Nguyễn Nhật Ánh: Đảo mộng mơ

Với niềm tin và tưởng tượng, một đống cát có thể biến thành một hòn đảo mộng mơ. Truyện ngắn của Nguyễn Nhật Ánh đưa ta về với tuổi thơ đầy thơ mộng. Phải chi giờ đây đám nhỏ dùng đầu óc tưởng tượng ra những trò chơi đầy thú vị thay vì chứ chuối đầu vào máy. Mỗi thời mỗi khác biết làm cách nào bây giờ. Thôi thì tìm những quyển sách như vầy để lui về thời thơ ấu. Những ai thích truyện Nguyễn Nhật Ánh thì không thể bỏ qua câu chuyện thật dễ thương này.

Visualgui 2024: Abstract Arts

The previous design of my blog, Visualgui 2023, was solid. I loved the typographic combination, the grid-based layout, and the focus on simplicity and readability. I wanted to hold on to it, but I also wanted to make a change at least once a year to keep up with the tradition.

For 2024, I wanted the visual to be playful since this is a personal blog. I was thinking along the lines of the contemporary style of Swiss design. While browsing through Adobe Stock to get some inspiration, however, I came across Yang Guoquan’s striking abstract landscape paintings. I loved his use of colors and the beauty of nature in his art. I quickly went in that direction. Since Guoquan has a series of landscape paintings, I selected one for the header, one for the footer, and one for the divider between each blog post.

To complement Guoquan’s paintings of nature, I set the headline for each blog post in Borel, designed by Rosalie Wagner. The way Wagner skillfully connected each letter drew me into Borel. Only a lowercase letter connected to another lowercase letter. An uppercase letter would throw off the connection; therefore, I made all my headlines lowercase.

To complement the handwriting headlines, I set the body text in Kaius, designed by Lisa Fischbach. I licensed Kaius a few months ago because I always had a soft spot for a reading serif face and I knew I would need it for this redesign. Kaius supports the Vietnamese language. If I were consulted, I would make a few minor recommendations, but the diacritics are good.

For huge display words as well as small texts, I selected Neue DIN, designed by Hendrik Weber, Andreas Frohloff, and Olli Meier. I was consulted for Vietnamese diacritics on Neue DIN and I just received the updated font files yesterday. I put it to use today.

For coding examples, I stay with IntelOne Mono, designed by Fred Shallcrass. Because I rarely blog about coding, I wanted to use IntelOne Mono more than just for coding examples. I set the date, which is also the permanent link for each blog post, in IntelOne Mono. I am using four typefaces for this blog. I hope I can make Bethany Heck proud of my type combination.

Unlike WordPress’s Twenty Twenty-Four, which has 119 files, Visualgui 2024 has only 3 files. I am keeping it classic until Matt Mullenweg forces me to move to Gutenberg. I can no longer keep up with the modern theme development for WordPress. I would have to use an existing theme like WordPress’s Twenty Twenty-Four and mess around with its visual editor to modify the design, which doesn’t feel right at all. I still want the ability to design a simple blog theme with just 3 files.

That’s pretty much it for Visualgui 2024. I hope you enjoy the new look. If you are reading this from an RSS feed or another social media site, head over to visualgui.com in your preferred browser.

Replacing Battery for 2018 Toyota Sienna

I can’t recall if we had replaced the battery for our 2018 Toyota Sienna or not. This must be the first time since we bought the vehicle. The battery lasted 5 years, which was not bad. It was dead this morning when my wife took the kids to school. She picked up a new battery from Costco and I replaced it.

  • Battery: $120.
  • A can of CRC Battery Cleaner: $9

Letter to My Sons #29

Happy birthday my dearest Đán—the son who gives me happiness and headaches. You are still my blading champ. As much as I wanted to keep up with you, I could never drop into those tall ramps like you had pulled off. Even though I spent more time at the skatepark than you, I could never catch up to you. If you put your heart and mind into blading, I guarantee that you can do a whole lot more.

If you practice playing the piano and reading the notes, you will excel in your music journey. As I reminded you many times, private piano lessons are expensive. I don’t mind paying if you put your efforts into playing. I don’t want to waste money, time, and your instructor’s dedication.

I admire your snowboarding skills as well, but your head and soul are devoted to your digital activities. You spend way too much time on your computer and your phone. You can’t control yourself. You refuse to do anything else willingly. You isolate yourself. You don’t focus on your schoolwork. You get frustrated and depressed when you can’t spend time on your digital devices. I don’t want to restrict your access, but I need to. I worry everyday about your digital addiction. You are not alone though. Your brothers, your cousins, your peers are living and breathing in the digital generation.

Now that you are twelve years old, I hope that you will make better decisions and choices. I love you and I am here for you until the day I die.


Shutting Off Water Before Leaving for Vacation

While Mr. Điệp fixing our HVAC unit, I sought out his advice on setting the thermostat before leaving for vacation. He recommended setting the temperature to about 67 degrees. Then he also gave me some tips on preventing a water disaster. Here are the steps:

  1. Turn off the the water heater power
  2. Shut off the main water valve
  3. Turn on the sink faucet until all the water drained out then turn it off

If the HVAC unit broke down while we were away, we wouldn’t come back to a swimming pool. When return, we can prevent the disaster even if the pipes busted by shutting off the main valve again. I’ll definitely take his advice whenever we go out of town.

Fixing The Outside HVAC Unit

Since we came back from New York City on Sunday, the temperatures had plummeted. Then we noticed that our heating system struggled to reach 67°F even with the auxiliary heat kicked in. The thermostat could only get up to 64°F. With my mother-in-law and the kids in the house, I worried and couldn’t sleep for the past two nights.

Today we reached out to a friend who is in the construction business and asked for a recommendation on an HVAC service. He referred us to T&J Service. Mr. Điệp Trần and his protégé Việt arrived around 6 pm to diagnose the system. It turned out that the outside unit stopped working. They worked in the cold to replace the fuse, tested the compressor, and made sure the system worked properly.

Knowing that we have proper heating again, I can go to sleep peacefully. Now I know who to call if we run into HVAC issue again. I am thinking of contracting them to replace the whole system in the summer since it is almost 15 years old.

Paid: $100

Giving Tuesday

If you feel compelled to give today, please consider supporting this blog.

Hanging Punctuation in CSS

To hang your quotes in CSS, this is all you need:

html {
  hanging-punctuation: first allow-end last;

At the time of this writing, only Safari implemented this property. To make it work in other browsers, negative text-indent is needed. Nevertheless, I went ahead and added hanging-punctuation and removed text-indent for the title of JAY-Z’s song from the Beacon of HOV project. That way, the hanging punctuation would just work in all browsers in the future.

Tập thơ mới của anh Cao Nguyên

Mới đặt hành tập thơ mới của anh Cao Nguyên với tựa đề “Ba dòng thơ”. Đã đọc và theo dõi vài bài thơ ba dòng anh chia sẻ trên Facebook, tôi tin chắc rằng đây là một tuyển tập đầy thú vị. Nhân dịp lễ Giáng Sinh sắp đến, đây là một món quà đầy ý nghĩa cho những tâm hồn mê thơ và yêu tiếng Việt. Hãy đặt hành ở Amazon ngay. Trong lúc chờ đợi, mời các bạn cùng đọc “Thơ mưa” của Anh Cao Nguyên ở thomua.com.

Advice From JAY-Z

The following quotes from JAY-Z had been edited for brevity.

My whole thing is to have confidence in yourself. If you’re going to take a chance on anything, you’ve gotta take a chance on yourself. Have that confidence to take a chance, and not be afraid to fail. I personally don’t believe anybody could have stopped me. That’s just how I believe. I was coming; I was destined to be here. A lot of people will put their fears on you. Always believe you’re great, even before anybody else believes it. No matter where you are; there you are. The genius thing that we did was we didn’t give up. You’re doing all of this for a reason. If you want different, you’ve gotta act different.

Don’t ever go with the flow, be the flow. Whatever you do in life, people are going to judge you. Everything is inspiration. Everybody is inspired by someone. I’m a person that believes that everything that happened to you in life happens to shape you as a person. It may not work today and it may not work tomorrow, but this is the right thing and this is what I’m doing. I’m not going to let anybody speed up my process. I don’t care what’s happening out there. That’s the great thing about having ultimate confidence. I don’t have anything to prove; I know who I am. I am a self-aware person. What’s the sense in being successful if you still can’t be yourself? Most important thing I got is everything is connected. Every emotion is connected and it comes from somewhere. Being aware of it in everyday life puts you at such an advantage.

You have to develop. Don’t listen to anyone; everyone is scared. A lot of people will try and put their fears on you. Have such a strong belief in yourself that you can quiet out all the outside noise. Every human being has genius-level talent. You have to find what it is that you’re great at and then tap into it. No one cares whether you live or die and that’s where that mentality grows from. I’m going to get it or die trying. If I don’t try, what kind of life am I saving? I’ve learned more from failure than success. It can be paralyzing to have fear of failure. When you’re self-aware, even when you’re dealing with someone’s ego, you allow their ego to live in its own space. The problem is when you engage that energy. If you engage the ego with your ego. Then it can escalate to a level that is irreversible.

My music is based on life and the things I’ve experienced. Everything is inspiration. This is who I am, this is what I do, and then they jump on this next hot thing and it’s not for you. For me, just having discipline, and having the confidence in who I am and if I go into a studio and if I find my truth of the moment, there are a number of people in the world that can relate to what I am saying and is gonna buy into what I’m doing. Not because it’s the new thing of the moment but because it’s my genuine emotions. Only two things will get you through this, man. That’s patience and persistence.

My first album came out when I was 26. I had seen so many things on the streets. My attitude was that I seen so much, that I have nothing to prove. I became self-aware. I wanted full control over my music. I own everything. Try to own as much of yourself as possible, because it’s gonna pay off in the long run.

I’m really connected to the people. I really feed off the energy of people. I love what I do, and if you love what you do, you want to be the best at it. You don’t make music to be second best. You make music to be the best / It felt like I had a bigger responsibility for the culture and to show it in a different light. The truth is, it’s my passion; It’s what I love to do. Make music and perform, and travel. So it’s who I am. It’s not even a choice for me. It’s just who I am. It’s always good to compare yourself to people you look up to, because you give yourself a high goal.

I used to write when I was young. I would write for hours and hours on end. That stream of conscious comes with you all the time. Whether you’re at the table or not. So as I start moving into the streets, I start coming further and further away from my notebook. So I would memorize these words. Then I would have to run to the house and write them down. When you do that you work up your memory.

Belief in oneself and knowing who you are, that’s the foundation of everything great. You gotta be able to compete, still sharp and still, you gotta get out there and you gotta earn your spot. It’s not given. I learned that if I was going to be successful then I had to be successful at myself. I couldn’t be successful doing what other people were doing; I had to do what I believed in and what felt real to me and felt true to me.

I love that thing of collaborating and you’re taking the best of what you do and someone taking the best of what you do and you not robbing from what they do and they not robbing from what you do and y’all bring the best of what you are to the table and you put it in this mix and you see what happens. You know I love that part of creating. I can’t explain it to y’all, man it just comes out bare for me. I just start mumbling, they say you put the right artist with the right track in the studio, leave the door cracked and let God in.

Beacon of HOV