Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Insecure Self-Correcting Haiku of the Day

I try yes I try
To be worthy of you to
Be worthy of me

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Woke Up in Electrons

It just occurred to me, that with every online emotion, even written in hard copy, I extrude a part of my inside. Blorp. Here's what I listen to, gratis, new timesucker extraordinaire. Here's my momentary fear, as captured by Twitter, from my cell phone, as I am truly lost in thought, but not letters.

It seems that I have resumed duties as Facebook content provider. Hello and welcome back to the show.

My life is on Facebook. Sad, perhaps, but shockingly true. So much so that I felt I had to limit co-workers a little. Momentary fears not appropriate. No, no, complete strangers can see that shit, but I can't have my #1 being all up in it. Work dynamics are strange enough anyway.

Speaking of which I'll be going to a hockey game later with my boss, after having essentially blown off all of this morning and most of this afternoon. I'll have to do something to show that I'm worthy, if I haven't already. I'm banking on the fact that I have, I realize. I'm just tired, and so I slept. Not much more to it than that. I've got three hours or more to get some work done. That's at least equal to half a day at the office.

Right. Working. Let me get on that.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I'm Singing It Anyway, by G-d

So the *other* purpose of the Hatzi Kaddish is a blessing after some amount of prayer. Which makes me think that saying that right after only one blessing, Hinei MaTov, is slightly not legit. Which means that even with the crowd it still wasn't appropriate.

Which means I have a hard time getting it right. Which means, damnit, I want to say it by myself. I'll call together a full chorus in my head for the responsive line. I need it. Forgive me, I am lazy.


Meanwhile, back at headquarters...


Friday, February 20, 2009

1st Time Chanting for Services

It was awesome. Freakin' awesome. I helped to do Friday evening services at my synagogue. I did the chanting. Amazing.

I was nervous, of course. I *should* be, you know? It's worthy of a few butterflies.

So I met with Diane S., who leads lay services occassionally. She says she winds up doing it like three or four times a year. Her usual co-host just lost her husband, and so was not up to singing, though she was there. Diane and I went through the service, as she usually does it.

Me: Oh, Shabbat Evening II... yeah I like that one better than I. (flip, flip, flip)

I notice that she *doesn't* do the Hatzi Kaddish. Gulp. I *just* wrote a friend about how psyched I was to do this particular prayer, since I recently learned it's very not kosher to do it alone.

Diane: Just let me know if you want to take anything out or put anything in.

Me: (!) Oh yes.

So, we added the Hatzi Kaddish to the begining, and continued through what the service would be, checking to see if I knew the tunes to various prayers. Yep, know that one. Ooo, we should just read that one in English, 'cause I have no idea. Yup. Cool. Cool. Chant Oseh Shalom instead of wrapping up with it? How about ending with Ein Keloheinu? 'Kay?

People start to come in. My hand is sweating, holding the prayerbook. We sit down. I feel like it's NEVER going to start. I wonder if Diane has lost all sense of time. It feels like the first time I ever smoked pot and I thought that an hour had passed in the space of three minutes. I tell myself to chill and just be. "Moses and the bush," I remind myself.

Be. Look up. Don't look at the faces of the people who are looking right at you, wondering when the hell the service is going to start. Resist the urge to ask Diane again if the woman doing the candle lighting knows when to come up. Breathe. OMG Diane's never going to ... oh, she's ready.

Diane has to gesture to me to get me out of my seat. My facial expression is probably "oh right!" We start. Breathe.

First a lively "hine matov" and then, the long awaited Hatzi Kaddish, right there.

Diane is chanting with me. Mind you she's not the most... musical. I step back slightly, and start in, wobbling slightly. I realize, about ten words in, that no one else is with me. I am doing a solo, not entirely abnormal for this prayer, but still slightly shocking. I get to the line where the crowd should join in, nervous and waiting for the sound. They're there, including the guy who always wears suspenders and is basically his own horn section. He pronounces everything with an S, in the Ashkenazi style. He's on it. I'm golden. Line is over and I'm back to the rest of the prayer. A voice in my head says, go for it. I let it rip, just like I used to before I was cognizant of the practice of chanting it publicly on purpose. I screw my face up, I bend my knees, I sway and I clear my lungs of air.

Nailed it.

And *that* was when it became Just Fine that I was going to be doing the chanting tonight.

The rest of it was awesome. With Diane next to me I felt like Cantor Bortnick (with a cold). I was able to use my Big Voice to power over and through, actually *leading* the tune. I kept my nose in the book, because when I looked up I was distracted by the faces looking directly at me. Talk to the kippah.

When Diane and I sat down briefly for a moment of silent prayer she quickly told me, "You've got a great voice, I'm so glad you're here."


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The title "status update" should be read in a loud British accent. And you know, like "stay-tus", British-like.

Okay fine. Don't.

It's Thursday, not quite but it will be soon. All day I've been thinking it was Thursday. I've wanted it desperately to be Thursday. I really want time to pass. Weird, and not.

I was asked tonight "Are you okay?" Like, yeah dude, I'm okay. Life is rough and this is the inside of my head. I still am who I am on the outside, even when that's a little rough too. This is how I operate. You see me on the outside. You know me on the inside. It's not so incredibly incongruous.

Like my Vespa and my Rover. Yes. I can do both. I can do extremely fucked in the head and mostly put together in real life. I can do excessively weepy and then do my best bad ass. Survival.

Doesn't mean that my lows don't get low. I think it freaks people out a little. Until they get used to it. Maybe. Sometimes even I am not used to it.


So I'm up. Yea me! It's not hard when I have awesome friends. I do. You all rock. And there's stuff, there's life, things to do. People to see. There's tons of stuff I should do that I don't. (Hello homework!)

It's not hard when the music FUCKING ROCKS.

Okay, so here's the skinny on Collider and why I think they are so fabulous:
Rocking beat, hard core sound, with an edge of funkiness. Awesome lead voice. Incredible bass guitar artist with a five string bass (one string is lower than standard). And the songs are not predictable. Listening to and knowing the songs in their complexity makes the live shows incredibly seductive as you are pulled into the whipping crescendos and hairpin turns. It's beach music meets punk meets Led Zepplin. It's nutty and multilayered. It's FUN and COMPLICATED. Just like I like 'em.


So I had a blast tonight. Great music. Just enough beer. Danced 'til my kippah was sweaty under my hat. A rush, a soul song, a lift. Lovely. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I'm spent, wiped out, completely out of juice. It's Tuesday. This is not good.

Work is being... you know, work. And life is being difficult and complicated. I am actively attempting to ratchet myself back, care a little less, perhaps, become less involved. Because, you know, I never get involved. And I definitely never care.

Nope. Don't care. That's nice, just another news flash, another drastic headline. Another plane going down. One more bawling, weeping soul -- I don't really care. I'm as distant as the other shore. Yep. Yep. Don't care.

I am annoyed by work, as it continues to pop into my consiousness. Another new employee? Really? Did we get any information about that? I don't think we have an open phone line. Where are we on expanding our phone capabilities? *Who* is calling me all frantic? A salesman? He's being rude? Jeez, people.

Okay, what's this about a crisis with the proposal? Well who was supposed to do that? Okay, we need what kind of file format? Sure sure, I can do that. Okay, people, breathe. This isn't life or death, just millions of dollars of project money. Someone's job could be on the line and we've got forty minutes to burn this DVD... patience... wait for it. Breathe. No, I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to me so I don't rip your head off.

His hard drive won't read at all? What did you try to do to fix it? You don't remember. Well that's okay, we'll take over from here. Yes, go back to programming the web application. I'm sure we'll figure it out.

I'm sorry what? Of course I was serious. I'm way more serious than you think. No no, I didn't mean that of course. I'm not thinking about that. I'm off onto something else, you know, more important, like work.


I can't tell what's working and what's not. I can't feel anything but angst, frustration and fear. I'm sure there are other feelings in there somewhere, but right now it's all just pooling up in my eyes, making it hard to focus on the screen.

My whole life is on a computer screen. And a whiteboard. But I'm not paying much attention to that.


Okay, so back to work. Time to make a Powerpoint presentation. I have two hours before I have to leave for martial arts class. Must go to martial arts class. Though I won't be able to hide all this weepy shit there as easily as I can duck behind my monitors or shut my office door.

Don't care, don't care. I don't care. Nope.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mobile Blogger Test

I'm trying to be a slightly more engaged tech professional. I configured my cell phone to connect to ... we'll see how it works.

Included is this gloomy and beautiful pic I took on Valentine's day. I haven't had a poignant V-day in a long time, but this year was oddly difficult. I checked out early, ducking into bed before 9 PM. I had company was but was lonely. Had an awesome dinner, and a largely productive day, going to the gym and sword class. But I skipped synagogue services, evening and morning, and felt like a bad Jew just because my favorite cantor wasn't on.

Dear friends sent me sweet emails. Other friends had their hearts ripped out. This heart thing, this love thing, is dangerous and seductive.

Sending love.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Problem with Writing

I used to want to be a writer. When I was like six. Okay, maybe seven. I had a typewriter and I'd settle in to write, rolling in the pages one by one. I would always think long and hard about the title first. That was my jumping off point. I imagined I was Snoopy, hunched over the top of his doghouse, tippity tapping away. "It was a dark and stormy night...." In homage to the dog I actually started at least one unfinished novella exactly like that.

I did writing type stuff all through junior and high school. Little bits. Even then I felt the odd pull of what people wanted me to produce against what was coming out naturally. Of course in school it's all pretty whiny and self-centered. I consider that I haven't really changed that much. I start probably 90% of my sentences with "I", and I do notice. I do. I went to Quartz Mountain summer arts camp for creative writing. Eventually it got hard to produce back then. It scared me. I worried about running out.

I stopped wanting to be writer. Foolish, I thought. Who could possibly live as a writer? (Sorry, boo.) Plus how could you possibly keep producing? I worry about people who do it for a living, and the critiques they get after years of cranking it out. I am just not that brave. Not for that. Now, I did find something to jump off a cliff for. I'm still measuring the distance between where I'm standing and the edge. Calculating. Doubting, for sure.

And yet, writing is part of that. I have to be able to communicate with written word. It is very important to me, and I can't really explain that. Not beyond my other urges, which include the usual and needing to drive for hours on end. No, I must write. It's like that somehow got included in the promises I've made. I keep wondering "how did You slip that in there?" Dude.

Facebook. Connections. Written word. Say no more. Feelings, motivated by history, motivated by feelings, motivated by competition. A healthy version of running around the school yard playing tag? Whatever it is, it has me smiling intensely.

I'm largely motivated by the much-cooler-than-me friends who have been blogging and chatting it up for years now. They toss me positive nuggets and that keeps me going. Then I get quiet and run out of shit to say. Sometimes I really don't have a thought, beyond what's in front of me. If you haven't had the privilege of turning me down on Facebook yet, you can always go directly to my profile page to see what's been in front of me in half hour intervals for the past three months. Because I manage to find enough OCD to check in with the world via Twitter.

Now THAT'S an odd thought, said the woman who broke up with her last girlfriend because the woman wanted to know what was going on daily basis. Sheesh. She shoulda waited until I really started tweeting. I could probably go a week or more without calling.

Sometimes -- like now -- I really don't know what it is in my prose that works. People tell me I'm funny. I know I'm not always funny. In person I occassionally have the perception that what's funny isn't exactly what I meant to be funny. I'd bet money that what I think is a zinger goes thud and the following sentence, full of wit-n-wisdom is actually the punchline.

But that's regular life, really. Day to day. What I find that doesn't feel good about writing is the ebb and flow of the ease, the gush of words, the rush of I need to say this. Sometimes it feels good, and sometimes it's work. And now I feel like a gluttonous hedonist, addicted to the fabulous feeling when it comes easy, and not willing to work.

Will work for job that also requires passion...? I know how to work for stuff I don't care much about. Software... don't care much about software, but I've written my share. Don't care much about managing people. They really piss me off. I consider it practice for not losing my shit. I'm finding that practice useful. Perhaps when I get that down, a magic door will open for me and I'll be whisked off to HUC where I'll submerge myself in ancient, dusty texts and Hebrew and Aramaic will swirl around in my brain effortlessly.

What will they want me to write?

What am I supposed to learn from this point? How do I get to the next step?

So really it all boils down to the rise and fall of self-esteem... the perpetually fluctuating ratio of insecurity and positive feedback. Pulled by the moon? Riding high, I feel on point and sure. The low end is the bottom falling out, silent screaming. Climbing, falling, we're usually somewhere in there. Hang on children, we're all on the ride. Some of just enjoy it more than others.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


I seriously love to travel. I do. I love renting cars and driving the hell outta them. I love getting lost in a new city -- though not when I'm expected to be somewhere. I love the process of figuring a city out, getting a sense of it's personality.

P.S. I love Minneapolis. Great frickin' city. And I'll tell you why:

  1. Skyline... I love a good skyline
  2. College town
  3. Lots of local shops... restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores
  4. Mary Tyler Moore will be forever cute to me
  5. Water, water everywhere
  6. People... friends, colleagues and strangers alike, they're just different, and they really set the tone

I guess people are different everywhere. And I could go about making some grand generalizations (which I'll probably do in a minute) that a lot of folks will disagree with. Regardless, I really do think each city has a personality, made up of a lot of things, but also largely the people there. Question is, are they more a product of their environment (the other stuff) or do they interact with it, bringing a common human element, or do people in cities really have distinguishable attitudes?

Here's some juicy generalizations, as promised. Minneapolis has a lefty bent. The whole state does, technically. But Minneapolis also has a sort of Californian-save-the-world vibe going on. Recycling is really expected. Composting is not out of the ordinary. It's got a major university in it, which brings liberals and pot-smokers. I saw two MASSIVE head shops and smelled prolific weed in the air in the partying downtown Saturday night. The personal is political, and there is a significant core of folks walking the walk there, bringing the median even closer to the left.

DC has universities, and liberals. But there is also a conservative element, both from the political party and from the sheer pomp and circumstance of the government machine. Power brokers and deal makers tinge the air and make it bitter. Seriously. The nasty, dirty, back room deals... I swear I can feel them. But then, I'm a little nuts.

So... maybe I'm just swooning still, but it seems like an awesome town. Good people, with good intentions, trying to do the right things and take care of each othe and have a good time too.

Word up, Mpls.