Sunday, November 27, 2016

Space Utilization

It doesn't take much to get me excited, does it?

I bought a new fruit basket off Etsy, and BBF took me to the Despot, where we found the right anchor and hung this on my last trip home.

I love it! But of course, I'm not there. I'm in a rental in Hollywood, and my bananas live in a bowl on the windowsill here.

What I need now is a small hanging pot rack to go over the gas burners.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Cracking Fun

Check out this exciting project waiting for me in my Jersey City basement.

Yeah, I'm gonna have some fun in the spring!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


This is one of my favorite things.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

It's All Gonna Be Okay

“It’ll be okay,” people say. They come from all corners, the left, the right, in-between.

We adapt quickly, forgetting how it felt before, a month ago, a year ago, last decade. I remember 2006 only with benchmarks. Kuwait. Visa runs to Bahrain, to Sinai. Selling an apartment in Jersey City.  

It’ll be okay, because we adapt and continue, no matter how not-okay things become. Even in Mosul, people continue to exist. Even in Aleppo, people laugh as well as cry.

And tonight, I was sick of chasing fruit flies in my apartment, so I went to a coffee shop, stopped at the supermarket, saw the Indian woman who threads eyebrows for seven dollars, and walked along Hollywood Boulevard, thinking about how “okay” is just getting up every day with food, water, and power.  Will we interrupt our migrant-worker food chain, bomb people for no clear reason, incite hatred, cut taxes on billionaires and the filthy-rich?

We might.

Will we mobilize?

We may.

Or will we adapt and not notice when redistricting gets a little worse, similar to how we do little as the environment changes incrementally?


We’ll keep calling Senators, writing the mayor, and posting links about how easy humans are to hack. We’ll march on Washington, we’ll march on New York, we’ll march on MacArthur Park until no one ever talks about cake in the rain ever again. Some of us will quietly check the expiration dates on our passports, look at multiple routes to Mexico, to Canada, to Terminal Island.

We’ll keep working, making our rent and mortgage payments, getting haircuts, shopping for jeans that don’t make a muffin top, and trying to eat more vegetables in case Rome doesn’t burn. But it will be, in the end, okay, simply because we will adapt to whatever reality we get, whether it is the same as now or as bad as our favorite apocalypse movie. 

Because that’s what humans do.

On Hollywood Boulevard, I thought about the definition of okay as I put my feet down over the stars of Melissa Gilbert, Lowell Thomas, Eddie Albert, and celebrities long forgotten. I stopped at Alex Trebek and looked up at sunset over Los Angeles.

Tomorrow could bring anything. Let’s hope for a bit of luck, and keep mobilizing, doing all these little things, being the fruit flies in the White House dining room, until we run out of ideas.

Monday, November 14, 2016


Opposite ends of the Nile here—first is Kampala (2005), second is Cairo (2007). 
I've been at a regular job for a while now, and this week, facing reality without being able to diminish it with an airplane ticket and a rental abroad, I've been nostalgic for the times I could.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Multiple Choice

What do you see in this photo?
  1. Poverty. 
  2. Pity. 
  3. A place I should volunteer though I have no professional skills. 
  4. The best way from A to B where roads do not exist. 
The answer is, of course, #4.

For a long time, I wrote travel books and articles and daily accounts about experiences. I had a few goals, but the most important one was to DEMYSTIFY THE OTHER. Demystify the world. Demystify travel. Demystify the shapeless mass called humanity in places outside of our daily lives. Demonstrate that the travel porn industry is just silly, that there is no exoticism in THE OTHER, that the Noble Savage myth is absurd, that humanity is just you, but in a hut with fewer available channels and more beans. I succeeded with my audience, which unfortunately wasn't all that large.

I reach more people now as an editor—we do not hold back in our material there either. But with travel, I always tried to show that people are pretty much the same around the world and that things that seem impossible are really just a series of small, mostly inconvenient steps.

 The real question here is not multiple choice. It's how do you encourage people to develop critical thinking skills, to learn to dig into something they overhear or inherently believe, at least enough to question assumptions just enough to grasp the world is nuanced?

Wednesday, November 09, 2016