Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Day in the Life: No More Mr. Nice Guy–I’ve loaned out my last DVD.

16921_27dressesI don’t think that I’m the hard ass that I sometimes make myself out to be on my blogs.  In real life, I’m a pretty generous guy.  But far too often that generosity is either taken for granted or is taken advantage of.  But despite that, most of the time I just let it go.  Not anymore.  At least not when it comes to my DVD’s and most certainly not my newer Blu-rays.

Over the past ten years I have built up quite and extensive library of DVD titles, and over the past year, I’ve been acquiring blu-rays which are  even more expensive.  Previously when friends and neighbors have asked to borrow them, I willingly obliged.  Over the past three years or so I’ve become quite a bit more hesitant to do so until finally I’ve now been pushed to just quit allowing it under any circumstances.

So today I decide to update one of my old reviews from Clyde’s Movie Palace and move it over here to Clyde’s Stuff.  The next one on the list was 27 Dresses, a movie I reviewed back in 2008 after having seen it in the theater.  So screen captures and pictures of what I could use were limited to me at that time.  So in order  to do my update, I dug out the DVD. 

The last time I had viewed the film was at the theater.  I had not viewed it since, and certainly  not on the DVD.  Part of that can be attributed to the fact that for the better part of the time since I obtained  the  DVD, the film was out as a loaner, first to one person and then the other.  So today when I got ready to update my review, I put the movie into my laptop to begin work.

I managed to watch the special features and  then proceeded to the main feature film.  Except when the DVD  gets to the Fox Logo, it no longer wanted to play.  Not in my laptop, and not in my blu-ray player although even if it had played in that device, it wouldn’t have done me much  good.  So I take it out to look at it and as sure as there is sunshine, it’s scratched all to hell and back, and scratched very badly.  And since the DVD had never been viewed in this house, that only leaves one other possibility.  I do my best to polish it up with the methods available to me, but to no avail.  I'll probably be able to get the DVD to play enough scenes for my update, but my main purpose was finding single screenshots of each of the bridesmaid dresses in the film.  Now, that may not be possible.

So I’m now fed up, although I was fed up even before today.  The last person to come over and borrow DVD’s swore up and down she would take care of them, and then swore she would have them back the very next day.  She did this because I flat out told her I didn’t want to lend anymore out because the last time I did it was to her mother, who kept the damn things for almost a year.  But she swore to me that wasn’t going to happen.  But I should have known better.

It was this girl’s mother that my girlfriend had once loaned a refrigerator to.  So when the one here at the house began breaking down, The girlfriend asked her if we could get it back.  She no longer had it.  I think her ex-husband absconded with it.  That’s all well and good.  Shit happens, even when there is no excuse for it.  But at the very least she could have offered to pay something for it or find a replacement.  Of course she didn’t.

It has been three weeks, and since this person who most recently visited my home like I’m the local library  is living on the coast, I have no clue when I’ll get the films  back or, if I  ever will for that matter.  Several of the discs were brand new and still had the original wrapping on them.  And of course this person never bothered to call to ask if she could keep them longer, or even offered up an explanation.  Here are the movies:  Hulk, Pirates of the Caribbean, Hellboy II, Scooby Doo, Spy Kids, Stand By Me, Hostel II, and Crank 2: High Voltage.  The Scooby Doo movies were a set that I had bought solely because of Sara Michelle Gellar who stars in both  of them.  Pirates of the Caribbean was an original two disc special edition.  Spy Kids, is in a sense, part of collection as well since I have the other two films.  Same way with Hellboy II, Hostel II.  And of course, Stand By Me is a revered classic.  Adios to them I guess.

But she’s not the only one.  A few months ago a friend of The Girlfriend’s who lives right across the street wanted to borrow the DVD’s of Avatar and Burlesque.  Technically, Burlesque belongs to The Girlfriend.  I bought it for her as a present since she liked the movie so well.  But there’s a caveat here.  The DVD’s were actually included with the Bu-ray’s that I had bought, so they had no case of their own.  So in order for this “friend” of my girlfriend’s to borrow them, I had to take the blu-ray discs out and put them in temporary cases.  This was probably at least two but more likely three months ago.  After the first month or so I sent The Girlfriend across the street to see what was up.  The explanation:  They had watched one and not the other.   That was over a month ago.  How long does it take to watch one damn movie?

One of the first DVD’s The Girlfriend and I ever bought was Hollow Man with Kevin Bacon.  She lent it to a friend of hers.  That was about 9 1/2 years ago.  I finally gave up and replaced it with a blu-ray copy about a year ago when I caught it on sale.  Now she can see Kevin Bacon’s penis in high definition.

Only two people that I can remember have ever returned the DVD’s when they said they would.  One was The Girlfriend’s sister, who used to take them to watch with her boyfriend.  She always brought them back within a day or two.  But then again, she lives here. 

The other one was a friend of The Girlfriend that borrowed the final season of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer (WGTVSE).  Before lending it out I made sure the Girlfriend knew that if it was not returned in mint condition  and on time, she would be springing for a new  final season and that it wouldn’t be cheap.  Movies are one thing, but a whole TV season is another.  Some of my TV series and movies cannot be replaces as they are out of print.

There have been numerous other problems as well.   A co-worker of the Girlfriend borrowed several seasons of The Shield.  It began to look like we would never get those back until the co-worker finally came across them in her garage.  She didn’t say what the fuck they were doing out in the garage.  But at that time seasons of The Shield were going for about $49 bucks a pop and it took over a year to get them back.   But the worst part of that was that I had edited a bunch of home movies, then put music and titles to them in them to make them really something special.  It was about six months worth of work.  This co-worker of the Girlfriend borrowed my only remaining copies (I had given the rest to family members) because she wanted to check out my work.  I put the films on two discs, Parts I & II, and she only returned one of them.  So now I no longer have a copy of that.

But I’m  done.  I have made that perfectly clear to my girlfriend.  I’ve bent over backwards to be agreeable for almost ten years.  And I’m doubtful that I’ll ever see the DVD’s that are now probably resting out at Pismo Beach somewhere.  The ones across the street?  Well, quite possibly I’ll get those back but that’s neither here nor there.  They shouldn’t have been there that long.

I also know that eventually I’m going to come across more scratched discs, and I’ll get pissed off about it again, just as I am now.  I am not Blockbuster, I am not Netflix, and I am not Amazon.  I can’t afford to keep an endless supply on hand, and replacing them is damn expensive.

I know there are others out there like myself though who have a large library of films.  What do you do when friends want to borrow your DVD’s?  Do you relent and let them, because you don’t want to piss them off and are afraid they’ll hold a grudge?  In my case, all these people were either old friends or relatives  of The Girlfriend and her deceased husband, so I really felt like I had to go the extra mile to win them over.  so maybe that’s why I went along with it for such a long time.  Or are your friends different and  they all return them in a decent interval and in the same condition they left your household.  Lucky you.  But I guess since we live in a disposable society, some people think everything is disposable.  Even if it doesn’t belong to them. 

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