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 ŗ 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
Wednesday. 2.14.07 8:52 pm
So. It is Valentine's Day. I'm sitting here in my room. It's kind of too late to eat dinner. That's not that bad, since I don't really feel like eating anything I have here. I'm communing with my computer. And my tons of work. I missed a class for two days in a row because I was sick and now they just informed me that I have a quiz in that class tomorrow morning. At eight. And my book is at school. And it's 9pm. And the weather is "freezing rain/sleet/snow". They said not to go out on any "long quests". Not that going to school is a long quest. And I have a meeting with my advisor tomorrow, during which I'll have to tell him that I basically haven't thought about our problem since the last time we met. Which, coincidentally, is the same thing I told him last week. When I wasn't sick. Then I have this geophysics assignment that I think I finally figured out after 4 hours.... but I doubt anyone else in the class will turn it in. But I have to finish it anyway... because what if they do? That means I actually have to write it up. And hope my calculations are correct, which I doubt, because my excell spreadsheet looks like chicken scratch.
To make matters worse, I still feel blah. But just to really grind my gears, someone has been cutting like a thousand onions in the kitchen, so the only thing I can smell is onions, and it's making my eyes water.
So basically it's Valentine's Day and I'm sitting alone in my room doing work on my computer while holding back small, ugly, stinging, onion tears and wishing I could fast-forward five years of my life.
In other news, my parents are awesome.
And chocolate is delicious.
And my discomfort and face swelling is apparently not deadly, as far as they can tell right now.
I guess I'll just suck it up and drive back over to school. ARG!!!
*Update*: The 'icy rain' has frozen all of the doors to my car absolutely shut. I can't open them. The door handles will come off before the doors will come open. I think this is a sign from God that He wants me to fail my quiz tomorrow. Seeing as this quiz doesn't actually have any affect on my grade, you can't really argue with that.
*Additional Update*: I think when people ask me tomorrow what I did last night, I will tell them that I had a party. What I won't tell them is that the theme of the party was "pity" and the guest list was me.
Letters from Benjamin
Wednesday. 2.14.07 2:47 pm
It was a great pleasure for me being with you at the Gillian birthday party the other day. I wish to thank you for all the information you gave me concerning the American culture. I am very grateful for that.
How did you end the weekend? I hope every thing went on well and that you have started the new week with a lot of energy.
Let‚Äôs keep in touch.
I have really taken time in replying back to your mail. I have taken the opportunity of this cultural particularity of Saint Valentine feast to react to your mail. In our country, it doesn‚Äôt mean anything to most of the people. Only those who have been with the western people do feast it. So how are feasting it. Happy feast then.
From Helena's blog
Tuesday. 2.13.07 7:39 pm
How Zanzibar Got Told, and other tales
Tuesday. 2.13.07 6:16 pm
One day, Zanzibar packed up her things and went to Hydrology Class. Due to a variety of factors, not least of which that her Hydrology Text is deadly boring, (but mostly because she totally forgot) she had not done a bit of the reading for class.
Her good friends Teresa, Gareth, and Sam were leading the discussion of the day so she felt like she could reasonably assume that they wouldn't call on her if she pretended to be engrossed in looking through her papers. However, as the discussion began, Teresa asked several question to which nobody seemed to know the answer (perhaps nobody else had done the reading either!) Zanzibar began to feel uncomfortable, and felt like she should answer a question for her friend Teresa. She waited for her opening. She needed a question that was a little open-ended, that didn't refer to any specific terminology. Teresa said that she had read a little part about the center of mass of the watershed, and she didn't really know what they were referring to. Were they referring to the center of mass of the landforms, or the center of mass of the water itself as it fell across the landforms? Perfect. Enter the first person singular.
I answered that it was an interesting question... I talked a little bit about my understanding of "center of mass" from physics class, and since we were talking about how long it would take for a drop of water to flow through the watershed to the outflow point (and thus how big we'd have to make our storm sewers or whatever), perhaps they were referring to how the mass of the actual water was distributed, because then you could get at the flow time, and thus the lag time on the hydrograph (a graph that shows you amount of discharge in a stream through time) between the peak of the rain event and the peak in the stream. I added a "but I don't really know" to the end.
The prof said that ending an answer with "but I don't really know" wasn't a very good way to end it, because you just gave a whole answer and then you undercut it. He asked Teresa if they'd said "center of mass of the water" or "center of mass of the watershed" and she said it was of the watershed which made her think that maybe it was of the topography. I shrugged to say that I would allow that interpretation as easily as mine.
Then the prof said in his deep, booming voice, "There class, did you see what Laura just did?"
"Because Laura is a graduate student, she is very excellent at..." This sentence was starting out pretty good...
"BSing her way through a question to which she has no idea what the answer is."
Oooh SNAP. I just got so TOLD.
An undergraduate piped in, God bless her, "And an undergraduate can't do that?"
"Why don't you answer the next question and we'll find out?" I said evenly.
Stunned, my ass having been taken to school, I became quiet as the period progressed. But I was not cowed. Questions were asked and answered and I was calmly flipping through my book, having no idea of even the range of pages that we ought to have read. Sam asked a question with a bunch of technical terms in it, and as the words were coming out of his mouth, I flipped to the page that had, in bold, the answer. I raised my hand and answered his question, dwelling on various points I found to be important and pontificating a little while on the ramifications of the answer on the planning of urban watersheds as a whole. The professor asked the engineering side of the room if they ever considered the things I had said when they planned their drainage systems. They hadn't. He said that maybe they should, and that it was a question we would be sure to come back to later in the term. He made a mark on his paper.
Later on, as he was handing back assignments, he apologized to me for his earlier remark.
Which goes to show you, kiddies... not even this professor, the one guy to ever be so bold as to call me out on my shit (I could feel nothing but awe for him, by the way).... not even he knows the full EXTENT OF MY POWERS. I would like to thank the Lord, who looketh down upon his little sheep who hath gotten Told, and giveth her the page number and the bold-faced type to so that she may be redeemed.
And that's why they say that you get your Phd when you want to take your B.S. to another level.
My lymphnodes are swell
Monday. 2.12.07 9:18 pm
So apparently my friend got this infection behind his forehead-skin one time, and it made his forehead swell like woah, and he had to go to the hospital and they pumped him full of antibiotics so that the infection wouldn't spread into his BRAIN.
I think it's really weird when your face swells or your sinuses hurt. They say if you ask your average Westerner where his or her "soul" or "being" resides physically, they will usually tell you that it resides right behind the face. We tend to imagine ourselves as located right behind the face, looking out from the eyes. People from other cultures won't always give you the same answer: they are located sometimes in the chest or down in the pit of the stomach.
I think of myself as being located right behind my face, looking out from the eyes, just as they say. So when my sinuses hurt or something, it's weird because you're suddenly aware that there is a layer of skin and other junk that separates the outside world from "you". There is skin, a system of sinuses, lymphnodes, hair follicles and what-have-you... a swelling, infection-getting layer of crap known as your "face" that you hide behind, like a mask.
It also reiterates the sentiment I've previously written about (see: esophagus ulcers)... that is, that there is no point in worrying about things, because you'll worry yourself sick over some thing that you think will happen, and then what will really happen is that you'll get a raging FACE BACTERIA, and your FOREHEAD will swell, and then it will INFECT YOUR BRAIN, and then you will DIE. You weren't even creative enough to START trying to worry about THAT ONE.
Well, I'd best go to the doctor tomorrow before whatever I have in my face-layer gets into my brain.... stupid face.
Dedicated to Dilated
Sunday. 2.11.07 9:49 pm
Ahoy vi uno paciente con los sintomas muy raros. √Čl se quejaba de que le dol√≠an el estomago y los o√≠dos. √Čl ten√≠a siempre mucha hambre, y com√≠a mucho alimento pero √©l no gan√≠a el peso. La semana pasada, √©l com√≠ ocho quesadillas y cinco burritos, y aunque √©l se encontraba mareado, todav√≠a ten√≠a hambre. No conoc√≠a nunca de esta enfermidad. Pens√≠a que estar√≠a una solitaria, pero las solitarias no molestan los o√≠dos. Pregunt√©,
---¬ŅVist√≥ a los otros paises recientmente?
√Čl dije que vist√≥ a √Āfrica el mes pasado. ¬°Qu√© mala suerte para la doctora! Todos los enfermidades desconocidas vienen de √Āfrica. Pens√≠a de mis d√≠as a la Universidad de Puerto Rico en R√≠o Piedras, donde estudiaba el medicina, cuando de repente, √©l empez√≥ de vomitar. Sus ojos se puso muy grande y √©l sac√© la lengua, que estaba verde.
---¬°AY! √Čl grit√≥. Yo deb√≠ lo pegar y lo lanzar a la planta.
Por supuesto, estaba un extraterrestre, que viv√≠a en el cerebro del paciente, y que com√≠a todos lo que pas√© para la boca. Cuando el extraterrestre estaba bastante grande, √©l sal√≠ del paciente y se escap√≥.
No tenamos a menudo pacientes con esta enfermidad, pero de vez en cuando ellos vienen‚Ä¶ por eso necessito estar siempre listo.
Sunday. 2.11.07 6:55 pm
Elle ne parle jamais
Seulement √©coute, toujours.
Je lui ai racont√© ce poeme,
et la plante a √©cout√©.
Maintenant la plante est entrain de mourir.
Mais elle ne peut pas pousser des sanglots, des cris.
Elle va mourir sans faire du bruit.
Qui m'√©coutera quand elle est partie?
Madness and a Sock Full of Quarters
Saturday. 2.10.07 10:08 pm
Sometimes I think of a conversation, and I turn it over and over in my mind, thinking of how it would go and how I could best tell the story and how everyone would react and what they would ask and how I would respond to their questions and after a long while I think I've got it totally worked out how the whole thing is going to go....
...and then I realize that in order to have this perfect conversation that I've in envisioned for myself, the contents of the conversation (i.e., whatever story I would happen to be telling) would actually have to be true. Then I have to go through a major mental revision because all of the responses that I'd been giving my pretend conversation partner, while self-consistent, are also absolutely imaginary.
I usually have a brief feeling of relief that I came to this conclusion before actually attempting to realize my imagined glorious conversation.... not that I would even actually ever really do that.....so I don't know why I feel that relief for not doing it. But today it kind of occurred to me how sad it is that these imaginary conversations never find a place in real life. For example, today I was getting quarters from the change machine at the laundromat. I put them in my pocket but I imagined that it would set up an interesting situation if you didn't have any pockets but you needed a place to put the quarters so you put them in your sock. Then you'd be walking around with a sock full of quarters. The perfect thing to happen then would be that you'd be attacked by some would-be mugger, and seeing as the only money you had had been transformed into quarters, and they were all in your sock, you could beat the hell out of the robber with it. Triumph! Then the best part would be the part where you'd get to tell everyone about what had happened. You'd start by saying, "remember yesterday when I left to go get quarters?" and they'd remember. And then you'd explain how you had to put them in your sock, and then you'd say how you were attacked, and your listener would be aghast! Then they'd say, "whatever did you do?" and you would say that, incredibly, this was the one day when you had on your person the perfect weapon, and that you'd beaten the crap out of him and escaped unscathed. I get halfway into watching their expressions and thinking about what an amazing coincidence that was when it occurs to me that it was only a coincidence because I just set it up that way in my mind. It would only be an amazing coincidence if it ACTUALLY HAPPENED. So you start to think about how you should find someone to whom this actually happened so that you could relate the story second-hand to your friends.
Then you start thinking that maybe you should get your head examined....
I think that must be the way that authors operate. They must be constantly thinking of crazy coincidences or really witty repartees, but in order for their repartees to be witty, both sides of the conversation have to go exactly as they want them to, and events have to be as such that their witty verbal sparring has a particular resonance with the events that have just been happening which give them extra meaning. Of course the words on their own would have no meaning at all, they would just be the product of the author's imagination, thinking "if this long series of events happened, and then the straight man set up the drift of conversation just so, I could be interesting/witty." But... none of that actually did happen.
That must be why people write books.
So maybe, next time I write a book, I'll put in a guy who was going to get quarters and then beat another guy into the ground with a sock. Because what a crazy coincidence that would be, non?
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