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Customer Reviews: 18
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Helpful Votes: 258


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Adrien RSS Feed (Brea, CA)

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Changes of Heart (Montana Skies Book #1)
Changes of Heart (Montana Skies Book #1)
Price: $4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, March 27, 2015
Surprise ending.


The After
The After
DVD

4.0 out of 5 stars Hoping to See More, April 30, 2014
This review is from: The After (Amazon Instant Video)
Good story line, compelling characters, and a touch of the bizarre. All key elements you would expect from someone like Chris Carter. Also, it's good to see Aldis Hodge in a new project since we haven't seen much of hon since Leverage. I hope there's more to come beyond the pilot.


Fagor Chef 8 Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
Fagor Chef 8 Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
Offered by imagine products
Price: $179.95
22 used & new from $148.46

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely high quality, built to last, and very easy to use, January 15, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There's very little that can be said about this pressure cooker except that it exceeds expectations at every turn. This is Fagor's top of the line model, so it is understandable that you would have high expectations. Even so, the Fagor Chef Pressure cooker goes above and beyond. This thing has everything, from the pressure button that tells you exactly how close you are to reaching full pressure, to the self locking lid that ensure's it's on securely, right down to the little wire trivet that keeps the steamer basket off the bottom of the pot. Fagor thought of everything. And if you're new to pressure cooking, there's even a handy DVD that tells you exactly how to use it. If you're looking for pressure cooking ideas, Fagor has some excellent recipes and suggestions on their web site. I bought this for my wife to replace her 40-plus year old Presto pressure cooker and I'm just as thrilled with it as she is.


Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player
Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player
Price: $29.99
223 used & new from $25.00

90 of 113 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Neat idea but not ready for prime time..., September 27, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm giving the Google Chromecast two stars because it really is a good device that works exactly as advertised but it doesn't support enough streaming media apps to really be useful. Buyers should understand that if all they want is to stream YouTube or Netflix from their iPad to their TV, this thing is great. It's inexpensive, easy to set up and it works just fine. The problem is, that's all it does. It streams media from YouTube, Netflix, and music and video from Google Play. You can also pop up web pages from your PC, but not from your Android or iOS device. What you can't do is stream video through Chrome, which seems odd.

Something really promising about this device is that it lets you use your smart phone or tablet as your remote. That's an amazing feature and it works really well; almost flawlessly. Some of the negative reviews complained about that, but it's a really cool feature and other devices could take a page from Google's book on this kind of integration. If this thing supported just one more app, I'd be tempted to give it 4 or even 5 stars, but with it's current limitations I just can't do it.

Google promises that more apps are coming, but which ones? If this device supported the TWC app or HBOGo, I might have kept it. If it could stream music or video from Windows Media Player, I might have kept it. The bottom line is, what I really want is a Roku box and what I should have done was shelled out the extra coin to get what I was looking for rather than hoping for a less expensive solution.

Don't get me wrong, one day this little gizmo is going to give Roku a run for their money. Unfortunately, that day is not today so I'm sending mine back and I'll invest my pennies in a more full featured device.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 8, 2015 12:24 PM PDT


Timbuk2 Command Laptop TSA-Friendly Messenger Bag
Timbuk2 Command Laptop TSA-Friendly Messenger Bag
Price: $135.00 - $238.13

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rugged, durable, and big enough to pack a large house cat, September 7, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I did a fair amount of research before purchasing this bag. I was looking for a messenger style bag to replace my 10+ year old Targus laptop backpack. I needed something large enough to store my laptop plus chords, hard drives, headphones, and other such accessories, as well as double as a brief case for carrying work papers, airline tickets, etc. This bag more than met the need.

First, kudos to Amazon for their responsiveness. I ordered the medium size bag because the description said it could fit most 16" laptops. Well, my 16" laptop clearly falls outside of the "most" category given that it has a large battery protrusion out the back. My optimism was rewarded with the rapid delivery of a bag that would technically fit the laptop but not easily. So I sent it back and purchased the large bag instead. Amazon's return policy and responsiveness were above and beyond expectations.

When researching anything on Amazon I like to look at the negative reviews as well as the positive. A lot of times the positive reviews are not very critical and seem to have a "fanboy" context so looking at some of the negative and middle of the road reviews can help put things into perspective. There were really only two negative reviews at my time of purchase. One buyer was very disappointed with the fact that the iPad sleeve is inside the laptop compartment, making the TSA feature useless if you're also toting a tablet. A valid critique, but I didn't think it was 1-star worthy.

The other negative review seemed to be doctoral dissertation on the physics of friction dynamics of strap fasteners. While it seemed interesting, I couldn't quite follow it so I decided to ignore it.

So I got the bag and tested it out with a nationwide tour of five round trips to five cities over the course of a five-week period. I figured this was the ultimate test since I needed something that was rugged, could haul all my stuff, and had to be versatile enough to get me through airports with minimal hassles. This bag hit 5 stars on all counts. I'm not even exaggerating a little bit.

First, let's take a look at the storage. There's a large laptop compartment that is separated from the main compartment so all you have to deal with is a top zipper and the laptop comes right out. It's easily accessible while carrying the bag with the shoulder strap across your chest (by far the most comfortable way to carry the bag). Under the flap there are three zippered flat compartments a small, open top pocket, and the Napoleon pocket. The zippered flat compartments graduate in size and are great for carrying keys, pens, small documents, etc. The small top pocket is great for your connecting flight's boarding pass and other stuff you need to get to quickly.

The Napoleon pocket is pure genius. Honestly, I couldn't even imagine what it was until the bag was delivered. Then it became immediately obvious. It's a zippered side pocket that resides under the flap but allows you to reach in sideways to access things you need quickly and don't want to have to open the flap for. It's called a Napoleon pocket because you shove your hand in sideways the just like all those pictures you've seen of Monsieur N. Bonaparte with his hand stuck halfway into his jacket. I keep my mints and my ear buds in there (priorities, right?).

Just inside the flap is a large top pocket that is ideal for carrying a note pad, file folders, and the like. I have a leather folio that I use to keep my notes, spare business cards, and all my travel info. It fits in the large top pocket perfectly and is pretty easy to access with the shoulder strap across my chest while still remaining perfectly secure with the flap down.

On the inside portion of the large top pocket is a large zippered pocket that I use for storing chargers for my phone and other accessories. The backside of the top pocket has the usual accessory pockets you'd expect in any laptop bag or brief case for pens, business cards and other miscellaneous paraphernalia. One pocket is the perfect size for my Verizon MiFi hot spot. I can open the flap, find it immediately, turn it on, then leave it there for several hours of 4G internet surfing while waiting for my next flight.

Then there's the main compartment. It's cavernous! You could literally store a large house cat in there, although the cat might not appreciate it much and it would certainly be a test of the durability of the inside of the bag. I keep my head phones and an umbrella in there (you never know), and mostly use it to cram odds and ends I tend to collect during my travels. It's handy for books, magazines, and maybe a sweater.

Notice that I didn't mention keeping my laptop's power supply in the main compartment? That's because there's a special pocket at the bottom of the bag just for that. A laptop power supply is one of the most inconvenient things you can carry in your bag. It's heavy and its cord tends to get tangled up with everything else in your bag no matter how neat you try to be. Obviously the designers of the Command Laptop bag figured that out so they created a special pocket just for the power supply. It keeps the cords out of the way of other stuff and helps distribute the weight of the bag so the bulky power brick doesn't bang against your hip when you're running through the airport. There's also enough room in there for my wireless mouse and my laptop's security cable. Handy!

As mentioned before, the laptop compartment also has a little pocket for a tablet. I keep my Kindle Fire in there and my only complaint is that the pocket's too big. I have to reach way down to get at the tablet. Some people will complain about anything, right? It's really the ideal place to put a tablet pocket. If I want to read on the plane, I don't want to be wrestling the whole bag out from under the seat in front of me just to get out the Kindle. Unzip, pop the Velcro, reach in and you're good to go.

Then there's the construction of the whole thing. Heavyweight ballistic nylon all the way around. This bag's actually seen 8 weeks of heavy use and over 12,000 miles of travel and it still looks brand new. The strap has a convenient seat belt style buckle that easily adjusts if you want to raise or lower the bag to shift your position. It's made of heavy duty plastic and seems sturdy enough. The clips that hold the strap to the metal triangle rings are perfectly designed to swivel so you never have to worry about the strap getting bound up on you when you throw it over your shoulder in a hurry.

Finally, there's the whole "system" to keep the flap closed. The flap is secured with Velcro having two large, horizontal loop stripes that span the width of the flap. They attach to the bag with two vertical hook stripes that are on either side of the pockets. The two horizontal loop stripes ensure that the flap stays secure no matter how much crap you've crammed into the main compartment. As an added feature, there are two "silencing strips" that cover the two vertical hook stripes. For the life of me I couldn't figure out what these were for until I looked online and found out what they were called. I tucked them away in a pocket thinking I'd never pull them out again. But then I found myself reaching into my bag in the middle of a meeting and cringed at the loud pull of Velcro tearing apart. Now I always cover the Velcro hook stripes with the silencing strips when I'm in a client meeting. I can grab an extra pen, turn on my WiFi, or root around for another box of mints without anyone being the wiser. Nifty!

And what's probably the best part of the flap security system is the use of the "C" hooks. These are simply brilliant. One reason you might not want a messenger bag is that Velcro is rarely enough to keep it securely closed but buckles, buttons and clips break or are just a hassle to manage. The C hooks allow you to get at your stuff without constantly buckling and unbuckling some fastener. They're a little more challenging to hook than to unhook, but still pretty neat. This is where the one reviewer's dissertation on friction dynamics comes into play, however. The C hooks are basically just a normal strap fastener with an opening on the top portion so you can quickly get it on and off without sliding the whole strap through the fastener. To keep a strap secure, the fastener relies on the friction of the strap and the weight of the bag to bind against the strap so it doesn't slip. You pull down, it holds tight; you pull up, it releases. Well, the pulling down part only works well if there's enough friction to keep the fastener from sliding along the strap. The nylon straps are so slippery you'll find it a challenge to keep them adjusted tightly. It's a non-problem with the Velcro as the straps are merely secondary securing devices.

Every good thing still has room for improvement. I'd put little pull tabs on either side of all the large zippers so you can more easily zip and unzip pockets with the bag slung across your shoulder. This would be especially useful on the zipper for the computer compartment. I'd also put a couple of grabber loops strategically placed on the bottom and sides so you could easily get a grip on the bag to pull it out of an overhead luggage compartment or the seat in front of you without have to grab the shoulder strap, which invariably pulls the bag out cockeyed. And the last critique, the shoulder pad, which is very well designed, is just not cushy enough when the bag is fully loaded. The bag is extremely well designed to distribute weight evenly across your body, but even so, your collar bone takes the brunt of it and a cushier shoulder strap would make that easier. Of course, Timbuk2 offers a cushier shoulder pad as a separately sold accessory, so I'm going to have to look into that.

All in all, this is the best laptop bag ever. Oh, and just a disclaimer; I'm not in the habit of carrying cats around in messenger bags. I'm just saying... you could.


The Essential Etta James
The Essential Etta James
Price: $18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Classic, February 6, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Excellent collection of some of the finest songs from the incomparable Etta James. Her music plays just as well today as it did 50 years ago. If you love classic R&B and old style blues but are looking for something beyond the MoTown sound, I urge you to check out Etta James. She has grit and sass and expresses an absolute joy in living that is communicated beautifully through her wonderful music.


No Title Available

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Looks nice but not very functional..., January 11, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
UPDATE 02/06/2013: After a few more weeks of owning this item it stopped working through my car stereo system. It's functionality was sketchy at best, but now it is only useful as a dash-mounted car charger. This item dropped from 3 stars to 1 start. I can't recommend purchasing it.

If all you want to do is listen to Pandora through your stereo system from your dash mounted Galaxy S III, this is fine. It holds the Galaxy securely and connects to your power and car speakers via USB. Given the size of the S III, this is a pretty sleek, low profile, and nice looking car mount. Beyond that, however, it's tough to recommend this phone holder.

If you have a smart phone, and you drive, a car mount seems like a no-brainer. I use my phone as a 4G radio, hands-free speaker phone, and a GPS while I'm driving. I was spoiled by the Motorola dash mount for my Droid 2. I could secure the phone in the mount with one hand, listen to the car radio while using turn-by-turn driving directions, and take calls effortlessly while driving. The same experience with the Galaxy should have been better, but it's much, much worse. I don't know if it's the car dock, the Galaxy, or a combination of both, but I definately expected better than I got.

First, it's impossible to lock the phone into the dock with one hand. In fact, it's difficult to do with two and I almost invariably end up hitting some button or icon on the phone, and inadvertantly launching an app that I then have to back out of. I learned quickly to use the rubber pad stickers that come with the dock to keep the phone from shutting off every time you hit a bump. Without them, the phone can completely power down on its own while driving because the power button rests against the lower arm of the mounting system. So, while the phone looks great once it's mounted, ergonomically it's a disaster. Don't even try to mount the phone while driving unless you're looking for an impromptu introduction to the driver the next lane over.

Second, the driving directions voice runs through the car speakers, which means you have to have your car stereo set to Aux in order to hear it. That's fine if you're listening to Pandora or the music on your phone, but not if you want to listen to a local radio station on your car stereo. The workaround is iHeartRadio or other free radio app, so this is not really a show stopper. It's just a bit annoying given that the Motorola mount I had with my Droid 2 was smart enough not to try and direct sound to my stereo when the stereo was not set to Aux. This meant that when listening to the radio the navigation voice came through the phone's external speaker.

Third, while the Galaxy S III is the best speaker phone I've ever had (including the wired speaker phon in my office), it's useless when running through the car dock. There's static on incoming calls that's reminiscent of CB radio squelch and people on the other end of the line can barely hear you at all. The solution to this problem is to unplug the USB cable from the phone when you take a call and just use the dock as a holder. It's not the best, but at least you can take a call.

I'd probably give this 2 stars if there weren't viable workaround for the problems and maybe even 4 stars if I'd never had the Motorola car dock, so this thing sits squarely in the 3 star range. I'm not thrilled with it but I'm not unhappy enough to return it ti iBOLT. If somebody knows of a better option, however, I'd love to hear about it.


Bayou Classic 1118 32-Quart Stainless Steel Turkey Fryer
Bayou Classic 1118 32-Quart Stainless Steel Turkey Fryer
Price: $90.00
42 used & new from $81.00

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for turkey, prime rib, or sea food!, January 3, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This stainless steel cookpot is sturdy, well constructed, and easy to clean. It also comes with a boil basked and a turkey rack. The boil basked could not be better constructed. It fits right inside the cookpot and rests on an internal rim so the base is not sitting on the bottom of the fryer. This allows more even boiling, but you have to remember that you're going to lose the top few inches of space in the basked so be careful not to over fill. I purchased this item in concert with the Bayou Classic SP10 High-Pressure Outdoor Gas Cooker and it couldn't be a better match. Since this is a 32 quart cook pot it won't fit on most cookers that are specifically designed for 30qt pots, so a cooker with a flat burner area is essential.

We broke the cookpot in with a crab boil. Fill the pot with water to the max fill line. Add a couple of packages of Zatarain's Crab Boil, about 3 tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning, and a couple of onions peeled and halved. Load your basked with about 4 medium sized red potatos (cleaned and quartered) and lower the basket in the water once it's come to a boil. After about 15 minutes add four ears of corn halved and 2 lbs of kielbasa or andouille sausage (I used turkey sausage). After another 10 minutes add 2 lbs of crab legs, 2 lbs of raw shrimp (cleaned and deveined). Cook the seafood for about 5 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through, then turn off the heat, pull out the basked, and dump the whole mess on a table covered with butcher paper. It will feed about 8-10 people.

Our next excursion was a 10 lb prime rib. This couldn't have been easier. The prime rib came from the butcher with the fat trimed and the ribs removed. It was also pre-rubbed with sage, rosemary, and Italian spices. I used a turkey injector to add some John Henry's marinade and let it sit covered in the fridge for about 5 hours. I then took it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for an hour or so before frying. After bringing about 5 gallons of peanut oil to 350dF I adjusted the flame to maintain the temp, put the roast in the basket and carefully lowered it into the pot of oil (I recommend a good pair of welding gloves in case of spatter). Cooking the prime rib at 3 minutes per pound gave the roast a blackend, charred crust, medium well at the ends, rare in the very center, and medium rare for the rest of it. It made for an excellent Christmas roast.

To clean the pot after frying, cover the oil and let it cool down for a day; then pour it off into its original container (you need a good sized funnel for this). Fill the pot up with water and add some dishwashing detergent. Bring the water to a boil and turn down the heat to sustain a good roll. Then dump in the basked and let it boil for a good 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the water cool for a few hours. Pour off the dirty water and scrub lightly with a scouring pad. Any burnt on mess should come right off with a little scrubbing and rinsing.

Obviously, with any flame and especially with hot oil, precautions should be taken. The cookpot comes with safety instructions as will the cooker. Follow them. Never bring hot oil above 350dF, always cook in a well ventalated area, not under a cover, and keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case. Never leave a cooker unattended while cooking.


Bayou Classic SP10 High-Pressure Outdoor Gas Cooker, Propane
Bayou Classic SP10 High-Pressure Outdoor Gas Cooker, Propane
Price: $49.50
59 used & new from $37.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High quality outdoor cooker, January 3, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
When looking for an an outdoor cooker I was disapointed with the quality of most that I found. They all seemed to be pretty flimsy and could only support the 30qt cooking pot they came with. In order to get a better quality I decided I needed to spend a little extra money and purchase the cooker and the cook pots separately. It was a great decision. The Bayou Classic SP10 is a great cooker that has a sturdy, welded frame and a large, flat burner that can support a very large cook pot. The other major issue with gas cookers is the flame jet. If the jet is too big you get a broad but weak flame that takes forever to get anything hot. If it's too small you get a nice, blue, hot flame that is so tiny it doesn't distribute the heat well. The jet that comes with this cooker is just the right size and can boil 20 qts of water in about 20 minutes. The cooker frame is constructed such that the flame is sheilded from the wind so the flame is always directed at the base of your pot. The adjustment valve is smooth and allows you to precisely adjust your flame to control temperature and prevent boilovers. You have to buy the cookpot and accessories separately, but that's a good thing as it gives you choices. I chose the Bayou Classic 1118 32-Quart Stainless Steel Turkey Fryer which is the perfect size for a 16lb turkey, a 10lb prime rib roast, or a crab boil for 10 (seriously, try the crab boil; it's amazing).


HBO GO
HBO GO
Price: $0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Was not able to connect to TWC, October 18, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: HBO GO (App)
UPDATE 02/18/13: Okay, I was able to get it up and running. It looks like the problem may have had more to do with my Time Warner account than with the app. I went onto the TWC web page and updated my login info and the app just started working. That could be coincidence, though, because there have been a few HBO GO updates downloaded to my Kindle between attempts. At any rate, it works now and it's actually a pretty neat little app. Hotel room wi-fi connections seem fine to watch shows in normal def. The browsing for shows takes a little getting used to but it's not complex. You just need to know what category your show fits into. If you travel, have a Kindle Fire, and you're hooked on your HBO dramas, this app is pretty much a no brainer.
------------------------------------------------
HBO GO seems like it could be a great app, but doesn't seem to like to connect if your cable service is Time Warner. Thus far, I've never been able to sign in so it's impossible to tell whether the app is useful. When I get around to it I'll check their tech support and see if there's a fix and update this review accordingly. Not in a great rush, however, since I'm all caught up on Game of Thrones and Newsroom.


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