Wednesday, March 31, 2010

first spring: footnotes and links

[footnotes from previous post]

* the argument was political, but it was more of a meta-argument over the fact that the kid, surrounded almost exclusively by pro-palestinian propaganda, holds opinions yet couldn't be bothered to base them in personally verified fact. he basically talked a load of bollocks, and every time i pointed out a flaw - either logical or factual - he shrugged it off as "don't care".

but he cares enough to be a self-hating jew and extreme relativist. brilliant.

** there's a girl who's been at a lot of the parties i've been to in the last year, and i know she's friendly with a friend of mine, but we've never had any contact. at the party on friday, i noticed her smiling at me while i was blowing bubbles at the side of the dancefloor, and i smiled back - but i'm not sure if that counts as a connection.

she's not really my type, aesthetically speaking, but she seems a nice girl. i walked into the club on monday night, and saw her next to the speaker i always use to place my jacket. she was talking to someone, and i tried catching her eye in a non-obvious manner. that's probably a mistake - the non-obvious part, at least - and i got no response from her, not even a slight indication of recognition.

for the rest of the time i was there we danced close to each other, but without any communication between us whatsoever. that was just weird.

---

here are the links for the last couple of days:

sa news:

hiding the homeless for the world cup

so i'm not clued up with sports - this hermaphrodite business seems a bit rough.

visual:

here are some incredible photos of insects covered in dew

we have tested an proved the ability to genetically modify / correct adults - and away we go!

wp's girlfriend gave me her business card, and it's been sitting on my desk since i returned from sa. yesterday, while tidying up, i finally opened the link: she's amazing!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

the first spring of the rest of my life

just up from a peaceful afternoon nap, having drifted in and out of sleep the entire sunny [i suspect, i haven't ventured outside] afternoon while finishing alice in sunderland (immensely delightful and full of wondrous insight!) and beginning the [definitive] annoted alice.

i'm now taking the book outdoors so as not to have spent it all in the shade :)

---

after a great beef parisian breakfast yesterday morning, i headed to disc center in the mall for the experience of the day. after ripping the cds, i played them in the background while continuing to read alice in sunderland on the couch, eventually passing out for a few minutes before forcing myself to get up and walk to the climbing wall.

i shouldn't have walked with one of the guys, i should have bladed and met scrapper there directly. he ended up waiting about half an hour for us, sorting out my new climbing shoes took half an hour and we had less time on the wall than we'd originally thought :/

buying the shoes was unpleasant - everyone gives different advice. i eventually went with size 45, because they were too tight, and it took me a climb and a half to realize that i'd made a huge mistake. i was extremely fortunate that they let me switch out for 46, and it was smooth sailing from there.

on the walk back and over a beer we discussed the possibility of continuing the project, even without my direct involvement, and i'm glad for the support. and for the understanding of why i can't stick my neck out too far :P

i immediately hit the shower on arrival, and had barely enough time to hang up the washing before rushing out to be picked up for dinner. two fresh soldiers in the car had us talking military the whole drive, and i was glad when we got to our destination and switched topic.

i was excited to discover that one of my english cousins is remaining here for the next few months, specifically because she and her friends are particularly interested in outdoor partying and that might make my getting there and back more comfortable ^_^

the seder, or passover meal surrounded by reading and singing and re-experiencing the exodus from egypt (there was an attempt to debate which was cut short by her rather impatiently irreligious mother), was quite fun - as is usual with this family. boisterous, loud, and often silly :)

the food was amazing. i was so engrossed in an argument* with a family-friend's son (an economics / philosophy major) that i only managed to consume two of the succulent steaks on offer, but that turned out to be alright because otherwise i wouldn't have had much room for the most decadently delicious chocolate mousse-meringue-strawberry combo.

i definitely needed to sleep that off on the ride back. i actually felt a little guilty about not having kept the driver company :$

i paid the weekly trance party a visit: the music wasn't great when i arrived, i was really awkward with one of the girls**, there were weird people on the dancefloor (just standing there), and by the time the music started getting wild the place was so packed (about 2.30am) that i was made uncomfortable by the crowd pressure and the smoke. so i left.

i was completely entranced by my psytrance playlist on the walk back, and was feeling much better by the time i got home. i received some travel advice from a friend that got me thinking that i should brush up on my hindu mythology before i go...

sagirl's random outburst:
life is SO precious!!! if you want to moan about something....STOP, change the sentence into something positive and remember that life is to short to ponder on the negative and we have to make the most of the things we have and love the people around us, cause in a blink of an eye, they could be gone!!
is such an obvious truism that i felt slapped in the face, and i put myself to bed feeling much better about the world.

...

i spent the day in slow motion, tidying up a little and playing with my ipod. i finally watched the first episode of rome (thank you, dystopia!), was blown away, and then settled down to read.

it's taken me so long to get this down (interrupted frequently by chats), that i feel compelled to leave the footnotes for later.

Monday, March 29, 2010

disc center passover eve for the win

after an unpleasant search for the discs in the store, where they made every effort to not sell me the discs i was looking for, i'd handed my credit card and the two cds over the counter and received the cds back wrapped in a plastic bag. i returned the bag, and picked up the credit card that was sitting underneath it. a few seconds passed, and the guy gave me a funny look. i told him i was still waiting to sign the slips.

(shouting) "you want to sign the slips?! what's wrong with you? you haven't given me your card yet!"
(getting angry) "i gave you my card, and was under the impression that you'd already swiped it and given it back."

an unpleasant moment passed.

"okay, nevermind. you're listening to asaf avidan? you have to be *rolls eyes* that kind of person to listen to him."
(now pissed, speaking very softly) "yeah, of course. only *our* people think he's alright."

*there's* a man i'd like to hit square in the jaw. repeatedly. is that a special kind of stupid i'm unfamiliar with? let's break it down:

1) pre-sale: if this is the experience that anyone who tries to buy israeli indie goes through, i can understand why numbers are down

2) don't shout at the customer. you moron.

3) he told me i must be stoned. let's try and find a way to say that without antagonizing the customer, shall we?
...
no, wait. i'm going to guess we can't.

4) he insinuated that one can only like the music if one is high. i'm assuming by his previous statement - and the way he said it - that he thinks that his taste in music is fantastic and that asaf avidan is so bad that...
no.
i'm sorry.
i can only interpret from that statement that we need to get everyone high if we're to save the music industry.

but no - no problems here with service ethic.

---

i must admit to not having been in the best of moods when i walked in, either. i promised myself i'd chill out, and i can't drag myself out of my own head. what's done is done, it's never going to have been alright. i really need to accept it all and just move the fuck on.

it may not be over entirely, but i really don't need to suffer it all the time. bits and pieces here and there are more than enough.

bitterness rising

am i being unnecessarily antagonistic by sending my anti-religious brother a copy of my thoughts the day before a big jewish festival?

---

after a quick discussion with the electrician - he came around to look at something he installed incorrectly - i faced the fact that i am really, truly angry over all the shit that i went through last year.

it's bad enough that they made me feel the way i did - paranoid, primarily, but also extremely indignant and helpless in the face of a blind and uncaring accuser. the fact that i have to continue to wear a uniform each day that represents the very system that abandoned and turned on me? i can't even point a finger at someone and convince myself it was personal.

being a part of a machine (referring to all the country's defense mechanisms) that makes meaningful mistakes is tough. being a citizen in a country governed by petty, confused policies and arrogant, unenlightened and "politically savvy" (a euphemism for backstabbing cheaters, unless i miss my mark) lawmakers sets my teeth on edge. being policed by dehumanized, sad people fills me with pity and frustration.

you see, i don't think it's much better anywhere else. and in those places where things are better in some senses, there're other things that matter that are worse. anywhere else, i won't be with my people - a love / hate relationship that's definitely taken hold.

so i guess i'm just angry with the world. and with everyone else for letting it be run this way. i know that most people are stupid. i know that*. and i don't expect everyone to suddenly suck up a few iq points and have all our problems solved. i do, however, continue to stubbornly dream that one day, the people around me - and then those around them - will open their eyes and realize that we all, one and all, choose our destinies, choose our lives, and choose our environments.

each and every one. god is in the choices you make. each choice. every moment.

i can deal with my being a statistic. it's just that i want to be a happy statistic. i'll settle for basic freedom and a little bit of dignity. if you'll throw in even a slight sense of participation into the mix, you've got yourself a smiler. in fact, i guarantee you'll have a whole bunch, and a nicer place to live: because i believe that most people, while not necessarily particularly sharp, are decent at heart.

* we're all stupid, actually. there are so many complexities in modern living that i believe it nigh impossible** to master all the different aspects of life, the universe, and how to communicate disinterest without causing offense or leading someone on. i don't believe there's any way to measure intelligence in a meaningful manner. we all just have to do what we can with what we have.

** and if you can, you probably find it really difficult to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, so you probably shouldn't.

---

i spent most of the day tinkering. i made a mess, had some terrifically frustrating experiences, partially succeeded and then got brought down from the cloud. the chef made an excellent second breakfast - although he was decidedly distracted - and i chatted a while with one of the regulars and read a bit more of the merchant of venice.

the electrician wasn't here for very long - he tried to cheer me up with a bit of perspective (he's had an unbelievably rough time himself) but walked away agreeing with me that my story, at least for the moment, takes it - and i've spent the last... what, four hours? wow... online, communicating or browsing or watching stuff like bbc's wonders of the solar system. thank you, bad astronomer!

my eyes hurt. i meant to sit down and read ages ago.

---

after a quick run to the art shop, i got back to work on the shirt design for the up-and-coming taekwondo forms competition in the afternoon.

i was just beginning to get somewhere with it when my now-ex-instructor informed me that it had to be ready within ten minutes. she hadn't mentioned a deadline before.

then she dropped an even bigger bombshell - she already had a design, and was just looking for an option. sod that! not only did her manner of speaking annoy the crap out of me (it's been bugging me since i rejoined last year), but her attitude has finally gotten the better of our relationship and burned it to the ground. i'm not going to waste any more time on being nice to her.

what i had done came out nicely, though. as i always do, i'm going to save it and hope that it proves useful one day :P

Sunday, March 28, 2010

90% to nothing

there's nothing worse than coming up with a brilliant plan, struggling for days to figure out the best way to do it, acquiring the parts and improvising well... and then having someone inject a nasty reality check into the works.

now i can't decide how i feel about carrying on - i really want to, but i don't think i can :/

[no, i'm not going to expound on the machination itself]

no risk, no return!

i have returned, and the returns were magnificent!

aside from the obvious, of course - the busybodies in blue rocked up and took a dislike to our three-thousand strong throng of smiling faces...
three thousand people at a private party is insane. insanely wonderful - great people, superb venue, incredible music! it was fun even when the music stopped :)

---

arriving:
getting to haifa wasn't bad at all, really, only i shouldn't have brought a jacket. and i definitely shouldn't have worn a warm shirt. i was seriously overheating and uncomfortable the whole way.

the walk through my team-mate's town was pleasant, and it wasn't too difficult to remember the way back from his place. i had something to drink, he put good chocolate out on the table (i went straight for the tiramisu), and i lay down on the couch to watch the extreme channel.

we watched for a while, and after he went to bed i must've slept for about an hour before my phone rang. my phone! it rang! i was very excited. even through the hazy daze of sleep i was expressing myself enthusiastically ^_^

he told me to call him before i left, but by the time i was ready to go (about five minutes later) his phone was engaged, so i decided to risk it and began walking back to the highway. by the time he called me back (i'd tried again ten minutes later), i was already on the bus (they have night buses up north!) and almost at the rendezvous.

i didn't have a problem with waiting over an hour - my previous post refers to only the last twenty minutes or so. i even got a bit of reading done :P

the pickup itself was a bit awkward - we couldn't identify each other on a dark stretch of highway - but it didn't take long before i started to relax with them and their awesome music. well - it was awesome until we were almost at the petrol stop, and then it just got hysterically weird when the driver changed to a religious choir album, and we all sang along :P

it's good to arrive with the promoter - we all got reduced-price tickets, no stress on entry, and we parked practically on the dancefloor. none of the guys in the car wanted to try my hot chocolate (rum & marshmallow), but i almost immediately ran into a bunch of friends who all gave it a shot and were all really impressed: including one friend who's a caterer :)

my favourite quote from the start of the evening:
"naaah, man, i don't drink alcohol. what's in that?"
"just rum and hot chocolate."
"rum? rum's cool, gimme a taste!"

party notes:
  • bubbles! if there had been a competition, i would definitely have been on the losing end of it. they brought a lot of smiles, and a hell of a lot of amusement later while i sought a ride :)

  • an alsation having a go at a rock about the size of his head: that's a dog not to mess with.

  • a girl on the dancefloor, just after sunrise, getting excited at a track that came out of south africa:
    "this song is south african!"
    (me, pointing at myself) "*this* is south african!"
    "you're south african?! what city are you from?"
    "cape town!"
    "do you know <name>?"
    "she's my niece!"
    how weird is that?! they were really excited. her friend thought i was about my sister's age, and was shocked that i look so good for fifty :P

  • the guy i came with kept telling me that the car was unlocked, or that there was someone there with the keys - and i kept arriving to discover it locked, and with no sign of anyone around. i found out on our way back that one of the girls had done what i'd been planning on doing, and slept in the back of the car (tinted windows) until daybreak :P

  • i'm really pleased that i didn't carry out my plan - i headed straight for the dancefloor, and the music was so good that i quaffed an energy drink and carried on digging. i had a nap in the chillout zone for about half an hour, woke up freezing at 6am, got excited at the prospect of rain (it only drizzled a little, though), and quaffed the second energy drink a short while later.

    if i'd slept, i would've been even unhappier when the pigs arrived to shut us down. i always complain about their lack of a "serve and protect" ethos, and it kills me that there is crime to be taken care of in this country and these guys go for those who should be protected by "no harm, no foul" policy. in fact, a quick calculation asserts that with one simple action they managed to ruin the saturday morning of the nicest, most decent five-thousandth of the country's population that it has to offer.

  • while i was chilling, some girls sat down next to me and i overheard the one expressing the extreme need to relieve herself and her stubborn refusal to do so in nature. i tried to help out by sharing the story of bumbamela, the festival where i first managed to pee in public.

    we were sitting by the tents, and i really needed to go. i didn't want to go all the way to the port-a-loos, and i couldn't bring myself to use the convenient bushes not more than three metres away.

    all of a sudden, one of our neighbours came running up, panting and cursing and wide-eyed - it didn't take a second before the story came tumbling out. he'd been walking to the dancefloor, when he'd suddenly noticed a line of five girls, off a-ways and spaced apart in the bushes, obviously relieving themselves at the same time.

    this wasn't the worst part: one of them smiled and waved at him.

    i was so impressed by this (albeit second-hand) display, that i smiled a great big smile, walked the three metres, and promptly experienced the greatest relief of my life.

  • i had a chat with the organizer that i met at the goa reunion, and he had some very interesting things to say about the officer's course and the effects it had on some of his friends. i have a lot to say about that, but now's not the time to try and collect my thoughts :P

    i was intrigued by his observation, though. he described me as "glowing with freedom" :)

  • i would've taken more photos, but the camera button on my phone broke just as it dawned on me how many people had arrived :(
getting home:

i spent about half an hour with the girls who i'd arrived with, sitting on the car and trying to find a ride back to tel aviv. cars were full, and most of the people who went past were from up north - i already had a ride to haifa.

i started offering to be a designated driver, but everyone thought i was looking for one, and i was informed really fast that the sign i'd quickly made wasn't going to help me. the girls had a good laugh when i started yelling that i'd sell bits of my soul for a ride :)

of note: i'm still irritated by a gorgeous girl who took my number but didn't give me hers in return. she and her cute friends offered me a ride, but weren't sure if they'd go back to tel aviv directly or arrive only in the evening. i'd promised to go to my old neighbour's birthday party at 4pm, and in retrospect i really don't know what i should've done. probably gone with them. i hope she calls, but i'm not holding my breath.

during that half an hour, aside from running into a couple of guys i haven't seen in years i clicked with one of the girls who was with me :)

the ride back, with drug checks and a depressed promoter, was toned down. as i said to him when he dropped me off at the taxi rank: it may not have ended well, but until it did it was one of those special, perfect parties, and that's nothing to sneeze at.

i arrived, as i had the night before, just in time to fill the shuttle and we were on our way. not the most comfortable of rides, but certainly better than the way there, and i still had plenty of bubbles left for the walk home.

the grapefruit i cut when i got out of the shower was delicious, but messy :)

i crashed for an hour, then went to the surprise birthday party. it was a really great party, with loads of people and absolutely AMAZING cakes and brownies. it turned out i had more bubbles left than i'd thought, and not only did i make a lot of people smile but i kept the kids busy for ages :)

i sat and talked with a few of people that i've only met fleetingly in the past, and it was a highly enjoyable afternoon.

eventually, though, my lack of sleep caught up with me and i had to come home and crash. getting into bed at 7pm just felt... right :)

---

i woke up at 5.30am, took a long time uploading the past week's photos to facebook (their java uploader's broken, it's a killer), watched the lastest (and cringe-worthily amusing) episode of the big bang theory (the pants alternative), and returned to sleep another two hours.

just before getting into bed, while i was washing out my thermos, danny gilboa's another morning was playing - i know from urchin that if you're in the stairwell you can hear my apartment perfectly. an incredibly cute blonde neighbour was walking past my kitchen window and suddenly stopped, staring bemusedly into the distance for a few heartbeats, then carried on. i resisted the urge to tap on the window and wave "good morning" (i always want to do things that normal people would find creepy), but that image of her was the last thing that went through my head when it hit the pillow.

i woke up with my feet so cold that all i could think of was attempting unsuccessfully to sell them to the inuit (i assume it's still winter for them, too).

i can't believe i've just spent over an hour getting all this down :P

---

i find these watches highly attractive.

for some reason, the ren quote "steempy, you gave away forty seven MEELEEON dollars - you EEDEEOT!" popped into my head, which is a perfect excuse to link through to the most morally relevant episode (although they rarely fail): the last temptation.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

not the same

i'm sitting at "checkpost", completely exhausted but trying not to nap, waiting for my ride to appear.

at least i know he's on his way :)

waiting wasn't so bad until i noticed the absurd number of mosquitoes hovering around me.

Friday, March 26, 2010

freebies part ii

this post resumes on a slightly different note: i'm now on my way to haifa; i have *apparently* scored myself a ride. i've just arrived home from an hour or so of hardcore frisbee (although i wasn't on top form), played directly after seeing kick-ass: a mind-blowingly beautiful movie, hardcore in content and almost exclusively consisting of the most stunning cinematography!

matthew vaughn is my hero.

---

[previous post continued] i was pulled out of my zone and offered a ride home, with the guy i'll be stopping over at and i trying to figure out the best way for me to get there. i hopped out the car, made my way to the bus, and answered my phone... tahoma and the alternative ride had spotted me and pulled over to give me a ride home :)

tahoma's first question was "what's happening?", which i found amusing because i gave him access to my blog :P
he's the man to ask about public transport, so i received an immediate answer to all the questions from the first ride :)

the alternative ride overheard me talking to the girl who was with us [here's me being tactful] about teaching her to rollerblade - he wanted to know if i'd teach him as well. we discussed the need for rollerblades to fit decently, and then got into an argument about whether or not i was really prepared to teach for free.

i'd offered, and he'd told me it would be as if he'd paid for lessons by giving me rides... as i said to him, that means he's just put a price on riding with him and it's no longer a friendly gesture. once i'd explained my point of view i had to jump out, and i almost [shameful admission] took out someone on a bike because i didn't look behind me when i opened the door :$

i've been reading the introduction to aristotle - poetics (the penguin classics version, and just in that found inspiration for my planned works ^_^
it really is mandatory reading!

i decided that it was time for a run - i filled and ran the washing machine and was on my way out the door when my cousin from the kibbutz called me up to drop a bombshell. in truth, the news is actually somewhat positive, but she's taken it hard in light of the traumatic couple of years she's been through and we talked for a while.
i'm not particularly good at consolation. the saddest bit is that she feels more comfortable (and with good reason at the moment) talking to me about these things than her own kids...

i exchanged a few sentences with chicken lady (thank you facebook), then headed out. one of the things i thought about a lot was my cousin's current predicament, and i remembered that she'd planned on doing the passover meal alone on the kibbutz... not cool. i decided i'd bail out on my other cousins and join her instead.

i discovered when i called her up afterwards that she'd already changed her plans, so that was a weight off my shoulders.

just as i slowed to a walk on my way back, some girl called out to me, begging me to hold the parking spot she'd found while she went to fetch her boyfriend. i'm *so* glad i don't have to worry about that sort of thing :)

---

i went to sleep fairly early. i woke up about half an hour before my alarm, and backed up all my converted writings so far before heading out to the post office. i was *very* excited to received my copy of the annotated alice and dr. horrible's sing-along blog ^_^

i began a random walk to look for a gift for my cousins, and ran into one of the girls from the rollerblading group. it turns out a whole bunch of us didn't feel up to riding this week... weird. while we were talking, a really cute dog stopped to sniff me. i bent down to give her my hand, she got really excited and a second later she was happily standing up with two paws on my chest, the lot of us having a laugh :)

the girl told me that we'd moved forward an hour during the night, and i was shocked. she checked my time, and told me to spin it - which i duly did. i gave up on the gift shopping, realizing its futility and decided to pick something up closer to home, and headed back to pick up my netbook and hit cafeneto.

there i discovered that my phone had updated the hour automatically, and i needed to swing it back :P

i had a great breakfast, and just as urchin arrived and i put my netbook away things started happening on the party front. i was offered a ride, then put in touch with someone who couldn't help, and then given the phone number of a friend of mine who hooked me up with the party info in the first place... it was only after i walked out of the movie that i managed to get in touch with the first guy and iron out the details :P

now i'm about to pack and head out. i don't have a ticket to the event - this could be a bit difficult. i hope not. it shouldn't be. it's time for another leap of faith, flying straight into the face of previous bad experience :P

---

robin williams - weapons of self destruction is okay, but not amazing. i did love the section on dock ellis, though - that was wild!

a possible cure for cancer? nice!

important alert: wasps are not bees.

urban dictionary: myth-information. i like.

m-sphere - in the heat just got me going for tonight ^_^

Thursday, March 25, 2010

freebies

i'm now sitting at cafeneto, for the second time as the first saw me reliving the dead battery story from a while back. the difference being that this time, i'd checked before and my netbook lied to me :/

i'm absolutely exhausted, and i'm still quite depressed about the party tonight that probably won't see me attending. i think that's been the primary cause for the whole week being down; trying to find a ride has made me feel really lonely.
even ru55 let me down - while i didn't expect him to be able to make it, i didn't anticipate his admission that he's not really into partying so much. if my friends are getting old, and i'm having trouble meeting young crazies, i'm screwed.

---

yesterday began with the snooze button: the mental switch that causes one to sleep the best, deepest, most comfortable sleep imaginable. if only i could sleep like that during the night.

in spite of that, i managed to be on time, and for once so did my ride. we had a repeat of an old argument, which later on inspired the short speech i've prepared for my eventual release:
people who are afraid to succeed deserve to fail. if you try you might not succeed, but if you don't you will definitely fail.
why is that so hard to grasp?

i called up the organization that's supposed to sweeten our service with deals and reduced prices, but who produce the most horrific amount of junk mail and have almost exclusively useless or lame treats on offer. in fact, most of the time what they offer is worse than what i'd be getting without their "help".
anyway, a while back i sent them a request to add me to their "no-spam" list, and they acquiesced. i was pleasantly surprised to see that the trash stopped coming, but a couple of weeks ago it began again.
the woman i spoke to had a very simple answer for me: "oops. i don't know what happened."

soon after that the big chief came by for a visit. my unit commander had made it perfectly clear that i wasn't to cause any problems... i think i was uncharacteristically well-behaved. he and his idiot-major-crony walked into my "office", and i stared blankly. they ducked into our unit commander's office, and stopped to talk to me on their way out.

i kept my face morbidly blank, and my tone to match.
"hi."
"hi."
...
"so - you're here?"
"yes."
...
and he turned and walked away. i loudly and unhappily added: "happy holidays" in my best eeyore voice.

about two seconds later i ran in to rescue a panicking unit commander and the hysterical secretariat: they couldn't figure out how to turn off my cackling witch and she'd freaked out the crony ^_^

after a quick break wherein i got frustrated with captain incompetent's inability to hear the difference between "e" and "i" (to be fair, it's a classic israeli issue), i chanced upon the fact that our unit was gathering for celebratory drinks and cake. i helped out a bit with the preparation, stood next to nystire mumbling nasty things about the big chief while he spoke, laughed as one of our freaks drove him crazy*, enjoyed the delicious cookies and then climbing into my TL for his stubborn refusal to update me.

i spent the rest of the day fighting the urge to pull faces and make offensive noises at him.

* the big chief is hard of hearing, and the guy who spoke not only talks softly, but makes every motion possible to thwart any attempts to read his lips, including a fairly offensive lip-smacking every few words.

---

i joined nystire for lunch, and we sat at the table with two girls (a captain and a major). we were being really silly, and giggling the entire meal - but something i said made the major's ears perk up.

"what could possibly make a [insert rank here] like yourself so bitter?"
i began to tell her. i did so in my usual fashion - end of the story first - but unlike my usual stories this one only gets more ridiculous the more information i share. i was almost in tears from laughter by the time i was through, several times bringing the captain to struggle not to spit-take or have her drink come out her nose and enjoying the sight of the major's eyes bulging to the point where i wondered if they could fall out her head.

"right," she said at the end, "i have no idea what to wish you."
"a shortened service," i replied, and we parted ways in what i can only describe as somber amusement.

i have to admit that telling my story is way more fun that living it.

---

aside from a long and entertaining coffee break, the rest of the day was a brainless stare day: i think i punched out maybe five lines of code. to be fair, i'm solving a fairly complex problem, but my heart wasn't in it.

[post cut short because urchin's arrived]

a quick flash in the pan

i just got back from running (well, more like jogging) 11km in just under an hour and fifteen minutes (while not at peak performance, and needing to pee from about halfway through). i needed to clear my head, and while i didn't achieve that i did at least get some thinking done.

sucked in

after posting, i returned home to dress up and make my way to cafesito to meet up with my alternative ride. the first thing he wanted to know was why i hadn't flirted with the cute girl standing next to me at the traffic light. ignoring my being in uniform (+3 discomfort, in nerd terms), i have this thing about not flirting with girls who don't at least look possessive of the right attitude.

that reminds me of saturday night with the two english girls.

---

just to prove my point, the biggest project breakthrough of the day happened when i was far away from my desk and concentrating on something else entirely. that's almost always the case with anything requiring actual thought.

once i'd implemented the target functionality, i walked in to my old office for something and was stunned by the accusation that i'd posted something inappropriate up on the board. i asked who said it was me, and the response was that i was logically the only person who could have done it because i'd been busy with the board the day before.

the sheer stupidity behind that "reasoning" astounds me.

i took it down and returned it to the offending party (it took one question at random to figure out who really had posted it), replacing it with the following:

in a section whose work consists primarily of logic problems, it is a despicable shame to find such a lack of the required skills.
a)
totalwaste hung stuff up + b) someone hung up something offensive DOES NOT IMPLY c) totalwaste hung up the offending item
---
in addition,
totalwaste doesn't read newspapers. think a little.

i've mentioned before that my TL lacks sentimentality ie. doesn't give a shit about anyone else in addition to his creepy habit of laughing at others' extreme pain and suffering. he was instructed by our SC to keep me abreast of any happenings in the unit, and due to his negligence i almost missed another event, this time of real importance. today we had the first farewell for someone else who's lactose intolerant, and that meant that instead of pizza she brought an edible and pretty decent spread.

---

post-lunch, continuing to work. my SC and the head of the project that required perl are sitting with our unit commander, giving him feedback on what i've done.
"so you see? you're useful!"
...
"imagine how useful i'd be if i wasn't so damned bitter about being here."

---

i came across something in the code that my team-mate had added, and discovered that he had "temp" variables all over the place. i went to talk to him about it, explaining that that's a sure sign that something wasn't done right.

i then realized that he'd inserted a piece of code to completely redo what the previous code had done, with a slight modification that of itself wasn't well thought-out.
"yeah, but i didn't know how you'd handled it."
"and? i wasn't answering my phone?"
i had to vent a little, then gave up and returned to completely redesign and rewrite (simultaneously) the offending mechanism.

i got so stuck into it, as a matter of fact, that i almost missed my shuttle. i'm glad i'm enjoying the work itself that much, even if everything else sucks.

speaking of enjoying, though, i realized that if i'm already stuck sitting in the main thoroughfare of the unit, i may as well make the most of it. i've taken to eating hot-chocolate powder and spreading it around my teeth before smiling at people.

---

i swear the shuttle's suspension gets tangibly worse every day. i managed to read a fair amount, but not without difficulty and i had to be constantly aware of the general terrain we were traversing. a couple of bumps made me really regret the fact that i was wearing a seatbelt.

i'm completely enthralled by the iliad. the fitzgerald translation combined with the original content itself is simply incredible!

---

i switched clothes as soon as i got home, then headed straight for the "good neighbour" passover donation run, stopping only for calzone on the way. they'd planned for two days, but there were enough volunteers that they were done by 8pm this evening. i got a fair amount of exercise [as i told one of the girls, it's not fair of me that this is the only thing i've helped with all year] and was very pleased to have participated.

i went past megasport, and although they don't have climbing shoes i was told to bring in my unused wheels and they'll see about taking them back. if they will, i'll trade for another frisbee - mine's been badly abused :)

i continued on to maslul, who did have. they look good, they feel about right, but not as right as the ones we can get at the climbing wall and unless we're mistaken (i called scrapper to consult) the ones at the climbing wall are about NIS 100 cheaper. i'll check that out first, then.

---

on the way home, the dude who once bothered me and j-girl (i just looked, couldn't find the post) at the bus station walked up to me, we exchanged evening's greetings, and then he scrounged around on the inside of the traffic light's post, pulling out an empty cigarette box and throwing it (roughly) to the ground at my feet.
he proceeded to watch me: i had a few seconds to think about this before the light changed. i decided that the best course of action, something that i often think of doing but simply never do, was to pick it up and carry it to the nearest trash can. i have a feeling he wasn't anticipating that, but simultaneously i suspect that he didn't really give a shit either way.

at least i'm happy with my response.

about fifty metres further on i was horrified to witness a man slowly walking through traffic with his hand on the back of a giant dog, both almost getting run over a couple of times because they were heading straight through incoming and aggressive traffic.
i had the unpleasant sensation that this was a blind man and his guide dog, and that the guide dog was on a suicide run - but he was almost to the other side before i could react.

---

i was going to work on the shirt design for the taekwondo competition, but i think it's better if i go to bed early tonight and deal with it tomorrow evening.

on an unrelated note, my place is an absolute mess and i have *got* to tidy up. at least my new - and newly prettied - stand will alleviate some of the difficulties.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

focusing dreams

a night full of dreams, vaguely remembered. the truly interesting ones occurred between the time that my alarm went off and the phone call from my SC asking where i was.

it's not like i have an excuse: i was too tired to go rollerblading last night. that can't have been a physical thing.

---

i woke up yesterday still smelling paint. i woke up to a track from the kumba mela experiment, which was really amazing and a great way to start the day.

i again *just* missed a bus on my way out, but a different one this time. it cannot be!!!

i spent the day arguing about the gifts for our previous SC*, making guitar noises, doing fun stuff with my project, and receiving mixed responses to my new shirt.

* i'm going to send them via military mail, probably with a personal note attached

there's no need to ask people for statistics about their home countries when we have access to the wikipedia. chances are they'll give you inaccurate ones, anyway. it's possible that that will cause friction, and the case of myself and nystire it generally does. i do need to make an effort to keep our disagreements private, though.

we had an interesting and quick presentation about why we shouldn't listen to the media regarding any information leaked from military sources (my word - some of the printings are completely misguided!), and i spent the last bit of the day fighting the munchies and c# on two fronts.

i played frisbee in the evening, but my heart and body weren't in it. i was worn out.

---

there's a rainbow pattern in my cafeneto coffee from the reflection off the blinds :)
now to rush back home to get dressed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

aggression balance

being productive from bed is nigh impossible. once i'd started on a month, i felt compelled to finish it and it took me longer than it needed to and was uncomfortable. to make up for it, though, i pulled out alice in sunderland and resumed being engrossed in it ^_^

i got to sleep fairly early, and yet was still quite stuck getting out of bed in the morning. i don't check bus times, so i'm always amazed that i *just* miss the bus that's usually the one i need.

---

the day begins with a mail check: gasoline has sent me a message claiming that cash is a problem, so she won't be joining me for the trance party. her phrasing makes me fairly certain that this is her way of saying that she doesn't do trance, which makes her agreement to join me retrospectively disappointing.

the other girl whose car we were going to take? also out. in all her enthusiasm, she "forgot" that her boyfriend was coming back this weekend? hard to swallow.

---

i sent my ride an sms to let him know that i'd arrived at the agreed upon time. fifteen minutes later, i received an sms telling me he'd be another ten minutes. with the extra half an hour, even if i hadn't known in advance, i could have sat on a cup of coffee at the train station instead of standing in the hot sun waiting for him.

so i wasn't having the most relaxed morning: i was pissed.

we began the ride with a fight about whether or not i should give our old SC the demotivators i bought him. his reasoning was that he's no longer our SC, so how he behaved is no longer relevant. aside from the fact that the only reason that i'm currently still in uniform is because he played me for a fool, that rationale completely excuses and even justifies my behaving badly for the rest of my service - once i leave, we'll all be friends.

right? of course.

---

so the day started with my complete and utter frustration at the general lack of genuine* respect most middle-easterners show for one another.

* as opposed to pretense, which to their credit israelis aren't big fans of. i'm primarily referring to respect for others' time and importance in the grand scheme of things.

nystire managed to sneak in another aggravation - without saying a word, he'd slipped my p5 glove into my office. i didn't know it was there, and i now share my "office" with the rest of the unit. people are in an out all the time, and yet he didn't think there was any chance that interested fingers might venture in my glove's direction.

and of course, returning something without mentioning it is a comforting gesture. of course.

i checked out car rental options, and began wondering if maybe it's worth buying a car for use on weekends and renting it out privately during the week. the guys in the office had a field day with the idea, and then nystire suggested that it might be possible for me to take their car this weekend.

sweet! i asked if he wouldn't mind, and was told i'd have to speak to his wife, without letting her know that i'd already asked him. the procedure is as follows:
1) i call her and ask to borrow the vehicle
2) she calls nystire to discuss it with him
3) nystire discusses it "officially" with me
4) he calls her back, and gets permission
5) someone tells me what's going on

so i called her number, but she didn't answer. i then asked him to call her and ask her if she could call me :/ [i discovered later that i had the wrong number]

lunchtime saw us filling out appraisal forms for the catering company. some of our responses weren't very nice.
i was surprised at how hot the hot sauce was. surprised, and gasping :o

---

i explained a couple of basic marketing principles to nystire when we got back to our offices; we were talking about purchasing a kindle or ipad, and he started repeating the industry-standard mantra of the ipad being an inferior product because it's not a complete product that integrates with everything else.

it's not supposed to be. and most of the slashdotters-slash-geeks are not the target market of the device. these are the same people who complained that the ipod sucks because it only operates under itunes. i agree with this assessment, but only because it's a problem for me, and i'm not their target market.

---

i spent a few minutes eating another section's snickers and discussing the practicality of implementing a pass system for certain equipment that needs to be borrowed, then went off in search of something to waste time with. i wasn't in the mood to work.

unfortunately, both of my TL's (confusion reigns) caught up with me and i had to sit in a meeting for the next couple of hours formalizing my plans for my project. this was tiring, and made me very, very angry with captain incompetent. he really takes being a moron to the next level.

---

day over, shuttle home. i almost lost my war decoration due to bad seat-belt design, which has me wondering if the idiots who make minibuses ever actually get inside to try them out :/

i walked to pongo, and had my "i only eat vegans" shirt printed - it came out really nicely (these are the low-res versions):

[click here for the version with a man]

i continued on to home center, to have the salesman ignore me in a fashion that made me take it personally. i walked out with a basic telephone and a mosquito zapper, and almost took the dvd player as well. i'll check and see if maybe the ones at the base store are cheaper. my dvd works fine, but being able to plug in any usb device would make it a whole lot more useful.

i walked home, acquiring someone's junked shelf stand on the way.
a) my finger and forearm strength have increased massively since i began climbing, and i carried it home one hand at a time
b) i had fun spraying it brown and yellow
c) i'm a little high from the fumes

i've eaten and done the online thing, rested a little, and now that i've posted i'm off to dance a bit and hopefully meet someone who i can ride with on friday.

the mario truth - i like this.

a bond for my countrymen

i believe it to be impossible to foster mutual trust between two cultures that have such a tentative relationship with the truth. if one begins with the mostly accurate assumption that the negotiating table is filled with liars, real progress is unlikely.

this has to change. from both sides. and if not for those sitting across from us at the table, then at least for ourselves. we hurt ourselves every day, in a million ways, with every "accepted" and "familiar" white lie we tell.

don't tell me a lie that will make me feel better right now, because i will hate you for it when i discover the truth.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

if half of me is asleep...

... and the other half wants to be asleep, where am i?

last night was cold. cool air was blowing in onto my face when i crashed, and i don't know from where. after the alarm went off, it took me a long time to work up the courage to get out of bed, drag on a shirt and get back under the covers to warm it up before venturing out for pants.

...

i missed my bus this morning. i was running late, but walking briskly and i would've made it if the bus driver hadn't stormed through the traffic light that usually catches him. i disappointedly walked to ibn gvirol, certain that i was going to have to fight crowds and arrive late.

of course, the bus i was looking for didn't arrive. there were two of us waiting for it, and the girl had arrived early for it. it took a while for the second one to come past. i was listening to bob dylan and vaguely considering scribbling. i arrived at the central bus station resigned to my fate, and was shocked to find that the usual 8am frenzy was non-existent: a handful of soldiers calmly waiting in line?

something was up. i began to wonder if today was a holiday or something.

as it was an internal bus i knew i could get away with falling asleep, and i was surprised to be woken up with a comfortable amount of personal space still surrounding me. i hopped off at our base, and walked past the mess hall idly thinking that it would have been nice if i'd made it in time for breakfast...

then i saw nystire walking towards me, on his way to eat. my internal clock had skipped forward an hour! not only did i make it in time for breakfast, but it was suddenly clear why there weren't many people at the station :P

i got straight to work when i entered my office, and decided to replace my manual search function with the internal Find. which doesn't work, so i had to put it all back after a lot of struggling. at least i found the HideSelection property - i could strip out a whole bunch of messy lines i'd incorporated to compensate :)

the SC that drove me crazy about listening to music last year came past to tell me excitedly about a show he went to on the weekend - maybe he's waking up :)

i spent the morning in the massage chair or discussing friday's rollerblading incident with the two guys who'd been with me, and then suddenly it was time for lunch. lunch wasn't bad - pseudo-lasagne - but i returned to the office unfocused, spending the next hour or two alternating between staring unseeing at my screen and napping uncontrollably.

i was woken to the excitement of a man who's finally acquired the carnivorous plants he's always wanted. i had three emergency doses of chocolate (finishing the nutella, begging for a peanut-butter bonbon, and finally being offered a standard milk slab) and made myself some coffee before sitting the rest of the afternoon finally closing the perl deal and trying to solve puzzles.

too much face-time with the monitor = very dry, tired eyes. i have to thank my mum for her comments the last time we spoke, because when i suddenly realized how focused i'd been i immediately took to looking away and squeezing them until they watered.

---

i'm going to be very weird now: as much as i hate to admit it, my current situation is pretty good. i may be unhappy, but in the big picture it'll be quite the score if i'm released on my current date and not before.

essentially, while it may be tough on me i'm actually in a win-win situation.

i'm still going to request a bit of a push from the big boss, but at least i've finally relaxed into some perspective.

---

i came straight home and have been online for the last two hours. not cool. i'm going to grab my netbook and get into bed. [okay, that sounds terrible but i do want to do some work on compiling my notes this week]

danny gilboa being awesome again: this is how it is :)

for anyone not familiar with freakangels, it's getting all shiny again

i like the idea, and welcome receiving one as a gift: selectively blocking out noise

the sound a camel makes...

... while filling up on water :P

i slept the night away, waking up eleven hours later completely refreshed. i spent the morning uploading photos (mildly irritating, facebook's only allowing the simple uploader of late), reading a bit and being annoyed that empathy doesn't make me appear "away" after five minutes of inactivity.

i strapped on my blades around lunchtime and headed to meet karnaf and a girl(-?)friend of his on the beach. we were going to play frisbee, but there was too much wind. instead, we were treated to a great view of windsurfers, a cute woman in pink on the swing and a middle-aged man doing yoga. we had to work to protect our beers from the sand.

after i escorted them most of their way home, i continued to the sportec to meet with the girl who wants to roll instead of ride. apparently the city council is responsible for dj tone-deaf and his speaker of warbly doom, and it's his job to play each saturday until after the sun goes down. he played complete and utter shite (and i tried to convince him to switch) right until we left, at which point he showed us out with classic eighties.

i hate him.

anyway, it was an hour or two of a mixture of fun and frustration, but there was definite overall improvement and we ended on a good note. and the brat who started blading between us stopped after we gave him a stern talking-to, which was a plus.
after quite a long chat, we went our separate ways, and i stopped by the supermarket before running into my old neighbour and his wife at cafeneto. after quickly stopping at home to unpack and switch to sandals, i returned to join them for coffee.

we had a very pleasant evening, although it turned quite chilly after a while and that meant it was time to go. part of the temperature drop was social - a couple of cute english girls sat down at the table next to me and were talking loudly about something that one referred to as being extremely important to keep secret.
i didn't score any points by informing them that if that was the case, they possibly shouldn't be talking about it in public :P

a short while after i'd showered and had dinner, the dean's son rocked up. i thought we'd need an hour, but that estimate was short by half. he didn't do a bad job on his first assignment, and i needed to get across the basic elements of problem solving and modularization to him while simultaneously demonstrating how to teach oneself visual basic.

i hope he understood it all. i had to explain to him how memory doesn't work to get him to write stuff down :P

i bought a bottle of vodka and bussed to gasoline's new pad's housewarming - sweet pad! not only did i spent a fun hour with them, including getting electrocuted by a nasty game and almost breaking down a door, i discovered that both she and one other from my old team dig trance parties, and it looks like i have a couple of partners in crime for this week's big one! i'm very excited ^_^

i left early (or late, if one was looking at the clock) to meet with urchin for another photography project of hers. we got set up nearby, but then realized that i'd forgotten to bring a torch so we walked back to my place (i had to pick up frozen yoghurt on the way) to pick one up. fortunately, there was a good spot right nearby and once we were done (and duly impressed with the results) i came straight home to get ready for bed.

if only getting ready for bed didn't involved spending so much time online :P

---

man and the environment:

philip zimbardo on the psychology of evil is about wresting responsibility from one's environment. the man has one helluva point.

so does this man: dan nocera talks about personalized energy, and offers us a little bit of hope for one of the pieces of the puzzle that is our uncertain future.
here are some ideas that can help, too. and they're easier to implement on a personal scale.

the cove, a movie about fish.

entertainment:

i've just heard ix lam at - plant attack for the second time, and it got better ^_^

here is the video for panic ensemble - spring in my heart; the release of which we "celebrated" earlier this week. it's a pretty video, at least :)

it's about christmas, it's random, it's fairly offensive, and it's an inconvenient truth concerning santa and his elves

guess who's coming to town? HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

namaste - second visitation

i'm not going to go into too much detail, but that was a sick party: fun from the get-go, with wonderful and beautiful people, insanely good music (and a goa set finish for the win!), a large indian food and chai bar, and i couldn't wipe the grin off my face the entire night.

my back was still tender, but i warmed it up fairly quickly and i wasn't bothered again until home-time ^_^

aside from it being that much fun, there were two things that kept causing my grin to approach explosion - the fact that i'm planning on hitting the subcontinent fairly soon, and the fact that my last week has been so utterly ridiculous and i was still able to go hard ^_^

i walked home at 6am when the sound went down, having met a couple of interesting people and regaining my status as a full-fledged member of the pack (in my own eyes of course, in reality i never lost it).

i napped for an hour after showering, then did a walkabout with the plumber. at least my water connection's in good nick, and i have a quote and advice on how to reroute the pipe going through my patio :)

soon after he left, the technician arrived and installed my telephone line. i've now used all the plug points in the vicinity of my pc.

i arranged to meet with urchin for breakfast, which would've been a quick deal (i needed to rest a little before heading to the climbing wall) if she hadn't misunderstood and taken a half an hour to find the place.

we sat in the more popular cafe on the corner of masryk, and were ignored for quite a while by the waitrons. when one of them eventually arrived (we had to ask) to take our order, he informed us that in spite of the breakfast costing two shekels more than the place next door and including less, it would be impossible to add anything to the egg (so not so much as a mushroom omelette). i heard that, and we were out the door.

the place next door not only had far superior service and a nicer vibe, but for the first time i was given the option of a ham & mushroom omelette and when it arrived it was brilliant, with a really well arranged salad variety and good coffee. i think it's my new favourite place.

the only thing that was hard about breakfast was that i seem to have developed a sensitive spot on one of my teeth, and chewing was electric :(
special moment: i was in the middle of saying something, and out of nowhere she cut me short exclaiming "i have no pants!"
i don't know what caused her to think of it at that exact moment, but there was actually a relatively rational explanation for the statement (although not as an outburst). i couldn't stop giggling, helped along by the wide-eyed stare of the guy one table over.

i tried shopping on the way home, but the only place that was on the way didn't have any of the electronic stuff i wanted. i guess a visit to home center is in order. i got straight into bed with my massage pillow as soon as i got home, waking up forty five minutes later to dress and pack and roll out.

i arrived a little earlier than the others, put on my shoes and attempted the crawl around the wall. it's harder than it looks :P
overall, i climbed a lot and had a number of successful and satisfying moments. i did need the energy drink and the energy bar that i'd taken with, though, because i was physically decidedly weak. at least i have an excuse :)

i rushed out of there at 4.30 to meet the group, and a couple of guys from our unit joined us. i'd told the girl to meet me earlier for a lesson, but she decided she'd join us anyway and see how it went. it went badly - she left at the first slight downhill (we're talking about a parallel to a short flight of stairs), and unfortunately when i went to see what was going on the other guy stopped as well, and there we lost our connection to the group.

i was *really* lucky to manage to find them again, after a mad sprint in what was hopefully the right direction, but there was no way the other guy was going to make it. i've just sent him a message explaining the roles in group behaviour, and inviting the both of them for lessons.

the route was great, but more importantly the sunset was magnificent and i hope that the pictures i took come out alright. the evening was a lot of fun and very social, and now that i've cooled down i'm hitting the shower and crashing for a bit. i think i deserve to.

[this post accompanied by trold - ganesha tune: seriously good]

Thursday, March 18, 2010

neck, back, tongue

after a full (4.5 hours) night's sleep i woke up just fine. it was only on my way out the door that my neck began to hurt, and my back. really, really hurt. i've been suffering it the entire day, and while i've managed to increase mobility a little over the last couple of hours i'm still mightily uncomfortable.

i walked a bit of the way to meet my ride, it was a cooler morning than it has been for a while and the day justified a jacket for the first time in a couple of weeks. i realized on the way to the base that i'd planned my friday rather badly; going from an all-nighter at the trance party to dealing with the cable technician and the plumber, then hitting the climbing wall and finally joining the sunset rollers does seem a bit much :/

i'm usually one of those complaining about the kind of unsociable behaviour that i displayed this morning: a couple of us had washed our mugs and filled them with water. i had an excuse - the sink was on my way to the kettle - but we should have filled it anyway. by boiling just enough water for two, we upset the next person in :/

i spent the morning reworking my search and replace functionality - it appears that the link i posted yesterday was based on a startling inaccuracy, or at the very least was based on a wide discrepancy between language versions. no Find function for me. i managed to get around it fairly easily, though. this left me with undo functionality, but a problem with an infinitely recursive "replace all"... i gave up after a while, disabling it temporarily, so that i could go back to the priority stuff.

the perl scripts. i *hate* perl. but by the end of the day, i'd finally found the solutions to all the weird problems thrown at me (only one of them was actually caused by bad script on my side) - and on sunday we'll find out if that really is the last of it.

i was pleased to discover that there are people who like my sunset / sunrise photos. i always feel like i take too many of them :P

---

i got some heavy news today. later on, i received a sensible explanation.

it's all a matter of perspective. the big boss, who i don't particularly care for, has stated unequivocally that as i've done something wrong, the army must kick me out. he doesn't want me requesting a shortened service and essentially getting a pat on the back.

i've still got the option of spending the remainder somewhere else, but at least where i am i'm working on a project that i believe in, and in the military more than anywhere it's important to stick with the enemy that you know.

---

i had fun messing with the guitar today, but i realized after watching another beginner fiddling with eric clapton - tears in heaven that i have got to learn to play the guitar at some stage :P

my TL forgot to inform me that i had to be at a unit lecture, and so i used the time to work. a couple of people came by to let me know that i (in particular) would have found it interesting.
oh, well.

much like peanut butter, i can happily gorge myself on nutella straight from the jar. so good!

the inspection had begun by the time i was able to use the vacuum cleaner, and i was horrified to discover that the last people to avail themselves of it had filled the bag, not replaced it, and rendered it useless :(
i fled the scene, and nobody said anything. apparently, one of the perks of sitting where i am is that nobody really cares about me :P

---

i informed a couple of my section-mates about the demotivational gift i bought for our previous SC - our new SC has called it a "tasteless revenge". i'm actually alright with that.

me? bitter?

---

towards the end of the day i remembered the massage chair, and sat for ten minutes on the verge of tears. i then transferred myself to an uncomfortable seat on the shuttle, waking up halfway home with my neck even more skew than before and my left arm asleep. wonderful.

i retrieved my nice pants from the laundromat, made myself a snack, and lay down to try a method my physiotherapist taught me. it kind of worked a little. after half an hour, i decided that i didn't need to go to either of the two performances i wanted to see this evening: i ran a load of washing and created a t-shirt design that had popped into my head a while back before chatting to my mum for a bit. i repeated the self-torture method again, a little less successful this time, but i did get some rest.

hanging out laundry, eating, watching the big bang theory - the precious fragmentation [absolutely brilliant!], and posting before heading out... on my way to namaste ^_^

---

i called up the cute girl who wants to learn to rollerblade to arrange a time, and i'm not so sure how innocent this is anymore. not that that's a bad thing, mind ;)

crowd control

we made it to the tmuna with more than enough time to get settled. i got organized with alcohol and munchies, and took my first sips as the show began with their new music video. it's a very cool video :)

the sound wasn't fantastic, and i've never seen them give such a half-hearted performance. at first i was certain that yael was sick, and that her unusual lack of lustre was affecting the rest. as the night wore on, however, i became of the opinion that their missing energy was due to the crowd not being on the same page from the beginning.

quite frankly, i've never before been to a concert with such a large number of self-involved, loud, abrasive, busy and - worst of all - disinterested people. there was a constant racket, mostly people shouting self-congratulatory bullshit at each other or flirting ostentatiously, constant movement as if everyone was in a hurry and had someplace else to be, and that turned the place into a mess.

the worst of the lot put my nose out of joint immediately: his woman was standing next to me, and he came between us (there was barely enough space for us as it was) to snog her, and his long, slimy hair and shoulder were pushing into me. i didn't have anywhere to go, so i clenched my teeth and after a minute he moved to the other side of her.

then he began talking shit. loudly. VERY, VERY LOUDLY. i reached across to attract his attention, and asked him if he could please keep it down a bit.
"go closer," he suggested, giving me a cocky look and then resuming.

a few seconds went by before he raised his voice again, and i asked him again. this time, he got the half-drunk "try me" look that i've seen too much in this country. arsim in nice clothing are arsim no less. he reached around to push a finger into my shoulder and repeat his instruction to move closer to the stage.

that's not intelligent, civilized behaviour. there are a number of things wrong with it. the primary one, at least in my opinion of what should be his point of view, being that i'm a lot bigger than him and he'd already put me in battle mode.

i looked at him squarely in the eyes, and told him to stop.

he did it again.

i told him again. i could feel the edge that had crept into my voice. i didn't want to fight, but i was ready to climb into this bastard.

he did it again. at least, he got to touching my shoulder, but his partner finally employed a bit of emotional intelligence and stopped him. i gave him a look, turned back to the stage and found myself ready and waiting for the attack. i stayed on the alert right until i saw them walk past me on their way out about a minute later, and it took me a minute or two after that to chill out (relatively, of course) and enjoy the music again.

and for some reason, the band was in way better spirits for the last two songs. i think maybe they were just glad it was over - i suspect that the crowd was there for the video producers and not for them.

i'm really, really sorry that that was scrapper's introduction to one of the most brilliant and inspired bands that i've come across. i hope he'll enjoy the cd that i gave him when he dropped me off.

--

i'm smitten by facebook chat. having a comfortable interface for it just opened up a world of communication for me!

i really dig this guy, and his insights: reuben margolin on kinetic art

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

with minutes to spare

well, i'm glad i finally caught up with the posting, and scrapper's running late so i have a moment to share a bit.

it appears that my march copy of wired has gone missing, so i've applied for it to be resent. i'm not entirely comfortable with reading the magazine online, but another good article on social networks and productivity caught my eye.

it's almost time for falcon 9 :)

forced three

i got my three hours, but only because i unconsciously slept in. my body made a decision that i couldn't counter, and i felt like a real tit when i woke up at 7.30. i got into base *just* shy of the 10am "you're on holiday" cut-off, and i'm really glad because i can think of nothing worse than making an effort to get to base on time, failing, and turning what could have at least been a (paid for) free day into a pointless travel nightmare.

tuesday's post:
[health] my knees were in a bad way yesterday morning, as was my neck and upper back. my fall seems to have taken out my [rhomboid / trapezius, i can't really tell] as well (as could have been expected, but i'd been doing so well for the last while...).

i began the day in the doctor's office. he was not happy to see me. he gave me antihistamines and told me that friday night's sensation was probably purely psychological. he was agitated and rough when he checked my knees.
how am i supposed to know if i've done damage to them? i'm not a doctor. i'd rather err on the side of caution (he says ironically).

[code] i learned a big c# lesson in the morning: a function call in a boolean expression may not be evaluated. as in, on principle. this threw me out completely. i can't get behind a design decision like that. for instance, if i write
if (IndexOf("a") >= 0) {
i would expect the IndexOf function to be called and its return value tested. is that just me?

[social] over lunch i discovered that a guy in my unit's friend's girlfriend's friend is the girl who moved into my old apartment when i left. i find the fact that i heard about this from him when i've never met her nor spoken to him to be a bit weird.

[code] i finished writing a replace function the wrong way. by this i mean that i find each instance of the queried text and create a new string from the text before it, the replacement string and the text after it. this ruined the undo functionality.
it didn't occur to me that search and replace would be built into the control. it sucks not being connected to the internet at work, and having no msdn.

i did create an incidental feature, though, and one which i would welcome in most of my environments. i don't limit the number of search and replace windows you can open, meaning i can perform multiple searches or replaces simultaneously :)

perl is llama hate juice. i spent most of the afternoon debugging the scripts i thought i'd finished.
a) i hadn't fully tested them. i made the incorrect assumption that the pre-processed stuff would be constructed in the same way. it's not. at all.
b) it would appear that the scripts run differently on my computer. this makes for an incredibly frustrating experience when running it from someone else's.
c) we've learned a lot. mostly about how annoying perl is.

on the move i had a nap on the shuttle home, that i sorely needed. lipgirl and i had made plans to meet for coffee, but she wasn't answering her phone so i headed off to the book store. they've been giving me alerts, this one for a pop-up version of a collection of dr seuss. it's not robert sabuda, but it's very good nonetheless.

[recreation] i made myself a quick supper and sat online, catching up and posting, until it was time to go. i made it on time, which meant that the group was going to leave late :P
i chatted with a cute girl that cycled with us a few weeks back, and she's decided she wants to blade as well. she was really excited when i offered lessons :)

we had a huge group last night: summer's definitely on its way! i had a long chat with one of the girls, and was turned shy on hearing that i've become a topic of conversation amongst the females of the pack :P
the route was long and there were plenty of hills. i was surprised to find myself and especially my knees in excellent shape - the longest run we did i sprinted with a beer in hand, and i handled the speedy south tel aviv streets with ease :)

a couple of us were shocked to discover that there's a guy with us who's not only vegan (the principled kind that i don't particularly appreciate) but doesn't like chocolate. i find the idea of not enjoying something as basic as that (to me, at any rate, i wouldn't last without it) really sad. having him regale us with horror stories of chocolate ice-cream was simply painful.

we finished off the evening at the penguin club - i've been wondering about its whereabouts for a while because they have supposedly good weekly trance parties. we all had fun trying to dance on blades, the music was pretty sweet and the vibe was comfortable. it was a shame to have to leave early.

as usual :P

i bladed back with a couple of my neighbours and got home around 2.30am. i sat online to finish posting, had a shower, and went to bed not really tired.

[moving] i went to sleep around 4am, and woke up at 6am. i hadn't received any responses to the messages i'd sent the night before, but i assumed i'd be able to catch our SC anyway. at 6.30am i forced myself to stop snoozing and prepared to get myself out of bed, but then i woke up and an hour had gone by. no responses to my frantic sms'es, shaving was a blur (and i was seeing funny colours) and every motion was a mission.

at least i had enough presence of mind to walk out with tea and biscuits.

i'm really bothered by one specific aspect of public transport: i'm exceptionally uncomfortable with rubbing my eyes after i've held on to any features in the bus :/

i read bits and napped bits on the way to the base, and was shocked to receive a call from my TL when i was already on the internal bus asking why i hadn't reported in. it was only after i got in that i discovered that my sat-phone wasn't working, hadn't been the entire night, and i'd missed a ton of calls and messages - most importantly from my SC :(

[bondage] i was thrown a roll for breakfast, as the first thing when i arrived - pre-coffee - was being dragged into a meeting about the project i was hoping to be done with already. as soon as that was done i gave the sat-phone company a call. after having vented as little as possible (it couldn't be helped, some things just had to be said as the calls are recorded :P) i was informed that "yeah, that shit happens from time to time and you'll just have to deal with it". wonderful!

military phones don't need to actually work, right?

i decided over lunch with him that i'm going to try ignoring captain incompetent, in spite of the fact that he's responsible for me as far as work is concerned. i'll probably get away with it.

i tried to get back to work, but i passed out at my desk. fortunately, i came around just before our unit commander arrived :$

perl anguish was put aside for spring cleaning. i haven't sat at my desk in almost two months, and one of my "team-mates" (all descriptions are tricky of late) came outside to "ask" (beg, plead, and guilt) me to clean it. i, erm, volunteered* to do them a favour and handled the basic dusting. then discovered that we're undergoing an inspection tomorrow and nobody had thought to inform me. i grabbed some cleaning equipment and rushed to my "office" to scrub and tidy, while my formal TL (the dog-tag breaker) shredded whatever remained of my personal effects.

he couldn't understand why i took umbrage.

* i was going to say "acquiesced". wrong word.

[society] the telephone technician called in an attempt to convince me to come home early tomorrow so he could install it at a time more convenient for him. i'm impressed that he caught my tone of voice so quickly when i explained that "i have a job".

[bondage] i sat with one of the guys, fighting with perl until the end of the day. i *think* i may be on to something. perl sucks.

[summary] after managing to get some rest on the shuttle home, i've been sitting at my pc posting, watching the big bang theory and how i met your mother, chatting online (wow - empathy for both facebook and google chat is impressive), and am finally getting up to go and see panic ensemble with scrapper.

dangerously high blood in alcohol levels

i'll probably realize how late it is when i reach 98% :P
[i meant 99.98%]

i'm going to attempt to get through monday / tuesday in a nutshell, but considering my propensity for elaboration this might end up a full week of continued posts.

---

i woke up at 5.30am to an sms from my ride letting me know that i could sleep in another hour. then i slept in a little more.

another dusty, hot and ugly day. the radio hosts were going on about the woman whose goal is to become the fattest woman in history; one of them was praising her for having a dream. honestly, i agree with him. it's not a particularly bright dream, but she is doing something she's good at and apparently deriving satisfaction. she's only harming herself, and she doesn't sound miserable. good for her!

i began the day at the clinic, but before i could see a medic they closed shop for a while so i went to work. having completed the perl project within days - as opposed to the others who waited an entire month for nothing to happen - i've decided to push those involved to write a report on how the problem was solved. it's cruel, but i'm praying that maybe one of them will learn from the experience and perhaps try to *solve* the next problem he runs into.

yeah, i know. i live in a fantasy world.

lunch was actually alright - pseudo-lasagna - but we had an argument over whether or not israelis need to be taught basic table manners before going abroad. the argument walked back with us to the office, where i discovered that the actual cause for disagreement wasn't the topic, rather the fact that i said "israelis" and it wasn't understood that that's because i *am* one and i care about how *my* people are represented.

*sigh*. israelis.

one of the guys had a good laugh at me when he realized that i've been using facebook events as a method of managing my schedule. that, my whiteboard and my phone are what keep me running :P

nystire and i had yet another communication battle, this one over my incorrect use of a word and his refusal to even attempt to understand what i was getting at. "you said x, that's all there is to it" isn't valid (in my opinion). it would most certainly be better if i'd said x, but i was only capable of saying y and the two letters are pretty damn close :/

i returned to my office feeling the need for some chocolate, so i dug into my now-traditional nutella-cornflakes before heading for coffee. one of the TL's opened up a tin of chocolates, and i'll be damned if i'm going to let something like having just eaten my fill prevent me from consuming more :D

we talked about the hebrew version of the urban dictionary while waiting for the water to boil. they have some highly entertaining entries.

i badger our unit commander every day about my status. monday's news was actually news - some of the bureaucratic backgrounders have been woken into action, and their lethargy is preferable to their apathy.

i added search functions to my project, and in c# that turned out to be a far sight more complicated than it needed to be. i finished with it this morning, and suddenly realized that i hadn't connected the search box to any specific variable, allowing the user to open more than one search / search and replace box and use whichever one suits them.

i think that's an incidental feature :)

the secretary that came with us to bind books on sunday has been paying me short visits over the last couple of days... i think she wants to be my friend. i'm cool with that, although we established very early on that we have nothing in common... i sense awkwardness in the near future.

i still felt sickly by the end of the day. i went home with the alternative ride, who tried unsuccessfully to convince me that replacing my original thursday dvd with a copy and personally printed stickers is good enough. in addition, he drove me nuts the whole way home for the same reason we usually don't get along; he's the kind of guy who thinks of himself as smarter than everyone else, and is not only patronizing in the extreme but he tries to play games with them to see how they'll react.
i really, really don't like people like that.

i have trouble tearing myself away from facebook. recently, specifically, it's from organizing the groups i've created :/

i got sucked into discussing politics with the dry cleaner, and went shopping. both the previous conversation and the fact that all the non-express tills were closed at the same time caused me to run late for the climbing wall... i unpacked the refrigerator stuff, hurriedly switched clothes and decided against pads, and scrambled to get to the wall...

the evening on the wall, while short, was challenging and social. i *must* buy myself shoes.

i eased my way home, hung up the washing and ate, then went to the alternative rock birthday party for ta2 and another friend. two tequilas, a beer, brit-pop (not really my thing) and some awkward socializing later i took my leave and headed to mafteach. i was amused to see some american students getting into the money cab, and when their friends who remained outside expressed confusion as to what the flashing lights were about i paused to explain and have a good laugh :)

i apparently walked into the club at exactly the right time. i grabbed a beer and hit the dancefloor, which was packed with people having a good time and enjoying the very funky prog trance. i must've been going about half an hour when the area around me was flooded by a bunch of confused and fairly young american girls, who were obviously looking for hook-ups and had hit the wrong place.

well, usually it would be the wrong place but there were a number of horny dudes up to the task of shoulder-tapping them and taking them away, which i found amusing. on a personal note, i kinda like that fact that music drives me more than sex.

it was after my home-time and the place was beginning to get cramped, so i headed out into the night. i was surprised to discover that there were a fascinating number of people waiting eagerly outside - i must have just beaten the rush :)

my knees were still a bit tender, but i walked home quickly and got my three hours.

gotta stop now, i'm getting less than my three hours and i haven't started tuesday yet :P

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

daze out

oh, boy. i've just finished sunday's post, and i haven't got enough time to catch up. i'll have to do it at stupid o'clock in the morning.

for the moment, i've just (well, prior to resuming posting) had my first taste of this watermelon season. it's not the best taste, but it does inspire hope :)

this is a delightfully dark calvin and hobbes. i hope the link stays alive, but just in case, i've tacked on the text to the end of the post. in black on black for your selection, so as to be less unsightly.

i've shared the same frustration with CMMI as dilbert. i feel that the connections between us are coalescing into a vortex that threatens to suck me into his world as one of the characters. probably alice.

i really like the idea of DIY green housing. it looks good, too!

seeing through one's tongue is just another piece of evidence for how wonderful our brains are.

i've just checked, and my upgrade to 2.5mbits is good. it doesn't feel so very different, though. i suppose i'll just believe.

"wow, you've made a lot of snowmen today!"
"yep. they're effigies. each one represents someone i hate. when the sun comes out, i'll watch their features slowly melt down their dripping bodies until they're nothing but noses and eyes floating in pools of water."
"i wasn't aware you even knew this many people."
"the ones i really hate are small, so they'll go faster."

tossing the llama

i didn't have too much trouble getting to the medical base on sunday; i stood observing the kids massing and then clawing their way into the "ideal" bus, and i walked out and into the next one calmly and easily.

i spent the bus ride wondering - if i find a girl who's fun and knows how to behave well, is it possible to do without the understanding? could it be that just enjoying each other's company is enough?

the guys who, once in a blue moon, organize me salt and vinegar chips have got competition. it's a hole in the middle of nowhere, and right next door someone's set up shop that mimicks them completely. did they piss someone off?

i made myself coffee, and went look for someone only to hear that they were currently eating cake to celebrate someone's birthday. i waltzed into his office, said hi to a few people and then made contact.
"hey, totalwaste! have some pastries!"
"am i invited?"
"of course! i sent you a... ah, um, right. shit. sorry." [much laughter from everyone in earshot] "dig in!"

there's nothing like being the only one without email access :P

i discovered that i'd misunderstood something basic from guitar tabs, and overcomplicated something very simple. instead of putting my forefinger over a bar, i managed (extremely awkwardly) to hold three distinct strings, putting my hand into a position akin to that of martin lawrence's in the opening scene of bad boys.

the birthday boy and i were grabbed by the secretariat to get booklets made... expending a lot of effort to sort the material by size / weight and then hearing that it didn't matter.
i made a comment on being built for carrying - as usual there was general surprise that i didn't require any help with the stack... i see it as basic exercise :P

lunch - surprisingly good soup. i had to finish my repetition of her description of men and woman as monkeys and dolphins *before* the rabbi sat down with us, and i managed it with mere seconds to spare.
men are monkeys and women are dolphins. watching two dolphins together is a beautiful thing. watching a monkey and a dolphin is disquieting. watching two monkeys together is gross.
[we're not talking about judging the action here, we're talking about watching it]

there were plenty of perl ups and downs, but i finally finished the scripts i had to write and returned the book an unconverted c-lingual (once again).

i finished the day by returning to my personal project. and making pretty desktop icons. pretty desktop icons are important.

---

our shuttle driver is an immigrant russian with a chip on his shoulder and the calmest street rage i've ever seen. he doesn't seem to realize how aggressively he drives, and he doesn't so much as blink while hooting like a madman and sitting on people's bums.

the serenity prayer occurred to me: all irritations and aggravations are not external, but rather internal. you cannot rightly say "he annoyed me" when it is more a question of you defining the kind of behaviour displayed as out-of-bounds. in the same way that birdsong will please some people and drive others to animal cruelty, it's a personal response to a personally defined situation. one can most certainly "choose" to not be annoyed.

having said that, i'm not suggesting for a moment that whatever it is that annoys you must be accepted. the whole "being at peace with the world" thing has never sat well with me. quite frankly, if you just accepted everything we'd never see any positive change.

---

the heat was unbearable. it was so the entire day, half the country was blanketed in a sickly sand-fog.

i called up hot when i got home to discover that my sweet-deal year was up and that i would have to upgrade. i figured i'd go with their offer to install a landline while i was on the phone with them.

i got in touch with the ticket seller and acquired my ticket to thursday night's goa reunion ^_^

atma: better than coffee. this got me all pumped up for einav jackson cohen's performance at cosa nostra. i was bouncy the entire bus and walk there :)
i picked up a lafa on the way, but i was certain i was late so when i got to the entrance i wrapped up the half that was left as appealingly as i could and left it in a spot i hoped some homeless person would find it.

the woman taking couvert seemed familiar. she was looking for an exact, and i began fishing. the following conversation took place with smiles:
"i hope i have the right amount"
"i have faith in you"
"me too, but not in my ability to control the past. i don't know what's in there"
"you've got it"
"and if i don't? then i'm supposed to feel bad?"

savannah's good. i only heard the last half-hour, and some of it was excellent.

the improvised toothpick: they were out of toothpicks, and after my dinner i was in need. when the bartender asked me for the second time if i was ready to order, i asked him if he was ready to help me with a toothpick. when he managed to make a fairly useful one out of a straw, i ordered the drink and added a bit to the tip :P

---

the temples of doom: gasoline and i found a spot that would've been alright if it wasn't all uncomfortable angles. i could deal, except that about halfway through my eyes started to lose focus and strain. my left eye in particular caused me a lot of grief, and i actually had to close it for a while, feeling a little self-conscious that i was looking lopsided.

i found myself driving fingers into my temples, with the odd result (at least the first few times, apparently it loses the effect quickly) of it seeming like my fingers were pushing my focus together. it's like pressing a button and having the camera auto-focus, only it comes complete with that lekker-seer* massage-into-tight-muscle sparkle.

* like the pain when your wisdom teeth push out. it hurts, but there's something about it that's enjoyable

---

gasoline and i weren't communicating on the shared bit of the walk home. it was a chat comprised of stock-standard responses and much nothing. i felt very awkward.

as soon as she went her way, i took a quick and snuffly walk to bed. the dust hadn't been doing me any favours.

that's all of sunday's news, finally tidied up (without modifying the post date) at 21.48 on tuesday.