The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Chicago Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup Champions Blu-ray

As soon as the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup back in June, I started shopping for a few commemorative items in celebration of the championship. One of the products I pre-ordered from Amazon was this Blu-ray disc featuring some highlights from the 2009-10 season. According to the product details over at the official NHL Shop, this disc would feature:

  • Full coverage of the winning season
  • Exclusive interviews
  • Behind-the-scenes action
  • Includes footage of the celebratory parade
  • Approx. Run Time: 120 minutes

Sounds good, right? But actually, the “full coverage of the winning season” bit was not true at all. The disc just glossed over the entire regular season in less than 10 minutes, showing only a few highlights, such as footage from the team’s opening games in Finland (which were already available on the Blackhawks website anyway), the come-from-behind victory over the Flames in October, the Mitchell hit on Toews that put him out for a few weeks, and Hossa’s return from shoulder surgery. I mean, I wasn’t expecting highlights from all 82 games, but that was skimpy.

Things picked up a bit for the playoff run, but even there, the highlights were lacking and felt rushed, particularly for the Nashville, Vancouver, and San Jose series. They showed only a few goals from each series, and the narration barely set up the scenarios. As a result, what should have been some dramatic moments were again merely glossed over and came across as kinda dull.

The Stanley Cup Finals received the bulk of the coverage, as expected, with very detailed highlights from all six games. This part of the Blu-ray was superb.

The extra features weren’t that great, particularly since most of the stuff can be called up on YouTube. The features about Toews and Kane’s draft days were excellent, though. It was amazing to watch those scenes knowing how those picks would pay off so quickly.

Also, the back of my Blu-ray packaging (which is EXTREMELY flimsy and CHEAP, btw) says that this disc is 250 minutes long. That is nowhere near the truth, though. I think they must be including the “exclusive features via BD Live” in that time estimate. The season/playoff recap is only an hour and three minutes, and the extras are anywhere from 3-8 minutes each. The BD Live stuff was basically just short features that are available on the NHL.com website. Again, nothing special there, and these clips definitely should not have counted towards the overall running time.

Overall, I feel that $24.99 was a bit steep for what this Blu-ray contains. I think $19.99 would be a much more appropriate price — and someone really needs to address the inaccurate advertising in the product description on the NHL Shop website!!

The Cat in the Hat iPad App

There aren’t that many iPad apps that I would actually pay for, but I’d heard that they have a few terrific interactive children’s books available, including The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. I checked out the app, saw that it was only $3.99 and that it had excellent reviews, and decided to purchase it for my son. I was not disappointed!

This book plays beautifully on the full iPad screen. There are three different settings (Read to Me, Read It Myself, and Auto Play) to take you through the entire book. In Read to Me mode, the narrator reads for you, highlighting each group of words as they’re being spoken to make it easier to follow along. You swipe across the screen to “turn” the page when necessary. Read It Myself mode should be self-explanatory. In Auto Play mode, the narration and page turns are fully automated.

In addition to the three reading modes, each page is interactive, which means you can touch various parts of the picture and have the narrator say what the object is (e.g. “ball”, “fish”, “Thing 1”, etc.).

This kind of interactive book is a wonderful way to help kids learn to read. My son, who was unable to read this book on his own before, can already read half of it by himself after spending just a couple days practicing with the app. Moreover, the colors come through beautifully on the iPad, and make this app definitely worth the $3.99. Highly recommended!

TMI?

This might fall under the category of TMI, but it’s time to buy some new underwear. I am not that big on what goes on under my clothes, so I hardly ever replace my underwear until things start falling apart. I know, I know… that’s pretty apathetic, and even married women should care enough to keep some sexy lingerie on hand for special moments. I just have never been that kind of person, though, so I’ll probably end up replacing my current underwear with cheap stuff that comes in a package of 6 or whatever!

Hansgrohe Raindance Shower Head

I was checking out something on WSJ.com today and came across an article about how the Department of Energy wants to crack down on so-called “luxury showerheads” that waste a ton of water each time they’re used. One of the examples cited in the article was this Hansgrohe Raindance model, which retails for more than $5,000. WHAT????!!!! Are you kidding me? Who in their right mind would pay that much for a freakin’ shower head? Only millionaires and total wannabes, I’m sure. Wow, I am just flabbergasted that such a product even exists!!

Tim Tebow Shoe

Have you heard that Broncos QB Tim Tebow has his own Nike shoe coming out already? That’s pretty crazy, especially considering he wasn’t even the No. 1 overall pick or anything. Then again, Tebow does have the best-selling jersey in the entire NFL, so maybe the marketing gurus at Nike are onto something.

At any rate, the shoe is kind of ugly, if you ask me. It’s supposed to coincide with the release of the EA Sports NCAA 11 video game, so it has details like “NCAA 11” stitched across the velcro straps, and the EA Sports logo on the tongue. Also, the heels feature important dates from Tebow’s college career, and the word Promise, along with “September 27th 2008”, which of course was when Tebow made his famous press conference remarks after losing to Ole Miss.

I personally think these shoes are butt ugly, but I’m sure they’ll sell out quickly! (Nike is making a limited edition to start with.)

12 Spending Schemes

I read a pretty interesting article on the Woman’s Day blog about some subtle ways that retailers get us to spend more. Click through to take a look at the tips and guard yourself against opening your wallet too wide on your next shopping trip!

The Oprah Store

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I actually am. Did you know that Oprah Winfrey has her own store? What is that woman NOT involved in??? I was looking for something totally unrelated a bit earlier, and came across The Oprah Store website. OK, I can understand a popular TV show selling branded goods on the ‘net. It happens all the time.

But in the About section, I learned that there is a real “bricks-and-mortar” flagship location in Chicago! The store is on Carpenter St. downtown (don’t know where that is), and occupies approximately 5,500 sq. ft.

What types of items does the Oprah Store sell? Souvenirs, apparel, baby goods, pet goods, home decor, and African crafts. Hmm, I like Oprah… maybe I’ll need to check the store out sometime!

Spectrum Spelling — Grade 1

My son has a bit of trouble with spelling and reading, so I’ve been doing extra work with him whenever possible. In order to give our study sessions some direction, I decided to buy a workbook that would help focus our energies. The one I bought is called Spectrum Spelling Grade 1.

This book was developed by early education specialists, and contains many features that I like. For example, the phonics exercises cover both long and short vowels in addition to standard sounds like “A is for apple”. Moreover, the book presents a lot of so-called “sight words”, which are words like “the”, “said”, “you”, “many”, etc. — the ones that you can’t really sound out.

There are a bunch of different lessons that include not only spelling and phonics drills, but also “authentic” writing activities that require the student to think about a topic and write a few sentences about it (for example, “Write about something you like to make.”). This puts the spelling drills into context and really helps solidify the lessons.

Spectrum Spelling Grade 1 has helped my son brush up on some of the basics that he should have learned last year. This is a great book for homeschoolers or for those who just want extra practice over the summer — like us. At $10, you can’t really go wrong with this choice!