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 Cherry Hills Vil, CO
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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
Thoughts upon my 8th Hour in the Computer Lab
Sunday. 5.4.08 7:59 pm
Sunday. 5.4.08 10:40 am
We went to Crater Boy's jazz band concert last night. It was pretty awesome. We intended to go to the grad/med formal immediately afterward, so we just wore our extremely formal attire to the jazz band concert.
They had a guest vocalist, a student, who was supposed to sing some three songs with them. When they called him up on stage, it became clear very quickly that he was completely drunk. He was singing, "I get a kick out of you", and he kept forgetting all the words and his voice was cracking. He eventually only joined in where he thought there was a chorus, saying over and over again, "I... get a kick... out of you..."
I am a generally non-violent person, but if I had been that director, I would have come very close to physically striking this student, or perhaps grabbing him by the collar and throwing him from the stage. Instead, the director said, "I'm sorry, he hasn't been feeling well today, he didn't quite make it through that... I'm sorry about that... yes, that's quite upsetting actually, I'm sorry." Ok, so that's probably more like what I would have done as well, but what a strongly worded phone call he would get later!!
The drunk stayed in the audience for a couple more songs and then stumbled wildly up the aisle and out of the room. And I really like that song, too. :[
You know how they sometimes have those weird scenes in movies where a bunch of horns are playing and the main character seems to be lost in the horn music and the camera starts giving these major close-ups on the mouths of the horns? Well during the jazz concert I began to think about how the trumpet soloist (a visiting professional) sounded a lot like the vocalist for the song. She was taking the place of the vocalist in the music. Then I started wondering what the trumpet was singing about. Waw-waw-waw... what if suddenly you were sitting there and then you could understand what the trumpet was singing about? Then all the sudden you'd realize that the trombones were actually back-up singers.... I think this sort of event would require a lot of uncomfortably close shots of the mouths of the horns blaring with increasing speed and intensity so that you'd have an idea that the main character was definitely losing it.
The formal started out totally empty, and they had a very dark room with flashing lights and hip-hop music. You know, the kind where every song is about the club, and then about the shorties, and then about her movin' it really good, and then about how she should get with me, and then they name some progressively later hour in the morning that the party allegedly ended.
It always seems like a shame that they get all these kids dressed up in beautiful attire, feeling like adults, only to make it so dark you can't see what people are wearing, so loud that they can't talk to each other, and play music where the only real way to dance to it is to do the bump and grind. It diminishes the occasion, I think. That's why the only fun parts of the prom were the before-prom and the after-prom. At least they had an excellent assortment of cheeses. But due to my crazy compadres and singing about boots with the fur, streetlights, and people, I ended up having a lot fun and Crater Boy taught me how to salsa to the occasional regaton.
The Rumba of Life
Saturday. 5.3.08 12:17 pm
So I went to the Daffodil Ball last night, which was the big spring ballroom dance extravaganza. As usual, I went by myself, though surprisingly my friend Crater Girl ballroom dances and had she not had a commitment and had it not cost $5, she may have accompanied me.
After looking over the dance card, I decided that the only dances I was comfortable doing were the east coast swing, the waltz, and the cha-cha, since those were the only ones I could remember from when I last danced them, some two years ago. They were few and far between. But by the end of the night, I was doing the international waltz, the international cha-cha, the foxtrot, the quickstep, the hustle, the tango, and my favorite- the samba. The tall elderly asian guy with whom I was doing the samba had apparently learned the same routine that we had done in gold latin dance (samba walk!). I enjoyed them all, but always find the international waltz to be a little invasive of my personal space... if I wanted a man's thigh that far into my crotch, I would do the horizontal polka. (Just kidding!)
Thank goodness the puritanical Americans invented the American waltz, which is by contrast quite civilized. I think the waltz is the epitome of true love. That kind of romantic, sweet, tender kind of love like you hope to have on your 50th wedding anniversary. You know, all you really need is a gigantic ballroom with huge windows and a balcony on one side and stars and cherubs painted on the ceiling and a floor that looks kind of like a compass and a big yellow dress with matching gloves and a big, handsome beast to dance with and life would be perfect.
The rumba, on the other hand, captures the way that love often is, especially in its first, volatile stages where neither of you is willing to lay down your hand. There was a terrific rumba showcase to that song, "Too late to Apologize". I know ranor loves that song. ;) The dance was SO GOOD.
I met a fellow whose job it is to collect seashells and make them into jewelry with his family. I guess they sell these pieces to wholesalers or occasionally at craft fairs. They collect shells from all over the East Coast. I also later learned that he has a website about aliens and a plan to shuttle people back and forth through space by using some kind of magnetic elevator. You tend to get into these sorts of conversations when you reveal that your job is to study Mars.
In the end, I made a lot of new friends and they convinced me to join the ballroom club. Apparently they're having lessons and practice over the summer, when I actually have time to participate. Their coach is a tall, bald British guy who looks more like a drill sergeant than a ballroom coach. But actually, most ballroom coaches are more like drill sergeants than anything, I've come to realize.
This is my body, broken for you.
Friday. 5.2.08 5:53 pm
I had a really weird dream last night. I dreamt that I was Jesus. Yes, Jesus.
I was in some kind of house-- it could have been in Afghanistan or Iraq, you know, just your ordinary small home with light blue-green walls and carpeting. There was fighting room to room. The Romans, of course. They had come to arrest me. They had cornered me in a room, some five or six of them, and they stabbed at me with their spears. A spear pierced my side. They had hammered nails through my hands and feet and I was bleeding from these wounds as well.
The pain was intense, but somehow overprinted with an intense dizziness from the loss of blood.
One of my friends-- a disciple-- came into the room after the Romans had just left. You would know the type: the athletic, solid, frat-boy build. Wears dress shirts that roll to the elbow and flip-flops. Today he was dressed more for battle. He took me up from where I lay on the ground into his arms. He cried out to the other people in our party, telling them to go after the Romans, telling them to get some help. He was starting to panic, I could tell.
There was something I was supposed to say, I remembered, through my hazy vision and the pain in my side. There were a lot of things that I was supposed to have said... we hadn't had time for the Last Supper, the Romans had taken us by surprise.
I told him not to go after the Romans, but my voice came out as a ragged croak. "That's not what I want," I said. "There is a new Covenant."
I had to tell him about the New Covenant, I had to tell him about how things were going to change. I had to tell him that nothing would ever be the same again.
He wasn't listening, he was blinded by the panic of the situation.
Was I supposed to tell him about the temple, and how it would be rebuilt in three days? Or did the prophet Elijah already say that? Would these disciples, these good, simple people, would they remember the words of Elijah? I felt my energy waning, and the dizziness intensified. I felt like that spinning top on the edge of oblivion.
I reached out and took his young face in my hands, my own blood spilling from my fingers down his sweating brow. "Listen," I said, and his eyes locked on mine.
"This is a new covenant in my blood..." I tried to remember the familiar words that I was supposed to say.
I looked deep into his tear-filled eyes, to his soul.
"Do this as often as you drink it...
...in remembrance of me."
My light was extinguished.
Ain't nobody gonna blow it out,
No, I'm gonna let it shine!
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine...
Thursday. 5.1.08 10:42 pm
In this world of ours there are but three lava lakes. Nyiragongo in Zaire, Erebus in Antarctica, and Erta Ale in Ethiopia.
Of the three, Erebus, shrouded in snow and ice, riddled with crevasses and gas pockets, located literally at the ends of the Earth, is considered the easiest to visit.
Nyiragongo, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a unique volcano in that it erupts the fluid and easy-flowing lavas of a shield volcano, but has the extremely steep sides of a stratovolcano. The combination allows lava to spill down the flanks of the volcano at up to 60mph. This volcano is extremely dangerous, and has the most active lava lake in the world.
But today we shall talk about Erta Ale. One of my friends recently visited Erta Ale, which is located in the Danakil Depression, deep in eastern Ethiopia in the Afar region. (That always made me think: the three wise men... did they come from Afar?)
The Danakil Depression is actually caused by the East African Rift, where the continent of Africa is being slowly ripped apart. If the rift is successful, there will be new sea floor between Somalia and the rest of Africa. Good news for the Somali pirates, I am sure.
This part of the rift is especially interesting to geologists because it is part of a triple juction, where three spreading centers join as one. One spreading center caused the Red Sea to open up (much to the chagrin of the Pharaoh). The other caused the Gulf of Aden. Both of these have been busy making seafloor for a while now. The prong that goes down into Africa is the newest, and so far it has succeeded in making the lowest, hottest, and most hell-like place on Earth.
A woman came today to talk about some of the seismic activity that has been going on in this region of the world. Apparently in 2006 there were suddenly a hundred earthquakes here in two days. Within the next two weeks, the total had climbed to 170 separate events. Some of her colleagues were out in the field interviewing people about what they had seen and felt. Periodically the earth would tremble. It began to get worse, and the earth was shaking, and fissures were appearing in the ground around them. The helicopter pilot who had brought them said, "I am leaving. If you want to leave, you are leaving now."
So they went. But two hours later, a gigantic fissure opened up in the very valley where they'd been standing. It was about 50ft across, probably more. ("Little Foot!") Deep in its gaping maw magma was welling, and this magma came up in random other places along the 60km rift zone.
Erta Ale itself sits upon the rift zone. Even as it is being built up by successive lava flows, it is also being torn apart. New lava seeps out its oozing gashes, and every spreading event is punctuated by dike emplacement and curtains of lava erupting out of the ground. My friend climbed to the top of this volcano- it's said to be a relatively mild hike once you get past the stinging sand, sweltering heat, and drooling camels. But it's all worth it for a glimpse of the lava lake:
This volcano has been continuously erupting since 1967. It is believed that its lava lake has been active for almost 100 years.
Thankfully, my friend returned alive and was neither consumed by the volcano nor kidnapped by the militant Afar tribesmen. Sadly, of the two, the latter is probably the most probable. At least these days they don't sell you into slavery as often, as they did to the gentlemen of the 1938 expedition to Emi Koussi in Northern Chad...
...but this is a tale for another time.
Tuesday. 4.29.08 9:04 pm
If it isn't one thing, it's another.
Why doesn't my real life just LEAVE ME ALONE!
Why can't I just hide away in my ivory tower?
Monday. 4.28.08 10:27 pm
When I try to fall asleep, I feel like my mind is a large wooden top. It starts spinning, and it's spinning and spinning and spinning and thoughts are racing through it in every different color... and then... and then... the top starts wildly precessing, and the logic of my thoughts decay as the obliquity increases... until the whole top falls right over into oblivion.
Sometimes if I realize that this is what is happening, I can interrupt the process, like flicking a spinning quarter just right to keep it spinning.
But why would you want to? Falling asleep is one of my few true, natural skills.
Sunday. 4.27.08 4:08 pm
The daffodils explode like fireworks
Then succumb to the frigid air that lurks
in fitful Spring just around the nearest bend
Skeletons of smoke in ashen gray
They tremble in the wind and drift away
For greatest beauty always comes to swiftest end.
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