Saturday, February 28, 2009

fourth post!

again: it's been a busy day :)
i just finished reading neil gaiman - coraline, it is absolutely wonderful and i highly recommend it - for kids and adults!

now i'm ready for bed.

and another movie

what a way to spend a day: the last one was kalifornia. and i tidied and made lists, too.

i'm going to get ready for bed now.

neither

i didn't sleep, and i didn't make lists: so i've finally seen slumdog millionaire - it's great :)

and here's a link to all the classic memetic videos - i'm fascinated by prison thriller.

nothing doing

i woke up late (yay!) and started with the last three episodes of how i met your mother (meh), and appropriately followed that with pink floyd - the wall. i thought it was beautiful and entertaining, but i can't say that i enjoyed it.

now i'm going to make lists. or sleep some more :)

soaking edification

the girl's party had a long line and the bouncers were giving everyone grief, so i bailed and taxied to meet nystire's sister. on the way i'd run into a guy i used to work with, we exchanged cards. i still find that obscurely amusing.

the motorock is a traditional biker bar / rock club, just the right atmosphere and exactly the right crowd. the party was great fun, with only one near-incident (i wouldn't back down when some big dude threatened me after i'd spilled his beer - he was carrying behind someone wigging out to tool, what did he expect?!) and only a couple of drinks too many.

i haggled the taxi driver on my ride home out of 30%, and crashed into bed at around 4am. getting up three hours later *hurt*, and i felt physically ill (hello, giant hangover) the rest of the morning. in spite of that i managed to get to herzeliya and cash that forgotten cheque, and then made my way to ramat gan to discover how much my fixes will cost me.

that was when it became very, very cold. freezing, in fact, and my ski-jacket wasn't nearly enough. then it began to rain. it pelted down. today, all-in-all, was not the day for being outdoors.

i discovered that for the quoted price my agent gave me, i can get organized with all the fixes (aside from painting) and all the furniture i'll need. and in less time. that greedy bastard.

i was irritated at a couple of "renovators" lurking around the home center trying to steal away customers. shady bunch.

i wish i could forget all the sprayings we underwent at the bus stop from passing vehicles. some of them were blatantly on purpose. i got home, switched pants and shoes and picked up the fifth element, and walked through the storm winds and rain to lake's place to introduce her to it.

we both really enjoyed it (i've only seen it about forty or fifty times), and afterwards watched the first episodes of a series called snuff box. we found it decidedly unfunny, just artistically strange. i'd rather not see any more.

we played taki (like uno) while drinking wine and walked the dog in the rain, and then i came back home to sleep (hopefully late). my mum and i had a good catch-up, and i've agreed with her that i need to give myself enough time to sort out the new apartment and not be in too much of a hurry.

i'm feeling the hour and the week gone by, so i'm hitting the shower and then the hay.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

holidays are weird

electrocycle: complete
i actually managed to find the electronic recycling drop-off! the city council guy had me standing at the wrong gate, staring at a completely abandoned urban lot and telling me to ask the guy there where to go - and he'd *just* spoken to him, so we were experiencing different realities. i eventually gave up, went exploring, and got found.

my back and neck hurt a little from so much weight :(

the second payment was smooth, i invited the seller for coffee and we talked about all sorts of interesting things. i made her sign a receipt for the cheque, but i'm still nervous about her taking it without her lawyer witnessing the transfer.

i hopped off to my old base to have my photo replaced, which was quite painless. i chatted with a few of my old team-mates, had lunch on base with brother bear, ran into a few more old buddies on the way out and then returned to tel aviv.

i went home, bought my ticket for the איפה הילד (eifo hayeled / "where's the kid") concert (sweet!), and got a helpful - yet awkward - pointer from lake's friend.

i convinced the lawyer to see me on short notice, and got there in time to witness notary vs. mr. fixit, a man who has proven to me beyond any shadow of a doubt that it's a better idea for me to handle any fixes in my apartment myself. there really isn't any need to be so damn aggressive.

i went past the mortgage bank to hand in a bunch of documents and take out insurance, then rushed off to my branch to deposit a cheque for my mum... they wouldn't take it. so i'm going to have to go to herzeliya tomorrow morning before i visit the shower / floor places.

i paid mmf a surprise visit (well, it wouldn't have been a surprise if he'd answered my calls) and had a quick update over a good cup of tea, and then came home to finish up my resume and begin sending it.

i cancelled the job application on SxS's advice, i got in touch with him to find out a couple of details and he made a very valid point about it being a lot more useful for someone like me to get in touch with them by phone first.

now i'm off to have a birthday drink with the girl shadowslight's mum was using as an example, and then i'm off to the rock party for some thrashing.

bad yoghurt

i had to throw breakfast out yesterday before narrowly missing the earlier train - meaning the train before the one that i was aiming to catch - and arrived in haifa quite comfortably and having made the right decision (to take one train earlier than was theoretically necessary, there were slight delays). the goto guy and i missioned to the mall for breakfast but all i could find was a jewish doughnut.

for anyone who's not sure what a jewish doughnut is, it's more or less in the shape of one, is spongy and covered in sugar.

the woman who met with us is the same one who has been ignoring my calls for the last year or so since i harassed her with a vexing problem that she didn't have the answer to. it was a "why" question, not a "how", regarding code that she's ostensibly responsible for.

i had three primary thoughts on my mind yesterday during the meeting, one personal, one work-related and one an extension on an old one of mine.
personal: i need to install a safe to protect my documents from water / fire damage.
work: i began the sentence with "i'm about to say something arbitrary and really stupid, but..." and by the time i'd finished it everyone was excited and trying to decide just how brilliant my proposed project would be ^_^ (later, my new TL would accidentally put a pretty effective brick in the works via a related conversation with our SC)
extension: apparently this one's really useless (i checked with some engineers), but i had this interesting vision of a space-based packet-sniffer latching on to satellites.

we had decent hamburgers for lunch, then returned to base to work in a manner that i can fairly describe as "not very hard". i did get an updated insurance quote, which took a long time.

we were going to watch invader zim in the office with as many of the section as were in, but in the end only three of us actually sat down for it. bummer.

the dinner was mostly good and the idan raichel project was really nice ("with felix on the generator!" - our announcer is a complete moron). it always bothers me that for military events everyone stays seated, so i made a point of standing. it took about three songs before i was no longer the only one.

i got a ride home, and realized as i arrived just how exhausted i was - so instead of going out i showered and crashed.

---

urgh :/
i feel sick. it wasn't exhaustion last night, but something far more sinister. it had to be now :S

flintstone winstons?!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

nose &

(nose running in the background)

bad showerhead installation: i'd had a bit to drink and some idiot had hidden the pliers away. and i didn't need pliers, i spent an inordinate amount of time trying to unscrew the pipe the wrong way... because i was looking at the connector upside down.

once installed, it began to leak. at least there's a bit of pressure coming out the right parts this time, but it's still not good. i don't really care, though. i just hope it lasts until i'm out of here.

i just missed the bus to the electronic recycling point this morning, and instead hurried off to my old base for a very quick gift drop-off for brother bear and a short hello to everyone else. it's the first time they've seen me since my last promotion, and were quite impressed / surprised :)

the mortgage bank: fat wads of paper for signing. half a tree, and my signature couldn't hold. it's gone from my surname to a scribbled fishtail, and my fingers were cramping up from all the flourishing. the good news? the assessor himself got excited: we got a really good price!

on the way out i was hit with an insurance sale, now i just need one more quote before i make a decision. payments, notaries, a few more signatures... this is all a bit tedious, but it's finally happening!

i bought marmite on my way to the bus. i'm shocked at myself for blowing so much cash: R120 for 250ml. damn :/

i received a response to my complaint about the auto-subscription on a crap army magazine: no non-personal formal complaints can be accepted, and because the issue at hand is environmental all that can be done is a kind request to one of the IDF's chief pencil-pushers. terrific.

i had a shinto breakfast, and then (again) made a final visit to the new immigrant assistance office. they were ony slightly more friendly today, and i think i got what i wanted.

one of the girls from the snowboarding called me up about rollerblading - it had slipped my mind.

i heard an ad for american laser, only for the first time i registered that it's not a printer / insurance company (lack of context can do that), but an actual medical laser group. i find that to be an interesting misconception that i've been carrying around for eight years.

a lecture on financial responsibility: "you should save - and don't take out a mortgage!"
at least he mentioned that sometimes it is a good idea. and in my case, an excellent one ^_^

"roaches & boot": the kinder, in response to a list of ridiculously bad ideas for purim costumes, suggested that we all dress up as roaches and our SC can be a giant boot. in hebrew, the word for boot is also a way of calling someone a "nothing". my previous TL has agreed to consider convincing him to go for it :)

there's a wonderful israeli rock band called איפה הילד (eifo hayeled, or "where's the kid?") and something reminded me today that i was recently informed that they're getting back together for a concert soon... must - buy - tickets. i tried calling her (she introduced me to them), but she wasn't answering so i had to settle for a facebook message.
how sad.

the indian guy in my section fights with me about everything: but not about hip-hop or "eastern" wailing music. in fact, he was absolutely shocked when i made a number of statements that summed up his feelings so perfectly.

i did my laundry, but i'm sure my hearing's been damaged by the roadworks going on not twenty metres from the door. the steamroller was especially unkind.
no blading tonight: the group got started even before i'd left the base.

neil gaiman - coraline and david bodanis - electric universe are both competing for my attention - they're extremely absorbing!

quoting backwards

earlier i sent my mum an email of my posts, now i'm posting what i sent her:

so basically, the bank has authorized me the extra in spite of their policy, and in case something goes wrong with that the seller has agreed to help me out by "authorizing" the change to be returned to me. it's all very complicated.

i just got a quote from the agent, and lake introduced me to a friend of hers (interior decorator) who showed me that the quote is almost twice what it should be. she can help me get sorted with around NIS 10k, which sounds much more doable.

the reason for the confusion is that because i'm in the army, when somebody authorizes something "in principle" i assume that it's not authorized, so it never occurred to me to make part of the second payment with the mortgage, which hasn't yet been authorized. israelis really do do everything backwards.

so now that everything's going smoothly (more or less), i'm going to bed and in the morning i'll file the formal mortgage application.


lake's friend is really pretty. the alternative line was nice - the new place is great, close to home, and one of the girls from my old team joined me to return my lemmus lemmus cd and have a couple of drinks and a lot of laughs.

now i have the dubious honour of installing the new pipe before showering.

Monday, February 23, 2009

you did *WHAT* with a wet umbrella?!

i feel so ashamed :$
i was totally out of focus this morning, and when my ride's father pulled up and i got in their car i slid my wet umbrella across the seat - this really pissed them off. i can see why. i don't know what i was thinking.

otherwise it was a beautiful morning - fantastically beautiful, even. when i woke up we were in the middle of a dust storm, the windows glowing a dirty shade of red and everything hazy. fifteen minutes later and a thunderstorm broke pelting giant drops of water and turning every colour bright and the contrast up high: i really felt like i was staring into a giant screen!

even the hail was a pleasure, it's really unpleasant that we haven't had any rain this year and winter's almost over.

most of the morning was spent agitating over my program not behaving at all as i would like, and agitating even more over the mortgage bank issue. by the afternoon it was pretty much sorted out, but until then i was very confused.

i learned a lot today, had a lot of fun moments, and came back to buy a pipe for the shower (that only slightly irritated me) and pay the agent a visit. he gave me a quote that seems fairly respectable, but lake got hold of me earlier and she has a friend who's an interior decorator, we're meeting in twenty for coffee and a q&a session :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

ummm, *OOPS*. could suck.

today was a big "oh, no!", it turns out that by not making a crazy assumption a few months ago that the mortgage application would go through within a couple of days (because we all know how those turn out), the chances are slim that i'll be able to get the money for renovations from the bank.

this is really, really unpleasant news. in real terms, it means that i would have to move into an unrenovated apartment, get the deposit back from my current landlord, and somehow live and fix at the same time. considering the extent of the fixes (like replacing all the floors and the shower), that's pretty much impossible.

this sucks.

and of course, by the time i understood all of this, it was too late to call the mortgage bank. tomorrow's going to be a little stressed. my lawyer said that patching this now is really cutting it close :S

---

it was rainy today, and my umbrella was no good. i bought a new one, but managed to lose it later in the day (it was tied to my bag - i give up).

work was interesting: i found out why my code wasn't working, and it goes back to something we discovered a while ago: it's possible to compile with references to external variables... that don't exist. that way you can force garbage into memory almost at will.

once i discovered that that was the cause of my woes (most instructive ones, i've learned a lot while hunting the problem) it was impressively smooth sailing ^_^

so: yes! i learn!

i've borrowed a book called electric universe (david bodanis) - not to be confused with electric universe, creators of the track electronic pulsation off my first trance album - chronicling the history of electricity in a highly entertaining and informative manner.

---

tonight i went to meet with other alumni of the interdisciplinary center, herzeliya for a donation drive in aid of disadvantaged students. it was nice to be back there, and although not many people rocked up it was fun to catch up with those who did.

a lot of people were wowed by my uniform - it was a bit awkward but it's nice to be appreciated. after a private tour of the research facilities for a few of us, we were seated for the presentations: the president actually modified his speech so he could begin by bragging about me as a success story :)

the presentation was very nice, and reminded me of how simple it is to help out and how worthwhile. some people that i studied with cannot appreciate the experience as i did, the university staff really helped me in so many ways outside of the scope of the academia and it made all the difference.

a note on winter sensations

it was cold enough to wear pyjamas last night, and so cosy this morning on top of it being early and post-alcohol that i'm still struggling to not get back under the covers...

surprise! in german!

lunch was brilliant, especially the pavlova. the visiting cousins are really nice people, and we all had a good time. afterwards, i went to the third ear's bar for a surprise birthday party for ze germans.

to be or not to be is a wonderful film! a lot of the guys got upset when it began in german and with german subtitles, but that was soon corrected and popcorn could happily fly across the theatre.

afterwards, drinks, hamburgers and then coming home to be dribbled on (lukewarm, too), and now it's definitely time for me to sleep. i've just given up trying to buy a half past h8 cd (even downloading mp3s would've been acceptable) :S

Saturday, February 21, 2009

chicken-mayo

"rum and coke is like chicken-mayo - you never order it, but it's always great!"

gco called me up and gave me an address. it's on a long road, and by the time i'd realized that i should've taken a cab i was almost in ramat gan. as far as the weather was concerned, i was right to wear my ski-jacket and an idiot to forget my beanie :S

at least i was designated driver, so i didn't have to worry about a ride home :)

we all went to a club that's usually full of arsim - fortunately they all arrived much later so there was plenty of time to enjoy ourselves. i was annoyed at the woman in charge of the jacket store: it's bad enough she's charging NIS 16 to keep my clothing, but when she gets a 20 she takes the change as a tip?!

that came out of the bartender's tip. cow.

the music was really sexy electro, and although the dj didn't have much in the way of technical skill her taste was superb. i haven't had that much fun in a club in israel since - well, i refer to this post with reservation because the music was great and what happened with bt made it... not great.

i had a shower when i came home - although the word "dribble" is a more accurate description. if my flatmates don't fix the pipe soon i'm going to end up washing up in the sink. or breaking down and shelling out, and then taking the damn thing with me just to make a point.

i slept beautifully, and woke up to call my cousins and make sure i have a ride to lunch today: "oh, you're awake! i was going to call, but i saw 10 o'clock and thought 'no way'" - i have really considerate cousins ^_^

Friday, February 20, 2009

faint paint smell

i prepped one of the blank canvases that's been lying around before making my way to lake's. we had coffee and cake and i proved to be a good influence and got her to fold her clothes. i tried teaching her the asian method, but it takes a while to get the hang of it.

i found dredg - same ol' road's music video. it's great.

i just bought squid's album - they're a really funky band!

and now, back to reading neil gaiman's coraline.

skipping along

it was pouring, rain spattering off the array of vehicles by the side of the road. i walked in five minutes ahead of schedule to discover that i was the third party to arrive, the assessor was already at work and the nice old lady had already brought in what essentially amounts to a house-warming gift (the eyepiece for the door).

as is to be expected, the apartment looks bigger now that it's empty. it was a fantastic relief to discover that the hot-water cylinder and piping are all new, the tiles for the bathroom, entrance and kitchen don't need to be touched, and there's already a decent sliding security door to the patio. i can most certainly live with the pipes in the bedroom (although they'll need to be painted and played with), and there's already a fluorescent fixture in the lounge (which was one of the things i was planning to install). there's more than enough space for the cupboards i'll need, and that leaves me a happy camper.

it's nice to re-re-confirm that the right decision has been made - three months have passed since i last saw the place!

the assessor left satisfied, and that instantly reduces the stress to practically zero! all i have to do now is worry about renovations, and so far it's looking to be kinda fun :)

סנו (sano)

the bathroom air-freshener is called "fresh", with a font that's suggestive of the jungle.
i wonder if instead of fresh - lemon & papaya in a pleasant yellow can it shouldn't be fresh kill - lion and zebra in a red and black and white gore-fest with a matching odour.

i would definitely buy that.

"pay the man who cuts your breast"

that graffiti was scrawled over an advertisement for turkey, but in hebrew it also means "pay your plastic surgeon" :P

thursday:

the quote of the morning: "we ALWAYS have change"
... except for YOU. i started my day with an appointment to view blueprints. what do i know about blueprints? the assistant there assured me that they'd given me everything i needed for the assessor. i went to pay (NIS 4), and only had a 100 on me. the woman sent me upstairs to the cafeteria to get change, and arrived there just after i joined the queue to pick up her coffee. when she asked (on my behalf) if there was change, the above quote was the response.

when it got to my turn, the ex-russian lady took one look at me and said "no, i don't have change for you". everyone climbed in to the fray, the woman in front of me tried to start a "save the soldier" fund by pressing a shekel onto the folder i was carrying, the cute girl stirring her coffee offered to let me use her photocopy machine (the first woman shouted "no! it has to be done in our office!", and eventually i had to buy a croissant in order to break the note.

what a cow!

i *just* missed the bus, which complicated the route although i managed to arrive in herzeliya at around the same time. the bank experience was painless, but the continued travel back to tel aviv was tiring and involved a really dodgy kiosk that managed to sell me bottled water with floating things in it.

i had my favourite shinto breakfast for lunch, but it started tasting funny after a while and i suspect that that's due to me developing a slight cold.

i arrived on base while the rest of my unit was being carded (as i was on wednesday). the hallway contains a number of holographic photos, and as i squinted someone from my section walked past and yelled "it's a sailboat!". then we all got silly.

i got an unintelligible call on my satellite phone:
"you remember?"
"what?"
"do you remember about tonight?"
"what?"
"the blockade"
"what blockade? i don't know about any blockade"
"the blockade! don't you remember? you're closing the weekend!"
"did i get an email? why don't i know about this?"
"you're the NCO in charge of the blockade in [some random place] for this weekend!"
"ooooooh! do you know who you've called?"
"who have i called?"
i tell her.
"ooooooh! shit. sorry! bye."

peanut butter & marshmallows: a few weeks ago i bought marshmallows for the weekly unit meeting, but i couldn't get hold of smooth peanut butter so nobody else knew why. it's now become a trend, only the organizer's don't know why either... good thing i had skippy on hand, so we could set up a small chain to pass the improved marshmallows to our incredulous co-workers :)

we suffered a serious dust storm yesterday. makes for uncomfortable breathing and irritated eyes. i'm still blocked up :(

i've been having trouble with the assessor. i faxed him all the papers - and that's a lot of papers (8 minutes 51 seconds) - and he called me back to tell me that i'm missing a number of things and that he can't help me until i've sorted them out. which means making another appointment and i'm still not qualified to pick the right documents. he's a really mean dude and seemed to be making up words (he wanted what sounds like the russian word for accordian).

i called up my lawyer, who said he was just being difficult, and then i called the mortgage bank who gave me a recommendation for a really nice guy: he was really pleasant to talk to but he hasn't gotten back to me yet. i'm on a deadline, people! this process can't take this long!

your sex is on fire was stuck in my head for hours yesterday.

i finished shopping fairly quickly when i got home, and went to pay the agent - i got a kiss on each cheek and a cup of coffee for my troubles, i'd forgotten that i hadn't visited since before the signing. i've now paid the piper, now we'll see how great he is post-transaction :P

i spoke to SxS on skype while hunting wildly for the cheque my mom's friend gave me to cash... madness and frustration and i became convinced that it had somehow slipped into the suitcase that i threw out when i returned from my holiday. eventually i found it in an obscure pocket of my jacket. *snarls*

the kid arrived, we walked to yogo (the frozen-yoghurt bar) via the new apartment, where i examined the patio again and realized that while the burglar bars are intact, the roof isn't impregnable and in theory it's possible to rip through it. unlikely as hell, but i'm going to deal with it because i'm paranoid.

we went with piles' brother (they share a self-justification attitude) to the club, where we celebrated the release of one of the girls from our old team by suffering from all the smoke and talking shite. the background music was mostly pleasant, but i was way too tired to enjoy myself (most of the evening was focused on keeping my eyes open).

this morning:

dream theatre ticket: acquired.
[apparently they've been selling like hot-cakes! i'm really pleased.]

[the assessor *JUST* called, i've spoken to the seller and the agent, and we're all meeting today! SWEET!! (convenient ^_^)]

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

not a moment too soon

the machine's dead, and nobody's helping me. the shower pressure's down, and i've been told that the difference isn't noticeable (?!?!). i'm not even comfortable using my own freaking lounge, i've been putting my toothbrush head in my drawer because otherwise it gets moved around, i've got barely space for a bar of chocolate in the fridge, the toilet seat's always down (which means that it needs to be wiped every time because the tap spits), there are constantly dirty dishes in the sink (a relatively new development) and i have to wear pants between the bathroom and my bedroom (not even a metre). and with one flatmate i have to be super-nice, and the other i have to snare if i have something to say.

it's definitely time to start packing.

it doesn't wash

i don't freakin' believe this: the machine's broken and the water won't drain, so i'm off to the bloody laundromat at 10.40pm.
@#$@%^*$!

does it wash?

the washing machine seems to be working, but i'm distrusting.

today was primarily focused on context, shared culture and the scientific method.

this vindication thing is becoming ridiculous: for the last couple of weeks things keep going wrong, and i'm positive that i'm doing things incorrectly... and invariably somebody shows me that i'm fine and whatever i'm working on has "features". nuts!

donations unhappening: a few of us tried to give blood, but the line was preposterous. we weren't going to give up, but at 2pm we were behind people who'd been waiting since 9am, and even though our hopes were raised when they stepped across the threshold the very same hopes were dashed by their being thrown out when somebody fainted.
they didn't need to close shop to deal with him, one nurse would've been enough.

while waiting, we argued the scientific method... to be discussed in a separate post.

movie madness lunch stats: how popular is star wars? it's impossible to argue the concept of global pop-culture with people so far removed from the western world! as an immigrant, it's not easy for me to get israeli pop references when i didn't grow up on the same children's stories and movies. i do make an effort to catch up, though - but when i make a reference there's a great, big, smelly chance that nobody's going to get what i'm driving at, and considering the fact that there are more people like me out there it's advisable for these guys to pull out of isolation, if only for the "big deal" items.

and that all started with a couple of us humming the theme tune for freakazoid. nystire reminds us very much of the lobe.

carded for an irrelevant building: i had to be fingerprinted and photographed for a security tag for a building i don't need to be in. ever. great use of resources!

an argument between the kinder and nystire over online gaming:
nystire: "playing games on vista is like standing in the middle of the road with your pants down yelling 'here i am!'" [the firewall needs to be taken down]
the kinder: "and playing games on linux is like making a copy of yourself and then standing in the middle of the road with your pants down yelling 'here i am!'" [virtual machine]

house inspector's tariff gambit: the less the appraised value, the less i have to pay the inspector. either he's going to add value (good for mortgage), or he's going to get less cash on the day.
speaking of which - i was pleasantly surprised to discover that the cost of household insurance is lower than i expected, so it's not going to break me! :)
the municipality charges will hurt, though.

door-code buttonmashing: the kinder and i are in constant competition to block each other from our respective offices - it's rather amusing. today's was a bit eerie, though. i'd managed to tap in the first few keys, and he mashed his hand over the buttons to screw it up... only he somehow managed to hit the combination, and the door buzzed open!

nystire and i had arranged to meet one of the girls from the birthright program, so we got a ride together to tel aviv and milled around a bit until she rocked up. this included having coffee at a shop next door that i've always walked past and thought "hmmm, this looks nice". they were playing pink floyd and the décor's pretty sweet. the coffee's alright, too.

we had dinner at etnachta, the salad was delicious and arrived in serious bulk. we talked a lot, about a lot of different things, and it was very pleasant.

on the way back, we ran into egg and his girlfriend - it was a really funny encounter, with two near-misses with his woman: both of us shouting "bitch!" when referring to the dog that needed surgery, and all of us mishearing his girlfriend's "i'll thank you!" as a slightly shorter word. awkward!

a quick coffee break

from dark vampire hunters with love

almost forgot to mention:

every morning we listen to russian rock in the car on the way to the base. this morning i mentioned that i thought it was pretty solid, and was told that it's off a soundtrack. the guy started describing the story, and after a while i said "that sounds like night watch".

his jaw dropped. "you know this movie?!"

of COURSE i do! and he was most impressed that i said "anton gorodetski" with an almost flawless russian accent...
i was impressed that that name is still stuck in my memory.

drinks and worm

chinese dinner and drinks at levontin - not a bad evening :)

completed with installing wine, playing some earthworm jim and having all my video settings and colours screwed with - it's way past my bedtime :P

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

a day filled with list items

faxing: check
[a lot more complicated than it should have been]

umbrella status: broken
[and this is the new one :S]

bluetooth status: mostly functional
[the clip broke yesterday, and it needs to be swivelled for the buttons to work]

too many skittles: check

yet another vindication for a work hassle: check

finalizing arrangements for section breakfast: check

organizing money for the agents: check
[thank you mum!!]

organizing appointment to retrieve blueprints: check

having to forego the section breakfast to make appointment: check
[oh, crap.]

sociometric: check
[and thank god - everyone was going nuts afterwards from sheer relief that it was over]

interesting philosophical debate with the kinder: check

making up hours: check

actually learning stuff in those hours: check

speaking to my cousin from the kibbutz: check

observing the context effect mentioned in wired's burning question during the day: check

things still left to do:

retrieve lots of money for tomorrow's washing machine, electricity and wedding gift expenses
drink with sammy
...
yay! that's it!

Monday, February 16, 2009

a little wired moment

i've just begun on this month's issue, and i've already made a complaint.

how more info leads to less knowledge is a well-defined take on anti-science / anti-evolution / global-warming deniers / moon landing conspiracy theorists.

the morons.

at least it rained a little

i'm irritated: both my flatmates SUCK. and for all the usual reasons. i can't wait to get the hell outta here.

also: i made a really frustrating miscalculation and am now under pressure to pay the real-estate agent. how it slipped my mind that payment was on signing is beyond me.

i woke up tired, and that didn't go away at any point during the day. it didn't help that we had a particularly boring visit and then a long lecture that was filled with interesting content and presented horribly. the amount of work i managed to get done today approached zero.

i was fighting the carcolepsy this morning.

nystire's up to his tricks again. there's a stupid argument over whether he should pay more into the coffee collective because he drinks more than some others - someone made a joke that he found offensive - and instead of giving him a chance he got all bitter. this just happened to be the most vocal person in arguing for him, so i found it a bit ironic.

i performed my recycling duties this morning unfettered by sneakiness, printed out a set of papers but couldn't fax them because i'd left the rest at home *slaps forehead* and suffered multiple last-minutes changes to the section breakfast i've been planning.

tech-support called me up just before home-time to explain to me that the bug i reported with one of their scripts isn't a real problem. i explained to him that it causes me aggravation every time i have to close an error message while i'm trying to do other stuff, and he just didn't get it.

he asked me if i call microsoft every time a program crashes. i told him that i would have if i'd thought it might make a difference, but instead i just moved to linux. and that was the end of the argument.

it's raining, and both my umbrellas are bust.

copying and faxing is unpleasantly expensive, and i'd rather handle it all tomorrow morning in the office than give the shifty dude all my originals.

i just ran into my cousin in the supermarket, it turns out we're neighbours again.

tomorrow we're suffering the peer-review. i hate the peer-review.

"i never rains but it pours" - i taught my TL another useful expression today.

quick-net morning

it's already been an interesting one:

1. i made a comment about the squid and the whale on facebook, and referred to igby goes down. some little girl responded with "your mom goes down".
i don't know why. the first thing that popped into my head was very final fantasy:
(should i respond?)
(you're not my mother!)
(that was enlightened.)
(did that story touch a nerve?)
did i just manage to mention the uncoolest movie of the century? i'm confused. (but amused)

if the girl erases her comment, that's going to be the oddest response i've posted to date.

2. i just remembered to check my bank account, and having foreseen a problem i was pleasantly surprised to note that i'm in the black, and that i would've been in the black even without putting in a safety net. go me!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

on cortisol

i keep forgetting to mention an odd phenomenon:
for the third leg of the course i was in a platoon of 64 cadets. that's a fair number of people, and i couldn't for the life of me remember anyone's names. it was so bad, in fact, that during the second week i sat next to a guy on the bus and introduced myself: it turned out to be the person that was in the bunk next to me.

for the snowboarding trip, we had slightly upwards of 65 all told, and from my previous experience i was confident that i wouldn't manage even a fraction of the names. instead, i remembered pretty much everyone that i was introduced to, even a week later when we hadn't spoken the entire time. i still remember all their names.

so what was going on during the course?

and when i'm happy, my memory is absurdly acute. i just don't trust it because i'm usually stressed :/

i finished watching the squid and the whale, it's a pretty cool movie but not as sweet as igby goes down or tadpole.

kiva: micro loans for developing countries seems like a really good idea. either you'll get you money back, or you've made a donation.

the raccoons is canadian?

overboiling

and the tension last night had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with this morning's stress.

it was terrible. you see, the signing itself isn't so much the issue - it's willingly entering myself into a state of doubt and semi-bureaucratic jumping through hoops for the next couple of weeks.

it has begun.

the signing itself was actually quite pleasant, and i've now seen my lawyer face-to-face. she's one tough lady, and i like her style.

i went to the immigrant-assistance company, and sat down for some verbal abuse. i'm really glad that that really was the last time i'll have to go there, they gave me exactly what i wanted and i even managed to extract an apology. i still feel sorry for everyone else who has to deal with them, though.

i was too early for a shinto breakfast - bummer. i took the train, and managed to get to my base (3km away) within 45 minutes of its arrival, while is quite the record. my TL was quite impressed.

i spent the afternoon copy-pasting, it was a fairly boring one.

now that i'm home i'm absolutely exhausted, so i think i'm going to watch the rest of the movie and get some shuteye. oh, yes! my orange MOO card-holder came by to remasculate [yes, i know that's wrong] me!

in their parlance: "Yay!" [i'd have posted a photo of that "Yay!" if only i had a camera]

fuzzy, late, aggressive

umm, i haven't showered yet, i'm absolutely exhausted. and i'm signing in the morning! stressing :/ [yes, yes, there's nothing to stress about, got it, i'm stressing anyway]

lunch with the cousins was grand (i was blown away by the pea soup and the strawberries - no, not together) and the first third of the squid and the whale shows a great vision and really wigged-out characters. highly enjoyable.

magnolia is an incredibly long and absurdly bleak film. it does lend a new appreciation for tom cruise's performance in tropic thunder, however.

funny how instead of taking the positive message at the end of it, i've registered only the connection with my own issues, and i've been dark and brooding since i left lake's. i suppose the industrial music in the background didn't do much to lighten things up, and the dub remedy was a little too late.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

netdown post-glamorama

doing the laundry was pleasant, watching the rest of the first indiana jones was fun, and going out with the mongoose and some friends of his was highly entertaining. the party was alright, a little too alternatively sexually inclined (the girls were more interested in each other) but the music was kitschy-fun, and the night ended around 5am after a failed hunt for food.

i woke up around 10am, am now off to breakfast with lake and then to the cousins in herzeliya. there's been no internet until now, so i've been playing little big adventure and making horrible noises with the guitar.

Friday, February 13, 2009

another sunny and busy winter's day

the frisbee today was AWESOME - right until i started wearing out and my responses got all awkward. still, there was an hour or so of craziness before that point ^_^

drinks before, coffee and drinks afterwards, all carried through by a wonderful, sunny and busy winter's day - fantastic, although it bodes ill for the summer :S

i'm off now to handle the laundry - i just had to post the following (i received it in the mail, i don't know who the author is):

Date: Tuesday, February 10, 2009, 6:48 PM

It was a day that will go down in the annals of history for the Jewish community of Johannesburg.

With only a few hours notice, the Johannesburg Jewish community mobilised and converged on Beyachad, the headquarters of communal organisations including the South African Zionist Federation and stood tall and proud and defiant against a counter rally by the Palestinian Solidarity Committee and COSATU (Council of South African Trade Unions).

Having been denied permission to rally against the Jewish community, the PSC and COSATU decided to go ahead with their demonstration. With great appreciation for the technological tools of bulk sms and Facebook (a few phonecalls and a regular broadcasting on our community station, Chai FM) we organised press and security and placards, flags and a sound system and gathered in the grounds of Beyachad to face our opposition. From within the perimeter of Beyachad ours would be a legal gathering as opposed to theirs which was illegal and drew wary policemen who cordoned off the area surrounding us.

We came out in our numbers to say that the brazen act of aggression perpetrated by the PSC and COSATU against our community by coming into our neighbourhoods where we have schools and synagogues and private homes is unacceptable and will not be tolerated! A provocative act by South Africans against fellow South Africans will not be tolerated! Importing the Middle East conflict into our neighbourhood will not be tolerated! Coming into our neighbourhood on the eve of Shabbat, disrespecting our holy tenets will not be tolerated! Burning flags outside of Sydenham-Highlands North Shul will not be tolerated! At a time when the levels of anti-Semitism are rising rapidly in South Africa and the community is feeling vulnerable and unsettled, this open act of provocation showed us that the battle lines have been drawn.

While we respect and encourage the freedom of speech which is a benchmark of democracy, if you take political issue against another country, protest in your own neighbourhood, protest outside an embassy or in a public stadium but do not bring your hatred into our neighbourhoods!!!

I wish I could bottle and sell the vibe that resonated through everyone that day. How proud we are of our community. How magnificently Avrom Krengel, Chairman of the SAZF and Chief Rabbi Goldstein as well as Mendel Kaplan and Zev Krengel spoke. How we belted out Hatikvah and when Avrom yelled Am Yisrael Chai, he was answered with a resounding chorus of CHAI!!!!

To our organisations whose efforts are inexhaustible we salute you.

Let it be known that on Friday 6 February 2009, the Johannesburg Jewish community, young and old, affiliated and non-affiliated, religious and secular stood together and said WE STAND WITH THE STATE OF ISRAEL. SHOULDER TO SHOULDER. BROTHER TO SISTER. WE WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED!

Let it be known that on the 6th of February 2006 the Jews of Johannesburg took back their neighbourhood!


i'm really proud of them for standing up, but really saddened that it's come to this. if only the hasbara (explanation) movement weren't so pathetic, the rest of the civilized world might actually understand that we're fighting on the frontline for the entire western world.

the rally in the news
more worrying related news

friday's bussin' and globalization freaks

the day began aggressively: a friend and i were discussing the death penalty, and had come to an agreement (and i even got voted onto a private island - go me!). and then an idiot friend of his posted the following:

"Just adding something to the debate----We all have kind hearts that is the good thing. I agree with you, that governments can be like criminal gangs as well---

All i see at the moment is a lot of confusion, not just with me, but with everybody---and that is from the NWO!!!!

This globalisation is a big menace, & is very similar to the end days of Rome!!!!!
"


ugh. i came up with a number of "you idiot, i'm leaving the discussion" posts before deciding that i wasn't going to leave him the final word. that's my job:

"i believe that we *SHOULD* have discovered fire.

<idiot's name here>: we don't know how to govern ourselves - WE NEVER HAVE. but we're advancing, the world is the way it is, and it's time to accept it. globalization isn't evil, it has just exposed us to more information about ourselves than we previously had access to.

and the media will always interest you with bad news.

if you feel strongly about stuff like that, i suggest you watch a documentary called "the commanding heights" (PBS) for a background in the economics of the last century.

and stop listening to doomsayers and conspiracy theorists. unless they're "oh-my-god-we're-gonna-die-from-global-warming" doomsayers, because unfortunately those guys are right.

----

so next time, please don't add things to the debate - it's not related /at all/. and i have to leave it now before i have an aneurysm.
"


the only thing is left out is my opinion on politicians - mostly they're not bad people, just myopic, unintelligent and unenlightened. and besides: how insane do you have to be to want to take responsibility for vast numbers of crazed supermonkeys?!?!

after that, i hurriedly (forgetting something mighty important) headed for the bus, which takes a lot longer to get to herzeliya than i remembered. i had time to get stuck into a really interesting identity theft article and not miss my stop.

the banking was fairly comfortable - the short wait afforded me an opportunity to laugh at the bank's mascot snowboarders for being way more amateur than me, and i spent some time ogling a hologram called clown's games. brilliant and disturbing :)

a couple of hours later and i was at dizengoff center, acquiring comic gifts for her little brother (a great hebrew one - להZOO (zoolah) - and the first hunter x hunter), two canvases for my next self-portrait (it'll be an awkward attempt at my concept of a demon flowerchild), and a pick.

buying a pick by itself was weird.

i had a good breakfast at coffeeholic, am off to shop and then it's frisbee time!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

end of the week shock

i felt ill this morning. it's gotten a bit better, but not by a lot.

i did some serious banking this morning, found a good solution for the rest of the month, and on sunday will discover if it's right. this quandary based on pure speculation regarding the amount of money i put on my visa while on holiday, as i can't get the breakdown from international transactions for some reason.

it only took 1.5 hours to travel to my base! that was because i twice made it in time to bang on the door of the bus and get the driver to stop and let me in :P

formal complaint no. 4: i phoned the printers today to request that they remove me from their subscriber's list. they don't have one. all permanent forcers are sent them (mostly) at random, and they cannot drop a single person from their list. i fired off yet another set of polite suggestions to the ombudsman, and a copy to everyone in the eco-friendly mailing list.

the vast majority of them wrote me really nice mails requesting that i add their names, it's a stupid waste of paper and the plastic wrapper it arrives in. it pissed me off no less than all the arbitrary flyers that hit our mailboxes every day. there should be a tax on unsolicited advertising - although now that i think about it there's a relatively new law that bans any form of telemarketing that isn't opt-in...
maybe it can all be combined.

lab gnome vindication: i haven't brought them in. the issues that i experienced yesterday were due to someone forgetting to share an important detail. there was one other problem that i had today, but it turned out to be a simple and forgiveable miscommunication.

i came up with an awesome costume idea today - one that's good for purim next month, halloween, and new year's! and it mostly consists of tinfoil and spraypaint, not too complicated to arrange ^_^

i took my cv to my SC for correction. he actually had a lot of interesting tips and pointers - i had really expected less. he did have a go at me when i entered his office, although that was for making him look bad when i interviewed yesterday. he was horrified that i'd mentioned that he hadn't expressed much faith in me before i left.

the quote of the day: it's a sprinkler!. our secretary seems to be getting stupider by the day. and she didn't start off too sharp. it's actually quite frightening - she blurted that out while someone was making a snide remark about its placement, apparently it had taken her two full sentences to identify the object in question.

smoother peanut-butter marshmallows: smooth peanut butter is mandatory for marshmallows, any other texture just doesn't work.

i tried the sardines today, nothing special. i can see myself handling peanut butter almost indefinitely, but sardines? naaah.

physical workout button: i had to, during the course of my work, run a test for someone. every four or five lines i had to flip a switch - which just happened to be two coded doors away. check - check - stand up, walk outside, enter code, get to far side of room around a few obstacles, flip switch, smile at the guys working there who're actually laughing at me for doing this so often, walk back, enter code, sit down - check - check - stand up, walk outside... etc.

and my ipod battery died about halfway through, quite unfortunate. we worked until late, so i made up hours and got fun stuff done, and then i came home to find the weirdo cleaning and the bathroom inaccessible. and i kneaded to pee. i was halfway through writing this (bouncing up and down) before it became available.

that reminds me! i'm going to need to get my laundry done tomorrow, and our machine's out until tuesday so that means a short walk. in addition, i have to go to the bank in herzeliya, shop for a birthday present for her brother (12, what does one get?!)...

it's 10pm and i'm still kinda in shock over it being weekend already - i'm wondering if i should go party or get some shuteye. at least i'm already getting excited about sunday!

real-time robotic puppetry!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

yo ho

late post that didn't make internet curfew (i hope we don't really have one:

there's nothing as amusingly stupifying as arguing science with a man who only understands economics. economics is NOT science. we didn't decide that we have a problem with global warming because the graphs indicated it, and global warming is, surprisingly, not good for us (he claims that as water evaporates and precipitates, nothing will really change).

the next step in the "conversation" involved israel's security information, and i asked him to define "winning". he couldn't understand a question with so few parameters, and once i'd defined a whole bunch for him his reply was "depends".

the perpetual purple flashes lighting up the sky are magnificent. it's a pity that there hasn't been much rain to accompany it.

i met up with a couple of girls from the snowboarding trip for coffee, and am now getting ready for bed.

the voting: i'm am not at all surprised, but very disappointed. i didn't
really expect any environment / education conscious party to get a seat. no long-term thinking for us!

today:

i haven't been feeling good at all today, and i think i might have caught one of the bugs that's making the rounds.

i interviewed with a really nice commander this morning for a job as a team leader. i must say that he does make an interesting argument for staying, but he was perfectly understanding of my need to get into the stuff that matters most to me.

i had to work in the labs this morning - i'd forgotten that i'm allergic to them. i got off lightly with a severe headache, i'd forgotten all sorts of important things (nothing like having them come rushing back two seconds too late) and most of what i needed to use was having an off day :'(

last night's argument was continued after lunch, although this time we argued over my statement that the guy hasn't got the right to flap his gums. yeah, he can say whatever he likes - but in this case it's harmful so he really shouldn't.

maybe it was because i'm not feeling well, but i was right pissy this afternoon.

i got a phone call informing me that signing will be taking place on sunday morning. this set in motion all sorts of brain-grinding thoughts, primarily concerns about mortgage approval (which is post sale) and the potential costs of fixing. after chatting with my mum and then sitting for an hour with the agent, i feel a lot more confident about it all.

and now i can focus on the important things, for instance knowing that very soon i'm not going to have to deal with other people's shit anymore... only mine!

down to one? just one tiny warning? no! as soon as i fixed the last one a whole bunch more appeared. i love compilation, you never know what you're going to get :)

i've spent an inordinate amount of time online tonight. there's just too much to do and see!
hoist the colours
pirate's life for me

i just contacted one of the guys from odradek to let them know that i think it's a shame that they've abandoned their prog psy rock. their trance is interesting, but their rock is mind-blowing :/

faux pas! i was invited to a friend's birthday party where they've hired a cinema, and i unthinkingly asked if contributions were welcome. that didn't go down well :$

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

washing machine whisperer

the landlord just left... when i say "just", what i mean is about fifteen minutes of hurriedly funneling water that was silently leaking. i have now successfully (wonderful!) proven that the machine is most undoubtedly bust.

the who is playing in the background, i'm about to discover them. so far so good :)

today was filled with the obscenely menial and repetitive task of systematically removing warnings from code. i have mastered the weird art of placating a fussy compiler. and then, about half an hour before home-time, i suddenly realized that i'd been working on the wrong code-base. i'm really glad that i had a tool at hand that could transport my fixes...

... because that could've been ugly.

so - the big news: today was voting day. i spent the morning arguing over the importance of foreign policy specifics vs. taking care of business at home. and defending the usefulness of voting for small parties. and praying that, somehow, things will be alright.

it's raining! on the plus side, we really need it and this drizzle hardly makes up for the lack of moisture during a day that was supposed to be stormy. on the minus side, no rollerblading.

fantastic news: i found out where it's possible to take electronic goods for recycling. the not-as-good news is that it can only be taken there mondays through thursdays, between 8am and 3pm. that means that i can only dump my trash if i'm on holiday.
thanks, guys.

in really unfortunate news, due to a bad banking website and a slight miscalculation, i may be in shit for the rest of the month. now i have to take a half-day off to go to the bank because it's impossible to reach them by phone (they do this on purpose, i swear).
maybe i'll sort out the recycling while i'm at it.

zimbabwe as documented in a not-necessarily 100% accurate british encyclopedia - thanks nystire for the link

epic wet fail

the washing machine's bust. i'm running another cycle, but it just ain't making the noises it's supposed to. swak.

i think my okay flatmate's a bit less intelligent than i suspected, and that wasn't a lot to begin with. maintaining my cool...

after a bit of a struggle, i got my microphone to work! skype-able! i even spoke to SxS for a bit, but the internet connection's been spiking so that didn't last long. i went shopping instead, i think i saw our ex-neighbour's ex-best friend (the one who happily gives great massages) but she was *definitely not* looking in my direction so i don't think she wants to be my friend, either.

i've been watching discovery project earth, and it's fascinating stuff!

Monday, February 09, 2009

gnats

today was actually a lot of fun, in spite of the hangover:

the first thing through my mind after leaving the apartment: gnats. hundreds of 'em swarming outside, just above head-height.

then chief tecumseh popped into my head. specifically the famous quote:
so live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.

prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. show respect to all people and bow to none. when you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. abuse no one and nothing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

when it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
i had a great idea for the next time dressing up is appropriate: complete blackout with a giant, floaty cardboard smile.

the ride to base afforded me some nap time, and i got in to my office and immediately fired off a mail referring to our enlisted kids as "peons" - this is a completely untranslatable word, apparently.

the kinder had a couple of moments today:

1) we told him he needs a dunce cap with his name on it, and he asked how to spell it.
nystire: "D-U-N-C-E"
"dunkey?!"

2) the two of them were discussing something weird, after which he exclaimed: "that's a great idea for sexual harrassment!"
the two of us laughed hysterically, after which he urgently corrected himself: "that's a great idea for A LECTURE on sexual harrassment!"

i learned some stuff in c today: const pointers point to constants. not to one single place in memory.

-Wconversion
Warn if a prototype causes a type conversion that
is different from what would happen to the same ar-
gument in the absence of a prototype
what a completely useless warning. just my opinion.

the creationist's contributions to my responsibilities: it's my duty to clear out the recycling bins this week, and i did so yesterday. usually this is needed once a week, but today it was totally filled already. it turns out the creationist had decided that it was time to let go of his plastic bottle collection, and instead of removing it to the cages he dumped it for me to take out.

let's just say i put the fear of god into him, and this time it was of mine ;)

rent payment this evening: painful as usual. it was pleasant chatting with the landlord, though - and also a little uncomfortable at the end because i'm not (for obvious reasons) telling him that i'm involved in the purchase of the apartment. "my mommy's forcing me (poor me!) to move in" :P

the cool flatmate doesn't believe that capitalism is better than socialism. i really can't argue with that.

at least i know who i'm voting for: i just wish that israelis would "get" democracy. a lot aren't voting, and most are going to put in a ballot for parties that don't even claim to give a damn about internal policy.

"in a democracy, the country gets the government it deserves"

sunday weddings

make monday mornings a bit rough.

post-wedding haste

cracked ribs: nystire's. apparently i did that during tuesday's violent interlude. i got to watch the video today, they didn't manage to capture him lashing out...

i'm on eco-duty this week, possibly the next, which meant emptying recycle bins and making posters - so much for actual work :P

jerk gave me some very good advice today, changing the direction of the project i was working on before i left. unfortunate that that leaves a bit more bureaucratic stuff to keep me busy, but it's a better solution.

voting: it's driving me nuts that everyone's worried about who to vote for based on foreign policy and nobody gives a damn about the state of our nation, health and welfare and environment and education...

fax shame: i didn't manage to send a fax last week because i wasn't dialling the external line's code. how embarrassing.

compiler lies: it tells me that the build failed and produces vast quantities of warnings when everything's just fine. i've got to figure that shit out, and fast.

i purchased a spanky-looking microphone for use with skype, but i don't have time to play with it just now.

the shuttle was on time, so i had less to stress about concerning the ride to the wedding. while i was hurriedly getting dressed, i got a call back from the hospital. i'm supposed to be undergoing minor surgery and the recovery is apparently long and fairly uncomfortable, but because i'm in the permanent force i'm not eligible for lonely soldier rights - including the right to be taken care of during recovery.
so the commander of the hospital team tried to explain that she cannot guarantee me a place (which means, simply put, that i won't get one) and that whether or not i undergo the surgery in any event is my choice.
no shit. like i'd choose to spend a month gingerly, painfully shuffling to and from the supermarket and wherever else i'd need to go. no thanks, love.

the wedding ceremony was beautiful, seeing everyone was really nice, but the eastern music combined with the worst dance music in the whole world didn't make my night. one of the girls waltzed past: "you look... bored. c'mon! you can enjoy any music!"
not me, girl. not me. and that look of boredom was me determined to fight a grimace and a gag reflex.

i had another long chat with piles, though, which was quite fun.

noble brats - 567

Sunday, February 08, 2009

hard-workin' weekend

i have just spent a few hours extracting poetry from my blog posts, and am now all the way back to the beginning of 2007. i've found rather a lot, really. on the way i've corrected some irritating spelling errors and even my personal philosophy post.

it was hard to stop reading my entries. in another couple of years i'm going to have to dedicate a fair amount of time to editing it to a publishable state.

last night i decided to nap before going out, but hadn't counted on being as stupidly tired as i was... aside from a short chat with SxS, i slept fairly soundly until 8am. i had a long and thoroughly enjoyable breakfast with lake, who adored my MOO mini-cards, came back home to discover that the woodstock documentary had downloaded, and watched it with half an eye while writing my cv and performing poetry extraction until it was time to meet with the kid for coffee.

after a fun hour's chat, largely a catch-up and laughing about israeli academia, i came back to continue extraction. now i'm going to bed, a lot later than planned - a couple of hours ago i was thinking of getting under the covers just because my bed's so comfortable.

it is *SO* nice to think that in a couple of weeks, assuming everything goes according to plan, i'll be moving it into my own space. *i wish i wish i wish*

Friday, February 06, 2009

second snow

moguls, carving, jumping, outrageously high speeds, that sensation as you turn your board from a perfectly stable flat to a narrow, ridiculously steep and definite "down", and surfing powder snow like an electrified butterfly

24th, afternoon

the foghorn was sounding, the mother city smothered in her cool, white shroud. i needed that sleep, and that on the plane as well - it had been a rough couple of days. i was already packed, so i shaved and made a bunch of last phone calls that i should've done the day before - most of them were to give the following advice: use facebook.

the cost of those final chats, having a long discussion with my second mum, and the extra hugs came not only in the form of a R1000 penalty, but also in missing a day on the slopes, which is considerably more painful.
the primary lesson, which was to be repeated towards the end of the trip, is not to leave too short an amount of time between connecting flights. i'd rather have a few hours to kill than have to stress and run only to miss the flight anyway.

friday night's dinner, by the way, was actually very pleasant and i was drawn into a very interesting argument that lasted for most of it.

back at the airport, the passport switch was worrying as usual. especially when one of the security team whisked it away to his superior - i didn't know that he was merely concerned about the hebrew.

standing in the line for check-in, i saw a man walk past and was absolutely certain that i recognized him. i stared and stared, eventually walking right up to him and continuing to eyeball him meaningfully. then i got agitated, and begged to interrupt. his friend disappeared, and i introduced myself - it was my brother's brother-in-law, whose sister-in-law i took to the prom and abandoned slightly more than ten years ago. we were both surprised and impressed that i'd made the connection!

i must remember to tell the picasso story sometime.

i stopped for coffee, and bought a sinisterly expensive muffin because the man didn't have change for me. it was actually quite delightful. i read some, listened to music, played around with the camera (i had no idea what was coming), beat myself up over the previous day's mishap, discovered that my old headphones were probably alright, and shopped for things i didn't know would turn out useless (like a crap inflatable pillow).

24th, evening

i was a bit paranoid getting on the plane, primarily about carrying so much money. in fact, the money that i had went with me everywhere during the week, including onto the slopes as the chalets had no safes.

my brother's brother-in-law's friends caught up with me to introduce themselves as my brother's friends as well, and one of them was introduced in the following strange manner: "everyone knows who he is". all except me? i'm in the dark. at least i didn't have to see them again.

i was slightly disorientated and slightly excited - i got progressively more so the more i thought about getting on a board again.

8426km TO GO

the damp towels were labelled STD: if i give it as a gift to myself can i call it an auto-infection?

i woke up with a start from a dream about a klingon with his eyes taped open being reprogrammed to become a morning person.

the cute girl beside me struck up a conversation that took some fascinating dips and dives. i'm usually very unfriendly on planes but she turned out to be extremely interesting and the chat became surprisingly intimate and enjoyable.

unfortunately, neither of us could sleep and we spent the night switching between some of the weirdest airplane positions imaginable (no, really) in sheer desperation. at least we fared better than the woman behind us, whose eye developed issues from the lack of pressure and was temporarily blinded. i'd freak out too.

25th, morning

hello winter! the transfer was blazingly fast, in spite of having won a victory lap in the special room because fishermen's friends are not your friends. it's the damn aluminium lining that makes things beep.

i love security - they'll never simply point to whatever's making them suspicious. i've had so much grief because the idiot on duty doesn't know what a harmonica is...

---

it was a sunday morning and the poor man's till wasn't working - so no simcard for me and that was the only place one could be activated before monday: a useless proposition in my case.

getting used to the train system took a few moments, and i was not feeling good. at all. i had "grande" coffee at the second station (my french is non-existent), and then hung around for customs who surprised me by letting me straight through without so much as glancing at my papers.

the train to bourg st. maurice was mostly pleasant, i had a cute run-in with some policewomen and their sniffer dog and discovered that 2nd class toilets blow instead of sucking, in which case i'm really glad that i pushed on the lever when the lid was down.

i ran into an israeli couple on the platform that had apparently been with me since geneva, and we all went up to arcs 2000 together. it was all very confusing, but i was relaxed and we managed everything just fine. i even got a snowboard with a "space city" design on it, which was really pretty.

it was too late to go out, though :(

the first thing i heard from my room-mate when i walked into my chalet was "just do whatever", and my automatic response was "just because i can doesn't mean i should". that was pretty defining for the rest of the week.

we had a big dinner for the entire group, and i'm still surprised at just how many names i recall. the food was decent but i still couldn't eat, so i forced down a little salad before the camera crew came to interview me for a documentary they're making on the group.

ghost writing
as i stretch out
with weak, fumbling finger
disjointed, its tentative connection
breaking my heart again

gripping history's pen of its own accord
broken hand scribbling idly, unconsciously

i watch in horror as my story unfolds


27th, night

after two days of HARD boarding i've learned a ton of shit and been reintroduced to the myriad muscles that have been ignored for a year.
there are sections of the inner thigh that one shouldn't really be able to differentiate.

my equipment is insufficient.

the weather yesterday was snowy but more or less clear, today was just white and spooky. our instructor is a sadist - which is great! i got totally lost this morning after a serious tumble, and it took a number of blind runs before i found someone who could point me in the right direction.

the group is really cool, lots of fun.

today i went to the sauna, swimming pool and steam room for the first time - the girl from my class traded me an excellent massage. when i got back to the chalet i was sent off for firewood, and once i'd acquired some i had a hot shower and had finally developed an appetite!

from that point on i was the healthiest that i can remember being for a stupidly long time.

---

the night before we'd gone to a rather fancy restaurant. the prices were simply exorbitant. while there i got stuck into one of the british on creationism vs. evolution, and i had to explain to him that the reason why i get hot under the collar is because there isn't actually a debate which makes it all very frustrating.

that night an ac/dc cover band happened to be performing, and their second song was SO bad that i had to make a hasty exit. the singer's voice wasn't bad, the drums were fine, but the lead was doing something really wrong with his guitar and i just couldn't take that sort of heresy.

---

falling into deep snow sucks. getting out and back on your board is so freakin' complicated and cold - and tiring.

---

my thermos - i began the week filling it with hot chocolate. i then discovered that a well-known drink served on the slopes (for about €5 a cup) is hot chocolate and rum. the guys brought me back a bottle of boel guille rhum, 40% and the most fiery stuff that every touched your lips. the rest of the week saw me drinking from early morning on the slopes, and by the end of it i'd gotten so used to it that anything else is simply boring.

later that same night

sledding is one of the most exhilaratingly stupid things i've ever done, and this was after discovering the potency of the rum and eating my first real meal in days. the food was good.
cleaning up for 20-30 people is a bitch, and my room-mate doesn't believe in hygiene... he did make an effort eventually, though - if only to get me to shut up.

oh! and my first snow-fight was ridiculous. unfortunately i didn't know that you're supposed to check for ice before throwing. oops.

it worries me that the dutch guys have never heard of kevin smith's movies and trent reznor is a complete unknown.

...

rum and hot chocolate for breakfast tomorrow??

28th

we did have a rum start.

when i first looked out the window, the weather was stunning - the sun was shining brightly over an incredible morning session. two minutes later one of the others looked outside and began bitching, and by the time i got there to see for myself it was a complete white-out!

and then it went back to being beautiful again.

we immediately lost the skiers, and made a mission for an insane red run. i had surpassed my personal top speed by a lot, and the silliest thing happened: i thought about what would happen if i moved my foot wrong, and a second later i clipped an edge and went sailing through the air, head first and face up, landing really hard and really awkwardly on my shoulder and wrenching my rhomboids and putting me into shock.

i found out later that the guy with the video camera caught me just before and immediately after that happened, but i will never get to see just how bad it looked.

i spent a minute regaining my senses and hunting for the missing piece of my broken sunglasses, and then discovered that my oh-so-awesome oakleys have a nifty clip mechanism that doesn't need the usual pin that i thought was lost ^_^

the rest of the run was pretty good, but when we got in the lift i started feeling it and by the time we were at the top i was completely immobilized from the back up.

the guys went for another run while i sat at the restaurant bobbing my head like a taxi dog, eventually (about two hours later) loosening up enough to feel right about getting back to the chalets... we picked a red run with crazy moguls, and not having a clue how to deal with them took an inexorably uncomfortable time getting through.

in a repeat of my first day's experience, i decided to take the lesson anyway. that was, without any doubt, the most ingenious decision of the week! we were taken off-piste onto powder snow for the first time, and that is an experience i will never forget, including falling into deep snow and requiring a few minutes of exhausting effort to free myself.
the feel of surfing powder is fantastic and addictive!

my mp3 player cut out halfway through the lesson, and i discovered that as cool as it is to have music in the background, it really does detract from one's concentration. as a beginner, it's just not a good idea.

the rest of the lesson was about nutty speeds and eventually we went up really high to learn how to deal with the moguls - all in all it was a brilliant lesson and i started to notice what the next couple of days would prove: with a damaged back i can't sleep, but snowboarding is just fine. it's probably because i'm a regular boarder and my back and neck stay twisted left almost constantly.

the doctor, the masseur and the physiotherapist all had a go at me in the steam room, and i attribute my relatively quick recovery to them. i made a big mistake on the way there, however, by giving my room-mate the key to the chalet - i was the only one who didn't know that the stoner had already lost two keys.

so i left in my boardies, a thin shirt and flip-flops, skidding and chattering through the freezing cold only to find the chalet locked and the whereabouts of the only remaining key unknown. not cool.

---

dinner with my snowboard partner at the kosher smoker's chalet. the french guys are great even though it's difficult to communicate with them, but the religious israeli annoyed me. we ended up having a really ugly argument about drug legalization, he got quite preachy and then demanded to know if i take drugs because only an addict would suggest something so immoral.

i tried to explain to him that there are a handful of people who really believe that there are more pressing matters and better ways to spend tax money.

we played a silly card game (similar to "asshole") and my partner and i had a funny bet about the next day's lessons - the loser would have to carry the other's board for an entire day. she became panicked when the organizer couldn't give her an immediate answer, and i was confident and assuming and patronizing :P [it turned out the next day that i'd been right]

---

i left to visit another chalet, and a couple of us sat in their sauna (not operational) drinking screwdriver's, eating salted liquorice, fooling around and generally having a jolly old time.

---

for most of the week my nose was running almost perpetually on the slopes. i guess it's better than having it dry out, but it was a bit strange.

29th

for most of the night i slept on exactly the wrong side. i woke up in agony about two hours before my alarm was set to go off, switched sides, and was only slightly corrected by the time i had to get up. fortunately the masseur got hold of me before we left and he really helped.

after the first corner i'd managed to lose absolutely everyone. i guessed wrong and ended up at a lift i'd never used before, which took me terrifically far away from the usual areas. it would take me an hour or two to get my confidence back, during which time i got lost in a forest, found my way back off-piste, took the wrong lift... i was having fun :)

i sat next to a couple of dutch girls on the second lift, and when they opened their map i got them to help me find my route home. i picked a blue run and did it fairly slowly, then sat down in the sun next to a couple of beautiful french girls to catch a tan and drink half the thermos. i'd arrived a lot earlier than anticipated, and about an hour passed before the rest of the guys showed up.

after the long lunch we went down to the lessons, and my instructor was great and let me join even though my ticket had expired ^_^

to summarize my last lesson: crazy, intoxicating speeds on powder snow, visit the peak of l'aiguille rouge (red needle - 3270m) and really carving on the way down, then finishing off with some flying and piping, and emptying the thermos together to say goodbye.

that was a phenomenal finale ^_^

i had tea with my newly disabled partner (she'd damaged her leg the day before), joined in for the group photo, then went with a beginner for the night ski session who'd promised that she'd be okay if we split up.
first of all, the times we'd been given were wrong and we had far less time than we'd thought.
secondly, she fell after only a few metres. she didn't fall badly, but i made the mistake of waiting for her and she'd lost confidence and was in tears.

crikey. it took a while to be assured that i could leave her, by which time i only *just* managed to make the last lift. i would've gotten a little pleasure out of the red run except that i made a wrong turn and had to walk up a couple of hundred metres, so i was unimpressed by the time i got back to the chalet.

the bath and the bacon & egg burger cheered me up a little, and we watched fat and furious [i couldn't find a link to the snow mag, this is all i got] which proved quite inspiring.

i visited the crying girl who was doing just fine, then returned to have my room-mate tell me in a huff not to say that he never helps out... this after i had to plead with him that morning to do some tidying up after we spent our first 45 minutes slaving away. idiot.

if my camera had been working i would have photographed my feet - amazing how much damage snowboarding can do. i decided that i really, really like the rum. how did thursday come around so fast?!

i went to bed not feeling too good, and slept really badly again.

30th (written at 4am on the 31st)

"you look like a snowboarder"

a day of super-high-speed chases and the first attempts at jumping. i came out alright from an intersection with another boarder (and it was my fault, pooh), a fellow capetonian helped out with translations, bolognaise was followed by an interesting version of charades, we got separated off-piste and i made the mistake of trying to rejoin the group by walking :(

i stood soaking in the sunset of the week before returning the gear and hitting the sauna. we met for sabbath prayers and took the million flights of stairs to our friday-night dinner, enjoyed good starters and great conversation but ate too much before the main course.
the singing and general craziness was infectious and funny, and i was informed that i didn't have to deal with the gorgeous drunk girl sitting on the floor of the bathroom.

i picked up the rum, paid a visit to a couple of buddies and then went to the kiddies chalet to join in the drinking games and be disturbed by a large number of drunk people. it was all very stupid, although the drunk kid trying to explain porn to the stunning and unimpressed journalist was highly amusing.

i didn't appreciate the liquorice being tossed around instead of eaten. oh, and my room-mate demonstrated wonderfully that when you're drunk, the asshole really does shine through.

it's really sad that the week came to an end, but i'm glad to be in one piece and i'm happy with the majority of the group. i left the slopes with a white face and a red neck, and in desperate need of obtaining the original video footage from the documentary because it includes my last day.

"you remember i said the right side? i was wrong. but the diagram i drew in the snow was accurate!"

which we should have recorded

31st

we woke up early to pack and get ready, cleaned up, and met in the lobby. organizing tickets for the train was relatively painless (i couldn't understand the websites, but one of the organizers didn't seem to have too much difficulty), and i went poster shopping. this turned out to be quite a mission, but eventually i found what i was looking for and after spending €4.5 on it i received a couple of large postcards with similar prints.

i really don't know at which point in my travels the poster disappeared, but i'm rather upset that it did :/

lunch was super-fast, and i got a ride to the bus down. it was strange driving past pistes that we'd boarded down way faster :)

i got to the train station with time to spare, read a bit with some good coffee and then headed for my train. i looked on the board, saw the platform that matched the time that i needed, and found myself a seat. from there i had a great view of the train i was supposed to be leaving on as it skimmed past, and i was shocked.

so now i know that there are TWO screens, one for arrivals as well. you learn something new every day.

it was a hassle and a hurry, but i managed in my panicked state to catch a bus to geneva instead, and even got a refund on the train ticket :)

i only had twelve hours to kill in geneva.

---

i should learn dutch - i like dutch people.

---

i find it interesting that on ice i'm a snowboarder and not a skier, but on tar i'm a rollerblader and not a skateboarder.

---

less than 1/100 of my year is spent in the mud, less than 1/50 of it on the snow, yet these are the two primary views that i have of myself. these comprise the force majeure of my reality, this is the creature that's trying to care about the human race.

i'm a loner, but i don't want to be (being both desperate for companionship yet completely intolerant), i'm such a "real man" that i'm as far from it as can be, i have no patience for stupidity and so i wrestle with it tooth and nail instead of accepting it... i really am crazy, but i'm completely rational and stone-cold sober.

---

i will not sign on any more. i will do what i'm asked to and try to affect a positive change, but my focus will be primarily aimed towards my personal life fulfilment, sorting out my home and finances and personal growth, maintaining my friendships, remembering the feel of mud between my toes and snow spraying my face.

my life is perfect because i choose to make it so, i am perfect because i choose to be so, and any and all screw-ups will just have to be incorporated.

---

i'm going to miss having hair again.

---

my TL obviously doesn't understand what snowboarding is all about ^_^
he was harping on about me being careful and taking care of myself, but that sort of attitude lends itself more towards sitting in front of the fire at the resort than screaming down the slopes at breakneck (literally) speeds.

---

i think i was born for the dead of night in the mountain cold + snow + ice.

---

death song
this time, as i close my eyes
i'm ready for my judge
heavy sentence already served
i, with smile, bear no grudge

i am that worthy sinner
an unrepentant heathen
for my god is He you bow before
my soul, forever mine

i stretch my demon wings
my halo shimmers gold
i reach above, and reach below
returning to the world of old


9pm (still the 31st)

i had no idea that i could check in the night before, and no luck by finding that out twenty minutes after the counters closed.

i guess today isn't really my day.

---
    THINGS I'VE LEARNED TODAY:
  1. trains stations might have screens announcing arrivals in order to throw you off

  2. it is possible to check in the night before

  3. it is not possible to use a lounge if you've missed the aforementioned check-in
10.30pm (still the 31st)

great - i managed to sleep for an hour, and now i feel sick / wobbly and everything's closed.

3.45am

i'll be honest, this is not - by any stretch of the imagination - the most wonderful night's sleep i've had these past few days. sadly, not the worst, either. sleeping on a cold floor at funny angles [whoo! lights are back on!] in pants that just aren't warm enough with passers-by every few minutes isn't an ideal way to pass a cold winter's eve.

---

our gods meet
our gods meet
tangled, tentacled thrusting
test, probe, push
slap, stab, slice
and so we must do the same
there's no room for duality
close your eyes and raise your fists
scream and bite and gnash your teeth
paint war and blood
spare no man, warrior or beast
cleansing fire off your palate
spare no dimes for the dead


---

WHAT HAVE THEY GOT AGAINST HARMONICAS??

---

1st feb

"no, don't worry sir, you won't have any problems"

the wait this morning was killer, but i did get a little shut-eye. boarding went smoothly, we took our seats, i passed out, and woke up over an hour later to discover that we hadn't moved yet. interestingly enough, they foresaw this at check-in and didn't think to move me to the next flight - it's that and another pleasant security check (20 minutes this time) that have me sitting here, still in zurich, sweaty and tired and waiting for the night flight.
they couldn't even organize me a shower. and they took away my deodorant.
if i manage to catch a night train from ben gurion i might be home in time to catch the shuttle to work.

---

[ipod meditation]

just sitting and watching the planes, reading every now and again but mostly just rocking out and, as usual, consolidating.

---

THE SHEER RELIEF THAT MY BAG IS ON THE PLANE - I'M GOING TO BE HOME MORE OR LESS ON TIME - HOPE THAT NOBODY'S WAITING [there's nothing worse than being arrested when you arrive]

---

BEST - FLIGHT - EVER. a sympathetic stewardess, decent food and a perfect sleeping pattern (plus, three seats doesn't hurt). in fact, the only thing that wasn't great about the flight was waking up for landing.

2nd feb

one thing about arriving in ben gurion is that you can't pretend to still be in a civilized country - it's pushing and shoving right off the bat. at least i made the train comfortably.



right. i think that was one of the most difficult posts i've ever written, but i wanted to keep it meaningful while still as close to the original scribblings as possible. i hope you enjoyed reading it as much as i enjoyed reliving the week ^_^

back in town

it's the middle of winter, and i've just come off the beach from a serious frisbee session! sweet!

last night was a bit heavy for me, mostly because i was so freaking tired. i met up with gco and some friends of his, and we headed off to a bar in south tel aviv... where a friend of mine from the office was celebrating his birthday - how random!

the rum was as expensive as it was unimpressive :(

we then met up with gco's girlfriend and went to another bar, where i ran into an old german friend who i haven't seen since 2006... we talked for a while, discovered that we're both into the same sort of shit (frisbee, rollerblading, snowboarding, that sort of thing) and it was her that i met this afternoon on the beach.

we moved on to karnaf for tortillas, then had fun driving through tel aviv to drop me off at home.

this morning i woke up after a good sleep, took a walk to buy a card reader and paint, got my pants fixed, shopped for the weekend, spoke to lake and mmf (even if the latter was merely a fortunate accident), and generally enjoyed myself.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

peanut-butter marshmallows

here's the thing - someone needed to volunteer to organize a unit snack today, and the guys decided that i had the weirdest ideas. suddenly, marshmallows and peanut butter popped into my head (it's been years since i last did that), but unfortunately we couldn't get hold of enough peanut butter for the unit and they ended up with a peanut-butter snack instead.

three other people tried with the peanut butter i did have in supply, and were shocked and pleasantly surprised :)

today's just filled with good news:

a) in an attempt to learn my new team's paradigm i've decided to try out a matrix-style screensaver by creating a random function. this has turned out to be a real challenge and the guy who's teaching me is mostly as stumped as i am in how to manage it... and i appear to be making headway. nice!

b) my SC took me aside for an informal chat, and it was intriguingly fruitful. we have devised a method for discovering if it'll be worth my while to sign on (regardless of my personal dislike for the military) or be released based on a completely impartial and relevant body, and he's happy to help out.

and i got him interested in the project i was working on before i went on vacation.

c) i'm supplementing my diet with chocolate and that seems to be working out.

d) i have survived my first week back and it's actually fairly comfortable. now i'm going out to party.

e) MOO are sending me an orange card-holder because they sent me a pink one by mistake.

some of the news was neither here nor there:

a) the seller's lawyer wasn't contactable, so things might be postponed a week.

b) i still haven't finished my snow post :S

c) i'm having a good laugh that the guy we rescued towards the end of the course is now teaching the course - i wish i could see how this plays out!

and only one case of bad:

we got stuck in traffic this morning and my neck's out again after i nodded off at a bad angle.

penny arcade linkage:
grow tower is sweet
defense grid looks terrific

slightly sexist: this will probably make you feel better about yourself