Solely In Black and White: March 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chilling with the Boys and Chossonzillias

One nice thing about bein hazmanim, at least for us boys, is catching up with our friends who during the year are scattered about. I know, I know; I probably should be helping out more with the cooking and cleaning other than hanging out with friends and writing news posts. Then again this is technically my vacation time so a little fun is in order.  Don’t worry, after this post I am getting back to work ASAP.

Anyway, other bloggers seem to lament about their newly engaged friends turning into the infamous sub-human species known as “Bridezillas.” With the amount of money being spent of drug research nowadays you’d think they’d have found a cure already.  Unfortunately not, it seems that the bridezilla virus is unstoppable, or at least so I am told. Thankfully, being an uncommitted male, I don’t have to worry about these things yet.

However, the good news is that after much research and observation, I am happy to report that there is no such thing as a chossanzilla, or at least they are doing an incredible job at hiding it. It might be possible that my most recent samples have yet to display the full effects of the disease thus far since they haven’t gotten their chossan watches yet.  While this theory of delayed manifestation might be true for kallahs, like that short period of time before one get her rings, but I highly doubt that is the case for these chossanim. Besides, I have viewed enough “test” subjects to know that the “chossanzilla” at its worst isn’t all that bad.

Nonetheless, there are some similarities between the two. The first resemblance between the newly minted kallah and her chossan is that glowing smile. There seems to be another common feature that these chossanim seem to have with their female counterparts: a texting malady! No jokes.  They are super-glued to their phones. Even though this habit can be is a tad rude, it does make for some interesting conversation, especially when they keep chiming in with “hey, guess what my kallah just told me.” I guess it takes two to tango; or in this case text. Seriously, we had to institute a “no phone zone" for a time. Even during our electronics time-out I think he was twitching his fingers. Trigger happy maybe? ;)

So there you have it. You can now roam the streets, shtibels, and other venues where the chossanzilla can be found knowing full well that you will not be attacked. As for their female counterparts, you’re on your own.  :)

Wishing everyone a Chag Kosher V'Sameach!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Public Service Announcement and Warning to all Bloggers on a Feed

Dear Fellow Bloggers:

I hope this message finds you all in good spirits and hopefully you’re not too high from the toxic fumes emanating from your Peasach cleaning products. In case you don’t already know, feeds are slightly dangerous. Sort of like chum for sharks… maybe. It can’t be that SIS and I are the only bloggers who are wary of rss, so here goes my little tirade.

I was first informed of the rss problem by SIS. At first I was skeptical and thought she was slightly paranoid; why would a feed be more vulnerable than an actual blog? Both can be ripped, crawled, and indexed with relative ease. But that is hardly the issue and clearly I was wrong, she isn't paranoid at all, she is 90% right. The problem with rss feeds is that certain readers, such as Google Reader, archive all posts forever. Now at first glance this may not seem to be a problem, since who cares how Google stores and delivers my rss feed. The one caveat with this method is that a blogger can never delete a post from the feed. Due to the fact that deletion is subsequent to archiving, when you hit that delete button in your blogging interface, you are only deleting the post from your blog but you are not affecting the permanent cache in Google Reader. Now you would think that Google in its infinite wisdom would simply check for deletions, but alas they do not. Why? I have no idea!

The only reason I mentioned this is because after some digging I was able to find some interesting posts, including all the test posts that I thought I had deleted.Go ahead and try it out, see if you can find your deleted posts in your feed. Anyways, if any of you have (had) any plans on hiding or deleting your posts, you might want to be aware of this problem. This seems to be a known issue, (why didn’t anyone tell me this earlier…?) and yes, there is workaround, but it’s not exactly intuitive. Oh right, I forgot, because Google reader is indexed it also full searchable too, making all those posts even easier to find. Yay!

So next time you hit post, you might want to double or triple check your work first. Remember; use this info for good, not evil. Send this post to 10 other bloggers and something cool will happen. Okay probably not, but you might want to inform them of this, especially if you know they have a deleted post or two.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bartender: I’ll have a shot of Jaded, on the rocks, and slightly “stirred.”

A friendly associate recently walked over to me and gingerly asked “How goes the shidduchim?” With absolutely no humor in my expression I replied “is that a rhetorical question?” Whoops, wrong answer…Let’s just say they didn’t cherish my response. ;) I knew I should have just said “fine”!

Uh-oh, does this mean I am Jaded?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Top Ten General Dating Recommendations

Sefardi Gal, made a wonderful list titled Top 12 Suggestion of What TO DO On a Date. But after her post she said “Kay, this list needs more stuff. I'm being lazy. Feel free to add! :) . I was going to include my additions in the comments section but somehow my additions developed into a full-fledged list of its own. So here it is, SiBW’s list of top 10 general recommendations of what to do on a date from least important to most important.

10. Ask Reasonable Questions ( i.e. don’t grill) to show interest:
Generally, when you are asking questions, don’t be too overbearing. Dates are meant to be conversations not interviews. (At least thats what I thought?) If you’re asking how many bowls of cereal your date eats on Friday mornings you might be heading in the wrong directions, or not, I guess it depends on the person.

9. Personalize the experience:
Share something about yourself with your date. I am not recommending you start sharing your deepest and darkest secrets with a complete stranger, but mention something that is a tad personal.

8. Be honest and forthcoming:
This shouldn’t need an explanation but this recommendation even includes those little white-lies. Remember “the truth shall set you free.” (please don’t quote me on that)

7. Learn something unique about your date:
Every person is unique either in their personality, talents, or skills (for both good and bad). Try to figure out what makes your date special and realize that you’re not going out with another "name" on a list, but an exceptional individual.

6. Laugh at your dates jokes:
This seems to be common courtesy. No matter how cheesy the joke is, at least crack a smile, but preferably a curt chortle would be nice. I think the kids nowadays term this a nebach laugh. The exception to this suggestion is “Knock-Knock” and “Why did the chicken cross the road” jokes, those are excused. Laughing for those might be lefnim mesharas hadin.

5. Initiate a Conversation:
It’s not fun talking to a wall, not that I tried, but the people I’ve seen doing it didn’t seem to be content. Regardless, making conversation takes two people. The best analogy I’ve heard goes like this: a conversation is like playing catch- you throw the ball to another person; they catch it, hold onto it for a bit, and then throw it back. Thus a back-and-forth ensues. For fastballs, curveballs, sliders see recommendation 10 and for screwballs see this post.

4. Maintain a positive attitude:
In case you haven’t figured this out yet, this is a good recommendation for life and one which will serve you well in shidduchim. Agreed, this tip of advice is easier said than done.

3. Regardless of what happens, try to have a good time:
Ibid. When comparing dating to all the places you could be stuck for 3 hours, bad dates really aren’t that terrible. Traffic and air travel come to mind but I’m sure we can be expanded that list quite easily. Has anyone ever gotten stuck on a 16 hour date yet? I don’t think so! ;)

2. Don’t be nervous:
Confidence sells, apprehension doesn’t. There is no reason to be nervous. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Your date probably won’t bite! Don’t forget that for every possible situation where you believe you can make a mistake, someone already has. Just relax, in the words of SIS “it is what it is.” People are more understanding than you think.

1. Be yourself:
I hope I don’t need to clarify this one since only you can truly elucidate all the fine points. But seriously, don’t change who you are to impress someone else.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sympathetic Second Dates Vs. the “One and Done.”

I have this enigma that has been bothering me for a while: Where did the sympathetic second date come from? After rereading some of the “First Date Project” responses it seemed apparent that giving a second date has become more of common practice or an accepted chessed than I originally thought. I also realized that this problem has another facet that is equally jarring. Shadchunim, based on this misnomer, pressure people to go on a second date even when there is no way it’s going to work. 

Okay, I understand if you’re the type of person who is irresolute and would prefer an extra date to figure things out, or even if you’re decisive, but you would like a second date to elucidate all doubts, fine. My quandary is with those people who are decisive, unwavering, and experienced daters (hopefully, I’ll write a post to define this someday) who are able to ascertain their interest in the other party by half-time of the first date, yet give a second date regardless. Why is this? 

To me this seems illogical. If after going out on a first date you feel a second date is warranted, then say yes to a second date, if not, do not. It goes without saying I mean this within reason; the objective is not to find some insignificant fault to either overanalyze or nitpick about and say no, that would be counterproductive. There is nothing wrong with going on a second date to clarify your doubts. But if you’re relatively certain that in the end it just won’t work out between the two of you, or even if you’re just not that interested in the other person, what are you waiting for? Do you really believe that delaying the inevitable by one date is doing the other person a favor? 

I hope you have enjoyed my arguments and I encourage you to disagree and form your own opinions. I should inform you that after some preliminary real-life campaigning I have convinced a few people to join the ranks and now they are extolling the virtues of the “one and done.” Nonetheless, like everything else in shidduchim, use common sense and utilize whatever method works best for you, except where the rules dictate otherwise ;). If you’d like you can join the crusade to abolish the sympathetic second date and raise the flag of “one and done” or not. However, if you intend on practicing as a shadchun guided with the notion of second dates for everyone, you better be prepared to put up a good fight. (As an aside, some shadchunim have and I have lost a few battles, unfortunately the fight continues.)

You Would Eat in that Restaurant?!?

Starting this July, New York eateries might be forced to publically display their cleanliness grades. It’s a cute idea; it might even get some restaurants to raise their cleanliness standards. According to the article a similar program in Los Angeles County led to a “13 percent decline in food-borne illness hospitalizations;” not too shabby. Although forcing a restaurant to publicly display their grades is a step in right direction, it’s just a stop-gap solution. Furthermore, I assume that certain “recipes” can be “greased” or “shmeered” at least that’s what they say. Besides, health inspections aren’t mashgiach temidis, they only come so often.

Ah, this should at least make for some fun conversation. Think of it as the new hechser debate. Would you eat in a restaurant with a “C” rating but had the best of hechsharim? Anyway, does that mean that when we, the guys, are selecting a restaurant as potential dating venue we need to pick one that not only has good food, ambiance, and location, but now it needs a good health inspection grade too? Someone better inform Mikomos!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What am I Looking for?

It seems that the one question that all singles are asked way too often is “What are you looking for.” It’s not that the question is inherently wrong, rather that the people who are asking it aren’t always looking for a specific answer. For some reason it has also become a common social conversation piece. However, when it comes to dating, can there be a more ambiguous question to ask someone?

This question further annoys me since I have to tailor an answer specifically for the interrogator based on my perception of their motives. These people include our well meaning friends, overly inquisitive shadchunim , random strangers, and those friendly acquaintances who just want to make conversation. For the fun of it, I used to intentionally annoy these people by playing the buyer-seller game. “What are my choices? I can’t make a decision if you don’t tell me what options you have for me.” Don’t get me wrong the process was fun, but it wasted too much time and the novelty wore off pretty fast. Also the problem arose that some of these people were serious; in which case we had to start all over again and have a real discussion. Why can’t there be a brief answer that will weed out the uninitiated and intrigue the enlightened?

After some thought I think I may have finally found my perfect answer: I am looking for a girl that is genuinely a good person and with whom I will look forward to spending time with. When you boil it all down, it really is that simple. It sounds good, it’s brief, valid, and direct. This might just work. As of now it’s just a theory; now to see how this will play out in real life.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Seriously, I Think She is Just Crazy

Don’t you just hate those silly forwarded emails? I remember awhile back (before I made custom spam filters in Outlook for specific people) receiving a funny email to which I can no longer find. I don’t remember the precise details but it went something like this. The bold words represent the original email, original formatting with lines of “FW: and cc” not included.

Do you have 7 “normal” friends? Normal? I think that depends on how we define normal. For the sake of simplicity, we shall assume that ostensibly this is referring to real life friends and normal is relative to which the answer is emphatically yes. Although, If we were to ask the same question of my online-only friends that might be a bit more challenging.*

If so, you must be crazy! What? Wait a second, the cant be right! I knew I should have chosen the online friends for this one.*

Official statistical mental experts have proven that one in eight people are crazy, ergo if you have seven normal friends then you must be the one who is nuts. Pass this email along to seven of your friends to prove that you are not. Well there you have it, air-tight irrefutable proof from an email. And it even said the words official, experts, and statistical, thus confirming the emails authenticity. But it is nice to know if I were crazy that I could reverse my craziness just by emailing seven people. That’s cool. Does that mean if seven people read this I am cured as well? Sweet!

When I read this I think I smiled for a second then hit delete. But all kidding aside, what I gleaned from this email was that 1 out of 8 people are crazy, or about 12.5% of the population. I assumed that this statistic wasn’t referring to serious or debilitating psychological conditions, but mealy to people with slightly neurotic tendencies that boarder normalcy, which sounds reasonable enough. As a silly little test I went through my list of former dates and super-analyzed their behaviors to see if I could identify the ones that were “a bit odd.” After going through the list it seemed the parity more or less held. I was going to do the same for all my friends but I lost patience. I know; I am neither a pysch nor stats major, so my analysis is rudimentary at best, and probably totally meaningless. And that was the end of it. Or so I thought.

That was last week. This week I stumbled upon the National Institute of Mental Health
website which said otherwise. (Self service style, slightly better than snopes). “An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.” “Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 — who suffer from a serious mental illness.”

There goes my parity.I guess its back to the drawing boards. Am I the only one who realizes this? Are your dates crazy too?

*(Just kidding. No seriously, I am just kidding, stop looking at me like that. You know I am only teasing. Friends?)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Good Times and Bad Times

Sometime I feel like I am in stuck in spiral of bad luck. Everything just goes wrong. It’s like going through life and getting every single red light for two miles straight and when you finally decide to move to a parallel street you get stuck in construction. That’s happened in real life by the way, really frustrating, to say the least. But it’s also those moments where you realize that it’s just your luck. The milk that was fresh three seconds ago curdles in your coffee cup but for the next guy its fine. Now I am not complaining about these meaningless and trying little irritations, I wholeheartedly accept them since they are part of life, but I hate it when they bunch up together and create that losing streak feeling. Don’t even get me started on how dating plays a role in this!

But there is a flip side. Good Times. Yes, good times are awesome, especially when they come together in clumps. It’s the feeling when someone asks you “how was your day?” you tell them “My day? Dude, I am having a great week!” Or the feeling when you wake-up and say “I can accomplish anything I put my mind to (like write a new post) and nothing will get in my way (sans fictitious holidays).” It’s that feeling when you wake up a second before your alarm clock and proclaim “I win!” Okay fine, the last one never happened, but one can dream.

So you’re probably wondering, why exactly am I writing this? So I must tell you: I believe this week is going to be a good week. Why? I don’t really know, but I said so, and that’s good enough for me. I have this weird premonition that things are just going to work out and I’m not even sure what that is referring to yet! Now I must go, I really ought to buy a lottery ticket.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

National Procrastination Week

I am so lazy today. So in honor of National Procrastination Week I’ll make a new post… tomorrow. I love these convenient made-up holidays and weeks. I am looking forward to next week, it's National Words Matter Week and National Sleep Awareness Week. Followed by Act Happy Week and International Brain Awareness Week. Who comes up with this stuff?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ignore Expiration Dates

I recently read an interesting article titled Ignore Expiration Dates. While I am sure this article would make for a great “Food Foibles (4).” I imagine it could also be used either as a good first date discussion topic or conversational springboard, but that’s not the direction I intended to take it. Although please do, I am curious to see what can be cooked up.

Anyway, I gleamed from this article two interesting points, aside from the authors eating habits.

It has been said that singles have expiration dates. Well good news people, us singles no longer have to worry. “The fact is that expiration dates mean very little.” Proof of this fact has even been explained by scientist:

  • Besides, as University of Minnesota food scientist Ted Labuza explained to me, expiration dates address quality—optimum freshness—rather than safety and are extremely conservative.

See nothing to worry about. But the most important message of the article seems to be “But if they haven't lost their looks, ignore the printed date.” Need I say more?

I should note: you probably shouldn’t listen to everything said in that article and apply it to shidduchim. I mean while I agree that “canned items are potentially the safest foods around and will keep five years or more if stored in a cold pantry,” I don’t think that is a viable solution. I’ll have to ask my parents for their perspective on that one.

Oh right, the legal disclaimer:

*I, SiBW, take no responsibility for any form of foodborne illness acquired through following the information contained or related to said article or any other unfortunate outcome that it entails. User discretion is strongly advised.*

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bits and Pieces of my Purim

Sorry if this post is slightly incoherent, still in the recovery stage.

Purim was awesome. It was all I wanted it to be and more both in ruchnies and gashmies. My costume and shalach manos accomplished their desired effects and were warmly accepted. I don’t think I hit that state of inebriation where I would do or say something absolutely crazy, although I am still holding out for that one email or phone call to inform me otherwise. I know I texted and emailed a few people, but according to my sent folders, nothing too crazy. Good thing I didn’t post anything. ;-) Sorry, no shadchunim stories this year. I learned my lesson from the last time. As far as costumes go I did see a few cute ones but nothing really amazing or even noteworthy.

Now I just need to retrieve, destroy, and bury all the photos that were taken of me. Then all shall be well. :-p Oh, and get rid of this pesky little headache. :-(