Lewis’ Blog

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.

7 February 2009

Ode to a Kumquat

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — lewis @ 2:56 pm

Kumquat, kumquat in the mud
Someone thought you were a dud
Or maybe they just dropped you, bud
But now you’re not forgot.

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.

14 November 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — lewis @ 11:49 pm

A house in a desert, very dry. Blighted land and dry sticks, no  trees. An empty place. Things must grow here, things grow everywhere, but you can’t tell. It looks empty. There is a house. The details are gone. There is a house, but no features. Just a place where somebody lives. It sits in a desert, alone. The inhabitant is abstract. The house is undefined. The landscape barren.

Here the only thing we can have is belief. We must believe that the man in this desert can become something. Otherwise the scene is boring. Not even terrible or sad, but simply not worth our while – a chronically alone man with no relation to you, so you don’t think of him.

But the vision may stay, and this staying is because we must believe in the potential of this man to become something more than this. A friend, a father, he may plant a tree, he may harvest its fruit. Even if he were to smile, that would be enough.

We do not need to wait and see, but we must believe.

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.

26 September 2007

a moment

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — lewis @ 12:00 pm

I saw a truck that gave me a moment of syntactico-semantic pause (though I think the idea may not be as curious as I believed at the time)

and I saw some balloons rising into the sky, framed by the federal building

then an airplane flew by

(the end)

22 September 2007

a feed, and a bat

Filed under: animals, nature — Tags: — lewis @ 12:00 pm

Two interesting if somewhat disjunct events:

I’ve successfully made an rss feed for this blog, which you can find here. Much perl under the bridge for that… [ADDENDUM: This post pointed to an old, now dead feed. The new feed, which Wordpress and not I have created, is here, though probably the new-fangled contraption of your choice can already tell you that.]

A bat is attempting to take up residence in our stairwell. Just one bat. We were coming home last night and he flew right out over Laurie’s head. Very exciting…

He was there again this morning, but we scared him closing the door. It’s probably better if he stays away, since it wouldn’t be the most restful of bat caves, though otherwise it’s a pretty good environment. Warm and full of bugs. Delicious bugs.

He hasn’t come back since this morning, and I’m kinda hoping he’s found a better place to live. But if we see him again I’ll try to get a picture for the blog. The blog that has a feed!

The promised posts about cat and typewriter are on their way. Until then, friends, adieu.

21 August 2007

Melaleuca linariifolia

Filed under: nature, plants — Tags: — lewis @ 12:00 pm

We found out today that the spongy-barked trees that grow around here are Melaleuca linariifolia, aka flaxleaf paperbark, and are native to Australia. It is a strange tree.

Its fluffy canopy is composed of little lumpy segments, each of which blooms differentially from neighboring segments. The result of this, visually, is that sections of the tree periodically appear to have been replaced by large heads of cauliflower.

Another interesting aspect of this tree is its bark, which is spongy, as previously suggested. It is similar to the bark of a cork tree, except that the Melaleuca’s bark is made of layers of flakes. I think the Encyclopedia of Stanford Trees, Shrubs and Vines puts it best: the flaxleaf paperbark’s bark is “composed of sheets of thin ‘paper’ interleaved with thin sheets of a spongerubbery substance.” Some Stanford horticulture student has been reading Joyce.

Our street has quite a few of these trees, and they bring us much joy with their spongerubberiness. They are now less of a mystery, but shall continue to be a curious tourist attraction. That must be why we get so many tourists. And blog readers. Right guys?

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