Trade-offs of Dental School Care

In 1999, I landed a new job that offered excellent medical benefits with one hitch: no dental coverage until after the first year. Perhaps I could go without dental benefits for one year? It seemed a calculated risk worth taking, my then-husband and I thought. We were enrolled in his medical plan, paying almost $100 a […]

Protect yourself with better passwords

I have more digital passwords than keys, and without a handy key ring and visual clues like a Hello Kitty key cap, I’m having a hard time keeping them straight. Add to that the cautions of most info security professionals to avoid using the same passwords across multiple sites and systems, and creating passwords with […]

In Memoriam: Margaret Arakawa

Steve’s mother, Margaret Arakawa, died on December 26, 2016 of natural causes at home and surrounded by family in Arleta, Calif. She was 92. Feisty and faithful, Margaret worked hard to gain her mobility and voice back after a serious stroke in January 2015. We watched her recover slowly over many months, her determination in physical therapy […]

Robber’s Cave Social Experiments

Summer camp is not just a rite of passage, but also a fine social experiment in making friends, overcoming homesickness and trying new things. A week at summer camp in Robber’s Cave State Park in Oklahoma’s Sans Bois Mountains when I was 12 brought me a fascination with Belle Starr the Bandit Queen, a fear of archery and a […]

God of the Internet Book Signing

My book signing Saturday at Book Soup in West Hollywood drew a great crowd of friends and fans. What a treat it was to be on such hallowed ground on the Sunset Strip, appearing just days after Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson and a few days before Girls’ creator Lena Dunham. God of the Internet‘s plot […]

The looming digital crisis of confidence

The first hints of trouble will probably start after the polls close on November 8. Should votes not go his way, GOP Presidential Candidate Donald Trump will likely reiterate and ramp up his claims of a “rigged” election. These cries, left vague enough to fit neatly into a number of real world risks as well […]

Secrets of the Kitchen Cabinet

The roaches have discovered my secret. They’ve invaded my unit’s kitchen cabinets and made little roach tracks through the dusty wasteland of cut crystal vases, a KitchenAid stand-up mixer, bread plates, a stainless steel seltzer bottle and a carved wood ice bucket. The roaches have found the wasteland of my wedding registry gifts. And for […]

The Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders

The summer of my eighth birthday was overshadowed by a grisly crime made all the more harrowing because of its child victims. On a humid and rainy Sunday in June 1977, the idyllic memories of summer camp I had shared with my friends shattered into shards of horror when three Girl Scouts, two from Tulsa […]

Groundwork for a salmon revival

I thought human teen-dom was tough. My own experience of navigating mean girls, not having two Polo shirts to wear at the same time (80s kids called that doubling-up) and picking the wrong boy to kiss after school pale in comparison to the rites of passage nature inflicts on its non-human inhabitants. Take salmon, for […]

From outcast to Africa’s “golden voice”

People said he was cursed. Schoolchildren avoided him. His father sent him to live on the streets when he was a teenager. Mali musician Salif Keita could be a bitter, angry man, but instead, he writes beautiful songs about life, love and fighting prejudice. His most recent is the plaintive “Folon.” The word folon means […]