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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.
Running, Jumping, Working, etc.
Saturday. 1.16.16 11:19 pm
I went to the gym last night. I ran three miles, but I could only run about .75 of those miles at randomjunk's pace. Well, well. I'll just have to keep trying. Today I went to spin class for the third time, and it was SUCH A KILLER. AHHHH. Then I went to work and got in a couple of hours of work, and then I went back to the gym for Zumba. I've become a glutton for punishment. { I went to some insane cardiovascular workout on Wednesday. Everyone in the class is super fit... probably because everyone that wasn't is dead now. } After lunch I read some more of Red Mars (almost finished now!) and took Juan Pablo hiking up the canyon near my house. There is now a river in the canyon (what novelty!), so that made it a more interesting hike. Then dog obedience class, then dinner. It's amazing how many things you can do in one day when you start at 8 am with spin class.

Tomorrow I'm driving a bunch of foreigners to Santa Barbara to see a rocket launch. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

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Hollywood Calling
Thursday. 1.14.16 8:07 pm
Hollywood called, and asked if I wanted to be a "science advisor" for their new TV series based on Kim Stanley Robinson's book "Red Mars".

omggggg I hope they choose meeeeeeeeeeee
*squeeeeeeeeee* They said that they needed to ask me some questions about terraforming.

{By the way I judged that book by its cover for many years, and did not read it, and now that I've finally been reading it, it's REALLY GOOD.}

In other news I just got a series of invitations to give talks at different institutions. I was invited to give a talk at Caltech next week on a "topic of my choice" (living inside yardangs, obviously).

I'm going to give a talk about volcanoes at Georgia Tech in April (will middaymoon be there???)
I was also asked to come back and give a talk at my homeland of Brown University sometime this spring (probably about intersecting ridges on Mars).
I also just got invited to this interdisciplinary lecture at Caltech about the 'History of Exploration Through Time'. I'm not giving that lecture (some fancy person is) but for some reason they invited me to be their guest at dinner with the speaker at the super fancy Caltech Faculty Club. -Accepted-
I was also invited to go on an adventure with some geologists to an island off the coast of California that is currently only open to the US Navy.

On top of that, I finally submitted a paper that I'd been working on for *ages*! Hopefully this early publication will mean that I can get at least three publications in 2016! I have an unofficial goal of publishing 100 first-author papers over the course of my career... which means that I have to average about 3 per year over the next 30 years.

Speaking of lectures, tonight I am going to a lecture about this Deep Space Atomic Clock that they have been building here at JPL. So I'd better finish writing my talk about yardangs before it starts!

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The Infinite is Unknown, in Zumba Class
Saturday. 1.9.16 9:33 pm
The zumba continues.

I've been to zumba every day this week. Some days I've done another class, too, like kickboxing. This morning I had my "complimentary personal trainer consultation", after which they gave me the high pressure sales pitch to hire a personal trainer. No thanks-- I could barely convince myself to buy this gym membership. They asked me if I was serious about my fitness goals. I am... but I have silly fitness goals. I can't pay someone $780/mo just so that I can improve my breakdancing.

Every instructor is different, and they all prefer slightly different music. Some classes feel like a one-hour Dance Dance Revolution mix, some feel like a one-hour Latin dance-a-thon, others like a funky soul party, and others like an 80s aerobics class. In those classes I feel like a member of the mall aerobics class taken over by Joan of Arc in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. In any case, I get to spend an hour watching an incredibly energetic and amazing dancer shake their stuff. And best of all, they break it down so that I can copy them. I would have copied y'all in the club, too, it would have just been more awkward.

All in all, one thing is clear: Zumba class was made for me, and I was made for Zumba.

Now I'm back at work until late tonight. Since there's no one here, it's 100% loud dubstep and looking at Mars. An excellent combination.

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So Much for the Moon
Thursday. 1.7.16 3:53 pm
Be it extremely emotional, controversial, messed up, or whatever, this entry has been password protected.

If you know it, enter it; or, ask me for it.

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Wednesday. 1.6.16 1:48 am
Inspired by randomjunk, I started going to the gym. I looked up the gym type that she goes to, and noted that you get a FREE MASSAGE every month with your membership!?!? Whaaaat? Amazing!?!

Well I didn't join that gym, as it was too far away, but I did join 24-hour Fitness, which is conveniently located between my house and my workplace. Over the last five days I've been every day, sometimes taking two classes, sometimes one. I've taken three Zumba classes (1 hr each), one cycling class (1 hr... I thought it was only a half an hour so I almost died around minute 32 when I realized). I also took a kickboxing class. One day I went on the stairmaster for 30 minutes. Oh my. I weighed myself this morning, and according to the scale I weigh more than I've ever weighed in my life. Good thing I already ate all of my Christmas candy, so it won't tempt me anymore. Cardiovascularly speaking, and strength-wise, I'm not as out of shape as I thought I would be. I guess working on the 8th floor and only using the stairs has been helpful for something. After each class I want to say, "IS THAT ALL YOU HAVE!?!?" Except the cycling class, man, that was pretty harsh. Everyone warned me that Michelle, the instructor, is a beast.

The 24-hour fitness dude who got me signed up on the computer was a student at Cal Poly Pomona. He wants to be an intern at JPL this summer. It would be weird if he ended up working for me. He asked me what my goals were for joining the gym. I didn't really have any, other than "to get in shape". Since then I've been trying to think of what my goals actually are. I think I just wanted an activity to do, and I'd exhausted lying around on the floor of my house and scrolling through 9gag.

So far the combination of vigorous aerobic exercise and giving up Facebook (and 9gag) at work has made me extraordinarily productive... we'll see how long that lasts. We're headed into the season right now when everyone is frantically writing conference abstracts for this conference we have coming up in March (the deadline to submit something is January 12th).

Today it rained about half as many inches as we got during the entire year of 2015. It's supposed to continue raining for the rest of the week. THE REST OF THE WEEK! That's like eternity here in southern California, where weather isn't supposed to be a thing. The El Nino they promised us has finally arrived.

In other news, I bought a couch, a coffee table, and an end table. The latter two arrived this afternoon, and the couch is scheduled to arrive some time in the next month. It is a foldout couch, so the next time didi comes I'll have a place for him to sleep (and all of you, too, fair Nutangians).

Tomorrow we go to the bosses and ask for ~3 million dollars to continue building our Moon robot. I hope we succeed. :) My colleague's job hangs in the balance.

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From a Café in Buenos Aires
Wednesday. 12.16.15 5:06 pm
I am sitting in a café in Buenos Aires. I am waiting for a flight. I managed to order something like a Fanta and two empanadas of different types. The orange soft-drink is a particular victory for me because I managed to say in Castellano, "Do you have something like a Fanta?" The result was close enough to a Fanta, by all accounts.

Buenos Aires had put me in a bad mood, as usual. It wasn't really the fault of the city as much as it was the fault of the world-- the world was so globalized that everything looked the same, and it annoyed me to travel so far to find that nothing had changed.

So I had sat staring morosely out of the bus window, looking at the same goddamn weeds growing out of the same goddamn sidewalks, and the same goddamn trash choking the same goddamn waterways, stretching in brown mundanity towards the vast brown sea. Then I'd fallen asleep.

In the airport I'd had to run the gauntlet of the duty free shop, with its perfumes, cognacs, and Oakleys. It isn't difficult: I am immune to luxury items. Especially when they are the same goddamn luxury items in every airport, across the world, with no variation. The super-sized Toblerone pyramids are an exception. I am always tempted by Toblerone. But my will was strong. I bought two normal chocolate bars, and my delight at following the conversation with the cashier in Castellano momentarily distracted me from the math of conversion and before long it dawned on me that I'd spent $8 on a chocolate bar. A Milka, no less. Did they import the goddamn thing from Germany directly? The wrapper is printed in German, so that could be precisely what they did.

Inside the terminal someone has parked a brand new Fiat on a pedestal under a string of lights, as if a Fiat could ever be desirable. The television is tuned to "soccer news", because soccer players have been the only personages of note to come from Argentina since it was founded.

The Argentinians as a people can best be described as either stylish Americans or fat Spaniards. Every man in Argentina is handsome, even the ugly ones. The old ones in particular, of the sport-coat-wearing, loafer-sporting variety, gaze out at the world from beneath dark, expressive eye brows, and every one of them could be The Most Interesting Man in the World. The women run the gamut on the thin side of average-looking, but the production quality that goes into their hair is unparalleled in all of the New World. Many of them are fair, which seems disconcerting in South America. I finish my orange soda. My mood has improved ever-so-slightly. Argentina doesn't deserve my scorn any more than any other godforsaken country on the planet.

Time to board a plane.

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Quiet Phone
Friday. 11.27.15 11:02 pm
I found an old poem that I wrote. The technology is out of date.

Quiet Phone

The phone is quiet, unperturbed.
Flipped to attention in hope of extraordinary news;
It delights in its ordinariness
The phone is quiet.

Hid in pocket, left by bedside table,
Stared at, flipped open (to check the time);
Exhorted by force of will to ring, rechecked for ringer volume
The phone is unmoved.

My Love could be lost, hurt, confused, or dead
The phone is Quiet.
My Love could be dead, or worse, uncaring,
or worse, with another

The phone is unmoved.

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Billions and billions
Friday. 11.6.15 6:54 pm
Yesterday my friend and I had to give a presentation to a bunch of bigwigs. They had told us to figure out whether a particular mission idea was feasible. We told them that it was indeed a very cool mission, and that we had figured out how we could do it. Then our cost guy got up and gave the estimated costs and all of the bigwigs proverbially choked on their coffees. Feasibility study having been completed, our bosses placed a big black checkmark next to the concept: STUDIED. Check.

And that was all she wrote. I was disappointed, but not surprised.

Afterwards my friend and I were sitting around and talking about how bummed we were.

"Well," he said, "we did ask them to fund something that cost 4 billion dollars. How many people get to go up in front of people and ask for things that cost 4 billion dollars? Even around here?"

Not many. Not too many at all.

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