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Archive for the ‘Loopy’s Life’ Category

Here is Hooman Majd on Bill Maher’s HBO show, Real Time:

Here is the rest of the show and the panel discussion (joel stein, paul begala, Kathy kay)


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Time to get back to writing.

enough waiting and time wasting…

….let’s get back to writing.

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Let’s Blog again!

Yes….do let’s!

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Seated in the metro, i had the sudden realization that needed seriously to have a sit down with Young Lorde Cunningham.  I have neglected him for far too long – and he, equally, has neglected me more than he should have.

And when i say ‘seriously’, i mean as seriously as the need to exam an oddly shaped pebble at the age of 5 … that is to say very seriously!

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  • Filed under: Loopy's Life
  • Crystallising

    It is such an odd sensation.  I feel like I’m at a point, in thoughts and ideas, where i might be on the edge of a precipice.

    There have been many thoughts that have been swirling in my head for a some time now, mostly for the past six months.  Ideas that were vague and unclear, accumulating.  And now because of an interesting encounter and discussion with someone unexpected, it seems that some sort of catalysis and crystallisation happening. It is interesting, as a phenomenon unto itself, as well as it terms of the fruits it is bearing. I’m realizing how little i know outside of my own scientific domain.

    Not surprisingly, in these situations, things seem to fall into space.  I came across an article, quite by chance, written by Eugene Wigner, Nobel Laureate in physics, and one of the greats of quantum field theory.  The article is entitled “The Unreasonable effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences“.  And this has only exacerbated the flow of ideas.

    It is a great sensation.

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    It’s funny, across time, and my experiences in it, I become more and more convinced that a Man’s Personality, who he is, how he defines himself, and sees himself in the world, evolves through a series of Beatrice’s. 

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    Unexpecting the expected

    I did something today, that i’d never done before. 

    As usual, after eating, i put my plate aside.  Then i turned and looked at it, and thought for a moment, and decided against all instinct, to follow Mim’s advice, and i picked up the plate, walked slowly – against my body’s natural tendencies – over to the dishwashing area.  I at first nearly succumbed to my instincts, and placed the dirty dish in the sink and turned.  But, for reasons as yet unknown to me, my left foot refused to turn.  Once more i reflected on Mim’s advice.  I looked at the dirty dish, sitting lonely in sink.

    I then tried a more psychological approach.  I said nearly outloud, that anyways, I’d done a whole lot of dishwashing today.  Yes, it was that time of the week. And i had to wash for the need of a clean dish to cook in, something which i’d avoided all day, so as to not have to wash the dishes, until finally my stomach sent me a very stern warning, and i had to acquiesce. 

    The dish and I stayed engaged in this oddest of staredowns.  And i continued to reason against myself:  There is no hot water left.   The inside of my plastic dishwashing gloves is wet.  It’s a waste of water.  It’s a holiday today.  Did the americans ever REALLY land on the moon?  I really need to get back to work on the Beethoven.  Did i just hear on the radio taht Karl Malone made a 12 year old girl pregnant when he was 18? I really need to get dressed otherwise i’ll miss the 16hr showing of …. of……….of…….IRON MAN!

    And yet the disk continued to look pleadingly at me with its one huge red plastic eye. 

    I suddenly felt an odd twitch in my right arm.  It was moving.  Ever so slowly, but ever so surely.  I watched my hand in disbelief as i slowly extended itself, reached down into sink, for the red plate.  Completely in shock by this odd movement of my arm, i was ambused by the movement, almost in concert, of my left hand towards the water tap. 

    I was in full panick mode by this time.  What is going on? I knew i should have filed my taxes earlier….

    My left hand, with uncanny post-meal dexterity turned on the hot water and immediately reached for the already-soapy-from-earlier-washing sponge. 

    And then … Then to my own shock, AND awe, i watched myself as i washed a dish, a single solitary dish, right after having eaten off of it.

    20 seconds later it was done.  I’d even put the disk in the rack to dry, something which i realized only after several seconds after seeing myself in the mirror standing immobile in front of an empty sink, sponge still in my hand and small trail of soapy warm water slowly making its way down my left arm. 


    I guess Mim was right.  It is easier to do one dish after the meal, than 20 after a week.

    Who knows, i might even do it again sometime….no hurry.

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    Say What Now?

    Say What Now?What did i tell you? I told you i’d be back very soon, and i’ve obliged. Personally i’m quite impressed by myself, but as some might wish to point out, this is not the first time i’ve stopped blogging and then said i’ll be back soon, and then didn’t oblige.

    So, first let’s attend to the questions.  Why did i stop?  Well, there is not one answer to that.  I’ll tell you what one of the main reasons was however.  When this blog was ‘discovered’ by certain people that perhaps i didnt’ think – naively – would’ve found it (i.e. my students).  That in itself wasn’t a problem for me, but the idea of my personal life and my professional life mixing did not appeal to me. 

    Why? Well the reasons are many.  I have no intention of going into a discussion on pedgogical philosophies, but perhaps it boils down to one word: authority.  I am still young enough that i remember my life as a student.  I remember the teacher for me always had a unique existence, in that she or he did not really exist for me outside of the academic framework.  If it came to pass that fate would have me cross a teacher in real life, say at the supermarket or something, once the awe and wonder of it has faded, i could almost say that somethign was lost, in the mystique of the teacher.  Because he became more human. I am not saying that is a bad thing, it is even possibly a good thing, but what is important is that the dynamic between the two changes.  And that is that I dont want yet to happen i think.  As i become more comfortable in my professional skin, i will be able to deal with situation better. I am by no means a strict teacher, possibly a bit too lax at times, and it is as always, the story of giving an inch, and them taking a foot. You need to be careful. 

    But let us be serious. that is NOT the only reason.  However the theme rests. It is odd to say this, but when you know WHO is reading the blog, you dont necessarily write with the same sincerity and genuineness as before.  You can’t keep the same level of candidness.  You almost write for an audience.  Now, i am not by any means saying i actually have an audience (all you need to do is look at the 40-50 hits/day i was getting in my ‘hayday’ to realize this fact).  But when you are aware that certain people are reading the blog, some autocensoring comes into play. which is a shame. 

    You know i started to blog, before i knew i was actually blogging.  It was in 2000 that i started.  It was on a site which was an online journal, and i was there under a pseudonym, with no information on my actual identity.  And there i was able to truly write all that was on my mind, and i can tell you in those days – during the SAH days – i had a LOT on my mind, and a lot to say.  No one from my real life actually ever found out about that site … except for one perhaps…although i’m not sure – he is finishing his PhD in the US and while we do keep in somewhat regular contact, he never ever has brought that up so i dont know for sure.  Anyways, i used to love those times, because i really was able to say what was on my mind.  I was writing a lot of poetry back then, and a lot of prose.  And i didnt feel bad about publishing them online because i knew that no one who read it, knew who i was.  There is a great feelign of safety in anonymity.

    Then i started this blog.  Back when it was still on the utoronto server.  At that time i did not mind being known.  And the more i reflect upon it, the more i realize it is because the goal of my web-writing had changed.  Whether i liked it or not, there was politics in there now.  Although i did include a fair bit of my personal life in that.  But anyways, the people who read the blog, were mostly those who did not really know me.

    Politics however became one of the reasons i stopped blogging.  I could not take it anymore.  It wasn’t only in blogging that it was becoming too much.  In my own life too.  As i was going through the crisis of my personal life, the crisis in politics became almost an external manifestation of my insides, and it became somethign i could cling onto, in order to externalize my own problems.  But i became far too invested in it, and with each bad news, i took it far too badly on a personal level.  And so i had to stop.  Even in my own personal life, now, i’m much more cut off from politics.  Sure i read the news, i follow the elections and the campaigning and hear what warmongers like McCain or Clinton have to say, but i just dont get moved too much by it.  I dont get moved by the plight of the poor country of Iraq anymore.  I dont get moved too much by all the negative potentiality surrounding Iran and the US anymore.  i just coudln’t anymore, i had to stop.  In a sense it’s a shame, but i think i’m better off for it. 

    It is because i’m fairly – no…very – happy in my personal and professional life.  Happy enough, that i at times feel guilty at how lucky i am.  And that is another reason why i haven’t been blogging.  Honestly, i dont think at any point in my life, i’ve worked the number of hours that i do currently.  Each night until 10 pm at least, and most weekends at the library.  And i love it. I dont mind.  Sure it’s not the same kind of work as a kid in med school or someone doing a PhD in physics, but its’ work nonetheless.  Talking and interacting the number of hours each day with the students and then afterwards marking preparing, etc. is still work, and its intellectual work.  But its’ a great form of exhaustion. 

    Furthermore, while not working i’m busy doing a lot of things i enjoy greatly.  I’m taking full advantage of the possibilities of this awesome and expensive city.  Musically, especially.  I will be writing much more musical reviews that is for sure.  I’ve also – thanks to the burgeoning friendship with my very dear friend Double-R – started to explore many things outside of my professional field of trainings of science. 

    So that leads me to the final thing to say.  After all of that, the main reason possibly for not writing, has been a lack of direction.  Bascially once, i decided i’m going to forego politics, this blog lost a lot of its direction.  It makes me sad to see it lose its direction, but even more sad to realize that it had become basically a political blog.  This was never the intention.  The original aim of this blog was to introduce Iran and talk about Iran (all of iran, not just its politics) to a mainly occidental and english speaking audience. 

    And so here we are, if we are to continue with this blog, what is going to be its point, and its direction?  And it is here that we reach a bit of a problem.  Because, for me, the natural diretion to take would be a more personal one, a more introspective one.  And yet here i just spent half of this post ranting and raving about lack of anonymity and autocensure in the face of a known audience. 

    So what is there to do? That is the question.  Does one sacrifice the one for the other, or is it goodbye blogging?  Or perhaps a compromise can be found between the two extremes? Perhaps that could be the subject of a post.  This much i can say, i will continue to write, as my time permits, and i will write about things which MATTER TO ME, WHICH ARE IMPORTANT TO ME, WHICH I AM THINKING ABOUT IN MY LIFE. 

    oh yes, and i’d really like to start up the photoblog once more, since my lovely new camera and i are getting along oh just so swimingly.


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    Lovely locks

    “I had to do a double take when i – quite accidentally – caught a glimpse of you this evening.  But the instant my eyes fell on your lovely curly locks and that profile, i recognized you.

    I hadn’t seen you for nearly 9 months.  Did you know you were one of the reasons i used to spend time at the Library even when i didn’t have much to do?  Just the waiting was enjoyable enough.  And if perchance there was a spot not too far from you, all the better.  But that was so long ago.  I’d almost forgotten … so you can imagine my surprise at seeing you again tonite.

    Once more that unique ensemble of features.  As ever thsoe chestnut brown curls, wild at heart, framing those eyes.  And that irrepressably delicate yet defiant mouth.  And don’t even get me started on your dainty chin …

    Is it no amazing – and beautiful -  how much can be said or felt in teh simple exchange of a few fleeting glances?  Such an innocent and pregnant experience.  In one instant so much potentiality is touched upon mutually by two people.  In one instant you are once again a child with all the trivial and yet important and exagerrated worries …

    I look forward to the next time.

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  • Filed under: Loopy's Life
  • Francis Bacon’s Triptych

    I’m standing, finally, before the Triptych. It is perhaps odd that such a hideous and anxious set of imagery should be an identifying feature and hallmark, for potentially my greatest joy.

    When I first saw the image, several weeks ago, on my computer screen, it was new, and it startled me. It made me feel empty in the pit of my stomach. Standing before it now, in its full size, is worse. I wish there were no other people. Empty with just me.

    I do wonder about what makes me want to keep staring at it however. There is a pleasure I get from the horror of it. A pleasure from the claustrophobic blood, and feeling of being in a veritable nightmare.

    There is not a single part of the image which does not contribute to the general sense of nightmare, horror and anxiety. It is not a horror or anxiety borne out of a fear of survival, or imminent danger. But rather something growing out of hopelessness, decay, deformation, being in the presence of a monster that will not kill you, but rather disgust you.

    The downward bend of the neck, bending perhaps under the weight of … i dont know what. The teeth, oh! the teeth. Is it laughing? Is it mocking me? Is it baring its teeth as its sole defence?

    The red stripe, is like a red carpet, there with the sole intention of featuring the hideous monster, mocking him before the audience … us who stare with unsatiable appetites.

    “Come one, come all. Ladies and Gentlemen, stare at the star of the show: the hideous, formless monster”

    Is it in pain? Or is it not even capable of pain? Or perhaps that is the only thing that it can feel?

    Waht if .. what if it is look in a mirro? what if, he too is fascinated by his hideous form? Unable to take its absent eyes ooff its own shapeless mass … those blood-red lips … in that abnormally small hand pale ‘face.

    On each side two other deformed entities, one screaming silently …. perhaps jeering … the other much more resigned to its hideous existence, only stare on, perhaps even feelign pity for the Monster-on-display.

    Is this how Bacon saw himself? or is it how he saw everyone? We all do have our hideous side, and are we not, in some perverted way, fascinated with it? With its dark formless creations and desires? Maybe I can’t stop staring at this nightmarish scene, for the same reason taht i couldn’t stop reading Notes from Underground">Notes from Underground, because Dostoyevski too perhaps was presenting me with the monster in my basement, and i found it fascinating in teh same perverse way. Are all like that … or is it just me?

    I cannot help but find it odd that I should have the association with this image that I do. And yet at the same time ….


    This was an excerpt from my Ireland-England 2007 Travel Diary. The paintings are by the Irish painter, Francis Bacon. While i can claim a certain connexion with music, and a limited one with Sculpture, I am very uncultured when it comes to painting, and most of all contemporary and modern art. This mostly is due to my own dogmatic and close-minded approach and rejection of modernism and post-modernism. However, that is changing. I was introduced to Bacon, and specifically by a very dear friend several months ago, and it touched me on a very deep level. It fascinated me. Just as my rejection of modern non-rhyming poetry was shattered some years ago, when i opened my mind, i feel the same is happenign towards modern, and post-modern art. Anyways, when she showed me the central piece of the Triptych, i was so completely overwhelmed by it and emotionally struck, that i was determined to understand this. So when i was in Cambridge, I forced Jai to come with me to London one of the nights, and we headed for the Tate Modern, where this painting finds its home. I arrived there 30 minutes before closing time. So i sat myself on the ground in front of this painting for those 30 minutes until the ushers, ushered me out. It was an incredible experience.

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