About cygnoir.net


cygnoir.net is a personal website that has existed in some form or another since May 1998. It is written and produced by me, Halsted, a/k/a Cygnoir. It is a place where I write about some of the things that matter to me, like being a:

Recently I added a now page to document my current projects and passions. If you have your own website, you should make one, too.

There may be additional reading about me at the bottom of this page. I can’t promise anything. Text is unruly and attention spans are short.

Why the funny name? Cygnoir is a word I made up many years ago. It is a portmanteau of cygne and noir, the French words for “swan” and “black”, respectively. (It is pronounced /siɲ-nwaʀ’/ while apologizing profusely to la langue française.) The pseudonym and site predate Taleb’s book and Aronofsky’s film, and I have never been a goth or a member of the SCA. I simply love wordplay and Cygnus atratus.

About Cygnoir

Hey, you made it! So I like lists. (Whaaaat? No.) 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. Nothing is hyphenated.
  • Aliases: Friends call me Halsted or ’Sted. I also answer to Cygnoir, which is often shortened to Cyg. Past aliases include Joey, saranrapture, Carah, and Carinah.
  • 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: Portland, Oregon. Past homes include Edinburgh, Scotland; San Francisco, California; Birmingham, Alabama; Chicago, Illinois; and northwestern Pennsylvania.
  • 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.
  • Patronus: Black swan, but you knew that already.
  • Orientation: 🏳️‍🌈 QUILTBAG.
  • Alignment: Neutral 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: MLIS with a focus on information management and a specialization in web development and digital archives; BA in the structure and culture of the English language, an individually-designed major that fused sociolinguistics, literary theory, and creative writing.
  • 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. Western astrology says I’m a Pisces. My love language is Words of Affirmation. 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: Labradorite.
  • 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 typeface: Avenir.
  • Favorite color: Aubergine, known on the Web as #330033.
  • Favorite flowers: Calla lilies, winter daphne, ranunculus, and peonies.
  • Favorite time of day: The gloaming.
  • Favorite season: Autumn.
  • Favorite beverages: Black tea, carrot juice, amaretto, and whisky. (Not together.)
  • Favorite flavor: Chocolate hazelnut, e.g. Nutella.
  • Favorite scents: Seawater, sandalwood, petrichor, and books.
  • Favorite place to be: Near large bodies of water.
  • Favorite OS: macOS.
  • Favorite gadget: Serendipity, my iPhone.
  • Loves: 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.
  • Hates: Racism, inequity, ignorance, and apathy.

Contact Cygnoir

There are myriad ways to get in touch with me, but the most effective way is to send email to ‘contact’ at this domain.

Please note: I do not own cygnoir.com, so do not send anything meant for me to that domain.


cygnoir.net is hosted on WordPress.com. There are no sponsors.

Here are some other tools I use and recommend: Buffer, Evernote, Pobox, RescueTime, Slack, and Workflowy.

If you enjoy what I do here, please share it on social media or via email or by tiny porcupine post. Be careful. There are hedgehogs posing as tiny porcupines and they are not to be trusted with the content of this site.


Photo credit: FunkyPlaid. Illustration credit (black swan logo and hypno-eyes icon): Mike Jeung.