25.9.11

Oktoberfest!

Unfortunately, I was stupid enough to forget my camera, so I do not have awesome pictures from Katy and my adventure to Bear Mountain Oktoberfest! However, it was a very nice time, despite waking up at the butt-crack of dawn. We boarding a "cruise boat" (read: sightseeing ferry) at Pier 83 and headed up the Hudson River at 9am. It was a very enjoyable and mostly peaceful ride with a beautiful scenery of the beginnings of fall colors in New York. After two and half hours on the ferry, we docked at the foot of Bear Mountain and "hiked" up the "trail" to "the top" of the mountain. What really happened was we walked a paved foot path part way up the mountain.

Everyone kept telling us there was this steep trail to march up 15-20 minutes to the very top of the mountain that was almost closed off from being washed away in Friday's torrential rains. In reality there was a paved trail, completely free of debris, that took us 5 minutes to walk up. I do not call this a mountain trail, especially having just really hiked the Appalachian Trail. I kept hearing people say, "What a dirty trail! Look at all this dirt!" in disgusted voices and some women were wearing high heals and designer jeans with their expensive purses! All Katy and I could do was shake our heads in shame at the city folk's  ignorance of what being in nature and enjoying a real Oktoberfest is all about. So sad.

However, the fest itself was wunderbar! A cute little lake park with an ovular roofed stone structure where the polka band played and the beer garden was set up. I had a bratwurst (I had forgotten what a knockwurst was and felt extreme shame and disappointment when I remembered how much more delicious the latter is) with sauerkraut and caramelized onions. Katy had some potato pancakes with apple sauce and sour cream and we shared a classic German potato salad. We each had two of the tremendously tasty Oktoberfest bier brewed from the famous Spaten M√ľnchen brewery. Oh how wonderful to taste the deliciousness of a true German beer!

We viewed some of the vendors set up around the site and I bought a new belt! I'm pretty sure the one I bought at the Army/Navy store for Gezer was snatched up by the Tel Aviv airport authority during my insane search when leaving Israel. So now I have a new replacement. :)

We also made a stunning discovery with some of the traditional German toys: They were selling "football noisemakers" that looked exactly like traditional Purim Graggers! During the Jewish holiday of Purim, Jews use "graggers" to drown out the name of Haman during the reading of the story of Esther. It was pretty crazy. It's always so interesting to me to see the similarities between Jewish/Ashkenazi customs and German customs. Another example is the potato pancake. We were served delicious kartaffelnpuffer (in German) with apple sauce and/or sour cream as a dipping option. Traditionally, latkes (Yiddish) are eaten during Hanukkah with either apple sauce or sour cream. IT'S THE SAME THING! I love seeing similarities between Jewish and non-Jewish customs.

Anyway, after a lovely afternoon of drinking, eating, and listening all things German, Katy and I returned to our abode exhausted and happy. It was a very nice day!

15.9.11

Best. Day. Ever!

Yesterday was the one of the best days I've ever had! It was totally ordinary but it was such a good day!

I woke up and realized I didn't have milk for my coffee, so I went to the corner store to get milk and bagels for Katy and I for breakfast. On my way out, I noticed the package list on our notice board. I saw my last name but thought, what the hell is wrong with my name??? It read: A. H.G. Davis. I knew immediately it was a package from Melissa! Who else would write "Holy Ghost" for my middle name? YAY!!!

Then on my way to class I saw the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She was an older black woman, maybe in her 60s, wearing very natural clothing and the perfect most beautifully groomed and styled afro I have ever seen, made all the more beautiful by the silvery gleam of her curls. I was awed.

In my first class, Maria walked in wearing yellow jeans. I'm going to refer to the color as "maize" because it was literally the nicest yellow I have ever seen. This was made all the more spectacular by the sheer courage Maria had to wear brightly colored pants. I was overwhelmed by the color and her courage. Amazing.

On my way to my second class, I saw the second most beautiful woman in the world: again an older black woman (again probably in her 60s) wearing lose-fitting clothing. Her beautiful silver hair was cropped close and she had a cloth band wrapped around her hairline. I have now decided older black women with silver hair are the most beautiful women in the world.

My archaeology class made me realize how thoroughly lacking in anthropological/archaeological theory I am, yet I am very excited (ravenous, really) to learn more.

I returned back to the room to the glorious smell of homemade honey-wheat bread baking away in our bread-maker. Delicious. It made my tummy rumble.

Also, I've been approved for my extra loan and it looks like it will actually be made available to me next week and not in 4 weeks like I was thinking it would. I should double check on that though...

Dinner turned out to super delicious, too. I cooked up brown rice and lentils and mixed in some onion, green onion, green peppers, carrots (yes, I ate cooked carrots!), garlic, and a little bit of spicy seasonings, chili pepper, curry powder, paprika, and ground cloves. It smelled delicious AND tasted delicious! I was super proud of myself. I made it just in time for Rachel and Katy to get home from a short run!

Like I said, really a very ordinary day made extraordinary simply by being aware of myself and my surroundings.

9.9.11

End of the First Week!

Classes are going to be awesome this year!

Wednesday I had my Psalms and Archaeology classes. Psalms is going to be great, studying the various theologies therein and the hidden, edited or removed theologies of the popular religion, as opposed to the official religion, of the ordinary people (such as an extensive angelology - a hierarchy of angels and heavenly beings surrounding God). ooooo!

The archaeology class is called Social Production of Technologies, looking at what exactly is "technology"; how do our bodies relate to the technologies we create? We're covering an enormous breadth of time and space, looking at prehistoric civilizations and beginnings of animal husbandry and agriculture; moving to the Mediterranean with the Greeks and Romans; the Middle East and The Book; the Scientific Revolution and Western Industrialization; and finally ending with modern "technology", and how gender studies affects how we understand space and technology. Super awesome! I'm so excited to get back into archaeological/anthropological theory! There were so many people in the class (almost 40!) that the prof was saying he'd have to give preferential treatment to MA and PhD students in socio-cultural anthropology and archaeology. I was afraid I didn't fit those categories, as I am technically a Bible student, but I talked with him after class and he was very excited to have me in the class. Yay!

Yesterday I had my Akkadian class! We're going to cover the entire Law Code of Hammurabi! I can already recite the first three words! Shu-ma a-wi-lum a-wi-lam... "If a man [accuses] a man..." I added "accuses" even though it's not a part of the first three words because otherwise it wouldn't make sense to you all reading. However, that is the verb in the first half of the sentence. I just don't know the word for it yet. Dr. Marcus is so fun. He was saying how very soon we would all be a part of an elite group of scholars who can stand up and recite the first law code to each other; that if he called us at 3am, we'd be able to recite it in our sleep. haha. I am so pumped to be able to read the cuneiform! There is a massive list of the signs sitting right in front of me as I speak - and they're just the simple signs! The course continues with a second half next semester where we will read the annals of Sennacherib and the Descent of Ishtar! 

As of yet, I cannot tell whether Akkadian or the archaeology class will be my favorite. By mid-terms, I might be saying Akkadian, if only because it will be significantly less work. haha.

6.9.11

Class Update!

Classes went very well today! Hebrew started off a little rocky. It's been a while since I've been in an all-Hebrew environment, so I wasn't ready for the mind-set. Also, the prof has a really thick accent, nothing at all like Nadav's (former Israeli prof), so she was a little difficult to understand at first. By the end of class I was back on track!

Masorah was AMAZING. I arrive to the room to find facsimiles of the Leningrad Codex, Aleppo Codex and Cairo Codex of the Prophets. AWESOME! Oh man, I was nearly in heaven. It was a great day. Also, Dr. Marcus is just one of the greatest professors ever. I love having him as my advisor.

Tomorrow is my archaeology class at Columbia, "Social Productions of Technology"!! I'm nervous about taking a class at Columbia but I'm so excited to get into some serious archaeological study again. I also have a class on the theology of the Book of Psalms tomorrow. My biblical poetry is poor at best, so I'm hoping to beef it up with this class and the phantasmal knowledge collection that is Dr. Geller.

Still longing for my most looked-forward class: Akkadian!

I hope I'm not overloaded this semester!

5.9.11

First Day of Classes!

Yay! First day of classes tomorrow! I start off first thing in the morning with Modern Hebrew and then a lat afternoon class, "An Introduction to the Masorah". In a simple explanation, "Masorah" refers to the little symbols and cryptic notes that were written into the margins of the biblical scrolls as they were copied through the centuries. I'm going to the learn what they are!

Unfortunately I must wait until my class section on Thursday to have my first lesson for the class I am most excited about: Akkadian! I can't wait!!