Saturday, December 13, 2008

Trust Me, We're Nowhere Near Thunderdome, So Don't Worry About Getting Beyond It

For a variety of reasons I never got around to watching any of the recordings of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report that piled up on my DVR during the week, so much of yesterday and today was devoted to that task.
I still have move stuff to watch, as there’s a free preview weekend of HBO and Cinemax this weekend, so there have been a couple of movies that I’ve recorded or set to record, such as Juno, which I never got around to putting in my Netflix queue before canceling my gift subscription.
I had been informed of the free preview weekend via the Verizon message center dealie on my DVR on Thursday, but had forgotten about it until yesterday when someone from Verizon called to offer me a free month of their movie package and a low(ish) price thereafter. I was tempted, but decided it wasn’t worth it, but it did remind me about the preview.
One thing I’ve noticed about free preview weekends over the years is that while they tend to air some of the bigger, more popular movies during the preview, they also tend to say “Ixnay on the oftsay-orecay ornpay.”
Even Skinemax tends to avoid airing some of its raunchier fare.
That hasn’t been the case this weekend, though, and with the multiple versions of Cinemax, that makes for a lot of soft-core porn. Ah, Herman Beeftink, how I’ve missed the melodious strains of your soft-core soundtracks…
I set a few things to record on the DVR and a few others to record on my computer. However, I found that the copy protection that’s only supposed to prevent me from viewing recorded protected content on other computers and from burning it to DVD/Blu-ray actually prevented me from watching it on the computer at all.
Sort of, anyway. I recorded Juno on the computer, and when I went into Media Center and navigated to the Recorded TV folder and tried to watch it I got a blank screen and some random noise. However, I recorded something else overnight, and this morning when I navigated to the Recorded TV folder in Windows and clicked on the file, it launched Media Center and began playing. Not sure what’s going on there.
(Note: after running into the problem with Juno, I set my DVR to record it when it aired on the West coast Cinemax channel later in the evening.)
Speaking of Windows and not being sure what’s going on, for a while now I’ve noticed something odd and mildly irritating that Windows does at random times.
I have two external hard drives, one is 250 GB, the other 750 GB, and for some reason – again, this happens randomly – when I do certain things, Windows will first poll the 750 GB drive, even though what I’m trying to do has no connection to any files on that drive, before actually performing the action.
For example, I click on the icon for my internal drive, nothing will happen, I’ll hear the 750 GB drive start to spin up, and I know that I won’t actually get an Explorer window until after Windows finishes whatever it’s doing with the external drive.
Or sometimes I’ll be surfing the Web and I’ll click on a link, there’s a pause while Windows polls the external drive, and then, after I hear the sound coming from my external drive that indicates that Windows is finished with whatever it’s doing, the page I was trying to navigate to will finally load.
The weirdest thing is when the drive polling interferes with running a filter in Photoshop. Click on the filter I want to run, wait for the drive to be polled, and then the filter preview window will pop up. Again, there’s no obvious connection between what I’m trying to do and the wackiness that Windows engages in. I’m not working on a file saved on that drive, and I don’t have Photoshop set up to use it as a scratch disk.
If I shut off or disconnect the drive, obviously, this doesn’t happen. But that begs the question of why Windows is doing it at all. After all, with the drive disconnected, the things I’m trying to do still work (and work better, as there’s no delay), so why the polling? It obviously isn’t necessary in any way for the requested action to be performed.
Anyone have any ideas as to what’s going on? As I said, it only happens at random times, and it only seems to happen with the 750 GB drive. Windows totally ignores the 250 GB one in this regard.
My Google-Fu has failed me in my quest to find an answer.
The only thing that I can think if of is that all of my music and most of my videos are stored on that drive and I have Media Center set to “watch” those folders, so maybe the timing is just coincidental. That is to say, it just happens that at that moment some Media Center process makes a scan of the folders to look for changes, and because the drive is so large and has so many files it takes a while, and there’s no connection to what I’m actually trying to do.
I suppose that makes about as much sense as anything.
In any case, I went out this morning to hit the comic shop, as that’s something else I didn’t get around to during the week, and then went grocery shopping.
I should have taken a picture, but I have to say that I was right in my prediction about how panic-stricken Northern Virginians would react to the rain and the possibility of snow/sleet – which never happened, by the way – the other night.
There was this massive gaping hole in the shelves where the bottled water should be, and the supply of milk was scant indeed. I didn’t check on the beer, but I’m sure Scott was right about that. Even the supply of Vitamin Water was almost entirely exhausted.
The funny thing is that if we get some rain, or even a prediction of rain or snow, within the next couple of days, the exact same thing will happen again. I just don’t get that. I mean, did you actually use up all of the “end of the world” supplies that quickly?
Maybe it’s something like, “Hooray! We’ve been spared from nature’s wrath! Let’s celebrate by dumping all this bottled water we bought down the drain!”
I’ve got a special message for all of my fellow Northern Virginians: It’s. Just. Fucking. Rain.
Even if it actually snows, civilization is not going to collapse. Mild wintry weather will not transform the area into some post-apocalyptic Road Warrior-style horrorscape. There will be no cannibals, or rape gangs, or a degeneration of the populace into warring tribes fighting over dog food and toilet paper.
The worst-case scenario is that you don’t go into work for one day.
Anyway, after doing my shopping I came home, watched some TV, ate lunch, took a nap, watched more TV, snacked on some stuff to the extent that I wasn’t hungry enough to make any sort of dinner, and now I’m writing this and thinking that I really should eat something more substantial.
Plus I have more TV to watch, so I guess I’ll bring this entry to a close.

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