Life's our oyster and we're gonna suck that bitch down with a champagne chaser.

  • Behavioral Therapist
  • MA Developmental Psychology, Columbia
  • BS Psychobiology/ French, UCLA

  • Movies to See:
    Mission Impossible
    A Dangerous Method

  • TV Shows to Watch:
    The Life & Times of Tim

  • Book to Read:
    Game of Thrones
    by George R.R. Martin

  • Album to Listen to:
    The Black Keys
    El Camino

  • Person to Hate:
    Newt Gingrich

  • Group of People to Despise:
    Fox & Friends


Bitchin Links

Blogs and Writers of Note

Mary's Website

Mary's Blog

Ravi's Blog

Lauren's Blog

Cheryl's LiveJournal

TV Squad

The Soup


Best Week Ever

The Chive

On Location Vacations

Cute Overload

Michael Moore's Blog

Joel Stein Columns

Maureen Dowd Columns

Secular Coalition of America

Richard Dawkins

Personal Stuff

My Facebook

My Twitter

My YouTube Videos

My DVD Collection

My Books

Machatz Self-Defense

For Politics and Political Satire

The Huffington Post


The Daily Beast

The Onion

The Colbert Nation


The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

For Entertainment

Ain't It Cool News


Rotten Tomatoes

DVD Active

Movie Stinger


The Daily Wav

Movie Mistakes

For Humor and Other Things

HuffPost Comedy

Funny or Die

The Lonely Island

Shit My Dad Says

F My Life

Daily Python

College Humor

Super Mario Crossover

People of Walmart

E-Mails from an Asshole

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

God Checker

Church Sign Maker

Strong Bad Email

Japander: See Actors Embarrass Themselves Abroad

Landover Baptist Church: Jesus Loves You Sometimes

For Bruins

The Daily Bruin

Bruins Nation

Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA Bruin Marching Band: The Solid Gold Sound

The REAL $UC Application

Old Stuff

March 2003

April 2003

May 2003

June 2003

July 2003

August 2003

September 2003

October 2003

November 2003

December 2003

January 2004

February 2004

March 2004

April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

September 2007

November 2007

January 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

June 2010

August 2010

November 2010

December 2010

February 2011

April 2011

May 2011

July 2011


Wednesday, August 30, 2006  
The Parisian Chronicles: Part IV - Build Me Up, Headbuttercup
At this point, I should probably be writing either my 6 page paper on the Latin Quarter or my 10 page paper on god knows what - something about French culture - but instead I'm writing the next entry in the Parisian Chronicles... for my beloved, avid readers... all none of you.

Le foot is a force in France. It's not like the football and baseball fans we're accustomed to. These people have foot fever seeping out of their pores. For that reason, we were unbelievably excited to be in Paris with France in the finals of the World Cup. We knew we wanted to be at a veritable "hot spot" of Paris to watch the game (St. Germain des Pres) but not somewhere where we would get killed in the process (les Champs Elysees). So we decided to leave relatively early in search of a cafe where we could watch the penultimate finale of the sport that everyone in the world except for Americans love. At that point, there was no talk of a head striking anything other than a ball and only jubilance pervaded the streets of Paris. Those cheeky Italians would be defeated in a blaze of Bleu glory....even us young foreigners had the utmost confidence in Zidane and his troops... that's why I bought a crappy knockoff jersey for 15 Euros by the Eiffel Tower. But first, we had to find somewhere filled with the genuine French spirit we wanted to observe.... and a plasma TV....preferrably 32 inches or greater...or 81 centimeters...whatever.

After perusing the Boulevard de St. Germain for a while, we found a lively "cafe/bar/club" by the name of Cafe Mabillon. How they fit that description of cafe/bar/club I have no idea, but they seemed pretty sure of themselves. There were no open tables, but there were chairs lying around so, after some chatting up of the manager by our lady companions, they lined up 10 or so chairs along the edge of the sidewalk outside the cafe, you know, so we wouldn't get run over by SmartCars, and rolled over two tiny tables for us. The setting seemed perfect. A clear view of the big screen, outdoors on the famed St. Germain des Pres, World Cup Championship, in Paris. Not even the effeminate guys sitting 2 centimeters from me smoking clove cigarettes non-stop could deter my contentment. Even when the waiter took away one of our tables for someone else, I maintained my exuberance.

It was, however, after the spikey haired waiter denied us a Happy Hour that my delight began to dissipate. You see, we arrived at the cafarlub at 6:45 pm, while Happy Hour began at 7:00 pm. So when le garcon came to take our drink orders at 6:45 pm, I asked him to give us a little bit more time. After all, we were a party of 10 or so, but really, we wanted to wait for Happy Hour to start. When he returned at 6:46 pm, it seemed he had already caught on to our shenanigans or forcibly took our drink orders. Upon delivery of our beverages, he also made us pay right away...because it would be really easy to dine and ditch with 10 fat American students. Needless to say, my mojito was quite nice.

By the time the game started we had already placed our dinner orders, the crowd was electric and we were kinda buzzed. It was time for some football... errr, le foot. Once again, it was amazing to observe such excitement during a game in which almost nothing happens. However, when something does happen, it's really really exciting.

I swear, we were all ready to make the "Zidane Il Va Marquer" song our ringtone at that point in the night. Behind us, there was a young American kid with his mom watching the game. He couldn't have been more than 8 years old but that kid was so into the game, you'd think he owned stock in the team. "Oh, Zuhdayn, yuh shouldn't have done that. Mother, why did he do that!?"
"I think he was trying to hit it into the goal, dear."
"Mother, don't be deceitful."
"Those lousy Italians. We'll get em."
Come to think of it, I hated that kid.

After that penalty kick, a guy sitting in front of us (not one of the fruity guys smoking clove cigarettes) turned to me and asked, "You guys are from ze states, yes?"
"Yeah, yeah."
"How does zis compare?"
"To what?"
"Oh what eets called...euuuhh...ze Supehr Bowl?"
"Oh yeah, no comparison. The French spirit is amazing."
"I know, eets true! I was in eeuuh Meenehsota for ze Supehr Bowl last year...ze town was dead."
"Why were you in Minnesota?"
"Allez les bleues!!"
"Oui, bien sur! Allez Zidane!"

I never did find out why he was in Minnesota.

By the time overtime came around, it was utter pandemonium. The cafe was surrounded by people gripping their Tri-Couleurs, their attention gripped to the TV screen. We still hadn't received our club sandwiches, but we didn't really care at that point. The game would eventually go to penalty kicks but not before the headbutt felt around the world...

There was anger, saddness, shock and arguing all around. Why did he do it? I totally called it that that Italian prick talked trash about his momma... and for that, the guy got what he deserved - perhaps not enough - but the game continued. At the break right before the penalty kicks, the whole crowd at the cafe broke out with a rendition of La Marseillaise.

While La Marseillaise was being chanted around us, I inquired as to where le fuck our order was that we'd placed 3 hours earlier. It turns out Frenchy McDouchebag forgot to place our order. "Ohh, desolee monsieur." Les oops. By the time the penalty kicks began, our order came. When I asked if we could have a couple beers or something because we had a senile waiter, the manager's face contorted into such a way that I had never seen before. Disbelief, disgust, confusion, constipation, who knows. Maybe I was rude, but m'damn club sandwich came damn near when the game was ending. So screw Mabillon. And with rapt concentration on the game, and us on our sandwiches, we watched the culmination of that night.

In any case, we all know how the game ended. The one Italian fan in the crowd cheered "Alla Italia," he was promptly killed. And he crowd dissipated into the night. But before leaving, I had to make my mark on the Mabillon. I was a little buzzed so before leaving I coldcocked the spikey-haired waiter right in the kisser....ok not really, but I sure as hell thought it. And he knew. He knew.

Outside Shitadines, there were rowdy Italian fans hootin' n' hollerin' (that's not a saying that translates easily into French) into the wee hours of the night. But really who cares. The game wasn't about Italy winning. It was about a momma's boy getting vengance. And for us, it was about getting into the bleu spirit with native bleus, wearing cheap jerseys, ordering drinks, hanging out on the St. Germain trying to not get hit by cars (WE WERE ON THE CURB) and one assholey waiter. And when I wear my France jersey in L.A, no one really knows what the hell my shirt means, but I know. And that's all that matters.

Coming up in Part V: Our Lady, 1/3 of a ballet and illegal pictures at the Louvre

2:08 AM


Thursday, August 24, 2006  
The Parisian Norman Chronicles: Part III - Country Crock
Sitting here watching an episode of Jeopardy, I realize how mundane and unfun my life has been since being back from Paris. Lord knows it certainly hasn't been uneventful, but it hasn't been, shall we say, as zesty as I'd grown accustomed to. I was then reminded of our first excursion on our first weekend in France. We'd barely gotten our feet wet in Paris, and we were being wisked off to Honfleur in Normandy. It was described to us as a, "picturesque fishing village in Normandy." I have to say, the closest thing I've seen to a fishing village before Honfleur is Marina Del Rey so I didn't know what to expect.

After walking through the street market, where I missed an opportunity as I later found out to buy some mean Honfleurian Cider, to arrive to the heart of the village for our tour to begin. Now, I thought the tour guide was quite likeable, even cute in that "that old lady is cute" kind of way. Granted not all the other students seemed thrilled to be on a guided tour of anything, let alone a picturesque fishing village, but still.

Now, it was kind of hard to concentrate on the tour when one of our professors (the frizzy blonde haired one in the center) was mocking the tour guide. Making snoring noises, sarcastic remarks such as, "Wow, now that's fascinating".... quips that I would normally appreciate had they been coming from someone under 50 and not a professor living right next to me (yeah I was in 508, she was in 506... not awkward at all). In any case, once the tour was over with, we asked the tour guide where she recommended for a lunch destination which served us a hearty meal, but lasted 2 hours.

By the time we got l'addition, there wasn't a whole lot of time left in Honfleur so we just explored the rest of the time. Along the way, while passing charming cobblestone streets, we observed the natives of Honfleur.

If you'll look at the woman sticking her head out the window on the left side of the picture on the right, you'll observe a quaint happening of Honfleur. This housekeeper, you see, was having a conversation with a man in another window in the building across the street with the green window panes on the right side of the picture. They were chitchatting about the weather, how many tourists there are these know, the usual. While they were having a lively French conversation, she was kicking a dog that was barking in the home she was tending to and screaming obsenities at it, then continuing on with her conversation. A translated version of what I heard would go something like this: "Yeah, you know they say it's supposed to get hotter next we... SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU GOD DAMN MUTT... you can't see a cloud in the sky because of the sun. It's really beautif.... I SWEAR TO GOD YOU PIECE OF SHIT I WILL THROW YOU OUT THIS WINDOW..." My favorite part was the quiet whine of the dog as the maid kicked it in the face.

My favorite thing about the trip, though, had to be this old man I observed by the carousel with his dying bulldog.

While you can't see the pathetic, ancient creature that was this man's bulldog because it was dragging it's half-dead keaster to the light, you can still observe the quiet nobility of the man in the green jacket and the beret. Now, I'm trying to be crass and mocking of this poor fellow (maybe a little), I just have a great respect for the native Norman sitting by the carousel with his fleabag dog, watching his surroundings. I suppose I wish that when I'm that old, I could be satisfied with sitting in front of a carousel in a green blazer and beret... for a very long time.

As a sort of poetic justice, right when I finished pondering the existence of the green jacket man, it was time to leave Honfleur. And for good reason because the next day would be filled with more touristic embarassments and awkward photographs....

And that night, in stark contrast to our picturesque fishing village, we would experience the mayhem and despair of the World Cup Championship, as well as the prickiness of a Parisian waiter. C'est la vie.

Coming up in Part IV:
World Cup Fever (finally), blasphemy at Notre Dame and the worst seats in the house at l'Opera

1:08 AM


Thursday, August 17, 2006  
The Parisian Chronicles: Part II - Embedded with the Natives
On the first day of class, the professor asked us to say describe the goals of our trip to Paris. One of mine consisted of assimilating myself with the native Parisians and becoming as natural as they are. Little did I know that walking around Paris with a large group of loud American students, a digital camera in one hand, Rick Steves Paris Guide in the other, cargo pants in tow, it would be kind of difficult to assimilate. However, on my second full day in Paris, the day of the France vs. Portugal World Cup match, we thought we would party up Parisian style. That is go to a bar and watch the game. And so we did. As I arched my neck to see what little of the television I could, a native propped himself in front of my line of vision, amply blocking the rest of the TV.

....short shorts and all. It was then that I decided that maybe assimilating with the natives wasn't my best course of action. At the post-game festivities, I changed my mind.

Americans with all their rabid sports-fansiness should be ashamed of themselves. The utter joy and excitement that the French expressed that night after the semi-final match was pure maddness. Walking back from the bar, there was non-stop honking, screaming, singing, flag-waving, flare-lighting...just general happiness, which except for a few thrown bottles, was surprisingly non-violent. We're used to flipping over cars and setting people on fire after a Lakers game but this was much different. Guys stuck their heads out of car windows and proposed marriage to the girls we were walking with, they wooed at us and we wooed back (did you know "woo" is the same in French as it is in English?). Even the ambulances turned on their sirens in rhythm with the honking to show their solidarity with Les Bleues.

My erratic filming and slurred words may seem merely headache and vomit inducing but I filmed in that fashion on purpose, to convey the utter pandemonium and exuberance of the night. As long as we were fans of Les Bleues, they didn't care where we were from. So we pumped our fists and cheered with our fellow Parisians. We chanted "Allez les Bleues" with our fellow Parisians. We ran across the street into traffic, nearly killing ourselves with our fellow Parisians.

When we got back to Place de Shitalie, the mayhem was increased ten-fold. A huge mass of people had formed in front of the Centre Commercial by our hotel singing, cheering and watching. Fireworks were being set off and cars were jumped on.

And then there was Papy Dance. His joy stemmed more from people actually watching him at his post in front of the mall next to our hotel than from the football victory that night.

What was most disconcerting about Papy Dance was not an aged Parisian whoring himself to young people past his bedtime, but it was when his CD player died during "YMCA"... and the crowd began to disperse as he tried to fix it...

But they came back to dance with Papy Dance once he fixed his high-tech equipment.

The festivities continued for a long while into the night. To further prove my messiah status, I suggested to the one compadre who had stayed with me to observe the mayhem outside Shitadines, Kyla, that we return to the safety of the hotel. As I suggested this, this strapping young men in uniform showed up...

...shields, batons and tear gas in hand.

The next day, the professors decided to slam us back to earth by taking us on a field trip to the Musee d'Orsay. While an excellent museum with stunning works of art, it totally annulled any sort of Parisian-assimilating I had accomplished the night before...with poses such as this one.

While poses like that one are used to produce relatively nice pictures, I now realize how lame I look in the process. Art demands sacrifice, I suppose.

But honestly, in Paris you never run out of things to take pictures of. We overheard this pretentious guy from UC Santa Barbara talking at "Shakespeare and Co," an English bookstore by Notre Dame, about how people taking pictures, "are just trying to speed up the moment, man." Whatever the hell that means...prick. In Paris, there's always a building to see or a breathtaking view to observe...

...that just beg to be documented. During my sejour in Paris I would try to document without being too obvious. No telephoto lenses hanging around my neck, grazing the top of my fanny pack. This photographer would be slick and inconspicuous. Or at least I'd try. And if anyone gave me lip, I'd yell at them in French. But seriously...

...I take some damn good pictures.

To come in Part III of the Parisian Chronicles: a Fishing Village, World Cup Final Saddness, more culture shoved down our throats and more Japanese photography.

1:07 AM


Sunday, August 13, 2006  
The Parisian Chronicles: Part I - Flying the Coop
In the wake of the worst week of my entire damn life , I thought it would therapeutic, if nothing else, to reminisce about the best five weeks of my life.

To label me a "nervous-wreck" in the days leading up to my departure for Paris would be a stark understatement... I'm not sure what a more severe synonym would be but trust me, I was something severerer than a nervous-wreck. It wasn't just trying to remember things to pack for my trip, but it was the prospect of leaving my established comfort zone. What would I do without my Mustang, my Daily Show, my computer, my dust bowl of a room? Surviving on the bare essentials was something I was not familiar with, but had to become comfortable with. Then, I realized I wasn't backpacking across the Gobi Desert, and felt better about leaving. After all, it was only for five weeks.

I felt better once I was actually on the plane, after having gone through two hours of lines and security checks. I would just sleep the majority of the time so I wouldn't feel too anxious. My fellow passengers, however, had other plans for me. I don't know if you've ever tried to sleep before, but if you're surrounded by eleven babies, it makes it a little difficult. So, I stayed awake. I watched a ridiculous Matthew McKunohhee movie and two French movies to get myself into the mindset...of being French. Episodes of Magyver and Frasier were also offered in French. I passed. The rest of the time I read my guidebooks, so I'd look extra-touristy, and enjoyed the gourmet meal offerings (ahem). By the time we landed, the butterflies had returned. My ride from the airport (si tu es entrain de lire ce chef d'oeuvre d'ecriture, merci Monsieur Jean-Philip pour m'avoir chercher a l'aeroport), had been told to go to a different terminal, since Air France sucks, so we had to maneuver ourselves around the labyrinth that is Charles de Gaulle Airport to get to the car. And away we went, to arrive to the place we would soon fondly call the "Shitadines" at the "Place de Shitalie."

Upon arriving at the Shitadines, there were already student-esque people hanging out in the lobby. I was optimistic about the rooms given the pictures from the Shitadines website. It turns out that those pictures are what the Professors would get. And they didn't have roommates. What we would actually have was something like this...

And that was after we had done some redecorating a couple of weeks later. In any case, I dropped my bags off, changed out of my rank airplane attire, deodorized, and went back done to mingle. That's what people do, I thought. They mingle. One of the people downstairs turned out to be my roommate, Curtis, whose bags were already in our room. The rest of the people would soon become members of our Paris clique, a pride, a pack, a horde of 6-8 people that would explore Paris together. It would take some time for us to become comfortable around each other. Much shorter than usual because we lived together and had class together. But the first couple of days was the icebreaker period, filled with awkward pictures such as this one:

Notice how far apart we are from each other. It wasn't until much later that we would master the "awkward arm thing" (where you put your arm around the person next to you in pictures no matter who it is or how well you know them) and stand in much closer proximity to each other.

I would become closer with these crazy cats in just over a month than I have with people that I've known for many years. Of course there would be drama, mainly between the ladies naturally, but we would explore the City of Lights ensemble, make fun of each others French and become very close in general. I would grow to adore Paris alongside these people.

Stay Tuned for Part II of the Parisian Chronicles:
Soccer and Riot Squads, Forced Culture at Museums and more antics at the Shitadines

7:09 PM


Monday, August 07, 2006  
A Tribute to My Tantie
I never thought that my next posting on this website would be about the most devastating loss of my life. No one can prepare you to lose a loved one. No one. But this isn't about me. This is about a person who touched my life, her sister's life, her husband's life, her nephew's life and countless others. This is an ode to my aunt Soheila. Tantie.

My aunt was an incredibly beautiful woman. She would never leave the house without wearing nice clothes, styling her hair and putting on her makeup, even when we told her that she looked beautiful no matter what she did. I think that's why she hated the disease the most. She was also a beautiful woman on the inside. I remember when I was little, everyday in the mailbox there would be something from Tantie. A card, a little toy, a something from Tantie. Love was never a chore for her. It was always natural.

Something that I did every single night since I could speak was talk to Tantie on the phone. When I was younger and a little shy to talk on the phone, she would just talk to me and I would listen. Listening to her voice was enough for me. The past couple of years it was harder to talk to her everyday. She would tell me to call her when she was at the hospital when I was at school. I could hear the change in her voice from before but I could tell that she was trying to sound normal, to make me think that everything was fine. And I liked to believe everything was fine. It was since I was talking to her. Nothing else mattered.

Something about her that I would take advantage of when I was younger was her incredible generosity. Whenever I would visit her in Atlanta, I would always come back with tons of toys that she had bought me. Sometimes she would try to reason with me.

"Pasha jan, think about it. Do you really want it?"
"I thought about it I want it."
"No, azizam. Really think about it. Do you really really want it?"
"...I thought about it. I want it."

Anything that she could do to make her loved ones happy. Calling me during finals or midterms and just quickly telling me, "Pashi jan, I know you're busy but there's an interesting story on Dateline tonight. Watch it and tell your mom to watch it too."
"I'm never too busy for you Tantie. Stop saying that."
"Don't be silly. I know you have your things to do."

Sometimes I tried to match her generosity in any miniscule way I could. When I was 11 or 12 I would spend fifty dollars on a giftcard for Ann Taylor or somewhere for her. Somewhere I knew she liked. More recently, I would tape shows or movies and burn them onto dvds for her. Or find articles and websites that I thought she'd enjoy and send them to her. I don't know if she ever got to watch or read those shows and articles. It doesn't really matter anyway.

My mom told me that when my aunt was about 20 years old, she had a secret boyfriend. That secret boyfriend published a book about my aunt and about her beauty using the same names as her family members. My grandmother found out about this and gathered all the maids and sent them off to buy every copy of the book in Tehran. The story sounds made up, but I can believe it because my aunt was that stunningly beautiful.
I cherished my aunt's love so much that when I was little I would compete with my uncle for her attention. I didn't actually dislike my uncle, of course, but he was my rival for Tantie's love and attention. I would write stories where my uncle blows up somehow at the end of every story and give them to my aunt as gifts. She kept those stories in boxes and showed them to me everytime I visited. It wasn't until later that I realized that it wasn't a competition. She had more than enough love to go around. To her husband, her sister, me, everyone.

My mom said to me that this world was too cruel for her. And I believe her. Her suffering was undeserved. Some people tell me to turn to god at a time like this. I don't need to look to the heavens for guidance. I just need to look to my aunt for divinity and purity. In her final letter to me she told me to always be a warrior. Courageous and good. With no regrets. I need only to look to my Tantie to see what a true warrior is made of. These past seven years have been a gift. Sometimes I didn't appreciate that most generous gift as much as I should have. But I hope she knew that I loved her like no one else. She was a mother to me. A mother to her sister. A saint to all she knew. I wouldn't be the same person I am today if it wasn't for her. And I intend to make myself better just so I could be a fraction as decent, a fraction as loving as she was. My Tantie will always be with me, her voice, her actions, her mannerisms, her face, her love, her everything. Right now she would probably be telling me, "Pashi jan, why are you crying? You're not losing me. I will always love you no matter what. Don't worry, be happy." I am happy, because you are a part of me, forever.

Man torah doostaram raely raely. Delam barat raely tank shodam. I love you, Tantie.


3:33 PM


This page is powered by Blogger.Humor Blog Top Sites