Friday, November 14, 2008

cooking food for two
cleaning, shaving, dressing up
L'Kavod Shabbos

Still considering my options - whether to satrt completely anew, or what. I may just reformat the page, and change the title...

Good shabbos everyone!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Two weeks notice...

Well, it's been absolutely crazy since I got engaged. The wedding's just around the corner (not soon enough, if you ask me), and I'm in the Holy Land for Pesach. I miss her terribly, but ultimately these few weeks of being apart will be good in the long run...

Or so they say.

Anyway, a lot of you have probably seen this coming, and even if you haven't, I can't imagine that you'd be all that surprised. After careful consideration and deliberating, and finally, discussion with my lovely intended, I will no longer post on this blog.

There's an old adage that "all good things must come to an end", and while I believe that Ziontrain is a good thing, it doesn't represent the potential that a married man can accomplish, as opposed to that of a single boy.

Ziontrain was quite the undertaking for me, on a myriad of levels. While it started of as a random blog, chock full of miscellaneous writings, etc., I like to think that for the past two years, there's been more of a focusing.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the feedback of my readers. All of you - whether you were casual readers, those who had stumbled on the blog only once or twice, or regular fans - your comments, criticisms, encouragement and insights all contributed to the refining (and defining) and direction of my writing style, and to a degree, my outlook and hashkafah on life. No words can ever truly express my gratitude. I thank you all, and I will sorely miss all of you.

Is this it? Is jewmaican20 done for? What will be?

Good question. I haven't decided in what forum I'll continue to write in, but make no mistake: I will continue to write. Thankfully, there are many different options out there; who knows? Maybe I'll actually get paid, even!

In the meantime, I'm still a member on Kindness Happens, and when the matter arises, I'll continue to post there...

My address is still open, so feel free to continue contacting me for whatever reasons...

And, don't forget: Love Is The Motive...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

And it's official!

I'm engaged!

Thank God, she's everything I've hoped for, prayed for, waited for...and then some!

So much to do already, but it seems like I just have to show up and recite my lines...

Things are only gonna get busier!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


The other day, she and I went to the Bodies exhibittion in New York City. For those of you not familiar with the exhibit, Bodies illustrates how the human body - the musculature system, the skeletal system, the pulmonary, respiratory, et al. - works in an unusual yet innovative fashion: they use real cadavers.

All the bodies are Asian, and from what I understand, they were all executees.

The exhibit can take anywhere from one hour and on to go through, and we had an amazing time. Actual bodies are shown, the flesh peeled away, and - depending on what they are trying to point out - cross sectioned. In order to show the veins and arteries, for example, they inject them with a sort of latex material that solidifies once the veins are full, then take away everything else, leaving just the circulatory system standing alone.

It truly is amazing, and we had a blast.

For the record, I got the idea from her. She had been there as a requirement from school, and was fascinated with the display, and was more than willing to go again. At the end of the exhibit, near the exit, they have real preserved organs that patrons can touch.

Naturally, I hefted the human brain, and made a quip of "enjoying some nice Chianti." The guy behind the desk got it, and we shared a laugh. My date didn't get it, but didn't seem to mind, either.

Anyway, we had a very good time at the exhibit, but after I spoke with my father, I got to thinking...

My father thought that it might have been inappropriate to go to the exhibit, because of Nivul haMes (basically, desecrating the dead). To be honest, I hadn't really considered it - I thought about it briefly, but decided that since the bodies are most likely not Jewish, it's probably not an issue. However, my dad countered, we don't know for sure whether or not it applies to just Jews, or even gentiles, because we know that everything is created B'Tzelem Elokim (literally, in God's image). Thus, it's possible that the Bodies exhibit may not in fact be the best place for a nice Jewish boy to take a girl, let alone go himself.

After we hung up, I started thinking of the amazing dichtomy I was presented: on the one hand, we have this potential issue of doing something inappropriate, if not downright wrong. However, on the other hand, I can honestly say that this exhibit deepened my appreciation for the way God created us.

How often do we encounter such situations? We can rationalize everything, make it into something that we can channel towards service of God, but where is the line? At what point do we need to determine what is right, and good for us, and what isn't? I'm aware of this particular issue, but it was definitley raised again last week after the exhibit, and it lent towards some good thinking...

Any thoughts?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The plot thickens...

Well, our fourth installment was today.

I picked her up at 2 in the afternoon, and had her back at a quarter to twelve. A whopping nine and three-quarter hours, and I must say that I'm exhausted.

The thing is, I can't sleep.

While our comfort around each other is growing (or at least, I think it is), after each subsequent date my fear of rejection intensifies that much more.

I start analyzing everything. I can't determine how much of myself to let her see, can't tell what the balance is between too much information and not enough. On the one hand, I want to share me, in all my me-ness. On the other hand, I'm afraid it will scare her away if it's too much too soon. She's so normal (that being a relative term, of course).

I'm staying honest about myself, open. I won't hide who I am and what makes me myself. I've never done it before, and I won't do it now. I'm not embarassed. But how do I get to that point where it can happen without it blowing up in my face?

Thursday, January 31, 2008


I've never felt like this before...

I don't want to get ahead of myself, and I don't want to get my hopes up, either. Still, I'm dating this girl right now (our second date was over only a few hours ago), and it seems different.

I like this girl. I'm not smitten, but I actually like her. Other girls, I might have been curious, might have wanted to get to know them better, but I can't say I really liked them. I didn't have any reason to say no, so I would continue and see where it took me. Somehow - and I can't describe it - this isn't the same.

How is it different? Well, one reason is that even though we don't have many things in common, it's not a deterrent. We don't share similar interests, et al, and that doesn't bother me.

And the newest sensation? I'm worried she may not agree to see me again, and I want to see where this goes.

I don't know what to do with myself...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Back to square one...

Well, I had a date last night.

It sort of snuck up on me; I knew that there was a possibilty that I would have a date with this particular girl, but I thought it would be next week. Instead, I got a call from my mother near midnight on Tuesday, telling me to be ready by Wednesday.

I don't want to sound like a nut, but I like having ample time to prepare for a date - certainly a first date - and having to do a million different things in order to ensure my readiness the day of the date itself?

It could be a recipe for disaster...

Take yesterday, for instance.

My car reeks like smoke. I don't mind the smell, so when the weather is particularily cold, I let guys sit in there and smoke. Now, usually, I have a few days in advance to make my car off limits, and I don't smoke in there either. Couple that with driving around with the windows open and a new air freshener, and the problem is solved. However, since I only found out a mere twenty hours or so before the date, and the fact that cold weather seems to make smells stay longer, I was at a loss for what to do.

Luckily, Karma Dude came to my aid. Apparently, some guy at a car rental agency once told him how to get rid of smoke smell in a car - when you're in a rush, and need something effective: Coffee. If you take any kind of coffee (even the freeze dried Sanka garbage), sprinkle it on the floor, and let it sit overnight, you're guaranteed to get rid of the car smoke smell. Karma Dude said that a quarter of a cup of plain dried coffee would do the trick; I wasn't taking chances, so I used a whole cup, liberally sprinbkled throughout the car.

The next day, I get in my car to go to Shacharis, and I take a deep breath. The place smelled like a freaking Starbucks. The smell of coffee was so overpowering, I got a caffeine jolt via inhalation.

I had to drive around with the windows open anyway, just to get rid of the coffee!

Fast forward to the date. After running around picking up my suit and shirts, shaving, getting a haircut, making myself spiffy, figuring out where to take her and trekking to where the girl lives, I am ready. I am Zen, I'm chilled, nothing can break my stride.

I charm her folks, and we skip out the door. I open her door for her, then go around to my side of the car. I first open the backseat door to place my hat on the back bench. As I do this I make small talk, and lean in to the car to adjust the hat so it doesn't get ruined or whatever, and slam the door shut. I thought I had enough clearance when I shut the door, but I guess not, because the edge of the door slammed me in the side of my nose. Hard. There was an audible crack - so loud, in fact, that I thought I had knocked my glasses off, but it was my nose, actually.

There's blood pooling in my hand. Not too much, but it's there. The girl's sitting in the car, oblivious to the going on's no 3 feet from her outside the car. I'm in agony; my eyes are teary and I want to scream. Trying to cover, I ball up a tiny piece of tissue and stick it up there, hoping to staunch the flow. I can't see my face in the window, I don't know if there're any cuts, and I don't want to let on what just happened.

I think I recovered nicely. I played it cool, and was very ginger with my nose. I eventually told her what happened, because she saw the little cut on my left nostril and asked.

Karma Dude taped me up after the date; it's not broken, but it still hurts, and I can't breathe without the tape.

And after all that? She said no to a second round. Go figure...

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I haven't been posting very often recently.

I've been working on a new story, and that's really been taking up the brunt of my free time, so please bear with me.

Keep checking in for more posts, though...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Saga (Or, the Never Ending Story)

I hold this ancient book in my hands
its contents, I don't know
does it hold secrets, not to understand
when I open it, it glows

The pages, brittle as they turn
tell stories from old time
of questions, their answers men yearn
to know of reason and rhyme

Stories of love, tales of loss
and bloody wars once fought
fables of hope, myths of despair
good intentions that were for naught

Restless wanderers, forever to roam
family banned from place
mysterious mentions, in this sacred tome
of the ephemeral space

Prestigous generations, and legacies
of men, both wealthy and wise
upon them tragedies and travesties
yet once again, they rise.

Just dug this up from the archives. Usually I go through my old writings on my birthday. I found this, and it got me thinking...

How do we connect with our brethren? How do we make them see that our Book, our Torah, isn't just a book? Not some old, outdated story, but rather, a living breathing EPIC? I'm always looking for fresh ideas...