On kids’ activities (as a parent)

Some wisdom from HackerNews:

Kids want to be doing what other kids today are doing. Hearing “I loved this as a kid” from a parent can doom something right from the start. Kids want their own experiences, especially as they get older. The technologies you have fond memories of were contemporary at the time you enjoyed them. Your kids also want contemporary experiences.

But most importantly, kids are unique, and often different from their parents. They might not like the same things we did as kids, even if we could exactly recreate them.

Useful to keep this in mind!


My Powerbeats headphones broke apart today.

I wanted to get a replacement, but I found it isn’t made any more.

I looked for the closest equivalent and didn’t find one 1.

I found this comparison recent products, and while they are better in many ways (active noise cancellation, spatial audio, etc) they all have a lower battery life (the Powerbeats had a battery life of 15 hours!)

I will end up getting one of the new ones, but not without some grumbling.2

  1. The Beats Flex counts if you neglect the over-the-ears-ness and focus on the connecting-wire-ness of the Powerbeats ↩︎

  2. I remembered a talk I had heard many years ago, during a phase of watching everything by Neil Postman I could find, where he had described how, wanting to buy a new car, he had been unable to find one where he could simply roll the windows up and down (i.e. without “power windows”). I’d like to believe my case is different, but I’m aware I’m probably sounding like a grumpy old fella right now. ↩︎

Monthly Summary: Aug 2022

“Towers” in Minecraft I built with Tara

Major update(s)

  • Nearly a week in Big Island
  • A month-long saga of problems with my car came to an end, able to drive again

Minor update(s)

  • Playdates
  • School re-opened!
    • Bunch of “back to school” stuff
  • Family board games
    • Dixit (worked out!)
    • Karuba
  • Invasive double-implant dental operation


  • Audiobooks in the car with Tara:
    • Finished listening to book 3 of Wings of Fire
    • Started listening to Order of the Phoenix
  • Read The Untethered Soul
  • Tara watching new season of Bluey (one show we can bear to watch along too)
  • Watched Uncharted
  • Watched Stranger Things (season 3)


  • Tara started playing some Minecraft (only “creative mode” for now)
  • Some playing around with Wolfram Mathematica

Monthly recap: July 2022

A patch of ground

Major update(s)

  • An “almost forty” birthday party for me and Shivi
  • Car trouble (more on this later)

Minor update(s)

  • Found a new used books store in Menlo Park
  • “Family board game time” with Mastermind and Ticket to Ride
  • Re-re-discovered Wolfram Mathematica
  • Played Minecraft with Tara (yep, it’s fun and addictive)
  • CSMA camps for Tara: she made a bunch of fun art


  • Cleaned up and brought the decade-old Yamaha piano out from garage storage 🙂
  • Went to play tennis in the courts nearby
  • Half-way through season-3 of Stranger Things
  • Watched Marcel the Shell in the hall
  • Watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Local crime beat

I remember how sleepy this place was when I first moved here (not all that long ago, yet feels much further back, at a time when Twitter and Facebook were relatively new, and not-yet-toxic)

I remember how someone told me this story about jaywalking or rolling on a stop sign, and getting a ticket.

That was the most that happened in those days.

Since then, though, it has been a steady beat.

A lot seems to have happened just this year.

In 2022, a fatal drug overdose at school.

In 2022, a child was killed while riding his bicycle.

In 2022, a police officer was shot after midnight at a traffic stop.

As someone who’s been here for over a decade, I’ve seen quite a bit of change now, with a lot more apartment buildings, a lot of new stores and restaurants (and a lot of closures).

However, I do hope the increase in crime doesn’t become wedded to this change; it’s easy to forget how pleasant the existence of basic law and order can be, and I’d rather not get stuck in the quagmires that places like San Francisco find themselves in today, which few good options out.

Looking forward to making it to 2030, with this still being a generally happy place to live!

Monthly recap — Jun 2022

An experiment with freezing coffee ...

Major update(s)

  • Met my brother and his family, and some old friends, in San Diego
  • Became a US citizen (more on this later)

Minor update(s)

  • Legoland! Disneyland!
  • Weekend stay in Half Moon Bay
  • Hiking in the Open Space Preserves
  • End of a school year, had lotsa ice-cream
  • Farmers’ Market
  • I got a massage (after three years)
  • Got some new eyeglasses (the ones I had been falling off for several months now, in increasingly hilarious ways)


  • Inventing Anna (more on this later)
  • Stranger Things (couldn’t not watch it!)
  • Listening to Wings of Fire (more on this later)

Monthly recap — May 2022

Bird feeder getting some use

Major update(s)

  • Parents visiting for a couple of weeks, fun times

Minor update(s)

  • Resolved an issue with IRS (have to write about this later)
  • Failure: gave Tara non-gluten-free pizza, with bad consequences
  • A birthday party or two
  • Reworked personal homepage for the Nth time
  • Children’s Discovery Museum in SJ after a long time
  • Met up with a couple of people


  • Re-watched Harry Potter 1-5
  • Read Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The original Jurassic Park (blu-ray, from the library!)
  • Scooby Doo and the haunted house 🙂

Monthly recap — April 2022

From a sculpture gallery in Los Cabos

Major updates

  • Trip to Los Cabos
    • Family pool time
    • Saw a bunch of whales
    • Lots of good food

Minor updates

  • Catching up with people after a long time, over lunch
  • Some family board game time
  • Some “science experiments”
  • Not doing well on sleep …


  • Finished reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (took a while …)
  • Watched Moonfall (wtf was the last half hour …)
  • Watched the Dropout (how many more cases like this exist, un-caught?!)
  • Watched the “new generation” my little pony (not a fan …)
  • Finished reading Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • Watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (resisted for a while, but …)
  • Watched more Scooby Doo