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Tsuchan (Japan)

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Birthday of a King Christmas Boxed Cards: 16 Cards 17 Envelopes
Birthday of a King Christmas Boxed Cards: 16 Cards 17 Envelopes

1.0 out of 5 stars 死ぬための教養 means 'Culture for death', 12 Aug 2014
I just thought anybody think of buying this product should know that 死ぬための教養 (in the picture) isn't a birthday or Christmas greeting. 死ぬ is the verb 'to die', ための means 'for/in order to', 教養 (pronounced kyoyo), depending on context, means 'cultivation, refinement, culture or education'. Please don't get these if you want birthday/christmas cards!

Huawei E5220 21.1Mbps Unlocked Mobile Wi-Fi Router - Black
Huawei E5220 21.1Mbps Unlocked Mobile Wi-Fi Router - Black
Price: £47.91

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very surprisingly excellent!, 20 May 2014
This is nothing short of spectacular: I couldn't find anything in the instructions about the tortuous configuration steps I was expecting, so I just inserted the SIM card and fired-up. To my great surprise, it connected straight away, even in my relatively low signal area. And for the next surprise, my temperamental Sony Vaio Duo's WiFi connected to it straight away (it's usually very awkward about connecting to WiFi). And there's a nice little web-based utility on IP address which allows various security settings to be configured and shows real-time data usage stats.

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden
by Jonas Jonasson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit same-ish and unconvining, 12 May 2014
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It's a pretty entertaining read, for the most part. I enjoyed hearing about Nombeko's journey from latrine emptying in the townships of Soweto to her... well, to avoid spoilers let's just say to her saving the King of Sweden. But the style and the ideas were so closely cribbed from the "100 year old man" book, it often felt a lot like reading a re-hash. And although, as readers of entertaining fiction, we have to suspend our disbelief; there's a point beyond which the spell is broken: it goes from funny to farcical to cringeworthy.

I don't regret reading this book, and some of it had me fascinated, some of it had me chuckling... even the predictability was often entertaining. But having read it, I'd say I've had my fill now. If Jonas Jonasson publishes another book, I'll wait to read the reviews to see if there are new treats in store, or if it's a much of a recycling job.

Collins Official Scrabble Words
Collins Official Scrabble Words
by Collins Dictionaries
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.09

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The first book I've ever rejected, 21 Feb 2014
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This was such rubbish, it's the first book I've ever returned for a refund.

The book is unwieldy: 6cm thick. The words are printed too close to the margin, which means breaking the spine of the book to even see words on the inside column, and then it's difficult. And despite its apparently colossal number of words, it doesn't have standard, common, two-letter words like 'xi' (spelling of the Greek letter).

I thought it was time to refresh my 1988 copy of OSW with now yellowing pages, but it's so much better than this edition. I have absolutely no idea how this book has been given five stars... I'd pay to get rid of it, which in fact is exactly what I had to do!

Remington F5800 Titanium-X Pivot and Flex Dual Foil Shaver
Remington F5800 Titanium-X Pivot and Flex Dual Foil Shaver
Price: £42.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I hoped for., 30 Dec 2013
I've used this shaver a few times now, after many years of using a safety razor, and only having used one rotary-type Philishave far in the past.

It would, of course, be nice to have a shaver which would shave perfectly closely at a single stroke, but I don't think that's achievable even from a product costing 10 times as much.

It takes around 9-10 minutes to shave to my satisfaction and clean it afterwards... possibly a little longer than with a razor, but counting from entering to leaving the bathroom the time is really not so different, and the end result is similar too. The main benefit from my point of view is flexibility and avoiding fuss: I can shave while checking e-mail, catching-up on YouTube subscriptions or reading an Amazon review!

On the back of the shaver is a pop-up something-or-other. I guess it's intended for trimming neck hair or side-burns, but I suggest to discount it completely: it has no moving parts to trim hair, and I can't see how it could possibly work.

All considered, for me it's worth a 5/5.

The Piercing Bible: The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing
The Piercing Bible: The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing
by Elayne Angel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.90

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I wasn't as impressed as all the other reviewers, 20 Dec 2013
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This book was given five stars by Patrick Bartholomew, who must surely count among the top legends of piercing. His review should be much more authoritative than mine. But for what it's worth, here's how I found the book.

The good points, for me, were that it's written in a very readable, engaging style. Where the author talks about her experience, about healing times, jewellery types, procedures, etc, I found it very interesting and educational.

Bad points:
It's not a modest claim, to declare your book "The Bible" of a subject. To me it's a pronouncement on comprehensive coverage, well researched (as opposed to simply one's own experience), and dispassionate (non-judgemental, non-opinionated) treatment of a subject.

I didn't find it comprehensive.
- Example 1: When I see photos of Uvula piercings I think, "How the heck do they do that?". But 'Uvula' isn't even in the index of this book, and yet this is "The Piercing Bible".
- Example 2: I have a nasallang piercing, so I was quite interested to see what the Bible said about it. In fact thre's just one short paragraph saying what it is and noting that care should be taken in cleaning because access can be difficult. I would have expected it to describe placement and how the challenge of achieving symmetry might be achieved, maybe about considerations of bone position for some piercees, how it feels to have a triple piercing in one... any number of things.
- Example 3: In fact it was Patrick himself who gave me my chest piercings, so I was interested in what it would say on the subject. But the Bible is silent on the issue.
- Example 4: I had my ear cartilage pierced with a cauteriser, which worked very well, and I would have liked to read an assessment of comparative healing times for tongue splits with cauteriser method v. scalpel method v. constriction (tying) method v. flesh scissor method. The Bible mentions a cauteriser (but only in her personal cheek-piercing experience), and not even a mention of tongue splitting.
- Example 5: I've often considered an eyelid piercing, and this was one of my main reasons for buying the Piercing Bible. But again, no mention of it.

I've found that piercers often have very fixed opinions about what's acceptable and unacceptable and utterly foolish; even though one piercer's everyday procedure is another piercer's complete no-no. To me, this book is just like that: if you hope for a dispassionate view of procedures, you're out of luck.
- Example 1: Self-piercing is condemned, even though the author points out, for example, that it may be the only route for young piercees without parental permission (as such it's just the route I took myself with good success). I don't think that authors of Bibles should completely disengage their own opinions: just that they should take care to give accompany them with un-opinionated facts.
- Example 2: The author says "There are several placements in the tongue and oral cavity that are not advisable, and I will not perform them, though other piercers do. I would suggest you avoid the following piercings. Cheek Piercing/Dimple....". You will already guess that the reader is not going to be given a balanced review of such piercings, although there's plenty that deserves to be said (how the piercings heal for younger v. older piercees, for example, extent of swelling, etc, etc. A Bible doesn't have to be the single experience of one person: I think subjects deserve research outside one's personal experience.

So there we go... for what it's worth, that's how I found the book.

About Time: From Sun Dials to Quantum Clocks, How the Cosmos Shapes Our Lives
About Time: From Sun Dials to Quantum Clocks, How the Cosmos Shapes Our Lives
by Adam Frank
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.86

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good parts; needed the services of a good editor, 20 Jun 2013
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It's a curious book: unique in starting the narrative far back in history, and working gradually forward (more or less chronologically) through Egyptians, dark ages, the one-handed clock era, two-handed clock era, the life effects on humans of a changing understanding of time; right through to the modern theories of time in the cosmos. Even as an avid reader of cosmology books, some things were new and fascinating to me; while some things I've read elsewhere became clearer or gave new insight.

Time is abundant in this book. It's the primary subject, of course, but also its strength and its weakness. On the positive side, Adam Frank takes the time other authors cannot afford to give lots more detail. For example, I've often heard that Lamaître was the Belgian Priest who first theorised the big bang, and about Gamow's work in nuclear physics. But this book told the story of how the Big Bang concept was almost separately theorised three times and fell out of favour; about weaknesses of Lamaître's concept; about the Alpher and Gamow paper about the Big Bang to which Gamow spuriously added the name of the Nobel laureate Hans Bethe as a joke to make the paper's authors sound like "Alpha, Beta and Gamma"; that all three scientists had eventually left theoretical physics in some disillusionment, and that Gamow had written "Mr Tompkins" books about a guy falling asleep during lectures of famous physicists and having dreams which explained the principles of their work. This kind of fascinating detail runs through the book, and it's great!

On the other hand, the author takes regular time-outs from his factual account, to relate bizarre stories which seem so tangential, it's like somebody switching TV channels without warning. These asides most often come at the beginning of the chapter, and in the paper publication they're helpfully printed in italic which allows the accustomed reader to skip them. Listeners to the audio-book version are out of luck, and must just try to be patient until normal service resumes.

So in summary, I think it's a really good read; but it should be a slightly better and 25% shorter read, to make it an excellent book. In fact, I've persuaded myself while writing this review that the book is nearer 4* quality than my original intention of a 3* rating.

Molecular Consciousness: Why the Universe Is Aware of Our Presence
Molecular Consciousness: Why the Universe Is Aware of Our Presence
by Francoise Tibika
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A nonsense book of pseudo-science, 17 Feb 2013
I was really annoyed a the sheer waste of money expended on being given this book, not to mention the thought that the author would receive some royalty from it.

In fact you don't need my review of this book. I urge you just to look at the Product Description:
"a very lucid and engaging account of the way that chemists currently think about molecules" does not fit with "Françoise Tibika, a student of famed kabbalist and mystic Colette Aboulker-Muscat...". One cannot be a scientist and indulge in mysticism: in ain't possible!

The "About the author" section goes on, "...has a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem." I sincerely doubt that she has a PhD in Chemistry from any reputable university, because her book doesn't reflect the scientific method in any way. It doesn't even have a list of references!

That's all there is to say, worth saying. I hope it's useful.

Nothing Created Everything: The Scientific Impossibility of Atheistic Evolution
Nothing Created Everything: The Scientific Impossibility of Atheistic Evolution
by Ray Comfort
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.50

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Working forwards from fiat, 10 Nov 2012
The author is something like a bulldozer which ploughs carelessly over evidence which doesn't meet his dogma.

Here's the news, Ray Comfort: the universe is the way it is, whether we like it or not. Things are not impossible just because your intuition or your faith tells you so. If evidence is in from a hundred different scientific studies which study the same question from entirely different directions and agree with each other to several decimal places, it is not the science that has the problem, it's Ray Comfort who denies the science. Don't like the results? Okay, go and do your own research to scientific standards and come back with it. But you haven't done - and for that reason, the weight of your argument is less potent than a grain of sand attacking a continent.
Comment Comments (27) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 18, 2014 2:46 PM GMT

Bold As Brass: My Story
Bold As Brass: My Story
by Hilary Devey
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but I can't say I was very inspired., 27 Oct 2012
What makes a good autobiography?
- Being inspirational to the reader?
- Being therapeutic to the writer?
- Explaining the background to the person we know from the media?

I think the book does give a good background, and I think Hilary most likely did find it cathartic to write. I can believe that it could be inspirational for some, but on balance it only taught me a few small lessons, and on that basis I found it an average read.

Positive things we learn: Hilary developed a strong work ethos at an early age, which combined with a talent for sales and business. She was clever enough to find a very profitable gap in her market and resourceful enough to exploit it. She has a moral ethos which is tough, but tries to be fair.

Between the lines: I think Hilary showed that it can be possible to sow the seeds of a hugely successful enterprise, with fairly modest capital, in 3 or 4 years, even with a turbulent home life. I think she clearly shows the sadness of financial success. She enjoyed her work, which gave her the enjoyment of a family. For some, that would be happiness and fulfilment in itself. But Hilary believes life owes her more.

I think she explains two major weaknesses which she doesn't even realise are weaknesses in these terms, which truthfully begs the rather unkind tag "self-delusional":
- At various points she seeks the luxury of "something just for myself"... the relationships after her son's father; her luxury possessions (which seem to contribute to the alienation with her son); and
- Her unshakable belief that she remains the key important asset to her business. The last thing is just patently untrue... if someone can suddenly have three months in hospital where she is totally incapacitated, followed by many months where she's frankly under people's feet (taking half a day to write an e-mail, etc) while her business still grows around her; that business really doesn't need her involvement.

One of the reasons I was interested to read this book was the rather sad and flummoxed expression on Hilary's face in Dragons' Den when she requests maybe 10% less equity than another dragon who has - on the face of it - no particular specialist experience to offer, and yet the entrepreneurs go with her rival. She covers this experience right at the end of the book. Hilary thinks her appearance causes a stir, apparently without realising that most viewers see her as too eccentric to take seriously. She thinks some entrepreneurs have been mad not to choose her offer. But have they?

In truth I can't blame the decision of the investment-seekers after reading this book: I'm sure she would send an e-mail here and make a telephone call there, but in the end I'm not sure she'd bring much success to the party, even though I think she'd believe she was the major reason for any eventual success. (Mind, for most entrepreneurs' projects, I'm not sure any of the dragons would.)

To adapt Hilary's own tough mantra: history is vanity, the present is sanity, opportunity assessment is reality.

I think, and I certainly hope I think it constructively, the most inspirational thing Hilary could do is give tours of Pall-Ex to Business students and would-be entrepreneurs, explaining how to build a business on a shoe-string, with vision, guile, determination, and boundless enthusiasm and energy.

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