December 2019 Archives

Music Advent Day 7

I was introduced to Great Big Sea by Kymm Zuckert, on a mix tape long ago. (Mix tapes are how we shared music with our friends before YouTube and Spotify playlists.)

Music Advent Day 6

This is from a fun 1995 album called Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits, on which a bunch of alt-rock artists each covered a different song from a cartoon show.

This particular track is Frente! covering a song that had previously been covered by Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm on The Flintstones.

(Incidentally, if there's something you'd be interested in my writing about over the weekend, now would be a good time to get in touch.)

Music Advent Day 5

When Eduard Khil came to the general attention of the Internet as "the Trololo guy," I sought out some of his other stuff and found that I really liked it. It bears a strong resemblance to some of the Jewish music I've known, which makes sense; we've always cribbed from the musical styles of surrounding cultures, and my family is of Eastern European extraction.

(As a side note, this led to my only foray into Bitcoin purchasing, so I could buy all of his albums that were available on a Russian MP3 site. It was a pain in the neck—I converted from dollars into Linden Dollars into bitcoin before sending it over—and it was worth the trouble.)

Anyway, this song is probably my favorite of his.

Must-See TV

I think I'm going to have to accept that any longer entries this month are gonna be done over the weekends; during the week, it's going to be enough of a challenge to manage quick ones.

Complete list of television shows I follow these days, in alphabetical order:

  • Carmen Sandiego (currently a couple episodes into season 2)
  • DuckTales (up to date)
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (currently a few episodes into season 4)
  • Steven Universe (up to date)
...I suppose there may be some small amount of commonality there.



Music Advent Day 4: Even after deciding to eliminate Debbie Gibson and the Doubleclicks from consideration, these choices are not getting any easier. I like too many songs by too many artists!

But rules are rules. Here's "Cavities," by Danielle Ate the Sandwich.

This is just to say...

Has anybody tackling the William Carlos Williams meme gotten around to the triolet form? I feel like somebody should. Might as well be me.

I've eaten the plums that you had in the fridge;
I loved them, so sweet and so cold.
Do I feel guilty? Perhaps just a smidge.
I've eaten the plums that you had in the fridge.
I guess that your breakfast you'll have to abridge—
No doubt I was overly bold.
I've eaten the plums that you had in the fridge;
I loved them, so sweet and so cold.

(Previous Holidailies triolet)



Music Advent Day 3: Okay, hear me out. I know that practically every artist in the universe has covered "Hallelujah." I've lost track to how many versions I've heard, but it's gotta be pushing three figures.

But this one is my favorite. I give you Clemson TakeNote's a cappella rendition.

(If you'd like to see other people's #MusicAdvent picks, hie thee to Twitter!)

So here's where I'm at right now...

Yesterday's entry was targeted at old-school online journal folks, taking for granted that y'all more or less remember who I am. But I shouldn't be so presumptuous...plus a lot has happened in the past few years. Here's a quick rundown, then.

My day job involves proofreading, copyediting, and fact-checking. These days, I work about ten months a year at a major children's publishing company that you probably have warm fuzzy feelings about. (So do I.) Alas, despite effectively being full-time, it's on a contract-worker basis, with no benefits to speak of...which is technically legal because modern capitalism sucks.

My apartment is across the Hudson River, and it's fine except that I can't get any medical insurance that will cover my clinic on the other side. And my coming legal name-and-gender change is going to be a complicated dance back and forth across two jurisdictions. This is a strong incentive to look for housing back in NYC proper, but I'm just getting by as it stands, and my apartment here is rent-controlled. (I couldn't even afford this place if I were first moving in now.) So I'm grateful for having it, but I'm also kinda stuck at the moment.

On the gender front, I'm nonbinary transfeminine. If people are going to mentally classify me into one of the two most popular genders, I'd rather they put me into the "female" category, which comes closer to fitting. But I don't actually fit into either camp. I'm just glad we have better words for that now, and a more visible community.

It occurs to me that I've just neatly set up three paragraphs where I'm caught between different categories of large hegemonic systems. I hadn't actually planned that.

Focusing more on the positives, then...

I like the actual work that I do, and I'm very good at it. It helps get good books into the hands of kids, and that makes me happy.

Apart from geopolitical concerns, my apartment is large for one person, maintained adequately well by the landlords, and in a convenient location. The snow is always shoveled, when applicable.

I've been on hormone-replacement therapy for more than 20 months now. One of the things that helped with that decision was the knowledge that I could give it a try and stop after a few months, if it wasn't doing anything good for me, before any irreversible changes would start kicking in. Bodies and brain chemistry are weird and individual; being trans or nonbinary has nothing to do with what hormones or surgery one opts for. With that said, it turns out that estrogen works for me. A lot. I feel more comfortable in my skin than I ever had in my life (which is admittedly a very low bar), and my anxiety level is way down. Which is to say, it's still elevated—we live in trying times—but it's manageable. I don't anticipate ever going off this if I can help it.

I also like having a different palette of sartorial expression. I sometimes joke that I came out when I did because I imprinted on the oversized-shirt and leggings look back in the '80s, and I refused to miss out on it a second time.

Finally, my avocation, my improbable side-hustle, my Road Not Taken that has miraculously looped back around to join the road I did take, is music. I run a local ukulele meetup and a local events calendar, and I have a bona-fide ukulele act of my own. My YouTube account recently passed 100 subscribers, I have a Patreon (Mo made me do it), I wrote a song that's been covered by my favorite band and viewed more than 8,000 times, and I now have at least a couple of fans who weren't already friends of mine. I will probably gibber about this some more in a future entry.

If you have any followup questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail.



Music Advent Day 2: there are way too many musicians I like whose name starts with B. I am going to go with Buckner & Garcia's Wreck It, Wreck-It Ralph.

Holidailies 2019 Begins!

Welcome back!

I had planned to put an entry here in January, on the occasion of this journal's 20th anniversary. It was also going to be this journal's final entry. I liked the idea of formally closing the book, but it was thwarted when I discovered that my installation of Movable Type had gotten so out of date that I couldn't even log into it anymore.

A few months ago, Elaine fixed that for me, so I can blog again, if I want to. And it's now the 20th Holidailies, so, what the heck, let's do this.

(Most of what follows was written back in January.)



I haven't really had a journal here in years.

For one thing, I've moved to social media. I started the ol' Soapbox before the word "blog" was coined, before RSS, before LiveJournal, before MySpace, before Facebook, before Twitter. These days, for better and for worse, there are other ways of sharing what's going on with your life. For another thing, I now have a day job—most months, anyway—and the people reading this journal are old enough to remember Dooce. And for a third thing...

...y'know, using my first name as my personal brand across all online platforms used to seem like a better idea. Go know that I'd end up changing it.



Back around the start of 2018, I was dithering about whether I was really going to start on estrogen. While I'd been socially transitioning for awhile, it was a small comfort to know that I could always go back into male drag if I wanted to. Say, if I were going to the movies and expected to need the bathroom. I wasn't entirely resigned to being conspicuous all the time, and I was concerned about losing even the option of melting back into the crowd.

Granted, every time I did have to present as male, I felt even more strongly that I really didn't want to do that anymore. On the other hand, I have never liked elective medicine of any sort, and what if I changed my mind?

Somewhere around this point, I rediscovered my copy of The Mirror and the Veil, Viviane Serfaty's 2004 monograph about American online diaries and blogs, in which I was the subject most cited. (She didn't actually tell any of us that she'd written about our journals—there's an attempted justification for this in the introduction—but eventually somebody found it and the word spread.) It turns out that it can be useful to have an outside perspective on your life between professionally bound covers, because this is what turned up on pages 119–120:

What Shmuel seems to have been trying hard to do is to escape the rigidity of the binary, either/or difference between the sexes, not only through language or pictures, i.e. through representation, but also through modifications in his body. Repeatedly saying that he is not inclined towards homosexuality, he still wants to experiment with some of the trappings of femininity, thus attempting to undo the knot of identity, sexual organs and discourse. Using his writings to explore feminine practises, Shmuel is engaged in a search for a deeper understanding of gender difference as it was imposed by culture on his body.

Oh, I thought. This really isn't going away.



So, hi. I'm the escribitionist formerly known as Shmuel. These days, I go by S., in both personal and professional contexts. (I don't expect this to be the name I settle on, but for now, it fits.) I'm nonbinary, and my pronouns are they/them.

If I were still hand-coding these pages, I probably would have retitled the journal for these new entries...but as matters currently stand, I'd rather not make changes that will affect the archives from the rest of this decade.



In addition to being Holidailies, it's once again #MusicAdvent time! This year, the assignment is to share a song from an artist whose name starts with "A" on Dec. 1, with "B" on Dec. 2, and so on.

(I have a couple of questions about this. When we did this with alphabetical song titles in 2015, we skipped X; I'm not sure if that'll be the case this time. And are solo artists alphabetized by first name or last? I'm tending toward first.)

I'm starting out with aberrantkenosis, known for taking MIDIs of popular songs and replacing the existing instruments with a soundfont consisting of horns. You can find his work on SoundCloud and Bandcamp. Here's his take on "Cruel Angel's Thesis":

(As a bonus, here's my own honkcore version of "Mr. Heat Miser.")



Postscript: I don't remember how to turn comments back on, and I just accidentally deleted all the previous comments of the past decade, so, umm, look, you can find me on Twitter if you want to get in touch?

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2019 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2016 is the previous archive.

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