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 à 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
Friday. 8.7.09 10:36 pm
Email from the Antarctica People:
This e-mail is being sent to all science and technical event participants and alternates. If you started the Deployment Process early, you may not be aware of all the changes for the 2009-2010 season. Please take a moment to review these late-breaking changes:
Most of you will deploy through Sydney this season instead of Auckland.
HAHAHA!! Apparently we're connecting through Sydney, Australia this year instead of going through Auckland on the way to Christchurch, New Zealand (where they prepare us for deployment to Antarctica). Why are they doing this? No idea! But what it means is that I'll get all 7 continents before I turn 26! (Technically I'll have visited 5 of the 7 while I was 25!)
How lucky can you GET!?!
Why Zanzibar and College Health Services Personnel Will Never Understand Each Other
Friday. 8.7.09 8:59 am
So yesterday I marked the momentous occasion of my first GYN exam*. The squeamish should stop reading here.
*It should be added that the only reason I even submitted to this exam in the first place is because it was absolutely required in order that I might go to Antarctica to study rocks.
One of the first questions my wise doctor asked was how many fingers I could fit in my vagina. I didn't ask what was to me an obvious question, that is, "Why in God's name would someone want to stick their finger up their vagina?"... instead I told her that the thought had never really occurred to me before. After exam, the details of which I will spare you out of the common decency for mankind, the doctor told me that she was a little concerned that I wasn't "in touch with my vagina enough". She suggested that every woman should take "ownership" of her vagina, since, after all, it was another part of your body just like your ear. She suggested that maybe if I had some down time (after Antarctica, perhaps) that I should sit down and just try to see how many fingers I could fit in there, perhaps working my way up to more fingers over time, and just generally be curious about how it looked and operated. I should have informed her that my hoo-hah and I are in close cahoots, and that it told me that as long as it appears to be working, it should probably be left alone. Incidentally I have the same theory about how advisors should deal with their grad students.
Later in the day we talked about volcanoes on other planets for a couple of hours, had a teleconference with the commander of the Apollo 15 mission to the Moon where we talked about what it was like to walk on the Moon, and then two hours of discussion the future of space exploration and all of our ideas for missions to Mars with the chair of the Mars Exploration Planning Agenda Group.
Forgive me if I would rather do that than sit around in my apartment with my thumb up my ass, or any variants thereof.
In the Parlance of Our Times
Monday. 8.3.09 7:20 pm
Yesterday I went to the beach and went boogie boarding. AWESOME.
Today I went to the doctor's to have my physical to qualify me for going to Antarctica. I got the most thorough doctor we have, and she asked me a million questions all about my health and the health of my family through the generations and my entire medical history whilst in grad school.
I had to have tubes and tubes and tubes of blood drawn and then they gave me a TB test and a tetanus shot. I have to come back on Thursday for more of a physical and an EKG.
Tonight I am going out to celebrate my friend's birthday. It was a bit awkward because clearly they are also going out to dinner but I am apparently not invited to that part. I was driving the friend who was planning the whole event to Michaels so that we could sign up for a cake decorating class, so she kept talking in vague generalities about how she had to get back to her apartment by a specific time for an unspecified event. Meanwhile people kept calling her phone to get directions to the restaurant.... awkward.
This entry has nothing to do with its title.
Bo staff skills, computer hacking skills
Friday. 7.31.09 9:06 am
Yesterday was a very fun and productive day. Angle and I went to the gym at 6:15am, ran, stair-stepped, lifted, did crunches and things, etc. Then there was work, where I worked all day on modeling a Martian volcano and spent hardly any time at all screwing around because I was so interested in what my model was going to do. I laugh at people who have two computer screens, but now I have two and it really boosts my productivity.
Towards the end of the day our french collaborator Francois came by and he gave me all kinds of helpful hints to save me time. My advisor and I actually had a conversation about pure science, and then Angle came in and said that there were people spinning sticks out on the lawn. We were planning to spin poi (aka fire dancing, but without the fire so far because we're not that good yet), so we decided to go out and spin so that we could strike up a conversation with the stick spinners. Turned out they were actually people learning to fight with bo staffs. One of them noticed that the movement that we were doing with the poi was exactly the same movement as the bo staff, and he borrowed our poi to show the other students how this was so. We showed interest in learning to fight with a bo staff, so they invited us to be a part of the lesson.
Now we're white belts in Tang Soo Do!
Turns out spinning a bo staff is exactly like spinning poi, so we were already really good at it. The parts that were different turned out to be just like Tae Kwon Do, which is closely related, so I could do that, too.
After learning more Tang Soo Do and making some new friends, we went home and did some errands, and then Angle and I watched Lilo and Stitch and ate ice cream. All in all a splendid day!
Way Better Than a Hotel
Friday. 7.24.09 11:29 am
Why staying at your parent's house while on vacation is like x1000 better than staying at a hotel:
-Comes with FREE rental car!
-Pantry stocked with the kind of food that you like!
-Closet stocked with slightly outdated versions of your favorite clothes!
-Bathroom stocked with your exact kind of shampoo!
-Extra toilettries stashed in random places in the bathroom from the last time you were here!
-Free games on the pool table!
-Free dog to pet with none of the accompanying responsibilities!
-Free air conditioning, microwave, dishwasher, and laundry!
-Free piano to play whenever you want!
-Fully stocked cabinet of DVDs with all your favorite movies!
If only I had had so much appreciation for all of these things while I was living here.
Wednesday. 7.22.09 11:51 pm
The way the NASA guy talked to us made it seem like we had just been accepted as Star Fleet cadets: he talked about how this was our opportunity to shine, that NASA had seen potential in us and this was our opportunity to show them what we were made of. We were in the pipeline now, he said, and the farther the pipe went, the narrower it got. Look around the room, he said. This is your competition.
Our competition? Our competition for what? To become civil servants? To work for NASA, that floundering, unwieldy, money-bleeding enterprise which can't send a rover to Mars without coming in a half a billion dollars over budget? To become as poor as our NASA advisors?
For the first time someone was presenting NASA to me as it ought to be, a great honor, an opportunity to join a team of men and women whose destination was the stars, who worked in outer space and who were going to make it possible for everyone else to work there, too. We were in the pipeline. The pipeline to become principle investigators on missions, the pipeline to become astronauts, the pipeline to become NASA administrators! I began to feel a flicker of inspiration for the future that I had never felt before about joining NASA.
I went to lunch with my NASA advisor. We were in a group with a bunch of other NASA employees. They were talking about NASA parties. "Yeah," my advisor said, "NASA never has good food."
"That's because NASA is so goddamned cheap," somebody chimed in. "That's what you'll learn about NASA," he said, leaning over to me, "that NASA is so goddamned cheap." I thought about our new student orientation, and how they offered muffins and bananas and coffee for us for a suggested price of $1 per item. "So," said one of the people at the table, "what do you want to do when you graduate?" I felt my answer should be politic in front of my advisor, so I listed a group of institutions for which I might do research, like NOAA or the National Center for Atmospheric Research. "Aren't you going to become a professor?" my advisor asked. I gave an equivocal answer involving work-life balances and the fact that my current academic advisor comes to work at 4 am every day. Another fellow said, "Yes, but all that academic and government stuff aside, are you going to get a real job?"
"Out there, you mean?" I said
"Yes, I mean, in oil or the like."
I had to admit to him that this was a possibility. I once again felt saddled with the choice between making a lot of money and making a difference. I was once again faced with question of whether or not, through all the inefficiency and red tape, that I could make a difference in an organization like this.
We were walking back to the building. It had some name like the Innovation Center, and each room had a name like "The Idea Loft" or "The Inspiration Room". I mentioned the room names, trying to get an idea about how inspired they felt when they used them. They exchanged a look, a look that seemed to say that these catch-phrase room names were just another bit of corporate bullshit that the Everyman laughed about behind closed doors away from the hearing of his supervisor. I felt my inspiration slipping away.
It's so easy to be a critic. It's so easy to be the guy who always says, "It's never going to happen," or "we're never going to make it". It would be very easy to never return to the Moon, and despite NASA's declarations, there are plenty of people within NASA itself who are pretty convinced it will never happen. But what if we could return to the Moon? What if we could establish a base there, build a telescope, reach outwards into space towards Mars and beyond? What if, just like the in the 1960s, mankind could work together towards a common, peaceful goal, and achieve it? One of the Apollo astronauts commented that it has become a popular phrase to say, "What, we can put a man on the Moon but we can't _fill in the blank_?" The answer is, we put a man on the Moon, and now there isn't anything we can't do. The whole point of space exploration isn't really the utility of having people in space, although that might be important far in the future. The point isn't to frivolously spend money that we could be using to help people or protect the nation (defense, medicare and medicaid, and social security have a bit more than 20% of the federal budget each, while NASA's share of the federal government funds is about 0.6%). The point isn't to increase the USA's profile among the nations or to establish ourselves as a leader. The point isn't even to make sure that there are plenty of scientists and engineers to design new weapons systems in times of need. The point is to unite all of humanity in an endeavor that is much larger than humanity itself, which requires the peaceful participation of the whole world, and which requires us to unite, not against anything, but for something, for the exploration of new frontiers, for new knowledge of the Solar System and the Universe, for knowledge of limits of the human spirit. That's what NASA is for. I guess maybe it's our opportunity, the opportunity of the kids in the pipeline, the opportunity of every kid out there today who ever dreamed about outer space, to get out there and make it happen, to rebuild NASA into the Space Academy. After all, doesn't the future belong to us? Can't we make it into whatever we want it to be? I'd like to speak on behalf of my Star Fleet classmates to say, "Let's do it."
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