Palmer's Lunch, Byesville Ohio Barnes Foundation Gallery pie Campers, Zanskar River

New Story in the SF Chronicle

Jucy Van

To convert the cargo pod – the penthouse – into a bedroom, you push a button. The lid tilts open like a giant clamshell. In the San Leandro lot, I eyed the ladder and the tent suspiciously, then crab-legged my way up. It was surprisingly comfortable and well ventilated, but the entry and exit scared me.

“I am not climbing down this ladder in the middle of the night,” I said. “You try it.”

Gardner, a big guy who crests 6 feet, stepped on the bottom rung of the ladder. The van tilted ever so slightly.

“This seems like a bad idea,” he said.

The whole story is in the San Francisco Chronicle, here.

From the Archives: Korean Food. It’s Not Just for BBQ Anymore.

HoosoonyiGo north on Highway 99 and Seattle changes from downtown highrises to overpriced bungalows. After Greenlake, it’s strip motels and auto repair shops, and then used car dealers and plumbing supply and adult video. Closer to Edmonds, the backlit plastic signs add a language. Korean supermarkets and restaurants appear in the low rise strip malls.

Korean food has been, to me, a guy in a headband standing behind a grill. You tell him which meat you want and he scoots it around in a circle until it’s done.… continued…

Peace Now protest via Wikimedia (Creative Commons)

Sleeping through the War

When I was 17, I boarded an airplane for Tel Aviv. I have a vague memory of a group leader, a better memory of my fellow teenaged travelers, and an even better memory still of the night I watched the sky light up along the horizon from the balcony of an Israeli family’s apartment in Nahariya.

“Let’s go,” said one of the boys from the family hosting the dinner, and we got up, and we walked calmly down eight, maybe ten flights of stairs until we were in the building’s bomb shelter.… continued…

Back on World Hum

humI’ve always had a soft spot for World Hum, they published my first travel story, after all. I submitted it not knowing I would not get paid — a mistake I’ve only made one time. A year later, maybe two, they sent me a check for that first story — and they’ve run a few pieces of what I think are some of my best writing. For a while, I covered Hawaii pretty regularly for them — that was a terrific gig.… continued…

No More Ramones


Chuck Ts are made in China

Dee Dee is long gone

Hippie’s kids have trust funds

I’m drinking coffee at dawn

When I learn that there are

No more Ramones.


College friends with cancer

Trying to survive

They have a fighting chance now

But it ate Johnny alive

And then we learn that there are

No more Ramones.


“I don’t want to grow up!”

Joey, skinny as a mic stand

Shouting like he means it

But you can’t fight the hand

Of time when it teaches you that are

No more Ramones.… continued…

A Grand Canyon Story

Grand Canyon: Mapquest

I was so delighted to go to the Grand Canyon to work on this story, it was a dream assignment. And it felt like everyone I met was in on making the day be nothing short of perfect. America’s National Park’s… there’s nothing better. That’s my story, I’m sticking to it, thanks, Teddy.

This grab-and-go of Grand Canyon memories is exactly what I want to avoid. When I was very young, my father drove our family—my mom, two siblings, me—across the United States from New Jersey to California.