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 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
An Alanis Morissette Day
Tuesday. 3.27.07 9:28 pm
So today was an Alanis Morissette day. What is an Alanis Morissette day, you ask? You shouldn't have to ask. I'm assuming that most of you just know. But for the uninitiated, an Alanis Morissette day usually follows the kind of day I had yesterday (i.e. a I HATE GRADUATE SCHOOL & MUST FILL AN ENTRY WITH SWEARING AND THEN LOCK IT kind of day). It involves doing something for yourself (in my case I took myself out to lunch), and then locking yourself in a quiet, lonesome location (in my case the 8th floor of the science library), and singing Alanis Morisette very forcefully under your breath while you make contorted and emotion-filled angry faces and try and get your life under control.
For Alanis Morisette Day is not a Pity-Day, oh no. It is an Angry Day, but the anger boils with purpose and self-empowerment. Alanis Morisette (we're talking the Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie here, but I suppose the Jagged Little Pill could work too if you're into what's hip (or used to be hip like ten years ago)) is the perfect music for stalking around the library in the darkness searching for obscure titles. It is the "let's pull ourselves out of our state of panic by the bootstraps and do something about our life!" But do not make the mistake that this music is anything like "inspirational", oh no, far from it. This music is about buying and selling this place, this music is about having as much rage as you have, this music is about doing all kinds of crazy-ass shit and then having the audacity to ask "are you still mad?"
If I am hardened I'll have no fear of further abandonment
If I am famous then maybe I'll feel good in this skin
If I am cultured my words will somehow garner respect
If I am masculine I will be taken more seriously
If I take a break it would make me irresponsible
If I need assistance then I must be incapable
If I accumulate knowledge
I'll be impenetrable
If I am aloof no one will know
when they strike a nerve
If I keep my mouth shut the boat
will not have to be rocked
If I am vulnerable I will be
too close to home, Alanis Morissette! Please stop reading my mind, Alanis Morissette!!!
Oh Alanis Morissette, there will always be a time and season for your angry phrases and your songs that call up emotions but don't actually make any sense when you read the lyrics... and your baffling choice of point of view that makes us wonder if you are a 45-year-old man. Always.
My last one of these days was almost precisely a year ago, Spring Break senior year when I was writing pretty much my entire thesis at once. The libraries may change, but the endless pursuit of boring, pointless knowledge and the pure, animal, unrhyming rage of Alanis Morissette stays the same evermore!!!
Tuesday. 3.27.07 9:08 am
You can pour your soul out singing a song you believe in
that tomorrow theyâ€™ll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway, sing it anyway
Monday. 3.26.07 8:38 pm
I HATE GRADUATE SCHOOL!
Monday. 3.26.07 4:51 pm
Can't go back.
Sunday. 3.25.07 6:47 pm
I went out to the beach to find him.
He was very drunk, planted in the sand, looking out at the black space that was the sea. He was crying.
I came and lay against him in the cool sand. "Hey" I said. He told me that he didn't want to leave this place, that everyone he loved was here. We lay in silence for a long while.
I told him not to stay out too late and that I loved him. I kissed his cheek and went inside.
He was right, you know.
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.
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