Wednesday, October 27, 2010
It's PERSIAN, learn about it before you use it!

Let me start this by bringing an example. I'm not Chinese, Korean or Japanese. I've never been to either one of the countries. I've had my share of superficial contact with the languages and the cultures, but just that. I've never made any serious attempts at learning either one of these languages. And yet, if you write in all three on a piece of paper and show it to me, I can tell you which is which. I think most of you probably could... it's 2010 after all. It's the age of information, and with a tiniest bit of interest or curiosity, and 10 minutes [or possibly much less] of free time, you can gain yourself a general knowledge of just about anything.

So, why is it that the movie/TV producers of the current era seem to have so much trouble gathering a very general idea of what the Persian language is, and what it's supposed to look like, before using it in their productions in the most messed up way they could possibly manage? How difficult is it to get a correct and real piece of text to use?

I was recently watching the latest episode of Chuck, in which the heroes of the story are supposedly stuck in an underground bunker in Iran, and the mistakes that were made in this episode regarding the Persian [aka Farsi] language made me think of a rather lengthy list of similar mistakes in other motion picture productions. So, here I'm going to write up a a few tips / common follies that you could pay attention to, if you're going to use Farsi in your production...

1 - Persian is not Arabic or Ordoo. [Well Duh!] Even though these languages have a similar font and some shared words, they're completely separate languages. Just like English, German, Italian and Spanish are not the same language. So if you have people stuck in a bunker in Iran, please make sure that the stuff written on the walls is in Persian, NOT ARABIC! That includes you, Chuck producers! =P

2 - The Persian font has capital letters and small letters. Every word consists of small Persian_Messupletters that can stick together in most cases, and capital letters that come at the very end of the word, separating the word from the next one in the sentence. You can't just throw a bunch of disconnected capital letters sticking back to back in a line and call it Persian text. I've seen so many examples of this exact mistake recently, what's up with that? One example would be this German movie I recently watched, called "Auch Lügen will gelernt sein". A friend of mine sent me this movie as a part of my German practice homework package. Orrrrr maybe it was just because René Steinke is in it... ehm... *cough* *cough* ;) Either way, the DVD came with a warning attached. Apparently my very much German friend who's never had anything to do with Persian [except for the existence of me] could actually tell that there was something severely wrong with that supposed Persian text used in the movie. So how come the producers of the movie can't figure as much? =P Come on!

3 - Persian is written from.... here it comes ...... RIGHT TO LEFT! Yes, most people give me such a surprised look the first time I tell them that.... I rather enjoy it! =)) =P So, if you have a piece of paper with a bunch of Persian stuff written on it and you want to make sure it's the real deal, make sure the empty spaces at the end of the lines are on the LEFT SIDE, not the right side. That includes you, German folks mentioned above! =P

4 - Iran and Iraq are NOT the same country, and they do NOT use the same language! Iraqi people speak Arabic! Iranians speak Farsi! This is also one very common mistake. A rather horrible recent example was the Lost TV series season 6 premiere, where the Iraqi character Sayid had an Iranian passport. Well not everyone can tell that a passport is Iranian just by looking at it, but as a producer you should at least be able to figure out that the writings on the passport are in PERSIAN, not Arabic. I wrote an article and included a picture here.

5 - Persians are a not very small population who have been scattered around the world due to obvious unfortunate reasons. There are Persian communities in most major cities in North America and Europe. There are also lots and lots of online Persian communities, forums and websites. So what I'm trying to say is, finding someone with a proper knowledge of Farsi, is the easiest thing to do. If you want to use Farsi in your production, just get one of us to write you up something proper, rather than throwing a load of letters on a page and calling it Farsi.

Well, this is what I can think of for now. Hope someone finds it useful! =)

P.S.: The above picture is not exactly your example of a normal everyday Persian writing obviously. ;) It's the art of Persian calligraphy, which I'm currently practicing.

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Paul the Octopus has passed away! =(

Oh nooooooo! My favourite sea creature has just passed away! =(( I wanted to adopt him! Awwwwwwhhhh.... too bad!



"Management and staff at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre were devastated to discover that oracle octopus Paul, who achieved global renown during the recent World Cup, had passed away overnight. "Paul amazed the world by correctly predicting the winners of all Germany's World Cup clashes, and then of the final," said Sea Life Centre Manager Stefan Porwoll."

Fuss story here: What's New :: Birmingham :: SEA LIFE

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Ability to 'see' advances artificial intelligence

Pretty cool article I found on MS research today. Check out the awesome AI receptionist avatar!

"Eric Horvitz, a distinguished scientist at Microsoft Research, has an equally distinguished receptionist. After eight years of working with him, she's developed a feel for his habits and routines. She can predict how long his meetings are likely to last, knows when he can't be interrupted and senses when he'll be running late. Not bad for an avatar."

Article here: Ability to 'see' advances artificial intelligence

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Monday, October 18, 2010
"The Hobbit" + David Tennat = WOOOOOOHOOOOOOWWWW! =D <3 <3

OH MY GOD! Really? Seriously? Could that possibly happen? That would be just beautiful! =D

Since late last night I've been reading here and there around the web about how David Tennant has been approached for a role in the upcoming 2 part Hobbit movies! Apparently so far this is just an offer and no one knows for sure if it's actually going to happen, but if it does... my oh my! Awesomeness to the max! =D

For anyone who may not be familiar with David Tennant, he is the actor playing the role of the 10th Doctor, in the British sci-fi series Doctor Who.  I'm a pretty big fan of Doctor Who in general, and well, the 10th Doctor is most certainly my favourite incarnation of The Doctor so far. ;) Davit Tennant is an amazing actor, and if he goes on to play a role in The Hobbit, that alone will be a reason for me to see the movie on the opening day.

Another great actor who has been offered a role is Martin Freeman, who recently played the role of John Watson in the British TV series "Sherlock". Apparently he will be playing the role of Bilbo Baggins.

When I heard that the "The Hobbit" is going into production phase soon, I was very excited. I've always said that the Lord of the Rings trilogy movies are an extra simplified version of the books, and that they miss a ton of important facts and side stories and a whole lot of depth in comparison to the books. However, that's only natural. There's just no way to put a Tolkien book into a movie exactly as it is, due to the incredible amount of details in his books. With all of that in mind, I believe that the LOTR movies where quite fantastic from many different aspects [well, Duh! ;)], and I'm now very much looking forwards to seeing "The Hobbit".

You can read more about the possible cast of "The Hobbit" here.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole ... <3

I wonder why I'm not hearing more noise about this movie. Has anyone seen it yet? I'm beginning to worry that this movie may just not be receiving the attention it bloody well deserves!

A few days ago we went to see the first part of the Legend of the Guardians. Well, to be more precise I took my mom to see it, due to her affection for owls. =D [For anyone who may not know, the relationship between my mom and owls is something like the one between me and the colour blue! ;) ]. And of course being a real fantasy genre enthusiast, I totally had to see it too. [In 3D, obviously! =P]

Turns out, this is one of the cutest movies I've ever seen! Owls are beautiful animals, and I'm glad someone finally did something right with that! The characters of the movie are positively adorable! <3 <3 There's tons of beautiful scenery, and the plot is quite a nice one too, if not terribly sophisticated. I'm definitely a fan, and will certainly go to see the next parts when they're made. =)

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Thursday, October 14, 2010
SGU Fail...

Late last night I watched the latest episode of Stargate Universe, as I didn't want to wait any longer to find out about the "object" that was coming towards them. I figured things may finally get more interesting.

At the end of the episode I was cursing myself for not having spent that time to watch something that I would have actually enjoyed instead, specially since I have very little time these days.... Don't get me wrong, the whole "other ship with aliens on board" thing was pretty interesting, but I'm beginning to feel that the series' main characters are SOOO annoying, that they're over-shadowing any interesting events in the plot. I'm sorry to say, but not a single one of them seem to be capable of doing anything other than being horribly annoying all the time. As much as it pains me to say, SGU has turned into a soap opera featuring a large group of complete idiots!

Their military leader is a brainless arrogant dictator. Their supposed "brains" guy is an idiotic self centered arrogant b*****d. The entire series is the struggle of these 2, and the rest of the characters are so interesting and important that they could as well cease to exist.

Stargate used to be about a group of people each of whom where important in their own way. Each evolving to something better during the series, while dealing with interesting SCI-FI challenges [not soap opera ones!]. I understand that SGU is supposed to be "different", but so far this difference has been nothing but a severe failure. And by the way, I'm not the only one to say that. Every serious sci-fi fan that I've talked to so far, says the same thing.

If things keep going this way, I will quite possibly stop watching SGU altogether. =(

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Ahoo "Aasemoon" Pirsoleimani, 1998-2014