DVDs and near death

So I successfully made my first batch of DVDs. I tried setting the bitrate lower, and that seems ok – I can’t tell any difference in the picture. The audio is a different situattion, as I’m not willing to lose anything, and have that set at pure PCM. At 5.2 bitrate, I get about 90 minutes per DVD, which isn’t too bad, and since I use LP on my DV tapes, that matches perfectly.

I made waffles today, then Jill did eggplant parmesan for dinner. We also had a 15 bean soup she made yesterday. She’s really helping out around the house, and I sure appreciate it. Speaking of, we knocked out the shoveling and car cleaning from the snow in a little of an hour – the new cart I got is helpful in getting a lot of snow out of the way.

I made a fire tonight, and we watched “Simpsons” and read. It reminded me of Friday. I used one of the duraflame logs Jill bought, but after about 10 minutes, both fire alarms went off, and it smelled funny. Obviously carbon monoxide, so we shut the fireplace doors. Still smelled weird, so I opened both doors to create a draft, then smashed the log open with the poker and put some real logs on top to make a big fire. Don’t know if that was the right thing to do, but it worked.

Think we’re going to throw a Super Bowl bash next Sunday since my friend the Eagles fan isn’t going to be around to throw one. Wall Of Doom is looking good – all the CDs are in now – and there’s still room, that means I get to buy more, right?

Wall Of Doom

Is what I’ve started calling the entertainment center, and I think it fits. Two of the shelves we ordered did not come, so we had to go to Storehouse yesterday to pick them up. We also went to Home Depot – the contractor who’s done work for my parents came over to take a look at the dishwasher not installing problem and said we needed to take up the countertops. His clever suggestion was since he’s got to do that, why not raise all of them an inch, so any future dishwashers will slide in and out. Of course we said if you’re going to take the countertops out, why not put a new one in, so we’ve chosen a new one (formica laminate, we’re cheap and not that picky), and picked out a new cabinet style (which has to wait until we redo the roof). It’s weird how one problem turns into a kitchen remodeling, but it’s ok.

So back to the Wall Of Doom. When we got back from shopping (grocery too), I ripped out the molding on the right wall to see if doing that to both would solve my space problem. Unfortunately at floor level I still was off by an inch. So I went to plan C – take one of the CD towers out of the equation. The TV isn’t centered anymore, but the loveseat throws off the balance of the room anyway, so it’s not too obvious. I also had to take the backs off the bookshelves the components are on (that the TV rests on) because there wasn’t room for them and they were at dangerous angles.

So between all that and rewiring (and blackening some pork chops) I finished a little after 11 – Jill was falling asleep by then, so she went to sleep, and I played with the DVR/DVD. I got everything ready last night, and this morning I made my first DVD. I think the bitrate I recorded at was a bit high, as I could only fit 65 mintues of material on it – try again later today (after shoveling). Now I’m off to make waffles.


When I think about his passing, it makes me think how nearly every other host pales in comparison. I would watch him no matter who was on, while the others have to have a good guest to get me to watch (except Jon Stewart, but he doesn’t exactly run a traditional talk show). I don’t know if I’d purchase a lot of shows of his, but I’d certainly get some compilations when they come out. This is appropriate.

They Might Be Giants free show

I usually post upcoming shows in my page for the current year, but thought this was good enough to put here:

8027 Leesburg Pike
Wednesday, February 23, at 7:00 PM
They Might Be Giants-Here Come the ABCs-Original Songs About the Alphabet

Adults love They Might Be Giants for their unique alternative rock music. And now kids are going to love them, too. Why? Because they’ve teamed with another creative giant in the entertainment industry, Walt Disney Records’ Disney Sound, to make Here Come the ABCs, a fun new educational DVD designed to help kids understand the alphabet. Featuring more than sixty minutes of original music by the band, the DVD also includes animated sequences, puppets and live performances. The title is available in a CD version, too. Comprised of musicians John Flansburgh and John Linnell, They Might Be Giants have sold over 3 million records worldwide. They have also created themes for numerous television shows, including Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” and the Grammy®-winning “Boss of Me” for Fox TV’s “Malcolm in the Middle.” Their event at Borders will be fun for the whole family!

HFStival Lives!

woo hoo!

Rock Format Dies But HFStival Lives
New Venue Likely for Station’s Concert

By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 26, 2005; Page C01

The radio format that made it famous is gone, but the show will go on. The annual rock bacchanalia known as the HFStival will be held this year, officials said, despite the uncertainty caused by this month’s sudden move away from rock by its sponsoring radio station, WHFS-FM.

The multiact extravaganza has been a Washington springtime ritual for more than a decade. Last year’s show, with 36 performers, attracted 60,000 fans to an all-day marathon at RFK Stadium.

But the festival’s existence was placed in doubt by Infinity Broadcasting’s decision to do away with WHFS’s alternative-rock format in favor of Spanish-language pop music on Jan. 12. Before the format flip, WHFS gave the concert hours of publicity and played the music of many of the featured bands.

Infinity spokeswoman Karen Mateo said yesterday that plans for this year’s concert remain sketchy, but the company was committed to another go-round. Although no date, bands or venue have been chosen yet, “for all intents and purposes, yes, we plan to continue,” she said. “We’re working on it.”

The rock show is a big moneymaker for Infinity, in contrast to the financially struggling WHFS — a situation that prompted one local radio executive to describe WHFS as “a concert with a radio station.”

Even with Infinity’s commitment, several problems stand in the way of mounting an outdoor concert on the same scale as recent HFStivals.

For one, RFK Stadium most likely won’t be available for another show this spring, given that the facility will be the home of the new Washington Nationals baseball team. Seth Hurwitz, owner of Washington’s 9:30 club and producer of last year’s HFStival, said he was working with Infinity on selecting a site but that it was “way too premature” to discuss it. “We’re looking at our options. The people want [the show], the bands want it, and so does the company,” said Hurwitz, who also heads I.M.P. Inc., the company that will operate Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia this season.

Further, the loss of WHFS as a rock station complicates Infinity’s promotion of the event. The company late last week began airing WHFS-style alternative rock — some of it hosted by former WHFS DJs — on weekday nights starting at 7 and round the clock on weekends on Live 105.7, a station Infinity owns in Baltimore. In addition, Infinity and America Online have launched WHFS.com, a streaming-audio version of the defunct radio format.

But neither of these moves provides the same degree of promotional muscle in the Washington area that WHFS, based in Lanham, once provided. The signal of Live 105.7 can’t be heard clearly in Washington or its immediate suburbs. And streaming-audio stations rarely capture more than a fraction of a broadcast station’s local audience because they can’t be heard in cars.

Mateo, the Infinity spokesman, said the majority of HFStival fans come from the Baltimore area. But as an alternative, she said the company is considering using one of its Washington area stations, WJFK-FM, to promote the concert.

It was unlikely, she said, that the new WHFS, nicknamed “El Zol” and soon to change its call letters to WZLL-FM, would be a very effective promoter of the show.

Furniture follies

Nice show from efo Saturday night. Roads were a little tricky until we got to Alexandria, where they only had a couple inches of snow. I’m not a big fan of the Birchmere’s food, but as long as you stick to the sandwiches and pizza, it’s not bad, so we did. I had the chicken club amd Jill had the steak po’ boy. We’ll go back to see the Pat McGee Band there in February, but for the Jayhawks tour in March, we’re going to see them at the Rams Head in Annapolis since they’re there on a Saturday. Driving back was better, more plows had gotten out.

Jill made breakfast both days this weekend – a first! Huevos rancheros on Saturday, and egg sandwiches on Sunday while I got ready. I went to Home Depot to pick up some bolts and a drill bit set (I only had 5 drill bits), then I had neurosoma. I got back right after the football game started, and finished off the bookcases (drilling holes for connecting, installing shelves, etc.). At halftime, we started the big move. We moved the TV to the coffee table, then I disassembled the hutch (didn’t realize how much rat poop would be under there).

I started moving the bookcases together then realized something horrible – when I measured, I hadn’t allowed for the molding on the baseboards, and I was off by nearly two inches. One of Jill’s suggestions was to put the CD towers diagonally, so I did that, and it looks ok. Then I bolted the remaining bookcase together, and we put the TV on top of the middle two. Finally turned it back on only to see that the game had two minutes to go and the Eagles had totally dominated the second half.

I took a break from furniture to grill steaks while Jill made a salad, then started a fire before we ate. I thought the second game would be a closer contest, but should have known the Steelers’ offense would have problems after they struggled last week. I caught up on newspapers while Jill read a mystery. She went to bed around 10, and I started wiring. I stopped around 2, mostly done, and finished off the Sunday paper. I’m dragging today, and of course my eBay auctions end after midnight, so I can’t go to bed until they’re done.

New furniture

Busy week at work capped by some kind of stomach problem after eating non-spicy Popeye’s chicken (I usually get the spicy). I stayed up late reading the paper, and was awoken by a knock on the door. Our new entertainment center was here, an hour earlier than the window they gave. I understood completely, since the snow had already started.

8 hours later, the six bookcases are assembled – tomorrow will bring installing them and wiring the electronics. Now we’re off to shovel snow so we can go see eddie from ohio at the Birchmere.

What time is it?

Yes, I’m really up this early, got up at 5:15 after 4 hours sleep – just too much to do today, and I want to go out tonight. Last night I worked until 8:30, then got to Jammin’ Java 5 minutes before Quitter UK started. Jammin’ Java was half full – likely because of the snow. The show was fun, the guys distributed bingo cards and Todd called out numbers between (and sometimes during) songs. Obscene balloon animals were created, and Todd showed off some new dancing moves. Good show, then straight home, made dinner, went to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat – we’re headed to Jammin’ Java again tonight to see Girlyman – if I get enough done at work.