Wednesday, April 30, 2008

as i make my final stand

major news

this "head held high" thing is working for me, but i can't decide if i'm more inclined to celebrate or cry, and because it's holocaust memorial day celebrating's not really in order.

the last month has been rough, the financial constraint has been hanging over my head and i've been waiting for the body responsible to sort everything out. i figured that the drop in salary would be roughly 8%, but i discovered that it's actually more than 25%.

not doable. not only is it incredibly insulting, it's unreasonable to expect somebody who doesn't live at home to be able to survive. i threw my toys out of the cot - i would've done exactly this a month ago except that army policy is not to tell a person what he'll be earning until he's earned it.

and of course, the army is exempt from the country's wage laws.

i walked into my SC's office, and explained to him that if the situation wasn't corrected immediately i would have to be discharged from service immediately. that caused him to make the first call, and when he got back to me it was to tell me that they were looking into it, and until i get an answer i'll simply have to take out a loan.

i gave him a look almost as incredulous as i was feeling, and asked him if he really thought that losing more money with an uncertain outcome was a possibility. "no dice," says i, "and if that's the answer then i'm outta here".

second call, my TL called me away, and by the time i returned my SC'd gone into a meeting with the Big Boss unit commander. we never go to him with our problems, but i stood outside his door for half an hour and contemplated my next step on the assumption that i'd be released soon and in need of a job*.

in such a short time i couldn't for the life of me begin to decide who i'd interview with first, even for a transitional. too many choices :)

i must admit, i was 50/50 on intention. i claimed to not want to leave, but if i had to be released tomorrow it would solve a whole bunch of my problems - i could earn a real salary and grow my hair like a normal person, for a start.

anyway, the Big Boss came out and i let him know *exactly* and entirely unashamedly how i feel, and had had enough time to get worked up that i expressed leaving the unit as a threat.
surprisingly, he understood completely (my TL also gave me his full support: "pity, but a man's gotta eat") and my SC was dragged into a higher-level debate.

an hour later my SC received a call, informing him that yes, they'd made a mistake and all my privileges and monies will be reinstated and reimbursed. good job on them for having sorted that out in record time, when they could have done that a fucking month ago.

so i'm glad, i will have cash soon and my salary is as it should be**, but i'm pissed and the incompetence and inhumanity that i've suffered and tomorrow's going to see me calling the army paralegal armed with righteousness and great anger. why the hell did i need to go through something like this?

* i called piles in the meanwhile to ensure that my release would be smooth and uneventful. not only did his checking up on me screw up all their systems, but it turns out that my release, whenever it does occur, will be neither smooth nor uneventful...

** although still horrifically short of the industry standard. it's just another price to pay for the privilege of being in the armed forces [*retch*]

minor news

i just sent singer the following message:
about being a friend
you know, i've been thinking about what you said and it's really pissed me off - it's REALLY not fair to tell me that i'm not a good friend.

when you need me, you know i'll be there, and ESPECIALLY when you date other guys you'll get my full support... and i expect the same in return, AS A FRIEND.

we broke up half a year ago, and if i recall correctly your exact words when we first slept together afterwards were "we're both adults". you need to figure out how you define friendship, and when you're ready to be friends, i'll be right here. AS A FRIEND.


i may be a bastard but don't tell me i'm not being fair.

speaking of which, bt blew off our date tonight on account of studies... bummer. at the same time, though, it's kinda weird being on a "date" on holocaust memorial day.

work today was okay (as in, i did a bit of real work), but i'm exhausted and i kept nodding off. sucks.

i just finished reading terry pratchett - only you can save mankind, and it's a great book :)

i paid one of ze germans a visit (he's been living in my area for a year and it's the first time i've seen his apartment), had good coffee and a good chat, and then made a round to the only open supermarket to organize guinness.

now that i've had a bottle i'm ready for one of those showers of standing under the hot stream healing and having my headache melted off, and then i think it'll be bedtime.

unless bt makes a booty call, but i think that's just a fantasy :P

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

the weediest headphones

no, really, i'm embarrassed to post a photo of the damn things. i'll wear them in public, they're good quality, but they're ugly as sin and not in a good way.

i'm busy deciding that apocalyptica is a weird band, based on harmageddon that's noising in the background. not bad, actually.

i've had an upsetting and exhausting day.

1) my heart hurt for most of the day, mainly whenever i breathed out. sometimes it hurts when i breathe in, and that normally goes away with one deep and painful breath.

2) the morning went with the usual waste. just thinking about it depresses me, i could've done so much work this past month if i hadn't been following stupid-yet-technically-legitimate orders. actually, maybe not so legitimate if i claim it as torture.

3) my SC's not the only person who doesn't want me to be productive - i think god's in on the picture. at this point there aren't any people left to blame in the string of freak occurrences that shut down any computers that i needed to work on, and about a third of my day was spent sitting around waiting for technicians to finish fiddling.

4) no wonder i'm never 100% healthy: the food on base has a cumulative effect. sickening, but the expensive fast food that's served around the base isn't much better.

5) positive item number one: a good laugh with the bartender (bt) about my inability to send coherent sms'es.

6) i called singer today to find out how she's doing after saturday night, and she's not doing well. she kept going on about how i was throwing my hitting on bt in her face, but when i asked her how i could possibly have done it more sympathetically she was at a loss. for the most part i was actually quite subtle.

she told me i could have waited for another day, but (as i told her) i know how that goes, it doesn't. and why the hell should i miss an opportunity to meet somebody i like, when she's already had half a year's warning?

it wasn't nice of me to do that to her, but that's just the way these things go. and considering how things seem to be going with bt, it would be stupid of me to feel sorry for doing it, even though i don't like how i've made her feel. life's tough, sometimes.

7) positive item number two: getting a ride out of base at the last minute instead of a half-hour walk and a long wait for the bus.

8) shopping for a can of shaving foam, standing in the express queue watching jerk after moron dropping shit all over the floor, struggling to find wallets, making conversation with the lonely old lady at the counter, fumbling with plastic bags (although i can't blame them), and generally functioning at a speed that i imagine was created to annoy the crap out of me personally.

9) after a 13 hour day, i'm going to bed early to get ready for another one - this week filled with overtime caused by a combination of bad luck and bad scheduling.

sterling

1) the interview went too well. buggrit - now i'm interested and there's a chance i might sign on more. so foolish :S
how do they keep enticing me?!

2) work today: lots more nothing.

3) i've begun reading terry pratchett - only you can save mankind, and it's very cool.

4) the date went very well. i'm excited. very ^_^
as i told her, i was planning on walking in, firing off a bunch of interview-style questions like "who are you? what do you do? what are your hopes and dreams? is your daddy rich?" and then walking out two seconds later after making a buzzer sound and saying "sorry, time's up".
if i hadn't had a problem getting to the right place i would have done so.

if things go well, she has the same name as my TL, so i figure it would be amusing to talk to her on the phone when my co-workers are around and see how they react ;)

5) i went with SxS to jerusalem, it was freezing cold and i was dressed inappropriately. dinner was nice, even taking into account the heated argument that degenerated into a screaming match between myself and two of the girls... all because i'm a moral degenerate, apparently, and didn't feel that humbert humbert was a monster. oh, wait, no - it was because i don't think that it's fair to call lewis carrol a paedophile without substantial evidence.

6) it's very late, i'm going to bed. SxS is leaving tomorrow, which means i'm going to see a lot less of everyone for the next half a year :(

Monday, April 28, 2008

trauma gone

there's something to be said for playing final fantasy viii in bed and getting to sleep early.

the apartment i saw yesterday is huge, nice, but a bit on the expensive side... and in need of an anti-granny patch.

only two more days without cash! w00t! and i can pay back the kid before the month is out, i seem to have managed this month's crisis :)

transparent screen

i got to wake up late today, i've done my sit-ups and eaten breakfast, now i'm off to interview.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

payment extracted

it's unusual for me to kill two birds in one night - i had WAY too much to drink, got the bartender's number (it was her fault we overdid it, really, she just kept pushing the alcohol) and in the process got singer to realize that i've seriously moved on, slept with her anyway (we'd both had too much to drink), dealt with her amiably in the morning on the way to the shuttle, and have organized a date with the bartender for tomorrow.

i have no idea how i managed to wake up at 5.35am, but i had a killer hangover today and while the exhaustion wore off towards the end of the day the headache's still with me.

and again, i didn't actually do any real work today because that's not my job at the moment. i'm still stuck with this damn software issue.

i'm now on my way to view an another apartment, and tomorrow i'll be picking up the papers for the other one. apparently tonight's one is almost double the size, and right close by to where i am now: that sounds fantastic too.

i'm still surprised that the television's still upright.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

exhausted end

i woke up yesterday after about six hours' sleep, and did some shopping. i met up with egg on the beach, and after chilling a bit we went for a drink at havana - due to which i was a tad late to meet with the kid's father.

with a bit of alcohol and his habit of speaking really good hebrew (and technical), i struggled a bit as he explained a whole bunch of things to me about buying apartments in israel. on the whole, he gave me a good feeling about my enthusiasm concerning the one i'm interested in, and he explained to me exactly what i need to double check before drawing up a contract.

the interesting edification: a lot of apartments in israel (in tel aviv in particular) aren't sectioned correctly, which means that you can't get a mortgage for them. and you can't apply for the mortgage without a contract, and you can't get the contract without becoming obligated to the real estate agent.

damn.

he gave me a ride to the bus station, and i caught the last bus to ra'anana. dinner at SxS's was great, but after the oh-so-decadent meringue and mousse dessert, i was struck with sudden exhaustion. we went to visit our friends in pituach, and i couldn't keep my eyes open - one of ze germans (with his wife and newborn) gave me a ride home, and i just crashed.

today was cleaning day, and it's been a while so it was hard work. i didn't know what to do with my television (our flatmate brought in a new, much larger one) so the kid and i hooked it up on the stand above my door.

i'm terrified that it's gonna fall down. it's held up (in my opinion precariously) by one strap.

i've connected my playstation, with the controls now sitting beneath my keyboard - i've never had a playstation in my bedroom before! i'm probably gonna have my life eaten away by final fantasy viii again.

i walked to singer's to help her throw out her new bed and reconstruct her old one. i'm very proud of myself for not sleeping with her. even though i really wanted to.

i made rice today... well, i had training wheels on in the form of our neighbour. i mean, okay, i witnessed it all and i did physically *do* everything myself, but i still lack confidence and i don't understand everything.

swak.

we ate too much and watched three more episodes of the unit - i've called two episodes from the start, but it's enjoyable even if it is predictable.

now to go out for drinks. i can't believe tomorrow's a work-day! oh, well. it was a great holiday :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

post-card addendum

a couple of forgotten items:

1) i finally switched the wheels around on my blades... that took way too long.

2) a lot of organizing has followed my enthusiasm over the apartment i saw wednesday morning, and i've learned a lot in the past 48 hours. as much as i love the place i've got a feeling that buying would not be wise at the moment... but either way i'm not making a decision until i have all the facts.

3) ru55's fiancée (!) informed me that ZOMG tim burton is getting started on alice in wonderland! that sends shivers down my spine ^_^

4) the chocolate mousse was awesome, the poker wasn't too bad, seeing yogi's daughter for the first time in forever was great - she's just over a year old and as charming as can be :)

5) an emergency shave (with a beard trimmer, so much better than a razor) to get out of super-itchy phase, and now my room's cool so i can sleep.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

proposal - new day

primary news item 1:
ru55 officially proposed to his girlfriend this morning, which took me by pleasant and wonderful surprise ^_^
SxS and i being the first to know, we popped a bottle of champagne that just *happened* to be kosher for passover... that is an amazing coincidence!

primary news item 2:
(continuation) after an intense super-honest self-analytical session, i have come to the conclusion that all my problems stem from my self-passengerization. over the past few years i've been neglecting myself and just "gone with the flow" in order to get over the horrible periods, and now that i've been in a good place for over a year it's high time that i get back in the driver's seat, take charge of my life (and not just superficially) and come out fighting again.

i've sidelined myself, and now it's time to become me again.

secondary stuff:

sweeney todd is absolutely gorgeous!

i bought a bunch of chinese puzzles for the office, and spent quite a bit of time playing with them last night - i love the elegance, simple and shiny and oh-so frustrating :P

i got hit on by some 16/17 year old in jerusalem last night... i'm kinda flattered, but it was a tad unusual.

i presented a hand to a pet bunny, who was apparently a tad agitated by the heat and launched himself to snap at my finger, which i pulled away in the nick of time. rabbits can be frightening, and i'm really lucky my reflexes are good.

this jpost article is important: a quick summary of the change in attitude towards israelis over the years

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

churning

it's been a long time since i last got motion-sickness playing a computer game. gta vice city's r/c helicopter mission just did me in. hell, i can't even drive a car anymore without feeling my world sliding, oozing see-saw-like in all directions.

*woooooooo*

the c&c mission i was struggling with before that beat me, i just didn't have the energy to carry on. i'm not giving up completely, but when the majority of the challenge to fight a mission is grappling with the interface, i get a bit distressed.

maybe i should begin mapping keys instead of trying to do everything with the mouse.

the excitable

i arrived early, so i stopped for a cup of coffee... and egg rocked up, which just goes to show that i'm looking in the right neighbourhood.

the apartment i saw is gorgeous, well set up and in good nick, it's within my budget and in a perfect area. how can i not be excited? this house-hunting thing is terrible, i can't stop second-guessing myself and i really don't want to make a mistake.

the walk home was pleasant, i feel obliged to share a link to something my mom sent me in an email: it's been around since 2004, and it's not usual that she sends me jokes i haven't read. now if only there weren't so many versions to link to.

one of *those* questions

why is it that cosmetic flaws are so much easier to spot in an elevator mirror than in the one in your bathroom?

i failed a "what if" test on the way back to tel aviv from my cousins (great dinner) when i got off the bus without getting the girl next to me's number. there's a little voice in my head that says that hitting on a girl in a bus isn't cool, but hey, when the hell am i ever going to see her again?

c&c is going a little better, but not great. i was warned that the last level i played might be "fun", but it wasn't. i felt like i got my ass handed to me in spite of my "glorious" victory.

SxS called me after i'd already brushed my teeth, and i've just come back from drinking wine with a bunch of friends down the road. i gotta be up early to see another apartment, here goes another attempt at sleeping properly.

i shouldn't have to try.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

worms

before going to bed, i discovered the used by linking through from a facebook post between two cousins of mine when i thought that they were referring to iron fist, the makers of my super-duper awesome sweater that i keep going on about - mine's a slightly funkier version of this one.

in a sad attempt at humour i posted something remarkably inappropriate on tgtbt's page, and i've been regretting it ever since waking up this morning. feeling like a bit of a tit, actually.

i slept enough, i think, and launched out of bed at 11am to view some more apartments. today's were FAR more interesting and impressive than yesterday's, and quite a bit cheaper, too.

and that has made me suspicious.

after such a busy wake up, i arrived home to sleep a bit more (am i depressed? why am i so tired?) only to find gifts in the mailbox!

i love presents. and nobody picks them better than myself.
item one: nin - ghosts double album. sweet ^_^

item two required a visit to the post office, and the cute girl who works there (they have them even at the post-office?!) was quite flirtatious, only adding to the enthusiasm with which i grasped what was obviously my mighty mouse - the great space chase VHS.

my word, where did such wonderful technology come from?

i couldn't wipe the huge grin (a shiny piece of my childhood!) off my face the whole way to the printing store, where in front of the cute girl who works there (another one?) i opened the package and ordered a digitization. when i pulled out my wallet to pay the deposit she simply gushed with awe (the nightmare before christmas wallet rocks), and i told her that when i come back to pick up the dvd i'll bring her the girl's version (that which i accidentally bought first).

question: do i give her the wallet as a gift? or do i take monetary compensation?

our flatmate arrived, and seems amiable. i've taught him how to handle the downloads when i'm not around, now hopefully he'll stop disabling my internet connection.

i watched the first half of apocalypto, which is not at all what i expected and is long enough that i needed to pause to rest.

i made myself a cup of coffee, and although i've checked the coffee, the sugar and the milk i have no clue where the worms i found at the bottom of the mug came from - only i know just how paranoid that makes me. i don't want worms!

now to pay her grandparents a visit and deliver the nougat i brought from sa.

background sound for this post: the used - the bird and the worm. rather enjoyable.

napped out

i was going to kip for half an hour, and woke up two or three later feeling horrible. i played a bit of gta vice city, took a walk to the ATM, discovered just how little cash i have until the end of the month, and came back to play c&c.

gta's control's a bit iffy, and i found the shoot-outs with the police to be frustrating. and in the heat of the moment i had absolutely no clue how to go about getting the fuzz off my back. i can't believe i just typed that sentence as is, regardless of the context.

i replayed c&c from the beginning, this time actually trying to employ a bit of strategy (although, as i said, i'm disappointed with the AI) and making use of the save feature. although said save feature seems a bit redundant if i can replay any mission at my discretion.

the kid's back, so i've been ejected from his pc (the game station, mine's a bit shoddy for that). i might actually go to sleep soon. i might actually stop making these stupid, mostly incorrect assumptions about my plans.

Monday, April 21, 2008

education mk i

well, i'd say the first morning went pretty well - i found quite a number of real estate agents only too happy to assist (with only a minimal amount of dry-washing hands and awkward giggling), and traipsing around town i've seen three apartments, each with its appeal and its flaws.

i ate a quick lunch at japanika - fair enough, it's cheap sushi, and not too bad. i was rushed, and i think the guys next to me were a little upset by how fast i consumed it all, and possibly disheartened to see me polish off a cone quickly and neatly with chopsticks.

apparently there's a new push to remove foreign workers from the food industry - it looks like i won't be hearing any more chinese and korean while chowing down. i don't get the whole "atmosphere" thing - they're brought in to give the place an air of authenticity, but they're lacking in... japanesity.

now to rest up, and then head off to the beach. or play computer games. or switch the wheels on my blades. i just can't decide!

the return of the cremation of...

... the rice. dammit, i was certain i couldn't do worse than the last time, i should have learned to just leave it well enough alone. the sheer sense of hopelessness and futility is unbearable, the shame agonizing.

coupled with my performance in command & conquer (3), it just hasn't been my day. in fact, the successes in c&c were distressing because i knew that they weren't deserved. i'm not too impressed by the AI because it let me win.

again i couldn't get back to sleep after the automatic early wake-up, so i watched jumper - meh. it's a pretty movie, but nothing special. or maybe it's just my mood?

the kid and i watched a couple more episodes of the unit, then missioned off to the beach. the water was fine, but there was too much wind to throw the frisbee. and the sky wasn't too clear - otherwise, great beach day.

i wanted to watch bleach (the movie), but the codec's too advanced for my dvd player. also, i'm beginning to suspect that my player's on its last legs... disappointing.
we watched ed wood instead - fantastic film! (yes, yes, yet another movie i'd intended to see years ago)

we went out for ice-cream, the rest of the night was dedicated to c&c, now it's bedtime and tomorrow's supposed to be a full day of learning about buying property. i'm sleep-deprived.

naoto hattori's artwork is fantastic, original, elegant and sexy - i dig it.

this comment is on overpriced bracelets, but i think the idea's pretty neat.

a not-so-solid user interface that looks like it has some potential.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

the three obligations

well, the obligation to say three words "passover", "unleavened bread" and "bitter herbs" has been met. also met were the more traditional obligations to eat too much, drink too much and argue politics with strangers (aka "family friends") before taking phone numbers and hoping that the cuter of the two sisters is of legal age.

her father dropped me off a ten minute walk from smith bar, and after a guinness spent imagining a world containing myself with dreadlocks i walked home*, choosing a route that included a cup of coffee and managing to turn quite a few heads with my spanky (yet educational!) sweater... that even scored me a special smile from a gorgeous girl who passed it along behind her boyfriend's back...

i was exhausted to the point of silliness the entire evening, this is the most pathetic form of insomnia that i can recall experiencing.

* i left when i realized that i was wearing my beer goggles: the dodgy-looking girl standing next to me ceased to seem quite so bad. she'd been trying to convince me to come and see a comedy show and i tried to convince her that it would be wasted on me because i don't have a sense of humour.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

i'm rushing to leave, but i'm addicted to blogger so here it goes backwards:

princess mononoke is beautiful. see it!

i watched the movie between sleeps, which began at about 6am. i'd intended to take a sleeping pill when i woke up, but the movie's subtitles were really small so by the time it was over i didn't need one.

SxS, mmf and i had a hot dog breakfast, which was tasty but the atmosphere (+2 arsim on the dodgy side of tel aviv) wasn't too hot.

about five hours of poker - okay, so i passed out of the universe's most comfortable couch (it's still around) for two of them. i actually bought back in for the first time, and both times i went out i was all in with a pair of queens, which hurt a little.

and one of the guys was a prick, but i understand that everyone else thought so too. it didn't help that i kept screwing up the dealing (i was tired), and at one point managed to tip a glass over my neighbour...

we stopped by a friend's place in pituach for an amusing dessert, after a really good dinner at SxS's.

i went to singer's place to watch princess mononoke, but she can't read the subtitles so we watched i am legend instead, which was a lot of fun: it's like a better version of 28 days later.

a long mission around tel aviv got me a peg solitaire board and some chinese puzzles, and then i ran into our neighbour who came with me to buy wine for tonight's leil seder (the big passover meal with religious antics up the wazoo)... the girls at cafeneto were shocked to see us together, and i don't think they believed for one second that we're not an item :P

i payed some bills at the post office, and bore witness to wonderful displays of service ethic and the israeli ability to stand in line.

happy holidays!

Friday, April 18, 2008

back on vacation

i barely used my computer yesterday: spring cleaning, going out for a good lunch, and doing Actual Fun Stuff (workwise, mostly running around looking for different forms of technical support) made yesterday a good one.

i got home late, having completely forgotten about the odradek performance, and did some quick missioning (and eating with the kid and our neighbour) before heading off with the kid and singer to meet egg and have a literally fantastic experience.

so i'm on holiday again, and not a moment too soon! i'm exhausted, it's been a long week and the walk home from the concert last night just took it out of me. i'm gonna need an afternoon nap :P

reintroduction

odradek had me at "i am the rabbit and i'm late for the queen". i thought that their performance at the ozric tentacles' show was great, but last night's performance was both intimate and intense, and i'm still blown away.

the cover of their EP (i bought that and a t-shirt... which they made themselves) validated the theory that i was incubating from the beginning that these guys are true pirates - hell, gilad brimer looks like jack sparrow, only with better hair, and mann had a parrot on his shoulder the entire performance - their outfits were kind of a give-away, too :P

we were surprised that so few people came - but they're only now working on their first album so i suppose we're "early adopters" :P

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

RE: chris cornell

knew i forgot something: he's not coming. something about collaboration with another artist. suck.

champing at the bits

i performed a bit of a walkabout today, beginning at the sat-phone company (whose service was surprisingly quick and painless) and then moving along to the clinic to organize blood tests.

there were a few of us who needed to speak to the stand-in for the sister-in-charge, and she didn't have the confidence to look us in the eye and give us an idea of how long we'd be waiting... so it took about fifteen minutes of aggravated dark humour (mostly from the others - i wasn't particularly stressed, without coffee and after twelve hours fasting i'm a zombie) before i discovered that she's actually quite sweet and capable.

the queue for the newly authorized tests was intolerable, so i walked back to get my phone, then back again to join the line. i'm smarter than the average bear, apparently - i was armed with my wired magazine so i had something to read until i approached the door :)

the drawing was quick and painless - for me. the medics were having a hard time because some girl kept fainting on them... when they finally let her go it was only to be dragged back a couple of minutes later when she'd passed out outside :/

i was hungry and looking for a shinto breakfast, but they weren't open yet so i bussed to base with my belly rumbling. there's no real food being served on base due to passover constraints, so we ate out and i was bowled over by the traditional lack of service.

we arrived back for an hour's meeting (that, for the first time, actually took about an hour) which was boring and almost pointless. i reiterated my point about the bad software when it was done, and when our SC started saying that it couldn't be as bad as i described one of the section's big boys piped up: "actually, he's right".

as annoyed as i usually get when people don't do the right thing (like speaking out for the truth), i'm really grateful for the vindication!

i had about an hour to sort things out (and i got quite a bit done) before setting off to see my previous team's new officers get their ranks. it was wonderful seeing everyone and it only highlights the difference in attitude: even the people i don't know well from my old base are friendly and interested, and the people i do know well are like old friends. on the new base the people i know well are afraid to get close to one another, and the people i don't act like a bunch of pricks.

so much fun was had by all, and then i had to get back to work... only by the time i arrived in our building i had to pack up and leave. moving around my current base is a serious mission.

i was going to train with the kid this evening, but i suddenly realized how tired i am... and still hurting from two nights back.

i watched rocky balboa - a solid finish to the series. this and the new rambo bring a fitting close to the two stories, and ol' sly has taken the opportunity to provided a couple of pearls in an entertaining fashion and deserves a standing ovation.

i loved the dog reference.

post shower, post 'net, i'm exhausted and i'm going to bed.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

numerology

on my part, two productive things took place today. first, i organized a section breakfast and it went well. second, i spent two hours cleaning the kitchen. the rest of the day was just as much a waste as the rest of the last two weeks.

we had a half an hour ceremony to celebrate passover, and the rabbi decided that we needed a lesson in jewish numerology. not only was the concept behind his lesson mind-numbingly dry but he felt the need to give all the numbers, and not just a sample. at one point a few of us were sarcastically counting with him... the next speech was great by comparison :P

i'm already coming up with ways to get to see chris cornell despite the fact that i'll be on a course down south. my methods are not entirely void of deception, but if that's the price i have to pay, so be it.

after discovering that the tickets aren't on sale yet and missing some weird celebration of "ducking" tel aviv" - i'll get to that in a second - i did some shopping and came home.

some recently deceased artist / poet / whatever wanted to turn tel aviv into a city filled with ducks. as part of an attempt at posthumous humouring [sic] him, a giant inflatable duck was placed on top of the city council building, looking over the rabin square...

i just had sushi-sashimi supper with the kid, a friend of his and our neighbour. the kid's friend really pissed me off, not by merely arguing over the size of the tip, but by expressing his disgust at tipping a waitress who's "dress and manner indicate enough prosperity that she doesn't need your tip". what a moron.

the finger exercises are working! the only serious (and painful) problem i'm having is pulling off with my pinky. almost everything else works (obviously not perfectly, but i'm getting more comfortable) and i'm enjoying playing with the sounds :)

now fasting until my blood tests in the morning.

out the window

i spent today laughing, on the verge of hysteria, at the most obscure and ridiculous errors and crashes. i have witnesses, and when the expert arrived she just stared incredulously... "i've never seen anything like it", she whispered.

the day began with a big ol' nystire "i'm back, and less interested than ever" welcome, and i've decided that whatever the outcome i'm just going to have to do my best not to care.

i read wired's apple article this morning, and my word - has everyone else gone mad?!

essentially they praise jobs' old-school managerial style, and i'm left wondering why so few people understand that it's a good way to Get Stuff Done. that all this "all the workers must be happy" tripe only serves to reward mediocrity, and those same workers will never have the satisfaction of taking responsibility for a job well done.

once upon a time people did their damn jobs, now the power's at the bottom of the hierarchy and management are generally left coaxing effort or tricking their employees into it.

with that piece of inspiration in mind - i sent my SC a mail explaining exactly what i think of the software i've been forced to use and provided an alternative: a pencil and a piece of paper. i sent the experts a copy each, and one of them immediately picked up the phone and asked me if i realized what i'd done.

"what? let him know the truth?"
"no. you've just put yourself in the firing line because the unit commander's been pushing the software."
"that's just fine. i'm sick of this political crap. i have real work to do."

i don't care anymore. i'm sick and tired of towing a line that's given me nothing but a sense of hopelessness and failure. enough is enough. i WILL stand up for myself: when i leave the organization i will leave with my head high, and fuck everyone else.

no more tact for me.

i came home and discovered that the paint problem was temporary, they were just using it to clear the road in order to re-tar it.

i made spaghetti for the first time in years, and spent an hour or so on justin's finger gym. my hand hurt afterwards, but it was SO much more productive than starting with chords! and it sounds way better too!

the kid and i went to real gym, watched another episode of the unit, and now it's past my bedtime by a long shot. my muscles are all jelly, and tomorrow's a brand new day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

like suing microsoft as a user

i went out last night to the israeli line, which turned into just another beer with buddies. today went alright, considering the fact that i'm doing the most horrible sideline work i've ever come across.

can i sue a software house for mental anguish? it's an application that requires me to perform minimal actions (generally about two or three) before saving, closing, and reopening to continue. if i don't do this, everything hangs and repairing the files takes a while.

if it worked then the job would take me a day or so. as it is i've already wasted a week just figuring out a work-around for the major issues :(

the food today was disgraceful. our meal consisted of one blood-jelly chicken leg each, and no more.

i worked late, watched an episode of the unit with the kid, received singer's guitar so that i can make my fingers and ears bleed, and then went with her and her cousin to levontin 7. when i discovered it was a jazz orchestra type thing i bailed to play pool with SxS and egg - a good call, as apparently they were simply atrocious.

pool was good, and now i'm late for bed. at least i didn't drink too much tonight :P

the army never actually gets rid of anyone, especially not "academics" who've been invested in... except for the dentist who screwed me up - we all bore witness to her bullshit "the time has come" bawling today - way too early into her career. i'd wish her luck, but that's reserved for her future patients.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

two pictures later...

this picture from imagechan is just perfect: sums up my thoughts on him perfectly

parkpaint

on the way out of the apartment the kid pointed out that they've made our entire street a no parking zone - considering the amount of trouble people have finding parking in our area, that's just rediculous.

what we need is to start a movement: everybody drives with a couple of cans of grey spraypaint (grey is open parking), and gives the curb a quick once-over when they park.

if enough people do this, then everyone can say that it wasn't them and the curb colours become completely invalidated. then the city council can find a better way to deal with the current disaster... like building parking arcades, which everybody's been clamouring for for years.

the lame game

i went to sleep last night, which makes it possibly the most boring evening i've had in over a week.

i watched shrek the third for breakfast, which was fun but not as entertaining as the others. i went back to sleep, but unfortunately had the window partially open and woke up sweaty and uncomfortable - i managed to forget that we're going through a heat wave and a dust storm...

i watched the first half of soylent green (what a topical movie!), which was interrupted by a call for lunch. we ate meatball sandwiches with our neighbour, which were as delicious as they were filling. i ate too much, actually.

after too much ice-cream, i continued with soylent green - a great film that is impressive precisely because of the era during which is was produced.

now i've done my daily news scanning, and i've got to figure out how to spend the rest of the evening. probably going out for a drink, i need to start the work week already :P

scott kurtz linked to freakangels, and it's quite nice.

military bots teach us that even human-machine interfacing requires tolerance and understanding

engadget is mocking johnny mnemonic - one of my all-time favourite movies. laugh all you want! their vision was awesome for its time and still has relevance. maybe we don't want those things exactly as they're depicted, but the general ideas are solid.

bastards.

another amusing misunderstanding from kissthisguy.com. so many to choose from!

imagechan.com's also pretty good.

i have talamasca - the racer playing in the background, and it really makes me wanna dance.

still online? why?!

i loved virtuosity, and somehow got stuck reading news afterwards instead of catching some z's. there's too much, and so much fun stuff, that i simply gave up. here's what i found before closing the reader:

from io9
stuff i have to own: the fish tank pot plant
another possible home
when the camera reflects the photos

slashdot
a psychological boo-boo

i dig threadless.

Friday, April 11, 2008

nerveless aching

last night would've been more fun if my head wasn't so clouded over, and i'm not certain whether it's accumulated lack of sleep or the misery and confusion of going through a personal re-evaluation.

regardless, milling around with SxS, ru55 and his SO was nice.

this morning was a bit weird, and i missioned around tel aviv looking for a solitaire board (peg solitaire). shopping was a pleasure, and when i decided that the girl i know from high school wasn't going to call i went over to singer's for a guitar lesson. after an hour or two i just passed out, and when i came to we had a talk about life and the universe that left me with much to think about.

specifically, in addition to growing up angry (daddy issues up the wazoo) i used to be a particularly sensitive person, and two feelings that i used to feel a lot and intensely were love and sadness. hell, i used to write lots of poetry for @!#$'s sake. and at some point those two feelings just sort of, well, disappeared. or became extremely diluted.

maybe it was gradual, but my years of feeling spiritually dead without any doubt (to my mind) the lack of those two.

my fingertips are feeling cut and abused. i would've borrowed her guitar, but i was on rollerblades and decided that it wasn't worth the risk.

summer's gotta be here - i just had to turn on the airconditioner to "freeze please".

two-faced fortune-telling

the present, news from 08/04/2008:

usa today on baby born with two faces
video on same baby

the past, the cover art from tool's 10,000 days released 28/04/2006:



coincidence? i think not.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

the pulsing lobes

my head's throbbing, and i've just had a long chat with my mum so i've purged the urge to share all my thoughts.

1) i've decided that it would be stupid of me not to go on the course, because quite frankly even if it doesn't help me i'd probably spend the rest of my life thinking "could've done that".

2) i have the most horrible job to do at the moment, and i haven't been able to do it because i've been fighting with faulty software (someone else's). i've been made to feel like a complete idiot by a number of people, and each time i'm proved correct it only makes things worse.

3) i faxed through my complaint this morning, and instead of having to wait a couple of weeks to receive snailmail they phoned me... twice. apparently i'm being taken seriously.

4) last night was fun, although the waitress was quite attractive and i didn't make anything of it (i suck). it was great having a drink with the old crew!

5) paying the rent was far more pleasant than i anticipated.

i just watched man of the year, which was highly entertaining. would jon stewart PLEASE run? as for israel, not such a good idea - the comedians here just aren't... well, they're neither funny nor particularly insightful.

my brain hurts.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

and speaking of mortgage...

last night was relaxed and comfortable... maybe i'm getting too comfortable with drinking in the middle of the week - although to be fair, this week has been exceptional. and we're off now to celebrate an old friend going off the officer's course.

i enjoyed good sushi on sheinkin street, and had to resist the urge to make noises like "oishii!" and "gochisousamareshita" because the japanese take-outs are all handled by koreans and thai.

i got to wake up late this morning! that means i had time to discover animator vs animation and play the follow-up game.
i left the apartment at 7.30, paid the bank a visit and was surprisingly well-received considering this past week's revelation. speaking of horrible things, i had a chat with a military paralegal and he reckons that i have a solid case. my SC will deny affirming my position on the matter.

i've definitely consumed too much sugar this last few weeks, and either i'm feeling it or i'm feeling the lack of sleep + multi-hangovers. i just don't know. regardless, i didn't get much real work done today.

back to drinking.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

3x vindicated

yesterday:

V1. taking my package receipt to the post office, and informing the woman behind the counter that the first was lost because the address wasn't written properly:
"well, sir, that's not our fault. it obviously wasn't written correctly on the package itself."
"why don't we just see that package?"
she apologized profusely about ten seconds later, but i have a feeling that i haven't fixed the system.
"so could you please check for the other packages i'm expecting? i'm worried that their receipts didn't find me either."

she proceeded to explain to me that they cannot search by name, nor by address. packages can only be found using the special number scribbled on the receipt. but not to worry! they keep the packages for a month before returning them!

V2. so i'm at the bank, trying hopelessly to buttonmash my transaction details from the information kiosk. i finally give up, swallowing what little pride remains after the weekend and the previous day's fiascos, and ask one of the teller's to help me out.

"it's no problem," he told me condescendingly, "you just have to press this button..."

his voodoo fared no better than mine, and after his second failed attempt handed me some partial ego along with my slips printed out on his personal station.

V3. i made a tough call and took the longer route to base, discovering on arrival that had i taken the shorter route i would've been stranded - it's now blocked extensively.

i did manage to sort out my finances, with a little help from the kid (a two day loan is a loan nonetheless, but that's what i'll need). i'm extremely fortunate that i miscalculated my funds before i left and had more in my savings than accounted for.

i spent the rest of the workday fighting with one of the most unproductive pieces of software i've ever come across - short of oracle's developer suite, of course.

my threshold for mental anguish is definitely on the rise.

nystire's wedding was great, with much amusement from many different sources and great company. in fact, the only thing that really bothered me were two elderly identical twins who worked at the event hall, one of whom mistook me smiling at someone behind her as a flirt... the two of them didn't stop eyeballing me for the rest of the evening.

i drank wha-HAY too much, mostly triple-shots of neat rum and whatever weird and highly volatile concoctions nystire's brother dreamed up. let's just say that by half-past midnight i needed the twenty minute walk home.

i refer to my previous post regarding waking up this morning. it was horrible.

today:

seven working hours were spent wrangling with broken software and frustratingly carefree, happy-go-lucky, "we're not in right now" tech-support. after solving the first 1.5 day problem, i'm left with a littler, but no less "i wish i could fix this myself" issue. i just moved right along to something else for the remaining couple of hours, something equally frustrating but actually tantamount to work. [*GASP*]

i scored an amusing ride home, and for no apparent reason selected how the grinch stole christmas and watched it for the first time. i discovered after the movie that one of my first flatmates has just become a father, which is always awesome :)

a man from the bank called me up earlier to remind me of my appointment tomorrow morning... he wished me good luck. luck? i find that a tad disconcerting from a financial institution.

and now, in a further attempt to find fertile ground for the laying of *my* seed, i go hunting with egg. to be honest, it's more tilling until i'm certain i want to pay the mortgage for the plot.

i think i've just bled that metaphor dry.

tiding over

waking up this early after drinking lots of hard liquor is simply a non-permanent form of a horrible death.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

humbled, good and proper

last night's israeli rock line was good, but egg convinced me to stay a little longer and i had *way* too much to drink. i'm quite surprised that i managed to catch the shuttle. i'd probably have had a warmer start to the day if i hadn't, the breeze coming through the window's broken seal coupled with early morning airconditioner blues weren't easy to cope with.

it's probably a good thing that yesterday's lessons are so particularly fresh, because otherwise i might have thrown my toys out the cot when i discovered this morning that some bureaucratic little shit (whoa, here comes the anger) accidentally demoted me (on paper) a couple of months ago, and due to his unfortunate inability to verify data when making life-changing decisions for others i wasn't just screwed over, but i wasn't given any warning either.

to suddenly discover, when i was sort of relying on my paycheck to pay this quarter's rent (due thursday), that i drew a salary of exactly NIS 0.00 for the last month and that next month's pay has already been docked a further NIS 400 has left me speechless. floored. and embarrassingly enough, if i can't get my shit together tomorrow with the bank i'm actually going to have to begin borrowing money for food.

you can't simply lower somebody's salary without notifying them, can you? oh, right. i'm an army bitch. forgot.

not to mention that i've been applying for a loan (long story), and this fiasco makes my earnings look like a sham... today was not a good day for secretaries to tell me that there's nothing to be done. it was late afternoon before somebody finally admitted that there might have been a mistake.

the rest of the day was spent working, part of which was getting a job completed within an hour - i'd be more excited but the preparation was already done for me :S

i'm home, getting ready to go to the gym. i've pulled both my biceps somehow, but i'm sure i can work it out. i picked up my post-office parcel slip, and it's a second warning... again. i think i know why - the post office doesn't address the damn thing properly. figures.

tomorrow's agenda: post-office, bank, and filing a serious complaint against whichever asshole thought that me being penniless is acceptable.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

less than perfect

i went for a walk, and ended up on the beach still feeling really bad. after sending my flatmate an apology and talking with singer on the phone, i took a slow walk home that afforded me some time to process things before continuing the discussion with the kid.

i do take things out of proportion, and i do have to learn to accept that not everything can be the way i want it. i have to relax when people make mistakes, and i have to learn to pause when i'm angry.

and i know that that's not going to be an easy set of lessons to internalize.

either way, it's been a long time since i've shed any tears, and tonight i've upset myself that much with my own behaviour. no wake-up call is ever pleasant, and i feel like a complete asshole.

gloves down

well that was unpleasant.

i don't think, personally, that it's okay to give my SO house-keys when i live with two other people. he wasn't asking my approval, he was "being polite" and informing me that he'd already done so... and that little argument was just the beginning of a screaming match that has solidly pissed us both off.

i really need my own space.

i'm also upset now because i spoke to singer on the phone while i was still upset about my flatmate, and i really hurt *her* feelings because i was talking the way i was feeling. this is something that i was picked out for not so long ago by somebody else, and it's not okay. and sometimes an apology just doesn't cut it.

so i'm really angry, and feeling really bad, and all in all this really decent day just turned horribly sour.

good news, everyone!

spinal injuries may be curable!

hyperion as a series of moving pictures

charles manson's one mind album released under creative commons - the videos awesome, and i'm hoping that the torrent will become available by a group that doesn't demand a $5 payment for porn access

could it be? could the music execs be listening?

wrapped in tentacles

i had dinner with singer, and then passed out until just before midnight. we got a ride with some friends of hers, and fortunately managed to get my buddy (egg) his ticket in spite of the lock-down. there's nothing more annoying than not being allowed out of a club, whatever the reason. somebody actually had to fake a seizure to get past security.

odradek warmed up, and they seriously kicked ass. during the last song the lead sang, and he exuded the 60's beautifully :)

ozric tentacles were brilliant, as expected. all in all, it was a good night, if a little too squished. we were exhausted by the end of the performance, and singer, egg and i had breakfast at the brasserie before walking to bed. i'd left my ipod at singer's so i crashed there, there was no way i'd have had enough energy to make it back home.

i'll admit, it was a bit awkward sleeping over. sleeping with her every now and again is one thing, but there's a line being crossed here that i'm entirely uncomfortable with.

Friday, April 04, 2008

superior breath

*yawn*

i didn't go out, instead i joined the kid in watching prison break at our neighbour's. i was exhausted when we got back, and strangely awoke around 8am... i have a feeling that the construction above us may have had something to do with it, but i wasn't consciously aware of it.

i was going to buy a ticket to see chris cornell, but they're not available yet. also, i don't have enough cash - apparently my salary hasn't come through this month, so sunday morning's going to be a whole lot of fun.

i bought a clip to replace the one that exploded on the train on monday, which turned out to be a much better one than i was using before. my wallet's a bit easier to handle now, and a far sight more sightly.

the kid and i did some shopping, and then went for a run. after that it was a rerun at the asian restaurant, and we watched no country for old men, which is a damn fine movie. after that it was more futurama...

hah! i bought the vhs of mighty mouse in the great space chase, now i just need to figure out how to digitize the damn thing (assuming that it's in good enough condition when it arrives).

Thursday, April 03, 2008

fitness pain

and i managed to disable both my alarms in my sleep this morning - it was really fortunate that i remembered that somebody was coming late from tel aviv, so i managed to hitch a ride with them and saved myself an extra hour of travel.

that also allowed me to take my sa-acquired desk calendar to work, which makes my desk look surprisingly neat and gives me decent scribble space!

the day began with a really stupid meeting with our section commander. the man's managerial ineptitude is matched only by his inability to communicate a simple message. he's a really nice guy, but his style interferes with our work.

work was horrible today. and my entire body is aching.

the condom-on-the-ear story was yesterday's (we were discussing the rights and wrongs of a government handing out free condoms), today's was focused on the aforementioned managerial hassles.

i left work at 19.30, and since arriving home and pulling out our flatmate's forgotten, smelly laundry i've been online. not good. i think i'm gonna go out, it's just a question of who with (i just got stood up, so i need to find a replacement).

500g

i woke up to the salt and vinegar chips on my way to the base. the day went by rather quickly, although i wasn't really paying attention. the final shared thoughts of the day were on simply not caring or trying and just going with the flow, and it turns out that i'm not the only person who's frustrated with the attitude.

so we're not all sheltered-employment seekers.

i caught the shuttle home and went straight to the gym. i can't believe how unfit i am, nor can i believe that the new extension to my belly weighs a solid 2kgs. the belly-training almost killed me - we did what are apparently boxing exercises and i wasn't quite ready for that level of intensity.

i had a fight with the woman at the asian take-aways because she wasn't prepared to switch boxes for me. they have three specials:
1) 500g rice in a proper take-away box
2) 500g beef szechuan in a proper take-away box
3) 500g beef szechuan with rice in a crappy flat box

i asked for 500g beef szechuan with rice in a proper take-away box, and she took umbrage. she unkindly explained that specials are the boss's decision, and when i commented on their lack of flexibility she began talking about how rude israelis are.

i find it sad that my reply concerning israelis' lack of ability to provide decent service was ignored. when i gave up and ordered choice 2, i discovered that the boss had been standing at my side the entire time, pretending to be a customer.
the boss: "so are you happy now?"
me: "no. i'm taking this option because the man who runs this business is a fool."

the unfortunate thing is that i'll probably end up going there again, because the szechuan was really good. and the girl who handles the food is gorgeous.

it took forever to find a set of buses to get to yogi's place, so i couldn't spend too much time with him. it was good to see him, and it's a pity that we haven't seen each other in so long that i've missed so much.

good news for south africans! denel's proving that there're still functioning tech organizations around.

i need a bigger ipod: i can't have all my rock music and trance, and there's no way that i'm going to transfer back and forth each morning / evening.

last day of the week coming up, and i'm exhausted.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

april's fool

suck. on three hours of sleep i arrived to discover way too much mail to wade through and an actual workload waiting for me. in addition, i consumed far too much sugar and chocolate from the pile of things that remained after the little "welcome back" tradition ("you've been away, now give us sweets").

in the evening i did some research online (without finding any answers to my questions) and then went with sammy to the usual haunt. on the way i stopped to get chinese, and i shocked the girl working there by walking and eating... isn't that what chinese take-out's all about?

it only took a glass of bourbon and a beer to finish me off, and now i'm having one of those slow mornings... good thing i didn't need to be on base already :P

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

oh crap, i'm home

a sentence you'll probably never hear from the pilot after a really terrible landing: "oops! sorry about that, folks."

getting onto the first flight was stressful, but from there it was smooth sailing. not only did our bags arrive before we did both flights, but my cousin even got me into the business class lounge which was quite comfortable.

the long flight wasn't too bad, aside from a large group of annoying afrikaans women who didn't stop jumping up and down.

i don't dig public transport, and after three weeks of being able to hop in the car and put my foot down i'm already a bit frustrated.

it's late, and i haven't finished unpacking :(