Optical disks are a form of torture.

CD’s, DVD’s, Blu-Ray’s and Wii games are an aggravating lot.  Every time I go to put in a movie for the kids, whether the DVD player in the minivan or the Blu-Ray player in the house I find myself aggravated before I’ve even begun. 

Hari kari

Playing a movie involves an obsessive compulsive like ritual.  First I must daintily remove it from its delicate casing, without touching it, like a game of Operation.  Then I crane my neck from side to side while tilting it in the light to catch a glimpse of any smudges or blemishes, which there always are.  To be followed by gentle polishing and re-inspecting.  When I’m satisfied that I’ve done what I can I put it in the player and then wait patiently for what seems like minutes, to be greeted by a series of frustrating menu’s and images that I’m maddeningly not allowed to bypass no matter how many times I’ve already suffered through them, until I’m finally able to select play.  Then I wait for the inevitable complaints from the kids, “Dad it’s skipping again”, “It’s stuck”, which happens on virtually every movie new, old, or rented.  Of course, when it does skip and is stuck I really only have two options; continuously press fast-forward like an elevator button, hoping to jump past the glitch (which if it works at all more often than not it sends me careening too far into the future).  Or, more than likely, I’ll have to pop the movie out and go back to craning and polishing, sit through the menu’s again, and then fast-forward to where I was (while driving).

Wii games are no less frustrating, with the special ability to lock up or crash mid-level, and there own brand of boot up time and mandatory commercials to go through.

Remind me again why they’re better?

Makes me wonder what was so bad about cassettes and VHS.  They didn’t force me to re-watch anything or block menu functions.  They picked up where they left off, and I think I only had a tape get chewed a handful of times, certainly not every one every time.  They weren’t particularly delicate either. I didn’t have to treat them like priceless jewels.

Mal content

There was a glimmer of hope for a while with Netflix’s streaming service. They had the infrastructure, on nearly every device imaginable, but then the content dried up.  Now I can use Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vimeo, Hulu, HBOGO, iTunes, etc. to hodgepodge some content but only one some devices some of the time. 

I can only hope this craning and polishing is some kind of Miyagi-esque Karate training, the purpose of which I can’t quite see yet.


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