Michael Yo: Blasian

In Blasian, Yo shares his personal experience of being raised by a Black PhD father and a Korean mother. His story, accompanied by family photos, is sweet and hilarious. Yo also shared his own marriage to a white woman, his love for old school hip-hop, and his experience going to all white school. His special is light-hearted and entertaining. Worth a watch on Amazon Prime.

Vĩnh Biệt Anh HML

Anh Hải mến,

Chỉ còn vài tiếng đồng hồ nữa là anh sẽ rời khỏi cõi đời này. Thật đáng tiếc khi chưa được cơ hội để anh gặp gỡ hai thằng nhóc của em. Vài tuần trước mình hứa hẹn nhưng em lơ là vì nghĩ rằng mình sẽ còn có nhiều thời gian. Không ngờ giờ đây đã muộn màng.

Lần cuối mình gặp nhau là lúc thằng Đán mới sáu hoặc bảy tháng. Hôm đó mình ăn trưa ở nhà hàng Present và anh gọi cái bánh xèo nhìn hấp dẫn. Em cũng không nhớ rõ mình đã ăn món gì. Lúc thằng Đán khóc, anh nâng niu nó vào lòng rồi bảo vợ chồng em, “Chừng nào bây cần thời gian riêng, đem hai đứa cho anh trông.” Thấm thoát sáu năm đã trôi qua và chúng em đã thêm hai thằng nữa.

Giờ đây nhìn lại, em vui được biết đến anh qua trang blog của mình. Lúc ấy, anh thường đọc những bài viết của em và trả lời qua những lời comment khôi hài, khuyến khích, hoặc dạy dỗ như một người anh lớn. Sau này tuy trang blog không còn phần comment nữa, anh vẫn thỉnh thoảng gửi email động viên em, nhất là sau khi đọc những lời tâm sự về chuyện tình cảm vợ chồng em. Anh đã nhắc nhở em nên quý trọng những gì đang có. Anh đã từng trải nên hiểu được sự đổ vỡ.

Không ngờ rằng trang blog cá nhân đã đem đến cho em không chỉ người vợ mà còn một người người anh lớn. Từ mạng đưa chúng ta gần hơn mỗi lần gặp nhau tại quán Hải Dương anh em cùng nhau thưởng thức những tô bún mắm đậm đà và những ly cà phê thơm phức. Chỉ lần đầu gặp gỡ em đã quý mến đức tính trầm lặng, hiền hoà, và cảm tình của anh. Gần hơn nữa, em ngưỡng mộ anh khi được chứng kiến tình cảm anh dành cho cha mẹ, các em, và con gái của anh.

Em cám ơn những tình cảm anh đã dành cho vợ chồng em. Khi anh rời khỏi cõi tạm này, em tin rằng anh sẽ tiếp tục những chuyến phiêu lưu kỳ diệu với tràn đầy màu sắc, ánh sáng, âm nhạc, và bình yên. Chúc anh thượng lộ bình an.

Rob Dunn: Never Home Alone

An informative, eye-opening exploration of creatures living in our homes and bodies. The good news is that not all of them are bad. While pathogens are harmful, other species are beneficial to us—spiders are my new friends. Dunn explains and emphasizes the important of biodiversity. He encourages us to invite bacteria, fungi, and insects back into our lives instead of getting rid of them. This book has validated my decision for turning down services that wanted to exterminate all the bugs around our house. I am also going to stop using disinfecting wipes, which kill 99.9% of viruses bacteria including the good ones. Although I struggled to finish the book because of my own lack of interest on scientific writing, I am glad I made it through. I have learned a ton about our little friends I didn’t know I had living with us.

Google Pixel Customer Service Sucks

A few months ago, my Pixel 2, which I loved, didn’t wake up after an entire night of charging. I did not know what to do or where to go to get it fix. So I replaced it with my wife’s old iPhone 6 Plus. Two weeks ago I shattered the iPhone screen and took it back to the Apple Store for a repair. Apple ended up giving me a brand new replacement even the phone was already five years old.

Because Apple’s customer service was amazing, I would like to give Google a shot just to compare. I still owe $115 for a dead phone and it is still under warranty. I went back to the Google Online Store and found the tiny repair link buried all the way at the bottom of the page. I filled out my info and received a call back without five minutes, which was impressive. I spoke with the technician for 40 minutes. He instructed me to clean up the charging port, to plug the phone into the charger, and to hold the power button and the volume down at the same time. Nothing happened. He then started the process to get it replaced. Unfortunately, my Pixel 2 had a crack on the back housing, which I accidentally dropped the phone almost a year ago. It had nothing to do with the phone not charging. In order for me to get a replacement, I have to repair the back housing first at UBREAKIFIX for $170.

Not only Google’s hardware sucks, its customer service also sucks. It is time to break up with Google and go back to the beloved Apple.

Letter to My Sons #5

Dear sons,

Let’s talk about money, boys. I know you don’t understand the concept of money yet, but I want to write this down while it is still fresh in my mind. I hope you will never run into money issue with your brothers, but you can refer to this letter if you do.

The other day, Đạo and Xuân fought over a pack of Pocky at the playground and I made all of us go home. No matter how hard tried to calm you down, you were not able to control yourself. One of you went as far as screaming, “I hate my brother.” I would be a thousand times worse with money.

The power and evilness of money can create conflicts within family members. Even today I still witness tensions between adult siblings over money. Money can sabotage relationships and make family members turn on each other. I do not want to see that happening to you guys. Do not let money gets in between you and your brothers. No matter what goes on, put your love and respect for each other above money. Money comes and goes. Brothers stay together for life.

Your mom and I aren’t rich; therefore, you won’t have to worry about fighting over our money. The money you earn yourself will be more valuable than anything you inherited. Use money to support each other instead of letting money destroy your relationships. Nothing will hurt me more than seeing you guys fighting over money. Just remember that.

Take control of your money instead of letting it control you. Be generous to your brothers when they are in need. If you can do that for each other, I will be happy and proud. Nothing beats seeing my kids bonding and taking care of each other.

Love,

Daddy.

Paul Kor: The Hawk and the Dove

Translated by Annette Appel, Kor’s The Hawk and the Dove is a transformation from war to peace. Kor’s paper cutout techniques created simple-yet-striking illustrations to turn a heavy subject matter into a hopeful story. A powerful message for young readers about peace and love.

Chris Raschka: Side by Side

I am a bit biased, but this book is one of my personal favorites. Raschka illustrates the bond between fathers and their kids. He shows all the fun and wonderful activities kids and dads do Side by Side. The beautiful artworks are balanced by the bold Aetna typeface. Thanks for the tribute to dads.

Don’t Worry, Baby

Lizzie Widdicombe writes in The New Yorker:

What are we doing to our children? We fret, we helicopter, we listen to the wrong people. We pore over transcripts of two-year-olds chattering and turn ourselves into amateur statisticians. But, ultimately, many of the outcomes aren’t in our control. And that’s a problem that all the data in the world won’t fix.

Shelley Moore Thomas: From Tree to Sea

Thomas’s beautifully written text sends an inspiring message to children about nature. She encourages children to explore “a wide and wonderful world out there.“ Christopher Silas Neal’s splendid illustrations are a perfect companion to Thomas’s writing.