38 of my favorite essays

Closeup of closed Swiss Army knife

The Glue

I know that I have always been a jack-of-all-trades, but only just realized I am also a project manager

Composite photo resembling an old-fashioned double exposure, of a road sign reading “PAVEMENT ENDS” superimposed over a gravel road leading into light woods

Farm roads

I grew up on a gravel road, and that’s still my favorite kind of road, and my favorite kind of landscape

Closeup of a lego contraption

Imagining and building

There always comes a point where I can’t finish “designing” something in my head. I have to start building it to find the edges.

Preschooler on a rickety suspension bridge over a foresty gully, summer, walking away from the camera

Trolling Works

Every three or four years I’ll kick a hornet’s nest by saying something like: fellow front-end devs: if you ever feel intimidated by your back-end...

View of the eastern sky at sunrise; the sky is is cloudless, yellow; sun is orange

Reality TV

Discerning whether something is real or a fantasy is no longer a salient problem for daily existence.

Highly-motioned smeared photo of sunlight shining through the leaves of a forest. In the upper center of the frame the faint outline of an owl’s wings


Over the last four years I wore a literal groove into the gravel behind the bleachers at the Lewis and Clark baseball diamond.

Scan of a photo from 1971. A man — my father — napping on a couch, with an infant — myself — asleep on his chest

You’re a Good Man

About twelve years ago, in the middle of my divorce, my father paid me the greatest compliment I have ever been given.


Golf to work

I like my commute so much I make it longer, and do it on the weekends


Last Post of the Decade

I don't know anyone who says anything other than “good riddance” to the first decade of the 21st century.

Swiss Army “Champ” knife with all the blades extended

Technique and Technology

You can use a Swiss Army knife to cut your fingernails in two different ways: with the scissors, or with the knife blade.



In the last 24 hours the feeling finally hit us: OK, we're actually leaving.


Arrival: Xiamen

After about 25 hours of transit we are finally in Xiamen. Flights were all smooth, after a delayed departure from Portland. The delay actually worked...


The Champ

1990 Honda Civic, Runs, Sort of - $250 (SW Portland) Reply to: anon-xxxxxxxxx@craigslist.orgDate: 2005-07-24, 6:47PM PDT This is a Champagne (transl: “Gold”) 1990 Honda Civic...


Ten Human Universals

As I Learned Them from Seven Years of Anthropology Classes Who you consider a “family member” is closely correlated with the list of individuals in...


This is My Cathedral

The squall of March rain arrives like an announcement, travelling a patient course, propelled by 8000 miles of Pacific Ocean. I hear it crawling eastward...