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I have been as sick as a dog the past few days. Grrrr…. Fever, head explodiness, but fortunately no lung nastiness, otherwise I would be calling the SARS patrol. Today, I am feeling much better, but still seem a little spacey at times.

Yesterday marks the first game of Risk I have ever won. …except it was not Risk, it was iConquer. …except it was not a world map, but an ancient Aztec one. I feel just as good as I did when I finished Super Mario Brothers for the first time a few months back (…except it was with a Game Genie). Actually a few games later, I won using a real world map.

I made Beer Bread out of flat Newcastle. I hope it tastes good, because it sure does smell yummy.

The local supermarket has a sale on spatulas. Buy the first and get the second at 1/2 price. Do I really need two spatulas? I feel like I am in a Weird Al movie or something. Maybe it is just the dizzyheadedness causing hallucinations…

First off, BitTorrent is really awesome, once you can get a connection, and lets you download all sorts of fun stuff. That said, I hypothetically downloaded a recent “blockbuster” (used in quotes because few people I know liked it). A feature-length movie I have, which may or may not be the hypothetically downloaded blockbuster, came as three SVCD images. I thought, “hmmm…this would be the perfect project for testing the DVD authoring abilities on the new laptop.” The thought was in the right place, but the execution really did not happen for a number of reasons…

First off, I tried mounting the disc images (I did not want to burn the CDs yet) to grab the mpg video files from them. That did not really work too well–I could grab the file, but it was unplayable in Quicktime (or any other player, for that matter). I was pointed to GNU vcdtoolsX. This pulled off the files from the raw CD images excellently. I could see them in most players, except Quicktime (which needed a plugin). Unfortunately, all of the DVD authoring stuff is based on Quicktime, so that kind of left me screwed. Fortunately, I found an article that described the problem (the video and audio are multiplexed in a funky way), and a solution (bbDemux). bbDemux will then take the original mpg file and demultiplex it into a video stream and an audio stream. It took a good half-hour to realize that the video file it output is a standard mpeg (with no audio) because the file extension was really funky and unusual. Then, using Quicktime, I was able to multiplex the audio and video streams back together (first using Audacity to convert the Mpeg1 audio file into a raw WAV file). This resulted in the 700M videos ballooning to 1.4 gigs, for some crazy reason (well, maybe not crazy–maybe just uncompressed audio).

So, I'm in the clear. The files are readable and watchable by Quicktime. Everything will be fine–right? Wrong. To get the nifty “scene selection” menus, you have to load everything into iMovie, concatenate the three video files, and then mark where each scene begins. Simple as pie. Unfortunately, the files seemed a bit too large for iMovie–which crashed after spending a couple of hours loading the first file. Well, no problem–is a program designed for editing home movies, so maybe it is not powerful enough for a feature film. Well, we will pull out the power tools and try it in Final Cut Pro. This is a power editing program. This was able to successfully concatenate the three video files into one large…and it only took EIGHT HOURS. Well, video editing is slow. Unfortunately, toward the last few minutes, it ran out of hard drive space–and anyway, that is too large to fit on a DVD. Maybe I will retry later with better video compression or something.

So, at this point, I realize I wasted a good number of hours (actually, most of it happened at work, so I did not really waste any time). I decide that three separate files would be okay. They will all fit on the DVD, and it will be only a minor annoyance to watch the first 1/3 of the movie, get returned to the main menu, select the next 1/3, and finally the last 1/3. Unfortunately, this did not work either. Just as iMovie seems to be made for home video and photo albums, iDVD seems to be for the same. It did not explode like iMovie, but it refused to accept a 1 gig movie file.

So now my mission is failed. I can do the SVCD thing, but I thought it would be so much more cool to say that “I produced a bootleg [insert name of hacking movie sequel here] DVD.” Maybe I will obtain a copy of DVD Studio Pro, the professional DVD authoring program at some point in time and try again, but for now all of my energy for doing the project is gone….

In retrospect re:spatulas, I guess I do have/need more than one. I have three, specifically, now that I think of it: one plastic (for the teflon pans), one metal (for high-temperature stuff that has melted plastic ones, like making corn chips), and one with a soft rubber end for the bread machine.

Posted in: Dear Diary Games

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