Upgraded to MODX 3.0.2

When MODX 3.0 released in April this year, I couldn’t make the upgrade from 2.8.3 for the Law School site because Extras including getResource and Article weren’t compatible. I had to waited out. When MODX 3.0.2 came out yesterday, I ran another test upgrade this morning and I was able to upgrade from 2.8.4 to 3.0.2 successfully. I come across an issue with the log-in page, but it’s just the display. It looks like the CSS file is missing.The new MODX interface will need a bit of time to get used to, but I am so glad that we stay with this CMS. It rocks!

Skating is Stagnant

My rollerblading progress has become stagnant. Even with the best protective gears and a helmet, I am no longer taking any risks to advance my skills. The newly renovated Wakefield skatepark is wicked, but I can’t do much. The ramps and bowl are more intimidating than fun. Somehow I am getting more fearful of getting hurt than when I first started. Dropping into the bowl seems so much scarier than before. I am doomed.

Last week, I met Eddie Chung who has a YouTube channel on rollerblading. Watching him flying through the ramps with effortlessness made me even more hesitant to skate. Eddie is a cool dude though. We had a nice conversation. I am not done with blading yet. I just need to find something to work on.

On the other hand, I am looking forward to skiing again soon. I have prepared and tuned up all the equipment for everyone. Xuân and I will ski and snowboard. I will try to learn snowboarding again, but on my own this time. I am confident that I will get it. If not, I will just focus on skiing.

I haven’t been to an ice rink in a while. I am taking a break from ice skating.

The Secret of Poetry

When I was lonely, I thought of death.
When I thought of death I was lonely.

I suppose this error will continue.
I shall enter each gray morning

Delighted by frost, which is death,
& the trees that stand alone in mist.

When I met my wife I was lonely.
Our child in her body is lonely.

I suppose this error will go on & on.
Morning I kiss my wife’s cold lips,

Nights her body, dripping with mist.
This is the error that fascinates.

I suppose you are secretly lonely,
Thinking of death, thinking of love.

I’d like, please, to leave on your sill
Just one cold flower, whose beauty

Would leave you inconsolable all day.
The secret of poetry is cruelty.

Jon Anderson

National Junior Honor Society

Đạo has been invited to join the Robinson chapter of the National Junior Honor Society. Being part of the NJHS membership is an honor. He has to keep his GPA at 3.5 and above. I am proud of his achievement and his mom has also played an important role in his accomplishment. She constantly had to remind him to complete his assignments and study for his tests.

Grace D. Li: Portrait of a Thief

Grace Li’s debut novel revolves around five Chinese-American ivy-league students who were willing to risk their future to rob museums around the world. In addition to the 50-million-dollar reward, their mission was to return the fountainheads back to China. Even though Li’s writing was concise and easy to follow, this book took me a month to finish. My heart was not in the heist story; therefore, I took a passive approach. Nevertheless, it was a good read on the Chinese-American experience. I passed it on to my oldest son,

By the way, Li’s résumé is quite impressive:

Grace D. Li grew up in Pearland, Texas, and is a graduate of Duke University, where she studied biology and creative writing. She lives in Northern California and attends medical school at Stanford University. Portrait of a Thief is her debut novel and is currently in development at Netflix, with Grace serving as an executive producer of the series.


You choose
the flowers
without petals.
The vase
murky waves.
You started
to explain
and then

Ben Niespodziany

2018 Toyota Sienna SE 48,000-Mile Service

As the winter approaching, we will be traveling to ski resorts; therefore, I wanted to make sure our 2018 Toyota Sienna SE will be in good condition. We have been driving it for almost 50,000 miles and we haven’t done anything other than changing oil and tires. I took it to Khang Auto for the following services:

  • Front & rear brake pads
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Air filter & cabin filter

Total cost: $540

This was the first time I used Khang Auto. He’s a nice Vietnamese fellow and his price was reasonable. I will definitely come back again.


Insult is injury
taken personally,
saying, This is not
a random fracture
that would have happened
to any leg out there;
this was a conscious unkindness.

We need insult to remind us
that we aren’t always just hurt,
that there are some sources—
even in the self—parts of which
tread on other parts with such boldness
that we must say, You must stop this.

Kay Ryan

Dave Chappelle Makes His Case for Free Speech

Dave Chappelle is killing it again on SNL:

It shouldn’t be scary to talk about anything. It’s making my job incredibility difficult. And to be honest with you, I’m sick of talking to a crowd like this. I love you to death, and I thank you for your support. And I hope they don’t take anything away from me—whoever they are.

Every minute of his standup is worth watching and every word of his is worth listening. Damn! this guy is so good.

Let’s Us Do Our Jobs

MODX has a WYSIWYG editor similar to WordPress and Drupal. You don’t need to know HTML to make updates. MODX doesn’t have a page view like Cascade, but you can click on the preview button to see exactly how it looks on the live site. It’s intuitive, but might take a bit of time to get used to. If you’re not comfortable using MODX, let us take care of the website updates so you can focus on more important strategic communications such as promoting our diversity, our centers, and our faculty as well as getting our rankings higher, which have always been a high priority on the Dean’s list.

Drupal was on the table for us about five or six years ago when the University went through a complete redesign. They made it mandatory to migrate to Drupal as well as to use their templates, but they backed away. We didn’t want to move into Drupal because we didn’t want to lose control of our site and to be stuck with their templates. We didn’t want to use Drupal because it is a developer-oriented CMS. In fact, the user interface in Drupal is even more complex than in MODX. In addition, Drupal renders tons of JavaScripts and HTML junks; therefore, the performance is slow. Even WordPress, now comes with its own block editors, is doing a horrible job of spitting out HTML markups. Out of the three content management systems, MODX is the only one that renders semantic, well-structured pages.

MODX does a decent job of accommodating non-technical users. The former Associate Dean for Library & Technology used to make changes on the site without knowing HTML. The library staff members are using MODX to make updates and they don’t know HTML. The current Associate Dean for Library & Technology used to make updates as well, but now she has higher priorities in her new role. I am sure the Associate Dean for Admissions can do it as well once she understands how MODX works, but she has more important priorities. She sends us updates so she can focus on recruiting students.

The Web Content Specialist and I work inside MODX everyday and we prefer using the blank editor to make sure the HTML markups are clean, organized, and readable by humans, browsers, and search engines. For us, the blank editor is much easier and quicker than the WYSIWYG editor. So please let us take care of the small updates so you can focus on marketing strategies such as improving our social media engagements, creating new videos to attract prospective students, and writing new featured stories.

I don’t have any concern about MODX security. As I pointed out in my comparison between MODX and Cascade, we have been using MODX for over 15 years and we have not run into any security issues. Like Cascade, MODX is hosted on the cloud and is protected by WAF (Web Application Firewall). In addition, we use CAS Authentication to protect the manager’s side. With two layers of protection, I have no worry about our site getting hacked. In fact, security is what sets MODX apart from WordPress and Drupal. When I first took on this job, I didn’t like MODX and wanted to switch to either WordPress or Drupal. The more I worked with MODX, however, the more I appreciated its flexibility and reliability. MODX is not as popular as WordPress and MODX, but its security is top-notch.