Stuber vs Uber – Welcome to the Ratings Game, in Real Life

stuber movie dave bautista
You WILL drive Drax the Destroyer anywhere he wants to go.

Well, it’s official. We’ve had an action movie about Uber driving. I suppose the next film will be a thriller about a couple in for trouble at an Air BnB. 🙂

It’s a sign of the times for sure. I’ve been using Uber almost exclusively to get to movies for RunPee every week for more than a year, and I think I know the system pretty well. However, there’s always new things to learn about being a good Uber passenger, and interesting ways drivers try to earn a coveted five star rating.

In Stuber, an Uber driver named Stu is essentially kidnapped by a policeman to drive him around to crime scenes and…ahem…learn to shoot at perps. I won’t give any more away, but it’s kind of a fun film, if a bit surreal. I mean, why doesn’t Stu just get out of there? It’s his (leased) car. And Stuber’s an action film…so do you think his nice electric Uber vehicle will get munched? You can answer this if you’ve ever seen an action flick. I think the police force owes him big time.

Furthermore, poor Stu has his precious rating held over his head if he won’t drive Dave Bautista to dangerous stakeouts. The police will owe him for his livelihood too, I think, by the end of the film.

I have to say, I really feel for these Uber drivers in real life. Did you know they get summarily FIRED if their rating drops below 4.5? I think that’s insane. Let me explain.

I used to review for Amazon Vine and reached the Top 250 Reviewer level. That takes some work.

My system for rating Amazon items was like this:

Five Stars: An outstanding product in almost every way

Four Stars: A great product I could recommend, with a few caveats

Three Stars: A good product, average

Two Stars: The item is fair, but isn’t awful, buy with caution

One Star: Poor Product, awful, don’t buy

By this system, roughly correlating to an A, B, C, D, and F, my readers could trust I was giving a thoughtful, critical review. However, in Uber-land, a 4 star rating is considered a fail. This doesn’t make any sense to me.

Rating Uber Drivers – why you should care that this sucks

Should I give an Uber driver 5 stars just because they didn’t kill me on the road? Apparently, the answer is yes. By my standards, I was getting people fired by rating them 4 stars. I only learned this recently. I find this astonishing.

Let’s look at movies. I review hundreds of movies for RunPee and use the same rating system I gave above for Amazon products. I’m not going to give an A to every film that made it to the end without being dreadful. Would you? I wouldn’t trust a reviewer who couldn’t critique freely.

But with the new economy, you’re a bad consumer if you don’t automatically give five stars to your Uber driver. And after talking to a lot of drivers, and after watching Stuber, I now understand what kind of pressure they’re under.

(BTW, to get another look at how terrible the tyranny of this rating system is, watch Black Mirror’s Nosedive episode. We’re on our way there now. If our “personal rating” falls under the four star level, we won’t even get basic human services…but that’s another article. Just watch Nosedive: trust. It’s on Amazon. And I’m not paid to tell you that.)

So how do drivers try to get a consistent 5 Star Rating?

In Stuber, Stu has a vanity plate reading FiveStar. He goes out of his way to provide the best level of service. He’s got free bottles of water and classy chocolates, offers musical choices, arranges the car temperatures, and tries to make pleasant conversation with every passenger. People crowd into his car, make him wait while they do errands, vomit on his seats when drunk, and say offensive things. Apparently, a lot of people are entitled jerks. I’ve talked to enough Uber drivers to get an idea about the reality they face.

And although I’ve been offered water bottles, gum, and lifesavers, I’ve never seen a driver with chocolates, or had anyone offer to change their music station. As a rational person, I don’t expect these things. (I did get some beads over mardi-gras season. Which was totally cool.)

These are the things I’ve learned being an Uber passenger:

  • Never fiddle with someone’s stereo/heat/mirror settings, or use their sockets to charge your phone without asking.
  • Don’t leave garbage.
  • Don’t eat or drink in their car.
  • If you want to chat with the driver, sit in the front. If you want to be silent and use your phone, sit in the back. (I’ll admit I sit in the front all the time and don’t want to talk. Somehow I can’t change this. I hate the back seat — to me that’s where children sit. But I don’t want to talk either. This is my problem, but now I know it exists. I’ve had some very interesting conversations sitting up front.)
  • If you’re at the airport, the ride is going to cost more (airports have fees). This sucks, but it’s still cheaper than a taxi. That said, be careful with your luggage. The drivers are using their own cars and you don’t want to scratch up their backseats or trunks.
  • The drivers will pick you up if you’re intoxicated, which is great for keeping drunks off the road. But. If you think you’re going to vomit, tell them to pull over. Please don’t ever puke in someone’s private car.
  • If you choose Uber Pool, that means others will get in the car with you, you might get dropped off last, and the ride might go far away from your destination to get you home. That’s why it’s the cheaper option.

The Most Important Advice

  • As Wil Wheaton says as his internet motto: Don’t Be A Dick. He used to be Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and he knows about dick behavior. Just be nice, or at least quiet, on your ride. Then go for a solid run or play a video game later to work off your frustrations. This is a good lesson for life.  🙂

The Tyranny of The Ratings Game

FYI: If you’re a bad passenger, you will get a bad ‘rider’ rating. Enough of these can get you turned down for pickups, but this doesn’t really equate to getting no rides, since if a driver turns down enough riders, they get censured. So, you’re going to get a ride almost no matter what. Really, the power is all in the hands of the rider, for better or worse.

I’ll freely admit I think this demand economy is problematic. It’s too easy to hold the fear of a bad rating over someone’s head to demand concessions and freebies, and get away with generally obnoxious behavior.

After ten years of running RunPee — a highly popular, world-renowned movie app — we’ve seen firsthand how personally frustrating it can be to get a knee-jerk one-star rating from someone who never bothered to learn how our app works, or send a support email to have a question answered. Are you confused? Do you not like your service? Reach out and explain. You might be surprised by the human kindness you receive on the other end of your maturely worded email. (BTW, our contact info is support@runpee.com)

As for Uber, yes, sometimes things don’t go right. Your ride doesn’t show. You are too lost to explain where you are to the driver and the GPS is wonky. You miss your plane or get charged for a toll you didn’t plan for. I can tell you from experience that Uber will make it right and give you a little extra credit, if warranted. All you have to do is email customer service. They’re pretty responsive.

But what to do about Ratings?

Is the answer to give a 5 star rating to everything? No. I honestly think companies like Uber need to grow up and realize the equivalent of a B is a good grade, not a fail. Somehow, I’m supposed to give top marks to everyone who drives me from point A to point B without incident.

But, I don’t want to get Uber drivers fired, either. So the only kind thing is to give out all the stars, every time, unless a I have a damn good reason.

I’d love to tell Uber how unrealistic this all is, but this seems to be the way things are headed. In the meantime, I advise people to be considerate where they can, and follow customer service channels for complaints otherwise.

Rating Stuber, the Movie

And BTW: I have to give Stuber (the movie) a C+ rating…or maybe a B- if I’m feeling generous. And, yes I enjoyed it! It’s not a great film, but I smiled a few times and wasn’t bored. Does that mean it automatically gets an A grade?

Well, no. I don’t give out A ratings often. I save that for the likes of Titanic, Avatar, Jurassic Park, Into the Spider-Verse, or Avengers: Endgame. But in real life, it’s increasingly beholden on us to hand out the high scores for average service. I’ll be interested to see how this goes in the next decade.

What do you think? The comment section is below, and if you don’t give this article a 5 star rating, I promise I won’t be upset. 🙂

Movie Review – Stuber

FAQ – Peeple’s Poll

Your 20 big benefits to using the RunPee app

 

 

Movie Review – A Dog’s Journey – Manipulatively Emotional, But The Least Heart-Rending of the Dog Trilogy

Movie Review - A Dog's JourneyI’m relieved to say this heartrending three-movie schmaltz-fest is over. I did the Peetimes for each movie in the semi-trilogy, and was relieved that A Dog’s Journey made me cry the least. By which I mean I cried only three or four times, and these were little teary moments, not the big gulping ugly cries I endured in A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Way Home. (Links go to my reviews. Yes, I’m a masochist and saw all three.)

I was prepared, though. I brought tissues! This marks the first time in ten years of RunPee movie-going that I preemptively (one fan said I should call it ‘pee-emptively’) came prepared to cry. So, if you’re curious, YES, the dog dies in this movie.

Many times. Confused? Read on.

A Dog’s Purpose

In A Dog’s Purpose, Bailey the dog dies and reincarnates. A LOT. I cried a river for  about hours. It was brutal.

A Dog’s Way Home

In A Dog’s Way Home, it’s no longer about Bailey or reincarnation (it’s actually a remake of The Incredible Journey), but the film is considered Bailey-adjacent. Call it a Shared Universe.

That doesn’t let you off the emotional hook, though. All kinds of fresh torture awaits the sensitive dog lover, most tellingly in a devastating scene with Edward James Olmos as a homeless vet who dies alone in the wilderness…with the titular dog chained to his body, a few feet too far from the river to drink. FOR DAYS. Imagine taking your kids to this. Or rather, don’t.

There’s also a scene where the dog gets hit by a car trying to cross a busy freeway…and just lies there…consider this a PSA. I was twitching during that entire sequence, and I think everyone else was too. If you’re a sensitive sort, you can skip the middle movie entirely and just focus on Bailey’s bookend films.

A Dog’s Journey

Which brings us back to A Dog’s Journey. Or, rather, the end of his journey. I’m telling you these things so you’ll be prepared. This isn’t a spoiler — even under the best conditions, dogs don’t live much longer than a decade. This last flick returns to the theme of reincarnation, but somehow is a lot easier on the heart-strings overall. I have to wonder if writer W. Bruce Cameron took pity on his audience and eased up on the heartbreak on purpose.

Should you see a A Dog’s Journey?

Ultimately, A Dog’s Journey is actually a good movie to take your kids to (although you’ll have to explain a few things about dog souls and the Rainbow Bridge).

I’m pleased to say this film is a good evening out — more sentimental than sad. I don’t have a headache from crying, and feel reasonably stable. Can’t expect more than that, right? I mean, it’s a DOG MOVIE. Are there any movies about pets that aren’t tear-jerkers? Even John Wick lost it when his dog was [redacted]. Is it a cooincidence that John Wick Chapter 3 came out today as well…?

Overall, A Dog’s Journey was nicely filmed. The acting (aside from the reliable Quaid) wasn’t very exciting, but the movie is well paced, looks good, and delivers some affably low-key doggy humor. No canine actors were in mortal peril this time, unlike in the first film. The dogs do great work, especially “Molly” — but then, I have a soft spot for beagles.

If you love dogs — and why would you see this kind of thing if you don’t? — you’ll know you’re being emotionally manipulated, but the tale’s more sweet than tragic. Thankfully.

Grade: B-

PS: As per your requests, we are adding an Alert Warning to the Peetimes this film on the RunPee app re: traumatizing dog moments. (But at this point we’re pretty sure you know this about W. Bruce Cameron and his canine oeuvre. This film is the gentlest of the three. Relatively speaking.)

About The Peetimes: This was a fairly simple film to get Peetimes for. Here are 3 evenly spaced Peetimes that don’t feature any big emotional moments or plot points.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of A Dog’s Journey. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for thematic content, some peril and rude humor
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Is A Dog’s Way Home a Sequel to A Dog’s Purpose?

Movie Review – A Dog’s Purpose

Movie Review – A Dog’s Way Home

Avoiding Endgame Spoilers – Your #AES Mission

THE ENDGAME IS NIGH
THE ENDGAME IS NIGH!

Many of you have your tickets for the Thursday (April 25th) evening premier of Avengers Endgame at 6:00 pm Eastern Time, or at least only a few hours later.  You can’t wait to see the movie opening night, plus you don’t want to worry about getting spoiled by those who see the movie before you.

Good job! You have successfully completed your #AES  (Avengers Endgame Spoilers) mission. But…you’re still not out of the woods.

BREAKING NEWS:
The Earth is round!

That means we have time zones, which means some countries will get to see Endgame before it opens in the USA. This is bad news for those of us living in America.

So, you’re still in danger of contracting #AES

To make matters worse, Endgame opens a few days earlier (on Tuesday, April 24th) in quite a few countries: Austria, Australia, Belgium, China, Colombia, Cyprus, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, South Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates.

I did a little quick math — and around a BILLION people live in countries where Avengers: Endgame opens on the 24th.

But it gets worse. Endgame opens in a bunch of other countries on Wednesday 25th.

With the exception of Russia, the USA will be the last country to premier Avengers Endgame to the public

If you live in the USA and want to avoid the barrage of spoilers bound to flood social media about Endgame, then I suggest taking a sabbatical from all social media and news coverage starting around Tuesday at noon, New Zealand North Island Time (8:00 PM Monday night on the USA east coast — or 5:00 pm US Pacific Time).

We will still have early Peetimes ready for Endgame on the RunPee app before the USA’s opening night. The film is over three hours long, and you’re going to want to pee at some point, no matter what MCU producer Kevin Feige says. Good luck, and don’t forget to have the RunPee app downloaded and ready before this crazy long Marvel Cinematic extravaganza begins playing at your film’s showing.

#SeeYouOnTheOtherSide

#ThanosStillDemandsYourSilence

#WhateverItTakes

Peetimes Coming for Avengers Endgame BEFORE OPENING NIGHT

Movie Spoiler Etiquette – For Avengers Endgame and Beyond

A Open Response to Kevin Feige (re: Using the Bathroom During Endgame)

Your 20 big benefits to using the RunPee app

 

Warning – Avengers Endgame is not going to be Peetime friendly

Avengers: Endagem-Hold The Spoilers
Did we say no spoilers?

You might be surprised to learn that finding Peetimes in a movie isn’t the hardest part of the RunPee job. Ofttimes we find great Peetimes but get stuck on picking out the best Peetime Cue: a brief line of dialog — or description of some action — that stands out to signify the beginning of a Peetime.

A good Cue might be: When Jack says, “Can I have the extra-spicy onions on my burger?”

It’s short, distinctive, and non-spoilery.

An example of a bad Cue would be: When Jack chokes to death on spicy onions. 

I don’t think I have to explain why we could never, ever, use a Cue like that.

HULK NO LIKE SPOILERS

There’s a lot of middle ground we struggle with, and try to find ways to describe the important, almighty Cue, without giving something away.

How we avoid spoilers in our Peetime Cues

Like in Avengers: Infinity War, one of the Cues is: Thanos says to *someone*, “I like you,” then vanishes. That *someone* was Star Lord, but if we used his name, you would have seen the Cue and thought to yourself, “Well great; I guess I know that Star Lord and Thanos meet at some point. Thanks for spoiling that.”

Later in the movie there was a great Cue: Black Panther says, “And get this man a shield.”

That line was delivered time and time again in the movie trailer, so you knew it was coming. It’s a great character payoff, with a multi-film buildup.

Now, that brings us to Avengers: Endgame. Right off the bat we know none of the Cues can start with: Spiderman says…

Spiderman got Snapped. Everyone presumes he’s going to be un-Snapped, somehow. But we don’t know for sure, and we don’t know when. So we can take his name, and everyone else who got Snapped, off the Cue list.

For that matter, we don’t know if Thor, Iron Man, Banner/Hulk, Captain, et al., will survive. Using their names in a Peetime Cue — at least after the midpoint of the movie– is problematic. We hear time and again from fans, begging them not to spoil anything. As big fans ourselves, we get it.

Whose Name can be used in a Peetime Cue?

At least we can assume Captain Marvel has a big part to play in the upcoming MCU movies, so I think her name is fair game. Beyond that, expect a lot of Cues that read something like: *Someone* says, “Hurry — throw me the sonic screwdriver.” And *Someone else* replies, “I got it, but the battery’s dead.” 🙂

If that wasn’t a big enough challenge, I admit it — finding good Peetimes in last year’s Avengers: Infinity War was no picnic. It was undoubtedly the hardest MCU movie to do Peetimes for so far, mostly because there were so many simultaneous story-lines to juggle.

Music montages are a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow for Peetimes, but I think we can safely assume there will be no music montages in Endgame, unless Star Lord hatches a plan to distract Thanos via dance-off at some point…Oh wait, Star Lord got snapped. Well, there goes that.

We will have Movie Pee Breaks before the opening night of Endgame

Rest assured, we’re going to make our best effort to find good times for you to make a pee break. Shanee Edwards, our Hollywood film critic, will provide us with Peetimes days prior to the public opening. She doesn’t do Peetimes for many movies, and she’ll be working alone, but she knows her stuff and will give everyone going to see the movie opening night something to work with.

Then we have four People, myself (Dan), Jill, RunPee Mom, and Vera, all seeing the movie opening night so we can collaborate on choosing the very best Peetimes. Friday morning we’re going back see the movie again so we can come home and polish the Peetimes until they shine like an Infinity Stone. Plus we’ll get Peetime feedback from Dana and Shani over the weekend.

I tell everyone who does Peetimes for RunPee: we’re only as good as our last Peetimes. That’s never been more true than when the fate of the universe is at stake.

#WhatEverItTakes

Did YOU Survive The Snap? You may as well get this over with…

A Open Response to Kevin Feige (re: Using the Bathroom During Endgame)

Avengers Infinity War – Whose Fault is the Snap?

Movie Spoiler Etiquette – For Avengers Endgame and Beyond

As #FirstWorldProblems go, this one is a biggie: don’t spoil an entertainment experience for others.

If you don’t watch a movie/TV show on opening night you’re taking a huge risk of being spoiled, due to the ubiquity of social media. There are two sides of this to consider: what responsibility lies with the person getting spoiled, and what responsibility lies with the person who does the spoiling?

The heartless person would say:

It’s all on you: if you don’t want to be spoiled, then watch it opening night, or crawl under a rock until you do.

But consider something like Avengers: Endgame. There simply aren’t enough theater seats for every fan to see the opening show, or possibly even on opening weekend at all. So at what point is it ethical for someone to tweet about the fate of our beloved characters?

Quick Aside on Analytics

Movie Opening
weekend %
Jurassic World 38%
Captain Marvel 36%
Infinity War 33%
Deadpool 2 31%
Ant-Man/Wasp 30%
Solo 25%
MI-Fallout 25%
Aquaman 23%
Black Panther 19%
Incredibles 16%

Here is a breakdown of the most popular movies in the RunPee database over the past year and what percentage of RunPee fans — we don’t have users — saw the movie on the opening weekend of its release. (I would project that #AvengersEndgame is going to break 40%.)

Each person has to decide for themselves when it’s appropriate to share spoilers. I would urge restraint. It’s easy enough to express excitement at the outcome without revealing critical spoilers, at least for a few days.

But you really want to share your excitement!

On the other hand, it’s exciting to share this experience as soon as possible, with as many people as possible.  No one is going to see the public premier of  #AvengersEndgame by accident.  Everyone who got tickets had to go out of their way to know when tickets went on sale and planned everything so they could be there. Why should they then sacrifice their excitement for those who clearly don’t want it as much? Now those who aren’t there opening night are spoiling the fun of those who are.

I’ll be there opening night — it’s my job — and I feel the same urge to express my excitement for the outcome. However, I want to respect those who can’t see it opening night.

With that in mind I offer this pledge:

Let’s be fair, the gloves come off once the work week starts after opening weekend. You want to be able to go to work and discuss the outcome with your co-workers, friends, whoever, without worrying about someone in earshot getting upset about being spoiled.

(Although please don’t start a conversation with: can you believe *character name* died? First, ask if they’ve seen Endgame.)

It would be disrespectful of someone to expect you and your friends to contain your excitement for their sake. At this point they should be wearing noise canceling headphones if they care enough about being spoiled, but couldn’t see Endgame on opening weekend.

I would love to hear what you think. Share your thoughts in the comments down below or on Twitter.

Peetimes Coming for Avengers Endgame BEFORE OPENING NIGHT

Avengers Endgame Tickets Selling for $9,199 on Ebay as MCU Fans Lose Their Minds

Spoiler Avoidance Strategies If You Can’t See Endgame Opening Night

Your 20 big benefits to using the RunPee app

By now you’ve heard RunPee tells you when to hit the toilet during the movies so you don’t miss the most important scenes, but you probably haven’t sat down and thought about the wealth of benefits and treats RunPee gives you — the enthusiastic movie-goer. Here are all the goodies you should know to make the best use of the world’s most indispensable movie app:

  1. All the Peetimes to make certain you never miss a crucial movie moment, reveal, or best scene, ever again.
  2. Read the scene you’re missing as you take a Peetime. Our synopses are short and sweet and get you up to speed. You will never feel lost when you get back to your seat again.
  3. The Built In Timer vibrates quietly in your lap before your Cue to get up and go, so no one else in the theater ever gets disturbed.RunPee Timer
  4. Drink all the sodas, beers, wine, cocktails you like, and your bladder will thank you for it.
  5. You can run to the concession stand for lots of food during any Peetime, without waiting in annoying or long lines.
  6. Don’t sit through the credits for no reason if there’s nothing to see.  Go home with confidence with our Anything Extra section. On the other hand, never miss an extra scene, moment, dedication, or movie tidbit again, if there is one. RunPee will tell you when the Extra scene is, how long it lasts, and our advice on whether to wait for it or not…all without giving away spoilers.
  7. If you come in late to the film, our Running Late benefit will tell you what happened in the first three minutes. WHEW. Now you can breathe and relax.
  8. Our Peetime Meta details give you a choice of what kind of scenes to miss – a talking moment, a bit of non-crucial action, a musical montage of time passing, or a transition scene. You choose.
  9. We give you — depending on how long the film is — 2-4 Peetimes to choose from,  so there will always a Peetime you can tell your bladder to wait for. We try to have Peetimes spread out within half-hour increments.
  10. Our #MovieMeme play area lets you be creative with your favorite films. Make your own art on top of any movie poster in our gallery. Draw or say anything you like on it, using your own finger as a brush, and share your fun art with the world.MovieMeme
  11. Our Peeple’s Poll lets you rate a movie twice — on your expectations before the movie, and your thoughts after. You can also choose to compare other Peeples’s votes based on a similar age range and gender. There is no poll like this anywhere else.Peeple's Poll results for Captain Marvel
  12. Vote in the 3D Poll to let other Peeple know if it’s worth spending the extra cash on those 3D glasses. Or look to see if others think you should bother with it. This is a big money saver right there that can pay for the Infinity Peecoin right there.
    Located at the very bottom of the Movie Info screen.
  13. Speaking of the Infinity Peecoin, you can choose how to use your app — free by watching short video ads, for ten cents a movie to buy Peecoins, or make a one-time lifetime expense for the Infinity Peecoin.
  14. If you do watch the free ads, you can do it all at once and BANK your Peecoins away for later use. Never run out of Peecoins right before a feature film begins.
  15. Rate and share your movie grade with actual movie poster artwork, using your choice from a large assortment of icons. Is your movie worth 4 out of 5 Groots? 5 of 5 Deadpools? RunPee makes it easy to have fun sharing your opinion with your friends.
  16. Read our comprehensive, personable movie reviews, written in-house by the members of the RunPee Family after we see the film.
  17. Check out the (literally) thousands of movie and entertainment articles published, all created by us, on the RunPee blog. You could spend days in there, enjoying the posts written by and for the movie-lover.
  18. Enjoy our immense archive of movie Peetimes, with thousands of movies going back 10 years — along with some older classics — for your curiosity and enjoyment.
  19. Get Alert Peetimes in movies with unexpectedly graphic scenes of violence, animal abuse, torture, or over-the-top gore. alert peetime
  20. Get the BEST one on one customer service on the planet for your app. If you contact support@runpee.com, we give you a speedy reply based on your actual needs, and not some form letter. Contact us anytime with any advice, critiques, comments, or questions. We want to do everything we can to make your RunPee app the best thing you’ve ever downloaded.

AND…here’s a bonus benefit:

21. Know you’re helping a small family-run business grow. This is RunPee’s 10th Anniversary as an app, and we thank YOU for being part of our extended RunPee Family. A lot of you have been with us from the beginning, and seen how we’ve adapted and improved over the years, largely through your suggestions. Thank you for telling everyone about us, and for all you newbies being willing to take on a new app movie-going phone app. We would not exist without you. (Many hugs!)RunPee Family

….Catch us also on Facebook and Twitter

Learn More About The RunPee App

 

 

Did YOU Survive The Snap? You may as well get this over with…

Thanos Snap

It’s been a year ago now, at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. Almost as soon as Thanos got his “mitts” on every stone for the The Infinity Gauntlet, he snapped his giant purple fingers and snuffed out half of all living beings in the universe — people both  good and bad, rich and poor, young or old, in a process utterly random and without distinction, race, worthiness — anything. In fact, you are probably dead.

I, for one, AM dead. Gone: snuffed away, dust. My cold, grim, no nonsense message:

“You were slain by Thanos, for the good of the Universe.”

The Snap. 50-50 odds. Now it’s your turn to find out once and for all.

Want to know if YOU survived The Snap? This one little unadorned link will tell you, for good or ill.

Did Thanos Kill Me?

Go ahead. Click the purple link.

But once you know, it’s permanent. No matter how many times I try this site, they still tell me I’m ashes. They remember.

You may as well take a deep breath and know. If you’re dead, like me, our only hope is the Avengers  — and Captain Marvel — can bring us back on April 26th, the opening night of Avengers: Endgame.  At least RunPee will have Peetimes ready to go, so if you’re still alive, the three-hour runtime won’t make your survivor’s guilt worse.  🙂

#AvengeTheFallen

#WhateverItTakes

Movie Review – Avengers Infinity War – An Unrivaled Marvel Epic

Avengers Infinity War – what does the post credit scene mean?

Movie Review – Captain Marvel – A Pretty Good Origin Story

Help for Over Active Bladders – Soft Implants & The RunPee Movie App

man and woman international toilet sign
RunPee to the rescue for bladders everywhere.

An estimated 33 million people suffer from Over Active Bladder. This very annoying condition can be caused by a urinary tract infection, diabetes, or who knows what. Some of the medications for Over Active Bladder (OAB) can leave you with:

  • a dry mouth,
  • elevated blood pressure,
  • dizziness,
  • and once again, who knows what.

The symptoms of OAB are often times repeated by OAB medication.  Looks kind of bleak, doesn’t it?

Help for Over Active Bladder Via Implants

But there’s hope: a new, soft wireless implant may someday help people who suffer from OAB get through the day with fewer bathroom breaks. Here’s how — the implant harnesses a technique for controlling cells with light, known as optogenetics, to regulate nerve cells in the bladder. To control nerve cells with the light, researchers injected a harmless virus carrying genetic instructions for bladder nerve cells to produce a light-activated protein called archaerhodopsin 3.0, or ARCH. A stretchy sensor wrapped around the bladder tracts the wearer’s urination habits, and the implant wirelessly sends that information to a program on a tablet computer.

If the program detects the user going to the bathroom at least three times an hour, it tells the implant to turn on a pair of tiny LEDs. The green glow of the lights activates the light-sensitive ARCH proteins in the bladder’s nerve cells, preventing the cells from sending so many full-bladder warnings to the brain. Don’t smirk — it worked on rats!

It does sound very sci-fi, but you know, at one time the cell phone was very, very sci-fi. 🙂

The RunPee App is an Alternative for Managing Over Active Bladders at the Movies

So, if having tiny LEDs in your bladder sounds scary, the RunPee app is another thing you can try, at least while at the movies.

Say you’ve had that giant soft drink, just waiting to interfere with your movie-viewing pleasure. The RunPee app will quietly vibrate in your lap several times over the course of your movie, letting you know the best times to get up and head to the bathroom. RunPee has Peetimes for every wide release movie shown in the last ten years, and new movie Peetimes are added every week on opening night.

Download the RunPee app available at the Play Store (you get some free Peecoins to try the app out at a few films to get you started), and you’ll never have to miss the really great movie scenes — like “Luke, I Am Your Father.” No wires attached! At over a million downloads, RunPee has become a favorite app for movie-goers world-wide. (Literally. We don’t think there’s a single country that hasn’t seen use!) RunPee won’t fix your bladder, or your OAB, but we’ve heard from many grateful users how it brought the gift of movie-going back into their lives.

More Movie and Health Updates from RunPee

The Ten Types of People you’ll see Using RunPee

How RunPee Makes Memorable Cues For Peetimes & Movie Breaks

Avoid Getting Lice At The Movies (a personal story and a PSA)

Got Lice from Movies & Theater Seats? Steps To Get Rid of Your Lice

lice and nits on a lice comb
Lice looking like rice in a comb of nastiness.

I wrote an article about how I, an adult avid movie-goer for RunPee.com, got a gross, itchy, rashy head of lice and nits from my local AMC movie theater. My theater is normally a spotless establishment, but since a lice epidemic has taken the nation, all I can say is: pests happen. People are turning to the internet to 1. Avoid getting Lice 2. Test for Lice, and 3. Get Rid of Lice.

My prior article discusses how to avoid getting lice now and forever. This post tells you what to do if you’ve found those nasty critters and their eggs making a home on your head. (A follow-up article will report on my de-lousing process, and the results of my steps to never again donate blood to these tiny bloodsucking scalp tenants.)

Lice comb and lice head spray
You need something like this. (Photo by Target)

None of these steps are hard, so don’t panic! I’ll walk you through my experience.

WHat YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LICE, AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT:
  1. Lice and nits look like tiny oval round specks. You need a specialized comb to really see them and determine they aren’t dandruff. Comb from your hair roots in the back of your neck, and them  look at the comb. If you’ve got them, you’ll see the nastiness all over the comb’s teeth. Ugh.
  2. You have lice? Nice! Welcome to the club. Now you need to go online or to your doctor, and get de-loused. You might need more than one treatment.
  3. Keep checking every few weeks to ensure some old eggs haven’t repopulated your head. One nit can grow up to breed thousands of yucky little children.
  4. Lice Free? YAY! Now take some precautions for the future. I’ve been reading up about the movie seats, and this seems to make the most sense: have a clean towel each time you go, and lay it over the headrest. If the seats are solid (not plush), you can wipe the headrests down with Clorox wipes (cheap at Walmart or on Amazon).
  5. So that’s why you need the towel. This is probably one of the reasons the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy says to always travel with a towel. Use a clean one each time you head out, then sterilize that in a hot, hot dryer cycle. Or put it outside for three days.  Make it four days if you’re extra nervous.
  6. Also, put your hair up, and put on a special movie cap, or wrap your hair up in a scarf. You want to make sure your hair never again touches the seat back. That’s not hard to handle if you get into the habit. Be careful out there. 😉
  7. This advice should apply to airplane seat backs as well, trains and planes, or any place chairs are used communally, like Uber cars. Don’t be paranoid, but don’t take it lightly. You don’t want to deal with this particular parasitical problem more than once.
  8. If you’re a parent, none of this should be news to you. I remember catching lice one year at summer camp, and my mother combed my hair patiently for hours.  I actually treasure that memory. Like the Great Apes we are, humans find grooming each other soothing.
  9. Heed this message.  Lice are out there and want to make buggy love on your head. I’m 50 years old and never imaged my neck rash would be from lice, a children’s ailment. I guess you never get too old to host a happy head farm.
  10. OMG, I just saw a photo of someone having lice on their eyelashes.  Seriously. It makes me wonder about other hair zones…OK, maybe lice paranoia is a good thing.
combing out the lice and nits
Do this. Comb, comb, comb, then use a toxin made for hair to kill what’s left.

Next up: how my de-lousing treatment went and my (hopefully) lice-free results. Stay tuned for live action details. (It’s not like I can stop going to the theater with my job of seeing movies every week to get Peetimes. Call me motivated!)

Avoid Getting Lice At The Movies (a personal story and a PSA)

Avoid Getting Lice At The Movies (a personal story and a PSA)

Enjoy your little head friends
Lice aren’t nice.

This should be a little embarrassing: I’m a grownup after all. But I caught lice at the movies. I don’t feel weird about it – in fact I’m actually glad to know why this rash on my neck wouldn’t go away. This is treatable with a $12 lice-killer from Amazon. There are far more difficult things to handle in life.

But nobody WANTS lice. They are  gross little bloodsucking creatures that live on your head and lay eggs in your hair. I’ve been a walking buffet for them for some time now and it’s going to stop. No more free rides, you little nits! You hear me? #GETOFFMYLAWN

Consider this a Public Service Announcement. I’ve been asking people what they think of the itchy rash on my neck, and they told me they heard about this “lousey” (ha ha) situation at the cinema. I don’t have any kids around to catch it from, but I do go to the movies at least once a week for Peetimes. The news shows picked up on this minor national calamity, saying there’s a lice epidemic from movie theaters.

one big louse, up close
Now I have to use eye bleach so I won’t see this again.

So, I got a lice comb from Rite Aid, and guess what? My head is teeming with vermin. You can’t wash them out, because the eggs stick to hair, hatch, and make your head in to a new casa de ranchero. Fun times.

I’m waiting for the mail to arrive with my de-lousing treatment, and getting ready to wash and dry everything I’ve worn or slept in all month (using the hottest temperature setting!).

And something you should know: lice can’t live away from a host’s body for more than three days. So you don’t have to chuck the things you can’t wash. Just put them in a bag outside for a few days. This link from the Mayo Clinic will tell you everything you need to know about lice, lice, and more lice.

I’ll update you on how evicting my tiny tenants goes.

In the meantime, I’m wrapping my head in a scarf and bringing a fresh towel to the movie theater, for two reasons: 1. I don’t want to pass my personal pests onto anyone else, and 2. I need to get into the habit of taking precautions at the moves to avoid donating future blood to bodily parasites.

Got Lice?

My easy list of steps will walk you through the de-lousing procedure. If you’re lice-free, be careful at the cinema, and keep checking every few weeks.

Have you ever picked up lice at the movies? Are you brave enough to tell your story? Tell us in the comments section below!

Got Lice from Movies & Theater Seats? Steps To Get Rid of Your Lice