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G. M. Phillips "goldhart" (In a deep dark cave)

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Thursday's Child: Complete & Unabridged (Word for word audio books)
Thursday's Child: Complete & Unabridged (Word for word audio books)
by Helen Forrester
Edition: Audio Cassette

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars First half okay, 26 July 2009
I enjoy Helen Forrester's autobiographical books, but find the novels heavy going: they don't come across quite as well, I think. This one is quite enthralling for the first half, telling of Peggy's marriage to an Indian. I found Peggy's ordeals a bit too easy - she doesn't seem to have to prove herself in her new home. The real trouble starts towards the end, where suddenly the story seems to have shifted away from the first person to some third person viewpoint,I thought for a moment I must have the wrong tape at this point, it just seemed to be going on about completely different characters. I'd like to have seen Peggy develop as a character, have children, go back home - the story could have been a bit more challenging and earthy, but nonetheless not too bad.

Wilt in Nowhere
Wilt in Nowhere
by Tom Sharpe
Edition: Hardcover

1.0 out of 5 stars Unreadable, 22 July 2009
This review is from: Wilt in Nowhere (Hardcover)
I used to love the Tom Sharpe books so witty and cleverly written - how many books actually make you laugh out loud as his did. But note, past tense. I'm afraid this, The Midden, and Grantchester Grind don't strike my funny bone at all. This one starts out quite promisingly, but then comes to a halt - Wilt himself seems second-place to the other characters. I just stopped reading after about 1/3 of the book. Instead of humour, the book is just peppered with expletives.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Offered by RareGroove
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, but shouldn't have engine noise, 25 May 2009
This is perhaps my favourite of all the Star Trek movie scores. There is a problem though, and that's the frequent addition of annoying engine noise to some of the tracks. Why on Earth was this added - it makes it difficult to enjoy, especially on headphones?

Dilbert: Words You Don't Want to Hear During Your Annual Performance Review: A Dilbert Treasury
Dilbert: Words You Don't Want to Hear During Your Annual Performance Review: A Dilbert Treasury
by Scott Adams
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Whatever happened to the clever comedy?, 27 Mar. 2009
I read this book after reading a Dilbert compilation from ten years earlier, and my, what a difference. Gone are the clever twists at the end of each cartoon, and instead there is just a single level point made - in many cases these just give a feeling of "what?" It's almost like these are written by a different author - is that possible - the strips are being farmed out to other writers without the inherent wit of Scott Adams? I can recall in one of the books, Scott Adams revealed his principles of comedy writing - that any joke ought to have two items, cuteness, meanness, etc - but the strips in this book don't meet that criteria, there's just a single mildly amusing event, no cutting point. The Sunday strips which are longer are still pretty good, but the daily ones suffer from a severe quality problem. My advice is to buy the earlier books, before about 1998, because by this time - I think the book dates from 2004 - the comedy value has severely dropped.

The Settlers: Rise Of An Empire (PC DVD)
The Settlers: Rise Of An Empire (PC DVD)
Offered by passionFlix UK
Price: £5.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much demand on your PC, 12 Jan. 2009
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
I think you have to be suspicous of reviews on a site where product is also sold; after all if you are selling your copy on marketplace you'd want people to buy it. I have to say the intro to this game is magnificent, but then the in-game sequences don't quite live up to that glory.

The main problem is the requirement of a very powerful PC and graphics card with a ton of memory. I've a pretty good PC and graphics card, but it's not half powerful enough for this and everything is slow: the so called quick save takes about a minute, scrolling is non-intuitive and very slow and clunky. The first campaign mission was straightforward, but the second over complicated. The buildings all look the same to my eyes - how much better Settlers 2 and 3 were for the clarity and simplicity. I gave up because the game was just damned stupid - you collect a warehouse full of fish, but they are never taken to the place that smokes them - the same with other things - it's all just non-intuitive and annoying. It made me long for Settlers Heritage of Kings, which is about a million times better than this. I would have gone back to that as a starting point, forgotten about making over complex 3D buildings and tried to develop the strategy part a bit. I hope if they do another Settlers, that they go back to the core values of the older products.

Panasonic DMR-EX77 - 160gb Hard Drive DVD Recorder - With 1080P Up-Conversion & Freeview - Silver
Panasonic DMR-EX77 - 160gb Hard Drive DVD Recorder - With 1080P Up-Conversion & Freeview - Silver

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some bugs fixed, but some features lost, 22 Dec. 2008
Just to add an extra note after my previous review some years back. I tried upgrading to one of the new Panasonic twin HD models (they keep changing the model numbers!) - big mistake. The latest machines (2011) should be avoided like the plague. The big trouble is that they now record in direct mode, this means your hard drive recordings are not ready to be put onto DVD at high-speed until they go through a further process which runs REAL TIME. The other thing is that the modern hard drive recorders from Panasonic have an incredibly slow and clunk menu system, slow startup time that you wouldn't believe, and an awkward and limited EPG that tries to be too clever for its own good. Worse you can't edit radio recordings - not at all, ever! Just to be clear, what I'm saying is how wonderful the EX77 is in comparison - and if you read this Panasonic, go back to THIS machine's design, and then move forward from there, keeping IN the functionality and performance - I suspect you need to sack some dead weight engineers first who have written the new machine's firmware in some airy-fairy high-level language (like Java?).... here's my old review...>

I've had various hard drive machines from Panasonic over the years, starting from the E80 in the pre-freeview days. Their similarity in usage is helpful because you're already prepared for the best way to use them.

Generally this machine seems better than my previous one, which was an EX75, and the menu bug pressing -24 hours in the EPG has been fixed in this model. Also it seems to handle the menus quicker - it zips through the EPG now. One down side is that the titling options are missing - if someone from Panasonic reads this- please put them back and issue an over-the-air update! On previous machines you could store a title for use later, and this made it fast to enter names where for whatever reason you had none (for instance recording from AV2). The whole titling section has now been replaced with the simple, slow, way of entering text for each title, with no memory of favourite names. It also seems more solid at handling different DVDs - the EX75's writing capability went the same way as previous models, descending to only working with DVD-RWs and DVD-RAMs. The recommendation I'd make is no cheapo generic discs, because although they might work for a while, they might be causing damage - stick to certified verbatim, genuine panasonic (hard to find with whitetops) or TDK, and ALWAYS use 16x media.

One thing I've noticed, and this is true of the EX75 too - these machines require a SCART for operation - they don't modulate the signal out onto UHF any more. Of course there are very few of us using non-SCART tellies - but just for a while I wanted to use an old portable with no SCART, and had to find another way. Of course you can use some other video device to provide a workround, and it hardly affects many people.

Nancy Drew The Secret of Shadow Ranch (PC CD)
Nancy Drew The Secret of Shadow Ranch (PC CD)

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too tedious and poorly designed, 17 July 2008
One of the key things about a good adventure game is that it doesn't bore you by making you repeat the same things again and again. In Shadow Ranch, that's exactly what you have to do, and everything is so exact - no give and take so you can continue if you don't find this or that item. The inventory system is shockingly bad, so you have to go into the inventory, and having chosen an item close the window afterwards.

What's always good in Nancy Drew games are the artwork and the voice acting - no complaints there, but it's the gameplay that's a problem. Even with a walkthru, it's just all to fiddly and serial - and on two occasions I simply missed an item and had no clue what that item might be or where it might be.

In short, although the game has some merit, I just gave up after half of it, because it became too tedious preparing the horse, and searching and re-searching the same areas for something I missed.

Nancy Drew White Wolf of Icicle Creek (PC)
Nancy Drew White Wolf of Icicle Creek (PC)
Price: £7.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but stodgy at times, 3 July 2008
I'd never rate the Nancy Drew as the best possible adventure games. They tend to be puzzle heavy - that is, abstract puzzles rather than logical deduction about the real situation. What's always good is the quality of the voice acting, and the way the story progresses. I also felt that Icicle Creek was quite fair in helping you along.

I've seen complaints about having to continuously do the chores - in fact, at least in junior mode this wasn't necessary - occasionally you are prompted to do the meals or do the rooms when you don't bother, but then there's a plot development that makes it necessary at that time. Also the survey you have to fill out at some point - well I just guessed a couple of answers, and it didn't seem to make any difference to the story that I must have been wrong.

I only played this through to the end, at which point there's an annoying arcade game-ette - like something out of an early 80's game, and frankly after about ten attempts, and finding that despite pursuing the villain for 5 minutes, the game still didn't come to an end - I'd say that was a bug - it should have been necessary only to pursue for about 30 seconds. Also more could have been made of that clever business with the wolf - for instance, it could have actually brought something back. Another weakness is the inventory icons - too small to see what they are.

Still, not bad fun.

Ladies of Letters Log on (BBC Radio Collection)
Ladies of Letters Log on (BBC Radio Collection)
by Carole Hayman
Edition: Audio Cassette

0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not very funny, 13 Mar. 2008
Seems a bit of a waste of talent, Prunella Scales and Patricia Routledge do their excellent best, but sadly the material itself doesn't contain much in the way of sharp humour.

Messiaen: Catalogue d'oiseaux
Messiaen: Catalogue d'oiseaux
Price: £12.49

4 of 53 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Random miandering without melody, 16 Feb. 2008
Imagine someone who's just discovered a piano for the first time. She runs her hands over the keys, up and down the scales, then a few random chords here and there. And so on, and so on, for all three interminable CD's. I actually liked some of Messiaen's other works, so I don't know what the game is here, you wait for it to evolve into melody, or semi-melody, but it never comes.

It's almost like this is improvised piano music, like Chick Corea, but it lacks the sort of direction you'd get in Chick's improvised piano works.

Music went off in different directions at the start of the 20th century, and this to me is an example of the sort of chaotic miandering that some composers went down which lost the basic essence of music itself, but that's just my opinion.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 24, 2008 2:44 PM BST

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