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
I have a date.
Wednesday. 5.5.10 7:29 pm
As if on cue,
I was asked on a date:
So I feel a little junior high asking you out over Facebook, but I really enjoyed chatting with you the other night. I'm thinking of going to see Hubble 3D at the Aquarium in Boston this weekend and was curious if you'd like to come. I'd be up for any of the shows at 1pm or 3pm Saturday or Sunday. Let me know if you're interested.
Should I go???
One of Many Reasons Zanzibar Will Die Alone
Tuesday. 5.4.10 10:14 pm
When I was in first grade, we played a game where the boys chased the girls around the playground, captured them, and then "imprisoned" them in a large metal dome called "The Spider". As fast as I was, no boy could ever catch me, and I spent most of my time wresting the other girls from the clutches of the boys and freeing them from the prison of The Spider. I remember being continuously frustrated that I would free a girl and the minute I would turn around she would have been captured again, usually by the same boy. Had this girl NO skill at evasion at all? Was this girl SO SLOW that she couldn't avoid capture for even five seconds?
It was a stunning day, then, when my first grade mind finally realized that far from being slow or clumsy, the other first-grade girls wanted to be caught. I know, I thought idea as foreign and illogical as anyone, and I never would have come to it had not I been repeatedly faced with the failure of my otherwise capable female classmates to escape through glaringly obvious holes in Spider-Security. [Naturally it took much longer to fathom why anyone would want to be caught.]
Since first grade my intuition for such things has not improved. One time I overheard a girl wheedling a guy into jumping her car for her and I interceded and told her that I had jumper cables and I could easily jump her car. Never have I helped a more miserable and ungrateful person, as I realized too late that having her car jumped was pretty much the last thing she had been trying to accomplish. Just the other day a girl in my lab carried on about one of Rhode Island's unique terrors, the crazed-hairy-centipede-thing, which was preventing her from entering the first-floor bathroom. I heroically disposed of the beast, but when I returned victorious she was unhappy that I had killed a living thing.
Recently I had the opportunity to read "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" by Mary Wollstonecraft [which is very interesting]. She seems to agree with me:
"In the most trifling dangers they cling to their support, with parasitical tenacity, piteously demanding succour; and their natural protector extends his arm, or lifts up his voice, to guard the lovely trembler-- from what? Perhaps the frown of an old cow, or the jump of a mouse; a rat would be a serious danger. In the name of reason, and even common sense, what can save such beings from contempt; even though they be soft and fair?
"These fears, when not affected, may produce some pretty attitudes; but they show a degree of imbecility which degrades a rational creature in a way women are not aware of-- for love and esteem are very distinct things."
Here's the most important question of them all......
Because I unflinchingly kill spiders and bees, because I trap mice and handle snakes, because I fix my leaky faucets, because I do my taxes, because I enjoy lifting all manner of heavy objects, because I am handy with a hammer and a drill and a forklift, because I enjoy solving many varied problems in the field of mathematics, because I can open almost any jar, because God invented stepping stools.......
.........does that mean I'll never get a date?
Sunday. 4.25.10 2:16 pm
We had already been cheated once that day... twenty dollars for a five-minute cab ride from the docks to the city... so we were wary when we were approached by a young man outside the gates of Fort Jesus and offered a free tour of the city.
Mombasa. We had sailed into port in the morning: the over-large African sun rising slowly over the forests of leafy trees and the bright turquoise tropical seas. The bow had been crowded and someone brought out a boom box which was playing "I bless the rains down in Africa, Gonna take some time to do the things we never have..." inspiring a spontaneous dance party. Certainly every port brought with it incredible excitment, but for some reason coming into Africa was different, more earthy, more vivid. The African American students on the ship seemed to be the most excited of all: none of them had ever been to Africa, and they wondered if coming here would bring them back to their roots, would make them feel at home, would give them a sense of completeness and belonging that they had felt lacking back home.
Travel long enough and eventually you will come to realize that nothing ever turns out the way you expect.
The port was dusty and barren. Enterprising Kenyans had set up tables full of wooden carvings, masks, and beaded jewelry as an impromptu marketplace to meet the ship. Our unexpectedly short taxi ride to town had taken us down a short and littered road, under an arch styled to look like two giant elephant tusks, and past a few run-down bars and clubs, including Club Florida, which would serve as the hub of drinking activities for a large portion of the arriving students. The place had the feel of an abandoned amusement park.
We went immediately to Fort Jesus, the only known tourist attraction. It was an old fort left over from Portuguese colonization which had changed hands numerous times as Muslim and Christian empires had sought to control the Port of Mombasa and its lively spice trade (Mombasa is very close to the island nation of Zanzibar, in the Spice Islands!) The fort had peeling buildings within stone walls and sat on the edge of the endless turquoise plane that was the Indian Ocean.
It was sad but true that our experiences abroad had made us distrustful and cynical, and that despite his friendly attitude and cheerful suggestions we knew he wanted money, wanted our money, and we didn't know how much or when he would demand it. We refused him several times, and began wandering down a quiet street. The road was cobbled and the buildings were old and peeling stone. Many of them still had faded black stenciled lettering on them announcing their former service as British colonial buildings. There were cats lounging everywhere, beneath every spot of shade and in every doorway, more cats than I had ever seen in one place, uninterested in our passing. Our guide informed us that American exchange students came to Mombasa and stayed in one of the old British colonial buildings. It seemed ironic.
I felt a gentle but sudden touch on my arm, and, already on edge, I turned quickly to see a small boy running away from me. He ran to his mother's side where he was immediately but playfully scolded. It had been his apparent aim just to touch my skin.
Mombasa is a predominantly muslim city today, and we passed by several elaborate mosques and we walked deeper into the old part of the city. After trying to lose our guide several more times, we began to follow him, and he led us deeper into the city. We ended up in a more crowded part of town where people were selling all manner of items. My friend Phil stopped to buy some lemon grass from a vendor; our guide argued with him in Swahili until they settled on a price, whether it was more or less than he had originally been offering, we couldn’t know. We entered an open building where there was a vast fruit market. I was surprised to discover that I could only recognize a few of the many varied types of fruit for sale. Next door there was a meat market. The ubiquitous cats made their presence known here: they lounged under every table and darted out to catch bits of meat that fell from above. There was blood everywhere. On the tables, dripping to the floor, being licked up by hungry cats… everywhere. The amount of blood was only trumped by the number of flies… great, large flies that stirred from the meat and blood in waves like on the sea. At one stall there was hanging meat and a large pile of glistening skin and hair—camel skin, we were told, very fresh, just butchered this morning. Another stall was selling goat heads, there were nine of them still bleeding on a tray with eyeballs and tongues lolling, covered in flies. My camera was in my pocket. It stayed there. I stood out enough in this marketplace. I would have to remember the goats’ heads in my mind, I thought. I shouldn’t have worried… they have since been impossible to forget.
Our next stop was a spice shop. About the size of a small garage, the whole shop was crowded with burlap sacks filled to bursting with each type of spice. Yellow, brown, black and red, the smell of the mingling spices filled the room as the shop owner carefully showed us his exotic wares. So this was what the Chinese and the Indians and the Persians and the Omanis and the Europeans wanted so badly. This place must have seemed like a strange type of heaven to them.
Eventually we ended up on a modern-looking city street, and our guide wanted money. We asked him why he had told us that the tour was free, that he just liked people and wanted them to like Mombasa, that he loved his country and wanted to show it to people. He seemed slightly embarrassed but countered that it was obvious from the beginning that he would want money, and that we knew that as well as he did. He hailed us a taxi and when the taxi came he spoke some words in Swahili and climbed in the front seat to “assure that we made it back to our ship”. The taxi driver took us what seemed to be a long way and told us about how poor everyone was these days, and how a man couldn’t even afford to have a second wife, wives being increasingly expensive.
We reluctantly paid the taxi-man and the tour guide a sum of money and walked back through the temporary marketplace, where the American college students were busy trading their socks and t-shirts and baseball caps and condoms for wooden rhinoceroses, five-foot giraffes, and brightly-colored sarongs.
Saturday. 4.24.10 2:51 pm
On my birthday I came to my desk to discover that someone had left me a small cup of water with three bright dandelions inside.
If only that person knew that my whole life all I ever wanted was for someone to pick me a bouquet of dandelions!
And yet, I still have no idea who it was!!
Who are you, O Dandelion Bringer?
Tuesday. 4.20.10 11:02 pm
Early in my life I always imagined my "older self" as being 14. That "older me" was a lot like the young Indiana Jones (also aged 14 according to my books), having adventures at every corner of the globe and reading National Geographic. Indeed, at age 14 I visited France with my classmates on a school trip. Sure, I wasn't battling esoteric blood-thirsty ancient sects in the Middle East or digging up cursed mummies in Egypt like young Indiana Jones, but it was a start.
After I turned 14 whenever I imagined myself "older", I imagined myself being 26. In my mind when I was 26 I would be walking down a street in New York City wearing large sunglasses, clunky black shoes, and a fashionable black outfit. I'd be carrying several black and white shopping bags, laughing, and looking behind me at what would surely be my hilarious, fashionable girlfriends. I don't know why this was the scene I always imagined... especially since I've never been a huge NYC or shopping person. But it seemed like something grown-up-26-year-old girls would do.
My 26th birthday is tomorrow.
I guess this means that my dream is almost in reach... I can technically go down to NYC whenever I want... I still need a fashionable black outfit... my face isn't quite as round as I imagined it, and my hair is not quite as dark as I had projected, but otherwise I don't think I was too far off.
My birthday is tomorrow!! YAY!!!!
I have a new shirt. Two new shirts... but I can only wear one of them at a time, so I have to pick one. I'm starting the celebration early by doing my math homework and hanging out alone in my lab at 11:30pm!!!
Now I'm going to have to re-cast my net farther into the future... how old will the future me be this time?
Friday. 4.16.10 8:56 pm
When your boss comes in and quietly looks over your shoulder, THIS VIDEO isn't really a good thing to be watching.
When you desperately try to change the video to something else, it also doesn't help to have the words "dolphin rape" in your youtube search box.
Letters from Academia
Monday. 4.12.10 3:14 pm
Dear Geo Dept,
Our lab is assisting in a project to prepare toenail samples from Bangladesh for analysis of arsenic concentration. I would like to get some random toe or fingernail clippings (the larger the better) to help us work out the cleaning and digestion protocols. If you or family members would be willing to anonymously donate some clippings, preferably taken after a shower or bath, please put them a plastic ziplock bag and deposit the bag in the plastic tub located in the middle drawer in the cabinet beneath the mailboxes in Room 106. If your clippings have or may have nail polish on them, please use a sharpie to write NP on the bag (there should be a few in the cabinet drawer). There are also extra bags located in this drawer. If you have any trouble opening the drawer, make sure the other two are completely closed. Thanks in advance for any donations for this project.
Monday. 4.12.10 7:33 am
It's usually safe to assume he doesn't want you.
Unless he holds your hand, and kisses you, and tells you that he wants you.
In which case there is still a pretty high chance that he doesn't want you.
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