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 ï¿½ 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
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.
The Ghost and the Darkness
Monday. 6.23.08 4:50 pm
Thursday. 6.19.08 11:46 pm
We were sitting around in my next-door-neighbor's backyard. It was a large backyard, but I don't remember people playing in it very often. I must have been in third grade. We were playing "I'm Going on a Picnic". A fairly simple game, we had to progress through the alphabet as we went around the circle and say what we were bringing to the picnic that began with that letter.
"I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing an Apple!"
"I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing a Basket!"
It came around to my neighbor. She was a few years older than me, but not by much.
"I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing a Condom!" she said, smiling evilly.
A condom... hmmm, my third-grade-self thought. That must be short for "Condominium". Why did she look so satisfied with herself? A condominium was a ridiculous thing to bring on a picnic. You couldn't carry it, or eat it. Perhaps she was being intentionally absurd, and that's why she found the whole thing so funny. Nobody else seemed to get the joke, and the game continued.
Given that I skipped out on most of sex-ed in 5th grade by "accidentally forgetting" to get my permission slip signed, and I spent health class in 8th grade staging fights between a Hotwheels Camaro and a Prince Phillip figurine just under the desk for the benefit of my table-mates, it wasn't until I finally fulfilled the high school health class requirement the last semester of my senior year that the word "condom" once more made its way into my vocabulary.
It was much longer after that that I finally made the connection between it and the game we played that day in the backyard, and the condominium conundrum was finally resolved in my brain.
"Tsk, tsk, Molly," my 23-odd-year-old self thought, "not at any picnic of mine!"
Children I should have kidnapped, Part I
Wednesday. 6.18.08 11:57 pm
We arrived at the train station. It looked like a scene out of an adventure film. People were bustling about busily, dressed in a mix of exotic and familiar clothing. The architecture was colonial, and the train itself looked like it was last one the British left when independence came in in 1947. Large, dusty sacks were piled against the walls. Someone had relieved himself on the platform, and the stinking pile of feces had become an uncharacteristic void space in the otherwise crowded pattern of milling people.
Once at our designated platform, we encountered some beggar children who asked us for candies and pens. We hadn't been expecting to have any downtime on the journey so we hadn't come prepared. A few people had tiny shampoo bottles from the last hotels we had stayed in back in Vietnam. One person had some hand sanitizer, and another a few Starburst. I gave a Starburst to one of the smaller children. He put it straight in his mouth without unwrapping it. We made him spit it back out into my hand and we showed him how to unwrap it. Logic, only seconds behind action, asked for the hand sanitizer to clean the resulting saliva from my hands. We unwrapped some more for the others until they were all gone. Next they wanted to know what the hand sanitizer was. A girl poured a little in a child's hand and it went straight into his mouth. She let out a cry and he sheepishly brought his hands down from his face. She showed him how when you rubbed your hands together quickly the hand sanitizer made them feel cool and tingly. Soon all of the children wanted to try it and we were passing out hand sanitizer right and left to a great many hands that may have never been clean.
The older girls all had baby siblings that they carried, and were a little shy. Two young boys were the oldest in the group and one was sweet and mild mannered while the other was mischevious and pushy. We naturally favored the sweet one and someone decided to give him the shampoo. Fearing a repeat of earlier occurrences, she pantomimed what one does with shampoo. She gave it to him and he put it immediately into his dry hair, plastering it to the side unnaturally. The mischevious boy was jealous and he tried to grab the shampoo bottle from the other boy. A tussle ensued and the bottle fell off the platform onto the rails. Our boy jumped down after it, scattering a pack of large rats that was eating the trash and refuse that littered the rails. We watched tensely as our boy leaped between the rails and finally made it back onto the platform before the train came. He put the shampoo bottle in his breast pocket proudly, even though it was covered in shampoo and no longer had a lid.
If I had had the means to raise him, I would have kidnapped him on the spot.
Whatever you say about India, the reverse is also true
Romantic Candlelit Dinner
Wednesday. 6.11.08 11:12 pm
Tonight my roommate and I had a romantic candlelight dinner in the backyard. We put little round white bulb-lights on the leafy green umbrella tree and lit the tiki torches I bought for $1.99 each. We hung my glass stars from the tree and lit the candles inside. Then we set out my red glass lanterns and lit the candles inside those, too. We put up the dark wood folding table and chairs in the grass under the umbrella tree and I made pink lemonade with ice cubes shaped like stars. I cooked up the fajitas with fresh peppers and onions that I'd made yesterday and Thalweg made beans and queso and rice and we ate it with sour cream on tortillas and tortilla chips. We looked lovingly upon our recently planted tomato plants in our new garden and pointed out constellations in the summer sky.
In college we always wanted to have a romantic dinner underneath that leafy canopy on the way to CMC- we even planned out all the details, down to having my singaporean roommate providing violin accompaniment. But we never did it, because we never had any one with whom we could romantically dine... it's a regret. It was a beautiful leafy bower, ripe for romantic dining. So I suppose here in Providence I can make up for this lost opportunity by having romantic dinners at all times for all sorts of different kinds of people. Still, my city begs to be enjoyed by lovers.
The End of Times
Tuesday. 6.10.08 1:12 pm
hot hot hot!
Tuesday. 6.10.08 9:13 am
It's like 95 degrees and a million % humidity. Not only that, but it was 75 degrees by 5:30 am. Not only that, but in our third floor apartment, it was 95 degrees ALL NIGHT.
And it's freezing in the Seafloor Lab. So the fact that I forgot my jacket on this most sweltering of days will plague me throughout the working hours.
The only other place I can think of where such hot and cold extremes can exist in close proximity is... Mercury.
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