Recursion

Jul. 26th, 2013 05:45 pm
cremains: (Default)
Last night, I heard Hisda start to fuss, and so I picked him up from the crib (which is right beside me) and began to nurse him. Then suddenly I heard crying -- from the crib. I woke up and realised that my entire reaction had been a dream.

I dreamt that an ex-boyfriend, who in reality is extremely anti-religious, had a change of heart and called me to help him prepare festive meal for the tree holiday. I went over to help him cook and saw underdone eggs sitting in a pot. I turned on the burner. A few minutes later, the pot was foaming and spitting up scum. He came and shouted, "Now I lost all those eggs!" I said, "Calm down, I'll buy you a new carton." "It took my five hours to boil those eggs!" I said, "If it took you five hours, you were doing something very wrong anyway." He continued to be furious. As he shouted, I looked around his kitchen and saw it hadn't been kashered properly anyway, so I left.

Later in the dream I ran into a woman with no basis in reality, who told me that the Sanhedrin coerced confessions from people in order to put them to death. I told her that this was impossible, since confessions are never admissable evidence under Jewish law, even in the best circumstances (true). She thought this was interesting and took me to show me something in a second-hand bookstore. "It's in here," she said, opening a little iron door, which looked a little like a wood oven door. I woke up.

***

Today I wrote a mezuzah requested by someone who wanted to give it (along with an appropriate box) as a wedding present. In order to fit the box, I wrote it on smaller parchment than I am used to:



Now that I look at it, it isn't very small at all, but it felt like it at the time. I have to get used to writing well at smaller and smaller sizes if I am going to write good tefilin (which I very much would like to do). A big picture of the mezuzah scaled on Torah writing instead of my hand is here. Some disappointments include lack of neatness in a few lines and a crunched lamedh, but the writing is still better than many mezuzoth I have seen (unfortunately).
cremains: (always rain)
So, I finished writing and correcting Shir HaShirim; tomorrow I'll be able to sew it up. It's written on gewil, which is not really parchment but the whole skin of the animal, like moccasin material. Gewil is beautiful to write on, soft and smooth, but truly hideous for dealing with any mistakes. You can write with 99% accuracy, but that 1% of the time when you miswrite it will basically definitely look like ass, no matter how you fix it. Often you can get a "decent" erasure by wetting a cloth and rubbing at it carefully but hard; however, this still leaves a smudge and often the letters come out thicker and less elegant on the erased surface, like so:



The Talmud assumes and indeed urges that most writing will be done on gewil rather than parchment (which dominates ritual writing today, especially in the Ashkenazi world), and accordingly favours non-erasure-based error correction, such as allowing one or two letters to hang off the edge of the margin (as opposed to demanding perfect justification). If you forgot words, Talmudic halakhah tells you just to write them small above where you need them, rather than trying to erase and jam in. Like so:



However, strangely and happily, a lot of this scroll was done without any mistake (probably due to heightened attention caused by fear). Below the cut is an excerpt.

מה דודך מדוד )
cremains: (Spock)


Slang warning on the Avenyn (major street near where I live). "Slang" means hose or pipe (it had been placed over the sidewalk as part of some construction work) and is seemingly related to shlong.



Sign in an elevator. I thought Israel had the most gruesome warning signs, but no.



First few lines of Shir HaShirim written on גויל.
cremains: (Default)
spent a few more minutes trying to make this picture not quite as slacker:



some of last week's writing:



Eliezer is a much more interesting and complicated figure than I remembered (he also speaks much more).

Tonight my Ryoga-esque ability to get lost resulted in a spooky walk by Gothenburg's dark and foggy harbour, illuminated here and there by giant white ships with strings of lights. One ship had a plank lowered to the publically-accessible walkway and there was music playing, although I couldn't hear voices and nobody seemed to be walking around either on the pier or the ship. If life was a video game, it would call for investigation, but in real life I'm much too afraid of misdemeanor charges. Too bad HP Lovecraft wasn't there to get overly weirded-out with me.
cremains: (Spock)
Life continues to degrade in ways predictable and unexpected.

I studied the work of a particular Darda'i sofer, Moshe Tsarum, and picked up parts of his writing which I liked. This is from the fourth correct mezuzah I wrote since I've been here (and the final one required for the flat).



Another illustration for the book of Daniel )
cremains: (ד"ר פראנק נ פורטר)
On the second take, everything turned out well.

full picture )
note: alef on the first line isn't blurred like that... strange the photo came out that way. I might try to take another picture soon.

Meanwhile, I had a dream that I and my havrutha, Ben, were swimming in a canal, as if racing but without a competition -- it was like a test of strength and endurance, hard work. In the dream, that actually was our entire havrutha. Occasionally, black smog would plume across our vision, and I was worried. When I turned back, I saw a giant oil tanker speeding towards us. Ben thought he could outswim it, and started going faster. I was too nervous, and climbed out to stand on the paved shore. In the end, he made it.

I would guess based on how I encounter him that Ben represents a person who does whatever he wants with confidence, even things which seem a little ridiculous, and I represent my own insecurity, and the dream is about not being too cautious, that too much doubt will get me left behind.

In a second dream, a jade turtle necklace turned into a real flying turtle.
cremains: (Spock)
We forgot our mezuzoth in the disorganisation of getting here, so now I'm writing them, the only problem being not enough materials to write on or with. Consequently I'm having to cut up bits of gewil that were clearly not intended for text of this size. Here's one that failed due to a missing letter (some letters which look mashed-up or weirdly-shaped here are actually fine if you see them closer, as smudges blend in to the hide colour... this was not the cleanest piece of gewil in the world).



So that's a few hours of my life wasted. At least a couple of days ago I did manage to finish one that works, although I started with what turned out to be completely the wrong size of writing and everything seems so bubbly:

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this hill is far enough

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