Fort Ross

Filed under: Personal — joy at 9:17 am on Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Out on the California coast near Jenner is Fort Ross, which the Russians built and occupied from 1812-1820. Their main aim, along with the Spanish and other groups, was killing marine mammals like sea otters for their fur. The short-lived fort closed down after eight years because all the marine mammals had been hunted out, one of many cases where the seemingly unending resources of the “new world” were decimated in a short period of time.

However, the fort is a nice place to spend the afternoon. I took my son there last weekend. My pictures were disappointing, but here they are anyway.


Behind the fort.


Inside the fort.


The chapel.


The bluff the park is located on.


I bet this is nicer than Siberia.


Highlight of the trip: I petted all these animal pelts. You have no idea how soft a beaver is until you pet one.

People Riding Zebras

Filed under: Personal — joy at 7:33 am on Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Today’s research hole led me into zebras. Here are pictures of people riding or otherwise domesticating zebras.








DevOps Troubleshooting In Chinese

Filed under: Kyle Rankin — joy at 2:15 pm on Thursday, November 5, 2015


Check it out! It’s the Chinese translation of Kyle’s book, Dev Ops Troubleshooting.


Can you read this? I can’t.

So proud, though.

Remembering ‘Time of Your Life’ Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 9:43 am on Monday, November 2, 2015

Remember when Jennifer Love Hewitt had that TV show Time of Your Life? It aired in 1999, right after Party of Five was canceled.

Technically, Hewitt was playing the same character she played on Party of Five, but she was a producer on this show, which means she had input into character and plot development. Thus, in every episode, the other characters would beg her to sing and the men would fall in love with her.

She’d be like, “Whaat? Me sing? I couldn’t.” But the other character would insist, and she’s be like, “You guys are so silly. Well, okay.” And then she would sing AMAZINGLY WELL (or just competently) and the men would be like, “Dream woman!”

Here’s an example:

And another:

Ha ha isn’t she adorable? Or should I say, a-dork-able?

Seriously. Every episode.

Time of You Life was canceled after one season. Then Jennifer Love Hewitt produced a TV movie where she played Audrey Hepburn, one of the most beloved actresses of all time.

Jennifer Love Hewitt 005

Oh Jennifer Love Hewitt…

Mental Floss: 9 Mournful Facts About Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”

Filed under: Joy's Work — joy at 10:06 am on Friday, October 30, 2015


I wrote another Halloween-themed Mental Floss post: 9 Mournful Facts About Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”

Ravens can really talk. Here’s a video of a raven saying “nevermore.”

3d Printed Frankenstein’s Monster Candy Bowl

Filed under: Personal — joy at 9:59 am on Friday, October 30, 2015

In addition to 3D printing our Halloween masks this year, we also printed a candy bowl, of sorts.


It’s Frankenstein’s monster. He has a removable brain so we can fill his head with candy.


He glows in the dark.


Here he is with his brain


Here he is being printed out.


Here he is with his brain and a smaller version, a little brother, if you will.

Happy Halloween!

Belgium Pictures

Filed under: Personal — joy at 8:55 am on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

In addition to our trip to Amsterdam, we took a day trip to Bruges, Belgium. It’s a medieval town with several tall churches and a town square with a clock tower. Here are some pictures:




That’s me taking a picture in a reflective art sculpture. ARTY.


While there, we ate so much. I can’t believe I lost three pounds on this trip.


Belgium chocolates. I had the best caramel I’ve ever had at Pralinette.


Beer, of course. I was rather proud to see I was familiar with almost all the Belgium beers we encountered. Woman of the world. Or at least, a beer pub.


Here’s Kyle eating a waffle. You can add lots of toppings: sprinkles, chocolate, fruit, and so forth. Kyle just had whip cream.

After eating, we walked around more.







There are lace shops everywhere.


You know how in 18th-19th century novels, women are always going on about lace, and how they have to buy a new lace collar, and how lace is so special and expensive and wonderful? I never understood that until this trip. Lace making is a complex craft that has been almost lost in the age of machinery. To see what I mean, check out this video of a woman in Bruges making lace.

The Atlantic: Should Literary Journals Charge Writers Just to Read Their Work?

Filed under: Joy's Work — joy at 7:20 am on Monday, October 26, 2015


I’m excited to share an article I wrote for The Atlantic on literary journal reading fees. It looks into whether literary journals should charge writers fees to submit their writing, an important issue that needs more discussion.

Check out: Should Literary Journals Charge Writers Just to Read Their Work?

Mental Floss: Halloween Edition

Filed under: Joy's Work — joy at 7:57 am on Saturday, October 24, 2015

Here are my latest Mental Floss articles. They are Halloween themed. Wooo (spooky noise).


10 Monstrous Facts About ‘Frankenstein’

The amount of death that happened around Mary Shelley during the writing and publication of Frankenstein is astounding. Three children, her half-sister, Percy Shelley’s first wife… the list goes on. No wonder she wrote about bringing the dead back to life.


10 Blood-Curdling Facts About ‘Dracula’

There are so many interesting components that went into writing Dracula: Jack the Ripper, the painter Rossetti digging up his dead wife’s grave, the connection between English vampires and Frankenstein, and more.


15 Mysterious Facts About Owls

I love owls.


11 Facts About ‘The Grapes of Wrath’

I don’t know about you, but going through the Dust Bowl sounds like a much scarier nightmare than Frankenstein’s monster.


11 Strange Facts About ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’

There’s a theory that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote this book while on a three-day cocaine binge. It does make sense.

Amsterdam Pictures

Filed under: Personal — joy at 10:12 am on Thursday, October 22, 2015


Last month, I went to Amsterdam and Belgium for a week with my husband, best friend, and toddler. It was a great trip. Amsterdam is an easy place to visit. Everyone speaks English, people are friendly, the city is clean, and their systems are practical and make sense. It rained, but not to the point that it ruined the trip. In fact, when the sun came out on Saturday, I got a sense of what the crowds would have been like if it hadn’t rained, and decided the bad weather was a blessing in disguise.

Of course, there are the canals.



And the great architecture.



We visited many museums. My favorites were the Anne Frank House–incredibly moving and educational–and the Van Gogh Museum.


Here are people crowding around Rembrandt’s Night Watch in Rijksmuseum.


They have a whole room on the Battle of Waterloo. Here’s Kyle looking at things.


Marcia and me standing in front of the Rijksmuseum. Marcia’s family is from Holland, so not only does she speak Dutch, she knows all about the culture, including the food.

While there, we ate things like: sandwiches, seafood, stroopwafels, BamiGoreng, Gevulde Koeken/Almond Paste Cookies, Dutch croquettes (essentially deep-fried gravy–don’t tell America about that), excellent French fries, and cheese. We took a side trip to Edam to try cheese. Here’s one of the cheese shops.


The Dutch like to dip food in condiments. And you know what? They have better condiments. Better ketchup. Better mayonnaise. Hey, did you know that Heineken beer actually tastes good in Holland? What’s up with that?

The one thing I wasn’t crazy about is the pickled herring, which you can buy from stands all over the city.


It tastes like you suspect it would.


I was surprised to find that I liked bicycling in Amsterdam. In California, people are annoying with their bikes, wearing spandex and huffing and puffing and yelling RAWR on hills. In Amsterdam, people sail around on bikes wearing coats, smoking cigarettes, talking on cell phones, and dragging their children in carts. It’s charming.


Crowds on the street.


Woman and dog in the rain.


I took lots of pictures of people in Amsterdam. She’s my favorite.


Here’s the flower market.


Marcia and I bought tulip bulbs that were inspected and approved for entry into the United States, but customs threw them out anyway. Welcome back to the US. Here’s a slap in the face.


World traveler.

Traveling in Europe with a toddler isn’t hard at all. You have to go slower and you have to make sure he’s fed and happy, but overall, I think we’ll be taking him to Europe again in the future.

Stay tuned for Belgium pictures.

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