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
Wednesday. 12.27.06 3:03 am
Saturday. 12.23.06 12:28 am
In structural geology, we spend a great deal of time calculating the failure envelope for various angles and strengths of rocks, deciding with great care when we suppose they might break.
Structural geology is right, you know.
Failure often comes in envelopes.
And many times it isn't the force with which you push, but the precise spot at which you apply the force >>along faults<< that causes something ordinarily strong to finally break.
Monday. 12.18.06 11:44 pm
Today I had lunch with one of the grad students I'd met at the grad student lunch and a guy from her department (cog sci). We ate at the Meeting Street Cafe and I had the best sandwich EVER. Incidentally, while I was waiting for my friends to show up, who should walk in but Ben. BEN! From Semester at Sea! You have to imagine, I hadn't really hung out with this dude since this one time, when we were flying from Honolulu to Shanghai, and we had to go through San Francisco (doesn't make any sense, does it...). We had a 9 hour layover starting at like 4 in the morning, so we chilled for two hours and then hit the town with this other random guy Charlie, taking the BART all over and walking blocks and blocks and through these fish warehouses to get to a place where we could see the Golden Gate bridge. Then we went to see Lombard street, (aka the crookedest street in America), and got yelled at by a crazy man. We were back in time for our 11 o'clock flight to Shanghai. That was the "day" that I was awake for more than 40 hours straight.
So here he is, right in the middle of the Meeting Street Cafe, chilling with his mom, who moved to Providence since the last time we'd seen each other. Weird. I got the digits.
Funny enough, that's happened to me no fewer than THREE times in the last TWO WEEKS!
Wednesday. 12.20.06 12:59 am
Monday. 12.18.06 11:40 pm
Sunday. 12.17.06 1:42 am
I don't know what it is about this place.
You know those kind of people who only hang around with people who are "cool"?
Well, to be perfectly honest, I spent most of my life being considered "uncool" by those kinds of people. I wasn't usually mocked, or tortured, usually just completely ignored. This arrangement suited me just fine, but it also meant that I was never particularly choosy with my friends, because I needed all of them. Sometimes I just needed *a* friend, especially in middle school. All anyone needs in middle school is *a* friend.
But for a long time, I didn't have one. I knocked around from table to table- they had the dreaded "only 8-person per lunch table" rule... which was the worst rule a middle school could impose, as you were immediately ejected from your seat with your "friends" if a cooler friend of theirs needed a place to sit. A one point I found a table. It was pretty secure, I was an old friend of one of the presiding members, Stacey. But she hated my friend Brenda. She thought she was so lame, uncool, talked about dumb things. She hated her, she didn't want to be seen sitting with her. Brenda was a free spirit, she liked unicorns and playing pretend and she had a rough home life and snored like a train.
But she was my friend. She was one of those friends of mine that had been my friend when I had nobody else. So, for once, I made a hard decision and I stood up for Brenda against Stacey, and when they ejected Brenda from the table, I took a stand... and as a result they ejected me too. She was unhappy. She was miserable. She transferred schools. I was on my own again.
Having once betrayed my old table, there was no going back, so I had to find someone new. I finally ended up sitting with the foreign kids, because even though the conversation was a little spare they didn't know how to tell me to go away. And if anyone needs a friend, it's a foreign kid, let me tell you. Being the foreign kid is one of the loneliest feelings in the world.
I guess the point of this conversation is that lately, whether due to me becoming a more confident and charming person or just because I hang out with all nerds now (probably the latter), I've started to become accepted as one of the "cool kids". It's a weird feeling. It started a little bit in college but I was still not quite there. I really felt like a cool kid one day when I gave a performance in acting class and at track the next day this football player that the track girls liked came up to me after practice and said, "I really liked your scene yesterday. It was great." and then he didn't say a word to anyone else and left. I didn't even "like" him but just to see the look on the other girls' face could have given me unsinkable confidence for a month. The scene was so cliche it was delicious. But the only reason that was so satisfying is because everyone on the track team thought of me as "barely passable cool", even the younger kids. A little bit awkward, don't drink much... hang out with people that nobody "knows"....
But now... now the "cool group" has been formed and by accident (and mostly by virtue of keeping my mouth shut) I'm in it. But I don't get it! They're so content to be their little group of cool, and they don't see those people who aren't in it. They don't see the people who fade into the shadows. They don't see the foreign kid and they never talk to him unless I talk to him first. It's like he's invisible. Everyone's invisible except the people they choose to see.
But me... me. I AM one of those people. I LIVE in the shadows I LIVED on the sidelines I scraped the bottom of the barrel for a friend... JUST ONE friend. So I see them. And now my friends see it as some interesting trivialty about me that I go out of my way to include them in things we do. Because it never occurs to anyone except me.
And it's so weird, because it's not like "the group" has so many people in it. It's not like they're so much more popular than everyone else. It's the difference between three friends and no friends at all.
But that makes ALL the difference, doesn't it?
I feel like I'm living in that movie, the 6th Sense. I see these people, I feel their pain, I see when they're upset and how they feel when they're not invited, when they're ignored, when people laugh and they think they're all laughing at them. They are me.
And I know that the other people don't exclude them on purpose. They forget to invite them. They don't realize that they're talking. They are laughing at their own inside joke and they don't see how it looks to anyone else. They just don't notice that they exist, it's as simple as that. They see no further than their comfortable sphere, filled with people who are good enough for them, and they don't need anybody else.
Well let me tell you: you ALWAYS need EVERYONE. You can't afford to turn down the chance to have a friend.
Or at least, I can't. I'm not that rich. I'll never be that rich.
Even though I might mean I leave the table. It's worth it, even eventually my friend leaves me. I know how to fend for myself. I've been on my own before.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Friday. 12.15.06 12:53 am
My favorite Christmas carol, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"
It came upon a midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
From heav'n's all gracious King!"
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.
Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O'er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing;
And ever o'er its Babel sounds
The blessÃ©d angels sing.
Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song that they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.
And yet, beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Take heart, for comfort, love, and hope
come swiftly on the wing;
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing.
For lo, the days are hastening on,
By prophets bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold;
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.
Thursday. 12.14.06 6:05 pm
Sometimes you just have to take a break from work and stare up at the ceiling and think about what it would be like if suddenly gravity pulled you in the opposite direction as it does now (or the entire local world were turned on its head). For the love of heaven, don't do this outside, or you will fall into the sky and you may never return. A stairwell is a good place, though. And it's usually a good idea, for the sake of neatness, to assume that everything that is on the floor or shelves is fixed to it, so that you are the only thing suddenly on the ceiling.
Or are you? Look at the ceiling! What an odd shape it has. If it's made of ceiling panels you're going to have to be very careful or you're certain to fall through. You might need to climb up the bookshelf until you can grab onto a chair or a table so you can start swinging across along the floor. You might think the best way out is to leave the room and seach for a more sturdy ceiling, but if you'll notice, the bottom of the door is more than three feet from where your feet are right now. You'll have to climb through, and then maybe hang by your arms to reach the ceiling on the other side. Lord help you if the other side is a foyer. You might have to jump, and the whole thing's covered in dust and at an extremely inconvenient angle for walking.
Now to get from the top of the stairs to the bottom. Good Lord, who made the stairs this way??? You'll have to climb up using the floor-to-ceiling pipe and jump and grab onto to the railing (thank goodness there is a railing!) and then you'll have to climb, inch by inch, legs dangling down toward the ceiling or woven through the banister railing to make your position more secure. Oh, but you are tired! who ever knew going "down" the stairs would be such a lesson in hardship. If only this were that type of staircase where you could see the stairs in relief on the bottom of each set!
Finally, you reach the end of the banister. But what now? The foyer rises below you. There are some five to ten feet of vaulted ceiling and a door before the ceiling from this floor comes in. Look, over there, on the other side of the foyer. There is a "ledge" comprised of a short ceiling right before the door to the outside. You have precisely the time it takes to fall through the y-distance from first-floor floor to the first-floor ceiling-ledge (minus the length of the banister) to cover the x-distance between the banister post and the outside wall. Can you do it? Can you muster that much of a swing after that long and treacherous climb from the third floor? Do it! It's your only chance to figure out what's going on here! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
That was reallly close. The dust made that ceiling slippery, and you didn't even think about whether or not that ceiling was a flimsy ceiling panel before you jumped, you just jumped! But luckily the ceiling was made of wood backed with stone, because it is part of the fancy entrance way into the building. You can jump for the door handle, but you're going to need some leverage so that you can push the handle up while you're hanging from it, because it's one of those doors you see when you exit public buildings with the bar handle that goes all the way across the door width-wise. And you have to push it, which isn't easy either considering you don't have any floor to push off of. Maybe you can swing back and get it all done at once. Ready?
Oops. You forgot about what I said about not going outside.
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