Friday, December 28, 2007

A winter morning tale

The weather here was been unseasonably sunny and bright for the past couple of days. You might say good for you, but i had a hard time sleeping in the morning. The shinny daylight would come in through my bedroom curtains and wake me up early in the morning. Yesterday i was glad to wake up to a cloady gloomy day around noon:) Everything has its own place.

Painting: Camille PISSARRO, French 1831–1903 , Boulevard Montmartre, morning, cloudy weather 1897

Joy of Cooking

I spent hours in the kitchen today cooking for a small party i'm having tomorrow. It's been a while for me since i cooked, real cooking. It's almost a year that i have adaopted a healthy eating diet, preparing low fat meals, whole grains, ... . And you know that style, although good for you, doesn't much go inline with a real Persian kitchen. So today i cut myself a break, i cooked the old style, using Kermanshahi butter and fried onions in my stew. I made Mirzaghasemi the authentic Rashti style, frying the barbecued eggplants... . My friend came over and made hummus, not cutting back on tahini and olive oil. We poured exactly the amount of oil required for the cake into the batter. I frosted it with real good melted chocolate. I enjoyed my time in the kitchen.

P.S. Can somebody come and help me clean up now?:)

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Musical Christmas of '07

It's Christmas eve. I'm home alone, still recovering from my cold. PBS is having the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on, and next is the Boston Pops (photo above). Christmas to me means music, and lot and lots of it, it's a happy season:)

P.S. If you're home alone tonight too, here's my present to you, the old good cartoon of my childhood years.
P.S.2. PBS continued with Christmas at Belmont, which was quite good too. Thanks god for pbs!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Yalda

It is the longest night of the year, Yalda night. Yalda to me means family. The special noodle-rice dish that my mom insists we have to have at Yalda to master our lives in the months to follow. It means the big crystal bowl of pomegranates, which was my job to prepare when i grow older. It means my dad bringing home the last watermelon of the season. It means Yalda nuts with Basloghs that i used to love, and many other tastes and smells. It means playing backgammon on the beautifully hand crafted family piece. It means bibliomancy from Hafez collection of poems. I miss my family in this Yalda night, maybe more than before cause i'm down with a cold.

Happy Yalda to you all. I wish for you and me the strength to endure the longest of the dark in our lives to wake up to the dawn of a bright Sun.

P.S.1. Thanks for your comments on the last post. I'll get back to them as soon as i feel physically better.
P.S.2. I so much crave Baslogh. I'm gonna experiment and make some when i get better. Here's the recipe i've found on the web.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Where is our social manner?

Yesterday someone sent me a video showing a naked man walking in the middle of a crowded street in Tehran. He shouts and hits himself and it is visible that the poor man is mentally sick. After a while the police comes and takes him into custody.

Now the video is recorded by what seems to be a young man and his friend on a cell phone camera device. So what is most audible in the video is the comments and laughs between these two boys. And that is what made me really upset. They laugh and make fun of the naked retard man, like they are the audience of a comic show, and boast about how this video they're shooting is gonna be a hit on the internet. It was truly so painful to listen to those comments, and i spare you from the experiance. It makes me sad to witness how socially indecent the young generation of my fellow iranians has become. Isn't treating a sick person with compassion part of social codes to be honored in any society, let alone a so called religious one ? Those type of behaviors used to bother me immensely, and God knows that was so frequent in everyday life in iran.

It could as well be that i've lived in academia for the past few years and am only exposed to an above normal environmet, but since i came to US i have not witnessed a single thing like that here. Where is the problem? Why is that we have failed to teach our youngsters the very basic social codes?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sundays with Rain and Icicles*

Freezing rain in the city for a couple of days and now the trees are all ice covered. In the dim light of the cloudy days they look like beautifully made crystals. I look at them with the peace of mind knowing the bare branches are in their winter sleep and probably wouldn't feel the cold ice all over their skin. The same ice that has been a feast to my eyes past few days. The grass however is still green, but that too is covered in a layer of thin ice. It's like somebody has carefully laid a sheer fragile throw over them to protect them from the cold. This icy green is something i had never seen before.
Cold can be beautiful too.
*-The title is inspired by Leva's Sunday pictures.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Handel's Messiah

Listen Here.

"Yet once, a little while
and i will shake
the heavens and the earth
the sea and the dry land.
and I will shake all nations;
and the desire of all nations shall come."

As i sat there and listened to the orchestra playing, and the chorus singing these biblical verses, i made a wish. That God would shake me the same way too.

Some interesting facts about Handel's Messiah
  1. It was interesting to find the similarity between the above verses and the Muslim Iranians' new year prayer.
  2. Handel wrote this in English; it was Mozart who later on translated the verses to German and rearranged the oratorio to make it possible to be played in a more classic (no organ) orchestra. The performance i went to tonight was Mozart's arrangement of Handel's Messiah, and it was thus in German. We were given bilingual pamphlets.
  3. It used to be performed by an all male (men and boys) choir. I suppose they didn't like the idea of women singing the bible!
  4. When it came to the famous Halleluja part, everybody in the audience stood up. You could call it national anthem of heavens i suppose:) They say that King George II rose to his feet at this point, and so the tradition was rooted.
  5. German always sounded rough to my ears. If you share that opinion wait till you hear a choir sing Messiah. You'll look at German differently.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My worried STATA!

Okay this is one of those things you might find funny only if you're worked with the statistical software STATA. But i find it pretty amusing so there we go:
When you need to increase the memory assigned to the software- and that occasionally happens when you're working with big datasets, if you give the command while you already have some variables out there, the STATA will comment "no; data in memory would be lost". This "no" in the beginning of the error comment is so funny. I picture a worried mom on the other side of the monitor telling a caring "no" to his kid when he comes to the table with unwashed hands!

P.S. Another interesting comment I received from the software today: "STATA needs attention!" who doesn't, buddy?:)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I am Iran; Do Not Bomb Me!

My dear friends Tameshk and Nazy made this beautiful slide show of Iran. The work is inspired by anti-war protests in San Francisco and Berkeley in October and November.
Please share the video.

If you can't access Youtube, watch it here: