Monday, August 30, 2010

Now Where Will All the Shidduch Dates Go?

RIP, Barnes & Noble in Lincoln Center, which saw many, many shidduch dates (and, in fact, many of mine). It was one of my go-to places when I (semi-)jokingly suggested shidduch-date watching as an activity. It will certainly be missed.

Those Are Some Lucky Kids

I got this ad for Godiva in my inbox. Now, first of all, before I say anything else, if you're not signed up for the Godiva membership, which is free and gives you a free Godiva chocolate of your choice every month, go sign up right now. Secondly, I don't know who this is ad is geared toward, but who gives their children Godiva chocolates in their lunch boxes?

(Besides, the chocolates probably contain traces of peanuts in which case they can't even be brought to pretty much any school anyway.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Making the World Taste Good

I like baking. When I'm stressed, I like the challenge of creaming and beating (by hand) to get out some of my anxiety. (My old, awesome roommates used to come home to freshly baked cookies and immediately ask what was wrong.) And I like sharing baked goods with people I like.

It's true that baking is time-consuming, but there's something to be said for the ability to produce something tangible and useful and delicious in an hour or so (plus clean-up time). When so much of what I spend my time doing is a lot less tangible and a lot less useful on the surface (obviously, in the long run, saving newspapers is hugely useful), it's nice to spend some time doing something that so quickly yields results—and ones that are appreciated.

(One of my professors said that baking is one of the only socially acceptable hobbies for an academic because colleagues will always want you to publish more and work more, but they will never question whether you were wasting time on your hobby if you hand them food.)

Anyhow, I don't intend to quit my Ph.D. program to open a bakery and luckily now that my apartment isn't stressful and the kashrut of my kitchen isn't dubious, I can bake more often, and fresh baked goods do make everyone happy. (This is my new favorite recipe—even with non-dairy substitutions, it was delicious.) Thus ends my ode to baking.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy First Day of School to Me

I love the first day of school. Writing in brand-new notebooks. Filling in a new planner with all my classes for this semester. Breaking the binding on new books. All that school-supply shininess before the fear of overwork and lack of sleep sets in.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Academia, Explained

  • An explanation of the Ph.D. I should send this to all the people who express surprise that earning my Ph.D. will take more than a year or two. (I was reminded that this needs a h/t, well two of them actually—to Written Pyramids and to he who does not have a blog. Consider my hat tipped.)
  • In the 2011 U.S. News and World Report college rankings, USC moves up to 23 (beating UCLA) and Columbia moves up to 4 (beating Stanford and Penn). It's a good day for my institutions of higher education.
  • Gambling on grades? Somehow, this seems like a bad idea.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to Reality, L.A. Style

I'm back from New York, utterly exhausted, and being trained to be a T.A. (I have currently learned not to date my students or go to their parties).

In New York, I got to be a part of a fantastic wedding, see my sister off to her year in Israel, ransack said sister's closet after she left (mostly unsuccessfully), enjoy three boxes of seasonal Popems (Fourth of July ones, which, thanks to all the preservatives, were still fresh and delicious) and better sesame chicken than can be found in L.A., play a game of Trivial Pursuit, participate in a NYC scavenger hunt, buy books at the Strand (which luckily fit in my luggage), watch lots of Gilmore Girls at odd hours of the night, Skype into class (it's so much more productive when you can frost cupcakes while listening to lecture), and just spend time with awesome friends whom I don't get to see nearly enough. 

And now, back to the reality that is great weather, getting paid to go to school, and my birthday season (the period in between my Hebrew and English birthdays). It's a tough life. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Smartphone, 0; Stupid Phone, 1

As admittedly unhealthy as it is for me to walk around with instant e-mail access, I've been loving my smartphone. But I will say, no one can pick up your phone, rifle through your e-mail, and get upset over something he had no right to be reading in the first place on a plain, old phone without Internet access.

Things I didn't think about when I switched to a smartphone...

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Monday, August 09, 2010

'If you don't really care about breathing, Los Angeles is a great place'

I've officially lived in L.A. for over a year, which is weird to realize now because I am currently in New York (where the wedding was beautiful and fun and all things good despite my dress trauma). I don't really have anything exciting to say about this one-year anniversary right now. Things are looking up. I have moved apartments, which is awesome, and one of these days, when I'm back in L.A. and have a few extra minutes (i.e., after Sukkot? Winter break? After I've earned my Ph.D.?), I'll post some pictures, especially of my awesome bathroom (I've never had my own bathroom before, and let's just say, it's very me) and my color-coordinated wall decals (you probably don't want to ask). I'm excited for next semester, though slightly wary, especially considering I'll be missing much of the first month of school to three-day yom tov (woohoo!). I'm taking Frankie the Fish home with me (his brief stay at my parent's house has entertained my little brothers and aggravated my mother). And that's about all for now.

[Quote in title is from an article about the worst cities in which to live.]

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A Little Less Anal Retentive

"I look before I leap
I love margins and discipline
I make lists in my sleep, baby
What's my sin?"

One of the other things about being a copy editor is that it requires an incredible level of anal retentiveness. (This article on what it's like to be a copy editor is pretty  accurate.)

Now, this worked out just fine for me; I'm anal retentive to a fault (as many of my friends would attest). I like to have things scheduled weeks in advance. I have more to-do lists than seem possibly useful. I started packing weeks before moving 2.5 blocks. I boycott restaurants with puns for names or too many typos in their menus (though in order to be able to ever eat out, I have had to get a little lax on this). I meticulously organize my bookshelves by topic—research methods, writing, literary nonfiction, schmaltzy nonfiction, newspapers, newspaper editor memoirs, style books and grammar (I have an exciting book collection). I routinely leave myself at least 15 minutes as a buffer so as not to be late (when flying, this is more like an hour).

For a confluence of reasons, my bridesmaid's dress for an incredibly important wedding is not quite done yet. The wedding is on Sunday. I leave for the better coast tomorrow morning. At 8. When I saw my dress earlier today, it was a sleeveless bodice, a roll of lace, and a skirt that is not sewed in back (which was a vast improvement over the last time I saw it).

But am I worried? Nooooo. Well, I am worried about whether it will be hideous (through no fault of the bride, I should note, who didn't impose anything like this on me), but I am not hyperventilating or looking into whether any dressmakers in New York will make me a dress in a day. Which is to say, I am being much less anal retentive than I am normally. Which, I think, is an accomplishment.

It's going to be OK. And if it isn't, my sister suggested holding my flowers strategically. I am hoping my bouquet is huge—like 5 feet tall...