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Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Secret Life of Blogger's Blog Party (3/30/2015-4/4/2015)

I'm posting my Secret Life a day early because tomorrow is Easter. I hope everyone has a great Easter and to all of my Jewish readers: I hope you had a great Passover. Happy Holidays!

Monday, March 30

الجهل الجريمة

أسير احرب. They came to America sometime in 2008. Four men looking to escape extremism—to play heavy metal music without fear of being killed for their music choices.

الجيل العراق. They didn’t want to leave their beautiful Iraq, where there once was an active metal and rock scene in Baghdad. Car bombs. Suicide bombers. They struck at the heart of the venues and sent everyone fleeing. Submit or be killed.

New Jersey—a new land and a new culture. Quickly they learned that forming a heavy metal band was difficult, but being a refugee is even more so. No license, no car—public transit and walking for miles and hours in sleet, snow, rain, hot sun, the heat of summer, and the cold of winter. Yet, the metal scene was amazing and they quickly made friends.

Pennsylvania—I found them randomly on a rainy April day in 2010. Islamic heavy metal I entered into the Google search bar. Expecting to find nothing, I found this band and their book that exposed them to hate and death. Hitting buy, I patiently wait for the book to arrive—in hopes that I don’t feel so guilty listening to heavy metal as a convert.

Page by page, I loved their story. I loved the music I found on iTunes. I found them all on Facebook and requested them all. They all accepted without question and we quickly formed a talking relationship. I just loved their stories of how they went to Syria, then finally came to America. They didn’t want to leave their families behind. Their families don’t tell them the whole story of what goes on back home to lessen the pain. Although they know.

أحب. There was honesty in their lyrics. I loved the Middle Eastern influence in their guitar riffs and chords. I couldn’t stop listening—whether on the bus, on my walks, working out in the gym, or figuring out why things went wrong with my religiosity or other troubles in my life; I listened and it comforted. Yet, the long haired, bearded drummer captured my heart. There was just something about him.  بحار من قلبي 

And here they are today, citizens, along with the millions that have been displaced from the Middle East since 2003-2011. A new album coming soon. An article in Rolling Stone. Yet they hope the best for their family and still learn about life each day. They are the true Gilgamesh.

I was so happy to see Acrassicauda made it into Rolling Stone! Every two weeks, I get my copy in the mail and Monday was the day I received April 9's Rolling Stone edition. I remember when I began listening to them in 2010 when I randomly found them online. I bought the book and downloaded their album from iTunes. I just loved their style. I also found the members on Facebook and requested them. They all added me back and they were really nice. One member and I used to talk a little bit. I think he sort of helped me with my Arabic when I was taking it. I just remember him being really friendly and he was a good Facebook friend (we follow one another on Instagram - though he's not on much). They all were really good Facebook friends. They're now U.S. citizens and they're doing well for themselves now... though there are still hardships. I was so happy to see them in Rolling Stone and I look forward to their new CD.

The poem is in the style of poetic dramatic dialogue like Hayden's American Journal. Please let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 31

Wednesday, April 1

My display at the library.

Jamie and Monoxide loved it!

Thursday, April 2

Beautiful spring day, though windy.

Yummy Easter bread one of dad's co-workers made.

Friday, April 3

Saturday, April 4

I went to the Cabin Shop today to donate some books. The chapel in front of the shop.

And Day #4 of NaPoWriMo with the prompt:

And now for today’s prompt (optional, as always). Love poems are a staple of the poetry scene. It’s pretty hard to be a poet and not write a few – or a dozen – or maybe six books’ worth. But because so many love poems have been written, there are lots of clichés. Fill your poems with robins and hearts and flowers, and you’ll sound more like a greeting card than a bard. So today, I challenge you to write a “loveless” love poem. Don’t use the word love! And avoid the flowers and rainbows. And if you’re not in the mood for love? Well, the flip-side of the love poem – the break-up poem – is another staple of the poet’s repertoire. If that’s more your speed at present, try writing one of those, but again, avoid thunder, rain, and lines beginning with a plaintive “why”? Try to write a poem that expresses the feeling of love or lovelorn-ness without the traditional trappings you associate with the subject matter.

Arabic Love

    Spring’s Eve he came to me as the moon was red,
     his hair was black as onyx and fell above his back;
     he came from far off lands that he had fled—
     talented on drums, his lyrics take no flack.
     Despite his wealth, fortune, and fame,
     his sweetness compares to that of a rose
     silhouetted by the moon, yet my desires not tame—
     often it is asked why him? But it’s him I chose.
     I love to hear him speak, a heavy Arabic sound,
     his voice carries a beautiful melody;
     I was once lost in confusion, now I found
     that when he is gone, I can only see.
     But, I tend to think he makes me weak,
     A feeling I can’t live without or speak.


  1. I've been to two Middle Eastern restaurants over the years, and I like the music.

    Cute cat.

    1. I LOVE Middle Eastern cuisine. If there are belly dancers, even better! :) I've been to a few around here and in NYC.

      Thank you! Now that it's starting to get nice, the granite of the breakfast bar is cool for her.

  2. I really like how Yasmina Khadra's The Swallows of Kabul starts with a dervish swirl. It really gives you that Scheherazade sense. (That is a book I've been reading lately, my favourite selection from my most recent library sweep.)

    My mother, when she's even around this weekend, is either cranky or asleep, since the church demands all her time and energy to perform for their congregations. Hence I'm really not the fondest of all this random holiness.

    In my opinion, converts should never feel uncomfortable with their choices, especially since they don't have anyone in their situation to support them.
    Regarding my atheism, my parents have always been rather uncomfortable with it, of course. Father converted from Baptism (or some other form of Protestantism) to Catholicism to wed my mother. Mother recently told me to join a nunnery. I looked at her so oddly. I'm having too many international relations to commit to celibacy! (My euphemism for intercourse.)

    After all, lately I've been romancing a Turkish economics scholar (who told me he'd convert to Catholicism to placate my parents so he could marry me - I told him I thought they just want me and my significant other happy - mother strongly prefers the mathematician who lives by the hospital, who does seem Christian, by the big holy relic in his living room, who only told me vaguely he wasn't against economics, like that's a giant step in the right direction for my approval - I got the impression he is really much more into the beauties of calculus than the maximum output for minimum input-type philosophy of economics), as I've told you before. I hope so much that Oğuz doesn't have the impression I'm only pursuing him since he's from Turkey (making me racist), or since he invited me to study in Cyprus (more study abroad! ♥ I had such a wondrous time in the PRC), or since he's a theorist (pianist so I don't need to rely on my mother for accompaniment, as she's become rather unstable, as you can note from this comment), or he looks so alluring... no idea about privacy settings to show you, though I suppose his profile image is probably accessible.

    I don't think I have to be careful, since these two male consorts are significantly different enough I can't confuse them.
    (1 of 3 or 4 messages)

  3. One's accent is strongly American with Russian tinges and the other Turkish (so darling when he tells you he wants you! ♥ seriously now): easy to tell the difference. One is slightly pudgy with short black hair n' a poorly-shaven face in comparison with the other tall, 6-pack abs possessing, long-brown-haired and bearded figure in a fez... (Most Americans would declare the first fellow "normal" but I'm comparing with my international menagerie! People don't normally grow that way. In a few years I will bring this up in interest of heart maintenance. I know you have also problems with BMI, but that has to do with the psych medication you've told me about for years - these days I have to take an anti-seizure drug I'm allergic to, myself! But it is the fifth one I've tried, so I just have to take an Allegra if it bothers me that much. Then the insomnia kicks in, but the seizure drug also gives me insomnia, even if it comes from an herb that induces sleep. Oğuz encourages me to only take it at the minimum I could manage (after establishing my trust by explaining how he has to see a neurologist too for his amygdala problem alluding to trouble with relating to others - I promptly told him I can relate to him so he doesn't have to worry about anyone else), so I only took one a day from a thrice-daily prescription.
    My neurologist hates him for giving me that idea, and my mother is so testy about the idea that a Turkish dervish is whisking me to the Middle East after she's worked so hard to keep me safe for all these years, so she has been pushing my "international relations" with the Delco mathematician, who I think is a more serious health risk, since I'll visit, then before I know it we're practising international relations.

    (2 of probably 5)

  4. Personally, I don't want to have to talk someone every day through weight maintenance, and I personally am interested in economics, ever since I read Karl Marx's Capital all the way through! Only the first volume is complete, as after that point he got sick and died... I'd like to pick up the ideas he was starting to articulate, but I think my peer review is probably going to be shoddy, since Oğuz loves me and the Muslim culture says to sequester wives so I wouldn't be able to talk openly with anyone not related to me. True, he's not, we met through an atheist friending meme, but his mother is, and many mothers micromanage their children.)

    My mother took some belly-dancing classes which she loved, looking at your other comment thread, but I was too busy with oboe practice, Music & Arts retailing, and maintaining the 3.4 even with troubling classes in Government and Politics, so I didn't come along.

    I'm not very familiar with Iraqi customs, since none of my other friends have any association with there. Only Cyprus, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Greece and Egypt, from the Mediterranean, though true, as you say, ignorance is a crime.

    I try to respect Islam, but when it doesn't respect me, then there are definite problems. Oğuz told me his mother is Muslim, in preparation for when I meet her. I asked him if I needed a head covering, to his denial. He also told me that he had a younger sister.

    The Delco maths instructor on Goshen Road doesn't talk about his family with me, though I have deduced he also has a younger sister.

    Oh, things must have gone wrong with your religiosity :( I don't want to brag that I've felt much better about the spirituality stuff after spending about two hours in conversation with that hot Turkish boy, but seriously... Imams, sheiks, rabbis, priests, nuns, &c love to coach people through those turbulent waters! But you have to watch their political ties, since each will direct you to embrace their way of life more, since it's worked for them. So I mean take it with a gram of salt!

    My stomach reacts poorly to Middle Eastern cuisine in general (even lamb kabob which I love) but that can be calmed, and probably will over the years - it's too used to Szechuan and other delicious Chinese entrées. I'm TRYING to comfortably eat pita.

    None of the people from the rest of the world have wanted to come visit me, except maybe one Musovite girl. Or, they have, but they came from places like Texas and Arkansas.

    Many people will gladly accept friend requests on Facebook! I try to engage random people in conversation so that I know who the hell I just added to my acquaintance list - I don't remember what part of Africa Theobikile comes from, but she is fun! *check* South Africa.

    (3 of probably 5)

  5. Er, probably the reason none of my international friends are U.S. citizens is that I didn't pitch our home nation as a welcoming environment. However, Jessica, I have not found it comforting or nice! Most of the people I've interacted with from around here are always too busy to talk with me, except I did have a pleasant conversation with the doorsman at the Chester County Library today about Afghanistan, England and India. Then my dad texted me a million times asking where the hell I was. Right before the exit. Oh well. I don't know why he's always in such a hurry. It may have something to do with the US culture.

    The poem? Oh - I couldn't tell it was versed! That's probably since I'm not very good at reading Arabic, only recognising الله أكبر and very, very little else, though the script seems flowier overall than Farsi or Urdu.

    I was not fond of your cat display from the last day of March, and find the other displays so busy!
    But then again, you have a lot to put there and the whole point is to show people what all they can read about, so my initial reaction it looks overcrowded is wrong.

    Was it warm enough for that open-lip smile?
    Yes, it has been very windy, probably since certain areas of the ground are very warm due to the changing seasons and others very cold for the same reason.

    What sort of Easter bread was that? My father recently got a breadmaker machine, so now we always have bread to eat.
    My problem with that lies in remembering all the Soviet history I read over the years, where so many people had nothing but bread to eat.
    (My problem with wanton soup is also historical, hahaha! Watched an upsetting movie and haven't been able to dissociate one from the other, as anyway I have never had actual wanton soup in China. Always direct meats, tempered with rice, maybe egg drop soup, but once and in Shanghai late May. My roommate would only eat dumplings so they started to make me sick by mid-June, as I struggled to digest so much of that kind of dough.)

    Is that penultimate image of Mimi? Sunshine lies on the table just like that (my red tabby)! (He is wheezing from my room, probably wondering where I am, but I want to tell you what I think, since you asked!)

    (4 of definitely 5)

  6. Your closing image is pretty! My mother made me get the book "Empty Mansions" by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. which has similar photographs. That book is a biography of Huguette Clark, one of the filthy rich Americans in New York City, who may still be alive. Oh, Wiki said she made it to 2011. So, um, naturally as someone who spends so much time thinking about what I can do with the little amount of input I can provide, I felt nauseated reading about people who have so much money they can't fail.

    I think my maths instructor friend wants to take me to the Exton movie tavern once it opens, but we don't know when that will be, since the sign in Main Street Exton only lists this year. He has been acting so territorial when I talk about "my international relations with Oğuz" that it makes me conclude he must think I'm his girlfriend, though he went through this emotional conniption and refuses to state that on Facebook. Honestly I don't know.
    Perhaps he just doesn't want to explain me to everyone? I know I'm a shell of my former self, since I had this "major" brain trauma injury. Maybe he wants to directly skip the dangerously-upsetting dating process and go straight to engagement, like Oğuz. I'll ask next time! My tolerance of international relations is limited, after all, particularly in a no-strings-attached environment. (Though no, I think I stabbed him in the heart praising Mr Orhan! I think they could get along on a theoretical level. I honestly asked my Turkish friend if he were all right with my visiting this mathematician, to ensure minimum discomfort on all sides. But it seems I only ensured one was comfortable, not the other. But, true, that other genuinely hurt me last year. Bloodshed was involved. So naturally I am inclined to protect the person who has not hurt me.)

    This is the last comment of this batch. I should sleep so "I'm pretty in my Sunday best" as according to mother, all four of us are Catholic. She refused to let me send notification that I wanted to leave the church so to remove my name from the records.

    So I will wait a few years, as I have a twenty-five year gap from her. She just had menopause, so this is probably her body accommodating itself to not producing as much oestrogen or progesterone.

    Have a safe evening! Thank you for letting me ramble a little.

    1. Hi Claire,

      I'll have to check out "Swallows of Kabul" because it sounds beautifully interesting. This poem is a dramatic monologue poem and I thought the sample I provided (American Journal) didn't really have a meter to it either. I thought they were just random thoughts, which I guess they are. My poem/story is a bit random, but longer thoughts. :) I personally like Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath or Mirror by Plath... both are examples of dramatic monologue poetry too. This month for NaPoWriMo, I'm trying out some new forms. The goal is to write 2 poems a day - one from prompt and one not from a prompt. I'm thinking of self-publishing my work in May.

      I really wish the janitor was around to raise the one shelf. That display case usually has three shelves, but for some reason the middle shelves were combined and it left two shelves. Three shelves would have been better for my display... but I'm just thankful I could do a display. Everyone loved my scrapbooks and shadow boxes.

      Thank you! I went to Valley Forge Park yesterday to donate those books. I wanted to snap the picture of the Cathedral before I got into dad's car. Mimi loves our breakfast bar - the granite is cold for her. We have red tinted lights and that's why the picture appears reddish. I didn't want to use flash because then Mimi would close her eyes - the flash is too bright for her.

      The bread was also a banana bread with chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. It was surprisingly delicious. That combination really worked; it surprised me a bit. The bread dad's other friend dropped off is a biscotti in bread form. It's interesting.

      Your Turkish friend sounds nice. I may have to meet him! I hope you have fun on your adventures because they sound great. I also hope you have a low-key day today.

      Happy Easter and enjoy!

    2. Greetings Jessica! Good things about low-key days - improved health. (Bad head-cold.) Bad things about low-key days - extra energy that keeps me up really late reading Hawkins' Girl on the Train.

      I really want to get back to the Kabulian tale, but the new-book status makes me fear that I wouldn't be able to keep Hawkins or Censoring an Iranian Love Story for long!

      Okay, good, I wasn't the only one to question how the thoughts were connected of the verse.

      I've heard of NaPoWriMo, but I want to have better health first.

      I hope your publications satisfy you! ^_^ May I'm hoping people will be nicer to me, since it's my birthmonth.

      Could you inquire after the two shelf issue? It's good to hear of mass approval! ^_^

      I've been in the house all day since I've been really sick. The good part of that: I didn't have to sit through Mass. The bad part of that: I am sick so not able to appreciate the extra time.

      Sunshine is too overweight to jump onto the bar. I'm proud of myself for not lying in bed all day, but pushing the ellipticyclic regimen hurts my torso.

      I rarely eat butterscotch chips... I just had a gigantic plate of ham and rice for the holidays.

      Oğuz is such a fun person! If busy. He told me he didn't want just to be my Turkish friend, implying of course he's more than that, so I try to place emphasis whenever I talk about him on kindness or looking after my health to make myself better quality or however else he benefits me, which ties back to our mutual focus on economics.
      I'm scared about the quality of my voice to call Matt and try to engage him in conversation, in the process assuring him that I'm still his friend, not so much the Turkish guy's as I don't know him as well. (Well, also it is late at night.)

      I hope your Easter has gone well! ^_^

    3. Sure, I'll inquire after the two shelf issues!

      Meh, I really don't like the holidays.

    4. Curious minds want to know XD

      Hive-mind comes out in people especially around the big Christian ones. I have relaxed about them through thinking that every day I am alive is a form of holiday.

      This day in 2005 Jalal Talabani assumed Iraqi presidency! It's also Rousseau's birthday, and it's the date of the birth of Jesus according to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to Wikipedia.

  7. That windy picture of you is really good. :)

    What was in the Easter bread? Looks tasty.

    1. Thank you!

      Dad's co-worker made a banana bread and then put chocolate and butterscotch chips in it. It was surprisingly tasty - the combination really worked!