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 Altadena, CA
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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 ā 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
Frozen in Time
Tuesday. 1.27.15 5:35 pm
Today I went back to my old office. I lot of my of friends were there, even ones that I didn't expect. It was sad and happy at the same time to realize how many friends I had in Paris, especially compared to how few I have now, starting over from scratch in a new town. My old office was almost exactly how I had left it one year ago... despite the new people who were occupying it. The gingerbread house my friend Christine made on the door with our names on it, my old advent calendar, a bunch of paper hand turkeys... and everything that I had ever written on the white board, still there. The maze that M spent weeks drawing for me (and that I had spent 10 minutes solving), still there. Someone had added a photograph of me to the board with my eyebrows raised, with a caption saying, "She is Watching You". The bag of clothes that I couldn't fit in my suitcase that I'd told M to throw away... still there. My little glass dome with a cake-shaped candle- still there. The "Hello M!" that I wrote in the grime on the wall.... still there. I guess we've now answered the question of whether they ever clean the walls. Construction on the University-- still ongoing. The post-it notes that I'd made for everyone with their names on them in calligraphy-- still there. Given all that I shouldn't have been surprised that my username still worked, and that my Linux desktop still had funny pictures from the internet saved on it from a year ago. I went to the cafeteria for lunch, and I ate the same food I'd eaten every day for 2 and a half years. It was as if no time had passed at all. M had me over to dinner to see his new apartment and to hang out with his girlfriend and his roommate. He bought and made all of the classically french things that I liked, so that I could be properly welcomed back to France: galettes with cheese and ham, camembert (my favorite cheese), a baguette, Breton cider, etc. I tried to impress his Spanish girlfriend with my new Spanish-speaking skillz. And as I walked back to my temporary apartment through abandoned cobblestone streets, I started to remember what had felt so charming about this filthy old city. Ah well. Still a week and a half to go.
De retour ā Paris
Sunday. 1.25.15 5:26 pm
I'm back in France... wooooo!!!
I dropped my bags off at my hotel and went straight to church. THERE WERE ALL OF MY OLD FRIENDS!!! It was great to see them. The sermon was pretty interesting, too. The pastor started out with an anecdote about how nice answering machines are because they let you know who has been trying to call you. Then he made the link that maybe God has been trying to reach you (give you a call), but He hasn't been able to get through.... luckily He left a Message. It was clever.
I told them that it had been impossible for me to find a church like this one back home. They said that almost everyone who leaves says that-- they say that not only are the churches elsewhere not "the same", they're not even close. Ain't that the truth. I'll be back in church on Tuesday.
After church my job was to stay awake, so I took off across town. I walked from close to the Eiffel Tower all the way back to near Bastille, which is waaaaaaay completely across town. My feet and legs ached by the time I arrived at my apartment. The jetlag seized me at last and I collapsed on my bed and woke up some four hours later dying of starvation. What's open at 10 pm on a Sunday in Paris? MCDONALD'S. So I darted out for some Mickey D's.
It's strange being back. After being in the US for a while, Paris looks like a very dirty city. (After being in Naples, Italy for a while, Paris looks immaculately clean). The tourists are all walking around taking pictures, but it's all so familiar to me that it seems strange that they would take pictures of things that are so prosaic.
As for me, I take pictures of pigeons, because every pigeon is beautiful.
Tomorrow I get to see all of my office friends and start work on my coding project. Yahoo.
Barbed Wire Fences
Friday. 12.12.14 12:49 am
There are a lot of things that I like about working for NASA, but there is a big one that I didn't expect.
I like having a big huge fence with barbed wire around my workplace that is guarded by security guards.
Because I really like walking to my car late at night and not being worried that someone is going to murder or rape me. I guess I didn't realize how much of my time and energy went into being thinking about this until I didn't have to think about it anymore. When I used to walk home from work in Providence I would spend the whole walk imagining exactly how I would karate chop potential attackers, from the moment I left my office to the moment I arrived safely home. I used to walk home while it was still light outside, get my car, and drive back to work so that I wouldn't have to walk the 15 minutes back to my house in the dark. Nobody in Providence would have told me that that precaution wasn't necessary.
The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave man dies but one.
Maybe it's cowardly to enjoy hiding behind a barbed wire fence, only hanging out with honest, straightforward people who've all passed extensive background checks, but it's very relaxing. I wish the whole world could be like that, no fences required.
Now the only thing I have to worry about while walking to my car at night is being attacked by mountain lions.
Because apparently we have mountain lions here.
Wednesday. 12.10.14 5:10 am
One of my many bosses calls me, ostensibly to schedule a meeting for tomorrow, but he's actually just waiting for his wife to finish working so that they can carpool home. He fills the time by telling me cool stories about old space missions, and what clever things they managed to do to squeeze every last drop of data and power out of the old Martian satellites. Nowadays they've been inventing technology so that we can launch things that are way heavier and more power-hungry than before. It has changed the way we think about things... before, we were always trying to get the mass down first, then the power consumption down. These constraints led to a miniaturization revolution... just in time for the people on the rocket and spacecraft bus side to relax the restrictions. Now we're in a whole new world, where we're running up against cost constraints and data-rate constraints before we ever hit our mass constraints. I relay my line of thinking to my boss.
"What I want," he says, his excitement bubbling through the telephone, "is for the scientists not to say, 'Those jerks at JPL, always limiting the amount of data I can take!' but rather, 'stupid physics! Limiting the amount of data I can take!"
"Curse you, speed of light!"
"Maybe that will be the next barrier that we'll break," I say. "Maybe we'll find a way to overcome cost constraints and volume constraints and data-rate constraints, and then we'll overcome the speed-of-light constraint by passing data through quantum entanglement."
He agrees, but he thinks that he'll be retired by that point.
"You know what I feel constrained by?" I say, "Having only three spatial dimensions! What if I was like, 'hey boss, I found a new way to Mars--- it's really fast-- it's through the 4th dimension.'"
"Yeah, you'd be like, 'I found it in the library! No need for rockets, just go right through these books into this hypercube of time and space!'"
"You're going to put me out of business! Unless... what if you did just transport a satellite through the 4th dimension and then put it instantaneously into Martian orbit... it would just fall straight towards the ground because it wouldn't have any velocity! We'd have to give it so much delta-V!"
"We'd have to blast the rocket sideways!"
I spend some time telling him about the science fiction novel that I am writing with my friend, and how we'd like him to model some satellite trajectories for us so that we can have realistic satellites in our novel. He says that if he put his trajectory guy on it we could have our trajectories in less than an hour.
An interruption: the third guy we are supposed to meet with is calling on the phone. He hangs up and then calls me right back.
"We're going to have our meeting on Thursday," he reports, "up in the guy's office, which is very far away at the top of the hill. I don't know where. He wasn't sure if we'd be up for walking that far. But I told him, 'if I know anything about this girl, it's that she's going to be up for an adventure.'"
Wednesday. 12.3.14 1:34 pm
There is a happy hour after work today. I decided to dress up today with the idea that I might catch a man.
On my way into work from the parking lot, I got trapped in the little turnstile for a moment and met "Raul" from finance.
THIS IS WORKING ALREADY.
Tuesday. 11.18.14 8:53 pm
I've only been in Argentina for three days, but it feels like a thousand.
I burned the fuck out of my tongue while eating an empanada. I mean that literally: I burned my tongue, and the word "fuck" just fell right off of it.
Apparently the entire field course that I am attending is in Spanish. I got the suspicion that it might be a month or so ago when they never made an English version of the "field camp arrival information packet", but it never really hits you all the way until you're in the middle of Argentina with a group of 30 people and all of them are from Latin America. Ay caramba. Chileņos are especially impossible to understand.
Chileņos: Can you understand?
Me: I can understand him [pointing at Spanish guy]. But the rest....
Spanish Guy: That's because I'm the only one *actually* speaking *Spanish*
The Spanish Pimsleur CDs that I checked out from the library and studied intently for four or five weeks before I left helped a lot.
The fact that they're all geologists also helps. We understand each other in mysterious ways, including knowing, without the aid of language, when someone wants to take a picture of some random rock and whether or not they'd like to use you as a scale.
Yesterday we had an entire day of lectures about different kinds of volcanic processes, and today we went into the Andes to see them in the field. Tomorrow we take off deep into the Andes and we don't get back until next Tuesday. Yeehaw. There will be a lot of staring at my food and nodding my head blankly around the dinner table.
My fellow workshop-mates have kindly adopted me as their token English-speaker, though. They look after me and ask directions for me and order food for me. They make sure I don't get lost. They turn to me after a few minutes of talking and say things like,
Person 1: "What is 'culo' in English?"
Person 2: "Ass?"
Person 1: "We are talking about the word 'Ass'"
Me: "Thank you."
Hasta la vista
Saturday. 11.15.14 2:23 am
Welllll I'm off to Argentina tomorrow. I'm going to be checking out some volcanoes and wandering around in the Andes until Thanksgiving.
I went on a date tonight. Probably my first date since... ... ... 2011?
It was... ok. Shoutout to all of my former boyfriends, who were apparently thousands of times more interesting than the general population. I guess I didn't fully appreciate those guys.
Oh well. Argentina beckons.
Don't Play with Matches
Sunday. 10.5.14 7:16 pm
I joined Match.com. It's been interesting.
I realized that I'm not attracted to anyone who seriously puts what they are like and who they are looking for in an ad on the internet. Which I guess kind of defeats the point of online dating. The only guy who piqued my interest was a guy who used his "About Me" section to tell a long, rambling story about a cat that used to come to his house but doesn't anymore.
Oh well. So far I've had one exchange with a guy... he said he didn't realize that "inky" was a word...... another guy wrote to tell me that he didn't believe that "volcanology" was a word until he looked it up... are you guys trying to impress me with your ignorance of words? Is that what gets the ladies these days?
From looking through pictures of these guys, you get the impression that most of them fall into the category of "the friend"... you know... there's a cool, attractive guy, and he has some cool, attractive friends... and then he also has some friends who are just always there hanging out but they never themselves do anything which is cool and/or attractive? So they never get any ladies because they never stick out for any reason? Poor guys. I guess I never thought that much about them until now.
The other type of guy who really gets me is the type that says, "NO DRAMA" or "NO GAMES" in his description. He gets crossed off the list immediately. Ok, almost anyone who writes anything in all caps and/or posts exclusively mirror selfies gets crossed off the list. Oh well, my friend Rhodes and I are going Match.com bowling later in October... at least if it's a total failure we will have each other.
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