touring, and even an appearance on Saturday Night Live (fantastic), created a solid fan base, much to the delight of RCA (Is This It? was re-released in 2002 with a bonus DVD).
Alas, it is no use to know the history of a band you have never heard. So I'll try and break it down for you as simply as possible. The Strokes are classified as indie rock. This is something many critics of the band failed to take into consideration the first time around (Linkin Park fans beware). Lump The Strokes with every rock band in the world, and all the amazing reviews seem like fairy tales. You know the whole rock revival craze the US has been going through? These guys gave it life. Bands like The Hives, The Vines, and Jet each owe part of their success to The Strokes and, more importantly, the unique style that they (re)introduced. Casablancas' voice appears phoned in and distorted on nearly every track the band has made thus far. Both albums basically sound like they could've been produced in a tin can (see also: The White Stripes). Grit is good in this case, however. The Strokes set the bar for a new breed of modern rock, and they've raised it with Room On Fire.
Track by Track:
"Whatever Happened?" - A fantastically catchy, yet short, introduction to the album.
"Reptilia" - Another personal favorite. Features an outstanding guitar driven hook that really sets the foundation for the song.
"Automatic Stop" - Cloudy... for lack of a better word. No question, Room On Fire has a darker edge than its predecessor. "Automatic Stop" is one example. Of course, "edgy" for The Strokes might as well be rainbows and sunshine for many other bands.
"12:51" - The first single. A little more alternative than the usual Strokes single. Complete with hand clapping and guitar that mimics the melody throughout.
"You Talk Way Too Much" - Written while on tour. Reverts back to the band's signature style... and that isn't a bad thing.
"Between Love & Hate" - Playful riffs and relaxed vocals make the atmosphere more like their live shows... and that isn't a bad thing.
"Meet Me in the Bathroom" - Great song with a chorus that'll have you singing along. "Say wha?"
"Under Control" - Put this one on the greatest hits record. A slower song with guitar that reminds me of the Beatles.
"The Way It Is" - Upbeat song with a very nice bass line.
"The End Has No End" - My favorite. The second verse is written practically the same as the first but everything is amped. I don't know why something so simple can do so much for a song but, I find myself hitting repeat button over and over on this one.
"I Can't Win" - Maybe because it is the last song or something (more likely because its just plain good) but "I Can't Win" really gets stuck in your head.
I loved every bit of Room On Fire and The Strokes are definitely moving up the ladder on my favorite bands list. If it isn't for you, it just isn't. But for fans of the band and the genre... It doesn't get much better than this.
Finally, I wasn't going to put this in but... 33 minutes?! I want more! More!

Get Born
Get Born
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74 of 98 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sonic Boom, October 23, 2003
This review is from: Get Born (Audio CD)
Just when the onslaught of rock revival bands seemed to be dying down, the Australians come marching in. Apparently, The Hives, The Strokes, The White Stripes, and The Vines aren't enough. And despite lacking "The" in the band name, Jet lands smoothly in the already overpopulated genre in nearly all other aspects.
Similar to e=mc² (minus the genius), Get Born is a formula. Take four Aussies (two of which are required to be siblings), inject some traditional rock (creating the foundation), add a little garage punk (to give the mix a bit of an edge), blend in some sloppy production (don't be stingy with the synthesized background clapping), and (of course) name one of the tracks "Take it or Leave It".
Sure, the album brings some pleasurable elements to the table. "Radio Song" is an ironic yet oddly likeable ballad, and the cynically written "Rollover D.J." is sure to turn some heads. "Get Me Outta Here" and "Get What You Need" are sure to please fans of, "Are You Gonna Be My Girl", Jet's first single. "Lazy Gun" is a nice departure and "Cold Hard B****" is absolutely irresistible despite the somewhat harsh lyrics.
While Nic Cester's howling on "Look What You've Done", the flawed country ballad "Move On", and a couple short throwaway tracks might initially put off listeners, there are definitely more pros than cons within the album.
The final product? Get Born isn't so much a promising debut as it is a catchy carbon copy. Let's put it this way. If I hear Jet on the radio, I'd turn up the volume. It's not bad at all. To me, it would be senseless to actually buy Get Born because it's a lot easier just to flip through my CD collection at home and pop in Room On Fire, Veni Vidi Vicious, or Get Free. Why buy what I already have?
I'll be interested to see how the band approaches their next album. Who knows? Maybe they're just warming up. For now, however, I'll take a pass on Get Born. Naturally, this is all just my opinion. Take it or leave it.

Crash: A Novel
Crash: A Novel
by J. G. Ballard
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.24
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Collision Course, October 2, 2003
This review is from: Crash: A Novel (Paperback)
Crash is brutal. There, I said it. Being that it was written over 30 years ago is equally disturbing. The vulgar fantasies that came out of Ballard's head while writing this book continue to astonish me.
There is, in fact, a message that the author is trying to get across. Getting to it is the problem. Do not make the mistake of judging this book by the back cover.
"A classic work of cutting-edge fiction, Crash explores the disturbing potentialities of contemporary society's increasing dependence on technology as an intermediary in human relations."
No doubt about it, J. G. Ballard was ahead of his time. That particular blurb alone has persuaded many to pick this one off the shelves. Inside the book, however, is not exactly the same story. The author doesn't simply explore the effects technology might someday have on society. No, Ballard's vision of the future seems more like an extremely perverted pipe dream.
Of course, that probably was the intention to begin with. The reader is constantly bombarded with violently sexual material, but in an almost scientific method. No slang. Everything presented in black and white. The novel is about as sexy as a prostate exam. So if you are able to see past the explicit content, Crash can be a truly thought-provoking journey even (and possibly more so) in this day and age. Ballard just makes it highly difficult to do so. Therefore, the average reader will most likely be too repulsed to really dig into the plot and see the novel for what it really is.
The other flaw that I noticed while reading Crash were the characters. None of them the slightest bit likeable, the only personality trait I shared with the narrator was his curiosity. However, in the end, it was this that kept me turning the page. Not pondering the subject matter as much as wondering how far off the edge the author was going to go. I was not disappointed. If there is anything close to genius in Crash, it is the author's unparalleled originality. Ballard has an amazingly gifted mind and shifts his wicked imagination to its darkest side here.
No promises, though. As described, Crash is an exploration. Every reader will find something different hiding between the lines of this cult classic. I've mentioned as few specifics as possible on this one. So the book, in it's entirety, is waiting. The only question is... Can you take it?
4 stars + a big warning label.

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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Minty Fresh, September 5, 2003
This review is from: Elephant (Audio CD)
The White Stripes saved a lot of money on their latest release by not falling into the trap of high production values and recording the entire album in a matter of days on aged equipment. At first glance, it may seem as if they paid off every single music critic in America with the extra cash. Honestly, Elephant is a fine piece of work but five stars from Rolling Stone is pushing it.
If you aren't familiar with the band, The White Stripes are a Detroit based duo comprised of Jack and Meg White(brother/sister). They scored their first mainstream hit with "Fell In Love With A Girl" last year. Ever since, loyal fans and critics have been waiting for a chance to officially dub them rock gods. Are they deserving of that kind of title? It depends.
Let me break it down for you the way I see it. Jack White is on his way to stardom and he's letting his sister come along for the ride. Elephant is at it's very best when Jack gets a chance to show off his very formidable guitar skills. The album hits bottom when Meg takes the mic. "In The Dark, Dark Night" is a well written song spoiled by her lack of vocal ability. Her drumming is extremely simplistic but luckily, fits well with the band's style. The only other crystal clear low point on Elephant is the closing track. "It's True That We Love One Another" is just plain cheesy and makes the album and its performers seem all the more odd.
If I had to sum up Elephant in one thought I'd say... It isn't for everyone. You're either going to love it for what it is or be let down by what it is not. But after all is said and done, a couple below average tracks don't stop The White Stripes from distinguishing themselves from the rest of the rock revival crowd that has been so popular lately. It grows on you, and one listen to "Ball and Biscuit" should convince anyone with a rock bone in their body that Elephant is worth the time.

by Chuck Palahniuk
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.41
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Our Hero, September 5, 2003
This review is from: Lullaby (Paperback)
Lullaby finds Chuck Palahniuk in a transitional phase. Chances are the Portland author won't be competing with the likes of Stephen King any time soon. And his fans should be thankful.
As a horror novel, Lullaby is anything but a traditional entry in the heavily commercialized genre. Palahniuk's sinister sense of humor prevents the author's fourth novel from achieving a significant scare factor. Or at least the typical horror type of fright.
Our hero is Helen Hoover Boyle. She is a real estate agent with an eye for "distressed" property. The kind of homes where the only permanent residents are not exactly of this world. Helen Hoover Boyle sells haunted houses. She sells them to normal families who seem happy enough, until blood starts running down the walls. After that, the buyers will scramble out of there before they even start unpacking their boxes. Easy money for a realtor who knows where to look. And with the help of a police scanner and a practitioner slash secretary named Mona, Helen Hoover Boyle is very good at what she does.
Our narrator is Carl Streator. A newspaper reporter who, while doing a story on sudden infant death syndrome, comes across a book of poems. More like a can of worms actually.
If words could kill.
The discovery of the infamous "culling song" lights the fuse of Lullaby's plot which eventually intersects the lives of our hero and our narrator, spiraling the book into a constantly building power struggle all the way until the bitter ending. With plenty of Palahniuk's signature quirks, Lullaby will surely satisfy Chuck's rapidly growing fan base.
It is the story just below the surface, however, that will get the wheels turning. Lullaby was inspired by the tragic killing of Palahniuk's own father. The murderer was eventually apprehended and convicted. During sentencing, Chuck had to testify as to whether he believed in the death penalty. Keep these facts (not included in the book) in mind, as they will provide a better appreciation of the novel.
Otherwise, Lullaby may prove just too darn entertaining for the average reader to even notice the deeper message. It is truly a page-turning, hilarious ride. Take the horror sticker off and, in my mind, the brilliantly constructed third chapter is reason enough to buy this one today.

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