Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Passover 2010

How is this year different from last year?* The 3 differences:

*This is instead of saying "how is this night different from all other nights?", which something you ask on Passover. There are also 4 questions instead of 3 differences. I'm just trying to be clever for those who are Jewish and can catch this reference. ^_~
  • Last year it was just my parents, my siblings and me celebrating Passover in our unique way, but this year we invited a fellow home-schooling family who are good friends of ours. I'm so happy that we had them over, because they made the evening a lot more fun and lively. It was their first Passover experience, so all of us got a chance to teach them the special traditions and customs of the Seder. That's considered a big mitzvah (that means good deed in Hebrew.)
  • Last year we tried our hand at holding a completely raw and vegan seder, with only green, freshly prepared dishes, nothing cooked. This year, since we had guests (and because we really wanted it) we had a lot more cooked foods for the festive meal that comes after the formal seder. Matzo ball soup, rice, potatoes, stir fry, salad... all I can say is YUM! ^_^ And the food was so tasty and filling that today we had a lot of leftovers. DOUBLE YUM!
  • Last year my family mostly stuck to how the seder was supposed to go, reading the hagaddah (the story) in Hebrew and looking for the Afikomen and singing all the songs afterward. This year we made the seder more interactive by having each person read the hagaddah in English (though this family speaks Spanish, so they had a little trouble reading it. Not to mention it was all written in old fashioned English. Thou art, thee, verily, etc.). Also we got so caught up in conversation during and after the meal that by the time my dad hunted for the Afikomen that we kids had hidden, it was almost midnight. But really, we had lots and lots of fun with these people. After they left, we realized that we hadn't welcomed in Elijah the Prophet with them, or sung the songs "Echad Mi Yodea" and "Chad Gadya". So we carried on and officially finished the seder without them.
Continuing from the last difference I mentioned, something spooky actually happened during our seder! Elijah is kind of like a Santa Clause figure in the Passover tradition. He's not fat and jolly and doesn't give presents, but you're supposed to open your door to him and hope that the ghost Elijah will drink a little bit of wine you set aside for him. (When you think about it, I don't know how a ghost is supposed to visit every Seder in the world, like how does Santa go down all the chimneys and leave presents? Ah, but we must have our beliefs.)

Now after our friends left, my family sat down again and talked and carried on with songs and stuff. 10 minutes later, I believe it was, we suddenly heard the door SLAM! We jumped. We all looked at each other, our expressions plainly saying, "Uh, what just happened?" We joked and thought maybe it was Elijah. When my dad went to check the door, he said that it was locked, but no one remembered turning the lock when we saw our friends out the door. 0.o

Oh, and then later we heard a sound in the kitchen, like dishes making noise in the sink because they weren't balanced or something (imagine all the dishes piled up after a yummy Passover meal like the one we had). This time my mom went to investigate, but everything seemed to be in order, only she noticed that our pet cockatiel birds, Sasha and Sammy, had an alarmed look, with their crests up. That may have been because they were scared of the dishes, but still!

Very strange and spooky stuff... how often do you get to hear a ghost story on Passover? 0,o I don't believe in ghosts, but can anyone explain these kind of things without thinking ghosts? Well, at least I've made my blog a little interesting with this tale of mine. ^_^

Here are the links to last year's Passover, (pre and post). And also I thought I'd add that, before and after our guests arrived, my brother Adam and I had fun seeing videos on YouTube of old Pepsi commercials that Michael Jackson was in. ^_^ A couple of them are particularly awesome!
The links are here:
Kids who dance a lot like MJ!

(Do you guys think I should have a separate blog just for Michael Jackson related stuff?)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Tribute to the King of Pop

Today I have done myself proud and given my third official Toastmaster speech, without tripping up and embarrassing myself one bit. Far from it. In my mind, I couldn't have done it better. I was cool and confident, I got a great applause in the end, my evaluation was very positive, and I got my first Best Speaker trophy! (It was only between me and one other guy, but still! Imagine my happiness. ^_^)

What is the secret to my success, you ask? Well, I'll tell you something that contributed a great deal to it: I spoke about one of my all time favorite subjects. ^_^ Yep, you guessed it. It was all about Michael Jackson.

Originally, my sis Annette was going to give her third presentation first, but her speech still needs some work. I had my Michael Jackson speech pretty much all written out, so we agreed to switch roles.

Now I just had to memorize what I wanted to say. 0,o

Annette helped me out a lot yesterday, helping me with my confidence and adding stuff here and there. I'm very appreciative to her and she knows it, but I think she still deserves some props over here. THANKS, SIS! ^_^ I couldn't have done it without you.

The first video here is me giving my speech and the second is the evaluation that Kevin Wu, a fellow member, gave me afterward. (Hope you can understand what he's saying with his accent.) Thanks to my mom for making me look so good, btw. ^_^ Also thank you Adam for coming and supporting me.
video

video

Awesome, huh? ^_^ I hope the filming wasn't too distracting. What a rush. I wasn't dreading this speech, but I was feeling a bit nervous. I'm just so glad it's behind me now.

In other news: History was made today! Our president signed the new Health Care law and a lot of people are happy about it. We saw a little bit of the live speeches Biden and Obama gave before leaving for Toastmasters.

To finish up, I was looking for a couple of other Michael Jackson pictures, and I found these really good Deviant Art pics. ^_^ I absolutely love them.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Jackson 5 Fever

I've recently discovered a couple of really fun things to see on YouTube, both having to do with the Jackson Five. Now, I have a REALLY big thing for Michael Jackson, as you would know if you read my blog, but now that I've been seeing what he did with his brothers, I think they're all one talented bunch.

For one thing, last night I saw the first episode of "The Jacksons" which was an old variety show they put on. It is awesome! You know on Wiki it says it was the first variety show where the entire cast were siblings?

I love their synchronized dancing, and their skits are funny. Of course, Michael stands out the most, but perhaps that's just me. ^_^

The show aired in the mid-'70s, when Mike was just 18 years old! Like me! ^_^ He's so cute. *_* There are only 12 episodes in it, just like another favorite old show of ours, "Fawlty Towers." That'll make it easy to see them all!

The other Jackson 5 show I've been seeing is this adorable cartoon show of the Jacksons themselves. Granted, it's not actually their voices, but it's still really good. The animation is superb, there's a couple songs in every episode (most good cartoon shows have music in it. Animaniacs, Phineas & Ferb, I could go on...), and the stories are really good. Again, Michael is my favorite character. ^__^

I've seen 5 episodes so far, and they're all really funny. There's a special channel that I'm seeing this, and if you like being entertained, then please, clicky-clicky!

"The Jacksons" you'll have to search for yourself. Sorry. But trust me, you won't be sorry!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Everything else

In Blogger world, I'm happy and proud to announce that my friend, Graham of On a Grahampage and Graham Chops, had his manuscript of Sidewinder (which I've read and highly approved) requested by James Dashner's very own agent, Michael Bourret! While this name means nothing to me, I'm ecstatic that Graham was contacted by James freakin' Dashner's own agent!!! Good luck, once again!

And yes, tonight was Oscars night. I actually paid less attention to it than I thought I would (I kept playing this billiards computer game which to me and my sibs is kind of addicting!). Don't worry. I believe my twin sis Annette covered the Academy Awards quite nicely. I'll link to her when she posts it. The only thing I really paid attention to was how Taylor Lautner was all smiley and CUTE on the Red Carpet and on stage introducing a tribute for the genre of horror. That horror montage was really something! 0,o SCARY! Otherwise, I think the Oscars were a little boring.

Nothing more to say, so see you later.

Update: Annette didn't end up posting about the Oscars, so no linking. Sorry.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

'Bye Keren

Well, I was right about having a pleasant weekend with my cousin. Keren was so much fun to be with; she's just so happy, full of adventure and spunk. When she first arrived at our house, she took the opportunity to show us some truly spectacular pictures from her previous travels on Facebook. She's an awesome photographer! We showed her a lovely time with a healthy dinner and then some fun playing billiards at our local town center, even though it was quite chilly. She doesn't play a lot, but she put the winning shot in, so yay!

On Friday the next day, we took her with us to our home-school meeting. It actually took place in a park Annette and I had never been to before. Anyway, we led the kids in that invigorating exercise routine, the Chicken Fat song (see a couple posts previously) and everyone had lots of fun. I've actually been practicing this with my bro and sis all week, so I've kind of improved my sit-ups. It still hurts like h-e-double hockey-stick, but at least I can keep up.

After the park, my mom dropped us off at the theater, where me, my siblings and Keren would enjoy Tim Burton's adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. The funny thing is that my brother decided to dress up as Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter character, so he put on an orange wig (our mom had actually dyed it orange for him), a top hat with a scarf around it and a colorful tie. Save for the make-up, I'm telling you, Adam looked exactly like the Hatter. ^_^ Adorable. The movie was okay, I think. Funny. I liked the acting. Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum were my favorite characters. It didn't really make sense in the end...

That evening we had a delicious Shabbat dinner and, like we do pretty much every Friday night, Annette, Adam and I sang the songs we'd individually learned and practiced all week, to add to our repertoire of songs we know by heart. I think Keren was impressed. Afterward, we actually browsed through past performances we'd put on a DVD (we record all our performances) and it was really funny to watch. Adam was particularly hilarious in one clip. LOL!

This morning was quite lovely. Our mom pulled out some old photo albums that had Keren and Annette and I as much younger kids. Ah, a trip down memory lane... love it. Then we drove Keren downtown to where Annette and I rehearse our "Once Upon a Broadway Dream" play. We came an hour early, so we could walk around and show her some sights before going back and leaving her to explore on her own a tiny bit. Rehearsal was extremely satisfying. We nailed all our dance steps and even learned a new one. Keren didn't get to see us dance, but came in just as we were finishing up our singing. When we finally got home, it was time for Keren to leave. ~,~ I will definitely miss her. She was such a fun person to be with.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Aloha, cousin!

Actually, it's more like "Shalom, cousin." My cousin Keren is coming over, all the way from Israel, to stay with us for a couple days. Yay! ^_^ I haven't seen her in soooo long. Probably not since my family went to Israel 2 and a 1/2 years ago.

I'm really looking forward to her coming tonight. I love having family over. It doesn't happen that often, since most of my extended family lives in Israel, so this is a treat.

I know I'll have a great weekend. Hope you guys reading this have a great one too! ^_~

Monday, March 1, 2010

Feeling nostalgic...

I've just been spending the past hour or so looking back at my past emails with people who are my best friends on Blogger. It's so weird! I look back on their words, and some of them still make me smile as much as when I received them the first time. ^_^

Thanks for being the awesomest friends ever! Q, Graham, Dave, Laura, Rani, and even James Dashner (yeah, I emailed him a couple times around the time I got my Maze Runner ARC, and he always replied! He is way cool, and his messages made me feel giddy all over again. Emailing JAMES DASHNER!).

And most especially, Jacoby. ^_~ I look forward to your emails best of all.

Yesterday I spent some time looking back through me and J.N.'s 50+ emails. WOW! I know we've known each other for a loooong time, but it's like, OMG, this person is amazing! I read his old messages, and they light my world up so much! ^_^ No matter whether we're talking about stuff that's going on on our sides of the world, or telling each other how much we like something the other wrote, or just saying a friendly little "hi," I know I will treasure every one of his words for as long as I live.

While I'm being honest here, I've also spent some time looking at Jacoby's blog, and seeing how many times my name pops up in his posts. AHHH! I can't believe it. I didn't count exactly, but he's mentioned me probably at least 100 times, even making me the main subject of a post about 4 times. *_* I'm delirious with happiness. I've mentioned Jacoby's name a good many times on my blog, (especially recent-ish, since his internet's been wacky and I miss him on and off ~,~) but not nearly so many times as he's done mine. Do you know how happy a person can be when they see their name in print? And someone else wrote about them, not them. Like, a hundred times? It's an amazing feeling. Which is why I always comment on someone who does such a thing to me.

I'm due to get a snail-mail letter from Jacoby any day now. YAY!!!

I don't write about Jacoby enough on my blog. Not by name, anyway. To me, that's just a sad thing, because he's an awesome person, and he's promised me that we'll be friends forever, and and and... not enough words can describe it. He's the coolest guy I've never met, and I love him. ^_^

*************
Celebrating the first day of March! Whoo-hoo! Too bad that means February is over, though. But if this means that it will stop being cold so much of the time, then I'm very happy! I want Florida to be warm again.