Posted on Monday, February 1st, 2016
Posted on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016
Posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016
Posted on Thursday, February 4th, 2016
Posted on Friday, February 5th, 2016
Posted on Saturday, February 6th, 2016
Posted on Sunday, February 7th, 2016
Blogography may still be on strike, but all is not lost, because Banana Sunday starts... now...
Wasn't that a-peel-ing?
Posted on Monday, February 8th, 2016
Posted on Tuesday, February 9th, 2016
Posted on Wednesday, February 10th, 2016
Blogography has been a frequent target of hackers, which has left me little choice but to lock it down as tightly as I possibly can. Part of the security I have set up is that the back-end can only be accessed from a specific IP address. Problem is that my new place does not yet have its static IP set up properly, so I stack up a week's worth of posts, unlock the system, post everything very quickly, then lock everything back down again.
Hopefully by the end of the month my old IP will be set up at my new installation and everything will be good again.
Posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2016
Mattress shopping has to be the worst shopping there is.
The last time I bought a mattress was in the late 80's. I visited a showroom, flopped down on every mattress in the place, and still couldn't decide what I wanted. All I knew is that I didn't care how much money the perfect mattress cost me, because getting a good night's sleep is worth just about any price. If $1200 got me a better night's rest than the $400 I had budgeted, then so be it ($400 is $835 in today's dollars, so you can tell I was serious about getting a good mattress).
Ultimately, I decided to get a Spring Air mattress that clocked in at what I think was $650 (around $1350 in today's dollars)... the deciding factor being that a cut-out of Vanna White was endorsing it. Because, hey, if you can't trust Vanna White, who can you trust?
It was a horrible purchase.
Thanks a lot, Vanna."
The mattress was sagging noticeably within a year. After two years, I had to fold an old comforter and prop up the middle of the mattress so I'd have a level sleeping surface. Needless to say, I was beyond perturbed to have blown past my budget for a premium product only to get something that was pretty shitty.
And I suffered with it for 25 years even though I knew mattresses should be replaced after 10 years because the thought of investing another chunk of money in something that's going to fail me was more than I could stand.
But then something changed.
New mattress manufacturers popped up that cut out the middle-man... selling direct to consumers without the heinous markup that is involved when you go to a furniture store or a showroom.
The first one I became aware of was Tuft and Needle. A queen-size mattress out of premium memory foam was just $600, and thee product was getting rave reviews. I was going to order one, but decided to wait until I could see one in person. Since their showroom is in Phoenix, I ended up visiting a friend in Seattle who had one back in 2014. And it was a darn fine mattress. The only issue I had, as a side-sleeper, is that it felt a bit too firm. So I hemmed and hawed, then forgot about it.
Then after Christmas last year, I was so done with my sagging, crappy mattress that I decided to pull the trigger... only to find that a bunch of competition had arrived. In addition to Tuft and Needle, there was Casper, Loom & Leaf, YogaBed, and others... all selling direct at good prices. Another such company was Leesa, which I ended up ordering sight-unseen because review after review said it was softer than a Tuft and Needle, which was my biggest concern...
It's a great mattress, though I don't think it's considerably softer than Tuft and Needle.
That being said, it is very comfortable, and the quality is high. The cover alone is a work of art... it looks like a single piece of fabric, which means there's not a lot of seams to rip open. The mattress is composed of a 2" layer of Avena foam on top to keep you cool (as memory foam tends to retain heat and sleep hot). Under that there's 2" of memory foam followed by 6" of dense foam for support. I don't know if the foam is dense enough to sit on top of a wire-mesh platform bed like mine... so I put a layer of cardboard under it... but it definitely doesn't feel like it's lacking support, so there's that. And I have yet to overheat on the thing, which is everything (I can't sleep when overheated).
After a month of sleeping on Leesa, I don't know that I'm quite used to it yet. When I lay on my back or front, it's absolutely perfect. But when I lay on my side, which is how I usually sleep, I feel like I get "stuck" in positions that are a little uncomfortable... especially on my hips. I don't know if that's because I'm not heavy enough to sink into the mattress as I should or what, but it can be annoying. The good thing is that this is an issue that feels like it's disappearing the more nights I use it. I certainly seem to be able to get more comfortable faster now than at the beginning. Which is probably why Leesa makes you sleep on it for 100 nights before deciding if you want a refund (at which point they have it picked up and donated to a worthy charity). Something tells me that I will be fully transitioned well within the 100 day trial period, so that's a wise move.
Other than this "break-in" bump in the road, I really love the mattress. It's quality from top to bottom, there's no weird smell, it's not so firm that I can't sleep on it, and shipping is included in the (very!) reasonable price.
Which is $890 for a queen.
Except Leesa is having specials going on all the time, often offering $100 off or a gift card or something.
If you can't find a special... or want a better discount than what's offered... you can use the promo code they gave me to get $75 off:
Posted on Friday, February 12th, 2016
It is no secret that I love LEGO Star Wars.
The video games, the TV shows, the building sets, the books... all of it. Given how the absolutely heinous prequel trilogy nearly destroyed all things Star Wars for me, it was the coming of LEGO Star Wars stuff that brought me back from the brink. What LEGO was doing was smart, fun, beautiful, imaginative, and highly entertaining... basically everything that the three shitty prequels were not.
And yesterday I learned that a new cartoon series is coming set in the LEGO Star Wars universe...
The Freemaker Adventures sounds fantastic...
Told in the whimsically-charged style that audiences have come to expect from LEGO Star Wars entertainment, the series stars the Freemakers, a family of scavengers who build and sell starships from the scoured debris of space battles strewn throughout the galaxy. When their youngest discovers a natural connection with the Force through an ancient artifact – the Kyber Saber – his world is turned upside down, and he and his family are thrown into an epic struggle against the Empire to restore peace and freedom to the galaxy. Throughout their adventures, the Freemakers explore new worlds, meet new and familiar characters, and learn the true value of what it means to be a family.
Needless to say, I hope and pray that we'll be getting a video game out of the franchise.
Of course, I'm still waiting for a game adaptation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which is supposed to be coming in June?), so patient we must be...
In the meanwhile... I finally had a chance to sit down and play LEGO Marvel's Avengers for a while. It's pretty great in all the right ways, despite being another mediocre port to the Wii U (why in the hell Traveler's Tales have been unable to work with the technical limitations of the Wii U when they did such an amazing job with LEGO City Undercover, I have no idea. LEGO Marvel's Avengers certainly has more laugh-out-loud moments than usual, which is great.
And... speaking of LEGO Marvel's Avengers... I should have time to get through another level before bedtime!
Posted on Saturday, February 13th, 2016
As the possibility of a Trump presidency starts to get all too real, it's only natural to stop and try to figure out how we got here.
A good part of it... and the part I fully admit to embracing... is the fact that he's a complete political outsider. Who doesn't dream of a country where their politicians aren't so far up the ass of lobbyists and billionaires that they vomit shit every time they open their mouths? The vast majority of our "public servants" don't give two shits about the people they "serve"... they only care about maintaining power and getting re-elected. That takes money. Lots and lots of money. And so our politicians gleefully sell themselves to the highest bidder, fucking over the American people while they do so. That's how we end up with things like outrageous health insurance premiums that go not to maintaining our heath... but to keep the private jets for billionaire insurance company owners flying. It's how we end up with toxic chemicals in our water supply. It's how we end up with jobs being shifted overseas. It's how we end up with new net-neutrality killing bills being introduced again and again and again. Politicians simply do not give a fuck if the laws they make completely screw over average Americans trying to make a decent living. They've got their political careers to think about.
But not Trump.
At least not in ways that really count.
He's got money. It doesn't matter how he got his money, he just has it, and he doesn't have to pony up to the lobbyist trough for political survival. Sure, he's probably had to make some shady deals happen with some shady people... you don't amass that much wealth without having some skeletons in the closet but, politically, he's about as independent as you could hope for.
It's what he chooses to do with that independence that's the problem.
While he may actually do some amazing things... like breaking up insurance monopolies and weakening pharmaceutical cartels... it's the other half of the equation that makes a Trump presidency possible.
Appealing to bigotry, racism, hatred, and the general stupidity of the population at large.
Trump proudly runs with all of it right out in the open. And his supporters love him for it. "He says the things people are thinking!" they say.
Which would be great, except for all the bigotry, racism, and hatred.
But that's not even the worst part about Trump. At least with him all the bigotry, racism, and hatred is out in the open where we can see with it and deal with it honestly. This would certainly be a refreshing change from the closeted bullshit that is going on behind the scenes now.
No, the problem with Donald Trump is that he's Donald Trump.
At this point, I don't even care about the embarrassment factor. I got through the non-stop humility of George W. Bush representing the US on the international stage, I can certainly survive Trump. And it's not even about the stupidity factor. Trump may be a fucking idiot, but he's leagues above the dimwit dumbfuckery that defined Bush. Leagues above.
No. No. It's the fact that Trump is such a pathetic, gaping asshole.
Just imagine it.
Any semblance of tact and decency is out the fucking window. Trump does what Trump wants and to hell with everybody else. So what if he calls President François Hollande a pussy on his first diplomatic to France? Who cares if he drops his pants and takes a shit on the table in front of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while negotiating trade agreements in Canada? What does it matter that he grabs Chancellor Angela Merkel's breasts at a summit in Germany? He just doesn't care enough about what people think about him to be at all restrained... or even remotely presidential.
Which is exactly what his supporters seem to want, regardless of how such assholery is going to reflect on our country.
And that's the thing that bothers me the most. Not necessarily that our country is going to be a laughing stock in the global community... we've been down that road... but that people are okay with that.
I'm not a fan of Bernie Sanders. He's a massive con-man who is somehow convincing people that the president actually has the power to do all the things he's been promising on the campaign trail. As if "President of the United States" is like a king that makes laws by royal decree instead of having to assemble of bipartisan coalition to get anything done. Are we really supposed to believe that a Republican-dominated Congress is going to let President Bernie unleash his brand of democratic socialism? Of course not. Even if the Republicans weren't in power, he'd have a hard enough time getting all his fellow Democrats to support him. Hell... how many of his fellow Congressmen are supporting him now? Two? Maybe? It doesn't matter if enough people buy into Bernie's vision for America to get him elected... he has nowhere to go when he occupies the White House, and I remain dumbfounded that his supporters don't seem to realize this. Still, in a contest between Pie-In-The-Sky-Sanders and Asshole-Trump, I'll take the delusion of any day. Meaningful change ain't going to happen... because it can't happen like this... but at least Bernie won't set back social change a few decades.
I'm really, really not a fan of Hillary Clinton. I loathe her on so many levels that my teeth grate just typing her name. Why I feel that way I've gone into many times. But in a contest between Hypocrisy-Is-My-Agenda-Clinton and Asshole-Trump? Hillary 2016, baby.
On the Republican side, things are a bit more difficult to measure.
Would I rather have Ted Cruz as the nominee over Asshole-Trump? Oh fuck no.
Would I rather have Marco Rubio as the nominee over Asshole-Trump? Probably not.
Ben Carson? BWAH HA HA HA HA HAAAAA! Um. No.
I might prefer Jeb! over Asshole-Trump, but he's going down faster than a lead weight and has no chance.
I dunno enough about John Kasich, but it's not like he's a factor anyway.
If I had to make a prediction now, I'd put money on a Clinton 2.0 presidency. She ultimately comes down to the lesser of all evils, and I think that's what is going to carry her to victory. Obviously not my ideal presidential scenario.
But it beats the hell out of President Asshole-Trump, and that's what I'm trying to focus on.
Posted on Sunday, February 14th, 2016
Romance is not dead, because a special Valentine's Day Edition of Sunday starts... now...
• Valentine's Day 2016...
• Valentine's Day 2004...
Until next year then...
Posted on Monday, February 15th, 2016
Yes. Yes indeed...
Posted on Tuesday, February 16th, 2016
I probably should have waited until the renovations on my new place were complete before adopting, but there are some things that can't wait.
Say hello to Jenny (orange) and Jake (grey)...
They just got out of surgery to be fixed, so they're a little groggy and ruffled (especially poor Jenny... getting spayed is no picnic)... but still totally adorable.
Posted on Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
I'm just mortified by this. ALL PEOPLE WANT TO DO IS USE THE DAMN BATHROOM! THE ONLY PEOPLE SEXUALIZING THIS ARE THE PEOPLE PASSING LAWS LIKE THIS!
So yeah... send the trans woman to the men's bathroom where South Dakota rednecks will beat the shit out of her just for wanting to pee. Lovely.
Posted on Thursday, February 18th, 2016
"Jenny, don't smack your brother in the head while he's trying to poop." — About the tenth thing I've said today that I never thought I'd be saying.
Posted on Friday, February 19th, 2016
Well, I just made a huge parenting mistake.
Jenny still had her surgery tag collar on and it was so tight that I worried she would get caught on something and hang herself...
Calm Before the Storm.
All attempts at sneaking up on her and cutting it off failed, so this morning I finally grabbed her so I could remove it. Now I'm covered in lacerations (she even bit my nose!) and now they are hiding under the couch terrified. Won't even come out to eat. Probably set back any progress I've made by a week.
But at least I can sleep at night knowing she won't get caught and choke to death.
Posted on Saturday, February 20th, 2016
Ever since Howard introduced me to the magic that is Postiljonen and their stunning debut album, I've been waiting for a followup.
And yesterday was the day.
If you enjoyed Skyer (and why in the hell wouldn't you?) then Reverie will be a welcome addition to your music collection as it's pretty much more of the same...
Filled with lush, gorgeous soundscapes that carry you away to a better place, Reverie is going to be serious competition for my favorite album of 2016...
If you're looking for and escape, here's your album.
Posted on Sunday, February 21st, 2016
Since my new kittehs were feral, they're not quite as social as you'd hope. They are a little accustomed to people and pet living, as they were in foster care until they were old enough to be spayed and neutered. But most of their day is spent hiding under the couch. Any attempt to get too close to them when they venture out results in a (literal) hissy fit. But they're getting better bit by bit, and I can play with them from time to time... so... eventually. I hope.
The one thing for which I'm very grateful is that they arrived potty-trained. They have no trouble at all using their litter boxes. I know this because I have to clean their toxic deposits two to three times a day. I have no idea how such little kittens produce so much poop, but there you have it.
And now for photos.
It's Jenny! Being all adorable and stuff. She is bouncing back from yesterday's "trauma" much faster than her brother... and she was the one it happened to. The vet sure took off a lot of fur when she was spayed. I wonder if it's itchy? Poor thing.
Jake isn't the climber that his sister is... she can get anywhere and climb anything to get there... but he gives it his best shot.
From talking to the foster parents, it seemed as though Jenny would be the meek, reserved kitten and Jake the more rambunctious, adventurous one. It's turning out to be the opposite. Jenny is the one who goes balls-out while Jake kind of lays and waits for her to make the first move. And when it comes to play-fighting, she just loves to pounce on her brother any chance she gets. He is rarely the one to go after her.
Always nice when they are on the couch instead of hiding under it, as usual.
And... enough kitties for today. But keep tuning in. Something tells me there might be more photos in the future!
Posted on Monday, February 22nd, 2016
I wish I could get excited for the upcoming Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice movie.
Batman is my favorite super-hero. I've always been a Superman fan. This should be the movie event of 2016.
But it's not.
After the heinous pile of shit that Man of Steel turned out to be, Zack Snyder has made me lose all confidence in his ability to bring super-heroes to the screen.
Even if the trailer is a bit intriguing...
But not necessarily in the right ways?
I'll probably go see it just because I feel I have to.
Hopefully I'll even enjoy it.
Posted on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016
Although it doesn't much look like it, I am still posting to my blog daily... I just can't get it there until I've got the whole Wordpress security thing settled with my new IP address.
The fact that it's taking so damn long to get it resolved is probably a sign to just give up, but I'll choose to ignore that.
Posted on Wednesday, February 24th, 2016
I can honestly say there's no movie I'm looking forward to more than this one now that this trailer has dropped in my lap...
And is totally appealing to my current mindset because: KITTEN!
Posted on Thursday, February 25th, 2016
Once I can access my blog security again, I may have to create a second blog dedicated to my cats' litter box. Jenny took a dump so mind-alteringly horrific that the smell should be declared biological warfare by the U.N. It's a cross between burning tires, raw sewage, and a rotting corpse at low tide. She spent five minutes trying to cover it up, which is the very definition of futility. That smell ain't going anywhere.
Until I shovel it out, then run to the garbage bin as fast as I can.
It's almost enough to make me regret having invited the little monster into my home.
Posted on Friday, February 26th, 2016
In all the articles I read about socializing feral cats, food is always given as the first way to win them over. Once you're associated with food in their tiny brains, they eventually warm up to you.
Unless you're Jenny and Jake, in which case food isn't associated with much of anything except eating.
So I resort to winning them over with the runner up... play.
They seem to forget all about hating humans when you play with them. They'll roll all over my lap and feet np problem... at least until they realize where they are and decide to run under the couch again...
Bit by bit...
Bit by bit...
Posted on Saturday, February 27th, 2016
This kind of artistry makes my heart ache...
Everything about these cookies is mesmerizing. I can only guess that they taste amazing as well...
If you're looking to be completely blown away... here's her Facebook page.
Posted on Sunday, February 28th, 2016
Not a big fan of the Oscars.
The movies and people behind the movies that I feel most deserve to win so rarely do... if they even get nominated at all.
This year that was made vividly clear to me as the Worst. Fucking. Bond. Theme. Ever. won best song. This kind of whiny shit masquerading as "music" drives me insane. But use it as a James Bond theme? Sacrilege. It doesn't help that Sam Smith is sounds like crap live. If they wanted a song called "Writing's on the Wall," they should have called OK Go!
Yeah. I know. I already said this.
Posted on Monday, February 29th, 2016
FURNITURE, ASSEMBLE! Because a Very Special IKEA Review Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• IKEA! IKEA furniture has a lot of fans. IKEA furniture has a lot of detractors. I'm kinda in the middle. What I love most about IKEA is the prices. And the Swedish Fish. And those Illeana Douglas shorts, of course. But mostly the prices. When I moved into my new place, I needed to buy pretty much everything, as my old furniture was trashed. I couldn't afford real furniture, thus... IKEA. I figure I'll buy IKEA for now and get new furniture as I can afford it. And, mission accomplished... I bought stuff for practically every room in the house for a grand total that was about the cost of just a frickin' dining room table I liked at another furniture store. By Grabthar's hammer... what a savings! Even if I did have to buy it all sight-unseen.
All images stolen from IKEA's website...
• LACK SHELVES! The thing about wall shelves is that they are supported by ugly-ass shelving supports. But LACK shelves are different. They're FLOATING shelves. Which means there's no supports. Which also means they look awesome, but you can't put heavy stuff on them...
Installing the shelves is no easy task. Mostly because they don't come with anything to attach the shelf to the wall. I ended up having to go to Home Depot for a combination of "lag bolts" (where I had wall studs) and "drywall anchors" (where I had none). Since I bought 43" shelves, it was easy to find a couple wall studs to bolt them to, but they didn't always end up in places I felt would secure the shelf very well, so sometimes the drywall anchors were added on the ends as well. Installation involves fixing a metal frame to the wall, then sliding the shelf on it, then screwing it in place. Easy. Mostly. Unless you are trying to line up a bunch of shelves like me, because they inexplicably don't always line up... even when you've been very careful to align the frames to each other. Still, they do look very nice and, so long as you're not putting anything heavy on them, work well.
PRICE: $6.99-$19.00 (depending on size) • DAVEKEA SCORE: B
• HEMNES BOOKSHELVES AND GLASS DOOR CABINET! Most cheap furniture is made from sawdust that has been mixed with glue then pressed into boards. I hate that crap, so I was happy to learn that IKEA has a line of furniture called HEMNES that's made (mostly) of real wood. Sure it costs a little more, but at least it has a chance of holding together for a while. I needed a couple of bookshelves for my bedroom and a cabinet for my dining room (preferably with drawers for placemats and stuff). Luckily, there are many variations of the HEMNES bookcases when it comes to doors and drawers, so I was able to find exactly what I needed...
The bookshelves were fairly simple to assemble, even if the top board didn't line up properly on one of them and had to be hammered into place. Surprisingly, they were very easy to level and match up side-by-side thanks to the screw-adjust feet. I did have a quality control problem where one of the backing board pieces had a dinged corner that made an obvious divot in the back of my shelves, but I colored it with some stain and put books in front of it, so you'd never know. They seem fairly sturdy and are currently holding a lot of books without issue, but I admit to hammering nails through the sides to make sure the shelves wouldn't fall off the support knobs once I determined where they should go (recommended, as I hear the shelves can pop out easily). The cabinet version adds glass-panel doors and three drawers to the bookshelf for an additional $230, which doesn't seem like a lot... but really is when you consider the bookshelves alone are just $330. Like all IKEA drawers, these are cheap as hell, and won't support much weight. I will probably end up reinforcing them with another board, eventually, as it seems the sawdust board they use will eventually warp and fall out. I glued everything in place, so hopefully that will buy me some time? The glass-panel doors are cheap and clunky and have weird-ass hinges that were a pain in the ass to install, but boy do they look nice. Actually, both the bookshelves and the cabinet look very nice. They certainly don't look cheap... until you open a drawer or door. HINT:You absolutely want to follow IKEA's advice and affix these to a wall so they don't fall over.
PRICE: $160 (bookshelf) or $330 (cabinet) • DAVEKEA SCORE: B+
UPDATE 5/14/16: DAVEKEA SCORE: F Just as other people have experienced, my shelves collapsed because they're not deep enough and somehow work their way loose from the pegs (which are too short, I guess). Looks like I'll be screwing all the shelves directly to the unit so they're not falling out and scaring the shit out of me in the middle of the night. EPIC FAIL!
• HEMNES COFFEE TABLE! There are two different coffee tables in the HEMNES line, and I went for the rectangular one over the square one. It assembled very easily, seems sturdy, and is nice enough to look at...
The only problem is that the table-top finish is uneven. It's dull in some spots, glossy in others (usually over the knots in the wood) and doesn't look that great. Given how cheap it was, it's tough to complain too hard... but it does look like I've spilt something on it or damaged it somehow, which is a bit of a bummer.
PRICE: $140 • DAVEKEA SCORE: C
• HEMNES BENCH! My living room is rather modest in size, which means my furniture arrangement has to be fairly rigid to make any use of the space I've got. This meant that the HEMNES end-table was out of the question, and I ended up buying "benches" to use as end-tables. They work perfectly... coming in at the right shape and height...
For all I know, they make great benches as well. Probably the easiest assembly of all the stuff I bought, which was icing on the cake.
PRICE: $80 • DAVEKEA SCORE: A
• HEMNES TV UNIT! If there was one thing I regret purchasing, this would be it. The HEMNES TV Unit is complete shit anyway you look at it. It's meant to act as a media center, and yet basic stereo components don't fit in it (my mid-size receiver has to sit on top). It was a complete bitch to assemble (NOTHING lined up properly, the shitty little screw-discs kept breaking, and the first shelf-bay has a shelf that doesn't match the support holes... no matter which of the three shelves I put there)...
This is a complete disaster, and I pretty much hate it. Will probably be the first thing I replace when I can afford it. Helpful hint to IKEA... I dunno if stereo components are smaller in Europe, and I really don't give a crap. If you're selling a media center here in the USA, you'd better make something that our shit can fit into. Having all the shelves fit properly into the holes you drilled would also be a big help.
PRICE: $200 • DAVEKEA SCORE: D
• HEMNES DRAWERS! As I mentioned above, IKEA drawers are pretty cheap and, apparently, people have problems with the drawer bottoms warping and falling out all the time. Even so, I needed cheap drawers for my bedrooms, so this is where I landed. I did glue all the drawer parts together in the hopes that will keep them from falling apart. And I'm trying my best not to overload them, so hopefully that will help. But, eventually, if I don't end up replacing these soon, I know I'll have to reinforce the drawer bottoms with some kind of actual wood, which kind of sucks...
For my bedroom, I bought the three-drawer version and a 2-drawer unit to use as a nightstand. For the guest room, I bought the six-drawer version and a couple 2-drawers for nightstands... but the guest room stuff is in "white stain" instead of the brown-black I bought for everything else. Since the wood is a cheap pine, the whitewash effect is less attractive than it would be with a prettier wood, but I guess it's okay. I probably would have stuck with the brown-black if I had seen it first. Ultimately, these drawer units look okay... but they "feel" cheap, were not so easy to assemble, and don't seem built to last.
PRICE: $100 (2-Drawer), $150 (3-Drawer), $200 (6-Drawer) • DAVEKEA SCORE: C
• STORNÄS TABLE! Easily my favorite IKEA purchase from the bunch. It's a beautiful, sturdy table that doesn't look or feel cheap at all. Yes, it arrived with a small damage mark in the table-top, but it's still a wonderful purchase at a shockingly low price. I bought the version with one extra leaf, but there's also a version with two extra leaves if you have room for a long table in your dining room...
Assembly was easy as pie and I couldn't be happier with its elegant simplicity. I wish that IKEA made other items in the STORNÄS series, as it's clearly top-of-the line at a bargain cost...
PRICE: $330 • DAVEKEA SCORE: A
• KAUSTBY CHAIRS! There were a few options for chairs to go with my STORNÄS table, and I waffled between the KAUSTBY and INGOLF models, as they both looked like they'd accompany it perfectly. Ultimately I thought the KAUSTBY slot-back chairs looked a bit more contemporary, and decided to go that route... even if they were $10 more a piece...
Overall, they are quite nice chairs for the price. Plenty wide. Maybe a little too wide, as the standard cushions I bought don't seem big enough to cover them. Assembly is not overly difficult, but could have been better. For one thing, they don't pre-drill the holes that attach the seat to the frame (with small, cheap, plastic fixtures), so it's up to you to make sure you've got it centered. But the worst part is that the chairs are not perfectly level, and I didn't know how to adjust them so they'd sit flat. Adding FIXA felt floor protectors helped a little bit... and it's by no means a massive problem, as the legs are off by only a small amount... but it is a bit frustrating. Then again, you get what you pay for, and I'm willing to bet this could be a problem with chairs costing a lot more.
PRICE: $50 • DAVEKEA SCORE: B-
And there you have it. All in all, I'm happy with my IKEA purchases. Less than $3000 to fill my living room, dining room, bedroom, and guest room is pretty nifty. And shipping was a cheap $165 for the 26 pieces of furniture I bought, which is awesome. What's not awesome is that there's no way to track your order progress, so any updates have to be requested via email to customer service. But, then again, IKEA ended up delivering everything on exactly the day they said they would when I checked out, so I really have no cause to complain. If you're on a budget and looking for furniture... IKEA is worth a look. And I do mean look, as buying sight-unseen like I did is a little crazy.