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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.
Le Flu
Wednesday. 10.12.11 6:51 pm
I have the stomach flu. Some kind of horrible stomach flu. Yeah, you know, living the dream.

I've had it since Saturday/Sunday. I don't think I've ever felt so continuously horrible without respite.... ever. Ever. I've had a stomach flu before. You throw up, you lie on the bathroom floor, hoping to die, hoping God will intervene and kill you in his ultimate mercy, etc. But you know, occasionally after throwing up you feel better for a few moments, maybe you sleep a little bit with lots of drugs. I just feel like someone has been stabbing me repeatedly in the gut for five days and as a result my stomach is leaking acid all over the inside of my body. I probably shouldn't complain judging from what ThisCharmingMan has been going through. When I eat, it is painful like being stabbed. When I drink water, it is painful like being stabbed. When I don't eat or drink, the drugs make me sick because you're supposed to take them with a meal. When I don't eat or drink or take drugs, I feel pain which I have now connected with being hungry. It doesn't feel like being hungry, it just feels like you have a big hole in your stomach. Trade pain for pain. The drugs just don't actually do anything at all.


Vive la France!

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Le Sigh
Thursday. 9.29.11 10:16 am
Let's see if we can itemize the lovely things that have happened to me since I moved to Paris:

1. Air France loses luggage.
2. Shuttle company tells me wrong door, wait for more than two hours for shuttle.
3. Hotel 1 is kind of dirty, bitten by mosquitos.
4. Start feeling sick if I spend too much time in my office.
5. Hotel 2 has bedbugs.
6. Allergic to bedbug bites, my arms, legs, ankle, hands, and face swell up many times their normal sizes and itch like crazy. Old bites turn into boils and explode.
7. Hotel proprietor washes all of my clothes.
8. Allergic to the soap, I break out in a rash.
9. Dry all of my clothes on high heat to kill the bedbugs, burning my favorite shirt and melting my favorite purse. Bedbugs explode making blood spots on clothes.
10. Smoke pours out of the laundromat, a woman comes and orders me to remain where I am until the owner of the laundromat comes.
11. Wait for 45 minutes, the owner comes, there is nothing wrong with the machine, it was just my clothes that were burning and melting, he confides in us that the woman hates his shop and she's always trying to make trouble.
12. Decide to clean office floor. Discover mouse droppings and mold everywhere.
13. Post-floor cleaning, sick office feeling stops happening.
14. 3rd hotel. Creepy Jorge and noise at all hours. But a restaurant!
15. Eat at restaurant. Get food poisoning.
16. A new man replaces Jorge in the room. Turns out he is a well-known thief who buys a room in the hostel for a single night and then steals everything in his neighbors' luggage. Maria discovers him going through an Australian girl's suitcase in the middle of the day. A bottle of vodka goes missing. The thief is reported to the hotel staff, who confirms that his key-card has been disabled and he will not be able to re-enter the room.
17. Thief re-enters the room, starts to get ready for bed. Australian girl rushes to the reception, they get together a bunch of security guards and managers and escort the thief from the room. Since all of my luggage is in my office to keep it free of bedbugs, not a problem.

1. Hostels are great for vacationing, but do not ever live there.
2. Cleanliness is next to godliness
3. I can't wait to move into my apartment tomorrow!!

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Fun Times
Wednesday. 9.28.11 11:44 am
{on the way back from lunch, after talking about how many Americans only take a half an hour to eat}
French1: America is ok for Americans, but it's not for Europeans.
French2 [brightly, trying to avoid unpleasantness]: You know Z is an American, she is from Denver.
French1: And?
French2 [changing the subject]: I am going to Boulder in October, maybe you know of a good place to stay?
Me: I'm not very familiar with the hotels there because I'm usually visiting friends. Maybe there is a hostel or something that is cheap?
French1: There are no cheap hotels in the US. They don't have the same cheap hotels like we have.
French2: You went to Boulder?
French1: Yes, I went there, it was horrible.
French2: Oh? I heard it was nice.
French1: Oh, the city is ok, but it's the PEOPLE who are horrible.
French2: Um....
French1: Oh yes, in France the first thing you are taught as a little child is to say "Good day" to someone, but do Americans say this? Nooooo.
French2: Oh really? I usually think of Americans as being overly friendly, like "HI! HOW ARE YOU!!!!"
French1: No, that is not true. The people in Boulder are awful.
Me: We'll, they're hippies....
French1: NO THEY ARE NOT HIPPIES. They are not. They are "bobos" [the french word for hippy is "baba"]
Me: What is a bobo?
French1: It is a person who likes to pretend that they are so cool and like a hippy and into nature but they're actually rich assholes.
Me: Well, that does actually describe people from Boulder pretty well.
French2[brightly]: I heard that Boulder has lots of sports!
Me: Boulder does have a lot of hiking trails and bike trails.
French1: Bobos.
{french1 goes to her office}
Me: Um.... so honestly Boulder is a nice town. I think you'll have a good time there.
French2: Thank-you.

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Jorge and the Annoyance of Australians
Tuesday. 9.27.11 8:52 am
The room is full of Brazilians. The whole city is full of Brazilians, my new Brazilian friend Julianna would say. But right now I live in a 10 person room in a party hostel near the Canal de Saint-Martin and the presence of the Brazilians tends to dominate the room. To be sure, there are two Australians, but when it comes to having a party, Australians are just paler Brazilians who can't dance. My Australian friend told me that the proper term for a group of Australians is "an annoyance", as in "an annoyance of Australians". I don't know the appropriate term for a group of Brazilians.

The best Brazilian is a girl, young and beautiful with a big camera. She reminds me of my friend Srog the Dane. We'll call her Maria.

The worst Brazilian is Jorge, who is very drunk.

Jorge is drunk because three men attacked him and stole 1000 euros and all of his papers. Jorge is drunk because he wants to go home but he doesn't really have a home to go to. Jorge is drunk because even if he did have a home, he doesn't have the paperwork he needs to get there. Jorge is drunk because if it had been two guys instead of three, you'd better believe he would have fought them off.

Jorge likes to take pictures, explains Maria. Maria explains most of what Jorge says because through the alcohol everything comes out as a vaguely portuguese slur of words incomprehensible to the Australians. The preceding paragraph of information about Jorge, explained by Jorge himself, was reduced to "I am a man of the world. The world is my country."

Jorge doesn't like to take, how do you say, paysages?
Landscapes, I supply.
Landscapes. Jorge likes to take the pictures of the people.
Portraits, I supply.

Jorge calls me AMERICAN GIRL.
He doesn't call me for any reason, though. He just shouts, "AMERICAN GIRL!" until I look at him, and then he is so drunk that he doesn't know what to say.

"AMERICAN GIRL. I take your photograph," Jorge finally says.
"No, thank-you" I say, by now curled up with my book in my pajamas, trying to ignore the cacophany of the room. I am exhausted, I am no fun, I have a job in the city. I am content to listen to the Brazilians and Australians bond over the fact that their capital cities were invented by politicians.

"AMERICAN GIRL, pretty girl, I take your photograph." He takes a photograph of my hand, which I have stretched out to prevent his photograph. Maria thinks that it looks very artistic.

Jorge presents me with two options: "Either I take a photograph now, or while you are sleeping," he says. He reminds me that when I am sleeping I will be naked. He also reminds me that when I am sleeping I cannot stop him from taking the photograph.

I pretend to consider these two options for a moment.

"I decide.... no and... no."

He persists. Maria comes to my aide. "You don't understand Jorge, she is an American, that means you have to respect her."

My curiosity is piqued.

"I mean to say, that when a North American say 'no', she actually mean 'no', and you have to give respect to that. He is from South America, and in South America when you say 'no' all of the men think that it really mean 'yes'."

I agree that I am certainly not in agreement with the South Americans on this point. I underline the sentiment by shutting the curtain that encloses my bed. A shy Brazilian is already trying to sleep in a bed across the room. After an hour or so the annoyance of Australians gets the idea and proposes to move the party downstairs. They drag Jorge out of the room.

Very late in the night I hear a voice at the edge of my bed.

"I can see you," the voice says.

I am facing the wall. I pretend that I am asleep.

Later still: some rustling. A flash. I can't be sure it wasn't a dream.

Goddamnmotherfucking Jorge, I'm from NORTH AMERICA.

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Adventures at the Parisian Tourist Info Center
Saturday. 9.24.11 8:56 am
My new chinese-canadian friend in the Parisian Tourist Info Center:

My Friend: Hello, can I have a map?
French Guy Behind the Desk: :::sigh:::: here is a map.
My Friend: Could you tell me any good places to just walk around?
French Guy: :::reaches under the desk and slaps down a guidebook to Sicily::: Do you know what this is?
My Friend: Um...
French Guy: It is a guidebook. Do you know why I have it?
My Friend: No...
French Guy: BECAUSE I'M TAKING A TRIP TO SICILY. Because you see, when you go to a place, you buy a GUIDEBOOK beforehand. Then you know where to go.
My Friend: Ok.... um... I'll just.... :::heads out the door with map:::

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Bonjour mes amis Tang
Thursday. 9.22.11 4:53 pm
So I'm writing you from my boss's basement. I'm staying here til tomorrow when I move into another hotel. I've been moving from hotel to hotel, friends' houses, like a vagrant, except for one that occasionally has to pay lots of money.

I can move into my apartment on September 30th. I love Paris. You know what I don't love?
Bedbugs. They've been biting me and I'm really allergic so my arms and legs and ankles and wrists and hands and face have been swelling to epic proportions and itching like absolute madness. I feel like I want to cut off my hands sometimes. Instead I apply hydrocortisone. Hence why I am in my boss's basement instead of my old hotel.

You know what I do love?

You know what I also love?

You know what I also love?

Sharkboy again, it was a trick question.

Bon soiree, I will post pictures of my apartment once I finally move in.


Zee Bar

ps--- Nutang, I also love you!

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An Apartment!?!?!?!?!!?!
Saturday. 9.10.11 4:17 pm

So I've been spending all this time looking for an apartment and living like a vagabond halfway between my office and my friends houses and a bunch of hostels.... and now I just got an AMAZING email:

Je mets en location à partir d'octobre 2011 un petit 2 pièces de 25 m2 pour 850 € charges comprises. La location est entièrement meublée (y compris machine à laver). L'appartement est situé au 6ème étage sans ascenseur d'un immeuble haussmannien. Le bien est à proximité du jardin du Luxembourg, proches de l'Université Paris V. Il est idéalement situé entre les métros Odéon et Mabillon. Il possède 2 balcons, depuis une pièce on admire la Tour Eiffel. Orienté Sud et ouest, il est très clair et sans vis à vis.
commerces au pieds de l'immeuble
double vitrage et chauffage électrique
Pour plus de commodité il a une cave, un digicode, un interphone et une gardienne.


Well I'll tell you what it means in case you don't:

"I have an apartment available starting in October 2011 consisting of two small rooms measuring 25 m^2 for 850 euro inclusive. The location is entirely furnished (and includes a washing machine). The apartment is situated on the 6th floor without an elevator in a haussmannien [traditional Paris-style] building. It is close to the Gardens of Luxembourg and the University of Paris V. It is ideally situated between the metros of Odeon and Mabillon. It posses two balconies; from a part of one you can admire the Eiffel Tower. Orientation south and west, it is very clear without apartments across the way. Commercial establishments only feet from the building, double paned glass on the windows, and electric heat. There is also a basement, the entrance has a digicode, an intercom, and a security guard."

HOW AMAZING DOES THAT SOUND!?!?!??! I don't know if I translated it totally right but it is probably close. Ok, so the 6th floor (meaning seventh floor in American floors) without an elevator is not *ideal*, but a WASHING MACHINE (my new obsession) and TWO BALCONIES?!?! and windows facing TWO DIRECTIONS??? and a freaking VIEW OF THE FREAKING EIFFEL TOWER?!!?!?! And it is exactly in my price range! Ooooh man I wrote her an email right back.... I really really really hope I get this apartment it sounds sooooo cool it is right where I wanted my apartment to be oooh it would be amazing WOAW. And even if it is on the seventh floor without an elevator... that means I'll be in great shape, right? heh heh heh?

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La France: Le Premier Jour
Saturday. 9.3.11 6:39 am
So I made it to France. Things didn't go completely according to plan. First, Delta said my carry-on was too big and they had to check it. I didn't want them to because all of my electronics were in there. "Will I get it back in NYC?" I asked. No, she said they had to check it through to my final destination. Fine. I took out my computer monitor and my digital SLR and extra lens. I left all of my adaptors and plugs and my 2 terabyte external with my PhD data on it because I couldn't fit anything more in my purse thing.

In NYC they tell us that if we're continuing on to Paris we should wait at gate 4, which I do, but of course they don't mean me, I am on a completely different flight to Paris, leaving in a few minutes two terminals from here.... thank you SharkBoy for remembering my itinerary better than I did... so I run out of security and two terminals down in 90 degree heat and make the plane because a security guy lets me jump the line. By the way, they've switched planes, our new plane doesn't have individual screens, only a shared one. Crap. Everyone starts wondering (loudly, and to the staff) why they paid the extra money to come on Air France. The incredibly fashionable gay Americans next to me are having a lover's spat because Aisle Gay Man put Middle Gay Man in the middle instead of booking them both windows. They try to get me to trade with them for the aisle seat but I am unmoved. Middle gay man is pissy with his lover for all of take-off until they fall dead asleep for the rest of the flight, making it impossible to get out... possibly as revenge. They are awake for about ten minutes, when the steward brings them extra first-class dinners complete with delicious french cheeses and fresh fruit. I don't get anything, probably because I am not a hot gay man, and I have to wait another 45 minutes to eat dinner, as I am the second to last row served. I do get the very last chicken dinner, which looks like you would imagine the last chicken dinner to look. The guy in front of me puts his seat way back into my face. No sleep for me!

When I arrive at Charles de Gaulle the passport control barely glances at the visa I worked so hard to procure, and after waiting 40 minutes for all the luggage to come out, I come to terms with the fact that my carry-on (which they forcibly took from me) is lost. I hope that the carry-on of the guy behind me didn't get lost, as he said that it contained all of his medication.

I talk to the Air France lady about the suitcase. She says it could take a while to get it back. I don't have an address that will last that long so I give her my office address. Unfortunately it only works on weekdays (if at all). We talk for an hour because she loves exo-planets and Mars. When I glance behind me at the growing line of the baggageless, she says that I shouldn't worry about them, and if I ever do start to feel stressed, I should meditate. She started doing it a couple of months ago, she says, and now she's never stressed out by stuff like that.


I leave with her card and an offer to have lunch or hang out or have a tour around her hometown of Chantilly. I might take her up on it. She realizes that she put my information in wrong and she starts all over again.

I call the shuttle company. They'll be right there they say, outside door 10. I go out door 10 but it looks wrong. On my paper it says door 8, which looks more right. I go back and forth and finally call the company again to clarify. All of their lines are busy. For the next 45 min. Finally I get through. Door 10, he confirms. The driver is there now. Good afternoon. No one is outside door 10. It looks like a place to get all of your luggage stolen. I call back. All the lines are busy. I am about to kill someone (remember the no sleep part?) when I run into my Air France woman, on her way to lunch (I originally arrived at 8). I tell her my woes and she says that she saw a person from my company. She unites us. She is already my best friend in France. The shuttle person recognizes me and informs me that my shuttle driver has been waiting for me for two hours outside door 8. I inform her that I have been waiting for my shuttle driver for two hours outside door 10, since that's what the man told me TWICE.

I go to him and we pack up my stuff. We are not five minutes away when I realize I've left my giant computer monitor (which I've been carrying around awkwardly since Denver) on the luggage cart. We make a giant, excrutiatingly slow loop to come back to get it... it's gone. I ask a nearby motorcycle dude if he saw it... he did. Some guy got it a minute or two ago. Motorcycle dude and I run into the airport and go to information. There it is!!!! The man was the cart collector, and when he collected the cart he took the monitor to information.

Once I've returned to the shuttle, the driver informs me that since we went back now we have to wait for two more passengers. After 45 minutes we are on our way. I finally arrive at work during lunch (1-2 pm). No one is there. I meet a girl. We speak french until we realize that we're both native English speakers. She's a new post-doc from Canada, she's only been there a couple of months. She's from a slightly different lab. She did her PhD in Hamburg, Germany. We spend some time mooning over cheap delicious German ice cream and other tales of Northern Germany. Christine. She lets me put my luggage in her office. I can tell we will be friends. I have made my first friend!

At that moment Robin comes by, a Scottish guy I know from before. He's on his way to lunch with a Spanish colleague. We grab some sandwiches and eat lunch in the park under a shady tree. The concrete mess of CDG airport behind me, I marvel at the beauty of Le Jardin des Plantes. The rest of the day is perfect. We look at a huge room full of animal skeletons, I meet with my boss, we talk about all the cool science we're going to do, I leave at six to go to my hostel, I eat a sandwich and an Orangina on the steps of Sacre Coeur, looking out over all of Paris from the Butte de Montmartre. I can't believe I live here. I could eat my dinner here every day! I walk through the street market at sunset, looking at all the paintings from Montmartre's many excellent artists. Maybe I'll get my portrait done one of these days.

Wow, that was hard to type on a French keyboard. I guess it's one-thirty in the afternoon and I best go eat some lunch and buy a new adapter, instead of staying at the office and falling asleep on my desk, which is what I feel like doing. Until next time... adieu.

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