Recent Happenings in YUTOPIA

By now my extended absences from blogging should come as no surprise. I’ve always held that real life must take precedence over any virtual identity. However, since I did promise an explanation, so here’s the scoop.

  • Once I got laid off1 I decided to use the time to remove my longstanding albatross of my U of C thesis. This, I should point out, is no small feat considering that previous attempts at finishing have elicited more panic attacks than paragraphs. At any rate, I managed to hunker down and actually managed to turn in a paper on secularization theories. The only problem was that my then adviser had since left and the new professors in charge thought the thesis was pretty much uninteresting or otherwise insufficient.2 After a near rewrite of the entire paper, it still wasn’t up to snuff and it was rejected.
  • So after basically writing two theses, I had to start from scratch again, but this time in conjunction with the new advisers. Following their suggestions and my own familiarity with the subject. I wrote a new paper dealing with the Conservative teshuvot on homosexuality and e-mailed it in last week.3 Thus, in a span of three months I researched and wrote well over 100 pages worth of thesis, with the last fifty or so in the past month alone.
  • In the middle of these theses, I also organized Mt. Sinai’s shavuot program and updated my own shiur on taxes and tzeddakah.
  • Oh, and I also wrote a piece for the upcoming issue of R. Marc Angel’s journal “Conversations” on the topic of “social justice”4
  • Anticipating burnout, I had planned on attending R. Aryeh Klapper’s summer kollel, but we got the dates mixed up and it actually started about two weeks before I had down on my calendar. This actually turned out to be fortuitous because…
  • I just found out today that my landlord is not renewing the lease on the apartment in which I am currently subletting. This means on top of being unemployed I also need to move out in about two months.

So yeah, it’s been an intense couple of months with neither respite nor resolution imminent. 5 Much has been neglected personally – I simply haven’t had the time to take care of myself as as I should.6 Despite the immediate concerns of job and dwelling, I’m still optimistic in the macro sense that this is yet another instance of being forced out of a comfort zone to grow in some way or another.
There have also been a few changes in the blog itself. I recently ported over all templates to MT4 which as you can see went must better than last time. Aside from some minor cosmetic changes, the significant perk is that commenting with the captcha actually works! This means no more bugs and no more Typekey registration.
Finally, I registered the domain names and for this site and the chords directory respectively. Currently these URL’s are only a masked redirect, but this may change in the future.7
And that just about covers it. I may try forcing myself to write again more regularly to maintain the outlet, but no promises.
Stay tuned for future developments…

1. Which I later found out to be another casualty of the Bear Stearns buyout.
2. Much of the problem stemmed from the fact that I didn’t chose the topic, but it was assigned to me from a faculty adviser. The problem was he left the university and the replacements didn’t like the new topic.
3. Advisers are on vacation and won’t look at it for another week. If it passes I’ll blog a summary.
4. More precisely, my perspective on which I hope to elaborate at some point.
5. Thankfully before I descended fully entered into “woe is me” mode, I found Kathryn Bertine’s recent and possibly final installment of her series “So You Wanna Be an Olympian” and found the last section to be particularly helpful.
6. I’ve even ignored my own 5 year blogoversary!
7. At the rate things are going it’s a good thing I don’t have a good pun for “Brave New World.”

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  1. Noah
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