Posts by Malcolm


On the Catch-22 of Signifying, of laying one's cards out

I’m a longtime member of a super progressive, very careful, very socially just slack. It’s called LGBTQ in Tech. And its Code of Conduct is not only toothsome and affirming (for the marginalized — privileged folks are warned quite clearly to watch their words and actions) but the moderation on the whole is active and careful and intentional and socially just. And in combination, it’s a very good place to live one’s intentions, especially with respect to cultivating a strong community, providing a lot of active support and equity for marginalized people. There’s a huge trans community there in queerness, and it’s just very affirming and lovely, most days.

Recently I got into a very intersectional disagreement. I was arguing for freedom of expression and ability to analyze, real-time, the privilege dynamics of folks leaving conversations because of personal, emotional, safety-driven boundaries. I was in the argument/discussion with a person whose handle is “[name] the lesbian” and someone who I know to identify as a nonbinary person. Unsure of sexuality (not that it matters). She was arguing that discussing such things is never okay because often such conversations are used to directly criticize individuals and used to shame them into violating their own boundaries (which is also never okay). FWIW, I agree that the subject is tricky and needs to be handled sensitively, but I don't wish to be told how/what to talk about in a discussion of privilege and in addition the discussion she objected to was one many folks appreciated and explicitly approved of in a context of unlearning institutional racism.

Because Metafilter will not welcome my opinion

I’ve been a longtime member and contributor to MetaFilter, and all along I’ve sort of walked the line an activist walks between what the moderators will tolerate and searching for real equity for marginalized voices, real freedom of expression for marginalized people (myself and others), real preference for the marginalized over the privileged.

MetaFilter, for a content driven, revenue generating, community-powered collaborative blog is actually pretty liberal for the Internet, but I do often forget (probably because I’m half white, and well assimilated) that it’s a very white, very normative, cis, hetero, etc. site.

You may have heard from your geeky friends about how not all Cloud/backup services are the same.

I’m writing this occasioned by my long-awaited switch from using CrashPlan to BackBlaze for my online and cloud backups service. I had paid up CrashPlan to well beyond their announced mothball date for CrashPlan Home, and it doesn’t expire until 12/8/2018. But I figured I should switch a month out. And it basically costs the same (barring any discounts) and is slightly more comprehensive than CrashPlan. During the transition month, while the BackBlaze storage is getting synced up with all 1.8 TB of my total backup files, I can still restore stuff from CrashPlan if need be.

In August, despite, for 2 years, struggling with changing my diet to be low glycemic and being really bad at testing my blood glucose at home, my A1C came back at 10%. In 2016, it was 9.1%.

So I got serious. I made two major changes.

One of my culinary geekinesses is finding obscure and interesting recipes that use ingredients in surprising ways (or in geeky scientific ways). For instance the vegan chocolate mousse that Herve This invented and Heston Blumenthal made a video blog about (I think I posted about it already?). Or in spirits and distillation and infusion, fat washing. Or in ice cream making, or baking, or cooking, flavor accents that you might not notice (apricot jam, five spice blend, and fish sauce, to name a few).

Let me now talk to you about the vegan answer to eggs in meringues. This is a relatively new rediscovery. And it’s called aquafaba. Otherwise known as bean juice. Sounds delicious, huh?

Navigating a withdrawal

My family is not one of addicts. The worst was my Grandfather, Spud, who, for a while was a drunk. Then he joined a 12–step which was sort of magical for him.

Mostly though we quit cold turkey. Mom quit smoking that way, years before I was born. Just quit, and never looked back.

Breaks (them's the, Taking, having, Experiencing)

It’s been a long while. I took a long enough break here that I got a personal note and some swag from Tess and Anuj (Hi to you both, and thank you for setting up this very nourishing community.)

Anyway, I’m still exploring my personal journey with Fitness. I don’t know if I made it clear, but it’s my first such journey in a long, long while. My asthma flared up in my early 20s and since then it’s been far more about keeping that under control than pursuing any fitness goals. Not unexpectedly, once type 2 diabetes forced my hand, doing conditioning along with weight training has helped my asthma too, to the point where I’m planning to go off corticosteroids entirely if I can manage it. We’ll see. Fingers crossed.

I’m just going to chalk this up to wanting more challenge, and possible overconfidence, but this evening I asked my trainer to add planks to my gym routine, so the first goal after learning the right form is to do 3 30 second planks with a 5 minute rest in between. After that, my trainer will start stacking weights on my back.

I asked for this because I want to stabilize my core, because I’m worried I’ll keep pulling my back out of lack of stability/care/strength.

It looks like I didn’t post about Hervé This’ vegan (or, can be vegan) chocolate mousse. So I guess I’d better.

For what it’s worth, in these Culinary posts, I want to only do long-form posts if I’ve done enough of my own additional work to have a real discussion.