Possible Alternative Titles for My Blog

Help me pick a title for my blog. OK? We don’t even know each other and I’m seriously going to consider your suggestion as though it were my own. That’s how much I hate making decisions. 

This evening I ate a large Italian dinner with my family and I feel fat and sassy and not in the mood to write. Yet I promised myself I’d write every day for NaBloPoMo and since I already missed about 1/3 of the days, I’m going to go ahead and get this list of potential blog titles out of my head and onto this magic screen:

  • Someone Who Watches a Lot of Law & Order SVU
  • The Tale of the Social Media Specialist with Social Anxiety and Other Horror Stories
  • Thoughts From My Couch and Other Unoriginal Titles
  • How to Write a Shitty Blog Title, by Mostly Everyone
  • My Daily Reason for Hating the Entire World Including Myself
  • Contradictions, Opposites and Vertigo
  • Why I Wish Olivia Benson Would Comfort Me After a Hard Day of Work
  • Steppenchik (like Steppenwolf but a GIRL)
  • Will Change Soon (same idea as Title Under Construction; symbolizes both a lack of commitment and a dangerously open mind)
  • The Fated Urchin (both a pun and a tattoo)
  • Blah Blah Blah
  • Burp
  • This Is The Worst Blog Post Ever
  • Don’t Hate Me (Or Unfollow Me)
  • These Aren’t Even Titles, They’re Literally Just Thoughts Written in Bullet Form with Capitalization

What do you think? Some of these are jokes but some are dead serious. OK thanks bye!

Lessons from Buying a 2nd Hand Refrigerator in Israel

In my former American life, I thought the two worst processes I would experience were already behind me: (1) applying to college and (2) finding an apartment. I was wrong.

Terrible Life Process #1: Applying to College

I remember the day I got rejected during the early application round from my top-choice school. I went home to check the mail, learned of my failure as a human being and drove back (I couldn’t afford to miss AP Chemistry without the security of early enrollment) in the pouring rain, crying and listening to Linkin Park’s “In the End” on the radio:

I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter

I ended up going to a different school, and it was fine. And it turns out the place I initially wanted to go is known for its high rate of suicide and student depression. So I dodged that bullet.

Terrible Life Process # 2: Finding an Apartment 

. . . in Manhattan:

After college I decided to move to Manhattan which entailed an even more gut-wrenching and sanity-obliterating process.  Dealing with brokers, deciding on the spot whether or not to put a deposit down on a musty shoebox in a desirable neighborhood, combing Craigslist posts while at work, combing Craigslist posts while at work after having put down a deposit on a shoebox in a desirable neighborhood out of sadistic curiosity, at the thought of there being an even better/cheaper/bigger/brighter shoebox in an even more desirable neighborhood…

I was sure that once I moved into my apartment I had overcome the most grueling process I would encounter, at least for a few years.  I was wrong.

Terrible Life Process #3: Buying a Refrigerator (in Israel)

One night my roommate was awoken at 2:30 am by sizzling sounds coming from our kitchen.  She went into the hallway and saw sparks flying out of the kitchen, where our 4th-generation-2nd-hand fridge was having a violent convulsive fit, threatening to blow up the apartment. This was by far the most visually stimulating of all fridges disasters we went through over the course of 1 month.

Refrigerator Number 1

Fridge # 1 didn’t fit through our doorway

She headed for the fuse box and turned off all the electricity in our apartment and perhaps the entire building, in order to unplug the fridge.  The next day I contacted the authorities:  Yaron and Schacha, the 30-something owners/real estate brokers/landlords/masters of our domain, physically and psychologically.

Yaron and Schacha are nice guys except for when it comes to important issues like life-threatening electrical situations and hazardous health conditions. Once they came over wearing literally the same outfit of Diesel jeans, Abercrombie t-shirts and Adidas sneakers, and claimed it was an accident.

I was expecting a usual song-and-dance routine when they showed up at my apartment after a 3-hour game of phone-tag and harassment.  And I got my song-and-dance routine.

Refrigerator # 2

Refrigerator # 2 had a torn wire

But this time was different; it turns out that when you expect the performance, odds are you walk away entertained – even enlightened – more than frustrated. (This lesson I kept in my pocket throughout the remainder of my time in Israel.)

I met Yaron & Shacha at my door, and walked them to where the Offender was sitting, unplugged and demonic-looking.

Fridge # 4 was not the source of the problem, I was sure of this; it was the outlet into which Fridge # 4 was plugged – the outlet which was ominously protruding from the wall ever since we moved in, with an exposed cavity of electrical innards. Things non-electricians should never have to see.  Why we chose to ignore this outlet until now is besides the point.  Regardless, I knew that Yaron and Shacha would try to convince me that it was the fridge, or natural forces – anything besides the apartment, or their responsibility.

Refrigerator # 3

Fridge # 3 was more like a microwave

I was prepared.  I was not going to let them talk me out of this being their job, their issue to deal with, their bill to pay.  In games of psychological warfare with Israeli real estate agents, you must stand your ground and show no signs of weakness.

Here are the attempted scapegoats Yaron and Schacha came up with to displace the blame from the faulty outlet (and Fridge # 4):

  1. Shacha unplugged the splitter into which the fridge was plugged, and showed me a burn mark on one of the prongs.  “See?  This is the problem,” hinting it was the splitter’s fault, pointing to the mark. I replied, “Yeah, this is because of the outlet.
  2. Yaron went onto the mini balcony leading off of the kitchen, and came back inside pointing to a wire poking in through a hole in the wall separating the kitchen from the porch.  “Look, you see this wire?  This is no good.  This is connected to an outlet outside, so you can have electricity outside.  And when it rains, it messes up the electricity.”  I replied “This wire was not plugged in.  We have never used it.”  He told me it was plugged in.  I pointed to the three appliances that had taken up the three spaces in the splitter, thus eliminating the possibility of a fourth plug.  His response was “Well, if you want electricity outside, this is a problem.”  I said we did not want electricity outside.
  3. Yaron and Schacha then edged the fridge away from its corner and toward the other side of the kitchen toward an unoccupied but previously problematic outlet (problematic, as in, had already been a culprit of a near-electrical meltdown a few months prior to this one).  Yaron excitedly noticed a lot of water on the floor, covering the space from where the fridge had been moved. “See all this water? This is very bad.”  I really think he was insinuating that the water on the floor had caused the fridge to short out.  Cause-and-Effect logical reasoning is a bit skewed in Israel perhaps.  I replied, “Yeah, it’s from the fridge being unplugged for 2 days.  Stuff melted.”  “Oh.”
Refrigerator # 4

Fridge # 4 almost blew up the apt

They finally agreed after much discussion in Hebrew to have an electrician come to fix the outlet.  A success for the home team.  I was left with the reassurance that an electrician would come – at no specific time, “when he comes, we will come” – and a pleasantly entertaining crisis aversion performance.

Losing Your Hangars and Mind

Another shitty thing about moving: forgetting to pack your hangars.

Especially when you have nice ones like the kinds you can hang pants with, that you remember paying like $5 each for, while telling yourself – it’s so worth buying this! I’ll always have it! And it’s a nice hangar!”

 

OPT: Other People’s Tupperware

OPT.

We all have some of it in our kitchens. It’s not pretty, and it’s not easy to even admit to yourself. You take home leftovers from a dinner party or your parent’s house, and you realize you’re growing a collection of mismatched plastic tupperware containers in the depths of your kitchen cabinets.

When it comes time to move apartments, you’re tasked with the unpleasant decision: Do I toss these innocent people’s tupperware? Some of the tops mysteriously have no bottom counterpart. Some are just crappy take-out containers. But you got them as gifts from some kind soul who fed you, and sent you home with even more food.

It’s just a shitty situation. Thankfully, the recycling bin will make me feel a little bit better about myself. Isn’t that what recycling is for anyway? Everyone wins.

Be Like Fran.

I constantly feel a tug-of-war game in my own head. Sometimes I look around and love things. Sometimes I hate every living thing that crosses my path besides dogs and flowers. Sometimes I even hate flowers. It’s true. Feels great to admit it.

Suddenly today it dawned on me. I just need to think and act more like Fran Leibowitz. Be stronger in my convictions. If I hate everyone and everything – fuck it. I’m allowed.

I’m American and I live in Israel. I’m doing so by choice, but there are many, many days when I feel like booking a million dollar one-way ticket “home”. There’s that word again.

“Home” for me still means “New York”. I think of my mom, the streets of Manhattan, my favorite restaurants, little (and big) parks I like to sit in and people-watch, subway lines I take to my friends’ apartments or my old job or some new neighborhood to wander around in…

Barnes & Noble. The Strand. I miss big, beautiful book stores filled with shiny, glossy covers. Endless titles I’ll never get to. An entire floor of stationery, journals, book lamps, bookmarks, mugs, bags of poo and more. I miss Whole Foods, indie movie theaters, my brother, small New England towns.

Of course there are bookstores, parks, friends and restaurants here in Tel Aviv. (There are, however, no subways – and the bus system is closer in efficiency to a horse-and-buggy than a proper mode of public transportation.) But here it’s all a little out of touch. I can read Hebrew, but I don’t connect the words to the meaning intuitively. I can sit at a cafe and read off the menu and order what I want, but the names of my favorite foods do not jump off the page and activate my salivary glands. I hang out with friends but still feel like a part of me is not there.

This post was supposed to be about Fran Leibowitz. Well, until I learn to self-edit this is just the way it’s going to be. I guess I could read some articles on “How to Write Content People Love to Read!” but I don’t really want anyone else reading this yet. Maybe I will write my own post “How to Write Content You Are Proud Of” or “How to Write Creatively with Focus”. Hm…WWFD?

5 Headlines I’m Sick of Reading

Writing just for the sake of writing is bullshit. It makes me feel like shit. Reading shit other people wrote just for the sake of writing makes my brain go muddy. More and more things I read online – on websites and blogs – seem to be written with as many words as possible, about topics that just don’t need to be written about.

Specifically I’m referring to online marketing and all it entails. Blogs written about web design, for example. They all say the Exact. Same. Thing. Other than showcase posts with 29 Stunning Photographs of Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and crap like that, the content is literally the same common-sense nonsense reworded and repackaged.

Top 5 Headlines Related to Web I’m Sick of:

  • 5 Usability Tips to Freshen Up Your Website
  • 10 Apps Your Small Business Should Have
  • What Every Designer Must Know About Building a Website
  • How to Write Killer Headlines
  • Writing Content for Online Visitors

Oh, when building a website, I shouldn’t use a shit-load of animation, different styles of fonts or music set to auto-play? Never would have thought of that. It’s important to make my website “user-friendly”? Who would have thought?!?

I realize I’m just overly-saturated with this stuff, but honestly I can’t take it anymore. It’s also great when someone at work legitimately tries explaining to me “People love lists. Write blog posts in list form.” or “Use ‘power words’ and a ‘call to action’. Blow me. That’s an action.

 

3 Attempts to Kidnap My Dog (So Far)

I have a really cute dog.

I don’t want this blog to be about my dog, because I think that’s really lame.

But she’s really, legitimately special:

my dog in the grass
Betsy

I know this as a fact. It’s not just because she’s mine.

People come up to me on the street regularly, and claim that she is their dog, that they lost. This has happened 3 times so far, each time progressively more disturbing and offensive.

Attempt to Steal Betsy # 1: (least disturbing)

A crazy guy sitting outside a little bodega-like shop ( פצציה) stopped us and said “That dog looks just like my Jerry! Jerry?” and then started to laugh, and said he was just kidding. I said it wasn’t funny, and waited for my blood pressure to return to normal.

Attempt to Steal Betsy # 2: (a little disturbing)

A crazy lady approached us in the middle of a cross-walk, and said Betsy looks just like her dog that she lost. She walked with us, and wouldn’t stop saying it. She asked if the dog had a chip when I got her – a small identification tag they surgically insert under the dog’s skin, with vaccination and ownership information. Betsy did not have a chip until I took her to the vet to get one. I told the woman this, and she asked me if I was sure. I said yes. She didn’t seem to believe me, and hung around us until I said “OK – bye!” and walked away.

Attempt to Steal Betsy # 3: (horrifyingly absurd)

Last night I took a cab down to Florentin, and had Betsy with me. I opened my door to let Betsy out while I paid the driver. As I was fishing through my wallet for change, a man’s hand appeared in my face. A guy standing next to the cab was shouting “That dog looks like my dog that I lost! Hey, guys – look! It’s Buffy! It’s my dog!” This guy was unbelievable. He acted as though I didn’t exist; he was only interested in the dog who was shivering on my lap out of fear. He shouted “Buffy! Buffy!” at her, to which she responded with a sharp bark.

He then actually tried to take her from me. He reached over my lap, grabbed Betsy and tried yanking her outside. It didn’t work, and I shouted at him “ARE YOU INSANE?!” Rhetorical questions are great in situations like this.

This guy yelled in my face, telling me “It’s my dog! This is my dog!”, demanding I tell him from where I got her. I lied and said friends gave her to me who raised her as a puppy. (I adopted her from a shelter). In response, a girl who was standing with him asked who my friends are, where they live…

He then asked to see her right leg – “If her right leg is broken, she’s my dog.”

Really? I’m sorry you lost your dog with a broken leg. That must have been a difficult feat to accomplish. Take a look at my dog’s leg, which is not broken. She’s also showing no sign of recognition or interest, and she is interested in most humans she meets. You f*cking idiot.

When he saw her leg was in fact intact, I finally finished paying the stunned cab driver. I scrambled out the other side of the cab with Betsy in my arms. I didn’t let her down until we were a block away.