Friday, September 28, 2007

Burma: from a friend

Watching the news about Burma hits a bit of a chord with me. When i lived in Thailand, I was only 22 km from Burma, I was all too aware to the political situation there, Aung Sung Suu Kyi was a staple in conversation amongst Peace Corps Volunteers. Watching the news right now breaks my heart. This will only involve more bloodshed and I still cannot swallow why the international governments do not get involved. Please read below for some more info:

This is an online conversation my friend hadtoday with her former Burmese co-worker Kyaw Lin Oo, who she worked with on tsunami relief projects in Southern Thailand. He desperately wants us to help get this message out to people in America and other countries that maybe in support of the Burmese people under attack. He is not able to return to his home country because he was black listed many years ago after his participation as a Student Leader in the 1998 student demonstration in Yangon. Because of this, he tries to raise awareness from the outside. He is currently writing political commentaries and analyses for various news websites.

Please show your support by wearing a red shirt Friday, by become educated on the Burmese protests if you aren't already, and by spreading the word. The protests started out non-violent, and are lead by the monks of Burma, but they have recently turned violent - monks are being killed by the regime. There are multiple articles on CNN and BBC, and many other news websites.
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Kyaw: hello
Sent at 8:56 PM on Wednesday
me: hi
how are you? how's the burma situation today?
Sent at 9:09 PM on Wednesday
Kyaw: Attention!!! In support of our incredibly brave friends in Burma: May all people around the world wear a red shirt on Friday, Sept 28. Please Forward it.
we need helps from friends arround the world\
the regime killed at least five monks yesterday
Sent at 9:13 PM on Wednesday
Kyaw: pls helps us for international intervention
not only from UN, any country which has sympathy toward Burmese
Sent at 9:15 PM on Wednesday
me: ok, i will forward to everyone
Kyaw: please put pressure on ur respective government for international intervention
we need helps from our friends
Sent at 9:20 PM on Wednesday
Kyaw: About 300 army soldiers arrive Rgn last night.
1 column of monks and people from Thaketa marching to downtown now.
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And from yesterday:

me: what do you think about the protests?
3:03 PM Kyaw: it will be prolong
u know about that also?
me: it will go on for a long time?
3:04 PM Kyaw: yes
me: that's good though, right?
Kyaw: yes, but
the regime wont tollarate for so long
3:05 PM me: so what's going to happen do you think?
3:06 PM will it have any impact?
Kyaw: now, the regime is trying to supress
3:07 PM but even the soliders at lower rank cannot follow to suppress to monks
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they don't follow the order
3:08 PM me: it will look very bad if they supress the monks though, right?
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won't it upset the people and cause an outcry?
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3:09 PM Kyaw: yes, this is the one they afaid
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so, they are making the people to be scare
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3:10 PM especially, the people who are going to particiapte the protests with monks
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me: are you hopeful at all for what this may bring?
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3:11 PM Kyaw: yes, hoping and trying to get done peacefully
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3:12 PM me: it's good it's so huge in there international news
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Kyaw: yes
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me: it will bring a lot of international attention to the issue
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Kyaw: yes
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3:13 PM ur president is saying about this issue very often whenever he got chance*
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me: is he saying good things though? he's so terrible...
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3:14 PM Kyaw: yes, at least he want to see Burmese people liberated, i think
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3:15 PM me: good... well at least he's creating awareness around the issue, i think most people around the world have no idea what's been going on in burma for so long
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3:16 PM but more and more people are starting to become aware.
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Kyaw: yes
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5 minutes
3:21 PM me: do you think it will stay non violent?
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3:22 PM Kyaw: monks side is trying to be non violent but, from regime also, they cannot use force coz of the reason that i mentioned before
3:23 PM but, they want to arrest the leaders
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Take Action Here

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jewish Mother? Filipino Mother.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

This time of year. Israel is in it's most perfect state. The waves in Tel Aviv are large and brooding, the water warm and the sun has lightened it's burning rays.
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Last night I had a breaking Kashrut dream. I find these things very humorous. A piece of fish was cooking in the oven next to steaks and I was on a mission to find the person in the household who broke this particular rule.
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I woke up this morning in Jerusalem, to the sound of men hammering away at a Sukka in the square outside, and to a Shofar blowing in the distance. 'Who'd ever thought?' I laughed to myself as I got out of bed.
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It's particularly heartwarming to experience all of the holidays as a Jew. Last year, I spent Rosh Hashanna with Channah standing next to me, telling me when to turn the pages in my prayer book. I stood there nervously, finding myself lost at every paragraph. This year, I spent Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur standing in Shul by myself, not needing to follow all the text with the tip of my finger. Next year, I'll understand even more of the text. Baby steps is what it is.
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As I come into my late twenties, I find myself hanging on to the Ginrod I knew my whole life and the person I am becoming, the change comes slowly, like coming out of a cocoon half woven by myself, and the other threads of silk from certain life experiences beyond my control. There is nothing stagnant about the life we live.
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The mom is on her way to the holy land in the near future, I think every day about it. I have never been so excited about seeing my mom, or about showing her the live i've been living for the last two years.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Yacht vs Sailboat

The following was in my mailbox this morning:
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Wharton Boat for the Penn Israel Regatta - Yacht Race
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The Penn Club of Israel will begin activities after the holidays with The Penn Israel Regatta - a yacht race against other Ivy League alumni clubs on Friday morning October 12th.
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So far we have boats for Columbia, MIT, Penn, Yale, -- Harvard (just starting); (couple from Brown, Princeton)
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We will meet at 9:30 am in the Herzelia Marina at Bistro 56 for a light breakfast. Then man our boats with each school receiving a 30-minute Yachting 101 course taught by its own professional skipper

who will captain the yacht with university alumni acting as crew.
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I am not going because they didn't even think of adding the University of Tulsa to the whole shaBang. and EVERYone knows. TU is the HARVARD of the Midwest. We practicing our boating right down der in the Arkanses River. Of course, when the damn ain't slammed shut and not given any of that there water to flow down hey.
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On a more serious note: I'm more rock n roll. Yacht is just another word for "Hey, we're gonna go on a large sailboat for a few hours".

Monday, September 17, 2007

The dark humor of grief

Him: So everyone was making momma jokes a while back, thinking they're all clever and funny. And I tell one of the girls to tell me one, so when she starts I interrupt her by saying "HA! you can't say anything!! My Momma's dead!!". She just sits there, a bit stunned. Obviously taken back by my dark humor.
Ginrod: Yeah, what can you do. It's yet another coping mechanism in dealing with the experience of grief.
Him: Yeah, maybe we should start on "your momma so dead" jokes, you know, for those of us with only one parent.
Ginrod: Yo momma so dead not even the telemarketers ask for her when they call.
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nervous laughter>

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Me and my Other Boyfriend..














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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

hiko at glasslands gallery on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

hiko at glasslands gallery on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

alias pail at glasslands gallery, brklyn on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Bro Bro doing what he does best.

alias pail at glasslands gallery, brklyn on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What makes me a Jewess?

I arrived last night just in time for some prayers in the dad sense at the wailing wall. Found myself awake this morning at a reasonable hour for yet another feeble attempt at gathering any sort of official documents that would progress my Aaliyah.
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Aside from that, I have been fortunate enough to make light friends with random Rabbi's all over this country. By the time it's all over, i'll have met the entire Bet Din of Jerusalem and Bnei Brak!
I am convinced no one in government offices seem to really know what the other offices do within their organization. I am led to believe everyone is playing Pac-man and the 'send susi to a different office in a different city until she goes mad' game.
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I thought I was fortunate that I already had a file with the Bet Din of Jerusalem from two years ago. I was convinced I would received the required papers today. Instead, I had this conversation.
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Secretary: Yes, we seem to have your file on the computer.
Me: Thank G-d, so can I get my requested document?
Secretary: It says your file is awaiting approval at the immigration office.
Me: yes, and i was sent from Tel Aviv to Bnei Brak and then they sent me here.
Secretary: Your file is in Tel Aviv, please come back after the holidays.
Me: Ha!! amazing, great..of course. of course it is!!
Secretary: You file is pending, awaiting approval for your conversion.
Me: I understand that, that is why I am here, at the RABBINICAL COURT IN JERUSALEM. for my approval.
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So, what makes me a token Jewess? Did my interview in April with 9 Rabbi's and the mikvah make me a Jew?
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Does following Halacha and Kashrut make me a jew?
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Does the Hamsa necklace or the Star of David I wear around my neck make me a Jew?
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Do the last three years of living and breathing and studying each week make me a Jew?
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Does my conversion certificate with an official stamp make me a Jew?
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Oh no no, you must have more paperwork to be a Jew. I have learned: with the State Of Israel, you need much more than actually being a Jew.
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At this rate, the only thing that will make me a Jew is Savlenut. Patience.
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After all of this, I vow to create a step by step explanation of all the frustration and closed doors it takes to become a recognized Israeli.
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Hag Sameach my friends, Shana Tova.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Part -2

The treasure hunt for my immigration is well on it's way. Today, I feel like I did two months ago when I was waiting for a visa so I could get a certificate so I could have a meeting, only to find out I still have an endless amount of time to wait.
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My entertainment started yesterday, as everyone knows- when I went to the immigration office.
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"You need this piece of paper" says the uncaring woman behind the desk.

"Can I just go to Jerusalem myself and take care of it?"
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"No, you must go to the Rabbinical Court you converted at and retrieve it."
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Cab ride this morning is dandy. Cab driver is friendly and doesn't drive me the long way for a higher rate.
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I arrive in Bnei Brak, Walking up the stairs in time with the Chief Rabbi, who I am sure doesn't remember me, but nevertheless- I am always a bit pleased to see this elderly man.
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I see another Rabbi in the office, from my conversion. Explain my situation. "Oh that's an official document" He starts.. "You must go to Jerusalem for that".
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Of course. Because the woman at the immigration office said the same thing. Who's counting their cab fare and time anyway? Not me! I quite enjoy the fact that everyone sends me to different places in this country for fun. Of course I wanted to go to Jerusalem in the first place, as well as the logic of those close to me. "Why don't you go straight to Jerusalem" they said. All I could say was "The immigration office said I couldn't go straight to Jerusalem, dunno why. That's what they said."
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So I call up some big Rabbi's in Jerusalem and talk to their secretary. "How can I help you" the secretary states (not asks). " I need to speak with Rabbi ****". "I can help you" she states. "Yes, thank you, but I'll speak to Rabbi ****". Surprisingly, I don't wait long and not surprisingly, he gives me yet another phone number of yet another Rabbi to call.
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Apparently, I am supposed to call him tomorrow.
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Today is my father's birthday. I know he's lying on some cloud- with some brandy in hand listen to Chopin with a big grin on his face. I can hear his hearty laugh and his accent floating around me. "Susi my darling, mein teupchin. I told you growing up there was something about the Jews. That they know something the non Jews didn't. But they also know how to give you a good headache as well!!!"
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Happy Birthday Dad. I really miss you.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

These things..They Happen.

I found out this morning that I've wasted a month in terms of my immigration. This came in the form of sitting at the immigration office, yet again- to find out my file is missing a paper that they didn't inform me I needed.
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"I thought they would accept it with one paper" Says the woman behind the desk. "And they didn't, you need the other one as well." "Why didn't you tell me I needed this paper last month???" I ask desperately. "I sat at home thinking my file was sorted, I could have gone and retrieved the paper from my Rabbinical Court!"
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"I'm sorry" she says, not looking very sorry at all. Tears well up in my eyes. "I have been running from office to office, for 5 months now." I explain to her, deflated. "I sorted everything thinking I would have immigrated by now. I have backed up insurance, Hebrew classes I shouldn't be paying for, I need my immigration rights. What you have done is slowed me down yet ANOTHER month." My voice is shaky by now. "Yes Yes, and I'm sorry".
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So deflated. deflated. deflated. My energy for this entire process is waning. My enthusiasm and drive to accomplish tasks that no one else seems to care about is exhausting. The endless cab rides, the closed offices, the missing paperwork. "It's all a bureaucracy" Everyone yells into my ears.
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I laughed myself silly with my new phrase over the weekend. (inject deep serious tone) "These things....... they happen." I coined it as my new phrase. My roommate interjected with her own solemn phrase: This too....will pass." We found ourselves laughing endlessly at all the situations where we could interject our catch phrases.
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When the roommate was upset last night by a missed phone call. I lie on the couch with my feet in the air, "these things, they happen" I say in a deep tone, and we find ourselves laughing until we can't lie on our backs anymore.
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I guess I need to interject a bit of that humor right now. Misrad hapnim not informing a month before about a vital missing paper: These things they happen.
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My utter frustration and deflation of the longest process in the world (everything leading up to my aaliyah): this too- will pass.
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xx

Friday, September 07, 2007

Shabbat Sometimes

Sometimes the preparation for the Sabbath is a few simple dishes with minimal work. Sometimes, the moment I wake up, I'm dressed within 5 minutes, off to the market for an hour, then arrive home sweaty, with flowers in hand, and jump in the shower for a day of cooking. Sometimes, the oven is on so long, I feel like I've been working in the bottom of a naval ship, sweating as I stir another attempt at a new sauce.
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Despite the labor it may take to cook a pleasant meal for even more pleasant friends. This is a big reason why I heart Judaism. I look at the Shabbat table, dressed and ready for an evening of light entertainment. I bring out a book, look over some prayers I haven't memorized yet and place it neatly next to my place at the head of the table. I turn on my iPod, to unwind from a day of standing and cleaning.
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I still can't get over how sometimes I am excited for 25 hours of food and goodness.
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Shabbat Shalom
xx

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Stories

A friend of mind stretches on my patio and cracks his neck. "I've got a bad neck" he states as we all have our feet kicked up on the banister. Holding cold beers in the sweltering heat.
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He continues:
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""Once, I took a flight from here to L.A. By the time I got off the flight, I was in desperate need for a massage. My friend picked me up at the airport. I had him drive me to the nearest Thai restaurant. I ran in asking if they knew of any Thai massage parlors. I was desperate, my neck was killing me.
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They all looked at me with a smirk and pointed to the direction "Just a few miles away" they say. Did you know it takes at least 30 minutes to get from any point A to any point B in L.A??? It does, AT LEAST 30.
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We arrived just as the parlor was closing. There I was ,knocking on the glass door. desperate., they let me in, but see..they were just closing so they wouldn't give me a massage. I begged on my knees, but no go- they wanted to close up and go home. So .....we get back in the car, and before you know it I see this Vietnamese Nail Salon, Still open. I run in, asking them if they know of any massage places. They sweetly said no, looking up at my from their halogen lamps over those little white desks full of polish.
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So, I asked them if one of them would give me a massage, explained I had this terrible neck pain from my long flight..yadda yadda. One of the women asked how much I'd pay. Told her 20 bucks. She had me take off my shirt right then and there. Best damn massage I've ever had in my life. For real.""
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That had me cracking up for a good few minutes straight!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

One never stops learning

Had a wonderful dinner last night. P Bonez and I finally found a restaurant we love. A place that has wonderful customer service and a menu that encourages me to order something different each time I go. Last night, a woman was there with her friend celebrating her Aaliyah. They were all giddy and excited, sharing with their waiter the good news as we overheard them.
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I started Ulpan once again, another attempt to get some Hebrew into my brain. I do enjoy studying and with the purchase of my expensive electronic translator- i feel like i have a safety net for all the words I don't know (which is many).
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Right now irregular verbs are dancing around in my brain.
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During the break, I meet random Americans, who just made Aaliyah. One who is making Aaliyah from Israel. "how long did it take you to make Aaliyah?" She asks. "Me? it's taken me 2.5 years." I answer. She looks at me puzzled. "Long story.I converted" I say as she accepts the answer with an "aaaaahhhh"
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So on my random bike ride later in the afternoon, I dropped by the immigration office with hope that they would be open and I could bug them a little harder about my own Aaliyah. No avail.
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On the ride back- I thought about what a long process Israel has been in my life. All the meetings, the closed doors, the slightly open ones..the ones I slipped in barely as they slammed shut. The interviews, the acceptance letters. The "we're sorry" letters. The "we're sorry we're on strike" signs as I wasted another day to travel to yet another closed office. It has been such an arduous process. It's not wonder my favorite word in Hebrew is Savlenut .
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I've noticed in the past week,that each morning I wake up, praying for a phone call from Misrad Hapnim, to tell me that my laminated i.d is ready and waiting. It seems so silly, to be so excited to have one, but it's pretty much all I have worked for in the last couple years. I just hope they call soon!
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Monday, September 03, 2007

I ran out of salt just now. I have a serious popcorn addiction. My boyfriend knew this enough to give me a gift once of an air popper. It broke from overuse and I threw it away when I moved into my new flat.
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So here I am, grudgingly eating my oversized bowl of popcorn, without salt.
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Reminds me of a parable that I always take to heart about my favorite mineral:

A king once asked his daughter how dear he was to her.

"As dear, as dear -- as salt!" she said.

The king thought that this was very little, and he was very unhappy with his child's answer.

Soon thereafter he sponsored a great feast. The daughter saw to it that every dish was brought to the table unsalted, and thus nothing tasted good to the king.

Finally the daughter explained everything to him. He then recognized how important salt was, and that his daughter had spoken very positively. Thus he loved her again as dearly as before.

It's humorous to think that last weekend I was with someone who is die Salz in mein Suppe. In the lowest place on earth. Where -instead of sand on the Sea floor- it was chunks of salt that the world uses to exfoliate with in the form of numerous beauty lines. In fact: I carry a jar of such product on my own bathtub. A jar of salt in my bathroom that I cannot use for my oversized bowl of popcorn.

Let me share with you all this: there is no joy in life without salt. I am saddened to think I let my kitchen get to this state. Ohne Salz. Schade. Be'me'et.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Lasso

I had a dream last night, where I figured out how to change the form of solids and a machine that could replicate non- living objects. I was able to change the solids to liquids by spinning numerous strings in a floor-style lasso next to the objects. The rhythm of the spinning created a melody unheard of by the human ear and would liquefy the focused solid
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I wasn't as impressed by my ability to transform solids as I was of the machine I found that could duplicate non-living objects. I ran to my friends. "Yaaa!! we can double up on our alcohol by duplicating it!! Think how much money we'll .save!!" I exclaimed.
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But other people were in disbelief of my string trick and wanted to see it for themselves. Each time I tried to show them, the strings would become tangled in one another. A professor of some sort turned to me "susi. i think this is a bunch of hogwash" he says dryly in my dream. The minute everyone walked off, the strings untangled and gained momentum. causing the bottles around me to melt.
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In this dream, I was a bit disappointed. After all, what's the point of knowing a trick if no one else believes it?