What A Nightmare

I must have been a glutton for punishment last night.

Yesterday, Ann picked up the 15th anniversary, limited-edition, super-special digitally enhanced version of Tim Burton’s emo classic The Nightmare Before Christmas. (Note: I’m not emo; I just dig the movie.)

At any rate, the movie comes packed with three discs: the movie, the bonus content, and a disc with Disney’s latest innovation called Disney File Digital Copy which allows you to rip the movie to your PC for transfer to your iPod or viewing on your computer.

If you intend to view it on your iPod, the process is a snap. Simply insert the DVD into your drive, wait for it to read, then enter some information. Once completed, you choose which format you desire: iTunes of Windows Media Video. Because I have no use for WMV format I wisely chose iTunes.

Within a minute, iTunes opened and the disc was recognized. From there all you need to do it enter the validation code, rip it to your iTunes library and transfer it to your iPod. The process worked flawlessly and I watched some of it on the train ride to work.

Then, for some reason, I thought I’d try to copy it in WMV format. What a dumbass I am.

I started the process over and chose WMV format. I was then greeted by so many damned messages it was unfunny.

First it told me I had to update my Windows Media Player so I did, only to find out that my version of Vista is running the latest version of Windows Media Player. I did this multiple times and each was a waste.

From there I thought I’d be smart and explore the DVD contents in order to find the WMV files. I found them and clicked on them and they didn’t play. WMP told me I had to download some Security Update in order to play DRM material. I also copied the WMV files to my hard drive. So I downloaded the updated and…still nothing.

I then figured that I’d come this far and maybe some troubleshooting info would help. This is when I threw my hands in the air and began to curse Bill Gates and Company. To see what I mean, visit the Disney File Web site and click on Help & FAQ at the top. From there, scroll down to the last two questions and just sit with your mouth agape at the answers.

Holy Catshit, Batman! WTF?! While by no means a nerd, I consider myself a bit tech-savvy: I’ve installed DVD burners, authored DVDs at home, done all sorts of neat stuff with the computer. But Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ, there was no way in Hell I was going to even bother tackling this.

Just imagine how somebody a bit less tech-savvy will feel.

In a world where copying DVDs to iPods has become so buggy and painful, I have to salute Disney for creating such an innovative product and Apple for making the process easy. Bravo to both, and I hope that this is only the tip of the iceberg for Disney File. Let’s hope other studios catch on.

Not Right Now…!

So I turned on my XBOX 360 the other day and noticed something strange.

No, I wasn’t greeted by the dreaded RROD, thank [insert appropriate deity here]. Rather my 42″ TV had some colorful bars scrolling from the bottom to the top of the screen. While I can definitely appreciate the artsy-fartsy aspect of these bars, seeing them also told me something was terribly wrong.

Ann had already told me prior to this that I could sell her PSP and whatever games she has so that I can buy Rock Band 2 when it comes out next month. And that’s exactly what I did, opting for the GameStop gift card which scored me an extra 20% instead of taking the cash.

I then told the nerd behind the counter about my predicament and he suggested new cables, which I bought with my new gift card. After all I had already tried plugging in the component cables directly into the TV (bypassing the A/V switcher box), in different component inputs, etc. This was my only hope–or so it seemed.

I got home and was eager to try the cables out.

They sat on the coffee table for four days.

On the fifth day I decided I’d better open up the package and, like, seriously try them out. And I’ll be damned if the problem is now worse than before! I tried all inputs, bypassed the switcher box–nothing helped. I was sad.

I then went back to the Microsoft-supplied cables and gave them a shot. While the bars are still there, they are nothing like they were with the new cables. So now my only fear is that I will have to send out my XBOX and have it repaired.

But why did this have to happen now? Rock Band 2 is almost here! Dammit, this can’t happen yet, can it? How in the hell can I vicariously live out my dream to play that wicked guitar solo in “Boddhitsatva”?

Oh wait. My Rock Band Stratocaster guitar is busted, too. So I guess that has to get fixed as well. Double-damn.

Onto other things. Apparently, I’ve been nominated for some kind of bloggy award! Preston over at Me and the Blue Skies thought highly enough of my blog to nominate me for the ubiquitous Arte Y Pico Award.

Gee thanks, Preston…now I have to do some WORK and come up with five blogs my own stupid self! (It won’t be that hard, actually.)

So sayeth Preston of my blog…

Holographic Meatloaf – Whether he’s blogging about his never-ending quest to lose weight or his life in Southern California with his family, you just can’t beat his wit and humor. A daily dose of Dave is a good thing.

Boy, do I ever have somebody fooled up good. And as I said in the Comments section of that entry:

But ask my wife if a daily dose of me is okay. She’s had 15 years of Dave…don’t ask me why or how she handles it… 🙂

There you have it. I’ll be compiling my list soon!

Let’s Get (a) Physical

Well, I was going to embed that hackneyed Olivia Neutron-Bomb video in this post but it um…it’s got too many oily beau hunks for my liking. But hey, if that’s your thing, who am I to disappoint?

At any rate I went to the doctor today for my annual physical. Um, let me rephrase that. It was my first ever annual physical. I figured that at the age of 39 and with my hernia repair surgery a thing of the past, now was the time to get it done. Besides, the Grim Reaper’s bony grasp is inching ever closer and shows no sign of slowing down, so I best take care of myself now before it’s too late.

From all indications–physically, at least–I’m as in good a shape as a 39-year-old man can be. My weight was 204 lbs. which is almost where I want to be. That made me feel really, really good about myself. But what made all of this even better was my weight loss which astounded the doctor.

Doctor: You lost how much?

Me: Over 90 pounds.

Doctor: And you did this on your own?

Me: Yep. I just got tired of being fat.

Doctor: How did you do it?

Me: Eating less and moving more. In fact I rode my bike over 8 miles today before coming in to see you.

Doctor: (smiles) That’s very commendable. Most people don’t have the will power to lose that much.

Me: Well, I did and I haven’t looked back.

Needless to say, he was quite impressed as any doctor would be. If it’s your job to look after the welfare of your patients, such a significant drop in weight shows you’re serious about your health. And as most of you know, my weight loss is no joke to me.

Then it was time for the prostate exam. And guys, if you’ve never had one, it’s everything you’ve heard about. They may only last a few seconds but Lord have mercy, they seem like an eternity of…well…[description edited for taste] probing.

Ahem. But thankfully, everything checked out fine. And that’s good because I’m really not looking forward to my next one in a year. (In all seriousness, any guy my age should suck up the stigma of the prostate exam and get it done. It’s very important to your health, so guys, schedule yours today.)

About the only thing left to do is get my bloodwork done and that’ll happen when I’ve got some extra time. While I’m relatively certain that everything will be okay, there’s always that thought in the back of my mind that something will be wrong.

But I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

A Cool Summer

Summers in southern California usually mean one thing: freaking hot. We’re talking drive-with-your-AC-on-all-day, better-get-out-the-Slip-N-Slide, I’m-gonna-die-because-it’s-so-hot hot.

Then there was the Summer of Aught-8.

I think we may have turned on the house AC maybe twice in a single week if we’re lucky. For the most part, the ceiling fans in each room have produced enough cool air to keep our house comfortable. And as for driving, I only turn it on once I get to the truck so that it’ll blow the hot, trapped air out. Other than that I just haven’t driven with it on this summer.

In fact, we went to a Concert in the Park tonight and it was cool enough to wear a sweater. This is also the case when I wait for my ride at train station in the morning.

But taking all that into consideration, when I think about those past summer nights when it was nearly 90 degrees in the evening and I was tossing and turning in bed with the AC and ceiling fan on, I’ll take these cool summers more often.

What A Party!

There are reasons why I always carry my camera with me to work. While my phone-cam definitely works in a pinch, there are times when I want to shoot something at a higher resolution than my phone is capable of. It is a phone after all.

Yesterday while walking to the train I happened upon a site that I believed was worthy of such quality. See what you think (click to embiggen):

An empty bottle of Beefeater gin, A1 Steak Sauce, and a few cigarette butts.

That must have been one hell of a party.

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