Blockbusters and the local library

I finally decided to leverage the massive video collection at our local library.

Whenever we visit, I try to bring back a few movies. They’re mostly DVDs, so the resolution isn’t great for today’s TVs — but I’m fine with that!

There’s tremendous variety. No substitute for Blockbusters, but the bar that Netflix sets is so low that it feels like we’d go a long way before running out of things to watch.

The biggest blocker today for most people (ironically?!) would be the availability of a player to play these DVDs.

For now, it’s mostly Scooby Doo episodes and movies.

If you have a library near you, highly recommend. The experience of browsing for something physical is always hard to duplicate.

Monthly recap- March 2022

A cardboard cutout castle we made together

Major updates

  • Weekend trip near Santa Cruz

Minor updates

  • Doing regular trips to SF again, some commute experiments
  • Got Tara her first “real” dictionary
  • Family time at the park nearby
  • Family board game time (a junior version of “Ticket to ride” is the current favorite)
  • Finally re-did a portion of our living room, replaced a TV from 11 years ago with a new one
  • Replaced a car we’d bought 10 years ago with a new one (!)
  • Catching up with friends and acquaintances over lunch
  • Bummer: spent time on tax stuff


  • Played with Wolfram Mathematica a bit, always fun and relaxing
  • Watched “Dropout” on Netflix (can’t believe this really happened)
  • Watched Death on the Nile (meh)
  • Watched Turning Red with Tara
  • Bunch of Scooby Doo episodes and movies with Tara
  • Watched Drive my car (excellent)
  • Re-watched Midnight in Paris

Eulogy for a bookstore

I moved to Mountain View in 2010.

At that time, there were plenty of bookstores within a 10 mile radius:

  1. Borders in Mountain View
  2. Borders in Palo Alto
  3. Barnes and Noble in San Jose
  4. Books Inc in Mountain View
  5. Book Buyers in Mountain View

Of these:

(1) and (2) closed when Borders went bankrupt (about a decade ago now)

(3) was always the furthest out, and rarely visited, but is still around

(4) is now the only store we visit with some frequency.

But (5) used to be my favorite, being a used books store.

In 2016 they had to relocate out of Mountain View, and set up shop further south in Gilroy.

I’ve since visited them only once.

Today I learned that they lost their lease and have to liquidate entirely. Fortunately, Powell’s (of Portland) was able to pick up their stock.

I am sad to see them pass away like this, especially since nothing has emerged to take their place.

Still, I am optimistic that something like it can be set up again (it must be so different for young people today to not know anything else, but there are alternatives to browsing online at Amazon).

Monthly Recap- February 2022

Stone spiral seen while hiking in Mori Point

Major update

  • Weekend trip to Carmel
    • Hiking in Garapatta
    • Walking along the beach
    • Lotsa eating out!

Minor updates

  • Some website administrivia
  • Playing around with an Urbit planet
  • Family visit to Barnes & Noble after many months
  • Hiking at Mori Point


  • “The woman in the house across the street from the girl in the window”
    • Very meh, but we got the wine-opener
  • Begun reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with Tara (had paused last year)
  • Finished reading Against the Day, after many years (deserves its own post)
  • Read Nemo by Alan Moore

Monthly recap (Jan 2022)

The Google "hub" at home repeatedly showed me this photo by one Peter Norvig. I'm going to take it as a sign.
The Google “hub” at home repeatedly showed me this photo by one Peter Norvig. I’m going to take it as a sign.

Minor updates

  • “Family hike” in Arastradero Reserve
  • Played some Wordle and Chess
  • Back to school
    • “Virtual bingo night”, a fun bunch
  • Lots of Magnatiles
  • Router misadventures
    • Replacing an aging Google Wifi router with a new Nest Wifi router turned out to be painful


  • Tara watched a bunch of Bluey, My Little Pony (back after a two-year hiatus?), and Captain Underpants
    • Listening to the My Little Pony movie as an audiobook
  • Some of the SF 49ers & LA Rams game
  • The woman in the house across the street from the girl in the window … yeah
  • Shaun the Sheep (spinoff from Wallace and Gromit !)
  • Note: there’s a huge amount of Youtube that I watch all the time, though no practical way to list it all over here!
  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Monthly recap (Dec 2021)

Hiking at Point Lobos

Major update

  • Trip to San Diego got cancelled, bummer
  • Made a short weekend trip to Santa Cruz/Aptos/Carmel instead
  • Did a bunch of hikes!

Minor update

  • A foosball table at home 🙂
  • Family games and fun
  • Got my booster shot


  • Sing 2, in the theater. Great experience. Best part for me, as in the original, was the soundtrack!
  • Wallace and Gromit (claymation was great …)
  • Tara started watching Captain Underpants

Annual recap – 2021


  • Tara turned seven
    • had a birthday party at Safari Run
  • Halloween trick-or-treating with one of Tara’s friends and her family
  • End-of-the-year hike at Stanford Dish
  • Got a Foosball (and a kid-size pool table) in the garage
  • Bunch of social meetups
  • Various appliance repairs
  • Discovered Kakaroto downtown (and then ate a lot there!)
  • Tara’s graduation (from Kindergarten to 1st grade, lol)
    • But a few friends’ families moved out of the area, which was sad
  • Trips:
    • Muir Woods
    • Monterey
    • Trip to Mendocino
    • Trip to Gualala
    • Trip to Carmel
      • Unplanned, but fun
    • Trip to Hawaii (Maui)
      • Lotsa pool time
      • Went to Haleakala summit
  • Got our vaccines (and boosters)
  • A new sofa, heh
  • Redid the patio/backyard
  • Hike at Long Ridge Trail


  • Started off the new year with Sigma Computing
  • Switched to Fastmail
  • In-person office experience (and, meeting up with team-mates before that)
  • Various dental things (a big sinus-lift-cum-extraction-in-preparation-for-an-implant, and some misadventures with the crown on an existing implant)
  • Finished two puzzles (though, simple ones)


  • Bunch of new playdates
  • Front teeth came out
  • Bunch of birthdays
  • Monterey bay aquarium!
  • Hatched a butterfly from a cocoon!
  • Trapped some ants (as “pets”, lol)
  • First full day at school (April)
  • First trip to the library in over a year
  • “Lego camp”
  • A big doctor visit


  • A few My Little Pony graphic novels
  • Watched on Netflix:
    • Money Heist
    • Captain Underpants
    • Wallace and Gromit
    • Godzilla: Singular Point (!)
    • Squid Games
    • How to train your dragon: hidden world
    • On the verge
    • Blooey
    • Raya and the last dragon
    • Disney: Cars
    • David Attenborough’s ‘A life on earth’
    • Cloudy with a chance of meatballs
    • The Dig
  • – Watched in the theater
    Dune (!)
    Boss Baby 2
    Sing 2
  • Read the first two Narnia books
  • Read, listened to (!) and watched, the first three Harry Potter books/movies
  • Listened to The Idea of the World and The age of Entitlement
  • Read The Hobbit (in entirety, and watched the movies)
  • Graphic novels:
    • Templar
    • The Graveyard Book (part 1)


  • Poop Bingo“, a birthday gift 😐
  • (assisted with) Friendship bracelets
  • Toy robot assembly (“Zivko”)
  • Lego: Harry Potter advent set and Harry Potter “train station” set
  • Growing crystals
  • Making a “fairy garden”
  • Clay modelling
  • A paper robot from Instructables

Review from last year

  • Last year’s review here
  • I did do a puzzle
  • Failed at a sleep routine (realize now that I was mostly sleep-deprived through the year)

Tentative resolutions

  • Intentional reading/writing/doing
  • Better sleep routines
  • Complete one more puzzle
  • Find a way to improve on the exercise front
  • Find a way to write/share more
  • Contribute/help out more at work

Monthly recap (Nov 2021)

Castle in the sand, waves upon it, footprints … along Ka’anapali beach, Maui

Major update

  • Maui trip
    • left a day later than planned, because of tests that were needed
    • warm sum, yummy food and pool time
  • Tara turned 7!

Minor updates

  • Drove to Haleakala summit
  • Foosball table at home now, heh
  • Some (more?) dental adventures


  • “Helping” Tara with a Harry Potter lego train set
  • Finished reading The lion, the witch and the wardrobe together
  • Watched Godzilla: Singular Point (!)

System of the Sun

This is not running a very localized observation (I’ve noticed this both where I stay in the south bay area, and also during our recent short trip to Hawaii), but still: among the bright objects seen in the sky at night, are Venus, Jupiter, Saturn.

At one level, we can marvel at this “real” experience of the existence of planets and stars, something which was natural from the beginning of humanity until recently, and which is only made harder to look at given that we are either staring into our phones or screens of some other form.

More than this, though, is the fact that in looking at these three planets we are seeing the solar system “for real”: these planets mark the ecliptic, which roughly marks the plane of the solar system.

Looking at them, you can feel connected to this system of planets astroids (and comets and everything else in it), that orbits this particular favorite star of ours.

Monthly recap (Oct 2021)

Sea lions under the wharf at Santa Cruz

Major update

  • Halloween trick ‘n’ treating (after a lull last year)

Minor updates

  • Weekend trip to Santa Cruz (again)
  • My grandfather passed away (will write more about this soon)
  • Had a package stolen from our doorstep
  • Some tax shenanigans


  • Watched Dune (in an actual physical theater, with great sound)
  • Watched a few episodes of Squid games (beginning and end)
  • Read a couple of graphic novels (Templar and vol. 1 of The Graveyard Book)
  • Begun reading The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe
  • Watched Lego Star Wars (the holiday special)

Supplemental pics

Giant rainbow on a rainy drive back from Santa Cruz
Interesting bug