And this is how she arrived here…

It’s been weeks since my last post when I was lost among the vineyards of Manzano, Italy; enjoying the countryside, a dear friend and her wonderful family, and tasting the richness of what life can offer a squarely middle-class American who is enabled to take a trip once every 5 years or so; that is, to make an exploration that matters.

This blog post date reads  Aug. 12th, but it began then and finished today: August 28th.  Sometimes life just sits on your lap and obscures your view for a bit…

My trip to Iceland, Belgium, and Italy gave me a new perspective. I’ve been cooking so much more since returning home. The quotidian madness and din of unending work doesn’t stress me as it once did.  It’s all part of the daily chime of life and I’m much more accepting of it. I still make note of the crazy days, both behind and ahead, that I read in the Financial Times. (Side note: It is such a well-written paper. Not only do I learn about the world from the best in news journalism that arrives in my spaceship each day including the ever-amazing Life & Arts weekend edition, but I discover at least one new word for which I must lucubrate. The word “erudite” comes to mind as I pour over the pages. Oh, that I could write with such aplomb! Even the digital subscription is pricey, this much is true. But, what would you pay for not only the right news, correct news, impartial journalism, and TRUTH delivered to you daily? I have answered this for myself since I teach in the world of journalism. This is the cost of professional development.)

THAT was a SIDE NOTE, bien sûr!

Many things have struck my mind since my return.  Now that I’m fully charged (even with a little-over-a-month back to work full-time/full-on), I see and hear the world a bit differently.  I feel as though I watch American news through the lens of a person from afar. When one visits outside of America for more than two weeks, you begin to see and feel the wonders of the world that are distinctly not American.  And let me clarify:  I do not mean UN-American as some paranoid souls from the “right” might read that.  I mean, simply, not from the “over-processed, industrialized-everything, corporate mindset upon the populace” way of thinking. I mean from the every day living of a human soul on the planet without the trance-induced state that capitalism besets an economy and its fervid tribes who ascribe, imbibe, and abide to it.

I honestly feel like I’m more in a slow-motion vibration among a busy-bee world and that feels really good to me.  I play well in the busy-bee world because my work has brought me here time and again for 30+-years.  This is the nature of working in sound and events and creative endeavors with deadlines. As my dear friend has repeated to me recently to just remember Dory in “Finding Nemo” with her wonderful line: “…keep swimming, swimming, swimming.” (I LOVE that!)

My friend and recently-retired Department Chair gave me the perfect “shoo” advice that I needed to embark on this trip at just the right time. As the Spring semester ended and before summer fully infused here in the U.S., I should take flight.  So, I left for Iceland on May 27th and what happened even in the course of one day of my exit was astonishingly mind-opening and soul-engaging.  I had thought too much about when I should take the trip. She encouraged me to go early on into summer and right after finals week.  It was the best advice I have received in decades.

The writings of that trip are well-documented in my “Living Life One Sip At A Time” blog, so feel free to troll about through the archives. I stopped in my last post from Manzano, Italy causing confusion among friends whom I do not work with:  “Dana, did you come back?”  Ha!  Oh, if I had just said, “OK, life. Here I am. I’ll just stop now and start anew…”

For now, I’ll sit here this morning, sip my java before the start of another work day, and summon Dory:


About danaj33

I have been teaching in the Broadcast Electronic Media Art department at City College of San Francisco since 2001. I started teaching full-time in 2009 and am tenured. My career as an audio engineer spans 32-years since the first day I began to record and mix songs on my Tascam PortaStudio (cassette 4-track) in the early 80's while attending college at UC Berkeley. I formed a couple of bands and sang lead (sometimes playing rhythm guitar) until 1988 when I discovered that the "behind-the-scenes" tech realm was much more to my liking. I love how an audio engineer controls the ENTIRE sound mix, and not just one's own instrument. I then began a career as a live sound engineer in earnest and have toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe as front-of-house sound engineer for a multitude of bands on various record labels (most notably "Medicine" on American Recordings) and have been a staff engineer at the venerable Bottom of the Hill nightclub since their inception in 1991 leaving a regular shift there in 2010 due to the teaching schedule. The club and its staff are like family. I owned and operated a live sound production company since 1989 (ending officially in 2017) called dcj Productions that has provided sound to the Bay Area community (mostly in the non-profit sector) in both large outdoor sound events as well as nightclubs and music halls. In 1991, I started recording bands on an 8-track Tascam TSR-8 analog tape recorder and moved into the digital realm in 1993 to 16-tracks of Alesis ADAT connected to a Soundcraft Ghost console in my home studio. In 1995, I advanced to Pro Tools and have been recording exclusively digital ever since, combining audio skills in sound for film as a location recordist as well as an engineer in post-production sound design and mixing. I remained "strictly analog" in my live sound mixing until just this past year (2012). Now that one can obtain a decent, live sound digital mixer at an affordable price, it was high time to check out digital for live. I now have a Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 to work on with my students to give them much needed hands-on experience with a digital console. I co-owned and ran APG Records & APG Studios, an SF record label and recording studio, from 1999 - 2004 which had a distribution deal through EMI. The company folded in 2004. I continue to record music and engineer live performances at many Bay Area venues in addition to full-time teaching at CCSF. In 2001, I was hired to the part-time faculty at City College of San Francisco in the Broadcast Electronics Media Arts department where I have taught many of the classes including Digital Media Skills (BCST119), Basic Audio Production (BCST120), Digital Audio Production (BCST124), Sound Recording Studio (BCST125), Sound For Visual Media (BCST126), Advanced Sound Recording (BCST127), Sound Reinforcement (BCST128), Audio for the Web (BCST135), Video for the Web (BCST136), and Field Video Production (BCST141). I have also taught classes in sound design, audio for animation and games, music video, and computer applications at Art Institute of California-San Francisco, Globe Recording Institute, and Laney College in Oakland, CA. In addition to teaching, I am a writer. I have several blogs and have written many screenplays since 2007 producing a few of them into short films. In 2020, the craziest year and decade of any of our lives, I am starting a book project titled, "Abra, the Imaginarian." Outside Affiliations: - former Co-Director of SoundGirls - current member of Audio Engineering Society and on the SF Chapter Planning Committee - past Vice President and Interim President Board of Directors - Bay Area Girls Rock Camp - past volunteer/contributor to Women's Audio Mission - past member Bay Area Women in Media and Film - past Board of Directors for Camp Reel Stories
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