Wednesday, December 29, 2010

it didn't end there

tacked on to the end of this post is the continuation of this morning's debate... just in case you were interested.

i hopped off to campus after posting, reading johnny mnemonic on the way. boy, am i pissed - i'm reading about molly and seeing jane. that's what watching the movie will do to you :/

today we were to vote for student union representatives, but i'm registered as a master's student so we had a choice of... one rep. oh, well.

the continuation of the debate (below) kept me occupied during what would otherwise have been a fantastically boring first class. i sat next to a really cute girl, and the thought arose that i can believe that being polyamorous is right while choosing to respect a partner who doesn't.

on the way to second, we heard amazing psychedelic progressive rock coming from the main square... it was tree, and they are legendary! i will be making a point of seeing them live again, they're absolutely brilliant ^_^

second class: i think the smell was coming from the guy sitting next to me. over a metre away. the class was alright, but the topic isn't very interesting and the paper downright unreadable. or maybe it's me... it suddenly occurred to me that i haven't been feeling well the past couple of days and i might simply be a bit sick. it was tough for me to keep focus.

i ran into pg on the way out, and she accompanied me to the language building so i could (try to) help her with her homework and get my results for a pop-quiz we had on sunday. she didn't understand and got tearfully frustrated, and i felt like an agitated idiot. apparently, she's upset about the studies interfering with our plans for new year's, and i'm personally irritated with my plans for the next half a year... or i could just have been pushing buttons today. my results were abysmal, too.

i had lunch with eidetic, then a debate on free will with a history student, then called my kibbutz cousin on the way to work. work was SVN trouble and java rewriting. i left early, began reading oscar wilde, and am about to get some other readings done:
i've heard complaints about keats from my classmonkeys, and am not thrilled :S

---

the debate:

"I agree that our current system is anti democratic.
Thats why I want to change it.

The reason parties buy votes of other parties is that they are held hostage by the fact that a coalition party can leave at any given moment.
If you have less parties - this can't happen.
Two or three parties is not totalitarian... its still elected parties and elected representatives...

As for your last sentance: if it has to be screwed up, let it be because i chose badly, and not because someone else chose for me.

Well, thats the nature of democracy isn't it?
I voted for a leftwing party and got an extreme right wing racist government instead.
Why? Because more people in Israel believe in the right wind racist way than the leftwing peaceful way.
Thats democracy..."

"you're still missing the point. the problem is that there's a coalition, and THAT's anti-democratic. your base assumption is that the coalition is necessary for X to happen, and what's wrong democratically is that X isn't supposed to happen. if there was no coalition the right wouldn't have enough power to resist opposition by the left.

"held hostage"? what's their purpose, that's being held hostage? if they can't get things to pass (i feel like i'm repeating myself) without opposition, then they're trying to do something that's not democratic."


"Why do you think the right wouldn't have power to resist the left?
Or vise versus?
Sounds to me like nothing could ever get done...

No, they are held hostage because members of their coalition don't give a shit about anything which they weren't elected for.
For example, Shas couldn't give a shit about the cost of School books in elementary school - as their constituency doesn't go to elementry school.
So instead they say - we'll cote for lowering text book prices - if the Haredim get another 50 million shekels. If we don't get the money - we'll vote against the text book prives being lowered.

Get it?
And this repeats itself for political things too... anything between Israeli-Palestinian relations, to social justice to law enforcement - all are affected by the fact that small parties care only about their small issues, and are willing to vote either way on other issues, as long as they get their demands."

" i get it, dude; you think that "getting things done" is more important than getting the right things done. happy totalitarianism.

i suddenly remembered an interesting parallel: nobody wastes time taking japanese hostages, because they won't get anything in return. we negotiate with terrorists, so the terrorists have incentive to kidnap us. when you give shas the sense that they can control everything with bribes, you give them incentive to do so."


"Err... as for your first point - wrong, I don't think that, nor do I understand where you got the impression from.
Don't put words in my mouth, it makes you sound dumb and childish.
Having a debate is one thing, demonizing people who don't agree with you is another.
Have fun debating with other people, I don't take kindly to childish behavior.

As for your second point - I agree, but other than changing the electoral system I have no idea how to change that..."

" i don't see where i put words in your mouth. sorry. and i'm not trying to demonize, i'm trying to say that the very idea of coalition or the need to "play" with our politics is a symptom of its totalitarian nature. i apologize if you found that statement personal in nature; it's a comment on a general outlook that our society takes and i think it's dangerously wrong. i really think you've been missing what i'm trying to say because you're defending something that i'm not arguing about.

having said that - the electoral system, in my opinion, is not at fault. the fact that everybody's playing a game instead of being able to vote for someone who claims to represent them is. again, i'm not saying everything would be utopian, i'm saying that it would be representative. in some respects, a totalitarian system isn't a bad way to go - but there are no controls to ensure that not everybody gets screwed.

what a bummer that nobody's discovered a good way to govern *humans*.

you know what? i'm irritated now. i'm talking about the fact that democratic politics shouldn't be manipulated, and you're arguing that i don't understand the maneuvering. i *get* it, bro. and i'm saying that it's *wrong*."


"No, I'm not saying that you don't understand the maneuvering...
You're under the impression that a single large part can't be representative.
I'm saying that there is no reason why there should be an Arab party, A Heredi party, and 3 different left wing parties.
There is no reason that there won't be one single leftwing party that its member's represent all different groups who have some tendancy to the left - such as the Arabs, the Labour members, the Merez members etc.

Three large parties, doesn't mean three specific notions towards a way of life.
It means three parties with general directions... just as the Democrats in the States don't always agree, no one says that a specific idea, such as providing for the elederly (hagimlaim), should constitute forming a new party..."

"have you ever thought about voting for a party interested in education and the environment? i've been voting either aleh yarok / hayerukim, to no effect. the reason it's "to no effect" is because they're representative of a lot more of us than are voting for them, but everyone's so fixated on the Big Parties and Left vs Right that they think that it makes a difference which one of those big ones get the majority of the votes.

it's all the same. our foreign policy is dependent on external forces more than our desires as a nation, and the country is going to shit because nobody's looking inwards and saying "hey! this needs to stop!"

i'm not saying that it *can't* be representative, i'm saying that it isn't. that fact is demonstrable in our "need" for a coalition in order to pass laws against the will of the majority. here, we see shas taking control OF ALL OF US to further causes which do not have a majority vote.

i, personally, don't want things to be "left" or "right". i believe in democracy as a platform on which these struggles and "crises of conscience" play out. each decision should be arrived at in a way that ensures that the majority of people who are voting are spoken for.

have you heard of שמאל הלאומי (national left)? i don't like half of what they say, but as far as political direction is concerned i think it's the only realistic / feasible way to go. that's my opinion, and if we didn't have all these fragments i'd be forced to vote for people i totally disagree with. because i'm neither left, nor right.

i'm an israeli who cares about israel and her internal policies. i'm not suggesting that you, nor anyone else, doesn't. what i'm saying is that it's at the top of my agenda. am i alone? if we had a functioning democracy we could find out. i don't *think* i'm alone."


"I know the Smol Leumi personally and tend to agree with 80% of what they say, but thats besides the point.

I agree that we need to care more about our social problems, but to be frank, I think many of our social problems could be solved or reduced if we solved our conflict with the Palestinians, and so I place that at a higher issue at the moment.
You can disagree with that point of view, but that doesn't invalidate it.

BTW, the things you said, which are true, are the reason I support Shelly Yechimovitch so strongly - she is the only person up there who cares about social justice anymore...

I think I've lost the point of our debate..."

"not at all - we have different priorities, we agree on general direction, we disagree on basic principles in spite of that. nothing was invalidated, all's good :)"

...

what a weak way to finish an argument :P

the driver

it's been many years - no, it's been never. last night *i* drove to the wedding (albeit with pg's car), and gave a ride to grootbek and yogi. what a pleasure to reciprocate!

the wedding was wonderful, although we may have consumed too much. the food was excellent. the music was great (mostly), and everything was as it should be.

i was pleased when SxS's cousin's wife took me aside to tell me that she's never seen me looking happier: everyone i've met within the last few years has met me in super-awkward mode and usually possessed of a rather glum disposition... i'm free!

---

the mundane:

work was unexciting, i got a callback for a job interview that annoyed me (they want me to come in for a day's testing next week), and i got frustrated on the way to the wedding because the honda's locking button doesn't unlock and it's not easy to differentiate between it and the window button. i hate bad interfaces.

---

the political:

remember, it's always a choice! in this case everyone who doesn't participate is choosing for a bunch of lazy anti-zionists to take our money."

"What makes you think a protest will help anything?"

"what makes you think that sitting at home will help? have you really given up? do you waste time voting? is the fact that you're not willing to try because you don't believe it'll work, or because you're using that as an excuse not to participate? are you okay with the fact that you, along with the majority of this country, have no representation?

what will it take for you to get and say something?
are you waiting for the real tragedy?"



"oh, I get up and say alot...
I just dont bother with protests anymore, as they don't work.
I'm trying to influence people around me so that next election they vote for big parties rather than small ones... for example."

"see, in my opinion that's NOT the way to do it - we *need* all of those little parties, because they represent whoever votes for them. what we need is for people to *stop* voting for the big ones, and to *ban* coalition governments as anti-democratic.

if you can't pass a law because you have too much opposition, perhaps it shouldn't be passed.

unless you can find a big party with a good plan and real concern for our future as its constituents. they didn't get so powerful because they care."


"I disagree.
The reason why we have so much instability is that there are so many parties with so many agendas whose votes need to be "bought" in order for the coalition to get the support it needs.

For example, the only reason these 100 million NIS are going to pay for Haredi laziness is that Netanyahu needs Shas's support in the coming takziv vote and so he needs to buy those votes.

If Shas members were members of Likud they wouldn't have nearly as much power as they do today.

Te fact that at any given time a party can withdraw from the coalition and break up the government is a joke.
To prevent this we need two parties or thee big parties, at the most."

totalwaste, small parties are always proven as inadequate as the big ones, once they are in office.
The only way to get the government to begin taking accountability for the people's needs is to start forcing them to take it.
In the courts and by forcing the government to change the electoral system.
Protesting won't do it, as they have learnt that if they tell a protester they will do what he wants, and then two days later change their mind - no one will remember."

"you don't realize that you've just proved my point? if a "democratic" government can't reach an agreement on something, then IT'S THE WRONG WAY TO GO. the very idea of "buying votes" is absurdly anti-democratic.

accountability? where? who? what?!

what you're asking for is a totalitarian government. which is pretty much what we have. just say it. pick your poison.

---

i suppose, at the end of the day, what interests me is not whether everything's screwed up or not.

if it has to be screwed up, let it be because i chose badly, and not because someone else chose for me."


[continued]

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

resurrection

wow - i just slept the whole night through. i've even done "not much" this morning, as the guy i was supposed to be meeting with isn't feeling well.

i just resurrected my new year's post from 2006/2007 - i don't know how it turned into a "draft"...

---

first order of business: i noticed that my posters advertising anime nights were covered by telemarketing advertisements, so i covered those in turn with the following announcement:
sell your soul for a handful of dollars per hour?
telemarketers are tools of satan!
i'm contemplating printing that out, possibly adding "and by 'tool', i mean 'penis that satan interrupts our dinners to rape our ears with'. don't be more of a giant penis than you need to be."

two amusing notes on the above:

first, a girl in my third class asking if it was me. when i answered in the affirmative, she was really pleased: "i *KNEW* it was you! it's so your style!"
i think that's the first time we've ever spoken, so i seem to be making a good impression :)

second: the poor woman who called me up later to ask me if i was interested in a new landline from netvision. she didn't see me coming, i guarantee :P

---

i ran into mmf's wife on my way to first class, as she was heading to hers... she's taking a course that i *really* wanted to sign up for: "from grimm to disney", and we discussed that for the few minutes that we had before the day began. children don't need morals in every story, and most certainly not disney's. if you do want to discuss values, then children DO need to learn that stupid choices lead to horrible consequences; there's no woodsman coming to save little red riding hood.

---

we learned about godwin, and i think his ideas were great! especially his concept of "law": our western legal systems are pathetic, and the idea of a judge treating each case on its individual merit is far superior and more naturally ethical than simply going according to precedent.

creating laws to deal with particular cases, laws which affect everyone equally, is dumb.

---

there's nothing like trying to use a urinal when there's a guy in the toilet stall behind you humming loudly to himself.

after class our lecturer (the italian dude is beginning to grate my cheese) informed me that i should be able to do a work for extra credit; i really don't want to have to redo his course. in fact, as much as i appreciate his enthusiasm and attitude i will never sign up for another of his classes again.

one of my fellow classmonkeys caught up with me afterwards and requested context free philosophy: asking someone like me "what's the first thing that pops into your head when i say..." and then throwing out a really complex philosophical paradigm is meaningless. the specific question, regarding man's power relation with nature, is something i hold two or three opposing views about. we discussed it for about fifteen minutes, and didn't get anywhere useful.

lunchtime was movie time, although i had to stop one of the girls from participating because she demonstrated the inability to suspend disbelief. seriously, that's an important and mandatory skill when watching movies!

i was putting up my posters when i bumped into one of the student union heads putting up his - we had a little chat, and he seems to like some of my ideas...

---

the second class: mind rape. not only is our italian giving us his own books to read (not a problem, in my opinion) but he's making us read them in class and discuss points we find interesting. that's pushing it. it's as disconnected from the topic of our seminar as can be...

... our lecturer is really sensitive, and very defensive...

... i wasn't letting him get away with it. and i had a couple of others as support. we ripped into his work and argued the entire second half of the class. that wasn't enough - i even followed him back to his office. i eventually wrangled a slight concession before heading off to the last class of the day.

---

we studied america, and i'm convinced that if i could get hold of a copy of the time magazine dated january 16, 1956, we could trace the poem through its articles...

---

on leaving the class, my union connection and i discussed whores and strippers - i don't want to go to a lecture discussing it, my younger sister's been in the industry, and i find the whole topic distressing. norah vincent says it better than i can.

---

i was caught by one of our managers as i walked into work and dragged along to buy liquor for the floor party - saying goodbye to our previous offices. i made a remark about him catching me with the norton anthology in my bag and it being really heavy...

"it's... like... a giant book... of knowledge. it's not the number of pages, but the wisdom contained within that makes it weigh so much"

from the anthology: ‎"we must continue to hope because, by keeping open the possibility of a better future, hope releases the imaginative and creative powers that are the only means of achieving that end"

---

i spent a couple of frustrated hours trying to figure out ssh through php. i don't like it. around 10pm i went downstairs for the party... and was surprised at how seriously everyone was taking it! the decorations, the outfits, the attitude...

aside from an inspiring moment, a few drinks and jumping into an interesting debate on how we were fitter, stronger and happier prior to inventing "society", it was a chilled and amusing evening. i did have to go home relatively early, though, because i was broken before things got going and i knew i needed to crash.

i slept late, and am now about ready to get out of my pjs and make my way to work.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

not one of those days

i slept really well last night! pg's getting good at using her elbows because she doesn't have the finger strength required to push my back back into shape, and everything's a lot more harmonious now :)

---

i got into the language building's elevator this morning, heading up for coffee with a stranger, and one of the girls in my class slipped in past me. a large american with a big backpack came barging in, and the first girl was pretty much stuffed into the corner by the douche's bag...

"instead of me running after you, why don't you give me your number?" he addressed to my classmate.
"i have a boyfriend"
"oh! how embarrassing."

he walked out the elevator with me, she continued up. a couple of minutes later i walked back into the class, where she was waiting for me.

"totalwaste! why didn't you help me?!"
"excuse me? if you want help, you need to say something along the lines of 'please help me'. it all seemed fairly harmless, actually."

*then* she informs me, along with a number of other girls, that this creep has literally been chasing after every girl he sees and for long enough that they all know his name and phone number. some of the girls are terrified of him, and he apparently jumped out of the bushes one evening at one of the girls who was on her way home in the dark.

...

i don't like our sexual harassment laws. i think they're stupidly strict, unjust, and dangerously easy to abuse. having said that - i'm shocked at how none of the girls felt that the situation demanded that someone goes to the authorities and files a complaint. is he even a student?

Q: does the man make you feel uncomfortable? is he behaving inappropriately?
if the answer is yes, don't let it slide.

as i walked off, i heard one of the girls saying, authoritatively, "he's right!"

---

first class was fun. the professor's been harping on, as is her wont, about anal eroticism as a drive. it wasn't until she used the word "imprint" that i began waving my arms like a madman.
"totalwaste?"
(leaping up) "i can hear angels singing! now i know what's been driving me crazy since you started talking about all of this: you talk about these drives like they're not subjective... they are VERY subjective. not only that, it is entirely possible to re-imprint. i think it's important that everyone here is at least *aware* of these facts!"

"of course it's possible to correct malformed drives - otherwise there'd be no field of psychoanalysis! now i'm assigning you, personally, some extra homework..."

buggrit :(

...

at least i got away with pointing out that orestes is a far more interesting character than hamlet. hamlet's a mental-masturbator who doesn't do what needs to be done, whereas orestes really is screwed whatever he does...

... at the beginning of the class she'd told us she was going to discuss two axes (of what, we're not certain). when there were about five minutes left the guy next to me asked her if she'd discussed the second axis. tarival (in the vain hope that i can compete, i haven't checked yet) had just asked a question, and the professor informed us that if she hadn't wasted time on that question we would've had time to cover it.

damn...

---


i had a couple of strange ideas during the lesson... ghosts i and ii.

all i could think of during the second class was bill hicks: we were learning about the role and responsibilities of the reader in literature, and it was all i could do not to snigger every time the "reader" was mentioned :P

i met SxS at the gate and gave his cousins a quick tour of the center of campus, then played my part as navigator until we met up with mmf and his family for great thai lunch. it's the first time i've seen their daughter awake, and she is cute :)

a south african friend of SxS's sister was with us, and we seemed to get along in spite of my having to explain my anti-racist stance. at least i can articulate my beliefs, even if they are in the face of a johannesburg education. it's my hippie discourse versus the world again :/

the boss was sick today, so i deployed without him. it took a while (i would've made a couple of mistakes, albeit minor ones, if i hadn't been so pedantic about it), and then i spent a couple of frustrating hours getting back into the php problem i'd been working on a month or two back.

i was tired. when one of the managers needed to use my pc for something, i took the opportunity to put my head down for a few winks, but even that didn't really help...

i came home to polish the flash project and hand it over, and now i'm going to catch some z's before hitting the books early tomorrow morning.

it would be *so* much easier if i could play catch up on the weekends.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

still lacking in that thing called time

it's three days late? i've just walked in from a "traditional" morning spent reading at cafesito, drinking too much coffee and revelling in the bits of sunshine peeking through the cool air...
[i really should stop writing sentences that presume that i'll finish posting in a single session]

---

wednesday:

my right eye really hurt on wednesday morning. the muscle above my temple was as tender as my mental state.

people who use the expression "my friend" usually aren't. we have a rather socially inept personage attending our first class - it's his second time with our nightmare prof, as he was accused of plagiarism in his final paper. he apparently forgot to quote a source.
he says weird things, and i suspect that it's in the hope that he'll come across as weird enough to be interesting.

sitting in class, waiting for the professor to arrive: the thought of her doing the zombie-mom womb-opening struck. creepy.

i'm almost embarrassed to admit that i've begun to enjoy our first classes. not only because my participation is appreciated in spite of my never having done the readings, but because, as i may have mentioned, the professor has begun to make sensible statements. interspersed with wordspew, granted, but now vaguely intelligible.

from scraps of notes scribbled between us in first class:
the order of the acquision of the traits is important, and the depth to which they have been examined and combined
the act of examination is called "psychologizing", and there is no limit to how complex one can get. in which case, no matter how much time one exists within this closed system, he will maintain his individuality even as the number of his specified "traits" approaches that of the group


---

the second class was exhiliarating - this time i got to shamelessly plug pastafarianism while being astounded at the affirmation of a part of my personally derived philosophy:
i, like everyone else, am a vehicle for discourse. no more, no less.

just like everyone else.

there's no difference between me, and you, and anyone else, nor even a character in a book. all of us are a part of a medium of information with the ability to physically manifest.
while a character in a book may not physically manifest directly, his ability to pass on the author's ideas can indirectly manifest through the reader.
---

the best part was receiving my grade for last week wednesday's pop quiz that had me certain i'd scored a zero - 70% is not a fail, and that made me feel stupidly relieved!

in the afternoon i met up with the flash boss, and he's much easier to deal with in person. we discussed the project, signed the contract, and talked rubbish. at least he means well.

i had a very successful evening at work, although not being provided basic foodstuffs is a bummer. we're feeling the changes :(

i changed my profile photo on facebook, and was amazed at the attention it's received. suddenly my mother's decided that my hair's alright, and i've been informed that my previous photo was not a winner. i prefer that sort of honesty when it can affect change :P

i walked to pg's in my pjs - a source of obvious amusement - and the plan was to hop into bed and wake up early.

---

thursday:

the night went hard. it began was a horrid feeling in my chest / liver, my legs were sore and stiff (from the rollerblading, presumably) and i couldn't stop worrying about the holidays. or lack thereof. i haven't made snowboarding plans, nor easter plans... otherwise, all is great!

it's been so long that i now don't remember what i wrote "doggy doo" to remind myself of. possibly... this?

debugging flash, which i'm sure i've mentioned before, is a bitch. it took me forever to figure out that some of my code was running in an infinite loop, and it was doing so because the AS2 xml handling is retarded. i'll be writing a tutorial on that sometime, just as soon as i have a spare moment :P

thursday "began" (on campus, at least) with a sci-fi jane austen picnic. well, it was supposed to be themed, but only three of us prepared readings...

i brought my bubble pipe. it went down well. as usual :)

i stopped in at the student union to "be involved" (although at this stage it's more spiritual than anything else), then had a quick lunch with pg. afterwards i joined a couple of the guys from our second class for a study session that failed abysmally. we talked about everything except the class. we were even joined by a number of passers-by, not helping us focus.

isn't that why being on campus is good?

our poetry class: howl is awesome. i wasn't a big fan of allen ginsberg, but even at the beginning all i could think of was "he's alright, but the movie is amazing!". by about the halfway mark i was sold; i'm now really into his poetry too.

jumping from there to the wedding: pg and i made it just in time for the ceremony. the evening was great, although i was absolutely exhausted... it was nice to have pg finally meet some of the guys i've been telling her about :)

---

friday:

early morning stiff-necked dog walking: i picked up a pile of crap because i *think* pg's mum's dog produced it, but if she did she waited until i had my back turned :/
the walk made me think of the previous day's discussion about social games and relationships: what game am I playing with pg? how much of it is by choice?

the morning's make-up lesson was even more fun than the week before. i walked out affirmed and confirmed and inspired ^_^

i bladed to the laundromat with my smart clothes, then shopped. shopping was social, i ran into spot's grandmother and my old neighbour's wife and neither of them recognized me :P

i sat down to fight it out with flash, and finally got into a groove. it's an ugly framework and it's horribly wrong, but i found my way and integrated code tricks and debugger manipulation and eventually managed to produce the desired results. i took a break for friday night dinner with the newlyweds - i was seated at the awkward table, unfortunately - and had a fun walk home with a couple of friends i haven't seen in ages, then continued to storm the flash project until 3am.

when it was... complete. i went to bed satisfied.

---

today:

i began the day studying at cafesito, and was horrified when a man let his dog pee under the very seat i was sitting on and wasn't even the slightest bit embarrassed about it. i sat gawking for a minute or two afterwards, unable to accept what had just happened.

otherwise, it was a great morning. i came home to post and study some more, but ran out of time [as can be seen above] and returned for the end of the newlywed's weekend celebrations. that last meal was uncomfortable as hell - nobody else from *our* group of friends rocked up. i like dutch people, but have difficulty communicating with them outside of their comfort zone. at least it was an improvement over the night before.

also, i drank far too much whiskey. so much so that i was brooding the whole walk back, which is not a mood i've experienced much these past few months. my disposition did improve when i got home and was visited by both my old south african friend that i ran into a couple of weeks ago and piles, for an evening of house, trance and progressive rock. my fingers are all cut up from my guitar strings (has it been that long?) and they were unresponsive to begin with (i blame the alcohol), but it was a fun evening and i hope to institutionalize it.

i've just spent far longer on the phone with the flash boss than i would've liked (he needed explanations... for really simple stuff...) and watched an amusing speech.

now i'm off to be in trouble with pg - i can't win :P

en garde!

tycho: yes, indeed.

however, on matters of greater import: at the end of the movie he explains, rather plainly, that it's all okay. every problem you may identify is okay. how's that for a meta-look at their mistakes?

back to your regular programming: safe holidays!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

a time of cheer?

the woman in the QA department that i've been despising? it turns out i had the wrong email address. no wonder she was ignoring me... all that frustration for nothing. within ten minutes i had everything i wanted, and she seemed so excited to be helpful!

after an argument that i lost - the guy agreed with me, but i realized immediately afterwards that i hadn't giving him a chance to be heard - i'd learned what i needed to continue my testing and headed out to the bus. the back of the bus smelled weird, so i opened the window, not realizing that the girl sitting in front of me, for who i'd made an effort not to catch her hair (it was flowing over the back of her seat), had been resting her head against.

i didn't *mean* to slide the window into her face :$

i had time at home to read comics before getting ready to roll. i went out a bit disappointed because the awesome torch my mum bought me has died, and i only have a few slugs of araq left even though i haven't touched it in ages...

the route rocked tonight and i had a lot of fun. as we were congregating to say goodbye an idiot taxi driver came up behind me and started hooting - when it was obvious that he wasn't going anywhere i went around to his window to explain to him that he wasn't achieving anything by attacking me personally.

"i'm going to f*** you!" he shouted; a typical israeli expression of aggressive hero behaviour. i wanted to respond, but the appropriate word escaped me: "i prefer making love". next time.

i just spoke to my mum and realized that it's the holidays already. happy holidays, everyone!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

hating what i do

it's not that i hate my profession, it's that i hate all the stupid things related to it. i have just spent almost five hours going nuts over an issue with a java installation that *magically* got ruined sometime during the fifteen hours that i was out of the office.

nobody can tell when it happened, nor who's responsible, only that the backup copy we ended up working off wasn't set up correctly. when none of the problems make any sense, i point at gross negligence and say "i don't know who you belong to, but your owner deserves a smack upside the head and my pay docked from his".

i solved the problem within minutes of sending out an email to everyone to inform them that we might have to go a week without critical services...

...

all that was just to compound today's general antagonism towards computers brought on by the flash project.

my AS3 debugging messages claimed that the conversion couldn't work because the movies i was testing with were compiled in AS2. i finally received a movie compiled in AS3 to test with... and that didn't work either.
so no conversion.
aside from the weekend hours wasted changing everything, i now have to take two steps back in the way that i deal with all the XML aspects of the code because they really did need to be as backward as they were in order to be AS2 compatible.

whoever designed the XML handling for AS2 is a complete asshole. i forgive the guy who wrote the code.

i now understand completely: flash is NOT for programmers. it's for masochist designers.

oops!

forgot a couple of links that have been inspired through the last couple of days:

wordspew: inspired by first class on sunday mornings.

chromatone - attack of killer track had me going a couple of days ago - gotta get that.

marilyn manson - slutgarden accompanied me home this morning. damn that's funky.

it's not about what the book says

my mum sent me a link to a list that i don't entirely disagree with, with a note to check the comments.

and i did.

and the Big Three? yeah. those were the most negatively influential books of all time. it doesn't matter what they were preaching, what matters is the horrors that they inspire people to do.

"peace"? "love"? i call "bullshit". you can't have peace and love when those are hinged upon everyone thinking the same.

---

sunday:

we began the first lesson well, then returned to freud. the exploration of freud's ideas on anal things wasn't pretty. i did, however, manage to drag us into the topic of schizophrenia, and that provided a fun distraction. "if the man's wiping his excrement on the walls, it's up to us to understand what he's trying to say". she told us to read a page from finnegan's wake to see what she meant, and i... i get it. i mean i don't.

fighting the poser: that guy who i thought i'd offended near the beginning of the semester? who then offended me when i tried to talk to him again? he opened his stupid mouth in class and got *everyone* going. i may be an arrogant person, and i believe things are not a part of the consensus' canon (although i'm slowly discovering that literature, at least, is ahead of a bunch of games). but i'm no more of an asshole than i have to be, and this guy makes me look good.

i'm so glad very few people take him seriously. he reminds me of psychotic american - trying to be cool and wise in the face of fact. the discussion yesterday was about experience and originality - topics that are kinda close to my heart...

that sparked a discussion after class with one of the other guys he'd offended. "you're a moron", i told the guy, "because you don't think like me. and i'm a moron too, because i don't think like you. we're all a bunch of idiots. welcome to being human."

i had lunch with pg - boy, was i hungry - and the two of us continued the previous discussion that she'd walked in on. do i ever stop talking about self?!

pg accompanied me to the student union building, and i was treated to great news - i hadn't realized that the class we held anime night in last week is ours until the end of the semester! *and* we'll get another one for the next semester ^_^

...

i arrived at work in time to help with the move upstairs. i'd forgotten about that. the flash boss called as i walked in, rendering me useless for the first ten minutes, and then it was "back to the source". when i joined the company back in 2003 we were stationed upstairs, and it's all coming back to me :)
we've already run into trouble with some of the guys who don't realize that we're actually a part of the company, but that we shall overcome. and now we can hassle useless people with feeling. maybe the QA team will actually help us when we're more than mere ghosts from across the border.

---

in the elevator with one of the girls and the boss. he drops his mug. it shatters. he bends over to pick up the pieces, holding us inside and staring at the ceiling to avoid looking at his plumber's butt... :S

---

i have a room! an office! with a desk! and a window! i've gotten one of the best seats in the house as far as our operations are concerned, and everyone's laughing because i've been stuck in the janitor's closet for so long. it's a room with a moose, though. i'm sitting with the IT guy. the one who does bugger-all? the one we don't like? it's now on *me* to make friends and get him to be helpful...

i met up with piles a couple of hours later, and we went to a reunion for my second section in the military. it was quite fun! the food was great, the conversation entertaining, the tekken frustrating (i don't remember 5's physics or moves at all)... but rock band? never played it. i was singing to metallica, and i'm good at that: only there's a weird delay, so i watched my voice through the system matching perfectly, exactly one half-beat behind even though i could hear my actual voice on time. not cool.

piles and i had "The Talk" regarding the end of my service (much like the one with tahoma on friday), and i only got home after midnight. i finally ordered new moo cards, showered, then snuck across to pg's and slid into bed.

---

yesterday:

in the morning, i slid out of bed and returned home to produce a poster for the anime evening and catch up on the class reading (didn't make it, it's not so simple to find wordsworth poems online). to make matters worse, i was reading on the bus and an annoying delay on my card reader had me closing firefox - no more readings. i had to find an access point as soon as i arrived on campus so that i could reload everything :/

the first class sucked. nobody wanted to say anything, i hadn't read everything so i didn't want to open my mouth even when i did have an opinion. we looked bad. in the meanwhile, i struck upon a winning formula and began the reading for his second class from the end.

paragraph by paragraph, i read from chapter 30 of lady audley's secret down to chapter 15. it's a great book, actually, and knowing where it was going made it quicker.

the british girl was sitting next to me in class and tried to send a mail to the group - not only did her sending fail, but it somehow transformed the screen to gibberish. amusing and disturbing - that's a serious FAIL :P

the flash boss called me up after class - not a nice conversation. things are not going smoothly :(

the girls i sat with over lunch and the other girls i sat with until the second class can't stand the giant ass from yesterday's class either - he's becoming a "thing". his behaviour (he's been rating people in the class out of ten, apparently) did remind me of a funny set of incidents from when i studied in UCT, though, and the telling was appreciated :)

---

the girls informed me that the law we were protesting has gone through: that means that the taxpaying majority who couldn't be arsed to get out of their chairs to join us will now all be paying in to keep the ultra-orthodox studying torah and hating the rest of us while not serving in the military nor believing in our right to exist.

fantastic.

nice one.

brilliant.

we need to stop playing the game if we're going to get anything done in this country. it's that simple.

---

so... fear of the muppets isn't rare? i'll be damned. i was shocked to discover that anyone could be frightened by gonzo.

---

i made a break for the supply store and bought a cheap stapler; the advertising has begun :D

the second class was all about monomania - what used to be considered a disease and is now not only expected, but demanded. they were right, in the old days. it is a disease.

our lecturer wore sunglasses - i don't think he told us why when he asked our forgiveness - and that was a bit distracting.

---

i've decided that i like prose poetry. from last week's harjo to yesterday's rukeyser, i just became a fan. we dedicated a fair amount of time to the smell of a presumably dead sphinx, then moved on to forché. i'd be damned if i wouldn't bring the idea of "dessert" out to the class.

---

while stapling up the last of the anime posters i was enlightened as to the ways of the student union - if they had called their orientation something like "orientation" and less like "leadership course" i would have gone. i would have learned how things work on campus. swak.

i bussed to work, got distracted alongside the head of our israeli division by a network problem (i now sit with the absent IT guy, so obviously i'm his second), finally got testing, then left when 9pm rolled around. i grooved and read on the bus to pg's, then we headed for the event of the evening:

tron. although there were a couple of deadspots in the movie (both the action and the music were calm and peaceful) in which i caught myself passing out, it rocked! a more than honourable sequel :)

last night was the first "normal" night pg and i have had in a while... being this busy is a bit of a strain. i've woken up late, am writing this at her place and am on my way to mayhem now. i don't like this flash project one bit, and i'm hoping to see the end of it before lunch.

[that last sentence was mostly correct. my battery ran out, so i completed this at home]

Sunday, December 19, 2010

dead again

i spent almost three hours reading last night, then hopped over (landing in some crap along the way) to pg's to crash. i don't remember sleeping so well, so deeply and with so much dreaming in a while...

i was completely incapable of getting up for at least half an hour after i was supposed to. my body and mind both refused to extricate themselves from that "better" place.

i've been at home for half an hour now, and i *still* haven't completed the readings :(

Saturday, December 18, 2010

stressing for nothing

right - if today is any indication of what working in flash is about, i don't wanna.

on the plus side, i finally got basic debugging working and without it i would have been completely lost. i eventually got the xml and its reading components sorted out, and the movie loader... loads.

but once converted to AS3 the window handling's different, so i'm going to have to learn More Irrelevant and Stupid Stuff. and AS3 doesn't want to manipulate AS2 videos.

the killer is having wasted (it feels like a waste) a whole day, and *now* i have to get reading for tomorrow.

*sigh*

at least i had a good break with pg. it's just a bummer spending a weekend worrying about work and study... and not getting either done satisfactorily.

edgemacational

wow. i've had the union playing in the background while working on the flash project, and i'll admit it's been hard not to peek. incisive, clear, rational, fair, sometimes frightening and mostly inspirational.

i really hope this gets around!

also in the news: one of the guys from our poetry class posted a link to something just as fascinating: a video on ayahuasca (related wikipedia article). sorry about the subtitles being in hebrew, but there's enough english that it doesn't really matter.

Friday, December 17, 2010

connecting dots

what is the discourse of our globalized internet age? the discussions on fragmentation lead me to believe that we have none. no fixed cultural identity, no fixed concept of reality. consensus itself is a great big lie.

---


i began the day furiously studying wordsworth - not easy in a hurry. i wasn't feeling good even before getting on the bus, and couldn't concentrate... forgetting to bring the anime with me, which i paid for in having to return home hurriedly after class to pick up my discs...
after the second bus experience, i began to wonder if i'm not coming down with something... carrying the anthology would have been a strain in any event. it was.

after the first class, i finally got back the result that i was worried about. i was right to worry - i scored a 74. on a paper that counts for half the course mark and in which i need no less than 85 to pass, so that *sucks*. later on i spent fifteen minutes talking to the lecturer, trying to convince him to let me write a paper for extra credit, and instead he focused on trying to raise my grade... i *told* him it was a fair grade before he began the recount :/

i think i'm going to have to drop the course :(

after the class i printed out a paper for pg and tried to hand it in, only her TA has no mailbox and nobody on the floor had heard of him... i eventually gave up.

i grabbed my lunch and carried it out to a bench where a couple of the girls from my class were sitting. we were joined by a fellow student - one who's been coveting the TA's position in the course i got 100 for. apparently i'm the first person in years to get a perfect score! this girl is angry with me because she sees me as a threat, and we had an amusing standoff before she stormed off.
"i've thrown down my glove!" she exclaimed, dramatically making a tossing motion at my feet.
"you don't want me to take off mine," i grinned back evilly.

only afterwards did we realize that i'm not even in the running as my BA isn't in the right field. i'll let her stew a bit, though };)

instead of prepping for our next classes we all talked for an hour or so. when i went into the second class i discovered that i'd only read a third of the required chapters. whoops :S

---

i received a friendly sms from gco saying he'd like to meet up. i explained (in sms form) my present situation and told him to give me a call whenever he's in the area to see if i'm available. he sent me a "funny" sms that made me really uncomfortable. either he was propositioning me, or making fun of me. either way, not okay.

---

the last class was on native american poetry, and was fascinating. we began with a prose poem - because i'd been arguing with the first lecturer i missed fifteen minutes and was certain i'd missed the explanation. we were forced to switch classes just after getting on to the next piece and i took the opportunity to ask why nobody'd mentioned the difference in form.

"i was hoping someone would say something, but everyone kept quiet so i thought, oh, well, never mind." - she was pleased that i'd asked, and expounded when we got to the next class.

at the end of the explanation one of my class members asked me to close the door. i'd been planning on grabbing coffee, so i took my cup and closed it with myself on the outside. that amused everyone, most of all me. so much so that when i tried to explain that i'd been getting up anyway the words came out a gargled jumble. that made things stranger :P

---

i passed by a charming young lady on the bus who was being testy with a middle aged man who she'd been rude to. "i didn't even mention that you pushed me out the way while getting on the bus," he said, to which she replied that as he's physically bigger than her he can't really call it "pushing".

way to go. "you're bigger than me, so i can be as disgusting as i like" is a perfectly elegant and academic argument. brava. jolly good.
made me think of our political situation. chicken or egg?

---

my stomache was hurting and i was certain i was going to pass out on the way home. i did feel better by the time i was on the way back, at least. i learned while at home that having an apple in one's mouth or hand can hinder one's efficiency :P

i was unpleasantly surprised to discover that while the coordinator had told me that we had until midnight, she'd informed the caretaker that he could leave at 9.30pm... our plans had to change a little. fortunately it was just enough time to gather, give an introduction and watch metropolis.

what a fantastic movie! what a brilliant experience watching it with a projector! and how wonderfully surprised were we that it wasn't dubbed, even though i heard english when i tested it!
being on campus adds a certain academic sensation, too ^_^

afterwards, scrapper, botchman, eidetic and i stood talking outside, and i've been challenged to a tekken rematch. like i'd ever say "no".

i eventually got to pg's place after midnight, having to apologize for being a bad boyfriend because she barely sees me and i got sucked into a heavy debate with scrapper on the way home. also, because i'd just discovered that the tain is seventy pages and not two, which is all i'd been able to find until the lecturer provided a link - and i needed to read it.

i'd sent gco a message letting him know that i'd found his sms uncomfortable, and he called me just as i was going to bed to invite me out. when i told him i needed to sleep he suggested i turn off my phone... a suggestion i didn't appreciate, especially as he argued with me when i explained that i'd rather he simply didn't call me at that time. in the morning, i received a response to the message that i'd sent and i think we both understand that something's not cool.

pg and i were woken up by sms - a girl i know let a four year-old play with her phone and of course *my* number is at the top of everyone's list :S

i helped pg put on allergy-testing pads (they seem uncomfortable) and headed off to campus for a make-up lesson. it was a really fun lesson!

two girls came with me to my favourite bookstore to see what the irish dude stocks, and it was an experience. one of the girls wanted to see my bookshelf, and they came over to peruse (and be amazed, i have awesome stuff) but in the end didn't borrow anything. instead, we began planning a class picnic for which i made a poster.

after they left i went shopping, and ran into tahoma and his fiancé. they came back to my place with me and we had a long and really interesting debate about reality and drugs.

when they eventually left, i started crossing things off my todo list at random... i'll never really close in on a clear list because i add items way faster than i can remove them :/

now i'm late (again) to get to pg's...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

just chequing

it's only been two days? or was that three? three?! no shit!

---

monday:

i began the day at the bank, taking my mum's advice and cashing the retainer cheque. it's enough money to make me stress less. it still feels a bit weird.

monday was hot. the heat + my ski jacket = not comfortable.

first class: i had shit to say but wasn't concentrating (distracting british girl asking me for off-topic help half the class) so i didn't know if it was appropriate... because i need the brownie points for the class participation marks, i approached the lecturer afterwards to share my ideas.
"that's very interesting! why didn't you say something?"
"erm... i've just had really bad timing today..."

i ate lunch hurriedly. the sauerkraut was a weird touch. i was in a hurry to get to class - i just wanted a quiet space to nap and study some more... instead, a couple of my classmates caught me in a discussion about veganism.

i'm anti-vegan. [meta-link]
why?
i'm as anti-vegan as i am anti-anti-vaccine, because both of these groups of people bring harm not only to themselves, but to everyone else. the vegans are just beginning to get their numbers up (with dodgy propaganda, too); if we leave it too long and they grow in force, it might be too late.

our second class: i was a goner. i hadn't read enough of the material, so while i still had the summaries at my disposal i could only chirp for half of the discussion. i sat in silence, horrified that the opportunity to wax lyrical on grape en abyme (in hebrew, mitz anavim is "grape juice" and we've been rolling the same "grape - grapes - vineyard" joke since the midterm) was being passed over. instead, i walked out with the following thoughts in my head:
do half-jews lay eggs? (there're some nasty things on the internet: the lolokaust, for example)
if a non-christian enters a church during the day, do the lights go out? (thank you, nathaniel hawthorne)

---

the final midterm: was i cold? ill? that nervous? i had the shakes.
i'm very glad i borrowed a pen before we began, because mine died after a couple of lines... also, i really needed a bathroom break from about half an hour in. why does this keep happening?

i was terrified of the exam because we were told it would be short questions and multiple-choice only. those can be tricky... but we were touched by the divine and a shout rose from the back of the class where the papers were being handed out - there were no questions! a mistake!
a windfall, because we were given two essay questions instead.

and they were sweet essay questions. i enjoyed writing them ^_^

---

on the way to the bus i met a girl from our class and was treated to a "are crocs okay" debate. i wasn't sure whether i was going straight to work or to meet pg for dinner, and when i stopped and explained that i didn't know where i was going she asked me if that was part of being a hippie.
"no, that's part of being incapable of making decisions"
in retrospect, i liked her idea better :P

i rode the bus home with tool in my head, contemplating with interest the relief of being financially comfortable after all that stress, even while not knowing what kind of a situation i'm actually in.

---

it's winter, and i can sense the new season distancing me from them.

---

to celebrate the money and the midterm, i'd offered to take pg out... we met, she picked a place, i ordered my favourite (i love their calzone) and sat down. that was when she surprised me by informing me that we were really celebrating something else - we've been together two months! that's a lot for me. and i'm well pleased the way things are :))

---

i headed off to work, and for the second time got stuck with a bad situation... having to respond to a full mailbox of four days when customers are guaranteed a response within forty-eight hours?

not cool.

the night was so busy that i didn't really have the opportunity to do anything other than work - which is not what this job is about!
dammit.

i spoke to SxS for the first time in ages, and he reassured me about the cheque (he's worked for the same guy before). it was nice to be in touch again.

---

tuesday:

after a long night i got back home a bit wired. i went through a bunch of old photos to ascertain that my hairline's not receding - it's always been a bit far back; pg making fun of me had me a little concerned :P

i crashed for about five hours, then dragged myself out of bed and used hair gel* before taking the culture bus** to a job interview

* *gasp* i don't like hair gel and i think i looked weird, but i was pretty certain that my isro wouldn't make the right impression for an avionics company.

** a bunch of noisy, vulgar and physically aggressive teens got on board and made everyone uncomfortable. while i didn't really want to exacerbate the scene, i really *wanted* to bitch about their offensive language and physically threatening antics. i *did* pipe up when one kid turned phonic thug. he mumbled something as he put his phone away... the guy next to me turned around to thank me for the intervention.

that was a good interview, i think. if i get the job, the big issue will be returning the retainer... i can think of worse situations.

after a chat with the flash boss on the bus, i walked into work and made a boo-boo... i mistakenly thought that my computer was locked by the girl i share it with the night before, and i logged her out forcefully instead of calling first. i won't be doing that again, i felt like a real heel and the unpleasantness most certainly wasn't worth it.

i discovered that the project i've been working on for a few weeks now was defined badly. i went upstairs to have it out with our r&d team, and was horrified to discover that they really don't get how the business works. when i explained just how critical something is to the customer, they told me not to stress because it wouldn't be *my* problem if the customers get pissed en masse, only the company's.

wankers.

i got back to scripting in perl... have i... yes, i've definitely mentioned not being a fan.

i walked home from work, irritated with all the horn happy rush hour bastards. one of them got me on a personal level - she wasn't pleased that she had to wait for me to cross at the pedestrian crossing. holding down your horn at someone from up close is nothing short of assault.

---

i think that we should substantially decrease private transport ownership. just add an targeted tax for anyone who has a car that can only be used to upgrade the public transport system in a manner that would render most private transport completely unnecessary..

---

the nystire incident:
a) a productive set of potentially work-related arguments
b) coming clean - catharsis? kind of.

i went shopping for the first time in too many days, then spent the rest of the evening / early morning studying. with pg and half the world through facebook - good thing for our class group on facebook, otherwise i wouldn't have been prepared for today at all :/

---

today:

at stupid o'clock in the morning scrapper sent me a new article of his to edit. it has a few style issues and some typos, but other than that it was a great read - there's a kid with potential :)

pg and i eventually went to bed, and i was restless the entire night. she claims she didn't sleep at all. not nice :(

the ten extra minutes that i allowed myself after alarm were pure dream-time, though. i'd have woken up again more satisfied if i'd been able to remember any of it. i just recall it being worth recalling :S

before i left the house i checked mail: my mum sent a letter, through me, to pg. asking her to ask me to cut my hair. it's going to be a bitch to translate my mother's south african for her, but i'll pass it along. aside from being amused, i'm sharing this because i want to make it perfectly clear:
  1. i've been dreaming for years about growing dreads. and i'm gonna.
  2. unless i change my mind. unless i change my mind, not anyone else.
  3. i don't know how they'll look on me. i might not like them.
  4. the in-between stages are silly. i know.
first class: i, along with the rest of my class, was blown away by the professor who usually drives us crazy with her inane wordspew and ridiculous freud fascinations.

today, i asked a question. it was in response to a quote that every element in a narrative should have a function, and i borrowed the expression "to put a spoke in the wheels" to make my point. not only was she super pleased to steal my metaphor, she began to lucidly express a sentiment that turned into the first interesting, meaningful, thought-provoking thing we've learned in her class.

this from a woman who never finishes her damn sentences. she was on form.

so not only did i learn something, and discover that the professor is not a complete idiot, but i gave the class a break. when i was no longer being spoken to directly i returned my attention to the facebook page: loads of supportive "go totalwaste!"s and "what the hell are they talking about?" :P

so the prof knows nothing about singing guitars, but she knows her shit when it comes to analyzing them.

as for the second class:
no!
and yes!
oh, crap.

i sat next to the girl who shares a look with pg, which was amusing yet awkward. the lesson began with a pop-quiz. on the material for sunday's class. which is on the same topic but a completely different attitude to what we needed to learn for today. i, along with my fellow classmonkeys, drew blanks.

i scribbled something down eventually - although i'm sure it was rubbish.

this experience contrasted meaningfully with the rest: we discussed dracula and frankenstein's monster, dr jekyll and mr hyde.
i had a bit to say on everything, and fortunately only a couple of people heard my comment that had our lecturer's suggestion of checkov's lady being chopped up by her suitor and fed to her dog been realized, it would have made a more sophisticated and interesting device out of the otherwise fairly useless pomeranian.

along with the rest of the class, i followed the ta out of the building to pick up my midterm. pg caught me as we walked through the doors, and i decided to fetch the paper after lunch. we had a pleasant lunch, and after saying goodbye i went upstairs.

the ta had already left, but the lecturer was just walking by.
"she's in? no? you came for your grade? i can tell you your grade. you got -"

just then the ta returned, and she was as pleased as the lecturer. "this is a really original paper," the lecturer said. "it's rare to find someone who thinks like that". after a careful review of what i got back, i have to admit that *i* wouldn't have given myself a perfect score, but only because i'm a grammar nazi and i had a couple of typos ;)

(^_^) (^_^) (^_^)


i wasn't going to advertise my results to the rest of the class, but a few of them found out before i did so the cat's out of the bag. when i got into work it was with a big smile on my face and a lot of thanks for the manager who helped me out at 4am on hand-in day :)

the development hours at work were alright, although i was having difficulty focusing. at least i can be productive with my eyes closing - when the girl i share a machine with came in, a quick chat and i understood why her code's always a mess and barely functional.

because she doesn't code. she copies and pastes whatever she can find. she can't understand why i waste my time making sure that i understand exactly what's going on :S

since i moved over to the agent's chair, it's been a bit of a chill. there've been some calls (and the motherlode of events is coming up soon, i'm praying that things stay calm) but it's mostly been a chance to read comics, post, and idle.

... phone's ready...

Monday, December 13, 2010

through wind and sleet and dead of night

[had to take a break to post - totally grooving to quadra]

i'm finally studying for the midterm tomorrow in american poetry...

---

it was a beautiful, windy evening yesterday as pg and i walked (all wrapped up wintery-like) to meet with her parents and siblings (although she wasn't there) for an excellent (*really* brilliant) meal and a fun evening. i got a really smart gift: a grownup wallet. i haven't a clue when i'd use it, but it's most certainly good to have :)

the walk back was *cold*, and it was late. i tried to read a bit before going to sleep, but i was drowsy from word one...

i woke up early with pg - just in time to thoroughly enjoy a freezing cold and stormy morning. i went to the bank, only to be disappointed by their reversal on their previous offer. bank loans really aren't for those who need them.

when i got to campus i finally managed to get through to my mum, and we talked about the situation. there were a couple of moments where i got really frustrated with her, and i wish i hadn't because she was only trying to help... i hate being stressed about cash, but no more than i hate the decidedly unfortunate job-hunt i've been on.

i spoke to the head of the graduate studies a bit later, and it's possible that i could drop a course or two and take them next year instead... i hope - i pray that it doesn't get to that.

first class: the usual unpleasantness. loads of amusing / offensive posts and comments in our class's facebook group.
at some point i found a wedge! i grasped (more or less) what she was on about and argued with her, and was rewarded for my efforts by appreciation and the satisfaction of providing the girl next to me with a platform for her own two cents :D

the class reminded me of two things:
1. she wears a wig
2. the dark side of oedipus [warning! sexually explicit]

it rained between first and second. it was cold enough that i wore my ski-mask. the rest of the day was perfect for the ski-mask (or is it the other way around?), and i'm exceedingly glad i thought to bring it!

the second class was awesome as usual, i got to bring in a point on the matrix vs johnny mnemonic as support in an argument against one of the lecturer's statements about cyberpunk (and she was pleased), and i still managed to catch up on sexylosers (referenced above, not for children) and life of riley.

i got stuck on the phone with yogi's father and then the flash project's boss (he was super annoying), then had lunch with "winter girl" pg: this season definitely suits her :)

i grabbed a black plastic garbage bag to cover my backpack, pulled up my mask and ran for the bus. must have been quite a sight :P

the whole country's upside down at the moment because of the storm that's been raging since yesterday... and this is one country where the roads are not built to withstand water excess. crossing the road on the way to work saw a few of us trapped on a traffic island, and eventually we just had to wade through :S

i think the boss is annoyed with us for not sticking to the schedule. a pity. after sitting with my team-mate on his project, i sat doing managerial stuff (eh? okay, so it's team leader type rubbish) before leaving to meet with yogi's father.

at least the walk to the bus was alright. by the time i arrived in ramat hasharon it was hailing. hard.

an hour or two with him, and i've been presented with a very interesting project and a large cheque. i'm not so sure about cashing that cheque. i'm pretty certain he's right about our future prospects, but it's money for nothing and there's something a bit... mobbish about it. because i believe him when he refers to me as a part of the family.

at least i know that i'm dealing with good people who are straight down the line. it's a bit tough for me to deal with people like that who *really* don't take "no" for an answer.

...

on the bus home we had wifi. i played around with my notes: i've become increasingly annoyed with the iphone's notes because it's constantly syncing with my gmail account and i don't like using the 3G connection. so i found the settings and turned off the syncing. i quote my own thoughts - one might've been able to see steam pouring out my ears:
YOU DID NOT JUST DELETE ALL MY NOTES! what stupid @#$% would think that's an appropriate response to a request to stop syncing them?!?!?!

i was decidedly unhappy about that, even after they came back when i resynced. that's a BAD user experience.

---

things seen on the bus:
kissinger! how dare you!
this advice given to the man who turned our entire civilization into self-censured hate-farm through the war on drugs and other "white" lies? could'a gone worse.

(just to be clear: nixon had good intentions, he was just a little confused. i don't think he was a bad man)

---

i stopped at my place to pick up my ski jacket before heading back to work - that was an EXTREMELY good move. the storm hit just before i arrived, and i was forced to run / hide / run from incredible hail and winds. it was a fantastic swim :P
it was COLD. and being wet at work isn't cool. i can't say i didn't enjoy the moment, though - there's something about running in the hail and crazy, shifting winds with my ski-mask on that made me happy :D

i spent a couple of hours in the office sitting in my underwear and fighting with our SVN about file renaming and other terrors, then eventually decided it was time to study.

did i say study? back to it, then!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

flashing some more

right - most of today was spent with the flash project, and i've discovered loads of interesting things:

1. translating from AS2 to AS3 is a good idea. it's also not so simple for someone who's not entirely familiar with the methods.

2. the guy whose work i'm continuing is a monkey. [familiar, that feeling]

3. i've learned that flash isn't just loose in its handling of variable scope... it's wrong. there are things in the code that shouldn't work - and if i correct them, they don't. before anyone tells me i'm being an ass*, here's an example:

function foo(){
  p = global[1];
  q = global[2];
  bar(p, q);
}

function bar(a:Array){
  doStuffWith(p);
  doOtherStuffWith(q);
}
does anyone else feel like i've entered the twilight zone? the p and q variables aren't defined in foo, nor are they defined anywhere else in the code. if i declare and send everything correctly, the program crashes :S

* i can't wait for that wonderful, spiritual moment where i realize that i'm being an ass. enlighten me, if you can!

---

last night was cool. i went to pg's, was presented with a gift that she'd wanted to hand me for my birthday but it hadn't been available... tropic thunder. i *adore* that movie! and i usually can't stand ben stiller's stuff. there's so much meta in that movie, so many great references...

we ate well and i consumed a fair amount of rum. after watching the movie, we headed to a pub on dizengoff to drink with pg's siblings and have a jolly good time.

we slept late, and woke up to a stormy, rainy day. i came home to work / study (although i didn't get much studying done), and we're now off to my belated birthday dinner.

Friday, December 10, 2010

marching on

[this post brought to you with much enthusiasm (bliss - funksick)]

yesterday:

boy, was i tired yesterday morning. i tried to pass my wallet when i thought the girl next to me was going to take longer than she did... my apologetic response involved quickly moving it out of her way and dropping it behind the driver's seat.

well, shit.

i was still wasted when i walked onto campus; i ran into waldo on the way to my first cup of coffee for a quick and practical chat, then crept into the first lesson. our well-hatted italian lecturer is really amusing: he's got a thing for sheinkin street :P

"universities rarely teach anything new" says he, in a course on british history.
"no shit," i think.

i had lunch with a couple of the girls, then paid wr a visit. we got philosophical (religion). after that a couple of the girls from my second class rocked up and i joined them. they've been complaining that our aforementioned hatter is too demanding and shouldn't expect us to be familiar with the classics... i feel differently. i don't think it's fair to them that the head of their programme didn't think it necessary for them to take the appropriate prep-courses, but it most certainly wouldn't be fair on any of the rest of us to force him to simply ignore all the history.

pg dragged me away from the debate and we sat outside eating doughnuts for a bit.

as life imitates art, i'm beginning to see the hatter as dante. i can totally imagine him stammering over a fantasy instead of talking to the poor girl.

i couldn't stop yawning the entire lesson. the days were catching up with me... one of the girls threw a pack of tissues at me when she saw me wipe my nose with the tail end of a strip of toilet paper i'd grabbed earlier. "sorry. i think i may have served too long" :P

---
we got our papers back for the seminar mid-term. ho-ly - shit! i was shocked, amazed and confused to discover that i scored 90% on a paper i was certain wouldn't fetch me as high as 80. i looked at the girl next to me, and she looked at me, and i saw my own surprise reflected back at me. i looked around - everyone.

*breathes*
maybe the other went alright as well? i hope so.

---
i hit the labs to print out directions to the wedding... and was politely asked to keep it down. i'm not used to being the annoying idiot :$

i was completely incapable of surviving the holocaust poetry session with my eyes open. at one point i lost the ability to connect the words that everyone was saying... a chocolate break didn't help, water didn't help. i was buggered.

i had a nap on the bus home and was properly woken by the shock of hearing the doors open and realizing i'd arrived and needed to get through others to get out. i quickly got dressed and went to pg's mum's place to wish her a happy birthday, then we found the car and were on our way.

we found the place without too much difficulty, and i got to rest while learning about cat stevens. i don't know if i'm a fan, but it's nice music.

the wedding was pretty cool. i like not being recognized by the people i've just spent almost four years with; there were a couple of guys that i enjoyed seeing, the food was good, nystire, the kinder and i drank a lot of rum and tequila, and all in all it was fun evening.

---
i was still kinda drunk by the time we got to pg's, and spent the night dreaming of realistic comic superheroes.

i woke up with a hangover, and decided to join anyway.

once i got home and began to work (no, really, i eventually managed to tear myself away from webcomics long enough) i made a bit of headway (and learned a lot of flash).

i just learned that the chemist has officially left us all, although i don't know if it's because he felt bad about his behaviour or because he was angry about ours. i hope he sorts his shit out in a positive way.

my damned windows installation keeps messing with the system time, and in turn changes the time on my iphone when i connect the two. i couldn't figure out how it was dark by 3pm!

pg called me up to express excitement that it was finally raining. "are you sure? it might just be a burst pipe or something..."
about twenty seconds later i heard the thunder. the thunder was LOUD. it was close. it was closely followed by rain. rain! rain. not a lot of it, but it's a start. could we please have some more???

right. i'm done for the day. it's dinner time.

---
i missed the whole infowar thing - i think stuxnet was more interesting.

human rights day 2010: the disappointment

i woke up this morning with a hangover, and a million and one things to do - and over all that i chose to go and be heard. i was a bit late for the march, but that wasn't going to stop me from participating! i walked quickly and arrived before the crowd hit ibn gvirol - and was overwhelmed.

it does me good to see so many people standing up for what they believe in. it makes me proud to see that not everyone has lost faith in our system; democracy requires faith in the power of the individual in order to maintain its usefulness and sincerity.

it didn't do me good to see how many of those people brought their extremist banners and how many of those people are pushing and shouting for things that they don't understand, for things that will hurt us as a nation. it didn't do me good to see the guys with the "anti" posters ("terrorists are people too", "some bullshit slogan") because although they're correct in their assessment of a large proportion of those marching, they're (i think) missing the point of the march itself.

that's all okay, though, i was there because i believe in the right to a voice, a right to freedom of opinion. what's not okay is that there were barely any people holding the rest of the country's opinions interested in making their voices heard. i believe in two things - the freedom of thought (and speech) and the freedom to do with my body what i will. those are two freedoms that i *don't* have in this country... most of our progressive western world ignores those rights.

in israel, we have a fantasy of a democracy that you'd have to argue hard to convince yourself is functional. we have a majority that's controlled by a minority, because our political leaders are far more interested in maintaining their positions than they are in protecting their constituents.

unless we march on a day like today, we cannot protect our right to march, to affect, to influence and to participate. unless we march, we cannot express our own opinions. there are a whole bunch of us out there who believe in equality and freedom and aren't fascists, even though our political specifics are very different from the hardcore left-wing self-hating anti-zionist ideals.
"When the Nazis came for the communists,I remained silent;I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,I remained silent;I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,I did not speak out;I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,I remained silent;I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for me,there was no one left to speak out.
"
martin niemöller

when a few of us students, a couple of weeks ago, marched for the rights of the majority of the country, including the police themselves, we had tear-gas thrown at us and a few of us were arrested or suffered police brutality. what kind of a country are we living in? are we only going to wake up when it's too late? when the last vestiges of our democratic fantasy have fallen away?

next year. human rights day. another group with posters and bullhorns and shirts and loud voices. not anti-rights, but completely and vocally disconnected from all the other groups. pro-rights, pro-freedom of speech. even for those we disagree with.
because that's what democracy is all about. and we need to protect what little we have left.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

still shocked - need more time

[this post brought to you by diamond head]

all my troubles began yesterday with my inability to catch a quick nap before heading off to work. i went out to catch the bus, and one of our managers was on it... he decided to get off at the same station as me to see if it was any closer.

it wasn't. his response?
"i'm gonna slap the bitch outta you"

i spent the afternoon working, then continuing with my paper within the calm of the phone lines. the head manager who's stepping out brought chocolate ice-cream bites... they were frozen solid and cold. and not good to have in one's mouth when answering a call.

after the shift i spoke to someone about an interesting-sounding job. halfway through the conversation i was asked if i didn't feel overqualified for the job... my boss was standing far too close for comfort when i said "listen, the job i'm doing now? i don't wanna use dirty words, so i'm not going to describe what levels i've resorted to."

[*suddenly feels better after a quick break*]

on my way out i was reminded of aziz ansari because i usually rollerblade. with one gay co-worker and one straight, the three of us went down a gratuitously gory mental spiral, eventually reaching a low enough point with the following (you'll have to select it to read it, it's awful):
a gherkin merkin': badly shorn public hair over a small, green penis suffering genital herpes

so we called it quits.
[for those who've read the above - don't you wish you hadn't?]

i hopped over to the university, beginning the experience in the orange store. all i wanted to know what how to check my balance... the saleswoman had no idea either. while attempting her suggestions, i got to witness her using grimy tricks on other customers. they really do talk a lot of horseshit.

i walked inside to find a hanukkah headphone party. i had a beer while discussing idealism with co-conspirator (or do i refer to her as a union-mate?) before we headed to the student union meeting. it began late, so we talked a lot more. i have a lot of things to say.

first item on the agenda - an announcement regarding the fire last week. it's touching to hear all the stories about the people who took command and donated their time and helped physically with the ordeal. it's disturbing to hear all the stories about the government institutions (some aid ones in particular) and services who did as little as they could get away with.

the next couple of items were interesting too, and fortunately a bit more positive. there's a hint that we may have succeeded somewhere along the line...

i wasn't happy about leaving early, but i had promised to get to singer's first performance on time. if only the invitation i'd received hadn't been incorrect, i would've known that i had an hour more than i'd thought. i didn't have to miss the main item on the agenda :(

i decided on falafel on my way home, and walked into the place next door just as they were setting out the candles. all the patrons (including one really strange man and his child, i'm certain that kid's not getting the best genes in the pool) were stuck singing for their supper...

... i rushed home, strapped on my blades and got to the bar *just* one hour early. buggrit. i haven't seen her family since we stopped seeing each other, so that was a little... a little awkward. amusing, though, that nobody recognized me with hair :P

that extra beer... i tried to read, i tried to write, and eventually, circuitously, entered a conversation with the beautiful girl sitting at my table that lasted until the show started.
single-serve friends :P

that extra beer... that went to my head.

the performance was brilliant - i'm really impressed. thoroughly amused, too - the last song was the one singer and i argued over the most, and when she got to the Big Fix she made a really mischievous face at me while singing it her way :)

her one song got stuck in my head for most of the next twelve hours. not bad, not bad at all.

she finished earlier than anticipated, and i rolled out of there and into the group. we had one tough blade, but very social. i even found out who's borrowed my copy of johnny mnemonic! (after my phone upgrade...)

pg and i had an argument, and we irritated each other a lot with this one... i worked out my frustration with some serious exercise. my legs were strained by the time i finally got home (around 1.30am).

i walked in, quaffed an energy drink, showered and got to work on my paper. the only thing that got in the way was my windows installation. i'd forgotten how much i despise microsoft - windows 7's a huge improvement technologically, but some of their measures are still rather draconian.

around 4am sorter was giving me a few pointers as i prepared to put together the last page or two. i was all over the place comparing readings and fixing things when my whole neighbourhood lost power. no wireless, no light, a few hours left before the paper was due... not good.

not good.

---
i figured it was best to go to bed and sleep a couple of hours, but the caffeine was still in charge and it must have taken me about half an hour to catch some z's. and two hours is just not enough sleep.

i spent about ten grim minutes snoozing, then dragged myself out of bed and got cracking. i put together the summary and tidied up some more, then made triply-sure that i had a copy to print when i got to campus.

yes! first print was smooth, first peer-review not so much. i grabbed her paper (for a moment she thought i was serious about replacing her cover page and handing it in as mine) and fixed the style issues, printed again and refused to look back.

our first class was the usual nightmare - only it gets a little worse every time. at least it had an amusing warm-up; we're all starting to get familiar with each other :)
so half the class have notes they don't understand, the other stopped wasting their time trying, and one or two *think* they got it but that's only because we've been talking about the same shit for the past six classes. it's a terrible course :(

the end of it was perfect, though. the professor talked about shklovsky (at least i think it was him) saying that in order to be art the representation must be difficult to understand. the more difficult, the more artistic. that was when it struck me as appropriate for her to be reflexively discussing an idea that represents her: she's an artiste. she's making it as tough to follow her as possible because that increases our exposure to her techne :/

---
one of the girls mentioned a vampire smiley in class, and that always reminds me of the life of riley - one of the greatest webcomics i've ever read!

doughnuts waiting for us outside of class, a cup of coffee, and the next class (almost) made up for the first. i'd done the reading during the first (the lady with the dog) and had plenty of opinions and side-notes. even though i broke a genre boundary by bringing in an argument based on frank herbert (RIPASBF*) and robert jordan (RIPAPBF**) that scored me big brownie points with the lecturer. i'm well pleased, even though i probably shouldn't be :D

 * RIPASBF: may he rest in peace and his son burn forever
** RIPAPBF: may he rest in peace and his publisher burn forever

i tried telling the british girl in our class a little johnny joke, but she didn't get it :S

i had a quick, burny lunch with pg and eidetic, then stopped by wr to hear there's a girl looking to help out with anime night - *GLEE*!

i chatted with a couple of guys from our poetry class, then went out to the bus. while waiting, a blind man, his guide dog and a young girl stopped in the centre of the stop to wait for the bus. there were a couple of people right next to the man when, mid-sentence, he let one rip. he carried on as if nothing had happened, and everyone remained still and quiet - except me. i had to get some distance between us, and quickly, when the smell hit: the expression that struck me a short while later was "a guided fart".

i was D-E-D dead tired, and i almost slept on the bus (not a good idea for a short trip). once i'd arrived at work i realized that i was wearing the wrong shirt for the interview i was going to - not everyone appreciates "i wanna **** [princess peach] like an animal".
i got some work done, then rushed home to change to something less offensive.

on the bus, it suddenly struck me why statistics and people who put their faith in them bother me. just as plato's reflections, they seem to have power but are no more than misleading figures. when we use stats... we're facing the wrong direction.

forgetting my military training (har, har) i chose all the wrong buses to the interview, and was a bit late. in retrospect, i should have worn the original shirt. i think the guy was having a laugh at my expense, he was cryptic and had me off-balance from the start. it's not clear if he was impressed or disappointed, and his excessive wordiness afterwards makes me think it's not going to happen.

i went back to work, worked hard and well, then switched with one of the agents and spent the rest of the evening being mindless.

it's now really late, i have readings to do. going to a wedding this evening isn't a good idea. i hope it's not too late to cancel? and dammit, i haven't gotten back to the guy who interviewed me two weeks ago...