Oh yeah. Damn, am I pissed.
Welcome aboard the good ship Bear, we’ve got a high head of steam built up, all ahead full, next stop, the island of angry, scantily-clad bacon-eating bear men.
I only said that last bit for the benefit of the search engine. It’s part of the blogging mini-game – what kind of traffic can we attract through innuendo or double entendre THIS week? WHAT?!? You’re a blogger and you’re not playing the mini-game? Uh oh.
Seriously though. This has been driving me bugshit for years, and it’s finally sent me RIGHT over the edge.
Look, I’m going to show you something. It may be something you have seen before.
This is a graphical representation of what is commonly called a “DVD disc”, which is stupidly redundant. A digital video disc disc? Really?
I’ve seen ’em. Hopefully, you have too.
Now, I don’t know how much YOU understand about how these work.
From my recent experiences, I think this covers MOST of you out there;
Time to bust your bubble.
Here is the secret, ancient truth behind the DVD;
IT’S NOT MAGIC, DUMBASS!!
Here is a simple procedure I’d like you to try at home.
Step 1 – Pick up a DVD disc and hold it in your hands.
Step 2 – Examine the disc. Discover that its form resembles a plane. No, not a fucking airplane. I mean that it’s got TWO SIDES.
Step 3 – Turn the disc over in your hands. See that it does, in fact, have two discrete sides. For the advanced user you can also discern an edge along the circumference, but let’s not get stupid here. We’re looking for data-bearing strata.
Step 4 – Look carefully at each side of the plane. One side will be shiny across the surface, and if you look very closely, you will see that rather than being perfectly smooth, the surface is actually grooved. At this point I would reference wax records and the needles that followed the groove, but that would date me as being really fucking old, since most of you probably don’t know what a record is, what a needle is, what needle fuzz is, what an RPM is, what ANALOG even means, which is all fine because it’s completely irrelevant to the discussion and is only mentioned because I AM that old and I can’t keep one single thought in my head without wandering all over the place getting lost in pointless digressions that detract from the original point which was OMIGOD wtf am I doing stop this stop it stop it move on holy shit are you even kidding me right now.
Step 5 – The side opposite your shiny grooved side should have some writing on it. If it has writing on it, anywhere on the surface of the disc but not if it is super shiny and has writing only on the inner rim, that side of the disc is the label side. That side can be as scratched and scored as you’d like, it doesn’t matter for shit. Knock yourself out.
Step 6 – If both sides have identical shiny grooved sides, DON’T PANIC! Some of the earliest DVDs were printed with a different version of the same movie, one version on each side. Usually widescreen on one side, and pan and scan on the other. In that case, if you look vewwy vewwy closely, you’ll see that there is writing on the inner ring on each side, sometimes saying something like “Tango and Cash Side A – Widescreen”. Now, don’t overthink this. If you can see “Tango and Cash Side A – Widescreen” facing you, then that means the other side of the disc ACTUALLY HAS THAT VERSION OF THE MOVIE.
Step 7- Embrace the idea that you hold in your hands a plane with two sides, and if you are looking at the label or a generously marked or labeled surface, then the content the label refers to is on the other side, the side that is facing away from you.
Step 8 – Look at the shiny side again. Imagine for a moment that the shiny side is the screen of your TV or monitor. You will be seeing your movie shown on that screen. Now, if the shiny is perfectly shiny, you will see a good image on the screen. If there are dots, hairs, smears, pits, cracks, holes, writing, paint, grease, scratches, warping, or BIG FUCKING CHUNKS MISSING, then it will be very difficult to see a clear image on the bleak lunar surface of your disc.
DO YOU GET IT?
You do not need to know more than that. You don’t need to hear about tracking lasers, and drive mechanisms, and dots and dashes and binary logic and Digital to Analog converters or ANY of that shit.
All you need to know is, shiny side smooth and pretty good, shiny side all scratched, broken and pitted is BAD.
So please, please, someone explain to me WHY THE FUCK DOES EVERY DVD I RENT, BORROW OR CHECK OUT FROM THE LIBRARY LOOK LIKE IT’S BEEN USED TO POLISH YOUR SANDPAPER COLLECTION, WITH OCCASIONAL USE AS A SUPPORTING PLATE TO HAMMER NAILS ON?!?!
This ain’t just today, this week or this month. For years now, if I get a movie from Blockbuster, from Netflix, from Redbox or the public library, every single one of them looks like they sideline as coasters at the national frisbee finals, said frisbee competition being held at a gravel pit where the players CAN’T CATCH SHIT.
What the fuck do you people DO with these things? It’s not a magic disc you stick in the player, and a movie comes out. There is, like, technology and shit in there! And let me be blunt, most DVD technology is still early days technology, where it’s a euphemism for “lots of delicate moving parts at high speed”.
I don’t get it. I’ve got DVDs I bought before there were even DVD players, back when you could get Blade Runner on DVD, and you couldn’t even get the player yet for less than $500. Don’t get me wrong, Blade Runner is the shit, and I mean the good shit not that wack shit that came from your cousin’s basement hydroponics Brew and Grow kit, but $500 to watch Blade Runner is not good either. I’ve got ancient DVDs, and they don’t loko like this.
we’re talking a time so long ago, that I bought a brand spanking new Playstation 2 to use as a DVD player, because the damn thing cost the same amount of money as the other DVD players on the market, so why the hell not? Maybe I’ll even buy a game for it some day. Now load up Empire Records and get me some popcorn.
I own DVDs from DVD technology pre-history, and do you know, I open the case and pull the things out, CAREFULLY holding them on the edges because you don’t touch the surface where the movie shit is, and the things are still shiny! SHINY!
And yet, I grab a movie that was released on DVD two weeks ago fro Redbox, and the thing looks like a buckshot mallard.
It came to a head last night, when I went to watch The Incredible Hulk.
I tried to watch it on DVD last November, but the disc had cracks on it so I returned it with notification, and then I think I chose a Harry Potter film as a replacement.
Well, I got it again from Netflix last night, determined to watch it, and this time I go to put it in all excited, got my Captain and Coke, got my easy chair, house is quiet, earphones work so I can blast the sound… the disc looks like it was, and I am not fucking joking, hit with finishing nails driven by a ball peen hammer.
I even turned the disc over, you could clearly see the impressions the nails made on the label side. That’s right, they went all the way through. Are you shitting me?
So, after yelling at Netflix on the phone, Cassie came to the rescue. Local library had TWO copies of the movie on the shelf, and were open until 9 PM.
Off I go to the library, where I grab the first copy, open the case, check the disk… and see that while it may be about the Incredible Hulk, it looks like the aftermath of a land war in China.
I grab the second copy, and look, fearing the worst. At this point, I don’t even want to know how much worse it could get. It looks almost brand new, just a couple gentle scratches. Well…. more than a few, and some weren’t all that gentle. But it’s the only game in town.
I take that movie home, I watch all the way through to the end, and right when the Hulk and the Abomination are getting into it and the chopper is down and Betty Ross is about to go up in navgas flames, BOOM! Digital hash, white noise, the thing hits a perfect storm of scratches that end the show.
Are you kidding me?
People, let me explain something.
If you keep treating these things like total crap, and seriously, I don’t understand how you do it unless you hand rental discs to your 2 year old as a toy to distract them LITERALLY with “Ooh, shiny!”, then prices will go up, libraries will cut back on DVD budgets, and we will be left to shout from the heavens…
THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!