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
Life in the Real World
Monday. 9.22.14 7:25 pm
Me: Ok, then, I just fill out this thing?
Secretary: I can do it for you.
Secretary: No problem, I'll email it to you when it is done.
Secretary: I am planning your travel for your upcoming trip. Which airport do you want to fly out of?
Me: I don't even have to pick my fliiiight????
Dude I'm Traveling With: I put us on United because I get miles. Does that work for you?
Me: Uhhh... you get to pick your airline? Like, based on preference?
SECRETARIES ARE AMAZING
LARGE ENTERPRISES ARE AMAZING
Friday. 9.19.14 5:18 pm
I'm trying to finish a paper that I've been writing for the past three years...
I'm sort of close, but every time I sit down to write it my eyes get heavy and I start to fall asleep at my desk. (Not a good sign for the people who'll have to read it!)
I think I need to hire someone to slap me in the face every 10-20 minutes, just to keep me on my toes.
Saturday. 9.13.14 8:40 pm
"This part of the campus is only for graduate students," Professor Yang explains as we stroll through the shady trees dotting Central Lanzhou University.
"We had to put all of the undergraduates in on a new campus outside of town. That's the only way we can keep them safe."
"Keep them safe from what?" I wonder aloud. Lanzhou is surrounded by huge mounds of dull brown silty dust for miles in every direction.
"We have problems," continues Professor Yang, delicately, "with suicide." He explains that after a rash of suicides, the University placed each professor directly responsible for the safety of his students. If one of the students hurt himself now, the professor has to answer for it.
"I can't possibly keep track of all of those students," he says, resigned. The university decided that the only way to keep them safe was to essentially imprison them in their university, far away from the dangers of the provincial city of Lanzhou.
"If I were imprisoned in my university campus," I said, "I think I would end up more likely to try to take my own life than if they just let me walk around free."
Professor Yang shrugs. He knows. There is nothing he can do about it. Last year they lost two of his close colleagues to suicide. They threw themselves from the window of a tall building, just like all the others.
"Are they under as much pressure as the students?" I ask.
"That is the strange thing," Professor Yang says, "they were successful researchers-- both of them. At the top of their fields." Of course they were both divorced, also, with high child support payments. Not all of life's stresses come from the University.
The town of Lanzhou would be considered a large city in any other country. It has more than 3 million people. In China it is something of a provincial backwater. As far as a provincial backwater can have an 8-story mall. I am staying at the Lanzhou Hotel, which is classically communist in that the lobby is over-the-top in its extravagance while the rooms are barely acceptable habitations. Professor Yang says that when the hotel was first built in the 1980s, it was the finest building in Lanzhou. He remembers when people used to come from all over the province to have their picture taken in front of it.
The Lanzhou Hotel is now shadowed by the tall hotels that crowd all around it. There are several nicer hotels on the same block. Dozens and dozens of 30-story buildings are in the midst of being hastily constructed.
I wonder if all the windows on the highest floors will be sealed shut.
Need Your Advice
Friday. 7.25.14 10:08 am
Wednesday. 7.16.14 9:16 pm
I like to drive. When I drive somewhere new, I strictly follow whatever directions that I was given, just to be safe. On the way back, I sometimes follow the directions, but I also like to improvise. The second time I go, I go the proper way, and then, on the way back, I improvise some more. I start with small improvisations, like taking a parallel street for a few blocks. Then I get more daring, taking an unknown highway, or getting off a highway an exit too early or too late. In Paris I improvised, too, but it was with walking. Get off at a random Metro stop, try to find your way to the one you were supposed to be going to. Slowly but surely, you learn the town.
This week I have been driving around Pasadena, looking for a place to live. I've been doing a lot of improvising.
Allen St., Lake St., Hill St.
California, Colorado, Orange Grove.
Which ones will become old cow paths, and which ones will I never go down again? The streets of South Pasadena, with their pleasant green lawns and globe-like street lights? The area between Altadena and Pasadena, with its rows upon rows of shitty little over-priced houses? Empty lots, mansions, weeds, cacti, grass, "retro" fifties buildings, Ralph's. Grapes spilling over the neighbor's fence. Eating lemons and kumquats right off the tree. Southern California in all of its beauty and ugliness, crammed in together on tiny lots. Where will I live?
I'll have to improvise.
Tuesday. 6.3.14 1:09 pm
I got the job at NASA !!
I'm moving to LA in September.
Pending my drug test and my criminal background test. Hopefully I will pass those.
Tickets to China
Wednesday. 4.23.14 3:44 pm
Well pals, I just spent a lot of money on an airplane ticket to China. After I clicked the button, I lay on my floor, thinking, "That was a lot of money I just spent," and hoping that I picked the correct dates since my ticket is non-refundable. It should be a great time, and I'll get to finally see some yardangs in person, which is obviously a life-long dream. Ever since I figured out what yardangs were, of course. So more like a 1/4th of a life's dream.
My summer is shaping up to be pretty crazy:
May 1st-29th: Field work in Hawaii, finish writing novel
May 30th-31st: Climb Mount Quandary
June 1st-30th: Explore Colorado/New Mexico, finish writing grants, hang out w/the fam, climb some more mountains
July 8th-13th: Road Trip across the American West from Pasadena to Denver
July 13th-19th: Mars 8 Conference, Pasadena
July 19th-August 3: China
August 4th-August 6th: Drive back across the American West
August 9th-August 23rd: Ocean City, Maryland
September 1: Start job????
The hardest part is keeping it all organized.
And knowing what to pack.
Saturday. 4.12.14 12:48 am
I made a reservation in a Chinese hotel.
Now I just need to finish my abstract and conference registration, and buy my ticket to China. And get my Chinese visa, of course. All before July 19th, when I get on a plane at LAX and fly off to the vast western deserts of China!
The Chinese hotel is a four star hotel, but it only costs 35 USD a night. For those kind of prices, I could stay for a while!
Yardang National Park, here I come:
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