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 ï¿½ 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
A Gentleman in Russia
The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism
Seneca: Letters from a Stoic
Multi-cultural Conversations Part II
Saturday. 10.20.12 12:59 pm
Zimbabwean Girl: Well I'm originally from Zimbabwe, and my dad's Zimbabwean, but my mom's from Zambia and I've lived most of my life in Namibia. I've lived here for a few years but I think next year I might try to move to Canada.
Me: Do you like Namibia?
ZG: Eh. I like the country, I hate the people.
Us: Really? Why?
ZG: Well they used to have apartheid there, you know? And even though it is illegal now, well... it is still kind of there. People talk to you differently, you know?
Us: Uh... not really but yeah.
Me: I've always wanted to visit Namibia because of the beautiful sand dunes.
ZG: Yeah, we have amazing sand dunes. But watch out, because we also have like spiders the size of baseballs and desert lions.
French Girl: What is a desert lion?
ZG: How do you mean?
FG: Is it like a "lion of the desert"?
ZG: Uh, no, it's just a big giant lion that lives in the desert and eats people.
ZG: Yeah, you know like when you're a kid and you have to go on a school trip? They take you out and you have to camp in the desert for a few days and they teach you important things like how if you're being attacked by a lion or a leopard or a cheetah how you have to put your arm in front of your neck like this so when the lion goes for your throat it'll get your elbow instead, and you can run away.
American Guy: Um, I don't think I could outrun a cheetah anyway....
ZG: Well they can only run really fast for a short time.
AG: I think in that time they would definitely still catch me.
ZG: Yeah, well, I'm scared to death of desert lions, that's one bad thing about living in Namibia that you have to deal with.
Nigerian Guy: Do you want to know the difference between American horror films and Nigerian horror films?
NG: In an American horror film the guy is always like, "Oh, what is that sound? I should go check it out. In an Nigerian horror film the guy would be like, 'What the hell is that sound!' and then he would RUN AWAY. And he would run really fast and shout out 'God help me!'"
Us: Ahhhhh. Smart Nigerians.
NG: But you shouldn't think that Nigerians aren't brave. In fact, Nigerians are very strong people. Nigerians never commit suicide, for example, because they know that they can make it through anything. Nigeria is a really funny country, actually, a lot of really funny things happen there.
Me: What kind of funny things?
NG: Well I'll give you an example. Every third Saturday is Sanitation Day, right? Nobody is allowed to take out their cars or go anywhere before 10 am because we all have to clean everything and take out the trash to the local dumpster. But the police are often watching because they are trying to catch people sneaking their cars out early or going to the bus stop or something. So I was helping my neighbor take out his trash and we saw a big bus. I was suspicious of the bus because it was painted in colors that were different from normal city buses. I don't know why I got this feeling, but I got a really bad feeling and I took off running. My neighbor took off running too after he saw me start to run. And it turned out it was a police bus. The police are always arresting you for not having the right paper or being on the wrong side of the street, or... how to say it?
Me: Um, for silly reasons?
NG: Yes, that is a good way to say it, for silly reasons. Then they take you to jail and someone must come and bail you out and you pay a fine. So the bus was already full of people that they had caught, and I was thinking only one thing in my head: He must not catch me. And I ran so fast, I did not know that I could run like that. And the policeman could not catch me, I outran him. But he decided that if he could not catch me, at least he could catch my neighbor. So he tried to catch him. But you see in Nigeria all of the people they stick together, and when they see something that is not supposed to be happening, they come out and if there are enough of them they can stop it. So they all came out of their houses and looked at the police officer and that is how my neighbor was rescued that time. Yeah, so all Nigerians have funny stories like that so when we get together we all talk about it and it is very funny. You would have to go there yourself and experience it to really know.
This morning I went out to find a vintage store. I looked around the vintage store for a while and found a belt with a buckle that said "Colorado" and on the back "Colorado is a state full of beauty. From the plains to the mountain tops, Colorado really represents the best that America can offer". I really wanted to buy it but the belt was a little small. Instead I bought a CD from some random musicians in the metro who were playing amazing Russian and Ukrainian folk music. In the afternoon I went to the church and we went out with a bunch of sandwiches that we'd made to give them to homeless people. Since it was raining the homeless people had all evaporated, so it took hours and hours to hand out all the sandwiches and we walked all over Paris. We met a lot of cool people, though, including a Romanian guy with six kids, a french guy who claimed that he had served in the army valiantly fighting against the English [....?], and a really nice Austrian woman who had been on the street for a month. We had a German guy with us so he spoke to her in German. All of the homeless people were really grateful for the sandwiches and more to the point, grateful that we stopped to chat with them. It was really nice to be walking around actively seeking out homeless people rather than trying to avoid them. I think maybe I'll buy a bunch of food and just carry it around with me from now on so that I'll have something to give.
Friday. 10.19.12 5:30 am
Me: Where are you from?
Algerian Girl: I'm from Algeria.
Me: And you?
Guadeloupean Girl: I'm from Guadeloupe
Me: Oh, I always wanted to visit Guadeloupe. I read about it in a book, "La Papillon dans la Cité"
GG: Oh, I have read that book as well!
AG: So we are all foreigners here, aren't we? Isn't it funny how we naturally separate ourselves from the french?
Me: Well Guadeloupe is technically a part of France, isn't it?
GG: Oh yes, we are part of the Outre-Mer [overseas territories]
AG: How long has Guadeloupe been a part of France?
GG: Since ages ago, maybe the 1600s.
AG: The French were in Algeria since the 1800s. We finally kicked them out but they didn't want to leave, did they? No they sure dragged their feet leaving! The French are such bastards!!!!
Several weeks later....
AG: So, do people in the United States ever talk about Algeria?
Me: Um... well.... eh....... not really.
AG: [disappointed] Oh. I thought maybe that was the case.
Me: Well, they've been talking about Algeria more lately.
AG: REALLY!?!? Why?
Me: Well, um, I guess ever since the protests across Northern Africa and the Middle East, they've been talking about Libya and Algeria and Tunisia more... mostly Libya though. Yeah.
[I didn't want to tell her that the only reason I knew about Algeria as a kid was because I wanted to be like Jean-Claude Van Damme and join the French Foreign Legion..... looking back I guess I totally missed the point of Lionheart]
Egyptian Guy: Arabs are ridiculous, seriously.
American Guy: But you're not an Arab?
EG: NO! I speak Coptic. Well, I speak Arabic, too, but I'm not an Arab, I'm Egyptian. Let me tell you about Arabs: You know how when you hear Chinese people talking to each other, you always think they are fighting? But then it turns out that they aren't fighting, they're just having a conversation and it's just their language that makes them sound like that? Or you know when South American people, they have a big fight and yell at each other and then they love each other again in the next minute? Yeah, Arabs don't do that. If you hear two Arabs yelling at each other, they really hate each other, down to the very core.
Me: Are they like, "I curse you and your family for five generations!"
EG: Wait a minute, do you know lots of Arabic people?
EG: Then how did you know that they do that?
Me: I was just guessing...
EG: Because that is exactly what they DO! They curse you and your family for five generations! And let me tell you, Arabs never think about anything with depth. It is always on the surface with them.
Me: But what about all of the Arabic mathematicians and philosophers....?
EG: THEY WERE NOT ARABIC! Everyone just says that everyone that lives in the Middle East are Arabs but they're NOT! The Arabs were just barbarians that took everyone over, and inherited all of their technology and philosophy from the civilizations they conquered! They got their medicine from Egypt, their mathematics from the Persians... everything else from the Berbers and the Spanish!
AG: Ok, well, you can say that, but I'm not allowed to say that.
EG: Yes, yes, you're not allowed to say that, that's true. But I can say that! I speak Coptic! The Arabs don't let us speak it, they want us to only speak Arabic! The Arabs have nothing. The Qur'an has nothing philosophically profound in it at all.
AG: Can I quote you on that?
EG: QUOTE ME ALL YOU WANT!
Thursday. 10.18.12 4:25 pm
I have been going to church and studying the philosophy of forgiveness. I have been reading the Tao and studying the ways of inner stillness.
BUT THE AMOUNT OF UTTER BULLSHIT SPILLING OUT OF EVERY CORNER OF THE INTERNET ABOUT THE 2012 ELECTION IS KILLING ME! I FEEL LIKE I'M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!
I just read the worst, most disgusting, sniveling piece of shit article I have ever read, ever. Ever. I mean... ever. And I can't even comment that on the person's wall who posted it because he's just a random guy and I don't know him that well and it would serve absolutely no purpose to antagonize him because I have nothing against him personally and there is a zero percent chance that I would change his mind about anything. The worst part of all of it is that I know that a large majority of my friends would read this article and say to themselves, "Yes, yes, this explains everything."
I'm sorry, I apologize, I'm still dizzy from all of the spin that was in that article.
I've discovered that people in the US, upset that they can't find anything really hateworthy about their political opponents, have decided to make up random shit up about them and then hate them for THAT. What is the PURPOSE of that?
In other news, I get to go to Münster, London, and Venice for free! I mean, for work. I'm so busy making travel plans I can barely research science! Ok, that's not true, I'm at work at 11 pm on a Thursday, and there *was* a 70/30 work:getting-mad-at-politics ratio. I'm going to have to go home and zen out or watch the Disney channel or something. ::breathing exercises::
Peanut Butter Jelly Time
Friday. 10.12.12 12:17 pm
My Canadian and I decided to have PB&J for lunch. I had all of the ingredients, so we went to the break-room and started assembling it. The french secretaries were AMAZED and DELIGHTED. Apparently they had heard of the "mystical" habit of Americans eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but they had never seen a REAL AMERICAN in the process of ACTUALLY EATING ONE in PERSON before. We asked if they wanted to try some, but it was too weird for them. One of them tried a bite of peanut butter. "Oh wow," she said, "that's quite good!"
Yeah. I know.
Busy Busy Busy
Saturday. 10.6.12 2:16 am
I've been gone for the last three weekends, and I'm taking off again. Interesting for me, not so great for my fantasy football team.... Well this weekend I'm going to the french countryside to eat lots of food, spa myself in a hammam, and dance the night away. It is my friend's birthday so I guess I better go buy her a present. Chocolate store, here I come!
Wednesday. 9.12.12 12:16 pm
French1: Well I believe that some studies have shown that Alzheimer's is more common among populations who have lower levels of brain activity. That is why it is more commonly found in America, because they use their brains less than everyone else.
The Canadian: What?
French 1: Well, look at the TV there, and you can see.
MP (to me): Did you hear what she just said about Americans? Are you going to take that?
Me: Oh whatever, that's just French1, she says all kinds of things against America.
MP: Yeah, well, she thinks that the french people are the best people in the world. Though to be fair, looking at me, one can understand how she might think that.
And it was like...
Sunday. 9.2.12 10:39 am
Saturday. 9.1.12 1:05 pm
Ehhhhh, so I was just on the metro and there was a well-dressed middle-aged woman walking through the car crying "I'm hungry! I'm hungry! I'm hungry!" She asked everyone if they had a restaurant ticket or some money or whatever. People do this all the time but this time it was weird because she seemed like she was practically in tears. I couldn't see her through the crowd. I got off the metro and she got off, too. She knelt down at the very edge of the quay as the train started speeding off, her head inches from the train. Everyone who had gotten off looked back at her but nobody stopped. I usually don't approach people because I feel like I can't speak french well enough, but this time I figured I'd better do something.
I came up and said, "Is everything ok, Madame?" She didn't look at me. "I'm hungry. I'm hungry. I haven't eaten in days," she said. I moved her gently back from the edge of the platform. A couple who had been moving towards the exit came back and joined us. They asked her if everything was ok, and she said that she had horrible kids and a horrible life and she hadn't eaten in days and she just wanted a sandwich. We moved her back to the platform seats and I gave her my last five bucks. I told her gently that now she could buy herself a sandwich and maybe she would feel better once she ate. The man only had fifty cents, and the woman didn't have anything besides twenties and little bits of change, so she shrugged helplessly. The woman asked if we had anything more but that was it. She angrily turned away. We started to walk away and she called out "Thank you" after us.
As we walked up the stairs, the three of us shared the hope that she wasn't going to throw herself in front of the next train.
alllghgghghhhh should I have done more? I probably should have taken her for a sandwich and some coffee and listened to her story, you know? I wish I spoke french better.... :C.... as it is I have no idea where she could go for help. I'm always imagining rescuing someone in the metro from an oncoming train... maybe I missed my opportunity. :C
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