May 8th, 2005


Major Culinary Discovery

Jello® Sugar-free instant chocolate pudding will not set if you use soy milk instead of 2% real milk. And the soy flavor overwhelms the taste. Seemed like such a good idea at the time...


Popped this loser DVD into the machine, and have one thing to say: Fast Forward is my best friend.

Someone who knows way too much about wine and whining combined the two into a single character, and some idiot director cast this guy to play the part who looks and sounds like a gay zombie on 'ludes.

It's a buddy road trip movie. The road trip is lame - it's SoCal wine country for the week before protagonist #2's wedding. #2 is an actor who used to be on a soap, but now mostly does voice-overs because he has a face which looks like he broke out of prison by slamming his face against the bars.

His goal for the week is to get laid. And not too far into the flick, his goal expands to include getting his buddy laid. Buddy #1 was divorced by the love of his life two years earlier, and is still in mourning.

The only good thing about this movie is Sandra Oh, who plays the wine-smart hottie whom Bachelor #2 sets his sights on. Virginia Madsen is passable as the way-too-intelligent-for-a-waitress waitress who wants to hook up with Bachelor #1, on account of she grew up in a winery and he speaks Wine as a second language.

I won't blow the ending for those who haven't seen this turkey, but suffice to say my reaction was "in your dreams, Mr. Playwright."

Some folks told me this was a film about a fellow with writer's block. Though the main character is a writer, and he's waiting for word about a manuscript being accepted for publication, the movie has nothing to do with that. He could just as well be a used car salesman waiting for a potential customer to come in and buy the car. Or a software engineer expecting a better offer. And bachelor #2 could be anything at all which would make his face recognizable to the general public. Come to think of it, even that is not necessary if they modified one little scene which hinges on it.
  • Current Mood
    Gag me

Dual Layer DVD

Fry's had a Dual Layer 16x DVD burner on sale for $89 and there's a $15 rebate on top of that. So I got one, and a 3-pack of DL DVD's ($20!!!! Yikes!).

What inspired me to get it is I am putting the tapes of my performances on DVD for archival purposes, and none of them fit on a single DVD at the high quality setting. One of my best work buddies is moving to another company on Wednesday, and I wanted to give him a Hitchhiker's Guide DVD from my 1993 performance with Menlo Players before he was history.

I even upgraded Ulead VideoStudio to 9.0 for the project. It writes to DL disks, and also has a "Fit to Disc" feature which is supposed to change the bit rate of the video so it fits on the DVD blank you put into the burner.

Well, bad news. The first DL disk I made, it turned out the capture was bad. Every few minutes there would be a second or two of a green ghost of the video, crammed into the left half of the frame. Something out of sync or looping back. So I re-did the capture with a different VCR and going direct to the PNY MediaCenter card instead of through the video color corrector box. That capture looked good. The second DL disk I made stopped playing at chapter 10, out of 15.

So I saved two copies of the project, and made one just the first half, and the other the second half. Those went onto single-layer disks, and they play just fine.

So then I tried to put the first project onto a single-layer disk, using the "Fit to Disc" feature. After an hour of creating an ISO file, the program tells me it won't fit onto the disk. Sure enough, the ISO file is half again as big as the disc capacity. So I lower the bit rate manually, and chop the living daylights out of the captured file - getting rid of every ounce of dead air, and superimposing the titles over the first 15 seconds of the play, and the credits over the curtain call. Got it down to exactly 2 hours, which is supposed to fit on a single SL DVD at the 4Mbps bit rate I'd chosen. Another hour of cranking, and it gives me the same error. The ISO file it created was 6GB, which means it ignored my setting the bit rate, and used the same bit rate it had used for the "Fit to Disc" attempt.

  • Current Mood
    exhausted exhausted