Hamantaschen (noun): Jelly or chocolate filled, triangular shaped cookies that crop up around this time of year, and are obviously the superior holiday cookie. As a certified cookie expert (a.k.a. a product of the elusive freshman fifteen), I can assure you that cookies come in all shapes and sizes, and many are very similar. However,chocolate chip cookies, gingerbread and snickerdoodles all pale in comparison to hamantaschen. In early spring, there’s the Jewish holiday of Purim, celebrating the Jews triumph over a mass genocide. In addition to having a celebratory feast, we’ve also narrowed in on the triangular shaped cookie market.
I had a pretty normal childhood. I never learned to swim or ride a bike or throw a curveball (okay maybe I didn’t have a totally normal childhood), but I did pretty much everything else and remember almost always having a good time. I had my close circle of friends from school and around the neighborhood, my family was supportive and I was too young to realize I was ugly. Life was good. Among the many fun parts of my childhood, such as racing Razor scooters playing and driveway basketball, very few compare to staying inside on my family computer messaging friends I lived next door to.
It’s been a long, strange year for Weiss-A-Roni. The fact that I even started this column at all was a fluke, beginning with a series of horrible, painful mistakes that one could either pinpoint to when I started editorial compet at the Sun, my unfortunate agreement to accept admission at Cornell University or the moment that the sperm and the egg came together to form what would turn out to be the fetus and later baby Weiss-A-Roni. There are any number of potential starting points for this series of rants you’ve been dutifully reading for the past year. Let’s explore.
Embarking on my potentially final freedom summer (if you will) of life, unless I become a teacher, (which seems unlikely considering the criminal record I plan to accrue), I have begun to reflect upon the parallel time of my life. This post-college summer may or may not mirror the summer of 2005, right after I was finally unshackled from the emotional and physical fetters of boarding school and let loose with my middle school homeslices in NorCal, where the possibilities seemed endless and life seemed like it was really getting into gear …
It was all the simple things back then: Just me, my friends and a giant cup.
I was but 11 years young that night when five wholesome hooligans first sung and danced their way into my heart, or when I first saw the Disney Channel special where ’N Sync performed at Disney World. I was immediately enchanted, and when my mom took me to Target the next day to buy some socks to send me in future care packages at camp or boarding school, I made her buy me the tape of ’N Sync’s eponymous album. She protested, mostly because people didn’t buy tapes by the year 1998, but I came out of the store victorious, anachronistic audiocassette in toe-thumbed hand.
Every summer my parents sent us to summer camp in Bumfuck, CA, in the central valley. No man’s land, if you will, where a crisp 104 degrees is just how the malaria-carrying insects like it. I would write home every day in the stationery they gave me to plead with them to bring me home. When that didn’t work, they certainly regretted giving me my grandparents’ addresses. My nearly-90 year old grandfather barged into their living room one Saturday in early July demanding to know why they sent me to a place where they made me eat spiders.
The first time I came home the 3,000 miles from boarding school for Thanksgiving in 2001, I couldn’t hold in my glee. My mom parents drove me straight to In-N-Out Burger, then one of my best friends surprised me in my living room with several movies and an impromptu sleepover. I missed her so much and I couldn’t wait to duke it out with pillows at the jammie jam while we gossiped about old flames and Justin Timberlake. It was such a relief to be home and out of the grind. Everything was looking up.
And then our family’s dishwasher exploded.
When I told my friends that I was going to go see Coraline over the weekend, most of them either had no idea what I was talking about — “What’s a Coraline?” — or were prepared to ridicule me for my affinity for animated films — “Isn’t that a kid movie?” And while the film is indeed an animated feature that primarily caters to the young at heart, this is a film that transcends all age barriers, as Coraline is an enchanting picture distinguished by its unique amalgamation of youthful spirit and whimsical charm. Characterized by its eye-popping visuals and mystical story line, this is a tightly-focused movie that keeps you engaged throughout.