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Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Little Bit of Everything

Whenever people ask me what SerandEz is about, my most common answer is either that it's really about anything, or that it's a little bit of everything. So here's a little bit of everything, from Sukkos to Cleveland to Pobody's Nerfect to G to Las Vegas to LA to Holy Hyrax; from Red Sox-Tribe to Milk 'n Honey to Google to LeBron:
SerandEz Sukkos
  • Traveling by plane all over the country with an 18-month old who suffers from motion sickness: Not fun.
  • Traveling holding a lulav in your hand: Not normal.
  • Traveling for 11 days, 6 of which are Shabbos or Yom Tov, and realizing when you arrive at destination one that you left your garment bag (holding all of your suits) on your bed in New York: Not good.
  • Not being stuck in the middle of two hours of traffic in Delaware with less than an hour and 60 miles to go to Baltimore: Actually... not as fun.
So, while the lulav held up fine, and Elianna made it through the flight okay, my suits were living it up in NYC. Next, Elianna threw up during the 45-minute car ride from Akron to my parents' house in Cleveland. Luckily, Macy's had a nice pair of dress pants for $15 that I wore all of the first days; and thankfully, my sister- and brother-in-law were able to bring the suits when they came to LA.

Cleveland: The weather was surprisingly gorgeous (and didn't suddenly switch from gorgeous to snowing like it did on Pesach); SIL and OD and the -ens were there; and all in all, it was nice, calm, and the Indians were the talk of the town. At least they were when people weren't talking about the Browns beating up on the Ravens. Elianna enjoyed playing with her "big" cousins Ben & Hen, and of course started saying a whole bunch of new words: "OW" (right before she tries to hit at someone - learned from accidentally hitting Serach who said it); "NO!" (from Hen, who didn't want her to steal the car from her); "Dai!" [enough], which she seems to have simply picked up; and "Yesth!", which we taught her to offset 'No'.

We were kept entertained on Yom Tov itself by Pobody's Nerfect and her brother S[-]oner, who visited and even hosted us at their sukkah (minus Elianna) for a meal. On motzei Shabbos, we joined them and their family and a friend at laser tag, a bit of 'Dance Revolution', air hockey, etc. Note: Serach is not just tone-deaf, but lacks any sense of musical rhythm whatsoever. We also got to see G, whose conversation with my Dad bears repeating. My brother OD, who is 5 inches shorter and 100 pounds lighter than me, was not around. {note that that used to be a 50-pound difference...}
Dad: Hey G, you look good... you lose weight?
G: Yeah, I did.
Dad: I think I gained what you lost.
G: No, I think that Ezzie did. [pause] Actually, I think Ezzie ate OD.
Throughout the chag, we had some delicious Shannon Road Ice Cream that Dan (the Ice Cream Man) had dropped off at my parents' home - more on that another time. It was so good that Pobody's family bought some after she tasted a drop by our house.

On Sunday, we had a really nice time, heading out with OD & family and my parents to one of the coolest places I've seen in a long time - the LakeFarm Metroparks. They had this amazing place that had trains that hobbyists had made... mini-trains that people can ride on, that are as real as any train in make, from blowing steam to burning coal to smoke. They've built 3 miles of track over 14 acres with dozens of switch-tracks, about a dozen trains... it's amazing. After about a 40-minute wait in the long line of kids and parents, we got on... and I'm not sure who enjoyed it the most. Elianna LOVED it (despite the constant cloud of smoke that was puffing from the front of the train), crying "Maw! Maw!" when it finally slowed to a stop.

After that, we headed to LakeFarm Park and enjoyed the Corn Maze (Elianna loved this, too) and then seeing all the animals, where Elianna quickly learned what sound each animal made. She wanted to pet them all, but only a few got close enough for her to have a shot; she had an amazing time petting the sheep inside one of the buildings. The next day, after visiting Great-Grandma, she had even more fun at the zoo, seeing all the elephants, monkeys, fish, and of course, a ton of Jews.

Los Angeles: After that, it was off to LA. On the drive from the zoo to the airport, Elianna threw up, resulting in a quick cleanup in the trunk as I checked our bags in. Thankfully, there was enough room on the first leg to Vegas for her carseat, so we didn't have to hold her... but she threw up right as we landed, and we had about 15 minutes until our next flight to LA. We were so rushed I didn't even have a chance to gamble in the airport - nebach. She was fine on the flight to Burbank, and we had a nice relaxing night in the guest wing of Serach's sister's in-laws. (Gotta love LA.)

Yom tov in the Valley was really nice - pretty much spent the whole time with family and family friends, just rushing into the city one evening to meet a friend, until motzei Shabbos. On that night, we drove to meet another good friend whom Serach had never met - the one, the only, the famous: Holy Hyrax! We had some great Chinese, and ended up sitting there shmoozing with the Hyraxes until about 2:30 in the morning while Elianna slept in the (really cute) kids' room. Unsurprisingly, Mrs. Hyrax is much more fun than Holy, and got along almost too well with Serach, particularly in their opinions on subjects such as blogging. She's also going to closely monitor anything he says on the blog from now on. Hehe.

On our last day in the City of Angels, I'd been hoping to meet up with Jack (of the infamous Shack), but when he was available we got a bit bogged down with packing and the like and it didn't end up happening. I also missed a friend's engagement party and we couldn't go out with Ser's aunt and uncle, either - not the best ending to our trip, but okay. At least Elianna slept the whole way to New York - two flights holding her in our arms, though at least the first showed Evan Almighty which was somewhat funny.

There's definitely something nice about traveling through Cleveland to New York and seeing how everyone just seemed to calmly feel that there was no way the Indians were blowing the series. It's quite a change from what Clevelanders are used to. Sweet.
Indians vs. Red Sox
What a series this is going to be. Of course, the first two games will be on Shabbos, meaning we will miss what might be two of the best pitching duels in an LCS game in years. What's interesting is that the Indians are really given a boost by the 2-3-2 format due to the makeup of their team: The Indians, led by CC & Carmona in Games 1 & 2, have a legitimate shot in both games in Boston. They can come back to Cleveland 1-1... maybe even UP 2-0. Even 1-1 puts a ton of pressure on the Sox, who would need to win at least one in Cleveland, and even then could easily be in a 3-2 hole by the time they head home with Carmona pitching Game 6. I do think that the Sox are an amazing team - all-around, probably slightly better than the Indians - but the Indians' pitching may actually put them at an advantage in a series like this. Whatever happens, I think this will be an amazing series to remember. Indians in 6.

I don't know why people were pushing the D-backs to pitch Brandon Webb three times against the Rockies. He's given up 4+ runs to them four times this season, with his ONLY good start against them their only loss in the last 3 weeks. And, unsurprisingly, he got hit again today and gave up four runs. People would have been wiser to suggest Livan Hernandez, who had a number of really good starts against the Rockies this year. Rockies in 7.
Milk 'n Honey
I was eating at Milk 'n Honey in Manhattan today, and their pizza is actually very good. When I started working a little over a year ago, it cost $2.25/slice - expensive, but not crazy by NYC standards. A short time later it was at $2.50; soon after, it hit $2.95. Somewhat outrageous, but hey, what can ya do, right? Today I bought 2 slices and a can of soda ($1.25) and was surprised to see the bill was $8.94 including tax. I asked the cashier how much a slice was, and she responded immediately:
"Three-fifty"
WHAT!? $3.50 for a SLICE OF PIZZA!? Is that not insane?! I know the price of milk [and therefore cheese] is up, but has it gone up 56% in one year like the price of this pizza? I know that rent in Manhattan is high, but this is absolutely crazy. Am I wrong for thinking so? Please tell me if there's justification for price hikes like this - I just don't see how it's possible.
Google
Google scares me. I've said this for a while, but now it's starting to become a lot more obvious. People forget that Google is a for-profit corporation run by people who have their own beliefs and agendas; it's not some purely automated search engine with no human touch. Google's GoogleNews has often been accused of severe left-wing bias, taking information from far-left sources but ignoring mainstream right-wing ones. They allowed the Chinese government to censor all information coming through Google in China. They're not concerned with "truth", they're concerned with money and what they believe... and they have every right to do so. The problem is that people have become too reliant on Google: This blog, for example, is on Blogger, a service owned by Google, and they could theoretically delete it at any time. I use Picasa for my pictures... and that's owned by Google, too. I upload videos on YouTube, owned by... you got it. Google. Now, they're banning ads that attack MoveOn.org, the far-left group infamous recently for their "General Betray Us" ad scandal involving the New York Times.

The flow of information is likely the single most important factor that affects the future of this country. When one group that is not checked in any way, that has this much money and power, that has absolutely nothing that stops them from doing what they want, and can control that flow of information at will in very subtle ways [by simply not showing the information which they don't like, for example], it can be a very dangerous power. [Note: While Google leans strongly left, this would be true of ANY similar company or organization on either side of the spectrum.]
LeBron
I don't get the big deal over LeBron rooting for the Yankees, though flaunting it at the Jake may have been pushing it a bit. He's a Yankee fan - he should have to change as a player for Cleveland in a different sport? Give the guy a break - he was honest, not playing dumb games and making false claims. It's more troubling that he was a huge front-runner: I mean come on... Bulls, Cowboys, Yankees? I used to hate guys like that. Bill Simmons has a good piece on ESPN basically saying the same things.
PostScript
I think that the only thing this post is missing is a roundup. Chana tagged me with a meme that asks the writer to link to five posts that show the evolution of their blog. I'm not sure I can do that - this blog has definitely changed a lot in many ways since it began, but overall, it really has stuck to the About This Site blurb in the sidebar, which is that it's about just about everything. SerandEz is really centered around the 'community', so to speak, and not just me and my opinions; a lot of were or have become good friends of ours, both on the blog and off. I'll consider doing the meme for real later, but in all honesty, I think that this post symbolizes a lot of what this blog is all about and always has been.

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