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 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
80s Parties and Working
Thursday. 5.24.07 10:09 pm
Here I am, it's 10:09pm on a Thursday, during the summer, and I'm at work. I was at this 80s party but there was nothing really to do and then my friend needed a ride to the train station otherwise she wasn't going to be able to get home tonight so I drove her there. Hopefully she made the train, it hadn't occurred to me that my car's clock is a little slow. She was all glammed out, with a fuchsia sequin dress with these gold sequin criss-cross holes on the sleeves. She has really curly hair so she blow-dryed it and it was biiig. She said that she'd gotten the dress from her mom, who had worn it to a formal sometime in the 80s. Her mom was getting rid of some stuff and she asked Leah if she wanted to have any of it. Leah was like, "wow, I definitely need this for this party I'm going to in a couple of weeks". and her mom looked really hurt and said, "You want to wear my dress to a costume party?" and she was like, "hahaha, mom, let it go... just let the 80s go."
Anyway, because she was late, she had to wear this ensemble HOME... like... she was going to have to look like an 80s glam rocker all the way home on the 30 minute train ride. HAHaHA.
But I'm here because I have all this work to do, sort of. I have to make a power-point presentation about bubbles in magma, and how they make their way to the surface, and how that played a pretty big role in determining whether or not the eruption is violently explosive or not. It's pretty interesting, but for once I'll spare you and not go into it now. I also have to write a little ditty about how my last semester went, which should go pretty quickly if I ever just sit down and do it. Maybe I'll just do this all tomorrow.... but I have to do it before lunch because that's when Justin comes and I have to pick him up at the train station (and it's all due in the afternoon). And I have to clean the floor, because when Chris did it last week (for the first time EVER... he had to borrow all my supplies and ask me how to do every step), he left all of the sticky cleaner on it and every fleck of dirt known to man just stuck to it.
Forget this noise, I'll do tah-mah-row. oooo ::shiver:: that's my worst fear... picking up the Rhode Island accent. But... I can't help it... it's happening already.
Tuesday. 5.22.07 9:31 pm
During the Planetary Science conference this year, one of the main headline makers, one of a pair of scientists who rocked the community by discovering that the gullies in the craters on Mars may have had running water in the last six years, was unable to come to Houston to present his results because he had the flu.
Another presenter couldn't be there because his aunt was dying.
And as I sat there in my chair near the back of the auditorium, my notebook covered in doodles and sleep heavy in my eyes, it occurred to me that no matter how famous you are, no matter how many Phd's you have, no matter how many people have to kowtow to you on a daily basis, your carnal self, your body, still has the ability to trump every other concern. You are still a veritable slave to your health. Like that quote that I put in here before from Marcel Proust:
"It is in moments of illness that we are compelled to recognize that we live not alone but chained to a creature of a different kingdom, whole worlds apart, who has no knowledge of us and by whom it is impossible to make ourselves understood: our body."
And wrapped up in our mortality is the fact that you can gain as much knowledge as you would like during a lifetime, and stack up degrees all you want, but when you die, all of that work that you put in learning all of that stuff, is gone. For nothing. I wonder if parents feel that way, if they have the terrible misfortune of losing a child. What if they've just put this kid through college, through law school maybe. All that money, all that time and effort, 24 or so years of worrying about the little guy, building him into a balanced, capable, employable human being so that he's ready to take control of the rest of his life and in an instant it's all for nothing. Of course that isn't true. Think of all the lives you've touched, just in the short years you've already lived? Sometimes I think the noblest ambition is to seek to be at least a mostly happy memory in the minds of all you've met. Everybody, even random people on the street or in the bank or at a restaurant. You can't make everyone happy, usually if you try to do that you eventually make the people you love much more sad. That's why it's a 'mostly'. Because if you make someone sad temporarily because you love them and it's best, they will eventually see that. As far as all this knowledge that you're gaining... perhaps if you have long been a professor and you've published dozens of papers, then all that knowledge was for something and it will live on. But most of the time we aren't professors who publish in the field or industry innovators who release a world-changing product on the market. All of that knowledge seems to serve to make us money so that we can get by. Just get by. Is that enough? I think in the end, the most important thing that you can do with knowledge is pass it on to someone else, keep passing it on, generation after generation, so that it will never die.
Can you imagine how much faster our civilization might have progressed if instead of dying, we lived for hundreds of years and just piled knowledge on top of knowledge? As it is it's like trying to get out into the ocean, with every five steps you take forward you are washed four steps back. However, there is that old saying... "Science progresses one funeral at a time."... that is, you sometimes need people to die so that other people with new ideas can explore them without being crushed by The Institution. This is why children are important, even if at first they don't seem to be a financially sound endeavor. You'll never make your money back on them, that's for sure, but money is another one of those things that you just can't take with you when you go.
In other news, I've been playing some crazy soccer, I might join the rugby team, and I am now one of two department representatives to the Graduate School Council. ::the EVIL coun-cil!::
watching: About a Boy
listening to: Keith Urban- Live to Love Another Day
Summers come and summers go, and I keep walking down this road
It's all right, it's ok
I'll live to love another day.
For your information
Tuesday. 5.22.07 3:11 pm
The USA is the world's leading producer of:
Cow Milk, Whole, Fresh
Grapefruit and Pomelos
Green Corn (Maize)
Indigenous Cattle Meat
Indigenous Chicken Meat
Indigenous Turkey Meat
The US is the second-highest producers of:
The USA is the world's third-highest producer of:
Peaches and Nectarines
And the USA is the world's fourth-largest producer of:
Groundnuts in Shell
Pumpkins, Squash, Gourds
France, in comparison, is the world's leader in only duck meat (edging out Malaysia!) and sugar beets, while Germany is the world's leader in hops.
So who then is edging out the US in apples and many of the commodities where they are listed second? Not Russia, whose world-leading products are sunflower seeds and gooseberries... but of course China, who is kicking the tail of the US in sesame seeds, groundnuts, and reelable cocoons.
Take a look for yourself!
You may be interested to know that Burkina Faso is the world's second largest producer of "Indigenous Ass Meat"
The Secret Adventure Club
Monday. 5.21.07 9:37 pm
Today the Secret Adventure Club went on its second official adventure. This time it was to Purgatory Chasm, a crazy jumble of rocks and trickling waterfalls and mossy banks in southern Massachusetts just a little ways over the border. I went with Thalweg of the Admirality Islands and her boyfriend Graham. We had giant cookies and chocolate soymilk for dinner and then we were off. We found some pretty sweet KAl2(Si3Al)O10(OH)2 (muscovite) and some orthoclase, and a lot of smoky quartz that came in great veins the girth of an elephant's leg. Muscovite always comes in very thin sheets. It's named after the Muscovy region in Russia where it is very common. There the muscovite grows in sheets so large that townspeople would pull it out of the ground and use it for windows back in the olden-days before everyone had glass.
We did a lot of climbing even though I had crappy shoes on. I should learn to be more prepared, because you never know when adventure will strike. Graham climbed the Devil's Pitchfork, and we sang from the Devil's Pulpit, and Teresa sat where the Devil had Shat, but eventually it dried.
Then we spent some time pretending we were that kind of dinosaur like in Jurassic Park when he's purring and the guy comes close and then he opens his hood and hisses and spits in the guy's face!!! If only Justin Clark knew how far his legacy has spread. Of course the most famous time must surely be when we actually accidentally spit in some girl's face when Ranor and I were wearing capes and running around the second floor of smiley. But she still thought it was funny.
Then it was necessary to run around like raptors and ambush Graham from the sides while he was distracted looking forward (classic raptor technique! He should have seen that coming!). A raptor fight ensued between Graham and Teresa, and I was impressed, because any 32-year-old guy whose first thesis draft is due on Thursday and who can still come out in the middle of the forest and run around like a velociraptor is surely a man to be admired. In the end the night grew dark and Graham led us across a river on a slippery log, and when we had climbed the rocks and swung on some swings and imitated Steve Irwin to our hearts' content, we piled in Graham's station wagon and went on home, our adventure and the daylight exhausted for the time being.
But NEXT TIME..........!
I had written Sam telling him that once again for the zillionth time I can't come to the bar for beer and wings. I told him that I was going adventuring to a place very far away and that I probably would not be back in time.
He wrote back simply,
"What's his name?"
What can I answer..... Thalweg and Graham?
THE DEVIL, PERHAPS?!!?!?!!?
Bridge to Terabithia (contains spoilers)
Saturday. 5.19.07 11:34 pm
::Edit:: "He" and "She" aka "They" are two of the 8, sometimes 9 people who live in my house. :::
So we went to the movie Bridge to Terabithia. Don't read if you don't want to hear about the ending.
"We" as in me, Him, Her, and Her Friend. He didn't have any cash, as usual (last we he and I went to see The Last King of Scotland and I had to pay because they don't take credit cards--- it's ok because he bought me that bottle of Tylenol the one time.) Don't see that movie, by the way, the Last King of Scotland. I highly recommend never seeing it. You pretty much hated all of the main characters and you sat there waiting for them to do one thing (just one thing!) that would make you like them or be sympathetic towards them, and it just never happened. Instead, it got worse. So instead you sat there waiting, and hoping, for them to meet the deaths they so richly deserved.
SO anyway, I didn't have any cash either, after last week, so I paid in dimes. She had enough for Herself, but not enough for him so he had to borrow money from her visiting out-of-town friend. Awk. Ward. Her friend was totally cool though, we got to talking.
He led us to a row where we were sitting in front of a bunch of little kids. Awesome. The father clucked his annoyance because we were 15 minutes late for the movie (NOT my fault) and we we're all taller than his kids. I immediately slouched down in my chair so the kid could see over me and he rewarded me by smacking the top of my head. I was just like wtf? And I slouched lower, for the whole movie. ow. You couldn't even see my head above the seat.
Just as the movie was reaching one of its most important parts (I've already read the book, you see, that's why I didn't even want to see the movie in the first place, but I didn't think I could accurately explain why I didn't want to see it without giving it away, so I decided to go see it anyway since it's only two bucks) He and She decide that they're going to leave, and they make a commotion getting out of their seats in front of the children. The Friend leans over to me and says, "They said that they're going for a walk." Despite the fact that this girl is friends with Her, I can't help but exclaim, "WHAT?!?!" But I recall that he has often told me that they've skipped large parts of the movies because they go and talk, and sometimes they never return at all. She doesn't like movies that are unpleasant in any way, which sometimes precipitates these "walks". So they leave. Pretty much everything important that happens in the movie happens during this time. Like, including Terabithia being awesome and then the freaking girl DROWNING IN THE RIVER. I told you I was going to ruin it, don't come crying to me. Then the great emotional parts of the movie go by, I mean, it's BtT, come on, I cried when I read it in 6th grade, I cried again tonight (O how I wept!). Then They come back. Once again a ruckus is raised getting them back into their seats, and He says that he almost didn't recognize our row because I looked like a twelve-year-old. what??? What happened? She asks. What happened? What HAPPENED? WHAT HAPPENED IN THE 30 MINUTES THAT YOU WERE GONE FROM THE MOVIE THEATRE!?!?! You've got to be kidding me! "Did she die!?!?!" She exclaims. He chimes in, "Is she DEAD?!" The Friend answers yes, she is dead. They watch the last five minutes when her family moves out, and then the boy builds the Bridge to Terabithia at the end. When I look over, She is crying, her tears brimmed over with emotion. WTF???? How can you be crying? You just saw a little girl meet a little boy, and then at first not like each other, and then become friends, and then you went for a THIRTY MINUTE WALK, and then someone TOLD YOU that eventually she dies, and you see her parents move out, and then you're CRYING?!!?
They were full of praises for the movie after it was over, but He said that he didn't care for it much because "fantasy stories are really boring. I mean, some fantasy is good, like Lord of the Rings, but really most fantasy is so boring."
OK, first of all, I have to disagree with him. Fantasy is not boring, thank you very much, but ok, I guess that's a matter of opinion. SECONDLY, THIS WAS NOT A FANTASY MOVIE, AND IF HE HAD ACTUALLY WATCHED IT, HE WOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
But then we went home, and he told us all again the rollicking good story about how he saw this young girl get grabbed by some hoodlum from the side of the street near her broken down car while she was talking on her cell phone and then he saw them fighting and she kicks him in the nuts and then he punches her in the face and then she gets thrown into an SUV, and how he bravely drove like hell away from there and rounded up some Providence Police from the Dunkin' Donuts. Ok, so I made up the Dunkin Donuts part, but it's probably true. He said that she was a nice pretty, young girl but you never know, maybe she was a prostitute and that guy was her pimp, and so why should he intervene? But he did tell them that the SUV had Georgia plates. What a hero.
Earlier today we were standing around talking about my friend who used to be kind of anorexic although I still don't know if she admits that. One day she and I were talking about our "spare tires", or that little bleb of fat girls have right above their pants from their belly button, and she told me that even at her very skinniest, she still never got rid of it. So she told me that it was pointless to worry about it, because it was just going to be there and you had to accept your body the way it was. At this point in my story He got very thoughtful looking and said, "Actually, if I took her into one of my plastic surgeon friends, it would just be like snip, snip, and then it would be gone! And it would never come back."
I think he missed the entire point of my story.
Anyway, in case you were wondering: Bridge To Terabithia: Very good. But sad. And I only paid $2, so there you go. And I think it should be spelled "Tarabythia" and I think it should be pronounced "Tera-BEETH-ia" instead of "Tera-BITH-ia".
I'm sooo getting new roommates this fall.
Happy Loaf says "CHEEEEESU!"
Saturday. 5.19.07 3:41 pm
Yesterday I got a package from my old high school boyfriend, Brett. He's teaching English in Japan right now with i-jet. There was no card, simply this:
Rlook! A roaf-u of ba-readah! Kawaii! ^-^;;
The Early Days
Thursday. 5.17.07 8:32 pm
Yes, there were early signs that she was going to be a multi-platinum selling rock star. In graduate school she was known for composing extremely moving songs that were so immediate to everyday life that it seemed like they spoke to each and every heart. Some early titles included the up-tempo heavy metal song,
"My Roommate Stole My Fucking Frying Pan (And I Have to Walk All The Way Downstairs to Get It Back)";
the bitter, mocking ballad,
"Could You Possibly Drive Any Slower?";
and in her first German album,
"Ich Habe Kein Regenschirm",
which was rumored to have been composed when she was forced to walk all the way from the Alfred Wegener Polar Institut fur Polar und Meeresforschung to the train station, in the rain, without an umbrella.
Tuesday. 5.15.07 6:29 pm
When he awoke he was facing a wall of blank blue ice. The half of the room where Dakar had been hours ago was gone. The ceiling had changed from a low, dusty white and bluish warp to a dome 20ft above Jasperâ€™s head, frosted with a thousand icy white crystals like a polar chandelier. Had he been moved? Was he in a different place? He thought he saw the top of the ladder they had used to ascend into the cavity. It was now trapped several inches into the blue ice wall, leading nowhere. His eyes reluctantly moved to the far corner. The skeleton was still there. Now only one foot was visible and the skullâ€¦ still cocked crookedly as if he were welcoming someone into his abode. The eye cavities were filled with frost. They looked like they were shining.
Jasper took a sharp breath. Why did he feel so dizzy? He heard a faint sound, like a whisper. The skeleton? No... it came from a small crack in the floor. It was leaking up into the ice from the bowels of the volcano below his feet. Gas.
Frenzied, he began tapping the walls of the ice cave, looking for weakness. There was nothing- solid blue ice on one side and an opaque stucco of packed snow-ice and rock on the other. The ceiling was too high to reach. The floor seemed to be the only weakness. If the gas was any indication, it led straight into the volcano's fiery vent.
â€śDakar!â€ť he shouted. There was more fear in his voice than he had hoped. â€śDakar where are you?â€ť With each shout there had to be a sharp breath that followed. Each one made Jasper feel like an invisible hand was reaching into his lungs and pulling them inside out. Emptying them of air.
The ice muffled his cries and returned only muted echoes. He collapsed back onto the cool ice wall where Dakar used to be. His body sank into the snow. He was sitting across from the skeleton. Over its face, slender, geometric ice crystals had begun to form. A wide smile spread over Jasper's face.
"Welcome," whispered the skeleton. Or was it the vent? It came from the whole chamber.
"Welcome to Erebus."
Jasper's eyes were blurring. Or was that just the frost, blurring the harsh contours of the skeleton's face? His eyes looked out of the side of his head at his hands. They were very far away. There were slivers of frost growing there, as well. How did he get here? He seemed to remember that it was important for him to return home for some reason. He couldn't remember why. His head was so fuzzy. He turned away from the skeleton, pressing his face against the hoary frost. If only he could extract the clean oxygen from this pure frost! Was he gasping? Was that him or the skeleton? It filled his ears and his mind. Maybe it was laughing?
"Jasper." It was the volcano whispering now. "Jasper.... I'm coming for you, Jasper. Are you ready?"
A sudden convulsion shook Jasper's haze. Such heat! His mind faded to black. The floor collapsed beneath him. He tumbled toward the heart of the volcano.
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