cygnoir.net

My year, line by line.

I am not in the mood for questionnaires today, so you get posts instead. This exercise instructs me to take the first line of the first entry from each month for the last year. I shall obey. Mostly. I skipped the “week in tweets” posts because they annoy me.

January A pile of hopes, socks just out of the dryer, top a new year.

February Because you asked … here are my favorite gluten-free recipes.

March This is a brilliant explanation of the Trolololololo meme.

April This is our beautiful Torgi-cat.

May If you don’t live in San Francisco or care about city infrastructure, skip this post.

June From the site: “Your writing, notes, and to-do lists online.”

July I am attempting to wrangle decades of clutter.

August I walk down a deserted two-lane highway through a scrawny stretch of forest.

September Thirty-eight days until the thing that I cannot stop thinking about or talking about happens!

October I am at the hair salon, waiting for the magic tinfoil to do its thing and Pandora just served up Ratatat then Daft Punk and my eyebulbs emanated little hearts.

November We’re home!

December I don’t know what I thought being intentionally unemployed was going to be like.

No resolutions, just things I will do and words I will write, documented here as always. I hope you stick around. Next year is going to be my best yet.

Not an ink and pen test: Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses and Pelikan M 205.

My husband surprised me this Christmas with the white Pelikan M 205 I had eyed in Flax, along with a stunning array of Noodler’s inks. I will save the others for their own posts, because this one belongs to Black Swan in Australian Roses.

Click through for a larger version of the image.

Not an ink and pen test: Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses and Pelikan M 205.

Materials used: Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses ink, Leuchtturm 1917 dotted pocket notebook, Pelikan Souveran M 205 white fountain pen.

I have more recommendations on fountain pens and ink, including inexpensive starter pens.

The trailer for the imaginary feature film, “The Library” (by openiris)

The trailer for the imaginary feature film, “The Library” (by openiris)

[vimeo 15935264 w=1280 h=720]

The danger of posting links without comment.

So a few days ago I tweeted (and plurked, and facebooked, and whatever elsed) the link to Sady Doyle’s #MooreandMe protest because, in the ongoing Wikileaks coverage fiasco, I found it interesting. I posted it without comment. On Plurk, a friend of mine disagreed with some of the points contained in the post, and our ensuing discussion made me realize that I have more to say about this than 140 characters at a time will allow.

First of all, the trouble – okay, one of the troubles – with using Twitter, Tumblr, Plurk, Facebook, etc. instead of a long-form site like this one is that people like me have the tendency to make the mistake of posting links without comment. This is dangerous, because the assumption has become “I agree with everything contained in this post” as opposed to “huh, I found this interesting enough to think about and tell others about”. I am firmly in the latter camp unless I state otherwise, but I understand that this is not the norm. Now that I am clear on this, I will try very hard not to post links without comment on sensitive topics like the #MooreandMe protest. (I will still continue to post links without comment on topics like photos of my cats, because comments like “my cats are the best cats in the universe” get old even faster than photos of cats do.)

To be clear, I have not participated in the protest. I am still doing my own research, and so far I do not completely agree with any post written so far. I do agree with this quote, wholeheartedly and unapologetically:

We require — not ask, not prefer, absolutely require — progressive media and public figures to stand against rape in every case. Again, this is not negotiable. This is mandatory. This is a requirement: If you don’t stand against rape, and make that stand a crucial and central part of your platform, we do not accept you either as a real “progressive” or as someone who is in any way qualified for authority or a leadership position. We will not buy your merchandise; we will not support you; we will speak out against you. Because a progressive movement that doesn’t stand against rape isn’t a progressive movement. It’s just The Man, it’s just the oppressor, it’s just oppression, in a baseball hat, holding a camcorder. - Tiger Beatdown, 12/15/10

And now, some links with comments:

  • Why I’m On Board With #mooreandme, by Kate Harding. Harding, as eloquent as ever, articulates the problem I have with Michael Moore’s dissemination of misinformation.
  • Open Letter to Mr. Michael Moore, by Mårten Schultz. This is a response from a Swedish lawyer to Michael Moore’s “Dear Government of Sweden” post which included some rape statistics. Schultz states:
  • When you quote statistics on the ratio between reported rape and legal proceedings, you seem to be getting it quite wrong, I am afraid. A reported crime is not the same as a crime and it is something completely different from a provable crime. Many reports of rape has its background in events that have happened behind the closed doors of a home. In these cases it can often be difficult to prove what has happened. And when sufficient evidence cannot be produced we have this peculiar principle in Swedish law called the presumption of innocence. You might have heard of it. It means that if the prosecutor cannot prove her case the law will consider the accused person as innocent. The downside of this is that possibly guilty men and women will go free. Yes, we would even let ”thousands of Swedish rapists roam free” if needed to uphold a Rechtsstaat.
  • WE HAVE SOME POINTS, by Silvana and Gayle. Although I think that some of their statements are unnecessarily hyperbolic, it is worth a read, if only for this: “We can protest, and question, the politically motivated treatment of Assange as a target for extradition without suggesting that the accusers are liars. Nuance, people. Come on.”
  • If You’ll Pardon the Presumption, by Aaron Bady. By far the best post I have read so far on the subject, Bady writes these sentences I wish I had written: “Sady Doyle has not convinced me that Assange is actually a rapist, but she is absolutely right that Moore, Pilger, and Wolf are acting irresponsibly at best. We need better leftists than that.”

I understand that Doyle calling Moore a “rape apologist” is incredibly incendiary, as I believe it was meant to be. I went looking for the widely-held definition of rape apologism, and this is where I had to stop for the evening because it appears to be a rabbit-hole I do not have the mental resources to follow right now. In my mind, “rape apologism” parses out to “the ideology of apologizing for the idea of rape” which I am assuming means not taking claims of rape seriously. Moore appears to not take these allegations seriously because he states that it is all about a condom breaking during consensual sex, which to him (and to the law) isn’t considered rape. From Moore’s point of view, he is not a rape apologist. From the point of view of Doyle and others who believe the truth of the allegations against Assange – which include unlawful coercion – he is.

The Week in Tweets on 2011-01-03

2010 gift guide.

As mentioned on my last post about nifty gifts, here is my 2010 gift guide. I am posting this later than I had hoped to, sidetracked by illness again. If I were feeling better, I would write a little something about each person and why I like them, but in the interest of time, I will leave you with visuals. Click each photo for more information.

[caption id=“attachment_5216” align=“aligncenter” width=“400” caption=“both the prison and the open hand - Nareshe Photography”]both the prison and the open hand - Nareshe Photography[/caption]

[caption id=“attachment_5224” align=“aligncenter” width=“300” caption=“Dynamophone Digital Releases”]Dynamophone Digital Releases[/caption]

[caption id=“attachment_5221” align=“aligncenter” width=“300” caption=“Lady Lavender truffle - Vice Chocolates”]Lady Lavender truffle - Vice Chocolates[/caption]

[caption id=“attachment_5219” align=“aligncenter” width=“300” caption=“Deep Grotto Pendant - juiceglass”]Deep Grotto Pendant - by juiceglass[/caption]

[caption id=“” align=“aligncenter” width=“500” caption=“Venice bridge - Fawn Fitter”]Venice bridge - Fawn Fitter[/caption]

[caption id=“attachment_5236” align=“aligncenter” width=“300” caption=“black swallow goth necklace - chester and lola”]black swallow goth necklace - chester and lola[/caption]

[caption id=“attachment_5226” align=“aligncenter” width=“300” caption=“Pripyat and the Halcyon Versions - Stripmall Architecture”]Pripyat and the Halcyon Versions - Stripmall Architecture[/caption]

[caption id=“attachment_5228” align=“aligncenter” width=“300” caption=“Aggressive Squid - Cephaloplastica”]Aggressive Squid - Cephaloplastica[/caption]

Last but never least, don’t forget Gamescape North’s fantastic holiday gift guide for your last-minute game shopping.

What did I leave out? Tell me in the comments.

Revising the process.

It was a great shock to me that my to-do list, calendar, email, and notes all failed this week as the semester ended. I had a system in place involving Toodledo, Google Calendar, Gmail with ActiveInbox, and Evernote. The combination was so cluttered that although I turned in all my schoolwork by the end of the semester, I missed a crucial personal to-do, a social engagement, and I am horribly behind on a few other important projects.

Today I am starting all over, nearly from scratch. Here is my new system:

  1. Stop using Toodledo. I love all of its bells and whistles, but bells and whistles just distract me from actually doing the tasks.
  2. Organize my tasks in a simple system that can be accessed via web, computer, and iPhone and keeps all of them synced. I have exported a text file of my tasks from Toodledo and dropped the ones without solid due-dates into TaskPaper. The ones with solid due-dates are going straight to …
  3. Hell. No, just Google Calendar. I must be more diligent about checking and managing my calendar. I still can’t believe I let some big things slide this week.
  4. Stop using Evernote. Again with the bells and whistles when all I really want are text files. PlainText is a great note-taking app for iPad and iPhone, plus it syncs with Dropbox, which I love. I have been organizing my notes with text files for years, so this part is more of a return to basics than starting over from scratch.
  5. Figure out what to do with ActiveInbox. It is an elegant solution for email-wrangling, but I don’t like having to check two to-do lists.

Writing it all out like that makes me long for the days with just a pen and a Moleskine, but I know I am romanticizing the analog once again.

long day

While the advances in the publishing world have elevated to the ease of e-books and while the Internet offers an easy avenue for anyone delve into a mass of information, it does not, in my small opinion, replace the essential service a library can provide.

The Best Part of a Library is Everything | The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog

While the advances in the publishing world have elevated to the ease of e-books and while the Internet offers an easy avenue for anyone delve into a mass of information, it does not, in my small opinion, replace the essential service a library can provide.

The Best Part of a Library is Everything | The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog

Turn around.

When I first logged into Second Life in 2004, I decided to create an avatar that was loosely based on my real-life appearance with some important modifications. Namely, some gigantic black hair.

bridge self-portrait

I also may have overdone the makeup a bit.

Over the years, my avatar has changed – mainly hairstyles – but the salient bits have remained the same for about a year now: short stature, black wings, amethyst eyes, and a gravity-defying mohawk.

Second Life Self-Portrait

I do not know why I consider this avatar to be so “me”. I don’t look at all like her in real life. But every time I try to change something up, it feels wrong and doesn’t last.

This is not the first time that I have encountered this strange identification with avatar appearance. When I still cared about my mudding character’s description, I had a tough time making modifications to it. So I didn’t, except for costume changes, and didn’t think much about it. She looked the way that she did because that was who she was, and I decided that she looked just like me. There: problem solved.

In Second Life, though, my avatar has never looked just like me. I initially took more liberties in graphics than I did in text. And as Second Life becomes more advanced, I have more options than ever. Then why has my avatar’s appearance frozen? Why can’t I even bring myself to get a virtual tattoo?

Needless to say, I have always been fascinated by the myriad ways we choose to represent ourselves when we have the choice, so when Rach Borkotron told me about Gracie Kendal’s Usual Suspects project on online identity and anonymity, it immediately piqued my interest. I was up to my eyeballs in homework, though, and couldn’t come inworld to participate. Then I read Lou Netizen’s post about it, and immediately promised myself I would celebrate finishing my first semester of grad school by participating.

Gracie’s studio contains over 500 portraits now. When I teleported in, I was at once overwhelmed and a bit disoriented; although I knew the portraits were taken of avatars facing away instead of forward, it was strange to experience them all at once. Like everyone else, I am so used to identifying people by their faces that the gallery’s effect was initially alienating. Then, when I recognized a portrait of someone I knew – Lou, of course – I immediately relaxed.

Gracie herself is utterly charming and earnest, so interacting with her put me further at ease. She is obviously enthralled with the project, and welcomes each new contributor warmly. I loved watching her work and enjoyed talking with her and some of the other participants about the project and her process.

Posing for Gracie.

Gracie is just over the halfway mark, so now is the time to participate. There is more information on the project on Gracie’s Usual Suspects blog, or I can send you a notecard and landmark inworld if you prefer. Just don’t ask me to get a new ‘do.

Not an ink test: Diamine Blue-Black.

Just a transcript this time, because I am too exhausted from schoolwork.

Something a little different today. My Sheaffer Prelude is one of my few medium-nib pens. It allows the ink to shine a bit more, & this ink deserves it. This is Diamine Blue-Black, a new favorite. I like how teal this appears on the page; it reminds me of Noodler's Air-Corp Blue [sic], while not being so wet. All of the Diamine inks I use are faster-drying than Noodler's, which make them great choices for journaling.

Click through for a larger version of the image.

Not an ink test: Diamine Blue-Black

Materials used: Diamine Blue-Black ink, Clairefontaine grid spiral notebook (14.8 x 21cm), Sheaffer Prelude fountain pen. The Noodler’s ink I mention is actually called Aircorp Blue-Black.

I have more recommendations on fountain pens and ink, including inexpensive starter pens.

Not an ink test: Noodler's FPN Dumas Tulipe Noire.

I am digging these ink tests, and not only because they provide me with content on the days I don’t feel like writing about anything very personal. Sometimes the ink test research helps me discover other inks I must have! As I was looking for the proper title for this ink, I discovered Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses, which appeals to me on so many levels.

Click through for a larger version of the image.

Not an ink test: Noodler's Tulipe Noire

Materials used: Noodler’s FPN Dumas Tulipe Noire ink, Clairefontaine grid spiral notebook (14.8 x 21cm), Pelikan Souveran M 400 white tortoiseshell fountain pen.

I have more recommendations on fountain pens and ink, including inexpensive starter pens.

The Week in Tweets on 2010-12-12

  • As an unabashed fan of portmanteaus, I love the word "slacktivism". #
  • Tight Pants / Body Rolls http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1c2KzJbcGA&feature=autoshare #
  • O, "Lie to Me". You provide me with much-appreciated Tim Roth during my lunchtime breaks, yet only in the same plot over and over. And over. #
  • I needed that. @ P F Chang's China Bistro http://instagr.am/p/fbst/ #
  • Procrastibaking: I take a break from studying to go the kitchen for a glass of milk and end up baking 2 dozen cookies. #
  • WikiLeaks' Assange held while court decides on extradition - CNN.com - London (CNN) — WikiLeaks founder... http://tumblr.com/xo4zffsdc #
  • The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser - War Room - Salon.com http://tumblr.com/xo4zlajfc #
  • I didn't account for the nap in my travel time to SoMa. Overshot my stop a little! #
  • Umloud! — at DNA Lounge http://gowal.la/c/369br #
  • Ümloud! 2010 was so much fun. Also, I know some people and those people will Rock Band rock your face right off. #
  • My phone autocorrected an item on my grocery list to "Cheddar Hesse". #
  • President Obama's chili recipe was a success! I am going to stop there before I get sassy with the metaphors. Recipe: http://bit.ly/hKePdI #

Always with me.

At dinner tonight, we got to talking. We talked about so many things, but one I wanted to write about before it slipped through the old brain-sieve. I am listening right now to a song that makes me think of someone I have not seen in years, someone I loved desperately with my then-heart. If I saw him again, I likely would have a flash of feeling, that electric eel around the collar one, remembering what it was like. Then I would have that certain relief of not having to love him anymore, of not having to succumb to muscle memory. The love is under glass in a museum I no longer visit. Sometimes I walk past the museum, and I can hear this song playing inside.

www.youtube.com/watch

On "Community" and Christmas episodes.

When I heard that “Community” was doing a stop-motion Christmas episode, I started to worry. No, scratch that, I didn’t worry at all. If any show right now could do this idea justice, it would be this one. And it did.

Normally I avoid treading into the territory of others’ opinions, but when I read things like “this just wasn’t as funny as the rest of the show has been” I become disappointed in the lack of appreciation for subtlety. Christmas episodes, even in comedies, have never been about bringing the funny. The whole point of a Christmas episode is the warm fuzzies, and this one had nuanced fuzzies, and even some downright sad moments that had my eyes a bit misty. Plus jokes. The show regularly makes me laugh out loud, not LOL but actual laughing and actually out loud.

Because I hate spoilers – yes, even your pseudo-cryptic tweets, just stop that already – I will leave you with this: “Community” has always surprised me with just how much wit and poignancy it can cram into a half-hour of television and still be entertaining. “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” is a wonderful example of this.

Gift niftiness.

I love giving gifts, but my budget this year is very small. Good thing the web is filled with nifty ideas!

Smitten mitten for hand-holders. [Etsy]

Owl tea mugs and tea set. [VivaTerra]

Fern frond necklace. [Fernworks]

Now Panic and Freak Out t-shirt. [Threadless]

Redwood wreath. [Erica Rose Design]

Pelikan highlighter fountain pen. [Levenger]

Loads of games in Gamescape North’s gift guide. [Gamescape North]

Are you selling anything this holiday season? Tell me about it in the comments. I would like to post about you and your wares.

Not an ink test: Noodler's Cayenne.

I always said I would do fountain pen ink tests when I had the time, so here we go. This is Noodler’s Cayenne, which is my new favorite red ink, despite it being more orangey than I expected. The orangey works! And although I would change a few things about this scan, I am posting it anyway. It is a first attempt, and I will improve.

Click through for a larger version of the image.

Not an Ink Test: Noodler's Cayenne

Materials used: Noodler’s Cayenne ink, Clairefontaine grid spiral notebook (14.8 x 21cm), Lamy 2000 fountain pen.

I purchased my ink, pen, and notebook at Flax Art and Design, and you should too. The store is amazing, and the good folks at the fine pens department are knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

I have more recommendations on fountain pens and ink.

Singing in the rain.

I would like to dedicate the school project I just turned in to Girl Talk’s album “All Day”. I listened to it while constructing my presentation, while writing my paper, and while walking to and from one of my project’s subjects, the horticultural library in the botanical garden. It was a brisk walk through the pouring rain, and it was just what I needed. The music was blasting and the calves of my jeans were completely soaked and I was singing along as I hopped over puddles.

[caption id=“” align=“aligncenter” width=“500” caption=“Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture”]Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture[/caption]

This lovely place is tucked just inside the main entrance of the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park. You can walk right in and use any of its resources that you like. The collection is primarily focused on horticulture and botany, with some natural history and agriculture as well. There are also some great art exhibits in the space. Right now there is a display of some lovely plant macros, and I kind of like those.

Now, because I do not want to rewrite part of my project anymore, I will go eat and watch “Glee” on Hulu and pass out.

Pomplamoose covers "Nature Boy".

the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return

www.youtube.com/watch

I needed that.

I am feeling a bit antsy about the end of the semester because I am so close to pulling it off. That is how I feel about it: I am going to pull this off. Like a bank heist, or a triple Lutz.

Enrolling in an online graduate school program seemed like the sensible thing to do, but I realize now that I seriously overestimated the ability of current technologies to deliver what I considered an adequate academic setting. I am lucky to have met a few classmates whose commiseration and support have helped me readjust my expectations, and even luckier that I made a full-fledged friend.

Speaking of luck, here is a nice fortune I received at dinner tonight:

School will get easier, and in no time at all it will be done, and I will be moving forward, and any number of other clichés I tell myself. As long as I can laugh about it, I can make it.

In other, non-breaking news, I cannot write while listening to the Glee holiday album. There is just so much enthusiasm about halls being decked that I can take.

Then there is everything else.

I don’t know what I thought being intentionally unemployed was going to be like. So far it is very busy! I turned in a big school project yesterday but I have two more to go, plus an exam. Then there is everything else. School seems to expand to fit the empty space, but I am elbowing it out of the way to write resumes and cover letters. Resumes are easy for me; cover letters are significantly less so.

Today is the first day of Holidailies, and although I have a crappy headache I wanted to get something up for the first day. I am supposed to introduce myself and my website. This is kind of like writing a cover letter! So I know what I will say. My name is Halsted and my website is cygnoir.net. I am not an ornithologist. I am not a Taleb fangirl. I have not seen the new Aronofsky movie. I am not some “mystically imaginative” person. (Ha ha, wasn’t that funny? Posting an unflattering photo of me and then making fun of me. So funny and so original, Gawker.)

I am, however, a person who writes about the things I like and tends to ignore things I don’t, unless they are very annoying like Muni. Or Gawker. Or, right, real issues like world hunger. Super-annoying, that. Can we fix that yet?

I probably should not be writing this while I am in such a bad mood.

The Week in Tweets on 2010-12-05

  • Spending Sunday with @FunkyPlaid by the fire, and no growing dread of what Monday will bring ... *perfect*. #
  • An ad on my website offers help for alcoholism NOW. I had three drinks on Saturday night! This algorithm is actually my Italian grandmother. #
  • Finally visited the Googleplex! @FunkyPlaid and I were truly impressed by the innovative campus and engaging people. #
  • It never fails: a billion time-sensitive emails come in the one day I am not in front of my computer. And I suck at iPhone email replies. #
  • I appreciate having the time and energy to explore this city, and I hope I still have the time and energy to do so once I am re-employed. #
  • Up too late partying! Or writing cover letters. I kind of feel hungover; does that count? #
  • Video: Want some holiday music? Try Straight No Chaser - 12 Days (original from 1998) (via mikado95) http://tumblr.com/xo4yas4ek #
  • Gowalla 3.0 Unifies Check-Ins, Places With Facebook, Twitter, And Yes, Foursquare - Gowalla saves us from... http://tumblr.com/xo4yb7uvf #
  • Video: I love this more than I can say: This Is How Michael Caine Speaks - The Trip - BBC Two (thanks,... http://tumblr.com/xo4yelm82 #
  • Life sans job is a lot busier than I expected it to be! I am enjoying all this productivity. And the naps. #
  • Swedish arrest warrant for alleged sex offenses, Julian Assange - Wikipedia http://tumblr.com/xo4yj1hl8 #
  • Interpol orders arrest of Wikileaks founder to face rape charges - Wikinews http://tumblr.com/xo4yj1row #
  • Video: Wikileaks Loses U-S Domain Provider (via AssociatedPress) http://tumblr.com/xo4yj1uey #
  • Amy Goodman: WikiLeaks and the End of U.S. ‘Diplomacy’ - Truthdig http://tumblr.com/xo4yltjwd #
  • just loved Gregory & The Hawk - Landscapes http://awe.sm/5E49C on @hypem #
  • Listening to the new Girl Talk album would be my guilty pleasure if I felt guilty about it. #

Is She Crazy to Want to Work in Libraries? Advice for a Potential Librarian. | Librarian by Day

librarianbyday.net/2010/11/3…

This is a fantastic post with plenty of resources for those of us who are embarking on our library careers.

Is She Crazy to Want to Work in Libraries? Advice for a Potential Librarian. | Librarian by Day

librarianbyday.net/2010/11/3…

This is a fantastic post with plenty of resources for those of us who are embarking on our library careers.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.