Friday, November 30, 2007

Tent City



The bedoins are out there in the sands of Kuwait living in their tent cities. I have heard that they do this every winter to remember the old ways. They don't come out in the summer cause it is way too hot. So they are all out there now roughing it with 1500Kw generators massive light displays and A/C cooled/warmed tents. Nothing like getting back to basics Eh?.

Hitting 10,000

I keep looking at my little counter over there and wondering what day will it hit 10,000 I suppose it will be a milestone, and that will be cool. I just got back from Kuwait today and it is cold up there. Not Wisconsin cold but compared to driving with the oven on full blast and open in your face to 49 degrees outside it is cold. What is that like 19 degrees Celsius or something? Ah no it is 9.44444444444 something why Americans hold on to these archaic measurement standards is truly beyond me. I think the rest of the world should force imports on us so we will finally get the message. You know what it is right. We have all this old crap and nostalgia freaks insist on keeping it around. I say if you want to rebuild your 57 Chevy do it with metric parts so that we can frigging move on.

Where was that going? I don't know really. I was supposed to go and get this shot that I have been envisioning but I stayed up too late reading my email so my curfew has come in. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow night or even after Fajr. That might be cool. I will show you what it looks like. I'm learning a lot about photography. I may turn this into a photo blog, but if I do I will have to go black so my blog will be changing again. This skin is only temporary anyway. I like it but I want to do a little bit more with it artistically.




What in the world is this? Yes Christmas is in full swing here in Bahrain. I suppose when you really get down to it from a financial standpoint Christmas really means sales and with so many western corporations here in the gulf there really isn't a way to effectively stop it, but when it is displayed on public property like this is in the airport terminal I think it is going too far.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I Love this shot


 



This is a great shot that I made the other night shooting. It was a beautiful full Moon. The next full moon I hope to grab it off the balcony of this place. I have said that I am going to start hitting the rooftops around Manama, but we have a really stupid curfew imposed so I probably won't be able to get anything. I have some serious practicing to do if I am going to make money off of Photography. I priced some gear and for studio stuff that I know I can get paid for it priced out to $4,000 some of the stuff I was planning on buying anyway like the Nikkor 12 - 24mm lens and the 18 - 200mm VR Nikon lens, but now I have some additional stuff to buy. I think I will try to sell some of the stuff that I can do without the extra equipment first. We will see. It means I will have to be out there getting the shots and putting together a portfolio. There are a couple of photo buffs stationed here with me so I will be able to get some hands on training here and there and maybe even borrow some lights. I am borrowing a friends D200 and learning how to use it, but I still love my D40.
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Busy Busy Busy!!!

I've been wanting to post but I have been busy. I've come up with a thousand anecdotes and tidbits on life but no time to post them. So I'm stealing some time from work to write this little blurb. You can expect some more from me in the future, and hopefully some more beautiful shots. So we will see how it all pans out. Until I actually have time to sit down and write something toodles.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Photography vs. Art

I've been reading over at Ken Rockwell's spot reading his world renown advice "Your Camera has Nothing to do with it." I've read it before but this time it made me start thinking, I've been doing a lot of photography, but I haven't really been doing my passion of photographic art, well yes and no. I have taken a million cliche pictures. Sunsets and pictures of buildings that most anyone can take. However reading this article again made me think that there is a difference between photography and art. I will show you some examples of what I'm talking about from my collection. I suppose in the end it is all about the perspective of the viewer for some they may view it as a picture and for others they may view it as art. I can only distinguish what I think is Art from what I think is Photography. I have decided to start selling some of my photos while I am here so that I can get in the practice of what is done. I do however often fall into the pit of all of my images not being good enough. So I will share some images and you can tell me what you think is it Art or just Photography?

This is my favorite picture of Mina, but I would consider this Art because it is a picture that captures you and you have to look at it. I love this picture.



I have one of each of my daughters that I love, this is Niama on the same day I would also consider this one myself to be art even though she has a runny nose.



This last one is of Sabira it has been photoshoped but I love the way that it came out. I suppose that the difference between Photography and Art is how it grips you so that you have to keep looking at it and studying it. Those shots are hard to find a lot of times.



I love candids more than anything like this next shot of me leaving I would call photography.



And this one with me and the falcon I would call photography also.



This one is a great picture of a minaret of the Grand Mosque but I would also call it Photography cause I can't see someone using it as a screensaver or placed on their desk at work or anything like that unless this particular minaret held a specific emotional value.



This burned out Dhow I would also consider photography because it doesn't jump out and grab you and there aren't any reflective properties to it.



This sunrise I'm not so sure. It has qualities of tranquility and reflection.



This one taken the same day I would lend more to the Artsy side.



This one I struggled to get but still to me it just screams photography.



This one I would call Art, but it is debatable.



This however is definitely Photography.



This one I would lend closer to art.



These cats were fighting and they were interrupted by my shutter flash allowing the black and white one to escape. I would consider this one to be art.



These are all of the pictures that I am sharing today. I have to start going through my Bahrain pictures so that I can see which ones are worth producing and trying to get them sold. This means I'm going to have to start farting around in Photoshop which has a massive learning curve but once you master it you can literally write your own resume into any job dealing with photography.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Morning Reflection



I love the setting or rising sun. This sun is rising. It is strange that both events look very similar. For great sunsets I often have to go to the other side of the Island. I now have borrowed a friends D200 and I will attempt to get an unblurred picture of the Sunset Dhows again. I have so many it is ridiculous but I don't have the 1 that I am trying to get. I have a couple of sunset shots that I want to try to get. hopefully I can get the ones that I want. It is getting crazy because I have over 4 gigs in photos but I haven't thoroughly sorted them yet. I am going to burn them to DVD for an Archive copy and then cull the rest down to the ones worth keeping. I don't know why I keep them all even the bad blurry ones that you can't make anything out in but I have started not importing everything. I haven't updated my photo albums yet. I hope to do that soon too.

Hawking!?!



Yes Hawking I don't know if that is the correct term but I had never seen it before and unfortunately I didn't get there earlier or stay there much after these pictures because it was Maghrib time and I was just shooting and had to go. I think only one picture turned out pretty decent in it all, but it was cool to watch.



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Bills, Bills, Bills!!!





Why the pretty picture you ask? Calm in the midst of Chaos. Ok things aren't all that bad but they aren't exactly going the way that I had hoped that they would go either. The plan was A. I would come over here and get first pick of wherever we would go next. That has been accomplished. Next was we would pay off all of our debts and go to our next station Debt-Free. Well that isn't going so well. It is amazing how many $2,000 emergencies you can have back to back to back. Had we not had any of them we would be well ahead of the game but $1,000 to $2,500 emergencies keep popping up. First it was the car then the dentist then the HOA fee, then court costs then the car then the furnace goodness. "You got to realize it's a test, it's a test, it's a test" but seriously it makes you want to say "Fu**" and several other expletives so here we are in the middle of this test. It can get better or worse, Alhamdulillah we can pay all of our bills in around the time they are supposed to be paid. Sometimes we are not that successful and we fall behind, but Alhamdulillah no more than a month and not on the Mortgages so yay, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah. So I have to say and list the benefits of Allah on us so that I don't pick up a gun and go and shoot my creditors one by one so that I can have a fresh start. It's not the bills I'm concerned with it is the consumer debt. I hate it with a passion. It is like whenever you think your credit is going to be ok then WHAMOLA some new crap to deal with. I often fall into the refrain of if it wasn't this it would be something else, but man is it ever frustrating. So to cheer myself up I decided to come up with 100 reasons I should be thankful for our current situation. I don't have them all now so this will be a post in progress. Maybe take a couple of suggestions from my blurkers.

Alhamdulillahs!
1. We are capable of paying our bills every month.
2. My wife figured out that I don't just spend all of her money as soon as she makes it.
3. We don't want any more credit.
4. If we don't add anything new we will be done in about 5 years.
5. If we rent the houses we will be done in about 5 months.
6. Insha Allah the houses will grow in equity so in about 5 years we will have a nice reward.
7. Discomfort. Discomfort is a great motivating factor essential for change. We are definetely motivated to change the state we are in.
8. We have realized the need to not splurge in spending. i.e. buying stuff with going to be making money rather than already made money.
9. We still have our health.
10. We still have our love.
11. We are still happy.
I will pause for the cause here and I will add some more later Insha Allah.
12. The enticement of polygamy has greatly decreased.
13. It was a blessing that we didn't go through with the P option because I would be incredibly stressed out right now and it would have created an almost unbearable amount of pressure on all relationships.
14. I can see some progress being made.
15. I know that I am powerless to advance my state regardless of how hard I try, unless there is an approval from Allah Subhannahu Wa Ta'Ala. Because theoretically we were making over $10,000 a month and that is a lot to be making and not being able to put a dent in your debt.
16. I pray for Afia. (Mercy and a break from the current torment, Forgiveness)
17. The knowledge that my family is more important to me than financials. Although I do hope and pray to get out of debt sometime in my lifetime.
18. I can recognize what is going on spiritually.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Only in the Gulf





Only here will you see a $170,000 Lexus LF on display just because. This is not something that you normally see in the states. I'm surprised that they don't have Ferraris and Lamborghinis on display. Only here have I seen $100,000+ cars driven like Toyotas and Hyundais. Must be nice I suppose.

What were they thinking





I don't know what these guys were thinking when they made this sign. Maybe they didn't check with someone who speaks english. I think the next time I am over there I will ask them. I've been taking a lot of pictures these last two days and my internet is jacked so I don't know if I will be able to upload them onto my picture site or not, and I don't even know if my album is still linked I will have to check that.

Monday, November 12, 2007

No School for me

I dragged my feet and now I can't go to school this term. Uggh So now I will have to do something different. So I will CLEP Introduction to Psychology and American Government. That will give me my 6 credits for this term and that will also max out my CLEPable credits. I can't really CLEP anything after those two. Cause it is all upper level and dang-it UMUC doesn't take credit for courses tested out of. Grrr. So Oh well. Life goes on.

I have to get ready for my advancement exam anyway. I have to get all of my recommendations signed off so that I can sit for the advancement exam. I hope to make the next level of pay. I have some revolutionary ideas of how I want to lead my next shop. When I get there I plan to be a Chief. So that is what is going on.

The weather is getting good here in Bahrain. Not so hot anymore more like an average day in VA except the sun is always shining. Love. Well now that I'm blogging again my visits have dwindled under the 30 mark. So at this rate I won't hit 10,000 hits until later this year sometime. Aww man and I thought I was popular. Oh well.

I was looking around and I saw that PM moved her page. I like it I thought it was cool. She had this article about a girl being killed in an honor killing and it is sad to say and I am truly disgusted at my self for feeling this but my reaction was its a statistic. There was a social study done about the sensationalism of words and how they lose their sensationalism. Like if I was to overuse the word horrible. The more you heard it the less extreme it would be and it works both ways awesome, incredible, extraordinary become less so the more the words are bombarded into our heads on a daily basis. This leads me to believe that our world will be destroyed by apathy.

Islam comes to wake people out of the state of glazed eyes however for this to happen one must have an awakening and also have the type of personality that is unstoppable. That combination can wake other people out of the state of "Oh that's horrible... What's for dinner." Or "Oh that's terrific dear... I need to arrange my sock drawer." Existence apathy. The programmed responses of an automated life where nothing in the world means anything until it affects our own personal comfort. And how can you really be moved? How hard is it to be moved to action when daily your emotions and senses are bombarded with hundreds of images of injustice in the world? You can't solve them all. People go crazy concerning themselves with everything that they become essentially ineffective. Wow. The only solution is to have a working knowledge of a fight you feel is worth fighting and fight that fight. Whether it is free the rainforest, end world hunger, women's and children's rights or saving the whales. Each task requires a complete effort. If you take on more than one chances are you have taken on too much. However you can give fifty cents to many and help out that way.

Subhannallah. You are held responsible only for yourself.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

St. John's Bay Performance tee

I have got to give a shout out to this Tee shirt. If you want to know my wardrobe it is T-Shirt and Jeans. That's all I wear. Ever. Well recently I was given a T-Shirt because I had to take off my other favorite shirt that depicted a brother praying on it because it was against Navy Regs and I can understand. This isn't necessarily the place where Bible Thumping shirts or Wicken shirts would be openly accepted so the Navy is just being fair across the board. Just as they are with the usage of the word Nigger. No one can say it, African American or not. Anyway I digress. I was given this shirt in place of the other one and I instantly fell in love with it. It is my favorite shirt. It has no print on it just a plain gray shirt but Oh my goodness it is the softest most comfortable thing I have ever had the pleasure of wearing around all day. I love it. I want to buy like fifty when I go home. Long and short sleeves. I love this shirt. It is Sooo soft and comfy it is like wearing sleepy clothes all day long. Anyway I just wanted to give that shout out to the shirt. Apparently it is a line of JCPenny so you can get one there. I highly recommend this shirt experience. Love it. Peace.

Dog the Bounty Hunter says Nigger





Ok honestly I really don't care that Dog said Nigger. In this day and age how can you honestly blame anyone for saying nigger. There are cream of the crop white people calling each other nigger this day and age. It is everywhere in the movies, on the radio, in comedy and definitely definitely in rap music. I say if you are not going to bust 50 cent, DMX and just about everybody else earning money in the entertainment industry for saying Nigger then you can't bust Dog. That is just my personal opinion. Nigger has become such a widely used word that it is really becoming ridiculous to fault anyone saying nigger. So if you are white and you LOVE DMX you can't roll down the street playing My Niggaz? Come on. I'm not saying that racism isn't out there and people don't use it in the original demoralizing context but if you quantify the use of nigger over any other supposedly demoralizing phrase it is the one that has been accepted and embraced by an unfortunate multitude of people so much so that the word has transcended race and teeters on being defined as something completely different than the insult that it started out as. In fact anyone who uses in that context is quickly moving toward insulting themselves as an ignorant racist.

That said there are unfortunately places in this country where it retains its original meaning in all of its ignorant bliss. Jena Louisiana for instance. So that is my take. What do you think?

Duane "Dog" Chapman: I don't care if she's a Mexican, a whore or whatever.
It's not because she's black, it's because we use the word ni**er sometimes
here. I'm not gonna take a chance ever in life of losing everything I've worked
for for 30 years because some fucking ni**er heard us say ni**er and turned us
in to the Enquirer magazine. Our career is over! I'm not taking that chance at
all! Never in life! Never! Never! If Lyssa [Dog's daughter] was dating a ni**er,
we would all say 'fuck you!' And you know that. If Lyssa brought a black guy
home ya da da... it's not that they're black, it's none of that. It's that we
use the word ni**er. We don't mean you fucking scum ni**er without a soul. We
don't mean that shit. But America would think we mean that. And we're not taking
a chance on losing everything we got over a racial slur because our son goes
with a girl like that. I can't do that Tucker. You can't expect Gary, Bonnie,
Cecily, all them young kids to [garbled] because 'I'm in love for 7 months' -
fuck that! So, I'll help you get another job but you can not work here unless
you break up with her and she's out of your life. I can't handle that shit. I
got 'em in the parking lot trying to record us. I got that girl saying she's
gonna wear a recorder...

Tucker Chapman: I don't even know what to say.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I'm Sorry but this is funny!




I love the last one. My girls are almost free to date with that one.

Grrr I took out AdSense and I jacked up my blog

I should have known better than to cut out sections of my template without creating a backup copy. Now I will probably have to start all over again. Grr!! I will try to do it the lazy way first but I suppose it was time to change my blog a bit anyway.

Hello Muslim Websites

AsSalaamu A'laikum Muslim Webmasters,

This is an open letter to Muslim Webmasters. I warn you in choosing your site for hosting. If it is a free site with banner ads please don't use this medium because you have no control over what is being advertised on your site. In your content you will be talking about Allah Subhannahu Wa Ta'ala and in the side bar they will be marketing dildos or something else that we as Muslims find offensive or something that is just genuinely embarrassing or does not shed a light on Islam very well. The Ads are random and they do not stay the same all the time so I may not see the same Ad that someone in Chicago is seeing or that you are seeing for that matter depending on the sophistication of the marketing plan. However the fact remains that you have no control over what is being marketed. So unless you are truly trying to sell Larry's Skanky Sex toys I would suggest taking down the auto Ads.

Here is a million dollar Idea create a web ad plug-in that specifically caters to Muslim and non-Muslim offensive businesses and then offer it for free for Muslims to download and place on their sites for a small fee (for the advertisers not the websites) and then you can control the content seen on Muslim websites that want to collect money from random advertisments.

Ashadu An Laillaha Illallahu Wa Ashadu anna Muhammadan Abduhu Wa Rasululhu

I bear witness that there is No Deity worthy of worship except Allah Subhannahu Wa Ta'Ala and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.

This is the fourth Jumuah that I have missed in a row and it feels that Allah is trying to tell me something. A wake up call of sorts. The first three were work related and even though I could have almost made the last one I was prevented from doing so. This Jumuah I swapped watches so that I could go and I was so tired after I got off of watch overslept. Actually I stood watch from 0000 to 0400 and then I had to do some paperwork. I got home went and stayed up until Fajr walked to the mosque (I love that by the way) for Salaat at 0454 went and made Fajr came home took a nap was awakened at 0808 by someone telling me that I was supposed to be on watch but I wasn't because I switched. Then called my guy for something that he has to do, stayed up until he arrived, went over with him what he was supposed to do. Went back to sleep to be woken up by that guy 4 more times with trivial bits of information. Was woken up 3 more times by other work related matters. My Alarm finally went off at 1030 I pressed stop instead of snooze, slept 70 minutes exactly in a completely restful sleep woke up by the grace of Allah saw that I had missed Jumuah again. Went to the masjid as people were streaming out and prayed Zuhr. Aoothubillahi Minashaytan Ir Rajeem. I pray that this never happens again.

So I thought maybe I needed to be kicked out of the religion in order to come back in. You know that whole missing 3 Jumuahs in a row thing. Well this would make 4 so I have declared my faith and now I will start my Deen over Insha Allah looking at the things I have been doing wrong and correct them. Insha Allah. I think the kicker was when my friend texted me a couple of days ago with this: "Will a man's sins affect his family? The consequences of sins committed by the sinner may go beyond him to affect his family, as a punishment for him and a test for his family. Allah tests man with disasters in order to expiate for his sins, and Allah may test people with blessings. Allah Says: "We Shall make a trial of you with evil and with good."[Al-Anbiya 21:35]" So maybe this is why the heat at my home is not working and my family is freezing this winter. Maybe this missing of Jumuah's was a reminder harshly for me to watch my step, and Allah knows best, however I submit.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Jena 6: The forgetting stage.



The news bulbs have started to fade and with 5 of the 6 facing serious charges 4 spirited out of the limelight to be tried as adults all energy as faint as it is is focused on Mychal Bell. As for the other four they are free to get system raped as news coverage fades. It has moved to the responsibility of the blogger to move and keep eyes on this issue to insure justice is done in this issue. Do something to help go out and purchase any periodical that has Jena 6 coverage in it.

The difference between a candle and a firecracker is endurance. Firecrackers make a big bang like this rally attended by notables, but the true test is to keep the heat on like a candle. Candles can be weak but they can also tip over and set the whole house on fire.

Ouch!! That pole is going to move!


I'm sorry for making Kuwait seem like a morbid place it really isn't, but one of the pastimes that we experience going to and from base is the intensity of the accidents that happen. Like this one for instance, how could you not see that pole there? The problem is that most drivers regardless of age a lot of times drive like our teenagers. There is really no speed limit per se, but a good thing when we were leaving we saw the cops pull some people over so we will see how it will develop over the next couple of years. This particular accident has been on display for about a month. Normally they leave them in place for 2 weeks so that the souls can find their way out. That's what I was told.
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Blam!!





This is the wall where Saddam shot the Kuwaiti Naval Officers. I took this on my latest jaunt to Kuwait. Since I have been up there and talking to people I find that he really was an awful person. He killed a lot of people for absolutely no reason at all. I told you all that I would post something this week and well it has as Safa predicted been a week. I don't want to go much more than that.

Someone queried me today about who I thought was more at fault for American slavery and I had to say that I felt that neither the buyers or sellers were ultimately at fault because I don't. I think that it was an institution that was in place and those that were involved had no idea of the far reaching effects that it had. Just like drug dealers today really don't look into the moral implications of their trade. They are guilty for purporting and carrying on genocide, however the factors around the drug trade aren't always that black and white. However those who mistreated their slaves were those who were ultimately faulty. Had the slaves came over here and been treated humanely allowing them to keep their families and religion in tact then African Americans as a whole would not be in the massive state of disarray (AND THAT IS AN OVER EXAGGERATION) that we are. I went on to tell him that I would rather slavery still be an institution than the gross wholesale slaughter that is going on in the African continent today. At least with slavery there is sparing of life and some semblance of hope. As far as Muslims would be concerned there would at least be an opportunity to free a slave and educate that person so that they could effect change in the country that they were sold out of.

Back to that drug dealer analogy. If it is looked at from a capitalistic standpoint the drug trade is only a tool that the capitalist machine uses to subjugate a people. It is no secret that most of the war on drugs efforts are highly concentrated in the impoverished community. It is an extensive formidable business. In several parts of the country it is an economy sustaining endeavor. In those places the efforts of clearing out the problem aren't that extensive or the police force is so overrun they can't possibly contain it.

I look at each problem of the American experience as a tool in one way or another and there can be multiple arguments pro and con on most issues. However I take the stance that there is a knowledgeable power base that is systematically using it's resources to keep certain populations from realizing the American dream.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

OKay OKay I'm in deep thought

Goodness you leave for just a little bit to sink in to solitary bliss and peeps have got to get in your face. Love it.

So what in the world is going on? Nothing much I'm just thinking about the next million dollar idea and the way that my finances are going it looks like I will have to get off of my but and make one and bring it to market. I think it is Allah's way of telling me to get off of my butt and do some work with my brain that He gave me. Luckily I don't have to reinvent the wheel I just have to package it up and sell it.

I Will write a little more later.

Peace.

yes this week sheesh!