Backup your Bestsellers and Synchronize your Screenplays Automagically
If you’re a writer, then I’ll bet your stomach ties in a knot every time you hear of a hard-drive failure or a virus that corrupts data. You put lots of time into writing that epic saga, and you know how much work you stand to lose if it’s lost forever and you are forced to start over.
You know you have to back up your data.
If you use multiple computers to access your writing files, the problem gets bigger. No one knows when the Muse may give chase, and you may find yourself using several different computers (Home, Work, Laptop, Mobile, Etc…) even on the same day. You need the current version of your manuscript accessible, no matter where you are, and no matter which computer you’re on. You could lose hours of work because you started working on (or saved over) the wrong version of your novel-in-progress. I know, because I’ve done it. It’s no fun comparing two Word documents side by side, trying to figure out which one has the most current edits.
Sometimes a backup isn’t good enough. You need something that keeps files both backed up, and up to date on all your computers.
You need your data synchronized.
Automatic for the Authors
The key is automation. If you automate the process of backup/sync, then you don’t have to think about it anymore. I don’t have room in my brain for all the massive plots and deep characters I try to write about, much less file-backup routines. Thankfully, there are many softwares and services available to work in the background and keep things backed up automagically.
For years, I’ve used Microsoft’s amazingly underrated Mesh technology to keep my data backed up and synced across multiple computers. However, in spring of 2011, Microsoft Mesh will no longer support the Windows XP operating system, so I no longer support Microsoft Mesh. If all your computers are running Windows Vista or newer you should check it out.
If you only need a backup solution, you might check with your internet service provider. Some ISP’s offer free online backup utilities. (I know Qwest offers 2 GB of free online storage for their customers.) This might be all you need, especially if you only use one computer. Pro users looking for data security and encryption should check out Carbonite. But these are just backup solutions. If you need to sync files between multiple computers, there’s a better way. In fact, there’s several better ways, but I’m going to tell you about the two most popular.
SugarSync vs Dropbox
There are many companies out there providing online file backup/storage/sharing services: Mozy.com,Box.net, Amazon’s S3, and even bizarre products like Pogoplug abound, but the two big names currently tossed around online regarding file sync are SugarSync and Dropbox. Dropbox is getting rave reviews, but I tested them both extensively and found that SugarSync was better in many ways.
Trying to find info about Dropbox on the Dropbox website was not only frustrating, but actually impossible. The Dropbox.com website is nothing but a funnel, with all paths leading eventually to a useless video that tells you what Dropbox does. I already know what it does, that’s why I went there. I wanted to know about file size limits, bandwidth limits, versioning, supported platforms and more, but all I could find was that condescending video.
Do you know where I finally found info on Dropbox? On SugarSync.com! Click on the product comparison chart to see SugarSync vs. all their competition, including Dropbox.
FREE Storage Space
The pricing and storage limits of Dropbox and SugarSync shift around more than the time changes in a Jagged Spiral song, but they both offer a limited amount of FREE storage, and I know that FREE should be well within most author’s budgets. Currently, SugarSync offers 5GB for free, vs Dropbox’s 2GB. For many authors, this might be more than enough. But if you need more space and have a couple bucks a month to spare, you get more space for less money on SugarSync.
Here’s how the pricing stacks up as of Feb 2011:
5GB = Free
30GB = $4.99 / mo or $49.99 /year
60GB = $9.99 /mo or $99.99 /year
100GB = $14.99 /mo or $149.99 /year
250GB = $24.99 /mo or $249.99 /year
2GB = Free
50GB = $9.99 /mo
100GB = $19.99 /mo
This storage and pricing will probably change in the next thirty seconds, but the price per GB of storage will only decrease over time as hard drive space becomes less expensive.
Screenshot of SugarSync in action. Note the little green check marks that let my know my files are synced.
Another difference between the two programs is that SugarSync will let you add any folder from your computer to the sync, while Dropbox has one and only one folder for sync. SugarSync’s interface for adding folders to your sync is clunky, but I prefer it over the One-Sync-Folder-To-Rule-Them-All mentality of Dropbox.
SugarSync adds a context menu to Windows Right-Click, but it’s close to worthless. Both programs put an icon in the system tray, so you can get at the programs that way, but I’m afraid we’ll just have to wait for a better interface that really integrates into the operating system.
Once these programs are set, they both work the same way. The status of any file or folder is shown by an overlay on the corresponding icon.
Once your files are synced up to SugarSync or Dropbox, you can access them through the internet, via the respective websites. Just login and you can browse through your files, download, upload, delete and manage your filesharing with others.
Both SugarSync and Dropbox let you share your data from the online storage with others.
Both Dropbox and SugarSync allow you to share folders, and folders can only be shared with other users, meaning the person you share a folder with has to create a Dropbox/SugarSync account to view the files in the folder.
SugarSync users can choose whether the share-ees can read-only or if they can modify the files within the folder. This allows for fully collaborative projects, which works great for authors who want to share manuscripts with co-authors, editors, agents, or pre-readers.
SugarSync also allows you to share a single file from your online storage out to the world. Dropbox does not have this ability. Sharing a single file in SugarSync creates a link that you can distribute via e-mail or posting to the web with their handy “Post to Facebook” and “Post to Twitter” buttons. Then others can download the file using that link. The people you share with can only download the file, and the link remains active until you disable it.
SugarSync retains the last five versions of all your files, meaning the last 4 changed versions of that file are kept on SugarSync’s website. So if you deleted all that backstory in a drunken rage and saved the changes… guess what? You can still get your old file back!
Dropbox stores versions differently. They save unlimited versions of your file, no matter how many changes you make, but versions are deleted after they become thirty days old. So if you don’t change your file for thirty days, all the revisions are gone. Dropbox offers a “Pack Rat” service which keeps ALL revisions of your files. The Pack Rat service can only be added to a paid account, and it isn’t clear from their lame website if there is an extra charge for this.
Depending on what kind of work you do, you might prefer Dropbox’s versioning system over SugarSync. As a writer, I think SugarSync uses a better method of storing versions. If a file got wrecked last time you saved it, you won’t find out until the next time you open it. But that could be months later. In that case, SugarSync would save your ass, but Dropbox would not, unless you added their optional “pack rat” service.
I tested the support for Dropbox and SugarSync by approaching each with the same simple question:
“Does file versioning use up my storage space? For example, if I have a 1 MB file that has 4 revisions, do those 4 revisions use up 4 MB of my storage?“
SugarSync: Checking their website help, I couldn’t find the answer. Handy e-mail and chat buttons at the top of the page got me through to a tech support chat session easily. The chat window showed 2 customers ahead of me and an estimated wait time of 8 minutes. I waited 14 minutes until an agent came online. The agent was quick to answer my question – versioning does NOT use up storage space.
Dropbox: I took the same question to Dropbox’s help site, and quickly found the answer – versions and deleted items do not count against your storage capacity. Pretending I did not find the answer, I looked for a way to contact a tech support agent. It wasn’t easy, but I did find a form to submit my question. I received a polite and accurate reply two hours later, which verified the info I found. Dropbox also does not count saved file versions against your storage.
The online storage wars are still playing out. Storage space keeps increasing and prices keep decreasing, which means this post might be out of date by the time you read it. But this is a war where the consumers win.
My recommendation should be obvious – SugarSync has more space for less money with way more features. The only two reasons you might want to go with Dropbox is that it supports the Linux operating system (SugarSync doesn’t) and Dropbox’s “Pack Rat” feature might interest some authors who want to keep every change they ever made.
But there’s no reason you can’t load both on your computer and get 7GB of free storage space! Try them both and see which service works best for you. You’re crazy not to take advantage of at least one of them. Get your writings synced up to the cloud, and ditch that sick feeling in your stomach when you hear about hard drive failures and laptop theft.
The Great Software For Great Authors Series
As both an I.T. guy and a writer, I get exposed to many different computer programs that are useful not only to computer users, but authors in particular. So I created the Great Software for Great Authors series, where I discuss software that can help authors in their quest to be more organized, efficient and successful.
So here’s the disclaimer. I’ve used all the software listed in this series, and found it useful enough to give it a hearty recommendation for my fellow authors, as well as the Conrad Zero Ubercool Seal of Approval. I’m not related in any way to the software companies I endorse, and they have not paid me for my recommendation. There may be affiliate links in this blog post and website which provide a token fee to me if people buy the software after clicking through from my links, but this is my recommendation only and not an advertisement.
After playing through the awesomely awesome Dragon Age and all the expansions, my inner gamer/junkie was still craving another dose of RPG (Role Playing Game) gaming. Saveau tipped me off about a game by Electronic Arts / Bioware, the same group that produced Dragon Age. A sci-fi game called Mass Effect. A RPG that told a grand story on an epic scale. New and different races species! Magic Biotic powers! Magic High-tech weapons! Perilous quests! Political intrigue! Companions! Interpersonal drama! Romantic encounters! The world universe in crisis!
Could it be? Dragon Age… in Space? Explore strange, new worlds? Seek out new life and new civilizations?
There’s a reason I’ve listed Evernote on my 2008, 2009 and 2010 Free Software Christmas Lists. Imagine if you could hook up a hard drive to your brain to remember anything that can be put into text, picture or file formats: Drawings, screen captures, e-mails, notes, doodles, webpages, pdfs, mp3s, etc. Now imagine being able to effortlessly sort and search through that information database to find what you need when you need it. Such a thing does exist, and it’s called Evernote.
“Remember Everything” is the mantra of Evernote. You don’t have to have a poor memory to realize how useful an information database is. If you have notebooks full of ideas and sketches, or a binder full of research notes and printouts, or even your class notes from Fiction Writing 101, store them to Evernote. Then, the only thing you’ll ever need to remember is your username and password for evernote.com. [Read more…]
Working in I.T. gives me exposure to lots of different software. Some are free. Some are useful. Some are both.
People ask me all the time what software I use, and what Free alternatives are out there that actually work. So with a little help from my fellow I.T. guru Saveau, I’ve put together a Free-And-Useful Software list that I update around Christmas each year as a gift to friends, fans, and readers of conradzero.com. Here are links to previous year’s lists:
This year, I’ve looked back at what free and helpful programs I’ve been using and updated the list for Christmas 2010. Everything referenced here has been IT tested and approved by me and/or Saveau. The programs are divided into Software (that you download and install on your computer) and Services (that you log into on the internet to use). These programs are not in any particular order.
The Christmas 2010 list of Awesome, Free, Online Services:
These items are not truly “software” in the traditional sense, because you don’t download them onto your computer (The one exception being Evernote, which is an online service, but you can also download and install the local client if you like.) You access most of these services by logging into a website with a username and password. They should work for any computer that can access the internet with a web browser.
More than just a picture/text/file storage site, Evernote is a hard drive upgrade for your brain. Here are just a few uses:
Home Organization – Go paperless at home and move all your receipts and monthly statements up to the cloud.
Engineers and Project Managers – Store and organize project data, task lists, website contents, pdfs and more.
Writers – Save story ideas, plot outlines, characters, locations and more.
Students – Store and organize class notes, lecture audio files and more.
Save all your paid software install codes, CD keys, website passwords, etc.
Lots of cool apps and plugins make Evernote readily available, so you can add info wherever you are with just a click or two. The paid version lets you upload up to 1GB per month, but most people will be just fine with the free version which caps uploads at 60Mb per month.
Website bookmarks shouldn’t be a pain in the ass. I can’t tell you how many times I went to the Bookmarks on my work computer and couldn’t find what I was looking for because the Bookmark I wanted was on my home computer, or vice-versa. Same thing if you bounce between different browsers on the same computer… and exporting/importing bookmarks from your old computer to your new one… and you can’t access your bookmarks on public computers or at your friend’s house…
All these annoyances are solved by Delicious.com‘s lovely online bookmarking service. Add the delicious plugin to all your browsers and your bookmarks are a click away, saved to the cloud, and auto-synced across all computers, all operating systems.
For techies only. Shields UP! is the mantra of Steve Gibson’s website at grc.com. Shields Up tests your computer, router and firewall for vulnerabilities. No login necessary. Very useful when setting up your new router/internet service.
The backend of this website, Conradzero.com, is run on WordPress software. WordPress is a godsend for people who don’t have the time or patience for acronyms like HTML, CSS and PHP. WordPress lets users setup and customize a website without touching a single nybble of code. Setup is the hardest part, but the beauty of the plugins, themes, posting, widgets and website components makes WordPress worth paying for, but you don’t have to. Really really hard to believe this software is free. Add in the free website hosting on WordPress.com and there’s no reason someone with something to say or something to sell can’t have their own blog.
Yeah, Google is evil, but so is Flo the Insurance Girl, and I love her anyway. I guess my intolerance for evil slips in relation to coolness, and Google Docs is cool as hell. If you’re looking for a FREE alternative to Microsoft Office, you could go with OpenOffice or IBM’s Symphony, but I don’t know why you would when you could go with Free/Evil Google Docs.
These are becoming less relevant as more people move to the social media sites like Facebook for their filesharing, but Google’s Picassa and Yahoo’s Flickr websites still get the job done. They offer lots of free space, and make photo and graphics sharing a snap. If you already have a Google or Yahoo account, I’d recommend you stick with them just to reduce the number of username/passwords you have to remember. Otherwise, picking between them is a matter of taste. Try them both and see which seems more user-friendly to you.
Wanna know how fast/slow your internet connection really is? Go to speedtest.com and click the nearest test site. In a few seconds you’ll have your real upload/download speed. Make sure to turn off the streaming porn on the other computer first.
The Christmas 2010 list of Awesome Free Software Downloads:
These programs are software you download and install on your computer. Make sure you are downloading from a valid source and I recommend virus/spyware scanning any installers before running them on your system.
I can’t believe Saveau had to point this one out to me. Software that I’ve taken for granted since 4 Jan 2009, Steam has changed the way I play and purchase video games. Originally created by Valve as an online security/license checking software for use with the Half Life 2 series of games, Steam has quickly evolved into an indispensable gamer utility.
First off, the library function of Steam is genius. Steam saves your game install software and license keys in the cloud. No need for the install media anymore. If you replace your computer, or you’re visiting a friend’s house and feel like playing, just install the steam client, login, and download your game installer software. Not all games can be registered through Steam, but after using it, you’ll wish they could be. Game patches and updates are delivered seamlessly in the background.
The community features let you friend up your posse and see when/what they are playing online. Voice chat or message your buddies through Steam and set up teams to play Left 4 Dead or Team Fortress 2, then voice chat in-game with Steam running in the background.
The online store is evil genius. I’ve bought and downloaded more games through the Steam client in 2010 than I bought off the shelf. If you keep even half an eye on the sales, you’ll be astonished by the prices. Right now, I could buy every game Valve has ever released (all 22 of them) for $49.99. There are many free games and demos that you can get through Steam, including Alien Swarm. And purchasing games as gifts for friends is slick and easy.
Steam works on Windows or Mac. Make sure to friend me up on Steam, my user name is Conrad Zero.
Free Antivirus Software from your Internet Service Provider
Many people are missing out on a free antivirus option. Comcast, Qwest, and other internet service providers (ISPs) offer you free antivirus software along with your internet service. Your ISP knows that if you get a virus, you’ll have a bad internet experience and you’ll choke their bandwidth with a bunch of bad traffic. Check your ISP’s website and see if they have a free antivirus program available. Usually, you will have to log in to the ISP website with your account info (username and password) and look in the support section, or search the site for antivirus download.
On last year’s free software list, I recommended AVG free antivirus software, and Saveau recommended Avast. I chose… poorly.
When AVG updated to a new version it bogged my computer down notably, and it had constant status popups, so I dropped AVG for Avast, and I can now tell you I agree with Saveau. Avast works great, it’s low profile and QUIET, something I cannot say for other antivirus programs, even ones you have to pay for.
Saveau reports that Avira Antivir, one of the well-regarded free antivirus suites, offers a free standalone rescue system that can be downloaded as an .ISO image for CD or for a USB stick to create a bootable device for cleaning up a system that either won’t boot into Windows or is unusable once you’re there. It’s updated several times a day.
I’ve used Trinity Repair Kit to bring more than one computer back from the grave. Useful for sweeping viruses out of an unbootable drive and accessing windows machines when the Administrator’s password is not available. I recommend both of these programs should be a part of every IT hacker/fixer’s bag of tricks.
CCleaner stands for “Crap Cleaner” but they had to change the name to something more politically correct when the program got popular. CCleaner does exactly what you think it does: it cleans crap off your hard drive. Temp files, browsing history, cookies, recycle bin… It’s a great way to tune up your slow computer and recover some hard drive space. I always run CCleaner before scanning for viruses/spyware and defragmenting hard disks.
Nowadays, antivirus software is not enough. Malware is not the same as a virus, and virus scanners won’t find it. The horribly named programs Malwarebytes AntiMalware and Spybot Search and Destroy will. Malwarebytes has a paid version that runs in the background and provides continuous updated protection like your antivirus program, but most people can get by with the free version that must be updated and run manually. Update and run a scan with both these programs and your antivirus software anytime you have odd or slow computer problems. Do this BEFORE you call your techie friend for help. Please.
Ashampoo is easy to use, burns anything to anything, and it isn’t a background hog or notice whore like Nero and Roxio. Don’t upgrade this program. The updated version only works for a limited time unless you pay. The free version is what you want.
K-Lite allows your computer to play back every form of non-mechanical media known to have been in use in this sector of the galaxy. Ever. It will integrate with Windows Media Player, or use the included Media Player Classic, or both, and runs without issue on XP, Vista, and Windows 7. It can even allow older, slower computers to play back some modern HD content. If you run into a media file that Windows won’t play or you get a missing codec error, you need this program.
Ever since discovering Virtual Clone Drive, I use it all the time instead of CD/DVD media. From the website:
Virtual CloneDrive works and behaves just like a physical CD/DVD drive, however it exists only virtually. Image files generated with CloneDVD or CloneCD can be mounted onto a virtual drive from your hard-disk or from a network drive and used in the same manner as inserting them into a normal CD/DVD drive.
The upshot is you can right-click ISO images and ‘mount’ them, then they become a drive in your computer just like you had put the CD/DVD in a drive. With Virtual Clone Drive you can move your entire catalog of games, movies and other optical media onto your hard drive! And accessing the virtual drives makes games load faster than from the CD/DVD drive.
In case you didn’t know, floppy disk technology is pretty much obsolete. But you still have a drawerful of recovery boot floppies, diagnostic programs and archaic hardware install floppies that are only useful in floppy format.
You need winimage. Winimage creates an executable image of many disk formats, including floppy disks. Running the executable file will ask for a target blank disk, which will be written with an exact duplicate of the original. This means you can now e-mail a bootable floppy disk,archive bootable floppy disks on your hard drive, and upload bootable floppy disks to the internet. Convert all those floppies to .exe files and store them on a USB drive or upload them to the cloud. Then, simply run the .exe and create clones as you need them.
Winimage is trialware, meaning it is free for 30 days of use, but generally that’s all the time you need to archive that drawer full of floppy disks.
Saveau sez: Windows handles .zip files natively and WinZip and WinRAR can be used free with nag screens, but 7zip has the advantage of not merely being freeware, it is also a better program than either of those venerable commercial stalwarts. It is heavily multi-threaded to take advantage of multiple processor cores and can handle just about every compression scheme in existence. I can’t imagine a computer without it as part of a standard build.
Teamviewer lets you remote control a computer with ease, even through firewalled network connections. This is a blessing for end users and a mixed blessing for the tech-savvy. The target user runs a small app which generates a session ID and password. The remote support types in the ID/Password and whammo, you’re connected, controlling and viewing the target user’s computer, and showing grandma how to attach her cellphone camera pix to an e-mail. Again.
Unfortunately, this means that end users have even less need to know what the hell they’re doing. Don’t know how to search for your missing documents? Just call up someone who knows how and have them do it for you by remote! I’ve joked for years that some users couldn’t do things if I held their hand on the mouse and pushed on their index finger to click on things. Now with teamviewer this is entirely possible. Sure it’s cool, but I would rather have had flying cars.
Clonezilla is a Linux-based Live CD that implements a command line interface for backing up and restoring a full image of your hard drive. If you didn’t understand that last sentence, you shouldn’t be using it. Clonezilla is not terribly user-friendly, but a workable free alternative to Symantec’s Ghost or Acronis Backup and Recovery software. Full Disclosure – I actually quit using Clonezilla once I purchased Acronis Backup and Recovery. Acronis is weapons-grade backup software, but it is not free, not even cheap. For those with more techieness than budget, Clonezilla works well.
Saveau recommends Minitool Partition Wizard and after a quick look, I will have to give it a try. Minitool Disk imaging is a marvelous suite of disk partition/backup/recovery tools that is fully compatible with 64-bit versions of Windows even in the free version. MiniTool also offers a free hard drive cloning utility that Saveau reports is a breeze to use.
SpaceMonger shows you a visual representation of the files on your hard drive. File sizes are represented graphically instead of numerically. Larger files take up more space on the screen. This top-down view of your hard drive is far more intuitive than a listing of programs. Right away you can see where space is being wasted. SpaceMonger is a must for network admins running file servers.
Note that SpaceMonger was updated to a new version 2.1 that only works for a 30-day trial period, then you have to pay to continue using the software. You want the old-and-still-free version 1 which works just fine.
No, really. A fully free operating system for media PCs. Referred to me years ago on lifehacker.com, Saveau tells me the latest build of Xbox Media Center is absolutely phenomenal. If you have a spare box laying around, install XBox Media Center and throw it behind the TV in the living room, and enjoy photos, music and movies via a slick interface.
Saveau recommends Virtual Box software from Oracle that allows you to create virtual machines in your computer onto which you can install any compatible operating system you wish (provided you have the install disks for that OS). Why would you want to do this? Well, first of all it’s just plain cool 🙂 Secondly, Virtual Box differs from other similar packages in that it is much easier to install and configure, and it also gives your virtual machine low-level hardware access – meaning that you can install drivers for your graphics card and actually use them at a decent level of performance, something most virtualization software doesn’t even attempt. Older programs which simply won’t run on Windows 7 can be installed on a virtual instance of Windows XP on your same machine and still use your existing hardware. Virtual Box is free, well documented, runs on Windows, OS X, Linux and Solaris, and loves multiple processor cores.
Happy Holidays! Enjoy your Free Software!
My thanks to Saveau for his help in building this list.
I hope you enjoy this list of free, IT-approved software. Please spread the word. Link back to this post, and check back next year for the latest free software goodness!
Believe it or not, we will soon be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Disney has the combo DVD/Blu-Ray all set to launch on 11 Feb 2011.
It’s not surprising that this story manages to keep us entertained after 60 years. The dark, childish flexibility of the mythos lends itself to endless disturbing and fascinating reinterpretations. Here are several that I’ve enjoyed and highly recommend: [Read more…]
Yesterday I attended the Minneapolis St. Paul WordCamp 2010. A collection of people who embrace WordPress as their blog platform and/or CMS of choice came together to celebrate a fantastic open-source software package and explore its possibilities.
After a miserably cold slog through the heaviest snowflakes I’d ever experienced, and a Bruegger’s Bagel sandwich that was so bland it made the snowflakes seem tasty, I arrived at the luxurious Best Buy Headquarters. After loading up on t-shirts, stickers and even a pint glass from the nice folks at iphouse, I killed off a Saturday with seminars on everything from coding plugins and themes to custom post types and e-commerce. Lunch was catered by Buca.
At the Customizing WordPress class, Josh Byers gave the audience this geek test: [Read more…]
The Circus of Brass and Bone is a steampunk fiction story set primarily in 1800’s America. Although, since the main source of power in this alternate reality is aether and not steam, it’s more accurately labeled as aetherpunk.
From the website:
After the collapse of civilization, the show goes on….
Abra’s mom is in some dire straits. She has an advanced cancer compounded by no job and no savings. You can read more about her situation here, but the upshot is that Abra is releasing The Circus of Brass and Bone on a “Pay What You Can” basis in order to raise funds to help offset her medical expenses.
My cousin Andrew told me about a funny video called The Legend of Old Gregg. After a bit of sifting on youtube, I found plenty of references to the show, some clipped-out highlights, and many people misspelled the name as “Old Greg”. With some patience, I was able to piece together and watch the whole episode. It was so funny, I tracked down the entire British sitcom called “The Mighty Boosh.”
The show follows the exploits of two English blokes: Howard Moon (played by Julian Barrett) and and Vince Noir (played by Noel Fielding). Their everyday lives as zookeepers, storeowners, and musicians is interrupted every episode by the most strange and funny situations and the most bizarre characters imaginable:
Old Gregg the scaly, man-fish
The Spirit of Jazz
Betamax (yes, the non-VHS tape format)
The Crack Fox
Black Frost, a creature who freezes people solid with smoke that comes out of his… um, you’ll have to watch the show…
The Hitcher, a strange green man with a giant thumb wearing a doughnut over one eye.
A giant wad of bubble gum
A horrible demon in the form of a nice old Nana
In the tradition of Monty Python (and inexpensive movie production) you will see Julian Barrett and Noel Fielding appear in multiple roles in each episode.
After watching all three seasons I can tell you that The Mighty Boosh is awesome. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. If there were more fun shows like this on TV instead of all the bullshit crime/courtroom/medical drama, I’d be tempted to actually start watching TV again.
All three seasons of The Mighty Boosh have been released on DVD, and it’s on Netflix too, so check it out, and make sure to catch The Legend of Old Gregg from Season Two. It’s even funnier if you follow Howard Moon and Vince Noir through their adventures from the beginning. Then when you get to the third season and watch “The Power of the Crimp” you’ll totally get it.
Noel Fielding and Julian Barrett developed a synchronized-a-cappella-scat-song format they call a Crimp. It was just this little thing they would do during their shows, but it eventually got popular enough that they gave it a name in the season three episode, The Power of the Crimp.
Touting itself as “The Largest One-Day Festival in the Midwest” Grand Old Day is best described as miles and miles of bands, art, beer and fair fare…and nowhere to park. My suggestion is to go there NOW and find a parking spot and hold it until the festival on Sunday. If you’re the entrepreneurial type, grab several parking spots and auction them off when Grand Old Day kicks into high gear.
Plenty of great Minnesota acts to catch here: Chooglin, Mark Mallman, Doomtree, Red Pens, Hookers & Blow, Jeremy Messersmith…and a bazillion unknowns.
The great thing about Grand Old Day is you can’t get lost. Just stay on Grand Ave and walk until you find something you like. I’d be surprised if you could make it the entire length of Grand Ave and back by the end of the festival. I’ve tried it before. BAD IDEA.
Admission is free.. BUT… To get into the “festival gardens” (read: areas where adult beverages are allowed) requires a $10 wristband. There might be a charge to get into some of the clubs along Grand Ave, but there’s so much going on outside the only reason to go inside is if it’s raining.