Ten years ago: Last Thursday of August (#TBT)

BACKGROUND: This is an account from Thursday of my first week of my senior year of college at the University of Nebraska.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I got up at 625 and went to the restroom to put on my khaki pants with a red polo shirt. When I got back to the room, BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! So, I quickly set the alarm to OFF, but luckily it didn’t disturb Jordan. I planned my meals for the week using the online menu, and then headed downstairs for breakfast. Change in plans!

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Dinosaur eggs

Dinosaur eggs? When I wrote this post, I later found out that I can make somewhat of a double entendre here in a strange fashion. How I love these situations.

The inspiration for this post comes from a food that my Mom nicknamed “dinosaur eggs,” and the story starts about ten years ago.  As is often the case, food makes a very strong candidate for vivid memories. So here it comes!

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[M.M.X.I.V. 157] A Dozen Miles And A Dozen More

The title of the post is a parody of The Proclaimers, in a way.  Today, eight years ago, seemed a very salient day for me.  So, in today’s blog, I will reconstruct the journal that I wrote for that day, since it was in bullet points at the time.  Here goes nothing!

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[M.M.X.I.V. 144 / M.A.P.L.E. III-24] אל אדון (post is in English)

When I am listening to (or participating in!) musical activities early in the day, I did not exclude services from the count of songs!  I went to services today, and as it was an Orthodox service, almost all of פסוקי דזמרה (P’sukei d’Zimrah: the introductory service) is done individually, excluding the last sentence or two of each Psalm in this section.

So, the seventh complete “song” that we did aloud was אל אדון (El Adon: roughly translated as G-d the Master).  This was NOT something that I had learnt during preparation for my בר מצוה (bar mitzvah), as my בוקר-שבת (Shabbat morning) leading began on that day at the תורה (Torah) service.  Thus, I didn’t learn it until I got into college and rediscovered Judaism.

(As a result of having gone to Orthodox services, I feel that posting this prior to the end of שבת would be acting as a hypocrite, even if I am neither Orthodox nor שומר-שבת.)

In particular, the seeds were planted during the summer before my sophomore year of college.  I had been regularly attending the Monday and Thursday services, as well as שבת services.  In my journal from June 26, 2006, I wrote, “I may play a ‘pivotal role’ in re-starting Junior Congregation” (from chatting with the rabbi).  This was a staple of my Hebrew school years, but had faded shortly after I became a בר מצוה (as well as how I quit attending services, but those are actually coincidental).  Some more comments about my bar mitzvah burnout are in posts from May 2012 and October 2011.

It evidently showed me that they were trying to engage the upcoming b’nai mitzvah classes in more of the service.  Therefore, it was a learning experience for me as well, since I was largely unfamiliar with אל אדון and שחרית (Shacharit: morning service prior to the תורה service) in general.  When I was practicing for this, I sometimes went down into the Piper Pit, the basement of my wing of the dorm at UNL, during odd hours (e.g. weekend mornings).

Leading the Junior Congregation was a challenge for me, partially because of not being well-rehearsed with some of the שחרית, but also because I do not think that I was particularly successful in trying to engage the kids.  Interestingly, though, this was one of my first “teaching” experiences–indeed the first of many!  Actually, after my resignation from Herman’s lab, it seems that teaching opportunities opened themselves to me in droves, with this, as well as the Math Resource Center and Lisa’s recommendation to apply for the Hewit Center (UNL athletics tutoring), though the latter did not pan out.

And look where we are now.  In some sense, אל אדון represents a big turning point in my thoughts and personal growth!

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Today is the one-hundred and forty-fourth day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes twenty weeks and four days.

.היום תשעה ושלושים יום, שהם חמישה שבועות וארבעה ימים לעומר

Today is the twenty-fourth day of the third round of M.A.P.L.E.  That makes three weeks and three days.

The audio clip with the melody that we used today (as well as the one that I learned first) is at Siddur Audio, is at this webpage, running between the time marks of 3:13 until 4:49.

[M.M.X.I.V. 49] Interviews

Both universities that I have attended (University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and Northwestern University) have journalism schools.  I would assume that all journalism schools require the students to go on “fieldwork” in order to obtain stories through interviews.

However, when I was at UNL, I was only once interviewed by a journalism student.  This is not a knock on the school, as it is also true that it is much easier to find interviewees in a 20,000-person school than an 8,000-person school.  Granted, I also was not as socially active there as I am currently at Northwestern.

At Northwestern, however, Medill (the journalism school) makes a strong presence on campus.  I would estimate that I am interviewed at least twice a year.  Some of them are recommendations from other Medill students to ask me about Asperger syndrome.  Some of them have interviewed me about my SuperFan status.  Some interviews have come about from being in the “right place at the right time.”  Philanthropies, Challah For Hunger, and Bridge Club have all been places that I have been interviewed at Northwestern.

I am probably an unorthodox interviewee on campus, as a socially-involved graduate student.  However, my experiences can provide different perspectives from the traditional students.  And, I love speaking my mind!

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Today is the forty-ninth day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes seven weeks.  (The count doesn’t end here, unlike the omer.)