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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. 33
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.
My Boss
Wednesday. 12.10.14 5:10 am
One of my many bosses calls me, ostensibly to schedule a meeting for tomorrow, but he's actually just waiting for his wife to finish working so that they can carpool home. He fills the time by telling me cool stories about old space missions, and what clever things they managed to do to squeeze every last drop of data and power out of the old Martian satellites. Nowadays they've been inventing technology so that we can launch things that are way heavier and more power-hungry than before. It has changed the way we think about things... before, we were always trying to get the mass down first, then the power consumption down. These constraints led to a miniaturization revolution... just in time for the people on the rocket and spacecraft bus side to relax the restrictions. Now we're in a whole new world, where we're running up against cost constraints and data-rate constraints before we ever hit our mass constraints. I relay my line of thinking to my boss.

"What I want," he says, his excitement bubbling through the telephone, "is for the scientists not to say, 'Those jerks at JPL, always limiting the amount of data I can take!' but rather, 'stupid physics! Limiting the amount of data I can take!"

"Curse you, speed of light!"

"Maybe that will be the next barrier that we'll break," I say. "Maybe we'll find a way to overcome cost constraints and volume constraints and data-rate constraints, and then we'll overcome the speed-of-light constraint by passing data through quantum entanglement."

He agrees, but he thinks that he'll be retired by that point.

"You know what I feel constrained by?" I say, "Having only three spatial dimensions! What if I was like, 'hey boss, I found a new way to Mars--- it's really fast-- it's through the 4th dimension.'"

"Yeah, you'd be like, 'I found it in the library! No need for rockets, just go right through these books into this hypercube of time and space!'"


"You're going to put me out of business! Unless... what if you did just transport a satellite through the 4th dimension and then put it instantaneously into Martian orbit... it would just fall straight towards the ground because it wouldn't have any velocity! We'd have to give it so much delta-V!"

"We'd have to blast the rocket sideways!"

I spend some time telling him about the science fiction novel that I am writing with my friend, and how we'd like him to model some satellite trajectories for us so that we can have realistic satellites in our novel. He says that if he put his trajectory guy on it we could have our trajectories in less than an hour.

An interruption: the third guy we are supposed to meet with is calling on the phone. He hangs up and then calls me right back.

"We're going to have our meeting on Thursday," he reports, "up in the guy's office, which is very far away at the top of the hill. I don't know where. He wasn't sure if we'd be up for walking that far. But I told him, 'if I know anything about this girl, it's that she's going to be up for an adventure.'"

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Wednesday. 12.3.14 1:34 pm
There is a happy hour after work today. I decided to dress up today with the idea that I might catch a man.

On my way into work from the parking lot, I got trapped in the little turnstile for a moment and met "Raul" from finance.


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Argentina I
Tuesday. 11.18.14 8:53 pm
I've only been in Argentina for three days, but it feels like a thousand.

I burned the fuck out of my tongue while eating an empanada. I mean that literally: I burned my tongue, and the word "fuck" just fell right off of it.

Apparently the entire field course that I am attending is in Spanish. I got the suspicion that it might be a month or so ago when they never made an English version of the "field camp arrival information packet", but it never really hits you all the way until you're in the middle of Argentina with a group of 30 people and all of them are from Latin America. Ay caramba. Chileños are especially impossible to understand.

Chileños: Can you understand?
Me: I can understand him [pointing at Spanish guy]. But the rest....
Spanish Guy: That's because I'm the only one *actually* speaking *Spanish*

The Spanish Pimsleur CDs that I checked out from the library and studied intently for four or five weeks before I left helped a lot.

The fact that they're all geologists also helps. We understand each other in mysterious ways, including knowing, without the aid of language, when someone wants to take a picture of some random rock and whether or not they'd like to use you as a scale.

Yesterday we had an entire day of lectures about different kinds of volcanic processes, and today we went into the Andes to see them in the field. Tomorrow we take off deep into the Andes and we don't get back until next Tuesday. Yeehaw. There will be a lot of staring at my food and nodding my head blankly around the dinner table.

My fellow workshop-mates have kindly adopted me as their token English-speaker, though. They look after me and ask directions for me and order food for me. They make sure I don't get lost. They turn to me after a few minutes of talking and say things like,

Person 1: "What is 'culo' in English?"
Person 2: "Ass?"
Person 1: "We are talking about the word 'Ass'"
Me: "Thank you."

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Hasta la vista
Saturday. 11.15.14 2:23 am
Welllll I'm off to Argentina tomorrow. I'm going to be checking out some volcanoes and wandering around in the Andes until Thanksgiving.

I went on a date tonight. Probably my first date since... ... ... 2011?

It was... ok. Shoutout to all of my former boyfriends, who were apparently thousands of times more interesting than the general population. I guess I didn't fully appreciate those guys.

Oh well. Argentina beckons.

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Don't Play with Matches
Sunday. 10.5.14 7:16 pm
I joined Match.com. It's been interesting.

I realized that I'm not attracted to anyone who seriously puts what they are like and who they are looking for in an ad on the internet. Which I guess kind of defeats the point of online dating. The only guy who piqued my interest was a guy who used his "About Me" section to tell a long, rambling story about a cat that used to come to his house but doesn't anymore.

Oh well. So far I've had one exchange with a guy... he said he didn't realize that "inky" was a word...... another guy wrote to tell me that he didn't believe that "volcanology" was a word until he looked it up... are you guys trying to impress me with your ignorance of words? Is that what gets the ladies these days?

From looking through pictures of these guys, you get the impression that most of them fall into the category of "the friend"... you know... there's a cool, attractive guy, and he has some cool, attractive friends... and then he also has some friends who are just always there hanging out but they never themselves do anything which is cool and/or attractive? So they never get any ladies because they never stick out for any reason? Poor guys. I guess I never thought that much about them until now.

The other type of guy who really gets me is the type that says, "NO DRAMA" or "NO GAMES" in his description. He gets crossed off the list immediately. Ok, almost anyone who writes anything in all caps and/or posts exclusively mirror selfies gets crossed off the list. Oh well, my friend Rhodes and I are going Match.com bowling later in October... at least if it's a total failure we will have each other.

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Life in the Real World
Monday. 9.22.14 7:25 pm
Me: Ok, then, I just fill out this thing?
Secretary: I can do it for you.
Me: Whaaaaat?
Secretary: No problem, I'll email it to you when it is done.


Secretary: I am planning your travel for your upcoming trip. Which airport do you want to fly out of?
Me: I don't even have to pick my fliiiight????
Dude I'm Traveling With: I put us on United because I get miles. Does that work for you?
Me: Uhhh... you get to pick your airline? Like, based on preference?



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Friday. 9.19.14 5:18 pm
I'm trying to finish a paper that I've been writing for the past three years...

I'm sort of close, but every time I sit down to write it my eyes get heavy and I start to fall asleep at my desk. (Not a good sign for the people who'll have to read it!)

I think I need to hire someone to slap me in the face every 10-20 minutes, just to keep me on my toes.

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Saturday. 9.13.14 8:40 pm
"This part of the campus is only for graduate students," Professor Yang explains as we stroll through the shady trees dotting Central Lanzhou University.

"We had to put all of the undergraduates in on a new campus outside of town. That's the only way we can keep them safe."

"Keep them safe from what?" I wonder aloud. Lanzhou is surrounded by huge mounds of dull brown silty dust for miles in every direction.

"We have problems," continues Professor Yang, delicately, "with suicide." He explains that after a rash of suicides, the University placed each professor directly responsible for the safety of his students. If one of the students hurt himself now, the professor has to answer for it.

"I can't possibly keep track of all of those students," he says, resigned. The university decided that the only way to keep them safe was to essentially imprison them in their university, far away from the dangers of the provincial city of Lanzhou.

"If I were imprisoned in my university campus," I said, "I think I would end up more likely to try to take my own life than if they just let me walk around free."

Professor Yang shrugs. He knows. There is nothing he can do about it. Last year they lost two of his close colleagues to suicide. They threw themselves from the window of a tall building, just like all the others.

"Are they under as much pressure as the students?" I ask.

"That is the strange thing," Professor Yang says, "they were successful researchers-- both of them. At the top of their fields." Of course they were both divorced, also, with high child support payments. Not all of life's stresses come from the University.

The town of Lanzhou would be considered a large city in any other country. It has more than 3 million people. In China it is something of a provincial backwater. As far as a provincial backwater can have an 8-story mall. I am staying at the Lanzhou Hotel, which is classically communist in that the lobby is over-the-top in its extravagance while the rooms are barely acceptable habitations. Professor Yang says that when the hotel was first built in the 1980s, it was the finest building in Lanzhou. He remembers when people used to come from all over the province to have their picture taken in front of it.

The Lanzhou Hotel is now shadowed by the tall hotels that crowd all around it. There are several nicer hotels on the same block. Dozens and dozens of 30-story buildings are in the midst of being hastily constructed.

I wonder if all the windows on the highest floors will be sealed shut.

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