Friends and family occasionally ask me for gift ideas. I’m usually at a loss when put on the spot, so here’s a definitive list.

Books

I always enjoy books! You’re welcome to get me something you think I would like, but even better is a book you enjoyed. I’ve been exposed to so many wonderful new books that way, and it comes with the extra gift of getting to know you a bit better.

Please don’t feel the need to get new books - used, dog-eared, written in, and so on is wonderful. If you don’t have a local independent bookstore, consider using Biblio instead of Amazon/eBay.

Donations

There are a number of organizations that I care about and support - I welcome any donations made to them. If you’d like to chat about any, feel free to send me an email.

All accept donations as small as $5. Please don’t feel the need to make it in my name or tell me the amount if that’s uncomfortable.

Insight Retreat Center

IRC is unique in that all Vipassana retreats are freely offered and it runs entirely on donations and volunteers. I’ve directly benefitted from it, and it’s very important to me that it remain available. It’s associated with the Redwood City IMC.

Union of Concerned Scientists

Despite their goofy name and my reservations about science turning into scientism, UCSUSA is one of the only organizations that I believe is effectively tackling the most pressing environmental and energy issues.

The Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is just what it sounds like: an archive of all sites online plus freely available content. Think of it like the Internet equivalent of the Library of Congress. It’s invaluable for getting information that are no longer online, seeing what a website looked like a decade ago, finding live music or old software.

Planned Parenthood

There’s not much new to say about Planned Parenthood. While I have misgivings about many high-profile, highly publicized non-profits, PP is one whose physical locations have directly benefitted so many people I know.

Bellaire Public Library

Bellaire is the library that I went to as a kid. I have fond memories of digging through the stacks for Harry Harrison novels and racking up stickers for the summer reading program. It was probably the institution most responsible for my education, moreso than the public school system.

New York Public Library

NYPL gets a lot of my tax dollars, but they still manage to spend it all.