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wiredweird "wiredweird" RSS Feed (Earth, or somewhere nearby)

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Bittermens Burlesque Bitters for Cocktails - 4 oz
Bittermens Burlesque Bitters for Cocktails - 4 oz
Offered by Caputo's Market and Deli
Price: $16.49
3 used & new from $16.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Warm dark notes, July 1, 2015
The 'Burlesque' has a distinctive central flavor - I think it's walnut husk, aromatic and bitter in itself, and easy to pair with warm flavors. I like that taste, having done some experiments based on the Parsons book, and find it uncommon among the commercial bitters I've tried.

But, I have to say, I still prefer my own walnut-based flavors. This comes on strong with the central flavor and enticing bitterness, but lacks the secondary and tertiary notes that make a flavor memorable. So, it's good. If I didn't make my own, very good - it would be a regular on my shelf. Recommended, unless you make your own.

-- wiredweird

PS: I'm not a fan of dropper bottles, and this comes with a medicine dropper. Perhaps you get more repeatability and precision with a dropper, until the bottle runs low, but I prefer the convenience of a shaker, which you can find easily at Amazon.

Big Game
Big Game
DVD ~ Samuel L. Jackson
Price: $22.98

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun kid-power flick, June 30, 2015
This review is from: Big Game (DVD)
Oskari (played by Onni Tommila, that cute kid from Rare Exports) is about to enter his manhood rite - in this Finnish hunting community, that means going out and killing something. It's just that he's not very good at it. President Moore (Samuel L. Jackson) is about to enter a complex attempt on his life. The two cross paths deep in Finland's craggy woods, one step ahead of the terrorist team after the president.

It's true, Oskari isn't worth beans with a bow and arrow. He's still smart, tough, brave, and completely at home in this brutal landscape. And, like any teenage boy, a bit cocky, and out to make the most of it when he's in a position to give orders to the president of the US. As an adventure flick, it works pretty well. I found a good few laugh-out-loud moments, too, not pasted-on gags but the genuine humor in a boy's life, the lkind that only he can't see. Maybe not one for the ages, it's still popcorn-worthy enough for me.

-- wiredweird

Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band - Black
Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band - Black
Price: Click here to see our price
64 used & new from $49.44

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for all users, June 29, 2015
My mother just started using one. She walks the dog at least three times a day, but needs a walker - and this thing doesn't count any step taken with a walker. Cripes, with all the effort it takes her, that should count twice. Instead, this simply ignores her hour or so of exercise.

Keep that in mind if you or yours actually want credit for your hard work, and you have to work harder than most. I don't know what else this does well or badly, but that's a real disappointment.

-- wiredweird

Jurassic World
Jurassic World
DVD ~ Chris Pratt
Price: $19.83

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What could go wrong?, June 15, 2015
This review is from: Jurassic World (DVD)
Well, everything.

That oily lab chief declaring that DNA composition is "classified", even to the park owner - doesn't that raise a handful of red flags? Then, I had to wonder about the slipshod safety procedures around the mighty predators. And, if that tranquilizer in an early scene was so good at dropping a huge beast in its tracks, I would have thought they'd use the same stuff ion an armor-piercing round when it came to the huger and much less tranquil beasts. Then there are the high heels - but we're so used to that inanity that it doesn't even call for comment any more.

There. I picked some nits. It's still a pretty good flick. Well of course they'd turn the baby dinos into kiddie-park rides. I would have begged for that when I was of kiddie-park age. And of course they'd have bean-counters dealing ion marketing-speak, and the guy who wants to turn everything iinto a weapon, and ... well, once you buy into the improbable premise and a few other bits of silliness, it really does move pretty well. Nice action, nice heroics, and great CGI dinosaurs.

BTW, it seemed like a glaring error. Yes, I can imagine the dinos being a genetic patchwork, filling in gaps in the DNA and making them "cooler," but it seemed like slipshod work. Even real-life genetic engineers are pretty good at picking specific genes for specific purposes, so why were these guys getting all kinds of strange side-effects in their nucleic acid collages? Once the movie shows where loyalties lie and why, I think that objection gets answered very nicely.

And, there's plenty of sequel-bait. But you'll see that for yourself.

-- wiredweird, reviewing the release to theaters

When Marnie Was There (DVD)
When Marnie Was There (DVD)
DVD ~ Jamie Simone
Price: $19.98

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible, June 10, 2015
This review is from: When Marnie Was There (DVD) (DVD)
Studio Ghibli has done it again: created a gorgeous world filled with credible characters, the kind you really care about. Ana, for example, the painfully shy twelve year old girl. Well, who, boy or girl, wasn't painfully shy at that age, at least some times? And there's the visual art. Ghibli has always met the highest standards in animation, and does that again. In 'Marnie,' pay special attention to the backgrounds - to the moss between the bricks, to the flowing grass, to the lichened stones. It's gorgeous.

I won't say much about the plot because unintended spoilers would be so easy. I will say that this carries an unusual mood: eerie, but not threatening or ominous, and blends the supernatural with the here-and-now seamlessly. That brings up one small criticism of this movie, and only a small one. Other Ghibli films, [[ASIN: Spirited Away]] among them, do have that foreboding edge. It pushes the drama up a notch, it adds an edge and depth that make a movie memorable. Even so, the gentler spirit of Marie will suit many viewers. And, despite that one little thing, this one's easy to love.

-- wiredweird, reviewing the release to theaters

Tomorrowland [Blu-ray]
Tomorrowland [Blu-ray]
Price: $24.89

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I want my "great, big beautful, tomorrow." Now., June 6, 2015
This review is from: Tomorrowland [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
So what happened to it?

We did, mostly. all those glorious dreams from the 1950s Popular Science and science fiction rags - where did they go? The good news is, a wonderful land emerged where all those wonderful things could become real. The bad news is, we colonized it, with all our deadly failings.

But, the good news is, beings like Athena came to life within that best of all possible worlds. Not just a wonderful character, the child actress conveyed her with charm and aplomb. Whatever the movie's failings, and there are a good few, they don't weigh on her shoulders.

But the bad news is, WTF? If a robot ceases to function, wherever and for whatever reason, is that the right way to dispose of them? Suppose that happened with cell phones or laptops. Dang, we'd have fireworks. No, no - broken robots still have to be nice to the people around them, even after if they break. (It's called fail-safe, and Athena's failure hardly seems safe.) But a fun flick anyway.

-- wiredweird

San Andreas (Special Edition DVD + UltraViolet)
San Andreas (Special Edition DVD + UltraViolet)
Price: $19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A+ grade for a C+ flick, June 6, 2015
By any ordinary standards, this is a B movie at best. I mean, they didn't even need to create a motive for the mayhem. The SA fault is right there, ticking away. We had warnings from the Andaman and Fukushima - and my cousins were in that Easter 1964 thing in Alaska. Then we get disaster, heroics, and happy ending, pretty much on schedule. You know, the usual.

But this one really stands at the head of its pack.
- The CGI is mind-boggling. (Remember when The Last Starfighter broke records for CGI complexity?) Even by today's mind-boggling standards.
-- They got the science right, to within reasonable confidence intervals. Good science takes nothing away from an exciting flick - quite the opposite.
-- The "family values" thing is as strong as ever, and I kinda like it. Daddy taking care of his own, without having to shoot up half a continent in the process - peace to Liam Neeson, there are other ways to be a family man.

But, I still bit my tongue struggling to suspend disbelief more than once. Like, how many randomly stolen Cessnas will just happen to have a tandem rig in the back? (Oh, and how many have the back seats out, like for jumpers?) And how many chopper pilots are tandem masters?

But, c'mon. It's a disaster flick. And a daddy thing.Within those parameters, I rank it among the best. Totally popcorn-worthy.

-- wiredweird

No Mallets Intended (A Vintage Kitchen Mystery)
No Mallets Intended (A Vintage Kitchen Mystery)
by Victoria Hamilton
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
74 used & new from $0.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not my thing, June 1, 2015
I picked this up - well, under less-than-ideal circumstances, when I was desperate for something to read. Mysteries aren't much my thing, chick-lit definitely isn't, and combining the two doesn't make things better. As I said, I was desperate.

Like Dick Francis's many books, this has a distinctive theme: horses for him, kitchen collectibles here. The leading lady in this has a passion for kitchen stuff not quite old enough to be "antique," but out of fashion for many decades. I've lived with a passionate collector - this character fully represents the weirdness you can expect in such folk. Then, note that male characters are a small minority, mostly with minor roles and, as often as not, repulsive people. Throw in a running commentary on who's in which guy's bed, or was, or wants to be, minus the actual bedroom details. Sound chicky enough?

Oh, yeah, then there's the amateur sleuth taking time out from her Depression-era meat tenderizers to solve the murder.

I'm sure this book will appeal to readers of a certain demographic, and I wish them all the joy there is to be had in this. But, there are many other reading demographics out there, not all of which can experience the pleasure in this book. Since every review is written from some point of view or other, I respect those who love this - given my point of view, I just don't share that love.

-- wiredweird

The White Bull
The White Bull
Price: $4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Minotaur myth revisited, May 29, 2015
This review is from: The White Bull (Kindle Edition)
In most ways, this stays close to the traditional mythic story line: Daedalus, labyrinth, and half-bull; Daedalus and Icarus; Theseus, Minos, and the rest at more or less appropriate places. Other characters, like Talus the bronze man, fit well enough despite a mix of mythic origins. But, when Saberhagen turns the Minotaur into a alien from an advanced culture, here to better humanity, and Talus into his robotic bodyguard, things take a turn decidedly away from the traditional.

I don't inherently object to building new myths around old characters. Whatever the stories elements, though, I hope to see them compounded into something with rich characters, plot that rises above its immediate time and place, and issues (and resolutions) that speak to every generation. This lacks that core of greatness.

So, what's left is fair entertainment, a perfectly decent way to spend a few hours, but not a book I plan to keep. (And my shelves are widely considered a no-kill shelter for writings of many kinds.)

-- wiredweird

The Saga of the People of Laxardal and Bolli Bollason's Tale (Penguin Classics)
The Saga of the People of Laxardal and Bolli Bollason's Tale (Penguin Classics)
by Anonymous
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.97
85 used & new from $4.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look back, May 24, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Icelandic sagas form a fascinating core of Western literature. The intrigues, vendettas, and glorious tales never pall. The generation epics represent not just good stories in themselves, but a look into Norse history. Even filtered through layers of hero worship, magical beliefs, Christian propagandizing, and a rush to get to the good part, some genuine sense of the time and people remains. Keneva Kuntz's translation brings it all to life in modern English, removing the barrier of unfamiliar language between modern readers and the old stories.

So, given their easy accessibility and excitement, I'm grateful that these classics are never taught at high school level. I mean, the characters and plots could easily appeal to kids of that age and could broaden their notions of literature and history. But, in my experience, anything taught in high school becomes repulsive - decades later, I still can't stomach whatever was jammed down my throat back then. I remain grateful that these wonderful stories were spared that treatment, and can still offer enjoyable reading as well as cultural insight.

-- wiredweird

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