Dara Starr Tucker

This self-titled album is the first time I set my ear on Dara Starr Tucker. With her beautiful voice, she maneuvers her way effortlessly around the bossa-nova rhythm on “Scars,” the album opener. She sweeps me up completely on the second track. Her interpretation of John Denver’s “Annie’s Song” is just so damn romantic. Listening to her phrasing reminds me of the love of my life. After 15 years together, I still have tremendous love for my wife. Our relationship has been on the upward trajectory. She helps release my stress. The lyrics capture our love; therefore; I have to quote the entire song written by John Denver:

You fill up my senses
Like a night in a forest
Like the mountains in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses
Come fill me again

Come let me love you
Let me give my life to you
Let me drown in your laughter
Let me die in your arms
Let me lay down beside you
Let me always be with you
Come let me love you
Come love me again

Let me give my life to you
Come let me love you
Come love me again

You fill up my senses
Like a night in a forest
Like the mountains in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses
Come fill me again

I wish I can listen to the entire album with my wife on our relaxing, all-inclusive vacation for just the two of us. I can only dream.

Whence I ever find…

Whence I ever find
My true I?
The self, ignorance,
The self, innocence,
The muted I, amiss everlasting sorrows,
The desolated I, wandering in the poetic dreamland.

Whence I ever find…
My true I?
In the tranquility of endless streams,
In the seemingly calmness of unfathomable seas,
In the hopeless abyss of long buried conscious,
In the deep of the nights,
I found myself,
In my heartbeats,
Pulsating the relentlessly nostalgic rhythm
Of a forlorn alien reminiscing one’s long lost homeland.

Translated by Vương Thanh


Phút nào tôi chợt tìm tôi
Cái tôi ngơ ngẩn, cái tôi dại khờ
Cái tôi lạc lõng trong Thơ
Cái tôi câm lặng bơ vơ sầu dài…

Phút nào tôi chợt tìm tôi
Tìm trong thăm thẳm chơi vơi hút tìm
Tìm trong biển lặng sông im
Tìm trong đêm thấy nhịp tim ai hoài…

Tuệ Nga

Biking with the Cubs

Dear Cubs and Parents,

Our beloved Cub Master has appointed me to organize a group bike ride on Sunday at Occoquan Regional Park; therefore, you are cordially invited to this special event. To participate, please bring your bike, helmet, and water bottle (no plastic please).

We will gather in front of Shelter 3 (our assigned picnic area) at 10:00 am sharp. We will take the blue trail from the park to the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail, which will lead us to the Workhouse Art Center (a former prison). Then we will turn back and stop by the Suffragist Memorial.

By the way, across from Shelter 3 is a volleyball court. If anyone has a volleyball, please bring it.

Heads up: I invited Chị Thi, Anh Nhan (I believe it’s Nhân not Nhẫn) and their twins to our picnic. They are looking to send their kids to scouting next year.

See you all on Sunday!


Balancing Headlines

I recently implemented the new CSS feature to balance the headings on this blog:

h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6 { 
   max-inline-size: 50ch;
   text-wrap: balance;

Today, I noticed it works on Chrome. More explanation from Adam Argyle over at Chrome Developer Blog.

Dinner Time: Enigmatic Society

Who the fuck named a band Dinner Time. It turns out the group is made up some of the most innovative musicians today including multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, and pianist Robert Glasper. For a group of superstar artists, the music on Enigmatic Society is super spare. Its style is a fusion of jazz, hip-hop, and R&B. I prefer the instrumental recordings such as “Watts Renaissance” and “The Lower East Side” over the vocal recordings. It’s a pretty chill album nevertheless.

The Boat Without a Destination Shore

This evening, autumn arrives with its seasonal wind
This evening, the far sky in a light mist of cloud dreams
A small boat on the river gently floats
Like a melody of love,
gently plucked with the heart strings.

The trees covered in autumn’s foggy breath
its cool wind blows through thousands of branches
From afar, the wind’s lyrics resonates across the forest pines
The song of a bittersweet love, a golden dream has died

Rushing along with the wind,
the little boat follows the bright moon.
In the Love river,
water flows in different directions.
Boat, o boat, to which destination
are you drifting towards?

Floating on the Love river,
Who knows how deep it is or how shallow.
Remember those foggy evenings,
when feelings of the heart are shared…
So much sadness since then,
the boat’s dreams flows with the river currents
Although the dream harbor may still cherish love
O Boat, do not have expectations or hopes.

The soft moonlight
A boat in the dark night
On the vast waves,
dreaming of a harbor
some place?

Translated by Vương Thanh

Con thuyền không bến

Đêm nay thu sang cùng heo may
Đêm nay sương lam mờ chân mây
Thuyền ai lờ lững trôi xuôi dòng
Như nhớ thương ai chùng tơ lòng

Trong cây hơi thu cùng heo may
Vi vu qua muôn cành mơ say
Miền xa lời gió vang thông ngàn
Ai oán thương ai tàn mơ màng

Lướt theo chiều gió
Một con thuyền, theo trăng trong
Trôi trên sông thương,
nước chảy đôi dòng
Biết đâu bờ bến

Thuyền ơi thuyền trôi nơi đâu
Trên con sông thương,
nào ai biết nông sâu?
Nhớ khi chiều sương,
cùng ai trắc ẩn tấm lòng.
Biết bao buồn thương,
thuyền mơ buồn trôi xuôi dòng

Bến mơ dù thiết tha,
thuyền ơi đừng chờ mong
ánh trăng mờ chiếu,
một con thuyền trong đêm thâu
Trên sông bao la,
thuyền mơ bến nơi đâu.

Đặng Thế Phong

There is a bird

and a stone in your body. Your job is not to kill the bird with the stone.

Victoria Chang

Just Blade

I have been blading regularly. On my lunch break at work, I would hit the skatepark with my aggressive skates then hit the bike trail with my three-wheel skates. The big wheels make blading on bike paths comfortable. I blade as fast as a jogger and that’s my exercise for the day.

As for aggressive skating, I haven’t elevated my skills. I pretty much stayed in my comfort zone. I can stall, but I can’t grind. I only drop in at a certain height. I had no motivation to pick up more advanced skills. This afternoon, I realized that I should focus on learning to blade backward. My backward skills definitely need improvement. I haven’t thought much about it.

I still practice snowboarding in my basement. My focus is on my posture, particularly my stand for carving. I just can’t wait for the winter again so we can go skiing and snowboarding.

Lauren Henderson: Conjuring

Lauren Henderson is a sultry jazz singer with an ear for interpretation. Her reimagination of “That Old Black Magic” in a bossa-nova groove is just intoxicating with the help excellent accompanists including Joel Ross on vibes, Sean Mason on piano, Eric Wheeler on bass and Joe Dyson on drums. Other featuring instrumentalists including Gabe Schneider and Nick Tannura on guitar and John Chin on piano. In addition to covering standards, Henderson pens her own lyrics such as the title track. It’s a beautiful tune. The ten tracks on Conjuring are perfect for relaxation after a long, exhausting day.

Digital Abyss

One of my sons had a long field trip yesterday from 7:00 am to 6:30 pm. The entire family, including grandma, came to pick him up. Once he got off the bus, I told him, “We’ll go to the skatepark for a bit and then we’ll go out to eat.” He flipped out, “No, I want to go home. I haven’t played yet.” I replied, “We go out as a family.” He said, “Family is no fun.”

I was not sure if he meant what he said, but his words felt like a knife stabbed right to my heart. I canceled our plan and took everyone home. I made damn sure he didn’t touch his PC at all for the rest of the evening. If that behavior isn’t a sign of digital addiction then I don’t know what is.

Am I the only antediluvian dad who is too concerned about digital addiction with children? Maybe I should be the one to get counseling for having an issue with kids using digital devices from morning until dawn even when we went camping in the woods. They ate with their device on. Some of them were spoonfed while glued to the device. They took a shit with their device. They didn’t want to do anything else and I was too frustrated to suggest anything else.

Aren’t digital devices worse than smoking? With smoking, at least you get a break for a few minutes. I am fighting a losing battle because I am the only one who seems to be overeating. Maybe I should just chill out. We were in the woods. What the fuck can the kids do other than playing on digital devices? Why didn’t I come up with activities for them to do? Taking them to the skatepark is all about what I wanted, not what they wanted. It’s all about me.

I didn’t want to take them fishing because I find it too cruel. I just can’t imagine spotting something delicious to eat and biting into a sharp hook. One time, one of my sons caught a fish and I had to unhook it. It was just so damn gruesome. I am not god nor buddhist, but why would I treat living creatures that way when they don’t even harm me? Then again, I eat fish and meat; therefore, I am as hypocrite as fuck.

In retrospect, I should have pulled my kids away. Just let them sit around, relax, enjoy nature even if they were bored out of their minds. I tried not to intervene, but that didn’t do any good. I am failing my responsibilities if I turn away and allow them to sink deeper and deeper into the digital abyss.