Wednesday, December 31, 2008

370. The Prism and the Mirror Box (Stokastika Photography Shoot)

It's funny how a bunch of little ideas just lay around unfinished, undone, all over the place. I just have one long trail of unfinished ideas, to which I am slowly accumulating, organizing, and cleaning up. Such was the case when I attempted to transport a 'mirror box' and 'prism' to the car upon return to Santa Barbara in December 31, 2008. I picked up the mirror box, remembering how I made it during the time I was visiting Tariel, and then I realized I performed a photoshoot with the mirror box, but never finished it! I never placed it on line! And so it goes.

The mirror box and prism are fundamental metaphors in perception of a common system--for example stakeholder perceptions of a common set of resources, or a common landscape, a common environment. The mirror box represents multiple different perceptions of the same system, but the prism not only reflects, but has transluscence. Transparency. The goal is to find common grounds--extract the common stuff that represents all of our core needs for existence.

This is what it says on my Stokastika Portfolio:
"I came back to Santa Barbara the day before New Years, only to realize I needed to move the mirror box and the prism to the car. I made the mirror box and purchased the prism in downtown Santa Barbara (back in May of 2008). I was inspired that my friend Tariel had a prism, so I was determined to have my own!"

Monday, December 29, 2008

369. Industrial Ecology of Graduate School Part 2--Lifestyles of the Intellectually Wealthy, Physically Impoverished, and Culturally Underepresented!

Variation 1:

"Graduate School: Lifestyles of the Intellectually Wealthy, Physically Impoverished, and Culturally Under-represented." (There is no Hollywood Grad Student Flick. Why? Why not! It's about time!) And so this on-going photoessay goes to show the desperate measures a particular graduate student takes in order to survive--physically, mentally, academically--and simultaneously attempts to capture the holistic essence of the rebellious graduate student culture--one of the most psychologically "at risk" groups in America! Well, duh. Our profession is to ask the question "What's the point?" every single day. Of course, we are AT RISK! And secondly, it's great to be "at risk" because it just serves as another excuse to a typical unproductive day of research. Images vary from vices--food, caffeine (etc), sleep, exercise, trash, beer, to office/field tendencies of graduate students, like writing on your hands, playing Outcrop Jenga by stacking paper on top of your desk, buying surfboards with student loans, etc.

Variation 2:

"Graduate School: Lifestyles of the Intellectually Wealthy, Physically Impoverished, and Culturally Under-represented." (There is no Hollywood Grad Student Flick. Why? Why not! It's about time!) And so this on-going photoessay goes to show the desperate measures a particular graduate student takes in order to survive--physically, mentally, academically--and simultaneously attempts to capture the holistic essence of the rebellious graduate student culture--one of the most psychologically "at risk" groups in America! Well, duh. Our profession is to ask the question "What's the point?" every single day. Of course we have a little empty black box in our mind's hearts! Of course! We are AT RISK! And secondly, it's great to be "at risk" because it just serves as another excuse to a typical unproductive day of research. Images vary from vices--food, caffeine (etc), sleep, exercise, trash, beer, to office/field tendencies of graduate students, like writing on your hands, stacking paper on top of your desk that is of relative scale to Mount Whitney. Grad Party Collection Coming Soon!

Variation 3:

"Graduate School: Lifestyles of the Intellectually Wealthy and Physically Impoverished." And so this on-going photoessay goes to show the desperate measures a particular graduate student takes in order to survive--physically, mentally, academically--and simultaneously attempts to capture the holistic essence of the rebellious graduate student culture--one of the most psychologically "at risk" groups in America! Well, duh, that's expected. Our profession is to ask the question "What's the point?" every single day. Of course we have a little empty well black box of emotionally driven intellect in our heads! Of course! We are AT RISK! And secondly, it's great to be "at risk" because it just serves as another excuse to an unproductive day of research (like I made a cartoon, caught a softball and got an out for the city team, drove my friend home in the rain, but didn't get any research done.' Hmmm. Images vary from vices--food, sleep, exercise, trash, beer, to the tendencies of graduate students, like writing on your hands, stacking paper on top of your desk that is of relative scale to Mount Whitney, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera." I'm sure I'll have a "grad party" collection soon enough!

Variation 4:

"Graduate School: Lifestyles of the Intellectually Wealthy and Physically Impoverished." And so this on-going photoessay goes to show the desperate measures that a particular graduate student takes in order to survive--physically, mentally, academically--and simultaneously attempts to capture the holistic essence of the rebellious graduate student culture--one of the most psychologically "at risk" groups in America! Well, duh, our profession is to ask the question "What's the point?" every single day. Of course! We are AT RISK! And secondly, it's great to be "at risk" because it just serves as another excuse to an unproductive day of research (like I made a cartoon, caught a softball and got an out for the city team, drove my friend home in the rain, but didn't get any research done.' Hmmm. Images vary from vices--food, sleep, exercise, trash, beer, to the tendencies of graduate students, like writing on your hands, stacking paper on top of your desk that is of relative scale to Mount Whitney, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera."

Cleaning My Mind's Room, Version 3.0 (Okay! Calm Down!)

I, Victoria, just blew a bunch of neurological fuses. I am emotionally overwhelmed--ready to cry--just like how I was during my first year at UC Davis. My hippocampus has been overloaded--especially after exposing myself to several ideas and people and conferences that had all been buried in my head... and now? They are all in my mind, lively and animated... after a long quarter of being in great dormancy.

I had a series of "thoughtful ideas" pounce out of my head--all in random order in space and time--of course, because I exposed myself in random order. That is what a "mess" is.

I was thinking about my photography. I tended to "kick the camera" towards the direction of non-linear systems, spirals, branching networks, blurry subjects. Nothing predictable. I avoid all systems that have a high degree of predictable properties to them. The only way I can live today is through seeing the world in a state of Uncertainty--a degree of order and a degree of chaos. Predictability will lead to my doom.

I was at home and came to realize that my father indiscriminantly threw away nearly all my "boxes" for stash and storage. I told my mother that if he hadn't done that, I would be getting $50 back for my softball glove. I just recently made the purchase. My mom was like, "Ouch." My dad and I communicate precisely when it comes to research. When it comes to meeting times, when it comes to making plans (I'll be back January something), when it comes to throwing away boxes in the garage, life becomes highly... imprecise... but my dad and I don't care. I told him, "Don't you realize, I had to meditate for a LONG, LONG, LONG time in order to get into your world and your mentality? I had to sit down with myself and ask "What is really a problem?" And do I want to be defined by petty problems, like image, like little annoying things my relatives do? Or do I want to be defined by universal problems--disregard the pettiness of my own life? That required a good, long, hard look at my mind. My father understood what I was saying because there are other family members who define themselves by little petty problems--blown up to issues of Magnanimous Proportions!

My mother always gave me a hard time about my room, but I like how it looks. It is VERY organized. But supposedly unaesthetic. My sister's friend Justin and my mother both agreed that my room looked like a "warehouse," but a VERY organized one! My room used to be a room. Then an office. And now a Production Company. Something like Question Reality Media. The University itself is NOW a Production Company. Possibly the LARGEST production company I know of. Even cooler than anything in Hollywood. Who knows what is behind any of these doors--this matrix of the collective brain?

368. Adaptations to Graduate School (Assessing Visceral Needs Before Quarter Starts, Maslow's Ladder, EusEcoNicheSpace)

In order to write, you first need to create a "mental buffer zone" to convince yourself to write--it's SAFE to write.

You have to be on top of things the FIRST WEEK of the quarter. WHY? The Quarter System is a NON-LINEAR SYSTEM. Just like your Mind. Just like a Film. Just like Climate Change. Just like the Colonization of an Island. Very small perturbations in the beginning of the system lead to drastically different end results. The quarter system is a product of its initial premises.

You have to be on top of the FIRST WEEK. The Quarter System is a NON-LINEAR SYSTEM: a Product of It’s Original Premises.

So, it's important to get into GOOD HABITS FROM THE START. Or the MACHINE will MOW YOU DOWN. You have to establish value in people, in courses, by the first week.

Same with AAAS. I will get out what I put in.

You also have to assess yourself and YOUR HABITS. Because during the quarter system, it can bulldoze you so fast that you can fall into vicious habits that can potentially last an ENTIRE QUARTER! It's very important to be MINDFUL of HABITS, because stress can transform these behaviors to MINDLESS-ADDICTIONS!

Every single time I am writing, I am shifting the baseline in my head. Every single time I emerge from my shell, my den of writing, I see the world in a new light, and I interact with people in a new way.

It's best never to put all your eggs in one basket, like investing all your values and love and hope and dreams into... just one person. It is best and better to come to know and love a place, not just a single person.

Getting to know a place is like getting to know a person, except perhaps a bit more overwhelming. Several more layers. It is best to come to know and love a place in its entirety, the layers of abiotika and biotika, the history of the land and the people, and the community and organization structure. It's best to have a cognitive map in holistic entirety, because you don't want to fall in the trap of embedding yourself deep in the mind of a person who ends up chewing you up and spitting you out in the first place.

A place like Santa Barbara is a mass accumulation effect of multiple characteristics, mass accumulation effect of several layers.

I must establish a solid, loving relationship with Santa Barbara--as a whole--before I return. Then I shall be safe... from the illusions of... you know who.

[I started writing an essay in the car through a voice recorder, so go find it and further elaborate it.]

I am staring at all of my vices and piles of papers on a bed and I am going to find a way to put them all away. I just made an extensive photography collage of eccentric NeoArt (as termed by my friend T) of some Vices of Graduate School Life. The fundamental Basal Components of Graduate Schoolisms. (I cannot interact with anyone who will not acknowledge my existence. I am strangled and then I am abandoned. Fxck that. Illusion of normalcy). I look at all these vices, and I do have a strange Candy-Insulin-Based lifestyle--one-meal-a-day-otherwise-pumped-with-small-increments-of-candy-and-caffeine-all-day-fighting-lion-tiger-state all the time. Eating three meals a day makes you lethargic and you hardly get any work done.

Suspended in a castle on a cloud. In academia, I am paid to think about things for 24-7 while everyone else is maintaining visceral operations of this society. And so... I feel guilty. That is why I work so hard. That is why I work so much. And my sister quizzes me. Everyone is working very hard. And so I shall do the same!

I can see the strong inter-relationships of visceral components of lifestyle: (1) breathing (2) drinking water (3) eating food (4) exercising (5) sleeping (6) making sure your family and roommates are okay--lots of HUGS, relaxation, lots and lots of hugs! (massages for replacement)--some people smoke lots of "weed" to relax... and (7) time for friends, etcetera.... If these basic needs are not met nor well-maintained, then you will have an absolutely shxtty day! Sheeks! That is what I say! And you can't have too many more shxtty days in your life, Vic! You don't even know if you will live till tomorrow! My goodness!

[This excerpt below was written back on October 31, 2008]

Some people need to make a to-do-list for survival--like myself--as if my mind needs to consciously march through some form of Evolutionary Maslow's Ladder--in which half the items on the to-do list are instinctive, and the other half of the items are actually mindful for everyone. Ideally, I would and should go through a self-checking system of basic needs once a week. But predictably, I easily forget. My mind drifts upon something else--many things else--I exist so much in my mind that I forget I have a body and that I need to maintain it a little better than I have--more particularly in the "grooming" needs (as family and friends have chewed me out on my "elaborate" t-shirt and shorts goodwill fashionware). I think I have been wearing the same clothes for a month... and scared to change....

Evolutioary derivation of Maslow's Ladder... like I need oxygen. Most organisms without oxygen are dead within a few minutes, except for a few little boogers of anaerobic bacteria.

And how human infrastructures have been built to match individual needs--from coarse to finer resolution in specialization? Like the University is some kind of External Body Plan to match the Needs of my Internal Body and intensely demanding brain for stimulation? As if the human-built landscape were like wearing a "heavy coat" or mass-accumulation-construction of a "collective bower"? (mystical character bird)

So, right now, I am proceeding to pay neglected bills, shower, self-groom, clean up spews of pink-spotted golden trash ... for Halloween purposes....

I have also reached a SATURATION POINT in term of social maintenance. I am around too many people and thewere are very few relationships I can maintain such that seems to carry and hold meaning and value to them. As a result, I have been horrible in checking emails and returning phone calls.

But I also remember before I started college--back in high school--I didn't have any emails, nor did I own a cell phone--and I was a very happy person (in some respects)--at least in some dimensions to which are now immense aggravations.

This week I wanted to shoot my cell phone. It ended up dying the day before Obama was elected.

And to all the people out there who call me and I don't respond. I just wanted to say that I am sorry the quarter system makes me mentally flipped out and overall sick in the head.

It's not that I don't care about people. I just don't have the capacity to care about them. So I must embrace myself with those of immediate proximity--my housemates, my classmates, and my membership to the Westside Lovepillows Softball Team (which ended only being a two-week stint of horrid softball--me included, made two outs!), my only mental break from language systems and viewing reality only in vectors.

I have reached "Eusocial Ecological Supersaturation," as if my own existence is part of the Physics Superstring Theory. Ha ha. That was a butchered metaphor. Or maybe not. My "lack of mannerisms with others" is merely a bypproduct of supersaturation with communicative technologies and my inability to manage too many relationships with people.

Things are slipping. All the tiny things. Like burning CDs and paying $8 back. Slipping. Shifting. Slipping.

So, now I am proceeding to pay my bills, take a shower, and groom myself, which goes as so far to hair-brushing, leg-shaving, eyebrow-plucking, and overall Body Landscape Gardening. UH, I shall refrain from any further discussion.

Not to mention that my professor Dr. Sweet made me feel guilty for not "backing up any of my work on my computer, so I am proceeding to do that as well...."

[The blips below are separate entities from the ones above, and were written at different times of the quarter.]

Victoria is a series of INPUTS and OUTPUTS. Physical and mental inputs and outputs--with flow rates of mental and physical digestion and maximizing productivity in graduate school life. 12 or less hours of the day are catered toward visceral activities: breathing, drinking, eating, exercizing, sleeping, self and house maintenance, time with housemates-friends-family, traveling (may take more than 12 hours). And the other 12 hours are ideally for optimal "work" and "productivity habits" in association with graduate school--including courses. Last quarter didn't exactly work out so wonderfully as I would like. My last month was a massive spurt of disproportionate productivity. Maybe I will operate under those types of conditions.

Vic has several vices in concern of inputs-outputs: does not eat three meals a day. Places herself in a "hungry-fighting lion-tiger" mode by feeding herself "candy insulin and caffeine" in the form of Werther's Original and Xylitol TicTacs (almost test-tube-like as I had envisioned in high school) (as well as Trader Joes and Starbucks coffee) to sustain her productivity throughout the day. Vic has one big meal late at night. The food makes her sleepy--hence it acts as a purposeful sleeping pill (though some people say it's very bad to eat right before you fall asleep). Vic finds "strange strategies" just to convince herself to SIT DOWN nearly all day--of course with bouts of exercise. And eating three meals will not allow here to do that. Famous encounter with Dolf Seilacher: "Why are you not eating lunch?" And I said, "Because it will ruin my productivity levels in the afternoon." And I saw Chris and Seth squirm, as if they suddenly felt guilty for purchasing some heavy Mexican food at the fancy university diner.

So, now, I am hyper and high strung all day. There are costs to this behavior. I don't know if they are good or bad. I could be sacrificing my lungs with cigarette smoking. I could be amplifying my health problems in other ways--overeating--but instead the body parts that are taking the greatest toll for my behavioral patterns are my teeth. Dental work is a "whole other blog" not to be discussed right now. Drama in that.

It's interesting how all aspects of life have their "own distinct individual knobs" which can organize several thoughts in one's mind, but then again, start to realize the high degree of interdependence and inter-relatedness to all other facets of life--e.g. teeth is associated with food and studying habits and consequentially dentists and American Megacorporate Dogfood lifestyle and graduate school demands, etcetera.

So, I have heard, the Bren MESM (masters) students are a "breed of their own;" such is the perception of other students all around campus.

[The blips below are separate entities from the ones above, and were written at different times of the quarter.]

I hate the quarter system. It makes me a monster. It makes me a person I do not want to be. I am not proud to be.
**To a certain individual, I had been acting like a pompous xsshole. An absorbed bigot. More so out of ludicrous defense reflexes.
**To other individuals, I had not had the capacity to respond to emails or phone calls and act like I have been dropping off the planet.
**For other individuals, I have lagged 2-3 weeks in respones to the Environmental Defense Center to get the photgraphs out for the recent TGIF.

I hate myself.
And then, I myself am trying to keep up with my thoughts?
Trying to keep up with other people? Too many of them?
Trying to "make" progress in my life? Whatever that means?
My teeth are at stake again!

The Quarter System makes me a careless individual. I can only manage and maintain so much and the rest slips through my fingers... and it's just a matter of how much slips... whether I stay afloat... or fall to my doom....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

367. Industrial Ecology of Graduate School, Part 1 "Mass Produced Individual Identity" Photography (Picasaweb)

I created this photography series in Fall of 2007. The protocol for generating such images is to consume a hamburger from the ampm mini-market gas station 2am in the morning, make sure you feel sick the "next day," then attempt to clean your room and attempt to take pictures of yourself while at it. This is how I feel every single time I clean up the trash from my room: "Mass-produced Individual Identity. Self-System Identification. Am I more than just the summation of receipts? bills? credit card company mail? Am I just a NUMBER to all of you? Just a dollar bill? Just some random molecular human? "It's not that we don't care. It's just that we as humans don't have the CAPACITY to care." Why don't you create your own Mental Microcosmos of Humanity."

I suppose this can be called The State of Technological Interdependence. This is also called Physical/Mental Carrying Capacity-Saturation / Pseudo-autism / Eusocial Ecological Niche Space.

I am writing this in response to my frequent bouts of trash accumulation, combined with "purges" of this trash. I am establishing a philosophy of Accumulations and Purges.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

366. Cleaning My Mind's Room: Version 2, Continued, Christmas Eve Present Foraging Rush, Industrial Ecology of Vic's Life, Two Brothers-Sisters

There is nothing better than Christmas shopping the day before. The only stores that were still open for my foraging were CVS drugs, Stater Brothers, and the 99 cent store. I purchased most everything from the 99 cent store--most predictably.

The two "most stupidest things" that you could ever do--according to grandpa Ray--are (1) run out of gas and (2) rob a bank. I had the pleasure of experiencing the notion of "running out of gas," and to my great fortunate, I coasted / and was towed into a gas station... right across the street from the incident of puttering out. The second notion of robbing a bank is absurd. It would be more suitable to mention "robbing a 99-cent store."

The experience of Christmas shopping is mind-numbing and silly, so it's best to perform operations in a mind-numbing, sleep deprived state. I deprive myself of sleep. Other people take drugs. Whatever works.

I didn't have enough time to notice that the last remaining Christmas shoppers were predominantly male. I was too pre-occupied with the health and overall state of my sister, who is dealing with a "non-optimal" addictive, relationship. So, it was hard to focus.
My cousin Mike says that I dress like a crack addict who just had her first day on the streets. Sloppy clothing, but you can't really tell that there's something wrong with them yet. They can still be passed off as "normal," or... "blending in."

All memories dissassociated with most coffee cups. They are so generic in properties, they could come from close to anywhere. Came home to show my parents some ridiculous generic coffee cup collection. 7-11 Coffee Chemistry Lab. The illusion of choice. None of it is real coffee. Just powder plus water from a machine. And more liquified powders to pump int your coffee. Ironically they have a "thank heaven" on their 7-11 coffee cups with a halo on top--the coffee is so unhealthy, your consumption of it will send you to heaven sooner than you'd like! Enough coffee bean "sleeves"! I only go there because there is a Coffee Bean right next to the Kinkos in Goleta. Been using Q-tips for cleaning of the ears. Ran out and was borrowing my housemate's materials. Supposedly bad to clean your ears with Q-tips, my aunt says. Need more! Coffeebean recently acquired the state of "free internet" for customers. So it's okay for me to pay an extra time or twenty cents for my coffee. No problem!

Karl, before going to AGU (Tim Lyons went there too!) gave me a bunch of chain links. For back packs and potentially durable for climbing. So sweet! Rite Aid plastic bag. I guess most of my memories dissassociated from such "generic' objects. 7-11 plastic bag. Right by my house in Goleta. Gas is about 10-cents up that area. Ralphs plastic bag. They are the only place open 24-7. Rite Aid bag. Motel 6. This is my 4th day this month. I am desperate! Third time here. Another time in Carpinteria. Okay-priced. Could get more money's worth. Purple ribbon from my Aunt Jean. Associated with birthday present I picked up in September or October. Cat Kat passed away. Sophie is the new cat. She's a timid little thing. No longer "tiny" anymore. Topcare "woman's." Giant Costco trash bag spattered with coffee stains. Way too sticky to re-use. Thanks Kyle! Used it for keeping my xss dry in soggy car. Melted Werthers attracts ants, re-solidifies into the "sap" material. Lagerstatten in one day! What a break-through! Dog-days of the summer, I tell ya!

Two black sharpies. I received four on sale at a Longs Drugs early in the morning after a "lengthy" conversation with Dr. Sam Sweet. I ended up sitting in the car on a chilly morning talking to my dad and writing with a black sharpie--just bought, though I didn't need one, but was the only writing utensil on sale--on a piece of cardboard on the properties of natural selection. The feedbacks between organism and environment and the existence of Lamarckian evolution. That was a good morning. My dad helped me a lot!

I finally opened the box containing the Rubik's cube! Another metaphor. It's at home now.

Had to buy Motrin IB post Jean and Chuck at Chevron gas station. Had bad headache. Not sure how or why. CVS c-lax. So mild. Plastic bag dreamworks Madagascar from Dwight. Contained the fixed AC-DC car converter! Plastic bags from Trader Joes. Albertsons. Supersavers!

Needed to find a way to stay awake. Went to Ralphs near by Winnetka in Los Angeles and purchased Bolthouse Farms Perfectly Protein Vanilla chai Tea with Soy Protein. Supposedly organic and all natural. Blah blah blah. Anyhow it tasted VERY GOOD and was very thick. Finished the whole bottle, which equaled about 800 calories! The most important thing is that I returned to Santa Barbara late at night, but nevertheless safe!

More plastic bags inside plastic bags inside plastic bags! Memories?! I have none! They are too generic! Another Vons plastic bag! Mudd logo on a paper yanked from a belt that does NOT fit my waste. From a friend who wasted 200-dollars of my own money. Because he was a liar and said he was "minimalist" but wanted to get all this fancy bullshxt clothes for my essence to conform to American Corporate Environmentalism. Sorry, you do that! And your pair of Merrill shoes. And he was like "Fine! Dress like a geologist for the rest of your life!" As if I were a sinner. I am still angry and cannot return the clothes. It's too late. I have no desire to wear them either. Maybe read blog and got pissed off. Whatever. It's TRUE.

Typical "trashbag" full of vices consists of: one two-liter bottle of Diet Something Soda. Several bags of werthers original. Scattered aluminum-shine from lx grids. Maybe "beef jerky" plastic wrap link. Beat up CD casing. Correctxl. Splenda and pink sugar-free sugar packets. Diet mountain dew can of soda. Starbucks coffee lids and sleeves. Coffee Bean lids and sleeves. Maybe a soggy cup. Vons ripped plastic bag. Cutip. Another cutip. Trident gum wrap. Broken-handled brown Trader Joes bag. Have to decipher the receipts from the rest of the trash. Powdered coffee from Chevron--the best of all powdered coffees, but the last time was WAY too sweet! Scattered pink pills laying around! Melted werthers! Starbucks coffee napkin, still in one piece, not soggy at all. Plastic bag from Albertsons. Entire plastic bag packed with werthers, cutips, lx strips, and tictac xylitol foil.

It's as if I am a Taphonomist of My Own Trash! Welcome to Self-imposed Industrial Ecology!

There is always a trade-off in physical and mental consumption. If you consume more physical materials, it is at the sacrifice of mental consumption. So, I try to feed myself like an IV drip. As I had mentioned before at the end of high school, that I wished to be fed through a tube in my stomach. I no longer wanted to eat anymore. I don't feel that way anymore, nor do I imagine such things, especially since they have attempted to do such things to my grandfather Ray before his passing. But I am still imaginative, and when I study, I need to be a hungry lion. And I need to simulate a scenario of an IV drip to acquire sustained energy.

Now I have "too many tampons" couple of boxes from separate occassions of being without vital necessities while the female body does what it does....

Last time talked on the phone that jerk had to make commentary: "Gee, your advisor is very scatter-brained and disorganized." And who are YOU to say?

The hotel room is slowly shrinking in size in terms of "crxp laying around" so I suppose I am making progress. Yesterday I spent about 5.50 in drinks. Two Starbucks Doubleshots, one mocha and one vanilla, and a 50 cent refill. One refill was free. I am a sinner and waster of money. Well. It was Christmas Eve....

If I empty the dresser drawer of my mind, I will be able to see and collect new things, eh? Yes. Never fear to see something new. Once I eliminate all physical, tangible trash, then I will be able to focus on the contents of my computer. Tat is always a good thing.

I need to start using an electric toothbrush again. I bought a second green one. Bub was with me. We went to the horrid Walmart off in Oxnard. Bub brought me my Subaru Legacy, to which I am going to have to sell soon, even though the gas prices are low. The red brush has low batteries, and I could never open the bottom part to place new batteries. I am expiring this Crest brush of its services. My cousin Mike I think has 100-dollar toothbrushes in his bathroom. I saw them at Walmart for $100. You know? As long as I can brush my teeth. My friend explained to me that the vibration konks out the bacteria, not necessarily the brushing action itself. Bye bye red electric tooth brush! Live long--or not--in whatever waste bin you end up. May you be recycled, like the nutrients and gases of the plants animals and sky. My gxdzeeks, I sound NEW AGE! AAAAAHHH! I am scared of my own self.

I used a $50 Nike softball glove twice this quarter. It is tragic. I need to return it to Sportsmart--aka Sports Authority. *Sigh* Find at home the tags.

Bk childhood friend, meds. Antidepressants. Trying to get out. Re-evaluate life. Grad school or med school. I told my mother. Everyone has their own internal biological clock. It triggers certain times in their lives due to certain environmental exposures. Such is such. ALL EDUCATION IS INDIRECT. There are certain occassions in life--windows of opportunity--where kids are able to absorb things faster and more permanently--like at very young ages, but everyone has to come to their own terms in their own minds. And it happens at strange places and strange times. You never know. You never know.

Childhood Illusions...

But to think that my two childhood friends. Our parents raised us with very big dreams. With very high standards. If we worked hard, we would get far in life. If we memorized big words to spell and regurgitate their definitions. If we learned foreign languages. If we played the piano. If we were super tennis players. If we were the best writers of the school. All these dreams and competitions were just illusions to the reality of life. That society hardly operates based on merit. They were all lies. All these lovely values that were implanted in our heads--like getting perfect 1600 SAT scores--I only got a 1410 after the third try... I suck. This entire education system was one big lie. And then all these dreams implanted in your head fade into reality. And of course, your metabolism is so high from your childhood days, but where to channel it? Where to channel your energy in a world that is unjust? Where to find hope and value and meaning again? You never know where you will find it. It is hard to love the world. But perhaps you may love the world of another person.

The two brothers and sisters played Starwars on suburbian streets with tennis balls and watched fireworks on Sugarloaf Mountain. Danced along the mainways of Disneyland and cried after brutal sets of tennis on a Saturday morning, overlooked by not one, but TWO overbearing tennis parents. If there was a time in my life where I was "happy" and my baseline had been set for standards in my life, I was in between ages 10-12. I had fixated on something so beautiful and so utopia-esque that I still have barely encountered any measures or standards since. But I have gotten close. My mind has fixated on something that perhaps does not exist... or have not discovered yet.

What if you mind was implanted great dreams? Brainwashed to achieve success? And then you grew up and found out it was all a lie?

Fall in love with dogs? Or a boyfriend. Time. Give me ten years. Give a gay guy ten years.

I will say adios to an old pack of Colgate toothpaste. About three years old. Old and crusty. Most likely expired. I cannot consume the gum that T gave me. That xylitol gum. Would rather be chewing trident. Will have to return to him. Cannot. I cried in front of Jenny yesterday. I wasn't even the one who was name-called. I wasn't even the one who was dragged across the floor. But I was the one who was ignored and neglected. And that perhaps is extremely painful. That guy provides the illusion of normalcy, but is whacko. He chose to be isolated. And I fell for deep sympathy otherwise, until I found out it was his CHOICE.

Where are all the geologists? I love the geologists. Where are they?

Need to return scissors to Mama. Karl gave me a chain-link with a light on it. Will give it to Jenny. It's cool, but it bugs the shxt out of me. Can be useful though! Just keep it. Fine, I'll put it on my backpack right now.

I washed my stuffed animals. Finally! Sparky was turning into dark brown. That's not good. Tooty looked immaculate. She's (the new ty-baby elephant of the family) the new baseline of cleanliness.

Giving Jenny a lamp. Can use sparingly myself. Bought mirror and tw too for myself. Give to her. Was going to return, but never mind. I will keep a second pair of lacross tw, but unforunately is made of "pink" leather on the outside casing. Wish it were black but had no other choice of color!

Vic should have a photograph series: An Industrial Ecology of Graduate School (Vices)!

I am tired of playing "victim" in my writing! JUST DO IT!

Okay, now I am going to give eyes to Bugsy. I will need a pen more permanent than a Sharpie. I have given Bugsy eyes quite a few times. Not to mention I have done surgeries on my cartoon characters. It's tragic. At least there are no bloody guts involved. Sigh.

My father said that as soon as Ray passed, Ray was no longer there. It was just a corpse. That is a very interesting use of definition and terminology. Now Ray is in the mountains and the clouds of southern California. He's everywhere now. Not a bad deal. I have this tooth from the dentist. Kind of looks like a DPP. I looked at it and it doesn't belong in the cast of characters. I will take a pix and let the creature go. Made in China anyway. Like the rest of everything I own.

I used to love Extra cinnamon gum, but I am done. I am now converted to Trident. Trident had drastically changed the composition and texture of its gum. I used to hate it. Now I love it to bits and pieces! I chew it all the time! Maybe Trident has cinnamon! But I am for sure done with Wrigley's Extra and the like.

I am staring at two Gillette Cool Wave antiperspirants. I ran out. I tried to buy another anti-perpsirant, but what happened is that in a couple of days I developed a rash that covered my entire armpits, combined with my lower back, usually along the lines to my sportsbra. It was a horrible, red rash. I missed a heated discussion with the doctor by one week. If I had gone one week earlier I would have raised holy hxll. I went in to get a pap. That doc was pretty cool. I asked so many questions. I guess my goal this Christmas is to make sure my dad has a camera. Which means I need to finish EOT and move on. If T had his priorities straight, he would save money for digital cameras, not 120-dollar shoes. But who am I to judge with other people's values? They are just not compatible to mine. It was insulting about how he wanted to throw out all my goodwill jogging clothes. What arrogance! So much for environmentalism. Another case of Elitist Environmentalism.

Back to the Gillette, so my sister is going to give me one of her anti-perspirants.

I did some sorting of clothes in the car and I came to peace with the notion I am okay with everyone except for you know who. I am okay with Charlie, Brian, Erica, everyone. I am thankful that Erica let me have some of her very nice clothes. I have officially mentally annexed them. Are you sure you are not bisexual, he asked? Said he had a hard time, had to get over being the fact he is male and not female. Uh-huh. Okay. Strange conversations. I didn't want to do that, did I? No. You can get diseases through the mouth? Nope. For sure. I am heterosexual. I mentally checked SOOO many times. It's not even funny. That show. With the Persian clothes. It was quite classy. Lots of alcohol behind it. To get to know the details of one's lifestyle it's daunting. Found my long-lost sleeveless shirt from Old Navy. Buried in a pile for quite a while. Erika gave me Jeans that fit me snuggly. We are of optimal size. Almost the same. She does the hard work and finds the jeans. She just gets me the hand-me-downs. What was that. The blow up of leaving the house. That was all so weird. "I'm over it." The project. Taking a chill pill. Voluntarily sedentary. Angry come over. Used for emotional crutching through the surgery. Positive and negative. Uphill and downhill. What?!! Too married. No plan B. My sister and I both suffer from that. No phone calls. Didn't even attend the Christmas party at Bren. Didn't even feel like it.

These two jeans suffer from severe, traumatic memories, but they are wearable, and memorable. Erika is quite a character. I have nothing against anything of her. Quite amusing! At least I can WEAR these clothes, unlike those clothes in a bag that ended up being a waste of money. That Painted Caves. That was a beautiful birthday lecture. But then... tapped out. Record what said? Patchwork. Don't know. Fear of writing. Belched out all at once. Hide. Whatever. Sulk in your own shxt. It's just a battle, illusion in my head. Rewinding the clock to the oak trees of Mission Canyon. They are still magical, you know.

The quarter system seems to dull and erase and wipe out any form of pain, you know. Not wipe it out. But the magnification of personal pain if crushed by the bombardment of information. And once you revisit pain, the layers of time have diminished this pain and diverted and scattered the pain to a million--if not a thousand or a hundred--directions elsewhere. Pain is now diffuse--like the oxygen we breathe--not centralize--like the giant Freebirds burrito we dare to consume in one sitting.

365. Cleaning My Mind's Room, Version 2, Frantically Leaving a Hotel Room, About to Be Kicked Out 12 Noon

These are just scrap notes that I will have to further develop later.

The metaphors of POWER, CONTROL, and SUPERIORITY need to be replaced by the metaphors of ORGANIZATION, MANAGEMENT, and INTERDEPENDENCE.

Commentary by UCLA graduate student: Why are we in graduate school? Because graduate school distinguishes the intelligent people from the ditch diggers. After this fatso vertebrate paleo xsshole grad student of five years said that, I lost ALL respect for him. I am only in graduate school, biologizing (ecopistemologizing) 24-7 because all the other people, e.g. "ditch diggers," are doing their work to help me focus on my work. They are doing the best they can in their work, and I will be the best darndest biologist I can be. They do services for me, and I do services for them. If people were not digging ditches, I would be spending a good portion of the day digging ditches myself. Elaborate later.

I whole month of fragmented memories lay scattered in a pile of trash all over a bed of a motel 6. And how can I have the nerve to rapidly reflect and organize my shatterd past and throw them all away within less than an hour? So, I suppose the goal is to remove the bulkiest of materials and go from there.

Melted styrofoam box. Shared nachos with Julian. The last week and a half or so had been a "food spree" from Thai to horrid Chinese food to Mexican to god knows what. I had eaten out WAY too much, and this is my moment of reflection and self-imposition of constraint. It was a nice evening with Julian. Butt cold. I just started working on the fisheries stakeholder notes, and it had been a gruesome process in my part. It was the first time I was ever an "objective" note-taker for a stakeholder meeting. What a noble title, I think! We discussed Jeffrey Miller, etcetera. Evolutionary psychology stuff.

Fat free Milk from Trader Joes. I am a Trader Joes addict.
Trader Joes natural spring water from Hector and Katia. I had a couple of writing sessions with Hector the last couple of weeks. Hector and Katia gave me a pair of pants to borrow (on a chilly night) and a bottle of water to head downtown to the movies--potentially the same movie Theater where T and I watched Wall-e, but instead this time we watched MILK, a documentary-narrative on the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly-elected gay official in the country--stationed in San Francisco. I fell in love with Harvey Milk and was 110% inspired by his charisma, opportunism, and the ability to make politics personal--the small world effect--applied for passing laws that provided rights for gays, lesbians, transgender, etcetera. If all gays came out of the closet and told their loved one, then suddenly nearly everyone is impacted--down to the family level--and then a lot of things go in their favor. Sean Penn (a Hollywood inheriter--parents involved in film) was a superb--I don't know how to describe him. All I know is that my level of respect for Sean Penn when from close to nothing to sky-rocket high. That was an academy award role, and Sean Penn deserves it. Harvey was so open. It was total bottom-up politics. You start with a neighborhood of Castro, and it expands all across the country. It's a beautiful thing. Completely beautiful thing. Harvey was such an open, organizational person. He excelled at everything he did. I looked at the old pics and I found out that he was left-handed. GO FIGURE! What a brilliant networker, the ability to move people like that. Moving on. I am throwing away the water bottle.

I liked a couple of scenes from the film because it involved reflection. There was one scene shot from the reflection of a whistle on the ground. Another scene shot through the reflection of a mirror. Those were beautiful, very creative simplicity. Love it.

It was interesting. I felt like I was going out to watch a film with my parents :-). Hector and Katia have been so kind to me, I am about to get them a Christmas present.

I bought a power bug for an ipod shuffle because my other charger was left at home by accident. I kept the box for a long time, thinking I was going to return it--it's too late. One month policy at Best Buy. I will throw it away. Though it was 20 bucks it was worth it. I can charge my ipod from a wall-socket, not my computer, which keeps getting reset all the time!

I bought a 12-pack of diet mountain dew at an unexpected time, at an unexpected place, at an unexpected price. Maybe the Vons out in Ventura off Seaward Ave. Kept me company in my drives a couple of times. No context of memories otherwise. It's funny how some things make you remember and some things don't.

I am now staring at another Trader Joes half-gallon milk and two half-gallons of TJs 2.99 (used to be 2.59) vanilla soy milk. As well as Vons organic Soymilk plain. I am a Soy Milk moderate addict. Once every two or three days. Or once a week in Goleta I would go over to TJs. Last time was there made purchases when writing an essay on Fishermen and Scientists. Define ORGANIC, please! It's government definitions, not literary definitions. I am so sure. I enjoy getting sample cups of coffee with creamer and stevia on cold days. It's a nice break from work at the Kinkos. I only get Vons soymilk when it is post 9pm and I am very desperate. Purchased with dinner with Kamal. Indian food. Too much eating out!!! Geeze!

I am venturing into throwing away the composition of my usual vices: coffee cups, lx, gum, werther candy, the now blue-ice-mint tic-tacs made of xylitol and dentist-recommended. Day in. Day out. The epitome of graduate student life. Coffee cups. My consumption of LX only signifies my denial of leaving American Megacorporate Dogfood remaining stagnant and stuck in my stomach for lengthy periods of time. I shoot for healthy alternatives, but every once in a while, I eat the Pollen's quote "food-like substance" and all I rationally and physiological desire is to expel it from my system as quickly as possible.

Another Vanilla soy milk! I just can't get enough! Opened GUM toothbrush with a microtip. I get those simply because. I am thinking of staying another hotel night... but I am not sure.... I should start moving stuff. few more items to throw. Like a second Trader Joes water bottle. And an overprices CVS antiseptic mouth wash. I paid 3.99 for 1.0 liters when I could have gotten a 3.29 1.5 Liter bottle at Walmart. But Walmart is depressing to enter into the store. So, I am paying extra money for less so I won't have to drive so far (Oxnard Walmart is the closest Walmart to Santa Barbara) and I won't have to get depressed.

I consume quite a few xylitol tic-tacs nowadays. I should do a photographic collage of my new-found vice! I am now currently throwing away 5 large Starbucks coffee cups, that were either filled with coffee or chai tea bags. Two of them were before the Christmas season and were still white or red. They symbolize my coffee addiction as well as my endless hours in the Starbucks or neighboring businesses--e.g. Borders--studying outside the house can be a good thing. "The Way I See It" coffee cups bug the hxll out of me because they only quote the "famous people" and the likelihood of having a "commoner's" voice on the cup is about two large Starbucks coffee cups (out of a couple hundred) per year. So much for "equality" of voice.

Hector got me a pumpkin spice latte--3.80 for a MICRO CUP! Right after MILK while Katia was checking out books at Borders. I really think I am going to stay here till tomorrow morning.

I am going to recap two more memory-filled pieces of trash before I throw them away. First piece of trash is a white styrofoam cup that is supposedly recyclable (has the label on the bottom of the cup), symbolizing a wonderful recent adventure with a (now) good friend in Camarillo. Element Coffee. Great thai food. And hitting a bar for some soda water and cranberry juice in the end. Hadn't encountered such intelligence and self-resourcefulness in SUCH a long time! My goodness. My friend had been in the Iraq war and is an avid-snowboarder-multi-media-izer-intellectual-wanderer of the universe. I have to stay vague because we pinky-swore that I would journal our experiences, not blog them. But I am nevertheless amorphously positive, and hereby proclaim my innocence! It was a tough ride home though afterwards. I had the same old music on my ipod, combined with driving home on a full stomach. To make things worse, my ipod lost all juice, so I had no music to keep me awake. I fell asleep multiple times (had to get off the side of the road) and it was the most uncomfortable rest because my car was full of crxp and I had no possible way to lean down my car seat. Secondly, it was chilly, but thankfully the thai food kept me rather warm. I would wake up shivering cold after a few sets of 20-minute power naps. I hung more alert on the road upon murmering "I don't wanna die. I don't wanna die. I don't wanna die!" It was a delerious ride home. I showed up around 2am in the morning. I made myself a cup of warm milk, 1% milk fat--not the nonfat milk that my parents raised me on. Sheesh! And then grabbed about 10 blankets, layered them on top of three-spread out couch pillows my mom snatched from a yard sale, and crashed until around 920 in the morning. Though I woke up in between to greet my father--like 6am in the morning.

I just threw away my white cup. It still has some reddish water--cranberry mixed with previous ice. Melted post two days. Vamouso.

My cuisine collection: coffee, Starbucks airport food, smoothies, mexican food, thai food, chinese food, indian food. Wonder how Kamal is doing. Anything else for food? I think I hit all the food that is not "bland American white toast" food. Like Denny's and IHOP. I refuse to eat at those kinds of places--everything is pre-made and all food sits in you like a rock for two days after.

The last thing to throw away is a Blenders in the Grass cup that contained a smoothie. I took Oscar out. Kamal took me out. My Camarrillo friend took me out. Becca and I split. I took Julian out. It all evens out in the end. Just WAY too much eating out!

Back to my Blenders in the Grass smoothie. I was about to get a Strawberry-based smoothie but I converted to Mango-based right toward the end. Thankfully they were the same price. I got my Uncle Dwight a giant smoothie too! That was a couple of weeks after my grandfather's passing. My dad had some too. Oscar had edited a film for Santa Barbara Surfrider. I was picked up by Scott Bull unexpectedly on a Thursday night (First Thursday Artwalk of Santa Barbara). I got 15-minutes of what I thought was "hideous footage" and my friend Oscar praised my work--surprisingly! He said that if it were a "narrative film" that it was not-so-great footage, but given that it is guerrilla-style impromptu work, then it worked PERFECTLY and was rather aesthetic! I was scared to call Oscar for TWO WEEKS after that impromptu experience. I was supposed to be filming Scott Chatenever's work! Not Scott Bull's! Whatever! I snapped that day. Too much happened all in one day. Consuming the minds of Stephanie LeMenager (English Department professor), Scott Chatenever (well-known ceramicist of Santa Barbara), and Scott Bull (president of Santa Barbara Surfrider and a major founder/leader of the Shoreline Preservation Fund / now Coastal Fund)--I SNAPPED THAT NIGHT. I couldn't deal with anything anymore. Talk about being spread too thin. Things collapsed pretty quickly after that, especially with the falling of my grandfather's health.

Anyhow, I finally met up with Oscar and I took him out for a smoothie. I owe him some money for his work. He apparently worked with Hannah for an oil project a couple weeks previously. Hannah was at the last EMI meeting promoting this 1969 oil spill memorium. We drove around and caught up. It was the first time I entered his apartment even though I had been by Oscar's complex several times. I was able to meet his chiuaua by the name of "Coochie." She has ultimately rendered as a non-stop barking machine. Coochie, light-brown-short-haired creature, who looks like a giant rat--predictable of Chiuauas--has been with Oscar for about three years--as of what I remember. Oscar and I ended up watching "The Dark Knight"--a video he ordered through Netflix. He had watched it several times and he prompted me to write down a quote. There were about five very quoteable quotes in that film.

I think that movie was made for Batman addicts. If you are not addicted to Batman, then it is indeed not a well-conceived film, not a well-conceived, coherent plot. Christian Bale played Batman. I had established no attachment to him throughout the film. I enjoyed him in his earlier war-ish films. I don't even consider him to be a hero. Heath Ledger played the Joker, which was the MOST convincing character out of all the actors. Tragically he died of overdose or a horrible mixing of drugs-concoctions while renting a house/apt of Mary-Kate or Ashley Olson--I don't even know. The worst part is "the damsel" that was supposed to be an immense driver of male human behavior within the film was Maggie Gyllenhaal, sister of Jake Gyllenhaal, another economic dynasty of Hollywood. Both Oscar and I were unappealled to her. She doesn't have desirable aesthetics: droopy eyes, these "baggy" cheaks like chipmunks, her voice is in part annoying--very girlish--nothing deep and sensual, like Catherine Zeta Jones. When you place lighting on Maggie's face, she looks a LOT older than what she really is. My own biological perceptions of aesthetics and personality instantly turned me off. There was no motivation. I am sure it was a general turn-off for the audience as well. As for Gotham, there is a chronic addiction between the battle of Batman and the Joker. Batman attempts to establish order in Gotham and the Joker breaks people down to a point of vulnerability and converts them into creating chaos of Gotham. It is a chronic battle--endless may I add--between order and chaos. Batman can supposedly not "kill" people though he throws humans around left and right. Both Batman and the Joker had plenty of times and opportunities to kill each other, but they never ended up doing it. So, there is absolutely nothing convincing. What I recommend is that both Batman and the Joker go to AA, not Alcoholics Anonymous, but Alternative Addictions, and they need to train their minds to finding habits other than wreaking havoc in Gotham--and in the end--get to the source of their problems--then never kill each other. It's stupid to me. But of course, Hollywood wants to keep making more Batman films, so you can never resolve a never ending cinematic soap opera. Each film is bigger and better in terms of special effects, but minimal leaps in character development, and reverting to childlike storytelling with plots. Convoluted to say in the least. So much for my film critiquing.

Now I can throw away my Blenders in the Grass. That was a LOT of work.

Now that I have gone from quarter system to post-quarter post-pardum depression, I have reverted to typical American consumption: movies and going out to eat. I feel like an ungrateful sinner. I should be learning how to hunt rabbits.

You can tell I am getting restless... very fast.

As I had started to observe over time, I started to realize how all media sources started to "coordinate" themselves. For example, a movie with Keanu Reeves is about to come out. Before the film, he is the front cover of some major magazines. Then he is invited to the Jay Leno Tonight show... then Oprah. And then the National Enquirer magazine-types start to follow him around a little more than usual. He also gets a little more news coverage. Then it's the opening night. Things are hot for a few weeks, then everyone else waits for the DVD to come out. And then Keanu hides for another year or half-year until his next Mega-American-Consumptive product comes out. Not to pick on Keanu. It may very well be Brittney Spears. It's all coordinated in the end. As if there is a vicious cycle of news reporting to keep up with the hottest and latest. Chain reaction effect. Newspaper citing and copy-catting other newspapers. The competition to get the scoop. It's so circular, it's depressing. Perhaps I am having hesistantcy in "plugging into journalism" since from observation, most of the scene is rather ... depressing. The American Media in general all need to go to AA as well, especially when it comes to the issues of science and society.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

364. Fall Quarter Package Deal for Dr. Oran Young (and others), Bren, UCSB

As Corlei emphasized with me, graduate school is not just about doing a science experiment, it is also a social experiment... a series of acceptances and rejections. Science is not Truth. It is the pursuit of Common Agreement. It's about finding your ally Yes Men who agree with your perceptions. *Sigh.* Truth is only in the eye of the beholder.
Progress Report / Resume for Fall Quarter 2008. Page 1. See PDF file below.
Progress Report / Resume for Fall Quarter 2008. Page 2. PDF file right here:
Figure 1. Scale-based reasoning in evolution, earth sciences, scaling laws in biology, historical ecology, and now... the human-environmental condition!
Figure 1. Part 1. Scale-based reasoning in evolution and geology.
Figure 1. Part 2. Scale-based reasoning in the human-environmental condition, from the individual human in proximate environments to the global-scale human-environmental condition.
Figure 1. Part 2. Photoshop Layering, Connecting the Dots. Individual humans and proximate landscapes. Organizations-institutions-technology-infrastructure, and existing non-human landscapes. Honestly, I think there is such a thing as Photoshop Logic. It's most certainly non-linear. Using photoshop, sonar home studio, and final cut pro have definitely improved my reasoning ability.
Figure 2. What is the definition of science when humans are a part of the experiment? Organism-environmental interactions are a two-way street. Organisms "adapt" to the environment, but organisms also "manipulate" "create" "maintain" environments--for themselves and for other organisms. A most peculiar organism engaged in macro-scale manipulation of environments is this critter called a "human being." Talk about ecosystem engineering!
Figure 3. Initial "Toolkit" and "Metaphors" for describing the human-environmental condition. Note our designated human specimens: Terra and Buz. Terra is agitated she has to be in the "box." Buz is near by, fully supportive of her posing.
Figure 4. Potential Spheres for the Bren Ph.D. (1) Ecology / Evolution / Earth Science (historical ecology) (2) Organizations / Institutions / Sociology (3) Philosophy of Science / History of Science. Really cool. Makes a lot of sense. Glad to figure something out very solid by the end of first quarter.

Ecology of Scale. 14-page essay scale-based reasoning and a search for metaphors on the human-environmental condition. Check out the full essay with this PDF file here:
Here is the lengthy Table 2 for the above essay on the Ecology of Scale. PDF file is right here:
PDF file for Additional References:
PDF file for the Annotated Bibliography:
My quarter was looking really grim. Then I snapped the day before Thanksgiving. This blog represents a three week spurt rebound. I had a wonderful conversation with my advisor, Oran, as well as Maria. Need to follow up with Wesley.

363. Two New Biologically Incorrect Cartoons: Gonzo Science: Observer Versus Interactor Effect and the Adaptation of the Zooming Eyes

When writing an end-of-the-quarter essay for Dr. Young on Scale-based reasoning and the quest of metaphors for describing the human-environmental condition, I ended up cranking out two cartoons that I essentially manicured because I made a decision to send them to Dr. John Bohannon, a Science correspondant--err, the famous science journalist who coined Gonzo Science and started a Dance Competition for scientists--as he described in one of his articles as "part awkward and part magical... as in a wedding." (paraphrased). So, since I was sending my cartoons to the eyes of an internationally renowned journalist who helped me last summer with attempting to get a science journalism internship--I am trying again this summer, by the way--I ended up manicuring my cartoons a lot more than usual. Like triple checking for spelling and making sure I eliminated all smudges and blurs on my pencil-drawn figures of Terra and Buz. I still haven't checked my emails to see whether Dr. Bohannon responded or not. I am sure he is swamped and has not had a chance to check or respond. It's okay. I hope to encounter him at the upcoming AAAS meeting and thank him for continued inspiration in the pursuit of using art--visualization--to solve scientific and environmental problems. The current reason for why I wake up in the morning full of life and enthusiasm and purpose, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Drawing stuff is a pleasure center hit. An addictive form of therapy after writing a long, crass, boring, unemotional scientific paper. Then Terra and Buz knock on my skull and jump out of my head onto a blank sheet of paper, stating how Victoria "really thinks and feels."
The Observer Effect versus the Interactor Effect. What does science means when scientists are a part of the experiment? Fundamental shift in thinking. I have to credit Tariel for the quote of science in general: "Saving the world... after we collect more data."
And here is my story about The Adaptation of the Zooming Eyes. This cartoon was inspired by two notable incidents. First, my sister Jenny, after finishing four years of undergraduate education at UC Santa Barbara, receiving a psychology degree and an exercise-health-physiology minor, she commented to me, "You know what? Half of everything I learned in psychology the last four years was bullshxt." My eyes grew wide open. "What?! What a waste of tuition." "I know," she said, apathetically. If only you could rewind the clock. I then told Jenny that 95% of my education was DIE-HARD REAL and INTERACTIVE, but that was because I was a College of Creative Studies biology major. I was learning-by-doing, this so called "constructionist" learning. My education was anomalous and rather "old fashioned," like the interactive educational experiences of my grandfather Ray and granduncle Dwight, where they went out and learned how to build stuff, like airplanes and cabins and the like. I poked at plants, parasites, invertebrates, vertebrates, and took lots of pixies of them. Life was good... back in the day....

The second inspirational incident was a snarky comment made by Andre Folse, a CCS biology major under Armand Kuris as well (so was I). Andre, Anna, and I were all studying for Dr. Sweet's evolutionary vertebrate morphology final, and Andre popped out the question amidst our studies (in which I was doing a half-xss job, my great contribution was printing out the final). (PS I am citing Andre's brother's advisor's research up at Stanford, Joan Roughgarden, eusocial reproduction, Nash equilibrium stuff).... So... back to the point... Andre, amidst our studies blurted out, "What if everything in our education was just a joke? None of it was real or true? What if all the stories these professors were telling us and forcing us to memorize were all a farse?" Anna and I froze for a second, and after that statement I was convinced I had to make the Zooming Eyes cartoon. I proposed the Adaptation and both Anna and Andre felt that this was a high necessity. Too bad our eyes don't zoom. I guess that's why we have telescopes and microscopes in the first place. *Sigh.*

362. Poems / Songs Written Along with Fall Quarter Research Package to Dr. Oran Young

It is strange to write in my blog! I haven't blogged for the last month or so! I have somewhat "stepped off the planet into my world of theoreticisms," and I just noticed that there is snow on the highest peaks of the Santa Ynez mountains. Where have I been? My goodness!
PDF file of the above poem can be found here:
I "sang" this poem in the car on the way to UC Santa Barbara. I had a choice of attending an evolution course or saving my soul. So, I decided to save my soul and I patiently waited in the History Department commons room, which was a bit dark, but scattered with very interesting things to read. I ended up listening to my voice recorder and jotting down this poem. Then Dr. Osborne came by and we chatted for quite a while. I told him about my Elephant and Oak Tree story (which I had informed about 25 other people about, now I have ridiculous personal obligation to write this because then again I will be "all talk and no product" which sounds like a familiar friend of mine, I don't want to end up to be another one of those...). I eventually incorporated the poem into a 14-page essay to my advisor, Dr. Young. I shared the poem with my writing buddy, Hector.
PDF file of the above poem can be found here:
I also wrote this poem before writing the longer essay for Oran. I had a dream of emailing Shifting Baselines to Drs. Jeremy Jackson, Paul Dayton, and Daniel Pauly--my scientist heroes (at least on the marine side, my dad is always my terrestrial hero!)--but right now I feel chickened out. Maybe I'll have enough guts to send it to them another day. I also shared this poem to my writing buddy, Hector, and he liked it! He thought it was a total mind trip, as my writing tends to be....
PDF file of the above poem can be found here:
I had invented this poem quite a while ago--perhaps a month and a half ago--but I finally crystallized it before writing my longer essay to my advisor. It's kind of funny how one of my College of Creative Studies advisors, Dr. Bruce Tiffney, told me that "a Ph.D. is when a student defines a problem and figures out a way or multiple ways how to solve it. And then it's critically evaluated by a committee of people who already have their union cards." This quote is paraphrased. But then the question is--when you take a step back--as I was influenced by meeting Dr. Freudenberg's grad student who studies "perceived risk"--"What is a problem?" "What is a problem versus what isn't a problem?" "How does one define or perceive a system to be a problem at all?" So, part of my Ph.D. is to ask the question as to the "origins of problems." Why we humans have problems in the first place. This biological question is as stupid as my "why do I need to eat?" anorexia question back at age 17. But nevertheless stupid questions can sometimes lead to very interesting findings....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

361. 3 Weeks, 5 Drives, 10 Starbucks Coffee Cups, 30 Fishermen, 1 Break-Up, and 1 Faculty-Student Meeting Later... It Was All Worth It in the End, Pt1

Okay. Where am I at? It is finally "safe" to reflect.

Today is a momentaous day. It is an "open window" for blogging. I finally had a meeting with my advisor, Dr. Oran Young, and it was by far the most productive and best meeting I had with him. We are on the same wavelength, and it is fascinating to me that my three-year obsession with scale-based reasoning and its metaphorical applications to the human-environmental condition would be the concern beyond my own. It would be the concern of Dr. Young, as well to the fascination of Dr. Osborne, a historian and philosopher of science. It finally feels good that my individual intellectual and emotional turmoils actually help others. I don't feel alone anymore. It is a collective venture, a collective adventure. I am walking away from this meeting with Oran feeling like I have survived Fall Quarter of 2008. It is the first time in the entire history of my graduate school experience--which started in the Fall of 2003, that I feel proud of my existence in the context of the university, and that I had "moved forward" in a collective academic context. Graduate school is not just the pursuit of a science experiment, but it is ultimately an engagement with the "campus culture" as a social experment.

The last three weeks had been a blur. On Wednesday morning, I woke up and panicked and cried. My mind and body said I could not take it anymore in terms of having Dr. Zardock on my committee. For the last 8 weeks of the quarter, I had been building inside me an internal accumulation of fear and anxiety, simply because the structure of the conversations between myself and Dr. Zardock had been "deconstructionist" "you can't do that" without providing any alternatives, hence placing my head in the box. And the main reason why "I couldn't do that" is because "I don't have the credentials to do so" and not that it makes sense in terms of "common sense" and "intuition." I had come to a previous melt-down after blogging about a "typical conversation" with Dr. Zardock and coming to realize that I vented out about him to about 10 different people. I had come to the grandiose epiphany that Dr. Zardock had become "a tumor in my mind" and that I must berid it in order to move on with my life. Dr. Osborne argued with me that I shouldn't surround myself with a bunch of agreeing "yes men," but I need critical thinkers on my committee who can provide "constructive criticism:" which means picking apart my logic, but providing "alternative options" or "alternative approaches." Plan B, C, D, E, F, etcetera.

Wednesday morning was essentially an internal "tipping point." I frantically found the phone number of Maria, Oran's multi-dimensional aide, and she said not to worry and that "Dr. Zardock is NOT a tumor in my brain but he is externalized. He is OUTSIDE of you." She said not to worry and that this matter will be taken care of soon enough. After stating this, Maria calmed me down right away (What a psychologist!), and since that moment, I hit the ground running and started to organize and synthesize information in a rather frantic manner--for the last three weeks. I lived through several events--like Thanksgiving (showed up at 3pm, 3 hours late! horrible traffic in Pasadena), a ridiculously adventurous excursion with Wilson to the Royal Falconer English pub, two days in a Motel 6 off of University Ave. in Riverside, California, a meeting with Hugh Marsh at the cafe on north side of campus (giving Hugh a copy of my Question Reality book! a moment of great glory for both of us), spending another night at a Motel 6 in Carpinteria, off of Casitas Pass (I started at 5pm, I got cheated by four hours in my pay, and the other Motel 6 in Carpinteria, near by the Chevron next to the freeway, had their internet service down), surviving my first fisheries stakeholder meeting as "objective note-taker" (tagged along with Carrie Culver and John Richards to a somewhat swanky corporate hotel near by the Los Angeles International Airport, in a drabby room full of colorful, charismatic fishermen), proposing to Dr. Sam Sweet to work on the specifics of the Adaptive Grid Model for macro-evolution (which is more like an Adaptive Grid Model of human perception to me--I have applied Adaptive Grid Models to a lot of aspects in my life... but more later), was 20% present in a collective study session with Andre and Anna, two top-notch undergraduates under Armand Kuris (they should be grad students, I had so much fun studying with them!), I was entering references while Andre and Anna were discussing primary themes of the course, reviewing the final exam (to which I printed out), I kept ranting on about misinterpretations of Garrett Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons (and Andre pointed out that even primates are eusocial creatures, they make decisions in light of the group), so I was a distraction for a study session, I married Endnote figuratively and literally, now a wonderful database for maintaining notes on the literature, continued to enter 200 references in Endnote, then transitioned into writing phase. I wrote frantically about 10 solid pages in one day--the day before the group gathering at Dargans, an Irish pub that Tariel claimed there were great burgers there, but I ended up ordering some kind of chicken-potato-rice-curry dish (I called Jaime the day before and he said the dinner was going to be at 7pm, but he couldn't make it because he had an exam), and I ended up talking with Wesley a lot and we're going to be teaming up most likely in attending some fishery stakeholder meetings--it ends up that the MLPA process is very useful for his homeland of Ireland! But most importantly that night I had an opportunity to talk with Dr. Ernst von Weiszaeker, the Dean of Bren, who stepped down from being the Dean of Bren, returning to Germany, just a couple of days after meeting him! Ernst received a very prestigious environmental prize just earlier that month, so it was kind of a surreal event to have a lively conversation with him at an Irish pub in downtown Santa Barbara, California; it was a very rewarding moment for him to say "I very much enjoy talking with you" and we agreed to talk more a bit the next day, and it is sad that we hadn't met earlier. Ernst also lamented for the loss of my grandfather and wishe that I had a loving support group all along, because I deserve it. That was very touching. I flashed back to my encounter with Dr. Dolf Seilacher, a famous paleontologist and recipient of "the nobel prize for ecologists" (Mercer Award?) in Europe. When I was talking with Dolf about my qualms on the human-environmental condition (back in fall of 2005), I didn't even know that he was a "big-shot" scientist ("big shot" by society, but actually very humble, he is a survivor of World War II, here you go from defending your life on the battle field, to doing something absurd and far removed from the pursuit of barebones survival, like studying the "architecture" of fossils). My conversations with Ernst--largely in the dimensions of environmental media, our values and perceptions of it--mostly the notion of viewing the world in Pictures--and the concept of "expanded interactions between science and society," part of my Alternative Addictions program, ha ha. Ernst commented that he has "few allies" in the world, Oran being one of them. It was a funny gift that the lab gave to Ernst: a big block of red duct tape, symbolizing the Bureaucratic Red Tape of Bren and the University of California, in general. We also discussed the notion of "efficiency" and "elegance" in technology, as well as the priorities of scientists--"rigor" and "methodology" and "precision" and "quantification" when environmental media does not necessarily conform to such standards--such that it suits my own brain "I am just a rational person who decided to accept there is a lot of slop in the world." I finally finished the essay (rough version) on the day of my last conversation with Ernst. I tried to work late into Friday night, with not much hope. I fell asleep early. The next morning, I woke up, struggling to edit my essay, not sure what to do. I ended up using the entire morning toward designing a couple of "immaculate" cartoons: the "observer-interactor principle" and the "zooming eyes," to which I sent off to several people, most notably Dr. John Bohannon, a correspondant of Science who is my Science Journalist Hero for creating the concept of "the Gonzo Scientist," and for intergrating science, art, and culture--it further validates my existence in the university. So my standards for the cartoon were very high, simply because I had a sophisticated, high standard audience to send it to. By then, I was really suffering in my room in Goleta and I called my cousin Mike in Los Angeles--I am going to visit you! He was happy and invited me to come on down. Mike and his girlfriend or not sure what the definition of the relationships is--her name is Jennifer and she is very kind, thoughtful, pretty--were shopping all day as Mike was frantically preparing for a trip to Baltimore and then a cruise ship--I remember him talking about Brazil--all by himself--and I showed up around 6 or 7pm. Mike and Jennifer were at the apartment (on the south side of the Santa Monica peer), and we were off for some adventure. It most certainly broke my train of thought in writing the essay! We headed toward the iceskating rink (a temporary pleasure near by the Third Street Promenade, for the sake of Christmas times, otherwise an "unnatural ecosystem for human pleasure") and there ended up being a lady who lost her wallet--with 200 bucks in cash sticking out--most likely drunk. Mike attempted to take matters in his own hands, as we were up for spontaneous adventure. Finally, we encountered some policemen and the wallet was finally in their care. All three of us proceeded to the Iceskating Rink, which was the epitome of the Tragedy of the Commons: 300 bodies of human flesh crammed in a tiny rink. Nevertheless, Mike and Jennifer were my "reference points" of fun, and so this chaotic experience ended up being rather organized, for I fixated on two human subjects amidst a chilly arena of moving human objects. Then we went to Starbucks and retrieved our "Free Coffees"--for me, an Eggnog Latte (super!) such that we ended up waiting in a long line that is usually encountered in a Disneyland. Then we headed home, sore from our limited ice skating experience (I skated backwards for a little while!), and I had a horrid craving for Mexican Food, so we went out to La Cabana (open very late, very decent priced, need to take Bub) and I ended up ordering chicken nachos, while Mike ordered carnitas and guacamole side, and Jennifer ordered two sides, an enchilada, and something with egg and pepper (touch base with me later), and then we went back to Mike's apartment, ALL FULL--oh ya, the Third Street Promenade Street performers were KILLER GOOD. Freaks. Stupid human tricks deluxe. Wished I could do half the things they were doing. Like break dancing, playing superb guitar, gymnastics. *Sigh.* One day! So I fell asleep on the hardwood floors in the living room. Mike and Jennifer woke up very early the next morning--Sunday morning, the day Mike was supposed to head toward the airport--they left while I was half asleep and groggy from being full on Mexican food--and as soon as they left, I was SURGING with energy to finishing editing my essay that I couldn't finish at UCSB. I emailed Oran that afternoon with a second working draft, then started working on Table 2--the initial set of "tools" and "metaphors" used to construct SBR on the human-environmental condition. The table ended up being 22 pages, and there are still lots of "reference blanks" to fill. I finished around 2 or 3 Monday afternoon. I left the apartment and looked outside, only to see the rains had coated human infrastructure and all landscapes with water droplets and coatings of moisture. The waves crashed violently along the Santa Monica pier, and I felt severe withdrawal from the entire ordeal. I started to drive north--emailed Oran and asked to meet on Tuesday--we agreed 11am Tuesday--and I hit horrible traffic on the 405. I ended up taking the Sepulveda Blvd "side road" to bypass the traffic on the hill by the Getty museum. Quite a ride. Then started heading home, meaning the "Santa Barbara" home, though through the time of withdrawal, I wanted to be in Riverside and collect hugs from my bubsy, mumsy, and sister. I called all of them, while I struggled to see through my windows during some light showers of rain, observing the beauty of the oncoming darkness of rainclouds, outlined by a radiant reddish-pinkish glow of the sunset above. I suppose it parallels Neo's and Trinity's fleeting moment of peace and tranquility above the clouds amidst the storm with the machines below. I was rushing to Santa Barbara to meet a character by the name of Jeff--to which we finally decided to convene at the Natural Cafe across the street from Mercury lounge in Goleta, California. It took about a month to meet up--given my crisis with one of my advisors--and also given the passing of my grandfather....

Out of all the people I encounter through transactions of the internet, I do think that Jeff is perhaps the most "interesting" and "striking" character that I have met, though it is too bad that he himself had encountered me at a time in which I was attempting to snap out of being in a three week stupor of the collective consciousness. Not to mention that I had only had four hours of sleep the night before. Well, let's see, in terms of character analysis. From image and appearance, he is a splitting image and personality of Dr. House, except much younger, without a cane, a limp, and a collection of pill bottles in his pocket. Jeff is of great aesthetics--go genes! Go biology! Lucked him out! You could see right away, he is full of WIT. INTELLIGENCE. Radiates, but not in say... "logical positivism." A mixture of positive and negative thoughts all along the way. We paid for our own meals. I was still in a Mexican mood so I ordered a Taco Salad sans meat, oh well. Commentary on my "fat and sludge" of sour cream and guacamole. He's vegan.

Commentary of my shorts. I always wear shorts. Even on post-rain freezing nights.

We both took good, hard looks at each other, a couple of times. He was born and raised in Santa Barbara. He has relatives here. Spent quite a bit of time in San Diego. Cal State San Diego. Art. Photography. Musician. Guitar. Loves Daftpunk. Eclectic tasts. His latest phase in life is “socializing” the last six months.

I suppose you could stereotype Jeff as "an insanely intelligent, bitter intellectual who decided not to channel his wit and energy through the embetterment of society." I have met these characters before, but Jeff is the most striking case I had ever met. And the most interesting thing is that he constructs all these stories and witty, snarky comments that are used to justifying himself to "being where he is" versus "being where he could be," like a famous musician, a great artist, a nobel laureate, or nevertheless a superb, multi-million-dollar actor along side Dr. House or Jim Carrey or whoever.

Jeff claimed that he has “a method,”—a system—but no one has ever figured it out. And I said, well that’s frustrating, because I need to learn the system. I need to solve the jigsaw puzzle. I need to learn how to “push people’s buttons.” As of the “data” I had collected last night, Jeff’s system is “that he has no system.” He creates a chaotic system insided himself to justify his existence of “being” rather than moving forward into “what he ought to or could be.” As soon as there is a rule or habit or pattern that is implanted in his head, he breaks that rule or pattern. Part of his system is spontaneity and living in—being in the moment. Jeff attempts toplace his mind fully immersed in the moment—and he says that most people are NOT in the moment, they are ultimately living in their PAST—as if that is a “bad” thing. “The present is BUILT upon the past, Sir Jeff. Your code of conduct around me today is a mass accumulation of events of the past, whether you want to acknowledge that or not.” That is what I wished I said, but my neurons were slow to fire (due to my three week stupor of meditation). So, I have a problem with Jeff’s attempt to live in the Impulsive Moment, as opposed to the Contextual Moment. I don’t want to live the moment, interpreting in impulsivity. I would be responding to environmental stimuli as a newborn baby, if that’s the case. But living in the moment contextually leads to UNIQUE and INSIGHTFUL INTERPRETATIONS that would have not otherwise existed.

In the end, after some reflection, the conversation was partly orally abusive, and I do not find solace in being around upfront embitterment, to a point in which he makes judgment of my own character to my own face. Which only represents HIS PERCEPTIONS of me VERSUS MY PERCEPTIONS of me. Total discrepancy. For example, he made a comment on how my writing was very different from my ability to converse. Maybe it’s about meeting a new person. Maybe its’ truly me. Sure, I was slow in responding. I slurred. I stumbled. Or maybe he had not accounted for my three week stupor of essay writing, coupled with sleep deprivation. Maybe I should have made a “clearer disclaimer.” Jeff caught me on a horrid baseline of existence. My physiology was ready to fall apart—I looked pale and even my housemates were concerned. Perhaps I shouldn’t have met him due to my condition. But in another way, I was glad to “get it over with.”

I asked him how much of my blog he skimmed through. He said it had been quite some time. He vaguely remembered some “rants, campus matters. Not of my interest. Science is not anything I partake in. I affiliate myself with artists. Once you take a step outside the box of science in the university, it all looks absurd out here—your pursuits I science. No one gives a fxck / shxt / hoot about science anyway.” Yep, that is what he said, perhaps in my own negative enhancement of paraphrasing. I stumbled upon explaining why I transferred three graduate schools and struggled to find an advisor that would allow me to pursue the intersection of science and art, to which I seemed to have failed myself in coordinating my failing brain with my fluttering lips that were firing as randomly as the neural impulses of a hydra.

So, here is Jeff, right in front of my face, demeaning every once of energy and mindframes in my pursuit of life. Very stereotyping. Very quick to judge. Which is in part derogatory, rude. Or perhaps I can’t take a joke. As if there were all a joke.

Like I said, it was an overall abusive conversation and I am not willing to put up with such wise-xss, defensive commentary of my existence is if this encounter were a couple of apes beating their chess seeing who’s better and more intelligent through the means of impulsive commentary that everything I do is just a piece of shxt and a waste of time. I am getting a Ph.D. not because I am “intelligent”—hardly—but because I realize that I am ignorant, and I that I deeply crave to learn something new. How come everyone in the world thinks they know everything and everyone who is getting a Ph.D. comes to humbly recognize they know nothing and they want to learn something new? In the context of society’s collective consciousness?

Once I had some neurons snapping together the following morning, I started to wonder why this Jeff guy even contacted me through my blog in the first place, if we were only to meet up such that he can just take pleasure to stereotype me to smitherines.

Nevertheless, Jeff gave me a hug good bye, in the freezing dark cold of the new night (930ish pm). He is indeed Biologically Lucky in terms of a Beautiful Image, but with a very dark, chaotic interior, supposedly with a mysterious “method” that no one has ever figured out.

Jeff was the last thing I needed after three weeks of some form of intensive, ritualistic, self-advancement. Jeff was far from a “rewarding experience” to be greeted by an embittered intellectual after three weeks of self-induced, enlightening hxll.

I told my housemate Kyle about Jeff, and Kyle commented on how he’s encountered plenty of “those types of people” before. They’re just momentary amusement for some talk and extracting some kernels of wisdom, but not worth draining your soul on them, because they’ll suck the soul out of you. Very much worth a blurb of reflection on a blog. Might be good use for future character construction in a story. Jeff makes Tariel look like an Angel, and Tristan a subgod, and Oscar Flores a piece of Theoretical Kindness, not that I am religious at all… but most certainly spiritual. Not to mention I need to contact Tristan and repay a debt of kindness.

I don’t know when Jeff and I shall cross paths again. Despite such wicked intellectualism, I found hope and happiness to have encountered such intelligence. I was excited to think that there are other people out in the community who are SOO clever—because the previous people I had met made me seriously question the generic operations of the human mind in the public. The issue is now—to find this intelligence correlated with emotional sensitivity and logical positivism, channeled through productive em-betterment of society. Sure, I am asking a lot. Why is that such a rare combination to find?

Next time I encounter Jeff, I will tweak my head such that I am dealing with a cynical jokester, and that I will conduct myself as if I am around my Uncle Costas in Greece.

Nevertheless, it was all intellectual amusement associated with some pain. How about “the simultaneous experience of painful pleasure.” Worth a follow up, but no longer a drain to my mind. Emotionally and logically.

Moving on.

Additional notes for part 1.

Oh ya. Before visiting Mike, I saw my good friend Kamal on Friday night. We had Indian food together. It was really cool. He wants to combine psychology and engineering for his degree. We are both very interdisciplinary!

Mike Dillin has the ability to engage and interact with any random human you can encounter. His social boundaries are non-existent, and it’s liberating.
Once life becomes too predictable, go visit Mike Dillin, King of Spontaneity.
"Rat bastard kids" RBKs to prevent himself from having kids.

What is very interesting about this last string of thought in this blog is that the closer and closer I approached the present from the near past, my resolution of describing my experienced had become higher and higher and higher.... I talked more about the near present, and the deep-present (like three weeks ago) only received one-liners.