Sunday, December 28, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Active Waiting

[Based on Nihil Nimus] A first step in applying moderation is "active waiting". It means holding back, reflectively, instead of rushing. In contrast to passive waiting which is closely related to procrastination and perfectionism, active waiting is patient and productive. It means getting ready without an all-or-none decision to rush into work and finish it now or else put it off.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Networking

I found this, after a very quick look, interesting/useful. So I keep it for future reference. Also, the upper level link may have more resources that I will need to check .... sometime!!!

Networking on the Network: http://vlsicad.ucsd.edu/Research/Advice/network.html

Friday, December 19, 2008

Goya

His black paintings,  are not they amazing?
Source: http://www.artchive.com/galleries/goya

PS. I do not know what is in these ugly faces that so fascinates me, it is "almost" like the passion that one feels when looking at a beautiful, sexy, body!  

Saturn Devouring one of his Children

Two Old Men

Two Old People Eating


Random Links on Art and Painting

Ugliest Famous Artworks (discussion in a forum, good source of names! :)  http://forums.randi.org/archive/index.php/t-8920.html

An article on "inhumane" art -- I just read the article, I do not agree with the authors too conservative stance on modern art, but some times it makes sense, and good source of names too :) http://www.artrenewal.org/articles/2002/Art_Inhuman/inhuman1.asp

Andres Serrano: http://www.artnet.com/usernet/awc/awc_thumbnail.asp?aid=424202827&gid=424202827&works_of_art=1&cid=74183

Egon Schiele (Painter): http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/schiele/
Two of his paintings:

Death and Girl (Self-portrait with Walli) :


2)Pregnant Woman and Death

A CD cover

I liked the painting/art-work on this CD cover, but I have no idea whose work it is (neither do I know how good the CD is :)


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Warning:

Every once in a while I have to remind myself:

It does not matter what you read, what you know, and what you believe!

What you "do" is the only thing that counts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Attachments and Uncertainty

Amazing quote from "Nihil Nimus", but first some preliminaries to clear the context:

Moderating overattachments "means easing off blind needs for perfectionism and its overidentification with our work. It mean keeping some emotional and intellectual distance from [our work] , particularly in its formative stages. It mean working patiently and tolerantly, with a sense of playfulness and humor. It means letting go to allow more openness to alternatives, even to criticism."

Now the main quote:

" Overattachment builds when we grasp for short-term relief from doubt; it moderates as we let go of needs for certainty. This means more than nonattachment from blind hopes for comfortable experience at every moment. It also means giving up the false expectations that insecurity and pain can be eliminated. And it demands relaxing amid the unpredictability and uncontrollability of real life. Specifically, it requires clearly seeing that panic and embarrassment are of little help when things don't work out. Other mindful acts that help overcome this mindless attachment are insight and compassion---insight about the costs of indulging addictions to immediate relief; compassion in replacing those frenzied hopes with direct, honest relationships, even with our own selves."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Why moderation in emotions?

Again, from "Nihil Nimus":

" [According to Baumeister, Heatherton, and Tice (1994)]:
  • When people rush mindlessly, they respond so exclusively to their emotional needs that they are unlikely to solve more important problems.
  • High emotions elicits high arousal, which consumes the very energy needed for self-stopping; states of high emotions are therefore self-sustaining beyond the point of diminishing returns.
  • High emotions invite thoughts with broadly meaningful understandings (e.g., concerns about the worth of one's writing and of oneself) and these, in turn, risk the inhibitions, such as blocking, that exist at similarly high level."

My thoughts:
"Romanticism", the opposite of moderation in emotion, is deeply rooted in what I call Mideastern religion triplet (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and related cultures, and is an important separation point between these religions/cultures view of the world and the far-east practices like Zen and Taoism. The roots are so deep that when we (in the first culture) approach the these practices, we do it in a romantic way. Our lives are more defined by "being good or bad" than simple "being". We take pride in going to excess, in emotions, in achievements, etc. but we are not aware of it most of the times.

NAY

I thought Iranian traditional music has the saddest tunes, but I am listening to the following album which reminded me that Arabic music, especially if played with "NAY", can be ...

PS. I have grown up with traditional Iranian music, and to some extent with Arabic music, but I find them, after a couple of listening, boring ... This CD was -NOT- an exception

Friday, December 12, 2008

Beautiful Things

By Shiny Lapel Trio (Jazz):

miscellaneous

  • I have a title for a short story: "The story of a woman whose breasts envied each other". I do not know what's in it except for the image of a woman growing like a tree from earth. Pretty lame, huh?
  • Two observations regarding my internal conversations:
  1. It is in both English and Persian, but mostly English!
  2. At late night, it is very discontinuous: Few complete sentences, mostly short phrases and images!!!
  • In a program on public television: things to improve "willpower" (among other items):
  1. Keep blood sugar from dropping too low!
  2. Get enough sleep
  • I do not enjoy classical music with voice (opera, etc.) with the exception of Mozart's "Requiem". It is an amazing piece of music.
  • If you have listened and enjoyed J.S.Bach's "Orchestral Suites", here they are performed by a "guitar quartet". (I cannot imagine someone dies without hearing "Requiem" and "Orchestral Suites", but I am a spoiled, snobbish, SOB, anyway :)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Interesting Quote

A book I am reading, Nihil Nimus, has this quotation from another book!

"If aspects of the person remain undigested---cut off, denied, projected, rejected, indulged, otherwise unassimilated---they become the points around which the core forces of greed, hatred, and delusion attach themselves ... As Wilhelm Reich demonstrated in his groundbreaking work on the formation of character, the personality is built on these points of self-estrangement ; the paradox is that what we take to be so real, our selves, is constructed out of a reaction against just what we do not wish to acknowledge. We tense up around that which we are denying, and we experience ourselves through our tensions." Mark Epstein

Thursday, December 04, 2008

M & M

Today a colleague of mine (former mathematician) told me about "Maryam Mirzakhani". He thought she is on her way to get a "Fields Medal". She has full professorship at Stanford at the age of 31! Some links:

Wikipedia

Popular Science

Former web page at Princeton (Assistant Professor)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Best DUI ever

www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEJIdHU3YjY

Report:

  • Arash and family visited us for the Thanksgiving holidays, it was a very pleasant visit and on top of that I learned a lot!
  • Someone broke into Sima's car a few days ago and stole her purse. She lost a few cards, some of them important. This, plus a couple of other events, made the past couple of days very stressful, and I plunged into deep depression a couple of times!!!! But I am very upset with some of my own reactions. In some instances (not always :) I was quite unfair to her: instead of fully supporting her I became critical and judgmental. Even though at those moments I could feel that I was not doing the right thing.
  • I finally spotted the downtown hawk from a close distance (5-10 meters) while she was eating a pigeon, on a very cold morning. Anyway, I believe she is a juvenile, female, cooper hawk. Unfortunately I did not have my camera so the following picture is from web but is very close to what I observed:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kyudo Bird


We see a "Ruby-crowned Kinglet" (picture above) around the Kyudo dojo quite often. It appeared first a few weeks ago and in the beginning used to sit on the arrows that were shot, on/around the targets. Later it became friendlier and now flies and sits around the dojo while we shoot arrows!

Today, at the end of practice I stayed to shoot two more arrows, so dojo was very quiet and peaceful. As I was starting to get prepared I heard the bird from behind. When I was about to knock the arrow, it flew and sat over the arrow. It stayed on my arrow for the whole time (about 1 minute) from raising the bow until I shot the arrow. It was a totally new and amazing experience to see the bird on the arrow (from a 50 cm distance!) the whole time I was going through the shooting rituals ...

PS:
"Ed sensei" is in fact an artist, a superb photographer, and a well-known expert in the Japanese art of "Netsuke". (Relatively rare characteristics for a martial art sensei! Also check this out: http://www.bitokukyudo.org/stonepath.html.) Anyway, he has been interested in knowing what the name of the bird is, so I emailed him the following link (has very nice photos of common birds in Atlanta),
http://davidhodgson.smugmug.com/gallery/2432303_faDpv/6/200789875_FoTki#234073525_X3Jan
suggesting that the bird may be a "Ruby-crowned Kinglet".

Here is his reply:

Hi Reza, What a great web source to find. I agree with your pick. Glad that you had a little private time with the little guy yesterday. How cool is that!!!! Yours in Kyudo, Ed

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shocking

What kind of father does this to his kid?

I removed the clips and just leave the links here, they were too disgusting even for my taste!

http://ca.video.yahoo.com/watch/1094037/4016347



http://ca.video.yahoo.com/watch/1094017/4016787

Respect:

I am not sure what "respect" means beyond and above "fear". I respect people or situations mostly out of fear of hurting or losing them, or fear of more direct consequences. Is there any other form of respect that I am missing?

OK, I guess respect can also come out of habit, a large part of what we call social manners are what we have learned to do and we do not change a habit unless there is a very compelling reason to do so.

Friday, November 14, 2008

From our beloved Georgia:

Republican Compares Obama to Hitler

WASHINGTON (Nov. 11) - A Republican congressman from Georgia said Monday he fears that President-elect Obama will establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship.

"It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he's the one who proposed this national security force," Rep. Paul Broun said of Obama in an interview Monday with The Associated Press. "I'm just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may — may not, I hope not — but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism."

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Basics: Final Story



On the left is "Aaron Blackwell (Renshi Rokudan)", highest rank American in Kyudo. He visits Atlanta and the dojo run by "Ed Symmes, Renshi Godan" (next picture) often. Last time, in September, he told an interesting story when He was asked about the "testing" and "rankings" in Kyudo and how/if it is consistent with Zen Buddhism, etc. Here is the story (as he told it):










-------------------------------------------------

A couple of years ago I saw an old friend who had started Kyudo a few (7, 8) years earlier. I had not seen him since then. While I continued practicing Kyudo the normal way (through competitions and ranks, ...) he joined the school of Zen-Kyudo which emphasizes learning Kyudo as an internal journey and detaching from competition and ranks, etc. He stayed the evening and we shot some arrows before dinner. His shooting techniques was quite bad, which I had expected. At dinner, he discussed one of his (Zen-Kyudo) teacher's main teachings: Enjoy Kyudo and shooting, do not do it for competition, or to get higher ranks, etc. He confessed that it is quite some time that he is does not enjoy shooting and Kyudo anymore!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Photo Sory

This is the photos that I was planning to make into a story:




<--- Hawk waiting to catch a pigeon
















 <--- A pigeon gets close (from up and left), hawk tries















 <--- This try was unsuccessful, 
        so the hawk goes back down 
        and wait








 <-- Moment of truth: see how close the pigeon (right) is to the hawk (left), but they don't see each other (two sides of the corner) ... one more feet and the pigeon would be killed!   




I do not have a photo of the final act: Another hawk flew into the area, a group of pigeons flew around and one of them got to close to the hawk (sitting on the edge), in a second the hawk caught the pigeon in air.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Basics: First Story!

I start with the more boring story:

I have the habit of looking out of my window at the beautiful downtown scene while working. So a couple of years after I started my new job, in 2006, I came to notice some crazy flight patterns among pigeons flying in a large group. Finally, I discovered the source, a couple of hawks in the area.

So I started watching the interaction between hawks and pigeons. (I have written a few times about them, and I even have an unfinished story with photos regarding hawks hunting pigeons.) Amazingly, this bird watching became the source of some changes in my view of the world. It not only amplified my understanding of "living in now" (the randomness basic), but it revealed the necessity behind it: If a pigeon does not live in now, it will be soon killed! This points at the superficiality of other three basics if you drop the competition. But more importantly, it is instructive to watch a hawk try to hunt pigeons many times during one hour, unsuccessfully, something I cannot explain is in the continuous effort to live and survive ...

Here is an old post with a nice quote.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Basics: Purifying Competition!

I started learning about "mysticism" when I was in middle school, and naturally, I first got to know about Islamic mysticism and sufism (Molavi, Shams, ...). Very simplistically, the emphasis of this school is on love (the fourth basic elements in the previous post).
In high school I found out about Taoism, again very simplistically, as a doctrine with emphasis on harmony and indifference, or death in the four basics.
Later (undergraduate years in Sharif) I learned about Zen, which focuses on living in now, or essentially the randomness basics.
All in all, these sounded very natural and complementary and all pointed at a direction against competitiveness, the desire to be better than others, as the source of stress and a detriment to spirituality, etc.
Lately, I grew more suspicious of this structure, or point of view. A critical point was when I started "Kyudo", ironically, as a Zen practice. Ultimately, a few weeks ago I confronted with something (I will tell the story in the next post) that revealed to me the importance of competition as "THE" main source of purity and focus. It may sound contradictory: how can competition be critical in (spiritual) development? But think of simple evidence in life, most importantly the whole "evolution" principle. Without competition, things stagnate and die within ...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Basics

  • Death - Finality - End of Life
  • Competition
  • Randomness
  • Sex - Reproduction - Start of Life
I am going through an important turning point in my view of life, which is related to the second item. I will try to document it in the next couple of posts.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Music Half life ...

A useful characteristic of a musical work of any kind is the number of listening before it start to lose its taste, call it its "half life". (Of course, this half life is listener-dependent.) I like many genres of pop music but their half life is in the range of 10-50 listening rounds. Very excellent albums may reach 100 or above, rarely.

Even in classical music, many composers in my experience have short half life, e.g. Schubert, in the range of less than 100. On the other hand, some continue to grow on you as you listen more and more, especially if you allow some time between a group of listening sessions. I have listened to J.S. Bach's Goldberg variations many times before, and in the past I did not like it. Until a couple of weeks ago I heard a performance of it by a string trio, and since then I am enjoying (different performances of) it more and more. For me the half life of some J.S.Bach's work is very very long ...

There is a scene in the movie "seven" when Morgan Freeman goes into a library in the middle of night and the background music, as I remember, is one of Bach's orchestral suites ... it is an amazing scene, the purity and beauty of the music is in sharp contrast to all the surrounding gore and filth ...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

AKAQT

?!?
.
.
.
.
.
A car plate I saw yesterday for the first time ...
.
.
.
.
.
The driver was a young black woman ...
.
.
.
.
kind of cute, isn't it?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cute:

A young man goes into a pharmacy and asks the pharmacist
"Hello, could you give me condom. My girlfriend has invited me for dinner and I think she is expecting something from me!"
The pharmacist gives him the condom; and as the young man is going out, he returns and tells him:
"Give me another condom because my girlfriend's sister is very cute too. She always crosses her legs in a provocative manner when she sees me and I think she expects something from me too."
The pharmacist gives him a second condom; and as the boy is leaving he turns back and says: "After all, give me one more condom because my girlfriend's mom is still pretty cute and when she sees me she always makes allusions...and since she invited me for dinner, I think she is expecting something from me!!"

During dinner, the young man is sitting with his girlfriend on his left, the sister on his right and the mom facing him. When the dad gets there, the boy lowers his head and starts praying:
"Dear Lord,bless this dinner...thank you for all you give us...!!!"
A minute later the boy is still praying:
"Thank you Lord for your kindness..."
Ten minutes go on and the boy is still praying, keeping his head down.The others look at each other surprised and his girlfriend even more than the others. She gets close to the boy and tells him in his ear:
"I didn't know you were so religious!!!"
The boy replies:
"I didn't know your dad was a PHARMACIST!!!"

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Short Story

Man looked at his wife as they passing the crowd in the airport. She was enthusiastically chatting and laughing with their friends. If it was not for her deep desperation to have a baby, and her frustration with all their unsuccessful attempts at it, he could swear she is the happiest woman in the world.

Their friends, , a young couple from their home country, were also on their way back home for a short visit.Initially, they were going to change their flights in the airport. Their next flight was delayed, however, and now they had to spend the night in the city. Their friends had decided to stay in the city a couple of days and attend a wedding. He knew that his wife wanted to go to the wedding too, but they were not invited.

They all shared a cab to a nearby hotel and casino. As they walked up to the reception desk, he grew more and more paranoid about giving their personal information and credit card to the receptionist. He pretended that they were looking for a jazz club in that area. His wife and their friends were puzzled but they did not say anything. As they were leaving the hotel, he realized that their friends needed to stay somewhere for a couple of nights and were willing to get a room and share. But it was too late: they said goodbye and separated.

The next morning the two of them decided to walk in the city and do some sightseeing. They soon found empty streets and a city that looked like it was hit by a disease. The man felt more and more uncomfortable and wish they had known where their friends had stayed. At noon, he suddenly remembered that they were supposed to take a morning flight. Surprisingly, he did not feel any urgency. He continued walking the empty streets but his wife went back to the hotel. At night, he was even more surprised to see that his wife was pregnant, almost nine month. 

Next morning, the man went out alone. The city had become a war zone. Tanks and militants were roaming around everywhere. In a few instances, he had to escape some of them who were trying to arrest him, and even got into a fight. He went back home in the evening to find out that his wife had delivered the baby. 

As he was watching his wife carrying the baby around and kissing the baby passionately, he suddenly realized what was going on. They were dead. That would explain all the strange things that had happened in the past couple of days. The man suddenly felt a deep comfort from solving the puzzle. He could almost feel an excitement, similar to that time, a few years back, when he accidentally hit a man on the street while driving and almost killed him. 

Satisfied with his discovery, he looked up and watched his wife playing with the baby. What an irony, he thought. She looked so happy and peaceful. He could break the news to her later.

2013-4-23: I wrote this story based on a dream I had at the time (or maybe a week earlier). Some of my dreams have strangely complicated and fascinating story lines. I cannot write such stories when I am awake!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Writing

I write in this blog a lot more than I used to ... partly because I am involved in a couple of difficult projects and I am looking for different ways to release the pressure (or escape from work :)

The downside is that I am writing incoherently, kind of like free association :) Is this bad after all? I am not sure, but any time I start writing about topics like the previous post, I feel the need to stop and make sure that I know what I am doing. Not that I will stop writing (sorry :) I just pause for a few minutes ...... and then I write this post ?!?!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Political Porn !?

A short Iranian porn clip is going around these days under the title that the guy is "EMAM JOME" of some city in Iran and a "ROHANI" (clergyman) who exploits the wife of his employees/friend in his absence. To me, this is ultimately a porn clip, no matter how much politics one tries to infuse politics into it.
For one thing, there is no way of proving identities, intents, circumstances, so at the end anyone sees whatever s/he wants in this clip depending on his/her political beliefs and attitude toward the government in Iran. Yet, the whole issue makes a nice connection to my previous post, somehow ...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Alternative view

For a moment, assume the following, without any proof or evidence just as a thought experiment:

"A country's governing body reflects the average characteristics of people in that country."

Then, consider the recent history of a country you like, or have connection to, say Iran. What do we learn about the characteristics of an average Iranian (conditional on the validity of the assumption)?

Next, try to understand the behavior of the average Iranian (as we deduced above, conditional on our assumption!) without involving your emotions. It may help if you imagine that the average Iranian is yourself ... or, for that matter, see if you can find those characteristics in yourself and your friends and family. Again, the important point here is detaching from emotions (positive or negative) and trying to understand ...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Observations from Iran

I do not know the truth of the following which I got in my email ... I am more puzzled by the fact that most people have such a negative opinion of prostitution ... If the whole concept of living in a society is transactions, most of them involve body (buying and selling labor), why this type of transaction has such a negative perception attached to it?

چند وقت قبل، یه بنده خدایی برای یه بنده خدای دیگه ای تعریف کرد و اونم به ما گفت که تو
همین راهنمای همشهری آگهی فروش گوسفند زنده رو پیدا کردیم، می گفت یکی از دوستان بهم گفت این گوسفند زنده که نوشته منظورش یه چیز دیگه ست، ولی من باورم نمیشد، طرف گفت کاری نداره، زنگ بزن خودت ببین، می گفت زنگ زدیم، چند دقیقه بعد یه پراید مشکی اومد به آدرسی که داده بودم، صندلی عقب سه نفر نشسته بودند، هر سه از جنس مونث در رده های سنی مختلف، بعد راننده که خودش هم زن بود گفت یکی رو انتخاب کن! … می گفت منم بهت زده چشمام چهار تا شده بود.. گفتم ممنون، اشتباه شده، احتمالا شماره رو اشتباهی گرفتم، شرمنده…. خلاصه بهش ثابت شد، گوسفند زنده یعنی زن یا دختری که یه شب بهت اجاره می دن (از شبی 10 تومن داره تا 100 هزار تومن…

بعد از افطار یه سریال پخش میشه که رضا عطاران توش بازی کرده(بزنگاه)… یه سکانس جالب داشت اون قسمت… حمید لولایی با خانوادش که داشتن می رفتن سر خاک، بنزین تموم کردن، چیزی نداشتن روش بنویسن " بنزین" که با دست نگه داره و به ماشین هایی که رد میشن نشون بده… بالاخره هر جوری بود یه تیکه کارتن پیدا کردن و روش نوشتن بنزین… نگو پشت کارتنه نوشته بوده گوسفند زنده… حمید لولایی هم حواسش نبود و برعکس گرفتش … یه موتوریه نگه داشت تا قیمت گوسفند زنده رو بپرسه… حمید لولایی هم فهمید چه سوتی داده طرف رو دک کرد رفت.. موتوری یکم جلوتر رفت وایساد جلو ماشین حمید لولایی که مثلا دختراش توش بودن بشون گفت : "خانوما خسته نباشن!" بعدم اونا جیغ کشیدن و فحش دادن و حمید لولایی دوید طرفش و فحش داد و فلان و بهمان… شاید بگی هیچ ربطی نداره ولی با اون هوش و ذکاوت و موذی گری که من در عطاران سراغ دارم بعید می دونم این سکانس رو همینجوری توی سریال گنجونده باشه.. عطاران و مهران مدیری استاد مخفی کردن بعضی حرف های ممنوعه زیر طنز خودشون هستند… مخصوصا اینکه موتوریه می گه : خسته نباشید ! این یعنی طرف دختره رو فاحشه فرض کرده که هر شب با یکی می خوابه و مسلمه سرش شلوغه پس می طلبه بهش بگی "خسته نباشی" … اگه غیر ازین بود لزومی نداشت حمید لولایی و خونوادش انقدر برآشفته بشن، حتی پاستوریزه ترین ها هم یه خسته نباشید رو یه متلک سنگین حساب نمیاره.

ببینید چقدر این مسئله گوسفند زنده جدی جدی باب شده که بعضی از بازیگران و کاگردانان با هوش هم زیر زیرکی بش اشاره می کنند …. فعلا که توی آگهی ها گوسفند زنده مد شده، شاید اگه این لو رفت آگهی جذب بازیگر مد بشه، بعدش یه چیز دیگه، بعد ازون هم یه چیز دیگه… به هر حال نکته جالب اینه که تو مملکتی که کتاب های ماركز رو به بهانه اروتيك بودن یا جمع می کنن یا توقیف، میشه با یه تلفن شب رو با یه روسپی خوابید … به همین راحتی و به همین خوشمزگی !

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Decisions

There is something sad about watching people making bad decisions, even though making mistakes is logically inevitable in everyone's life, and even though it gives you a guilty relief that you are not the one who is making the mistake ... 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

1979 Revolution in Iran:

An interesting, somewhat different analysis:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-shah17-2008oct17,0,7636765.story

The last two paragraphs were quite interesting:

The shah's government, shaken by the loss of oil revenue, imposed a harsh austerity budget that threw thousands out of work, collapsed investor confidence and panicked middle-class Iranians. Economic chaos and unemployment quickly spread.

Within a year of the Doha summit, the first mass demonstrations that grew into revolution broke out on the streets of the Iranian capital.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stravinsky

I was writing a comment on a friends weblog when I realized that I do not really know Stravinsky's music ... so I searched in an online collection of his music and discovered his Pulcinella (ballet and suite). I found the work much more accessible than what I expected from him with very beautiful melodies which reminded me of the Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" suite. In this post I have mentioned a very impressive performance of "Pictures ..." by "Nami Ejiri", highly recommended!

The second part (movement) in the Pulcinella is fantastic, dramatic, and nostalgic: "Suite de Pulcinella: II. Serenata", both with and without voice ...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Random Films

I have seen during the past few months, and I have already forgotten some of them, so before I forget them all:

  • Perfume: The Story of a Murderer:  Strange, dark film, I liked it despite low reviews, even reminded me of "No country for old men" ... a story of amorality of perfection
  • Noise: There are many films with this title. This one is from an Australian director, and on the surface is a detective film. However, its pace is not of an American detective movie, and is more contemplative. I liked some elements of the film very much.
  • I want someone to eat cheese with: Kind of a small love affair with Chicago, a quirky offbeat romantic comedy!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Hope:

What if there is no "truth" to our lives, no "right" way of living, and everything we learn to do, all different methods of dealing with life, is just partial answers, and it does not matter what you believe in, as long as you believe in something and do it no matter what ...

What if all these "how to live better" stuff we see in different formats, lectures, books, TV programs, etc. are stupid the same, worthless the same, or useful the same ...

What if we have an "inconsequential" choice (given our constraints) between different life styles, athletic, aggressive, passive, reflective, meditative, religious, nonreligious, anti-religious, ...., and due to huge randomness in life, it does -NOT- really matter what life style we choose?

What if things are very different than what they seem, peace is more violent than conflict, or the way to the inner peace goes through an inner war ...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Self-Criticism

I realized that "self-hatred" is a very strong word, so I decided to search a little on self-criticism and here are a couple of interesting pieces:

A piece on the relation between being self-critical and perfectionism: Well, this is close to my situation, at least :) This is more about perfectionism, but it is actually a nice simple read.

A piece on creativity (in art) and being self-critical:
This seems to be the result of an study, more rigorous but less related?

This is an academic piece which is somehow related. I actually found the paper very interesting, but it is a more difficult read.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hate - Dislike

A few days ago I realized that I hate myself, well hate is a strong word but I dislike many things about myself, which is probably -not- big news to people who know me well.
Then, I realized that many people share this in different degrees, why? I recalled how people react to hearing their own voice unexpectedly: most people I know show a sense of revolt, or shock, in such cases. Most people even confess that they don't like to hear their own voice.

So what? Assuming that the observation has some general validity (for a non-zero-measure subset of population! :)
1) Why people tend to dislike themselves? Does it serve any purpose?
2) What can be done to subside the dislike?

I am surprised by how little I could find by searching "self-hatred".
Some interesting related concepts:
Here is an example/discussion of the extreme case, which is not really what I had in mind, I am thinking about a more general, less extreme, negative emotion that people display when confronted with certain aspects of themselves, maybe even some memories ...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Evil Angels?



Inspired by this [post], I started thinking about why we perceive children, or more generally, baby animals "innocent", "peaceful", etc. I think the answer is in our evolution: an animal with favorable feeling toward its babies has a better chance of living in larger groups and ultimately become a "social" animal. So we are wired to see youngsters as less of a threat, and this is ultimately translated in our culture into a "peaceful" and innocent vision of babies and kids.

I read "Lord of the Flies", a novel by Golding, when I was 12-13. It is a dark, depressing, classic, for a collection of nice reviews and links see http://www.rbhs.w-cook.k12.il.us/Mancoff/lofcrtwq.htm. Since then, I am less impressed by expressions about children innocence, etc. I like small children, and I typically form a bond with them, at least some of them, but I do not buy that their are any better than adults in a moral sense, more innocent, etc. Children can be as cruel, and more selfish, than grownups ...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wonderful Interview

Here is a wonderful interview by "Terry Gross" of "Fresh Air" with Homman Majd:
Hooman Majd, Considering The Iranian 'Paradox' (You can also listen to the interview there, also there is an excerpt from his book, "The Ayatollah Begs To Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran")
I caught only the last 15-20 minutes, but I liked his description of the Iran's society and politics.

Paul Krugman: The Future of the Middle Class?

If you are not economist then either this talk is boring or dangerous!
If you are economist, I am very interested in your evaluation:









Point of view

Sima forwarded an email to me with the following passage, I tend to think the opposite (behaviors shape the view of the world) so this is going to force me to think more:


گاهی به نگاهت نگاه کن !

انیشتین می‌گفت : « آنچه در مغزتان می‌گذرد، جهانتان را می‌آفریند. »

استفان کاوی (از سرشناسترین چهره‌های علم موفقیت) احتمالاً با الهام از همین حرف انیشتین است که می‌گوید:« اگر می‌خواهید در زندگی و روابط شخصی‌تان تغییرات جزیی به وجود آورید به گرایش‌ها و رفتارتان توجه کنید؛ اما اگر دلتان می‌خواهد قدم‌های کوانتومی بردارید و تغییرات اساسی در زندگی‌تان ایجاد کنید باید نگرش‌ها و برداشت‌هایتان را عوض کنید .»

او حرفهایش را با یک مثال خوب و واقعی، ملموس‌تر می‌کند:« صبح یک روز تعطیل در نیویورک سوار اتوبوس شدم. تقریباً یک سوم اتوبوس پر شده بود. بیشتر مردم آرام نشسته بودند و یا سرشان به چیزی گرم بود و درمجموع فضایی سرشار از آرامش و سکوتی دلپذیر برقرار بود تا اینکه مرد میانسالی با بچه‌هایش سوار اتوبوس شد و بلافاصله فضای اتوبوس تغییر کرد. بچه‌هایش داد و بیداد راه انداختند و مدام به طرف همدیگر چیز پرتاب می‌کردند. یکی از بچه‌ها با صدای بلند گریه می‌کرد و یکی دیگر روزنامه را از دست این و آن می‌کشید و خلاصه اعصاب همه‌مان توی اتوبوس خرد شده بود. اما پدر آن بچه‌ها که دقیقاً در صندلی جلویی من نشسته بود، اصلاً به روی خودش نمی‌آورد و غرق در افکار خودش بود. بالاخره صبرم لبریز شد و زبان به اعتراض بازکردم که: «آقای محترم! بچه‌هایتان واقعاً دارند همه را آزار می‌دهند. شما نمی‌خواهید جلویشان را بگیرید؟» مرد که انگار تازه متوجه شده بود چه اتفاقی دارد می‌افتد، کمی خودش را روی صندلی جابجا کرد و گفت: بله، حق با شماست. واقعاً متاسفم. راستش ما داریم از بیمارستانی برمی‌گردیم که همسرم، مادر همین بچه‌ها٬ نیم ساعت پیش در آنجا مرده است. من واقعاً گیجم و نمی‌دانم باید به این بچه‌ها چه بگویم. نمی‌دانم که خودم باید چه کار کنم و ... و بغضش ترکید و اشکش سرازیر شد.»

استفان کاوی بلافاصله پس از نقل این خاطره می‌پرسد:« صادقانه بگویید آیا اکنون این وضعیت را به طور متفاوتی نمی‌بینید؟ چرا این طور است؟ آیا دلیلی به جز این دارد که نگرش شما نسبت به آن مرد عوض شده است؟ » و خودش ادامه می‌دهد که:« راستش من خودم هم بلافاصله نگرشم عوض شد و دلسوزانه به آن مرد گفتم: واقعاً مرا ببخشید. نمی‌دانستم. آیا کمکی از دست من ساخته است؟ و....

اگر چه تا همین چند لحظه پیش ناراحت بودم که این مرد چطور می‌تواند تا این اندازه بی‌ملاحظه باشد٬ اما ناگهان با تغییر نگرشم همه چیز عوض شد و من از صمیم قلب می‌خواستم که هر کمکی از دستم ساخته است انجام بدهم .»

« حقیقت این است که به محض تغییر برداشت٬ همه چیز ناگهان عوض می‌شود. کلید یا راه حل هر مسئله‌ای این است که به شیشه‌های عینکی که به چشم داریم بنگریم؛ شاید هرازگاه لازم باشد که رنگ آنها را عوض کنیم و در واقع برداشت یا نقش خودمان را تغییر بدهیم تا بتوانیم هر وضعیتی را از دیدگاه تازه‌ای ببینیم و تفسیر کنیم . آنچه اهمیت دارد خود واقعه نیست بلکه تعبیر و تفسیر ما از آن است .

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Defeat

I was defeated by the bow today, a complete defeat, and I even left early (well, partly because I wanted to see "house"). I could not complete the form to pull the bow completely, and I throw a number of arrows around, very disappointing. Just because moving from 9kg to 12kg bow was too much too early ...

Brought back clear memories: After an excellent performance in the national entrance exam (KONKOOR) I chose my goals too high and got into a downward spiral that took me through a lot of troubles and depression. And the pattern happened before and after this, as though I was blind to what was happening or could not adjust ... 

Winter?


Isn't this a beautiful picture? The CD is a very good one as well!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Spivey Hall

My new discovery, after a long time of looking for a place in Atlanta for chamber music, is the "Spivey Hall" at the Clayton State University.

Last Saturday, we went to an excellent cafe-bakery (Alon's) to enjoy the beautiful, mild weather. I was looking at the weekend events in a local paper (Creative Loafing) to find something that Sima would like when I saw that "Deadalus Quarter" would have a performance of "HAYDN String Quartet in G minor, Op. 20 No. 3; JANACEK String Quartet No. 2, "Intimate Letters"; SCHUBERT "Trout" Quintet in A major, D 667" that evening in Spivey Hall! Even though I felt guilty, but ultimately I convinced Sima to come to the concert with me, and so did we.
I was already familiar with Hayden's quartet's and specially Schubert Trout quintet. The performance was good, but more importantly I found out that Spivey Hall has a series of impressive performances lining up in Fall and Spring: "Bach Festival" , "Guitar Performances","Small Orchestra", just look at the list, it is beyond description, amazing!!!!
Well, if you are planning to be in Atlanta, and interested in such performances, make sure to check them out, hopefully I will be there for some of them :)

PS.
LAGQ performs this Friday, September 26 at 8 p.m. in Schwartz Center, Emerson Concert Hall (at Emory) They are very good!

Next Friday, the first part of Complete performance of Beethoven's cello sonata's, Friday Oct 3 at 8 pm in Schwartz Center. These pieces (for cello-piano) are excellent!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Recent Financial Turmoil

Here are a couple of links from more reliable sources:

- OPINION | September 18, 2008
Freakonomics: Diamond and Kashyap on the Recent Financial Upheavals
Steven D. Levitt
As an economist, I am supposed to have something intelligent to say about the current financial crisis. To be honest, however, I haven't got the foggiest idea what this all means. So I did what I always do when something related to banking arises: I knocked on the doors of my colleagues Doug Diamond and [...]
http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/18/diamond-and-kashyap-on-the-recent-financial-upheavals/?ei=5070&emc=eta1

- Commentary: How to prevent the next Wall Street crisis - CNN.com:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/17/stiglitz.crisis/index.html

- A more serious academic research paper:
http://www.princeton.edu/~markus/research/papers/liquidity_crunch_2007_08.pdf

- Another serious paper:
http://www.nber.org/papers/w14358

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Resistance

In a previous post I mentioned that I had to upgrade to a heavier (12 kg) bow from a lighter (9 kg) bow, that as a result I am re-learning a lot of form and components, and finally that how important are the small details of the form. But why upgrading into heavier bow? (well, I forced to do so, but anyway) 
Heavier bow provides needed resistance that force archer to refine and develop, but there is a fine balance here: An archer should not overpower the bow and the bow should not overpower the shooter. An archer has to work with the bow, with its strength, to be a good archer.

There seems to be a parallel in life: Problems and difficulties in life resemble the bow's resistance. We need enough challenge to keep us improving but not too much to overpower us. More importantly, we need to work with challenges, use them as the strength of a bow, to our advantage and to achieve our goals. 

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ugly?

I hardly find animals ugly, even crocodiles, snakes, and such. I cannot stand some of them, like roaches, but that is another story.

I hate stories whose good and bad characters are animals. I can go so far to say that any story that makes some animals good and some bad indicate something fundamentally wrong about its writer view of the world ... :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Four violins

Driving under the concerete bridge
looking up at the stop light
wet pigeons sitting silently
an array of gray dots on a gray sky

Vivaldi's four violin concerto
playing on the radio
the joyfullness of an extraordinary performance
cannot survive the humidity
and greyness of everything around me

*************************************


The performance by "Europa_Galante" is amazing ... Highly recommended

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sin

In a practical view of the world, what does it mean when we feel we done something "wrong"? What is the sense of "shame", "remorse", etc. that we feel after it? Are these concepts solely based on a "romantic" view of the world?

Even more depressing is the concept of "will" power ...

When we feel conflicted over repeating a "bad" habit, a lot of times, the conflict is between our short-term and long-term desires and benefits.

I cannot think coherently!

A common theme seems to be (self-imposed) "boundaries".

There are useful habits, in the sense that they help us in dealing with difficult situations and decisions in life. Harmful habits, on the other hand, typically help us deal with some problems but potentially cause more serious problems. Labeling harmful behaviors as "sin" adds a layer of complexity to the issue. It motivates us to avoid them. In this sense "moral" values add a rigidity to the boundaries, that may be useful.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Story Telling



I can repeat a simple thought, an observation, over and over and it ultimately becomes a "cliche" (which I referred to as a mystery earlier). Story telling is a genius way of getting around this problem. In extreme, story telling is one of the most novel human creations, and among the most effective ways of communication!

Example: Life truly happens in small events, the bigger are events to our eyes the more hallow and superficial they are

This is a simple observation, I can
 repeat it many times but it does not mean more with repeating ...

Story: I broke the string of my 9 kg bow on Sunday. We were invited to the
 sensei's house far from the city in woods for fun and practice. (Sima took these pictures:) The environment was so peaceful that I got greedy and practiced too much and broke the string.
Anyway, today I had to practice with a heavier, 12 kg bow, and the result was a disaster. I dropped many arrows. I lost my form, and also the level of ease and confidence that I had gained with the 9kg bow. Small things would go wrong, and very delicate imbalance would interrupt my shooting.
Well, this is all good because it is part of the fun and challenge and students have to upgrade every once in a while. But the mechanism is important here. The vital role of small elements in the true balance of the shooting. This is how life is, small things make the balance of life!

Now, instead of repeating the same claim/observation, I need to find better stories that carry what I feel. That is how story telling improves our communication :)


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Luck

People, mostly men but also some women, develop strange ideas of their ideal selves, and sometimes do pretty stupid things to achieve these imaginary goals. Among them are those lucky enough to meet their imaginary selves in reality, and smart enough to recognize it and realize how stupid their imagination was ...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Irony?

A couple of weeks ago, I was playing tennis on a Saturday morning, when I started sweating like Niagara falls, to the extent that ... whatever, and in the course of the second hour of playing it got worse and I also had very strange pain in my back! Finally, on my way home I stopped at a public library to return/check out some DVDs, when I felt nausea and at some points was convinced that I was dying. Of course, I did not die and as soon as I got home I ate lots of carb thinking that it was some sort of weakness ... and got better. Since then, this happened with a lesser intensity a couple of times again.
The funny (?!) thing was that the first time I could swear that I was about to die, and being always fascinated by the idea, I even decided to write about the experience here but later I thought I had simply been delusional and paranoid.

Today, I read somewhere that these are signs of heart attack. Given that my trig. is 2-3 times higher than max. I guess I should consider the whole situation more seriously?

Anyway, to me there is a thin line between being oversensitive/paranoid and being careful and I am typically wandering in the paranoia side of the line, at least I used to think so ... ;)

Something tells me this is a very irresponsible post, and sadly immature, but at least it's honest :)

Went to cardiologist today, and he thought my heart is working like a clock ... 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Simplicity Beauty

I was at a physical therapist for back and knee pain a couple of weeks ago. He, among other things, performed a set of stretches that put a lot of pressure on my core (tanden). Immediately, I sense a flow of sensations emanating from my core (physically a point below navel). I asked him about it, and he said for the lack of a better word it is some form of energy released by the stretches.

The core or tanden has an important role in many eastern practices (like Kyudo, Yoga, Tai-Chi), and their philosophy (Buddism, Taoism). A Kyudo advanced student (5-6 years of practice) once told me that in occasions when he has a "good" arrow shoot, he can feel the energy coming out of tanden and flowing into his body.
Even more generally, you can see the trait in many practices based on meditation. So, if you search the word you will find all sorts of different interpretations, explanations, etc.

But the "truth" can be very simple, some form of energy is stored in the muscles of that area that one can release and control via different practices. Of course, control is achieved only through long practice, life long, but the underlying truth can still be amazingly simple. You do not need God, spirituality, philosophy, mind, love, hope, concepts, intellect ... All you need is routine practice if you want to control "it" and a good physical therapist if you want to enjoy it once in a while

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A (famous?) Quote

I do not know why this quote bothers me:

Great minds discuss ideas
Average minds discuss events
Small minds discuss people

Seems too pretentious, presumptive, and superficial to me ...

More thinking revealed part of the problem, which is basically mis-use of language. "Ideas", "Events", "People" are very different "things" and applying the verb "discuss" hides this aspects. We "love/hate" people, "learn from/experience" events, and "evaluate/examine" ideas. The same act of "discussing" has different dimension when applied to each of the three.

I dislike the quote because my life is consistent with it, in the sense that I have kept busy most dealing with ideas, then events, then people ... Feels like an imbalance

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cliche

"Cliche"s are amazing, as I find them deeply related to my language impossibility/irrelevance theorem. Even though life, in the very practical sense, is essentially repetition, but it seems that we find the repetition in language, in words, quite negative ... Why?

I do not have an answer, this is all very intuitive. It may even be related to my slogan that "addiction is ultimate abstraction", or maybe not !!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two stories:

Just to keep them somewhere:

1) the magnitude of the injustice:

http://www.iran-emrooz.net/index.php?/politic2/more/16469/


2) And from the positive side:

http://dayyertashbad.blogfa.com/

Musical Offering

My new discovery of JSBach music. I first listened to it a few months ago and did not really catch my ears, but now it is growing more and more on me. As usual with JSB very simple, and sometimes repetitive, on the surface but as you listen more it offers more and unravel itself.

There is at least one book on this piece:
J. S. BACH'S MUSICAL OFFERING. By Hans Theodore David. (G. Schirmer, Inc., New York, I945. Pp. xi, 190.)

And some people believe that this works is "one of his greatest, and perhaps least understood, works" !

From Wiki:

"In 1747, Bach went to the court of Frederick II of Prussia in Potsdam, where the king played a theme for Bach and challenged him to improvise a fugue based on his theme. Bach improvised a three-part fugue on Frederick's pianoforte, then a novelty, and later presented the king with a Musical Offering which consists of fugues, canons and a trio based on the "royal theme", nominated by the monarch. Its six-part fugue includes a slightly altered subject more suitable for extensive elaboration.

Orchestral and chamber music

Bach wrote music for single instruments, duets and small ensembles. Bach's works for solo instruments—the six sonatas and partitas for violin (BWV 1001–1006), the six cello suites (BWV 1007–1012) and the Partita for solo flute (BWV 1013)—may be listed among the most profound works in the repertoire. Bach also composed a suite and several other works for solo lute. He wrote trio sonatas; solo sonatas (accompanied by continuo) for the flute and for the viola da gamba; and a large number of canons and ricercare, mostly for unspecified instrumentation. The most significant examples of the latter are contained in The Art of Fugue and The Musical Offering.

Bach's best-known orchestral works are the Brandenburg concertos, so named because he submitted them in the hope of gaining employment from Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg-Schwedt in 1721; his application was unsuccessful. These works are examples of the concerto grosso genre. Other surviving works in the concerto form include two violin concertos (BWV 1041 and BWV 1042); a Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor (BWV 1043), often referred to as Bach's "double" concerto; and concertos for one, two, three and even four harpsichords. It is widely accepted that many of the harpsichord concertos were not original works, but arrangements of his concertos for other instruments now lost. A number of violin, oboe and flute concertos have been reconstructed from these. In addition to concertos, Bach also wrote four orchestral suites, a series of stylised dances for orchestra, each preceded by a French overture. The work now known as the Air on the G String is an arrangement for the violin made in the nineteenth century from the second movement of the Orchestral Suite No. 3."

Friday, August 08, 2008

Interpreting a Dream

I woke up this morning with a clear memory of a dream, and surprisingly a clear interpretation of the dream!


DREAM: A standoff between government and some organizations (young people, universities?) in different locations. Government announced that it would crack down the resistance violently by the end of the day. I am leaving a building in the afternoon and soldiers line up in front of the building. I am not sure to stay or not, but finally decide to go home and avoid the hazard. But I notice that my car is parked in the lot in the back of the building. It is getting darker and I finally decide to sneak through soldiers line around the building and get my car. Once I am in the back lot, everything gets calmer and we go in the building, nobody's around, everyone is outside in front partying and the soldiers have left.

INTERPRETATION: Since a week ago, there has been tremendous work pressure that forced me to cancel some activities, and I decided to also stop Kyudo. The sensei, however, urged me to keep some continuity in my practice. I also missed some peacefulness aspects of the practice. So I went to practice last evening and was amazed by how natural it was.

Government ~ projects and work pressure
organization ~ Kyudo
Stand-off ~ Stopping Kyudo
Violence-soldiers ~ How I dramatized+complicated the decision
First decision ~ Work has priority
Car ~ Small but valuable aspects of the Kyudo practice
Cool down ~ Once I went back, the situation seemed calmer than I developed in my mind

I cannot describe how in many different levels this is interesting to me, partly because it is really personal and roots in my experiences ...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Two Observations

Last night on PBS:
Nature- “Silent Roar: Searching for the Snow Leopard”
Why Interesting: The team spent four years in Himalaya, under extremely hard conditions, to make this one hour film ... can you imagine how much inspiration and determination is involved?


Today, "morning edition" on NPR:

After Quake, Entrepreneurs Do Business In Tents

Why interesting: Compare it to the attitude we commonly see in Iran after such accidents ...


Monday, August 04, 2008

Fun - How old is your brain?

Figure this out:

http://flashfabrica.com/f_learning/brain/brain.html

First day, figuring out the game: 39
Second day, getting some expertise: 28
Yesterday record: 25
Today [8/8/8] record - so far: 20

Up to six numbers is easy, after that I am at the mercy of my luck :)

I find it a good brain exercise in working with patterns, and not a logical linear thought process, and also helps me release some pressure!

Small Men

I do not have the time and the sense of writing. However, while looking at the headlines related to the current crisis between Iran and US (and Israel) I suddenly remembered NPR's review (a couple of weeks ago) of a new book on Cuban missile crisis in 60's that brought the world closest to an atomic disaster than ever before. A main point raised by the author of the new book was the importance of small men's decisions and random effects during a crisis. Apparently, leaders of US and soviet both wanted to avoid a disaster, but they also had the vision that small, and maybe random, events can have a catastrophic effect in a crisis situation, and the book gives an example of such events. The point here is that many of the current leaders, especially in Iran, do not recognize or underestimate the the potential effects of such small random events and small men decisions in this situation ...

Friday, August 01, 2008

Another Kind of Photography ...

Thanks to this weblog [http://oadp.blogspot.com/]
I found this one [http://wvs.topleftpixel.com/]

Very beautiful pictures, some of them are full of feeling ...

Words ...

Reading novels have been among my most favorite things to do, I can completely forget myself when reading a good novel, lose track of time and surrounding. So, for me coming to the conclusion that words are of very little value is ironic.

I sincerely believe that words cannot change life in any meaningful way. There is no "truth" to be revealed by a collection of words. If there are basic facts in life, they are so simple in words that expressing them becomes embarrassing. And even if you can express them nicely, that is if you are a good artist, their revelation cannot change anything in real world. Everyone has to come to his/her own truth true practices of life. There are no short-cuts, there are no bright ideas, there are no moments of revelation (even if they are, again, they are close to worthless)

This may be a dilemma, or may actually be the result of the great enjoyment I receive from words. We are typically harsher to those we love more :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ruins

In a hot summer day
back in grandma's old house
before it was ruined by the earthquake, 
before the new building was erected

I am seven or eight again
reading my aunt's magazines 
running around the yard surrounded by  tall walls
keeping an eye on that old dark wooden door
with long slippery stairs going down, 

I carry a small lamp, watchful for the roaches around
sometimes falling on my head
listening for the sound of them fly
and I wake up with the sound
not able to go back to sleep
not until they are dead
in a hot summer night

Why?

Why I am not an artist, 

Because I have chosen a different occupation to earn my livelihood

Because serious art, like other ways of life, requires consistency, hard work, and practice

Because nothing worthwhile in life comes free

Even though I am not sure whether this matters at the end, but I hope to become good in what I do

I have come to believe that the nature of things are secondary, more in our mind, what is important is how we "deal" with things in full practicality of the sense ... Vow!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Some Photos






I am not a photographer, but I feel strong attachment to some pictures I take, like these :)


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Something ...


There is something amazing in Bach's orchestral suites, I cannot describe it, or maybe it has something to do with my occasionally more depressed mood than the music itself :)
It is so simple and so elegant, and so deeply influence me ...

I am thinking about justice and fairness in the big scheme of things, kind of related to religious beliefs and a fair God, etc. and I came to the conclusion that it is inconsistent with evolution and natural selection. That is, someone who accepts evolution and natural selection as forces who shaped life on earth, cannot believe that there is justice in the big picture

Here is the freaky part ... I feel a relation between the two paragraphs !?!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rain

On the patio of a run down cafe
smoking a cigarette
rain curves over my face
sound of thunders
mixes with my racing thoughts
and I feel numb
and I feel nothing
just rush to finish smoking
got to get back to work
got to get back to work

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Nabavi to Batebi - Some more thoughts

I like this piece a lot because it accords well with what I learned and tried to advocate after "AHMADINEJAD" election to presidency:

The first thing to do with life is to live it the best we can, and then, to benefit others whom we care about. As simple as this sounds, it had very wide implications. Finding the place that we can be "effective" in helping others is an "art". Defining such "small" goals in ordinary life is very difficult and needs re-evaluation of our priorities.

For me a good example is the "Afshin Jafari Prize". It is an area that lots of us can be very effective. We have a rare opportunity to develop an "institution" and have long-run goals. Yet, most if not all of us (including myself) prefer to spend time on useless political, sport, etc. news and arguments, but when it comes to contributing to the "prize" we feel short in resources.

To me (with a bit of exaggeration), this is a simple example of the sad story of our nation's choices and priorities! and its gradual death!!

PS. Any comments and thoughts on this subject are more than welcome!

Nabavi to Batebi Letter (Persian):
http://www.roozonline.com/archives/2008/07/post_8247.php

Afshin Jafari Prize:
http://www.afshinprize.org/prize.htm

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Change and Circle

To change/improve something effectively, one needs to focus on each part and avoid going in circles.

Panda's father says there is no secret recipe, Cucko knows well how one could waste life looking for magical secrets.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

WALL-E etc

[WALL-E  ;  Kung Fu Panda] Two good animation. Panda was entertaining, but WALL-E was an excellent movie/animation, more so for adults than for children. Highly recommended, I am even thinking about buying it when it comes on DVD, which is a big deal to be shelfed along with "Seven Samurai", "Tokyo Drifter", and "Dead Man"!!!!

[28 weeks after ;  Eastern Promises] Both good, "28 weeks" a good horror movie (relative to others in the genre very good) but not memorable! "Eastern" was very bloody and hard to watch at some points, but very good, close to excellent.

[Sweet Land  ;  Somersault] Both relatively slow but ultimately engaging movie. "Sweet" was funny sometimes and a beautiful love story, very good. "Somersault" was darker but even more interesting, on the border of excellent.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sports, Dance, Religion? ... education

If I have a choice to teach a child something useful as a parent, I think I am going to choose sports or dance over religion.

My views on sport activities have changed dramatically in the past couple of years, but there is something very unique about learning a physical activity (of any kind, but typically sport/dance in our days) from "someone who is really good at it". I would prefer such an experience to a religious experience, at this moment, even though I am not sure what is going to be a child's perspective?!! :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Little Children

Watched it a couple of nights ago, and liked it much. Deals with relationships and marriage, which are quite ordinary subjects, but has an interesting angle or something :)

On a completely irrelevant note, found the following clip ... I am still evaluating it to decide whether it is good or ordinary ??!!! :)


2013-2-23: (1) Here is the movie link from "metacritics":
http://www.metacritic.com/movie/little-children
(2) I watched the clip again, after several years, and I still like it. They are harmonious :)
(3) My last night dream was about "infidelity in marriage". Today when I looked at the "stats" for my blogs, my way of randomly choosing some old posts on the blog to look at and remember old days, two posts came up, both titles of movies about "infidelity in marriage": Little children (this post) and We don't live here anymore [link]. Strange :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ashes

Dig our selves for something humane
burn them in middle
dance around ashes
to the cracking sound of a dying fire
dancing like crazies
like those in love

Shadows getting longer
a big one hanging over 
waiting for the right moment
we dance like crazies
like those in love

Sky turning dark blue
add old memories to the fire
in new flames I see my mother
telling me to pull it together
we dance like crazies
like those in love

Our bodies feel hotter
as we close our circle
the pain of burning flesh
the dark pleasure of termination
we dance in fire like crazies
like those in love

A breeze drifts our ashes
we swirl, up and down
dancing in the air like crazies
like those had been in love

sweet, bitter, funny, confusing ...

Informed me last night of her small achievement (even though she is typically very optimistic, but downplayed this) and I felt proud of her conquering the gate after a few months of Yoga (well, and a life behind it, but anyway) and I felt confused (and jealous) for not being able to do this after more than 20 years of ... (practice or just thinking?!!:) and I felt confused because she described it as a very insignificant thing without much consequence EXCEPT A HIGHER/DIFFERENT LEVEL OF AWARENESS!!!! kind of reminds me of the last dialogs between G. Heckman and C. Eastwood in Unforgiven, "deserve don't mean shit" (or, "it has nothing to do with deserve")

2013-01-03: I had to read this post very carefully to remember what I had in mind when I wrote it :) This post is about a conversation between Sima and me, in which, she told me that she can quiet her mind while doing yoga. For most of my life, the idea/notion if "quieting mind=stopping the endless conversation" was a very big deal, and I would think of it as a life-changing experience. Now, however, I look at it (the conversation) as something normal and do not see much value in quieting it, lol

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Observations from Iran

  • This is a short piece, mainly observations from Tehran, nice read:

http://jazireyesargardani.blogspot.com/2008/02/blog-post.html#links


  • I am listening to this CD on "Naxos music library" (many north american libraries give online access to this free to their students/faculties). It is fun to listen at least once, especially if you have heard the originals many many times before :)

VIVALDI: Four Seasons: Gaohu Concerto (adaptation) / BACH: Violin Concerto : Erhu Concerto (adaptation)
Changfu Liu, gaohu
Feng Tang, erhu
Beijing Central Philharmonic Orchestra
Huichang Yan, Conductor

[From CD's information]
"
While the violin may have been used in Chinese music to imitate the techniques of the er-hu, the Chinese two-string fiddle, the latter has rarely been used in classical western violin repertoire. The er-hu has a small hexagonal body of wood, the belly covered with snakeskin. There is a tubular neck and two strings are looped to the two large pegs at the top of the neck. The instrument has no finger board and the bow passes between the two strings. The player sits and holds the instrument on the knee, holding the bow under hand, as with the Western viola da gamba."

  • Have you every felt you are decomposing? Strange, but sometimes (when I am enough depressed!) I feel as if my muscles are all falling off my body ... I guess most people call this "DARD'E BI DARDI" as my mom used to say ...
  • Have not seen any hawks around my office or around house for a while, maybe 2-3 months, I wonder where they are ...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Rap and Rattle

Listening to Iranian music brings back all sorts of memories and a deep sense of depression

The type of depressing thoughts are different when below thirties and when approaching forties: The former has a sense of looking forward, wondering what else life brings. The latter has a sense of looking backwards, and wondering what is life about

The dominance of melodies in Persian music makes it sentimental and romantic, sometimes too much so, and lessens the sense of reflection and universality that you may find in, for example, music of J S Bach

Listening to most BWV's above 1000, especially the four orchestral suites of J S Bach, brings up a sense of transcendence, closest thing to a "religious" feeling I have experienced

I am listening to Radio-Darvish [http://www.radiodarvish.com/] today! I started the day quite depressed, to be honest, and listening to the music only feeds back into it, but it is amazing to me that each song literally tears me apart, it is as though each note is a sharp blade cutting through, I am amazed by how powerful is the feeling

The sadness in some DASTGAAH's, like NAVAA, is so deep that when are played by someone like EBADI they vibe very close to the universal feeling I just mentioned ...

Well, this last point (at least) is totally B.S. I do not have the intelligence to make such statements anyway ...

Read some (all!) of my 2005 posts again, boy, I love myself :)

I found out "opening up" is much much more difficult than I imagined: I cannot even open up to myself !!!!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Shaho-Kun

SHAHO-KUN

Principles of Shooting by Master Junsei Yoshimi

The way is not with the bow, but with the bone, which is of the greatest importance in shooting.

Placing Spirit (Kokoro) in the center of the whole body, with two-thirds of the Yunde (left arm) push the string, and with one-third of the Mete (right arm) pull the bow. Spirit settled, this becomes harmonious unity.

From the center line of the chest, divide the left and right equally into release.

It is written, that the collision of iron and stone will release sudden sparks; and thus there is the golden body, shining white, and the half moon positioned in the west.

Sha Soku Seikatsu ... Kyudo is Living

Freedom, Religion

A couple of days ago I read a discussion between some friends regarding religion, worship, freedom, and slavery. In Farsi and Arabic, the t...