Tuesday, September 30, 2008

back to siesta

i'm after lunch, after laundry and after a good run with the kid on the beach. i'm more surprised at how much more fit i am than he is, as the biggest problem i have with the course i'm doing is that i'm not allowed to run.

i've learned to walk really, really fast (4km in under 26 minutes), but i'm not allowed to run.

last night's dinner was great, we all over-ate as per usual and the meringue was fantastic. the company was really good too.

on the way home i stopped by singer's for a visit, and i ended up sleeping over as i was completely bombed. one thing in particular that i dig about her apartment is that it's perfect for just zoning out while listening to music - i put on nagual sound experiment, and it just doesn't sound as good out of my (relatively) tinny speakers.

Monday, September 29, 2008

the third last quick break

and we're counting backwards, so we're typing backwards (and this is just the quick summary):

i shouldn't have eaten 300g of ben & jerry's cake batter ice-cream. i'm already paying for it with a solid headache. the kid's appropriately snarky comment came too late to stop me. in my defense, the idea was to go out for coffee but all the coffee shops are closed due to tonight being the jewish new year. i'm nicely surprised :)

i shopped for the next two days and made myself a tuna salad while browsing online - it's shocking to be back in the real world again. here's the killer:
i booked myself onto the snowboard trip today. YEAH! i don't know how i'm going to organize the payment, but it's good that my name's down :)

i got my to-do items sorted today. i made a really awesome shirt as a goodbye gift for our commander, it's pink and sporting a really funny photo of him. he's not supposed to wear it, but it's funny as hell.

dedication - after searching almost every single arbitrary store on dizengoff, bograshov, king george and sheinkin, i accidentally walked into an oddities shop containing exactly what i was searching for: strap-on pockets for my overalls. with a cute and neither-here-nor-there design so it's good for all occasions.

i bought really shite gloves for the cold week ahead, but seeing as i'm not going to wear them for more than a few nights i didn't think it was worth investing. not like last time, when i bough a really nice pair and promptly lost them.

i went by the gym, and the manager gave me an extension (not free, but outside of the context of a contract) because i've been away doing military things for the last half a year. rather nice of him.

the post-office was closed. that sucks. but the kid did bring back my copies of men in black and its sequel, and after testing the sequel i'm convinced that i don't remember anything from the entire film. good buy!

i stopped by the bank to discover that the message that they left me really wasn't important. the thing i need to prepare for november will cost me NIS 700 if i get it from the bank, and pretty much nothing if i organize it at the post-office. i'll get around to it in november, then.

wake up at 4.30am, hurriedly cleaning for an inspection that never happened, and fairly pleasant bus / train rides home. the most complicated part of the day was and is answering all the wishes for a good new year - there's a bunch i really should have sent out but i don't have the energy.

yesterday we had our peer review, and i'm really glad it's over and there's nothing more to be done about it. there's a bunch of assholes who probably screwed the rest of us over, but as usual i couldn't be arsed to be involved and i hope that my score works out to be at least relatively fair.

yesterday morning we ran an orientation exercise in a small town, which was a lot of fun. the weekend was relaxed, and i got a lot of work done - i was meant to give a lecture yesterday that never materialized, so now i've got some time to practice. i still have to write that book report, so that's my plan for the next two days at home.

last week we ran simulations [like we did before], and i got put into two really uncomfortable ones. the first one was kind of alright, but not good, and the second one was so frustrating that in the middle of it i slammed my hand down on the table just to shut my fellow participants up, and broke my pen. my staring at the table and muttering "dammit, i broke my pen" wasted the effect that i'd managed to achieve.

oh, and volleyball over the weekend was a great success - i got picked for the sport's day team because i took a bunch of misfit beginners and explained the game to them, techniques last. by explaining strategy first and suffering a few learning losses, i got them to a point where nobody could get us off the court... including one of the commanders, who's quite impressed ^_^

there's a bunch of other things that happened during the last two weeks, but kc's coming to pick me up for the family dinner so i'll have to continue another time.

happy jewish new year!

Friday, September 19, 2008

flaked out and all soldiery

right - this was a HARD week. i was completely exhausted when i returned to base on sunday... exhausted to the point where the raising of a limb or the flexing of grey matter was a chore. with that as the background, sunday and monday were two of the most physically demanding days, both mentally and physically, that i've undergone in the last half a year.

this week was spent in the deep desert, being drilled and living like real soldiers, sleeping in crappy tents, dealing with no water, eating rations and trying to remain focused on the million-and-one different things that we had to remember for every step of the way.

without getting down all the details, i can say that on the whole i enjoyed the experience, although i got horribly sunburned and i had some frustrating moments with my platoon (although the team's getting on much better). i even managed to get a couple of good words out of my commander :)

today i got *really* lucky, after missing the bus from the base i hitched a lift with a cute major - she not only got me to a good place but she gave me a few pointers as well, and i managed to find a bus travelling from the previous base i was assigned to and they let me ride with them until be'er sheva. after three days without showering and working my ass off, i had a good shower before changing into my clothes for mmf's wedding and heading off to meet up with ru55's fiancee to get a ride to the event.

the wedding was really nice, we had a lot of fun, and i just completed my mission as designated driver.

now i'm at SxS's, about to crash for a couple of hours before heading back to base. my commander was so impressed today by my offer to do the book report on my partial reading of the hebrew one that he gave me an extension which will make all the difference! in addition, my day-job commander has okay'ed my vacation so although there's no "final" in the military i'm pretty darn close to it.

this week i was way more relaxed, and i've found my groove. it's a bit late as far as the peer-review is concerned, because there're a bunch of assholes who've been discussing openly how they're going to screw me over - but there's not much i can do about that so i'm just carrying on and hoping for the best.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

back into character

i forgot to mention a couple of amusing things from last night:

1) it turns out that both mmf and ru55's fiancee both share my low blood pressure / fainting problem. what are the chances??

2) ze german (hurricane) was sitting behind me while four of us played mario kart, and in frustration slammed his wii remote down, hitting me square in the head. i still find that amusing.

the afternoon was perfect - it's been a long time since i've enjoyed a civilized shower and after the excellent biltong and great steak leftovers (eaten after the belgian waffles, of course) i took another nap. we picked up yogi, went to mmf's and i split before they all headed off to his bachelor's party - now i've got packing and homework to do before hitting the sack.

i am really sad that this weekend has come to a close.

post zionist post nav

in the quickest summary ever, we spent a week in jerusalem visiting the sites and receiving a solid injection of zionism (and i've begun to grow fond of the city itself), and after a restful weekend reading and finishing projects we entered a week of introspection (personal review) and navigation (running around the desert hunting down little metal plates with numbers on them).

the most important item on the list of things to do is to calm down. i need to learn to chill out and takes things easy, and i'm still finding it hard to do. maybe it's the lack of minutes in the day, maybe it's the fact that i'm surrounded by idiocy, and perhaps it has to do with the fact that as much as i have what it takes to be an officer, my ability to express myself and my comprehension are limited and altogether it's a highly frustrating experience.

oh, and the bit where most of the people with me in the course are not my friends, we don't know anything real about each other and oftentimes don't even like each other might have something to do with it too.

right, the dailies (in case you were wondering, the summary ended after the first paragraph):

the essential books in my future home:
alice in wonderland
the complete narnia series
the science of discworld

speaking of which, i bought copies of dune, ender's game, the adventures of huckleberry finn, the rest of the sherlock holmes books and i think something else that i can't recall right now. the trip to the book store was enforced, my commander got permission for me to do the book report on an english book instead, which means that i have the same deadline and have to choose something i've already read. it's either dune or ender's game...

the nose-picker came up to me one evening and placed his hand on my neck: "they're sending me home". bummer, dude. i'm really glad i'd bought wet-wipes just in case...

jerusalem at 3am covered in fog makes me feel at home. the morning prayers at the western wall were quite special.

i sketched a portrait of a previous chief of staff while he talked to our battalion that was good enough that when the guy next to me glanced at it he laughed out loud... oops :S

the toilets in the hotel we stayed at read: "BOER OK".

my niece told me a story that does my nut in.
parting of the jewish mourning process is to say a certain prayer (kaddish), and the belief is that every time we say this prayer the soul of the departed rises up to heaven. my father, not being particularly saintly, didn't cause us to scramble to prayers in the wake of his demise.

i personally, don't believe his soul deserves rest.

my niece explained that her father claims that my father came to him in a dream and complained that nobody had said kaddish for him and so he couldn't pass on to the next world. her father, being the righteous prick moron that he is, took it upon himself to say prayers.

last week i had a really odd dream, and one part of it remains clear as crystal. it's almost an exact copy of the scene from a clockwork orange of the man licking the warden's boots, with my now-ex male biological forbear doing the licking. it irks me to think that he might have found redemption, whatever form it may have taken.

i think that speaks rather lowly of me.

we paid a visit to david ben gurion's old house, and in the middle of a talk an interesting idea began to form in my mind. it's been developing since, and although my buddies just laughed at me when i gave it voice i think it's possibly a good direction to take when i finish with my military service.

the sneaky bastard finally pushed me to a point where i gave up trying, and then a few days later approached me and repeated my words back at me. i pointed this out to him, and since then he's been trying to be friendly - it's a pity for him that he's so untrustworthy.

our platoon leader opened a debate about zionism wherein i was the only person not allowed to talk... "yet". by the time he let me loose i'd prepared a speech - and a lot of people came to me afterwards to thank me for giving such a touching one. score!

we have a mouse in our room. the stories being told are getting more and more rediculous as the days go on, and we're hiding our food in the weirdest places. the problem with our mouse is that he's talented enough to open up boxes and packets.

it turns out i'm pretty damn good with finding my way around the desert - a pity that our team almost didn't get to try as our commander decided that we weren't prepared enough [of COURSE we can learn a full page of data by rote within fifteen minutes!]. i'd deliberately picked a difficult partner, and we spent the first session arguing constantly about directions (eventually he started listening to me). we've been described as r2d2 and c3po traversing the dunes :P

i improved my physical to such a drastic degree that further improvement is going to be really hard. i finally have real incentive to do push-ups.

this week was crazy as far as exertion and exhaustion were concerned - and not helped by my consuming an energy drink before the physical, which was then cancelled. i couldn't sleep that night, and was royally screwed for the rest of the week... up until thursday afternoon, at least, when i scored an hour and a half siesta in the kitchens ^_^

can, a short video of dick hoyt and his son, is really, really touching.

my SC is a tosser, i think that's been pretty well established. i have no time to think during the course, let alone participate in a popularity contest - "man of the section" my ass. hell, i haven't even been in the office for half a year, and he thinks that voting should be my top priority :/

summer's coming to an end! fog in the morning!

i think the best skill i've acquired during the last four months is the ability to stay awake during boring lectures. i don't actually know how i do it, but i suspect it's got to do with my habit of listening to all the tiny noises around me - like papers shuffling and pens clicking. fascinating that in a big lecture theatre there's a constant symphony / cacophony.

the last day was mostly a bitch, and ended with a screaming match before going to bed without showering. i managed to get my sat phone fixed when we arrived back in tel aviv, bought the books, and returned home *just* too late to pick up my dvds from the post office :S

i did laundry, some important shopping, messed about on facebook, and went out for lunch and to meet up with egg. we paid the sports store a visit on the way back apropos snowboarding, and then i walked home to pack and be picked up by ru55, SxS, mmf and one of ze germans to come through to ra'anana for friday night dinner.

AWESOME dinner. proper steak and fantastic potatoes, and there're still leftovers!

we spent the evening / night / morning talking, playing scrabble and having a good laugh over monopoly [i won!], and at sunrise got into the pool for a couple of hours before getting to bed. i can't say that i've slept better than this in many months.