How Do You Jew An educational, informational, conversational blog and (someday) podcast about Judaism, Jewish practices, customs, and rituals, Israel, and whatever else we decide to talk about.

June 23, 2008

HDYJ Podcast: Episode 1

Filed under: Blogging,Family,fun,Life Online,Podcasting,technology — howdoyoujew @ 13:33

So this newest version of WordPress I’m now running, after that wacked-out update, has this handy “add media” gadget right in the interface instead of relying on a plugin, so I’m going to try it with the already-recorded episode 1. If this works, I’ll come back at ‘ya with another show this week… Here goes nothin’: How Do You Jew episode 1

June 22, 2008

High time

Filed under: Blogging,Good News,Podcasting,webcomics — howdoyoujew @ 22:38

It’s high time I updated my theme anyway.
It’s high time I went to bed for the night.
It’s party time because I recovered my blog!!! Hooray!

Coming up: Official posting of HDYJ podcast episode 1, to be followed shortly by episode 2; review of Beards of Our Forefathers; a new theme for the site; and news about our exciting summer.
Stay tuned!

May 13, 2008

Brain dump, Tuesday night

I have to blog a thousand things, but I’ll just keep this to the top that I’m able to think of, in no particular order, before my fingers get tired:

  1. The evil bastards who control the food packaging disaster that is hot dogs and buns are even more devious than I previously suspected: We recently got Hadarya a play kitchen (and PLEASE don’t start with the sexism/promoting gender stereotypes/etc. arguments – she is a very well-rounded child who spends time doing lots of other things, but she sees us both working in the kitchen and loves to pretend to do so on her own), and Grandma Bonnie came through with a ginormous vat of play food to fill the kitchen. The play food container has, I kid you not, six hot dogs and TWO buns. What the???
  2. I’m completely engrossed in the audio recording of Wil Wheaton‘s Just A Geek. His writing is excellent – the stories of his time on TNG, including the hindsight on what a bonehead he was to not appreciate it at the time (he WAS a teenager, after all; it would have been more surprising if he HAD appreciated it); working the con circuit with fellow cast members; his brutal honesty and openness about his emotional fragility over the lack of work, with the concomitant ups and downs of auditions and wasted hours waiting for phone calls; his beautiful stories about his family and his struggles to support them; all of this is good source material, and it’s well put together on paper. But his performance of his own material is evocative, moving, funny, and true, with occasional asides and deviations from the written source that make this feel at once like the special edition of the book with extra features and like he’s performing it exclusively for me (it helps that I’m listening to it in the car when I’m either alone or with a sleeping toddler in the back).
    I’m able to relate to virtually everything he talks about because I grew up with a father who worked in “the industry” (what people who work in the movie/television business call their line of work), so the terms are familiar, and so are many of the settings (walking around studio backlots and sets, the peculiar hurry-up-and-wait schedule of a typical shoot, etc.). In some of the stories, the empathy is even stronger because our paths were even closer – growing up geeky, playing role-playing and video games, seeing all the same movies and listening to much of the same music.
    Then there’s his audition for the co-host spot on Win Ben Stein’s Money. Listening to that chapter was amazing, since I was a contestant on the show. Wil was up for the co-host spot after Jimmy Kimmel’s first replacement, but that wasn’t clear from his description, and since I stopped watching the show after I played on it (that story will get its own post), I didn’t even know there WAS another co-host, nor that he was Jimmy Kimmel’s cousin. That was all cleared up by Wikipedia, thankyouverymuch.
  3. It’s been a very long time since I was as wrapped up in a television show as I was in this week’s House, the penultimate episode of the season. I started watching the series when the strike took my other vegout shows off the air, and haven’t been disappointed, but they really nailed it this week. I’m going to catch up on last week’s episode via Hulu before enjoying the season finale next week. Then Veronique and I can discuss amongst ourselves, dahling.
  4. Is it just me, or is it weird that Hillary Clinton is ignoring the fact that her base, according to all the data I’m hearing, is essentially uneducated white people, while Barack Obama’s core supporters tend to be college-educated? I guess that explains some stuff, like her pandering to people with the proposed gas tax holiday, and how she can get away with calling him “elitist,” and other things. Meh. I so don’t want this blog to be about politics.
  5. I’ve got basic show notes written up for like a dozen How Do You Jew podcast episodes. I just need to put some music together, do a little research on each of my core topics, and start recording. Actually, here are some of the things I want to cover. Any suggestions for straightforward sources of good, solid information about them would be appreciated. The idea is that I’ll introduce and briefly discuss/explain a specific Jewish tradition or halachic practice each episode:
    • Torah scroll, sofer, filling in letters to fulfill mitzvah
    • Kippot/yarmulkes – where is rule to wear, who’s obligated/allowed, different styles and their connotations in different communities
    • Yahrzeit/shloshim/shiva
    • Hamantaschen – Haman’s ears vs. Haman’s hat & possibly other traditional Jewish holiday foods
    • Pikuach nefesh
    • Alright, Jenn should be home soon from the synagogue board meeting, and I need to fill out Hebrew High report cards, so that’s it for tonight… Also, Hadarya is restless and needs some comforting, so off I go.

December 18, 2007

Baby steps

Filed under: Commentary,entertainment,fun,Life Online,Podcasting,technology — howdoyoujew @ 17:29

No, not Hadarya’s.. she’s way beyond that. In terms of podcasting, I’m still a fetus. But I think I’m approaching my delivery date. Consider this a swift kick: my inspiration for getting myself into this beautiful mess, Adam Curry, played my audio comment on his last show (DSC #701, posted Dec. 17 at My comment begins at about 29:24 and it is decidedly NOT family friendly (specifically my comment about the TSA and Adam’s misadventures traveling into and out of his own country. Of course, I think his show is awesome to listen to the vast majority of the time, and you should give it a try. But it’s fun hearing people you know talk to celebrities on a massively popular show, isn’t it?

November 30, 2007

10 Years? Felt like 10 minutes!

Filed under: Blogging,Family,fun,Podcasting,technology,travel — howdoyoujew @ 19:39

Just had a fabulous dinner (at Bahama Breeze, in case you’re keeping track; excellent jerk-painted tilapia and terrific chocolate desserts) with Cousins Marc & Lynn and their boys who, conveniently enough for us this weekend, live in Orlando. Last time I saw M&L was at least a decade ago, before they had any offspring, so there was a lot of catching up to do, but it honestly felt like we’d been keeping up with each other regularly forever. I love family like that. We’ll get together again Sunday so Jenn can enjoy their company and they can meet her.

I don’t love that the NaBloPoMo group page has been taken offline, before I had a chance to post all my entries from here over there. All that means is that I’m not eligible for prizes, and since that’s not why I took on this challenge, I’m not upset about that, but I wish the option hadn’t been taken away from me so unceremoniously. Granted, I should have read the rules more carefully, since apparently they stated that you had to do the double-posting, but still…

Anyway, I’m glad I did this NaBloPoMo thing, since I’ve gotten into the habit of posting regularly. My idea for the podcast is to do shows on Monday and/or Thursday. I will do my best over the coming weeks to manipulate my schedule and use of free time to enable that goal to come to fruition. Stay tuned.

November 10, 2007

The origin of this domain name

Filed under: Blogging,Family,history,life cycle,Life Online,Parenting,Podcasting — howdoyoujew @ 21:54

When I first started posting here in April 2006, I put up some divrei Torah I’d delivered over the last few years, and then I very briefly talked about why I got the domain and how I planned to start podcasting “soon.” While I haven’t accomplished that last task, I’m still working on it, and I thought I’d take an opportunity here to mention the origin of the name.

In early 2006, my lovely wife and I began talking classes to qualify us to become adoptive parents through the county of San Diego. The classes were primarily intended to address people adopting kids coming out of the foster care system, and mostly kids who’d been in that system for several years, which didn’t apply to us (we’d asked to adopt an infant). Also, much of the information delivered in the classes (27 hours of classes) fell firmly under the “common sense” category of parenting and life with which my lovely wife and I are oh-so-familiar and to which we subscribe wholeheartedly. Of course, much of the population is averse to the practice of this philosophy, which is why the county needs to deliver it in bite-sized chunks and very simple language over several weeks to the good people who want to make the lives of children born into unhealthy situations a little bit better.

In other words, the classes bored me silly. I gathered very quickly that if I didn’t bring my laptop or some other distraction to help me get through the classes, we would become ineligible to adopt through the county altogether because I would end up assaulting someone to try and pound the stupidity out of their head (remind me to tell you sometime about the moment of enlightenment I was involved in one evening, attempting to explain to one remarkably dense individual in the class why drug use by a biological father doesn’t have the same effect on a developing fetus as use by the biological mother during pregnancy) . So bring my laptop I did, and also some scratch paper and a pen.

And so it was on one evening, shortly after the classes began, and shortly after I was inspired by a particular moment in Adam Curry‘s always evolving and always excellent podcast the Daily Source Code, that I began brainstorming with myself possible names for my own domain and blog/podcast name. I knew it would have a Jewish theme, but I also knew it would touch on myriad other topics and would itself evolve over time as my curiosity drove me and my interests meandered. I was aiming for a name that wouldn’t lock me into a particular path and would allow me to question everything, something that Judaism encourages. That interrogative and open-minded spirit caused the phrase “How Do You Jew?” to pop into my head, and I knew immediately that I had my domain name. I reserved it that night through GoDaddy, and the rest is… well, yet to be written/spoken aloud.

November 1, 2007

One-a-day, like vitamins.

Filed under: Blogging,Family,fun,life cycle,Life Online,Parenting,Podcasting,random — howdoyoujew @ 22:31

Thanks to my lovely wife‘s pointing it out to me, courtesy of our lovely friend Aaryn posting about it, I’ve joined in the madness that is National Blog Posting Month, affectionately known as NaBloPoMo. Perhaps this will prompt me to establish a regular posting schedule, which in turn will drive me closer to my ultimate goal of podcasting, which is why I got this domain in the first place.

For my first trick post, I’ll note that I’m working on turning Hadarya‘s car seat to the forward-facing position in my car. She’s over a year old, which is the minimum age for that, and I’m tired of not being able to see her while I’m driving. I also think she’ll enjoy car rides far more, especially in my car (which is lower to the ground than Jenn’s), facing forward.

When I’m done with that, I’m going to sync my Treo. Sound exciting? No? Well, perhaps when you learn that I’m adding software to it that will let me use this as a ringtone, you’ll understand why I’m excited.

Oh, and I got my brand spankin’ shiny new Jawbone today. Thank you, Aliph people! You know how to treat your customers.

July 12, 2007

Random thoughts

I ought to be blogging more. edited to add: and I ought to fix/edit my sidebar contents.

I had a productive day at work today, with a “third time’s a charm” situation regarding videotaping a presentation given by our esteemed young employer relations specialist and a rep from SDG&E. Then the day was made more productive by a quick, off-the-cuff conversation with our bright associate director as I was on my way out of the office for the day. It’s very true that a great deal of learning (if not most of it) is accomplished outside the classroom, and that holds true for work as well – some of the most innovative, helpful ideas are reached not during formal “work” time, but in these side conversations, at informal networking happy hours, etc.

Hadarya was a little ornery this afternoon/evening, after a lovely time at the swimming pool. She was fine in the pool, but then didn’t have much of an appetite at dinner, then was very unhappy in the bath, which is extraordinarily odd for her. She went down for the night a little later than usual (with Ima), but has been sleeping soundly for the last couple of hours, so I’m looking forward to a good day tomorrow (end of her second week at the excellent SDSU Children’s Center).

I’m frustrated at the lack of time I think I have for things like updating our flickr site, blogging and podcasting, and other “leisure” activities, but I also know it’s more a matter of time management than actually not having the time. I wonder if Avraham’s sending me this link earlier today was a bit of divine intervention? I don’t know if I need the additional tool, having become a Bit Literacy junkie, but I’ll be examining my options more closely.

Having just written that (after a break for a family obligation that we’ll talk about another time), and having read a bit of Steve Pavlina’s stuff, I realize that this site and blog can serve as my vehicle for journaling, with the added benefit (?) of having other people chime in on my goals, activities, and writing, something that may serve as an additional incentive to improve myself.

I really want to go to Comic-Con this month. I’ve wanted to go for a few years, and this year, as a fan of a bunch of webcomics whose creators will be here in town for the festivities, I feel it’s the right first time. I want to take Hadarya, because I think it’ll be awesome-sauce to have some of the artists I enjoy so much sketch her now (and when we return in the coming years, as I hope to). So this weekend I’ll try to figure out if I can still get in, how much it’ll cost, and check with my better half as to the feasibility of this venture.

Most daunting part of this post? Going back and adding all the links.

June 5, 2007

Hear my voice!

Filed under: fun,Life Online,Podcasting,technology — howdoyoujew @ 14:00

As previously noted/promised/predicted, Adam Curry played an audio comment I called in on episode 612 of the Daily Source Code (click on “Play” or “Archives” and choose episode 612) on Friday, June 1 (start listening at minute 8 if you don’t want to hear the whole thing), and then started episode 613 with an intro I recorded for him. Woohoo! I also got a nice comment from another esteemed podcaster who enjoyed the “Shabbat shalom, everybody!” moment on 612, which is another poke in the tush to actually get the show I’ve been planning for so long off the ground. Keep checking in for that, please.

June 1, 2007

Did I mention I was on TV, too?

Filed under: Podcasting,Shabbat — howdoyoujew @ 08:52

The local TV news piece about me and Phyllis (my bone marrow recipient) will be uploaded as soon as I figure out how to move it from VHS to the PC and then to YouTube.

In the meantime, my PodHero, Adam Curry, played an audio comment I sent him today, and will use an intro I made for episode 613 of his show, the Daily Source Code, on Monday, June 4.

Shabbat shalom, everybody!

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