Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year, the Spammer Way!

I got this today, in a semi-spam email message from a Free Hosting provider company. Actually I had signed up there once for checking their features, but I never asked for an email, even a Happy New Year one. Anyhow, here it is:

Let all your old be fade away,
let your New comings cast this Day.
May your past be lost in abyss
and your future will be filled with a bliss.

Even though we might've learned much,
with wisdom that 2006 offered bunch;
but that would mean we lost our yearn
for we still have much to learn.

So I pray for your endless flame to know more each day,
and let your continuing quest may bring every New Day.

Happy New Year Everyone!

The Reminder

One of the main themes I wanted for my blog was stories and mythology. I don't know if the readers of my blog liked them or not, but I personally enjoyed writing those posts about Arash and Kaveh. Unfortunately, I have had little time for working on stories lately. I like to read more about each story I want to retell, compare sources and compile the best narrative I can. I have a few candidates, one of which is retelling the story of Siavash, one of my favorites in Shahnameh, but I need some time to think about the retelling and style, and to write several drafts and to throw them away. I'm not a professional, but as I said I like to do the best I can.

This is more of a reminder for myself, than an announcement, of course. I wish the exams started and finished sooner. When something unpleasant is going to happen, well, the sooner, the better!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Wise Move

It's more than a month I haven't booted into Windows. Today, I had to go to Windows to check something work in Windows, because I want to give it to a university instructor and it has to work correctly in Windows. Guess what happened? Just when Windows XP started up, after a long time of hard disk activity, it proposed me to restart the computer because it had detected a new hardware! And I assure you there is no new hardware. Of course, I clicked 'No'.

I had a short work of a few minutes, and it was enough to show me how slow Windows is. It was like a headache. I'm wondering how I used to do my everyday work in Windows. I'm now more confident about my move, and I'm so happy it finished!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

From the Master of Words

One once informed Anushirvan the Just, "the Mighty Lord has eliminated that enemy of yours." He answered, "are you certain that He has let me be?"

Sa'adi, Golestan ("The Rose Garden")

Sa'adi has always been admired for his flawless mastery of words. This is one of the shortest stories from his Golestan. Although short, I believe it is very beautiful and it proves the Master of Words was even able to form a powerful story with only a handful of words --especially the original Persian story, not this quick translation of mine.

Man Is Not Made for Defeat

"But man is not made for defeat," he said. "A man can be destroyed, but not defeated."

A few days ago, I had some free time at the university. I decided to go to the central library and read something until the class starts. The literary part of the library is really a shame. There are very few literature books in comparison to others. Probably about a hundred or so. Anyhow, I was searching among them when I came up with this copy of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. The poor book seems to have endured many painful years. I had not read any of Hemingway's books, so I started right there. It absorbed me.

I can definitely say it is one of the finest books I've read. It entered the list of my favorite books instantly.

The Old Man and the Sea, for those who have not read it, is a story of a man's struggle with the beasts of the sea; a story of a human being's unbelievable power. The old man is a mere old fisherman, yet he shows how much power a human being can have when he wants. Hemingway's strong and vital style absorbs the reader. It's one of those books you cannot easily put away before finishing it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Cultural Engineering

I was going to my engineering mathematics class in the Islamic Knowledge department (some math classes are taking place there due to a space shortage in the math department) where I saw a poster with the title "The Cultural Engineering National Conference". This is a new plan from an ever fearful government that's doing its best to survive. So what the heck is cultural engineering? I thought it should be another invention of him ("him," in the same sense it was used in The Lord of the Rings) just like the software movement project he announced some time ago and had nothing to do with real software (yes, he's so supreme that he can order the words change their meanings as he likes!). So I started to do a search on Google, and guess what? I was right! I got some results, though. Let's check one out. This is what Cultural Engineering L.L.C. says, and it's interesting enough to quote from their definition page:

"Cultural engineering is a conceptual approach to cultural development planning and management that takes into account the changing concepts of culture and the design of practical strategies for dealing with issues and problems raised by culture and development in diverse contexts.... In other words, cultural engineering is about systems, processes, alternatives and the formulation of creative solutions to challenges in the development of cultural institutions and the promotion of people’s participation in cultural life."

It seems, as I already suspected, cultural engineering is not a well-established world-wide concept and the results I got were mostly part inventions used by some author to express an idea, like the one I quoted, which is mostly a corporate definition and interestingly involves "the promotion of people's participation in cultural life," as the last sentence puts it, and not someone else trying to smooth the cultural status of a nation to match his own interest. Yes, they want to engineer a nation in quite the same way someone tries to change the internals of a machine to have it work better for their needs. The only difference is that in the former a seventy-million nation should suffer and not a poor machine, but who cares?

Now that I'm writing about a himself-invented phrase, I think it's a good place to write about the other one I mentioned earlier: a software movement! I'd better quote a definition first. This is my translation of part of an essay from The essay titled "The Principals of the Software Movement" is written by Mohammad Ghalibaf, the current Tehran mayor.

Every civilization is built out of hardware and software. Hardware is the social structure and its products.... software is the conceptual system that backs the hardware, and like the hardware has many types: the principal concepts like philosophy of logic and logic [itself], the technical concepts like different mathematical, physical and social sciences, and also the social and general concepts with their own technical definitions, all of which are among the software.

I hate it when non-technicals use a phrase they don't understand at all for something else. Anyhow, software movement, along with cultural engineering, is part of a larger project they are working on: to control all the aspects of the Iranian society and then use it as a tool for their aims. The aims I'm talking about is, of course, far from a local Islamic system for Iran. They are (or want to be) "global gladiators", as Alvin Toffler calls them in his book, Powershift. Remember that their religion is all about world conquer.

Freedom Is Good

No, this is not a political post. It has more with the hacker spirit than with them (Don't misunderstand the real hacker for the stereotypical Hollywood types you see in movies or read about in newspapers; They're crackers. See Eric Raymond's famous How to Become a Hacker for more information on "Freedom Is Good" and the hacker attitude itself). I've just left the company I was working for in the last two months and I'm enjoying my freedom.

Now I understand the stress of working for someone else: someone stupid chooses a stupid project for you to work on, and you should maintain a long long list of stupid standards and then present your program for even a more stupid person (the exact "pointy-haired boss" type Paul Graham describes; See Revenge of the Nerds for more info). All of these happens in a stupid environment where they call it a company. And I was the smartest of the programmers (they said) and was assigned those projects that needed a smarter guy!

Now I'm again on my own. I choose my own project (how about an online game, or something fun like that), I can choose my own programming language (My favorites are Lisp, and Python after it), I maintain my own coding standards (isn't it just stupid to call the loop index "intCounter"?) and the working place is "home, sweet home", with the favorite Ubuntu box always at hand.

One can understand heaven only after experiencing the hell!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Holidays

I was forgetting this most important post:

Happy Holidays Everyone!

[It's a little bit early to say happy new year!]

Plus Five

Today, five new members took part in this week's IREJO meeting. This is very good news for IREJO. We mostly discussed the new website today. We also formed a five member team for organizing the excursions; I am in this team. Forming a music group was discussed, too.

I think IREJO should expect a new brilliant era.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Long Long Night

It seems the sun is in a hurry as it moves faster than any other day and as it sets down the horizon, its last rays disappear sooner than ever, and then it starts: Yalda.

It is as long as it seems it is not going to an end, and it is as dark as neither the moon nor the stars can beat its darkness, and it is cold, colder than ever. Ahriman is in full power.

But not all hope had vanished. There is Azar, the burning and unburning fire, the visible and invisible fire, the eternal flame of Mazda. The night is going to be defeated, since Mithra is the protector of the morning light.

No matter how long it will take, Ahriman will be defeated, as it was defeated long long ago on the same day, when the sun was born. Now come and celebrate. As long as you are with Mazda's fire, Ahriman can never harm you. Come and celebrate the birth of Mithra, the ever protector of the light of early morning.

* * *

Today is the last day of Azar, the ninth month in the Iranian calendar and it marks the time of the Winter Solstice and the old celebration of Yalda, the longest night of the year, also known as "Shab-e-Chelle", and it is believed to have been celebrated for some 6000 years. Yalda, which literally means "birth", was the night on which the God of love, friendship, and light, the God of Sun, Mithra (a.k.a. Mehr) was born. Since Mithra was believed to be the guardian of the early morning light, there were many feasts in his honor on this night.

Yalda has lost its religious impact today and is mostly considered a social gathering. Nonetheless it is the most widely celebrated among the ancient Iranian festivals only after Norooz (and probably "Charshanbe Suri"). Since, most of those old festivals are getting forgotten (thanks to the deliberate negligence of the current rulers of Iran), I believe it is most important for us to celebrate those that are still respected.

Watermelons are considered one of the most important parts of the Yalda festival. Googling about watermelons, I found the interesting website of National Watermelon Promotion Board which aims at the promotion of watermelon demand in the U.S. and Canada. It has many interesting parts (including a recipe database) for watermelon lovers. If you are a watermelon fan, check it out.

And, by the way, happy Yalda!

Monday, December 18, 2006

They're All Women!

Today, in this week's IREJO weekly session, the IREJO board of directors was elected. Elham, Farmehr and Sayeh were chosen as the board ("estraro") members, in order, as the president ("prezidantino"), general secretary ("gxenerala sekretariino") and financial director ("kasistino"). This is the first full female board during the history of IREJO. I congratulate them all.

We also briefly discussed the IREJO web site ( is now registered for IREJO), the pre-Norooz meeting ("La Antaux Noruza Renkontigxo", Norooz is the Iranian new year festival), as well as the upcoming translation and conversation meetings.

Friday, December 15, 2006

La Zamenhofa Tago

Today, December 15, was the Zamenhof Day ("La Zemenhofa Tago", or the Esperanto [literature] Day). Like many Esperantists around the world, we celebrated this day in a special gathering with (mostly) other members of IREA (Esperanto Association of Iran).

The celebration was a quite small gathering that took place in the house of one of the members. In this get-together, first of all we listened to Mr. Mamduhi's speech (in Esperanto) on the development of Esperanto and its help towards communications and tourism, as well as the language problem on the Internet. Mr. Mamduhi, who is the current president of IREA, provided some useful diagrams during his speech.

After that Mr. Habibpur read us a poem by Zamennhof himself in both Esperanto and Persian. He also provided us with a good background on the topic. I enjoyed this part of the program very much. Thank you Mr. Habibpur!

The third part, after a short break, was the beautiful performance of Niku Mamduhi based on a play about Esperanto.

After that Dr. Sayyadpur gave a useful speech on the works of William Auld, the famous Scottish author who has been dominated for the Nobel Literature Prize for several times. William Auld, who is one of the most well known figures of the Esperanto literature, died on September this year.

The last part of the program was Mr. Torabi's speech about the association, which was followed by a self-introduction of the members so that we would get to know each other better.

December 15 is the birthday of L. L. Zamenhof, the initiator of Esperanto. I should thank everyone who had a part in holding this get-together, and congratulate all the Esperantists of the world, "la gesamideanoj", for the "Zamenhoftago".

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Six

Yesterday, after quite a long time, I went to the office of IREA to join an IREJO meeting, and there I met five other members of IREJO, two of which I already knew, along with Mr. Torabi, a leading IREA member.

IREJO (IRana Esperantista Junulara Organizo, "The Organization of Iranian Young Esperantists") is the youth branch of IREA (IRana Esperanto-Asocio, "The Esperanto Association of Iran") which is itself the national branch of UEA (Universala Esperanto-Asocio, "World Esperanto Association") in Iran. IREJO is also the national branch of TEJO (Tutmonda Esperantista Junulara Organizo, "The World Organization of Young Esperantists"). After a few years of brilliant activities, IREJO has been quite inactive for several years and we are going to start reorganizing IREJO, and make it more active again. Having undergone a long period of inactivity, IREJO currently does not even have a board of directors ("Estraro"), so one of our highest priorities is electing a new board. Setting up a website, holding weekly meetings and (biweekly?) translation classes, and planning excursions ("ekskursoj") are among our current plans.

On The Wall

What do they wanna say? Is it all about Pink Floyd, or there's more?
(poster on a wall in our university)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Complex Integration, Residues, and Our Education System

I knew that Dr. Jazbi as a mathematician does not say anything definitely unless it is proven to her, so why was she strongly asking us to prove it, in any case distinctively, that the last statement evaluates to zero, although she definitely told us that it will always evaluate to zero? Finally someone asked her, and she simply answered, "Well, if all you have to do is to find a few residues, then what are you here for? Everyone can do that."

We should prove that so that the problems remains sufficiently difficult for the examinations. Many parts of the education system of Iran acts this way. They are not preparing students to solve real problems. In real world we have access to all textbooks, tables, computers and calculators, and we know that statement always evaluates to zero. So Isn't something seriously wrong about this system of education? But real world problems tend to be much more complicated that the ones they want us to solve in the exams. If they want their exams to be sufficiently difficult, then they can use some real world problems and let us free to use anything we want. So why don't they do that? I guess that is because it takes them a lot of effort, for this is not a simple change in the exams but a big change in the education system itself.

They might argue that in some courses, like engineering mathematics, there is no real world problem unless, of course, they go into details of something like a real mechanical system. That is correct, and that's why I say we need a fundamental change in the educations system. I mean I really doubt about the necessity of a course like engineering mathematics (in its current form). As a computer engineering student, I don't think I will ever need to solve heat equations. In fact, if I were to study only software (i.e. if I could), I would hardly needed a bit of non-discrete math like differential equations (and I'm not going to talk about all the non-sense we are mandated to study in the Islamic Knowledge department).

A university is a place that attracts a lot of smart people and can let them do great things. That is good, and this is why I still like it, and if we compare it to all other state run institutions it's definitely a lot better than them (bad is better than worse, or worse is better than the worst!) but it could be a whole lot more productive, and more fun.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Unix Quote: The Insight

"Part of the charm of Unix is, all of a sudden, having a great insight and saying to yourself, "So THAT's why they did it that way.""

— The Unix Companion (page 356)

Source: Harley Hahn's Unix Quotes

Friday, December 01, 2006

No Need for Thinking!

"It is really easy. You don't even have to think. We will take care of that for you." This can be a good motto for the government of Iran, and especially for president Ahmadinejad's government. A few minutes ago, an SMS from my brother informed me that English Wikipedia and IMDb have been added to the filtering list of the Telecom company (the government organization which all telecommunications service providers of the country have to get their infrastructure services from). Uploading the "Requested Page Is Forbidden" image above, I found out that is also filtered out (I cannot see the image myself now, I hope it fits well!).

English Wikipedia is my first place for searching information about almost any topic, as it is for many many people, so this is a shock (and I'm not going to stop using it, even if it is filtered!). This is the first time a major English language site is filtered. Previously, most filtered information-providing web sites where Persian, for example while BBC English is open, BBC Persian is filtered. I think this may be a new wave of Internet filtering which can include many other major sites (even Google and Blogger?) in the future. Step by step they are doing their moves. First it came the limiting of broadband services, now new major web sites are filtered? Who can guess what their next move is going to be?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Way of Unix

I'm enjoying my life! Switching to Linux was an excellent idea. I'm just regretting why I didn't do this earlier (I had been thinking about this for more than a year!). In many books I had read how things in Unix are, and it was all like a mystery. Now I am really experiencing the way of Unix in Linux. How is it different, you ask? My answer: Although there are a *lot* of differences, the most important thing, in my opinion, is you must learn before you can do anything. Learning is essential. For example, in my first days in Linux I made a complete mess with my package manager and a large number of packages. Many programs simply stopped working. It took me a lot of time to figure out what's wrong and a few days to fix everything. But now I know much more than before. What would I do in Windows to fix such thing? A simple reinstall! Yes, simple it is, but does it teach you not to make the same mistake again? Apparently not. And that's why many people keep reinstalling Windows every few weeks (or even more, sometimes much more).

Now that I'm talking about Linux making people learn, I remember part of Eric Raymond's How to Become a Hacker in which he says about Unix-like systems: "'ll have fun, and you'll soak up more knowledge than you realize you're learning until you look back on it as a master hacker." Now I don't mean that I've become a master hacker, but I'm beginning to realize.

Another thing I'm really enjoying in Linux is that automating tasks is a whole lot easier. There are a lot of powerful scripting languages and the whole system is much more scriptable. I learned that in Linux the solution of many problems I might have to install a program for in Windows, is a small script. A script is a program, and what else is more enjoyable for a programmer than writing programs for everyday tasks?

Unix, and today's Unix-like systems like Linux, are a dream world for a programmer. If you enjoy programming and you're still stuck to Windows, you're probably missing the most enjoyable environment a programmer can ever have.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Suitcase

I have started reading Chamedan ("The Suitcase") by Bozorg Alavi (Here's his official website, in Persian) . It is one of Alavi's early collections (first published on 1934).

We decided to read this book at a book club at university. I'll have a post about Chamedan and Alavi later.

The Silmarillion

I finally finished reading The Silmarillion. Not that I am a slow reader (I started on October 11, and the book has 455 in Persian translation), I only had little time to spend on it. In fact, I read most of the book in the time I had between my classes at the university.

The Silmarillion is a complex work and not an easy book to read. The stories contain a lot of themes, names, and various information. The Wikipedia entry on "Of the Rings of Power and the third Age" (the final part of the book) says:

The work is a fictional historical essay dealing with the preamble to the events described in Tolkien's epic novel The Lord of the Rings, and the events themselves, in the style of The Silmarillion. The fact that those events are explored in a mere handful of pages suggests that if the events described in the rest of The Silmarillion had been written in the style of The Lord of the Rings they would have filled hundreds of volumes.

For a complete understanding of the book, it is necessary to read it more than once. That is what I do for most of the books I like. I usually find many interesting points when I re-read the books I had already read. In case of Silmarillion I have a new opportunity. I read the Persian translation and now, thanks to a dear friend, I have the original English text. I can read the stories again, and this time in the original language. The Persian translation was not completely flawless and it's major problem was reading the names. In Persian, normally short vowels are not written. Of course, it is usual to write the short vowels when a new word is introduced, or provide the original foreign word as footnote, but in this case I cannot really blame the publisher because the number of new words was very much and writing all of them with short vowels would probably make the text a little ugly. Anyhow, everything is going to be fine with the original text. I guess I will start it as soon as I get rid of the mid-term exams.

The first part of the book is Ainulindalë ("The music of the Ainur"). It is the story of the creation of the universe ("Eä") in Tolkien's Legendarium and its style is somehow like that of the Old Testament which I really enjoyed --I love archaic style. The story of the creation of the world out of music, especially, is very interesting. I had already tried to compose my own versions of the creation for the fun of writing fiction, and I was fascinated that part of Ainulindalë was similiar to one of my own accounts (in mine, the life was blown into the world from the song of the First Lady --Ovëliad).

The second part, Valaquenta, is less like a story but it's vital to the reading of the rest of the book, as it describes the Valar (those among the Ainur who became the powers of the world), the Maiar (the lesser Ainur who came to help the Valar), and the Enemies (those fallen among the Valar and the Maiar).

The third part of the book, Quenta Silmarillion ("The Account of the Silmarils"), is the bulk of the book and describes the beginning of the world before the elves and the men, the awakening of the elves and later the men and the dwarves, and mainly the story of the Silmarils, the three star-like jewels which were made by Fëanor (one of the high elves, those who went to Valinor upon the invitation of the Valar) along with many stories narrated meanwhile. Probably the most beautiful chapter in this part is the story of Beren and Lúthien. The story was also narrated by Aragorn as a very short poem in Lord of the Rings (FotR, A Knife in the Dark).

The fourth part is named Akallabêth ("The Downfallen"). This is my favorite part, although it is quite short. Akallabêth is the story of the fall of the kingdom of Númenor after the Dúnedain are deceived by Sauron and attempt to attack the Undying Lands and the Valar (and that is why they started calling him Sauron the Deceiver later). Only a group of them, still faithful to the Valar, survive (those lead by Elendil, that Aragorn in Lord of the Rings is his descendant) and Númenor itself is completely destructed by the will of Eru Ilúvatar ("the One, Father of All"). The theme partly resembles the story of destruction of Atlantis. Interestingly, the Quenya form of Akallabêth is Atalantë.

The final part of the book, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, tells the story of the making of the rings of power (and the most noticeable among them, The One Ring) and the events that lead to the events of Lord of the Rings, as well as a short narration of Lord of the Rings itself, in Silmarillion style. The book ends with the Eldar's leaving of the Middle-earth and the beginning of a new age for men.

Final words: I strongly recommend reading The Silmarillion for anyone who likes fantasy. Especially, if you have already read Lord of the Rings, reading The Silmarillion would increase the joy of the reading of both of the books.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

New Experiences

I've been having new exciting experiences during the last few days. I finally moved to (GNU/)Linux and my transition process was amazingly painless. As a programmer, I find the new environment more convenient --everything is simply more natural. The speed of the PC is better. No more annoying lags and pauses. Although my computer is quite well equipped, the system always lagged in Windows.

In Windows, I used Firefox as my web browser, and Thunderbird as my mail client. Both of them work the same way here, and these are two of my most frequently used programs. OpenOffice is quite satisfactory for my needs, and my favorite language, Python, is just here for me. I was also surprised to see that many Windows applications run very well in Linux under an emulator (such as WINE).

For those who are not familiar with Linux, Linux is by itself only a kernel, and together with the many parts obtained from the GNU project it becomes a complete operating system (many argue that GNU/Linux is a better name for the system, and I agree, but using this long name repeatedly is quite annoying). There are many ways to mix these parts together, so there are many Linux distributions. I use Ubuntu. As I had heard, and now actually experienced, Ubuntu is a good choice for new converts! It has a very convenient environment with a selection of well-maintained packages for everyday tasks. Ubuntu was surprisingly easy to install. The installation program did everything in a few easy steps and it even set up a dual boot system for me.

With the new ADSL Internet connection, now I have a system of my dreams. I had always dreamed of having a Unix system with a direct Internet connection from a local network and that is what I actually have now. Linux is a complete Unix-like system, with much more than Unix itself, and the ADSL modem/router, in fact, gives me a network with a direct Internet connection. It is just like in the books --pretty exciting!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Azhi, the Blacksmith, and the King

We read the story of Kaveh the blacksmith, Zahhak the Azhi, and Jamshid and Fereydun, the two most praised kings of the ancient world (in Iranian mythology).

In Iranian mythology, Jam is the greatest king ever. He is both a king and a priest of Ahura Mazda. He teaches people how to use metals and many other materials, he teaches them how to build houses, he teaches them how to make perfumes and wine, how to mine jewelry, how to sail in the seas and much more. He orders the society and divides people into four classes: the priests, the warriors, the farmers, and the artisans. All the creatures in the world come under his rule. One day, when he is sitting on his throne the divs who serve him raise his throne and as he flies into the sky all his people see him shining brightly and after that he is called Jamshid (shid means "light" in Persian). That day, which was the first day of Spring, was then called Norooz ("new day") and it became the most important celebration of the people. Iranians, and some other nations of the Greater Iran, still celebrate Norooz as their most important celebration --the celebration of the beginning of the new year.

Jamshid had a cup (called Jām-e Jam, "Jam's Cup"), filled with the elixir of immortality, in which he could see everything in the universe. Jamshid's Cup is an important symbol in Persian literature.

Jamshid ruled the world for over three centuries, and during that time there was neither disease nor death in the world, but he was finally corrupted by his pride and hence the Farr (the imperial glory Ahura Mazda gives someone to rule the people) departed from him and so Jamshid fell to Zahhak and was later cut in two and killed by him.

The description of Zahhak (originally Aži Dahāka) slightly differs in the different sources we have, i.e. Avesta and post-Avestan older texts, and Shahnameh. In Avesta, Aži Dahāka is the greatest of the Ažis (dragons) "with three mouths, six eyes, and three heads" (presumably meaning three heads with one mouth and two eyes each). He is demonic although his other characteristics match those of a human being. Shahnameh, and many post-Avestan texts, identify him as an Arab (or at least of Semitic origin) who becomes under influence of Ahriman. He gains kingly rule after the fall of Jamshid, and although he leads the world a thousand years of misery, his reign was ultimately good since had he not become the king, the rule would have been taken by the immortal demon Xešm, and so evil would have ruled upon earth until the end of the world.

Zahhak was finally defeated by Fereydūn, a descendant of Jamshid, who took him into the mountains of Alborz and chained him up on top of Damavand where he will live until the end of the world. It is said that at the end of the world, Zahak manages to free himself and starts to destroy the world but before he can do that, Garshasp the ancient hero who killed the other dragons will wake up from death, slay him as the last living dragon and save the two thirds of the world that Zahhak has not devoured.

But Shahnameh also speaks of another figure: Kaveh. Kaveh is a unique character in Iranian mythology because he is an ordinary person, unlike most other heroes. He is brave enough to stand before the most feared Azhi and complain from him, brave enough not to sign a testimony even the highest ranking officials do not dare not to sign, brave enough to call the name of the Azhi's enemy in the public. So much brave that Zahhak himself admits (as Ferdowsi says in Shahnameh) "when Kaveh came in, as I heard his voice, it seemed to me that a wall of iron rose between us." Probably Kaveh is a symbol of the people who helped Fereydun, for although it was Fereydun who chained Zahhak up in Alborz, his army of people who accompanied him to the capital made Zahhak fear so much that he fled. If Fereydun was the key to freedom, then Kaveh (and the people he symbolizes) turned that key in the door.

The rise of Kaveh was like a spark in the darkness; a spark that set fire to a crowd. His flag, the leather apron he put on the spear, became a symbol of Fereydun and the Iranian Empire until the fall of the Sassanid dynasty during the Arab invasion when Arabs torn it into pieces (in fact, the history doubts that the real imperial flag was Kaveh's flag, and probably it was another one whose name was similar to Kaveh's, but it's no different for in fiction and mythology we are considering the world in another stage of imagination, as J.R.R. Tolkien puts it in one of his interviews).

The last word is that the above picture shows the statue of Kaveh in Esfahan. For years the Islamists have fought building statues since Islam is against building statues or paintig pictures of people. It seems that they have lost the war, although it took many statues destroyed to achieve that, for now there are many beautiful statues in Esfahan (as well as in other cities).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Blacksmith (Final Episode)

When Kaveh comes out of the assembly, he goes streight towards the crowd. He takes a spear and puts his leather apron on it. Then he cries out:

"O People! This is a devil you are living under his rule. Who among you is going to disobey the evil? Who among you is going to call for Fereydun?"

And it comes a large crowd of people following that simple leather flag while Kaveh guides the people to the Alborz mountains where, he knows, Fereydun lives.

Fereydun from top of the mountain sees the crowd of people coming, and he perceives, "Its time had now come."

So Fereydun brings the old crown passed to him and puts it on, for it's time that someone from the royal line wear the crown of the world. And then he asks for his mother's permission to go, the one he owes his life to, more than any son owes his life to his mother. Farank, with tears upon her face, calls for Mazda's help for his son and lets him go.

Then Fereydun asks his older brothers to have a mace made for him, and they summon the greatest of the blacksmiths to make the mace. The blacksmiths make a grand mace for him with a head like that of an ox and, with his mace in hands, Fereydun leaves with his army of people for Zahhak's capital.

On their way, they reach the Arvand river. Fereydun asks the river keeper to let them pass the great river with the boats, but he refuses. "I have the word of the king of the world," he says, "that no one shall pass this river without an explicit permission.

Fereydun gets angry and, without the fear of the great river, guides his horse through the water and then everyone follows him.

So they make their way through Arvand and travel all the long way until they reach the capital where they find Zahhak has fled and left the capital.

So Fereydun enters the palace with little resistance and then he sets all the prisoners free of the jail and of Zahhak's magic and among those who were set free were Arnavaz and Shahrnavaz, the two daughtars of Jamshid and the most beautiful women of the world.

But there is Zahhak's treasurer there who, although pretends to submit, is still a slave to Zahhak and when he gets the time he goes near his master and tells him all he has seen.

When Zahhak hears of Fereydun, sitting on the throne with the daughters of Jamshid besides him, he loses his temper and rushes towards the palace.

Fereydun is looking for him when Zahhak himself comes to the palace and with a sword in his hand is going to kill Arnavaz and Shahrnavaz, but before he can manage to kill the two, Fereydun strikes him with his ox-headed mace on the shoulders, and on the heart, and on the skull, and from the Zahhak's wounds there come many vermin.

Fereydun is going to kill Zahhak that he hears the voice of Sorush, the messenger angel.

"His reign has come to an end, but not his time. Take him to Alborz."

So Fereydun takes Zahhak to Damavand and there again he hears Sorush saying,

"Have him chained up on the top of Damavand, and let him be there imprisoned until it comes the end of the world, when he will meet his end along with the others. The world will see no other harm from him before that time."

So it ends, the rule of Zahhak, and it comes the era of Fereydun. The era of delight and happiness, and Fereydun ornaments the simple flag of Kaveh with many jewels and it remains a symbol of the royal line, and of his land for a long long time.

And of Zahhak no one hears anymore, before the end of the world, except some of those who wander among the Alborz mountains --they can hear his fell voice groaning in pain and waiting for the time the hands of fate will set him free to face his final destiny.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Freedom of Choice

On the board of the so-called Ma'aref Department (the department which provides the mandatory Islamic courses for all the students in the university), I saw a list of the new courses available as well as a few comments including the following funny note:

"The students of minority religions can take the courses of their choice freely from the provided list of available courses of the Islamic Knowledge (Ma'aref-e-Eslami) department, without any limitations."

(Notice that in Iran you have to be either Muslim or a follower of one of the three recognized minority religions. The Islamic Republic does not believe any other case is possible!)

It's worth taking a look at the list those students can freely choose from: Islamic Thoughts 1, Islamic Thoughts 2, The Human Kind in Islam, Social and Political Rights in Islam, The Philosophy of Morality (of course in Islam!), Islamic Morals, The Islamic Revolution of Iran, Getting Familiar with the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Emam Khomeini's Political Way of Thought, The History of Islamic Civilization and Culture, The Analytic History of the beginning of Islam, The History of Emamat (the way of the Shi'ite imams), Topical Interpretation of the Koran, Topical Interpretation of Nahj ol-Balagheh (a book containing the speeches and letters of Ali, the first Shi'ite Imam).

Really that's a diverse list! Each student has to take six of these courses.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Day University Fell

It is Aban 12 (I mean the twelfth day of the seventh month "Aban" in Iranian calendar) and it reminds me of what happened exactly two years ago in our university and how the respect of a university professor and the university itself was crushed under their feet. I don't believe most readers of my blog know about what happened in Elm-o-San'at that year, so I will provide you with a very brief account of the happenings.

On Aban 12, 1383 (November 3, 2004), Ebrahim Yazdi (secretary general of the Freedom Movement Party) and Mohammad Reza Tajzadeh (member of Islamic Iran Participation Front) were invited to the university to give lectures in Bahrami amphitheater). It was apparent even before that day that it is very probable that there will be unrest in the university upon their arrival because the two parties are part of the "opposition" body (if this word is the correct one for what if we have in Iran!) and in fact the Freedom Movement Party is mostly considered an illegal party by the ruling class.

The day before that, Mehdi Purrahim who is a political activist student met almost all the rooms in the "Inner Dormitory" and tried to persuade all in the program. The same night, announcement cards are spread across the dormitory that Basij is preparing an attack on tomorrow's program. Many students ask Purrahim to cancel the program and that the university does not need more political confrontations, but he does not accept.

The day after that (Aban 12), the program finally starts. Both Yazdi and Tajzadeh are there. There seems a lot of movement around the Basij cabin. On the other side, Ayatollah Najafi, the representative of the supreme leader in the university, is giving speech in the mosque and is saying that the program is illegal and without his counsel, and nobody cares (of course, except the members of Basij who were in fact acting on this!). One of the members of the Mohebban Group (a religious group) announces that the prayer holders in the mosque are going to go the the presidency building to protest. Suddenly a group of some 40 people leave the Basij cabin and start going towards the presidency building. A large crowd of students see everything.

Dr. Salehi (then president of the university) is leaving the building that he is interrupted by the group. They start beating and insulting and even some spit over him. Two university security officials are also beaten meanwhile.

The group move Salehi outside the university and, surprise, there is a bus awaiting them, and not a private bus but one belonging to Vahed company, government owned company in charge of inner city transport buses belonging to the municipality. They get Salehi on the bus and go away.

Holding a university professor hostage before everyone! The students cannot believe their eyes. Everyone surrounds the Basij cabin. Slowly rumor grows that the cabin should be destroyed! This is the same cabin its computer holds a lot of private information about the students, may it no longer be!

There are some 2000 students around the cabin. The students have only one demand: Dr. Salehi should be released or the cabin will be destroyed. At last, the crowd loses its patience. Many rush towards the cabin. It does not take long that the cabin ceases to exist.

Salehi was released the same day before the Science Ministry (Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, which is in charge of the universities). He is taken to a hospital.

This is a short account of what happened in the university on Aban 12 according to many students. Of course, there are many things in this account that Basij does not confirm. In fact, Basij does not confirm any direct connection with what happened on that day, although they mainly accuse the group who destroyed the Basij cabin while about Salehi, well, "he himself started everything by allowing those two enemies enter the university!" Shargh newspaper publishes a brief account of the on-goings and is immediately closed (temporarily) for "publishing lies" (I should also note that about a month ago Shargh was closed for publishing a cartoon related to what Ahmadinejad said, and this time the stoppage seems permanent).

The students stopped attending classes the next week (and so did many others in other university) to protest against Basij. A few days after that Salehi could leave the hospital and was welcomed again by a large crowd of the students; the attack brought him immediate popularity (on a basis of, "everyone who is their enemy, is our friend!"). The attackers were dismissed from the university and, ironically, were immediately accepted into Emam Hosein University (an army-owned university). A group of those who formed the attack on the Basij cabin were also "suspended" from attending the university for two semesters.

Salehi was the first (and probably last) university president after the Islamic revolution to have been chosen by a faculty election and was not appointed by a higher ranking official. He later resigned. Nothing remains currently of the Basij "spying" cabin. It has been replaced by some green fields and an ATM! There is also almost nothing remaining to remind us of what happened two years ago, and the many questions who rose in the minds of the students, if not yet vanished completely from their memories, will soon go away and then, well, nothing happened! After all, how many people remember those students who were beaten and killed in Tehran University dormitory two years ago?

The Blacksmith (Episode II)

It is the era of Jamshid, the one who had the sheed (the light) upon him and the one who hold the Farr (the imperial glory) for such a long time. There was never an era like his, nor there is going to be an era like that before the Later Day (at the end of the world). But the era of the one with the light is ending.

It is before an audience of great leaders of the world that Jamshid's fall begins. "Tell me who brought the world new order," He tells them, "who brought you good eating and peaceful sleeping and comfortable living? Who drove away the demons from your lands? Who taught you the arts and the ways of ordering your communities? The crown and the throne of the world are mine, tell me who else deserves the kingship of the world?"

And this way, the Farr departs from him. The end of the golden era of the world is coming. One can see darkness in the western horizon. Jamshid's cup shows a clouded world, but he does not bother taking a look at it.

* * *

In the west, in Arabia, Zahhak had been seduced by Ahriman and had killed his father and become the ruler of Arabs. It is for the second time that Ahriman (the evil spirit) comes to him, disguised as a good looking man, and introduces himself as a skilled cook and offers to cook Zahhak extraordinary foods. He cooks many fabulous meals and when Zahhak lets him ask something from him, he simply asks to kiss the king's shoulders. Zahhak is fool enough to let him do that and as soon as Ahriman touches Zahhak's shoulders he disappears and two serpents rise upon Zahhak's shoulders. Zahhak, frightened to death, cuts the two serpents but they grow again. Then he calls upon all the physicians of his land to cure him, but to no avail. Then for the third time Ahriman comes to him, this time disguised as a skilled physician, and tells him the only way he has is to feed the serpents with man's brain to keep them calm and maybe someday they will wither away. And Zahhak starts doing that, completing his journey towards becoming an Azhi (dragon).

* * *

When the Farr leaves Jamshid, his commanders rise up against his authority. Rebellion spreads throughout the land and when Zahhak the Azhi comes to overthrow him, he simply flees. The world has fallen.

This way, Zahhak becomes the ruler of the world. Those who did not stand against him when he rose against Jamshid realized soon that they have exchanged the bad for the worse. Little they know that they have also been saved from the worst. Anyhow, each day two men are killed to feed his serpents. Sorcery spreads the world. The ways of righteous, all those who Jamshid brought, are almost forgotten. Until one night Zahhak has a horrible dream. He wakes up scared and finds Arnavaz (Jamshid's daughter who Zahhak brought her to himself and cast a spell on her along with her sister, Shahrnavaz) besides him Arnavaz asks him, "what is it my lord? Tell me what have you seen in the dream?" Zahhak tells her, "I saw three warriors coming to me, and the youngest of them beat me with his mace and dragged me towards a tall mountain." Then he summons the wise men and the dream-readers to explain him the dream. But the men are afraid to tell anything, until Zahhak becomes angry and finally one of them tells him that his reign is coming to an end and a man, still not born from mother, is going to overthrow him. They even tell the man's name: Fereydun.

Zahhak searches all the world for Fereydun, and meanwhile Abtin, Fereydun's father, is killed to feed Zahhak's serpents, and then later Barmayeh, a great cow whose milk feeds young Fereydun is also killed by Zahhak's men, while Fereydun's mother takes him to Alborz mountains to keep him from Zahhak's spies.

Years pass as all efforts to find Fereydun are in vain and Zahhak, who is still much frightened by the prophecy, summons an assembly of the kingdom's leading men to have them all testify his righteousness.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Long Expected Entrance

Finally the new main entrance of our university was today inaugurated with an official ceremony in which Mohammad Ghalibaf, the Tehran mayor, was among the invitees. The entrance structure was undergoing construction for about three years. I like the new entrance, even more than the famous entrance of Tehran university. You can see a picture of it in the above picture (If you want to compare it with the Tehran university entrance, there is a small picture of it on the the main page of their website.)

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Blacksmith (Episode I)

There is a large crowd of people gathered around the palace. Inside, all leading men of the kingdom are around the large hall. At the end of the hall the sorcerer king is sitting on his throne. The two serpents who had grown long ago on his shoulders are still slowly moving around his head. The hall is now in a fearful silence as he starts to speak. "You are all aware of my deeds, men of my kingdom," he says, "and you're aware that I have done nothing but good, for you, and for our people, and for our land." The hall is still in silence.

"So you are now signing this document, testifying this. That I have always been in the righteous path, that no harm has ever come from me to any man, that the world has always been in peace under my reign."

Now, the men in the hall are doing nothing but silently signing the document, without the slightest defiance. It was then that a voice of tumult is heard from the hallway, and suddenly a man, wearing a blacksmith's apron, enters the hall shouting.

"O' King! I am Kaveh, the complainant," he calls out, "I have come to complain from you, for I have had eighteen sons seventeen of which have been killed by your men and whose brains have been eaten by your shoulder serpents, and now the last one of them is in your prison to be killed the same way soon. If you are the king of the world, and you are the snake-shouldered, why should we people suffer?"

Zahhak, the snake-shouldered king, shocked by the man's move, can only call for freeing the blacksmith's son. Then, angry in his heart but unable to do anything, he hands the document to Kaveh and asks him to sign it. "Now sign this, as you have seen my justice," he says.

Kaveh reads the documents and gets angry. "You have all become the agents of evil, having signed this document of lies for the fear of the demon," he says to the men in the hall, then he tears the document apart and leaves the hall along with his son.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Irony of Names

The insistence of the the Islamic government of Iran to name the streets of the cities after Islamic figures sometimes causes ridiculous situations in which not only no one uses the name, but many cannot even pronounce it! Probably the most interesting one is the "Hojr ebn Oday" street in Tehran. Almost no one uses this name to call the street (it is very strange to many people), few people know who this Hojr has been or even know how they should pronounce the name (because in Persian, short vowels are not ordinarily written), and more ironic than that is that it seems that even the city officials, at least those in charge of the signs at the beginning of the streets, don't know what this name is all about, because the signs are inconsistant (in their English section where the pronunciation is clearer) and almost all of them are incorrect! If you take a look at the picture I've taken, you see that it reads "Hajar ebn Oday" and I've even seen some places where the signs read "Hajar ebn Adi", while Hajar in Arabic means "stone" and I don't think even Arabs call themselves stone!

The people of the area call the street "Tir andaz" (which means "the archer"). In fact, the street was originally called "Arash-e Tir andaz" (Arash The Archer) in honor of Arash the great Iranian legend (the same one I had two posts about) and was later renamed after the Islamic revolution. And who is Hojr? Hojr ebn-Oday (Hojr son of Oday) was one of the close followers of Ali (Mohammad's cousin and son-in-law) who was killed by the order of Mo'avieh the Omavi caliph. But no matter who he is, the important fact is Hojr does not exist for the average Iranian and really few people know about him or care about him (and the fact that I do know about him proves that I am not an average Iranian! :) ). Of course, due to the government's deliberate neglecting of Arash's story in the media and at schools, even a great legend such as Arash is getting overlooked by the average Iranian, but I think still there are more people who know Arash and almost all who know him surely respect him, while this is not true about Hojr, that is clear by the naming issue I mentioned, and many other figures whose names (or their erroneous name!) pose on the street signs.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Frightened Government

The Islamic Republic government has officially ordered all broadband service providers to stop providing broadband services with a speed higher than 128kbps. I haven't heard anywhere they have announced the reason, but I think I know it: fear, great fear of their citizens. Why else they may want us not to have a high speed internet connection other than that they don't like the internet itself and they are just understanding that the internet is not something they can restrain easily. They are spending millions of dollars for all the equipment they need for filtering and controlling the internet but still it slips from their hands easily. And they have been probably thinking if we cannot control it, at least we should do our best to minimize the use of it. Then someone tells the big guy, "Hey! Take a look at this. This ADSL stuff lets them to access the enemy's media so easily and with such a high speed. You must do something about it." And then they got more afraid. The result, is another tie they are trying to fasten around the internet.

This surely annoys me and many others, but who cares. They may even get happy if this causes a few more of us leave the country. I heard Haddad-e-Adel (current head of the parliament) has said "Even if half of the 'brains' leave the country, we shouldn't worry, because the other half would be enough for us!" This is their logic, and it surely makes sense from their point of view. But they are making the same strategic mistake every dictator makes. "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers," as Princess Leia said in Star Wars and I believe this is what they are going to get.

Fear is their powerful weapon, yet they are themselves beaten by it more than anyone else.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Simulated Real Life

“A master programmer passed a novice programmer one day. The master noted the novice’s preoccupation with a hand-held computer game. “Excuse me”, he said, “may I examine it?”

The novice bolted to attention and handed the device to the master. “I see that the device claims to have three levels of play: Easy, Medium and Hard”, said the master. “Yet every such device has another level of play, where the device seeks not to conquer the human, nor to be conquered by the human.”

“Pray, great master”, implored the novice, “how does one find this mysterious setting?”

The master dropped the device to the ground and crushed it under foot. And suddenly the novice was enlightened.” –The Tao of Programming, Geoffrey James

This is how the master programmer talks about video games. Probably if he could find me spending so much time in a video game, he would crush my computer under his feet, too! Of course, the master programmer does not completely reject video games (“…[The Tao] is even in a video game,” he says somewhere else), but anyhow I know I should do something about it since I have been spending much of my spare time playing The Sims 2 in the last few days. I have so much other things to do, and I plan to do half a dozen of them from noon to night, then at midnight I find that I have done almost nothing but guiding my sims through their lives for a few days! The interesting point is that it’s somehow like the game the master programmer explained, “where the device seeks not to conquer the human, nor to be conquered by the human”. Yes. The Sims is not an ordinary game. It’s “real life” simulated. I remember what some Dark Throne players say, “RL is more important that DT!” (that is, real life is more important than playing Dark Throne). Now I think I should say to myself, “RRL is more important than SRL!” (Real real life is more important than simulated real life.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Arash, Another Lookَ

My previous post was about Arash the Archer. It was a short retelling of the story in English by myself and I hope I have done it well, since it is one of my favorite stories. I believe, of course, the best narrative is by Siavash Kasrayi who told the old story in verse so beautifully. I think, there is an English translation of Kasrayi's narrative, although I have not read it.

The story, as you may have read from my previous post, tells the story of a man who puts his life on an arrow and throws it so far that it frees the entire land of Iran from the occupation of the barbarian Turanians and, believe it or not, every time I read the story it brings tears to my eyes. I'm not sure why. Probably because of the beauty of the story, or probably because of the great devotion of Arash, or probably both and much more. If you like the story, here's some more information about it.

The battles between the uncivilized people, called Turanians, who lived east of Iran in Central Asia shapes a large part of the Iranian legends and mythology, especially those narrated by Ferdowsi in his grand epic Shahnameh. Ferdowsi has referred to Arash in his book several times but has not mentioned the story. The story is attested in Avesta that shows how old it is (at least 1000 B.C.). In modern time, the story came into popularity again after Siavash Kasrayi published his narrative of it in verse.

Let's take another look at the legend.

The story starts in a time that Turanians have moved forward far into the Iranian territories and have reached near Mount Damavand. Damavand is usually considered the heart of Iran, and Iran at that time was a very larger country that its north eastern border was the Oxus river in Central Asia. Turanians, eager to smash the hearts of the peoples of Iran, suggest that the border between the two countries should be set upon the place an arrow, thrown by an Iranian archer, lands. No one in Iran is willing to accept the arrow until it comes to Arash, an ordinary man from an ordinary family. He goes upon the mountain and, knowing that no mere arrow can fly that much to cover all Iran-Zamin, puts his life on the arrow and throws it. The arrow flies by the power of his spirit and goes as far as the far bank of the Oxus and sets the eastern border of the empire for many centuries, while Arash's body is turned into many pieces and spread all over the land.

It is said that the spirit of Arash still dwells in Mount Damavand and helps the lost people find their way.

The One with the Arrow

It is a dark time; the time of ruin, the time of corruption, the time of the decline of the civilized and the advance of the barbarian, the time of the going of the light and the coming of the dark. Wherever you look, you see suffering, you see sorrow, you see despair.

In the battlefield there is only the huge pile of the dead and a few men standing at the side of Iran with their lord before the huge army of the barbarians, the last of the guardians of the Shah, in the eyes of all of which it can be seen the exhaustion of the battle. It is only now that Afrasiab, the lord of Turanians, has accepted the peace with only one condition. There is an arrow in his hands and a snicker on his mouth while he shouts "Our border shall be the place this arrow lands", and Manuchehr the Shah says, "yes, to the place the arrow flies, it is Iran". But Afrasiab laughs at him in his heart, "You fool! But who is going to throw it?! No man has remained of your archers".

And the arrow is passed by, going from one hand to another, throughout the land and no one dares to accept it, until it comes to Arash.

And it is Arash that, holding the arrow firmly in his hand, is going north to the heart of the land. To Damavand.

A cold wind is blowing. Arash looks upon the mountain as he goes north and although he is walking strongly, a trembling passes his body. "No", he says, "it's not me. It's the wind". And he takes his next steps.

"Wait", a voice calls, "Wait". There's a man running behind him. "That will go to nowhere, Arash. Go back. Go back and throw the arrow towards Afrasiab himself", the man says.

"No", answers Arash, "I will not do that because then another Afrasiab is going to rise and replace him. I'm going to end this once and for all. I'm going to free all with my arrow". And he continues his way as he goes towards the mountain.

And now, Arash is standing on the peak of Damavand, and he looks upon his land, and upon his people, and upon his Shah, and upon his bow and his arrow. And then Arash strains his bow as never before and as soon as he lets the arrow fly, his bow hits the ground.

Tomorrow, when people go searching for Arash, they return only carrying his bow, never finding a sign of his body.

And it was at the noon of that day that people could find an arrow upon the body of an old walnut tree on the far bank of the Oxus river; the glorious sign of a victorious nation.

And it was the only arrow, whose flying made the sun smile, and its falling made the earth happy. It was the flying of the spirit of the one with the arrow.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I have started reading The Silmarillion (By J.R.R. Tolkien). I'll have a post about it, as soon as I finish the book. For now I can only say I'm really enjoying it. This is the kind of book that has plenty stuff for being read several times.

Note: If you're curious about the title, Ainulindalë is the title of the first chapter of the book which means "The Music of the Ainur".

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tomorrow, and the Day After It

The man said you have lost if you have left the joy to tomorrow so that you will have more of it; you will leave it for more of it to the day after and to after that and again to after that, and you will only stop when you find you're time is over and you have not enjoyed your time even for a day, yet!

The man was still talking but I could not hear him. It looked like I have been taken to another world for a few moments. I felt I've been asleep for a long time. I am one of those who delays enjoying his time to get better things and better time. I am among those who if do not wake up in time, they will find it out some day too late.

The man left the taxi, but his words where still in my head until commonplace gradually took it's place. Yet, it left a landmark in my mind: "What should I do? Maybe tomorrow's too late!"

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Master, His Unconscious, and "The Roast Goose"

It was just now that my mind was struck by something about the title I unconsciously gave to my blog. At the high school literature textbook, we read a short story called "The Roast Goose" ("Kabab-e-Ghaz" in Persian) written by Mohammad Ali Jamalzadeh in which there was a guy named "Mostafa" who nicknamed himself "The Master" (I disclaim any connection between him and me, it's only an accidental "name conflict"). It was a really fun short story, and I strongly suggest you read it if you have not already read it, and you can access a copy of it and of course if you know Persian. I don't know if it has been translated to any other language, but all the fun of the story lies in its excellent use of Persian language.

The Master's Sleepless Night!

This is one of those nights I cannot easily get to sleep. You usually know it from the beginning that your night is going to be one of those hard struggles in which you cannot even easily keep your eyes closed! So this time I didn't tried so much. After several minutes I got up and decided to do something. I was wondering about starting a blog tonight (one or two hours ago), and this seemed to be the right time. So I turned on the computer, connected to the Internet, went to blogger and started a blog, and it seems to me the right way to do things. I hate having to wait for something. When I want to do something, I usually do it, or I never do it. There is no mid point.

I think I have to explain a little about the title, so that it will look less selfish than it does! This was the first title that came to my mind (you may perceive then that I *am* already selfish!). In fact, I often call myself the thing I want to be and consider that the right thing. After all, I am, or I will be someday (hopefully!), the thing I think I am! So the title is correct; sorry!