Sunday, December 26

Again --- Well... it will have to be another series of events, until the flowing of sweeter words once again will course through my fingers: left Thu for Baltimore, where I joined Omid to surprise Sarah and to meet her three amazing friends. We had a spledid, almost gaudy dinner and discussed various fun and meaningful topics, such as the meaning of life and the direction in which humanity is heading.

Then Omid and I went to visit Ganeh, a most spirited, deepened and experienced Baha'i scholar, with whom we studied the opening paragraphs of "The Golden Age of the Cause of Baha'u'llah", a letter from the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith to the believers in the US and Canadia. We also shared other precious moments, beyond telling!

Omid and I spent the day together on Fri, doing all kinds of cool stuff two friends might do together at such a fun time of the year. Then I left on Sat morning to meet up with Jason, Rebecca and his family in Freehold, NJ. We had a big lunch together, and most of the rest of the time was with Jason and I catching up with each other from having not seen each other in person for over two and a half years! It was a most glorious, joyous and magical reunion.

I'm back in Richmond now. Having put some 3,000 miles on my car in the last 4 weeks, between conferences, visiting friends, sharing the Baha'i Faith, etc., and the exciting prospect of tutoring Ruhi Book 6 this coming weekend, along with working full time, I think to myself, maybe this is the kind of schedule an Auxiliary Board Member of the Faith has year-round... and then some...

What a life! What a world!

Monday, December 20

Happy --- Well, I just got off work, and I went to work straight from driving back from South Carolina, and Florida the previous day. I spent a few days in Orlando at the amazing yearly Baha'i conference on Social and Economic Development. I feel happy, grateful and inspired beyond measure. More on this later. Now sleep!! Sleep is AWESOME too!

Sunday, December 12

Martin --- I have a rather new brother: Martin. I went to visit Martin over the weekend. Martin showed great love and hospitality. Martin has friends in the theatre department at ODU (Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA), and he took danio to watched a short film they had made, to eat their food at a party, and socialize with wonderful theatre folk. Martin invited danio to prepare a devotional program as part of a community feast - to which Martin also invited danio. Martin introduced danio to members of his Baha'i community at this feast. Martin played the guitar and sang beautifully - as Martin is much much wont to do. Martin drove danio around town. Martin brought danio to a fun-filled party with some of his friends from the music department(s) at ODU. At the party, they played board games ("Wise or Otherwise", "Taboo", and "Charades"). At the party, they also socialized and had snacks. Late that night, Martin provided a resting place for both danio and another friend, Tom. Martin prayed with danio and Tom before retiring. Martin woke danio and Tom in the morning. Martin even prepared some breakfast for them - and some tea too, did Martin make! Martin took danio to "Rise and Shine" Baha'i school, where danio met many Baha'is from the area. They were all very nice. Martin served as a tutor for a study book. Martin and danio had lunch together and talked for a very long time, just as if they were brothers. Martin is a wonderful friend. Martin.

Sunday, December 5

Canvas --- I feel like I say things like this a lot, but I really feel like this last week has been just about the most amazing of the year. It's been a very very hard week, but for every trial, every difficulty, I have tried to, and in most cases succeeding in praising and thanking God, furthermore, I have received numerous confirmations that my efforts and challenges are meaningful. All praise be to God! for in addition to bestowing upon me these amazing experiences, he has even given me souls with whom I can share them - people with whom I can "build a skeleton of trust, bone by bone, stone by stone", people whose very being allows me to answer the question "Who is it that never let you down? Who is it that gave you back your crown?" people who can "Carry my joy and on the left; carry my pain on the right." And if I think of the spiritual energy in the universe, then the rest of Bjork's song that I've been quoting comes to fulfilment: "and the ornaments are going around; now they're handing them over... handing them over."

This blog is my best reminder that most of my experiences can never truly be related, and even more of them will never fit on words. Therefore, you, reader, will not have the bounty/challenge of bearing these experiences of which I am speaking. Some things can only be share heart to heart... (not that these are necessarily in the category... but I'm just saying...)

Tuesday, November 30

Undulate --- a couple more things from last week: Brent, Orion and I joined Peter at his father's house for a delicious pre-thanksgiving dinner. Farmville was dark, so we didn't really get a sense for it, but we were definitely there! On Thanksgiving, my parents and I joined my grandma at my uncle Mark's family home. What a fine, splendid time we had! I was immediately called upon to play something of an uncle's part to my cousins (they're between about 4 and 10!). We ran around the yard for quite a while, and I heard them talk about all kinds of things! Plus they did a puppet show for us! Then they asked me to do a puppet show - an invitation I gladly accepted! We also had desert at the Falconer home - though I didn't have much room for it. We played a large-group game of Tabou, plus socializing, and I also danced for my friends (this may become a more common practice, considering the success that ensued!)

Sunday, November 28

Eleventy --- I just got back from a 3-day Baha'i Youth Congress in Wachington DC, the 21st of its kind, and vastly improved over the already vitalizing gatherings of the past. I am full of ideas, energy (though exhausted nonetheless), goals, inspiration, new understanding, new rhythms (the musical performances were utterly hip, delectable, and memorable) and social & spiritual satisfaction. It will serve me very much in making progress in my service to this Cause and the world of humanity. I am already suffering from a little conference-withdrawal, but my life in Richmond is busy enough that I won't be allowed the time to dwell on that morose feeling. Tomorrow night I perform a poem and I have auditions! wish me luck!

Sunday, November 21

Me and a Gun --- there's a haunting Tori Amos song by this title, which is a song about rape. It's soft and heart-wrentching, and it says how funny some of the things you think about are in these situations, like "I haven't seen Barbados, so I must get out of here."

I usually do pretty well with being fine when I can't get something from someone else (like attention, etc.) but when I'm told by this party to expect something (like an e-mail, call, etc.) - that's a bit harder to let go when it doesn't happen... Oh well.

Brent's been here for several days, and I've gotten to spend lots of time with him and "the guys." Freestyling, discussing, video games, gettin' out, etc. I have a great group of friends here in town. Oh! and Taboo - it's such a terrific game. The perfect game for our group, really (I hope they have expansions, with more words!)

I outlined my new paper. It's looking pretty good! Tomorrow we have a meeting with a whole bunch (as in 2-5) VCU students to talk about possibly starting a Baha'i Association on campus!

DC Baha'i Congress this coming weekend!!! I'm so very very excited! It'll be great spiritual food, and amazing social opportunities - I'll be seeing a bunch of friends from different areas all at the same time! Plus rooming with a bunch of guys in a hotel! I'll even get to see my "brother" Marten again. He spent a day here, and played some music at a devotional gathering we had. He's a terrific musician and a splendid volcalist, with lots of energy and remarkable charisma, that will grab a whole crowd's attention! He's also great at Taboo.

I called the University of Sydney, Australia, and it was SO EXCITING! I really want to go there. If I get accepted to even just two of the three programs I'm applying to, it will be a very difficult decision...

Sometimes, I tie my shoelaces, sometimes I put on my socks, sometimes I eat sushi... Just now I had a glass of apple juice. It used to be my favorite juice. Still one of them. I like the juice more than the apple, but I prefer the idea of eating the apple - I guess 'cause it's closer to "the real thing." I sometimes miss the cold of Alaska. It's just so very exhilirating. I think it actually boosts my energy level. So many things... so very many things in this world... I can't begin to imagine the afterlife. With so many things here, I still manage to feel like it's just a palm-full of sand, when I get spiritually in tune with the "Universe." So in the next life, it probably seems even smaller. Actually, it's not that everything is small. It's that what I'm _able_ to see in things is small, so when I close my eyes and look out to spiritual truths (I might even call them philosophical) - then I can somehow see more. Anyway, I figure that all of this that I'm saying and that I've ever said will bear on everything, but will appear infinitessimal, and there will be worlds of existence that will baffle and exhilirate me - maybe a little like the cold of beautiful Alaska...

Sunday, November 14

Sifting --- Highlights this last week: lots of progress on my research paper, provisionally named:

What Truth?

Diagnosing the Need for Performance in Diverse Societies

-Choir sang a couple of songs at a beautiful celebration of the Birth of Baha'u'llah.

-We had a great meeting with Baha'i artists around the idea of creating Baha'i-inspired enterprises - a meeting I had planned on having exactly the way this one went a whole year ago.

-Had a very very long conversation with the beautiful, always-inspiring Joleen! I love her and miss her dearly.

-Worked with Shawn and Helen on a new short film project - called:

The Mysterious Life of Ordinary People.

Went out for icecream with Tanya!

We got a whole new workplan at work, presented by a new supervisor. It's overly ambitious and rather unrealistic, but it's a welcome new energy to our efforts!

I subsitute-taught the youth class at Baha'i School - a bit of a challenge.

Met a new Baha'i youth in the area, and re-met another! More energy for our Richmond spiritual endeavors!

Sunday, November 7

Albeit --- I've had it easy. It's quite clear to me now. I've had it easy this year. I've had a great job, straighforward community opportunities, and too much to do to have to think too much about much else. Well, that last clause is definitely not true in most ways. I've thought about almost everything, it feels like. The process of relating most things back to the Seven Valleys that the spiritual traveler traverses has almost become second nature. There are a number of such good habits that are becoming more natural. Anyway, the reason I feel like I've had it easy is that, dedicating all day yesterday to Performance Studies research, and half of today to college applications, I feel like this is where the hard work begins. Maybe it's just that everything else that I'm involved in now was just as challenging in the beginning, but it flows of its own now.

Anyway, I've got four schools to which I'm applying, and I'm considering various travel possibilities as alternative routes to grad school. Once I receive results from my applications, I'll consider what will best serve my goals and vision.

I did perform that poem mentioned in my previous post. It was an immense hit - very welcomed by both the audience and the poets who were putting on the show. It was so perfect that I got to practice the piece with my acting class, and right after I was given the opportunity to present. Orion and I will be working on a joint piece to perform at the next slam - plus I should be performing at every slam at the Firehouse theatre on the last Monday of the month.

Robbie and I had another opportunity to eat out with our new best friends Christian and Mishkin. We ate at the news Cheesecake factory. Great times.

Volleyball team one another game! Had a blast today at open gym. I got a call back from Joshua, the guy who's part of a Capoeira group. I got the call the next day after I decided to give up on it. I'll check on them again in Jan, after all this grad school madness.

Got me some nice Outkast playing on my earphones.

Have I mentioned these are probably the best days of my life? I am so fortunate. Had an AWESOME chat with Eric (in Chicago area) yesterday - very deep conversation. He's off to do some really good stuff for our little Earth.

Robbie and I (re)started our Ruhi Book 4 study circle. We have an amazing group! Plus we've scheduled our next several meetings almost through January! A rare thing among nearly a dozen busy Baha'is! Plus, Robbie and I have been exploring the amazing worlds of joined prayer. We spend long long moments reciting, singing, chanting, supplicating our Magnanimous Lord, searching to liberate ourselves from the fetters of this lowly world! He's a most precious blessing in my life.

Sunday, October 31

This --- I got AWEsomepictures from Sandai - some of his beautiful daughter and some of his new office on the 39th floor, with a gorgeous view on the rest of Paris (including a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower!).

Had an interesting conversation about violence and crime and the condition of our city of Richmond, and of our society, with my good friends. It's so overwhelming. We shared some nice ideas. Prayer is greatly need. Prayer and good deeds.

Just spoke with Jamie - she's getting married! I'm hoping to make it down to FL for the occasion. Speaking of which, I might be heading down there to go canoeing with Toad and Jason at the turn of the year.

I met a new brother. He too has red hair and white/clear eyebrows! He's an outstanding artist (guitar and voice). I have his CD (Martin Kerr, "just another man"). I can't wait to see him again!

Had an awesome conversation with Husayn! He's leading a wonderful weekend for Baha'i college students from various areas up at LouHelen Baha'i School. Robbie and I had a powerful prayer session, sending some energy up their way. I definitely miss Husay and Suzanne. I can't wait to meet their daughter Amia.

Our volleyball team finally won a competition game! It wasn't important to me to win any games, but since it's important to the rest of the team (the Flaming Flamingos) - it becomes so for me!

I finished a poem I had been working on for more than a month. I'm hoping to perform it at the next poetry slam in town. I've received excellent feedback. I'm thinking of calling it "The Message"...

Where are all most noble beings. Let us arise to this station, as we are meant to.

Tuesday, October 26

What it is --- Wow! I feel great!

Summary: Tuesday we had our celebration of the Birth of the Bab (Prophet of God and Forerunner of Baha'u'llah - founder of the Baha'i Faith!), which was very nice, and I met some Baha'is from the Toronto area. On Thursday, the two of them got together with Robbie and I, and we had an absolute BLAST, stuffing our stomach (more our whole _bodies_), talking philosophy, and generally being geeks. This night, also, I was introduced to "The Mars Volta" - an excellent, if overwhelming and "busy" rock band.

Friday, I go to Baltimore!!! I arrived in the afternoon, and I spent the rest of the day and the next morning with my great friend, Sam Gallant. Such a cool guy! I also visited with his daughter Maia, his wife Molly, and her sister Amy. Wonderful, beautiful visit. We went to the BMA (Baltimore Museum of Art), ate nice food together, laughed, and reminisced a little. The other half of the weekend I spent with Omid (Allen Eghrari). He's in grad med school at Johns Hopkins (hot stuff, eh?). We prayed, freestyled, played DDR, drove around, had spiritual/religious discussions, etc. - the way good friends like us should do... I also got to attend a couple of Baha'i gatherings - with mostly youth and young adults. I met a ton of people, and was enlightened, entertained, and spiritualized.

A group of Baha'is from one of these events went to see "What the Bleep do we Know?" - probably the most fascinating movie I have ever seen. It has permanently changed my perspective on the universe and the meaning of life. (How's that for a review??!?) Please consider renting/buying it when it comes out on video at your local store.

I'm all over hip hop these days: Mos Def's new album ("The New Danger") is out, and is way, WAY too good for words. Omid hooked me up with a CD of French rap, including a track or two by my favorite hip hop artists - "I Am." Omid also hooked me up with a CD of instrumentals, so when I got back on Sunday, Orion and I were freestyling to some nice beats. Oh, and Omid hooked me up with "Fort Tabarsi" - hands down the best Baha'i Hip Hop I've ever heard (not that we have much...) It's vastly superior to the popular hip hop, and it's up to par with some of the better stuff I know - but since it's about the Baha'i Faith, its Principles and Baha'u'llah, it downright some of the best music I've ever heard!

I've started writing a poem I've been preping for weeks. I'm hoping to perform it at a poetry slam late next month.

Wish you were here.

Monday, October 18

Thither --- When all things come together, in the final consumation of their purpose, reason, and simplicity, they converge with such rapidity that in a blur, the empty space they leave behind becomes a swirling cloud, shaping into the very universe within a single point. Concommittently, the elements of life take on a shape of their own, diverging in infinite directions, expanding the borders of existence, and forming a freedom beyond conception, unfathomable - yet real, and abiding. Thus the macrocosm and the microcosm spiral beyond their own confines, allowing us to see beauty and truth in a single face, a pebble, or the vast ocean.

On another note, I recommend Christina Aguilera's "Stripped" (I'm not even kidding!)

Wednesday, October 13

Simple --- I had my first ever 'Abdu'l-Baha dream! ('Abdu'l-Baha is the Center of the Covenant of the Baha'i Faith - He was endowed with the Spirit and charge to carry forward the Message of the Founder of the Faith, His Father, Baha'u'llah). As the Prefect Examplar, I have always turned to 'Abdu'l-Baha for guidance on how to live, particularly on how to be of service to God and to humanity (His name means "Servant of the Glory"). I had heard a number of people speak of their dreams of 'Abdu'l-Baha, and often wondered if/when I might get one. My love for Him knows no compare, and since dreams have always been so extremely important to me, it's the ultimate blessing for me to receive a visit from Him. In fact, that's just what happened in the dream. He paid me a visit. There are a couple of aspects to this dream, which was in fact exceptionally simple. It is, of course, very personal, and failed to hide my sobbing and sniffling at work this morning, as the deep memory came back to me. In the end, I am very moved, and I miss Him terribly - even though I know He is with me right now.

Wednesday, October 6

Divider --- Where I End and You Begin. I sent a summary of my first whole year living in the same place. If you didn't receive it, let me know and I'll send it to you! Sherry and I are working on a couple of new songs together - two of them are beautiful prayers! I spoke to Suzanne yesterday, so I'm happy as can be. I added some stuff to my profile, if you want to take a look. I still haven't figured out how to post my picture in my profile (as opposed to a dated post). Also, I can't see where to post always-accessible links to my favorite websites... What a boring post!

Saturday, October 2

More --- so many good times. Mind-blowing poetry slam; insightful acting class; new lessons in real estate/title transactions; completion of a two-three-week (also kind of a four-year) personal project; three days of cheese cake; hardest song to learn yet at choir practice; first two volleyball games of the season; I-Robot (decent, but not at all outstanding); a Greek tragedy (called "The Furies" - plus meeting with the director); setting plans to attend two big Baha'i conferences - in DC and in Orlando (the awesome one on socio-economic development - leading up to the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Growth); time with cousin and other friends... all that and more, to make it one heck of an awesome week for danio - that's not even including the weekend, which is already promising...

Sunday, September 26

Gifts --- Feast is at our house tonight! I miss my friends!

I have recently determined that Tori Amos may just be an angel! Apparently people who love her often also love Bjork (the two of them are my favorite musical artists after Tool). It's such a beautiful day today! I always love to look out the window from this spot, out on the neighbor's magnolia tree - my favorite! (the lilac tree is up there too!)

Improv poetry time!

Love sprinkles gay sparkles true bliss

Try now to give all and find strength

For the road is behind and remiss

In the face of those blind to its length.

Peace to the poor,

Sight to the sad,

Gift to the gift.

For you reader, I wish this love, and I give you some.

Saturday, September 18

Stake --- My Meisner class has picked up again! it's a great tool for living in the moment: one of the goals is to respond to what's happening immediately with the other actor, as opposed some pre-arranged idea of how a scene should play out.

Volleyball games should start soon. The Baha'i choir is getting together again - working on "He Verily Loveth the Spot" (VERY hard!!). Sherry and I have started playing together again (also awesome prayers together). The Richmond Local Spiritual Assembly (including myself) should be studying Ruhi Book 4 (on the history of the Faith), and I'll be tutoring the book at the Falconers starting October 6. I'm very happy.

Today I walked to cure (type I) diabetes! It was a great event, held nation-wide, and sponsored by JDRF. We raised lots of money for research! My co-workers Niki and Keith, and his wife Chrissy - we all walked together. Then, spicy black bean hummus wrap for danio!

tonight, more Def Poetry - this time with a crowd! Maybe some role-playing too!

Sunday, September 12

Everything --- I wonder... Does anything mean _everything_ to others? I look at the research I'm doing in Performance Studies, and think, "this means _everything_!" - as in, it's a crucial piece to the development of humanity, or at least human civilization. The same happens with some of the things people I know are involved in. Some things just have to be done. There's no way out of it. My passion is performance, so when I watch Def Poetry, I think, "this means everything," "this _has_ to be done." We're connecting human involvement in the world, human _performance_ in this life, with the essence of purpose and fulfilment, like when Tool says to "swing on the spiral of our divinity and still be human." The crazy album Bjork just and company just put out _had_ to be done. At the moment, our understanding of art and its ramifications are infinitessimal, groping to a world order wherein entertainment is on side of the coin, and ritual/healing/transcendence, as expressed in many cultures is the other. There is more, though. There has to be. Performance studies is digging in the mine, finding occasional gems in our cultures and heritage, awaiting to find at any moment a giant gem, a hidden world, a new Reality, or even a chapter or two from the "Book of Creation"!!

That's why I will devote the rest of my life to Performance Studies, and practicing the results and findings. Culture and society feeds, and feeds on, performance. Performance is a timeless currency, a levener, an end and a means, a seed and a fruit, a piece of the puzzle and a side of the polygon, a fraction and a factor, an engine and an energy.

Cascading down the mountain of Being, Life splashes into Living.

Tuesday, September 7

Mountains --- Ann Brenneman and I got to teach the 12-14-year-olds at Shenandoah Baha'i conference over the weekend. It was tremendously gratifying, especially seeing how they grew from rather reluctant and distant from the process to the point where they embraced it and took ownership. I got a new copy of the Seven Valleys (Baha'u'llah) which has a different set of endnotes, which adds a bit to my understanding. My car is in the shop again. For the same reason I brought it in on Fri... they had better fix it! Butterfly Effect was okay.

Peter, Orion, Robbie and I have started watching Def Poetry, a series of poetry performances hosted by one of my three or four favorite hip hop artists, Mos Def. It's just about the best television I have ever seen. Exquisitely inspiring. Work is hectic (sp?) again.

Bjork is crazier than ever (yes, and undeniably so) on her new album Medulla. It seems like it might also actually be good...

Wednesday, September 1

Worlds --- Life is too good for words! I'm getting back into the Seven Valleys - what an amazing journey! There are four worlds described therein, which provide an assistance in perceiving unity in all of God's creation.

Tonight is the last night for our bk 1 study circle!

I just orderd Bjork's new album, Medulla!

The Cluster Reflection Gathering was an immense success!

I'm back from house-sitting (AGAIN!) - and this one was the most enjoyable. I already miss Guiness & Zo (dog and cat)... and a house to myself is always nice...

I have checked out a whole bunch of books from the library to work on my new paper in performance studies, which will probably be called "What Truth?" - with a fancy, longer second part of the title, like "At the juncion of culture and established modes of meaning conveyance" or "How pedagogy, entertainment, and XXX signify to their audience" or "Questioning the established models of convincing performances" or "Potential expansions beyond our inchoate performance vehicles" (it'll be better than any one of those, I promise!)

I have to choose what weekly or bi-weekly activities I'll be doing this fall out of the following: 2-3 study circles, volleyball, Tai Chi, Capoeira, Choir, (mini)-band, role-playing, and probably a couple more... decisions decisions...

Tuesday, August 24

Houses - This is the third time I'm house-sitting in barely a month! This house is definitely cosy, and I love Guiness the big cute old dog, Zo the cat-that-won't-let-you-pet-it-but-pets-itself-on-you, the fishes, and the plants!

Although I thought Jason and I had come up with the band name Placebo, they already exist, and make pretty decent music (the chorus currently playing on "my" computer says "protect me from what I want"...

Expressions of the Spirit is going well. We've had three workshops, all great, and two more will follow in September.

Brent is gone. We role-played a lot, did some free-styling, played video games, and most importantly went to the mountains, in Shenandoah, and had the grandest time. On the weekend we play ghosts, trying to figure out why we're still around - kind of...

Tuesday, August 17

Kings --- Brent, Orion, Peter, Robbie... the whole crew is here, and we're acting like a bunch of (near-) geeks! Video games, role-playing games, freestylin', poetry-ing, and eating festively every day, with Midge's perpetually stupendous cooking! I have an awesome friend that turns out to live just an hour away or so, so maybe I'll be able to catch-up with him soon. I'm realizing that things have slowed down a little. They should pick up again soon, I expect, but I'm enjoying the near-downtime... I've started up recording a couple of dreams last week - I'm gonna try and stick with it! Wish me luck! Love around the world.

Monday, August 9

Wrought --- I got the "Mother Book" of Performance Studies, namely "Performance Studies: an Introduction." It may sound obvious, but for a field that's barely 30 years old, and ultimately complex, this year-old book is quite the gem, in that it brings everything together (by compromising and unifying different standards of terminology, gathering a multitude of concepts brought forth by a variety of authoritative figures, and presenting invaluable models of approach), as well as opens up innumerable questions and potential directions (by asking some of the prominent unanswered dilemmas, and providing various very to slightly relevant references). I also bought the "Performance Studies Reader", which collects important essays in the field. I am oh-so-psyched!

On Sat. I role-played a ghost who awakens 7 years after his death and finds his family destitute and aimless. His brother (played by Peter) and he embark on a mission to make their life better again - only they will soon find that it is not by forcefully imposing one's own understanding of "better" that anything gets better. It was a great game, and next week, we may have up to 4 extra players.

The Watermellon festival is just about the biggest thing in Richmond, and was definitely lots of fun (open-air market-style with dollar-bowls of watermellon, various food stands, major sales in several great local stores, etc.)

The Dead Can Dance

Friday, August 6

Greed --- just finished another week of house/baby-sitting, where the children didn't allow me much access to a computer.
So many wonderful things!!!
I'm reestablishing contact with a couple of best friends; we've got a grand ol' reunion coming up with the Richmond "guys"; I've started my research on a new paper in Performance Studies, partly inspired by my upcoming application to grad schools for 2005; our Ruhi Book 3 study circle should end tonight, and we should be starting a book 4 in the Fall; I am now "cluster coordinator"; I got a fat bonus from my job; the long-awaited Reflections of the Spirit workshop will begin this Sunday (Sunday! Sunday!); I'm getting spiritually much closer to a couple of friends at work; I have a lovely friend that will be visiting soon from NC, and another lovely friend moving to Baltimore; I'm now playing music and singing not only with my friend Sherry, but also with my aunt Kim; and to top it off, I'm expecting a double-CD of the Dead Can Dance any day now!!!

Tuesday, July 27

Power --- I just got back from house-sitting at a house where there's NO COMPUTER!
Here's a review of the movie Spiderman 2:

Much like his predecessors on the big screen, Peter Parker lives aseries of challenges and victories which, though we cannot directlyrelate to them, symbolize the great journey we all go through.  In summary, he discovers his powers and learns to battle evil and help hisfellow humans.

Some superheroes furthermore teach us to grapple with our sense of dutyand our true purpose in life.  Spiderman takes these lessons severalsteps further.  Indeed, unlike the others, Peter Parker is the firstsuperhero of whom I can honestly say, "I want to be like him."  This feeling relates mostly to his outstanding spiritual qualities.

I will mention the three most notable. Clearly, Peter Parker is ahumble chap. Despite his greatness, he is never seen using his powersto elevate himself over others (except one fight in the first movie). How tempting it would have been to redeem himself in the eyes of hisaunt by saying: "Yes, I did let uncle die, but I've learned, and now Isave lives every day..."

One might also notice his radiant acquiescence. Throughout the movie, he graciously accepts the most dire adversities, the most grueling humiliations. From his financial and career failures to his inability to get a cocktail at a gala, he always shrugs it off and (nearly) happily moves on.  Even when his best friend slaps him in the face(twice!), he recognizes what the latter is going through and lets it go.

Peter Parker is, at last, ultimately sacrificial, and this is constantlyevidenced. His understanding of sacrifice, however, is much deeper than Hollywood ever sees.  In a society where nothing surpasses the paramount "duty" of following one's dreams, Spiderman's explicit message is that "Sometimes to do the right thing, you have to give up what you want,even your dreams."

That people everywhere are raving about this blockbuster is great confirmation of the inspiring power of such a character, and provides great hope for their receptivity of spiritual lessons.  In fact, the movie has many more explicit lessons: in truthfulness, detachment, perseverance, forgiveness, patience, generosity, etc.

To top it off, the film is a masterpiece of cinema: stellar performance from the somewhat intimate cast (the scene with Dr. Octavian and his wife is as warm and comforting as they get); stupendous special effects (who could tire of Spiderman's freedom in the air?); lavish sets (the crumbling hanger dazzles the eyes!); smooth transitions and pacing; and, of course, riveting action (the mechanics and intricacies of the movement of and fights between the two antagonists had my mind racing to capture the particular physics of each moment!).  Not only does the movie delight us with action, but it also feeds us great drama, almost-but-not-quite-mushy romance, suspense, surprisingly sassy comedy- even a captivating horror sequence (when Dr. Octopus's mechanical arms take over in the hospital). In summary, watch Spiderman (1 &) 2, and rejoice!

I also highly recommend "50 First Dates," a brilliant, heart-warming romantic comedy, as good as, if not better than, "The Wedding Singer"!

Monday, July 19

Truth --- I get to house-sit at a gorgeous home for a whole week, starting Wednesday! I'm psyched!  The lady told me that her two dogs will most likely want to sleep under the sheets with me, and that the cat is a bizarro in need of much attention.  I'm listening to an opera radio station!  One of my best friends delivered a beautiful girl recently (I've seen tons of pictures)! My (past-) supervisor is due any day now!  There are way too many untranslated Writings of Baha'u'llah - I feel deprived...  I have posted a summary of my two-week vacation. Check it out! (Click on Summer 2004.) My sis' and my nephew come to town tomorrow for a week!

Wednesday, July 14

Back? --- I'm back in Richmond, and running around spinning plates. God is good... all the time. That's for sure. I don't expect to post until this weekend, at which point I plan to summarize my latest adventures.

Monday, June 21

Union --- I just heard news of the most wonderful union: the engagement of two most beautiful and wondrous souls. Ruhi Book 4 planning is going well. Sarah and I will have a grand time. Last acting class tonight (until the fall). I've got a call-back for a show that starts in Sept: Kingdom of Earth, by Tennessee William. Cool! I'll have to see if I can actually fit it in my schedule... I miss my friends. That's the truth.

Tuesday, June 15

Rain --- tonight, after getting so bored of "Ladykillers" that Robbie and I walked out of the theater, we went to eat a Thai appetizer and fried icecream. Peter joined us. Then we sat on a bench on the sidewalk in the middle of the terrential rain, and created ourselves a moment, as it were... I had some auditions tonight. They seemed good. I read a chunk from the National Spiritual Assembly yearly report - the Office of External Affairs is experiencing very challenging times. I love brushing my teeth!
Theatre --- we had a great class yesterday, I'm really liking this Meisner method... I came to a realization last night, regarding the value of this method, and how it relates to the endeavor of using the performing arts to express truth. Thereupon, I decided on the topic of my next research paper. I expect I should be able to start my research in September, and write a decent paper by the time I re-apply for grad school in December. This morning I dreamt of a dragon-wolf. He was gorgeous. And then the twirling sentient flowers landed on the green hill and became ptarmagons - bad omen...
Goodbyes --- You never know what you've got 'til it's gone, right? Nope. I think part of walking through the Valley of Knowledge, the part about seeing the end in the beginning, allows us to avoid this problem. I don't know if I'm in this Valley, but I have a decent sense of this quality. For instance, I believe I had a good sense of the value of having the Cooks around in our community while they were here - though I miss them sorely. Oh! I got a cell phone!!! how awesome is that? (you might be cringing right now, but think about it... it had to happen...) I've got a picture of Jenna Cook on my screen (who came up with the idea of a _camera_ in a _phone_?). She's very sweet - we had a pleasant evening together before the family took off. Life is good.

Monday, June 7

Things Slow Down --- It's funny, even though I'm really not doing less (in fact, it seems still more and more), the crazy madness feeling of everything overwhelming me, after going through a phase of comfortable acquiescence, has now receded to the background a little, leaving a funny blandness in it's wake... A new experience for danio!!!
The day after the concert, we had a marvelous gathering to wish farewell to the wonderfull Cook family. The three youth/children have been role-playing with our group all year, and we've had beautiful times together. I will sorely miss them, for sho'! There was so much love at this gathering! One of the most exciting things is the prospect of spending more time with my cousin Katherine. She's totally awesome!
Sherry and I had our first public performance. It was fun. We also got to see a bunch of other awesome performers at the yearly Unity Courtyard Concert in West Point, VA. Great times. At the end of the concert, a bunch of people who are involved in "Expressions of the Spirit" got together to check in. It looks like we have significant support. I'm hoping we can kick this off the ground around mid-July. We'll see. At this stage, it's still difficult to tell the pace of such things. Looking great, though - we have awesome people working together!

Sunday, May 30

Beauty --- It's been so great to have this bird (it might be a couple of birds) singing all day while we're going through Ruhi book 4 (on the life of the "Twin Manifestations" of God - a history of the Baha'i Faith)! It's like they're assisting us. God too is assisting us, as we have very little time to go over all of the material... It's going great. I'm missing someone very much, though. Funny how emotions get... The choir had a beautiful performance today - another demonstration that, even if we suck in practice, when we trust in God, the Beauty flows through us despite our frailties... Good times!

Monday, May 24

Tutor --- I managed to plan the first of four units in the book I'll be tutoring this weekend! My acting class is going great. I've gotten to work with almost everyone in the class! Mogwai is still the best band of the moment. Robbie's team won the soccer game 6-0. I poored water on my head at work just on a whim. My hair is still black. I just ate strawberries while drinking orange juice. The ninety degrees outside didn't even bother me today. I am lovestruck and delighted by it. The moon is a beautiful crecent and magnolias are in bloom. I wish I could tell one soul of all the things that are in my world, but I always have God, my true confidant.

Thursday, May 20

Summer trip --- I've managed to get two weeks off from work, June 26-July 10. Here's the plan: (1) go to Ruhi in the Woods 2004 in Fort Wayne, IN and tutor Ruhi Book 4 (a study in Baha'i Scriptures and Baha'i history) with my friend Sarah Lonning; (2) visit my beloved family, the Dornbrooks, in Mentor, OH (right outside Cleveland); (3) meet up with my parents in Quebec, Quebec to visit my sister and her family. Then I'll be back in Richmond to pick up again on all of my activities, and this new summer project. Yippie!!!
Life on the line --- I found a way to describe how I've been feeling! It goes like this: everything in my life means more and more, because of how I always try to embrace all of space and time - every experience, every moment. It's taking over, though, so then I focused on embracing the nothingness all around - how none of this stuff really matter. But then, when absorbing this emptiness, it too means everything! So everything means everything, and nothing means everything! How overwhelming is that? Although, of course, it's also infinitely beautiful. In order to cope, I've found that disciplining myself to meditate everynight helps in escaping it all. Furthermore, after deciding with Sherry that we'll learn to play and sing the song "Because" by the Beatles together, I felt an immense relief. In the final analysis, the danio is very happy!

Monday, May 10

Project Launched --- I just launched my new project yesterday! It will span the whole summer, and is characterized by the following: a first meeting has been set for two weeks from now; a series of weekend workshops, maybe two hours each in length, utilizing the skill and enthusiasm of the the people I know in Richmond; the possibility of poetry, acting, playwrighting, singing, playing music, dancing, and storytelling so far; anywhere from 5 to 25 will help the launching; the theme is unity: for all people to consort in love and friendship with other people from all regions, cultures, religions, etc.; only the first phase, leading into a second phase in the Fall. In summary, it's an exciting project that will bring together many people and offer something real to the community. In fact, the project has already succeeded - it's almost as if I get to sit back and watch now (though that definitely won't be the case in practice...) Yay!
Total Madness --- I keep thinking to myself how crazy my life is! There's a few new emotional things going on with me, but I'm managing to be detached enough to both welcome it and embrace the continuing elements of my life. I'm happy, with lots to live for, and so many of them are in the here and now!

Saturday, May 1

Little things --- In the car, I thought about something Joel said... that blabbering isn't necessarily a form of communication. I actually don't speak much about the things I do to those nearest. In truth it would take too much time, but I thought I'd just share a story with my dad in the car. This afternoon I picked up some icecream with Niki for the rest of the team at work. My teeth are clean and happy, 'cause I went to the best dentist ever yesterday. Sometimes I think so much that thinking is all I'm thinking about... Musing. Musings.

Monday, April 26

Veronica --- What a beautiful woman, my Veronica. She was visiting on business from Anchorage, AK, for Planned Parenthood, to sponsor a pro-choice march in DC. So I drove up on Saturday to visit her for a couple of hours. We had the most beautiful time catching up. She and I have such amazing chemistry! It energizes me to have seen. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful friend...
Uncle --- My sister (Charlotte) is pregnant with her second child - which makes me uncle TWICE!!!! Yeah! TWICE I've been on the verge of tears of joy since I heard yesterday! I get to visit her and her family (of now FOUR!) in Qubec beginning July: my dad and I are driving up. I'm super spyched.

Thursday, April 22

Baseball --- I went to a baseball game for the first time in my life with a couple of workers and their respective significant other (none for danio!?!). Fun!

Wednesday, April 21

Bjork again --- I must say I _really_ love this album of Bjork's (Vespertine). It's so beautiful! When I listen to Bjork, it often makes me think of my friend Kristina - she's a fan, and it's all stuff that she would probably sing herself, from her own heart.
1st Day of Ridvan --- We had a beautiful observance of this Baha'i Holy Day, corresponding to Baha'u'llah's declaration of His Message and Station. The Brenneman's have such a beautiful home out in West Point - and it was definitely worth the trip! We had some prayers, readings, music, and refreshments. It was also nice to take the day off from work.

Tuesday, April 20

Election --- As of tonight, I've been elected to the Richmond city Baha'i Local Spiritual Assembly (LSA for short). I don't know quite how I feel about it. I'm at least excited, daunted, honored, and humbled...

Monday, April 19

Appartment Warming --- We had such a wonderful appartment warming yesterday! There were over a dozen people that came to visit my mom and dad and I. Beautiful people! Most were neighbors, but friends visited as well. I'm so grateful for the short time we got to practice some hospitality. I've been thinking a lot about how to enjoy my surroundings, and truth be told, I wasn't very supportive of the event, because I didn't see much meaning in it, and I thought it wouldn't be very successful. Big lesson for danio (for the hundredth - nay, thousandth time) - love with all your might, and embrace generosity, kindliness and hospitality whole-heartedly. That's not really it, but it will mean something different to you than it does to me no matter what I write. Dreams of bright spirals.

Monday, April 12

Aurora --- I had an interesting experience tonight: I listened to "Aurora" by Bjork, and I don't think I've ever like a song this much on first listen! I was on the verge of tears! The danio does enjoy life right now, and I see many new beautiful things, and many old things become more beautiful. There are unfortunately no words for what I have been going through, but I do hope my friends here can perceive (if only subconsciously) the energy bubbling inside of me... I miss bubble tea!

Sunday, April 11

Not-so-fickle --- The danio is officially happy. This is definitely not a new edict/decree/statement; but it's a definite confirmation. As many know, I've been "traveling" many realms of spiritual truth, and exploring philosophy and spirituality. Recently there's been a renewal in my quest for understanding the meaning of beginning and end, and how in reality, neither exists. Of course it's much more than that. Yesterday Robbie and I were able to take out a big chunk out that cake, and thereby realized that it's kind of a cupcake that we're almost done with, and kind of a universe that could never fit in a billion stomachs. Paradox is definitely where it's at. Had a great easter dinner. I love my friends. I can't say that enough. A great week ahead. It's almost like this coming week has already happened, even though I'm still reliving last week...

Thursday, April 8

Tuesday, April 6

Here's the Silverchair page.Great music and fun videos! I sing their songs constantly!
Jammin' --- What a great time Sherry and I had tonight! Between practising our Silverchair song and others, and chatting about our spiritual lives and environment, it really uplifted me. I have a friend whose knee got dislocated yesterday, and that bums me out. Plus my mom finally had that bothersome tooth pulled out... Not pretty. And my supervisor has had work done on her teeth for the last several weeks. Please send prayers their ways.
I caught up some with my friend Charlotte (not my sister) in SC. She's so wonderful! I love her! I don't know how long we talked, but it was a while. She's teaching biology for sixth grade, and she made me happy.
I had a dream last night that I was leading several dozen people in a group activity resembling role-playing, and everyone was having a grand time.
Love love love!

Sunday, April 4

The Passion --- Well, I finally saw this sensational movie, a surprizing cultural phenomenon...
The funny thing is, everybody always has to ask the not-so-pertinent question: "Did you like it?"
Of course, I can't answer that, and most people I've spoken to can't either. It didn't affect me upon seeing it as much as I had expected, however, in the 48 hours that have passed since, my mind has gone back numerous times to concepts or images from the movie. Overall, I'm very thankful for having seen it, appreciative of its effect on society, and grateful for the work and devotion that was put into its production.

Thursday, April 1

Rotation --- Acting Monday night
Choir Tuesday night
Tai Chi Wednesday night
Harry Potter tonight
While work is still crazy difficult and beyond my ability, life is full of fun!
Particularly, I got to see some rain today!
And you of all people know that rain makes a danio happy...
Maybe I'll finally see the Passion this weekend.
Love to everybody.

Monday, March 22

Energy --- I feel great!
This fasting period was the most sneaky ever! During the whole fast, I observe restraint and detachment through obediance to the Law of God, and prayed for spiritual nourishment. Near the end, I started really connecting to my spirituality.
Now that the fast is over, I feel great!
My acting class is lots of fun. I'm learning tons on how to connect to another actor "in the moment." That's what I've been all about for many years, and that's what this class is about as well. My partner Krissy is great to work with, and feeds me strong energy to bounce off of.
Still obsessing over Mogwai & Radiohead.
Still miss my friends.
Still love the world.

Wednesday, March 17

I'm in love with the World --- So tonight will be the fourth night in a row that I meditate. It looks like I'm on my way to disciplining myself for good!
I'm listening to Radiohead's Hail to the Thief - a haunting experience.
I've been dreaming a lot about my dear, beloved friends. It's almost like visiting in person. I need to call you!

Tuesday, March 16

My friend Rachael's Blog

FLY GUY - Non-chalant journeying

Great site to check out - even if only once.
Naw Ruz this weekend! --- The fast has been wonderful this year. It's not too straining on my body (hardly at all, really), and it's such a beauteous opportunity to refocus on my spirituality.
In fact, I've just started my routine of transcendental meditation each evening!
I've met twice with my acting class, and it's terrific! I'm meeting great people, and getting a new perspective on the extraordinary world of acting!
Tonight is my night to catch-up a little with my e-mail...