Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm done with our Christmas shopping! And other news.

Yay! We finished up our Christmas shopping before the crowds started in the stores. We got the grandkids what they all want for Christmas (within reason) and bought things for his stepkids/spouses and my son & daughter-in-law that we know they will like. the presents are even all wrapped and ready to go under the tree, when and if we decide to put it up. I even got all our Christmas cards sent out last week.
My big project for right now is going through all of DH's CDs that his ex burned for him and labeling them with what songs are on each one. That has shown me that I would not have been a good contestant on "Name That Tune". I would have been the one saying "I can name that tune in.......let's see, it's gonna take playing the whole song and even then I might not know the name of it." Now, I've listened to a lot of music in my 55 years of life, but most of it has been the country music from the '50s through the '80s, classic rock from the same years, and a lot of heavy metal. Music is one of the things DH and I don't have in common. He likes the old rock & roll and country music and doesn't care for heavy metal at all, while I don't care much for the newer country music. Most of the singers nowadays, I can't tell by listening to them who the hell they are. If it's Dolly Parton, or Reba McIntire, I know those voices. The rest of the female singers all sound pretty much alike to me (well, I recognize Loretta Lynn and Kitty Wells and Patsy Cline too). I have an easier time recognizing male country singers' voices, like Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Marty Robbins, Conway Twitty, Travis Tritt, Dwight Yoakum, and Marty Stuart. But even so, a lot of the male singers still sound a lot alike to me (can you tell I'm not musically inclined?). So going through all these CDs and trying to figure out the names of the songs on them is a royal pain in the ass, especially since they all say (when you open the CD to get a listing of songs) "Unknown Artist Track#__". Now, if DH is home when I'm doing this, he knows the titles to a lot of the songs, and can tell me within the first 30 seconds what the name of it is. But I've been doing a lot of this while he's at work, so I'm guessing on the ones I've never heard, and some of the songs I've heard, but WTF is up with radio stations now that they play a song and don't give you the title of it or who's singing it? I mean, really, people, if you aren't going to tell me the artist and title of the song, how the hell am I supposed to find it on CD to purchase it? Could that be one of the reasons that CD sales have gone down the shitter?
I have WinAmp on my pc and the free database that looks up song & artist online can't find any information on any of the CDs DH's ex burned for him, and I don't have a clue where she got the songs (she took the pc the songs were on when she left). I don't know if she ripped them from other CDs or downloaded them off the internet. Now, I've used Limewire to get mp3s off the internet and I've ripped CDs that I purchased (I have 9 gigabytes of music on my computer) and every one of those mp3s has song name, artist, and length on it, so I'm at a loss as to how you can have mp3s on your computer and all they say is Unknown Artist Track #1, etc.
I'm running into CDs that have the same song on the CD twice, sometimes 3 times, songs are duplicated on other CDs, the CDs aren't labeled at all, other than to maybe say "comedy", "oldies", "country", "Christmas", etc. And those aren't even accurate, since there might be love songs mixed in with the Christmas music or comedy mixed with oldies or country, and then there's the Boyz2Men or Enya bullshit thrown in for good measure, or Celine Dion (I abhor Celine Dion, she sounds like she's screeching, to me).
DH wants to rip all those CDs and re-burn them so there aren't any duplications, but I don't know if that's a task I want to even think about undertaking. I would be the one to do it because he doesn't know how (he uses his computer for email and Pogo games, that's it). To do that, I would have to rip each CD, rename every track, and then burn them all to new CDs. Now, I have a CD burner in my computer (and I have a CD player that plays mp3s in my minivan), so I could do the CDs as mp3 CDs instead of audio CDs, which would mean I could put 5 - 10 hours of music on one CD, so I wouldn't have to burn as many CDs as I would if I redid all of the current ones (and DH is getting a CD player for his truck next month, right now he has a cassette player and cassette copies of all the CDs). Both of the CD players will play mp3 CDs, so that isn't a problem (and I like having a lot of music on one CD, then I don't have to worry about changing CDs while I'm driving, not to mention I don't have to have a ton of CDs in the van). So there are positives to ripping and re-burning all those CDs, but damn, that's a lot of work. I've done 25 CDs so far, and have another 26 to go (each CD has between 15 and 27 songs on it), so that's a lot of music. At least I don't have to write each song title by hand. I created a template in Excel, and as I'm listening to the song, I'm typing the title in (once I figure out what it is, or what I think it is because I'm guessing on some of them). Then all I have to do is print out the list (I can get 4 lists on one sheet of paper), and use my paper cutter to cut them apart and slide in the slim jewel case with each CD. That paper cutter is the best investment I ever made, back years ago when I was making counted cross stitch greeting cards. I used it to cut the card stock to size, and I've used it to trim photos I print out.
Speaking of photos, that was another project I did for DH. He had pictures of the USS Stark, when it got hit by those missiles during the Gulf War back in 1989. He was on the USS Conyngham at the time (as an HT1) and he helped fight the fires, carry bodies, and gather up the deceased crew members' belongings so the chaplain could see that their families got them. I had scanned them into my computer and burned them to a CD for him, just in case something happened to the actual photos. We sent a copy of that CD to the Conyngham Association for their website (that ship was decommissioned and scrapped, the association is for all the men who served on her over her 28 years of service). So the other day, one of the guys who was on the Conyngham with DH called to see if we could send him the pictures (I had sent him a CD with the pics on it, he took it to Wal-Mart and they couldn't figure out how to make pics off it). So I got the photo paper and printed out the pics to send him. They turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself......
And I'll tell ya what, I won't be taking any pictures to Wal-Mart to be fixed or printed off a CD. We took in an old photo of DH's parents to have it restored (it's a wallet-sized photo and very old). They won't do it without a release from the photographer, who happens to be dead and the studio is out of business. Wal-Mart said we have to hunt down his heirs and get them to sign a release to have the picture restored. Yeah, like that's gonna happen. My daughter-in-law ran into the same thing with them. Her mother, who is NOT a professional photographer, took pictures of 3 of our grandkids, had Wal-Mart put them on a CD (the CD has Wal-Mart's viewing software on it). Tina took the CD to Wal-Mart to have more pics made off it, and they told her she needed to have the professional photographer sign a release saying she could do that. I don't know very many professional photographers who would use Wal-Mart to develop their pictures and put them on a CD with Wal-Mart viewing software, but that's what they said, that the pictures had been taken by a professional (yeah, my granddaughter was on a horse in her grandmother's backyard in some of those pictures, and in her grandmother's kitchen in others, so yep, that was a professional photographer all right, came right out to the house and spent all day shooting pics of those kids). Whatever. I can print out the photos she wants, I downloaded all the pics off the CD onto my computer. I think I have a couple of gigabytes' worth of pictures on here. She'll just have to get the ink and the photo paper. It takes half of a color ink cartridge in my printer to do 22 - 4"X6" prints, so I'm not sure how much ink it would take to do however many 8 X 10's she wants. I'll have to see what she wants to do when they come up here for Thanksgiving next weekend. We're having it on Friday since DH has to work on Thursday (time and a half plus holiday pay will look good on his next check, he says).


  1. I just wanted to let you know what I do to find song names and artists.. I google a line or two of the lyrics and almost always the right song will come up as the first result.

  2. I started my Xmas shopping months ago and now probably half about half of it done. I don't consciously Xmas shop, but if I see something I know someone would like, I pick it up instead of waiting. It saves on having to save up for a big Xmas budget and on headaches from shopping crowds.

  3. Christa - I had thought about doing a search using a line or two of the lyrics. But, when you're looking at doing that for most of 1,000 songs, that's a lot of time spent googling (and I don't google much because of the way they save your search results and use them, no privacy at all).

    Rachel - We do the same thing when we're out shopping. If we run across something we think one of our kids/step-kids/their spouses would like, we pick it up and put it in the closet to be wrapped later. As for the grandkids, we ask them for several options on what they would like a couple of months before Christmas so we can be on the lookout for sales on those items. That way, we know we're getting them something they will actually like/use/play with and they don't know for sure which item off their list we're getting them so it's a surprise for them when they do open the gift. The only item we had left to buy was DH's traditional gift to the grandkids every year. He always buys them all those Lifesaver storybooks, and we had to wait until Wal-Mart put out the Christmas candy to get those. But we found them, got them, they're wrapped, and shopping is officially done when that happens.

  4. You are on the ball girl!! That is impressive. I haven't bought the first thing. I get through Thanksgiving, then my DD's Birthday(Dec. 3rd), then I start on Christmas. I used to buy stuff along and put it back, but I'd forget I had it and buy more. I'd end up with five gifts for everybody.

    And you are a good wife to even attempt what you are doing with those CD's. Sounds like you know your stuff though. You'll get it done and when you do, I hope he hugs your neck real good!

    Take care and have a great Thanksgiving:)

  5. Kat - I thought I was done with the CDs until I looked in the stand under the stereo and found about 50 more that need So now I have to go out and get some more of those peel & stick round labels for the CDs (I ran out of the ones I had). I got some of the ones I found done today, I have about 30 left to do (that's just the slip of paper that goes in the jewel case, I still have to do the labels that go on all of the CDs). I'll be busy with those for a while.
    We even went to Wal-mart the other day and took a couple of names off the Angel Tree and got presents for those kids (DH wants that to be our Christmas tradition, his ex wouldn't let him do it when they were together). I think it's a good idea, so said hell yeah, let's do it. Was fun to shop for someone not in our family for a change.

  6. Kudos to you Vesta for all of your fantastic-ness! Shopping AND wrapping done?? That's crazy goodness! We are girding our loins for the Black Friday bargains and I am starting to drool.
    Your CD labeling will certainly have your eyes crossing before it's all over with. I google the first line or two also, but FYI...they dont necessarily keep all your search info from previous times. They pretty much guess what you are starting to type in their search engine. Try googling something you would never ever think of googling, like "zephyr contagion" and you will see a list of suggestions pop up as u type. The Patriot Act sorta popped my Big Brother cherry and I have said "WTF let em watch" ever since. That, and the paranoid schizophrenic/bipolar mother I grew up with who believed "the government" had bugged the lightbulbs, radios, tv, and other electronic devices in our home-to which her response was complete and utter decamation via hammer. Granted, she never FOUND the bugging device, but that didn't stop her.
    Good luck on your CD labeling quest. I don't listen to enough music in my life and you have given me the bug once again. I love the classic rock and older country too, but find myself these days listening to Marvin Gaye, Etta Fitzgerald, Van Morrison, Tony Bennett, and all the new stuff that is slow and sweet (think John Mayer/Seal/Amos Lee/ADELE/David Gray). It fits my mood and feeds my soul.
    Have a great Turkey Friday!

  7. Regina - One of the reasons we're done with Christmas shopping already is because DH refuses to put any of it on the one credit card we have (that's for trips and emergencies). He likes doing it a little bit at a time so it doesn't break the bank like when ya do it all at once (and when you're buying for 15 - 20 people, it can get kinda spendy). The wrapping is all done and cards are all sent because we bought wrapping paper/cards last year right after Christmas when everything was 1/2 price or less (he's a thrifty soul on some man after my own heart).
    The CD thing isn't too bad, it's another one of those things that we can do together (he likes that I like doing stuff with him, his ex never wanted to do anything with him or go anywhere). It's not a task I mind doing anyway, I like having things sorta kinda organized and I hate having a CD and not knowing what is on it when I go to play it. All of my music has been organized from the time I started buying/burning CDs, so I'm just carrying that on to his music collection (I am NOT going to get started on his VHS/DVD collection, he has over 500 VHS movies and probably 150 or so DVDs, those are organized Although, he does want a list of all the movies he has, but damn, I don't want to go upstairs and have to write down 500 or more movie titles (talk about writer's cramp!) and then come down and type them all into a word document to save on the computer (which is the best way to do it, it's easier to add movies when you buy them and I don't have to wonder what I did with the paper list since I'm running out of room to store paperwork in my file cabinet). Maybe one of these days I'll feel like tackling that project...............
    The thing with google keeping search information doesn't bother me as much as the fact of how they use and who they sell it to (especially if you're searching medical terminology, they're coordinating with the CDC to track disease outbreaks and decide where/how to spend money on those. Sandy at Junkfood Science had a good post on that). The Patriot Act thing, well, it's none of the government's business what I talk about on the phone or internet, but if they do happen to be listening in, they're going to be bored as hell (family phone calls/business phone calls don't discuss anything remotely connected to terrorism, and internet, well, if they want to read about my fat rants and the boring stuff that goes on in my life, then they're leaving other people alone).
    You have a great Thanksgiving too :)

  8. I'm so behind....this entry is way old. But anyway, here's the thing. On the computer, the MP3's that the ex or DH used to burn the CD's probably are named, but when you burn CD's with Windows Media Player (and probably the older burn software as well), the files on the CD aren't named when you go to play them or rip them BACK onto your hard drive....and even when you go to the files in your directory and rename all of the fuckers, Windows Media Player STILL lists them as "Unknown Artist Track 1" in your library.

  9. Kelly - I found out that when I updated my WinAmp, it now names all the tracks, so evidently the old WinAmp didn't have that feature. At least I'm finally done naming all the tracks on all the CDs and labeling them. DH only had 150 of them that weren't labeled. I don't know what his ex used to burn the CDs (DH said they both had Nero on their computers, but that doesn't mean she used it). Personally, I don't like Windows Media Player that much, so I never use it. I use Nero to burn CDs and WinAmp to play them.


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