Running your parallax image behind a cut-out figure

design, fun

I love parallax, but I wanted to take it up a notch and run it behind the outline of a figure (as opposed to knocking out text). So I played around in CodePen and came up with the below.

Steps:

  • Make an SVG cutout of the same background color as your background.
  • Make a parallax background with CSS. Use the same proportions as your SVG.
  • Place an img of your SVG inside the HTML for your parallax div.
  • Align and size parallax background as you like. Don’t forget to make things responsive!
  • Enjoy!

A note: This doesn’t work in mobile because mobile doesn’t manage background-attachment: fixed well. Also some contexts, such as blogs, may play with your CSS. Adjust accordingly.

Demo

HTML

<div class=”parallax-image”>
    <img class=”cutout” src=”https://aeoneal.com/imagery/brain-reverse-cutout.svg”>
</div>

CSS

/* Parallax CSS. Change image and size to suit your needs. */
.background-oregon-grapes {
    background-image: url(“https://aeoneal.com/imagery/blog/oregon-grapes.jpg”);
    background-size: 100%;
    height: 560px;
    width: 560px;
    background-repeat: no-repeat;
    background-position: center;
    background-size: cover;
    background-attachment: fixed;
    margin-left: auto;
    margin-right: auto;
}
@media (max-width: 767px) {
    .background-oregon-grapes {
        height: 330px;
        width: 330px;
    }
}

/* Image CSS */
.cutout {
    height: 100%;
    width: auto;
}

Venn pie-agram

fun

Love data visualization? Love pies? So do I.

Venn pie-agramPumpkin + pecan + apple pie crumble = Venn pie-agram

Last Tuesday we had a Thanksgiving potluck at work, and at the instigation of a coworker I made a Venn diagram pie. Here’s how I did it, if you want to try it yourself.

What you’ll need

You can use whatever flavors you want, but remember they have to combine into a pleasing flavor profile. The flavors of the three ingredients I used were pumpkin, pecan, and apple crumble.

The recipes were fairly straightforward. Since the undertaking was complex I went simple with the recipes. For pumpkin and pecan filling I adapted About.com’s Southern Food Classic Pumpkin Pecan Pie recipe. For the pumpkin filling I bumped up the ginger and added nutmeg. For the pecan filling I used dark corn syrup, replacing about 1/3 of the dark syrup with maple syrup and a little molasses.

For the apple pie I used Cortland, Gala, and Honey Crisp apples. (I recommend The Apple Works for good information on what apples work best in what contexts.) Once again the About.com Southern Food section provided a good Apple Crumble Pie recipe.

I’d never used it before, but Pillsbury’s rolled up pie crust did pretty well!

So, to make this happen you need the following:

  • Two sets of aluminum cake or pie pans (4-6 pans). Cake may allow you to overlap the three pans and the middle section more easily, but pie works, too. You’ll need three pans for baking, and at least one extra to make the middle crust.
  • Aluminum foil to cover the pie plates and prevent leaks. You’ll also need it to protect the crust while baking.
  • Enough pie crust for the bottom of four pies. This will cover the three-plate section, provide crust for the middle, a base to hold the middle pie crust in place, and a little extra in case you want to add decorations.
  • Pumpkin pie filling to taste.
  • Pecan pie filling to taste.
  • Apple pie filling to taste.
  • Crumble mix (no pecans to start).
  • Pecan halves for topping and to add to crumble mid-way.
  • A cookie sheet to support the pie plates, which will not be structurally sound enough to support the weight of the pie.
  • Two six-packs of graham crust mini-pies (for excess filling).

Making your Venn pie plate

Here’s how the three pans overlapped. Note how corners are folded over. I used an ancient pizza pan for support instead of a cookie sheet (most cookie sheets don’t fit in our tiny oven).

Three overlapping pansMaking the superset framework for a Venn pie-agram.

A detail from the bottom. Cut your flattened sides into sections so they lie flat and don’t warp your pan.

Pans, bottom detailDetail, cut and overlapping sides.

Line your completed pan with aluminum foil to cover the sharp edges you’ve cut and prevent leaks.

Aluminum foil liningAny experience with tin foil hats helps in this step.

Making your crust

Preheat your oven to 350°.

Unroll your pie crust and lay it out. Cut away excess and press edges together so you have a continuous bottom that isn’t too thick.

Pie crust laid outKeep your excess pie dough!

What not to do

The image below, with raw dough and supporting aluminum, does not work. The crust melts and doesn’t hold its shape. Thin metal dividers also do not work: they leak abominably. I learned this making my first “pie chart” pie; metal dividers were much more trouble than the crust below (for one thing, I had to tilt the pie in the oven until the pecan filling set).

Don't try this in the middle diagram area. It doesn't work.Little metal dividers not only leak, but the necessity of removing them before eating would ruin the pie.

What works

Partially bake your pie crust edges and bottom about 10 minutes at 350°. Also bake sections for the middle crust, separately (see below). Note that the middle crust has a slightly tighter curve, to make the overlapping areas slightly egg-shaped instead of pure circles. This will give you more space in the middle sections. Don’t forget to puncture the crust with a fork to avoid bubbles!

Important: reserve extra unbaked pie crust. You’ll need it to make the middle section work properly.

Middle crust sectionThis piece will form part of the crust defining the overlapping sets in our Venn pie-agram.

These are the crust pieces you’ll need to shape the middle of your Venn pie-agram. I used six crust lengths: one long curve, one not-so-long, three short ones, and one tiny one.

Venn pie-agram diagram
Super-sophisticated Venn pie-agram wire frame.

To make the crust stay in place and reduce leaks, use unbaked dough to hold the partly-baked middle sections in place. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Tip: Use a bread knife to gently saw the pie crust sections. Pie crust is crumbly. Try to make them line up naturally with the outside edge.

Middle crust section installedThis is what your middle should look like. It’s not perfect circles, but trust me, you’ll prefer this when creating your overlapping fillings.

Filling and baking

Tip: Start with the firmest filling first. It will fill up any weak spots a more liquid filling might break through, keeping your sections more compartmentalized. Here, the apple pie section has been filled and covered with crumble; apple has been layered in the bottom of its three overlapping sections in the middle. To the right, pumpkin filling (my next step). The pecan filling is in the center; pecans have yet to be added. I used crumbled pecans for a thicker mixture. Pecan filling went in last.

Pie workspace and fillingsUse baking time to clean your workspace! (How else will you have room for photos at the end?)

Here’s how I did the fillings, in order:

  • Apple crumble
  • Apple covered with pumpkin filling with normal crumble (no pecans)
  • Apple covered with pecan filling
  • Center: Apple covered with pumpkin filling with pecan crumble (I added pecans into the food processor with some of the crumble mix)
  • Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin covered with pecan
  • Pecan
  • Cover the pecan area with pecan halves; place pecan halves in the three pecan-containing middle sections

Ready to bake! Note the aluminum foil protecting the edges from over-baking. You can see some of the mini-pies I made using the excess filling.

Ready to bake pieOn its way into the oven!

Results

The pie baked about an hour before a knife came out cleanly from the pumpkin filling. The mini pies, which I baked after the pie, took about 35 minutes without a cookie sheet. Oven heats vary, so check your pie at around 45 minutes, and your mini-pies at 25 minutes.

Venn pie-agram and mini-piesA Venn pie-agram triumph! Or, the mother ship and her fleet. Whichever you prefer.

Have fun!

Hills on octopuses

fun

I’m convinced that octopuses are the next rulers of the world. They are freaky smart, they can change colors instantly, and they can squeeze their bodies through a teeny pipe. Even YOU only have one of those three going for you. Hail, our octopus overlords!

— Kurt Hills

Originally commented on LiveJournal.

Einstein on radio

fun

You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.

— Albert Einstein

Things never imagined when growing up #1

fun

I’m playing checkers late last night—first time in almost 30 years, I think$mdash;and I’m playing on my Treo, and lose. And my beloved says: “When you were growing up, I bet you never thought someday a phone would beat you at checkers.”


Originally posted on LiveJournal

Lord Isildur’s Bane

fun, writing

So, a friend linked to a brilliant, incredibly long thread of Lord of the Rings pastiches:

Despite hundreds (thousands?) of posts, no one had done Stephen Donaldson! So, here’s my humble contribution (I also posted it on The Straight Dope):


Picture Sauron speaking to the King of the Nazgul:

Over his silence, the voice continued, “Isildur was a fool—fey, anile, and gutless. They are all fools. Look you, ringbearer. The mighty High Lord Isildur, son of Elendil and great-grandson of Beren Elf-Spouse whom I hate, stood where you now kneel, and he thought to destroy me. He discovered my designs, recognized some measure of my true stature—though the Numenoreans had set me on their right side in the Council for long years without sensing their peril—saw at the last who I was. Then there was war between us, war that blasted Middle Earth and threatened Gondor itself. The feller fist was mine and he knew it. When his armies faltered and his power waned, he sheared off my finger which bore the Ring, but became mine in thrall to it. He thought that he might use that power. Therefore he drowned in the river from which Smeagol’s friend drew the ring…

“Say to the Council of Elrond, and to High Lord Elrond son of Earendil, that the uttermost limit of their span of days upon Middle Earth is seven times seven years from this present time. Before the end of those days are numbered, I will have the command of life and death on my hand. And as a token that what I say is the one word of truth, tell them this: Frodo Baggins, Halfing of the Shire, has the One Ring, and it is a cause for terror…”