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 ï¿½ 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
A Gentleman in Russia
The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism
Seneca: Letters from a Stoic
Monday. 6.3.13 1:02 pm
Another point of view
Friday. 5.31.13 7:14 pm
Monday. 5.27.13 7:54 am
Friday. 5.24.13 6:54 pm
I'm shivering. There is only one thought in my head, repeating itself over and over again: I'm going to fall in the Seine. I'm going to fall, crack my head open on the side of this bridge, and then drown in the Seine. The river is at flood stage again, as if it were winter. If you felt how cold it was on this bridge, you would think it was winter.
Then he comes, the model, with his broad shoulders and his even features and his bow tie and his neatly combed hair and his tuxedo. He puts his strong arm around me to keep me from falling in the Seine and he puts his other hand on my knee.
"I think you're supposed to put your hand..."
"Tell me," he says, leaning in towards my neck, "where would you like me to put my hand?"
"I mean... in the photo..." I try to specify, clearing my throat. We're trying to remake a famous photo from 1957.
"Ah yes, in the photo the man's hand is hidden somewhere," he says, laughing. I would think he was up to no good except for the fact that it is so clear that he doesn't care at all, not even a tiny bit.
He is talking to me about something else now, but his hand is casually caressing my knee. "Are you used to having your picture taken?" he asks. I nod. I'm trying to concentrate. "So am I," he says.
The photographers ask him to go back to hiding his face in my neck. "I don't like to be hidden," he says. He kisses my neck suddenly, completely dispassionately, as if he were resting his lips on an ice cube. The photographers hiss for him to stop. "No kissing!"
Thank you, photographers.
Maybe I'll fall in the Seine.
Une Journée en Bretagne
Sunday. 5.19.13 7:10 pm
Yesterday we started off the day well by taking the métro in the wrong direction. We traveled for five stations before we realized that something was amiss. We were going to a fair celebrating the French province of Brittany. Or, in French, la Bretagne. Or, in Breton, Breizh. Breizh is a province of France that is known for its Celtic roots.
The people there have their own language and their culture is closely tied to that of other Celtic peoples like the Irish and Scottish. They even have their own version of Stone Henge, called Carnac.
Instead of arches, the ancient Celtic Bretons built alignments of some 3000 standing stones (menhirs) all over the region.
The other thing that la Bretagne is famous for is its terrible weather. It rains there all the time. They have some sayings about the weather in Brittany:
"In Bretagne you can tell the weather by looking at the sea. If you can see the sea, it means that it is going to rain soon. If you can't see the sea, it means that it is already raining."
"In Bretagne it only rains twice a year- from August to February, and from the end of February until August."
So it was appropriate, perhaps, when the skies of Paris opened up and a great deluge inundated the Breton Fair. The hardy Bretons were not to be discouraged, however... the Celtic band played on under their shelter, and the Bretons young and old continued dancing. In Breizh they dance circle dances, similar to those danced by the Greeks. Often times you link pinkie fingers with your neighbor and form a long chain that snakes its way around the party. So we finally abandoned our umbrella, and our efforts to stay dry, and we joined the Bretons in their dance. Mr. M and his geologist friend, who was playing with one of the bands, are both from Brittany or thereabouts, but Maude and I were débutantes.
Round and round we danced, first the circle dances, then the polka, then the waltz, and finally an amazing square dance where we constantly switched partners. The rain came in buckets, in sheets, in waves. "Aren't we dancing this dance a bit fast?" asked Mr. M at some point. I shook my head. "People have been known to break bones dancing the polka," I explained. "Yes," confirmed his friend, whirling by with Maude, "the polka is a crazy dance."
Finally we were all exhausted and soaked through. My nice leather jacket (oops) had stained my arms black. We went home and changed our clothes and ate dinner at a crêperie. Crêpes are a traditional food of la Bretagne. I had a galette (savory crêpe) with huge slices of cheese and potatoes and bacon and onions.
For dessert I had a crêpe with Nutella. We continued our Breizh theme by drinking pitchers of Breton cider. Finally we came back to my apartment and Mr. M, his friend, and Maude, who all used to play in an Irish music band together, brought out their flutes and tin whistles and began to play. Two other friends, who had joined us for dinner, added to the affair by singing and playing the spoons. I made a fine drum out of a trashcan.
"It was delightful to have you at our house," said Mr. M to everyone as they left my apartment, until finally he himself left.
She is handsome, she is pretty,
She is the Belle of Belfast city
She is a-courtin' one, two, three,
Please won't you tell me who is she.
Saturday. 5.18.13 4:47 pm
Conversations with Mimes #2
Friday. 5.17.13 11:21 am
Mr. M: I have cockroaches in my apartment. They are pretty gross but I only find about one per week.
Espagnole: So the rest of the cockroaches must be somewhere else nearby.
Mr. M: Yes, I think these ones are the explorers. The others are saying, "Yes, it's been a quite a while since anyone's seen him... he took off in that direction, never to be heard from again."
Espagnole: So you kill them, then?
Mr. M: No... I heard you can get their eggs on the floor if you smash them... I catch them and I throw them out the window [3rd floor].
Me: How do you know that it isn't just the same one, and it takes him a week to get all the way back up to your place?
Espagnole: Yeah, maybe you should mark the next one before you throw it out.
Me: He's probably coming back each time, saying, "Why don't you love me?" He might be a very loyal cockroach.
Espagnole: Yes, maybe you should have a chat and learn about his life, his motives.
Mr. M: Or not.
Saturday. 5.11.13 9:16 pm
"Do you have a fiancé yet?" asks the old Tajik woman across from me. She is wearing a black t-shirt bearing an American flag and a large fleece jacket with faint stars and stripes on the sleeves.
No, I tell her, not since last month.
"Why not?" she says forcefully. "You are young, beautiful, education, why you not have fiancé?"
I shrug. Same reasons as last month, I guess, and the month before.
"And dog? Why you not have dog?"
This one always seems too complicated to get across in English, so I just shrug again and go back to petting Liszt the dachshund. Liszt was a great composer, and a crazy man, the Tajik woman explained to me last month. He had many women, and sometimes he composed pieces for the piano that were physically impossible to play, just to be difficult. Liszt the dachshund shares many personality traits with his namesake, she says. The pup lets out a startling yelp.
"Waff waff, little dog," she says, speaking in rapid Russian to the dog. She tells me that I can borrow the dog while her daughter is out of town to see how I like it. I can come and live in her apartment at the senior center for a few days, too, to try out her cats.
She returns to the subject of my fiancé. She is looking for a fiancé for her daughter, too, who is some six years older than me. She wants to find an American man for her daughter to marry, because she says that American men are serious, ambitious and puritanical, just like her.
"First I knew nothing of America. Then Gorbachev, I read many American books, and I think, 'I like this people. I like this country. This is my country." I remark upon the rather American outfit that she is wearing. "Yes," she says, "I am a vrai patriote today." All of her sentences, and sometimes individual words, are mixes of French and English, which gives a mysterious and lilting quality to her speech.
French men won't do, she says, because they are not serious. They just want to go out with friends, go to bars, she says. Last month she said that her daughter's french ex-husband was "jogging, yoga, homo, like most french." Russian men won't do: "Lazy, too much drinking vodka... very... brutal." I'm still wondering what happened between her and her first husband, who was Russian. She suggests perhaps a Scandinavian. I suggest a German. She tells me that one of her daughter's friends came back from Dubai with news that Dubai is full of serious, ambitious, marriageable men of all nationalities.
"I don't know if I would marry an Arab," I say.
"Oh no," she says, "Arab is brutal, woman is always second place. Like Slovaks." I don't know anything about Slovaks.
"But no... there are men from all nationalities in Dubai. French, Italian, everything. The Arab is stupid but rich. He bring smart men from all over world."
I ask her if her daughter's friend found a fiancé there, but she shakes her head. "I ask same question of her. She say she didn't have enough time, too short period, etc. etc. She is journalist. She work too much, not realize that journalism is #2 priority, fiancé is #1 priority."
She tells me that she thinks about getting me and her daughter a fiancé at every minute during the month. "Are you racist?" she asks. It isn't an indictment, just a question, posed so that she can better tailor her search for my fiancé.
"Um, no," I answer. She mentally adds men of other races to my list of possibilities.
"I am not racist, but I love the face of my daughter, and I worry that if she make child with man of another race, the face of child will look like other race, and not my daughter. I don't know if I could love this child like I love my daughter."
"I bet you would manage," I say.
She shrugs. "Maybe." A man of any race is better than no man at all, after all. A mulatto grandchild, as she calls them, would be better than no grandchild at all.
She says that she looks for men all the time during the church service, but in the 10 years she has attended she hasn't found a single one that wasn't already married. I suggest that she try the later service, since young single men have a hard time waking up early.
She says that these days men aren't so romantic as they were in the past. When she was a stewardess for Aeroflot, she had a pretty nice figure, so men were always saying, "Hey you, pretty girl, come back here. What are you doing tonight?" etceteraetcetera. Very romantic.
"WAFF!" adds Liszt. She says that he came from Milano, he is an Italian mafia dog. She says that these days men are more likely to say, "Oh! What a gorgeous dog!" instead of saying, "Oh, what a gorgeous woman!"
Yet another reason why I need a dog, she adds.
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