Saturday, December 24, 2005

Fortune cookie

The sweet yellow fortune teller says
"statistics are no substitute for judgement"

and my lucky numbers are 3, 5, 11, and 19

Friday, December 23, 2005

Monday, December 12, 2005


We’re expecting…a niece or a NEPHEW! They are almost 4 months along, and it is fascinating that this little life is GROWING inside. I have seen sonogram pictures over the past few weeks and they are amazing themselves, but they don’t compare to what I heard this weekend.

20 magical seconds. I listened to a recording of the baby’s (I don’t know what to call it/HIM/her) heartbeat. Unbeleivable! I don’t know where to begin describing it. It was so strong and fast, beating rhythmically, frantically…pumping blood to what? The few inches of body? The heartbeat was so strong and so fast, like the little one was running sprints...does it even have legs yet?

That’s the thing that amazes me…it is not yet 4 months, and yet there is this incredible, real, loud, pounding heart that is just beating away…yet so much else of the baby has probably yet to form…probably doesn’t have any digits, other “vital” organs haven’t formed, eyes?, ears?, lungs? All of the things that make us human are lacking, except for heart…there was a heart, perhaps the thing that makes us most human?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Hanging Orchid

This is an old-style thai house. It has none of the frills and stuff that we ceaselessly accumulate to fill the space we have. This traditional house had nothing but aplank to sleep on, a floor, a roof, and these flowers. Thats it. No walls even.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Earth From Above

My sense of enormity was inspired last night as I saw the world from above. I saw the city from the 96th floor, atop the John Hancock building, staring out into the man made sea of buildings. This land of a million lights for miles and miles….all lighting up a million different universes make up Chicago.

You may remember a hundred years ago, there was a small fire that burned a few of the buildings down.

Since then, hundreds upon hundreds of buildings have gone up in their place. Awe inspiring is just not descriptive enough. When you think that men, like little ants, built up the city one stone, one brick, one floor, one building at a time…reaching skyward as the city spilled over and was then corralled by the lake. And still under construction!

All man made? Is that possible? There must have been some divine intervention, I mean just LOOK, is this not comparable to Niagara Falls, Muir Woods, or the Grand Canyon? The lights, towers, the silent mayhem that is going on below. People filling every space, every floor, every room…life teeming out of every concrete corner. The lights! There are so many, too many to count. Top to bottom, east to west, north to south….light upon light upon light. Can we have made this? So much energy in this place, rivaled only by the sun it seems.

I was battling an anxiety to get out of what I thought was so familiar…so Chicago, but going up and seeing for miles and just realizing that ‘downtown’ as it is generically called by suburbanites like me is divided into 20 distinct neighborhoods, just in “the loop” alone. The thought that just a couple buildings could EASILY house my entire suburb, made me just realize that there is so much city left to be discovered.

I have lived here my whole life and this is the first time I have been here. WHY HAVE I NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE?

Night Hancock

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Physics 112

I can remember back to my first college physics classes studying light and fluid dynamics and magnetism. I am so fascinated with the way thoses classes explained the world. A bird in flight, a traffic signal, the tide, a pool ball. I can still recall coming out of each class(feeling a bit nerdy)and being in awe of just having learned how this or that works while fitting so nicely into the principles of what i was learning.

I saw this glass while at a lecture recently. I noticed that it was half full:p and also noticed the reflection of the words on the screen transposed in the reflection of the water. The rays of light bouncing around in the glass and totally understanding why...i wish i could say the same for the naturally i swiped the glass so i could take some pictures. I look at this picture and i feel a sudden(and brief)insight into the world, just like my weekly freshman physics revelations.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Friday, October 14, 2005


I happened by a couple pieces of paper that caught my eye and made me pay close attention. The pages were brownish and old looking. It was stationary, but old and it had come from a type-writer, not a printer.

My eyes searched for the date, January 1985. I started reading, realizing they were references or recommendations. Not just run of the mill recommendations, but full page almost gushing recommendations of work ethic and dependability and accuracy and most notably, ‘likability’.

This last part was what made most impression on me. Yeah sure, you think about the work that is to be done, that’s what you are looking for. A person who can get the job done. But being liked…that’s such an intangible quality, and one that is so often overlooked in a work relationship.

The pages both used the words, “character”, “likable”, “nice to be around”. I was very proud to read this on letters of recommendation for my dad and wish him the same experiences in his new job.

Friday, September 30, 2005

life less ordinary

Sad how easy it is to fall back into life. Didn't even miss a beat, it seems. Everything around is so comfortable and so much as it always has been.

So much of the everyday just comes and goes, passes us by. Though, about a year ago, everything was different, every single thing...from going to the grocery store to GETTING to the grocery store on the back of a crazy motorcycle taxi! The sights and sounds are still very real in my mind. I can smell the slightly offensive strange food being sold on the street and hear a low roar of people buying and selling in the marketplace so vividly in my head.

This is a picture i took of some fruit being sold in the market. Just stacked one on top of the other, like the many sensations, i felt one on top of the brings me back to that place that had a pulse all its own.

Monday, September 26, 2005


sunset beach

Sunday, September 25, 2005


A thousand words

I love taking pictures and I want to share them, so I resolve to share.

Pesky Brazil Nut

I was lucky enough to go to the amazon last year and it still fascinates me. There are so many mind boggling facts about the amazon like, it produces 20% of the earth's oxygen or the amazon river contains 30% of the world's freshwater, that i could just list and list and list. Thanks google.

One thing in particular that just is fascinating about mother nature and the symbiosm that exists in nature is the brazil tree. This mammoth tree that grows up to 160 feet tall. They generate their own climate, make clouds and rain. Its own eco-system.

One of several things that are amazing about this tree is that it produces a pod full of seeds, those brazil nuts that no one likes. Well what's fascinating is that the pod is so hard that not a single animal in the forest, and that's thousands, has jaws strong enough to break the pod. It would take a man 20 minutes with a hacksaw to open one of these pods...The brazil tree depends on one rodent with chisel like teeth to open the pods and bury the nuts.

WOW! This mammoth tree is totally dependent on one little rodent. This tree that can house thousands of species of insects and animals in a single tree, totally dependent on one little animal. Life. Nature. Incredible that the tree that is the life blood of the forest which is perhaps the life giver of the world so closely tied to every living thing.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I’ve been reading a lot of technical actuarial papers for a project I’ve been working on. I have designed a pretty cool way to run Monte Carlo simulations. It’s the sort of thing I could just as easily be doing for a lab class in college as for work.

I am reading about and looking up many mathematical and statistical principles and am in a new awe. Covariance, correlation, convolution and transformation. I am relearning properties that I am again finding fascinating. How the rules never bend, yet equations, properties, and situations somehow simplify from complex monsters. I am being reminded of why I am such a geek and love numbers. So beautifully dependable and objective. Their properties, amazingly complex but in the end beautiful for their simplicity and the elegance the way everything can come together.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

No skin ON

OooOOoooo….the body world’s exhibit at the museum is just on my mind. Days later and I’m still thinking about it, still forming ideas and still in awe. It was interesting, sad, intellectual, grotesque, and beautiful all at once.

Hundreds of REAL HUMAN specimens ‘plastinized’ (is that even a word?) and carefully dissected and displayed. Awesome! These real human bodies of men, women, and children displayed with no skin let you see (quite literally) the inner workings of the body. You could see the muscles, the organs, the nerves the skeleton, and everything else inside from every angle.

Upon entering, the first display made me just stop and think, “Is that REAL?” It is almost too much to take in, my mind was in shock, I ended up spending so much time looking at the first body, at a person who used to eat, drink, and maybe even look at exhibits in a museum. Just frozen in plastic. The bodies were posed and seemed ‘ultra’-real, there was a teacher, a runner, an almost voyeuristic look at a mother and her unborn child, a family holding hands, and more.

It is gruesome to know that they are real and individuals…but with no skin, no color, no religion, they are just people. Just the same mix of red and yellow and blue as anybody.
They are just a mix of many complex systems intertwined and working as one machine. A beautifully engineered machine who’s creation may have been more in exercise in ‘beauty than utility.’

This exhibit, this human body may be more appropriately placed in an art museum rather than one devoted to science.

Check out for Z’s take on this.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Ever read Brave New World? I haven’t since high school and I’m glad I picked it up again, because I was probably did not get a whole lot out of it then. It’s an Orwelian-esque novel where a Utopia is created through conditioning and chemicals. In this strange society, everyone is conditioned to know their place and everyone takes ‘happy’ pills.

They are happy drones. Of course it begs the question, are they better off not knowing?

Isn’t there is so much that we are (blissfully?) ignorant of? With our TV pills and 9-5 conditioning you have to wonder

“Don’t you want to be free and men? Don’t you even understand what manhood and freedom are?” – Aldous Huxley

Friday, June 24, 2005


This weekend while celebrating Maryam's first birthday was the first time that my entire family has been in the same place at the same time, since several people have become part of the family. Now adays, seldom does it seem we are in the same place. So we decided to capture it on film.

What an ordeal, a fun one! In a matter of seconds it was decided that we would try to do a family portrait. And do it NOW! So the house was in a mess as we moved furniture and set up lights and cameras to record this likely to be the last time there are only 10 people in the family, and in one place. We had every combination of sleeping and awake kids, our rooms appeared as if they had thrown up with clothes strewn about and finally we all were awake, dressed to kill and posing.

I guess 20 pictures is not enough to capture a pose with 10 people all with their eyes open and not looking wierd at the same time, but it was a very fun 3 hours.

The best part was the 10 seconds between each time the timer was pressed and the picture was taken. The whole family trying to get the two kids to not cry and look at the camera put a real smile on everyones face. A smile from the heart, not the head...and even though we won't have it in a frame, I have it in my head.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I was playing risk, the game of "world domination" recently and went home with it on my mind. I worked out the probabilities of outcomes for the different scenarios. It wasn't that hard really, and now I want to find something more challenging, but for now here are the results.

I had some trouble putting the numbers into blogger, but basically the way to consistently win is to attack as much as possible. The wrong message or just good old fashion entertainment?

Friday, May 27, 2005


“Welcome to the world”.

Rebirth. I feel like the potential is there all the time. A friend of mine wrote in his blog, “the end is near”, and I thought, “yeah, isn’t it great?”.

I have had this great feeling for a long time of being on the verge of being in the best time of my life. Excited. Thrilled. Dizzy with joy at the thought of what I have to look forward to, and the change I know that is right around the corner.

A book I’m reading about how the souls, of the characters are connected and intertwined. More so the book is about their relationships. It is so easy for me to identify with this. I feel ‘reborn’ all the time. Reading a friends blog, talking with ZP, reconnecting with a friend, making a new one, simultaneously being a son and a husband, or being a brother.

I feel so intertwined and it provides so much perspective. Every day is so rich with these relationships. Relationships that make me feel so intertwined with my jati.

Sunday, February 06, 2005


Viet-nam, that is.

This place just reeks of war. It's in the air and you can just smell it, it is so ripe. Some of it has even become tourist attractions. And as a dutiful tourist...

Cu-Chi. This place just near Saigon is where some of the fiercest fighting took place. During the war 8 million tons of bombs fell on this small country and many of them on this resilient place. An the evidence is apperent. There are massive craters left by the b-52 bombers. Footprints of a giant. The National Front for Liberation, vietcong (vietnamese communist) as they were named by their enemies, built a system of tunnels here.

After visiting this place it is easy to see that the vietcong had a huge psychological advantage over any enemy. They lived in a system of tunnels. These small, dark burrows deep in the ground were where the vietcong lived with the support of the people. Even the bravest soldier couldn't be blamed for not following into these tunnels. This place is full of horrible booby and landmines made from the bombs of their enemies. And enemies who passed too noisily had to worry about being devestaed by guerillas who would emerge from the ground .

This place was ripe with war, horrible war and the lifestyle of the vietcong had to fit...getting rid of the smoke from cooking without being detected, the "food" they ate for months and years, the bathrooms, the many 2x2x2 holes in the ground that served as one man bomb shelters, the clothes they wore. All this, not to mention a foreign enemy having to deal with the heat, malarial mosquitoes, and monsoon rain. The shear dedication to a cause was enough to scare the pants off me.

The realization that our tour guide who visited this place day after day was probably the age of an average soldier during this dehumanization of south vietnam really turned my brain.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Thai Drama

Two hours at the Chalermkrung Theatre, another Bangkok night. The theatre in a way was so much like what you would expect, but Bangkok in a way that has yet to disappoint.

We had great seats and it was two hours watching “The actress”. The imagery was great. The curtains opened to a woman dancing in traditional Thai dress and this amazing music. Being deaf to every word, but still hearing every action made it so different.

But for me the music stole the show. You might expect there to be a band or an orchestra, but there was one person. He was playing this instrument that made this incredible noise that you could just feel in your bones. I don’t know what it was called, but it was as if he took the insides out of a grand piano and played the strings with his hands.

One more thing, at the end of the show, several people went up to the stage and showed their appreciation by handing flowers to the actors and actresses. So simple and nice. Why not cross that line?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

anniversary II

I was just out walking on the campus near dusk when from out behind a wall a teacher's kid shoots out on a bicycle. This little girl with hypnotic grey eyes wearing an obnoxious fluffy pink dress flowing in the wind riding her proportionally mini cherry red bicycle as fast as physics will allow the kiddie huffy to go brings a smile to my face. An 'insta'-smiile. Not thinking about what i've seen, just smiling and being in the moment.

I'm coming up on an anniversary of sorts. Though, it's true the number of dates in the year worth remembering have gone from 0-60 in a couple years since meeting zahra. Worth remembering indeed. This last year has been filled with more moments than any before. Good. Bad. Incredible. And several more words that fail to describe any of these moments.

Getting to my point...well i guess i don't have one, not totally neccesary i suppose. I read something today that, sadly, made me feel good about my writing. "Inspiration doesn't automatically give birth to technique."