Thank You, TPN

Yesterday I received my first support for this site from a reader. I wrote an email to thank him for his generous contribution and he reminded me that we go all the way back to the Word Cup of 2006. Those days I still had comments turned on. That’s pretty wild that he still continues to visit or read.

Without comments and Google Analytics, I have no idea who still read my blog these days. I have been blogging on this site since 2004 when blogs were booming. Nowadays, independent bloggers like myself are rare. Most blogs have die off. The trend has gone and the incentives are none. I still do it because I don’t rely on my blog to support myself and my family. Nevertheless, I wanted to see if I can get a bit of finance to cover the annual domain name and hosting fees. I added a little message at the bottom of this page for reader support instead of display ads.

If you like what I write on here, please consider support my effort to continue to blog. Any amount is appreciate it.

Clueless

When Vương was born last year, I took five weeks paternity leave. In addition to changing his diapers and helping out my wife after her C-section, I did some work around the house like constantly doing the laundry and fixing up things that I could not get to when I was working. When I told her that I was able to accomplish those things when I was at home, I was not suggesting that she was not doing anything else at a work-from-home mother. I understand her workloads and I was not expecting her to do the housework. Somehow sharing what I did implying something else about her. I come from the south (of Vietnam); therefore, I do not beat around the bush. I tell her exactly how I feel and I do not have to make any indirect attack. She should know that by now. I did not think anything negative about her. I complained about clutters, but I was not blaming her. I contributed and am responsible for the messiness. l have tremendous respect for what she has done for me and the kids. I did not expect her to taking care of everything.

When we took a week vacation after New Year to relax at Myrtle Beach, I thought we had a wonderful family time together. We stayed at a waterfront resort. It was nice to wake up in the morning to see the sun rise and to breathe in fresh air. We ate breakfast, spent time together with the kids, strolled along the beach, played in the indoor pools, and enjoyed reading in the hot tubs. My wife cooked some meals I did the dishes and laundry. She took care of Vương and I took care of the three kids. We played our parenting parts. It was like a stayed vacation, but far from home. I am a boring-ass motherfucker who enjoys being around his wife and sons. If we can spend time with the ones you love, why do we need to go anywhere? Sure, we could have done that at home, but we don’t get to see the beach, we don’t get to get out of the house, and we don’t get to be lazy because there is always shit to do at home. I thought it was a fantastic vacation until she told me that her role was to serve me. It stabbed me like a knife. I could understand if we served our kids, but I did not understand I was being served. If cooking meant to serve then I was happy just to order out every meal for a week. I did not know that I was being served and I did not want to be served. I believe in women’s rights and equality, and yet here I am treating my own wife like a servant. Her words hurt me tremendously. What did I do that make her feel that way? How do I change that? I feel uncomfortable and we should not take anymore family vacation like that. Let’s just do the all-inclusive package so no cooking and no serving. I am a fat motherfucker who no longer gives a shit about food. I can eat anything that is cooked. So I am not the picky one.

Last Sunday, my sister-in-law brought over some Korean BBQ. We cooked together and I had a few glasses of wine. Somehow the topic of the wall and immigration came up and we got into a heated debate. Somehow my wife got mad at me for calling Vietnamese Americans who voted for Trump stupid. I had to explain that I was not calling them stupid. I just said that they were misinformed and voted for a “fucking moron.” That does not imply that they are the fucking morons. If they want to listen to Vietnamese right-wing media and voted for, that’s thier choice. I just hope that they realize that they hurt their own community when they thought that Trump would fight for them but instead he wanted to deport our own people. As I was doing the dishes after dinner, I realized I was a fucking moron myself. Why did I jeopardize our relationship over this shit? Although she was a good sport, I made sure we were still cool and that she won’t divorce me over the fucking wall. I asked her to do me a favor. The next time I have some wine and started to talk politics, just tell me to shut the fuck up.

We have been married for over a decade; therefore, I can tell when something is up. To find something’s wrong, all I have to say is “I love you.” Her reply would be “No, you don’t.” Then she would tell me all the shit I have done wrong months ago. (I am spilling out my secret here, but it works every time.) We have our differences, but I do not have any regrets about our marriage. I am sure she has a few about me, but I hope they are not enough to leave my sorry ass. To me, she is still amazing. Yes, I said it again and I still mean it. I am blessed and thankful to have my wife and kids in my life everyday.

Lệ Quyên: Tình khôn nguôi

Sau những album bolero không cảm giác và nhạc Trịnh không hồn, Lệ Quyên quay lại với nhạc thị trường. Album này nghe mà cười ra nước mắt. Bài mở đầu, “Không còn nợ nhau”, nghe lần đầu là bị móc liền. Thật tội nghiệp khi nghe em kể lể: “Nhìn lại nhau bấy nhiêu năm em được gì / tình yêu này dâng hết cho anh em còn gì / dành cho anh cả tuổi thanh xuân / chỉ để yêu một người vô tâm.” Thằng chó này vô tâm thật.

Rồi em tiếp tục chia sẽ “Yêu anh hơn chính em”, “Vì em còn thương”, nhưng “Giận thì giận mà thương thì thương thì thương”. Nghe thật dễ thương vô cùng, “Giận thì giận mà thương càng thương / chẳng cần xin lỗi chỉ cần anh thôi / hãy đến bên em người ơi”.

Đỉnh nhất là cả khúc “Yêu thương một đời”. Nghe lần đầu mà té ngửa luôn, nhất là câu điệp khúc: “Là vì anh cho em cay đắng muộn phiền / Là vì anh, em quên đi bán thân mình.” Chết mẹ rồi, con ghệ này nó mê thằng pimp rồi. Nghe lại thì chắc ý tác giả là “bản thân” nhưng chữ đó phải lên giọng nên thành “bán” luôn.

Tiến hoá trong nhạc tình dục

Sáng nay lái xe đi làm, tôi để nhạc trong điện thoại theo random. Thú vị là khi nghe Thái Thùy Linh hát bài “Hãy ngồi xuống đây” của Lê Uyên Phương rồi đến bài “Krazy” của Bin Z. Lời nhạc xưa và nay tuy hơi khác nhưng có thể kết hợp thành một medley. Chẳng hạng như, lời của Lê Uyên Phương:

Hãy ngồi xuống đây
như loài thú hoang yêu nhau ngoài đồng
duới nắng ban mai
phô thân trần truồng kiếp sống hoa sơ.

Lời của Bin Z:

Nhưng em ơi em ơi đừng dụ dỗ anh
Vì nếu em cưa anh sẽ đổ nhanh
Em ơi em ơi đừng làm khổ anh
Anh chỉ muốn chân em ở trên cổ anh.

Matthew Walker: Why We Sleep

Nas once rhymed, “I never sleep, ’cause sleep is the cousin of death.” In his excellent book, Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology, offers the counterargument based on scientific researches. Hi studies show that sleep is more like the cousin of life than death because sleep deprivation can cause serious health risks including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetic, cardiovascular disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, depression, anxiety, and suicidality. With his approachable, engaging writing, Walker takes readers into the fascinating and wonder world of sleep. It is a must-read and required-practice. Sorry Nas, but I am rolling with the sleep expert on this one.

Failing Resolution

I did not set my New Year’s resolution because I knew I wouldn’t be able to live up to it. I am already failing at exercising. It is too damn cold outside for jogging or walking. I have not been able to control my eating habit. Other than beef, which gives me serious gout attack, I have been eating pretty much anything that suits my taste. I drink wine almost everyday. Beer and har liquor are on special occasions. As long as I stay off beef, my gout is under control. I am still not getting full eight hours of sleep. I still want my own time to read. I need to make that change as well.

On the positive side, I spend tons of time with my sons. We played in the snow and Monopoly. iPads are still allowed on weekends. They got me into Beyblade. It is so much fun and competitive. I am so glad that my current job allows me the time to be with them. I sympathize parents who have to work faraway and only get to see their kids on the weekends. I don’t think I can do that. They are changing almost everyday. Our little Vương is three months now and he is different everyday. His movements, his smiles, his stares, his rollovers, his lovely cheeks, I am so blessed to witness everyday. Xuân’s verbal skills, Đán’s reading improvements, and Đạo’s creative thinking, I am so glad to be there with them even though at times I wish I can get a break.

My wife and I are on great term. She is still amazing (at everything). We worked out our differences. We talked more and argued less. For the most part, we love each other deeply (at least from my part) and we know we have tons of work ahead of us with four active boys. I don’t think life can get any better than this. So 2019 started out good even though I have not done anything to improve my damn self.

Local Digital Media

Kyle Chayka writes in the Nation:

The worst thing that a reader can do, we now know, is to consume whatever pops up at the top of a Facebook feed or Google search—the pond scum floating on the surface of the Internet. What we need is a digital-media version of organic food or a local farmers’ market: ethically sourced, sustainably funded, and integrity-certified, all the way from CMS up.

Right on!

Welcome Back to the Independent Web

DHH explains the reasons “Signal v Noise exits Medium”:

Writing for us is not a business, in any direct sense of the word. We write because we have something to say, not to make money off page views, advertisements, or subscriptions. If some readers end up signing up for Basecamp, that’s great. But if they just like to read and not buy, that’s also great.

Beyond that, though, we’ve grown ever more aware of the problems with centralizing the internet. Traditional blogs might have swung out of favor, as we all discovered the benefits of social media and aggregating platforms, but we think they’re about to swing back in style, as we all discover the real costs and problems brought by such centralization.

When SvN moved to Medium, I was disappointed to see a small, independent company moves its blog to Medium. Glad to see it is moving back out. I have not read an article in Medium for years.

The Rise and Demise of RSS

Sinclair Target writes in Motherboard:

Regular people never felt comfortable using RSS; it hadn’t really been designed as a consumer-facing technology and involved too many hurdles; people jumped ship as soon as something better came along.

RSS might have been able to overcome some of these limitations if it had been further developed. Maybe RSS could have been extended somehow so that friends subscribed to the same channel could syndicate their thoughts about an article to each other. Maybe browser support could have been improved. But whereas a company like Facebook was able to “move fast and break things,” the RSS developer community was stuck trying to achieve consensus. When they failed to agree on a single standard, effort that could have gone into improving RSS was instead squandered on duplicating work that had already been done.

I still prefer RSS reader over social media for online reading. It is quieter and more focused. I do hope blogs will be coming back after people get sick and tired of Twitter and Facebook.

Neomi Rao Wrote Inflammatory Op-Eds In College

Zoe Tillman reports in BuzzFeed News:

In pieces reviewed by BuzzFeed News that Rao wrote between 1994 and 1996 — she graduated from Yale University in 1995 — she described race as a “hot, money-making issue,” affirmative action as the “anointed dragon of liberal excess,” welfare as being for “for the indigent and lazy,” and LGBT issues as part of “trendy” political movements. On date rape, Rao wrote that if a woman “drinks to the point where she can no longer choose, well, getting to that point was part of her choice.”

Yes, she is one of our finest faculty members. Then again, it will be sexist if she won’t get the nomination for the DC Circuit because the guy who she’s going to replace had done worse and still got the seat on the Supreme Court.