I believe

Posted on June 23rd, 2008 by george.
Categories: fun, space, technology.

17 comments.

Fame

Posted on June 18th, 2008 by george.
Categories: space, video.

My sister Caroline is on TV with Dan Rather!  She starts at 24:50.

Also, if you act now, you can send your name to the moon.

I’m serious.  The deadline is June 27th.

8 comments.

Breathe

Posted on May 18th, 2008 by george.
Categories: life, love, poetry, space.

a soft night descends on a day haply spent
each redolent breath being heavenly sent
yet minds will conspire to question the love
mistaking for ravens the snowy white doves

the illusion of distance is seemingly vast
from ocean to sea, between future and past
but let go your worries; relinquish your frets
give up on your wagers, forsake all your bets

remember your smallness, recall well your place
a blue marble rider in limitless space
a warm, sunbathed planet upon which to roll
release your concerns for you’re not in control

6 comments.

One human family

Posted on March 23rd, 2008 by george.
Categories: coincidence, death, enlightenment, future, life, numbers, serendipity, space, synthesis, technology.

Arthur C. Clarke, one of my most exalted heroes, has passed to the next world.  There is no way I could ever pay proper respect to his spirit or legacy, so I’ll let him speak for himself.

Rest in peace, Mr. Clarke, immersed in everlasting joy and assured in your new, infinite knowledge that all your wishes are true, and will come true for us.
You like coincidences?  Check out my most recent flickr photo, which I posted before leaving for Mexico and have left up for nearly a week.  I have read 2001:  A Space Odyssey, and 2010:  Odyssey Two, but until today I did not know that the second sequel was entitled 2061:  Odyssey Three.  Third book’s the chardm, as they say.

P.S. This is my third visit to Mexico.

7 comments.

Las nubes

Posted on February 12th, 2008 by george.
Categories: coincidence, enlightenment, epiphany, future, life, love, numbers, photography, poetry, prayer, serendipity, space, synthesis, travel.

Helix
low clouds drift over
her plunging arcs
helices adorn
her pure crystalline slopes
under the watchful eye
of the sliver of a crescent moon
Twin contrails
twin contrails cut across the sky
as they carve their way
through the forest
deeper into the heart
of the valley below
Through the forest
the great granite monolith
reigns regal over the valley
as the traveler departs the shores
of the great salt lake
both their heads in the clouds
Great salt lake
the hawk prays on detachment
in solitude above the clouds
that at the peak of the mountain
he should find his other wing
attached to an angel
Signs point to yes
he cannot cast his eyes
upon anything but signs
he is enveloped in assurance
his threading path is lit
by luminous rays
do you love me from the smallest ant
to the littlest loud?
su corazón pregunta
you mean cloud, he says
si, nube, she replies
James and Caytlin
do you like strawberries?
asks the little girl
after the traveler is diverted
from his prayers
I love strawberries, he responds
two women engaged in conversation
not a word of English between them
halt their cascade of Spanish to repeat
a single word foretold:
cloud
eleven arrives
to carry the weary traveler home
his head in the radio
as he reaches
mile marker 43
out of the corner of his eye
flow tears of certitude
leaving tracks on his cheeks
and crystals on the dry lakebed
of his heart
soft whimpers escape his lips
and with them his doubt
as the tortoise shell of his heart melts
and the delicate blossom of love
unfolds
everything in the universe
every slice of time and space
every cause and effect
has led to this moment
numbers themselves were created
to add up to this love
exit 52 leads him home
he walks out to check the mail
but on the way to the box
stoops to pick up
an empty cup
standing up his eyes rise
and fix their gaze on a star
the brightest setareh in the sky
shining in brilliant splendor
as the clouds march by
he looks to his hand
as his disbelief evaporates
and in its stead he finds
16 ounces of truth
straight from the mountain top
Mountain top

5 comments.

Triangulum

Posted on January 2nd, 2008 by george.
Categories: love, poetry, space.

when days are short
when the sun departs
just as you greet him

when the long forgotten cold
steals back
and drives warmth underground
away from the cracked surface

when forty million kilometers
is two light minutes
what does it mean that your galaxy
is three million light years distant?

the very fiber of language and thought
breaks down
a thousand miles is far
but across the reaches of space?
long falls short

I cannot conceive of our separation

if fondness is a function of distance
try to fathom my love for you

1 comment.

Ojos Mexicanos

Posted on October 10th, 2007 by george.
Categories: enlightenment, epiphany, friends, fun, life, love, photography, space, synthesis, travel.

It’s 11:30. Let’s see if I can crank this out before another midnight rolls around.

I got off the plane in Miami yesterday, and by some miracle sailed through Customs. Straight to South Beach, where I had a panini and an iced cappuccino at the only dedicated Segafredo cafe in the world. Caught the parade on Lincoln Road, then sauntered over to the beach for my first ocean-water ablutions. No visit to SoBe is completed without a cruise down Ocean, and I must say Kashmir was feeling pretty hip with her sunroof open and Air on the stereo. Stopped by the giant sculpture of a hand on the way out of town, only to discover it was a Holocaust memorial. Spent a haunting hour reliving that nightmare in words, photos, music and art. The tour was free and I was undisturbed by any other visitors, thanks to the kind security guard. Took the scenic route out of town through Surfside, Bal Harbour, Haulover, Sunny Isles and Golden Beach, all the way to Hallandale before hopping on 95. An hour and a half later I was in Port St. Lucie, visiting Denise, catching up, eating protein pancakes and discussing the spirituality of extraterrestrials. We talked so late I ended up crashing in the guest room about two a.m. (after posting the nightly obligatory photos to flickr). Up by seven for a quick goodbye, on the road and into work by 9:30. Full day catching up on emails that arrived during my time in Mexico. Had the incredible honor and distinct pleasure of meeting Sunita Williams at the Expedition 14/15 presentation this afternoon. What a singularly amazing person! She is unbelievably kind, upbeat, fun-loving, intelligent, positive and happy. What a joy to meet someone so deserving of astronaut wings.

George, Suni, and Luke

Finished up a work, drove home to catch up on the scuba class I missed Monday. Managed to digest 90 pages of information in 45 minutes; enough to ace both tests today. Got out of class around 10:30pm, quick bean burrito from the border, and now this. I’m starting to get upset that I simply have no slots in the day in which to fit my gym routine. What a great problem to have, eh?

I relate all this to you in order to contrast the experience of the past five days in Mexico. People, I could write a small book describing what happens to me in that place; suffice it to say I took over one thousand photos. And you wonder why I’m six months behind on flickr. Though I will remind you that I’ve been consistently six months behind over the past year. So at least I’m keeping the pace, if not catching up.

But pay attention, chico! Mexico. Taxco was a dream. There’s no other way to describe it. Imagine waking up one morning and praying for the perfect day, then having your wildest dreams exceeded at every turn. Just wait til you see the photos. It was so idyllic I’m loath to even tell you the name of such a magical place, perched high atop cliffs in lush, pristine mountains. From our meal on the rooftop terrace overlooking the zocalo, to finding a nine-pointed star in the endless silver shops, to wearing one of my fifteen (!) new lucha libre masks through town and creating a scene…well, you just had to be there. Heck, if you want to go, I will take you there. In a heartbeat.

We fit a month into five days. I’m not even beginning to exaggerate. Floating languidly down the canals on a pole boat in Xochimilco. Dancing at one of the hippest clubs I’ve ever seen in Polanco. Racing through the empty, rain-soaked streets of one of the world’s largest cities at the wheel of Lulu’s Liberty at 4am. Quiet dinners and home with my Mexican family. Profound glances. Unspoken truths. Learning more Spanish than most people would in a semester.

Of the hundred epiphanies that were visited upon me during my stay, one stands out: on the last night, as I watched the lights twinkle on the mountains that ring this dream of a city, I realized:  I am a different person here.  Not once had I thought of my home in Florida, or my job, or my mortgage, or my bills, or my obligations. It dawned on me that my personality had changed; I was literally seeing with new eyes. Mexican eyes. What everyone had been telling me was true. “You’re at least half Mexican.” “No wonder you like Mexico, we’re all like you!” “You are my cousin, mi primo.” “You are my brother.” “Te quiero mucho.” “I love you.”

It’s a good thing I came back “home” through Miami. Otherwise I might not have survived the reverse culture shock.

8 comments.

7 Stars

Posted on September 28th, 2007 by george.
Categories: friends, fun, future, life, mathematics, music, photography, space, synthesis.

Half the band
Rockin' out
Guitar man

The Apples rocked hard at the AKA Lounge tonight. I was sorta disappointed that a city like Orlando couldn’t muster a better crowd for such an amazing band, but any chagrin quickly evaporated as I realized it meant I’d have plenty of room to dance on the front row. First off, I gotta give props to my friend Karen for introducing me to the happiest, catchiest band since Fleming & John. Second, kudos to Andropolis for keeping the flame alive with his recent mix CD that included the stand-out track from the Apples’ new album, New Magnetic Wonder.

On lead

After the show, Uncle Billy and I had the privilege of meeting the creative force behind the band, Robert Schneider. It’s not hard to see how such wonderful music comes from so effusive a personality. After thanking him profusely for creating such a positive influence through his mathematically- and astronomically-inspired, crazy-good music, I had but one quick question to ask: what was his inspiration for my favorite song, 7 Stars? I knew it had to be about the Pleiades, but I wanted to know more. I could not have imagined what came next.

Face to face

Let’s just get this out of the way: Robert is as big a nerd as I am. Super smart and curious, he’s the kind of guy who, not satisfied with conventional tonal scales, invents his own harmonies through logarithmic divisions of the sequence of frequencies from 4 to 16. So he may be as nerdy as a rocket scientist, but considering he’s the lead singer in a rock band, he’s considerably cooler. Turns out the Seven Sisters make up his favorite constellation. He is huge into astronomy and mathematics, as you might have guessed from his music, but what you may not know is that he studies advanced math on his own. For fun. He’s an automath in, well, math.

Intense conversation

In fact, Robert is slowly working towards a PhD (one can imagine touring might involve certain time commitments), with his dissertation undoubtedly piercing the veil of primes. But his geek cred rolls mad deeper: he wrote a computer program back in the eighties, when he was in middle school in Lousiana, that graphed out those same 7 stars.

Explaining the finer points of prime numbers

Before we knew it, we’d shared a half-hour conversation on prime number sequences, space exploration, star systems and the underlying language of the universe. It wasn’t long until his wife tapped him on the shoulder to say, “Honey, there are others waiting for autographs.” So he graciously attended to his fans, then we picked right back up where we left off.

Yes, grasshopper

Unfortunately by now it was nearly 2am, so we had to part. We said our goodbyes, but not before he slipped us a couple of personalized 7″ LPs and told me he’ll soon be taking his son to Huntsville for father-son Space Camp.

I get it now!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have found a new friend. Robert, if you’re reading this, I can’t wait to escort you and the Apples to a Shuttle launch. Good luck with those primes.  And stars. And frequencies.  And the mathematical music that ties them all together.

I've found a new friend
Bonus:  the finale from the show!

5 comments.

Withhold not thyself therefrom

Posted on August 18th, 2007 by george.
Categories: enlightenment, epiphany, friends, future, life, love, space, synthesis.

There is undeniable, infinite power in prayer.

Last Monday I intoned the words of one of the most potent prayers ever revealed to humankind at the spiritual focal point of the Holiest House of Worship on planet Earth, the Mother Temple of the West.  There were no immediately apparent effects beyond the tranquility of my spirit and that of my companions.  Then, within an hour, completely at random, I was reunited with a man at a restaurant miles away.  I had first met this man, and last seen him, nearly a year prior:  in that same room where I uttered prayers then and now.  Last year he told the story of that room while we sat in it.  I had always been inexplicably drawn to it; I had gone there last year to say prayers of spiritual growth and nearness to God.  It was then that, directly after his story, our prayers, and spontaneous song, I set aside my ego and declared my faith in and servitude toward Baha’u’llah.

At the restaurant he did not remember me.  But he did tell me that he and his wife were expecting.  After I congratulated them, he mentioned that they were going on vacation before the baby was born.  Just before I left the restaurant for O’Hare to return home to Orlando, I asked where they were going.  He said they were leaving in two days.  For Orlando.

That Saturday I met the man, his wife, their unborn child, and their friend from Winter Park at the Kennedy Space Center to accompany them on a tour.  Throughout the day, as I explained to them the wonders of space exploration that surrounded us, I would suddenly become aware that a stranger was standing near us, listening in, patiently waiting to ask a question.  These people seemed to come from nowhere, to appear out of thin air.  They had somewhat puzzled expressions on their faces.  One could tell they weren’t quite sure what had brought them there, but they knew they had a question to ask.  Within the span of five to fifteen minutes we would share conversation that was far beyond that of strangers, and sometimes that of well-acquainted friends.  Then they would gather their family and move on.

At the end of the day, and before I proceeded to a local interfaith devotional on the topic of peace, I parted ways with the man, his wife, their child and their friend.  The man looked at my hands quietly and told me he had much to tell me.  He said it would have to wait until the next time we met.  We did not make plans.  I have no idea when I shall see him again.  But I am anxious to hear what he has to say.

Now it is seven days since that Saturday.  In the past week, one of my dearest friends informed me that she has decided to become a Baha’i.  I have known this person for two months.  I have never met her.  She has never met a Baha’i in person.  And yet I am convinced that she will be one of my closest friends in this life.  From the moment we met we have interacted as if we have been friends for decades.  I dare say we are as family.

In the past week I have reconnected with another of my dearest friends in a way that I have been dreaming possible, working toward, and praying feverishly about for nearly a year.  Steps have been taken, apologies made by us both, new paths chosen.  It has been an answer to months of daily prayer.  I am overjoyed; a shackle has fallen from my ankle.  A massive weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

In the past week I have experienced an ironing-out of the wrinkles in my everyday life.  My vision is clearer.  My motivation has returned.  I have tapped a vein.  Chores come easier; opportunities present themselves in my career; my eyes are on the horizon.

I am not filled with resolve; I am become resolve.  I commit this to words; I entrust it to you.  I know what I must do.  In light of these revelations, the following may seem trivial, but I shall nonetheless put it down:  in the near term, I seek to explore the piloting of airplanes, helicopters, and racing vehicles.  I will explore every avenue of opportunity in my career.  I will find ways to continue to learn more languages.  I will further refine my diet and work toward greater physical fitness.  I will continue with the pursuits that bring me joy.

In the long term, and much more appropriate to this trajectory:  I will seek to consort with every human that crosses my path in the purest possible spirit of humility, peace, kindness, understanding and equanimity.  I will endeavour to become the embodiment, to the fullest of my limited abilities, of love toward my fellow human.

To those who seek, I shall share the secret of the Source of my happiness.

Peace be upon you, my fellow human beings.

14 comments.