Tradescantia Zebrina .:. The Wandering Jew


tales and opinions of the wandering Jew


Over on Jewschool, Dlevy and I posted a review and commentary of 13. Check it out there.


Filed under: friends, judaism, queers

1000 words x 2

Caught up on my photo-uploading. There are now albums from the crazed NY-Mtl-NY move, and autumn in New York.

IMG_0041 marisa-bday-11
Crazy quick road trip and moving. Driving up to Montreal, enjoying the local foods (poutine! bagels!), packing up the uhaul truck, and back down to NYC. Next night: moving furniture from Brooklyn with the roommates. (September) The usual suspects: International Pickle Festival; cruising the waterfalls and a birthday, with parents; prepping for Sukkot, with challot and shopping on the Lower East Side; roomies; foliage; produce from the co-op. (September-November)

Filed under: america, canada, family, friends, good eats, home, judaism, parties, photos, random, seasons, travels


Sunday, around noon, I was in a car accident. Sitting in the back of a cab, on my way to work, another cab ran a red light, hit my cab (impact was on the driver’s side back door), spun my cab around. I’m missing a moment from memory – either I’ve blocked it out, or I blacked out – but I opened my eyes to see a pedestrian on her cell phone approaching the cab, asking if I was ok; sitting up and realising that my head was pounding. Barukh HaShem, I am ok. A trip to the emergency room by ambulance and my CAT scan was clear, good. When my head slammed into, I’m guessing, the partition in the cab, my glasses dug into my nose, eye; my face is swollen and bruised, but I’m ok. It could have been a lot worse. The driver of my cab was also ok, though shaken up. The other cab? Didn’t stop – hit and run. While at the hospital still, a detective came by to tell me that the other driver had turned himself in at the precinct after a couple hours. Turns out he had had a passenger in his cab, and still didn’t stop! I can’t imagine how horrible that must have been for the passenger; I would have freaked out if I was them, the driver hadn’t stopped. They could have been hurt too.

Despite pain killers, I’m in pain. I only slept for about three hours. It’s 4am, I’ve been awake for an hour already.

I’m extremely fortunate that the accident wasn’t worse. And that I have an amazing friend who came to the site, came with me in the ambulance, and took me home from the hospital to her home. Thank you.

Filed under: friends, health, wtf?


Dav’ning in your room
Blessed by your friendship and love
Tears fell down my cheeks

Filed under: friends

Zigging, zagging, and filling in the blanks

It’s been a hectic week or two.

There was the lead up to ‘tute and the week of Summer Institute itself. It was busy, genderful, discussionful, friendful, cuddleful, teachful, and learnful. A few of us blogged about it over on Jewschool. I was left wrestling with some wonderful conversations, which I will have to continue back in the real world, possibly with margaritas in hand.

Sunday evening, upon my return, I had a lovely, if short, sleep in New York before heading to Montreal yesterday morning. Or at least, that was the plan. The short version is that I was “denied entry” to Canada, forced to return to the US. Which worked out, as I was able to get my work visa Monday evening, but meant I didn’t get to spend the night in Montreal catching up with a fantastic family, couldn’t get to my storage locker, and wasn’t able to have poutine for dinner or bring a dozen St-Viateur bagels back to New York with me. Alas. But, as I said, it worked out: I am now a legal alien in the US. (In the 36 hour period that started with pulling out of the parking lot at FPU in Rindge, NH, and ending with my return to my lovely hosts in the Bronx, NY, with the trip to the border in between, I traveled 1638km, passed through NH, MA, CT, NY, NJ, and for all of three minutes QC, and both chased lightning storms and raced to avoid them.)

Today I dealt with the social security office. Seems I was too efficient; the US Border and Customs folks hadn’t yet entered my work visa in their database, so I couldn’t actually get the SSN. Most likely this means it’ll take 2-3 weeks to get a SSN instead of the 1-2, but worst case is that it could take as much as 4-6 weeks. I plan on following up with them both on the phone and in person.

I also had the joy of filing an FCC complaint today. While driving south through Albany last night, I was scanning the radio dial when I came across some sort of sermon or Bible study. I heard the word phylacteries and continued listening. That is, until I realised that it was anti-semitism masquerading as moral/Christian superiority. Ugh. I hope they’re fined.

And now? Now I try to burn through the rest of my to-do list, possibly have a nap, certainly call a few more leads on apartments, then try to get a good night’s sleep before my first day of work tomorrow.

Filed under: america, canada, friends, home, nhc 'tute, random, travels, work, wtf?

Pickles and Poutine

Motzei Shabbos I was exhausted, and planned to trek home to sleep. Instead, I was convinced to make an appearance at a friend’s going away party. He’s a good enough friend to not mind me saying that I was won over by the promise of deep-fried pickles. Seriously. To say I was intrigued would be a gross understatement. So after we separated Shabbos from chol, welcomed the new week, we walked over to Dive Bar.

We were pleasantly surprised by the numerous vegetarian offerings to be found on the menu. Then, while debating between a veggie burger and beer chaser for the deep-fried pickles, or just a beer, my friend spotted it: poutine.

A well known Quebecois comfort food: A heap of Dive Bar Fries studded with farm fresh cheddar curd cheese that melts under hot, thick gravy! Tremendously satisfying. Goes well with a cold beer! Vegetarian gravy available.

The menu said everything it had to. We ordered a side of poutine for our pickles.

The pickles were good, but not great. I’m not a huge fan of salt (the flavour that is; I certainly am a fan of its chemical reaction in cooking and baking), but even I was giving the salt shaker a work out. They were lightly beer battered then fried. The pickles were still crunchy on the inside, while the batter was golden brown. I’d order them again, but maybe from another establishment (you know, in hopes of finding a better purveyor).

And then the poutine. Oh, the poutine. It was not poutine. It was possibly passible as disco fries. Maybe. The gravy was clearly from a vegetarian gravy mix; I could recognize and taste the dehydrated peppers, onions, and celery in the sauce. And the gravy was under the fries, not spooned over the whole dish to help in the cheese melting process. But no worries – the cheese was melted in an oven (gah!) or under the heat lamps (oy!) so it didn’t need the gravy’s assistance. And the cheese. Certainly not cheese curds. Probably not of the cheddar variety either. (We guessed it was mozzarella.) So entirely disappointing. Lacking the necessary components, it had no hope of tasting good, let alone tasting like real poutine. They should not be allowed to call it poutine on the menu. I feel quite strongly about this. I mean, what if some unsuspecting New Yorker ate this alleged poutine, not understanding the dish to be an imposter, and then never sought out the real goodness in Quebec? Tragedy. (The above picture is what poutine should look like. Saturday night’s poutine was nothing at all like this yummy concoction.)

In honour of the lack of squeaky cheese (cheese curds squeak, when you bite them, oh yes), I revive danse la poutine:

Filed under: america, canada, friends, good eats, wtf?


Things that were good this week:

  • Hearing “The Electric Slide” loudly wafting up from the schoolyard across the street, I looked out the window to see all the classes, with their teachers, dancing out in the yard. Some were doing the electric slide, others the macarena, still other classes doing dances in slight formation/lines, while plenty of kids were just running all over dancing in congo lines. It was pretty great to watch at 10:15 on a weekday morning.
  • Seeing Sex and the City with my good friend S. Better still, having pre-SatC cocktails, and sipping some more during the film. It was surprisingly funny and, despite the negative reviews, we both enjoyed it. I also quite enjoyed the fashionistas dressing to the nines, for a matinĂ©e screening: cocktail dresses, strapless mini dresses, gay guys in SatC pink (as if that’s its own shade now), and the “Carrie wore it in one episode so it must be okay” men’s shirt with a belt and flip-flops. As funny as the movie was, and as sophisticated as the NY audience thought we were, it should be noted that the biggest, longest, and heartiest laugh came midway through the film at a poo joke. We might as well have been watching an Adam Sandler movie.
  • Also great, seeing your friend drunk by 1:30 in the afternoon. (Seriously, I love you. Thanks for going with me.)
  • The sun, the blue skies, and reading up on the roof.
  • A great Shabbos last weekend, and another amazing Shabbos rolling in in a few hours.

Drink: throw blueberries, fresh mint, lime wedges, and simple syrup into a pitcher. Mottle. Add ice cubes, tonic, and vodka. Stir. Enjoy. No, really, enjoy. Let’s call it… Benjamin’s Sprimmer Cocktail.

Filed under: friends, recipes, teevee/movies

Vancouver Pics

The Vancouver photos!


Filed under: canada, family, friends, good eats, parties, photos, random, seasons, travels

BC travels

IMG_R3246I spent four lovely nights in Victoria, visiting my home, my friends, remnants of my plants. It was great to relax, fully embrace my dorkiness, play a lot of Scrabble, and fall back into a comfortable rhythm with my friends.

On the way back to Vancouver, I had to transfer buses as the Ladner Exchange. There, a woman and her college-aged daughter started pointing at me, then pointing at a fellow standing a few paces from me. I stealthily paused my iPod so I could casually listen in on what they were saying about us. The mother was saying something about my “beanie” and the “head dress” of the other fellow. (Based on what I saw, I assumed him to be Sikh, so that was in fact a turban.) I wasn’t the only one listening in; the other guy had been listening and caught my eyes when this was said of us. He stepped towards the mother and daughter to clarify things with them. But he didn’t know the words “kippah” or “yarmulke,” so in trying to explain that he wasn’t wearing a head dress, and I wasn’t wearing a beanie, the mother and daughter concluded that we were both of the same religion and were wearing variations on the same religious head wear.

At this point he looked to me, so I stepped over and tried to clarify. At some point the daughter had a “light bulb” moment and said something like, “Oh, like what the Pope wears?!” Um, yes. Kind of. Many religions have customs of head coverings and… I lost them. He looked at me and shrugged. The daughter started talking to her mom about an Easter “South Park” episode which claimed the Pope’s hat was pointy because the Pope had rabbit ears to hide. And I put my earphones back in and turned on my iPod.

It’s good to be back on the west coast…

IMG_7195 IMG_R3214 IMG_R3229
IMG_R3234 IMG_7198 IMG_7199
IMG_7202 IMG_R3238 IMG_R3241

As a side note, I’d recommend reading two recent posts on Jewschool: The H in Apartheid, a thoughtful piece on Hebron, and No One Is Jewish, about Jews who have had their conversion revoked.

Filed under: friends, israel, judaism, photos, random, religion, travels

Pesach Plumage

So here I am in Seattle, cleaning, kashering, and cooking. The kitchen is pristine. The rest of the house… not my domain. Because I’m not the one who will be eating in this house post-Passover, I’m allowing my host to have the final word on some of the halakhah. The result is the chometz cupboard and box in the fridge (stuff he’ll want to eat in a week, that’s expensive to replace, and needs to be refrigerated). Thanks to the internet, both the box and the cupboard have been sold. That is, he no longer owns a cupboard in his kitchen, nor does he own the box in his fridge. I had fun with it, drawing on the boxes:

Then we had to find a feather. Despite suggesting to a friend that “tackling a bird” would be a great way to get a feather, I was not about to attempt this method on my own. We went to a dollar store that had a craft section. Alas, no feathers. We checked a K-Mart, alas, no craft section. Then we went to a giant pet store chain. They sell birds and, sure enough, there were feathers at the bottom of their clean-looking cages. While I wandered amongst the cat toys, trying to decide which cat toy could be defeathered the most easily, my friend approached an employee. “I have sort of a weird question… We need a feather for a religious ceremony. And I saw some in the birds’ cages. Could we have them?” The employee found a second employee, who agreed. Minutes later, he was on his hands and knees in the bird cage (while we were both mildly creeped out because, you know, no matter how clean that cage liner was…) grabbing a half dozen colourful feathers from budgies. My friend and I both reached for the nearby hand santizer as a reaction, but it was empty. (Oh, and let’s not forget the smell in there. A customer’s big ol’ dog had decided the floor next to the bird cages was the perfect place to do his business, both businesses.) Hands were washed once we returned home.

And now we have tiny little feathers to sweep for crumbs with.

Filed under: friends, judaism, photos, random, seasons, travels