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The first time I see Eliza Jane Schneider onstage, I want to be her friend.

October 16, 2013 |

Image by Daren Scott.

(Originally published in the San Diego Reader, October 16, 2013.)


The first time I see Eliza Jane Schneider onstage, I want to be her friend.

Or maybe her writing partner, or her personal … Read More

We’re doing arms tonight, FYI.

August 14, 2013 |

(Originally published in the San Diego Reader, August 14, 2013.)


In a few minutes, Yoni Baker is going to take off all his clothes.

I will see him naked. I know it. He knows it. The camaraderie … Read More

What am I doing in Eastlake?

July 31, 2013 |

(Originally published in the San Diego Reader, July 31, 2013.)


The first day I took my daughter to her new school, I questioned whether moving to Eastlake was the right move for our family. I had stopped by … Read More

Baja is Back

July 24, 2013 |

(Originally published in the San Diego Reader, July 24, 2013.)


In a December 2011 Vanity Fair article, writer Dana Vachon described Chula Vista as “a sputtering neon error of beauty academies and pawnshops, recently terrorized by a homicidal Tijuana drug … Read More

BACKSTORY: My New Best Burlesque Lady Friends

May 7, 2013 |

After starting several opening paragraphs for this post, it occurred to me that most who visit will care less about what I have to say than they will about getting a peek at the dancing ladies. And so I’ll jump … Read More

From Sheep to Sweater in 12 Hours

April 24, 2013 |

(Originally published in the San Diego Reader April 24, 2013.)


Kelly Friedlen believes every home should have three alpacas in its backyard.

She’s so adamant that, in the two days we’ve known each other, she’s said it … Read More

BACKSTORY: The World of Alpacas, Wool, and Weaving

April 23, 2013 |

I love my job. Until I started working as a journalist, writing was a way for me to make sense of the world and my place in it.  As an emotion-centric person, I tend to feel my way through life. … Read More

One Steak at a Time

March 20, 2013 |

(Originally published in the San Diego Reader, March 13, 2013.)


Angie Elsbury wears a blood-smeared apron and, in her words, “like, five layers of clothes” underneath. She laughs with her mouth wide open, lifting the apron to prove … Read More

BACKSTORY: Angie Elsbury

March 11, 2013 |

Angie Elsbury is the first person I’ve ever known to whip out her cell phone to share photos of raw meat.  If I hadn’t met her and sat down with her a number of times, I would be frightened by … Read More

Hands-On High Schools

March 6, 2013 |

(Originally published in the San Diego Reader March 6, 2013.)

On a Friday morning in mid-January, the students in room 607 at University City High School cluster around computer screens in small groups. Most wear sweatshirts, jeans, and sneakers. … Read More

San Diego Public Market Seeks Permanence

March 6, 2013 |

(Originally published in the San Diego Reader March 6, 2013.)

Every Wednesday and Sunday morning, Saida Soto and three co-workers spend an hour setting up their two booths at the San Diego Public Market on National Avenue in Barrio … Read More

BACKSTORY: Hands-On High Schools

March 5, 2013 |


One Wednesday morning in mid-February, I accompanied Ellie Vandiver on her rounds as she checked in on her high school seniors who are doing career and technical education internships at various local hospitals.  I know it’s probably demeaning to … Read More

BACKSTORY: San Diego Public Market

March 5, 2013 |

My friend Beans is a gourmet cook.  Last Christmas, she made a seafood casserole and a holiday pudding that had to be steamed for four to five hours.  Another year, she made white wine sangria, honey poached pears with a … Read More

Temporary TV Fame

February 13, 2013 |

(Originally published in the San Diego Reader February 13, 2013.)

Michael Binkow stands onstage in the event room at Valley View Casino wearing a headset, gray jeans, and a black zip-up jacket. A seven-piece band stands quietly at stage … Read More

BACKSTORY: Temporary TV Fame

February 12, 2013 |

My friend Dave has been a music journalist since the beginning of time, and every time I talk to him, he reminds me that things aren’t the way they used to be. Last summer, he hinted that he had something … Read More

Hasno Ali

February 7, 2013 | 2

(Originally posted in the San Diego Reader February 6, 2013.)

On a warm Sunday afternoon in late September, the San Diego Public Market teems with socially responsible shoppers toting reusable bags.

A crowd of eight to ten people … Read More


February 7, 2013 |

From looking at the travel brochures, one would never guess that San Diego has the second largest population of Somalians in the country.  City Heights is heavily populated with East Africans from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, and Sudan as well as … Read More

BACKSTORY: Milton the Barber

February 1, 2013 |

Milton changed my life (specifically my writing life) in two ways.

One: He made me tougher.  The man was intimidating, and he meant to be.  I had two choices: suck it up or flee.  I chose to suck it up, … Read More

BACKSTORY: Andrea Steorts

January 31, 2013 | 2

When I first contacted Andrea Steorts for a story on local Kickstarter campaigns, she was approximately $1000 away from her $6000 goal. By the time we met in person a few days later, she was $765 over and was giddy with … Read More

BACKSTORY: A Mini Debate on Public Breastfeeding

January 23, 2013 |

A few weeks ago, a contact called me and said she had a story for me.  A woman she knew had been asked to leave a local restaurant for breastfeeding.  I looked into it, met the woman and her family, … Read More