A Decade of Writing for GO INSIDE

Ten years ago I was sitting at the very same desk at which I currently sit, writing an article that I decided to call Pecunia Conundrum due to the fiscal woes I was facing at the time. I certainly would have never guessed that ten years later I would be back at the desk, reflecting on ten years of writing for the excellent Go Inside Magazine. Let us look back now on the last ten years and see how things have progressed to where they are now.

Lot in Life
Ten years ago I was about halfway through getting a degree in Communication from Rutgers University. At the time I was pretty sure that I was going to graduate and either enroll in the School of Library Science or get a job in Advertising or Public Relations. I thought I would certainly do one of these three because that is how I perceived the career path of a Communication major to be.

When I was in high school, a journalist for a local newspaper came and talked to us about journalism. The one thing I distinctly remember her telling us was that if we were interested in writing for a newspaper, we should absolutely not major in journalism — that journalism was a joke major at college and that we would do far better for ourselves if we would major in whatever interested us. The journalism we would learn by being journalists — just like pretty much every major jouralist that had ever written for a newspaper or had contributed to news radio or television. It was 1992, and there was not yet such a thing as journalism “on the web” as the majority of people in the world were not aware of any such thing.

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As the holiday of Passover comes to a close, we prepare ourselves for the service of Yizkor, the four times a year service that is held to remember our departed loved ones. I am reminded of my late grandmothers, but at the same time I am reminded of those that are still living.

Continue reading → Remembrance

Reflections on Russell and Wittgenstein: Changing Oneself and Changing the World

Andreas Saugstad wrote this article.

Two of the most prolific and famous philosophers in the twentieth century were  Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) and Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951). Russell was Wittgenstein’s teacher in Cambridge around 1911. Russell was the leading philosopher in England at that time, and one of the world’s leading thinkers in philosophy of mathematics and logic.

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On Turning 31

It occurred to me early on in the month that I was going to be turning thirty-one. More specifically, it occurred to me on the first day of the month because both my brother and mother called me to wish me a happy birth month. This happens to be a custom that goes back so many years that I don’t remember when it started; either that, or it is so new that I just don’t realize that it only has started within the last few years. Maybe turning thirty-one has done something to my memory.

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Six Years of Reflection on a Dark Day

The day after the worst terrorist attack on United States soil, the country was scattered in thought yet somehow united in spirit. Six years later, can we really say the same thing? Here are some thoughts I have had over the last six years – memories of anniversary after sad anniversary.

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Happy Birthday Granny

It has been nearly four years since my grandmother fell due to a stroke that has caused her to live under supervised care around the clock since then. Despite having difficulties in communicating and sometimes wondering if she fully understanding what I am saying, I could hear in her voice the happiness she felt as I wished her a happy ninety-fifth birthday. It brought back a delightful flood of memories for me.

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Birthday Thoughts

In a mere eight days (half a day away from being 8 1/2, one of the greatest films of all time and in any case on my personal top ten list) I will reach another milestone in my life, turning twenty-seven.

There are ever so many birthday milestones one faces. There’s the traditional bris, which happened a mere eight days after I was born – sixteen days from now, in other words, minus twenty seven years. A big one for me was turning thirteen and having my bar mitzvah. The months and months preparing for it were quite intense, and climaxed with the event itself, wherein my dear friend at the time, Omar R., kept on trying to make me laugh while I was in front of everyone attempting to be quite serious.

The next age of importance, traditionally, is that of eighteen. I remember specifically writing in a journal that I had at the time that it was the age of cigarettes, the military, and porn. I find it quite amusing that there is a way to connect the three. One is old enough to choose the President, but not old enough to choose to have a whiskey and cola mixed drink in a public bar. I commemorated being able to vote in 1996 when I tossed my vote (quite possibly in the literal sense) to Ralph Nader. Had I known his feelings towards Israel, I probably would not have voted for him then and in 2000. How lovely ignorance is.

Speaking of twenty-one, I went to Atlantic City for the occasion of my twenty-first birthday. Every time I would put in the “VIP” card in the slot machine (which they gave to anyone who applied for one at the front desk of the casino) it would wish me a happy birthday. I celebrated my birthday by drinking, smoking, and gambling to the tune of twenty dollars – which I somehow managed to double, two days in a row. That is to say, I would enter the casino with $20 in my wallet and walk out with $40 two days in a row. This was before I was religiously observant, so I took full advantage of the cheap buffet style restaurants. For some reason, one thing I learned from my father that has always stuck in my mind is that at buffet style restaurants, the more expensive food comes at the end of the line. This is how they “get” you – because you stock up on cheap carb heavy foods and don’t get as much of the more expensive meaty foods.

Car rental was next – at the age of twenty-five. I have never rented a car in my life, and as I loathe driving (four years after I wrote this article, I can safely say that I really do hate driving), I hope I never have to. My mother also told me that twenty-five is the age for men at which the metabolism begins to slow down. I responded to this by taking the stairs more often. People would think me strange at the law school where I worked, as I would walk up and down the five flights of stairs on a somewhat regular basis. This has of course carried over to this day, as I have a gym membership that I make good use of.

Now What?
This leaves just one problem – what happens next? What are the big milestones that come after one turns twenty-five? Well, for me, this is one – turning twenty-seven. Actually, the next few years are going to be milestones on their own, as they will be one year closer to the ever-dreaded thirty. I don’t know how long I have been saying it, but I have said for a long time that if I woke up on my thirtieth birthday and I were not married, I would have to have a good long cry. One that would most likely last the whole day through.

There are some things that I am unhappy about, now that I am turning twenty-seven. It seems quite clear that my novel, which I had hoped to finish by the end of the month, will most likely not be finished by the end of the month. It will mark just about three and a half years since I started working on the novel. Granted, there have been many months during which I have not written at all, but this should not be an excuse for me taking so long with this novel. When I had the idea for this series of novels, it was that I would write just about one novel per year, perhaps more if possible. The novels are all going to be connected through the characters. In a way, I was hoping (and still hope) to write the American version of Balzac’s “Human Comedy.” It will be considerably more difficult to do this if it takes me so long to write even one novel. Of course, my employment probably has something to do with this.

The Job Situation
At the present moment, things are not exactly their most ideal in terms of the job situation. I don’t even know if the ideal is realistically possible, being that the ideal would be for me to live in an apartment by myself on Central Park West and to have nothing to do during the day but to write. That would be great. In reality, however, I work about forty hours per week for my own web design company, including much work that has absolutely nothing to do with web design. There is some envelope stuffing to be done as well. I have been toying with the idea of getting a part time position at Starbucks as it would be more affordable than paying for health insurance, and it would involve Starbucks, which I apparently am quite fond of. I got an employer identification number in the mail today, because apparently it is important to have one of these if one wishes to be a Limited Liability Company in good standing with the IRS, or something along those lines. I got to add the word “limited” to my company’s name. Though it hasn’t brought me much business, I have handed out my business card to quite a number of people. Despite all of this, what I really want to do is just to write.

I certainly hope the day will come when writing is all I do – and other creative endeavors as well. How I would love to direct the play I wrote….

There are other things to be considered when one turns twenty-seven. Do I play video games too often for a twenty-seven year old? Is it wrong that I have this many plush animals sitting on my bed? How did I manage to get a subscription to Nintendo Power and the Ayn Rand Newsletter? Have I really written fifty articles for Go Inside Magazine over the last four years? (I have, it seems – not counting Kate, the serial novel experiment.) How curious life is. Only three more years until I hit the big 3-0.