Monday, October 26, 2020

Trump's Legacy

While I didn't vote for President Trump in 2016, I probably should have. As much of a jackass as he's been -- and that was no surprise to me -- he's been rather effective as a president. Not perfect, not by a long shot. But he's been darn good, and a heckuva lot better than I imagined.

Now, there's an election coming up in just a few days. I'm concerned about it, because while I'm still not a fan of Donald Trump as a person, I absolutely detest Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. And, as I said, Trump has been a very good president. Biden would be a disaster on the Carter-Obama scale.

But, even if the election goes poorly, there is a saving grace, and that's Donald Trump's legacy. The media will try to make his legacy out to be his impeachment or his acting the fool on Twitter. What his legacy actually will be is the stopping and even reversing the left-turn of the courts.

The confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, following the 2017 confirmation of Neil Gorsuch and the 2018 confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, is a very good thing. And the judges appointed on lower courts over the past four years bodes very well for the country.

I hope this is not the end of the Trump administration. I'd really like to see four more years of his presidential actions. He could use some polish, but I'll take a great jackass to a useless show horse any day.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Retiring the Android

Motorola One phone

A while back, I moved to Android. My first smartphone was an Android. Unless you count the Blackberry. I don't count the Blackberry. At least, I'm not counting it right now. I might count it later if it suits me, but for now, it doesn't. So, my first smartphone was an Android phone.

After Verizon stopped updating it (like, the day I got it), it eventually became out of date. And, running a really old version of Android meant there were features I wanted but didn't have. So, I replaced it with a used iPhone. 

I loved that iPhone. I found iOS so much more user-friendly than Android. Actually, I think the old, underpowered Android was the real problem, compounded by the out-of-date Android OS. So, the iPhone on iOS was a dream. And I stayed with iPhone for a while.

A year or two or so ago, I tried Google Fi, and got an Android phone for it. Now, I had Android phones, just not using them as phones, for a while. Galaxy S4, S5, and other phones. But when I started using Google Fi phone service, I found it easier to just use an Android. And I was really happy with that Motorola X4. Good phone.

I upgraded to a newer Motorola phone after a bit, but after retiring, I needed to cut back everywhere I could. And, after analyzing my phone usage (among all kinds of other things) I picked that as a place to cut back (among all kinds of other things; I cut way back on everything).

That meant dropping Google Fi. Part of that decision was because the services on which it runs -- Sprint and T-Mobile -- aren't as reliable as Verizon or AT&T, at least not at the places I go. If I drive into some parts of the city or county, it works great, but at the house and many places I drive, it's not reliable.

I cut back to using the Freedom Pop service. I think I wrote about them before. I limped along with that for a bit, but even though it runs on AT&T, it's not reliable. Not the AT&T part, but the carrier, software, or some other part of the setup. Anyway, I'm going to do something different. 

Right now, my best option looks like Verizon prepaid or Xfinity Mobile (with runs on top of Verizon's network). If I go with Xfinity Mobile (I am an Xfinity Internet customer, so I can get the good pricing), I am very limited on what phones I can bring in.

They'll let me buy a Motorola phone from them, just like one I have, but they won't let me bring my own Motorola phone. For bringing my own phone, I'm limited to iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, or Google Pixel phones. I have a perfectly good iPhone in a drawer. Yes, I have a perfectly good Motorola phone, but I can't use it.

So if I go with Xfinity Mobile -- and yes, their pricing looks better than Verizon's -- I will have to say goodbye to the Android phone.

I'll miss it.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Football 2020

Word is the Big Ten is canceling football for this year. Pac-12 also. But, a lot of Big Ten teams want to play ball anyway. Either the presidents of the schools voted to play -- Iowa and Nebraska -- or the coaches have expressed desire to seek all options -- Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State -- that might include playing in another conference.

Well, the solution is simple. The SEC, ACC, and Big 12 are, as of this writing, playing football this fall. So, divvy up the Big Ten teams and play ball.

The ACC has already added Notre Dame, and is playing a 10-1 schedule, with 10 conference games and one out of conference game. Big 12 is going 9-1, since they only have 10 teams. And the SEC is going 10 game conference only.

Ohio State has expressly said they'd play in the SEC. So, fine. Add them, bringing the total to 15. And, the other Big Ten teams that want to play can play with the Big 12.

This would need some changes to be made. First, expand the Big 12 to 10-1. Next, expand the SEC to 10-1. That accomplishes the goal of having the Big Ten teams a place to play and teams to play. It also brings back some rivalries that have been called off.

The SEC-ACC matchups of Georgia-Georgia Tech, Florida-Florida State, Kentucky-Louisville, and South Carolina-Clemson would be back. Ohio State (SEC) could still play Michigan (Big 12). Texas and Texas A&M could return, as could Oklahoma-Nebraska (a Big 12 conference game again). Arkansas could play one of their old Southwest Conference foes. And some other pretty interesting matchups could happen.

After the season, have the three conference champs and one wild card team (gotta give the CFP committee something to do) could pick a team. Heck, this might be a good time to expand the playoffs, since so may bowls will get lost by the other conferences bowing out. Make it eight, or better yet, 16 teams.

If the Big Ten gets all huffy about their teams playing anyway, they can kick them out. Then the new alignment permanent and the Big Ten could go shopping for teams from the MAC to get their membership back up. Or just pick up one team to make up for the five they lost and actually be Ten teams again.

Will this happen? No. Should it? Better than no football.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Xfinity Flex and Peacock TV

Peacock TV
Peacock TV is the new
streaming service from
NBC/Comcast/Universal/Whateverelse has made the move into streaming in a big way. They have a thing called Xfinity Flex, which is a streaming package that comes with Xfinity Internet. Well, mostly. More about that in a bit.

The other thing is a streaming service called Peacock. You know, like the NBC logo. More about that in a bit. First, back to Flex. 

Xfinity Flex came available last September. However, I wasn't eligible for it. Well, not easily. I had a special streaming package that included Internet and local TV channels for a really good price. I didn't watch the local channels, and didn't care about the local channels, but that special promotion meant I could get Internet and local TV cheaper than Internet alone. It also stopped the Comcast Website from showing any packages available for me. As I was happy with my price, I didn't worry too much about it. I didn't see that Flex would bring much new to the table for me anyway, based on what I saw. I was interested, but not going to go through the hassle of everything, particularly after the China virus lockdown.

Recently, my Comcast bill arrived, and it had gone up. The 1-year special was over. So, I went online to check for a package that was more to my liking regarding cost. Only, still no packages showed for me. I scheduled an appointment at a store, because you have to do that now. And some stores have closed, so the three nearest were two in Savannah and one in Hinesville. The nearest available slot was in Hinesville (same day), so I made the drive.

The nice lady hooked me up and I ended up paying less that I had been paying with my Internet-Local Channels package, even before the special pricing expired. So, yeah, I was happy with that.

And, I got Xfinity Flex included, as they had been promoting.

Now, there's not much to Flex, unless you're new to streaming, in which case, it's actually a pretty good way to start that.

They give you a streaming box for no cost. That's a good thing. A second, third, etc. box is another $5/month. The box is really nothing all that special. It's inferior to a Roku or Apple TV, for instance, but it's okay. It's an Android-based device, and while it's a decent box, it's not as responsive as a Roku or Apple TV.

Also, the device doesn't really have an app store. It has some apps preloaded, but you can't add more. The Apple TV line was kinda like that up through the 3rd generation devices, but even then, you could hide apps from showing. Flex doesn't have a large number of apps, and you can't add more or remove (or hide) any. But, it has a decent selection of apps: Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube (but not YouTube TV), Sling TV, CBS All Access, major standalone movie services (HBO, Showtime, Starz, Epix, & Cinemax), the most popular free (ad-supported) linear services (Pluto TV, Xumo, Tubi, FilmRise), and more. While there is no app store, the selection of apps installed is a good selection.

Oh, and of course, it has Peacock TV. More on that in a bit, I promise.

The Flex remote is okay. The D-Pad is not nearly as good as Roku or Amazon Fire TV, but it works. It has voice control, but I don't care about that. I don't use it on Apple TV, Fire TV, nor on Roku, so I'm not interested in using it on Flex, either. Just a personal preference.

So, if you are a Comcast Internet subscriber, and you want to get into streaming, Flex is a good way to go. And, you get Peacock Premium (the middle tier) included.

And that finally brings me to Peacock TV.

The service is NBC/Universal's answer to Hulu and CBS All Access. Personally, it looks better than the CBS offering, and is cheaper than that service, but it isn't going to replace Hulu for me any time soon, if ever.

The app comes with Xfinity Flex, but it's also available for Apple TV, Chromecast, Nvidia Shield, Mi Box (and other newer Android TV devices), Xbox One, Playstation 4, and newer LG or Vizio TVs. Notice that the two largest streaming platforms, Roku and Fire TV, are not supported. And there's nothing to indicate they will be supported any time soon, as all parties are taking a hard line. Until suddenly, one day, they decide to play nice. 

Anyway, there are three tiers of Peacock TV service: Free, Premium, and Premium Plus.

Free is what it sounds like. It's free. The content includes commercials. And, while it's a lot of content, it's not everything. I've seen it said that the free service has anywhere from ½ to ⅔ of the total Peacock TV library. Worst case scenario is still a decent library of content, around 7,500 to 10,000 items of content (TV show episodes or movies).

Premium is the entire library. Everything. That includes sports, all current season episodes, and movies. And here's the kicker: if you are an Xfinity Flex subscriber, it includes Peacock Premium. So, this is the tier I have. Flex is included with Xfinity Internet, and Peacock TV Premium is included with Xfinity Flex. And, it is a decent amount of content.

Oh, if you don't get Premium included, it's $5/month to upgrade from Free to Premium. Is it worth the upgrade? Maybe. If you try it, I'd suggest just using the Free service (unless, of course, you have Xfinity Flex and get Premium for free) and noticing how much you are actually missing out on. The Premium-only content is marked with a purple feather icon in the corner. If you decide you'd be okay with paying $5/month (or $50/year) for the Premium content, it's not a bad price for the bigger library. Cheaper than either Hulu or CBS All-Access. And, to me, better than CBS All-Access. But still, I'd see if Free is good enough. The price is certainly right.

Premium Plus is the top tier. It's the same content as Premium, but you don't get ads. Mostly.
Due to streaming rights, a small amount of programming, Peacock channels, live events, and a few TV shows and movies, will still contain ads.
Premium Plus is another $5/month. So, if you can deal with commercials -- some people can't; I can because I'm an adult and cheap -- save the $5 and watch commercials. Or let the commercials play while you ignore them.

Monday, May 18, 2020

I bumped my head

I fell and bumped my head.

Now, there are several people who know me that would say such a thing must have happened a long time ago. And maybe it did. But whether it did or not happen in the past, it happened a couple of weeks ago for sure.

My mother had to go to Florida for a thing. She was going to stay at my sister's for a few days while she did her thing, so, I drove her down there. After supper, I was ready to leave -- had my weapon, wallet, phone, jacket, everything -- when I though it best to hit the little boys room so I wouldn't have to stop on the way back. I hoped to get home by 10.

So, I stepped into their guest bathroom to, well, take care of business, and I managed to catch my foot on the trash can that was, well, not where I was expecting it to be.

Along the way, I lost my balance and fell forward into the tub. Now, it was across the tub the short way, meaning the other wall was not all that far away. I reached out my arms to try to catch myself, but only managed to push the shower curtain, and I felt and heard my head hit the far wall.

A lot of stuff went though my mind in that little bit of time.

"Huh, that kinda hurt. Wait. I just hit my head falling in the bathroom. People die doing that. Is this how I'm gonna die. I don't like that idea. Is this blood? That's blood. That's a lot of blood. Oh, that's really a lot of blood. Did I crack my head open? Let me feel it. Well, it's wet, that's for sure. And there's still a lot of blood. Maybe I ought to get someone's attention."

"Hey, I need some help!"

"Yeah, that's a lot of blood. I wonder if I'll pass out from blood loss. I better call again."

"Hey! I need some help!"

"Should I try to stand up? Probably not. If I do pass out from blood loss, I'm already, well, let me see ... I'm on my knees leaning over into the tub somewhat. If I pass out, I won't have far to go. If I stand up, I could pass out and fall, and injure myself again. I don't even know how bad this one is, but I don't want to make it worse."

"Hey! Can somebody come help me?"

"Okay, I'm upright a little more. Let me close the toilet lid. I'd hate to pass out and drown."

"You okay?" came the call.

"No, I need some help!"

"Okay, they're fiddling around with the door. I locked the door on my way in, didn't I? I'm gonna have to unlock the door. Well, here goes."

I unlocked the door and they got me to my feet, and thought it might be a good idea to consider taking me to a hospital or something. I was agreeable to that.

Well, a couple of hours and 12 staples in the head later, I left the emergency room and decided to spend the night at my sister's house.

I've been to Florida several times in the past couple-three years. The trips to Disney World were great. This trip to my sister's wasn't quite as much fun.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020


When I was much younger, I had long hair. How long? Well, maybe not quite as long as the folks in the musical play or movie...

[The YouTube]

But, yeah, I had hair.

A little bit after high school, I decided to get it cut and look more like a useful member of society. And, it's stayed a reasonable length since then. It did get shorter when I went into the Army, but it hasn't really gotten long since then. However, with the recent closure of barber shops and hair salons, combined with me being overdue for a haircut anyway, it was longer than it had been in a while.

Recently, I decided to do something about that. So, while wandering the aisles of the Walmart store, I picked up some cheap (less than $20) clippers that said they'd cut hair. And I cut my hair.

It was not a great experience. And the bathroom looked like a tribble had exploded.

The tribble that formerly lived on my head.

My hair is now shorter than it's been since I left the Army. But next haircut, I'm going to sit on the front porch and give the neighbors a treat. I'm still sweeping up hair from the bathroom.

Monday, April 27, 2020

More Movies = Less Movies

As I've rebuilt my movie library -- I did a stupid and accidentally deleted almost everything -- I've also added new content to the library.

As a reminder (or for the first time if you haven't read the previous posts) I have been collecting the unriffed versions of the movies featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000. So that would make it a rebuild with additions.

Oh, and the fact that in order to get some of those movies, I'd have to buy "50 Great Schlock Sci-Fi Classic Duds!" (or names something similar) which left me with a few dozen extra films that I wasn't seeking. But, hey, I had them. I put them in the "burn" pile (yes, it should be the "rip" pile, but "burn" pile sounded better) and rip them out when I had a few minutes. With everything lately, I've had a few minutes.

Anyway, I got the library from 1,525 before the deletion to over 1,600.

As I've mentioned before, the original number immediately became lower because of the reorganization of the music library. Using iTunes running on Windows as the video server, I could have Movies, TV shows, and Home Movies. That's it.

With Plex (the reason for moving everything that led to the accidental deletion) I could categorize much better. Disney or Warner Bros. shorts were now in a separate category, no longer all counted as "Movies." And the MST3K episodes became TV shows, whereas in iTunes, they were Movies. So, a few hundred drop right off the bat. But, I still kept adding.

The other day -- it may have been over a week, I don't know -- it suddenly hit me that I could utilize the "extras" feature of Plex. That's where you can add "Behind the Scenes" features, deleted scenes, interviews, etc. They even have an "Other" section. And suddenly, after all this time, I realized that I didn't need to have separate movies for the theatrical release, the "Director's Cut" or "Special Edition," or any variety of different versions of movies (think original Gamera, U.S. edit of Gamera, and the Sandy Frank edit of Gamera). I could pick my primary version (usually the theatrical cut) and place the other versions as extra in the same directory on the drive. Name it correctly and Plex plays real nice with that.

One effect of that was to lower the overall number of movies, even with more movies. Which means these 21 files (once renamed like this) became extras, rather than their own movie.

  • Alien (Director's Cut)-other.mp4
  • Alien Resurrection (Special Edition)-other.mp4
  • Alien³ (Special Edition)-other.mp4
  • Aliens (Special Edition)-other.mp4
  • Blade Runner (The Final Cut)-other.mp4
  • Bride of the Monster (Color)-other.mp4
  • Dreamgirls (Director's Extended Edition)-other.mp4
  • Gamera, The Giant Monster (Original)-other.mp4
  • Gammera the Invincible (U.S. Edit)-other.mp4
  • Gamera vs. Barugon (Original)-other.mp4
  • Gamera vs. Gyaos (Original)-other.mp4
  • Gamera vs. Guiron (Original)-other.mp4
  • Gamera vs. Zigra (Original)-other.mp4
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space (Color)-other.mp4
  • RiffTrax! Star Wars - A New Hope-other.mp4
  • Rifftrax! Star Wars - The Force Awakens-other.mp4
  • RiffTrax! The Wizard of Oz-other.mp4
  • Stripes (Extended Cut)-other.mp4
  • The 40 Year Old Virgin (Unrated)-other.mp4
  • The Exorcist (Extended Director's Cut)-other.mp4
  • To The Stars By Hard Ways (2001 Remaster)-other.mp4

So, even though I increased the number of movies, I also cut back by combining different versions of the same film into one entry. Which works better for me.

My total number of movies is at 1,586. And yes, that's more than I started with. But, it's less than the number got up to along the way. I passes 1,600 movies a couple of times along the way. I'd pass the 1,600 mark, notice where I had separate entries for movies, combine them, then watch the number drop back down.

I've highlighted some of the milestones along the way: 1,000 movies, 1,500 movies, but this will be the first time that I've actually had an accurate count of what I think of as a movie. And I'm 11 short of 1,600.

And who knows? I may not ever hit 1,600. It's not like I have many to go to complete the MST3K Unriffed collectino (two, by the way), and they ain't making a lot of good movies any more.

Besides, I do need to watch what I already got.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

MST3K Unriffed Update: Two To Go

And then there were two.

I've mentioned before about collecting all the movies featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. I already have all the episodes that were released on DVD and on VHS, which covers almost every one that was broadcast. I also have copies of the others, recorded off-air (except one from the KTMA season, which is a lost episode, as far as anyone knows.

But I'm talking about the movies themselves. The original uncut versions of the films. Or at least the version that they riffed. And I say that because some of the movies they viewed were alternate, edited for TV versions.

All five of the Gamera films they did had multiple versions. Some of those films were redubbed into English, some had additional scenes with American actors added, and were often released under different names. And then, there were still other redubs and releases by Sandy Frank Enterprises.

There were three different versions of the first Gamera film:

  • Gamera, the Giant Monster - The original film, in Japanese, with English subtitles.
  • Gammera, the Invincible - The original film had some scenes edited and additional scenes with U.S. actors added. The Japanese scenes were dubbed into English. Oh, and some new music.
  • Gamera - The version that MST3K did was a Sandy Frank redub of the original Japanese film. And new music.

I have all three versions because of course I do. And I chose to tell you about this because it's a good example of how I'm counting whether or not I own a copy.

First, I'm after the version that MST3K did. If I have that, I count it.

If I can't find that one, I go after the original release. If the film isn't in English, and if there is a dubbed version, I go with that, if that's the only edit. And, if I don't already have the version MST3K riffed, I count this version.

Failing that, I go with whatever version I can find. And I only count it, if I can't find one of the other.

Sane thing with Humanoid Woman, a film from the KTMA season. I have the Humanoid Woman cut, but I also have "To The Stars By Hard Ways," the original film. Well, not exactly the original. It's a remaster of the original, with a lot of the Soviet propaganda edited out. I count the "Humanoid Woman" version because that's what they riffed. However, I only recently acquired that. I located "To The Stars By Hard Ways" some time ago, and was counting that one as part of my MST3K collection. After I found "Humanoid Woman," it replaced "To The Stars By Hard Ways" in the MST3K collection and playlists, and "To The Stars By Hard Ways" because just another film in my collection.

So, you got the idea of what I'm doing, right? I mean, I drove the point into the ground, so yeah, you got it.

Anyway, to the point of this post, I'm now down to two movies until I complete the collection.

That's the movies riffed by the classic series (Comedy Channel, Comedy Central, Sci Fi Channel), the Netflix series, the KTMA series, MST3K: The Movie, and the "pilot"/demo film.

That's 210 different films that the crew riffed in some form or other. And I have 208. So, what am I missing? Two movies that were featured in Season 6 of the classic series:

  • The Dead Talk Back
  • The Starfighters

I can't find them anywhere. I mentioned earlier that some of the movies I was lacking (at the time) had really expensive versions available. Well, I didn't give in, and eventually found what I was looking for at a better price. These two films, though, I can't find at all. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Cord Cutting Time

I've taken on the task of helping my mother cut her Comcast bill way back. Seems she realized she hardly ever watched anything on cable. In fact, the only stuff she watches on cable are the local channels that she would be able to pick up out of Savannah if she had a big enough antenna. Kinda like she used to do back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s (my parents got cable in the very early 80s). Anyway, she wants to cut back on that $194/month she pays Comcast.

So, I'm studying and figuring out how best to make it all happen. I think we got it figured out. As long as it's cheaper (it will be, by far) and she can still watch People's Court, everything will be fine.

[The YouTube]

We've ordered a cable modem and an Ooma telephone device to allow the cutting back of Internet, TV, and telephone. She currently subscribes to Hulu (she loves that), and owns a TiVo (which she also loves, and is how she currently records People's Court). She already has Google WiFi, so the wireless network won't change.

It should be an easy enough change to make. And that extra $115/month in her pocketbook ought to keep her happy for a bit.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Internet Church Sunday

Spending time with the family, with COVID-19, pretty much means immediate family. You'd likely need FaceTime, Skype, Hangouts, or some such method to "visit" with other family.

Church is problematic, too. You've got the danger of being infected by others. In Georgia, most of the areas with large outbreaks came from gatherings such as church and funerals.

We're suggesting that you attend church services online. My local church offers online services on YouTube, and I fire up the Roku when it's time for services. Other churches use another service for streaming. Others stream solely from their Website.

Whatever the case, search for services in your area and see what's available, if your church doesn't offer online services. For example, if you were in Savannah, GA, you could go to Google and search for "church services online Savannah GA"[new tab] and see what results you get. Do that for your area, and see what's available.

Don't let the virus keep you from experiencing your local church, or at least as close to your local church as you can. And be safe.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Sunday 2020

The Empty Tomb

Luke 24: 1-9
  1. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
  2. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
  3. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
  4. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
  5. And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
  6. He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
  7. Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
  8. And they remembered his words,
  9. And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020


Me, probably.

So, sitting alone at home. Not afraid to go out, just not having to.

The good news is, I haven’t bought gas in … heck, I don’t remember when I last bought gas. Because workplace is all scared of the virus thing and has me working remote, I don’t need to go outside for anything. Well, to get the mail.

I do get the mail, because even though it’s mostly junk that goes straight to the trash, if my car is under the carport, and the mail starts building up, the postal worker might tell someone to go check on me, so I clean out the USPS trash can and put everything in my trash can. So, I have a purpose in life, it seems.

Shower. Shave. (Yes, still shaving.) Eat. Work. Sleep. Watch some movies. Occasional run to the grocery store.

Is this what it’s like being retired? If so, I will only need something to fill the time that I’m currently spending on work and I’m set.

I could spend that time watching the news, I suppose. Well, no I can’t since I dropped cable ten years ago. Which I still don’t miss. And don’t want to go back to. Ever.

Well, I still got some time to figure all that out. Unless during one of my trips to the grocery store, some virus-infected person shares with me and none of this really matters. We’ll cross that bridge if the road goes that way.

I don’t know what may come down the road, but for now, I really need a haircut.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Movie Library Rebuild Completed

I mentioned around first of the year that I had accidentally deleted my entire movie library. It was over 1.500 at the time I went stupid. I've been working on rebuilding it for some time.

Well, I'm done.

It's not exactly the same. Previously, I was using iTunes running on a Windows 10 machine to serve up my local files. I downloaded all my iTunes purchases, and played them through iTunes on my Apple TV. And I ripped all my DVDs out and imported them into iTunes as MP4 files.

At the time, the total movie count was 1,525 of which 1,259 were iTunes purchases.

I decided to move everything to Plex, allowing me to stream to more devices. I could have left my Apple purchases in iTunes, and put the non-Apple content in Plex, but that would mean switching apps depending on what I wanted to watch. I didn't want that. I wanted everything in one app, and I wanted more than iTunes offered. So, I installed Plex and began moving everything over.

Along the way, I screwed up and while intending to delete the iTunes content I had already moved over, I instead deleted the iTunes content I hadn't moved over. The total opposite of what I wanted to do.

So began the long process of rebuilding a fairly large movie library.

One thing I didn't like about iTunes was that they had two categories of content: TV Shows and Movies. (I'm not counting music videos, which went into the Music category. Music is another story entirely.)

Of the things that iTunes called "Movies" were things like short films, such as some old Buster Keaton two-reelers. You can make the case that they're movies. But they also listed Disney shorts -- think Mickey and the Beanstalk -- as movies.

And MST3K episodes were movies. Of the movies riffed, around 150 were available through iTunes, and I had them. But, really, I think of those as TV episodes, not movies.

Some Warner Brothers shorts were listed in iTunes as "TV Shows" even though they were just collections of shorts.

With Plex, I had complete control over how I categorized the content. I created three main categories: Movies, Shorts, and TV Shows.

I finished up my last import of iTunes content into Plex. Yes, I had to rip it out because of Apple's copy protection. Yes, I know they don't like it. No, I really don't care, because I'm using it as my own personal use, not for distribution.

Anyway, it's done. I now have 1,587 movies. Real movies. The number is up because I've continued to build my library as I restored it.

I have 568 short films. That's individual Bugs Bunny or Donald Duck cartoons, along with the Buster Keaton and other similar shorts. I have them tagged with ways that are useful to me, for when I want to watch certain things: Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Bugs Bunny, Frisky Puppy, Road Runner, Sylverster, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, etc.

And I am building my TV Shows library. I didn't really have that done in iTunes, so I didn't lose anything there. But, I have all the MST3K listed as episodes of that TV show. Also, I've done the shows I own full series of: Star Trek (original), Firefly, The Fugitive, The IT Crowd, Men Into Space, The Outer Limits (original), The Twilight Zone (original), and Get Smart. I'm working on Doctor Who right now, and have the first ten seasons. One more Jon Pertwee season, then on to Tom Baker.

So, finally -- fi-nal-ly -- my movie library is rebuilt.

Now, to watch it all. Starting with the unriffed MST3K movies.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Unriffed MSTie Movie Library: Cheating, Just A Little

As I near completion of my Unriffed MSTie Movie Library -- the intact movies that the MST3K crew riffed -- I found I'm having to cheat a little to finish up the library. Well, maybe it's cheating, and maybe it's not.

It is. But only a little.

The KTMA season had a movie called "Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars." It's a feature length film made from four episodes of the 1967-68 British TV show, "Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons."

While "Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars" isn't available online, VHS tapes are available, but I'm not paying over $100 for one. So, it's do without, right?

Well, not exactly.

There are videos of the opening and closing credits of the movie available online, because of course there are. It's relatively cheap to get episodes of the series online. The entire series is cheaper than the movie.

I have the KTMA episode, with Joel, Crow, and Servo (he wasn't yet Tom Servo), so I have a rough template of the movie. So, with the four episodes of the show, the movie opening and closing, and a computer to edit them together, I was able to reconstruct the movie. And, I think I did a pretty good job. The original movie was 1:31, and as it turned out, so was my reconstruction.

So, is that cheating? Yeah, it is. But, I'm gonna count it as having the movie, until I can find one reasonably priced.

Same thing with Season 3 movies "Master Ninja I" and "Master Ninja II" which were made from two episodes each of the 1984 TV series "The Master." I can't find the movies anywhere, but I was able to get episodes of the show. So, using the MST3K riffed version as a guide, I was able to reconstruct the movie from the episodes. Yes, still cheating a little, but it's darn close to the original.

The only other movies that were made from TV episodes were in the KTMA season: "Invaders from the Deep," which was from the show "Stingray," and "Cosmic Princess," which was from "Space: 1999." Both of those movies are available, and for a reasonable price, so no reconstruction is necessary.

I'm still looking for the movies to replace my reconstructions, so I won't remain in "cheat" status. But, I'll just look the other way until then.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Unriffed MSTie Movie Library: Nearing Completion

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was about 2/3 way through having a complete collection of the MSTie movies. Not the episodes -- I have all of those except KTMA episode 3 (nobody has that) -- but the actual movies that the crew riffed. Either the original release, or the edited for U.S. audience version that the MST3K crew had when they made the show.

Why would I want to watch, say, "Manos: The Hands of Fate" or "Santa Claus vs The Devil" without Joel/Mike and the Bots? Because I can. Well, when I get all the movies, I can.

I've made some progress since my last update. I've gone from needing 70 movies to needing 15. How in the world did I get 55 movies so quickly? Well, there's bargain bins. And Amazon and eBay have people selling multi-movie DVD packs.

And, if you keep searching, you can find them. I've got a lead on 6 more, but those are individual movies, and I'm hoping to find a multi-pack with the remaining films so I can save some money.

I'm still missing:

  • Invaders from the Deep
  • Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars
  • The Last Chase
Season 2
  • Jungle Goddess
Season 3
  • The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent
Season 5
  • Village of the Giants
Season 6
  • The Dead Talk Back
  • Last of the Wild Horses
  • San Francisco International
  • The Starfighters
Season 8
  • Agent for H.A.R.M.
Season 9
  • Werewolf (Arizona Werewolf)
  • The Projected Man
Season 10
  • Hamlet (Hamlet, Prinz von Dänemark)
Season 11
  • Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II
Of those, I've located on individual DVD (and one VHS tape) the following, but am still looking to find on a multi-movie pack are:
  • Invaders from the Deep (on VHS)
  • Jungle Goddess
  • The Last Chase
  • The Projected Man
  • The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent
  • Village of the Giants
  • Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II
If I break down and purchase those individually, that will leave me only 10 shy of a full collection. But, I'm cheap, so I'm holding out.

I can't wait to finish this collection. I really need to watch some of these movies I own.

Monday, March 16, 2020

A Horde of Hoarders

Went grocery shopping last night. Went down my shopping list and saw that paper towels were on the list. Toilet paper, too.

I have a paper towel rack -- one -- in the kitchen. And, I keep one or two paper towel rolls in the cabinet above the stove. When the cabinet is empty, I buy another two-pack. Been that way for years.

Similar with the TP. Four rolls. When I'm down to two, I get another four-pack. Been that way for years.

Now, the horde of idiots that are hoarding paper products have already ransacked the grocery stores. here There were single rolls of store brand paper towels, and I got two, like always.

But no TP.

There will be no follow-up post about that last point. You're welcome.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The correct order to watch MST3K

Mystery Science Theater 3000 has been on my mind recently. A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my progress in completing my collection of MST3K movies, the unriffed versions. And I've made a little progress, but that's not what I'm wanting to talk about today. It's about watching the actual MST3K episodes, particularly, the order in which to watch them.

That doesn't seem like it would be an issue, but there were some peculiarities in the way the shows were recorded, and other things that make it not so cut and dry.

KTMA Episodes

First, do we include the KTMA shows? That is the original season, consisting of 21 episodes that were done for the local station KTMA TV-23 in Minneapolis-St. Paul (now WUCW) before the show went national.

Reasons to include
  • The episodes exist (20 of 21 at least), so they are part of the show.
  • 12 of the movies were not re-done during the national run and are unique.
Reasons to not include
  • It was a local show, and not actually part of the continuity of the national show.
  • Nine were re-done, and done better, in Season 3.
  • The local show, while good, pales in comparison to the national show. It's great for show buffs to see the origins, but not for regular watching. It's like a pre-season game.
I say do not include KTMA episodes, but if you do, they were broadcast in the order produced, and that's the way to watch them.

The Movie

After Season 6 and right before the first cancellation, the crew did Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. The crew riffed "This Island Earth" for the big screen. But do we count it?

Reasons to include
  • It's MST3K, just in a little different format. It's as simple as that.
Reasons to not include
  • It wasn't part of the show. Sure, all the parts are there, but it's not the show. It's something different.
  • A hard-to-resolve continuity issue arises depending on where you place the film.
I say do include the movie. That does bring up some complications as we'll see.

The 1995 Turkey Day Special

In 1995 Comedy Central wasn't as sold on MST3K as they used to be. They only ordered six episodes for the upcoming Season 7. I've never seen an explanation for this, and I assume it was a budget thing. The riffing during the movie was separate from the host segments, with no references to what was going on outside the theater. This allowed the movie riffing to be wrapped in Thanksgiving themed segments for the Turkey Day special and for the regular season (and subsequent rebroadcasts).

Reasons to include
  • It was part of the show.
  • While the movie is the same, the host segments are hilarious and should be part of regular viewing.
Reasons to not include
  • It's not really part of the show. It was a special.
  • You end up watching the same movie back-to-back.
I include it, but don't feel nearly as strongly about including it. On another day, I might say leave it out.

Production Order vs Broadcast Order vs Production Code

The order in which the shows were produced doesn't always line up with the production number. Those don't always line up with the order in which they aired.

Season 1 had a major production code vs production order issue with "Women of the Prehistoric Planet." It was the 13th produced and aired, but retained the production code 104 instead of, as would be expected, 113. Watching in production order creates a continuity issue as there is a reference to "Robot Holocaust" (Episode 110) in "Women of the Prehistoric Planet" (Episode 104). Air date order resolves this.

Season 1 also had some shows air out of order. The first two aired in reverse order, although there is no continuity issue with those two being watched in either order.

Season 3 also had air date order not matching production order. "Teenage Cave Man" (Episode 315) aired after "The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent" (Episode 317), but again, no continuity error if watched in either order.

Season 5, like Season 1, had the first two episodes air in reverse production order. And, again, no continuity issue if watched either way.

Season 6 is the real problem child. It's a mess, with the production order, production code, and air date in order at the very beginning and at the end, but all jumbled in the middle. It's hard to describe, but I'll try.
  • The episode "Zombie Nightmare" (604) was held from airing so it could be part of a college tour by the cast. It finally aired after "Kitten with a Whip" (615).
  • "The Skydivers" (609) aired after "Colossus and the Headhunters" (605).
  • "The Creeping Terror" (606) and "Bloodlust!" (607) aired in reverse order.
Those three changes really jumbled the order things aired. However, no continuity issues arise in watching any of them in either production/code or air date order.

Season 7 has the issue of "Night of the Blood Beast" (701) existing twice. And, if you include the movie, that was released during Season 7 between "Escape 2000" (705) and "Laserblast" (706). However, the Mads differ. Pearl is a regular in Season 7, but doesn't appear in the movie. And, since Dr. Forrester is "reborn" at the end of the season, the movie can't move in that direction.

Season 10 aired "Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders" (1003) six weeks after the series finale, "Diabolik" (1013). Watching in production/code order resolves the continuity issue.

My Method

So, production order? Production Code order? Air date order? The answer is ... none of those.

I am a bit of a purist, so I prefer air date order, as that's the order they were originally presented. And, that generally works, except for Season 10, and for the Movie (if you include it).

I use air date order, moving "Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders" (1003) to just before "Diabolik" (1013), and The Movie between Season 6 and Season 7. With those two adjustments, everything works.

On the other hand, watching in Production Code order almost works. You have to move "Women of the Prehistoric Planet" (104) to the last episode of Season 1. You still have to put The Movie between Season 6 and Season 7.

So, pick either order, put the movie between Season 6 and Season 7, then shift one episode (in Season 1 for Production Code order; in Season 10 for air date order) and everything works.

As I said, I prefer air date order.

Of course, it was just a show. I should really just relax.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Un-riffed MSTie Movies

Although I'm having to rebuild my local video library, I'm still adding new content to my library. Well, not all is new.

Yes, I've added most of the recent Oscar winners -- Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, etc. -- so some is actually new, or at least within-the-last-year new. Some, though, isn't new by any stretch of the imagination. Unless "new" means something I didn't have before. And that's the definition I'm using.

Just as I'm trying to include all of the "best" movies in my collection, I'm also collecting some of the worst. And, no, winning an Oscar doesn't mean something is the best, not really. You can look at all the Oscar winners and easily come to that conclusion. But, still, it's one of the criteria I'm using.

But, the worst? How do you judge the worst movies? One criterion is it being riffed on Mystery Science Theater 3000. I could easily add The Film Crew, RiffTrax, and Cinematic Titanic as other criteria. Golden Turkey Award winners. Golden Raspberry Award winners. Rotten Tomatoes. There are plenty of ways to select movies as the worst.

Right now, I'm focusing on the MST3K movies. And, I'm making progress.

There were 13 episodes each in Seasons 1 and 2 on Comedy Channel, and Seasons 9 and 10 pm Sci-Fi Channel. There were 24 each in Seasons 3, 4, 5, and 6 (Comedy Central). There were 22 in Season 8 (Sci-Fi Channel). There were 14 in Season 11 (on Netflix). Season 7 (Comedy Central) had seven episodes, but the first two episodes were the same movie, just different host segments (a Turkey Day special and a regular episode with the same movie), making it six movies total. There were 6 in Season 12 (Netflix). There was also a movie. Add to that the 21 episodes of the KTMA season, but take away the nine that were re-done in Season 3, and you have a total of 12 for that season. Oh, and the pilot/promo. That's another movie.

All that math means 210 movies to cover 220 episodes/pilots/movies.

Here's where I stand:


Pilot: The Green Slime
Ep. 3: Star Force: Fugitive Alien II (This is the only actual episode of MST3K I don't have. I do have the original film, and the Season 3 version, but not the KTMA version)
Ep. 4: Gamera vs. Barugon
Ep. 5: Gamera (I have "Gammera, the Giant Monster")
Ep. 6: Gamera vs. Gaos ("Gamera vs. Gayos")
Ep. 7: Gamera vs. Zigra
Ep. 8: Gamera vs. Guiron ("Attack of the Monsters")
Ep. 9: Phase IV
Ep. 11: Humanoid Woman ("To The Stars By Hard Ways"; this is actually a decent film, though slow at times.)
Ep. 12: Fugitive Alien
Ep. 14: Mighty Jack
Ep. 17: Time of the Apes
Ep. 19: Hangar 18
Ep. 21: The "Legend of Dinosaurs" ("Legend of Dinosaurs and Monster Birds")

I am missing these movies that were riffed by the KTMA crew:
Ep. 1: Invaders from the Deep
Ep. 2: Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars
Ep. 10: Cosmic Princess
Ep. 13: SST: Death Flight
Ep. 15: Superdome
Ep. 16: City on Fire
Ep. 18: The Million Eyes of Sumuru
Ep. 20: The Last Chase

Season 1

(Note that I list the episodes in original air date order, not in the production order, as most lists show).
Ep. 01. The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy
Ep. 02. The Crawling Eye ("The Tollenberg Terror")
Ep. 03. The Mad Monster
Ep. 04. The Corpse Vanishes
Ep. 05. The Crawling Hand
Ep. 06. Robot Monster
Ep. 08. Project Moon Base
Ep. 09. Robot Holocaust
Ep. 10. Moon Zero Two
Ep. 11. Untamed Youth
Ep. 12. The Black Scorpion
Ep. 13. Women of the Prehistoric Planet

I am missing:
Ep. 07. The Slime People

Season 2

Ep. 1: Rocketship X-M
Ep. 2: The Sidehackers
Ep. 4: Catalina Caper
Ep. 6: Ring of Terror
Ep. 9: The Hellcats
Ep. 10: King Dinosaur
Ep. 11: First Spaceship on Venus
Ep. 12: Godzilla vs. Megalon
Ep. 13: Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster

I am missing:
Ep. 3: Jungle Goddess
Ep. 5: Rocket Attack U.S.A.
Ep. 7: Wild Rebels
Ep. 8: Lost Continent

Season 3

Ep. 1: Cave Dwellers ("The Blade Master")
Ep. 2: Gamera ("Gammera, the Giant Monster")
Ep. 3: Pod People ("Extra Terrestrial Visitors")
Ep. 4: Gamera vs. Barugon
Ep. 5: Stranded in Space ("The Stranger")
Ep. 6: Time of the Apes
Ep. 8: Gamera vs. Gaos
Ep. 9: The Amazing Colossal Man
Ep. 10: Fugitive Alien
Ep. 12: Gamera vs. Guiron ("Attack of the Monsters")
Ep. 14: Mighty Jack
Ep. 15: Teenage Cave Man
Ep. 16: Gamera vs. Zigra
Ep. 18: Star Force: Fugitive Alien II
Ep. 19: War of the Colossal Beast
Ep. 20: The Unearthly
Ep. 21: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
Ep. 23: The Castle of Fu Manchu

I'm missing:
Ep. 7: Daddy-O
Ep. 11: It Conquered the World
Ep. 13: Earth vs. the Spider
Ep. 17: The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent
Ep. 22: Master Ninja I
Ep. 24: Master Ninja II

Season 4

Ep. 1: Space Travelers ("Marooned")
Ep. 2: The Giant Gila Monster
Ep. 3: City Limits
Ep. 4: Teenagers from Outer Space
Ep. 5: Being from Another Planet ("Time Walker")
Ep. 6: Attack of the Giant Leeches
Ep. 7: The Killer Shrews
Ep. 8: Hercules Unchained
Ep. 9: Indestructible Man
Ep. 10: Hercules Against the Moon Men
Ep. 11: The Magic Sword
Ep. 12: Hercules and the Captive Women
Ep. 13: Manhunt in Space
Ep. 14: Tormented
Ep. 15: The Beatniks
Ep. 16: Fire Maidens of Outer Space
Ep. 17: Crash of Moons
Ep. 18: Attack of the The Eye Creatures
Ep. 19: The Rebel Set
Ep. 20: The Human Duplicators
Ep. 21: Monster a Go-Go
Ep. 23: Bride of the Monster
Ep. 24: Manos: The Hands of Fate

The only movie I'm missing is:
Ep. 22: The Day the Earth Froze

Season 5

Ep. 1: Warrior of the Lost World
Ep. 2: Hercules
Ep. 3: Swamp Diamonds ("Swamp Women")
Ep. 6: Eegah
Ep. 7: I Accuse My Parents
Ep. 8: Operation Double 007 ("O.K. Connery")
Ep. 9: The Girl in Lovers Lane
Ep. 10: The Painted Hills
Ep. 12: Mitchell
Ep. 13: The Brain That Wouldn't Die
Ep. 15: The Wild Wild World of Batwoman
Ep. 16: Alien from L.A.
Ep. 17: Beginning of the End
Ep. 18: The Atomic Brain ("Monstrosity")
Ep. 20: Radar Secret Service
Ep. 21: Santa Claus
Ep. 24: 12 to the Moon

I am still missing:
Ep. 4: Secret Agent Super Dragon
Ep. 5: The Magic Voyage of Sinbad
Ep. 11: Gunslinger
Ep. 14: Teen-Age Strangler
Ep. 19: Outlaw
Ep. 22: Teen-Age Crime Wave
Ep. 23: Village of the Giants

Season 6

The episodes are in original air date order, not in the production order, as most lists show.
Ep. 1: Girls Town
Ep. 2: Invasion U.S.A.
Ep. 4: Colossus and the Headhunters
Ep. 5: The Skydivers
Ep. 6: Bloodlust!
Ep. 7: The Creeping Terror
Ep. 8: Code Name: Diamond Head
Ep. 9: The Violent Years
Ep. 16: Racket Girls
Ep. 18: High School Big Shot
Ep. 19: Red Zone Cuba
Ep. 20: Danger!! Death Ray
Ep. 21: The Beast of Yucca Flats
Ep. 23: The Amazing Transparent Man
Ep. 24: Samson vs. the Vampire Women

I am missing:
Ep. 3: The Dead Talk Back
Ep. 10: Last of the Wild Horses
Ep. 11: The Starfighters
Ep. 12: The Sinister Urge
Ep. 13: San Francisco International
Ep. 14: Kitten with a Whip
Ep. 15: Zombie Nightmare
Ep. 17: The Sword and the Dragon
Ep. 22: Angels Revenge

Season 7

I'm including the movie at the start of the season, rather than release date, as it seems to fall in the timeline between Frank's departure (end of Season 6) and before Pearl's arrival (Season 7).

Movie: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie ("This Island Earth")
Ep. 1,2: Night of the Blood Beast (Thanksgiving episode, and standard episode with traditional host segments.)
Ep. 3: The Brute Man
Ep. 4: Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell
Ep. 5: The Incredible Melting Man
Ep. 7: Laserblast

I am missing:
Ep. 6: Escape 2000

Season 8

Ep. 1: Revenge of the Creature
Ep. 2: The Leech Woman
Ep. 3: The Mole People
Ep. 4: The Deadly Mantis
Ep. 6: The Undead
Ep. 7: Terror from the Year 5000
Ep. 9: I Was a Teenage Werewolf
Ep. 10: The Giant Spider Invasion
Ep. 11: Parts: The Clonus Horror
Ep. 12: The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies
Ep. 13: Jack Frost ("Father Frost")
Ep. 16: Prince of Space
Ep. 17: The Horror of Party Beach
Ep. 19: Invasion of the Neptune Men
Ep. 20: Space Mutiny
Ep. 22: Overdrawn at the Memory Bank

I am missing:
Ep. 5: The Thing That Couldn't Die
Ep. 8: The She-Creature
Ep. 14: Riding with Death
Ep. 15: Agent for H.A.R.M.
Ep. 18: Devil Doll
Ep. 21: Time Chasers

Season 9

Ep. 2: The Phantom Planet
Ep. 3: The Pumaman
Ep. 5: The Deadly Bees
Ep. 6: The Space Children
Ep. 7: Hobgoblins
Ep. 9: Gorgo
Ep. 10: The Final Sacrifice
Ep. 12: The Screaming Skull
Ep. 13: Quest of the Delta Knights

I am missing:
Ep. 1: The Projected Man
Ep. 4: Werewolf
Ep. 8: The Touch of Satan
Ep. 11: Devil Fish

Season 10

Ep. 1: Soultaker
Ep. 2: Girl in Gold Boots
Ep. 4: Future War
Ep. 5: Blood Waters of Dr. Z ("Zaat")
Ep. 7: Track of the Moon Beast
Ep. 10: It Lives By Night ("The Bat People")
Ep. 11: Horrors of Spider Island
Ep. 12: Squirm
Ep. 13: Diabolik ("Danger: Diabolik")

I am missing these movies:
Ep. 3: Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders
Ep. 6: Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues
Ep. 8: Final Justice
Ep. 9: Hamlet

Season 11

Ep. 2: Cry Wilderness

I'm missing all but that one movie:
Ep. 1: Reptilicus
Ep. 3: The Time Travelers
Ep. 4: Avalanche
Ep. 5: The Beast of Hollow Mountain
Ep. 6: Starcrash
Ep. 7: The Land That Time Forgot
Ep. 8: The Loves of Hercules
Ep. 9: Yongary, Monster from the Deep
Ep. 10: Wizards of the Lost Kingdom
Ep. 11: Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II
Ep. 12: Carnival Magic
Ep. 13: The Christmas That Almost Wasn't
Ep. 14: At the Earth's Core

Season 12

I'm missing all of the movies:
Ep. 1: Mac and Me
Ep. 2: Atlantic Rim
Ep. 3: Lords of the Deep
Ep. 4: The Day Time Ended
Ep. 5: Killer Fish
Ep. 6: Ator, the Fighting Eagle

That's 2/3 of the total movies they riffed, missing 70 of the 210 different films.

I'm still building my library as I rebuild my library. Maybe I'll live long enough to watch them all.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Movie Library Rebuild

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had done a stupid and had accidentally deleted nearly my entire movie library.

Briefly, here's what happened.

My video library -- movies and TV shows -- was all imported into iTunes. Most were iTunes purchases, but I had also ripped DVDs and placed the files into iTunes. This allowed me to watch my content from an Apple TV device.

I decided to move my content into Plex, since that would expand the available devices for my content. That meant "ripping" iTunes video content (much like one does DVDs) and placing the resultant MP4 files into directories Plex would read.

After I copied all my DVD rips, I screwed up and accidentally deleted my iTunes purchases from my local library, meaning I had only a couple of hundred movies instead of over 1,500.

Even more simply put: tried to move my files, accidentally deleted most of them.

That wasn't fun. And I've been spending many off-hours rebuilding the library.

It's been slow going, but I am making progress. I did make a few changes along the way. Plex allows me to separate movies into different libraries. For example, I've created a separate library for short films. In iTunes, all videos were either Movies, TV Shows, or Home Movies. In Plex, I can arrange them however I like. So, I moved all my short films -- Disney, Pixar, Warner Bros. (Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, etc), Buster Keaton shorts, Christmas specials (Rudolph, Peanuts, etc), and so on -- into a separate library.

That move alone dropped the number of "movies" I had to a much lower number. Currently, I now have 561 short films. I didn't have that many before, because all of the Looney Tunes -- including 112 Bugs Bunny, 53 Daffy Duck, etc -- were under "TV Shows" although they were simply short film collections. Now, they are listed as short films, and categorized by character. Buster Keaton shorts are all together. Georges Méliès short films are all together. And so on.

I've also been able to import Amazon-only purchases into my library. I actually has a utility that would help with that for some time, but never used it until recently. It does an okay job. I still have to do a process on those movies after I download them, but it's not much worse than doing an iTunes movie. And, I've now got them all in my library.

That leaves me with 1,292 movies. That's full-length movies. There are still 166 that need to be imported from iTunes. That means that, as of now, I have 1,458 movies, or will once I've imported the rest of the iTunes purchases.

That number will change soon, though. Once of the tasks I've taken on is getting the un-riffed version of the movies that Mystery Science Theater 3000 took on. And, I've made some progress there. More about that another time.

So, I'm making progress. And, when I'm done, I hope I live long enough to watch them all.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Washington's Birthday (2020)

George Washington
Today is Washington's Birthday. Well, it's not, but it is. It's the federal holiday "Washington's Birthday." Some people call it "Presidents Day" because some people are stupid. There is no federal holiday called "Presidents Day." Never has been.

When George Washington was born, the date was February 11, 1731. You see, the United Kingdom of Great Britain was using the Julian Calendar back then. There is an issue with leap years with the Julian Calendar, so the calendar was always slowly getting more and more inaccurate. Also, in England and the colonies, New Year's Day was on March 25. Go figure.

Anyway, in 1750, the U.K. changed to the Gregorian Calendar and fixed things. New Year's Day was now in January. The calendar dates were adjusted 11 days, which meant that, retroactively, George Washington was born on February 22, 1732. But that was only the first time people screwed around with his birthday.

The federal government did try to do right by Washington in 1879 when they added a fifth national holiday. Washington's Birthday, February 22nd, was added to the list of New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day as national holidays. Other holidays were added later, until we have the ten we have today.

In 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act went into effect, moving many of the holidays to Mondays instead of the proper or traditional day. Washington's Birthday was one of those. And, just like the government, they made it so it would never be right. The holiday falls on the third Monday in February, which means it can be as early as the 15th, and as late as the 21st. It will never be on the 22nd, which is when it actually is.

Some states used to celebrate Lincoln's Birthday on February 12th. Around half the states have state holidays honoring both Lincoln and Washington today. And, states can do that. Still, the federal holiday is, and has always been Washington's Birthday.

If your state celebrates more than just George Washington today, fine. Honor Lincoln and the other presidents that your state recognizes. But, there is a reason the federal holiday is simply Washington's Birthday. Don't forget to honor the man without whom we might very well not have this great nation.

George Washington. February 22, 1732 - December 14, 1799. First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Space Junk

Suddenly, some people are all concerned about satellites orbiting earth.

The Night Sky Will Never Be Same...
Thousands of Artificial Lights Streak Through Dark...
Musk, Bezos Junk Up Atmosphere...

What these people don't seem to realize is that there have been artificial satellites and large space junk orbiting Earth since October 1957. By the time Sputnik 1 decayed and reentered the atmosphere, other satellites were orbiting. We've not been without stuff in space for over 52 years.

With the number of satellites that are being launched by Amazon, SpaceX, and other companies, it's suddenly a problem? The people complaining haven't seen the night sky in years. I can go out and look up into the night sky and see things. I still like to do that. But people who don't are suddenly getting their panties in a wad over some companies putting up satellites that will provide Internet access over the entire country.

Don't get me wrong. Space junk is a problem. And the increased number of satellites will increase space junk. But space junk in the form of more Internet access. Have you seen what's on the Internet. I'd stay clear of that thing if I were you.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Maybe She Has The Right Idea

Everybody on the right is getting their panties in a wad about Nancy Pelosi ripping up her copy of Trump's State of the Union address. Well, not everybody. I'm not.

You see, I think this should become a trend.

Think about it. Somebody stands up in Congress and gives some papers to the Speaker of the House. The person reads it, then the Speaker of the House rips it up.

Imagine if that was a bill.
"Madame Speaker, I present to you my proposal that the government get involved with the regulation of the color of vacuum cleaner bags. We cannot allow this plethora of colors of vacuum cleaner bags to continue to cause confusion among the American consumer when having to choose between beige, taupe, off-white, and light grey. My proposal would allow for the creation of the Department of Vacuum Cleaner Bags with oversight authority on all such items manufactured in or imported into the United States and offered for sale to consumers.

I also present my accompanying proposal that covers industrial vacuum cleaner bags and ensures they conform with the standards set forth by the E.P.A. and the United Nations Climate Neutral Strategy.

I also present my accompanying proposal to increase funding to the United Nations specifically for its Climate Neutral Strategy."
Tell me, would you be upset if the Speaker then ripped it to shreds?

It should be the duty of the Speaker of the House to rip up everything handed to her (or him, once things right themselves). If that means a presidential speech or two gets ripped up in the process, that's the price we have to pay.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Iowa Stubborn

With apologies to no one (although the late Meredith Willson might not care for this)...

Oh, there's nothing to say
About the Iowa way to caucus,
When we caucus
Which we can’t get right at all.

There's an Iowa kind of special
Chip and software attitude.
We've never been without.
That we recall.

We can be down
As your falling poll numbers in the backrooms
If you ask to get the vote results on time.
And we're so by God stubborn
We won't admit that there's a problem
For a week or more.
Want the results? You can kiss our ass.

But what the heck, we'll tell ya,
What we think we want to tell ya
You can throw a fit
But really keep it to yourself.
You really shoulda give Iowa a pass.

But we'll give you a kick
And a smack to go with it
If your polls should happen to crash.

So, what the heck, you're welcome,
Glad to have you with us.
Even though you may not ever want to come again.

You really ought to give Iowa
Hawkeye Iowa

Ought to give Iowa a pass!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The trouble with peace

I saw something on the news about President Trump's Mideast peace plan. Not much, but a little bit.

The news has been mostly a dead basketball player and the Democrats' attempt to remove Trump from office.

And that's the trouble with peace. Nobody really cares about it. Well, nobody in the news cares. Peace means people not killing each other. Peace isn't good for selling ads, or posting clickbait articles, especially when it risks throwing a positive light on a Republican.

Not all of the countries in the area are in favor of Trump's plan. Jordan and Turkey don't like it, but Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE all are in favor. But none of that matters if you can't use the news to sell fear, or otherwise cast Republicans in a bad light.

The Republicans do enough on their own to make themselves look bad. They don't need the "media" helping.

Whatever happened to "give peace a chance?" For some, it's a 50-year-old song played on old people radio, and nothing more. Other than royalties for Yoko Ono, there's no money in it.

Monday, January 6, 2020

We can rebuild it. We have the technology.

What I Feel Like I Did To Myself.
Every now and then, I do something really stupid.

Oh, sure, I do stupid stuff all the time. Just ask, well, heck, anyone. But sometimes I elevate the stupid to a new level.

You know -- or you may not, but you do now -- that I have a large movie library. I'm not sure how many I have. I stopped counting in November. The count was at 1,525 at the time.

Since then, a few things happened, one of them really stupid, as I mentioned. First, I got some DVDs with a bunch of movies. You may have seen the type: 50 Sci-Fi Classics or some such. Of course, the "classics" turn out to be "Voyage To The Planet of Prehistoric Women" or the like. Not exactly "2001" or "Star Wars."

I mentioned in November that I was moving my content over to Plex. Everything was in iTunes because most of the stuff was purchased in iTunes. But, I decided to move to Plex because it was available on more devices. The DVD rips were easy. I was able to just copy them to the Plex library directory. The iTunes purchases needed to be ripped -- kinda like you do a DVD -- and copied to the Plex directory.

And, yes, ripping from iTunes is something Apple doesn't like. I understand, since it can lead to piracy. That's exactly how a pirate would do it if iTunes was source content. Only, I'm not a pirate. I'm not sharing or selling my iTunes content. It's for my own personal use on my own personal devices.

Now, with over 1,200 iTunes purchases, it's kinda hard to keep up with. So, I decided to use the checkboxes in iTunes (Windows) to indicate what had been copied and what was yet to be copied.

Then I started to run short of disk space. With a copy in iTunes and a copy in Plex, that meant that I'd be running out of disk space on that 10 TB drive. I didn't really want to upgrade the drive right then, so I decided to remove the iTunes content that had been copied into Plex. And that's when the trouble started.

With so many items in the library, one must be very very careful to ensure that things are properly marked so that accidents don't happen. I was not very very careful. Apparently I deleted my iTunes downloads that had not been copied instead of the other way around. So, while I still owned all those 1,200+ movies, I didn't actually have a local copy.

So, re-download them, right? Not exactly. When you have around 7 TB in your library and a 1 TB data cap from Comcast, you don't really want to try to do that. So, I decided I'd download some and handle them. Since iTunes checkboxes are remembered for content that's downloaded or not, I'm still able to mark content as moved to Plex. Just now it's gonna take a while.

And, it's gonna take longer, since I've decided to do this in two steps.

The first step is to get the content in the library. Simply put, get the Plex library running. Get content in it. And, the quickest way, particularly with the data caps, is to download the SD version of the content rather than the HD or 4K/UHD version.

This is not ideal. I want the better quality version to watch. But, I figured SD is better than nothing, so I've been rebuilding the library with SD versions. I've got 969 of the movies in Plex, with a few hundred more to go.

And, my count will not be the same. Previously, I was using the iTunes definition of movies to count the number of movies. Now, I'm not. I'm using what I think of as a movie to count.

You see, with Plex, you can have multiple libraries. And, I have a separate library for shorts. You know, Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse cartoons. iTunes counts those as movies. To me, they really are not. Same thing with Buster Keaton shorts. While "The General" is a movie, "The Balloonatic" isn't. In iTunes, they're both movies. In Plex, I'm able to designate them as I see fit.

This does lead to some inconsistencies, such as my designating 45-minute "Sherlock, Jr." and 34-minute "The Red Balloon" as movies while 51-minute "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is a short. That's because I think of "Rudolph" as a short while I think of the others as features. Generally, an hour is my cut-off, but if it just seems to fit differently, I go with what feels right. And, if I change my mind, it's easy enough to move the file to the other library. In a matter of seconds, Plex will re-scan the directory and make the change.

Also, all the Mystery Science Theater "movies" are now ripped out and stored as TV episodes. iTunes said they were movies. And, yes, they kinda are, but they're really episodes of TV shows. The actual movies they riffed were movies, and those that I have (91 of them) are movies.

Once I'm done with building the library in Plex, then I'll start replacing the SD versions with HD versions. That'll take a while. I'll simply add a "HD" column in my spreadsheet of movies and update to the HD version as I can.

I'm not sure how many movies I'll have once I've moved everything over. I'm still purchasing movies along and along, so the library is growing. I just don't know how big it is yet. I'm estimating around 1,300 or a little more. Yeah, I lost around 200 with the MST3K reassignment to TV. And I have over 100 short films, but I was over 1,500 before I started, but I hadn't put all the "50 Sci-Fi Classics" into the library. So, yeah, around 1,300+ is my estimate.

I do hope I live long enough to watch all of them when I'm done.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Resolutions for 2020

In the new year, I resolve to...
  • be tolerant of other people’s point of view
  • do a better job of cleaning up around the house
  • stop repeating myself
  • pay attention when my wife is talking
  • drive the speed limit at all times
  • not throw rocks at the neighbors' dogs
  • not make fun of rednecks
  • not make fun of yankees
  • be a role model for the children
  • compliment people more often
  • become a serious blogger
  • stop repeating myself
  • sprout wings and fly
I have an equal chance of success with all of these.