What is Surfing Selling?

(Surfers on the competitive circuit, freesurfers specializing in edits and surf films, and weekend warriors alike are participating in the growth of “surf culture.” But what is that culture growing towards and what is being sacrificed to get there?)



Isaiah Rashad and Place

(Like a storm in Alaska generating waves in Hawai’i, this essay considers how a rapper from Tennessee impacts the psychology of a surfer from Maui)

Dinosaur truth

Five Fossilized Paragraphs on Dinosaurs, Capitalism, and Imagination

(The gravity of a scientific mythology of the real finds counterweight in the gravity of the most commonly taught writing format)

tupac and lamar

“u” and “i” in Kendrick Lamar (part four)

(In the final installment of an essay inspired by To Pimp a Butterfly, the cacophonous voices of Kendrick Lamar, Tupac, Roland Barthes, and Bill Waterson yield discordant resonance)

“u” and “i” in Kendrick Lamar (part three)

(In part three of an essay inspired by Kendrick Lamar’s recent album, To Pimp a Butterfly, the use of voices in the creation of a metaphorical ethos is examined as it moves from good Kid m.A.A.d. city to To Pimp a Butterfly, including a reading of a controversial music video)

“u” and “i” in Kendrick Lamar (part two)

(In part two of an essay inspired by Kendrick Lamar’s recent album, To Pimp a Butterfly, content-driven investigations of Young Jeezy, Pusha T, and Drake precede a close ‘reading’ of “u” and another short film by Lamar)

“u” and “i” in Kendrick Lamar (part one)

(Part one of an essay inspired by Kendrick Lamar’s recent album, To Pimp a Butterfly, employs metaphor, music video, literary criticism, and creative non-fiction to reveal the profundity of Lamar’s artistry and provide insights into hip-hop)


On Attending the Golden State Warriors’ Championship Parade in Oakland

(An essay that considers the place of sports fandom in American Culture, written after traveling to Oakland to watch the Championship Parade)


A Tree (or, History)

(A poem ruminating on the cliche: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”)


Great Pyramids

(A short story about teaching the art of writing short stories)

Slater Barrel 1

Conviction—Kelly Slater’s Anti-Gravity

(An essay about surfing, conviction, and the dominance of Kelly Slater)



(A short, creative essay lamenting technological progress)


Mayjah Rayjah

(A narrative recounting experiences at a music festival on Maui and the characters that call Maui home)

ruggin out 5

Chengdu, Rugby, The Internet, and Colonialism

(A toxic look at traveling in Chengdu and the “ex-pat” lifestyle)


Ghana Slave Castle

(A creative, scholarly essay examining a “slave castle museum” on the coast of Ghana, Africa)


“Here” I am

(The essay that gives yellowpayphone its name was born of an interaction with a child in China, and it is these childish whims that guide the blog’s topical selections)

Photograph Citations:

N.d. Hot New Hip Hop. Web. 22 July 2015. <http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/kendrick-lamar-shares-vision-he-had-of-tupac-when-he-was-21-news.8129.html?image=4&gallery=0>.

Pilny, Christopher, 2013. Freytag’s Pyramid, photograph 27 January 2015, <http://christopherpilny.com/freytags-pyramid/>.

Bielmann, Brent, 2014. Kelly Slater pride of Cocoa Beach, photograph, viewed 23 October 2014, <http://www.surfingmagazine.com/wsl/gabriel-medina-wins-2014-billabong-pro-tahiti/>.

Old TV Screen Static Old, n.d. photograph, viewed 14 August 2014, <http://pixshark.com/old-tv-static.htm>.

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