So Much Stuff I Can't Recall

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

30th DVD Review

Well, another milestone review - this time for Hellboy, which I wanted to see in the theater, but didn't get there before it moved along.

Why you should read my review of Hellboy: This is the first review where I intentionally told a lie - okay, not so much a lie as I was in error where the truth is concerned. In my opening sentence I say that this is the first Guillermo del Toro movie I've seen. That's not true. Before I published the review I checked the Internet Movie Database and discovered that del Toro also directed Mimic. Since I liked the way the sentence in the review read - and the previous reviewer had just said he was unfamiliar with the comic and I didn't want to be completely redundant - I left it in.

Not exactly a reason to read the review as a bit of trivia behind the review itself.

Did I make any other factual errors I'm not copping to? Read the review and find out.

Mikesell : 8:17 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, August 30, 2004

60th Book Review

Well, I've just completed my 60th book review (for J.A. Jance's Shoot/Don't Shoot). I'm six books away from having read 50 for the year, so get ready for that milestone to get passed sometime in September.

Why you should read my review of Shoot/Don't Shoot: There's a Dirty Harry reference in the title of the review, plus I use the phrases "blatant melodrama." What more could you want? Okay, I avoid the use of puns this time. Check it out.

Mikesell : 6:12 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Mission Accomplished

The other day I blogged on Phil's becoming an ace in the computer game Crimson Skies. The only problem with his becoming an ace on that day was that he was either a) shot down in the process or b) failed to fulfill all the mission's requirements.

Well, that's no longer the case. Phil has successfully completed Mission 7: The Pilfered Prototype. Among the tasks he performed were:

As the detail shows, Phil completed the mission in 8 minutes, 16 seconds; shot down 5 standard fighters and 1 ace; and had a 3% hit/miss ratio.

Not bad for a 4 year old. (I hear Eddie Rickenbacker had a 2% hit/miss ratio until he was 7).

Mikesell : 3:28 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, August 28, 2004

My Boy Likes to Party All the Time

Last night Phil and I went to his friend Andy's 4th birthday party (he's 27, but he's only had 4 parties; no, he's really turning 4). Highlights of the party (as photo-documented below) included barbecue s'mores, an outdoor movie (InFocus video projectors are sweet), and an overnight campout in the yard.

We had a great time.

Thanks for inviting us to your party, Andy.

Mikesell : 12:15 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, August 27, 2004

Savin' Money

Borders Books has a 20% off coupon for in-store sales this weekend.

Click here for a printable coupon.

Mikesell : 5:03 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Makin' Money 2


(removed at the request of Google Adsense administrators)

Mikesell : 4:05 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Makin' Money


(removed at the request of Google Adsense administrators)

Mikesell : 3:28 PM : 0 snarky remarks

He's Aces in My Book

One of my favorite computer games is Crimson Skies. Phil enjoys it too (he calls it "the airplane game" - I don't correct him because I really don't want to explain why the Skies are Crimson). Over the summer he's gotten progressively better, to the point that he's finally become an ACE (he shot down six planes on his latest mission).

Photographic evidence of Phil's achievement:

Mikesell : 2:17 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, August 26, 2004

And Now for Something Not Entirely Dissimilar

After adding two book reviews over at Amazon today, here comes a DVD review. My 29th DVD review is for a triple feature of Alfred Hitchcock oldie moldies: Montage of Mysteries.

Why you should read my review of Montage of Mysteries: Not only do I make a snarky comment about the old Andy Hardy movies, but I also reference this site (hitting the "try again" button gives you a new dynamic duo). Good fun for the whole family.

Mikesell : 7:14 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Squeaky Wheels

Well, right after posting the Basket Case entry below I got an e-mail from Amazon alerting me that my missing review was missing no more. Yay! My review of Bentley Little's book, The House.

Why you should read my review of The House: First, reading the review will hopefully dissuade you from reading the book. It's a) not that well written/structured and b) got subject material that's disgusting. Usually I'll take the books I'm done with and put them up in the lounge/meeting room at the lodge here, for guests to enjoy while they're here or to take home with them (they're almost all $1 thrift store books to begin with, and then there's the tax write-off to consider). This one's going in the trash. It's just an all-around bad book.

Second, I comment on my upbringing (if not parentage*). Ooooh, are skeletons let out of the closet? Read the review to find out.

*(My drivers ed. teacher in high school, Mr. Nishaguchi, freqently commented that poor behavior (like cheating on a test) reflected poorly on our parentage and upbringing. That comment, and the IPDE thought process are the only things that have stuck with me for the past 20 years. Even Red Asphalt is a dim memory - or perhaps I've completely repressed it.)

Mikesell : 2:53 PM : 0 snarky remarks

The Thursday New Chris Mikesell Book Review

Well, the missing review is still missing, but I've plugged on with another book review anyway. This time it's Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen.

Why you should read my review of Basket Case: Another pun, this time clearly identified. Plus, ya gotta love it any time you can see the phrases "roadkill-eating ex-governors" and "freezer-preserved monitor lizard" in close proximity.

Mikesell : 2:29 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, August 22, 2004

The Sunday New Chris Mikesell Book Review

I reviewed two books last week. The first is still being held by Amazon due to "trigger words" - subject material that needs to be manually screened. The second review of the week, Tony Hillerman's The Blessing Way, was released after a short delay (typical Saturday evening behavior over at Amazon). So, while it may seem like there's been a week-long drought, it's only because my midweek review hasn't been okayed yet.

Why you should read my review of The Blessing Way: I coin a new word. Plus, I mined Amazon's database to come up with a list of other books published in 1970; check 'em out.

Mikesell : 11:26 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Pants Dance

Part of the entertainment at this evening's Staff Party was an impromptu rendition of Philip's "Pants Dance."

We have no idea from where this came, and we have no idea what the bend over and look between your legs part means.

But it sure is fun to watch.

Here are some excerpts:   1   2   3   4

Mikesell : 10:25 PM : 0 snarky remarks

End of Summer Party

This evening we had the end of summer party for the summer camp staff.

I took photos.

Here they are:

Not pictured: Jupiter, Ms. Shari & Hobart

Mikesell : 10:10 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, August 20, 2004

Phil & Skipper - Then & Now

Two years ago we took this photo of Philip and one of the camp counselors, Skipper.

We were fortunate to have her come back this year for the final week of camp. Here's what they look like as of today (by the way, Phil wanted to wear his cap backwards so he would look like - in his words - "one of those cool dudes").

Mikesell : 5:43 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Afternoon at the Lake

The camera accompanied Phil and I to the lake this afternoon.

Here's how it looked:

Mikesell : 10:32 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Sweet, Sweet Hot Wheels

Earlier today I checked the What's New section of the South Texas Hot Wheels & Diecast Collectors website, and I must say there are some sweet cars coming out.

Particularly sweet are:

Phil may have to put off college a year or so.

Mikesell : 12:19 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

My Dozenth Gadget Review

Every day at camp we take dozens of digital photos and upload them to Bunk1.com so parents and other family members can see what the campers are up to. Ideally, we swap Compact Flash cards in and out of the camera so we can upload photos while others are being taken. To pull the image data off the card, we use a little gadget that plugs into a USB port and treats the card as an external hard drive.

Very handy - until they stop working.

Then you have to connect the camera directly to the computer to download the files, and if you've lost the USB cable, you have to go with the much slower serial port connection - and then the computer crashes and you have to reboot and you express yourself in colorful metaphors and you check the Mac laptop several times to make sure they really didn't hide a serial port on there somewhere because you've been told that Macs "just work," but not if they don't have the right connector, they don't - so you wait and wait and wait and eventually all the pictures transfer and you go out the next day and buy a new USB card reader and then you write a review about it on Amazon.

Why you should read my review of the Lexar Compact Flash USB Card Reader: I do an abbreviated version of the above rant, plus I shamelessly gadget name drop, and I make a couple suggestions as to how the card reader could be improved; in short, I get my full inner geek on.

Check it out.

Mikesell : 11:21 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, August 16, 2004

100th Review!!!

Well, now I've gone and done it. I posted my 100th review at Amazon for P.D. James' Shroud for a Nightingale. I finished the book early last week, but between the heat and the video editing, I never got around to writing the review. Now it's online and the century mark has at last been reached. Yay!

Why you should read my review of Shroud for a Nightingale: First, it's my hundredth review; give me a break, huh? Second, I title the review in a Dickensian manner; got to love that Dickens (no, really, as an English major it was required). Third, I use the word concomitant (correctly, even) in the review ... and it wasn't the "word of the day" on the desk calendar (I don't even have a dictionary desk calendar, it's tangrams (see review here)). So there're three good reasons - besides what else were you going to do today?

Mikesell : 2:30 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Slow Week Bonus

Well it's been a slow week for blogging - non-existent, actually - so to make it up to you there's a bonus at the end of this entry. Needless to say, I still haven't written my 100th Amazon review; I'd've posted on that for sure.

What have I been doing all week? Well, trying to keep cool, for one thing. For another, I've been working with digital video on the Mac (having a laptop is great, I sat in the shade down by the lake and edited video).

Our friends with the digital video camera were back this week, so I took the footage they shot and added it to some they gave me at the beginning of the summer and made a video to the Monkees theme song, and played it for the departing campers this afternoon; I'd put it online, but the fine people at the record companies would get upset with me for distributing the song without permission (i.e., paying them a big fee).

I also took about three minutes of footage of campers sliding on inner tubes down a wet tarp and into the lake (or trying to - it was literally rough sledding for some of them) and matched it up with some music and played that for them, too. The footage of this may actually make in on the web, since it's not dependent on the music to figure out what's going on.

Part of the Monkees video included this clip of Phil (you may need to download the QuickTime viewer, available here).

Mikesell : 12:59 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, August 05, 2004

And on the Fourth Day ... Another Book Review

Well, we're four for four this week with book reviews. Granted, it's not like the Jeopardy Guy, but it's a good run for me. The review this time is for J.A. Jance's Minor in Possession, the 8th book in her J.P. Beaumont series.

Why you should read my review of Minor in Possession: Despite its setting in Arizona (JP's usual beat is Seattle), it rains a lot in the first half of this book. In honor of this meteorological anomaly I peppered my opening paragraph with some subtle (?!) aquatic puns. They're not too bad. Honest.

BTW, if anyone but me is keeping track, I'm over 600 helpful votes now on 99 reviews. What will the 100th review be? Will it come tomorrow? Stay tuned.

Mikesell : 11:15 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Three Days ... Three Book Reviews

Well, with today's decided lack of sun I was able to crank out a review of Redwall on my PDA down by the lake this afternoon. Will I be able to have a review of Minor in Possession up by tomorrow? Come back and see.

Why you should read my review of Redwall: I wax nostalgic over some "animal books" from my childhood (I avoided the easy Fletch line about "elephant books" altogether) and comment on a memorable TV show. What books and programs are responsible for my present state of warpage? Read the review and find out.

Mikesell : 7:24 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Book Review Tuesday

What a difference 15 degrees make. Last week we were in the upper 90s and it was too hot to think. Since Saturday the temps have dropped into the 70s and 80s and all of a sudden I can write Amazon book reviews again. Today's review is for If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor, Bruce Campbell's autobiography.

Why you should read my review of If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor: After I sweated through last week reading the book, reading my review is the least you can do. Voting "YES - This Review Was Helpful to Me" is the most you could do ... and would be greatly appreciated.

Mikesell : 11:14 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Later That Same Day ... More Phil Pix

Here're a few more photos from around camp:And now for something completely different ...

Mikesell : 12:11 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, August 02, 2004

Phil's Party Pix (Part III)

Last Saturday the family went to a couple parties. The first party was hosted by The Stitches, friends who volunteer a lot at camp, most notably in the Nurse's Hut during the summer. The second party was hosted by The Everharts who do most of the maintenance and housekeeping work here at the center. We made it to their party before sunset (unlike last year), but after the band had wrapped for the evening (something to shoot for next year). We had a great time at both parties, as the photos below show:

At The Stitches

At The Everharts

Mikesell : 12:00 PM : 0 snarky remarks

New Book Review

At long last, there's a new book review over at Amazon. The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge is the second book in the SSR series. It's short, but last week's heat kept me from writing the review even though I finished the book on Monday. Since then I finished reading two more books. With cooler weather expected this week, hopefully I'll be able to review those (and maybe a couple other things I've got laying around here).

Why you should read my review of The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge: Does the SSR series go downhill fast the way Bill the Galactic Hero did? Also covered: What does the book have in common with which mid-1960's TV series? Read and find the answers to these burning questions* and more.

*If reading the review does not relieve the burning, please consult your physician about your salve/poultice options.

Mikesell : 11:16 AM : 0 snarky remarks