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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.
English Lessons
Friday. 3.29.13 10:22 am
Me: Wazzup homies?
French3: Whazzah ohmie?
Me: No. Wazzzzup, hhhomie. G-funk.
French3: Is that what Americans are saying these days?
Me: No. We were saying that like... in the 90s I think. Really old-school Gs.
French3: So what could we say in present-day America?
Me: I guess you could still say, 'Wazzup dawg'
Mr. Mime: Whazzah doggie?
Me: No, you can't say that. Wazzzup dawg.
French3: Wazzup hot dog.
Me: No, you definitely can't say that.
French3: But what if she is a good looking girl? Then she would be a hot dog.
Me: No. She definitely wouldn't. Anyway, 'dawg' is something you call guys. If you want to call your girlfriend something, though, you can call her 'boo'.
Mr. Mime: Bou.
French3: 'Ey my Bou?
Me: Sure.

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Childhood in Siberia
Wednesday. 3.27.13 6:46 pm
"In the winter we lived in the city. In the summer we lived in a small village. Not a village like they have in France... a village village. In those days most families had at least one cow. Some had a crowd of cows. I had many friends in the village."

Viktor the Siberian is telling me about his childhood. We are surrounded by drunken french people.

"It was just me and my mother. She took me to the village in the summers. In the winter it was too difficult to stay; the winter is very cold in Siberia. There were people who stayed during the winter, yes, the real people of the village. Things are different now. Many of the buildings are empty. There is no work on the farms anymore. Some people try to grow enough to live, but nothing interesting grows. My mother grows strawberries now, flowers, something interesting. She only goes to the house to prepare it for the winter."

A drunken frenchman interrupts us, settling an arm on each of our shoulders.

"Where you from?"
"Russia," says Viktor the Siberian.
"Where you from?"
"America," I answer. The Frenchman lifts his arms in amazement.
"An American! A Russian! Talking together!"
We are both taller than the Frenchman, Viktor with his Russianness, I with my heels. For a moment we feel larger than we are, two representatives of vast nations, East and West, the globe balanced between us. The Frenchman disappears back into the crowd.

"It doesn't matter who you are as an individual anymore," I tell Viktor the Siberian. "You are Russian, that is the only important thing. You drink nothing but vodka, you drive a tank and you have a pet bear." He smiles his Russian smile. I demonstrate how to be American for him... my demonstration consists of saying "Yeee-haw!" and pretending to draw and shoot pistols from my belt. He says that he is going to try that in America, and pantomimes the scene. "Hmmm... he seems American, but he must be Russian," I remark, pretending to be someone in the fantasy, "why else would he have that bear following him?"

"Bad bear!" he says, directing his attention to where I was pointing. "I told you to stay home! No!"

"There were trains that came by our village in summer," he continues after a short interlude. "They carried missiles and tanks and many arms. They would cover them with some sheets, so you could only see some parts. It is better this way... if you saw everything it is not as exciting. You can only see rocket there, side of tank."

"Usually when I hear people talking about that kind of thing, they're talking about a woman," I interject.

"Ah yes, yes, woman, I was talking about woman."

"OoOoOohh, look at those tanks."

He says that the weapons were bound for the Chechen war. He says that it was a strange war because it was a war where Russians were fighting Russians. He said that he once saw a BBC broadcast about it and every detail was the opposite of what he had seen broadcast on Russian TV. Who shot first, who refused to compromise, who was winning, who was bullying whom. Even if the journalists had the same facts they came to completely different conclusions.

There is a loud crash and raucous laughter from the drunk Frenchmen.

"What is this?" says Viktor the Siberian. "Here America and Russia are talking peacefully together-- about guns and wars-- and France is crazy."

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Monday. 3.25.13 5:34 pm
It's 10:30 pm and I'm in my office listening to John Philip Sousa marches while trying to load global maps of Mercury on ArcMap.

My future is uncertain. NASA funding is in quite a state.

Hawaii hasn't said yes, no, or maybe.

My boss here says that I could stay a couple extra months if I wanted to. Or a year, heck, I could stay another year, he says, God bless him, if he could find some cash lying around. Which he is pretty good at finding.

My buddy at JPL says I could come for a few months to California. We could collab. I made that abbreviation up just now. A little bit of surfing. A little bit of hanging out with "film-makers" that she apparently knows.

Maybe I could get a post-doc in Padua, Italy....

Heck, I'm so free right now, I ain't got nothing to tie me down. I could move to Japan! I could move to Antarctica! South Africa! Peru! Norway! Australia! Tahiti! Why can't I just write grants and live in Tahiti?????

Well, there is the whole "only 1-in-10 grants gets funded" thing going on right now. The whole "we spend more than 80% of our time just writing grants, less than 20% doing science" thing. Those kinds of statistics make one a bit wary of joining a soft-money, grant-supported institution, even if it does give you the flexibility to live in Tahiti. Those kinds of statistics make you wonder if now is the right time to be moving back to the USA.

Hence the fact that I switched music:

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Hawaiian Dreams
Wednesday. 3.20.13 3:43 pm
So they haven't emailed me to say that I've made it through the first rounds of cuts for the Hawaiian job.

But they haven't emailed me saying that I haven't made it [an email that my friend got].... so.... I'm going to take that as a "maybe".

In other news my friend says that I'm on his "shortlist" for a return trip to Antarctica.... so...................... we'll see how that goes.

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To Chaos We Shall Return
Monday. 3.18.13 12:49 am
According to the religious Taoists, the world began with chaos. Two gods on either side of the chaos decided that it was a shame that the chaos did not have eyes or ears or other senses and could therefore not sense the world around it. So they cut eyes and ears and a mouth into the chaos, and for the first time, chaos was aware of the world. Immediately upon perceiving, the chaos split into two halves, yin and yang, good and evil. The story follows that of Adam and Eve in a way. With knowledge came good and evil, and once it was known, it could not be unknown. Instead of living in blissfully ignorant paradise, where the concepts of good and evil are unknown, you live in a place where they are intertwined, and, as shown by the yin-yang, all evil has inside of it a little piece of good and all good has inside of it a little piece of evil.
We were at lunch. With Tex sitting next to the Canadian and I and the Chinese doctoral student He Chang across the table, we had slipped into English.
“I have been thinking about this lately,” she said, pausing thoughtfully. “Think about a car crash. You have so much kinetic energy, and it is transformed through the car crash into different kinds of kinetic energy, to bend the metal and break the glass, and a huge amount of thermal energy, which dissipates. The whole universe is like that—kinetic and potential energy is always transforming into thermal energy, until someday all of it will be thermal energy and that will be the only kind of energy that exists.”
“Yes,” I said, “the eventual heat death of the universe. I guess from the beginning we came from chaos and at the end to chaos we will return.”

“You think too much,” said Tex. People say that to the Canadian and I all the time.

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Sunday. 3.17.13 12:55 am
When I look down at the sea from a plane, I can sometimes see little spots of white among the deep navy blue of the North Atlantic. They are probably white-caps on a ever-changing ocean, but I like to pretend that they are whales. Look how many whales are down there in that sea, I say to myself, whales of all types and sizes, what a marvel of nature!

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Saturday. 3.16.13 12:31 am
I walked into my bathroom. There was a large black spider perched on a web that had been built between the toilet brush and the wall. The spider had been there, more or less, for six months. In a moment of clement feelings, I had spared its life, and then when it continued to live there, I felt that I could not revoke my clemency. I named the spider Pierre, despite the fact that it was probably a female. He had become my de facto pet, and I spoke French to him so that I could practice my accent out loud. I hadn’t spoken to him lately, though, as our conversations recently always seemed to end in arguments. I always asked him what he had accomplished while I was at work; he thought this question was a loaded question, and that I was judging him for staying home all day, I claimed that I was just curious what it was that he did all day, he claimed that he had been busy all day hunting, I asked what more there was to hunting than lying in wait on one’s web… you can see how this might go. We had implicit agreement that I would not kill him as long as he stayed generally in the area of his web and didn’t make any sudden movements.

I used to have another spider pet, in college. This spider also had a general web behind the toilet in the bathroom. Unlike Pierre, this spider was dead, and had been dead for as long as I had known of its presence behind the toilet. I didn’t clean up the spider’s body, though. Instead I would sit on the toilet and ponder the meaning of mortality. With Pierre around I spent less time pondering mortality and more time on guard against any sudden movements. Predictable as Pierre was, living spiders are always inherently more unpredictable than dead ones. I talked to Pierre about it once. He thought that it was a little morbid to keep a dead spider in a web behind your toilet. He asked me if I was asking him his opinion about this because I felt like this sort of thing lay in his future. Of course my answer was no, but I think that our relationship wasn’t really the same after that.

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English Bulldog
Saturday. 3.9.13 6:42 pm
As it is my last day with "Great Contemporaries" by Winston Churchill, I must take a moment to write down some of my favorite passages:

"There is always, as was well said, more error than design in human affairs" pg 342

"A second danger to President Roosevelt's valiant and heroic experiments seems to arise from the disposition to hunt down rich men as if they were noxious beasts. It is a very attractive sport, and once it gets started quite a lot of people everywhere are found ready to join in the chase. Moreover, the quarry is at once swift and crafty, and therefore elusive. The pursuit is long and exciting, and everyone's blood is infected with its ardour. The question arises whether the general well-being of the masses of the community will be advanced by an excessive indulgence in this amusement. The millionaire or multi-millionaire is a highly economic animal. He sucks up with sponge-like efficiency money from all quarters. In this process, far from depriving ordinary people of their earnings, he launches enterprise and carries it through, raises values, and he expands that credit without which on a vast scale no fuller economic life can be opened to the millions. To hunt wealth is not to capture commonwealth. This money-gathering, credit-producing animal can not only walk-- he can run. And when frightened he can fly. If his wings are clipped, he can dive or crawl. When in the end he is hunted down, what is left but a very ordinary individual apologizing volubly for his mistakes, and particularly for not having been able to get away? But meanwhile great constructions have crumbled to the ground. Confidence is shaken and enterprise chilled, and the unemployed queue up at the soup-kitchens or march out upon public works with ever-growing expense to the taxpayer and nothing more appetizing to take home to their families than the leg or the wing of what was once a millionaire. One quite sees that people who have got interested in this fight will not accept such arguments against their sport. What they will have to accept is the consequences of ignoring such arguments. It is indispensable to the wealth of nations and to the wage and life standards of labor, that capital and credit should be honoured and cherished partners in the economic system. If this is rejected there is always, of course, the Russian alternative." -Winston Churchill, 1934. pg 376

"'When I was in India I saw some things your people do not see. I used to go to the bazaars and to the fountains. I had a good interpreter, and lots of people came to me and talked. Your English officers are rough with the Indians; they do not mingle with them at all; but they defer to their political opinions. That is the wrong way round. Frenchmen would be much more intimate, but we should not allow them to dispute our principle of Government.'" --From a conversation with Georges Clemenceau.

And the best and last one I shall put only on Facebook, because if I put it in both places then there will be a Googleable link between my two personalities, and we can't have that CAN WE.

There are many more, but I didn't write them down at the time and I can't CTL-F a real book with real pages. Oh well, I'll have to buy myself the book at a later time.

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