Thursday, April 29, 2010

What Are You Davening For?

It was my boss who pointed out that I should make sure to get to the kever of rebbe Meir Baal Haneis on his yartzeit. "He promised to intercede on behalf of those who daven at his kever...on his yartzeit especially! Your teffilos will really be answered!"

"Sounds nice," I agreed.

"I guess we'll be planning a wedding pretty soon," was her inference.


Her tone then went mournful. "And I will need to find someone to replace you."

I didn't like it. "Can I ask you a question?"

She nodded.

"How do you know what I'm davening for?" I inquired.

"We-ell," she started. "I just figured that your single, you must be looking to get married, it's a safe bet, isn't it?"

Somehow, I feel like she is invading my privacy. How is it her business? Would she have told someone who has been married for a number of years without children that they should now begin looking at maternity clothes?

Why is a single person considered a "community problem?" Heck, I don't get why it is considered a problem all together! But for real, how would you respond to a statement like that?

Oh, and FYI, I did daven at the kever of R' Meir Baal Haneis yesterday, on his yartzeit. (It was amazing, by the way.) If my boss is right, you'll all be hearing about an engagement pretty soon. ;-)

Oh, and Israel is awesome. I'd show off some pictures but the wifi here is so slow I can't upload anything. I'll post em when I find some decent wifi...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Packing Tips Anyone?

I've just come to a startling realization.

I, apparently, have an unhealthy obsession with bags and cases. Any size, color and shape. You name it, I have it. Three storage boxes in my closet, all of which contain nothing but bags and cases.

It might stem from my organization. I need to know where everything is at any given moment. I also love having things fit nicely in a pocket of a bag, as if the bag and the object are a pair of lonely singles waiting to be matched up by me, the master shadchan- er, packer.

Whatever the reason is, I am starting to feel like this is actually a hindrance when packing, not a help. I know, it's insane. Who wouldn't want a million different cases and bags to pack their things in? But that's really where the problems start. Take my makeup bag-turned pencil case. It has two big pockets, two medium pockets, and one small extra secure pocket. It's great! It must come along with me! But what should I put in it? Maybe the more portable parts of my marker collection? (Er, did I ever mention that I love markers?) Or perhaps it's better for small necessities, like airplane sized hand cream, advil, tylenol PM, a brush, a tweezers... Or should I use it for it's intended purpose and put makeup in it? But on the other hand, which idiot brings makeup with them on vacation?

Then there is my all-purpose tote bag. It needs to come along, right? But how should I use it? Should I use it as my handbag? Or should I pack some of my things in it? And what about a backpack? Should I bring along a big one and a mini one, or is a big one enough? And what case should I use for electronics? The normal case I use won't be big enough, should I bring along two cases or search my three boxes for a better sized case?

Oh, and I just thought of the toiletries! What size case do I need for them? The huge one? But it's probably too big. Should I use the smaller one? Or perhaps I should bring both along? And what about my light purple tote bag? The size and shape are great, but what can I put in it? And where on earth are my shoe bags? I don't want to stick my sneakers straight into the suitcase, do I?

As you see, I don't like packing. But it's kind of necessary, I am leaving to Israel on Sunday. Oh, did I not mention that? Well, yeah, I won't be posting much, I guess it will depend on the amount of free wifi Israel has...

Anyhow, if anyone has packing tips or suggestions, please leave a comment/send an email. I tried to use MP's list, but I don't think it was in English. What's a Puma?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

History and (of) My Digital Camera, part 2

Previously, on 'History of My Digital Camera:'

"I felt like a particularly gullible fool, a few days later, when I thought about the service plan Paul had managed to sell me. $80 for a four year warranty seemed excessive, but Paul explained how useful it would be..."

"I was devastated. Then I remembered my friend Paul and his four year, 80 dollar, extended warranty..."

And so my friends, I marched back into Best Buy, two years later. The goodbye at the geek squad between me and my beloved camera was tearful. The man said they would send it away for repairs. I wanted to cry. I just wanted to have my camera back. I had a big trip coming up, and I faced it camera-less. A couple of weeks later, I got a call from my friends at Best Buy.



"I'm calling from warranty service from Best Buy. Your camera is irrepairable, so please come in to get a new camera. We will select a new one based on specification and price."

"Oh my gosh."

"Er, ok, thank you, have a good day."

At that moment, I had the oddest mix of feelings coursing through my veins. There was euphoria, but also sadness. T1 had been a faithful friend for two long years, and now he was gone... Never one to mope, I researched digital cameras. After ages of looking and speculating, I chose the SOny DSC N1. It was a nifty little touch screen gizmo with some cool painting features. The cost of this camera was astronomical, at $450, but I figured that I would get to upgrade my exchange to this camera. I went into the store, picked up my gorgeous little N1, then went to the customer service desk to do the exchange. The customer service rep put it all into the system, then explained how the price was calculated.

"The original price for your old camera was 450 dollars, and this camera is 450, so your balance is zero. Do you want a service plan with that?"

This time I didn't need my buddy Paul to talk me into anything. If my "yes!" was too enthusiastic, the rep should have figured it out. I walked out of there, clutching a brand new $450 camera, having been set back a mere $80.

Here's where the story gets a little odd. I didn't love the N1 the way I loved the T1. It was a cool camera, don't get me wrong. The pictures came out great and the touch screen provided the extra "shtick" that my inner gadget freak craved. I don't know exactly what the problem was with the camera. Maybe I am simply impatient, or maybe I had already seen the best of extended warranties, but either way, it wasn't long before I started scheming about ways to get a new camera, compliments of Best-Buy.

But as hard as I willed the N1 to break, it wouldn't. It was the most rugged piece of equipment I have ever owned. In fact, two years ago, I fell while hiking in a park. I tripped over a rock and stuck out my hand to break the fall, as most idiots are prone to do. My hands, knees, legs and even my face were in terrible shape for weeks after the fall. My entire knee was skinned, and subsequently got infected. (I have pictures for anyone in the possesion of a strong stomach who doubts the severity of my injuries.) The strange thing though, was that N1 was in my hand. It went out to break my fall. It bore the brunt of it. And nothing happened.

It was at that point that I started to worry. I figured that N1 was going to stick around for the rest of my life. Nothing should have survived an impact like that one. "I guess it will be nice after the four years are up," I reasoned, "but until then I am going to mope about it."

The first lucky break came when the lens cover started to stick. It wasn't much to go on, but I wanted the camera to get some repairs, any repairs. I needed to start building my case. The Best Buy dudes took it way too seriously. They replaced the entire front of the camera, including the lens. The repairs totalled $230, none of which I paid. I had a warranty.

It was right around the time I got my camera back from that repair that I started to notice the deterioration in photo quality. I couldn't prove anything, but I was pretty sure the replacement lens was not the same super high quality lens I had originally.

Since then, my family has heard nothing but complaints about how badly I want my camera to break. But it seemed hopeless. I lent it to my one-year old niece, and it was fine. Then, one day, about a week ago, I burst into my father's study. "It's broken!" I screamed. "It's broken! It's finally broken!!" My father looked a littly puzzled. Under normal circumstances, my voice and words didn't fit. I held out my camera. "Look, the lens cover is stuck...[dramatic pause]...again!"

I felt like a lawyer preparing a case. I read and reread the service plan to figure out my best shot at getting a new camera, instead of another repair. Finally, I convinced my father to come along to Best Buy to work his magic on the Geek Squad dudes. And so we went. The guy looked at it, then told me it would have to be repaired. My father explained, nicely, that the last repair had messed the camera up, and we didn't want another bad repair job. A call to the supervisor later and...

"Ok ma'am. My supervisor said we can do an exchange based on specifications."

This time, they got a little smarter. They based my exchange on specification only, not price. I tried explaining that four years ago cameras were a lot more expensive, and that a camera like that would set you back a lot less in the modern era. The salesman smiled. He apologized and informed me that he couldn't do anything about that. But I recognized the smile. It was Paul. "Were you working here six years ago?"

He nodded. "Yes?"

"I am pretty sure you sold me my first ever camera. You did a great job, I spent a lot more than I ever intended to spend. And I still remember how impressed I was with your service."

"Thanks, you just made my day!"

"Glad to hear it! Now back to my camera, one of the main reasons I purchased that camera was the touch screen. I really want a camera with a touch screen..."

Another nod. "Yes, I guess you do deserve a touch screen. I guess this camera is pretty similar specs to the N1." He pointed at a camera. The camera.

Fifteen minutes later I walked out of the store holding a brand new Sony DSC TX1 and wearing a huge smile. And once again, I bought the extended warranty.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

History and (of) My Digital Camera, Part 1

If anyone found my computer's story interesting, just wait until you read the latest escapade on the BOSD technology front. The story may reveal my identity, so if you think you know who I am, read carefully. This is the final test.

It all started six years ago. I received a phone call from a teacher of mine, asking me if I would be interested in a job. She told me that a girl from my high school had failed her history regent, and since I had gotten a 99 when I took it, (that point killed me. I still haven't gotten over it.) she thought I might be a good candidate to tutor this girl for the makeup test. One girl turned into three, and I earned an extra couple of hundred dollars that summer. I decided to buy myself something with the money, and, being a gadget freak (my father's term, not mine) it wasn't hard for me to decide on a digital camera. Now, I had originally planned to get a cheap camera, the standard model for that time. I don't know if everyone remembers the cameras of six years ago, but those who had made the jump from film cameras were using these large box-like devices with a tiny screen, usually about an inch diagonal, which was dim and hard to see.

I planned to buy one of those dinosaurs, I really did. But I walked into the store and saw the Sony T1 and started to salivate. Those kind of cameras were completely unheard of at that point. Nobody had ultra-slim cameras. Nobody had 2.5 inch LCD screens. The price tag though, made me sweat. $500? For a camera? I was determined not to let myself buy it. But the extra two tutorees, combined with a lot of pressure from my father and a really good salesman at Best Buy named Paul convinced me. It also helped that my father sweet-talked the manager into giving us a ten percent discount on the camera. I couldn't believe it when I walked out of the door of the store, having just spent a summer's worth of tutoring money on a camera.

I felt like a particularly gullible fool, a few days later, when I thought about the service plan Paul had managed to sell me. $80 for a four year warranty seemed excessive, but Paul explained how useful it would be, and I was saving fifty dollars anyway...

The T1 was a wonderful camera. I shouldn't admit to this, but I absolutely loved the way it drew gasps from strangers every time I would remove it from my bag... I really shouldn't say this, but I have been accused of asking strangers to photograph my group just to collect compliments when I handed them the novelty of a large screened, ultra slim digital camera. I felt such a thrill every time I brought the camera to a school function and saw the heads turn. Oh, and it took really good pictures, especially in an era when digital pictures looked like a poor color copy of an old photograph.

Fast forward two years. I took out my camera, turned it on...and nothing happened. Blackness. I thought the battery was dead, so I charged it, put it back in, and still nothing happened. I was devastated. Then I remembered my friend Paul and his four year, 80 dollar, extended warranty...

(Part 2 to follow...)

And in case anyone is wondering, I don't plan to end Top Ten Tuesday. I have some awesome Top Ten Ideas, but I need some time for them. Sorry for any disappointment. I hope to post one next week...

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Public Confession

*Multiple choice question:

Who said the following:

"Wow, she is so amazing! She manages to smile at the vorts of all of her friends, even though she isn't engaged yet. It must be really hard for her... all her friends are engaged or married by now-and she isn't…"

A) The Nosy Shadchan whom we all avoid

B) The self-righteous 15 year old high school girls

c) Me

D) All of the above

The answer, as horrible as it is to think about, much less to admit to all of my readers, is D.

Yes, you read that correctly. I, SD, have uttered sentences similar to the incriminating one mentioned above. See, I always thought of these as nasty statements. Ones I'd promise myself not to consider saying -ever. But at a recent vort, I found myself the object of pity all around. And, painfully, I was fully aware of the thoughts hiding behind the pitying glances. But, I wondered, how in the world did I know? Surely I’d never engaged in a pitying conversation like that one.

And then the truth hit me like a ton of bricks. I lowered my eyes in shame, horrified that I was amongst the ranks of these cruel and hurtful people. See, in my haste to condemn the pitying people, I forgot about a crucial faction. It's not only the Nosey shadchanim of the world that torture us singles in this manner. There is another group of people, equally good meaning, equally annoying, and just a tad bit more naive.

I once heard my high school sister on the phone. They were discussing a DH or head counselor who had just gotten engaged. it's really nice," my sister proclaimed. "She isn't so young..." Her voice trailed off as she most likely listened to her friend's take on the latest nebach case crossed off the list of "Shidduch Crisis Casualties." Suddenly, my ears perked up. I heard the name of this “older single" mentioned. It sounded familiar.

Upon further investigation, I discovered the reason that the nebach-case sounded familiar to me. She was in seminary with me. Yep. The older single. Did I mention that this story happened a year and a half ago?

Painful as it is to Say it, I know I've done this myself. want so badly to crawl into Calvin's little cardboard box and travel back in time to the year was in eighth grade, when an "older," single teacher of mine got engaged. want to bring along a muzzle and stop myself from uttering those horrific words. I want to undo the terrible wrongs I committed as a teenager.

And that wasn't the only time. I remember a discussion in high school about a girl who had just gotten engaged. "It's so so so nice," my friends and I had commented. “She really isn't young." And worse are the nasty speculations about the hardship facing the ones who hadn't yet been swept off their feet by prince charming.

I can't be the only guilty party, can I? I'm doing teshuvah though. Count this as my vidui. Now, by a show of hands, er, comments, how many of you are guilty of this grave sin?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Where is SD? A Motsville Times Exclusive

click on picture for larger image.

The rest of the article, which has been finished on page 72, right after an MP sighting report, reads:

Get over it. I’m back now, and even working on a fiction story.”

And, as usual, SD urged her readers to continue to provide lots of feedback. “In any way you want. Comments are obviously best, because everyone can read them and discuss it, but an email, IM or text is good too. I love hearing from fans!”

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Welcome to the Newest Member of the Family!

I've never really welcomed my new computer to the BOSD family, have I? Well, that was negligent of me! It's a real pleasure typing a post on a computer that - get this- actually works! And it's also a pleasure to use a computer that has a decent keyboard, so I don't need to worry about skipped letters. Well, no, this doesn't have a decent keyboard. The chicklet style keyboard is such a complete pleasure to type on, I can't do it justice in a single blog post.

But what I would like to share with you now, is the extraordinary hashgacha pratis surrounding my computer's purchase.

I placed the order for the computer on Monday. I did a custom build computer, so the estimated build date was on thursday, followed by a ship date of Friday. I was impatient all week, and Friday I was jumping out of my skin. I'm sure you can imagine, therefore, how horrified I was to recieve an email late friday afternoon, informing me of production delays and a later ship date. I then recieved a $50 coupon for my next purchase from HP, which I was sure I wouldn't use.

I was mad. I figured that with the standard free shipping, my computer was due to arrive the following thursday, at the earliest. A quick call to HP customer service confirmed that because of the delay, I would be upgraded to expedited 1-2 business day shipping. Things were starting to look up.

On Motzei shabbos I checked my order status, and saw that my computer had been assigned a tracking number. That began a week of obsessive checking of for my number. What do I call obsessive? Well, I called my sister to go online and check the number for me when I was out and wouldn't be at a computer for an hour or so...

Slowly, the computer made its pilgramage from Shanghai to Anchorage, then it hopped on a flight to Newark, where it landed at the fedex location, then headed to a fedex center near my house, then finally made its way onto a truch for delivery. I couldn't wait.

To pass the time, I started reading user reviews of my new baby, and I came up with a fascinating phenomenon. I had found a $300 coupon code, but was only able to use it with an $80 (extra) blue ray external hard drive. I have no use for a blue ray player, as I don't watch movies, so I saw the $80 as a waste, but it was still a net savings of $220. But, reading some user reviews online, it turns out that people were really upset that they weren't able to get blue ray players, and they would be thrilled to purchase one from someone who had an extra one....

To make a long story very short, I sold my blue ray player. I charged $130 for it, which was the full price. I then purchased an ordinary external CD drive from the HP store, $63 dollars, minus, you remember, my $50 coupon code. My computer then came Wednesday, a full day earlier than expected originally, I got $50 off for no good reason, and all is good.

How's that for a cool set of circumstances?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mah Nishtana Poem

Background: Erev Pesach, a member of my family received a yom tov bonus from their company: chassidish owned. Accompanying the check was the world's worst poem. Honestly. Had I been trying to make fun of ESL people writing poems, it wouldn't have been half as funny. Anyhow, a couple of hours later, at the seder, my family was still buzzing about the hilarious poem. So, when it came time for ma nishtana, I made my own little rhyme-on the spot. Don't anyone think this was my best effort at poetry. It was my best effort at bad poetry.
Please note: grammar mistakes are intentional. Poem should be read with a think yinglish accent.

Why from all of the other nights,
Does the night of Pesach have
such different rights?

On all the nights from the whole year
We eat all kinds of yummy cake and bread
But on the night of pesach we eat only matzah,
cuz that's what Hashem said!

On all other nights from they whole year,
We eat all kinds of vegetables so delish,
and tonight its only marror
on our dish!

On all the other nights from the whole year,
we don't dip except ah bissel tomato dip and chrein,
and tonight we dip two times,
But it's not even a pain!

On all of the other nights from the year,
On our couch we recline,
but tonight we lean,
when we drink our wine!

(To any chassidish readers, don't get insulted! I love chassidim, I just think the majority of them needs to stay away from poetry of all sorts. ;-) )