So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Ethnicity. that of my father and his father before him
Location Cherry Hills Vil, CO
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The Link To Zanzibar's Past
This is my page in the beloved art community that my sister got me into:
Extra points for people who know what Samarinda is.
The Phases of the Moon Module
The Tree and the Telephone Pole
I Do Not Know Their Names
Today I am Young
A Night Poem
Siren of the Sea
If I Were a Dragon
To the Dreamers Leave the Sky
The Honor of the Oyster
Return From San Diego
A Late Summer's Night
Of Dragons and Men
The Edge of the World
The Snake's Terror
Metaphysics and the Middaymoon
Of Adventures in Foreign Lands
The Rogue Wave: The Unedited Version
Adventures in the PRC
Voyage of Discovery
Drinking the Blood of Goats
Ticket for a Phantom Bus
Os peixes nadam o mar
Three Villages Far Away
The River Weser
Children I Should Have Kidnapped, Part I
Let's Get You Out of Those Clothes
If Underwear Could Speak
Croc Hunter/Combat Wombat
Only My Favorite Baseball Player EVER
Aw, Larry Walker, how I loved thee.
M: Science and Exploration
T: Cook a nice dinner
Th: Parties, movies, dinners
F: Picnics, the Louvre
S: Read books, go for walks, PARKOUR
Su: Philosophy, Religion
The Reading List
This list starts Summer 2006
A Crocodile on the Sandbank
Tales of the Alhambra (in progress)
Dark Lord of Derkholm
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
The Lost Years of Merlin
Harry Potter a l'ecole des sorciers (in progress)
Atlas Shrugged (in progress)
A Long Way Gone (story of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone- met the author! w00t!)
The Eye of the World: Book One of the Wheel of Time
From Magma to Tephra (in progress)
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Harry Potter 7
The No. 1 Lady's Detective Agency
Introduction to Planetary Volcanism
A Child Called "It"
Is Multi-Culturalism Bad for Women?
Americans in Southeast Asia: Roots of Commitment (in progress)
What's So Great About Christianity?
Aeolian Dust and Dust Deposits
The City of Ember
The People of Sparks
When I was in Cuba, I was a German Shepard
The Golden Compass
Clan of the Cave Bear
The 9/11 Commission Report (2nd time through, graphic novel format this time, ip)
The Incredible Shrinking Man
The Elves of Cintra
The Gypsy Morph
Animorphs #23: The Pretender
Animorphs #25: The Extreme
Animorphs #26: The Attack
A Journey to the Center of the Earth
A Great and Terrible Beauty
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
To Sir, With Love
Alice in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Hunger Games
Shadows and Strongholds
The Jungle Book
Beatrice and Virgil
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
No One Ever Told Us We Were Defeated
The Name of the Wind
Tao Te Ching
What Paul Meant
Lao Tzu and Taoism
Sand and Sandstones
Lost Christianites: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
The Science of God
Great Contemporaries, by Winston Churchill
City of Bones
Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne
Stranger in a Strange Land
The Old Man and the Sea
Flowers for Algernon
Au Bonheur des Ogres
The Road to Serfdom
De La Terre ŕ la Lune (ip)
In the Light of What We Know
Devil in the White City
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
How to Be a Good Wife
A Mote in God's Eye
want to read: Last Hunger Games Book, Honeybee Democracy, The Bell Jar
The River: Part II
Sunday. 4.29.07 6:08 pm
In 1812, Tulla went to the governments of the riparian nations and sought approval for his plan: He was going to "rectify" the river, controlling its flood waters and making them predictable; lowering the local water table so that the bogs and wetlands would dry up and become arable farmland, eliminating islands and secondary channels that stood in the way of the "efficiency" of the river's flow, making the Rhine "more perfect": ie, straight. He secured agreement from most of the riparian nations, but he was unable to get a clear go-ahead from the French, who were caught up in Napolean's disasterous invasion of Russia at the time. (Points to people who can say what was happening in the US during this same time, or say the interesting strategy the Russians used to foil the French that winter!) The project stalled for several years until finally Napolean's government dissolved and control was returned to local chiefs on the French bank and permission was granted to begin work.
To begin, Tulla blasted the meandering river, cutting through the meanders and oxbow lakes and steepening the grade of the channel. He shortened the river by 82km. He made the bed particular dimensions in different sections to control the downcutting rate. Unfortunately, the correct equation for calculating the effect of cross-sectional area and perimeter on the velocity of the river and thus downcutting rate had not been determined at this time (it was found at the end of the century by Robert Manning and named the Manning Equation). This equation also had a cube-root in it, which... without the help of a calculator... was a very difficult and time-consuming calculation to make!
In 1827 Johann Gottfried Tulla died in Paris, though his work continued into the late 1800s. His gravestone read, "â€śDem BĂ¤ndiger des wilden Rheinsâ€ť, or "the Tamer of the Wild Rhine".
Unfortunately, a river is not so simple a beast. The men hadn't cut out the meanders completely, there was still a wiggle in the river's path. The river exploited these curves and began eroding them, forming new meanders and undermining the fortifications on its banks. It also cut down into its bed, just as Tulla had planned, but instead of cutting 1 or 2 meters it cut in some places up to 7. At Isteiner Klotz the river cut down until it hit bedrock, after which it formed a series of impassable rapids. Even today an expensive series of locks is required to traverse this part of the river. Because of the downcutting, the water table fell, taking with it the fertility that the surrounding farmland had enjoyed until then. Now all of this land had to be irrigated with long channels coming out from the river. Sediment eroded from upstream began to deposit downstream, clogging channels and forming new islands and sandbars in places they had never been before.
Saturday. 4.28.07 11:00 am
My dad is here to visit, here to visit, here to visit, my dad is here to visit, all the weekend looooong! :D
Spring Time, for Slaves, in Providence
Wednesday. 4.25.07 11:38 pm
So it's spring time in Providence. That basically means that the bathroom has a colony of ants, there's a huge flying cockroach in the moon lab, and the window sill in my office is infested with termites. Yeah! Termites! How 'bout that. Termites, crawling all over the window sill, dying by the dozen along the edge of my desk.
Sometimes Providence is so awesome you just want to throw yourself in front of traffic.
The River: Part I
Tuesday. 4.24.07 10:38 pm
With the American and French revolutions, the spirit of Western man entered into a glorious phase of rational and humanistic thought. Perfection was possible: perfection of governmental process, of city planning, of the human condition. With rational thinking and dedicated effort, anything that humankind concieved of could be put into action. I would say that this spirit of having complete control over the destiny of our species continued all the way up to the Great War.
Amidst this great age of reason there was a man, Johann Gottfried Tulla. Born in Germany, he studied hydrological engineering in Italy before finishing up his education in Paris around the turn of the century (1798ish to 1802- an interesting time to be in Paris if you've ever followed the life of Napolean with any interest). When he returned to Germany he became the Head Water Engineer for the German state of Baden (Germany was not a country at the time, just a random group of independent states).
At the same time, there was a river, the river Rhine.
Today the River Rhine (or Rhein) officially begins in the Swiss Alps in a place called San Bernadino at an altitude of approximately 1600m (1 mile). It forms the border between Switzerland and Liechtenstein (I have crossed it at this point), then Switzerland and Austria, then Switzerland and Germany, where it flows into Lake Constance. Basel is the last large Swiss city it flows through before entering Germany, and acting as the border between Germany and the Alsace-Lorraine region of modern-day France. Leaving the French-German border at Strasbourg, it flows through the industrial heart of West Germany; flowing past its coal mines, its textile factories, its world-class vinyards, and some of the largest pharmecutical and chemical factories in the world today. At last it flows into Holland and the rest of the Netherlands, joining deltas with the river Meuse just before they both enter into the North Sea. Today more than 700 barges per day cross the Dutch-German border. The river, hardly the world's longest, (only 1400km in length) carries more traffic than any other river in the world besides the Mississippi. It is navigable year-round from the North Sea all the way to the city of Basel, and navigable most of the year by local boat all the way up to Lake Constance.
The river today was not the river that Johann Gottfried Tulla saw when he looked upon it in the first decade of the 19th century, not even close.
The river in those days was more than 82km longer- it had many meanders and oxbow lakes that provided good fishing for local fishermen. Its path was constantly changing: the town of Bereich started out on one side of the river and in historical time it became an island, and then ended up on the other side of the river, and came back again. The river flooded often, inundating the flood plain with melt-water from the Alps or rain water from the Rheinslate canyons or the Schwarzwald (the Black Forest), which lies along its right bank in southern Germany. Sometimes it had several channels, and it always had many islands and sandbars that made sailing treacherous. The current was fast and dangerous and there were hidden underwater barriers that could take out the bottom of a heavily-laden cargo ship at any moment. One such barrier was near the cliffs of Lorelei, where it was said that a siren sang from cliff's top and distracted the sailors, leading them to their deaths in the swiftly flowing water. At each turn in the river was another medieval castle. Barons and lords of all types lived in the castles and charged a toll for traversing their tiny section of the river, meaning that any trip down its length meant a fortune in taxes and tolls to the noblemen and the bishops of the church. The return trip up the river was extremely arduous. Boats could not be rowed or sailed against the strong current, so they had to be emptied of cargo and tugged by humans or work animals pulling them awkwardly from the bank of the river, or transported by land.
Along the river's banks were large softwood forests filled with willow and birch. There were many bogs and wetlands, and hundreds of species of birds and fish.
The bogs and wetlands also meant that there was plenty of opportunities for water-borne disease to spread, and dysentery, cholera, typhoid, and malaria were common causes of death. For as long as anyone could remember, the people had lived at the whim of the river- shying away from its banks for fear of flooding, staying close to it because of the life-line of water and mobility that it provided.
It was time for all of that to change. It was time for the River to serve the needs of the People.
What's Wrong With America
Monday. 4.23.07 1:43 pm
So the US Congress is really split, and emotions across the aisle are really heated. What the US Congress really needs is like a big team-building opportunity. Do you really think you could so vehemently bash the ideas of the senator from North Dakota if you had to rely on him to catch you during your trust-fall activity? Could you really filibuster Senator Akaka's Pineapple Trade resolution when he killed that huge spider in your tent on the "Backwoods Maryland Adventure Excursion"? Really. The US Senate and the House just need to go on a big field trip together. I mean, the obvious place to send them would be for a tour of the nation's capital, say, on par with an 8th grade class field trip, but assuming they've already seen most of those sights before, I'd recommend perhaps a trip to the Grand Canyon might be in order. Perhaps you could stick the Senate in a pair of buses and send them across the Midwest, and they could have challenges that await them, Road Rules style. So maybe Senator Sununu is a real bitch when it comes to fighting trying to reform oversight of government-sponsered legislation, but maybe you still need to treat him civilly because he's the only one who can win the Senate v. House arm wrestling competition.
"Oh we're the Congress, we don't have time for all that community-building crap!"
Oh yes you do, Congress. I see how many recesses you guys get. Do you really spend all that time hanging out in your state and seeing what the will of your constituents is? Could you really not even spare one week for a getaway to the mountains where they'd make you arrange yourselves alphabetically by state without saying a word? Could we all promise that we will refrain from making fun of Maine though, you've been hurting Senator Snowe's feelings.
And maybe, if you could talk to each other a little more reasonably, then you could be a little bit more efficient and you wouldn't need to be so busy all the time, plotting against all the other lawmakers, did you think about that?
I'm sure all of you have your problems with the current administration. I'm sure you all have your dreams about what American democracy could be like. What better way to get all that out there on the table than to bitch about work while making dinner, eat up, cook up some nice s'mores, get that cozy community-type feeling when all the conversation dies down and people are watching the fire, and then talk about your secret hopes and dreams about how to bring Mississippi's education system up to par with the rest of the nation while looking up at the endless Milky Way?
Doesn't it make you feel small, and insignificant, the Milky Way? Just think, next week you'll be signing a multi-billion dollar piece of legislation that could possibly change the world. But what is multi-billion compared to the trillions of stars in the sky? You might be changing the world, but your actions will have no visible effect on the state of the universe. Ever think about that? Ever think about how the Universe could be just one single atom in the desk of a colossal Congressperson, arguing over the same principles of jurisprudence? You might end up in a big snuggle pile with Wisconsin, Texas, Ohio and South Carolina.
You'd definitely come back to Washington with a refreshing perspective, let me tell you that. With your new friends and your renewed sense of confidence, you could work together to hold off the pressure of the lobby. You'd all have little nicknames, like "Dakota" or maybe Jeff "Congressional" Sessions (R-AL) or Jim "Money" DeMint (R-SC). Now wouldn't that just make the congress a happier and healthier place to work?
I think so.
Just don't get carried away and "lose" Hillary on your afternoon trust-building hike, mmk? Behave yourselves, don't forget you are representing the US Government here!
Sing to me, Avril
Sunday. 4.22.07 5:44 pm
I look away
then I look back at you,
You try to say
the things that you can't undo,
If I had my way
I'd never get over you.
And I don't wanna fall to pieces
I just wanna sit and stare at you.
I don't wanna talk about it
And I don't want a conversation
I just wanna cry in front of you.
dead poets and birthdays
Saturday. 4.21.07 9:47 pm
So my birthday was pretty sweet. I got some awesome stuff from the familia. Rachie sent me this picture frame and in the frame was this picture she'd taken of the Pantheon dome with the hole in the top. It's a really awesome picture, it looks almost like a painting, it just has this matte quality about it, and you can see the light coming in through the hole. For me it's a perfect representation of inspiration making its way into the mind. This picture is what I was thinking of when I wrote "Dragon's Spirit" only it would be at night, and I'd bring down the ceiling a bit and make the hole larger to make it a temple of the stars. It also reminds me of Rachel herself because when we were in Spain I asked my two sisters if they were a temple or cathedral, what kind would they be (gothic, roman, modern, etc.) Rachel said she'd be the Pantheon. Katherine said, "With a hole in the top of your head!?!?!" :P
Mum bought me an adorable little rabbit that is a puppet. The unique thing about it is that it is sitting on its bum so you can really see its big hind feet (awwwwWw I miss my bunnies!). Father dearest got me this little book of all these news items from the year of my birth. It is HiLArious. Gas was $1.10 back then. But then again, minimum wage was $3.35. They are selling all these totally 80s products... amazing. I got a bunch of other awesome stuff too, I was quite pleased.
After opening all my presents I went down to campus. They were having a big festival/concert thing so everyone was milling around. It was like 70 degrees all the sudden... gorgeous. Everyone got out and sat on the grass. I walked through campus and down to the Capitol building, which I'd been wanting to visit but thus far I hadn't gotten the chance.
I wrote a bunch of angry things about one of my colleagues just now, but I erased it. William Wordsworth once said,
Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies.
So whenever I write something angry like that I think about this part of the poem, and how I should like my mind to grow to be a mansion for all lovely forms and my memory as a dwelling place for all sweet sounds and harmonies. This aim requires two things: living your life and perhaps changing your circumstances/actions so that your current wild ecstasies might be matured into a sober pleasure as opposed to a bitter regret, and that you choose to remember the right things, and just let go of unimportant unpleasantries. I'm always thinking, when I choose my path- will this path decorate my memory with lovely forms, or clutter it up with things I'd rather not remember? When you're projecting 20, 50 years into the future these are different things than you might put in there if you only had to live in your mind for the rest of the week. You have to think of memories like garden plants and think, "what sort of memory will this be when it is grown? Will it bloom once and then be a dead stalk? Will it spread like an ugly weed and crowd out all other memories? Guilt is often this type of plant. Will it be a memory so lovely that it will steal attention from all the other memories? That isn't always bad, as long as you appreciate your other memories in due course. Or like an empty vase will it someday serve only to remind you of a lovely memory that turned bittersweet with time? Is it important to keep the vase there, or should you remove it, or rearrange it, replanting it with something new? Which memories will only gain beauty as they grow? Those are the best kind of memories to plant. My memories of California, for example, feel like a grove of leafy golden trees and with time they will become more hazy and dreamlike but more and more beautiful. I should write an entry sometime about some of the memories that I think of as forming especially beautiful pieces of art to adorn the inside of my mind. By the time I'm 80, what a gallery and garden I should like to have!
Zanzibar hits the MALLLL!!!eleven!!!1
Friday. 4.20.07 11:37 pm
So tomorrow is my birthday. It starts in about 23 minutes. So to celebrate, today after work I went to the MaaAaaaLLLLLL!!11one. I just got a parking ticket so I was feeling sassy towards the police. I paid and mailed the ticket immediately then I went home and got one of my IBC root beers and brought it into my car. I proceeded to take big swigs out of the bottle when I was stopped at lights. I DARE YOU TO PULL ME OVER, PROVIDENCE POLICE SONS OF MARACAS! Today was the first warm day in as long as I can remember, so I rolled down the windows and blasted the "Riding Dirty" and "Boston" by those people who start with an A, also the Avril Lavigne "Girlfriend"or whatever its called, which is just too damn catchy, (youknowwhatimsayin?) and took swigs of the rootbeer, and rode dirty.
Upon arriving at the mall, I stumbled out of my car and threw my rootbeer away (yes, I threw it away, I didn't not recycle it! HAHAHA!) right in front of a group of preteens with their moms at the mall. That's right, you just saw me get out of my car and throw away an empty brown glass bottle, thas right, whatcha gonna say? You gonna step to this? Steppin? Are ya? No? That's what I thought. I had to drink the whole rootbeer very quickly because when you go shopping for new clothes it's important to look at fat as possible, and drinking an entire soda immediately beforehand usually does the trick. (d'oh!)
So I went over to the Macy's because they were giving away Clinique gifts and I thought, I should buy something and get one of those gifts, oh yeah. So the girl comes to help me and I'm like, "Why hello. I would like to buy something." and she's like, "What?" and I'm like, "oh. I didn't think of that part."
So I decided that I was going to buy foundation, but I said I didn't want it to be "obvious". She had to get something so I sat down on the little chair. A few minutes passed and I gazed into the ordinary mirror on the counter.
WHAT! WHO WAS THAT CREATURE FROM HELL THAT LOOKED BACK AT ME!
ALAck! BLACK circles! under my eyes! spots! uneven skin tone! Around my left eye was all red from where I'd just rubbed it. How did they even let me out of the house looking like that? MaKE-UP! I NEED MAKEUP! Sell me gallons of MAKEUP IMMEDIATELY!!! So I bought some. And not only did I get a free gift, I got a free bag, too. But the bag was lame. And I realized later that if I'd spent like $1.50 more I would have gotten this free 3-in-1 washing crap and that bitch didn't even tell me that. Macy's bitch!
I went into the Aeropostale. Oh, gee, hm, in these mirrors my face looked normal. I mean, fine... I mean, not like a zombie, or that picture that Ranor once took me where he changed the contrast until I looked like a rotting corpse. Yeah. You remember ranor. That picture is exactly how I did not look in the mirror in the Aeropostale. So maybe a cosmetic mirror is not an ordinary mirror at all, but a portal into another dimension where an alternate version of you looks back at you through the glass but the alternate you has been dead for six months.
At the Aeropostale I got some sweet deals and then as I was cashing out the guy at the register was making with the small talk. He has three hours left of work, he's so tired... some other worker comes up and asks, "Do we have these in a size 9?" and he says he doesn't think so but if he can wait a minute he can check in the back." There aren't any in the back, he confides to me, but it's just an excuse so he can go in the back and drink.
Go in the back and drink, eh? I cock my eyebrow. "And make the three hours go by more quickly?" I say.
He gets my meaning, and then his, in that order, and, shocked (and probably like 17), he says, "Oh no! I mean water! I'm going to drink some water... nothing like, stronger than that."
Sure. Sure. I know how they be doing down at the aeropostale.
Time to go to what has always been my favorite store in the mall: hot topics. I made sure I didn't have any embarrassing bags... once I went into hot topics with an abercrombie bag... that was terrible, that's like showing everyone that you are not only a goth poser but that you are a preppy poser trying to pose as a goth poser which is like the biggest sin that exists. Luckily I only had the macy's and the pacsun at that time so I'm ok. Surfer posers who go to stores for surfer posers... I mean, an east coast store posing as a branch of a California-themed store that caters to people posing as surfers. (And like taking a photocopy of a photocopy, the Pacsuns east of the Mississippi just ain't the same.) But all the same, a poser posing as a surfer poser is way preferable to someone posing as an east coast Abercrombie prep poser, or the west coast Hollister version, which I won't even get into. Pacsun at least provides poser-gear that is the slightest bit alternative, which hot topics can appreciate. Hollister is my second favorite store in the mall, by the way- I never buy anything there but I just love venturing into its murky interior. And seeing some random old guy sitting in the beach chairs out front, and first you think he's part of a hollister ad, and then you're like, "dude, that guy looks like somebody's DAD." And he is.
Today hot topics was selling old-skool ninja turtles wear, which was SO AWESOME. Remember how the ninja turtles used to look nice and friendly, and like they were friends to the people of New York City, rather than dirty, evil creatures of darkness with white slits for eyes? Yeah, those were the days.
The day ended with some sweeeet deals from aeropostale, pacsun, and Old Navy (especially Old Navy), and then the exact same string of songs came on as when I was on my way to the mall, so I rocked out to "Boston"
"I'M TIRED OF THE SUNSET, I THINK I NEED A SUNRISE," I sang, and there Avril Lavigne once more, in what shall be known as her "turn-of-the-century-Hilary-Duffesque" artistic period.
happy birthday to me already! :D goodnight.
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