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 ÔŅĹ 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
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?
Monday. 8.30.10 9:29 pm
The package had contained a small, thin, wooden case, the type one might use to hold business cards. The top was inset with carvings. There were plants and vines and painted flowers, complicated but symmetrical in the Russian fashion. There was no note.
The case opened on two small golden hinges along an unobtrusive seam marked with an indentation large enough for a fingernail. The inside was plain wood, with an oval depression on either side like a soap dish.
He looked behind him reflexively, expecting to see a nurse peering through the door with her hard face, looking for an excuse to take the case away. They must not have realized what it was, that he would know what it was: a Russian puzzle-box, just like the ones his grandfather used to give him as a boy. His fingers had been smaller then; they hadnít trembled like they did now, but the memories were still there, still engraved inside those bony hands of his like the vines on the face of the case. So the nurses didn't know everything after all, he thought gleefully. His heart was hammering as he traced his finger along the intricate carvings, looking for the tiny catches that would release the box.
He felt a click, and the wood gently expanded outwards in his hands. He gingerly eased the case open along the hinges, and pressed a featureless spot along the upper rim, which gave under his touch. With a little shake, the false top of the box came free in his hand. Underneath the wood, inlaid into the top of the box, was a small mirror.
There was nothing else.
His excitement turned to puzzlement. He turned the mirror upwards and caught sight of his face in it.
A mirror. How odd. It was something that he had stopped noticing long ago, but there were no mirrors here at the center. It used to confuse him when he first arrived, washing his hands at the sink in the communal menís room, looking up at a wall made of painted cinderblock. There was a ring around the edges that made it look like there had once been a mirror there that had been removed.
He had supposed that in some sense looking into a mirror was nothing but a sort of vanity. Perhaps the staff had come to the conclusion that the old had nothing to be vain about, that if they gazed into the mirror they would only see marching age and death. Having gone so long without a mirror, he was confused to see that he looked almost exactly as he had remembered, exactly as he had been the morning they had come to surprise him after breakfast, before he had even watered the rhododendrons, to take him away. His hand went automatically to the crown of his head, where wispy tendrils of frail white hair had gone astray. How long had it been since he had seen his own face? Something was different about it, all the same. He stretched open his lips to reveal his long, grey teeth, crowded together in his mouth and stretching upwards into his receding gums like a pipe organ. He looked around, suddenly self-conscious. The nurses could come back at any time.
The Whole World
Thursday. 8.26.10 11:14 pm
I saw a row of pigeons sitting on the roof of the neighborhood Stop and Shop. It was a slanted roof, and it looked like they were having sort of a tough time keeping their footing. I looked around the parking lot, wondering if there was a better place for them to sit. I figured maybe there were three or four pigeon-perching places within the parking lot vicinity. I imagined the parking lot as the setting for a novel, or the set for a play. A whole story, maybe whole lives would take place in that parking lot, with the pigeons vying for the best spots with the seagulls, avoiding cars, watching the plants for sale under the awning change with the seasons. There was only the Light Posts, the Tree, the Hedge, and the Slanted Roof. For all the pigeons knew or cared, this parking lot could be the whole world.
I started thinking about what constitutes a "place", what constitutes the "whole world".
When I returned home, there was the smell of skunk in the yard again. I bet the neighbor's cat had tussled with it, as we often hear him fighting with other neighborhood cats during the night. Instead of a parking lot, the cat's territory was about a block, containing six houses and yards plus a street. On its western boundary was Mark's landlord's large, angry, rolling cat. On its eastern boundary, the dog park. A female cat with a tail like a feather pen used to stroll through the rhododendrons and call to our female cat, three stories above, driving her crazy. Not anymore. The whole dynamic of the block must have changed with the arrival of this large, mean cat. It was only a block, in the end, but a cat is small and the block was filled with squirrels and skunks and night-chirping birds and insects and cars and construction sites and barbeque grills. Plenty to occupy a cat for a lifetime. The whole world.
A whole world could be a town, or a block. A single tree, a window sill. Step the scale one order smaller, and the tiniest bit of real-estate could be the Whole World.
Thursday. 8.26.10 5:31 pm
Wake me up when September ends
Wednesday. 8.18.10 9:03 pm
Went to a Green Day concert.
They always put on an incredible show, I don't care who you are.
Then I went to Boston, visiting with my old college buddies. Pomona got sixth this year on the "Best Liberal Arts" colleges list. I personally think that the ranking people have something against the West Coast, since without fail they're always ranking the New England schools first. Which doesn't make any sense, given that the crushing depression that comes with the New England winter can hardly be conducive to learning. Or is it that the sunny California climate draws its students outside to play beach volleyball at the expense of their studies?
Naturally Di-Di's school was ranked highest in the nation on the "Universities" list.
Two weeks from today classes begin. My last classes... EVER. My last fall semester... EVER. Two weeks from now the Welshman leaves again, this time for good. We're writing a paper together that we'd like to have finished by then. Everything's a bit rushed for time. I'm also writing a paper about sand dunes. It was fascinating until I actually had to write it up, now I fall asleep between every five minutes of writing.
Here comes the rain again
Falling from the stars
Saturday. 8.14.10 12:58 pm
I didn't get to do any drawings last night, though I did see some meteors, make some Tarkan CDs, and download some stock images to draw from. So instead I shall post some drawings I did a while ago. Don't ask questions, I DRAW WHAT I WANT.
From a DeviantArt stock photo. I can't remember whose.
From my imagination. Who says angels have flowing curls and wear robes?
A dress from this pattern book I have, the woman from DeviantArt stock.
This is when I was going to draw iconic pictures of all the most famous saints, and then I got bored after St. Sebastian. Usually St. Sebastian looks totally chill while he's getting shot by arrows, I thought the reference image for this looked suitably perturbed.
A stock dude from DeviantArt.
I'll upload the new ones if I ever get around to drawing them.
The Advantages of Having No Friends
Friday. 8.13.10 7:34 pm
Yeah, back in my first year of graduate school I had no friends.
So I spent all my time writing essays on Nutang and creating art. I got back into drawing, I wrote stories, I tried out things in pastels.
I haven't drawn anything in ages.
So tonight, in lieu of figuring out what people are doing, I've downloaded a bunch of stock photos from Deviantart and I'm going to go artify myself in an undisclosed location where there are no people. And no cell reception.
I need some alone time.
::Update:: My friends want me to plan and organize their Friday night, because they are apparently ABSOLUTELY INCAPABLE OF PLANNING ANYTHING.
EVERY FRIEND I HAVE: "Uh, huhn, I guess it's not going to happen then, because it seems like nobody wants to really plan it... that's too bad... it would have been really fun.... what should we do instead? Do you have any ideas? What's open? Oh really... that sounds fun... is it far away? We don't really have anyone to drive, unfortunately, I could drive but I don't really want to... I guess we're just not going to get to go... that's too bad..."
Sweet Alien Hideout on Mars
Thursday. 8.12.10 11:29 am
This is definitely where I would live if I were a Martian. Or Osama Bin Laden.
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