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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.
Pleasant Providence
Monday. 5.16.11 9:32 pm
Today I walked through the pleasant weather from my building to the main office. One secretary told me that I didn't have to do a task that I hadn't felt like doing. The other told me that I have $7800 that I didn't know about that I have to spend by the end of the month on either travel or software.

I strolled to the bank, where the checks I was depositing added up to a satisfyingly even number.

As I meandered back to my office, the scents of flowers and BBQs wafted past my nose. I passed the duct where air comes out of the greenhouse. It smells like some crazy combination of a plant, a wet paper towel and a drier. If I let myself stay there too long I fear death by asphyxiation because I love the smell so much that I forget to breathe out. As I continued down the shady lane, a mild breeze sent a shower of little pink flower petals cascading over me like snow.

Later on I got pulled over by a cop because my emissions inspection sticker was out of date. He also wanted to know why I had a Rhode Island registration and a Colorado driver's license. I told him about my upcoming graduation and he said to just not worry about the inspection and to have a good evening.

I texted for a while with the boy I like (it's his birthday!), then got invited by another friend to go miniature golfing and to Chili's on Thursday. As I sat at my kitchen table, I wished I could listen to music, but I didn't want to get up to turn on the radio. Just then, my roommate's alarm clock went off randomly (set 12 hours wrong?) and started playing my favorite radio station.

Yes, Providence can be pleasant in the spring.

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Monday. 5.16.11 4:25 pm

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The Whole Wide Moon
Saturday. 4.30.11 3:22 am
When you study the Moon
Day after day
You begin to feel a kind of ownership over it
After a while.
When people talk about the Moon, you feel compelled
To say something that establishes it as yours
Something about the origin of the Ocean of Storms
The geology of the Marsh of Sleep
Its composition
Its thermal history
How it came to be

But the thing about the Moon is that while it belongs to scientists
It also belongs to engineers
And artists
And lovers
And dreamers
And poets.

It isn't like the Earth
Which technically belongs to all of us
But divided into six billion tiny pieces

Because each person on the Earth owns the whole Moon
The entire Moon belongs to every single one of us

And we're free to appreciate it
Or learn about it
Or bask in its radiance on a warm summer evening
As it circles the Earth, paying visits to everyone

And every single one of us has a right to feel ownership of the Moon
Not a piece of it
Or one six-billionth of it

But the whole Moon, as much as we can fit in our eyeballs.

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Monday. 4.25.11 11:07 pm
So I'm a doctor!!


"Dr. Zanzibar"

It has a nice ring to it.

I'll start my own radio show and everyone can call in and ask me questions about their troublesome volcanoes.

So if I'm finished with all my work, why am I here in the lab at 11:15 pm????

Welll... I have tiny bits of work left to do, and it's hard to get work done during the day.

And old habits die hard. Don't worry, I'm doing my best to kill them. I spent most of Saturday playing the bodhran, so I can become like this chick:

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Getting Defensive
Sunday. 4.17.11 8:57 pm
My defense is on Tuesday!! YAYYYY! Ma dad is comin'! YAYYY!

I finally managed to figure out how to download a YouTube movie, clip it, and then insert it into a Powerpoint Presentation without losing resolution (and without getting a virus). And hey, I learned a lot about codecs along the way. My defense presentation is going to be AWESOME.

Meanwhile, The Mercury Paper that Won't Die, which I submitted last JULY, is now finally available online. I just have to go through the page-proofs which is proving to be a lot more complicated than I thought it would be.

Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous editors, or to take arms against a sea of meaningless typographical changes, and by opposing, draw out the process even longer? To die! To sleep no more!

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Looking Pretty
Thursday. 4.14.11 9:14 pm
After I handed in my thesis, I looked in the mirror and saw myself, gaunt, pale, with dark circles under my eyes, hair with ends like straw, an outfit made completely of navy sweat-clothes that are several sizes too large.

I went to Target.

I went to the health and beauty aisles. I was going to go on a shopping binge, and I was going to make myself look PRETTY, dammit!

So I bought a cucumber face mask. It came with a special cream made for putting under your eyes to make them look less tired. I also got some cream that is supposed to eliminate fine lines [my thesis gave me exactly three fine lines]. It was expensive. I got the ones for "sensitive skin" and the "hypo-allergenic" ones, since I'm sometimes allergic to things like that.

I used them for a couple of days. Everything was great. My skin was soft and smooth, and my under-eye circles seemed to be disappearing. I was so happy at the results, I slathered more on each day.

But I was allergic. It was a delayed reaction.

Now the sides of my face near my hairline, my left ear, and under my eyes have erupted in an incredibly itchy rash. The lymphnode near my ear has swollen. The rash extends around my left eye making the skin red and raised... all except for my three fine lines, which now stand out in sharp relief.


Now I'm just hoping the reaction will go away in time for my thesis defense next Tuesday. Until then I'll be sitting on my hands so I can resist tearing my face off with my fingernails.


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Building Igloos
Tuesday. 4.12.11 9:35 pm
That afternoon I ended up in the ice-block quarry.

The ice sheet stretched away in every direction- flat, white, and featureless.

Our instructor had chosen a spot at random and plunged his hand saw into the ground. He easily sawed a straight line into the ice and then sat back and looked up at us, shielding his eyes from the unrelenting Antarctic sun. The saw dipped back into the ice sheet, sawing two perpendicular lines to make a brick. He grabbed a shovel and levered the block out of the ground.

You can dig an ice block quarry as deep as you would like. The sea is beneath you, somewhere, but you could build an mansion of ice blocks before you reached it, at least this time of year. We made the quarry three blocks deep. We learned quickly that the quality of your hand saw makes a big difference. I had a nice, new hand saw with a black grip and very pointed teeth. I sawed through the ice like it was butter.

We would saw a whole row, and then go back with a shovel to lever each one out, one at a time. We deposited them on a sledge, and the members of another crew would take them away to build ice walls around the camp. Ice walls were needed to protect the camp from the sea "breeze", which was roaring across the ice sheet, stirring up a haboob of snow with a vanguard of snow devils.

We wanted to have the ice-wall built before we ate dinner. The threat of nightfall seemed imminent, but our alarm was needless- there was no such thing as nightfall here.

Another group was building a small trench, only three blocks wide. They piled the blocks on the windward side as a wind break and carved a table and benches into the side of the trench. This was our kitchen. The people who had been setting up tents sat along the benches with their feet dangling into the trench and drank hot chocolate out of plastic mugs. Some people set up a stove on the table behind the wind-break and started cooking. Some rock-and-roll from a set of battery-powered speakers started drifting over to the ice quarry during the periods when the wind was at rest. Dinner consisted of packets of dehydrated food that had been expired since 2001. We filled them with hot water and ate them directly out of the packaging.

I felt lucky to be busy in the ice quarry: in Antarctica, being stationary meant being cold. As activity wound down, Mark and I cut some additional ice blocks and built a wind break around the quarry. We built a wall of ice blocks on either side of the quarry trench and placed three sleds across the top. We packed them with snow to insulate them. We marked the entrance with a small green flag on a long bamboo pole. This is required because it makes you easier to find if your snow shelter collapses. We mostly did it because we felt that it lent a bit of personality to our otherwise colorless dwelling. It occurred to me that like us, the bamboo was a long way from home.

Our camp

Igloos can be very warm, if constructed correctly. As we were Antarctica rookies, ours was not constructed correctly. First of all, we made an igloo that was plenty big enough for two people. This was a mistake. We also slept at the lowest point of our igloo. This was a mistake. We each crawled into our sleeping bags wearing every item of clothing we had available. This was also a mistake.

The night we spent in the igloo would be the coldest night we would experience in Antarctica.

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Oh No...
Sunday. 4.10.11 12:20 am
So I made reservations to fly to California for Alumni Weekend.

I booked it kind of late, so I ended up having to buy a weird flight that went out of Boston that was still moderately expensive. I booked it so that I would leave Sunday at 1 am to catch a red-eye back home, hoping to maximize my time in California.

Oh whoops, booking a flight that leaves on Sunday at 1 am means that I'm leaving SATURDAY NIGHT, not SUNDAY NIGHT.

To change it to the next night it would only cost $50, but since it's Continental, the change FEE is $150, meaning that I would be paying $200 to the pirates of Continental Airlines for BEING AN IDIOT. It would also add several hours and Chicago onto my itinerary.... LA-->Dallas-->Chicago-->Boston, all in the middle-of-the-night.

Or I could just leave on Saturday night and miss the alumni weekend events on Sunday that I already paid for. Not to mention how awesome I would feel when all of my friends asked me why I was leaving so early.


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