Published

Lullabies

A bunch of the songs I’ve been singing or would like to sing to B. From friends, family, Musarc, etc. Some are lullabies, many are not, but they all have a lullaby feel to me.

Links are to YouTube.

  • “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, here sung by Judy Garland
  • “Baby Mine” from Dumbo, here sung by Betty Noyes
  • “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, here sung by Audrey Hepburn
  • “Candle on the Water” from Pete’s Dragon, here sung by Helen Reddy
  • “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins, here sung by Julie Andrews
  • “Stay Awake” from Mary Poppins, here sung by Julie Andrews
  • “Smile” by Charlie Chaplin, John Turner, and Geoffrey Parsons, here sung by Nat King Cole
  • “Yesterday” by The Beatles, here
  • “Danny Boy” or “The Derry Air”, here sung by Sinéad O’Connor
  • “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music, here sung by Bill Lee
  • Wiegenlied, Op. 49, No. 4 by Johannes Brahms, much better known as Brahms’ Lullaby or “Guten Abend, gute Nacht”, here sung in Hebrew, English, and German by Esther Ofarim
  • “Es wird scho glei dumpa”, here sung by the Tölzer Boys Choir
  • “Schlaf, Kindlein, Schlaf”, here sung by the Wernigerode Youth Choir
  • “Vent Frais, Vent Du Matin”, here sung by Veronique Chalot
  • “Ik ga slapen ik ben moe”, here sung by Jelske Ottema (I think?)

Would love to collect more.

Published

To listen: Pamela Z

Need to listen to A Secret Code by Pamela Z from Neuma Records.

Came across her via the article “Social Codebreaker” by Emily Pothast in the July issue of The Wire, shown to me by Sam. See also her 1988 self-issued cassette Echolocation, due to be reissued later this year on Freedom to Spend.

From the article:

I ask her about the obvious current of humour running through many of her works. “A lot of people ask me about that. I think it’s because they expect experimental and contemporary music to be this very serious thing.” […an extended description of John Cage’s 1960 performance of Water Walk on CBS comedy game show I’ve Got A Secret and the audience’s laughter…]

“When people ask me that question, they often phrase it like, ‘Why do you inject humour into your work?’ and I don’t think of it as injecting humour,” she continues. “I think of it as allowing humour. Because I think that life is weird, and my work is very much influenced by and inspired by the world around me.

What happened to the formerly flourishing experimental music scene in San Francisco? I’ve looked for it. Some of the musicians may still be present, but the gigs aren’t, unless I’m missing something.

Might be worth keeping an eye out for Volti performances, Pamela Z has collaborated with them in the past.

Published

First walk

Thistle with a bee in McNee Ranch

Dried out tree stump in McNee Ranch

McNee Ranch in the summer

We took B on his first walk on August 20th, in the hills above Montara beach. It was his first time in the carrier, we thought he’d resist but he loved it. The hills are a lot drier than the last time we walked through here, but there were thistles and nasturtiums out. We saw a coyote on our way back down.

We took him to see the sea too. Thought about dipping his toes in the water, but the beach was too steep and the waves too high. Another time.

Published

Gemma’s site in AIGA Eye On Design

Read “There’s More Than One Way to Share Your Design Work: Four fresh takes on the portfolio” on AIGA Eye On Design.

They spoke to Carly Ayres, Prem Krishnamurthy, David Reinfurt, and Gemma Copeland about their approaches to an online portfolio / website. Gemma spoke a bit about how we designed and built her site together, it was a lot of fun. See her site gemmacope.land, or take a look at the GitHub repo. BIG thanks to Howard Melnyczuk for fixing a bug I totally missed. 🤦🏻‍♀️ 🙏

Published

NOW v5: He’s here

Updated my Now page, contents below for posterity.


Our son arrived about a month ago 🌱, so our lives currently revolve around figuring out how this tiny human works. There have been difficult moments, particularly when I had to go back in to hospital. And it’s going to get harder when Sam is back at work. But we’re slowly getting in to the swing of things, he’s opening his eyes a lot. His baby bird noises make me laugh so much.

I feel very one-dimensional right now, but that’s ok. I expect that other facets of life will slowly return or emerge as we settle in to some sort of semi-routine, we’ll see.

Work 👩🏻‍💻 is on hiatus right now, I’m on maternity leave till mid-autumn 🍁. I didn’t manage to wrap everything up before leave since he arrived suddenly and earlier than expected, and there are a few small remaining things I’m going to try to sort out during nap times, but I’m pretty happy with where things ended up.

Before leave, I pushed an update to the Modern Art site modernart.net to add Vimeo embed support and to integrate new fonts with flexible type sizes following design guidance by John Morgan studio. I also finished up some work with Nick Sherman on the Variable Fonts website v-fonts.com, he pushed the updates the same day as we spoke about it for Typographics 2021. And I finally pushed a big update to corridor8.co.uk which adds Gutenberg support and refreshes some of the front end components, with design guidance by Sam.

In terms of bigger projects, I built a new site for Danish art 🎨 school Det Jyske Kunstakademi (djk.nu) designed by Sara De Bondt studio (more to come…), developed a new website for Gort Scott Architects (gortscott.com) designed by Polimekanos, and built a new website for Alison Jacques gallery (alisonjacques.com) designed by John Morgan studio. That last one was perhaps the biggest project I’ve ever taken on. The front end is deceptively complex, the information architecture is extensive, and I ended up building a custom scraper in Python to migrate over 4000 entries from their previous site.

***

Recalling those projects just now was so strange, work feels trivial in this moment. But I really enjoyed working with those people and those projects, I’m particularly proud of them, so wanted to document them a little here. Hopefully more documentation to come, we’ll see what time allows.

***

Related to work, I’ve joined Tiny Factories 🏭, though I haven’t been able to contribute much yet due to our son’s early arrival! What a lovely group, thanks to Brian Sholis for introducing me to them. Also still happy to be a part of the Feminist Open Source Investigations Group, though my involvement is pretty minimal at the moment.

What free time I have is generally spent on postpartum care and admin like applying for his passports—thank goodness for Sam’s photography 📷 capabilities and Photoshop, who knew it was so difficult to take a baby passport photo—and writing thank you notes ✉️. I thought I’d do a ton of reading while feeding and such but haven’t really had the headspace for it. Instead, I’ve been listening to podcasts like Parenting Hell (very funny!), Anwer Me This! (RIP), The Horne Section Podcast (so silly), and Unruffled (serious, but useful for a first time parent). Sam has been doing almost all of the cooking and baking recently, though I did manage to squeeze out a cauliflower, chickpea, and green pea curry last night 🥘.

Besides that, haven’t really had much extracurricular activity recently… Partly due to the arrival of our son, but also because the Delta variant 🦠 is on the rise. Such a huge bummer. I feel really fortunate to have delivered when I did since the hospital is again limiting who you can bring along for appointments and such. 😔 But I was just finally starting to make a few connections here in SF 🌁, and now it feels too risky to meet up with those people in most circumstances considering our little boy.

Sort of feels like an endless loop. But for now, I’m happy to stay in.

Published

A new chapter

Our little one is here, and life will never be the same.

🌱

It has been a whirlwind month, really a whirlwind few months. I was trying to wrap everything up prior to maternity leave and just about got there, then was suddenly faced with a same-day induction following a routine prenatal appointment at 38w + 4d, three days before my leave was due to start. So close!

I’m not going to go in to detail about the birth in public here, it is too intimate of an event. I will say that besides the shock of the sudden induction and a few other blips, the birth itself went just about as close as I could hope to my “ideal” scenario. I’m so thankful for that. Remembering that the pain is temporary and intentional helped a lot, and Sam’s support was vital, as were our nurses Amy and Lukas and doula Taylor. “Ready, present, relaxed” was on repeat in my head.

The days following the birth involved ups and downs in terms of my health, including a readmission to hospital unfortunately, but have gone fairly smoothly otherwise. Not sleeping as well as we did previously, but that’s to be expected!

And most importantly, our little lad. He’s perfect, gorgeous, and so funny already. He won’t appear often in public photos on this site or elsewhere online, but like most parents, I’m happy to share copious pictures with friends and family via text.

The one-on-one conversations I’ve had with more experienced friends, family, collaborators, clients, and acquaintances about this stuff are some of the moments from my pregnancy that I hold most dear, small acts of selflessness and vulnerability on their part that made me feel so much more prepared for this process and what is to come. I’m thankful to have been able to ask so many people about so many things: what it’s like to be self employed with a young child, navigating how to divvy up responsibilities with your partner, the million different paths that feeding a baby can take, how your sense of identity shifts, what equipment is useful and what is pointless, and so, so many birth stories.

So thank you so much to those people that have reached out, and to those that have kindly opened up when I prodded a bit. It has meant everything.

Along those lines, an invitation: if you’re expecting or even just considering kids and want to talk about what it is like, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Published

An endless loop

Just finished the article “Ontological Design Has Become Influential In Design Academia – But What Is It?” by JP Hartnett for AIGA Eye on Design, via the Feminist Open Source Investigations Group chat.

This is somewhat related to the previous post, the “we are our experiences” concept. But much more formal than my ramblings, better philosophical underpinnings for sure!

I’d heard of ontological design but hadn’t really dug in to it. This article is a useful dive in.

In very few words (specifically professor of design theory Anne-Marie Willis’s words, not mine): “Design designs us”. In more words, from Hartnett’s article:

A human being cannot exist independently of its surrounding environment — it is not possible to be without being-in-the-world. Being, then, is always relational: with everything that surrounds us, including the full complexity of the completely designed worlds that we inhabit. This point is crucial for ontological design theorists: design doesn’t just perform certain functions — a car transports you from A to B, a poster displays information, etc. — the interrelated totality of designs construct the world through which humans are brought into being and come to be defined through. Human beings, in turn, design the world, which, in turn, designs them… and so on. The process is circular, like an endless loop.

And on the consequences of embracing ontological design in practice instead of relegating it to theory and academia:

One welcome outcome of an embrace of ontological design theory would be the death of the individualism that has plagued the design profession — “iconic” designs, individual designers, celebrated in isolation as they usually are in design publications — don’t make any sense in this context.

That would be welcome indeed.

I don’t quite see how it can happen unless there is a true revolution in the way we talk and think about design—more holistic and less about singular problems, more collective and less individual—but maybe circumstances are ripening for such a change.

Published

“Who gets to be a revolutionary?”

“Who gets to be a revolutionary?”

Writer Dayna Evans asks this partway through her Eater article “The Women Erased From the Story of No-Knead Bread”. It’s a good question. Who gets top billing for a semi-simultaneous invention or a collective idea?

It reminds me of discovering Louise Brigham’s box furniture while doing some research on Gerrit Rietveld’s crate furniture.

Read more

Published

Updates to v-fonts.com

I’ve been working with Nick Sherman on some updates to v-fonts.com, and he pushed the changes on Saturday. 🥳

He managed to do it right before his TypeLab talk about these updates as part of Typographics 2021. He kindly invited me to join the talk, and it was a pleasure going through things together. Thank you to Petr Van Blokland for shifting things around so that I could contribute!

Screenshot from Nick Sherman and Piper Haywood’s talk about v-fonts.com as part of TypeLab

Screenshot from Nick Sherman and Piper Haywood’s talk about v-fonts.com as part of TypeLab

About the changes

For context/posterity:

Nick approached me about helping out with v-fonts.com after our back-and-forth about surface area-based logo sizing a little while back. I was pretty excited about the prospect since Nick’s a lovely guy, and I’ve found his Variable Fonts site so useful in the past!

The most major update is the introduction of term-based archives for tags (e.g. unusual variation or serif), designers (e.g. Elena Schneider), publishers (e.g. DJR), licenses (e.g. open source), and character sets (e.g. Cyrillic). These archive pages should make it a bit more straightforward to browse all of the listings, and they provide some useful context for the groupings. Nick has done phenomenal work curating it all.

Other updates include quantities to signpost how many results are returned and how many are left, better keyboard navigation for the sliders, and a RSS feed (yay!!). If RSS is your thing, you can find the link in the site footer.

There’s a lot more we’d like to do though.

For the future

A few enhancements for later down the line:

  • Automated content creation; we could potentially extract some data from the font files to speed up content editing/uploading; the Wakamai Fondue repo on GitHub by Roel Nieskens will no doubt be an invaluable resource for this!
  • Enhanced preview capability; would be nice to change the preview text and the size of the text
  • Automated font preview images for RSS

Things we’d like to get to sooner 🤞 include:

  • Filtering by axis (weight, slant, etc.); this sort of exists currently (see one of the screenshots above for an example), but we can’t really expose it yet due to some limitations
  • Prettier URLs for tags, with automated redirects from the old URLs
  • Sorting capability by things like the date the font was updated or alphabetical by title
  • Multi-dimensional filtering; would be nice to look at all of the serif fonts with extended Latin support that offer a trial, or check out all of the open source variable fonts published by Arrow Type, for example
  • Search!

We didn’t end up including these changes because we hit a few walls with the ExpressionEngine set up. EE is a great CMS, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to give us quite enough control out-of-the-box for the more extended functionality we’re after. I explored add-ons and such for some of these things, but it quickly felt like too scrappy/hacky when there are other CMS options out there that would allow us to achieve this more maintainably.

So the next big step will likely be migrating to a different CMS. Big task (code, content, URL redirecting, etc.), but do-able! At the moment, I’m eyeing Craft CMS + the Feed Me plugin by the Craft developers for semi-automated content migration.

But it will be a few months before I take a look at it due to maternity leave coming up so soon, so we’ll evaluate the best CMS for the job then. I don’t expect a better CMS option for this particular project to come up between now and then but you never know, these things can move so fast!

Thanks for the screenshots, SB!