cygnoir.net is a personal website and somewhat-live webcam that has existed in some form or another since May 1998.
Why the funny name? Cygnoir is a portmanteau of cygne and noir, the French words for “swan” and “black”, respectively. (I pronounce it /siɲ-nwaʀ’/ while apologizing profusely to la langue française.) My pseudonym and site predate Taleb’s book and Aronofsky’s film, and I have never been a goth or in the SCA. I simply love wordplay and Cygnus atratus.
So, hi. I’m Halsted, a/k/a Cygnoir, and I am a:
- writer of fiction … I write and perform stories
- chronicler of foibles … I’ve been an online diarist with a somewhat-live webcam since 1998
- wrangler of chaos … I’m a librarian and database designer
The best way to reach me is to say hi on Twitter. If you prefer email, send me a message with this form.
I like lists. Here’s a list of facts about me.
- Name: My first name comes from Halsted Street in Chicago. My middle name is my paternal family name, and my last is derived from my maternal family name. Confusingly to many, nothing is hyphenated.
- Aliases: Friends call me ’Sted. I also answer to Cygnoir, which is often shortened to Cyg. Past aliases include Joey, saranrapture, Carah, and Carinah.
- Birthday: Depending on your school of thought, I am either a Pisces with a Scorpio Moon and Cancer rising or a Water Ox. I have a wish list for birthday-gift-giving types.
- Birthplace: Northwestern Pennsylvania, United States. I say “pop” instead of “soda” or “coke” though I don’t drink it. I also say “expressway” instead of “freeway” and I know the difference between Mennonites and Amish.
- Residence: Edinburgh, Scotland. Past homes include San Francisco, Chicago, northwestern Pennsylvania, and Birmingham, Alabama.
- Languages: Fluent in English. I was also once so in Italian, Spanish, German, and French, but they’re gone now. I have also dabbled in Esperanto, ASL, Irish Gaelic, and Mandarin. And, yes, okay, Klingon. not yap wa’ Hol!
- Culture: Italian-American.
- Totem: Cygnus atratus, but you knew that already.
- Code: B9 d++ t+ k++ s u- f i+ o++ x+ e+ l c–.
- Orientation: QUILTBAG.
- Alignment: Chaotic good.
- Stats: STR 8, INT 17, WIS 16, DEX 10, CON 8, CHR 18.
- Status: Married to the astounding FunkyPlaid.
- Professions: Writer, diarist, and librarian.
- Education: BA in the structure and culture of the English language, an individually-designed major that fused sociolinguistics, literary theory, and creative writing; MLIS with a focus on information management and a specialisation in web development and digital archives.
- Personality type: According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I am the rarest type, INFJ (Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging). In Enneagram terms, I am a Nine. And then there are other metrics like my Johari window and my three words.
- Credo: Be kind to others. Be gentle with yourself. Let the world impress you. Kick ass.
- State: Liquid.
- Phase: Moult.
- Metal: Silver.
- Stone: Moonstone.
- Cuisine: I love to eat, especially the following: tom kha gai, sushi, pho, butternut squash, barbecue, corn chowder, risotto, hanger steak, salt and pepper crab, chicken korma, mashed potatoes, Nutella-filled crepes, cheese fondue, roasted beets, prawn cocktail, lobster bisque, biscuits and gravy, gnocchi, pickles, and good old macaroni and cheese.
- Couture: Simple, comfortable, and slightly quirky. Layers. Asymmetry. Mostly black with some solid, deep colors. Black boots. Silver jewelry.
- Favorite word: Cygnoir, somewhat obviously. I also like serendipity, foible, extrapolate, and obliviscence.
- Favorite letter: X.
- Favorite typefaces: Gill Sans and Georgia.
- Favorite color: Aubergine, known on the Web as #330033.
- Favorite flowers: Calla lilies, French tulips, purple irises, moss roses, winter daphne, and poet’s jasmine.
- Favorite time of day: The gloaming.
- Favorite season: Autumn.
- Favorite beverages: Water, tea, carrot juice, amaretto, and whisky. Not together.
- Favorite flavor: Chocolate hazelnut, e.g. Nutella.
- Favorite scents: Seawater, petrichor, books, and very few perfumes.
- Favorite place to be: Near large bodies of water.
- Favorite OS: Mac OS X.
- Favorite toy: Serendipity, my iPhone.
- Amusements: Fountain pens and good paper, games, knitting, movies, music, photography, reading, running, virtual reality, being extremely silly for no real reason, and my cat, Zen.
- Aversions: illiteracy, close spaces, curdled milk, eyeball injuries, people who don’t respect my very clear boundaries, feet, pretentiousness, mainstream media, Tori Amos’ music, politics, yellow gold, Burning Man as an excuse for anything, ignorance, instant coffee, being patted on the head, warmongering, incurable diseases, sexism, homophobia, racism, classism, religion, incorrect metadata, peeing outdoors, famewhores, passive aggression, sport-utility vehicles, alcoholism, and apathy.
Photo credit: Bryn of Moxie Blue Photography. Illustration credit (black swan logo and hypno-eyes icon): Mike Jeung.