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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. 37
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 � 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
A Gentleman in Russia
The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism
Seneca: Letters from a Stoic
The Juanes Module

Juanes just needed his own mod. Who can disagree.
Conversations with an Old Roommate
Sunday. 9.13.15 2:34 pm
Him: So when you become the director, remember that I want to have Firouz's job.
Me: Ok.
Him: When I become the director, which job do you want?
Me: I want to be in charge of the ENTIRE SOLAR SYSTEM
Him: Ok, yeah, that's Firouz's job, so, same as me.

Him: Wow, that woman's singing voice is beautiful!
Me: She sounds like a Disney Princess
Him: Yes! I always wanted to marry a Disney Princess when I grew up. My favorite was Pocahontas.

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The Rotting Deck
Friday. 8.28.15 6:35 pm
My landlord decided to replace some of the boards on the deck in the backyard of my beautiful new abode (built in 1920).

Upon removing the offending rotten boards, he discovered that the frame that was holding them up was also rotten. He can't replace the surface rotten boards without replacing the frame boards. Upon taking up one of the frames, he discovered that many of the foundation boards were also rotten. Indeed, the concrete pylons that make up the foundation itself are sitting at angles. What my landlord conceived as a weekend project for himself has now stretched into a week, and my deck is a mess of exposed nails and jutting boards that cannot be traversed. A large spider has taken the opportunity to build a complex web across the entrance to the yard.

At work it is more of the same. I try to fix one thing in a figure I have made. No... not so easy... the file is uneditable. It will have to be remade. Oh, but the access license for the software I made it with isn't working. Oh, the data files that went into the software program are on a computer that is no longer accessible to me.

In order to fix the figure I have to redownload the data, get IT to fix the software license, rebuild the figure from scratch, and THEN export it.

Oh, too much trouble! I'll just buy some tickets for my work travel for October.

"Oh, but you have to have us buy your tickets unless you have a release saying that you are going to do it."

"How do I get the release?"

"Submit everything as if we were going to do it for you, but with your reasons why you want to do it yourself, and then you can be approved to do it yourself. You will be given a strict price limit over which you cannot go. Oh, but one of your trips hasn't been ok'd by management yet, so both of them will have to be treated as "late planning". You can't really plan either of them until management oks them."

"But it was management in the first place who told me quite late that I had to go!"

"You'll have to get management to write a letter explaining why they need you to go and why it was so late... then we'll have a chance at being able to plan your travel so that you can get the clearance for you to book the travel yourself."


Management: "Yes... we're trying to get a lot of people approved after the fact, because everyone was told that they were to attend very late."

"I need to make my travel arrangements, so I need a letter saying why I am applying to go late."

"Why don't you write the letter yourself, and then we'll sign it."

"But I don't know why you decided to tell me so late!"

"Just write something, and make sure it doesn't use any key words that would cause concern, and we'll sign it."

So to buy my own plane tickets, I need to write a letter about myself from the perspective of management, saying why I am applying late, then I need to get management to sign it, so that I can submit all of the information needed for the company to plan my trip, so that they can calculate a strict cost cap that I cannot exceed, so that I can book my own tickets, by which time the prices will have doubled.

It is Friday afternoon at four o'clock and my WORK is a MASS OF EXPOSED NAILS AND JUTTING BOARDS THAT CANNOT BE TRAVERSED.

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The Ups and Downs of Life
Thursday. 8.13.15 9:29 pm
Today I got this email:


If you get a chance, can you please stop by my office?

[Big Boss]

The subject line was "Stop by?"

I was like uhhhhh what have I done... oh noooo what did I do?? Eghhhhhhh Ahhhhghhhh Aghghhhhh


Hi [Boss]!

I have solid (and overlapping) meetings from now until 4 pm, will you still be there at 4?

What would you like to talk about?

aghhhh aghghlellhehhhghghhh omgomgomgomgomgomg


You have won an award!I want to give it to you.

He said that he wanted to give it to me before payday because I would see the "award" reflected in my paycheck and I would probably wonder what was going on.

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Mars in the 2020s
Thursday. 8.6.15 8:20 pm
We've been spending the last couple of days arguing about where we should send the next Martian rover. There was a guy making a documentary there. It seemed funny to think that someone wanted to make a documentary about your "boring work meeting".

By the time the rover lands on Mars we'll be like "Wow! Look how young we all look!"

My sister jinyu has been here for the past week! :D Thanks for visiting! :D :D

I was kind of depressed today so I ordered myself a shirt:

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Better News
Thursday. 6.18.15 2:45 pm
On a less roommate-related note, I've been asked to update a volcanology text book that I used to use. I talked to the guy today and he said that I might be able to collect half the author royalties from the updated edition (with the other half split between the original two authors). Royalties from a book? Who does that?!!?

Also I guess I'm going to be interviewed tomorrow on Science Fridays for National Public Radio. I guess this will be my eight minutes of fame.

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Surprise Roommate
Wednesday. 6.17.15 2:02 am
We got a new, surprise roommate. That is, Roommate 1's friend has been hanging around our house and staying in our extra room for weeks at a time, and finally Roommate 1 just announced that he had already given up his old lease and was going to live with us from now on. Not like, "Would you guys be ok with my random friend living with us for an unspecified amount of time?" Just "my friend is now living with us. You get some money off your rent, isn't that great?" She's on the lease and we're not, which is I guess what makes her think she can just do things like that.

And what about back rent from the half of May that he lived with us? What about June's rent, which we already paid? [We're going to apparently get money back from June. Thank you, your excellency.]

Roommate 2: "Hey Roommate 1, shouldn't this utility bill you sent out go to all five of us now?"

Roommate 1: "Oh, that bill isn't that much, we can just split it between the four of us, it's not a big deal."


Roomate 3: "But I have some company coming in June that was going to stay in that room."
Roommate 1: "They can just stay in your room."
Roommate 3: "In my double bed?"

Me: "But I have company coming in July which I already told you about who are supposed to stay in that room."
Roommate 1: "Oh, they can just stay in your room."
Me: "Both of them? In my single bed?"
Roommate 1: "Ok, whatever, they can sleep on the couch."
Me: "So... whose bathroom is he going to use? [Roommates 1 & 2 each have their own bathrooms, and roommate 3 & I share one, but the guest room is right next to ours.]"
Roommate 1: "I really think that he should use whatever bathroom is most convenient for him, you know?"

I would have strangled someone by now but for the fact that her friend is pretty nice, and his presence stops everyone from strangling each other, which is an unexpected and welcome change to the normal house dynamic.

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Friday. 5.15.15 1:04 am
On Monday I'm supposed to leave for a trip to Idaho, but I'm not really ready. I was supposed to spend all week (and last week) churning through data and making a poster about it.... but.... yah know... the data isn't as great as I had hoped. It requires a lot more math to make it look nice, and it may never look nice, even after all the math. That's the thing about the Real World. It doesn't always conform to the Theoretical Predictions. That's fine, but it's not really fine when I only have one night to make a poster.

I'm going to Boise, Idaho, which sounds kind of boring, but will actually be really cool. This is because we're going to a dune field on a field trip half-way through the meeting, and because after the meeting I'm going to Craters of the Moon National Park, which most people haven't heard of, but which is totally awesome. Especially if you like volcanoes, which I totally do. From there I'm going to drive to Yellowstone National Park, which I've never visited before. The world's largest volcanic caldera, and I've never visited it. Me. A Volcanologist. Ridiculous. I'm pretty excited about that. But I haven't really had time to think about it much because I've been running around like a madwoman doing other things. And procrastinating on this data analysis.

Like I'm doing right now.

Even though it is 10 pm, and this needs to be done tomorrow so that I can print it out at work before everything closes for the weekend.

All right, all right. I'll get to the poster. Fine. Please write some entries to entertain me in the middle of the night tonight. I'm looking at you, Malaysian Nutangers. ;)

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Nighttime on the Volcano
Thursday. 4.23.15 12:00 pm
We're trekking through the lava fields, this time at night. It's never a good idea to trek through a lava field, especially at night, but it took us hours longer than expected to set up my boundary layer wind experiment (christened "Sticky"), and by the time the 7-m mast was stable and the anemometers were happily whirring away, measuring the wind speed, the purple glow of twilight had settled across the volcano. We would never have attempted to navigate an a'a flow in the dark-- an a'a flow is like a field of razor-sharp glass shards unstably stacked on one another for hundreds of yards. This was an old tumuli field, which formed when a ropey plain of nearly cool lava was injected with fresh lava, inflating the surface and ultimately bursting through at regular junctures to make a stack like an out-of-control tube of toothpaste. This surface was old-- it had plants growing out of it and the surface was brown with oxidation. Any sharp shards that had been there at the beginning had been worn away with time and sulfuric acid. Still, each tumulus was taller than a man, and there were many hundreds between us and the parking lot, an hour's hike away. Instead of heading for the trail, we cut straight from the site of the anemometer mast towards our destination. We couldn't see the parking lot from here. It was just rolling hills covered with towering tumuli, like a desert of frozen sand dunes. We were walking between two enormous fault scarps, where the volcano had strained and buckled against its own skin and torn itself apart. It meant that we couldn't go too far off course. The moon rose overhead, round and full, bathing the terrain with a bright white light. We turned off our flashlights. The summit of the volcano glowed orange on the horizon, billowing smoke and sulfur dioxide. During the day it was a smoke signal, during the night a pillar of fire. The regular water clouds started out billowy at the top but had long, wispy tails like stretched cotton. The winds of the Pacific must be very strong up there tonight.
The stars came out. Despite the full moon they littered the sky, and the Milky Way stretched from horizon to horizon. In moments like these it really hit you that you were in the middle of nowhere, all alone on a tiny island surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean. I skitter-stepped to avoid stepping on something on the ground. I had been stepping on rocks for going on 10 hours, but this one was different. I had recognized the shape in an instant, even in the dark. It was a tiny bomb.

During World War II, they decided that they had to practice bombing basaltic islands as a way to get ready for bombing the Japanese. They had turned this part of the main island of Hawaii into a bombing range, and they littered the volcano with ordnance. Not all of the bombs had exploded on impact, however, and to this day little unexploded bombs lie scattered across the National Park. Most of them are probably duds, but you never know. We had already found three or four and dutifully flagged them and geotagged them so that the park could come and dispose of them safely.

It may be a general rule that the danger that you find is seldom the danger you expect.

We no longer take shortcuts in the dark.

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