An occasional blog about populist politics and popular music, not necessarily at the same time.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Music: current count 30808  rated (+34), 269  unrated (+10).
Collected the lists late Sunday night, after I wrapped up Weekend Roundup, but still didn't get started writing this until late Tuesday night. Francis Davis was supposed to hand in the 13th Annual Jazz Critics Poll results and analysis today. I assume that happened. At least, I have 139 ballots tabulated (including a couple days of stragglers, but safe to say it's too late to weigh in now). We went back over several contentious and/or confusing issues Monday, making minor adjustments to the votes in cases where some voters got the New and Reissue/Historical categories mixed up. We also carried 2017 votes forward in cases where a record got more votes (not just more points) this year than last.
The poll won't be published until January. Evidently NPR needs the extra lead time to line up sample music and such. I'll try to refrain from commenting until then. One thing the delay does is give me some time to do little bits of programming to clean things up. Probably the most annoying thing for me is that the sort beyond points/votes looks to be accidental. (I think it actually follows the order of albums in the table, which this year were entered as I encountered them on the ballots, mostly in submission order.) Whether I get around to that remains to be seen. Also whether I write up any real commentary on whatever I learned in the process. I've thought about that the last few days, and have a few scattershot notions, but I'm not being very productive.
Actually, I'm feeling pretty fucking depressed. The season may have something to do with it. My mother was a very big Christmas fan, and it's never been the same for me since she passed. And it diminished further when my brother and his family moved away. Then my sister died in March, so this year I'll be cooking Christmas Eve dinner for one nephew, and maybe a couple of friends who don't have their own family obligations. Still, that dinner is a project that give me some meaning. It's much of what I thought about today, and will be until the date. Doesn't seem like much else pressing to do.
We had a tough time organizing our annual latke dinner (Hannukah, but the point is potato pancakes). Did that on Sunday, and my nephew was the only guest who showed up. I grated five russet potatoes, two onions, added five eggs, salt, and pepper, and fried up a bunch of 6-inch discs. Salted some average-looking salmon, and sliced it up. Served sour cream and applesauce (actually the leftover pear-apple mix from the Peace Center desserts). In the past I've made various side dishes, but none of that this time. I did make an apple shalet for dessert: basically, bread pudding with baked sliced apples. It could have used some ice cream, but that's my usual reaction to fruit.
Weather bothers me too. Back in the summer I hated the heat so much I couldn't even recall what cold felt like, but it turns out that it hurts -- even more. I wanted to do some work on my nephew's house, but haven't felt like it (nor has he). Haven't done any projects here, at least beyond some minor leaf work. Nothing inside either. I keep talking about replacing the floor drain in the basement, and spent some money (bought the replacement drain, also a cement chisel since the hard part is busting up the old floor and mixing and pouring a new one), but have yet to start the work. (I did look into renting a small jack hammer, in case the hand tools aren't up to the job.)
And, of course, I'm running into various "confuser" problems. Since I set up an email list for technical advisors, I've been getting ten emails from my server every hour complaining about "excessive resource use" by the various Mailman scripts (none of which have delivered a single email as yet). I'm pretty sure they're false alarms -- e.g., the processes are sleeping, not using anything more than a little RAM -- but this means I find close to 200 new emails when I get up (obviously, not my only source of nuisance email, but a big one). I doubt the list itself will be any help for this particular problem: only two people have asked to join so far, both known to me and neither likely to be much technical help. If you can help on website tech issues, or just want to monitor and occasionally weigh in on user issues, please email me and ask to be signed up.
One tech problem I would have liked to throw open to the list had to do with the RSS Feed at Robert Christgau's website. When I checked it, after posting yesterday's XgauSez Q&A, my browser dropped all of the formatting I had seen from previous tests. I ran it through a validator, found and fixed a couple problems (mostly date/time format), and finally got it to validate. But I still get no format in Firefox. Since I've never used RSS feed clients, I'm having lots of trouble figuring out whether it's working. It could be that Firefox itself has changed: I know now that they've dropped their "Live Bookmarks" feature, but I'm not sure when (or aware of an update on my end). I need to do more research when I get some time, but it's one of those questions that someone probably knows much more about than I do.
I want to backport the RSS code to my own website, but should hold off until I understand it better. I thought I might try some experiments with my WordPress-based Notes on Everyday Life website, but I found it in a terrible mess -- itself a rabbit hole that would take me days (or weeks) to work back out of. Seemed easy when I originally built the site, but I don't seem to be able to get my mind around the tools this time (or have lost the patience for doing so). In fact, I still haven't fixed the boot problem on my new main working computer. Just did a software update this afternoon, so now it wants to be rebooted. Trouble is, it doesn't book cleanly since the last major update. I've been able to overcome this by switching into the BIOS and manually booting from there, but that always seems risky. So for now I think it would be a good idea to hold off until I post this and update everything else. Just a precaution, but as they keep telling us, we live in a dangerous world, where things we depend on can no longer be trusted to fucking work.
I should write something about progress with the EOY Aggregate file, but will have to save that for another day.
New records rated this week:
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:
Old music rated this week:
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week: