Some days, Murphy just wins.

Got back from Ashland this evening. Great vacation, wonderful plays, nice B&B, etc etc. But the last hour or so has been quite exasperating.

Weird Al’s new album (Straight Outta Lynwood) came out last week, and I had preordered it from Of course, the Post Office delivered it Thursday about forty minutes after I left for Oregon (excellent timing), but I was happy to discover on my return that they had managed to fit the Amazon package into my mailbox instead of leaving it with the office, so I could actually listen to it this evening. Well, at least I could try.

One of the reasons I ordered the CD instead of, e.g., buying it from iTunes, is that, besides getting the nice physical package with the liner notes, etc., Straight Outta Lynwood is a “DualDisc”, which means that one side is an ordinary CD (more on that in a minute), but the other side is a DVD, which has on it music videos, a documentary, and versions of the audio tracks in 5.1 surround sound and karaoke. So it seemed like a good idea.

But in the end, I really do want the music in iTunes. Which has proved exceeding difficult. As the nice sticker on the package says:

*The audio side of this disc does not conform to CD specifications and therefore will not play on some CD and DVD players.

So far, I’ve discovered that…

  • …when I put the disc, CD-side-up, into my PowerBook’s combo drive, it makes noises for a few songs, and then spits it out (but not all the way, so I have to pull at it for a bit before it comes out.)
  • …an external FireWire CD-RW drive I have thinks about the CD for about a minute, then gives up and pretends that there’s no CD present.
  • …my MacBook Pro recognizes the CD, and iTunes looks up the GraceNote information and starts to import, but stalls half way through the second song, and I need to force quit iTunes and wait a few minutes before it will let me eject the disc.
  • There is an every-so-tiny scratch on the CD side of the disc, that might be at about the right place to match where it stalls, although I’ve seen far worse on audio CDs, and TiVo can play that track through without any trouble, so I’m not sure it’s physical damage. TiVo doesn’t help me import the disc as an audio file, though.
  • …all my DVD-capable drives seem perfectly content with the DVD side of the disc, but that doesn’t help me get the tracks into iTunes.
  • …the little red “Everything you want to know about DualDisc” booklet says “The CD audio* side pays on all but a limited number of CD and DVD models,” but apparently “limited” means “Alexei’s.”
  • …when you’re frustrated and aggravated, Weird Al isn’t very funny.

Update (10/2/06): I was finally able to import the CD into iTunes today on one of the computers at work. It was also pointed out to me that the trouble I had with the CD was likely due not just to the extra thickness and weight from the DVD layer glued to the back of the CD, but that the CD side was probably copy-protected. Either way, I’m taking Sony/BMG off my Christmas card list.