posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Alamo Drafthouse aside, not many movie theater chains have reported increased attendance in the past few years. Large chains have propped up revenues with ticket price hikes, premium concessions and drinks, but the specter of Netflix and other home viewing platforms looms ominously over the industry. Annual ticket sales in the U.S. have declined to 1995 levels from their high in 2002 (although revenues have grown 3.6% annually over the same period, well outpacing inflation). This January, AMC Theaters will begin testing a new business model in partnership with MoviePass, beginning in Denver and Boston. Subscribers can pay $30-45 a month for a membership good for one film per day at any AMC location. The move echoes a 2013 effort to reopen an independent theater in Oakhurst, CA using a member subscription model. Will it be enough to get more film aficionados off their couches and into a theater seat? The jury's still out.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
My mother obtained this grocery bag (1 and 2) back in the 90s at our local grocery store. It is the best grocery bag EVER. However, we have never been able to find another one like it.There's no tag in it anymore that says what it was made out of, but it feels like plastic/vinyl over some sort of mesh. It's about 1.5 feet in both directions. The local grocery store has been sold/changed names a few times and they don't carry these kind of bags anymore. I don't particularly care about having the rivets in the top, but handles are definitely necessary, as is something around this size. I've looked around at different places that sell reusable grocery bags, but most are those crappy paperish ones or are completely fabric.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
A Pessimist's Guide to the World in 2015. Skirmishes in the South China Sea lead to full-scale naval confrontation. Israel bombs Iran, setting off an escalation of violence across the Middle East. Nigeria crumbles as oil prices fall and radicals gain strength. Bloomberg News asked foreign policy analysts, military experts, economists and investors to identify the possible worst-case scenarios, based on current global conflicts, that concern them most heading into 2015. [Bleah interface; interesting content.]

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Mrs. Sense and I live in Baltimore, and we'd like to take this coming weekend for one last shot at a quick weekend getaway. Help!Before the holidays, family visits, and of course, the arrival of Baby Sense in late January, we'd like one last opportunity to take a mini-vacation. Sure, we don't HAVE to do it — I wouldn't say we've been insanely stressed lately — it would be nice, and I know it's the last time we'll be able to do anything like this for a LONG time. We're located in downtown Baltimore and can do a 2-3 hour drive (each way). Our preference is for a Friday-Saturday thing (we could head out Thursday night, perhaps), and we lean toward mountains over ocean/bay (though we're open to the latter). We could do Saturday-Sunday or Friday-Sunday instead; we'd just have to move a Sunday class to another day. So far I've been told about the Bartlett Pear Inn in Easton, MD, which sounds great, though it's not in the mountains and I'm left to wonder "what's there to do in Easton?" We're also big on good food, so if there's quality dining (like at Bartlett Pear), that's a great bonus as well. We aren't terribly active (sad to say), so extensive hiking trails, etc. probably wouldn't be a selling point for us (though great natural beauty around those trails would be). Peace and quiet are a great bonus, but "overly rustic" is not — some creature comforts (if not mild luxury) would be kind of required. I know there's places like this; I'm just failing at finding more than a couple. Any help from the collective would be much appreciated!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Why is DNS lookup failing for both my computer and my smartphone when connected to public (library) wifi, when it is working for everyone else?I had been using my library's public wifi on both my laptop and my phone all morning with no issues. I stepped out for lunch, and when I came back, I was getting DNS lookup failures, on both devices. (DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_BAD_CONFIG, DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN, and some others) Meanwhile, no one else in the room was having any issues. I changed the DNS server to Google's public DNS server (8.8.8.8) on both my phone and computer, and now I'm back in business. So what happened here? What is baffling to me is that it affected both my devices (a Macbook and an Android), and I refuse to believe that everyone in here has at one point changed the DNS settings on their devices.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I live in largeish, "luxury" apartment building (all rentals) in Brooklyn, with sixteen staff members. This is my first holiday season in such a building and I'm unsure how to handle tipping, despite having read previous Ask MeFi questions on the topic. Should I follow Curbed's tipping guidelines?Curbed's tipping guidelines are: Super, resident manager: $75–$175 on average (broad range: $50–$500) Doorman, concierge: $25–$150 on average (broad range: $10–$1,000) Porter, handyman: $20–$30 on average (broad range: $10–$75) Garage attendant: $25–$75 on average (broad range $15–$100) My building has two supers, four porters, eight concierges (with whom I interact in varying amounts), and two community managers. If I take a middle-of-the-range strategy and tip the supers $100 each, the porters $25 each, the concierges $50, $100 or $150 (depending on how much I interact with them), and the community managers $100 each, the total will come to $1350. This seems like a lot of money (about 1/3 of my monthly rent), but maybe this is just the price one pays for living in a building of this sort? For instance, if I shave $25 off everyone's amount, except for the people receiving $50 or below, the total comes to $1100, which doesn't feel all that different to $1350, in the grand scheme of things. What is an appropriate tipping strategy here?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I'm in the market for a new Mazda. Invoice prices, holdbacks, dealer cash, special financing deals, and the like are all out there on the Internet. But I can't find is what bonuses Mazda offers to car dealers for hitting various monthly and yearly sales goals. How do I find out about this?Maybe you also listened to the This American Life episode where they hung out at a car dealership, talking to the sales people and managers. The game revolved around hitting sales numbers to qualify for hefty monthly and annual sales target bonuses set by the manufacturers. This would sometimes induce them to sell cars for negative profit. I figure this might tell me how hard I can push when negotiating on price. So perhaps you know, dear AskMeFi, where I can find out about what sales target bonuses Mazda offers? And, better yet, how close various Mazda dealers around Atlanta are to these sales targets?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
"If all the other schools have a dome, then we've got to have a dome." Inside Beijing's airpocalypse, a city made 'almost uninhabitable' by pollution

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Congress quietly ends federal government's ban on medical marijuana Tucked deep inside the 1,603-page federal spending measure is a provision that effectively ends the federal government's prohibition on medical marijuana and signals a major shift in drug policy. Under the provision, states where medical pot is legal would no longer need to worry about federal drug agents raiding retail operations. Agents would be prohibited from doing so.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
How do you keep yourself from growing mentally flabby, falling into lazy thinking, defaulting to mindless entertainment, devolving into a decreasing attention span and ability to focus?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
But if you look at a Shitpic, you can instantly tell the level of virality by how worn it looks, how legible its text is, how many watermarks adorn it. You can count them much like you would rings on a tree. A pristine-looking meme engenders skepticism—"This can't be that funny, it hasn't been imperfectly replicated enough." The Awl on the rise of the shitpic.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Can you help me come up with a name for a group of very talented cinematographers based in New York? Naturally the first place I went to was the dictionary (word by word), jotting down everything that had to do with the craft. The technical terms are not interesting to them because they prefer a nice name that focuses on the artistic/storytelling aspect of it. Help?Another approach I am taking is asking myself: "If Emmanuel Lubezki (cinematographer of films like The Tree of Life, Gravity, Birdman) had a company, what would he name it?", "If Roger Deakins (Shawshank Redemption, No Country for Old Men, Revolutionary Road) founded one, what would the name be?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
My lovely clear plastic icicles have aged through the years and I need help returning them to their pristine wintry looks.I have some nice clear plastic (acrylic I think) icicles that I hang on my porch roof edge every Christmas. Looks nice and wintery even if it's 70 outdoors. Through the years the plastic has yellowed to the point of looking like a smokers teeth. Is there anyway to get the yellow off? The icicles are very textured so polishing them won't work. Always enjoy the help folk receive here on AMF, thanks to everyone.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Inside Seguine Mansion, Staten Island's Eccentric Historic Home Burke lives in the Seguine Mansion on the southern tip of Staten Island, and unlike most [Historic Home caretakers] he has full access to the mansion, which is filled with his own collection of antique art and furniture. He throws three lavish parties each year: an all-white Spring garden party, a period-costume Fall BBQ, and a black tie Christmas party. His best friend, a doberman named Rusty, can sit on any piece of furniture he wants, from a 19th century French wingback sofa to the Chippendale dining set. Why can Burke do all that? The short answer: it's his house. Or at least, it kind of is.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Can you recommend some rousing, feel-good non-fiction?Looking for well-written non-fiction that makes you feel like the world is wonderful and the theme from Rocky is playing. In general I have liked John McPhee, lovely dry English Pelicans, and David McCullough, but I'm not sure any of those actually hit my feel-good sweet spot. Thanks! (Bonus question: do you like your reading questions to show up in Media & Arts or Writing & Language?)

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Where in the US can I live for a month with a budget of $1000?I am located in NYC. I don't need to travel anywhere exotic. I assume transportation would be the most expensive part so I don't mind staying within even an hour of the city. *Don't need internet *Don't need interesting food options, I'm more of a rice and beans person. *I don't need activities, I plan on spending most of my time reading and writing. *I don't drive *Safe neighborhood *Clean I did a little research and ultimately I'm looking for anything cheaper than $20 a night at a hostel. I'm wondering if there are any options I'm overlooking like perhaps subletting? I don't really know where to begin with subletting though. I am a 25 y/o college student if that matters.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I (38, hipsterish, female) am attending a wedding on New Year's Eve and I'm looking for the right sweater or coverup for the dress I'm planning on wearing. Help me look fabulous in front of all my boyfriend's friends! Bonus points for other accessory advice as well.This is the dress I am planning to wear. The plaid may seem casual, but the fabric has a decent heft and a sheen to it so I'm not too worried. I wore it to a wedding a few months ago and got a million compliments. The previous wedding was more casual, with an outdoor ceremony in a warm weather location. I wore a pink cardigan with it, gold hoop earrings, and black pumps. The patent black belt that came with the dress has a gold buckle and a little dangly gold charm. But considering this wedding is on New Year's Eve, I feel like I should pump up the specialness/sparkly a bit and I turn to the AskMe fashion experts for help. For the cardigan, I honestly am not sure whether to go sparkly/shimmery, or darker and more formal. I am willing to spend $40 or so on a sweater or other kind of coverup, and have access to all the usual US online stores and anything in downtown Chicago. Bonus points for shoe, hosiery, and jewelry advice: I have simple black leather pumps, nude high heel sandals with neat gold zippers in the back (but toooo cold for that I think), and could be convinced to splurge on a new great pair of shoes if it would really knock this outfit out of the park. However there will be lots of dancing and the likelihood of me bringing some ballet flats to change into for the reception is high. I can do bare legs, black tights/stockings, just about anything y'all would suggest. Jewelry-wise, the neckline is too high for a necklace and I have short hair and I'm short/small so I don't tend to wear huge earrings because it feels like they take over visually. Thanks!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
THIS YEAR STUNK. It's possible all years are this bad, but we don't think so. 2014 was simply a trashpile of world events and sewer people. The slop started piling up at the start and never slowed down. It reeks in here. Did anything good even happen? We can't say with certainty.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
My boyfriend and I are spending the holidays with our families near Lake George, NY and Great Barrington, MA. We would like to spend a couple of days between Christmas and New Year's away but in the area. Looking for location suggestions, as well as things to do and places to stay.Burlington, VT is already on the list. Portland, ME sounds lovely (and has been previously suggested on Mefi), but it probably too out of the way. We did Boston last year, and Montreal the year before. We like eating and drinking, tubing and other winter activites (but not skiing), quirky museums, beautiful scenery, live music, and good stand-up comedy. We'll probably be there at least partially during the week, so weekday/night activities also appreciated. We're open to staying in hotels, BnBs, and AirBnBs. Probably don't want to spend more than ~$100/night. A big bathtub would be a HUGE bonus.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Any chance that somebody out there knows of an archive of the late '80s radio show, "Radio Kandy", made by John Candy and other SCTV members? mp3 files would be ideal. Thank you!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I'm trying to find historians, writings, examples... whatever I can about 19th century American (especially mid-Atlantic) veggie and herb gardens and could use some help! I'm basically looking for resources on what someone might have had in their home garden.So far, I've found Peter Hatch at Monticello, Barbara Wells Sarudy and her amazing blogs and Rudy Favretti (does anyone know how to find contact info on him? is he still active?)

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I wrote a 45-page nonfiction book I would like to put out as an e-book. Need input on how to go forward.A professional copy-editor has gone through it and fixed errors and it is ready to go. Need input on how to go forward. My goals: I would just as soon give the book away for free but I want it in the format that people can easily read on tablets (EPUB?). I would also like to distribute through Amazon because they have such a large market share. I know they will not allow me to price it $0.00 and have a minimum price of $0.99, so that is what I will charge on Amazon. 1) Cover: I have no graphic skills and will pay to have someone do a cover. But (1) I don't have much budget and (2) don't need a fancy cover with a picture, just something that doesn't look too amateurish Do I get a freelancer through odesk or elance to do a cover? Amazon has Kindle Cover Creator. If I use this can I also use the cover it makes for other platforms (e.g. iBooks)? 2) Lulu and Bookbaby.com have packages for turning documents into e-books. Any thoughts? 3) I thought I read Amazon has a deal where if you go exclusively through them for 90 days they will somehow promote your book more. Is this available to no-name authors with short non-fiction books? Is it worth it?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Although he has already created several notable soundtracks for his films John Carpenter has just released his debut album Lost Themes. Interview.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Because of recent trauma and a manic episode that lasted several weeks, I seem to still be without a circadian rhythm. I am familiar with the most common suggestions, such as getting daylight, putting yourself on a sleeping/waking/eating schedule, and exercise. These have mixed benefit to me for reasons I'll explain below. I'm looking for tweaks to make those things work better and am also seeking other ways to reset biorhythms because this is astonishingly disruptive and makes all other order impossible.First, I live in Wisconsin. Getting sun in Wisconsin in December is tricky. I take a prescription dose of Vit D because mine tends to run low anyway. I am sure it still helps to get natural light anyway, though that's precarious right now for me because of my cold-weather related respiratory stuff and how painful it is to be out in the cold. I have used SAD lights in the past and need to get one now. A schedule could generally be good since I don't have much of one as it is. The biggest problem is that sometimes I don't sleep, which throws everything else off. I just downloaded f.lux to at least make my laptop light kinder if I can't commit to a computer bedtime now. Again, exercise is something I should do regardless, but bursitis in my hip is limiting what I can do (and I can't afford a gym membership right now). The only meds I take are lithium and depakote. The depakote is still pretty new. I read a article on biochronology that pointed out the ways in which lithium can specifically help the circadian rhythm, and that was good, though I don't know how to maximize the info.Finally, a lot of suggestions I encounter either cost money or assume that people have significant others to help check in, etc. I don't have money at my disposal right now, and I also do not have any friends who can help in any even mildly regular fashion.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
In an unexpected move, Alan Gross is being exchanged with the (remaining) Cuban Five and the US and Cuba plan to start talks on normalizing relations. Here is the NYT's timeline of Alan Gross / Cuban Five developments. Before this announcement, US-Cuba relations were in the news for all the wrong reasons. The US set up a "Cuban Twitter" to try and undermine the government (previously) and tried to infiltrate the Cuban hip-hop scene.

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