Category Archives: journal

Sans frontières

“The more primitive a man is, the better he believes himself to be…Doubt and tolerance are the characteristics of civilised man.”
— Marill to Kern, in Prague

East Berlin

In January, 1984, one of the few places you could cross into East Berlin was at the Friedrichstrasse station, a transfer point for the U– and S-bahn, subway and tram. There you went through East German passport control, had your passport stamped, were several times informed that you could only stay for twenty-four hours, and last, but most important to the government of the ironically named German Democratic Republic, the required currency conversion from a Western currency (dollars, francs, lira, etc.) to the Mark der DDR; since I travelled with West German Marks, I converted those. The coins of East Germany felt so cheap that I could easily snap a coin in half. Continue Reading

Debugger

Dad – below is the article I was telling you about. I submitted it to Wired, The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Paris Review, Granta, and a couple of computer industry publications that you’ve never heard of. No one wanted it. The reasons for rejection were varied: too long, incoherent, poorly written, lacking in pictures, and… Continue Reading

Letter From Chur 2

The second in an occasional series. Once again written E.B.White style. I knew things were different here on my first visit just about a year ago, I arrived at a very small town for my interview. As I got off the train, I had to take an underpass walkway to get to the other side of… Continue Reading

My Own Private Alexandria

A response to a suggestion. Back then, you might see a young woman reading a book at the Cafe Hawelka in Vienna, maybe at the Cafe Bastille in San Francisco, or anywhere in between. From a distance you could see what she was reading. From that came possibilities. “It was too bad about Prince Andrei.… Continue Reading

A Tale of Two Fingers….and One Tendon

November, 2009 – Belmont, California My Japanese garden machete is from Soko Hardware in San Francisco. Soko is one of those urban hardware stores where in addition to finding screws, toilet plungers, and extension cords, there’s a large selection of white paper lamp shades, pottery in dark blues, greens, and golds; metal teapots, and craft… Continue Reading

Letter From Chur

The first in an occasional series. The last Saturday in January, mid-morning, I left Montpellier. It was cold enough to wear a down vest under my long coat; where I was going would be much colder. The transfer at Mulhouse was uneventful, if awkward: moving my luggage (a massive rolling suitcase, a backpack/duffle bag, and… Continue Reading