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
Day 3, Incre
Sunday. 2.3.13 12:44 pm
I ventured, for the second time in my life, into the small calligraphy store in the cobblestone alley near my house. The place is kind of intimidating, and what's more, it's usually always closed. I took a look at the calligraphy inks. They came in every imaginable color. I finally summoned the courage to ask the gloomy-looking shopkeeper for his opinion. I carefully unrolled my new calligraphy set. "I got this as a gift," I said, not mentioning that it was a gift from myself. "But I need to buy some ink."
"Did you get this gift recently?" he asked.
"Yes, for Christmas." He looked puzzled.
"It was from a garage sale," I explained, regretting having described it as a gift.
"Ah," he said, "Because I know the man who has made this calligraphy set, but he has been retired now for a long time."
He got out of his seat and came over to the inks. With a flourish, he opened a secret cabinet and started running through dozens of bottles.
"What color do you want?" he asked.
"Black," I said. There was one black pot of ink sitting out on display.
He couldn't find any black inks in the cupboard. "There isn't any more black ink." His eyes fluttered towards the one on display. I could tell that he didn't want to sell it, for whatever reason... it was his last black one. He looked back at my velvet calligraphy set.
"You can have the one on the display," he finally said. The last pot of black ink, for the girl who will bring his old friend's long-neglected calligraphy set back to life!
Then I went to a giant mall and bought myself a beautiful object that I didn't need:
I'm going to put pastries in it I think, after the candle is gone.
My church crush wasn't at church today, so I left pretty soon after the service. French A a arrêté de me faire des bisous. Je ne sais pas pourquoi. I took the métro two stops past my station so that I could walk home in the pouring rain. Ok, so I was mostly doing research for my supernatural/demon/historical/action thriller that I am writing. There is going to be a lot of action in the subway tunnel two stations away from my home station. But after that, I was walking home in the pouring rain.
I saw this notice, it is a show that they're putting on down at the Folies Bergère with the theme of "Depression":
It is sponsored by Kleenex, Nutella, Ben and Jerry's, and the Snuggle fabric softening bear. They invited a bunch of singers to come and sing their most depressing songs, and everyone is supposed to come in dark clothing. You could win a one-way second-class ticket to Lourdes (which is apparently a tiny town in the Pyrénées). I kind of wanted to go but it was sold out. I guess everyone else must be depressed, too. Something about non-stop freezing, pouring rain.
Day 2: French A and B
Saturday. 2.2.13 12:36 pm
Day 1: Hawaii and the Tragic Lives of French A and B
Friday. 2.1.13 2:22 pm
At the timely urging of my father (hi Dad!) I applied for the Hawaii job. I think my friend that reminded me about the application deadline is a little miffed because now our applications will be competing. Oh well, as he pointed out, he already lives in Hawaii. Not only did I get three people to agree to write me letters of recommendation, all three of them turned the letters in on time! Sacre bleu!
I have to give a talk over Skype at my old university in an hour and a half and I haven't finished it yet, so I'll come back and write more if the meeting finishes before midnight.
Then I'll update you on the tragic lives of French A and French B....
The End of Canada
Wednesday. 1.30.13 3:50 pm
My bestie foreversie the Canadian has her last day of work tomorrow.
I ain't even sad.
This is because I'm in severe denial. Once she leaves, I'll probably spend the rest of my time in France hanging out in my office looking at Google Earth and writing sad little philosophical treatises on Nutang.
We're buying her some cheese for her new life in Germany.
Tuesday. 1.29.13 4:42 pm
I decided that if I am going to do the "Entry-a-Day" February challenge, that I should practice a little bit ahead of time.
At la cantine there is a sauce called sauce salade. I hate it. The taste is sour, or like horse radish. Essence de kimchi. Its acrid, hideous flavor invades and subdues every other flavor. But I still eat it on everything. I can't help myself. During the first couple of months at the cantine I would think, "You hate this. You hate this sauce," even as I pumped it all over my meat and lentils. I would hate every moment of eating it. But I still did it. I still do.
In a similar way, I read radical feminist newspapers and threads. I don't know why. Everything they say pisses me off. Today I didn't have to look any further than an article in the New Yorker about the history of American women getting tattoos:
The third edition of the book, released yesterday, includes a hundred new photographs that examine how tattoo culture has evolved over the past fifteen years. As Mifflin writes in the introduction, “Tattoos appeal to contemporary women both as emblems of empowerment in an era of feminist gains and as badges of self-determination at a time when controversies about abortion rights, date rape, and sexual harassment have made them think hard about who controls their bodies—and why.” As we approach the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, this observation is especially resonant.
What? What the hell does a bunch of tattooed circus people in the late 1890s have to do with Roe v. Wade? The author uses Roe v. Wade as a "keyword" at the bottom, so it is probably just a scheme to get as much traffic as possible, but really? You really think women get tattoos to "stick it to The Man"? Men get tattoos for their own personal reasons, but women get tattoos to make statements about their empowerment? I guess if all you study is the oppressive patriarchy, you see every single issue or trend through that lens. When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
I read one feminist thread about how every sex act in the history of mankind before the 1970s should be considered a rape because the unequal power dynamics between men and women made it practicably impossible for the woman to freely refuse the man's advances. What? Have you ever been around any members of the human race?
Some poor schmuck joined the conversation and suggested that a) Many women freely rejected men throughout history, because not all men are savage sex-crazed animals b) Perhaps some of the billions of couples that lived and procreated and died on the Earth actually loved each other, c) It may cheapen the word "rape" to call every sexual act that occurred before 1970 a rape.
Naturally this guy was ritually eviscerated by the forum members after which his genitalia were roasted over a bonfire of outrageous self-congratulatory rhetoric.
Sauce salade leaves a better taste in my mouth.
EDIT: This, on the other hand, is hilarious.
Monday. 1.28.13 12:57 pm
Yeah, I always have things to write about when I'm not near a computer, and then as soon as I have a bit of free time or access to Nutang it all evaporates. I'm going to go home and cook me up some mac n' cheese.
I will say this-- climate science is as boring as hell.
I've been looking through a bunch of climate science jobs and I think I'd rather stab myself in the foot than do any of them. My job right now is pretty cool, but "satellite data assimilation and intercomparison"? Kill me now. I also figured out that I missed the opportunity to apply for a 60 k/yr lecturer position in Hawaii with 3k annual travel budget and possibility for up to 30k more in "extramural funding". The deadline is actually January 31st but there is no way I can get reference letters before then. If NASA decides they don't want to hire me I'm really going to be cast adrift in the winds of fate.
My needs at the moment:
1) An institution through which I can funnel money
3) Business cards
4) A dog
5) A backyard/garden
6) A place to skate around on a long board
Maybe I'll just buy a miniature golf course by the beach and sell homemade ice cream, french fries, and virgin strawberry daiquiris. I'll incorporate and form a one-person LLC through which I will funnel research money. All of my research will be conducted from the inside of a windmill on the 17th green.
Saturday. 1.19.13 4:08 am
We are drinking tea. Everyone is speaking Italian. I have been learning to strike the balance between seeming too interested in the conversation, which makes them feel like they have to translate it for me, and seeming too disinterested, which makes them worried that they are boring me. I am listening carefully. I can understand about 20% when I listen very carefully, especially if I have a general idea about what they are talking about. Italian is very much like Spanish, so la vida secreta (secretly taking Spanish in the mornings my second semester of grad school) and my many years of listening to Enrique Iglesias and 97.5 Latino and Proud are paying a small dividend.
Right now I have no idea what they are talking about, and everyone in the room is firing away in rapid Italian. "A fish," explains the girl across from me. "Very big. A tuna." They continue on in Italian.
Ok. Context clue. Five minutes pass by.
"We're talking about a statue," says someone else. "She looks like she's making a poo."
"You aren't missing very much," adds another.
"90% of the time we are talking about food," says my host after a few minutes. "It is this way for all Italians."
We finish our tea. Time for a Prosecco and then off to our 8:45pm dinner reservation. Italia.
Wednesday. 1.16.13 9:50 am
I lay on the floor of my hotel, reveling in the feeling of not being standing up.
Out of the corner of my eye I could see the wall, which was adorned with some kind of woven wooden fabric. I wanted to say rattan. What was rattan, anyway? I wondered how they made it. I took a closer look. If it was made by hand it must have taken forever. I wondered if it was really rattan. I figured I could look up on the internet how rattan blinds were made and maybe even learn how to make some myself. For a moment I was so overcome by how many beautiful things were on the internet that I wanted to cry.
But first I should probably take a shower. And then a nap. And then I should probably go look around Padua, where Galileo apparently observed the Moon through his telescope.
Nah, internet first.
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