Thank You for Your Support

I have been pouring my heart and soul out on this blog for almost two decades. My dream has always been to turn this little blog into a full-time gig. Sometimes a dream is just a dream, but I haven’t given up. I still have a lot to say and to share. I won’t stop because I still love blogging.

I still dedicate a big chunk of my time to this blog, but it costs more than time and energy to sustain. If you enjoy reading this blog, please consider supporting my efforts to keep it free of intrusive advertising and third-party tracking. Your contribution will help pay the bills to keep this blog stays online.

Ways to support

My thanks to the following generous supporters

Mr. Cường Plays Kanye’s Music

On Monday I took Đán and Xuân to private piano lessons and bought along a music sheet I found only for Kanye’s “All of the Lights” (Interlude). I asked their instructor to show them how to play the tune. Without even listening to the tune, he played the interlude so beautifully and he let me filmed it. Take a listen.

If you live in Northern Virginia and would like to take piano lessons, I recommend checking out the NOVA Piano Studio.

Warbler Text Supports Vietnamese

When Type Designer David Jonathan Ross sent out Warbler Text to members of his Font of the Month Club, I immediately updated the body text of my blog.

Even though Warbler Text supported Vietnamese, there were some issues with diacritical marks, including collisions between the horn and the hook above and the horn and the tilde. David reached out to me to review Vietnamese diacritics for Warbler Text. I went through everything related to diacritical marks for Vietnamese and made a list of suggestions. A week later, David sent me an update with all the corrections for Vietnamese diacritics.

If you read Vietnamese on my blog, please do a hard refresh to get the new changes. Warbler Text is such a pleasure to read; therefore, I featured it in Vietnamese Typography. If you want to get a copy of Warbler Text, I highly recommend you join David’s Font of the Month Club. Full membership is only $6 a month. Discount membership for $2 a month is also available.

Dùi đánh đục, đục đánh săng

Hơn tuần nay, tôi làm biên tập cho một quyển sách của gia đình do dì út tôi viết. Trong đó dì có viết lại bài cao dao như sau:

Dùi đánh đục, đục đánh săng.
Ách giữa đàng, quàng vào cổ.
Ăn bữa giỗ, lỗ bữa cày.
Ăn chưa no, lo chưa tới.

Khi tôi google thì không tìm ra được bài thơ này. Dường như đây là những câu tục ngữ. Và tôi đã dịch lại như sau:

Stick hits chisel, chisel hits wood.
Putting on one’s neck a yoke from the middle of the road.
Attend a death anniversary, lose a day of plowing.
Not fully eaten, not yet worried.
Eat new rice, have old conversations.

Nếu bạn đọc nào giỏi cả tiếng Anh và tiếng Việt có lời góp ý, xin vui lòng liên lạc với tôi.

The Times’ 10 Best Books of 2021

The Times Book Review has released its list of “The 10 Best Books of 2021” and I have read none of them. I bookmarked it. Will pick up a few of them over the winter holiday break after I finish editing a family book. If you don’t see me blogging much these days, it is because I am working on a family project and it takes more time than I had anticipated.

Cancelled HostPapa

Today I deleted all the files and databases for both Visualgui.com and iLoveNgocLan.com accounts on HostPapa. I migrated Visualgui.com to DigitalOcean in August and migrated iLoveNgocLan.com to SiteGround in September.

HostPapa is one of the greediest hosting providers on the internet. It tried to hit me twice with CPU limits for my WordPress sites. If you’re hosting your WordPress site with HostPapa, I recommend that you move somewhere else. If you have technical background, move your site to DigitalOcean. If you don’t, move your site to SiteGround. The SiteGround Migrator plugin worked like a charm. It took me less than 30 minutes to move iLoveNgocLan.com.

I never wanted to host with HostPapa to begin with. I didn’t have a choice after it acquired Lunarpages. After the takeover, HostPapa increased my monthly price already, but it was not enough so they tried upgrade my plan again and again. I put in requests to cancel everything on HostPapa and will never come back to them again.

Change is Coming

My supervisor announced her retirement at our staff meeting yesterday. When she told me a few weeks ago, before she made the official announcement, I was caught off guard. I was happy for her, but also devastated.

She has been a caring, accommodating boss. She trusts me to do my job and supports me whenever I need her. She gives me the flexibility to take care of my family. In a decade working for her, she never said no when I needed to take time off, even on short notices. We never had any conflict or friction. She has been the reason I had stayed at the law school until this day. I turned down several opportunities because I didn’t think I could find a boss like her even if the pay was higher. Even my wife has encouraged me to stay for our kids.

I am not sure what the future will be after she’s gone. I might get pulled out of the library and restructure under the school communications office. Even though I don’t do anything related to the library, I have had a wonderful working relationship with my colleagues. They are a diverse group of talented librarians and technicians. With a supervisor who shields us from office politics, we are able to focus on doing our job. I hope that her successor will do the same.

Appalled

I have been re-listening to Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. “Monster” is so sick and energetic that it dominated the next track. What turned me off on “So Appalled” was Swizz Beatz’s hook, but then JAY-Z contributed such a hard verse on it that I like to quote it in full. He rapped:

How should I begin this? I’m just so offended
How am I even mentioned by all these fuckin’ beginners?
I’m so appalled, I might buy the mall
Just to show niggas how much more I have in store
I’m fresher than you all, so I don’t have to pause
All of y’all can suck my balls through my drawers
Dark Knight feeling, die and be a hero
Or live long enough to see yourself become a villain
I went from the favorite to the most hated
But would you rather be underpaid or overrated?
Moral victories is for minor league coaches
And Ye already told you we major, you cockroaches
Show me where the boats is, Ferrari Testarossas
And Hammer went broke so you know I’m more focused
I lost thirty mil’, so I spent another thirty
’Cause unlike Hammer, thirty million can’t hurt me
Fuckin’ insane, the fuck am I saying?
Not only am I fly, I’m fuckin’ not playing
All these little bitches too big for they britches
Burning they little bridges, fuckin’ ridiculous

Damn! Jay dissed the beginners as well as the veterans (Hammer).

The Manual of Diacritics

Radek Sidun is publishing The Manual of Diacritics. He writes:

With a few exceptions, the drawback of literature devoted to diacritics is that they are predominantly textual and often lack sufficient illustrations. Because most of us work visually, a textual description of how something should be correctly done and how the result should look is not very helpful. Examples should primarily be shown, specific approaches visualised and clearly demonstrated. This is why, instead of complicated descriptions of the problems associated with diacritics, I chose to put together a set of clear visual examples of possible solutions. To achieve this, I completely redesigned all accents from scratch. The result is 15 typefaces with a new diacritical set designed by me.

The book includes 33 languages. I would love to see his process and approach for redesigning all the accents. Unfortunately, Vietnamese is not included.