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📚 fifty-eight of 2019: Sleeping Beauties, by Stephen and Owen King. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A King take on the fears that women have of men, of the men that generate those fears, and how they all react when mysteriously separated. King (and his son) still knows how to tell a good tale.

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Editing Chapter Markers in .mkv files

A gorgeous, fully restored Monty Python’s Flying Circus Norwegian Blu-ray Edition box set has just been released, and while I can definitely say that it looks great, others have reviewed it far more comprehensively than I’m able to do, and if you’re into the technical details, there’s some fascinating information about the restoration process in this article.

However, there is one small thing about the set that is a little unfortunate: Each episode only has three chapter stops.

Since I’m in the habit of ripping all of my DVDs and Blu-rays for storage and playback through my Plex media server, I decided to see if there was something I could do about that. Turns out there is! Here’s a rundown of the process, in case anyone else is curious (or if I need to remind myself how to do it for future projects).

  1. Rip the disc using MakeMKV to individual .mkv files for each episode (and while you’re doing so, you might want to pay attention to the subtitles as well.

  2. For each episode, open the .mkv file with the MKVToolNix GUI. Go to the “Chapter Editor” tab, and (at least in this case) remove the existing chapters.

  3. At the same time, open the .mkv file with a video player that allows for frame-by-frame scanning and that can display timecodes down to the millisecond (I use Aegisub.

  4. In MKVToolnix, use the “Add Chapter” button to create the first chapter; you’ll see it appear in the “Chapters:” list. Click on the chapter to enable editing. Set the start time to “00:00:00.000”. Optionally (but recommended), set the “Name” for the chapter: This could be as simple as “Chapter 1”, or a more descriptive chapter name (in this particular case, the highly detailed books of notes that came with the Monty Python set came in very handy for identifying the chapters and titles).

  5. Scan through the video file with your video player until you find the end point of the opening chapter/beginning point of the next chapter. Read the timecode from the video player, and use that to set the “End:” time in MKVToolnix (for example, “00:00:30.831” is zero hours, zero minutes, 30.831 seconds into the video).

  6. Click the “Add chapter” button to add the next chapter, and set its start time to the same timecode as the end time of the prior chapter.

  7. Continue on until all chapters have been defined.

  8. Once all chapters are defined, in MKVToolnix’s “Chapter Editor” window, choose “Save to Matroska file”. Select the .mkv file you’re working with, and click “Save”. Don’t worry if you get a warning that the file will be replaced, MKVToolnix will only replace the chapter markers, and will not wipe out the rest of the file.

Once that’s done, the .mkv file will have correct chapter markers set. If you then do any further encoding (such as converting from .mkv to .mp4 with Handbrake, which I do for my video storage to save space), those chapter markers will be preserve. This makes skipping around and finding particular points in the video (in this particular case, going directly to specific sketches within each episode) much easier.

It’s the one downside to an otherwise incredible set, and while this solution isn’t exactly simple or fast, neither is it terribly difficult or time consuming, and makes for a much better final experience.

Bonus: If others are ripping their Python box sets and would prefer not to go through the trouble of finding the chapter stops themselves, here’s a 73KB .zip file with .xml files for (nearly*) every episode’s chapter stops as I defined them. These files should be importable into MKVToolnix, replacing steps four through seven above (and saving you a lot of time).

* At present, I’m missing files for episodes 12 and 13 of Series 1, as I seem to have gotten a bad pressing of disc 2 of that set. I’ll add those two episodes and remove this qualifier once I’ve received a replacement disc.

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Linkdump for January 27th through October 30th

Sometime between January 27th and October 30th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

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Old mashup from DJ Wüdi: Just Can’t Get Flexible in 1999 (Depeche Mode “Flexible” and “Just Can’t Get Enough” vs. Prince “1999”).

The only inspiration I can remember for these is that I like the source songs and I had the acapella for “1999”. I do like the way it came out.

🎵

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Old mashup from DJ Wüdi: Give It A Crablouse (Red Hot Chili Peppers “Give It Away Now” vs. Lords of Acid “Crablouse”).

I realized a few years ago that the verses for “Crablouse” had the same rhythm as those for “Give It Away Now”, so…this was the result.

🎵

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New mashup from DJ Wüdi: Closer to Virginity (nine inch nails “Closer” vs. Madonna “Like a Virgin”).

Originally did this “live” when DJing back in the late ’90s by quick-fading between the tracks; this version is my first attempt at using Logic Pro X.

🎵

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To all those I know who have come out, have not come out, aren’t sure if they need to, want to, or are safely able to come out: Whoever you are, your identity is valid, and I hope you can live your life however you see fit, comfortably and loved.

#NationalComingOutDay

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Short Treks E06: “The Trouble with Edward” Okay…yes, it’s funny (and be sure to watch all of it). I laughed quite a few times. But wow, are they playing fast and loose with canon and biology. Hard to say much more without spoilers, but…I’m very torn on what to think. 🖖

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Short Treks E05 “Q&A”: Cute, and nice to see Spock and Una playing against each other. Really dislike the Discovery-style “exterior” views of turbolifts, though; it makes no sense, and is as visually jarring as the Budweiser version of engineering from the Abramsverse. 🖖

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Not-So Idle Hands

I grew up in an era when most families had a single phone, which was attached to the wall and had a corded handset (yes, that far-distant time). When I was a teen and in the habit of having long phone conversations, I’d pace back and forth, idly cleaning and straightening up whatever was in my reach. The section of the house within reach of the phone cord was often the neatest part of our house (and my parents eventually got one of the really long 50-foot cords to extend the range of my cleaning).

I hadn’t thought about this in years, but realized today that when working from home and on a teleconference where I don’t have to watch a shared screen too closely, I pace back and forth to the limit of my headset cord’s reach, just as I did when I was a kid.

I might need to find a USB extension cord so I have enough reach to keep my entire office tidy instead of just the part I can currently get to.