Bite-sized Nuggets of Wisdom

I’ve reached a few conclusions over the last few days, and I thought I’d share them with you:

  • Sometimes, failure is just failure. There are no lessons to be learned, no unseen benefit to be found anywhere, it just flat-out sucks. And that’s okay.
  • If your EDI committee doesn’t have support built in for the facilitators of your EDI efforts in your organization, find the money to make this happen. People will want to share their horror stories with the committee leads, and as a result, you are creating an unsustainable and unsafe environment for the people who want to drag your organization (kicking and screaming) into the future.


An idea has been going around in my head ever since the pandemic started. I’ve been thinking a great deal about gender, sexual orientation, and their connection to my identity, more-so than I ever have in my life. This feels significant as someone who was an angry, young queer activist. I won’t bore you with my thought processes (that may come at a later time), but the conclusions I’ve reached thus far are this:

  1. Gender is a myth and an utter fabrication, and any allegiance to it is completely nonsensical now. Yet, people can and do feel variably female, or male, or other, or both, or neither, and they can do so at any stage of their life because gender is a fabrication and like all fabrications, it can be dismantled;

  2. That even though I have identified as straight, questioning, bisexual, lesbian, monogamous, married (but bisexual), the apex of a polyamorous V, and “just Cecily” at various points in my life, I have come to the realization that for me, queer is my political identity, but gay — no, not lesbian, GAY — is my sexual orientation. Do I still find men attractive? Yup. Would I slide into a dude’s DMs some night? Nope, not anymore. Besides, I’m done looking.

  3. The term lesbian has never suited me1; I have always felt excluded from it. Furthermore, lesbian always seemed to signify a particular political ideology2 that I did not share;

This may not be news to my close friends, but it felt like a big shift in my thinking. I believe in learning in public, and so… gestures at this whole blog

  1. While I owe a lot of my ideas/political awakenings to the community of second-wave lesbian feminists (especially since I’m old as dirt), I never felt like I was among their number. Queer always fit me better. “Dykey” was fine, but still not quite right unless I was feeling full of swagger, which was never, and; 
  2. Women who identify as lesbians are still an important part of the history and continued viability of the Alphabet Mafia, and I wish to GOD dyke bars would come back because I miss them more than I miss angel biscuits, which is a LOT. 

How I Take Notes

grayscale photography of woman writing

I promised myself that I’d do a deeper dive on my note-taking and study habits, so here’s a very quick brain dump on how I make sense of what I read.

Very large caveat: lately I have been seriously struggling. I get so bogged down in tools and methods (thanks, ADD brain ?) that I find it difficult to focus on anything else. Ironically, this impacts my ability to finish reading anything lately, so be wary of that. With that out of the way, behold:

My Note-Taking Workflow

  1. Take notes on everything you read. (More on this later)
  2. Take notes in your own words. Don’t just copy & paste from the text.
  3. Take the time to process your notes. A weekly review is a good strategy.
  4. Work toward building connections between concepts. This builds depth of knowledge.
  5. Once you feel that you have a good understanding of a concept, publish it someplace. It’s okay if you’re wrong, or if your thoughts change over time. Documenting your thoughts and ideas in this way helps you trace the development of your ideas, and helps you refine your ideas which furthers your understanding.
  6. Relax. Just start writing. Don’t worry so much about your tools or which platform(s) to use. A pen and a stack of index cards is how the Zettelkasten method got started, and it works just fine if that’s all you have access to. Ryder Carroll’s indexing and threading methods that he developed for his Bullet Journal system might also work well for this purpose, but I failed at keeping a bullet journal, so…

Is this helpful to you? Would you like more content like this? Please let me know in the comments, or on Twitter.

??‍♀️ Privacy vs Convenience: My Move Away from Google Revisited

This Ask Metafilter thread about some recent changes to Google’s search results has me thinking about a post I wrote six years ago. I moved away from Google for email, search, and document creation, and I offered suggestions on how you might make a similar move. At the time I recommended using DuckDuckGo, something I still recommend, but not always as enthusiastically as I have in the past.

There’s a simple reason for that: after almost six years of nearly daily use both at home and in the workplace, I still find myself using Google as a fallback search engine1, primarily because of how I use search engines. When I turn to a search engine, I’m primarily trying to answer a question or choose between the best options for a product I’m interested in buying. The kinds of results that these two search companies produce can be very different, and I’m not just talking about how Google (now) includes favicons in search results. Let’s take a look at a few screenshots.
Continue reading “??‍♀️ Privacy vs Convenience: My Move Away from Google Revisited”

The Most Beautiful Part of Your Body Is Where It’s Headed

The week is over, I have a four day weekend, and it’s unseasonably chilly in Vancouver. The roller coaster that was this week was full of peaks, valleys, and loop-de-loops, but at this particular moment, it feels good. Onward.

Here are a few things I shared this week:

  1. Going Home With Ocean Vuong – an Atlantic profile on a young Vietnamese-American poet and novelist. The excerpt from his poem “Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong” stopped me in my tracks. It’s also the where the title of this blog post came from.

  2. VALA 2020 Keynote Speakers – I’m pleased to announce that I’m one of six keynote speakers at the VALA – Libraries, Technology and the Future Conference that will take place in Melbourne, Australia in February 2020.

  3. Anthony Ramos (Hamilton, She’s Gotta Have It) shared the official lyric video of Cry Today, Smile Tomorrow, the (incredibly moving) song he performed during season two of She’s Gotta Have It.

  4. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom details Lynda(.com)’s Privacy Problem. LinkedIn now requires library users to create a LinkedIn profile to use the LyndaLibrary technology resources, which appears to be a violation of the Library Bill of Rights.

  5. Apple’s Memoji Makeup Tutorial, featuring Patrick Starr and Desi Perkins. Initially, I hated this video, but the more I watch it, the cuter I think it is. I especially love that they worked in Patrick’s head wrap.

  6. If Austin Kleon says having a messy studio can make you a better artist, then I must be the best artist alive.

  7. If you follow me on Twitter1, you saw as I opined about career precarity in Gen X librarians, talked about how I managed to improve my credit score over the last 5 years and went on and on about how Phil Collins’ ubiquity in the 80s gave us some of the most memorable pop and rock music of all time.

  1. My account is currently locked, but I review new follower requests carefully at least once a week. 

Is This Thing On?

It’s been almost two years since I’ve written anything in this space, but thanks to a tweet from my friend Jen Hanen (and okay, also some words from Neil Gaiman) I thought I’d give this another try. I attempted a newsletter but for whatever reason it never stuck. I don’t like the idea of writing on a set schedule, especially if I’m not being paid for it. I suppose I don’t think the flexing of my own spongy intellectual muscles is enough of a reason to keep up a writing habit, which if you want to get all deep about it, is a sign of my mental health and feelings of self-worth in general.

keep it inside - acrylic on paper, copyright 2019
keep it inside – acrylic on paper, copyright 2019

deep exhale

Yesterday on my way home from work, I passed an apartment building where someone had soaped a message onto their window. “This is a lonely place without friends,” the message read and it would have stopped me in my tracks had I not been in traffic. It made me wonder how much pain a person had to be in to go to such lengths to write this message on their window, in reverse no less, so that other people would see it. Vancouver can be a very lonely and isolating place, and yet I’m still here, still trying to reach out, still trying to make friends. I’m making more of an effort to see people than I have in the past, and that feels good. It’s almost like I’m rounding a corner or something.

Here are a few things I’ve read/listened to lately and enjoyed: