In the summertime

TL;DR: Cricket. Cricket cricket cricket.

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A couple of years ago, some part of me decided that, as going to cricket and writing words about things were two of my most favourite things to do, combining them somehow would make the various trips more rewarding and make me not feel quite so procrastinatory when increasing how much I do both. Thus, Stumpline was born and, to date, three match reports were scribbled. Somehow I ended up at the premiere of Death of a Gentleman chatting about it with the editor of Wisden, the world’s foremost sporting literary compendium. Fun was had by all. Unless, for some reason, you actually wanted to read things.

This year, it’s all going to be a bit trickier. No longer do I qualify for Sussex CCC’s excellent Junior Sharkz membership, and I spend more than half my time in Southampton as it is. I won’t be, as pictured above, gallivanting around majestically, occupying a scorebox for the school 1st XI to distract myself from impending doom exams. Nevertheless, county memberships are sorted and a train fare fund is slowly being accumulated to make this season hopefully somehow more crickety than the last. A day of indoor liveblogging for the Wessex Scene kicked me off a couple of weeks back, and now there’s no time to turn around.

Back in January, I set myself a target of writing something, no matter how hollow or hasty, about music on Perpetual Playlist and, nearly three entire months into the endeavour, things are still going steadily and the introduction of a strict writing routine has (largely) been enjoyable. Therefore, it’s time to take this to the deckchairs.

This summer, I’ll post something on Stumpline at least once per day I spend physically watching cricket. Some days, that’ll mean a conventional match report; others, a tenuously-linked garble on how the only thing English domestic cricket is missing is the hypnotic gangliness of Michael Rippon. Like with the music stuff, scheduling it to post the next morning at 10am is likely going to be the most convenient way of giving it enough time to be written, regardless of other things I may/should be getting distracted by, but it will certainly be a tad more flexible this time around. To get all the delicious posts spammed in your general direction, follow me or the blog on Twitter.

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The pre-season at Hove kicks off tomorrow morning, as does one of those storms so supposedly intense it deserves a name. What an enthralling start it shall be.

Resolutions: An update

At the start of last year, I promised some kind of effort to post things on this blog daily, whether they be links to articles I’d written elsewhere, podcasts or YouTube videos, or perhaps even just an exceptionally good embedded tweet. Alas, nothing quite panned out as I’d hoped, though Election Day’s combination of dodgy sample ballot papers and photography fulfilled the year’s quota of the latter.

Most of the few articles that did find their way here were originally penned for The Broadie, the Christ’s Hospital student newspaper that I had the pleasure of compiling for 18 months until I departed the school in June. As I mentioned on Facebook when my final issue eventually saw the light of day, the freedom afforded to me to write pretty much whatever and whenever for an audience that, by and large, enjoyed the product was tremendous and I miss it dearly. Even the 5am typographical crises.

Elsewhere, efforts continued with sporadic (and dare I say enjoyable) results. The Digixav Podcast did indeed return, with Henry and I finding that the best way to commit to recording was to be in different countries rather than being in the same room. The most recent episode, ‘Searching For Pie‘, will, I hope, be the first of many episodes that are at least marginally bearable courtesy of a modicum of editing now that I know how to properly trim things in Audacity. The wonderful Euro Tech Talk folks have also welcomed me on not one but two of their episodes, and I’m looking forward to hopefully getting more involved with the whole tech scene once again as the year goes on.

This website, I assure you, will get some love through 2016 and beyond. For the last year or so, xvh.me has been pointing here to the bog-standard WordPress domain, but I’ve finally worked out how to adjust DNS settings and play with subdomains sufficiently for this to be blog.xvh.me from here on out. There’s also similarly fancy URL trickery (it’s still magic to me) for finding me on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and LinkedIn and SoundCloud and Snapchat and About.me and, inevitably soon, 🍑. Let’s be friends/followers/square/professionally networked/heard/a major 🔑/autobiographical/fruity together.

As we’re firmly into the swing of 2016 and I’m putting the first set of university exams, on which I may have written a date 7 months old, behind me, hopefully some kind of lovely productive cycle that sees me churn out delightful essays with a semblance of regularity will commence. More plausibly will be with increasing my attempts at journalism with DigixavThe EdgeWessex Scene, the half-dozen WordPress blogs I’ve set up and neglected without yet generating enough courage to delete, and anybody else who’d be willing to let me loose with a keyboard and hit publish. If you fit that bracket, get in touch!

One thing I am getting reasonably excited about is my latest WordPress venture and future media empire Perpetual Playlist. The premise is simple: each day at 10am for the foreseeable future – I’ve already paid for three years of the domain so I’m wasting money if I don’t at least try – I’ll post a song that’s great alongside a little bit about why and add it to a glorious playlist (on Spotify). Mostly it’ll be new music, but there will be the occasional burst of nostalgia, filler, or just relevant-to-the-day stuff. 25 days in it’s not yet collapsed, so I’ll probably start plugging that on the socials, as the kids may say, more frequently.

And, if we’re talking music, a mention has to go to Surge Radio. The opportunity to lock myself in a dimly-lit room and listen to music whilst talking to people other than myself was not one I’d expected or explored before arriving in Southampton, yet the first series of XVH Soundsystem didn’t appear to be a disaster once I’d remembered to turn up the microphones. As of next week I’ll probably be broadcasting at a different time (else juggling lectures and broadcasting simultaneously across campus) with some pretty exciting things with awesome people in the works, so tune in on the website or through the catchup service offered on Mixcloud.

See you in 2017 for another round of excuses and reviews of failed pledges!

♥️

How to install a new operating system without wanting to break things

I just installed OS X Mavericks. So far it seems pretty good but, like every other OS installation since the dawn of time, especially when you haven’t backed up, it was a pretty horrible experience. Progress bars and time estimations always have a tendency to hang and I’m convinced they’re the work of the devil, so here’s my guide to making any operating system installation as painless as physically possible.

  1. Set aside a minimum of 12 hours, preferably on a Sunday, when you know you won’t have anything else to do.
  2. Have a second screen around to Google stuff *in case* of catastrophe. Think of it as your lifeboat.
  3. Start to download the operating system.
  4. Grab a snack and something to drink. Tonight, I went for a chai latte and some chocolate lebkuchen.
  5. With the installation in your peripheral vision, lie down and think happy thoughts. Maybe watch some TV or stick some relaxing music on.
  6. When the download is complete, follow the instructions. Keep smiling at this point.
  7. As soon as the installer takes control and starts spitting progress bars and countdowns at you, cover the relevant sections of the screen. Ignorance is bliss. Don’t cover the whole screen, though. Let some peek through in case of minor catastrophe.
  8. Wait for the endless reboots to end. Stay patient. Return to the chai and lebkuchen supplies.
  9. Have one final blast of that relaxing playlist. It’s nearly over.
  10. Enjoy being the future.

It’s that simple.