Category Archives: Scrambled

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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Status Post Format

So, this is a STATUS post format. My current status: trying out various post formats to see how they look on the front page & afterwards

I’m on the edge. I sense gazes on my back as my friends anticipate my next move. Ahead, there’s nothing but infinite space. I’m on the verge of making a leap of faith – or retreating back to my comfort zone. For someone who is afraid of heights, bungee-jumping is the ultimate challenge. I’ve analysed the situation and done the math, as any life-loving human would. I know everything is ready for me to make the jump, but am I?  The logic is sound: I CAN jump. The motivation is there too. Why else would I be standing there, strapped in and peering out over Tehran’s night? Everything is set, but still I “can’t” jump. What’s holding me back? My History with Heights I wasn’t always afraid of heights. I can remember having that fear for as long as I can remember anything else, but I wasn’t born with it. My…

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  I’d love to start with the cliche ‘Look what came in the mail today’, but that’s not usually how it works in Iran. However, we still receive delightful surprises from far away lands. In this case, it was a photo that marked a remarkable time with my Liebling German film crew. So how did I end up a bloodthirsty Qajar prince? It all started when my friend, Reza, decided to help a British tourist in Tehran. There was only one problem: Reza didn’t speak any English! Fortunately, I did. That’s how I got involved in a series of unlikely friendships that eventually led to me becoming an actor. The Cyclist, Jonny Jonny ‘English’ Stockwell had cycled all the way from home, the UK, through Europe to the Middle East. He wasn’t about to stop either. His final destination was China where he planned to stay and teach for a while.…

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Farsi will have to wait, Simply Saeed is going to be in English … for now As a bilingual, each language provides me with a unique insight and certain capabilities. English suits certain topics best, while others call for Farsi. So why is it that I haven’t included a Farsi version for Simply Saeed yet? Allow me to explain why I’m sticking with English for the time being. Avoiding the Perfectionist Trap When the idea of a personal website occurred to me, I immediately bought a host and domain. I wanted to commit to building my site. What better way than to tie money into it? The initiative was well-meant, but it simply wasn’t enough. I learned that after paying the first annual renewal fee without even having launched the site!  As I often confess, I’m a perfectionist. The upside to that is that when I produce something, I know…

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Finally Done with the Essentials … Now What? After months of writing and rewriting, I finished the About & Contact page of Simply Saeed. Hurray! Phew, I can’t tell you how much effort I put into it. Well, now it’s done. What do you think? Was it worth it? I think it was. Why? Because I learned. Now honestly … what DID I learn? On the bright side, the I’m happy with the end result. I don’t dare look at the static pages again because I worry I’d want to nitpick words and move things around “just a bit more”. But I know they serve every purpose do the job. I also learned that I mustn’t write and edit at the same time. Those two are different processes and if they intervene you’re going to come to a stop. STOPS That’s one of the things that bugs me. Seriously. I’m doing it…

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I created this travelogue to show a glimpse of what I experienced when I decided to travel and stay in the city of Khur, in the Central Desert of Iran, for a total of 17 days. I underwent this pilgrimage alone seeking to get away from everything that bound me to a certain lifestyle. I took a better look at my life and what I had accepted as my beliefs and contemplated the deeper questions that had plagued me for a lengthily time. It helped me clear my mind and realise much about life and how it should be lived for it to be worthy. I am now closer to letting go of life at the moment of death, knowing that I have fulfilled another part of my dreams and felt the flow of life throughout my entire existence. Hopefully the knowledge I gained from this time will stay with…

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Fish Duality

Education is critical to growth, no doubt about it. But when its purpose and practicality are lost to prestige, you know the system is faulting. That’s how I see the current Iranian academic education system and the subculture surrounding it. In this post, I intend to describe its flaws and their underlying reasons in hope of enlightening the participants, if not the people responsible. Who Am I to Criticise? Many people believe in the academic process in my country. Like the criticism of any well-established system, I expect this too to be met with resistance. To drop possible guards, allow me to explain the background I come from. First and foremost, I come from an academic family. My parents were both students when they had me. As I grew up, they climbed the academic ladder. In fact, I owe my introduction to English to the time they spent studying for…

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Only speaking inside

Me: “Blahblahblah.” [talking in English] Him/her: … [listens attentively in silence] M: “So what do you think?” H: “Ummm…I don’t know.” [shrugs with unease] M: “Did you understand what I said?” H: “Yes, of course!” [annoyed I thought otherwise] M: “Cat got your tongue?” H: “What?! I don’t understand.” [baffled look] M: “Nothing. Why don’t you say something?” H: “I can’t speak English.” [in English!] M: … [poker face in silence] Have you ever been on either side of such a conversation (in any language)? As an English user and teacher, I see this all the time. The idea of speaking in another language is terrifying for most new learners and they’ll do anything to postpone it. We’re going to take a look at why this issue is so common. Understanding this problem is the first step to any solution. Let’s get that tongue back from the cat! Can’t Speak…

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Enjoying Eshkevarat's view from garden

Many people dream of giving up life in crowded cities in favour of a quiet town, few people actually do. After my recent decision to leave Tehran for Rasht, I’ve been mulling over taking it all the way. A short trip to a village in Guilan gave me a glimpse at what would be in store if I did. An Unlikely Purchase As I mentioned before, my mum grew up in the eastern district of Guilan. Though a city-dweller herself, both her parents hailed from Eshkevaraat, a series of humble villages sparsely spread throughout green mountains. Mum had always wanted to reconnect with her roots, so it came as no surprise when she acquired a garden there. The surprise came later with the circumstances. First off, it wasn’t a “pick all you want” fruit garden, unless you’re crazy as a squirrel about hazelnuts and even they have alternatives. Then there…

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My mother, the one and only

What better way to review the past than to start with my family? I owe her my existence (or at least half of it) and her birthday is close, so first up is Dr. Asieh Yahyazadeh, my mother. A photo posted by Saeed Daneshmandi (@simply.saeed) on Jul 13, 2016 at 4:58pm PDT For the youngest of a big religious family growing up in a small town in Guilan, she’s come a long way. Back home in Rahimabad, she represents what you can achieve if you study hard enough; the honour student who earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry abroad and came back to claim her professorial seat at the University of Guilan. It’s tough enough to survive in a male-dominated society, let alone thrive, which is why student and colleague respect her alike. But I intend to talk about my mother, not a prof. So what’s she like at home? Like…

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pondering the past

Day #1 of the 30 day blogging challenge was spent with this indistinct voice in my head: PANIC ATTACK! 30 days?! Where am I going to get so much writing material? What was I thinking? After adequate self-reflection and meaningful conversation with friends, I say to myself: Calm down. The answer is simple. The past. There’s plenty of that. Plus I need to review it. Solution #1: Draw from the well of the past First of all, I have a lot going on right now and making sense of it is an arduous endeavour. There are my ambitious pursuits, moving back to Rasht, to go or not to go abroad and much more. I could write about them, but they’re ongoing and incomplete. The past has already happened. But is it finished? No. There are parts of the past that are unprocessed. We might not be able to change the…

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12/19