Friday, April 30, 2010

beginning to pray

aaaaargh! it's past 11pm, and i still haven't a clue how i'm getting to the party tonight :'(

dp just called to say that she's not going to the same party, ru55 isn't interested, the guys i know from the area left already and didn't have enough space for me, and click girl will only know in an hour and a half if she's going... that leaves me stranded.

---

i walked out into the rain, which is surprising for the end of april. urchin and i had a good breakfast at maryk, and i returned home* in time to pick up the frisbee for a serious session with scrapper and a friend.

* stopping a guy as he walked off from a steaming pile in the middle of rabin square to tell him that there was no way he was leaving it there... he sounded offended when he claimed that he was going to look for a bag, and i gave him the benefit of the doubt. i can't know if he was planning on it before, but he did take care of it.

we watched a few episodes of invader zim afterwards, then i tried to nap but there was too much going on - trying to plan a way to get to tonight's party, helping the mongoose out with a translation (he really should've put it through a spell-check first :/), and having dinner with karnaf - we always have a lot to talk about.
tonight's focus was on where we fit in with the rest of our profession... we both have a lot to say and little to disagree about.

how can i nap when i don't know how i'm going?

delayed links

amazing photography: sam bassett

thanks to k-twang, i'm now in the archie comics loop

south africa is sooooooooo ready for the world cup.

it kills me that i'll be in canada a month *after* tool - s'not fair!!!!

the wiring

it began with marshmallow coffee yesterday and an amazing track - blue pilots project - african path. i woke up feeling rested, and walked out into a pretty decent morning. it was only a matter of a minute or so before somebody put a spoke in my wheel.

---

one day, somebody will explain to my satisfaction how a man, dressed fairly nicely, can unashamedly toss his used tissue onto the floor - when standing no more than three metres from a trash can.
if i'd registered immediately that that's what he'd done, i wouldn't have hesitated to call him out, but even so, i was fully aware that there is absolutely nothing positive that can come out of the situation. the sheer arrogance of a man who can do that will not let him take the criticism constructively, and selfish me really wasn't ready for any verbal abuse that early in the morning.

instead, i carried around my aggravation (as much from my lack of response as from him) inside and let it bubble until i'd shared it with my SC. we had a very interesting conversation about parenting licenses - one really needs to train one's kids' sense of responsibility from an early age, otherwise the chances of them developing it seem quite small.

---

i didn't get a lot of work done today, although what i did manage was satisfying. my nemesis was called up for reserve duty, and posed a challenge - coming up with a word to describe the idiots on the bus who blare their music out of their cellphone speakers. i'll publish a link as soon as the urban dictionary does ;)

i was responsible for catering the unit's weekly meeting, and apparently i did a good job. i didn't help set up, though - i was at the doctor having my suspicions confirmed (slipped disc trouble, and not particularly serious) and receiving authorization to return to physiotherapy :)

i spoke to my cousin about my travel plans, and learned something disturbing: apparently it's in the order of $2000 cheaper for me to travel to the states and canada, then back to tel aviv, and then on to japan and india. that's twice around the world! seems a bit ridiculous to me.

the alternative ride, idiot-girl and i struggled to organize a lift to the wedding, and it was only once we'd arrived there that i discovered that the guy who was supposed to help us out hadn't received any of my calls, in spite of the fact that i'd heard it ringing and even left him voicemail. this is not the first time that's happened, and has only made me gladder that i don't rely entirely on my sat-phone like so many others do.

---

on the way back to tel aviv to get ready, idiot-girl and i had a fight about how i define friends. i find it absolutely pathetic - especially after everything i went through with gn1 - when people can't simply meet others and connect. why bring all your baggage into the equation? why should a friend of a few days be less of a friend that one of a few years? it's not always possible to connect so quickly, because doing that requires that both sides are freely trusting... but that "not always" becomes a "never" if you are not willing to take a chance.

---

on my walk to the bus, i noticed that the girl in front of me was grabbing leaves from the bushes on the side of the pavement, and i decided to ask her what she was up to. we debated all the way to the station, and while her arguments were compelling and better than mine, i just found out that i was in the right.

if the leaves are green and functional, and not completely obscured from the light, then it's harmful to the plant to remove them.

---

the alternative ride doesn't deal well with buses. he was shocked and embarrassed that he was reduced to using public transport to get to a wedding, and surprised when i explained to him that in addition to saving him petrol money and parking frustration, it also affords him the ability to drink as much as he wants...

and that's just the argument for not driving a car in general - let's not go into too much detail about people who spent stupid amounts of money in order to have "the prettiest car".

---

i got in touch with a bunch of people, and i think i may be sorted for getting to tonight's party. so far, the most difficult option is a shuttle up to haifa at 4am, which isn't so bad.

the wedding ceremony was a bit anti-religious, but beautiful nonetheless. the food was good and the music was excellent! the highlight was the dude making balloon hats and wings - absolutely masterful work and very cool ideas :)

my SC gave the three of us a ride home, and idiot-girl and i had one or two incidents where i ended up shouting her down - she was totally on form. when we eventually got to ramat gan, she expressed an apology for having been offensive and said that in truth she really does like me... i told her she has a funny way of showing it.

we had a civil conversation from then on, although i feel kind of bad because just before she got off the bus, i said something in a way that couldn't have been taken kindly. i told her that her biggest problem is that she keeps digging away at petty details and completely misses the big picture; one cannot achieve anything useful by seeking a rational explanation for everything that is irrational about the psyche. a human being with no paradoxes inside would simply disappear in a puff of logic.

i'm surprised at how much i drank last night. i went to bed fairly early, waking up to a lot of online chatting and now trying to figure out if i'm going to be a zombie today or not.

electric sharing

wow - the electrician just left, and our conversation left me on a real spiritual high.

i may have mentioned before - he and i share an unpleasantly similar story, me with the suits and him with the banks. as much as i'm still struggling to deal with my experiences, when i talk about just how bad it was i feel cleansed, because it reminds me of just how good things are now. when i think of how i responded to the ordeal, i'm filled with pride and satisfaction because with all of the paranoia and stress i still managed to make the most out of my life, and took advantage of every day as if it were my last day of freedom.

my current situation isn't good, but it's a far sight better than i anticipated; i've managed to build such a good looking future that i can't wait to break free of the military's chains and get started on whichever paths i may tread.

it's all a question of perspective and humour. and today is a good day.

...

and my light fittings are all working.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

shrimpy

i was tired, but i really wanted to say goodbye. some of the evening was a little awkward - it took a bit of time before i could get comfortable - but the food was great and then everything was back to normal.

right until my eyes started to go - i definitely need a good night's rest. it's weird saying goodbye to people i've just met, whose company i've really enjoyed and who i may not see for the next couple of years... weird and sad.

wordflow

almost forgot! i just published two new words in the urban dictionary:

point of no response
and
horn happy


i hope they're found useful.

a bit of a blur

yesterday morning began brilliantly - right until my TL made a comment about the hour that i'd arrived. we had a rather loud fight, and when i just couldn't take it any more i stormed out, unabashedly yelling that there's something very wrong with him.

not quite my best behaviour. not quite the best way to keep a good mood going.

about half an hour later he came into my office with a list, calling me to a private meeting.
"oh, crap," i thought, "here we go."

it was a long meeting, and an unpleasant one filled with angry shouting (mostly from me) and accusations flying back and forth. the whole thing began when i told him that i find his counting the hours pathetic; he explained that i'm the only person whose hours he counts. aside from that not being true, and us repeating the same arguments over and over regarding the incidents that caused him to start taking specific note of mine, i think i finally managed to get across the insanity that's been my service since the tail end of 2008.

he got the point eventually, and agreed to let my times slide; he seems to understand that my mere presence in the unit since february is over and above "doing my bit" and "being fair"; rehashing some of the things i went through actually caused me to tear up.

the next while is going to be tough.

at least i felt a bit better going out, and lunch, while dry, was alright.

the afternoon saw me handing in my *fourth* early-release request, and running errands for a couple of others in the section. afterwards, one of the technicians arrived and burned the disc i'd tried to on monday, and i took a nap that had me waking up with the shakes again. i decided that i need to see a doctor - maybe the time for an orthopedist's attention has come.

i got home, tired but wired, and began doing something that put me in a *very* good place: planning my travels for the end of the year. my mom called me and we put our heads together, and by the end of the conversation we had a very solid idea. i sent an email to the english department's secretary to begin the registration process, and another to my cousin (and travel agent) with the outline.

i followed up the email with a phone call, and was snatched away from the aforementioned good place like christmas in the grinch's paws. aside from her daughter struggling with the army (and self control, she almost got imprisoned for verbally abusing her CO a few weeks ago), she's developed a grotesquely bleak view of her life and her sense of self-worth is completely askew.

i tried to talk her into being a bit kinder to herself, but i don't know how one does that...

that's why i was a bit down when i got to the farewell party. i was also really tired, so drinking a lot wasn't such a brilliant idea - except that the entire night was about cocktails and munchies and interesting conversations. i was blown away to discover that most of my opinions are more widely shared than i thought, and i now know someone who's been studying to be a personal coach, and learning the same stuff i've been spouting for the last while.

how does it all fall into place like this?! as i said to dp - it's not that i thought i was alone, just disconnected and feeling lonely. it's such an amazing breath of fresh air to be surrounded by bright, interesting, happy and friendly people ^_^

it was a bummer to have to leave so early... i'd been seeing double for a while when rev opened up the rum, and i wasn't going to say no to the rum. i left shortly afterwards, making the rounds to say goodbye and only being a bit wobbly on my walk home. i was falling over - i don't know how i managed to shower, even - and it was only in the morning that i realized that there were a couple of people i'd missed on my way out; i found this terribly embarrassing.

also, i woke up feeling just as out-of-sorts (read: drunk) as when i'd gone to sleep... the alternative ride was leaving too late for me, so i had to drag myself out earlier than anticipated, dress and gingerly make my way to the bus. i was feeling horrid, and the whole way to my office my head was spinning and i was constantly wondering when i was going to throw up or pass out.

my SC had prepared the required form for the base psychologist, and asked me to give him a quick heads up. now that i've had a couple of opportunities to verbalize my situation (not the least of which being yesterday's fight with my TL), i gave him a quick summary and he seems to understand as well.

then i had to ask after my fourth request:
"the big chief won't sign it. he's already signed three of them."

*sigh*

---

on monday, the new head of network security came into my office, preceded by the sound of him being a cheeky bastard with his nco's. he waltzed in like he owned the place, talking to me as if we're friends and holding his hand out to shake mine. i should've left him hanging, but even though i took his hand i made my attitude towards him extremely clear. i was a bit brutal, actually, and he didn't hang around to test my temper. i don't like weasels, and this one smells like spoiled brat and arrogant abuse of authority.

this morning, i had to get him to authorize something of mine, and he wasn't even embarrassed when i let him know how pointless his policies are. at least he was quickly compliant. i think my general lack of patience is beginning to shine through.

---

the food was almost decent today, and the conversation was interesting. it was hot, though, and afternoon was tough.

it took a couple of hours to get hold of my unit commander, who called the boss up to explain. i hope he's succeeded. on his way out of the office, he stopped to ask me if i was familiar with sisyphus. i recounted the terry pratchett version, with the imp reading him the rules each and every time... and the message was received loud and clear.

i crashed for about half an hour, and returned to finish up what i thought was going to be a big addition to my project - not more than a couple of hours, and looking good. i fail to understand why c# doesn't have a QueryBox like vb's MsgBox query - it didn't take much for me to implement one...

i came home with the alternative ride, and all was fine until idiot girl climbed into me about my attitude towards seeing live performances. it's not that she's such a moron that bothers me, it's that she feels compelled to demonstrate it so loudly and offensively.

i discovered, to my dismay, that the cupboard shelf i found yesterday doesn't fit... i've been online since i've been home, fine-tuning my travel plans, getting in touch with SxS online for the first time in ages, and listening to great trance. now to hang out the washing and go say goodbye to the dutch folk.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

better day

yesterday morning was tough: i was stressing out and angry and bitter, i wanted to break stuff and i wanted to throw hot liquids over everyone i met (well, a few people in particular, at least). i tried to put that negative energy into coding, but i couldn't concentrate for very long because i kept being interrupted by people who needed help using the (broken) fax machine or photocopier.

...

lunch (replete with actual chocolate salty* balls) had me at loggerheads with idiot-girl, and by the time we were done i was ready to call my SC and tell him to arrange a meeting with the base psychologist. i don't know what direction that could take, but i think it's time for a chat.

* okay - they were ultra-sweet, but that was funnier

i wasted a few hours trying to burn my project so that it can be moved to the network, and all of those efforts resulted in a dvd that cost the army approximately NIS 60 (rough estimate of man-hours) and is totally worthless.

i accompanied one of the engineers for lunch, and began to relax a bit (the aroma coffee and brownie helped). i'm going to develop a sense of humour about my situation if it kills me. our discussion went in a few directions, and i was in much better shape when we returned to base.

i made it to an absolutely phenomenal sunset, was back in time for incredibly serious munchkin, and around midnight went to the mafteach club. it was absolute mayhem... usually i'd have left when the crowd size got so disproportionate, but the girls arrived and between us all we had space to dance and things to chirp about.

we left around 3am, i got into bed at 4am, *didn't* alert my SC at 7am that i'd be travelling with the alternative ride (i sent the message to the wrong phone number), had half an hour of sweet agony from 8.15 (massage pillow and sore neck), did the dishes, uploaded photos, and had coffee on the patio while typing this, enjoying an absolutely stunning morning.

now to jump - gotta get dressed and ready.

Monday, April 26, 2010

yossarian lives

he lives. he lives through me.

there is no face to the cause of all my woes, nobody that i can raise my voice to or lose my temper with because everyone's (apparently) trying to help. there's nobody that i can point at and level an angry accusation: "you fucked me!"

the big chief refuses to sign my request if it contains my reason for desiring an early release, and the HR corps refuses to deal with it unless it contains all the details.

if i complain about any of this, my commanders will simply leave me out of the loop, but if i keep my mouth shut then nothing needs to be done.
the same goes for my work - if i stop working, i go to jail and my release will be delayed; if i do as i'm told, then i'm (officially) productive and the higher-ups don't have any incentive to let me go.

...

the sad thing is that if i'd remained an academic officer, none of this would be an issue - i'd have been released in february already. even if that hadn't been my release date, it wouldn't have bothered anyone to let me go. and no matter how bitter i am about this, there's nothing anybody can do to correct the errors of the past.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

bonny and blithe and good and gay

here i wrap up this past week of mayhem.

today shouldn't have begun with friday's dishes, but that couldn't be helped. at least i could wake up a little later, and the first thing i saw online was that the dutch girl liked my new shirt enough to quote it :)

my beard has a fair amount of red in it, prompting me to think "rooibaard the pirate" whenever i see myself in the mirror.

the woman on the bus who pushed past to grab a seat while everyone else was trying to get off really irritated me, but not as much as the fact that it took me so long to choose my words that it was too late to use them.

i found the clinic without too much trouble, and didn't have to wait very long. as i walked out from the initial consultation, the nurse stopped me to ask why i was going to india. when i indicated that i didn't understand, she asked again - only this time the emphasis was clearer... she wanted to know what was there that was worth risking my life for.
"what do you mean?"
"there are warnings!"
"what warnings?"
"don't you know? there are warnings all over the internet!"
"warnings of what?"
"warnings!"

the doctor rescued me by pushing me out the door with some soothing words; i couldn't stop grinning at the sheer simplicity of her attitude. i paid the piper (it's fairly expensive, i might add), then returned for the shots.

this time, she was far calmer. not only did she administer the vaccines with startling aptitude (i didn't feel a thing until the reaction), and even the reaction didn't hurt for more than a second or two. between her and the doctor, i was well distracted by discussion on comparative dangers (new york, south africa and india) and by the time i was ready to leave the nurse was ready to adopt me :P

i walked out, happy that i've taken a step towards my upcoming vacation, smiling at strangers and enjoying the fact that a strange, pretty girl had smiled back, and all was hunky dory.

then i realized that one of my ranks had broken. i called my TL to ask him to try and sort me out with a replacement, and the attitude i got went right up my nose. the only reparation for that was him agreeing to pick me up from the gate, which was badly timed as someone else from our section picked me up before he arrived.

the team-mate who's connected to my project had a revelation this morning, and we finally managed to sort out a make-or-break bug. there're a few improvements to be made, but the application is now usable and ready for field testing :)

the food wasn't bad today, and i spent some time with the guitar. the freaky lip dude paid lip service and dropped hints until he got a cookie (i didn't see that coming, i need to hide them better) and i was surprised when i realized that it was time to go home.

most of the ride was consumed by me explaining my situation to a couple of curious guys in our unit, and i was glad to be left alone for the last bit of the ride. i have spent the entire evening in front of the pc, uploading to facebook (damn, i took a lot of photos this weekend) and catching up on posting. i wonder if this counts as "grounding".

probably. the cat freaks me out a bit, though.

friday's and saturday's child

seven hours later, i was awake again. i went for breakfast with urchin at coffeeholic, which was nice, and returned to hang up the laundry before heading out to the climbing wall.

the wall was tougher than i was, and it went hard with me. at some point i got stuck with a problem, and being told the solution and unable to implement it was more frustrating than i could bear - i don't know how long i was up there, trying and failing repeatedly, before i gave up and came back down, having lost a fair amount of confidence.

at least i know *why*, and that means that i have something to work on.

the sunset rollers had an intense route - it was a beautiful evening, and we spent it fighting hardcore uphills for the first half of it. i got into a few altercations with drivers who were "horn happy" (one of which prompted me to take a photo of the asshole in question), but otherwise it was an excellent evening.

i got home, showered and quickly put together tuna salad. while i was eating i noticed that i'd been invited to the girls from independence day, so as soon i was done i got dressed and went to pay them a visit. the one and a half hours that i was there *flew* by, and i was surprised when my phone reminded me that i had ten minutes to meet scrapper.

daniela spector is brilliant; the performance was great, and i managed (although with a bit of difficulty and two cokes) to keep my eyes open. the encore in particular was fantastic.

i was most pleased when something i said made scrapper *get* it: "so that's what you were saying?! it's taken a half a year of debating just to prepare me!"
specifically, i was referring to the fact that we "contain" every single person we've ever come across, in person or not, but only the parts of those people that they express.
[actually, that's not a fair link. it's corollary, i should be directing you to something of james hillman, a large part of the basis of that link]

i went straight to bed and crashed for an hour, then packed a bag and headed to the girls to wake up with a few sips of coffee and a solid bloody mary. we got in the car and headed for a small and pleasant reserve outside yavne, and i'm very glad we didn't have to pay to get in (it's good to have the best dj of the night in the car). it was absolutely freezing, and was less of a party and more of an "anthropological excursion".

a party of arsim, with bartenders who haven't a clue ("say when" on the vodka??), and revellers* "dancing". not stomping, not letting the music move them, but dancing. it's a weird, fascinating and slightly unsettling motion for trance. we all took the opportunity to get to know each other better and warm up by the fire, and when rev hit the decks we were primed and ready to go - it was an awesome set, and we all found it a bit weird when he was switched out five songs into it.

* drunken louts, one insisting that i give the bartenders a pre-service tip because they're cute

that was our cue to leave. i crashed on the couch for an hour, and then we all went to sit at cafesito for a delightfully silly breakfast.

we all spent the morning together, having a jolly old time and just *being*. gods, i haven't simply enjoyed other people's company like that in a very long time. it was a pity that my teeth suddenly became ultra-sensitive right before lunch :/
the dutch girl was really excited when i brought over some liquorice, and when i left they were just putting the first invader zim dvd in the player...

i met up with a couple of scrapper's friends on their bikes, with my carrying a huge bag of beers in front of me awkwardly, and we were on our way to the birthday party.

---

i'm feeling like a sucker, but i don't know any other way to act. gco called me up, and is apparently in trouble and in need of an emergency place to stay. he's okay for the next week, i think, and i made it clear that it can't be for long, but i'm still feeling a little off about agreeing because our most recent encounters and phone calls have been a bit... strange.

like we're not-quite-friends but almost.

---

it was really, really, really, really, INSANELY hot. i ran into a couple of people i know on the way, and a lot of unfriendly terrain and unfortunate moments with the bag. scrapper lives a lot farther from the centre of the city than i was prepared for, especially seeing as my legs were still tender from the 22km we did the evening before.

i hit the couch for twenty minutes when we arrived, and returned to life and a tough game of munchkin. i *tried* to cheat, but the bastards caught me out every single time :(
it was a great afternoon / evening, although it turned really cold and i wasn't prepared at all. a couple of us missed dinner, so we ordered pad thai and had very involved discussions (and more beer - did i mention that i drank a lot most of the day? no? well, i did. a lot.) while waiting.

leaving took a couple of hours longer than planned, as i was in no state to roll back and my potential rides kept the absurd and hysterical stories rolling... we left around 11pm, with me dozing off all the way. i showered and brushed my teeth (which were feeling a bit better), and hit my bed for some deep and peaceful dreams.

at least, i think they were peaceful. i definitely dreamed, though.

thursday's child

thursday saw my boots breaking, with me in them, early on in the day. running and walking became tragically uncomfortable, eventually bringing my TL and i to an altercation that saw my respect for him reduced to none.

that aside, it was a fun day hiking about hunting riddles and chatting with the kinder, whose travels have given us a whole lot to discuss and have opened his eyes to the real world - the one that i live in - where people are generally good and friendly and life can be fun :)

it was a hot, sunny day, with only one incident of rain. the forest itself was pretty. i managed to cut a watermelon with a plastic knife. our SC and i only had one major argument, and that ended amiably. i think he finally figured out that just because i like music that he doesn't, doesn't mean that i don't like music that he does (he was shocked that i'm into pink floyd and rage against the machine).

i did offer everyone else tim-tams... only three of them left the packet. the remaining fourteen went down my gullet smoothly and quickly - then my curiosity got the better of me: i read the packet. at 400 calories per biscuit, according to my heart-rate monitor, i need to do something akin to a 60km run to cover the intake. it's a good thing i don't work like that!

we got a bit lost on the way to our previous SC's place, but that didn't really matter. road six is impressive, and the sunset was absolute magic*. i was called up and offered a part as an extra in an israeli zombie movie, which seems to be trendy as shadowslight and goldenangel both acted as zombies in a south african one recently. cool!

* the expression "unearthly beauty" strikes me as a bit of a contradiction, so i'll say it was full of earthly beauty and be misunderstood instead. it was gorgeous, and not only colourful but with an incredible sense of depth as well!

our SC's place is lovely, and makes me sad because he really doesn't deserve to live so well on ill-gotten (i mean incompetently acquired or bureaucratically manipulated) gains. i found myself amused that the meat was of poor quality (and badly cooked), and the beer was "maccabi", which is very much like making love in a canoe [no, i didn't really read it all].

also, he's protected by "paradox security". does that mean that they'll be responsible for all the break-ins, or that they'll protect him from impossibilities?

the evening was alright, the farewell pretty good. watching the intro to the last phil collins tour dvd was astounding.
the song the guys wrote for me was really sharp, and got me laughing just as loudly as everyone else :)
i managed the speech without too much difficulty, although my final statement was a lot nicer than i'd intended... at least the dedication contains my subtle intent, but that's only because i wrote it in english: "may your service be as fun as it is meaningful" :P

we left late, and on a pretty good note until our host called me up to tell me that i'd forgotten to chip in my share. he couldn't have waited until the next day to begin harassing me? no class.

i woke up when we hit a bump and my head had been resting on the headboard with my neck at a bad angle, and was so bothered that in spite of my exhaustion i couldn't close my eyes until i got back. and i was exhausted. getting home from the train station was hard. my feet hurt, i was dazed and keeping myself from simply curling up on the sidewalk and going to sleep was a mission.

after a quick shower when i eventually got home, my mum called for a quick chat, and after that i was gone.

wednesday's child

tuesday's addendum:

i forgot to mention the “bloody hell mary”, a ridiculously overpowered (over-peppered) cocktail that nearly killed a couple of us at the braai.

wednesday's child:

another dusty heat wave, another sneaky no-gun morning shuttle, bouncy and squishy and reminding me forcefully to mention that i suspect the auto companies of intentionally designing the suspension to violently toss about anyone sitting in the back – the only seats that aren't directly beneath the overpowered overhead speakers usually blaring “middle-eastern” (mizrachit) music.

i waited for about ten minutes for nystire to get to the mess hall, observing the strange and pathetic creatures that make up the core of our base's nco's and civilian workers and noting that the palm trees would be prettier if someone would remove the dead leaves.

my commander called me into his office first thing. as one of the people being honoured in the section farewell, the last thing i expected was to be informed that i'd have to chip in for the gifts. essentially, that means that i had to pay in for my own present. i believe that could safely be referred to as “bad planning”.

i discovered, to my great dismay, that the reason my SC hadn't been answering my calls was that my sat-phone had switched to dialing his office number... of *course* he'd answer that one on a saturday night :S

nyah nyah came into my office looking for an idea for a photography project of hers – *of course* i had something in mind. thank you, lewis carroll :)

i have a parting gift planned for the unit, and after lunch i went to the gift shop to buy a dedication plate for it... that's the second time i've had to argue with the shop-owner because he's a blithering idiot. his prices are good, though, so i'll suffer him and try to be polite anyway.

at least i finally found incense sticks; i'm quite surprised that they're available on base :P

i got organized regarding information on the vaccinations i'll need for my upcoming travels, and had an enlightening discussion with a couple of guys on the how-not-tos of travelling. i finally read the magazine my SC gave me, and was uninspired by what i saw. i think i'll skip the competition.

i was tense and slightly puzzled when i got home, and set about verifying who would be my guests for the munchkin night. i was surprised and embarrassed to learn that two of the guys hadn't received the update that i'd sent out... and they in turn expressed regret that they couldn't make it. i had an intense facebook session (uploading everything, took a few tries), picked up the cake for the farewell evening and then went shopping for the masses. a stunning girl waiting in line for the next till had me wondering how people flirt in supermarkets.

the game was nuts - about halfway through i finally caught onto the fact that everyone was cheating like crazy, and it took me a while to get into the mode... one of the guys was taking the game way too seriously, and the game finally came to an end when a traditional loud argument caused the cards' owner to pack it all up. we sat cooling down for half an hour afterwards, with one of my guests exclaiming that my guitar strings have rusted.

that's a bummer. and embarrassing.

i made a comment (regarding vertigo) during the parting conversation that might not have been particularly appropriate - not for two people still serving in the military, at least. i think it was brushed off lightly enough, though.

on my way to bed, i came across a link SxS had posted: malema kicking out the white man. malema's a complete wanker, a racist pseudo-communist aggressively ignorant leech and a prime example of why south africa's future isn't so bright :(

i wrote the dedication of the book i planned to give at the farewell, then discovered that (my financial situation affording) hido's and girlfriend are okay with me being there for a week or two: i'm finally going to be able to tick off another dreamed-about item on my list! i'll have to update that sometime soon ^_^

Friday, April 23, 2010

tuesday's child

(note: tuesday begins on monday night, in accordance with the hebrew calendar)

i rolled to urchin's, clambered up the steps to the roof and sat on the wall with a beer and ben & jerry's while we waited for the fireworks to begin. we heard them, but it took a while to realize that the new building wasn't going to afford us a view of the action and we missioned down the road to rabin square.

we were stopped at the security post and told that we had to finish our beers before crossing the line... considering the fact that i *live* behind the line, that's a pretty silly order...

after watching the stock-standard and uninspired celebrations at the square, we stopped off at my place so i could put on shoes and then hit coffeeholic to pick up coffee and see what we believe was the final firework. then we were off to the florentin street party, grabbing a couple of giant pretzels (mine was salty bacon) on the way.

i don't know why we went to florentin and not to neve tzedek where all the slightly-older-than-fifteens were at. the first street party we passed was pretty cool – classic trance music and loads of people, but when we decided to mission around we discovered that that was the only place that was doing alright. after going full circle (and running into the mongoose's sister), we returned and spent a hour or so in the middle of the throng of hyped-up revellers. [a]

when we got tired of that, we found a funky party on the other side and then stood for song and a half of some hard-rock band until we decided that it was time to exit.

on the way back, we ran into fn – it was an awkward exchange. we hopped a taxi back to the square. the plan was to go to bed, not a particularly fine end for such a happy occasion.

---

it was 2am when dredded-praise (dp)* let me know that she was on her way to the party, and hoped i was having fun. i told her that i would much rather have been going too... we were halfway home when i received a message asking me why i wasn't coming. i let her know that i'd had trouble finding my way.

* a girl i met years ago in south africa, and ran into again at the festival.

a quick phone call later, and i'd gotten her to agree to wait for me if i could be ready in twenty minutes. i got the taxi driver to drop me off at rabin square - he almost went the wrong way, and i think we hit every red light - and i *ran* to the atm, drew cash, *ran* home, and packed my gear in about four minutes.
as i was walking out, i received the following sms: "i didn't mention that it's a car full of girls".
i responded with a promise to try to behave myself.

i made it in time, cars were sorted out and we were on our way - a car full of crazy trance bunnies and good vibes ^_^

the ride there was cool, we slept to the fugees in a loop and arrived as dawn was breaking. the girls wrangled the tickets, and after a short mission we were rocking up on the dancefloor accompanied by the rising sun. setting up the tent was quick and painless, i acquired coffee and an awesome chocolate ball, and i was good to go.

---

a moment on the dancefloor - i was suddenly struck by a wonderful perspective:
from [a] above until the dust, crazy people and fantastic music all swirled around me was all a blur in the movie that is my life, as if the street party that i'd been half-assedly dancing at had been a portal into the serious independence day nature party that enveloped me.

life was good.
---

the only thing that hadn't been organized properly was a sprinkler system - we stomped up an insane amount of dust. i'd left my ski mask at home, so i had to improvise with my shirt; i still ended up with black nostrils and throat.

i managed to break the habit of being one-handed on the dancefloor - i don't know where the need to be holding a drink / bubbles / whatever came from, but i'm definitely better with both hands free :P

aside from a huge hot-dog for breakfast before the quick morning nap, watching with interest as a stand of freshly-made magnets with photos from the morning was brought out, and playing "spot the horse", it was a simple, magnificent morning of deep digging and great tunes.

it was a little disappointing to leave, though. and sad to see that so much trash had been left behind. the scene is maturing considerably, but it still has a way to go.

---

we stopped at a gas station on the way.

some arsim took a liking to one of the girls. aside from the first creepy pick-up line ("you're my heart disease" must have sounded much better in his head), there was a rather sinister atmosphere around those clowns and i was worried that i'd have to jump in to help her out.
fortunately there was no need, and when they eventually turned to fighting we were on the other side of the station and out of harm's way.

i picked up bubbles - really cool bubbles - and dp and i had ice-cream while i cleaned the windows.

the last moment was a special one - we were debating chocolate, and everyone agreed with me when i reverse-quoted the devil's advocate: "chocolate? underrated. the equivalent of experiencing small quantities of love". when i mentioned that that must be the reason i consume so much of it, three of the girls immediately surrounded me with a giant group hug and an "awwwwww", which had us all in hysterics :)

---

on the way back, one of the girls convinced me to use "sexy mother pucker", with hilarious results. she'd been singing "you sexy mother pucker" afterwards (it only took a couple of minutes before the tingling sensation got to me and i had to beg for a wet-wipe), and that sound has been following me around since :P

all the girls had been invited to ze germans' traditional independence day braai, but once we got there only one (anti-1) had the energy to come inside. the welcome was a bit weird - the brother-in-law brought his family for the second time in a row, and that meant that all of us were pushed to the fringe. also, the guys doing the cooking felt taken advantage of, so it looks like next year we'll have to move it to tel aviv.

anti-1 and i slipped into the pool immediately after greeting everyone, and after the dust and the driving it was absolute heaven! the afternoon was spent lounging, eating, and chatting. it was a good barbecue even with the weird people.

it was a bit awkward that everyone assumed that anti-1 was my girlfriend: as i explained, i really like her but it's a bit too soon to be getting excited.

we got a ride back to tel aviv from ze irish german, and after saying goodbye to anti-1, having a quick shower and putting on nice clothes, i took a walk to his place and we were off to sjo's engagement party. there was an ice-cream stand, good whiskey and somewhat unnerving speeches (someone should have proof-read them first), and i met my skijar room-mate's ex. our discussion was amusing.

i got a lot of travel advice for india on the way back - i'll be following up on some of those leads shortly - and went to bed sated in every way [although not looking forward to an early morning, as my SC hadn't been answering his phone].

monday's child

monday morning was harsh, returning to the 5.30am wake up and finding myself a short while later waiting for the bus, calling up a team-mate to make sure that we'd be meeting at the agreed time.
"oh, right. well, i made plans with [vyomanaut] and he's going to give me a ride instead - i would've told you but i didn't want to wake you."
if he'd woken me, there wouldn't have been a chance of my missing the two of them and having to bus to base... at least i'd called in time. i do wish people would stop being so... considerate all the time :/

waiting for them to arrive: an introduction to an uglier day than the one before. and a fly tried to enter my ear.

it was a sleepy half-day; i gorged myself on leftover chocolates and i did a *little* work. i was distracted by a hobbit*, though. she came to use the photocopying machine which sits right behind me, and what began with annoying humming continued with banging drawers in addition to the usually comforting sounds of the scan and print... after five minutes of this i gave up trying to be productive and walked out for a break.
i came back when the coast was clear, got back into the groove... and then she returned for round two.

* i didn't know that that's what they're** called by the rest of the section, and was struggling to describe her nicely when someone volunteered this startlingly accurate element of unit nomenclature.

** there are two of them. and they sit in the same office.

---

i had a short argument with one of the guys about our previous SC's manipulation of the system to extract every last penny possible from the army, even the ones that he doesn't deserve. it drives me up the wall knowing that there are lonely soldiers who don't get everything they need (and they struggle to get by), while this fat suckling is taking bonuses with serpentine bureaucracy.

---

the day was brought to me by disturbed / godsmack - blood in my eyes going through my head the entire afternoon. mostly because i had the words "blood" and "dust" mixed up in my auditory cortex.

i couldn't get rid of a deep sense of loneliness, which i haven't been touched by in a while. i thought a lot about the superficiality of most of my friendships, and the fact that my life's in complete disarray and i don't have a clue how things will change when i get out of my present absurd situation.

let's just say that i was finding it mightily difficult to believe in the power of american natives

---

uni-form off, being-form on: the former had to be peeled off in the horrid, oppressive weather. i vaguely recall showering and napping a bit.

in the evening, i received an apology from nystire's sister, which was really awkward, and entered negotiations to get to a crazy party (with a bunch of south african artists)... unfortunately, no-one i know was going :/

as soon as i realized that they were beginning, i rushed off to urchin's rooftop to catch the independence day fireworks.

for the children!

monday's child is fair of face,
tuesday's child is full of grace,
wednesday's child is full of woe,
thursday's child has far to go,
friday's child is loving and giving,
saturday's child works hard for a living,
but the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
is bonny and blithe and good and gay.


i'm about to spit out monday through thursday, and i'm right now feeling like thursday's child. out of consideration, i've decided to split it into separate posts.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

meanwhile, back at the...

it's been a crazy few days, and i find the amount i'm going to end up typing when i get a chance daunting. i'd begin now, but i have to be up in five hours and i've yet to write the dedication in the book i'm planning to give to my section as a goodbye present...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

beginning the day of remembrance

i like the way my previous post came out :P

i didn't get a chance to nap, as i suddenly realized what time it was and quickly made my way to the square. after the siren, i chatted with a couple of girls i did the course in '08 with and exchanged a few sentences with spot's sister (turns out we're neighbours now), then bumped into an old friend and her boyfriend on my way to meeting urchin.

we came back to my place to pick up water - i introduced her to marshmallows and peanut butter and then we hit the crowds on the way back to the square.

the ceremony was good, but long. i'd put my phone in silent mode, but unfortunately that's not enough to stop my alarm from sounding :$
my legs and back are a bit sore from standing so long.

amusingly enough, the girl i had ice-cream with is chatting with me right now, and it looks like we might go to the next big trance party together - sneakiest way to score a ride, i reckon };)

thanks to her, i now know what happened to fools of the prophecy: avraham tal went solo. nice.

positive negative

i woke up early enough this morning to hit coffeeholic for my free coffee and croissant.

it was a beautiful morning. i took a book, but didn't end up reading it because the chef's apprentice kept me occupied with a fun and interesting discussion.

while waiting for my ride to show up, i sat on a bench at cafesito reading the iliad. at some point i noticed a particularly nice pair of legs go past, and looked up to see a girl standing on the back of her boyfriend's bicycle. that took me back to my first summer here with lake, and all the emotions of perfect summer tel aviv mornings came flooding back.
this is going to be a great summer ^_^

the first thing i heard when i got in this morning was that my unit commander had interviewed me in my absence: this may sound weird, but i'm totally comfortable with anything that might make my application move faster.

the kinder is back, and he came past my desk to tell me about his travels in thailand personally. he had a lot of funny stories to share, but we got to talking about full moon parties... he now understands why i can't handle normal parties in this country. it's about attitude more than anything else, and only the nature party people are nice enough and crazy enough to throw good ones.

we were warned that the mess hall wasn't going to be a good idea, so a lot of us chose to hit the shuwarma place off base. the meal was good, and we all got silly afterwards - a lunch hour spent laughing raucously is a pleasant rarity.

the majority of the afternoon was spent napping and writing songs for the farewell on thursday, and i was very proud of myself for managing to contribute in spite of my linguistic handicap. we took a break for chocolate (loads of good chocolate from thailand) and i returned when an attempt at getting some work done was brought to a halt by one of the secretaries who'd decided that vacuuming the office wouldn't bother me in the slightest.

i scored a ride to the train station, and spent most of it sleeping peacefully.

at least i've gotten all this out, urchin's talking to me again, and i didn't have too far to go to finish the bottle of rum.

the discussion was fun right until her sister showed up, at which point it turned towards the army. i tried to pull it back to positive stuff, but the girl had nothing to talk about. i find that kinda sad. i spent the next half an hour wondering how i could have forced the topic back and feeling shitty about not having done so.

idiot girl was trying to read on the way to the base, and had the nerve to shush us when we got enthusiastic about the news. i totally missed the whole iceland story (i had thought this guy's anger was random).

i had an ear-warming experience by phoning the city council to figure out what was going on with my water bill. the bills always confuse me, and it took a good ten minutes to reach someone who could inform me that everything's okay, and that the NIS 300 debt listed on the latest one is not a debt, but rather the paid municipal tax for the previous month.

a captain i've never spoken to before walked in this morning, and was shocked to find me sitting there. he got really nosy, and i actually had to explain to him more than once that it's not his place to fire off personal questions that not even my commanders are authorized to ask.
nothing pisses me off than people who begin guessing when they've been told to leave off.

our previous SC called me up about thursday's farewell organization, and in his usual style completely contradicted his previous plans. i stuck to my guns, though, and at least from my side things will remain stable. i've decided i'm going to take his "gift" with and present it, even if only in private.

our unit commander was surprised when i told him that in addition to my current situation and attitude not being appropriate to share with the corps commander (two ranks higher up than the big boss), i also didn't want to make a fool of myself or anyone around me due to my inability to express myself reasonably.
"what? your hebrew's just fine!"
thanks for the vote of confidence, but i'm perfectly capable of identifying just how much my hebrew isn't fine when it comes to people who don't know me well enough to give me a chance to reword.

i called my cousin twice today, forgetting that she's a travel agent and thus slightly busy with the current headlines...

i got off the train angry. i just wanted to break stuff, which is a sensation that frustrates me in and of itself. coming home to a dusty, muggy, humid and generally unhappy evening with my patio door and window open had me close to boiling point - the weather in the morning had been wonderful and the forecast stated sunny and cool.
lies.

i need to nap. this has been a long day.

radiating sleeplessness

damn - i've been glued to my screen the whole night :/

the eleventh episode of the first season of rome is solid. i'm surprised they got that hardcore.

i've spent a good portion of the night reading order of the stick.

i also signed a petition attempting to declassify "dangerous dogs" as such; it's a very peta-like response to a problem that stems from irresponsible ownership.

i can't figure out if the shake weight is a gag or not.

i love moist production.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

sleep ultimate

[gaudi - and the earth said oh my god playing in the background]

i was awake around 7-8am, and after tiring myself out with rss feeds i went back to sleep for about five more hours. i'd put sleepy time gorilla museum on a loop in the background... i don't know if i *love* it, but i can say with 100% certainty that it provides an unbelievably good dream soundtrack.
the long, rather vivid and involved dream that i ended up waking from involved pirates, swashbuckling and gory ballroom horror movie-making.

i watched the new episode of penny arcade, which actually moved me to tears, before going out for breakfast.

the chef has an apprentice, and she's good. not only skilled, but friendly too. it was a beautiful morning (early afternoon) accompanied by the chef's playlist (excellent tunes) and alternating between good company, the merchant of venice and the iliad. karnaf got in touch soon after i was done; it was as if he'd received an alert the moment i decided that i should take siesta.

tired or no, on a day like today i most certainly wasn't going to say no to frisbeer on the beach.

the weather was *perfect*, and it was as if all the beautiful girls in tel aviv arrived at the same conclusion that we did and hit the same beach. we ran into some of karnaf's friends, and frisbeer turned into frisbeer + a good section of a bottle of arak and grapefruit juice.

the other guys had been drinking pretty heavily, and were more than good for a laugh. after hanging with them for a while, we hit the water with the frisbee and had a good session, although it couldn't last very long. i felt as if the arak had entered my bones:
catching: a bit off, but okay
throwing: spot on
wading more than than two feet to grab a miss: nigh impossible

we rested / tanned for a bit before heading out again, and the second session wasn't as tedious and my catching had improved as well. at least the second time the call for a break came from the other side, and we chilled some more before it was time to get up and do something: in my case, come home for a saturday evening nap :)

i watched how i met your mother and the big bang theory before that, though. then i slept for another two hours before waking up to face a bit of unpleasant news: tahoma watched kick ass, and it really upset him. i recommended it after he'd seen and enjoyed kill bill; i figured a bit of gore wouldn't do that anymore.

*sigh*

anyway. in light of scrapper's enthusiasm yesterday for my shirt, i sent him a link to meathead - close to mario. as i lay down to nap earlier, a track by aphex twin popped into my head, but i couldn't find it. it has a section that sounds like metal balls bouncing.

[appended: ah, of course]

perfectly improvised friday

[i forgot to mention waking up to shpongle - dorset perception (total eclipse remix) - fantastic!]

i don't think urchin and i are friends anymore, based on her lack of enthusiasm when bailing on breakfast this morning. i came home, hunted down the velcro for my guards and pockets (but took so long that i didn't actually begin sewing it in), then napped for twenty minutes before getting ready for the day.

i bladed to the park - lately that's become an experience since the construction taking place around the north side of ibn gvirol encompasses about seven or eight streets and is exceptionally difficult to traverse on wheels - and [EGADS! stubbing my left pinky-toe while returning from grabbing a cup of water - *OUCH*] we got off to a good start.

it was a hot, sunny day, everyone was in good spirits and we all managed the inverted wall i was chirping about last week... in fact, i think my achievement was greatly overshadowed by the others' style improvement :P
and, as with last week, the rest of the walls were made that much more difficult afterwards. either i couldn't move my arms, or my hands would get to the right place and be unable to grip... i've got a long way to go before my next great achievement :P

i wasn't ready to leave at 4.30pm, but did so anyway so as to make the rollerblading group on time. when i discovered that the group was only meeting an hour later (yay, summer hours!) i went back, but everyone else was beaten too so we called it a day and stopped for a beer instead.

the route was brilliant - skipper was in the lead, and he chose well. our discussion of tuesday's events lasted all of five sentences, and it appears that we're both interested in that girl... *sigh*

part of the route was going past a beach party that he'd heard about - i don't know how i hadn't, as a bunch of my friends were there! i said hi, semi-stomped (with wheels, it's not natural) and then left with the group; only to split when we were parallel to my place and come home to change and head back to the beach.

i made it in time for a good session, the music was amazing and most of the crowd were great. i finally discovered that awkward girl isn't ignoring me, as i received a warm and friendly greeting when i introduced myself. without sharing any more than a "how do you do", though, we hit the point of no response and i shifted gear back to the dancefloor. i hope that's not interpreted badly (i mean, after all that :P)

skipper rocked up still on blades, left to change, and didn't make it back before we'd reached the last track. the music left us all on such a high that a few of us contemplated throwing a roof party, but the idea didn't travel well. i'd had a bit too much arak, and slowly walked it home with me, feeling absolutely excellent about my day.

once home, it was food / popcorn / chocolate while online / watching rome, and showering somewhere in all of that. now it's time for bed. an early night, but only because i was completely exhausted the entire day. i'm extremely glad i don't listen to my body :)

---

this is an insanely beautiful video called pixels

holy bat, crapman! there's a prince of persia movie coming. that means we're gonna have to watch it.

nystire's link to an article on a very particular kind of leech. as i told him:
"one single jaw, eight very large teeth and extremely small genitalia? - reminds me of someone i once worked with"

i thank my sister for her email asking if i'd eat from this weird and wonderful bakery. i think i would! (it's only bread :))

someone i used to be good friends with sent me a link to geekologie, which is not something that a friend of mine would do. the first link i clicked ate seven minutes of my life right off the bat: best fails of 2009.

the chat roulette improv guy reminds me of jemaine.

Friday, April 16, 2010

three days over breakfast

having just completed tuesday night's pre-post and an excellent roast-beef sandwich breakfast at cafesito (yay! they have internet!), i'm ready to tackle wednesday and thursday.

wednesday:

the day began well - much better than tuesday. the chef was at work, and i began singing happy birthday as i crossed the road. i sat over a croissant and coffee while tapping away at my keyboard, enjoying my human being disguise as much as i could before returning home and getting into uniform.

i was still feeling the saké, and continued to feel it for the rest of the day :P

between great frisbee and great rollerblading, i'd managed to put my neck out a bit. i spent a lot of time in the massage chair at work; both days. it's hard to nap when you're in agony, but i think it helped. i suddenly remembered that i can (theoretically) take sick leave if my back's in trouble, but i don't see myself ever actually taking advantage of this.

a bit silly, really.

the wedding song has finally been selected, and it's moby. they definitely didn't need *my* help, i can't stand him :P

big news for the day: my third request has been authorized by the big chief! this would be fantastic news, but there are still a few hurdles to clear. specifically, the form is right now sitting on the desk of the woman who didn't deal correctly with my transfer to the unit in december '06, and whose brilliance was entirely responsible for my lack of a salary during the months of april and may in 2008.

my favourite person in the whole world.

i feel like a right ponce concerning what happened at lunchtime: i phoned my TL to berate him for his cleaning policy - whoever's turn it is has to clean while everyone else is at lunch, and so ends up eating alone. he came to talk to me afterwards, and made a very valid point: i should have stayed behind as well and gone to eat with nystire when he was done. how did this basic solution escape me? [i blame the extreme sleep deprivation, my easy answer to everything :P]

the walk back was inspired by the animaniacs. there was a lot of wisdom in that show.

back at work, and i caught myself doing a lot of manual labour instead of automating my code a little. a dictionary solves a lot of problems in c#.

it wasn't all serious, though - the motivational "dare to soar" poster needed modifying. the text below is now covered by a paper with similar text to the title:
"W·I·T·H·O·U·T A P·A·R·A·C·H·U·T·E"
"(DOUBLE DARE YOU)"

nystire and i went out to do pull-ups, after which i returned to the massage chair. after it had powered down i managed to nap for a bit, and woke up with the shakes again. this time there were witnesses who could attest to the fact that no part of me was physically vibrating... i guess there's not much to be done.

it suddenly occurred to me that i've now accrued enough experience to consider myself to have mastered c#.

i finished reading this month's wired on the way home, and was blown away by art of the thief: a real man straight out of a hollywood film.

everything went wrong when i got home, and i definitely needed to get out.

the sign, when i looked at it, read "150 < 70 < 2", and i turned left. the numbering on the buildings was non-existent, and i walked more than five minutes before discovering that they were going down. on my way back i noticed one number, visible only from the other direction. i double-checked the sign when i returned to my starting point, and verified that i hadn't been confused... when i crossed the road, i looked up to find "2 > 72 > 150". i turned right, and a few minutes later knew that i was headed the right way.

the road was a lot longer than i'd anticipated.

my mother called a few minutes after i arrived, and by that time i'd already filled a glass from the 4l bottle of johnnie walker red; it's impossible to understand just how *big* that is without seeing it for oneself.

the flatmate's cat appears to be possessed. making creepy noises and attacking itself, hair constantly on end and spitting in every direction...

we never got around to watching firefly; we played two games of munchkin, and they lasted until stupid o'clock in the morning. scrapper and a friend of his joined us, and the evening was a lot of fun and very loud.

the ride back home was positive and we talked about a lot of interesting things.

thursday:

it bothers me that at 6.20am, i have to power-walk to make the bus. there's a bus that goes right from my place to the train station, but it only allows me to get there on time 90% of the mornings that i need it :/

i passed out on the shuttle, and was surprised to be woken just outside the entrance to our inner base: we're not allowed to travel without security. this may be a very stupid rule, but i've never seen it broken so brazenly. i don't know how i feel about that, because i was far more comfortable walking fifteen minutes than having to wait for a bus and then walk for thirty.

on my walk to my building i heard a bunch of noisy girls catching up to me. i couldn't take their broadcast stupidity, so i slowed down to let them pass. no use, they stopped where i did.
"hi! could you please give my friend your beret? hers isn't looking so good."

kids these days.

while waiting for the section breakfast to begin, i sat sharing stories with the vyomanaut [i've been calling him the village idiot for the longest time, long after he proved himself to be one of the section's brighter members]. there's a section competition for embarrassing and surprising stories, and apparently mine aren't the worst of the bunch :)

breakfast was good; our SC convinced me that eating yellow cheese shouldn't cause me too much trouble, and i think he's right. also, we had cake.

the section using the meeting room after us also had cake, far superior to ours. now that i'm sitting at the entrance to it, i was invited as well :)

between lunch and dinner (both on the base), tahoma and i mixed metaphors enough to reach the conclusion that in contrast to c (constructing the aeroplane you wish to fly on), coding in c# is the equivalent of building the interface between the passenger and his chair - in other words, making an arse. that would place documenting it in the realm of wiping said bum.

after lunch, i passed out in the massage chair again. i was wasted, dragging myself to the section meeting unwillingly and having difficulty keeping my eyes open. i was passed the key to one of the dorms by a considerate section-mate, and disappeared to crawl onto his bed and pass out for an hour. i'm so glad nobody was looking for me, as i would've had a hard time explaining that to my commanders :P

the sleep was superb, although i could definitely have used more. i returned to the building to participate in the writing of songs for the people leaving our section (the farewell is next week) - only i had to leave at a certain point because i'm one of those people :P

i rewrote the uml for my project when i got back, and tidied up the code a considerable amount. there was a boisterous meeting going on next door; one of the participants walked out halfway, and stopped as he neared the door.
"wow, things are improving around here - last time i was in this office the secretary was a 19-year old female corporal."

i missed the perfect opportunity:
"yeah, i remember you. i've grown a bit since then."

the work i got done at the end of the day got me excited, and it's been a while since i've been enthusiastic about anything in the office. i think it might be helped by the fact that i can see the end of my service approaching rapidly, and that does me no end of good.

dinner was standard fare, and a few of us snuck into a restricted area to grab a few cups of coke (why we couldn't just have water or coffee, i don't know) before sitting down for the ceremony for the families of fallen soldiers who served in our unit. surprisingly, the ceremony wasn't drawn out, it was nicely put together and it was tasteful.

i still felt very much removed and distant, but that's part of the response to the past year's unpleasantness.

i got home late, and went straight to bed. i was thinking of going out after i'd gotten up to hang up the laundry, but i was way too tired and i slept until this morning. after putting the new shelves to use, i came here for breakfast and am almost ready to begin the day.

that was a long, long week.

decent day - great night: pre-post part 2

[continued]

we went out to a kosher restaurant for lunch to celebrate one of my team-mates heading off for the officer's course. a restaurant and grill, we started off on the wrong foot as we weren't interested in paying NIS 100 per person for their "special deal".

it's a traditional thing in israeli grills to provide salads for the entire table, and usually it works out to "X salads per person". these guys were charging NIS 16 a head for the salads, but were unwilling to bring more than the set amount. so at 16 per person, two people will get eighteen dishes, and twenty people... eighteen. that's insane.

in addition to the prices being excessive, the service was absolutely atrocious. the food was... "edible"... but all in all the experience was laughable and we won't be going back there again. i walked out of there with a version of rocco's "worst day of my life, man" in my head: "worst meal of my life, man, worst meal of my life". [only a slight exaggeration]

one of the waiters recognized me from my previous assignment - more than three years have passed, i'm sporting a beard and in a different uniform, and i don't think i've ever spoken to him. that's a damn impressive memory he's sporting!

so two of us went to the laser range in the hope that they'd let us in. i slept well the entire drive there - i was dead tired - and the first thing i did when we arrived was buy myself an ice-cream in an effort to remove the after-taste from lunch.

i played the guide, not only in pointing out points of interest (the range is on my original primary base) but also in advice and tips for her new course adventure. we were extremely fortunate on arrival - the cute girl in charge was forgiving and allowed us to shoot without having been registered. aside from a fifteen minute break (the poor dude overseeing us needed to pray), we were out of there in record time.

and that was it. i said goodbye and wished her luck, then hopped a bus home. without turning on my pc, i switched into my human-being disguise and skipped to the beach with a book and a frisbee. i don't know how long i was there, but as i got up to leave i spotted the skipper, a friend from the rollerblading group.

i joined him and his ex, and when they got up to play beach-bats i had a frisbee session against the wind - it's going to take a while before i learn proper control, but it was fun nonetheless. we all sat talking for a while afterwards, and the skipper invited me to his boat for coffee.

if there is a man i know who i'm properly jealous of right now, it's him. instead of owning a home, he owns a boat and lives on it. it's a fine size, comfortable, and affords him the ability to go where he wants when he wants. spending the evening lazing in the bobbing sunset rocked.

we'd gone inside for a bit to discuss both music and business (i showed him protoplasm's looping trick for protecting headphone jacks while we messed about with the portable speaker he was bringing to the group, and he showed interest in a plan i've been hatching), and it was a lot nippier than i expected when i left to get ready for frisbee with scrapper.

we warmed up quickly once we got going.

i had a quick shower before heading off to the group.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

right here, right now, NO.

it's amazing - it's like every single thing that could mess with me is doing so. it began with my phone giving me trouble, then my dinner slid messily onto the floor. people are communicating with me online in a decidedly annoying fashion, my keyboard's doing strange things, and all this (aside from the food slippage) is occurring in a loop.

of course, i can't even pick music to soothe me at this stage. i wanna scream it all out, but i have this thing about losing my head physically.

decent day - great night: pre-post part 1

wow - two hangovers in a row. at least this morning i *tried* to drink enough water...

yesterday morning:

i dreamed until i was dressed. i dressed slowly. i walked outside, one and a half hours of sleep behind me, trip hop in my ears but not much in the way of enthusiasm, and bumped into an extremely cute blonde neighbour. we walked together for about fifty metres, and while this could've been fortunate her dog took a severe dislike to me to such an extent that he'd turn around and bark at me every few seconds :/

so my day began with a slightly bruised ego, but i managed to catch the elusive bus that always teases me on its way past. that placed me at the stop right on time to bump into icg: *boy* was that awkward. it took each of us a few seconds to place the other, and then the fun "i don't really care but let's be friendly anyway" banter started up. we arrived at the point of no response quite quickly.

i managed to rest my eyes a bit on the shuttle, drowning out the driver's noise as usual and barely noticing all the speed bumps and bad roads on the way. breakfast happened, and then began a morning filled with advising our team-mate who's off to officer's course today and enjoying the fastest promotion with the least wordiness i've ever witnessed.

our unit commander, while i called out the names, numbers and urgency of his missed calls, suddenly remembered that i'm not connected to the network.
"how are you remembering all of that?"
"notepad"
"seriously?!"

i tried to organize my way to the laser shooting range, but everyone who had the authority to sign me up was mysteriously incapable of doing so. the alternative was the real thing, which takes half a day and, in a word, sucks.

our unit gathered to commemorate holocaust memorial day - i don't get why we have to do that a day late - and there was something that bothered me. their extremely authentic entrance set-up lined with barbed wire was pretty damn dangerous and irresponsible. granted, for once the kids weren't pushing and shoving too badly on their way out...

on second thought, maybe we should install barbed wire everywhere :P

the survivor who spoke to us was particularly thrifty with "flavour text", and i had a really tough time staying even vaguely awake :/

on the way back, our SC tried telling me what a grim night he'd had:
"my son had diarrhea last night and so i couldn't sleep - i decided to fight fire with fire..."
"... and you crapped on him?!"
"what?? how twisted are you? i was referring to the lack of sleep!"

and they tell me that *i'm* bad at articulating my thoughts.

[continued]

decent day - great night

i'll have to report on the day in the morning - the important bit is that it appears to have been the last time that i'll have to hold a rifle :)

from nightfall:

negative: two guys got a bit physical towards the end of the route, and when i tried to calm them down one of them began threatening me - the asshole.

positive:

1. frisbee with scrapper was very, very good. it was a lot of fun and we were both on form.

2. scrapper has expressed an interest in learning japanese with me

3. i introduced myself to the very sexy new girl who vindicated me last week; it turns out we have a lot in common, and she joined me and the skipper for a serious saké session until 2am.

4. the route was brilliant, it was a highly social evening, a few of us did a particularly harrowing downhill and i get to wake up late again :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

the (a) night

let's see:
i didn't get run over by the taxi, primarily because i didn't trust him to stop on time. he just made it, then screamed at me for taking unnecessary risk: he *shouldn't* have been driving that fast, he *should* have begun easing on the brake when he saw me crossing the road (from a hundred metres away), *and* i didn't actually move in front of him until i was certain he wasn't going to hit me.

i fail to see where i went wrong.

until it got stupidly crowded, the music was great and the people seemed pretty cool. i managed to sort out my ticket, too, so that's another item checked off the list.

on my way home, i was the victim of drive-by chip theft. that was weird.

---

the obama seder: cute.

i thought thc vegetables was a startlingly good idea; i wonder if it's real?

i still dig the everything is ok guy :)

---

the guy who asked me for wedding songs? after a number of failed attempts, i found what they both like: sneaker pimps and portishead. in particular: m'aidez and sour times

---

i failed to find the prog remix of mauro picotto - lizard that i was looking for, but went on a picotto binge anyway:

mauro picotto - pulsar
mauro picotto - iguana
mauro picotto - komodo

which then all reminded me of zombie nation - that's some serious nostalgia.

what's shakin'?

i just woke up from internal vibrations that were so convincing that the first thing i did was check that we hadn't just experienced a minor earthquake. from the best source i could find, there's no known explanation.
i hope it doesn't happen again, but if it's going to be a thing then i hope i can at least learn to enjoy it :P

---

dammit, i've been agitated for two days now. yesterday had an explanation, at least - the weather cleared up today, but not my mood. i've slept loads, woken up at a (relatively) reasonable time (around 7am) and even cleaned my apartment (finally!), so i don't know what could be wrong.

perhaps it's the good news, not-so-good news with my release status.

---

to make urchin's day even worse yesterday, i noticed that the psychotic american posted something absolutely retarded and inflammatory on her facebook profile. i would've made a remark myself, only i remembered that he's no friend of mine, and i'm happier not to have his interest. it would've been nice to know that he'd grown up a little since i last had to deal with him.

on a similar note, my beard's just hit that itching-like-crazy stage. i - will - not - cave.

i spent some time refining my vampire character, and it's more or less ironed out. it was nice to get some positive feedback :)

just before crashing, i remembered that i'd run laundry - and somehow lost two socks. it took a while before i found them, and i was horribly confused as to how something like that could happen in my own home :P

i had enough time to clean my apartment and get myself a cup of coffee and a chocolate something-or-other: it always bothers me when the napkin is put inside the bag with the baked goods. it will be rendered useless immediately.
the chef's response to seeing me in uniform ("poor bastard!") got me smiling :)

listening to radiohead - ok computer on the way to base was... not entirely inappropriate music for holocaust memorial day.

the section meeting began on my arrival: our SC decided it was high time he introduce himself to everyone. i must admit i was quite happy with his presentation, as i've already become fairly comfortable with him in his new role. i was even more comfortable with the fact that he finished early, and gave me a chance to say a few words; words for which i got support all round, on the topic of improving work procedures and knowledge management.

i had a fiery argument with nystire over something that we weren't actually disagreeing over: it kills me that it's so difficult to communicate with him sometimes. i find it morbidly fascinating that he doesn't notice the pattern, and that these miscommunications need to be resolved constantly (and not just with me).

...

more shitty news from the release front. my request was returned to us because the big boss didn't like the reason given. so we rewrote the request (there're a ton of reasons for me to leave early, so no head-scratching required), and after lunch i handed it over to his office. now to wait for the next one :S

lunch itself was alright, although captain incompetent (who's responsible for environmental awareness in our unit) proved his unethical laziness by taking three plastic cups of juice so that he wouldn't have to get up to refill them.
we were sitting no more than three feet away from the containers.

the quarter-master's store let me know that i'm clear of all debts as far as they're concerned, and gave me some understanding to boot (they'd asked me why i was so interested in leaving).

i had a pretty successful afternoon work-wise, with only three major irritations:
1. the new girl: "what are you complaining about? you're getting paid a salary to be here and do nothing"
2. one of our project managers: "if someone doesn't use the wiki the way he should, we may as well all stop using it"
3. captain incompetent: "why can't it do my thinking for me?" [actually, fair play - i'd trust a gameboy AI more than i'd trust his mental activity]

on the way home, we heard an interesting discussion on the radio - a guy and a few of his relatives have tattooed his grandfather's number from auschwitz, like this man. i find the idea quite touching.

after messing about online for a bit, i went to bed early and fell asleep reading the annotated alice. now i'm off to party / buy tickets for a big event coming up soon. i shouldn't have finished the marshmallows with peanut butter.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

aggressively tired

it is possible that nystire's speculation was accurate, and that i woke up during rem sleep this morning. no matter, waking up at 6am is never easy in any event. i was tired, but not actually sleepy, for the entire day. at least, until the shuttle home, when i slept pretty deeply.

the weather today was hot and dusty - standing indoors and having a hot wind blowing onto my face was unexpected and almost pleasant... but walking outside, even for a minute, was an ugly and draining experience.

breakfast wasn't good this morning - even by the army's usual crappy standards - and my egg bits kept sliding off the bread at me. topping that was nystire contemplating signing on for a managerial position, a decision i feel both he and whoever he has to work with would regret. some people are simply better suited to become experts.

the usually useful side of our local store was closed, so i had chocolate ice-cream to restart the day on a better note. it mostly worked; i was even inspired by a wild idea regarding my upcoming travel plans :)

communication breakdown:

1. we sorted out the mess of misunderstandings from thursday's lunch that continued to irk me.

2. i sat for a couple of hours today on a subject that i'm unfamiliar with, being drilled by a guy who has more difficulty expressing himself than i do *and* speaks really quickly. no amount of caffeine was going to help me feel like less of an idiot.

3. the interesting project i mentioned on thursday was explained to me ambiguously, and i discovered by the end of the day that i'd been barking up the wrong tree :/

4. urchin came by to pick something up, and if it wasn't for her i wouldn't have known that it's holocaust memorial day. i'm rather confused as to how i missed that. anyway, she told me about the polish tragedy; this turned into a fight when she not only refused to understand that it wasn't "the government" that was killed. this was less of a problem than where the argument ended up, with her suggesting that it was a weird thing to happen and therefore likely a conspiracy.

i can't stand conspiracy theorists. i quote:
"kaczynski, whose body was also said to have been found, was a former anti-communist campaigner with a penchant for taunting the kremlin. He had every reason to believe he was not welcome in russia. polish observers said he may have interpreted an order to divert to moscow as an attempt to sabotage his big day in katyn, where he was due to attend a mass and give a speech.

russian media reports said he had once become angry with a pilot who refused to land in tbilisi, the georgian capital, on the grounds that it was unsafe. The same thing may have happened at smolensk, aviation experts claimed. they suggested he may have pressed the pilot to make at least two attempts to land.
"

i mean, this could go either way - but i'm fairly certain that it's wiser to wait for the results of the investigation than to discuss improbabilities.

...

discovering that friends of mine got engaged over a week ago by stumbling across the party invitation is a little weird.

...

i wasn't paying attention when i sent off my cv yesterday - it was aligned all wrong :$
at least the guy was kind enough to inform me before passing it along like that...

...

i apparently used more freebie points than i should have in building my vampire character... *sigh*

...

i am definitely going to bed early tonight.

---

so the southpark facebook episode is amusing. fine. not worth the effort to find it, though. my first experience with rapidshare may well be my last.

this taiwanese kid has an incredible voice! now if only they could get the words vaguely right :/

i'm shockingly lazy!

i meant to clean my apartment today; instead, i spent it creating a character for vampire the masquerade, playing good frisbeer on the beach, and sleeping.

oh, and being enthralled by rome - totally digging it.

richard cheese - chop suey: and i thought his enter sandman was pushing it :P

Saturday, April 10, 2010

routine friday

i woke up fairly early, and took the new wired to breakfast at coffeeholic. the chef was around, and i found a great spot in the sun. i ate well, enjoyed my coffee, and was joined by urchin. we came up with a cunning plan while she ate, and as soon as she was done we headed off to south tel aviv.

we should've taken a bus - walking took much longer than anticipated. and we almost got run over twice, both times while walking on a pedestrian crossing. what's wrong with these drivers?!?!

the exhibition we went to see was brilliant, in a really cool gallery. we weren't there for very long, but i came away well impressed.

i'm very glad that i remembered that she was holding my wired when she got off the bus; in particular, i spent the rest of the ride back being inspired by an article on the ipad. i think it may give me a way to do one of the projects i was considering a while back :)

i arrived at the climbing wall pretty much on time, and scrapper and i got to work right away. we were warmed up by the time we were joined by the others (including two girls, one super-cute, intelligent and unfortunately gay, and the other sweet and pleasant), and soon after they arrived i attacked the incline wall that none of us have managed to finish before.

my finger's were locking up by the time i made it halfway, and every inch of me was straining and under stress. i made it to the last few feet when i slipped for the first time, and i was distraught! then i realized that i'd chosen the more difficult of the two sides, and i went up the right... i cannot express just how satisfied i was to touch the wood at the top ^_^

i paid for the achievement, though - for the next hour i could barely grip even the simple courses, and i had to take a few breaks (a good thing the girls were there to keep me company). it was during one of these breaks that i pulled out a bottle of bubbles; later leaving it on the bench to ascend the wall, and forgetting it...

around 5pm it was time to leave - i didn't want to, but i'd promised to get to the cookie monster's birthday picnic. i hunted up and down the park, but didn't give up, and eventually found them sitting in a good spot for frisbee.

i was welcomed, i congratulated, then removed my blades and threw down the frisbees as if they were gauntlets. a pity that nobody accepted the challenge: there was good food, lots of booze, but a lot of the awkwardness that bringing together different groups of friends for a birthday party usually entails. even more of a pity that a lot of those groups were composed of very good-looking girls; as i didn't know anyone except the birthday girl, and nobody was introducing me, i didn't know what to do.

scrapper and co arrived, at least, bringing me the empty bubble bottle and a third frisbee. after meeting the cookie monster's parents and chatting for a bit, i got sucked into a really wild game - three frisbees for four people... nuts! more so because my hands were still smarting from the wall - usually i just can't shake hands for a day or two afterwards, but yesterday even holding a beer was trouble :P

i ran into an old co-worker on the way home, who works for the people i interviewed with shortly before entering the permanent force and who has agreed to reconnect me.

i had a hot shower and got stuck into facebook until urchin arrived. we went to pick up sushi, and bubbles on the way. a beer while waiting, and we returned to the boondock saints. always nice to introduce someone to that :)

she helped me remove a splinter from my foot, then played with her camera to produce a profile picture for me. then we watched a couple of episodes of firefly.

everything up until that point had been great: a perfect friday! but halfway through an episode one of the characters got injured:
"is he gonna die?"
"you're not really asking me that"
"come on! is he gonna die??"

it irritates me when people want to know how something ends. watch the damn thing - you'll find out. this is not the first time we've fought about this, and she left irritated with me because i was irritated with her.

...

i woke up fairly early, and spent the morning online, or watching rome, or preparing a character for a potential game of vampire the masquerade that i've been invited to join...

i'm rather pleased with how my garlic eggs on matza came out :P

as for my hands: they're still straining, even as i type this. good thing for me that it's that pleasurably "i've done something great" strain, that hopefully means stronger fingers for next time :)

---

dr horrible's sing-along blog: in 8-bit gaming glory!

from wired:

under the influence: he-man available artwork has absolutely phenomenal pieces; as i scrolled down, my "now that's my new favourite one!" reflex was overtaxed :)

tom shannon kicks ass.

scott brown's instant relics is a beautifully written and highly amusing look at tech in the movies