Baba is an active member at the California Zoroastrian Center and he often participates in various events organised by the Center. He enjoys the atmosphere and lovely friends he made there, he takes part in many backgammon competitions, prayers, religious ceremonies and parties. At his age Baba has a wonderful social life and thanks to his good and kind nature he is very much liked and respected among his fellow Zoroastrians.
Do you like Michael Jackson Atria? I am not particularly interested in music, especially pop music, but I thought you may be and apparently Michael Jackson is a classic. This picture was taken also at the Broad, contemporary art museum in LA I wrote to you about few days ago. It's a very shiny, bright looking artwork/statue.
Jeff Koons created this sculpture of Michael Jackson and his pet chimpanzee Bubbles in 1988. Bubbles was Jackson's domestic animal and it has been claimed by the media that he was Jackson's best and faithful friend who even joined the singer on his world tours and helped in the household (well... I am not sure about that, but it would be nice to have a little guy to help with my household chores) :-)
The sculpture is made from porcelain. The dead white of Jackson’s skin and his glamorous pose with Bubbles in matching clothing invite a chilling range of questions about celebrity and image making. I read in the Wikipedia that this sculpture has been also interpreted as a symbol of the human desire for self-discovery. Jackson demonstrated publicly his childlike personality and tried to reinvent himself by means of plastic surgery. Koons was fascinated by the self transformations of Jackson and the way he played with images such as himself against Bubbles. The assimilated chimp on his lap underlines this aspect of self-exploration. He is a traditional symbol in fine arts which serves to mirror human nature. But meanwhile the plastic demonstrates the tragic impossibility of this attempt. The material's aesthetic and Jackson's aura of transcendence show how unnatural the results of this self-exploration must be. Well.... I would have never figured out his interpretation myself :-) What do you think? Do you like it?
Today in Iran we held a memorial ceremony on the second anniversary of Maman's death. As you well know Maman was a very kind, loving, generous person, who touched many peoples' lives. Friends and family members keep many wonderful memories of her deep in their hearts and today we gathered to share these memories and pray for Maman's soul. Maman is no longer with us, but her gentle, kind soul will be always remembered for as long we live.
Below there are some pictures for you from the ceremony.
Here are some pictures from various places Leo's Rabbit visited this Spring. I guess they can be perceived as funny and joyful or as very sad. I wish my son was there traveling with us. It's heartbreaking thinking of the loss and what might have been. In the same time, as parents, we are trying to shout to the whole world that we had a son, he was beautiful, he was perfect, he was important, he changed our lives and us forever and we will never forget him, even if it means Anna becoming 'a crazy rabbit lady'...
Dear Atria, for years I didn't have any pictures of you and didn't know how you look like. Then after the court ordered your mum to send me some photos I started receiving all these unclear, blurred, pixelated or in any way distorted pictures that didn't really show you and I even wasn't sure if it's you in these pictures. There were also some better photos, but with your face covered by hair or with your face down. You mother said in the court that you've been choosing which photographs you want to be sent to me, so I can only say that it makes me sad, but of course I respect your decision. If you don't want me to know how you really look like, it's your prerogative.
But I am your dad and I really wanted to know how you look like. Some time ago I received few proper photographs of you taken with other people at some gathering you attended and I just wanted to tell you that you grew up to be a beautiful young lady. You have lovely hair, nice smiley face and a slender figure. I hope you know that you are very beautiful.
Many girls at your age often have some body image issues. They are young and beautiful, but they complain about something that they don't necessary like about themselves eg. too tall, too short, straight hair, curly hair, too slim, too fat, big nose, small nose... well you can carry on like that forever. I think it's in a human nature to complain about what we have and want something that we don't have. And the girls are 'masters' in that! If they have straight hair they go to hairdresser and make them curly. If the hair is curly they use hair straightener or pay for an expensive treatment to make them straight. Isn't that just crazy? :-) There is a proverb saying that 'The grass is always greener on the other side'. It refers to the way we tend to look at other people’s lives and other things that we don't have in general through rose colored glasses. It comes from the idea of looking at a neighbours lawn and seeing it as better looking, healthier and overall greener then your own when in reality you’re just ignoring anything negative about it and downplaying everything positive about your own.
Don't look at what you think may be imperfect in you or what you would like to change, you are perfect and beautiful just the way you are. What you look like is just one aspect, and not an overwhelmingly important one. At the end of the day it's not that important what colour is your hair or what size you are, but who you are and what you have to offer as a person. I would like to imagine and hope that you are smart, kind, loving, giving, caring, friendly, open-minded, persistent, imaginative, intelligent and clever; that you love life, make friends and make people around you happy. That's what really matters. It's a cliche, but the inner beauty is so much more valuable than a pretty face. When you come across a beautiful looking person, who is just not nice and doesn't treat you right, no matter how pretty they are, you just don't want to be around them.
You have a pretty face and you are beautiful and I can only hope you have the inner beauty too and that you are beautiful inside out.
In my view this was the best installation/artwork at the Broad - a mirror-lined chamber housing a dazzling and seemingly endless LED light display. The artist is called Yahoo Kusama and the artwork is Infinity Mirrored Room - The Souls of Millions of Light Years. I thought it was amazing, different from anything I’ve ever seen before, impressive, almost breathtaking. You stood on the little island on the water and wherever you looked you could see yourself from different angles in various mirrors. The room was dark with multiple tiny lights and only one person was allowed in the room at one time what even more intensified the experience.
Yayoi Kusama is a very versatile artist. Her multidisciplinary art includes painting, performance, installation, writing, film, fashion, design, and architectural interventions. Moving between modes of working, Kusama has escaped associations to specific art movements, and instead she has developed her own unique path.
Since the 1960s, Kusama has been creating Infinity Mirrored Rooms that provoke a sense of boundlessness and transcendence through extreme repetition. Kusama’s work is an expression of her life, providing insight into the many social and political contexts of her long career. Through her artwork, Kusama, a self-proclaimed ‘obsessional artist’, offers an unusual glimpse into the workings of a mind that is seldom quiet. The strength and appeal of her work goes beyond stylistic design; Kusama confronts the immensity of reality by searching at once for infinitude and oblivion.
In the Broad contemporary art museum in LA there is a massive eighty-foot-long painting by Takashi Murakami from Japan titled ‘In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow'. You can see it in my picture. It looked very impressive to me, probably mainly because of its size and very busy, colourful theme. I read the description and that’s what it says (I don’t fully understand it, but maybe you will):
The painting is informed by 18th century painters Soga Shohaku and Ito Jakuchu. Shohaku believed in reaching for new and alternative truths in picture making by imitating existing forms or styles and imbuing them with new essence. Murakami follows this belief, here using figures and motifs directly taken from Shohaku’s painting ‘Gunsenzu’, or ‘Immortals’ (1764), itself an imitation of an older version, which depicts Taoist hermits with magical powers. On the far left (my photo on the left), a hermit in blue riding a dragon; the hermit on the far right who holds a baby (middle picture); and the potbellied hermit leaning on a frog are but a few motifs Murakami appropriates from ‘Immortals’. However, the painting is unmistakably Murakami’s, reminiscent of contemporary Japanese cartooning and culture though rooted century’s old traditions.
Every ten years, the monks in the monastery are allowed to break their vow of silence to speak two worlds. Ten years go by, and it's one monk's first chance. He thinks long and hard before telling the head monk, 'Food bad'. Ten years later, it's his turn to speak again. This time he says, 'Bed hard'. A decade later, it's the big day again. The man gives the head monk a long stare and says, 'I quit'.
'Well, I am not surprised', the head monk says. 'You've been complaining ever since you got here.'
At the Petersen Automobile Museum Baba had a chance to see an unique exhibition 'Made in Italy – Design to Line' featuring Maserati's flagship super sport sedan, the Maserati Quattroporte S Q4. The exhibition tells the story of Maserati's design through five chapters: 1) Raw Materials; 2) Body Shell; 3) Drivetrain; 4) Trims and Finishes; and 5) Final Product. It's an excellent educational display that defines the how and why Maserati is such a timeless performance automobile.
Based on the photographs taken at the museum I will describe the whole process for you. So that's how the story begins.
Every automobile begins as a vision that is realised when a designer’s inspired lines are transformed into complex components assembled in careful sequence. This holds true for the distinctive cars of Italian manufacturer Maserati, whose creations combine state-of-art technology with traditional hand craftsmanship as practiced by generations of Italian artisans and engineers. Among them were the Maserati brothers - Alfieri, Ernesto and Ettore - who began their journey in 1914 by founding the ‘Office Alfieri Maserati’ in Bologna. A fourth brother, Mario, created the trident logo of the company, taking inspiration from the statue of Neptune still located in the main square of Bologna.
1. Raw Materials
The Quattroporte is built at Maserati’s newly renovated Giovanni Agnelli plant, named after the founder of Fiat. This advanced manufacturing facility is located in Grugliasco, outside of Turin, Italy, and is situated on the grounds of the historic Carrozzeria Bertone design centre. Here, approximately 7,000 individual components are fabricated from a variety of materials and assembled with computerised precision by industrial robots controlled by skilled technicians.
2. Body Shell
The body shell of the Quattroporte S Q4 combines aluminium and steel stampings that together achieve maximum strength with minimum weight. A unibody design combines chassis and body into one complete assembly, which eliminates the use of separate components that might compromise structural integrity. The body shell provides a solid foundation for mounting other vehicle systems while protecting the occupants from the elements and during collisions.
The Quattroporte ‘body in white’ - the body shell prior to painting - is sent to the paint facility, where it receives anti-corrosive treatment, sealing and soundproofing, in addition to a carefully applied paint finish in solid, metallic or pearlescent tones. Final assembly then begins with the addition of subassemblies, glass and exterior trim. Interior components from seats and dashboard to the smallest details, reflect the Maserati high standard of quality and craftsmanship. Each car can be made to order, with countless combinations to match individual tastes and preferences.
The drivetrain of the Quattroporte S Q4 employs an all-wheel-drive system, consisting of many components working together to maintain controlled and balanced handling in adverse conditions. When the car is moving, a complex algorithm analyses its dynamic parameters (including wheel slip, steering angle, yaw angle, power output and speed) in real time. It also analyses factors relating to the wheels’ grip and can redistribute torque to maximise the traction profile for each wheel. The fully integrated systems work to provide both optimum speed and comfort.
4. Trims and Finishes
A Maserati automobile is imbued with details that can be appreciated in a variety of ways. Visually, the streamlined shape of the Quattroporte is enhanced by lustrous paint and polished aluminium trim. Maserati’s chrome Trident punctuates the iconic grille, while prominent exhaust tips proclaim the Quattroporte’s power. Inside, the feel and scent of hand-sticked leather are complemented by accents of metal, carbon fibre and precious woods like Tanganika, Ebano (ebony), Radical (briar) and Erable (maple).
5. The finished Quattroporte
Since its debut in 1963, the Quattroporte has expressed Maserati’s history of technological innovation, distinctive design and hard-fought racing success. Its namesake four doors welcome driver and passengers into a plush interior that is matched with a powerful engine. The first Italian automaker to pair sports car attributes with the space and comfort of a sedan, Maserati continues to offer a mix of elegance and performance with the sixth generation of Quattroporte models.
Baba recently visited Petersen Automotive Museum in LA. I wasn't there with him, but from the photos I can see that he enjoyed it greatly. The museum has over one-hundred vehicles on display in its twenty-five galleries and hosts a great variety of vehicles from high end classics and sports cars, movie vehicles, motorcycles and even bicycles. There are many extremely rare and very expensive cars on display, something that you probably won't be able to see anywhere else in the world. Baba especially enjoyed the beautiful classic cars like Cadillac, Bugatti, Ferrari, Jaguar. It's a shame that they don't offer a test drive for the visitors :-) The exterior of the museum is also amazing - it's a treat for the eyes. The façade was designed by the architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox, and features a stainless-steel ribbon assembly made of 100 tons of steel in 308 sections. Somehow it looks like a giant sports car, don't you think so? All in all Petersen Automotive Museum is definitely a very nice place to visit especially if you are interested in cars like Baba is.
I wish you a happy Norouz and I wish you a prosperous Zoroastrian 1396 new year.
Another year has gone by and we all got a year older and a little wiser, and we take memories of all that we have been through with us to the new year.
The Zoroastrian calendar is believed to have started 3755 years ago. The Zoroastrian new year starts on the first day of spring, when the whole nature comes back to life, when the whole of the animal kingdom starts a new way of life after the cold winter.
The other reason for the new year being the start or spring is that spring is the start of agricultural year and those days the whole of the world was reliant of the farming industry.
Happy Norouz 1396 Atria.
Dearest Body, Thank You!
I really like the photos below and the message they convey. Please be reminded that the older person you thought to be fragile and weak today was once a great brave soul! All photographs are by Tom Hussey and full credit belongs to him.
Are you holding a grudge against someone? I have to say I did for a long time but I am trying to deal with it. Not because of the person that hurt me and was unjust, untruthful and horrible towards me, but for my own good. Negative emotions are harmful for us and they can start a destructive cycle - they lead to a biochemical changes such as an increase in cortisol (the stress hormone), which interferes with your body's natural healing mechanism, which leads to less self-care, which creates physical pain, which leads to more dark emotions, which can cause low self-esteem... and so on and so on.
The good news is that if you are able to acknowledge you are holding a grudge, you're halfway to releasing it. To fully let it go, try a forgiveness meditation. Each night in a quiet room with eyes closed, repeat this as often as you need, either out loud or to yourself:
'I forgive those who have wronged me, I forgive myself. I let go of all anger, resentment, and pain. I welcome an abundance of love, peace, and joy. Thank you, mind. Thank you, body.'
Do this every night until you feel you no longer need it. Even if you don't reach 100 percent forgiveness, just repeating the words helps. Research overwhelmingly supports that meditation makes it possible for you to improve your mental and physical state.
I wish you a very happy, healthy, family Christmas holidays filled with love, joy and laughter. I hope you are surrounded by your friends and people who love you and support you.
This year I didn't send you any present or a Christmas card. Not because I don't want to, but I gathered that you don't want to receive anything from me. The last year's Christmas present I posted to you (twice) and your Birthday present both came back to me unopened. They are in their original envelopes as I still hope that one day you may wish to see me or you will provide me with a valid address so I can send them to you. In the meantime I will keep writing to you here.
For me this Christmas is a very difficult one - as you know, I lost my son Leo, your half-brother and dealing with the loss is especially hard at this festive time. I always however have hope for the better future and even at the darkest moments of my life, this hope keeps me going. Do never lose hope dear Atria, no matter what live throws at you. You are stronger than you think and you can handle anything if you believe in yourself and in a better future.
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year full of new opportunities Atria!
Our beautiful baby boy Leo Yan Shenassa (MiniMus) was born prematurely at 30 weeks via an emergency C-section on the 5th October.
Leo fought for two days, with doctors giving him all the possible help and us only able to pray and helplessly watch him fighting for his life and offer a world of love we have for him. On the 7th of October he passed away peacefully in his mum’s arms.
We are no longer Fash and Anna – we are and always will be Leo’s proud dad and mum; he brought up in us so much love that we never thought we are capable of. He was with us only for 2 precious days, but left his mark in our hearts forever.
Please pray for his little innocent soul and for us in this unimaginably difficult time…
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
This photograph of desert perch has been taken by Husain Alfraid and it was one of the National Geographic's best shots this May. I really like it. I think the eyes of this eagle-owl look very fascinating and hypnotic while it scans the terrain. The bright yellow eyes are characteristic of the species. The birds are generally found in arid habitats of North Africa and the Middle East and are efficient nocturnal predators—even scorpions are on its menu.
Recently I had a bit of sore throat. I didn't think that it is serious enough to go to a doctor and I decided to 'attack' the problem with lemon and honey. The combination of these two natural ingredients and a hot water does wonders. I am fully cured now.
Honey has antibacterial properties and also acts as a hypertonic osmotic, which means that it draws water out of inflamed tissue. This reduces swelling and discomfort of a sore throat. When you combine honey with the juice of half a lemon and hot water it's even better as you will get high dose of a natural vitamin C, which busts your immunity and helps your body fight off the infection. You can try it yourself next time if you feel like you may be catching a cold or you need an extra bust of immunity.
I am your dad Atria.