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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. 36
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 � 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
A Gentleman in Russia
The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism
Seneca: Letters from a Stoic
The Juanes Module

Juanes just needed his own mod. Who can disagree.
Burning in the Skies
Wednesday. 10.6.10 1:02 am

Comment! (2) | Recommend!

The Horse and the Tiger
Saturday. 9.25.10 9:14 pm
New drawings!

Comment! (8) | Recommend!

Conversations with Foreign Boys
Saturday. 9.25.10 6:24 pm
Conversation 1:

Greek Boy: Where are you from?
Me: I'm from Colorado.... it is very mountainous.
Greek Boy: Ah, yes, I've been to Colorado... the mountains were not very impressive.
Me: !?!!?!?!!?!!?!???!!!!!!?!?!!?!?!?!?!!!!!!???????!!!!!!
Greek Boy: The Alps are much more impressive.
Me: Where did you go in the Rockies?
Greek Boy: Vail and Beaver Creek. They were fine, but they just don't compare to the Alps. They just aren't quite as... pointy.
Me: Clearly you went to the wrong parts of the Rockies!
Greek Boy: That's the thing about the Alps though, there are no "wrong parts"... every part of the Alps is impressive.
Me: .... I have to go.... [BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE!]


Greek Boy: Will you let me in? I was locked out.
Me: What is the password?
Greek Boy: Um... "blah"
Me: No, the password was "Colorado is awesome."
Greek Boy: Did you make that the password because nobody would ever think to say it?
Me: ::turns red, explodes::

Conversation 2:

Me: Where are you from in India?
Indian Boy: I've been living in Bangalore.
Me: Ah! This is random, but we named our wireless internet network "Mangalore-Bangalore".
Indian Boy: WHAT? I'm originally from MANGALORE!!!

Conversation 3:

Me: (five minute conversation about why I don't drink coffee)
Filipino Boy: So, do you want to get coffee sometime?
Me: Uh...
I step back in my flip-flops directly onto a large shard of glass. Blood proceeds to pour all over the steps, my friend runs to get bandages
Me: ...I've never seen so much of my own blood...


Comment! (3) | Recommend!

A Foray into Science Fiction
Thursday. 9.23.10 11:43 pm
It was the Thirty-Third Annual Conference of Particle Physics, but it was the first to be held on Meeting Cloud, the most popular virtual meeting place on the web. Despite the fact that most particle physicists considered themselves on the tip of the cutting edge of modern science, they lagged well behind in some of the more technological aspects, and many scientists had staunchly opposed the Meeting Cloud concept as a matter of principle: why study science at all if you don't get an occasional trip to Geneva?

The "ballroom", therefore, reflected the inverted hierarchy that had been inadvertantly created by attempting to infuse such a high-tech meeting concept into such a technologically backwards group of theoreticians and modellers. The avatars of the young scientists were visually appealing and technically complex, reflecting hours of wasted programming and use of the more social crossover platforms such as the sports platform ThunderCloud and the popular dating site, Cloud9.

Conversely, the senior scientists were represented in the virtual room as coarse, pixelated shapes with very little detail and even less expression-tracking. Their complex, meandering questions and highfalutin utterances seemed to emanate in a disembodied way from the center of their drab, emotionless avatars. Talking to them inevitably resulted in the same mild feeling of discomfort experienced when trying to meet the eyes of a person wearing sunglasses.

Most of the professors and senior researchers had the standard first-level avatar: a featureless three dimensional person with an uploaded head-shot stretched over where the face ought to be. The professors clearly had not grasped the concept that the uploaded image was meant to be cropped to the edges of the face. Many of them had uploaded photos with several people in them, creating the illusion of many-headed monster avatars. Professor Chung-Hee Kim had chosen a photo where he was looking up, causing everyone he met to involuntarily follow his gaze, even when they knew that the picture was static. Bill Corning, the neutrino expert out of Haverford University, had an advanced avatar that resembled him almost exactly (minus about ten years, his colleagues remarked unkindly). It was even outfitted with a dynamic suite of real-time emoticon expressions, but everyone knew that he had forced his graduate student to program it for him, so it seemed less impressive. Sasha Ivanov, who studied hadrons, had programmed a very impressive face, but the whole avatar was only a bust, which made him seem like a floating, decapitated head. He was distressed to discover that he would not be standing behind a podium during his talk. Chang Li and Herb Walker and several others were still walking around as large, three dimensional question marks due to their complete inability to grasp the avatar creation dialog. This irritated the conference organizers, but a semi-transparent text box that floated just above each person's head made them more recognizable than any name tag had ever managed, even despite their failed avatars.

Comment! (4) | Recommend!

Two Short Lives Inside an Envelope
Tuesday. 9.21.10 8:30 am
We briefly had a problem with maggots in our trash, it is disgusting to admit. Some house-flies got in somehow and the trash didn't have a lid and there were house-fly maggots in the trash.

We got rid of them.

But somehow, an errant envelope from American Airlines offering me 20,000 free miles in exchange for signing up for a credit card fell behind the microwave stand as I was throwing it away unopened.

As I was cleaning the house the other day, I found the envelope and picked it up, ready to immediately throw it away again. Then I saw it: two small, dead house flies.

Inside the envelope.
I could see them through the clear plastic address window.

I examined the envelope. It was indeed still sealed... except for a tiny opening right at the top of the V in the corner that formed if you bent the envelope *just so*.

Small enough for a maggot to get in, too small for a fly to get out.

Comment! (3) | Recommend!

The Gamelan 2
Tuesday. 9.14.10 11:38 pm
Playing in the gamelan is much like meditation. You sit cross-legged on the floor, but you can't think about how uncomfortable it is to sit cross-legged on the floor, or how your life is going, or what you will eat for dinner, or what you are going to do tomorrow, you can only think about the melody, you can only count the rhythm in your mind. Every instrument leans on all of the others. The gong follows the melody of the balungan instruments (literally "skeleton"), and the bonang accent the balungan on off notes and play melodies that interlock with each other to form one, warbling, shimmering whole. The kenong often plays every two notes, on opposite notes as the kempul. Everyone follows the tempo of the drum, but relies on the gong to keep time for them.

The moment your mind starts to wander or other thoughts enter your head, you lose count, you get off a note, or a measure, and not only you but the whole gamelan veers off course.

Far more effective than trying to meditate by counting the number of your breaths, you must count the breaths of the whole gamelan, which is more like a feeling of intense focus than an arithmetic operation.

This semester not only do we have a large number of people playing, almost all of them have already been in the gamelan for several semesters. Our professors say that this might be the most experienced group they've ever had in this class. Because of this we might get to learn some new instruments, and we might try to learn most of the songs by ear instead of relying on the notation. Already the gamelan sounds fantastic! We might even perform for Southeast Asia Day in mid-November, if we can figure out how to carry the gamelan to the concert hall across campus!

Comment! (1) | Recommend!

Precision and the Javanese Gamelan
Tuesday. 9.7.10 9:30 pm
Some of the instruments at the palace in Solo, Indonesia, are known to have spirits living inside of them.

Should you accidentally brush by one of these instruments as you are trying to take your seat, you must always politely excuse yourself to the instrument exactly as you would a person.

You must never step over the instruments, or drop anything on them, for you never know exactly which of the instruments is harboring a spirit inside, and what kind of attitude that spirit has.

There are some songs, soft and slow, that reverberate off the walls of a gamelan concert hall, which are very powerful and dangerous. There is an Indonesian word that these songs are known by which has no equivalent in English. It says something about how the song must be played with utmost care and reverence, otherwise many dangers could befall the members of the gamelan.

So it was with great care that Harjito's ensemble, all students studying the central Indonesia gamelan, burned an offering of incense and flowers and asked politely of the composer's spirit and the spirits of the instruments if they might be allowed to play one of these special songs, one of these dangerous songs.

Unfortunately, something happened during the song. One could never really say whose fault it was, one never really can when it comes to the gamelan, since the gamelan has no true conductor, and each musician follows the other like leaves carried along on a stream. But they made a mistake and did not play the piece correctly.

As they were putting up the instruments for the night, one of the instruments crashed to the ground despite being held up by three people. Later that night one of the dancers let out a blood-curdling scream from the girls' room, followed almost instantly by an equal scream from the boys' room. Harjito and the others rushed to see what had happened, and the girl told them that she had awoken to see a tall dark man over her about to stab her with a large knife. When she screamed the man had leapt away into the darkness. The boy said that he had screamed after seeing a tall dark man leaping over his bed... in the room next door.

Three more times that night were the gamelan players awoken by members of their party. Once they found a boy hitting one of the large kettle gongs with his fists: he claimed that he had been fighting with someone.

"That was long ago, in Indonesia, when I was still a student," Harjito says peering through his glasses, now a master and composer of gamelan music and among the premiere gamelan musicians in the world. "But the place is still haunted."

Comment! (2) | Recommend!

Last First Day of School
Wednesday. 9.1.10 10:41 am
Today is my last first day of school.

It is the final year of my PhD program.
It is the last semester I will be taking classes.

It's about time... I've been going to school for more than twenty years!

I got new folders and new notebooks at Target.
I wore a bright polo shirt and khakis.

The beginning of school is supposed to be a time for new beginnings, right?

So why does it feel like everything, everything is ending?

Comment! (8) | Recommend!

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