Lewis’ Blog

30 March 2010

Of mice, people, oranges, and of love

Filed under: animals, plants, self — Tags: — lewis @ 9:59 pm

While I’m posting old things, here is another from my notebook, also written last year.

I hold an orange, ruby light of the sky refracts through it.  My hands, articulate, separate sections off the orange and bring them to my mouth, the mind comprehending all, trying to articulate in turn this experience (never rest!)

A tree has made this orange, crafted it, constructed it to be sweet and delicate, protected in its leathery shell, like a secret whose sweet solution I have learned from my ancestors.  But the tree makes this fruit.  It is a creator which inherited this task from its ancestors, and each fruit contains seeds, which may continue the tree’s line.

It makes the fruit out of habit — no longer are the fruits harvested in the wild and the seeds spread by careless rodentia.  The tree’s family succeeds not by attracting rodents but by contract with humans, who will continue the persistence of this tree’s family as long as it pleases them to eat their fruit.

As the mouse gathers the nut and stores it for food and procreation of the nut’s species — as this is advantageous for mouse and nut, so it is advantageous for us to take to each other.  To find and be found, pluck and be plucked, to keep home together, for pleasure and to pass our seed.  The human procreative relationship is reciprocal, and warm, creating a mutually beneficial situation that is the bosom of our children.  Thus is love arisen, does it emerge from this earth.

Davis in April

Filed under: Davis, clouds, nature, plants, self, stars — Tags: — lewis @ 9:46 pm

It being nearly April again, I thought I’d post something I wrote last April that I just found in my notebook.

In Davis in April in this dry valley almost too big to be called a valley created by an inland sea flooded year after year by the Sacramento River by the American River by the Yuba River by Putah Creek the soil enriched over the centuries by silt these carried from the high mountains of the Sierra from the crumbling mountains of the coastal range from the hilly unknown lands to the north, in this dry valley I sit, and breathe.

I breathe the rich dry eair of Yolo County, full like soil of decaying plant matter of dung of carcasses, all these returned to dust and settled into soil, and sometimes blown in gusts to enrich this air.  I sit on a lawn a large and well-kempt lawn of the university which nevertheless is populated by a large variety of weeds, is strewn with oak leaves like the innumerable stars that can be seen from mountain-tops.  In a season these leaves will be dust and soil and compost, their ancient life force slowly absorbed by the roots of plants.

I sit under a cork-oak whose leaves are falling (it may be sick) and who provides me with a delicious shade on this warm April day, mixed deliciously with patches of sunshine.  The clouds too conspire to bring my life these ingredients, lazy flocks of cumulus humilis slowly floating eastwards from the sea perhaps to bring the high Sierras another dusting of snow.  It has been a dry Winter but not utterly devoid of water, and the reservoirs are middling full.  Spring has come unhindered, and Davis is full of butterflies now though bees are few this year.

I love this air that smells of compost.  I love to walk in the sun and in the shade in Davis in the springtime.  I love the university with its many workers and many students, and its many seekers of truth, or money.  Out of this good soil has been cultivated a great campus of learning and employ, by the grace of God.  Here has sprung up a community of people around the campus, and the old Davis needs all this too to survive — we all must love each other truly here in this earth, while we breathe the rich air, while we walk in the sun-soaked pathways of the university at Davis.

2 January 2010

tickets and close calls

Filed under: infographic, self — lewis @ 7:01 pm
tickets and close calls

Don’t worry everyone.  I have made an infographic depicting all the counties in the United States in which either Laurie or I have been issued a traffic ticket or pulled over.  Red for moving violation, blue for parking ticket, yellow for being pulled over with no ticket issued.  I feel certain that you have all been curious about this.  This is to be the first in a series of infographics that Laurie and I will make, and if we make as many as we plan to, we’ll give infographics their own division of our webspace here, for your continued enjoyment.  Thank you, and God bless.

7 June 2009

Filed under: learning, linguistics, music, nature, self — Tags: — lewis @ 9:37 pm

I know I will never understand language
I know I will never understand music
I know I will never understand birdsong
I can’t help thinking
It’s still worth listening

15 March 2009

every thousand years

Filed under: friends, gatherings, learning, self — Tags: , — lewis @ 11:10 pm

Momentous day — the wedding of one Mr. Shapiro brought out the dancing, singing, and general merriment of all present.  Failed game of rock paper scissors bunny carrots to be taken up later.  Jokes told.  Grassy hill sled upon.  All around an historic and joyous occasion.

Once home the day returned largely to normal.  A bit of gardening done and more work done on the pile of writing to be completed by end of week.  The end is not yet in sight, though the first paper is shaping up quite nicely.

At wedding sat next to some people that looked vaguely familiar — lo, we had a high school class together.  They remembered the epiphany box!  That was a job well done.  Of all the things I have created thus far in the PhD program, will any have the memorious longevity of the epiphany box?

Clearly was meant to be situationist artist.

Bed time.

8 February 2009

Filed under: ancestry, self — lewis @ 3:18 pm

Faith of our fathers
Holy faith
We will be true to Thee
Til death

Once faith in the power of human knowledge–
Faith that we can know, never everything
But more than by merely accepting things on faith–
Once this is gone, we have nothing.

Our fathers chained in prisons dark

It is for a belief in humanity that my fathers have suffered
Perhaps a nagging awareness that faith lies at the basis of their understanding,
Or a solid presence, silent, dark, upon which is constructed the world
In their sight.

They would believe
That their children go closer to truth
And man marches on into Light.

If they like them
Would die for Thee

My fathers had rather go to meet death naked–
An organism disintegrating into mere matter,
A cognizence ceasing–
This they would face, rather than live forever
By the alien light of incomprehensible deity.

16 January 2009

Filed under: history, self — Tags: — lewis @ 11:29 pm

uirne sum
quomodo uir
litterae sum in pagina
et puluis

4 January 2009

last of the holiday gatherings

Filed under: clouds, gatherings, learning, linguistics, music, self — Tags: , — lewis @ 1:31 am

Just returned from the last of the annual holiday family gatherings, and now it feels like this winter break is at an end.  Tomorrow will be a nice coda — a farewell dinner with my sister, and then off to school again.

Hoping this next quarter will go well.  Both Laurie and I are embarking on schedules that look pretty intense from the outside.  We’ll see how the intensity looks from the inside, but certainly with a booked weekend schedule in January we will be keeping quite busy.  Hopefully Boo will quit biting Laurie.  This has been doing nothing for household morale.

I didn’t get all the reading done that I’d wanted to over the break, but I did do some reading that I wasn’t expecting to, so all in all I’ve had a good break on that front.  Notably I finally finished the Cloudspotter’s Guide, which I highly recommend.  I think I have always appreciated the beauty of a good cloudscape, but the depth of my appreciation has surely increased after reading the Cloudspotter’s Guide.  Just having someone articulate some new ideas to think about with regards to a subject (in this case clouds) gives one more to think about when confronted with it, and Pretor-Pinney does this in such a way that the esthetic experience is not disrupted but strengthened.  A fun read too.

Bought textbooks yesterday.  One of my classes is doing the old buy-the-professor’s-latest-book trick, which is hopefully more organically related to the structure of the class than it is circularly profitable for said professor.

But seriously, why haven’t I mentioned the latest addition to our musical instrument menagerie, which surely is a most blogworthy event.  It’s not every winter break that a man is lent a newly refurbished, gold-colored, cat-scaring-the-crap-out-of, Italian accordion.  I am far from understanding how this machine works, specifically with regards to the approximately two hundred buttons on the left side, which when individually depressed result in the sounding of various harmonies.  Some buttons produce the same harmonies as others, but mostly different buttons produce different harmonies.  The pressing of some buttons results in other buttons also going down as if pressed, in which case sometimes these latter buttons will have a like effect on the former buttons when they are pressed, but not always.  In a fair number of cases there is a relationship similar to dominant-tonic between vertically adjacent buttons, but not in all.  It is my personal project to make a map of these buttons over the next quarter, without consulting an expert or any reference material.  I feel that this project will often come as a welcome change from studying language and the philosophy thereof.  It is a sub-project of this project that I learn how to play Monk’s Dream on the accordion, chords and melody.  It seems like the accordion is begging to play this song for some reason.  Anyway, thank you Ben for the excellent gift.  I promise to put it to good use.

But now it’s getting late and I am tired, and it is time to expel from my system some of the coffee that’s been making me slightly grumpy all day.  Good night.

6 November 2008

you can do whatever you want in life

Filed under: self — Tags: — lewis @ 6:59 pm

which is why I am drinking a fuzzy navel flavored wine cooler and listening to Count Basie while studying for my Latin quiz.

19 October 2008


Filed under: learning, self — Tags: — lewis @ 10:33 pm

I feel like I’ve really embarked now on my follacious project to typologize discontinuous syntactic constituents. I’ve got my pile of books and papers on discontinuity and language universals sitting on my table, with representatives scattered about the house for good measure. In a way I wish that I could devote more time to this project and not have other classes intervening, but in another way it is good to have other linguistic pursuits and keep my feet on some kind of theoretical and methodological ground. Learning Latin is also nicely mathematical, and a good activity to keep my thoughts relatively close to normalacy. I want to read some American history as well — specifically correspondences or other writings by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. I believe a PBS documentary has ignited this interest in me, but whith’rever it came, here it is, and it seems like a good thing for an American to know. Likewise the works of Mark Twain I feel would be good to get under my belt. I want that my life won’t get too focused here, and that I can grow fast as a PhD student should, but also broadly as I believe I am capable of.

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