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 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
Thursday. 4.11.19 8:11 am
On Sunday Ben and I went to the Huntington Gardens, a beautiful botanical garden with plants from all over the world. We strolled around in the garden and admired everything, and then we lay on the grass in the shade of a tall skinny palm tree. Every few minutes the shade of the palm tree would move on, leaving us in the sun again, and we'd have to roll over a few times to catch up. Mostly we just lay in the grass and stared into each others' eyes. Younger Zanzibar would have considered such an activity to be a useless waste of time, but contemporary Zanzibar found it to be exceedingly worthwhile.
Old Journal Entries
Monday. 4.8.19 2:02 am
I found an old journal and I decided to throw it out but I will preserve the interesting entries here:
My Favorite Books:
2. The Road to Serfdom
3. Democracy in America
4. Crucial Conversations
5. The 5 Love Languages
6. How to Win Friends and Influence People
1. Hot Shots: Part Deux
4. Batteries Not Included
5. The Lady Vanishes
7. Don Juan de Marco
8. True Lies
9. It's a Wonderful Life
Random Songs I like:
1. El Amor de Laura
2. Andante Sostenuto
3. Chopin Nocturne No 1 & 2
4. God Bless the Broken Road
Some Day in the Past
Today is National Avocado Day. I have been getting back into running. Last night I ran at the gym. Time on the treadmill goes much faster when you run during prime time TV. Last night I watched a show about this girl who training to face a demon. The demon kept killing innocent people, so she was like, "I'm going to face it tonight!" and this other guy was like, "You're not ready! The demon will kill you!" but she ignores him and goes anyway, and then within 30 seconds of finding the demon it impales her on its long demonic claw and BLAM, she is dead.
That was unexpected.
Yesterday we won our softball game by a wide margin. I played first base. Both teams were wearing red-- the other team on purpose, us accidentally. I then ate some delicious Chipotle and went back to work to answer some emails. That took me until 4 am!! O.O
Yesterday I gave a tour of JPL to two students who were at CPP who were feeling discouraged about the future. I think I convinced them to study hard and not give up hope.
Yesterday my intern Adi and I went to Pisgah to collect some lava rocks. We filled my whole car with rocks, consisting of three kinds: Pahoehoe, a'a, and solid core rocks.
Then we dumped them all out in front of 198. It was hot-- at least 100 F.
I also saw a chupacabra right on Santa Anita near Deodara.
Today I took a Day of Rest. I slept in late and then went to Zumba class--- a special, Hawaiian-themed Zumba class a half-hour longer than usual. Then I went swimming. It was fun! I want to do it more. It felt like a good workout, too, and not as boring as running on a treadmill.
Yesterday Travis and Adi and I had an adventure to the Museum of Natural History to see the famous "Hall of Minerals". There were so many minerals and they were all arranged by mineral families-- the sulfates, the phosphates, the silicates, and all kinds of families that I didn't even know about, like "Molybdates". They even had a vault filled with gemstones, like diamonds and rubies. My favorite was a rough diamond that came up from the interior in a kimberlite flow. The diamond was still embedded in the flow. It was cool to think that the diamonds were ambassadors that came to tell us about the Deep Earth. Maybe, if the lunar basalts really did ascend quickly form the Moon's interior, they could have diamonds in them, too.
"Moon Diver in the sky with diamonds" ...literally.
Yesterday I had my stressful negotiation with APL, and it went pretty well-- as well as you could hope for I guess.
Today a chupacabra catcher came to my house. She was looking for a baby chupacabra that I saw in my neighbor's yard. She told me about all of the chupacabras in the neighborhood. She actually lives in Santa Clarita, but she knows all of the local Altadena chupacabras by name. She catches them all with a big net. One time she was chasing one through an orange grove and just running and running after it, carrying this heavy net. Just as she thought she was going to have a heart attack, her friend Anna came from the side like a velociraptor and netted the chupacabra. Josie and Anna make the perfect pair, because they are both willing to get up at any hour and drive any distance to find a chupacabra. She said Anna was the only one who would get up at 3 am to go with her to some random place to find them. And Anna lives in Simi Valley!!
I think one of life's greatest delights is when you finally find a friend who is as crazy as you are, and you get to be crazy together at last.
Yesterday I went to see the fancy pigeons. It was fascinating. Apparently back around the turn of the century, keeping pigeons was the third most popular hobby in America, behind stamp and coin collecting. People used to eat them, but then some chicken farmers made some extraordinary advances through selective chicken breeding, and chickens went from laying 60 eggs a year to laying an egg every 18 hours! Talk about a GMO success story! In the afternoon I planned a trip to North Dakota with my dad-- it's the only state he's never been to. Then I watched "Life is Beautiful" It was indeed beautiful. :
Yesterday I found out that I got a grant funded to study yardangs!! It was a proposal that Jani and I had submitted ages ago, and I almost completely forgot about it. We get to go to Argentina and live among the yardangs for weeks at a time, cavorting among them, basking in their radiance, soaking in their endless splendor!
Several years ago I spent on of the happiest days of my life with my pals among the yardangs in Argentina. It was like being transported to Mars and allowed to finally have access to the mysteries of aeolian science that I had so long pursued from orbit. Add Jani and my other yardang-obsessed friends, a perfect kite-flying wind, a long walk on snow-white rocks under an ice-blue sky, a gorgeous sunset with billowing clouds, and a sumptuous Argentinian feast at the end-- the best!
Friday. 3.15.19 8:40 pm
Conversations with my NASA Boy
Friday. 3.8.19 11:58 am
Me: I found a huge boulder in the side of the Moon pit. If we can wrap our tether around it, we can descend into the pit from the due West direction and intersect all the lava layers I want to measure.
Ben: Aw, you really want to go down that west side don't you?
Ben: But honey, we can't go down that side. It will be too hot!
Me: But I want to, babe.
Ben: Honey, do you want our rover to melt?
Me: My baby designed me a rover with a good thermal system that can go anywhere
Ben: No he didn't, babe. No he didn't.
Dancing in the Moonlight
Monday. 1.21.19 5:16 pm
When I was nine, my mother packed us all into the car and took us out to a meadow to dance in the moonlight. There was a meadow of prairie grass in a preserve across the street from our neighborhood. They were going to turn the preserve into a neighborhood for luxury houses, and my mother wanted us to have one last chance to revel in the wildness of the prairie before it was gone forever.
Let me tell you about my mother. My mother grew up wild and brave, riding her bicycle, exploring the neighborhood: a natural athlete with the spirit of a ten-year-old that has lasted throughout her adult life. She is a talented artist, with a studied eye for opportunities to make the world more beautiful. She has a tremendous gift for hospitality, remembering favorite things, delivering comforting foodstuffs, and transforming rooms from ordinary to extraordinary, lit with warm lights and a festive atmosphere. She combines her talents for art and hospitality to make every holiday come alive and sparkle with delight and excitement, from the place settings to the beauty of the food, to the magical lights that she sets to sparkle after darkness falls.
She dedicated the early years of our lives to raising us. She used to sit us up at the counter, three little girls in a row, to give us a snack and talk to us about everything. She took us to the museum, taught us to bake, quizzed us with flash cards and turned us outside to play in the rough-and-tumble outdoors. From her we learned to appreciate impressionist paintings, Greek myths, and the enduring beauty of classic literature. My older sister has followed in her footsteps, creating bakers and museum-goers with her own (soon-to-be three) little boys in a row.
I had the happiest childhood one could imagine.
When we got older, she returned to her profession as a librarian. From age ten onward, I watched as she climbed through the organization, building her skill set, taking on stretch assignments, until she was the Associate Director of the entire district. She applied her artistry and hospitality to turn her employees into productive teams and the library into a welcoming home. She applied her deep knowledge of the human spirit to encourage and develop everyone around her, and used the resources of the library and the internet to voraciously learn more. No matter her position in the organization, she used it to serve: diving in to help move furniture, bake brownies, imagine the future of the libraries, and give back to the community around her. When faced with my own professional challenges, I often fall back upon the many lessons we had learned along with her, vicariously, throughout her impressive career.
My mother is never the same person as she was the last time you met her. In the meantime she has taken a new course, learned a new skill, and invented new hobbies. One could call her many things: capable manager, loving protector, imaginative creator, loyal friend. But to me she will always be the woman knee-deep in the wild prairie grass, teaching her children to dance in the moonlight.
Shooting for the Moon and All That
Wednesday. 1.9.19 6:55 am
Well I'm in the middle of writing the science section of my Moon rover proposal, and I have come face to face with just how unprepared I am to write a proposal of this magnitude.
But as Aristotle once said, "For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them."
Monday. 1.7.19 10:23 am
My Speech to Congress About Space
Monday. 12.31.18 6:56 pm
This is the speech that I would give to Congress if ever I were to address them. :)
Members of Congress,
In in the course of a generation, there are moments that we all remember. Moments where everyone in the nation remembers exactly where they were, and what they were doing. What kinds of moments were these? The day the towers fell. The day John F. Kennedy was shot. Pearl Harbor. If you notice, most of these events are bad things. Everyone remembers precisely where they were because we were collectively horrified: filled with uncertainty about the future, horrified by the capacity of mankind for evil.
But there is another event that is collectively remembered by the members of a generation: the Moon landing, on July 24, 1969, of Apollo 11... an event remembered not only throughout the nation, but throughout the entire world. This is one of the only events in living memory when everyone in the world remembers what they were doing because they were electrified-- filled with wonder about the future, and electrified by the capacity of mankind for good! This moment is a moment that will be famous not just in a generation, but in a hundred generations-- in a thousand generations. It is a first unlike any other-- the first time humans went beyond our home planet and walked on the face of another world.
Since 1969, the consistent value of NASA, beyond satellites, beyond velcro and teflon, beyond LASIK and memory foam, is the consistent delivery of good news, the consistent delivery of wonder at God's creation, and consistent inspiration at the our increasing ability to grasp it, to explore it, and to reach it. I live in Los Angeles, and they've started launching more rockets from the Vandenburg Air Force Base. That's something that gets your attention! How extraordinary to live in a place where you can look up from your bedroom window and see a rocket launching into space! Every day, our constellation of missions beams down scientific data from the edge of the Sun to the edge of Interstellar Space! Every day, American innovation is illuminating the darkest corners of the Universe with the light of human knowledge!
As members of Congress, you have many things competing for your attention. There are mouths to feed, there are roads to build, there are alliances to defend. These are all important. So important, in fact, that I would say that 95% percent of all of our funds should be dedicated to them. 95% percent of our funds: dedicated to the here and now, to the near future, to the world's ever-pressing problems of hunger, and sickness, and disease.
But suppose that we spent 5% of these funds on the future... the far future. Suppose we spent 5% of these funds on something that will be remembered not only by a generation, but by a thousand generations.
When I ask you, Members of Congress, for the money to fund NASA's Mission to Mars, I am asking you to fund a moment that will reverberate through a thousand generations.
I hope you will consider our proposal.
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