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Contemplating My Crazy Weekend Over Matzah

Well hello everyone. The past 72 hours are almost lost to memory, but in an effort at preserving them, here’s an update on what’s going on in my life, AKA why I’ve been such a slacker of late:

Friday: No class, as usual, but an afternoon rehearsal for Saturday’s ballroom showcase with my partner. Then, at 5:30, we initiated about 20 pledges into APO. Immediately following, I went over to Hanna’s place for the first seder, which was a motley collection of ragtag misfits, including my brother from another mother Raimund; Hanna’s son Josh; his girlfriend, Bobbie; her friend, Becca; Haruki, a Japanese guy who is one of Hanna’s tenants; Esti and Gidon, an Israeli couple; Judy, a flight attendant; Bonnie, who I didn’t get a chance to talk to but had a great voice; Helene, an insurance agent, and her lovely mother, Daisy; and from the band, Nick the sax player and Isham and Ibrahim, two Muslim brothers who play percussion instruments. It was the first time sat between a Christian (Haruki) and a Muslim (Isham) at a seder, and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. It really felt like a community dinner, and Hanna was an excellent hostess and provider of tempeh, charoset, chicken, and potatoes. Raimund made a salmon salad and baked potatoes, Helene and Daisy made a TON of matzah balls and soup, and Judy made matzah meal brownies. I’m not used to musical instruments at the seder, but Isham and Ibrahim did a great job on the bongos and the darbouka while Bonnie played the shaker. It was all just so homey and fun, and inclusive without feeling diluted. A fun time was had by all.

Saturday: Up early to work on my paper, then to the SAC at 10:30 to present it. I was on a panel alongside Jo, a speaker from the art department, and a speaker from the gender and women’s studies department. The theme of the session was minority women and performance, with papers delivered about modern Indian theatre (Jo), Navajo textiles (art department woman), antebellum slave narratives (GWS woman), and mine, reimagining the Gypsy woman. Only a few audience members, but it was special all the same.

Then, after a quick lie-down at home, I was back up at 3 to meet my partner at the SERF for an hour of practice. Then, back home to relax a little and gather up my costume and makeup for the dress rehearsal at 5. Dress rehearsal went really well, despite the fact that not everyone was in costume, which kind of defeated the purpose, but whatever. The formation group did a hilarious jive to “Dear Future Husband,” there was a samba round and a waltz formation. Other dances included a paso doble, a Viennese waltz, and a few different jives. My partner and I ended up with a combination of American waltz, International waltz, rumba, and Israeli folk dance. The performance started at 7:30, and we were fourth. It was so much fun, and we got some good applause, as well as good photos and a video that’s already up online ::cough::lastsemesterschachachastillwaiting::cough::

I left at intermission/social dancing to hopefully catch part of Avremel’s seder for the second night of Passover, and actually came right on time, it hadn’t even started yet. It was very different than Hanna’s seder, but just as special. It was very classy, with cake from New York and fresh fruit as a starter, and just so much food: brisket, cabbage, roasted vegetables, and two different kugels. It was shorter than I thought, but there were a lot of really nice and fun people there.

Today: sleep and grade.

Welcome to my crazy life.

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That’s The Way The Matzah Crumbles

Well that was fun.

As you know, Wisconsin made it to the Final Four last year and lost against Kentucky, but this year, they managed to surpass that, defying all the odds (well, the odds of making it to the championship in general being rather slim, when you consider how many teams are in Division I basketball; they were a #1 seed this year) and it was really exciting.

Not so exciting was flying back to Madison from Baltimore and landing roughly at the time the championship was ending.

I changed planes in Minneapolis, and as soon as I arrive and make it to my terminal, the TVs are all tuned to the game. Since Duke is the opponent, and they’re based far, far away in North Carolina, the bulk of the terminal are Badger fans. They’re leading at the half, and then we have to board the plane, for what will be the weirdest flight ever.

First of all, it’s a flight from Minneapolis to Madison, which is pretty ludicrous in and of itself, since they’re only 3-4 hours apart by road, and it’s a tiny plane. Second, everyone on the plane is either wearing Badger red and glued to their smartphone/laptop/iPad or munching on matzah, or both, like the mother/daughter pair across the aisle from me. When the cabin crew announces the “turn off all electronic devices,” a few people manage to keep watching the game for a few minutes, until the captain says over the intercom:

“Listen, you all need to turn off your electronic devices. I know it’s the game, but it’s regulation. We’ll try to have you on the ground as soon as possible, but until then, just enjoy your flight. We will not be offering a complimentary beverage service, but

Mind. Blown.

An in-flight score service, who knew.

The excitement builds as we take off and sail over the two states. True to their word, the flight attendants keep us updated on the score, and it’s close to an even score as we land in Madison, and the cabin goes dark in preparation.

We land.

The lights come up, the phones go on, and the first thing I see it a text from my dad:

“Wisconsin loses.”

Oh gosh.

I don’t know what this means.

A big part of me is disappointed, but just as much of me is curious as to what will happen, if it’ll be a danger zone, and part of me is relieved, because all the crazies will be leaving Madison just as I’m attempting to get a ride in. Fortunately, a lady a few rows behind me asks me where I live, and turns out we’re a block from each other, so she called a cab for us before we even left Madison, which was super nice of her. We end up sharing with another guy, a stats professor, and get home rather quickly.

The rest of the night is quiet at least.

And again, that was fun.

On Wisconsin, I guess…?

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Top Ten Things a Stoner Might Say on Easter

In honor of today being both Easter Sunday and 4/20, I thought I’d make a list.

 

Top Ten Things a Stoner Might Say on Easter

10. “Man, these little green plastic streamers aren’t working…what did you line the kids’ Easter baskets with again?”

9. “I have risen! Hahahaha just kidding I’m so totally not high right now.”

8. “You seen a big tall rabbit anywhere around here?”

7. “Under my Easter bonnet…no one can see how high I am.”

6. “I’ll show you how this Easter Egg rolls…”*

5. “GIMME YOUR CHOCOLATE BUNNY, LITTLE GIRL IN MARY JANES”

4. “Haha, Mary Janes.”

3. “Dude. I want some ham.”

2. “Mmm…baked ham. Hahahaha”

1. “Whatever man. Is Taco Bell open today?”

 

Whether you did Easter or did drugs today, hope you had a good one.

It’s still Passover, so I did matzah today.

 

*Can’t take full credit for this one. My friend Hannah told me that even though Madison is a hippie-dippie kinda place, they had an Easter egg roll on the Capital lawn rather than some sort of marijuana-related event, which surprised me. I then suggested that they hide chocolate eggs and charge stoners $10 to find them, to which she suggested that if there was a way to stuff a slice of pizza in the egg, that would be even better.

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Mr. Know-It-All

I am a pretty calm person when it comes to dealing with other people. I have a pretty thick skin and I can take it better than I can dish it out. But there are some things that people say and do that just rile me.

Like know-it-alls. Know-it-alls come in all types. There’s the child know-it-all, one part wunderkind, two parts annoying; the best friend know-it-all, which can be comforting at times but grating at others; the sibling know-it-all, known to be the cause of rivalry (but deny it to the death), and then there’s the worst type of know-it-all.

Yes, I’m talking about the know-it-all religious figure.

They’re the type of people who give your religion a bad name. For all the wonderful people I’ve encountered in my religious circle, unfortunately it’s the ones who act like bigshots who often have the most visibility. Not to say that others are shrinking violets, but the outspoken nature of the religious know-it-all overshadows all but the most bold of their compatriots.

Today, I had Shabbat lunch and third-meal at the home of a local rabbi, whose name I am not going to say, mostly because I can never remember what it is (one of the good things about rabbis – they all respond to the same name: rabbis). He’s a good guy, as most guys are, but sometimes there’s this smarmy aura about him, as if he imagines himself as the center of the universe. I’m not knocking his religious education, but one of the things about rabbis is that they shouldn’t put you down, or speak to you in a way that is a direct judgment on your character.

Lunch was fine, but at dinner, the topic of religiosity and religious parenting came up. I know I was kind of setting myself up here, but someone else at the table mentioned that her parents came from two very different religious backgrounds, neither of which were Orthodox, and I added in that my parents also came from two very different religious backgrounds, with one Orthodox and one not so much, causing Rabbi Know-it-all to say:

“It’s impossible to raise a kid with one Orthodox parent and one non-Orthodox parent. It doesn’t work. It’s too confusing.”

Oh boy…

“Mine raised me Orthodox,” said I.

“Tell me more,” says the rabbi.

Me:

<Regret>

So, I go through the basics of how my parents met, how they raised us, and how I am today vs. how I lived when I was in their house, ending with “…my parents taught me that Shabbat was important but that my studies were as well, and if that meant doing homework on holidays/Shabbat, so be it. ”

</Regret>

His response?

“Well, that’s a mixed message, you could just as easily go to a club on Shabbos and they’d never know. It’s like a gateway into breaking Shabbos ::smarmy smile::”

Um, wha?

First of all, you don’t know me. Okay, that’s more of a gut reaction and a copout. But seriously, second of all, you have never met parents, lived in my house, or experienced my childhood. Third, and the most hurtful of all, is that you’re basically telling me that I have no self-control and that my religious views/my parents’ are based on lies. Is that something a religious figure and role model should be saying? No. That’s what a petulant, nose-picking moron on the playground or in the hallway would say. Everyone judges and gets judged by others over the course of his/her life, and that’s fine, but keep it to yourself unless you’re certain that the person might have a serious problem, in which case talk to them privately about it, if it matters that much to you. Also, you don’t have a say in how religious I am, and when you put it out there like that, I’m less likely to believe things that you say in the future. And when you jump to conclusions, bring a parachute; you might knock yourself into a hole in the ground.

I thought I would have more to say on this topic, but I think I’ve said my piece for now.

There is one kind of know-it-all that I can tolerate, and that is my parents. Don’t mess with them; when you insult them, you insult me.

15 Life Lessons Learned From "As Told By Ginger"

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How to Make Mealtimes on Passover Much More Enjoyable

This day has turned out to be perfectly awful, capped off with my Internet deciding to go to Italy or something, so I’m posting this from my iPad, which means I’ll have to return later for tags and graphics.

On top of that, it’s still Passover. I know that my ancestors did my unborn soul a solid by getting out of Egypt, but couldn’t they have just brought some trail mix or something? Well, part of it is some old rabbis’ fault, but I won’t go into that right now.

I would like to, on another note, pay a tribute to something that has made my Passover a little more hassle-free, and that is the Solo cup.

Commonly seen at fraternity houses and beach bungalows, the red Solo cup is the iconic imagery of modern-day alcoholism. The fire-engine red plastic never goes with anything you’re wearing, but its color seems to be pleasing to the eye, mind, and soul of those seeking relief from midterms and taxes alike. Students from other countries are often surprised when they come to college in the USA that sometimes the cups may be blue. Its status has only been enhanced by the media exposure received from movies of the last twenty years; hundreds of Oscar-worthy performances yet never noticed by the Academy.

This Passover, I took stock of my utensil collection. I have my grandmother’s silverware, but my Passover flatware was left behind in Houston. Since I bought two sets of dishes once I got here, I never needed anything of the disposable sort. Upon opening my utility cabinet, I had a half-filled sleeve of plastic plates, but no plastic cups. So, I went to the grocery store and bought some red Solo cups for this purpose (and to make me feel young again). Once the holiday started, I realized just how useful red Solo cups are to the everyday consumer.

You can eat just about anything out of a red Solo cup.

Aside from any beverage, the red Solo cup is the perfect side for a bowl of soup, if you let it cool a little before hitting the plastic. Matzah balls act as ice cubes. For fresh fruits like berries or canned peaches, just put them in the cup, run it under some water, and you’re good to go. Speaking of snacking, they have a finger-bowl-like quality for any morsels out of a box or bag. Chicken or fish? No problem! Fold it over, stick it in the cup, and you can have one hand free and use a fork and spoon to cut it into pieces. Eggs are a snap: in omelet form, just slide that baby in, and in hard boiled form, it’s handy to have two on hand – one to hold the eggs, and one for the shells, and the yolks too if they’re not your thing, so you can dump it in the trash or down the disposal when you’re done. Believe it or not, you can also use plastic to save the environment too! You can eat out of one, drink from another, put biodegradable waste in one, and non-biodegradable waste like candy wrappers and drink pouches in the other, and dispose appropriately. How convenient! Another environmentally friendly function of the cups is their reusability. Wash them throughly immediately after use, and you can use them to enjoy another meal! Or, if you like, take the cup you ate your lunch from and turn it into your dinner disposal cup! Double duty, people! And clean-up’s a breeze – just lift it up and you’re done, no more sponging down the table!

The only Passover food that doesn’t quite work with the cup is matzah itself, but who needs matzah anyway?

Now, go out and get yourself some red Solo cups and rediscover the fun of eating at home!

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Children Are Always Cute When Saying the Four Questions

And that’s just about the only time.

Yeah, I’m being serious.

Small children at meals usually mean that I need earplugs and two Advil. There’s just something about their voices screeching in unison at unholy pitches that just goes straight through the brain. With babies it’s somewhat more tolerable, since they don’t know what they’re doing, bless ’em. It’s the walkers-and-talkers who are germ-spreading, attention-seeking little future-people.

But at the Passover seder, it’s different.

The first night, I dined with YJP (which was supposed to be at the Concourse, but ended up moving to Chabad, oddly enough) and there were no children, so that was cool.

The second night, I returned to Chabad for an undergrad seder. Basically, it was four long tables of loud, obnoxious undergrads over whom the rabbi had to shout the seder.

At the normal point, the rabbi asked everyone to quiet down for the Four Questions, which the youngest children traditionally sing. The baby is still a baby, but fortunately most of the wild undergraduate elephants quieted their roar for the shy, overshadowed middle child to say the four questions with the help of his father. The talking got a little louder when the older, outspoken one started to do it double-time, English interspersed with Yiddish, but strangely, I found myself siding with the kid rather than the crowd. Maybe I like the underdog, or maybe I just intensely dislike the JAPs who go to Chabad because a) their parents told them to and b) they’re getting free food. And they’re probably going to hit up Wendy’s or Chipotle at the soonest opportunity. Or maybe because it’s actually a legit part of the seder.

The cool part of the seder was, after dinner, the rabbi directed anyone wishing to sing more songs over to our table. Because that’s how we Chabad regulars roll.

Not a lot of new visitors over the past few days, but welcome to The Bahamas. Bring friends. And now that I have people who actually read/comment…I’m taking suggestions.