You Should Be Watching: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

John Oliver’s HBO hit show is both consistently funny and informative.

One fun thing I plan to do from time to time, is offer up a suggestion of something that I personally think you should be watching.  And by “you” I mean ALL of “you.”

To kick things off, I offer up one of the best shows on TV right now: the consistently funny and thought-provoking Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

There really isn’t a show on the air right now that manages to both entertain and inform, week in and week out. Each week, John Oliver updates the world (via both his HBO show, and the incredibly viral segments later posted online) on events from across the globe, from international news regarding a country few people have ever heard of, to biting commentary on the most famous domestic stories currently happening.

Even that paragraph completely sells the show short, as Oliver has shown himself adept at balancing both ratings-boosting topics like current political climate or the military actions of Russia and North Korea, with lesser known topics like net neutrality and standardized testing. His ability to make all of these topics both relatable and entertaining has shown how creative the show really is.

If you want to just get a quick taste of the show’s brilliance, check out any number of their segments available through the Last Week Tonight YouTube Channel. For instance, one of my personal favorites, Oliver’s takedown of FIFA and the World Cup:

If you’re not watching yet, do yourself a favor and start now. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver airs Sundays at 11:oopm ET on HBO, or anytime through the HBOGO app or On-Demand with HBONow.

The Movie Hop app makes planning your movie day easier than ever.

A new app may change how you make your movie plans.

Like many of you, I’m an extreme movie nerd.  Having a wife and two kids occasionally puts a halt in my movie marathoning activities, but luckily I’ve slowly turned them into movie geeks as well.  Planning out an all day marathon comes with a certain level of difficulty, unless some blessed theater (much love, Alamo) schedules a themed marathon. But for most of us, we tend to plan marathons around whatever movies are out that we want to see, which doesn’t lend itself to a themed day of movies. Thus, many of us were left to use the internet/apps/etc to plan out how to squeeze in a day’s worth of movies easily. Thankfully, it appears there may be an easier solution with a new Android app called, The Movie Hop.

“I started this app because I love movies and I’d spend lots of time at the theater,” says the app’s creator. “My cousin and I would always go movie hopping and it became a tradition. Since he passed away, it’s been one of those things that I hold close to my heart because it’s something we did together. He would always make me do the scheduling cause I was better at it, spending almost 30 minutes sometimes coming up with a plan at the movies. So this is where the idea for the app came from. Basically, it makes it easier. I don’t movie hop often, but I now have this tool to make it simple for me when I do.”

The basics of the app are pretty simple: The Movie Hop makes planning a day at the movies easy, by saving you time and effort when planning to watch multiple movies. Enter which movies you want to watch (up to 5) and The Movie Hop calculates for you all possible movie combinations, giving you the option to choose from the one that works best for you. Each combination conveniently includes the total wait time between movies and total time spent at the theater. The full list of features includes:

– Hop up to five movies
– Plan two days in advance
– Multiple movie combinations
– Share movie plans with friends
– Wait time and total time at the movies
– Support for all zip codes and theaters in the USA
– Up to date movies and movie times
– Ad-free

Simply enter your zip code and the time you want to be at the theater. Next, choose from the list of theaters nearby and select up to 5 movies you want to see. Once you select your movies, The Movie Hop calculates which movie combinations are available to you. All that’s left for you to do is decide which combination is best for you, based on start and end times, wait times between movies, and total time spent at the theater.

Since I’m a hardcore IOS user (plans for an Apple Store version are in the works), I’m not able to test out the app, so I’m going to let a few of you take a crack at it.  Head over to the Geek Commander page on Facebook, where we’re giving away 5 free credits to download the app for free on your Android device.  If you end up downloading the app and testing it out, we’d love to hear what you think.

Click here to download the app from the Android store.

How To Ship Flat: A Handy Guide to Shipping Prints and Art (8×10 or smaller)

“The package has arrived, gentlemen.” – The Usual Suspects (1995)

As an art collector, I both purchase and occasionally sell art. One of the aspects I take seriously as both a buyer and seller, is the way items are shipped.  It’s no secret that any carrier you select isn’t handling your items with white glove service, unless of course you’re paying an extremely large amount of money for said service.

I always want any item I send, regardless of price or value, to arrive safely to the recipient with as little hassle as possible. Getting it done in a cost-effective manner is a nice bonus.  So after years of practice and perfecting my methods, I decided to write up a quick, simple, safe, and cost-effective way to ship out a specific type of art: prints and/or originals, sized 8×10 or smaller.

So, here we go…..


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You’ll need the four things listed above:

(1) Masonite: You can buy 4’x8’sheets of this at Home Depot inexpensively, and they’ll cut it down for you for free. The size we’re using here is 9″x12″, which should allow you to get 40 pieces, if cut properly.

(2) Painter’s Tape: Just about any brand will work.  I prefer either Scotch, 3M, or Duct brands.  This tape works well because it’s made to stick, but not so much that it damages anything when removed.  Please to not use shipping tape or actual silver duct tape for this.

(3) Scissors: I would hope this doesn’t need an explanation, but you never know?  These are strictly for cutting the tape.

(4) Flat-Rate Padded Mailer: These are available free of charge, through USPS.com.  They can only be used for Flat-Rate Priority shipping, which is what we’ll be using.  With these padded mailers, you can ship items of any weight inside them for a flat rate  This helps us since Masonite is heavier than standard paper or cardboard. With the protection it provides however, this is definitely the way to go.  You can order packs of 10 or 15 mailers, with no limit, and have them delivered right to your home. Just be prepared to wait a few weeks for delivery.


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Any art that you send should always be in some sort of protector.  I cannot stress this enough.  I’ve received art before that was just placed into a standard mailer, and it’s infuriating. If you appreciate or respect the art, then show it. I spring for archival poly sleeves that you can get at pretty much any craft or hobby store. They have an adhesive strip on the back to allow you to seal it with the overlapping flap, so that the art is completely protected.

The Masonite pieces have two different sides.  One side is smooth, while the other has a rougher textured feel.  You can see in the photo above a closeup of the two sides.  Because any kind of texture will cause friction, you want to sandwich the art between the smoother sides, with the rougher textured sides forming the outside of your protector.

Although we’re using 9″x12″ Masonite sheets for this, you can use smaller if necessary for any reason.  Just make sure to leave yourself 1/4-1/2 inch on every side of the art for safety reasons.


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Cut your painter’s tape into strips a few inches long.  These will be placed on each of the corners of the art.  Avoid using one long strip (or many small ones) to cover the entire border of the print.  This makes it harder for the recipient to remove the tape without damaging the print. A small strip on the corner will secure the art perfectly fine as long as you follow the steps shown above.

Place the tape over the corner so that a small edge of tape adheres to the masonite on both edges of the actual corner. This acts as a “corner pocket” to prevent the art from shifting while in transit.

If you want to be really cool to the person you’re shipping to, fold over a small flap into the tape, which will act as a handle for them to pull to remove the tape.  I normally put this flap away from the edge (as shown above) so that when being pulled, there’s no chance of the art being pulled or creased.  Once you have all the corners taped, you’d ready to start packing it up.


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Make sure the smooth sides of your masonite are facing each other, leaving the textured sides on the outside.  This give the art two smooth sides to be sandwiched in-between. Using your painter’s tape, wrap around the masonite as shown above. Once you’re done taping, the masonite will slide securely into your mailer, ready to be sealed.

You can now print out your own shipping, or pay for it in your local post office. I recommend just using your PayPal account, as it’s easier and cheaper. Many people are under the impression that you can only use PayPal for shipping as long as your transaction was process through it.  This is luckily not the case.  You can use PayPal to ship any item, at any time, regardless if you we’re paid through it or not.

You can click here, which will allow you to create a shipping label, paid directly from your PayPal account, without having to have processed a transaction.  This comes in handy especially for those who may be trading art, or gifting it.  There is usually a discount of around $1 through this method. If you don’t use PayPal however, you can always visit USPS.com and purchase shipping through their site, or directly at your local U.S. Post Office.


Now that the basics are out of the way, there are a few tips for those shipping more than one item, wanting extra protection, etc.

Multiple Items:  If you’re wanting to ship more than one item using this method, then I would suggest cutting your masonite down to 8.5″ x 11″ to give yourself some room.  This gives you a little more space inside the mailer, to allow for more sheets of masonite. Since the shipping is flat rate, the weight doesn’t matter. For adding any additonal pieces of art, unless you’re simply doubling up on the masonite, you’ll be using one of the textured sides of the masonite (since you already have one piece of art sandiwched between the two smooth sides. I suggest placing a piece of card stock in between the art and the textured side of the masonite to help prevent the friction, and then attaching the art to the smooth side of the additional piece of masonite you’re using.

Extra Protection:  Some of you may be super paranoid with high-value items, or original sketches, etc. If you still want to ensure protection, I suggest using some basic 3/16″ bubble wrap.  I usually grab one of these 12″ x 30′ rolls from Wallmart. They’re perforated every 12 inches.  I normally just wrap it around the masonite once, and trim off the extra 3 inches from the side.

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For those of you who came here specifically for this article, hopefully this helps you out. If you just happened to come across it while browsing, I hope you weren’t too incredibly bored.

 

Until next time……..

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Welcome

“And it is just the beginning.” – The World’s End (2013)

So, I’ve finally decided to build a place where I can post from centrally, about things going on, any rant that comes across my mind, or daily musings from time to time. These posts will not always be the most groundbreaking revelations. In fact, they may be quite stupid from time to time.  But that suits me just fine.  And hopefully, it will do the same for you.

I’ll try and keep the posts primarily related to geeky/nerdy goodness, which shouldn’t be hard considering that is the majority of my life.  But that will extend to all of the things I nerd or geek out about, which also includes things like sports, photography, music, art, and lots of other stuff.  When I use the words geek and nerd, I use them in the modern sense of “someone who is interested in a subject (usually intellectual or complex) for its own sake.” Therefore, any subject I have an invested interest in, and not just the traditional comic/sci-fi/gaming culture.

Most of my posting is done via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and this site will help serve as a central bridge for those, hence the icons at the very top. But I will also try and hopefully post more long-form thoughts and musings on this page, as often as I can. The keyword is hopefully, but I’d like to think I’m able to stick to my word.

Until next time……..

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