Life These Days

Chasing after the kids in the morning. Watching some World Cup matches in the afternoon. Reading some typographic books at night. Listening to Bob Dylan in the wee hours. Eating shit load of food and drinking massive caffeine in between to stay awake. Sleeping is not even an option. Life is too short to sleep and sleep is the sibbling of death.

Purple for Rebecca

For two decades, Eric Meyer shared his CSS knowledge to the world. His clear technical writing taught us the skills we needed to make web site. Last year, Eric shared his daughter’s battle with cancer to the world. His thoughtful, courageous writing moved us to tears.

Rebecca lost her life to cancer when she just turned six. Being a father myself, I can’t even begin to imagine what Eric is going through, and yet he gives us a piece of his mind through his blog and his tweets. I could feel his love, grief and pain in every word he has written.

Today Rebecca will be buried. To celebrate Rebecca, I turned my site to purple, her favorite color. Rest in peace, sweet little girl.

Summer Reading List

(Updated)

Back to the Grind

Had a relaxing week in North Carolina. Even though the vacation was short, I am grateful for the time spent with my love ones. We went to the beach a bit and ate a lot of food. I had a chance to read a book. Thanks to my in-laws for the wonderful moments we shared. I am now recharged for an excited project at work.

A+

This is not a brag, but a celebration. I was surprised to learn that I have received an A+ for my graduate course on Professional Design Practices. It’s the first A+ I have ever earned in all my academic life.

Even though grade matters, I didn’t care much. In my undergrad, all I ever hoped for was a C. I had to drop two classes (U.S history and literature) and made them up over the summer at community college simply because I couldn’t even get a passing grade. Those were the embarrassing moments. Needless to say, my undergrad GPA was just a bit above average. Fortunately the type of work that I do don’t require high GPA. I focused most of time building my portfolio to land me a job. It worked out well for me.

When I started the graduate program, I didn’t expect much either even though I put tons of effort into my projects. My grades have been good so far, but A+ was the first time ever. With Professional Design Practices, I knew that I have many weaknesses even though I have a strong portfolio. I came in to learn presentation skills, how to best present my work, how to speak up and state my opinion. It opened up my door for me to be more confidence.

Why An Event Apart is Awesome

Last year I convinced my supervisor to send me to An Event Apart in Washington DC. The conference was approved and I was excited to learn from best minds in the industry. I attended the first day, but couldn’t make it to the second day. I had to drive back to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to pay my last respect to my aunt who lost her life to cancer.

Looking at the schedule for An Event Apart Washington DC this year, I wanted to go again, but the school doesn’t have a budget for it. So I contacted the organizers, explained to them the situation, pointed them to a tweet I posted last year, and asked if I could attend one day of the conference this year to make up for last year. If one day is not possible, could I just attend Jonathan Hoefler’s presentation?

If the organizers turn down my request, I would understand completely. Business is business, but I did’t think it would hurt for me to reach out to them. Less than 12 hours, I received a respond stating that they make an exception for me this time even though they don’t typically allow attendees to transfer part of their pass to another event.

I was in awed and grateful that they would make the exception. Again, they had no obligation to do it and I would be fine if they said no, but they have shown that An Event Apart is not just about making money. I respect them for that.

Viet Cargo are Thugs and Thieves

I Love Ngoc Lan received 140 copies of Ta Say, a collaboration between Ngọc Lan and Duy Quang. We then sells the CDs for $10 an album to raise money for the Ngọc Lan’s foundation, which helps poor and unfortunate children in Vietnam. Within a few days, we sold 100 copies to fans in Vietnam and someone in the forum suggested to use Viet Cargo for shipping.

My partner at iLoveNgocLan took care of the delivery. He sent 100 copies to Viet Cargo be to shipped to Vietnam. When he called Viet Cargo to confirm, they told him only 25 copies received. 75 copies were gone without any explanation. The next day, my partner called them again and they told him there was actually only 23 copies. By the time the CDs made their way to Vietnam, only 22 copies were delivered. That is the most irresponsible transaction I have ever seen.

When he told me about the incident. I looked up online and other people had similar experiences. These guys are thugs and thieves.

Twice the Size

David Ogilvy:

When the client moans and sighs,
Make his logo twice the size.
If he still should prove refractory
Show a picture of his factory.
Only in gravest cases
Should you show the clients’ faces

My Amazon Wish List

Updated my Amazon Wish List because my birthday is coming up and just in case you want to give me some presents. All the books are on typography. I already own a handful of them. I guess I am trying to build my own little library on typography.

The Hardest Truth

I have been following Eric’s blog on his daughter’s battling with brain cancer. Each update made my heart sank. Last night I was completely shattered when I read the latest post:

She had known ever since the tumors returned. She had expressed her fear in a few whispers, soothed by our reassurances that we were still looking for special medicine, and now she knew we were telling her she was going to die. She knew, and was terrified, curving her small body into a ball surrounding her pain as we tried to make a shield of our arms, futilely trying to protect her when the killer and the pain were already inside the shield. Inside her, where nobody could get it out. So our arms and bodies instead became a blanket inside which she could mourn her own life and try to cope with her terror of going away forever.