Abercrombie and Fitch LA Bar Recyle USC Tommy Trojan USC School of Cinematic Arts Cafe 101 LA Party Social Networking Mexican Food Obama Panda Levi's Jeans 101 Freeway Birthday Party You Are Here Rockband Handicapped Sign Suburbs Whiskey A Go Go Sherman Oaks Galleria Ahmadinejad Soda Malibu Beach Pool Hollywood Venice Beach Cops Surfer Venice Beach Salt and Pepper Venice Beach
Two dudes and a girl show off their bodies as part of their job modeling at the entrance of the Abercrombie & Fitch clothing store. Where are the moral police when you need them?!
It took only one trip to a bar to remind me how much I'm over bars, drinking and "the game." Then why complain about the absence of bars in Tehran you ask? Well, so that I have the freedom to choose to not to go to them! Or go on special occasions, such as to meet up with friends I haven't seen in 15 months.
Blue for recycling, green for plants and black for regular trash. The color coded trash bins get picked up once a week. Together they demonstrate the superiority of the American waste management system. Though one could also argue they are sugar-coated reminders of how much we waste in this country.
Statue of Tommy Trojan, University of Southern California's mascot, located at the center of campus. I graduated from USC's School of Cinema-Television back in 2001. My general feeling visiting the campus was that I had it good and I should have done more of everything while I was here.
After a $175 million dollar donation by George Lucas, the school changed its name to School of Cinematic Arts to include a division on interactive game design. I was surprised to see the new state-of-the-art building almost complete! There was a parking lot in its place when I left only 15 months ago.
I met up with a fan of this website at Cafe 101 in Hollywood. I plan on more meetings with more fans as it will be nice to put faces to the numbers I see on my Google Analytics account. Also, expect many photos from various cafes and diners in the coming months -- they are a big part of life [and work] in Los Angeles.
At a friend's 30th birthday party. The age of us as twenty-somethings is coming to an end. Soon, one by one, we'll fall to the 30s, the decade that will have to define who we are.
We're at an age where socializing no longer requires other people! A dude on his laptop computer; probably logging in to a social networking site. These sites create an illusion that you're actually "keeping in touch" with your friends, when in fact you're just slowly postponing seeing them in person.
Two Mexican workers at the Studio City branch of Pequito Mas preparing what I consider the most consistently fresh and tasty Mexican food in town.
Barack Obama became the Democratic nominee for President. If he wins, America's image abroad will immediately change for good because nowhere else in the world can a son of an immigrant rise up to such great heights. By comparison, son of an Afghan immigrant in Iran cannot even obtain a birth certificate or legal residence, let alone become the President.
The fake facade of an Italian restaurant in Studio City and a billboard advertising Kung Fu Panda.
I bought two pairs of Levi's jeans at the mall, where I found them on sale for a haggle-free price of $30. The same jeans cost at least $80 back in Tehran. That's if you're lucky and you get a "good deal" from a "trustworthy" seller who knows someone who knows someone who has shopped from him before. Even then, you have to wonder if it's an "original" or a Chinese counterfeit.
Driving on the LA freeways is so calm and peaceful compared to Tehran. So much so that for the first few days back I felt like I was invincible! I felt like nothing bad could possibly happen with such orderly polite drivers and safe new cars. Then I had to snap back to reality and realize that accidents happens everywhere, people die from fatal car crashes here as well.
At a birthday party, where three generations of a Persian family were present. Southern California is home to the largest population of Iranians living outside of Iran. The official number is around 300,000, but guesstimates of Iranians themselves put the number as high up as 2 million. They like to exaggerate!
I am here! There are moments when I think about how only so many days ago I was in Tehran. It's hard to believe that Tehran and Los Angeles are only a couple of plane rides away.
A couple of friends playing Rock Band on Play Station 3.
Iranians think they have a lot of respect for the elderly and the disabled. Maybe they do for their elder relatives. But as a society, it's as though we have no respect whatsoever. You won't find a single parking spot for the elderly/handicapped in all of Tehran (or Iran for that matter). Not to mention the lack of ramps, rail guards, elevators, and so on.
Copy, paste and repeat and you'll get an idea for what suburbia looks like.
For every rock band whose music tops the music charts around the world, there are thousands of bands and musicians who struggle to make ends meet. A little known fact for people who think there are only as many bands as ones seen on their regional MTVs. That said, I have no idea who these people are! They were performing at Whiskey a Go Go on Sunset Blvd. when we walked in.
At Sherman Oaks Galleria in Sherman Oaks, where you are very likely to run into Persians speaking Farsi. Then you can pretend like you didn't just hear them speak your language and walk by and pretend that you yourself are not Persian -- or God forbid, Iranian!
The Republican tactic is to demonize a foreign leader and scare people into thinking that if they don't get elected this demon leader will take over the world! I am first to admit that Ahmadinejad is part of a corrupt system, but he is by no means Hitler (as John McCain suggests). He's just a simple man with no actual power who talks tough to keep his ultra-conservative base happy. Bush is the evil one .
Free refills on soda pop is part of the American way of life. Again you are presented with a choice: to drink as much as you want and get fat and unhealthy, or drink the ice tea with no sugar.
A father taking pictures of his sons at the beach in Malibu.
A cute little pool and a back yard at a Persian friend's house in Calabasas. I am always happy to see Iranians doing well and living well. They are the true ambassadors of Iran here and elsewhere outside of Iran.
Hollywood, the city, must be a total let down for tourists who come in thinking they will witness first hand the glitz and glamour of the utopia Hollywood films often depict. Here, things are broken and crimes are committed and even superman can do nothing but to stare out the souvenir store's window.
Gas prices are so high that the policemen out west are hopping back on theirs saddles and galloping about on their horses. But not really, they're just the officers at Venice beach.
A surfer waiting for a wave in the Pacific Ocean.
While I was walking around Venice beach, I couldn't help but to think about how majority of the people who were there would have in fact been arrested and put to jail if they were in Iran. A reminder of how the "republic" makes criminals out of everyday ordinary folks who are living their lives and minding their own business.
Salt and Pepper were out on a date at Thai BBQ on Ventura Blvd. They talked about how there are salt and pepper shakers on most restaurant tables in most parts of the world. From Studio City where they dined to Tehran. A common trait that often goes unnoticed by humans.

Venice Beach, California. I have been back in the Los Angeles area for a little over a month now. What sticks out the most about life in the United States is consumerism. The perspective I have gained by being away for so long paints a more clear picture of how everything here seems to be in one way or another associated with buying, selling and consuming. There's nothing wrong with it. In fact, you have to wonder if this is what the have-nots are striving for. To come to a point where freedom is the least of your worries and paying bills and making payments for what maintains your lifestyle is what keeps you going.

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