Black Ink

Shaked not Stirred

by Keren Hammel on Oct.20, 2009, under General

Henceforward, the name shall be spelled Shakked and not Shaked. It’s the only way to go. I know that second ‘k’ is a nuisance, but this girl ain’t shakin’ it for no one until she’s at least eighteen. Not if I can help it. Besides, it’s Hammel with two M’s, and Shelley with two L’s, and after Mississippi and Massachusetts, what’s a couple of K’s between friends?

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Site Under Construction

by Keren Hammel on May.16, 2009, under General, Non-Fiction

Just wanted to apologize for any inconvenience caused while this site is undergoing… changes.

It was brought to my attention that the previous version of Black Ink had some broken links. Looking into the matter, I noticed some bugs in the admin interface, which necessitated upgrading to a newer version of WordPress, which necessitated the installation of a new theme, which necessitates various modifications and updates to the site, which requires time that I don’t have.


Bear with me. I’ll get things back to normal as soon as I can. Anon. That’s a promise.

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Almond Joy

by Keren Hammel on May.11, 2009, under General, Non-Fiction



Hey! Yo! Down here… That little bundle of joy you be looking at – That’s me, Shaked. Say it with me: Sha- (like a Persian Shah) -ked (like, well… like the sneakers). It means ‘almond’ in Hebrew. Also, the root of the word (ש.ק.ד) implies diligence and striving towards a goal. So, it’s a nice blend of nature and nurture, it’s very Israeli and, still, it’s pronounceable in English. Granted, the spelling in English is a little iffy, but hey – So freakin’ what? I mean… Just look at me. Ain’t I adorable? I’m just the cutest thing around and you know it. Who cares about spelling!

Anyway, today I am one week old and… Boy, have I grown! When I made my grand entrance on May 4th – I’ll tell you all about that in a minute – I weighed 2425 grams. Then I lost almost 200 grams, and now I’m just about back to my original weight. How cool is that? Way cool! Of course, mommy’s been feeding me a whole lot, so it only makes sense. Oh, in fairness, daddy’s been helping with the occasional bottle too, but between you and me – I prefer mommy’s breasts, you know?

Now, since it’s a special occasion and all, and since mommy doesn’t have the time to talk to each and every one of y’all for half an hour (’cause I have to eat every two to three hours, on account of my being so tiny, and she’s got to eat and sleep in between too, right?), I thought I’d take the opportunity to say hi and give you my story. Okay?

Right, then… I guess I should start at the beginning, shouldn’t I?

Mommy’s had to be on bed rest throughout most of the week leading up to my birth, which was week 38 to her count. Her blood pressure was acting up and the doctor ordered her to stay at home and let others cook for her. Great timing, given that it was the week of Independence Day. Anyhow, she went to the hospital for check ups a few more times and when she came in on Sunday, morning of May the 3rd, there was some concern that I wasn’t growing too well inside the womb and that the high blood pressure was a risk to the both of us. So, seeing as I was already showing signs of getting ready to come out, a decision was made to help me along.

Mommy waited in the high-risk maternity ward. And waited. And then waited some more. The doctor started the procedure at 19:20 that evening, saying it could take up to 24 hours for the Prostaglandins to kick in. It actually only took 30 minutes for the first contraction to arrive and the contractions became fairly regular by 21:30. At around 22:30, mommy was already making these funny hissy-growly noises and alerting the staff to the fact that things are picking up pace.

The nurse and doctor on duty weren’t overly impressed, but little did they know… Once I have my mind set, there’s no stopping me. I was all in.

Mommy was soon cleared to be moved to a delivery room. There was just a small, tiny, insignificant snag, you see. All of the delivery rooms were presently occupied and, believe it or not, there was a queue. There were other women waiting for a room and these ladies were supposedly further along than she was. Hah! Say it with me: Little did they know…

I mean, in fairness, they were the ones inducing me to come out, right? So, if they wanted me out early, then by golly, delivery room or not, I was a-coming out.

Now, I’m told that at this point, right about midnight, mommy realized what was going down and suggested to the doctor, oh-so-very-gently, that it might be prudent to get her into a delivery room. He, in turn, reached in and felt my head on its way out, at which point he promptly freaked out and hauled ass. A few frenzied phone calls later, he and the nurse grabbed mommy’s bed and finally moved us into a delivery room. This, while trying to convince mommy not to push.

Yeah. As if.

So, long story short, we got into the delivery room at 00:26 and about twenty minutes later, I made my entrance, all scrawny and white, but as relaxed then as I am now. I mean, honestly, what’s the point in screaming at the top of my lungs? I gave a few obligatory hoots, just to let everyone know I’m all right, but after that, why waste my breath, you know? Mommy and daddy seem to appreciate it too, so I don’t holler unless there’s a really good reason for it.

Yeah… That’s me. I’m all for kicking back and taking things nice and slow.

Mommy says I’m a little dreamy eyed, like her. Grandma Shelly says I look like Grandpa Ilan. Grandpa Moshe doesn’t say much. He just takes pictures all day long. Daddy’s a little disappointed that I don’t have any of his features, but he should listen to mommy, who says I’ve got his brains., ’cause she’s right. Mommy’s always right. Incidentally, Grandma Rachel pulled out some old photo albums of mommy and guess what? I look like baby mommy! Well, mostly. I’m thinner, for one. And my eyes are still a little more blue than brown. But, I have her chin and her ears and the same long, thin fingers. Oh, and when I say I have her ears, I mean that physically, metaphorically, and otherwise. I like music and I love it when daddy sings to me. Obviously, I was rocking to the music of Queen while in utero, but I also like Beethoven’s 5th and the overture to Bizet’s Carmen. When I grow up I’m going to be a rock star. Or a software engineer. Or a writer. Or… Well… I dunno. Whatever I feel like when I’m all grown up. Whenever that turns out to be. I hear forty is the new thirty, you know, so I figure I’ve still got plenty of time to make up my mind. Meanwhile, I’ll just kick back and stare at the world staring back at me.

Life is good. And thanks for listening. Love, peace, and all good things.

I’ll see ya when I see ya.

(with a little help from mommy and daddy)

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I Spy with My Little i

by Keren Hammel on Mar.30, 2009, under General, Non-Fiction

Once upon a time, when I studied English lit., the little “i” (as in “i think, therefore i am”) was considered a construct of modernist writing (or was it post-modernist…? I forget). It represented a break from the norm of capitalizing the pronoun “I”, and symbolized a more humble perception of the self.

Then came text messaging and chats and general laziness.

Then came Apple.

Then… Somehow… Not capitalizing the pronoun “I” became not only socially acceptable, but cool. Which is great — Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind if people want to diminish themselves. Go right ahead, people. By all means. Except that… well… you see… It’s WRONG. Who the heck knows what Apple’s little “i” stands for!? Is it “internet”? Is it “interactive”? Or maybe it’s the pronoun “I” after all?

iPod, iPhone… iStupid!

It wouldn’t be so bad if this silly iCandy remained in use only by Apple, but when it gets to the point where a newspaper article runs with “iMax” instead of “IMAX” then things have gone too far. Next thing you know, we’ll be writing “iThink, therefore iAm” and paying a patent license for it too.

It’s just wrong. Stop it. stop it anon.

If this day and age is characterized by the individual being at the center of things, then show it. Surely one should feel justified in using a capital “I” wherever possible, right? So, let your “I” stand tall. i know u know it’s right.

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