Shmuel's Soapbox: Now available in bite-sized Weblog McNuggets!

Friday, February 28, 2003

2:54 PM:

And on to another Friday Five:

  1. What is your favorite type of literature to read (magazine, newspaper, novels, nonfiction, poetry, etc.)?
    Just one?!
  2. What is your favorite novel?
    Just one?!
  3. Do you have a favorite poem? (Share it!)
    Just one?!
  4. What is one thing you've always wanted to read, or wish you had more time to read?
    Just one?!
  5. What are you currently reading?
    Just-- umm, sorry. Force of habit. Currently, I'm in the middle of reading (in no particular order):
    • The Dark Is Rising, by Susan Cooper
    • Exhibitionism for the Shy, by Carol Queen
    • The latest issue of The New Yorker
    • Today's New York Times
    • Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
    • Troublesome Words, by Bill Bryson
    • Probably several others that I'm forgetting.
And, okay, okay, I'll take another stab at the first four questions, just for you. Just don't expect me to be bound by these answers...
  1. What is your favorite type of literature to read (magazine, newspaper, novels, nonfiction, poetry, etc.)?
  2. What is your favorite novel?
    Little Women.
  3. Do you have a favorite poem? (Share it!)
    Oy. Sorry. No can do. It depends on the mood I'm in. Sometimes "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening," sometimes "Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rocking" (the final version thereof), sometimes "Jabberwocky," sometimes "The Purist," sometimes even "Upon Julia's Clothes."
  4. What is one thing you've always wanted to read, or wish you had more time to read?
    The King James Version of the Bible. Both testaments thereof.


9:03 AM:

Highlights of recent television viewing:

  • The aftermath of Edith's death, on Archie Bunker's Place.
    (I love TV Land. I never saw this stuff the first time around. And this was a powerful viewing experience, if you ask me.)
  • The musical episode of Even Stevens.
    (It spoils nothing to say that, from the instant the first song starts, it's obvious that Ren is going to wake up screaming by the end. That said, it was a lot of fun.)
  • A documentary on Mister Rogers, originally broadcast in 1990.
    (It was interesting seeing the evolution of the show from the earliest incarnation onwards. And while I knew about the psychological background underlying the show, and the idealism of its creator, one thing I'd never consciously noticed was how [intentionally] complex the piano accompaniment was. Really kinda cool.)
  • I still need to catch up on Buffy, though. Hmmph.


8:00 AM:

Things I Learned on the Trip (Part Two):

The plural might not apply here, because this entry is devoted to one item:

  • Erin and I have confused a whole lot of people with our "sibling" routine.
The rest of this entry being really long, I'm going to go ahead and put it in the old format. Click here.

(I may try this approach to long entries more often if it works out. We'll see.)


Thursday, February 27, 2003

2:39 PM:


Requiescat in pace


Monday, February 24, 2003

11:46 PM:

Oh, right, duh, I knew I was forgetting to say something here...

Happy Birthday, Elaine!


6:19 AM:

Things I Learned on the Trip (Part One):

  • Travelling isn't so bad.
    This was the big one. The trip really wasn't bad. I, who have always strenuously avoided travelling, was on the road (rails, whatever) for a solid month... and it really wasn't bad. In fact, you could say I enjoyed it. Live and learn.
  • That said, it wasn't the travelling I enjoyed.
    In other words, being in various places around the continent were the bits I rather liked. The actual process of getting from one place to another wasn't as bad as I'd feared, but I can't say I ever got to like it, either. I want somebody to invent safe, cheap, and instantaneous matter transporters already.
  • You don't need to pack as much clothing as you think you do.
    Or at least I don't. I wore the red jeans a total of one time, and that was partly so that I wouldn't have brought them for naught. Ditto several other items in the wardrobe. Most of the time, I wore one of four pairs of pants (black jeans, blue jeans, black cords, tan cords), and I could have gotten by without the others I'd packed. (Putting aside the pleather, which was a special case. Ditto the suit, used on Shabbos.) Similarly, I didn't need nearly as many shirts as I brought, especially considering that, much of the time, they were covered by another layer anyway.
  • On the other hand, bringing lots of underwear and socks is a Very Good Idea.
    I brought about sixteen sets, and had access to a washing machine halfway through the trip. This worked out perfectly.
  • Douglas Adams was right: always bring a towel.
    Regrettably, I forgot this. I did bring a bathrobe, but, honestly, a towel would've been more useful.
  • The extra ten bucks for a cordless electric shaver? It's worth it.
    So I'll know that next time I'm in the market for an electric shaver. Last time around, I couldn't see the point. When would I ever want to shave without having an easily-accessible outlet at hand?


Sunday, February 23, 2003

3:35 PM:

The following day -- because the sun keeps rising no matter what I do; it's funny like that -- I met Amanda and Iko for lunch at my favorite Manhattan pizza shop. (Not to be confused with my favorite Queens pizza shop or my favorite Brooklyn pizza shop. Although the last of those has moved since the last time I was there, years ago. I really need to stop by the new location and see how it measures up these days. But I am so getting off the subject.) Insert standard blurb here, i.e.: I'd wanted to meet both for a long time, lunch was pleasant, the conversation was good, and I look forward to seeing them both again. Plus Amanda gave me a couple CDs of Antipodean music, which I'm still working my way through, but have been enjoying so far.

In one way, Amanda and I may be a bit too similar; we've both mastered the art of walking briskly and purposefully without letting on that we have no idea where we're going. After the two of us left the pizza shop (Iko had left shortly before then), we walked south for a couple of blocks before discovering that each of us had assumed the other had a direction or destination in mind... after which we decided to go north.

The following day, Thursday, February 6th, I visited my mother and a bunch of my younger siblings, the latter of whom eventually recognized me. (In many cases, it had been a year since they'd seen me, which is a long time when your age is a single digit. Also, I'd had a beard at the time.) Said younger siblings did a good job of pressuring me to stay longer and/or come back again sooner, but it was not -- and is not -- to be, as I'm still avoiding my father like the plague. So I was at the family home for about two hours, then took the train back to Brooklyn, where I hung out with My-Sister-the-Writer for a bit before she returned home.

Friday, it snowed. I stopped by my oldest sister's place, then went off to Far Rockaway, where I spent Shabbos and stopped by a few friends and relations. After Shabbos I had tea (and pizza) with one more friend, and then it was back to the Greyhound station for the ride to Ann Arbor. I arrived back in Ann Arbor late Sunday afternoon, and found that my apartment was still there, along with everything inside it. (Not a completely empty concern; the apartment of another member of my cohort burned down while I was away...)


2:58 PM:

Okay, I'm still working on the long version of What Happened Next on my trip -- in part because it's turning into a long essay involving a significant chunk of my life story -- but I want to get this journal caught up already. So in the interest of moving things along...

The Greyhound bus from Boston dropped me off at Times Square, where I wandered around for a bit before eventually stopping by a strip club for the first time. Curiosity, thy name is Shmuel.

So, a few statements I've made in the past are hereby inoperative:

  • "I've never actually seen a naked woman in Real Life."
  • "I have absolutely no sexual experience."
      (Taking a somewhat broad view of "sexual experience," which I certainly was at the time.)
  • "I don't really think I'd like sex, anyway."
      (I still haven't gone that far, but addtional evidence leads me to believe that I was entirely and emphatically wrong about this.)
It was, shall we say, a deeply educational experience, one that, for better or for worse, I'm glad I've had.

I intend to post the more detailed version within the next few days, but for now I'd rather get on with the narrative, in the faint hope of catching up to the present before the month is through.


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