Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top Ten iPhone Observations

It's been a week since I posted, but for a change I have a good reason. And by good, I mean great.

[clears throat]

I finally, and I mean FINALLY got an iPhone. "It's about time," you are probably thinking to yourself. Indeed it is. And so, I spent the last week learning about my new toy, and have come to the following ten conclusions.

10) The lack of tactile keys is not my favorite feature. In fact, had AT&T offered a decent Android phone with tactile keys, it would have probably tipped the scales in favor of it. That being said, the on-screen keyboard for the iPhone is intelligent enough to redeem itself.

9) On a related note, I forgot how well my old touch knew me. It's so odd having to remember to get rid of their suggestion when I type a word like shabbos, yeshivish, heimishe, or even something as basic as shidduchim or shadchan. (Well, ok, it learned Shidduch pretty quickly.)

8) In some ways, going from an iPod touch to an iPhone is barely any different. Web browser? The same. Email? The same. Favorite Apps? The same. But when you take my favorite gadget in the world, add a phone, texting and a camera, how could anything go wrong?

7) Up until a week ago, as I left my house in the morning, I frantically checked google reader, twitter and my email, because that was it for most of the day. Now, I don't have to do that. I can check all of those, and more, calmly and peacefully all the way to work. And every time I'm on hold. And during my coffee break. And...

6) Oddly, not having to search for wifi to do all of the web-based stuff I want to do has made me LESS addicted, not more as I feared. I guess it makes sense. I don't need to worry that I might miss the only good wifi for hours.

5) Texting on my iPhone doesn't feel like texting. It feels more like IMing or something.

4) I love having a decent camera on my phone. My old phone had the poorest quality camera you can imagine. Now I need a free app that will allow me to post blog posts with pictures.

3) It requires a lot of self control not to pay for apps. See, spending $20 is not something you do without blinking, but 99 cents? You can do that twenty times easily.

2) It can be a little bit annoying not to have tactile send/end keys. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but gosh it was frustrating when I tried to hang up the phone dramatically, but pressed the home button instead, so I didn't even wind up hanging up at all.

1) It was a hideous stroke of irony buying nice warm gloves on the same day that I bought my iPhone. I'm guessing the summer will be easier- I hate having to chose between warmth and my phone. Because I'm sure you all know which I chose...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Standardizing The Shidduch System

It worked in ancient India, why can't it work for shidduchim? They had a Caste system, we need a class system. It would make everything so simple.

Here's how it needs to work. Everyone starts off at class A. Few people, however, stay there. Every strike has a point value. Are your parent's divorced? That's ten points. Enough to knock you down two classes. Congrats, you're now a class C shidduch candidate. Wait, do you suffer from severe allergies? That brings you down to a class D.

Are you a cancer survivor? That's four classes right there. Asthma? How bad is it? Severe asthma will cost you two classes, just a class less than diabetes, an automatic start at class D. Have you broken an engagement? That's going to cost you a couple of classes. Not as many, however, as, say, a divorce. And while sibling issues are not as costly, a sibling off the derech will set you back a class or two.

How's your weight? The number of classes you lose from excess poundage is determined, naturally, by your BMI. Pimples, unconventional heights, poor looks and dysfunctional families are also covered by the class system.

Celiac? IBS? Hearing defect? Glasses? Krohns? Hypothyroidism? All gonna cost you. And don't forget mental health issues, all of which knock you back a whole bunch of classes.

Every year, on your birthday, you get bumped down a class. It's only fair to give the advantage to the 19 year olds.

Don't worry though. The system works both ways. How rich is your father? Slightly above average? That'll get you a class or two. Name on buildings? At least four or five classes. Is he among the country's top 50 richest men? Because that's an automatic class A, even if you limp, stutter and have cross eyes. A rosh yeshiva for a father is good for two or three classes, a rabbi is good for at least an extra class.

Are you gorgeous? Give yourself a class. A size 0/2? That's another class. Popular? Well dressed? Good job? These might raise your class too!

Think of how simple shidduchim would be under my proposed system. There would be a national Class Registry. After registering in the appropriate class, say, class D, you would meet the class D shadchanim, who would match you up with a boy/girl on the same class. Nobody would have to waste time meeting people who are beneath them! Shadchanim wouldn't be so swamped, because their clients would all be "classified." More people meet, get engaged, and married.

And just like that, the shidduch crisis has been solved.

Well, not really. Boys would get bumped up a class, just because they're boys. We gotta keep it fair, right?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

And What's This Icon For?

I know I've written many times about the dangers of old people attempting technological feats, but recent events absolutely require another post. Besides, I had a shidduch relate post all typed up, then realized that I posted about shidduchim waaaaay to many times lately, and I'm in danger of being thought of as obsessed.

By recent events, I don't mean my father's triumphant entrance into the house bearing a new HTC Aria, an android smartphone priced at the scandalously low price of 9.99. What the salesperson wisely neglected to mention is that an android phone's ideal user is not a man of my father's age and technological abilities.

My siblings and I all groaned as my father plodded through the manual, turning to us for frequent help. They thought he would last a couple of days before returning it, but I won the bet. He returned it the next day.

What happens, you might ask, when the old person in question is too ignorant to even realize that they can't operate their phone. Kind of like the lady who sat next to me on the bus last week, the recent event I mentioned earlier.

I can sum up the woman's type in one word: bubby. Or two: yiddishe bubby. After discussing all of her children and grandchildren with me, a complete stranger, she donned her glasses and took out her blackberry. Now, I'm no great expert on blackberries, never having owned one myself, but her help requests were simple. She wanted to know how to move an icon, things like that. It took a while to explain the overwhelmingly complicated process to her, but she finally got it. Then she had another request.

"I have an icon here and I don't know what it is. Can you show me?"

"Sure," I replied, "which one?"

"It's called sims, or something like that."

I started to panic. Which idiot loaded a game like Sims on to the phone of their bubby? And how can I explain to her what it is, and worse, how to play. Or was it the store, Syms? I couldn't spot the icon, so I asked her to point it out.

"Right here," she said. "Sims. What is that?"

I looked at the icon. SMS. I kid you not.

And that, my friends, is why old people should stick to rotary phones. Or at least flip phones.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top Ten Ways You Know You Date a Ton of Boys

Usually, when I write a top ten list, I have trouble getting ten. When it's an easy list, I can get seven or eight items without too much trouble. When I only have four or five, I know it's time to call in the specialists. And by specialists, I mean Bad4 and occasionally Bas~Melech.

You see, I think this top ten list has great potential. The first item came easy to me. It has actually become a family joke of sorts. But that is where it ended. And when I have only one item for a top ten list, I know that it's time to call in my readers.

Here's number one. Let's see what y'all can come up with for the other nine:

You know you date a ton of boys when...

1) ...The cookies stay fresh through five boys!

Let's hear your top ten now...
(And before anyone suspects this of being autobiographical, let me remind you that I am sister to a Miss Perfect.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Guilty Kind of Hope

It all starred out with a Well Meaning Individual. Also known as the Chizuk Lady, she tried to make me feel good about my predicament.

And by predicament, I mean my marital status. I know, I hadn't realized it was such a predicament either. But apparently this Chizuk Lady I work with sees it as one.

Her tale of triumph over the shidduch system is pretty much the same as any other. "This girl that I know was nebich 27 years old already and she wasn't married. And even at such an age, she found a boy willing to take her."

I know, I know. That isn't even in the same zip code as chizuk. But that isn' our point right now. I'd like to discuss this idea of "well if she got married, so can I."

Take a minute. Let it sink in. It's mean. It's self-centered. It's true. It sounds wrong to let such thoughts pass through your mind, but upon closer inspection, I think most of us will find that we have felt this way at one point or another.

I know I did.

Let's call her Peshy. Peshy isn't an ordinary nerd. I mean, I'm friends with quite a few of those, and I've occasionally been described as one. But Peshy is a class A, socially lacking, purebred nerd. Her appearance is always unkempt, her comments always awkward, and her overall impression is that of a person you can't imagine being the world's greatest wife. I know I'm coming across as terribly judgemental right now, but I challenge you to truthfully say you don't know anyone like this. Again, bot in an unfriendly sense, but in a "this is life; deal with it" sense.

I'll never forgot how I felt when she got engaged. My initial reaction was one of, sorry to say it, shock. "What type of guy is her choson?" "How on earth did she get engaged...before me?" My next reaction was one of guilty relief. "...wow...there really is someone out there for everyone."

I wouldn't admit to this for a while. Not until someone mentioned her yardstick: "this former classmate of mine got engaged. If she could find a guy, anyone can."
"You too?" I yelped, breathing a sigh of relief. "I thought it was just me!"

And slowly, one quiet admission after another, I discovered that most people, no matter how nice, know someone who they never imagined would get married. And when they did, it gave them a hope for their own future.

And so, because we've already established that you know someone like that, let me ask you how you feel about it. Does it make you feel crummy, that someone like that managed to find a guy before you, or does it make you feel that twinge of guilty hope?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Going to War With Nature

During the time of the Maccabis, under the rule of the ancient Greeks, the practice of the Torah was forbidden by law. There were only three mitzvos, however, whose observance were punishable by death: Shabbos, Bris Millah and Rosh Chodesh.

In order to understand why these were the three commandments singled out for the death penalty, we have to understand what the Greeks stood for. The god of the Greeks was nature. Survival of the fittest ruled their lifestyles. Athletes were their priests, gymnasiums their temples. Deformed babies met horrible and wholly unnatural deaths. Men, as the stronger gender, were considered holyer than women. They believed in the perfection and superiority of nature.

You can now imagine how offensive shabbos was to these people. What is shabbos? It's a commemoration of how our G-d created nature, their god, and then rested. And Bris Milah? Think about it. We believe that a man's body, as created by nature, is imperfect. Therefore, we have a ceremony, perform a surgery, and by instruction of our G-d, we improve upon the creation of nature, their god. Rosh Chodesh was perhaps the most insulting to them of the three. In the times of the Beis Hamikdash, when a witness would go to the beis din and testify that they had seen a new moon, the beis din has the power to make a major decision. Is the witness correct? Has there been a new moon? If they decide that indeed the witness is reliable, and there has been a sighting of the new moon, a new month would take place. And if not? Any natural forces which run on a monthly cycle would be pushed off until the beis din would accept testimony and declare Rosh Chodesh. So with the observance of Rosh Chodesh, the yidden were telling the Greeks: "not only has our G-d created your god, but when He was finished, He gave the power to control your god over to us."

With the ban on these three mitzvos, as well as the entire Torah, the Greeks weren't just declaring war on the Jews, they were instigating a war between the natural (their force) and the supernatural (our force.) And, as we all know, the supernatural won over the natural.

We've all heard how the Jewish calendar isn't like the secular one. We don't progress through time like a timeline, going further and further from the event until it is a mere memory celebrated by some fireworks or a decorated tree. Our calender is a circle. Each year, as we pass through the months, the same kochos that were put into the world for that month thousands of years ago are in the world today. We all know the Pesach is a time of redemption, and Elul/Tishrei is a time of Teshuvah, but what is the spiritual strength imbued in the world during Chanukah?

The answer lies in our description of the battle between the Maccabim and the Greeks. The battle between the Natural and the Supernatural. Just as the Yidden won of the Natural in the times of the ancient Greeks, we have the power during Chanukah to win over our natures. During this spiritual era, we have the power to go to battle with our yetzer harahs- and win!

Ah Freilichen Chanukah everyone!

Based on a Shiur by Rabbi L. Keleman.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Double Standard?

This issue started as a debate, and I decided to get my reader's opinions on this matter.

What do you think of a girl who is active online, be it via Facebook, twitter, blogs, or any combination of the above, yet doesn't want a guy who does the same?

I see both sides, but I have an opinion. Before I state it, I'd like to hear yours.

Is it a double standard? Or are things different for guys? (I do realize that the male response will be skewed, but try to stay open minded...)