It’s getting difficult to write now that I’m getting older. I’m struggling really hard with death. Writing these letters reminds me of how fast you two are growing. And that means how fast my end is coming as well.

I used to feel like I have time. It was relaxing to be lazy. To do nothing. I had my whole life ahead. Whatever it was, it could wait. We could always figure it out later.

Now it feels like time is slipping away.

You’re almost becoming teenagers. And soon to be adults.

I’ve started to realize that all the little moments and silly inconsequential things end up being the big memories you remember. That’s it. It’s not big events that make big memories. It’s little ‘hey let’s do ____’ moments that we might come up with on a weekend, or even a week night that might become that happy memory you keep for the rest of your life. Like us going foraging one early weekend morning. Everyone complains and it’s cold. But we take pictures and we’re all in them as a family. We don’t take many pictures as a family now. And now we’ll always have our story about Snippy the crab that got away.

I regret not making more time to make more memories.

As I write these letters reluctantly, I remember they are kind of like therapy. They force me to acknowledge my thoughts and feelings.

New swimming records

I showed you guys freediving and a few freediving techniques.
j can swim without holding nose
j can swim widthwise underwater without holding nose
j can swim lengthwise in one breath
j can hold breath to deep end and back holding on to me. You said you sang a song in your head to stay relaxed.
both can reach bottom of pool
you 2 competed for the highest launched jump inside pool
crazy jumps like hulk smash and cartwheel from outside

Swimming games with j

j, We had a lot of fun over the summer playing swimming games in the evening. J, you didn’t want to swim much, after discovering computer games. You preferred to play Roblox and stay inside with mama. When you did swim, you’d swim for 30 minutes then leave. And go back to the computer.

Here are the few games we’d play:

1. Dart throw. You’d ask, “Daddy what difficulty do you want? Then you’d throw the diving darts we have and I dive for them. Then you’d hold the rings for me to throw the darts through. You either make it easy or impossible. But you kept asking me what difficulty I wanted. At first I’d say a number from 1-10. Then I’d make up random difficulties like “Rainbow difficulty” or “Green Eggs and Ham difficulty”.

2. Tame the wild daddy. I try to shake you off while you try to “tame” me. The hardest challenge I gave you was when I swam underwater with you on my back from one end to the other. We did this 3 times. Shallow to deep, deep to shallow. And you held your breath the entire length of the pool.

You said you sang to yourself to stay relaxed. After successfully surviving that, you said, “Dad, can we stay in the shallow end?” I said, “Why, is it too much for yo? Do you admit DEFEAT?” You said, “NEVER!” And in the end I always gave up and you always won. Then you’d brag to J and mom about how I couldn’t shake you off no matter what I did.

3. Jumping from inside the pool. I’d cup my hands, you 2 would stand in it and I’d launch you up and toward the deep end. You guys would take turns and I’d just keep launching you one after another. 3- 2- 1- GO! You did tricks like the front flip, jumping into the pool donut. Jumping straight up, inverting and spiking straight down.

4. Jumping from outside the pool. You could get really high with this. Lots of laughing and screaming. The fun ended when I did Hulk Smash and one of you belly flopped. We no longer do the Hulk Smash.

5. Catch the Bob. Bob is the name you gave our inflatable fish. All 3 of them are named Bob. We played a game where I’d tug it and you’d hang on. I’d try to shake you loose, back and forth, up and down. But in the end Bob would slip out of my fingers and you’d win. One day we pulled one a little too hard and it popped. We had to play Catch the Bob with another toy after that.

6. Race you! Every now and then you’d randomly shout, “Race you!” But you always give yourself a head start. For example, you’d swim to the middle of the pool then yell, “Race you to the other side!”

California Wildfires turned the sky orange. It looked like Mars outside. The fires lasted weeks. At one point we feared we had to evacuate because they kept spreading.
We packed bags and were ready to chuck whatever we wanted to save in our 2 cars and drive off. But luckily the highways around us held the fire back.

Covid-19 forced all of us to quarantine aroudn the world. We’ve all been stuck at home. School’s gone online, work from home. Stocks fell. Got some help from Abu with a 20K loan.
My office started out in the living room. But it was hard to deal with the stresses at work and solve difficult problems with you kids. It was especially hard to work when all of you were playing. So I moved my office to the master bedroom, at the opposite end of the house.

We’re fortunate to have a swimming pool. Everything was closed but we could invite your friends over to the pool. And chlorine kills everything.

It has been good to get so much time together. This will change how everyone works forever. It started out as 3 weeks. But now it looks like it’s gonna be like this at least for the rest of the year.

New desks for everyone!

We’ve decided to rearrange where everyone is sitting and working. You two Js used to have your desks in the family room. But those desks are now too small for you. You have laptops and mice and papers and pencils. And things are spilling over all over. And mom is liking her desk but not liking having her things moved around when we want to play the piano.

So we got some new nice wide desks! We placed them in the living room, in front of the windows, so you face the front yard. Your desks are connected so it looks like one continuous working surface. It’s wide enough that I get to sit with you two there sometimes too. Like when we play Roblox together, or work on Roblox Studio together. Mom has moved away from the piano desk to her own desk next to the couch. We moved 1/3 of the ladder desk to make room.

I think it turned out well. Now everyone has their own space and we figured out how to give everyone lots of space. Plus, the piano is now always free. So I’ve been enjoying being able to just walk over and play for as little or long as I want. 2 weeks ago it was just me at the piano. But since then, you 2 have also started practicing again. And now mom has placed her flute on the piano. She has started practicing again too.

Thinking of getting a 3D printer for Christmas. Figured it’s a nice time to set it up and learn something new. And play around with 3D-printing. I think you 2 are at the right age to enjoy these things. Pretty sure I want to get a Creality. But trying to decide between Ender 3 Pro or Ender 5. The price keeps dropping so there’s always new options! But that’s a good thing.

Evening bike rides

I’ve been enjoying taking you two out for late-afternoon bike rides on the weekends. A few months ago, j didn’t like riding her bike much. I think your new bike was a little too big for your. But you’ve grown into it. So I was surprised j that you were the one that would get excited whenever I suggest going out to play. And J, who used to love going out to bike and Pokemon Go, has now become Mr Grumpypants computer addict that we have to drag out… but to your credit you do make an effort. And you guys ALWAYS have a good time. It can feel like it’s more comfy at home, but it’s always fun to get out of the house and play. J will spend the first 15-20 minutes complaining. But then we’ll start up a fun conversation about Jaegers and Kaiju or a Roblox game or Superheroes and you’ll perk up.

j you like to have us ride our bikes to a park. Parks that seemed to far when you were younger are now easy. We can go to all our favorite parks by bike in less than 30 minutes now. In the beginning I was worried j would struggle and ask to go home (in the past, we’d have to call for mama to pick you up.) But you’ve been a trooper and haven’t had any trouble at all. The last time we went to Carolyn Norris for a picnic with our Halloween Candy (I used it to lure you guys out). Today we went across grandpa’s “Shooting Cars” bridge to Houge Park. And on another randomly windy day, we flew a kite at Union Middle.

And J, now that you’ve gotten into Parkour, a whole new world has opened up at parks and playgrounds. j’s the one who’s usually excited about parks and playgrounds. But now J you’re excited again about bars and walls and structures and benches. So it’s fun that all of us agree on where to bike to again.


You started classes. And after class you said, “Mom, you know how you said I should find something I’m passionate about? I think I’ve finally found it! After finishing it, I felt the urge to stay longer and do more.”
When class ends, you stay behind to keep practicing. Another time, when your class ended you started warming up with the next class of older kids and we had to yank you home.

j you started classes too, but after we paid for it, you stopped. We thought you would like it since it’s physical and you can’t go back to gymnastics yet. But lately you said you didn’t want to go back. We finally talked about it and I think we figured out that it’s because the beginner class you’re stuck in was not challenging enough. So we have to see what we can do about that.

This is what j did after J was done with class:

Family haircuts

When the businesses reopened temporarily in October, we were lucky to get an appointment with mama’s hairdresser Sandra. She gave all of us awesome haircuts (our first time since March). It was the first time I had a scissor cut with no buzzer. And first time I cut my hair long. Also the first time I got a wash with a cut. She was amazing. We learned that she was a perfectionist and she quit a corporate job to be a hair dresser. She uses words like geometry when talking about hair and she is one of the few who knew how to cut all kinds of hair. All of us had different hair — j: soft curls, J and me: straight, mama: thick curls.

39th birthday

kalimba for mama’s birthday
indo balance board for me
you 2 gave me many great drawings of pikachu
picture frame of bikes
a T-shirt that says, “Is my bike ok?” but upside down.
Sushi for dinner


January – we caught many urchins but they were small. Mama couldn’t join because she had a class with Master Gardeners. I prepared a meal over hot rice. j – you ate your share and all the grownups’. There were none left for adults. I didn’t even get to try any but apparently they were good.

To get to Urchin Island, we had to cross a land brige that only appeared at low tide. When the water drained from the shelf, it exposed a crab. My eyes lit up and I kept my eye on it. At the same time, I kept my eye on the tide because there was just one of me and 2 of you kids. I said I want to catch that crab when the tide falls again. J said, “Dad, that’s like tryring to get a mushroom when Bowser is nearby.” I decided to let it go. It was an exciting and slightly nervous foraging trip. Because I had to get us all onto Urchin Island. Most of that rock was shielded from the waves. But to cross one part of Urchin Island, you’d have to walk past an exposed area that the waves blast through. I had to help 1 of you get across, make sure you held on the other side. Then come back to get the other one of you. Was it too dangerous? Could something bad have happened? I figured the worst that could happen is you get splashed and fall into the slow shallow water below the rock. You wouldn’t have gotten swept into the ocean, the way that place was.

Another time, we went back to visit Snippy’s place. What we didn’t expect during the quarantine is they closed the parking lots. We could not get to Snippy’s place. So we went farther up the road to Pigeon Point lighthouse. The lots were closed there too, but we could drive a little further up a quiet road and park by the side.

We found a rock with many tiny crabs. It was a hole with a family of clowns. Many small crabs in the front of the cave and a larger one wedged in the back. We enjoyed watching them goof around. You watched one try to climb down the rock. It seemed to get tired of the “slow way” and just suddenly chuck itself down. It rolled and bounced all the way down and ended upside down. Then casually rolled over and brushed itself off and went about its business. You’d never think of doing that as a person. But if you had a virtually indestructible exoskeleton like they do, that’s how you’d roll too.


J’s favorite Pokemon. has stuffy, keychain
Pokemon Go Rayq raid

Pokemon GO

At one point, this year, we had everyone playing together. 4 phones. It was fun for a while to have our family Pokemon Go evenings. But not too long after, mama installed her game and you 2 weren’t interested anymore.

New Pokemon GO project

Meanwhile, I started a site for Pokemon GO PvP ( I got my first customer on Sep 26 2020! Someone signed up minutes after I pushed the latest changes! The change I made was to make the Magic Button visible to everyone. For paid members, the button will work. But guests will get a message prompting them to become a member. Within the 1st month, I got 10 customers. I gave 2 options: $5 per month or $12 per year. It’s a ‘Yes’ or ‘Yes’ close. Most people choose the $12 option. JR was one of the first people who believed in the site, so I partnered with him to give his patrons free lifetime access:

It was mentioned by another youtuber Kieng

Member results:

Shortly after, I got acquainted with ytxpika. I noticed him posting about data and analyses. So I said, you seem to like data… and I have data. And I was lucky to meet him because he is well-connected in the community. He got me back in touch with pvpoke as well as helped me get this interview:

It ended up making a few hundred dollars this year since Sep 26. Not bad!

Dragonscript Arena is getting lots of use from’s students. It’s just humming along without needing my attention. It’s not costing me money but it’s not making me any either. The only thing I’ve done recently is fix a security hole a kind 9th grader reported. He said, “I like pen-testing random Javascript websites.” Then proceeded to school me on correct curly brace formatting. Oh I also figured how to export the 3D dragon models out from the game for 3D-printing!

Bedtime routine

J’s bedtime friends are Rayquaza, Charmander, Snowy the white tiger and Abu’s travel pillow.
j has Eric, Rosy, Silky body pillow and Meow

J likes staying up talking. j will say I’m tired I’m going to sleep goodnight.
But as usual, you two later swapped — now J goes to sleep and j will stay up chatting.
Now, you two keep each other up and chat and giggle for an hour past your bedtime.


You two have started playing Roblox together. Most of the time, when I walk out to the living room for a break from work, you 2 will be at the computer and mom will be at hers. Which leaves me pretty lonely. I usually don’t want to play more games after being stuck on a screen all day at work, and it’s been getting increasingly hard to get anyone out of the house for any activities. This has made me sad as I watch precious daylight go to waste every day. At least you 2 agree to going out for walks some days. But it’s just so much energy to have to motivate any of you to do something outside. It is one of the things that’s made me really sad lately.

On the plus side, it’s a way for you to play and hang out with your friends. Since you can’t see each other at school anymore. But it’s becoming an addiction because you 3 play pretty much all day. It sucks being the only one in the house who doesn’t think it’s a good idea… but it’s hard for me to keep you guys in check since I’m stuck at work most of the day.

The games you 2 have liked to play are: Murder Mystery 2, Shark Bite, Build a boat for treasure, Adopt Me (j), some FPS game, really difficult obbys and an anime fighting game.


J worked on: Hedwig’s theme, Answers (Final Fantasy) and Summer (Joe Hisaishi).

Meanwhile, j has been crying at piano for days straight, every time it’s time to practice. Mama eventually got you to admit that you can’t read notes. This was even more surprising because you had been taking music classes. So it seems you have been playing by ear and from memory this whole time. And so well that you fooled us and even your piano teacher. So we went back to practicing music reading. You can read notes better now. The latest song you’re working on is: Beatles – All My Loving. You sometimes sing it in the shower. That’s the funny thing that happens when you play music. It sticks in your fingers and your brain. And every now and then the music will escape and feel so real that it bubbles up to your lips and fingertips.

Home ownership woes

Goodbye hammock tree in the corner, says PG&E. They want to cut it down.

Our back fence is falling. It kept leaning closer and closer to our side, so eventually I anchored a post to our neighbor’s tree. I left a note apologizing and explaining, and I left my email. He contacted me shortly after, thankfully he was not upset at me for my hack. We agreed to postpone the fence rebuild because the work would be quite extensive since the fence also held up their backyard. So since then, we have been silently taking turns improving the hack. I’d replace the paracord with ratchet straps. The next day I found a piece of the strap on our side of the fence, strap ripped. He overtightened the ratchet straps and they snapped. He tightened it so much that it snapped the supporting post in half. The next day, I noticed that he had inserted a new post on his side, and anchored the old post to his. This last thing looks like it’ll hold for a while.

Then one day, our toilets wouldn’t drain. When we flushed one toilet, another gurgled. Eventually, when we’d flush one toilet, it’d come up in another bathroom. That was a bad sign. I went to the bathroom and tried plunging and snaking and plunging and snaking. The water would drain slightly, but then back up with black, crud and foul smell. Each time I felt like I might actually have gotten through, the black water came back. After a few hours of futility, I gave up and mama called the plumber. The plumber came and said, “Is that the snake you’ve been using? That won’t work. You need this.” And he plopped down a rock-splitting, root-chewing metal hydra. He sent it down the main pipe and within seconds, it broke through and all the showers and toilets drained. Victory! Or so we thought. A few seconds later, he frowned and peeked under the house. He said he had bad news. This simple job turned out to be a disaster. The super snake had chewed through a section of our old rusty pipe. The blockage wasn’t cleared — everything backed up in the pipes was draining into the crawlspace under the house. Now we had to call a cleanup crew and fix the busted pipe… and THEN try to clear the blockage again (and hope nothing else goes wrong).

Anyway, a few thousand dollars poorer later, I gave the shower a deep scrub after the sewer disaster. But it turned out I created another problem. When I was under the house pulling ethernet to the other end of the house, I saw a leak under the bathroom. My cleaning had deteriorated the grout and so I now had to regrout the shower. That was my Christmas break project. Fun!


J: Mewtwo + Pika bday cake and matching card.
j serpent of ronka bday cake and Moogle card.

J got new Switch games.
j got new bike. HARO 2019 DOWNTOWN 18 inch BIKE. Matte Blue. 7th birthday. We were lucky to manage to find this one. When I was searching to buy, things were running out of stock as I was clicking on them. Bikes getting sold out everywhere.

New biking records

Heintz 2 Belgatos.
May 5 2020: 4th in 2020

May 8 2020: 2nd in 2020

Heintz Loop Counter-clockwise
Oct 7 2020: #7 all-time @ 3:39. The times before me are: 2:32, 2:59, 3:03, 3:19, 3:20, 3:33.
Oct 15 2020: #7 all-time @ 3:36. Improved my last time by 3 seconds.
Oct 27 2020: #6 all-time @ 3:31! Stopped to take over Pokemon gym from pesky tryhards. Went full effort later after full recovery, and with better balance from indo board bday present from mama.
I figured out what I needed to go faster when I compared my previous best run with the leader’s run. He was not beating me on the downhills or corners. He was beating me on the flats and climbs. So I decided I had to push myself harder and stay in the pain zone the whole time… especially on the flats and uphills. I felt close to death at the end, but that was what shaved many seconds off my time. This brings me in the ballpark of the other 3-minute records, which I’m confident I could beat with more committed training and a vegetarian diet.

Top of Heintz 2 gate.
Oct 15 2020: #1 all-time KOM @ 3:32! My first KOM! I don’t know how I got it, surely other people were faster. It must’ve been a GPS glitch or something…

New bike crash
On mini-Braille @ Heintz. There’s a trail I have been enjoying at nights, because it was like a mini downhill trail similar to the Braille trail in Soquel Demo forest. It didn’t look like a sanctioned trail, but more like something some friends dug out in their spare time. I should have heeded the warning signs, because for a few weeks, it looked like someone really didn’t want people to ride there.

First, there was caution tape at the entrance to the trail. I ducked under that and told myself I’ll be cautious and go slow enough to spot any danger. A few days later, there was a tree across the trail around halfway into it. I got off the bike and walked over it. For the next few visits I’d keep wondering if it was possible to bunny hop over it. Finally decided not to because the angle was awkward. The trail curved left, and the tree laid across the trail diagonally, from bottom-right to top-left. So it wasn’t perfectly perpendicular to the trail as I’d like, and it was diagonal in the worst way — because it made the jump longer to clear. And there was a drop down the hill on the right. I decided not to risk it.

A few days later, there was caution tape further down the trail. I slowed down but didn’t stop in time so smashed through it. There was a bigger tree that fell across the trail. By now you must be wondering how dumb I have to be to keep riding this trail. I found it hard to resist because it was the first interesting/challenging trail with downhill features like drops and rocks and berms… 5 minutes from our house! And I figured if it’s trees and random loose rocks, I can deal with it on a mountain bike. What’s the worst I could find on a trail?

One night, I cleared most of the obstacles on the trail and I was cruising to the finish line. There’s a tiny bump between 2 trees that I usually roll over. Unweight the front wheel, pass over the bump, unweight the back wheel, pump the down-slope of the bump. I have always contemplated boosting the bump as a kicker to get a nice big jump. But I didn’t want to risk it being alone at night, because when you’re in the air you can’t change directions and you have to be sure of your landing. Anyway, I rolled the 1-foot bump like I usually do. But this time when my light shined on the other side of the bump, there was a hole. Someone dug a hole right after the downslope of the bump.

It swallowed my front wheel, my front fork fully compressed and my bike stopped immediately. The back wheel kicked up and over the bars I went. What happened next felt like slow motion. I tucked to roll (thanks BJJ instincts), but I was so close to the ground after landing nose heavy that I didn’t have time to clear my shoulder. So although my tuck-and-roll instincts saved me from landing on my face lik Scotty Cranmer, I landed onto my left shoulder. My inertia stayed too much on my left shoulder and I remember thinking that I have to keep rolling or something will break. So I thud and flopped onto my back. Then I saw my bike tomahawk toward me and I swatted it away with a hand and leg. This was similar to how Scotty Cranmer got paralyzed. I could have been paralyzed. Was I paralyzed? I stayed on my back to gather myself and wiggled my toes to check.

Phew, spine was okay. I didn’t land on my head of my neck. But I knew my shoulder took a serious blow. So I feared the worst. I sat up slowly and cautiously felt my collarbone. It felt like it was still in one piece. No break. Is shoulder dislocated? I lifted my hand and it was still in its socket. I tried to stand and my vision blurred. Had to sit to catch my breath for a few minutes. I didn’t hit my head or get my wind knocked out of me… why was my vision blurry? My bike that flipped over me was now pointing at me and the light was blinding. But I wasn’t ready to move, so I just stayed in the annoying light. A few minutes later, I still hadn’t fully regained my vision. But I decided I needed to get out of this trail. In case I had to call for help, I needed to be somewhere mama could find me. So I picked up my bike and tried to sit on it and walk it back. That was not a good idea. I got off and walked it. It was dark and I could barely see still, so I walked a few sections blind and from memory. I kept wondering if I should call for help even before I got out, or if I was going to be okay. I was super worried I had broken something. Maybe a rib again? I took deep breaths and coughed. No pain.

Normally, riding my bike, I could be out of that trail from where I was in a minute. But walking it half-blind and dazed, it took 15-20 minutes. I was relived to finally make it back outside. My vision had fully returned, but I was still a little shaken. I swung back onto the bike and scooted back home as carefully as I could. I usually stand on the pedals and race downhill. But this time it was really sketchy just sitting and dragging the brakes the whole way down.

I must’ve been riding funny because I was stopped by cop on the way back. He shined his light at me and asked me if I was ok. I gave him a thumbs up — “Yup I’m good.” Other thoughts came to mind because there had been frequent protests about police brutality lately. But I made it back safely.

Over the next few days, I was messed up… couldn’t really move my shoulder. But just kept moving it gingerly so it wouldn’t freeze and scar too badly. Swimming today helped loosen it up but no crazy dad jumps for you guys that day.

It would eventually take the next few months to get strength and mobility back. And to slowly stretch the tendons and muscles back to full working order. It’s now 90% so I have to keep working at it. Now that it’s better, I’ve been adding more strength and core exercise to my routine. Kettlebell things and pushups. I heard riders call it pre-hab. I have a feeling that my breakfall instincts plus the little fitness I maintained saved my collarbone from breaking. So I decided to work on it more to prevent future injuries.

False alarm.
One week, mama was sleepy very often. Then her body produced colostrum. We freaked out for a day about the possibility you 2 might have another sibling. And could we handle another baby… NOW? All over again??? Are we actually going to go through with this? We went back and forth between thinking it was madness and maybe it could work. We were happy the pregnancy test came back negative.

Boss leaves company. On Nov 3rd, my boss of many years announces he’s leaving the company. It caused me great stress for months. But it’s also forcing all of us to grow up. There’s more uncertainty now, and I realize we’ve been hiding behind his leadership. I was sad he left — we started the group we’re in and we’ve been through a lot together. I plan to call him semi-regularly.

New developments

j lost 2 front teeth. we went to live oak Manor together by bike after Sunday piano class. Pokemon go together.

J crashed going up curb at Good Sam. Knocked wind out handlebar in gut.
Cried, didn’t want to retry. We talked about the bmx skate cultutre, about coming back to conquer it. Next day said you wanted to get it. And you did. I said let me know before you do and I’ll give you some tips. You went ahead before I had a chance. Then looked back to check if I saw it.

j has become the balloon animal master. First it started with having fun blowing up balloons with our hand pump. Either tying them off and playing with them. Or letting them go and rocket around randomly.
But then mama bought you the balloon animal balloons and you learned how to twist your own animals!

j we compared lats today – yours were rock hard from climbing your rope and rope ladder outside (“they’re like bone!”) and mine were squishy.

J is now Kimi’s little master dog walker. You walk her by yourself a few times a week. You and enjoy the walks as much as she does. Sometimes you like to run her, and she comes back huffing, puffing and almost puking.

J you got hired by our neighbor to bring in the papers every day. You do that the first thing after you wake up and you’ve been keeping your responsibility.

You two walk Kimi around the block by yourselves.

J has braces and j has glasses! j we noticed you squinting while watching TV and playing video games. More so than usual recently. Went to the optometrist and she said j needs glasses badly and J might need them in a couple of years. You picked a purple frame with gold sides. You loved them! Your eyes lit up when you got them because you could finally see all the details you’ve been missing. Like leaves on the tree and faraway words. And I have to say they look good on you.

We enjoyed playing Dungeon Defenders 2 as a family. It was fun to kick butt as a team. We played that for a few weeks, but for some reason we stopped playing it over the Christmas break. I think since all your friends were on a break too, you all preferred to play Roblox with them.

Both of you have changed schools. You no longer go to the one near our house and go to a charter school instead (we were lucky to get in because COVID created vacancies). Sadly, no more walking to school and it’s a 5-10 minute drive instead. But with everyone schooling remotely, the change was easy. It was just a matter of joining one Zoom vs another. But you still were concerned you’d miss your friends. Luckily, your friends are also our neighbors so they’re still a walk or bike ride away.

Marvel movies marathon

Started with Iron Man and working our way through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I suggested to try to watch the movies series over the Christmas break. I thought they were a fun story to follow, and I couldn’t think of another better time. j wasn’t keen on watching them at first, but after the 1st Iron Man, you’ve gotten into them. They even succeeded in motivating you to shower by 7pm. I said showtime starts at 7pm no matter what. j, usually you can procrastinate for hours. But when you hear the movie starting, it makes you hurry because you don’t want to miss too much. We’ve just finished watching the first Avengers and Iron Man 3. Thor: the Dark World is next.

Merry Christmas

Christmas felt different this year. It didn’t feel as Christmasy as previous years. I guess it has something to do with being stuck at home all year whole. So Christmas ends up being yet another day at home. I’m proud of myself for putting up the Christmas lights and cleaning the gutters. And we switched to a reusable Christmas tree this year instead of a real one that we throw away. It’s the bushiest one we’ve ever had. And the tallest.

j you helped me make Cottage Pie (Shepherd’s pie with beef instead of lamb). I enjoyed teaching you how to use the knife for the first time. You were nervous at first. You said things like “I’m not good at chopping things.” You waved your hands and walked backward. But you love helping, so I decided to show you how. I loved watching your doubt and insecurity melt away little by little… replaced by growing confidence. These are moments that make me feel thankful for being a dad. It feels awesome to be able to teach you useful things. I know mom probably wouldn’t like you handling knives, but I had a feeling you were ready so we gave it a shot. At first I asked for your help to peel the potatoes. But you didn’t like that the potatoes were cold and slippery. So that’s when we talked about having you help with chopping the potatoes instead.

And you loved it! We had a rough start learning about the knife and how to avoid danger. But after a few chops, you were off to the races. You got excited chopping and slicing. You started with big chunks. But soon you started splitting the big chunks into littler chunks. And the littler chunks into slices. We were going to mash it anyway, so I let you go nuts.

The cottage pie turned out great. But I forgot to defrost the beef ahead of time, so it finished late. You 2 devoured mom’s Pernil, Spanish rice and plantains. We saved the cottage pie for tomorrow. She outdid herself this year — it was the most delicious pernil and rice she’s ever made.

Mama says the family tradition is presents come out on Christmas eve. At my home we would put the presents under the tree more days in advance, but mama insisted that presents only came out on Christmas eve.

Christmas eve – you wrote a letter for santa. And you gave him a snowman you 3D-printed. You wrote a letter that said you felt thankful Santa went around the world delivering everyone’s presents. But no one gives Santa presents. So you wanted to give him one. That was such a sweet gesture that I didn’t want to just take your snowman without giving you something in return. So I printed you a Reindeer with movable legs. And even though J didn’t write a letter, I didn’t want to give you something and him nothing. So I printed a dinosaur with snapping jaws for J. You thought I printed it but I said I didn’t know how to print such things. So far we only printed static models. I said you needed some North Pole technology to make these articulated models. j kept saying, “But, how…” And I said, “Well, when you write letters to magical beings don’t be surprised if strange things happen.”

On Christmas day, J woke up at 5am and woke everyone up. We opened presents and lazed around. Then your mom and I took a nap. We had the cottage pie for lunch. We messed around with Laser Tag. Then some air-dry clay. Then some Smash. Then we watched Home Alone. You two howled through all the fun and games.
On Christmas evening, we called Abu and grandma. Abu didn’t get to visit us this year because of Covid. Grandma was alone too. But we’re grateful that my cousin invited grandma over. She’s always been close to the family because my parents sort of took care of her when she was little (while they were dating).

J – laser tag, books, video game. Your Leatherman Sidekick and dab cat did not arrive in time. I wanted to give you a multitool because you saw them in the Boys Life earlier in the year and really wanted one. And I remember my dad gave me a Swiss Army knife at around your age, even though my mom protested that I was not old enough for a knife. It was one of my prized posessions. I would have liked to engrave it like my dad did. Something to remind you that you got it in 2020, nine years old.
j – pusheen cat, watch (to replace one you lost), crystal growing kit
mom – insulated mug for tea, snuggie (which you two and Kimi wanted to steal all day). Mom didn’t even have it on for 5 minutes before Kimi messed it up. She went out to do her business, then jumped back into the snuggie and left a trail of yuck. So she had to wash it.
me – dad jokes book
family – 3D printer, upside-down challenge game (a bunch of challenges to be completed while wearing the included upside-down glasses), gravitrack game, marble run, puzzles.

On new year’s eve, mama made soba, sushi and korean bbq and we had auntie L visit. It was delicious. We tried to play Jenga and some card games, but j started expiring and wanted to play but didn’t want to let us play following the rules. We watch Captain America Civil War until midnight.

New year celebrations around the world were different with the pandemic. No fireworks in San Francisco and empty Times Square. A few fireworks in the neighborhood. Kimi is the bravest she’s been this New Year’s. Usually she runs under the bed and won’t come out for hours. In the 1st year in our old house I had to walk her while the fireworks were popping (because we had no back yard). She was shaking and freaking out the whole time and even jumped into a bush once. This year she was calm and fine sitting with us on the couch.

3D printer

We got the Creality Ender 3 Pro.
J’s first prints: Deadpool pikachu, Dragonite for friend, Cleetus (Roblox model) for friend — this one we actually 3D-modelled it in Tinkercad.
j’s first prints: Cali Cat, Pencil End Cat, Ditto (Tinkercad), Nibbler (Tinkercad), Mouse (Tinkercad) Snowman (Tinkercad for Santa)
Mama’s prints: Serpent of Ronka cookie cutter
My prints: mods for the 3D printer itself, stackable display boxes for your creations. And a Garmin Instinct Barometer cover. This fixed all the barometer issues! The elevation data is super nice now. I saw someone post it on the Garmin forums and asked him for the STL file. He was nice and shared it with me! It know the barometer is good now because of the Heintz loop I ride. I go up and come back down the same way. So I expect the barometer to show a mirror image for the uphill and downhill. It was all over the place before the Barometer cover and after installing the cover it’s a nice crisp mirror image. Love it!


First game

Second game: You’ve published your first Survival game and even got a few of your friends to play it. It has admin commands and you even scripted a Zombie to chase you. It’s the furthest you’ve gone with making your own game. And it seems your friend M has been having a blast playing it with you for the past few days. You’d be on a Google Meet call for hours, laughing and trolling each other. Tonight when I said goodnight, you told me your ideas for how to promote your game to more people. Earlier today you and your friend M went into another game and promoted your game in chat. We brainstormed a few more ideas. Then said we’ll talk more tomorrow morning.

Curious convos

j: mom’s getting me a new cat headband because I broke the last one. sleep tight daddy

j: Dad, I invented a new thing to draw while I was at A and C’s house. Its name is Blobby. It has those sparkly eyes and its cute. I will draw it for you tomorrow. Maybe when you come out after working at lunch time.

j: You’re the best dad in the Milky Way. which galaxy has the most milk? the milky way. I thought about it when I said you are the best dad in the milky way (zzzzzz)

j (snuggling up and nuzzling into my side): I don’t think I want to fall asleep in your armpit Daddy it doesn’t smell too good

j: dad want to know what porksy ate today? for breakfast carrot lunch cucumber, dinner lettuce, dessert sweet potato
my name is tiny toks. I’m an arcanist. I’m a summoner. because I like summoning pets even bahamut.
serpent of ronka, chocobo wings are very small can’t fly very long

J: I slept well when I slept with j. she stopped rolling all over the place

J nuzzled into mama armpit in bed. you smell like flowers. dad smells like bread and flowers. except when he bikes then he smells like sweat.

“Mom, can j and I sleep together tonight?”
Mom: “WHY?”
J: “It’s just that I feel like it tonight (or some innocent reason)”
j: “I don’t mind”
You both have your own rooms now and have been sleeping apart.
Chatted with each other til you fell asleep

sweet dreams j. sometimes I have awkward dreams like eating ice cream with a pig

J do you want to be an astronaut or build a space shuttle
j of course build a space shuttle you know I like building things

J remembers being in womb. like underwater seaweed forest. apparently you’ve made this comment a few times since you were 2

J growing older is so confusing

J “I think this game you made is pretty cool, dad.”

j imaginary car game hoppy
when I’m in the car I imagine a game so I don’t get bored. I have a bubble that hops over the trees. he’s called hoppy. he can also fly when there is nothing to jump on.

“I just have all these words in my head mama. I know it’s late and I shouldn’t be up and talking so much mama but … zzzzzzzzzz”

J ran to hug me hug me good morning: dad you smell like Malaysia

One evening I had a late work call with China. Mom fell asleep so you 2 were left alone. When I was done I was surprised to find both of you in bed. You explained that J reminded j to shower and brush teeth. Then J you read Lord of the Rings as a bedtime story for j. This is because mom had been reading LOTR for you guys at night. How sweet!

j: “I’m sad that I’m getting older and I don’t remember when I was younger.”

j: “I know that you love me so much that when you die you’ll be a ghost to take care of me.”

This week in pictures

Finger Family. Youtube took this down, so here it is for memories:

Evening Pokemon Go

Drawing Pika

Evening Pokemon GO

Evening Pokemon GO

Snacks Pokemon GO ride

Walking to School

Walking to school

Walking to School

Evening bike ride

Evening bike ride

Kimi snuggles

Old faithful

Happy after catching Giratina

We took shelter here and played some Pokemon GO while it rained

Straight to Roblox after coming back from bike ride. Notice the goldfish on the chair.

Watching mama game

Birthday bike

Tooth fairy

Evening bike ride

The last beer from a 6-pack I bought for my dad when he was here a few years ago. He enjoyed being able to have beer in the pool. I couldn’t bring myself to drink the last one so it sat in the fridge for a long time. I said maybe I’ll drink it on a special occasion but it never came. Mama drank it one day. She didn’t know.

j’s sprouts she grew herself

Father’s day bike ride

Pigeon Point crab family in the crack

Last bike ride during the lockdown before it got cold and we got lazy

Bedtime story

Family run – stopping to spin Pokemon GO stop

Family run

Roblox teammates

It was windy one day so we went to fly a kite. It was the first time you flew it to the end of the string.

Kite flying on a windy day

We grabbed your friends for a bike ride

Helping assemble our new 3D printer

Your first creations. Clockwise from bottom-left: Ditto, Nibbler, mouse, snowman for Santa

I managed to export the Dragonscript Arena models for printing

2019 Christmas

Pinewood Derby Cars

Buliding a model engine

Jan 3 fingernail update. By the end of the year the nail was back to normal.

Bowling birthday party

Post-BJJ competition celebration at 5 guys

Snacking after foraging fun

We replaced the wimpy Ni-Cd batteries with my 18650 Li-Ion batteries. The voltage ended up being higher, they ran faster and lasted forever.

Interesting things

Artist precisely paints popular cartoon characters

How to talk to the media

Fat albert

Insane drone flying skills


Empty places during COVID

Leon Fleisher piano

Gordon Murray’s T50


Prusa 3D printers