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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.
Thursday. 6.19.08 11:46 pm
We were sitting around in my next-door-neighbor's backyard. It was a large backyard, but I don't remember people playing in it very often. I must have been in third grade. We were playing "I'm Going on a Picnic". A fairly simple game, we had to progress through the alphabet as we went around the circle and say what we were bringing to the picnic that began with that letter.
"I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing an Apple!"
"I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing a Basket!"

It came around to my neighbor. She was a few years older than me, but not by much.

"I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing a Condom!" she said, smiling evilly.

A condom... hmmm, my third-grade-self thought. That must be short for "Condominium". Why did she look so satisfied with herself? A condominium was a ridiculous thing to bring on a picnic. You couldn't carry it, or eat it. Perhaps she was being intentionally absurd, and that's why she found the whole thing so funny. Nobody else seemed to get the joke, and the game continued.

Given that I skipped out on most of sex-ed in 5th grade by "accidentally forgetting" to get my permission slip signed, and I spent health class in 8th grade staging fights between a Hotwheels Camaro and a Prince Phillip figurine just under the desk for the benefit of my table-mates, it wasn't until I finally fulfilled the high school health class requirement the last semester of my senior year that the word "condom" once more made its way into my vocabulary.

It was much longer after that that I finally made the connection between it and the game we played that day in the backyard, and the condominium conundrum was finally resolved in my brain.

"Tsk, tsk, Molly," my 23-odd-year-old self thought, "not at any picnic of mine!"

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Children I should have kidnapped, Part I
Wednesday. 6.18.08 11:57 pm
We arrived at the train station. It looked like a scene out of an adventure film. People were bustling about busily, dressed in a mix of exotic and familiar clothing. The architecture was colonial, and the train itself looked like it was last one the British left when independence came in in 1947. Large, dusty sacks were piled against the walls. Someone had relieved himself on the platform, and the stinking pile of feces had become an uncharacteristic void space in the otherwise crowded pattern of milling people.

Once at our designated platform, we encountered some beggar children who asked us for candies and pens. We hadn't been expecting to have any downtime on the journey so we hadn't come prepared. A few people had tiny shampoo bottles from the last hotels we had stayed in back in Vietnam. One person had some hand sanitizer, and another a few Starburst. I gave a Starburst to one of the smaller children. He put it straight in his mouth without unwrapping it. We made him spit it back out into my hand and we showed him how to unwrap it. Logic, only seconds behind action, asked for the hand sanitizer to clean the resulting saliva from my hands. We unwrapped some more for the others until they were all gone. Next they wanted to know what the hand sanitizer was. A girl poured a little in a child's hand and it went straight into his mouth. She let out a cry and he sheepishly brought his hands down from his face. She showed him how when you rubbed your hands together quickly the hand sanitizer made them feel cool and tingly. Soon all of the children wanted to try it and we were passing out hand sanitizer right and left to a great many hands that may have never been clean.

The older girls all had baby siblings that they carried, and were a little shy. Two young boys were the oldest in the group and one was sweet and mild mannered while the other was mischevious and pushy. We naturally favored the sweet one and someone decided to give him the shampoo. Fearing a repeat of earlier occurrences, she pantomimed what one does with shampoo. She gave it to him and he put it immediately into his dry hair, plastering it to the side unnaturally. The mischevious boy was jealous and he tried to grab the shampoo bottle from the other boy. A tussle ensued and the bottle fell off the platform onto the rails. Our boy jumped down after it, scattering a pack of large rats that was eating the trash and refuse that littered the rails. We watched tensely as our boy leaped between the rails and finally made it back onto the platform before the train came. He put the shampoo bottle in his breast pocket proudly, even though it was covered in shampoo and no longer had a lid.

If I had had the means to raise him, I would have kidnapped him on the spot.

Whatever you say about India, the reverse is also true

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Romantic Candlelit Dinner
Wednesday. 6.11.08 11:12 pm
Tonight my roommate and I had a romantic candlelight dinner in the backyard. We put little round white bulb-lights on the leafy green umbrella tree and lit the tiki torches I bought for $1.99 each. We hung my glass stars from the tree and lit the candles inside. Then we set out my red glass lanterns and lit the candles inside those, too. We put up the dark wood folding table and chairs in the grass under the umbrella tree and I made pink lemonade with ice cubes shaped like stars. I cooked up the fajitas with fresh peppers and onions that I'd made yesterday and Thalweg made beans and queso and rice and we ate it with sour cream on tortillas and tortilla chips. We looked lovingly upon our recently planted tomato plants in our new garden and pointed out constellations in the summer sky.

In college we always wanted to have a romantic dinner underneath that leafy canopy on the way to CMC- we even planned out all the details, down to having my singaporean roommate providing violin accompaniment. But we never did it, because we never had any one with whom we could romantically dine... it's a regret. It was a beautiful leafy bower, ripe for romantic dining. So I suppose here in Providence I can make up for this lost opportunity by having romantic dinners at all times for all sorts of different kinds of people. Still, my city begs to be enjoyed by lovers.

Mercury, ho!

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The End of Times
Tuesday. 6.10.08 1:12 pm

Your Biblical Name Is...

Kezia Lilith

You will live to see the end of times.

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hot hot hot!
Tuesday. 6.10.08 9:13 am
It's like 95 degrees and a million % humidity. Not only that, but it was 75 degrees by 5:30 am. Not only that, but in our third floor apartment, it was 95 degrees ALL NIGHT.

And it's freezing in the Seafloor Lab. So the fact that I forgot my jacket on this most sweltering of days will plague me throughout the working hours.

The only other place I can think of where such hot and cold extremes can exist in close proximity is... Mercury.

Mercury, ho!

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An Adventure Through the Computer
Saturday. 6.7.08 9:41 pm
I was going through some of my old files on my computer and I ran across some old drafts of letters that I wrote to some old high school friends during difficult times. I'd almost forgotten about several iterations of difficulties that we'd all had.


I also found this paragraph that I wrote during perhaps ?sophomore year in college? and then saved in a word file:

Hi Ranor.
:) I just wanted to tell how much I appreciate you being my friend. :)
I like seeing you on the street and skating up to hug you. I like it that you are always there if I feel sad. I like it when you're there when I feel happy to dance with joy with me. I like your messenger bag and your fuck-me shoes and your orchid and the way you like to shop for housewares even though it makes you feel unmanly. I like the way that cute boys make you all giggly inside and the way you look when you're drunk with those big brown sad eyes. I like your eyebrow piercing and how you know obscure bands. I like how you work hard at O-chem because it's important to you. I like the way you take pictures of people in order to capture important background eye-candy. You are the most fun person I have ever met. I like your clothes and the smell of your pillow. I like it how your face is smooth and expressive.

Love, Me

Don't remember if I actually ever sent that to Ranor.

Well here it is, a mere 4 years later.

And to end, an unrelated bit of a poem by Coleridge, which I also found in my adventures into old files:

In Nature there is nothing melancholy.
But some night-wandering man whose heart was pierced
With remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper, or neglected love,
(And so, poor wretch! Filled all things with himself,
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
Of his own sorrow) he, and such as he,
First named these notes a melancholy strain.

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Thursday. 6.5.08 11:48 pm
Goin' to HAWAII
Goin' to HAWAII

Me and my friends, Sethifus and Zebo,

Goin' to HAWAII!

This geology thing is really working out for me.

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Yes, Sensei
Tuesday. 6.3.08 10:14 pm
Today we were looking at one of my images on the large projection wall at our audio-visual facility. It showed some seriously strange-looking patterns in the lava on Mars. I was in charge of discussion and in charge of the joystick which allowed us to fly around in the image. There was no preparation for the role, I just had to play it, engaging everyone, making sure they stayed interested, making sure each of their voices was heard, that the others properly understood what they were talking about, that their points and questions were addressed before someone changed the subject. At the end of the session my advisor asked me to wrap it up with a conclusion of a sort. I started talking but someone was having a side conversation with the audio-visual guy. My advisor told me that first I had to bring my group to order. "Let's all come back to order," I said, and my errant ducklings came back to the table sheepishly, as sheepish as ducklings have ever been. Then I wrapped up the session, went over the important points, and outlined what everyone ought to do in order to make progress forwards. It came pretty easily since I always have to listen in on the teleconferences that my advisor facilitates for other things.

It occurred to me that the whole exercise had been a teaching moment--- it was as much about helping me grow as a facilitator as it was about talking about Mars. It's sometimes crazy to realize all of the tiny things that my advisor does on a daily basis to mold us into the researchers of the future. Making us give presentations, making us lead groups, making us practice thinking up projects and delegating them to other people, even making us listen in on seemingly pointless telecon meetings.

It's just like what parents do, really. I played some mini golf today after work and I thought back to when I was first learning to play. Playing a round of putt-putt golf was always just as much if not more so about learning to play by the rules, learning good sportsmanship, and learning that a moment of calm patience hits the ball much better than one of impetuous frustrated rage---than it ever was about learning to play a good game of putt-putt.

But it was also about putt-putt, which is why I beat all my coworkers.

I think many times your elders make you do tasks that seem arduous or meaningless, but if you've got a good teacher, there's usually a lesson in there somewhere, whether or not you realize it at the time.

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