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
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.
Too much work is bad for your health
Monday. 5.14.07 3:35 pm
An Evening of Elegance
Sunday. 5.13.07 6:59 pm
Now that it is warm enough to keep my window open, I've thrown up the sash and changed the whole mood of my room. The late afternoon sun steals through the window and turns the walls orange. I've lit the candles in the southwest-style colored glass stars that hang from the top of the window frame. The fresh air is invigorating and it makes the colors in the room seem deeper. My room has awoken from winter's hibernation.
To accompany this change in mood, I'm playing Andante Sostenuto from the Violin Sonata in C Major, by Mozart. It's probably my favorite classical piece, (what little I know of classical music) and it's what I play every time I move in or out of a place. Since this is always in the spring or fall, the weather is always perfect for sitting with the window thrown wide open, and the movements of the music seem to rise and fall with the gusts of sweet-scented breeze.
I wish that Scott were here; then I would likely have made something more delicious for myself than frozen pizza... something that would fit this elegant evening better. I pause to wonder if Scott will ever be here again.
I recall that despite our best laid plans, Ranor and I never managed to stage a romantic dinner for ourselves or anyone else under that ivy-laden canopy on the way to CMC. Pomona College offered so many prime locations for elegant romance- all wasted by us for want of partner or occasion.
I'm taken back in time to last summer, when with my open windows I would sit, taking in the lush, wet, Bremish evening and eating a bowl full of soft pears as evening turned into night.
I've moved on to Fantasia in D. It is a bit too sad for this evening's mood. But soon I must extinguish the dancing candles from their stars, or the votives will be nothing but two misshapen pyramids of wax melted into the bottom points of the glass stars- so perhaps it is fitting.
Sunday. 5.13.07 12:30 am
EDIT **my book is pretty hilarious because all of the Uglies in it talk like Americans and all of the Pretties talk in something that sounds a lot like Singlish**
I've lived a lot of the weekend and the last week inside these crazy books I've been reading. First Uglies, then the second of the three, which I read today: Pretties. Now I have to get my hands on the third: Specials. ONLY THE LIBRARY IS NOT OPEN ON SUNDAYS. And my library doesn't have it, so I'll have to order it. Might be faster just to drive there, considering the entire state of Rhode Island practically only has one library district. That's not totally true.
I went to the park that Jarrod told me about, it was FANTASTIC. They have these peddle-boats, they are shaped like gigantic swans. How much more awesome can you get?! I went by myself today (because I couldn't get a hold of Caitlyn), but upon my return I went to Seth's house and invited him to come with me and go back there tomorrow. I swear I saw no less than 7-9 separate wedding parties having their pictures taken at different places throughout the park. I think I'll pack a little picnic that Seth and I can eat once we get out there. Maybe some other people can come too.
Summer is going to be so awesome.
Meanwhile I've got this funny feeling in my mind, like the things I'm reading in the book have way more bearing on my real life than they actually do. It leaves an uneasy, sour taste in my mouth.
Saturday. 5.12.07 12:44 am
Today was just... weird.
Enter your expletive of choice for the ellipse.
It all began this morning, when I was trying to write fortran code. My advisor has a crazy neck problem, so he can't look up or side to side. So whenever you talk to him he has to stand up from his chair so that he can look down on you. So no matter what happens, it's a pain in his neck. That makes life great for the rest of us.... Then I took the afternoon off. I left a notecard saying that I'd gone to the "bibliotheque" but I was really on my way to the other computer lab so I could write fortran AND screw around on the internet at the same time. But I ran into Seth. So we went out to lunch. We brought Teresa along, too. Then I went shopping. I saw two of my former students on the street: Stanley and Jarrod. Stanley didn't see me. Then I went home and baked brownies. Everybody loved them because I put my crazy mint-chocolate swirl chips in them. Then I went back to work and hung around for a while pretending to intensely do work. Then we went to a picnic down by the sea for the department. I played horse shoes with Robert and I got a ringer... the horse-shoe was the wrong way around the stake, with the open end facing back towards me. Beautiful. I love playing horse-shoes. Sam and his girlfriend came and Joe and Sam played against the gf and me. It was a really close game and it ended when we were tied and Joe scored the winning point, but then I went and tied it up, and then Sam threw the first ringer of the day and his gf, who hadn't been throwing that great, threw one that touched the stake. So we lost by one point, but it was very exciting.
Then I watched the faculty play bocce ball and learned the rules. Then I went to Sam's house, where everyone got drunk but me and we sat on the porch and listened to country music. I started talking to Patrick, the french guy, and he showed me a bunch of his music and said he'd give some to me so I'd have "all the coolest french music". It was pretty interesting. He doesn't think any Americans will know the french bands, but he was surprised that I know Manau. I don't really remember how I got to know them, but whatever. He says I speak french with a Russian accent. But then again, he thinks every accent is a Russian accent. Little does he know that my actual Russian accent is at its best at the moment since the Russians just left for Moscow a couple weeks ago. I ended up driving everyone home, and I made a point of saying buenos noches to Patrick in a thick Castillian accent just because we always say buenos noches and he insists on adding "bon nuit".
So today was actually filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows and now I feel a little sick since I was drinking a crazy amount of soda so I could keep something in my hand while everyone else was getting pissed as shit. I finished reading that book I'd been reading, "Uglies", last night, so right now I'm raging against The Man and how he likes to make us think we're ugly, and also how the only thing "grown up" people like to do is drink alcohol and dress up and go to parties, while I just want to climb trees and walk on the top of retaining walls and find secret tunnels and play Mario Kart. Basically I want to do all the stuff that I did freshman year in college, when we lived in sub-free and set up hurdles in the hallway and had wall-sitting contests and I chimney-climbed both the alcove next to my room as well as the entire back stairwell in the dorm. Or sophomore year when we played ddr ALL the time and fished for christmas lights off the balcony with a plastic candy cane and threw these crazy echoing nuts across the roof-top of the building. And when Lisa and I played spatula-ball! Ugh. I want to do all the fun stuff the Jarrod and his friends do now. It makes me sad to think that they might "outgrow" that stuff someday too.
Even now that the weather has turned, apparently morale is at an all-time low. This has something to do with my advisor's neck ache, and a lot to do with just about everything else my advisor does. But I'm actually having a good time, and I won't let the negativity affect me. I think I'll try and go to this park that Jarrod told me about with Caitlyn tomorrow and maybe we can draw or climb a tree or throw a frisbee or something. It would be great to bring out my fire-dancing poi and see if I remember anything from fire-dancing last year.
Thursday. 5.10.07 5:45 pm
Alone With the Sunset
Wednesday. 5.9.07 8:18 pm
Everyone was still at work, frittering over the same silly shades of grey, stretching photos beyond recognition, staring at computer screens. They were drinking the new types of brew my advisor had set on the table. Perhaps it was no accident that he had brought them in at a quarter to five, as a sly inducement that would keep his salaried workers a little past the hour. I did not partake- how could I? The world outside the doors of that building was calling me, beseeching me, "Come." I didn't bother to gather my things, I took what was necessary and left. I walked home and fetched my car. I went to the public library and got a library card. I checked out a book-- "The Uglies" by Scott Westerfeld. I heard about it on one of the nutanger's blogs. It takes place in a different sort of world, but its lessons resound poignantly in this one.
I drove to the park, you know, the one just off Cushing Street, where Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, looks in majestic statue format across his city of Providence. Words carved into the frame for the statue say, "HERE REPOSES DUST FROM THE GRAVE OF ROGER WILLIAMS". A strange inscription. It reminds me of some poem or something that I read where this fellow makes a woman out of dirt and then falls in love with her and marries her. Unfortunately she dries out and crumbles away. He holds a funeral for her with guests and a priest and everything, but when the priest gets to the "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" part, someone in the crowd can't help but snicker. This makes the man very angry. I don't really remember what happens after that.
I sat against a tree and read half my book. In the glowing late afternoon, the city looked like one of those pretend cities like they have in children's picture books, where the suburbs don't exist... there's just the countryside and one black two-lane road that goes over several hills until it reaches the City, where all of the buildings bow out a bit at the top as if the city can't all fit on the plot of land it was given. The only thing that makes this city real are its little imperfections- the eastern tower of the Westin that isn't quite finished yet, a thin and awkward crane bending over it, frozen until the start of another work day.
There is a boy in a red shirt who is lying in the grass.
I look over periodically and twice he is looking back. I am always impressed by solitary people who bring nothing to do, and then sit in a public place. It takes a certain strength of being to sit alone and be completely idle in a busy world where everyone is expected to have tasks and associations. It is a well known fact, for example, that a solitary person sitting in a public place, should he have no paper to read, must be constantly consulting his watch, even if he isnâ€™t waiting for anyone at all. It is a courtesy for the people walking by him, so that they do not have to wonder what he is doing and why he is alone.
A group of hippies is smoking marijuana from a hookah in the corner of the park, the sticky smell of it begins to cover up the dreamy scent of lavender coming from a trellis down the street. I thought about the boy in the red shirt. Surely I should talk to him? Here we are, two solitary citizens of Earth, drawn to the park by the promise of sunsetâ€¦ what more need we have in common to know that we are of the same ilk? I rise from my seat, not even knowing what my body will decide to do. I walk to the fence and look out over the city.
â€śHey!â€ť comes a voice. â€śWhatâ€™s up? Who are you with?â€ť
It is the voice of another boy, speaking to the boy in the red shirt.
â€śOh, uh, nobody,â€ť he responds a bit uncertainly. There is an awkward moment, as the boy in the red shirt has just been made to indirectly admit that something of the Poetic lies hidden within him.
â€śIâ€™ve wanted to come down here,â€ť he explains, â€śbut I couldnâ€™t find anyone to come with me.â€ť The way he says it implies that he probably didnâ€™t look very hard.
The other boy invites the boy in the red shirt to come and â€śhangâ€ť with him and his friends, and the boy in the red shirt has no choice but to acquiesce. He is swallowed into a group and there is again just one person in the park who is alone with the sunset.
This Semester is technically over now
Tuesday. 5.8.07 10:28 pm
From my professor, in response to my presentation today:
"Just wanted to say that you did a very nice job of presenting your project today. You described the goals, the physics of the problem and the nature of the inverse problem so clearly that it was hardly noticeable that you don't actually have results yet! I was impressed."
hahHAhaha. I don't really know how to take that one.
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