Elden Ring

I’ll start this review for Elden Ring with some comparisons. The first From Software (Elden Ring’s developer) game I played was Dark Souls. I am not especially skilled when it comes to games, so I died quite a lot. I also became frustrated enough to stop playing fairly often. Strangely though, I grew to love the game; it was memorable due to the difficulty, sense of accomplishment I had when finally overcoming something, and its uniquely beautiful but melancholy in-game world. Elden Ring is a natural evolution from Dark Souls;…

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Figma Archetype Next Figure

This review is primarily about authentic Figma Archetype Next branded models…but I will also talk a bit about the extremely widespread bootleg versions that are readily found on sites like Ebay and Amazon. The real, Figma-branded drawing models in the Archetype Next line are quite excellent. Available in either the “He” or “She” varieties, they come in either gray, peach, or bright orange. These figures are manufactured by a company in Japan called Max Factory and typically carry a number (01, 02, 03, or 04) designating how recent the release/version…

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Tales of Arise

Back in the early 00s, the “Tales” series from Namco captured my interest with two incredible games – Tales of Symphony and Tales of Destiny II. These games, along with Star Ocean 2, introduced me to the “action RPG” style that would become one of my favorite gaming sub-genres. Essentially, these games still utilize the classic RPG stables like HP (character life meter), MP (available magic), and various stats to govern player strength. They also feature variants of fantasy world adventures, like swords, dramatic villains, and constantly battling monsters. The…

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Itoya Original Art Profolio

These art portfolios are listed at retailers by quite a few name variations, so I actually had some difficulty figuring out a correct title. Itoya is always the brand, but they may be called some variation of “The Original” or “Original Profolio” with other modifiers like presentation book, portfolio, and art book. Regardless of the exact name on the listing, this review is about Itoya-branded, top-loading art books with 24 pages, clear sleeves, black inserts, and spine inserts (model IA-12-9). I originally found these when browsing art supplies at a…

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Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils

In my other online life outside of writing reviews, I’m an amateur portrait artist. My primary medium is colored pencils, which I use a heavy blending style with thickly-layered color to try to achieve an almost paint-like effect. To avoid that “sketchy” pencil, I need a pencil with a relatively soft wax core. A softer core typically means easier layering, which in turn means it’s more likely to get this smooth blend in the final result. Although I haven’t tried every colored pencil brand, I have sampled a few; I’ve…

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DeWalt Gyroscopic Cordless Screwdriver

I have referred to this gyroscopic screwdriver by Dewalt in other posts as my household project “MVP,” so it may not be surprising to read that this is going to be a very positive review. I received this power screwdriver a couple of Christmas’s ago, just in time to move into a new place. Through a large number of projects like putting together furniture, toys, a sandbox, an outdoor playhouse…this thing has been an absolutely champion. Basically any time I would need a screwdriver, I’m reaching for this thing. The…

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Wooden Sandbox by Creative Cedar

We purchased this sandbox for our kids recently and there is quite a lot to like about it. First and foremost in my mind from a parent perspective, I love how easy this was to put together. The materials all arrived to us undamaged, which admittedly is sometimes just a confluence of good fortune between the manufacturer, seller, and shipping handler/company. The sandbox itself is in the shape of an octagon, with logical repeating thick and thin board patterns that lock together. I used a Dewalt Cordless Screwdriver (my household…

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Tourit Reusable Cooler Ice Pack

I have been taking my lunch to work for quite some time now, but bizarrely, for much of that time I hadn’t been using anything to keep things cool. Basically, I was carrying what became room temperature food and drink in a generic laptop bag. I finally purchased an insulated lunch bag, but along with that, I had to figure out a reusable cold pack. I started with a different product, but found most of my ice packs eventually leaked and I had to throw them away. I’m glad to…

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Cooler Shock Reusable Ice Pack

I have been taking my lunch to work for quite some time now, but bizarrely, for much of that time I hadn’t been using anything to keep things cool. Basically, I was carrying what became room temperature food and drink in a generic laptop bag. I finally purchased an insulated lunch bag, but along with that, I had to figure out a reusable cold pack. My first purchase was this product by Cooler Shock. As usual, I was heavily influenced by product reviews, which seemed good for this item. As…

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Crown Shades Pop Up Canopy

We recently took a trip to the beach and wanted to find a portable canopy or shade we could take with us. We initially considered either getting beach umbrellas, or possibly renting something. But we had about seven people in our group, so I figured it would be a more cost effective solution to purchase our own pop-up canopy. Since renting things at a beach can cost like $25-35 per day, it seemed like this would just about pay for itself over the course of the entire trip. The key…

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