Monday, November 23, 2009

Today's Dinosaur Comic

(Click on the comic to make it bigger)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Drinks of years byegone

Two of my favorite drinks have been discontinued for several years.

Snapple Tru Root beer didn't taste like any root beer I've had since then. It was clear, and the taste was somewhat lighter than most root beers, but also somewhat spicier. It had a twist off cap that was hard for me to twist off when I was a kid, and it was kind of shaped like a bottle of vinegar. I think they stopped making this drink sometime in the late 90s.

Fresh Samantha's was bought by Odewalla, and they still make some of their drinks. But they don't make my favorite one, which was the Fresh Samantha Soy Shake. It had this taste like milk but dryer, and had some vanilla in it maybe. I was introduced to it by this vegan friend of mine in college who also introduced me to a great bagel shop that I went on to use regularly for 4 years, tofu cream cheese (sounds weird, but I actually like it more than cream cheese!) and a store right near my college that had puppies for sale in the window. We were great friends my first semester in college when we took 3 classes together and sat near each other and then walked to the subway together after class. After that he dropped out of college and I never saw him again. I don't even remember his last name to look him up on facebook, and I'm not sure he would be on there. it's weird how people come in and out of your life like that.

Monday, November 16, 2009

On lying

You know that feeling you got when you were a kid (or an adult) and were caught lying? That mixture of dread and shame at disappointing someone, and fear of what your parents are going to do when they find out?

I had a problem with lying when I was a teenager. I don't know if it was really a *problem* though. Some OTDers are of the opinion that if your parents will never accept you for who you are, it's ok to lie about what you are doing. And that lying is a good thing in that case, becuase you are preserving your relationship. My brother is of that opinion, which is why at 26 he still gets to live at home, even while secretly dating someone not jewish. I was honest with my parents and was told I could not move back home after college.

But not all of us are great liars- I'm not. Or at least I wasn't at first, although I got better with age. I learned that the best lies are the ones that contain some or most of the truth. In fact, you can tell the truth and sometimes people will think it's a lie.

Once when I was around 19, my brother and I had a secret party while my parents were away on vacation. We had maybe 30-40 friends over, did the usual things college students do when they have an open house (drank a lot of beer, some people hooked up, felt like badasses for breaking the rules, spent an entire day cleaning up afterward). When my parents came home from their vacation, my mom found a few chips on the floor somewhere that we had missed and asked - did you guys have a bunch of people over while we were gone? My brother, not missing a beat, answered "Sure, we had a party with like 40 people when you were gone." And my mom..get this...thought he was being sarcastic, and said something nasty like "ha ha there's no way you guys have 40 friends."

But there was a time before that, before I figured out how to lie effectively, when I got caught lying a lot. When I was 15 I had a secret boyfriend. He was 16. I was just starting to experiment with going OTD, and had secretly been eating non-kosher food and breaking shabbas for a few months. I also was secretly hanging out with my boyfriend. I would tell my parents I was taking the bus to the hospital where I was volunteering that summer, and instead would take a bus that went in the opposite direction, right to my boyfriend's house. Where we would make out (mostly just kissing) and feel like badasses for breaking the rules. It was pretty innocent, compared to what most kids our age were probably doing. Just exciting. I was just growing out of the extremely geeky stage I went through for..oh..all of my life up until high school (ok I admit, I'm still actually a geek), and this was the first boy who had ever showed interest in me. And he was nice and charming, and cute. He was on his own path 'off the derech' and bragged to me about setting his black hat on fire.

One weekend my best friend had a great idea- I would go visit her for shabbas, and then her boyfriend and my boyfriend would stay at her neighbors house, and we would all meet up for shabbas meals and hang out!

By that point my parents already suspected I had a secret boyfriend, and they made me promise he wouldn't be there if I went to this girl's house for shabbas. They didn't think I should be dating until I was ready to get married (Dating for "tachlis"). I of course said he wouldn't be there, because otherwise they wouldn't have let me go.

So..we went there for shabbas, we all hung out, it was good times. Then Sunday morning my dad showed up to drive me home, and my friends mom asked if he could give a ride home to my boyfriend.

And there it was. That feeling, in the pit of your stomach, when you know you have fucked up really really badly and things are about to go really really wrong. And it did. Since that moment, I have never had a good relationship with my parents again. When we got home from my friends house (my dad did NOT give my boyfriend a ride), after a long and awkward 40 minute drive in which I was freaking out and my dad was completely and ominously silent, my dad grounded me indefinitely. Which ended up being about 4 months with no tv, no phone, no computer, no stereo, just me and my thoughts and school. Which led to a weak-ass suicide attempt and some self cutting, which they never found out about. But that's a whole other story.

After that day, my parents approached our relationship as if I were their enemy. After locking me up in my room for 4 months, they put spyware on my computer that took pictures of what I was doing- which I found out about when my dad confronted me for saying things over instant messenger of a sexual nature (I think it was a joke about whipped cream or something) to my boyfriend (different boyfriend) a couple of years later when I was 17. They put even more rules on what I could or couldn't do. My dad kept trying to get me to sign "contracts" (probably not legally binding since I was a minor and he made them up on his computer) saying I wouldn't do things like date my boyfriend anymore- as if, at 15, signing a piece of paper my dad forced me to sign meant anything. He loved those damn contracts. I think I broke every single one he made me sign.

All these rules led to more lying on my part. I didn't break up with that guy when my parents caught us- we kept on having a 'relationship' (in which we didn't actually see each other, but talked all the time), for months afterward. I learned even more elaborate ways to lie to my parents. When my parents forbade me from using the phone, I would stay up until they had all gone to sleep and call him from a portable phone. I would hide in a room my mom used for storage while calling him, since at the time my cousin was living in our house and sharing a room with me (and my parents asked her to keep an eye on me).

Which led to that feeling all over again, when my parents picked up the phone mid-convo once and figured that out. Which led to them taking away all portable phones in the house so I couldn't use them in other rooms. After they did that, I would walk from school to a local pay phone and somehow call him from that payphone..I don't remember the details, but in my fuzzy memory of this is something about calling the payphone at his yeshiva and he was there at a certain pre-arranged time. Eventually I dumped him though, since he went and held hands with another girl.

Anyways what was I talking about? Oh right, lying. That feeling in the pit of your stomach when you are caught in the lie. Maybe in reaction to that, I am very very honest at this point in my life. I'd rather piss people off for what I am doing, then be caught in a lie about what I'm doing. But it took me a long long LONG time to get over that shame feeling. I kept lying to my parents throughout most of college.

I still feel that feeling whenever I tell members in my family about what I'm doing with my life. Not that I'm ashamed about my life...but I know they are disappointed in me, and it's hard to constantly be telling people things that you know disappoint them. Even when you strongly believe that their disappointment is misplaced. But part of it is that whenever I tell a relative or friend that I'm not religious, that I'm married, and that my husband isn't jewish, I'm also telling them that I have been lying to them for years...for all those years they thought I was religious, when I wasn't. So every time I 'come out' to a relative, I have to admit that I've been lying this whole time.

It's funny though that now the whole thing is kind of used to be that I was ashamed for not being religious and covered it up by lying. Now I'm ashamed about the lies that I told that implied I was religious, when I wasn't.

Meanwhile, my grandfather recently had open heart surgery, and while I want to call him (and feel like if I don't call him now, I'll probably never talk to him again), something is holding me back. That something is that I will have to go through this whole process of telling him that I'm not religious, that I'm married, and that my husband isn't Jewish. I know my grandmother knows, so he probably knows, but I would still have to talk to him about it. Every time I have to say it, it's a painful reminder of all the years I have lied about who I am, and an admission of those lies, mixed up with all the disappointment I know my family feels whenever they hear it. And right now I can't bring myself to make that call and do it all over again.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy birthday B!!!

Today is B's 26th birthday (so now he is only a year younger than me again, instead of two years younger!) (technically he is almost exactly one and a half years younger than me).

Anyways yesterday we went to trader joes to stock up on yummy birthday food- for lunch we got a bunch of sushi and some lobster ravioli that I'm going to make a goat cheese sauce for, and we have filet minion and baked potatoes for dinner, with chocolate lava cakes for dessert.

For presents, I got him a super awesome beard trimmer that has some magical vacuum thing that vacuums up beard hairs RIGHT FROM YOUR FACE (crazyness!). The entire time I've known him, he's been trimming his beard with a scissor, which makes his beard look all patchy right after he trims it. Also I got him a movie he has been talking about for's funny, cause I got this movie for his birthday almost 2 months ago, and then a month ago we were at a borders and he was like "let's go look for that movie!" So we went to look for it, but thankfully they didn't have it. (the whole time I was like "oh no he's going to ruin my present!") Then like a week ago B was like "hey if I download that movie, would you watch it with me?" and I've been pretending like I don't want to watch it so that he wouldn't download it...and we finally made it to his birthday so I can give it to him!

He doesn't know any of this though, cause he's still asleep. :) But I hear him starting to wake up, so it's present time!!!! :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thoughts on the election/ republican party/ gay marriage laws

1. Jon Corzine losing New Jersey is not a "referendum on the Obama Agenda". It's a referendum on him being a shitty and corrupt governor

2. A practicing pagan dude /republican won a seat on the NY city council. What does he do first? Diss the atheists:

I don't think any of this is really relevant to the City Council race. It's like talking about what church you pray at. That you understand the divine is the most important part.

Important part...except for 20% of the country. Asshat.

3. A republican was running for a seat on the house of representatives in NY. Rethuglican leaders decided that since she was pro choice and actually a moderate, they would throw their support behind a socially conservative third party candidate. So basically, this republican, who won the republican primary, was not given public (and no doubt financial) support of her own party because she did not support socially conservative views. As a result, she dropped out of the race a few days ago, threw her support behind the democrat, and the republicans lost another seat in the house.

It's funny, one of the few viable social movements right now is this socially conservative movement- they are the ones out on the streets making noise and holding protests. Mostly involving pictures of dead babies. But still. Meanwhile, they are screwing over the republican party by undermining the traditional (since the Reagen years, if that can be called traditional) alliance between fiscal conservatives and social conservatives. Yes, it's not all them, and Bush and his complete lack of fiscal conservativeness is partially to blame. But now they are taking it a step further, and actually undermining democratically elected party candidates based on social views. This undermines the democratic process itself, because now candidates elected through the democratic primary system are falling prey to those who are supported by grassroots (and not representative) efforts. But in doing so they are also sowing the seeds of their party's ultimate destruction. Because ultimately, there are not enough socially conservative people out there to win elections. The republicans have become an older (on average) white man (and to a lesser extent older white women) party, and due to demographic changes in the United States, if that is the only social group they appeal to they will soon not be able to win anything. Of course that is the group with the most money, and they have the most to lose by democratic changes that might actually help non-whites and non-males get ahead. But I think if things keep going this way we will see the demise of the republican party in our lifetime.

4. So, Maine repealed their gay marriage laws. You all probably know my views on this by now (If not they they can be summed up as: Tyranny of the majority against the minority! we should not put discrimination up to a vote!). But interestingly, what no one is talking about is that Maine ALSO yesterday established by vote that the state should start approving medical marijuana dispensaries and expanded the types of illnesses for which you can be prescribed medical marijuana- and this won by 58%.

As far as I can tell from the internets, medical marijuana laws were first passed in 1998. Gay marriage laws were first passed in 2004, although there were legalized gay domestic partnerships going back as far as 1997. In the 11-12 years since these laws were first passed, 5 states have legalized gay marriage, and an additional 10 have legalized some kind of civil union or domestic partnership for gay couples. In roughly the same time period, 10 states have passed medical marijuana laws, and an additional 7 have quietly decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. I wonder which issue will pass in all 50 states first?

Not a lot of major legal change on the state level has happened since I've been alive, or at least since I have been following politics (which started some time around 9/11). I was born in 1982, right at the beginingish of the Reagen era.

Prior to my birth there was a lot of legal and social change. In the 1970s there were major changes in divorce laws that slowly spread through the states, making no-fault divorce legal. In 1970 California was the first state to legalize No-fault divorce: prior to the 1970s if you got divorced, you would have to go to court and prove that someone had did something wrong that fell into 4 categories- abandonment, abuse, adultery or a spouse had committed some kind of felony. In 1970 California passed no fault divorce laws, which made it legal to divorce no matter what- and you did not have to show one spouse was at fault in order to get divorced. By 1977, 9 states in total had passed no-fault divorce laws. By 1983 (1 year after I was born) all but two states had passed no-fault divorce laws (interesting fact- NY never did pass one of those laws).

In the 1950s and 1960s something similar happened with anti-miscegenation laws (laws that made it illegal to marry someone from a different race)..these legal reforms slowly spread throughout the 50 states until the ones that were left were struck down by the supreme court in 1967.

In my generation I think the same type of social change will happen with Gay marriage and Medical marijuana. These two issues are slowly making their way around the states. For now it seems very frustrating, and change is slow. But it's happening.

This is from the wiki on anti-miscegenation laws:

Most white Americans in the 1950s were opposed to interracial marriage and did not see laws banning interracial marriage as an affront to the principles of American democracy. A 1958 Gallup poll showed that 96 percent of white Americans disapproved of interracial marriage. However, attitudes towards bans on interracial marriage quickly changed in the 1960s

96% disapproval rating in 1958! That is WAY higher then the disapproval rating for gay marriage! And yet by 1967 the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virgina struck down all anti-miscegenation laws. And even though this was less than 10 years after 90 freakin 6 percent of white people disapproved of interracial marriage, by 1967 when they struck down those laws, it only affected 17 states (all in the south)- because 33 states had already struck down the laws all by themselves.

There is hope. We are on the path towards the just conclusion. How long it will take, I don't know, but if history is any indication...probably another 10 years at least. It's exciting to watch social change in motion. I hope that 20 years from now I will be teaching my students about the spread of gay marriage laws and the massive rise in incarceration rates in the 1990s and 2000s, followed by a decline in incarceration rates after the decriminalization of non-violent drug use in the 2010s. I truly believe this will happen within our life times. Now go out there and make it happen!