It’s a week into the new month. Let’s celebrate with some random brain vomit.

Twitter and Alternatives

So. That Guy now owns Twitter. I’m still using it for now, but I’m investigating other options in case things continue circling the drain. Currently, I’m experimenting with Mastodon — catch me through @cvasilevski@Wandering.Shop. Wandering.Shop is home to a lot of SF/F people and Annalee Flower-Horne is one of the admins, so I feel fairly confident about its code of conduct and moderation policies.

Still, this whole thing sucks. Twitter was my most-used social network. I made friends through it. I got my (admittedly small) toehold in the SF/F community because of it. It helped me find jobs. I honestly think I learned more about feminism and activism and intersectionality through it than I did through getting my entire goddamned BA in Women’s Studies.

Plus, Twitter is the only platform that really prioritized text over everything else. It allowed weird, happy collisions between different disciplines. It kept me on top of the latest news around Covid-19 when the mass media decided that we should all “return to normal”. I really don’t know exactly what’s going to fill the void that it leaves.

Part of me wonders whether Twitter’s takeover will lead to a resurgence of blogs and RSS feeds. I kind of hope so! I mean, I’m still using the self-hosted RSS tracker I installed on my other domain in 2013 to keep track of blogs. (Speaking of which: yes, I have an RSS feed here! Please feel free to use it!)

Drumming and My Magpie Brain

A Rav Vast drum. It's round, made of steel, and coated with a blue coating and finished off with a rim made of brass. It's shaped kind of like a lentil or flying saucer. It's resting on a snare drum stand, most of which is obscured by the drum itself.
My new Rav Vast drum in the A Marmara scale.

I’ve found a new ADHD hyperfocus: playing steel tongue drums. In particular, I’m teaching myself how to play the Rav Vast. I bought a pre-owned drum in September, and now I’m slowly making my way through the Rav Beginners course on Master the Handpan.

I’m deep in the “Learn All The Things Phase” of this interest, and now I’m at the point where I want a second drum in a different scale. The thing is, these drums cost a lot. It’s going to take me months to save up for a second one. So I’m trying to tell myself to be patient and learn how to play well on the one I already have.

What’s really interesting is that now I’m listening to music — not just other Rav Vast players, but all music — in a new way. I’m thinking about the amount of effort all the musicians I listen to have put into their craft, and that there’s a huge gulf between imagining a melody and actually working out the kinks.

I think this is hitting me so hard because it’s the first time in a while that I’ve tried to learn something genuinely new. I’ve been an editor for so long that working with words and fixing grammar has become second nature for me. I’ve worked in the corporate world for so long that I’ve forgotten what it felt like to be unskilled at something, to feel all the bumps and potholes in the road. Well, learning the drum is bump city.

I suck, but right now I’m giving myself permission to suck. I’m giving myself permission to take things slowly. In other words, I’m trying to be ok with not being perfect. This is a huge development for me, because I’m so used to trying to be The Best At Things, and because my line of work prioritizes accuracy and speed.

Ontario Politics

Have I mentioned that Mr. BooksandTea is a member of CUPE? Well, he’s a member of CUPE, which went on strike last week to protest the Ontario government’s new legislation stripping him and his fellow educational assistants of their right to strike.

Premier Ford seems to have underestimated the amount of backlash Bill 28 would provoke among the public. Earlier today it was announced that he would repeal the legislation. This is good news, but I’m still skeptical. He’s shown in the past that he’s willing to backtrack on his own promises, like what’s going with developing the greenbelt.

For now, Mr. BooksandTea goes back to work. But negotiating a new contract for the entire union is still underway.