Author: Alireza

I'm Alireza. I've had a few blogs during my teenage years. I've coded, played around with music, made shitty friends, failed relationships, and immigrated. So yeah. Not the best person you wanna read from. But I'll try to be real. Hopefully.

A Charlie Brown Nostalgia

I was watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, and I realized how much our generation is defined by nostalgia. Go on Instagram and watch some of the reels that people in their twenties are making. The music, the photography, the darkness of nostalgia seeping through all the little scenes from old films and animations such as Charlie Brown, or ones with such dark themes as Mr. Robot. Watch this clip and tell me, why would an age be defined by having so little real lives, and so much daydreaming, imagination, and hopelessness?

Perhaps we are the generation that truly lives and realizes the horrors of technology. Perhaps we are the ones who will shun social media and return to the embrace of nature. Perhaps we will even manage to destroy capitalism and all things commercials, as Charlie Brown would like it. If a new world comes out of this, I hope it will be a communal one. And I hope we survive the nostalgia of a better past.

Slightly Too Sorrowful Thoughts on Attack on Titan

Tiny spoiler alert.

How can you accept what happens at the end of AoT? How can you justify living in the aftermath of, or worse, during a continuous disaster? How can you ever make peace with the fact that there has always been so much history, so much death, so many terrible, terrible things? How can you see the leaf of a tree amongst all the bloodshed?

Life, I believe, for many of us since forever, and for many others perhaps since the pandemic, has become a grim, dark affair. There are wars causing suffering that we can see so closely, and we have to be so cruel to live in joy. Who else can ignore everything in the name of happiness?

For years people have preached the ways of happiness and success. Now, we are beginning to realize again: life is an affair of suffering on a grand scale. Your grandmother suffered in her last years. Your neighbor has been lonely for so long, with not even you to visit him. There is a cat two streets down from you, being abused by her owner. And there’s heartbreak, pain, and grief all around us. What is the point of happiness, when there is so much to feel?

We must try, perhaps, to gather a group of people who will come, willingly and lovingly, to visit our grave. But that is all there is to us. And it should make us cry.

Attention Span vs. the Human Race

The world is very different now. There are TikTok trends and scrolling, and that is changing us all. We’re losing attention span, but are also more aware of it than we were a few years ago. The very core of our lives has changed, and I believe for many of us it’ll stay that way. Even if we manage to go offline by an immense power of will, we’ll always know that there’s a magical cyberspace that most of our friends and family live in. If the people around us change, so do we.

But I’m not so gloomy about it. I think, in fact, that it should be interesting to see how we as humans will react to this scrolling phenomenon. Scrolling through social media, like anything else, will eventually be saturated in our lives, and like anything else, we’ll get sick of it (if we haven’t already). That’ll lead us to react (as many of us already have), and we’ll fall back closer to where we used to be before social media, except, we’ll have some pretty neat Instagram videos to show for it (and some quite morally questionable ones as well).

Many TikTok content creators are already striving to move away from simple, naive jokes and trends, and create more depth in their content. Some use it to showcase the artworks they’ve spent tens of hours on, and some simply apply great cinematography and writing that makes their videos as worthy to watch as a section of a great movie.

Consumers are also trying to limit their social media usage, and being picky about what they would like to see. They follow and unfollow, cancel and uncancel, and some simply leave this space and learn to be at peace with the fact that it exists, and that they’re not in it. There’s a dynamicity in all of it.

This should, in the near future, bring a better equilibrium to our online lives. As we react, we grow and learn to use the tools we have better. But like the growth of capitalism, many evils will remain. Will the world be better or worse? Who the fuck knows? But we’ll find a way to keep our humanity nonetheless. We’ll react by going offline or learning to make fire without equipment, and the combination of our earthly humanness and the digital space will be, at the very least, interesting to see. So let’s have some fucking hope.

The Light and Darkness of East and West

My relationship with my hometown has been complicated for a long time. I used to hate it, to see its people as unable to change, and its life stagnant and grim. It was the place that held me back and caused my loneliness. Tabriz was why I didn’t have a girlfriend, and why I couldn’t enjoy life and all its beauties. It was the reason I felt so isolated and couldn’t seem to get out of the quagmire I was in. This city was one of the many culprits of my shitty life. I hated it.

Then, I moved to Tehran. It wasn’t ideal, of course, and I never expected it to be. But the city was alive. It was huge, with all these people who lived lives that seemed so far from mine. Of course, I was mostly interacting with the rich, educated Tehranis, so I subconsciously ignored the poverty, the hurt, and the loneliness that prevailed in the capital. Hell, it was even worse than my hometown. And it took me five years to realize that.

These days, I am thousands of kilometers away from both these cities, in a continent far different from any place I have ever lived in. The people here party, listen to a lot of pop music, go on picnics in the summer, and walk their dogs with a content heart. These people are rich, even if they don’t know it, and the Iranian experience, no matter how much I or others write, talk, or sing about it, can never be truly understood by them.

But that’s not a completely bad thing. Being among these Westerners, I have come to understand my own cities better. And as therapy has lifted the depression I had sunk in, a light has shone into my memories of my hometown. It is no longer the cause of all my sorrows. It is a city filled with life, albeit also with its problems. It has history, culture, and a uniqueness that will forever be in my heart. Something that cannot be explained.

I’ve recently reconnected with the people I knew from there, and I’m reading about the great individuals that have emerged from it. Many of them lived within a less than half hour walk from my house. So much has happened in that city.

My heart aches that I had been disconnected from it. But then again, I was disconnected from everything. That’s what trauma does. Now, the light has come back. And it is beautiful.

On Cities and Bilingualism

It’s now been more than seven months since I moved to Montreal. And recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about how this city is similar to my hometown, Tabriz.

Montreal is well-known as one of the most bilingual cities in the world, and Quebec is famous for its resistance against the Anglophone incursion. Most non-francophones in this city despise this. But for me, it’s all a very familiar and, don’t tell anyone but, welcome environment.

I’m probably one of the most Tabrizi people in the world. My family on both sides is from Tabriz as far up the family tree as we can track them. Most of our extended family live in a couple of neighborhoods in the middle of the city. So of course, I have strong ties with this place, its culture, and its language. It is what my childhood feels like.

Now, Tabriz is the only one of the seven largest cities in Iran that doesn’t speak Persian. The main language here, instead, is Azeri (or as we call it, Turki. Or as linguists call it, Southern Azerbaijani). Despite being the second most spoken language in one of the biggest countries in the world, and the main one of my two native languages, Azeri is still very ambiguous to me. I was never really taught to read or write in Azeri, and all the textbooks and novels I’d read as a kid were in Persian. Although It’s normal for a kid growing up in Tabriz to watch a lot of cartoons in Turkish, which is one of the languages closest to Azeri, but that only helped me learn another language, rather than get more acquainted with my own. So, as I’ve grown older, I’ve begun to sense how much I miss this connection with my language.

Languages in Iran, like in Canada, can be a controversial topic, often mingled with racism. Some Persians accuse Turks, Kurds, and Baluchs of being separationist or racist, and many Turks ridicule Persians as being too fancy and soft. No one is in the right, of course, and it is the system that hurts everyone, as is usually the case. But the fact remains: languages are at the hearts of people. And the heart is a painful place.

So, I understand the Quebecois. I don’t intend to advocate for Bill 96 or any of the language laws that might be considered too harsh. Hell, I don’t even speak enough French to survive in a French-only environment. But that is besides the point. Because this isn’t about advocacy, but love and identity. I understand struggling to keep the existence of your language, the thing you use to think and preserve the soul of what your childhood has felt like. And I don’t think an Anglophone could ever truly understand the feeling of not having access to the world in your true language. Which is fine, of course. No one has to truly understand everything. But I do think that in this war of languages, Anglophones need to shoulder the responsibility of confronting their linguistic entitlement. Because, let’s face it, English is not going anywhere soon. Most other languages, on the other hand, easily could.

Who the Fuck is This Guy


Let me be honest with you. I don’t know either.

And I’m not just trying to sound smart. I seriously have no idea who I am, or who I want to be. When I was a kid, I wanted to become an “inventor”. An inventor of what, god knows. Then I wanted to become a software engineer and thought that was my calling. Until I realized life is such a bizarre thing, that codes and computers are just a worthless part of it. Then I wanted to study all the things in college. Philosophy, economics, chemical engineering, English literature, sociology, and god knows what. But I ended up doing computer science. And I don’t quite regret it either, because it meant I could easily move to Montreal after I graduated.

While in college, I fell in with a drug and music-obsessed crowd, which changed me a lot and showed me new things about life. Then I worked a full time software engineering job for a couple of years and realized that that shit is not for me. Now I’m doing research in computer security, in the opposite side of the world, still baffled at the first world calmness. So you tell me. Who the fuck am I?

But. I do know that there are things about me that have been the same since my earliest memories. I can’t pinpoint what they are, but hey, I’m sure you can’t either. So don’t judge me, asshole. Maybe that’s what the blog is all about. Who the fuck knows.

My hope with this blog is that it’ll help me manage this ambiguity a bit better. I don’t mind ambiguity. I love it. It’s healthy. No one knows shit and they are usually little jerks with a tribal mindset if they act like they do. So I don’t mind the ambiguity. However, I do think writing will help direct it to more positive places. At least, that is my hope.

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