Beach Bocce

Two years ago when Dad, Jeb, Grant, and I visited Tybee we were stuck inside due to a hurricane and re-invented Bocce (botchee) where we would roll a small ball (which we called a “pith,” though I have no idea why since it isn’t called that; there is a pith ball that is used to measure static electricity in physics) and then see who could roll a larger ball closest to the pith. When it finally stopped raining, we moved this game out to the beach. That was more interesting than indoors since you had more room, terrain, and different textures of sand (hard wet sand, soft dry sand). We would go all up and down the beach throwing the pith and then trying to land balls closest to it (sometimes the pith gets knocked around, which changes everything). This year the sea gulls seemed very interested in the egg-sized white pith ball.

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Cover Flow

When I installed iTunes 7.0 I opted not to import artwork for all of music. Songs purchased from iTunes always have artwork incorporated into the file, but CD’s that I have imported into iTunes do not. With a 3G iPod I can’t see the artwork anyway, but newer iPods can display the cover of the CD you are listening to. Also iTunes shows it to you to. Now there is a neat music browser that lets you browse by the cover. That’s kind of neat because it’s like going through your CD collection.

You can add the artwork into iTunes yourself. A few months ago I found a program that was supposed to import the artwork into iTunes, but it took a really, really long time and I wasn’t impressed with what it was importing. But by then I was hooked, so I spent a lot of the rest of the day going to Amazon and getting cover artwork from them and manually pasting it in to iTunes. To save file space, I only pasted it in to the first song of a CD. Still the images were pretty small: 240 pixels square and about 15-30 kb each.

So when the new software came out and Jeb wrote about it, I talked myself into getting the artwork as I was writing my response. Again, it took a really long time. I had about 470 albums that needed artwork and it took a couple of minutes for each. With a dial-up connection, it took about 4 hours to get all of it. And by “all of it” I mean whatever it could get, which was maybe 80%.

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Netflix Reviews

I think that I will do Netflix for one more month before I stop. One of the neat things about Netflix is they let users review movies, like Amazon does with products it sells. Reading several reviews by normal people you can get a pretty good idea of whether you will like the movie or not. Based on those reviews, I checked out Secondhand Lions, which I thought was actually pretty dismal. So it doesn’t always work out. Because it had gotten such amazingly positive reviews, I thought I needed to write a review and warn people like me away from it. When I went to post a review, I found a link to see or edit reviews I had written previously, including the ones from three years ago. While I have a ton of reviews on my website, I have only written 3 reviews on Netflix and I had to laugh when I read another review of discontent from three years ago for Farewell My Concubine which I gave 2 stars out of 5 (I like the simple Netflix system: 1 star if you hated it, 2 if you didn’t like it, 3 if you did like it, 4 if you really liked it, and 5 if you loved it):

“This might be a well-made movie. I wouldn’t know since I didn’t make it all the way through. It appeared to be a movie about beating and otherwise mistreating orphans before the Gang of 4 comes in and does worse. I didn’t realize that it was primarily about orphan boys learning Chinese opera, in particular an opera called “Farewell My Concubine”. From the title and the description you might be looking for some seductive movie about a love triangle. I was expecting something on the order of The Last Emperor. This isn’t like that and I didn’t care for it, but I could see how the patient or those interested in Chinese opera before Mao with a high tolerance for violence against children could really enjoy it.”

It tells me that 14 people found my review useful. Fortunately it doesn’t say how many did not.