Tuesday, November 26, 2019


I was in junior high -- they call it middle school now -- when I first read about King Tut. It may have even be elementary school. I mean, it was a long time ago, so I'm not quite sure exactly when it was, but I was truly fascinated by the whole thing.

Use to be, when I'd run across some program or documentary about King Tut, I'd take the time to watch it. Of course, over the years, Tutankhamun became the subject of all kinds of theories about how he died and was he a space alien or -- okay, I don't know for sure that there was one about him being a space alien, but you get the idea. Lots of videos about Tutankhamun that ranged from good historical information, to a bunch of myths, to just plain crazy.

None of them capture or bring back what I felt when I read that book so many years ago about King Tutankhamun.

This came to mind because I found out that November 26 is the anniversary of the day in 1922 when Howard Carter first peered into the tomb of Tutankhamun, and when asked if he could see anything, replied "Yes, wonderful things."

[The YouTube]

Yes, I did think about the whole Steve Martin thing, but I decided to skip that.


As you may know, I have a fairly large movie library. Well, it's larger than most people I know. Over 1,500 movies and growing.

One thing I like to do is have my movies available to me, both at home and when I'm away from home. I don't know why I'd want my movies when I'm away from home, but I do. It seems like something I'd like to do.

Since most of my movies -- over 1,200 -- were purchased from iTunes (or through other services that are part of Movies Anywhere), I have them available on my iPad. They aren't available on my Android phone though. Well, a little over 700 are (the Movies Anywhere movies), but the rest aren't.

At home, I'm running iTunes and have downloaded all of my iTunes movies to the computer. I've also ripped out my DVDs and loaded the files into iTunes. That's over 6 TB in video content (that's movies and TV shows). I'm able to watch all of that through my Apple TV. However, I have to be at home to watch it all -- specifically, the content ripped from DVD. I can't watch my ripped DVDs away from home.

Well, a while back, I tinkered with Plex. It was okay, but iTunes was really easy. Besides, at the time, it worked on Roku, but not on Apple TV. It also won't play copy-protected content. I didn't have a single source for all my content other than iTunes, and that was only on Apple TV.

I've decided to take a second look at Plex, now. There are apps for Plex on iOS and Android devices, on Roku, on Apple TV, and most other platforms. So, I can play all of my non-DRM content through Plex.

Well, as good as all that is, I still want a single source for everything. I purchase my content -- I've even purchased the streaming version of content I already had on DVD in order to watch it anywhere -- and I don't pirate content. I just want to be able to watch my content that I bought. I'm not gonna give it to anyone else. I'm not gonna sell it to anyone else. I want it for my own personal viewing.

Since I don't mind ripping DVDs, I don't mind removing copy-protection from my personal local copy of purchased digital content. I'm not advocating that others do that, because I know some people that will turn around and attempt to profit from the work of others. Not me. All of my purchases are for my use only.

Anyway, I set up Plex on my Windows desktop computer and copied over all of my DVD movies from iTunes. All of the content I had ripped out from DVD. I did some file renaming to fit the Plex suggested naming conventions. Then a little bit of housekeeping to ensure everything looked good.

Whaddaya know? I had a good working Plex server and movie library of over 200 films. I was almost impressed with myself. Then I saw the names of all the movies. Most of them are not available streaming for a reason. Lots of really bad films -- I not only have all of the MST3K episodes, I have as many of the actual movies they riffed as I can find. That's a lot of really bad movies. Some I got from a "50 Classic Science Fiction Movies" collection. It was cheap for a reason. And I not only ripped out the MST3K-inspiring films, I ripped out all I could (some discs didn't rip at all but I'm not gonna pursue that; I'm happy with the 45 movies I got from it). So, I got around 300 movies from DVD, and the vast majority are movies I wouldn't really want to watch anyway.

Still, I'm committed to this. All of my DVDs are now in Plex, and I've begun ripping the digital purchases. That includes the first ten seasons of Doctor Who (classic seasons), or at least, the digital releases. Each night, I'll set up some digital TV episodes to rip, and the next night I'll set up some digital movies to rip. I'll probably switch over to Christmas movies and specials this week.

It's gonna take me a while to finish this. But, I have been able to do a little bit each day. By the time I'm 96, I should just about be done. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

In Which We All Lost Our Innocence

November 17, 1978. A day which will live in infamy.

That's the day the Star Wars Holiday Special aired on CBS.

Those of us that went to see the original Star Wars movie many times in the theaters just a year earlier were eagerly anticipating this special. What we got was a grand awakening of things to come.

The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 was great. Return of the Jedi in 1983 was good. Yes, despite the Ewoks. Those of us who saw the Holiday Special were not shocked by the Ewoks. Nor were we shocked by the Prequels that came years later. We all realize just how bad Star Wars could be.

And, in case you were (or still are) a Star Wars fan, and in case you missed the Holiday Special, well, here you go.

[The YouTube]

Remember, this was followed up by The Empire Strikes Back. No matter how bad things seem during the moment, things will can get better.

You're welcome.