Something like a centipede problem

A centipede was happy – quite!
Until a toad in fun
Said, “Pray, which leg moves after which?”
This raised her doubts to such a pitch,
She fell exhausted in the ditch
Not knowing how to run.

Classically, the Centipede’s Dilemma refers to the problem of a complex task, which one has learned to perform semi-consciously, becoming nearly impossible when one attempts to micromanage the process consciously. What I’m struggling with here is more akin to Writer’s Block, except that my problem is not whether to write, but on what topic. Reactivity serves to select direction for me at other venues, but here I’m hoping that Shades Between becomes a repository of my more deliberate work, which has been piling up as I’ve been prioritizing other tasks. Thus, a quandary—where should I start?

I am betting the solution to this in an approach I call, “There has to be a first pancake.” It’s a truism that for most of us who do not make pancakes daily, that the first pancake is usually terrible: burnt, stuck, runny, thick, or weirdly deep-fried. The solution is to practice making pancakes until one has the perfect setup (and the requisite adjustments) down to rote. And thus, time in the kitchen teaches us practical lessons for everything else.

It’s always been the plan to have Food Fridays here, touching on precarity, gastrotourism, cultural appropriation vs. culinary fusion, and even some classic food blogging. Wednesdays, I’ll be answering questions about etiquette that centers social justice awareness rather than the status quo. (I’ll post a call for your conundrums soon.) I have thoughts about Sundays, and there’s very likely to be posts in between about pop culture and parenting and politics and the long list of my other interests, because I’ve never been good at staying entirely within the box except when I was coloring.

And now, having broached the breach, I do have a post to write.

Step outside the box, friend

We are encouraged to think in terms of oppositions and binary states—yes/no, black/white, straight/gay, male/female, privileged/marginalized—but our actual world, and actual people, don’t fit so neatly into those tight boxes. Our technologies may depend on on/off states, but the humans using them want fuzzy logic instead.

Welcome to, where I’ll be posting my thoughts on navigating the unmarked middle ground.