Month: February 2015

Free Movie Screenings

Recently, I’ve been able to see a couple of free screenings. I have no connections nor insider knowledge. All I’ve done is created an account at gofobo. The tickets are distributed through their site. Then, I signed up for Advance Screenings. That site will alert me of any new screenings in the area.

Since I’m near DC, there are a number of theaters in the area showing a variety of films. Many times, the showings are already full because they were released to a radio station audience first, or some other outlet before I get notified. But I’ve been lucky recently with getting passes to a few. Here’s what I’ve seen in recent weeks.


The DUFF stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend. It’s a film that tries to be She’s All That or Mean Girls but falls short of those lofty goals. It was a fun teen popcorn movie. I enjoyed it, though I would not have paid to see it in the theater.

There were a ton of screenings for this movie. It seems like they were trying to get a lot of people in to see it before it was released. I don’t know if they were worried about its performance, but it was a fun film and the audience I was with enjoyed it. 

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service looked good because who doesn’t like a spy film. And it’s got Samuel L. Jackson which is always a good sign. I really enjoyed the movie and would have paid to see it in the theater.

I liked the knives-for-feet of Gazelle. I enjoyed the twist on swordplay without the swords. Samuel L. Jackson was a great villain. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I enjoyed that women were more than just eye candy in this movie, though that final scene felt unnecessary.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is Hot Tub Time Machine without John Cusack and with Adam Scott. There were some funny parts but it was a mediocre sequel to a mediocre movie. At least most of the original cast was back, though I can’t say that made it a better movie.

The movie reminded me of Idiocracy because of the kind-of stupid future world we’re transported to in the film. I enjoyed Gillian Jacobs and wish Chevy Chase would have had more than a brief cameo. All-in all, it was a throw-away sequel.

Run All Night

Run All Night was Lian Neeson running around all night shooting people. It wasn’t a Taken movie because he had a son to defend this time rather than trying to rescue his daughter.

It was a mindless action movie and I enjoyed it for what it was. I’m not sure if I’d pay for it in the theater. It was good. I enjoyed the performances but it’s also a story that’s been done over and over. Old friends, one doing well, one poorly. Family gets in the way and people die by the truckload.

The studio must have high hopes for this movie because not only were our bags searched, we were metal detected. This was the only movie of the bunch where this happened. 

When I go to movies, I enjoy the escape. I want to sit in a dark room, eat salty and sweet snacks and go to another place. 

I love going to the movies and I hate how expensive it has gotten. So even though the movies I’ve seen aren’t ones I would have paid for, I’ve really enjoyed going to the theatre so often. 

So here’s to more screenings and seeing movies in the theatre. 

No Couch Co-Op

With the rise of internet-enabled gaming (specifically Xbox Live for me). There is a lack of “couch co-op”. That is, co-op gaming where both players are sharing a couch. I love to play Destiny because of its cooperative gameplay. While it’s too redundant for my wife to play, she’d love to play things too. But the only couch co-op things that do co-op well are shooters like Halo and Call of Duty. And again, without a storyline, they’re not going to hold her attention.

Destiny Confessions

We looked over a number of Xbox One games this weekend and found some stellar-looking title such as Never Alone and Child of Light. But in reading reviews, the co-op is either a pain to deal with or relegates the second player to a minor role in the overall game.

That’s disappointing. We are two grown adults who want to play something together. And it’s getting harder and harder to find games that hold our attention. We enjoyed Fable III, even though it had its issues with the co-op system mostly around camera angles and the relegation of player 2 to a supporting role. Which I was fine with, but it was still disappointing.

There are so many games which don’t even offer the option for co-op at all. Online or local. But it’s even harder to find anything with a story line that has a good cooperative experience. There are a number of games which offer co-op modes. Such as a survival mode, or something tacked onto the game. Again, this is fine for a few playthroughs but eventually becomes tedious and repetitive.

One of the best co-op games to my mind was Chrono Trigger, which I played with my brother on the SNES growing up. We each had a character to play. We were both fully invested in the story. We both had characters we could upgrade, buy new weapons for and customize to our liking. Neither of us was sentenced to sitting and watch the other person play, only helping in minor ways.

It’s maddening when browsing Xbox online to try to find games because it doesn’t list whether a game is multi-player or not. The Xbox itself shows whether a game is single player only or provides co-op either through Xbox Live or locally. The web site doesn’t offer any of that information. As a result, I usually go to Cooptimus and get a list of their games since they’re focused on the co-op experiences.

I’ve found a couple of possibilities and will report back once we get a chance to play them. But it’s getting harder and harder to find something to play for two adults. Especially when we recently picked up a few tabletop games that we’ve had a blast with.

Resources for Working Women

One of the perks of my job is getting to sit in on all sorts of presentations, informational sessions and other things I’d normally have no interest in, idea was happening, or right to be in.

Recently, one of these was an information sessions hosted by the Women’s Bureau. Which in itself is a great resource for information about women at work and for working women.

Recently, I hosted and sat in on a session called Employment Protections for Pregnant Workers. It was an hour-long panel discussion panel covering Federal protections as well as individual state’s protections for pregnant women.

During the session, there were some great resources shared that I wrote down and wanted to mention.


The first is Babygate from A Better Balance. It’s billed as Your one-stop-shop for information about pregnancy and parenting at work

Babygate covers national protections offered by the Federal government. But it also has detailed information for every state about protections in your state.

It covers issues while you’re pregnant, leaving work and returning to work. In addition to information specific to your state, they also run a hotline for anyone having problems at work relating to pregnancy or parenting.

Call 212-430-5982

Our free hotline can provide you with information about your rights at work (or refer you to another attorney or legal organization in your area). The information provided here or in response to a Hotline inquiry does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If ABB chooses to represent you, then a retainer will be signed setting out the scope of the representation.

Women Employed

Women Employed is about Mobilizing people and organizations to expand educational and employment opportunities for America’s working women.

They lay out the problem as:

Far too many jobs women hold fall below the standard that most Americans would consider decent work. They offer very low wages, few if any benefits, and little respect. Hours are irregular and schedules change constantly. Women are twice as likely as men to work in occupations with poverty-level wages. Over 40 percent of private-sector workers have no paid sick days. Sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination are common. Bad jobs keep women in a state of economic crisis and harm their children. We all pay the costs of low-wage work.

And it’s their mission to address these problems with financial aid, supporting students and offering career pathways to women.

They have a good page of resources including your rights at work, so you can learn exactly what your rights are. They also offer a career coaching program to get you into a better position. And even a program to help complete a degree including academic counseling.

U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission

The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has the authority to investigate charges of discrimination. It also works to educate about and prevent harassment and discrimination before it occurs.

The EEOC has a huge amount of information about harassment and discrimination. The newsroom has a list of major topics. Such as protections for LGBT workers, Americans with Disabilities and Workplace Religious Accommodation. The EEOC is based in Washington, DC. But they have a number of field offices around the US.

If you need to file a charge, they have a process for filing a charge of discrimination.

I hope these resources might be helpful for someone out there. There is a lot of information and there are some really amazing people working very hard to defend and protect the rights of women, pregnant or not.

Updating my Books I’ve Read page with a little help from my friends

For as long as I’ve had my books I’ve read page up, I wasn’t entirely happy with it. So I decided to change the implementation to Jamie Rubin’s Shortcode method. Which was what my other method was based on anyway.

I learned how to create a child theme for WordPress so my changes wouldn’t get wiped out the next time the theme was updated. I downloaded the function.php file into it and pointed it at my Dropbox book list.

All was going well except I had an extra parenthesis on all the dates.
Example: This Could Help by Patrick Rhone (1/20/2015))

The last item on the list was missing its trailing parenthesis.
Example: This Could Help by Patrick Rhone (1/20/2015

Since I don’t speak code, I went looking for help from nerds greater than myself. They suggested two changes to make to the code and it worked perfectly.

Tony Giunta suggested changing line 21.
Original: $date = substr($second_part[1],0,-1);
Change: $date = $second_part[1];

Nick Wynja suggested changing line 54.
Original: echo "<li>$title by $author ($date)</li>\n";
Change: echo "<li>$title by $author ($date</li>\n";

I am not a coder. They both commented on the quality of the code. I’m sure these changes (and all of this code) could have been written better and I’m sure lots of people have solutions and versions they’d tout as being superior. But this works for me, and with their help I was able to get it working in my WordPress setup.

Here is my changed version on Github.

The Origin Story of Origin Story

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by Internet handles. That is, what name do people use on the Internet. Do they use their real name? Are they semi-anonymous with a pseudonym or screen name they like? Is there identity a complete mystery?

In December, I finally decided to act on my curiosity and started asking. The interviews are posted at Origin Story.

I didn’t tell many people about it. But I started to send emails with that subject line, What is your Origin Story?

I debated long and hard about what questions to ask. I didn’t want to ask too many. I didn’t want to ask too much of people’s time and attention. So I tried to keep my questions brief. And even then, the questions have evolved since the first interview.

Here is what I’ve asked everyone.

  • What name do you use on the Internet?
  • Do you keep the same name everywhere?
  • Where did it come from?
  • What does it mean to you?
  • Why did you choose it?
  • Do you ever think of changing it?
  • Why do you / don’t you use your real name?
  • What was your first internet screen name?
  • What is your favorite name you’ve seen in your travels across the net?

I added this question when I realized I was asking these interesting people about their stories. I should also ask them whose story they’d like to hear.

  • Whose origin story would you like to hear next?

Even later on, I realized the blunder I was making by not pointing my readers to these fine folks. So I added the last question.

  • Now that people have heard your story, where can they go to find out more about you?

I’m sure it will continue to evolve as I figure this thing out and bug more people for their stories. I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to take part in my little project so far.

Thank you all! I’ve had a lot of fun with this project so far. And I hope those who have taken part have enjoyed it. I feel like I learn something about each of these people from the answers they send back. And the best part is getting to know people I hadn’t previously crossed paths with on the internet.

It’s been a lot of fun so far. So if you should see an email in your inbox asking about your origin story, I hope you’ll take part.

New Origin Stories go up every Monday morning at Origin Story. New posts are tweeted from @StoriesofOrigin.