Saturday, November 30, 2002


I am in Oakhurst with my family and some friends. Yesterday, Ryan and I went geocaching in the woods north of Bass Lake and stared Death in the face. Geocaching is kind of like a scavenger hunt where you never meet the other participants. People with GPS receivers leave ammo cans filled with trinkets and a log book somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Then they post the GPS coordinates on the web and other people go find it. You find the ammo can with a GPS receiver, sign the log book, take a trinket and leave a trinket, and then go about your merry way. It's a fun excuse to go hiking and trekking crosscrounty. Yesterday we went about 10 miles with a 1700 ft elevation gain. Stephen was sick and stayed around at home.

Last night, I joined hundreds of Yosemite High Badger fans for the post-game antics at The Pines Village Brewery. Mostly I talked to cousins and their satellites. Then I came back and slept. Today we are asking my four year old cousin Jaecie all kinds of questions like What does a doctor do?, What is justice?, and Where do dragons live? She answers with things like, 'I can run around with my eyes closed', or 'I can count to 32.' This kind of Socratic method is very fun when you're four.

I hope your weekend is cool.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

This comes courtesy of Merce Romero, a friend at

Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain:

United Nations Survey

Last month, a world-wide survey was conducted by the UN.

The only question asked was...

"Would you please give your honest

opinion about solutions to the food

shortage in the rest of the world?"

The survey was a huge failure because...

In Africa they didn't know what "food" meant.

In Eastern Europe they didn't know what "honest" meant.

In Western Europe they didn't know what "shortage" meant.

In China they didn't know what "opinion" meant.

In the Middle East they didn't know what "solution" meant.

In South America they didn't know what "please" meant.

In the USA they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.

From Global Village - The Times Colour Supplement 24/08/02


And as pointed out by Ryan Cox,
"The majority of Americans want to bomb the [everlasting snot] out of Iraq, but in a recent survey
only 13% can point to it on a map." This is atrocious. As Ryan points out, "if people knew more about Iraq and the situation, their opinions might be different." Do you know where Iraq is?

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

My mom's been in town for a week, and we've had a good time hanging out. She's met quite a few of my friends, but she could always meet more, so consider coming this Saturday to an afternoon get-together before the usual Saturday night reckless dissipation.

What: "Fixin' To Do" Tea (a Texas phrase...)

When: 2pm to 6pm, Saturday, November 23

Where: 169 N. Holliston Apt. #1, PASADENA [map]

(Union St. will be a good place to find parking.)

Come on over and say hi. My mom's a real wildcard, what with traveling all around the country, a real Thelma without Louise, so you're lucky she's stopped by at all.

This weekend I went to an event called "Walk With Me"
in Torrance. My friend Tim has been going to a start-up church down there. And wouldn't you know it, I ran into a guy I met three years ago at a Campus Crusade Millenial meeting. His name's Ramon Mayo and he's got his own blog. He took the liberty of reminding me of the following:

We both signed this millenial pledge to give one year of our lives to the Lord in full time ministry. Shane set a date for 2099. Mine was a bit earlier. So there you have it. If you ever see Shane Ross on the street in 2099 (assuming medical science will be able to keep us all alive or the second coming doesn't happen by then) remind him of his pledge to God ;)

I have many years left to fulfull my commitment. But really, I did it out of peer pressure. If you're the only one sitting in your chair and not getting taken up in the emotional frenzy of the moment, you must not be spiritual, right? Well, I signed it, and a commitment's a commitment, so let's see what we can do... Yes, we'll see. As Ramon eludes to, he's going to fulfill his obligation a bit sooner than the 22nd century. He's going to Ethiopia to help the church there. He's eager to go over there next year and learn the language. He's a cool guy, very friendly and intelligent, and I'm sure God will use him to do great things. Plus, I'll hopefully have a place to stay when I head down Ethopia way.

After a late dinner with Ramon, Tim, and company, I headed to 2J's. I saw Chris, Alex, and Dave there. Plus I met yet another woman who's into astrophysics. Her name's Jesseca and she even studies it.
When a woman greets you with "You study astrophysics? You're my hero!" without any sarcasm, it can do wonders to confirm a man's importance in the general scheme of things. So if you're a physicist and looking for a good time, head to Fullerton.

As is always the case when I'm going through a cathartic experience in life, U2 releases another album. This time it's the "Best of 1990-2000." There are a few songs I had not heard before, plus their new song "Electrical Storm." And my favorite B-Side, if you get the Best of the B-Sides too, is "Blue Room." Check it out, man!

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

mountain streams

Wouldn't it be fun to refrain from capitalization or complete sentences? And appropriate use of punctuation, why bother? Throw in some gratuitous smileys and you get the following stream of consciousness, a penumbra of the heart's eclipse:

so hi peeps :) yo me and otherz went to the woodz this past weekend... there was snow, but not where we stayed. it was this huge-ish wood log cabin type thing with a hot tub, sauna, pool table, home theatre, and a butler named nigel or something ridiculously british like that. this d00d what called hisself travis sed his folks had the place built, so we all didn't question and just enjoyed the facilities and like that. so y'all be wundrin what we done? well, we got really wild and tore the place crazy-up... okay not yet. but we did discover the hard likor. then we went right to bed. and woke up watching some crazy pic with bill murray and it was called rushmore. i'd forgot how cool it was =) then we'd got some notion of goin to the mammoth and seein the woolly snow and happy bunnies }:) but instead we got free hot dogs... and it was wicked cold cuz the snow was comin' down. and hot dogs ain't warm enuff. so for warmth we went to nature and found nature bubblin over some nasty fowl smellin hot water :~/ so we jump in and hot it is and there's some dog dingo goin' all nutty and foulin our towels. the moon was comin up and matt couldn't stand it so we left and the suv was all goin sideways and whatnot. then we tried the sauna and nothin was the same after that. so we watched a anit-war war movie and went to dinner at grumpy's, where there was this really double plus ungood sad family :-[ it was real horrorshow, but then we went back to the taj majal and talked about our feelings. the next day we still had feelings so we went out to the rocks to scratch those pesky feelins away, but those feelins just got bigger and so we decided to go kill the enemy. but the enemy was afar off somewhere in finnegan's wake, so we ate mexican food and thought of ethical dilemmas until we reached californicated la la land... : O

Friday, November 08, 2002

oc nightlife

Last night after a chill out rap session with Stephen and
Ryan, and John S.,
I went to the Fling Cocktail Lounge in Santa Ana with
Sure it's a bit of a drive, but no longer than a drive from Pasadena to Santa Monica.

The Fling is very relaxed place and my friends in Anaheim and I have gone there a few times in the past month. It doesn't feel like a pick-up bar or anything, though pick-ups may happen. The crowd is a bit on the older side, say 40s or so, but very jovial. There's one guy in his 60s that looks like Colonel Sanders and dances with all the ladies. Occasionally you'll see some students from nearby Chapman University, especially on a Friday night. One cool thing about the Fling is that it has live music every night. Last night there was a band playing classic rock. I thought the lead guitarist looked a bit like The Edge.

From there, Seth and I headed to 2J's Cocktail Lounge in Fullerton, where a decidedly younger crowd lingers. I saw somebody I knew there,
Dave Kurutz, who recently found out that I study astrophysics and chaos. He was concerned with asteroids hitting the Earth. How big would it need to be to kill us all? What would it do exactly? Well, an asteroid about10 miles across would send out a wall of fire from the impact site that would annihilate whole continents, if not the entire earth. This is probably what happened to the dinosaurs. But there's no reason it can't happen again, since asteroids up to the size of Texas are whizzing about in the cosmic shooting gallery we inhabit. I would not be surprised if God "cast the first stone" to put an end to the Earth when the time comes.

I also met one of Dave's friends Becka, who was very cool. She's actually read a book by physicist Kip Thorne on black holes and time warps, and was curious to know more about what I studied. And she's been to Cinque Terre in Italy, the only other person I know besides my sister and I. The night ended with Seth and I playing pool and me barely winning. Seth said the beer wasn't so good, but these places aren't known for their beer the way that Crown City Brewery is. I'm not too excited about beer anyway, so I didn't notice.

Overall the night was cool. So don't forget about OC, it can be fun sometimes. That Orange Curtain is nothing but a line in the sand.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Stuff that's happened

I've noticed that I rarely write in this blog about what's going on. So here's what's going on.

This weekend, the men from the Christian Raging Alcoholic Social Hour (CRASH, a.k.a. our "Life Group") will be going up to Mammoth for some much desired R&R. And
Matt, whether he knows it or not, will be leaving on Friday at 6pm.

At work, I just finished working on a proposal to work on "Transport in the Three-Body Problem." Essentially, the goal is to view the solar system as a fluid in which all the asteroids and comets are like "tracers" showing us where the fluid is going. We want to characterize the mixing of this "fluid" which is "stirred" by the gravity of the several planets. We can color code the fluid and make diagrams like the one shown.

Today a reporter from Engineering and Science magazine is going to talk to my colleagues and I about our work, especially this notion of the Interplanetary Superhighway, where tubes in space connect all the planets, via that fluid-like motion I mentioned. Later tonight, my friend and colleague
Koon and his wife will take Francois and I out to dinner to celebrate the completion of the proposal that we all worked quite a bit on.

It looks I got my talk accepted for the
13th Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, Ponce,
Puerto Rico, February 9-13.

The title is Design of Multi-Moon Orbiter, and it's about using a single spacecraft to orbit multiple moons of Jupiter, something that's never been done before. I'm excited to go -- so let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that I can get the travel money. Anyone else want to come? It's Puerto Rico, not Cuba mind you.

My mom is up in Oakhurst and hopefully I can see her some time in the next few weeks. My sister is thinking of going to culinary school. And my dad has been going on dates. For myself, I've been to a few bars recently, mostly to hang out. I've met a few women. So much balance is needed in this life, such as balancing the drive to pursue, which can take up tons of time and energy, and the drive to just do and be and wait and see. I'd rather take the latter road. There are many battles and adventures to be had, and many are taking shape. Perilous and varied shape!

As an aside, and I may write a pamphlet directed toward Christian audiences entitled "Back to the Bar: Why Christians Should Give Up Prohibition and Drink Socially." We'll see though.

The natives are getting restless. The time has almost come.

Corporations have been enthroned. An era of corruption in high
places will follow and the money power will endeavor to prolong
its reign by working on the prejudices of the people...until
wealth is aggregated in a few hands...and the Republic is

- Abraham Lincoln

Monday, November 04, 2002

Attention Please

Walk into any social or business gathering, and within a short time,
some people will stand out more than others. Of course you've noticed this.
You've noticed how you're drawn to some and not to others. It may be a
party where you're attracted to some woman or man or a single gender
business meeting, where a particularly confident executive draws your
attention. It's a truism to say that some people get more attention than
others. One may be tempted to say they get more than they deserve. If
you're one of those commonly overlooked, this is a particularly painful fact
of life, 'your daily bread', so to speak. If you're not one of those, and
you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's important that you read on.
everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one
who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked,
as Jesus of Nazareth

If you could be transported to Ephesus in the first century, you would notice that this imbalance between the attention haves and have nots
was absent. Why? Let's look at the words of href="">Paul of Tarsus, the first century Christian missionary, and arguably the best missionary that ever was.

align=left alt="Paul of Tarsus"

"The parts of the Body that seem to be weaker are
indispensable, and the parts of the Body that we think less honorable we
invest with the greater honor, and the unpresentable parts are treated
with greater modesty; which our more presentable parts do not require. But
God has so composed the Body, giving the greater honor to the unpresentable
parts, that there may be no discord in the Body, but that the members may
have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer
together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together." - Paul of Tarsus
(I Corinthians 12:22-26)

Paul keeps two audiences clearly in view: the 'unseemly,' those who do
not naturally attract attention; and the 'seemly,' those who do attract
attention and do feel cared for, and thus have a religious obligation to
stand in solidarity with their unseemly fellows.

John Skidmore, an excellent Christian orator and a good friend of mine,
has an excellent discussion of this passage which I briefly quote below.
The full text can be found href="">here.

Please carefully look at the language of this. Paul is not commanding;
he is not advising. He was "telling it like it was." For Paul was simply
describing how things work, not from some theory; but rather from the
influence of a shining light - the Church of Ephesus. He wrote I
Corinthians, including href="">Chapter
, not from an ivory tower; but from the warmth of the fire that blazed
in and among the Ephesian brethren. He was writing to the Corinthians from
the living example of a thriving fellowship. Notice the lack of "shoulds",
and the presence of "is".

The Ephesian brethren had this powerful understanding of the role of
status in people's lives (yes, about material things, but I'll bother with
that later...) The more important status is emotional - how people
are respected and valued from each other. They understood that the more
beautiful, handsome, socially skilled, athletic, tall, well-endowed people
naturally attract to themselves honor. There is nothing wrong with
It is a simple fact of life. The fact was acknowledged. But they
also understood the brokenness and pain that comes from not being honored,
wanted, respected, sought after. So they made it a practice to seek after,
want, honor and respect those that did not naturally attract such
things. They shared the sight of Christ - seeking what was not obvious to
carnal eyes, and had the hope of Christ. Please remember the line that
precedes the famous scripture - "If any man is in Christ, he is a new
creature..." This preceding line was the Ephesian secret wisdom...

"From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view;
even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we do so no
longer. Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old
has passed away, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ
reconciled us to Himself, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation." -
Paul of Tarsus (II Corinthians 5:16-18)

"From now on, we regard no one from a human point of view..." - they saw
their 'unseemly brethren,' their non-Christian neighbors, everyone - from
the vantage of heaven. In our words, what they can be - what they will be -
if only, if only -

... Please consider these words. Seemlies, give attention and love to
those that would naturally turn you off. You have no idea what joy you can
bring. Unseemlies - walk the dark road - there is power in what you
experience - in the comfort you will bring to others.

And may we all walk as the Ephesians walked.

We all need to be cared for. Everyone has valuable gifts and qualities,
though some qualities do not attract attention as well as others. But those
with such 'unseemly' qualities still need your care, and it is your
obligation to give them your attention. So consider this, and share the
wealth. And if you need more encouragement, consider the words of our Lord
and judge. To whom much is given, much is expected. But there's
more, and it comes with a warning to those who do not use what they are given and look after their brothers (Matthew 25:40-46).

Jesus of Nazarethsrc="">

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Next he will say to those on his left,`Out of my presence, with your own curse upon your heads, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, lacking clothes and you did not clothe me, sick and imprisoned and you took no care of me.'

Then it will be their turn to ask,`Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or lacking clothes, sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

He will answer,`I tell you the truth: whatever you neglected to do for one on the least of these, you neglected to do for me.'

And they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

To this heart-stopping lesson, Matthew adds the frightening comment: "Jesus had now finished all he wanted to say."
This is the last public sermon Jesus gave. This is what he left us with. So go now, and please do what he said. For the sake of your fellow man, and for your sake.