Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nothing But Net...

Lionel Messi's amazing header
Three years ago - almost to the day - I was in the midst of coming down with pneumonia... and the only thing on t.v. was World Cup Soccer. I had never seen a game before, and here I was - watching an entire tournament. [yes, I know. The biggest tournament ever]
Well, since I've been outside of the United States (where soccer's not really a big deal), I've been learning a lot about the game. So much that in certain circles I even call it football! So last night I got to watch the championship game (of what, I'm still not sure - baby steps, kids) with my football tutor, Naysan.
Friends, I'm going to say it here - I'm spreading a rumor that I'm good luck for Barcelona FC. Yes, I know that this rumor is not dissimilar to the rumo(u)r about me being good luck for London's weather. But let's look at the facts, hmmmmmm?
P.S. Sorry I couldn't find a better photo of Messi's header in the 70th minute - but, as an athlete, let me tell you that it was a.m.a.z.i.n.g! You should have seen it, seriously.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

All the News That's Fit to Print...

"In this Day the secrets of the earth are laid bare before the eyes of men. The pages of swiftly-appearing newspapers are indeed the mirror of the world. They reflect the deeds and the pursuits of divers peoples and kindreds. They both reflect them and make them known. They are a mirror endowed with hearing, sight and speech. This is an amazing and potent phenomenon. However, it behoveth the writers thereof to be purged from the promptings of evil passions and desires and to be attired with the raiment of justice and equity. They should enquire into situations as much as possible and ascertain the facts, then set them down in writing."

This quotation, excerpted from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, Prophet Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, about the responsibilities of reporters (and other writers - hello, blog world!), is one I think anyone who has ever written in any sort of public setting would do well to consider.

There are really two ways to look at news reporting: you are either documenting the decline of the Old World, or you are documenting the birth of a New World Order - an age destined by God to bring such marvels as universal peace and accord.

You choose - I have.

Creative Word...

Example of Arabic Calligraphy
So I took a calligraphy class this weekend, friends! It was so cool! I didn't do anything this fancy - and I also wrote in English - but I had a great time AND learned a little bit about the history of calligraphy. I learned that calligraphy came west to Europe from Arabic calligraphers - but then (and this is the cool proto-type globalization part) the idea to illuminate a text *similar to what you see above* was something that Christian (primarily Irish) monks did when they transcribed the Bible - and that art form traveled east.... So cool!
Anyhow, you all know how I'm a sucker for words and language - well, with calligraphy there's an aesthetic beauty that transcends the mere words on the page. Definitely a skill I'd like to hone as time permits.
*Image courtesy of LAUSD*

Monday, May 18, 2009

More From the Vault...

Taking pictures of inanimate objects is pretty much my option as I'm in learning mode - they don't care how long it takes me to put things in focus....there is, afterall, a reason why people in old photos look serious and grumpy - as it took f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to take the pictures.
The Prison Cell of Bahá'u'lláh
Akka, Israel
*This one from my third ever roll of film - more to come*

...Brings May Flowers

It's officially linen season, friends!
Image courtesy of Kadria Simons

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Possibly, Maybe...

The following is excerpted from an email conversation I had with Nazy today - her question? "How are you?"

"Answerable by a giant (if inaudible) meh.
I think my experience at lunch today probably sums things up:
“I’m not hungry, but I’m not satisfied”.

…unfortunately, as far as my life in general goes, a lot of that lies in my court, so to speak.

But the funny part is that I’m busier than I’ve almost ever been here – at least in the last year. I’m happy, but I’ve got a general feeling that there’s something missing, or just a tad off balance. I get the sense that this is how amputees must feel – like you remember having an arm (or whatever), you even feel it, but when you go to look for it or use it – it’s just gone.

Except that I think I miss something I’ve never had before.
How Bjork of me…."

If this were a mathmatical equation, it would go something like this:
Simple question (x) complex(ish) answer = complex question (squared).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Two for One....

As you all know, I'm pretty remedial when it comes to taking pictures - so it naturally came as a surprise when I finished not one - but TWO rolls of film (two. two rolls of film HA.HA.HA.) last weekend. It's all down to this really cool 'field trip' I went on. It had all of the classic elements:

Road Trip, Paul Simon, Ruins AND the best restaurant in Israel! (more on that later)

I went to a place called Beit She'an, or Israel's Pompei (or so the guide information says). But this place was seriously cool - at various points in its history (as with many places in Israel) it was controlled by the Egyptians, Jews, Philistines (and Jews again), Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans. It marks the place where King Saul and his sons were defeated by the Philistines and where King David defeated them. It's located in the Gilboa mountain range about 20 minutes from Megiddo (you may know that as Armaggedon) and 3km from Jordan.

Anyhow, so don't be surprised if you start to see more pictures that I've actually taken in days to come.


2 sides of the path leading to the ampitheater

The Ampitheater
*tah dah!*

If you look carefully, you'll see the remnants of a bridge.
This bridge represented the northern entrance to the settlement.
Obviously the stream below provided a great water source and, in addition to the hill on which Beit She'an is situated, good natural defenses.
*Over the hill is Jordan*

Those Romans, they sure did know how to build an arch.
But seriously, the place is covered in the them.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Bill at Bahjí
May 2008
Today is my brother Bill's birthday - he was here at the end of May last year: still one of my favorite times here, so far. Miss you!

This week also holds Mother's Day, and birthdays for John (my brother-in-law), my mom, and my aunt Julie. Whew! May showers, indeed...!

Everyday Is Like...

I like music - a lot, and since I'm a caring individual, I like to share the good things that come my way.... There's a (relatively) new guy here - Dion - from UK, and we happen to enjoy similar tastes in music. The funny thing is that friends of ours have been telling me about bands that I've been recommending to them for months, and saying how glad they are that Dion has introduced them to said band (or individual).

Funny story:
So yesterday at lunch Matt [last name Morrissey] & Ash were talking about karaoke – and Matt starts talking about all of the performance possibilities now a part of his repertoire. He starts tossing out band names willy-nilly – including the Smiths.
Except I didn’t understand him at first…. Surely he didn’t say what I thought he did. *It should be noted that when I learned his name, I was a little taken aback at his (apparently former) attitude towards Morrissey* To clarify, he says “yeah, you know – Morrissey [points to his chest] Morrissey” as though that tied up all of the loose ends and somehow made the Smiths compatible with a karaoke machine.

Noting my still confused expression, he told me that (courtesy of Dion) the greatest hits were slowly, yet surely, making their rounds in the office.
Matt: “I used to think that only nancy boys listened to the Smiths and Morrissey – and it’s true, except that I’m a nancy boy now (insert proud, sheepish grin) – so it’s okay”.

Maybe everything really does sound better in a British accent.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

But Let Me Clarify...

*As seen through Hoda's eyes*
...why they really come:

The Shrine of the Báb
Haifa, Israel
In a few seconds you're going to read about how much I like to have visitors... and this is true. *Come visit and find out - I'm a pretty fair host, even if I have to say so myself!*
But yeah, they don't come here to see me.
They come to seek reunion with their Lord.

...Spring's Eternal

Sometimes I wax poetic about things - and other times I'm so excited by a thing that I don't even want to waste time talking about it! Take the recent visit I had from my friend Hoda, for example. One would think that she never even came - much less that I was bouncing with excitement for days and days and days!
Or how about the times when it was so good to have a friend from home - someone who knows you from before - so that when you talk about all of the wonderful things you're doing and changes you're making it all seems somehow MORE profound - because this friend knows the old you, and it's like meeting the new you for the first time? And you get to see yourself, I mean really see yourself - what you've learned, how you've matured - through another person's eyes.
Yeah. It was like that.
So I'm still sort of processing that - I don't know that I'll ever share much more from my few days in the Holy Land with my friend Hoda than what I share today. It's all better in my heart and my head, anyhow.
But! Here are some pictures from that time - clearly I didn't take them... although I did take about 6 or 7 pictures on my film camera maybe 10 days ago - so there's hope I'll finish that roll soon!
Hoda, Aimee, Kadria
The Celebration of the First Day of Ridván
Sina, Aimee, Hoda
Local Haifa favorite - Café Louise

Hoda & Aimee
Bahá'í Terraces
Mountain of God, Israel

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

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