[it’s harder than it looks]

Rules: It’s harder than it looks! Copy to your own note, erase my answers, enter yours, and tag 10 people. Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the following questions. They have to be real…nothing made up! If the person before you had the same first initial, you must use different answers. You cannot use any word twice and you can’t use your name for the boy/girl name question.

1. What is your name: Josh

2. A four letter word: Jolt

3. A boy’s name: Jesus

4. A girl’s name: Jessica

5. An occupation: Journalist

6. A color: Jade

7. Something you wear: Jodhpurs

9. A food: Jambalaya

10. Something found in the bathroom: Jars

11. A place: Jaisalmer

12. A reason for being late: Jalopy broke down

13. Something you shout: Jump!

14. A movie title: Jacob’s Ladder

15. Something you drink: Juice

16. A musical group: Jamiroquai

17. An animal: Jaguar

18. A street name: Joralemon

19. A type of car: Jeep

20. The title of a song: Just

[josh needs]

More facebook memery:
Type in your name and the word “needs” in quotes (“[Your first name] needs”) INTO YOUR FAVORITE SEARCH ENGINE and see what comes up. List the first 10 and then tag 10 or more of your friends. Google seems to think I need…
1. A holiday or just a cuddle
2. To stop lounging on here’s [sic]
3. Help
4. A scolarship [sic]
5. Extra lovin’ to keep mind off ScarJo
6. To quit stalking Supermac
7. To explore the idea that Trojan War was really in …
8. Tips!
9. To visit Hawaii
10. To make me this super awesome owl cupcake for my bday!

[things about me]

Yet another Facebook meme …

Place an (x) by all the things you’ve done. Then send it to your friends (including me). This is for your entire life!

( ) Been to South America

(X) Been to Europe (if you count Ireland)

(X) Been to Asia

( ) Been on a cruise

(X) Gone on a blind date

(X) Skipped school

( ) Watched someone die

( ) Been to Canada

(X) Been to Mexico

(X) Been to Florida

(X) Been on a plane

(X) Been lost

(X) Been on the opposite side of the country

(X) Gone to Washington , DC

(X) Been to Vegas

( ) Been to a lighthouse

(X) Swam in the ocean

(X) Cried yourself to sleep

( ) Seen the Cherry Blossoms in Washington , DC

(X) Played cops and robbers

( ) Flown a plane

( ) Owned a boat

( ) Recently colored with crayons

( ) Been to the Kentucky Derby

( ) Been to Key West

(X) Been to a rodeo

(X) Sang Karaoke

(X) Paid for a meal with coins only

(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t

(X) Made prank phone calls.

(X) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose

(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue

(X) Danced in the rain

( ) Written a letter to Santa Claus

( ) Been kissed under the mistletoe

(X) Watched the sunrise with someone

( ) Seen the green flash at sunset

(X) Blown bubbles

(X) Gone ice-skating

(X) Gone to the movies

( ) Owned a convertible

1. Any nickname? Joshy Teacher, Rooster, Ushua, Ush

2. Mother’s name? Pesha

3. Body Piercing? Left ear, now closed

4. How much do you love your job? A whole lot. A serious whole lot.

5. Birthplace? San Francisco, CA

6. Ever been to Hawaii ? Yes, as an infant

7. Ever been to Africa ? No

8. Ever eaten just cookies for dinner? Who can remember?

9. Ever been on TV? Yes

10. Ever steal any traffic sign? No

11. Ever been in a car accident? Yes

12. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? No

13. Favorite number? I dig primes.

14. Favorite movie? Barking Dogs Never Bite

15. Favorite holiday? Chanukkah

16. Favorite dessert? Chocolate with chocolate, dipped in chocolate, with chocolate sauce and chocolate on the side

17. Favorite food? Too many to choose just one, but I could eat San Francisco-style burritos forever

18. Favorite day of the week? Saturday

19. Favorite brand of body wash? Aveeno

20. How do you relax? I watch Simpsons episodes I can sing along with

21. How do you see yourself in 10 years? With a positive net worth, and maybe a Ph.D., or a nice State Department posting

[25 random facts about me]

Note: This is a meme from FaceBook, thus the instructions are Facebooky. 

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you.

At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to Notes under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people [in the right-hand corner of the app], then click Publish.)

1. I have a teddy bear named Elver, which I thought was a perfectly normal name when I gave it to him, at my cousin Louise’s bat mitzvah. This bear is somewhere in my parents’ house back in California.

2. Throughout much of my childhood, I was deeply concerned with war. Specifically, the war between the good people of Planet Salvania and the bad people of Planet Alto Deto over the resource-rich jungle planet of Reorilia. I made this all up in my head, of course.

3. The highest place I’ve ever been (outside of an airplane) is Muktinath, a Buddhist and Hindu shrine in the Himalayas of Nepal.

4. In middle school I stayed back a year, repeating sixth grade by taking a year off from Hebrew school and going to the local middle school. That year, I discovered that I was a nerd and made the transition to wannabe, buying Bugle Boy jeans and T&C surf shirts and totally failing to fit in.

5. The first time I heard “Loser” by Beck, it was on my car stereo, and I actually pulled off the highway to make sure I wouldn’t lose the signal before I found out who the singer was. I felt like I had been waiting for exactly that song for years.

6. The first time I heard “Hand on the Pump” by Cypress Hill was at the Berkeley Square, a fantastically hip little club on University in Berkeley back in the day. It blew my mind so completely that I asked the DJ what it was. “Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of/Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of…”

7. The first tape I ever bought was Quiet Riot’s Metal Health. The first time I heard Quiet Riot was in the car with some friends, and there was heated debate over whether the singer was a boy or a girl.

8. I’m a big fan of a local Brooklyn artist by the name of Elyse Taylor.

9. I love the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and one of my absolute favorite works of art there is a miniature sculpture of the goddess Durga killing the buffalo demon, Mahisha (Mahishasuramardini).

10. When I decided to go to Korea, I had never even tried Korean food.

11. The first time I was given a seriously grownup book to read in English class, it was with Mr. Poirier in seventh grade. We read The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. It was breathtakingly magisterial. I just reread it, and it wasn’t as brilliant as I remembered.

12. I like that breakfast cereal that’s made of oats and is super high fiber, and it’s kind of like square Cheerios made out of granola dust.

13. I keep my old heavy metal T-shirts in a trunk because they simply can’t be thrown away.

14. I’m an inconsistent meditator at best.

15. When I was little, I assumed that everyone wanted to write books when they grew up, and the only reason not everyone was a writer is that we need people to do other things sometimes. It was a shock to discover that there were people with no interest whatsoever in becoming writers.

16. I’ve always had a legalistic, argumentative streak, and for a while I thought I might want to be a lawyer.

17. My very first time on the Internet, I went fishing in Gopherspace and discovered instructions for seducing a horse.

18. I’m not sure I believe in God, but I pray a lot anyway.

19. I’ve always been fascinated by the exotic. When I was very little, I would imagine that my bed was a lifeboat drifting off to some undiscovered country. When I got older, I thought Ozymandias and Kubla Khan and the Rime of the Ancient Mariner were totally cool. I also really liked The Horse and His Boy, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was my favorite Narnia book.

20. I will contemplate the other desserts with due seriousness. Then I will choose the chocolate one.

21. My favorite pair of boots ever was the biker boots I got at Daljeets on Haight Street.

22. My first car was my dad’s old Toyota Corona, which burst into flames early in the morning of New Year’s Day, just after I’d dropped off my friend Teresa, having gone to a concert together that night.

23. I know that the battle sequence at the end of Star Wars takes longer than the time that’s stated in the movie. I know because I’ve timed it.

24. At various times, the Beastie Boys, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, the Beatles, Metallica, Guns’n’Roses, Bang Tango, the Cult and Soundgarden have been my favorite band. 

25. Briefs.

[incomplete sentences]

A Googler sent out this transcript (via The Memory Hole) of an actual form from the NSA called “Incomplete Sentences,” which seems like an ideal blogosphere meme. Fill it out in the comments and pass it on to others. I’ll do my own version soon.

DOCID: 3114399


NAME (Last) (First) (Middle) DATE


1. I always wanted to be

2. I can’t

3. If my father would only

4. People think of me as

5. I suffer most from

6. What upsets me most is

7. Most men

8. My family treats me like

9. My greatest worry is

10. Some members of the opposite sex

11. Most women

12. I regret

13. The main thing in life

14. Secretly

15. If my mother would only

16. I don’t like people who

17. I wish I could forget the time I

18. When troubled

19. It bothers or annoys me that I

20. What most angers me is

FORM P5590A REV JUN 2000 (Supersedes P5590A REV JUN 76 which is obsolete)
Approved for Release by NSA on 02-16-2007, FOIA Case #42877

The Interview Meme

Here are the rules (via Pagan Mom):

1) Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2) I will respond by asking you 5 questions of a very personal nature.
3) You will update your own blog, or the comments here, with the answers to the questions.
4) You will include this and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
5) When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them 5 questions.

1) When were you happiest?

That’s a tough one considering how skewed my perspective is right now on much of my recent past. But I would say probably my senior year of high school, and then maybe the first year after Jenny and I moved to Court Street.

2) What is a talent that you wish you had?

I wish I were more athletic generally. And I wish I were better at learning languages.

3) What is your favorite flavor?


4) How do you handle shame?

Badly. I’m working on that. Therapy and recovery are my main tools at the moment. But shame is something I really struggle with.

5) If you had to explain yourself in three sentences, what would they be?

(For the sake of decency, I’ll avoid run-ons.) I have known for most of my life that I wanted to be a writer, except for a confused period in elementary school when I wanted to be a lawyer, and this desire runs so deep that I used to believe everyone wanted to be a writer, until I learned otherwise.

I was raised in Northern California by post pot-smoking New York Jewish hippies who became Orthodox Jews, and this was exactly as weird and alienating as it sounds.

I am a lifelong learner on as many fronts as I can manage, and in the last year or so this has taken an especially important turn as I have begun to learn the difference between pursuing dreams and indulging cravings.

[i am privileged]

Don’t know where this meme started, but I picked it up from my cousin Louise. If it’s true for me, it’s in bold. Feel free to post your own.

Father went to college
Father finished college
Mother went to college
Mother finished college
Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
Were read children’s books by a parent
Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
Your parents paid for the majority of your college costs
Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
Went to a private high school
Went to summer camp
Had a private tutor before you turned 18
Family vacations involved staying at hotels
Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
There was original art in your house when you were a child
Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
You and your family lived in a single family house
Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
You had your own room as a child
Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
Had your own TV in your room in High School
Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
Went on a cruise with your family (fam trip because Dad worked for travel agency types)
Went on more than one cruise with your family
Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

[answer meme]

Answer Meeee!

I’d like to know 27 things about you. Simply post a comment to this post with the answers. Thanks in advance!

1. Do you have a tattoo?
2. How old are you?
3. Are you single or taken?
4. Eat with your hands or utensils?
5. Do you dream at night?
6. Ever seen a corpse?
7. George Strait or Jay Z?
8. How did we meet?
9. What’s your philosophy on life and death?
10. If you could do anything with me, and have no one know, what would it be?
11. Do you trust the police?
12. Do you like Country music?
13. What is your fondest memory of me?
14. If you could change anything about yourself what would it be?
15. Would you cheat?
16. What do you wear to sleep?
17. Have you ever peed in a pool?
18. Would you hide evidence for me if I asked you to?
19. If I only had one day to live, what would we do together?
20. Which do you prefer – short or long hair?
21. Do you sing in the shower?
22. What’s your favorite color?
23. If you could bring back anyone that has passed, who would it be?
24. Tell me one interesting/odd fact about you?
25. What was your first impression of me?
26. Have you ever done drugs?
27. Will you post this so I can fill it out for you?

[weirdly accurate]

I mean, the results of this color quiz aren’t perfect or anything — my situation is changing rapidly, and these descriptions often fit better for where I was three weeks ago, or five months ago — but they hit on a lot nevertheless. And not wholly by being nebulous.

Your Existing Situation

Having difficulty in standing up to the demands imposed on him. Finds a great effort is involved and wishes to have the situation eased.

Your Stress Sources

An existing situation or relationship is unsatisfactory, but he feels unable to change it to bring about the sense of belonging which he needs. Unwilling to expose his vulnerability, he therefore continues to resist this state of affairs, but feels dependent on the attachment. This not only depresses him, but makes him irritable and impatient, producing considerable restlessness and the urge to get away from the situation, either actually or, at least, mentally. Ability to concentrate may suffer.

Your Restrained Characteristics

Trying to calm down and unwind after a period of over-agitation which has left him listless and devoid of energy. In need of peace and quiet; becomes irritable if this is denied him.

Clings to his belief that his hopes and ideas are realistic, but needs encouragement and reassurance. Applies very exacting standards to his choice of a partner and wants guarantees against loss or disappointment.

Circumstances are such that he feels forced to compromise for the time being if he is to avoid being cut off from affection or from full participation.

Your Desired Objective

Wishes to find his stimulation in a voluptuous atmosphere of sensuous luxury.

Your Actual Problem

Anxiety and a restless dissatisfaction, either with circumstances or with unfulfilled emotional requirements, have produced considerable stress. He tries to escape into an idealized atmosphere of sympathy and understanding, or into a substitute environment of estheticism and beauty.

Meme is lifted from Pagan Mom, who characterized it as “annoyingly accurate” and is not wrong.

[a song meme]

Ask in the comments and I will give you a letter. Then post your top ten songs beginning with that letter.

My letter is I from Pagan Mom.

Those of you who know me will know how hard it was for me to narrow this list down to ten. So these songs are the ones that mean the most to me, or are simply the best of the lot, for today. I may have to do another post just to get in my favorites from among the rejects.

10. Isfahan by Duke Ellington (Far East Suite: Special Mix)

I’m a sucker for quality Orientalism, and The Far East Suite is a masterpiece of the genre. Johnny Hodges’ alto sax leads “Isfahan,” a stately paean to Persia’s most beautiful city.

9. In a Cold Ass Fashion by Beck (Jabberjaw Compilation: Good to the Last Drop)

“I got options, I got cop shows
I get nauseous and the sweat is day-glo”

The best Beck lyrics lodge in my mind and stay there for years as cryptic labels that seem to sum up vast, complex, otherwise indescribable phenomena. “In a Cold Ass Fashion” is a throwaway produced by Carl Stephenson, who also did “Loser” and “Beercan,” but it has more memorable lines than Beck’s two most recent albums put together.

8. I Got a Woman by Ray Charles (The Best of Ray Charles: The Atlantic Years)

“She give me money when I’m in need
Yeah she’s a kind of friend indeed”

Understated, smoldering, datedly sexist, genius. That crack in the voice when he says “money” makes my hair stand on end. Thank you, Ray Charles, for inventing soul music.

7. It’s All in Your Mind by Beck (Sea Change)

“Well you’re all scared and stiff
A sick stolen gift
And the people you’re with
They’re all scared and stiff”

It reminds me of someone I loved and lost, try as I might to change her. First released as a simple acoustic ballad on One Foot in the Grave.

6. I Am the Walrus by The Beatles (Magical Mystery Tour)

“Boy, you been a naughty girl you let your Knickers down.”

It could’ve been “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” or “In My Life” or even “I’m So Tired,” but we all know the Beatles, and I didn’t want to turn this into ten songs by the Beatles starting with I. Anyway, this symphonette by John Lennon and George Harrison deserves pride of place, and I had it memorized for a while when I was 11.

5. In Bloom by Nirvana (Nevermind)

“Sell the kids for food”

For a metalhead like I was at the time, “In Bloom,” with its surging power cords, tom fills and soaring chorus, was the way in. It was the first Nirvana song to grab me by the throat and not let go.

4. Intimate Interlude by Duke Ellington (The Intimate Ellington)

This song was the processional at out wedding. Jenny understood.

3. I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) by Aretha Franklin (The Very Best of Aretha Franklin, Vol. 1)

“You’re a no good heart breaker
You’re a liar and you’re a cheat”

Aretha’s Atlantic sides are some of the best-produced records ever made. Listen to the way Aretha’s voice fuzzes out when she gets loud, and listen to that band!

2. It’s So Easy by Guns N’ Roses (Appetite for Destruction)

“Besides you ain’t got nothin’ better to do
And I’m bored”

So deliciously sleazy! There are days when I think this is the best song on the best album ever.

1. In a Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington (Duke Ellington & John Coltrane)

Yes, Duke Ellington is worth three slots on my top ten. Besides, he wrote a lot of songs starting with I (“It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good),” “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” “In a Mellow Tone”). This exquisite track opens the beautiful album of collaborations by two of the greatest innovators, thinkers and spiritual seekers in jazz. With Aaron Bell on bass and the incomparable Elvin Jones on drums, closing the piece with a press-roll that’s almost a holy act.