Feminism, In Its Purimist Form

Well, after sleeping for almost 24 hours straight from Friday to Saturday, I woke up just in time to go to the Ovation Purim party last night. It was pretty enjoyable, plenty of hamantaschen to eat and a very nice megillah reading, then back home and to bed.

But this morning, I realized that us Jews and our holidays – well this one in particular – are surprisingly progressive for such an ancient religion. Allow me to explain.

Purim is a day when we celebrate the Book of Esther, and specifically, its heroine, the Queen herself. She was pretty much a bad-ass bitch, making her way into the palace to replace the dethroned queen, hiding her true identity, and then pulling off a pretty covert mission in order to uncover the wicked Haman’s plans to jettison the Jews. Long story short, Haman got hanged from a tree, the Jews of the Persian Empire were safe and happy, and in her honor, we dress up, get drunk, and eat cookies which are supposed to be shaped like three-cornered hats but sometimes end up looking like vaginas.

To me, feminism means disruption of the status quo in order to ensure a greater good, benefiting a marginalized group. And it’s no coincidence that it was a woman-led effort. I mean, what other mainstream religion has a day celebrating a woman, and only a woman?

I hear the arguments that Judaism is whatever, demeaning to women, second class, all that, but at the end of the day, without women like Esther and Ruth, we wouldn’t have some of our best holidays and our religion would lose a significant part of its meaning and importance.

I hope these inside-out hamantaschen turn out all right.



Sometimes You Need an Unexciting Holiday

So, today was Purim, and for the first time in a few years, I didn’t overdo it.

Well, most of it was due to the fact that I was tired and loopy for most of the day, after the wretchedness that was yesterday, but after an appointment with the eye doctor, and lunch at Atwater’s (Baltimore cuisine for the win) I spent the afternoon grading, and then put on my monkey mask and headed out with Dad for megillah reading. I guess I’ve gotten used to lightning-fast Chabad megillah readers, but it seemed to take forever. Then, we had some hamantaschen and called it a night.

And now, to go back and edit my trip log post from Florida, and others if I have the energy.


Cinderella’s Inbox

I don’t know if this should eventually become a feature of it’s own, like “That’s So Quirky” or something, but I have so, so many quirks and superstitions that I observe.

I’m not OCD in the least (at least in the medical sense) nor traditionally superstitious (my show is opening next Friday, the 13th, and I’m already anticipating the flurry of theatre superstition that will be surrounding me, but I’m not really fazed) but there are some things that I do that I’ve never thought are weird, or am just realizing in my adulthood that are not normal behaviors. Little quirks and kinks that just kind of creep up on me, or things I’ve been doing forever. Some of them include turning around; the numbers 4, 6, 8, 10, 14 and 21 (some of which are lucky, and some unlucky); four-way stops/hallways; staircases with holes; furnaces; not drinking Fanta or Pepsi; sock/sock/shoe/shoe; and holding my breath while driving past police cars.

One more recent superstition that I’ve been following is one I’m calling Cinderella’s Inbox. This means no checking my inbox after midnight. This applies mostly to my school inbox; sometimes I check my personal email after midnight, but I try not to so I won’t get wound up in emails. Part of the reason for this is that I want/need to go to bed at a decent hour. The other part of it is if I get an email after midnight that gets me upset or anxious or worried then I’ll either a) stay awake, on the couch, pondering, or b) stare at the ceiling in my darkened bedroom until dawn. Usually a message that comes between midnight and morning is spam or some sort of mass email. If it’s an email from a professor or another student, I usually use the excuse that I was asleep, which is sometimes true and sometimes not. Let’s face it: it’s 2015. If you’re awake, you’re never far from your inbox. At least I feel like that; unless I’m driving or in the shower, I’m nearby. And before you ask, yes, I have walked into things reading emails and sometimes I read emails on the toilet (but who doesn’t)? Still, netiquette (wtf who uses that word anymore?) does still dictate that if it’s not an hour when you’d normally answer your phone, it’s acceptable to not read/respond to emails sent at that time as well. At least that’s the way it should be.

So yeah, if you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends. And if you wanna reach me, hit me up before midnight.

Unless it’s via commenting on my blog, which is open 24/7 for your convenience.

And speaking of convenience, I’ve proudly served 6 continents today. Shout-out to all my customers: North America (Canada and USA), South America (Colombia, Chile and Ecuador), Europe (UK, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine), Asia (Israel, Hong Kong, and Singapore), Africa (Ethiopia), and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand).


Password, Please

There are four words which, if you are a human who interacts with any sort of technology, encounters on a daily basis.

Enter your password, please.

Whether it’s your PIN number, email, phone, or social network, chances are you’ve got at least one. You probably have more than one, unless you use the same password for everything, which is a lesson you learn not to do after you’ve been hacked/had your identity stolen. I sure hope you do.

Most places now require a password of a certain length, sometimes case-sensitive, sometimes with multiple cases or numbers or special characters. The special characters ones are the worst. Those can be hard to create and remember, like PIMP100% or TWOGRLS&1CUP, or FR@PP$BUX3…you get the picture. At the University of Houston, they require these, and require to change your passwords every three weeks, which was a major pain in the butt. Every time I’d log-in, I’d invariably enter something like YP39*$!M before realizing that that was my password for October, of last year, and then have to try a zillion combinations before having to reset my password to something like BW^))7Z7…and remembering five seconds later that my current password was YP39*S!M (S, not a dollar sign).

Good times.

Also, most times you’re warned against or forbidden from using phrases like your name, “password,” “12345678” or “00000.” Which invariably leads to making it something like your middle name or favorite color and date of birth, which is also kind of easy for your friend to solve if he knows you and when you were born, or has a document with that information and knows you well enough. On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t be friends with that person anymore, since they’re trying to gain access to your bank account or Facebook or whatever.

I’ve come up with a foolproof plan to help you create unique passwords, and remember them every time, and all you need is a book and your computer.

First, the book. Grab the closest book to you, open to a random page, point to a word, and type that in. If it’s a word like “in,” “you,” or “the,” try again; no one’s judging you. For the purposes of this exercise, I’m going to use PNG Women Writers: An Anthology, because it’s been sitting here on the couch since last night when I cited it in my English paper/blog entry, which are both of equal importance. And let’s see…okay, after two tries of getting the word “environment” (too long) and “no” (too short), I got “infested” on page 194. “Infested” is a good word; it’s got a decent number of letters, and is unusual enough that you will remember it rather than an arbitrary combination of letters.

Then, look at the bottom right of your computer screen. You have two numbers to choose from. Right now it’s 4:58 PM CDT, so I could go with that, or 3/15, which is the date. On second thought, I could even pick the page number I just used.

And right there, you’ve got three possible passwords, “Infested458,” “Infested315” or “Infested194.” Easy enough to remember, yet not obvious enough that someone could crack it by taking shots in the dark. I do it with pretty much all my passwords, and I’ve never once been hacked.

So there you have it, a foolproof password method. BRB for now – I’m going to check all the sites I’m subscribed to to check if any one of my passwords is indeed Infested458, in which case we’ve got a problem. 

But first, here’s what you get first if you Google image search that password:

If that doesn’t make you remember your new password, I don’t know what will.

Oh, and happy Purim everyone.