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The Little Black Book Of Cocktails: The Essential Guide to New & Old Classics (Little Black Books)
The Little Black Book Of Cocktails: The Essential Guide to New & Old Classics (Little Black Books)
by Virginia Reynolds
Edition: Spiral-bound
Price: CDN$ 9.95
25 used & new from CDN$ 3.45

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a pleased beginner., Jan. 27 2004
I picked up this book because it's small and it's spiral bound and lays flat when open. What is actually in the book I found to be very useful.
This book covers essential barware, glassware (with drawings), mixers/garnishes, and techniques (including how to flame a drink & how to properly layer drinks). The drink recipes are broken down into these categories: Cocktails Classique, The Martini, Urban Chic, Punch Up That Party, From the Tropics, Naughty Drinks, and Finishing Touches. The drinks I have tried so far have been very good, and have a good jumping board for alcohol to mixer ratio in each recipe.
There is also a glossary with some brief descriptions of the liquors, types of cocktails (ie Sling, Rickey), and various other terms associated with mixing.
Perhaps the most helpful part of this book is the index. This lists all the drinks first by name, then by primary alcohol, and finally by color/flavoring. Very handy when you have only one particular liquor on hand. Overall, it's perhaps the only book needed for a casual at home mixing experience.

Hunter Wayward - PlayStation 2
Hunter Wayward - PlayStation 2
Offered by dvdvideogames
Price: CDN$ 59.95
5 used & new from CDN$ 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Better and Worse than the Xbox Original, Sept. 15 2003
My husband and I rented this game over the weekend. Here's my thoughts, especially compared to the original.
To start off, the storyline. It's two years after you defeated the evil spirits at Ashcroft, and your foursome catches word that there's nastiness going on again at the old stomping grounds. Two hunters have been captured and Esteban, Samantha, Kassandra, and Deuce go to investigate. Of course, there's another conspiracy afoot that your rag-tag group needs to bust open, with lots of undead to kill in the process.
Some of the pros:
You get several other characters to play in this PS2 game. Halfway through you unlock one of the Hunters you go to save, Joshua. This guy is fun to play, he's almost as strong as Deuce but has more speed and a better default ranged weapon. His crowbar melee weapon is also fun for hack and slash. After you defeat the game once, you unlock Devan, the other captured hunter as a playable character. Beat the game in Nightmare Mode, and you get Carpenter (!) to play. Fans of the Xbox game should especially like this.
More edges. Some of them really improve the game (I loved running into the middle of an attacking group with Joshua and using Spiral), but some of them are pretty lame. Kassandra has an edge called Blast, which is supposed to shoot a concentrated ray of light at enemies, but it never seemed to hurt them.
In this game, you have a headquarters and a map of each game section. This allows you to go back to previous boards and gain more experience points or save more innocents (save 2 innocents and you get another continue in the game). Don't get all the secrets on the board, though, or it'll become unavailable to play again.
Voice acting is great. The voices fit the characters perfectly. Graphics are killer, especially in the cutscenes. Music is good and creepy without being obtrusive. All very similar to the Xbox version.
Lots of easter eggs and secrets for new music, alternate costumes, models, etc. Also, you unlock cheats (i.e. unlimited health/conviction, max edge power) as you go through the levels, and can use them once you beat the game.
Cons:
The big one, it's only two player max! I shouldn't complain, since it's hard enough to find two player cooperative mission games, but having 4 players tear it up at the same time in the original was too much fun. On the flip side of that, as the original was almost impossible to beat single-player, it would definitely be possible with this game.
The hunter's default ranged weapon no longer has unlimited ammo. As killing certain bad guys gives you health or conviction, you can also get ammo now. Still, this took some getting used to, as I liked to play Kassandra and, with her speed run around and shoot everyone while my husband used Deuce to slash away. However, Vivendi seemed to know this and there aren't the mass amounts of enemies to fight in this version. There's still plenty to keep your hands full, though.
You can only choose one special weapon at the start of the board. For instance, say in a board you picked up a shotgun, a machine gun, and a flamethrower. When you go to the next board, you can only pick one of those three to take with you! During each board, you can pick up other guns that are laying around and use them, but in the original, you kept all the weapons you picked up from board to board. The only time you couldn't use them was when you ran out of ammo! This is the only feature I found to be outright annoying.
There are fewer bosses than in the original. These bosses are cool, though, with a witch and another hunter gone bad really mixing it up. But nothing beats the possessed teddy bear from the first game.
The controls take a lot of getting used to for new players, but those who played the original will find everything to be the same. Also, you still can't control the camera position. It'd be nice if Vivendi would improve this feature.
In short, it's a fun game to rent and play, especially if there's a friend around to join in the pandemonium. It makes me anxious for the October release of Hunter: Redeemer.

Summer Promise, updated ed. #1
Summer Promise, updated ed. #1
by Robin Jones Gunn
Edition: Paperback
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars One of my adolescent favorites, March 12 2003
I was fourteen years old when this book was first published. My mom bought it for me after flipping through it in the store and reading about awkward Christy Miller in her green bean bathing suit. Finally, it was someone I could relate to! I loved kind Uncle Bob and flamboyant Aunt Marti (sure, she was conniving and devious but she was fun to read about and really was trying to do what she thought was good). Todd was interesting, if a bit of a doofus, and the description of their trip to Disneyland was so much fun (when I actually went to Disneyland some 8 years later I thought about Todd and Christy going on the Matterhorn bobsleds, eating ice cream, and looking at the Tinkerbell figurines as I did all those same things). I still love this book, but the rest of the series just didn't hold my interest the same way. I've never had much tolerance for romance novels, Christian or otherwise, and this series just turned too much to teen romance fluff. I got tired of Christy and Todd going back and forth, and as I got older their "problems" just seemed more and more trivial. Robin Jones Gunn has a great talent for writing fun and interesting supporting characters, like Katie, and vivid descriptions of interesting locales, like England and Hawaii, which kept me reading through the entire series.

Good luck to you, Christy Miller, through your college years. Thanks for the good times, but I won't be joining you for anymore of your adventures.

I Accuse My Parents (Mystery Science Theater 3000)
I Accuse My Parents (Mystery Science Theater 3000)
DVD ~ Joel Hodgson
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 118.49
7 used & new from CDN$ 39.98

5.0 out of 5 stars The Blame Game, March 12 2003
OK, this story's about Jimmy. At the start he seems to be a nice, smart, well-liked kid, who, for someone who looks like he's in his twenties, does real well in high school. But, as it turns out, Jimmy also has a real knack for lying and doing shady errands for his girlfriend's (Kitty) other boyfriend (mobster Charlie). And the whole reason he resorts to this life of crime is because his parents have a bigger interest in spending time at Jack Taylor's house with their good friend Jim Beam instead of spending time with Jimmy.

This episode is one of my favorites. Joel and the 'bots are so "on", that even Kitty's songs, which when seen in their original state would be mind-numbingly unbearable, are hilarious enough to rewind and watch again before continuing with the rest of the show. The movie provides so much material to lampoon that the time just flies by while watching it. And just when you think it may be slowing down and getting a little dull, the character (and what a character!) of Al Frazier comes along to give the guys enough ammo to easily fill the last 20 minutes of the movie.

My experience has been that it's best to start newbies out with Mitchell, but when I'm not sure what I want to watch I always turn to I Accuse My Parents. And it provides a great alternative stress reliever. Did you burn tonight's dinner, lose your job, or get your hand slammed in a door? Forget swearing, just accuse your parents! It's fun!

Darin at the Copa
Darin at the Copa
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 29.95
10 used & new from CDN$ 11.26

5.0 out of 5 stars For that Darin fan who has everything!, March 12 2003
This review is from: Darin at the Copa (Audio CD)
Here's the thing about this album: I was hesitant to buy it because I was afraid it would be too cheesy. You know, cheesy like "Thank you, don't forget to tip your waitress. Good night!" Here's what I forgot: It's impossible for the great Bobby Darin to be anything but genuine and charming and brimming with a love for life as a performer. He's the coolest of the cool, a swinger who could rock the socks off any venue and crowd, and I could listen to him holler "Thank you, you are beautiful!" to a cheering audience all day long.

There is just an unbelievable flow going all the way through this album. The first combo "Swing Low Sweet Chariot/Lonesome Road" is bursting with soul. And the pace really never slows down from there. Whether he's doing one of his hits (gotta love the girls shrieking when he starts Dreamlover), hamming it up with the audience, or displaying his instrumental talent, you can just feel the electricity of this awesome performer.

This CD is great to pickup if you have many other Bobby Darin recordings. A good number of the songs can't be found on any other Darin album, and even if some of the songs are on your other CDs, these are Live! This, when coupled with Darin's flare for improvisation and the great band backup make it just as good as having a completely new song. Throw that CD in for another spin and let's hear that W.C. Fields impersonation one more time!

Swingin The Standards
Swingin The Standards
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 25.95
4 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Mame, Liza, and Other Half of Me Rain on MY Parade, May 28 2002
This review is from: Swingin The Standards (Audio CD)
First things first, if you're a Bobby Darin fan, you must own this CD. Plain and simple. Just so you know what sort of source you're getting your information from, I don't like "frou frou" Rodgers and Hammerstein-like musicals. Yep, I'm the one who rents THE KING AND I and fast forwards through all the songs. That rules out LIZA and MAME. I also like my big band songs to be snappy, bluesy, or fun, not sappy and melodramatic. So long SHADOW OF YOUR SMILE, THE OTHER HALF OF ME and TRY TO REMEMBER from my CD playlist.

What remains? Enough wonderful songs to still make the purchase price a steal. IT'S TODAY and LOVER COME BACK TO ME are so peppy, if the songs were a person you'd want to slap 'em for being too upbeat. AFTER YOU'VE GONE has only been done better by blues queen Bessie Smith. TALK TO THE ANIMALS is fun stuff from Dr. Doolittle, and I BELIEVE IN YOU is hilarious. And the first song? Well, move over Babs, Bobby has a parade worth keeping dry. You know, dry ... like the slam -- bang -- tang, reminiscent of gin and vermouth!

Songs I Heard
Songs I Heard
Offered by Round3CA
Price: CDN$ 3.16
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Harry Connick pulls a Bobby Darin. Gutsy!, May 28 2002
This review is from: Songs I Heard (Audio CD)
I'm not a HCJ fan, this is the only CD of his I own. I've been to two of his concerts, because he puts on a fantastic show; his arrangements of the standards are usually outstanding and the musicians are fantastic. But I'm extremely impressed by his move to do a CD of tunes from classic kiddie movies. Bobby Darin did this when the original Dr. Doolittle came out. The critics thought it was a major gaffe, the studio didn't think his style suited the songs, and no one could understand why he'd want to do this when he was so successful with "grown-up" songs. They didn't get it. He simply wanted to do it and figured to hell with the critics! That seems to be the attitude HCJ is taking, and I LOVE it! The songs are fun and fused with the New Orleans jazz that Harry mainstreams so well. The music doesn't have the depth and draw to make it a regular in my player, but it will be a CD that will suit my mood when I just want to kick back and forget that I'm supposed to act like an adult and take things seriously.

If you're interested, check out Darin's "Swinging the Standards" CD for "Talk to the Animals" and "After Today" from DR. DOOLITTLE.

Compact Jazz
Compact Jazz
Offered by langton_distribution
Price: CDN$ 10.82
12 used & new from CDN$ 10.81

5.0 out of 5 stars Big band jazz fan? This is the Simone to start with., May 24 2002
This review is from: Compact Jazz (Audio CD)
This CD explores Nina Simone's full range with some of her best songs in different genres. Yes, I know this is the Compact Jazz series, but there are several blues songs, swing songs, and even a good old fashioned get-up-and-let-the-Spirit-move-you gospel song. Normally, I would go through each song and tell you which belongs to which category, conveniently leaving out the songs I don't like. But I love all of these songs. If you listen to one song on this album and enjoy it, it's safe to say that you'll enjoy the entire CD, despite how different the songs are. I've bought a few of Nina Simone's blues-only albums, and I don't think my soul is tormented enough to appreciate the continuing angst. I always come back to this album, which puts out the blues, then kicks it up with the jazz. I'll just highlight two tracks. I've always thought that there is absolutely no reason that a song has to be over 3 or 4 minutes long. Any playtime after that is just stroking the performer's ego. SINNERMAN proved me wrong, clocking in at a whopping 9 minutes. I wish it were longer. Second point, combine the lyrics with Nina Simone's arrangement of MOOD INDIGO, and you come about as close as you can get to complete musical bliss.

Tribulation Force
Tribulation Force
by Tim LaHaye
Edition: Paperback
149 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars The redeeming quality of abridgement, March 28 2002
This review is from: Tribulation Force (Paperback)
You won't hear me say this often, but thank God for this audio abridged version of the "Left Behind" books.
If you're looking for insights on deep theological issues put into a fictional story, trust me, you're barking up the wrong tree here. I don't necessarily agree with the eschatological view put forth in these books, but that doesn't bother me. This is their interpretation of end times and that's fine. But these books have many faults. They are too predictable. They use too many soap opera techniques. But, worst of all, they are incredibly too long. That's including the individual books themselves, and the fact that the series will have, what, 10 or 12 books total? I wouldn't mind the length if it had a point. Say, if they were closely following the prophesied Biblical events, or presenting entirely new ideas that haven't been done several times before. But they aren't. I wouldn't mind if the action lead to deep emotional and spiritual conflicts within the characters, which in turn lead to meaningful revelations or personal growth. But they don't. Not really. Just take that whole misunderstanding between Chloe and Buck. If I'm reading this story correctly, Chloe becomes a Christian, knows the world is going to end in seven years, and is content to be obsessed with and mean about Buck possibly having a fiancee? You read through all of that, aren't rewarded with any kind of spiritual insight through the episode, and it ends in a predictable manner. Why even waste my time?
I can't say that I haven't enjoyed certain parts, though. As a Christian, I admire anyone who attempts to write a novel based in Scripture. And there are parts I can relate to so acutely that those few instances alone encourage me to read on. I have read the first three installments in the series, and while I have several complaints, the books are just entertaining enough, and have just the right amount of redeeming qualities to make me want to see what happens next. Facing this quandry, I found the perfect "out". The abridged audio version of the series, read by the incomparable Frank Muller. Each book is on two tapes, about 4 hours total. The abridgement is perfect ... the authors should've abridged the actual books to contain just what's on these tapes. And it's much more fulfilling than the dramatized version. It's the best of both worlds! Best of all, it will free your time to read books that will fulfill rather than just entertain.

Joy Ride
Joy Ride

4.0 out of 5 stars Three Words, March 22 2002
This review is from: Joy Ride (VHS Tape)
I'm going to pick out three words to describe this movie: unbelievable, underdeveloped, and impressive. Let's take 'em one at a time.

Unbelievable. Yes, the movie definitely is unbelievable. But what of it? Let's take a classic of the suspense/thriller genre, NORTH BY NORTHWEST. Not that they're in anywhere near the same class, but just humor me. Are you telling me that movie is believable? Of course not. But, when a movie is well executed, most of us are willing to suspend belief for a while. (Afterall, isn't the general purpose of movies to take us out of the real world for a few hours? Sure, give me a DEAD MAN WALKING once in awhile, but keep the popcorn flicks close at hand.) The strongest thing JOY RIDE has going for it is it's execution. I have never seen a movie that moves this fast while staying so coherent, and it stays away from over explaining everything that's happening in the story. The last being the fatal faux-pas in my book, killing a movie faster than you can say "ice truck". John Dahl shows stong signs of respecting and not underestimating his audience. He proves this well with the corn field chase.
Underdeveloped. Again, take N BY NW. How much do you know about Roger Thornhill? Practically nothing. But Cary Grant is just so much fun to watch, who really cares about character development? The characters in JOY RIDE have a similar charisma. Steven Zahn and Leelee Sobieski are undeniably talented, and Paul Walker is good looking enough with a non-annoying presence to make up for his acting weaknesses. The plot, on the other hand, was surprisingly well-developed for the genre. Occurances that seem like predictable plot devices at the beginning, are used later on to great effect.

Impressive. I had to question my four star rating, maybe it was a bit too high. But it's just so rare these days to get a movie with a script at least attempting to be intelligent; a movie that doesn't feel the inexclipable need to use sex & excessive violence; a movie that, although containing a semi-predictable ending, leaves us with a few lines of understated, nearly perfect poetic dialogue that I didn't mind feeling slightly hog-swaggled. While I'm not a big fan of large studio productions of the last 30 years, this movie proves that the independents don't corner the market on clever little movies. Give me a thrilling, modest JOY RIDE anyday.

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