Dear Boyz II Men

Dear Boyz II Men,

We sang your songs on a bus to New York City. Everyone was beatboxing. I was doing the melodies with a little trill in the back of the throat. I couldn't even remember pulling the fire alarm back at the dorms. I just hopped up and down in the aisles. I didn't even care when our teacher called me "weird". I just thought, "Eat me!" Then I danced.

Now I am listening to "Motown Philly". It's a great song. I really like the beat. It makes me feel like dancing and making love at the same time. Thank you for writing it.

Can you write another song and send it to me? It doesn't have to be like "Motown Philly". It can be whatever you want. I just want to hear something new. That would be nice. Let me know.



Prince Myshkin

A cosmonaut pollutes a rainbow.
His vision returned to black and white.
Rumors fly of epilepsy.
Those of us who know better
Rally round our fallen hero.
Oil pumps in the desert.
Anti-kryptonite held aloft.
A mind's thoughts could bury a window.
Air turns to ice and we watch.
A unicycle floats by.
A toad croaks.
Salt crystals form.
It is only moments now.
If we were a SWAT team, doors would fall.
Space would collapse and all would be returned.
Dust knows better though.
A veil on her visor.
She looks at us looking.
A path within each particle
Our idea as a witness.


A cartoonist sits at his desk. He writes DEAD PEOPLE at the top of his notepad. This makes him smile. He then writes HALEY JOEL OSMENT. He thinks in his mind of a comic strip with HALEY JOEL OSMENT as his main character. IT WOULD BE A MEMOIR, he thinks. He writes: CAVE PEOPLE FROM THE FUTURE. This makes him smile again. He envisions a group of cavemen playing BOGGLE. The caption says, BEFORE THERE WAS GOOGLE.

A satirist sits at his desk. He writes TELEPHONE VAGINA at the top of his notepad. He is not sure what this means, but lets the confusion stir something like CHICKEN LO MEIN in his mind. He thinks of calling his girlfriend. He decides against it. WRITE A NEW EPISODE OF AMERICAN DAD, he thinks. GIVE UP AND SHOOT YOURSELF.

A poet observes a cartoonist and satirist. She dials a phone number. She asks for CHICKEN LO MEIN. She hangs up the phone. She writes





A ghazal understands a poet. It does not need an explanation. It writes itself because it needs to be written. It does not mean a lot. It could be dust. It could disappear.

The ghazal knows because it is a ghazal. It writes the poet, itself, like melancholy sits brooding Hecuba under Macbeth's amputated head:


Terrible, Interesting, or Just Loud?

I saw Indiana Jones. It was so-so.

I didn't like the CGI gophers and monkeys.

The director also refused to do any close-ups to reveal an aging star.

The film seemed like it was really far away the whole time.

After the movie, I spoke to my family in Iran on Skype for the first time in my life. That was fun. My cousins seemed very funny. They asked me if I liked Korean food. I told them it was horrible. Then thought this was very funny. I wasn't sure as to why at the time. I figured It must have been the way I said it - my honesty.

That's one thing I've noticed about both the Persian and Korean cultures - people don't really say what they mean, or if they do, it's with a certain amount of reserve that would favor propriety over the truth. That's probably why I finally understand what my parents meant when they constantly reminded me to "respect" them all through my childhood. They were really asking me to behave in a fashion that was appropriate for their cultural perspective.

If I look back at my behavioral reactions in childhood and young adulthood, I can sincerely say that my excessively, honest responses - or better yet, emphatic deliveries of natural integrity - were a result of individual sensitivity over any group ideal. Irreverence was not even a consideration in my innocent, gut-reactions. I loved and respected my parents deeply. I was simply incapable of offering manufactured gestures for the sake of social standing or what was deemed appropriate from a cultural standpoint which I didn't share or possess in the first place.

It is interesting how slight cultural shifts - Persian to American or Korean to American - could make a person naturally at odds with the expectations of those around them. I guess I was- and still am - a Harley Davidson next to a bunch of scooters. I would like to just put along and purr the way they do, but my tendency to shout "Terrible!" or "No!" when I was opposed to something, rather than swallowing my truth for an approval-seeking-hum like "Interesting" or "I'll think about it" are simply not the first emotional reactions available to me.

I wonder if people realize this perspective if they remain their entire lives in one place. If I had only lived in America, I doubt I would be able to understand how radically different I was from my first generation immigrant parents. The fact that their ideas of propriety were based on a system that I had no experience living, while their reciprocal understanding of an American sense of values was equally hampered by their slow assimilation, probably created a series of misunderstandings and ill communicados that produced much of the disharmony between us.

To this day, I still see my siblings operating under an American value system of expectation, and pinning my parents as scapegoats, when the true culprit in their altercations is perspective and a lifetime of multicultural understandings that would leave any person in a perpetual state of culture shock. Truth be told, neither party is to blame for the see-saw effects of moving from one viewfinder to another. In fact, if this conversation remained on cultural-shifting perspectives alone, we would seriously misalign ourselves with the obvious understanding that we are all individuals with distinct minds and frames of reference.

We all experience a series of "bad vibes" when we move from one social scenario and its respective, behavioral decorum to another. The artist in academia, the foreigner, the stranger, the unknown - all these parameters are unified in the face of difference or "other" when we seek to acknowledge the "otherness" which we feel in people or ourselves. In contrast, one could equally capitalize on the "sameness" of our species, but this would also fall short of being outside the borders of true integrity. Therefore, the only hopes one would have of inhabiting an honest or natural state would be to exclude society's expectations and judgments from our thinking.

Is this even possible? Why should one even seek to attain such a position? Couldn't we simply note that there are differences in each human being and try to remain open to the fact that we all think and see the world differently?

I will talk more about this later. Now I am thinking of living in Iran for a year.

French Quarter

So Gee and I went out to the French Quarter of Seoul today. She has been trying to get me out here for some time. Apparently, this district is known for its ritzy restaurants with French names and Korean-French fusion. I wanted to see an Oriental doctor in the area, so her pleading finally found a willing participant. She picked me up at Seocho Station, and took me to a little bistro that was known for its brunch menu.

The items sounded appetizing. I was especially curious about the Royal Egg, which touted scrambled eggs and smoked salmon over a cream cheese bagel, with sauteed mushrooms, sausage, bacon, and Lyonaisse potatoes on the side. I ordered it along with a green tea, while So Gee went for the crepes.

When the food arrived, I was a bit disappointed. Like most restaurants in Seoul, the food quality is fairly low. The sausages tasted like grilled Ball Park hot dogs; the eggs were made from one of those eggs-in-a-carton contraptions; and the smoked salmon was far from fresh, with an overly fishy taste from being left outside of a refrigerator too long.

Aside from the meal, it was still good to be there with So Gee. She was busy making an analysis between Korean men and those in other countries, curious about my opinion, and careful not to put her foot in her mouth at the same time: "Korean guys are all nice and sweet in the beginning. They will send you text messages that say, 'HI. HOW ARE YOU. I JUST HAD LUNCH.' And then, they'll talk to you for two hours every night. Because, you know, Koreans don't date. They just become boyfriend and girlfriend. Then they date and see how it goes. But, for everyone I know, they just slowly stop being nice after three weeks. Why do you think that is?"

"Maybe, they got what they were after and they were done. It could be sex, or, maybe, they were just after approval. Once they felt fulfilled, they left the situation. I don't know. It could also be a matter of youth. I know I was the same way when I was young. I would do a lot of stupid things with girls, because I felt like that was how I was supposed to act. Maybe, that's what's going on. People are just given a certain way of how they feel love should be from the media and society, and then they act accordingly when the time comes. They don't have the awareness that love isn't like a film or story. They just have no idea. They're just going with it. I don't know. I'm no expert on relationships. What do you think?"

"Oh, I am no expert either. I just noticed that this is how Korean men act. Maybe, they just want to get sex, and after that's done, they are no longer nice."

"Yeah, that could be. It could also be that they are just acting the way they think they are supposed to act when they meet someone to gain approval, and because it's so fake, they can only keep up the character for so long."

"That's why I like being with you. I know what I was getting with you. You were Pirooz in the beginning, and you are still the same Pirooz."

"Maybe, that's why we've had success together. We are not trying to be anything other than ourselves. We can even look at how other people get upset when things don't work out in a relationship, but whose to say that isn't exactly what needed to happen. I mean, if things didn't work out with you, then, maybe, that was the way things were supposed to happen. You needed to go one way, and I needed to go another. I'm not saying I don't want things to work out with you. It would be great if they did, and I would like to be with you for a long time, but you just can't ever know these things. Maybe, it changes when you have a baby. The responsibility of family puts a different dynamic on the function of the relationship. You are responsible for something outside of just you or me."

So Gee nodded her head, "I think Korean men and other men might be the same then. I don't know. I mean - I don't want to generalize - but men are manipulative for dating. Basically, guys want girls' pussies, in the end. They tend to say so many meaningless words, especially future talk. Bottom line, I think they want sex with girls. And in order to manipulate those girls they just say so many things. Like sending text messages like ten times a day, showing how much they are attached to this girl. But this frequency of contact slowly decreases. The other thing is guy's set-up an environment to break-up. They don't use words. Korean girls are just too much of an idealist to a guy's words. Maybe, it's not everyone, but I see a lot of kids like that."

After our conversation, So Gee and I went to the Coex Mall. I wanted to check out the latest Apple gear, and begin a plan for getting all the equipment I would need to make a film upon my return to America. We slowly made a nice list that included: an IMac, IPod Touch, Belkin Microphone Adapter, 500 GB hard drive, and camera.

It was nice to dream of having all these tools. I continued thinking about it while we went for a visit to an Oriental doctor shortly after. I was in the middle of uploading the latest software for OSX, when the doctor's acupuncture needle came down on my face, and I was brought quickly back to reality. "Oooh," I said aloud. "In my face?" "Yes," the doctor said, and continued to put several other needles in my face, legs, knee pits, and wrists.

I lay sprawled like a lobster for 20 minutes, hoping that this treatment would bring an end to the tension in my right eye. After the acupuncture and some minor massage, I felt tremendously better. I was then signed up for some Oriental medicine treatment to help my heart and liver, which, according to the doctor, were not doing well: "You may not be able to take Oriental medicine," the doctor said through So Gee's translation. "But if you do what I say, you will be fine."

My medication begins on Tuesday. I will have a list of foods I can eat, and I must follow this list, or I will receive "gray hairs". At least, this is what So Gee told me on the cab ride home.

"Oh, yeah," she said. "If you don't follow the directions, you will get gray hairs."

"I don't mind gray hairs."

"No, you will have hair like lettuce."

"Lettuce? Okay, now I'm scared. I don't want lettuce hair."

I am not really sure what So Gee meant by lettuce. We still have moments where certain things are lost in translation. It definitely makes for interesting days and nights. And for a reason I can't explain, someone telling me that my hair will become lettuce is enough of an explanation to get me to fly on the straight and narrow.

"Yes, lettuce," So Gee repeated. "Lettuce."

We finally rolled back into Sinchon. It was raining hard. I opened an umbrella and exited the cab, making sure to hold it over her head as she exited.

"Thank you," she said.

"Yeah," I said.

A Night Out

I went out tonight. Yes, it's true. I went to an international bar in Sinchon. I figured I needed to be with human beings who could understand what I was saying. I was right. I didn't talk to anyone, but I did listen to a mediocre acoustic act do some cover songs. That was quite enjoyable. It's been a while since I've heard music in English. There were a couple times I almost got up to correct the audio set-up, which was bordering on feeding back throughout the set, but I managed to keep my cool, and stare at the foreigners.

That was interesting. It got me thinking about being in the states. I wonder what that will be like in July. I have been gone for 16 months now. I might go through reverse culture shock. I've heard that happens to some folks.

I am listening to Boyz II Men now. I don't think I'll have trouble.


Losing a dog must be a hard thing. Just got word that Jesse's Habibe passed away. That made me sad. Then I thought about it: I've known that dog for seven years.

I don't think I could get a dog and have it die on me. I would be too upset. I wouldn't be able to get another. They should make dogs last as long as you do. Why hasn't someone built one of those already?

Now we are moving into cloning possibilities...

I don't think I would clone myself. I wouldn't do it for a magic trick like Hugh Jackman. I wouldn't do it for science. I wouldn't do it for my mom or dad. I wouldn't even do it for me. I just don't think I could handle me. I'm high maintenance. I would have to worry about feeding , fixing, and fighting two of me. That's hard enough with one.

If I were to clone something, I would clone my plants. I can't seem to make them work. They don't function like I want.

Maybe, I could genetically engineer plants to function more like electronics.

If I did, I would want the calcular version of my plants. I would want it to perform like those calculator watches from the late 80's that would play "The Entertainer" and "The Star Trek Theme Song".

What happened to those watches?

Maybe, I need a calculator watch. I could buy one that looked like a plant. It could stretch out over my arms, and compete with my hair, as it sprawled itself past my shoulders and onto my chest. That would be nice. Then my watch would be a plant that then became me. I would be half-plant-watch and half-me.

People would probably call me "Cream" like the Prince song, because that's what I play through my veins every hour on the hour. I would even make girls (and boys - woohoo!) cream themselves with the luscious grooves that would emanate from the subwoofers attached to my elbows.

With all these electronic parts, I could be a car.

Then it would be easy to clone me. They do that all the time with cars. There could be hundreds of me with subwoofers making people cream their pants. There would even be so much creaming that people would forget what it was like to have someone try to make them cream without subwoofers. Girls would be like, "Where are your subwoofers?" And guys would be like, "Yeah, wehr are you subwoofers."

I think I would pollute the planet if I was a car. I think that would be a problem if I were a robot. I would probably emit some kind of carsinogen that would be harmeful to plants, trees, and other people around me. Congress would make a proclamation and ban the production of me. I would have to walk 15 feet away from eating establishments to start my engine. I would not be thought of favorably. People would disapprove, and pretty soon, no matter how loudly I played Prince on my subwoofers, no one would cream themselves.

That would be a sad story. I am tired of sad stories. I think I'll just clone myself as I am. I don't need to be a plant or a car. I can just be me. I can pollute the earth as me.

I can't do it. I thought I could. I'm open to it, but I can't. If I were a person that had it all together, and two of me would make the world a better place, then, maybe, I would consider cloning myself; but, as it stands, I am just too much of a douche bag.

I wonder why people can be douche bags. You'd think they would want to be something else. I can't help it though. Every time someone wants to get competitive with me, I want to destroy them, and then I feel sick to my stomach. I've tried to stop it, but, lately, I can't master it. I think I need a sandbox. I think I need a timeout. I think I need a woman. I think I need an answer. I think a lot.

For the next five minutes I will not think of anything. If you want to talk to me, just pretend I am a biodiesel plant - I am not doing

Time Element Transitions Followed by Anecdotes

Today I told a class that I would teach them how to speak English with Eminem songs. They laughed. I wasn't joking.

In December, a Korean government officer asked me to come drink with him. I told him I wouldn't. 

"Have a cigarette," he told me.

"No, thanks," I said.

"You care a lot about your body," he said. 

"Yes," I said. "I do." 

In 2000, I walked down South Street and saw an art gallery specializing in African art. I walked inside and talked to the gallery owner. He spoke about a mask on the wall. I stared at it for four or five minutes. 

Five years ago, I was in Boulder, Colorado. I had just run around Boulder High School three times. I was thinking I need to lose weight or my wife might leave me. I didn't lose any weight. 

17 years ago, I was in the eighth grade. Mr. Cheeseman, my American History teacher, was still alive. He had kept me after class. He liked my video. It was called "Slave Chase". Theotis Joe jumped over a tree and deflated a rubber snake. It was my vision of a world where the South had won the Civil War. He thought it was genius. He said I could make music videos in my spare time. I made one hip hop video because I thought that was the future of music. I was really into Rob Base.

When I had the chicken pox, no one felt any kind of remorse. It was an expected thing in the neighborhood. It was simply my turn. I wanted to not take it so willingly. I wanted to resist, but they wouldn't let me go to school. It was a rule: Those who have chicken pox may not attend classes for ten days. I read some choose your own adventure books. They were good. Much better than The Karate Kid book. I just liked being in control.

I like this video.

Tennis, Massage, and Trip

I played tennis again today. I went two for two. In the first set, I played the pro at the tennis club. He had some nice groundstrokes and a good first serve. It took me three games before I adjusted to the clay courts, but I dominated after that, taking him 6-3. 

In the next match, I played another professional in a doubles set. He was much better than the other. He had a great kick serve that was difficult to maneuver. I had to settle for slicing it on both sides, since my return game was just a bit off on the clay courts. That may have been what lead to a loss as well. It could also be my pride that got in the way - instead of hitting to the non-professional, I just kept going head-to-head with the pro. The spectators kept cheering because I shut him down several times. I was still playing poorly though. He was much too practiced. My partner and I ended up losing 3-6, or some such nonsense. 

The other sets I played were in mixed doubles. There was one aggressive Korean woman who dragged me to the next court, and set me up with an intermediate player against her and another quite advanced player. My partner and I lost quite badly. I just didn't have the consistency needed to pull a beginner along. I was also more interested in practicing shots rather than winning. 

Anyway, the tennis play has really been helping me with my lack of cigarettes. I am now four days strong. I am just taking it day by day. I hope I can make it through today. I am just trying to beat that craving. It lasts about five minutes, and can be pretty intense, but after that I am pretty golden for at least two hours. 

Since quitting, my endurance level has gotten higher. I have also noticed that I can drink alcohol without any heartburn. That's nice. I think I may have a glass of wine with So Gee tonight. 

Speaking of So Gee, we have a day of massages and Morrocan food planned. We have also bought tickets for the return to Los Angeles. I will be heading back July 1- 5th in L.A. I will try and meet up with Aram, Stacy, Paiman, Panauh, John, Timmery, Lindsay, and others. 

From July 5th-14th, I will be in Pittsford with my parents. I am probably going to stick around there for a while. I will make it down to New York City, Philadelphia, and Newark, the last week in July. I know I will be recording with Franky boy sometime during that journey. Aside from that, if anyone wants to hang let me know.

I will be back in L.A. on August 20th for those that miss me in July. Until then, I might make a couple flights to Seattle and Ohio. One to visit Sonny from The Temperance, and the other to pay a visit to Noah. If anyone else wants to do lunch in your city, let me know. 

I am writing a lot of poetry lately. They are very strange lines. It's interesting. Maybe, I will post some of these poems. 

Speed Racer: Verdict

Gorgeous visuals! Good story. 

17 Wrenches out of 23.

ACLU Denounces Louisiana Principal

I was glad to see the ACLU denounce Billie Theriot's ban on same-sex couples attending their proms because of "potential riots". People are so strange. I find it amazing when such blatant prejudism exists in the United States of America.

Dominating the Tennis Courts of Korea

A couple months ago, I went out with Loren and Dustin to play some tennis at the faculty country club. The regulars laughed at us, and said we were beginners. I went back today after three days against a wall and dominated every court. They called me a star player. It felt good to be a star. It felt even better to be a winner. In the past, I might have shied away from the limelight, but I am cool with being a winner forever. I've had enough practice being a loser. Give me a winner everyday! Booyakashah!

Now I am off to see Ironman with my students. I think it will be more enjoyable a second time, because, honestly, I didn't like it the first time. I think I knew too much about the behind-the-scenes action. Now, I am just going to sit with my protein shake and enjoy it. If someone tells me I'm cheering too loud, I'll tell them to suck it - a big one.