Category Archives: essays

A fun story about the early Web

I had a short thing come out for a fun project called WebSafe2K16, about the early World Wide Web, which just turned 25 this year. 216 essays of 216 words each. Mine is here:


The title, Five Stars, refers to the rating system we used for the Magellan Web directory. At one point, we actually gave out badges to sites that “earned” five stars; if you remember Point Communications, our graphic copied their “best of the Web” self-advertisement.

I chose the color because that was the color of the icons and packaging of Macromedia Dreamweaver software, used for creating Web pages—more precisely, it’s the color of the covers of the books I wrote about using this software, back when I cared about knowing tech things and back when you had to know how to make a web page in order to make a web page.

*whispers* Web pages were better when they were mostly text

Three New Stories: Orlando, Prayer, Private Security, and the Warriors

Why Prayer Can Be A Powerful Tool For Social Justice

If I’ve ever written anything important, this is it, for feminist culture site The Establishment. Following the massacre in Orlando, I interviewed four queer faith leaders who told me how prayer and fellowship fuel their activism. I asked them to respond to people who posted online who were exhorting others not to pray and saying that religion is at the heart of all of society’s ills.

The halftime show at Oracle Arena features flamethrowers shooting fire from the baskets

How to Watch the Warriors: A Journey Into Fandom and Across the Bay

This travelogue through Oakland and SF is the culmination of my season of basketball-watching, condensed into the seven games it took the Warriors to lose the NBA Finals. I had to write this one before Game 7, since I was going to be off the grid, and I left it in the hands of my favorite editor, David Roth at VICE Sports, who did a bang-up job editing it and finishing the ending I wrote before I went to Redwood Magic.

Omar Mateen, George Zimmerman, and How Wannabe Cops Become Killers

My first piece for Complex Life, the new news site of the music magazine, is also my first news piece wherein my reporting consists entirely of synthesizing other sources. At first I felt weird about pitching and writing such a piece, except since I read a few dozen news stories for it, I guess it counts as a researched piece instead of just an aggregation. Anyway, the weird thing was that my editor’s editors demanded that I include George Zimmerman in the piece for the clicks. I was skeptical but I think he does fit the overall thesis that men obsessed with joining law enforcement, and thwarted in their quest, end up taking security-related jobs that suit their thirst for social control. G4S, the company I discuss in the piece, not only employed Omar Mateen but scores of other men who went on to commit violent acts, on or off the job.

? New Story: Warriors and Gentrification

In Oakland, a Team and a City on the Verge of Gentrification


Of course, any story I write about the Bay Area is going to be a housing story. I spent two months talking to Golden State Warriors fans about basketball and their lives, and the parallel rise of Oakland’s economy and the Dubs’ stardom. My latest for VICE Sports.

??? New Essay on Prince

Prince, ‘Purple Rain,’ Grief, And Growing Up Weird

The Righteous One: I tried to review Purple Rain but since it’s a terrible movie I reviewed my own life instead, which would not be the same if Prince hadn’t held my hand through it.

Purple Rain Marquee at Castro Theatre
The Castro is the Prince of movie theaters.

I’ve wanted to write for Bitter Empire for a while, and I’m really excited to have this piece up about how big a deal Prince was for me growing up.

I skipped school the morning Prince died. Between crying and tweeting, I couldn’t seem to get myself out the door. “School is canceled,” my friends reassured me. “All flags fly at half mast.”

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