Thursday, January 29, 2009


More pictures from my second ever roll of film that I actually really like (yay for being pleasantly surprised!) - this time of the sun set and in Bahjí.
I love the effect of chiarascuro in this picture and how the leaves are highlighted against the fading blush of the sun just so.

This is arguably one of my favorite (if not my absolute favorite) picture on this roll.'s also one of my favorite pictures I've ever taken. Done and done.

This was taken from the balconey of the Mansion of Bahjí over looking the garden below.

Enjoy. As per usual, I appreciate any comments you have on what you like or where I can improve.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Curious Side Effects of Insomnia...

So I guess about 2 months ago, I put my second (ever!) roll of film in my camera - at 5 am.... Yeah, I know - aimee piper & 5 am? Surely the twain shall not meet? Well friends, they did - and rather abruptly as it was completely accidental. I had one of those mornings where I just couldn't sleep, so I decided to go with it & as I had just finished my first ever roll of film, I decided to be brave and try to load my own film this time (as it would hardly do to wake your flattie at 5 to load your camera with film) and then I headed over to the Shrine of the Báb for dawn prayers.

I know that 2 months seems like a while to my professional photo friends, but I finally finished the roll this weekend & just got the images back this afternoon! I'm still a beginning photographer (and clearly only on my second roll of film), so I just sort of started playing around with my camera - and I have to tell you, I'm pretty happy with the results. ...okay, I'm stoked - most of them turned out WAY better than I expected, especially since I accidentally exposed some of the frames because I couldn't figure out how to get the film to roll up all nice and neat in its little case the way it's meant to. {This time it was too late to wake my flattie and ask for help... I know - I need to take remedial camera lessons.}

Anyhow, here are some of the images from the start of the roll - more to come soon!

The Shrine of the Báb

Sunrise as seen from the Shrine of the Báb
*I actually took about 4 of these - I really love light & it was neat to see the progression of the sunrise*

Early dawn light on the Shrine of the Báb
*this from the west side of the Shrine*

Thanks for indulging me in my hobbies - if you have any suggestions for how I can improve as a photographer, holler at your girl. I'm always looking to learn!
Ps. I should tell you that I don't have a flash and that my light meter is broken - so if your comments involve those being fixed/learning how to use them when they are fixed, let me know so I know which differences to look for, etc.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Opportunity and Responsibility Springs Eternal...

I saw this picture on The Year In Pictures - check it out, you'll probably love it. Anyhow, in the post linked above, the author is sharing Annie Leibovitz's thoughts on Dorothea Lange (particularly this photo) and on photography in general.
Although this photo, "Migrant Mother" (1936), is described by Ms. Leibovitz as "the most important photograph of Dorothea Lange’s life and the iconic picture of the Depression", I find it to be completely relevant to today.
The following is one of my favorite prayers, I share it with you now in hopes that you'll meditate on the reality of the shelter and help God always provides.
From the Bahá’í Writings:
"O Lord! Unto Thee I repair for refuge, and toward all Thy signs I set my heart.
O Lord! Whether traveling or at home, and in my occupation or in my work, I place my whole trust in Thee.
Grant me then Thy sufficing help so as to make me independent of all things, O Thou Who art unsurpassed in Thy mercy!
Bestow upon me my portion, O Lord, as Thou pleasest, and cause me to be satisfied with whatsoever Thou hast ordained for me.
Thine is the absolute authority to command."
- The Báb

A Daily Dose of Green...

Green transportation: You Know You Want To, Everyone's Doing It.
Remember a few years ago when every celebrity & their mom (slash agent) was endorsing a Prius (or the like)? Well friends - bicycles are the new black, I mean green.
Miss Ellen Page, photo courtesy of Copenhagen Style Chic.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Change is Gonna Come...

I know that with all of the positive and negative changes happening in the world - as we speak - it may seem trite to speak of this seemingly insignificant change looming on my horizon.... My flatmate Kalila is going home. For the very best of reasons - she's getting married y'all! - but that doesn't mean I'm not going to miss the heck out of her. So I suppose this is just a head's up. If and when I start waxing sentimental, you'll know why.

True story: brought to you by Le Love

Kalila and I: ladies night out

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

...Read All About It.

I found the following statement this morning in a quick perusal of Harper's Magazine - the online edition. The text of this particular article, actually excerpted from a speech made by Saint Augustine of Hippo, bears extraordinary relevance to modern society. Not in that I believe modern governments are over-grown pirates, but in that Augustine, an early Christian, was trying to navigate the integration of contemporary world (interpret his world at whatever scale you wish - although it was certainly not global in scope) political and social events with a burgeoning Christian moral attitude, and the resulting identity - and more importantly - responsibility.
"You will not prove that humans are happy who live steadily in the midst of the disasters of war. Whether the blood shed is that of their fellow citizens or of their enemies matters not, for in any case it is human blood. The dark shadow of fear and the lust for blood has fallen over them. If they know joy, then it is but the gleaming of fragile glass which they must fear will be shattered at any second. How then can it be wise or even rational to see grounds to be boastful in the building of empires?…
If it does not do justice, what is the government but a great criminal enterprise? For what are gangs of criminals but petty little governments? The pack is a group which follows the orders of its leader according to a social compact of sorts, sharing the spoils along the rules upon which they agree. Through a process of gradual accretion, the gang may acquire bodies and territory, establish itself in some place, and soon be possessed of all the attributes of statehood—then it may be known as a state, acquiring this title not by being any less avaricious but rather by having achieved impunity. Alexander the Great’s conversation with a pirate he had captured reflects this well. The king asked what possessed him to infest the sea as he did, and the pirate replied: “No differently from you when you pursue your crimes in the world. I act with a small ship, so I am called a pirate. You command a fleet and are called emperor.”
–Augustine of Hippo, De civitate dei contra paganos lib iv, capp iii- iv (ca. 410)(S.H. transl.) in vol. 2 of the Loeb Classical Library edition, pp. 12, 16.

What I find particularly interesting is his comment on justice. As an early Bahá'í - trying to navigate trying to navigate the integration of contemporary world political and social events with a burgeoning Bahá'í moral attitude, and the resulting identity - and more importantly - responsibility... I can't help but think of this excerpt in light of the Bahá'í Teachings on justice. Especially as it relates to political and social responsibility in an ever advancing world civilization. Bahá'u'lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, has stated, in a message to the leaders of the world:

"Be vigilant, that ye may not do injustice to anyone, be it to the extent of a grain of mustard seed. Tread ye the path of justice, for this, verily, is the straight path.
Compose your differences, and reduce your armaments, that the burden of your expenditures may be lightened, and that your minds and hearts may be tranquillized. Heal the dissensions that divide you, and ye will no longer be in need of any armaments except what the protection of your cities and territories demandeth. Fear ye God, and take heed not to outstrip the bounds of moderation, and be numbered among the extravagant.

We have learned that you are increasing your outlay every year, and are laying the burden thereof on your subjects. This, verily, is more than they can bear, and is a grievous injustice. Decide justly between men, and be ye the emblems of justice amongst them. This, if ye judge fairly, is the thing that behoveth you, and beseemeth your station."

He further exhorts the kings and rulers of the earth thusly:

"Beware not to deal unjustly with any one that appealeth to you, and entereth beneath your shadow. Walk ye in the fear of God, and be ye of them that lead a godly life. Rest not on your power, your armies, and treasures. Put your whole trust and confidence in God, Who hath created you, and seek ye His help in all your affairs. Succor cometh from Him alone. He succoreth whom He will with the hosts of the heavens and of the earth."
(Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 250)

So I've been sort of text heavy with this post - but I find it to be extremely timely. If you have any thoughts you care to share, holler at your girl. I, personally, find that a broad range of ideas (and the necessary sharing thereof) might just be the best way to learn to achieve the paradigm shift I'm aiming for - aka how to navigate this world responsibly.

Extra! Extra!

'Anti': the neat little sub-category for people who believe they're different....
When they aren't.

Funny image from Harper's Magazine here.

Um... This Is Pretty Much Amazing.

I found this video on I *Heart* You, probably one of the funnest 'I don't take myself {too} seriously' blogs around....

I can't tell, though, if I'm more impressed by the music mashup or the video mashup. Maybe we'll call it a tie. Anyhow, enjoy - it's ridiculously catchy.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I hesitate to call it a New Year's Resolution because I'm hoping that it can be a lifelong adaptation - but I'm trying to seriously reevaluate the ways in which I use my time (I'm wont to have a child-sized attention span). Sometimes I think that the universe reaches out to confirm your resolutions. Take today, for example, and what I found on a charming little blog I sometimes (by which I mean when google.reader indicates it's been updated) peruse....

'We are more likely to fail as craftsmen, I argue, due to our inability to organize obsession than because of lack of ability'
-Richard Sennett
The Craftsman
*Image and quote courtesy of A Little House in the Clouds*

Saturday, January 10, 2009

...In the Meantime

The whole idea of this picture is so wonderfully fanciful to me....
[found here]

Friday, January 9, 2009

Requiem for Chivalry...

Last night, on my way home from taking my mom to the airport (hey mom!) I was [unfortunately] privy to a Sleeping Beauty tale - of sorts.

*For sake of back story, it may be interesting to note that couples who are wont to, ahem, be publically affectionate gravitate towards me. Me. The blushingest girl in Haifa. Le sigh*

So this couple is sitting behind me and I'm happily listening to The Talking Heads and generally minding my own business. All of a sudden the guy is all.up.on this girl - and she's telling him off in rapid-fire Hebrew. After a while, she begins to intermittently weave in English and this is literally what she says: "I've been trying to sleep all night...".

Okay. So I'm going to put myself on pause and talk to the handful of guys who read my blog - and, hopefully successfully, explain why we ladies (I mean me) like fairy tales so well. I'm not going to lie (and yes, I'm blushing right now), but every girl has day dreamed about being woken with a kiss at least once. Every. Girl. But on a bus? In the middle of the night? Um... hecks to the no.

So here I am, already trying not to be sick - and looking for anything to distract me from the anti-romantic wonder behind me, when, from farther behind me still I hear English. Okay, I know that a lot of people in Israel speak English - but not usually as a first choice. But a young lady and two yound me were speaking with each other in a language I actually understand - and I swear I wasn't eavesdropping, but I sort of just absorbed parts of their conversation.
The girl had apparently asked the guys to escort her home - and they were bold enough to ask her why. At which point they began to tease her and ask if she were afraid to go home alone. After a few minutes of them teasing her, she finally admitted that it made her nervous to go home alone. They refused to help their friend and non-chalantly informed her that she'd be fine as she rather dejectedly got off the bus.

Friends, I'm not proud of what I'm about to tell you - but it's like I was possessed, or something. I couldn't help myself. It's probably not the classiest thing I've ever done, but I turned around, gave them the stink eye, and shook my head in their general direction. Which they saw... and commented upon thusly:
"I think that girl just shook her head at us for not walking ___ to her door."
[Insert sheepish grin] ...I turned around and confirmed their suspicions.

Before my soap box crushes from the weight of my self-righteousness, let me say that it's not easy for independent young women (I mean me?) to admit that she needs help. Please offer (I mean men - mostly.) from time to time. If she is so moved to ask that you make she gets home safely, oblige her. And please, never make her ask twice. Preserve everyone's dignity. Give chivalry a chance.

the men I am friends with are almost uniformly and extremely chivalrous. The characters in this story, while real, are strangers.

P.S. good manners are for everyone. And a little note to the women: accepting help graciously when it is offered does not mean or imply that you are weak or inferior. If it makes you feel better, hold the door for the person after you next time.

Subtitles Optional...

I hope, and rather trust, that it won't surprise you to learn that I love words and language. I especially love how organic language is. Language is one of those things where once you understand the fundamentals, you can get really creative and begin to have fun. Enter my obsession with words. For example, let me introduce you to metropolotanize.
Metropolotanize /met-ruh-pol-i-t'nyz/ v. To make one more able to fit into metropolitan culture. - ORIGIN from metropolis: the main city of a country or region (from the Greek).
This word came up from a conversation I had with my friends Abi and Nasim. We're going to have sushi this week (mine will be vegetarian - I do remember the mess Prometheus suffered just so we could cook our food) and I thought about how you never know what adventures your life is preparing you for.
P.S. nouns into verbs? I'm not very original there.... Milton (ahem. Sir John) was pretty famous for it. Just saying.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Peaceful Contemplation...

Sometimes I think I'm really clever - this is one of those times. It goes like this:
Doves are the symbol of peace. My friend Devon Gundry is really peaceful. Still with me? Ok, good. Now, contemplate the following video with the added benefit of Devon's lovely lyrics. Right? Yeah, me too.

P.S. My friend Devon is a super talented artist. Keep your eyes peeled, I'll probably put some more of his great stuff up in the future.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Caution: Big Plans Falling...

I'm not 100% sure what to make of New Year's Resolutions... suffice it to say that I'm not sure about the timing - I'm pretty positive about the resolve. Whether you have plans to last you a year or you make positive resolutions every day - I hope you're all happy this year!
Courtesy of Le Love - I'm kind of obsessed with love, just in case you were confused....

I'm not sure where I'll end up when I leave my service here in the Holy Land, but I'm pretty positive that I want to be in a place with fantastic public transportation.

Just because it's 2009, doesn't mean that I've dropped my CHS tendencies - nor do I resolve to - but how beautiful is this dress?

This one I got from Post Secret - pretty dang cute, huh?
*yes, I still love mail*

Friday, January 2, 2009

I Feel Pretty... Oh So Pretty!

This picture was taken just before the program of the Celebration of the Birth of the Báb began - I promise that the color scheme was unintentional (you know how I hate to be all 'matchy-matchy), but I'm also a sucker for a good pattern... (OCD much?). Anyhow, this picture actually reminds me of a prayer from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, son of Bahá'u'lláh (Prophet Founder of the Bahá'í Faith).
"O Thou Provider! The dearest wish of this servant of Thy Threshold is to behold the friends of East and West in close embrace; to see all the members of human society gathered with love in a single great assemblage, even as individual drops of water collected in one mighty sea; to behold them all as birds in one garden of roses, as pearls of one ocean, as leaves of one tree, as rays of one sun." - ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
...kind of amazing when you think about it like that, huh?
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