The return of the photoblog! (and other things)

Nylon Parla is back, folks! That’s right.  We have a new crew, new photos, a new mission, and we post every 19 days (which is how long a Baha’i month is).

We take a photo on a particular subject (this month is “Texture“, for example), and the caption relates to the name of the Baha’i month.  This month is “Masá’il”, or “Questions”.

It is great to see how the contributors apply our assignments in different ways.  We’re from all over the world: New York – Amy, London – Ronnie, Paris – Thierry, Quito – Shahriar, Chicago – me, Kent – Ramez.  So go check it out!

Also, if you visit my site (all you RSS folk, come on over), you may have noticed I have changed the design a bit.  I got tired of the old one, it was buggy and impossible to manage.  I’m still ironing out some difficult spots, but so far so good.  Let me know if you run into any problems with navigation.

Speaking of design, check out DESIGN THE FAITH: Neysan Z started this site recently, and I always enjoy checking out the new stuff there. From the site: “this design showcase serves to inspire a new generation of creative minds in the baha’i community.”

EDIT: I forgot to blog about this! I can’t believe it. My dear friend Gigi interviewed me about social media for her blog/graduate studies, and you can read the interview here.

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Trash the Dress

A few weeks ago, my friend Melissa Diep asked a few other ladies and myself to be models for a “Trash the Dress” photoshoot with about 20 photographers.  First we went to a location under the railroad tracks in downtown Chicago.  It is hard to tell in this picture, but I was clambering up onto concrete, walking barefoot on railroad tracks, and dragging the poor dress all over some very dirty ground.

(photo by Ny Brown)

After a few hours of shooting, it started to rain, so we drove up to Foster Beach to get some shots in and near Lake Michigan.  I was the first one in the water.

That’s right, I went into the lake.  With a wedding dress on. In September.

I had a great time, the other models and the photographers were really fun to work with.  I also learned a lot about photography, since the photographers were giving each other advice and directing the models.

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For years I have railed against the end of summer, the beginning of autumn.  September was always a month of conflict for me: it is my birth month, but also when school would start up again, and when the weather in Illinois would start changing.

I am a little southern girl at heart, in some ways.  I love the heat, the sun, swimming, and warm summer nights.

Sometimes September will surprise you, though.  On a beautiful September day in Waukegan:

I went to my first White Sox baseball game last night, which was also my second professional sports game ever (the first was hockey).  I’m not a fan of baseball, but I discovered that I had fun even though I don’t know much about the sport, and they were playing the Minnesota Twins (I was born in MN).  It was a good way to close out the summer, and the weather was perfect.

Back to the subject at hand: I discovered that I am looking forward to the scarves, hats, boots, fall leaves, apple-picking, pumpkin flavored everything, the smell of autumn…

When did this happen?!

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I haven’t really been home for 6 weeks.  I stop here to sleep, do laundry, refill my suitcase, and off I go again!  Travels are over for the time being, life continues to be busy but I’m glad it is slowing down a bit.

Lots of friends have come through town recently, and of course there is the usual revolving door of people moving into Chicago and leaving, visiting and stopping through, with the attached greetings and farewells.

Lauren did some fire spinning for my birthday on the roof of our friends’ apartment building.  It was amazing.

The opportunities for using my camera have been endless.  Especially since I’ve made a habit of carrying my camera with me everywhere.  More photos on flickr…

I have been unable to write very much…no time or inspiration.  I felt the slow stirrings of the writing bug today, though, so maybe it is coming back.

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oh, today

On sunset, there is a shadowed promise of the night
my favorite time
and I held my breath
we closed our eyes
there was everything surrounding in the stillness of the light.

Today is my birthday. It really feels more like a birthday week, what with the celebrating starting early with an evening at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, and concluding on Monday with more celebration. Everything is wonderful.

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News, updates, photos…

The trial of the seven Baha’i leaders in Iran has been postponed.  As this New York Times article so aptly put it: “The Bahais have long served as the proverbial canaries in the coal mine of Iran’s theocracy.” Injustice against one minority group does not bode well for the rest, which is why it is so important to fight against injustice of this nature.  Individuals should not be jailed because of their religious beliefs.  You would think that this is common sense, but unfortunately humanity still has a lot to learn.

My new camera is wonderful.  I’m still learning to use it, and am looking forward to investing in more lenses.  That will have to wait, however, as I’m considering the purchase of a laptop (I’ve not bought a new computer since 2001!).

I’ve been traveling for work, moving to a new apartment (my sublease is up at the end of the month, so I found another sublease until mid-October), trying to keep up with emails, photos, and other web-related things.  I have not had a chance to write much for Soulpancake, or for myself for that matter.  And, of course, spending time with my family and friends, who tend to get neglected when life gets busy.

If I haven’t told you lately that I love you, please know that I do!

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there is the not-quite ocean

It seems like there is almost a reaching toward
a not quite there feeling…
we’re staring off into the distance, hoping for an answer.

really, I was floating in this dream
a soft, sunny place that reflected my heart
and we drifted so far out that I lost my balance
and you lost your focus

A conversation between them is always starting with:
“Hello, you are my friend, I have always wanted to meet you.”
“I know, this is why we are here. To meet.”
“We can’t go very far if you always know what I think.”
“It doesn’t matter, knowing what you think just makes it better.

“Please, please sit down, you’re making me dizzy.”

(I leave in the morning for work-related travel. Maybe I will see new and inspiring things to bring back to all of you.)

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My new camera

After several years of desperately wanting a digital SLR camera, I finally gave in and bought a Canon EOS 1000D.

I am having fun, and I actually do carry it everywhere with me.  Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to take a ton of photos and really play with the camera, but I’m learning slowly, and luckily I’m surrounded by some patient photography-inclined friends who are willing to explain things to me.

I’m loving what I can do with these close-up shots, I took a whole series of photos at the Garfield Park Conservatory the other day (which, by the way, is fantastic, and FREE).  It was a bee day, so there were people explaining bees, little kids running around, and honey tasting.

My problem is now that my photos are often better than they used to be, so I have trouble deciding which ones to post.  I want to post all of them!

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This past week

I worked.  Did chores.

Planted things in the garden.  Crossing my fingers that they won’t die or get eaten by rabbits.

Made chocolate covered strawberries and apricots.

Another article that I wrote went up on Soulpancake.

Enjoyed the tulips in the gardens at the Baha’i House of Worship.

Saw Star Trek and LOVED IT.  The nerd in me was so, so happy.

Performed my poetry onstage in Chicago for the first time in years.

Had strange/wonderful dreams: riots, friends, Haifa, happy, sad, beautiful.

Went to a meeting with the youth and some special visitors from Haifa.

Said goodbye to some friends moving across the world (as usual).

Filled out applications.  Tried to make plans.

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the end of winter?

“Unless the season of winter appear, thunder roll, lightning flash, snow and rain fall, hail and frost descend and the intensity of cold execute its command, the season of the soul-refreshing spring would not come, the fragrant breeze would not waft, the moderation of temperature would not be realized, the roses and hyacinths would not grow, the surface of the earth would not become a delectable paradise, the trees would not bloom, neither would they bring forth fruits and leaves. That fierce inclemency of cold, snow, frost and tempest was the beginning of the manifestation of these roses, hyacinths, buds, blossoms and fruits.”

(Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v3, p. 655)

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Things you should know

NYLON PARLA, the photoblog that I contribute to, has this week’s theme up, which is “Streetlife”.  Check it out!

Also, the illustrious and illustrative Ekundayo has made this awesome poster, which I want to share with you.

A Public Service Announcement

The caption on the picture states:

“I’m not saying comedy and satire have no place in the racial discussion. I’m saying that lately its become acceptable, especially among young white males and the peers and comedians they look to for social cues, to say incredibly hateful and ignorant things behind a smokescreen of irony or shock humor. Saying “I’m not racist” after thinking of and deciding to actually say something racist is not enough to get you off the hook. Spread this around if you agree.”

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Nineteen Days

day six

Check out today’s posting…it took quite a bit of effort to get those pictures to the wonderful ladies at nineteen days, as I did not have internet access last night. I used Twitter at around 6 am to inform them that I was running late, and would send them soon!  After waking up for breakfast before dawn, I raced over to the local Kinko’s (in my pajamas) and tried to connect my laptop…no luck. So I put my memory card in the computers they had there, paid my $1.75 fee, and sent off the pictures and quotation. Whew!

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Something new

I decided to change a few minor things on my blog, the most noticeable of which is the addition of a second sidebar, where I have linked to a number of blogs of friends of mine.  I cleaned up a lot of old links, and if you haven’t updated your blog in 3 or 4 months, I probably took it off of the list.  Blogging is about interacting and posting!  If you’re blogging…keep up the good work!  If you think I might not know about your blog, please send me an email or comment to let me know.  I like to keep up with everyone.

I also updated the “Links” and “About me” pages…

NYLON PARLA, the photoblogging project that I am a part of, has started up again after a short hiatus. Link to it and spread the word!

During the Baha’i Fast (which starts today), the photoblog nineteen days will be featuring a guest photographer each day, with a contribution from all of us on Naw Ruz.  I’m so excited about being a part of it, and can’t wait to see what everyone contributes.

Speaking of the Fast, this is the first time that I’ve fasted at home since I was in high school (except for the occasional weekend home from university), and I’m really looking forward to it.  As usual, I am awake at a very late hour and hope that waking up at 5:45 am won’t hurt too much.

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every morn and eve

The lovely and talented Amy Sahba asked me to be a guest photographer this coming week for one of her blogs that she works on with Leila.  The blog, every morn and eve, has photos taken by the photographers in the morning and at night, and quotations from the Baha’i Writings.  I’m very excited about it, as it presents a challenge for me as I think about what I want to feature, trying to take high quality photos, and turning my submission in on time.

I love collaborating with other people on projects, especially because the consultation between individuals usually creates something much better than I could do on my own…or at least different!

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Things to read, listen to, and look at.

The illustrious Sarah Lonning has a presence on the web. Be impressed.

Navid shares music, often with commentary. Brilliant. I’ve been enjoying it very much.

That odd fellow known as David Precht launched his site a while ago, and it is as lovely and strange as he is.

Genius Dog is now The Doghouse Diaries, so adjust your links. And they’re doing a fantastic job. Keep it up, guys.

There is a carousel at the mall that reminds me of this gorgeous photo by Shahriar. As the children go around, their faces light up and they live completely in that moment. I love that.

Lauren uploaded these photos from her trip to Nepal a while back but I forgot to blog about how much I loved them.

The streets of Chicago are still snow-covered, and we are trying to stay warm. Do me a favor…if you live in a warm climate, please go outside for a moment and enjoy it for me. 🙂 It is horrible to admit that I am getting acclimated…yesterday I traipsed around in the snow in our yard for a while, just because I had snow boots on and I could. And last weekend I went sledding with my sister. I had some bruises and aches afterward, but it was totally worth it.

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secrets and contrast

I am in the shadows of trees.
infinite, against sun-streaked skies.
the shadows are peace, forgiveness…

When we whispered our secrets to the quiet spaces under the trees, beyond the hills that we slept under for one hundred years…

the silence echoed.

When we whispered our secrets, they were coated with the fog and rain, made heavy with the weight of water and time. Our secrets became the leaves, a million colors and fallen.

Now our secrets are whispered between us, the trees only listen, and we are laughing.

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Turning point

There are things to do. Decisions to be made. I’ve been home for nearly 2 months, and it has been a much needed break from the last few years of work (and before that, school). So…I’m working on that. Being an adult is so strange. 🙂

(at the House of Worship)

I had the opportunity to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on Friday night, but have not really watched much else since then. As a child, I remember sitting in front of the television for hours, fascinated by both the summer and winter Olympics.

There are the little everyday things, but I will share those in other ways, in pictures and poetry.

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the written word

your words came to me
at exactly the right moment.
I hovered in silence, in pain and confusion,
all earthly attachments.

your words…I had no response.
we are none of us innocent
and yet, and yet…

we are souls, our spirits crave connection
to see the God in each other
to see the prayers realized
is unusual and precious in its rarity.

thank you.

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