Herein are my reviews of things which have stood the test of time. Be amazed.
1. Neuton Electric Lawn Mower
I bought this a year ago and have used it on long grass, short grass, wet grass, dry grass, in a boat, with a goat...oop, sorry. I've used it in every condition imaginable in Central Texas, which involve bushwhacking and muddy ground and very grouchy toads.
Provided I don't try to mow very wet, very high grass in very humid conditions, I can do a quarter-acre on one battery. Given that dry, low-grass, pleasant conditions never exist in Texas when grass is actively growing, I now own three batteries at $99 a pop. Howsumever! The batteries hold a charge, last a long time, and keep the mower powered. It's quiet, it's heavy--but the weight of the machine is positioned exactly over the cutting blades, so it doesn't feel heavy--and it does a hell of a job, even on catalpa seedlings.
The safety key on the mower is kerfuffled, according to a newsy letter sent out by the Neuton people, but my mower hasn't caught fire yet. I'll fix it sometime in January.
2. Miele House Mower (vacuum)
I love this thing. If I had to save one appliance from a house fire, this would be it, even before my coffeemaker. The only complaint I have is that the bags are so damn expensive. It sucks up everything, yet is so quiet that Max is unmoved and the cats actually try to play with the vacuum head.
3. Laphroaig 15 -year single malt Scotch
This is my go-to drink for the wintry months. I am not so fashionable as to switch to gin in the summer; instead, I go to beer (more on that in a second). This is the best Scotch I can reasonably afford ($70/750 ml), and I do so as often as possible. My beloved brother-in-law once sent me a tiny bottle of 35-year-old single malt, and I can honestly say that that's one of two Scotches I've had that are better. (The other is Bruichladdich, which is almost impossible to get around here.)
Malty, smoky, peaty, and reasonably smooth. A good Scotch for steak or burgers or tacos. Or by itself. Which reminds me, Mama needs a glass.
4. Stone Brewery 13th-Anniversary Ale
Here I'm inserting a ringer; this beer is not meant to be cellared. Like Chicken-Killer, it should be drunk fresh, even though it's more a barley-wine style than an ale. It's dark, extremely strong (be careful! I think it rings in at something like 13%), and has a gorgeous, complex hoppy aftertaste. Mama here can have about six ounces of it before she falls over, but that only prolongs the enjoyment. Again, do not try to cellar this beer. The beauty of it is the fresh hop finish after the gentle carmelly nose.
Rating, based on fresh product: A
5. L'Oreal Volume Naturale Mascara in Black-Brown
I've had quite the time with mascaras over the years. For a while, Chanel was my go-to, but it got clumpy way too fast, and had too much fragrance. I do not need perfumed eyelashes. After that, it was MAC Loud Lash, which of course (like the Gap's Essential Jeans) went out of production as soon as I discovered it, if not before. L'Oreal has a pretty good product here, and it's keeping my DTs under control.
It's not hugely volumizing, so if you only have six eyelashes, look elsewhere. Likewise, if you want something that absolutely refuses to come off regardless of conditions, try to find a couple of tubes of MAC Professional, but don't say I didn't warn you. It goes on evenly, is thin enough not to clump, dries fast (so you don't get the dreaded Great Lash Spikes), and comes off with soap and water. It does run if you have oily undereye skin, so be aware of that and use powder if necessary.
6. MBTs with Birkenstock insoles
Those of you who have been reading for a while will remember my adventures in the early days of owning MBTs: a strained MCL, turned ankles, and very sore feet.
I have horrible feet. (Thanks, Mom.) I have bunions, completely cubical big toes (which require a huge toebox), narrow heels (which require a double-last), plantar fasciitis, sesamoiditis, and no arches to speak of. In short, I am a Hobbit, best suited to second breakfasts and lazy pipes outside my freshly-painted round door. I am not suited to nursing.
The combination of MBTs and Birk insoles has saved my career, and I am not exaggerating in the least. Three days off work, on narcotics, and in constant searing pain convinced me that Something Had To Be Done. If it were not for the combination of arch support, the rocker sole, and a decent amount of hug around my heels, I'd be at a desk, denying your insurance claim.
Both of these products require professional fitting. Both of them are hideously expensive. The upside is that both of them last forever, as near as I can tell, and they give you really great legs and a perky ass.
Thus endeth the Delayed Gratification Product Review Session. I'll be back later with reviews of elastic thingies, underwear, and chocolate. Stay tuned!