Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's Like Living in the Heights, Part II

So, remember how I had a really ridiculous phone conversation with an offensive Saw You at Sinai guy last week? Well, guess who I found hanging out in my apartment (with my roommate) this Shabbos afternoon? And guess who went on a date with my other roommate on Saturday night? Cue "It's a Small World."

(Oh, and just to make the whole thing better: One of the other guys hanging out in my apartment on Shabbos afternoon was this guy.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Is Caffeine Addiction Genetic?

A conversation with my 7-year-old brother (who called me to see if I would do his math homework for him, which I did do the day I was being a hypocrite but held out today):

Me: You should go to bed. It's late.
Brother: I can't fall asleep.
Me: You should lay off the coffee so you can fall asleep at night.
Brother: Sometimes I don't drink coffee in the morning, but then I fall asleep in class.

I trained him well.

Also, this is like coffee porn (and I'm sure that phrase will do wonders to the search terms by which people find my blog):

And Remind Me Why We Care

Our vice president is a man of many, many faux pas (I have no idea how to pluralize this and am writing this while I should be writing a paper, so I am not going to check—fauxs pas like attorneys general?). So, is it really news that he cursed on an open mike? Does this surprise anyone?

Monday, March 22, 2010

In Which I Am a Hypocrite

Once upon a time, I was incensed when a boy decided after a 40-minute phone conversation that he didn't want to go out with me. Today, after spending over an hour on the phone (thank God for free Mobile to Mobile minutes) with a guy, I conveyed that there was no way I had any interest in ever meeting said guy.

So, I present things not to do on the first phone call:

  • Start by reading off my Saw You at Sinai profile. Didn't you do that already? "So, you're not a pet person. That's great." (I'm not a big SYAS fan. It's a long story that mostly involves my grandmother, but for now, I'm on.)
  • Bash my hometown and The City. "There's only one thing I don't like about your profile. It says you're from Far Rockaway, and I hate New York."
  • Tell me in detail what you're looking for in a girl and how you're so frustrated because you don't think it exists. (It was an ill-defined personality of some sort.)
  • Insult my entire gender. "A lot of girls can't digest a real Torah thought."
  • Start a conversation about politics if you are incredibly uninformed. (See below.)
  • Identify yourself as a Democrat and then to explain why essentially quote from the GOP handbook about how much you believe in accountability and don't believe in social services.
  • Say that everyone has equal access to education, that, after all, if someone decides not to take out exorbitant loans to pay for higher education, that's just because they don't value education, obviously.
  • Continuously insist that the direct result of the health care bill will be that doctors will make the least money of any professionals. (Do you know what the average reporter makes?)
  • Say that mental health care is not important and shouldn't be funded—that people who can't afford it just shouldn't get it.
  • Say that you read the newspaper but then indicate that you have never in your life picked up a newspaper. "The only person's opinion who you can hear on health care anywhere is Obama's." (Really? He's the only person the New York Times quotes?)
  • Say anything that sounds anything remotely like, "I was so proud of Obama when he got up there and slammed a lot of black men."
  • Tell me that you are a medical student for the noblest of reasons but that you don't support universal health care because you don't think it's fair that you went into medical school thinking you'd make a certain amount of money and may not be able to make quite that much with reform even though you agree that reform will save lives. 
  • Assert that you don't believe in social justice because it comes with a high price tag. (His words.)
Disclaimer: I would definitely date someone who held different political beliefs than I do. In fact, I have. Many times. I had a really long Republican lawyer streak going for me, in which I was convinced that I was destined to just keep on dating Republican lawyers for my entire life, which is a horrific destiny, but that's beside the point. I have no problem dating people who have political views with which I disagree. I'm always up for a good debate. This, though, was just beyond reasonable.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Grad School: It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

"I'm trying to debunk this myth that the scales are going to fall from your eyes and you're going to write this great thesis. I'm sure that will happen, but before that, you have to get on a bus." —a professor

In a discussion about the work-life balance with half of my cohort, our conclusion was that there is no work-life balance; it's all work. Grad school is hard. I found this joke about grad-school Barbie. If you substitute a denim skirt for the jeans and a "Boys are stupid" T-shirt for the T-shirt described, it's pretty true to my life. An excerpt below:

Graduate School Barbie comes in two forms:
Delusional Master's Barbie (tm) and Ph.D. Masochist Barbie (tm). Every Graduate School Barbie comes with these fun filled features guaranteed to delight and entertain for hours:

- Grad School Barbie comes out of the box with a big grin on her face that turns into a frown after 2 weeks or her first advisor meeting (whichever comes first).

- Adorable black circles under her delightfully bloodshot eyes.

- Comes with two outfits: a grubby pair of blue jeans and 5 year old gap T-shirt, and a floppy pair of gray sweatpants with a matching "Go Screw Yourself" T-shirt.

The truth is, I really do like grad school. If I did not enjoy my program, I would pack up my 250 pounds of books and my brown-and-green-and-blue-themed room and my ridiculous number of flip-flops and be on the next flight home. But, yeah, it's hard. On that note, I am going to go write a critique of multi-site ethnography and then do some research on photojournalism and corrections policies. I lead an exciting life.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

'Or Maybe Thinking Is Another Kind of Music'

Lyrics that I have found particularly poignant lately (because not everyone obsessively checks my away messages). I'll find some happy songs soon. Really.

  • "Cause I've been housing all this doubt and insecurity/ and I've been locked inside that house" —"Be My Escape," Relient K
  • "Because I am the king of wishful thinking/ I refuse to give into my blues/ That's not how its gonna be/ And I deny the tears in my eyes" —"The King of Wishful Thinking," New Found Glory
  • "I'm not ready to make nice/ I'm not ready to back down/ I'm still mad as hell and/ I don't have time to go round and round and round/ It's too late to make it right/ I probably wouldn't if I could/ 'Cause I'm mad as hell/ Can't bring myself to do what it is you think I should" —"Not Ready to Make Nice," Dixie Chicks
  • "When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened/ But in my dreams, I slew the dragon" —"Waiting for My  Real Life to Begin," Colin Hay
  • "I'm all out of faith/ This is how I feel/ I'm cold and I am shamed/ Lying naked on the floor/ Illusion never changed/ Into something real/ I'm wide awake/ And I can see/ The perfect sky is torn" —"Torn," Natalie Imbruglia

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Boys Are Stupid: The History Lesson

I don't think it needs any commentary from me. (Click for larger image.)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

L.A.'s Fine, But It Ain't Home (Read at Your Own Risk)

"Well I'm New York City born and raised
But nowadays, I'm lost between two shores
L.A.'s fine, but it ain't home
New York's home, but it ain't mine no more"

Essentially the first thing I did when I moved to L.A. was buy a car, and I did a really bad job doing so. I had done all the research, but when it came down to the actual buying, I paid a little too much and got a little too little. It doesn't really matter. The car drives. It gets me to where I need to go. And I don't think I would like driving anymore if I had gotten a better deal. It doesn't really matter, except that it does. Because that was the first thing I did in L.A., and I sucked at it.

A little more than a month after that, I scraped up and dented said car pretty badly. It was all cosmetic, it was totally my fault, and I didn't hurt anyone or anything else. It doesn't really matter either, and I refused to get it fixed because it doesn't need to be fixed. But it definitely didn't leave me feeling great about, well, anything related to the car or driving or this city.

It's been six months since then. And I worry. I love my program, but I worry constantly that I am not really good enough to make it. I have not published anything or presented at a conference yet. I constantly feel like I'm drowning under all the work that needs to get done. It's hard, and everyone else seems so much smarter than me, so much more self-assured, so much likelier to succeed. And I feel like I am not cut out for academia.

And I don't really have many friends here. Oh, I have people. People I know. People I like. People I can go to for Shabbos. But staying here for Pesach honestly seemed like the most awful thing in the world. I feel alone. And I hate how pathetic that sounds, but it's true.

I hate both the fact that I was willing to date someone who I knew wasn't nearly frum enough for me and the fact that he rejected me. I hate how much my roommates annoy me, and I hate how much they leave me feeling petty and doubting that I could ever successfully live with anyone even though I have successfully lived with many people before and even though I know it is not petty to not want your ice cream to disappear or to find Craisins crushed into your kitchen floor or to find your apartment door wide open even though no one is home.

Every time I look to see what time it is, I add three hours to figure out what time it is for all my friends. (I did this even when I was on the East Coast for winter break and then just ended up confused.) But sometimes, there's no one I can call when I need to talk. Oh, I know that if I really needed someone at 4 a.m. (on either coast), there are people I could call, but that's not what I mean. Sometimes you just really need to chat at midnight, and there's no one for me to chat with at midnight because it's 3 a.m. for all the people I want to chat with.

Don't get me wrong: There are lots of good things about L.A. I have met some really wonderful people and reconnected with some friends who live here now. I can wear flip-flops whenever I want. And there's Coffee Bean. And I am planning on going to the beach this week. (You can't do that in New York. I mean, I guess you could, but it wouldn't exactly be pleasant.) And I am getting paid to go to school, which is pretty much the best thing ever.

But I just keep on wishing that it will start getting easier, that L.A. will start feeling normal to me, that I will start feeling like my admission to school wasn't just a fluke. And, well, I'm still waiting.

(Sorry for this long, feeling-sorry-for-myself post. Every once in a while, I just need to get it all out, and it's my blog so I can, and I warned you.)

Friday, March 05, 2010

Procrastinatory Ramblings

Things I discovered tonight while procrastinating:

  • My sister, whom I love dearly, needs some pun help. Under a Facebook photo of her and a friend dressed up as cheerleaders, someone posted: "If you wore this while giving a shiur, you would be shiur-leaders!" To which my poor, misguided sister replied, "That's so corny you could say a ha'adoma on it." Dear sister, If you are reading this, please call me and I will explain to you why puns are evil and you should only use them if you are a headline writer for a NY tabloid (in which case, your job would depend on them, so I couldn't take issue, at least).
  • My journalist friends failed me in not alerting me to this article, which was published in January, which I obviously should have read. Please send any articles about the collapse of once-great newspapers to me. Thanks.
  • I am pretty proficient at spilling multiple types of caffeinated beverages on my Columbia sweatshirt. Most of the time, it's coffee, but today, I gave it some variety when I spilled Diet Coke on it. Also, I broke another cardinal rule and drank something without caffeine in it—cranberry juice—tonight. What am I becoming?
You know what I have not discovered tonight? Anything about organizational economics, which is a shame because, well, that's the only thing I needed to learn about tonight.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Deep Thoughts: The Sleepy Edition

  • Thanks to my smartphone (that has such bad battery life, I am going to take it back to Sprint again), I have Pandora in my car! It still doesn't make driving fun, but it makes it almost tolerable. (See how far I've come?)
  • I just booked incredibly expensive tickets home for Pesach. I wasn't going to go home. I don't really have the time, and going home for the whole thing (which to my mind was the only way to do it) means missing an extra class I wouldn't have to miss otherwise, but I think it's good for my mental health. It sucks to be away from home for yom tov. Especially in an apartment with subpar (that is very kind) roommates. And I have a fear of starving to death.
  • Being dan l'kaf zchut (if I were feeling a little more awake, I'd do it in Hebrew, but...): Every once in a while, I am reminded of how it's a good thing.
  • On sleep. Something I was reminded was necessary when I overslept by, um, three hours today. Oops.
  • I am thinking I am going to bake hamentashen this weekend. Yes, I know Purim is over, but I didn't get a chance to do it before Purim, and, well, it's one of those things you have to do at least once a year. And I have the fillings since I intended to bake them before Purim.