Thursday, October 30, 2008

*LEVEL UP*

i'm still sorta in shock about the whole thing... it was tense right up until the ceremony on sunday, and the last two days were really emotional. i've got a hell of a lot to say, but i'm in eilat with my mother so i'll be logging off soon (i'm in a trashy internet cafe at the bus station) :P

Saturday, October 18, 2008

redemption for the day

i'm extremely pleased to announce that the battery recharged quickly and remained good until the job was complete. i have two too-short lines on the back - accidents happen - but all in all it was well done. the kid now knows a thing or two more than he did yesterday :P

the afternoon flew by, with an hour on the beach with my snowboarding trip organizer buddy, his mates and a beer, and the kid and i watched iron man when i got back.

it lived up to the hype - i was thrilled the entire film ^_^

we interviewed two people this evening: a cute psychologist and her dog, and an about-to-graduate engineer. both of them were good runners, but the girl won out. i needed a minute to deal with the dog, because cute as she is i've only ever dealt with troublemakers, but this time i won't be responsible for it and i can deal with making my belongings inaccessible :P

i had an interesting chat with the landlord, mostly about how the bank's going to buy my soul, and then the kid joined me for sushi (miso soup and sashimi / nigiri, a fantastic combination) which we finished with the ice-cream usual.

only one more week - it'll be a hard one, but if i can just keep it together for its entirety the this last chapter will be closed successfully.

either way, the holiday planning has increased in intensity :)

it had to happen

i was demonstrating clipper operation [shaving my head] to the kid... when the clippers died. i have a bald stripe down the back and the front is decidedly random.

this wouldn't be such an issue if it wasn't illegal to shave one's head with a razor... and this afternoon i'm interviewing potential flatmates. this should be interesting.

success! onward to breakfast!

i can't believe i slept more than four hours after the party! fantastic!

now for breakfast. i've been fiddling with my madam & eve archive for the past hour.

reverse anger management

i rather enjoyed the night out, some of it was awkward but it was mostly good fun. i left when i started going cross-eyed from exhaustion (i don't know why i'm not leaving this for when i wake up), and i scared the poor sod at the kiosk, who thought i was angry with him.

even when i went back to return the tortilla chips that were way past their expiry date i wasn't angry. oh, well. i think it's most likely my automatically-assumed attitude for the arsim around the docks.

ubuntu's back!

SWEET! i'd forgotten just how good this interface feels. nystire sorted me out with a quick link, and everything's breezy again ^_^

now i'm off to party. i was feeling bad about something - i didn't update my dutch friend (the snowboard organizer) concerning payments, and i was worried that he was relying on my handing him the cash. it suddenly struck me that he's only here another day, so if there's a problem i can definitely help him out.

a good green start

[ <- click here]

please, PLEASE click the above link, and beneath the picture click on the "Back" and then "Additional Views" links and tell me that this doesn't amuse you.

All feedback appreciated, and purchases are the most powerful form of flattery.

Friday, October 17, 2008

unreasonable

i really shouldn't have been online this long.
and [this] and [this] are hardly good excuses.

i was sitting at a coffee shop,

having resumed reading the fall of hyperion, when i suddenly distracted myself with introspection and self-absorbed self-inflicted agitation.

a few days ago i began thinking about new beginnings, about throwing out the old and picking and choosing only for the now. letting go of old strings and loose threads, trashing the papers that haven't realized whatever potential i thought i saw in them and donating the irrelevant to whichever outfit will have it.

as a beginning, this led me to clear out numbers from my cellphone, that i suppose i'd been storing to keep a hold of the past. even the number of the gorgeous girl i met in canada, and my first girlfriend lake [mentioned a number of times, one day i'll tell the tale].

this fresh start aside, i began pondering the how and who of "me".

once upon a time i was an innocent and not particularly cynical child. my mum, concerned about my future, grades, and other stuff, took me to see some form of psychologist pathfinder-windreader witchdoctor who examined the results of my iq test in addition to some other parameters and said, "quite frankly, he can do pretty much whatever he wants".

i took that seriously, and i believe that i am capable of anything. "everything is possible" is one of my favourite expressions. the thing is, i have at my disposal infinite resources and interests:
it's having access to everything
wanting to experience everything
my desire to do it all the hard way
to write it all down
to sing it all
but there's only enough time for a tiny, tantalizing taste of the perfect pudding


this is life's mean trick as far as i'm concerned, and the source of all my pseudo-angst.

on an unrelated note, i forgot to mention: a couple of days ago i had a run-in with an ethiopian guy in our platoon.

for two months i've suffered his repeated attempts to impress me with his grasp of american culture, hip hop terminology and ebonics, and the ability to repeat the same two cuss-words for minutes on end without coming up with anything original.

he's a great guy, but he's israeli, not an african-american. so i told him that he's a white man pretending to be a black man inside a black man's body.

cafepress isn't pretty

and i couldn't find the list of funny shirts, so i made three (which was a lot more of a mission than i expected) and i'll see if this proves worthwhile. i have this strange feeling that it won't.

lunchtime? i'm too lazy for anything else.

an ode to hip-hop

when the margins are filled
but the page remains blank
empty barrels a'rolling
the epitome of swank

with your gold and your diamonds
and coloured hair flair
all your tinted accessories
and plastic dental care

of passion, of rage
you rave on your crate
but it's only cash that keeps you
bound to a nobody's fate

blue moon rising

it's the shade of security
thrown when that clock strikes thirteen
when it all makes sense
and i remember who i am

when every ending is just that
when every dagger digs deep
when pulling teeth for pulling's sake
when talking and doing, both are cheap

my mirror squints back, puzzled
i blush, ashamed to look
i recognize myself, as if in a dream
a fantasy, mere folly, for i can't be

antidote

imprisoned, chained up inside this
statue of a body
reaching out, tendrils probing but
foiled, slapping uselessly against
his eyes' screen door
tortured, cleansed
scrubbed, tortured again
that cold statue trying to reshape
me
in his own grey image

wringing out these last drops
of rainbow gold
his iron slick sick grip
his black touch confounding intimacy

acts of love

o' but to share a smile
filled with toothpicks
and a handshake
firmed with ice

for a hearty bear hug
through a vest of thorns
exchanging hats
filled with lice

my love for you is as the stars
pointy, and oft hard to see
make of all this what you will
i'll keep up this pretence of glee

the surprise of success

to be so tragically optimistic
to resent the present
in anticipation of that
shining
florescent future

when each step drags
mercilessly
wastefully, in light of its inevitability

to be in that future, but stuck in
the past, reforging unmade marks

does everyone fear his own mistakes so?

the tail

right now, i'm both happy and hurting. no, i'm not having one of those masochistic moments. i was sitting at coffeeholic, enjoying my iced-coffee and happily awaiting the arrival of my roast-beef salad when the kid called, informing me that an obscure package had arrived via ups that needed paying for. i didn't recognize the name of the sender nor the company listed (amplifier?!), so i told him not to accept it. when i got home i discovered that it was my penny arcade order. i'm glad / very, very lucky that i managed to get the delivery dude to come back.

i'm excited over the gear that arrived, the books are sweet and the hoodie is super-frikkin' awesome. the poster's a lot smaller than i expected, but that's my fault.

what's painful is that i had to pay NIS 250 for the shipping, because they chose ups. they didn't use ups last time, so i didn't really think that sort of thing would happen. after a pleasant chat with a really sweet-sounding girl in their israeli operations centre, i understand two things:
1) if possible, don't use ups
2) if you must use ups, you have to specify in advance that your order of less than $1000 MUST NOT be regarded as high-priority. you see, if it's a cheap package then they assume you simply didn't spend enough.

"awful" doesn't have an 'e' in it. fine. i get it.

the ups package is what i thought i was going to the post office to pick up this morning, but i was wrong. that pick-up was for this month's wired. they simply don't fit in our mailbox. speaking of wired, the last two copies really helped me get through the past week.

i just got mail from the hospital. i tried to arrange an appointment with them over the phone, but that's not their policy so i had to send them my referral by fax - a horrible story in and of itself.
the mail tells me that i have an appointment with them in just over a week - a date that is simply impossible for me to make.

now i can't get hold of them by phone. they suck.

my snowboard vacation is paid for! now i just need to sort out the transport and everything will be fine ^_^

the last week:

i was super chilled on friday morning, and i got almost all of my homework done on the train. after a lot of bus station confusion we boarded with a girls' platoon, and were informed that we were forbidden to talk to the ladies for the last two weeks of the course.

not a chance.

i've been ill since friday. sickly, exhausted (physically and mentally), a little dizzy at times... it hasn't been too much fun.

friday night i finally clicked with a bunch of the guys, including one of our commanders, over a conversation about movies and gaming. i almost put myself in a bad place when i performed the monster-hands thing from pan's labyrinth: there was a long moment when i thought i'd made a terrible call, and then the dawning of recognition crossed the commander's face and he stopped thinking i was a complete nutter.

reading about shai agassi was quite a pick-me-upper.

i had some strange dreams this past week. a few nights i couldn't sleep at all, during one i managed to kill a mosquito that had been driving me nuts for five hours by slamming my head down on the pillow when the buzzing reached my ear.

we were tested in a number of ways this week - the last period is one of intense paranoia and any mistake could fail us. in fact, a large number of people said goodbye yesterday, and although a couple of the decisions pleased me (the sneaky kid's gone, for example), there were a few that have me quite disappointed. having my commander sit next to me for half an hour, watching me pass by 2% and then making fun of me on his way out the class was not pleasant.

sport's day sucked. i was only told a minute before the volleyball game began that i wasn't in the team anymore. that stung.

ah, that reminds me. there are a number of cadets with me that think that because me hebrew isn't as good as theirs that i'm stupid, and stupid enough that i don't know that they're laughing at me - to my face - and then pretending to be friends afterwards. it's incredibly unpleasant.

in fact, it's specifically that bunch of people that makes me feel like finishing this course is something of survival and not achievement. i haven't actually enjoyed the last couple of months, just a couple of moments here and there. i'm fantasizing about airports and my imaginary apartment that i haven't seen yet. that's where my head's at about 90% of the time.

---
why was i thinking about unity?
it was a cold night, and the queue outside the club was doubled back around the parking lot. i'd been inside, dancing like a maniac, my shirt had been off for a while and i was enjoying that clean-sweat feeling. i felt the desire to go to the petrol station to get myself some chocolate, and i headed down the stairs.

i stood at the door, watching the rain drizzling down on the people waiting in line, and seeing everyone huddling together and trying to keep somehow dry struck a chord deep inside me.

i decided that there was no way that i was going to run to the petrol station.

i walked - slowly - all the way there, and all the way back, having made a conscious decision to *enjoy* the sensation (i had waterproof pockets, so i wasn't concerned). i knew i would be warm enough to make the journey, and that i'd dry off (or not :P) by dancing... all in all, not a tremendously ridiculous call to make.

i will never forget the shock and awe that seemed to ripple through the crowd. nor the comments that i overheard, repeated in various forms: "wow! i want whatever that guy's had!"

nope, i wasn't on drugs, people. just will and perspective.


---
during the last couple of days i really bonded with some of the guys from the first leg of the course. we're all more or less in the same head-space for the first time since we arrived at our current base, and i finally feel connected again.

apparently i'm still considered a new immigrant as far as the idf is concerned. i don't think this scores me any points, but it's good to know :P

watching a few minutes of some random soccer game, i realized what it is about being a spectator that doesn't appeal to me. if i can't learn anything useful, i don't want to watch.

football (soccer, like), for instance, can be extremely interesting as far as plays are concerned, but overall there's no real strategy involved. watching extreme sports is fun because i fantasize about actually doing those things, even if i'm psychologically limited to staring at the screen (after a couple of nasty rollerblading accidents i've never fully regained my confidence).

anyway, the course is almost done and everybody's going crazy, and now i'm going to see about dealing with my computer issues so that i can upload some designs.

[this post written from ubuntu. i can't figure out how to uninstall / reinstall hardy heron.]

Friday, October 10, 2008

to sleep in a few. promise.

i quote the email i received when complaining about having paid triple the international postage: "we do not refund shipping fees after the items have been shipped regardless".
evil sods.

in happier news, penny arcade's fallout 3 strip is complete.

and i've opened a shop on cafepress, now to fill it with goodies. when i have time, of course.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

spree: spred. or spreed? how about sprud?

after some really, really good sushi and a fun chat with my favourite sushi chef (the korean guy i used to train with), i got all my shopping done:
* three awesome shirts from mac hall (one cthulu, one smiley, one mac hall)
* all five penny arcade books
* one super-awesome penny arcade poster (subway)
* one unmaintainably awesome penny arcade hoodie (white, and definitely men's this time)

the only thing that worries me is that on both orders the state is listed as IL, and i'm hoping fervently that the deliveries won't be made to illinois. and penny arcade's checkout got me all paranoid about my paypal credit limit, and after attempting to reconfirm my card ("but your card's fine"), i put in my details manually and hey presto! pots and pans! it all worked great.

now for that homework and packing i was so excited about. only a couple more weeks of this, though. that's kinda freaky.

oh, yeah. and nystire sent me this ubergeek link. it's quite cute.

what an odd sensation!

i just arrived home... as i left the kibbutz, the oddest sensation washed over me: i felt like i was 15 again, heading back home from playing pool with my buddies at the heartache & vine, a quaint old pub near glengariff road.

the day was chilled, now to try and enjoy a bit of tel aviv before hitting the homework and packing for the next week. and possibly doing some of that shopping i wanted to do today ;)

antisocial

i've spent a large part of today window shopping online, and now i think it's about time to rejoin everyone else on the couch.

i would have bought a bunch of mac hall merch, but their shop doesn't allow the selection of "Outside US". for three shirts and a hoodie, i hope they can fix this.

i then tried purchasing from penny arcade's store, but i'm not filling in all that data from a computer i don't trust. this time i'm in for books, a poster, and their awesome hoodie.

all that in addition to the dvds i need to own that i mentioned yesterday? and then i wonder where all my money disappears to.

a couple of interesting things i've come across today:

an article i agree with

a madam & eve strip that amuses me

an answer to my question about sugar and gas tanks

a poster i must have

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

back inside the green line

back on the kibbutz again - what a nice breath of fresh air! and i'd been dreaming about getting in the pool for days, so even though i'm incredibly self-conscious about my inability to swim lengths i really enjoyed immersing myself and chilling on the side with my freshly arrived copy of wired (only a couple of months late, bless the postal network).

i discovered my luck last night just before going to bed - something had been irritating my heel the entire day, and it turned out to be a shard of glass... and my foot's fine. the sock needed to be tossed, but that's alright.
it's a sharp turn from the beginning of the week, when i discovered how not to use a thermos.
the only time i've ever used one was in france, and then only for cold water. this led me to believe that pouring directly into one's mouth was an acceptable way to do things, only the scalding hot tea poured straight over my lower lip and chin and i was lucky enough that the burns didn't progress past first degree.

the week guarding settlements was mostly great but extremely tiring. we ate a lot of tuna at the beginning, but by sunday we were able to go shopping and we feasted on steaks, kebabs and chicken for the next three days.

our team covered two settlements, both of them really nice. i was hosted by a family for friday night dinner and not only was the food great, but the people were really friendly and interesting. the only issue was meeting them all for the first time, unfortunately sitting down directly under the spotlights next to the littlest daughter.

"he's sweating, daddy".
thanks, sweety, that made me a whole lot more comfortable.

i finally learned all the words to amazing grace (the original version), and i also learned not to engage in any debate that may at some stage include drugs. i seriously pissed off the guy i was guarding with when i tried to explain that part of the freedom that we fight for is the freedom to make mistakes.

we scored an hour and a half being thrown about in an armoured vehicle on friday. most of us slept fairly well.

our commander's incredibly amusing when he's not being serious, and we enjoyed the few days with him. he's an incredibly enthusiastic cook, and we got an opportunity to "break distance" and joke around a lot.

a couple of the shifts i pulled were serious physical exercise. dragging a heavy gate manually for the duration of the sabbath was hard work, but not nearly as hard as patrolling three hours on a rolling, rocky mountain top. i get breathless just thinking about it.

i watched bits of the saw iv while doing homework, and i've realized that it's a quadrilogy that needs to be viewed. my list of next-to-buy movies: thursday, independence day and of course, all of the pirates of the caribbean movies. how i haven't obtained those until now is beyond me. at least i got home to find starship troopers and the two bill hicks dvds on my bed.

i had a long (more than two minutes, probably less than five) chat with the new flatmate this afternoon about interviewing the kid's replacement. i told him that i'm most likely going to move out after january in any event, but that it's important that all three of us get along until then. i wonder how things're going to be when i get back home in a month's time.

speaking of which - we have approximately two weeks left of the course. it's awkward that on the one hand i can almost taste the end, and on the other i'm terrified that this is when i'm going to put a foot wrong somehow.

on the bus back to base last night, i suddenly had a craving for ice-cream. within five minutes after voicing this the bus pulled into a mall and we had a refreshment break, and the ice-cream was pretty good :D

i thought about two things on the bus to tel aviv this morning:

1) i caught one of my team-mates napping while on duty. he swears blind that it was no more than half a minute, but i had to report him anyway. i did it in a way that won't hurt him, but it was unpleasant nonetheless. you don't fall asleep at your post when the enemy's gate is less than 500m away.

2) singer. i think i need to tell her that we can't be friends anymore, because she's still under the false impression that we're going to get back together at some stage. our last talk was weird and it keeps replaying in my head.

i don't like burning bridges but this one is unhealthy.

i managed to get to the bank on time this morning, i went to transfer the cash for the snowboarding holiday. that turned out to be more complicated than i'd expected. i hope it goes well :S

right, now that i've gotten all that off my chest, it's time for a nap. for the past half a year i've been leaving out all the gory details, i hope i don't miss them one day when i decide to publish my more obscure experiences... like my national geographic moment when i entered the guard hut and a wasp was fighting with a giant moth (larger than my hand).

daylight savings time confuses things.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

an almost normal off-day

i slept well, but woke up early. after scanning a couple of nursery rhyme sites [1 | 2] and finding what i was looking for, i went back to sleep for another few hours.

the kid and i got up around the same time, so when we met in the corridor we decided to go for a muesli breakfast at coffeeholic. damn, that's good muesli.

after i did some work on my book report, we went to the gym. it has been a long, long time, and i worked hard. we sat over protein shakes with one of the cute girls working there, and when we got home i worked some more. then we watched men in black 2, which is awesome. then i worked some more, while the kid made shakshuka, which we ate while watching a couple of episodes of how i met your mother.

now that i've scratched my current blobs of data onto a pad and finished most of my packing, it's time for bed.

oh, right: while looking for another source for my homework, i came across this video.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

over-filled belly

i eventually got around to starting my book report... after watching forgetting sarah marshall. fun movie. dinner this evening was great, but eating so much was exhausting work. we watched the israeli big brother for a bit, and i've been doing arbitrary and unimportant online stuff for the last hour and a half instead of sleeping.

must sleep.