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
Don't Be Yourself
Tuesday. 7.8.08 11:26 pm
I read an interesting article by PJ O'Rourke. I love PJ O'Rourke. Ever since I was just a lass reading "Holidays in Hell" about what it's like to take a trip to Europe, and "Parliament of Whores", a charming account of the US Congress. In this article he was addressing the cultural obsession with "being yourself". If you were to listen to Them ("Who are They?" my dad would ask, "What are Their phone numbers?") you would believe that your truest purpose in life is to discover Yourself... your innermost, truest self, and futhermore, to express this inner self at all times.
M. O'Rourke disagrees. He thinks that it is quite possible that we could look very deep into our truest selves and find someone frivolous, selfish, and careless. He says that we shouldn't try to be ourselves... we should be constantly trying to be better than we are.
My truest self enjoys eating chocolate bars, and if I were to be true to myself, I would express myself by eating them all the time. But there is some virtue in self restraint. I would venture that there is a LOT of virtue in self restraint.
Your truest self might be someone who tells it like it is, no matter the consequences. But a better version of yourself might temper your truest self with handy characteristics like tact.
Is that selling out?
Well I'd better go off to bed, so I can be on time to work tomorrow. My truest self is sometimes late, but my ideal self is unfailingly punctual.
I do this ALL the time!
Sunday. 7.6.08 3:54 pm
Finally I have my future planned out
Thursday. 7.3.08 2:28 am
Clearly, the thing I have been missing all this time is an impromptu visit to the east asian wilderness where an old master on the brink of retirement or death decides to take me as his last student and teaches me the ways of the martial arts, preferably in montage format, until I am totally ripped and a major BAMF.
I'm not picky about the martial art, though I am partial to tae kwon do since I spent so many years studying it under the inimitable Master Kang. Or perhaps I could study Hwarang-do, which according to wikipedia is "The way of the flowering manhood".
Any training in the control of The Force would naturally be appreciated.
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear
Tuesday. 7.1.08 1:37 am
Me: Oh, look, I got my bill for school and they didn't register any of my financial aid.
Me, reading: Graduate Student Fee: -- bucks
Health Services Fee: --- bucks
Health Insurance Fee: ---- bucks
Graduate Tuition: ----- bucks!!
My sister: Sounds like one of those Mastercard commercials, and then it would go,
Having a degree you can't use?
Dunes on Mars, Life on Earth
Thursday. 6.26.08 11:48 pm
I changed my background to dunes on MARS! So beautiful, so mysterious!
In other news, I've been having a fun couple of weeks-- went to Maine for a weekend, went to Washington, DC for a weekend, just chillin', you know, relaxin' to the max.
On Tuesday I went to ballroom class and learned the merengue. We also learned a lovely waltz sequence in the intermediate class. I was on my feet dancing for a good two hours straight!
Speaking of meringue, I just got back from my second cake decorating class. We all had to make a whole cake and mix up our own buttercream frosting. Mine was a little lumpy owing to the lack of electric beaters (or anything more sophisticated than a spoon). But we learned to make the world-famous Wilton Rose... so I put them on my cake.
Back to dunes on Mars!
The Lateness of the Hour
Thursday. 6.26.08 2:08 am
Just when I thought I couldn't get it done, I lowered my standards.
Wednesday. 6.25.08 10:47 am
We pulled up to the Target. Zebo was driving; she was a bit tired and out of sorts and kept apologizing for her erroneous turns through the parking lot, although I had no preference for our path and no where in particular to be.
“I think it’s closed,” she said.
It certainly looked closed, but the frequency at which I patronize the Target was such that I knew precisely what time it closed and we were well in advance of the deadline. We cautiously approached the door and it slid open to admit us. The inside of the Target was dark. The cavernous warehouse was open from end to end, filled with soft grey mist and rows upon rows of empty grey pews. A low candle was lit here or there, and any altar that the pews faced was blurred from detection by mist. Handfuls of dark grey outlines mingled here or there along the aisles. We exchanged a glance and left the building. While it still said, “Target” on the sign, there was a small post that we hadn’t previously noticed which read, “NYU Church”.
“I’m amazed they were able to switch it over so quickly from being a Target,” I said, avoiding the point.
“A lot of people must come here.” she said diplomatically.
The following day I returned, I’m not sure why… perhaps I wanted to confirm to myself that the church was as mysterious as it had seemed, that it was still as strange by daylight. But inside the building the lights were brightly lit, and Target shoppers milled in and out pushing bright red baskets and buying $5.00 DVDs. Before I could be astonished, I ran into my old friend Darren outside the door. He was looking for some place to set up a sandwich board advertizing a dance class that his church put on. He was a Quaker, I remembered, but besides non-violence I wasn’t quite sure what being a Quaker entailed.
“Darren!” I enthused, “So good to see you again!”
We chatted briefly about the dance class and his church and then I explained to him my strange experience of the night before and wondered aloud if they simply changed the Target back to a Target during the daylight hours, and how much work that must take to move everything in and out.
A strange, ominous look came over his face, and he took my arm as we walked into the store.
“What you saw last night wasn’t your imagination,” he said. “The interior of this Target isn’t really here.” He lowered his voice. “The store is actually an illusion.”
I was about to protest, but suddenly the back of the store looked a little darker than it had before. The lights seemed to flicker… was it my imagination or did the whole store seem to flicker in and out of darkness, in and out of mist? Partly because I wanted to be closer to him, but mostly out of fear, I looped my arm the rest of the way through his. We walked back until we reached a hallway full of messy offices—I hadn’t remember these being here the many times I’d come to Target before.
Darren led me to one of them and sat me down in an office chair.
“You see, your soul is like a pure and flawless liquid,” he began. “When you do evil things, when you lose yourself in petty and earthly things… you begin to fill up your soul with other liquids.”
I tried to imagine my soul as a liquid. I imagined it being completely transparent, in the shape of a raindrop falling through a sky with white clouds, bending their shapes as the light passed through it. I added a photoshop lense glare to accentuate its purity. Then I imagined the soul being filled with something else… perhaps orange Gatorade? Would the two liquids mix, making a watered down soul? Would the soul then taste like new Snapple Mineral Water—that is, like regular Snapple only after all the ice cubes have melted? Or would the two liquids be immiscible, like a black-and-tan, and the soul would slowly drain while the orange Gatorade would swell until it filled the whole raindrop?
The next day I brought Zebo back with me… I think she also needed a bit of follow-up after our strange experience in the mist. Darren was explaining that there was much more to the world than our five senses could detect, and through this organization he had been exposed to many of them. Getting involved in the organization, he said, had changed his life forever.
We were sitting in the office again, familiar in its clutter. An old rainbow computer screensaver chased itself around an idle screen. I was drinking a glass of milk, but Darren had a glass of a strange class of tangerine-colored pills that seems to be melting as if it were the 8th time your dog had spit them out instead of swallowing them. “Why are you drinking that?” I asked, “What could be better than drinking this delicious milk?” Zebo clapped her hands together. “You should try some of Darren’s drink!” she said, sounding a bit crazy in her enthusiasm. I took the glass and shook it to make the melting pills come far enough down the side to reach them with my tongue. Almost immediately the feeling of tangerine took a hold of my being. My mind filled with tangerine, tangerine exploded in front of my eyes, it was such a delightful tasty flavor that I could think of nothing else. My body left the ground and began to weave through the air like a long ribbon in a soft wind.
“They’ve asked me if I would join the choir,” Zebo said nervously, “what do you think?” I didn’t think anything, I was the flavor of tangerine. It occurred to me faintly that she was half Jewish, and therefore she might be hesitant to join something billed as a “church”, though it was clearly much more than simply that. It occurred to me that no one had been talking to Zebo except for us. “I’ve always been musical,” she said, perhaps to herself, “but I’ve never been much of a singer.” She played the violin, everyone knew that. I would have thought she was a bit mad, with her worried talking to herself, except for she did that most of the time anyway, and I was a ribbon of tangerine: unfit and unwilling to stand as a judge of someone else’s sanity.
I saw Darren out of the corner of my eye. A dark and troubled look had spread across his brow. His gaze passed right through us, but I did not want to see what he saw beyond. If not for my tasty tangerine thoughts, I would have been frightened.
Tuesday. 6.24.08 10:17 pm
The Welshman just brought me a completely unsolicited hot chocolate, just the way I like it, from Starbucks.
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