Friday, December 28, 2007

I am a writer

Last night, my theater arts class put on an evening of monologues for the Deans and for anyone else who wanted to come. The turnout was actually amazing, especially considering what we were expecting it to be. Among the audience members was one Professor Hardspeech. Her name is not actually Professor Hardspeech, but she teaches speech class and her class is supposedly extremely difficult so, therefore, she is Professor Hardspeech. I, however, had never met Professor Hardspeech before last night. I had never even seen her before. So when she showed up to the evening of monologues, I had no idea it was her. Well, okay, I had an inkling of an idea, but I didn't really know. Besides, someone's grandmother had come, as well, and I kept getting the two mixed up. So after the performance, Professor Hardspeech (though I still did not know it was her) came over to me and asked me what it was that sparked the idea for my monologue.

"Why did I decide to write my monologue about writing?" I repeated, a bit hesitant. "Er...well, we were told to write about something meaningful to us and...I'm a..."

Say it. Just say it. Say 'I am a writer.' SAY IT!

"...and I am a writer, so..."

*sheepish grin*

Why? Why the sheepish grin? Wasn't I proud of being a writer? Shouldn't it have filled me with joy to say such words? Why was I feeling out of place?

Moments later, when I learned that the woman was, indeed, Professor Hardspeech, I felt even more out of place.

But why? Why should I be embarrassed about telling people I'm a writer? It's the truth...isn't it? Why should it be so difficult for those words to come out of my mouth? I. Am. A. Writer. Three one-syllable words and one with, gasp, two syllables. So why did the words feel so foreign on my tongue?

Is it really so difficult for me to define myself? Is that what it is? I guess it might have something to do with the fact that by speaking the words I am a writer, I am effectively giving myself the title of, well, Writer, and I guess I just feel rather pretentious doing so. Because I'm not really a writer. I have nothing to show for being a writer. Its more like I fancy myself a writer. And by speaking the words out loud to another human being - and to a professor, no less - I am publicizing my very personal, inner fantasies. The secret is out. I am revealing a part of my soul.
But yet, I want to be thought of as a writer. Why does it have to be so difficult to say four simple words?

I am a writer.

Well, aren't I?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Princess Bride Chicken Jokes



I decided these are jokes I just have to share with all my readers. They are not mine. They come from this site and this one, so check them out on their actual sites if you want! Also, just a tip for making these extra funny - read them out loud in the voices from the movie. (and no, I did not proofread these or anything, I just copy and pasted, so any and all mistakes are theirs! Hee!)

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road? - Princess Bride Style

Vizzini - He didn’t get run over? Inconceivable!
Inigo Montoya - Chicken, I do no’ mean to pry, but before you cross the road, you don’ by any chance happen to have six feathers on your right han’
Westley - This is a chicken crossing the road - do you think this happens every day?
Count Rugen - Chicken, how does crossing the road make you feel? And remember, this is for posterity, so be honest.
Prince Humperdink - Chicken tracks! I’d bet my life on it. The chicken is alive, or was an hour ago.
Yellin - Chicken? I see no chicken. (Fezzik, tear his arms off.) Oh, you mean THIS chicken.
Max and Valerie - Bye chicken! Have fun crossing the road! You think he’ll make it? It would take a miracle. B-bye!
King - The chicken’s going to cross the road? Won’t that be nice. Hee hee-she kissed me!
Albino - The road. Don’t even think about crossing. The cars are far too thick.
Fezzik - Don’t go chicken, I mean it. Will you stay and have a peaunut?
Buttercup - He will never cross again.

Some New Additions:
From Robert W: Vizzini: Do you know what that sound is, Highness? It is the sound of shrieking chickens. If you don't believe me, just wait, they always scream louder when they are about to cross the road. From ts9: Chicken to Fezzik: Are there cars ahead? Fezzik to Chicken: If there are then you'll be dead! Inigo: Let me 'splain...no there is too much. Let me sumup. There is a car coming in little less than half an hour. All we have to do is cross the road and get to the other side, after I kill count Rugen of course.

Westley: Death cannot prevent crossing the road, all it can do is delay it for a while. (~Andjam)

Westley: It keeps crossing the road! I do not think it should where it thinks it should.

Fezzik: My way's not very chicken-like.

Westley: You seem to be a chicken. I hate to eat you. Inigo: You seem to be a chicken. I hate to fry.

Westley: Hear this now: Chicken's will always cross roads.

Guess: Where are the chicken eggs? I have no chicken eggs. Fezzik, tear its wings off. Oh, you mean these chicken eggs.

Westley: There's a shortage of chicken breasts in this world, t'would be a pity to run over yours.

Man in black: Alright, where is the chicken? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide which side the chicken's really on and we both look... and find out if you're right, or if we feed you to the chicken. Vizzini: I am not a chicken farmer, so I can clearly not choose the other side. But it must have known I was not a chicken farmer, it would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the side in front of me.

Westley: I do not envy you of the headache you will have from eating it, but in the mean time, rest well, and dream of fried chicken.

Inigo: Why did the chicken cross the rooaaad? Fezzik: Perhaps the the other side... erode.

Inigo: What is that you're fluffing? Vizzini: It's a chicken-feather pillow slept on by an an army officer of Guilder.

Grandson: Can't you tell the chicken I'm sick? It'll bite my hand. I hate that.

Grandson: It's past that, Grandpa. It crossed it already.

Westley: Road-crossing chickens??? I don't think they exist. Chicken: BkAAGCK!!!

Vizzini: Ha ha! You fool! It wasn't a chicken. It was a penguin! I switched birds while your back was turned.

Vizzini: But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine it from its inner chicken. Now, a clever chicken would cross the road to get to the other side.

Vizzini: What happens to the chicken is not truly your concern!

Vizzini: It's obviously seen us with the chicken feed and must therefore die!

Fezzik: Road, road. I think it called to get it's car towed.

Inigo: Don't bother me with trifles. After 20 years at last the chicken's soul will be at peace.

Humperdinck: Clearly this was all planned by warriors of Guilder.

Count Rugen: Come chicken, we must get you to your coop.

Albino: It survived the road, it must be very brave. But no one crosses the machine.

Yellin: My chicken patrol has reported no such news.

Clergyman: That bwessed awangement. An egg within a jicken.

Buttercup: I've fried eggs more deeply than a chicken-killer like yourself could ever dream.

Buttercup: It'll never get to the other side. Westley: Nonsense, you're only saying that because not one ever has.

Max and Valerie: You promised me you'd never eat that bird. What chicken? Fish! Chicken? Fish! Chicken, chicken, chicken. Nobody's eating chicken! Chicken's crossing roads, and you don't have the decency to tell them why you eat fish.

Grandfather: The chicken is not run over by a car at this time.

Kid: Are you trying to trick me? Is this a chicken joke?

Kid: Hold it! It doesn't cross the road. After all Westley did for it, it wouldn't be fair. ...you're messing up the joke, now get it right!

Mother: Maybe it won't.
rainbowthin

Photobucket
(...is this a kissing movie?)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Paper-induced insomnia

I can't sleep.

I've been lying awake in my bed for who knows how long trying to fall asleep but it's no use. I have too many papers looming over my head. I can't keep them all straight anymore. I keep forgetting what is due when. Too many things are happening all at once and I can't keep them straight! This is one of those times where I feel like I'm losing control over the outside world.

Okay, let's make a list:

1. Tomorrow, I'm going to finish/hand in my theatre critique and my nidda paper. I was really, really, really behind in my nidda paper until I got the smart idea to look up sources on the bar-ilan responsa project thing. Now I feel a bit more confident about finishing the paper on time. It actually really helped. I found nearly every single source I need aside from the sub-topic part.

2. I have to send in my third Dr. Peters reading response! I never did this! I also really want to revise whichever of the other two responses I'm not turning into my paper (since the paper one counts as a revision anyway). Which reminds me, I have to write my Peters paper.

3. I have to write my Development of the English Novel paper. I'm not sure when this is due. I don't think it's due yet, but I don't know! I have to check when I'm more awake. For some reason, this paper is really stressing me out. I think because I'm not as into it as my other English classes when I really know what I'm writing for all their papers, even though I haven't actually written them yet.

4. Kiddie Lit. paper, but that's really my last priority right now, seeing as it won't take me very long. It's only supposed to be four pages, anyway.

5. Email Beckman about the mock-up. Then, if I need to, do the mock-up. I'm also not stressed at all about this because doing mocks-ups is FUN.

Why does it feel like so much is going on? There are only five things on my list! Except that really a few of those numbers has more than one thing going on. And this is all separate from studying for my finals. Oh, FINALS.

GRRRRRRRRR.

I need to go adventurising and relieve myself of all this stress, but how can I go adventurising when I have SO MUCH TO DO????

Okay, after tomorrow I'll really be better. It's this nidda paper that's really stressing me out the most. I feel like I have the least handle on it. But once that's handed in, I'll be fine, I'll be happy, I'll be gleeful, and I'll be quite in the mood for ADVENTURISING. (okay, SJ?)

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Letter

Dear Blogger,

I understand that you want to do everything you can to enhance the experience those using Blogger have and I appreciate that effort, but I fail to see how the little Blogger symbol next to all our names when we comment enhances anything. In fact, it detracts from the overall blogging experience. It is distracting and unpleasant, glaring rudely up at us and taking our attention away from the words of the comment itself and, Blogger, you must seriously ask yourself which is more important - our words or your failed attempts at asceticism?

Sincerely,

A Disgruntled Blogger

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bad habit

I have a bad habit. I am super lazy.

Some people are lazy and they can get away with it. I can get away with it to an extent, but my GPA has suffered greatly because of it. I don't have a photographic memory. I can write a paper at the last minute and get an A, but unless it's an English test, I can't study for a test at the last minute and get the grade I want. But, of course, I study at the last minute anyway. Why? Well, there are zillions of reasons. Pure laziness, for one thing. Sometimes, like what happened with one of my midterms, I had a paper due the day before and stayed up until ungodly hours in the morning writing it, leaving me much too exhausted to even think about studying for a test. But my laziness has been getting increasingly worse the more time I spend away from home and away from people being on my back about getting up on time, getting places on time, doing my homework on time, etc. Even my papers, though I can get an A without trying, sometimes I don't and sometimes I make the stupidest mistakes that I never would have made if I'd given myself time to edit my paper even just once.

So if I know my laziness is hurting me, why don't I stop? You may well wonder, but it's like any bad habit. It needs to be broken and boy, is it hard to break! I am not just analyzing myself here, I'm asking for advice. If anyone knows a way to cure me of this awful habit of laziness, please, please, please let me know! I've had enough of letting it be the boss over me!

No more Miss Nice Girl!

It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'try to be a little kinder.'
--Aldous Huxley

This idea dates back to my heroism post. I just feel like there's got to be a bigger purpose for me and for everyone else out there aside from "be nice and kind and good because you never know who you'll effect." That just doesn't work for me. I don't feel like I'm doing anything productive. I mean, it's good advice as a way to conduct yourself, but it doesn't work for me in terms of a purpose. Do you see what I mean? A few hundred years from now, I don't want to look back on my life and smile and say, "Gee, what a nice girl I was."

Nice. It's such a condescending word to use for someone, if you think about it. It means you don't know any better way of describing that person. It means you don't understand a person's subtleties and intricacies. It means you don't actually know the person. It is my belief that everyone is more than just nice or sweet or cute. And I guess I'm just struggling to find my place and purpose in this world where I'll be known as more than just nice and a good girl. And where I'll have actually done something of value.

For example, today in one of my classes, I decided to raise my hand instead of call out. I usually do call out, just like everyone else, but yes, I admit I have, on occasion, raised my hand (this is cue for you all to gasp). This has gotten me the reputation of good student.

I am sick and tired of being a good student! I want to be bad! I want to be rebellious! And no matter how bad of a student I am, no matter how many times I miss class or don't do the reading or am late handing in an assignment, I am always, always, always the good girl of the class!

That is IT. I have HAD IT. From here on in, I, bli neder, will NEVER raise my hand AGAIN in that class!

Humph.

(Don't ask me how this was all connected. I'm going to pull a Virginia Woolf and just call it stream of consciousness. And I know it isn't really but this is me being a bad student and misusing a term. Hoorah!)

P.S. On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.
--George Orwell (I knew I liked him!)



Monday, December 10, 2007

Man as an island

Do you ever feel like you're an island? That you exist in a world entirely of your own and while other people flit around it, no one else truly enters inside? I feel that way sometimes. Sometimes it's like no one else truly understands me or has faith in who I am. Sometimes it's like no one else really cares, but only acts like they do because that's what people are supposed to act like. Sometimes it's like there are two worlds: the external world in which everyone exists and the internal world, the one inside your head, where the only inhabitant is you. And isn't it so frustrating when you know something about yourself that others misunderstand? And isn't it even more frustrating when others assume things about you that just aren't true? And the absolute worst - when someone you consider a good friend suddenly doesn't act like one (and no, I'm not talking about any of my blog readers that I know about, don't worry!). That's when you feel most like an island, because you invited that person into your world and then they betrayed that relationship and now you are alone again, back to your isolated self, because maybe that's what we all are, at the end of the day. Islands.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A blogger's monologue

To blog or not to blog

That is the question

Whether ‘tis nobler in the ‘sphere

To suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous comments

Or to take arms against a sea of issues and by not blogging, face them!

To blog, to sleep no more, and by a sleep to say we end

The gchat and the thousand statii messages

That gmail’s heir to,

‘tis a deprivation

that’s never to be wished.

To blog, to read;

To read, perchance reply.

Ay, there’s the rub,

For in that lack of sleep

What posts may come

When we have shuffled off this writer’s block?

Must give us comments.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cynicism

It's strange. I don't consider myself a cynical person in general. In fact, I'm quite idealistic most of the time. But I have one class where I always find myself getting cynical. I have negative feelings and my whole outlook on the world changes. I don't understand why this is. I don't know if it's the teacher or if it's the class itself, but something going on in that class just brings out the cynicism in me. I'm not sure if I like it or not. I'm not sure if this is normal or not. Does this ever happen to anyone else?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bones to pick

Stern has bones to pick with YC, YC has bones to pick with Stern...everybody everywhere has a bone to pick with one thing or another. But there is a proper way to pick a bone and then there is just plain whining. Here is an example of a proper way to pick a bone:

In the article "YC Men Inconvenience SCW Women" in the October 22, 2007 edition of The Observer, a disgruntled Stern student explains the frustrations of Stern women who make their way uptown to an event where the attendants are mostly female. Many events which take place uptown on the Wilf campus are situated there in order to make it easier for the Yeshiva College men to attend the events, especially seeing as they have night seder and classes which run late and may not have time to both end class and come to the Beren campus in midtown. However, it came to the author of the article's attention (as well as to the attention of many other inconvenienced young women) that even when the events are held uptown, very few YC men actually make an appearance. Therefore, she decided on an ultimatum: either the guys start showing up or these events should be held at Stern. Now, this is not a threat. It is not a punishment. It is not a, "you'd better come or else." No. It is merely a logical resolution to a pressing problem. It is not necessarily a bad thing if the YC guys choose to stay in the Beit Midrash instead of attending events. It is not a problem if they are too tired after a long day to go anywhere other than their dorm rooms. No one is criticizing that. But if that is the case, then why are we trying to convenience a population which has no intention of taking advantage of being convenienced? If, for whatever reason, YC guys don't show up to events, then why should Stern young women trek all the way uptown at night when they could just as well have the events on the Beren campus and that'll be that? It isn't like many guys are showing up anyway and the ones who feel passionate about going will be able to find the time to make their way down to Stern. This is a logical argument, a logical resolution, and done in a mature but convincing way.

Here is an example of just plain whining:

In the most recent issue of The Observer which came out only a few days ago, a letter to the Editor read as follows:

To the Editors,

RE: "YC Men Inconvenience Stern Women." While I take issue with many aspects of [author's name]'s extreme opinion as to how to handle the low attendance of men at co-ed YU events, I have two fairly objective arguments to make regarding her strong "ultimatum," as she so eloquently puts it.
First of all, to the best of my understanding, for the most part, classes in SCW and SSSB rarely go past 4 p.m., if that far at all. To finish classes any earlier than 6:30 p.m. on the Wilf campus, however, is an extreme rarity. Even my own schedule, which allows me to finish at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesdays has me going to 7:45 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. The point is, to complain about "vast oceans of homework and a pounding headache," whilc you have a tremendous amount of free time in which to do your work and unwind and do whatever it is you do to reach your work/play equilibrium, the men do not. The only time to actually do work at all is starting at 8 p.m., and that is only if you don't go to night seder, which brings me to my second point.
While knocking night seder seems to have become the latest fad at YU, it is still something integral to the Yeshiva part of Yeshiva University. Now, the balance of Yeshiva and University is in and of itself a very hot topic, which would not be very objective of me to discuss. However, the only time an event was pushed off until after night seder was for Torah Tours, which: a) featured a large male population, majority or not; b) needed to accomodate the men, who play a central role in helping communities on Yom Tov. Unfortunately, women cannot read from the Torah, daven for the amud, or count towards a minyan, three essential Torah Tours objectives. So by default, the men are catered to.
I am not trying to criticize the fact that the programs are planned during night seder, rather, that there may be a fairly reasonable basis as to the lack of male attendance at such programs. The attendance issue isn't a fact that should be embraced by transferring all programs downtown, but rather a product of causality.
I think that [author's name] is very quick to indict the men without thinking of the other point of view, and is especially quick to offer a solution that clearly does not solve the issue.
Oh, and last but not least, I have never seen a YU guy look as nerdy as the one in that comic. Come on, that is real Stern propaganda.

Indicting the men, was she? Since when did the author of the article ever say that men learning in night seder was bad? She merely said that since they have night seder, they cannot make it to events, which makes it rather pointless to inconvenience Stern women on their behalf. In addition, she was responding to the attitude of some YC guys at the Torah Tours event which was specifically scheduled after night seder who thumbed their noses at the fact that many Stern women showed up to the event, assuming they had come to meet guys. Do the men at YC really think this is the motivation for Stern women being involved in their school and in outreach and chessed events? Is their opinion of us so low?

And, by the way, many Stern classes most certainly do go past 4:00 p.m. There are classes available to be taken in Stern starting from 9 in the morning (or maybe even earlier) until 7:30 at night. And yes, there is a lot of work and a lot of pounding headaches going around. We'll all play our violins for the YC guys and their rigorous schedules, but we have rigorous schedules, as well. And many Stern women also have jobs and internships on the side. Just like YC men are busy, so are Stern women.

The intention of the Observer article was not to knock night seder, like the letter suggests. It was to come to a resolution concerning the fact that the reality is that way more girls than guys show up to events held uptown and it is pointless to inconvenience the majority of attendants at an event when it can just be moved to Beren campus. The author of the article's solution does, in fact, solve the issue - or, at least, the issue that the article is raising. The writer of the letter raises another issue, which is why are there so few YC men attending YU events and can this be changed? That issue is for a different article and is a different discussion. This article is merely about the events themselves and how to make them most accessible and convenient to the people actually attending them.

So this is my bone to pick: stop whining. It only makes you seem really immature. And if the whining didn't do it, the last line of the letter most certainly did.



Monday, December 3, 2007

And seven are the days of the week

I was tagged by Scraps a while back to do this meme (is it me-me or meem?) so now that everyone else is doing it, I decided to be a conformist and do it as well. :)

The rules are something like link the person who tagged you, write seven facts about yourself, and tag seven people. Something like that.

In any case,

1. I am afraid of the dark. Or rather, I am afraid of being alone in the dark. If there is someone else in the room, I'm excited by it rather than afraid. You see, it excites me to be afraid. Wait, that's another fact. Back to the dark. I guess it really stems from a fear (and excitement) of the unknown, if you're going to be psychological about it, but yes, I do still need some sort of night light when I'm alone in the dark. And, oh, heck, I'll add it into this fact, being afraid excites me. It's like that line Little Red Riding Hood says in Into the Woods, "And it made me feel excited! Well, excited and scared" and then later, "and though scary is exciting..." Yes, that is me in a nutshell. I've always wanted adventure, I've always secretly liked dark and scary stories, because even though I get anxious about them, I find them exciting. Now, this is not to be confused with horror. I detest horror. But there's a difference between adventure scary and horror scary. Horror scary is usually grotesque, gory, disgusting, bloody, ghosty, and just generally ugh-y. Adventure scary creates feelings of apprehension, nervousness, determination, excitement, what's-going-to-happen-next-ness, etc. So basically, I don't like Tim Burton, I do like Steven Spielberg. I'm also sticking in here that I dislike sleeping with my back to the room, especially if I'm alone. I think I'm afraid of something creeping up on me while I'm not looking. If someone is sleeping in my room, I don't mind it as much, especially if that person is closer to the door, because I figure if anything is going to creep in, it'll reach that person first and I'll have enough time to wake up and run away. So caring I am! :P But really, it does make no sense because once I fall asleep, it doesn't matter at all which way I'm facing. But hey, when I'm asleep, I'm also not thinking about people or things creeping into my room so...yeah.

2. I don't like sitting near very heavy breathers either in class or in shul. I can't concentrate when all I can hear is breathe in...breathe out...huff...puff... I don't know why this is. No one else seems to have a problem with it, but I do. I just can't concentrate. It makes me jittery.

3. I really don't like the color yellow, especially pale yellow. It reminds me of banana laffy taffy which I think is nauseating (sorry to all those banana laffy taffy lovers!).

4. I have never read The Lord of the Rings. I used to pretend I had because I was embarrassed about not having ever read it, especially being a fan of fantasy, so I would participate in discussions with my friends about it (I have this amazingly useful ability to participate in a discussion about books I've never read). I have read The Hobbit and I loved it, but I was just never able to get through Lord of the Rings. Of course, now I'm moving away from adult epic fantasy anyway. I still love Young Adult fantasy, though!

5. I hate making salads. Other kinds of cooking is alright, but for some reason salads are just not my thing. I think it's because the vegetables are always so cold, especially after they were just washed.

6. I absolutely love snow. I don't like being cold, but I love snow. I especially love it when it snows in the night and you don't know and then you wake up in the morning, open your window shade, and - behold! A white world! This is what happened yesterday and it made me so very happy. Along with snow goes ice skating, which I love, as well.

7. I am anal about making my bed in the morning. The rest of my room can be untidy (though I always prefer it when it's neat, but I'm very bad at actually making it neat) but it makes me feel dirty if my bed is not made. I guess it comes from me feeling dirty when I wake up in the morning. I always need to rigorously brush my teeth and wash my face before I feel ready to do anything or even talk to people. This is why days like Yom Kippur and Tish'a B'av are so hard. It's not the fasting, it's not the long davening, it's the not being able to brush my teeth and wash my face! If I could just do that... But anyway, right after I'm done washing up in the morning, before I get dressed even, I must make my bed. I'm also anal about dirty things in general. I don't like it when anything is dirty, including cars with things all over the place, utensils that aren't properly clean, etc. etc. etc. I'm not obnoxious about this, but I'm very anal about it, all the same.

8. (okay, okay, it's really supposed to only be seven facts, but rules were made to be broken, weren't they? Besides, who created this meme anyway? If I want to stick an extra fact in here, I will! So there! Humph.) I have a problem with people who are sweet all the time. It's like when there's too much sugar in something and it just ends up tasting sour, you know? I don't value the opinion of someone who is constantly praising everything and never recognizes the bad. I mean, I know someone who was trying to prove that Iago was not the villain of Othello because she was so determined to see the good in everyone and every character ever. It really, really bothered me. I don't know why. I guess because it just doesn't seem genuine. I'm not going to trust someone who always praises me because that just isn't healthy. People need criticism as much as they need praise, perhaps even more. I'm not saying I like people who aren't nice. I'm just saying I like people who are genuine. It truly bothers me to the core when people put on an act. I guess this is more my own immaturity because some people truly are that sweet and really do believe in the good of everyone but it frustrates me when they can't see that there are things about me that aren't good, that there are things about other people that aren't good, that there are things about the world that aren't all sunshine and roses. I'm not a cynic and I'm not even a realist. I'm very much an idealist when it comes to other things, and I even do believe in the inherent good in people, but what I don't believe is that people are all good, that there are no flaws, and I know a particular girl in general who in high school used to turn everything into herself being generous and good and kind and...and you know when you get frustrated at old Disney princesses like Snow White or Cinderella that they're too good and too kind and too obedient? Yeah, that. Sorry, this number 8 was more of a rant than a fact, but I think it just needed to come out. Besides, it's still a fact about me. :P

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happily Ever After!

That is how I feel! This is my theme song in general, but especially right now because I found out that I am most probably staying in Stern next year! Thank you, Ima and Abba! I love you!

So here is Carrie Underwood singing her song Ever, ever after:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Quidditch for Muggles


Oh my. I found this online today. Quidditch for Muggles. Apparently, quidditch is being played in various colleges across the US. Will this take off as an actual sport? I guess we'll all have to wait and see!

As much criticism as there is on J.K. Rowling, I think it's mindblowing the amount of influence she's had and is having on our society. A hundred years from now, I bet you she'll be standard for study in Universities about the culture of the late 20th, early 21st centuries.

Rejection

Rejection

~ an unfinished story ~

[Disclaimer: this story may sound scarily depressing, but it's actually just a way for me to vent. Also, I've never been able to
not apologize for my work, even though I know you're not supposed to. Oops! Hehe.]

It was a piece of paper. A piece of paper. And yet it held such power, such weight, such a determining factor in Lily’s life. She wilted under its verdict. Rejection. Her sunny smile dropped. Her day was flipped idly like a coin, tossed carelessly in the air only to land on the wrong side. Tails. It was always tails. For once, could she not get ahead? Could she never come out on top? These thoughts swam around in her swampy confusion. The world around her buzzed, became blurred, the only clear thing this single piece of paper. It stood out bright against the fuzzy. It grabbed onto Lily’s vision and held it there, superglued it there so she could notice nothing else. There was nothing else in the world aside from Lily and her rejection. Her deep, dark, glaring rejection. It pierced her inner core, wrenched it from her and twisted, wringing out all her dreams.

Somewhere, a cell phone rang. A door opened. A textbook closed. Lily’s feet turned her away from her terrible sentence and made her walk robotically through the halls. People. People everywhere. People talking, laughing, shouting. Too loud! Everything was too loud! The noise threatened Lily, penetrated deep into her personal bubble. She felt shunned, left out, though of what, she did not know. People looked at her sometimes. Did they know? Was it written on her forehead? Was it plastered all over her clothes?

Rejection. Rejection. Rejection.

The sound of it reverberated inside Lily, forcing her to recognize it, to acknowledge it, to pay it her utmost attention. And because she was so aware of her own rejection, others must be, too. Strangers, her teachers, her friends. They all knew. All of them. They all talked and laughed and joked with each other, flashing her friendly smiles, no, mocking smiles, because they knew. ‘There goes a rejected girl,’ they were probably saying. ‘We are not rejected, only she is. Oh, I do feel so sorry, don’t you feel sorry? Oh quickly, smile at her lest she should feel badly.’

Lily tried not to look at them, gave feeble smiles in return. Sometimes, she didn’t even smile at all. She wanted to run, she wanted to hide, she wanted them all to stop looking, to stop talking.

Somewhere, in the deep recesses of her rational mind, she acknowledged her paranoia, her self-centeredness. They of course did not know. Their conversations were really about math, science, the betterment of the world. Manicures. The West Wing. But Lily felt excluded from all that. She felt somehow…outside. She was in her own world, her own separate dimension that rubbed closely enough to reality to irritate but not closely enough to be a true part of it.

And so the world went on without Lily and Lily glided through without caring much about the world. After all, she was in a class of her own now, a class made up of The Rejected. She was spit out from the mouth of all things good and wonderful, exiled to grope her way through a new maze, a new jungle. She was shown a magnificent thing and then flung aside like the tiny green strawberry in an otherwise plump, ripe, red bunch, never to have it.

Lily wallowed. She wallowed in self-pity. She wallowed in her own sense of loss. She wallowed in her own confusion and fear of what was to come next. But most of all, she wallowed because no matter how hard she tried, no matter how good she was, she was Never. Good. Enough.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Every vote counts!

Every vote counts. Well, perhaps not every single, individual vote, but as a collective whole, every vote counts. Do you realize what this means? Do you realize the pressure this puts on the voter to be up to date on everything political? Would you want someone voting for governmental officials if that person didn't really know what he or she was voting for?

I can't believe I'm the only one. I'm for sure not the only one. There are most definitely plenty of people who don't really know that much about politics. So should we really be voting? I mean, I know myself. I can read up on politics as much as I want - I'll never truly understand what's going on. Yes, it's the right of every citizen to vote and yes, it's encouraged, but if someone really just doesn't know what's going on politically, is that person really fit to make such a decision for her country? To weigh down one side or another with her vote? What if it's the wrong side? And yes, it's not as simple as that, there isn't a "right" or "wrong" side, but I just don't understand all the gray in politics.

So should someone like me cast down a vote? How much is my vote really worth?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Adventure


I love adventures. Yesterday, I had an awesome adventure with SJ and some other girls in NYC. First, we went to this random building that hosts many different architecture and design firms. They were having a charity fund raiser there where you had to donate a can of food in order to enter. Once inside, the offices in the various floors had sculptures made almost solely out of food cans. It was a contest and each firm had a sculpture which they'd had a day to make a week earlier. It was incredible. There were polar bears, Kermit the Frog, race cars, ice cream cones, DNA strands, and, most impressive of all, the Mona Lisa - all made out of cans. Each sculpture had a punny name like deCANstruction or other things like that which I cannot remember now.

At night, we went to see the movie Enchanted.

It was incredible.

It made us all feel so happy, I think. It's just that sort of movie. You walk out of there wearing a big smile. The story proves that there can be a happily ever after in the real world, even if life and love and everything aren't perfect - because in the real world, it can never really be perfect (as opposed to Andalasia where...well, I won't give anything away) but still, that doesn't mean people can't have fairy tale endings. It just isn't as simple as in real fairy tales, that's all. Anyway, it made me happy. Here's the preview, which is fun, too:



Anyway, happy Turkey Day, everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Trapped

How I had an adventure in the middle of class without missing anything of importance
(This story is based on true events)

Disclaimer: This story is completely unedited and was written between the hours of 1 and 2 in the morning. Any and all mistakes are due to this. I am otherwise a writer who is practically perfect in every way. So there.

I sat in Writing Kiddie Lit. class, thinking about how I had to print out a reading response that had been due two weeks earlier but that I had never handed in. The first time, I couldn't figure out how to print and the second week I just plain forgot about it. I didn't want to forget about it again so I slipped out of class to go print it out. Well, I'm the type of girl who has very little patience waiting for elevators so I naturally gravitate towards the stairwell. Such a thing happened that night. There is a sign on the door to the seventh floor stairwell saying that if you open it, an alarm will go off but no such thing had ever happened to me in the history of my time at stern college and I had no fears of it happening that night.


As I took the stairs two at a time, I heard distantly the sound of...something that sounded sort of like a siren but I didn't take much notice of it. I did not much care, either, humming merrily as I reached the second floor - the stairwell exit for Stern girls. Reaching out to turn the knob, I stopped short. The knob wouldn't turn. With a groan, I realized that the second floor was locked and I would have to trek back up five flights and take the elevator down. Taking a deep breath, I began my long and tiring journey.


I climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed until, puffing and panting, I reached the seventh floor once more. With the intention of flinging open the door and going annoyedly to the elevator, I turned the knob. Or, rather, I tried to turn the knob. It would not budge, either!


This was a disaster. I was now stuck in the stairwell. I started to knock in the door but, not unexpectedly, no one answered. This made sense as people aren't usually wandering the halls of the seventh floor. The students are in class and the professors are in their offices. There isn't anything on the seventh floor to warrant wandering.


With a sigh, I went back down to the second floor. I hoped I wouldn't have to go back up to the seventh floor, because that would just be really irritating and I was still out of breath from climbing up five flights the first time around (yes, I'm out of shape. Now, don't interrupt). I was beginning to get nervous but I had hope that someone was bound to hear me on the second floor, at least.

Oh, how wrong I was. I banged and thumped and smacked the door and pounded on it and called out and though I could hear people on the other side, no one, apparently, could hear me. Or maybe they were just ignoring me. Who knows?

By this time, I was beginning to truly panic. I don't think I'd ever been really trapped in a stairwell before. I started hoping that someone at some point in the night would figure out I was missing and would come looking for me, though how they would know I was inside the stairwell, I don't know.

It was while unpleasant thoughts of spending the night in the stairwell were flitting through my mind when I heard the sound of someone opening a door way, way below. The thought of checking the doors on the lower floors had not occurred to me, oddly enough, and I became enlightened. You see, I had already tried the doors on the floors in between 7 and 2 and they were all locked. But going below the second floor? Revolutionary!


I tried it at once. With newfound hope, I reached a set of steps which led to a big sign reading "LOBBY" and an arrow pointing around a bend. Wary and unsure what I would find so far below, I slowly crept around the bend, finding myself in front of a heavy looking door. Slowly, slowly, I opened the door a small amount and peeked through the crack. It all looked rather like a normal place out there so I opened the door all the way and stepped with relief out of the stairwell.


The new lobby was not the lobby of the building from which I had gone into the stairwell, but it was actually the building just next door. Odd, yes. But I didn't care. All I cared about was that I was out and was not going to be spending the night or any long, extended periods of time inside a stairwell.


Full of spirit, I half ran, half walked through this new lobby to the door connecting it to my actual school building. Then I quickly printed out what I had been coming down to print out in the first place and made sure to take the elevator back up to class. I re-entered the room, slipped into my desk, and heaved a huge sigh of relief.


Amazingly, I was able to have this whole adventure and not miss anything of significance in class.


The end.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Not Much Syndrome

We've all got it. The Not Much Syndrome. That socially serious disease which causes us to respond, "not much" every time we're asked, "what's up?"

It's become almost required to begin a conversation:

"Hey!"
"Oh, hey! What's up?"
"Not much, you?"
"Not much."

Pause.

"So anyway,..."

Why do we do it? Why do we say 'not much' when that just can't be true? Something is always up. It may not be something drastic, but it could be something as simple as, "I had an awesome day today" or "I have so much reading to do tonight." Is it out of habit that we simply reply 'not much?' Or is it something else? Is it because we're afraid? Is there this fear that people just don't care about our lives? About the little things that happen to us? Is there an insecurity that we're just not interesting? That something's only 'up' if it's big news?

I say 'not much' all the time, but I want to try to stop. In order to have normal conversations with people, we have to have actual answers for the 'what's up?' question! Simply 'not much' isn't going to do it. I feel like such a boring person every time I answer 'not much.' Last night, Ezzie kept on asking me, "so, what's up?" and every time I said "not much" and he kept asking. After a while, I started searching for real answers. Oh, yes, my teacher canceled class today. That's an answer.

There is always an answer. We don't live our lives in a bubble. We interact. Things happen to us - even little things. But they are all important and, believe it or not, someone who's really your friend does want to hear those little things. It's what keeps the friendship alive and interesting. Not every discussion has to have enormous weight. It can be frivolous, sometimes. It can be simple. It can be about every day events.

I think it's time we broke out of the Not Much Syndrome.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

POWER

I just sent my first sstud! It took me until my senior year - BUT STILL.

It's amazing how powerful that feels. :D

May I make an appointment?

Sometimes I wish I could be the stereotypically good, frum girl. You know the kind...fresh out of seminary, zealous about all the mitzvot and halakhot, the kind who makes you say your brachot out loud so she can say amen. Of course, being put on the spot like that makes you freeze up and forget the bracha altogether (which is silly, since you've been saying brachot your whole life) and then you just feel stupid and...and not as good as her, for some reason (and yes, this seems to happen to me quite a lot).

This stereotypical girl takes so long to say shemona esrai that when you're finished, you chew on your lip and wonder whether her siddur has an extended version that you never learned because you don't think you rushed your way through, garbling words. No, you clearly remember saying every word. You even spent a little extra time in Refaeinu to daven for someone's friend or relative and you spent a few additional seconds in shma koleinu to ask for a good grade on your midterm. But you still feel like you've done something wrong, something off, because you're finished too early. There are all the good, carefully frum girls around you, so engrossed in modim that their eyes are closed, their faces scrunched up in concentration. They are swaying fiercely, no, not swaying, shuckling. Get the lingo right!

Why can't my davening be like that? Why do I speak words, understand them, even, but not feel? I feel like I do two types of praying. I do the regular, normal prayers that everyone does, I say the words everyone says, I go through the motions, but I'm not really praying. No, my true praying comes at random points in the day when I look outside, see a tree, and wonder, how did this tree become a tree? Who put it there? Who made it so beautiful, so green, so big? Who made the wind that is pushing its way rudely through the branches, shaking them to and fro? God, of course. God, who created this incredible world on which we live. God, who gave us life, who gave us families and friends and teachers and schools. God, who gave us countries and cultures and languages and literature! And then I appreciate God. I am filled with a deep, overwhelming love and adoration for Him and His creations.

When else do I pray? When I am scared. When I am lonely. When I am nervous. When I am worried. I think to God, asking His advice, asking Him for help, for strength, for everything to work out just fine. I think so hard, hoping that my thoughts reach all the way up to Him.

I feel this deep, intimate connection with God. I have always been able to turn to Him in times of need, in times of joy, in any time, really. But not with the words of prayer that are found in the siddur. It is not during that prayer time that I feel this way. It is during my own prayer time. It is almost like I have to make a separate appointment with God in order to get my true prayer in because I can't do it in the appropriate, alloted time that everyone else uses.

But I want to be able to feel God when I daven in the morning. I do. I don't want it to be just words coming out of my mouth. But it's so not in the moment. It's so hard to take feelings that I feel when I am most in the position to feel them and transport them to a time when I'm hardly feeling anything at all - when all I'm really thinking about is how tired I am and that I hope they have the big cookies in the caf for breakfast. And perhaps if I was able to train myself to feel this way during actual prayer time, I might be more inclined to remember to daven Mincha, as well.

I keep thinking of the Judy Blume book, Are you there God? It's me, Margaret. Part of that is so true with me. I think to God all the time. I have one-sided conversations with Him. I really do have a relationship with Him. Just... at a private appointment instead of when I'm actually supposed to be praying.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Opening paragraph syndrome

You know when you write what you believe to be an excellent opening paragraph, or, at least an opening paragraph that gets your point across wonderfully, so you feel like you've done your work for the day, except you haven't because you still have the whole rest of the paper to write? And you've got it all outlined so it shouldn't be that difficult, but somehow it is, because you don't know just how to begin your next paragraph without ruining the perfectness of the opening one? And you want to just frame your opening paragraph and be done with it all? Bugger the rest of the paper! Who needs it?





[There was more to this post but, unfortunately, I couldn't get past the opening paragraph]

Friday, November 9, 2007

One short day in the middle of Times Square

I don't know if any of you have ever filled out the lottery for a broadway show, but this is how it works. Two hours before the show, you go to the theatre and fill out your name on a card and how many tickets you want - either 1 or 2. At 12:00 (which is two hours before the matinee), they put all the cards into this round thing, shake it up, and draw ten names. Those ten people get front row seats to the show.

The likelihoods of winning? Not impossible, but not guaranteed, either. I've done it once before and I didn't win. There are usually around at least 100 people there, if not more, so while the chances aren't like, you know, the New York lottery, if you're one of those people who never, ever wins anything...well, I wouldn't get my hopes up. And believe me - I'm one of those people.

The experience is an odd one. You stand in the crowd, on tiptoes so you can see the guy announcing the winners (at least, I was on tiptoes since I'm not the tallest girl around, anyway). You hold your breath, waiting anxiously for him to read the first name. You have this incredible feeling in your gut that it could be your name he's about to read off. And then he reads it.

It is someone named Yamu Chin (or Billy Bob or Pablo Francisco). You sigh, stand down from your tiptoes, and watch disappointedly as Yamu (or Billy or Pablo) runs excitedly to stand against the wall where the winners are supposed to go. But then there's another name. You stand on tiptoe again, again holding your breath. This time it's going to be you, you just know it.

This time, it's Diane Alabama (or Patsy Wilkes or Marlene Updike). She shrieks, hugs her friend, and goes hurriedly to stand besides Yamu/Billy/Pablo, beaming all over.

And so it goes on. Usually, ten names are drawn, and read, ten times you stand on tiptoe holding your breath and ten times you sigh and watch wistfully as someone else is picked. Then it's over and you walk away, dejected and feeling that nothing else could be just as exciting as seeing that show so there's no reason to hang around Times Square and you might as well go back to your daily life.

But sometimes...

Sometimes it doesn't end that way.

Sometimes...

You win.

This is what happened to SJ and me this past Wednesday. SJ was about the seventh called. We were both in a sort of shock. How on earth did we win? How on earth were we picked?

We stood in line, got our tickets (because if you win and filled out that you wanted 2 tickets, then you get to bring someone), and then had two hours to wander around Times Square before the show started.

Oh, and by the way, the show was Wicked. We had both seen it before but, let me tell you, there was nothing like seeing it the way we did on Wednesday. After wandering through the M&Ms store, the Hershey store, Toys R Us and passing some actors running lines (which was SO COOL), we went into Gershwin theater and found our seats. Second row. Seats 2 and 4. The stage was so close, we could reach out and touch it with our fingertips from where we were sitting. Before the show started, we got to look down in the stage and saw the Orchestra. We were able to hear the actors backstage doing voice exercises. We were so close, that during the performance, we could see their tiny microphones, we could see their pimples underneath their make up, we could see that Elphaba was wearing a green body suit, we could see backstage what was going on sometimes, we could see their spit as they sang. We could see the actors muttering to each other during dances when they weren't singing. I wonder what they were talking about?

Sitting so close up, we weren't watching a show, we were experiencing theater in a face to face sort of way.

It was one of the most incredible things I've ever done.

I love Wicked. It's probably my favorite show. I loved seeing it in a normal seat a few years ago with the original cast (yay for Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenowith!), but I also loved seeing it the way I did on Wednesday. Yes, the seats were a bit partial view, but we had views of other things that the rest of the audience didn't. And we only paid $26.50 for our tickets.

Skipping class that day was so worth it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Rule-breaker

I just have to say that, sometimes, phooey with the rules.

I will elaborate on this later when I have more to say about it. Maybe.

Bloggers never say die!

[DISCLAIMER: I know you're not supposed to apologize for your work, but, erm, anyway...I do apologize if this post makes absolutely NO sense WHATSOEVER. It very well may not. If it doesn't, I hope you get SOMETHING out of it, at least! But y'all know it was really just a way for me to plug The Goonies. Hehe.]


I have been wondering, lately, why it is that I feel this need to write everything down. What is it about writing that alleviates stress or furthers understanding about things? What is it about writing that intensifies joy?

I think part of it is this ability, especially on a blog versus a private diary, to share these experiences with others. To share a bad day, to share a joyous occasion - it sort of takes it out of you and plasters it onto a blog where it is both removed from you and in a place where you can always return to it.

Another part of it, as I realized while taking a midterm today, is to search for deeper understandings. Whenever I have an idea in my head, the more I write about it, the more I come to understand it. Things begin to come together when I write them down. I seem to think in a more organized way while writing and I always end up understanding something about myself or about the world (or about literature, or anything, really) on a much deeper and more complex level than when I first had the idea.

But there is yet another quality of writing that I enjoy - writing as an adventure. It really is an adventure, if you think about it, even according to the monomyth. Joseph Campbell's monomyth is a tradition of a certain circular shape to stories. A monomyth starts off with katabasis or a call to adventure. This can be anything from the White Rabbit running past Alice to Hagrid paying a visit to Harry and the Dursleys. Then the hero goes on a series of trials and tests with various helpers, ending in the restoration of order to a disordered world by either defeating a dragon or defeating some other thing, and then there's usually at onement with the father or mother figure and then the return journey.

Writing is very similar. The call to adventure is when you get an idea. The trials and tests are the actual story writing process, writer's block, etc. Finally the story is finished and that is the return.

But anyway, this was sort of a tangent. The point of this post was never to compare writing to a monomyth. I think that happened because I am trying to show that there are different reasons for feeling this need to write everything down. Either to alleviate one's self, to search for meaning in an issue, or thousands of other reasons.

As many of you ALSO know, I am in love with the movie, The Goonies. There is a particular scene (though it is broken up a bit by another scene) in this movie which has three moments where I feel inspired by them to write about something.

The story so far has been that Mikey and his friends Mouth, Data, and Chunk, and his brother Brand and his friends Andy and Steph have gone on an adventure to find hidden treasure. They need this treasure because their homes on the goon docks are going to be foreclosed later that day if their families don't come up with some fast money so that a country club can be built on the land. Meanwhile, there is this family of outlaws called the Fertellis and they happen to be based in an abandoned restaurant where the kids start looking for the treasure. All of the kids get away to the caves underneath to go on the treasure hunt, except for Chunk, who has been caught by the Fertellis. The Fertellis at this point don't know why the kids were in the restaurant snooping around and they question Chunk about it. When he says they all went down into the fireplace to look for buried treasure, the Fertellis don't believe him and make him tell the whole story. Instead of the story they WANT to hear, he starts confessing to every crime he's ever done (these crimes being cheating on a test, stealing his uncle's toupee, etc.). Meanwhile, the Goonies are underground in caves searching for the buried treasure. The one catch is that there was this expert explorer guy, Chester Copperpot, who once went looking for the treasure and he never came out. This makes the treasure hunt even more frightening. The Goonies think Chunk has gotten away and gone to the police, but they aren't really sure. This particular clip begins right in the middle of a booby trap set long ago by One Eyed Willy, whose treasure they are seeking. Chunk is also in the middle of his "confession." And so we start.



The three moments I'm talking about are:

1. When mouth takes the coin and says, "this one was my dream, my wish, but it didn't come true. So I'm taking it back. I'm taking them all back."

I think that feelings like that - feelings of despair, of darkness, of glumness, really inspire people to write. Bad days, if someone said something mean or rude, even just dreary days where nothing particularly bad happened but the whole mood of the day has been pretty much a downer. That is something people need to get off their chest. I know I feel so much better after writing about it. If I were Mouth, I'd have gone home that day and written a blog entry about being in the well and taking the coins back.

2. When Mikey says, "Don't say that, never say that - Goonies never say die!" This is so important. This is about not giving up, about perseverance. This may not be a cause for writing, but it has so much to do with writing. Writing is all about perseverance. It's about seeing the story or the idea through 'til the very end. It is about hope and the belief that there is a light up ahead, even if we can't see it now. And even that, now that I'm thinking about it, could cause one to write. If I was struggling to find the light in a seemingly dark situation, I think writing about it would help a lot. A whole lot. It could help me to see things clearly, to reassess, to view the situation with a more objective eye.

3. Mikey's speech from, "Chester Copperpot - don't you guys realize? He was a pro! He never made it this far." until, "It's our time down here!" This is similar to the other moment, moment #2, in that it's about perseverance and not giving up. It's about believing in yourself and in your abilities and not underestimating your strengths, even if you feel insignificant. It is about striving for clarity about the world and your own role in it, which is something I think I try to do a lot when I write blog posts. It is also about having a voice - a real voice that other people will listen to. A lot of times, normal people feel so insignificant because they're not the ones calling the shots in this world. People wonder, how can I, little me, make a difference? It's about "our time." It's our time here in blogland, guys.

It is also just an awesome, awesome speech and I love it. I love this whole scene down in the well.

While they might not match perfectly with everyone's view of writing and of stories, I think they match with mine - most of the time, anyway. If this post confused anyone, I'm really sorry! It's me trying to clarify ideas for myself and exploring new angles to my own thoughts. If you get anything out of this post at all, I do hope it's that you want to watch the whole Goonies movie!

But seriously, guys, Goonies never say die...and neither do Bloggers!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Disclaimer

This post is merely a procrastination device. It is not an actual post.

Who else has been procrastinating tonight? Come on, out with it, I know I'm not alone in this!

PROCRASTINATORS UNITED. ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL.

That will be all.

Can Dickens be defended?

Charles Dickens was a great, great writer. He is the author of a number of famous works, including Great Expectations, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and Oliver Twist. It is this last work which I would like to comment on. In it, one of the main villains - a master thief and employer of young pickpocketing boys - named Fagin is a Jew. Not only is he a Jew, but he is constantly known as "the Jew" throughout the novel, making it sound extremely antisemitic and giving Jews a bad name.

I adore Dickens. It really bothers me that he seems to have anti-semitic tones in his novels, especially in Oliver Twist, and in searching around for some article in his defense, I only found one trying to defend him but realizing that there isn't that much to defend. He did write a novel, Our Mutual Friend, with a Jewish protagonist instead of villain, but that's about it. Here is the article, though it is on JSTOR so not everyone will be able to get to it, I don't think. Anyway, here it is for you all to read at your own convenience, but I just want to know, how can I adore Dickens if he was such an anti-semite? I feel bad doing it, but I love his work! It's so awful.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Heroism

I really should be getting to bed, but now I'm all inspired to write about this after procrastinating on gchat with Ezzie.

I want to be a hero. I want to be like Frodo Baggins or Harry Potter or Peter Pan or Mikey Walsh or any of them. I want to be the one to brandish my sword at the dragon and steal his horde of treasure and destroy the ring of power and break the spell and kill Voldemort and save the world. I have this naive idealism that there is some way to do it. I never lost this belief that I, Erachet, am going to be the one to destroy evil and save everyone, that I will be exalted as the hero, that I will go on adventures and persevere and restore order to the universe. Because that's what a hero does. A hero goes to a disordered world, has a series of adventures, comes face to face with evil, destroys it and restores order. The hero then returns with a prize of some sort.

I want this to be me.

And why can't it be me? Why can I not do this?

This world is so disorderly - is it even possible to restore order to it?

People say, write letters to the government, go to rallies, recycle, save the whales. But this does not do it for me. None of these things make me, personally, feel like a hero. I want to do something real, something big, something that actually makes a real difference that I can actually see and on a much larger scale.

But I have no ring of power to destroy. I don't know of any dragons. There is no Captain Hook, and even if there was, I am not in a position to be the one to go after him.

I am a regular girl from a regular town and a regular family and I don't possess any special talents or abilities or strengths.

So how can I be a hero? A real hero? Who has adventures and saves the whole world?

Because I really believe that I can. I really believe that I will, one day. But some little voice inside of me is trying to make me see, the world is not that simple. It's not that black and white. And you are not that special.

But I want to be.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Perseverance

I love this monologue by Sam Gamgee in The Two Towers movie:

Sam: It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo—the ones that really mattered… full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? but in the end, it’s only a passing thing. Even darkness will pass—a new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine all the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you and meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think I do understand—I know now. The folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back. Only they didn’t—they kept going, because they were holding onto something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.

And you can watch it here:



This monologue really wields a sort of power which human beings through the ages have brought forth in order to persevere. This talk of courage, of finding good in the midst of evil, of really having hope that there will be a way to succeed, even if it is not clear today and even if it is not clear tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after. We have to keep fighting, because if we give up, if we give in, then we lose not only in the struggle but in our own faith, our own strength. People sometimes forget, this world can have a bright future. We just have to bring it about. And this applies not only to world struggles but also to our own, personal ones. It applies to everything we have to work for, everything that's a fight, a struggle. We just have to believe that the end is there, it's there somewhere in the future, and every small battle we overcome, every bit of writer's block or sleepless night or bureaucracy that we get past is yet one more step closer toward our goal, toward the end, toward the prize.

But...but I have a problem with this. I like this idea, but in those stories Sam refers to - even in his own story - there's always a way to take away the power of evil. Whether it is melting a witch or killing a pirate or breaking a spell or destroying a magic ring. But today, in real life, there is never just one thing that will fix everything else. There is no ring of power to destroy, there are no horcruxes to demolish, there is no spell to break or witch to melt or magic object to find. The world is so much more complex than that. The problems of the world don't have such easy, black and white answers. So how can we fix them? They are like weeds, you start to cut them down from one side and they spring up in new places that you cannot get to. So what is there to do? Why can we not just have a ring of power and be done with it? Why does it always have to be so complex...and how can Sam's speech apply when we don't have the key to destroying evil the way he and Frodo do?

If I seem to be contradictory here, this is because I like to be rather contrary - or maybe it's because I see both sides and don't know which one to take.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon, Ron, doesn't mean we all have."

Chana wrote in her post, "In other news, I have recently been termed a Litvak, someone's hero and informed that I am a lower junior. Today's been peculiar."

So yesterday, I was called an English Major and I was told I was acting like Hermione. This made me happy because I do love Hermione, except I ALSO love Ron and I ALSO love Ginny and, man, I'd LOVE to be a Weasley! But I supposed Hermione's good, too.

In other random news, I went to Duane Reade to get medicine and this was the bill:

Puffs tissues - $2.59
Vicks 44 cough syrup - $6.49
Nyquil - $7.99
A little tiny bottle of eyedrops - $10.99!?!?!?!?!?!?!

What? Is this country having a shortage of eyedrops or something? THERE IS NO WAY THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE MOST EXPENSIVE THING I BOUGHT TODAY. AND THERE IS NO WAY EYEDROPS SHOULD COST ELEVEN DOLLARS.

End rant.

Before the break of day

It is 6:40 in the morning. Why am I awake now, you ask, when my first class of the day is at 10:30? For the past two nights I have hardly gotten any sleep at all due to a very annoying cough, which last night turned into a full blown cold. I got into bed at around midnight, read some Virginia Woolf until around 12:30, and then tried to go to sleep. I say tried because, well, I did sleep from the hours of 1 to 3. That was about it. I was up the rest of the night coughing and headachy and blowing my nose and generally feeling miserable. And yes, I did take advil for my headache - no, it did not help as nicely as I would have liked it to. Today my number one project is to buy cough medicine, preferably Nyquil so I can actually sleep at night.

But why am I writing this post.

For the first time in a very long time, I am awake in that odd time of day when it is technically morning but the sun has not yet risen. I am fully washed and dressed and ready for the day and I have my window shade open. Outside, it is dark, but it is interesting to watch the apartment building outside my window (at least, I think it's an apartment building) and see how many other people are awake now. How many windows have light seeping through. Most of the windows have a dim light - people could be awake or it could have been that way all night long. Who knows? But it is a strange feeling being the only one awake on my floor. I always wonder, when I am up at strange hours, who else is awake? Who else shares my sleeplessness?

Virginia Woolf has a gorgeous passage about night settling in from her book To the Lighthouse which I would like to share with you.

So with the lamps all put out, the moon sunk, and a thin rain drumming on the roof a downpouring of immense darkness began. Nothing, it seemed, could survive the flood, the profusion of darkness which, creeping in at keyholes and crevices, stole round window blinds, came into bedrooms, swallowed up here a jug and basin, there a bowl of red and yellow dahlias, there the sharp edges and firm bulk of a chest of drawers. Not only was furniture confounded; there was scarcely anything left of body or mind by which one could say, "This is he" or "This is she." Sometimes a hand was raised as if to clutch something or ward off something, or somebody groaned, or somebody laughed aloud as if sharing a joke with nothingness.

Nothing stirred in the drawing-room or in the dining-room or on the staircase. Only through the rusty hinges and swollen sea-moistened woodwork certain airs, detached from the body of the wind (the house was ramshackle after all) crept round corners and ventured indoors. Almost one might imagine them, as they entered the drawing-room questioning and wondering, toying with the flap of hanging wall-paper, asking, would it hang much longer? Would it fall? Then smoothly brushing the walls, they passed on musingly as if asking the red and yellow roses on the wall-paper whether they would fade, and questioning (gently, for there was time at their disposal) the torn letters in the wastepaper basket, the flowers, the books, all of which were now open to them and asking, Were they allies? Were they enemies? How long would they endure?

So some random light directing them with its pale footfall upon stair and mat, from some uncovered star, or wandering ship, or the Lighthouse even, the little airs mounted the staircase and nosed round bedroom doors. But here surely, they must cease. Whatever else may perish and disappear, what lies here is steadfast. Here one might say to those sliding lights, those fumbling airs that breathe and bend over the bed itself, here you can neither touch nor destroy. Upon which, wearily, ghostily, as if they had feather-light fingers and the light persistency of feathers, they would look, once, on the shut eyes, and the loosely clasping fingers, and fold their garments wearily and disappear. And so, nosing, rubbing, they went to the window on the staircase, to the servants' bedrooms, to the boxes in the attics; descending, blanched the apples on the dining-room table, fumbled the petals of roses, tried the picture on the easel, brushed the mat and blew a little sand along the floor. At length, desisting, all ceased together, gathered together, all sighed together; all together gave off an aimless gust of lamentation to which some door in the kitchen replied; swung wide; admitted nothing; and slammed to.
[Here Mr. Carmichael, who was reading Virgil, blew out his candle. It was midnight.]

But what after all is one night? A short space, especially when darkness dims so soon, and so soon a bird sings, a cock crows, or a faint green quickens, like a turning leaf, in the hollow of the wave.


And here, too, the sky has begun to turn from black to blue and soon it shall be day. It is 7:00 am.

Have a wonderful day, everyone! I think I shall spend mine sleeping, though, after my morning class (and after I buy some Nyquil).

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pride and Prejudice is life

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

This is the opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The irony is, of course, that this is not true, but rather it is a prejudice. The other irony is that while the book opens up with a statement of a universal truth that is not, in fact, true, the rest of the novel is all about a different sort of universal truth - the truth stated in the title. Every person - every single person - has both pride and prejudice to some degree or another.

For me, further irony lies in the fact that I was prejudice against romance stories in high school. Extraordinarily prejudice, I might even say. And I was proud. I stood my ground. I knew what books I liked to read and what books I didn't and there was no way anyone was going to tell me differently. Therefore, when Pride and Prejudice was listed as a choice for summer reading in ninth grade, I chose a different book. And when my friends finally convinced me to read it, I did so begrudgingly, blinding myself by my prejudices to Austen's brilliance. I couldn't make it through even a quarter of the book.

It was only in twelfth grade - perhaps because I had matured a little - that I finally gave the book a real chance. And you know what? I loved it.

That's pride and prejudice for you, right there.

I think everything we do, every person we meet, every new thing we're introduced to, we see with a shades of prejudice. We have ideas about things we don't even really know about. We create labels in our heads for people who we've never even met. We judge before we know the thing we're actually judging.

Realizing all this is when I finally learned - Pride and Prejudice is not merely a story of romance. It is a story about life. About something that every single person in the entire world, without exception, can relate to. Because I refuse to believe that there is a single person out there without any prejudices at all.

But then again, perhaps that's just another prejudice.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

To face your fear

Facing fears is probably one of the most difficult tasks a person has. It so easy to say, "oh, yes, I shall be brave and always stand up to what I'm afraid of" but it's quite another thing to do it. Fear comes on many different scales, too. There are more every day sort of fears, like will I get that internship, will I make it into the play, will I do well on my English paper? And then there are much more frightening fears: will I be healthy at my next doctor visit? Will I have enough money to live comfortably? Will I get into an accident while driving today?

The first sort of fears are so much easier to face. The consequences could be grim, but not that grim, if you look at it in the scheme of things. More like unsatisfactory as opposed to grim, really. But the second sort - those are so much more difficult to look in the face. They're matters of life and death, of comfort or poverty, of how you live your life. The stakes are much higher. How do you face a fear like that?

On a completely separate note, I am now the proud owner of The Goonies DVD. This makes me VERY happy.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

And we're back!

Internet is back and ready for action! Yay! When you don't have internet for a while, it makes you realize just how much you depend on it. It's a little scary, actually.

The other thing is, have you ever been worried about something, but you don't want to actually talk about it because doing that would make it actually real, and it may not really be anything at all anyway?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Oh boy

So first of all, the bad luck sort of continues...so besides for internet still not working anywhere besides for this particular computer (which is not the one with my assignments on it, I think I'm going to have to bring my laptop down and retype the various assignments I need to send in this weekend or something), about an hour before shabbat we found a HUGE leak in the basement. So now my parents are working on that.

The other "oh boy" thing is that I saw this on aol.com (this is only a segment):

J.K. Rowling Outs Hogwarts Character

By HILLEL ITALIE,
AP
Posted: 2007-10-20 18:50:28
NEW YORK (Oct. 20) - Harry Potter fans, the rumors are true: Albus Dumbledore, master wizard and Headmaster of Hogwarts, is gay. J.K. Rowling, author of the mega-selling fantasy series that ended last summer, outed the beloved character Friday night while appearing before a full house at Carnegie Hall.

After reading briefly from the final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," she took questions from audience members.

She was asked by one young fan whether Dumbledore finds "true love."

"Dumbledore is gay," the author responded to gasps and applause.

She then explained that Dumbledore was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, whom he defeated long ago in a battle between good and bad wizards. "Falling in love can blind us to an extent," Rowling said of Dumbledore's feelings, adding that Dumbledore was "horribly, terribly let down."

Dumbledore's love, she observed, was his "great tragedy."

"Oh, my god," Rowling concluded with a laugh, "the fan fiction."
Wow...I just...I don't think that's necessary in a series of books meant for children, or even young adults. It makes me sort of sad to think that this issue has entered the safe world of Harry Potter. And yeah, I do think Harry Potter is a safe place. Sure it deals with good and evil and that whole epic battle, and it deals with some shades of gray in between, but...somehow, this seems a bit...odd. I almost thought this was a scam article when I first read it, but it doesn't seem like it's a scam, does it?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Things begin to look up

Wow. This week was a tough one. It started off amazingly - Sunday was the day I went to the children's book read at Columbia. That was incredible. But Wednesday was the day where I got unjustly berated on behalf of a number of different students for talking in class. That put me in a sour mood for the rest of the evening, as can probably be seen by the post just below this one. Thursday was alright, except for the fact that I missed my train home and had to take the next one, which I thought meant I would be late for this thing at my library my dad and I were going to together. You see, my community had a really, really, really, really, really crummy library. And I mean - really. The YA "section" was one bookcase. The children's room was teeny. Even the adult books had a really small selection. Basically, it was like a toy library. Not a real one. So finally, finally we got a real library built. It's been a bit frustrating this past month when they were moving all the books because we couldn't take anything out so we didn't really have use of a library at all. But soon the new one will open. Last night was their... I guess you could call it an induction ceremony of sorts. But what my dad pushed me to go for (because I wasn't originally going to go at all) was the fact that there were 12 authors invited, as well. Most of them weren't the sort of authors I was interested in. Some wrote cookbooks, some wrote books like "52 ways to stay happy," some wrote other sorts of things I just wasn't interested in. But there were two children's book authors. Well, three, really. One set of twins who wrote a series called "The teacher who wouldn't retire." It looked really cute (agh! not "cute!" Um...?). The other wrote another story about bunnies. So I got to talk to them and ask them about how they published their books, etc. It was very interesting. And someone else from the neighborhood said she has a contact at Simon and Schuster, just for the future if I ever needed one. So that was awesome. So basically, it was very, very helpful and good.

Anyway, I have to go finish getting ready for shabbat but we haven't had internet for the past two days (actually, my whole community doesn't have wireless internet right now) but we discovered that, for some reason, we get it on this computer. I'm not sure why. So I just felt like I should write something positive before Shabbat so that my negative post below this wouldn't be sitting there at the top for too long.

Shabbat shalom everyone! And may we all have brighter weeks next week (for those of us who weren't too pleased with our weeks until now)!