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
Monday. 10.10.05 12:18 am
So there was this fish, his name was Callisto. He came into my life at the very beginning of sophomore year when I bought him at the slightly sketchy pet shop down the road. He wasn't the biggest or most elaborate, but I chose him because I liked his color and his attitude. Oh, did that fish have an attitude. Together we weathered heat waves, fin rot, traveling over thousands of miles, a new tank, months of separation, reunion, travel, separation, travel, fun times, sad time. They say that bettas are the only fish (with the possible exception of chiclids) that can recognize their owners, and I believe it. My dad and I could even make Callisto dance. No matter what was wrong or how much trouble he'd been through, he was always hungry, up until the last couple of weeks of his life. He was old and a little sick already, but then his swim bladder got ruptured and he couldn't regulate his buoyancy. I had to put him in a shallow bowl so he could reach his food. Then he couldn't even swim up that far and I had to bring his food down to him on the end of a probe. He still tried to swim to me if I came around, and he seemed to just like it if I put my hand on the side of the bowl where he was lying. Maybe it was the heat that my hand brought to the water. Then a couple of days ago he got dropsy. It's the most fatal betta disease that there is, and there is no known cure. Some people speculate that it is somehow related to kidney failure. A fish with dropsy has a couple of days at most.
I had to leave to go on my geology field trip. I felt a little helpless... but I can imagine what my professor would have said if I had asked him if I could sit out on the field trip so that I could spend more time with my fish.
Anyway, when I came back from my field trip, he was dead. I could use a million euphemisms, but they all come back to the same thing. It was just his body that was dead, anyway. It was clear that the entity that was Callisto was not there anymore. It seemed to linger just a little bit, though, until today, when we buried him in the soft ground outside of my dorm from sophomore year. We decided that that was where he lived his happiest days. Lisa, Ranor, Kristina, Joanna and Akla came too. It meant a lot to me that they came, even though sundays are busy days for everyone. And the really nice thing was that people wanted to come not only to support me when I was sad, but also because they liked Callisto himself. Callisto had a personality very much his own, and people just liked him. They had made memories with him the same as I had. He had become a fixture in our lives in some small and immeasurable important way. We put a little rock on top of his grave and Joanna and Kristina fashioned a little bouquet of purple flowers which looked really nice. Ranor said that the rock I'd chosen looked like a heart if you turned it a certain way, and he was right. So we turned it that way. It was sunny but crisp, my favorite kind of day. All we'd really need is some colored leaves of fall and a little bit of softball and a drive home from high school with the windows rolled down and the promise of a little snow....
I can't go to grad school in California. There are no seasons! Get me off the west coast! But the west coast is pretty great. Maybe I'll try the south-west or the east coast for grad school. Mix it up. See different parts of the country, you know.
Monday. 10.3.05 10:55 am
Saturday. 10.1.05 9:27 pm
Some drunkards broke my hammock that I brought home from Vietnam. I had it hanging in the tree outside my room and today I went out and it's just totally destroyed. You must have had to put some three or four people in the hammock to do that. It made me really sad. When am I ever in my life going to return to Vietnam? I wish they had left a note. I wouldn't have charged them money- the hammock only cost $6, after all, but I spent months getting it home and it's only been up for two weeks. It was my happiest place, just sitting in the hammock and looking up at the sky through the shady tree and playing soft songs on my guitar. And they ruined it all, because they were drunk and stupid. I hate that. I hate it so much. It's not a valid excuse for doing anything....
The best song ever
Friday. 9.30.05 3:14 pm
This is my one chord song
It's easy to sing along
There ain't much I can do with the melody
because I'm stuck within the confines of a single key: G
Monday. 9.26.05 5:10 pm
Why a yak is the perfect substitute for a boyfriend:
Keeps you warm when you are cold
Carries all of your crap for you
Makes you sweaters and mittens
Is strong and muscle-bound
Does not talk
Finds his own food
Gives you a ride if you need a ride
Protects you from wolves
If you're really hungry, you can eat him.
Now if only yaks gave back rubs, the need for boyfriends would be completely eliminated.
break dancing and staying up late
Friday. 9.23.05 2:01 am
Wednesday. 9.21.05 1:14 am
If you could see these tears I'm crying
Touch these hands that can't stop shaking
Hear my heart that's barely beating...
Today in dance class there were only four or so couples and nearly even ratios, which hardly ever happens. It was good because I always had a boy to dance with, but bad because I always had a boy to dance with.
You see, though I love dancing very much, I do no actually appear to be that gifted at it. My toes tend to point in, for example, instead of out. Toes that point in look "simply horrifying". Part of it can be attributed to the fact that I'm rather knock-kneed, and I like to think my knock-kneed legs are part of the reason I was so fast throughout my youth, (thus leading me to spend more time on soccer and track and less on ballet, tragically). My professor told me last year that he'd like to saw off my legs at the knees and reattach them pointing out. He gets a little frustrated with my slow progress sometimes.
Today he was especially frustrated because I didn't know how to do the "shadow bota-fogas" that he was trying to do. I told him that I was sorry that I couldn't do them, but I had missed the last class so I didn't know that part of the routine. He snapped and said that despite not knowing the routine, I should know how to do a bota foga from BRONZE (the lowest level... three years ago) and that WHATEVER I just did was definitely NOT anything resembling a SIMPLE bota foga. geez. So he kept getting on my case, and then this boy I really despise in class started ragging on me too, telling me where to put my feet and hands, talking to me in this voice that drips with condescension. He always does that, it drives me crazy and makes me dance even worse. So at one point, I began to lose it. My eyes started to tear up, my face began to contort- I didn't understand it.... here I was, a senior in college, and I was about to start crying because I couldn't properly cross my right foot in front of my left in SAMBA CLASS. I blinked it back in time, I nodded vigorously at all my professor was saying, I couldn't say anything because my voice was shaking. Everytime I thought about that mean boy the tears would rush back... one question was running through my head... why am I here?
Almost all the other people in that class are on the ballroom dance team... mostly on the tour team and/or competition team, the highest teams there are. I've never been on either team and I only half-heartedly tried out once sometime during sophomore year. Why? Because I'm not good, that's why. The only reason I'm taking the class at all is because I love dancing and I think it's fun, not because I want to get my toe pressed at exactly a 60-40 weight distribution. I already took all the classes lower than this... this is my natural progression. If he didn't want me there he should have failed me during silver latin last fall.
This class is not fun.
I couldn't understand it though... despite my misgivings about the class, it is nothing to start crying about. I felt like my emotions were completely out of my control. It was really embarrassing, I was very close to having to run out of the gym and spend the rest of the period in the bathroom, quietly crying to myself, sad probably mostly because I was frustrated at not being able to rein in my sadness and look presentable. Instead I turned away briefly ("Laura... are you even following me? You're the one who is having trouble with this") and put a half-smile on my face. Some nicer boys showed up towards the end which made me happier.
What is WRONG with me? Who the heck just starts crying during class for absolutely no reason? Am I projecting some other kind of life tragedy onto this ballroom class? Or am I just upset that no matter how hard I try, I just don't seem to be getting any better? Maybe I'll just drop the class. That would teach... somebody.
Matt and Math
Tuesday. 9.20.05 4:51 pm
My new friend Matt has been missing for more than two days. He hasn't been to class, he hasn't been to math meetings, hasn't been home to his room (according to ranor, who is his suitemate)... he hasn't been anywhere. Where is he? We should ask his roommate. If I were missing, it wouldn't be too long before somebody noticed, since I have a roommate. Last year, since I had a single, it probably would have taken a little longer, especially if I was offline. Right now I'm so out of touch, if I had a single nobody would ever notice I was missing. I bet it would take at least two or three days. My cell phone is broken, my phone extension doesn't work, my computer is broken. I am, by all accounts, completely unreachable.
Yeah, I have conversations like this in my head all the time. I wonder... if someone murdered me and stuck my body amid those tires, who would be the first person to find me? When would they find me? What would happen to my fish? Usually that's where I stop... when I think about how my family would react and how lame it would be for my sisters to be "those girls whose sister was brutally murdered". It would be like their whole lives were marked by that incident and they could never just do whatever and be themselves. And that would be lame, I wouldn't want to be responsible for that. Plus, I wouldn't want them to have to spend all that time tracking down my killer and making sure justice is served. That's such an emotionally draining way to spend life.
Well, hopefully nothing bad has happened to Matt. I wrote him an email about the math meeting and he never wrote me back. He didn't take any bathroom stuff with him, either. He just disappeared. And ever since, the weather has gone seriously crazy. Lightning everywhere, sporadic heavy rains... serious damaging power outages, thunder (there is NEVER thunder here in LA...). Yesterday afternoon there was a full rainbow right over my room and half of a second one. The day was a pink, hazy color. Half the sky was pink-orange and the other half was a swirling dark blue. Colors I expect from Colorado, not from here, and here, given the humidity and the smog, the colors are magnified ten-fold, like you're looking at the world through a hazy lens (rose-colored glasses?). I had to sit for a while and just be. That feeling that I have so often here, like I am in a dream- it was like that only it was impossible to believe that I wasn't in a dream. That I hadn't somehow died and gone to a beautiful, blurry painting of where I used to be.
Maybe Matt controls the weather... and he's in trouble.... .
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