Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

Me: I'm really annoyed that I hafta do this thing on my birthday.
Guy: Yeah, that really is awful. Your 21st, right?
Me: Nope, my 22nd.
Guy: Oh, well then it doesn't matter. Your 22nd birthday doesn't count.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

In Which My Little Brother Begins a Lifetime of Not Understanding Girls

My bro: What is that
Me: It's a hair iron. It's going to make my hair pretty.
[My brother watches intently as I straighten some of my hair.]
My bro: [skeptically] Oh.
Me: Here. You want me to do some of your hair?
My bro: Yeah.
[Looks in the mirror at his straight hair and my straight hair. Doesn't seem to notice any difference. Looks very puzzled. Leaves.]

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Measure Your Life in Charity to the Homeless

"Will I lose my dignity? Will someone care? Will I wake tomorrow from this nightmare?"

Irony: A down-the street-and-around-the-corner line of people holding expensive tickets to see Rent ignoring the homeless guy trying to sell his newspapers.

And it's funny because I just last week defended Rent to my parents as cultural. Cultural because it raised the societal questions of homelessness and AIDS and homosexuality. Cultural because it made a point and started public discussion on topics that had been taboo for a very long time. And I may not agree with everything that's in it, but I think it says a lot of important things and does so in an amazing performance, which to my mind makes it cultural.

Except the whole point is that it's supposed to do something. It's supposed to make people think. Make them think differently. Make them view the homeless differently. Make them view life differently, maybe. And granted this line was for the entrance to Rent, but the show doesn't do very much if all those people -- myself included -- are willing to buy expensive theater tickets but not to even give the homeless guy their spare change or leftovers.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Be There for Me

Disclaimer: This post is not about anyone who reads this blog. So, no guilty consciences, k?

Relationships are two-way streets. I will be a loyal, trustworthy friend. I will do anything for you. I will be there for you -- if you're there for me too (sorry, sorry, I had to do it).

You come prancing over to a miserable me (who is miserable because of you) and ask me a favor and just expect me to say yes when I can barely remember the last nice, caring thing you did for me. And then I feel like an awful person when I say no (argh, Jewish guilt) and I get mad at you for asking and you get mad at me for saying no and nobody's happy. But every time I ask for something, I am ungrateful. I expect too much from you.

That is not how relationships work. That is not how I work. When I need you, you are far away and everything comes with a steep price, but you think I'm being unfair if I refuse you anything.

Care about me as a person. Take an interest in who I am and who I've become. Cultivate a relationship with me. Because until then I'm not doing you any favors.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I'm This Close to Replacing Water With Coffee

Dear coffee nay-sayers,

I don't want to say I told you so, but ... Apparently, coffee can actually be good for you. That's right. Good, not bad. Now if you'll excuse me while I make a Starbucks run.


A Truth That Is Higher Than Science

A really interesting article about the teaching of evolution and creationism in schools. (And by interesting I mean it made me really mad by scorning Torah beliefs as ludicrous.)

I always have a hard time with these questions because as a religious Jew I believe that the earth was created 5,766 years ago, but as a student I can understand why teaching creationism as science raises serious questions.

In my high school, after we learned about evolution, which was necessary for the Regents, we had a shiur by a rabbi about what we as Jews believe happened. I know there are schools in New York which don't allow their students to answer the questions on evolution on the Regents, and that strikes me as silly.

We can't pretend that the theory doesn't exist. And probably many of those students will be exposed to some sort of theory of evolution in college -- better that they be taught it with the Torah context when they have the chance.

The point is, though, that evolution is science. It should be taught in the science classroom. Creationism is religion. And that's fine. I don't agree with the author when he calls the belief in creationism ignorance, but I also don't believe that religion should be taught in the science lab.

And while I, when given the choice between science and Torah, am going to pick Torah, I don't think it's our right to call our religious beliefs scientific, nor is it our right to make that decision for others just because we believe in a truth that is higher than science.

But it is our right to believe without being called ludicrous or ignorant for doing so.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Greyhound: Good for My Reading, Bad for My Mental Health

I take Greyhound buses because they're cheap. I'm a starving student, so the fact that you an get from New York to Baltimore or Washington and back on less than $50 is a big deal. Amtrak and airfare are a lot more expensive (although Jet Blue is starting to fly to Washington -- just about as soon as I got back to NY).

But Greyhound isn't exactly the classiest mode of transportation. You might say you get what you pay for. I've had some rather awful Greyhound experiences, which have given me plenty of time to finish whatever book I was reading at the time, but also plenty of time to have nervous breakdowns. (The buses that didn't show, the bus that forgot to make a stop in Silver Spring and went back when we were an hour away, the buses that broke down, the bus that couldn't figure out how to use the handicap ramp...)

My aspiration in life at the moment is to make enough money to be able to afford a different, more reliable means of transportation. That's not too much to ask, is it? It might rule out journalism, though. I'm off to find that LSAT book...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

On Sarcasm and Seminary

My sis: I feel like Hashem is sending me signs.
Me: Hashem is always sending you signs.
My sis
: I know, I know. Hashem is always talking, you just need to learn how to listen. ... See, I don't need to go to seminary, I already sound like a sem girl.
Me: Yeah, but in seminary they teach you to say it without the sarcasm.

Say A Prayer for Israel

So, I haven't posted anything thus far about the situation in Israel, and it's certainly not because I don't care; it's because I really don't know what to say. It's scary, it's awful, it's sad. We all need to daven for Israel. That's all. I have no words of wisdom. So, instead I'm linking to the Pray for Israel campaign (above and -- after a brief foray into my template -- on my sidebar).

It's all we can do.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

On My Independence or Lack Thereof

I'm mostly independent at this point in my life and sometimes hate when I'm dependent on my parents for anything. I hate having to wait on them and do things their way and just not be able to get it done how I want it when I want it. Sometimes I wish I could just take care of everything I needed by myself.

And then I'm reminded that I still need my parents -- Ivy League education and life in the city be damned.

I scratched a car pulling out of a parking lot today. Totally my fault, totally my stupidity. When the owner came out, she had a freak attack -- it's really just a scratch. Her husband (via her cell phone) after confirming that I was not Italian threatened that if I gave her the wrong info he'd come to my house and find me.

I had no clue what to do and was -- and still am -- very shaken. And I needed my father. I needed him to tell me not to be shaken up, that it was OK, that he had been in my place. I needed him to tell me what to do and what to tell her and to tell me that it wasn't such a huge deal and that how I dealt with the lady was OK.

We're not a lovey-dovey, hugging, kiss-and-make-up sort of family. And I spend a lot of time upset at various family members -- for things big and small. But every once in awhile it's good to be reminded that I do need them and that while independence is nice, it's good to have someone you know you can call when your computer crashes or when you get into an accident or when you need to move everything you own and everything you've accumulated over a year out of your dorm in the span of a few hours.

Next time, hopefully I'll be reminded without scary Mafia-like threats, though.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Mazal Tov to a Handprint on My Heart

"So much of me is made
of what I've learned from you,
you'll be with me
like a handprint on my heart"

I was at the wedding of a very close friend this weekend. It was a beautiful, beautiful wedding. But the truth is, I sorta had been dreading this wedding because I didn't know how I was going to react. I envisioned face streaked with mascara as tears ran down my cheeks. I imagined seeing my friend in a white dress that went poof and bursting into tears. It wasn't going to be pretty.

But instead I had a great time. I danced like a mad woman (and sweat like one too), I smiled like a fool (the pictures I've seen thus far are a testament to that), and I left thoroughly and sincerely happy for my friend.

And I owe all that to the bride. She told me about a week ago that she viewed her role at the wedding as making her guests feel welcome and appreciated and she truly, truly did that. She noticed and complimented little things (like a part of my dress she knew I was self-conscious about), she hugged me extra hard, and all in all let me know how much she appreciated me.

She could totally and justifiably have gotten too caught up in her big day to do those things. But she didn't because her friends are important to her and she intended to show that in any way she could.

So, as she starts her life together with her husband and as they begin together to build a bayit ne'eman b'Yisrael, all I can do is wish them all things good. She's the best of friends and the best of people and she truly has left handprints on my heart -- handprints which I'm sure will grow more numerous with time.

There are a million other things I want to say about this friend, a million other mazal tov wishes I want to bestow upon her, a million thanks I want to give, a million memories, a million shared smiles. But for now this will have to do for the sole reason that those won't all fit on my blog even if I could express them. Mazal tov.

Friday, August 04, 2006

It Bothers Me That Nothing Bothers Me

People talk about our lack of sensitivity all the time. And probably nothing in this post will be even a little bit groundbreaking. But it bothers me. It bothers me that I could go to a shiur for Tisha B'Av, try anything I could think of to get into the right mind set, and still, ultimately, end up relatively unmoved.

And yet, when packing tonight, every little thing set me off -- my computer, my iPod, my dress, my flip-flops. Anything that wasn't perfect was enough to drive me to the brink of a nervous breakdown. But the fact that the Beit HaMikdash is destroyed, that we are living in exile, that Israel is in terrible danger, that we were supposed to be mourning the saddest events in our heritage -- none of those was enough to affect me. Even a little.

Does it count that it bothers me?