The Last Jedi – bringing ‘balance’ to the Force

So, the next movie in the Star Wars saga now has a name and a trailer:

The Last Jedi (link at TOR.com)

My thoughts: I am thinking, based on Luke’s words, that it might be heading towards my own interpretation of what ‘balance to the Force’ means – that we have to accept light AND dark together, and not as a schism. More of a Jungian POV. An integration and a stance of acceptance.

Although it could be taken as wanting to wipe out all the information/knowledge altogether, forever. I don’t think they will go there – it’s a tad depressing, very conservative, and doesn’t seem to fit into the Journey of the Hero. “Refusal of the Call” only happens early on in Campbell, and is subsequently overcome by the hero taking up the mantle (often after their families and/or mentor dies…and both happen with Luke).

It looks like Luke has a small library of the earliest Force knowledge in that First Jedi temple. Maybe we [the viewers] will start to learn a few things. I think we’ve waited long enough for it…since 1987?

For fans of Dune (the book)…doesn’t Peo Dameron remind you of Duncan Idaho? At least that is how I picture him.

Meet the RunPee family

family_danDan – that’s me – had the idea for the app back in 2005 after seeing the movie King Kong. It was a super long movie, but I never got up to run and pee. By the end of the movie I was in agony – but I stayed until the end. As I left the theater, my wife Jill and I thought, “We should tell those people that it would be a good idea to run and pee during that scene with the gigantic bugs. It’s a pointless, gross, scene and you’ll be able to enjoy the end of the movie in comfort if you do run and pee.”

Of course I didn’t say anything because I’m not that outgoing, but it did get Jill and I talking about how great it would be to have a website for that. We thought, “You know, we make a website that told people the best times to run and pee during a movie. If we did, what we should call it?” Two weeks later I registered the domain RunPee.com.

Fast forward to today and I’m the guy who does all the coding to make the Android and iOS apps work, manage the website and social media. (You can read more about the history of RunPee here.)

Today I live in Orlando, Florida in a largish house with my wife, mother, sister, and her husband and daughter. Every Friday we head out to see movies so that we can update the database. We are all very surprised by the success and feel honored to be able to do something to help people enjoy their movie going experience just a little more. (Even though it pretty much ruins our movie going experience.)

I see most of the blockbuster/action movies such as The Avengers, Star Trek, The Hobbit. People often ask me, “What was the hardest movie to find Peetimes for?” That’s an easy answer: Inception. I’ve never had to see a movie twice to get good peetimes but I had to see Inception 3 times before I understood it enough to be able to pick out decent Peetimes.

These days I’m still working as a freelance software developer. But now that RunPee is a paid app, I’m making enough money to cut back on work and devote more time to writing. Currently I’m working on a trilogy of books called Zombie Revelations. I expect to publish all three books simultaneously.

I’m an avid sports fan and enjoy working out while watching the Lakers, Cowboys, Patriots, Arizona Wildcats and especially the Alabama Crimson Tide. #RollTide. I went to school at the University of Arizona for a spell, and majored in Mathematics and Astronomy. I dropped out my junior year to go teach at Space Camp for a while. Then decided I would like to be a massage therapist, so I did that for a few years. Then eventually I went back to school at Northern Arizona University, where I studied Philosophy and History. I spent my senior year of college at Swansea University in Wales. When I returned to the USA, I didn’t have enough money to go back to school, so I accepted a job doing HTML/Javascript – back in 2000. From there I just fell into becoming a software developer, without ever intending to.

You can contact me – dan@RunPee.com – if you have any questions for me.

I owe a huge debt to family_sisRunPee Sis – Christene – because without her we wouldn’t have Peetimes for any of the horror movies. 🙂

When she’s not watching movies she’s reading books on the Kindle that I bought her. Her favorite authors are Dean Koontz and Stephen King.

 

 

 

 

family_mom

RunPee Mom, or Dearest, as I call her – after the Mommy Dearest skits from SNL. She takes care of most of the animated/kiddy movies. It’s a tough job because she has to try and think, “What would kids not want to miss during this movie?” That might be a different thing than what adults might not want to miss.

When she’s not watching movies, she’s in her room working on crafts of all types. She makes blankets and pillows, and decoupages boxes and all sorts of things. Her craft room is stacked high with boxes of buttons and fabrics and little doodads. I’m afraid to go in there. 🙂

She’s also a big history buff. If you have time to kill, then ask her a question about the American Civil War, The Tutors Dynasty, the wives of Henry VIII, the Russian Revolution, et al. We have lots of fun conversations, and she has helped immensely in shaping the story that I’m working on.

 

 

 

An Interview with RunPee Mom

Dearest – RunPee Mom – enjoying a press day in Aruba.

Ginger “Sarcasm is my middle name” Gardner, AKA Dearest, best known here as RunPee Mom, is a staunch supporter and utterly crucial pillar to the RunPee enterprise. She sees movies every week – sometimes more than one film – and carries the ball for the business when the rest us of have to drop it. She most often gets Peetimes for the kiddie flicks, but is happy to see serious dramas, lighthearted comedies, and (almost) anything in between, as needed. RunPee Co-Creator Jill decided to highlight her important work and history with us.

Jilly: Hey, Dearest. Do you like seeing movies for work each week?

Ginger: I love it. It’s what I live for. Because I love movies, and enjoy providing a very good service for movie-goers. And I love to be proud of my son [RunPee Creator Dan] for having developed it, and I am proud of being a part of it.

J: What are your first memories of RunPee?

G: When my son told me he had this idea in his mind, I thought, “Well, I’m not going to discourage him. He sets his mind to something – it will happen. He takes kooky ideas and makes them great.” I remember the first movie I did Peetimes for: Drag Me to Hell. It was a nerve-wracking experience. I was not accustomed to watching a movie and writing. My learning curve was, “What makes a good Peetime?” I’ve now seen movies for RunPee all over the United States.

J: I remember you were the first person to think to get us real publicity for RunPee. What was your idea?

G: I remember on Saturday mornings I would listen to Leo Laporte’s AM radio show. I was addicted to listening to him – I loved his voice and his tips. He loves new things. I called Dan and told him to call LaPorte and they did an interview, and that was when NPR heard it and also called on Dan for an interview. It really took off when Dave Barry heard about RunPee and got involved. That was huge.

J: Lol, true. There even was a RunPee limerick posted on Dave Barry’s site. That was cool. What is your favorite part of this work?

G: Actually watching the movies – watching them with a critical eye. Not seeing movies just for pleasure, but for others to see my work. I try to do as good a job as possible, to provide a pleasurable experience. Truly, a critic should rate a movie based on the target audience. There are no movies out there for everybody. Sometimes I am at a total loss myself as to who the target audience is. Like with Moonlight, I walked out of there furious. Who was the audience? Then there is The Good Dinosaur. A really good little movie, but the critics slammed it for ‘having been done’. The target audience is CHILDREN, and for them it hasn’t been done. They are a new audience every year.

J: I know the professional critics are a “thing” with you. I like your reviews, and how you direct them at the audience who would most like the film in question. Besides those critics irking you, what would you say is the worst part of working for RunPee?

G: I can’t go run and pee during a movie. I have been known to make a two-minute run and come back in – I wait until I get a really good Peetime first.

J: What are your favorite movie genres?

G: Historical movies. But they can be frustrating because you know the true history, and they get it wrong. Take Braveheart. They took a lot of latitude with the real story, but I love it. I think Private Ryan is THE real historical movie to go see. It’s a damn fine piece of historical drama, even if it is fiction. I can watch about any doggone movie. They don’t make me cry – that never happens to me. Except recently The Shack made my heart clench – it was heart rending – I did get choked up in this one scene.

J: And your favorite movies?

G: I have quite an eclectic list. The Green Mile, Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, Shawshank Redemption, Hacksaw Ridge, Signs, Fargo, Close Encounters, Lincoln, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 12 Years a Slave, Thelma and Louise, Toy Story (all of them were extraordinary), Snow White, Cinderella. All of those are my top movies. And Wizard of Oz – wait, no, save that for RunPee Sis!

J: You can have it too. What would you like the future of RunPee to be?

G: Becoming more widely used throughout the world. I think there will be an increase in the number of downloads. It’s not a very old app – only 6 or 7 years – it’s not reached its peak. It’s exciting to see! I look forward to it becoming a household word. I expect that it will. I know it will have reached its peak when it becomes the final Jeopardy question – “The Category is Apps.”

J: We WERE an answer to a question on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? As I recall, the contestant got that one wrong. Poor dude. He should have known. 🙂 So, what would you like to tell people about RunPee?

G: RunPee was developed by a family, owned as a family-run operation. We saw all the movies and got this off the ground ourselves. We put our heart and soul into this. We’re no conglomerate. We take so much pride in the family business.

 

How RunPee Began – A Retrospective on Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong

    Peter Jackson, coming off the high of his fantastic Lord of the Rings saga, was permitted to make a really, really long love letter to Kong, King of Monster Mammals. His big ape movie went on and on and on…for 3 hours and 7 minutes. Dan and I sat there, holding it in…and talked about how we wanted to tell the waiting queue to pee during the vile, unnecessary Valley of the Bugs scene (you know the one, with the Andy-Serkis-slurping slugs. Seriously: gross, man).
    It was so agonizing to sit through this film, that we thought it would be great if there was a website telling people exactly when to run and pee in long movies, so no one would miss the good parts. Thus, the idea for RunPee was born. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Peter Jackson and King Kong.
    But, is this a good movie?
    We’d have to say, cautiously, yes. It is assuredly an epic, often capturing the emotional spirit of the 1933 original. Aside from being wildly overindulgent and often tedious, it’s a credible ride. There are some moments of real heart, and the production values are top notch: Jackson clearly spared no expense. When things weren’t busy being disgusting, the island was super pretty. The dinosaurs were cool, and Kong himself looked amazing. Finally, a Kong that looked real, with expressions and nuance.
    The ape scenes with the girl are the best – sensitive and funny, well-acted and well-written.
    The Skull Island scenes, however, are uneven – while everything with Kong was great, the explorers lacked spark or likeability. In New York we get the same thing – the Central Park scenes with Kong and his girl are adorable, but the finale on the Empire State building is laborious. We wanted the giant gorilla to get it over with and die.
    In the end, it’s a bloated movie. The stuffing was overbaked, and the actors (besides Naomi Watts) didn’t bring anything to the buffet. Jack Black was a muddled mess, and Adrian Brody barely made a showing. No one else was memorable at all.
    It’s been my opinion that Jackson needed a firm editor with his material, to pare things down and keep the pacing tight. This was overkill – like no one wanted to be the one telling the successful Lord of the Rings director when to stop. There’s nothing wrong with a long movie – *Titanic* shows us how it’s done – but there wasn’t enough excitement or depth to fill out the running time. There is plenty of spectacle, and you can feel the loving hand behind this remake, but it’s basically a two hour film padded out to an excessive three. ‘Tis a pity, because this easily could have been an A film. But if it had been, there’d be no RunPee.
B-

Jurassic World movie references

jurrasic-worldNow that everyone has seen Jurassic World… You did see it, right? (It broke box office records so I’ll assume you did.) Let’s talk about the incredible number of movie references – some intentional, some perhaps not – in this movie.

Note: minor spoilers to follow.

Obviously the references to the original Jurassic Park were plentiful. Most are too obvious to point out, but a few worth mentioning:

  • A brief glimpse of a message – I can’t remember precisely what it said – on the rear-mounted video feed on the ball-pod that the brothers rode in was a reference to the view of the T-Rex in the side mirror with the message, “Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear.”
  • Claire using the flair to attract the T-Rex. Yes it’s obvious but worth mentioning.
  • A signpost pointing the way to the research center as a nod to the sign post that gets knocked down by Nedry when he’s trying to get away with the stolen eggs.

It would have been pure awesomeness if there were a scene with a half buried can of shaving cream in the ground. Who knows, maybe there was and someone will find it when the movie comes out of DVD.

As many references as there were to the original Jurassic Park there may have been more to random movies.

  • During the safety video by Jimmy Fallon he says, “For added protection each vehicle is surrounded by aluminum oxynitride glass, so tough it can stop a 50-caliber bullet.” Aluminum oxynitride is a real substance but such a specific mention in the movie must be a reference to Star Trek IV: The one with the Whales.
  • Remember the lab scene in Aliens where we see the face-huggers in those glass cylinders? The scene near the end of JW where Claire, Owen, and the brothers enter the research lab at the end of the movie is very similar with those vertebral columns in the glass cylinders and then they look at the reptiles under in the terrariums.
  • The scene where Claire’s assistant gets munched on by the birds, and then eaten by the Mosasauraus, is reminiscent of Jaws – I would wager this is just coincidental, but who knows since Spielberg directed Jurassic Park and Jaws.
  • The scene of the raptors chasing the vehicle driven by Claire near the end of the movie is quite similar to the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the nazis on motorcycles are chasing after the truck driven by Indy. Claire even sideswipes one of the raptors sending it crashing off the side of the road, just like Indy did to a motorcycle.

Did you notice any movie references that I missed?

Peetimes for THE APOCALYPSE

No one wants to get caught with their pants down in the middle of an apocalypse. Here is a region-by-region breakdown of the disaster you can expect and best times to take care of important biological necessities. For most of you it will be your last Peetime. Make it count!

New Zealand
If you live on the North Island you should RunPee between 6:00 and 6:30 PM, right before Smaug awakens. After that you should find the nearest deep dark hole and crawl in. The problem is that all the deep dark holes will be filled with orcs and balrogs. It’s going to be a long night. Or more likely a short one for most of you Kiwis.

If you’re on the South Island you have a few extra hours to enjoy life until Smaug makes his way to you.

United States – Los Angeles
The Space Shuttle Endeavor, now located at the California Science Center downtown, is scheduled to fly a select few celebrities to the International Space Station at 11:00 AM.  If you are one of the privileged few please be sure to run and pee before 10:00 AM, as peeing is its own “endeavor” in space. ( Reminder to Lindsay Lohan, you are NOT on the list, please stop insisting you are. )

Nearby, at the Staples Center, the Lakers, Clippers and Sparks can safely pee between noon and 3:00 PM, as zombies will be devouring numerous Dodger-dogs along with the actual Dodger players during this time. If you are being chased by Dwight Howard Zombie then you should seek shelter at the nearest free-throw line because even as a zombie DH12 will be too frightened to come near that area.

The zombie outbreak will begin at LAX in the early morning hours and proceed to spread up and down the coast. Those in the San Fernando Valley should be safe from the zombie outbreak because anyone from the coastal areas of LA who is turned into a zombie would consider it extremely poor taste to eat people in the Inland Empire.

The zombie hoard will be in full force by mid day. If you need to pee afterward you should wait until 4:00 – 6:00 PM as most zombies will be caught in traffic on the 405.

[ Special thanks to Shanee Edwards, freelance screenwriter and movie reviewer for SheKnows.com ]

Fox TV Studios, Century City, Los Angeles ( You have to be a *Firefly* fan to get this. )
All the CEOs at Fox TV Studios should barricade themselves in the executive restrooms. It won’t do any good but at least you’ll have a place to pee until the Reavers break through and rape you to death, eat your flesh, and sew your skins into their clothing. And if you’re very, very, lucky, they’ll do it in that order.

United States – Washington DC
At 2:15 PM Eastern Time every lobbyist will spontaneously shed their external human appearance and you will be able to see their true form: large slimy creatures oozing a fetid smelling green puss from every orifice. The good news is that the aliens will be recalled to their home planet immediately after revealing their true form. Every politician should make sure they run and pee before the reveal because once the lobbyist/aliens are gone you won’t be left with a pot to piss in.

United States – Middle America
The Yellowstone super-volcano will erupt at 9:19 AM local time. Everyone in middle America should seek shelter in a sturdy building and wait for the shock-wave to pass. Once that happens you’ll have plenty of time to run and pee before you’re under 20 feet of ash and unable to open the front door.

Australia
You know all those amazingly poisonous snakes and spiders in Australia? Sorry to be the one to tell you this but Friday afternoon around 4:30 PM ( Sydney time ) they will all suddenly mutate and become about 100-times bigger. You should make sure you run and pee before 4:30 because after that the running part won’t be a problem but stopping to pee will be.

Japan
Godzilla will emerge from Tokyo Bay around 3:15 PM local time. You probably already know the drill. Make sure you run and pee before he arrives in your area. Remember to avoid skyscrapers, power plants and especially elevated trains. Apparently a train full of people is like a cream filled Twinkie to Godzilla.

Western Europe
The Large Hadron Collider collapses into a singularity taking all of Western Europe with it at 9:41 AM. There’s no point in bothering to run and pee beforehand. You’re bladder is going to be infinitely small and infinitely dense either way.

Mexico
Rival drug gangs will ravish the cities and countryside. In other words it’s another average day. You should already know the typical schedule of gunfights in your area so make use of that knowledge to find your own best peetimes.

Africa
You’ve suffered enough. You don’t get the apocalypse.

There are no extra scenes at the end of the apocalypse.

What a difference a TODAY makes

Yesterday ( December 19th, 2012 ) on the morning news TODAY Show Jenna Wolfe ( @JennaWolf ) had a short 3 minute segment talking about the trend for very long movies. You can see the video below. At the end of the segment Jenna mentions the RunPee app as a solution to the problem of needing to pee during the movie.

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What does that sort of publicity do for the RunPee app? Of course it’s difficult to say precisely but there’s no doubt that it provided a huge spike in downloads.

Here’s what the downloads on iOS looked like before the segment.

Before the TODAY Show

Before the TODAY Show

And here’s what the downloads looked like after the show.

After the TODAY Show

After the TODAY Show

It’s hard to read but that’s a 914% increase over the previous Wednesday. To be fair that can’t all be attributed to the TODAY Show. Since The Hobbit has come out app downloads have been running a bit higher than normal. But I think it’s safe to say that the publicity added at least 1,000 downloads to the norm.

Android downloads run consistently at about 10% of iOS downloads. Why? I have no idea. There are more Android devices out there so you would think that Android downloads would be higher. Apparently Androidians are reluctant to download apps. If that every equalizes then I stand to see a huge push in download numbers.

At any rate I made over $1,000 from the RunPee app yesterday – after Apple and Google get their 30%. Not bad for a day that I spend sitting in a theater re-watching The Hobbit in IMAX 3D.

Oh, and if Peter Jackson is reading this: Please keep making LONG movies! It really helps my app download numbers. 🙂

A Conversation with RunPee Fans

You know what I love about RunPee fans? They are so nuts about my wacky app. I think everyone can agree that it’s about the most bizarre, some say genius, idea to come along in a long time. And some fans, some call them fanatics, just love to hoot and holler about it. And to you fans I am eternally grateful. The app is free and is basically a money losing business when you consider all of the money I spend on movie tickets. But it’s a labor of love to be able to give something to so many people. And who knows, maybe some day RunPee will earn its keep.

Speaking of fanatics. Here’s an example of a conversation I had with a couple of young ladies who discovered the RunPee app this weekend.

Acting All-Stars with Business Backgrounds

Not every movie star only has good lucks and a low IQ. In fact, most are incredibly smart, and those we hear of frequently enough to dub “celebrities” have learned to properly manage themselves and their careers to stay on top. The study of business has proven to be incredibly beneficial to many actors and actresses, and although many obtained these degrees decades ago, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few up-and-comings pursuing business through the University of Phoenix online. Even if you want to pursue acting, you should consider also getting an online mba. Learning the ins and outs of business never hurt anyone, and it definitely benefited the following actors:

Clint Eastwood

Eastwood’s education in business could be a partial cause for his mogul status. In addition to acting, Eastwood has written, directed, and produced numerous films which have allowed him to become one of the most recognized names in Hollywood. Million Dollar Baby and Dirty Harry are just a couple of his renowned films, and although he may not have completed his business degree, we can definitely say that the little education he did receive definitely paid off.

Kevin Costner

Tin Cup, WaterWorld, Dances with Wolves, what excellent movie hasn’t Kevin Costner been in? Not only has Kevin Costner had many great successes throughout his career, but he has also had a long one which may be in part to him being more business oriented. Costner holds a degree in business from California State Univeristy and even spent a few weeks as a marketing director.

Cate Blanchett

Even actors from across the Pacific have chosen to pursue more business minded endeavors in conjunction with their acting studies. Cate Blanchett who has starred in movies such as Notes on a Scandal and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, first became acquainted with acting at the Methodist Ladies’ College; however chose to pursue Economics while she attended the University of Melbourne. It wasn’t until after she graduated, that Cate decided to attend the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney.

Benicio del Toro

Pursuing higher education definitely paid off for this actor. Benicio del Toro has won multiple awards including an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, and has landed rolls in cult classics such as The Usual Suspects and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Originally he enrolled in the University of California – San Diego as a business student only later to pursue acting courses.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

This may come as a surprise, but Mr. Schwarzenegger holds a degree in Business and International Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. In addition to rocking out rolls in high action movies such as Terminator, Schwarzenegger’s business side has actually paid off co-opening Planet Hollywood with Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, and Sylvester Stallone, and using it to help him run California as Governor.

Android/iPhone apps

Get the RunPee mobile app for Android, iOS, or Windows7 mobile.

RunPee on Android RunPee on iOS RunPee on Windows Mobile 7

The RunPee app does much, much, more than just tell you the best time to run and pee without missing anything. You’ll also be able to:

  • Constantly be updated with Peetimes for the latest movies. (Updated every Friday afternoon, and often Thursday nights.)
  • Use our Built in Timer that gives you vibration alerts when Peetimes are coming up.
  • Discover if there’s anything after the end credits – a favorite bonus!
  • Use the Running Late feature, where we describe the 1st three minutes of the film.
  • Read our own movie reviews.
  • Get the latest critic and audience scores from RottenTomatoes.com
  • Read movie details on IMDb.com.
  • Post a movie review to Twitter without typing anything.
  • See 3D ratings by other RunPee users.
  • Quick and easy check-in with your friends on Twitter or Facebook.