Eyes on Rimmel Mascaras

Date Mon, May 19 2008

I currently own 2 of Rimmel’s mascaras: Volum’Eyes and Mash Laxxx. Although the product have different claims and are intended for different results, I was surprised at just how different my final opinions were about these mascaras from the same company!

Volum’eyes, which I believe also to be known as Extreme Volume Mascara (they have the same tube design and brush) is the first Rimmel mascara I’d tried. I had had success with other Rimmel products previously and was looking to step up from the drug store brands I had been using for mascara. I choose “001 Black” because, honestly, who needs any other colour?! I digress.

Both of these mascarars take a different approach to the mascara brush tool and with the Volum’Eyes mascara, this is a mistake. The tube claims that Volum’eyes is an “instant full volume comb mascara” that will create “volume & separation for dramatic false lash effect.” Instead I found the brush to be awkward and extremely large and bulky, as the picture illustrates. Also, rather than fine volume and separation, I found myself with sickly looking lashes that many would call “spider” eyelashes. I was not impressed. To top it off, my spider lashed were extremely clumpy probably due to the fact that the large brush collects far too much product to allow a smooth application.

I was open to a new brush style in hopes that it would create a dramatic effect as Volum’Eyes promises. Unfortunately, the promises are empty. Sure, I did get a dramatic effect but it was not the effect anyone would want on their eyelashes. Because of this, I’ve only used Volum’Eyes by Rimmel a handful of times.

On the other hand, Rimmel’s Lash Maxxx Mascara really impressed me with it’s refined brush tool, smooth product consistancy, slick packaging and overall performance. Again I chose black in the waterproof formula.

Where the brush of Volum’Eyes was thick and bulky creating a scary mess, the Lash Maxxx brush is the finely tuned grandchild providing true separation and holding true to its claim of providing “3X multiplying effect.” I was definitely impressed by how gorgeous my lashes looked because of this mascara and where Volum’Eyes left horrible clumps, there were virtually none using Lash Maxxx.

Furthermore, I was equally impressed by just how waterproof this mascara is! I sweat frequently so I was looking for a mascara that would hold up to that without smearing and Lash Maxxx does just that! Unlike other mascaras that may or may not claim to be water proof, including Volum’Eyes, Lash Maxxx has very little if any smearing under wet conditions.

I was also unexpectedly delighted to find that this mascara hold curls fairly well. It far outperforms any other mascara I have ever used in this aspect.

Overall, Lash Maxxx mascara by Rimmel created a dramatic yet clean look with little clumping, a high degree of water resistance all the while holding curl in my lashes. I would definitely recommend it.

The winner of this battle, hands down is Rimmel’s Lash Maxxx mascara – a make up which delivers on its promise to create a dramatic multiplying effect with its unique tool.


Date Mon, May 19 2008

Hopefully you’ve noticed some improvement to the side, like a third column to provide extra space for contact information, recent comments, and a disclosure statement.

Furthermore, I’ve been rearranging and changing the types of advertisements used on the type so they can be more fully saturated while remaining noninvasive. I hope you all agree.

Lastly, I’ve made some changes in hopes to improve functionality. There is now a search field in the left column and I’ve enabled Intense Debate for comments which will allow inline comments and for visitors to make threads, follow comments, link to profiles and use avatars. I’ve also replaced the old links for social bookmarking into a new, more dynamic menu by AddThis.

I hope you enjoy these improvements! I do and certainly feel that Reviews by Cole is coming together.

Praise for Netflix

Date Sun, May 18 2008

This will not be the first time I’ve shown love for Netflix, the online service which allows customers to rent movies (in DVD format) by mail. And it probably won’t be the last either. Of course, since my last praises, Netflix has raised the bar again!

On the surface, Netflix seems like a nice investment. If you love to rent DVDs but have trouble returning it on time or rent them so frequently that your video rental bill is ridiculous, Netflix may just be the service from you.

Signing up with Netflix is easy and allows you to choose a different plan. Decide how many movies you want to have out at a time (here’s a hint, the more movies you have out the higher the plan will cost) from 1 movie to 8 and browse their selection of “more than 100,000 movies” to add promising titles to your queue. The titles at the top of the queue will then be mailed directly to your home (or local post office) without and shipping fees.

I personally use the “3 at-a-time (Unlimited)” plan which means that, at any given time, I can have 3 movies out without a deadline to return them. Unfortunately, this does include shipping times so as soon as the distributor mails a DVD is it considered “out” until it’s in their possession again. Still, if that’s an issue, you can choose up to 8 movies at a time and will be sure to always have a DVD at arm’s length. However, the customer doesn’t have to worry about paying shipping and handling when returnign the DVDs as a business return envlope is included; the actual mailing envlope you receive turns into a return envlope by tearing off a piece of paper.

I’ve used this same plan for over 2 years and have never noticed a hike in prices. In fact, the price has actually gone down – twice! Way to go Netflix!

Of course, I wouldn’t even be able to enjoy this service, like I have for the last 2.5 years, if they didn’t ship to military addresses. This certainly benefits anyone in a remote area when there’s nothing better to do or accessible to service members and their family.

In the last year, Netflix has worked hard to release an online viewing option so customers no longer have to wait for movies to be mailed. Instead, select titles can be viewed from one’s computer. Customers are allowed to view as many hours a month as they choose with no extra fee, unless they have enrolled in the 1 at-a-time (2 a month) plan, which allots customers 2 hours of movie viewing a month.

Netflix movies ship quickly. In lower WI, it averaged 2-3 business days from the time I dropped the DVD in the mail tot he time I received the next. Of course, those closer to distribution centers may have less time to wait and those not in the continental states will have a longer wait. Currently, in Japan, my wait time is about 1 week from the time the DVD is shipped (Netflix notifies customers whenever a movie is received and shipped) to reach my post office for a total of 2 weeks between the time I mail off DVDs to the time I receive them.

Netflix also offers some services for those who opt to receive movies in the mail. If a movie is lost in the mail, a customer can report it to Netflix and they will send a replacement immediately. The company understand that sometimes the mail can be unreliable.

Also, if Netflix sends a DVD that has been damaged and will not play, the customer can report it on the website and a replacement will be sent.

However, Netflix cannot return any discs that were erroneously sent to them which is easier said than done. I myself has sent back 2 DVDs by mistake.

Overall I’ve been very happy with service from Netflix. The prices are reasonable, much more so than renting the same amount of movies from a local store every week and the selection is vast. Every DVD I have wanted to rent has been available to me and very few DVDs are not available immediately. The queue works efficiently allowing one to find and add appropriate titles easily and keep track of DVDs rented and returned. Furthermore, Netflix offers tools to rate movies seen and offers recommendations based upon said ratings. Netflix is a great improvement over your local rental shop.

Anyone who is interested can leave a comment with their e-mail and I can invite you to join Netflix for 2 weeks for free!

Confessor by Terry Goodkind

Date Sat, May 17 2008


I finally pre-ordered, recieved and read (from start to finish) Confessor by Terry Goodkind earlier this month. It’s the last book in the Chainfire Trilogy which finished off the series of 11 books known as The Sword of Truth, the series which has occupied the last 3 and a half years of my life.

I had finished the previous book just last year only to realize that I’d finally caught up with the series and I was quite disappointed as I awaited early 2008 – the projected date of the final release. Fortunately enough, I did not have to wait that long.

The closing of this book is also the closing of a personal era for myself and I’d like to leave my thoughts with you here.

I was gifted the first book of the series, Wizard’s First Rule, by a friend for my 18th birthday. (We shared not only the same birthday but a love of fantasy.) I read it quickly and grew to love the characters who were strong but not infallible, wise but human, pivotal to the existance of all mankind yet quirky and flighty. Characters who had strong morals and were fiercely loyal.

I also grew to hate the enemy. These were vile people, if they could even be called that, who had no morals, who were only strong when putting others down. These people had no value of life so felt nothing at taking it away from others or squandering theirs away.

And the entire series is really hinged on this concept, the moral really that life is something to value and no one has the right to decide how you live your own life but yourself. The choice is yours to make even if you make a poor choice. Thus, anyone who would try to force a way of living upon another or take life from others becomes the enemy.

Besides free will, the series emphasizes using reason and taking responsibility for one’s own actions rather than using weak philosophies or belief systems as a crutch. The right to make a choice comes with the responsibility to use said right and to use wisely to affect change.

The morals within the series are parallel to Goodkind’s own beliefs as believe in Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand and is described by here as such:

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”

(Read more on this here)

While I did a rather poor job of summing up the philosophy, Terry tells it well. And often. And he continues it in Confessor, perhaps even more so than the other books though, I believe, not without reason. It is because of his philosophy that Richard, the protagonist is able to survive and, to ultimately defeat those who would stand in his way, really the way of all those who value life.

Those simply looking for fantasy may have to look elsewhere because everywhere in the Sword of Truth, the reader will be assaulted with Goodkind’s philosophy – also the philosophy of Richard. Still, the rants and asides from Richard concerning his philosophy are many and repetitive and could certainly be skimmed down.

The philosophy, alone, is something I can see being a deal breaker for many and, indeed, it is one of the bones non-fans have to pick with Goodkind. However, those who agree will want Richard to win the war against evil (played by Emporer Jagang and the Order) and see how this philosophy has extremely realistic implications and roots.

However, for those who have been a fan of the series (or simply the trilogy) thus far or those who cannot start a series without following it through, Confessor is definitely a must read!

As the book opens with Richard, a slave to the Order and in the midst of its army which is camped out just beyond the People’s Palace of D’Hara, soon realizes that Kalahn, his wife and the Confessor who has been wiped from the memory of nearly the entire world and has no sense of her own identity because of magic, is also held captive by the evil Jagang and his men.

As a captive of the army, Richard is forced to play Ja La, the game of life in which winning is literally a matter of life or death. In doing so, Richard earns the respect of his teammates, captives and soldiers alike and has an opportunity to finally turn the tides of war, as well as escape for himself and his loved ones by showing the Imperial Order in its true light.

As one can imagine, a book which begins in the middle of a war and the middle of an army, no less, begins quickly. It took no time at all for Confessor to get off the ground because it started at such an elevated state and only rose to achieve more than my highest expectations by the end of the book.

As one would expect, Richard does eventually escape the camp of the Imperial Order and find his way back to the People’s Palace. And even the loss of his magic cannot stop him with the little help of a friend. However, along the way it’s not just the foes who go down and some characters who have been with Richard and his party for much of the series are lost.

As Richard continues to fight the war and foes known and unknown – Jagang and his Sisters of the dark; The evil sorceress Six and even the Underworld (and its Beast) – he sticks to his philosophy in an attempt to save mankind and the woman he loves. Unfortunately, due to the unknown and misunderstood nature of the spell which is tainting magic and has erased Kalahn from the memory of all but a few, figuring out just how to win this war is difficult, especially to someone who has such limited knowledge of his wizardry skills.

Of course, he does and happy endings abound. So happy, in fact, that I found myself brought to tears by Goodkind’s writing. The book ends in such a way as to prove the value of Richard’s – and Goodkind’s – philosophy by showing the reader something which never could have happened had this philosophy not prevailed.

I really found Confessor to be an easy read despite the repetitive and almost preachy tone it sometimes took on and could have finished it in well under a day, had I the time, even though it weighs in at just under 600 pages (the perfect size of a fantasy novel, in my opinion).

The novel also tied up some wonderfully loose ends bringing back characters whose roles I didn’t find to be quite finished. All in all, it closes the series smoothly and the happy ending is only the icing on the cake.

Now for the criticism, which is few and far between on my part. There wasn’t a vast amount of traveling done in the novel as the Order was camped on the front porch of the People’s Palace but much of the traveling which was done by the characters was done in a very rapid matter with the mode of transportation being invented or written in solely for that purpose which was a bit lackluster. Perhaps Goodkind would have done better to spend less time talking about Objectivism and have his characters use more traditional, if slower, forms of mobility. However, this may have put a damper on the fast pace of the novel.

Some also find fault with the similarity between The Sword of Truth and the Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan but, as I’ve only finished the first novel in that series, only time will tell how I feel on that subject.

I definitely recommend Confessor to Goodkind and SoT fans. If you’ve an interest in fantasy and especially if you agree with his philosophy, I urge you to pick up this series. If the 11 titles are a bit daunting, I feel that it would be sufficient to read only the Chainfire trilogy as Goodkind does an adequate job of bringing new readers up to date with the happenings in his world as well as refreshing the memories of current readers (which I did need!).

Space Bags Really Work.. Kind Of

Date Fri, May 16 2008

If you’ve ever had a TV in your house, changes are you’ve seen the commercials for space bags. If you watch a lot of home improvement shows like I tend to, then you’ve probably seen the commercials more times than you can count. The adverts claim that this wonderful product can fit all your winter clothes or bed linens and after zipping shut the space bags and vacuuming out the extra air, you’ll have 3 times as much room.

I bought this because it seemed to be too good to be true. I found space bags available at a local kitchen supply store that had a section for “As Seen on TV” items. I picked up a 2 pack which I believe held 1 large and 1 jumbo bag; however, I am not positive because space bags come in every combination possible!

I wanted to repack my items in a safer package and space bags claim to be waterproof, insect and animal proof as well impervious to oxidation (which spreads stains and lightens colours) and mildew. I figured that even if the space saving aspect of the bags wasn’t effective, I’d have an everything-proof bag to protect my linens and clothing.

The good news is they work! You can fill the bags and vacuum all the air out and it will look like.. well, the air has been all vacuumed out and greatly reduced in size, a bit like freeze dried food.

The bad news is you have to be extremely careful with space bags or a seam will rip. I had been zealous in stuffing my first space bag (a large size?) and after zipping it up applied just a bit of pressure a burst a seam near the zipper without actually realizing it.

While space bags may be everything-else-proof, they are certainly not safe from human error. Reviews across the internet point out that this seems to be a common issue with space bags; in fact, many customers purchased space bags to find that the seams were already ripped.

All this aside, I now to be more careful next time and if that were my only issue, I’d still love space bags.

The worse news is the space saving feature really only works with certain types of linens and soft items: the light and fluffy type. So while jackets, pillows, and comforters will compress nicely, towels, jeans rugs and any type of thicker/heavier item will not because it isn’t full of ‘extra’ air. You’ll still be protecting these items from rats and mildew but it will take up as much room as it normally would.

The worst news is that the sizes are ridiculous. I was happy with my large bag, it worked well for me to tuck into a corner, place on a box or hide under a bed for storage but the jumbo sized bag was so ridiculously large that it just wasn’t practical.

Even if you could neatly organize your items (which you can’t!) in the bag, and vacuum so it took up 100% less room, you’d still be left with an airtight bag the size of a medium dog and with a very difficult shape to store as most space bags do not have a flat bottom. Couple that with the slippery package and you have one giant space bag that it now going to stay where you put it.

The bright side is that you don’t need to purchase such large bags and I might have been spared the mistake if I’d read the dimensions. There are also cube space bags which might work better for stacking and staying in place as well.

I think I had a fairly typical experience with space bags. The fragile seams rip for many customers and other customers also have issue with vacuum attachments not fitting snuggly (although I didn’t have any problems with that myself).

One last issue I am concerned about but didn’t have a chance to test was that of re-inflating. The space bags site warns customers to be careful when moving and handling airtight space bags because this could cause the bag to re-inflate, especially if it is handled near the zipper.

Several customers on Amazon have reported their space bags re-inflating after only a short time. Since the seam tore on the large bag and i re-inflated and the jumbo bag was much too big and bulky to even warrant vacuuming out the extra air, I have not been able to see if an undamaged space bag would hold with inflating again. It did seem that the large bag helf for a bit even with the tear, however.

Overall, I was surprised that space bags did seem to do what the commercials claimed and I think an undamaged space bag in small, medium or large or a cube would work well for anyone who needs very secure storage. However, customers should be wary that bags sized extra large and above are bulky and inconvenient. Also, the seams easily tear so one should take care to not overfill the bags or apply pressure before vacuuming.

Something a little different.,

Date Thu, May 15 2008

I recently finished The Color of Magic, the first Discworld book by Terry Pratchett. Although short, it was really a fast read. It’s satirical and irreverent without being wordy, poking fun at many fantasy cliches which have dominated the genre for years. Yet, Pratchett uses some of these himself as well as some creative techniques. I’ll admit that some things we simply cannot wrap our heads around because they are so fantastic! Often, his style reminds me of the late Douglas Adams whose series The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has been a favourite of mine since I first discovered it in middle school.

the-colour-of-magicThe novel starts quickly with a great city afire (though Pratchett assures us it will rebuild as it always has) which as been accidentally started by one of the main characters, Twoflower who begins the novel by fleeing said city with his newfound companion Rincewind “the Wizard” who has actually flunked out of wizardry school and isn’t much of a magic handler at all.

The book flashes back to their acquaintanceship where Rincewind discovers Twoflower (and his mysterious sentient chest of Luggage), a visitor to Rincewind’s home city Ankh-Morpork (the first ever tourist on Discworld) and follows them on their coming journey which eventually leads them to the end of the world, literally.

Rincewind and Twoflower live on Discworld, literally a disc sitting on the backs of 4 elephants who themselves sit on the back of a giant turtle (gender unknown which is quite the curiosity to Discworld inhabitants). In such a world, direction is measured in relation to the rim of the disc (rimward) or hub (hubward).

Though they battle the original fire, common thieves, a soul eating monster, imagined dragons who reside in an upside down mountain with their quarreling family of royal imaginers, and eventually end up in Krull at the edge of the world, while avoiding saying the number 8 (which Pratchett also avoids saying by describing it any number of round-about ways) which is closely associated with magic, Octarine (the eighth color, that of magic) and all-things-generally-unpleasant as Rincewind repeatedly eludes the none-too-happy-about-it Death, they remain generally unscathed.

Or do they? I recommend you try this book out and see for yourself (as do countless editors, critics and journalists whose opinions of Pratchett and his works who preface this novel)!

Swiffer Wet Jet All-In-One Power Mop

Date Tue, May 13 2008

I bought a Swiffer Wet Jet right around the time when they first came out. I was familiar with the original Swiffer Sweeper and figured this would be a good investment. Even, then I was disappointed to learn you have to sweep or vacuum first. It seemed to me that the Swiffer Wet Jet should do this as well as function as a mop.

Still, it was quicker and less messy than a mop. I don’t like to be on contact with surfaces that seem dirty and the Swiffer Wet Jet All-In-One Power Mop Starter Kit provides me with the “barrier” I need to clean yet stay clean myself.

However, when I purchased a newSwiffer Wet Jet after moving, I was quite disappointed. Version 2.0, or whatever it is, requires batteries and they are not included! I’m not sure why this version needs batteries, but it’s just another thing to replace. If the original could do without, why not this one?

Also, this one was much more complicated to put together. The battery area requires extra pieces. With the original, it was easy to put it together but I actually had to follow directions with all the new pieces.

The revamped Swiffer Wet Jet tries to look classy but instead looks cheap and plasticy. Indeed, when there are spots I need to scrub, I sometimes wonder if I won’t break the shaft of this machine because it bends and feels weak.

As others have mentioned, the pads, solution and sponge all need to be changed fairly frequently. Although it depends how often you use your Swiffer, how much dirt you mop up and how large of an area you have to mop, refilling these articles may cost you next to nothing or an arm and a leg.

However, compared to the wet mopping pads on a regular swiffer, the Swiffer Wet Jet seems to be a vast improvement, especially when it comes to scrubbing with the provided attachments (in the case of the Wet Jet, a small, rough sponge attached via welcro the the side of the mop).

Overall, the Swiffer Wet Jet is an improvement over traditional mopping systems, but it could be more efficient and if the company continues to utilize such inefficient “upgrades,” I see myself parting with the Swiffer Wet Jet All-In-One Power Mop if something better comes along.