Sunday, April 15, 2012

How Handbrake Saved Commuting

Before we go anywhere, allow me to share that I love to watch movies/TV shows on my iPod in the morning on public transportation.  I tuck it into my bag and put on some earphones that are super girly and pretty pretty pretty (but if someone snatched 'em off my bean it would not be too big a loss as they cost me all of $16 with a coupon at Bed Bath and Beyond) and watch a movie or a TV show.  The one-way ride takes 30-40 minutes and it takes three-to-four morning commutes to watch a full-length feature film.  It doesn't take very long to go through one's own video library of full-length downloads (once a year, starting in January, I go through all four seasons of "Coupling" and, in December, season 1 of "How I Met Your Mother") with random interspersing of video shorts -- "Our Time Is Up," "Auf Der Strecke," "Wish 143," and "God of Love," to name a few -- throughout the year.  I was lamenting to a genius on-line friend that I wished I could put the DVDs I have onto my iPod and Ms. Genius shared that there was.  And so Handbrake became the thing that saved my sanity (along with Ms. Genius and her good direction).

According to
HandBrake is a general-purpose, open-source, cross-platform, multithreaded video transcoder software application.  

No, I know what none of that means specifically.  But what it does is take my DVD and put it onto my computer.  It takes a while for the DVD to convert and I've not been able to figure out how to bring over the subtitle track for a foreign movie but it is so worth the effort.  I have movies I've not watched in years that I have been enjoying on the bus or El, depending on my chosen route.

Another option:  you get an exercise DVD at the library and you like it but don't want to buy it.  Handbrake puts it onto your computer and you can use Apple TV to do your cruches, plies, or kettle bell tossing when the DVD goes back to your local branch.

I like to watch movies in the movie theatre.  Next choice is on my TV with a DVD or streaming from Netflix.   Sometimes the fates intervene and there's the third option of watching it on my iPod while it's tucked into my bag with me looking like a crazy person staring into said bag.  It makes me very happy, I don't notice the hijinks of my fellow riders (it's 6:30 am when I get on so hijinks are pretty limited), and the ride flies by.  It is beautiful and precious and I invite each and every one of you to give it a whirl if you prefer the visual to the aural -- i.e. you like a movie and not just music.  

It's spring and geese are pairing up and nesting in the shrubbery of the Oakbrook, IL, Costco parking lot.  Traffic cones have been put around the area to keep the mother safe and the shoppers safe from the goose daddy who looks like he means business.  One high-end goose found the flower bed outside the north entrance of Oakbrook Nordstrom to be an ideal spot to raise a family.  Nordstrom did too and put up a sign advising its customers to leave the nesting geese alone.  It's a small sign, yellow with black lettering, but Nordstrom has clearly embraced this spring fling and will do what it can to help the mom get the eggs hatched.  That particular goose daddy was about 15 feet west, enjoying a nice salad, i.e. he was eating the grass from a small expanse of lawn.  People were clearly excited about the Nordstrom geese and were happy to quietly peek at the mom sleeping on her nest.  There was less excitement at Costco because, really, "I just need one thing and damn it, those are great parking spots they have cones around and why does that goose have such crazy eyes?"

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