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 Cherry Hills Vil, CO
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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 à 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
want to read: Last Hunger Games Book, Honeybee Democracy, The Bell Jar
Saturday. 9.16.17 6:13 pm
I have a three day weekend this week... So as usual I planned a luxurious weekend full of working. Working working Working!
At 3 am Friday morning we all went down to Caltech for a big party to celebrate crashing the Cassini spacecraft into Saturn. Getting out of bed at that hour was BRUTAL, but once I drove down through the silent streets and made it to party central, I was awake and ready to do some serious Saturn crashing. And crashing I was, as I was not on the mission team in any sense of the word, despite having been in copy on all of the Cassini radar team emails for the past year.
After we let Cassini slip the surly bonds of space and touch the face of Saturn, I slept for a few hours and headed to work. I was supposed to be catching up on 8 hours of backlogged bureaucratic crap that I have to do to clear my plate for writing a proposal this weekend, but I got distracted, as usual, by the Moon mission that I am planning. Next week I get to have a trade study on my Moon mission, and I'm trying to gather as much information as possible about every aspect of it ahead of the study. One of the critical things that I have to do is to craft the "story" of the mission in such a way that it can sell to people who are not scientists. Then I can pitch the mission to people and convince them to give me their support.
Today I was supposed to go back to work to once again attack the 8-hour pile bureaucratic crap... but I got distracted again. They were having an open house at the New York Film Academy, where I have been eyeing a 12-week night-time filmmaking course. I figured I'd stop by for an hour. Four hours later... I was still there. They had a tour of the school, followed by a lecture, followed by miniature break-out courses, followed by a lunch. One of the courses that I went to was on "The art of pitching". They taught us how to take our enormously complicated stories and winnow them down to one-liners so that we could pitch them to executives and get them to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into our projects...
...turns out that even when I am at film school open houses, I am still working on my Moon mission!
I had lunch with a bunch of the professors afterwards and told them about my quest, and my sincere belief that film and the space industry are a match made in heaven. They all enthusiastically agreed, and revealed that they all wanted to be astronauts as kids, and that they still dreamed about going into space. Now I'm going to give them all a tour of NASA, and I'm probably going to take the plunge and sign up for the film school. It will completely dominate my life from January to March, but by the end I will learn how to write a screenplay, direct, frame shots, and edit... for not one, but *four* of my own short films! Wow! :O
I can tell that these classes are kind of nuts... very demanding and rigorous... but when you are paying your own tuition, that's the kind of attitude you value. You have to attend class four days a week from 7-10 pm and then actually film your projects on the weekends. Since most of my current craziest activities end at the end of September, that means I will have three months to "relax" before it begins. [Relaxing includes flying to France to give a TED talk about colonizing Mars to a crowd of 1200 people. :O ]
It struck me that almost all of the people on my tour of the film school were from abroad. Apparently students come from some 70 countries to the institute to learn the art of filmmaking. If those people will travel from across the world at great personal and financial sacrifice to come here to learn film, would it kill me to drive 20 minutes from my house in the city next door for the same education?
Time to go to the gym, and then settle down for 8 hours of bureaucracy.... unless I get distracted by a party that's happening tonight. #partytilyoudrop #governmentbureaucracy #moonshots #LosAngelesLiving
My Dog's Personal Friends
Tuesday. 9.5.17 10:20 am
One Small Step
Saturday. 8.12.17 3:10 am
Tuesday. 8.8.17 7:27 pm
Woo-hoo! I got a bonus! They gave it to me because of the stuff I've been doing with my professional development group. I totally didn't expect it. Maybe this will help offset the money that I've been spending on ostentatious trophies and taco dinners for my group. XD
They Probably Shouldn't Make Me The Boss of Anyone
Tuesday. 8.8.17 12:49 am
I just found out that a spot to see the Conan O' Brien show opened up (it's free, and I had registered to be on the wait list two months ago). He's my favorite comedian/talk show host alive, and I was hoping it would be okay to not come in tomorrow since they recommend going there (Universal Studios) at around noon although the show is at 3:30 since they overbook.
I'm still working on my presentation (it's 20 pages right now,with images and 2.5 pages of references). Kailtyn told me what you told her today about structuring our presentations, which I'm also working on finishing.
Can we meet on Wednesday sometime?
Have a great evening!
Haha, yes. Have fun seeing Conan.
Stromatolite Hunting and the End of the Navigators
Friday. 8.4.17 2:09 pm
The Rat Race
Wednesday. 7.26.17 6:43 pm
Well, the last month has been pretty crazy. So crazy that I can't even keep track of all of the things that have happened. I will try to summarize them here.
Beginning of July: I flew to France to give a talk about Mars. I am starting a new side business where I get paid to give talks about Mars. At first I thought it would be easy, and they would just pay me, but in the end I've been spending hours reading about whether or not I have to register myself as a business, whether I have to register myself as "self employed" in France, whether I need to incorporate, how to issue invoices, and how to pay taxes. It isn't straightforward, mostly because French people like every piece of paper to be stamped in triplicate and sent as a registered letter.
The next week I attended a little conference where we were discussing the benefits that we might get by controlling robots on the surface of Mars (or other planets) using humans that were in orbit around that planet. It's much harder (and sometimes impossible) to get down to the surface of a planet with humans (see: Venus), but controlling a robot from nearby would mean that we could be way more efficient with our data collection. We were trying to figure out what exactly we could enable and what kind of changes in technology we would need. They had astronauts, Department of Defense people, planetary scientists, field geologists, neuroscience people, everything. It was pretty fun. Unfortunately I had a proposal deadline at the same time, and they didn't allow anyone to be on their laptops or on the internet during the whole workshop, so that was a bit stressful and required one almost-all-nighter to overcome. I hope they fund our proposal-- we proposed to download every paper in the Martian literature and then scrape them using computer algorithms to get all of the latitudes and longitudes that they mention in the papers. This way we could georeference the Martian literature, and as we surfed around on Google Mars we'd be able to see all of the papers that had been written about any given area of interest. It got high scores last year but wasn't funded. Cross our fingers for a better outcome this time.
After that I went to Napa Valley to run a half marathon with my older sister, pinkcoconut . It was so fun! I can't believe I ran that many miles. My legs were exhausted. I was being very good about keeping in shape before the race, but after it was over I've done nothing. :D
I had two days back in town, during which I had to communicate with everyone on all of my projects and tend to my interns. On Thursday night, I left for the mountains for a retreat that I was running for an 8-week professional development seminar that I invented for my coworkers. It was really fun. I had divided up the participants into small groups and they all had subjects that they had to report about. They had to make their reports in creative ways, and there were some pretty creative ones! We also just hung out and played camp games.
Immediately upon returning from the mountains on Saturday, I showered and washed my dog Juan Pablo and hit the road for San Diego, where I was attending Comic Con to be on a NASA panel. I arrived too late on Saturday to get a badge, but
ranor and I walked around and did some things that didn't require a badge, like an Escape Room. Ranor and I defeated the Escape Room in a ridiculously short time, with about 1% help from the other members in our group. We won a free season of "The Expanse". The next day we walked around buying things and I went to my panel and told stories about working at NASA. It was fun. Someone asked for my autograph and said, "You guys are the real heroes".
I had a long dinner with Dennis, where we hypothesized about why we weren't married to anyone yet and eventually decided that we just had to try harder.
On the way home I was one car removed from being in a hideous multi-car accident, which I instead watched play out before my eyes as if in slow motion. I don't think anyone was horribly injured, but there was a lady lying on the pavement with a broken leg and blood all over her arms, totally dazed and confused. I blocked the accident with my car and helped pick up a bunch of random pieces of car that lay strewn around the highway, and then, when the cops came, I headed off down the road, a little bit more jumpy than before.
This week I have five days of relative calm before things start happening again. But this only means that I have to take a shovel to the huge pile of outstanding tasks that have been accumulating continuously as I've been away.
I have come to the conclusion that I have to find a way to graciously exit from at least half of the things that I am committed to do, but I can't figure out how to do it, and I can't decide which things I should give up. There is only one task that I am sure that I should give up, but that's the one sending me camping for four days in the middle of Utah next week, and the flight is already booked. Plus I get to spend four days driving a Jeep around amidst some of the most fossiliferous rocks in the country learning about stromatolites from world experts, so who wouldn't want to do that?
Today I have to turn in four abstracts for a conference in December, two for myself and two for my interns. I also have to organize the last two meetings in my 8-week professional development series (for 62 people), and decide what I'm going to say during the one that is happening tomorrow, which I am leading. My teams have been earning "points" throughout the series, and I also have to go back through my email and add up all of the points to see which team is winning. I also have to write the newsletter for my larger professional development group (>320 people) and organize all of the events that will be happening in August. It's crazy how fast a month can go by.
I decided to stay at home so that I wouldn't get too distracted, but look at me, here on Nutang procrastinating by writing down all of the things that I have to do. Oy vey. I might have to stay up all night tonight. But I am taking off about 5 hours to get a tour of Universal Studios from my new friend Soroush.
I almost forgot: yesterday, when I was driving out of the driveway, I saw a rat flopping around in front of my car. It was not moving like a normal, healthy rat, and I stopped the car and watched it. It flopped around a bit more, then lay on the ground, panting, until it died. It reminded me of one of the opening scenes in The Plague, when all of the rats are dying, and people don't realize that the plague will soon consume them all. I sort of hope that someone had poisoned it, because at least that would explain why it was acting the way it did. Last I checked it was still there in the driveway, flattened by one of the neighbors' cars. I don't really want to get close enough to it to touch it.
A New Friend
Sunday. 7.2.17 8:52 pm
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