Friday, March 31, 2006

Facebook Wars of Yore

Whoa! Looks like Facebook may make its creators ridiculously rich--$2 billion rich. Considering it was created by a Harvard sophomore just two years ago, it's sort of mind boggling. Kinda makes you wish you were a college-age computer genius, huh?

But I sorta wonder how the creators of CUCommunity are feeling right now. What you might ask is CUCommunity? Exactly. Facebook has become a household word--even the Times said so--but CUCommunity is a has-been that almost no one has ever heard of. But the story is kinda fun, so here goes:

Once upon a time when Eli7 was a freshman (ahem, first-year) at Columbia, CUCommunity was born. It was a virtual community meant to unite the entire Columbia campus. Soon thereafter, Facebook was born and added Columbia to its network. The creators of CUCommunity felt that their territory was being usurped, so they did what any self-respecting Ivy League community builders would do:

They decided to Google-bomb anything supporting Facebook, which included that venerable newspaper of Columbia (they felt it had given more coverage to Facebook). The terms that they used and the Web sites they linked to:

  • "worthless safety school" = Harvard
  • "thefacebook" = CUCommunity
  • "cucommunity ripoff" = Facebook
  • "worthless rag newspaper" = Columbia Daily Spectator
Funny, right? But it gets better. A certain daily newspaper from a certain Ivy League college which is home to Facebook creators published an article about the Google-bombing, effectively sabotaging themselves, so that a Google search for "worthless rag newspaper" produced the Crimson. The only thing worse was that Spectator published an article about the fact that the Crimson sabotaged itself, thus sabotaging Spectator, which remains the first Web site when you Google "worthless rag newspaper."

Anyhow, back to the point: I kinda feel bad for the creators of CUCommunity who were so close yet so far from the fame and fortune of Facebook. I wonder how hard they're kicking themselves right about now.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Child Support

Somebody mentioned something in one of my classes today about what she called the "male Roe"--a case that could be the male counterpart to Roe v. Wade.

The case details are something like: male made it very clear he didn't want a baby, woman has his baby, he doesn't want to pay child support for baby he did not want.

I don't really know how I feel about this except that I think that it's interesting. Granted, a woman's choice to have a baby or not has a lot more personal implications, but why shouldn't a man be able to choose whether he wants a child?

Once you say that for a woman the very act does not imply consent to have a child, why should it imply such for a man? And why, then, should a man have to pay child support for a baby he never chose to have?

Now, granted I'm playing devil's advocate here, but it's funny because the response in my class was that this case is stupid. Yet, if you takethe arguments to their liberal conclusions, I don't see why it's such a ridiculous case...

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones...

"I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid"

Last week, I told someone that I didn't like something she had worked on. It's something I do all the time at the newspaper where I work. And it wasn't even a little bit malicious; I asked her to fix it because I thought it was ugly (I use the word ugly very loosely--words are often ugly to me as are fonts and paragraph breaks and headlines...). The point being it was a very, very minor criticism, something I didn't even remember doing.

But I found out today that the girl I said it to has been worried about it for days and has been obsessing over the fact that I didn't like her work.

Lesson of the day: be careful what you say, someone might take it personally.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What Happens When Eli7 Loses All Discretion

Eli7 should not be allowed anywhere near a computer with Internet access when she is going through weird emotional stuff. Perhaps I will take this down soon. I probably should not post this at all. Not even a little bit. But anyway...

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another."

"It's the friends you can call at 4 a.m. that matter."

Ok, my friend just had a baby, it seems like almost all my good friends are married/engaged/getting engaged/happily dating. I am not. And that's all great. Really. I love my friends deeply and am so, so happy for them when they're happy. And much as I would like to find my Prince Charming sooner than later, I am not bitter because I haven't yet (I'm 21 for God's sake, not 40).

So, I should be happy, happy, happy right now, right? I should be signing OnlySimchas like crazy, buying outfits I can wear to weddings, shopping for a baby gift, planning bridal showers, etc., right?

Except, that I've found myself in a funk lately. And I will repeat just in case you didn't catch it in a previous paragraph, I am not bitter about being single. But there is a certain melancholy attached to these changes for me. Because much as they try to deny it, I am losing my friends to these happy occasions. Not in a they-don't care-about-me-because-they-found-boys sort of way. I know my friends still care about me. I don't doubt that even a little. But it's different. The whole dynamic changes when there's a boy in the picture, when they have someone else to go to and you don't, when you can't call them at 4 a.m. anymore, when they lose touch with what you're going through. And they do.

This post is not supposed to be about how I'm mad at my friends. I'm not mad at them. (If you're reading this blog and I know you personally, I am NOT angry at you, I repeat NOT angry at you). And I feel like a truly terrible person for even posting this where some of those people will see it, for telling some of those people how freaked out certain things make me, even as I beg them for details. Because I should just be the happy, supportive friend, right?

But I can't shake the feeling that while they're gaining, I'm losing. And I can't help but be sad about that. I don't think we should resist change and I don't think we can stay 18 forever and I don't think we should even if we could. And I know this isn't really about me at all and I probably shouldn't be so worked up about it. And of course I recognize how amazing this is. Of course I'm happy. Of course I am going to dance like crazy at a million weddings.

But then I'm going to go home. Alone.

Mazal Tov Would Be the Right Thing to Say Now...

... Funny how I feel like saying AAAAAAH!

So, if your best friend from high school hypothetically had a baby today, when would you go about calling her to say mazal tov?



SO, SO, SO FREAKED OUT. In a good way. Really.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Have the Courtesy to Reject Me

Applying to summer jobs is hard. Very, very hard. It's a lot of mind-numbing work, coupled with deadlines, competitive acceptance rates, emotional drainage, and a million trips to the post office. (I recognize that applying for regular jobs isn't any easier, I'm just not there yet.)

And that's fine. It comes with the territory. It's not fun, but it's just the way it is. Rejection is also probably gonna be part of the picture (at least in the field I'm applying to). And that's OK too. Not fun, again, but part of the package.

However, I do think that if an applicant put in all the work and tried so hard and sent you their heart and soul in a one-page resume and cover letter, then the employer upon rejection, owes the applicant a true rejection--whether by letter or phone or even e-mail. Rejection letters are not fun to get, but it's even less fun to have to call up an office and grovel until they tell you that they don't want you.

It's a common courtesy and it would be nice if for all the travails of applying you got that back. That's all.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Random Thoughts: The More Fun Than Writing My Paper Edition

Random thoughts of the day (because blogging is so much more fun than writing a paper at the tail-end of Spring Break):

  • When your parents ask you how you think they should deal with your teenage sister, they are not asking for nor should you give a comprehensive answer on your philosophies on parenting and your sister.
  • Also, not the best idea: telling your parents you're writing a paper about how evil they are for not letting you apply to college Early Decision. Even if you are.
  • If a boy dressed up as a JAP for Purim (which I think is hilarious just by the way) by borrowing clothing from his sister, what does this tell you?
  • Grandmothers think their grandchildren are awesome. This tells you absolutely nothing about said grandchildren.
  • If one applied for a very specific summer job, what would posses that same organization to offer her a completely different summer job which she is neither qualified for nor wants?
And now back to writing a paper on how evil my parents are (shh, just don't tell them).

Thursday, March 16, 2006

They Tried to Kill Us, We Won, Let's Eat

OK, so the Jewish fascination with food is not exactly a secret, and with only four weeks to finish all that mishloach manot candy... But I think in our zeal to claim this food fascination as ours, we forget that, well, the rest of the world likes to eat too.

Every single week, the food articles are the most e-mailed articles from the NY Times Web site. Not the brilliant or not-so-brilliant columns, not the editorials in which the Times preaches to the entire world, not the cute little featurey pieces about kids, not even, y'know, the articles about what's going on in the world. No, it seems that NY Times readers are just as obssesed with food as us Jews.

Now excuse me, while I go to consume more sugar than one should ever put in one's body...

Monday, March 13, 2006

Look Up: A Thought on Purim

A friend just sent me this dvar Torah on Purim and I really liked it:

The Megillah emphasizes that Esther is an orphan. An orphan has no one to depend on and is therefore completely dependent on Hashem The story of Purim could only take place when the Jews were completely dependent on Hashem. They had to realize that their salvation could only, only come from Hashem--that He was who they had to appeal to, who they had to pray to, pelad with. And the miracles of Purim came when they had this realization--when they felt so helpless and hopeless that they turned to Hashem in utter depseration, with the recognition that help could only come from Above.

May we all reach this level (though hopefully without so much pain).

Thursday, March 09, 2006

My Dirty Laundry ... Literally

OK, just for the record, I love many, many things about secular college. In fact, I am writing a paper about how my parents were evil for not letting me apply to Columbia early decision (I am serious). However, doing my laundry here is not one of those things.

Something about sorting my dirty, smelly clothing (including undergarments) in front of a whole array of semi-acquaintances just doesn't get me. Oh well, at least my clothing is clean now.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Kosher Housing and Kosher Actions

Note: I'm posting this now because I desperately wanted to write it, because it's the least incriminating thing I could write right now that would express anything. I'm not sure whether or not I'll leave it up. We'll see.

I am a relatively easy-going, nice, calm person (or at least I'd like to believe that). But when I get mad, I get really, really, revenge-seeking, name-calling mad. In my defense, I can't remeber the last time anyone except my family has made me this mad. But yesterday I was just that mad. It doesn't really matter why and it seems like it's on its way to being resolved (IY"H, poo, poo, poo). I was so mad I scared myself and that was really not a pretty thing.

In (maybe) unrelated news, housing is no fun. In fact, at one point very recently, my housing options were so bleak that a friend suggested that the easiest option might be to get married. She was dead serious.

Last housing vignette, which may or may not be related to the others. The frum students at Columbia (especially the girls, supposedly the guys do this much less painfully, or so they say) go to great lengths to ensure that all the frum students have a suite to live in with other frum Jews and with a kosher kitchen. The thinking being that Columbia is not the easiest place in the whole wide world to be a frum Jew and living together is very important. However, creating these living arrangements seems to breed a lot of negativity and a lot of decidedly unbecoming behavior. (I include myself in this, by the way.) The fact that we have to behave in ways which Orthodox Jews should not behave to maintain a frum environment indicates that we're doing something very, very wrong.

I will now step off my soapbox and go to bed (eventually). Good night.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

It's 3 a.m. Do You Know Where Eli7 Is?

It is 3 a.m. and I am awake because, a, I have an inverted sleep pattern, and, b, I slept a ridiculous amount on Shabbos. So, now I am awake but too tired (or too lazy) to do school work. Excellent. So, to occupy myself until I can collapse into bed, some thoughts to ponder:

  • I drew some fire, when a few posts ago I said something to the effect of "I can't respect college students who spend their entire lives engaged in various forms of really, really bad things." This does not mean I expect everyone in the world to have the exact same values I do--not at all--but there is something incredibly vulgar and disturbing about the way most college students live that has nothing to do with my being an Orthodox Jew. There is a Columbia Facebook group called, "I'm Definitely Going to Hell," which would be funny (and may be true) except for the fact that these people are willing to gleefully accept the fact that they're doing something wrong. A little bit sad. That's all.
  • On the subject of Facebook, I friended my high-school-aged sister this week, at which point I realized just how artificial it is to rely on a Web site to indicate friendship.
  • I generally think of myself as a nice, courteous person. Not the nicest or most courteous person, but not an awful person either. And I am surprised when others don't act courteously and nicely. And housing brings out the worst in everyone.
  • Sometimes, no matter how much you want to, there's no talking sense into people. You can't force someone to do something they don't want to do even if you're absolutely convinced you're right (and I am).
  • A T-shirt I like. (Though the one that said "Bad grammar makes me [sic]" was also quite amusing.)
  • I am dissapointed when I cannot do everything I think I should do and upset to find out that I am not Superwoman, but alas I am not.
  • If I don't get some school work done sometime very soon, I may actually fail out of Columbia--a nearly impossible feat and one that I don't particularly want to accomplish.
  • If you can tell me when the Columbia College swim test requirement was instituted, I will love you forever.
That's all for now. Perhaps I will be able to fall asleep now that it is closer to my usual bedtime...