It was really cold last weekend and then Wednesday and Thursday were snow days, so I was glad temperatures were up in the 60’s this weekend and I could take Bella on another hike. We had been to Arabia Mountain a few times, so this time I found a good walk to take at Panola Mountain. The main attraction is the granite outcropping, but you can only go there on a guided tour. However, PATH has a paved trail that goes through the park and eventually ties into one of their main lines. I couldn’t figure out a good 3-mile loop so instead we just left from the state park’s parking area and walked towards Alexander Lake, a little over a mile away. There is a short boardwalk off of the trail that goes to a viewing area of the exposed granite of Panola, so we walked down that. There was still some ice on the ground, but a lot of pretty moss and lichen on the rock and a pretty blue sky. We continued on the path towards the lake, passing right through an old barn (the paved trail goes right through) and then towards the lake, but the trail was cut off for construction or something. We could have approached from another branch, but it was getting kind of late, so we headed back. My phone says we walked 3.6 miles. I’ll have to see when they plan on completing the work near the lake so we can see that whole thing.

Refer a Friend

The Disney Movie Club, which I first joined in September 2016 and am now on my third enrollment, has a refer a friend program where you can submit an email address of a friend and Disney will send them a sign-up email for the club. If they sign up you get to pick two “free” movies (have to pay shipping). I knew one person who thought they might want to join and I sent them an email, but nothing ever came of it. Not that many people buy physical media anymore though a lot of the movies come with digital versions. They also let you create a unique link to the club that is supposed to work the same way. I don’t have any realistic expectation of having an audience with this blog, but I hoped some random person might see my post about the club, decide it was a good deal (which it totally can be if you use the promo codes), and sign up using my link in that post, which never happened. I am still not sure that if you use my link and then use a promo code that I would get free disks, but it cost me nothing to put the link there. Honestly, I would rather people use the promo code and get a good deal than for them to get a bad deal and I get free disks (the deal without the promo code, by adding one more commitment title that you pay $25-$35 for, is bad enough that even if I gave them the two free disks, they would still come out better just using the promo code). Then yesterday I got an email from “Friendbuy” and the preview said “Good News! A friend has joined the Club”. I thought it was spam or maybe a Best Buy promotion, but I warily opened it today and it was from Disney Movie Club. Yay! My refer a friend dashboard shows the email address of the person and it is not someone I know, so thank you random person! They signed up on January 14. The email address and signup date are the only things I know about them.
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Redbox Purchases

Back when Blockbuster was still around, you would rent a movie for 2 or 3 days for about $4. Then Redbox came along and you could get a movie for $1 per night. That was great. Once Blu-rays came out they charged $2 for those, but still pretty cheap and Blu-rays look so much better on a big TV. Still, I never used Redbox that much, but I think it’s a great service and almost always cheaper than renting a movie online, but you do have to drive twice, once to pick it up and once to drop it off.

On Blu-ray forum, people talked about being able to buy Blu-ray disks from Redbox, but I never paid much attention because I wouldn’t want one of their beat up disks anyway. Then I noticed someone post about buying codes for digital movies from Redbox. Sometimes when you buy a movie, it will include a code so you can have a digital copy from a service like iTunes, Vudu, or Movies Anywhere. You’re not supposed to sell the digital code, but people sell them all the time online, usually for $3 to $8. For the most part I try to buy Blu-ray movies around $5 to $6 that include a digital copy. I certainly don’t mind paying an extra dollar for a digital copy. Then Vudu has a service where you can buy digital copies of Blu-rays you own already for $2, but it only worked on about half of the Blu-rays I have that didn’t come with a digital copy. It is hard to know whether Vudu’s service will work on a disk before you buy it even though there are lists out there of movies and UPC’s that should be eligible.
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When I write movie reviews, I generally assume people haven’t seen the movie yet and try to give away as little as possible of the plot. Way too many reviews give away major plot elements or make obvious hints about the movie (“the tragic ending”). Even if something is in the previews, I feel like the movie is better without knowing much going in. So I don’t include spoilers (well, sometimes with older movies because I feel like people already know), but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to discuss some aspect of a movie that ruined it for me. On the Blu-ray forum, they make it easy by letting you include a [spoiler] tag containing anything you want to hide behind a link that says “spoiler”. Some sites, will black out the spoiler text, which is kind of neat, but I like having the word there. I figured I could add a spoiler feature to my movie reviews, which are all in a Microsoft Access database that generates HTML for the whole site (should all be php, but that’s a big project). I could do the tags myself in the review, which I do for links, italics, and paragraphs, but it would be better to have a separate field for the spoiler that could be inserted into the review if there was a spoiler. I didn’t know how to actually make a spoiler appear and disappear and I wasn’t getting far on that, but adding a field to Access is easy. So I did that. Then I added that field to my form where I write the reviews. Continue reading