Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What About Personal Freedom!

Some Questions:
Does anyone know what Personal means? When we define something as personal: what do we mean? What about Private? Are these the same? Do we want to block other’s judgment when we say this is a personal matter? And do we always need to say it or is there going to be a day that the others realize it on their own? (The other is anyone who is not you.)

Some Points:

For those of us who pretend to believe in Personal Freedom – from freedom of speech to freedom of choice and so on:

“Freedom of speech is the concept of being able to speak freely without censorship. […] The most important justification for free speech is a general liberal or libertarian presumption against coercing individuals from living how they please and doing what they want.” [Freedom of speech, Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia]

That means:
If X wants or chooses to talk, to write, to express … anything X prefers, and I mean anything - from the monthly menstrual period to the Heegaard splittings and pseudo-Anosov maps – X has the right to do so. We mostly agree with this part, but we are usually not so enthusiastic for the rest of the quoted phrase that says: Individuals have the right to live how they please and forcing them, in any way, to decide against their will is against freedom of individuals–.

And that means:
X is also has the right of choosing what X wears, what X eats, who X has sex with, what X reads, what X sees… This is the fact that particularly gets ignored: that there are some personal choices everyone has the right to make without the fear of being judged by others: I believe the others’ judgment is an act of coercing an individual. Keeping our judgments to ourselves and not pass any judgment on one another’s personal choices is wishful thinking on my part. But I still prefer to go with my wishes rather than my limits. So I strongly suggest that the others should at least try to keep their judgments to themselves when it comes to one’s personal choice(s).

Happy Halloween!
A Coffee Shop gets ready for Halloween
Santa Barbara, October 2007

*I assume everyone understands that I am not suggesting one should not be responsible for the choices they make, Though I believe how they want to be responsible is their choice also. I am merely suggesting that let everyone be free of fear when they make that choice.

**Last night magnitude-5.6 earthquake shook San Francisco Bay area: This post is by no means a result of that earthquake!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I cannot bring myself to tell, “These emails bother me,” that “they remind me of my laziness, my passiveness,” that “they only make me hate my current state more than I already do,” I think I will never tell these; at least in the way I like.

Maybe I should know by now that these short emails, with one or two links: mostly art related, sometimes about Iran and sometimes funny, really mean “hey, I was thinking of you!” but I am not sure they mean that.

The aftermath does not concern anyone but me. My days become short, remote and pale.

Pale, Badlands SD, August 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sleepless in Santa Barbara!

My paper cup only contains hot water. I just put it down on the nightstand. It’s past midnight. I have used my hot-water cup more as a hand warmer than a drink tonight. I am cold; but no matter how cold I am, I can’t escape my cup's comment:

The Way I See It #284

"You can’t lead the people, if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people if you don’t serve the people."

After reading these lines I looked at the author’s name and suddenly I missed my room in Nassau Street. The author was Cornel West from Princeton University. Oh, I can easily hear crickets' chirping; as if I need more signs to know that I am one of a few sleepless creatures in Santa Barbara.

Owens Rose Garden in Eugene, OR, September 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Week Out of Ordinary!

I’ve just finished this week’s translation load. The past couple of days, Bibi Huryeh, my black MacBook, was very patient with me. I dropped her almost two times and its battery ran out once, but she like a real Bibi – lady – stood by me. Overall I had such a week that I am glad is passed. Oh! the weather is getting dreadfully cold in Princeton.

New Flavor:
On Friday night I saw Michael Clayton (2007) directed by Tony Gilroy. I guess this is a film not liked by many, but certainly a sort of film that I like. A story everyone has heard, perhaps many times, but this time it is told in such a way as if you hear it for the first time. A divorced, gamble-holic, broke and experienced attorney, Michael Clayton who works in the gigantic law firm as a fixer, gets involved in a 6 years old class action suit that breaks into his daily routine. This multi-million dollar case forces Clayton to reconsider every professional decision he has ever made. Over the course of the movie, which only covers 5 days of Clayton’s messy life, Gorge Clooney (Clayton) portrays such a believable character that his powerful Clooney-ego melts away. This is a Clooney you have never seen; He is Michael Clayton. Gilroy correctly chooses a slow paste for the film. The movie's many close-ups and the characters’ voice-overs fit into the narration brilliantly. It is an A+ movie. See it and experience a new flavor.

Also here is a very unique and neat photo-blog by Nicole Chenell. I had the chance to spend a small portion of this summer exploring Tuscany along with Nichole. After three months, now, when I look at her photos, once more I feel the warmth and tenderness that Tuscany offers its visitors.

To Be, Fountain Paint Pot, August 2007
An amazing sight in Yellowstone National park

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

No such Thing as Tradition!

I remember very well the first time I went to a play with my parents. Everything was glorious and I was little. It was Molière’s The Miser. Last night, while McCarter Theater Center protected me from the heavy rainstorm, I was one of the many delighted audiences of another Molière’s play: Tartuffe [The Imposter].

What I really liked about the last night’s performance is Daniel Fish’s (the director) lively approach toward Tartuffe. Although the performances were not as engaging as they ought to be – too much hands and a lot of shouting didn't make this comedy funnier – Daniel Fish’s mise-en scene was brilliant and made up for the feeble moments of actors' performances. The use of Video recording and the museum like setting truly harmonized with Roger Plancchon’s claim as Janice Paran wrote on Tartuffe Unmasked: "When I decided to stage Tartuffe I studied all the previous productions. That’s when I realized that there is no such thing as tradition."

The legend says that Molière died on the stage. Well, he didn’t exactly die on the stage but collapsed during his last performance. He died couple of hours after the play had finished in the middle of a February, in 1673.

Recently Seen Movies :

Hot Fuzz (2007): a British action, comedy, crime and so on; I liked the first half and really didn’t enjoy the idea of the secret society. I am sure there are far better films about innocent looking villages where everyone is involved in a crime. B is my vote for Hot Fuzz.

Vertigo (1958): was a revisited movie. I have seen it two times before. I should admit that this time I liked it more. Yet it is not my favorite Hitchcock movie. I generally do not like to get involve in supernatural when it comes to crime. Vertigo is perhaps an exception in my book. Although at the end we get to the point of “No Supernatural Reasons” for the most part in Vertigo we are trapped in a sort of illusion that suits the title: Vertigo. Nicely done! And about Vertigo vs. Rope: I still enjoy the straight forwardness of the story in Rope. Why should I choose at all? James Stewart plays in both of them!
Mar Adentro or The Sea Inside (2004) a controversial story and indeed a very touching film. Directed by Alejandro Amenábar who also directed The Others in 2001. My vote is A+ :for its performances, for its courageous position on the controversial issue of euthanasia and for its simply smart narration. I am sorry that I didn’t catch it sooner. If you haven’t seen it yet, please put it on your Must-See-List.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

He Called Me "Janeh Janan"

He called me once, many years ago:

“Janeh Janan”!

I don’t know when it was exactly,
Maybe it was when I could see my own reflection in his hazel eyes.
Or perhaps, it was when I cloud hear his loving voice with no one in between.

I don’t remember when it was exactly,
That he called me “Janeh Janan”
Surly it was when he was younger and
I a child.
It was then that he called me:

“Janeh Janan”!

And he read to me Molana’s story; A story none like it
It was then that his profound voice trembled
It was then that I saw him, as if for the first time;
A man,
A man
With strong bones, stronger will and fiery eyes.

It was so far and yet so near. I saw him as if for the first time;
A man locked away from his wishes, struggling not to forget them.


I don’t remember when it was, Still his roar is with me:

“Hearken to the reed flute, how it complains, lamenting its banishment from its home”

I don’t remember when it was exactly!
He called me:
“Janeh Janan”!

* Inspired by Nazy's invitation as an "uplifting exercise".
* I have shamelessly used the 800th birth anniversary of Molana (Rumi) just to recall the color of his eyes.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Eureka, Eureka, Σμέουρο* !

Eureka, Eureka! Finally Some real Tameshk: These wild berries (or wild raspberry) are what we call Tameshk back home. I found them in California, in a route along the coast. It was a colorful start for autumn.

Yesterday after a poetic meeting - no really it was a Persian poetry reading class**- I have updated Tameshk In Kitchen. So far, my Blogrolling has some problem pinging it; so consider yourself pinged. I should go now, I am about to read an article by David Little called Collectivity and New York Alternative Spaces: the title tickles me!

Tameshk (wild berry), California, Autumn 2007

* Σμέουρο means raspberry in Greek.

** Persian Reading is a class at Princeton IAS: we will read Bostan by Saadi, but the main focus of the class will be on Masnavi by Molana (Rumi). The readings will be under Dr. Ja'fari's supervision.