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
Thursday. 9.6.07 6:56 pm
As the new semester begins here in Providence Town, I must decide upon the particular scheme of self-betterment that I intend to follow for the semester. I have concluded that every semester must have a theme. Previously these attempts at self-betterment had to be a secret from almost everyone. That makes them more fun. But I have decided that these schemes, while remaining a secret from mostly everyone else, must be shared with the citizens of Nutang, because what indeed are the citizens of Nutang but cosmic, faceless readers of the secret inner lives of all?
The fall semester of 2006 was dedicated to improvement of Grace. You see, I found myself to be upon entering graduate school somewhat graceless, and to remedy this situation I secretly took ballet classes. I did not tell my advisor and I skipped the "mandatory" department colloquium almost every time it took place. None of the professors noticed, as it happened. Grace still needs a bit of work, and I may consider signing up for the same ballet classes again. But Grace is more than simply something physical, and in that sense it cannot be mastered, per se, instead it must become imbued in a person... and arise automatically, because every act of a graceful person is merely a manifestation of it. A goal, I think, that cannot be achieved in a semester, and which must necessarily be constantly a work in progress.
The spring semester of 2007 was dedicated to academic enrichment. This I meant in several ways: first, I took a ridiculous number of classes. The shining moment of this semester (academically) took place in its first week when I went to a high floor of the library and set about doing my Interpretation theory of geophysics homework. I had a helpful book which illuminated a sneaky trick that was needed to get through the derivation. It took about four or five hours, this problem set... just me, hunched in my private hutch, a desk lamp against the power-saving darkness. I walked out into the sunshine and concluded that very few people in the world would have any idea what I had been doing and even fewer would know why. It was brilliant. This goal expanded to include secretly taking Spanish classes four days a week at 8 in the morning... la vida secreta, of course. This led to hours upon hours spent on Sundays in the Rockefellar Library (a far away, foreign library), hiding from the other geologists so that they would not discover my secret life. The fact that I almost got caught about three times only heightened the sense of danger inherent in my secret academic life.
The summer of '07 I wished to develop more artistically: I wanted to spend more time writing- writing stories, poetry, vignettes, etc. I wanted to expand into different mediums, so I got involved in DeviantArt and began submitting some old photographs. This began during the academic semester, and it blossomed with spring, because spring happens to be a beautiful thing to take pictures of here in Prov Town. By the end of the semester I was taking and submitting new ones, too. I started passionately reading all manner of books from the public library. All of this was in an attempt to awaken some creativity in my mind, which had been generally slumbering or in lethargy since I was in seventh grade, the single notable exception being during Poetry of the Romantic Period, when I didnâ€™t pay attention and instead scrawled poems and drawings and notes to an unappreciative Auggie, who was trying to follow the discussion.
This semester, the fall semester of 2007, the Year of Our Triumph, is hereby dedicated to the enrichment of my musical life. Iâ€™ve begun practicing my flute again, after years and years, and I aim to master the quality of tone that I sorely lack, especially in the high register. Ah, to be my middle school flute idol, Julie Larson. We both had the solo for our respective classes, but her tone was so superior that when the day came I played so softly that only the voice of her flute could be heard, so its beauty would not be diluted. Plus Iâ€™ve picked up the guitar (again). Only this time Iâ€™m serious. I have a good book. I also have a bagpipe canter and a harmonica. Each of these instruments will get its chance to shine, much to the chagrin of the neighbors and the cats, I am sure. Iâ€™ve already re-fallen in love with the coda, especially when I must d.c. al said coda. MAESTRO!
Saturday. 9.1.07 7:56 pm
He was my enemy, but I'm sorry
Now, with all my heart, for the misfortune
Which holds him in its deadly grip. This touches
My state as well as his. Are we not
All living things, mere phantoms, shadows of nothing?
Going to Mars, anyone?
Friday. 8.31.07 6:52 pm
So a couple of people in my office are on the team to plan the human exploration of Mars. I was sitting in on the teleconference they had the other day and it was pretty interesting. Of course, some people think that planning some 30 years ahead for the human exploration of Mars is planning a little *too* far ahead, but for a project this large, I'm sure it can't hurt to start a little early.
The idea right now is to build a base on the Moon first. The eyes of the world have shifted back to the moon for several reasons, one, because Chinese and Indians are racing there, much like the USA and the USSR did back in the day, and two, because we've realized that a lot of the technology that we used to get us there in the first place has been lost or forgotten and we have precious little time to pump the guys in charge for that kind of information, because they were all old back then, and it's approximately 40 years later now. Thirdly, we see the moon as the obvious stepping stone on our way to Mars.
Each planetary body has its own challenges. Mars is very far away. That is its main challenge. Just to get there at current speeds it would take about 6 months. Then you'd likely stay on the surface for about a year. Then it would be 6 months back home. During that time in microgravity, your heart would start to weaken. It would weaken because it no longer has to pump your blood against gravity, and like any other muscle, it would start to atrophy and break down a bit with disuse. This wouldn't be a problem if you intended to stay in space forever, but if you ever came back down to the Earth your heart might be overwhelmed with strain and fail. The same goes for your bones. The more weight you carry around, the stronger your bones are, because they build up density proportional to your weight. Weightless, your bones would slowly lose their density until you would return to Earth extremely brittle and possibly unable to stand.
The only fix against this kind of deterioration is constant exercise. You would have to exercise on exercise machines for hours and hours and hours so that your body would stay fit. Forget sleeping through the whole thing... unless they could freeze or stop your normal body processes... you would turn to mush. I guess that's the whole idea behind the "cryo-freeze"-- somehow you stop your body from deteriorating while you're in space.
NASA has been figuring out what astronauts need to do to stay healthy on long space voyages by sending people up for extended stays on the International Space Station (ISS). Sending people up here for stints of 3-6 months has allowed NASA to develop a routine that would keep them in shape.
The other tough thing about the long trip to Mars would be just getting along with your crew mates for that long. NASA, in addition to having all kinds of physical, academic, and skill-oriented requirements for astronauts also has personality requirements. For each mission they choose among their qualified crew members a group that will get along-- i.e., they don't choose two dominant people to go on a mission, or a whole crew of passive or submissive personality types. They have to choose a leader, a mediator, and a "care-taker", in some cases.
Exploration of Mars is still a long way off, to be sure, but if everything goes as planned, you could see it happen in your lifetime. We're already deciding where we want to go and what the astronauts will do when they get there. If you have a suggestion about where you want to go or what information you would like to know about the Red Planet (or any other planet for that matter), I'll make sure somebody hears about it.
Friday. 8.31.07 12:08 am
Yep, that's right. I found a feature on Mars that looks like a MUSHROOM:
Pretty crazy, hehn? I know. Prett-y crazy.
I Left My Heart in San Francisco
Tuesday. 8.28.07 11:21 pm
I went to San Francisco for the weekend.
For the soundtrack to this entry, you can listen to the song "The Sound of San Francisco" on the ProjectPlaylist player to the left (it's at the end). Here are some of the highlights of the trip:
You can invent your own captions.
Flesh-Eating Cats (round 2)
Friday. 8.24.07 12:37 am
So the cat has gone a little insane. He keeps following me around like a dog. I mean-- even worse than a dog, since dogs usually eventually get tired of walking back and forth and settle in a heap on the ground. All the while he tangles himself in my legs as they try to walk, and rubs his body against any and all objects that we encounter. He purrs like mad in this wild, rumbling purr which seems to have no spaces for breath. He rolls around in ecstasy on the ground, letting his claws click in and out and trying to get me to pet him. Sometimes I oblige, if I'm not about to eat or if I'm not reading or leaving.
He's stopped trying to follow me into my room; he knows that is a forbidden zone. I praise him heartily for this new trick.
Then today I was reading my book at the dinner table when he came over and began his purring, sliding, fawning behavior. I bent down to pet him and he rolled over on his back. I started petting his belly. All of his feet came towards my hand. I pet him one last time and started to take my hand away, but he snatched with his front claws and brought it quickly to his mouth, where he bit down hard.
"OW!! [expletive!] WHAT THE [expletive!] was THAT. WHAT THE [expletive!] are you thinking, you [expletive!]!!" I yelled. He had run off under the table and now he came back. He jumped at my leg, claws flashing, slashing my leg. Luckily I had a pair of thick khakis on and barely even felt the attack.
I shooed him away and went into my room to cool off. When I emerged he came over and rubbed against my legs, purring. He has been purring non-stop ever since, and following me wherever I go, weaving in and out between my ankles.
I don't know what's going to happen, but my guess is that this round goes to the cat. Again. I think he's been eating epsom salt. I hid the bag. Maybe Epsom salt makes you have multiple personalities.
Zanzibar: 0, Cats: 3
Zanzibar v. the Cats: Day 1
Tuesday. 8.21.07 9:44 pm
My roommate is gone for a little more than a week. During this time, I intend to train her cats. Accomplishing this task will require all of my cunning.
The first day of training went thusly:
I have been trying to train the cats to keep out of my room, aka, "Cat-Free Space". Making the room verboten has succeeded in imbuing it with an air of desirability enough to drive them mad to get inside. They have been clawing at the door during the night. The door is ill-fitting, so it must be firmly closed or they can push it open. This morning I waited patiently for them to claw at the door. At exactly the right moment I slammed my hand against the other side of the door. I could hear them skittering down the hall in terror.
Zanzibar: 1, Cats: 0
After shutting them out of the bathroom, I took a cold shower (as our hot water still isn't on). To teach them an important lesson about walking in the bathtub, I filled the tub up with about an inch of water. I also laid patches of water around the sink. My trap set, I opened the door to the bathroom. The cat sat there. It meekly looked up at me, asking permission to enter the bathroom. It submissively sunk to the ground and rolled over. Ha-ha! At last, the respect I required! I felt a rush of love for the cat, and I petted it indulgently and allowed it into the bathroom.
Zanzibar: 2, Cats: 0
Then I saw my door. Ajar. Inside- cat prints on my fragile fossil. Cat prints on the second shelf around my fragile clock. Then the ultimate insult: dirty little cat prints and cat hair on the BED.
Zanzibar: 1, Cats: 1
When I arrived home the bathtub was mysteriously empty of water, the water had evaporated from the sinktop, and there were cat prints in the bathtub. I got out the Fantastic.
Zanzibar: 1, Cats: 2
THIS IS NOT OVER. Their owners, (Thalweg and G) may love them too much to discipline them, but they underestimate me... I don't love them. The only love I have for them is tough love. I will shape them into respectable cats.
Stay tuned for round 2....
Volcanoes, Romans, Mars, and Cars
Monday. 8.20.07 8:38 pm
In other news, I'm reading a book called "Pompeii" about a Roman engineer whose job it is to figure out what is wrong with the Aqueduct that feeds all of the towns around Mount Vesuvius. (DUN DUN DUN!!!) As you might imagine, building towns in places without water can be dangerous if there is any chance that the water source might fail. See: Every town in Southern California. This book is pretty awesome because it is told in very modern language, which sounds a little anachronistic, but it helps to show the similarities between the times of the Romans and the times of today. If there is one thing I learned from that archaeology exhibit I went to in Barcelona, it's that the Romans really had it all. Sewage, indoor plumbing, hot water, art, music, you name it, the Romans had it. Ok, maybe not electricity. Only by seeing how amazing the Romans were can you truly appreciate why they call the age after the Romans "The Dark Ages".
There are a lot of similarities between the Romans and America, really. Did you know that most people had to sign up to be oarsmen for 20 years in order to be granted Roman citizenship? And furthermore that people DID it, clamored to do it, even though people didn't live nearly as long back then? In order to be an American citizen, you often have to wait for 14 years. And people do it. They're just lucky we invented other ways to power our ships. Really, the society of the Romans and the society of today are eerily similar in many ways. Sure there are probably more similarities with some of the more imperialistic societies, like the British Empire. This book is marvelous for me because it combines a good story, history, archaeology, and geology! I love volcanoes!!!
In other other news, here is what they did to my gorgeous and beloved car:
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