Welcome to MartinsQuest.com. This is the personal, professional, and philosophical
website of Martin Braithwaite. It contains humourous pictures and captions from his Baha'i life
as a youth in Ottawa coupled with psychological
insights and piercing perspectives.
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Apartment. I've moved and my new place is really nice!
Stay tuned to be invited over for the grand opening devotional
gathering. Even though my place was in shambles I still hosted 17
family members for a thanksgiving meal which was so yum good.
Automobile. I purchased a car as well. A white 1998 Honda
Civic in pretty good shape. My new insurance salesman is the man,
driving to my work so I could conveniently sign the papers and
coming in at HALF the cost that my family member's insurance company
quoted. Arthur Peterson, 613, 728-8222. Needless to say, based on
these last two items,
this dream will no longer become a reality.
Children's classes. We had so many kids at the last class
it was great! A number of different age groups each helping the
younger ones learn the Baha'i quotations and songs. Heartening.
Basketball. Today Payam and Anis came to my work to play
basketball with us as we do each Wednesday. It worked out really
well, despite my trepidations, and they may become permanent
Forgive and forget. One of my friends said that this
expression was in the Bible but I have yet to find it. In the Bahai
Writings the only reference is to forgive and forget. Ideas?
Teaching Projects. Ottawa is embarking on an ambitious
teaching project from Nov 2-11th that is focused on receptive
neighbourhoods in the context of full, intense days. Bold.
September 23rd.More updates!!
MOVING!!!!! Yea, that's right. The days of living in my mom's
basement with every available comfort and enjoying unlimited
personal accommodations are over! On Oct 4th at 3pm I will be moving
in to a two-bedroom apartment in Blackburn. I have yet to see the
inside of the place but
I know the neighbourhood so well that it is of little
importance—so many friends I've made since a few friends and I began
children's classes and junior youth groups there.
I'm glad to be living in an area where I can
engage in uplifting and spiritual discussions with people
around me and collectively and freely discuss ways to improve
ourselves and the neighbourhood around us.
Giveaway Day. How would you like to get free
furniture, books, and appliances?! Well on October 13th there will
be another give away day, so people from all over will leave
unwanted items outside in the morning to be picked up by others.
Olympic Torchbearer. My friend, Luis Hong-Sanchez, is
applying to be one of 8 expatriates to carry the Olympic torch.
China Daily, China's national English-language news-paper, is having
a vote online, and the top 100 people will be sent on to the Beijing
Olympic Committee for consideration.
He is in the 8th grade, currently living in Beijing.
Vote now for this positive, constructive, and considerate youth
who is endowed with a contagious enthusiasm.
Website updates. It seems like putting updates up every
few days (weeks) is more sustainable than daily. I'll do my best
though as I know that there are those of you out there that like my
Work. I enjoy my job amazingly.
CGC stuff. I am still adjusting to working with Pej M.
and Justin K (our cluster development facilitator) to
get things done for the growth committee in Ottawa but things look
exceedingly promising. Welcome back Pej!
Car. I missed getting a car by about 20 mins when someone
snuck in before me and made an offer. Argh!
August 21st.Some much needed updates:
I'm back!! Yes, it has been almost 6 weeks since I have
updated my site. Wow. It has been a good break but now it is time to
get back into the swing of things.
Deal. Fly from Toronto to Tel Aviv for only $499 each way on
Air Canada sale! Fares are valid for departures from Oct 1-Dec
13, 2007 and from Dec 30-Mar 14, 2008. You must book by August
Shoutbox. My host upgraded something and it has never
worked since. I'm trying to revive it now.
Fire and Snow. This two week training session and foray
into intense, neighbourhood collective direct teaching was
Conference. I was planning on going to this until the very last
minute when, at the advice of team members, decided to stay the
course for Ottawa's expansion phase. Oh well, I can always find
someone next year...
Work. I have some new responsibilities now at work that
are at once challenging and rewarding.
A number of us are initiating core activities in Blackburn which
basically consist of reflecting on writings of Baha'u'llah in
different settings and applying them in our personal lives and to
establish unity and justice in the area.
is really for those who do not see prescribe to this kind of
formula for life. If you would like to take part, and
everyone is welcome to, just send me an email.
New Friends. Linked with the above, Dan, myself, and
others have made great new friends in Blackburn—good times!
Gordon in town. Yes, he's here—drop by to see him. :)
July 2nd-14th. Announcement. For the next two weeks I will
be at Fire and Snow training in Toronto learning how to more
effectively offer services to communities for various populations.
I have decided that for this time it would
be best if I went 'off the grid.' So I will not be
checking email or be in phone contact during this time, the only
guaranteed way to reach me is to send my cell phone a text message which
I will strive to check once a day at night.
June 26th. Some updates. Hopefully these
will compensate for the brief paucity of new posts.
Picnic. Although I don't have any pictures to
substantiate this, the fundraising picnic was great!
Summer School. This year everyone is invited to another
Baha'i Summer School where the theme will be 'Character, Mission
and the Power of Divine Assistance.' It is over the August 3rd
weekend and the weekend away is a great chance to meet others,
attend interesting workshops, and relax. I've gone 2 of the last 4
years. Here is the registration
info plus pictures from 2003
Cryptic. One more under banner in Ottawa.
My good friend Aaron began BIFA (Baha'i
International Football Association) a while back and this
initiative has been building momentum recently. If you want to
participate in the soccer or catch the group during their occasional
prayers visit their site for more information.
Random: I can't wait to see N & F's new apartment!
Eagle has landed! My dreadlocked brother Justin and his platonic
consort Jing are in town for the next week so be sure to invite them
to things. You can reach the J man at our house.
Random: I'm more amazed each day by the power of the
institute to unlock potential.
June 15th. Article.
A Brief History of Economic Time.
Shares very interesting economic trends over time. And just as a
reminder, when I post articles like this it is not because I
unconditionally support the content, but that it is thought provoking.
Modern humans first emerged about 100,000 years ago.
For the next 99,800 years or so, nothing happened.
Well, not quite nothing. There were wars, political
intrigue, the invention of agriculture — but none
of that stuff had much effect on the quality of
people's lives. Almost everyone lived on the modern
equivalent of $400 to $600 a year, just above the
subsistence level. True, there were always tiny
aristocracies who lived far better, but numerically
they were quite insignificant.
Then — just a couple of hundred years ago, maybe 10
generations — people started getting richer. And
richer and richer still. Per capita income, at least
in the West, began to grow at the unprecedented rate
of about three quarters of a percent per year. A
couple of decades later, the same thing was
happening around the world.
Against a backdrop like that, the temporary ups and
downs of the business cycle seem fantastically
minor. In the 1930s, we had a Great Depression, when
income levels fell back to where they had been 20
years earlier. For a few years, people had to live
the way their parents had always lived, and they
found it almost intolerable. The underlying
expectation — that the present is supposed to be
better than the past — is a new phenomenon in
history. No 18th-century politician would have
asked "Are you better off than you were four years
ago?" because it never would have occurred to anyone
that they ought to be better off than they were four
Rising income is only part of the story. One hundred
years ago the average American workweek was over 60
hours; today it's under 35. One hundred years ago 6%
of manufacturing workers took vacations; today it's
over 90%. One hundred years ago the average
housekeeper spent 12 hours a day on laundry,
cooking, cleaning and sewing; today it's about three
As far as the quality of the goods we buy, try
picking up an electronics catalogue from, oh, say,
2001 and ask yourself whether there's anything there
you'd want to buy. That was the year my friend Ben
spent $600 for a 1.3-megapixel digital camera that
weighed a pound and a half.
The moral is that increases in measured income —
even the phenomenal increases of the past two
centuries — grossly understate the real
improvements in our economic condition. The average
middle-class American might have a smaller measured
income than the European monarchs of the Middle
Ages, but I suspect that Tudor King Henry VIII would
have traded half his kingdom for modern plumbing, a
lifetime supply of antibiotics and access to the
The source of this wealth — the engine of
prosperity — is technological progress. And the
engine of technological progress is ideas — not
just the ideas from engineering laboratories, but
also ideas like new methods of crop rotation, or
just-in-time inventory management. You can fly from
New York to Tokyo partly because someone figured out
how to build an airplane and partly because someone
figured out how to insure it. I'm writing this on a
personal computer instead of an electric typewriter
partly because someone said, "Hey! I wonder if we
can make computer chips out of silicon!" and partly
because someone said "Hey! I wonder if we can
finance startups with junk bonds!"
Some good ideas even come from economists. Julian
Simon came up with the idea of bribing airline
passengers to give up their seats on overbooked
flights — and gone were the days when you relied on
the luck of the draw to make it to your daughter's
wedding. Economists first suggested creating
property rights in African elephants, a policy that
has given villagers an incentive to harvest at a
sustainable rate and drive the poachers away. The
result? Villagers have prospered and the elephant
population has soared.
Engineers figure out how to harness the power of
technology; economists figure out how to harness the
power of incentives.
Mr. Landsburg (The Free Press, 2007). The
Unconven-tional Wisdom of Economics (source)
June 14th. A Day in the life. Yesterday Jennie, Carl and Garth
came over for spaghetti dinner. We had a blast and the day even saw a 30-minute wrestling match in the back yard
pitted my pythons and tree trunks against their hapless flagellations.
I didn't object to the easy of victory.
Afterwards we looked at movie
trailers on my 37", peeked at baby pics, mastered the mega flick,
got blinded by my 10 mcp torch, prayed for a while, played "Who wants to
be...", and heard unfiltered stories about school pubescence classes. :)
June 11th.Announcement! Rounding out
four in the last week, but none the less exciting, Nadia Mehrassa and
Ryan McStravick have announced their engagement. Knowing Nadia for a
number of years I am sure that her and Ryan will be very happy together.
All the best with them as they prepare for their August wedding.
11th. Video. This video site from Consumer Reports shows how various cars fare in
front and side impact tests at 30 mph. I must say that this has really
encouraged me to be even more prudent when driving—ok, to begin to be
prudent—those videos are brutal!!
June 11th.Announcement! With great gladness I am
thrilled to announce the engagement of a longtime, suspected love
interest Negar Alibabaiy and Fuad Tanha! Congrats to both of them
and here is a gallery of pictures of Negar and I
to stir any lingering suspicions. :)
June 8th.A Day in the Life. While I am
very happy with my current workplace, there are a few occupational areas
that I would like to further explore along the lines of web and
business development. While many possibilities still remain on both
sides, pending some unforeseen act, I will be seeking other
employment (not necessarily employer!) in the coming three
June 8th. Recommendation. Recently, I went to Groovy's Roti Hut
with a friend and WOW, the food was fantastic. I am notoriously hesitant
to try new cuisine so I was especially glad when this panned out. The
outside and inside decor are admittedly shady, but the food, my
goodness, the food!, wow.
June 7th.Announcement. Congrats to Mehry and Justin
who will be getting married later this year! I know both of them very
well; Mehry from her indefatigable work strengthening the junior youth
program here, and Justin from the indomitable Toronto trio. I can only
hope that Justin will take favour to Lees, a nice quaint,
friendly, safe, kind, neighbourhood near downtown. ;)
June 7th.A Day in the Life. I made a firm offer on
a gem of a car—a thoroughly banged-up 2002 Hyundai Accent SE for
apporx. 3k with 150k km. This weekend will determine what happens.
Update: Look like my car plans just got in an
Dear Martin, I am afraid I have some bad news. I cannot sell the car to
you, or to anyone else. I'm not sure if I told you, but I am getting a
new car; unbeknownst to me was the condition that I bring my car in as a
trade. I am really sorry about having inconvenienced you. I wish you the
best in your search in in your affairs. Please accept, again, my deepest
apologies. Sincerely, Greg
"...we must not allow ourselves to forget the
continuing, appalling burden of suffering under which millions of human
beings are always groaning—a burden which they have borne for century upon
The principal cause of this suffering, which
one can witness wherever one turns, is the corruption of human morals and
the prevalence of prejudice, suspicion, hatred, untrustworthiness,
selfishness and tyranny among men. It is not merely material well- being
that people need. What they desperately need is to know how to live their
lives—they need to know who they are, to what purpose they exist, and how
they should act towards one another; and, once they know the answers to
these questions they need to be helped to gradually apply these answers to
...we know that the working of the material
world is merely a reflection of spiritual conditions and until the spiritual
conditions can be changed there can be no lasting change for the better in
House of Justice to the NSA of Italy, 'Comments on
the Bahá’í Attitude Toward Material Suffering,' 19
June 5th. Article. What the world eats.
Take a look into the dinner table of 15 families from around the world.
June 5th.Announcement. So, I was
surfing the web today and stumbled across
I am very happy for both Tahirih and Jeremy!
At the tender ages of 18 and 17,
Tahirih and Jeremy met for the first time in Albania. Tahirih, a
dancer in the Diversity Dance Theatre, met Jeremy when his family
hosted her group and he was enlisted as a guide/interpreter (Who
knew he could speak Albanian? He definitely didn’t.) Perhaps the
riots and civil unrest distracted them because it wasn’t until ten
years later that they reconnected in New York City. Unbeknownst to
them, life lead them back to each other.
Their first date spent chatting
over sea bass and live jazz, they both felt an immediate connection.
Soon afterwards, Jeremy called his brother and sister and said,
“Mark my words! I have a special feeling that she’s the one, but if
it doesn’t work out, don’t tell anyone.” Similarly, Tahirih called
her mother raving about all they had in common and how much she
loved spending time with him.
The rest, as they say, is history…
June 1st.Article. The Myth Of Salads. I
was shocked, shocked to read how my humble double cheeseburger was
healthier than many fast food salads! Maybe this explains my weight
maintenance over the years. If anyone can add commentary to this please
do so in the shoutbox. Until then, viva los burger!
May 31st.Article. "100
Words Every High School Graduate Should Know," even though it
could be called the 100 most useless words. :) There is an
over-fascination in our culture on knowledge and not on its
application for the material and spiritual advancement of others. Oh
well, I guess I am contributing to this with the post. In looking over
the list briefly I suspect that I can use 66 of these correctly in a
May 30th. Video. This video aptly captures the
importance of Children's education which treats them as gems to be
polished not merely empty containers to be filled. If you are a parent
demanding that these classes be offered in your
neighborhood, until you can
go through the training to offer it yourself!
May 29th. Upcoming Event.
Many of you know about the incredible success of Pebbles and Pearls last
year in Toronto. Now, in addition to the training, there will be a
spiritual junior youth camp (age 12-15) from August 18-24 or
August 26 to September 2. The
deadline to apply has passed (May 30) so kudos to you who took advantage
to register your children!
May 29th. Video. Today is a
the Ascension of Baha'u'llah holy day comemoration. Read more below or
a nice slideshow.
"The face of him on whom I gazed I can never forget, though I
cannot describe it. Those piercing eyes seemed to read one's very
soul; power and authority sat on that ample brow.... No need to ask
in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the
object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors
sigh for in vain!"
Bahá'u'lláh was thus described by the well-known Cambridge
University Orientalist Edward Granville Browne in 1890. Bahá'u'lláh
had, at that time, been a prisoner and an exile for almost 40 years
and His teachings were shrouded in obscurity; today He is recognized
by millions of followers around the world as the Manifestation of
God or Divine Teacher for this age. According to Bahá'í belief,
Manifestations of God, including Moses, Abraham, Christ, Muhammad,
Krishna, and Buddha, have appeared at intervals throughout history
to found the world's great religious systems. They have been sent by
a loving Creator to enable us to know and to worship Him and to
bring human civilization to ever higher levels of achievement. (read
May 24th. A Day in the Life. This
weekend I'm driving with 6 friends to Toronto to go to a regional
inter-institutional conference to discuss ways to materially and
spiritually advance neigbourhoods toward ultimately bringing about the
realization of the principle of the oneness of mankind and the
efflorescence of civilization. Practically? Finding ways to initiate
core activities that effectively fuel such a movement.
May 24th.News. I was very excited to join a youth in
Kanata as he went around and invited his neighbours to an
outward-looking devotional which then took place tonight.
May 23rd.Pictures. Happy Declaration of the Bab!
a video made by the creative minds in the New York Baha'i
community. Also, I had a chance to post my pictures on
my smugmug site, although
Louis Brunet's pictures always seem to out do mine :)
May 19th.A Day in the Life.
This weekend a few friends from Toronto are coming, and there will be
copious tennis and outreach. I also played tennis with my friend Rana on
Friday for 20 mins where it was apparent that I hadn't lost my stuff!
Here are pictures of
tennis with the boysexactly 3 years ago.
Update: In dramatic fashion, owing largely to a
savage and unrelenting assault on his defenseless backhand and gored by
a kicking and bucking serve my courageous friend was slain in
Update #2: Picture of a few of 'da
boyz from the weekend!
May 17th.Trivia. A team of scientists
at a University in Sweden printed out a number a googol
characters long (a googol= 1 with 100 zeros after it) in a 1-point sized font. Conceivably true or patently
false? Answer in the shoutbox.
Update: Jing was right with his comment in the
shoutbox. A number with a googol characters is impossible. In fact,
there are not even that many particles in the universe!
May 16th.Announcement. There are a few types
of posts to my website that give me overwhelming joy to report on. I'm
very proud to say that our dear friend Misagh Ziaei has been accepted
into Medical School! For those of you know the tortuous road this
has been and can ably anticipate what an incredible physician Mees will
be, this announcement will be even more meaningful. He was accepted to
both McMaster and the University of Alberta so far and will likely be
attending the later. Wahoo!
May 14th.Some updates. Lots of
exciting things going on in Martin-land.
Day. I recently took my mom out to Kelsey's for Mother's Day and
we had a great time—we talked a lot and it helped me realise that I
need to spend more time with those I really care about—instead of
offering my time to the alter of oversleep and pseudo-important
things on my computer(s). :)
Ruhi Book 2. This has become the joy of my week and
visiting some of the youth between sessions a further bounty. They
are amazing! With the birth pangs of shoulder-to-shoulder
accompaniment beginning to take shape, the even immediate results
show unrivaled promise.
Naw Ruz Pictures. Yes, I got back my camera from Vafa and
these are finally up! Enjoy.
Friends, Friends, Friends. I had some great times with
friends this weekend, in person and on the phone. There are a number
of people that I really enjoy talking to that I have and haven't had
the chance to—alas. But for the ones we did, we looked at
furniture, talked about piscine miscellany, organized a tennis match
next week, delved into the emerging realities of teaching, and
discussed a poignant purpose-of-life quotation (see below)
When I mentioned this to
Morrie, he nodded. “It’s what everyone worries about, isn’t it? What if
today were my last day on earth?”…
“Mitch,” he said, “the
culture doesn’t encourage you to think about such things until you’re about
to i.e. We’re so wrapped up with egotistical things, career, family, having
enough money, meeting the mortgage, getting a new car, fixing the radiator
when it breaks—we’re involved in trillions of little acts just to keep
going. So we don’t get into the habit of standing back and looking at our
lives and saying, Is this all? Is this all that I want? Is something
“We’ve got a form of
brainwashing going on in our country,” Morrie sighed. “Do you know how they
brainwash people? They repeat something over and over. And that’s what we do
in this country. Owning things is good. More money is good. More property is
good. More commercialism is good. More is good. More is good. We
repeat it—and have it repeated to us—over and over until nobody bothers to
even think otherwise. The average person is so fogged up by all this, he has
no perspective on what’s really important anymore.
“Wherever I went in my
life, I met people wanting to gobble up something new. Gobble up a new car.
Gobble up a new piece of property. Gobble up the latest toy. And then they
wanted to tell you about it. ‘Guess what I got? Guess what I got?’
You know how I always
interpreted that? These people were so hungry for love that they were
accepting substitutes. They were embracing materials things and expecting
some sort of hug back. But it never works. You can’t substitute material
things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of
“Money is not a substitute
for tenderness, and power is not a substitute for tenderness. I can tell
you, as I’m sitting here dying, when you most need it, neither money nor
power will give you the feeling you’re looking for, no matter how much of
them you have.”
(“Tuesdays with Morrie: an old man, a young
man, and life’s greatest lesson.” by Mitch Albom)
May 7th. Pictures. Not convinced that you missed out on a
great reflection meeting this weekend? See
which paint the spirit of the event—where we all looked at what we have
done in the past few months and explored ways to improve. Goals were
set, spirits raised, and vision expanded.
Oh, and I wore shorts. :) I can't wait to do
typical summery things: picnics at Lac Philippe, outdoor
basketball and tennis, and outreach into neighborhoods to offer
children's classes and jr. youth courses!
May 6th. Stuff the vote. A good nursing
friend of mine has in turn a friend who is trying to get his home brewed Superbowl ad
propelled to win a contest and be featured at the real Superbowl. the
more people that begin viewing his video the better for him. He's doing
all of this on behalf of people with disabilities.
This reminds me of a quote we used to
say at the end of our skits routine when I was part of the Florida
Baha'i Dance Youth Workshop: "To be blind is unfortunate, but worse
it is to have sight and yet not see," the implication being that
with the tremendous capacity with which we are endowed we should realize
it and put it to good use.
May 5th. Picture. The
Cultivating the Roots conference this weekend in California brings
together Baha'is interested in using the web to promote justice, peace,
and community development. Representing Ottawa in this is Dan Jones, aka
Danger, aka Danimal—see if you can find him in
this picture. :)
May 4th.A Day in the life. So getting older and becoming
more mature usually involves large capital expenditures in say a car or
house to demonstrate certain financial and personal capacities.
A few years ago my dream was to have a replica
Lamborghini or an ultra luxurious RV to move me in this direction. While
bumming a ride and living with a very maternal roommate has since proved
my fate, my imaginations were re-awakened when I stumbled on—get this—modified
dump truck! And it is clear from the pictures that
securing companionship is still possible as well!
April 30th. Announcement. Today is the last day to
apply for the Fire and Snow
training program in Toronto this summer. Here youth and adults will
learn how to initiate community building activities in any neighbourhood.
Building off of the learning from last year's Pebbles to Pearls
training, from everything that I have heard, it will be truly
There are three 13-day sessions available
in July and August and it is open to anyone who has done the first four
Ruhi Books. Accommodations are provided for all. If you can attend, I
would give the strongest recommendation that you consider
doing so—preferably one of the first two sessions and the first if you
want to see me there!
April 30th.A day in the life. I just came
back from Toronto and had a great time. I got to witness in a
tie in the elections between Don Rogers and Borna Noureddin that was
prayerfully resolved; I went to 'the shrine' (Burger Shack) with some
tight buddies of mine, and got to visit my family in Pickering, with
Gordon and my mom, on the way home. It was fantastic.
This week I have a bday party, going-away
dinner, coffee with friend, home visit, Devotional, Ridvan holy day
observance, tutor collaboration session, reflection meeting, and teleconferenc. Yet, of course, I still have unlimited time for things that may
still come up which are of a higher priority (since conceptually there
is no such thing as being 'busy').
April 25th. Pictures. Yesterday was the grand opening of
the Ottawa Baha'i Centre. Present was the Mayor and Faith Leaders
from other communities. Here is the article that
appeared in the Citizen this morning, plus
that Louis Brunet took of this auspicious event. Many of you will
remember or indeed took part in the renovation and may enjoy these
photographs courtesy of Brian.
April 24th. Job. If you have
experience in web design, ASP, FrontPage, etc., and live in Ottawa with
a desire for full time employment, strongly consider letting me
April 23rd. Article. ‘Spiritual
elections’ not an oxymoron for Baha’is, is a
well-written article describing the Baha'i electoral process. "At a time
when trust in government is eroding everywhere in the world, and when
the electoral process in many nations has become discredited because of
endemic corruption, this new model of governance serves as an antidote
to apathy, alienation and despair...There's no campaigning, no
nominations, no electioneering and no issue platforms."
This weekend I'm traveling to Toronto to observe the Bahai
National Convention, where elected delegates from around the Canada will
gather to pray, consult, and vote for the National Spiritual Assembly of
April 23rd.Video. Here is a
farcical video with audio
dubbing that describes the Ruhi spiritual training courses offered
around the world. I suspect that it will be more greatly appreciated by
those that have done Ruhi Book 7.
April 20th. Upcoming Events. There
are 9 holy days throughout the year that Bahá'ís celebrate and
take off of work. Up next is Ridvan this Saturday. Here are the dates
for the upcoming holy days so that they can be requested off of work or
April 21 - Saturday - The first day of Ridvan April 29 - Sunday - The ninth day of Ridvan May 2 - Wednesday - The twelfth day of Ridvan May 23 - Wednesday - Declaration of the Báb May 29 - Tuesday - Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh July 9 - Monday - Martyrdom of the Báb
With great sadness I announce our family's loss of precious Sparky
who has been with us for over 12 years. He has brought us tremendous joy
and unforgettable memories and will be dearly, dearly missed. At 6:47pm
today, surrounded by his loved ones, he was gently put to sleep after
succumbing to acute liver failure. From all of us, Sparky, we love you!
April 17th.Event. This Saturday, from 1:45pm - 3:45pm, is
the First Day of Ridvan Celebration to commemorate the beginning
of 12 days when Baha'u'llah revealed his station (see
flyer). As usual, this event is open to everyone so I hope I'll see
I am really happy because I just filed my 2005 and 2006
Canadian Income Tax forms!
Sparky is really not doing well.
Optical Illusion. Look at the
image of the faces and then step back 8 feet and see them swap
April 16th. A day in the life.
Last Friday I played basketball with some folks in Kanata (Vaf,
Shidan, Devon, Nays, Sana, Rama, Payam, Seena, and more) and based on my
new found confidence from playing weekly ball at work I decided to play
more aggressively. Besides tons of fun, I sustained these injuries:
hyper-extended right knee (from Devon's post up)
over-extended elbow (from Vaf)
swollen upper and lower lip (from Rama's elbow)
contusion on top of head (from Payam's elbow)
bruised left pinky (from fall while covering Devon)
And the best part is that if it weren't for the local
Bahá'í elections this Friday I would be back out there again!
April 10th. Event. Jessica will be back in town
today and having dinner with her friends (and hopefully you!)
tonight at the Persian Cuisine Express restaurant at 7pm. Stop by and
say hi and possibly join us (potentially) afterward for even more
Update: We had lots of fun and
afterwards kicked it to Pej's for some wolf game—something that Jess
can't quite get in Pickering. :)
April 5th. Philosophical. Recently I've been in a very
philosophical mood. Usually when this happens I just sit there until
it passes but now I am quickly recording these thoughts and sharing them
If you have ever stood on a bus only to be
knocked around by the driver's erratic maneuvers? Well no more, as with
some theoretical calculations and empirical observations I proudly
propose the ideal way to stand
on a bus to reduce movement.
April 4th.Philosophical. In reflecting
with one of my friends, we concluded that the following statements, as
written, are in logical contradiction:
"I do not believe in God."
"Among the peoples of the world there are various conceptions of
April 4th.Cool feature.
My smart phone allows me to run MSN and have text conversations.
Some people may be content with my shoutbox, but for those more
adventurous, you may wish to use my new chat feature.
I always keep my phone near and responses will be very quick. Try
April 3rd. A day in the life. I am far from getting
married but recently I have gotten one step closer. The bride remains a
mystery but my wedding cake is not—here
are instructions on how to make my dream meat wedding
cake—replete with meat loaf and mash potato icing!
April 3rd. News. Ever wonder what the traffic is like before you
head out? If you live in a big city in the States then Google has a new traffic feature
that allows you to visually see where the hangups are.
In Ottawa, we have webcams all around the city
that anyone can freely view! Even though about half don't work, it is
really neat to see what is going on.
April 1st. Event. As I had unabashedly
prognosticated for weeks now, the Florida Gators have made it to the
NCAA Basketball finals. All are welcome to join me and a few friends
at my house at 8:30pm on Monday (April 2) to watch them beat Ohio to win
the national championships on HDTV—just me know you're coming. As
always, you are encouraged to bring others.
UPDATE: We Won!!!!!! Go Gators Go!!!
March 29th.News. Amid all of the hoopla I wanted to
formally welcome back Anisa Smith from her one year stint in
Manchester. Not only did she do great things there but now her Facebook
friend's list almost triples my own!
The only thing I can say is that on her trip
back to Canada she could have significantly cut down on transportation
costs by using
directions from Google maps—especially
step 37! Maybe next time...
March 28th.Announcement. I am not convinced that my site
can go wrong with too many cute pictures of babies. :) Recently my good
friend, from Florida, Jennifer Warner (who some of you may remember from
family page) got married and had
All of this recent activity makes me long
for similar fortunes although this may not see immediate, though desired
realization. In the mean time, I may have to content myself with
Upcoming Event. On Thursday Dan Scott will be speaking
here about the development of Ottawa plus how other areas are
developing promising community development projects utilizing four
core activities of children's virtues classes, junior youth
empowerment courses, prayer gatherings, and adult training course.
If you get a chance you will probably want to attend!
March 26th. Announcement. Congratulations to my
Florida friends Evie and Kiya Sabet who recently welcomed a new member
into their family. Emma Grace Sabet is the new pride and joy for
these proud parents and I can't help but feel happy that their life is
so rewardingly moving forward! Good luck guys!
March 23rd.A Day in the Life.
This weekend I'm heading to Ontario's
capital for a meeting—but what
makes this trip special is the way in which I am getting there. Bus?
Train? Airplane? Nope. I put an ad in Craigslist for a ride share and I am
going with a 'stranger,' who will pick me up from my door step and
deliver me to a friend's apartment in Toronto for just $45.
Can I recommend this to anyone? Because of
the unmitigatable safety concerns, not really, but there is promise to
the approach! It should be a good trip filled with elevated conversation
and new experiences.
Update on Monday: So everything went very well. Alley picked me
up and we talked the whole way over.
At some point curiously I asked her how
she could possibly ensure her safety since she was essentially
picking up a hitchhiker. She said that her plan was to quickly size
me up as I approached and if she got a bad feeling she would have
just sped off (leaving me consequently without a way to Toronto!) I
laughed really hard at first and then replied, "What, you
don't think I'm intimidating?! Burn!" :)
March 23rd.Announcement. Today us Ottawa folks were
featured in a very well-written and informed
article about blogging on the National Baha'i website. It
was fun being interviewed and I love how in the final product they
weaved together various funny story lines. Definitely worth the read
and I can assure you it is not like the other media attention this
site has received in very early April.
March 22nd. Pictures. Happy Naw Ruz! This year was
incredible, punctuated beforehand by a delectable Persian Buffet,
suffused with a diverse musical program, and consummated with
revelry! Watch a nice video and see pictures of the
New year' night
March 20th. If you are planning on coming to the All-You-Can-Eat Persian Buffet
let me know so that we can make sure that enough food is on hand
and you get a seat! (see Details) RSVP's (29): Bahman, Pierre, Guest,
Jennie, Carl, Garth, Jessie, Julia, Jasmine, Vafa, Dan, Me, Sarah,
Shameem, Payam, Bagha, Seena, Tamara, Albert, Diane, Anise,
Terrie*, Bob*, Kamran, Guest, Guest, Livia, Sahba, Sukhpreet,
March 13th.Cool. I added a button at
the very bottom of the page, called Geovisitors, which lets
you see where in the world visitors to this site are coming from. It's
not perfect but it is a cool gauge to track the path to worldwide
March 13th. Pictures. At Vafa's recent
housewarming party I stayed until 5am playing the wolf game. It
was great. Unlike my Sunday which suffered accordingly. :) Courtesy of
Dan's site, here are some pics that I liked. Oh, and congrats Vaf on the
phat new place!
March 13th. A day in the life. I'm taking tomorrow
off of work to doing an intensive Ruhi Book 2 session with Jaleh
and a number of the youth in Kanata. I'm ecstatic as it's truly a
joy to work alongside this population
Also, there was a productive and friendly
inter-institutional meeting yesterday with Todd Smith at the Baha'i
Centre. We broke the fast with juicy joojeh kebab and mouth watering
koobedeh, although what really punctuated the evening was a random
Vanier local poking his head into the downstairs room and asking for
matches (he has just wandered in and drifted downstairs!)
March 2nd. A day in the life. Today is the first day of 19
for Baha'is around the world to abstain from food and drink during the
day. I have added information about the Fast where the calendar
used to be in the upper left hand corner.
international fasting article on BWNS)
Usually during this spiritually
uplifting period I add a challenge to myself that normally I am not able
to do. This year I will try to forgo TV and learn the long obligatory
prayer by heart (I've been saying it for a year so most of it is
very familiar). We'll see how it goes, and good luck everyone!
February 28th. Personal updates.
I am really excited about the new version of MartinsQuest.com
that I am working on. The look will remain similar but the
functionality will be vastly improved. One word: AJAX!
Promoted! I sent this email to a few co-workers today,
allegedly from my divisional head. If it wasn't for a poor choice in
one word they might have believed it:
"We will soon be creating a new
position, Director of Direct Marketing and Business Development, and
your boss suggested your name and your business background. He
mentioned many positive things but I won't embarrass you by listing
all of the effusive praise here. Please let me know by the end of
the day if this is something that you would be interested in.
Also, while this is under consideration please do not discuss it
with anyone else in the division since many others were looked over
when we decided to go with your awesomeness."
February 25th.Pictures. Just a few hours after the
wedding I am happy to be able to display a sample of the pictures from
Jessica and Rama's wedding . Louis Brunet and others
much better photographers will be revealing their work shortly!
February 25th.Website. If you haven't already,
check out Dan's website
which just underwent a big design change. 'nuf respect Dan!
February 21st. Video. I am very proud to present to
the world the video from the reception at Shameem and Sarah's
recent wedding. Payam had a large role its creation and it turned out
great. I think my favourite part was the animation of Sham dunking or
Captain Jack shrieking!
watched the romantic comedy Music and Lyrics recently, and
although it was cheesy, I liked it because of its feel good nature and
of course 80's style music!
Some of my buddies from Toronto may be coming to visit soon
and I am really excited about this prospect!
while back I mentioned that I was firming up a new theory that
contextualized my outlook on the world, my purpose, etc. I realized that
I go through periods of a few months that alternate between intense
reflection and diligent application of these insights. So while I work
on this, I've come up with some other ideas around time management,
tentatively called the 'linchpin theory.'
There is an audio tape (mp3) from Paul Lample that I would
really like transcribed (typed up). It is about an hour long and if you
are interested please let me know, as the content is truly visionary.
and Sarah recently shared with me some of their experiences on Baha'i
Pilgrimage last month, and wow, powerful, powerful stuff. (see
general pics of pilgrimage—which obviously don't do
Payam's uncle, Bahnam, is staying at my place for a few
months and he is a truly great guy—he's already got me thinking about
my professional career and is encouraging our family to hold a
I'll be 26 on Feb 25th, and although I won't be having a mega
party, the occasion still gives me pause to think about what I've
accomplished so far, reflect on the variance between my life objectives
and actions, and ponder other relevancies tied to the punctuated
advancements in age. I was reminiscing about the type of party I had 2
years ago (watch
cool video), not something that I will be doing again this year!
Sorry to those usingFirefox to view my site. I did some
optimization which messed up the layout. Oh well :)
February 14th. Owing to it being Valentine's day, MartinsQuest will help the love process along and reveal secret crushes
in the community. Check back throughout the day as I'll
progressively reveal more and more crushes!
(Back by popular demand from last year - Enjoy!)
February 6th. Event. I invited a few
people over to watch The game and my prolific friend Jay
wrote all about it on his
blog. For those that like reading, it's a great site. Even
better than MartinsQuest.com, perhaps? We'll see...
February 5th. Announcement! There are
some announcements that give me the greatest joy to post—and wedding
one are among them. I want to give a big congrats to Melanie Smith
and Faran Vafaie on their recent engagement. Just from the
website that Faran put together you can tell the joy and
happiness this radiant couple will release! All the best guys!
Article. Here is a chart
that attempts to correlate IQwith
various factors in life suggesting the almost immutability of IQ in the
process. Yet, I have heard the quote, "It's not your aptitude, but your
attitude, that determines your altitude." Personally, I am a
believer in the transformative power of
certain spiritual texts
to uplift the conduct, skills, and abilities of mankind.
February 1st. Picture. I admit that I like
technology and have the dream of configuring my workstation like
that aboard an intergalactic starship. Consequently, I have been
tweaking my home setup, beefing up my sound system with the Logitech
Z5500's and placing a 37" Westinghouse at the centre (with the nice
resolution of 1920x1080p), although what runs through my mind is the
thyself rich in its possession..." See Nighttime and
January 31st.Special Day.
Today is Rhona and Paul Scoffield's 25th wedding anniversary!
With so many weddings that are starting it is nice to see them go the
distance. Here is their gift:
For those of you who have difficult
names you are only too familiar with he annoyances of constant
mispronunciations. Rhona has the same challenge, but her name is
simple! So I'm going to provide everyone with the more correct way
to say it.
Wrong. Roe -- nah
January 29th.Partial Vindication. Steven
Shapin reviews the history of vegetarianism: "Recent epidemiological
studies suggest that adult vegetarians tend to have lower blood
pressure, lower cholesterol levels, lower rates of obesity, and, more
controversially, higher childhood I.Q.s—though vegans tend to have
lower I.Q.s than their carnivorous peers, and the nature of the
links between vegetarianism, health, and I.Q. is unclear."
January 25th.News. With many of the
seemingly unsolvable problems in the world, there may be a growing
sense of helplessness to improve the conditions around us. Almost
everyone wants to make a difference and sacrifice some of their comfort
for others, but how do we best do this?
(pronounced: ba-haa-ol-laa) shared with the world a message suited to
the needs of today and our global society which has been transforming
hearts and communities for the past hundred and fifty years.
Most learn information about Baha'u'llah's
cause from attending study circles where there is joint aim of
applying what is learned—since, for example, can we really know what love is if
we don't practice it?! Or generosity?
Devotional gatherings where prayers
are offered are also excellent venues to capture the spirit of the
revelation, along with virtues classes for children and training courses
for junior youth. Yesterday, some adults I know in Ottawa, were
featured in the local newspaper for setting up a course at the
library to convey information on the subject.
January 21st.News. Today was World Religion Day
and our new major, Larry O'Brien, made
a public proclamation. The nice thing I find about the celebration
is the singleness of the word Religion. (source: Brian
January 21st.Cool trick. I was
surprised when I
this on CNN.com. Many of
edit any web page on the internet!
Just paste this code into the URL address bar once the page has
January 18th. Packet of Information. With some prompting
from my mom I went to the walk in clinic and the physician there diagnosed
me with strep throat. This differs from a cold as there is less
coughing, it persists longer than a few days, and your throat hurts! If
you don't get treated you'll be additionally contagious and the bacteria
may damage your heart valves and kidneys. Now I'm on amoxicillin.
January 16th. Cool Site. Always a promoter of quality
content and Ottawa websites, there is a new website on the block
and it is updated virtually every day! Jay Howden has entered the fray
with his blog,
www.JamesHowden.com, filled with personal observations about life,
sports, and other topics.
It will definitely appeal to the
readers among you and those who can appreciate his witticisms and
stellar writing (he used to be the speech writer for the
Governor General of Canada!!!!!). Please share your positive
feedback and let me know which spot, if any, it should replace in my
coveted 'bobbing heads' menu above.
January 15th.Pictures. I just came back from
Shameem and Sarah's wedding in Kingston, and wow, it was nice.
I went there more to enjoy it than take pictures but here are the few
that I did capture.
January 15th. Announcement.
My site was down for a few days. Thanks to all of those who sent
me emails letting me know. The issue is still being resolved now, but
essentially my calendar script was overpowering my server.
January 8th.News. Today my alma matter, The University of
Florida, and their incredible Gators destroyed the Ohio State Buckeyes
in the 2006 NCAA National Championship game.
When I was in Gainesville, football was
huge—the town shut down during games—it was insane! Even though I had to
watch it on tape tonight, it was so worth it. So once again,
January 1st.Announcement. In one of the finer posts
on this website and indeed one of the most anticipated, Shameem and
Sarah have announced that they will be getting married. Words can't
express the joy of this as the news greeted many of their friends and
Sarah and Shameem, I'm sure that you will
contribute to each other's happiness and encourage one another in
your efforts to serve.
December 31st.A Day in
the Life. Evidently Google thinks that I am the
most relevant Martin in Ottawa (over recent prime minister Paul
Martin and Senator's goalie Martin Gerber)
Also, I had always known that Einstein was
a huge fan, of my site, but this historical photograph was a
nice confirmation ;)
December 30th. Pictures. I spent a few unplanned
visiting my family in Montreal and sharing Christmas with them.
I had fun and be sure to look at the photos.
You will also notice that I added some cool
functionality on my
smugmug page—most popular pictures and most popular tags. Enjoy.
December 21st. Boxing Day Sales.
Even though this site has a particular interest in spiritual upliftment,
with the Canadian shopping holiday around the corner I thought I would
provide you all with some of the best deals that I have seen in
case you wish to buy gifts for others this season. This list will
be updated regularly and includes items that I am selling personally.
Spherex XBox 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System ($199
including shipping. MSRP: $). Fantastic surround sound system for your
living room (and computer if you have a digital sound output) (Buy)
LifeSource UA-779VL Advanced Inflation Sensor
Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor ($Free. MSRP: $150) I'm
giving this new hardware away to a deserving recipient. (Buy:
21" CRT Monitor P810. ($150 incl. tax). I am selling this
monitor from my collection. Has up to 1600x1200 resolution and great
a great picture. (Buy:
22" Westinghouse LCD Monitor. ($450 incl. tax). This was
recently replaced and only used for about 2 weeks. It has full TV
inputs and is a gorgeous display! (Buy:
December 19th. Tomfoolery. Back in the day I had the
devious idea of a prank to buy everything on my
friend's registry and then return it all the day before the wedding.
This didn't actually happen but I did think about it. :)
Here is an
article on the
economics of gift giving
which really makes sense to me. I have often openly postulated that
giving someone $60 in cash has more value than say $60 in groceries
because there are no restrictions on it.
December 15th.Hot Deal. Do you enjoy traveling but
somehow your paychecks can't keep up with your jet-setting lifestyle?
Air Canada has a new program which gives you
unlimited travel on Tue/Sat/Sun all across Canada and the States
for a single low price for January and February! (source)
December 15th. Policy update.
I have begun linking to the (source) of any material that I post on MQ
(that I deem family friendly). A while back I got heat for taking credit
for some nice
plus I feel it provides more context.
December 14th.Inside Scoop? Here is a picture of a jr.
youth group from Malaysia which wouldn't be so remarkable were it not
for what appears to be the fabled Ruhi Book 8 resting
inconspicuously on the shelf in the background. (source)
December 12th. Announcement. What a wonderful world. I'd
like to congratulate Jessica and Rama on their recent engagement.
Proving the long distance thing (Montreal - Ottawa) does work,
they'll be getting married early next year.
December 11th.A day in the life. I've been in Toronto
a bit recently for an assortment of gatherings. Here is a picture of one last
Saturday where some coordinators met to discuss the training and
mobilization of human resources necessary for the advancement of
integral civilization building methods, approaches, and activities. In
other words we played basketball and went to a friend's birthday
November 26th. Pictures. Happy
Day of the Covenant - a Baha'i holy day which reinforces the
inviolability of the covenant—ensuring an uninterrupted stream of
divine guidance. From the local celebration, here is an early picture
as we gathered and one of the
children and jr. youth singing led by Basim.
November 26th. A Day in the Life. I recently drove with a
fellow webmaster to a Best Buy in New York to participate in the
tradition of Black Friday (Basically the American version of
Boxing Day -
learn more). Waiting in line from 8pm for the 5am opening proved
advantageous since by being 10th and 11th in a line of 1200 we got what
we wanted and left materially content.
November 8th. Announcement! It is with great joy that
MartinsQuest is proud to announce the recent engagement of Misagh Ziaei
and Jamal Gabriel. Currently residing in Alberta, the specifics of their
upcoming plans are still being worked out, but what is certain is that this
couple captures the spirit of radiance like no other. All the best to both
of them as they explore the wonderful world of marriage.
November 7th. Community Update. The
2 week expansion phase is in full effect in Ottawa. There is a
collective movement toward beginning community development projects around
the city centered around tutors initiating introductory study circles an
inviting their friends and neighbours to come and learn skills to serve
their community—principally by reflecting on the quotes and passages from
the course and applying it in their individual lives and in service to
others through various approaches explored in the curriculum including
children's classes, devotional gatherings, and junior youth study circles.
Currently, three of the twenty tutors have a study circle firmly in place.
Congrats Dave and Ela on Aiden Abbas Federico Ienzi; described by one
of his impartial parents as the "cutest little thing I have ever laid my
eyes on," and coming into the world radiantly at 11:44pm on Wednesday.
Almighty hath not created in man the claws and teeth
of ferocious animals, nay rather hath the human form
been fashioned and set with the most comely
attributes and adorned with the most perfect
virtues. The honour of this creation and the
worthiness of this garment therefore require man to
have love and affinity for his own kind, nay rather,
to act towards all living creatures with justice and
the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 287)
October 18th. Videos. Baha'is
around the world are offering four 'core activities' to communities
that have been conducive to personal and collective transformation:
devotional gatherings, Baha'i children's classes, junior youth courses, and
adult study circles. Here is an article describing two of them, plus direct
links to the videos.