Lennox Cook

Joined a year ago

Lennox's Favorites
Head First Kotlin: A Brain-Friendly Guide
Head First Kotlin: A Brain-Friendly Guide
Head First Kotlin: A Brain-Friendly Guide by Dawn Griffiths and David Griffiths. Rated 4.2 out of 5 stars, with 22 ratings. Read more and check out similar items in the javascript category.
C++ Primer (5th Edition)
C++ Primer (5th Edition)
C++ Primer (5th Edition) by Stanley B. Lippman , Josée Lajoie , et al.. Rated 4.2 out of 5 stars, with 400 ratings. Read more and check out similar items in the c++ category.
The Best of Me
The Best of Me
The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars, with 4792 ratings. Read more and check out similar items in the Nicholas Sparks category.
Different Seasons
Different Seasons
Different Seasons by Stephen King, Frank Muller, et al.. Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars, with 1150 ratings. Read more and check out similar items in the Stephen King category.
Mr. Mercedes: Bill Hodges Trilogie 1
Mr. Mercedes: Bill Hodges Trilogie 1
Mr. Mercedes: Bill Hodges Trilogie 1 by Stephen King, David Nathan, et al.. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars, with 200 ratings. Read more and check out similar items in the Stephen King category.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Game Guide
Final Fantasy VII Remake Game Guide
Final Fantasy VII Remake Game Guide by Arthur Martensson. Rated 1.8 out of 5 stars, with 9 ratings. Read more and check out similar items in the Go programming category.
Learning Concurrent Programming in Scala
Learning Concurrent Programming in Scala
Learning Concurrent Programming in Scala by Aleksandar Prokopec. Rated 4.4 out of 5 stars, with 15 ratings. Read more and check out similar items in the Scala programming category.
Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp (New York Review Books Classics)
Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp (New York Review Books Classics)
I read this book when it first came out in French, and just re-read it in Karpeles's English translation. A Proust scholar will find perhaps little that they would consider new in terms of research, and the main interest of the book may be its context. While imprisoned in Gryazovets, a Russian camp near Vologda, located in a bombed-out monastery, Czapski participated in a series of sometimes authorized, sometimes clandestine lectures: inmates would discourse from memory on any topic dear to them, whether literature, sports, geography... Czapski gave a series of talks on the history of painting (and, as we learn from Karpeles's biography of Czapski, "Almost Nothing," even drafted an art historical volume, but the notes were lost, confiscated...). As he worked on his topic, another idea came to haunt him: to present to his fellow prisoners the work of Proust -- whom he saw as a sort of prisoner, locked in his "corked bedroom," in disregard of his health, entirely devoted to his work. Proust's "In Search of Lost Time" brought hope of a time regained into a place so remote and seemingly antithetical to the aristocratic world he describes. Speaking to Polish fellows in arms, Czapski nevertheless gave his lectures in French. His notes, some of which are reproduced and translated (with only a handful of very slight errors) in the plate section, are a visual map to his interpretation of Proust, drafted mainly in Polish, with a sprinkling of French, German, Latin, as required by the origin of the references. The French edition of these talks presents perhaps a more fragile text as it preserves some grammatical errors and omissions made in the surviving transcripts of these lectures. (The journey from the original conception to the published text is in itself fascinating: it's not clear whether Czapski had detailed notes or whether he spoke based on the mental map in the form of visual diagrams recorded in the notebooks; afterwards, he dictated the lectures in abridged form to two inmates who transcribed it on a typewriter -- as Karpeles points out, mystery envelops the circumstances of the creation of this typescript [a typewriter in a gulag?]. Eventually a second typescript was created. Both bear some handwritten corrections made by Czapski, perhaps others. Karpeles's version relies on a comparison between the two versions; whereas the French publication had access to only one typescript.) Perhaps because of publishing costs, the NYRB edition reproduces only a few select pages with the draft diagrams, accompanied by a translation on the facing page. The French version doesn't offer translations of its plates, but includes color photographs of the entire notebook, including the two tattered covers with the title "Tyetrad" [Exercise Book], printed in Cyrillics.

Let not the Proust scholar be too disappointed or walk away too early, however. While Czapski may seem to add little to the "scholarship," doesn't encountering Proust in the gulag tell us something about Proust we may have previously overlooked? And plain and "unscholarly" as Czapski's interpretation may appear, it brings in his unique erudition by setting Proust side by side Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Zeromski, Conrad in ways that to a discerning eye might indeed suggest new avenues of exploration!
Warren Buffett: The Life, Lessons & Rules for Success
Warren Buffett: The Life, Lessons & Rules for Success
There is nothing worthwhile reading in this entire book. I have read many financial books, including biographies of well known investors. This book reads like a sloppy wikipedia article (seemed like it was seriously written at a 2nd grade reading level). There are only a handful of facts about Warren's early life that keep getting repeated over and over. The "life lessons" are cliche after cliche with no concrete or truly inspirational ideas. Moreover, there is no author or publisher even listed within the entire book. This is clearly some sort of scam book haphazardly put together to earn a few bucks by enticing people to buy it by putting Warren Buffett's picture on the cover. Save your money, read his wikipedia page for more detailed history, and buy a real book about Warren Buffett.
The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail
The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail
The subject of this classic is disruptive technology.

With the help of many examples from industry (disk-drives being his main workhorse) the author explains what technologies are likely to disrupt, who is likely to be disrupted, why they are likely to be disrupted and what the choices are that the established players have when presented with disruption.

The most important point is that disruption generally comes from the practice of repackaging and marketing already existing, straightforward technology at a lower price point to a new customer base that is not economically viable for the established players.

For example, QuickBooks was marketed to mom-and-pop stores who could not afford to pay an accountant and it was the el-cheapo version of Quicken. It is of no use to a proper corporation. JC Bamford got started with hydraulic backhoes that were good enough for small contractors looking to dig a small ditch but wholly inadequate for the purposes of a miner. 5.25 inch disk drives were marketed to the nascent market for personal computers and were of no use to minicomputer manufacturers.

Disruptive technology is cheaper per unit, but its price / performance ratio is much worse than that of the established technology. It’s not good enough for the clients of the established players. Ergo it must be sold on its (lower) price alone, meaning that its purveyors must seek new markets. Flash memory, for example, was first used in cameras, pacemakers etc. Not in computers!

There is a large number of reasons that established players will frown upon the new technology:

1. Good companies listen to their clients. Their clients will tell them they don’t want it. They will demand performance and they will pay for performance.

2. Profitability will be lower in the lower-margin disruptive technology. Profit margins will typically mirror cost structures and will thus be higher for the higher-end product. Established players will in the short term make more money if they allocate their resources toward not falling behind their immediate competition for the higher-end product. (i.e. “sustaining” their competitive edge in the higher margin / higher tech market)

3. The processes used by the established players to sell and support the established technology may not be the right ones for the new tech.

The main thing to realize is that the technology does not live by itself. It is embedded in a “value network.” A car serves a commuter, a digger serves a mine, a disk drive is screwed down somewhere in a computer etc.

The seeds of disruption lie in the fact that the technology itself and its value network may not necessarily be progressing at the same speed.

If the technology is improving much faster than the trajectory of improvement of the “value network” (for example, if the desktop PC users demand extra disk storage slower than the industry is capable of delivering extra disk storage), then

1. The point comes when the value network of the established technology does not need the incremental improvements on which the established players are competing with one another to deliver.

2. More importantly, a point comes when the performance of the disruptive technology becomes good enough to be embedded in the value network of the established technology. So 3.5 inch disks developed for laptops can do good enough a job for a desktop, for example, without taking up the space required for a 5.25 inch disk.

It gets worse: sure, disruptive technology is deficient in terms of features / performance, but the price sensitive customers who do not care so much about performance often care a lot about reliability. (A small contractor who buys a single backhoe digger cannot afford a maintenance team.) Similarly, the unsophisticated customers of the disruptive technology may care a lot about ease of use. (Mom and pop using Quickbooks have no idea what double-entry book-keeping is!) What this means is that when the performance of the disruptive technology has become good enough for it to be embedded into the value network of the established technology, it often brings with it an advantage in reliability and ease of use.

So at that point the disruptive technology is cheaper, more reliable and easier to use than the established technology, all while delivering adequate performance.

And that’s how purveyors of the established technology (who have been at war with one another to deliver on the ever-increasing performance their customers have been demanding) find themselves at a disadvantage versus the disruptors when it comes to reliability and ease of use right about when their customers tell them they won’t pay for extra performance or features any more.

The disadvantage of the lower-tech disruptor has created an advantage and it’s game, set and match!

What’s an established player to do? If I’m running a super successful company and I spot a new technology what am I to do?

One thing I should not do is listen to my underlings. The dealers who sell my cars will not want a customer who just walked into the dealership to buy a V8 to drive out in a small electric car. The salespeople will keep asking me for the most expensive product because they will be paid a commission on their margin and will keep pushing me “north-east” on the price / performance chart. Resistance to disruptive technology often comes from the rank-and-file.

I also should not listen to my shareholders. Small markets (and all disruptive technology starts small) do not solve the growth problems of large companies.

First and foremost, I must understand that the challenge I face is a MARKETING challenge. The tech I’ve got covered. The resources too.

If my company’s processes and my company’s values (defined as “the standards by which employees make choices involving prioritization”) are aligned with the marketing challenge, I’m in luck: chances are that for my company this new technology will eventually become a “sustaining” technology.

I can get my wallet out and buy EARLY a couple of the new entrants. Early enough that my money is not buying process or values or culture, but merely assets/resources and ideally walking and talking resources (the founders) who will adopt the processes and values of my organization.

Alternatively, I can carve out some great people from my organization and:
1. Give them responsibility for the new technology and assign to them the task of identifying the customers for this new technology
2. Match the size of this new subdivision to the current size of the market.
3. Allow them to “discover” the size of the opportunity, rather than burden them with having to forecast it: “the ultimate uses or applications for disruptive technologies are unknowable in advance”
4. Let them fail small, as many times as necessary
That’s what IBM did when they ran their PC business out of Florida and what HP did when they realized ink jets would one day compete with laser printers!

If, on the other hand, my company’s processes or my company’s values are not aligned with the marketing challenge, then I need to buy a leader in the new technology, and have a finger in every pie. And I need to protect my acquired company from my organization. This is, obviously, a bigger challenge (and one my shareholders may not embrace, as their dollars are as good as mine, but the author stays away from this discussion!) As the succession in technologies plays out, I will then eliminate large parts of my current organization. The author cites an occasion on which this is exactly how things played out.

And there you have it! I think that’s the author’s answer to “The Innovator’s Dilemma”

Obviously, that’s a very quick sketch. You’ll have to buy the book to see the complete story (and to be convinced, I suppose). Be warned that in the interest of keeping the various chapters self-consistent you may find some repetition, but overall this is a very quick read.

I’m aware of people who really dislike Clayton Christensen. I’ve even come across a Twitter account that’s dedicated to trashing him. But I, for one, was convinced that he’s describing a valid concept with many applications.

Also, as a guy who established a disruptive business within an established player I totally experienced both the dismay of my superiors when they realized that “small markets don’t solve the problems of large organizations” and the discomfort of trying to shoehorn my project into the rather baroque established processes.

So I have lived through many of the steps the book describes and I reckon they are described very accurately. The research shows!
Who Is Richard Branson? (Who Was?)
Who Is Richard Branson? (Who Was?)
Great biography series that all kids will enjoy. My students (4th grade) can't seem to put them down. I've had them in my room for the last few years and they just eat them up. The content is easy to understand and it provides great information on each person/topic along with a timeline in the back. Great for parents and teachers alike.
Henry Ford (Jr. Graphic American Inventors)
Henry Ford (Jr. Graphic American Inventors)
I restore Model T Fords and want my grandkids to understand how they came about and how they influenced the making of the automobile, the production line and the automobile industry in the USA but the world. My daughter has established a very nice kids library and that is what these books are for. I restore Model T Fords and want my grandkids to understand how they came about and how they influenced the making of the automobile, the production line and the automobile industry in the USA but the world. My daughter has established a very nice kids library and that is what these books are for.
Just a Lucky So and So
Just a Lucky So and So
Biography picture books are so much fun to read and Just a Lucky So and So does not disappoint. Louis Armstrong began life in what many would consider to be a rough start: living in poverty, working hard manual labor to help earn money for his family, and having a number of run-ins with the law causing him to be sent away to a home for boys. However Louis found the sound of jazz at a young age. He started playing a tin horn and then with a five-dollar loan he was able to purchase a second-hand cornet. Over time and with mentorship Armstrong’s musical ability opened doors for him. He traveled throughout the United States and Europe, recorded records in Hollywood, and performed on Broadway.

Lesa Cline-Ransome has packed numerous examples of figurative language throughout the story; while James Ransome has created illustrations that lift off the page. There are many famous musicians from New Orleans, musical instruments and terms mentioned in the book. Making this a great read aloud for elementary music teachers. After reading the book students would benefit from listening to Louis Armstrong play. Finally inside the back cover are additional books, places to visit, and websites for students to research.
Masked and Anonymous [Blu-ray]
Masked and Anonymous [Blu-ray]
Finding Gold on The Independent Film Channel

I just saw a film on an a television channel that specializes in Independent, off beat, didn't quite make it films. It was made in 2003 and is called Masked and Anonymous. I'd neither seen nor heard of it. It was directed, produced and written by Larry Charles, who penned the first five seasons of the Seinfield sitcom. Bob Dylan co-authored the script under the pseudonym "Sergei Petrov." I have no idea why Dylan, who also was the central character and star, used a pseudonym.

According to Wikipedia the people's encyclopedia, the film was funded by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and filmed in 20 days.

Despite the the obvious low priority and short shooting schedule, here is a partial list some of actors who have commanded millions for roles they've played, who signed on to work for union scale . The current Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) daily rate, is $880; and the weekly rate is $3,280. Here are some you will probably recognize: John Goodman, Jeff Bridges, Penélope Cruz, Val Kilmer, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Lange, Luke Wilson, Angela Bassett, Bruce Dern, Cheech Marin, Ed Harris; Christian Slater and Fred Ward.

Let's face it, the opportunity to work with a living legend like Bob Dylan doesn't come along every day, even for stars to work for what was minimum wage to them, just to be a part of it.

Masked and Anonymous is set in an undated future world in which chaos and a dictatorial, third world type government reign. Dylan plays a washed up but legendary music icon, Jack Fate, who is obviously supposed to be Dylan himself. Fate is the estranged son of the the President/Dictator of the United States is in prison when the film begins.

Fate is sprung from prison by Uncle Sweetheart (John Goodman) -- a shady concert promoter -- to be featured in, a giant charity concert, with which the desperate promoter plans to pay off his own debts. Goodman's character is being pursued by criminal types to whom he owes a lot of money. He. has described the concert as "something that will be bigger than Woodstock."

It seems that this film is mostly a platform for Bob Dylan's music, politics and philosophy, and that's all right with me. Not an actor, the former Robert Zimmerman still manages to deliver his lines and voice-overs in an acceptable, though somewhat monotone voice and the actors working for scale seem to try no less harder than if they were starring in a film based on a Nobel Prize winning novel.

Goodman plays as the blowhard con man who will say anything to make the concert a success, is very believable; Val Kilmer gave an exceptional performance as a hippy-like prophet who loves animals and hates people; the always beautiful Jessica Lange, plays an aging former world famous actress, working as a go-between manager is superb as usual -- implementing orders from the unidentified criminal syndicate bosses through Goodmans's character, who must in turn persuade Fate to go along with the orders disguised as "requests;" Christian Slater is outstanding as a philosophical stagehand, watching and commenting on the often chaotic situation.

Last but not least, Mickey Rourke Plays, Edmund, a sort of foster brother to Dylan's character, who says to the music legend at one point: "I'm the man your father always wanted you to be."

I will not give a way any more of the rice paper thin plot or the ending. As an example of cinematic art, most critics gave it a violent thumbs down, but I'm not a cinematic critic. If you came of age in the sixties, saw Woodstock as an almost religious event -- and especially if you are a Bob Dylan fan -- you need to watch this film. I just ordered it on CD for a few dollars and I generally don't collect films or CDs. It can also be downloaded directly for immediate viewing.

This film is worth seeing, especially if you fit the criteria of an aging Dylan fan who came of age in the 1960s, or a student of the music of that era. Here are a few quotes from Masked and Anonymous:
RAZER WOLVERINE TOURNAMENT EDITION: 4 Remappable Multi-Function Buttons - Hair Trigger Mode - Razer Chroma Lighting - Gaming Controller works with Xbox One and PC (Renewed)
RAZER WOLVERINE TOURNAMENT EDITION: 4 Remappable Multi-Function Buttons - Hair Trigger Mode - Razer Chroma Lighting - Gaming Controller works with Xbox One and PC (Renewed)
I'm using this for PC, and it CLAIMS to be changeable with the Razer Synapse program, but Synapse 3 doesn't support it. Legacy doesn't even run anymore. And with the four additional buttons just being copies of face buttons, it's use is extremely limited. In fact, it kind of just makes gaming harder as now I have more buttons I can accidentally hit. It's a shame, because it's a quality controller, but without the ability to customize it, it's just not worth it.
Hyp Marvel Black Panther Leap Men's Crew Socks 2 Pair Pack
Hyp Marvel Black Panther Leap Men's Crew Socks 2 Pair Pack
The design looks good, but these are very cheap socks. Thin material, very little stretch. I have size twelve feet but I could barely get these into my feet, and I could see my toes through the socks. I threw them both away after the first use.
Louis L'Amour's Lost Treasures: Volume 2: More Mysterious Stories, Unfinished Manuscripts, and Lost Notes from One of the World's Most Popular Novelists
Louis L'Amour's Lost Treasures: Volume 2: More Mysterious Stories, Unfinished Manuscripts, and Lost Notes from One of the World's Most Popular Novelists
Thank you Beau L'Amour for continuing to champion your father's legacy with these books!
Now, the cover makes it clear that most of these stories are unfinished, and some are just fragments, so I don't understand the reviewers who act like they didn't know that. Knowing that, yes, it is a frustrating to get to the end of a story and not know how it was to come out, but it's so fascinating to see how Louis's mind was working and dream about what else he might have written had he lived longer.
I still think it's too bad that Beau L'Amour and Christopher Tolkien couldn't have traded titles because this book could more aptly be titled "Unfinished Tales" and Christopher's book would had been more aptly titled "Lost Treasures" but, alas, they didn't ask me.
The Case of the Rolling Bones (Perry Mason Series Book 15)
The Case of the Rolling Bones (Perry Mason Series Book 15)
I was feeling nostalgic for the old tv show so decided to read this. It was fun to re-experience Perry, Della and Paul together, and the mystery was enjoyable. The book was written in 1939, if I remember correctly, and it was also fun -- even strange -- to travel back to a different time when people called police cars "prowl cars," might say "that's mighty white of you" upon receiving an unexpected favor and thought nothing about lighting up a cigarette (even in a courtroom). The word "cigarette" appears over 40 times in the book!

I read the book in spurts, and I found it a little difficult to follow - there were many characters, some with secrets and fake identities. It was also a little difficult to distinguish between what Perry knew, what he suspected and what he wanted others to think he knew. Perry's work was, as one character described it "a most remarkable piece of detective work, an example of sheer deductive genius."
-Inhaltsbeschreibung siehe woanders-
Die bereits vorhandenen 1-Sterne Rezensionen hätten mich warnen sollen.
Haben sie aber leider nicht.
Vielleicht, weil ich mir einfach nicht vorstellen konnte, daß ein Grisham so unter dem gewohnten Standard schreiben kann, wie beklagt wurde.
Doch dann dachte ich sogar mehr als einmal, ob diese Buch vielleicht jemand anders verzapft hat, möglicherweise eine Frau. Denn auch die Schilderungen bestimmter Situationen fand ich Grisham-untypisch und etwas "süßlich".
Die Grundidee des Buches (Umweltverseuchung durch Kohleabbau skrupelloser Großkonzerne und Ausbeutung der Arbeiter) ist interessant und hochaktuell, doch die Umsetzung in einen spannenden Thriller ist für mein Empfinden nicht gelungen.
Die Handlung ist vorhersehbar und hat dann auch noch deutliche Längen, vieles wiederholt sich.
Ebenso werden die üblichen Klischees bedient (selbstverständlich gutaussehender, einsamer Wolf mit "lässiger Strubbelfrisur" - selbstverständlich attraktive, junge Anwältin).
Auch mit fortschreitender Lektüre kam ich keiner der Hauptfiguren näher.
Sie blieben seltsam farblos und berührten mich nicht - ausgenommen die zu den Hillbillys ins Hinterland verschlagene Großstadtanwältin. Denn die begann mich mit ihrer Wankelmütigkeit und dämlichen Fragen zunehmend zu nerven. "Warum tust Du das?" Warum bin ich hier" "Wieso zeigst Du mir das?" "Wieso ziehst Du mich da rein?".
HÄ ??!!
Wäre das mein erstes Grisham-Buch gewesen, wäre es auch mit Sicherheit mein letztes.
Doch da ich weiß, daß er es viel (!!!) besser kann, gebe ich ihm vielleicht nochmal eine Chance.
People's Almanac Presents the Book of Predictions
People's Almanac Presents the Book of Predictions
I bought this book as a leaving present for one of my friends he loved it so much i bought a copy for myself too. It is hard to read cover to cover but I enjoy dipping into it every now and then and reading a few predictions. Its interesting to see what they got right and what they predicted so wrong.
that Ryotaro Shiba thought <11> essay from 1981.7 to 1983.5 (Mass Market Paperback) (2005) ISBN: 4101152535 [Japanese Import]
that Ryotaro Shiba thought <11> essay from 1981.7 to 1983.5 (Mass Market Paperback) (2005) ISBN: 4101152535 [Japanese Import]
La huésped (The host) (Spanish Edition)
La huésped (The host) (Spanish Edition)
Es el primer libro que leo de la autora, y lo hice por recomendación de una amiga. Al terminar de leerlo, inmediatamente lo he vuelto a leer, y conocer el final me ha dado un punto de vista diferente del libro.
Pensaba que iba a ser una novela más insustancial, pero tiene muchos más detalles de los que esperaba. Me hubiera gustado que se hubiera adentrado más en la parte ciencia ficción, pero está bastante bien.
Una idea que por lo menos a mi me ha parecido original. Recomiendo leer tranquilamente, apreciando los detalles.
Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure
Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure
It is quite amazing but 40 years after Lupoff wrote this (1965) sterling account of the novels and stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the creator of Tarzan) it is still the indispensable source book on all of the 80 plus works of this master of American fiction. It is absolutely a "must read" for every Burroughs fan! It is not a biography of the man but of the books themselves and filled with a treasure trove of insights and commentary. One may agree of disagree with Lupoff's views, but one must know this book to be knowledgeable about ERB criticism.
Lover's Touch (Penny Jordan Collector's Editions)
Lover's Touch (Penny Jordan Collector's Editions)
Sometimes I find Penny Jordan's books very repetitive in that the heroine keeps mulling over the same emotions over and over again until it becomes really annoying. However, this tendency is not too overdone in this romance and I liked the added dimension of the jealous secretary which stopped it being too maudling. As with most of the Penny Jordan heroines this one is rather spineless and allows her lack of confidence to turn her into a somewhat ineffectual woman. The story is readable and good for whiling away a few idle moments.
Harry Potter: Slytherin Deluxe Stationery Set
Harry Potter: Slytherin Deluxe Stationery Set
This is a wonderful little stationary set, and the only complaint I have for it is that when I run out of the stationary and envelopes, I'm going to be terribly sad.

The seal itself is wonderful. It is made of wood with a brass head and is not the cheap plastic "toy" seals stamps you find in other places.
The imprint is clear and crisp in the wax.

The journal is a nice hardbound journal type with the elastic band to keep it closed or the page marked. There is a ribbon for marking the page as well. It is lined, however, so if you are prone to drawing in them instead of writing, you will have to tolerate the lines.

The set comes with 2 wax sticks for sealing purposes, however, if you want to seal things like crazy, you can get replacement sealing wax at craft stores (usually in the Wedding supplies, oddly enough) or online.

The stationary is modestly sized with a smooth writing surface.

The paperweight is quite hefty, and will definitely weight down fly away papers. It also doubles as a nice conversation starter for Harry Potter fans or fellow Slytherin, if you happen to have Slytherin friends mulling about.

Overall I love this set. Definitely worth the price. The journal itself is $14.15 if you get it alone (at the time I reviewed this), so a little extra for the seal and goodies made it a fine investment.
Seventh Son (The Septimus Series Book 1)
Seventh Son (The Septimus Series Book 1)
Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Seventh Son by A.M. Offenwanger follows Catriona (Cat), a librarian in the midst of a (almost) quarter-life crisis, on a journey to a mysterious new world. While visiting a museum, Cat becomes captivated by a beautiful, turquoise pottery bowl. As she leans down to look at the bowl, Cat is suddenly whirled out of the museum and lands in the middle of a strange forest with no idea how it happened or where she is. As Cat encounters the locals and slowly learns about this new world, the mystery of her transportation there unfolds, and she must choose whether to stay with her new-found family or return to her own world.

Seventh Son wastes no time throwing Cat (and the reader) right into the action. For the first several chapters, the mysteries stack up on top of each other as Cat explores her surroundings and meets new people. Admittedly, it does take a while for Offenwanger to begin answering the reader’s many burning questions. However, once the answers start flowing, they do so at a steady pace that is satisfying but not a complete information dump. By the end of the novel, most of the questions are answered (except for those that lead into the second book), and the reader is fully satisfied.

The world Offenwanger has created is unique and a touch nostalgic. It hearkens back to years-gone-by with a slower pace of life and an economy that runs on craftsmanship and bartering. (To give you an idea, at one point the world is compared to a Renaissance Fair.) However, while some things are more primitive than Earth, they do have other impressive technologies, and of course, “magic.” What I especially like about the magic of this world is that it is subtle and the natives do not view it as “magical,” but rather as a spiritual part of individuals.

My favorite part of Seventh Son is the characters. Cat’s personality comes across strongly in both her narrative and dialogue and is well-rounded and dynamic. One particular tactic Offenwanger uses to accomplish this is to offset some of Cat’s thoughts or spoken comments in parentheses. Sometimes when writers do this, it reads oddly, but in this novel, the technique is so well-timed that it adds depth to and creates the perfect tone for the words.

In addition to Cat, the other characters in Seventh Son are unique and complex. Offenwanger does a nice job of giving the reader a strong sense of every character, even if s/he is only in a few scenes. Even Bibby, who is too young to communicate fully and the “villains,” who the reader should dislike, are given motives and personalities that allow the reader to empathize with, and in Bibby’s case, love them.

Together, the characters work even better. The relationships between the characters are realistic — fun, familiar, and appropriately emotional. When reading Seventh Son, I truly felt like I was experiencing the interactions of real individuals. The characters frequently made me smile.

My only critique of the novel is that I would have liked to have seen more romantic build up between Guy and Cat. While it is clear that they are interested in each other (and that the world demands a certain amount of conservatism), I would have liked to see a bit more flirtatiousness or tenderness between them. I like that the romantic plot did not overtake the main plot or fall into unnecessary physicality, but I almost felt like Guy and Cat were just meant to pair by default, and therefore, the romantic buildup was a little underwhelming. However, I still adore them as a couple (hence why I wanted more of their dynamic).

As far as the overall story line goes, Offenwanger sticks to the rules of the world and beautifully ties together the different individuals and objects in seamless ways. Some of the twists are surprises, and some an insightful reader will see coming — but they are satisfying nonetheless. The end of the novel is complete enough that it could stand alone, but it does leave enough loose ends to lead into another book (which it does).

If you enjoy light fantasy, a dash of romance, and solving plot puzzles, you will love Seventh Son by A.M. Offenwanger.
The Emperor's New Clothes
The Emperor's New Clothes
I admit that I foolishly was not aware of the length of Emperors New Clothes having never had the benefit of exposure to it as a child. Thus I thought this was a semi-substantial book and quickly added to my basket barely noticing the £11 price tag.

It all arrived relatively quickly in with some other books I bought but I feel this book is an utter scam for the price. If the font size was any bigger, there would be half a word per page. There are about 3 illustrations in the book,one of which is a repeat of the cover and the other a very close resemblance. It feels like its printed to order. The quality is pathetic and I do feel truly ripped off. The story looks to be all there but i get angry just holding the book.

Buy the Well Loved Tales version for a penny instead or if you just want to read it then google "Emperors New Clothes pdf" to avoid my indignation and embarrassment.
Ace High, High Noon Pomade, Barbershop Scent, Strong Hold, Natural Shine, Water Based, Hand Crafted, 4oz
Ace High, High Noon Pomade, Barbershop Scent, Strong Hold, Natural Shine, Water Based, Hand Crafted, 4oz
I was ecstatic to discover this product after looking for more naturally made hair gels on the market and never seeing any. I did once own hair gel that was 100% beeswax and it wasn't bad. However, it left an extremely sticky residue that wasn’t ideal.

This High Noon Pomade made by Ace High also contains beeswax, but that ingredient is mixed with others so that it's much less stiff and sticky compared to the all-Beeswax hair gel I once used. Besides beeswax, this product contains water, hydronated castor oil, castor oil, shea butter, soy lecithin, candelilla wax, grapeseed oil, fragrance oils, and sodium borate.

I like the scent of this hair gel, which to me smells like paint (yes, I like the smell of paint) with a hint of citrus. I'm sure the guys in Ace High wouldn't want to say their hair gel smells like paint in marketing campaigns, but that's what it smells like to me, and I like it.

Given its goopy consistency, this gel isn't ideal for sculpting hair, though you can do it. It works better for a messy look or a slick look. The gel holds hair well but requires more than a little dollop to do that. Still, I'm impressed with how a little of this gel goes a long way in terms of styling hair.

High Noon leaves more of a residue than most hair gels I've had, probably because of the beeswax. It's not the best gel I've used, but I do like it a lot, especially because of the ingredients. Though it's pricey, I'll likely be buying it again and would love to learn more about the Clay hair gel this company makes.
Bach Artisan Trumpet Mouthpiece 3C
Bach Artisan Trumpet Mouthpiece 3C
My 13 year old son was in search of a trumpet mouth piece and was fortunate enough to find the exact one he was looking for. Upon arrival of the package, he was overjoyed with the "quality" of the product and the results of how it perfectly fit on his trumpet. He absolutely raves about how his music playing has vastly improved with the mouthpiece and he would highly recommend it to other trumphet players.
HUAHOO Gray Sheepskin Rug Double Pelt Natural Fur Blanket Seat Covers -2ft x 6ft Genuine Sheepskin Rug for Kids Bedroom Sofa Chair Cover Seat Cushion Pad Pets Dogs Mat
HUAHOO Gray Sheepskin Rug Double Pelt Natural Fur Blanket Seat Covers -2ft x 6ft Genuine Sheepskin Rug for Kids Bedroom Sofa Chair Cover Seat Cushion Pad Pets Dogs Mat
Real sheep fleece, looks like Merino, which is very high quality. I thought the grey tips would be actual fleece color, but they are a blue-grey dye brushed over the fleece. Nonetheless, it is very good quality, great for our arthritis pain, and it isn't hot to sit or lie on. It has an odor that is dissipating with airing, which I expected. It doesn't stink, but it does have a sort of metallic smell from the curing process. It travels from bed to beanbag couch as needed. The price is excellent for the four fleece size.
VIVO Single Monitor Fully Adjustable Computer Desk Mount, Articulating Stand for 1 LCD Screen up to 32 inches STAND-V001E
VIVO Single Monitor Fully Adjustable Computer Desk Mount, Articulating Stand for 1 LCD Screen up to 32 inches STAND-V001E
Got it out of the box and installed in 5 minutes with help from the included manual.

I recently purchased Dell 24" monitor (P2416D) and 27" 4K monitor (P2715Q) and needed the 24" monitor to be pivoted for programming. I usually carefully search online to get the best product out of the budget I have. This product looked good for my purpose for the buck. I ordered it and installed it.

- Pictures attached are the following:
* Front view of the installed monitor
* Side view of the installed monitor
* Back of the monitor: How this mount is holding VESA mount.
* Bottom of the mount: How this mount is holding from the desk.
* Bar of the mount: Shows how to manage cables and tools (I loved how they included little holders for the given tools. So smart)
* Monitor can be pivoted easily.
* Monitor can be tilted easily, too.

So now you've (hopefully) taken a look at pictures, and you have better idea of how this product is installed.

Moving, swinging, tilting, pivoting around monitor with this mount is super easy. It doesn't feel cheap. It's very sturdy and smooth. I tried to give a little force to move it around forcefully, but it held the bar from the desk pretty well. I don't feel like I need to worry about falling from this mount.

One of the best product I purchased from Amazon (after +7 years with thousands of the products ordered).

I am willing to get another one for my 27" monitor!

I will update this once something comes up with this product.
Amazon Basics Big & Tall Executive Computer Desk Chair, Brown with Pewter Finish
Amazon Basics Big & Tall Executive Computer Desk Chair, Brown with Pewter Finish
WOW! Just WOW!! I'm seriously impressed with this chair, so far.

I'm 6' and 250 lbs, I spend 60 - 80+ hours a week at my desk in a chair. I've had some good chairs that I've paid a lot of money for and I've had some poor chairs I've paid a lot of money for too. This is the first really good chair I didn't have to pay a lot of money for.

The engineering in this chair is first rate. Putting it together it's obvious that it is meant to withstand some punishment. The metal hardware is significantly beefier than my last chair (Which was a Serta Big and Tall and lasted 2.5 years before failing totally). The struts that comprise the arms and hold the back to the seat are massive for a desk chair. The gas strut actually stays where I put it and doesn't leak down giving me that sinking feeling every time I lean back. The lumbar support is a plus and it is infinitely adjustable from nothing to a fairly good lumbar bulge.

The seat padding is very firm, of course it's meant to withstand a hundred pounds more than I'm putting on it so I guess that's understandable. It's not so firm that it's uncomfortable but compared to my last chair it's very noticeably more firm. The arm rests are well padded and larger than my last chair.

The castors roll very easily, maybe even a little too easily because the chair tends to want to scoot away from me if I'm not careful as I sit. The chair rolls on a chair mat on a tile floor silently.

I'm about 2/3rds the capacity of this chair so I maybe didn't need a "big and tall" model but I bought it because I tear up chairs. I figured that this would be sturdier than a standard chair and it certainly appears that's the case. In my way of thinking a sturdier chair should last longer, though there's no way to know that yet and if not ... Just like my LAST chair I'll come back here and update my review as time goes on. My last chair started out at 5 stars too, it was great when it was new but it didn't make it three years and that review is now one star.

I'm of the opinion that a quality, well made chair should last 5 or more years before it fails. I don't mean before it starts showing wear, I don't give a fig what it looks like when it's 5 years old as long as it's still comfortable and serviceable. It's nice having a pretty new chair but the esthetics are irrelevant to me after a reasonable period of time. Things are going to wear, they should not wear prematurely but if they wear over time that's to be expected. When I say a chair "fails" I mean it is no longer serviceable because it is BROKEN and unusable.

I'd been looking at this chair for quite a while, it's been in my Wish List for months. I had determined that this was the next chair I was buying when the one I had became unserviceable. It came up on an Amazon Deal for significantly less than the listed price so I decided to go for it, the old chair was on its last gasp anyway. I wish I had gotten it sooner (though not that I'd had to pay more for it) because I was holding on to the old one trying to squeeze every month out of it I could get. I should have bought this chair sooner but as chance would have it all's well that ends well.

There was a hole in the box when the chair was delivered but there was no damage to the chair itself. It was very easy to follow the instructions and assemble the chair. I use a socket and ratchet to tighten up the bolts because it's been my experience that if those fasteners are not as tight as they can be without stripping then the chair will loosen up and fail sooner than it would have if those bolts were good and tight. If you get them snugged up good and tight there's no slop and no play in the assembly to allow things to get out of dimension and fail.

This is Bonded Leather, not top grain cowhide leather. Most such chairs are Bonded Leather. If you don't know what that is you should look it up. It's a leather product made by dissolving the connective tissue in leather, extracting the fibers, then bonding the fibers to cloth making a sheet of dimension material for upholstery, book binding, etc. You should care for Bonded Leather the same way you care for any other leather, it is actually organic leather material. Before I put the chair into service I wiped it down good with Pecards Leather Dressing and after that sat for a few minutes in I used a leather sealer to be sure my new chair and I got started on the right foot. This moisturizes the leather but also decreases friction and keeps dust and dirt out. Friction and the cutting/grinding action of dirt and dust cause accelerated wear so if you want your chair to last you should clean it and treat it about once a month. (Don't soak your chair in leather conditioner, less is more when it comes to conditioners.) Clean and treat more often in dirtier environments like warehouses and such. The best time to do that is as you leave your desk and chair for the day so it can penetrate over night.

Note that I am NOT saying that Bonded Leather is just as good as top or full grain genuine leather. It most certainly is not. If you want full grain leather you shouldn't even be looking at chairs in this price range. IF you think you got full grain leather on a chair in this price range you didn't, sorry. One of the main things that cause deterioration and failure of Bonded Leather is letting the leather fibers dry out, this makes them lose their adhesion to their backing material, crack and flake off. That is going to happen eventually to pretty much all bonded leather but you can stave off that eventuality somewhat by proper care and treatment with a decent conditioner.

I'm seriously impressed and happy with this chair. If that changes have no doubt I will absolutely say something about it.

The chair I have is silent. It makes absolutely no noise at all. While it's possible I got lucky and that production values and quality control on these chairs is hit-or-miss ... It's more likely that I put my chair together differently than people who are having noise, wobble/wiggle and stability issues.

I never use the hex key that comes with chairs requiring assembly. I can't get sufficient torque on the bolts that fasten the chair together with the included hex key. I use a socket and ratchet wrench set to assemble chairs and have done so for years. This chair uses 1/2 inch bolt heads (if I'm remembering right, or they might be 7/16ths) so I crank those bolts down pretty hard. To avoid stripping them I "choke up' on the ratchet holding it closer to the ratchet head than farther out along the handle. You can put too much torque on almost any bolt and that will destroy your chair, so you need to be careful.

That spot of blue looking plastic stuff on the bolts is thread locker. It locks the bolts in place once they're tightened down. I don't know what brand or characteristics the thread locker on these is. Some, most thread lockers are activated by pressure and heat. It's possible that the bolt is now locked in place and will only tighten with significant force applied. If you try to tighten up your bolts as per my advice then first break them loose by turning them a quarter to a half turn OUT before you try to turn them back in to tighten. That will break the thread locker loose in a safe direction and allow you to snug the bolt down tight as it needs to be. The thread locker with then re-lock the threads because you have put more pressure on it than it had before.

The fact that the manufacturer includes thread locker on the bolts tells you a couple things. It means they're aware that loose bolts are a problem. They have no control over how much torque you apply to the bolts so this is all they can do in that regard, except maybe send a better tool than a hex key. It also means that they're conscientious enough about quality and customer satisfaction to put thread locker on the threads for increased positive customer experience.

It's July 2019 and I've had this chair now for 1 year and 7 months. I've replaced the gas strut lift cylinder and just now replaced the base plate where the chair attaches to the lift cylinder and star legs. The base plate is the part that bolts to the bottom of the chair and has the tension adjuster for leaning back and the lock/lift control lever for raising and lowering it.

So now this chair has cost me the price I paid for it on sale plus another $60 +/-, which brings the cost to me up to about what the regular price of the chair is. Which still isn't bad and I only took a single star off of my initial review.

The chair itself is still almost like brand new with just a little flaking of the bonded leather on front sides of the arm rests. That's no big deal to me. The seat and back are holding together very well with no rips, tears or worn spots and the cushioning is still as good as the day I bought the chair. It still looks very nice except for that minor flaking on the arm rest covers and a spot on the front support of the right arm rest where the pocket clip on my pocket knife abrades the silver coloring and has worn it down to black plastic. The pocket knife damage isn't the chair's fault, it's mine.

The lift cylinder died the way they all seem to, it would not hold its setting and slowly sank to the lowest position. That happened about a year into owning the chair. I replaced it with one that is a little bit longer and the new one places the seat at exactly the right height when the seat is in its lower most position. Which means I'm not really using the gas strut at all unless I want it to sit up higher for some reason, which is rare.

The base plate failed at the same place they all seem to. There's a pivot pin in front of the lift control and behind the tension control, the thing you tighten or loosen to make the chair lean back. That pivot pin is where the chair pivots to lean back and is the actual point of attachment between the chair itself and the base plate/lift cylinder/legs. That's the part that takes ALL the strain of having your bottom in the chair and moving around, leaning back, side-to-side torque, etc. The bushing around that pivot pin broke causing a definite lean and wobble with the seat. A gap of 1/8th inch at the center of the chair translates to about an inch and a half or two inches of drop at the outside edge of the chair and that was unacceptable. I probably could have lived with it anyway but I decided to replace that part with an even heavier and sturdier after market base plate. Which I will review when it has been on the chair for a while.

Because the seat has held up so well and because the chair is made with standardized parts that allow me to make repairs and do replacements while keeping the comfortable, serviceable seat and backrest instead of buying a whole new chair -- I only took one star off of my 5 star review. I'm trying to be fair because I know I'm really, really hard on chairs. Most people who use a chair in an office environment are not going to be nearly so demanding of a chair as I am.

It is extremely hard for me to find a good chair that will last more than a couple of years. I'm very happy that I can fix this one rather than replace the whole thing. I got this chair at a very good price so I do not mind the minor-to-medium extra expense of buying replacement parts now and then. I replaced the failed parts with hardware better suited to the torture I put a chair through which means that now I have, for the price of some parts, what amounts to a brand new chair that should last me even longer than the original parts allowed.

All of that said, the original parts failed sooner than I expected them to for a "Big and Tall" chair so keep that in mind if you're thinking about buying this chair. If you're any good at all tracking down the point of failure and determining what part to buy and are a little bit handy with tools you can do what I did. If not then you might want to look elsewhere but like I said ... It's REALLY hard to find a chair that lasts and remains comfortable for a long time.

If you do find something better I'd appreciate it if you'd leave a comment and let me know where I can find that chair. I've had $1200 chairs that also fell apart so it's not really a matter of what you spend in an attempt to get higher quality. I had an Office Star Space chair that I loved when it was new but the base plate SNAPPED in half from metal fatigue. The company replaced it and eventually it got to be unserviceable for someone like me so I gave it to my nephew who weighs 120 lbs. max after a heavy meal. He's still happily using it for the couple hours a day he needs a desk chair. The problem is one of engineering more than anything else, though of course a cheaper chair is made with cheaper, lighter parts and the difference becomes obvious on some of the really low-priced chairs. This Amazon Basics chair would benefit from a heavier base plate like the one I installed and now being as I've replaced that plate it WILL benefit from it. All of which is fine and dandy IF the actual seat/backrest/arms part of the chair holds up, which this one seems to be doing very, very well. I feel that my rating of four stars is fair and reasonable, if I had the means to rate in fractions of a star I'd give the chair 3.85 stars but I had to round up to 4.

At 3.85 stars for quality and value I'm very happy with this chair still.
NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Smart WiFi Router – Dual Band Gigabit (R6900-100NAS)
NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Smart WiFi Router – Dual Band Gigabit (R6900-100NAS)
Only worked for 6 months. Has a 1-year warranty. Unfortunately, Netgear wouldn't honor the warranty because it was purchased through a third-party seller who was not an "authorized" seller for Netgear. This product was highly recommended to me by a qualified computer tech, but it was a disappointment. Fortunately, Amazon.com stood behind the product and allowed me to return it for a full refund and will be following up with the dealer/seller regarding their refusal to stand behind the product warranty.
Prestige Svachh Deluxe Alpha 3.0 Litre Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
Prestige Svachh Deluxe Alpha 3.0 Litre Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
Hi i am using this prestige cooker from past 3 months. Very heavy, good in design and quality in terms of handle, whistle,valves etc. Its cover will not broken down easily rater than inner lid cooker. No burning food. Very Easy to clean. Takes more whistles for cooking but healthy friendly.
@Note prestige company _why this cooker take so so many whistles and time to cook. I purchased this, now my mom scolding me every time. A simple dal recipe also took so much whistles but in d end not cooked proper.
Prestige Deluxe Plus Mini Junior Induction Base Aluminium Pressure Handi, 3.3 Litres, Flame Red
Prestige Deluxe Plus Mini Junior Induction Base Aluminium Pressure Handi, 3.3 Litres, Flame Red
 Received a defective product. Cooker wall was not closed and we didn’t notice
On our very first use after waiting more than 30 minutes to cook a cup of rice, we realized cooker just kept on releasing pressure even after the weight is on!! The pressure was releasing continuously and the food started burning.
I have doubts on product quality(Prestige OR Not??) as Prestige labels stay on longer at least for a year or and I would love to keep sticker on as long as possible. And This label got shrink as soon as vessels start heating
As in the picture there was no seal or sign on warranty card and name on the lid was almost erased.
VAHDAM, Té de Hierbas de Hinojo de Cúrcuma, Hojas Sueltas (100 tazas), 200g | infusiones para adelgazar |Mezcla de té de cúrcuma y hinojo
VAHDAM, Té de Hierbas de Hinojo de Cúrcuma, Hojas Sueltas (100 tazas), 200g | infusiones para adelgazar |Mezcla de té de cúrcuma y hinojo
I've tried three of the Vahdam tea's now, the Assam, English Breakfast and now this CTC Assam.

This makes for a very strong brew, with a deep colour and it's a very tasty tea, with a slight edge of bitterness that is not untypical of this type. You can probably use a little less in the pot as a result. It's a good every day strong brew, but it lacks the wonderful freshness of the Assam and Breakfast blend.

I'm settling on the English Breakfast as my favourite daily brew, with the deliciously malty Assam more for summer drinking. Either way the high quality of Vahdams teas cannot be disputed, I'd never really thought of freshness as a significant factor in tea production, but if Vahdam's tea's are anything to go by, it makes a huge difference to the taste.

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