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Customer Reviews: 10
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Helpful Votes: 22


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Cougarguide "Dr. Cougar" RSS Feed (The Great Pacific Northwest)

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I Lived (Arty Remix)
I Lived (Arty Remix)
Price: $1.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, May 12, 2015
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This review is from: I Lived (Arty Remix) (MP3 Music)
Great song. Uplifting without any silly credos or allegiances to other people's belief systems (i.e., it's dogma-free)


Change Is Everything
Change Is Everything
Price: $1.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, May 12, 2015
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This review is from: Change Is Everything (MP3 Music)
Unique. Not novelty, but crisp and new


KitchenAid Pro Line Series Burr Coffee Mill, Onyx Black
KitchenAid Pro Line Series Burr Coffee Mill, Onyx Black
Offered by always quality
Price: $359.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "OK" mill, but with MAJOR flaws, December 14, 2013
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This was my first burr coffee mill. I could really tell the positive difference with the coffee I prepared with it, compared to the "chopping blades" bean-basher kind of grinders (I've had Braun and Krupp grinders over the past 25 years). However, after 18 months the well-cared-for mill started tickling me with occasional electric shocks when I touched the switch. At first it was every week, then every few days, then all the time, and then any time I touched any part of the grinder. I finally gave up when it shocked the doo-doo out of me and blasted a large blue arc from the wall outlet when I plugged it in one morning. Total time of this self destruction was about 4 months. Being killed by an appliance is of course not a good selling point for any company.

To be frank, a repair shop told me that upon thorough testing the grinder seemed "fine," and that they could not replicate the shocks. My house is 55 years old, built in the old-fashioned careful and solid manner. It COULD be a one-in-thousand wall wiring malfunction, or the grinder, or an untraceable combination (???).

But add in to that KitchenAide's crappy service and cavalier attitude toward selling replacement parts and zero consumer warnings that the machine was to be dumped from their line-up, along with all customer support, and I feel purchasing a KitchenAide Proline Burr Coffee mill would be a REALLY bad idea.

Frankly, after knowing and respecting KitchenAide (and its original parent company, the venerable Hobart) I was shocked to see how very little the previously valued KitchenAide name means these days.

FYI - I went to various coffee experts at primo coffee shops and a super nice kitchen/chef supply specialty store, read a ton of Amazon and other online reviews, and wound up buying a wonderful new burr coffee mill - the Baratza "Virtuoso." It was ideal for my budget and needs. I LOVE that machine! It is so great and such an improvement over the KitchenAide, for example, that I feel embarrassed now for over having gotten the KitchenAide in the first place. I was SO naïve! Oh well, my ignorance can be excused - KitchenAide's sloppy product support and lack of concern for their trusting customers cannot.

Whichever of the many good brands of burr coffee mills you decide on, I strongly urge you to get a burr mill, and stop using those cheap-o "coffee basher" blade jobs that actually produce an inferior cup of coffee. You will absolutely taste a huge difference immediately. It is SO worth it, after you drink coffee made with freshly burr-ground beans (of a variety and roast you like) at home every morning, you will never go back. In fact, I stopped going out for coffee because mine is so much better now (of course I like meeting friends and colleagues for coffee at various shops, and will then suffer through inferior coffee just to be sociable).

Amazon has all the burr mill brands I know of - some under $100 (the user reviews say they are decent, although sometimes prone to clogging and in need of frequent cleaning and adjustment; their general plastic housing suggests they may not last too many years either). Amazon has the excellent Baratza Virtuoso for $229 (the new one I bought), Barattza Presico for $299 (same grinder as the Virtuoso, but the Presico has an espresso cradle attachment, and the micro-adjustment grind capabilities that espresso people seem to love), and even some gourmet specialty models and brands in the higher-end range (my research showed me that spending any more than I did merely got you more attachments, not better basic machinery; I do not use or need those attachments, so I passed on the extra cost).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 20, 2013 3:53 AM PST


The Girl In The Café
The Girl In The Café
DVD ~ Bill Nighy
Price: $13.77
30 used & new from $7.04

3.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding cast in a rather contrived movie- but worth watching for Kelly Macdonald fans, December 10, 2012
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This review is from: The Girl In The Café (DVD)
I like Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald a lot, so when I saw this 2005 TV movie as a DVD I snapped it up. At first I thought it was a theatrical release I had somehow missed- and right away I thought it seemed a bit "thin." I looked it up on IMDb and saw it was a TV movie- and it made sense. I merely lowered my "cinematic" expectations a bit, and it was fine. Macdonald and Nighy are so appealing they helped me not care, overly, about the rather goofy plot: A gorgeous twenty-something falling madly and sexually in love with a charming but really elderly stranger she met by chance in a cafe. Then after a few days she follows him to Iceland as he plays a minor role on the British delegation to G-8. Then she plays the Innocent who shames the British G-8 delegates to adopt radical human rights proposals, thus paving the way to worldwide social justice. Hmmmm. A little far-fetched! But the ham-fistedly delivered political message of the movie is laudable enough, if a bit vague. Nighy plays a dweeb- and he's so good one would think he actually WAS a dweeb if one hadn't seen him in other roles, such as "Love Actually" (coincidentally filmed concurrently with this) and the original British version of "State of Play." And Macdonald is, as always a delight to watch, even if in a somewhat awkward and threadbare film.


Your Sister's Sister [Blu-ray]
Your Sister's Sister [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Emily Blunt
Offered by Mediaflix
Price: $7.95
38 used & new from $2.44

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great cast. Nice indie, with a bit of "girl movie" over-wrought dramatic tension, December 10, 2012
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Emily Blunt is amazing- and for me, her presence alone is enough to justify seeing a movie. She has such a wonderful sensitivity and warmth "up close," and I like her in roles where relationships are at stake. This movie is good enough- the set-up that cast the 3 characters alone together in a remote woodsy family house in San Juan Island in Puget Sound was plausible. I found the dramatic tensions a little "off," though. Not bad! Just not particularly strong. SPOILER- For example, the fact that Mark Duplass' character had drunken sex with Rosemary Dewitt’s character- Emily Blunt's lesbian older sister- at a time when “best friends” Mark-Emily had never had a romance or any kind of sexual commitment to each other was simply not believable as a cause for so much angst and fear in the trio. At least to me- I was thinking- "Hey- It happened. No one was cheating- it was just an innocent, if later on momentarily awkward, set of circumstances that occurs in life. I really didn't buy the notion that so much drama would have spun out of that. The overwrought drama aspect felt forced and artificial, as if all the characters were not thinking with their own brains, but rather were thinking with the writer/director's artsy "girl movie" brain. But overall, the movie IS definitely worth a viewing or two!


Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)
DVD ~ Steve Carell
Price: $12.74
39 used & new from $4.70

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie! Simple creativity trumps special effects every time, December 9, 2012
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Charming indie movie that proves story and great actors can make a wonderful film- even without enough budget for special effects. Heck- even without "proper" locations (the California settings local to the filmmaker and clearly and free of expensive location fees and management costs in no way passed for the northeastern U.S.). But none of those zero-budget conditions detracted in the least. Kind of whittled away all the bombast, and made the actual story stand out more, in fact. A plus!

Keira Knightley steps out of her usual China Doll Glam roles to give a heart touching portrayal of a real girl (i.e., unmarried young woman) caught up in an approaching doom. Other cast members are equally apt in the same scenario. For example, Steve Carell plays it straight to great effect, and Martin Sheen is the perfect dad. Other A-list character actors flesh-out the supporting roles. I don't know what encouraged them all to take part in this project, perhaps it was simply that they saw a chance to be real and creative and touching? (Notice I did not say "artful," as that would be too pretentious- but it's true anyway!)

This is not at all a typical big-budget disaster movie- and while some of those can be good, solid "human" films, of course- such as 1998's "Deep Impact," some of them can be so lost in all the CGI that they come off as overwrought cartoons with little meaning. "Seeking a Friend..." has great meaning. I liked it in the theaters, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I have watched the Blu-Ray several times, enjoying it each time. it is engaging, sweet, and poignant. it does show how an artistic vision and a handful of great actors are really all that is needed to wrap an audience up in a most worthwhile story.


Trouble with the Curve (Movie-Only Edition + UltraViolet Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]
Trouble with the Curve (Movie-Only Edition + UltraViolet Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Clint Eastwood
15 used & new from $1.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stock charaters, perhaps, but artfully played for real, October 18, 2012
This is a combo exciting sports movie, family dynamics movie, and love story. Clint Eastwood is pitch perfect as an elderly "loveable curmudgeon" - and the story poses the question whether it's time for him to pack it in and retire, or bring his 50+ year career as a major league baseball scout to a marvelous pinnacle. The adorable Amy Adams plays his 33 year old daughter, seeking to reconcile "daddy's sort-of-absent love" with her own actual inner strength, and the fact that she is a perfect female, and younger, version (in all the good ways) of her tough, masterful, no-nonsense father. Justin Timberlake plays the intelligent, honest and gentle suitor for the daughter's affections- enhanced by the fact that her father (the Eastwood character) was his mentor as well, a few years back. Sure- all of this is stock-ish movie making characterzation- maybe even "predictable," but so are most excellent things in life on one level. It is also alive and fresh, and thoroughly sweet and inspiring. I am not a baseball fan, but the sport and the game, while respectfully and thoroughly addressed in the movie, are secondary or even tertiary to the humanness of the characters. I found this to be a solid, enjoyable, and most worthy movie!


"There Are Things I Want You to Know" About Stieg Larsson and Me
"There Are Things I Want You to Know" About Stieg Larsson and Me
by Eva Gabrielsson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.41
56 used & new from $0.01

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not an important book, but partially interesting, March 14, 2012
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Miss Gabrielsson's book is certainly not an important work. But it is kind of interesting in spots. Overall, though, it comes across as a whining and bitter argument for how the world has mistreated her. The book seems to be her way of trying desperately to insert herself into the Stieg Larsson story, and her way to force us to consider her as part of the literary world created by the trilogy. More than anything I found her plaintive wails for attention rather tedious, punctuated at times by sharp annoyance. Second to that I sensed a profound sadness about this pathetic creature.

I don't know if Miss Gabrielsson is a poor writer, or the English translation was exceptionally bad, or if it was the depressing stories she told- but this book, in English, comes across as badly written and stylistically awkward. She does describe, if her accounts are to be taken at face value, how Larsson's family and Swedish law may have denied her wifely rights to Larsson's fortune. We can all understand her frustrattion, and we ourselves might have reacted even worse than she had, if we were in her position.

But something about the convoluted and sly manner in which she weaves her story that does not generate any sympathy for her cause- at least not from me. The fact that all we have is her word for it- one must conclude that if she and Larsson really did consider themselves man and wife, life partners, why on earth didn't they do something about it in those 32 years Gabrielsson is eager to recall over and over? Thinking her plight through one must conclude that given that much time, and that much inaction, that while the present results for her might be distasteful to Gabrielsson, but they are simply the way things are. I found myself saying she should "suck it up," as we say here- recognize the mess life has dealt her, and move on.

I stumbled onto Stieg Larsson's trilogy after visiting Sweden 3 years ago. I heard a literary critic on the radio making the observation that the heroine of the books, Lisbeth Salander, was a "grown up Pippi Longstocking." That comment alone got me to purchase a set. I LOVED the Larsson books- and the fact that they became best sellers in the States around that time did not surprise me.

At first I felt it was a loss for readers everywhere that Larsson had died so young. I was intrigued by what kind of man he might have been, and wanted to know more, but found the biographical information available here in the States very scant and unsatisfying. If Miss Gabrielsson's version of their life together is to be believed, or even taken with a pound of salt, there might have been a reason why the publishers kept Larsson's life a mystery. He was much more interesting when I knew nothing about him! Reading all of Gabrielsson's anecdotes of Stieg's life- she painted him as a rather insecure, self-righteous, and maybe even miserable communist who couldn't quite find his way in life. Yuck!

It reminded me of coming up on an enchanting vision of a woman on the sidewalk as I drove past her- craning my neck to catch a glimpse of what surely must the a captivating and beautiful face, only to find her visage very ordinary (like me!). I have often thought it is better to leave intriguing "visions" of beauty and mystery exactly that- mysteries. Don't look too closely, or you may well lose what could have been a nice little remembrance of grace by exposing it to the unflattering cold light of day.

Gabrielsson's story is like that- it was mildly interesting to learn a bit about Larsson- but her portrait was so dreary, she spoiled a minor "hero" figure for me. Ah well- that's life. Maybe it's for the best? At any rate, it's too late now.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 19, 2014 6:05 AM PST


PHILIPS USA PH62020 Wet-type Cassette Head Cleaner (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
PHILIPS USA PH62020 Wet-type Cassette Head Cleaner (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Offered by Red Apples
Price: $9.99
2 used & new from $9.99

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally worthless item, October 1, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Phillips invented the audio cassette back in 1965, so I expected that their audio cassette tape head cleaner would work. I was shocked to find that virtually everything that could go wrong, in fact does. I do not blame the vendor or Amazon- they probably made the same assumption I did regarding Phillips ability to manufacture the ridiculously simple gizmo of a wet-solution tape head cleaner.

Worst of all, the cassette they provide to wet with alcohol to run along your tape heads to clean them does not actually work. Visual inspection shows it makes a few turns on the capstan, then just stops. The cloth cleaning tape will not fast forward, nor rewind. I pulled the cassette out several times (and had to use my finger nails because the cassette body is too thich and it jams), checked that the cloth tape was loose and the wheels were un-jammed and easy to turn, then re-inserted it. Every single time the clearning device failed to perform in even the most simple of tasks. This is a piece of junk, and I feel completely ripped off. It has, however, sparked me to finally ditch the obsolete audio cassette player and spend the money for a nice digital system- so maybe there is a silver lining.


Inspector Lewis: Series 3
Inspector Lewis: Series 3
DVD ~ Kevin Whately
Price: $20.26
21 used & new from $13.60

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PBS finally getting it right- When Blu Ray?, January 11, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Inspector Lewis: Series 3 (DVD)
I love the Inspector Lewis series. Saw Morse, then most of Lewis, fresh on UK TV, and now watch it HD on local PBS station in the States. Ordered Series 1 & 2 and was profoundly disappointed that PBS choose to release crappy DVDs without subtitles (my Sony Bravia system with HDMI inter-linked components will not play broadcast type captions). I like subtitles I can turn on and off easily, due to hearing difficulties. And the picture quality was so awful- like an old VHS tape that had been played one too many times.

Then I got this Series 3 set and was most pleased to see 1) DVD subtitles, and 2) a much improved picture quality. Not, sadly, the HD I see on my local PBS station. I suppose PBS will need to enter the 21st Century first, and realize that Blu - Ray, or some other high quality medium is the standard now. But at least it's not like Series 1 & 2, which is like watching TV through a mat of wet Kleenex.

So, welcome to the last decade PBS! Thank you for starting to use DVD quality on your DVD disks. Now just let yourselves tune in a bit more, and edge in to all the recent technological developments and take the next step up to HD.


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