Burnin' down the house...
Turn the minutes into hours...

Breaking the habit...

Ecopacks... oh how I loathe thee.

In case you're not sure what I'm talking about, I'm referring to how some companies package CDs and DVDs in what they consider to be environmentally friendly packaging made mostly of cardboard and using little to no plastic molding in them whatsoever.

These can take on any number of forms from a simple, pliable paper slipsleeve to very elaborate cardboard configurations that would leave NASA engineers scratching their heads.

The latest villain in the Ecopack struggle is the new two CD/one DVD collection from Led Zeppelin called Mothership. It is a truly fantastic collection of studio audio recordings and live video clips. Even the artwork on the set is pretty sweet.

But you just try to find a way to get those damn discs out of there easily.

In the case of this set, the box opens like a book. Then each half of the opened "book" opens yet again. The result is a four-panel gatefold sort of approach much like vinyl albums of yore (I remember vinyl, do you?).

In instances such as a gatefold presentation, the disc sleeves themselves typically have part of the upper part of the opening cut back in a concave shape so you knew where from where to slide out the disc. Not so with Mothership. I opened the double gate and looked and saw nothing. I started flipping the packaging around in my hands and finally discovered that panels 2, 3, and 4 had slits in the top which were obviously meant to be the openings.

The other problem is that the CDs fit into the sleeves like a hand into a glove... I take that back, more like OJ Simpson's hand into the glove. Just way too tightly and probably shouldn't fit at all. I looked on the packaging to see if there was some other special way of opening the sleeves and nada. I then tried to reach in and my fingers wouldn't fit in the openings without stretching them to the point of tearing. I tried shaking the packaging upside down and there was no give. I finally just bit the bullet and stuck my not-so-stubby and not-so-little fingers in there. They pulled out but it was a struggle and I think I heard the packaging cry out in pain.

Thankfully I never have to use the CDs again since I ripped them to iTunes already, but I'm going to have to find alternate packaging for the DVD so I can watch it without ruining the case.

So, really, is ecopackaging truly that great if it results in such headaches for users?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I know you're not supposed to drink alcohol before noon on a given day lest you be considered an alcoholic, right? Save for mamosas and Bloody Marys, of course. So, will you forgive me the Jack Daniel's flavored coffee I brewed up this morning? I hope so because I also have a package of Southern Comfort flavored coffee I'm looking forward to and I'd hate to let you all down more than I normally do.

A new meme! This one comes from the Empress herself, Dagny, and it's called, well, it's not called much of anything. But I'm playing anyway.

Rules: Put your music player on shuffle, press forward for each question and use the song title as the answer.

What does next year have in store for me?
"Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin' On Me?)" by Joss Stone (sounds like fun!)

What’s my love life like?
"Keep the Car Running" by The Arcade Fire (hey!)

What do I say when life gets hard?
"Eternal Flame" by The Bangles (huh?)

What do I think of upon waking up?
"Virginia Moon" by the Foo Fighters (again, huh?)

What song will I dance to at my wedding?
"My Body is a Cage" by The Arcade Fire (I'm already married so the nonsensicality of this is forgiven)

What do I want as a career?
"Taste the Pain" by Red Hot Chili Peppers (how do I do that?)

My favorite saying?
"Breaking the Habit" by Linkin Park (I think I should flip this with the one before)

Favorite place?
"Hasten Down the Road" by Warren Zevon (to where? Sorry, Warren, that's not very specific)

What do I think of my parents?
"Back to Back" by The Replacements (heh heh)

What’s my porn star name?
"Spies" by Coldplay (come again?)

Where would I go on a first date?
"How to Save a Life" by The Fray (a hospital, I assume?)

Drug of choice?
"Love Song" by Sara Bareilles (I like this one)

Describe myself.
"Oh George" by the Foo Fighters

What is the thing I like doing most?
"Ooh" by the Scissor Sisters (that could be interpreted any number of ways)

What is my state of mind like at the moment?
"Searching the Streets" by The Donnas (or the gutters)

How will I die?
"Lost My Way" by Finger Eleven (I thought my name was Kevin and not Chris McCandless)