How to paint in watercolor

Sidewalks and the paved parts of the urban landscape have a funny definition in some Asian cities.  On the Silk Road after midnight, the roads and sidewalks become the communal domicile, as beds are dragged out into the streets to enjoy the cool breeze of the desert nights. Hanoi and Bangkok are two cities so […]

Moons and Junes and ferris wheels

George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. grew up in Illinois, obsessed with the moon, its shape, its craters and scarred face.  He drew pictures of the moon in grade school and studied it in high school, and when he graduated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a civil engineer, the lunar mark stuck and came back to […]

Trufflepig Recipes: Congee

I have a list of three things which, perhaps due to a repressive part of my psyche or some masochistic Protestant incline, I have denied myself until I felt I could no longer continue without them; reading the entire Faulkner cannon, going on a surf/bike road trip through California, and learning how to make my […]

The Winds of Dabancheng

The winds of Dabancheng can pick up an 18-wheeler and toss it like crumpled up newspaper. The winds are so strong that the landscape has no soil, no sand, no plant, no animal – just rock left over, boulders. And if the winds here can pick up a 40-tonne truck, then the rocks left over, you can imagine, […]

Of gods, saints, and poets

For 10 years I lived out of a bag.  It was a good bag, cordura Patagonia roller, that did me well, and it was the same size as a small NYC apt and held all the stuff I needed at that point in my life so I was happy.  I started on the road without […]

Taking the Road Less Driven

In 2011, I spent a fortnight driving around southwest China by myself. I had a valid Chinese driving license and a legal rental car, and yet I felt as though I was doing something illicit. Others evidently thought so, too: “Do you really just go where you want? So free!” I was asked, wistfully, on […]

Yes Way, Weiwei

I’ve never been to China. But yesterday I went to see an art show at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) in Toronto, featuring the phenomenal work of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (pronounced ‘I Way Way’). Even though I know there’s nothing like seeing a country in person, I kind of feel like this show […]