Friday, June 30, 2006

i do not like the dog

i had a fantastic morning: i let the dog out (not the first time), and he went absolutely nuts and ran around the garden barking. woke everyone up. i had to spend a few minutes running around barefoot in the wet grass before i finally caught the blighter.

i passed out for an hour or two watching tv. when i woke up, i drove my mum and two li'l cousins to the mall. at least i got coffee out of the deal, but the drive back was horrific. i HATE being given bad directions in real time - it wasted time and aggravated me no end.

we dropped off one of the cousins, then the three of us remaining went off to the biodome. it's basically a glorified zoo / aquarium - i would have been more interested if there'd been a little more focus on the science / planned applications... but that's probably just me.

we came back home, packed, sat down for a nice, home-cooked meal, dropped off my mom at the airport, and said goodbye. *sigh*

brought my aunt back home, then i went with the cousins to see superman returns. great fun! now it's time for bed.

*need* to stretch

we got up around 7am to say goodbye to our cousins. they don't have any coffee in the house that's not decaf. that was difficult.
i had a shower, we got packed and ready, and drove off.

we found real coffee, but - as usual after a stop - went the wrong way when we resumed driving, and lost about 45 minutes.

we stopped at a walmart. walmart is impressive.

lunch was in kingston... narrowly avoided accidentally driving into one of the prisons; that was embarrassing. had a good hamburger, then continued on our merry way.

i kinda overdid the coffee on the last stop - i ordered an ice-cream and coffee, and ended up with coffee and ice-coffee. of COURSE i drank them both. instantly wired.

we hit rush hour traffic entering montreal, and got home around 6.30pm - in time to go out for supper. i had serious seafood pasta - i love squiggly things that you eat whole! after dinner, we went for too-good ice-cream, and i bombed out completely when we got home. i'm passing out at the keyboard, i'll describe my *wonderful* wake-up later.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

niagara falls

i slept really well. like a log, without the woodchips.

we drove off towards niagara, beginning the day with starbucks, and getting ripped off AGAIN with self-service fill-up.

for moonflake, and any other potential touristy types: never use foreign credit cards for self-service, just pay with cash. i'm positive it's a problem on the side of discoverer, but either way we spent $30 both times, and both times got charged $120+ in rand. that's messed up, and according to the guys here they definitely didn't charge more than the amount listed on the receipt.

anyway, it was a long drive to get to niagara-on-the-lake, which is a quaint little tourist trap, but pretty. then we went up to the falls. i must admit, they look impressive in photos but after seeing the victoria falls in zimbabwe... nothing special. VERY tourist trappish. LOADS of tourists. LOADS of tasteless casinos and badly done "fun" things to do. rather irritating, actually.

loooooong drive back, hitting rush hour traffic and taking a wrong turn that added half an hour to our mission. filled up again, this time with cash, and have just gotten back to base. now we're off to eat out.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

travelling! and getting lost!

i did get a response from that waitress, so i'll be contacting her as soon as i get back to montreal ;)

woke up yesterday at 7.30am, to begin transporting things and people between houses in preparation for the journey. we said our goodbyes, left montreal in my aunt's rav4, and drove to ottawa.

stopping, of course, at some truck stops along the way. traditional, with tim horton's coffee and wendy's (not bad at all, and i normally *hate* fast food).

we walked around the parliament buildings in ottawa, went past a very fancy book store / starbucks (they sell "african red bush tea", i was horrified), and then visited the national gallery.

absolutely brilliant exhibitions. before going in all i could think of was finding a bed and napping a few hours, but we kinda got stuck there for a while.

we then drove to the outskirts of the city, took a room in a movie-style motel, and drove around a bit more (because we hadn't done enough of that, yet). we got munchies and antihistamines at the drug store, and then had REAL pizza for supper, before returning to the motel.

i watched an episode of stargate sg1 on the space channel, then passed out watching an episode of star trek.

we started off the day with coffee and doughnuts... i made the mistake of reading the paper, so i know about the soldier-child who was kidnapped. bummer.

we left the motel, and made our way to the science museum. very, very nice. we had fun for a couple of hours - although the simulation "mission to mars" was notably uninspiring.

we then left for toronto. we stopped off in a small town for lunch (at subway), then coffee (at tim horton's; how surprising!), and then accidentally got onto the wrong highway. we figured it wouldn't be a problem. a couple of hours later we realized that we'd been driving in the direction of vancouver, and were closer to the north pole than we'd anticipated :P

we filled up with petrol before beginning our travels through the smalltowns and hickvilles, getting ripped off at a self-service for about $100. that kinda sucked, and has taught us not to use self-service in the future. and we'd been all proud of ourselves for managing :(

smalltowns and hickvilles were amusing. we eventually entered toronto around 7.30pm, and met my cousin at his office. we followed him home, went out to get beers, had a fantastic meal, and have just finished a long chat session, so we're all off to bed.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

krispie kreams and earplugs

i woke up to coffee and good doughnuts this morning. wp and i got organized, and our aunt dropped us off at the metro.

the metro in montreal is pretty simple, and we arrived at our destination quite efficiently. we then strolled along to our grandstand - just after the hairpin turn - and were just in time for the end of the ferrari 360 race: HOT DAMN. simply beautiful!

we took a break, and then the grand prix began. we had a huge screen in front of us, so we could see all the action, and our view of the race IRL was excellent! good thing we'd brought earplugs... even with them, the sound of the engines is deafening. but SUCH a thrill ^_^

so yeah, it was an exciting race. and actually being in the crowd was AWESOME. i can still smell that gasoline / burnt rubber smell, and it's goooood.

the crowds trying to get into the metro afterwards were simply ridiculous. we eventually broke through, and made our way back to notre-dame-de-grâce. we slowly strolled past the shops on the way home, eventually getting our aunt a thank-you of an hour's massage at some place just down the road.

we came back home in time for supper, which was nice... said goodbye to wp, so i'll see him in sa in december. i've just taken my mom to where she's staying, and am about to shower (i'm super-smelly) and go to bed. tomorrow we're off to ottawa, then toronto for a couple of days. hopefully by the weekend i'll have had a response from that waitress from friday night, but considering the lack of a response during the last few hours, i don't think that's going to happen.

i can still hope, can't i? on a different note, my aunt has informed me that if i do decide to come here after the army, then she'd be only too happy to help me get on my feet: joy!

mostly woozy

wine in the morning, beer in the afternoon, wine at night. it's been one of those days...

we had a good breakfast, and then wp and i headed out. we stopped to play frisbee at the park, and were in time for a fun taekwondo demonstration - some of it not bad at all.

we then took a bus through to crescent street. we went through the museum of fine art for about half an hour - they have some incredible things there... i was a bit thrown by the digital prints, they really weren't on the list of things i'd expect to see.

we went through the crowds, sometimes stuck on some absolutely mind-blowing vehicles. pure art on four wheels, inside and out!

we went into a pub to watch argentina vs. mexico - it was a pretty good second-half / extra time, and the second goal was superb. even *i* enjoyed watching :P

we then walked around a bit, finding a not-bad comic book store, and then took the bus back.

got back, showered, and then zoomed off to the other side of montreal, to a nice greek restaurant for a great dinner. i've been back for a bit (watching ghost, how sad), and i'm not actually sure if we're going out or just chilling. i'm not concerned though - it's grand prix in the morning!!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

magic!

before leaving for supper, wp and i did a quick shopping run - i discovered an army surplus store that sells all manner of amusing (and illegal) possible additions to my uniform. i'm going to have to get the under-shirts that say "govt issue" and "army", and the "us army" tags to replace my "idf" ones :P

we were taken last night to "millionaire's lane", the largest and most beautiful houses in the city. not quite as over-the-top as top road in cape town, but pretty damn close. and safer :P

dinner was extremely lavish, with all the trimmings, and a magician who performed to keep the kids happy... and later on the adults, too.

the food was incredible, and it was really nice to slide from conversation to conversation with all the different people and family members. i felt quite schmoozy ;)

one of my aunt's friends celebrated her birthday yesterday, so the magician performed a trick that impressed me even more than david blaine's street magic. it involved a lime, $100 bill, a deck of cards, and a pad of paper. i'm still in awe, as is everyone else who witnessed it!

afterwards, we went home, changed, and got a ride back to crescent street.

the cars, both those being driven around, and those on display, were AMAZING. unbelievable. stunning.

we decided to stay there this time, and ended up sitting at a bar, paying $12 for beer that last night cost 3. it's definitely grand prix time! after a few tries, wp managed to score us a seat on the balcony, with a good view of all the craziness, and a good view of the really foxy waitresses. our one was gorgeous - an hour or so later, i traded numbers with her... she's agreed to be my "tour guide". i'm hoping i'll be touring somewhere a little more personal than montreal ;)

we walked around a bit, chatted some more, then decided that it was time to call it a night, and taxied home. we snuck into the house around 2.45, and i just got woken up about an hour ago to go and walk about town. no complaints there!

Friday, June 23, 2006

more stuff in montreal

one of my cousins (wp - tgtbt's brother) rocked up around midnight, and we sat talking for an hour or two outside before going to bed.

we were woken up frighteningly early to shower and get dressed (jackets! they made us wear jackets in the middle of summer!), and then headed off with our italian uncle to the synagogue. the bar/bat mitvah was really nice, the kids did well and the breakfast afterwards was great.

aside from me accidentally locking myself outside when i went for a smoke. that was embarrassing.

we went back home, and then i napped for an hour or so. i was volunteered to take my young cousin and a friend of his to the pool, so i had a swim and chilled in the sun. i love watching little kids playing, but it makes me miserable when i think of how hard a time i'm having finding a girl i can settle down with so i can have children of my own.

awwww.

meanwhile...

my mother has been staying at some of our aunt and uncle's friends, and she returned there after the synagogue. someone had turned on the alarm (for which she didn't know the number), and both of her hosts were at work. when the security company called, they asked who she was and where she was from. flustered, she told them her name and that she's from africa.

well done, mum.

not suspecting anything, she went and had a shower. while showering, three police cruisers rocked up, and the police stormed the premises, wearing bullet-proof vests and weapons at the ready. my mom said she got out the shower, wrapped herself in a towel, and when she saw all the cops, all she could think of was not being shot wrapped in a towel.

fortunately, just then one of her hosts arrived at home, and managed to clear things up.

back to me...

got back home, relaxed a bit with the family, and then had a quick shower and got fancy again for the dinner / dance thing. it was actually quite nice, we did a bit of shmoozing, dancing, and lots of eating.

another cousin gave me and wp a ride down town. we started off cruising through the crowds, then decided to take some advice we'd been given, and headed off to the club area. that was a long walk.

after taking a wrong turn, and ending up in a seriously dodgy red-light district, we found our way and went into one of the clubs. the décor was styling (all anime), the girls were fine (albeit a tad young), the music was solid. i was uncomfortable with not smoking in the club, but then we discovered the roof, where cigarette smoke and crushes of people steamed into the sky. we sat for a bit, then decided to call it a night.

we were too late for the bus, so we went in a taxi with some girl who'd also been waiting, who stiffed us for the bill. not nice! we made it home alright, went to sleep around 3.30am.

this morning i woke up around 9-ish, sat with everyone as the kids went through the presents, and then we all went through to the old city to eat lunch and mill around. it was quite nice.

and i *do* like being the driver ;)

so now we're home, about to go missioning to sort things out before supper (very schmancy dinner tonight, too), and then it's party-time!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

a killer combination



last things first - my aunt makes chocolate-marshmallow brownies. they are DANGEROUS. un-fuckin'-believable!

my mom and i took almost an hour to find the bus stop. it was a fun walk. some nice lady offered us a ride down-town (hee hee), and we accepted (hell, the bus fair we saved greatly contributed to a pack of smokes). turns out that one of her sons is part of a project that has impressed me no end since i read about it in wired (the quadriplegic directly connected to a pc, who controls the mouse with his mind).

we had a very pleasant stroll through downtown. fun crowds, and an excellent ride through by hundreds of skateboarders, locking up an entire section of town. impressive ;)

and some very nice girls. i find it interesting - and worthy of semi-scientific observation - that the shape of girls' bums in this country is slightly different to that that i'm used to seeing (my mum agrees with me). needs a touch-test or two, i reckon.

we went into the cathedral - it is absolutely awe-inspiring. i have to admit, though, that seeing the depictions of jesus on the cross reminded me of the parrot sketch: "the only reason he was on his perch is that he had been nailed there". sorry guys, but i don't do churches so well. i know it's time to leave when i begin looking for the holy water so that i can re-create that scene from the devil's advocate.

we took a bus home, then went out for drinks, then came back for a huge barbecue supper (and godDAMN, but the food was goooood). then i drove some of the group home, returned, and am now on a definite move to get to bed.

fantastique!


we all went to a really nice restaurant last night - the food was absolutely heavenly. i had coconutted duck that was all melty ^_^
the streets were filled with all the grand prix followers and tourists and so on, stunning vehicles and plenty of promo girls :)

lots of talking (and good coffee and sa chocolate) before bed, and then i woke up at 5am to go for a walk through some really, really pretty streets. i went back to sleep, and now it's tourist time!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

i (L) montreal



(i'm now registering montreal time, it's easier to figure out :P)

i woke up around 4am, and decided to take a walk with a cup of tea in my hand. i was absolutely blown away by the sunrise and the general beauty of this city and its architecture!

i went back to bed, then woke up again at a more reasonable time. i went with my mom and my aunt's best friend's husband to the bank, and on the way discovered that i really should have bought a carton of cigarettes in the duty free. twice the price!! but it's a french area, so at least they have gauloises ;)

we then regrouped, and all went downtown. beautiful, beautiful buildings
^_^

we did a lot a mallratting and shopping. everything's underground, which is awesome for when it rains, which it did :P
on a side note - the girls here in general are alright. most of the people are quite tall, and tall girls do it for me too ;)

and it's all very french.

had a good lunch, and great coffee - yes, they have some here ^_^

how many years have i been connected to CLAWS? today i played warhammer 40k for the first time! it was a fast demo-game, but i really enjoyed myself. my little cousin kept calling me a nerd afterwards. i tried and failed to explain to him why i just don't care - he's 13, so i guess it's not easy to understand the distinction between geek and nerd.
nevermind.

we then went to see mcgill university. it's spread throughout the downtown area, but the main campus itself is simply STUNNING. i could definitely handle studying there.

everything's getting ready for the grand prix - and i have tickets! w00t!!!

so we came back, chatted a bit. i was busy posting when i got volunteered to do some lifting - i haven't driven in ages, and it was such a pleasure compared to israel :)

we're off soon to supper, so i guess it's time to get ready...

flawed precision



hah! it's 11:49pm, june 19th.

i went home last night, made sure that everything was ready for today (back home, s'been yesterday for a while now), showered and went to bed.

i woke up about 6am, had coffee while bouncing in the road (okay, i was a bit excited about the holiday), went back upstairs, got everything together, and then took the bus to azrieli to meet the kid.

we met around 8, had some great hot chocolate (he doesn't do coffee. huh.), i handed over my keys, and we said goodbye.

it was near enough to 9am that i needed to be on my way to the airport. the mall guard stopped me and gave me shit about not being in uniform - he pissed me off and stressed me out, which caused me to double-check my things.

that's when the gears in my master plan broke. i'd managed to forget one of the most important things next to my bed.

so i called up the kid, got him to take a taxi back to me, then we went past my place, i got the stuff i needed, went back to the train station, and parted company.

and i missed the train by a few seconds.

i asked the security guard when the next train would be, and he told me in an hour. instant panic - and no idea what to do. then i remembered that the schedule's published, and i double-checked, and discovered that the guard was wrong. so i relaxed a little, had a chat with a guy who used to be in the mongoose's section, and then took the train to the airport.

it's like i just pressed pause on my life. the rest of the day went by in slow-motion. the 12 hour flight was extremely unpleasant. i hate travelling with israelis, and the stewardesses were really unprofessional / inexperienced / both. the old woman next to me who needed translations all the time, and didn't stop coughing (israeli's don't understand why it bothers people when they cough without at least covering their mouths) - i hope i'm not going to get sick.

i didn't sleep very much. king kong was fun, everything else just slid by.

the airport experience in toronto was smooth, and pleasant. the flight to montreal was great! short, and WAY more comfortable. go figure :P

i'm staying at my aunt's, and this place is fantastic. we've all just spent a couple of hours talking, and now it's most definitely bedtime.

jetlag? i ALWAYS have jetlag, so i'm not phased ;)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

hazy



it's been a couple of hours of work - i'm ready to go. i've discovered that with no more than 4 cups of coffee in a day, everything goes cloudy.

weird. i'm officially on holiday :)

speech



i went past the lizard, and spent an hour or two catching up and chilling with the boys. no girls to speak of, though. always a pity.

then i took a slow walk home, showered, and put myself to bed. i lay in bed preparing a speech for my "achieving" sergeant, and i guess i finally got to sleep around 2am.

i woke up alright, got ready pretty quickly, and managed to get the good bus to base. first item of the morning was rescuing the kid from some bastards who wouldn't let him return his weapon - moronic little boys all hyped-up on their first day on the job. i did a bit of work, had a little chat with my commander, and sent out a mass email to invite everyone to my little rank ceremony.

at 11am, we held a ceremony to say goodbye to a really annoying girl who's being released. i got her another can of tuna. she was actually excited. go figure. i can't even think of a good reason for a gift of tuna.

at 11.30 we held my ceremony, and quite a lot of people attended. so many, in fact, that a lot of them left because they couldn't get close enough to the door to see / hear what was going on - let's just say that i surprised my commanders. i doubt they'll schedule me 10 minutes in a small office twice ;)

there were some really nice speeches. when it came to my turn, i was really nervous about getting it all right, and i left out a rather large chunk. but what i did manage was really well-received, and i'm most satisfied that some of it got out. i'm generally terrible with these sorts of things.

lunch was alright, having a haircut made me all scratchy, and i finished two important bits of work. one of them was code-improvement, and i managed to make one of our new system's screens much, much faster. in developer, even. so i'm pretty chuffed.

i spent the rest of the afternoon arbing around, saying goodbye (even though it's only for two weeks), and clearing my desk. it was a really calm sunday afternoon.

i arrived at work about an hour ago, and i'm enjoying closing up my current projects. i can't believe i'm leaving tomorrow!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

scrambled!



after posting, i went out for a quick smoke, then came back and started doing some actual work. suddenly the boss walked into my office - gave me a serious start! we discussed the near future, and i finished off what i was doing and went to say goodbye.

the boss threw $200 on the table, and said "here - go have fun in canada!"

i was blown away. i wasn't really sure i should take it, but after minimal protesting i thanked him as graciously as i could and took the cash. that was unexpected - i think i need to use some of it to bring him back some scotch :P

i took the bus home, sorted out laundry, then went and bought some bright yellow cardboard - which i stuck up on my glass doors so i can worry less about people peeking in. this was around 4pm. i thought i'd take a quick nap.

i woke up at 8am this morning, confused (jet-lagged?) and with a smashing headache. i didn't have anything better to do, so i took a walk to my base (about an hour) and visited the kid (who's guarding). we went to our office where he showed me the cool shit he's been working on with this java/oracle combination. fantastic! things that PL/SQL won't allow are now possible by using java to call the unmanageable code! how did we survive without it?!

i was going to finish a bit of work i had to do (so i could relax a bit tomorrow), but i managed to lock my account, so i have to wait till tomorrow anyway. what was that about not working on the sabbath? i think the lord is a bit more serious about that than i anticipated...

i walked back home, chatted a bit with some of the other s'effricans in my building... i discovered that the movers were really happy with my apartment - because i had so little to move they considered it a break :P
that's bloody pathetic.

i'm not sure if this is funny or sad - i laughed, at least - but i found that fly that followed me in the other morning. it did die of boredom.

i packed all my things for the flight, spoke to her for about 10 minutes, then went for coffee with her grandparents. we had very pleasant afternoon coffee, and then i returned to lie in bed and read random rubbish that the south african zionist federation publishes every few months.

around 8pm i left the apartment, and took a long walk to the harbour area of tel aviv. i arrived on time for the party - it's a farewell for one of the guys in our unit - and for the next 45 minutes i sat there alone, watching ftv and wondering if nobody else likes the poor guy.

i just stopped in to post and check mail, and now i'm off to the lizard to say hi to the mongoose, then return home and crash. at least the beer sorted out the headache, but i think another one might be in order ;) maybe a pretty girl or two won't hurt either, but i can't imagine actually finding one...

Friday, June 16, 2006

wiped out

tuesday:

i passed along spot's cv to my boss, and about an hour after i last posted he arrived for an interview. he'll be joining us on monday; hopefully he'll be able to sort out all the php crap the lead has thrown our way.

when i got home, i hung up shower-curtains using double-sided tape. that wasn't very effective: they kept falling off during the night.

wednesday:

i started the day with a cigarette on the balcony, entertaining and being entertained by the stray cats prancing along the wall. on walking back inside, i was followed by a fly. i hope he doesn't get too bored, there's nothing for him to do in there :P

i went back on my promise to myself, and took the squished bus again. i found a better spot this time, and it was actually kinda fun. then again, i did have insane trance to keep my higher functions occupied.

i arrived on base to resume a long conversation with a really cute girl, who's incredibly concerned about my selfish attitude towards "the right one" for me. i was trying to explain to her that if i do meet someone, and she can't deal with my plans, then she's not the girl i'm looking for. she seemed to take the whole thing rather personally, so i couldn't help wondering if she has any designs...

have i mentioned before that i hate working in oracle's developer software? i really do. on the brighter side of wednesday, we finally got java installed on our database, and it's turning out to be a lot more useful than we anticipated :)

i was completely wasted the entire day.

just before the team meeting, i went to use the coke machine: i finally got the trick right! i walked into the office with a huge grin, and the kid burst out laughing and took the free coke ;)
the meeting was a long one; i finally got thrown out when the commander noticed that my head was lolling and my eyes were misted over. there really is a limit to how much hebrew i can handle.

i sat outside with one of the mongoose's ex's, and someone else (i already don't remember), where she told us that her cat had tried to commit suicide. jumped straight from her lap out the window, on the 8th floor. she found him a bit later playing in the grass. that started a discussion on bringing home pets, and i was reminded (all too clearly) of my sister bringing home a dog when i was really young. all i remember is that i was sitting on the floor, and the dog (who was bigger than me) put up his paws and peed all over me. lovely.

i then went into another meeting, with a really not-smart captain who couldn't explain what it was she wanted from me. in the middle of a sentence, my phone rang - turned out to be my cousin reminding me that i didn't have travel insurance... whoops! i excused myself, and began making calls to sort that out. turned out not to be a problem, and it did give me a bit of a break. some of the guys in the mongoose's section were emptying gunpowder from bullets into tin caps, and lighting them. i managed to light a cigarette off one, but i very nearly lost my eyebrows in the process...

on the way to work, the bus drove past some mangy dude with a really odd hat, carrying a sign that said "MESSIAH". i got to wondering if maybe he really is the messiah. maybe it's the hat?

i got to work, and was so tired that i didn't even have the energy to get myself a chair. so i sat on the floor, and had a chat with the lead. yogi came in, and helped me up so we could organize coffee - and then looked at me shocked and pointed at the floor.

instant paranoia - there's me checking my pants to assess the damage. i figured i was wasted enough that it was possible that i'd pissed myself and not noticed... but my pants were dry. the puddle of water was coming out from under the floorboards, and it turned out that i was extremely lucky that i'd been sitting exactly on the only area that wasn't affected! we did some stamping, and managed to ascertain that most of that room's floor is screwed - that was all extremely weird.

i had a lot of work to do, but i got stopped in the middle when one of the guys i have to work with came to discuss details with me. i'm grateful that the boss joined us - this guy is such an idiot, it took the two of us an hour to explain something so excruciatingly simple... i'd never have managed that alone. i just don't have the patience for stupid people.

i got home, showered, got ready for bed, and then discovered that the fan had been removed from my apartment. so i got all irritated, not looking forward to getting dressed and going down to the basement to retrieve mine from storage... when i suddenly saw that i'd forgotten to take it to storage, and the box was in the kitchen! nice! so i put it together, and went to sleep.

thursday. still messed up. having slept 5.5 hours didn't help.

i had a warped morning. just before inspection i sold a razor blade to a desperate soldier. i was just going to give it to him, but he disappeared and i suddenly had 5 shekels in my hand. our office was opened (i still don't have a key), and i polished my shoes in a hurry and scrambled to inspection. which was most uninteresting. although i did get warned about my hair being too long.

my morning began crappy. exhausted and irritable, the last thing i needed was an amateur developer developer (intentional doubling) explaining to me basic concepts of coding practice. he was bloody offensive. then two of us were made to swap desks - i just wasn't in the mood, so i grumbled, and i pissed off the TL. that resulted in me apologizing profusely, and we then had a long talk. he was actually quite considerate.

first meeting: the bull didn't have to be too observant to notice that i was about to pass out, so he organized me some super-strong coffee. he managed to make me paranoid, making references to subjects we hadn't yet spoken about regarding my potential transfer to the air force that's been making me jumpy anyway. i'm positive that they'd already contacted him.

i finished one of my jobs in developer, and the kid showed me some neat things he's been doing with java in oracle. it's stylish.

THE meeting. i was nervous, and had no idea how to approach the subject. the SC's answer was positive, but the feeling i got while he was answering wasn't very pleasant. so i don't actually know what's happening. more waiting and seeing, which means more stressing for me.

i resumed talks with the not-so-bright captain, and finally managed to get something useful out of her. i was almost relieved, but more annoyed about it taking so long. so i took that information and went to support, and spent over an hour sorting things out. i had to work with a cute girl, and there were long periods of waiting during which we kept ourselves amused. she seems sharp enough, so i'm pondering making something of it ;)

i joined the kid (who's guarding this weekend) for a quick bite, then i took the bus home, showered, dressed for the wedding, bought a card, drew cash for the gift, and took a taxi to azrieli. sammy and his wife picked me up from there, and we drove through to the wedding.

fabulous. beautiful place, good food, and the music was fantastic. the ceremony was something else. the opera from the fifth element was played to open, and then a hard-rock version of the imperial march was played as the groom strode down the aisle.

DAMN that was cool.

in jewish tradition, the groom breaks a glass at the end of the wedding to symbolize the destruction of the temple - we're supposed to remember that even in our happiest of times. as the glass was crushed, the rage against the machine song from the matrix came on - fucking AWESOME!

there was more good food, dancing (lots of songs from the muppets), and we all talked too much. all in all, it was a fun evening. on the way home, the guy who gave me a ride played jack johnson, which is superb music.

i went straight to bed when i got home. i don't have much else to do, anyway :P

i woke up slowly this morning, took laundry to the laundromat, paid my electricity bill, and have just spent two hours at work. i was making myself coffee, and picked up the sugar. which some dumb fuck hadn't closed properly. i still hadn't had coffee, and was cleaning up mounds of sugar from the floor. SWAK.

now it's back home to chill.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

home. sorta.

i was totally stressed all the way home. my heart thumping loudly in my ears, i retrieved my emergency pack and got to my front door. then walked in to find (what appears to be) everything in the living room.

nice!

unfortunately, at night it's even more apparent that everyone from the road can see straight through. fortunately, the accessible room can be locked down from outside, so that sorted out the primary security issue. and today i bought shower curtains and double-sided tape, so at least people won't know i'm home. there's not much to see, anyway :P

i set up my bed, missioned across to the old apartment to pick up plastic bags and a bath mat, spent an hour unpacking all the stuff i need for the next week, had a great shower (w00t! GREAT shower!), and then passed out.

this morning i had a cigarette on the balcony. the wall is even the right height for stretching :)

things really got hectic when i arrived on base. i didn't stop working the entire day - we're dealing with new tech, and it's fun but trying. lunch sucked balls. i got my final permission to leave the country!

i've arranged for an interview with the bull on thursday - he gets to decide if i'm allowed to think about transferring to the air force which i've been getting all excited about. that's made me awfully nervous :S

i left the base around 16.30 with nystire, and we got off almost an hour later at the hardware store, where i got some much-needed gear. then we missioned back to my new apartment. if i decide that i want to stay, and if the landlord doesn't have a problem with it, then i'll need a flatmate. and considering that new immigrant south africans get higher priority, he's a good choice - so i showed him the place, then he left and i came to work.

it's already been a productive evening, but now i'm about to attack the real work :P

Monday, June 12, 2006

kickin' ass for the lord!

i couldn't find a picture of the kung-fu preacher - that sucks. anyways, i finished my work for the night, and i had a long discussion with a disgruntled employee... i'd heard about him leaving, but now i've heard his side and i can totally identify. it looks like i won't have to deal with the same kind of shit he's had, but just in case, forewarned is forearmed.

home?

highly stressed, and oracle day


Service Oriented Architecture - so i can only assume that the japanese, chinese and koreans have a superior model.

last night i worked until 23.30, after a long chat with the boss. i've been posted as watchdog over our lead, as it's understood that i'm in a good position to review and modify his code. which is absolutely appalling. he could win a code-obfuscation contest without trying.

for example, it took me ages to figure out (i'm not too familiar with php) that he had received an array, assigned it to a temporary variable, modified the original array, used the results, then reassigned the temporary variable's array to the original one.

wow.

and that was an example from the things that kinda made sense...

they've upgraded the servers again, so i had to reconvert my now-modified code to 1.5. that took me over half an hour longer than expected, and was really frustrating. now i'm recoding half of it anyway due to another prior misunderstanding.

back to my life in cardboard boxes. by 22.30, i was super-stressed, and blazed out to catch the bus. i'd remembered to slide my card, but forgotten to press "exit", so it didn't count. swak. at least i got that sorted out this evening. but it didn't help my anxiety.

i got home, and spent an hour or so packing like a madman on speed. my mommy called, and her timing couldn't have been better: she gave me a better sense of perspective; i relaxed; i had a shower; i went to sleep.

i woke up at 6am today. i spent two hours finalizing the packing. i moved all my emergency must-haves for tonight to the storage room. i left seriously worried. you probably know how it is.

the oracle day was great. the first speech on israel's r&d spending was boring, the keynote on SOA was pretty cool, and the intel speech that followed was fun. and funny. of course intel wipes the floor with amd... using their own benchmarks.
no - shit.

the food was great, but the security was atrocious, and there wasn't enough seating. it was kinda infuriating. in normal society it may have been manageable, but israelis are pushy as hell and a large part of the lunch-hour was none-too-pleasant.

then it was time for the lectures. the java one was completely filled by the time we arrived, and we literally couldn't get through the door. so what was the point of registering for it specifically, then?? we went to the dba lecture instead. the first one was boring. the second one was simply cruel and inhumane. halfway through i opted for a break, and we went and found an ex-soldier who served in one of our support sections, harrassed him for a bit, and got some assistance in our army work. the kid and i couldn't stop smiling, because the whole thing was completely rediculous.

we made it into the central java lecture at 15.00, and although i kept nodding off, i was awake enough to get more than the gist of it. as much as the kid was laughing at me for sleeping, i had to explain the lecture to him afterwards (it was in british english, and the concepts were based on those i'd learned in university).
defensive copying IS important, and it's not very complicated to implement. i've just never thought about it before!

after the lecture we went with one of our new teammates, and a guy from our support section, to the beach, which was a lot of fun. i haven't played in waves since sa, and i missed the water :D

afterwards, the others left, and the two of us sat over a couple of breezers. we walked to the bus station, parted company, i put on socks and shoes, and took the bus to work (missing my stop, and walking a-ways).

there was a large group of teenage girls on the bus, some of whom were simply beautiful. too young! too young! and all i can think of is (hed)p.e. - amerikan beauty: "i'm going straight to hell".

i got to work all sandy and damp.

i made it just in time for a long, yet interesting meeting, and am now back to working on the problems from last night.

the mongoose made me very proud just now. we spoke on the phone, and he told me that after months of not arriving on time, he was finally caught this morning - he's being confined to base. his girlfriend's leaving on tuesday, and they'd planned a holiday starting tomorrow - so he wasn't too impressed. considering that he does the work of all the graphic artists in his section, and he works (IMO) WAY beyond what's required for the army, he told his TL that if he didn't defer the punishment to next week, he's going to stop working and request a transfer.

he got the deferment ^_^
good for him!

he's agreed to stop working so hard, though - which means i'll actually get to see him on base now and then. it's been a while since we so much as sat and had coffee together.

i'm so stressed, i can't focus on my work. i have no idea which apartment i'm returning to tonight. i have no clue if all my belongings are going to be sitting in the street, are stolen, or are broken. i'm even thinking of worst-case scenarios, like sleeping in the barracks if it's all gone. this sucks.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

nothing like 'net



friday morning i woke up, spent about 20 minutes barefoot on the grass with coffee and butter (butterfly net = cigarette), hurriedly dressed, got a ride from a cousin to afula, sat and got my tickets organized (all electronic, very cool), then bussed for two hours to get back home.

stopped at azrieli, did some shopping, then returned *home* home. from that point until last night, i was packing up my life. spot helped me out a lot - i really owe him one for that.

on friday night, the two of us went with s'belle to mike's place for supper. within five minutes s'belle managed to remind me why i promised not to go out with her again. good lord, i'm such an idiot! what the hell could possibly interest me in a stupid girl that young??

oh, yeah. that ass. dead sexy. needs a spanking. but it won't be getting it from me. HELL no.

got a ride from another friend from base, then passed out watching apocalypse now redux. woke up, went to be introduced to the storage facility, and saw the apartment. STUNNING, ENORMOUS apartment. only problem is it's completely accessable from the street, and the doors don't lock.

brilliant.

then i resumed packing, rejoined by spot. we finished around 10pm or so, then walked to the lizard. lots of american tourist kiddies, hysterical to watch. had quite a bit to drink, talked a lot, danced a bit, reminisced too much (:P), then walked home, showered, and crashed.

my apartment is so sad now.

this morning i was in such a hurry to pack everything for the base, that i forgot to bring pants for work. i organized some pretty cool shit in our systems*1, then the kid and i went to the givatayim mall for lunch. nando's with serious peri-peri - i almost cried, tears of joy ^_^

went past my soon-to-be old place, spoke with the movers, picked up my pants, then returned to base. spent the afternoon doing fun stuff, then came to work. now that i've gotten this out of my system, i can actually start grafting.

*1 up until today, in order to switch between our old systems and the new ones, we've had to run three different things each time, and personally keep track of which systems are currently available. so i sorted out that we only have to "flip a switch", essentially, and the second that's finished changing the environment, an active desktop block on the desktop updates to say which systems are activated. looks sharp!

*ahem* oh, right: the title of this post. i'm officially disconnected from the net for the next two months, so i'll only be updating from work. the conversation i had with the adsl provider this morning was quite funny: the girl didn't believe me when i told her i had a problem with understanding hebrew - "but you don't have an accent!"

*big thumbs up for me*

Friday, June 09, 2006

shoot the hostage!



aka

The Most Aggravating Bus Ride


right, so the next couple of hours were kinda fun:

1) i met the officer who presided over my first court-martial in 2002 - what a sweet girl! the guy who was commander during my first weekend of guard duty came to speak to her, so we ended up chatting for about 15 minutes about army stuff, and whether or not we should sign more years :P

2) sorted some things out, and had an interesting chat with my previous SC. looks like we've got some fun times ahead - it's great when your commanders (i'm referring to my current ones) give you enough free reign to actually do your job!

3) celebrated the birthday of one of the guys who was with me when i got beaten in the lizard in january (should i say "welcomed back to israel"?)

4) the kid and i jogged our section's new fridge up a few flights of stairs, then went off with a really cute girl to the shooting range.

the shooting range: awesome.

i spent the first quarter-hour sorting out entry permission for a group of girls, then about half an hour schmoozing with all the people at the range. entertaining :) and always nice to get more respect than the officers.

it's the first time i've used an m16 since basics, and it was a bit weird at first. two sessions of 10 rounds standing, 10 rounds squatting (day-time, then night-time), and i'd definitely gotten back the hang of it. then the video game started. 50 rounds, with terrorists popping out all over the place. i did okay, but they didn't appreciate me killing all the hostages, so i lost points :(

and you can't shoot the grenades, unlike normal video games. that sucked, i wasted ammunition on that :S
the funniest thing was reloading: i failed abysmally. in real life, you can't miss when inserting a magazine. i went crazy when my gun refused to fire - only to discover, once the lights were back on, that i'd managed to insert it halfway sideways, and from the left side it looked like it was inserted properly.

weird.

afterwards we visited mntns for a bit, then returned to base. i spent the next hour or so with a released friend who came back for a visit, then returned for a couple of hours of random work.

i got a call from our lead at 5pm telling me i had to come in. once i got there i discovered why: OF COURSE there were problems. it's a NEW server, WITHOUT JAVA INSTALLED. genious. so it took an hour sorting that shit out, an hour i really couldn't afford.

i hopped on the first bus, hopped off at the wrong stop, caught another bus that overtook the first, got off just in time to catch the third, which made it to the central station a few seconds before the bus i needed to get to afula.

having used up all my luck, the bus ride sucked. the soldier behind me had his shoes off, and his feet STANK the entire ride. not just that, but he kept accidentally setting himself alight - i shit you not - and the smell of burning flesh was untenable.

some guy got on and sat down opposite me, with a really cute and inquisitive jack russell. i scratched the dog's neck: the man flipped completely, and physically threw my hand away. i took out my earphone, looked him in the eye, and said: "you could have just told me not to touch your dog". he gave me a whole speech about not even letting his girlfriend pet his dog. i repeated what i said, then turned back, slightly shocked at his response. he spent the rest of the ride staring at me, holding his dog to his chest protectively.

wtf?!

then some guy got on, came up to me, and asked me if i was going to tiveria (tiberias, for the english-speakers). i said no, so he asked me where i was headed. i asked why, he told me he wanted to ask me a favour.

there i was, expecting him to ask me to wake him up at some stage - a fairly normal request on a bus.

"do you have a spare uniform for me?"

what - fucking - DRUGS - are you on? ignoring the fact that i would have to be pretty damn stupid to give my uniform to anybody, including people in my own team, i don't know this guy from a bar of soap, and for all i know he could be a terrorist! what's WRONG with these people?!?!

so i spent the entire trip on my guard because of these two freaks, and it took a while to get less-twitchy.

i bussed through to the kibbutz, was fed the only meal of the entire day (but a good one; fried eggs on toast), chatted a bit, then got dragged into signing up for a neat-looking sms marketing thing.

basically (sorry, but it's all in hebrew), it's a service that pays you to receive sms-ads. so here i was, filling in all sorts of details and things, and everything sounded groovy. then i got my cousin to read through the license agreement with me. most of it seemed alright, some of it a bit confusing. but here's the reason i didn't press submit:

"we reserve the right to provide your details to any company who purchases us, or partners with us to provide you service."

so if they partner with company X, who haven't promised me anything in the way of protecting my personal details, company X gets my name, birthdate, email and physical address, phone number, and a few other choice bits.

FUCK - OFF. no bloody way.

my cousin couldn't understand why spam bothers me. i eventually gave up trying to explain. some people just don't mind hanging up repeatedly, or wearing out the delete key.

i did get him interested in wikipedia, which he'd never heard of ;)

anyway, it's late, so now i'm going to fill in this post with pretty pictures, then turn in for the night.

oh - and i can't see the images for word-verification, so in response to today's comments:

thanks chitty :)

moonflake: you just made me smile. unfortunately, NIS 5000 isn't as useful as R5000. ignoring that negative note: there are definite benefits to having a REAL job, as opposed to all the crap i've been doing the last couple of years.

tell you what - if i manage to get involved in aerospace, i'm sending you an invitation to come and work with me ;)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

i don't remember!

just a quick update, on account of my home connection having been disconnected.

i was informed yesterday that i need to vacate my apartment on sunday. no pressure! at least i found some cardboard boxes lying around, and i've come up with a cunning plan to list all my belongings. and at least the bastards aren't expecting me to sort out the movers.

i also discovered that i was NIS5000 (R7500+-) short in my bank account. fortunately i managed to sort out that little misunderstanding this morning. it's always a beautiful morning when things work out and the weather is fine, AND i get to arrive on the base late - missing inspection ^_^.

and complete a mission in syndicate before breakfast ;)

i finally finished (i think) the primary app, today the lead sets it to run continuously, and in a few days we'll know how good the data is.

i also found out that tonight i have to go to the kibbutz, to visit the relatives and pick up my ticket. the timing is PERFECT, it means i leave tonight straight from the base (going past work if there're any problems), and i come back tomorrow morning. 4 hours on the bus just to say hi.

i am a six-foot stack of strained meat.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

not broke!!


i deposited my salary this morning - if my account is happy, *i'm* happy ^_^

at lunchtime i ran into a couple of guys i did my basic training with - turns out quite a lot of our group didn't follow through with the army's plan to have us sign on 3 extra years. nice ;)

that funky stuff from yesterday got even better, now we're in the middle of redesigning a particularly crap (and ancient) piece of code. and we're liking it.

work today was excellent - i finished with one of the cooler apps, after recoding it for java 1.4.2. i'm as comfortable using vi as i am notepad, and that impresses me no end.

i discovered a few really upsetting problems with the primary app, which i've hopefully sorted out. needs more testing tomorrow - i'm only ever ready to test once everybody's gone home...

i usually leave the office around 22.30, but my contract states until 23.00. so i suppose i don't really have much excuse to complain about my boss catching me on my way out and keeping me there another half an hour. i must admit, it wasn't a bad half-hour: i got him to understand the problems our lead programmer is dealing with, and i gave him a set of possible solutions which i'll go over with the lead tomorrow.

i got myself a beer on the way home. entered the stairwell, and realized that tonight there're no lights anywhere. i was praying right up until the moment i flipped my lightswitch - and to my relief, i didn't have to follow that action with loud swearing.

the finer things in life. almost bedtime!

Monday, June 05, 2006

with a solid beat in my head



totally covered in sweat, but today it's a good feeling.

why? what on earth could make being all sweaty alright?

i'll tell you.

today started off on a good note. then i hit the bus - i think i'd rather be late than get on that line again. we were crammed together in an extremely personal fashion, and on a hot morning, no air-conditioner can come to the rescue. there's a lesson learned right there.

i had a good laugh when i got to the base - hundreds of soldiers hiding around the corner because they were performing inspections at the gate. i don't see what's so hard about wearing all your required gear and keeping your shoes looking relatively clean... in the IDF, it's considered "cool" to look a mess. i'm so glad i'm too old for that shit.

i continued on my mission to read my emails - i'm down to less than 100 unread. and i've discovered a lot of things that i should've known at the time. figures i'd miss stuff if i couldn't read the memos.

lunch was alright, then i took siesta with s'belle... aside from a nap, i got some "rough 'n tumble" in (nothing too interesting, but it was fun), and a backrub to boot ;)

afterwards, the kid and i spent the afternoon "learning" about some funky possibilities. i rate we're going to be able to help out a lot of people with what we're doing in our systems. that's a good feeling.

a fun bus-ride to work, including making some headway with a foxy young 'un, and work itself was spunktacularly good. i finished a really big project, and have almost completed my primary one... i just need to check tomorrow that the data it told me it inserted into my database is correct. our new projects are looking really interesting, too.

just after i got to work, the other south-african contacted me. that news in potentia? it's a bit more in potentia. i'm rather excited; i had to work hard to keep myself under control ^_^

i left work with a sense of completion. now to shower and sleep. i feel like i deserve it :D

Sunday, June 04, 2006

no matches :(



i woke up at 5am this morning to run laundry, slept until 6.45, removed laundry - finding one of my rechargeable batteries that had gone missing (it's ruined now. i promise.) - and made my way to base. i ran into s'belle on the way... i'm not sure she really understands that i meant what i said about not being interested in anything more than sex. her problem, i made it clear :P

the kid and i were alone in the office today. i spent most of it clearing ancient emails, and during the afternoon we hit upon something that may make our lives considerably easier during the upcoming upgrade.

lunch sucked.

as usual, straight from army to work. i walked in on a rather interesting meeting, and got to put in my two-cents. i spent the rest of the evening working on a nifty app... almost finished, i plan on putting on the final touches before showering.

yogi informed me that the girl i've had stuck in my head since the wedding is unavailable. swak.

oh, well. no matches for me, then :P

ooh! i finally got my uniform pants replaced today - the new ones are spanktastic! also uniform-related: dress uniform SUCKS BALLS. in working uniform on base, i was comfy the entire day, and now that i've been travelling outside the base, i'm all sweaty and icky. swak.

a box of matches



yep. that's what it ultimately all comes down to.

we went through to yogi's parents' place, to meet and greet. i ran into that super-cute friend of the bride's, i'm going to have to get her phone number soon.

we then went off to the airport. one of the few things that's good about having soldier's id is not being harrassed by airport security. we spent an hour or two saying goodbye, and then i got a ride to the lizard. the point was to have a drink and say hi, but the mongoose was busy so i just had a beer and walked home.

now i'm about to shower, and sleep, and then my mundane existence restarts.

but i did buy myself two boxes of matches, just in case.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

KICKASS!!

we visited the newlyweds in their hotel, which was a well spent hour or two. we agreed to meet up later for x-men at the imax. YESSSSS...

and an extra-special thank you for the hint to remain until the end of the credits. we were shuffling through to the exit when i suddenly remembered, and began calling to the others "no!! WAIT!!! there's more!!". we then had to squeeze and fight our way back through the pushing, shoving masses to get back to our seats, but DAMN - that was worth it. i spent quite a while puzzling through the ramifications... that was well thought-out. respect!

SUCH a beautiful movie. totally styling. after the movie, we went through to a park for a while, and then spent the rest of the night at ru55's, just having a jolly good time and being remarkably silly.

around dawn SxS and i went back through to his place - this time i remembered to open the couch, and i slept really well. wake up and breakfast were great; we spent the afternoon at our friends in pituach, swimming and chilling.

*sniff*

now it's time to get going and say goodbye again.

Friday, June 02, 2006

hallmarks of a baby


look at the cute little pandas!

SxS's family prepared a FEAST last night. great food, and lots of it, and good company. after dinner we retired to the tv, where i passed out until 11.30am. apparently there were attempts to wake me, but those were blatantly unsuccessful.

i did switch couches around 8am, because i suddenly grew worried about my transformation to a pretzel. now i'm feeling a mite hunchback-ish, but having slept well (and plenty), i can honestly say that it doesn't bother me ;)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

"what a beautiful wedding"



absolutely STUNNING. pre-ceremony, just being with everyone was great, and the food was unbelievable. the ceremony itself was fantastic - yogi prepared a couple of videos which were rather touching, and the actual marriage was moving too. the celebration afterwards was simply insane. we all got wasted and spent hours and hours dancing, cheering, and jumping up and down with the newlyweds.

there's a side note about some of the bride's friends being absolutely stunning... i've made a mental note to try and get in touch :P

we all left around 4.30am, and i got a ride back to our friends in pituach. i spent a disturbing hour or so watching a documentary on the barbie doll industry. top gear is great. SxS rocked up and we spent some time talking while wading in the pool and mulching around in the grass before i finally crashed.

waking up was chilled. i discovered that the germans have this marmite-flavoured toothpaste. it's the SHIT. brilliant. looks aweful, though. we all went out for breakfast, and then SxS and i came back to his place. been chilling the afternoon, now it's suppertime. and i'm STARVING.