Weekly Photos: George Floyd

I am devastated and deeply in despair for our country. I am powerless as I witnessed another tragic death of a black man. He was lynched not standing up but laying down and not with a noose but with a knee. My heart goes out to George Floyd, his family, and Black Americans. I feel their anger and grieve. I am lost for words; therefore, I am going to let the photos speak. An image is worth a thousand words.

No JavaScript No Content

On my iPhone, I continue to use Safari without JavaScript to browse the web. In addition to hamburger menus not working, I have come across a bigger issue. Some of the sites I visited are completely blank with JavaScript turned off. What even more shocking is that sites with typography are completely empty.

I started off with Frere-Jones Type and it is completely blank. Then I headed over to Kilotype, which designed by the same company that created Frere-Jones Type, and it is also completely blank. H&Co is completely blank. Future Fonts is completely blank. Even Google Fonts is completely blank.

I don’t have the courage to go on. As CSS fonts continue to advance and mature, I wonder why these sites rely solely on JavaScript to deliver their content. I will continue to use Safari on my iPhone to browse sites and read news. I won’t turn on JavaScript unless I absolutely have to.

Redoing Our Deck (Part 4)

We finished installing all the Fiberon boards. Unfortunately, we faced two issues: functional and aesthetic. When I cut the boards around the posts, I didn’t leave space for the boards to expand when the weather changes. I should have read up on it before installing the boards. I don’t have a problem with taking those boards out and trimming them some more because they seem to be crucial for the longevity of the deck.

The second issue is absolutely unnecessary and my wife and I discussed from the beginning. I was cleared that we were not going to cut boards since they fit our deck. They were not perfect, but very close. Initially, she agreed and now she changed her mind after we screwed in all the boards. I don’t mind that all the boards are not lining up in a straight line. It gives a feel of handmade quality. Unfortunately, my wife is absolutely adamant and wanted to cut the boards so that they are all even. We argued a bit over it. I am frustrated with her stubbornness. If we messed up with the cutting, we will throw $1,500 down the drain and restart it. Then again, I don’t want to hear her complaining for the next ten years that I didn’t do the right thing. I cut corners by not cutting the edges.

So now we have to unscrew all the boards and re-shift them so that they are flushed on one side and then prepare to cut on the other. Fortunately, the Trex Universal Hidden Fasteners make unscrewing and realigning the boards easy. Still, we now slowing down the progress. I have to take vacation time next week (or I will lose it) to work on the deck. I hope that we can wrap up this project by next week.

Redoing Our Deck (Part 3)

Installing the 4×4 posts was the most physical demanding part of redoing our deck. I had to drill, hammered, and added anchors to secure the posts. Eight posts took me three days to complete. By the last two posts, I was exhausted.

Over the weekend, my wife and I went to Home Depot to buy deck boards. We settled on Fiberon. We also bought Trex Universal Hidden Fasteners. The cost was almost $1,500. Because we switched to composite, the materials are a bit more than what I had expected. The board installing took two days. I worked mostly with my wife, but the kids helped screwing the nails as well. The only painful part was cutting up the boards around the posts. Other than that, the hidden fasteners worked very well.

Next, we will work on the the railings, stairs, and trims. We are doing each part at a time instead of planning ahead. This way it gives us the time to focus on each section and that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed. The only issue is that we just have to make many trips to Lowe’s and Home Depot for materials and tools. Fortunately, my brother-in-law has almost any tool I would need. He loaned me seven types of saws. Some of them I don’t even know how to use. I can now use the table saw, circular saw, and jigsaw with confidence. I am actually not as bad as I thought with home improvements.

Weekly Photos: Artwork by Robert Irwin

    This week’s photos accompanying my blog are artworks by Robert Irwin. I just finished rereading his book in the last couple of days; therefore, his work is still fresh on my mind. As a designer, I have always prefer simplicity. As a result, I can relate to his minimalism. I hope you enjoy some of his works I have selected.

Kỷ niệm 12 năm

Hôm qua tôi đùa với bà xã, “12 năm nô lệ, em cảm thấy sao?” Cũng may là chưa bị dũa. 12 năm thành vợ thành chồng cùng nhau chia sẻ cay đắng ngọt bùi. 12 năm vẫn sát cánh bên nhau cho dù thế giới biến đổi và cuộc sống đảo điên.

Nhất là trong những ngày tháng đại dịch, chúng tôi càng gần nhau hơn. Gặp nhau từng phút từng giây mà chưa chém giết nhau hay thù oán nhau thì vẫn còn yêu nhau. Dù ghét nhau, giận nhau, cãi nhau, phiền nhau, đổ lỗi cho nhau, nhưng xin đừng xa nhau. 12 năm cảm xúc nào cũng đã bộc lộ.

Lúc mới quen chúng tôi đã có những giây phút khá lãng mạn qua những nhạc phẩm đã ghi lại mối tình của hai đứa. Sau 12 năm không biết những lời nhạc vẫn còn như thế hay đã thay đổi. Chẳng hạn như “Tình tự mùa xuân” của Từ Công Phụng:

Em lại đây với anh
Ngồi đây với anh
Trong cuộc đời này.
Nghe thời gian lướt qua
Mùa xuân khẽ sang
Chừng như không gian đang sưởi ấm
những giọt tình nồng.

Bây giờ mỗi bữa cơm còn nuốt không trôi với mấy thằng nhóc nữa huống gì ngồi lại với nhau để sưởi ấm những giọt tình nồng.

Rồi còn “Vì đó là em” của Diệu Hương:

Không cần biết em là ai
Không cần biết em từ đâu
Không cần biết em ngày sau.
Ta yêu em bằng mấy ngàn biển rộng
Ta yêu em qua đông tàn ngày tận
Yêu em như yêu vùng trời mênh mông.

Giờ thì biết em quá rồi. Tranh cãi lộn với em mỏi cả mồm vẫn không thắng được. Vì có đôi lúc em không cần lý lẽ.

Còn “Nụ hôn gởi gió,” nhạc Hoàng Việt Khanh và thơ của Hiền Vy: “Môi em mọng đỏ, là đỏ như mơ / Cho anh nhờ gió hôn vào là vào môi em.” Có những hôm em đang làm cá thấy thương nên hôn nhẹ lên cổ vai em. Em quay lại hỏi, “Muốn gì?” Lãng mạn nay đã trở thành lãng xẹt.

Cũng may là lời trong “Bài ca hạnh ngộ” của Lê Uyên Phương vẫn không thay đổi: “Rồi mai đây đi trên đường đời / Đừng buông tay âm thầm tìm về cô đơn.” Đúng thế 12 năm tuy không còn nắm tay nhau nữa nhưng vẫn không buông tay âm thầm tìm về cô đơn.

Giờ đây coronavirus vẫn còn tung hoành nên cũng không ăn mừng gì. Thôi thì xin mượn bài viết này để ghi lại kỷ niệm 12 năm.

Happy anniversary to the love of my life.

Lawrence Weschler: Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees

When I read this book six years ago, I wrote in my review that I would definitely revisit it the future. In a pandemic, I’ve run out of books to read; therefore, I reread this book. I have a better understand of Robert Irwin’s approach and process to his art this time around, but I still am a bit lost near the end. I have a hard time visualizing the artwork through words. The art world is still foreign to me. Will I read this book again in the future? Probably not. I can’t wait for the libraries to reopen so I can get some new books to read. For the time being, I still have two books I might want to reread.

Designing for Class of 2020

For the law school’s class of 2020, we wanted to do something special on graduation. The Senior Associate Dean wanted to put together a banner on our homepage looping all the graduate names. When I received the request, I was not sure how to include over 230 graduates on a small banner. After doing some research, I came up with the scrolling solution, which is similar to the credit at the end of a film. I came across this simple CSS scrolling text technique by Syed Murtaza and adapted for our own use. The scrolling banner is only featured for today so take a look before the day is over.

In a typical graduation year, we would have a print booklet about 40 pages. Since the event is online this year, we wanted to create a short program page recognizing all the graduates. I put together the program page using CSS multi-columns. I really love this CSS feature. It makes typesetting for something like this painless.

We also created a page for the faculty and staff to leave personal notes for the graduates.

Typesetting for Dark Mode

Designing for the dark mode had been an afterthought for me. I simply changed the text and background colors and leave everything else intact—even typography. Because I still preferred reading dark text on light background over light text on dark background, I spent most of my time designing for light mode and I had always loved serif text faces. If I have to read text on dark background, however, I prefer sans serif over serif. As a result, I thought why not changing up the typography as well for dark mode.

If you are reading this site with dark mode, the main text is set in Amica Pro, by Dave Rowland. Last year, I had the opportunity to advise Dave on Vietnamese for Amica Pro. I am not sure if he had a chance to implement my recommendations. The version I am using has not been updated. Although some minor tweaks would be better, but the diacritic design over all is pretty solid. For display text, I am using David Jonathan Ross’s Dattilo DJR Banner, which has a variable font.

If you read this site on dark mode, please let me know your feedback.

Hating On Abrams

Stacey Abrams has not even been picked for the VP spot yet and the right pundits already started swinging at her. They called her names, tried to discredit her accomplishments, and even compared her to their own Sarah Palin.

Their arguments are laughable given who they had voted to run our country. When they put a moron in the White House, they have no credibility to criticize others. They should just shut the fuck up, but they can’t. They are racist and don’t even bother trying to hide it in public anymore.

Although I still hope that Biden will pick Elizabeth Warren as his running mate, I hope that he and his campaign don’t rule out Abrams because of the stupid, racist, right-wing pundits.