I’m The Muthaflippin’

Filed under: Art and Entertainment — joy at 12:56 pm on Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My TV viewing for the summer has been limited. It consists of:

    Big Love
    Top Chef
    So You Think You Can Dance
    Flight of the Conchords

I never get tired of Flight of the Conchord’s Boom Song. I can watch it over and over again and still laugh. But I also like their rap, which I recommend you watch forthwith:

Update: Kat pointed me to Mel’s video blog. Awesome.

Article: Le Bistro Restaurant Review

Filed under: Joy's Work — joy at 11:45 am on Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Check it out: This week’s issue of the Bohemian has my restaurant review of Le Bistro in Petaluma.

Le Bistro

By Joy Lanzendorfer

I had heard a lot about Le Bistro in Petaluma. After all, the restaurant, sitting unobtrusively on Petaluma Boulevard South a few blocks from downtown, has been there for 19 years. When people talk about Le Bistro, they mention owner and chef Corey Basso. Many call Basso a first-class chef, even a genius, but note that he is particular about how Le Bistro is run. One woman on the reviewing website Yelp compared him to the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. It all sounded a little intimidating, like I was going to a restaurant run by some sort of brilliant culinary dictator.

Read more here


UPDATE: I re-posted this entry because the comments were broken before. It’s a long story. But now you can comment on it.

Stayed Up Until 5 A.M…

Filed under: Writing and Publishing — joy at 12:08 pm on Monday, July 30, 2007

… reading the last Harry Potter.


It was worth it. It’s an extremely satisfying ending. She gives you everything you want, ties everything together, and makes you feel like you’re leaving the characters in a good place.

It’s a remarkable accomplishment, really–especially considering the high expectations for the end of the series. Imagine having the whole world speculating about your book like that. It would be hard to get all those voices out of your head. Many writers would have buckled under the pressure.

I think these books will hold up over time. They are good.

The ending didn’t make me cry though.

Jack London Park Hike

Filed under: Travel — joy at 9:49 am on Monday, July 23, 2007

On Saturday, Marcia and I went for a hike at the Jack London park in Glen Ellen. It was a gorgeous day–if a tad too warm. We saw the ruins of the house of a famous writer, a mountain, vineyards, lots of dragonflies, and lizards–including the blue-tailed skink. We tasted blackberries along the trail, side-stepped poison oak, and were almost attacked by a giant butterfly. Then we ate our sandwiches by a green lake. Finally, on the way back, we had a good long look at a baby deer, which was eating a tree. It still had its spots and reminded me of Quill.

That settles it. Jack London Park is officially my favorite Sonoma County park.


jl park
Woman sketching the park.

Old tree.

JL park lake
The green lake

Weird thing sitting in the lake. Marcia and I couldn’t figure out what Jack London used it for.

Another shot of the lake.

Red dragonfly

The Spark

Filed under: Personal — joy at 9:29 am on Monday, July 16, 2007

As some of you know, we have been very close to buying a house this week. It was a small house within walking distance to downtown. We liked it, even though it was small. It had all the requirements: A cute older house in a great neighborhood with a place for my office, a place for Kyle’s computers, a second bedroom, and a backyard. It was small, yes, but real estate is expensive here. It was painted funky colors, but that is easy to fix. It was a blank slate of a house, the kind of place you could fix up and make into your own. A good starter house.

All last week, we prepared for the offer we would make. We knew the house had been on the market for almost a year, so we thought we could offer much lower than the asking price. It all looked good. We got a realtor to represent us and asked my parents to come down and look at it. My dad has built several houses, so I wanted him to check it out before I made the offer.

But as soon as I walked in on Saturday, I was … unexcited. No matter how logically I could see how the house would work for us, I didn’t feel that spark that I have felt every time something is right for me. It is a yes! feeling, a sense of things sliding together and clicking in place. I knew I would marry Kyle almost immediately because of the spark. I know when clothes fit me well because of the spark. When I saw Quill, I was so sure of the spark I didn’t even want to look at the other kittens in the cage.

And yet, here I was thinking of buying a house, and there was no spark. I couldn’t figure out why. My reservations about the house were few: I didn’t like how close the house was to the neighbors. I was concerned that it didn’t have much of a re-sale value since a house that small can only sell for so much in any market. I thought we might outgrow it too quickly. Still, if the spark were there, these would have been minor concerns.

I wandered through the house, trying to pinpoint what my problem with it was. I liked the place where my office would be. I liked the kitchen. There were more closets than I originally thought. We could build me bookshelves. We could plant a tree to block out the neighbor. There were even original hardwood floors. What was wrong with me?

My dad had no major concerns about the house except that the floor was springy. When you walk on it, it flexes slightly beneath your feet. But he thought it had to do with the way the wood was beneath the house. We told the realtor we would meet with her at 10 a.m. Monday morning to make an offer.

And then on Sunday morning, my dad told me that he realized why the floor was springy: termites. He was almost positive that was the problem. It made sense, too, because the house had recently been tented. Obviously, it would be foolish to buy a house with floors that are little more than Swiss cheese.

My reaction when I heard this news was not sadness or even disappointment. It was relief. I saw that I just didn’t want that house. I still don’t know why. I learned, though, that next time I want a house, there has to be the spark. It has never let me down.

Kyle’s Newest Article

Filed under: Kyle Rankin — joy at 1:36 pm on Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kyle’s newest TechTarget article is up: How remote management saved me an emergency flight overseas. Excerpt:

They say timing is everything. This is especially true when you plan a server deployment. When crucial equipment arrives at the wrong time, it can ruin even the best plans. Even so, good planning and a good infrastructure can make up for even the worst timing. For a good example of this I only need to recall our last corporate retreat.

Like what you see? Read more here.

Everybody’s Doing It

Filed under: Personal — joy at 8:52 am on Monday, July 9, 2007

Eight Facts About Me:

The rules:
1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. It is fun to be in my brain. There’s a movie going on all the time and it’s full of fascinating (but not real) people.

2. When I was a little kid, I was obsessed with the last word people say before they die. I used to collect information on people’s last words. I would also make sure to pay attention to the last thing I said before I went to bed so that if I died in my sleep, I would know what my last word was. This went on for years.

3. I hate naps. I have never taken naps, even when I was a baby. Watching people take naps makes me extremely impatient.

4. I would love to take a vacation where I drive around to major literary landmarks and see rare books in libraries. I just don’t know who would go on this vacation with me.

5. I think my earliest memory was a dream. We were in the car and my mom was wearing a bathrobe and curlers. I don’t think she would leave the house like that.

6. Logically, I know babies are humans, but they don’t seem human. They seem more like puppies.

7. My parents bought a computer when I was 8 and I was the only kid I knew who had one. I spent most of my childhood on a computer playing games no one has heard of today, because everyone else had a Nintendo.

8. I used to be very serious about being an actress. I was in so many plays in the small town I grew up in, I was recognized on the street. Now I know I would have been a terrible actress and I’m glad I didn’t pursue it as a career.

I tag:

Leona (who already did it), Marcia, Krista, Troy, Stephanie, Robin, Paul, Laura.

Article: Let the game begin

Filed under: Joy's Work — joy at 7:12 pm on Sunday, July 1, 2007

Last month, I spent time talking to video game developers in Marin County. I got to go to their offices, ask them about their games, and think about having fun a lot. It was, well… fun.

The resulting article is this week’s cover story in the Pacific Sun.

Here are the first few paragraphs to whet your appetite:

When it comes to video games, those who make them are similar to the die-hard fans who play them.

In both cases: mostly young men bending over glowing computer screens exploring every detail of the game.

They stay that way for days sometimes, not coming up for fresh air or food that hasn’t come via delivery driver. At last, they finish the game and emerge from their caves, blinking in the light of day. Almost immediately, they begin to think of the next game to tackle.

The difference, of course, is that the developer is struggling to meet a deadline to get the game into stores. The fan just has too much time on his hands.

Read the rest here.