Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Things That Make Me Happy (Because Sometimes I Need a Reminder)

Note to self: Remember these things when you feel sucky. Remember that these things make you happy. Remember that you have lots of things to make you happy. Be happy.

  • Good friends
  • Fabulous weather
  • Columbia's campus
  • Hanging out outside on campus with good friends in fabulous weather
  • Grade inflation (which apparently my lit TA does not believe in)
  • My summer internship (which is NOT a job, which may NOT turn into a job, thank you very much)
  • My sister who is visiting me for Shabbos
  • Flip-flops and red pedicures
  • Making fun of mistakes that are not my fault (apparently, they're really good at complimenting each other: "You're the best" "No, you're the best" ...)
  • Kosher for Pesach coffeemakers and diet Coke
  • Reading good books
  • Thinking
  • Making up ridiculous plans about aquariums on campus
  • Making up ridiculous plans about renting out my siblings on Craigslist (which has not yet provided me with an apartment for the summer, but I still have time, right?)
  • Totally gratuitous blog posts

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mind-Blowing Revelations ... On a Blog

When I recently told a good friend about this blog, she gave me a really big compliment. She told me, "I didn't find out anything new about you from your blog." That's really important to me--that this is not a place, a, where I post really personal, private stuff, or, b, which I use instead of communication with the people I care about.

Apparently, not everyone shares that thought.

I recently very randomly came across the blog of someone I know, and it blew my mind. I don't know him that well, so I guess it makes sense that there are things on the blog that I didn't know, but there were a lot of really personal things that both changed some of my perspectives on him and forced me to realize he has his own problems and also a few one or two not-so-flattering things about me. (I won't lie, there are one or two unflattering things about him on my blog, too, but he'd have a harder time finding this blog, I think. I hope.)

This was not a healthy thing for me to find, I'll tell you that.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Toilet Paper, Toilet Paper Everywhere

I believe in being environmentally friendly. Really I do. But there are some things that I just would not give up for the environment. I have my limits. Limits like toilet paper. I'll try to recycle. I understand (though probably won't try) eating organic. But give up toilet paper in the interest of not having an impact on the environment like this family? No. Way.

Though I would note that I made sure to inform my mother that her alma mater--Stern/YU--fared none too well in this grading of universities on the basis of environmental friendliness. They got a D- She always makes sure to let me know when ever she reads anything negative about Columbia, so I thought I'd return the favor. She thought it was sweet.

I should perhaps contact that toilet paper-free family and see if they have any toilet paper left over from their previous lives of gluttony that they would want to donate. I have standing plans to TP a certain student newspaper office.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Stream of Consciousness

You can totally convince yourself that you're OK with the status quo until you try to change it, and then no matter what happens you're left with the undeniable fact that you are not happy with things as they stand. Picked up my cap and gown today (paid for my cap and gown today since I don't go to Barnard where you get them for free). The only thing that is certain about my future is that on May 15th and 16th I will look utterly ridiculous with the rest of Columbia's graduates in baby blue. Waiting for the snow to melt and summer to come. Just wish summer didn't mean graduation. So psyched for the summer but wish I knew what happens afterwards. Wish I knew what I want to happen afterwards. I hate it when people tell me everything is going to work out. Maybe it will, I hope it will, but just because thus far it has worked out for you does not mean it will work out for me, k? I need a vacation. What's that you say? I was just on spring break? True. But I need a real vacation--one in which my brain shuts up or better yet goes someplace else.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Best Friends, Shidduch Dates, and Popcorn Theft

Updated to reflect comments of my partner in crime and to include links.

One of my very best friends came to New York on motzai Shabbos to visit me (which was much appreciated). What followed was one of the craziest days ever. A play by play:

MIDNIGHT. We both arrive in Penn Station. I drag my huge bag which my sister would have driven into the city for me had my brother not crashed the car on Friday to the Amtrak terminal to retrieve her. She calls me to tell me she has arrived. She says she is near New Jersey Transit. This does not make much sense to me, but I drag the bag there. No friend. After a good five minutes, as we are both on our respective cell phones surrounded by many, many drunk people, we discover that she is actually by Amtrak. I drag my bag back and find her--jumping up and down trying to alert me to her whereabouts.

12:15. We head to the subway to go to Columbia.

1:00. We get to Columbia, dump all our stuff in my dorm, and head out to buy ice cream, which we proceed to eat with Oreos as we talk nonstop for the next three hours. I'm glad to report that the ice cream flavor we chose--Ben & Jerry's Dublin Mudslide (Irish Cream Liqueur Ice Cream with Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies and a Coffee Fudge Swirl)--was excellent.

4:00. Bedtime.

We get up, get dressed, daven, eat pancakes for breakfast, and head out--slightly late--to try to get tickets for a Broadway show. My married friend is wearing a "Boys Are Stupid" T-shirt.

1:00. We are cold and disappointed when we don't win tickets to Wicked. But we go next door and enter the lottery for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which we do win.

1:30. With an hour-and-a-half to kill, we head to Toys 'R' Us because my friend has never been there. While there, we see a couple very obviously on a shidduch date. We spy a little. My friend says that she knows someone who once went up to a shidduch date and asked them what number date they were on. We are tempted. We spy a little more. The couple appears to be relatively comfortable with each other. I dare her to ask them. She does. They are on their 10th date and look slightly less comfortable with the question. We bolt, but decide that they will one day tell their grandchildren about the crazy lady in Toys 'R' Us.

2:30. We stop at Popcorn Indiana (now Dale & Thomas or something) and buy a bag of kettle corn popcorn and head to the theater, which is designed to look like a high school gym, where we are seated in the front row and settle down with our popcorn and drinks (bought at Duane Reade).

3:00. The show starts and is very funny. (When asked to hear phylactery used in a sentence: "Billy, put down that phylactery, we're Episcopalians.") We are enjoying watching the very nerdy fifth graders participate in a spelling bee along with some actual audience members, when one of the cast members reaches down to our seat and takes our popcorn, which he munches throughout the show. In the end, he returns it and when we ask him to sign our Playbills, he says sure so long as we promise not to eat popcorn in the front row ever again. (Shoutout to Rabbi Romberg--one of the audience members chosen to participate in the spelling bee who was thoroughly amusing. We also got him to sign our Playbills.)

5:00. We head to a newly reopened Cafe K for dinner. We walk with a frum girl who was also at the show. As we make small talk, suddenly she says, "Oh! Something just clicked. Delusions of Grandeur? I'm BloggerX." It's a small world after all.

5:15. We walk into Cafe K, where we see ... the guy this friend has been trying to set me up with for years. On a shidduch date. The guy who inquired as to my availability a week ago because he was going to be in New York. The guy who my friend called on motzai Shabbos to see if he was still available to go out with me while he was in New York. After a brief conference which puzzles the waitress we decide to stay but narrowly avoid sitting at the table across from them. We spend at least a little bit of time trying to figure out how their date is going.

6:20. We head back to Columbia where my friend quickly retrieves her stuff from every corner of my room and we head to Washington Heights so she can catch a ride back to Baltimore. We get out of the subway at 181st and are unsure of exactly where to go. We decide to follow the guy in the yarmulka. But when he starts walking too fast for us, we catch up and my friend asks him if he can guide us. Then she tells him the entire story of our day in two minutes flat and displays her "Boys Are Stupid" T-shirt. He only gave us his first name--Tzvi--and probably will be afraid of ever talking to girls in the subway ever again.

8:00. We find her ride. She goes home. I am left to miss her and ponder the craziness.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

On Hearts and Tears

Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves. I wear my heart buried deep within, beneath my flesh and ribs and veins carrying blood. I cry, rarely, out of frustration, even more infrequently out of physical pain, never out of anything else. Sometimes I wonder if I truly feel.

Or maybe I feel--it’s just so deeply buried that I can’t find it when I want to, that even I can’t know what I’m feeling because my heart is so buried beneath so many layers, because knowing what I feel would entail really feeling and I’m not quite ready to really feel. Because feeling, I know, opens one up to pain also. If you can pretend to be cold, pretend not to have a heart, pretend that is so, so buried that it is not truly there anymore, then you can pretend you are never hurt, pretend you don’t ever cry.

You can pretend so well that even you think it is true.

UPDATE: It didn't work. Apparently, I do have a heart after all. I'm not sure which is worse.

Kindly Refrain From Mentioning My Seniority

I've told a few people recently that they should avoid being second-semester seniors because it's no fun. It's not fun because I'm nervous about the rest of my life. Not fun because I'm sad about leaving Columbia. And New York. Not fun because leaving the nice little cocoon that is college is terrifying.

I don't want to be a real person. I don't want to have to find an apartment and pay for rent and utilities and health insurance.

Today was one of the first real spring days and I just got back from hanging out on the Low steps. I'm going to miss sitting on the steps of Low Library with friends at 2 a.m. (and 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. and 5 a.m.). I am going to miss Columbia's campus and the lights on the trees on College Walk that go out at midnight. I am going to miss walking home through the sprinklers on College Walk that go on at about 4 a.m. I'm going to miss the inverted sleep schedule. The sweatshirt-and-jeans (skirt) dress code. The late-night procrastinating with friends instead of doing work. The coffee and,well, coffee diet.

I'm going to miss this place. A lot.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Public Service Announcement: Free Starbucks

Tomorrow, March 15th, Starbucks is hosting a coffee break, which means they're giving out free coffees from 10 a.m. to noon. It's my Spring Break and I shouldn't even be out of bed that early (well, that's not exactly true, but I definitely shouldn't be up and presentable and at Starbucks ready to be caffeinated), but I would do a lot of things for a free cup of coffee. Anyone up for a coffee date?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dirty Literature and My Inability to Use Transitions

The movie version of The Namesake just opened and being that the novel by Jhumpa Lahiri (a Barnard grad for what it's worth) is one of my all-time favorite books I am really excited to see the movie. I liked the book so much that I censored it so that a certain special someone would be willing to read it. That's right, censored it. With a black marker. Which, is really not my speed. And the book is not very dirty at all. Really. But it still took some serious magic marker action to clean it up.

I really liked this profile of Gregory Maguire, the author of Wicked (a book I was less-than-impressed with). I especially liked the beginning when he is telling kids they shouldn't be reading the book, which is, um, not quite rated G. (The musical, though, is much cleaner and much better and I might just see it again this weekend with a different certain special someone who is coming to New York to visit me. And who I am really excited to see!)

I saw The Queen last week, expecting an at-least-decent movie, seeing as Helen Mirren did win an Oscar for it. I was more bored than enamored with it. But I will say for it that it was clean. Really, the cleanest movie I can remember seeing in quite some time with the exception possibly of Charlotte's Web.

I was watching Matilda recently with another certain special someone (who is special despite the fact that she doesn't have a link), and there's a scene where a 4-year-old Matilda is bringing home a whole wagon-full of novels from the library. My friend wanted to know what the books were but you couldn't tell. To which I responded that they probably couldn't find that many appropriate novels for a little kid to be reading.

I've heard plenty of people lament the fact that so much of literature is dirty. And I've also seen the less-than-impressive "kosher" alternatives. Can books not be good unless they contain things that a good frum girl should not be reading about? Would people not read novels if they didn't contain not-so-nice stuff? Can the frum community for whatever reason not produce a good novelist? Do you have to be willing to read about stuff that you're not necessarily comfortable with in order to read literature? I'm afraid that I've become too comfortable with it.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Spring Break Goals

  • Do significant work on my 35-page seminar paper on Howell Raines, the executive editor of The New York Times during the Jayson Blair scandal. Especially enough to do an hour presentation on it next Tuesday.
  • Do significant work on what will by the end of the semester be roughly 50 pages of creative writing.
  • Send a get well card to my uncle who broke his pelvis.
  • Do not kill any of my siblings. Even the ones who deserve it.
  • Do not kill my parents. Try not to want to kill my parents.
  • Catch up with a few friends who I have not spoken to in a while.
  • Read two full books for class.
  • Breathe.
  • Fill my sleep deficit.
  • Be a little bit touristy in New York City. (A museum? Or two?)
  • Go to whatever health-care professionals I can make appointments with before I graduate and am kicked off my father's health insurance.
That seems like enough things for a week. Minus a day. Right?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Deep Thoughts: The Thank God It's Spring Break Edition

Thank God it's Spring Break. Thank God.

  • The fact that I like my 14-year-old sister's music is a little scary. I'm not sure what it indicates about who, but it's scary.
  • If you hypothetically come back from Israel without gummies for your siblings, note to self: they sell them in Supersol too and your sibs won't know the difference.
  • If the shoulder strap falls off your travel bag, do not use it. Don't be macho and think you can do it. You cannot.
  • I support this guy on removing hifalutin (I looked it up. That's really how it's spelled.) language from newspapers.
  • I'll be spending at least some of my spring break in the library in the newly created thesis fellowship: "The thesis fellowship is a state of mind. It's a brotherhood without the gendered connotations. An 'awesomehood,' if you will. We are spending spring break charting new intellectual territory, remapping philosophical debates, exploding scholarship paradigms or just, you know, trying not to fail senior year."
  • Popems=Munchkins=donut holes. Why doesn't everyone know that? Simple vocabulary.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Kerouac Falls Into The Gap

When I think Jack Kerouac, I think Columbia dropout. I think Beat Movement. I think his redefintion of the novel in On the Road. I think of him and Allen Ginsberg hanging out at the quintessential Columbia bar the West End--now Havana Central at the West End, which just for the record I have never been in. I think drugs and alcohol. I think counterculture. I think Fifties revolution.

I do not think The Gap.

But, alas, a few years ago that all-American bastion of jeans and T-shirts used Jack Kerouac in an ad campaign. I do not like this at all.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Soda a Day...

Apparently, there's a movement to making fortified sodas. If I can convince myself that soda is healthy--or, more likely, if the advertising campaigns can convince me--then I will never shake this addiction. This is bad, bad news.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Deep Thoughts: The Highly Caffienated Edition

  • I'm not sure what I feel about calling the above image art, but I like it. In that it's colorful and coffee-related.
  • Note to self: Even though I managed to write every paper I had last semester between the hours of 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. and even though I managed to do very well, it is probably not a good plan to try for a repeat performance this semester.
  • I am a little bit excited and a little bit scared and trying--unsuccessfully--not to think about it and not to speculate. Do. Not. Speculate.
  • I can't get my LSAT score because I didn't submit a rabbi's note saying I'm Sabbath observant. Maybe I'll keep it that way. What I don't know can't hurt me.
  • Things I cannot wait for: spring break, warm weather.
  • Things I can wait for: graduation (especially because our Class Day speaker is Matthew Fox--so not exciting)
  • I need boots or leggings or knee socks or something to cover my legs so I don't die of frostbite. Shopping trip?
  • You know it's bad when I'm cleaning my room to procrastinate from studying.
  • Also, just by the way, FunTak melts. And it's gross--and unfortunate for the very many things hanging on my walls.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Happy Purim?

It is almost 11 p.m. on Purim night. I am just finishing my melave malka, and then I am going to the library to write a paper which is due tomorrow. That's right--on a Sunday. (The thought being that if we hand in our papers on Sunday, we'll still do the reading for Wednesday). And I couldn't even ask for an extension because I have another paper due on Tuesday. So, I dressed up (as a Barnard girl--cuz I go to Columbia--it would have worked a lil better if I didn't look so much like a Barnard girl to begin with, like if I was a boy), I heard Megillah, went to the Hillel Purim carnival (with a special appearance by the Columbia Marching Band!), ate, took Excedrin Migraine to try to cure the massive caffeine headache (I figure Excedrin has painkillers and caffeine, so between the two...), and now am headed to the library.

I am going in costume.

Here's wishing y'all a happier Purim with less paper-writing.