2017 Was A Dumb Year, Hello 2018!

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 10:05 am on Tuesday, January 2, 2018

While everyone was moaning about 2016, personally it was a great year for me. But 2017 was pretty dumb. Just before Christmas, Kyle’s grandmother Ruth passed away. We just came back from her funeral in Kentucky. For much of the fall, most of California was on fire, including my own beloved Sonoma County. It looked like the fire might come into Petaluma, where I live, but luckily that didn’t happen. Still, lots of people lost their homes or were otherwise affected by the fires. And other dumb stuff happened too. My dad was sick with various illnesses, many things I tried to do failed, and Kyle had work strife that, while eventually resolved, was stressful. Finally, my friend’s cat Peja died, which doesn’t sound like much, but she was a special cat.

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Lots of good things happened too. For one thing, I signed with a literary agency.

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And I wrote a number of articles that I’m proud of. Some of these include:

Tight Wires Between Us: On “Difficulties of a Bridegroom” by Ted Hughes in LA Review of Books.

Why Aren’t There More Women Working in Audio? in The Atlantic.

Hollywood Loved Sammy Davis Jr Until He Dated a White Movie Star in The Smithsonian.

How Beatrix Potter Invented Character Merchandising in The Smithsonian.

Bountiful Beach Buffet: Fresh Seaweed Is Making Waves Among Foragers for NPR.

Murmur, a short story in Every Day Fiction.

I was also interviewed by CNN and on XRAY In The Morning in Portland, Oregon. This week there’s a Q&A with me on The Navi Review.

Gideon turned five this year and started kindergarten. Kyle, as I said, switched jobs and is now CSO at Purism. He also published a book, Linux Hardening in Hostile Networks: Server Security from TLS to Tor.

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For travel, I went to the snow in Tahoe, which was lovely.

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And Sequoia National Park, which was astounding.

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And Germany and Austria, which was one of the best trips I’ve taken. I blogged about it.

Part 1: Germany
Part 2: Castles
Part 3: Salzburg
Part 4: Hallstatt

Lots of other things happened. I went wine tasting and saw Laura Marling and Martha Wainwright perform at different points and sailed a blow-up boat in the river and went out to fancy dinners and generally had a nice life. I grew a big garden.

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Check out this bread I made. It looks just like bread.

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I’m looking forward to 2018 being better. I’m being optimistic. I’m going to read a lot of Shakespeare and paint insects and probably go to Greece. I’ll try to write my best work yet. Our country will … not suck so much … ? Well anyway, we’re going to Disneyland on Thursday, so that’s not a bad way to start the year.

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Happy New Year!

I Was Interviewed By CNN

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 9:36 am on Tuesday, January 2, 2018

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I forgot to post this on here! I wonder what else I’ve forgotten.

Back in August, I was Interviewed By CNN about Donald Trump. They wanted my opinion because of my article on Vice about How Reality TV Made Donald Trump President. Check it out!

Learn To Write From The Movies: Genius

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 7:52 am on Friday, December 22, 2017

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It’s the next installment of my Barrelhouse column, Learn To Write From the Movies. This time it’s about the movie Genius.

Genius is a 2016 movie about Thomas Wolfe, who wrote Look Homeward, Angel, and his editor, Maxwell Perkins. The movie is about the time Perkins, played by Colin Firth, edited Wolfe’s 11,000-page novel for him and it became a bestseller. Wolfe is played by Jude Law, who’s doing the same Southern accent he did in Cold Mountain and also the same accent that Foghorn Leghorn does in Looney Tunes. At one point, he says, “Damn,” and it sounds like “Dah-yham.” I tried to find out if Wolfe talked like Foghorn Leghorn, but the closest I could find was a recording of Wolfe’s mother, who had a slight Southern drawl. I’ll give Jude Law the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he knows something I don’t.

Read The Rest Here.

LA Review Of Books: Ted Hughes’s Play About Marriage

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 7:35 am on Tuesday, October 24, 2017

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I wrote an article for the LA Review of Books on Tight Wires Between Us: On “Difficulties of a Bridegroom” by Ted Hughes. Excerpt:

ON FEBRUARY 9, 1963, two days before the poet Sylvia Plath killed herself, a radio play about her marriage aired on the BBC. Difficulties of a Bridegroom was written by her husband, Ted Hughes, and was about a man rejecting his bride in favor of his mistress. The play aired twice, in January and February, and was heard by all of literary London — including Plath herself.

Ted Hughes as a class act, wasn’t he?

Read about it here.

Barrelhouse Column: Learn To Write From The Movies

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 1:28 pm on Monday, October 23, 2017

I have a column! It’s called Learn To Write From The Movies and it’s for Barrelhouse. More information:

Welcome to a column where we learn how to become the sexy intellectual rock stars that Hollywood says all writers should be. In movies, writers scribble in garrets near trashcans overflowing with crumpled paper or swill liquor while typing on typewriters. So far, my writing life has none of these things. I don’t even own a quill. When you think about it, movies about writers are like graduate-level workshops, only you can get drunk during them without anyone yelling at you. Why practice the tedium of daily writing when you can study the greatest writers in the world as portrayed by actors in their Hollywood biopics? Let’s learn.

The first column is about Cross Creek, a movie about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings as portrayed by Mary Steenburgen. She was angry a lot.

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Read all about it here.

Germany and Austria Trip 2017 Part 4: Hallstatt

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 3:36 pm on Saturday, October 21, 2017

Hallstatt is a tiny town in Austria. It sits by a lake and is surrounded by mountains. I’m not kidding when I say it may be the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited. Here’s a picture of the town from Wikipedia.

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To get to Hallstatt, you take a two-hour train ride from Salzburg and then a ferry across a gorgeous lake. While there, we walked around the town, saw a Catholic ceremony, and went to a 7,000-year-old salt mine. Salt has been mined in Hallstatt since the Iron Age. We took a tour of the mine, slid down mining slides, learned about its ancient history, and bought a ton of salt in the gift shop. I don’t have pictures because it was underground, but the salt mine was one of the highlights of the trip. Maybe the highlight.

Pictures of Hallstatt:

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Boat on the pristine water.

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Hiking in the Alps, looking down at the lake.

The town:

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There were lots of tourists, some annoying, some adorable:

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Another boat on the pristine water:

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The salt mine in the Alps.

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This was the Catholic ceremony, which was in German, so I didn’t understand what it was about. This little girl looks exactly like a Christmas ornament I had a child:

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Germany and Austria Trip 2017 Part 3: Salzburg

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 8:25 am on Thursday, October 5, 2017

I liked Germany, but I loved Austria. We spent several days in Salzburg, where they filmed The Sound of Music and where Mozart lived. I liked everything about the place.

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Like this view.

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The people there are so stylish. Is that Audrey Hepburn? No, she’s dead. It’s just a lady walking around.

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This is the glorious church where Mozart was the organist. Can you imagine?

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You can visit Mozart’s birth house. Here’s the clavichord where he composed Requiem and The Magic Feather.

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We also saw a marionette show of The Sound of Music. I wasn’t expecting much, but it was quite powerful and impressive. This is a shot from the scene where the Nazis take over and Von Trapp sings Edelweiss.

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Real edelweiss is an odd, muppety flower.

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Salzburg is a town of steeples.

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And amazing cakes.

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And random unicorn statues.

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There’s a delightful meadow growing beside the river.

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The street musicians are trained classical performers.

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There are several castles you can visit.

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This is the garden of Mirabell Palace. We saw a Mozart concert here.

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Sometimes children perform folk dances in the castle gardens.

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I love castles.

Stay tuned for one last vacation post. It’s about Hallstatt, one of the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited.

I Was On The Radio In Portland, Oregon

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 3:50 pm on Thursday, September 21, 2017

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I was on XRAY In The Morning in Portland, Oregon talking about my article in The Atlantic Why Aren’t There More Women Working in Audio? You can listen to it online. Hurrah!

Germany and Austria Trip 2017 Part 2: Castles

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 7:14 am on Sunday, September 17, 2017

While in Fussen, Germany, we visited Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles, which were the homes of Mad King Ludwig. The history is fascinating. It’s well worth the side trip to see these castles, which were built in the 1870s. Personally, I liked Hohenschwangau better. You learn more about Ludwig’s family and it’s more leisurely and interesting. They kind of rush you through Neuschwanstein.

Here’s a tip for visiting the castles: You will have to take a 40-minute walk up a mountain to get to Neuschwanstein Castle. It’s quite a hike, although my 5-year-old was able to do it. There are horse-drawn carriages that go up the hill, which may be a better option, especially if you have trouble walking. Either way, you have to factor going up the hill and back down into your visiting time, so make sure you think about that when planning your trip.

(Also, reserve tickets online or get there first thing in the morning. The tours sell out fast.)

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Hey, it’s Neuschwanstein on a hill!

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And there’s Hohenschwangau. Let’s go there first.

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Hohenschwangau is fantastic.

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Look at the views!

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And this lion statue.

Too bad they wouldn’t let us take pictures inside. Oh well time for a break.

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Let’s eat a schneeball, a snowball, which is really a donut ball.

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Aw, those horses are kissing.
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Now for a walk up the Alps.

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That was hard, but here we are. Up close, Neuschwanstein is less fairytale, more scary fortress.

Too bad we couldn’t take pictures inside. Oh well.

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Here’s another view with Hohenschwangau in the distance.

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And the countryside. Time to hurry down the mountain so we can catch our bus. Thanks, castles.

Next up, Salzburg.

Germany and Austria Trip 2017 Part 1: Germany

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 3:41 pm on Thursday, September 14, 2017

This summer we went to Germany and Austria for vacation. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. It was also really long, so I’ll split it up in a few posts and try to touch upon the highlights. First up, general Germany. We went to Munich, Fussen, and Andechs. While there, we:

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Went to many beer halls.

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Looked at the scenery.

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Ate sausages, especially weisswurst:

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Walked around towns.

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Looked at art.

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Sat in meadows.

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Admired the Alps.

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Wore out our son.

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Visited a 900-year-old monastery, where we also drank enormous beers:

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In short, Germany was great.

Next up, castles!

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