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Friday, December 31, 2010

Contest

In honor of New Years Eve, I'm holding a special contest.


You have until 11:59 PM tonight to write about the year 2010; whether it be in your perspective of what happened in your personal life and/or what happened in terms of economy, entertainment, etc. I have no limit, except it should be concise and well proofread. Please e-mail me at nose.pierced.beauty89@gmail.com before 11:59 and please comment here when you have it sent.


Until January 15, 2011 at noon, you can write about and submit your New Years Resolutions. The minimum requirement is a page and the maximum is ten pages. I'd say a good essay would be around 2-7 pages, but it really depends on the goals. Please be concise and proofread it carefully. Like the year in review, please e-mail it to me at nose.pierced.beauty89@gmail.com and comment me here when it's sent.


Prizes:

1st place: $20 off of a scrapbook and a free copy of "In the Strawberry Patch."

2nd place: $15 off of a scrapbook and a free copy of "In the Strawberry Patch."

3rd place: $10 off of a scrapbook and half off of "In the Strawberry Patch."


Honorable Mentions (three runner ups): $5 off of a scrapbook and 25% off of "In the Strawberry Patch."


Have fun and good luck! Please tell all your friends. The more that join, the more fun the contest is. :D

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Years Resolutions

For those of you just joining my blog, I'm dunkelhetstern (Jessica) or pierced_beauty from CEMB.

I am preparing to write my New Years Resolutions tonight to post on 12-31 with the year in review. I found this site, it was pretty interesting. or http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/12/29/tf.new.years.resolutions/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn

Hmm... the last time I wrote a resolution was four years ago and I guess I sorta had those topics, but this year I'm going to avoid those topics as best as I can... you'll see in a few days.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Late Night Musings

For those of you who are just joining my blog, I am dunkelhetstern (Jessica) or pierced_beauty on CEMB.

I know most of you who view this title are going, "WHAA? It's 10:26 AM, how could it be a late night musing?!" The answer is quite simple: I was thinking about this last night and did not have the chance to log on before I went to bed after midnight to update. I know, I know, I know, most people when they see this ramble are going to think, "What does this have to do with writing?" But, religion, spirituality and cultures have shaped my writing since March of this year after my stint in Islam. It's a topic I like to write about and can talk in detail about.

I posted on Facebook late afternoon yesterday something someone sent me about my blog; it follows:

Hey, I just looked at your musings blog and it creeps me out. You mention al jazeera and talk about Christmas. I really do not like havimg islam shoved down my throat by my president or any ...(tharr be more)body else in power. I will say this again. Islam is at war with every nonbeliever on earth. I do not choose to be their enemy. The koran makes it very clear i am their enemy. I cannot think of any other manifestation of satanic evil than islam.

If I put aside for the moment the ideological conflict islam has with anyone but itself., and talk about the sheer evil for the women children and slaves that islam encourages. Slavery is still alive. Did you know that. I talked to a man last fall who was a slave from sudan, from the age of 7 to 14. Why would he lie to me? He showed me all over his body while describing the specificis of eachsituation.

Don't you give a shit about human rights and want it stopped the moment I mention this to you?

I also have spoken to women from sudan nigeria ethiopia who suffered genital mutilatoin against their wlll. Raped by their fathers and father's and then abandoned. Acid thrown on them. If they covert to christianity it is an automatic death penalty.

Do this for youself. Take a few minutes and compare the percentage of christians to islamists in Bethlehem every ten years from 1900 to 2010.

These are my personal opinions formed by some reading books on the subject, speaking with others for whom this is a matter of life or death for our country and our civilization. This is not a passion for me. I choose to take care of my family and shield them and all of my loved ones from evil.

I appreciate the flexibilty of youth which is only natural that you and anyone else uses to find out who they are, what they are, and why they are.. Been there, done that. Lived to tell about it.

I encourage you to continue to pursue and learn those things which make you. Just not with me. Please do not include me in any of your personal corresspondence.

If it is any comfort to you. In 2010 I have had email requests from others asking me not to include them in certain affairs.


I've learned in the past year, that it doesn't matter what faith you associate yourself with there are bad apples in all of them. I was thinking last night, it doesn't matter if you leave Islam for let's say Christianity to escape the violence extremists are doing, you will find the same extremists in Christianity doing the exact same violence. The same argument can go for Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and any mainstream faith you can think of (hell, even atheism has it's extremists too, granted they don't believe in God, but it's still an ideology). People, which I know I've been guilty of, seek out the perfect faith, but there is no perfect faith.
Each faith has it's good points and it has their bad points. We're human, we're not perfect creatures and we all interpret things differently. I personally don't believe Islam is out to destroy the West; yes, I do believe very twisted political efficienados with the so called agenda of "Islam" (i.e. their brand of Islam that totally disregards the pillars and teachings of Mohamed) are out to destroy the West, but it's unfair to group all Muslims in with them. Islam isn't the only religion that kills apostates, most Abrahamic faiths have the same ruling.

I can say the same thing about Catholics--the Pope has a twisted agenda blaming the victims of rape for the priests ganging up on them or the AIDs patients for their diseases and anyone who hands out any form of birth control is an enemy of God. I know that the priests raping these boys (or who had raped these boys) and anyone else who commits evil in the name of God (I can think of Ireland right now, but I'm sure there are many countries today with conflict and of course the middle ages with crusades and inquisitions in the name of Catholicism) are the minority and the majority of Catholics mind their own business. I can talk in great detail about Islam and Catholicism because I was both. I was born a Catholic, but don't really agree with the ideology. I found Islam to have the same ideology -- both ideologies just bogged me down and with my progressive stances on women, I just couldn't do it. But, those who believe mostly aren't bad people.

I do believe there is a God or Gods and Goddesses out there, but I have to agree with nan when she says, "we really don't know until we die." I guess I don't have faith in one thing because I have my doubts, but I know a few things I do have faith in which are tolerance of all faiths and not jumping to conclusions based on the lack of understanding or because a certain Holy Book says to hate a group or two of people; I also believe in dialog and I think if more people did these two things, we'd avoid most of the conflicts that have created tensions in the Middle East and even here on the home front. I choose to remain spiritual and unaffiliated because you're unfairly judged and besides, there is no one right answer when it comes to spirituality. I've come to accept that I probably won't know all the answers to the big question, "Who is God? What is He or She or are their multiple?" And you know what, I'm okay with that. That is not the whole of my life and I have accomplished so much without an ideology.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow and Poetry

As it snows in King of Prussia, I sit here in my den and write. I find writing poetry is perfect on snow days. :) I worked on a Christmas poem, but I'm not really sure how I feel about it. Suggestions would be awesome. :)


Foreboding gray, crystal illuminates

the white flakes gently hit the window.

Evergreen accented with LED lights,

ornaments, candy canes and tinsel--

Frost desperately looks in at the family

sitting by their tree and fireplace;

escaping the bitter wind, five below,

with raging flames, the cats sit by the fire.

Laughter, the ripping and throwing

and flailing of red, green, white, blue paper--

Frost longs to be in, tears well in his eyes;

thank yous and hugs, the family embraces,

time for dinner-- turkey and prime rib

and rums, wines, cakes and a pumpkin log.

"My dear Frost," he looks away from the

bright window, glowing yellows and oranges,

"Let's go home." Frost looks at Mama

and feels the warmth like the family inside;

Christmas isn't about the gifts or tree,

but spending time with the ones that love you.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! For those of you whom just subscribed, I'm Jessica(dunkelhetstern@writing.com) or Pierced Beauty from the CEMB site. Welcome to my musings!

I am working on some Christmas items and I will post them later. But, to bide some time, here are pictures.






Of course you can view the whole album here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2070190&id=1465830223&l=09694d97ac

Since mom and dad bought me a new wireless printer, I'm going to check out photofish or whatever it's called. I personally prefer Photobucket...

My collages went over well last night, Aunt Kathy said I should get into that business as well. Maybe I'll sell scrapbooks (special orders of course) along with books. :) Could be a good business and now with my new printer, it'd be more profitable. :D

Thursday, December 23, 2010

On the eve of Christmas Eve

Christmas is fast approaching -- I can't believe it. Tomorrow night we gather to Aunt Kathy's house for the annual Christmas Eve fest with mom's family. Cousins' gifts are all wrapped and the cards are all made. I made Matthew a special card, which I uploaded on my Facebook to tag all my friends to wish them season's greetings. I'd like to extend the greetings to you as well:




For his last page, I wrote some haiku. I might submit it to Literati along with other pieces I'm thinking about writing (I will post the gist of some later when I get my thoughts and ideas all written out). Here they are:

Holly sways in wind
silence outside, peace inside
lovely white Christmas.

Stechpalme weigt im Wind sich
stille aussenseite, Friede innenseite
schone weisse Weihnachten.


Moon smiles joyfully
as owls, mice, cats and children sleep peacefully--
Santa granting wishes in slumber.

القمر ابتسام سعيد
البوم و فأر و قيت و أطفال سلمي نوم
سنتا منحة أمان في النوم

Monday, December 20, 2010

=]

I have been thinking a lot lately and I now know the direction I want to go in. :)

Tomorrow I'm going to work on pieces for Literati after work and the office party we're having for Christmas.

Update tomorrow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Twittering It Up

I created a Twitter just to promote my book and writing:

http://twitter.com/#!/jessxwrites7489

Sykes Student Bookstore is going to be carrying In the Strawberry Patch! I'm so happy. Tomorrow I have a book signing at the poetry house for my creative writing class. I have to make some cards later just in case if people want to buy gifts.

Going to work on some pieces for Daedulus and Literati, the school publications.

It's also Reese's birthday today. ::sigh::

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I feel bad

I feel bad that I haven't been keeping up with this. I've been so busy trying to promote my book. I am finally on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Strawberry-Patch-Jessicas-Collection-Non-Fiction/dp/1456435450/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1292118240&sr=8-1

And I have an author page now:

http://www.amazon.com/Ms.-Jessica-Marie-Cavaliere/e/B004FWO8CU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Today I went to the Christmas Tree farm to get a tree that we'll be decorating tomorrow. I want to get writing for Literati and Daedalus, so maybe I will write two pieces and submit one to each.

On Wednesday, it was the 6th anniversary of Dimebag Darrell; I posted this on my Facebook fan group:
http://www.crawdaddy.com/index.php/2010/12/08/remembering-dimebag/
♥ you & miss you, Dimebag.

I want to write something about him too.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tears of Joy

I can now cry tears of joy: it's in print!

https://www.createspace.com/3522379

Friday, December 3, 2010

Finished!

I finished In The Strawberry Patch. Amazon is reviewing it now, so it should be available by Sunday for purchase (it's under a 48 hour review process). I guess I'll just get an overnight shipment to give some books to my friends. I have to see how much overnighting costs. Well, I'm exhausted... I haven't been sleeping much lately because of bookwork.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pre-Workshop version of Metal Head (not really proud of it)

Hell Bent For Flannel (Not Leather): On Being a Metal Head
Jessica Marie Cavaliere

“FATHER! FATHER!” Michele, Joyce’s (my friend of ten years) little sister, screams at the top of her lungs along with Barb’s (her mother) iPod that is playing Chop Suey! Amanda is cheering on Michele to keep singing if she knows the rest of the song, but as Serj Tankian continues with “In your hands I commend my spirit, why have you forsaken me?” Michele just continues screaming, “FATHER! FATHER!” over and over. Barb, Joyce, Amanda and I laugh despite us knowing what the song is about. Made popular in 2001, around the time of the terrorist attacks on September 11, Toxicity, System of a Down’s second album. The song Chop Suey! debuted at #1 on the charts despite Clear Channel placing Chop Suey! on a list of post 9/11 inappropriate song titles because the song contains some sensitive lyrics at the time with “I don’t think you trust in my self-righteous suicide,” or the part that Michele was singing that continues on with “why have you forsaken me?/ In your thoughts forsaken me/in your heart forsaken me” and “I cry when angels deserve to die in my self righteous suicide.” Looking back now from May 24, 2009, I wonder if Michele will remember this moment when she screams lyrics, though incomplete, of System of a Down’s most popular song at the top of her lungs. Regardless if she remembers it or not, I am proud of four-year-old Michelle who is getting an early start for her love of metal. I wonder if she’ll be like me with the listening of metal and hard rock and mixing band tees with flannel shirts, which some hardcore metal fans find it a disgrace since grunge supposedly ruined metal. Like her, I was exposed to grunge, classic rock and metal; the three genres I love; and like her, Chop Suey! was one of the songs that awoken my twelve-year-old self’s senses into a passion for metal. Though I have faced some discrimination and prejudice for my musical tastes, from intellectuals, friends’ parents and some teachers, I am proud to be a flannel wearing metal head.

“I have a surprise for you this weekend,” Anna had said on the car ride from Lancaster to King of Prussia. Anna wasn’t from Lancaster, but from Tower City; a ghost town that is in fact really a borough in Schuylkill County that was once a big coal mining town; we had met Anna and her mother in Lancaster for breakfast, shopping and because it was halfway between King of Prussia and Tower City. I always looked forward to when Anna would visit or I would travel to Tower City to visit her. Her father worked with my mom and commuted four hours each day. It was Black Friday 2001—Anna and I had the weekend off (she had the whole following week off for hunting season since she lived in the middle of nowhere and hunting is a sport to many residents).
“I want to get you out of your rap phase,” Anna added. I laughed then said, “I only like Eminem and sorta DMX. Plus, I’ve only been listening to these two for the past few months.”
“I know, I enjoy Eminem too and so do Dani and Val. But, you need to expand your tastes beyond him, Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit.” Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit were my twelve-year-old nu-metal bands and had their CDs in my newly forming CD collection.
“I want to hear new music. I want to hear more genres,” I had replied.
“Good, new music is what you’ll get this weekend.” This is how it all began in November 2001.
As soon as Anna unpacked in my room, which was so unmetal at the time because it was Mickey Mouse theme…that changed really quick in 2002 to leopard print to match my new love of music, we had time to kill before mom served the meal she was cooking.
“I want you to listen to this,” she said as we walked into the computer room.
“Crucify then learn—take so much away from inside you, makes no sense,
you know he can't guide you, he's your fucking shoulder to lean on, be strong,” blasted out of the Compaq white speakers. Though these older speakers sounded tinty and the Windows 98 Compaq that Pop-Pop built for us was sluggish with playing the CD player, I was blown away. I wished I could have turned the volume up; but to my dismay, the volume was at the max.
“You like?” Anna said as she paused the CD. I shook my very enthusiastically, almost like a bobble head—she had created a fan. “Good,” she smiled, “this is Kittie.”
“I love Kittie,” I replied, “they’re amazing and it’s cool to hear girls rocking out. I like that.”
When most people think of heavy metal, they think of it as nonsense that only drug-addicted losers listen to, they will go nowhere in life and the music is crap because all that screaming is just noises that causes headaches. I do believe they are wrong obviously, but most people are surprised to hear that heavy metal has a long, interesting history. The heavy metal genre, that includes black metal, white metal, thrash and death, have a complex history—especially behind the cultures involved and different religious groups. Heavy metal is defined as music with loud rasping vocals and long solos with the guitar characterized heavy metal. The words of the songs are often unfocused on any particular theme.
Though heavy metal isn’t supposed to have themes to the music, often times they do. When metal isn’t dealing with the black metal sub-genre, the themes often found have to do with war (Black Sabbath’s 1969 song “War Pigs” or the band from Baghdad that goes by the name of Acrassicauda) to Satanic themes (Emperor’s “Inno A Sathana” with demonic chanting in the background). Even the Doors could be considered hard rock (I know a lot of my metal head friends love the Door), and Jim Morrison was a genius the way he wrote about the 1960s counterculture, drugs, murder, having fun and just life in general. It seems like metal bands put a lot of thought into their songs. Many critics of metal fail to realize that heavy metal is in fact a bricolage, or a loose organization of diverse elements, that are shown in the progression of themes in the music, the way the artists presents themselves, the fans involved that truly love the genre.
Most metal heads remember the first time they listened to the band that got them into the metal genre and sub-culture. For Seb Hunter, one of my good friends via Facebook and author of Hell Bent For Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict, remembers his first time listening to AC/DC and it became an obsession for him. Through this obsession he discovers other bands, lives the “metal” lifestyle by learning to play guitar, start a band, drop out of college, took softcore drugs and didn’t work very much. For me it was Kittie, except unlike Hunter, I don’t take softcore drugs or party like a rock star, and I am still a student in college. For other metal heads and rock stars, it is Kiss that gets them into the genre. It starts out with listening to “Rock and Roll (All Night)” or some other god-awful song by Kiss, then buying a CD, then they have the option of millions of different Kiss branded things such as kitchen utensils or jackets or toothbrushes and whatever else you can think of. Hell, when Dimebag Darrell Abbott was buried in December 2004, he was laid to rest in a Kiss Kasket because Dime always said he loved Kiss and they inspired him to start a band that wasn’t a country band like his dad was in. Dime requested it in his will that he wanted to be buried in the legendary coffin and Gene Simmons responded with, “there were a limited number made and I sent mine to the family of 'Dimebag' Darrell. He requested in his will to be buried in a Kiss Kasket, as he sort of learned his rock 'n' roll roots by listening to us for some strange reason." Can’t agree with Simmons more in his last statement, I have no idea why anyone would waste their time with Kiss…but, I loved Dimebag Darrell and his bands Pantera and Damageplan, so I guess I shouldn’t be too critical of Kiss though they are annoying and Gene Simmons is so arrogant.
That night after listening to Kittie, Anna requested that after dinner we should go to the King of Prussia Mall for some shopping since the closest mall to her was in Harrisburg, two hours away from Tower City. Quickly running upstairs to my unmetal room, I changed into the black blink-182 shirt that Anna had bought me that August and a pair of black pants. Once at the mall, we spent all our time in Hot Topic—I loved this very medieval looking dress, but was $140 to buy and for the next six years of my life, I was hooked on Hot Topic. My dress quickly turned to Limited Too outfits to gothic then to a mix and match of a grunge metal look.

“Why don’t you get other colours,” mom rolled her eyes as we went clothes shopping in 2002 through 2004.
“Mom, I like these clothes. They express me well. You know that and besides, I love black,” would always be my reply.
“Fine, you pay for the band tees and I’ll pay for your jeans.”
“I’m going into Hot Topic.”
“Okay, I’ll meet you back here in an hour, I’m going to shop around, Jessica.”
I could spend hours in Hot Topic and I usually did. The sweet incense smell that permeated the store, I’d take in the scent as I browsed through the band t-shirts and sometimes the cartoon shows t-shirts. Looking through the piles of Pantera shirts either with the Confederate flag logo or the snake logo or logo with the band underneath, I had to find all three of these shirts in my size, which could be a daunting task. Then it was onto digging through piles of Marilyn Manson or Burzum or Slipknot or Led Zeppelin or Alice In Chains or Slayer, it had to be perfect and appropriate to wear to school. I would save my hard earned cash from babysitting jobs and would treat myself to a t-shirt or two. Sometimes I would just dig through the piles to feel the material and dream about owning the shirt one day—maybe it would go on my Christmas list and mom, dad or nan would get it for me. Hey, I even got dad into wearing band tees and he’ll listen to metal with me. Dad gets a kick out of it, though mom isn’t a fan.
In about 2002, after rediscovering Nirvana when Anna suggested that I should download them as well as Alice In Chains and Metallica, I fell back in love with those two bands. I grew up listening to them with Daniel, a foreign college exchange student that nan housed in the 1990s, and just suppressed the urge to listen to these three good bands (okay, I only like Metallica’s early stuff, their music after Load isn’t their best as well as St. Anger). Though Nirvana isn’t considered metal, but part of the grunge wave that killed metal, I still loved them and loved their dressing style. Alice In Chains o n the other hand, is considered grunge metal and wore the flannel. I decided to adopt the flannel look, and none of that girly flannel with pastel colours, but the reds, blacks, blues, the dark colours to go along with band t-shirts. It’s around this time that I buy a Slayer chain wallet for my jeans, chokers to wear, painting my fingernails black and growing my hair even longer than shoulder length.
Though I love grunge-metal and heavy metal, I have to say I love black metal and that is second on my list next to heavy metal. Slayer, Pantera, Danzig, and Kittie are great, but Burzum, Celtic Frost, Darkthrone and Mayhem are hardcore and great to learn guitar with. Black metal’s original concept, unlike heavy metal, revolved around “evil” and occult mysticism. However, this genre also gave rise to its romantic and naturalistic side that gave the impression that the natural world is more important than a society that has no values except money and political correctness, but meaning is discovered when one accepts death and is willing to look outside the self. The black metal sub-genre has interesting themes that should be explored, especially the long, embittered history behind it. From 1991-1996, there were reports of arsons of churches in Norway and Sweden that showed the serious side of the genre and people looked at its “Satanic roots” more and more. But, despite some prefects other artists continued to make music that incorporated their emotional values (for example there is Windir’s “1184,” though in Norwegian, the emotional level is cranked up to the highest degree). These bands really got me into Halloween.
“What are you going to be for Halloween this year,” Liz (an old friend of mine) asked me one day at lunch. Though I was sixteen and in tenth grade, I still loved trick-or-treating and I considered Halloween to be a religious significance for me (I adopted the Pagan outlook, thanks to black metal).
“I am going to be a pirate with black metal getup,” I replied as I cut the steak I had left over from dinner last night.
“Black metal getup?”
“Yeah, you know those Norwegian bands I listen to?”
“Mhm.”
“Well, the makeup they wear that almost looks like Kiss’s makeup, but is more evil looking.”
I had faced some discrimination before, but after that year, it was magnified. Whenever I would meet people for the first time, they’d think I was a punk-ass trouble maker that most likely isn’t intellectual. However, when they get to know me it is a different story. I actually had a few people tell me, “Jess, when I got to know you, you’re such a nice person, I didn’t think that at first. And you’re so smart.” I knew what they were talking about, senior year in German class my teacher made figures of two guys so we would learn our terms for classes and schools. He made the Rammstein fan in a low class track that hated to read, write and be studious and the geek, well, we all know what geeks are like. After class I said to him as I chuckled a bit (my German teacher and I were on good terms, as I was his best student), “Hey, Mr. Skonier, you know those stereotypes aren’t 100% true. Just look at me.” He laughed and I think he apologized.
I remember that Halloween where I got dressed up as a pirate and caked my face in white face paint, painted black circles with eyeliner around my eyes and caked my lips in black lipstick. It started a long tradition of wearing this makeup on Halloween, which to this day is still my favorite holiday. Most people loved my costume that year and thought the makeup was scary, but great for Halloween. Last year I wore it as Deborah Myers’ ghost, which was Rob Zombie, another metal artist’s concoction to enhance a horror classic. Everyone loved that costume and thought I put a perfect touch on a horror character, but I usually never fail with that. My love of the horror genre along with metal music goes perfectly and shapes my creative not only on Halloween, but the way I write.
Metal has often been characterized as going against religion and they are half right. Imagine it is a dark night and you’re sitting alone in your living room watching a horror film before you fell asleep and wake up to a man chanting, “…An age of wolves. Now it’s the age of sterility! Look upon this binding!” Once you’re fully awake you notice a priest-like man holding an X in the air with the pentagram in the background continuing to chant, “HAIL BETHRIS” or so it sounds like. Whenever a person says they are a fan of heavy metal music, the first thing to come to another person’s mind is that they are possibly a Satanist that perform black masses every night under the full moon chanting what was said in the footage from the Church of Satan and sacrifices poor helpless animals. However, most people don’t realize that all faiths except a lot of Christians love heavy metal and consider it a legitimate form of music that does not have much to do with Satanism. In fact, a lot of the fans have faiths ranging from Islam to Judaism and even many Christians enjoy the music, though many of the musicians are loudly anti-Christian.
Black metal artists from the early 1990s would agree with Averse Sefira’s statement. Unlike fun-loving thrash metal bands who never stopped recruiting converts to the metal cause, black metallers ultimately viewed themselves as elites of rarefied. They took their cause very seriously. “We were young at that time,” writes Bard Faust of Emperor. “We were dedicated to the core to a vital and subcultural underground world of harsh and devilish-inspired metal.” Unfortunately, the destructive gleam of Norwegian black metal took on a malicious focus. An American black metal band by the name of Deicide returned from a tour of northern Europe in 1992 reporting that a bomb had been detonated at its concert in Stockholm. The band was told that allegedly the bomb was planted by animal-rights activists inflamed by the group’s advocacy of animal sacrifice—or whatever anti-American urges would compel street activists to blow up a rock show. However, Steve Asheim, the drummer for Deicide speculated that the blast was an attack against the opening act, Gorefest, by ultrasatanic Norwegian black metallers.
Most of the members involved, especially Count Grishnackh of Burzum, were in their late teens and early twenties. They attacked their churches and other landmarks of their stern Christian tradition, in the black of night “under the freezing moon” raiding churches and setting them ablaze with the gasoline and matchboxes they brought along, soon lighting the black sky with reds, oranges and yellows. The first to burn was the majestic twelfth-century wooden-stave church called Fantoftkirke in the pre-dawn hours of June 6, 1992. Soon, six other churches burned down. Vegard Tveitan (aka Ihsahn) of Emperor joked in a 1996 interview that “though [the church was] still being of Christian value, it was reduced to a pile of ashes.” During the peak of the church fires in 1993, Emperor recorded their highly successful album In the Nightside Eclipse. In one of the songs Ihsahn cackled a dramatic invocation, “as the darkness creeps over the Northern mountains of Norway, and the silence reach the woods, I awake and I arise…” though the members were still teenagers, they understood the juxtaposition completely, sealing the album’s sinister and sensitive sides together in a lyrical net of moon-worship, forest fantasy, and dark-star loneliness. Burzum’s Aske album took on the same theme by including a photo of the ruins of Fantoft stave church on its cover. Later, a limited edition of the album was released that included a cigarette lighter.
Surprisingly, Muslims are huge heavy metal fans. When I was a practicing Muslim, I was so happy to hear that but at the time I felt a little conflicted when people told me I couldn’t be a good Muslim (or really any faith) and listen to metal. I looked into heavy metal in Islam some more during my five-month stint and came across a book called Heavy Metal Islam. Mark Levine commented, “The first time I heard the words "heavy metal" and "Islam" in the same sentence, I was confused, to say the least. It was around 5:00 p.m. on a hot July day in the city of Fes, Morocco in 2002. I was at the bar of the five-star Palais Jamai Hotel with a group of friends having a drink—and only one drink, considering they were about twenty-five dollars apiece—to celebrate a birthday. Out of nowhere the person sitting across from me described a punk performance he had seen not long before we met, in the city of Rabat.” Surprised to hear that there are Muslim punks with Mohawks and Scottish kilts made Levine almost spit out his drink in shock. "Of course," he replied. "And the metal scene here is good too." This made Levine think “that the possibility of a Muslim heavy-metal scene came as a total surprise to me only underscored how much I still had to learn about Morocco, and the Muslim world more broadly, even after a dozen years studying, traveling, and living in it. If there could be such a thing as a Heavy Metal Islam, I thought, then perhaps the future was far brighter than most observers of the Muslim world imagined less than a year after September 11, 2001.”
Around this time, I picked up the book Heavy Metal in Baghdad and cried to read about the hell that Acrassicauda (the band of the book) went through to play heavy metal. In an interview done for the book version of the documentary Heavy Metal In Baghdad: The Story of Acrassicauda, the band members reminisce their first show. FAISAL: Waleed was singing. There were three or four cover songs. We always do different ones every concert—it’s like a tradition for the audience, just to satisfy the. We also played “Youth of Iraq.” WALEED: “Youth of Iraq” was a tribute to Saddam. We wrote it the day before the concert. Saad Zai told me to write it. And it was because of the story of a guy called Berge, who started this Iraqi heavy metal band called Scarecrow. Berge had long hair and a goatee beard. He ended up having it shaved by the Secret Service and was beaten up on stage for charges of performing “Satanic verses.” Marwan went on to say they aren’t proud of “Youth of Iraq,” but it is one of the songs reflecting on the corrupt regime of Saddam Hussein. Firas said off camera: You know, just a bunch of fucking lies and shit. But you gotta do it anyway, so, you know. Like an Arabic saying we got, you know, “to stay away from the devil, sing for it. .” Eventually they were like Berge and were kicked out of Iraq and are on asylum here in the U.S.
Curious, I searched Facebook and found the band members. They accepted my friend request right away and I became great friends with Tony (lead singer) and Marwan (drums), they even help me out with my Arabic and give me some feedback on my writings. When I deconverted from Islam, I actually confided my frustration in Marwan about how all my Muslim friends defriended me. He said, “Well, they weren’t true friends anyway. Friendship shouldn’t be about Islam or any religion. Nothing should be for the sake of Islam.” He is very right and with his experience, he knows all too well what it is like. In fact, they all agreed to sit down with me for an interview when I work on my book, The Decade of Fame, Technology and Angst: The 2000s Decade in Review book again.
I have found unsigned and non-famous heavy metallers to be very friendly. As a former guitar player that would rock out for hours playing all sorts of metal and blues, I love when going to show in a bar, meeting the band and they let me play with them for a bit. I also love adding them on Facebook, chatting with them about guitar playing, songs and the genre in general. One of these days, though, when I am not busy with school and have some more money, I’d like to continue my guitar lessons. I miss sitting with my instructor on Sunday afternoons listening to heavy metal music and him teaching me the chords. I was his favorite student because as he said, “not many of my students like metal and have the appreciation for music like you do. It’s fun playing guitar with you and I think you could really replace band members either in Slayer or Metallica because you are awesome with the guitar tricks.” Until then I’ll continue listening to metal, practice the vibrato on the G and F scales, and continue talking to the awesome bands to make my love for the genre grow.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Working on Zombie Pumpkin Poem

Tonight I'm staying at James' house, so I'll be bringing my journal of creative writings and musings to work on a Zombie Pumpkin poem and the rest of Casablanca. If you have no idea what I'm talking about in regards to the zombie pumpkin, here's a picture:



My aunt never threw away the jack-o-lantern from Halloween, so I am going to write a poem about a melting pumpkin.

I do have some parts written:
Lighting the way for all who believe;
trick-or-treaters or Great Pumpkinists; I am shiny
newly carved, my eyes wide with excitement.
Ready for All Hallow's Eve, the moon tiny;
scary teens and mischievous middle schoolers
lurk in the shadows--Little Johnny waits
next to me-- the master that brought me to life
to help scare the kids out of their pants straight
with my toothless grin, my triangle eyes;
howl, howl, howling of wind: I am the Great Pumpkin,
I should be in the pumpkin patch with the faithful
watching the blue moon, pale stars and bats
instead of sitting here with Johnny wrathful.

I now sit here, all alone, the festivities over
I was glad, so much, that my creators didn't dispose,
but now I melt, slowly, painfully into a puddle,
week by week, day by day, hour by hour; my nose
and my splotchy guts and the seeds litter cobblestones,
"Help Me!" I cry out-- Eldest Pumpkins watch
grotesquely as I disappear and drown into nothingness
on the porch where I was born from a squash--
carved with love; my grimacing smile, it was perfect.
Radiant orange, great curves, I am known for my skin;
this season for squashes may be ending,
but my spirit will be back again
as the zombie that Little Johnny will be--
I will conquer his soul-- just wait and see!

I don't know how I feel about it.

More Casablanca:

ذهبنا انا جنا وروبن الي مطعم "دار البيضاء" وكانت رحلة طويلة بسبب الازدحام ولكن على الرغم من ذلك تمتعنا من مشهد القمر الرائع يشرق من بين السحاب الخفيف الرمادي واستغرقت الرحلة ساعة.
“Finally,” Rueben exclaims as he throws the car into park. “We’re finally here.” Outside the moon illuminated white and appears to be in the last quarter phase, but tomorrow night is the blue moon so it could be the first quarter phase—regardless, the gray clouds cover the moon’s base and it is beautiful.
“Since we’re here, have a sip of whiskey,” Janna says as she hands Rueben the flask. Rueben takes a swig.
“Hey! There’s a liquor store. Casablanca is a BYOB. Do you like to drink, Jessica?” Janna asks as she unbuckles her seatbelt.
“Depends on what it is. I don’t like beer.”
“I think we should just pass going into that store and bring the flask into Casablanca,” Rueben states as he unbuckles.
Janna agrees. As we walk to the entrance of Casablanca, Janna asks me if I would like a swig of whiskey. I never had it before—I open the lid, take a swig and the whiskey burns a little bit going down my throat—but I like it and the taste reminded me a little bit like vodka. I hand the flask back to Janna and walk inside to the sound of drums and sitars.

لمعت الشمس الشاحبة وراء السحاب الرمادية و النجوم الصفراء.و الأريكة الحمراء و الزرقاء ك

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving and First Half of Belly Dancing

Some people said this was a mind-warp. This is just a back story to the restaurant. I think the car ride is interesting. Is it bad?

BELLY DANCING FOLLIES: A MOROCCAN TREAT
معدة رقص الدار البيضاء

الغروب علي شستر الغربية. الأوراق الصفراء في الظلام
تختفي.

As the sunset draped West Chester in impenetrable darkness, all that was seen was the yellow illuminations through the windows of the dorm rooms. The yellows, oranges, and reds—the last lifelines of trees before the first snow—was lost in blackness. I never had been in West Chester before dusk, but I had a reason to stay in West Chester tonight, November 19, 2010; I would be going to Casablanca, a Moroccan restaurant for my Arabic class with Rueben and his wife.
I would love to wait outside, I thought as I looked upon my gold-rimmed watch. It’s 5:50 and they should be here soon. But, it’s so dark and I’m sure it is cold outside; I will just wait here, inside of the lounge of Sykes, until Rueben calls. An Aramark worker, just off of her eight-hour shift, sit down and talks about the trash that is on the television screen in front of us. “Dr. Phil is lousy. I’ve seen this personally too many times before, some things you just can’t solve.” We talk about the ills of the world and family until my phone blares heavy bass and loud guitars—it’s Enter Sandman by Metallica, which means one thing: someone is calling and it has to be Rueben.
“Hey, Jessica? This is Rueben.”
“Hey Rueben!”
“I’ll be there in another ten minutes. I’m not running as late I thought I was going to be.”
As soon as I hang up, I resume talking to the African American Aramark worker, which makes the time fly so quickly. We talk about octogenarians in our families when I hear Enter Sandman blast on my phone again—Rueben and his wife are here, parked in the back of Sykes. I bid my new friend farewell and she smiles, wishing me a great time at Casablanca. I walk past the Ram’s Head Cafeteria, push the door open and think to myself the many times I went out this door to meet mom and dad, but always in the daylight, never in darkness.

.لمع ءمالس في البحم .جمي و ضرب لباردهواء

“Hi,” I shyly say as I open up the backseat car door (it was too dark to describe it; the colour looked silverish or white-ish, but the make I am not sure about).
“Hi Jessica. This is my wife Janna,” Rueben introduces as I sit down.
“Hi Janna. Nice to meet you,” as I extend my hand past the headrest of the seat to the passenger side to shake her hand. “Thank you again for picking me up,” I say and am very grateful for the kind gesture.
“It’s not a problem, we have been running all day,” Rueben, like earlier in the day when we were in Arabic class, reassures me it is not an inconvenience and looks straight ahead as he pulls out of the Sykes parking lot with hard rock music playing loudly; I enjoy it.
“Jessica, what year are you in at West Chester?” Janna had asked something to that effect.
“I’m in my third year, but I just changed to an English major, so I have a while to go.”
“That’s cool. I just went back.” Somewhere in there I mentioned I want to be a writer and am working on my newest book. It turned out that is Janna is a writer as well, which is nice to have a conversation with fellow writers—we exchanged tips, advice about publishing and the business.
It was clear sailing with some traffic until Rueben turned onto Route 422, and then it was traffic jams that were backed up for what seemed like a thousand miles. I am not sure how we got on the subject; it might have started when I said, “I was a Muslim for five months. I had to pray in Arabic and services were in Arabic too. I learned classical Arabic of the Qu’ran pretty quickly.”
We finally make it onto Interstate 76, but the traffic is worse than what is on Route 422. As we sit in the ocean of cars, trucks, tractor trailers and vans, Rueben grumbles while Janna and I continue to talk with more of the hard rock music in the background that is fading out with the beep, beep, beeping of the car horns around us. Janna had said to get Rueben’s mind off the traffic: “yesterday we went to the mosque. I’m sort of a feminist—the room where the women prayed was so cold.”
“Which mosque did you go to?”
“The one on Pottstown Pike.”
“Ah, okay. That’s where I said the Shahadah and became a Muslim.”
“So you’re very familiar with the place. After the prayer service, I interviewed someone in the men’s room, it was so warm and Persian rugs were laid down for the men. I’m sure you remember the women’s room vividly—it can’t compare, there were no rugs besides a green carpet (she meant the prayer rugs).”
Rueben cuts in: “The men’s side was nice, it was interesting.”
Janna then exclaims, “And when it came time to pray, it was so cold the way they approached me about it. They rushed over to me before the prayer started to make sure I wasn’t going to join in and if I were, I would have to cover. They showed me to a seat where I could watch them. It was just cold how it was said.”
Just then the remembrance of my first visit to the mosque to meet imam Taufique’s wife hit me. I remember walking nervously through the door, and then listening to Taufique’s sermon that alternated between Arabic and English. For prayer, I rushed over to get the yellow floral headscarf to cover my head—Allah doesn’t like our Earthly hair exposed.
“See, that’s when I had my religious revival and wanted to get involved with Islam. It felt like Allah touched my heart and soul during that service.”
Janna looks interested, so she questions me: “As a former woman of Islam, how were you treated?”
“Well, during my period I wasn’t allowed to pray or touch the Qu’ran. If my whole family were Muslim, I wouldn’t be allowed to converse with men or be in the same room with them while I’m menstruating. Jews have a similar custom—it’s an Old Testament practice—women are considered unclean when menstruating and forty days after childbirth.”
“That’s crazy, was that the impetus for your decision to leave Islam?”
“Nah, that did get pretty old, but I don’t have mine monthly. Basically by an elder Muslim I was told to leave my agnostic and Christian family members and celebrating the holidays with them would be haraam, or forbidden. As I still live with my parents and am close to my family, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and couldn’t believe a religion would push that. Any religion that preaches the disrespect and separation of family is not cool in my book. So, I left, handed in my resignation to the Muslim elder and became an apostate.”
As Janna and I are chatting about Islam and both being metal heads with a love of classical music (which is awesome, it’s rare I meet a fellow female metal head that loves classical music and other genres of music), Rueben grabbed the ticket to pay at the tollbooth. As Janna and I continued to gab, the ride to the tollbooth seems very quick for the miles after miles we have to travel. Once we get there, Rueben looks at the clock on his cell phone and says we are making good time. We are silent as the hard rock continues in the background. The line is short as we are waiting, but then the first car at the tollbooth takes his good old time paying—fifteen minutes worth of time of which should have been a minute. We all started getting impatient and we all fear we are going to be late to Casablanca. Rueben and the guy in the car behind them both get out of their respective cars to see what is going on. The guy in the other walked next to Rueben as he exhales the smoke of the cigarette he is smoking. Janna just kicked the habit and she said to me, “That cigarette smells soooo good.” I laugh and say; “Don’t worry, you’re doing good,” or I am thinking it to myself. Janna and I are excited for the restaurant and couldn’t wait to have the Moroccan treat.

ذهبنا انا جنا وروبن الي مطعم "دار البيضاء" وكانت رحلة طويلة بسبب الازدحام ولكن على الرغم من ذلك تمتعنا من مشهد القمر الرائع يشرق من بين السحاب الخفيف الرمادي واستغرقت الرحلة ساعة

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Christmas Is Not a Time...

I wrote this last Christmas for my friends. I'm thinking of putting this in my book, what do you think?

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” Calvin Coolidge

In five days, most of us who are of the many branches under the Christian faith will be celebrating Christmas. This year, however, most of us were hit with the declining economy—hours being cut or worse yet; you lost your job; but nonetheless it means most people have to cut back on the gifts they would buy for a child or a significant other or relative. Since the later half of the twentieth century, Christmas has become commercialized to the point that most of us don’t even know the true meaning of Christmas, and most assume that Christmas is all about the expensive gifts, the fancy decorations that litter the walls inside and are scattered all throughout the front yard, as well as a gigantic tree that takes up the middle of the living room. For the children, it’s all about ripping open the neatly wrapped boxes that lay under the tree on Christmas morning and “gahing” and “oooh-ing” their new favorite Barbie dolls or G.I. Joe action figures; even for teenagers, Christmas morning is just as important, but not for the toys. No, no, for teenagers it’s all about the angora sweaters or the latest trends in clothing, music, movies (or for teens that are like me—not so much the latest, but nonetheless, entertainment is still asked for). As everyone sits by the tree decorated with the lights, ornaments, garland and candy canes, they are enjoying their gifts while their parent forget their frets about their empty wallets. All is good in the household and for the next 364 days, the adults and teenagers work to save up for the magical day that only happens once a day.
However, 2009 was a different story and most people worry about what is going to go under their trees. As most households cut back, so did the children’s toys, the clothing, the latest trends, etc. Parents and teenagers a like are fretting over what’s in their wallet because they don’t have the cash for the gifts and most likely if they are fortunate enough to have a job, they are trying to save that money. This year not only were people fretting over the green in the wallet, but what is going under the tree. But, if we look back to our grandparents’ childhood, many years they could go without gifts. Listening to my grandma’s stories, she only received paper dolls that she could dress up. How did they get by? It is an easy answer—to my grandma, Christmas was all about spending more time with her family; the people she loves and have taken care of her over the years. It was all about going to church with her family, sitting down to a small dinner and giving thanks to all the things she is lucky to have. To her and other people of her generation, Christmas could be summed as a quote stated by an anonymous author, “Whatever else be lost among the years, Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing: Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears, Let us hold close one day, remembering Its poignant meaning for the hearts of men. Let us get back our childlike faith again.” And this year with all the troubles that plague us, we are not quick to forget about it over the holidays, like we should be doing during the holidays. We should just sit back and enjoy them without worrying too much about the gifts and money spent.
This year, I finally learned the real meaning of Christmas. I am not a religious person, so it has nothing to do with religion for me, but the love behind the holiday. Like most people, the hours I work were cut and as a college student, I have to be careful of the money I spend on gifts. However, it did not stop me from celebrating Christmas; no, no, I just made a majority of the gifts and the gifts I did buy, I didn’t spend a lot on them. “What,” you’re probably thinking, “how could you get something inexpensive and still be liked?” Easy. It’s not about the money that is spent, but the thought put into it. My one friend who is in the hospital received my gift and was speechless and in awe about me thinking about her. I made my family and friends a majority of their gifts and I got the same response. To me, I love to see the reactions of people when they receive what I get or make them; to me, Christmas is all about giving, not receiving.
So, let us all find the real meaning of Christmas and not worry so much about how much we spend, the decorations, the Christmas tree, or what is under the tree. No, no, let us spend time with our family members and the people we love, sit down to a nice dinner and spend time with people you haven’t seen in a while. For that is the true spirit of Christmas.

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” ~Roy L. Smith

Sunday, November 21, 2010

More On Being a Metal Head

Hey everyone!
It's not even half way done yet. I'm thinking I'm going to alternate between metal's history and my personal story. What do you think?

The heavy and black metal genres have a complex history, especially behind the cultures involved and different religious groups. Heavy metal is defined as music with loud rasping vocals and long solos with the guitar characterized heavy metal. The words of the songs are often unfocused on any particular theme. Black metal’s original concept, on the other hand, revolved around “evil” and occult mysticism. However, this genre also gave rise to its romantic and naturalistic side that gave the impression that the natural world is more important than a society that has no values except money and political correctness, but meaning is discovered when one accepts death and is willing to look outside the self.Though many people have criticized heavy metal as music for the wayward, trouble-making individual, I can testify that heavy metal is in fact a bricolage, that fans truly love.
Crucify then learn/ (take so much away from inside you, makes no sense,
you know he can't guide you, he's your fucking shoulder to lean on, be strong!)
, blasts out of the white, sluggish Window’s 1998’s, the computer that pop-pop refurbished for us, hollow speakers. I was blown away; I wished I could have turned the volume up, but alas to my dismay the volume was at the max. “You like?” Anna said as she pressed pause on Windows CD player. I shook my head yes enthusiastically. “Good,” she smiled, “this is Kitite.”
“I love Kittie,” I replied, “they’re amazing. It’s cool to hear girls rocking out, I like that.”
On that Saturday of the long weekend spent with Anna, I had my friend at the time sleep over with us. Before Anna and I trekked out to the front yard to sit in the cold November evening on my stonewall waiting for Liz to arrive, Anna turned on The Box—one of my favorite music channels at the time and when it was defunct, I cried so hard when it was taken off the air—and introduced me to System of a Down, an Armenian/Middle Eastern metal band. Like with Kittie, I fell instantly in love and loved their style. Of course, like Kittie, I learned of their complex histories a few months later; but, nonetheless after reading the histories, I’m still a big fan and nothing could sway me from it.
Though System of a Down formed in 1994 after the break up of Serj Tanken’s (lead vocals) band, Soil, they didn’t become widely popular until 2001. The group took its name from a poem that Malakian had written titled “Victims of the Down." The word "victims" was changed to "system" because Odadjian believed that the alteration would appeal to a much wider audience and also because the group wanted to be shelved closer to their musical heroes, Slayer.In June 1998, System of a Down released their debut album, System of a Down. They enjoyed moderate success as their first singles "Sugar" and "Spiders" became radio favorites and the music videos for both songs were frequently aired on MTV. After the release of the album, the band toured extensively, opening for Slayer and Metallica before making their way to the second stage of Ozzfest. Following Ozzfest, they toured with Fear Factory and Incubus before headlining the Sno-Core Tour with Puya, Mr. Bungle, The Cat and Incubus providing support.
As was mentioned earlier, System of a Down had more commercial success in 2001, though it was a bit rocky at first. On September 3, 2001, System of a Down had planned on launching their second album at a free concert in Hollywood as a "thank you" to fans. The concert, which was to be held in a parking lot, was set up to accommodate 3,500 people, however, an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 fans showed up. Due to the large excess number of fans the performance was canceled by police officers just prior to the group taking stage. No announcement was made that the concert had been canceled. Fans waited for more than an hour for the group to appear, but when a banner hanging at the back of the stage that read "System of a Down" was removed by security, the audience rushed the stage, destroying all the band's touring gear, which approximated about $30,000 worth of equipment, and began to riot, throwing rocks at police, breaking windows, and knocking over portable toilets. The riot lasted six hours, during which six arrests were made. Despite the attacks on September 11, Toxicity (their second album) and the song Chop Suey! debuted at #1 on the charts despite Clear Channel placing Chop Suey! on a list of post 9/11 inappropriate song titles.Chop Suey! is the song that got me into System of a Down and has to be one of my favorites, however, the song contained some sensitive lyrics at the time with “I don’t think you trust in my self-righteous suicide,” or “father, father, father, father, father in your hands I commend my spirit/why have you forsaken me?/ In your thoughts forsaken me/in your heart forsaken me” and “I cry when angels deserve to die in my self righteous suicide.”In 2009, my friend’s four-year-old little sister and I would sing/scream this song together when Barb (her mother) would play it on her iPod. It made me proud that there are some four year olds who love metal and starts early.


Later I am going to work on more of my piece about the evening at the Arabic restaurant. Since it's going in my book, I'm only going to post teasers.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Font I'm Using for my Book

Tahoma works perfectly with the Arabic too. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahoma_%28typeface%29 What do you think?

ساباح الخير. خيف الحال؟

Friday, November 19, 2010

On Being a Metal Head

What do you think of this as a start of an essay? It's going to be for my book and my creative writing class. It's creative non-fiction (and has to be 5-7 pages... won't be too hard). Feedback is awesome as always. Thanks everyone. :)

On Being a Metal Head


Jessica Marie


“I have a surprise for you this weekend,” Anna had said on the car ride from Lancaster to King of Prussia. Anna wasn’t from Lancaster, but from Tower City; a ghost town that is in fact really a borough in Schuylkill County that was once a big coal mining town; we had met Anna and her mother in Lancaster for breakfast, shopping and because it was halfway between King of Prussia and Tower City. I always looked forward to when Anna would visit or I would travel to Tower City to visit her. Her father worked with my mom and commuted four hours each day. It was Black Friday 2001—Anna and I had the weekend off (she had the whole following week off for hunting season since she lived in the middle of nowhere and hunting was a sport to many residents).


“I want to get you out of your rap phase,” Anna had added. I laughed then said, “I only like Eminem and sorta DMX. Plus, I’ve only been listening to these two for the past few months.”


“I know, I enjoy Eminem too and so does Dani and Val. But, I’m glad you like Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit as well.” Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit were my twelve year old nu-metal bands and had their CDs in my newly forming CD collection.


“I want to hear new music. I want to hear more genres,” I had replied.


“Good, new music is what you’ll get this weekend” and she wasn’t kidding. I owe her a lot for that life-changing, awe inspiring weekend that got me into the classics of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin; the hard metal bands such as Kittie, System of a Down; hair metal by my favorites Motley Crue and Guns N Roses; and of course, black metal. All this took a few years, but it all began in November 2001.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some essays

Good evening Dear Blogger Community!

I've been thinking of some essays to write for In the Strawberry Patch. My creative writing prof. gave me some ideas -- I am going to work on one about being a metal head, my trip to South Carolina last March (2009), my trip to the Shenandoah in July 2010, on being a Muslim and a few others. What do you think? Would they be good topics?

I can't promise I'll update tomorrow; I'm going to Casablanca (restaurant in Warrington, not the city in Morocco) with my Arabic in the evening. I'm so excited. :) My one classmate and his wife are going to take me. I found some poems I wrote in the spring today at nan's from my creative writing class in the Spring. This weekend, I should take the journal home and tweak some of the poems. I might have one still saved on my computer than I can tweak a little.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Final Product of Lady Liberty Variations

I'll probably write one more for my book (I have set a date, please respond here: Release of In the Strawberry Patch ), but this is what I'm handing in for my creative writing class:

Lady Liberty Variations 

Variation I:
Welcoming her tired, poor huddled masses--
she stands tall; bright against the dark gray skies.
Cold wind wraps around and bitterly whips the classes
of pilgrims on deck in search of freedom and hope.
"Hund! Ich will mit Hund laufen," a blonde
haired blue eyed girl from Koln shouts
to the black haired man from Sicily; the knob
of his dog cage in his grasp. "Si," he quietly says.
Under them blue-gray waves of the bay rock the ship;
orange leaves strewn violently around by wind flays
on the mast, messing their already disheveled hair.
"My brother came here fifteen years ago," an Irish brogue 
in the distance of the swish-swishing waves, "Clare
was his name. He fought in the Civil War for those Yankees.
We thought we'd recover from the famine. I hope to find land."
"We'd all love to, lady." says the man with the monkey.
The tempest, a formidable, angrier gray, splashes and sprays,
huddled in their blankets, chilled by blacken night fall;
above them flies the angels, their hope never sways
unlike the currents of the Atlantic, slowly toward
gold paved sidewalks, green and silver as far as the eyes can see--
endless wealth, equal opportunities, let's move forward!
Purple mountains, snow-capped peaks, firey leaved trees,
limitless possibilities, vast knowledge and expanse of the New World;
Cleanliness is next to Godliness; wash your filthy body of fleas.
In the golden sun that lights the American Dream,
the towers and scaffolding in the distance reach the heavens--
"Last stop: New York! All out!" the captain screams
as thoughts of abundant jobs and houses with warm steam
and heat, built of bricks and cement mortar. Between
the dreams and smiles; poverty and ghettos for Papists teem.

II.
Shadow of the Wind—the trees appear to be on fire,
bursting with reds, oranges and yellow. There are only a few,
dull concrete and vibrant glass buildings dowse the flames
Allahu akbar! Allah eklasna min Shaytan! Flames rage on
Oh Jesus, please deliver us,” the sign of the cross
I haven’t done this in twenty years, but my Father,
I am sorry for all my sins. Guard my family.
Shadow of the Wind—the copper and steel glisten in the September sun
butterflies glisten and glide on the air tinged with gas and exhaust,
the roar of car engines, the honking of the aggressive, the disconnect—
the calm before the funnel of the storm knocks us out.
Shadow of the Wind—dreary, the wind violently shakes our car, a quiet hum
gray skies, yellow and pink colours the clouds, the sun tries to peak out
in the distance, Allah, Islam is the chosen way—why Islam?
find the answer on this website, support the Cordoba Mosque
violent protests, the crew of Americans try to stop
the Arab men, supporters of Hamas
they will not be stopped—freedom of religion secures
Allahu akbar! Allah eklasna min Shaytan, glass shatters
though I walk through the valley and shadow of death
I will fear no evil; exhaust chokes panic
Allah hates those who do evil, why, why, trying to hold on.
Shadow of the Wind—Lady Liberty in the distance, her face aging with rust
aging with the horrors of the century; tears of lime deposit streams down
screams of horror, the desperate jump into the Hudson Bay
trying to swim to shore, the firemen didn’t make it, drowning on the way.
Shadow of the Wind—we arrive at Liberty City, only an hour away from Ground Zero,
where we were united, where our leaders withheld the truth, where war was declared,
where protestors scream, scream, scream, the droning
the crescendo, the cacophony of discordant syllables,
gnashing their teeth like animals, their filthy religion doesn’t belong here!
Shadow of the Wind—“Hadihi camisun bayadu jamilu,” he says to his wife,
as she steps through the security scanner to get into Lady Liberty,
her purple paisley hijab is pretty, the air blows it, she cries,
she is exposed, I wish I could go and hold it down, to keep her modest,
I wish I could assuage her fears that not all of the country hates her—
Shadow of the Wind, united we stand or divided we fall? 


I've been thinking about Mary, the one who I graduated with that was murdered a few weeks ago, and I was thinking maybe about writing a poem about her for my book. If I did, maybe I could give a portion of the proceeds to her daughter, Bella. I dunno, to those of you whom knew Mary and her family, would that be a good idea? Any ideas are welcome. 

Working on Lady Liberty Variations

 I am working on my poems titled Lady Liberty Variations. They are due in class tomorrow and it's going into my book In the Strawberry Patch. The poem I'm editing is as following:


Lady Liberty


Welcoming her tired, poor huddled masses, standing tall,
Bright against the darkest, grayest, cloudiest skies—
Cold wind wraps around and whips us bitterly,
Under us the blue-gray waves of the bay violently lies.“Hadihi abyad camise jamil[1],” I hear one man sayto his wife in a paisley purple hijab.
“Hund! Ich will Hund laufe,” a blonde
haired blue eye girl screams at the knob
of the dog cage belonging to the Spanish man.
“Si,” he silently says, the dog released.
“Excuse-moi,” a French couple pans
in on me. “Picture silvou plait.[3]”
I happily oblige, it’s only once we see NYC;
Empire State Building in the background always stay.
A hole in the sky, an empty sight,
Ladders try to replicate the once modern Towers.
I get the picture; “Merci,” and I smile,
Despite the hallow feeling that overpowers.
The blue-gray waves underneath us violently howl,
The silver tourist telescope, a metallic chill;
Gulls cry for the warmth of stone, on the prowl
For food, answers and no more withholding and lies.
Lady Liberty will never forget the raging flames,
“Allah awni al Shaytan![4]” “Jesus, deliver us!” screams never die.
Today, we look beyond to the Brooklyn Bridge small
In the cloudy backdrop. United we stand, immigrants and all.

People in my class thought it was a good poem, but too many ideas going on because my message was so strong. Instead, I'm going to do postcards. The one I'm working on now is an immigrant perspective, this is how far I got:
Variation I:
Welcoming her tired, poor huddled masses--
she stands tall; bright against the dark gray skies.
Cold wind wraps around and bitterly whips the classes
of pilgrims on deck in search of freedom and hope.
"Hund! Ich will mit Hund laufen," a blonde
haired blue eyed girl from Koln shouts
to the black haired man from Sicily; the knob
of his dog cage in his grasp. "Si," he quietly says.
Under them blue-gray waves of the bay rock the ship;
orange leaves strewn violently around by wind flays
on the mast, messing their already disheveled hair.
"My brother came here fifteen years ago," an Irish brogue 
in the distance of the swish-swishing waves, "Clare
was his name. He fought in the Civil War for those Yankees.
We thought we'd recover from the famine. I hope to find land."
"We'd all love to, lady." says the man with the monkey.
The tempest, a formidable, angrier gray, splashes and sprays,
huddled in their blankets, chilled by blacken night fall;
above them flies the angels, their hope never sways
unlike the currents of the Atlantic, slowly toward
gold paved sidewalks, green and silver as far as the eyes can see--
endless wealth, equal opportunities, let's move forward!
Purple mountains, snow-capped peaks, firey leaved trees,
limitless possibilities, vast knowledge and expanse of the New World;
Cleanliness is next to Godliness; wash your filthy body of fleas.
In the golden sun that lights the American Dream,
the towers and scaffolding in the distance reach the heavens--
"Last stop: New York! All out!" the captain screams
as thoughts of abundant jobs and houses with warm steam
and heat, built of bricks and cement mortar. Between
the dreams and smiles; poverty and ghettos for Papists teem.

 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tea Time

Hallo!
Yesterday I made my frequent visit to the Lincoln Room in downtown West Chester. It was beautiful as always. The last time I was there in September, I wrote a piece in my creative writing journal, but it's sort of unfinished. I wrote it about Sweat Pea, the teddy bear I adopted.

As much as I love my human friends, I have to say the greatest friends have been bears (and cats). The day started out normally-- going to school, then my date with the Lincoln Room on Market Street in West Chester, Pennsylvania. September 8, 2010 was a mild day, except the trek to the tearoom from the University made me sweat, though not profusely enough to soak me.

Great, I thought, the day I don't get dressed up like I normally do and I have to sweat. I hope it's not noticeable. I reach the Old Courthouse where Lincoln came in 1860 during his election, and walked down the black iron stairs. It was 1:05 when I opened the rickety white screen door with the brown wooden floor underneath me creak.

"Jessica! Welcome! So happy to see you again!" the one waitress greeted me.

"Hey! It's nice to see you again too. My philosophy class was canceled today and my Civil War history class isn't until three.

"Wonderful! Oh, I love your shirt," she said as I looked down upon my black Ed, Edd, and Eddie shirt. "It's a great show."

"Yeah, I was so sad when the show was canceled."

"It's canceled--"

"Yeah, now they just have reruns."

To make a long story short with banter on Ed, Edd, and Eddy, she showed me my table about five minutes later. When I sat down, I had a nice chat with the Southern owner that reminds me of Mrs. Seiler. The feast was delicious as well-- Butternut squash soup, tea sandwiches and scones with oolong tea. The last time I went with my cousin Maddie, her boyfriend Max, Aunt Peg and Mom, I saw a teddy bear with a country dress and ribbon headband around her ears. She was still there, a few weeks after I first saw her on August 20, and I picked her up from the stand-- half off. I was told to pick three bears because they had different faces. I picked the lonely one on the shelf-- her face spoke to me and I just loved her expression. It's hard to describe, but as a bear collector, I just know when a bear touches my heart and needs my loving. The cashier called her Sweet Pea and it stuck than Purrticular Puss.


What I wrote today was similar to what I wrote on September 8th, but I talk about the elderly couple I met and chatted with. They moved to the Brandywine River area from Washington, D.C. I want to write about the Lincoln Room for In the Strawberry Patch, so I think I will have the essay on Sweat Pea and talk about the other bear I adopted from there on December 31, 2009: Princess Snowflake, that went through a similar process. Then another essay on the atmosphere, the great people I met and maybe talk about my first time there (I asked Reese to go with me,but he declined that day and said some other time... ahh... yes, I have to add Reese =D).

Well, I'm going to work on my poems for Monday and then an Arabic poem.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hello!

Hello! 

I decided to start over again. As I posted yesterday:

It's now going to be mostly about my writing because I'm always writing and it'll be easier to post on an almost daily basis. I might give my fans this address too for updates about my books (hopefully In The Strawberry Patch will be done soon... in time for the holidays =] ). I talked to Lawrence the other day, he served in the military and went to Afghanistan. He's going to talk to his buddies that are serving and have served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan so I can interview them for my book (The Decade of Fame Technology and Angst). I'm going to have to go through questions and make sure they'll be okay to ask -- I don't want to ask someone something very personal and send them back into a panic attack (that's what I always worry about with soldiers and refugees). Speaking of refugees, I need to interview more of the members of Acrassicauda. They are from Iraq and very sweet.