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For the Love of Books

I was raised in a reading family, by a father who showed his love for us in many ways, but none better than through books. As kids, my sister and I were never chided to go outside and get “fresh air”; if we were reading on the couch, then that was just fine. Weekends found me sitting on a tiny chair at the local bookstore, nose deep in the latest installation of The Baby-sitters Club or Sweet Valley High, tearing through them as fast as I could.

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Hustles

There is certainly no shortage of other hustles: a couple weeks ago, a well-dressed man pitched me a story in Dunkin Donuts about having lost his wallet and run out of gas, needing to get to Bridgeport, etc., etc. The next day, apparently not recognizing me, he tried again a few blocks away. “You sold me that bill of goods yesterday!” I said, and he just walked away cursing. At least once every summer, when I’m sitting outside at the neighborhood bar down the block from my building, someone tries to run the out-of-gas hustle with an actual jerry can. I appreciate the extra investment in veracity, but I don’t offer money.

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Every Job I’ve Had: City Paper, Biking in Jorts, and The World’s Largest Design Firm

Washington City Paper, January 2011-November 2012:
I interned for Washington City Paper for all of 2010. It was unpaid, but I wrote a lot of blog posts that I still occasionally reference, and most of the things that I covered—public meetings in Southeast D.C.—I was planning to attend anyway as research for my senior thesis (about gentrification and displacement in a neighborhood called Anacostia).

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Sailing Around the World And Getting By Without Cash

65 mangos, 12 coconuts, and three rubber-banded baggies of coffee slide across the deck in two large plastic bins. There’s a broad-built man in a little boat called COUNTRY staring at me. I have no money and it’s 600 miles to the nearest ATM.

For four years, I’ve been traveling the high seas, alone aboard my sailboat BOBBIE. I’ve traveled 15,000 miles of open ocean, through twelve countries on four continents – long enough to know that being cashless doesn’t have to be a problem. For centuries, explorers have ploughed all corners of our watery world, armed with little more than improvised currencies. From the Portuguese pursuits of exotic spices in the Moluccas, to the movement of molasses across the West Indies – the sea has always remained the most flexible of marketplaces.

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Now What? How Answering This Question Lead Us to Changing Everything (Part IV)

Everyone seems to have a way of summing up Los Angeles.

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Rides for a Dollar a Minute

I’d met the rickshaw boys the summer before. I worked in the fast food stand on the corner, sweating over the deep fryer in my company-issued apron and ball cap. They parked their rickshaws across the way, at the mouth of a pedestrian alley in the tourist-filled heart of historic downtown Ottawa. They came by a few times a day to refill their water bottles, flirt and beg for free slushies. We both stayed on our feet until bar close—I fed the drunks and they hauled them home—and once I got my fake ID I started joining them on their Monday nights out, the only night of the week that they took off work.

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Living Situations From Seattle to NYC

Where have you lived Julia Lipscomb?

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Can’t Take It With You, #1: Sarah Wambold, Funeral Director (Plus, Hello!)

It’s hard to talk about money. It’s also hard to talk about death. And it’s really hard to talk about all the ways money and death seem to tangle themselves together. But since The Billfold was already down with one of these notoriously gnarly subjects, I figured the other might not be such a hard sell.

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The Torture of Giving Critical Feedback at Work

ands down, my worst work experience to date was trying to tell someone they have a bad attitude. This someone was my coworker, Ruth, and technically, I was her supervisor even though we were the same age. My boss directed me to give her this feedback during her annual review. Ruth was actually terrific at many parts of her job, but according to my boss she had a “negative attitude.” It was a combination of an unfriendly and unhelpful demeanor (that I think was accidental, e.g. that she frowned when her face was at rest), and a tendency to avoid taking on additional work (mostly pretty boring stuff that I wouldn’t have wanted either).

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The Cost of (Almost) Getting Bed Bugs in Los Angeles

There was no mistaking this captured family of bloodsuckers. Erin and Ben definitely had bed bugs.

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A Chat With the Women Who Started ‘Rice Paper Scissors,’ A Vietnamese Restaurant in San Francisco

We’re Valerie and Katie, the founders of Rice Paper Scissors, a Vietnamese restaurant based in San Francisco.

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How We Think About Class

While everyone agreed in principle that it is generally not desirable to judge people based on their appearance, we diverged on whether judging people based on apparent wealth is as bad as judging them based on, say, race.

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