Visualgui.com Turns 21

When I registered Visualgui.com 21 years ago, I had no idea it would last to this day. Without a doubt, blogging is my longest hobby. I pour out my thoughts, my emotions, and my consciences almost everyday. As I am getting older, I find letting go keeps me at peace. When something bothers me, it stays on my mind until I write it down so I can let it go, but I still have a record of it. In that sense, blogging has become my therapy. I don’t need to talk to a therapist. I just talk to the world.

In retrospect, self-improvement has motivated me to write everyday. I have the tendency to constantly improve myself and it drives my wife crazy, especially after she got me into skiing and snowboarding. I have no special talent and I have no natural athletic ability. I just show up everyday and make progress. When I first started blogging, I stared at the blinking prompt for half an hour and couldn’t type a word. I had too many fears and anxieties. I worried about getting judged. Now, I just let words flow onto the page. I can just write whatever comes to mind. The only thing that can stop me is my own conscience.

I came to blogging from my web design background. I used to have a passion for design until I got paid to design. Now design is a job, not a hobby. I design for others, not for myself. Blogging, on the other hand, has given me a space to write whatever I like. I don’t write for anyone. I write for myself. I can write 1 word or 1,000 words. I can write in English or Vietnamese or both. I can write about my personal experience or I can write about my professional design and development. I have total freedom to write and control my own content.

After 21 years, I still feel the urge to write. Writing is a life-long improvement for me. I will never run out of room to improve myself. If this blog goes away tomorrow, I will damn sure miss it, but I will continue to write on another platform or on paper. Blogging is still my favorite space to write for now. I am glad I stuck with it for 21 years.

Redoing the Pipes

After hiring a handyman connecting the pipes for the bathroom fans yesterday, I noticed that when one bathroom fan was on, the air blew back to the other bathroom. I checked the fan and found out that the flapper was not closing.

Today, I decided to take the entire old fan out and install a new one. Taking out the housing was time consuming. I couldn’t remove the nails so I had to cut off the aluminum. While replacing the housing, I decided to redo what the handyman had done yesterday. He did such a shitty job connecting the 4-in pipes to the 3-in pipes. I streamlined the connection and used only 3-in pipes.

The process took almost six hours. I spent about half of that on the attic. Thanks goodness the weather was not that hot yet. I spent about $100 on the materials including the new fan. It was a good learning experience.

I am not sure if I will use the handyman again. I thought he was a friend since we liked to drink and I took him out to eat and drink before, but I guess money comes first.

Connecting the Pipes

As I was replacing the bathroom fan, I recalled that the pipe just blew moisture into the attic. When we first moved in, we hired an electrician to install recessed lights as well as the bathroom fan. He put the flexible pipe from the fan into open space in the attic. He told me it was the conventional practice. I trusted him and never questioned it.

Fifteen years later, I realized that was not a good idea. When I watched a few clips on YouTube, I was horrified with all the molds on the woods when people just put the exhaust pipe blowing into the attic. I always hated going up the attic, but I had to just to see if there were any mold. To my relief, I didn’t spot anything even though the only circulation system we had was the ridge vent on the roof. The electrician was probably right.

Nevertheless, I wanted to get it right. When I watched YouTube videos, the consensus was to cut the roof and install the pipe to let the moisture go outside. No way I was going to cut the roof myself. I called Ricardo, my trusted handyman, to make an appointment for today to do the job.

Last night, however, I sought out advice from a friend who is an architecture. He told me I could connect the pipe from that bathroom to the pipe from another bathroom, which already had a vent to the roof. As long as both fans had flappers, I should be fine. All I needed was to remove the pipe to the roof and attach an aluminum T connector and hook up the other pipe from the other fan.

I went back to the attic and figured I could do the job myself, but I already called the handyman and didn’t want to cancel him. He showed up late and his eyes were all watery. I asked him if he was drinking last night and he told me he was drinking every night. Nevertheless, I let him do his job. We went to Lowe’s to pick up the flexible pipe and the aluminum T connector.

When he tried to install it, the materials we bought were bigger than the ones already installed. I told him I could run to Home Depot to pick up smaller pipes, but he me told they don’t make those anymore. He ended up taping the big pipes to the smaller pipes. It was a hack of a job. It didn’t look nice at all, but I could careless since it was on the attic. He charged me $150.

I am thinking of taking everything apart and repipe them myself. If I could find the right size for the pipes, I could do it with minimal tapes. I am not going to sweat it for now. I’ll revisit this project later on. The materials were about $40. It was not a bad $150 lesson.

Visualgui 2024: Euchre & Lavishe

Here’s the sixth iteration of this blog. I just copped a license of Euchre, designed by Jackson Showalter-Cavanaugh, and I just couldn’t wait to use it. Euchre goes well with Lavishe, designed by Dương Trần.

I am also returning to readability first. The previous iteration was cool, but could be a bit hard to read. I still like to change it up once in a while. I think I’ll stick with this design for a bit. Then again, maybe I won’t.

We’ll see how it goes. This iteration is quieter, but good for reading the text. I hope you enjoy it.

New Typographic Sample: “Bonjour Vietnam”

On February 4, 2006, I launched a slideshow based on “Bonjour Vietnam,” a French song recorded by Phạm Quỳnh Anh. With gorgeous photography of Vietnam accompanying beautiful melody, the slideshow went viral around the world. Now, 18 years later, I revisit the project and put together a sample page for my Vietnamese Typography book site. The main text is set in Herbik, designed by Daniel Veneklaas, and display text is set in Lavishe, designed by Dương Trần.

Megan Fox: Pretty Boys are Poisonous

Damn, Fox’s poetry collection is dark as fuck. Here’s a piece titled “i’m not sure that god agrees”:

There was a time
when i had never
heard a man call me
stupid
pathetic
bitch
cunt
slut
idiot
and there was also a time
when i had never
felt a man’s hands
hit me
suffocate me
or throw me to the ground
but now
if one of these things
hasn’t happened
by wednesday
i consider it a miracle

Here’s another piece titled “the book of mary magdalene”:

it hurts
to see how i’ve
betrayed myself
trying to save
the souls of men
who do not want
to be saved
it hurts to see
how my legacy
will only rest
in the space
between my legs

The typesetting and the illustrations are beautiful.

r.h. Sin: This Day Is Dark

This book of poetry is heartbreaking yet beautiful. Sin is so good with words. Here are a few examples:

it’s hard to enjoy the sun
when there’s a storm
growing in your chest

you can’t nurture a rock
you don’t water a stone
no amount of love
will soften the heart
of a person
who doesn’t intend
to love you

when you’ve
been in pain
for years
“it gets better”
sounds like a lie

the more you ignore the wound
the wider it grows, the deeper it gets

We were supposed to be a team, but you treated me
like a competition.

Quietly noticing everything. Saying nothing is so
fucking painful.

people rarely see your wounds
and despite the pain, you feel
you spend most days forcing a smile

you’re toxic
I have to stop
breathing you in

what was once
sweet to taste
is now bitter fruit

forever is something we say
but it’s never what we do

tired of handing roses
to the person
who treats me like weeds

the way I choose a person
sometimes I think
I’m attracted to loneliness

the people who hurt you
are teaching you who to avoid

your relationship spoiled a long time ago. Why do you insist on keeping something past its expiration date?

Euchre

With open structures and gracious proportions, Euchre, a sans-serif family designed by Jackson Showalter-Cavanaugh, is designed for comfortable reading. Its balanced contrast makes Euchre a solid text face that supports many languages. For Vietnamese, its acute, grave, and hook above stack to the right of its circumflex. Take a look at Euchre set in Vietnamese.

Replacing Bathroom Fan

Yesterday our master bathroom fan stopped working. I bought the exact same model (Broan-NuTone 688 Ceiling and Wall Ventilation, 50 CFM 4.0 Sones, White Bath Fan) to replace. Plugged the fan back in and still nothing was running.

The next step was replacing the housing. I thought the plug might have gone bad. Still nothing. The culprit was the switch. I should have checked the switch first. I replaced the switch and everything worked.

Fortunately the fan only cost $22 so I was not sweating it. The small job I could have done in 3 minutes turned into 3 hours. Lesson learned.

Seventh Day at Mount Snow

Since today was our last day at Mount Snow as well as our final day for the season, I caught the shuttle at 7:50 am to get to the first chairlift of the day. Unfortunately, the wind was too strong, they didn’t turn on the lift to the top as well as the lift at the back side.

There was only one lift opened and it only could take us to the blue and green trails. Since it was my last day and my legs were exhausted, I decided to take it easy on my snowboard. After my first run the blue trail, my legs were already burned from trying to carve. My heel side was fine, but my toe side couldn’t dig into the snow. I decided to change my bindings from -15 degrees (back) +15 degrees (front) to +15/+15 degrees. Just that alone changed the carving game. I was so happy. I ended up carving the entire day. I need to pick up these skills again next season.

I am sad to say goodbye to this season. My Epic counted 39 days on the slopes. I counted 43 days. I knew some days weren’t counted because they didn’t scan my card. My counts are based my journal entries on this blog. I wrote about each day to keep a record.

Without a doubt, this season had been great for us. A special shout-out to my wife for putting up with me throughout the season. I wanted to hit the slopes any chance I had. Skiing and snowboarding were a form of therapy for me. When I was on the trails, I left all of my stress and worries behind.

Bonjour Vietnam