Digital Collection Lists

In my quest to rid myself of tangible items, I’ve come across a small problem. I want to be able to easily browse my digital collections. It’d be nice to be able to see the cover art of my movies. Especially when perusing movies from the couch, which is hard to do anyway since everything is in tiny text. I’ve done a little searching on the subject, but I can’t seem to find any software that will let you add cover art pictures and easy browsing to your collection of digital movies. I know Windows Media Player sort of does it, but most of my movies are in mp4 format, which can’t be played on WMP. Any suggestions?

Also, I’ve tried pretty hard to not collect tons of books since I moved here. I think I currently own less than 20 books, since I usually sell them back after I’ve read them. But I’d like to have some kind of catalog of books that I’ve enjoyed, so I don’t forget about the book. You know, if you have a giant book collection, sometimes you’ll come across an old book that you haven’t read in years and you’ll decide to read it again. I need a way to create lists of books, preferably with cover art, that I can browse. Amazon has wish lists, but I don’t want people buying me books on a wish list. They don’t have just a regular list of stuff you like.

I’m thinking I’ll just set up an Amazon Store of my media, even though I’m not too crazy with the way they lay everything out. I already have a store for I guess it would be cool to have the added bonus of receiving a commission if anyone decides to buy anything in my personal store.

About the movies, I’m sure Netflix will come out with a way to make lists of favorites eventually. They already have Top 10 lists that users can make and share. I don’t think it goes much further than that, though. But if anyone has any other suggestions for doing what I think I want to do, other than making an Amazon Store, I’m open to them.

EDIT: I just set up a quick list on Amazon. Click here to see my Amazon store. Right after I made that, though, I discovered that Amazon actually does have a thing called Your Media Library which might do everything I was looking for. I’ve only spent a minute or two looking at it now, and I’m not sure if I like it. I’m going to look it over now, though. I’m still open to any alternative suggestions.

ANOTHER EDIT: I just remembered that after RijilV moved out of my spare apartment in Illinois, I had this insane idea of converting his old apartment into a library. As if I didn’t have enough useless space in my house as it was, I thought that turning every wall of his old living area into a bookshelf was an awesome idea. I came really close to actually beginning this project too, but luckily someone I knew needed a place to live so I rented it out again.

I didn’t even own enough books at the time to fill more than 1/4th of one of the smaller walls. So besides the lost rental income, I would have spent all this money on wood for bookshelves, lowered the value of the house, and then probably spent thousands of dollars after that just buying books to fill up the shelves so it would look cooler. Sure, it would have been a fun project, but I’m so glad I got sidetracked on that idea.

Stab Wound

I saw Jumper on Saturday. Was pretty good. I spent my entire Saturday just wandering around downtown Salem by myself. After the movie, I went upstairs and sat at a table with my laptop. This douchey-looking theater manager with long hair and a beard kept walking by and eying me. After about an hour, he finally came over to my table and said, “Uhhhh…I’m going to have to ask if you have a ticket?” He seemed scared to death of me. He must know about me being a murder suspect.

I smiled and said, “Sure!” I reached into my pocket and handed him my ticket.

He looks it over. “Oh…Uhhh…Okay.” Then he hands it back to me and turns to leave.

“Do you need me to leave or something?”

He turns around, pauses for a few seconds, and says, “Uhhhh…not at this time.”

I left on my own about 30 minutes later and walked to The Blue Pepper where they have internet access.

On Sunday I spent all day in Portland. I ended up stabbing myself in the hand with a screwdriver. Not just a little scratch either, but I giant gaping hole in my hand. Blood was everywhere. It wasn’t just dripping out, it was squirting out. Gross, eh? I went into a store and purchased some heavy-duty band-aids, went into the restroom and cleaned up. My hand still hurts. I was at Dennys last night and couldn’t even lift my drink. Murder suspects enjoy talking about blood and wounds in great detail, you know?

Dumpster Fire!

Today’s been pretty exciting, and I’ve only been up for 90 minutes now. I woke up at 7am because my brother, who doesn’t understand the concept of time zones, sent me a text and woke me up. So I went downstairs, watched the news, had some breakfast, then opened the living room blinds to see a giant raging inferno right outside my window! Well okay, it was just a dumpster fire. I happened to be holding my phone in my hand, so I called 911 and told them about it. Five minutes later the fire department arrives. I took a few pictures, which you can see on my Flickr page. Here’s a few of the better ones.

I guess it’s a good thing that whoever dumped their smoldering garbage in the dumpster did it before it caught their kitchen on fire. That would have been even more exciting! That’s the one thing that bugs me about apartment living – knowing that a neighbor’s stupid mistake could burn my apartment down.

In other exciting news, I bought a DVR last weekend and I’ve converted almost all of my old VHS tapes to mpeg-4. I plan to return it for a refund this weekend because I’m unethical like that. (Colleen – be sure to call up Circuit City and tattle on me ASAP!) The DVR has a built in VHS player in it, so it automatically converts VHS to DVD, then I just put the DVDs in my laptop and rip them to mpeg-4. It’s a lot less hassle than dealing with software and video capturing hardware. Approximately 20 hours of home video will be added to the Xbox hard drive. Plus a few movies that I recorded to tape 10 – 15 years ago and aren’t available on DVD yet. I’m gaining a ton of shelf space by getting rid of all the VHS tapes. And I only own 3 DVDs now. I need to find out how to rip Xbox games, so I can get rid of those too. Be damned, physical media!

Movies and BBSing

Angela and I went to see Juno this evening, which was as awesome as I expected. After that we snuck into I Am Legend, which means I’ve seen it THREE TIMES in the theater now. The kids and I snuck into it last weekend after seeing The Golden Compass. It’s been great every time.

The other day a guy posted on my 618 BBS shrine page a link to his page at So I decided to give some BBSes a try yesterday. I logged into two of them and played around on them for about an hour. One of them was a WWIV BBS, which I haven’t seen since the late 90’s. It’s weird, because they still scroll slowly as if I’m on a 9600 baud connection and they still use ANSI graphics and you have to hit the space bar after each page to scroll through long posts and stuff.

The two BBSes I visited weren’t exactly active. The WWIV board hadn’t had hardly any posts from this year. A few of the games (Tradewars, Pimp Wars, etc) seemed to be somewhat active. There were files areas, voting, and all the other stuff that used to come with BBSes. I don’t know if they still update software like WWIV, but it looked and felt just like it always had. It was neat, feeling like I was in the early 90’s again.

But I really don’t understand the point of running or visiting a BBS. I mean, anything that can be done on these things can be accomplished just as well on a website. Forums and file areas, obviously. The games are mostly text-based with a few ANSI screens thrown in. It’d be easy to port those into web sites or flash. Seems like the only appeal to BBSing would be to connect with people in a certain geographical area. But since these are all using telnet instead of dialup now, that part of it makes no sense either. Besides, you can find local people, things, conversations on Yahoo Groups and Craigslist.

I just don’t get the point of any of it other than to feel retro. A lot of the posts on the WWIV board were things along the lines of, “Oh, this brings back so many memories!” and there wasn’t much conversation besides that. I guess that’s all BBSing is good for. If someone wants to point out something to prove me wrong, I’d like to hear your opinion on it.

Tomorrow’s gonna be busy.

The Mist

Cat in the christmas tree

The cat is really enjoying the Christmas tree so far. He’s been climbing all over it for hours now.

Kids and I went to the movies today. Saw The Mist and then Enchanted. They say they liked The Mist better. It was a great movie, but wow, what a messed up ending. (The only part of the book they changed. The book didn’t really even have an ending.)

A couple months ago I signed up for a magazine subscription to help Emily with some school thing she was doing. I got a 24 month subscription to Wired for a good price. Today I got the magazine and read through it all. The only problem is that I’d already read almost all of the stories in it during this past month. Since I subscribe to dozens of blogs, reading a tech magazine is pretty pointless for me. It sucks wading through all those ads too. I might just transfer the subscription to someone who wants it.

Selling my DVDs

Around 2000 or 2001, I decided that owning CDs was pointless and sold them all on Ebay. I no longer own any audio CDs and have kept my collection in digital form ever since then. I’ve moved from an mp3 CD player in my car, to an mp3 discman, a few miscellaneous handheld mp3 players and finally to my 30 gig Ipod. I think it was a pretty good call since audio CDs are pretty much dead for a lot of people. And I think DVDs are going the same way. To be replaced by Blu-ray or HD DVD? Nah, screw those formats too. DVDs in all forms are on the way out. They’ll all disappear much quicker than VHS did. That’s my prediction and I’m sticking to it.

With the cable companies offering more and more on demand every day, actually owning your movies is becoming pointless. Why spend $15.00 to own one when you can see it on demand? Getting an account on Netflix for $5.00/month makes owning DVDs stupid. Even McDonald’s is renting DVDs for $1.00/night now. Competition like this will force Blockbuster to keep lowering their rental prices. The networks are starting to let people watch/download their primetime TV shows online for free. Doesn’t Netflix even let you watch your rentals online now? Not to mention the ease in which anyone can download any of this stuff for free on bittorrent.

But the one thing that really sold me on ridding myself of DVDs is my Xbox 360. It lets me mp4ize my entire video collection and watch it all from the TV. I hooked a 500 gig external hard drive to it, which fits everything I own onto it. A few clicks of the remote plays any of it. And it’s easy enough for the kids to use too. I love that thing. And since Ipods also play the mpeg-4 format, I can easily transfer any of it to my Ipod for vacations. Apple TV does the same thing if you want to be more legit about buying online movies to watch on TV, even though the files are locked down and it’s a little pricey now. But the prices will come down and the DRM will disappear and/or become reasonable eventually.

Anyway, now that I’ve slammed the DVD format for 3 paragraphs, I expect everyone to visit my Amazon store page to buy the DVDs I’m selling. Here’s the link:

There’s only 45 up right now, but by the time I finish entering the rest of them there should be over 100 of them. There’s some good stuff up there, if you’re into those old, antiquated DVD things.

Speaking of that, Amazon has a really nice system for selling things. There are no up front costs like Ebay has. And the total time to list each item is just a minute or two.

NEXT MORNING EDIT: Woo, Finding Nemo sold! That’s like $2.00 I made! I need to go buy a bunch of DVD shipping envelopes today. I put my two school books up from last year too. The one I paid about $90 for last year is going to sell for $30 and the one I paid about $40 for I’ll be lucky if I get $5.00 for it. I only kept the books because I hoped they might be used again this year for a similar class. But no. I tried to sell the $90 book back to the book store the other day and they offered me $15. I told them I’d just sell it on Amazon. I thought I’d get a little more than $30 for it though. Never buy books from the student book store again.

My desktop computer rips DVDs in about 2 hours and my laptop rips them in usually under an hour. It’ll probably take a few weeks, but I plan to rip them all. I need more computers.

The Mist

Emily and I were in line at Albertsons today and I saw a paperback of Stephen King’s old book called The Mist. On the front it read “now a major motion picture.” It’s the first I’ve heard of it and it comes out next month! It’s one of my all-time favorite Stephen King stories.

Here’s the trailer for it.

Here’s the imdb page for it.

It’s written/produced/directed by Frank Darabont, the same guy who wrote/produced/directed The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption. Those two are my favorite Stephen King movie adaptations. The trailer looks awesome and I can’t wait to see this.

Lemon Demon

Biked to lunch at Wendy’s yesterday. On the way back, was passing the Pix theater and noticed Little Miss Sunshine was playing there and that it started in just 10 minutes. So I saw it. Me and several dozen really old people. It was a great movie.

Also, last night, I heard a couple of really great songs by a band called Lemon Demon on a podcast I was listening to. Today I found their website and their Myspace. And they’re amazing. Go listen right now:

Listen to the song called The Ultimate Showdown. And then watch the video for Word Disassociation. Great stuff. I convinced Altalp that they were great and she bought one of their CDs online and let me download all the tracks from it too. I’m going to buy the other 2 CDs as soon as I have some money.

A huge thanks goes to Smart Bomb Radio who played Lemon Demon on their podcast.

EDIT: I knew I recongized his voice! Lemon Demon used to be known as Trapezoid and is the guy behind the Ebaum’s World Sucks song. Also there’s a video for The Ultimate Showdown.

Problem Child

Jammie & me & the kids watched both of the old Problem Child movies today and yesterday. Anyone remember those, from the very early 1990’s? Then we started looking up the actors that played Junior & Trixie. (Trixie was the problem child girl from the 2nd movie) Not only do they both have Myspace pages, but they’re on each other’s Top 8 lists. AND they’re staring in a new movie together soon. First movie Trixie has done since her Problem Child movie.



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