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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.

The Profile

Age. 34
Gender. Female
Ethnicity. that of my father and his father before him
Location Altadena, CA
School. Other
» More info.
The World

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
Croc Hunter/Combat Wombat
My hero(s)
Only My Favorite Baseball Player EVER

Aw, Larry Walker, how I loved thee.
The Schedule
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
Looking Backwards
Wild Swans
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 Geomorphology
Aeolian Dust and Dust Deposits
The City of Ember
The People of Sparks
Cube Route
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
New Moon
Breaking Dawn
Armageddon's Children
The Elves of Cintra
The Gypsy Morph
Animorphs #23: The Pretender
Animorphs #25: The Extreme
Animorphs #26: The Attack
Crucial Conversations
A Journey to the Center of the Earth
A Great and Terrible Beauty
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Dandelion Wine
To Sir, With Love
London Calling
Watership Down
The Invisible
Alice in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Host
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Shadows and Strongholds
The Jungle Book
Beatrice and Virgil
The Help
Zion Andrews
The Unit
Quantum Brain
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
No One Ever Told Us We Were Defeated
Memento Nora
The Name of the Wind
The Terror
Tao Te Ching
What Paul Meant
Lao Tzu and Taoism
Libyan Sands
Sand and Sandstones
Lost Christianites: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
The Science of God
Calculating 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 Martian
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
Red Mars
How to Be a Good Wife
A Mote in God's Eye

want to read: Last Hunger Games Book, Honeybee Democracy, The Bell Jar
The Juanes Module

Juanes just needed his own mod. Who can disagree.
Hooray, I'm an American
Friday. 12.30.05 11:15 pm

You Passed the US Citizenship Test

Congratulations - you got 10 out of 10 correct!

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Dogs and Rabbits
Friday. 12.30.05 10:05 pm
One day my bones will also grow frail
One day I will stand at the edge of a luscious field and I will not be able to romp amid its grasses
One day I too might eat with gusto and walk with difficulty
One day my hair too will be dull and coarse
My eyes no longer as bright
Perhaps I too will look upon the world I have spent a lifetime learning to navigate and not remember anything I need to know
Someday my caretaker will excuse my pains and difficulties as the inevitable consequences of my advanced age

Today I am young
Today my eyes are bright, my bones are strong, and my hair is glossy.
Today I have legs.
Today my eyes and mind are sharp
Today I have my whole life before me

Someday I too will grow old, and all that I am now will fade like a shadow with the coming of the night.

If I'm lucky.

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Notre Dame
Thursday. 12.29.05 1:33 am
I spent the day writing my statement of purpose for Notre Dame. I told them a little about my travels and how visiting countries affected by the tsunami made me want to build earthquake and tsunami-proof structures tall enough for people to be saved from the rising tide. They have a whole class in how to build earthquake-proof structures and wind-proof structures too. Once we start building stations on Mars we'll have to think about making some serious wind-proof structures or they'll never last in the vicious planet-wide dust storms that Mars has every so often. In fact the last time I looked at Mars through a good telescope, you could see a dust storm, pole to pole, obscuring the polar ice caps and everything else recognizable about Mars. Anyway, there aren't a whole lot of planetary geology courses to be taken at Notre Dame according to the catalog, but they waived my application fee and I want to save the people of Indonesia, who are always dying by the thousands because of this that or the other thing. If we can at least save them from the "buildings collapsing and killing people in an earthquake" thing, then we'll be doing a fair amount of good work, I should say.
It's tough, you spend a day telling the school why you want to go there, there and nowhere else, and by the end of the day you totally believe yourself, and it's hard to remember why you ever liked any of the other places you are applying.
Hooray for Notre Dame!

... I should have applied for some Masters programs.... hmm...

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The Tail of the Rabbit
Tuesday. 12.27.05 10:47 pm
Well, I took the rabbit to the vet. The substance that had contaminated my hands was a result of the rabbit having soft stool that stuck to her backside and all the hair on her stomach... in order to clean her up I had to dip her in water and pull it out of the hairs with my fingers. It was one of those things that you do for an animal because you really love it, just like you wipe the ickies from the corners of your dog's eyes, just like you rub your guinea pig's scabby pus-dripping skin with ointment (like my sister did for her guinea pig), because it needs to be done and the animal can't do it by itself. It must be what a mother feels like, and why a mother seems to be able to do a million totally gross things that no other normal human being would ever do.
The vet said he thought my rabbit wasn't as skinny as he imagined it was going to be. (She has a good appetite!) He also said that the top of a rabbit's life range was about seven, and Obelisk is going to be ten in the spring. Most of her problems, he said, were probably simply due to her extreme old age. In all his years of practicing, he'd never seen a rabbit so old, he said.

I guess so. She's just been so fat and healthy with shiny hair and perky ears for so long that it's weird to see her not in her top form. She's been dragging one of her legs a little and her heels are bald and pink. Her eyes were constantly tearing with one always smaller than the other and her ears were scaly on the outside. The vet gave her about five or six shots of IV fluid through a huge syringe into her back to rehydrate her. He said that she was dehydrated and so her eyes weren't filling up the eye sockets like they should. The eye compensates by filling the empty space with fluid, which drips out of the eye onto the face and keeps it constantly wet, eventually making the area around the eye slightly bald. He put some vitamins in one shot and some anti-biotics in another. It took four different shots (for the other syringe-fulls he just left the needle in and switched the juice instead of making a new hole for each one) so she wasn't really that happy about it. The vet tech had to hold her down by the ears to the table. I thought maybe the vet visit alone would kill her in her old age. But she's a hardy old bunny rabbit. Now I have to feed her all sorts of weird foods like kale, romaine lettuce, turnip greens (and basically everything in the produce section that no one ever eats, says the vet) plus the really gross, wet kind of cat food like the ones they put on little glass stands for really spoiled, fat, fluffy cats.
When we were checking out, the lady said, "Enjoy your salad. With KALE" in a really scarcastic voice and I had to explain that we were making a salad for a rabbit....
The regular vet came back today (the other one was a holiday substitute) and he asked after the rabbit on the phone. When he heard how old she was, he too was taken aback and said that that's the oldest rabbit he's ever heard of in his life.

Somebody has to care about the rabbit, you know. Most people in the family don't even call her by name or sex. Obelisk, the black rabbit: female, 9.5 years of age. Formerly Misty when she was just a baby. I've known her since the day she was born. She's a long liver because she's of good breeding stock, I say. Most people don't know that when she's sitting in the sun, you can see that she's got a spot of dark brown fur on the top of each foot, amid the black and the uncommon scattered white hairs that lie in her coat like sugar on velvet, or stars in the sky.

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Poor poor rabbit needs your thoughts and prayers
Wednesday. 12.21.05 11:23 pm

Hm, that last entry took a lot of fast typing in order to get down all those words. That little game I play, typing lyrics while the song is playing, is the one of the things that really made my typing speed out of control. That, and being addicted to IMing....

If people knew where my hands had been today, they would never want to shake hands with me or touch anything after I'd touched it ever again.

Just throwing that out there.

But hopefully my rabbit will feel better, she has felt pretty crappy for the last while, and what I just did to her did not make her any happier. But! She'll feel better in the long run. (hopefully)

watching: my rabbit
listening to: Mandy Moore
mood: tired and sore

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Tell me have you ever really loved a woman?
Friday. 12.16.05 4:20 pm
To really love a woman, you need to understand her
you gotta know her deep inside
Hear every thought, see every dream
And give her wings when she wants to fly
And when you find yourself lying helpless in her arms
You know you really love a woman
If you love a woman
Tell her that she's really wanted
If you love a woman
Tell her that she's the one
she needs somebody to tell her that it's going to last forever
tell me have you ever really, really really ever loved a woman?
To really love a woman
let her hold you
Til you know how she needs to be touched
You've got to breathe her
Really taste her
til you can feel her in your blood
When you can see your unborn children
You know you really love a woman
If you love a woman, tell her that she's really wanted
When you love a woman, tell her that she's the one
She needs somebody to tell her that you'll always be together
So tell me have you ever really, really really ever loved a woman
You've got to give her some faith
Hold her tight
a little tenderness
you've got to treat her right
she will be there for you, taking good care of you
You've really got to love your woman
And when you find yourself lying helpless in her arms
You know you really love a woman.
--Bryan Adams

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The Schedule
Sunday. 12.11.05 6:31 pm
I'm going to have three day weekends next semester and no class til 2:45pm on Mondays. Can we say, "woot"?

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I don't have time for these thoughts
Saturday. 12.10.05 6:34 pm
It's crunch time, and every time I think of all the things I have to do before Wednesday I feel sick. This morning I went and saw the Chronicles of Narnia, which was a bad idea considering how much work I had, but it put me in a very sober mood which has been good for my productivity. I won't give anything away, but there is a part in the movie at the very beginning when the mother is sending her four children away from London to the countryside so that they'll be safe from the Luftwaffe, and they go to the train station to put the children on the train. Peter, the oldest boy, is about 16 or 17 at the time, he looks a little younger so I can't say, but the actor was about 17. His father left for the war some time ago and the only thing they have left of him is a photograph. They don't know whether or not he is still alive. He's walking through the train station and he sees another boy, about his age but a little older, wearing the uniform of a soldier.

You can see for just that instant the guilt and shame that surfaces in his mind... the feeling that he should be wearing that uniform too, that he should be fighting alongside his father for the future of England. Of course he can't, of course he must take care of his sisters and brother in the absence of his parents, and of course he's just a little too young... he can't break so many of these expectations at once and go and volunteer for the army. It might kill his mother outright, just the idea. But he feels it. The responsibility. So when he gets to Narnia and he is asked to fight a war that isn't his, when he sees how many are counting on him and how evil the enemy is, he must finally face this fear, this desire to run away from the fight which is somehow always muddled with responsibility he feels to take care of his family at home and to not risk making them suffer by recklessly getting himself killed.

It made me think about how different that generation was from ours. First of all, if Peter saw the soldier walking through the train station, he probably wouldn't feel guilty for not joining him. No one makes anyone feel guilty for not joining the army anymore. On the contrary, some people make others feel guilty for joining the army, as if they're being so stupid and careless and not thinking about their families just to run off and fight in some stupid and pointless war. I wonder if they would still feel that way if the Luftwaffe was dropping bombs on their houses? I wonder if it is a question of differing circumstances or differing world views that separates our generation from that one? But let us for a moment travel to Narnia. There, the forces of good and evil are caught up in a struggle that seems, on the surface, to have nothing whatsoever to do with the sons of Adam and the Daughters of Eve. The war in Narnia is, as they say, "Not Our War". The children have many reasons to simply back out of the war and go home, as they may have were it not for Edmund. But in the end they had a choice, and they didn't back out. They stayed, because they saw the people that they were helping, they heard their cries for freedom, they saw the as the land through which they walked turned from a barren wasteland into a flowering forest from the sheer power of hope they brought with them. Even though it wasn't really their conflict, even though they had to risk their lives for people a world away whom they didn't know. Even though they had a million valid excuses.

So how different is Iraq from Narnia? Instead of a 100 year winter, they have suffered decades of war. Instead of ice there is sand, and scorching desert sun. Instead of a White Witch (who the good people of the Earth accidentally helped a long time ago out of kindness and naivete, by the way) there was a cruel dictator, who, instead of turning his subjects into stone, gassed them with deadly agents from which no lion's breath can return them to life. Many years have passed, and most people who come are quickly frightened away. The most the outside world has done is to stop the witch's progress at the lampost.
Now there we are, a shining light of hope amid this 100 year winter. Where we go we bring water to ease the drought, food to fight the famine, chocolate for the children, hope to cure the most insidious of all ailments: despair.
That does not mean that the whole country will welcome our coming. Many people threw their lot in with the queen long ago. For every fawn and centaur there is a snow tiger and an orge that chose the other side. Some of them may be misguided, some of them were tricked, no doubt. But many of them believe that their cause is just, and want nothing more than the death of hope and the return of winter in their land, no matter the cost.
So what is our role in all of this? Will we welcome the children home with harsh words and reprimands and tell them that there comes a time when a child must stop pretending and tell the truth? Will we welcome them back into our world as heros? Will we say, "Why fight a war in Narnia when there is a war right here in England?" Will we believe the White Witch when she tells us that she is the rightful ruler over Narnia and we have no place interfering? Will we believe the children when they tell us how much Narnia needs us? Will we accompany them there through the wardrobe at the risk of our own lives?

It's up to us, isn't it. It's always up to us. A simple decision, made in an instant:

What are you willing to die for?

So this conversation, coupled with my recent lamentings about graduate school and the course of my life in the years ahead, makes me feel like a worthless sack of nothing because I'm sitting here and other people are going out there and fighting for something that is worth fighting for. Things of that proportion don't happen very often in the field of Planetary Geology. Yeah, I have plenty of good excuses, but I know very well that if this were World War II and I was a boy, it would be expected of me to go Over There, and I would sign up right away. But nobody expects it at all, everyone rather doesn't expect it and would be quite upset if that's what I happened to go and do.

But the themes that that movie stirred up are old ones that live inside me all the time. It was a story of great courage and sacrifice and honor.

And nobody writes stories like that anymore.

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