Monday, October 28, 2013

Parsha Project 0: In the beginning.


Hello oh Internets,
A few things about me and what I hope to do here.
Firstly, my name is Yonatan and I live in the Bay Area.
I did not grow up as a particularly practicing Jew though my family did have a sit down Shabbat meal every week growing up at which we would like the candles and say the bracha over the candles. Other than that, we went to a Reconstructionist congregation for High Holy Days had a large Hanukkah party every year, and have a Seder with friends for Pesach. 
In college, due my colleges’ lack of any interest in the concerns of Jews on campus to a speech by a virulently anti-Semitic speaker in an event sponsored by a student group, I founded a Jewish Student Union on campus. It is still over a decade later and the tree that we planted for Tu B'Shevat in ’03 is still on campus After that, I started to get involved in Hillel, but still not that religious. 

When I transferred to a school in SoCal, my little sister gave me a copy of the Tanakh that I will be using for this project. It is a copy of the 1999 edition of the JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh

While down in SoCal, I got much more involved in the more religious side of things, thanks to a more religiously involved Hillel and a wonderful Hillel Rabbi.  Plus I read a fascinating book by Thomas Cahill called “The Gifts of the Jews” which postulates that the thing that Judaism added to western civilization was the ideas of a conscience and of a divine being that could be communicated with in a more personal rather than organizational manner. After college, I was part of multiple independent minyanim and attended a weekly lay led and organized Torah Study class for two years.

I also really like a quote from Richard Joel, the former President of Hillel and former President of Yeshiva University. 

“Judaism is not a Religion. Judaism is the religious culture of a people.”

I tend to view the Torah (and the Tanakh in general) as an, at times, historicalish text that is telling the “history” of a people and of their understanding of the world around them.  It is a very different world from the one we lived in, with different understandings of how the world works and about the interconnectedness of all things. I also find it important to understand that, because the people who helped to write down the text as we currently have it and those who lived it, we from a long time ago in a very different situation, that while we can criticize them from the existence of certain things (the blithering sexism of the Eve story) , they did not have our post enlightenment philosophical society and so, it is useful, as John Green of the Crash Course History videos says, to give the people who wrote this the benefit of the doubt that they may actually have believed this. Thus you can concentrate more on why they believe this and not worry about how they could be such idiots to even think these things.

Also, I am not of the opinion that the text we have is the “direct word of G_d” or that all of the words are exactly what they have always been. Much like the Iliad, the epic of Gilgamesh and other such tales, this was all an oral tradition until many years later (probably during the Babylonian exile.)  Thus, not only should we endeavor to understand what the people living this we thinking, but what the people who copied the text down were thinking, and what edits they might have made to send a message to the people who would be reading this at the time. 

So that is me. Hope you enjoy (and that I can actually finish this)


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Testing new software and shifting into a new life

The first thing to test is how well this works posting from my phone. Hopefully it will work. If so, yay!

Other fun news for anyone that is actually reading this. I finally got a job! After years of doing nothing but temp work, switching from job to job, and from state to state, I finally have a position that is full time, salaried, with benefits. It is about a 35 min commute, so not so bad.

The group I help to run is finally starting to get back on track and I am branching out and actually having a social life outside of the group. So yay part 3!

Hopefully, if I play my cards right I will get to move out in the new year and get to be free of dept in 2.

Wish me luck


Thursday, December 13, 2012

I review comics!!!

Recently all that seems to be coming out of the Comics Blog-sphere has been gossip, complaints and people pondering big questions. But almost no one is reviewing comics anymore. So let me begin to review the comics i read again.
A couple of notes before i begin. 

  • All of the comics that I buy in the singles are purchased digitally and read on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
  • After reading some comics when i was growing up (Lobdel era X-Men, old Flash comics, Sandman, ect) I got into reading comics monthly with Kevin Smith on Green Arrow, which was rapidly followed by Waid's JLA, and then the Post No Man's Land era of the Batbooks. So when people talk about how everything is changing and how much they hate it, i really have no idea what they are talking about. The first major arc i got into was Officer Down where Commissioner Gordon is replaced by Commissioner Akins and I was good with that. I have heard nothing but complaining for over a decade about "how much better things used to be."  I heard constant bitching about how much better Pre-Crisis Huntress was then Post-Crisis. Now she is back after being gone since i was 4 and there is more bitching. It is really frustrating.

Anyway, onto the reviews
Comics Purchased 12/12/12

Superboy 15 by Tom Defalco and Roger Robinson, Ron Frenz, Iban Coello, Amilcar Pinna

Part 3 of H'El on Earth
Not the greatest issue of them all, but one that keeps the basic plot of H'El on Earth going along. I am wondering how much of this plot has been brewing since the beginning of the New 52, because this really seems to be reaching the climax of the introduction of Superboy that has been slowly building over the last, well,15 issues.It will be very interesting to go back and reread all of the title once H'El on Earth is finished so that i can absorb the story as a whole, something that i can blessedly do now that I get everything on digital. We are also seeing a much more confident Superman than we have in many years, the credit for which i will lay at Lobdel, a writer who everyone rags on until one remembers that for all of its artistic excesses early on, 90s X-Men was Scott Lobdel. The man writes damn good comics and always has. Also, it is very good to see more Roger Robinson art. He did one of my all time favorite runs from when i started reading comics (Devin Grayson's Gotham Knghts.) His art here is a lot looser, probably because of the Ron Frenz breakdowns, but  still quality. Though he is looking much more like Tom Mandrake than he normally does. As a side note, if you ever get the chance to read the run of The Spectre that Mandrake did with John Ostander back in the early 90s, do. It is wonderful and a key part of the Ostander/DeMatis sector of the DCU that was so amazing at the time. 

out of 5

Star Trek 12-14 by Mike Johnson, Claudia Balboni, Stehen Molnar

Getting caught slightly up on a series that I had let rest for a few months. It is a series that I enjoy, but is not worth the $3.99 to get it Day&Date.
For a licenced property, it has good art that looks enough like the actors to be recognizable but not so much like that it looks like tracing. Issue 12 ends the two part Tribble story that began in issue 11 and features the return of Archer's beagle. Issue 13 is a story about that big Security guy who like to call Kirk cupcake in the movie. Issue 14 is about that green guy that was hanging out with Scotty.  All in all, good books.

Transformers: Robots in Disguise 12 by Joh Barber and Casey Coller and Andrew Griffith
Transformers Spotlight: Orion Pax by James Robets and Steve Kurth and Livio Ramondelli

Staying on licenced books, we arrive at my favorite on going series (yes spotlight is a one shot but it is by the writer of the other Transformers series and is basically a continuation of the last arc on More than Meets the Eye.)
I was never a huge Transformers fan growing up. I had the requisite Optimus Prime, but i don't think i have watched more than the cartoon movie and the first 2 Michael Bay movies. I started reading both of the series with the launches of Robots in Disguise and More than Meets the Eye last January. The basic plot of the series. The War between Autobots and Deceptacons is over. Megatron is dead and Optinus Prime has left, realizing that he is too big a distraction. In Robots in Disguise, Bumblebee is in control of Cybertron, trying to lead the post war government. It is a very political book, but machinations, assassinations and  the fate of a species on the line. More than Meets the Eye is a hilarious book in which Rodiumus get board and decides to go on an adventure. He gathers 20-30 mostly Autobots and other Cybertronians including one who was stuck down a hole for 3 million years and thus knows nothing about the war. It is the easiest to get in to as it tends to explain more and, more importantly tends to be absolutely hilarious. This Spotlight follows on an arc that dealt with a the crew of Rodimus' ship sitting around telling tales of the days before the war and especially of Orion Pax, the noble cop who would one day become Optimus Prime. Characters who we know and love wonder in and out and you get insight into how these characters are today. I cannot recommend these title enough. The trades of both came out a couple of months ago. I would recommed going with More than Meets the Eye first as it a) is a better book b) is hilarious and c) includes the issue that sets up the status quo for both books
Get it here.

Green Lantern Corps 15 by Pete Tomasi and Fernando Pasarin. 
I have been off of Green Lantern Corps for many months and just jumped back on for Rise of the Third Army. While I do love Tomasis writing and appreciate Pasarins art, there is a spark missing from the title that was here when Patrick Gleeson was writing it. Continues the Rise of the Third Army. OK.

Batman and Robin 15 by Pete Tomasi and Patrick Gleeson. 
Dear Patrick Gleeson, while the shot that Greg Capullo did looking through the eyes of a skull in issue 1 of Batman was amazing, that does not give you licence to do one of those looking through the eye holes of the Jokers face/mask. That was creepy as all fuck. Other than that, you continue to be one of the best artists working in comics today.
Also, the rest of the issue was also really good, it has been disappointing that Batmand and Robin had not jumped into Death in the Family till now, but now it is, and all is good in the universe

Demon Knights 15 by Paul Cornell and Bernard Chang
This title has been lovely and is another one that i will need to go and reread as a whole now that Cornell is leaving to write for Marvel. Great characters, with almost one of the most diverse casts in comics. Plus it is one of the foundation titles for understanding the current DCU. Plus any lines like "Lucifer fighting King Arthur?! Vandal Savage really should join in. You know, just to please the historians" give it high marks in my book.

Batgirl 15 by Gail Simone and Daniel Sampere.
First things first, this issue is nicely creepy and has soon good action beats, but even that is now enough. Batgirl has been a bit of a disappointing book, due to two factors. Firstly, the book has yet to get an artist that really suits it. No matter how much Simone might like the Ed Bennes stlye, I really don't and find it all a bit to plasticy. Secondly, I have never been that big of a fan of Simones writing. I enjoy bits and pieces of her work, but she has never really clicked for me. I did mostly enjoy her Birds of Prey and Secret 6 and parts of her Deadpool, but her Action Comics run (which may have been due to John Byrne), Wonder Woman and now Batgirl have not done it for me.

Batman 15 by Scott Synder and Greg Capullo
More than any other single factor, the thing that I love about Snyder's Batman run is that it hold up on and issue by issue level and a run wide level. I don't know if I really agree with Bruce's approach to the joker card, but i am sure it will click more during the reread. The issue also has one of my favorite Bat tropes. Batman needs some information from someone, so he shows up at their house (crashing through their window and landing on the dining room table with the entire family is having diner) and has a talk with the suspect. No punches, very little property damage (one window.) Just a pissed off Batman in need of information who need only look at someone to get them to talk. Cowardly and Superstitious lot indeed. Really looking forward to the Riddler story that is teased in the backup.

Comics not yet read as of publication
Bandette 3 by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover
Defend Comics (the CBLDF book)
Legion Lost 15 by Tom Defalco and Pete Woods and Ronan Cliquet
(the spark seems to be missing in the Legion books. I am on this one till the book is canceled)

Monday, January 12, 2009



---awesome mobile update works

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The life of Yonatan: Spring Edition (Part 2)

So when I left off the story, I was glad to have a week break and get a chance to get my head in order. I spent most of the time watching Law and Order and relaxing, knowing that I would soon get a phone call about a new assignment.

Unfortunately, the call never came. It has now been over a month since I have had any assignment that lasted more than a few hours, and I had only two of those.

So what have I been doing?

Sitting in Columbia Heights Coffee, my neighborhoods amazing coffee shop, drinking massive amounts of Tea and applying to jobs.

In the last month I have gone to interviews at 3 staffing agencies, none of which have gotten back to me, and had a couple interviews.

In fact one of the companies that I have interviewed with: The Democratic Campaign Management Program, has just offered me a job. I am not sure how I feel about it as it would mean leaving DC and going somewhere else in the country. It would be another leap of faith in my life, but it would probably be great for my career. So we shall see.

If anyone reading this has heard of them, please pass me any inside info that you might have.

So that is what I have been up to recently...

I am heading back home of Pesach which will be really nice, and will soon be making a decision.

I will get back into normal blogging soon...I promise