Month: December 2015

Guitars, the Future, Flux Capacitors… Wait, What?

Guitars, or some variation on them, have been popular around the world and down throughout the ages. Electric guitars are simply a new take on an old idea – one that is unlikely to go out of style any time soon. Someone who can play the guitar is instantly more interesting to us; we start to see the artistic potential inherent in their abilities almost immediately. This isn’t the same for every other artistic pursuit; a talented guitar player almost seems to wield a certain, special kind of magic in our eyes.

Guitar reviews in 2016 is where our attention is at today. Let’s face it; a lot depends upon reviews, and just how well-informed a reviewer is. Taking electric guitars, for example: there’s an awful lot of material out there. You can’t base such a substantial purchase decision on the reviews of a single individual, one who has taken nobody else’s experiences into account… right? You want to make a decision, as with any important action, based upon information from multiple reliable sources.

We put the following list of three electric and acoustic-electric guitars together based upon a lot of blogs and online reviews. We’re one source, granted… but I like to think that we’ve simply done most of the legwork that you would have had to do anyway, on your behalf. The items on this list were each carefully considered, and for the stated reasons we feel like you could do much worse than to pick up one of these lovelies… if that’s what you’re going for. On that note, let us know what you think about our choices – and what you might have picked to go on this list, instead!

Gibson 2016 Hummingbird Vintage Acoustic Guitar

To call a Gibson something special is like calling sliced dinner rolls the best thing since sliced bread: they’re kind of the same thing, they appear in close proximity, and it’s more or less a given. Gibson introduced the counterculture of the 1960s to an entirely new sound, and it hasn’t stopped making beautiful music ever since. The Hummingbird led the way then, too; today’s version is true to the classic appearance of the instrument, and it maintains the same smooth, rich melody for which Gibson has always been known. It’s also received a few new upgrades, such as being crafted from the use of artificially aged high-quality woods, with the assistance of a major university. If anything, the new Hummingbird is even better than the original, well worth the steep price placed upon it.

Gibson Flying V 2016 Electric Guitar

Another Gibson, but it’s only fitting. Gibson is coming out with a wide variety of new and upgraded models for the coming year, and some of them are truly extraordinary. The Flying V is beloved by a number of heavy, modern music enthusiasts – people catering to heavy metal, death metal, thrash, 80s hair metal, and other forms of hard, loud, and jarring music that nevertheless manages to carry with it a certain kind of beauty, grace, and certainly style. The unique body design of Gibson’s 2016 Flying V allows for truly unrivaled play throughout the upper register, thanks to its unparalleled neck access; other strengths include a thicker fretboard than earlier Flying V models, for added sustained warmth to the guitar’s tone.

Fender Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster Olympic

James. Marshal. Hendrix. The man who made the Stratocaster famous, who popularized the electric guitar, and whose talented fingering has yet to be matched by any other artist since his untimely death. Like as with so many artists taken from us before we were ready to let them go, we have clung wholeheartedly to Jimi’s legacy, but the result has at least in part been positive. Upholding standards drawn from Jimi’s talented performances has led to innovative, even revolutionary changes in design which have, at the same time, worked hard to keep certain traditional values intact – and all without “selling out.” Thus cries the new Stratocaster from Fender: “Purple haze!” it cries. “Put a spell on me!” And something about a thief, and a joker… We don’t necessarily know what it all means. But we know that we like it more than anything we’ve ever heard since.
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Trending Cages for Trendy Birds

Trending Cages for Trendy Birds

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Parrots are nothing if not popular pets, and are unlikely to become less so any time soon. To that end, companies which offer parrot accommodations continue to create new and innovative designs, in order to please both parrots and their owners. We thought it would be a good idea if we were to focus one of our research efforts on popular parrot cages going into 2016. This narrows the focus a little bit, while taking advantage of the knowledge gained by manufacturers and designers over the course of decades of parrot popularity within the United States.

We scoped out a few major blogs and affiliate review sites – believe it or not, Amazon does a brisk little business in parrot cages itself. Well, suffice to say, there are a lot of different cages out there. We’ve gone and done our research on your behalf, and knocked it down to four – four parrot cages which represent the best of what there is currently available on the market.

If you’re looking to buy a parrot, or you need to trade up and get a new, perhaps larger cage for your current parrot, read on. Of the following entries, all of which proved to be very popular among professional and consumer reviews alike, one is almost certain to fit your needs – and those of your parrot, or parrot-to-be… is that a thing? – remarkably well.

YML Tall Round 4-Perch Bird Cage with Stand

This cage, which comes with its own wheeled stand for easy relocation, is equipped with four separate feeders and feeding doors. It is also unusually tall for its length and width, both of which are features which make it particularly suitable for a small community of smaller birds – parakeets come to mind, or some crazy, dwarf version of an otherwise gigantic parrot, which we immediately envision as making comically inept screeching noises… yeah, don’t mind us. The main door lifts up to provide ample access for removing your birds and keeping the cage clean. There are two interior perches, which are more than capable of accommodating four small birds.

Kings Cages Flat Top Aluminum Parrot Cage

This cage, constructed predominantly out of aluminum, is extremely lightweight. Aluminum cages are one of the newest trends in bird cages going into 2016; there’s no more problem with chipping or colored dust flaking off of the sides of the cage, and they’re more suitable for temporary outdoor use than cages made of stainless steel or wrought iron. Its features are otherwise fairly standard; it includes two interior perches, and four feeding cups, being sized appropriately to two small to medium size birds – or one large bird, potentially, though we personally feel that it would have to be on the small end of the scale thereof. The debris tray is quite large for the size of the cage, and should catch most of anything that flies out.

Yaheetech Play Top Bird Cage

This large wrought-iron parrot cage caters to the parrot’s naturally playful inclination to explore its surroundings. It features a “playground” on top, including an exterior perch, a ladder, and additional food and water dishes. The entire cage assembles quickly and painlessly, and is easily relocatable on four sturdy wheels. It is finished with an attractive, non-toxic black powder-coating. It features a debris guard at the bottom – a feature often missing from large bird cages, included in this model of Yaheetech to help offset the added mess of exterior feeders on top (there are feeding dishes on the interior as well). This cage can easily accommodate one large parrot, or two medium or smaller parrots; for a variety of reasons, it is not suggested for a larger group of smaller birds (or a larger group of larger birds; no eagles, please… do not put eagles in this cage).

Prevue Hendryx Wrought Iron Flight Cage

This cage, with its considerable height relative to its other dimensions, comes equipped with three wooden perches, encouraging your birds to flit between them as the mood takes them (this helps to keep them occupied, and also encourages physical fitness towards the eventual parrot takeover). The cage is ideally designed for communities of smaller birds, including parakeets; generally, this would number between four and six members, with six bordering on “crowded.” The interior perches are specially designed to be more comfortable for smaller birds. The cage comes with four plastic double cups for food and water. Its bottom, and its wrought-iron grill, can be removed for easy cleaning; don’t forget to replace the bottom grill however, as the size of bird for which this cage is designed could escape without it. The cage’s wrought-iron construction is easy to assemble in a “no nuts and bolts” fashion. It stands freely on four rollers, which allow you to move it between locations in your home (please don’t try this on stairs, unless you’re the one occupying the cage, in place of your unfortunate feathered companions).
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Prepare Rice… That’s Twice as Nice!

Prepare Rice… That’s Twice as Nice!

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For the greater majority of the world’s population, rice is a daily staple. It is a healthy and economically sound crop, which is one of the many reasons for its continuing popularity in many developed countries. Rice lends itself nicely to a wide variety of meals, but first you need to cook it; you can do that in a microwave, or on a stove top, but one of the best ways to cook rice while locking in its flavor is with a real Japanese rice cooker. A proper rice cooker represents the best way to prepare rice to its fullest potential, without sacrificing its significant nutritional value.

So, what is the best Japanese rice cooker available on the market today? Read on, as we’ve covered a few of those more popular options which are widely commercially available. Each of the following products offers its own particular style and feel, while incorporating enough user-friendly features as to have us feeling like it belongs on this list of the best Japanese rice cookers.

Zojirushi Rice Cooker NP-NI10 IH

There are a lot of factors which will influence how your rice is going to turn out. Such considerations as ambient room temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure each play their own part. Fortunately, with this particular beauty, we have a one-liter capacity Japanese rice cooker with built-in artificial intelligence software; this will help to ensure that your rice presents the same ideal consistency year-round – whatever the weather, or other concerns. It does this by monitoring the state of your grains while they’re cooking. It will stop before it overcooks your rice, and it will notify you of any problems. This is easily one of our favorite machines on the list, as it features patented 1H pressure cooking for that same great taste with which you’re probably familiar from the finest Japanese restaurants. You’ll never get rice quite so nice as this out of your microwave!

Panasonic Rice Cooker SR-SPX104 IH

This handy rice cooker from Panasonic offers its own take on 1H pressure cooking, as well as a variety of eco-friendly course modes. What are those, you might be asking? These modes allow you to quickly and conveniently prepare up to one liter of rice in its ideal form for use in a variety of dishes – everything from plain white rice to accompany your chicken dinner, to rice for spicy curry, sushi, rice pudding, or even porridge or gruel. Rice has a thousand and one applications all across the globe, but with this handy number from Panasonic you don’t need to worry about having the optimal conditions necessary to produce rice for each one of them memorized. With the push of a button, and a simple mode selection, you’re off and running – preparing the rest of your meal, while the rice cooker has its job covered. A handy, high-visibility LED display only adds to this model’s already substantial convenience factor.

Tiger Rice Cooker JBU-A55-W

With a modest three-cup capacity, the Tiger is a slightly smaller model than some of the other rice cookers on this list, but it more than makes up for that deficit through its ease of use and the simplicity of keeping it clean. With its capacity to serve as a warmer, keeping your finished rice in peak condition for as long as possible, this model of Japanese rice cooker is ideal for a busy bachelor (or bachelorette!) as well as for any young couple – perhaps living in a situation where you’ve both got school, jobs, and lives of your own. The Tiger incorporates a number of useful features, including a small book of rice-based side dish recipes… and a mini-tray for cooking small portions of chicken, beef, vegetables, or other items to go with your rice, at the same time that you’re cooking the rice itself. The Tiger is simple to use, easy to set up, and quick and easy to complete; much of it simply wipes clean with a damp towel. If you don’t need to cook for a large family, this could be one of the best models of Japanese rice cooker available today to meet your own individual needs.
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You Don’t Always Get What You Pay For!

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When I started college I was so excited to be living on campus, away from home for the first time. I would be sharing an apartment with two other girls, so living space would be very limited. I would need to be frugal and take care to find necessities that were functional and space-saving. A friend told me about Oomphed!, where I could find information on compact hair dryers that would still work great on my hair.

At this point I guess I should tell you that my hair is my baby. I spend a small fortune on hair products, cuts an styles, and appliances like blow dryers so that I can always make my hair look like I just stepped out of a salon.

am especially picky about blow dryers since everyone knows the blowout is THE most important part of any style. After finding the perfect compact blow dryer, I was unpacking my things in my new living quarters, and one of my new roomies saw my hair dryer. She literally squealed and exclaimed how “cute” it was.

I told her that it was not meant to be cute, that it was a precision tool for getting my hair into just the right style, not like the cheapies that came from the local department store that just blew your hair every which way. She took offense at this, presumably because this is exactly where her own blow dryer had come from, and huffed away.

Oh well, I told myself, that’s her problem. Not everyone cares about how they look. I continued unpacking and arranging my things. The following day I was invited to a big party happening the next weekend. I was excited to get to mix and mingle with my new college friends, and I immediately began planning every last detail, from the dress I would wear to the earrings to the shoes to my hairstyle.

I just knew all the girls were going to be asking me where I got my hair done and they would absolutely faint when I told them that I do it myself. But I would not be sharing my beauty secrets with them. The day of the party finally arrived. I had my dress and accessories laid out on my bed as I get into the shower. I completed my entire hair regimen of shampoo, deep-conditioning masque, and instant conditioner, then after a bit of towel-drying, I added some mousse and shine spritzer.

Now I was ready to use my new blow dryer for the very first time. I liked to let my hair air-dry as much as possible, then I would use my curling wand and flat iron to style it. But for extra-special occasions I would go all out and blow dry with my special styling brushes. I stepped in front of the mirror, wrapped the first section of hair around my special round styling brush, picked up my awesome new blow dryer, and turned it on.

Even though I had it on the lowest setting, the blast of air that assaulted my hair was like a mini-hurricane. My carefully combed-out and sectioned-off hair went everywhere, and much of it was caught int he styling brush I was holding to my head. I immediately turned it off and double-checked that the setting was on low. It was. Aiming the appliance away from my head, I turned it on again.

It worked perfectly. I signed my relief and turned it off again to re-comb my hair and begin again. That was easier said than done; my hair had become tangled and a lot of it was caught up in the brush, so I had to carefully pull it out of the brush in tiny sections, so as not to pull a lot of it out.

Once I got it free and re-brushed and re-sectioned, I picked up the blow dryer to start again. I aimed it at my head and turned it back on. It went haywire again, this time blowing my hair in every direction and causing massive tangles and crazy directions in my hair! I turned it off again and started brushing and trying to style.

My hair was a mess!

I didn’t have time to re-wash it and start all over, my date would be picking me up soon. I couldn’t use my blow dryer, that was clear, and my hair would not be naturally dry by the time my date arrived, and my hair looked atrocious if I didn’t work with it as it was drying. So I was stuck going to my very first mixer with hair that looked like the Grinch’s. The next day I went to the local department store and purchased a mice modest hair dryer, and it has worked like a dream.

Checking back on Oomphed!, I discovered that this blow dryer is actually rated as better for my hair than the one I spent a small fortune on!
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