Question Of the Day – Solved

Most every DVD lets me snap photos, allowing me to educate the public when it comes to improper forms in subtitles:

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Now that I have your attention, I have a question for people who know about DVD+PC stuff.

When using Nero Showtime (or any DVD viewing device I’ve tried) there are some DVDS that refuse to create screen caps, or frame captures. And when when I use the keyboard’s “print screen” button, I get a result like this:

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Is that a result of some kind of protection device on the DVD? There were some really awesome stills from my Fear and Loathing DVD that I wanted to use as wallpaper. Anyone have experience getting around this problem?

UPDATE at 2:30 P.M: Figured it out, thanks to (partially, anyway) the following websites:
http://labnol.blogspot.com/2005/11/capture-still-images-from-windows.html
http://www.quickonlinetips.com/archives/2005/03/capture-images-from-windows-media-player/

They didn’t have the answer for me – in fact, they wasted a lot of my time as I tried BSplayer, WMPlayer, Winamp, etc with no success. But they did help to explain that it had to do with surface/layer configurations. What worked for me was as follows:

1. Open Nero Showtime, which comes with the full version of (purchased) Nero.
2. Preferences (the little hammer icon)
3. Video: change video mode to “no interlacing”
4. Video quality: select the “off” circle
5. Play DVD, press the camera icon to capture (assuming you have already gone in and selected a place for the frames to be saved to)

*please note that “print screen” still results in a blank image. You’ll have to use Nero’s capture device to be successful. I also recommend Nero in general, as the software has burned CD and DVDs for me flawlessly.

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Baby Steps To Semi-Normalcy

Chris has lost 60 pounds over the past few months but not because he has been exercising or eating healthy meals. He has lost almost all interest in food and suffers severe stomach/nausea pains. On top of this sickness he became crippled two days ago, unable to sit, pained to be in bed.

We thought he had a bad back some time ago and a specialist looked at it, found nothing wrong and told Chris that it was all in his head. Unfortunately, given his past record with believing in ghosts and thinking he had several diseases that he didn’t have, it has been nearly impossible to get anyone to take him seriously. Come to find out, after a lot of hardship, Chris’ leg pains turned out to be very real – he has a deformed hip, inherited from my mother. But because he showed no signs of wanting help two years ago, no one could help him. Until recently.

Miraculously, Chris has shown a lot of changes in the past few months – better hygiene, favoring logic and science over the mystical (after ditching the meds that were intended to change chemicals released by his brain), and a willingness to be examined. He has gone from locking himself away, letting no one come close, to wanting an eye exam, dentist appointment, etc – many of the things that went haywire after his best friend ran him into a tree at 40 mph. I jumped at this healthier frame of mind and went along with him to his doctor’s appointment today.

And the doctor really listened to Chris this time, considering the symptoms and getting blood samples. He’ll need to have a few procedures done that, in the past, there would have been no in hell of talking him into going through – but he wants to get better. Today he got medicine for his digestive problems as well as a pain med for his hip.

Yes, a lot of things are still very wrong and hard to believe. But when I go in his room and see that there is no longer tin foil covering every window or any homicidal writings on the walls, I see improvement. I have given myself the responsibility of jumping on my mother’s ass, making sure she calls the right people and tells me when he needs to be somewhere. My next goal is to see how he feels after several problems are officially dealt with and go from there.

It was an exhausting day, but worth it. I still have several rooms to clean thoroughly before Brad’s visit. He’s good at keeping me sane in an insane environment. I made blueberry cobbler and have planned homemade pizza as well as pineapple chicken this weekend – hopefully my cooking turns out well. I’d like to catch the Turntablism showcase at the Flint museum; I think it would cool to see a few accomplished DJs and learn about the comeback of vinyl.

I hope Brad doesn’t forget the vodka this time.

Yeah, I Know It Beeps

For twenty years this house hasn’t had tone dialing. You could forget ever calling a number where you had to select from a menu. Mom always said that it was because we had very, very, very old lines. A logical problem, I always imagined some of the first lines ever made, buried under the ground out here in Nowheresville.

Today we called customer support, needing to access our newly installed voicemail. (I can’t express how happy I am that people can once again reach us.) They told us to dial a number and press pound when Mom interrupted that tone commands wouldn’t work for us. We were told that we had no idea what we were talking about.

So began the debate, my mom yelling into the phone about old rotary service and everything the company has told her before. I took over, explaining that simply, we hadn’t ever been able to break a dial tone on Tone. So they explained that we were using bad phones.

“I don’t think so. These are new, name brand phones and brand new computers with modems. We have had dozens of phones and none of them ever worked.”

“Miss, please hold for a series of tests. Okay, now turn it to tone and press 3.”

“Okay.” (*beeep*)
“See? That’s your tone working.”
“Yeah, I know it beeps. It beeps when you press a number. But when we pick up the receiver and dial, we get beeps but the dial tone never goes away.”

This took a surprisingly long time to explain because the two representatives I worked with had to pull our records and tell us that we’ve always had the service, that it said right there on their computer screens that everything was okay.

“You’ll need to borrow a neighbor’s phone and try it from the outside.”
“I already did that,” I lied. Such bullshit troubleshooting methods.
“How long has this been happening?”
“Forever. I’ve mentioned that…”

So I hung up. Eyeballed the phone. Got curious. Picked up the receiver, left it on tone…

And it dialed.

“How can I help you?”
“After I hung up, it was magically working. Now, I’m not a moron. The phone has one button. It goes right and left. I didn’t just newly discover how to dial a phone number with it to the other side.”

The guy laughed and explained that sometimes, during their tests, the tone service can be kind of…oh, what term did he use…switched on.

All of that inconvenience, all of those years, for a problem on their end.

The Latest Drama

Before I left for a weekend up north, my brother decided to break my heart by asking for drug money after pawning his every game console/game/collection for a lousy fifty bucks or so. It had been a long morning, having gotten up early at the sound of him in distress so I continued to cater to his phobias and whatnot through the day: finding him things to eat, taking him grocery shopping and helping him with his agenda, coaxing him into rational thought about one thing or another, etc. After spending what I had so that he could have options while I was gone, he came to me for my last five bucks. Ouch.

When I proceeded to explain that I had yet to get a beach towel he ripped the Gameboy from its charger and spat, “Then you can’t use this,” like a little baby would reason. A complete slap in the face for helping him out and it took a while to sort the events in his mind until he thought that maybe he should put the Gameboy right back where it was. Then I had a moment when I unplugged it again and tossed it the fuck out, breaking down and giving up, rejecting the thought of him.

My parents make a lot of poor decisions. They refuse to seek legal action against the drug dealer who trespasses and coaxes a mentally ill person out of his every cent. It’s a silent battle I’ve been keeping score of for roughly one year as this piece of shit continues to disrespect us.

“It takes years to get a restraining order,” Mom says, never looking away from her online RPG. She is up to 12-16 hours on it every single day, now. There are mysterious phone charges to places very far away and if you ask her to do something about the drug dealer who just walked through her living room and asked Chris to empty his pockets she goes, “Don’t talk to me right now. I’m fighting a tree spirit.”

Yup. Its like that.

Sole Definition Of Yayness

The best Julie I’ve ever met lives a few roads away and instant messaged me the other day, wanting to know what was up. I admitted that I was collecting coloring pages online to color. Rather than call me a five-year-old she insisted that I print extras and visit for a while.

Julie Says: And glitter pens, if you have those, too. Cya soon.

We both picked a Disney image and I thought I’d share the results as kind of our refrigerator display. I’d ask anyone reading to vote for their favorite, but it’s really no contest.

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And mine, from The Lion King
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If you think you’d like an excuse to buy a box of crayons, there are several things inside the lj-cut for you to print and color.

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Purses: A Gender Study or, Exceptionally Bored

To girls with gay-ass purses sporting cartoons, glitter and fur:

Rad. It’s probably one of the boldest ovary statements I’ve seen all year.

My purse is boring because if I was sporting some pink thing with a tutu, I’d always feel improperly dressed for the accessory.

Behold:
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Here we have a black backpack-style tote from Candie’s, that actually has a little dragonfly charm I fastened on. Zipper, Velcro, and all that goodness.

I’m curious about the females on my friends list. Take a photo of your purse and show me; if you don’t know how to upload it somewhere and link it, you can just e-mail it to me at rock_101_@hotmail.com with your user name and I’ll post it for you.

Come on. It’s not like I’m asking for a scan of your social security card. You girls never play – 98% of my comments are from males. So send me a photo of your purse.

Let me see. Come on. Snap snap.

The Answers Under the Stairs

***

My dad’s easy to understand if you can find the right record.

He only spent a few months serving in Viet Nam before they transported him from the rivers to a mental institution back home. There were a lot of papers and counseling sessions to follow the shock therapy and it has been told by my grandmother that Dad would often answer their questions with his undamaged knowledge of rock and roll lyrics.

“I told them that I wanted my son back but they were concerned because he often spoke using a lot of words from the music he listened to. I had to explain to them that it wasn’t a side effect from the war; Bill had always been that way.”

Growing up, I’ve been aware when Dad was honoring a quote even if I wasn’t familiar with its source. I walked past notepads on the fridge with impulsive scribbles don’t you know that you are a shooting star, and saw the sideways sentences on the calendar, sometimes sad: you can’t always get what you want. A napkin left in the living room,this could be the last time.

Anything could trigger his warehouse of rhymes. In the middle of dinner we might hear: I looked at my watch, I looked at my wrist, then I punched myself in the face with my fist. And somehow, this was never weird.

“Spring has sprung, the grass has ris. I wonder where the flowers is?” and I’d just roll my eyes at him and walk away.

My senior year of high school, I stumbled into the forbidden area of the basement and knocked open his AA folder. Tarnished papers were filled in essay form, going on and on about the horrors of war. I opened envelopes with rainbows and stick figures that I had colored and Mom had mailed. Instantly I made the connection to always vaguely remembering being very young and feeling like my dad hadn’t come home for some period of time. There were a lot of things about the past that I’d never thought to question.

“…so many regrets…I would buy beer instead of life insurance…”

“…watched my friends…to know I should have…then I would never have caused the accident…”

“And I don’t think I can take it cause it took so long to bake it and I’ll never have that recipe again.”

Exploring until my vision was blurry, I wondered if a tragic reality was worth having ruined the simplicity of strange and beautiful riddles.

Last night I journeyed to the deserted area again, this time returning with an armful of rot and black mold – ruins from almost twenty years ago. My dad lost a lot of self-medication and suffered great heartbreak from this, so I’ve taken the liberty of inspecting albums that were swallowed in The Flood.

I pull mismatched, brown circles from sticky, decayed paper and pieces of Zeppelin and Frampton crumble onto my lap. Then I rub them down with wet wipes until the vinyl is black and its grooves are clear enough to explore. My hands trace over the areas nicked in supposed clumsy drunkenness. Maybe he took them wherever he went and some other person at a party went to change records and dragged the needle an inch across the record. Or maybe that’s just what some of them look like after they’ve been played a thousand times.

Miraculously enough, they’re working.

My goal is to restore a great deal of them and fold up new paper sleeves to surprise my dad with. And as always, I’m coming across mysterious clues where marker has emphasized or pointed something out that I can’t quite make sense of…

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Until I’ve found the right record.