30 August 2005

A New Year At YCT

YCT's back in session this week! On Sunday, the first year guys and mechina guys went to CT to a ropes course thing, with low ropes / problem-solving activities in the morning and high ropes course activities in the afternoon, which was fun and enjoyable. Yesterday, on Monday, the entire yeshiva went to Jim Thorpe, PA for some whitewater rafting. It was fun, a good time, I got to swim a little bit, which was really nice, with the forest and Pocono mountains around us. It was only, however, a level 1 rapids - definitely easier - and more calm (which allowed for the swimming) - than the level 3 rapids Yonah and I did in Costa Rica in December. Today was the first day of yeshiva, which was kind of exciting, though classes only really start tomorrow. It'll definitely be weird to try to adjust to being a rabbinical student. I don't think I'll really think of myself as that until after our holidays break in October. {Pictures: me on "Pirates' Crossing" ropes thingy & Ross and me learning some mekorot about shabbat, prepared by Rabbi Linzer}

Guinea Pig News

On Shabbas afternoon, returning from lunch, my roommate pointed out to me that one of my guinea pigs that I had only bought the previous Sunday was not moving much. After touching it and then shaking it, I realized it had kicked the bucket. So, I grabbed a plastic bag and put the deceased little body into it, then tossed it into the garbage before any flies or whatever else could discover what I had. I couldn't leave the remaining guinea pig lonely, so yesterday (Monday), I bought a new one, whose picture you can see at left.

25 August 2005

Paper Done; Moving On

My paper for my Columbia grad course has been finished!!! Granted, it took me from Sunday through mid-day Wednesday, if one includes procrastination. I did, however, read all of the articles and arrange my empirical material prior to the first half of this week that my focusing on my paper entail. It was definitely hellish Wednesday morning. After having not slept Tuesday night, kept up only by caffeine pills, music, and the sheer will to finish, I was so not happy with my existential condition. Anyways, I slept last night.
However, I cleaned this morning in anticipation of Michael's return, the other two new roommates' arrival this weekend (one of which arrives in 8-9 hours), and my hopeful departure to my new apartment (yes, I'm still waiting for them to finish the work on it). I just found out a few hours ago about the one arriving in hours and have not prepared for such a soon arrival. Another all-nighter??

23 August 2005

Updates on my New Apartment

I got keys to the front door and to my mailbox in my new building. Also, I took pictures of the current progress in my new apartment. Obviously, I haven't yet moved in. And, of course, our rent hasn't started kicking in yet. The top picture is near the front door of the fron little vestibule and living room. The middle picture is of the kitchen and bathroom. The bottom picture is of the bedroom. It looks highly unlikely that they will have this apartment completed in nine days....

22 August 2005

Yankee Game

I went to a Yankee game today and saw Alex Rodriguez hit his 100th RBI (for the eighth straight season), as the Yankees shut out the Blue Jays. It was actually the first time in a long time since I've attended a game at Yankee Stadium - it's certainly been over a decade. The last Yankee game I saw was one in May 1997 at Cooper Stadium against their AAA farm team, the Columbus Clippers, with Jeter, Posada, and Williams still on the team. Unfortunately, JEter did not play tonight to due a thumb problem.
Not that I really follow baseball, but Mt. Sinai of Washington Heights had a little outing and there were some people I knew who were going and it was a good time.
My procrastinating to do my paper for my Columbia class continues as I stress about it....

21 August 2005

I've bought living things

So, last week I bought an aloe plant, a mint plant, and a fig plant. Today, while procrastinating to do my paper for my Columbia class, I bought two guinea pigs. My first pets.

Three Weeks End and So Does My Beard

The three weeks ended and, thus, I shaved and cut my hair.

My Future Apartment

So my future apartment won't be ready until after September 1, which sucks, but will also be a pain for my roommates as I remain in my old place. For two of them, it won't be so bad, but fo the one with whom I will be sharing a room, it will terribly suck. For the last couple of weeks, I've tried taking a picture of the new apartment, especially the bathroom area, where there is nothing, save for a tub - not even any walls, but the guy who's in charge of the project is being a dick to me in not letting me take a photo, each of the four times I've gone there, just because he's not sure the owner would let him/me. Though I spoke to the owner two weeks ago who said it was ok, this foreman guy won't let me. Nevertheless, I took a picture of the door:

Shabbas Meal Leftovers

I finally understand why people want to give away leftovers from shabbas or other festive meals: leftovers can be troublesome. After hosting a shabbas meal yesterday, there were a few items that would have been great if people just finished them off, but instead I had to put them away in the fridge. Fortunately, I was hungry מוצאי שבת and had some of the stuff for מלוה מלכה. It was neat to put together the meal, but I'm not bothering with it for a while. It's more enjoyable to put on a meal for like 8-10 people than five, as yesterday's, because there are more people, plus more people can bring more food. It was a good meal, though, don't get me wrong.

17 August 2005


So I got to play dodgeball today for the first time since middle school. Yay! Each team had 2-3 girls on it and 3-4 guys on it, so there were teams of six, about sixteen or eighteen of them, with most of the people being from the upper west side, as that's where it was, and two teams from the Heights, us being one of them. Well, our first match was against the other team from the Heights, which was kind of bizarre, but all the more fun. I got all three of their girls out and was remaining with one girl on our side vs. one guy on their side, but I threw a ball he caught and she eventually was hit. Oh well, a number of us went to Pizza Cave on 72nd afterwards. We stayed until the first semifinal game. It was neat, all young people in their 20s and 30s, hosted by Emunah. I sure hope they do it again.

16 August 2005

Now I can say I've seen Jeff Goldblum live

As Alexis (my sister) got in yesterday and is leaving tomorrow (today, really), not used to being in New York, decided it would be such a waste not to take advantage of the City while she's here. So she decided she wanted to watch a play. I'm not the biggest fan of plays. If I want to watch an entertaining story, I'll watch a movie - Blockbuster, or something for a little fee vs. a play, which is not a little fee. Nevertheless, I'd thought I'd humor her. So, we watched "The Pillowman", which starred Billy Crudup and Jeff Goldblum. It was entertaining, though also dark. It was certainly amusing and I'm glad I saw it. I think I'm exempt from seeing Broadway plays now.

14 August 2005

Need a New Roommate

So I was supposed to room with such-and-such person who is a good guy, but he's recently had a change of plans and will be going to Brooklyn instead of in the Heights. Fortunately, he's paying for the first month, but I need to find a replacement. He may possibly live there with me for a month or two, but ultimately, it will be very temporary, at best. So, that kind of sucks. But maybe it's a special opportunity. Opportunity for what, I don't know. If you know of any guys looking for a place in the Heights....

11 August 2005

If I don't post this now, I probably won't later

So, apparently some Jew upset a gentile in the apartment building in which I'm still residing for a few more weeks. But that would haven't made my blog were it to be the end of that, rather the gentile fellow decided to go on a painting spree, including our doorstep (see picture below). The good news out of this is that when they cleaned up the paint, they cleaned up our doorstep (yay) - but only where the paint was, and not the entire doorstep (aw).

Done (sort of) with Columbia for the summer

Last night, I had the last of twelve classes of my Language, Gender, and Culture graduate course at Columbia University. Yay. Though, I now have to write a paper within the next two weeks, so I'm not totally off the hook yet. It was a good experience, learning a lot, even if I disagreed with some of the ideas, but that's the way of the world.
Now, it's full-time sitting in the library doing my other research.

09 August 2005

Seemingly bad news

I say only seemingly because of גם זו לטובה. So what is the news? I saw my new landlord at שחרית Sunday and inquired specifically about my move-in date due to the construction going on there. Well, at the earliest, we will be moving in on 1 September. The EARLIEST. Well, this postponement will surely not bode tremendously well with my roommates for the beginning of September, as we will stuffing four guys into a space for three; but moreover, as I have a lot of stuff! Now, to discuss this with my roommates....

02 August 2005

My Feasting Week Gleefully Comes to Its End

The above picture is from Michael and my dining at Madras Mahal lunch buffet today that was amazing, and all for such a low price. Ahhhh, madd Indian food. Yay. But this past week, since my sister's arrival in town has resulted in so much more eating than I normally do. Though Alexis left yesterday, I still went to Eden Wok's buffet last night in honor of Arona Schneider's birthday (see pic below). Finally, I can now try to lose some weight....

01 August 2005

Three Weeks - Yeah, Ashkenazim Invented It

The other shabbas, I was curious about this three week period and how come it shifts from three weeks, to nine days, to the week of, and finally Tisha b'Av. Interestingly enough, I found that the main source for the prohibitions of stuff is found on Ta'anis 29b in a double-set of beraisos wherein three different Tannaim opine their views on when the period of when we are both "נוהג אבל" and when there is an אסור לספר ולכבס: Rabbi Meir says from Rosh Hodesh until the fast, Rabbi Yehudah says all of the month, and Rabban Shim'on ben Gamaliel says only the week in which the fast occurs. The interesting thing about this is where did we get the whole three weeks, that is, the stuff before the first of Av?
The Rema says (OC 551:4) that we (Ashkenazim) are stringent from the beginning of the beginning of the month regarding laundering, but we are stringent from the seventeenth of Tammuz for haircuts. Okay, so now I know why I have this beard. Apparently in medieval Europe, we decided to be stringent on activities earlier than the ancient period that the Tannaim set for us to follow. What about music, though?
You can thank Mr. Magen Avraham for this one: He says (OC 551:10) it seems to him that it is forbidden to do various dances and such, without giving us any reasoning for his extension. In any event, there's probably some connection between dancing and music. Ah well, in any event, the first of the month is coming up, so we'll be in the *real* period to begin behaving like mourners.