George: Scrapple and beer

George writes today that he left his Scrapple in Philadelphia. He also notes that it’s hard finding the time to blog. George, the reason it’s so easy for me is I think in blog posts now. It’s all about practice, practice, practice. Plus I tend to want to write more when I’m drinking good beer, which is why I started doing the beer reviews. Right now I’m working through a backlog of Belgian and other brews from the beer club, but once I get the shelf cleared out I’ll be checking out some more local products… keeps rollin’ along

A week ago I thought that we might see an uptick in the slope of the growth of activity, as measured by the high water mark, in coming months. All it took was one little Supreme Court case to do it. The site hit a new high water mark yesterday that was more than 100 weblogs higher than the previous mark (during the MacWorld SF 2003 keynote; this is a hint that increased activity on existing blogs is a major driver of the high water mark). The figure of merit is now 2.8, back to where it was in October.

I thought this was a good time to make my source data available. I will continue to post comments as new high water marks are reached, but I think it will be more useful if people can get to the data themselves. It’s now downloadable in Excel format from this site. (The spreadsheet is under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons license. Feel free to use it wherever you like, just give me credit and make any changes and additional research available.)


Confession: I’m one of those tiresome people that make mix tapes. Worse, I’m one of those people that go on making mix tapes after high school and college. Worse yet, I make them for myself and generally not for other audiences.

I think Nick Hornby missed out on this one. Mix tapes are worse than top ten lists. At least those are mostly spoken. Mix tapes live forever. And they come back to haunt you. Even if you trade, sell, or throw out the CDs from which the scary songs came.

I’m finding this in a big way at the moment. Now that my CD collection and I are reunited, I’m in the process of recreating all my old mix tapes as MP3 playlists. (There can be no deeper geekery.) In the process, I have to ask myself the painful questions. For instance: Why on earth did I precede that achingly lovely Górecki folk song setting with Dave Matthews’ “Jimi Thing”? (Granted it was before his cringe-inducing Alanis Morrisette duet, but still.) What was I thinking putting a twelve minute mind-numbing funk-jazz fusion number from Herbie Hancock featuring extensive electric piano pitch-bend solo on any mix tape? And why, why on God’s green earth did I put not one, but two album tracks from Jesus Jones on a mix tape—and why also two tracks from Ziggy Marley?

I guess it’s true. Reconnecting with one’s past means facing painful truths. I was a tasteless trend monkey. At least the tracks from the Pixies, Gastr Del Sol, Elvis Costello and others that also stud the tapes argue that there was an element of enduring taste as well.

I was going to claim that there is an art to sequencing a playlist, for tape or computer, having to do with maintaining mood, keeping appropriate tonal and rhythmic continuity (or contrast, as appropriate), and both pleasing and surprising the listener. But then I found there’s a web site that makes the argument for me: Art of the Mix. I suspect I’ll have to put up the mixes I’ve created so you can see how bad it really is. Another time. Here’s the list of mixes (in progress).