Tuesday, March 26, 2013

CARBONITE BACK-UP: NO VIDEO SUPPORT


In my quest to backup the media on my computer, I found Carbonite. Yes, its one of may companies like this but they are the highest rated so I decided to give it a trial run.

Carbonite will not automatically upload your videos. I knew this going into it but figured maybe if I individually selected my folders (instead of my entire HD) it would work. No, it doesn't. I have many, many sub fodlers within all my photos and videos and it will skip all videos no matter what. Even with a paid account no matter what package you buy. So if you have videos on your computer and you want to back them up, you need to track them all down and individually select them for uploading.  Fine for anyone with a minimal hollywood movie library all in one place but for anyone with extensive home HD movies or just anyone who has videos not a single folder, its nearly impossible to manage easily.  Below is a conversation I had with a rep online to confirm my problem (March 2013):


Bottom of Form

me: i am using a trial period and havea question about backing up videos

CARBONITE REP: Hello David, one moment while I bring up your account.
me: thanks

CARBONITE REP: okay, I do have your account up. What is your question about backing up videos?

me: i know in the intro details that videos are not automatically uploaded - not sure the extent of that term so as part of my trial i selected one folder to upload

me: sure enough, it backed it up - everything except for the videos in it
me: i have a LOT of videos in a LOT of random places
me: is there a way to select a folder to upload and have carbonite back up the entire folder without skipping the videos? (they are home family videos)

CARBONITE REP: Unfortunately, no. However, within the folder and you select the videos for backup. You do not have to select individual files. You can hold down the apple or command key and click the desired files, select multiple files.

CARBONITE REP: Then select 'Backup' and it will backup all the selected files.

me: but the problem is, i cant go through my massive HD and find ALL videos individually
me: there is no way about this?

CARBONITE REP: Unfortunately, there is not a way to tell Carbonite to backup all videos.

me: its a massive collection of photography and videos, so i need to go through hundreds of folders just to FIND the video, let alone select them to upload?
me: what is the logic behind this? it would take me hours and hours every month to back up my work
me: these videos are not that large either, all under 100MB

CARBONITE REP: Are all the videos scattered or are they mostly within iPhoto?

me: i dont use iphoto
me: they are all scattered in a personal folder that houses all my photography and videos

CARBONITE REP: I see.

me: all media is within folder of their own specific date, so i cant just go hunting for the videos for backup

CARBONITE REP: I understand.
CARBONITE REP: There is not an easy way to find the videos using Carbonite, but you could use 'Spotlight' and search for the common videos formats.

me: i am not going to search
me: i know how to search for videos
me: but the fact i can't just select a folder and upload it?
me: i am completely blown away that this - i literally would not be able to use your service if i am forced to manually hunt down all sub-folders with videos
me: this cannot be a unique problem
me: i can imagine this was created for people with hollywood movies or extremely large files, but im talking about photography and family short HD videos -- I cant go through hundreds of sub folders and single out what to upload

CARBONITE REP: Currently you do have to manually select videos for backup. We are working to develop more features for our Mac product, so it may be possible to easily select videos for backup in the future.

me: is there a manager who can relay this problem to who-ever makes decision about carbonite? all i heard was great things and now i cant even use your services
me: i literally want to give you money but cant



 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mac Mini vs. Imac

October 2012 re-freshes. Which to buy?



I was ready to upgrade my iMac December 2011 but I told myself to wait until new iMac models would come out. I waited a while. That's fine, sometimes new models take over a year. It's expected. But then something happened. The iMac family changed in October 2012. The 21.5" models now have 5400 RPM hard drives, which is what laptops have. Why? But if this is a problem (says apple) then upgrade to the FUSION HARD DRIVE. OK, this is a great new option but if I want to buy the chepaest iMac, which is now $100 more expensive than models past, I need to upgrade to a higher iMac category just to be given the option to upgrade to the fusion drive!
 
 
Original entry iMac price = $1,200
New entry iMac price = $1,300
 
Want a laptop hard drive in here? Something that makes anything but internet and MS-Word lagging? Spend an extra $200 to get a better model iMac, then pay $250 for the Fusion HD. That's right, pay $450 just so you can use your iMAc without being pissed off all the time.
 
 
Oh, and one more thing. It gets better. You know the biggest rip-off when buying a mac...how they overcharge you for RAM? $300 upgrade from apple or a $60-$90 upgrade from amazon or crucial and bamn, same exact thing. Thing is, with the new 21.5 iMacs, you no longer have the option to insert these self-bought chips yourself. While the unit comes with 8GB RAM, which is great, if you want to upgrade, only apple has the power to do this for you (the chip covers are sealed shut), which means coughing up the $200 to $300 for apple to pop in the chips instead of paying significantly less and do it yourself.
 
 
So let's say you want the cheapest iMac (but want it to work) and dont want to deal with a RAM upgrade in a year or so, here is the cost:
 
iMac = $1,300
iMac upgrade = $200
Fusion Upgrade = $250
RAM upgrade = $300
applecare = $180
Taxes = $150
-----------------------------
TOTAL COST = $2,380
 
 
That's a LOT of money for what I consider to be an ENTRY level iMac! Ideally the fusion drive would be an option for all models. That and all models have a normal 7200 RPM hard drive. That and you can still deal with the ram yourself. In that case, you would be able to buy a new machine for $1,300 + taxes & applecare, which is a great price. In fact, that's what makes the iMac Great! (or from now on, that's WHAT USED to make the iMac great).
 
Last comment: these issues with the 21.5" model - all go away if you buy the 27" model. Ram is user accessible. 7200RPM HD is there. That and the fusion HD option is readily available. So you can buy the cheapest 27" model for $1,800 and be all set! Problem is, $1,800 is still a lot of money (plus taxes and applecare), and furthermore, lots of people dont want a 27" screen. I know I dont. I love my 24" screen and if I wanted anything bigger, I'd want TWO 24" screen not one massive one.
 
 
So while I waited and waited for the new iMacs to be availble to purchase (they were "released" and then have yet to be available to purchase as of NOV 19, 2012). So for the last month, apple will not sell you a new iMac computer, new or older model. Crazy! So crazy it's funny! (especially that it's black friday this week).
 
 
At first this angrered me beyond belief. I wanted to upgrade and not only were there no iMacs to buy but I had to decide what mess of a system to purchase: overpay for upgrading the 21.5" model or pay beyond my comfort zone (rightfully so) for the awesome 27" model and settle with a massive screen I dont want. Urgh.
 
 
It took some time before I looked at the Mac Mini. I never paid attention to it because when it first came out in 2005 it was pretty minimal. But the newly refreshed models are pretty amazingly fast, nearly double in speed than the previous model. If you upgrade the Mini options, it's not that far behind the iMac. Yes, the 5400 RPM HD is not ideal but the fusion upgrade makes up for it. When it comes down to it, the only problem with the Mac Mini is the graphics/video card. Since I dont play games on the Mac (which is laughable as is because of the limited selection) it doesn't bother me. Yes, I will use this to edit video, and while a more powerful video card is ideal, this new Intel chip will work fine, especially since I am upgrading all options (2,6 GHz quad core + 16GB ram).
 
 
I upgraded a lot of options on my Mini: 16GB RAM (only $85 on amazon); 2.6 GHz i7 CPU, and a Fusion Drive. All this for roughly $1,200. Of course all I have here is a computer. No mouse, keyboard, speakers, monitor, etc. No problem! Anytime I can buy 3rd party accessories I am a happy guy. Especially when they can be purchased from amazon (cheaper than apple) and use my Amazon visa card and earn more cash rewards - bonus! So a wireless logictech keyboard, RAM, applecare, the monitor, and speakers were all bought from amazon. Not only do I get a price and credit card deal, but apple loses the sale. Not only that, but I purchased my Mac Mini from Mac Mall because they shipped the same day instead of the 5-7 business days apple projected.
 
 
Am I happy I bought the Mac Mini? YES. It's an amazing machine and while it could be a little faster, it's amazing and not far behind what the iMacs will be (if they ever come out). Considering I saved myself $500 to $1,000 compared to an iMac, I am very happy considering I will still have a 24" screen. Yes, iMacs will always be faster than a Mac Mini, no doubt. When it comes down to it, I can't justify paying all that extra money, overpaying for some add-ons, especially when I'd get stuck with a screen I really dont want (either the 21.5 or 27).
 
 
In the end, the iMac is now bigger and better! Problem is, they tried to make it more appealing by making it THINNER. considering it's a desktop that sits at your computer, with it's thickness never in view, it's a comedic change to cause the 21.5" models to get lesser hard drives and still cost $100 more (nevermind the RAM problem).
 
 
What should you do? If you need a faster machine, an iMac is definately faster hands down but consider if it's worth the extra cost for upgrade. Unless you want to go all out and buy the best 27" with all upgrades, which will run you close to $3,000 after taxes and applecare, buying a Mac Mini with all upgrades is a great deal and a great price, something the iMac can no longer say. For my awesome Mac Mini system: computer, applecare, taxes, and all accessories, I ended up paying $1,900. An amazing system and a great buy.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Demand the Original Theatrical Cut of Dumb & Dumber on Bluray!

With the news that Dumb & Dumber 2 will be filming by the end of 2012, my blood began to boil.  No, not because this may ruin the memories of the original, but the fact that the original was already ruined.  This movie is such a classic that it was easily a movie to double dip and 'upgrade' my DVD to.  What I didn't realize that from my "original" DVD to the "unrated" bluray was that the movie was butchered in the process.

Everything added to this version makes the movie...worse.  Either jokes that are far from funny or odd scenes that dont work - that or even retract from the characters or plotline of the movie.  I'll mention 3 of the many new additions that bother me:

1 - Spitting in the Burger
When seabass spits in the burger, we now actually see the spit.  Comedy is about timing and the original cut away just before it happened, which made it gross.  With the uncut version, we see him spit and thus, ruin the comedy.  And then seabass takes the burger with him?  Why?  Urgh.

2 - Hot Tub Talk
At the romance hotel, Jim Carrey listens to sex in the room next door.  Then he and Harry talk about sex. This scene ruins the characters for me on top of adding NO JOKES.  URGH.

3 - Seabass and his hot gay sex
You know the joke where Jim Carrey is in the bathroom at the wrong time?  And he thinks someone is going to break the door down to rape him? But then it turns out to be SEABASS instead (IE - someone who wants to kill him instead?)  Funny right?  The uncut version.... SEABASS was the one who wrote the note!  This is a spot he frequents to for sex!  Urgh.  URRRGGGHHH!

Whoever edited the original film should win an oscar, if not, be filthy rich.  The film was improved and turned into a comic GEM from a scramble of jokes and situations.  It makes you appreciate what editing and scene choice/selection can do for a movie, let alone jokes.

When I saw this new version I was broken.  I will never be able to erase it out of my head no matter how many times I watched (and continue to re-watch) the original.  I quickly sold my bluray and re-bought the original DVD.

Please, for everything that is true and good in the world, RE-RELEASE Dumb & Dumber on Bluray and include the theatrical version!

How to Work Arnold Schwarzenegger into Terminator 5 (and beyond)






It is quite clear how to work Arnold into future Terminator movies.  His aging doesn't bode well with his terminator model, which would make no sense to utilize him as a terminator.  Unless Skynet creates a new model with the body of a 65-year old man, which makes no sense. The way I see it, we have two options, one more entertaining than the other.

1 - Use age reducing technology.  Similar to motion capture and what they did in TRON 2, Arnold can film scenes and the post-house can make him look 30 to 50 again.  I suppose with technology anything can happen.

2 - Arnold comes back... as SERGEANT CANDY.  Who is Sergeant Candy?  Arnold filmed a scene for Terminator 3 that was deleted, but was an entirely new character.  See for yourself here:


I propose that this clip be utilized for a future Terminator movie to then, introduce Sergeant Candy as a leader of the resistence.  Think of it - Arnold AND John Connor fighting together against the machines (now, both as humans!).

Done and done.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Stupidity & Falling Skies Season 1: A Review


Falling Skies is an entertaining series that is deeply riddled with problems (at least, so far with season 1).  I love post apocalyptic stories and I love space aliens, so combining the two is a nice touch and won my attention.  With season 1 now finished, I am conflicted with this series, but I must say I watched the entire season and plan to watch season 2 (I cant say the same for "V").  I love the premise and the overall narrative, but am extremely frustrated with so many items scattered throughout the show.  Granted it is a worthy show (albeit not great) but worth continuing. Below are my problems with season 1:


SPOILER WARNING: SEASON 1 SPOILERS 


Screaming Uncontrollably to Blow Your Cover
This happened twice that I can remember off hand and it was just so incredibly stupid:
 
Scene 1:
The first was when the gang took a day trip to rescue some kidnapped kids (one of which being Noah Wiley's son). They had a strict plan of attack.  Note: all the kids have an alien harness attached to them so they are drones and they are all overlooked by several aliens in mech warriors - something you can't do much to.  So when they are hiding nearby, watching the kids do your standard slave labor, one of the guys sees HIS son!  Can you believe it??  We'll, this is an interesting plot point if they didn't throw up on it: this guy starts SCREAMING his son's name.  Now, this act is stupid for three reasons: 1 - his son is a DRONE and won't react and 2 - you are calling attention to you, and everyone else on the mission, and 3 - you just threw the plan off coarse and will be responsible for the death of your team, if not everyone.  THEN, as if you thought the stupidity was over, he jumps up and runs over to his son.  THEN, before he just grabs his son and runs away, he tries to talk and reason with him with conversation, as if it cant wait until they both aren't about to be killed.  "ITS ME!  DAD!"

Scene 2:
Near the end of the season, a few guys go on a mission to scout and they make a discovery (and awesome one - probably the best of the season) - that the aliens they were fighting all along are actually ENSLAVED by another alien-species. Later in the episode the gang finds a stranded woman who lives by herself.  She in turn, is in communication with the aliens: she trades insider (human) information about the resistance or any human movement in exchange for food and to not be killed.  The guys find out the hard way as they are almost killed and track back to the woman to find out what is going on and when they do, they wait for the alien to show up and communicate with her.  A nice touch about this show is the communication between aliens and humans (when it happens) is through enslaved children (the drones).  They control the kids and speak through them, etc.  So (getting to my point), the crew is waiting in this woman's house and a small girl arrives at the door and delivers food.  The girl (a drone child controlled by an alien) and the woman have a short conversation.  The crew realizes two things: an alien (a BAD ASS superior alien) is standing next to the girl and that the girl is someone they know.  What does the crew do?  Well, Noah's son goes apeshit and starts SCREAMING that they have to save her! The rest quickly muzzle him and pin him down until the alien and girl leaves.  Again, this is stupid for the plain fact that he is going to get everyone killed.

Surely there are better ways to express extreme emotional change than blatant screaming that is so obviously stupid as to get everyone killed.


Crowds of Pure Joy and Ecstasy
You know in movies or shows when there is a crowd and something good happens and everyone cheers?  Have you ever realized how fake and stupid this is? Like when an evil villian says his master plan and all his goons start laughing?  LAUGHING! Pretty dumb, right?  Falling Skies does this alot.  While everyone may be happy, not everyone needs to scream in joy, wave their arms about, and hug each other as if they are experiencing the most profound orgasm.
No need for specific examples here because this happens a lot.  A LOT.  A crowd of people are gathered and something good happens.  Either they discover something new or the captain gives good news.  What happens?  EVERYONE makes noise. EVERYONE throws their arms up. EVERYONE moves around.  Have you ever done this?  While this is a standard movie cliche and helps the audience understand that the people are happy, it's over the top and fake (and stupid, of course).  Keep an eye out for these scenes and pinpoint ONE GUY in the crowd and watch him and see what he does.  Kinda stupid when you see him individually instead of as the collective group, right?
 
OVERALL THOUGHTS
  1. Not everyone needs to do something. While it's a cliche that you may feel needs to happen because a silent crowd is bad, we don't need to be looking at a crowd that is similar to Green Bay Packer fans at the super bowl.
  2. A lot of times, this is after a death or something terrible, so it contradicts how they should really be feeling (or they should be seeking immediate help!)  "Didn't 5 guys just die 5 minutes ago?  Who cares.  YIPPEE!"

Mech Warriors and Their Loud Noise
These things are cool, but do they need to make a loud noise ALL the time?  The sound is iconic and frightening, but tells everyone where it is!  Yes they have loud foot steps and rattle the nearby area, but why the noise?  What causes it and why does it emit it so often? It's as if they want everyone to know where they are.


Characters (or lack there of)
Noah (right) is the only character we care about and he does a damn good job in this show.  We care about him because... well, uh- I don't know.  Why do we?  Because he does an amazing job acting?  Probably.  Also, because he is the only rational person in this show (for the most part if you don't include the chick he totally tongue tied at the end of the season).  That's a bad reason to like someone.  To be fair, he is loyal and hard working, etc, etc, so he has a least some connect-ability (since we saw this happen and experienced it with him).  But everyone else on this show is pretty much a pointless character.  In fact, they not only have no character, they are stricly "character conflicts."  I made that up just now: they are pre-determined personas that we can't relate to because we are told who they are and they just react predictably so we don't care.  That and they act so OVER THE TOP to their "conflict destination" (made that up too) that its very frustrating. Below are a few problematic characters (of the many):

NOAHS YOUNGEST SON
This kid is really annoying.  Every line out of his mouth is "i wanna fight," or "I wanna help," or "I wanna be a big boy!"  We get it.  Shut the hell up or say something to make us want to not punch you in the teeth.

STEVEN WEBBER
He was in a few episodes as a "nemesis" to Noah.  How do we know this? Because someone told us. "Oh man, those two don't like each other!"  We didn't have enough interaction between the two.  So, aside from "knowing" this guy is a dick, he continues to be 200% dick when they capture an alien (a sub-alien, not one of the super ones).  There is a classic argument between Webber and a rational chick

CHICK
We should communicate with this alien so we can learn more about it.

WEBBER
KILL IT!

CHICK
But if we learn about it we can learn why they are here and/or learn how to kill them better.

WEBBER
KILL IT NOW!

CHICK
I am going to talk to this thing and try and save humanity.

WEBBER
I AM GOING TO KILL IT NOW!  AARRRRGGGGH!"

RELIGIOUS GIRL
There is a girl who is religious on this show!  WOW!  Her only point so far is to tell people to have faith in God.  Again, that's all she does and since she does nothing else, it's over the top.  Also, all conversations are so pointlessly generic and stupid that you want to fast-forward when she is on screen.
BOY
Why do you pray?

GIRL
I pray to God for everything I am grateful for.

BOY
Why, we are dying? humanity is nearly extinct.

GIRL
Yes but we have lots to be thankful for.

BOY
Oh wow, I see things differently now, thanks.

MAN
What does God have to do with the 10% of your day not living in pain or fear?

CRICKETS
Chirp.


CAPTAIN
Will Patton, the guy who was the lead villain in the postman is the lead captain  in this show.  I distinctly remember him because when I saw that terrible movie I thought "Wow - this movie is horrible and the main villain was horrifically miscast!  While he is amazing, he looks like a big teddy bear and I want to hug him!"  So with his casting slot as a captain, I like it.  He can be nice and a dick but he is ultimately a good guy. So - my problems with this guy is that since he is a "captain" he obviously needs to create conflict by going against logic (Noah).  There are a lot of internal conflicts (between humans) in this show for a series about defending the human race against invading space-aliens.  While he is a good character, a lot of it is illogical, the most frustrating aspect being the last episode:

This guy becomes irrational because he is addicted to sleeping and waking pills.  He becomes delusional and with the plan of a final attack against the aliens, he is about to lead everyone to a suicide mission since he is covering up the fact a few other armies (they are supposed to join) have been killed.  Noah tries to stop him and gets locked up but eventually saves the day.  How?  He talks to the captain at gunpoint and he magically changes his mind.  I DONT CARE ABOUT THIS! (I said to myself throughout most of the episode).

PROBLEMS:
  1. The two make-up and are friends again instantly (cute) despite they wasted a lot of time and captain is a big dick (the bad kind)
  2. Captain says he stopped taking the pills.  WHAT? So why was he acting CRAZY? WHAT IS THE EXPLANATION TO THIS?
  3. They go on the suicide mission anyways but instead of leading men blindly into it, he is upfront and asks for volunteers instead of commanding everyone.  This results in the SAME crowd who would have gone to go anyways and the same results happen!
OVERALL (Characters)
Too much of this show is based on internal conflict. Or at least TOO much of the internal conflict is forced, over the top, and stupid. I am not against the human conflict and I agree that a large portion of the show should be humans only, but this season was a little too much.  Everyone always has a problem with everyone else! That and too many characters are just extreme personalities with a purpose only to create conflict.  I DON'T CARE.  Make the people more human and give them interesting, realistic dialog about their lives or the world, etc - THEN jump into why they don't trust each other or why they would risk the lives of hundreds of people to prove a stupid point.


HUMANS KILL EACH OTHER
Two kids who were drones are saved and back as normal, but they have some problems. One is more of a problem because he still feels connected to the aliens. This kid acts and feels like he belongs with the aliens and pities the human race for "killing each other" since aliens "would never do that."
  1. I highly doubt that ANY advanced species stop killing each other. (or have never from day 1).  YES, in an advanced civilization the majority can be good but not everyone can achieve bliss and therefore, some will resort to crime or murder to stay alive, etc. While this is an argument for philosophy, this doesn't fit into reality for me.
  2. WHAT?? This kid was a SLAVE to the SLAVES of the SUPERIOR ALIENS.  What does he know about anything? What is he basing this from? He loved his slaved leaders who were slaves themselves?  Maybe he feels a connection but... it sounds pretty stupid. (and this was an episode cliffhanger!)

Make-up on the Hot Chick
As you can probably guess, there is a hot chick on the show.  What you may not predict is that she hasn't found a pool or lake to swim in yet. She hasn't even worn anything that revealing!  And you thought they hit up ALL cliches!  The problem with her is that she is in FULL MAKE UP.  All actors need makeup because of lighting and image capture, etc - but she has the full REVLON thing going on.  Instead of giving her makeup to keep her logically attractive, they decided to give her full blown make-up so on camera, it looks like she spent 45 minutes in the morning applying it to her face. This makes no sense because 1 - there isn't make-up in their environment and 2 - she has no purpose or time to apply it.  Most movies do this, but at LEAST it is under normal circumstances.

Naked Aliens
There are two alien species so far - both are naked.  Why?  They don't wear clothes?  Even our cavemen wore clothes!  There are theories that as a species evolves they will turn into bundles of energy without mass.  So somewhere along the line we will lose interest in sex and our genitals will be rendered useless and fall off - maybe.  Whatever your theory of evolution is or how far advanced these aliens are, they are still physical forms and whether or not they have sex, they most certainly go to the bathroom to some degree (so there are some parts they may have shame with).  Why do both not wear clothes? Maybe because they look more badass without wearing their favorite lucky red baseball cap.


SEASON 2 THOUGHTS
The ending of the season 1 was a very nice touch. Noah successfully blows a ship up as it is landing in the alien structure over Boston and this grabs the attention of the super aliens, who land a ship in front of Noah's joyride back home and ask him (through the same drone girl - apparently she is their favorite) to join them in their ship.  Noah says no and the aliens say "you dont have much of a choice.  For some reason, Noah is still under the impression that it is still a choice AND this choice must be made in order to save his son, Ben.  Um, what about the human race? Or the fact you dont have a choice?

Woops-sorry, I was talking about the end being a nice touch.  IT WAS.  Of course the aliens want to pick his brain since he is sort of in charge of the most successful resistance effort yet.  Aliens want to figure out how to make it all stop.  While plenty of people complain its a "Close Encounters" ending or others say "how stupid it doesn't make any sense," I say it makes perfect sense and just because he gets on the ship doesn't mean its the same thing as Close Encounters.  The overall concept of this show is great, they just need to stop doing these cliches that nearly ruin the show!

What I would like to see in Season 2
  1. More of Pope (character).  He conveniently lived and is one of the few genuine "characters" on the show.  Plus, there is great room for his character to grow and evolve.
  2. Noah has to ask to use the bathroom when on board the alien ship.
  3. The alien's questions to Noah on the ship needs to be similar to the scientist questions to Woody Allen in "Sleeper"
  4. Answers about what the aliens want and where they come from (not too much though).
  5. Details about the skidders (the sub-alien-species).
  6. The 2nd Mass (current group of humans) find a way to communicate long distance with other humans
  7. Hot chick wears less make-up (and less clothes maybe? She can get into a fight and tear something...)
  8. Religious girl loses a hand (maybe a limb every season?)
  9. There should be a cut-away episode that follows the Taliban
  10. Aaron Eckhart needs to make a guest appearance
  11. What makes humanity worth saving? (a good topic to bring up)
  12. Let's see some awesome super-alien mind-bending long-cons! Since they are in communication with us now, they should have some badass tricks up their sleeves. They have lived far longer than humans have, so their history books must be piled high with all the tricks and cons of warfare.  Let's see something brilliant (that only Noah can stop).

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tom Hanks confirms Sequel to 1988's BIG with 'Little Dandy: Big 2'

Amidst rampant rumors over the last 10 years, Tom Hanks announced today that the long awaited sequel to the iconic smash-hit "Big" (1988) will film this summer. "James [Brooks] and I have been trying to get this thing off the ground for years and it's finally happening. We are all very excited," Hanks told E! news.

The detailed plot surrounding "Little Dandy: Big 2" is yet to be announced but producer James L. Brooks shed some light on what to expect. "Big was essentially a science-fiction film when you think about it but few people thought of it as such, so we want to make that theme more relevenat in the sequel," Brooks said. "Terminator 2 was essentially the same thing as Terminator 1 with a few added elements and we want to play off the similarities between the franchises. Big 2 takes place in the year 2030 and Josh Baskin is 55 years old and still very much in love with Susan, played by Elizabeth Perkins, who is imprisoned for her satutory rape of Josh. The two are very much in love but the complexity of the relationship takes a toll on Susan's mental stability and no longer finds herself attracted to Josh as he ages through his mid fifties. It's a very character rich script and I can't go into the specific details, but Josh makes a wish to be a dandy again to win back Susan's heart. His wish comes true and he becomes a 32 year old man. For the scenes of Josh as a 32 year old we will utilize unused footage from the original Big along with Hank's other early films, including, 'Punchline,' 'Everytime We Say Goodbye,' and 'The Money Pit,' all of which we bought the rights to. Jack Nicholson was attached to star as a rival dandy who has shed 40+ years off his life and we were going to use clips from his earlier works, but he dropped out. He is really pissed at me for some reason."

Little Dandy: Big 2 is scheduled to begin filming in July and McG is slated to direct.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

PARIS PASS: A DETAILED REVIEW


Paris Pass Website
I recently visited Paris for 9 nights (split in the middle with a trip to Italy) and purchased a 4-day Paris Pass for both myself and my wife to enjoy the museums and places of interest.  This came highly recommend to us and we were deciding whether to buy it or not...until one day, they held a 2-day sale so we took advantage without thinking much more about it - to save the 10%. Turns out they do this 10% gimmick often - worked for me, right?  I immediately bought a pass for each of us and as soon as I purchased the passes I had an initial feeling of doubt.  We just paid $370 for 4 days worth of museums (and this was the sale price!).  Was this a deal?  I quickly did some math and crunched some numbers on the museums we would want to visit and the museums we could actually visit (you can't visit 10 museums in a day, obviously).  With our sale price of $370, this requires us to spend $47 a day, which isn't too bad. But that's only to break even!

Here's the kicker: all museums cost 8-12 Euros.  You can't visit more than 3 museums in a day (sometimes only 1 or 2 depending) without already being pressed for time, since museums are often only open from 10-6pm and Mondays or Tuesdays are days many museums are closed, you may be out of luck to save money or time with this bundle.

Basically, if you visit 3 museums a day (and most places you won't want to run in and out within 30 minutes so three is plenty) you will be saving $42 in museum costs plus a few extra bucks on the free metro pass.  This is nearly the same as doing it on your own pace (breaking even in cost, and that's on the 10% sale price).

Of course, this is more than just a "get into museums free." You get a free metro pass for zones 1-3 (which is NOT explained well at all on their website: zones 1-3 cover most of paris and is not related to districts).  This pass often took 2-3 times through the machine at each station to work, but it served us well.  You also get a 2-day red bus pass, which we didn't use since its a cheap gimick, but this is one of their highlights of saving you 27 Euros!

If I were to do it again, I would not have purchased this.  Why?  It didn't save us either money or time.  Yes, we skipped two lines and didn't have to pay each time, but we broke even at best.  Plus, we were in Paris for 9 nights and had to cram in all museums in a mere 4 days just to use the pass and make sure we broke even (something which was a waste to constantly think about) verse going when we want and spacing things out. This was nothing but stress to try and schedule everything to merely not loose too much money.

Don't be fooled into thinking there are countless items in this Paris Pass deal.  A lot of it is junk.  River boat cruise?  We did it because it was on our list but I would not recommend it.  It was cheap, basic, nothing much to it, and slammed with 10 different tour busses and schools and noisy as hell.  I am glad I went, but it was nothing special.  This is the same for half of the museums on this list.  Not to mention their raving about discounts around the city, which are mere 10% off and terrible gimicks like "free ice cream with purcahse of full-priced entree at this chain restaurant."  These aren't savings: they are gimicks for you to waste your money. If they were truly savings, they would offer you more than a 10% discount or wouldn't require you to spend a lot of money for a cheap $2 reward.

MY ADVICE:
  • Do your math before buying. List out all museums you WANT to see and how much it would cost for you to see them with the Pass and then on your own (also consider your restricted time frame on the Paris Pass)
  • If you buy this, don't pay full-price.  They will do that silly 10% off sale here and there.
  • The Louvre and Palace of Versailles are two attractions that can take up an entire day (if your daily pro-rata Paris Pass allocation requires at least 50Euro to be on track, visiting these two museums will cost you triple the money!  If you have extra days in Paris, visit these two places outside of your Paris pass days so you can get more bang for your buck when you stay central. Other museums are large, but these are the largest and can easily take up most of the day.
  • If you decide to buy this pass, make sure you don't use it on both a Monday and Tuesday since many museums are closed on one of those days.

OVERALL:
It's a neat idea, but it's a gimick that won't save you any time or money.  I was frustrated to cram in everything "on the clock" when I could have spent the same (if not.. LESS) money doing it, and doing it on my own timeline without constantly worrying about losing money.  With our discounted passes, we had to spend $47 a day in order to "break even."  If we saw 3 museums and used the metro a few times, this would... BREAK EVEN.  It's hard to do more than that between 10AM and 6pm. I spent a lot of time planning out the best options and schedules each day of when to see things, which was a waste of vacation planning and the vacation itself.  I ended up not saving money, and spending too much of my vacation worrying and stressing about losing money on this. In the end, we lost a little bit of money for this waste of time.

Save your time and stress in researching this gimick and pass on the Paris Pass.