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Negotiator (Nottingham, UK)

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Puma Sprint Technical Coolmax Sneaker Sock 2 Pk - Black, EU 039-042
Puma Sprint Technical Coolmax Sneaker Sock 2 Pk - Black, EU 039-042

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hahaha! What a very welcome surprise!, 23 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I purchased these for an urban walking holiday (I don't know... I just made that phrase up). Three weeks walking in the concrete jungle. I was very, very apprehensive that this would be a terrible 'rotating bowtie' style gimmick, but I'd read somewhere that getting coolmax socks might help avoid blisters etc.

What a very pleasant surprise! The coolmax material fully worked and the fact that they were seamless was extremely effectve. In fact, I'd scheduled laundry for every third evening, meaning that I was wearing ordinary sports socks on every third day. These actually proved to be very uncomfortable after wearing the Puma socks. They really work! Kudos to Puma.


Pick-up Technique
Pick-up Technique

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent short story., 23 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pick-up Technique (Kindle Edition)
I was never one for short stories to be honest. I always felt that there was a tension between the exposition of character and the 'twist' that most authors I read seemed to want to insert, that was rarely bridged. Then I read Hammett's collection of detective stories, 'The Big Knockover'. I mention that because I felt that this author was in that same territory (which is big league stuff really).

Hammett's exposition of character was all in the dialogue and the behaviour. Mr Thirsk-Gaskill does the same here. It's the 'author as camera' technique and I'm right there in the scene, experiencing the unfolding of events alongside the characters themselves. For me, it provides the perfect solution to the problem of tripping over some author's didactic clumsiness. In effect, I validate what's happening - or I don't because it doesn't ring true. This story rings a lot of the right bells and I'm glad I picked it up.

One final thing I appreciated and should mention is the updating of that style. I don't know if Thirsk-Gaskill is aware (or would even agree that the exposition plays out in the way I see it), but he's brought it bang up to date with the framing of the story in modern electronic media (buy it, you'll see what I mean). It reminded me of the way Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss had reframed the context of Sherlock Holmes in such a fresh and contemporary manner.

I'll be waiting for the next work from this author with high expectations.


Marvel's Avengers Assemble [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Marvel's Avengers Assemble [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Robert Downey Jr.
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 11.34

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, shame about the Rip off Blu ray, 23 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I loved the avengers movie and purchased this blu ray. In fact, I pre-ordered from Amazon. But what a rip off compared with the blu ray released in the US. I was very disappointed indeed when I found out.

SPOILER ALERT (DON'T read further if you haven't seen the movie)

There are two major differences between the two:

1) you won't see the same Coulson-Loki scene that appeared in the theatrical release in the UK version - Disney say this is because their production messed up with the rules on censorship and applied a different country's censorship rules to the UK/ European version. They even (wehich really winds me up) "thank our fans for their vigilance in recognising this and apologise for the mix up." and then refunded or exchanged those dvds... NOT! Nope, they took my money and are now saying tough cheese. Does this make a difference? It depends. If you're one of the thousands of people who shell out money for Director's Cuts etc and care about the story you're watching, then yes. I am one of that category.

2) Extra features. Primarily, the Director's Commentary and the Second Screen feature which have proved so popular. Maybe you don't care about commentaries. This is possibly my favourite movie ever and I'd kind of like to hear what the Director had to say about it.

The best bit about all this? Reading Disney's response: Disney UK's home entertainment spokesperson: "The version of Marvel's Avengers Assemble on Blu-ray disc in the UK is the same as the version shown theatrically. It really is. The simple fact is for a 12 certificate film in the UK, that scene was deemed inappropriate. So Marvel Studios chose to remove the spear tip digitally." Errr... nope. You digitally erased the spear on the UK Bluray release. I saw it at the movies in the UK and it appears on the US Bluray. Just don't do this. You are tampering with the integrity of the story. Whedon didn't film that, accept it in editing and then show it on the screen for you to just remove it.
The next day the British Board of Film Control press officer Catherine Anderson confirmed to Home Cinema Choice unambiguously: 'The version submitted by Disney for DVD/Blu-Ray classification was not identical to the version submitted for theatrical classification.' Disney then coughed to being responsible for the foul up in the blu ray's production.
Their answer to the mess? "We also know that hardcore fans with Blu-ray players are probably going to end up buying the US release which has the commentary. The American Blu-ray is region-free."

Maybe they ought to change their mascot to a rat.

If you want independent verification of this high street daylight robbery, check the Guardian newspaper site (under Avengers Missing features); Home Cinema Choice website; sfx website; IGN etc etc.


Persuasion : Complete ITV Adaptation [2007] [DVD]
Persuasion : Complete ITV Adaptation [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sally Hawkins
Price: 4.30

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece., 23 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Right. I don't like period dramas. I was not born into the middle classes and cannot relate to their total self absorption and adherence to an archaic and patently unfair social order.

So you now know where I'm coming from, let me now say that Persuasion is a delightful and engaging work that had me within moments and held my attention throughout. The characterisation and deliberate immersal in the emotional world of the protagonist (Sally Hawkins) was so well done that I cannot envisage it executed in a better way.

Sally Hawkins was absolutely magnetic on screen. Every scene she appeared in felt alive and true to character. I have not seen her other work so I cannot speak to that. I can say that she was completely convincing as a character bound by both convention and her own character. The plot takes her on a journey of self actualisation and gives the audience encouragement that second chances can be had by those willing to reach out and grasp them. As an actress, Hawkins so well portrayed that journey that I can easily forgive the slight contrivances of plot that allow for the story to progress. What? Coincidences happen all the time, so ner-ner-ner!

Rupert Penry Jones was excellent also. The two leads are obviously aesthetically pleasing, so that's helpful to the shallow such as I, but I found his portrayal of his character's inner turmoil also very convincing indeed.

The supporting cast were all skilled and add great depth to the piece. I have to say that other reviewers do not 'persuade' me of this version's second place to the previous adaptation, which I found (despite the presence of the great Ciaran Hinds) to be typically dry, dull and without depth as the majority of this genre is. I suffered through Middlemarch and Return of the Native at A level and University and have never, ever felt the temptation to read Austin and Eyre, but my wife is an avid fan of these tv adaptations and I have had to endure those. This is, for me, a light year ahead of the others and I am secretly pleased when she suggests we watch it again. Shushh!!

SPOILER ALERT
For Marxists reading this, there is no real happy ending.


Dynamode USB 3.0 SATA Hard Disk Dock with One Touch Back Up Button
Dynamode USB 3.0 SATA Hard Disk Dock with One Touch Back Up Button
Price: 23.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One star is one too many for this junk, 23 Dec 2012
Review with at least twenty words.. let me see... rubbish rubbish rubbish rubbish rubbish (etc).

Let's speak candidly. If you buy a product that has no (intelligible) instructions and doesn't actually do anything when you plug it all in, wouldn't you feel aggrieved? The Dynamode Hard disk Dock is such a product. There is a 4 page 'manual' that consists of the following:
Page 1 - a pretty b&w photo of the produuct.
Page 2 - a list of system requirements (it is allegedly compatible with Windows 98 through to Win 7) and features (sparse).
Page 3 - More features (although they are presumably auto translated as sentences abruptly terminate in mid- See what I did there?).
Page 4 - Notice (basically a list of prohibitions - although again not very clear e.g. "Does the hard disk happen to the bad sector?Please confirm in advancethat can prevent animproper operating of backup or restore". What?!!).

Never mind, I thought. I'll open up the folders in windows explorer (seeing as how the application did not auto run). Hmmm... let's see... seven folders. Three of which are titled on a variation of the USB type (ASM-USB3.0; GL-USB3.0; JM-USB2.0) and four of which are titled thus (M110; M6116; NEC and Software Clone).

As I am using USB 2.0 (to which USB 3.0 products are supposed to be backwards compatible), I opened that folder. I then opened all the others which gave way into several 'trees' of branching folders - none of which made any sense to me. They offered Win98 drivers and setup txt files in tech speak, but forget about any easy operation.

The Software Clone application was particularly interesting as although it allowed me to enter the setup dialogue, it then required a password (which the dialog box assured me would be on a sticker somewhere (err, no. No, it isn't). You can't get past that, so it is useless.

And that's it. I tried patiently every individual route and none of them work. Maybe you will have better luck and if you have won the lottery and have money to burn (as well as patience to throw your time away) then good luck to you, my friend, I wish you every success. As for me, the receipt documentation was thrown away and I am left with this charming piece of bricabrac, which is of sufficient size to act as a single paperback book stand. And that is all it is of use for.

FAIL. EPIC FAIL. FAIL FROM THE PITS OF HADES.


Iron Man 2 (PS3)
Iron Man 2 (PS3)
Offered by smeikalbooks
Price: 19.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Iron Man 2 is rusty scrap not worth your time, 26 April 2012
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Iron Man 2 (PS3) (Video Game)
Hey! I have a great idea for a robbery! What we'll do is get a really innovative, vibrant and exciting franchise that has rocked cinemagoers the world over and has a pre-existing comicbook fanbase and we'll make a really, really cheap video game to cash in. It'll cost about 20 bucks and a Big Mac and we'll make millions!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

This video game is hands-down the Schumacher Batman and Robin of modern superhero video games. If Doctor Doom or Lex Luthor wanted to really off their superhero nemeses they should market this kind of video game about them. They'd throw themselves off a cliff.

GAMEPLAY 0/5: Did I say this game was 'scrap'? I added an 's' I didn't mean to. Shoddy mechanics that seem to give you less control over flight than the first poor Iron Man game and a locking system I gave up trying to figure out. What we seem to have gone for here is loud noise and hazy, blocky graphics over any attempt to make the gameplay interesting. Repeated encounters with cheap shot grunts who are either pitiful or swarm you like suicidal ants. So repetitive it should carry a health warning about mental RSI. More poetically described as a waking nightmare.

STORY: 2.5/5
I'm conflicted about this aspect of the game. I think the truth is that the gameplay experience was so very, very bad that I don't want to malign the writing. With collaborations (which all such large scale enterprises are), it's tough to tell where the rot set in and where some great work has been buried. Even the team responsible for the gameplay may ironically be innocent. I just couldn't get into the story because I was so mesmerised by Sam Jackson's silly putty face, which brings me to...

GRAPHICS AND SOUND: 0.000 recurring/5
So fundamentally hideous that I should've asked for a refund instead of trading it in. I appreciate not all game designers have a five year lead in like Bethesda on Oblivion/ Skyrim, but to pay big money for this is a true rip-off. I felt like Tony Stark when he found out Stark Industries was selling weapons to American enemies. Outraged, shocked, depressed. The reality is that when you look at how much better Sega did with Captain America Super Soldier, you know that they have no argument about time and budget. It was all noise and flashing lights without any chemistry or engagement. R D Jr doesn't appear as Iron Man (and after the last game who can blame him. That was primitive for next gen standards - but this is far, far worse).

REPLAYABILITY
One of two games in the last ten years that I haven't finished. Believe me I'm too cheap to not finish a game I buy unless it's really, really bad. This is really, really bad.

BOTTOM LINE 0/5
Sega should be truly ashamed of releasing this into a sewer, let alone asking us to pay top dollar for it as a Next Gen game. When I said Schumacher's Batman and Robin, I meant it as a potential franchise killer. It won't - but only because the movie brand and Avengers association is so hot. Sega - don't do this again!


Thor (PS3)
Thor (PS3)
Offered by zondave
Price: 29.99

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars SEGA... I SAY THEE NAY!!!, 25 Feb 2012
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Thor (PS3) (Video Game)
BIFF! POW! "AIIIIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!" CRASH! SLAMMM!!!! These are all sounds emanating from my living room as I trashed it while playing THE single worst game I have ever, ever played. I am an average gamer in terms of skill. I have completed and enjoyed games such as The Force Unleashed I & II; Arkham Asylum; Arkham City; Marvel Ultimate Alliance I & II; Oblivion. You can probably see a trend there. I like epic, heroic-type games and I thought 'Thor God of God-Awfulness' would be a winner.

Sadly, I can only warn you dear reader: 'Whosoever Buyeth This Game Shall Surely Be Consumed By The Power of Frustration.' Sega have committed a crime by publishing this game. I would not buy it for a single unit of whatever currency your country issues. Let us visit the runes:

GAMEPLAY 0/5
Stop playing that game, Johnny, you'll make your eyes bleed. If you buy this game, be prepared to go through the same stage again and again and again and again and again. Oh, and again and again. Picture Bill Murray about three quarters of the way through Groundhog Day or that episode of Stargate where Tilk's trapped in a simulation and keeps dying over and over. To get through the cheap (in every conceivable lingual nuance of the word 'cheap'), you need to time a button press and avoid attacks whilst your camera decides whither it goeth of its own accordeth. Be prepared for your most dazzling attacks to be utterly meaningless. You have to engage in a stupid button mashing/ timing contest while giants massage your ribs with metal. Meanwhile, also know that Thor moves like he's swimming in treacle whilst big, burly giants are five times faster than him. Similarly, many of his moves start out uni-directional and will often just swivel at the last moment away from your enemies harmlessly into the distance. Don't. Oh just don't.

GRAPHICS & SOUND 3/5
This (and the fact that Amazon don't allow zeroes) is the only reason this game scores anything. The key character models are pretty decently done and Hemsworth makes an iconic Thor. The lesser characters are poor though, but that's me being picky. In sum, it's no Arkham (or even Captain America Super Solider), but it ain't Iron Man (gargle, spit, shudder).

STORY 2/5
The writers of this game must have been even more frustrated than me. It's set before the movie plot - but anyone who's seen the movie immediately sees that the game would totally unhinge the movie plot. First of all, Thor would know Loki is a villain (unless he's God of Thtupid as well) and Odin would know Thor could never be Ruler of Asgard (unless he went through the entire video game with his eyepatch on the wrong eye and Loki hit him (and the rest of Asgard) with the Spell of Total Idiocy. GAHHHH! GRRRRR!

REPLAY 0/5
Didn't finish/ couldn't finish it, so I'll never know will I?

BOTTOM LINE 0/5
Verily, I have warned thee! Know you this though. Though this game be the spawn of Sludgeo, God of err... Sludge, and Iron Ma..n..n.. t..w...o... (gargle, spit) is even worse, Captain America Super Soldier is actually really, really good if you like superhero games. See my review on that for why.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 19, 2013 5:39 AM GMT


Captain America: Super Soldier (PS3)
Captain America: Super Soldier (PS3)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great game that Sega would do well to revisit, 25 Feb 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Like other Reviewers I was expecting disappointment from 'Captain America Super Solder.' I bought it because several sites had said it was better than you might expect. Actually, I traded in 'Thor God of Chunder' or whatever it was called (absolutely terrible, terrible game). I always finish games, but I left Thor midway through Jotunheim even though he was a favourite of my comicbook reading childhood. This game is so much better that it's hard to describe the difference.

Captain America Super Soldier (or 'CASS' as we'll call it here)has become one of my favourite games ever though. Big statement, so let me explain why I play this game more often than Force Unleashed or even (gasp) Arkham City (although I obviously think that is great).

GAMEPLAY 4/5 (Yep, you better believe it!)
CASS clearly takes its gameplay cues from the Rocksteady Arkham series. There's no stealth so forget about that. You'll repeatedly find yourself either in a melee bout with several 'Grunts' (ordinary soldier types ranging from shooters to pugilists to troopers with body armour) and mid-level bosses (who wear heavy armour and either carry pneumatic pistons or flamethrowers), or presents you with a fairly light puzzle objective (I say light, I'm full on rubbish with puzzles and have zero patience and I never had to call in my Wife once to get through). There's the occasional boss character (but not as many as you might think). I love the combat. It has obvious roots in Arkham Batman, but it works as pure Captain America and rewards you with several moves you might expect to see in a Cap comic book (LOTS of shield-clanging blows; kicks off the wall; rolls and flips into hooks and crosses; the critical punch cutscene is perfect). I also love the 'tap-on-shoulder-right-cross' move. The shield moves are truly great. I have never seen it done better. Ever. It surpasses all my child-like wonder expectations. Don't miss the one line in the manual that tells you how to hit multiple targets with the shield. That's made replay happen for me.
The cons are that the game can be fully completed within a couple of days by an average game player (sorry, I'm only average). If you're not a Captain America fan (or if you're a hardcore gamer seeking a challenge), I can see that it might be light for you. Would really have benefited from add-on packs or more diverse villain encounters.

STORY: 4/5
Unlike Reviewers before me (i.e. those who were on time!) I actually think the developers have got the Captain's character and storyline spot on. It doesn't reveal what the Movie plot is and it doesn't feel like a cheap cash-in on the movie with no (like the hideous Iron Man -glug, glug, rinse, spit- games from SEGA).

GRAPHICS AND SOUND: (a solid) 4/5
The graphics are really good. The Captain model is better than anything I've seen Sega turnout ever. The rest don't look like the silly putty rejects who turned up in Thor (cough-loser-cough)or Iron Man I & II (gargle, spit) either. The environment is nice work too. It's not as free-roaming open space or destructible as Arkham I or II as noted above and I could ask for more, but it is good work. Voice acting is excellent from Evans and Attwell. The rest are good quality, except for the brilliant Baron Zemo. He is truly great.

REPLAYABILITY 2.5/5
Better than you'd think. I'm on my second play through right now and still loving the fight scenes. Definitely repays trying new angles on the fights. Cap excels at acrobatic combat. But you won't find hidden rooms or extras. It is a plus though, that enemies keep respawning, so you can keep clearing out the areas.

BOTTOM LINE 4/5
If you like comic book superheroes, get this game.


ByteStor 4GB USB  High Speed "Dataferry" Flash Drive
ByteStor 4GB USB High Speed "Dataferry" Flash Drive
Price: 7.70

82 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Five Stars so far., 29 July 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Read the review before me that talks about the drive failing. My condolences because that sounds like an awful thing to happen.
As for me and my experience with the Flash drive, I have to say it's been plain sailing. I originally bought the 2 GB version to transport my Word; Excel and Powerpoint files around and it was great. Only problem was my wife started using to carry her Powerpoint files around! So I gave her that one and bought this 4 Gb.
This is working great since I purchased in april (Yep, I'm a slow reviewer too!). I think that they are absolutely marvelous. I always used to carry around a messenger bag stuffed with policy documents and guides to meetings so I could stay on top of my work, but now I carry this! Straight into a laptop or desktop and I have books' worth of info at my fingertips. I use all the time and have had no problems whatsoever.
However, it is never my only source of backup. I use it for transporting files - NOT as my primary backup. I backup every 2-4 weeks onto an external 250gb hard drive (they cost roughly 50 - see Western Digital My Book on Amazon Search then check Similar Items). If my desktop ever fails, it's all there.
Any ICT person will tell you the same. Except they'll tell you to backup a lot more regularly than I do.
My Opinion: Flash drives for transport and External Hard drives for back-up/ Storage.

UPDATE 23 05 13 - Just to say that this Drive is still going strong. That's gotta be worth something!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 26, 2012 12:14 PM BST


Princess 1955 JACK LA
Princess 1955 JACK LA

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional little number!, 29 July 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I particularly purchased this juicer because I wanted something 'dishwasher-able'. As I am both busy and lazy(!) I don't want to spend precious time handwashing stuff when I have a dishwasher. Obviously the base of this machine doesn't need anything other than a wet cloth to clean it, but all the moving parts that come into contact with foodstuffs go into the dishwasher and that works great. Be smart though and rinse the mesh part first.
Performance-wise, it's great. Apply a little gentle pressure on stuff that doesn't go straight through, but how hard is that? Not very really. It produces the juice and we make muffins with the pulp from carrots, apples, pears and plums. Not huge barrels of juice, but 3 carrots and an apple produce nearly a small tumbler of juice. That's great if you want to get plenty of phytochemical nutrients everyday, but you and your stomach cannot face a basket full of food. Remember to use the pulp for all that healthy fibre too (plus no doubt some agents that chemists will indentify in years to come).
Bottom line? The only reason it doesn't get a five is that the new models look slightly better designed (eg. spout higher up to allow for larger glasses etc). I don't regret buying it for an instant.


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