Out of the basement, onto the couch!

July 16, 2009 § 2 Comments

Yes, that’s right.  I have moved out of my parents’ basement!  I now live on my friend’s couch in their Boston sublet.  The three of us will move into our three bedroom apartment Sept. 1st.

I am now living in Boston because I got a job!  I will be working for a secular Jewish non-profit in Brookline.  Today is my first day, and I got up a little earlier than I needed to due mostly to nerves but also to early-rising roommates.

Yesterday I gave myself a little walking tour of Brookline and Coolidge Corner.  I am so thrilled to be working in that area.  It is overwhelmingly nice.  There is a Trader Joe’s on my commute to work.  I will be taking the C line to work instead of the B line I usually travel.  Since the B line goes through Boston University and Allston Village, the clientele is mostly students and low-income folks.  The C line, however, goes through affluent Brookline, and seems to transport a much more affluent crowd.  I know it’s not PC of me, but I am looking forward to feeling classy on my way to work.

As I was walking around Coolidge Corner yesterday, I was not prepared for how intensely happy all the Jewish stuff would make me.  I passed Kosher delis and restaurants, synagogues, and Judaica shops.  I wandered into one shop, and saw everything a Jew could ever possibly want: shabbat candles, chamsa charms, books, seder plates, tzedakah boxes, talit, yarmulkes, siddurs, Jew-bling, and a whole room of Jewish/Israeli music.  Wandering around that store almost brought tears to my eyes.

Last year, in England, it was almost impossible to find anything Jewish.  I couldn’t find Hannukkah candles or a menorah, I couldn’t find matzoh.  The only way to get such things was to request them from the University chaplain and his wife.

Perhaps it was just the juxtaposition of the two worlds, but it really got me.  I may not be religious in the least, but there is something so incredibly comforting about being around Jewish institutions and a Jewish community.

When I was applying for this job, the fact that it was a Jewish organization was not the main selling factor for me.  Now, though, I am so grateful for it.  It is an amazing feeling to know that I will not have to worry about using sick and personal days for Jewish holidays.  And, as I realized yesterday, this job is a great opportunity for me to learn more about Judaism.

Judaism has always been important to me as an identity, and I feel like this job may make it an even bigger part of my life.  And I’m feeling good about that.


Computer Rage

June 16, 2009 § 1 Comment

Over the past few months, my trusty Powerbook G4 has been falling apart.  It’s over four years old now, and it has experienced its fair share of drops, bangs, and overheating.  Apparently that last drop was a little too much for it, and it severely damaged the cable going to the screen.

Now, whenever the computer tilts, or jiggles, or the screen tips or jiggles (as laptop screens are bound to do), it goes involuntarily to sleep, and cannot wake up.  Or more specifically, it goes to sleep, tries to wake up, then goes to sleep, tries to wake up, etc etc.  It signs me on and offline (on Adium) over and over, and though the screen is black, I can hear my sign on alerts and people messaging me.  Now it has even started doing it without the slightest tip, brush, or jiggle.  It’s pretty goddamned annoying.

This is the super-computer that I loved as dearly as a newborn infant.  And I treated it with the same amount of care and tenderness, as I routinely and lovingly wiped it down with $10 “Apple polish.”

This is the computer that traveled with me all over the place, and kept me sane and connected during my year in England.  It has been my constant companion, and a source of comfort to me during any and all difficult times.

This computer has seen me through countless essays and term papers, not to mention a 160 page undergraduate honors thesis and a Master’s dissertation. It has gone to libraries and coffee shops, pulled all-nighters with me, and provided me with an abundance of procrastination distractions as well.

In short, I have loved this computer to death.  The key word being DEATH because at this point, not being able to work on it for more than 10 minutes before it cycles into that horrid sleep-awake-sleep-awake loop makes me want to pick the thing up and SMASH IT INTO A WALL!  I want to throw it to the ground and STOMP ON IT.  This powerbook was built before those nifty magnetic power cords, and right now I spitefully fantasize about ripping out the power cord AT AN ANGLE and breaking it ON PURPOSE!  (As opposed to the other 4 power cords that got broken by accident due to BAD DESIGN.)    I want to punch right through its goddamn malfunctioning screen.

I have never experience computer rage such as this.  And it is doubly surprising when I consider how much I have truly loved this inanimate piece of machinery.  Part of me feels guilty for being angry at my beloved computer for being so old and frail.  But another part of me is glad that I am angry because, let’s face it, it’s not healthy to be so emotionally attached to a machine.

So here’s to saying goodbye, moving on, and finding the money to buy a new Macbook!

Don’t Stop (Make) Believin’

June 1, 2009 § 1 Comment

Last weekend I got my pink slip.  This weekend I signed a 700/month lease for my new Boston-area apartment.  Long story short – I’m looking to make some extra money.  I took an afterschool childcare gig that matched my schedule.  Today was my first day.

I agreed to the job before I learned how old she was.  When I heard she was four, I imagined sortof a big toddler with wide eyes who would walk around showing me things and not talk. I guess when you aren’t around kids that often, you lose sight of how old kids really are at certain ages.  The reality of the four year old girl is quite, quite different from what I had hoped.

The minute I picked her up from preschool she was talk-talk-talking on and on about how she wants to be half dragon, half unicorn, half dog, and half, um, I dunno, maybe it was a cow?  After I buckled her in, she wouldn’t let me close the door before she finished talking. And she wasn’t ever going to be finished talking.  Eventually I had to just shut the door on her, to which she replied, “HEY!”

At home, she wanted to play horses.  Sigh.  I know that I absolutely delighted in make-believe games when I was a kid, but for some reason, they plague me as a babysitter.  They just drive me crazy.   We put a bunch of horses on the floor.  She picked one up and made it fly through the air.  I kept mine on the ground and said, “Oh no!  Can you teach me how to fly?”  I was trying my best to dive into the make-believe.  My enthusiasm lasted about five minutes.

Soon I was walking around a cramped attic playroom (clearly designed for people under 3 feet tall) and taking orders.

“No!  You say, ‘Oh no, my mommy and daddy will be so mad and I will have to go to bed.”

“But you just said it.”


(I say it)

“NO! Don’t copy me!”

After two and a half hours of carting stuffed animals to jail via dump truck and bumping my head on the slanted ceilings, I was about done.

Finally she got distracted and we read a book.  Yes!  I like reading!  I like reading, coloring, movies, stickers, board games, playing outside… anything other than pure make-believe games.  I guess it’s sad in an “innocence-lost” way that I can’t get into make-believe anymore.  When she told me she wanted to be half dragon, half unicorn, half dog, half whatever, I found myself trying to explain fractions.  I guess that’s just what being a grown up is.

Though this is a little bit bittersweet, I am not going to apologize or bemoan my lack of child-like imagination.  I have come a long way from being a child, thank you very much. At this point I take pleasure in my newly-matured adult mind.

I don’t think that everyone needs to be a “kid person.”   Can’t I be an advocate for children without actually getting down on my knees and playing horses with them?

Besides, has anyone ever noticed how freaky kids can be sometimes?  As I was buckling her into the carseat, she grabbed ahold of my chamsa necklace.  I told her it was for good luck, to keep me safe.  She stared deep into my eyes with her icy, crystal blue ones, and asked, “Are you parents dead?”  I said no.  “Will you tell me when they die?”  Honestly, that freaked me out more than The Sixth Sense.

I am hoping things will get easier as I get more comfortable with this little girl, and more used to the mind of a four year old.  Even if I don’t, the money makes it worthwhile.  Bt truly, folks, I’d take a moody, hormonal teen with a criminal record any day.

Drops, crashes, and a place to call home

May 21, 2009 § Leave a comment

I haven’t been able to post for a few days because an IT guy has been (graciously) looking at my computer for me.  It’s a Powerbook G4, and it will be four years old in June.  For four years, this computer has been my baby, my lover, my telephone, my television, and most recently, my old friend.  When it started doing freaky things like going to sleep randomly or crashing… I started to get nervous.  The Apple guys looked it over and immediately noticed a dent on the right corner.  Evidence of a drop, they said.

(Anecdote:  It’s college, I’m young, irresponsible, and living life to the fullest.  It’s 4 am on a Tuesday night and I fall asleep in my raised bed, with my laptop still playing a Futurama cartoon next to my pillow.  At some point I am awakened by the sound of my laptop hitting the floor…)

(This may have happened more than once….)

Anyway, it appears that the only thing wrong is that the cables going to the screen have been bruised, and are causing the display to go to sleep and things like that.  My IT hero reinforced them with some plastic, but warns me to keep the laptop as stationary as possible, aka use it as a desktop computer.  This will take some adjusting to, but I am glad that it’s nothing worse.

Because of lack of internet access, I haven’t been able to post about my recent trips into Boston to meet with the realtor and my future roomies to look at places, and hallelujah we found one!

It’s in Somerville but near the Cambridge line, and a 15 minute walk from Harvard Square.  It has lots of street parking, and free in-unit laundry!  It’s definitely the nicest of the places we saw in our price range, and has a couple cute features like an arched doorway and pink tiled walls in the kitchen.  Cozy, but not too cramped.  And I am happy with my choices for bedrooms.  The only problem is that there are no closets in the bedrooms, but I suppose that could be solved with clever furniture solutions.  We move in Sept 1st.

The scary part of saying yes to this apartment is that I am about to sign a lease for $700 a month, and I don’t have a job lined up for next year yet.  I tend to be an anxious person and can’t help imagining the worst case scenario over and over- I’m unemployed and can’t afford rent and I have to move back home and get a subletter, I’m unemployed and have to ask my parents for money, or  I’m employed in retail and working with high school kids and have to ask my parents for money………………. Ugh.  I know it will be okay.  At least, I know I have to keep telling myself it will be ok.

It is all very exciting though.  And scary.  Scary exciting.  It’s really hitting me how much my life will change this summer/fall.  I have it so easy now- an easy, fun job, squatting in my parents’ basement and eating all their food.  Pretty soon I’ll have to start being an adult again.  I’ll have to worry about money, and bills, and I probably wont have a job that involves playing kickball or hanging out with teenagers.

On the bright side, I’ll be an adult again.  I won’t have my parents reading over my shoulder. I’ll have my freedom back.  I’ll be living with friends for the first time ever, and a sweet little kitty too.  I’ll have a chance to really get to know Boston from the inside, and hopefully make a lot of new friends.  Hopefully, I’ll have a good job.

Yes, kids, change is a-comin.’  The anticipation is distracting.

Driving home from Star Trek

May 8, 2009 § Leave a comment

The sound is David Bowie’s “Hallo Spaceboy.”

My dashboard is my command console.

I adjust the knobs as I fly my spacecraft through the darkness of the country backroads.

The double yellow and white stripes, the streetlights, whiz by me like stars.

A green signal up ahead – can I make it through the portal before it closes?

I am approaching quickly, it turns yellow.  Warp speed!  (I’m giving it all she’s got!)

I made it.

I land safely and dock my ship in my driveway.

Star Trek is a really good movie.

Zack Quinto is still hot with pointy ears.

The medium is the…

April 29, 2009 § Leave a comment

As a person who came of age in perfect synchronicity to The Internet, I have been trained to multi-task.  I am fully adept at juggling multiple open applications, windows, and browser tabs; all at the same time that I carry on three different conversations on AIM, update my livejournal, check my RSS feeds, and watch TV.  Aren’t you?  C’mon, that’s easy.

I teach a class on Jewish lit, and I am prepping for my upcoming class, which will focus on Yiddish folktales.  I happen to have a collection of them on casette tape.  (Yes, I said CASETTE TAPE.)  So, I thought nothing of sitting down with my laptop, 6 tabbed windows, and 3 AIM conversations to listen to a few stories.

I cannot believe how difficult it is to listen to a story and “internet” at the same time!  I kept having to stop and rewind the tape because I completely missed a part.   In fact, I am not going to start the tape up again until I finish this post.

And all the while, the invisible media studies nerd that sits on my right shoulder keeps whispering, “Oh no!  She’s attempting to mix hot and cool media!”  And then the evil media studies nerd on my left shoulder says, “Let her try!  Maybe her head will explode!”

Meanwhile, I just wish Marshall McLuhan were alive to see this.  His head would probably explode.

Anyone can be a graphic designer with Pages

April 28, 2009 § 2 Comments

We only have one Apple computer at my school, and I am the only one who knows how to use it.

Earlier this year, I taught a journalism elective and set up a Pages template for the kids to use to create their class magazine.  Then, when the call came down to create a couple pages on our program for the main High School yearbook, I was asked to create a two-page spread of photo-collages.  To the dismay of my co-worker, who had done this for years and years in MS Paint, I used Pages and put together something that looked a lot more professional than, well, MS Paint.

This project was the nail in the coffin.  Now I am the “graphic design” girl at work.  I signed on to do a local history project with our students, which will ultimately culminate in a student-written book, designed by me, using Pages.  I was also appointed to head the Yearbook committee.  (Our small program makes its own yearbook.)  It will also be designed, by me, in Pages.

I never really thought of myself as a “graphic design” person.  I’m not sure exactly how I got to be that girl since all I do is fool around with Pages, which is standard Apple software, not exactly Photoshop or InDesign.

My experience so far as the go-to design girl has been sortof fun, but also frustrating because my co-workers like to stand over my shoulder and say things like, “Can you make that darker?” or “Maybe that section should only be half a page,” or “Can you make that bigger?”  Is this what graphic design is really like?  If it is, I send out a wholehearted hug to all graphic designers with hovering clients.

[Do you think you could have made that post a little shorter?]