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OpenMind "R Granger" (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)

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Fellowes Powershred 99CI Shredder, Black/Dark Silver
Fellowes Powershred 99CI Shredder, Black/Dark Silver
Price: CDN$ 380.42
13 used & new from CDN$ 359.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The next step up: wood chipper, March 27 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This really has to be a top-of-the-line shredder for home or small business office, and I wish I'd purchased it sooner. I had a midget "5-page" shredder before (which could only really handle a couple of sheets at a time, and even then jammed more than Smuckers), and I recently had ENOUGH.

This model tells you if you've over-stuffed it. Better yet, it tells you if you've UNDER-stuffed it: an indicator light meter reveals how many pages it could handle compared to how many you put in. If the light meter only goes up a couple of bars, that means it's hungry and you need to give it more on your next go-around. This thing even detects if there's any skin touching its gaping maw, in which case it won't operate until safe to do so. Best of all, there's a "do not put a baby in here" interdiction labelled on the side of the aperture.

If you think you can get away with something smaller and cheaper, you might be right...but why would you want to be?

Fujitsu PA03643-B002 ScanSnap S1300i Scanner
Fujitsu PA03643-B002 ScanSnap S1300i Scanner
Price: CDN$ 286.99
9 used & new from CDN$ 286.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where have you been all my life?, Feb. 28 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
In my foolish youth, I thought that an all-in-one scanner/copier/printer was the way to go. I remained loyal to mine for many years. It was bulky, heavy, and slow, but I stuck by it. It scanned into JPGs, which I would then have to use a photo program to convert to large PDFs, which I'd then have to reduce in file size. Very time-consuming.

Lately, I've been trying to go paperless with my home office and personal documents. I grew more and more frustrated with my all-in-one that didn't appear to do any of its functions particularly well.

I finally mustered up the courage to tell my all-in-one, "It's over.", and got the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i. It was recommended by a couple of websites as being one of the better scanners.

It's everything my old all-in-one was not. It's compact. It's fast. It scans directly into PDF or whatever format you might like. I scanned one side of my document and said to myself, "Now to scan the other side...sigh..." The scanner had already scanned both sides into the same file. Awesome.

Works for PC and Mac. Setup involves installing software from a CD. Instructions are minimal although a little confusing, but the product is superb. Should've made the switch a long time ago.

Munchkin 14906 High Capacity Drying Rack (White)
Munchkin 14906 High Capacity Drying Rack (White)
Price: CDN$ 14.98
5 used & new from CDN$ 14.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Ample size in spite of "Munchkin" name, Feb. 19 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
"High capacity" is a relative term, but the rack holds enough bottles, lids, nipples, and other items for my infant twins--so I would hope that it suffices for most people. It has two tiers to it and a removable tray to decant the water that's dripped off. I've saved valuable counter space that I have since filled with other junk. Win-win-win!

Munchkin 11601 Deluxe Bottle Brush (Colors May Vary)
Munchkin 11601 Deluxe Bottle Brush (Colors May Vary)
Price: CDN$ 5.25
13 used & new from CDN$ 4.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Turns a chore into less of a bore, Feb. 19 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This brush cleans my Medela bottles and other assorted bottles very well. I like the miniature nipple brush hidden away in the handle. For less than six dollars, it was a steal. I purchased it along with the drying rack. I no longer avoid my husbandly cleaning duties as much as I did before.

The instructions refer to a need to replace the brush "at first sign of wear" or after a handful of weeks; I'll update this review if I have any concerns with quality or longevity. So far, so good.

Mad Dogs [Blu-ray] [Import]
Mad Dogs [Blu-ray] [Import]
Price: CDN$ 58.36
21 used & new from CDN$ 9.06

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lads' holiday goes horribly, and at times hilariously, wrong, Feb. 4 2014
Four longtime friends in their 40s travel to Mallorca to visit a fifth friend, Alvo, at his lovely villa. Alvo wastes no time in making overt displays of his wealth and success, which affects each of the four differently. Each of the lads' characters is nicely fleshed out, from surly professor (Quinn) to recovering alcoholic (Woody) to selfish philanderer (Rick) to flat broke and disgraced lawyer (Baxter)--all seemingly in the midst of a mid-life crisis.

The boys express their jealousy, loyalty, resentment, and integrity quite convincingly depending on the situation, but there comes a point where their insecurities and hypersensitivity call into question just how close they are as friends. It seems as though each of them asks, "What's THAT supposed to mean?" and throws a fit at least a couple of times an episode.

I love John Simm (Baxter) and Philip Glenister (Quinn)--both from "Life On Mars". Max Beesley (Woody), from Hotel Babylon, is great, too. Rounding out the cast is the destabilizing and backstabbing Ben Chaplin (Alvo) and the hotheaded and rather sinister-looking Marc Warren (Rick).

The boys get mixed up with theft, drugs, crooked cops, a homicidal Tiny Blair, and each other's personal lives. The result is an entertaining, but not exactly relaxing, sojourn on a sunny isle.

Amazon Canada retails this, only the first season, for over 50 dollars. There's no way you should be dropping that kind of money on this. Wait until the final fourth season is out (Seasons 1-3 were available on Netflix Canada until early February 2014), then decide after having watched them whether you'll spring for the collection. I'm on my second watch-through and still enjoy the black humour, zaniness, and character interactions.

Hitchcock (Bilingual) [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy]
Hitchcock (Bilingual) [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy]
DVD ~ Anthony Hopkins
Price: CDN$ 11.98
19 used & new from CDN$ 3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A snapshot of an icon and his most venerated work, Feb. 2 2014
The film centres around Hitch's desire to reestablish himself as avant-garde by making his magnum opus, "Psycho". He seeks inspiration in Ed Gein's horrific crimes. He plays hardball with the studio execs who get cold feet about his source material and vision. He strong-arms his actors and bullies his wife. Finally, he shrewdly negotiates with the censors to get the film squared away. The makers of "Hitchcock" don't play fast and loose too much with what I know of actual events (so it isn't exactly "Titanic" in its lack of historical accuracy), so that's a plus. Now that I've seen the film, I certainly feel more qualified to discuss Hitchcock with those who know him and his work--though one would be foolhardy to fancy oneself an expert after watching this.

One can't get the feeling that, after all his years of thespian excellence, Sir Hopkins is mailing it in at this point. He looks and sounds like Hitchcock but seems to lack some of the passion and complexity of the famed filmmaker. Hopkins' Hitchcock seems rather deadpan, which one wouldn't expect from Hitch. Dame Mirren has a little more fire in her belly as Hitch's long-ignored and -suffering wife, but seems just shy of three-dimensional herself. Funny enough, I thought Scarlett Johansson stole the show with her pluck and poise, and to date I have not been a fan of her work at all.

All in all, "Hitchcock" had just enough historical accuracy, just enough of effortful performances, just enough tension, and just enough humour to make it...just enough of an enjoyable film. I can't imagine anyone but Hitchcock buffs would want to own a copy, but at least rent it or watch it on Netflix if you have the chance before you decide whether or not to buy. It's certainly not just for The Birds, but it does lack a little Frenzy.

Top of the Lake
Top of the Lake
Price: CDN$ 14.99
26 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cinematic in quality, Jan. 5 2014
This review is from: Top of the Lake (DVD)
12-year-old Tui Mitcham, daughter of the local hood in small-town Laketop, goes missing. Even more troubling is that she is pregnant--and she said, before disappearing, that "No One" is the father.

This six-part miniseries follows the efforts of the local police (portrayed by Elisabeth Moss from Mad Men and David Wenham from Lord of the Rings and 300) to find the girl, the reaction (or lack thereof) of Tui's family to her vanishing, and the comings and goings of the town itself. Of particular intrigue are the members of an unusual makeshift women's refuge on "Paradise" (land coveted by the Mitcham patriarch for years), led by their taciturn oracle, GJ (played by the nonpareil Holly Hunter).

Foreboding in atmosphere, disturbing in thematic content, breathtaking in cinematography, and with a nail-biting denouement to boot, Top of the Lake pushed a lot of the right buttons for a lot of critics. It's certainly not a feel-good story. In fact, it's not even particularly enthralling from start to finish. One can't help but be drawn in, however, by the convincing performances and the mystery of Tui's disappearance. The makers flog a dead horse to some extent with the romantic subplot (which has the pall of incest hanging over it), but it's otherwise pretty fresh stuff. The accomplished Jane Campion co-created/-wrote/and -directed the series.

If you like Campion, if you like jaw-dropping scenery, if you like character development more than a what you get from a typical missing persons procedural, and if you unabashedly like your TV a little artsy-fartsy (but still gripping), then you can do a heck of a lot worse than this. If you watch it and like it (it's currently on Netflix as of January 2014), it would make a fine addition to one's collection and has high replay value.

The Wolverine [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Bilingual)
The Wolverine [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Hugh Jackman
Price: CDN$ 9.99
27 used & new from CDN$ 6.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Logan shows his age, Jan. 5 2014
Why should only a mortal man be subject to a mid-life crisis? After his beloved Jean Grey's demise--which she suffered at his own claws, no less--Logan stalks the northern wilderness. He seeks an elusive solace and wonders what is left for him, other than to dispatch his own brand of justice to cruel poachers in the boreal forest.

A mysterious summons arrives from Japan. Yashida, an old acquaintance, urges Logan to visit him at his deathbed. Yashida offers to unburden him of his immortality in order that he may finally rest, and so that Yashida himself may cheat death. Logan refuses to bestow the curse of his regeneration upon another and bids his friend goodbye. A fracas erupts at Yashida's funeral the next day, where Wolverine discovers that his powers may have left him after all.

The movie clocks in at over two hours, and while much of it is well-spent on action sequences (not the most thrilling I've seen from Wolverine), Nipponese cityscapes and landscapes, and Logan's struggle to find meaning after his loss, it over-indulges at certain points. For example, it seemed necessary to the filmmakers to have a sequence in a pachinko know, 'coz they're in JAPAN. Imparting cultural authenticity is one thing, but resorting to stereotypes is another. Logan himself is in danger at times of straying from, "What am I?" to "Woe is me!" Finally, one of the main villains, "Viper", is about as lacking in menace and poses as little threat to Logan as a tribble on Ativan. Logan's line of dialogue as he dispatches his nemesis at the end of the film is priceless, mind you...even if he does say, "Sayonara!"

I don't know (or care) if the story is canon. I wanted a Wolverine film, and I got one. Some mild deficiencies aside, it's still worth a watch for fans of the character and genre. Only dedicated aficionados need consider purchasing a copy for repeated viewings, though: there are substantially better superhero movies out there more worthy of one's time and money.

Skque Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter with Audio Support
Skque Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter with Audio Support
Offered by Gadgets Super(Ships from HongKong)
Price: CDN$ 1.59
12 used & new from CDN$ 1.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outperforms the Rocketfish which costs 5 times as much, Nov. 5 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This thing is a bargain at twice the price. I'm sorry, but I had to say it. The previous Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter I had by Rocketfish was extremely finicky and prone to causing static of a few seconds' duration every couple of minutes. AND the Rocketfish retails for $25. Sure, the Rocketfish I ended up with may have been a lemon, I suppose, and I was a fool to pay that much for it to begin any rate, so far I've had no issues with the Skque. It was delivered quickly, the seller didn't overpackage it, and the product works works perfectly. Skque: 1 Rocketfish 0.

The Hunt / La Chasse (Bilingual)
The Hunt / La Chasse (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Mads Mikkelsen
Price: CDN$ 29.71
7 used & new from CDN$ 18.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just shy of the mark, Oct. 31 2013
The opening sequence introduces us to a picturesque Danish village and a handful its down-to-earth inhabitants. Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen, who played Le Chiffre in Casino Royale) is one of the boys; he good-naturedly plunges into the icy October waters of the local pond along with one of his many friends. They drink, they laugh, they have wholesome fun. Lucas is known and liked by the village's grown-ups, but also its children: he works at a local kindergarten and is clearly adored by the kids. He is easy to speak to, roughhouses with them, but commands a quiet and deserved respect. There is absolutely no hint of impropriety in his conduct.

Klara, one of the girls in the nursery, is no different in her love for Lucas. After being subjected to a brief glimpse of pornography by her brother's friend, however, she expresses her distress and perceived rejection by Lucas as a baseless and fabricated accusation of sexual misconduct on his part.

It doesn't take long for the teacher at the kindergarten to completely botch the questioning of Klara and the disclosure made to the parents at the kindergarten about the accusations. Lucas is rapidly convicted in the court of public opinion, and his ordeal is just beginning. What we witness as an audience is straightforward character assassination which very nearly results in physical assassination on a few occasions--all in the absence of any evidence.

I was initially incredulous that the off-the-cuff statement of a toddler could be taken for gospel, that Lucas' seemingly reasonable and community-minded neighbours could be so suggestibly caught up in paedo-hysteria, and that Lucas would simply submit to the verbal and physical abuse of the townsfolk. Once I put my dubiousness, however, I was able to...well, not necessarily ENJOY the film, but to immerse myself in the scenario and Lucas' plight.

An accumulation of small shortcomings conspire against this film. For example, a hint of nuance about Lucas' character would have gone a long way. As it stands, he's much too goody-two-shoes and everymanesque for there to be any credibility to the accusations against him. If he had even one or two vices to muddy the waters, the film would have been substantially more rich and complex. Secondly, Lucas' only allies during his ordeal are: 1) a female outsider who only wants him because he's good-looking and submissive; and 2) his son's godfather. What is it that these two people see that others don't? A satisfactory explanation isn't proffered. As a final example, some unfaithful translations and spelling errors mar the subtitles.

That being said, Mikkelsen does a good job of fading into the background in this film and playing the victim without eliciting too much "woe-is-me". The rest of the cast also plays their parts well, neither going overboard with their demonization and hatred of Lucas (townsfolk) nor indulging in excess apologia and "there-there" (Lucas' supporters). The situation is mostly plausible and certainly agonizing. The ending caps off the film quite tantalizingly, too.

"The Hunt" is not a fun watch, but is a carefully crafted study of character and social psychology. I could definitely see the interest in wanting to own a copy and highly recommend at least an initial viewing.

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