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
I don't have leukemia!
Saturday. 3.24.07 9:56 pm
I've been spending the weekend so far engaged in a combination of surfing deviantart and relentless self-improvement, falling under the titles of LVS and Project FG. Luckily or unluckily I don't know, but I went into the office today (to print out a picture off google so I could use it as a reference for my planned drawing of St. Sebastian being tended by the widow) and I ran into Jim and Lionel and Anne as they were leaving. I always have mixed feelings about running into the boss at work on the weekend. 1. He knows you're putting in the extra effort 2. he probably thinks you have no life. And when your grad school advisor gets worried about you because he thinks you have no life... that's just really depressing. I mean, what's worse- having no life, or being caught at having no life? But you can't really assure him that you're not coming into work to actually do work, but to actually use the printing facilities for your own personal diversion, either. So you let the moment awkwardly pass, which it did.
So anyway, I printed the picture and spent the rest of the day in the library, working on LVS and Project FG... never got around to drawing St. Sebastian, I'll have to do that tomorrow or something. As part of the regimen for strict self-improvement I decided that since I was working on the 11th floor and the whole library is empty because of Spring Break and the elevator ride was really long, that I should dance like a crazy person during the whole duration of every elevator ride that I had to take. So I did. It's been working out really well for me.
I've been googling all of the symptoms I had during my recent illness, and it kept coming up over and over again: leukemia leukemia leukemia. Ok, ok, leukemia, blah blah blah, what do I really have?
So I was reading about the signs they look for and the tests they do to see whether or not you actually have leukemia. I realized that all the tests that they made me do last week were all to figure out if I had leukemia. The conversations they'd been having about the pinprick spots on my legs and my fever and my weight loss and everything (using really technical words so the conversation would take place above my head)... all of the terminology showed up here!
So THAT's why it was so important that they found my platelet levels to be so incredibly high and healthy! So THAT's why they had three doctors come in and look at me. And THAT's why they were so concerned about the reason for my weight loss. And I thought they were just worried that I had an eating disorder or something. Luckily I passed all of their important tests, and whatever I had last week will hopefully fade forever into the past.
Though, that's certainly enough to
FREAK THE SHIT OUT OF YOU, DON'T YOU THINK?
I wish doctors would be more transparent with you, ya know? But you kind of see why they aren't sometimes.
Fluid Dynamics and You
Friday. 3.23.07 10:23 pm
So I was talking to my Fluid Dynamics professor yesterday and I was telling him about how we're trying to model the way that little bits of rock (tephra) get exploded out of a volcano in a column of turbulent gases and then how it subsequently gets picked up by the wind and transported for hundreds of kilometers before it finally hits the ground (on Mars). It starts out as liquid rock, of course, and then becomes kind of hot, squishy lava-y stuff, and then depending on how long it falls and how warm the air is it cools down and becomes rigid, and that makes it fall a different way. But anyway, I was telling him how it's kind of difficult sometimes because you have to describe the way that a large piece of rock starts out being totally encased and moved along (entrained) by the gas, but if it accidentally makes its way to the edge of the plume, there isn't enough gas there to continue pushing it up and it falls right out. The particles also interact with each other within the plume.
My professor studies the flow of blood in the human circulatory system. He said that this work is kind of the same to the kind we're doing mathematically because you have these platelets that must be moved along, entrained in this fluid, and they interact with one another and they interact with the boundary (in this case the wall of the vein or artery) and depending on their shape they move differently through the fluid (just like volcanic clasts). So I guess in some fundamental way, the flow of blood through your body is not unlike the continuous or periodic eruption of a fire fountain or explosive volcanic eruption, which I think is kind of poetic in a philosophical way.
He does some pretty detailed work on how particles interact while they're falling through the air... that was very poetic as well: there are three phases to a two particle interaction in the air. First the particles are falling and one is out front. The other one falls in behind it because it is drafting off of it. The first particle breaks the air and the second takes advantage of the draft just like a racecar driver, cyclist, or goose. I like grouping those three together. :P Because it has this advantage, it travels faster than the particle ahead of it and ends up catching up with it.
At once, they touch: this part is called "kissing". Drafting, drafting, and then finally the particles kiss, and then immediately they begin to tumble around one another, which is how they'll likely continue for the remainder of their fall through the medium. It's pretty cool because none of this stuff would happen if they were falling in a vacuum.
Anyway, I liked the idea of the particles kissing and then tumbling together until they crash into the Earth. Yet another of the millions of poetic and passionate interactions which go on every day that will be completely impossible to reconstruct once they are buried, become hard and brittle, and pass into the Geologic Record.
Now THAT'S a thermometer
Thursday. 3.22.07 8:26 pm
I've been thinking about that thermometer from my dream from the previous entry. Or shall I say, the REAL thermometer that was right outside of my dream. I suppose you've had that sensation: You're in a dream, running for all you're worth, your legs are straining, your muscles moving you as fast as possible, possibly running away from something... and then all the sudden your real leg moves, just a little, and that tiny little movement in your real leg is so many orders of magnitude more real than everything in your dream, which had heretofore seemed pretty damn real.
That's how that thermometer felt to me the other morning. Yesterday? Seems like a long time ago already. I reached out and felt the thermometer in my hand, and that thermometer was a thousand times more real than whatever had been in my dream the moment before. (Crocodile Dundee: "That's not a knife. THIS is a knife!")
You know how it works when you remember a dream? It comes to you in strings of information that you suddenly remember. If you actually try to remember parts of the dream in detail (who was there, anyway? how exactly was I trying to read my temperature?) You'll probably find that the dream that seemed coherent and detailed and logical, actually isn't. As you tell it you realize that people go in and out of the dream, there are large plot gaps... sometimes you tell a part of the dream that you really know wasn't actually in the dream but you *remember*
(invent!) at that very moment. Who was that person? Well, I didn't know it at the time of dreaming, but now I can totally see that it must have been Aunt Marge!
On the other hand, when you look back into your real memory, focusing on the events can often make them clearer, because in real life they actually were clear. Who was there? You can see their faces, you recall things that people did that indicate that they were there. They are in your memory in a different place than the people who you "remember" being in your dream.
So of course this leads one to ask the eternal question: What would it feel like to wake up from life? Is that what dying is like? What if you were running for your life and you were suddenly killed WHAM. And your leg moved in Heaven. And woah. That tiny movement was a million times more real than your WHOLE LIFE just was. Would the flow of life here on Earth seem disconnected and chaotic compared to the flow of life in Heaven?
I was also thinking about this in terms of when people have a good experience and they look back on it, saying that it was "like a dream".
But what if you had a little short period of time in your life that seemed more immediate -visceral- where you purposefully (and at the same time helplessly) engaged all your senses, FELT, and in effect, lived a time that seemed more real than normal reality?
Are such experiences dulled by memory, and so relegated to the level of realness usually reserved for dreams, which are felt deeply as an idea within your mind but lack staying power among your five senses?
I don't think so... such times in your life are dominated by sensory memory! Image, sound, touch, taste, and the strongest of sensory memories: scent.
Thus I posit that some experiences that you say were like a dream are in fact the opposite! They are like real life, and the rest of your life... your whole life otherwise... is like a dream. Like televised sunshine.
Last night's Adventures
Wednesday. 3.21.07 8:25 am
Last night I moved into a new house. Unfortunately my new roommates turned out to be a bunch of ex-commune hippies, one of whom already had two small children who would be living with us. Somebody thought it was a good idea to throw out my Orbitron stix (just because I never learned how to do it properly and I've had them for 10 years... the outrage!) and my dvd/vcr player that I never even knew I had. Luckily I was rooting through the old trunk of a truck that was serving as our dumpster with my friend who thought that something important of hers was thrown out and I found all this stuff. My semester at sea photo album! My chinese calligraphy/painting set that I've never used but certainly intend to!
Unfortunately, as we were pulling these things out, we caused the truck to move. At first we weren't upset as it was moving slowly and we could keep pulling things out. But I was still pulling things out when I was having to run down the street along with the truck, until finally it outran me completely.... I realized that since we'd accidentally gotten the truck rolling on Waterman St., it goes steeper and steeper downhill there... and it's a one-way street going in the opposite direction. I watched in horror as one car after another dodged the out-of-control junk truck, and with surprisingly even more horror as these cars couldn't help but run over the trail of my junk I'd pulled from the truck. Ah! My semester at sea album! There were sticker letters and glitter everywhere! Oh no! My chinese calligraphy and painting set! All the paint-stones would be ground to pieces!
Finally the wheel of the truck turned and it disappeared around a corner onto a two-way street. I can only assume it crashed, I didn't check. Instead I gathered all of my things from the street and when back into the house in time for the house-warming party. The roommate who had the children was there and her mother was there, and they gave me a key to my room with a princess fob on the end... I got the idea that it was left over.
I went upstairs and my dad was standing on the deck, which was a nice deck as it were, with a barbeque on which food was being cooked. "Look!" He cried, "The Northern Lights!" and so they were... the northern lights, they were gorgeous, I'd never actually seen them before besides a wispy hue I once saw when I was camping in Northern Wisconsin. As we watched they flickered like an old color tv set and all kinds of strange colors were seen. Then the Northern Lights started getting USA (the TV station, something about how the Northern Lights are sensitive to electromagnetic signals, like an antenna, or your braces). With the number of times they mention "USA" on the station we chuckled to ourselves and wondered if the Canadians and the Russians were seeing the same thing and what indeed they thought of it. It was pretty amazing though, a TV station projected on nothing but darkening sky! I asked my dad who was at the party and he told me a list of names, including my mother's friend A.R. He warned me that she would probably try to tell that tired old story about meeting my aunt and how she talked soo fast it was like she was an auctioneer (which isn't true at all). My mom hates that story.
I went downstairs and and ran into another roommate of mine who was collecting blenders to make milkshakes. I really wanted a milkshake of my own, so I made an effort so that he wouldn't collect MY blender. We ran across my advisor, who saw us with so many blenders and thought we were mixing alcoholic drinks. It was just too much trouble to try and convince him otherwise. Some adults are that way, they are so convinced of your guilt, and yet so accepting of the crazy ways of youth, that to try and convince them of your innocence is not only impossible, but if you tried you would likely only disappoint them. I finally abandoned the blenders and went into the kitchen/bar in the basement where my mother was with her friend A.R., who was recalling the time when she met my aunt (which she never did) and saying, "Wasn't she the one who talked so fast? Which of your sisters was that?" My mother was saying that none of her sisters talked particularly fast. A.R. pressed the matter and my mother was heard to say that if it was any of them it would have had to have been J., and at the mention of the name A.R. brightened 10-fold and exclaimed, "Yes! yes! that must have been the one! Just like an auctioneer!"
Really the only reason that the name sounded familiar was because it was the sacrificial aunt we laid up every time we saw A.R. for the sake of getting the story to finish. My mother's face was like a thundercloud.
Around this time I began to wonder if I still had my fever. I took my temperature and it was around 140 degrees. Hm... 140? Surely I was reading it wrong, and it was actually 104? Then a kind of Buddha-like knowledge came upon me.
It would help if when I took my temperature I used a thermometer.
A real thermometer.
And it would help if I were actually awake when I did it.
Aha! Actually being awake! There was the key!
So I woke up. Temperature 98.5 degrees. Headache. I skipped La Vida Secreta for the 7th time in the last two weeks.
Star Wars at its best
Tuesday. 3.20.07 7:47 pm
Monday. 3.19.07 7:53 pm
So it's almost 8. I'm at work. Outside is a blizzard. I stopped by to pick up some work I have to do for LVS and CFD on the way home from the grocery store. ughhh CFD why did I have to miss you two weeks in a row? Stupid conference in Houston, putting me so far behind. Gotta get home before my fever kicks in again. Hopefully it won't, seeing as I slept for like 18 hours in a row today and I've been feeling a mite better.
Sunday. 3.18.07 9:55 am
So seriously, there is a ghost in my house.
The creepiest thing EVER happened to me last night. The combination of the late hour, my active imagination, and the mild fever I had last night make me almost want to write the experience off as a dream, but I cannot.
I woke up at 6 in the morning (5 according to my clock which has not yet sprung forward), which I do not often do, and I had to go to the restroom, which hardly ever happens. It is a skill of mine that I've been working on since I was a baby to always sleep soundly through the night.
I slipped on my slippers over my feverish feet and crept into the dark hall. I could hear the sound of a rushing faucet coming from the kitchen. I knew my roommate, Chris, often woke up during the night and went into the kitchen to eat food or use the restroom, and likely as not he would not have turned on the light for fear of waking me, so I figured his presence must account for the rushing water in the kitchen. I made my quiet steps louder so that I wouldn't startle him in the darkness.
The kitchen was empty; empty but for the sound of the kitchen sink, which was pouring gallons and gallons of water down the drain in the night. A mild annoyance akin to the one which had swept over me earlier in the evening, when I finally took it upon myself to replace the batteries in the fire alarm on the second floor (even though it isn't my floor and I JUST replaced the ones on the third floor) swept over me now. Those second floor fools would have let that damn thing chirp intermittantly until the house burned down. Anyway, I supposed that somebody had left the water running and forgotten about it. I hoped that they had woken up and done this, because if they did it before they fell asleep that's something like 5 or 6 hours of water down the drain. I reached over and shut off the water.
That task finished, I went into the bathroom, turning on the dim light as the one yellow warmth in the now-silent kitchen. I sat there for a while, the fever burning through me against the cold porcelain. I had just finished washing my hands at the sink when I once again heard the sound of running water, only now much closer at hand. I turned around and the shower, which was right behind me, had begun to spill trickles of water down the face of the shower head. As I watched, the trickle became a flow and the flow became a roar and suddenly the shower was on full power. Without even thinking I reached past the flow to the opposite side of the shower and turned it off. I only had to turn it the slight amount that sometimes I had to when Chris has left it dripping. The handle was not turned so much that the shower should have been on full power. Still, even though I only turned off the hot side (how did I know it would be the hot side?) the shower immediately lapsed into silence, with several drips of protestation. I retreated immediately to my room and closed the door. I got under my steaming covers and thought for a long time about how I wanted a drink of water from the urn in my room. But I also thought about how I didn't want to get out from under my covers. I also thought about the sound of running water over my shoulder, and how I hadn't believed in ghosts in a really long time.
It was a long time before sleep could put my troubled mind once more to rest.
::update:: I told my roommate the tale of the running water, and he said the times have not been few when he's risen in the middle of the night and come into the hallway at the sound of someone taking a shower. He is confused because it is the middle of the night, and when he checks it out, there is no one in the shower at all, just the hot water on at full power and he turns it off- same thing as me, just a little turn shuts it off even though usually it take a large turn to turn it on full power. But he said that he's never seen the kitchen sink on and he didn't leave it on, and nobody but the two of us live on our floor.
Could this be the same ghost who frightened me so much last semester when my broken ceiling fan turned on suddenly above me at 11:30pm, raining bit of plaster on my head and wobbling madly, ready to fall out of the ceiling (which is why I never turned it on). That time I reached up quickly and turned it off. I since asked my landlord to fix it, and he has since sent a man to do the job, who took out the on/off cord to the fan and that's it. So now I can't turn it on.... or off, should it turn on by itself.
All this in a newly remodeled home... but in a house that's over a 100 years old.......
Wasn't I talking about moving earlier? ::end of update::
A little whitesnake
Saturday. 3.17.07 4:41 pm
HERE I GO AGAIN ON MY OWN
GOING DOWN THE ONLY ROAD I'VE EVER KNOWN
LIKE A DRIFTER I WAS BORN TO WALK ALOoOOooNE
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