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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. 34
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 à 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

want to read: Last Hunger Games Book, Honeybee Democracy, The Bell Jar
The Juanes Module

Juanes just needed his own mod. Who can disagree.
Can't Keep It In
Friday. 3.26.10 11:41 pm
Oh I can't keep it in
I can't keep it in I've gotta let it out
I've got to show the world
World's gotta see
See all the love
Love that's in me

-Cat Stevens

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The Mystical Powers of Calculus
Wednesday. 3.24.10 11:37 pm
Tonight I spent about five hours baking cupcakes and helping Chipmunk study for his calculus exam. It had been a long time since I'd studied this kind of calculus, and I'd forgotten what a lot of the rules were called, how to maximize the perimeter of a rectangle, and what the mean value theorem was. Some of the things I knew I'd never known very well, like what the hell L'Hopital's Rule was [now I know!!!]

But what I did realize is that math and I are starting to get very comfortable with each other. Sure, I probably got ~50% on my math exam on Tuesday, but when I was explaining all of my mistakes to my co-worker after the test, I realized that math and I had reached this kind of cosmic understanding of one another. I've gotten the "feel" for mathematics. I know the way equations think, and what they look like when you graph them.

It's like that wonderful feeling that English majors get when they read a fine work peppered with subtle classical references and they start "getting" all of them.

Right now we're learning the calculus of variations, which we are using to study functionals. What is a functional? Let me explain it to you this way:

Imagine a slack-line tied between two trees. You would like to "slack-line" across this rope. This rope has a certain stiffness, a certain elasticity, and a certain weight per unit length. All of these factors cause it to hang down in a roughly paraboloid shape. But what IS the shape that it will take? How can you describe it? Can you guess what it will be based only on the forces on the rope? And what if then someone stood on the rope? Could you calculate the shape of the rope as they walk across it? Could you calculate how the rope-shape changed? Could you calculate the path that a person would trace in space as they walked across the line?


Imagining a graph of a line in two dimensions, you have a group of x's that are transformed by a function to make a group of y values. In the case described above, you have a group of parabola-y-looking functions that describe the shape that the rope could take. They all have to have certain things in order to be a candidate: they have to be fixed at the ends where the rope is tied to the tree, for example. These so-called "admissible" (aka "allowable") functions all yield different values when you input them into a functional, which transforms them into a number, like the potential energy of the rope as it hangs there, or a minimum amount of time it would take for a slack-liner to walk from one end of the rope to the other depending on the path. So a functional is like a function which instead of taking numbers and transforming them into other numbers, takes functions and tells you which shape is the best or the most realistic.

Anyway, the calculation of variations is very powerful, because it lets you tackle ridiculous shapes with very poorly defined boundary conditions.

oh math. I love you. More on math at a later time. I should become a calculus tutor.

I know my calculus... it says u + me = us

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Seduction Style Quiz
Tuesday. 3.23.10 8:02 pm

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I Do Not Know Their Names
Monday. 3.22.10 11:25 pm
A sort of spur-of-the-moment poem I wrote while taking a break from my math studying:

To think that I once whiled away the hours
In meadows filled with bright wildflowers
A common, gay, melodious sight
Their bobbling heads in wild delight
But I do not know their names.

Neighbors had I right next door
And in the past a dozen more
Had I walked to where my driveway ends
I could have had a dozen friends
But I do not know their names.

To many I owed the ease of our cities
To volunteers on esoteric committees
The many who kept electricity coming
And kept our communities quietly humming
But I do not know their names.

We are each allowed once chance around
And now my ashes lie upon the ground
And younger faces now walk alone
Down the sidewalks that go past my home

But they do not know my name.

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An Elephant in Kim Jong Il's Court
Monday. 3.22.10 7:22 am
I had a dream that I was a spy. My task: to infiltrate Kim Jong Il's Palace. They were having a huge rally with thousands of people in attendance, so I didn't think it would be too hard. The complication? I was an elephant. Through some weird body-changing voodoo, I had become an elephant and I was sharing my brain with some wise-cracking creature who couldn't control what I was doing but couldn't refrain from commenting on it. He kept saying, "I think we should start talking about the elephant in the room..." and then laughing at his own joke for several minutes while I was trying to think. I had crept up behind the stage where Kim Jong Il was speaking; there were a bunch of really wide pillars there and I was on my hind legs stretched up very skinny (for an elephant) with my back against the pillar. My trunk kept looking around the side like a periscope, I could barely control the thing, it was like its own living entity. "Your trunk is showing," said the voice in my head, "Move your trunk! You are the worst spy ever! How can they send an elephant to do this job..."

Just then, Kim Jong Il finished his speech and got into his car. His motorcade was going to drive right past me on the back-side of the stage. I had nowhere to run to, nothing to hide behind. I grabbed a potted plant and held it in front of me, making a walking-like-an-egyptian shape with my body and trunk, and I held perfectly still. The voice in my head was very skeptical, but the motorcade passed right by without even seeing me! I was so relieved. Maybe all those cartoons I'd seen over the years were right.

The End.

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My Sister's Keeper
Saturday. 3.20.10 7:46 pm
“Where is your sister?” asked Mother once Anna was dry, had finished dancing, and was finally dressed. Anna finished tying the long laces on her Converse sneakers. Converse sneakers, pinnacles of sneaker-design, were flat at the ends, and thus facilitated standing on one’s toes at all times. En pointe! Flat! En pointe! Flat! En pointe! Flat! “Stop that!” said Mother, who was trying to run a hairbrush through Anna’s hair.
“Ow,” said Anna. “Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.”
“Where is your sister?” Mother asked again. Anna shrugged. Mother was not placated by this response. She wanted her sister found, and wanted Anna to find her.
Much to Anna’s luck, the phone rang. Mother picked up the phone and Anna listened very carefully. It was the father of the next-door-neighbors. “Your daughter Elizabeth is here,” he said, “we wanted to ask if it was all right for her to sleep over tonight.”
Mother seemed hesitant. “That sounds fine,” she answered, “can I talk to her?”
“She’s out swimming at the moment, would you like me to go and get her?” he answered.
Mother responded that it wasn’t necessary and hung up the phone.
“Well, I was going to go to the bank,” she said. “Do you want to go next door and play with your sister, or do you want to go to the bank with me?”
Anna didn’t have to think very hard about that. Sisters were sisters, but The Bank had a Candy Machine.

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Boring Organisms
Sunday. 3.14.10 9:03 pm

Is this what it actually says or is that just my mind?

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Chapter 1
Saturday. 3.13.10 2:22 pm
Perhaps it wasn’t a completely ordinary day, but it certainly wasn’t the kind of day where you expected your little sister to disappear from The Face Of The Earth.

Anna was huddled on a cold, dark street, and it had been raining very steadily for the past half an hour. She had her legs and tail tucked under her body and her head was resting on her paws, but the rainwater was pooling, and as she breathed in and out she occasionally sucked it between her teeth. What a cold and lonely way to die, Anna thought miserably, for what else could be expected to happen to a lost and forlorn puppy out in the dark and rainy night?

“Anna!” called Mother, “You’ve been in the shower for a half an hour. If you don’t come out right now, I'll have to come in there and get you.”

In the blink of an eye, Anna the Dog turned back into Anna the Girl, the asphalt turned into tile, and it became obvious that the rain was only falling directly on Anna’s head. She reached up lethargically and turned the water dial back to HOT. At a sound in the next room, she shot up from the floor and grabbed the bar of soap. You see, Anna cared about serious things, like Life and Death, Tragedies, and What Dogs Are Thinking. Mother cared about completely different and rather unimportant things like Sanitation, Ladylike Behavior, and Being On Time.

“I’m almost finished,” she called. Yes, almost finished, meaning that it was just about time to begin washing, the most boring and tiresome part of being in the shower. She covered her face in a thick layer of soap and then opened the shower door a crack to let the cold air freeze the soap to her face. She made an angry face, wrinkling her nose and narrowing her eyes, then a very sad face, letting her mouth drip into a deep frown. She ran her fingers over the caked and cracked surface. “O,” she said quietly, “the leprosy… my skin… my beautiful skin.” The soap came off in flakes and chunks. “Don’t look at me, my child,” said Anna, her voice low and hollow, “I’m hideous!”

“Anna!” reminded Mother smartly from nearer-than-Anna-thought. Anna frowned a real frown this time, rinsed the remaining soap from her face, and finished washing.

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