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
La France: Le Premier Jour
Saturday. 9.3.11 6:39 am
So I made it to France. Things didn't go completely according to plan. First, Delta said my carry-on was too big and they had to check it. I didn't want them to because all of my electronics were in there. "Will I get it back in NYC?" I asked. No, she said they had to check it through to my final destination. Fine. I took out my computer monitor and my digital SLR and extra lens. I left all of my adaptors and plugs and my 2 terabyte external with my PhD data on it because I couldn't fit anything more in my purse thing.
In NYC they tell us that if we're continuing on to Paris we should wait at gate 4, which I do, but of course they don't mean me, I am on a completely different flight to Paris, leaving in a few minutes two terminals from here.... thank you SharkBoy for remembering my itinerary better than I did... so I run out of security and two terminals down in 90 degree heat and make the plane because a security guy lets me jump the line. By the way, they've switched planes, our new plane doesn't have individual screens, only a shared one. Crap. Everyone starts wondering (loudly, and to the staff) why they paid the extra money to come on Air France. The incredibly fashionable gay Americans next to me are having a lover's spat because Aisle Gay Man put Middle Gay Man in the middle instead of booking them both windows. They try to get me to trade with them for the aisle seat but I am unmoved. Middle gay man is pissy with his lover for all of take-off until they fall dead asleep for the rest of the flight, making it impossible to get out... possibly as revenge. They are awake for about ten minutes, when the steward brings them extra first-class dinners complete with delicious french cheeses and fresh fruit. I don't get anything, probably because I am not a hot gay man, and I have to wait another 45 minutes to eat dinner, as I am the second to last row served. I do get the very last chicken dinner, which looks like you would imagine the last chicken dinner to look. The guy in front of me puts his seat way back into my face. No sleep for me!
When I arrive at Charles de Gaulle the passport control barely glances at the visa I worked so hard to procure, and after waiting 40 minutes for all the luggage to come out, I come to terms with the fact that my carry-on (which they forcibly took from me) is lost. I hope that the carry-on of the guy behind me didn't get lost, as he said that it contained all of his medication.
I talk to the Air France lady about the suitcase. She says it could take a while to get it back. I don't have an address that will last that long so I give her my office address. Unfortunately it only works on weekdays (if at all). We talk for an hour because she loves exo-planets and Mars. When I glance behind me at the growing line of the baggageless, she says that I shouldn't worry about them, and if I ever do start to feel stressed, I should meditate. She started doing it a couple of months ago, she says, and now she's never stressed out by stuff like that.
I leave with her card and an offer to have lunch or hang out or have a tour around her hometown of Chantilly. I might take her up on it. She realizes that she put my information in wrong and she starts all over again.
I call the shuttle company. They'll be right there they say, outside door 10. I go out door 10 but it looks wrong. On my paper it says door 8, which looks more right. I go back and forth and finally call the company again to clarify. All of their lines are busy. For the next 45 min. Finally I get through. Door 10, he confirms. The driver is there now. Good afternoon. No one is outside door 10. It looks like a place to get all of your luggage stolen. I call back. All the lines are busy. I am about to kill someone (remember the no sleep part?) when I run into my Air France woman, on her way to lunch (I originally arrived at 8). I tell her my woes and she says that she saw a person from my company. She unites us. She is already my best friend in France. The shuttle person recognizes me and informs me that my shuttle driver has been waiting for me for two hours outside door 8. I inform her that I have been waiting for my shuttle driver for two hours outside door 10, since that's what the man told me TWICE.
I go to him and we pack up my stuff. We are not five minutes away when I realize I've left my giant computer monitor (which I've been carrying around awkwardly since Denver) on the luggage cart. We make a giant, excrutiatingly slow loop to come back to get it... it's gone. I ask a nearby motorcycle dude if he saw it... he did. Some guy got it a minute or two ago. Motorcycle dude and I run into the airport and go to information. There it is!!!! The man was the cart collector, and when he collected the cart he took the monitor to information.
Once I've returned to the shuttle, the driver informs me that since we went back now we have to wait for two more passengers. After 45 minutes we are on our way. I finally arrive at work during lunch (1-2 pm). No one is there. I meet a girl. We speak french until we realize that we're both native English speakers. She's a new post-doc from Canada, she's only been there a couple of months. She's from a slightly different lab. She did her PhD in Hamburg, Germany. We spend some time mooning over cheap delicious German ice cream and other tales of Northern Germany. Christine. She lets me put my luggage in her office. I can tell we will be friends. I have made my first friend!
At that moment Robin comes by, a Scottish guy I know from before. He's on his way to lunch with a Spanish colleague. We grab some sandwiches and eat lunch in the park under a shady tree. The concrete mess of CDG airport behind me, I marvel at the beauty of Le Jardin des Plantes. The rest of the day is perfect. We look at a huge room full of animal skeletons, I meet with my boss, we talk about all the cool science we're going to do, I leave at six to go to my hostel, I eat a sandwich and an Orangina on the steps of Sacre Coeur, looking out over all of Paris from the Butte de Montmartre. I can't believe I live here. I could eat my dinner here every day! I walk through the street market at sunset, looking at all the paintings from Montmartre's many excellent artists. Maybe I'll get my portrait done one of these days.
Wow, that was hard to type on a French keyboard. I guess it's one-thirty in the afternoon and I best go eat some lunch and buy a new adapter, instead of staying at the office and falling asleep on my desk, which is what I feel like doing. Until next time... adieu.
So I'm moving to France tomorrow
Thursday. 9.1.11 12:25 am
I'm moving to France tomorrow morning. I'll be gone for two years.
But I'll still be here on Nutang. Nutang is my one home that never moves. I can still hang out with my Nuworld buddies no matter where I am in real life [irl].
[But who is to say which is more real?]
Sharkboy asked me whether or not it was freaking me out, the whole "moving to France for two years" thing. Truth be told, I don't ever think that far ahead. I'm thinking about how delicious the food on the trans-atlantic flight will be, and I'm thinking about what fun it will be to cruise around on the metro this weekend, and I'm thinking about stopping by a little boulangerie and picking up a baguette. You can't think "two years". That's daunting, overwhelming. Much better to surf the website for Ryan Air and think about all of the possibilities that await all across France and the rest of Europe. Adventures, waiting to be had!
See y'all on the flip-side.
I hopped off the plane at LAX....
Friday. 8.26.11 11:39 pm
No, I didn't have a dream and a cardigan, if that's what you were expecting. But I did have a suit coat and a mission.
I had to get a french visa. You might think that it would be possible to get a french visa over the phone, or through the mail, considering that I live in COLORADO, and the consulate in Los Angeles isn't exactly "convenient". In fact, it is about 1000 miles away.
But non, you must make a personal appearance, so oui, I showed up at the consulate all turned out for my appointment, ready to go to the mat to argue and demand and exige (excuse my french) that they let me leave when I intended to leave. I'm not very good at that. I tend to be nice to people as a kind of a knee-jerk reaction.
As it turned out, it wasn't necessary. The car rental place hooked me up with a brand new red camaro convertible (merci, french government?), I stayed with my good buddy Rhodes at Caltech, and when I arrived at the consulate they told me that everything was in order and that it would be no problem to have my visa to me on time. So basically I spent a day cruising down Santa Monica boulevard getting a sunburn with the top down on my Chevy Camaro and when I woke up in Denver the next day, the FedEx truck showed up with my visa.
Now that the hard stuff is out of the way, all I have to do is move to France.
I guess I should find an apartment.
Ever felt like that before?
Wednesday. 8.24.11 1:41 am
Sunday. 8.14.11 12:15 am
Sharkboy is coming to Colorado tomorrow.YAY!!!!!!
I can't wait. We're going to go to the baseball game, and to Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Royal Gorge, and we're going to go hiking and fishing and camping and rafting and we're going to have oh-so-much fun.
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
He is also coming to Paris for Christmas this year! That is especially exciting because I will have CHRISTMAS in PARIS with a CUTE BOY and what could possibly be more romantic than that????????????????????????????
Now I have to go to sleep so I can get my beauty rest so I can wake up early and finish cleaning my room so I can take a shower and fix my hair so that I look purty for Sharkboy when I pick him up at the airport.
Sunday. 7.17.11 5:41 pm
So I'm moving. I'm headed back to Denver for about a month to hang out with the family and then I'll be moving to Paris for the next two years of my life. Instead of getting myself organized this weekend I went to Maine for a last hurrah with all my friends. It was a lot of fun but now I'm running around like crazy trying to get my life together before I leave. Mostly this involves throwing away huge quantities of stuff and endlessly folding clothes in the oppressive heat of my apartment.
I always seem to get nostalgic this time of year when all of my upperclassmen friends are leaving. I'm not too nostalgic now. It's a lot easier to be the one leaving then it is to be the one left behind.
I'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world! Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum...
Anyway, this explains why I've been slow at reading people's updates. I'll be generally out of touch for the next few weeks.
Making Whipped Cream
Wednesday. 7.13.11 5:33 pm
Making whipped cream for the first time was a bewildering experience for me. My instructions directed me to pour the cream into a bowl and whip it. "Stop," said the directions, "when it is whipped."
How do you know when it is whipped?
"You'll know," said the instructions sagely.
I poured the cream into the bowl.
Luckily this particular time I had an electric beater.
I kept asking myself, "Is it whipped now?"
"Is this what it looks like when it's whipped?"
"Is this what whipped cream is supposed to be like?"
But the instructions had said, "You'll know."
As long as I had doubts, I figured I ought to keep whipping.
All at once, after many long minutes of whipping and whipping and stirring and wondering... the cream became whipped cream. It wasn't really a gradual process. One moment the cream was cream and the next minute the cream was whipped cream.
And I knew.
Beyond a doubt.
All of the other times that I thought it was whipped cream and it wasn't seemed ridiculous considering how obvious the difference turned out to be.
I think maybe searching for true love is like that, too.
Winning the IRS Lottery
Saturday. 7.2.11 11:56 am
1. My school forgot to pay me $547 dollars of my salary last month. I didn't notice at the time, because they were paying me some crazy amounts with irregular paychecks since it was my last month and the end of my grant. So now I have an "extra" $547! It's going straight into the "visiting Sharkboy" jar!
2. I got a letter from the IRS. I opened it with great apprehension. But they said that I paid them too much, and that they're going to send me a check for $329!! $329, straight into the "visiting Sharkboy" jar!! Thanks, government!
3. I thought it was going to be too late for me to order the free proof copy of my novel because the deal was supposed to run out the last day of June and I hadn't realized that there was a 2-day waiting period while they checked your files before you could order. But I just tried it, and the deal code went through! Free novel copy! $6.02, right into the "visiting Sharkboy" jar!!
I'm going to try to get him to come and visit me in Colorado!!
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