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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. 34
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 à 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

want to read: Last Hunger Games Book, Honeybee Democracy, The Bell Jar
The Juanes Module

Juanes just needed his own mod. Who can disagree.
Japan of Future's Past
Wednesday. 4.18.18 3:25 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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Living in an Airport
Wednesday. 2.28.18 3:37 am
Sometimes, when you travel a lot, you start to feel like you're living in an airport. This week, for me, that is literally true. I am attending a conference that is taking place in the Westin attached to the Denver International Airport. For three days, the airport is my house, and whenever I desire food or entertainment, I just skitter over there and the airport is my playground.

I have always liked airports. They are simultaneously busy and immaculate, with vaulted ceilings and shining buffed floors. Everyone is in transit, hurrying from one place to another, except for when they're not, and everyone suspends the normal standards of behavior and falls asleep on the floor.

The Denver airport is special because it is my home airport. I remember when it was built. I remember when the state-of-the-art baggage system was shredding people's bags, and when conspiracy theorists blamed it on the spirits of Native Americans over whose graves the airport was rumored to have been built. I have eaten countless times at the Panda Express on the second level. Countless times I have ridden the escalator up from the trains to greet my waiting family, usually wearing silly hats. It feels both strange and comfortable to be living there now.

The airport is full of memories. Leaving for Semester at Sea. Leaving to move to France. I remember as a child walking down the concourse and seeing in red letters above the gates all of the exotic cities that one could visit: Chicago. Los Angeles. New York. Miami. Twenty-five years later, and I've been to all of those places.

Last night my plane touched down at midnight. I checked in at the hotel and then spent the entire night working in the ultra-modern lobby, looking out at the airport, which never sleeps. I went to sleep at 6 am but had to be back in action at 8:30. The airport has everything you need, at any hour you might need it.

Tonight I ate some more Panda Express and found a spot to read on the mezzanine overlooking the exit to the trains. Tired as I was, the busy airport breathed life into me, and I read several chapters of my book about the Moon. I like to read about the Moon.

It's one place I haven't been yet.

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Friday. 2.2.18 6:50 pm
I watched "500 Days of Summer" on the plane to Ethiopia. It is basically the saddest movie ever made. It is sad because you spend the whole movie thinking about how you are Tom, whilst we not even recognizing that you are Summer to someone else.

As the plane descended towards Addis Abbaba, my constant companion, the Moon, set over the horizon, followed by the hunter, Orion. The plane made a broad sweep and I came face to face with the Southern Cross.

The first person I meet in Addis Abbaba is a dark-skinned older woman on her way to Juba, the capital of South Sudan. She is yelling after an airport employee, who doesn't hear her. "People aren't helpful here," she says, "in the United States they woukd stop." Soon after a tall, young handsome toffee-skinned man arrives and helps us navigate to the bus between terminals. He was originally born in Somalia but his parents now live in Ethiopia. He is headed to Jigjiga to see them. His children live in Nairobi, Kenya, and he lives in San Diego. It is very expensive, trips like this, but he must do them. As soon as we have settled down to wait for the terminal bus, an elderly Ethiopian woman appears in the company of an airport employee. Her name is Alga. "People are so nice here," she says to me by way of introduction. "I didn't know where to go and so this nice man went out of his way to accompany me to the bus stop. Everyone in Ethiopia is kind like that-- you will see, my daughter." She is originally from Ethiopia, but now she lives in Minnesota with her white American husband and children. They met during the Vietnam War, when there were many US servicemen stationed in Ethiopia (of course?).

"People are wonderful," Alga continues. "I am a people person. I always want to be around other people. They are so friendly and loving." I agree. Juba wonders aloud when the bus is going to come, as she has a flight in an hour. Jigjiga says not to worry. "You have plenty of time, m'am."

"What we really need is World Peace," says Alga. "You know, Michael Jackson said, 'It doesn't matter if you're back or white, you know that song?' Well he's right, it doesn't matter." I take advantage of a pause in her speech to heartily agree.

"One time," Alga says, "Someone asked me, 'How do you feel being black when your husband and children are white?' (Her children, she tells me, are as white as I am!) I said, 'It doesn't matter if you are back or white'. And then right afterwards Michael Jackson came out with that song! What do you think of that?"

That is quite a coincidence, I say, implying that maybe it wasn't a coincidence at all.

"I like that song," she said. "Back then it was a bit bad, you know, between black and white, but now it is ok."

"What we really need in order to get World Peace," continues Alga, "is to pray." I agree.

"HEY YOU! HEY MY SON!" she shouts at Jigjiga. "We all need to pray," she says, when he looks up from his phone.

"We were talking about how to get World Peace," I supply by way of context.

"Oh yes! We must all pray! You are right m'am." He replies.

"And the sister over there!" Alga says loudly. "Yes," replies Juba, distractedly. "The people are fine," she says. "The problem is the government!" Jigjiga laughs. "Where is the bus?!?"

"I think she has never traveled before," says Jigjiga says to me confidentially.

"You know what we must do? We must all pray for peace in the world!" continues Alga, clasping her jeweled hands together in prayer. "We all want the same thing, you know. We just want people your age [indicating me and Jigjiga] to grow up to be my age... that's all we want."
"That's why we moved to the US," says Jigjiga. "So that we can live quietly in peace".
"Well, who knows about the US these days," says Alga.
"Of course there are always problems everywhere," says Jigjiga. "But as long as there is a place that respects the rule of law, the people can live in peace, no matter what small things happen."
"You are Somali, aren't you, my son. Where are you going?"
"Where? People live there?"
"Yes, lots of people live there. Everyone lives there. They have a mosque right next to a church. And everyone lives in peace."
"Ethiopians live everywhere," Alga says. "Because..." She sweeps her hand. Communism. Military rule. Civil war. The Diaspora. That's over now, according to Alga. Ethiopia is the safest country in Africa. And the people are honest. And helpful. It isn't like Kenya, where the officials are corrupt and you have to pay bribes for everything. Here it is like the United States. Everyone respects the rule of law. You will see.

When we get to the passport control, everyone brings out their US Passports. Ah. Ethiopian, Somali, South Sudanese. What a gaggle of Americans we are.

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Peer Pressure
Thursday. 1.18.18 7:48 am
My professional development group threw a big party, and I brought some apple pucker and whipped cream so that I could force people to do shots like we used to do at the track and field parties back in college.

Me: Ok, now sit back in this chair and we will pour the shot and the whipped cream into your mouth.
Guy: Hmm... can I pour the shot into my own mouth?
Me: If I were in college, I would peer pressure you into doing it the 'proper' way, but since I am not in college anymore, I will let you do whatever you want, because you are your own person and should make your own decisions.
Guy: Hmm.... all right then, I'll do it the 'proper' way.

Normally I get drunk about three times a year or less, but in the last week and a half I have been drunk about 5 nights, two of which were "for work". :| Not sure this bodes well for the rest of 2018...

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Hello Tomorrow
Friday. 10.27.17 1:53 am
Be it extremely emotional, controversial, messed up, or whatever, this entry has been password protected.

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Thursday. 10.19.17 3:04 am
Be it extremely emotional, controversial, messed up, or whatever, this entry has been password protected.

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Thursday. 10.12.17 5:34 pm
One of my friends lives on an island in the Caribbean, where his activities consist of running on volcanoes, surfing, and scuba diving in the sea. He works for Météo France studying hurricanes. This year has been a good year in that respect-- though everyone else in the Caribbean might not agree. He is thinking about moving to Tahiti, where his cousin helps out running a tour outfit. His cousin says that he could use my friend's amazing photography skills for the business.

Him: But it would mean that I would have to end my ten-year relationship with research.
Me: But research kind of sucks.
Him: Yes it does! I don't want to kill myself writing papers just to get a job killing myself writing papers.
Me: Wouldn't it be nice to sell people something that they actually wanted, instead of having to beg all the time? If you were showing people the beauty of Tahiti, the people would say, "THANK YOU!! This has been the best day of my life!" And you would say, "Every day if my life is like this."
Him: Exactly!!!
Me: Hmmm... maybe I should move to Tahiti...
Him: Think about it. Tahiti is a direct 8-hour flight from LA.
Me: I will go to work, and while I am slaving away writing grants that will never get funded, I will buy a ticket to your island and rethink my life plan.
Him: Ok :)

Now I am at work, and it's pretty hard not to reconsider my life plan. : /

On the one hand, a life planning Moon missions and Mars colonization (and making good money), but filled with the stress of the rat race and the depressing prospect of living in a shanty house in LA forever; on the other hand moving to Tahiti... maybe becoming an adventure outfitter... or a geology guide... or a destination photographer... or maybe just a novelist. I could even be a freelance scientist, and only work on science when I had grant money. I would probably be pretty poor, depending on how my schemes panned out, but most of my activities on the island would be free!

And if it didn't work out, I could probably come crawling back to NASA.


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Moon Dust
Friday. 10.6.17 1:23 am
I asked my email list at work if anyone knew where I could find some lunar regolith simulant (fake Moon dust). In less than a half an hour, I had 21 responses, and in less than two days I got access to about 5 tons of fake Moon dust. Many of the responses were, "We used to have some and then they threatened to take it away so I put a bunch in a Ziploc and it's in my office."

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