Underneath The Mistletoe

One more final. Half a paper to write. Flight out of here at 9:55 am on Friday. Cannot wait. So hungry. Having hard time writing proper sentences.
I'm a Jew. I love Christmas songs. I am an orthodox Jew. I really, really love Christmas songs. All year long I sing them. ("Chestnuts roasting on an open fire... Jack Frost nipping at your nose... blah blah blah blah -- don't actually know those lyrics -- ... Merry Christmas to you!" and "Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go. The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh on the white and drifting snow!") Ah...wonderful. It wasn't until yesterday though that I actually downloaded a Christmas song and put it on my mp3 player. It is an awesome song though, so who can blame me? I downloaded My Chemical Romance's version of "All I Want For Christmas Is You". I actually love the Mariah Carey version too, but she's Mariah Carey... I'd prefer not to have a song of hers anywhere near my mp3 player.

Just as a side note, download "Wine Red" by The Hush Sound.

//Todays title is brought to you by the lyrics to my favorite Christmas song.


But We Ignore That

I am procrastinating. I do not feel an urgent need to write about what I am going to write about, but I am going to because, like I said, I am procrastinating. Wigs. More commonly referred to as "shaitles". I find them, dare I say, silly? Covering hair with more hair. Most wigs these days either look like real hair... sometimes actually better (well, depending on the person wearing it. For example, if I were to wear a shaitle it would improve the look of my frizzy hair). I am married. I wear head scarves/bandannas. Do I feel like I'm better than/more religious than/smarter that those people who choose to wear shaitles? Absolutely not. If you knew my reasons for being anti death penalty and (at the same time) anti gay marriage you'd understand why.

For fear of being bombarded with "you're a bleeding heart liberal for being anti the death penalty" or "you're a fanatic right wing war-monger for being anti gay marriage" comments, maybe I should -- to the best of my ability -- explain why I feel the way I feel on these issues.

I am anti the death penalty. "Why?" you ask. Because we don't live in the time of the bais hamikdash/ sanhedrin anymore. If there were people that were appointed by G-d and not just by any random American on the street I'd probably be all for the death penalty. I'd actually probably be first in line to pull the switch on all the rapists, pedophiles and murderers. But, I guess until moshiach comes, I'll have to wait. ... The Jewish philosopher in me keeps says, "But isn't G-d in control of everything? Obviously he wants these people in power." Maybe so, but G-d also gives us the choice between right and wrong... maybe we made a wrong decision.

I am anti gay marriage. "Why?" you ask. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with the Torah (uh... am I going to burn in hell for saying that?). It actually has to do with civil unions. I don't think they're fair. Why should a gay couple get to live together, be on each other's insurance and then at any point just break up without having to pay a lawyers fee? The only way a straight couple can get on each other's insurance is if they're married. And the only way out of that marriage is through divorce. And you're probably wondering why I'm not just anti civil unions. I wish I could be anti only them, but gay marriage and civil unions are nearly always said in the same breath. Through osmosis, I guess, I am anti gay marriage.

So now you see the way my brain works. Welcome to the wonderful world of Jessica.

Minor update -- I finally finished my political philosophy final paper! Miri, though I'm still not completely convinced that it's form of government that is the starting point of politics, you did convince me that it was definitely not justice. Basically my paper was about how the form of government is a starting point, but not the starting point. Unfortunately, I was not able to figure out what the starting point was, but my teacher always says the he prefers us to ask questions even if we don't have the answers, rather than just saying something half-heartedly just to fulfill the requirements for the paper.
With that done I'm left with one 8-page final paper, 2 (40 questions, multiple choice) finals and 4 days until we're out of this hell hole some people like to call "New York".

//Title = Say Anything's "Alive With The Glory Of Love" -- If Say Anything isn't already one of your favorite bands, it should be.


Blanket of Clouds

I should be writing a final paper for my political philosophy class right now. Okay, scratch that. I should be sleeping right now, but my mind won't let me. I keep thinking about all the things I need to do tomorrow (well, technically today). I need to do laundry, clean up the kitchen, dining/living room and bathroom (if not the bedroom also) and I need to cook for shabbas. I think I'm going to take the easy way out and just cook up some hamburgers on the George Foreman. This is the last shabbas we're going to be in town for a while anyway and I don't want to have leftovers.
Enough about dinner though, I have a final paper due on Tuesday and I'm having a bit of trouble putting my thoughts together. The question is "What is the proper starting point in politics; justice, freedom, equality or form of government? (While the professor knows there are many other possibilities he also knows the most popular ones. He was actually cutting us some slack by giving us options -- and making the paper 3.5 pages MAXIMUM!)
In my opinion, the answer is justice, without a doubt. If there is nothing just in politics (which there arguably is not), then it simply cannot exist. I can't seem to explain this in an essay form though. I know I want to bring up examples from Plato's 'The Republic' (which we read this semester) and I can probably find things in the other two books we read this semester (John Locke's 'The Second Treatise of Government' and Hannah Arendt's "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil"). This happens before most of my papers though. Once I take a chunk of time and just force myself to write the thing, I'm able to finish it in less than a half an hour. And I don't get bad grades either. In this class the first assignment I got a B, second A-, midterm A, 3rd assignment A-, 4th assignment B+... not too shabby if I do say so myself... and I do. Hm... I seem to have forgotten the purpose of this... ah yes, I wanted to attempt to clear my head so I could completely focus on my paper. Now that I've cleared my head though, I think I'd rather go to sleep...

//Blog title = "Walking After You" by Foo Fighters


And I Know Why

I can sit for hours just biting my nails. On Thursdays I have class from 2:00 pm until 10:00 pm. Unless I am writing notes, that time is spent biting my nails. Corey wants me to stop... I think mostly because I bite them on shabbas too. I did try. Last spring semester I went a whole month without biting. My nails aren't used to being grown out though so they were really soft and broke off. I ended up going right back to biting and haven't really been able to made myself stop since. I hesitate to say that I haven't been able to since I am a firm believer in people taking responsibility for their actions. Nail biting is my addiction, but I can stop it if I really try hard enough. My problem is that I'm just not trying... probably because I do feel better when I bite. It calms me down. I'm able to literally just sit there biting without actually thinking about anything. My mind is blank when I'm biting. There are no stressors in my life during bite time. Biting nails is to me like heroin is to a junkie.

//Todays title brought to you by Afroman's "Because I Got High"... no explanation needed.


We Will Find A Place To Hide

Its interesting to see what's happened in the lives of people we haven't seen since 6th grade. Corey and I went to a wedding yesterday and there was a girl (er... woman) there who had moved from Cleveland (my hometown) after 6th grade and I hadn't seen her since. She looked exactly like she had in 6th grade just... grown up. She is married to a really nice guy (who happens to have gone to yeshiva with Corey) and is getting a nursing degree. They even gave us a ride home -- which turned out to be a bit out of the way for them. I was really happy to get to see her and meet her husband and normally I'm not a big fan of speaking to people I don't know well/meeting new people. But, yesterday was a "new" kind of day for me, since I had to basically sit on the lap of one of Corey's (male) friends... the backseat of the car was too small for Corey, me and Corey's friend. I tried scooting in as far as I could (I was in the middle) and ended up sitting on Corey's friend (AWKWARD!). Needless to say, Corey ended up sitting in the front passenger seat and my friend (the one from elementary school)'s husband sat in back. So yeah... I don't think I'm shomer anymore... wait, can married people even be categorized as "shomer" or "not shomer"?

//Today's title brought to you by Plushgun's song "Maybe Tomorrow", the number 5 and the letter Q.


Reason Will Not Lead To Solution

A couple of months ago I stumbled upon a little youtube series called We Need Girlfriends. Quite an awesome little show, if I do say so myself. Its the story of these three friends who just graduated from college and are dumped by their college-girlfriends. It is a wonderful little sitcom and they have recently been picked up by CBS (very exciting!). I recommend watching the whole series, but my personal favorite episode is Future Henry. It makes me remember what junior high/high school were like -- well, the good parts of it anyway. (I, like the character Henry, was big into The X-Files as a teenager.)

Speaking of The X-Files, they are coming out with a second movie this summer. Hooray! The release date is supposedly July 25th, so you know where I'll be that day. All this nostalgia is making me feel gooey inside. I feel like I should put on the first Simple Plan CD, grab a skateboard and read a book by Francesca Lia Block.

// Today's blog title brought to you by the lyrics of "Lovefool" -- originally recorded by The Cardigans and recently covered by New Found Glory. I highly recommend downloading both versions.


Spring 2008 Registration

I registered for the spring 2008 semester. Well, not completely. I had to get special, written permission to take 18 credits. For some reason we're only allowed to take 17.5 credits during the spring semester and the only way I can graduate in the summer is if I take 18 credits this semester. So I got special permission, but in order to register for my last class I need to go up to the registrar with my note. Here is my spring 2008 schedule (including the class I haven't registered for yet).

Moral Philosophy 9:45-11 am
Marx 11:10-12:25 pm
Foundations in Modern Philosophy 1:10-2:25
Major Figure In Early Medieval Philosophy (Not sure which philosopher yet...) 2:45-4 pm
Philosophy of Science 4:10-5:25 pm
Intro. To Symbolic Logic 5:25-6:50 pm

Philosophy of Science 4:10-5:25
Intro. to Symbolic Logic 5:25-6:50

Moral Philosophy 9:45-11
Marx 11:10-12:25
Foundations in Modern Philosophy 1:10-2:25
Major Figure in Early Medieval Philosophy 2:45-4

So my Mondays are crazy (but I like getting things done in one shot and I only have class three days a week)... 5/6 of these classes are writing intensive (but I prefer writing papers to taking midterms and finals)... and I plan on getting a new job (but the one I'm most interested in has flexible hours). I'm really not worried though. I'm taking 5 classes (3 of which are writing intensive) and a lab this semester and I'm doing just fine. For summer I already know what I'm taking.

Multicultural American Lit (finishes up my minor and it satisfies my last core)
Independent Study in Philosophy (in place of a philosophy course that every major has to take that is only offered during the fall semester... which I didn't realize until last week).
and pretty much any other class I want to. All I need is a general elective so that I'll have 120 credits. I'll probably go with a low level psych course. Or maybe intro to film or media studies...

Oh, and today is the 2 year anniversary of mine and Corey's first date and the one year anniversary of our engagement.

Do What You Will, Just Know What This Means

Corey and I went to Cleveland for Thanksgiving. It's hard for me not to refer to Cleveland as "home" anymore. I lived there from the day I was born until a couple of months after my 21st birthday. Other than the 9 months that I lived in Israel after high school, I had never been away from my family for more than 3 days at a time. But Corey is my family now. "Home is any four walls with the right person inside of them."* Corey is my home now. Wherever he is, that's home. Regardless, I still can't wait until New York is no longer home. Only a year and a half left! To tell the truth, this semester (for those of you not in school anymore it would be these past few months) have actually gone fairly quickly. Hoping the next year and a half follows suit.

*Author unknown


Kept Thinking I Could Never Live Without You By My Side

I had an idea. I think I may know why men say "shelo asani isha" and women say "sh'asani kirtzono'. They (who they is, I don't really know) always say that someone who puts others down only does it to build themselves up. Men needed a little boost of confidence so it was instituted tht they say "shelo asani isha", whereas the women don't need that boost. So they just thank G-d for the way they were made. When I told this to my husband he giggled, lifted his hand and said in a Borat accent, "Feminism. High five."

Pour Yourself Some Tea

This is the kind of book that you can easily miss and if you do, it really doesn't matter. But once you've come in contact with it, if you get nothing out of it, you're actually worse off. This book is translated from French, but please don't hold that against it. This book is dry, but not boring. Philosophical, but not elitist. I give it a gold (but not the shiny gold, the kind of gold that's been handed down from generation to generation and is all tarnished... like your bubby's shabbas candle sticks) star.

*Today's title brought to you by Weezer. "My Name is Jonas". Download it. You won't regret it. Or maybe you will. I don't really know your musical tastes...


I'll Be Gone In a Minute Or Two

I moved to New York last year (September 2006). I lived in a basement apartment in Flatbush for a month. I hated it. My roommate was sweet as anything, but the tenants were a-holes masquerading as frum/respectable Jews. After a month I couldn't take it anymore and moved out. Only problem was, I had no back-up apartment. So I asked all my friends in New York if I could stay with them. Only one person was actually able to take me. So for a few weeks I lived in Boro Park with one of my friends and her parents. It was awesome. Her mother made me smoothies every morning. It was around sukkos time, so they invited my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) over for a meal. We were all sitting in the sukkah and it felt really nice. It almost felt like I was introducing him to another set of parents. Corey got along especially well with my friends father, but that's another story that I may or may not tell. Anyway, the reason I brought this up is because of all the people who leave blogging. They say that they just don't need to anymore or it takes up too much time, etc etc. Well, when we were in the sukkah in Boro Park with my friend and her parents her father happened to mention something about keeping a journal. He said that he wishes he had kept one when he was younger because these are the best times. I said that I've tried keeping journals, but I always give up on them. It becomes like a chore. He said that that's what happens to most people. You don't need to write something amazing with every entry. Even if you just write "today was a good day", its good. Just so you can remember what it was all like at the time it was happening... before you get too old and forget. I just wanted to share that. Take from it what you will.


Do or Die, You'll Never Make Me

I finally did it. I read "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury. If you haven't yet, do so now. It was... wow.

*I'm looking for a new 'J' book. Know of any?


You Could Be the Question Killing Me, Or the Answer That Will Set Me Free

I'm taking a course on classic Greek philosophers. We started off with Plato's 'Gorgias'. Not bad... Then went on to Aristotle's 'Nicomachean Ethics' where I fell in love with learning Aristotle. No, I did not just say that I agree with everything Aristotle says, but I love trying to figure out what he said. Now we're onto a text-book-like book called "Hellenistic Philosophy". We're reading the stuff in there that Epicurus wrote. All I have to say is BORING. Maybe I'm missing something, but there's nothing here. What he wrote down is exactly what he meant. There's no looking deeper. He says straight out what he's talking about and I don't like it. I'm a philosophy major because I like to look beneath the surface, not just have things thrown directly in front of my face.


Just Mine All Mine

This is Corey. He is my husband. He is the most handsome man to ever exist. No, I am not biased. Just look at the picture. I'm so lucky...


Tell Me Now and I Won't Ask Again

There is nothing quite like motown, the music, that is. Though, if you look at my favorite music, with the exception of The Supremes, it would seem I think otherwise. Looking at my favorite bands you wouldn't know that I was a fan of disco also. Yeah, bell-bottoms, Saturday Night Fever, Cocaine-sniffing disco. There is some motown and some disco that is absolute shite, but as a whole, they frikkin rock. Okay, rock is the wrong word here, but you know what I mean.

Ooooh I love the nightlife, I like to boogie, on the disco 'round! Yeah! (The motown 'round too... if that exists.)


I've Got The Mic and You've Got The Mosh Pit

In high school I used to write down the alphabet in my notebook. Each letter on the line below the letter that preceded it. Then I would write down the name of a band next to their corresponding letters (e.g. Queen next to Q, Brand New next to B, etc). I would do this when I was bored and couldn't space out anymore. I did this the other day during political philosophy. When I was finished, I wrote down the letters again and tried to fill it in with philosophers. Unfortunately, though I am a philosophy major, my knowledge of philosophers is limited and I was unable to fill it in completely. Still, I was bored. I wrote down the letters again, this time putting down authors. From that sparked the idea I shall refer to as project alphabet books. I decided to read a book from each author. 26 letters in the alphabet, 26 authors.

A few hours ago I finished reading the A-book. "The Verificationist" by Donald Antrim. I feel like I must be missing something. I really like the way the guy writes. It made me feel like the character was a real person. His thoughts were random and I liked that. But, still, I must be missing something. There had to be something beneath the surface, but I can't figure out what it was. What was he trying to tell us? There are only a select few people I would recommend this book for. But if anyone wants to read it, I have a copy.

However It May Roll

Sometimes I wonder if people think I don't like them. I don't dislike you. I'm just spacing out in your general direction. I can't control what my face looks like when I'm spacing out. Sorry.


You Bleed For Me, I'll Bleed For You

I killed a cockroach today. I'm not a murderer. Or am I? Why is it okay to kill a bug? Yeah, we don't eat bugs, but its still one of G-d's creatures. I don't eat pig, but that doesn't mean that if I saw a pig on the street I'd swat it over the head with a fly (er... pig) swatter to kill it. And I wouldn't step on it and squish it to death. So why is it okay to do these things to bugs?

My head hurts...