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Friday, November 19, 2010

Flax Pen to Paper

Last week, I visited Flax Pen to Paper, a Flax outpost near UCLA. I was impressed: the store carries a sterling silver Namiki fountain pen, as well as several kinds of Sailor pens. The Sailors are out of my price range -- the one that fits my hand costs around $300.00 -- but I am happy to know that they are available in Los Angeles.

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Amazing Calligraphy

The person featured in this video is Leigh Reyes, who, in my opinion, is an extremely skilled calligrapher. I wouldn't mind learning calligraphy at some point in my life. Wow.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Janet Iwasa and Molecular Visualization

My friend Janet Iwasa was just mentioned in a New York Times article about molecular visualization. Well done Janet, and everyone else who works on this project!

Pop Culture Curator at the National Air and Space Museum

Apparently, the National Air and Space Museum has a pop culture curator named "Margart Weitekamp," who manages thousands of items, including movie props, toys, stamps, games, pins, and trading cards, showing how space exploration made its way into the national consciousness. Well done, National Air and Space Museum!

Read the article here.

Image courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Coordinated Dancing

What is it about watching a group of people dance in unison that stirs the blood? I just watched the music video for Janet Jackson's song "Feedback," and was struck, again, by how thrilled one can feel by watching group dancing. I wish I knew why I felt this way. Does the feeling stem from early human history, and battle demonstrations? (I have included a video of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team performing their haka routine for comparison.) Also, the Michael Jackson video below shows how group dancing can be menacing. Interesting....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rodeo Drive

I have had occasion to spend some time near Rodeo Drive these past few weeks, and I'm not sure what I think. The neighborhood is spotless, and great for walking, but there aren't many stores there that interest me. I found a Taschen book store, and a stationery store that sells fountain pens, but otherwise, I get a little bored. But, one redeeming quality is the vast number of luxury and sports cars. I have had a lot of fun ogling them!


For my birthday, my wonderful girlfriend bought me two pocket Moleskine notebooks. Hooray! Now I have a place where I can record my band name ideas.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Georgian Planet

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Michael Lemonick's prose is excellent, and I really liked Herschel's story. I knew very little about his discovery of Uranus, and nothing about his investigations of infrared light. Well done.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


This pitcher is amazing. You can find it at

Korean Pottery

As long as I'm on a pottery kick right now, I thought I would find some stuff from Korea. I found this photo at The celadon glaze is magnificent.

Monday, August 9, 2010

More Polish Pottery

I don't remember if I have mentioned Polish pottery in a previous post, but here is another fine example (from My girlfriend's cousin introduced me to this stuff, and I just love it. The geometric patterns are very cool.

Beautiful Ceramic Cup!

Here is another beautiful cup from I love the contrast between the brown bamboo and the blue background. And, the white lip is lovely, too.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Japanese Tea Cup

I am now living in Los Angeles, and before I moved here, I went shopping for some cups, bowls, and plates at a restaurant-supply store in San Francisco. I love cool ceramics, so when I saw some fantastic cups with Japanese characters and fish drawings on them, I bought two! One of them is to the right.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Clouds and Libraries

I was thinking these past few days about the similarities between cloud computing and public libraries. I have been hearing off and on about how some people believe that the future of owning music will be storing mp3 files in remote servers, accessible online, so that a person could access their music (or movies, or whatever) from any place that has internet access. That way, no one would have to actually buy a physical copy of a piece of music, or any other kind of media, and find a way to store it.

I thought that, in a way, that notion is kind of like a public library. People can use a library as their book collection, without having to store books in their homes. Of course, a library isn't accessible from everywhere, but using one is a way to have access to a huge amount of media without having to store that media. Interesting...

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Last night, I was listening to some music using my Koss PortaPro's. Every time I use them, I feel like I am rediscovering my music. They are so exceptionally good, I can't believe I don't use them all the time. Who needs a high-end stereo system?

To read a good review of them, go here.


Here in Princeton, I am getting the full summer experience. For the past few days, the high temperatures have been in the mid-90s. I haven't felt heat like this in years. San Francisco always had moderate-to-cool temperatures, which didn't vary much all year. On the other hand, I am seeing rabbits, fireflies, and groundhogs, which is exciting.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Computers and Typewriters

I just read an article about people who prefer using typewriters to computers. I have to admit that I am sympathetic. On the one hand, when you use a typewriter, you don't have to worry about losing data, or making sure that a battery is charged. On the other hand, typing on a computer makes editing far, far easier: I would much rather write a 40-page essay on a computer than on a typewriter. I would have to have to retype all 40 pages, rather than just change a sentence here or there.

I feel similarly about cell phones. I like having a land line because I never have to worry about reception, or dropped calls, or whether the battery has enough charge. On the other hand, cell phones are extremely convenient. So, I'm torn.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rain, and Physics

It is raining in Princeton, and I am enjoying hearing it hear the roof outside my room. (It's strange to hear a rainstorm that is not a deluge, like the storms in San Francisco.) I am also looking forward to next week, when my bike should arrive at the local UPS store. I am itching to ride around town, and explore the paths along the river near campus.

Another note: I have been using my two Lamy fountain pens to take notes during my daily lectures, and I have been surprised at how long the ink supply has been lasting, and how smooth the nibs have been. Hooray for fountain pens! The person who sometimes sits next to me takes notes on an iPad: what an interesting juxtaposition of technologies that is.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I have arrived at Princeton University, where I will the spend the summer as a science writing intern. So far, I love the town. I have missed being around deciduous trees, and dogwoods, and I find that I even missed summer weather. I walked along Nassau St., and was happy to find deli's, bakeries, a running supply store, a cupcake shop, a book store, and even a small movie theater. Very nice, Princeton: very nice.

Also, I am looking forward to a summer full of thunderstorms. Hooray!

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Single Word

A few days ago, I came across an article in the New York Times about All Souls College at Oxford University. It seems as though the college had an entrance exam that consisted of one word, like "justice." Applicants had three hours to write an essay about the word, or topic. This idea is fascinating to me. I also loved the scenario that the writer describes below:

"The unveiling of the word was once an event of such excitement that even non-applicants reportedly gathered outside the college each year, waiting for news of the word to waft out."

Unfortunately, the exam has been discontinued.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bacon Syrup

I never would have thought that anyone would have a need for bacon syrup, but Torani obviously thought there was a hole in its flavored syrup offerings. This site also suggests using bacon syrup on milkshakes, which sounds odd, though bacon and chocolate do go well together.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

In the Morning

Here is another post from Daily Dharma that I like:

In the morning when you wake up, you reflect on the day ahead and aspire to use it to keep a wide-open heart and mind. At the end of the day, before going to sleep, you think over what you have done. If you fulfilled your aspiration, even once, rejoice in that. If you went against your aspiration, rejoice that you are able to see what you did and are no longer living in ignorance. This way you will be inspired to go forward with increasing clarity, confidence, and compassion in the days that follow.

—Pema Chödrön, ‘Bite-sized Buddhism’ (Fall, 2007)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Leigh Reyes

In the past year or so, I have become very interested in fountain pens, so when I come across a pen website or resource that I like, I get very excited. The following blog is one of those resources. I don't know who Leigh Reyes is, but she seems to be a pen-and-ink connossieur, and a fantastic ink artist. (One of her drawings is on the left.) I think I would like to learn how to draw with ink, since I consider myself a pencil drawer and would like to expand my art horizons. Anyway, check out her blog.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cool Pencil Cases

I love this kind of stuff! I haven't had a pencil case in a long time, but seeing these makes me yearn for one now.

Laundry Detergent

I just read an article about laundry detergent, in which the author argues that Americans use vastly more detergent than they need to use. In fact, it seems as though washing one's clothes without any detergent at all is almost as effective as washing one's clothes with detergent, since the agitation of the washing machine does most of the cleaning. Moreover, the more detergent one uses, the more leftover soap scum is left on the clothes after washing. For some reason, I find this issue fascinating.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sharing Embarrassment

I really enjoyed reading the following quote, which is from Tricycle magazine:

"Embarrassment is just that—embarrassment. We need to have mercy on ourselves. We all feel embarrassed. Actually, when we do speak about these things, when we do share our embarrassment, we experience relief. The holding back is what is hard.... We need to be able to trust relationships. If two people can share their embarrassments, what a bond that creates."

Beards and Trustworthiness

I recently came across the following story about beards and trustworthiness. Fascinating.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Barn Owls!

Today, I discovered a barn owl web-cam! As far as I can gather, this is a wild owl nesting in a box, along with its chicks, but I can't be sure. I don't even know where in the world these owls are. In any case, I love barn owls: I think they are the most beautiful kind of owl. Fantastic.

Monday, April 12, 2010

More Pottery

I have decided that I want to have more pottery in my life. Does anyone know where I can buy some affordable, good-looking pottery in the San Francisco area? So far, I have happened to find good pieces at Peet's Coffee (!) and Teavana, a Bay-Area tea shop. I also have to start taking pottery classes again. They are very soothing and satisfying.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sweet Potato Waffles!

Last week, I learned of a restaurant in San Francisco that sells sweet potato waffles. Wow. I think I am going to try them this coming weekend.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tea Bags and Potpourri

I just discovered that dry tea bags make great potpourri. Cool.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Half-Marathon is Approaching!

In less than two weeks, I will be running in my first half-marathon! I'm nervous, but yesterday, I ran twelve miles in about an hour and forty-five minutes, and felt pretty good. So, I think I will be okay.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hamburger Haven

A while ago, I think, I vowed to start reviewing San Francisco diners. (And if I didn't, I am making that vow now.) I hereby begin by reviewing Hamburger Haven, a restaurant on Clement Street. I first noticed it because its front door was on the corner of its building, an architectural feature that I have always liked. And, I also liked the classic counter, visible from the windows, with swivel-y chairs lined up in a row. The place looked honest, unassuming, and the kind of restaurant that could surprise a person with the best food of his life. I was hoping for that kind of culinary surprise when I walked in one Sunday, umbrella in hand. I was seated at a small booth near the door, next to a row of windows that looked onto the sidewalk outside. I was encouraged by the sight of an almost full house: almost every table and seat at the counter were filled. Good sign! After perusing the menu, I ordered a mushroom hamburger, with no cheese. (There is nothing that sauteed mushrooms does not improve.) It came, and I found that it was one of the best mushroom hamburgers I have ever eaten. The hamburger was medium, and still moist, and the mushrooms were great. All in all, I had a good time, and would recommend Hamburger Haven to anyone.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Science Blog

Hi, world. I have just created a new science blog called Science Happenings, online at Feel free to visit me there, and read about cool and unusual science information that you might not read about elsewhere.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Calculation of Times

This fountain pen is gorgeous. It is made by Pelikan, and is called "Calculation of Times." Wow: what a great name. Also, the nib comes in a broad size, which suits me fine. I love the design both on the barrel and on the nib, and the theme -- time -- is inherently interesting to me. Does anyone have one I could try?

Sailor 1911

Ooo: I would love to try out this Sailor 1911 (or Professional Gear, or whatever this pen is called). I like wide nibs that let out a large amount of ink, and I bet this pen would be perfect.

Graduate School

I am now in the middle of applying to graduate schools. Everything is going well, but I hope to be done soon.