Marilyn Chin: Sage

I am picking poetry reading again. Marilyn Chin’s sixth collection is powerful and fearless. I like her takes on politics, particularly on “B-Side Warning.” It’s a perfect read in a rainy day.

Youtube Shorts

I have been playing around with YouTube Shorts and starting to get into the creative process. I love the ability to mashup my videos with my favorite songs. Some of my silly shorts are hitting 2.5k to 3.5k. I want to try to create a short a day for the next 30 days or so to see how it goes. If you are interested in following along, check out my shorts on YouTube.

An Active Weekend

Despite the constant rain, we stayed active over the weekend. On Saturday, we couldn’t go to the skate park. I took Xuân and Vương to the ice skating arena instead. I was so happy that Vương started to skate on his own without me holding his hand. Unlike many parents who just watched their kids skating, I skated with them and filmed their moves. Vương and Xuân did some pretty cool dance on the ice.

In the evening, I took Đạo and Đán to Vertical Rock Climbing. I also decided to give it a shot. Rock climbing is an expensive sport. One of Đạo’s friends loved rock climbing; therefore, she had a monthly member and spotted him a guest pass. If I had to pay for all three of us, it would be $90 for the day. The monthly membership for 3 people would be $150 and you have to sign up for a year. If I have to pay $150 a month, I will drag Đạo and Đán out everyday or at least 3 times a week. I am pretty sure they won’t be too happy about that.

Sunday morning, I drove Đạo to iFly for his Troop Scout activities. This was an expensive sport. Each of the troop flew for 1 minute and 25 seconds with an instructor and it cost $50. Đạo enjoyed the experience, but we are not flying unless I won a lottery. I didn’t even give it a shot.

Sunday afternoon, I took Xuân and Vương back to ice skating. I wanted Vương to be more comfortable on ice. He was able to skate around the rink without my help. I would love to get back to figure skating and to relearn the skills I have already lost.

I took off Monday because the kids didn’t have school today. After having dim sum at Han Palace, I took Đạo, Đán, and Xuân back to the skatepark to burn all the food. The sun hadn’t been out yet, but the park was dried so we were able to skate.

Two Saturdays ago, a couple of the Cubs’ parents invited me to play soccer. I hesitated, but I gave it a shot. I used to play soccer quite a bit. I joined the old men club and I enjoyed it even though I could not control the ball with my running shoes. I ordered a pair of Adidas cleats and shin guards so I can play properly. I can’t wait for the weekly soccer with the parents.

I am pretty active for an old man, but I haven’t been able to keep my weight down. I still can’t control my appetite for food and drinks. I really need to work on eating healthier and drinking less alcohol and sugar.

Sitting With My Thoughts on a Rainy Sunday Morning

The other night I asked Vương, my youngest son, who started kindergarten this year if he liked school and if he had made any friends. His response was that he didn’t like school, but he made a few friends. I asked him what he liked about school. He said the playground and went further to tell me that he just wanted to play alone at the playground, and not with friends. I reassured him that it was perfectly fine if he preferred to play alone. I was actually glad that he was comfortable with being by himself when he wanted.

His older brother, Xuân, who is in second grade, on the other hand, always needed to please others. He always wanted to be liked, and that worries me. He would get into trouble for doing things his peers find funny, but his teachers find unappropriate. I know exactly what he is going through because I spent most of my life trying to please others. It didn’t go too well for me. I want him to break the cycle.

I am at the point in my life where I don’t want to pretend to be nice. I want to be honest. I am tired of trying to please people—even the ones I loved. I have always wanted to please my wife because I was afraid she would leave me. It exposed my insecurities and weaknesses. Saying “I love you” had lost all of its meaning because it sounded pretentious. I didn’t throw the phrase out of nowhere. I wanted confirmation, but most of the time I got a silent response. Maybe it is still a taboo in Vietnamese culture to express your love verbally. Whenever I spoke to my mom in person or over the phone, I always said, “I love you” and her response was always “OK.” The last time I said “I love you” to my mom, a tear rolled down her eye as she departed this world.

Selling on Marketplace

Yesterday I sold both of my old skis on Facebook’s Marketplace.

When I first became interested in skiing, I just wanted to buy a used pair to learn. I didn’t know anything about skis. The Head XENON was the first pair I bought from the Marketplace. Luckily the skis were still in good condition. They taught me the art of skiing and unlocked a whole new world for me on the snow. They accompanied from the bunny slopes all the way to the double-black diamond terrains. Since I no longer needed them, I sold them to someone else. Before listing them, I tuned them up to make sure they were still in great condition. It was bittersweet to bid farewell, but I was also glad they found a new owner.

The K2 Apache Sabre skis were a bit of an upgrade from the Head XENON, but they were also pre-owned. I thought they were newer than the Head skis, but both were the same age. The length was longer. The skis stood as tall as I was. They accompanied me everywhere on the mountains from green to double black to mogul terrains. They traveled with me from Pennsylvinia to Vermont to New Hampshire. It is bittersweet to bid farewell, but I was also glad they found a new owner.

Selling second-hand items on Facebook’s Marketplace has been an intriguing experience. I am not doing it for the money. I am doing it to improve my horrendous business skills. I sold about 20 items through the Marketplace. When I listed my first item, I worried about rejections. I had quite a few of them. They wasted my time and affected my emotions. Now I have learned to deal with rejections and understood that rejections and negotiations are part of doing business.

The most recent example was selling the Head XENON skis. As skiing season is about to start, I predicted the skis would be in demand. After listing them for several days, I received a text from a Vietnamese-American woman who expressed her interest in buying them. She asked me a whole bunch of questions such as the age of the skis. To be honest, I didn’t know exactly how old those skis were when I bought them, but I did some research afterward. They were made in 2008. Yes, they were old, but they still worked perfectly.

Of course I couldn’t guarantee for another skier, but I found the bindings completely safe. I skied on them through moguls and double-black diamonds. I even had a video of me skiing down Gunbarrel at Roundtop to prove it. She asked for a lower price and I agreed because I didn’t care about the money. In addition, I didn’t mind giving my Vietnamese-American compatriot a discount. The evening before our meet-up schedule, she backed out because her friend advised her to get a new package instead of a second-hand product. She apologized for the trouble. I told her not to worry and I meant it. The next day, I sold the skis to someone else for the price I listed.

Stupid Racist Shit

It was 6:50 pm on a Friday evening and the Office of the President sent out a mass email responding to the Heritage Foundation report, in which the authors criticized George Mason University for being too diverse. I’m not going to link to the report and I don’t need to read it to find out about its stupid racist shit. Let’s keep it real. Only a white conservative think tank would put out such a low, divisive, provocative report. Oh wait, it’s the Heritage Fucking Foundation. The authors criticizing George Mason University for being too diverse is like me criticizing the Heritage Foundation for being too fucking white.

Nas Live From the Kennedy Center: Classical Hip-Hop

I have listened to Nas’s Illmatic many times, but never with a National Symphony Orchestra backing him up until a few days ago. I came across the video on Amazon Prime and dropped everything to watch it. The marriage between hip-hop and classical is quite intriguing, especially with the hook like, “Life’s a bitch and then you die, that’s why we get high / ’Cause you never know when you’re gonna go.” The recording released in February 2018 and I only discovered it recently.

Mai Nguyễn: Sunshine Nails

Mai Nguyễn’s debut novel is a love letter to Vietnamese-immigrant nail technicians everywhere. The stories in the salon are filled with drama, laughter, and love. Her writing is beautiful, especially when she plays around with Vietnamese proverbs, such as: “When you’re poor, money becomes thicker than blood.” It was a pleasure read.

Scalia Law Sites

SLS is a network of Scalia Law sites powered by WordPress Multisite. When I led the law school digital experience, I saw the need to provide anyone from the law school community to have a web presence. From centers to institutes to students to faculty to administrators, they need to have their websites separated from the law school main site so they can update and maintain themselves. As a longtime WordPress user, I knew Multisite was the solution. I installed the software, architected the domains (URL), designed the themes, and launched the network in 2017. I trained developers, content strategists, and directors of communications to create and maintain their own sites. As more sites came on board, we needed to migrate the network to WP Engine to handle the scaling. The Scalia Law networking is hosting over 40 sites.

Breaking From a Parent Element in CSS

On my individual case study page, I had the responsive screenshot image breaking out of its parent element to make it span the entire width of the browser.

In the HTML, I just needed to wrap a div class around the image:

<div class="full-width">
   <img src="screenshot.png" alt="">

In the CSS, this is what I need:

.full-width { 
   margin-left: calc(-50vw + 50%);
   margin-right: calc(-50vw + 50%);

That works, but you will get the horizontal scroll. To get rid of the scrollbar, you need to add the following lines at the top of your CSS:

 html, body { 
   width: 100%;
   height: 100%;
   margin: 0px;
   padding: 0px;
   overflow-x: hidden;

It worked, but felt a bit hacky. I removed it from my case study pages, but reposted it just in case I need to get back to it later.