20 Years of Blogging

I have been blogging since 2003, but I can’t recall the exact date when I first started. In the last few days, I have been digging around the Wayback Machine trying to piece everything together. Thanks goodness for the Internet Archive, I have been able to repost my early entries and put together a timeline.

In 1999, I created Donny Digital Design Studio. According to the about page I had written, D3 was born out of a class project (Electronic Visual Communication) at La Salle University. It then evolved into my online portfolio and digital design studio.

In January 2003, I added journal entries to D3 Studio. I wrote the entries manually because the URLs included 0103.php, 0203.php, and 0303.php. I have brought these entries into this blog.

In April 2003, I changed the name from D3 Studio to Visualgui. I also started using B2 for blogging. From 2003 to January 2004, I ran into hosting issues. My site was down often. In addition, B2 had been abandoned.

In February 2004, I migrated Visualgui to Lunarpages. I also started fresh with WordPress, which was forked from B2. I wrote a quick update about it.

Visualgui was running smoothly for many years under Lunarpages until HostPapa scooped up it in 2019. After the acquisition was completed, HostPapa tried to squeeze more money from Lunarpages customers. In September 2021, I was done with HostPapa and moved over to DigitalOcean. I am happy with DigitalOcean Droplets ever since.

I still can’t believe I have been blogging for 20 years. The earliest entry I could find was on January 22, 2003; therefore, I will use that as the anniversary date. I can’t recall how I got into blogging, but it has to be the longest hobby I have ever picked up and stuck with it until this day.

Blogging has been an outlet for both my professional career and my personal development. I loved web design, but I needed my own space to play around with my design. I need a space where I could design whatever I wanted and not have to do what my clients wanted. It was liberating to show off my own design. There were times I was so burned out with web design and development, but this blog has kept me going. It nurtures me to do my professional job.

For my personal development, I didn’t feel comfortable writing in English since the first day I set my foot in America—I was eleven years old. Throughout my educational years, I never showed anyone my writings except for my teachers who graded my papers. Even after I graduated from college, I never wanted to write because I was too afraid to show my terrible writings, which were filled with grammatical errors, misspellings, awkward flows, and improper use of language. Blogging had changed all of that. I could write freely and I didn’t even care about all the technicalities. I just wanted to type words into the black box and hit publish. I could write about anything on my mind and it could be read around the world.

Days after days, I thought I would run out of things to write about, but I am still here writing like no one is reading—until I get into controversial topics. Blogging has indeed become part of my life. If I stop blogging today, I would feel something missing or empty in my life. I am still not a good writer and I am not good with words, but blogging allows me to express myself. Writing has become an important tool for me to use everyday. Blogging has become an exercise for my brain. After practicing for 20 years, writing has come much easier for me and I like sharing my thoughts online.

For a while I got sucked into social media networks—particularly Facebook and Twitter. These days, I have checked out of all of them. I stopped posting on LinkedIn and Facebook. I didn’t even bother moving over to Mastodon after I abandoned Twitter. I never venture into Instagram or TikTok. I am not sure if Pinterest is still a thing. I still use YouTube for tutorials on snowboarding, skiing, rollerblading, and ice skating. I also use YouTube for fixing things around the house. Other than YouTube, I refocus all my energy on this blog.

I am so fed up with news and politics; therefore, I want my blog to have a different vibe. I started posting poetry everyday. I will continue to write and to share what I feel, see, and hear around me. I want to continue to blog for many years to come. I would like to thank you for coming to this site and following my journey. I hope you enjoy your stay.


One day my father said, Get in the goddamned car,
and so I did, and he drove us about five miles
out of town, where he parked on an empty shoulder,
shut the Ford’s engine off, and then turned to me
and said, You have a weak personality. I said,
What the hell does that mean? And he said, You know,
when you speak, the way you talk, laughing and using
all that fancy-assed, flowery language, you do not
impress other men, serious men, for whom life
is a serious business
. I said, after a long silence,
weighing my fate for what I was about to say,
I don’t give a flying fuck about impressing
other men. I can tell you, though, that I care
about impressing Patricia Lea Gillespie,
if that’s the sort of thing you’re worried about.

You read poetry, he said. Yes, I do. I even
memorize it.
His eyes widened. Why would you do
a thing like that? So that I can recite it
, I said.
Here’s one that I recited to Patricia Lea
quite late just the other night.
And so I began.
His car at that time was a two-tone rusted-out
Ford Falcon with a sluggish, nervous ignition, so
when he quickly reached for the key and turned it,
wrenched it furiously, swinging that small tragedy
of a car back onto Hiway 83, and headed for home,
I began, as I say, not just for the moment
but for all time and for all young men caught
in the rush of passion and sudden confusion
when the heart cannot speak but the man—oh yes,
the man-absolutely must, she’s so beautiful,
the moon in platinum waves rippling down
her raven-black hair, and I rolled down my window
of that piece-of-shit car and I sang it out, far out
beyond the stalks of uncut wheat, beyond the corn
and soybeans, oh ever beyond the soybeans, and even
the beef cattle standing mute behind barbed wire
in a boredom so gigantic, so heavy it should
put God to shame, beyond Bryan’s Corner where I once
saw Kerouac and Ginsberg and William Burroughs
stopping for a cheeseburger and fries on their way
to south Texas and future literary fame and
an almost endless supply of what native Texans
called Marihoona. My poem, I swore, spoken loudly
and very well as my father stomped the floorboard
with every burning word, would never end,
even after we hit the gravel in the driveway
at home and I finally leaped out and took a bow
for Dylan Thomas, and all of Kansas rose up
in the dry fields and applauded the art of poetry,
and Patricia Lea Gillespie later that night
gave herself to a boy who loved to read poetry,
a language so sweetly powerful and burdened
with the mysteries of the human heart that it became
my language:

In my craft or sullen art,
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms…

And I remember the grim, tight mask of his face
inflamed now by the porch light as he lurched
for the front door and I sang to Kansas poems
I so loved that they became a kind of revenge.

B.H. Fairchild


A new word I learned today in the bleeding-control training. Tourniquet: a device (such as a band of rubber) that checks bleeding or blood flow by compressing blood vessels.

Between Đán and Me

Last Saturday night, I couldn’t sleep thinking about my relationship with my second son Đán. I pulled out my phone and watched clips of him when he was in kindergarten. He sang Spanish songs beautifully, tickled Xuân to make him laugh, and learned to ice skate for the first time. I laughed and almost cried. Nostalgia rushed over me. I missed the cheerful, joyful, playful Đán.

As a second child, he has grown up way too fast and changed drastically in the last five years. He becomes taciturn, impatient, and unhappy. He revolves his world around computers and video games. He’s no longer interested in any outdoor activities even though he is so darn good at snowboarding, rollerblading, and hockey skating. He was also good at playing the piano. He doesn’t even want to hang out with his dad and brothers. He is drifting away from us to spend more time on his digital device.

I tried to help him, but I failed. He was miserable when he was not allowed on his PC. His rage and his behavior were increasingly getting worse. As a parent, I am conflicted. I don’t feel good forcing him to do things he doesn’t want to do, but if I didn’t make him go to the skatepark or to the mountain resorts, he would have dropped every activity. At the same time, I want him to have his freedom. I want him to be more in control of his life.

I thought back to when I was his age. My mother didn’t restrict me from doing anything and I turned out fine. Maybe I should do the same with my kids. I had been backing off and letting them do whatever they wanted even if they played video games until midnight.


My heart is completely simple, of one
substance like a mole, a dark heap

of pigment mired in a bland
it doesn’t mind. My mouth

is a promise in a driver’s-side mirror
and adjusts with a button that gives

with a pinkie flick. My feet demurely
callused because I will work and work.

I may as well have had just one organ,
so simple am I, one tube, like a sea sponge

with brine washing my osculum,
crumbing up my fibrous pores. There is nothing

scary, amiss, or unrelatable about me,
who am comme il faut. You’d think

I was a plant, you’d think, No problem!,
getting closer. Nothing to see at all, folks,

though no impediment to lingering
should you choose. What the bleached coral

don’t say: how they drank today’s hot chalice
all themselves. No one put me up to sipping

risk and sitting pretty. What the reefs
don’t tell twirls deep in their two-dozen

thousand fevered genes, similar in number
to the human, though sickened by the sunblocks,

the way you like your skin to take the light
without absorbing one thing. The things

you hear down here. Even the lowing whales
replicating every sunken liner’s final strut,

I let them go on, I am after bigger psychic fish,
I stand before Sancta Simplicitas and let her twitch

my veil and burn my books. I love an idol
who permits a dish of meat at each foot,

the dark flesh and the light, the spectrum
of the hunt. I love a good Doppler effect, am game

to the sluicing vowels and half-heard yodels
moving beyond my sessile place. But you who take

redshift to excess, always eluding, evading,
evaporating, why so wary? You, rounding

a corner like a double-glassed bodega when I
would have settled for heartfelt credit.

I have tried labor and I have tried play. I looked
into a tiny compact and saw the big face

and the tiny sponge. I, prey for dregs
of attention, four drags on a light that’s good,

I know, for a dozen. When I take up your day
and suck it down like a bag tight with helium,

daffy and lung-light, I am not sustained.
I am dying from taking. My gullet

capers like a piccolo. If I could have the whole
of you, the denser thing, pie weight

and plumb line, the vital pith, I think it would
enough me for beyond. You’d hardly notice.

I’d give you back, I promise, to yourself.

Laura Kolbe

Richard Blanco: How to Love a Country

Richard Blanco’s How to Love a Country is poetic, poignant, and patriotic. Whether writing about his own history as an immigrant, his own gender identity as gay, his own grief on gun violence, Blanco’s poems are all about America as a work in progress. After reading this collection, I could see why Obama selected Blanco as the fifth Presidential Inaugural Poet.


I wanted to write a poem about delay
The white space between word and music
One night in Ohio a decade ago
Under a thunderstorm’s bad blank verse

As I counted aloud between lightning and clap
A friend tackled me to the ground
To shut me up so he could hear it, the faint
Percussion I could just call thunder

If I wanted to be clear
I’ve tried to write this poem for years
But can’t and won’t, as every line
Falls faster than I can chase it, acid raindrop

Seeping into clover, garbage lyrics
Rising through its stem, poetry almost
As toxic as the city
Spraying my neighborhood down

A pesticide to x the little messengers
So megafauna can continue
Planting real estate
Some sad poet named this chemical Duet

The friend who tackled me got sick
I visited as he received a drip of what I called
Quicksilver in an early draft, but it was just
Poison, I mean chemo, which saved his life

Duet on the apple blossom, duet in the core
Nights drift by to be surveilled
For words, as thunder splits the poem again
Half of it standing up and counting

Half of it tackled into clover
Pollen painted with our syntax
Pulses once then meets a cell
The rain is light years away

Daniel Poppick

Switching from em to rem

In addition to changing the wordmark, I made the switch from em to rem unit for my typographic control after a Slack discussion with my former colleagues at Vassar. I used em for scalability and inheritance, but em could cause compounding sizing. Using rem seems to avoid the headache; therefore, I might as well making the switch.

After reading Robin Rendle’s note, I added this new CSS element on all my headings:

h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6 {
text-wrap: balance;

I am not seeing the effect yet, but I hope it will just work in the future once browsers support it. It’s not a big deal. I still like to tinker around this site as often as I could.

I am in the middle of listening to John Gruber talking with Jason Kottke about web design, Movable Type, and web development. I have tremendous respect for them on how they could turn their blogs into full-time jobs. I am not sure about Jason, but John is doing pretty darn well with the sponsorships on both his site and podcast. I don’t subscribe to their RSS feeds. I just check their homepages every once in a while. I can’t keep up with John’s podcast either. I only check in once in while for something special, like the latest episode about Kottke.org turns 25. That is quite a milestone. Congrats, Jason.

The Symmetry of Fish

The head of the fish thuds
into the kitchen sink

with a splash of lettuced water.
She says, Not this. Don’t

marry the head or anyone
too cunning.
She saws the knife

through the tail. The muscle
springs. Not a man

who doesn’t have a brain.
There’s no meat there.

As I walk through fish markets
lined with skinned goats,

their heads on the tables,
the finned bellies glisten under

the dusty sun, jutting
proudly blue and silver.

My mother’s voice asks me
if I understand, if I’ll resist

the smooth talk from the fish’s
mouth, his fanned tail swaying,

gifting a breeze on the back
of my neck. I prod the slick,

elastic skin, pierce him with two
fingers, and eat around the bones.

Su Cho

Identity Crisis

This blog is having an identity crisis. I changed the wordmark once again.

I am still using DJR’s Megazoid, but I am not doing any customization. I am playing around with the shade. I am taking it back to the old school. Since I made the logo filling up the browser, I had to remove the big hero typography at the top. I brought it to thee bottom instead. Now I have both big top and bottom.

It’s nice to have a personal blog I can play with the design. I don’t have to take the branding too seriously. I am digging this direction for now, but I can change it tomorrow, next month, or next year. We’ll see how it goes.

20 Years of Blogging