Wine, Cheesecake and Winter Break


Today, my wife and I had a relaxing dinner at home followed by cheesecake and wine. The cheesecake is from Veniero’s Italian Pasticceria downtown on 11th Street and 1st Ave. The place is pretty famous and attracts a lot of tourists. It’s been there since 1874 and it lives up to its reputation. We used to eat at there all the time when we lived downtown. Maybe it’s a good thing we’re not close by anymore, though. It’s hard to meet fitness goals with this big a temptation right around the corner. I could eat their desserts every day!

A week ago, I was rushing to finish a paper at the last minute for a class I had this past Fall semester. I was rushing, doing classwork up until the last minute. No matter how often I tell myself I’m not going to get bogged down by class-work during the last week or two of the semester, it never works.

Oddly enough, now that I should have time to relax, I’m even busier than I was during the semester. I’ve been out all day, every day, trying to take care of errands and chores that I’ve been putting off for four months so I could focus on school. It’s a lot to get done, but it’s getting there. I have new glasses and I’ve done some much needed shopping. I still need to get some winter boots.


One of the things I’m most excited about is that I have time to go back to the gym now. I’m hoping that’s a trend that will last into next year and next semester. I’m taking it easy for now, and trying to build up my distance walking first. I kinda miss when I was running 6 miles in an hour.

Anyway, I’m hoping my rushing around now pays off and I get to spend at least two weeks just sitting around doing nothing (except going to the gym) before I start preparing for next semester.

I’ll still be an officer in the CCNY History Society, but I’ll be taking it easy, relatively. Last semester I took Arabic 3, Hebrew 1, Jesus the Jew, a graduate Historiography & Historical Methods, and an Independent Study. In the Spring, I’ll only be taking four courses: Hebrew 2, Sacred Objects, Art of Jerusalem, and a graduate history course on the Arab-Israeli Conflict. They all sort of tie into each other, and I’ll be spending a week in Jerusalem as part of my course of study, so it should be a very cool and very fun four months.

New Semester, New Books

A stack of some of my college books for Fall Semester.

Fall Semester started yesterday.  I didn’t have much of a break, since I took courses over the Summer, but two and a half weeks off seemed long enough to me.  I spent most of that time rotting my brain with video games.  I haven’t sat around playing video games for hours on end in years and it was great!  Besides a game called Vindictus (by Nexon) that I’ve been playing casually since around March, I started using ‘Steam’ (My Profile) and played Team Fortress 2, Left For Dead 2, and Borderlands, among others.  Hopefully I’ll still have a little time to hack up zombies and make bandits’ heads explode with a shotgun, but considering how thick some of the books are, I’m glad I have one of those nifty book lights that clips on, because I foresee a lot of late night reading.

Some good news is, I finally decided what I want to do and declared my major as History.  I still have to figure out what particular area of history I want to focus on, though I’m leaning towards Islamic or Medieval History.  I’m also considering doing a double major since a history major only requires 11 courses (33 credit hours) out of the total of 120 credit hours required to get a BA. 

This semester I’m going to be taking two history courses that will count towards my major:  Middle East Under Islam and Traditional Civilizations of India.  The books in the picture above are for those two courses.

I’m also taking a 6 credit course involving English and Writing.  It’s called ‘Our City’ and focuses on literary perspectives on New York City.  I live here, so why not?  It might help me discover some of the history behind New York City.  Also, it fills a requirement.  I’d rather have taken a course that covers dystopian literature, but it wasn’t available and I want to get that requirement out of the way.

I also wanted to mention that Hurricane Irene is affecting the school systems here in NYC, obviously.  I got an SMS, an email and three phone calls from the CUNY alert system letting me know that CCNY will be closed today, tomorrow, and possibly Monday.  I don’t really care that the school is closed today or tomorrow.  In fact, it might not even be bad if it’s closed on Monday, since the first day of a class is usually a ‘get to know each other’ kind of thing.

Hurricane Irene has New Yorkers panicking.  By now, all mass transit will have shut down, including the airports and Amtrak.  There are mandatory evacuation zones and they may even cut power to prevent the power grid from being annihilated by salt water inundation.  I also looked at a map and discovered that the block my apartment building is on is just inside an evacuation zone.  The evacuation zone area cuts inland only for my block.  I don’t know how to feel about that, but if the block south of me and the one north of me aren’t in an evacuation zone, then WTF?  I can see them from the window and could hit them if I threw a stone.  They’re also on the same level as this building, altitude-wise.  I think I’ll stay put.