Category: Chapters

thinking small

phormium

phormium [New Zealand flax] // taken with a macro lens attachment in my backyard!

“Get a keyboard, label all the notes, and practice identifying them by ear. Okay?”

My music teacher smiled and waved goodbye to me and my two classmates. My five-year-old hands hugged my half-size violin case closer to my chest. Every week after, she played short, sweet notes on her violin and asked us to name them with our eyes closed, over and over in different intervals until we could sing them back to show our understanding. She explained that, in order to play Carnatic–South Indian classical–music on our violins, we first had to train our ears and voices.  Continue reading

a seven-armed sea star

george

George, two madreporites and all, surrounded by sea stars galore. (photo at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA)

Ice-cold water shocked my hand as it breached the shallow tank’s surface. A rainbow of colors glittered up through gentle currents. Diverse sea animals carpeted the basin, unaware of the crowd eager to feel their spiny skin or soft tentacles. 

There at the Aquarium of the Pacific’s touch tanks, I fell in love with a cerulean-colored sea star. The bright blue wasn’t what caught my eye, though.  Continue reading

seeing systems

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a network of jasmine climbs up the fence across the system of trees, forging new paths

“Sorry, what was that? I didn’t quite catch it, I think my wifi is dying or something…”

I lean in closer to my computer screen as if it will help hear better. We’re in the midst of discussion in my speculative design class. Seven of us are seated in our respective homes, crowded around our laptops with our notebooks out on the side, sketching out thoughts as we bounce critiques back and forth about our ongoing projects. We’ve been tasked to model our class in the past, present, and future.

Models have been ever-present and incredibly important to build an understanding around current events. Through examining data, scientists can visualize patterns and project possible futures, providing insight for actions and provoking further questions. Continue reading

Learning to ask the “right” questions

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a quick audiobook-inspired sketch from last week

Six forty-five in the morning. Light has barely touched the sky, and I’m sitting in AP biology class surrounded by my half-asleep friends as we shuffle through our immense binders for fresh note paper. Our teacher mills around the front of the classroom prepping slides, video links, and in-class demos to fill our tenth-grade brains with exciting new knowledge (massive shoutout, she was/is the best).

During those high school biology days, I clung to the goal of having all the right answers at the drop of a question (yeah, yeah, I was another wannabe Hermione Granger, so what?). My favorite part of the class was when our teacher would ask us about connections– what other parts of the body may this impact? What other portions of the ecosystem are interwoven here? How may genes influence entire populations of animals? Before this class, I hadn’t considered any of these questions and more.  Continue reading

science, storytelling, & student orgs

This month has me questioning whether I like sharing stories because I like sharing stories, or I like sharing stories because I like to like sharing stories. (There are a lot of “likes” in that sentence, but the extra one holds importance– much like how when my cognitive science professor talks about intersubjectivity, he describes it as “I know that you know that I know you know,” with that last bit being imperative to defining the mutually-understood shared understanding.) Cogsci lectures aside, the time commitments I’ve sustained this quarter have definitely put me under some pressure in considering whether I make choices based on obligation or passion. Continue reading

twenty

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Aquarium of the Pacific, January 2020

A short note to make sure I don’t already break the goal of semi-regular writing in the first month of the year.

I told myself I would write at least one blog post every month, so here we are. I tried writing something on my actual birthday as I was sitting in my parked car at the beach, breakfast burrito in hand, but let me tell you– it’s a little difficult to type while one hand is occupied holding approximately a pound of eggs, potatoes, and cheese. Continue reading

documenting 2019

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I recently had my sixth grade computer’s contents transferred to an external hard drive and went down a rabbit hole of thoughts from my younger self that didn’t quite make it to this blog. It definitely helped me remember what brought me to where I am now; for every blog post also existed multiple sketches, half-finished song files, and pages of short stories that I drafted just for the sake of drafting.  Continue reading