Jenna Julien Podcast Commentary (possibly part one?)

So, I’m kind of obsessed with anything Jenna Marbles/Waffsicle, which includes watching each week’s Jenna Julien podcast in full, even if it’s over an hour long. Usually I do it alone, on my couch, on a weeknight. Today, I was preparing to do the same, when I randomly posted what I was doing in Waffsicle Skype chat and half-jokingly asked if anyone wanted to watch with me. And weirdly enough, I got a very quick bleep-blorp from another chatter saying that she would!

Everyone, meet my new best friend Gessica Getto (a self-made, Jenna-inspired pseudonym), coming to you live from Fort Collins, Colorado.

Below is the video we watched and our commentary on it. I’ll try to break it up every so often with a gif or a picture so it’s not just a wall of text.

So, here it goes…Jacob and Gessica’s take on Jenna Julien Podcast Episode #144: Don’t Get Me Started.

[9:55:32 PM] Jacob: OK, got my Google cast set up and about to stream
[9:55:53 PM] Gessica Getto: Ok I’m getting there
[9:56:15 PM] Jacob: Cool, maybe I can put this up as commentary on mah blog
[9:56:30 PM] Gessica Getto: Oh yes please do!
[9:56:57 PM] Jacob: This episode is brought to you by Naturebox WHAT A DEAL, Marble’s backpack, and Jenna’s fierce hair realness
[9:57:14 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂 yesssss
[9:57:41 PM] Jacob: And Meeeeundies, which I would never wear, because…I’m actually a garbage person IRL
[9:57:51 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂
[9:58:02 PM] Jacob: Jenna’s ready for her closeup with dat shawl doe
[9:58:36 PM] Gessica Getto: Ooooo yes gurl get it
[9:58:41 PM] Jacob: her hair shape looks like Princess Leia’s mother, IKR?
[9:58:52 PM] Jacob: or some red extension cords
[9:58:58 PM] Gessica Getto: It does 😂😂

Padme Amidala

Princess Leia’s actual mother is Padme Amidala. Not too far off… (photo from AboutSerialKillerMovies.blogspot.com)

[10:00:30 PM] Jacob: Oh Marble.
[10:00:49 PM] Gessica Getto: He’s so cute in his little suitcase 😂
[10:00:51 PM] Jacob: I’m up to the part where Julien is explaining.
[10:01:05 PM] Jacob: And Jenna’s wearing Wisconsin HELL YEAH
[10:01:11 PM] Jacob: I want a WI LMT so bad
[10:01:19 PM] Jacob: Jenna pulls from the hat…
[10:01:25 PM] Gessica Getto: HELLZ YES
[10:01:33 PM] Jacob: Renting your house?
[10:01:45 PM] Jacob: that was some noise, Jenna
[10:02:57 PM] Jacob: …and now we know how many toilets J and J have.
[10:03:23 PM] Gessica Getto: Yep 😂 it’s nice to know
[10:04:28 PM] Jacob: BTW, I wonder if Jenna has seen Waitress the Musical, I think she’d like it because the main character’s name is Jenna. Whenever I listen to the soundtrack I always imagine Jenna as Jenna.
[10:05:09 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂 Oml that’s hilarious
[10:05:19 PM] Jacob: I’ll link you when we’re done

It only takes…Jessie Mueller as Jenna in Waitress (photo from Pinterest)

[10:05:29 PM] Jacob: TBH, them talking about their house is kinda boring
[10:05:38 PM] Jacob: Unless plot twist, they have an open house@
[10:06:29 PM] Jacob: Ok, Julie’s turn
[10:06:40 PM] Gessica Getto: Yesssss
[10:06:42 PM] Jacob: LOL ITS ABOUT JENNA
[10:07:02 PM] Jacob: Jenna is absolutely right, she would rant about it.
[10:07:19 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂😂 SO TRUE
[10:08:18 PM] Jacob: “Will you wheel me around?” ::slow motion pull::
[10:09:28 PM] Jacob: Marbles in his PATW
[10:09:37 PM] Jacob: Jenna picks…Gildey
[10:10:02 PM] Jacob: No it was Julien
[10:10:10 PM] Gessica Getto: Oh lord Gildey 😂😂
[10:10:30 PM] Jacob: She’s not in the videos enough for us to really know a lot about her.
[10:10:37 PM] Gessica Getto: “She runs away!” 😂
[10:10:44 PM] Jacob: I only remember her from 4-way dog sweater
[10:11:22 PM] Gessica Getto: I remember her from Debbie bringing her around in the vlogs and stuff
[10:11:26 PM] Jacob: Heh, dogs that don’t know how to dog
[10:11:38 PM] Jacob: Yeah, but she was not really featured.
[10:11:50 PM] Jacob: I wish I had a dog 😦 never have
[10:12:06 PM] Gessica Getto: Yeah that’s true. You’ve never had a dog??? Really?!
[10:12:13 PM] Jacob: No.
[10:12:25 PM] Jacob: Not a lot of people had them where I grew up.
[10:15:39 PM] Jacob: Yeah, morning drinking, kind of pathetic
[10:16:02 PM] Jacob: It’s called Kathie Lee is watching her years trickle by.
[10:16:06 PM] Gessica Getto: *cat
[10:16:21 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂😂
[10:16:53 PM] Jacob: Yeah, Hoda is annoying.
[10:17:08 PM] Gessica Getto: Yeah
[10:17:23 PM] Jacob: LOL I almost thought he was going to say wine drinking ho

Much funnier gif than what you find when searching “wine drinking ho.” (photo from Giphy)

[10:17:38 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂😂 I did too
[10:17:46 PM] Jacob: SAMESIES!
[10:18:02 PM] Gessica Getto: TWINSIES!! 😂
[10:18:08 PM] Jacob: This is so much better than just watching it alone.
[10:18:20 PM] Jacob: With my lame lime water and chicken
[10:18:50 PM] Gessica Getto: It is! I literally don’t have friends so this is the most fun I’ve had in a while. Ooooo and chicken sounds good!
[10:19:21 PM] Jacob: Julien picks…
[10:19:37 PM] Jacob: huh?
[10:19:54 PM] Gessica Getto: What?
[10:20:11 PM] Jacob: ah, ok, Jenna explained it.
[10:20:18 PM] Gessica Getto: Yeah ok
[10:20:35 PM] Jacob: “for centuries in video games”
[10:20:56 PM] Jacob: Yep, just like Marie Antoinette did.
[10:21:08 PM] Gessica Getto: Yep
[10:21:53 PM] Jacob: Kind of a pet peeve when they say asinine comparisons like that.
[10:22:19 PM] Gessica Getto: Yeah it’s a bit annoying 😂
[10:22:52 PM] Jacob: Also, not a video gamer here
[10:22:58 PM] Jacob: You?
[10:23:29 PM] Gessica Getto: I know some but not much. I just play a lot of GTA 5 and the old original Nintendo games
[10:23:43 PM] Jacob: Yeah, another thing I did not have growing up.
[10:23:53 PM] Jacob: Although in theatre we had body mics

Image result for old original nintendo games

Maybe this? (picture from nesfiles.com)

[10:25:58 PM] Jacob: Is Julien doing all the picking from now on?
[10:26:02 PM] Jacob: AD TIME
[10:26:10 PM] Gessica Getto: I guess so
[10:26:35 PM] Jacob: Jenna singing Madonna
[10:27:07 PM] Gessica Getto: Her singing gives me life 😂
[10:27:21 PM] Jacob: I legit LOLed “have these been on your butt?”
[10:27:24 PM] Gessica Getto: I don’t either tbh
[10:27:31 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂 that was great
[10:29:51 PM] Jacob: Contact probs are real life
[10:30:08 PM] Gessica Getto: They are definitely
[10:30:17 PM] Jacob: Next up…something else I don’t know much about.
[10:30:29 PM] Gessica Getto: Yep
[10:31:15 PM] Gessica Getto: I’m so sorry I’m like the most boring person ever I don’t know how to talk to people sorry if I’m lame
[10:31:35 PM] Jacob: Just comment on what you’re seeing/hearing 🙂
[10:31:57 PM] Jacob: I think Katy Perry peaked at I Kissed A Girl
[10:32:02 PM] Gessica Getto: Alright 👍
[10:32:06 PM] Gessica Getto: Yes I agree
[10:32:16 PM] Gessica Getto: Her new stuff I’m not a fan of
[10:33:34 PM] Gessica Getto: I’m actually surprised that she is on YouTube and does livestreams
[10:33:53 PM] Jacob: I just feel like she wants to one-up everyone
[10:34:00 PM] Jacob: Out Gaga-gaga, Out Miley-miley
[10:34:59 PM] Gessica Getto: Yeah, it seems like it to me. I’ve never been a big fan of her, but I listen to classic rock so I don’t really have a good grasp on music from the present
[10:35:51 PM] Jacob: Whoop there it is

Image result for pitch perfect whoop there it is

Thank you, Rebel Wilson. (gif from Giphy)

[10:36:10 PM] Jacob: Katy Perry
[10:36:21 PM] Jacob: Katy Perry + YouTube = $$
[10:36:45 PM] Gessica Getto: It’s so true
[10:37:06 PM] Jacob: If you can’t do the content, get off the YouTewbs
[10:38:32 PM] Gessica Getto: She did a therapy session? Jesus get off your high horse Katy
[10:38:47 PM] Jacob: I think she’s on a marshmallow horse
[10:38:59 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂😂😂 true
[10:39:20 PM] Jacob: I’m up to pulp
[10:39:28 PM] Jacob: I don’t like orange juice at all
[10:39:49 PM] Jacob: Is he referencing Dewey Defeats Truman?
[10:39:57 PM] Jacob: That was unexpected.
[10:39:58 PM] Gessica Getto: I’m not supposed to drink orange juice because of the sugar content
[10:40:06 PM] Jacob: Me with the acid
[10:40:36 PM] Gessica Getto: Yeah. I do crave it once in a while but I don’t ever drink it
[10:40:49 PM] Jacob: You know what is good though?
[10:40:55 PM] Gessica Getto: What?
[10:40:55 PM] Jacob: Chicken made with frozen OJ
[10:41:04 PM] Jacob: it’s surprisingly tasty
[10:41:16 PM] Gessica Getto: OH YEA THAT IS VERY TASTY
[10:41:20 PM] Jacob: To make orange chicken
[10:41:37 PM] Gessica Getto: It’s really good I do agree
[10:41:54 PM] Jacob: Starbucks Refreshers have bits
[10:42:06 PM] Jacob: Heh he thought Starbucks too
[10:42:14 PM] Jacob: Bubble tea!
[10:42:19 PM] Jacob: Jenna, bubble tea!
[10:42:34 PM] Gessica Getto: I’ve never actually had bubble tea

Image result for bubble tea

Me, yelling at my screen (gif from Rebloggy)

[10:42:44 PM] Jacob: Jenna’s turn!
[10:43:06 PM] Jacob: Heh, we haven’t seen Ad in a while
[10:44:30 PM] Gessica Getto: Jenna scared Ad 😂 I feel awful but it’s slightly funny
[10:45:12 PM] Jacob: Julien describing what a hamster does
[10:45:44 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂 it’s perfect I love it
[10:45:56 PM] Jacob: Julien picks Post Mates
[10:46:06 PM] Jacob: Another thing I’ve never used and can’t relate to!
[10:46:12 PM] Jacob: But its J and J so whatevs.
[10:47:07 PM] Gessica Getto: I don’t have access to postmates in Colorado so I can relate that we can’t relate to using postmates
[10:47:27 PM] Jacob: I’ve never even looked if it’s here in WI.
[10:47:52 PM] Gessica Getto: No one I know knows what Post Mates is
[10:50:24 PM] Jacob: I’ve never seen Ree either
[10:50:38 PM] Gessica Getto: I can relate to Taco Bell tho
[10:51:10 PM] Jacob: Julien outros with a dog hat
[10:51:23 PM] Jacob: Dop dop dop dop deep deep
[10:51:54 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂 best out to ever
[10:51:55 PM] Jacob: That was fun, we should coordinate another watching!
[10:52:12 PM] Jacob: I think I’ma go check on my laundry
[10:52:36 PM] Gessica Getto: Yeah definitely! I’ll have to fix my computer so I don’t have to hop back and forth. Ok, have fun with laundry!
[10:53:01 PM] Jacob: Hope no one threw it on the floor. Don’t get me started….



If you came down this far, hope you enjoyed reading this kind of lazy post 🙂


Rolls and Ghosts, Goals and Roasts

Yeah, weird title, I know, but it’s been a weird, weird day. At the risk of this being another blah post about the uneventful part of my life, I have to say that I have no clue why I’m so tired today; I slept until 11-something, got up, got my hair done, went to the office, then did a huge bunch of errands, including going to Graphite, Kohls for their Father’s Day sale (where I scored some pretty sweet deals), Woodman’s, the gas station, Whole Foods, and Starbucks (where I caught up on emails, reading blogs and started my pleasure reading for the day, all while trying not to slump over and fall asleep), and now I’m back in bed, hanging out on the blog, and I feel like I could just drift off right now even though it’s only 11:30…and I didn’t even go to the gym today or anything that physically taxing, other than walking down the long, long aisles of Woodman’s, and putting my 14th 16-pen-pals-in-2016 letter in the mail box (hint hint: that means I want to write hand-written letters to two more people, so if you want one, here’s your chance!)

So this is almost like a staying in and getting real night, except I’m not really skipping anything to do it, and that’s why it isn’t. Great rationalizing, Jacob.


So, I’m starting to think my summer reading goals (each day = 1 book for prelims, 1 play, 200-300 pages for pleasure, and an article if I finish all that) are a bit unrealistic. I think that as of today, Thursday, I’ve read 2 books for prelims, a few plays and maybe 200 pages for pleasure, and if I want to catch up, I need to read 4 more books for prelims by the end of tomorrow, which is probably not going to happen, since all I’ve read today is for pleasure, and I probably did not even retain most of that. Either way, I am welcoming suggestions as to if I should restructure this so it’s not a chore, and how to do so. And also welcoming suggestions for my Library Ephemera reading challenge, hint hint, you know you want to click it and vote 🙂

And as far as the roast.

I’m not as creative as Ryan Higa, Jenna Marbles, or Superwoman, but I enjoyed watching their roasts of themselves that they posted on their respective YouTube channels today. It’s refreshing in this day and age to see people who don’t take themselves too seriously, and appreciate the value of a good laugh brought about by some sarcastic and well-placed self-criticism. I don’t make videos, but if I did, I would, so here’s the next best thing:

That’s So Roasted: A That’s So Jacob Roast

So there’s this guy Jacob and he has a blog

He claims he’s a good writer but his words come out in fog.

Almost 1400 followers, but less than 100 hits a day

There’s something about this dude that makes them want to stay away.

He’s always taking posts down and rearranging

Like the leaves on the trees and the seasons always changing

He makes bad puns that sometimes make no sense

And wraps it all up with an obscure reference

Half his posts are unfinished, sometimes just a title

And nothing that he says is anything close to vital

He says he won’t make this blog blah and bitchy like a livejournal

But he breaks his own rules all the time, and his posts are always nocturnal

He’s like an NBA player or a Doomsday clock

With 70% of what he writes published at 11:59 on the dot

Just to get in a post to keep a streak

Then he’ll take it down, edit it or update it in a week

He’s always promising he’ll write more stuff of substance

But he never really does [insert phrase that rhymes with substance]

He sometimes goes to blogs, reads, and asks people to comment or follow

And he’s scared to get political, knock on him and he’s holloooooooow…

There’s no rhyme or reason, and he’s constantly savin’

And his name is a just a rip-off of That’s So Raven

A show no one likes, just like Flip-the-Script Friday

Now he’ll press the Publish button so WordPress will register that he wrote today.

That’s. So. ROASTED.
::mic drop::


Things I’m Bad At As An Adult

This week, Jenna Marbles posted a video detailing things she is bad at as an adult. We are around the same age, and more or less in the same place in life (Ph.D. student, YouTube personality…we’re basically twins separated at birth. I agreed with a lot of her video and had some of my own to add.

Things I’m Bad At As An Adult:

  1. Dressing myself/Clothing. I like most of my clothing, but I can be a terrible dresser. I don’t like to dress my age, if that means wearing boring white Oxfords and ties while attempting to recapture some kind of lost youth. Give me my t-shirts and jeans any day. I have decided to stop wearing hoodies on days when I teach. It’s not much, but it’s a start. I’m also bad about stained clothes; I ruined a few things with a pen in the wash by accident and I’m probably going to keep wearing those clothes.
  2. Washing dishes. It’s always been my least favorite chore. Even though I have a dishwasher, I still dislike loading and unloading it. Maybe I should invest in some latex gloves in an interesting print.
  3. Cleaning up when I say I will. I have so much stuff on the floor, counters, tables…and nowhere to put it. Or probably somewhere, I don’t know.
  4. Anything involving finances. Here’s my philosophy on spending. Don’t buy what you can’t afford. Don’t buy what you don’t need. Go easy on the eating out.

Things I Get Excited About As An Adult

Last week, Jenna Marbles made a video about things that get her excited as an adult. She is only a year older than I am, so I can identify with her, most of the time. When I started the video, I was convinced that she had officially gone over to the dark side…if there is a dark side…of adulthood. But then, I realized that I get excited about a lot of things as an adult too.

Here’s her video:

And here’s my list for comparison.

  • Recycling. I don’t just mean bottles, cans, and paper (though that is exciting too), but recycling things like notebooks, even post-it notes, until the stickiness is gone. As a kid, I used to want brand new school supplies every single year. Now, I get excited when I get the chance to reuse anything, from a notebook to a plastic bag. I feel like I’m doing my part for the health of our planet.
  • A new checkbook. I just bought some new checks, with Wizard of Oz prints. I’ve never been more excited to spend money.
  • Staying in bed. As a kid? A curse. Now? The more I can do there, the better. That’s why I love hotels; you can watch TV from bed.
  • Hot baths. Again, yay for hotels. And my parents’ house. Well, until I get an apartment with a tub instead of a shower stall.
  • Delicious vegetables. Growing up, I hated vegetables, like most other kids. I thought that everyone hated them, and even adults just tolerated them. Then, I learned that my mother boiled the shit out of all the vegetables she made for us, so that they all tasted rubbery. Now, properly-prepared vegetables can leave me wanting seconds or even thirds.
  • Singing the birthday song. As a kid? Embarrassing. But on my birthday, these days? I love it. I feel like everyone’s got at least one thing that they absolutely need on their birthday. For example, one year, my dad forgot to pick up my mother’s birthday cake from the bakery before it closed for the day, and she got so upset. Now, every year since, we have at least two cakes for her birthday. Not to mention a backup cake in the fridge.
  • Corncob holders that look like corn on the cob. Self-explanatory.

Things I Suck At, Part 1

Everyone has things in life that they’re great at, and they talk about those all the time, but seldom do you hear about things that people suck at. Jenna Marbles posted a great video about her shortcomings, and I’d like to have a written record of all the things that I’m terrible at, for no real reason other than I liked this video and was thinking about my own shortcomings today. Ideally, this list will be finite, thereby making everything not on this list something that I’m awesome at, good at, or at least average at. Because, as we all know, that’s how life works.


So here goes:

1. Temperature. I haven’t always been fortunate enough to live in an apartment with a thermostat, but when I have, I have no sense of temperature, or at least how to make it so it’s neither burning hot or frigid in my apartment. It was a little easier in Houston, where you have the A/C or at least a fan on year round (otherwise the air just settles). It was slightly less easy in my first apartment here in Madison, which was centrally heated and usually so hot I needed fans on even when I slept. One of the criteria I was looking for in an apartment before I found this one was that I could control the temperature. Now that I have the power…I have no idea how to wield it. Seriously. At the moment, I’m in long sleeves and long pants in my apartment and sweating up a storm, but I’m going to be heading out pretty soon so I don’t want to get too comfortable. Plus, if it’s too warm in the apartment, I either a) can’t sleep, or b) am so comfy in the morning that I don’t want to leave my bed. I can deal with too cold in the apartment; unlike many people who live alone, I almost always wear clothes when I’m at home alone, or at least a t-shirt and underwear.

2. Motivating Myself to Exercise. I’ve always been about average height and weight for my age, and genetically, there are not really many overweight people in my family – my mom’s side are all tall and skinny, and my dad’s side are a little shorter and stockier, but not overweight – but still, I do worry about my weight and my looks, like almost every other person on the planet. I have my good days and bad days; food choice and exercise-wise, but I could benefit from more time spent being active and less time on the couch. In high school, I was the opposite of athletic; thin and had no interest in doing anything physical in nature. I started exercising regularly only in college, and even then, I’ve had months (usually summer) where I’ve taken it easy. I give myself a pat on the back for retaining my “girlish” (youthful?) figure; most of the shirts I wear I’ve had since high school or middle school and they still fit me, and in pants, I’m a 34 at most, and given that I was a 30-32 in highschool, which was a decade ago now, I’d say I’m not doing too too terribly. Part of the reason for the larger pants isn’t the waistline, though; I’ve gotten bigger in the posterior area and thicker around the legs, so when I shop, I get clothes that fit those, which usually come in a higher waist size, but that’s what belts are for. Still, I can’t seem to get myself to exercise more than 2-3 times a week, 4 if I’m really motivated, but part of me feels like my body kind of just stays where it is regardless of how I eat or exercise; it’s not like I turn into a balloon if I take a month off. Plus, it can get monotonous, and I’m not good at does exercises, period. But yeah, I should get on that.

3. Doing All the Readings For Class. I know it’s a given that in grad school you won’t have time every week to get to/through every single reading, but some weeks, I find that I just haven’t done any reading for one reason or another. Usually I start off strong, then slack off a little, and by the end of the semester, I’m mostly flying by the seat of my pants. I am proud to say that on Saturday, I finished all the readings for tomorrow’s class. Then again, it’s only the second full week of classes. The only problem with that is that now I will probably have to do some reviewing before discussion tomorrow.

4. Keeping the Apartment Presentable. When people come over, I usually give the “I’m a grad student” excuse and people understand, but if you came over to my place, you’d think I never clean because I’m what I call a seldom-picker-upper. I put things on the ground, and then when I’m looking for them, I know exactly where I left them, usually. If not, I just pick everything up off the floor and put it on a surface until I find said item. I always say that if I set myself an hour – or even a half-hour – to just do some light cleaning every day, then I’d feel more confident about my apartment. But then I remember that I have maybe one person over a week, if that, and usually it’s someone who’s seen my apartment before and who I’m not trying to impress, so I just let things be. In my defense, though, most of my mess is books, papers, and clothing (sweatshirts, jackets – not underwear or socks). I never have rotting food on counters, in cupboards, or in the fridge; that would actually be embarrassing, not to mention gross and unsanitary. I usually don’t have very  many dirty dishes lying around, and if I do, they’re in the sink or hastily shoved into the dishwasher when someone does come over. Still, if I’m trying to do this whole “grown-up” thingy, I’d rather live in a place that’s more Friends and less Harold and Kumar.

5. The Slurpee Machine. I cannot, for the life of me, ever figure out how to work that goshdarn 7-11 slurpee machine. I can probably count the number of slurpees I’ve had in my life on one hand, but still, 12-year-old kids and 40-something 300-pound truckers can do it.



I Can Cast A Spell

The other day, WeKache came over and we watched a movie together.

“But I hate watching movies on my tiny laptop screen!” said I.

“That’s okay,” said he, “because I have a ChromeCast, I can hook my phone up to your TV and transfer something on my Netflix app to your TV.”


The ChromeCast might be the single best thing ever invented. No wires needed, just a wireless password and an outlet and you’re good to go. I ordered one off of Amazon for $30 and it came yesterday. Today, I set it up so that I could watch Jenna Marbles and Mental Floss on Youtube on my television instead of my tiny laptop while eating mac and cheese and folding my laundry on the living room floor.


Also, hooray for my second six continent day of 2015! Argentina finally decided to show up to represent South America, not to count out my lovely visitors from North America (Canada, USA), Europe (Monaco [first timer, welcome!], Germany, Norway, France, and the UK), Asia (Turkey, which I’m counting as Asia because it goes both ways), Africa (South Africa and the Gambia) and Oceania (Australia).


The Worst Best Day of the Week

That would be today. Thursday. My classes this semester are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Friday, I have Shabbat, and on the weekends, I do weekend-type things like shopping and sometimes being social. So that leaves Thursday. Most people would enjoy the fact that they have one day a week with absolutely no regularly scheduled commitments, but I am not one of them. From Sunday to Wednesday, I pull out all the stops, reading like a fiend, writing responses, taking notes and taking names. By the time Wednesday night rolls around, I am exhausted but relieved that another academic week is done. I make a promise to myself that I’ll get a jump on next week’s reading this week by starting first thing Thursday morning…and then it doesn’t happen. What does happen?

  • Wake up.
  • Remember that there’s nothing in my plans today, so sleep a little more.
  • Get up, make a leisurely breakfast, and a hot or iced coffee drink.
  • Head to the couch to catch up with Mental Floss, Ellen DeGeneres, and Jenna Marbles.
  • Promise myself I won’t waste the day.
  • Proceed to read twelve BuzzFeeds, stalk some friends on Facebook, play a round of Word Strips, check my blog stats (welcome, Uganda!), do the New York Times crossword puzzle.
  • Promise myself that I’m done.
  • Remember that I never get to watch Survivor since I’m in class while it’s on, so catch up on that.
  • Convince myself that if I don’t leave the apartment now I won’t leave until dance class (By this time, we’re in the late afternoon).
  • Head out for “lunch” since I “just ate breakfast” (at 10 AM).
  • Do I have enough time to get to the gym? Maybe I’ll go.
  • How about the library? But I have too many books. Oh wait, I need to do some research for that paper. You know what, I should just write the paper. Let’s go home and think about that.
  • Dance class.
  • Get home, unwind after a busy day of nothing. Contemplate studying but usually opt for YouTube.
  • Look at the time, frantically make dinner, call parents, and think of a blog post.
  • Compose and post said blog, and promise self that it’s early bedtime tonight.
  • Proceed to stay up all night (well, 3 at the latest) doing – guess what? – nothing but the Internet, and usually end up feeling bad for myself.
  • Head to bed with a book, and read about five pages before telling myself that I need to get some sleep.

And that’s how I spend my Thursdays, including today. My sad life is sad. And even though I got nine hours of sleep last night, I’m still exhausted. Get it together, Jacob, because your palm is going to have a date with your face come Sunday night.


I Write The Songs That Make the Whole World Sing…Except the Ladies

After looking back on some recent posts where due to time constraints, post-length constraints, tiredness, or otherwise, I did not have a chance to express all of my thoughts on a particular subject. So tonight, I’d like to come back to tzniut, a topic I discussed in “A Modest Proposal”, only move away from skirts to sopranos in an exploration of another element of tzniut: kol isha, or “the voice of a woman” as it is said that the voice of a woman can inspire men to do bad and think impure thoughts.

First, let me preface by saying that even among the Orthodox, there remains no hard-and-fast rule. Some institutions, like my high school, allowed it, but gave the men the option of leaving the room (quietly) or not attending at all. Others, such as at another Jewish school, allowed girls to sing in a choir, with the function being that no individual voice could be discerned from the others, or allowing “mixed singing” of a choir of boys and girls singing together, with the intention that the boys’ singing could “cancel out” the harmful effects brought about by a woman’s singing. (Some religious schools who wanted to take it even further would schedule performance events featuring girls/women singing for only other girls/women, which didn’t really help their case other than the necessity of establishing a woman’s space). Other groups only permit the singing of women in prayer, or singing z’mirot around the Shabbos table. And in the most ultra-Orthodox homes, sometimes women are scarcely heard at all. And then there’s the issue of recorded voices; since voice-recording devices are rather recent in the scope of human history, there’s the issue of separating the image of the woman from the voice. If I can’t see who’s singing, how do I know who it is? How can I even picture her? How do I know that the girl moving to the beat is actually singing, or if it is indeed an African-American gospel singer providing the vocals, C + C Music Factory?

Let’s look back at the Talmudic roots here. The main two Talmudic passages dealing with this issue are in Berachos 24a and Kiddushin 70a. The former talks about the sin of uncovering a woman’s nakedness, and as the rabbis conjecture their thoughts on what this might mean, Rav Shmuel references Song of Songs 2:14, “…for your voice is sweet and countenance comely,” to back up his opinion. Um…okay, so women’s voices are sweet. In case you haven’t read it, Song of Songs says a lot of things about women, and a lot of it is allegory, referring to the relationship between God and the Jewish people. So there’s that. In the latter, the former is explained in more detail and is boiled down to the recitation of the sh’ma prayer, which is arguably the holiest in Jewish worship. Here, it is discussed that the holiness of the sh’ma prayer cannot be recited while a woman sings, for that could interrupt the man’s focus while in prayer, because he might imagine her naked. Okay, I’ll give you that one. But if all a man can think about is a woman naked while he prays, I think he might have voices in his head that are more dominant than the voice of a woman. But then, Rav Hai Gaon remarks that if a man can focus on his prayer to the point of blocking out the woman’s voice from distracting him, then the fact that the woman is singing makes no difference.

So there’s not too much to go on here, except that a woman’s voice may expose her and may distract a man. I don’t see enough for a case to be made here, especially not in modern times. Yes, there are female singers that are intentionally sexy, but it’s seldom that the sound of their voice turns a man on, especially if he’s never seen a picture of her; if you’ve never seen a picture of Marilyn Monroe, “Happy Birthday Mr. President” might not have any sexual meaning to you, after all it’s just another version of a song popularly sung at birthday parties. The birth of the music video and MTV has increased the level of sexuality for some female singers (Britney’s “…Baby One More Time”, Christina’s “Genie in a Bottle”, Rihanna’s “Umbrella”, J.Lo.’s “If You Had My Love”, to name a few), but not everyone has seen those videos, and not everyone immediately thinks of a music video whenever they hear a song (well, except Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” You’d have to be living under a rock to let that one miss you) They think of the first place they were when they heard the song, a commercial for footwear or candy or soda that it was the tune to, or how Jamie killed it last week at the karaoke bar. Finally, not all female singers transmit the message of sex through their music. Finally, for every singer whose image and vocals, when combined, are primarily about sex, there are five female singers whose music doesn’t particularly emit the same emotion, whether it’s by the purpose of the singer or their presentation style. In fact, in the preceding paragraph, I named six singers whose vocals/imagery have been known to inspire sexual thoughts in men (and women), so now I’m going to name 30 current female singers (young and old) whose lyrics and image are not always sexual in nature, yet are successful and feminine, nonetheless.

Adele. Alicia Keys. Anne Murray. Aretha Franklin. Avril Lavigne. Barbra Streisand. Bonnie Raitt. Candice Glover. Carly Simon. Carole King. Corinne Bailey Rae. Cyndi Lauper. Esperanza Spalding. Florence Welch. Imogen Heap. Janelle Monae. Jennifer Hudson. Kelly Clarkson. Lily Allen. Loretta Lynn. Martina McBride. Mary J. Blige. Miranda Lambert. Norah Jones. Reba McIntire. Sara Bareilles. Susan Boyle. Taylor Swift. Tori Amos. Wanda Jackson….I think that’s 30.

On the flip side, there are also some male singers whose voices are traditionally thought of as backing vocals to hookup sessions. What about Lionel Richie? Marvin Gaye? Justin Timberlake? And then there’s the epitome of sexually impure thoughts, “Careless Whisper,” by George Michael. Don’t believe me? Ask Jenna Marbles.

Probably the worst case I’ve ever heard for kol isha was after my high school’s production of Hello, Dolly!. The next day, people were talking about in class, and one of my classmates (who I’ll call Yitzy) said the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard:

“When I saw Dolly at the top of the staircase, and she turned around to sing the first words of “Hello, Dolly” over her shoulder at the audience, I knew the meaning of kol isha.”

What a cop-out, if I ever heard one. So the pretty girl in the body-covering red dress sang on key and in character, and you got turned on. That’s your problem (or a problem in your pants), not hers. Stop blaming the ladies, men, and look at yourselves. But not in public.

In conclusion (and I do have one), I think that kol isha is severely outdated and quite misogynistic. I’d like to think that we’ve come further in time, to a place where men can control their baser instincts, and where a woman’s voice does not automatically summon the devils of lust. And not every man finds every female singer, no matter how sexy her image or music, attractive. It really serves no purpose other than to suppress someone’s voice just in case it might arouse someone else, which, again, doesn’t solve the problem of the perpetually horny man. Blaming it on all women is not fair to either sex.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, listen to Barry Manilow, and think dirty thoughts.

In other news, shout-outs to my first hits from Benin (bienvenue, Lauren!) and Azerbaijan (xoş gəlmisiniz, Zahid!). I don’t know how much having two friends give you hits for just logging on from their home countries because you asked, but I also got my first visitors from Venezuela (bienvenidos!) and Senegal (bienvenue!), two countries where I know no one. I know that this post materialized in full on the morning of February 18, but my internet went out at 12:54 AM, after I had done a bunch of edits but hadn’t pressed the update button, but I’m hoping that I continue my uptick of hits just the same…