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
Just finished reading 1984
Sunday. 8.20.06 4:28 pm
As I've just been reading all of the great political novels of the 19th and 20th centuries, I can see what begins to rile all of those political science majors into their frenzies, or even more so, those on the fringe of the political science classes, who hear bits and pieces but don't really understand, who read the great novels but do not have them interpreted to death by "the experts" and are thus left to come up with their own conclusions. I think they do what they were written to do, they frighten us, they rile us up, they make us begin to think that now, the time in which we live, is the important time, the vital time, the time that will make a difference between the "perfect" world of Edward Bellamy and the horrible disaster that is 1984. But if that were the case than the vital time would have been back in the 1950s, when 1984 was written. It wouldn't have been back in 1888, because Bellamy presupposed that his utopia would be simply a natural progression of society, without some great interference or revolution by thinking man. It is then somewhat of a great irony that Bellamy's book, (one of the most popular of its time) managed to feed and precipitate a direct and sometimes quite violent realization of his Socialist ideals... which history saw fail miserably as the 20th century unfolded. Time and again I have to liken studies untaken of the human condition and psyche to be much like the study of quantum particles. Once you look at it, by the mere action of looking at it, you change it. You can't just observe it. That is, by writing a book talking about how humans are just now acting, you set in motion a series of events which will eventually make your carefully thought out predictions wrong. Man will read your book or pamphlet, and he will change in some unforeseen manner, and you will have to begin again your predictions of the future from square one. In fact the depth of your insight, translated into its increased relevance to current society, will determine the popularity of your manuscript. And the more popular your manuscript, the more people shall read it, and thus the more profound the resulting shift in attitude will be, and thus the more erroneous and out-dated your manuscript will become.
Today we must be careful when we make statements about man with reference to the animals. "Animals are people too," they are far more complex and sophisticated than we ever imagined, from the ant which has recently been shown to be agrarian as well as highly social in nature to the advanced nature of communication shown in the marine mammals... . However, lost in these discoveries and the will of the biologists and environmentalists to turn Man into the ultimate evil force, the destructive brute in a world of delicate, pristine, beautiful and innocent natural creatures is the fact that Man still remains the most complex, maddening, fascinating, advanced, and impressive creature we have ever encountered. Man is Nature's greatest mystery. Man is God's best and greatest creation. The environmentalists their kin wish to take God away from Man. But to take Man away from Man as well? What will we have left? No Promise Land, no Heaven, and now no Renaissance. Man is blocked at every pass from making his progresses by his own kind, telling him that every step that he makes towards progress is paid for in blood by the only thing that really matters- the Earth, which is a separate inviolate sphere of goodness, the Virign Earth, as it were, Man being separate and diametrically opposed to it, a parasite upon it, a plague.
I guess that brings me in a roundabout way back to the seeming incompatibility between being for the Earth and against war. If the Earth would be, as all environmentalists seem to agree, better off without Mankind, and war is one of the best ways to go about killing large populations of Man, than how can it be that war is anything but good, as long as they refrain from using environmentally-unfriendly toxins or bombs along the way?
I'd better stop before someone disagrees with my capitalization of the word Mankind- or better yet my use of the word Mankind at all, without reference to its better (more than equal! Better!) half. This is a question of semantics. In its dictionary sense, Mankind includes men and women alike, and those who would pick it apart are the very forces who divide Mankind itself, tearing away all of its jargon of solidarity and breaking it into every imaginable special interest group, which must then bind tightly to its own members, cast out all imposters, and begin protecting itself from the discrimination it now feels which it never did when it was wholly integrated into Mankind.
Sorry, that was a complete train of thought entry. That's what a journal is really for, to spit out everything in your mind before you go to sleep so that you can dream of whatever you'd like.
*Why I am obsessed with this phrase right now, in the middle of August, will have to be made clear in a future post.
Rugby and Italians
Saturday. 8.19.06 11:14 am
Rugby practice was really fun. They put us on soccer teams of red against not-red for warm-up. Meghan and I were both wearing red, so they were concerned because "The Americans are good! We can't have them on the same team!" But we did anyway, and our German ended up scoring a lot of goals, thanks to some tricky passing and lots of assists. ;) After a while our British coach got fed up and started blasting balls from the goalie box at our goal. Since the goals were only some 20m apart, this was quite frightening, but he was eventually silenced when I stopped one of his shots dead on my foot. By this time it had begun to rain, first lightly, and then like mad, buckets of rain, sheets of rain, until finally the proximity of the lightning forced us down a ramp to an overhang with a team of soccer playing young men. (Not too bad!) Unfortunately, the rain began to run down the ramp, backing up at the drain. At once, the wall of water over came the obstacle formed by the drain and starting flooding the area under the overhang. We pretended to get ready to jump as the lake started getting larger, and the Dutch said, "Oh, have you got practice with this sort of thing from New Orleans?" I answered her regarding the break in the barrier, "Oh, I was rather thinking this was starting to look like the Netherlands!" She told me that I'd better quit or we wouldn't be sharing an office tomorrow. I think it's a sign that you're finally comfortable in Northern Germany when you can start making fun of the Dutch. The British coach decided to make for it over the lake. He put a bag over his cleats and began shuffling patiently through the water. "Ingenious!" he cried, "The British didn't rule the world for nothing!" I joined in with cries of "All hail the British Navy!" And then the soccer players showed us that they had the key to the building and it led straight out without necessitating a walk through a lake. We split, but the Brit was too far through the lake, so he kept shuffling along until he reached the other side. He held up his plastic bag in triumph! ...and poured out about a liter of water that had leaked in through a hole during his journey.
Last night we had dinner with the Italians. The best way to describe it is to say, as my friend Gina did: "You know all of the stereotypes you've ever had about Italians? They're all true!"
And they were. We ate pasta. We argued in loud voices. We cheered people all the time for nothing. Everytime anything happened, anything, the whole room would be full of shouting and large, sweeping hand gestures. When something bad happened, they all said, "Mama mia!" They were extremely friendly and we got on quite well considering they don't speak but a little English and we speak but an even littler bit of Italian.
It was awesome. I felt like saying, "The Olive Garden- when you're here, you're family!"
I am a hypochondriac
Wednesday. 8.16.06 4:13 pm
Once upon a time there was a girl traveling in the delightful country of Spain. Her eye was extremely itchy, and she spent a large part of one morning rubbing it. The eye only got worse and began to swell. It swelled and swelled until one day it looked like this:
At the same time, a large lump appear on the side of the girl's face between the bottom of her ear and the top of her jawbone. It was weird. When the girl finally got some medicine for the eye (thanks to her older sister, who has mad Spanish-speaking skillz) the eye swelling went down, but the lump did not. It went down a little bit, but was still obvious to the touch. The lump, in fact, lasted until the present day, some 2 months after its arrival.
Wednesday. 8.9.06 11:42 am
Recently I've been thinking a lot. It's a combination, I think, of reading constantly and being really tired; it makes me spend a lot of time staring out at the rain. The fact that it's raining doesn't help.
I'm listeing to the song "November Rain" by Guns N' Roses. It says, "Don't you need some time, on your own/ Everybody needs some time on their own." And I do. I need some time to walk around in a cloud of thoughts, a look in my eye like I'm somehwere very far away, and indeed I will be. But that means my shopping trip will take FOREVER.
Ugh. can I just say... yesterday I FINALLY wore something cute, I was so proud of myself... and then these crazy bums were harrassing me and this one mechanic guy followed me home and told me that he was going to ring my room sometime so that we could hang out. He even knows which room it is because I had to ring it myself because I don't have the key right now. Even though he was like... 40. And then I realized why I never ever dress up... because I hate people and I want them to LEAVE ME ALONE!!! Especially... no offense... CRAZY BUMS!! I was most happy when those horrible bug bites covered my hands and face and all the crazy bums avoided me like I had leperosy. I'm just glad that I don't live in Southern Europe.
Mmm... I really like Northern Europe... especially when it's raining because then it just seems so much more like Northern Europe to me. I'm coming back to the states at the end of the month, I'll get ONe Day! One precious day at home before I start my new life across the country. I feel happy though that I'm not by far the only one who is doing the exact same thing. Even Pam, who is on my program is doing the same thing, only she's missing the first three days of class!
The Wild Boar
Monday. 7.31.06 1:24 am
The particular church monastery we went to was apparently founded on the advice of a wild boar, who came to the place while the french monk who built it was waiting for a sign. The appearance of boars and pigs all over the Rheinland-Pfalz and Hesse are not only commemorating this historical happening, though- some people say that they were put there to irk the Jews, who think of the pig as an unclean animal. By using the pig's head everywhere (even as the body of a drinking fountain, for example) they could force the Jews into constant contact with the unkosher animal, even forcing them, if they wanted potable water, to get it from the mouth of a boar.
Even in these enlightened times, there is still anti-semitism here, even though the graffiti on the wall encourages us to "wipe it out!" It struck me as really strange that there still would be, but then I realized that the history of anti-semitism here dates to far before the Holocaust. Anti-semitism was not created by the Holocaust, Hitler just took advantage of an already hated group to create a convenient scape goat for Germany's problems, just like he did when he incited people against the unfairness of the Treaty of Versailles, (which everyone felt very keenly even without his suggestion.) So the horror of some 10 years and the deep shame of 60 years has still failed to uproot the hostility of 600 years... perhaps that is not so surprising, after all. But it is a little bit unsettling, especially with what's going on in the Middle East at the moment.
I will have to ruminate upon this later.
Monday. 7.17.06 1:30 pm
"My hosts evidently saw that I was depressed in spirits, and did their best to divert me. Edith especially, I could see, was distressed for me, but according to the usual perversity of lovers, having once been so mad as to dream of receiving something more from her, there was no longer any virtue for me in a kindness that I knew was only sympathy."
Friday. 7.14.06 1:41 am
Oh no! I have now only 4 out of six!
Wednesday. 7.12.06 6:52 pm
We just had a bbq after rugby practice where almost everyone there was a foreigner, but from many different countries (three from France, two from the Netherlands, two from America, two from Germany). We spoke a mix of English, German, Dutch, and French. (of course I only spoke German, French and English, as the only thing I know how to say in Dutch is "How did you come here?" and even now I forget. We talked until it was dark, that is to say we were there til 12, discussing University politics as well as world politics- mostly those of Europe, of course, and what everyone thinks of the new female German Chancellor and whether or not the Dutch have a government at all and whether or not the Dutch have come around to liking their Argentinian princess (they have), and so weiter. Everyone was sharing their stories of what happened to them when they didn't know German, and those people who still did know German (me among them) took turns in practicing important phrases. I think the best point in the evening was when one of the frenchmen's chair almost collapsed. Picking up the chair and setting it aright, he exclaimed, "Ach! Der Stuhl ist kaput!" in a terrible french accent. And now for a joke:
Q: What do the Dutch do after they win the World Cup?
A: They turn off the X-box!
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