years ago in the deserts of turkistan
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Images from the photo series “Family Burial Chambers” by Mehdi Vosoughnia; Qazvin, Iran, 2004-2008

Images from the photo series “Family Burial Chambers” by Mehdi Vosoughnia; Qazvin, Iran, 2004-2008

Excerpts from “The Demise of Adam in the Qisas al-Anbiyā: The Symbolic Politics of Death and Re-Burial in the Islamic ‘Stories of the Prophets’” by Loren D. Lybarger, in Numen Vol. 55, Issue 5

western blot membranes from yesterday — it’s the last week of my lab rotation and nothing is working.
(also - my instagram account is really boring, but does anyone want to be friends over there?)

western blot membranes from yesterday — it’s the last week of my lab rotation and nothing is working.

(also - my instagram account is really boring, but does anyone want to be friends over there?)

Books acquired over the weekend.

Books acquired over the weekend.

Snippet from “What is meant by Zuhd [asceticism]” by Leah Kinberg, in Studia Islamica, No. 61, 1985 *

Snippet from “What is meant by Zuhd [asceticism]” by Leah Kinberg, in Studia Islamica, No. 61, 1985 *

proof that I am finally sort of settling into this place: making plans to build a book collection here, after having left the vast majority of my books at home.

Niloofar Haeri, from “The Private Performance of Salat Prayers: Repetition, Time, and Meaning,” in Anthropological Quarterly (86:1; Winter 2013)

“It is hard to find California now, unsettling to wonder how much of it was merely imagined or improvised; melancholy to realize how much of anyone’s memory is no true memory at all but only traces of someone else’s memory, stories handed down on the family network.”

Joan Didion, from “Notes from a Native Daughter,” in Slouching Towards Bethlehem

The last book I (re)read before leaving home was Slouching Towards Bethlehem, a collection of essays, some of which are centered around California, that are still mostly accurate despite being rather dated.

Another quote from the collection that I found to be quite true, though I’m from Orange County, not Los Angeles: 

"Los Angeles weather is the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse, and just as the reliably long and bitter winters of New England determine the way life is lived there, so the violence and unreliability of the Santa Ana [winds] affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability. The wind shows us how close to the edge we are." 

— Joan Didion, from “Los Angeles Notebook,” circa 1965-67. 

next week at this time, i will have arrived in the relatively small city that is to be my home for the next 7-8 years. the program that i will be joining is really great and has many more opportunities for me than do similar programs at other universities i was considering. this is certainly one of the reasons why i chose to matriculate into this particular program, but i think i was also drawn to it because my parents have a history in this particular state. my father spent a little over a year in surgery training in the state’s capital, after leaving iran in his late twenties and being trained in a nearby state for several years. my mother, when she was only a year older than i am now and had recently married my father, traveled more than six thousand miles from tehran to join my father for a few months. they both lived in this state only briefly decades ago, and my journey will be one of less than 2,000 miles — only a fraction of theirs — but i somehow feel as if i will be retracing their steps, even if only in the vaguest of ways. 

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