The move has happened

Ok, new site is up and running.  That was pretty easy, and it looks TOTALLY hot.  I'd love for all of you to join me over there and put me on your feed.  Whee!

While the site is up, it's still got a little work going on.  I have some links that I'm farting around with and working on, so have no fear.. it'll be ok.

Stop by and see me at


I'll love you forever :)

And, officially, blogger can suck my nuts because it often eats my posts and I'm tired of having to write a ton of html to make them look even halfway decent.  Also... this blog is going to be more interesting, because while I'm trying to lose weight, it's not like, a passion of mine.  This new site is more about passion.  I likes passion.

See you there!


I need your top five fitness dvds!  I'm in the market... :)

I've finally found it!

Since I started working at the Chabad House about a year ago, I've been desperately seeking information. is a good resource, and I frequently read the women's section. I also found an online FAQ about Chassidism that was pretty helpful. I even read a bunch of Chaim Potok novels... but they're novels, and so were more focused on the story than on the actual practice of Chassidic Judaism (which is as it should be, I think). What I was really lacking was a good perspective on the other side of Chassidism.  

I once heard a story on NPR (I'm an NPR junky) about Rabbis in Chassidic yeshivas (schools) molesting young boys, and the story delved briefly into the idea of the insular quality of these communities - how you can't rat out a Rabbi, even if he does something awful, and if you do, you're going to be shunned by the community, even if they all know that what this Rabbi did was totally wrong.  It was interesting, but, like Catholicism, I know that Rabbis molestering little boys isn't a norm, and shouldn't be considered as such.

Well, after a year of searching, I've finally found a critical perspective on Chassidism (or ultra-orthodoxy, as some people call it).  I know that this is also somewhat of an extreme example, but I really wanted an in-depth testimony from someone who had defected from Chassidism.  And I found it.  Boy did I find it.  And best of all, I found it while listening to my "This American Life" podcast (see?  NPR junky).  The author's name is Shalom Auslander, and his memoir is called Foreskin's Lament.  Amazing, right?  How provocative!  I'm about a hundred pages in, and already Auslander has ranted and raved about how God will punish him by killing his family and friends in horrific and ironic ways - "That would be so God," is his common refrain.  Already, he has called God a "fucking, fucking fuck."  THIS is what I needed.

I don't know why, but I really crave multiple perspectives on something.  I tend to wallow around in the opinions that are more closely aligned with mine, but that's just human nature.  I had a suspicion that Chassidism could be really restrictive and unfair.  I mean, I just can't imagine that EVERYONE who grew up in a Chassidic household would come of age as good upstanding Jews.  I mean, for Christ's sake, they still practice arranged marriages, women all have to wear skirts and "modest" tops covering most of their arms and their necks.  Married women are not allowed to show their hair, and usually wear wigs.  While I'm sure that many people are truly devout and accept that this is what they are supposed to do, and even derive joy from fulfilling these Mitzvahs.  But the fact is that they are a very small percentage of the population, and popular culture seeps in, whether they want it to or not.  I had to work the door at a big Purim event, and I saw kids coming in dressed up as lions or, as one kid proudly announced/screamed at Jon, "I'M A DUCK!!"  But there were also kids there dressed up as Shrek, or as a rappers, or as "teenagers," as one girl told me.  You can't hide from the prevailing culture, and it's going to work its way in.  How could it be that all of these kids are perfectly fine with all of the stuff they have to do, and all of the stuff they aren't allowed to do, when they are very much aware that there are other people out there who do it?

So other than the countless pages of blasphemy, Foreskin's Lament is actually very well written.  Told in snapshots from the author's younger years, it reads somewhat like a David Sedaris book - which is totally fine by me.  His is a format that I revel in, and I'm glad to see that other authors are really exploring the potential greatness of the memoir.  But Auslander is so... angry.  He is one pissed off fucker.  And it's entertaining on one level, but is so essential on another.

Also, Auslander utilizes what I'll call "refrains" throughout the book - little phrases he hits upon, drills into your head, and then brings them up later, completely out of context, to remind you that this is a man talking to you about the past, not a little boy's experience in present-tense.  The past is gone.  Buried.  And the refrains remind you of the Shalom Auslander of now, who is telling you a story about then.  It's really an ingenious little device that I've seen authors use, but never to the extend that Auslander does.  "Fuck" becomes a comforting mantra that you return to again and again, to assure the reader - "Don't worry.  I'm still pissed off about it."

So yes, I'd highly recommend it.  Even if you're not interested in Chassidism, and just want an interesting and entertaining read, you should pick it up.

AND, since I hate hard covers, it just recently came out in paperback - good news for the cheapskate in us all.  :)

Maybe moving???

I might be dragging this blog (and my others... because it's too hard to keep up with them all) to a new Mac supported site. I figure it's stupid that I own this really nice MacBook and have barely taken advantage of its capabilities. It also means no more blogging at work, which would probably be a good thing for me.

I got roses today :) 1 dozen big red roses. I feel special.

I also feel tired and achey and I just wanna go home, but it looks like I'mma be stuck here for a while. Boo.

My boss's promo vid for his Passover stuff...

pesach_690146 from JabMedia on Vimeo.

Because it's funny.


Had to show off my manicure, foos...  Purdy purdy... :)  And shocking, for some reason.  Don't you love Macs and the built in cameras?

I have all of these grand plans for the morning...  I'm going to CLEAN.  I'm going to GET IN MY STRENGTH ROUTINE.  I'm going to EAT WHAT'S IN MY MEAL PLAN.  I'm going to EMO MY HAIR OUT and GO WINDOW SHOPPING for fun.  I'm going to BLAST ENON ALL DAY!

Actually... I'm all giddy right now, possibly because I'm so overjoyed that it's the weekend.  Enjoy my "virtual mixtape" for all y'alls.  Yeah.  These be some jams I rock out to.  Don't make fun of me :(

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

K, that was icky fun. I started feeling self conscious about the dance rock, so I had to show how tough I am by throwing in some hardcore and some oi!. Aren't I amazing? :D

And, of course, it seems necessary that I round out a trilogy of multimedia with a video...  Maybe it's just us, but my best friend (who happens to be my ex... I know, drama drama drama) and I can't stop laughing at this one:

Hope you all have a marvelous weekend full of laughs and music and rockstariness.  I know I will.  WOOOO!  YEAHHH!!!!!

Relax: Embarrassing Confession

So last night I tried Tricia's method.  Unfortunately, I have a really shallow tub (it really is!  I thought that when I first moved in here), so the bath probably could have been better if I had Jon's jacuzzi tub (which doesn't work, by the way), but it did help.  I hit target after work and got some vanilla almond bath salt, which was nice.  Afterward, I felt like rubber, though, and just went to bed... around 7:30.  Suck.

So here's my embarrassing confession...  I should have no problems with stress.  I hold a psychology minor, so I understand a little bit about stress and aggression.  Not everything, mind you, but the thing about psychology is that you should be able to overcome a phenomenon once you understand it.  Example: there's this social psychological phenomenon (well-documented, by the way) called "the bystander effect," in which people will watch someone in distress and not do anything about it.  Several years ago, there was this woman walking in a mall, and she slipped and fell and broke her ankle... and then laid on the floor for two hours in a daze while people just walked past her.  It's not their fault.  It's something our brains just do.  We just kind of assume someone else is going to help.  Or here's something that more of us could probably relate to: how many times have you driven past someone on a busy road who was stranded?  But on a relatively deserted road, you've probably pulled over to help.  That's the bystander effect.  But now that I've told you about it, chances are you're going to be more self-conscious, and the next time you see someone who needs help, you're going to be more likely to help them.  That's how a lot of this shit works.

So... let's talk about stress and aggression.  Research proves that if you indulge those aggressive feelings (like your therapist might actually tell you to do, by punching or pillow, or "scream therapy," which was popular in the 70s), you're actually going to increase your aggression.  That feeling of catharsis you get after screaming or punching a pillow?  That's just you being exhausted from all of the screaming and punching.  So when you feel angry or stressed, the best possible thing you can do is something completely opposite - closing your eyes and counting slowly to ten, taking a leisurely walk, breathing deeply for two minutes.  THAT is how you relieve stress and aggression.

But the real embarrassing admission here is that I actually held a certification in clinical relaxation techniques a few years ago.  Yup.  I sure did.  I was certified to teach people techniques for de-stressing.  I could have whored myself out to big companies and taught those people certain techniques to relieve stress.  I didn't, but I could have...

So I have no excuse for succumbing to stress.  So, I'm going to dust off my knowledge about it and put it to use.  Part of the reason that I kind of shied away from it is that there was SO much emphasis on the spiritual, and if you haven't figured it out already, I'm an atheist... so that stuff just doesn't work for me.  But there were a few things that I did find helpful, and I'm going to share those with you now:

1.  PMR or Progressive Muscle Relaxation
In order to practice the PMR technique, you should take about 20 minutes to sit quietly by yourself (or with someone else who is practicing PMR).  Focus very carefully on your fingers, and try to consciously remove any tension from them.  You should be able to feel them go limp.  Then your wrists, your arms.  Next your toes, your ankles, your knees, your hips.  Then think about every vertebrae in your spine, and try to let go of all the tension.  Move up to your shoulders and let it go.  Your neck.  Your face.  By the time you're done, you should feel like you have no muscle tightness anywhere, and the 20 minutes you used to sit quietly and do this should help as well.

2.  Yoga-form Stretching
This is similar to Yoga, but can be done from a chair.  It's hard to tell you how to do this, but try sitting quietly and slowly stretching.  People who want to try this at home and LIKE Yoga can certainly do it, but remember that the purpose is not for fitness - it's for relaxation, so you shouldn't attempt poses that are particularly difficult for you.  Do what you can, or modify it so that you feel the stretch and so that you aren't expending a lot of effort in concentrating on balance.  It should be easy and relaxing - not challenging like Yoga for fitness and balance should be.

3.  Meditation
I'm sure most of you are probably familiar with some form of meditation.  Really, it's not too difficult.  Just sit quietly for about 20 minutes or so, and clear your mind.  To do this, it might help you to first mentally construct a room that is really relaxing to you.  Focus on what it would smell like, if there's a breeze or not, the tactile sensations you get from sitting or laying down on the furniture in the room.  Once you've settled yourself into your room, try to really place yourself there and focus on nothing but the sounds and smells and feelings of the room.  More traditionally, many people like mantras.  Mantras, in a meditation sense, are simple sounds that you can repeat over and over again to yourself, either out load or in your head, that are comforting to you.  The ultimate goal of the mantra is block out unpleasant thoughts to keep you focused on... nothing.  "Ohm," which I'm sure you're all familiar with, is probably the most popular mantra.  Try just focusing on "ohmmmmmmmmmm" and nothing else.  The goal is to not think about ANYTHING... we could get into eastern/buddhist/hindu/zen philosophy, but we won't.  The goal is nothingness.

If you wanna try any of these, I'd love to know what you think.  There are a couple of more techniques, but I prefer not to use them because they focus more on spirituality and "finding something bigger than yourself," and cynical me... I think that's bullshit.  I think I'm going to devote some good time to meditation after work today.  :)

Diet: Solution? Spa day.

Have you ever had a spa day?  I've never had a full day when I get a bunch of treatments at once... the closest I've ever come is that Jon and I went and spent Memorial Day weekend at the W downtown just for fun, and the morning after I had a massage and a manicure.  But after I get a facial or a massage I always feel this desire to do better for myself.  I come out full of lemon water and feeling all clean and pampered and so zen about everything.  I think it kind of points to the fact that I'm a stress-eater.  When I'm really and truly relaxed, I want salads and water and good things for myself.  When I'm stressed out, like I am most of the time, I want convenience food that I don't have to think about.

Hmm...  Insight?  How do you get that spa-day, totally relaxed and at peace with the world feeling without going to the spa?

NOPE: Not One Puff Ever

I need to quit smoking, y'all.  That should be my first damned priority... ok, one of them.  But I find myself out of breath when I really shouldn't be, and I taste that nasty phlegmy stuff when I get my heart rate up and start breathing heavier...  It's nasty.  Good god.  Smoking makes me look so COOL though, and it's the only break I get during the day at work!

Ok, so I need to change my perception.  Smoking doesn't make me look cool.  It makes me smell stinky and it's holding me back from being healthy.  The nicotine addiction is part of it, but I'm kind of a balls-to-the-wall person, and smoking reminds me to take a break to de-stress for a moment.  I know the act of smoking doesn't actually relieve stress.  Nicotine is a stimulant.  I know this.  I'm not stupid.  But it's a lot less stressful than staring at spreadsheets at work for 8 hours straight and trying to find more money than there is...

My dad was a life-long smoker, but he told me to try drinking a big glass of water every time I feel like I want to smoke.  That might help me get my water intake for the day...  But how am I going to get my 5 minute breaks at work, and what am I going to do with those breaks???

Tonight the goal is to go for a walk when I get home from work, and then go to the grocery store.  I also need to call my bank because I never got my replacement debit card... March 09 has come and gone, and I now have no access to my cash.  Boohoo.  Not like there was a ton there to start with...

I'm afraid to do higher-intensity cardio because I know my lung capacity is shit from the smoking.  Maybe if I just ease in... something is better than nothing, I keep telling myself, but I'm finding that the scale says that that's not true.  I'm sitting steady around 240, and that's no good.  Even though I've changed the way I eat during the daytime, I'm still gorging at night with Jon and not getting any exercise.  I need a dramatic weight loss in the first week like I used to do when I was a teenager and would sporadically count calories...  Now I know that I'm 10 years older and I can't expect 20 pounds to come off in a week, but come on now...

But the smoking is a real hindrance.  That needs to stop.  Cold turkey.  But it's so much fun...  Grr.

I've told myself I'm not allowed to go to grad school until I'm at a reasonable weight (say, under 190).  Is that stupid?

I am so fucking frustrated right now...  I cannot WAIT for passover so I get that week off...  5 1/2 more business days, y'all....