Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Here’s wishing you the bluest sky

Filed under : Life in general,Music
On December 30, 2009
At 7:30 am
Comments : 6

And now, a New Year’s Eve Eve message. It’s really by the Kinks… well, mostly. I do have an intro. This has been one of the weirdest years in my adult life. It’s up there with 1992 and 2005/6 (technicality, I’m counting mid-year to mid-year) but the difference between this year and those years is that this time, things didn’t happen to me, I made it a strange year all by myself. Well, it started terribly. There were layoffs at my office about two weeks into the new year and my job was combined with someone else’s, causing me to hate both it and my life. I seriously woke up every day feeling physically sick that this was my life. But unlike previous times where this has occurred to me, I did something about it.

Now I know this isn’t always possible for everyone and that circumstances aren’t always conducive to this kind of thing. But the fact is, I would have said that my life didn’t allow this kind of thing. I have a mortgage and no spouse to depend on should things go wrong. And there is plenty of room to still go wrong. I could fail to find a job and lose everything. I’d be lying if I told you that I’m not nervous and worried and scared. But every day I’m happy that I left my job. Every day.

Here’s a little story from this year. When my job was changed, I went to the CFO and spoke to him about maybe shifting to something different. We had a good relationship and I knew he wouldn’t rat me out. His suggestion was to read some book called “Who Moved My Cheese?” I had no idea what that was, maybe you do, it was a huge bestseller, apparently. But I looked it up on Amazon. It turns out it’s about adjusting your thinking to react to change and letting go of the old. In other words, Becca, give up and go with the flow. You can sort of guess what I thought about that advice. Yeah… I didn’t buy that book.

Eight months later, long after I had made my decision to leave and finally given notice, I ran into the CFO at my going-away party. I thanked him for coming, told him I would miss him, and said cheerfully, “You know what? I move my own fucking cheese.”

So my advice is, don’t wait for change to happen in the new year. Make it happen, in any way you can. Be afraid, it’s OK to be. Just plan, plan, plan and then leap! Even if you fall, you’ll be happier.

So, the song. This song is available on no download service so I went to YouTube. Usually, YouTube comments are kind of the lowest common denominator of Internet text. It really scares you about the state of humanity to read them. But I found this very perfect comment in there about the Kinks’ most hopeful song: “In the imaginary country where I am president, this is the national anthem.” Hats off to you, anonymous commenter. I would like to be a citizen of your country.

Happy New Leap, everyone!

[youtube width=”425″ height=”344″][/youtube]

(The “video” here is just lyrics. Don’t like the song? Read the lyrics! Except that “accept your life and what it brings” line, I’m not so keen on that. So skip that one.)


And the baby grew up to be one of those Geldof It-Girls

Filed under : Music
On December 24, 2009
At 2:00 am
Comments : 3

Oh hey! It’s time for my annual “Jewgirl’s favorite Christmas song” post! I knew you were looking forward to it. I’m going in order so if you’re counting down from the first year of my blog, you will know that this is my fourth favorite Christmas song of all time. But this year I feel a sort of kinship with the song because the people for whom it was intended mostly don’t celebrate Christmas either. So if you were looking to the answer to the song’s title question, the answer is, I think they’re Muslims, so probably not.

Anyway, this song had lots of my favorite stars of the 80’s plus their hair which pretty much fills up the frame of this video. Here’s something fun! I’m going to try to identify everyone onscreen in order. This is because I have four batches of rugelach to bake and so naturally, I’m going to waste my time doing something totally unnecessary. Ready, let’s go!

Bob Geldof
John Taylor
Paul Young
Boy George
Phil Collins
George Michael
Simon LeBon
Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet)
Paul Weller
Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet) and Jon Moss (Culture Club)
Somebody (if someone knows who this fluffy haired guy is, please fill me in) Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet) and John Taylor
Somebody (maybe from the Boomtown Rats?) and Simon LeBon
Gary Kemp and Paula Yates
Bono, George Michael, Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17), and Paul Young
Paul Weller, looking terribly uncomfortable
Gary Kemp and John Taylor
George Michael, Glenn Gregory, Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet), and Bono
Paul Young
Boy George
John Taylor and Gary Kemp
Paul Young
Kool & the Gang
Jody Watley
Phil Collins
Paula Yates
Martin Kemp
Jody Watley
Simon LeBon, Bob Geldof
David Bowie, Sting, George Michael
Who IS the fluffy-haired guy with John Taylor, this will drive me nuts. Gary Kemp!
Paul Young, Tony Hadley, Martin Kemp, somebody Rick Parfitt (Status Quo)
Francis Rossi (Status Quo)
Lots of crowd shots
Who is the shaggy haired blonde guy? Rick Parfitt!
Jon Moss
George Michael
Nick Rhodes
Andy Taylor

[ETA: Hooray for Teh Internet! I have figured out two out of three of my mysteries. Fluffy-haired guy is Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet and Shaggy-haired blonde guy is Rick Parfitt of Status Quo. Also, through researching members of Spandau Ballet, I have discovered that they are back together. And no longer have so much hair.]

Phew! How about that? Good times, good times. But I did lie about something, sorry: the post title, as it happens. Fifi Trixibelle is not one of those crazy Geldof sisters. I think she’s the normal one. Happy Christmas, Fifi! And the rest of my goyish readers!

[youtube width=”480″ height=”385″][/youtube]

Band-Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas, not available on Napster except as an album.

Becca’s #1 Holiday song.

Becca’s #2 Holiday song.

Becca’s #3 Holiday song.


I’m trading stories with the leaves instead

Filed under : Student Life
On December 17, 2009
At 9:15 pm
Comments : 7

I know it seems odd for a Jewess like myself to have a picture of a Christmas tree on her blog, especially on a Jewey blog like this one and especially a tree such as this one. But hear me out. I have my reasons.

Last year at this time, I was probably off to our Hugh Jass Holiday Party which took place at a trendy club and was always sponsored by some liquor company. Consequently, it was plastered with advertising for said liquor not to mention full of a lot of plastered people dressed in scanty finery and dancing to things like Boom Boom Pow as the president of the company raffled off vacations and thousand dollar bills. I never won, by the way, before you ask. Then, everyone would get car service limos to take their drunken asses home at the company’s expense.

The day before we took our holiday break, my boss would hand out expensive electronic gadgets to the department, the same thing for everyone. In later years, he sort of lost even this bit of imagination and gave out large gift cards. My, I bought some cool things with those.

And I loved that break, I must say. It was the closest thing to a lengthy enough respite to feel like an actual vacation that I ever got. But towards the end of it I just dreaded the idea of coming back and facing the inevitable post-holiday sales letdown and dealing with the dullest releases of the year: the ones that come out in the first quarter. Sometimes, my boss would make me do some work over the break. I mean, you didn’t expect him to come in and do the work, did you? That was my job.

This year is different.

We had our holiday party this week. There was no liquor or DJ. Instead, a couple of people went to Fairway and picked out a simple but lovely spread of cheese, crackers, cookies, cupcakes, pretzels, and sweets. I helped decorate the room, a classroom at TC, with garlands and lights and sprinklings of brightly colored candy around the tables. The head of our group hooked his iPod up to a speaker and people chatted and ate and laughed and then at the end, everyone pitched in and cleaned up.

Today, the head of the group gave out presents, each carefully picked out for the recipient. A gorgeous coffee table book about Morocco to my boss who had just been there on a family vacation, a bestseller about dogs for our admin who loves her dog, a CD I had mentioned a few days earlier that I never got a chance to hear for me. Simple and well thought out and perfect. From the actual organization, I got a small gift card to B&N (we’re a literacy program, after all) and a bar of peppermint bark (LOVE peppermint bark). I felt as happy as Laura Ingalls did when she got a sugar candy in her stocking that year.

Next week, I’ll begin the longest vacation I’ve ever had in my adult life. It won’t be a total break as I hooked up some part-time work, I have to begin my thesis, and of course, the bakery never closes. Also, my boss mentioned today that if I felt like coming in, I could, she’d be there. And the thought of all my projects standing still is a real bummer. I believe in what we do, you see, and so does everyone else. So we’ll see… but it’s my choice.

It’s been an exhausting week, I’ve barely slept and seldom worked harder. I could really use a vacation. But even so, I picked out some great classes for next semester and can’t wait to go back.

Title comes from:
Pearl Jam – In My Tree


Everything she wants

Filed under : Judaism,Life in general
On December 13, 2009
At 2:00 am
Comments : 3

Ladies and gents, I may have six papers due this week but am I the luckiest girl in the world or what? Just look at the Hannukah haul! I practically had to delete my entire wishlist.

Doesn’t Andre look soulful? That’s because he knows I won’t have time to read this until my semester is over. Have faith, Zen Master.

I am Serious Chris Noth. Do not look at the sexy, I’m just here to catch perps. CHA-CHUNG!

Brownie pan! With lid! I have been looking for one for ages; tin foil on top of the 9×9 is just not my speed. Also shown, potholders to match new kitchen < Vanna White hand motion >.

Awwww! Isn’t it darling? It’s a mini crockpot which serves one to two. One is for when you’re not visiting me and I scarf down the whole thing. I mean, uh, leftovers.

Actually, I have one of these already but it finishes cooking in five hours and I like my crockpots like my… oh never mind, let’s just stick with “this one’s better.” Also, it says it’s great for party dips and I am nothing if not a party dip.

But (serious voice), I don’t want to get away from the real meaning of Hannukah. The hearkening back to a time when the brave Maccabees rid Israel of the scourge of people who sought to assimilate and take on the ways of the foreign conquerors. So now we celebrate their victory by watching eight days of Law & Order. CHA-CHUNG!

Or not. Sorry, I’m full of jelly doughnut.

Once upon a time, long long ago, this was my favorite song on earth, I kid you not. Scott Muni used to play it on “Things From England” on WNEW. Then Wham! became big and I pretended I never liked it.

Title comes from:
Wham! – Everything She Wants


Things our children will miss out on, part 289

Filed under : Life in general
On December 6, 2009
At 2:15 pm
Comments : 7

I’m taking a break from studying how technology changes society as well as the baking I should be doing to talk a little about baking and how technology has changed society.

I had a special request from a customer to make “Hannukah cookies” which don’t really exist in the way Christmas cookies or Purim cookies do. The special sweet for Hannukah is sufganiyot, or jelly doughnuts, and I can’t make those. But I thought about how my mother used to make sugar cookies in the shape of dreidels and stars and menorahs with blue sugar on top. My aunt does the same thing so I assume my grandmother did too. Maybe it came over from Christmas sugar cookies, I don’t know. So I suggested that and my customer agreed. I happen to have my mother’s recipe boxes from when we cleaned out my parents’ house last year and I looked through them.

I think the thing that struck me most was how dishes I had thought of as my mother’s really came from her friends and neighbors and how every one was clearly marked, “Mrs. So-and-So” on the top right corner. My mother was like me and saved everything so the recipe boxes are also full of notes from people saying, “Hi, here’s the tzimmes recipe you asked for…..” Some are still in little envelopes. I think if you looked through my computer, you’d see the same thing but in .doc files. And I do call many of my recipes by the person who gave them to me. So it’s Monka Muffins and PaxilRose’s Chocolate Chip Crack and Aunt Honey’s cookies.

But I mean, look at this picture… I somehow don’t think it will be the same. Sure, the search would be a lot easier, but it will also be a lot less fun.

Nirvana – Heart Shaped Box