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TIL about the U.S.’s 22-year HIV travel ban

TIL that the U.S. had a 22-year travel ban preventing HIV-positive immigrants, residency/work permit applicants, and visitors from entering the country.

I’m incredibly embarrassed that I didn’t know about this before. The travel ban was enacted in 1987. President George W. Bush started the repeal process in 2008, and President Obama finalized the end of the ban in 2010. It is WILD that it took so long for it to be repealed.

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Parental half-life

If you’re lucky to have them around for long enough, you will eventually reach an age where you have existed for more than half of your parents’ lives. You suddenly go from being around for less of their experiences to being around for most of their experiences.

There’s something significant in that, but I’m not quite sure what… Ask me next summer.

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Leave a stone unturned

I think the best creative advice I ever got was from my tutor at CSM.

Don’t dot every I and cross every T, don’t tie up every loose end. Leave some questions unanswered. A piece of art, a movie, a song, a performance, they all tend to be more compelling when they leave you wondering.

I tended to be very goal-oriented in my visual art practice, with an idea of exactly what I wanted the final product to be. This usually left me with frustration when I couldn’t quite get it there, and a piece that was overworked and somehow boring, despite my efforts. When I spent a little more time just focusing on the process and letting go of the result, it was both more fun and far more interesting to look at in the end.

I don’t have much of an art practice at the moment, though sometimes I look at this website as one big, long-haul creative endeavor.

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CSS blend modes: beware the stacking context

I’m working on a site with a complex entanglement of blend modes, SVG backgrounds, gradient backgrounds, positioning, and transitions. I’ve run in to a bunch of issues with mix-blend-mode not working as expected, and it almost always has to do with an inappropriate stacking context.

For posterity, this StackOverflow answer is a really good run-down of CSS combos that create new stacking contexts.

Now to see what I can do about browsers rendering color profiles slightly differently… 💀


Edit: UGHHHHHH it’s different in different browsers. Check out this CodePen in Chrome and Firefox vs Safari. This is why we can’t have nice things.


Edit 2: See the answer to the cross-browser problem from the previous CodePen, via Gregory Cadars (view thread). So Safari is actually behaving correctly, but it’s still a stacking context issue.

To recap: I’m trying to display a “fixed” gradient background with content that scrolls over the top of it. Within this content, only the images have mix-blend-mode: overlay. In the original CodePen, I’m achieving this via a fixed position, 100% width + 100% height element with a linear gradient. This is within the same wrapper as the content.

My example is working in Chrome and Firefox. In Safari, it is effectively as if the blend mode hasn’t been applied. Though I’m not sure why the difference between browsers, it does make sense that a fixed position element would still create a new stacking context regardless of its parent.

In Gregory’s example, he’s removed the fixed position element with the gradient and instead applied the gradient background to the wrapper, as well as background-attachment: fixed via the background shorthand. This achieves the exact same effect, without stacking context issues.

The only thing that gives me pause is performance… I remember running in to some issues when I considered using background-attachment: fixed for Elizabeth Peyton’s Eternal Return. I can’t remember what it was exactly but it had to do with repainting on every scroll event (so, a lot!). I think that this article may give some context, but I’ll have to dig in to it further.

Related: See this CSS gradients resampling tool by Rutherford Craze for smoother gradients, shared by Gregory in the thread.

Twitter is a crappy place a lot of the time, but I love it for things like this.

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Dried mango superpow(d)er

Dried mango (amchoor) powder is a sneaky all-star ingredient.

It adds a tangy-ness to food without being sour. Instead of lemon or lime’s brightness, it adds depth. And unlike sumac, it changes almost nothing about the food visually since it’s such a fine powder.

Obviously it’s super in curries, but I’ve also added it to non-West Asian food like chili and smoothies with great effect. I imagine it would also work well in marinades, salad dressing, all sorts of things.

Another sleeper ingredient (at least to my palate!) is black salt. It’s got a pink tinge, confusingly. It has a distinct sulfurous smell which makes it super useful in vegan egg salad recipes, but I imagine it would be great in other stuff as well.

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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?)
  • “Turn Around”, here sung by Harry Belafonte

Would love to collect more.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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