Past Simple 4 Is Here

The new Past Simple is up! Jim Goar has done it again!!

Panauh Produces on KRS One Record!!

My youngest brother, Panauh, is tearing up the Hollywood music scene. He humbly informed me that he helped produce three tracks on the latest KRS One record, Adventures in Emceeing, and received credit for one - all at the age of 21!

I am proud of you, little bro!! You got one of your dreams neatly in the package. Way to keep working hard and shining bright. I will see you in Hollywood in July. 

For those of you in Hollywood that are looking for the kindest and most innovative producer, fresh beats for your latest project, or even just advice on how to go about dominating Pro Tools, Logic, and Reason, you can catch up with this virtuoso at Silent Kaos Productions in NoHO or his personal page.

Remembering Lawrence

Sunday Morning 2

Family Photos

Me, 2008.

Family, 1979.

I am the little guy in all the pics. My mom is holding me in one pic, and standing in the center of another. My dad is the black and white on the left, and the bearded bad ass on the bottom. The rest are members of my dad's side of the family. Some I have yet to meet in Iran since these photos were taken in 1979. I would like to meet them again some day.  

I Paint My Advice

"You need to leave your family behind," the government official said. "It's time to make your own family."

"In Korea?" I asked.

"Get married!" he said again.

"Okay," I smiled. 

It seems like I've been getting advice non-stop lately. I have no idea why. One of my good friends says I should take this all as a welcome gift. I am not so open. I have a nice caution against unsolicited advice. I am not against hearing it, but I have a hard time taking anyone more seriously than myself. No one can possibly know what's best for someone else. That's the funny thing. So many people think they know what the exact right move is for someone else, but it's not always that simple. 

Take my friend who told me take the unsolicited advice as a welcome occurrence. He could do anything in the world. Recently, he told me he wold be moving out of America for his homeland. I can't say I wasn't disappointed to hear this news. He was the best friend I ever had. Now exchanges will be less frequent, and my life will be forever changed. "Don't go!" I could shout. "Start a band. Do something else," I could plead. But I don't. My friend. Advice. I have none. I just sit quiet on the phone. I wait for the moment to pass. I wait until I put the phone down to cry into my hands. I look at my bloodshot eyes. So red, I think. Then I wake up staring at my finger.

My father used to hold up his finger when I looked perturbed. He would quote Jack Palance from "City Slickers": "There is one thing," he would say. "We have to find this one thing." 

"Take all this blog energy and start soliciting freelance work," Stacy advises me on instant messenger. "You have a website now."

"You need a small town," my brother says on an video chat. "You're a leader. You tried starting communities in Los Angeles, but it's not like Delaware. Everyone's an alpha type. You'll just end up being washed over. You need a place like Seattle or Austin."

"Go to Hawaii," my father says on Skype. "Life is short, man. Marry So Gee and go live your life."

"Put your book out as animated shorts," Moksha says over the phone. "That's what you need to do. Just hire someone to do it."

I listen to all the advice. I have no path though. I know what works for someone else is not necessarily for me. I can see that people have stories for how I should be or live. I am honored by them. So much love and care for who I am. None of it rings true though.  

I stare back at my finger. I put on some Sublime. I dance by myself. My legs moving in an unexpected way; they cross and and shoot above the hardwood floor. I am Barishnokov. I am Gregory Hines. I am the greatest dancer of all time. I am just like you. I hold my finger up to the reflection in the window. The advice I have yet to find is silhouetted by the Seoul skyline. I can barely make out the shapes: a fire shaped like a crown; a dinosaur, a glass of water - I paint them together to see the truth.

Loren Knows Tennis

Loren Goodman and I don't even talk on Instant Messenger anymore. I assume there is no need.

L: apples
P: oranges
L: grapes
P: corn
how are you?
L: wheat
P: cream

[Tennis continues...]

go round
people eater
of the opera
of the dock worker
of the citadel
for whom this bell
for whom my rock
tolls socks
bowls clacks
and yet blubber
and yet exercise
and Yeti
and nets!
and Knicks!
and knights!
sway abominably
obstaine courteously
drain peevishly
frown sheepishly
sleep freakishly
prawn swimmingly
said Genghis Crawfish
said Sensei Fishsticks
as now fell
as now is
somehow like snow
like nose in a plow
to the people of Tompkins Square Republic
fists raised and descended repeatedly
to the tunes of Souza
John Phillip to the radicals
of the surgeon madrigals
quantum mechanics never sounded so good
American Idol
my friend Lionel
Ritchie Rich
and his cousin, Reggie
Jackson, Jesse
Hilfiger, Adolf
Lauren, Franco
Versace, Hirohito
Gautier, Yeltsin
American Motors, Gremlin
Honda Civic, E.T.
Boris, Garter Belt
Mikhail, Panty Hose
Barishnikov in Bellbottoms
Platypus in Papyrus
Sisyphus in Shrapnel
Prometheus in Pompeii
Pompeii in Prometheus!
Schrapnel in Pompeii!
Love in the time of Cole Slaw
The Cole Slaw in the Rye
Slaw Vinegar Private Rye Sandwich
Vinegar Balsamic Plywood Branch
Pooty T in da House
on at 7 p.m. Pacific Standard Time
braille for the duck blind
dogs for agnostic dyslexia
to Seattle?
Tattoo paddle
cradle collateral
nasal rattle
pay for battle
Taco tree
spinach stump
Climbing the Taco Tree: Poems, 1991--2007
Eating the Spinach Stump: Stories, 1890-1904
miss you
i hope to see you soon
Popeye Revisited, 2008
miss you too, my friend
i am off to meditation
how is Seoul?
i will post this little dialogue on shikow
seoul is kind
definitely needs warmer weather
no snow
just brutally cold
but they say it will pass by March 35th
holey cow!
March 35th!
i know
i love that mistake, too
until March 35th, then...
i move in two weeks
i will see you in three
into warm digs

see you soon

Tennis Is a Perfect Sport

Most of my greatest moments have been on a tennis court.

I remember the first time I played. My family had just moved to Lawrenceville, New Jersey. My dad was still fairly fresh to America, so he was constantly picking up different things from his colleagues. Tennis was the latest in a series of adventures. According to my father, it would be the perfect sport for me to learn, since I would be able to play even when I got old.

"Is perfect sport, Pirooz," my father told me. "You can play when you are old."

I was interested enough to pick up a racket on the court. I wailed a couple balls over the fence, and started to get discouraged. I deeply disliked any sport I wasn't good at immediately. In fact, I prided myself on being able to master anything within a few days, so I was a little more than my typical disconcerted seven year old self, when I threw the racket on the ground, and announced that this was a stupid sport.

"I don't care about tennis!" I shouted across the court to my father.

"Pirooz," my father cooed in a gentle way. "Give it time. Try again."

"I don't want to," I blubbered back, with a snout already starting its drip down my chin - a common occurrence for my tantrums mixed with tears.

"Try," my dad said again. "Just do it."

I picked up the racket and tried. This time I managed to have a nice three-hit exchange with my father. I felt exhilarated, and like a junkie, I wanted to get that feeling over and over again. I didn't even care about winning points. I just wanted it to go on as long as it could.

"Good, Piooz!" my father shouted. "You are natural!"

After that first day, I was more inclined to try hitting the ball once in a while. My dad didn't seem to mind working with me either. Pretty soon, I was playing at a very high level for a youngster. Older kids and parents would stop their tennis games to watch me play, and I grew accustomed to the attention.

"Watch this!" I would say in my mind, as I ripped a forehand down the line. "Eat it!"

When I got to high school, I had a choice to make. I kept developing shin splints from playing on the soccer and tennis teams simultaneously. I had to pick one. It was tough. I was probably a better soccer player in the long run, but my love for tennis drove me to the hard courts behind Alexis I. Dupont High School. It was there that I found some of the best friends of my life - a group of guys who loved the game as much as I, and were willing to play it before thinking of anything else.

"Hit the ball, bitch!" Kaivon would scream.

"Eat me," John would say.

"I am the ruler of the world," I would smile, and try a behind the back volley at the net.

Things were ideal. I even made it to the semifinals of the state championship for third singles. It was the right choice in the end. Even with the bad coaches, missed calls, or even my inability to ever go pro, I was still happy to have been and continue to be a tennis player.

"I can come this summer," I tell my dad on the phone. "We can play tennis everyday."

"That will be good," he agrees. "Tennis is good."

"Yeah, I miss you guys. We can have a lot of fun."

"This house is yours," he smiles through the receiver. "Come and get healthy."

"I'll be there in the summer. I'll bring So Hee. I don't know where we'll go after, but--"

"Why not go to Hawaii?"


"Life is short. Just go. Raise a family."

"That's not a bad idea."

"Yeah, just go."

I think I could go to Hawaii. I could go anywhere really. The only thing is finding someone to play tennis with me. My dad was my greatest partner. It'll be hard to find another. But, who knows? Maybe, my son or daughter would take a liking to the game as well. So Gee might even be able to hit a ball or two.

"Oh, I will kill you," So Gee says over my shoulder as she reads. "I am the queen of tennis."

"You haven't even played yet."

"I can tell though. I am good."

"I think tomorrow I will write about my most devastating tennis moments."

"That's depressing."

"I guess. I don't know. Sometimes I feel like writing about depressing moments makes them not so depressing anymore. Like it grows into a different story, if you can see past what you thought happened to what actually did."

"I thought you said it was devastating."

"Well, it's like you said the other day about the glass."

"Half full?"

"No, that it depends on what's in the glass. Like, I'm not going to see anything half full that I want to drink. It's always going to be half empty."

"So devastating tennis matches will always be half full or empty?"

"I don't know. I think that's why I want to write about it. It lets me know what I am made of."

"I think you were made by robots."

"Then I could be electricity."

"Shock me," So Gee laughs. "On my lips."


"Okay. Fine, don't!" So Gee laughs again.

I lie down in bed next to her. I play a tennis match in my mind. I hit the ball or the net into a flock of seagulls on the Venice Beach boardwalk. They launch in three directions at once. My tennis partner swoops down on a dragon. They take the ball, and go play at a neighboring court in New Mexico. There are no children watching them play. They don't do it for the applause. It's about hitting the ball. Whap. The ball. Whap. The ball. Whap.

Still Alive

I went to Hwa Gye Sah Temple today. The first time since I got sick in December. As you can guess, that means I am feeling better. It looks like I may have conquered this Asian bug. According to ex-pats living here, their first years were filled with sickness. Luckily, I have only gotten sick this winter. If all goes well, I hope this will be the last time I get sick for a while. 

As of now, I am making most of my meals myself. I cook Persian food. It's a bit expensive to buy all the ingredients, but I need to keep the body healthy. That is why, I am now in salmon and rice heaven. This is all I eat, along with the occasional yogurt. It is definitely making me stronger.

In the coming month, I will be moving into Jim Goar's old apartment as he heads back to the states. I have no idea what that will be like. Jim says he has put some good energy in the place. I am sure he has. The man will be missed, but he has other fish to fry in England.

As far as myself, I will be starting work at the new university, and see how it goes. If the summer finds me with another opportunity, I might go that route. For now, I will be writing a novel, making cute paintings, a few comics, and working on the next record.

Speaking of record, it looks like The Slipshod Swingers now have an official publicist. William Brierly of Snowrunner Productions has agreed to do promotions for the next couple months. That means you might be hearing Slipshod on the radio soon. If you have a particular station or print magazine, where you would like to hear or read about the Swingers, then send me an e-mail, and I'll pass on the tip.

In other news, I will be interviewing Chris Killen in the next few days. I am excited about his new book, and have had fun reading it on the various modes of public transport that have taken me in and around this city. 

Anything else?

I am excited for spring.