Sunday, December 26
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
Sunday, December 12
Sunday, December 5
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
Sunday, November 28
Sunday, November 21
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
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
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
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
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
On another note, I recommend Christina Aguilera's "Stripped" (I'm not even kidding!)
Wednesday, October 13
Wednesday, October 6
Saturday, October 2
Sunday, September 26
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
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
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
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
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
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
Monday, August 9
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
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
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
Wednesday, July 14
Monday, June 21
Tuesday, June 15
Monday, June 7
Sunday, May 30
Monday, May 24
Thursday, May 20
Monday, May 10
Saturday, May 1
Monday, April 26
Thursday, April 22
Wednesday, April 21
Tuesday, April 20
Monday, April 19
Monday, April 12
Sunday, April 11
Tuesday, April 6
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 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
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
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 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
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...