Wednesday, December 30, 2009

just breathing

i almost fell asleep on the train - but realized just in time that we were stopping at the airport. the security check was alright, although the general exhaustion and specific lack of sleep have caught up with me, and everything has been dream-like since.

i tried my entirely useless frequent flyer card (no lounge, so what's the point?), had a croissant and orange juice at about three times the normal price, and have been busying myself with the iliad and wired and dark chocolate to keep myself awake until i'm on the plane.

and because of my current employer's nature and the men in the suits, i'm going to continue to be terrified of not leaving until we take off.

*still praying*

again with the being late?!

then again, this is the first time that i'm leaving my place to somebody else, and there were a bunch of things that didn't occur to me to do until the last minute...

still - not good. at least this time it's only (gods willing) going to be about fifteen minutes. *prays*

*rain comes down hard*

---
this morning almost went according to plan - i arrived at the right building on time to meet with wr, and if he had been less incoherent at stupid o'clock a.m., i wouldn't have gone all the way around it before finally finding him.

he hadn't prepared his coffee stand yet, so i ogled the very fine examples of why i should return to academia while he took care of business. the line that formed during the time it took to produce the first cup of coffee (the second was mine) just kept getting longer, so i made some headway into the iliad, and when the coffee was done i returned to the city to handle laundry, cleaning and packing.

it was an EXTREMELY busy morning - my apartment's never been so tidy! at lunchtime i met up with mmf and his partner for lunch and a talk about the future (as in, post uniform. it'll happen someday, hopefully sooner rather than later), which is the reason i didn't manage to get back in time...

the only thing that really has me nervous is the call i got from my TL earlier. i suspect that it's just the kinda-cute girl's being new, but they couldn't find the report of my holiday authorization even though i was there when our regular secretary received it.

*keeps praying*

a last day

chef morning
for the section breakfast, i started the day shopping for chocolate milk and cheese - two of the only items that i personally wouldn't be able to enjoy. the chef met me outside, and my "usual" ride dropped him off at the entrance to the base.

smelly ride
we then picked up a couple of guys from our base. one of them has apparently failed hygiene 101; his "scent" made it difficult to breathe and caused me to feel nauseous.

"thursday's a shit movie"
the breakfast was great, and satisfying. my automatic response to the above shared sentiment was "and you're shit people"... i wasn't kidding when i told them that that wasn't a disproportionate response, merely me sharing how i feel regardless of their attitude towards the movie itself :P

seriously, though - i don't get how such a great movie has such a low rating.

the only tough thing about the breakfast was cleaning up afterwards - i'm fairly certain that more damage was done to my hearing by the vacuum cleaner than by any of the parties i've been to this year :(

bit drawing
primary job for the day: translating bit masks to pixels using mspaint and lots of patience. it was... grounding.

voicemail
sorting out my voicemail was a mission this morning, as is everything with the sat-phone company. once they had finally connected me, i called in and set it up. then i tested it. it didn't work. it turned out that the person who had set it up for me initially had forgotten to check the options that determine when a call is transferred. brilliant!

late lunch
lunchtime conversation revolved around israeli culture and the problems inherent in it being such a young country. i settled on the concept of global social stagnation: for the past hundred or so years, cultures have been merging non-stop and those merges have left gaping holes. the religions of money and warfare have pretty much closed off most avenues for the majority, and caring for the weaker of the species, a noble enterprise, has also become a really costly one for the strong and sensible.

for israelis specifically, it's simply always been that way. it's no wonder, then, that attitudes remain childish and that holocaust mentality (the perpetual fear of being victimized or taken advantage of) still reigns.

the western concept of sanity has been eroded to its inverse. who can we look to for comparison?

---

youth in politics: i believe in two improvements to democracy.
1) transformation to meritocracy, requiring qualifications and performance to be factors in postings to government positions
2) that a significant portion (preferably at least 50%) of any governmental body must be young and unmarried. when one gets married and has children, he is physiologically obliged to place his family's situation and interests ahead of everyone else's. this is unavoidable, and we need people in charge who actually care.

we need idealism in our leaders, not the bitterness that comes with having risen through the ranks of corrupt or useless nobodies. let the advisors share their experience, but the hopeful and invulnerable should do the pushing and pulling.

---

ecstasy disinformation
this being the week celebrating the war on drugs, that pillar of human stupidity that burns us all by carrying an insatiable demand for our resources and denying something that is inherently a part of our lives (everyone gets their fix somehow, whether it's sex / love, religion, money, sport, food or chemical), a presentation was sent around to upset me.

you see, about 85% of the information presented was accurate. the rest was fear mongering disinformation, slipped in in a manner that will easily distort the surrounding text. i don't think this is a good idea - i've always maintained that this provides a perfect pretext for exaggerated drug use: "well, they lied about that, so how can i trust the rest of what i was told? screw 'em!"

that's just my opinion. one specific thing that bothered me: psychotropic does not mean hallucinogenic.

---

actually useful
the last part of the day was covered by a fairly productive meeting and a short code review, both of which gave me the sensation that i'd actually done something on my last day of the year. i've now gone through what was undoubtedly my worst year (in the military, everything else was awesome), and i'm really, really glad it's over.

laundry
not wanting to leave my house-sitters with a pile of laundry, i found myself in a quandary. then it hit me - laundromat! the guy did me a favour, and assured me that it would be ready to go by tomorrow afternoon :)
i also discovered that bleach is not the answer to my penny arcade hoodie's problems, i need to dry-clean it. i'll do that when i return.

monkeying
i got it together to put the waterproofing on my roof, which was quite fun and terrific exercise. i felt super-skilled (and heavy; i'd forgotten how heavy i am) clambering up the burglar bars fairly nimbly, holding myself up with one hand while securing cable ties with the other. my timing was perfect - it began to drizzle just as i was finishing up!

i don't have any way of knowing that this is the right solution, and i'm praying that the impact of the next serious shower will be deflected...

rained frisbeer
five minutes after i was done, i was meeting scrapper with a frisbee and two beers in hand. we went to rabin square, and had a few throws before the rain came bucketing down. we rushed to the tree in the centre, put on our jackets (my bright orange ye-olde troop jacket was perfect!) and carried on, and i was thoroughly and happily immersed in a session that i would've been proud of even if we hadn't been in an extraordinary situation ^_^

now i have a couple of super-sweaty items that won't be cleaned by tomorrow... oh, well :P

sammy twists the knife
sammy arrived, bearing a gift that i'm extremely pleased with ^_^
we sat at coffeeholic (i needed the lentil soup), passed by the ilke (it was too crowded for sammy, i squeezed through to say hi to ta2 for a couple of minutes and then rejoined him), and then sat down to munch at michal's (haven't been there in a while).

the night went on a little later than was wise, because i was going to get all this down before going to bed anyway, and now i have to be up in less than five hours on my holiday :P [one last hectic day to sort everything out, and then it's time to fly!]

103 - the office is the other excuse ;)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

shakes head to bed

a very interesting evening, filled with good ideas and mutually shared assumptions. it's like a precursor for coming back to south africa :)

i'm surprised at myself, i just donated a fair amount of dosh (their minimum request, but whatever) to wikipedia. not that surprised, it seems like fair trade but we've all gotten used to using it for free :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

the right start

my holiday has essentially begun! i woke up relaxed, had breakfast, and walked to the t-shirt shop*, arriving just in time to get my new shirt made:



* realizing, on the way, that i need to learn how to use bleach. my beautiful white penny arcade hoodie is a bit discoloured.

after entering an intriguing argument with a girl at coffeeholic (who'd been giving the new guy a hard time about contradictory behaviour), i stopped at the hardware store to acquire ways to secure my new roof covering. i'll get that done on wednesday, apparently. it's supposed to rain tomorrow. not perfect.

i got dressed, and bussed with a grin. i'm now in holiday mode, and life is pretty ^_^
not only did i manage to catch all the buses at *just* the right times, but my mom sent me an sms that added a little more reality to the fact that i'll be there in three more sleeps!

i stopped for lunch with nystire, after which we bought a couple of things and then ran into my old SC. on our way into base we bumped into my old BC, and that little bit of catching up was fun :)

i didn't have too much work to do, and even that was interrupted by a half an hour of cake and giggles. and a bit of organizing for tomorrow's section breakfast.

---

i'm not sure if i was having a nightmare on the shuttle, or if the driver took a corner too fast, but i experienced a falling sensation and almost took someone's eye out trying to keep my balance in my sleep. the thing is, it's happened a few times before, when i've been sleeping flat in my bed. i don't know what causes it - it's like a falling dream but the sensation isn't just in my head...

curious - i find it an interesting phenomenon.

---

i just introduced my housesitters to all the ins and outs, while the electrician almost finished up. i'm a bit irritated about that, but we're going to have to do a second round in any event so it'll have to wait until february.

having backed up my copy of the 60's (it's stupidly easy in linux to make an iso file - you just cat /dev/scd0 > target!), it's now time to pay mmf a visit.

spontaneity

today began with vampire dreams that were extremely personal and very unsexy. i was contemplating contemplating it...

the thought for the day stems almost directly from hillman:
when i don't allow place within myself for all the darkness of my soul, it finds expression in projection on others. perhaps if everyone could accept and contain their entireties, we would have no more need for war?

another thought: if we're not exercising higher order functions when we dance or pray, does that make it a counter-productive form of meditation? i think not, but that's what i understood from one of his statements... and that will be contemplated. possibly while stomping ;)

smile for the day: only a couple more days to masses of beautiful, smiling, dirty bouncing people taking reality outside for a stroll ^_^

    the list:
  • i forgot to mention a flashing neon sign that amused me the other day: "sand moneygram" - nice one, very desert-y :)
  • phone trauma - nystire copied something to my phone, which began behaving badly (stuck, with weird screen artifacts) as soon as we disconnected. i found this to be rather stressful, but after a bit of playing it came back to life...
    for some reason, i'm terrified of having to get my phone serviced. [see 8th-20th of may]
  • the breakfast pastry had nasty results. i'm certain i said a while back that i wouldn't take the risk again :(
  • i felt a bit ill today. that may or may not have been related to the previous bullet.
  • nystire and i were walking next to each other; just before we turned out of the corridor i made a motion to smack him and we walked, attacking and blocking, straight into nyah-nyah. nyah-nyah was armed, took one look at us and gripped her m16. we didn't hesitate, splitting in opposite directions to hide in the corridor - then we all laughed, and carried on :P
  • an encounter with a bureaucratic attitude to a non-acquisition put my back up, and placed me squarely in sales mode. i think in the end we'll get what we want, but we had to fight for it. i don't see why.
    [the meeting was a bitch. my eye was irritated, a gnat was annoying all of us, and i'm convinced that the heater was set to 30+]
  • i probably shouldn't be too friendly with the new, kinda-cute girl in our unit. she seemed a little too enthusiastic when i made a friendly comment...

my eyes are killing me. fortunately, they're good enough to have allowed my mind to be blown by avatar - WOW! the story was stock hollywood, good, but i believe the visual pleasure outweighed any potential grievances. i think i enjoyed it even more having read the wired article on its creation.

it was decided that the ex-team-mate i went to see it with and i would meet up on blades / bicycle and return so that he could use the open ticket i had. as i hit the park, i got a call letting me know that the tuesday group was meeting ten minutes later...
we got lost in the park (it was absolutely amazing - palpable mist and smooth sailing), and after sort-of sorting out the ticket we tried to catch up to the group.

we didn't make it, but it was a fun mission anyway. i stopped over at his place for seriously spicy soup, and then bladed home, having a quick chat with the chef and his ex on the way and then trying to be helpful to the people who had an accident nearby.

now that i've hung up laundry, burned and watched out of the corner of my eye a little bit of the director's cut of the woodstock documentary, i'm hitting the hay. i sent my TL an sms earlier letting him know i'll be arriving late in the morning, and requesting his approval - no response. oh, well, i can only assume he was already in bed ;)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

irresponsible

today began well - i sorted out my "fat freddy's cat" shirt, which i find quite amusing - i have to say that working with the gimp now that i've got loads of memory is an absolute pleasure!
i'll have to print it before i leave.

i finally got it together to mess with my pc. after much anguish, i realized that the older drive is not the one that's cause for concern... the "middle" one is the troublemaker, so much so that i can't install a copy of ubuntu on it. i was hoping that the installation disc was the problem, but nystire's brother dropped off another copy* and that had the same results :(

* while i was waiting, three of the dutch guys from this year's snowboarding walked past. they didn't hear my "hey, guys!", and that was as the car pulled up. oh, well.

today has reminded me how much i despise the technical aspects of computing. i'm happy sticking with the virtual ones.

i played frisbee with karnaf in the park, discovering that my new trousers aren't good for sports but finally started getting the hang of using my fingernails to catch :)

open cinema tickets SUCK. i'd have to go there physically (a couple of hours + one third of the ticket price) to book it. how hard can it be to arrange it by phone? it has a number and everything! idiots.

so i bought a ticket to see avatar tomorrow, fine. now to find a buyer for the open one :/
i feel like i've been had.

---

urchin came over, and we watched the 60's. i remembered thinking that it was amazing, but of the entire movie only one scene remained in my head. aside from the incredible music and the phenomenal approach the history of the most important decade in history (ie. the only time that youth have ever shown their strength, and that a people pushed for their freedom with passive protest - prior to showing black panther might, of course), the personal perspective was just as touching as it was before and i had tears streaming down my face on a number of occasions.

one doesn't need to be an american to feel and identify with their triumphs and their failures - our situation isn't much different to theirs, we've just allowed ourselves back into the same valueless distractions as haunted them then.

we all need to be free, and we all need to value one another, and we all need to take control of our lives and be involved in the lives of our brethren.

---

it's late - uploading facebook photos, and watching the big bang theory and battlestar galactica are eating into my sleeping hours.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

from bed, slightly drunk

actually, i don't know if the word "drunk" is entirely fair, but i wouldn't describe my current state as especially eloquent. i'm distracted, both physically and mentally, and i think more of that is from the performance than the relatively (relative to the amount of food i've consumed today) large quantity of alcohol.

the performance was unbelievable. incredible, amazing, dream-like and fantastic. daphna and the cookies are a phenomenal band and their cohesion is palpable. daphna alone is simply wonderful, and her duets with rona keenang (i think that's how it's said) were inspired.

i'm now swimming in my head but not tired, so i'm going to attempt a bit of justina robson's selling out before i close my eyes on a day most excellently spent.

Friday, December 25, 2009

a list of ups and downs

holy crap! a couple of crazy days later, and i'm now on my way to see daphna and the cookies...

yesterday:

the girl
my behaviour is not excused by this next statement, it's just that the damage is lessened: that girl has a boyfriend.

work
it was a house day, meaning that i had house music playing for its entirety and that made everything smoother. the shuttle was a bit late, but so was everyone in the office so that was okay :P

mental masturbation caused by an amusingly misunderstood sentence from nystire: a messenger would be given microdots and then sent off with a message, as opposed to being sent with a message containing these microdots

yesterday saw us getting a repeat performance of the "meat" that disgusted us a while back. this time, somebody asked what it was - the response was "Esterhazy". that is an outright lie.

i went with the barely-edible-yet-far-superior vegetarian serving.

one of our unit was released yesterday - he's decided to quit computers and study medicine. some of the guys were asking "what for?!".
*raises hand to indicate sarcasm* i love my unit.

reading
i'm finally reaching the end of james hillman - re-visioning psychology. the closing pages are extremely lucid (now that i've spent most of the year preparing for them :P) and the summation points are absolutely fascinating. i'm *extremely* pleased that i didn't give up on the hardest book i've ever read.

tae kwon do
the warm-up was fun, the stretching basic... the pull-ups not bad, and the one-steps wonderful. our instructor really made my life difficult on the one-steps, but the results were immediate and obvious. i left well-pleased with myself.

party
i promised i'd try to get there, so i did. a birthday party for a couple of guys from my previous unit, with cruddy music and the cute girl who de-friended me on facebook. i ignored her, and caught up with the mongoose's ex-girlfriend. i then got talking to one of the guys, and the next thing i knew we'd run out of conversation (easy with army types) and everyone was going home.

it was okay, i guess. the bartender was a bit of an asshole, but otherwise it was all fine.

today:

the girl
i was on the phone this morning when a gorgeous girl walked past, causing my brain to freeze. i stared and smiled stupidly as she went past in bullet-time. a bit later, i was hurrying to the old section's breakfast when she and her friends walked past me - it appears she's taking classes at the art house next door. i feel like a complete idiot for not having done anything.

roofer
the day began with me hanging on to my burglar bars and removing weird things from my roof that had fallen from my upstairs neighbours. i couldn't find anything resembling a weak spot, and so i figured that waterproof sheeting really is the way to go. there's me headed off, pre-coffee, to south tel aviv.

i had coffee and a croissant on the sidewalk in florentin while waiting for my parcel to be fitted and wrapped, and was horrified to discover that i have a lot less money in my account than i expected. it's been a heavy month. i'm going to have to start planning seriously and keep track of me expenditures. is this "growing up"?

second breakfast
i had a proper breakfast with my old section a few blocks away, which was fun.

rothschild
yogi picked me up (i'd forgotten how much fun riding on his motorcycle is), and we went to rothschild. a long chat walking through the crowds filled with gorgeous girls who seem attracted to my sunglasses, a beer on a bench, and then i joined the guys from my old section who'd come for the street party. we walked back to bograshov, then i broke off so i could make it in time for the rollerblading group.

sunset rollers
awesome, awesome blade - aside from the bit where heeblet had to be taken to the hospital after a bad landing :(

i discovered that there's an open skate park with ramps and bowls in yad eliyahu (my old neighbourhood); i *have* to get there when there're less people to make a fool of myself in front of! i would've played more than i did, but i thought better of it because i need to keep myself whole for new year's ;)

computer
i'm posting this from my pc - i'm busy backing up, and once i'm back i'll shut it down and remove the suspicious drive. for the moment, though - everything's fine. *knocks on wood*

general:
during the now-traditional post-training discussion, i discovered a better way to convey "universal / objective reality". we're 4-dimensional beings. try to think of the world as if you only had access to the three spacial dimensions, and what you're looking at is an objective reality where everything exists, but there is no history or future; just a three dimensional picture of what exists right now.

with only a single instant to work with, one cannot derive meaning. that's the point i was trying to make.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

post SY depression

it's the last stretch, and i'm tired. it's been a busy year, filled with israeli homeowning, men in suits, disgusting work conditions (and constant cross-cultural aggravation), academic progression, and realizations about myself and the universe that have made my mind twist and turn.
"the mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size."
-oliver wendell holmes
[SY stands for Sucky Year - the bad really outweighed the good on this one]

for the first time in days, i actually had the energy to do something at 7.30am - cutting up bits of paper and sticking them on our new "what's up?" board. that lasted an hour, the flurry of random bits of work after that is a bit blurred until lunchtime.

lunch was super-healthy [raises hand to indicate sarcasm] half-fried chips and over-fried, soggy chicken in a pita. fortunately, we arrived back to the office just as my TL had finished washing the floors, which meant that i could take a short siesta in the corridor. i told my TL that that's the most useful thing he's done since i moved to his team :)

i spent the afternoon testing, and fighting with one of our lab rats - he was upset when i told him that i don't trust one of the stations. it's never worked for me before, so why should it occur to me to use it? amusingly enough, after he showed me a way to make it perform better he accidentally shut it down when i was in the middle of something. it just goes to show.

the shuttle back took longer than usual, which meant more sleep. i stopped in at the hardware store with a query about tap installations, and ended up being drawn into a chat about my current situation. i keep trying to avoid conversations regarding my personal woes, and that's not so easy...

i needed to shave the edge off my mood, so i went with some rum. two solid slugs, and i was feeling alright...

the electrician came, and finally installed the fittings i bought on friday. they're really pretty, and the work didn't take too long! now he just has to come back for a half-hour plaster job, and we're done until round two :)

as soon as he left, i headed off to south tel aviv to see ein efes (אין אפס - no zero) perform. they have potential, but would be better off replacing their singers. it took them about half the show to warm up, and to bring out the better songs... i was surprised at the bassist's candor when he sat with us afterwards and agreed with my breakdown wholeheartedly (although i didn't mention the singing, there're limits to mine :P).

the bus ride home was nice, and the last stretch was with a very pretty girl who lives next door. we had a very pleasant chat right until we got to her building, at which point i wished her a good night, took my leave, and then felt like a complete toss for not having invited her for coffee or taken her number. what the hell?! i think i'm my own worst enemy.

i've definitely got to shower and get into bed. that was totally worth leaving the house for - even if i didn't love the band, the company was great :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

event soup

last night wasn't so bad - i mean, so what if there were only sandwiches for dinner, and it was a mission to differentiate between the cheese and the tuna? and so what if all the drinks provided were diet? why should it bother me that everybody was in more of a hurry to register (to prove that they'd arrived) than myself, and that they have no concept of personal space (borderline frotteurism)?

it was amusing to see the guys in our unit getting all excited when they discovered that the rest of the unit actually has girls in it. they're not pretty, but that's still a huge improvement over what we're used to :P

the event was amazing. the speeches were mind-blowing. </end sarcasm> the unit video was excellently made, although the content left much to be desired. the introduction to mosh ben ari was nice, but the second he started singing three of us made our move and skipped off to the bowling alley for beers and chips until we received an sms alert that it was time for "coffee and cake".

rogalach is not cake. we should've just cut home.

---

i picked up my pc this evening, but i don't have the energy to run, backup, fiddle and reinstall just now. at least i have compressed air for the fiddling stage - "dust mites inside" is embarrassing.

the woman in the second magazine store was more understanding than the guy i dealt with last time, but didn't have what i was looking for. armed with slightly better articulation, i tried again at the stand - no dice. then i remembered the second-hand store for a possible alternative.

there are two reasons the second-hand book store was a good idea:
1. i found a great book. it's a book of letters written in yiddish from 1937, which won't be as amusing as much as it will be interesting.
2. in keeping with the stock's style, the store has a ye-olde mechanical credit card swiper - something i haven't seen in years. i didn't know they were still usable, and it's very retro-cool. i enjoyed paying :)

my walking there and back was accompanied by good music, and very appropriate to my mood. mostly puscifer and marilyn manson. my issue is with singing along - it's hard for me not to join in with intensity, but i'm keeping my voice low so as not to freak out the other pedestrians. all i've been wanting to do of late is to let go - to scream, to sing, to jump up and down, and not to do that alone.

just one more week.

i got home to hang up laundry and discover that a building pipe is leaking onto my roof. the caretaker's just left - hopefully we can get the insurance company to send someone on friday. the good news is that the electrical grounding's finally been sorted out, although it would've been nice if i hadn't had to ask :P

this post powered up by cyber cartel - space embargo and creatrix - killer beat

spiked

holy crap! i just had a really malicious thorn tear into me, grabbing a surprisingly stretchy section of my upper arm. i eased out of its grasp, but i'm left with a couple of large holes, slow bleeding and the paranoia that it's either poisonous or hooked something deeper.
meh... i'm sure it'll be fine, but it's eerie and painful.

i remembered to fast last night and this morning, which was good. i forgot my umbrella, though. as much as i enjoyed walking in the pouring rain, i still had yesterday's headache and wasn't feeling good.

the guy whose blood was drawn before mine made a lot of noise, which got me a bit tense. the medic told me not to worry, and i was surprised at how smoothly he performed. lucky? there wasn't much i could have done about it.

i stopped to buy breakfast before entering the office, and when i found my section empty i was sure i was missing something important. i was wrong - just a section meeting. it was wise to take my "i'm being cynical" sign...

the meeting inspired me to set up a work-only events board, as i've been complaining for too long that none of us know what's going on with what we do. that's demotivating, and i certainly don't need any assistance in that department.

my appointment with the physiotherapist was cancelled - i didn't know there was a time-limit on my treatment :(

i had lunch with karnaf (reserve duty - it was weird for both of us to see each other in uniform), but even the best food on base wipes me out afterwards. at least when i finally started recovering i managed to get some work done, although i ended up doubling up because i'd forgotten that i'd sorted something out a while ago and hadn't indicated it properly :/

just one more week to sort out all my shit before i leave - i just need a day off to rest! the weekends just aren't enough...

Monday, December 21, 2009

a yawn on the bus

i'm exhausted and on my way to an event that i'm completely disinterested in attending (like 90% of the people who'll be there). at least we don't have to be in uniform, although i'm secretly hoping that accidentally leaving my soldier's id at home will have me barred from entering...

i slept like a log, woke up alright, and got ready more or less on time this morning, but from the second i put my left foot in my boot it's been giving me grief. a bit later on my wrist got finicky, and my neck took most of the day to regain basic mobility... *whine*

the day itself was irritating, from microsoft's backward-ass rapid development environment to our labs being unavailable (and there's me playing private investigator and then being accused of leading witnesses when i discovered that foul play was afoot). the only good news was that a lot of the grunt-work i did a few weeks back can be totally automated - the guys thought i'd be upset, and as usual couldn't understand that although i've wasted my time, i'm happy that nobody else will have to...

it's such a "me" mentality. i can't stand such a complete lack of team spirit.

speaking of wasted time, a meeting with our SC that shouldn't have taken more than two minutes but got stretched to about 45, and made me think of the word "moron" way more than is healthy. i *love* being dilbert.

the mess hall food was almost good, so we told disgusting stories over lunch in order to keep things balanced :P

i've had a proper headache since i got in to work, which wasn't helped by mmf causing me to walk around for 45 minutes when i went to pay him a visit after work. the new office is crazy, there's a bunch of guys from the old crew working there, and i think going back to them after my service could be a lot of fun.

the bus ride is almost over, which means the fun is about to being :(

sore neck, sore wrist, sore feet

i missed the bus this morning, and missing by a small amount really is as good as by a mile. i sat with a cup of coffee and a book while waiting for my "usual" morning ride, and bore witness (unofficially) to a couple of people fighting after one had dinged the other's car. it amazes me how badly people can behave while doing something as simple as exchanging contact details.

i didn't get a lot of work done today, but managed to close a couple of important things anyway. i also participated in a meeting that i found to be both purposeful and interesting.

the birthday celebration was nice - really good cakes, the tennis ball i prepared was joined by a small coconut that my TL found, and the impression they made together was great. i did manage a bit of a faux pas a bit later on, when another team-mate miscalculated the main gift's cost per person and i made fun of her out loud... the birthday boy was sitting between us at the time :$

i left early again, with a shopping mission to perform before training. unfortunately, this mandated being a part of the pushing and shoving that's required at certain times during the day in order to get onto the stupidly infrequent buses. i was miffed for minutes afterwards. i managed to do the shopping comfortably, though - i tried to film the guy's response when i approached him with a rather awkward request, but he didn't so much as flinch :/

hi. i'm, umm, looking for a gift for a friend of mine. i'm looking for a men's magazine, but with, umm, slightly more mature women.
the guys want to send a gag gift to one of our section who's doing the same course i did last year, but these sorts of things just aren't available. instead, i walked out with the marge simpson playboy for my previous team-mate, who's been going nuts trying to get hold of it :P

i missed the bus (this time it was expected), and caught a different one that turned out to be even better. i would've slept the entire way if my TL hadn't called me up... we missed something a few months ago and tomorrow we're going to have to write a full report. joy!

my feet hurt after thursday's training, and they're hurting again now - the floor in our ra'anana gym isn't right somehow. the warm-up was fun*, the stretching fine, and the forms great... and we got to fight.

* although my neck's out. at least i'm seeing the physiotherapist tomorrow :D

1) i can't believe i got slapped in the face for continuing to open my mouth. my immediate reaction was affront, then wonder, then amusement; i have to admit that while it's a stronger response than i'd expect, it was pretty much deserved. and i actually did shut it for the next fight :P

2) apparently i scared nystire. i actually enjoyed messing with him. unfortunately, he caught my wrist with a freak kick (undefined random lashing out) and it's a bit uncomfortable. nothing too serious, at least :)

3) i wish i'd fought the second fight first, when i still had the energy required. i couldn't figure out my opponent, and hesitated far too much. in the end, i was merely reacting and the couple of kicks i got in just weren't enough to combat the whirlwind of attacks he was drilling me with.

my mother sent me an sms - i have a ticket for new year's! and that's next week ^_^
(my mommy totally rocks!)

the bus ride home was fascinating - i spent it swapping ipods and chatting with a woman from our tel aviv training. it took a while for the conversation to find a groove, but it was quite enjoyable and i was surprised when i realized we were about to hit my stop.

showered, fed, watched an episode of big bang theory. now bed.

song for the week: dead or alive - you spin me round

Saturday, December 19, 2009

only slightly less antisocial

breakfast was excellent. i was horrified to learn *just* how amazing karnaf's snowboard trip went, and i really hope i can join in for the next one. i really hope it'll be similar, too :)

a long, complete breakfast, an interesting chat and then an introduction to the kindle by one of the other patrons that turned into an interesting aside on moby dick and then another on the iliad rounded off the morning.

after lunch i stopped by the irish member of ze germans, just to say hi and then carry on home to hang up laundry and put on shorts. i then met up with urchin and we missioned around, disappointing passers-by when we didn't do anything more interesting than take photos of me. some sort of focus technique she needed to try. apparently it worked, but i wasn't totally blown away.

karnaf called me to tell me that frisbee was on, so i started walking in the direction of the park. i must have been about two hundred metres from the entrance to the park when he called to say that they were done (i'd begun on the other side of the city). almost immediately afterwards, one of my co-workers called me to say that he and his girlfriend would be rollerblading at the sportec, so i walked home, strapped on my blades and headed out.

i'd promised myself the last time not to travel on the right side of the road - the roadworks ensured that sand got into my wheels :(
on the other hand, i ran into an old friend, which was a pleasant couple of minutes before i carried on.

i enjoy teaching - especially when the people i'm teaching make an effort. also, while they were practising what i'd been explaining i messed around with the kinds of things i used to before my accident*, which i rather enjoyed - and only once almost hurt myself (miscalculated landing).

* once upon a time, going down avenue st. bartholemew almost from the top and having a car stop neatly in front of me between a wall and a streetlamp pole, so i couldn't go around after i'd accumulated some serious speed (probably around 60km/h**) - shouting "GET OUT OF MY ROAD!" didn't help, but i was fortunate to spot a side-road that i'd never noticed before.

unfortunately, the side-road was steep and narrow, and my wheels couldn't hold the angle. i slid for a few metres on my right thigh before hitting the curb and coming to an abrupt and painful stop, sans a goodly-sized chunk of thigh muscle. of course, the bastard whose fault it was (he didn't have to stop, and certainly not *right there*) just drove on, while some friendlies in the neighbourhood came to help out.

for weeks i couldn't walk properly (although rollerblading was fine), but i never regained the confidence to do silly things until recently.


** a friend with a speedometre checked us on a downhill once. i thought maybe i'd confused the numbers, but i just read that it's possible to go up to 50km/h on a straight, so it may have been even more (it's a steep road).

we missioned to ze sushi, and in addition to spending a fun evening together i managed to strike a deal with the sushi chef; we'll see if things fall into place or not, but the plan is to join him with cross-style training. it's a less intimate version of mixed martial arts :P

after coming home and showering, i finally managed to sort out the troublesome door handle in the bathroom and prepped a tennis ball for tomorrow's gift. it's now late enough that i'm not going to get enough sleep, so here's a couple of moments from the past hour or so of messing about online:

the first term to make me laugh in a while: immaculate congestion

my response to a mail entitled "how ironic...":
it's not often that i get to type "define:irony", but here your usage is incorrect AND is directed towards more than one person.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony

just so you all know - there's not one instance of actual irony in alanis morisette's song - which makes it a delightfully ironic (albeit accidentally) song.


how's this video for putting this week in perspective?

tightly timed

what a wonderful moment, sitting here with a single stream of sunlight gently warming my spirit far more than it warms my body, that important task being handled by the great coffee and my gigantic penny arcade sweater.
it's a fantastic post-storm clear, sunny and relaxed saturday, and perfect stillness to complement the hectic nature of the day before.

yesterday began early, with a trip to the hardware superstore to buy light fittings. i had to walk them home in the rain, and the clouds were making a point of taunting me - although in their defence, they were kind enough to hold back the flood until the minute i walked through the door.

i understand that the only way to discover leaks is when the heavens open and each droplet turns into a probe, but having to set a bucket on the patio to catch a veritable stream of water and praying that the roof won't cave in completely is uncomfortable to say the least.

[pays, begins walking to breakfast]

the electrician didn't get much done - it turns out that my concrete ceiling is a little more than he bargained for. i thought i'd Get Stuff Done while he worked, and hopped off to retrieve my pc - finally having bitten the bullet by requesting a memory upgrade that should've been done when i began playing with the gimp - image editing is a bit of a strain for just one gig.
as i stood there, letting the idea that i need to invest in a can of compressed air sink in (and being slightly embarrassed that my cpu's cables have greatly expanded due to consistent overheating), that the rain went from "downpour" to "wrath of the gods" - all parties agreed that it would be wise for me to take it back another day.

a good thing too, because the techie had forgotten something and called me later up post-panic - when you disconnect the boot-up drive, weird things are bound to occur. looks like i'm in for a re-install.

so i arranged the house-sitter's spare key, paid the electrician and agreed to finish up during the week, learned that i've got real work to do on my patio roof, and headed off to training.

training was painful, training was great. i haven't fought in ages, and although it wasn't easy i thoroughly enjoyed myself. except the part where i almost disabled one of the kids, his badly-timed roundhouse met my back kick toe-to-heel, with cracking results.

a walk-and-talk to scrapper's car, then home - shower - dress - train station, and her and her boyfriend picked me up for family dinner. it was a wonderfully busy and well-fed evening, but after such a long day extremely tiring. and for the first time in years, she and i finished it off with an argument the reminded me of the troubles we had towards the end of our relationship - she can be very, very difficult to reason with sometimes...

i went straight to bed when i got home - waking up at 3am to wish my team-mate a happy birthday was a no-go, for which he was grateful when i informed him at a more reasonable hour :P

i've made progress with my door handles, had great coffee, enjoyed this walk (although it could've been less anti-social), and am now ready for breakfast :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

the real snot-monster

it's raining now [well, it was when i began posting], a cleansing, thoroughly drenching downpour that's perfectly suited to my current mode.

aside from an annoying argument over lunch (i couldn't get the guy to stop calling autism a disease), and a wonderful point made about king solomon's famous "let's cut the child in half" afterwards, it was a fairly uneventful day.

i took off early today, using two of the hours my shuttle travels have gained me over the past couple of months. that allowed me to get to training on time*, and tonight's was particularly gruelling. my body's reaction post-dust wasn't pretty, and breathing was particularly difficult. on the bright side, i think i've done a good job of reducing the damage done by a week of no less than three jelly doughnuts per day.

* stopping on the way for my favourite shinto meal. while waiting for the bus from there, i took a photo of the skyline and an agitated navy private questioned my intentions - i think he thought the camera was aimed at him. i was left amused.

the warm-up was crazy - one of the guys brought a meaner, heavier ball that leaves pretty solid marks. we had fun :)

also, having misunderstood an instruction in self defence, i got smacked in the head with a shoe. what made that action more surreal and shameful was that it was *my* shoe.

scrapper and i have just had a couple of extremely interesting conversations, and i have to admit being a bit jealous of the way his brain works. it's a combination of curiosity and intelligence that flows in all directions, and it's pleasing to argue with.

two more weeks until i arrive in south africa, and i am *excited* ^_^

[post interrupted by bus arrival, waving to sunshine but not actually stopping to say hello, orange juice, a fantastic shower and a brief internet check]

i'm lying in bed with my neck engaged by the massage pillow, and it's definitely time to dream.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

mitebreathing

philosomatika made this morning perfect, right until a few minutes ago when i stepped off the bus at the train station and into a nice, thick, woolly dust storm. it's hard to breathe when mucus turns to cement inside your nasal passages and the back of your throat.

how nice that spitting in uniform is frowned upon.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

on comms

i had to wake up early again this morning because my alternative ride doesn't believe in answering calls from unrecognized numbers, and my sat-phone's battery was dead.
of course, nobody whose number i don't have stored in my phone could possibly have something important to tell me.

i almost missed the train this morning - luckily a conductor saw me and held the door after the first one closed on me :/
at least today, unlike yesterday, the first bus arrived on time and we didn't have to fight to get on board.

the doughnut ceremony this morning was full of amusement: in addition to jokes about our SC walking into his office to find his desk covered in frosted sugar - immediately shutting the door, pulling down the blinds and making loud sniffing noises - it was suggested that half-portion (the ass from this incident*) be renamed "achmed" in light of yesterday's instruction :P

* what an interesting coincidence! nystire had us all discussing a very strange plan of his involving two girls one cup, and the incident occurred on the same day that i saw it. that's just weird.

speaking of nystire, he and my TL had a communication breakdown that got me totally riled - it appears to be the topic of the week. when two people are culturally opposed and their native tongues are completely different, both of them need to be flexible in both speaking and understanding, both of them need to be extra-careful that the message was received in a similar fashion to the way it was sent. this is not something to be taken lightly, especially in a work environment where communication is key (isn't that most work environments?).

the thought occurred to me that maybe i should run a list of don't-see movies in addition to the must-sees. another just hit me now - maybe i should publish a page here on my blog too...

the guy whose code i'm reviewing got stuck with something i asked him to do, and then i got stuck trying to help him out. some things flow much easier in one's head than they do in writing, and the two of us sat together on it and eventually came up with something manageable. i felt good about the fact that i didn't have the answer immediately at hand, because for once he didn't end up feeling like i was flaunting my english superiority.
i hate the fact that people think that i *like* knowing more than they do. i mean, i do - but i'd rather they knew as much as me and that *i* knew even more :)

i began working on a new side project this morning: playing danny gilboa's new single as close to once hourly as possible, in an attempt to duplicate the results of radio overplay - people who don't give a damn about music don't listen to it, until it's played enough that it sinks in subconsciously regardless of its quality.

that's me being cynical for you.

i began a work-related side project as well, a fun one involving pictures. pun for the day - they're called picChars :P \
it would've been more fun if i hadn't had so much trouble with microsoft standard software grief. the visual studio environment is just pathetic when it comes to gui stuff (how much processing and memory does it need to move a picture on the form?!), and the combination of locked resource files and microsoft paint's lack of a proper undo facility led me to accidentally destroy about twenty minutes of painstaking pixel editing.

so yeah, i remembered today that i hate computers in general, and microsoft in particular.

i did it - i arranged an appointment with the physio for next week, and i remember to talk to the techie about my pc. apparently the situation's not as dire as it looked, but i'll only be able to find out for sure on friday**.

i don't think the exercise i did this afternoon really counts, but at least i didn't do nothing at all.

the bus ride back was pleasant until nystire instigated an argument with idiot-girl, leading to my heightened blood pressure levels and intense desire to smash things. it took a while to calm down, but the problem is that our entire unit runs on similar lines... at least my countdown to getting out is underway.

** of course, friday will be pressured because i'll be sorting out the final episode of the current electrical works. the electrician and i just spent over an hour planning not only the last day, but phase two, which should commence around february and will include all the things that we missed due to my inexperience.

urchin's just arrived, it's time for a beer.

[post delayed on account of beer, lack of a title and a surprising outburst that got me into the role of therapist...]

yes, she tried

and yes, she succeeded in making me angry. really angry. it's the part where idiot-girl proves that the most dangerous disease threatening humanity is a social one, our conditioning to support what is essentially "survival of the weakest".

moronic behaviour really shouldn't go unpunished.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

massage, soup and sleep required

this is the first time today [on the way home] that i've felt able to write stuff down (i've been feeling sick, and posting from my phone will always be a little awkward). we're finally on our way home, having successfully (as an entire unit!) managed to skip a huge military ceremony :)

yesterday morning was rainy, darkly beautiful and not unreasonably difficult to wake up to. in fact, while waiting for my ride (the alternative, the "usual" one and i aren't vibing and he's on holiday) i had a smile on my face :)

the conversation on the way was a bit tricky... we were discussing the im/practicality of getting married in a tasteful manner without suffering the expense of the regular channels. i found it a bit difficult to end the debate on a comfortable note, however, because she's getting married within the next couple of weeks and all those massive expenditures have already been settled... as i said, while it's certainly possible, i'm going to be hard-pressed to find a woman who'll agree with my ideas. maybe that's how i'll know she's the one :P

we began the workday with a big doughnut meeting. one of the girls introduced us to אחמ‏"‏ד‎ ‎(achmed), an acronym for "i'll eat half of everything" - an interesting diet concept that allows one to eat three doughnuts in one sitting on condition that they were consumed in half-portions :)

a lot of the day was spent on coercion, trying to advance use of the wiki. i pretty much gave up on my current task - i don't have enough information to do it properly and the last thing i want is to have signed off on something that's inadequate...

also, i began to feel ill and that made it a tad difficult to concentrate.

my distressed team-mate seems to be getting worse, and i don't actually know how to help. i broached the topic of perhaps seeing the base social-worker, but i did it supremely awkwardly and at a really bad time. in trying to be tactful and talking about my own needs for a little support, i came across as really troubled myself. which i am, but not so much that anyone has cause to worry about me.

lunch: the mess didn't look so good, so a few of us went to the base's centre. i walked in to the place that sells the closest thing to food, and stood in line. just before he noticed me, the large, middle-aged man in front of me stuck his thick fingers into the fries' warmer. i was disgusted, but then he saw me as he stuffed the chips into his mouth and i assumed it wouldn't happen again.

of course i was wrong, and i was shocked to find myself having to explain to him that what he was doing was bothering me.

when i rejoined the group, i brought up the experience and induced a debate about barbarism, values and israeli culture. this turned into a major (loud and long) argument with the village idiot, who has proved through it to be one of the most intelligent and enlightened of our section. the critical turning point of the argument was when the issue of my attitude towards urban culture turned to the difficulties that nystire and i have in communicating with others in our unit. it's all a logical extension of the last week's irritation with my ride, but yesterday it came to something useful.

the kinder and i are still childishly locking each other out of the office at every opportunity. on the way back from lunch, we both rushed the door's keypad, only to discover that it was already open - because i was trailing, i had the good fortune to be closer to the entrance :)

on sunday evening i purchased a box of eclairs for the karting. the birthday boy (okay, so he was celebrating 10,000 days and not a birthday as such) brought the leftovers to my desk in the morning, but i wasn't at my desk and my TL didn't have the presence of mind to put them in the fridge or let me know that they were there... all's well that ends well, i guess - due to it being winter they were still delicious ^_^

ah, i forgot to mention the incident from sunday. before getting into the go-kart, i asked nyah-nyah to look after my things. i noticed that she'd put my ipod on her lap, and when i told her that it holds the most value to me she asked why i called him ukko. when i explained that it's my green, ugly and disgustingly horny dwarf she couldn't get it away from her fast enough, actually jumping out of her seat }:)

the bus home was a rough ride, and i still wasn't feeling good. i ran into a neighbour i used to serve with, and we stood chatting for a while about the unfortunately warped attitude most people have towards academic studies - he was surprised to find that he's not the only one that understands that you don't need a degree to enter a profession; a university is a place to receive an *education*, and you shouldn't waste your time studying something you're not actually interested in.

i put on human clothes, then walked to the hardware depot. something unusual in my manner - i can't quite figure out what - caused women to eyeball me the entire way there and back. odd, and satisfying.

i photographed the installation i want, and discovered a contingency model too. then i hunted down door handles, finding decent-looking cheap ones.

on the way back, i stopped in at two galleries. the first one had some nice stuff, but the second had absolutely breathtaking pieces. it's good i'm not looking to invest, according to the price list i have *very* expensive taste :)

once home, i ate quickly and then took my frisbee to rabin square for a solid session with scrapper. when i say solid, i mean the frisbee was actually bloodied by the time we were done :P

[post interrupted by ride,train, bus, a door handle that requires a related technical degree, a shower, and laundry that contained an irritatingly overlooked tissue]

after the session, we walked to my place for freshly squeezed orange juice and for me, a pirate bath before my old neighbour's performance. all the people i invited bailed at the last minute, but scrapper walked with me to the bar with an interesting accompanying argument.

the show was great, although i think he was a little too controlled. i enjoyed myself, and was pleased to see more people paying attention - but i was also very tired. perhaps i shouldn't have had a beer AND rum. regardless, it was an excellent end to an interesting evening and i even enjoyed the walk home.

the early wake-up this morning was alright, although i could have done a better job of rehydrating myself during the night. i was a bit careless, and almost missed the train - one of the reasons was that the sunrise was absolutely phenomenal and i had to take pictures.

[why am i still posting from my phone?! i'm not sure if posting from my bed is justified]

i felt lousy the entire day, which was divided between sleeping on the bus and lurching behind other members of my unit as we learned about the maccabees. the food wasn't too bad, and a fair amount of the experience was quite enjoyable.

but i'm now exhausted. an early night it is.

Monday, December 14, 2009

vrooming

i now know that aquarius was performed by 5th dimension.

i stopped for an aroma coffee on the way out. either i won't do that again, or i'll make more of an effort to find a plastic spoon - the half-melted chocolate at the bottom drove me crazy until i got into my office!

i moved computers this morning, which meant i could actually work. it was far more pleasant working out of sight of my TL.

food report: the main meal was dodgy, so it was okay that the portions were reduced to make place for the doughnut... even though the doughnut was inedible.

one again i've become concerned about hearing loss... and problems with my vision. i hope it's all just perceived or stress-related :(

i discovered this evening that i thoroughly enjoy karting, even though the last time i did it i sucked. i had a pretty decent run, with a couple of hairy overtakes once my confidence kicked in ^_^

dinner / dessert* afterwards was entertaining, with a lot of inappropriate discussions and some highly amusing dissecting of our similar experiences with and opinions of the polygraph procedure. it feels good to talk about it with people who've been through the same stupidity!

* i suffered a bit of a lactose overload today; people just don't get that some of us can't tolerate an indefinite amount.

on the way back, we passed an area called nes tziona (zion miracle). a major point of contention between myself and mpe was that i wasn't prepared to leave tel aviv to visit her there... ignoring the fact that i was working fifteen hours a day, i wasn't prepared to go there because anywhere not tel aviv holds no interest.

i asked the guys if they also thought i was mad (like my section, for instance), and they all laughed knowingly. they even shared the algorithm for the maximum distance from tel aviv that one may travel for the purposes of sex:
15km * n weeks
where n is the number of weeks one has gone without. that makes perfect sense! although with my history, that means that i should be willing to travel to norway by now :/

yay! another late wake-up tomorrow :P

Sunday, December 13, 2009

the dawn zone

[as opposed to the twilight zone]

is this what sleeping "normal people" hours is like? it feels a bit strange, waking up at 6.30 after a good night's sleep with good night's dreams and feeling... okay.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

weekend wisdom

the rest of the day was mostly as described earlier, except for the bit where i cleaned my apartment and had urchin come over to watch bad boys. i can't believe how much of that movie i quote on a regular basis :D

i lit candles for hannuka, and am very proud of myself for having done so. my house, my style and the candles were even kind enough to not make any mess at all ^_^

i do have a headache now, though, but i think that's easily attributed to too much screen time. so i'm going to go to bed early with a book instead of making it worse :)

the social-ist

i slept beautifully! right through until the morning, for the second day in a row!
nothing like rain to keep me comfortable :)

sleep brings me more joy than should be appropriate... but even if the next week is business as usual, at least i've gotten caught up.

i have spent the entire day so far loading my ipod, sorting out my new cupboard shelf, fixing my hardware drawer (i overloaded it a little), and watching a lot of full metal alchemist. i've just opened a guinness in honour of another one :)

thought for the day - our SC wears his bluetooth a lot, it might be fun to inject "voices" into his head ;)

Friday, December 11, 2009

stretched out and in time for bed again

hmmm - i'm sitting on the beanbag next to my desk, watching the screen intermittently at an awkward angle because while everything else is connected connected to the laptop, i don't own a usb keyboard :/

i cannot express my gratitude for this laptop enough. not only have i been unable to leave my desk for the last hour, but i've been loading ukko with a very respectable selection of goa trance :)

---

yesterday:
i was dead tired. the super-unhealthy breakfast from our base kiosk was alright, but the morning soon went sour - my previous post explains that. i spent most of the day under attack by the goblins in my pc... i didn't get much work done, and occasionally had to release a scream or an expletive...

to celebrate hanukka, which began tonight, we had a quick unit gathering with doughnuts. exceptionally doughy doughnuts - while some complained about them not being baked enough, i had to help myself to another one :P

the end of the day was consumed by helping one of the new kids write up a full report on a mistake he made... and this was two days after we'd all received an almost identical report from another section. it's not clear how much shit he's in, but i showed him how to use the report as a tool for preparing for the impending court-martial.

my eye aches were quite severe, i spent the day in search of a massage:
a) temples. it's incredible how sensitive and tense those muscles get when exhaustion reaches a certain point.
b) feet. for some reason my feet have been aching the last couple of days. massaging them on computer corners and chair legs isn't very helpful - but i found the solution at training. the bars we use for pull-ups, climbing and stretching? PERFECT for putting all of one's weight on exactly the right spots. it was struggle to pull myself off.

training last night was great, physically i was sore but a couple of guys from the old group were around and we were all alone for over an hour, so our instructor went old-school on us. this was exactly the right atmosphere in which to bring up all of our complaints, and we really got everything off our chests. here's hoping it'll make the difference we want to see, ie. bringing things closer to how they used to be in the good old days.

we're such fuddy-duddies - i mean we expect our instructor to be tough on us, we expect to fight and to fight hard, and we expect that people will be there with the aim of improving their skills.

ridiculous.

in other news: for being crap with my throwing arm and for demonstrating bad timing on a number of occasions, i ended up doing over 500 push-ups last night. my arms were a little tender by the time we walked out.

---

i almost went straight to bed when i arrived home, and woke up at 9am with my alarm buzzing... fifteen minutes to electrician.

we're almost finished the first round of the work that needs to be done, and i'm a little irritated that we only now discovered something that would've made me plan the computer area differently. it's not a big deal, but it could've been handled better.

i took my pc in for repair, and am waiting for the news. i really, really hope my drive's rescuable [really?], because i discovered this morning that my backups were confused between two locations, and i'd been making them on the drive that's invisible :'(

[hmm - i seem to be getting used to this keyboard...]

after the electrician left i headed off to coffeeholic for breakfast with the iliad. i'm convinced the difference is in the translator; robert fitzgerald is not only exceptionally faithful [i've heard from a number of sources], but readable too :)

i sat with the hardware dude for a bit when i picked up mini-brackets for the shelf i found on my way home (just a centimetre short of fitting snugly, what a bummer!), and now he wants to come to south africa too :P

i bought myself a candelabrum for hanukka, which begins tonight. i came home, had a snack, then headed out on my blades to join the sunset rollers. the group began a half an hour later than i'd expected, so i had time for a beer and some jumping practice before we left.

there was a cute girl there looking for rollerblades to help out with a video... she asked if i was available to help out on sunday. i smiled, and asked what time - twelve o' clock noon. i couldn't help giggling, for me it's either around midnight or not on a workday. pity.

the group was good, and we had a very chilled roll through the park. we stopped to light the first candle and have doughnuts - very cool - and were treated to thunder and lighting... it was decided to begin heading home, which turned out to be a fantastically wise move as it began to rain about halfway back!

after a steaming hot shower, soup and a mug of marshmallow hot-chocolate; after catching up on comics... it's now time for bed. maybe i'll go out if i wake up early :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

anger in the morning

my morning ride is a complete and utter douche. i witnessed him washing dishes this morning, leaving the water running full blast while soaping up each item.

of COURSE i said something.

he started explaining why it's okay, and that set me on edge. i told him he could simply turn the tap on and off between items, that it didn't matter if the tap got suds on it... at which point he became a righteous prick, because he'd misunderstood and thought i meant that it was okay if his *cup* had suds in.

i really can't stand him. once he understood what i'd tried to say, he began lecturing me about being a grown-up, and about speaking calmly (as opposed to him, speaking softly yet maliciously), and about how he's come to terms with the fact that he's not perfect.

yeah, i'd kinda noticed that. what i tried to explain to him - that explanation falling on stupid ears (i'd say deaf, but that wouldn't be as accurate) - is that he doesn't need to be perfect, he just needs to minimize the amount of damage he causes while enjoying the same quality of life.

what i really wanted to do was hit him. hell, i can't even say all this to him because he's a higher rank and enough of an asshole to defend himself with it.

what a crap start to the day.

no compromise!

this post brought to you by delayed sleep phase syndrome. [thanks, shadowslight]

the performance last night was both excellent and upsetting. the music was great, but my interpretation of it was as an extremely leftist political statement - especially the last sentence, which is what convinced the others that it was exactly the opposite. we argued a bit, and that carried over into first coffee this morning. that discussion ended with an agreement that what israelis (on an individual level) need to do in order to begin solving their problems (on a national level) is to begin to operate on the basis that "a man's word is his bond".

the general attitude of allowing things to slide is a big, fat root of most of our issues.

---

the day began with hillman on the shuttle, then me passing out completely until we arrived. it took me a while at the end of the day to contemplate what work i'd done during it, and i was stumped. i'm sure i worked the entirety - more or less - i just haven't a clue on what :/

my feet and legs hurt sporadically today, and my temples have been aching. i need a massage (head and feet), and i need a holiday. come on! only three weeks to go :) [and my mum called me up for a quick chat, and plans are moving forward]

a girl in our section got promoted today, and we convinced her to step outside so that we could drench her with water. that was fun, even with her consent :)
the food in the mess was surprisingly good today!

i was kidding around with the guys about my attitude towards tel aviv - i love the city, and i don't see the point of leaving it. not ever, just in general. it's not like i'm not familiar with the rest of the country... anyway, my morning ride - who has no apparent sense of humour - got pissed off with me and began shouting at me for "marketing" the city so aggressively and for living in a bubble.

i explained to him that we're all living in our own private fantasy worlds, and the difference between us is that i'm aware of it.

i got my passport back today - registered mail is a far smoother experience if you go to the local branch and pick it up yourself. i can now visit the states, so i might hop over for a few days next year :)

the horror! my primary hard drive has disappeared. it looks like a hardware problem. i'm not happy. having internet without a hard disk is weird.

just before leaving, urchin arrived and we had The Chat, which was alright and somewhat amusing. if things aren't alright, we've agreed that it's nothing *i* need to worry about. i can handle that :P

i missed the bus. waiting for the next one sucked.

---

i just got back from tamar eisenman and asaf avidan - her performance was fantastic, but their duets were absolutely unbelievable! mindblowing ^_^

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

bouncy!

wow! my sister called me this afternoon, and it's been coloured shiny since ^_^

my desk is stationed 2m forward right now, while the electrician puts in a power panel for it. in the meanwhile, i thought i'd get the day down before attacking hillman for the first time in weeks.

i think the breaks in between are good processing time, actually.

i awoke from a long, complex dream this morning, and all i remember from it is traversing rapids over a waterfall directly into the ocean, with dirk diggler and myself on boards or in a canoe or something. no stress, just the knowledge that we had no choice but to keep on moving.

i had trouble closing the shuttle door today. new vehicle, and i simply can't understand why anybody would place the handle in a not-immediately-apparent place when opening a door is a function that has a pretty well-established interface.
assholes.

the first thing waiting for me in my inbox this morning was a presentation from the base's education office. it was all well and good, until i found myself staring at this month's astrological column - let's just say that i didn't really expect to see that sort of thing in a military communication, albeit an informal one. let's just say that my response was short, but to the point. just to make things "balanced", i even pointed out that fortune-telling is banned by both the written and the oral jewish traditions :p

i was blown away today by the work. it wasn't particularly challenging, but the fact that i was doing some real coding was in and of itself so engaging that i had no difficulty concentrating, and powered through almost everything in one sitting.
in other words, i can squarely lay the majority of my difficulties at work at the feet of my inability to find proper motivation.

*ahem*
and we all know where *that's* supposed to come from...

i paid the doctor a visit (i saw the reminder late, and had to abandon a freshly made cup of chai). in addition to authorizing the bloodwork i requested, he checked out my eyes and agreed that it's probably just exhaustion.

i'm sure i could do something about that, but then i'd have to skip things like the rock concert tonight and tamar eisenman and asaf avidan tomorrow. no way!

i changed the way i did sit-ups today, and felt them more. that reminds me, we have a number of new kids now and the atmosphere has become one of change - i can almost feel the clock winding down on my service, even if i do still have a ways to go...

"bt - flaming june" has provided an intensely pleasurable background for this post - i'm happy and excited about the up-and-coming holiday ^_^

zombie mode on

okay, here's a quick pre-shave post to summarize yesterday into as few words as possible:

tired enough for four alarms and still almost overslept, becoming completely enamoured with ukko (my ipod), dry hands and wet skies, a day of zombie, in the meeting viciously massaging temples to keep eyes open (kind of like a drawbridge mechanism), riding home early (absolutely insane traffic for the entire afternoon?! israelis behaving well in the rain?!), the cosy shuttle to wait singing for a ride to the pub - a nice pub.

the munchkin disappointed me - the point is to win, but also to play, and nystire and his wife were playing as a team and that changes the dynamic completely. to make matters worse, everyone was playing off the values and effects of the cards and completely disregarding what makes the game awesome - the hilarity of the combinations. the winner made a last minute attempt to piece together her character, but that was definitely too little too late.

plus, the game was so long that it was totally antisocial as far as the rest of the section was concerned, and it looked like they were having fun :(

i went straight to bed when i got home, and now i'm back into "hurry mode".

Monday, December 07, 2009

plans moving ahead

i'm tired, waiting for the laundry to complete before i turn in. the day wasn't too interesting, but the training put me in the mood for a fight.

the day began with the shuttle being cancelled. i made a better choice in where i alighted and got to the office without the headache from last time, at least. on the way, i began discovering just how awesome the fifth generation nano is. it's really great :)

having gotten off at the second stop, i thought i'd stop for salt 'n vinegar chips, but the stand was empty. next time...

  • first argument: the new kid claiming that there aren't any sci-fi movies without aliens. i showed him my list of about 200 must-see movies, and the vast majority of sci-fi on it was extra-terrestrial free. he began making wild claims about statistics. i hate statistics, they're a load of bull 99.9% of the time.

  • i am the master of the giant stapler. in our office it's apparently a measure of self worth, because we have at least one engineer who couldn't figure it out.
    *shakes head*

  • nystire's quote for the day (out of many):
    "... knives and handgums"
    "did you say handgums?"
    "i have a sore on my lip, it makes me see things differently"

  • i have a new sign which i hold up when appropriate. in english and hebrew, it says "i'm being cynical / sarcastic". i've already had cause to use it a number of times, and most of those were necessary.

  • a lot of times couples refer to themselves as a unit when they say "we're pregnant". when informed that one of the guys in the section has just become a father, my automatic response was "really? i had no idea he was pregnant!", intending the word to mean him and his wife. loads of giggling ensued.

  • my neck has been sore for a couple of days, i'm thinking of going back to physiotherapy. we'll see how the next couple of days works out.

  • ---

    BEEG news for the day! final round of authorization: acquired. i did a little dance, now to pray that that permission holds at least until the plane takes off :)

    i celebrated that by consuming loads of chocolate and by cranking up the house. it began with brooklyn bounce - progressive attack and the rest of the afternoon flew by fairly productively!

    ---

  • a few days ago i accidentally tipped over one of the pcs. i was embarrassed, nystire was angry... he rocked up at my desk this afternoon laughing so hard he could barely speak - someone was making a point, and tapped the pc with his shoe. the front plate just fell right off! it was obvious that my accident with it had prepared it, but the effect was apparently perfect :)

  • i forgot to take my books to training, so i had plenty of time to play games with my ipod. trying to control the ball in the maze with the bus shaking me all around was a great challenge :P

    ---

    taekwondo: we haven't actually fought in over two months, and every week there's something new and inexplicable that we have to incorporate. it was never like this before, because we simply never cared about what everyone else was doing and how it would affect our competitions.

    there are two of us who want things to change, the rest simply don't know any better. what we need is the other "old schoolers" (those of us who trained before the army took us all in and separated us) to come back and get things back on track... or, we need to find a willing and certified trainer and form our own group.

    this sucks.

    Sunday, December 06, 2009

    unforgotten realms

    today i celebrate exactly ten years since my world got turned upside down and inside out - when my eyes were opened not only inwards, but outwards as i saw the essential beauty of humanity freed from the burdens of societal misery.

    ten years ago today, i started down the fantastic path that has led me to realize possibilities that would otherwise have been totally inaccessible. i have worked hard and sacrificed both sanity and most of the things that most normal people enjoy - some of which i *really* enjoy, and have brought myself to a place where i am proud even of the failings that have been along the way.

    i pray that the next decade will be at least as successful, and will include triumphs based on the products of the last.

    i pray, too, that i will enjoy it more - and i think i'm off to a good start already ^_^

    i *will* buy the hat!

    in an interesting turn of events, a couple of friends of mine are interested in house-sitting for me while i'm gone, so i'll be able to buy it without fear of it being abandoned ^_^

    i napped for a bit, then took a bus to rothschild 12. i've never been there before - it's a fantastic abandoned house that's accessible only from the back and has the most excellent atmosphere and music. it was packed, so there wasn't anywhere to stand without being in anyone's way, but even that was alright and fairly soon afterwards urchin and a few of her friends showed up.

    things with her were friendly, but not at all intimate - this lends me to believe that the conversation i was planning on having with her isn't entirely necessary, so i skipped it.

    interestingly enough, i was surprised to discover that bt works there - it was actually pleasant to see her, we chatted (as much as could be considered a chat in a crowded, noisy bar) and i even gave her my number when we left... i don't really think she'll be in touch though.

    one of my old team-mates (one of the friends i mentioned earlier) arrived while urchin and i were at the espresso bar (i needed to prep for the next round of drinks :P), and soon afterwards einav jackson cohen began to play (the reason we were there). we made a lot of noise and had an enjoyable evening, and the walk back to ibn gvirol was extremely talkative and fun.

    i've had a good night, and am ready to get my slightly-more-than-three hours before the new week begins :)

    Saturday, December 05, 2009

    sunshine, ducks and pathfinding

    of COURSE i was irritated. you would be too if some guy had come running straight at you full-tilt with a child in his arms and a look of terror on his face, only to discover that he was just playing with his kid. and it's not like there wasn't plenty of unoccupied space to either side of me. i wasn't sure if she required emergency medical attention, or if i was about to be attacked with a young girl. neither of those possibilities made me feel entirely comfortable.

    israelis fascinate me on this point, and my travelling there and back really brought it home. it might possibly be related to the middle eastern lack of respect for personal space, it might just be a general lack of concern for other people. i don't know how it works in the rest of the desert countries, but here the phenomenon is quite pronounced: if you have a choice of where to stand, you'll choose to be in the place that causes the most difficulty for anyone who wants to pass by.

    ...

    so next time won't have such a crowded destination. it took me a lot of chocolate and about a quarter-kilo of ice-cream (all that was left) to begin chilling out, the remainder of the workload taken over by how i met your mother and the big bang theory. maybe cable is a good idea - it's certainly one method of meditation :P

    i would've ordered the coolest hat ever if i could be sure it wouldn't arrive between when i leave and get back from south africa...

    i am a fan of nicholas cage, and i think these ads are awesome too :)

    [didn't i post this already? now i have to add an episode of battlestar galactica, and an sms conversation with urchin that has pointed out the meeting time and place for us to talk about our lack of any possible future.]

    no show

    hmmm - learning about feet. i was asked why i was looking "intellectual" when i sat down at coffeeholic with the iliad - me in my bright green sunglasses and baggies. i responded simply: "sometimes, one just needs to pretend".

    last night's nap, predictably, turned to a good night's sleep. i spent the morning sorted out my ipod (i've got a way to go, but the important stuff has moved), playing tekken shifting papers. breakfast was great, and i'm thinking of dragging a beer to the park on my blades to get a little sunshine :)

    Friday, December 04, 2009

    all show

    the performance ended too late for me to join the rollerbladers... but damn, it was good ^_^

    the rum before + the pint of murphy's + the rum after had me walking at an angle the whole way home. while making myself dinner, i got nystire's laptop hooked up and began fiddling. without too much difficulty, i found myself using remote desktop and samba to transfer and manage, and now that itunes has been set up and my ipod software upgraded, the songs are finally on their way :D
    [only one and a half months later...]

    it seems like an over-powered fix, but it works and that's what matters. maybe some day there'll be ubuntu support for the 5th generation nanos too...

    i've now watched the entirety of law abiding citizen, and it's ingenious. well worth watching! now for a nap before going out to the tool and nine inch nails party. am i going alone? crap. although i'm not too social when i'm wigging out on the dancefloor, and maybe i'll meet strangers.

    thanks to shadowslight, i've seen the light on a new series that looks brilliant.

    show or roll?

    i've just completed the experiment, and now all that's left is to see how it washes... spraypaint on overalls? it makes sense, right?

    [here i lose over an hour writing this post...]

    i'm planning on going to see danny gilboa perform in an hour or so... but that's costing me joining the sunset rollers. i wouldn't be doing either if i'd gone to training - why does everything have to be a choice?!

    today:

    my alarm was set to wake me up at 12.50am, so that could make it to hear boris brejcha play the comfort... it almost did a good job, only i was so broken and exhausted that it took all of my strength just to send an sms to the organizer to explain the no-go before turning over again. waking up before 7am was still difficult... so it was probably the best decision i could've made.

    i got all my gear together and meandered down to the american embassy, getting there a little early. i wasn't happy with having to deposit my phone and my keys - that made me feel rather naked - but the entire procedure was a lot less complicated than i'd anticipated (i'm used to army-style interrogation already, so answering a couple of simple questions wasn't a problem :P) and the most difficulty i experienced was standing in line when my legs were still sore from last night.

    after i received approval, i walked up dizengoff (frau blau has a store, i *had* to take a photo - she's a crazy girl who appeared at a russian "japanese pop" party at the lizard once) to meet with karnaf, who's on his way to a snowboarding trip. i be MIGHTY jealous.

    i went past ace to check out spotlights, then came home and finished spraying my overalls. i tried to verify something with my credit card online, but the site gave me shit about my password. it was only once i'd gone through the whole "i've lost my password" process that i realized that i'd been typing in the wrong bloody language... once i sorted that out, the site reported itself as being down and told me to come back later - not cool :/ [i did have to scream a little]

    yesterday:

    i tried to post on my way home last night - i got distracted...
    i'm on the bus and unable to nap, so instead i'm going to mention a couple of points about my day and then fill in the blanks later. i'm quite surprised to be feeling this okay, considering that a short while ago i was pre-faint dizzy from an exceptionally painful stretch.

    i actually did sleep well after i got home last night, it appears that good food, wine and company have a profound effect. waking up was rough as usual, which means far less difficult than the insanity of the past few days :p

    the day began with an argument over how to be social. my TL is (as i'm sure i've mentioned before) a bit of a dick. as it's been the entire week - i found it mighty hard to concentrate on work. at least i seem to be doing alright anyway.

    i was pleased to receive a personal telephone call inviting me to a party tonight - i'm going to go just to hear one specific set, otherwise there's no way i'll be capable of handling the visa application interview in the morning :p

    the lunch effect was just as bad - if not worse - than usual. it happened later than it ordinarily does, however, which leads me to admit the possibility that it's not the lunch so much as a deep-seated desire for siesta.

    a music video that i saw recently and was blown away by (it's sheer artistic genius, called trucker's delight) is also highly offensive in its content... otherwise i'd post the link here. nystire helped me acquire it to show a couple of people that i thought would appreciate it, and i was right - only there was no way to prevent unwanted eyes from peeking, so i hope nobody's upset too much by it.

    that reminds me, the new kid's making a valiant attempt to teach me music theory :)

    my right eye's been giving me trouble - hurting at random. nystire suggested that it may be a stye forming, which led me to wonder out loud what the army dress code has to say about wearing a stye-patch.

    the shuttle home was chatty - the village idiot and i had a good laugh about our shared experiences with our SC and discussed the lessons we've learned from them.


    training last night was difficult: although it wouldn't have been particularly challenging for any regular day, i was physically exhausted and everything hurt. while stretching (45 minutes, according to nystire) we discussed the old days and what it was we enjoyed so much about taekwondo. there're a lot of things we need to bring back, but the primary difference we identified was that in the days before most of us went into the army we didn't give a damn what the rest of the country was doing - we just focused on doing things the way we knew best. being concerned with everyone else is essentially took us down from a position of leadership to one of moderation :(

    i'm shocked that according to my blog, i missed a day (wednesday) completely:

    it was a cold morning, and unfortunate that i left too late to be able to go back for my jacket.

    i had a spark of inspiration concerning a fix that someone else in our section needs for something, so i played around for a couple of minutes to see if i could get it to work. my TL suddenly appeared next to me, staring at my screen and not saying a word...
    "this is related to your work, right?" he eventually asked. my temperature rose by about 3 degrees.
    "no, and it was obvious to you that it isn't. why don't you just say what you have to say, instead of being sarcastic?"
    "no, no! i wasn't being sarcastic at all! i thought it might be related to your work!"
    "yeah, right. well, it isn't."
    "you know that your current project is really high priority, right? that we're..."
    "look, i've been working on this for a couple of minutes, and in less than one more i was planning on letting it go. this conversation has wasted more of the project's time than is entirely necessary."
    "ah, only a couple of minutes. okay, carry on."

    i finally put batteries into the witch i got on my birthday, filled her cauldron with candy and invited everyone to dig in. the response is entirely random, which was kinda disappointing. i think it's only effective if you hesitate, and the more times you get caught the more you do. now she mainly waves her broom and cackles when i want candy :/

    i was highly amused to discover that she cackles when the lights go out. a girl in my team was completely terrified when she slept in the office on wednesday night }:D

    this siesta thing is crazy. let's assume that it's my digestive system kicking in on disagreeable army food, because that's still the explanation that makes the most sense. it feels like it's sucking all the energy out of the rest of my body, i become really tired and my eyes strain just to identify light from dark. usually a five or ten minute nap does it, this week i've needed no less than half an hour each time - a bit tricky when your TL has a tendency to peak over his shoulder constantly.

    ...

    at last! something positive to say about my lord and master: i called him over to give me feedback on what i've been doing this past week, a mammoth task that taxes me on a number of levels, not least of which being my comprehension of loads of technical hebrew. he was happy with my progress, which pleases me.

    we began exercising, but were interrupted by a number of urgent items... i slept well on the shuttle home anyway.

    in the evening, the electrician came by and tidied up a few points. i now have good lighting in my bedroom and the entrance hall is neater.

    the mongoose picked me up, and we went to a place in jaffa called "just meat" (רק בשר), which is essentially a butchery with a great atmosphere and place to sit. the meat is excellent - you pick out your cuts, they prep it and bring it on a grill to your table. the prices are very reasonable and the wine is pretty much bottomless.

    we ate too much.

    it was great seeing the mongoose for more than five minutes - we had plenty to catch up on. i keep forgetting that i do have close friends in israel, i just barely get to see them :/

    Wednesday, December 02, 2009

    improvement

    that was really nice - a bit chilly, so i'm glad for my mask as usual. i had a rocking good idea on the way back: in addition to a can of beer, i stopped for a half-pita with shuwarma, the combination of the two was perfect.

    my experiment didn't go so well because i did it in the wrong place, so i'll have to try again :/

    going to bed now, feeling much better than i was earlier :)