When I Learned How to Read


The memory of when I first learned how to read glows like in my mind like embers still hot from their initial spark. I was in kindergarten. There were 26 big workbooks. One for every letter of the alphabet. The characters were Jack, Jill, their dog, a lion, and a silly troll that hid under a bridge. They lived in a world of bright colors and simple shapes.

The Professional Cockblocker


It is a well known fact that many people have unpleasant jobs where they must deal with other people’s shit on a daily basis: shrinks, garbage collectors, nannies on temporary visas, U.S. soldiers on active duty in Iraq, and nuclear decontamination technicians. But few have to deal with actual human excrement.

One of my friends worked as a bathroom attendant this summer. His job was to hand out paper towels and keep the restroom clean between 8pm and 4am (sounds simple enough). The place of employment is a bar (this might get complicated) – a gay bar (good luck).

Joules of Wealth


During the fall harvest in Fujian, China, sweet potatoes slices, basking in the noonday sun, blanket entire hillsides. The desiccated roots can then be kept throughout the winter, when the mother of a peasant family, searching through the pantry, might find only a few cups of rice remaining at the bottom of the sack. She reaches for the strips of dried sweet potatoes, carefully rations them for a long winter, and drops them tenderly into a pot of boiling water.

Summer Embers


Some experiences are seemingly unremarkable when we live them and prove to be significant only afterwards, glittering like gems hidden under layers of cortical detritus and beckoning us to unearth them through reflection. Other experiences are not latent and are immediately meaningful.

Rinse, Please


Lying on my back, I stared into the golden rays streaming from the dental light fixture above me. The parabolic curvature of the reflective surface behind the bulb realigned all the light rays so that they marched forth in neat, parallel lines only to be swallowed up by my gaping mouth.

Back-to-School Cockout?


My brother’s school, Wellesley High, recently invited students, family members, and teachers to attend their annual “Back-to-School Cockout.”

Back-to-School Cockout

Five Reasons Why You Should Visit Xiamen


Located in China’s Fujian province across the strait from Taiwan, Xiamen is a bustling coastal city offering all the usual amenities for travelers with Western sensibilities (aside from the blistering hot summer weather) as well as a rich plethora of traditional Chinese culture and customs.

Why I Wouldn’t Live in Hong Kong


The Weather

90°F 90% humidity = unbearable feeling of constantly living in a sauna or breathing through a rag. A short walk to the nearest MTR subway station gives me the pleasant feeling of bathing in my own perspiration.

Anime-Comic-Game Hong Kong (ACGHK) 2009


I’m racking my brains over what to say about the Animation-Comic-Game Hong Kong 2009 convention because I have never before found myself immersed in something so utterly foreign and bizarre. The manga fans I know in the States are mere wannabes compared to the 600,000 plus enthusiasts who flocked to this year’s ACGHK sporting imitation M41 carbines, full sets of samurai armor with matching katanas, and hair of every conceivable unnatural color under the sun.

ACGHK cosplay girl with big gun
Those are big magazines, if you know what I mean

Cosplay,” short for costume roleplay, is the term for decking yourself out in otherworldly attire and behave like your favorite animated character. It’s not at all dissimilar from the Star Wars aficionados who dress up as Jedis and storm troopers and Sith lords while waiting hours in line at the box office. Or the legions of students who, under the spell of Ms. Rowling and the silver screen, transform themselves from muggles into wizards by donning robes and picking up Nimbus 2000s.