Tag Archives: review

Kurt’s review of “The Martian” by Andy Weir

Oh. My. Gosh.

I love, love, love this book!

Okay, so I’m a nerdy NASA engineer. Of course I loved it.  But I know all you non-nerdy folks will also love this book.  And here’s why:

It’s interesting & engaging

It’s a survival story set in one of the harshest locations imaginable.  So many things can go wrong … and so many of them do go wrong.  Every step of the way.  It’s nearly constant edge of your seat entertainment.  Add in some NASA politics and a few personality conflicts and you’ve got yourself a real pager turner.

It’s funny.  No, it’s hilarious

The narrator … the astronaut who gets stranded on Mars … has a terrific sense of humor throughout the entire book.  He’s quite a character and his personality stays upbeat despite his less than ideal circumstances.  Much of the narration is of him logging his daily activities into a computer system in which he has no idea whether anyone will ever read or not.  He’s basically talking to himself for much of the book and it’s quite humorous.

It’s technical, but not in a bad way

There’s a constant stream of problem solving throughout the book.  But I don’t think it will make your eyes roll back in your head.  Most of the time the details are given in a way that the layperson can understand.  Sometimes the narrator even “dumbs” down the technical details for the reader.

It’s real

Well, mostly real.  This is science fiction, but it is not your typical far-fetched or far-futuristic science fiction.  Much of this story could occur today using technology that we actually use today or technology that we are developing and testing today for use on future Mars missions.  Most of the engineering solutions are also real and possible today using current technology.  There is very little hand-waving here.  And it is very satisfying.

Note: This book is not for kids.  The narrator … the astronaut who gets stranded on Mars … curses like a sailor throughout the entire book.

I highly recommend this book.  It’s a very interesting and engaging read that is difficult to put down.  It’s entertaining for engineers and non-engineers alike.

Click below to order the book for yourself.  You can buy it in paper or digital formats from Amazon, the most popular online store in the world!

Thanks for your interest.



Photo of box

“Construct-Bots are a brand-new way to play with Transformers. Your kids can construct and customize their favorite Transformers characters, mix and match across sets to create their own new Transformers and convert their creations easily between robot and vehicle modes without taking anything apart.”


I’m a member of a social marketing community called BzzAgent where they send product samples and coupons to members and let them try out products and then the members review those products to create a buzz.

Last week I received a product sample for the Transformers Construct-Bots toy.  It’s two toys in one box.  Both toys are in pieces and include instructions for snapping them together and for transforming them from robot to vehicle and back.

I gave this toy to my 11 year old, who is a master of construction toys and he pretty much loved it.  His first comment was that his friend was talking about the toy at school recently and his friend liked that you didn’t have to take it apart to transform it.


When my boy opened it up and started snapping it together, he made the comment that the instructions ought to be a little more accurate on the colors.  I noticed that some of the pieces were multi-colored, but the instructions only showed the main color.  That’s sort of a nit, but my boy knew we would be reviewing the toy online, so he made sure I knew about every single little thing that he found wrong with it.  🙂


Another thing he pointed out was that the ball joint inside the head was really tight and made it difficult to snap the head into place.  One other problem he had was that there was one transform instruction where the legs get turned around backwards and he did not understand that one instruction so he ignored it and then later had trouble with another instruction that didn’t work with the legs not turned around.  I thought the instructions were pretty clear, but I suppose if there was a way to show flipping around 180 degrees rather than just putting a small arrow in the instructions, that would have been more clear.

When the toys were completely put together and transformed from robot to vehicle and back, both my boys had fun playing with them.  The next day when grandparents came over to visit, my 11 year old immediately ran to get his new Transformer Construct-Bots toys to show them off.  He’s pretty happy with this toy.  And I’m happy with it too.  It appears to be a well designed and well made toy for ages 7 and up.


If you are planning to purchase the double set (also called the Ultimate set), let me know because I have significant coupons for that set.  Contact me via phone or use the email me link on my website.




Book Review: The Seven Secrets of How to THINK LIKE A ROCKET SCIENTIST

I don’t read a lot because reading usually puts me right to sleep. But every once in a while I get hold of a book that grabs my attention and keeps me awake through the whole thing. This book, The Seven Secrets of How to THINK LIKE A ROCKET SCIENTIST by Jim Longuski, is a very good book. It’s a very quick read too. Each chapter is very short and sweet and just tells you what you need to know and then moves on to the next topic in the next chapter. Seriously, each chapter in this book is only 2 or maybe 3 pages long.


Click on the “ad” below to purchase this book online at Amazon.com:

DVD Review: Fireproof

If you’re married, you need to watch this movie. My wife and I saw it when it was released to theaters and we also watched it on DVD a few days ago with some good friends. It’s a very well produced movie, although it didn’t have a very big budget. Kirk Cameron does a great job as the lead character who has grown apart from his wife. The movie is both powerful and emotional and well worth watching.


The DVD was recently released. You can buy the DVD from your local store or just buy it online from Amazon by clicking the link below: