Friday, April 30, 2010

Favorite Photos

I love people. They're so beautiful.

I love when a photo can tell a story.

I've had the privilege of taking pictures of some of the most intriguing and beautiful people in the world. I am always amazed at what you can capture in a moment.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Star Trek meets Camelot

Thank you Marie Mainard O'Connell for this little gem.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Post By Tim Wise

Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black by Tim Wise

Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure - the ones who are driving the action - we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Game Over.

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S. Wise has spoken in 48 states, on over 400 college campuses, and to community groups around the nation. Wise has provided anti-racism training to teachers nationwide, and has trained physicians and medical industry professionals on how to combat racial inequities in health care. His latest book is called Between Barack and a Hard Place.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Ramblings


I have a pile of papers to grade, but I just don't wanna do it.

I'm feeling a little grumpyish.

I am working my way through a pile of laundry that has been accumulating since I got back from vacation last Tuesday.

I have no intention of putting a bra on today.

I am trying to get back into the diet mode, and came THIS close to enjoying a chocolate kiss. I have been good today, but it's almost easier to just not eat anything. But that's not good at all!

So I'm making myself eat. I've got the first of many loads of laundry started. I'm going to dig into the pile of papers to grade. And I'm going to conquer this day.

Yesterday, church was interesting and annoying. The first speaker went about 20 minutes over her allotted time. I wish people understood that when you go over by that much time, we are no longer listening to you. You could be sharing the secrets of the universe, but because of your lack of respect for the next speaker, we have completely tuned out all your brilliant rhetoric. We just stop caring. And more than that, we might be a little angry.

Luckily, I brought my crocheting with me, so rather than shooting darts at the woman, I focused on my latest project. With a vehemence.

After that, I went to Sunday School where we spent 20 minutes talking about everyone's worst jobs. This is an interesting topic, but it left approximately 14 minutes to discuss the lesson. And 5 of those minutes were spent trying to get the missionaries of all people to share an experience that they had had with the power of prayer. Their response: They had never had an experience with prayer. What the hell are you doing on a mission if you've never had an experience with prayer???

Relief Society was actually really good. By that time, I was so exhausted from exercising the self-control necessary to NOT voice my rather bitter opinions about things, that I just rested my head on the chair in front of me and tried to soak in the lesson.

It was really good. I was so happy that they had asked me to play the piano in relief society, because otherwise, I would have escaped after Sunday School and the whole trip to church would have been utterly wasted.

Thank heaven for well-prepared Relief Society teachers.

Friday, April 23, 2010

God's Love

I've been pondering my life, my choices, and where I hope to go, who I hope to become, etc.

I've kind of forced myself into a thoughtful exile.

I called my dad last night and had a wonderful conversation with him about my feelings about everything. He reminded me of some key truths that I had forgotten. I enjoyed a nice dinner and started fasting.

Throughout this day of fasting, I've felt myself receiving epiphany after epiphany through scriptures, memories brought to mind, and constant support from friends I've been able to connect with throughout the day.

Clarissa and I texted throughout the afternoon. I was able to have a wonderful conversation with the ever busy Sara. This evening, Crystal called. Even Clay called three times. Granted it was to figure out if there were any parties going on this weekend. And this evening Marcia came over and we went out to Sushi, then came back to the house and enjoyed strawberry pie.

My life is on the precipice of something. I'm living in transition right now. I am in a temporary living situation, in a job that feels more and more temporary--despite my three years there.

I want to jump confidently into the next phase of my life. I want to know that I'm not sacrificing some part of who I am in my decisions. I just want to confidently embrace the next phase of my life, whether that means that I'll be in NYC doing a show this fall, in Utah dating a hot guy, or in DC continuing my work as a professor.

I fasted today for guidance, but more than anything I just need to feel confidence in my ability to choose wisely and trust that my Heavenly Father will guide my steps as He always has.

This truth was evidenced in the constant outpouring of love I felt throughout the day from dear friends who had no idea that I was fasting--they just randomly called. Or texted. Or came over and offered to buy me sushi.

God loves me. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Driving from Park City into Salt Lake City

I think my favorite thing about Utah is the sky.

I love the details of Virginia. I can look at one particular tree and be mesmerized. I took at least 10 shots of the same tree over and over again. Virginia's beauty lies in the beauty of her parts.

She is like a child. Every detail, every dimple, the cute little fingernails, the tiny little ears, the white teeth, the shining eyes. Her beauty is in every detail.

Utah is like a weathered old man. His beauty is in the sum of his parts. The craggy chin, the wiry hair, the lines on his face--all ugly in their own right. But together, the sum of the parts creates a reflection of majesty, age, maturity, and creates in the beholder an inexplicable sense of awe.

It's interesting how landscapes can change your entire perception of beauty.

There are so many little things that I would change about myself. Little things that I find unattractive. I hate that my tummy has stretch marks, that I have more flab than I'd like, I hate that my fingers are thicker, that my boobs are larger, I could go on.

But, I'm not a child.
My true beauty is in the sum of my parts.
My fingers are strong and capable.
My tummy is soft and reflects beautiful times with Ben and Jerry.
My boobs, well, they're a gift. :)
I am a reflection of a complicated life.
I am a reflection of good and bad decisions.
Each of which have brought me to this day.
I am a beautiful collection of flaws.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I flew out to Utah Friday night.

The purpose of the trip is to get to know Chris better.

The weather has been perfect and it's been really easy. The moment I met his daughter Ellie, she grabbed my hand and pulled me into the house.

Today Elijah fell asleep holding my hand, with his head on my chest.

And Chris has been wonderful.

We've been taking photos, listening to music, and just enjoying the time together. It's been a great weekend. Much too short.

I head back to DC tomorrow.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Check out this Blog

I love to discover new music. I'm not really adept at finding great music, I'm too lazy. BUT I have been blessed with friends who share their wisdom with me. They generously spread the gospel of good music, and I've been a happy benefactor of their passionate evangelism.

For those of you who are interested in discovering new and old bands, check out Woodshed.

This is Chris's new website.

In addition to discovering new music, you'll also get a taste for why I am so head over heels in love with this guy. His brains are so stinking hot! And check out his photography too. It makes me happy.

Love Me Some Tina Fey

Friday, April 9, 2010


For some reason the internet connection is really slow, but you get the gist.
The blossoms are pretty! Spring is here!

I really love DC in the springtime.

More pics to come--when I've got a bit more patience.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Shannon Curtis

Tonight I went to a house show and sat in a comfortable living room and reveled in the vocal stylings of Shannon Curtis. I luhhuved it.

Her voice is butter, her piano playing is flawless, and she's a wonderfully nice person. The house show series is a great way to get to know artists because it's a small intimate venue where artists and music lovers can just relax and enjoy one another.

What is it about live music that just makes me feel so alive? It's like life is happening, creation is happening right in front of your very eyes. I'm not waiting for something, I'm not thinking of something past. I'm just right there in a moment. Me likey.