Cơn ác mộng

Trưa thứ Tư rủ rê bà xã đi ăn lẩu đồ biển. Thức ăn ngon và cay nên ăn hơi nhiều. Tối khi đi ngủ bị chứng ợ nóng (heartburn) nên không ngủ được cho đến ba giờ sáng. Khi thiếp đi được thì nằm mơ thấy mẹ qua đời.

Thế là sợ hãi không ngủ được. Nghĩ đến đó tôi buồn quá cho dù biết được ngày đó sẽ không tránh khỏi. Ai sống trên đời này rồi cũng có ngày phải ra đi không sớm thì muộn. Tôi muốn dành nhiều thời gian đến bên mẹ hơn. Tôi muốn được chăm sóc mẹ. Tôi nhớ đến mẹ tôi quá.

Mark Manson: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

In his self-help guide, Manson, a “superstar blogger,” tries to teach us not giving a fuck. He writes:

We no longer need to give a fuck about everything. Life is just what it is. We accept it, warts and all. We realize that we’re never going to cure cancer or go to the moon or feel Jennifer Aniston’s tits. And that’s okay.

No, that’s not okay. Writing about feeling a woman’s tits is the same as the president bragging about grabbing a woman by the pussy. It’s this type of misogynistic fantasy that makes me not giving a fuck about this book.

Overcoming My Fear of Heights

Since we bought our house, I have resisted to climb onto the roof, which is about 25 feet high from the ground. In 2015, strong winds blew off aluminum trims twice. I was too afraid to climb up to the roof; therefore, we had to pay $375 each time to repair and replace.

I tried to climb up with a telescoping multi-position ladder, but it was freaking scary. I felt useless for a long time and it has been one of the goals for me to overcome. As the wind has picked up recently, I noticed the nails had been loose. Sooner or later those aluminum trims will be blown off again.

On Sunday, I decided to drop by Home Depot to pick up an extended ladder. After watching a few YouTube video, I went back buy a ladder stabilizer. It worked well. I managed to get myself up on the roof to hammer in the loose nails and cleaned the gutters.

It was still pretty scary being 25 feet above the ground. I crawled and lay down on the stomach most of the time. It was such a beautiful day felt so good to finally beat my fear of heights.

Ariel Levy: The Rules Do Not Apply

Levy who writes for the New Yorker has published a stirring, compelling memoir. She works for one of the highly respected publications in the world. She travels different countries to do her reports. She married a woman she trusted and loved. She wanted to be a mother. Then her life took a different turn when she lost her son at nineteen weeks and discovered that her lover had become alcoholic. It’s a haunting, moving read.

Levy on death:

Death comes for us. You may get ten minutes on this earth or you may get eighty years but nobody gets out alive. Accepting this rule gives me a funny flicker of peace.

House of Shouts

I shout. She shouts. The kids shout. When Mr. Wet Jackfruit (Mít Ướt) and his mom join us, they shout too. Shouting is inevitable when we have too many boys in the house. They have way too much energy and they are way too competitive.

No matter how many times I told them that not everything has to turn into a competition, they just don’t listen. Even washing hands, they don’t want to be last. Every time Mr. Wet Jackfruit doesn’t get his way, he bawls like a baby. When he hears one thing he doesn’t like, such as “You’re wasting your food,” he cries. It’s getting to the point that you can’t say anything to the kid without making him cry.

On the other hand, I need to do better a better job at staying calm. Patience is a bitch.

Charlotte’s Web

While folding baskets of clothes on a Sunday evening, I tuned into Netflix for some passive entertainment. Because the kids were also in the living room, I had no choice but to select something that we all could watch. I can’t stand anymore Elmo or Minecraft YouTube clips of people playing and talking. In contrast, they can’t watch standup comedies or violent films. I chose Charlotte’s Web and we enjoyed it. Xuân made it over an hour before asking for Elmo. Đạo and Đán watched from start to finish. It is such a delightful movie based on one of the most beloved children’s books by E. B. White. Now I want to read it.

Visualgui 2018

Continuing with the tradition, I try to redesign this site at least once a year. Visualgui 2018 is an incremental change rather than a complete overhaul. 2018 is built upon 2017. The focus is still readability and typography.

In this new design, my goal is to go fullscreen even on large desktop. Display texts and headings will span across the screen at any size. With my subscription for Font of the Month Club, I intend to use large typography for the hero banner on the homepage. I had stopped using images on this site for a long time and I have not missed them. Typography will continue to be the dominate feature on this site.

For reading, I am staying with Alda, designed by Berton Hasebe. While there are a handful of text faces that support Vietnamese characters, Alda remains the strongest contender. Its diacritics are sturdy and legible. For headings, I am going with the beautiful Tenez, designed by Rodrigo Saiani, even though its diacritical marks are not quite there for me yet. Rodrigo, if you want to improve Vietnamese accents, I am more than happy to help. Small text is set in Pelago, designed by Robert Slimbach. Its open counter works well at small size. Unlike previous versions, I try to use at least three or four typefaces at a time.

For colors, I am keeping the red, but changing the background to a subtle color. I want to move away from pure white background but still comfortable to read. I am also taking advantage of CSS Grid for layout. I hope you enjoy the new look and feel.

Roy Peter Clark: How to Write Short

A practical guide for writing short, Clark’s book offers ways to make your message clear and concise. With witty examples and useful tips, Clark will help you accomplish more with less. Read it, study it, and write short.

Đán Stepped Up His Learning

My five-year-old who will turn six at the end of this month finally learned the alphabet letters. For months I have been concerned about his learning ability. When I sat down to teach him the letters, I got frustrated because he could not even go through two letters at a time. I felt like he said random letters just to screw with me.

I talked to my wife, but she doesn’t seem to worry. I sought advice from a friend who is a preschool speech therapist and she provided me tons of useful information and techniques. She also recommended that I take him in for an evaluation. I brought it up to Đán’s teacher in our conference and she advised me to give him a bit more time. She provided the alphabet with images so that he could sound out the letters. For instance, when he says snake, he could figure out the s sound. It worked surprising well. Now he could figure out most of the letters without the images.

I downloaded the app on my phone and let him plays with it. The app seems to help out too. He enjoys it. The next challenge is to get him to read simple words like in, on, and at. I will start him on Let’s Read later on this year. The book helped Đạo tremendously. Đạo likes to read now and I am very happy about it.

Once I can turn Đán into a bookworm, I have done my part. I read very little when I was a kid and I am kind of regretting it. I don’t want that to happen to them.

Lynne Koplitz: Hormonal Beast

With recent cases of sexual allegations, Ms. Koplitz’s rape joke may come off as insensitive. Then again, she is just releasing her Hormonal Beast. When Ms. Koplitz listed the three things men want, she reminded us of Chris Rock’s food, sex, and silence. I was hoping for different things. At 49, Ms. Koplitz has nice things instead of children. That’s fine. Not everyone wants kids. Likewise, her raunchy comic is not for everyone.