this cup is half full, fer cryin' out loud

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I’m rather depressed these days. It’s been years since anything I’ve done has turned out successfully—with a few rare exceptions—and I’m falling into the thing which afflicted you a couple of years ago—a failure of the will, shall we say. My ambitions seem far beyond my talents, and light-years beyond the vicissitudes of my character, and I think of this enormous novel I’m now starting, which could well take ten years, and if done properly, it must be unpublishable except in green-backed French “dirty” editions, and I’ll be middle-aged when it’s done, and somehow I just don’t believe in myself the way I used to, and indeed, worst of all, it doesn’t even seem terribly important. I’m beginning to have the tolerance of the defeated—people I would have despised a few years ago now seem bearable—after all, I say to myself, I haven’t done very well with all the luck I had, and perhaps I do wrong to judge them. Naturally these states proliferate. The desire to work recedes, and as it recedes one welcomes the depression of not working which increases the difficulty to begin work again, and it gets to be a drag. You know I think of these miserable years since the war and how everyone I know has been diminished by it, their rebellion tempered, their caution swollen to cowardice, their malice to hatred, until the worst of all is that I get close at times to thinking that perhaps we have overrated the possibilities of people, and then life becomes dreary indeed. Forgive the tirade. You have your depression, I have mine (I too am smoking again). . . . Now, of course, all this is every artist’s anguish—so many of us could have been geniuses if everything had worked out right—

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Next Phase

I'm back in Jerusalem. At work. At my desk. Slept on and off today until about 1pm, and have been here at the office since 2. It feels like forever, but it's only been 3 hours. Since i triumphantly entered the City of Gold on Sunday afternoon, I've had 2 nice home-cooked meals with 2 friends, eaten some borekasim and a nice felafel, lathered up for a soothing shave and enjoyed the familiar comforts of my futon.

Today at work I am sucking eggs.

I am a total bust when it comes to planning.

If I have to run a session, have a one-on-one with a kid in crisis, or arrange the schedule for the next week, I click into action. Rock n' Roll.

Right now I have a few nebulous planning and preparation tasks to do. I've done exactly zero in three hours. Well, not zero. I created a new archive folder on my Yahoo! mail, and berated the new maintenance kid for taking a box off of my desk. And I ate a big styrofoam bowl of Ramen noodles, and talked a lot to Adi, my new co-worker, and Haggai, my co-worker-turned-boss.

and i listened to 2 Elliott Smith albums. AND i checked my email and facebook 37 times each.

I know there's a spark of fantastic livingness and dynamism out there. I can see it out of the corner of my eye.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

that special feeling of international brotherhood

at the end of today's olympic ceremony,
they slipped in a little piece of information:

that show cost $300 million to put together.
for three hours of spectacle.
you could take care of the needs of a small town for a year for that kind of money.

but shit, it was a hell of a show, wasn't it?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fast approaching

Some time soon is Tisha b'Av, the Jewish Day of Mourning (the Day of Destruction). It is a fast day. I actually plan on ignoring it. Just to see how that feels.

I found this bit on the old blog, from last Yom Kippur, and sorta thought you guys should read it, whoever you are:

{gleefully deleted!}

The next Yom Kippur is about 2 months from now. I have no idea what I am going to do for the Holidays. I feel zero desire to be in a synagogue praying. Maybe I should go back to Uman...

Sluggish and Searchin

Oh, this blog.....

remember the Old Wanderingstu?? Especially the early days of it, when it was all tales of adventure?


anyway, after spending time today with 2 of the blog's most devoted fans, Red Neck Aunt and Jenny B [from around the way], I felt compelled to post. As the blog is a small, holographic slice of me, it is natural that I just don't know what to do with it. An overemotional 16-year old art kid, I know what to do with. But me? This blog? Tomorrow? Nah...

I've been considering starting another blog, a secret blog, on which i can dump all of my true emotional turmoil, all the stuff that I fear to put here, lest past, present or future "employers" or "students" happen to find it, and realize the muddy reality of that entity they now call "Shimshon Stu Siegel." What if they find out that I still wish I was 16, sitting in my car on the side of some lonely road and listening to The Cure?

What the hell if?

Like usual, I don't know what to do with this blog.

But at least I've posted.

Enjoy the archives...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Someone Tell Me What i Missed!

No, i haven't blogged in a long time.
Yes, that's lame.
Yes, I am frustrated that The Dark Knight was jumbled, uninspiring, less-than-epic and not very dark.

And NO i don't understand why the rest of the world is blowing so much smoke up batman's tailpipe:

someone please explain. PLEASE

Monday, June 9, 2008


Tonite is Shavuot. The Pentacost. The Feast of Weeks. One of the 3 great Jewish Pilgrimage Festivals. The end of the 7 weeks since Passover. The day of the Giving of the Torah.

After a lovely dinner at the home of my colleagues Marc and Miriam Kaye, we had more than 20 of our students show up for some all-night learning. At around 3am some of us strolled over to a place called Pardes for a class. I left in the middle, and began to head home.

Dozens of people were on the streets, walking towards the Old City, to the Kotel (the Western/Wailing Wall) in simulation of the ancient pilgrimage to the Temple. Dozens of people, joining the crowd from every side street, flowing towards Mount Zion. I stood in the middle of the road and tried to catch a cab.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

lookin at me these past few weeks

I removed my beard last August or September, shortly before Rosh Hashanah. By February, I had this huge, fabulous beard that served me well in my burly role in Man of LaMancha.

But lately, when my beard gets too long, I begin to pull it out obsessively (non-chronic trichotillomania). So, just before Purim a little more than two months ago, i shaved the giant beard. Then i had the trashy mustache and scrub growth (it was part of a costume.....)

Then i cleaned it up, and shaped the mellower mustache with the little van Dyke (you might erroneously call it a goatee), and kept the hair short-

After a little while with that, I scrapped the van Dyke and went pure mustache-

Then i stopped shaving, and let it all grow in, starting after Pesach (sort of for the Omer). Just imagine me with a small beard. "Normal," you might say. Two weeks ago, knowing that it would have to all go for my role as Father Flynn, I returned to the mustache, this time, with handlebars (no pics- darn)

Last week, I shaved it all, even the nubs of the sideburns up to the ears. I think that this is the first time I've had NO sideburns since 1990 or so. Clean, clean, clean. I've actually been shaving every day, and am learning to shave at the sink, rather than in the shower.

Next thursday after the last show, i'll shave my head and probably start growing the beard back. If I could lose like 30 or 40 pounds i might could go beardless for longer.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Might as Well Face It...

Am I a workaholic?

funny about the english addiction words. they're like the extended fund-raising event words- they take a paradigmatic word and just haphazardly cut it in half, adding new initial syllables to create a bastardized hybrid word that everyone understands.

Marathon was a town in Greece. People ran a long way to get there from Athens.
Now you can do a walkathon or a bikeathon or a telathon or a sale-a-thon or a funkathon or a smirkathon or any kind of Thon you wish, and they all mean that it's gonna go on for longer than you want, and in the end there will be some sort of achievement.

if you're an addict of some sort, you're an aholic. which means nothing. it's just the end of alcohol with a suffix added to indicate "one who is really into the preceding half a word +ahol."

shouldn't a chocolate addict be a chocolitic?

am I a workic?

{see kids- the blog isn't dead. just lying whimpering in a ditch somewhere}

Sunday, March 23, 2008

All my friends are poppin- A Purim miracle

How long has it been since my last wonderful friends had a baby? A coupla months? Well, about 15 minutes after my last post, i got a message from Craig that Keren gave birth in Brookline this morning to a delicious baby girl!! On Shabbat/Shushan Purim!!

Mazal Tov!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And, because our world is finally catching up to the Jetsons, I got to see little Tiny Blinderman, barely 8 hours old, wave to me Mac-to-Mac using Skype video!!!! Unbelievable.

i wanna rock witchu

right now 38 seconds from my door, there is a MAMMOTH Purim street party in effect. Several hundred israelis in costume, most of them gorgeous, most of them drinking substantially. you could imagine several versions of how i respond

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Time passing, spaces filled

It's been almost 2 weeks. Golly.

I think that this is the first post on the new WanderingStu blog that features that classic tone of melancholy, the one which I think I promised to avoid. I wonder if, had I not opened with that previous sentence, you would have noticed.

I just threw out over 20 business cards that I had collected over the past 2 1/2 years, from teachers, healers, musicians, artists, bodyworkers, peace-workers, photographers, tour guides- all the kinds of folk who strive to link person to person, person to soul, person to history, soul to eternity, nation to nation, body to mind, mind to soul, body to soul, soul to soul. I guess those are the only kinds of people from whom I collect a business card in the first place.

But i never called any of them. Never had a need to. Or should I say, an occasion to. An occasion to re-engage that tiny spark of a smile, that random chat on the New York subway, that nice connection made over a Shabbat table... The connections fade. The energy dissipates. At least one of the people in the stack has already passed away.

Life- for me, that is- seems to be a series of fabulous sparks that then become business cards in a pile that sit ignored, collecting dust. The fire does not get lit.

On the other hand, half an hour ago I mounted one of my watercolors onto cardboard. I've been meaning for months to begin mounting all of my little paintings, and finally began the process. I reckon that's a good thing, on two accounts (the painting and the mounting). This one is called Jonah. It was painted with water from the Red Sea, even though Jonah was chucked into the Mediterranean.

The photo was taken with the Photo Booth software for the MacBook's built-in camera, so the image is reversed. When I painted this, I held the paper at a 90-degree angle to how i am now displaying it. I think it works better this way.

I mounted it on a bit of cardboard cut out from a Jaffa orange box. I just now realized that Jonah boarded the ship at the port of Jaffa, and then was thrown overboard to quell the storm.

That's pretty nice.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

When in Doubt...

I got my first lead!!

I am starring as Father Flynn in the Jerusalem production of Doubt, presented by the Bamat Mabat theatre company ("Bamat Mabat" a Hebrew word play, literally transating into Gazing Stage or something like that).

Truth is, I don't think they had a ton of guys auditioning, so they called me and asked me to try out, even though I am leaving for America 10 days before the thing goes on stage. So now they have to change the performance dates in order to acommodate my travel schedule- i guess that means they liked me well enough, eh?

The play is about a priest who is accused by a nun of being inappropriate with one of the boys in the church. It ain't no jaunty musical, I'll tell you that. And it turns out that my pal Erin is playing my nemesis, Sister Aloysius (in memory of Squeakers the cat, whom we both loved, just not enough).

[Hey mom, when are you gonna go hang out with Erin's Aunt Rivka??]

But the best (or actually the most daunting) part is that, come December, you'll have Philip Seymour Hoffman to compare me to, as the film version of Doubt, also starring Meryl Streep, is in the works.

Too bad I don't get to recreate Phil's opening scene from Before the Devil Knows You're Dead....

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Love knows no bounds

Mr. Mann is such a love lover. Can't we all be, or does one have to live in California to be so transcendent?

More status reports

anyone listening?


  • wants to change his status every 45 minutes.
  • is in an unmade bed at 9:46 PM and about to watch "The Wire."
  • danced a hole through his sock tonite at the Boogie.
  • made a great guacamole. It helped his self-image issues.
Today I found out that Shimshonn in Korean means bringing energy down into the heart. Huh. So why is mine so unenergized?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Social Networking Utilities allow me to be Me-- Facebook Status Reports, vol 1

Quicker and more incisive than a blog entry, my Facebook status reports give delicious little snappy bites of where I'm at and how I'm feeling at any moment.

I wonder if this is an historical moment in Web 2.0- the Blogging of a Facebook status. Get ready folks. Here are a few good ones from the past few weeks:

  • yearns for the black gospel spirit of America
  • thinks it's all out to slap him in the face
  • is about to be flooded by Latinos
  • doesn't quite know
  • is officially working for BIMA this summer!!
  • is in bed at 7:30 PM and loves it

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

the end. and now...

my best line (?)

"the dwarves are all busy."

it's 2:30 am, it's snowing again in Jerusalem, and i just got back from our last 2 performances of Man of LaMancha. It was fun, and a lot more successful than i had thought. I really hit a point about 2 weeks ago where i thought the show was going to be a total disaster. But it wasn't. People really really enjoyed it. We sold out or at least filled up most of the shows, and every performance ended with an audience that was excited, happy and moved.

The director of Guild, the Ra'anana English-speaking theatre group, approached me after today's 5pm show and asked me to come audition for their next production, and to maybe see about joining their permanent company. That's quite an exciting offer, but Ra'anana is more than 2 hours away by bus, and I don't have a car. So we'll see what's up with that.

In the meantime, i popped some Ny-Quil to kill my cough, and I need to get some sleep.


Friday, February 15, 2008

if you suckas won't comment...

This comment was sent to Canfei Nesharim about my writing, which is posted this week on their site:

Great article, thank you! I have always refused to wear gold or gemstones, there is so much suffering and injustice and oppression involved in mining them...thank you for this terrific teaching. It's so wonderful to have a sense of shared values within the Jewish community.

-Jampa Williams
Be like Jampa, comment on The 'Stu, and don't buy dirty gold. A'ight?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

WanderingStu is all over the place

We had 2 decent performances last night in Tel Aviv. I did quite well, and even got some hearty laughs at a few unexpected moments. Lets just hope I don't ham it up to much at those moments tomorrow night...

Meanwhile, my next environmental Torah is online, front page at Canfei Nesharim this week only. I've edited or ghost-written or totally rewritten several of the pieces in the past weeks, but this is only the second piece that is credited to me. It's all about the evils of the gold mining industry... I have another piece up next week as well.

Today was a rest day after our opening night. Me and my new superpal Rebecca went to a yoga class and then had Indian food at the little place in the shuk (the Jerusalem bazaar, right by my house). When we got there Tzvi, the yoga guy, was already there and chowing down. Somehow he had zipped across town way faster than us (and hadn't even offered us a ride!). After the meal, the waitress gave us cards for 2 free classes at Tzvi's yoga studio. I asked him if I could get some of my money back, since he was handing it out fer free. He refused. Rebecca guffawed. I let him know i was kidding, so he wouldn't feel bad.

I've been slamming echinacea, zinc, vitamin C & herbal lozenges for the past few days, and I still have a head full of dark phlegm. Fer cryin' out loud, i did YOGA and had INDIAN FOOD instead of a burger--- give me some health this week. i NEED IT!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's my current list of unlimited use subscriptions in Jerusalem:

- The bus. 220 shekels (one month of free rides. paid for by work)
- The Cinematheque. 300 shekels (good until november)
- Yoga Shalom. 280 shekels (one months of free rides)

this is some other guy, playing the same role as me. ---->
he has a bigger apron.

Oh yeah! Also, at work yesterday, the gang showed up for their 4-month program. 72 high school grads from Australia and South Africa. I met my chavura, the group of 18 for whom I will be directly responsible. We sat outside in a patch of sun as I introduced myself. When I told them that I was vanishing for a week to do the show, they demanded a scene. So I grabbed three of them put them in the roles of Don Quixote, Sancho and Aldonza, and sang my song, "Knight of the Woeful Countenance," in which I, a humble innkeeper, am given the honor (?) of dubbing Don Quixote a knight.

Good times.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


nice to see the blinderman family members are active here, so to speak. thanks for your comments. it is thursday, 3pm. we just had a big staff lunch at a moroccan restaurant. The kids (72 high school grads from South Africa and Australia) arrive sunday morning. Man of LaMancha goes up for a week's run on monday afternoon.

it's gonna be quite a week.

this afternoon i went out with a sweater and cap and nothing else (pants too..) and yet this morning i saw a pile of snow still standing in a corner of a parking lot in town. the two-day winter appears to be over.

i remember when this blog was fresh and exciting, filled with adventure and joie de vivre.

put your hand in mine, remember with me....

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

White Wednesday

It's snowing in Jerusalem. Not just a sprinkling either, though it's no Ukrainian blizzard, as the young soldier girl with whom I shared a cab this morning disdainfully suggested. The only vehicles on the street are police cars and taxis. The intrepid, enterprising cab drivers are flinging out impromptu engorged prices for a wild, seat belt-free tour of the empty city. Luckily I'm getting reimbursed for the cab, being one of two people in our office who came in this morning.

Ah, the noble pioneering spirit of the single man!

In other news, my boots, which I've had since my last Israeli era, in 1998, have finally given up. Between last year's snows and today, they must have dried out a bit, because they did nothing to protect my socks. Always bring a spare pair of socks, folks. The Vibram souls are immaculate. Not that I wore the boots every day, but I seem to wear out a Naot or Crocs soul in less than a year. Good boots. Swiss. Bought in Israel for less than $100.

Now I get to go shopping!!
Well, the truth is that living in Jerusalem, there are only about 2 boot days a year. In muddy Bat Ayin, I wore them for months at a time. So maybe I won't get new boots just yet. But now that I've earmarked the money, let's go out for sushi...

You gotta love Israel-
Here's one of the "talkback" comments on the Jerusalem Post's web piece about the snow:

2. Not an Unexpected Victim - Rather An "Act of G-d"
The storm is coming. Y--- thunders, the earth quakes. Add another percentage of disapproval to Olmert's numbers -- G-d himself is voting! "Din", judgement, is now walking in the land. It's time for everyone to get their act together!
Ovadiah ben Avraham - Israel (01/29/2008 12:06)

"Y---" is, of course, a translated and pious form of the Four-Letter Name of God.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

here i come

After a long meeting with Bradley Solmsen, which included dinner, a witty IM chat with Dan Held and my first interview on the other side of the table (me and Brad teamed up on a new prospect- i asked a poorly-conceived question and got embarrassed), it has been basically decided that I will be returning to the world of Genesis-BIMA @ Brandeis University for my second summer.

I hope to be in the States, including New York and maybe Florida and/or Atlanta: around 18 June- 16 August. I will be at @ Brandeis University from around 22 June - 30 July.

See you then, perhaps.

New Yorkers- prepare your guest beds!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

i sit at work

I am a terrible worker. It was a problem at Mad Science. It was a problem at The Temple. I always manage to get my job sort of done- enough that i don't get in trouble with my superiors, who generally like me. But nonetheless, I spend hours, days, weeks sitting at my desk doing nearly nothing. I adjust fonts on documents. I sort papers. I add music to iTunes. I read celebrity news on Yahoo! I snack. I drink lots of water. I do so many damn stupid things, but i DON'T WORK DILIGENTLY.

And i fear it will make me insane.

In a few weeks, I have several courses to teach. One in Bibliodrama and one in Bible. I can fudge my way through, sure, and something will come together, but I have this time, NOW, to plan, to be prepared, to do some pedagogical innovation, but instead, I'm posting this to you.


and to make it worse, i can't seem to get the text in this post to go any smaller. don't know why

Monday, January 21, 2008

i go to work

Ya know, it's good to have a job. Get your own desk, report to the office, clock the eight/day. It's nice.

Friday, January 18, 2008

This is it

Look at them, would ya? The Rogers family.
Sarah, Jason, Daphne and Gertie.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Mazal Tov!

Happy New Year.

It seems like Blogger was having some technical issues earlier-- i wanted to post a few hours ago, but couldn't get onto the site. At that time, I was sitting at the Y Cafe, a nice little spot with Wi-Fi here in the Nachlaot neighborhood. I was sitting outside, fiddling around with some stuff, and became aware of some loud Jewish wedding-type music. I just filed it away as the music the guy in the cafe was blasting, even though he usually plays good rock n roll. After a minute or so, the music got louder, and I glanced towards the door and noticed a bunch of people on the street a ways up.

I stood up, and saw a little ad hoc parade in effect- a cop walking backwards, a truck driving slowly, and behind it, thirty or so people dancing. Before I even saw the scroll, I knew it was a Hachnasat Sefer Torah, one of the local little synagogues celebrating the acquisition of a new Torah. They danced on down the road. From my spot on the curb I joined in a little joyful jumping up and down. And then they were gone.

That's the way they do it here in Jerusalem.

About twenty minutes ago, I was talking to Mom on the phone, and got an email called "Daphne Lillian Rogers," from Jason. "Huh- did his grandmother die?" I thought (sorry guys-- it was my instinct when I saw "Lillian). And then, of course I realized:

Sarah had her baby!!

6 1/2..... MINUTES of hard pushing, and the kid was out! What a champ.

I forgot to ask Jay, when I just called, how they chose the name Daphne. But they had been a little worried about the Scooby Doo implications-- they both thought that Daphne was the nerdy one...

But we all know better than that. She was the fox.. Zoiks!

Hmm. Turns out that the princess in Dragon's Lair was called Daphne as well. And, of course, everyone's favorite wounded Wombat.

I have been stealing signal from the Karpf family this past month. For some shitcrazydriving reason, I can't connect to the network here in the house, so i am a signal pirate. for that reason, my connection is nutso and unreliable. Therefore, pictures of Princess Daphne, Daphne from Scooby Doo and Daphne the Wounded Wombat will not be featured in this post, as originally planned. Sorry. Let's just hope the damn post gets up in the first place...

But look at that baby, eh? 3 parts Jew, one part Inuit, 100% Brooklyn. Born just in time to get Mom and Dad a nice '07 tax break. What a kid.