My career as a web developer started with The Writ. My career as an editor and leader also started with The Writ. My career as a poet ended with The Writ. These are all great reasons to check out the site. Here’s a better reason, though: Today, we launched its new publication. Five short stories, thirteen poems, two reflections, one script, and a healthy slew of reviews covering book stores, current events, and various forms of art. There’s also a Writer of the Month, an Artist of the Month, and a Singer/Songwriter of the Month. The Writ has been a self-sustaining writers’ workshop for over a year now. Prior to that, it was monthly publication. Now it’s both. I manage the website, a programmer handles the database work, and a powerhouse-marketing-guru-madman named Julian Torres now manages the publication. It’s amazing. Go there.

Chinatown is by far my favorite place in San Francisco. It’s huge, it’s dense, and it’s diverse. You heard me. I called it diverse. Not just because you’ll find an international tourist on every other corner, but because the Chinese people themselves vary so significantly. Mandarin vs. Cantonese: A Quick LessonMandarin comes from Beijing and is the official language of China. Cantonese comes from Hong Kong and is the dominant language of most American Chinatowns. While they’re both “dialects” of Chinese, they’re entirely seperate languages. A speaker of one can’t understand a speaker of the other, but they can write to each other in Chinese characters. I study Mandarin. Cantonese goes right over my head.San Francisco Chinese Linguistics: A Quick LessonA century ago, nearly all of San Francisco’s Chinese households spoke Cantonese. Now, about 50% speak Cantonese, with the other half speaking Mandarin. Cantonese still dominates Chinatown, but most shopkeepers know enough Mandarin to do business with that population. Really, all Chinatown employees and business owners need to be trilingual to get by. In addition to Mandarin and Cantonese, they obviously need a little English in their bag of tricks.For most tourists, Chinatown is a slice of China. For me, it’s a mecca of multiculturalism. I hear various forms of Chinglish, interspersed with both Mandarin and Cantonese. Speakers switch between languages seamlessly. The older generations use loud, heavily accented Chinese, throwing in the occasional “okay” and “bye-bye.” The younger generations lean on their English, but switch to Chinese whenever the need arises. Throw in some multicultural locals, add a handful of African, European, Asian, and American tourists (who just have to see Chinatown while they’re in the city), and you have the very definition of diversity.

As part of the kick-off festivities for this new blog, I need to give some props to my last blog, Webbing Out Loud. It was a great idealistic experiment that faded away just as brilliantly as it entered onto the scene. Determined to display the most useful and interesting sites on the web, this site not only lacked a consistent audience, it lacked a realistic scope.Nevertheless, I urge you to take a look at it. Webbing showcases my favorite sites, from the tranquil games of Orisinal to the font-your-own-handwriting services (and free stuff) at the Font Garden. Enjoy! Oh, and if you’d like to take over Webbing Out Loud with your own mad phat research and writing skills, talk to me. I hate watching a good thing die…

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I just volunteered with One Brick at the San Francisco Food Bank. It was the most fun I’ve ever had in a cold warehouse. Twenty-eight volunteers were there, all throwing aside their separate backgrounds to don hairnets and measure deli meat. Big chunks of peppered salami and olive loaf spread across saran-wrapped tables, and we scooped the meat in unison. When it came time to sort nectarines and pears, we were a single human machine, powered by our common goal of emptying the bins. Filling boxes turned into a race. Dodging the rotten fruit that whizzed toward the dumpster turned into a game. I turned into a quality control expert. All in two and a half hours. We sorted and packed over 15,000 lbs of food in that time. How’s that for teamwork?

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