Mental Floss Articles: Walden, Chocolate Factories, Witches, Spiders, and More!

Filed under: Joy's Work — joy at 6:54 am on Monday, September 28, 2015

More Mental Floss articles that I wrote! Get ‘em while they’re hot!


12 Gloriumptious Facts About Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl actually was a chocolate tester for a candy company when he was a kid. It stuck with him (so to speak) and inspired Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


10 Transcendental Facts About Walden.

Did you know Thoreau started a 3,000-acre forest fire before going to live in the woods?


10 Things You Might Not Know About Charlotte’s Web

EB White was fascinated with spiders and even took her egg sack back to his New York apartment with him. He was delighted when it hatched and the baby spiders spun webs all over his room.


10 Witchy Facts About The Crucible.

While Arthur Miller was writing his allegory for McCarthyism, he was having an affair with Marilyn Monroe. I can’t help but surmise this must have influenced the affair between Abigail and John Proctor.

New Kitten!

Filed under: Personal — joy at 12:07 pm on Thursday, September 24, 2015


We have a new family member. She’s 8 weeks old. Name suggestions?




I’m Back From Holland

Filed under: Personal — joy at 4:17 am on Monday, September 21, 2015


Look! Marijuana seeds in a can!

More pictures coming soon.

(Don’t worry, America; I didn’t smuggle the can back with me.)

Beautiful Sky

Filed under: Personal — joy at 6:38 am on Friday, September 11, 2015


Good morning.

Trying Out The New Camera

Filed under: Personal — joy at 1:06 pm on Sunday, September 6, 2015

I have a new camera. I went out on Saturday and tried it out, going to the Jack London State Park and a winery. I’m happy with it.


Luther Burbank’s spineless cactus.


A boy and some fish.


I love this old tree. I’d heard they might have to take it down, and it looks like they didn’t have to after all.


It’s harvest time in wine country. Here’s some carts of chardonnay grapes.

Things Going On Right Now

Filed under: Personal — joy at 7:57 am on Thursday, September 3, 2015

What’s going on with you? Here’s some things going on with me:


I’m harvesting hops. I have at least 15 ounces of Cascade and Sterling hops from the garden. Kyle is going to make a beer with them.

I’m sewing a shirt. I got so sick of the fashion options in the store that I took a pattern from an old shirt and am trying to recreate it. I’ll put up a picture if it works out.

I’m reading Ulysses. I’m embarrassed that I’ve never read James Joyce’s masterpiece, so I’m plowing through it. So far I like it.

I’ve read some other good books.
Lately I’ve enjoyed My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard, The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

Kyle has a new job.
He’s Vice President of Engineering Ops for Final.

We’re going to Europe soon. I’m trying to get a bunch of work done before then. Better get back to it.

One more picture of the this year’s garden harvest. Notice the grapes.


Book Review: Felicia Day’s Memoir

Filed under: Joy's Work — joy at 7:50 am on Thursday, August 20, 2015


I reviewed Felicia Day’s memoir You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)for KQED, including thoughts on GamerGate. READ IT HERE.

Swimming In Produce

Filed under: Personal — joy at 7:22 am on Monday, August 17, 2015


I saw this gorgeous garden at a winery. I want my yard to look like that.

I’m regarding 2015 as a difficult gardening year. Sow bugs are devouring the roots of my plants and slowing my yield. I’m not getting a enough green beans or peppers or tomatoes to suit me.

And yet every time I go out to pick, I come back with a basket overflowing with food:


But I’m not happy with my tomatoes this year; I’m really not.

There’s a great metaphor in this story. It’s about the Judean date palm trees, a tree from the ancient world that was once plentiful. It’s even mentioned in the Bible. (“The righteous himself will blossom forth as a palm tree does.” Psalm 92)

The tree has been extinct for thousands of years. Then they discovered some of the tree’s seeds in the 1960s during the excavations of Herod the Great’s palace in Israel. In 2005 they decided to plant some of the seeds. One seed grew into a tree.


That there is a 1,300-year-old plant.

Articles: L. Frank Baum, Horton Hears A Who, And Jack London

Filed under: Writing and Publishing — joy at 7:34 am on Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Here’s a few recent articles:


13 Facts About L. Frank Baum’s ‘Wonderful Wizard of Oz’

L. Frank Baum was a fascinating person. I had no idea. He was a chicken farmer and a traveling salesman and went around the country performing a melodrama that he wrote himself. And he claimed he was going to start a Wizard of Oz theme park on a nonexistent island off the California coast. My new hero.


10 Facts About ‘Horton Hears A Who!’

I was reading this book to Gideon and realized that it was an allegory for World War II. When I looked into it deeper, I realized that Horton Hears A Who was Dr. Seuss’s atonement for his racist actions against the Japanese during the war.


10 Facts About ‘The Call of the Wild’

I gained respect for Jack London while writing this. I was able to confirm that it’s true he was rejected 664 times in the first five years of writing. He had a spindle with a needle on it on which he would impale his rejection letters. Eventually he had a column of rejection slips four feet high. That’s some major grit.

I Need To Organize My Bookshelf

Filed under: Writing and Publishing — joy at 1:44 pm on Monday, August 3, 2015


I have so many books. Organizing them feels like a huge deal. Someone come do it for me.

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