Thursday, May 7, 2015

Lag B'Omer


Lag B'Omer started last night and goes until tonight. It's celebrated on the 33rd day of counting the Omer, which is the 18th of the month of Iyar. It marks the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a Mishnaic sage and leading disciple of Rabbi Akiva in the 2nd century; and the day that he revealed the secrets of Kabbalah in the form of the Zohar (Book of Splendor), a major text of Jewish mysticism. Instead of the sadness and sometimes fasting of a regular yarzheit (anniversary of a death), it's celebrated with joy and celebration. Kind of like honoring a Tzaddik's work and their life instead of focusing on their death. (Shouldn't most yarzheits be that way?:iconsighingplz:) A Tzaddik is a righteous person. Some non-Jews can be considered Tzaddiks as well. People celebrate the holiday by lighting bonfires, pilgrimages to Rabbi Yochai's tomb, picnics, archery, first haircuts for children, weddings, parades, songs, and more. The L and G of 'Lag' in gematria is 33. (Thus, the 33rd day of the Omer.) The vowel sound is there for pronunciation. Gematria is a system where letters are given numerical values. They can add up to interesting and sometimes surprising combinations. Sephardic Jews (they originated in Spain and the Mediterranean) call it Lag L'Omer, instead. It's the difference of saying 'of' the Omer, and 'in' the Omer. Not all that much of a difference...:iconseychelles-plz:
This is my wallpaper for April. It features Gokudera and Uri from Hitman Reborn. Uri's on Gokudera's shoulder. Haven't had a Hitman Reborn theme in a while. It's still one of my fave series. I like both the anime and manga. Gokudera is one of my fave characters, and Uri is his box animal that his future-self left behind. It was kept in one of Sistema C.A.I.'s Storm Boxes. Uri has an attitude, and is sometimes seen scratching and biting Gokudera in kitten form. Despite that, they both care for each other deeply. When fed enough Sun flames, Uri turns into her enormous adult leopard size. And is extremely powerful. When she's like that, she kind of treats him like a mother cat would with her kittens. Gokudera is the Storm Guardian, and that's his main 'flame'. But, he can use Rain, Lightning, Cloud, and Sun flames as well. (Not many people can use more than one.) He came up with his own cryptic language full of symbols so no one else could read what he writes. Which helped several times in the Future Arc. He seems to be one of the most flexible, yet stubborn at the same time, characters. He's very bright too. Although, sometimes he doesn't seem so bright with common sense situations...He's superstitious, and believes in U.M.A.s or Unidentified Mysterious Animals. U.M.A.s, according to him, are intelligent creatures that aren't harmful (except for the Tsuchinoko). Most of them are based on things like aliens, Japanese folklore, mythical beings from folklore around the world, etc. I'm also not used to such a busy background behind them, but it's interesting. 

My Paris calendar features the Tuileries Garden. it's a popular public garden located between the Louvre Museum and Place de la Concorde. It features fountains, 2 large basins, numerous sculptures, and 2 museums including the Musee del'Orangerie which displays Monet's panoramic water lilies. Looks like a nice place. 

My Jewish calendar's main pic's of an Omer calendar, which had an anonymous maker; made out of wood (oak and walnut), parchment, ink, and metal; Netherlands; 1750-1800. I don't think I've seen an Omer calendar like this. It has moving panels with prayers and such written out on each one. Some of them just have illustrations. Cool to see how old it is, and that it seems to be in really good condition. The other pic's of a Torah pointer; made by Christoffel Oepkes; made out of silver; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 1832. When reading from the Torah, you're not supposed to physically touch the ink, so you use a pointer instead. If you do touch it, the parchment and ink itself is very fragile, and it can ruin it. Oils from your fingers can rub into it, smear the ink, and discolor the parchment. It's also disrespectful.:iconhongkongplz:Sometimes, like during Simchat Torah, the Torah is fully unraveled, and people holding it up as it's unraveling are careful only to touch the edges. It's a really long scroll, and it can make many rounds around a room. Many people end up holding it up in the end. It's quite a sight. It's also extremely disrespectful to drop or let the Torah touch the ground. So, people have to be careful of that too. Anyways, the pointer part that touches the Torah usually has a hand design with an index finger extended. This one has that, and the other end has a big ring, then some sort of stylized pomegranate design. It's really cool looking. They were really specific with this one...:iconchibiaustriaplz:That's cool, too.

The month-long holidays are: National Asparagus Month, National BBQ Month, National Egg Month, National Hamburger Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa (the sauce) Month, National Strawberry Month, National Vinegar Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, National Pet Month. Some are for important causes, some are to make you appreciate things you may take for granted, and some are just for fun.

I'm thinking of making another sort of blog soon. This one will be for writing out my thoughts on various topics. Kind of showing how I view the world.:iconthinkinghkplz:My opinions, rants, thoughts in general about life and events, about myself, cultures, etc. I tend to think a lot about things, but don't feel like there's that many outlets to write them out on. (Feels kind of like they're wasted that way...:iconkikuplz:) I tried briefly on Twitter, but their design is kind of annoying, hard to get some things down to 140 characters or so, etc. I thought it'd be good to have a place where there was no limit to it, and I can feel free about it. Some posts on there might be really short, and others might be much longer. I might post more than once in a day, and other times go for several days without posting for that blog. This blog is mainly about day to day stuff or what recently happened, which is quite a different thing to me. And, I want to keep it that way. I was either thinking of another Blogger blog or Wordpress. (I have an old Wordpress blog, but it's been a few years since I've last posted on that one.) I'm going to start with it being public and comments enabled, and see what happens with that. If I'm not liking that too much, I can always switch it. It's kind of an adventure, and would be interesting to see where I take it.:iconheroamericaplz: 

We didn't go to group last night. It was actually moved from Tuesday to Wednesday nights. And, that was the first Wednesday night. Both Dad and I feel odd about the group now.:iconnataliaplz:It seems to be kind of falling apart, and there are some pretty toxic people. One of them seems to be without knowing. Kind of innocently, but that can be even more dangerous. Another is normally a pretty cool person, but lashes out at people when she's had a particularly bad day. Half the time that's directed towards cis people. Cisgender (cis for short) is someone who identifies with the gender they were assigned to at birth, and people outside that community might think of them as 'normal'. I don't really like to use the word 'normal' though...:icongermanyplz:A lot of people seem to overgeneralize huge groups of people as well. Saying things like: "All cis people think like this...", "The average cis person...", "All trans women...", "We all know...", etc. That can be harmful for a lot of people. We're not all the same!:iconwtfukplz:Plus, I didn't like that it seemed like only one person tried to comfort me when someone lashed out and said something really mean to me. Dad was hurt by a lot of other things that night, too. I've seen what people wrote in the group's fb page and in some texts about it all. Many claimed they didn't hear it, and yet I heard it across the room.:iconromanoplz:It seemed like people were afraid to say anything. I was grateful to the person who tried to comfort me though. I'm really not sure if either of us will feel up to going again...I wonder how many showed up last night?

I tried to start watching Saiyuki. It's based on the Chinese story called Journey to the West. I remember watching about 2 or 3 episodes with friends in college. I thought it was cool at the time, but got sucked into other shows. Apparently not cool enough to top those. That first episode was a lot worse than I remembered it.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:The animation isn't the best, fights seemed to end way too quickly (barely knew what was going on before it was over), characters were starting to get on my nerves for some reason, the background music was weird, and other things. Kind of a shame. 

I might go back to Bleach next time. It's been a while since I put it on hold. Got back to Magi, and didn't realize how close I was to finishing the 1st season...:iconpolandplz:So, I'm at least sticking it out until then. It's like 3 or 4 episodes left. I'm kind of liking One Piece so far. Don't really know why yet, though. MAR's very interesting so far. It feels like I uncovered a rare gem of some sort. Parts of it are pretty unique. 

The 1st marked 3 years since my mom passed away. Oddly, I haven't really felt down about it. It might be because she's not suffering anymore. She was basically suffering for a very large chunk of my life. Probably close to half my lifetime. I do miss her, though. The month is a bit difficult for me, too. Mother's Day is this Sunday, and what would have been her birthday is on the 21st.:iconhanatamagoplz:

Dad had a serious side effect from taking the vicodin, and had to stay home from work for a few days last week. She's a lot better now, and has stopped taking the pain med. 

Last Friday, we went to brunch at a local breakfast place. Got a veggie omelet with hashbrowns and a biscuit. It was pretty good. Went food shopping a bit after that. 

On Saturday, we did some more food shopping, then Dad had an appointment at a nail salon for a mani/pedi. They wanted to do mine, too. I decided not to, but Dad definitely deserves to be pampered. The smell of nail polish and hot dogs were all around me. It was very weird.:iconhongkong-wantsursoul:Someone brought their huge dog, and they kept walking out the door until an employee finally closed it. Which trapped the weird smells around me...:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:

We went to a local seafood restaurant afterwards. I got my fave, which is their smoked salmon linguine. Plus, house salad with bleu cheese dressing. The salad was way too big for its plate, and was a bit more 'fancy' than what I expected. The croutons were made from their homemade bread, and there were toasted almonds. It was good, though. The salmon was smokier than last time, which was a definite plus. It was very good. I never can seem to finish it, even when I didn't care how much I ate. It's always so much. I had plenty of leftovers from that and the salad to take home. The linguine didn't keep very well. I tried to scoop some of it out, and it came out as a brick. I cut off a section of it, and heated it up in a bowl. When I took it out of the microwave it was swimming in oil. Like there was more oil than pasta and salmon. I drained it as much as I could and ate what was left in the bowl. It didn't taste as good as the night before. (Had to toss out a good portion of it.:iconohboyamericaplz:) The salad was perfectly fine the next day. 

Went out shopping again on Sunday. This time it was for things I really needed at the mall. Got new sneakers, socks, jeans, and a screen protector for my iPhone.:iconranranruuplz:The sneakers are the same design as last time. They have memory foam, and immediately felt really nice. The socks were pretty cheap, and it was a pack of 7. They're longer than what I'm used to, but they're comfy and stay up. So, now I can go on my walks again. (I did a couple of times already.) My old jeans were full of holes, and sagged a lot in the butt. Things fit differently on me since I'm still losing weight. I wanted boot cut, but apparently straight-legged is the thing right now. Took me forever to find the jeans I settled on. But, I'm very happy with them. They feel nice, real, sturdy, and comfy. The butt doesn't sag either. Yay! In fact, it's rather normal looking in the butt on me. That's kind of a confidence booster too. It's just slightly stiff in some areas, but that'll change with wear. There was a crack in my old screen protector, and it was annoying to watch things with. With the new one, it's like a new phone. Very clear, no buildup, no crack (thank goodness it didn't go further than the protector), etc. 

Finished editing the 6th story to my nightmare anthology yesterday. Played my clarinet. Mostly did Irish tunes the entire time. Was pretty good this time. Studied the kanji  (basically: to compete) and (mirror or looking-glass), and their compounds. Practiced a bit on JapaneseClass' site. 

It's been a while since I've shared my faved vids, so there's quite a bit here.
4 amazing Gintama amv's:

A creepy, but awesome Pandora Hearts amv (the whole series is pretty creepy anyways...):

3 interesting vocaloid vids (I really like Kaito's cover of Radioactive, it seems to fit him well. And, all 3 of them are in English):

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