Writing Samples

  • At the Night Market, an article about The Lost Horizon Night Market, an annual(ish), semi-secret event in Brooklyn, published May 2010 at The Morning News.

We run from truck to truck, waiting for an opening in the crowd, then push through the curtains and peer past the crowds to see each installation. There’s an old-timey Western bar, wenches and cowboys drinking and brawling. There’s a cozy, mood-lit jazz den, where a pretty young woman croons, accompanied by a guy on drums and surrounded by drained cans of PBR.  . . . There’s the Jesus Christ Hookah Bar, which is two dudes dressed like Jesus smoking from a variety of elaborate hookahs.

Travel Pieces:

  • Into the Mainland, a 500-word memoir based on my September 2006 entry into mainland China, published October 2007 at Opium Magazine.

In Hong Kong, I easily obtained my Chinese visa and found the right bus. Blithely, I headed off for mainland China. But ten minutes into the bus ride, I suddenly realized that I had not changed any money. I would not arrive in Zhaoqing until after eight o’clock, and I had no reservation and no way to pay for a room.

Tanah Rata is the main backpacker town in Cameron Highlands. The surrounding hills are green and covered in either jungle or tea plantations. The symmetrical rows of tea bushes give a sort of aligator-scale texture to the hills they cover. Tanah Rata itself is a one-street town, and that street consists entirely of Indian restaurants and minimarts.

  • Angkor Wat, my observations on touring the famed temple complex in Cambodia and my experiences in Siem Reap, published November 2006 at Elizabeth Backpacks.

Nearly every child in Northern Cambodia appears to spend his or her days at Angkor hawking postcards, flutes, photocopied guidebooks and the like. The children’s sales pitches are as impressive as they are relentless. In addition to naming the capitals of every country and each of the fifty states, they can count to 10 in every language, living or dead (including Gaelic, would you believe), reeling them all off in a rapid, synchronized sing-song.

  • Higherland Inn, the tale of my failed attempt to hike a mountain outside Dali, China, published October 2006 at Elizabeth Backpacks.

We hiked for about an hour, and it began to drizzle. Then it stopped. Then it started again. Then we arrived at an outcropping of rock, and our joy at the unbelievable view (an entire unbroken mountain range spread away at our feet) was somewhat dampened by the storm clouds rapidly rising up from the valley.

I met up with Ling the following morning. It was a sunny day, but cool, and the sweet osmanthus trees were full and shady overhead. I was all set to head off for the park. Ling was too, just as soon as we’d made a quick stop by the art gallery where she was a student, so she could drop off her bike.

Humor Pieces:

I do not want to hear about people who left home at the age of 2 and raised themselves in a dumpster, and stripped for a living before being picked up by a traveling circus, and saw the world, and scrapped and grifted and amateur boxed, and that is how they acquired the skills that make them such a successful 24-year-old CEO today.

This used to be a nice neighborhood: artists, laborers, immigrants, postgraduates. Good, clean, quiet, hard-working people all. But recently, your children have begun to creep into my lovely neighborhood, and, since their arrival, this place has really gone downhill.

  • Ode to igoogle’s Teahouse Theme, an ode about an office worker’s relationship with his igoogle page, published July 2007 at Accismus.  This post garnered the most traffic and comments of any on my personal blog, and even caught the attention of igoogle’s development team!

You torture me, teahouse fox. I sit at this desk, nine-to-five, five days a week (if I’m lucky: sometimes much longer), thinking, worrying, slaving and perspiring, and all in pursuit of what? Money? Success? Respect? The ever-elusive American dream?Maybe you’ve got the right idea, teahouse fox. Living your pastoral existence.