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.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas 2019

The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2

  1. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David
  2. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
  3. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
  4. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
  5. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
  6. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
  7. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
  8. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
  9. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
  10. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
  11. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Press 1 If You'd Like To Speak To A Representative...

You know those calls you get where the warranty on your car is out, or you can lower your credit card interest rate, or whatever? They say "Press '1' if you'd like to speak to a representative" or some such, right? Well, I used to press the number and then when the person came on, play Van McCoy's "The Hustle" into the phone. A family member came up with that idea. Or maybe I did. I don't recall. But, whoever came up with it, I would do that. But no longer.

It's a hassle to pull up a music player to play into the phone. Sometimes, it's easy, but other times, not so much.

Now, I press 1. Or whatever number they say.

I press it. Then I press it again. Then again. Then again. And so on and so on until they hang up.

It's really easy to do. All you have to do is press a number on the phone. Simple.

I may expand on that and play actual tunes. Funkytown, for instance.

5 5 7 5 4 4 5 0 8 5

Maybe Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

1 1 9 9 # # 9 6 6 3 3 2 2 1

I'm sure there's a lot more to play. I'm gonna keep with the single note over and over for now. But I do see Funkytown on my possible playlist.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


One of my favorite things to listen to during this time is Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker." Not just The Nutcracker Suite, with which most are familiar, but the entire music from the ballet. I even have a couple of versions of The Nutcracker on video.

One is a movie starring The Pacific Northwest Ballet, narrated by Julie Christie. The other is George Balanchine's version, starring Macaulay Culkin and narrated by Keven Kline.

The Pacific Northwest Ballet version is a creepier version, partly to the performance of Hugh Duncan Bigney Mitchell (known then simply as Hugh Bigney) and his dedication to the role of Drosselmeyer. They used the name "Clara" for the main girl's character, performed as an adult by Patricia Barker. The Balanchine used the name "Marie" for the girl, and included Drosselmeyer's nephew (played by Culkin), a character missing from the PNB version.

Some in the family prefer the Balanchine version, some the PNB version, and some prefer neither. I just love the music.

Here's a little something to get you into the mood. The Vermont Youth Philharmonia performs two movements "The Nutcracker."


By the way, Tchaikovsky premiered "The Nutcracker" on 18 December 1892 in Saint Petersburg, the one in Russia, not the one by Tampa.

Monday, December 9, 2019

College Football Playoff (As It Should Be) 2019

Every year for the last -- oh, I don't know how long, for a while -- I've posted about the college football playoffs. Actually, about how the college football playoffs should be.

Not everybody agrees with with my plan, but it has a few things going for it. First, here's the plan:
  • All conference champions qualify for the tournament. Those are the top ten seeds.
  • The six best teams that didn't win a conference title qualify. That rounds out the field of 16.
  • Higher seeds host the first-round games. Four bowls host the second-round games.
  • First round losers still qualify for bowls.
This deals with the issue that has arisen about non-conference champions. Some feel you must win a conference championship to be in the playoffs. That's a valid concern, and this plan covers it.

Some say that there are teams that didn't win their conference that are better than many conference champs. That's a valid concern, and this plan covers it.

Some say this calls for teams to play too many games. It doesn't seem to be a problem for Division 1-AA/FCS teams, which has a 24-team field. It doesn't seem to be a problem for Division II, which has a 28-team field. It doesn't seem to be a problem for Division III, which has a 32-team field. If those schools can handle extra playoff games, then the bigger schools can.

Here's how the playoffs would line up this year:

1 Louisiana State (Southeastern Conference) #1 (CFP)
2 Ohio State (Big Ten Conference) #2 (CFP)
3 Clemson (Atlantic Coast Conference) #3 (CFP)
4 Oklahoma (Big 12 Conference) #4 (CFP)
5 Oregon (Pac-12 Conference) #6 (CFP)
6 Memphis (American Athletic Conference) #17 (CFP)
7 Boise State (Mountain West Conference) #19 (CFP)
8 Appalachian State (Sun Belt Conference) #20 (CFP)
9 Florida Atlantic (Conference USA) #32 (Coaches)
10 Miami (Ohio) (Mid-American Conference) Unranked
11 Georgia (At-large) #5 (CFP)
12 Baylor (At-large) #7 (CFP)
13 Wisconsin (At-large) #8 (CFP)
14 Florida (At-large) #9 (CFP)
15 Penn State (At-large) #10 (CFP)
16 Utah (At-large) #11 (CFP)

This would make some pretty good match-ups, equal to or better than some of the bowl games involving the teams in the field of 16.

Utah (11-2) at Louisiana State (13-0)
Penn State (10-2) at Ohio State (13-0)
Florida (10-2) at Clemson (13-0)
Wisconsin (10-3) at Oklahoma (12-1)
Baylor (11-2) at Oregon (11-2)
Georgia (11-2) at Memphis (12-1)
Miami (Ohio) (8-5) at Boise State (12-1)
Florida Atlantic (10-3) at Appalachian State (12-1)

The weakest matchup is the Miami (Ohio) vs. Boise State. However, it's no weaker than Boise State's bowl game (vs 7-5 Washington) or Miami (Ohio) bowl (vs 10-3 Louisiana-Lafayette).

You might not be on board with this, but that's okay. You have the right to be wrong.

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.