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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