Saturday, June 30, 2007

hammered, but not smashed

i don't even have energy for a picture. i slept two hours, then j-girl arrived and we spent the day missioning around the city, in frightening heat and humidity and with really sore legs.

after a sweet yet icky day, i got home, showered and crashed. spot woke me up two hours later to go to his gran's for supper, and after a good meal we spent too long playing silly games (like the one referenced in the title).

i discovered that spot's sister's friend and i are sharing symptoms as far as the horrible coughing goes.

when i started passing out watching weird shit at our neighbour's apartment, i came up to go to bed. i am fucked up.

Friday, June 29, 2007

wisdom and padding feet

these are jack's lungs. jack's lungs are fully buttered and abused.

to run backwards through the events of the past 24 hours:

just bussed back home and showered, after really good iced-coffee at hdg's. i'm chewing gum that i grabbed earlier from a girl at the flame bar offering to her friend.

this was after sitting with her friend (my "date", as it were - bd) while she closed up shop, after the two of us had met up at the flame bar around 4.30.

until then i'd been sitting with spot, wr and ta2 at the cocktail room, listening to the second dj playing an incredibly eclectic selection of oldies interspersed with hip-hop, to which one of the sexier girls had removed her shoes and begun dancing in a fashion that could be described as vastly sexy and slightly adorable.

we'd come in from the flame bar, where i was visiting rockon and meeting a girl who turned out to be friendly with people from the programme i was on in '98, in addition to her cute friends. the kid left us about halfway through our visit.

the flame bar was our second stop, the cocktail room being the first.

between the two we said goodbye to spot's sister and friend after organizing freshly squeezed fruit-juice that didn't merely hit the spot, it impacted causing it to explode into a million pieces. we were all too full from such a large quantity of liquid to move, let alone drink some more.

it's great having ta2 back, we let him know just how bad his replacement was and did a bit of socializing before heading out again to continue with the "white night" deal.

i haven't mentioned how much drinking and smoking was being done for a reason.

we walked down rothschild, viewing all the strange people and shows (and ogling all the pretty girls), and lost csn and her friends just before we turned off the road.

we stopped by the hdg's work to eat, and the hot dog i took damn-near killed me. it was way too much food after the run.

spot's sister proved to be just as clumsy as spot, after spot proved incapable of opening beer-bottles gracefully.

we walked from our building to king george as soon as the kid got home. i'd just showered after getting home from the run, and i'd gotten home disgusting. i believe (i haven't got access to the results) i managed the 5km run in half an hour, even though i'm sure that i walked about half a click when i began to feel dizzy. i'm still proud of myself for managing relatively comfortably without any training and having been feeling sick and stuffy for the last couple of days (especially this morning).

my primary mistake was trying to keep pace with a friend of mine who's obviously been working on this run. the first kilometre was fine, but after that my body began drifting and squealing and i had to slow down.

i started the race with kc's sister and a couple of friends from university, after having been abandoned by my team-mate and missing the start for the 10km race which i'd signed up for. huh, that would've made for an amusing story.

tahoma and i spent some time with spot in our neighbour's apartment, after putting on our spanky new shirts in ours. we'd walked there after registration, and i found out at the end of the race that we'd actually had a choice of shirts, and because they didn't tell us we got given the "regular" ones and not the unit ones. and the unit ones were nice.

i'd run into him while registering, which i got to on time after changing post-cafeneto, where i'd eaten a serious meal to prepare for the exercise (you're supposed to eat about two hours before). spot joined me and we chatted about NM.

everyone passed out on the shuttle to tel aviv, one of the guys actually missed his stop and i had to direct him back - it sucks when that happens.

by the end of the day i was using the tool i'd written, and i'm an extremely satisfied user. especially because all of the current problems reside with the application the tool is meant to test, so nystire and i are in the clear.

i spent the whole day (that i was on base, at least) working on the tool and feeling wasted from the lack of oxygen and possible throat / chest infection i'm nursing. in the meeting that i missed in the morning the tool had received extremely high praise - i think that praise is even more deserved now that the "about" dialog box contains an easter-egg displaying a picture of the dick who wrote the first version in a pink dress, clapping his hands with a silly look on his face and captioned (by me) "good job".

i arrived late to base, had a really good chicken-breast and eggplant-spread roll for brunch. at 6am i'd set my alarm for 6.15, and all i remember is waking up unhappily around 9pm. and fighting with a bus driver over the amount of time that a vehicle with an official frequency of 20 minutes should not exceed.

like a minute.

back to the present: i'm completely bombed and my body aches tremendously.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

plumbing problems

that's how the day began :/
spot just fixed our shower with a plunger, though, and i'm well impressed.

the rest of the problems concerned me spilling black coffee all over myself...

twice.

that was just shameful. and i spilled in all sorts of strategic places.

i was late this morning, and considering that i began typing this at 1.30 after having had a beer too many i'll be late tomorrow again. at least i'm pretty much done with the work for the week. after a mad rush when i got in, nystire and i managed to have a presentation version on time, and by the end of the day i had pretty much all the bugs panel-beaten out.

and i made it stylish ^_^

so that took us a total of two days, as opposed to months that that idiot spent providing us with useless trash.

i went with nystire to azrieli, and then with him to meet his brother on our original primary base. we split up on the way out, after arguing over the word "mediocrity" (they were convinced that the word was "mediocracy", i tried to explain that that's something else), and i walked in the searing, sticky heat (goddamn AWFUL) to dizengoff, where i bought myself a huge, hard pillow and the first album from fools of the prophecy (shotei ha'nevua), then waited half an hour for the cramped bus home.

i would've made it faster walking, but it was too hot and the shop next to the stop had its doors open with the aircon blowing out full blast. very conservation-aware.

i spoke to j-girl, who's apparently serious about coming here this weekend, then hurriedly change, grabbed a pillow and walked to rabin square.

the pillow fight was intense, and great exercise for tomorrow evening's 10km race. the girl whose number i got the other night (hot-dog girl, hdg), her boyfriend and another friend came to join in the fun, and after we'd all beaten each other up (all soaked and wasted) we went back to my place so that i could shower, and then to her and her boyfriend's place.

stunning apartment.

we sat chatting for a while, then met up with hdg's boyfriend's super-cute and awesome sister and another friend, then a german and a swede, and went to the flame bar.

fun evening, but i had to go early :(

i shuttled back home, caught the kid and spot with our neighbour and a couple of her friends, had a good laugh, then finally came home to be a good netizen before bedtime.

DONE. (in half a hour, i blame the pictures [removed] and the fact that my regular host is down)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

rated r

Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

* asshole (3x)
* sexy (2x)
* bastard (1x)

don't worry moonflake, this can't be for real!

a_is_for


a is for...

so today was spent suffering the aweful heat of the outside world or the totally ice-cold refrigerated indoors.

the shuttle driver didn't answer my calls this morning, when i was calling him to tell him not to pick me up at the agreed rendezvous. so everyone got agitated about being late and waiting in the heat. the driver was pissed off for getting lost in tel aviv.

i was feeling a tad achy when i arrived, so i napped for half an hour. incredible sleep, even though it was cut short. i remember dreaming strange dreams that made me happy.

i worked the whole day on our artful project in visual basic 6. just before the day was out, i wrapped up... only to discover that one of the primary functions (external to the application itself) doesn't work correctly, and after wasting half an hour tonight it looks like we'll have to export it to .NET in the morning.

the only problem is the time constraint - we have to present it at 9am, fully operative.

nystire came to tel aviv with me to say goodbye to the last of the birthright visitors, only we suffered from a similar miscommunication as with the keys (same girl) and he and his fiancée went home having wasted missioning in the middle of a super-heated evening.

this heat-wave is frightening. i returned home slightly aggravated, and sat attempting to consoling our neighbour who's just broken up with her boyfriend.

this is me, angry and aggressive. if i see this guy again things aren't going to remain verbal.

i did some apoplectic 'netting for our awesome project and myself, the soldier from birthright is sleeping on the couch, and i'm finally getting into bed after the good, heavy meal the kid prepared.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

true friends

<asshole>,

I cannot describe in words just how offensive your email is, and just how offensive I find you. To try to put it into perspective for you, I've decided to respond to your mail in the traditional way, piece by piece. I don't actually expect you to read the whole thing, because you're in the same boat as you've put him in: you can't
AFFORD to listen to me.

But even if I'm right, I'm going to take this opportunity to add this to the collection of things that I'll be passing around to all my friends and family as an example of what to be aware of.
You might want to read it just so that you know what I'm saying about you and NM in general.


Dear <totalwaste>,
You were deeply insulted last Thursday, and I am sorry for that.
You were invited the opening of <daddy-o>'s business. You were in the company of his best friends and family!!! (that is a good thing)

You're absolutely right. Part of the mechanism for keeping the memeplex of NM alive is to get people to push it on those they care about. If you're not familiar with the word "memeplex", I'd suggest looking it up.
The clever thing about this mechanism is that the people closest to you will feel guilty and disloyal for not playing along, and will give you the attention that you need to fool them. I'm not stupid enough to fall for the trap. I will take my chances that I'm offending you, so as to protect the people that *I* care about: something you were simply not capable of doing.


and the fact that you were insulted was not intentional. And yet you decided to deliberately insult and hurt your friend. What kind of person does something like that?

You have judged me, and you have judged me wrong. Not only do I *not* want to hurt my friend, nor insult him, but I don't want to hurt anyone else. The person who has hurt <daddy-o> is YOU, by convincing him to enter into a business which relies on everyone around him demonstrating a lack of wisdom and playing along. You have convinced him to throw down hard cash for something which relies on his skill (and yours, apparently) in sales.

By the way, here's a little treat for you, as you obviously didn't study any basic business courses in a real educational institution:
Marketing is NOT sales. Marketing is constructing a product based on the needs and desires of the target population. The NM is a nasty memeplex that employs severe Christian missioning to SELL just another "fabulous" product out of Utah to any unfortunate person who's not willing to fact-check the great and powerful speech that's been delivered to him.

So well done, you got <daddy-o> to pay good money to become a salesman to people he cares about. That's really nice of you. This is called "using your friends", not being a friend. I try to be a friend, and I promise you that if I had heard that <daddy-o> was planning on getting involved I would've told him the same things I tell any of my friends, because unlike you I actually CARE about what happens to him.

If you were to open a Chinese restaurant and <daddy-o> came to eat, and didn't like the food, he would not go and write to all his friends about how bad the restaurant is. Think about it... Friends do not act like that.

The first person I would expect <daddy-o> to tell would be ME, so that I could improve my restaurant. And until it improved, I would NOT expect him to keep it a secret from his friends. Good example! See, your definition of "friend" appears to need some work.

I know that it is a mistake to reply, but I decided to write this letter because I think that you do not understand the magnitude of your actions.

It definitely wasn't a mistake to reply, I'm glad that I have the opportunity to let YOU know that I don't blame <daddy-o> for making a mistake, I blame YOU for not being wise enough to take his future into real consideration.

Everyone else in the room found the presentation very interesting and stayed until mid-night. Maybe if you had an open mind, you might have learned something... and maybe not.
I am very sorry that you have such strong feelings about the NM industry. Maybe you should look it up a bit before you make such harsh statements and hurt your friends (if you consider them friends). Putting "pyramid scams" and Network Marketing in the same sentence, shows ignorance. And saying that the product is not important shows that you where not listening at all.

The word is "pyramid scheme", but I like your version better. I do have an open mind, which is why I stayed as long as I did. I love your assumption that I've never been to a presentation like yours before, not only have I sat through and considered a few of them, but I've heard far more intelligent and less aggressive and arrogant versions. Maybe they just had more self-confidence (I know I'm not supposed to be helping you with pointers, but whatever). You might be more successful if you stop being so defensive, but then you just might realize that what you're doing is wrong, so never mind.

If the product was important you would've focused more on it, but as I've said, you're just selling Yet Another Wonderful Utah Product. It isn't the product that works, it's the investment and the sense of loyalty: it's not a stupid memeplex, they're incredibly cleverly designed and have been refined over millennia. It's called religion. That's probably a big concept for you, I don't expect you to get it right away. But if it suddenly hits you twenty years down the line, please let me know!

As far as you're concerned the biggest problem is that I WAS listening, and that I actually understood what it was I was hearing. Thanks for reminding me.

The fact is, that you blocked out everything from the beginning, you didn't listen to a word that was said (I know because your letter is a long list of messed up quotes and facts, that are based on your interpretation and not on reality).

You really should learn to be more cynical, it's excellent incentive when it comes to finding out real data. You made and continue to make claims that fly in the face of truth. Misrepresentation is your friend, and either you're exploiting it or you're simply not educated enough to handle fallacies.

The following link will take you to a site explaining the logical fallacies with nice examples. Everyone should read them over once or twice, it's truly enlightening.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

<daddy-o>: MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THEM.


If it was so hard for you, you should have left. You were rude, selfish, and inconsiderate. You didn't stop interfering (with the notes and interruptions). And on top of that you left in the middle for a break and didn't stay until the end.

I do not recall agreeing to sit in a lecture, be lied to to my face, and to be treated with contempt. You're doing the selling, I'm supposedly doing the buying (although I'm not stupid enough for you), don't you DARE act as if I'm beholden to you in any way.

You've already fucked over one friend of mine, and you have the audacity to belligerently talk to me about respect and loyalty? You disgust me.

You know <daddy-o>, and you know that he is a smart guy. Give him the credit he deserves and don't insult his intelligence by writing such an opinion based letter.

Being intelligent does not make a man wise, and wisdom comes with experience. Unfortunately we all learn from the "University of Life", and I hope that <daddy-o> doesn't come to too much grief learning this one.
The problem with you is that you're too closed-minded to view anything that I say as more than opinion. Are you aware of the ongoing argument about Creation Theory (Intelligent Design) and the Theory of Evolution (Darwinism)?

When you don't know anything you can easily call anyone an idiot.


Who the hell do you think you are? Putting yourself above the rest of the world. Are you that arrogant and cocky? Almost every word you wrote was false, and you have the audacity to tell others what to do.
What kind of friend are you if you don't even trust your friends to make there own decisions. Who died and made you god?

Wow. Where do I begin?

1) I'm a friend of <daddy-o>'s.


2) Not above the rest of the world, with the rest of the world and above you.


3) Arrogant and cocky, yes. Uncaring and willing to defraud my friends? No.


4) I contend that every word that comes out of you with regards to this issue is false. Let's see who wins a contest that nobody's judging.


5) I never told ANYONE what to do. Except for you, but that'll come later
*.

6) I trust him to make his own decisions, when they're
well-informed. Lucky for you there wasn't anybody to keep you in check before he could toss good money into the garbage. And that garbage was refilling YOUR wallet. It's his fault, or even my fault that you made a mistake?

7) I could ask you the same thing. Now you've put him in an awkward situation, and he has to WORK to get his cash back. You can spin this deal however you like, we all know how hard it is to recuperate that loss. This ain't easy money, there isn't any such thing.

You have no idea who I am, but you know <daddy-o>, give the respect that he deserves, and before you start insulting his friends, maybe you should ask him.

I know <daddy-o>, and I have not disrespected <daddy-o> (although you've managed to convince him otherwise, you're simply a better salesman than I care to be**), and I don't need to ask him when his "friends" send me such wonderful communication.

I did not address the personal issues, because I refuse to lower myself to your level. For some reason <daddy-o> still considers you a friend and I will respect him.

Personal issues? Let's see what comes next:

I hope that you find happiness and that you learn a little bit about human relations, sensitivity, tact, respect and manners.

Human relations: obviously something you're an expert at.
*COUGH* You conniving bastard *COUGH*
Sensitivity: You're right. I shouldn't be so sensitive.
Tact: The only reason you'd like me to be more tactful is because it would serve your purposes, I'm not interested in bandying about and playing games, or helping you take advantage of my friends.
Respect: your blatant disrespect for the truth and your friends' quality of life serves as a great example. Speaking of which, did he tell you anything about me or my history before you began talking down to me and talking badly about me to him behind my back?
Manners: My mother always taught me to fly straight and to not screw other people over. And one doesn't need to be polite to people who offend you in the worst ways possible, and try to pit your friends against you. So no, I don't need to show you manners.

I wish you all the best,

Sure you do.

<asshole>

* Get Stuffed.

** <daddy-o>: You've known me long enough that you should understand exactly how I feel about you. Don't let this idiot make you think any differently.

Monday, June 25, 2007

a *normal* day



my mommy's contribution after we discussed the whole NM thing:
Note from the Consumer Awareness institute: As the predominant religion in the state of Utah, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has more than its share of members Latter-day Saints (LDS) involved in MLM/network Marketing, both as participants and as founders and promoters of such programs. While not all MLM's based in Utah are LDS owned, it is assumed that the majority are controlled by Latter-day Saints. Whether or not that is the case, Utah provides a case study in who profits and who loses in MLM.

One contributor says that the best way to deal with these people is to give them $20 to make them go away – you treat it as buying peace and tell them you have now paid for your freedom from harassment.


not that it's not obvious where the memeplex comes from (and it seems my guess about the mormons wasn't a lonely fart in the wind), but if everyone would take a second to think of it all as Yet Another Religion then we can slot it all into the right place.

today was spent dealing with the arrogant prick who's been causing our section grief the last couple of weeks. at least it's been fun taking him to task, and i enjoyed spending my extra hours productively. i don't think he'd care if we took him down a notch, the big deal will be getting our commanders to notice his idiocy.

and the sushi lunch was filling and entertaining.

and now it's time to go out... the guy in charge of the shuttle to base has agreed to add a stop for me, so it should be less pressured in the morning (and easier to deal with my hangover).

good virii

an amusing email that i had to deal with a week or two ago:

<a family friend> suggested I contact you. <business and personal details> I'm a 1-man business, and have spent 6-7 weeks completely stopped by this problem - costly.

I have this problem to which you may just have a solution - I have acquired a very clever virus / malware. Entirely my own fault - I opened an attachment from someone I thought I recognized, and anyway I had all those anti-virus and anti-spyware didn't I... It did apparently nothing and then...

After a week my computer slowed down and showed some anomalies - strange programs running, undeletable files etc. and interrupts using up nearly 99% of my CPU time (sysinternals Process Explorer). It also was "phoning home" to unknown or dead URLs. I downloaded a number of anti-spyware / anti-rootkit / anti-malware programs and none of them detected anything at all.

Finally I "shredded" my hard-drive with an often-recommended program. I "flashed" the BIOS with the manufacturer's latest BIOS version. I re-formatted and installed Windows XP-home from the manufacturer's original disk (<pc details>) The virus already had 3 copies in subdirectories when the install finished.

In desperation I bought a brand-new hard-drive and formatted that with the same original disk. Same result, only this time 5 copies.

The virus seems to reside in the motherboard BIOS AND in the hard-drive BIOS and I'm told in the Graphics-card BIOS. All these BIOSs are in fact flashable by the CPU.

Conspiracy theories abound surrounding this "virus" - the American Homeland Security wrote it - the Mossad wrote it - the NSA wrote it - it is targeted at specific computers - it is a quaternary virus (made up of 4 parts) and one part comes built in to the BIOS - it goes on and on. It has even been suggested that my (quite weak) security for my <business> software has been broken and my software used in Iraq. I find this hard to believe since it is actually very easy to <business detail>, so why bother with me and my rather-complex software.

I actually don't care who wrote it (I immensely admire the authors for a VERY clever professional virus that hides brilliantly)

Being an engineer who creates or fixes things others have broken, I take sides between Israel and the Arabs based on who creates and who destroys, which appears to come very heavily down for the Israeli side. Apart from which, <family friend> is a real <the jewish word for "good man">, and I have known him for 23 years now.

One of the rumors that I pin my "last hope" on is that there is an Israeli anti-virus system which is sold all over the world, but only the versions sold in Israel will actually remove this particular virus???

Would you know anything about this virus / malware? I cannot even find its name with reliability, but it has been suggested as "Handyman". And would you know about anti-virus that might fix it and how I could obtain a made-in-Israel copy (or any copy that would work). I can send money by any route you might suggest.

Sorry to go for so long, but this problem baffles me and is costing me lots of time and energy.

Hoping you can help

average joe


PS
The virus has distributed itself over my local LAN to several machines, and I really don't want to replace them all completely, which seems to be the only fix at the moment.

A short story... A friend, good with chip-repair, was given a "virused" hard-drive. He started copying the virus from the hard-drive, and the virus "spotted" him doing this, so it moved itself. He tried to stop this by disconnecting the write and erase heads of the drive. The virus "saw" this, erased the BIOS and upped the voltage on the 3.3v disk CPU chip to 15 volts, blowing the top off it! VERY clever.


my response to the world:
this whole "israeli army" / "mossad" bullshit is just some more propaganda for a virus that was probably written by some pakistani cs student experimenting.

PLEASE STOP PROPAGATING SENSATIONALISM. the kind of things this guy wrote to me about sound like something out of bad science fiction. it's a virus, maybe even a particularly clever / well thought-out one, but nothing more. the mossad has better things to do with its time, in case anyone forgot we're been in the middle of a war for about 60 years now.


thank you, good night :P

Sunday, June 24, 2007

chores



what made me so aggressively negative towards waking up this morning? i slept well, and enough, but all i recall is slamming my alarm clock off and rolling over. that just lead to waking up shocked and horrified at 9am.

the kid might've noticed on his way out, except that i generally keep the doors closed when i leave the apartment - no more.



speaking of the kid, his replacement arrived today! i'm a grandfather once again ^_^
apparently the new kid already rates higher than piles, so it's a start...



i was still upset about my previous TL this morning, and part of our fight last night inspired the following:

blame
grease seeping from under my fingernails
oozing out from beneath my skin
short, ragged, steaming breath
grey, grainy tears
dark strands swaying between my teeth

blackening me
oily ugliness
guilt
lies
twisted sickness

fake, friendly smiles
groping affectionately
gripping tight
easing across the taint

until pure again


that reminds me: when spot and i arrived home last night, we found our neighbour sitting outside with her new mate. when she joked about not saying anything embarrassing, i came really close to bawling: "awww, but i thought it was *my* turn to sleep with you tonight".

that wouldn't have been very nice.



today was j-girl's birthday, so i called her up. we had a bit of an awkward conversation, but she called me back later for a relatively normal one. now if only something could just happen already.

we had a highly amusing moment in the office today, i've drawn it roughly but i think i'll wait until tomorrow to post it. there was no reason whatsoever for me to write that ;)

i worked late, came home, had spot's good coffee after chatting with my mum, hung out the laundry, showered, and am now about to clean the bathroom and do the dishes. on the way back from the base i drew out a list of chores for each of us, and it's already filling up.

a quick political recap

eye to eye


today began with 300, and i am PISSED that i didn't see it on the big screen. they made bullet-time cool again. fantastic film.

i spent the day chilling, not even venturing to the pool, and around 6pm left and bussed back to tel aviv.


i was about to enter the shower after getting home when my previous TL called. i don't think i've ever had such a terrible screaming match in hebrew, and we continued fighting until he realized that he couldn't persuade me to feel bad about letting people know about the ordeal.

the kid made a point far better i did in my rant: the worst part of the NM method is that once you've been had, you're obligated to involve your friends and family, and so incorporate them into the great memeplex whereby you risk lots of capital to invest in becoming a salesman.

and you risk your social relations too. let's just say we're not really on good terms at the moment. but i will NOT stand by and let anyone take advantage of people i care about.

after the phone call, i showered, dressed and went off to spot's sister's place, and we went with her friend to have coffee and shoot the breeze for a while. spot and i walked home arguing (in the positive sense of the word), and it's now past bedtime.

hey: it's always past my bedtime :P

Friday, June 22, 2007

in anticipation of rest



spot helped me with a quick clean-up, and i managed to get to the kibbutz within two hours! yay!

i've been chilling the whole afternoon, wasted lots of time online, and now it's time to waste some more in the real world.

that's just how *i* feel!

rant: death (of / to) a salesman

every pyramid scheme, "network marketing" plan or whatever happens to be the word of the day tries to convince naive idiots that it's different, more sophisticated, a sure thing and timed better than anything else.

it's all the same shit. nobody cares about the product itself and you have to spend a certain amount of time post-investment running around bullshitting other idiots in order to recuperate your loss. it's an archaic form of viral marketing that preys on the innocent to produce diseased minds in a world already suffering from a surplus of epic proportions.

the three topics that i'm covering here are product, pitch and sucker.

product
<company name deleted post argument and due to irrelevance>'s vitamin booster "technology" (we love that word. it's like "scientific"). the claim: a miracle cure for all your woes. it's a fucking vitamin supplement, claiming a new - patents pending, of course - "delivery mechanism" that you can gulp down or use as a lubricant. apparently it's "fun" to consume and tastes okay, although i refused to try it without seeing the list of ingredients and i was highly suspicious.
i kept wondering if they're using a substance that increases gullibility and tones down intelligence, and i couldn't suppress the urge to ask if there was silver-nitrate in it - it is from the alternate reality of the "wellness" industry after all, straight out of the NM juggernaut of utah. don't mormons come from utah?

and no, i'm not bothering to check out their website, because that's not actually the point of this rant.

apparently it's everything from herbal ecstacy to natural viagra to the first truly effective and healthy diet-drug. and of course, this actually worksTM. amazing!
and it comes in stylish "pharmacologically advanced" packaging that will not only attract attention (and stray cruise missiles) but can actually be used as a prophylactic measure too!

wonderful!

pitch
a 1.5 hour history lecture, a lesson covering economics and marketing from the NM perspective (of course, now being taught in all self-respecting universities, "including harvard" [i'm really quoting]) - that misinterprets and misrepresents the fundamental principles of those fields in a manner that left me and my business degree feeling strained and violated.

i guess i could have used some of that lubricant.

i'm going to ignore for the moment that whether the guy pitching is aware of it or not he spent every gosh-darned gum-flapping moment LYING*. i'd rather focus on the age-old art of salesmanship, the curse of the gift of gab upon anyone slightly educated and with more than two brain-cells to rub together.

I HATE SALESMEN. i had the great fortune of growing up with a father who truly was one of the best. anyone who knows me knows that i didn't care very much for him (my understatement of the year), but his ability was, in my experience, not only undeniable but unparalleled, and it gave me an advantage in life: much like peter parker, i have an extra sense (slimey sense) that warns me when in the presence of a crap-flinger.

you want to see me get aggressive? bring on your "talk to convince" and your dale carnegie. speak enthusiastically yet vaguely, say things not immediately provable that sound wonderful and fantastic, give me all your personal experiences and tell me again how your sister got up out of her wheelchair and walked after years of prayer had gone unheeded, and avoid answering my questions.

and keep reminding me of how you're doing *me* a favour by letting me in on your big secret. you're my hero, my knight in shining armour.

sucker
this for me is the painful part. that's right, get your claws into someone i know and trust, and convince them to covertly call me over under pretense of including me in a new and promising venture.

i've had a long week, and getting all the way to his place, burning a hole in the seat, and angrily storming my way home cost me five hours of my life that i can never reclaim.

I NEEDED THAT SLEEP, and instead i wasted energy being agitated, frustrated, and feeling a deep sense of betrayal.

i cannot understand how these morons achieve such a high level of audacity: you've lied to me, wasted my time, and on top of that you ask me to hold my questions for the end, be respectful, and then act affronted when i bail early? i have to take all this drivel? on whose authority?

oh, yeah - and my favourite part of it all... the message i received this morning.

"DON'T TELL ANYONE!"


ps. i am shocked and horrified that spot remained, and that at least on some level has fallen for this "new and different" shit.

* when i reached my first boiling point and opened my mouth, he swore to me that i was about to hear about something i'd never come across before - i checked him on that loudly and abrasively.

and when i called him on it later, after he'd pretty much gotten to the point, he merely shrugged it off. i could've hit him. i don't actually know what held me back.

sound control



i convinced the kid to join me, but we had to rush because the girl with my keys was being problematic.

i stressed for nothing, because she has a communication disability. on the way to the flame bar to get them from her we walked past a crazy street-party - awesome trance and the corner of rothschild and allenby was packed with stomping people! it was the messiah tank at work, so every couple of tracks they stopped to blow the shofar :P

oh, and i ran into one of the soldier girls from birthright; i promised to call her today because i forgot that i'm going up north :$

serendipity: as the kid and i were about to walk past two girls, one of them turned to me to ask directions - she turned out to be spot's sister on the phone with her brother who'd just told her to ask someone in the street. she was more shocked to see me than i her. she brought along a really sexy friend.

the wii party at the cocktail room SUCKED. not only did i not get a chance to play, but the dj replacing ta2 for the week was horrible. absolutely horrible.

the austrian girl was there, and she also brought a sexy friend. i split my time between the two sets of girls, but dancing with spot's sister's friend was way more fun (close and personal, so not really dancing as such). when we were dancing, and not being annoyed with the dj or staring with horrified fascination at some overly-drunk fool who was dancing in the most extremely effeminate way. nobody around the bar felt safe from him, 'cause oddly enough his behaviour didn't belie his sexual orientation, kind of like a transvestite who likes women.

and oh, how his friends cheered him on. those aren't friends, buddy.

oh, and the entire night spot's sister and her friend were taking photo's of me, and they're really, really aweful ones - my eyes are really sensitive to light, enough so that if i know that a flash is going off soon i can't not shut them :/

we left the bar and fell into another one - i'd heard about the open-air bar during the last week and we found it. nice place, we ran into the ex-secretary of our (meaning all us flatmates) first team, and had an extremely silly and fun hour or two.

and now it's almost 11am, and i've gotta hurry to clean up the zoo and get packing!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

sphincter teaser



i'm not sure if my alarm went off this morning, but i had to scramble to get ready and rush off to the base. i somehow managed to get there in a reasonable amount of time.

my poem for the day:

collapse
The soft crush of silence
Torn hollow
Seeping, sticky, solidifying
'til gravelly concrete pours and sets
Eyes seeing, but blind
Ears hearing, but deaf

Just gently drawing breath
A chrysalis in a stone cave


lunch was distressing. i sat with our two special soldiers, who i've complained about in the past, and had to listen to the two of them discussing other people's faults. there's nothing i detest more than clueless people who are incredibly judgemental.

i napped a bit after lunch, but most of my day was dominated by working with the half-finished app. it was... grounding.

we had a quick munchie meeting in the afternoon, after which i spent 45 minutes chatting with the cute captain and her replacement - at least some of the guys have realized that i'm more mature than the soldiers in mandatory service.



i came up with a new word for asshole while shouting at one of the guys in my section, and combined with jokes about the "bang bus" made the end of the day a great improvement. that picture's most appropriate for the coming rant, i think i'll use it again.

i had trouble organizing to get my keys before leaving for my ex-commander's, so i went straight to spot's work to watch him fumbling a deadline. i had some time to draw. his co-worker gave us a ride, and forced me to listen to 500 miles at top volume. that sucked.

*rant in the pipeline*

pissed off, i left his place around 10pm, had a fight with the kid over the plans for the next while, and took the forever bus to get home. i am *pissed off* (as i said, i'll rant when i have time), and am now hopping in the shower then rushing off to the cocktail room.

i need a drink.

leaving the building



the expression for the day:
cockblocking by omission

it turns out that the girl from the bus did rock up at the party, and nystire didn't think to inform us.

i ate too much food for lunch, had a decent-ish half-day's work*, then left for tel aviv with nystire. after a long and amusing conversation with the cute captain, i got to our fully charged zoo to change, had a cigarette break with our neighbour, and then we all went to harrass sunshine by using up eight of our free drinks at cafeneto - that was a considerable amount of cash.

after a long walk we arrived at zinc for dinner. israeli manners leave much to be desired, and everybody except the medic was happy to eat like polite, civilized human beings. not only did she argue with us (and make a bit of a scene, freaking out the manager), but just as we were done and getting ready to leave her friend arrived... and ordered food.

so we all got stuck there, steaming not-so-quietly until she was finally done and we could get the bus home. instead of home we decided on movie-ing, but either way we would have run into songbird and her friend, on their way to pick up her cellphone which she'd left in the previous bus.

movie-ing was movie-ing, just a little louder than usual, and i ran into an old friend just as we were leaving. she's convinced me to come to the alumni's get-together on the 3rd.

a slow walk home, i just shaved my beard, and i think i trimmed it too short - this could be problematic. we're now saying goodbye to our guests, before i learn how to operate facebook efficiently and then crash.

* including printing out a poster saying "smoker's corner" and posting it on a door that leads to a three-storey drop.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

belligerently so



so that's what i was thinking of when i woke up this morning.

after i woke up yesterday, i let the zoo back into my apartment. even until now the only serious complaint i've had is that someone trailed a bit of black goo on the floor last night, but a single offense can be overlooked - although this means that we'll need to clean the apartment before i leave on friday, and that's going be difficult post-party...

we all took a bus to allenby: there was a really cute girl on the bus and i kept catching her eye, and the australian with us noticed her as well. as we got off the bus i convinced him to go after her, and he caught up with her and invited her to join us *just* as her boyfriend came around the corner - highly amusing :)

the guys ordered serious food, and while waiting i went to my coffee where i walked in on the barrista having a moment - some guy came in and reminded her most unpleasantly of a friend of his who she'd worked with, who'd spat and cursed at her. it made me think of the old asshole who spat on me during the disengagement, and i tried to cheer her up before ordering - at least the coffee was good (and i got chocolate syrup when they discovered that i'm a soldier ^_^).

nystire and i sat with the waitress at the first place while the others ate. i'd commented on her tattoo; apparently at age 16 her mother gave her NIS 1000 and told her to get one done, and she'd simply selected something at random and done it.
WOW.
so a few years later and she just wants to get rid of it, and it's large and on the front of her shoulder - tricky.

we walked to flame, although the girls staying here both got inked yesterday (one of them on her foot) so they took a cab.

the flame bar was great. a bit difficult to move around as usual, but i had a lot of fun and met a bunch of interesting and cute girls. too many of them have boyfriends, though.

lots of drinking and dancing later, and i mean LOTS of drinking and the music was mostly good, and we discovered who'd had too much on the way out. both of the girls staying here were in a bad way, and that made things a tad uncomfortable. i've never been good at handling drunk people, and trying to keep the peace was a mission and a half. and the australian took the brunt of it.

i woke up to discover that nystire had left already, i've just ascertained that he managed to get to base and is doing the most horrible work - what i'll have to do as well when i get there, but i'll have slept some. that sucks for him.

spot and i just sat outside over a cigarette, and came up with a plan to improve the situation. or at least figure out exactly who does what, because when it comes to chores none of us ever agrees on anything. and now it's time for me to get to work. this holiday was SUCH a good idea!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

hanging



there were a couple of things i forgot to mention yesterday.

1) sammy has a new daughter! congratulations!

2) ladder theory is to blame for my problems with vision. i am an asshole.

waking the dog wasted a few precious minutes this morning, and i was so completely bombed that every one counted :S

i passed out as soon as i stumbled into my office, to be woken by nystire for coffee no 1. that was a springboard for the walk to get a sandwich and coffee no 2. after downing that while being taunted by the living, we had a meeting with our commmander in which he shuffled my priorities. again. afterwards, i got permission to take a day's leave (to sleep), and banged out as much work as possible before making my escape around 1200.



i was reminded of the story of my niece's third attempt at getting her driver's license: she couldn't understand why the tester was aggravated, and her defence was "but he's just a bergie!"...

i was waiting for the bus when a friend from base got into a car for a driving lesson. i was told i could get a ride to tel aviv, but instead got dropped off at the only exit where i couldn't. i then had to hitch a ride back to our main gate, wait again for the bus after giving up watching people with empty cars ignore me, and eventually got on the bus to tel aviv.

from the central station i bussed to jaffa, and had to wait half an hour to get my keys. i spilled ice-cream on myself. that sucked.

i then took the wrong bus home, but it did get me to rothschild so i enjoyed a roast beef sandwich and good conversation before taking the correct bus - more or less.

and then i showered and passed out.



but not before called vision, and calling it off. it wasn't pleasant for either of us, but it could have been worse. i really do hope things remain amiable between us, because even though i'm not head-over-heels i do actually like her.

skimping before bed



dammit, i meant to be getting to sleep an hour ago :(

i napped through the morning, and had no coffee 'til the afternoon. weird.

nystire and i did some missioning on base, i managed to piss off the guy whose help i need to get my army driver's license sorted out. i did some crazy making-up of work before leaving with nystire to come here, where i bumped into our neighbour and got a lecture on vision. the more i've thought about it (and i thought about her a lot today), and the more people tell me what i already know, the more i'm sure that tomorrow breaking up with her will be the right thing to do.

and that's just sad, because i know i'm being an idiot. but i'm human, so sod it.

sat-phone collection - my irish friend came through. much better. good for both of us that he turned it off, because not only do i not have to charge it, but he's healthier for the lack of radiation :P

nystire and i helped our guests move in, and then we walked off to dizengoff, where i met up with the austrian girl for a date. and i scored katjes out of it, so all's well.

we had a hurried supper and then scrambled to the cocktail room (my australian guest hit on some old lady on the bus, they'd already started drinking before we left for the party)

the party was great, aside from the following:
- drinks tally; sorting out the cash at the end of the evening was insane
- i accidentally slammed the fingers of the girl who made out with vision a couple of weeks ago in the door on the way out
- ink and i had an argument over her attitude towards israel; at least i've been invited to drink on her tab at thursday's wii party
- taxi troubles; bad organization on the way home

but now we're home and i'm going to bed.

Monday, June 18, 2007

hospitality and lentils



saturday, 9th june:

i checked the bus times on my way out, and discovered that the website is untrustworthy. i missed the bus i'd needed to switch to and that resulted in me taking the next one, which came an hour later. this caused me to have a little time in the central bus station, and when i bought myself something to drink a shekel dropped to the floor. i leaned down to pick it up and the cable of my really decent headphones looped around my knee without my noticing, and snapped when i stood up.

i was pissed.

my mum called me, we chatted and laughed about my cousin's afrikaans death-metal band (amongst other things), and i milled around deciding who to let rip me off on new earpieces.

the bus wasn't too bad, and i arrived at nystire's extremely south-african home for amarula cream and pudding, and promptly crashed.

10th june:

i woke up to too many breakfast choices. nystire and i had to run to catch the bus. i don't like running for busses. we arrived at the central bus station in jerusalem, met up with rockon (one of the guys from our base) and hunted down some coffee, then made our way to the hotel to meet our group.

our group called themselves the "bang bus", which got us interesting looks whenever we went anywhere shouting it...

we each moved from group to group introducing ourselves; it wasn't the most effective way to meet that many people but it did set the tone for the next five days - i still don't remember anybody's name.

we went off to a soup kitchen to do some community service, which turned out to be quite fun - folding and tossing boxes and peeling potatoes. very grounding.

we bussed off to some strip mall, i had good muesli for lunch and the conversations began. these were going on at all times, until the very last goodbye, and are the main point of having soldiers joining the birthright group. the last two days i'd talked my voice away.

we visited yad vashem, and were treated to a speech from a holocaust survivor afterwards. at some point i opened my eyes to see everyone else nodding off too, it had been a long, hot and dusty day.

we then bussed to the mega-event. about 4000 people all jumping up and down, screaming, and generally having a grand time before the speeches, then jumping up and down for the live performance by fools of the prophecy (shotei ha'nevu'a) which was interesting: them live on stage, with their music but mashed up and with a hard-'n-fast beat.



just before all of that, though, my world caved in - i saw j-girl standing three rows below me. when i caught her eye she screamed, and the two of us made one of those mad scrambles through all the poor sods seated between us for a great, big movie-style hug. we got a chance to chat afterwards, that being the first time we've seen each other since the end of november '05, and i have since been feeling completely apathetic and unemotional as far as vision is concerned.

and that apathy has been stressing me out non-stop.

the party after the event was insane, and we fought with the organizers to stay an extra half-hour that proved to be totally worth it. there's something magical about an enormous group of jews who've grown up quite isolated partying together on such a grand scale. and infected mushroom's new album is awesome.

11th june:

after getting back to the hotel, a small group of us stayed on the rooftop smoking nargila and drinking until 2.30am, and then we were up five hours later for a light breakfast and a great lecture.

afterwards we were off to mount herzl - one of the soldiers pissed me off because he refused to wear his beret. it's not only a military cemetary, but it's the burial ground for some of our greatest national leaders, and he was being downright disrespectful.

we received a talk from a guy whose friends had fallen in the second lebanon war, and that was really powerful.

we had lunch in another mall, and my efforts to obtain decent food were thwarted by the aroma being kosher - it's supposed to be THE place for roast beef sammiches, and they can't serve meat there (T_T) [more anime smileys]



we went caving near beit shemesh, and it was my job to lead. it was a lot of fun, with a really scary moment dangling my feet over what appeared to be a bottomless pit (optical illusion in pitch blackness, forgive me) and pretty much doing the butterfly to crawl out a tunnel on my back using only my shoulders.

dusty work, that ^_^

we had a great time on the bus back, and when we got back to our rooms i discovered that rockon had broken a bottle of araq, a cheap and hard aniseed liquor. so that's what my room smelled like.

i spent a few minutes writing in my hard-copy journal, and then we all went out to some tourist street for supper.

we almost ate at some outside, extremely poor quality and highly priced restaurant that one of the guides had recommended, but after looking at the menu i dragged a couple of guys off to the "grill and beer", which served fantastic food, half the price of the first place, with great atmosphere. afterwards i had a hankering for ice-cream, and had to settle for the regular kiosk-bought stuff when mcdonald's proved too slow.

the birthright crowds took over a cinema theatre to watch bufur, the movie based on that book i've been trying to read for almost a year now, and it was a good movie. highly recommended!

12th june:

the drinking session was moved to the lobby on account of old grannies whinging, and it became a large party which was highly entertaining. about 4am was bedtime, and i'm really glad that i'm not a sympathetic puker because rockon would've had me redecorating our room :P

coffee rush in the morning, crazy last-minute packing and we were off to rabin square. i was sent to take care of a group of kids needing to use the facilities, and after leaving them in the charge of three soldiers and letting two of those soldiers know where i was going, i went home to drop off laundry and pick up a couple of things i'd forgotten.

on my way out nystire called me to tell me that they'd all been looking for me for fifteen minutes; that pissed me right off. when i got back i discovered that that wasn't true - the security guard had waited for me but the rest of the group had moved on. i had a bit of a fight with the guide, but she understood what had happened quickly and from there decided to make me her "right-hand man" :P

we went off to nachalat binyamin, walked through and then had an agadir breakfast - the guys weren't disappointed :)

i took a group to "the third ear" so that they could buy some israeli music, that turned out to be a lot more complicated than anticipated, and we sadly rushed back through rothschild without getting sandwiches for those who hadn't yet eaten :(

but i did get hold of a little green plastic toy soldier to attach to my sat-phone.

we all went to the tel aviv independence museum, to hear some excellent speeches and learn some interesting details of the process of the declaration.



and then it was off to arad to ride camels (extremely amusing) and enjoy bedouin hospitality. after great food and good music, we all went outside the encampment into the desert for an hour or so. i was standing by myself, thinking of the first time i ever sat alone in the desert and how great it is that these kids are given an opportunity to experience that, when i heard scratching behind me and began thinking of scorpions.

we stood in a circle as each person spoke of what they'd been thinking about, and some of the things that came out were quite touching. then we returned to play frisbee, and i got dragged into a sand-hockey match with another group.

i've never played hockey before, but as i took the first smack to the hand i remembered what my mother had told me from her field-hockey days, and got a little more careful. we were using hockey-stick shaped reeds and an american football nerfball, and beers (keeping them out of sight of the bedouins), and it was a lot of sweaty, dusty, dirty fun. i was totally breathless and wasted afterwards, all icky and gross but having had a jolly good time.

13th june:

it was in that state that i entered one of the tents to be caught up in some girl's arms as she taught me some salsa. i was quite impressed with myself for learning the steps rather quickly, and when she left i sat down for a few minutes with the nargila smokers until i realized just how late it was and how smelly i was.

i had a quick shower before putting myself to sleep - i'd say bed, but i forgot to get an extra sleeping bag for a pillow and my neck's still buggered :S
oh, and it was FRIKKIN' FREEZING. my poncho wasn't enough.

without any coffee, we walked up the roman ramp to massada for the sunrise. we had a really sweet naming ceremony for a few of the guys who'd never been given hebrew names, and emotions were running high as we clambered down the snake path singing about death and suicide.

and telling bawdy jokes, of course.

we'd been promised caffeine at the bottom, but all we found was "freshly squeezed orange juice". there's a word for people who hang around obscure places to take advantage of tourists: "gazlanim". the only thing that juice was squeezed out of was a box, and the admittedly large cup cost about four times the amount of the box itself.

we stopped to have breakfast under the trees, where i discovered that one of the girls was running a mini-pharmacy and had lactate pills, so i could handle the dairy stuff ^_^

we then changed into swimming gear, and bussed off to the dead sea. i finally got my cup of coffee at the hotel, although it cost a bomb, and we spent a few hours smearing ourselves with mud, discovering cuts and sores (i'm guessing that going into the dead sea with hemorrhoids isn't smart - the girls were complaining about stinging genitalia) and wrestling in the swimming pool. it was a chilled and enjoyable afternoon.

oh, and some guy got dead sea water in his eyes, so i had to lead him blind through to the showers - it was like one of those team-building trust games, and funny as hell when we both stepped onto the superheated sand and began yelping simultaneously :P

there's a game spot taught me while guarding, called "the next destination is...", and i spent hours on the bus driving everyone crazy with it. that turned into a joke marathon, and i was busy finishing a bar of melted dark chocolate when someone explained "dirty sanchez". i had to - i wiped some of the chocolate over the lip of one of the guys who was sleeping, with hysterical results.

i told him as soon as he got off the bus - i didn't actually want anyone outside of our bus to see, because i wasn't sure if he could take the joke. turned out he found it amusing, so i relaxed a bit (no need to go causing tension).

we stayed in a much nicer hotel, with an incredible view of lake kinneret. i had a shower and channel-surfed until the power went out - apparently the girls and their hairdryers don't mix with israel's grid limits. we went down to eat, and nystire's sister rocked up with biltong >D

i sat in the hall with everyone else, writing in my journal and talking crap, then crashed for an hour. there's a video floating around of me waking up, apparently after they caught me speaking hebrew in my sleep. waking up was a bitch, but then we went outside to the terrace for a notable birthday party for rockon.

14th june:

it was a painful wake-up, and the double-coffee only kicked in once we were already on the bus. after visiting a monument in the golan heights, we went to see a famous bunker near one of the bases i visited in january '05 on the way back from my week of guard duty, then went to meet the other groups for pizza (with more lactate pills) before the hike.

on the way, i was sitting in the aisle of the bus, unaware that i was showing some serious plumber's butt. somebody poured ice-cold water down my backside, and i didn't do it again.

we went on a water hike through one of the jordan river's tributaries, and two of the girls attached their shorts to my back with instructions to keep them dry. one of the guides had brought along a nifty water gun, so i went commando (yeah, that too) and began sneaking up the line from the back, wading close to the water and attacking anything that moved. and, of course, keeping the shorts dry.

this was going well until one of the guys jumped on me from behind, with my knees bent and about six inches from the rocks beneath me - me knees are still swollen and sore >S

the shorts were still pretty much dry, but then i tripped and slid over a hidden rock - that was the end of that.

we pirated badly on the kayaks - rockon and i only had one oar to begin with, which made things a little tricky. when we finished the course, someone accidentally tossed the frisbee into the river, and the groups kayaking past were bastards and didn't return it - sucky people.

we had our closing / goodbye ceremony on the grass, and it was nice. only rockon and i were staying on, so it was disappointing for the other soldiers who had to go home. for the two of us it worked out great, because the party on the shore of the kinneret was fantastic!

in addition to partying, though, i had a couple of long conversations with some of the organizers, which were both enlightening and productive.

15th june:

when we got back to the hotel, we showered (although rockon had issues with the hot water) and went to the afterparty. i was hit on badly by an incredibly sexy girl from one of the other groups, then creeped out by a crazy girl (also from another group) talking to me about monogamy, and then rescued by one of our girls who sat chatting until we went upstairs at 2.30am.

it took forty minutes to get out of bed, and we said our personal goodbyes at breakfast. once everyone was on the bus the two of us got on to say goodbye more formally, and then walked off to find a bus south. i got home and did a quick shopping with the kid. we had a long discussion, and spot has finally struck out - this is upsetting, but as much as we love living with him we simple can't anymore.

i tried to catch up on net stuff, but passed out and woke up messed up and dangerously close to missing the bus to herzeliya. as usual, i took the wrong bus and had to walk for over an hour to get to ze germans' place in pituach. i'd intended to nap immediately, but that turned into watching the news for the first time in years - specifically covering the weapons training of small palestinian children, and sam and max - the animated series.

oh, and speaking awkwardly to vision on the phone.

16th june:

then i rested, waking up to watch one of the crappest movies ever (even samuel l. couldn't rescue this one) with a bunch of friends, where none of us was willing to say anything until we neared the end of the film.

ru55's self-built ipod amp is amazing.

i snuck out early (i slept about four hours) and taxied to herzeliya for her grandfather's second barmitvah - once you've had one you repeat it every 70 years. it was the first time i've been in a synagogue in about a year, and it was actually a really good experience. it was all very emotional.

i went to her place afterwards, then with her sister to pituach. i was going to go with the guys to mmf's birthday party, and had forgotten that they don't drive on the sabbath and so weren't going. this put me in the shitty position of being stuck in pituach with no way to get to jaffa, so i made the most of it and sat with her sister and friends on the beach, smoking nargila and get terrifyingly sunburned (but i used cream!).

i got annoyed with the lifeguard, and had to walk about 200m just to dip into the water - the girls didn't see me move, and thought i'd drowned... leading to general hilarity.

when they went home, i went and sat in the coffee bean over super-iced-coffee (four espressos) and panini, producing

and accidentally turning my little toy soldier into a combat engineer (his hand broke off). oh, and a poem, too:

Eggtiming
Here I stand
ankle-deep in the rising sand,
sand pouring through my hair,
down my back, soft and warm

I know not to look up
but I look around at a world
all warped and skew
my own reflection alien,
menacing

I sign to the outside world,
and I think I see them signing back
Half trusting, mostly hopeless,
the response confused and wasteful

Here I will stand,
buried,
wondering if they understood


i walked back to ze germans, watched a lot of seinfeld with them, then walked to the highway and waited for a shuttle back to tel aviv. on the way i realized that my sat-phone was missing, i'd left it on the table :$

i showered, and the kid and i went to the lizard, where i've finally seen and had a drink with the mongoose as a civilian (no big difference, but it's symbolic), sat chatting with nystire's sister (who didn't realize that i wasn't kidding when i said i would only be there for an hour or two), and then took a taxi home with the kid.

17th june:

1am, and we stood in the hallway informing spot that he's leaving, and then had to argue with him about it. i went to bed, and woke up at 6am to start a day of confusion.

i've been so wasted, so stressed over all the things that happened to coincide this week - army work, vision, the austrian girl getting back (great timing), spot, and hosting a few people from the birthright program who're staying here an extra week.

wonderful.

it took a couple of hours to clear my mailbox, i ate way too many cookies that turned out to be pure sugar, and half the morning was spent explaining birthright to everyone individually.

after lunch we were provided with fruit and meringues. i had a meringue, then decided to do the healthy thing and have some fruit - it was so bad that i had to wash out the taste with another meringue after throwing the rotten peach away :S

i spent the afternoon studying, working, experiencing mini-death and planning the evening. vision called when i was at the verge of passing out, and after waking up a bit i called her up to explain myself.

my god, i came out so bloody whiny and pathetic, but i told her how i feel and we've agreed that i'm going to take a few days to think about it all. do i suck, or do i suck? i'm convinced that it's all part of a subconscious trick to keep me away from a good, healthy relationship (because that's not something i'm used to), or a fear of commitment, or that i'm simply an asshole.

i finished up what i was doing, and then nystire and i took the shuttle back to tel aviv. after coffee, i went home, changed, and began writing this post. then i skipped off to meet some of the remaining birthright group at rabin square, and we went indoors (i told them we're not doing that again, this is tel aviv in the summer) to eat italian (i totally wasn't in the mood for italian).

we sat over coffee for a while (outside), then i came home to finish this post (and struggle with the images), shower, and now go to bed.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

sick 'n icky



the last 24hrs has been a wonderful mental collage based loosely on an image of passing out with vision watching kubrick's lolita, sleeping and waking fitfully, drinking tea, doing laundry, sitting online, and wondering if i'm going to be 100% by tomorrow.

vision and the kid have been cooking for a while now, we're going to watch heroes before i have to leave... and then i'm off for nystire's place.

i get the feeling that there won't be much opportunity for posting this week, i'll be away hiking and touring ^_^

Friday, June 08, 2007

postponed siesta



spot, vision and i went shopping, with half of the gay pride parade. we were going to join it, but we settled on breakfast instead.

the good place next door had stopped serving already - breakfast in tel aviv is supposed to carry on until 11pm! so we made our way to a place called "benedict", which not only provides a great atmosphere and a brief history of eggs benedict, but serves absolutely phenomenal breakfast. we were all completely stuffed (spot and i had a texas-style steak, eggs and fries; vision had half an "english" breakfast which was too much food to look at).

NOW it's siesta time.

out to lunch



thursday. two hours of work, five minutes of pressure, and then nystire and i were off to our old base. we're both going to be participating in the birthright program next week, so that was the last work-related i'll be doing until the 17th ^_^

the mongoose's goodbye ceremony was alright, although i came across as a bit of an idiot with my speech :(
other than that, it was nice as usual to visit the old unit.

eventually some friends (spot, the kid, my previous TL, the mongoose, freshmeat and rooibaard) joined us and we all went to our new base. it was a really good visit, most educational, and around 6pm spot, the kid and i came back home to fight over ice-cream and watch heroes.

when vision arrived, spot and the two of us went to the cocktail room. we'll ignore vision smoking and me being too weak to abstain (i think that was at least five cigarettes), because i got to watch her kissing a really hot girl - and we were propositioned a couple of times for threesomes :P

we left relatively early, and walked all the way home. i was really tired. we only got about four or five hours of sleep, and we've been having a slow morning... it's going to be siesta time soon, and there's still shopping to do :S

Thursday, June 07, 2007

anachronistic utilities

have i mentioned that i'm slightly aggro? i spent four hours this morning losing iq points to that tool i spoke about yesterday. after wiping off the drool when hauled out to lunch, i'd managed to up myself back to that of my shoe size.

the day could only get better.

the afternoon was spent not understanding my nemesis' hebrew documents, and amusing slapstick which progressed from ice down the shirt through to dirty suds, and on to grimy wet towels. work was not top priority for anyone, apparently.

i showered as soon as i got home, then bought tickets and met up with wr for coffee. he doesn't seem to have the attitude required for classy coffee shoppe's, and managed to miss a cute girl flirting with him... i was getting annoyed on his behalf :P

spot joined us, and we went to see pirates of the caribbean: at world's end. words fail me, it's just as beautiful - and beautifully told - as the others.

i have to go back to playing all the monkey island games now, keeping the trilogy's visuals in mind :)

if you've seen the movie, YOU MUST READ THIS, and the label on a bo'el o' rum.

we had coffee and crappy cake (i got ripped off on a "deal"), and it's now time for bed.

oh right: i kept trying to figure out where i recognized bill turner from. "bootstrap" indeed - SO monkey island.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

management hiatus



today was a bit better, although having to fight to get on the bus was incredibly aggravating. i don't understand what the hell is wrong with all these kids, and i don't get why there aren't any MP's around. they sure as hell aren't setting a shining example.

i drank lots of coffee, and it did a good job of blurring out the hangover. oh, yeah - the cocktail room was nice last night. nothing special, but pleasant. and spot managed to organize the cash he needed for the electricity bill, which kept it from being a sour evening.

i had a haircut this morning. it was going alright until he tried to buzz my fringe. he'd just shaved my entire head, and he wanted to "tidy" it. when i stopped him (i like not looking like a clown) he was all offended - "but people will laugh at you!"

this from an ars with a frikkin' bowl-cut and semi-mohawk?

we went out for a decent-burger lunch, and a few of us came back straight into a knowledge transfer. nobody likes those, but once the initial, interesting ten minutes was up the bastard began with the real point of the transfer - we're going to be dealing with broken shit that requires too much external (that's us) manual labour in order to get it to do what it's supposed to.

when he woke me up to ask if there was a problem, i responded in ernest: "dude, if you were doing this in english i'd be going nuts." i spent the rest of the time awake, but staring angrily at him. it didn't take too long for him to get uncomfortable, and by the end he was visibly itching to be gone. and giggling nervously. here's hoping he doesn't "invite" me to any more of those.

my TL quizzed me on something this afternoon, and i ended up feeling like i know more than he does already. granted, it was on a specific topic, but the point is that i'm understanding what's going on even if i forget the details in the future, and that makes me feel good.

well, as good as i can feel under the circumstances.

on the way home my legs kept falling asleep, and as soon as freshmeat and i had sorted out the mongoose's farewell gift i got on my blades, book in hand (terry pratchett - the fifth elephant: i'm still halfway through), and bladed to the yarkon, to sit on a bench and enjoy the sunset. beautiful, and with slight assistance from pink floyd i managed to relax a bit.

on the way back i managed to get tense again, because people just don't get the concept of not taking up the entire sidewalk when half of it's dedicated as a cycling track. inconsiderate sods.

i paid karnaf a visit, had a chat with my cousins from the kibbutz, talked to vision for a bit, showered, and am now going to sleep.

Monday, June 04, 2007

unhelpful cookie charade



today began on a bad note, and i came close to blows with a couple of people before i remembered why i was so jumpy and pissed off. apparently there used to be a rule that anybody quitting would be forced to take a holiday, and that's a bloody good idea.
other people seem much stupider / nastier without the nicotine buffer.

the day was filled with problems and hindrances, and i didn't achieve a hell of a lot. maybe a few more grey hairs.

i just took a long walk to buy a lightbulb and abuse a book store, i now have a copy of neil gaiman - anansi boys, this month's wired, and an amusing-looking hebrew book asking how the hebrew language got so screwed up.

this looks like an important read: the differences between english and americanese

now to hang out washing and chill for an hour or two. the picture for this post came out way better than i anticipated, i just wanted a preview because i plan on trying to paint my furious eyeball.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

i could be atreyu



today was an agitating, nothing day. i felt aweful this morning, and during the afternoon i weakly had a cigarette. the idea was to quit, not slow down, although in retrospect aside from feeling sick today i guess i can blame the general irritability on the perceived lack of nicotine.

i shaved with a beard-trimmer when i got home, and because i didn't realize just how short the clippers were set to i screwed up the underside of my chin. now i'm going to have to start shaving, because otherwise it just looks stupid. so it wasn't a perfect plan after all, although it's still an improvement.

the primary remainder of the day is watching heroes when the kid comes home, so i'm going to go chill now until that happens.

good switch
keep away from nether regions
i want an even bigger one

not again!

my own personal bikini-jesus

i couldn't sleep last night. i think it might have had to do with me feeling guilty not having thought too much about my great uncle, who finally passed away the night before. it's weird feeling sad and relieved at the same time.

vision arrived, and after tea and getting ready we went off to movie-ing to return the video and have a bite to eat. we then walked to the zamir.

the regular line was moved upstairs, and ta2 played hard and crazy downstairs: that was the best metal night i've heard from him. that together with vision getting totally into it just coloured the night fantastic ^_^

i'd been fatigued enough to require a red-bull just to get to the party, by the time we left i was completely bombed. it took ages before we found a shuttle - i think i would've passed out if we'd tried walking. when we got home i had just enough energy to shower and brush my teeth before we crashed.

i introduced her to the fifth element this afternoon, spot made us lunch (i only just got the last of the dishes now), and vision and i slept absolutely perfectly - "babies don't sleep this good".

unfortunately she woke me up by giving me the confusing sensation that i was sleeping next to a gas heater: she's sick, and as i type this i'm feeling pretty woozy again. if i have got something it had better be gone quickly.

i keep forgetting to link through to pharyngula's [thanks moonflake]; this reminds me of the concern that the silent, educated majority is decreasing in size. let's hope that in the worst-case scenario it'll somehow be confined to the united states.

Friday, June 01, 2007

i am getting sleepy



after posting, head still hammering, i went off to meet nystire and co. we had breakfast and harrassed a french-immigrant waitress who was having enough of a hard time before we arrived, and got some shoe-shopping done on the way to dizengoff.

i'm listening to my newly acquired copy of tool - undertow: the guys in the store laughed when i explained my complex methodology of shopping there :P

i bought a couple more canvasses, a giant, fluffy green towel, and met up with spot and his sister. the six of us went to sit outside, walking past the whiners (a protest that it's legal to smoke in the mall... these people have too much time on their hands), and smashed an ashtray on arrival.

we're good.

i'm lying. that was accidental.

we sat for a while, then separated. we watched the rest of pirates of the caribbean - dead man's chest, which is absolutely stunning, superb, awesome, and anyone who was looking for something other than a classic and pretty pirate movie needs their head examined.

i got bored watching the bonus features, have now showered and am about to nap.

see the image above? there's more where that came from - the scribblings from the presentation yesterday came out nicely :D

php educational (shameless plug)

i'm not going to the nova rock concert in vienna, where Pearl Jam, Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, The Killers, Incubus, Smashing Pumpkins, Papa Roach, Marylin Manson, Drowning Pool, Helmet and a bunch of other bands are gonna be: it's too expensive.

nap time!

ex-hilaration ex-halation



my first coffee (the one i prepped leaving the apartment doesn't count) appeared around 10.30am, which for me is not a particularly good thing. aside from being supremely annoyed at nystire's brother for not having packed properly before the actual move (that did waste time), the fact that he was moving to the sixth floor (that oversized cabinet was a bitch), and the fact that we returned late to base so i missed an important meeting, it was a fun and invigorating way to begin the day.

between returning to base and going to the pitch my team-mate gave me some instruction, and it was during this that we discovered that the project i've been doing pretty much works - i cannot express how satisfying that is! my first achievement since moving over, and i'm really enjoying feeling like i know what's going on ^_^

so nystire and i walked into the pitch, a short (two-hour long), doomed-to-fail marketing ploy that was sadly (for all of us) extremely misplaced. the first half was mind-numbing, and i barely managed to keep my eyes open. the marketing girl was even more boring than the code-monkey, i'm sure that's not a good thing.
the code-monkey managed to make it semi-interesting, although it's all relative and by that stage we were all doodling and being silly.

for the next couple of hours i wrangled with the stuff i'd been taught earlier, and around 5pm (home time) i had a really good handle on it all. and had almost managed to be late for the re-scheduled meeting from the morning :$

that meeting went well, and it turns out that i've been given an opportunity to really prove myself :)
and it's not an entirely unenjoyable one! i think our new commander likes me.

i bussed home, and had all of the above going through my head when i walked through the front door, suddenly totally manic and excited (jumpy) as hell.
WEEKEND!!
i convinced spot and his sister to come with to movie-ing, where second breakfast and taking out pirates of the caribbean - dead man's chest just put a solid cap on the events of the day.

we didn't realize that the movie was so long, and had to stop it in the middle to go to the cocktail room. that works for me, because i passed out for the monkey island escape scene. speaking of which, i think that anyone who's enjoyed playing monkey island would have to love pirates of the caribbean - same style if you ignore the hero's name not being as cool as "threepwood" ;)

the cocktail room was great fun last night - put down quite a few suitcases, and had a very silly time. i definitely drank too much though. and i definitely smoked too many cigarettes.

the last day of may was a GOOD one.