sunday morning revelations

April 18, 2011

Read the instructions please :)


1) DO NOT PRESS PLAY ON THE YOUTUBE VIDEO. Instead, find the volume controller and mute it swiftly.

2) Proceed to press play on the audio clip, while almost simultaneously pressing play on the video.

3) Please stop the YouTube video once the music stops.

4)Sit back and enjoy!

JAWS Theme by donyapourtaghi

…Scary right?

Now, if you listen to the video un-muted, you shall find that all is well as you groove to the beat of the catchy song.

Some symptoms you might have experienced while watching the video paired with the Jaws theme song might be one or more of the following:

  • Mild panic.
  • Close proximity to the computer screen.
  • Looking away from the screen at points of high tension.
  • Slight shivering.
  • And many more.

I find it funny that just the manipulation of the audio track of a seemingly harmless video could inspire such a huge change in your mental and physical reactions to what was going on.

It is also what I love most about the movie Jaws. Even though I manipulated suspense for about 2 minutes, Spielberg had managed to achieve that for 2.5 hours while also portraying the theme of suspense itself.

Can suspense even be a theme?

Of course!

IN fact, its the kind of theme which the audience realizes as they are watching the movie. They understand that if the movie wasn’t as perfectly timed, or the ominous orchestra was removed, then all they would be looking at would be an unfortunate story about a misunderstood, incredibly large shark, who happened to be the cause of many deaths on the beach. An incredibly bloody documentary.

Actually, you wouldn’t even know what was killing the poor beach goers up until you are halfway into the movie! There would be no element of fear, and the tale of the Murderous Hollywood Fish would… flop.

Why is it that we fear most what we don’t see? Is it because it is not available to be familiar with?

It’s not like we can pause the movie Jaws, and turn the camera angle to fit both the man eating shark and the human happy meal.

So we are left with the growing image of a pair of legs, slowing getting closer, all the while the music is becoming more intense and adrenaline rises. You know that fate is sealed for those legs, and there is nothing you can do about it! But as soon as this thought crosses your mind, the scene is over and all that is left are the random appendages floating listlessly in the ocean.

It’s quite a beautiful thing.


April 16, 2011

Dun Dun. Duuun. DUN

Have you ever had a sinking feeling, preventing you from swimming too far from shore? Or to the middle of the lake and back? The certain uneasiness that accompanies your inability to see your legs clearly?

Or maybe the fact the farther you go, the deeper it gets, and the deeper it gets, the more chance that it will be difficult to flee from the other things you share the water with.

Or maybe its just me.

It was this assortment of assumptions about open water/deep water/drop offs that delayed my pick up of the mechanics of swimming.

But on the other side of the coin, it spurred my curiosity.

Is it really like The Little Mermaid down there? Or is there just a group of possibly carnivorous, scaly devil fish huddling in a group, eyes trained on the surface, waiting for the delicious lure of a pair of writhing legs?

Considering my early fear of water, I think I might have leaned towards the other possibility.

But, to this day, I still have an interest in what goes on in the level of water where its so dark, you cant see in front of your face.

Which I guess prompted me to choose the movie Jaws for the unit of Novel, Album of Movie study that is currently going on in my English class.

Even though I have seen the film since I was little, (my older cousin’s idea, not mine) I think that revisiting it with the objective to understand the movie, will be something to look forward to.

For those of you have haven’t seen the film, might I implore you look at the trailer below?

Suspense, suspense, suspense.

1 note
April 7, 2011

Humming Through History.

Never underestimate the power of the melodic word. Learn to appreciate the tunes that carry hardships and victories. Verses that inspire, and others that warn of dangers ahead.

Remember that when there was no paper to write on, people strung together rhythmic phrases to immortalize memories. A form of history that can be taught around the warmth of a campfire.

It’s all about the perspective.

An Emigrants’ Daughter

Oh please ne’er forget me though waves now lie o’er me
I was once young and pretty and my spirit ran free
But destiny tore me from country and loved ones
And from the new land I was never to see.
A poor emigrant’s daughter too frightened to know
I was leaving forever the land of my soul
Amid struggle and fear my parents did pray
To place courage to leave o’er the longing to stay.

They spoke of a new land far away ‘cross the sea
And of peace and good fortune for my brothers and me
So we parted from townland with much weeping and pain
‘Kissed the loved ones and the friends we would ne’er see again.
The vessel was crowded with disquieted folk
The escape from past hardship sustaining their hope
But as the last glimpse of Ireland faded into the mist
Each one fought back tears and felt strangely alone.

The seas roared in anger, making desperate our plight
And a fever came o’er me that worsened next night
Then delirium possessed me and clouded my mind
And I, for a moment, saw that land left behind.
I could hear in the distance my dear mother’s wailing
And the prayers of three brothers that I’d see no more
And I felt father’s tears as he begged for forgiveness
For seeking a new life on the still distant shore.

Oh please ne’er forget me though waves now lie o’er me
I was once young and pretty and my spirit ran free
But destiny tore me from country and loved ones
And from the new land I was never to see.

"Destiny tore me from my country and loved ones" Think about what it would be like to have an entire ocean between you and all that you are familiar with. Recognizable faces are replaced with the worn and scared ones that reflect yours. The chance of you seeing anything resembling home or even arriving to your new home is slim to none.

"They spoke of a new land far away ‘cross the sea
And of peace and good fortune for my brothers and me” All there is left to look forward to is the land of found fortune and packaged prosperity. Maybe a chance at a better life awaits.

"Then delirium possessed me and clouded my mind" Too bad that the boat ride to wealth is one lined with disease and relentless seasickness.

"The new land I was never to see."I told you that the chances were slim…

March 12, 2011

This is the manifestation of my take on my English class’s “This I Believe Unit”.

This unit has definitely wrenched open my eyes. It didn’t dramatically change my life, but it has given me brand new things to look at, and that very was refreshing.

I think it would be cool to make a habit of this. Every six months or so, just sit down and write what you believe. Then look back on your past beliefs and see just how much you’ve grown.


(The audio file)

This I believe audio by donyapourtaghi

March 7, 2011

I begin to write these words, painfully forcing out each sentence, waiting for her to show up. To materialize from whatever dark place she comes from to make my life difficult.

She appears every time I create. She hangs around the room, like a bad smell, to remind me that if I’m good, there’s someone out there who is better. So why try?

More often than not I can push her to the side, reaffirm my self confidence and resume my work.

But today, the circumstances are different.

She walks in knowing that writing my “This I believe” essay will be difficult for me. She knows that writing about something that I think is worth sharing will be a long process. She makes it her duty to see me fail. She urges me to look at the negative.

I don’t start off strong, already wobbling under the unspoken expectations of this assignment. Every 10 minutes I take a break to look at what my fellow students have written and sigh. How do I even start? Is there any point to starting?

This is her cue. She slinks towards me, stopping to look over my shoulder. Her mouth curves into a smirk, while she happily points out some poor word choice. She mentions, almost as an afterthought, that no one else could have made a mistake like that. My morale, confidence and overall contentedness levels simultaneously drop into the negatives. 

Ignoring the growing will to give up, I try and fight my way through her misleading fog of doubt. 

I declare:

"I’m an awesome writer"

She replies with ease.

"What if you are not this time?"

I dismiss her half heartedly.

"I’m good enough"

That sounds strange coming out of my mouth, so I finish the job and answer for her.

"If I was good enough, I’d have had my essay done by now."  

With my admission, her smirk turns into an elated smile as she grows double her usual height. I’ve just added fuel to the blazing fire. 

She reaches down from over my shoulder to press my finger onto the backspace key. The fog she creates becomes thicker now that I’m left staring at a blank screen. 

Inwardly suffocating, I abruptly stand up and leave. I have better things to do than just sit and wallow in self pity. I could make a snack, watch TV or even clean my room. 

Even though she can’t follow me around as blatantly, she still manages so remind me that the essay is never going to be complete if I keep avoiding her. 

Its a valid point, but I’m done being mature right now. 

And so, day by day I ignore and avoid, watching as the deadline moves unflinchingly towards me. I choose to look away.

Later on, I realize that I’m going to use this essay to help myself, to gain some experience on how to deal with her. Summoning up courage from the reserves inside of me, I share my story with my classmates, and surprisingly, they have empathy for my misguided attempts. I’m surrounded with nothing but positive energy. My vulnerability was met with their vulnerability to create understanding.

Even as I walk to a separate classroom to finally get started on this project, their murmurs of encouragement follow me on the way out. They form a new, positive shadow thats easier to carry around. This shadow doesn’t expect perfection, it expects Donya. My originality that has no choice but to shine through in my writing. It makes me understand that suffocating my uniqueness with rules and expectations that don’t exist is the very nourishment that my tormentor needs. 

Now that I read over my words, I’m satisfied. I’m not self pitying, nor am I longing for someone elses talent. I am just being me. 

It’s my turn to smile as she shrinks, curling into herself, to eventually be swept away and never be acknowledged again.  

I believe that the only person standing in my way of my own extraordinary potential is me

March 2, 2011

The Firstest Draft. (mercy please)

Look who got around to posting something on the computer!

Seems like I have gotten over my befuddled and unmotivated self depreciation and, in celebration of that, I want to post what has shoved me in the right direction.

(the following is a condensed version of my first post, the other version is riddled with too much infuriating teen angst to be considered postable.) 

I believe that the only person standing in my way is me.

Every time I sit down and write, I appear beside myself to look over my own shoulder. I’ll critique myself until I cry, or I’ll shoot down my own skills in favour of ranting about how meaningful and moving someone else’s writing was. Usually, I’m able to shove myself into a little corner and go about finishing my work, but now that I’m faced with something as huge as “This I Believe”, the negative side of me morphs into a wall. I just cant get past her. 

(Skip over irrelevant rambling to reach the good stuff)

I let her peer over my shoulder and sneer. She’s worming her way through my head and is being projected onto my page. I feel powerless to stop her because I believe that what she says is true. There’s nothing I could dream of writing that could compare to other peoples rough drafts.

Eventually, I find better things to do than just sit around listening to hateful words and waiting for inspiration, so I wander off, procrastinate, and even clean my room.

(skip skip skip)

"You’re an awesome writer"

"OK, but what if im not this time?"

"You’re good enough"

"If I was good enough, I’d have had this essay done by now"

I just pulled out the piece of paper that Ms.Mulder handed to me as I walked out.

"I’m good enough"

Am I?

(skip skip skip)

I want to be able to write something that I will still take seriously and appreciate when I’m older.

Thats about it.

So what I’m going to do next is make a revision incorporating all that was mentioned above.

And it shall reek of awesomeness.

As the rest of the essays posted by TALONS are.


1 note
February 21, 2011

This I Believe - You’re Doing it Right

This I Believe is an international organization engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives. More than 90,000 of these essays, written by people from all walks of life, are archived here on our website, heard on public radio, chronicled through our books, and featured in weekly podcasts. The project is based on the popular 1950s radio series of the same name hosted by Edward R. Murrow.

As I was going through the different essays, I came across one that I could really resonate with.

While some of the podcasts that I listened to described events I couldn’t really relate to, this one by Laura Durham is all about the grace that Laura, as a child in the 3rd grade, had witnessed thanks to her forgiving teacher.

What was awesome about it:

  • When Laura was speaking, her auditory punctuation helped with the overall presentation of the podcast, and she made me want to listen intently.
  • Before and after Laura began to tell her story, a man gave a short briefing about her background and what the gist of the story would be. This helped tie the whole podcast together
  • The topic she chose to speak about was easy to relate to, and I wanted to hear her story from start to finish, because I had a somewhat similar story of my own.
reblogged: (via)
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February 20, 2011
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February 18, 2011

Eventually. Thats my mantra when I come across such passionate and talented ukulele players like him..

Right now, I’m practicing my strumming and rhythm. I’m doing my best to memorize at least 20 different strumming patterns, so later, I can apply the one that best suits the song I would play. As far as rhythm goes, the amount of clapping I do, is going to permanently turn my hands red, but I’m getting somewhere!

The only song I can actually sing along with is called You and I by Ingrid Michaelson. It was the first song that I learned to play, and after about 1.5 months of trying to perfect it, here it is.

  You and I by Ingrid Michaelson (cover) by donyapourtaghi  

If you have a ukulele and want to learn how to play this song, here’s the link! (call me and then we can practice together!)

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February 15, 2011

Vulnerability is something I try to avoid at all costs.

I  have always thought it only meant that you were weak, and that being vulnerable was an open invitation for anyone to make you miserable.

I feel weird sharing my music tastes with even my closest friends. 

Initiating conversation is something that I try to avoid at all costs.

Ironically, blogging about things that aren’t directly related to school is strange for me.

But I want to change that, after participating in a very insightful English class.

Vulnerability is not 100% negative. You might think that its an invitation for someone to twist your arm behind your back, but, like so many other things, there is always another point of view.

Believe it or not, vulnerability is something that few very people embrace but the fact, is the people who do, live their lives wholeheartedly. Every feeling they have (negative or positive),is something they feel with the entirety of their being,.

They choose not to desensitize their emotions by becoming indifferent, they understand that vulnerability, whether in the form of a passionate opinion, or a skeleton in the closet, is something that can link them with another person, and being open about it will invite a number of connections so high, it would probably blow everyone’s mind.

On a slightly random, yet eventually relevant note, have you ever wanted to do something or participate in something that you normally didn’t do, but in the end, decided not to because it was just not something you do.

What would people say? They’d probably think you’re trying to be something you’re not. They’ll probably get annoyed and assume things that are the polar opposite from the real truth.

Or maybe that’s just what would happen if the world reflected people’s insecurity

Does that make sense?

People who don’t normally write songs or poetry, do not have the capacity to ever produce something of that nature, ever.

I used to think so.

But like I mentioned above, I want to change that perception, and so I’ve chosen to share some “poetry” that I have written last night.

You may not think its poetry, but I’d like to think it is.

So, just a briefing: I really don’t think this is ready to be posted. Also, I don’t see myself as any type of wordsmith, so much so that if I were to read this out-loud to you, it would probably make me blush. I just put together what sounds good.


Twisting, floating down in translucent ribbons. Curving up towards the barrier, reaching with ghostly fingers. Grasping the nothingness, yet still feeling satisfied. You chase your own ending in a cycle that never stops.

Except now the lines that define you become fuzzy and the energy that keeps you in motion begins to dwindle.

Stopping is not an option. It is a punishment and the barrier that will keep you from floating aimlessly. Pinpoint your life blood, expand your veins with the feeling of existence.

Feel the brushes of with hollow, worldly beings, clutching on to their own memories of bliss that once encompassed them.

Little flakes start to peel away, marking your place as you wander forwards. All your possessions are stored solely in your mind but lightness doesn’t follow those who have nothing to carry.

That’s it. This is me being vulnerable and very very uncomfortable.


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February 14, 2011

The Red River Rebellion in 15 Seconds.

Our social studies teacher, Mr. J, asked for simplicity when telling this story. I think my quad delivered. 15 whole seconds of it. 

If thats not simplicity, I really don’t know what is.

The project that my quad had put together represents what we thought the four basic stages of the Red River Rebellion were. We related these stages by making short “scenes” of each member acting out the different “emotions” that each stage represented. These scenes were done in the perspective of the Metis. 

The emotions we included were: 

Happiness- This is how the Metis were feeling for about 40 years because the Red River Settlement was stable and all community members got along fairly well. Even though if we had asked a Metis person to act out their emotion at that time, it probably wouldn’t have been “jumping for joy” as Veronica was doing, but compared to other events that happen later that helped form Manitoba, I would say that happiness would be the best fit for this time.

Or perhaps, now that I think about it, contentment would have probably fit better. Like I mentioned above, the Metis’ world probably wasn’t rainbows and butterflies, but it wasnt as if they were living the lowest of lows either. 

hmm. I guess thats what the purpose of these reflection posts are for…

Suspicion-This is an emotion I would have felt if I were a Metis and I had started to notice Canadians sniffing around the land I lived on. I would be wondering what was happening, and given the reputation the Canadians had when treating the Metis (complete hatred), I would assume the worst. 

Smugness- (because we are a bit sarcastic) When the TALONS class was discussing our project after we presented, it seemed as though “smug” wasn’t really the best emotional word choice.

My explanation for our word choice is that even though the Metis were completely non violent in their take over of Fort Gary (there is definitely nothing violent about an IOU note after they leave), I would assume that the Metis would have a certain air of “nyah-nyah-nyah” about them. If you think about it, what were the chances that the Metis-the “half breeds” of society- would come together and thwart the plan that the HBC and the Canadian government were concocting? Was their timing so great that they revolted just as a government election was going on? How bad would wiping out underprivieledged Metis look for an election canidate? 

I dont know about you…but I would be smug. Especially since I one upped the nation that treated me like a bug. (intentional rhyming)

Victorious- This emotion is pretty self explanatory. Even after hard times, murders, and general unfair circumstances, the Metis reached the top and Manitoba was born. Again, I beleive that about 75% of their victory came from an impeccable timing. But in the end, a victory is a victory and that is a great way to end a revolution. 

February 3, 2011

Why not Youtube?

Take a look, but its not just the incredibly long picture :)

Thanks to we have, for your viewing pleasure, a bit of the history of Youtube.

It sort of blows my mind that something like Youtube has a history.

Will anyone have to study it in the future?

50 years from now, I imagine our great great grandchildren in some sort of futuristic classroom environment, clicking on out-of-date webpages just to memorize such things like “When was Youtube founded?” on top of the American Revolution and WW2.

Lucky them.

Why arent we learning about things like Youtube in school? I believe having knowledge about events as they are happening is equally, if not more, substantial than understanding the past.

What we learn from the past can be applied to the future, but if the future is always repeating itself, can we not move on?

Did you know that its possible to get paid via Youtube?

Its incredibly difficult, but isn’t medical school?

Some people, like Michael Buckley, are able to produce 6 figures from their youtube channel.


Imagine how many more opportunities would open up for people who refuse to work 9-5 jobs? Those who would rather learn something new every day than hand in an inventory report by the end of the week? Jobs that invite you to share your opinion, and teaches you to accept the opinions of others, rather than keep your thoughts to yourself and resent whoever might disagree with you.

I believe that everyone has incredible potential.

But no one likes to be categorized and withheld in the different levels of the current job situations.

Oh! You’re a Doctor - You’re on top of the world

Janitor? - Don’t even bother, you didn’t try hard enough.

What if that janitor didn’t want to become a doctor, lawyer or politician? What if his parents could not provide for his future like they should have?

But he had always had a knack for speech. He could captivate you with his words, even if it was complete nonsense. He was much more comfortable talking in front of a crowd, than taking a math final.

Poor guy.

So, what happened to his try? Where is his chance to shine?

Woops, it floated away with his youth and energy on the train of life.

What if he was educated about these things in school?

That could have been him earning millions by charming others with his talent for the unconventional.

Unconventional FOR THE WIN.

278 notes
February 2, 2011

Khaled Said.

Khaled Saeed is probably not someone you know. He wasn’t the feature story on CNN, he wasn’t a topic of discussion at school and didn’t come to my attention until today. February 2nd 2011.

He was brutally tortured to death on June 6th 2009.

He wasn’t a criminal, at least not in the typical sense. His mind wasn’t filled with depraved murderous thoughts, nor did his mind swirl with the deranged memories of past allegations.

His death sentence was issued for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The fact that he shone a light on an awful side something that’s supposed to protect the public made him a criminal. Someone who deserved to be beaten so mercilessly, that his face became a picture of unadulterated anguish when he died.

On that summer day of June 6th 2009, Khaled stumbled upon a group of police men who were dealing out the drugs that they had confiscated from someone, and instead of flushing them down the toilet, (or however you get rid of those illegal substances) chose to use them for their own recreational destructiveness. 

Khaled didn’t say anything, (they were the police after all)  but instead chose to tell the world what had happened through his blog.

I think the police might have had an internet content screen for anything that was published in Egypt with the word “police” in it, because a couple of hours later, 2 un-uniformed officers set out to find Khaled.

The search was short; they found him at an internet cafe just a couple minutes away from his home. Upon being sighted, Khaled was forcefully moved away from the establishment and onto the street.

20 minutes later, he was dead. His skull cracked against the steps of the building next door.

There are other sides to this story, some claiming that he really was a criminal and the reason he died was because of choking to death on the container of drugs he hid in his mouth from the police.

But if you were to look at a picture of his face after his death, the sight would make you wonder why the police would go through that much trouble to severely beat someone to death because of the drugs they were hoarding.

In this article , it is thought that Khaled Saeed’s death was one of the many factors in the start of the Egyptian protests. On the news, there was some footage of demonstrators holding up pictures of his face and shouting “Khaled Said!” with passionate anger.

Khaled’s brutal death was one of the events that pushed the Egyptians to voice their anger, but was it worth his torture for the sake of his country’s change? 

Do you think that if he was alive today, that he would endure immeasurable amounts of pain to have the same outcome? Would you do that for your country and for future generations?

It sounds as if I’m bordering on sacrifice here, but that’s what this is isn’t it?

Only a small percent of people can actually say whatever comes to mind and publish it for whoever to see without having to sleep with one eye open.

The other percent are faced with the possible death of what they believe, who they love and even themselves if they share what they think.

And they do it anyways.

It seems as though Khaled was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and happened to be given a glimpse of how twisted everything really is.The people who were trained to protect and provide an example, were instead exploiting their power in order to get a quick fix.

I think Khaled’s death was one caused to uphold an image, but then later on turned into ammunition for millions of people who were wronged on a daily basis.

I don’t know this man, nor will I ever get a chance to meet him, but the fact that he chose (unknowingly, perhaps) knowledge instead of his own life, made me admire him anyways.

And that is what Khaled said.