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 ŕ 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
Saturday. 6.2.07 10:31 pm
I am amazingly free this summer.
I've got my own place, I've got my own car. I can drive it anywhere I want whenever I want. Absolutely nobody gives a crap when I get home. I can tell someone Iâ€™m going home, and if it takes ten minutes or three hours to get there, no big deal. Nobody expects me for lunch, nobody expects me for dinner, nobody tells me what I should eat or what I should buy or where I can and cannot go or when I have to get back. I have enough money to pay the rent and buy the groceries. Beyond those two my needs are few. Yes, I'm expected at work, but nobody really cares when exactly I come in or how I partition my day- all I have to do is get my work done. And even though nobody expects me to be anywhere, if I do show up then they are glad to have me. The other day I spent a ridiculous amount on fresh grapes. But nobody told me that it was too much and that I should spend my money more wisely. I bought some cookie dough, but nobody told me that I shouldn't because it's not healthy. I can decide whether I move or whether I stay put, whether I rent a moving truck or take it in my car, if I clean the bathroom or if I just let it stay dirty, anything. I can decide to take a trip to Utah. I can drink milk right out of the container. I can eat dinner at 10 oâ€™clock. Or 3 oâ€™clock. Or not at all. I can decide to drive to New York City at 4:30pm on a weekday. Or not. I can do anything I want! BWAHAHAHAHA!!
I Ain't Settlin'
Saturday. 6.2.07 4:03 am
I submit this song, (which can be listened to as the first song on the list to the left), as a kind of theme song for 2007, The Year of Our Triumph.
A Song Upon the Mood Organ
Friday. 6.1.07 5:30 pm
Summertime, and the livin's easy
Yesterday morning I was in a bit of a bad mood, it is true. All of the Old Feelings... the ones from the winter... the feeling that everything I did was cosmically worthless... they were returning. Not just depressing thoughts like "in the vastness of geological time, a single lifetime is smaller than a mote of dust and just as influential"; but more just that what I was doing seemed so untied to anything important--- human existence, fraternity, kindness, service, duty, and everything else with any value in this world. Yeah. Those are hard feelings to suppress, once they grab a hold of you. I'd had a meeting with my advisor and I realized that for the next couple years I might have to argue with him about things that he isn't going to want to change his mind about. Either I was going to shut up and write what he told me to write, or I was in for a lot of arguments in order to write what I really thought was right. It broke the tide of mood that I had been sailing on since the summer came into my life.
So I did what I usually do to make myself happy, I retreated to one of the highest floors of the library, and after I did some work for Project FG I samba'd around in front of the elevator until it opened, and then I did a crazy dance while the elevator descended ten floors. I walked on confining walls instead of the sidewalk... there were these two stones and I'd been thinking about just leaping between them but I wasn't sure I could jump that far... I just went for it (and made it!). My brand new MP3 player was key- I specifically listened to happy songs, and I imagined myself to be like one of those people in the ipod commercials, only I would be the shadow person, not the boring restrained regular person. There isn't anyone on campus anymore, so I get to dance like a maniac wherever I want.
Then I went and played some more soccer. I never want to go to soccer, but whenever I get there I always have a hilarious good time, because I love that game. We played two on two, Alida and I against Patrick and Gareth, so basically America vs Europe or perhaps girls vs boys. Alida and I CREAMED Patrick and Gareth... probably to the tune of more than ten to zero, though they almost scored a goal once- it went off the "post". Eventually it was getting a bit embarrassing, because the Patrick the frenchmen's manhood seemed to be at stake, and Alida and Gareth are dating. These kinds of fun events usually aren't that helpful to the old relationship. So Alida and I called off the game because of the mild rain but we'd still played for quite a while altogether and it was quite fun.
The honest truth is that when I started feeling crappy yesterday, I didn't want to feel like that. Ok, so you say... nobody likes feeling crappy, eh? But actually, if you examine it, oftentimes when you feel really crappy you do enjoy in some respect how crappy you are feeling and how complainy you are being and you don't really want to take the necessary steps to make yourself feel happy again (whatever those might be). It's like when I'm sick and I'm in some kind of pain and I complain to my parents and they say, "Take an Advil."
Logically I know that taking an Advil will make me feel better, but in addition to my general dislike of medicine in general, don't you ever just like being just a little pathetic and miserable sometimes? Quietly (or loudly) nobly suffering through some ill, the greater forces of biology seizing control of your body...!!! Just...suffering a little bit? I always think to myself that if I take a medicine that masks the pain, that I'm putting a damper on my body and I might not hear the important signals that it's trying to send me. (See: Injuring your leg and then taking like 6 Advils and running on it anyway) But then when someone tells you, "But you are suffering absolutely needlessly, for a silly and stupid reason, and you could easily stop suffering and get back to work." you feel a little bit sheepish, and not so noble or smart at all. Then you take the Advil, and then you feel better, and then you get distracted, and you find that feeling healthy is indeed actually better than being sick, and there aren't really any crazy consequences for ignoring some bad feelings, and off you go.
It's like that classic book I just love now, that my sister recommended to me: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? They made the movie Blade Runner after it, I seem to recall. But in the world of the book everyone has a "mood organ". You just have to sit down at the mood organ and punch a code in and it will make you feel whatever mood you punch in. The main character's wife is constantly depressed, verging on suicidal. Sometimes she feels this way naturally, and sometimes she calls it up on the mood organ, something like, "utter despair" or some setting like that that you think that nobody would ever actually use. One day she's feeling glum and she sits down at the mood organ but she won't punch the number to make herself feel better. She says that she doesn't feel like dialing it. The main character says, "why don't you press 333?" (or whatever the number was) and she's like, "Yeah, yeah, I know, 333 makes you feel like dialing, and then you dial whatever you want." but she still doesn't do it, she just sits there, staying depressed and not feeling like dialing.
So a lot of times when I feel depressed I sit around and I think about how I don't even feel like dialing. I know perfectly well that there are many different things I could do that usually make me feel very happy but I just *don't* do them, because really I'm enjoying feeling lame and depressed and having a pity party for myself, and I don't actually want to change. Well yesterday it was different. Yesterday the cloudy morning gave way to a gorgeous afternoon, and in my mind I dialed 333. I convinced myself that I actually did want to feel better- that I actually didn't want to sit around being depressed and second-third-fourth-guessing my decisions. And then, like a switch had been turned in my mind, I started doing all of the things that make me happy... sluggishly at first, and then more willingly. I had a meeting with one of my favorite professors, which helped, and he and I worked through a bunch of bugs in my FORTRAN code... I learned so much from him in such a short time!
Then I did all the things that I mentioned above, and gradually I forgot about all of those dark feelings and as I was walking home today I started singing, "Summmmmertime... and the living's easy" and running my fingers along the soft tops of the bushes and thinking about how FREE I am right now.
Dancing in the Dark
Friday. 6.1.07 12:34 am
I get up in the evening
And I ain't got nothing to say
I come home in the morning
I go to bed feeling the same way
I ain't nothing but tired
Man I'm just tired and bored with myself.
Wednesday. 5.30.07 11:45 pm
This burrito story would have been way too long
Wednesday. 5.30.07 11:08 pm
Young Johnny Everall leaned backwards over the fence, stretching back until the whole world was upside down, and all of his burrito-y insides began sliding toward his head.
It was a hot day, and the dry air played tricks on his eyes, smearing objects in the distance like a mix of nacho cheese and hot sauce. Watery, shimmering blurs... that is all there was far as the eye could see across the Old Tortilla Flats.
â€śNow Johnny B. Everall, you git yerself off that olâ€™ fence afore you tear yer aluminum foil, young burritito!â€ť
It was his mother, her foil shining dully in the harsh noon light. She was always such a pain, worrying about useless things. Still, he slid off the fence and all that was burrito goodness inside him slithered back towards his feet. On the front of her frock she had a garish F written in black marker. That meant that she was a fajita-burrito, with notoriously spicy peppers. Johnny often asked the Great One why he had to get the only mother in town with spicy peppers, but he never got an answer. The only thing he got was hell from all the other burritos in town, especially when she called him â€śmy little burrititoâ€ť. She said that where she came from, it was a diminutive term. He sure felt diminished when she said it. Sometimes he wished someone would eat her.
Suddenly the family taco, Dog, came running up the gravel drive, weaving erratically from side to side, spilling shredded cheese all over the road.
â€śWhatâ€™s wrong, thar, Dog?â€ť asked Johnny, steadying the taco and gently scooping some of the cheese back into the shell. The taco didnâ€™t answer. Instead it fell over on its side, panting and leaking beef juice all over the drive. The dry sand drank it up, leaving barely a spot. Johnny noticed that the tacoâ€™s shell was badly cracked. With each breath the crack grew larger, an evil spindly line growing along the axis of the taco. Soon it would break in half. What had happened to sweet, crunchy Dog? Who had done this?
Dog had gone out with Dad and the other Burritos this very morning on his usual rounds to collect taxes from all the other creatures on the Earth. It was part of his new position as Imperial Treasurer to go down to the Rio Grande at least quarterly to collect the taxes and offerings paid by the rest of the Earth to the country of Mexico. The last couple of years the offerings had been sparse. No one knew if it was because those beyond the Rio Grande had suffered overmuch the last season, and had nothing to give; or if indeed they had become surly, forgetting why the Burritos ruled the Land and failing to pay them the homage they so richly deserved as the Lords over All Things.
Note: This was originally in response to this challenge. However, it was going to be WAY too long. So here it is. If you want to see what I actually submitted, you can follow the link. :P You should submit one for yourself!!
Olde English Font
Tuesday. 5.29.07 8:19 am
When I was a lass, I used to be obsessed with Olde English Font from the Macintosh. So I printed out an entire alphabet with capital and lowercase letters and I carried it in my binder and during every class I would slip it under the page on which I was taking notes and I'd trace it, moving it around to make whatever words I wanted. Usually they were words like, "Olde" "English" or "Font". Just kidding. Eventually it got to the point where I could almost write in Olde English Font without tracing at all.
I was such a good student.
That reminds me, it seems high time to print myself out another alphabet.
And Today Will Be No Exception
Monday. 5.28.07 11:36 am
So my friends are gone now. The best part of the weekend had to be when I woke up randomly from where I was sleeping on the inflatable mattress with Joanna and I looked over and saw Justin asleep in my bed with my stuffed loaf of bread in his arms. It's just so... squishy and lovable!
In other news, how do Enrique Iglesias be so fine?????
You call me on the phone
I act like nothing's going on
We're driving in my car
I pretend that you don't turn me on
In other other news, everyone seemed to like my presentation on the nucleation of bubbles in magma chambers leading up to explosive eruptions. You see, when you boil water, there are three ways that it can start turning into a gas. First, it can just start evaporating off the top, coming up as steam. This only happens at the interface between the water and the steam.
Second, bubbles can form homogeneously throughout the water. This is difficult because not only must the water gain enough energy to turn to steam, it must also gain enough energy and pressure so that the bubble can push and hold back the water once it is formed (it has to overcome the viscosity of the water in order to push it). Thus water has to be at way more than 100 C in order for this to be able to happen. They call that "overheated" or "superheated".
The third way is that bubbles can be nucleated inside tiny cavities in the container (or in anything floating in the liquid) that are due to imperfections in the surface. This is because the pressure and temperature inside the cavity may not be the same as in the liquid in general, allowing a bubble to form without as much energy required. Eventually it grows enough in this environment and fills up with enough gas that it can escape the cavity into the liquid. As it rises, the pressure decreases and the bubble grows, finally reaching the surface and popping. So you'll increase the size and number of the bubbles if you decrease the pressure confining them (see: popping the cork on a champagne bottle).
Once you have a lot of bubbles, the way to make the mixture explosive is to let all the bubbles coalesce, so that instead of having some bubbles floating in a liquid, you suddenly have liquid suspended in a gas. Sometimes you'll get really strong bubbles and they'll be touching but they won't coalesce. You can speed along the process if you want by reducing the surface tension on the bubbles. Organics are very good at doing this in water. For example, have you noticed that when you're cooking pasta, at one point the pasta, which was nicely boiling just a minute ago, suddenly goes crazy and boils like nuts gets frothy and spills all over the stove? That happens because the organic molecules in the pasta have been leaching from the pasta and they reduce both the surface tension of the bubbles, as well as the surface tension at the surface of the water, allowing all of the bubbles to break through it and froth over. An ingredient with a similar effect is present strongly in Mentos, which means that if you drop one into a beverage with a lot of bubbles waiting to be exsolved, it will cause them to exsolve and coalesce... and become explosive. See: YouTube videos.
When they make champagne flutes, they blow the glass for the flute and then they pull it off at the base of the bowl. This means that most of the imperfections will be in the center of the bowl at the bottom. So when you pour champagne in the class, the bubbles nucleate there at the bottom and tend to spiral upwards to the top. They actually care to construct these flutes in this way so that you'll get a classy bubble pattern when you pour your champagne.
So what am I saying? If you have a flawless pot then it will take a lot longer for your water to boil? If something takes a long time to boil, it's going to be much hotter when it finally does? If you're very flawed and under pressure you're more likely to explode?
I think I'm saying that it's not your fault that every time you make spaghetti your pot boils over.
And also that sometimes having a few flaws here and there can make for a gorgeous glass of champagne.
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