We had an excellent Ayyam-iHa this year (the time in the Baha'i calendar where gifts are given, friends are made and hung out with, and service is done). Got to see lots of family, Amia got LOTS of art stuff which she just loves, and Suzanne and I got some stuff we really needed/wanted. Including a pack of fountain pens, which I've been lusting after for years after losing my last one (although it wrote really well it was kind of a challenge to my masculinity or something. I mean, I proudly quilt, knit, and freely admit that the movie Pretty Woman makes me cry. But for some reason this fountain pen, which was big, pink, and had fake diamonds on it was the limit. I still miss it though)
We just got a new car. It was the car my aunt and my grandmother used. Not needing such a large vehicle just for herself my aunt offered it to us at a very affordable price. We love it. It's a Toyota minivan. Lots of seats with which we've been able to ride with friends. Lots of safety features. Room enough for another li'l Allmart should we catch that particular fever again. And an iPod jack. Yeah, it's pretty much perfect.
I've been watching a lot of movies at night, particularly since the Fast started (the 19 days in the Baha'i calendar where Baha'is abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset in order to focus on our spiritual development. More on this later). I just finished The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and really liked it. Deadwood sparked my love of westerns as a venue to explore American identity as it was being shaped in a frontier context, and this one was beautifully shot. Lyrical even. American Gangster was entertaining to see two of my favorite actors. There's also our guilty pleasure--Desperate Housewives. Suzanne and I have been catching up on season 3. It's delicious.
The Fast started last Sunday. The first day is the hardest because I have to struggle not only with not having food for a whole day again, but I also have to kick the caffeine monkey off my back and he doesn't go without pounding my head for a good 5 hours first, leaving me with a thumping headache. Pretty much everyone I work with experienced this same thing Sunday. Now I just have to deal with the no food part. Some people love the Fast. I've always had a love/dang relationship with it. When I was younger I was REALLY into it. I still remember walking into school one morning almost floating, I was just so connected to my/our higher reality. Ever since then I feel like I've been going downhill. It does make me focus on my own inner development and growth. It's amazing to realize how much food and drink is a part of your day in ways beyond just nourishment. Like, at work before starting a new project I'll get a cup of coffee or some kind of snack to mark the transition or something. Now I just have to make a mental transition. I feel like I'm not explaining it real well. That could be the Fast talking. I also found that this Fast I've been getting cranky, which is a bit bothersome. Everything just feels more intense. Also, I realized, I really love food. I love eating it, thinking about it, reading about it, and watching shows about it. Since I've started to learn more about the culture behind food and why/how we eat what we eat I've just been fascinated. I begun to wish I made more money so that we could eat at the fabulous restaurants here in Chicago. I'd love to go to Alinea or Moto, but I have neither the $100 per person to spend, nor the 5 hours it takes to go through their tasting menu, but which is made up of foods that push the boundaries of what food is. I can never remember the name of that food movement, but it all started with this guy in Spain and his restaurant on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean. Molecular gastronomy I think it is. Anyhoozles...
I can neither say who it is nor what the site is, but my friend is doing an "identity correction website." If you have a minute there's a great documentary about this called The Yes Men. These two guys got their start individually and eventually met up and started working together. So the first thing they did together was to create a website at ReelectBush.net, when the real site was ReelectBush.org or something similar. So they created this website that had the real information on Bush, about his ties to oil, his actual voting record, etc., but it looked just like the official site and people found it and thought they were at the official site. They then did this for the WTO and actually got invited by different groups to come speak on behalf of the WTO. In the movie they film these presentations, even to the Australian Parliament, and they're amazing. They called it 'identity correction' because they essentially give up the lie behind the official speak coming out of these major, powerful entities. So my friend started one for a Chicago based initiative and I can't wait to see the response. Sometime soon I'll try to have the link.
That's about it for now.