Current Reading: The Gary Snyder Reader: Prose, Poetry, and Translations
Current Music: The Rising by Bruce Springsteen
Mood: Out of focus but only on the left side????
Sounds: Background noise
Sights: Autumn colors
Temperature: Currently 60°F
Thoughts: With these hand I pray.


Coffee Shop and Eavesdropping

Being in a coffee shop leads me to eavesdropping. Eavesdropping is something that I would rather not admit to doing and I don't intentionally listen in other people's conversations...but hey if you are going to talk loud in small locality I cannot help it if I overhear and enjoy the discourse.

Today's focus as overheard from eavesdropping: finding birth parents. Normally not that interesting of a question if you are not personally involved in the subject matter of finding your birth parents, but today it is. Why? The person looking for his parents is an elderly man who is presently nearing the end of his life. Not dieing today, but in his late seventies or early eighties, near end of his life sort of way. So why search? Good chance the parents are not alive. Perhaps they are alive. That would make this very interesting subject matter, but most likely they're not.

Unfortunately as fate would have it I finished mixing milk and sugar in my coffee and walked out the front door. Come to think of it I am not a very good eavesdropper.

Help the People of Burma

Help the People of Burma -- Post this Meme on Your Blog! Thanks to Nova Spivack for the info.

Note: This is a new kind of online protest that uses blogs to spread a petition globally. To participate, just add your blog by following the instructions in this blog post. This not an issue of partisan politics, this is an issue of basic human rights and democracy. Please help to prevent a human tragedy in Burma by adding your blog and asking others to do the same.

By passing this meme on through the blogosphere hopefully we can generate more awareness and avert a serious tragedy. As concerned world-citizens this something we bloggers can do to help.

How to participate:

1. Copy this entire post to your blog, including this special number: 1081081081234

2. After a few days, you can search Google for the number 1081081081234 to find all blogs that are participating in this protest and petition. Note: Google indexes blogs at different rates, so it could take longer for your blog to show up in the results.

3. If you know how to add tags to your blog posts, add the Technorati tag 1081081081234 to your post as well. This will make your post findable sooner in Technorati.


There is no press freedom in Burma and the government has started turning off the Internet and other means of communication, so it is difficult to get news out. Individuals on the ground have been sending their day-by-day reports to the BBC, and they are heartbreaking. I encourage you to read these accounts to see for yourself what is really going on in Burma. Please include this link in your own blog post.

Photo of the Week

Camera: Nikon D70
Exposure: 20 sec (20)
Aperture: f/22
Focal Length: 70 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0 EV


The Buddhist Community Answers

There are some great responses to yesterday post:

-Read ~C4Chaos answer here & here on Zaadz (be sure to read the comments)
-William Harryman response with gratitude
-To finish, read through the comments on the original posting

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to answer my question…


How did you become a Buddhist?

To my Buddhist friend's/reader's out there, how did you become a Buddhist?

Did you join a sangha, take a vow, meditate, study with a monk? With the current influx of western Buddhist blogs/books and notoriety conjoined with the phrase "I am Buddhist", can anybody call themselves a Buddhist? Can a person simply say today, "I am a Buddhist", or do you go through a baptismal ritual, for lack of a better phrase?

I personally find the Dharma of Buddhists to be fascinating, and a divine path to follow. In my (integral) Christian faith I find/feel many similarities with the Buddhist practice. The Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Paths are in balance with the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes of Christianity. The question remains, are current western Buddhists truly Buddhists? Is the path of Buddha being followed by the newly converted? Are they doing the work that Buddha put forth? Don't get me wrong, Christianity has won the gold award for its practitioners not following the Word of God. I am not trying to cause any disharmony with the Buddhist community.

I just want to know when it is alright to call your self a Buddhist.


Autumn is like Redbull

Autumn is like Redbull to the majority of artists. For some unknown reason autumn seem to fuel the creative flow. For me the first two weeks of autumn will be time off from shooting. No pending jobs or projects for the next 14 days. What will I do? Put the camera down and practice the art of seeing. I will be spending time doing long neglected yard work, reading books and spending as much time with my family as possible. Blogging will continue and I have never had a sip of Redbull, hence I have no idea the effect of Redbull on creativity. But I am sure it helps.

Fascinating: Our country's consumption, be sure to read the captions above the photos.


Mother Teresa and Lifetime

I finished reading Mother Teresa's Come Be My Light, last night. My perspective on this book is that she was not depressed or lacking faith at any time in her life but that she had actually attained what catholic mystic Bernadette Roberts calls “No-Self”,. Mother Teresa's life was a unitive life, in which her will was united with Gods will. I believe that she experienced a taste of what ultimate reality is and she had to live out the remainder of her life with the knowledge and separation from God.

On a side note, one of the most popular quotes from this book is: “If I ever become a Saint—I will surely be one of “darkness.” I will continually be absent from Heaven—to lit the light of those in darkness on earth.” That quote is very similar to the Bodhisattva vow to reincarnate until all beings achieve enlightenment. Something to ponder for people interested in interfaith dialogue.

*** In the middle of writing this post I discovered Randy Pausch – Lecture of a lifetime.****

"If you live your life the right way the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you".
– Randy Pausch – Lecture of a lifetime.

This lecture is the perfect bookend after reading Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light.


Update 9/20/07

I want to thank William of IOC blog for selecting some of my photos for his image of the day. (See here & here ).

Camera: Nikon D70s
Exposure: 13 sec (13)
Aperture: f/22
Focal Length: 18 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0 EV


Working America

Last night there was a knock at my door. Upon opening the door my first thought was a door-to-door salesman. Second thought was how quickly can I get rid of this guy so I can go back to drinking wine with my wife? He introduces himself to us “Hi I am Dave with Working America.org and I am here to urge you to write your senators, and state representatives about important issues. Issues such as:

Living wages for America’s workers, including a higher minimum wage. Millions struggle to make ends meet on a minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, and it isn’t right. Everyone should be able to support a family on what they make.

Health care for all, especially the most vulnerable. We're fighting to make sure all children are insured, regardless of income level, and to make sure every senior has affordable access to the prescription drugs they need.

Safe retirement plans we can count on. We seek to protect our pensions from corporate corruption and to stop the Bush administration's gamble with Social Security.

Quality education to give our children every opportunity. Investments in education—whether it’s early education programs like Head Start or programs to make college more affordable—are investments in America’s future.

Family leave that is flexible and fair. Paid family and medical leave and guaranteed time off for vacations and sickness help maintain the important balance between work and family life.

Good jobs for America’s workers. Congress should stop giving corporate incentives to send jobs overseas and support fair trade, not free trade.

Power for Workers and Working Families in politics and in the workplace. We need to make it easier for working people to vote through longer voting periods, same-day registration, voting by mail and time off from work for voting. Pass the Employee Free Choice Act to give working people a democratic voice in their workplace.

Check out Working America so America can work together. I am glad I listen.



Current Reading: Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light,
Current Music: 91.3 WYEP
Mood: Happy, sinus infection is slowly going away…
Sounds: Wind blowing
Smells: Lipton Orange Zest Tea
Sights: Blue sky with cotton ball clouds
Temperature: Currently: 58°F Partly Cloudy
Thoughts: Google is the best spell checker ever!!!


If these trees could talk

I spent this past Saturday photographing at a farm. This year seems to be the year that I have spent the most amount of time photographing outdoors. Never before has the landscape had so much meaning to me. To stand on land that’s barely excavated and to feel the air unobstructed by buildings is a transcendental moment. F/29, ISO 200, 15 sec shutter speed and the light fading into a kaleidoscope of color…this is painting with light.

The farm location is a couple of miles away from the town of Shanksville in rural Somerset County, Pennsylvania. This is where the plane crashed on 9/11. From this farm you would have been able to see the plane on its descent before the crash. The sky is so vast on this land, clear and unobstructed. To say that the sky is big is odd, simply even a dumb thing to say, but it was. The land seems so tiny as compared to the domed sky. There I stood, the horizon at my feet.

In all this natural splendor of land, the land stood as witness to the evil of humanity. Evolution or creationism perspective, land gave birth to us. From the dust that created Adam or the life before that brought us out of the sea. I walked back to my car.

The night autumn wind was cold, the sky was filled with stars and my thoughts were sad for what this land must have felt. If these trees could talk, would they invite us back?

“When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth could say,
in a voice floating up
from the floor
of the Grand Canyon,
'It is done.'
People did not like it here."
- Kurt Vonnegut

Photo of the Week

Camera: Nikon D70
Exposure: 2.5 sec (5/2)
Aperture: f/29
Focal Length: 70 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0 EV



Two blogs that I have been enjoying as of late: Foreignerd & Gwen Bell. Taking along weekend see you on Monday…..



Word of the Day: Starbuck-ism

As I stand in line for my morning coffee...
One professional meeting in the far back corner, two middle-aged women looking for love on e-harmony, three angry teens dressed in black sit in the dark corner listening to what I assume to be angry music. One older man who looks like he has just read "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac for the first time sits by the large window in front of the store. The older man seems to have decided not to shave, and to grub himself up in an effort to inspire the Kerouac-esc novel that he has been penning in his head for the last 30 years. Two people stand ahead of me in line ordering drinks that I cannot even pronounce? Yes- these are my people.

I am overwhelmed by Starbuck-ism, the feeling of euphoria you get when entering a Starbucks. Look around, color scheme, wall art, music, decor that you wish you could have thought of when decorating your home. Free internet, open source of creativity, aroma, good fashion, bad fashion, life that is brewed to perfection all starts here. Starbuck-ism, I bask in you.

Photo of the Week

Camera: Nikon D70
Exposure: 0.125 sec (1/8)
Aperture: f/29
Focal Length: 65 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Exposure Bias: 0 EV


September 10th, Mother Teresa

On the precursor of 9/11 there should be a date that is remembered as well. September 10th, the day Mother Teresa received her call to serve. God calling her to serve the world has inspired millions more than the action of evil on 9/11.

I have been reading Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, for the last couple of days. The journey of her life is breathtakingly beautiful and painful. Complete surrender, devotion, piety with her love of Jesus.

The debates cornering this book have failed to reveal that this is a memoir in a fashion of letter writing to her spiritual mentor. Not solely a documentation of her dark-night of the soul regarding her crisis of faith. The most awe-inspiring part of this book is the pause and reflection she must have taken before writing these letters. The letters must be an authentic clarity of what she felt. The letters are a transmission of an internal dialogue with Jesus.

It is my wish that when people read this book it will be not for confirmation or denial of their current belief. However, as a catalyst for understanding that living a life of faith, even in times of darkness, is still a life of service.


City Night Photography

I spent last night walking around Pittsburgh working on city-night photography. Pittsburgh police officers approached me asking me not to use a tripod do to it being a security threat. Ok, my tripod is to a certain extent, intimidating. To all the boding photographers out there, get yourself a good set of sticks.


Photography and Deconstruction

The difference between being a pro photographer and an amateur photographer is deconstruction. Two of my favorite photographers are amateurs, and I constantly go to their flicker sites for inspiration. (see here & here)

A pro photographer is in a constant state of deconstruction of his/her/other's work. The interior of how a photo is composed is equally important as the exterior of the finished work. The relationship of deconstruction in conjunction with composition is where a pro starts their day.

Photography is nothing more than beauty and form, creative playfulness viewed from as many different perspectives as possible.


Photo of the Week

Camera: Nikon D70s
Exposure: 25 sec (25)
Aperture: f/20
Focal Length: 55 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: -2 EV