Glennon Doyle: Untamed

I had no idea who Glennon Doyle was. I picked up her latest book based on the cover. I can’t even figured out what the heck the artwork is supposed to be, but I spotted on R.E. Hawley’s essay, “Behold, the Book Blob.” Untamed is a collection of personal short essays covering many grounds including marriage, infidelity, feminist, religion, politics, parenting, and love. Glennon found her true love when she met Abby. Yes, the soccer star Abby Wambach. Glennon divorced her husband and married Abby. They raise three kids together. On giving kids their own phone, she writes:

There is so much about phones and children that parents worry about. We worry that we are raising children with commodified views of sex, lack of real connection, filtered concepts of what it means to be human. But I find myself worrying most that when we hand our children phones we steal their boredom from them. As a result, we are raising a generation of writers who will never start writing, artists who will never start doodling, chefs who will never make a mess of the kitchen, athletes who will never kick a ball against a wall, musicians who will never pick up their aunt’s guitar and start strumming.

What I like about this book is Glennon’s untamed honesty. Although the book is 330 pages, it is a quick read. Her prose is short and sweet. Each essay could be a blog post. What I fear is that my wife would fall in love with another woman and would leave me. Then again, it would be less hurtful than another guy.

Progress and Regress

For his third progress report, which sent home last Friday, Đán received 3s across the board. He listened to his teachers and followed their directions. We made it crystal clear with him that he would get ban from playing video games if he grades dropped. That seems to work. We are proud of his progress. He could earn 4s if he participated more. He didn’t want to share what he had done over the long weekend. We spent two nights camping and he had nothing to share. Academically, he still struggles, but we are happy that he is trying and improving.

Đạo, on the other hand, is not struggling but slipping. He started off strong but now slacking off. He failed his math quizzes but didn’t even bother to retake them to bring up his grades. He didn’t even complete his assignments. His teacher caught him reading his book in his class. Seriously? He was read The Hunger Game in his math class? Is The Hunger Game that addictive? He is banned from video games now until he pulls himself together.

I told him in the beginning of the school year I do not want to see any surprises on his report card. He promised to keep on top of his school work and here we are. My wife had to check his assignments everyday to make sure he had done them, but he still managed to screw up.

We had a conversation last night and was was mad at me for being a mean dad. I explained to him that banning him from playing video games is not being mean. He failed to hold his end of the bargain. I stressed the important of education because life will be tough without that degree in his hand. I love him too much to let him screw up. As a minority in this country, he has to have at least an education to survive. I hope he understands what I am trying to explain to him, but I know it went in one ear and out the other. I am writing this down so he can read it to remind himself.

On Social Platforms and Blogs

While our family was having lunch together yesterday, Đạo mentioned that I deleted all my Facebook posts. He knew about it because I asked him to help me, and he deleted 250 posts at a time until they were all gone. Đán asked if it meant I deleted all of their photos and videos. Unfortunately, I have not. Facebook doesn’t seem to allow me to do so in bulk. I kept getting the “No network connectivity” error. I gave up and deleted the Facebook app off my phone. I might just deactivate or delete my account all together.

I also mentioned to Đạo, Đán, and my wife separately that I am thinking of making this blog private. Đạo and Đán don’t want me too. My wife didn’t have an opinion, but she warned me that she will use it against me one day for all the shit I said about her. Fair enough. She did say that my blog posts are far worse than my Facebook posts.

Đạo and Đán started to talk about social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. My wife explained the harms and the illusions these two platforms can do to kids. I don’t use neither platforms, but I have read about them, especially the negative impact on teenage girls, which led to suicide.

My wife dissuaded them from joining these platforms, but she encouraged them to blog, which surprised and enlightened me. She made the case that with social media platforms they constantly seek and compete for attentions. With blogs, people will follow if they liked what they read. Đạo and Đán don’t seem to be interested in writing much since they haven’t kept up with their blog.

I am glad that she encourages them to have a place that they can write freely about their own thoughts. Unlike their father, they don’t seem to have any socializing issues. They can make friends easily. As someone who is very social awkward, I found comfort in writing down my thoughts and this blog has provided me the space to do so.

I don’t know how to carry on conversations in real life unless I get a little drunk. I worried that I would make a fool out of myself or offend people. When I got a bit drunk, I just didn’t give a fuck. I am in that state of mind when I blog. When I talked to people, I worried that people didn’t give a shit what I had to say, but they had to listen. On my blog, readers can just leave.

I can get pretty unsocialized in my own family. My sister-in-law’s husband thought that I am ignoring him, which is totally not true. I have nothing but love and respect for him. We get together every weekend. It’s to the point that I have nothing to talk about. I enjoyed coming over to their house for dinner. The kids loved to play games together on their iPads. My wife, my sister-in-law, and her husband also on their own device; therefore, I often read until dinnertime and I am cool with it. As along as everyone turned off their devices during dinner.

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.

Deleting Facebook

With all the shit surrounding Facebook lately, it is time to delete this toxic platform. I went into my activity log on the Facebook app, scrolled down, scrolled back up, selected all, and delete. I deleted all my text and status updates all the way back to 2008. I tried to do the same for photos and videos, but Facebook kept telling me “No network connectivity.” Facebook doesn’t seem to want me to delete my photos and videos in bulk.

I don’t want to delete my account completely because I still want to be connected with family and friends. I won’t be posting on the platform, but I still want see what my family and friends are up to. I don’t want to deactivate my account either, but I might have to if I can’t delete my photos and videos all at once.

I have also been thinking about making this blog private or at least for my personal posts. For the past 18 years, I have written a lot about personal stuff. I have come to the point where I am not sure if I should keep them in public. If I make it private, I don’t see the point of continuing to blog. I have plenty of things to write about. I am just not sure where to draw the line. I am not sure what to do yet.

Dave Chappelle: The Closer

In The Closer, his last special for a minute, Chappelle continued to push his comic as far as he could on the stage. He went hard as fuck on the LGBTQ+ communities. Whether you agree or disagree with his jokes, you have to admit that he is the GOAT, as he rightly claimed to be in this special. Did he cross the line with the Jews? Probably. I’m not mad at him for comparing Asian people to the coronavirus. The punchline fell short. I had to rewind it again to understand the reference. I’ll definitely going to miss him though.

I Love Ngoc Lan is Back On WordPress

So I decided to bring ilovengoclan.com back to WordPress. I didn’t want to use DigitalOcean because it would take too much work to setup WordPress and to migrate the site over. I definitely didn’t want to go back to HostPapa; therefore, I needed to find an alternative. WordPress recommends three hosting companies: BlueHost, DreamHost, and SiteGround. I have heard of the first two for years, but not so much the third one.

After reading a bit about SiteGround, I was drawn to its WordPress Automatic Migrator. I signed up for the StartUp plan. Setting up WordPress was a click away. I didn’t even have to touch the config file or the database. I installed the WordPress Automatic Migrator plugin on HostPapa, pasted the migration token, and voila. The migration process took less than five minutes. I switched the IP address and that was it. My jaw dropped. Everything worked just as expected.

I am really dig SiteGround. Give SiteGround a shot if you just want to get WordPress up and running quickly. If you want to migrate your site off HostPapa, SiteGround is the way to go.

Lovegrove

I just bought another typeface from Victoria Rushton. Lovegrove is a beautiful display typeface designed by Victoria and her late husband Dai Foldes for their wedding invitations. Victoria has expanded it to include wild swashes using variable font. What sealed the deal for me is that Victoria is planning on creating Vietnamese diacritics. I can’t wait for the Vietnamese support so I can use it for our own wedding webpage. If you like some fancy for wedding and special occasions, get a license. It’s only $20. An instant steal!

Kris Sowersby on Typographical Gender

In sharing his process for creating Epicene, Kris Sowersby writes:

Describing things as “masculine” or “feminine” in design and typography is historically and culturally loaded. Language is powerful, typography makes language concrete. Language has a shared meaning and heritage. The typographic ancestry of “masculine” and “feminine” traces a direct bloodline to people like De Vinne and Loos. When they write “delicate and light” is feminine, “strong and bold” is masculine, they’re really saying “women are weak, men are strong”. It’s that simple. This language is corrupt and bankrupt in today’s society. Gender shouldn’t be used as a metaphor when better, simpler language is available.

He concludes:

The gendering of ornamentation seems borne of cultural amnesia or myopia: decorative fabrics and accessories are commonly worn by both men and women today, especially by non-Europeans; highly-decorated illuminated manuscripts were made when men dominated artistic production; and during the 18th century, lace, leggings, wigs and high heels were worn equally by men and women.

While attentive to history, Epicene is not a revival typeface. It is an experiment in modernising Baroque letterforms without muzzling their ornamental idiosyncrasy nor falling into the trap of gender codifications. It’s a firm statement that fonts have no gender.

All fonts are indeed epicene.

I am totally on board with fonts have no gender. I also believe fonts should support many languages as possible, including Vietnamese.

The Weekend Dilemma

Nowadays my weekends are filled with guilt and stress. The house needs to be tidy up from top to bottom. The lawn needs to be mowed and trimmed. The longer I put off, the worse they get. They just get piled up weeks after weeks. When I look at them, I don’t know where to start.

My ideal weekends are to spend time with my sons going ice skating, rollerblading, biking, reading, or just relaxing. Basically, I just want to enjoy the things I like to do instead of the things I have to do. When I lived by myself in Poughkeepsie, New York, my apartment was just a place for me to sleep. On the weekends, I would pack up my bags, drive home to stay with my mom, and hang out with my homeboy Nate. Now they are both gone and my life has changed forever.

I am not complaining about my current life. In fact, I am blessed with a wonderful family. They mean the whole world to me and I rather spend time with them than doing anything else. It’s just that when I have to do things that need to be done, it takes my time away from them. Sure, I could make them help me by doing all the chores, but then they would feel as miserable as I am for doing the things that they don’t enjoy.

For fuck sake, Donny. You’re a grown-ass man now, stop whining and get the shit done already.

I wrote this post while watching Đán learning to play ice hockey at 9 am on a Saturday. We went home around noon. Instead of taking the kids to ice skating for three hours, I decided to stay home to tidy up our basement. It took me two hours. By the time I finished organizing the basement,the kids had finished their late lunch. I took Đạo, Đán, and Xuân to the skate park. We rollerbladed for an hour and the boys sweated profusely. It occurred to me that they all needed a haircut. We returned home and I gave each one a buzz. None of my kids had been to a barbershop before. I cut their hair as well as mine all by myself. We saved quite a bit for the five of us.

We took a bath and headed over to my sister-in-law’s house for dinner. It was not a bad Saturday after all.