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
Tuesday. 6.3.08 10:14 pm
Today we were looking at one of my images on the large projection wall at our audio-visual facility. It showed some seriously strange-looking patterns in the lava on Mars. I was in charge of discussion and in charge of the joystick which allowed us to fly around in the image. There was no preparation for the role, I just had to play it, engaging everyone, making sure they stayed interested, making sure each of their voices was heard, that the others properly understood what they were talking about, that their points and questions were addressed before someone changed the subject. At the end of the session my advisor asked me to wrap it up with a conclusion of a sort. I started talking but someone was having a side conversation with the audio-visual guy. My advisor told me that first I had to bring my group to order. "Let's all come back to order," I said, and my errant ducklings came back to the table sheepishly, as sheepish as ducklings have ever been. Then I wrapped up the session, went over the important points, and outlined what everyone ought to do in order to make progress forwards. It came pretty easily since I always have to listen in on the teleconferences that my advisor facilitates for other things.
It occurred to me that the whole exercise had been a teaching moment--- it was as much about helping me grow as a facilitator as it was about talking about Mars. It's sometimes crazy to realize all of the tiny things that my advisor does on a daily basis to mold us into the researchers of the future. Making us give presentations, making us lead groups, making us practice thinking up projects and delegating them to other people, even making us listen in on seemingly pointless telecon meetings.
It's just like what parents do, really. I played some mini golf today after work and I thought back to when I was first learning to play. Playing a round of putt-putt golf was always just as much if not more so about learning to play by the rules, learning good sportsmanship, and learning that a moment of calm patience hits the ball much better than one of impetuous frustrated rage---than it ever was about learning to play a good game of putt-putt.
But it was also about putt-putt, which is why I beat all my coworkers.
I think many times your elders make you do tasks that seem arduous or meaningless, but if you've got a good teacher, there's usually a lesson in there somewhere, whether or not you realize it at the time.
I Miss California
Monday. 6.2.08 10:40 am
Sunday. 6.1.08 7:50 pm
Moving Day. Had to help three of my friends move. I don't look forward to these days because it's like taking a trip back into my early days at the warehouse. Not because I didn't like my work at the warehouse but because every guy says, "Can I help you with that?"
I've noticed American guys aren't as bad. Is this because chivalry is dead? No, I think it is because equality has finally triumphed. Which would you prefer, ladies? Chivalry or equality? I'll take equality.
[Note: I won't get angry with a dude who asks me a question like this or does a chivalrous act, because I know that his intentions are good, it's simply a reflection of how he was raised, and he has no way to know that I am strong like She-Woman and in need of no help. If he sticks around long enough, I will prove it to him.]
But more angering and equally damning are all the girls who say, "Let's wait til the boys come back so they can lift the heavy stuff" Or, "We need boys for that one." etc.
Is this because girls are weak? Or lazy? Or both?
I know for at least one of my friends it's because she had a bunch of older brothers and she did nothing while they lifted all of her heavy objects as if she were a princess.
Truth be told, in the sport of moving boxes, there isn't a magical divide between girls and boys. There are strong people, and weak people. They can be of either gender. Many girls assume that they are weak when in truth they are lazy, and any physical weakness they may have is probably a side effect of low expectations.
So, just to sock it to the Man, I carried all of Crater Girl's things upstairs while "the boys" were driving around the U-Haul. I carried the mattress by myself, and I enlisted the "weaklings" to help me with the big stuff like the couch. "The boys" were like, "Wow, you got all this stuff up there??" and we shrugged, as if to ask why they would be surprised.
Now my legs are sore from all that lifting. But it was worth it! Bah humbug!
Descent of the Phoenix
Saturday. 5.31.08 9:52 pm
As you probably already know, the Phoenix Lander has finally landed on Mars, after a journey of many months through the depths of space. I'm not as involved on this mission as I am on the Mercury Mission, but the Phoenix team was here a couple of months ago to get our opinion on what they should be looking for during the several weeks they spent in Antarctica last winter (Antarctic summer) as a trial run for the mission. One of their labs was also located across the hall from the lab of my friend's boyfriend at Tufts in Massachusetts.
We have one of the most spectacular telescopes ever built in orbit around Mars, that's the HiRISE camera, which sends back pictures of the surface at a resolution of about 35 cm per pixel. That's way better than the resolution we have for the Earth from orbit (at least publicly available...) and you can see way more because there isn't so much pesky vegetation in the way. Because the Phoenix Lander's descent was such a special event, they skewed the HiRISE camera to a crazy angle and took a high resolution shot of where the engineering team thought that the lander would be. Turns out the engineering team was spot-on, and they caught the lander in the act of parachuting through the Martian atmosphere.
How freakin' sweet is that. Plus, we've all been really worried because the whole point of the lander is to dig for ice, but if the lander happens to land in an area where the ice table is really deep, the mission is sol because it doesn't have any wheels. [The robotic arm can dig maybe ~30-40cm or so. Its goal is to find ice and then heat it up in an oven. The gases that come off of the sample can be analyzed in a miniature mass spectrometer, which can tell us if there are any organics present. It also has a bunch of other experiments that are designed to look for signs of life. I have my own theories about what else we could do with these ovens, but there are only four of them and they can each only be used once.]
But luckily for the Phoenix, it seems to have landed right on top of very thinly covered ice...!
They aren't totally sure yet that this is ice- but the jets on the spacecraft blew away a substantial quantity of dust, and it's possible that this has exposed an ice table lying just below the surface. My friend Joe's job is to study this landing area and the processes that are going on here. He's been to Antarctica several times to study similar landscapes. He's going to give us an update on Monday about the mission and whether or not this is really ice. I will, in turn, pass on the update to you.
For more information, check out the Phoenix website.
Exciting times in space science!
Thursday. 5.29.08 9:04 pm
Having graduated, it's funny to realize that my so-called "new friends" have been slyly transforming into my "old friends" over the course of two years. I shall never forget all of the things we went through that brought us closer, whether it was that time it took us more than 24 hours to get from San Francisco to Providence, while my eye swelled shut, the time I offered to examine what my roommate thought might be an intestinal worm to allay her fears of infection, or the time that Thalweg smashed her face skiing and instead of accompanying her to the ski shop I went and bought a chocolate-covered candied waffle for myself, and the ski patrol told me I was a bad friend.
Then there was the time that I scared the Welshman half to death by magically entering the building when all of the doors were supposed to be locked. Or that one time we stayed up for almost a week straight on chocolate-covered expresso beans, just to get a trip to San Francisco. (The same trip where it took us more than 24 hours to get back, ironically)
Yes, there were dark times. There were bright times. There was the time we got invited to a rave by a bunch of people on drugs that we met in the woods and then they helped us with our rock climbing and made us write on them. There were muskrats. And wasps. Cat asthma. Visiting Lil after she got appendicitis. Building a gigantic zen garden for one of our professors in a corrugated metal tub. Finding a huge metal poster of a man's ass behind one of the filing cabinets in Thalweg's office. Meeting Gunther, the Pleasureman. There was that one time when I was really sick last year and my roommate let me drag my mattress into his air conditioned room and crash there. And the one time I ran all the way to my house to get my car because the zebo had a wicked migraine and she needed to be driven home. They were there to make me feel triumphant after my first talk at a conference.
Some of them are gone already. Many of them will be leaving next year.
I'll miss them.
Time to get personals
Wednesday. 5.28.08 7:16 pm
I decided that I needed to take a more active approach to my dating life. So I joined Chemistry.com.
Here is my profile:
Hmm, yes... I enjoy summering in the Hamptons, my stable full of hundreds of Arabian stallions, fine cheeses, and motoring along the information superhighway any Sunday afternoon.
I appreciate a good monocle and a man who says, "Oh, ho!" when he laughs, and then, "oh, my sides." Some Chester A. Arthur sideburns and a fancy cumberbund wouldn't hurt either.
I have traditional Victorian values and a weakness for collecting pencil sharpeners.
I hope to find the man of my dreams so that we can take accordion lessons together. Would that you were he!
So far I have three people interested after two days. But they said that I'd get 8 times as many if I added a picture. I was thinking maybe this one would do:
Wednesday. 5.28.08 9:43 am
The River Weser
Tuesday. 5.27.08 9:05 pm
The sun was already well along its downward arc as we sped along the banks of the River Weser, passing the round, white shapes of the naked Germans amid the grass. It was Bremen, so there was no need to chain our bicycles; we just parked them next to a bench and shed our over-clothing. In the spirit of adventure in foreign lands, Gina shed her top and leaped quickly into the murky, neck-deep water. Jeff and I had been planning this trip for a while- we wanted to swim out to the little island in the middle of the Weser, perhaps to found a new island kingdom. The water had more duck waste in it than we were expecting, and the sharp corners of the invasive zebra mussels cut into our feet near the banks. We donned our flip-flops for protection and set out for the island, ducks swimming past us curiously. The river became deep and cold, but still we paddled on, awkward in our protective footgear.
We reached the island and Jeff and I ran ashore. Gina was hesitant. She hadn't realized that we were going to explore the island... she'd expected to have her toplessness confined to the safety of the water. But not one to miss out on an adventure and too far to swim back, she wrapped her thin brown arms about herself and scurried after us. She looked like a wild thing, loping about with her arms protectively around her body and her leopard-print swim-suit bottoms. The island was hardly an island at all, as the water permeated all of the soil and pooled at the roots of the trees. The underbrush was impenetrable in most places and the sun struggled to shine through the brambled canopy. Not exactly the best place to establish a new kingdom, especially considering the amount of bird excrement lying about. Plus, Gina was starting to shiver.
So alas, we returned to the river, startling the wildfowl. We swam about for a bit longer and then returned to shore, somewhat loathe to return our scummy bodies to our clean, dry clothes. But for Gina, who hurried back into her swimming suit top, we stayed as we were. We rode quite unabashedly back into town in the golden light of afternoon in our swimming gear with our towels around our necks, a picture of summer.
Turns out that Jeff is one of the ~8 new grad students coming next year to our department! What are the odds?
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