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News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Local family's book promotes group play


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Breier family of Los Altos Hills enjoys the benefits of group play, and they’re spreading the word about the value of games in a new book.

The Breier family of Los Altos Hills believes that games are a force for good, so they’re spinning their ideas into a book that encourages other families to discover the benefits of group play.

“More interaction is better … so any game that gets people interacting instead of listening to music or diddling on their own little screen is a force for good,” said 21-year-old Corey Breier, the eldest of the family’s three sons. “You’re not going to be at the end of your life and say, ‘I wish I’d played more Angry Birds.’”

Creating and publishing a book of games comes naturally to a family that has experience blogging and authoring books. From sock wrestling to pool basketball and word contests, games are an integral activity in the Breier household. In fact, it was while playing a game in their car during a recent road trip that the family first pondered the idea for the book.

“We know a lot of games, and some families don’t,” Breier said.

Unlike the stereotypical camp games that come to mind when many people think of games, the Breiers aim to present creative content that is fun, extensively tested through personal experience and meaningful enough to foster engagement in complex social situations. Although most of the games in their book are simple and require only a bit of imagination, the Breiers also highlight some board games and multiplayer video games.

Even though a book of games may go against the grain of popular culture – the family considered building an app as well – Breier said a well-illustrated coffee-table book seemed to be the most appropriate format to lure children and adults away from mobile phones and other technology to socialize face to face.

“If you have a game in which everyone is engaged and they’re actually enjoying the game because they like it, you don’t have to think about your phone,” he said.

Kickstarting a fundraising campaign

After giving their book a title – “Life Is a Game: 101 Group Games for Family and Work” – the family launched a Kickstarter campaign in early July to fund the project and measure interest. They need $5,000 to pay for illustrations, hire a layout designer and finance the first run of the self-published book. If they meet their goal by the Aug. 7 campaign deadline, the book could be ready for distribution as early as October. The family has already received more than $2,600 from 47 contributors as of this week, a head start toward their fundraising goal.

Unique to the project is the extent to which the entire family is involved – dad Mark oversees marketing, mom Ronda serves as copy editor and the three boys – Riley, 11; Travis, 19; and Corey – are contributing chapters on their favorite games.

Breier is so confident that the endeavor is a winner that he turned down a summer internship to shepherd the book to fruition as project manager. He said the project gives him something to wake up to every day, and it’s fostering his growing passion for connecting people through games.

“At first – as any kid would – well, I didn’t want to do it,” said Breier of his childhood resistance to his father’s prodding to play games.

In time, Breier inherited his dad’s role as a game catalyst. He said games find their way into his daily routine – whether at parties on his college campus or during downtime while studying abroad.

“If we’re talking and we don’t have a game, the onus is on each of us,” said Breier of the awkwardness that can characterize a gathering of unfamiliar faces. “With a game, it makes its own little rules.”

For more information on the Breier family’s book project, visit 101groupgames.com.

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