Off Campus

02 August 2005

The Pile Abides

When last we left my struggle with and against The Pile, I had XXX hours of viewing in front of me, and little clue as to when and how I might actually get through it all. What was purchased as a respite from the pressures of the real world was creating an unreal amount of pressure on me, threatening to overtake the free space in my living room and occupy my every waking moment in an attempt to "enjoy" it all and put it on a shelf.

FREE GIVE-AWAYS, keep reading for details...

Well, XXX months later, The Pile continues to grow. Every time I think I'm making progress, another online sale or local bargain bin catches my attention and my wallet, and, like The Blob or Communism, The Pile absorbs the new additions and continues to spread upward and outward. $5 each for Clint Eastwood classics?!? Yessir! A $.99 rack of used, hard-to-find flicks on VHS at a video store tent sale? Fill me up a box!! Season sets? DID YOU SAY SEASON SETS??

The mixed emotions remain. I like owning the stuff (since my taste in infotainment makes it unlikely I'll find what I like at the local video store), but have run out of space to put it. I could "go vertical" with it, but it might topple and kill me, or damage the Hummels (a Norwegian group of glass-blowing autoharp enthusiasts who are distant relatives of Tony, the little boy who lives in my mouth). When you have to go from racks to bins, you know you have a problem.

The daily burden is as strong as ever. I feel like I HAVE to watch a disc (or tape) every night, so that it can either go on the shelf (and off The Pile) or get traded in at the used music store in town (credit that is in turn used to get more stuff that winds up on The Pile), and thus is out of the house. I feel like I need to keep up a steady, daily viewing pace in order to make up for whatever additional items may get picked up over the course of a month, and stay "ahead" of The Pile. Once in a while I'm able to do this, but mostly, The Pile just looms and taunts me. Even when I DO find the time to watch something, I'm torn as to what to view, not because I'm trying to find the right film for my mood, but more because I'm trying to fit the most viewing in that I can at a given time (at 10PM, I might be able to fit in two 90-minute monster movies instead of a single viewing of SPIDER-MAN 2, which runs over 2 hours, with probably three times that duration in bonus materials). Two discs viewed vs. one? Monster movies win. Also, if a film is something I've bought blind (which I try to avoid doing, unless it's ridiculously cheap), there's more of a chance that I might not like it, and it could be a candidate for jettisoning from the house. So, the unseens usually take precedent over the old favorites.

Some titles sit on The Pile for a loooooong time. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when something that's sat unwatched for a year or more earns its (alphabetical) place on the shelf. A gentle tear is shed, a few quiet words are spoken, and an angel gets it wings.

Right now, The Pile stands about eight feet tall, DVD and VHS combined. Total running time of what's left to be viewed: 21,529 minutes (aka 359 hours...aka 15 days). Likelihood that I'll buy more stuff to add to it this week: about 50/50.

As was mentioned in my previous entry on The Pile, the damn thing is so big that it has its own e-mail address now.

In an effort to spread the joy of cinema (and get some more stuff out of my house), and due to popular demand (the popular demand from the Mrs. that I get this stuff outta here), we are again running a contest where YOU, the loyal OFF CAMPUS reader (which I suspect to be *the* OFF CAMPUS reader...) can win a piece of The Pile for your very own nefarious uses (please note that all fingerprints and hair samples will be removed from the winning swag to prevent malicious cloning of OFF CAMPUS staff).

So, fill in the "blank" correctly, or be the closest one to do so, and something that may or may not make you change your cola preference will be yours for FREE:

On Monday, August 8th, 2005, the number of hours of viewing in The Pile were XXX.

Don't wait to see Ice Cube as XXX on video, fill in our XXX for your chance to win a three pack of mystery movies that each have a 50% shot of being better. The lucky ducky will win a random grab from the pile, suitable for framing, viewing or for use as a cruelty-free clay pigeon substitute. Odds of winning based on total number of valid entries received, actual odds of winning - 50% - either you will or you won't.

Send entries (in a plain brown e-velope) to the pile. e-mail us your name and guess. Winners will be notified by e-mail, and asked to provide us with a mailing address for prize delivery. Your privacy, and keeping our deskspace clean, is important to us. We will not save, share, spindle or mutilate your personal information. One entry per house/email address please. Any attempts to "stuff the box" will result in (either) disqualification, or might prompt us to stuff your mailbox. Please keep your karma in balance, and your seats and trays in their upright position.