Friday, December 30, 2011

what kind of day was it?

i woke up feeling like i'd slept enough. hooray!

i left my cds for the anime afternoon behind. bummer.

my rollerblades are utter shite, i made it two blocks before it was too painful to continue. F***-BUGGER.

of the three buses that end in 71, i picked the one that goes the wrong way. F***!

late for class. swak.

it was an awesome class wherein we learned about the origins of the minotaur and their relation to a midsummer night's dream. sweet!

not a bad lunch, and time to space out a bit. neat!

having a fellow student point out the lack of hygiene as i finished my meal... *sigh*.

more sonnets, less sanity. nice.

finding the student union's portable speaker available. excellent!

getting serious weight-lifting exercise carrying it around. cool.

an orientation class on mythology, interesting points made in a monotone. meh.

good, crazy anime for an hour and a half. sogoi!

skipping the evening lecture to go to work instead of joining the others for a pre-new year's bash. hooray :/

tons of work and not enough time. *grumble*

mother freaking out because the television interface is in hebrew and she thought she'd buggered something up. aaaargh!

forgetting that pg is staying in a different city tonight. whoops...

long arguments online about fundamentalism and extremism and whether or not it's okay. timesuck. (it's not okay, but it's understandable)

good dinner and rum and liquorice and chocolate in front of the original fantasia. pleasant.

getting ready for bed by sitting in front of the pc. what the hell am i doing?!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

thank you, ben franklin

late to bed and early to rise, makes a man slightly psychotic and a bit irritable. first class was tough, but ended with a great telling of a story about the creation of memory. i was on my way from that to the old office, in good spirits, when i got a phone call from the new office.

the upgrade i performed hadn't been functioning at all. i had to go back.

fortunately it wasn't too tough to sort out, but i wasn't feeling particularly positive about having caused them a day's loss of data. the cto shrugged, i shrugged, and i was on my way out when the ceo made my day: i suspect he reads good management articles. he took me quietly aside and informed me that they're incredibly pleased with me and my work.

you know what? that made my day.

i had a great breakfast for lunch next door with pg and my mum, and then we went together to campus. aside from a bit of touring before class, i sat down to get some of the reading done and was interrupted by pg's brother and his girlfriend for a pleasant chat until i had to run. the class was sometimes interesting, but mostly i just played sudoku between points of "oh, cool".

the event that wordsworth and co-conspirator organized was surprisingly good. most of the participants were interesting, all the items were short, and it was all done with a sense of humour and i think that it was remarkably successful overall.

my mum and i headed back home to pick up pg and then meet with some cousins for a very pleasant dinner nearby; pg has made cookies and i've now given up on the readings (perhaps i'll manage some more before class).

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

yellzors

whoa. another 4am special - and it still wasn't working right. when i took it to scr, *boy* was i surprised to discover that what wasn't working was something i'd written in my first couple of days on the project, and that it shouldn't have been working at all.

eh??

another early morning, this time punctuated by an interesting chat with pg's brother and her sister before french class. the class was a bit long. i had a pleasant lunch with pg and a pointless meeting with a professor about a non-existent web page before running off to work.

it took me about four hours to get it all working, by which stage i was completely exhausted and beyond ready to go home and get some rest before rollerblading. i was most unimpressed to discover that there was a report the upgraded system needed to produce - and urgently - and having the client sit behind me sounding pushy did not make me a happy camper.

i urgently dragged myself out of there an hour and a half later after an unpleasant battle with microsoft's excel package. it was all working but i wasn't at all satisfied.

a drink at home made it better, as did a great meal with pg and my mum, and we decided to skip the exercise in lieu of a movie and munchies. the movie was eyes wide open, which was a bit more artsy than it needed to be but it definitely fueled thought. unfortunately, the argument i had afterwards with pg regarding the bible belt overheated.

---

i have a problem - i don't realize that i'm raising my voice unless someone tells me: "you're shouting". by which stage, damage is usually done regardless of my best intentions to the contrary. if i was normal, i probably would have known to give it up but if i was on the receiving end of that response i would be offended that i didn't care enough to... well, shit. the only expression i can think of it "to close the corners" because it's the hebrew version of what i want to say... i would be offended that i didn't care enough to tie up the important loose ends. the back and forth, some tense and unpleasant, some calm and amusing, eventually ended in a reasonable and reasonably desirable atmosphere.

i wish my mother hadn't had to suffer through the stages from the side...

---

vogonizing is mine. i render it unto you.

success? failure? character reports? that's inspired. i think it's an awesome idea, even with the potential pitfalls.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

just another regular day

getting to bed after 4am... waking up around 9am... two classes, a quick sandwich and then arriving at work for integration...

[the integration went smoothly, i'm well pleased. also, the boss intimated that i can disregard the vicious email from yesterday]

... bussing to dinner, delicious and extremely busy post-wedding get-together, then bussing back with pg and my mum... now about to resume working...

Monday, December 26, 2011

not the best of plans

i don't think there's a way for me to post this quickly; i have to get to bed because i have to be up soon and i've only just managed to get the barest minimum of functionality out of my code.

and i just got back from her wedding, having had a fair amount to drink.

---

saturday:

i *did* go back for a nap, and woke up in the evening *just* in time for us to all have to scramble to get to modi'in to celebrate my cousin's kid's engagement. it was dark, rainy, and *boy* were we glad that pg came with us (she doesn't like surprises) because i began to feel faint on the highway.

joke of the evening: there's no pre-nup when one becomes a common law spouse :P

the evening was pleasant, although it took us more than 40 minutes to say goodbye and i was still feeling woozy. then pg pinched me when i responded to something in a way that might drag the goodbye out even more, which led to some embarrassment.

the storm: not even a KRAA-AAACK before the BOOM, and the BOOM was right nearby. we jumped out of our skins, my mother told us later she'd done the same, and the poor dog was terrified as usual - only the dog can't be allowed to jump up on the bed (bad leg), so i had to lock her in her cage and we felt really bad for her. oh, well. it'll be even tougher with kids one day...

the 7am parking trauma will not be discussed.

i slept well, and i slept late. it was tough to get up, but i knew i had to get the work done. a few hours later i was faced with a virtual wall - thank you, transact sql, for sending error codes that aren't listed anywhere. the worst bit was that the code seemed to be working, but was sending an error code in addition to the correct output. i spent hours trying to figure it out, and had to let go in order to get to the wedding.

it was only now, a handful of minutes ago, that i figured out the issue. debugging sql is a right bitch, and i've now wasted far too much time on getting to a point only halfway towards where i needed to be by today. the pressure was only increased when the client team sent an email to all of the bosses complaining that the application i've written is utterly useless.

brilliant. i haven't even been paid yet :(

at least the wedding was great. it was actually very emotional, it was beautiful and tasteful and there was too much food. i had a great evening, and in a few hours i'm going to sorely regret having neglected my studies this weekend...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

too much, or not enough

5am waking to wait for an hour with busy children of disinterested parents and arsim; the closest one can stand is a long way from the gate, enough to blur my eyesight and cause potential embarrassments.

shopping and decaf coffee, then bed: the first call was from a friend of mother's, which i can understand. the second, from a cousin, which i can understand. the asshole repeatedly honking outside the window? that i couldn't understand, and i was so infuriated by its waking me up that i couldn't get back to bed.

bits of work, then goocha for brunch. awesome spicy crab and tasty tentacly goodness.

bits of work, then a perfect half hour sleep followed by a perfectly evil requirement to get up from it.

both my mother and my girlfriend had a go at me about my not owning enough formal clothing. with my attitude towards materialism and social niceties... why the heck should i?!

dinner was at מקום בלב (makom balev) in ra'anana. that place deserves the 5/5 food rating it received on google maps. there were nice speeches, there was a great vibe, and aside from an awful incident where i forgot two of my cousins' names, it was as usual great to spend time with everyone.

i feel greatly advantaged, comparing all of my interestingly (both psychologically and professionally) successful cousins on my mother's side of the family to all those on the other side, who are either unsuccessful or only financially so. also to all my "friends" (the use of quotation marks implies that i'm beginning to view them as "not so much", like ze germans), who are all considerably less psychologically developed and are wasting their lives on the pursuit of money.

too much good food, or not enough?

there was much discussion regarding big weddings and end-of-the-road bravery: the groom's father has just had his leg amputated and is at the end of his road, yet was nothing less than charming and joyful - and in some cases, amusingly and cheerfully cynical.

the fifth element's OST played us home - eric serra is an absolute genius. this is not the first time i've said it, and it certainly won't be the last.

finally! to bed! and, of course, the complete inability to sleep. pizza dreams? it was too hot, or too cold, my sore legs and feet causing my body to curl and spasm and knock pg about... it was only around 6am that i was finally "rested" enough (define irony) to get out of bed and stretch out, and the short sleep that i got after that was, well, too short.

hooray for early mornings! :/
after doing a bit of cool shopping (buying classical comics off book depository - kick ass!) i got my mother and myself through to the synagogue in time for me to be called up to hold up the torah (no sweat! except that i *was* a bit nervous)... the whiskey breakfast afterwards was nice, and the coffee next door, and the coffee after that, and then it was time to hunt down fuel stations in tel aviv before searching for parking.

we found the parking fairly easily - nice!

i feel like a need a good, long sleep. gonna go do that now, before returning for a night's hard labour...

---

on an entirely unrelated note, an amusing (and somewhat accurate) breakdown of the lsd experience caught my attention on cracked.com, so i thought i'd share it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

not just another weekend

sleep did help a bit, but i didn't really leave myself much time for more reading.
first class - great.
second class - made my head spin.
orientation class - way more people, i made myself useful and co-conspirator drove me nuts with her stupidity.
anime afternoon one - two episodes of ergo proxy and gundam 00. awesome.
work (old job) - productive. almost interesting.
work (new job, at home) - productive. but i gotta run across to pg's mom's place (temp home) now because i need sleep before waking up in 4.5 hours to go pick up my mother from the airport.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

real art

i can't concentrate of astrophil and stella; the words aren't sinking in, and it's deep stuff.

it doesn't help that i got caught up ogling the best of street art utopia 2011. it's all amazing - but this one in particular blows me away.

maybe if i sleep a few hours the poetry won't seem so alien.

unplanned pre-vac

the early morning was painful as usual, and i was buggered. it was an interesting lecture, although i must admit to having spent some portions of the last few classes (various classes, not this course specifically) playing minesweeper or sudoku... i don't know why...

i mean, i'm still paying attention and taking notes. i suspect that there's an element of tiredness influencing the lack of participation.

i needed to write a paper for the next class, so i figured i'd do that at home instead of in or outside the office. also, pg managed to score a massive splinter and needed help removing it, so i gallantly returned home to make it worse. i've warned her to take it to a doctor if it doesn't heal quickly, partially out of guilt :(

i was really tired, so after lunch i thought i'd set my alarm for half an hour and have a nap, only switching to my alarm application isn't the same as setting it and i only got up about two and a half hours later. panic! i kind of enjoyed writing the paper anyway, but it totally blew my plans for getting some work done before going to class.

another inspirational class! followed by the old office, doing new job work. i thought it would be quick and then i'd start logging hours once i got onto old job work, but instead of half an hour or so it took me well over two, and i had barely enough time to make myself useful before i had to leave :S

although at least i did make myself useful.

i came home in time to help out with dinner (mini burgers - the first failed and turned into tasty "meaty bits" that were spread in the salad, the second came out in the right shape and texture but not as tasty), perform serious duties as webmaster, and... and now i have poetry to read for tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

wisps of mytheme

as it was, i only had 4.5 hours to sleep this morning; i spent most of them half-awake, conscious of my body and my surroundings but stuck in an attempt to solve a problem. i barely remember fragments of the problem, but it involved four or five characters and i believe that if i had been able to recall all of their details at any given stage i would have been able to combine them neatly to form a sensible picture, but as i was limited i was unable to find satisfaction and i was distinctly aware that what i was searching for was a myth to make sense of the contradictions.

and then my alarm was going off, and even an extra fifteen minutes couldn't help me. although i'm feeling far better about this morning than any other wednesday this semester.

picked-me-up

i love bizarro, and the post i read this morning in particular. as much as i appreciate the first one, it's the second one that made me laugh out loud, and i felt compelled to share :)

---

what a difference catching up a bit of sleep makes! and spending the first few hours of the day working from home, figuring out interesting things and then heading off to work with nothing but a kindle** for an hour's meeting and some administrative tasks before heading out for the other office kept the rest of the items short and sweet.

* implementing json objects in c# isn't that difficult once you've seen it done... but you have to have seen it done first :P

** i usually have my heavy schoolbag

the other office has better coffee, and there were doughnuts. my co-worker and i had an argument on the whiteboard until i realized what he was talking about, and it was pretty much what i'd told him to do in the first place only phrased differently. after that, i had about ten or twenty minutes to hurriedly find something (i found it!) before rushing home to leave in time for the rollerblading route.

it was a great route! my blades were a bit easier to secure, although the left side bit into my ankle the whole route and the right side scraped the inside of my sole... hopefully it'll get better.

pg and i had a long an amusing debate about marriage and emigration, and while i'm not going to share the details here, suffice it to say that i can definitely see a familial future for us whether or not an actual wedding is involved.

---

someone asked me earlier how i'm doing, and it suddenly struck me that in the midst of all the craziness, i'm doing fantastically well. studies are stressed but fun and satisfying, working as a freelancer is an absolute pleasure (so far, at least) and not only is the home situation comfortable but my mum's arriving this weekend and christmas / new year's might actually feel like christmas / new year's ^_^

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

bzzzt

i was a zombie this morning. i could barely stay focused during my classes and it appears that when i shut up, everyone shuts up... not so pleasant.

work this afternoon didn't go very well; i spent another hour sinking research time down a well, took ages to figure out a shortcut for web communications in c# console applications (WebClient - it made translating php and cURL to c# really simple), and...

... today, i billed hours for the first time in my life. it was incredibly liberating. i feel like... a grown-up.

i arrived home quite late, and was just as shocked as pg when i kissed her "hello" and it was literally electrifying (one of us had been building up static, apparently). after dinner, i celebrated the continuing university strikes (the non-tenured are revolting) by doing my french homework (je serais boire rhum parce que je suis pirate). now to get to bed, i can sleep in and still get up early enough to make programmatical strides.

Monday, December 19, 2011

i realize the time.

it's late. i've done what needed doing, and i'm happy with it. also, i've discovered absolutely incredible artwork (joe fenton) and read something profoundly worrying about consequences.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

swayed

that icky feeling's still going strong - it's been one of those days. pg and i left early to join the strike that didn't really happen, i handed in my midterm assignment and then failed to do any useful work from the campus computers.

the first hour of the lecture on consciousness was a bit of a disappointment because david chalmers (who is one froody dude) dumbed his talk down. i can't talk about the rest of it because i then had to head to class.

after class i went to work, and managed to make a breakthrough in spite of how crap i was feeling. i returned home just in time for dinner, and i'm now trying to be productive but... i don't really want to be.

---

the life 2011 pictures of the year are amazing as usual. i might not have seen them all if at any stage i'd realized that there were over a hundred of them :P

floored

i woke up in the middle of the night to pee, and ended up on the floor after a fainting spell or two. it all feels... icky. and as a result, i slept too much and my day was going to be stressed anyway :/

my work here is done.

i totally forgot to mention one of the highlights of the day! it was one of the highlights of my return to academia, actually. my favourite professor, who i was certain i'd offended, appears not to be as offended as i'd thought. not only that, but my response paper that i sent in last week came back with an enthusiastic review, a grade of 100, and rather more flattery than i'd expect from a paper beginning "i found the unit on utopia fairly tough to wrap my head around, and i’m not certain that this response is going to contain anything more than ruminations on themes already discussed in class".

i'm a little bit pleased with myself, yeah.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

misplaced

nothing like spending more than a day and an inordinate amount of research time coming up with the first half of a paper, and then discovering that i'd inadvertently saved it in the wrong place and in so doing made it publicly available, in all its stages, to my classmates.

i *really* hope nobody read it. partially because it's far from polished; mostly because i'm terrified that some idiot will steal my ideas. and i'm fairly sure nobody else was going the route i am: i've spent just over a page explaining why the question we're answering is ridiculous in order to make a claim that's rather nasty to substantiate.

---

i'm so glad that pg's mum came over to check out the kindle! i was busy telling her that the one drawback is the inability to flip through books, and happened to discover how it's done. my kindle just became even MORE awesome (^_^) - either that or i just turned out to be a complete moron (>_<). celebratory brunch (pg's mum's birthday) this morning was pleasant, and an enjoyable distraction from the paper. so was watching the last two episodes of the first season of misfits. i really enjoyed it!

---

i've done no actual work today. fortunately, tomorrow morning there's a strike on campus, so at least the french homework can wait a couple of days :P

i can't believe my mum will be here in less than a week!

long friday

waking up early for the make-up french class was a bummer. the test was alright. the class was annoying, and i speak for pg too.

we had a pleasant breakfast at the new place next door - much better now that the opening excitement has died down - and then sped off to the skate shop so that i could pick up a pair of rollerblades.

on the one hand, i should have spent some time doing research. on the other, i can't be without rollerblades. so i went with nrks. so far, i haven't figured out how to tighten the tops and i've gone from less than thirty seconds to put on my blades to more than two minutes...

and something doesn't feel right on the left side, which is an all-of-a-sudden that began a few minutes before i got home now from cm's :(

the rest of the afternoon was spent in front of the computer, trying to make progress with my midterm assignment. i did - i know what i want to write about - but that's about it. i could use another week :/

in spite of that, i took off a few hours to go over to cm's and play arkham horror again. we not only finished the game, but we had a lot of fun playing it - if you play with the attitude that you're not supposed to win, then you can focus on the characters' perspectives and it can get pretty terrifying.

speaking of terrifying:

1. my blades and i aren't stable and my wheels are new, so when botchman took me up to 50kph on the back of his bike i had to call it a good try

2. the tall, well-built bald man dancing in the middle of the deserted street and trying to get me to approach him "to show me something" at around 3am? i would have called the police if i wasn't worried that they'd have given me shit...

3. i wish that somebody would tell me that this is a twisted, chain-letter style practical joke... but the petition has reached over 5500 people and the protest has been mentioned in the news: the usual idiots are now trying to turn the national electric company into a religiously run institution.

because it's not bad enough that they take most of our taxes and resources and hate us in return, provide nothing either culturally or economically, and would like to see us all head back into the dark ages.

Friday, December 16, 2011

back to sleep

so i missed a wednesday, and essentially a thursday too?

thursday: a strange day, i actually managed to sleep enough, sort of didn't really get started on my midterm assignment, had my rollerblades break on me (after six years of good usage, so i suppose it's fair) on my way to campus, enjoyed a wonderful orientation course lecture, was at work just long enough*, then returned for a great lecture on orson welles' othello. then i came home to eat soup, watch misfits, and study for the french test in the morning.

* there's a tax issue with my fees, and i was stressing about whether or not to broach the subject at all. i was given an opportunity to mention it without making it seem like i was asking :)

wednesday: i was completely buggered. practically dysfunctional. first class was tough, although now that i'm on top of things it's much easier to keep track. i returned to the neighbourhood and ate breakfast while waiting for the plumber to arrive; he only called me when he was done, which meant that i had to get him (thursday morning) to come back and show me that he really had sorted it all out before paying him.

i think i understand the source of the confusion now - he and the other guy have the same name, and both of them have partners. freaky.

i went to work for another meeting - seriously, i wasn't expecting so much administration but at least i can bill for it - then returned for an excellent evening class** before going to the old office for an hour before returning to tel aviv for a pub arrangement with a guy i used to serve with.

** that girl has actually been quite pleasant since we had our little talk.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

oh. shit.

it was 2.30am, and on my way home i discovered just how much impact wind-chill has on rollerbladers... i was wearing a ski-jacket, but without gloves under my wristpads my fingers were freezing...

... also on my way home, running into someone i study with and getting into a heated debate about veganism. it was interesting - although i suspect i cut him off a bit too harshly quite a few times - until some apparently drunk guy who'd been peeing in the bushes behind us planted himself two feet away and stared at me. he asked my classmate if he could understand a word i was saying, and when he responded in the affirmative he told him to tell me that he understood perfectly too.

now, i don't have an issue with being excessively social, or anti-social, but do you *have* to be aggressive about it? everything about this jerk suggested violence, and the first words out of his mouth were to tell one stranger to "pull one over" another. damned primitives :@

---

now that i've gotten it through my head that i'm actually freelancing, my appreciation for my time is completely flipped around and everything's gravy. i'm a team of one, and i'm the team leader fully responsible for management. i don't have an issue with putting together charts and graphs and spreadsheets when i know that i'm being paid to do so.

---

it was evening already when i received an emergency phone call from my tenant: sewerage seeping out a pipe that goes through the bedroom. NOT acceptable, less by me than him if i gauge the difference in our attitudes correctly.

the plumbers i usually call are two partners, one of whom lives close by and both of whom do decent work fairly cheaply. the thing is, these two are always bouncing phone calls back and forth and i've never been able to keep track of their phone numbers - not only bouncing, but they each have a couple of numbers so my contact list is a bit of a mess.

i can't say who i called and didn't call, and as usual there was bouncing and back and forths, but eventually we agreed that we'd meet within the hour at the apartment and i bailed on a meeting to rush home and attend. when i was five minutes away i called to make sure that everyone would be arriving with me, and by the time i arrived the guy was there and had already discovered the problem.

our tanks overfloweth - and as my apartment is on the first floor, of course it's the first to make the discovery. after a strange and frustrating non-argument with the caretaker, we agreed that tomorrow morning we'll meet (after my class) and the plumber will arrive and sort it all out. for a very fair price.

a minute after he left, the plumber called to say he would be arriving in five minutes and that he'd been delayed because he couldn't find parking.
eh?? i told him his partner had already left, surprised that they hadn't talked to one another, and was about to go back inside to pick up my bag when he called back to inform me that his partner hadn't been to see the apartment.

-- cue twilight zone music --

i haven't the slightest notion who it is that came over and is contracted to fix the problem, even though i definitely know him and he's definitely worked in my apartment before. no matter how much of the other guy's time i wasted, and no matter how much he was willing to beat the other's price, i wasn't about to cancel on someone who'd not only made it on site quicker and with whom i already had an agreement, but who i cannot even phone to inform him because i don't have a clue who he is or what his number is.

that's a bit screwy.

---

rollerblading was great tonight; i needed the exercise. although i could just as easily have slept those hours - yesterday morning's wake-up was tough, this morning's is probably going to be tougher. and i discovered, an hour before leaving the apartment, that i have an assignment due tomorrow and a whole bunch of reading i'd forgotten about...

Monday, December 12, 2011

what i've gotten myself into

well. i discovered today that i don't just have to calculate project times and costs, but i have to be able to justify them, too. also - although i've been told that they can try and speed things up for me for my first month - the norm will be that once i've billed them i'll have to wait thirty days from the end of the month in which i've billed them for payment.

it's not the end of the world, but it most certainly changes the way i plan things. also, i've realized that i need to include the amount of time i spend researching new things and making those plans. it's not the end of the world, but it's new and kinda of annoying.

---

1. my favourite professor doesn't appear to have been offended. hooray!

2. too much reading this week. it's nuts.

3. pg missed her french class yesterday morning so we met on campus and i caught her up. it was an experience; tough, but ultimately satisfying. i wish she wasn't so impatient, though. and i don't have patience for impatience, which creates tension :S

4. it was *really* cold this morning. for some reason i kept thinking of the forecast temperature and put aside the bit about it being less than that in the wee hours of the morning: i'd gotten up an hour and a half earlier than my alarm :(

5. the locker on campus is seriously paying off. i bladed to campus yesterday, used the buses to get to work and back, and after the evening class bladed to the old office and then home. i have to say, it was noticeably difficult: after a weekend of eating unhealthily and not exercising...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

gearing down

between yesterday and today, i got a hell of a lot less done that i'd planned. not that i didn't get anything done, but i most certainly wasn't in gear.

i suppose i did kind'a need a weekend.

pg and i pulled out thunderstone this evening - it took a few minutes to get it all set up and it took a few rounds to get into the groove, but i have to say i'm well pleased with my investment. it's such a great game!

final score - i won... 62 / 61. that's pretty darn close, and she had the thunderstone :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

the shape of things to have come

i'm busy reading h.g. wells - the shape of things to come, and a specific sentence caught my imagination:
the alternative to disaster, they saw even then, was not just a bleak and terrified security. that was the last thing possible. there was no alternative to disorder and wretchedness, but "such an abundance, such a prosperity and richness of opportunity", as man had never known before.
if we, as a collective, could escape the culture of fear that we have allowed to control us, and which has allowed those willing to manipulate us free reign, we could enjoy the fruits of our labours and struggles. in a capitalist age where the difference between the rich and the poor is vast enough to be disquieting, this same distance allows us to dream and lets us forget, in a strange way, that even our poor are better off than they would be amongst peers in another system.

wells is right, i believe, in suggesting that the problem with any system is its inflexibility... trial and error, and balance, are crucial devices in managing great numbers of half-crazed supermonkeys*. but in order to get to such a point, those supermonkeys need to relinquish their fears and turn an optimistic face to the possibilities of new paradigms.

* that's us

socialism isn't good, capitalism isn't good, but varying combinations of the two could work well.

i wonder if it's possible to maintain a civilization wherein anything is allowed as long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of others, and in which any violent acts (and only violent acts) are responded to with the utmost violence as a means of disincentive. would it be possible to protect such a civilization from the subversion of manipulative genius, from becoming a dictatorship or a police state?

Friday, December 09, 2011

while logging in to post this, i discovered two pending comments that have apparently been waiting for my approval since july... way to go, blogger!

---

it wasn't an easy day; i spent it in front of the pc, not counting two episodes of bill and ted's excellent adventures* while kipping on the couch, a quick shopping spree and super**. otherwise, it was all about not reading plato's symposium*** by performing some of my webmaster duties****, going through emails, and sending off long emails to my co-worker regarding both jobs*****.

* seriously - they arrive in china hundreds of years in the past, and everyone speaks english? outstanding!

** it's actually pretty funny, and surprisingly sweet! also - what an amazing cast! thank you, captain hammer holy avenger!

*** the first half, at least, is a serious drag

**** joomla can be fun!

***** sorter's project, too. dropbox has turned out to be the best cheap svn for single-developer projects

---

linkage for the day: nokia's mapping is amazing. but with all these wonderful, incredible, life-enhancing systems being built and deployed, i'm left with one question: what happens when the internet goes down?

good parenting advice: compromise is important. not quite "if you can't beat them, join them" but an even wiser position.

this is amazing and frightening. and not because of his connection to family guy:
lapd arrests the wrong guy over protests in los angeles.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

psy-onna-stick

it was a most pleasant day. last day of the week? einstein's general theory + my last couple of weeks seem to indicate that the more one works, the less one moves in space and the faster the days go by. the first two classes were entertaining; the last class was our orientation.

wordsworth brought in a couple of texts and we demonstrated the kind of analysis that's expected of them for their papers... i think by the end they started getting it... then i had half an hour to teach them the basics of psychology.

either i'm a great teacher, or they're really smart, or they're good liars - apparently everything i said was clear. i covered everything they'll need to get through a goodly chunk of their degrees and i even took it one step further - to the point where we are right now with our wednesday classes.

that made me feel good. then i went to work and actually got quite a bit done, which also felt good. the end of the evening in the office was a bit of a rush job (a few TODO comments in the code) because pg was cooking and i didn't want to miss dinner :P

pg and i just watched confessions, and i can see why our lecturer found it distracting. it's really good.
now, i believe, *is* a good time to go to bed.

---

the last weekend was killer, and i was concerned that i'd be burned out by the end of it. strangely enough, while i'm still exhausted i'm REALLY excited about real programming again and i'm loving both jobs. i don't even mind having to drag my co-worker by the ear because he's a fantastic exercise in coaching, and i'm convinced that the day will come when i teach him to do things the easy way :)

where? am i?

it's just turned thursday, and i have the following to report. in no particular order.
  • rollerblading slowly through quiet, dark streets while dressed in clothes i only wear around the house felt... nice...
  • i fear i may have offended my favourite professor by sending a mail slightly impolitely deconstructing monday evening's lesson of stupid
  • i'm very, very tired.
  • this morning's lesson on lacan and levi-strauss actually made sense, and was interesting. it gave me a totally new perspective on science (reinforcing my previously held views, but putting them in a much more interesting context), and brought me across the line from the side on which i'd been imagining that co-conspirator isn't a complete idiot. when she doesn't *get* something, she forces a subject change.
  • i would wonder how people like co-conspirator and the girl from monday's lesson got their degrees, only our master's forum this evening explained it all. in simple terms, undergrad is now the pay-as-you-go say-you've-been-to-college certificate, and master's studies are what undergrad used to be once upon a time, when people actually wanted to learn stuff.

    in addition, it has been made perfectly clear that the thesis track is a complete waste of time for anyone not planning on continuing on to a phd, and i realize that if i want to contribute something to the academic world i'm as well off, if not better off, doing whatever i like in my own time and publishing (or not) personally. i'd rather make use of my little "vacation" by doing as many courses as i can about things i know nothing about.
  • my co-worker: *sigh*. he's not bad, but i don't know how much drilling i need to do before he gets what i'm on about. SIMPLE code. SIMPLE solutions. THOROUGHNESS. when committing and when testing. COMMENTS AND DOCUMENTATION. useful things. in friendly format.
  • last night i got to bed early (around midnight) for the first time in a week - and we were woken up with a jolt around half an hour later by a phone call from the states...
    i didn't answer, and i got back to sleep almost immediately, but physical shock was memorable :(
  • a long chat yesterday with one of the guys i used to serve with; it sounds like we might get together to make some music - i hope.
  • the project! it's OVER! there were a few interface issues, but on the whole it's now a neat and functional application and it does the job. and a whole bunch of other jobs in the future, which means that i designed it well ^_^
    it was really satisfying to see the results of field operation. one row of data made my whole day :)
  • i didn't have the energy to go rollerblading last night. it sucked to bail, but it was the smarter choice.
  • working on contract is beginning to sound much, much better than for a salary. i can take days off between projects and nobody will give a shit where i am. i can incorporate studies and personal events into my time estimate, and nobody will panic.
    now i'm just waiting for the guys from freelancer to get back to me so that i can bill my first job.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

it's not over yet

i've just now, finally, i pray, completed the sql logic. i can't believe that in my haste i made such silly mistakes. now all that's left is to integrate it with the front-end, and then i'll be ready for bed. soon after which time i'll be getting up for class again...

... i only got to sleep around 3am yesterday (too, it seems), then got up early to do the reading and didn't have nearly enough time. i managed to arrive late for the first class because i'd gotten the rooms backwards and sat waiting for a while until i registered that i didn't know *anyone* around me...

the second class was interesting, but i was buggered, unfocused, and it took me right until the very end of class to come up with something interesting. i decided not to go to the third that i've been auditing because it really is a waste of time if i'm not doing the readings. and i was really tired as well.

i had lunch with wordsworth, who gave me a ride to the bus - on the way another netvision representative called to offer me some new deal; it's happening more and more frequently, and i've taken to screaming at them in an attempt to get myself on a "do not call" list. it's very upsetting, especially considering the fact that they've still got me by the balls with the internet services that i don't want :S

work: horrid. everything went pear shaped, and it all being down to configuration issues doesn't make me feel any better. i don't know if my chat with the boss at the end was productive; it took me a while to explain last week's misunderstanding to him; there were a lot of assumptions made about company knowledge that i've just learned the hard way, such as who to listen to and under what conditions to agree to a project. next time i'll be smarter, at least :)

slightly more positive news - my mum's coming to visit soon ^_^

it's funny, i don't listen to music when i'm super-stressed. after getting home, snacking, skipping over to pg's parents' to print and photocopy stuff so that i can sign up for a freelancing company (what a great idea!!! they take a cut and i don't have to get intimate with the revenue service), and doing my french homework, i was feeling much more relaxed.

just a little bit longer...

Monday, December 05, 2011

not. my. day.

i got to work all excited after french class, only to discover a couple of minor bugs that kept me busy until i had to run to class again. it was in the middle of class that i got a phone call informing me that things weren't working...

... it's the class that's usually my favourite. nim, the girl who upset me on thursday? [i didn't even mention it, apparently. she kept cutting off the professor, and punctuated the rest of her sentences with "uh, huh?"s and "mmms" and "rights" - a little distracting]
i had a talk with her, which i'd been dreading both having and not having - i was certain the confrontation would be unpleasant, but the alternative was more of her behaviour. surprisingly, it seems to have gone alright. but the universe couldn't let it go at that, so it had her "teaching" us the whole lesson instead.

this is a girl who doesn't *get* what the class is about. we spent two hours pouring over uninteresting things that any idiot could find online, and in this case did. the highlight? she cited "the onion" as a source, not realizing that it's a parody site.

seriously.

...

straight back to work, there until 10pm. i got things basically functional, but the boss asked me to make some critical changes and holy crap, i've just spent two hours renaming fields in the database only to discover that i'd forgotten to incorporate a couple of changes made in the other office, potentially wasting hours of work when i don't *have* hours to spare. it's closing in on 1.40am and i haven't done the readings for the morning.

FUCK. and my outcry at my discovery woke pg :(
at least it seems that the bosses are happy with me. i'll tell you how much that's worth if i survive the day.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

parkinson's law isn't always right

i'm WAY overdue for this project, judging by the amount of sleep i've lost and the fact that i haven't been out of the apartment since thursday. heck, i can count the number of breaks i've had on my fingers (although friday's few hours were good).

there's just a *tiny* bit left to do and i really can't do it without jeopardizing my day. dammit.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

both wired and tired

i have just now completed the Big Deal - the only thing that sucks is that while there's a big deal of code behind it, it doesn't actually look that impressive from the user's end. i can only hope that it's as "to spec" as i think it is. at least it's a major item scratched off the list; two more major ones to go.

i'm taking a break to do some of the readings for tomorrow; the only other break i've had was for french homework. i've just decided that i won't be joining the protest tonight... i really don't have the time.

on another note - the leftovers from pg's baking are unfortunately delicious.

ticking tocks

i worked until late, then slept, then got up early and carried on working. aside from a chat with my mum mid-way through the day, i continued to work through to the evening, at the end of which i discovered that the biggest part of the project (or most complex, at least) is still ahead of me. so tomorrow's going to be hard work again. and i have readings to do.

dinner at pg's parents' was great, and we came home just before the guys began to arrive for super-weird anime, a nasty game of citadels (i was either killed or disabled for most of the game, and - mostly - it wasn't even intentional), and attack the block. that's a fun, intriguing film but it's not quite as good as i was expecting (after the so-far cornetto series and paul, which kind of set the bar), although something tells me that there's a lot more to the movie hidden beneath the surface and that it might warrant a more observant review at some later stage.

as pg said - it's alright that we didn't see it in the cinema.

---

in terms of discourse and registers and what-have-you, it's dawning on me that pg's and my relationship has, for a while, been a lot less girlfriend / boyfriend and a lot more husband / wife. i find it a bit startling every time that we discuss future plans (serious ones, like leaving the country and raising children) that these things don't worry me; they're not overwhelming or scary, they're just the way things are and the way things should be. and that feels... rather good, really.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

break-ed

i spent a couple more hours working, then went to bed. then woke up and dragged myself back to campus. the day was great; excellent even. we got good feedback on our orientation course, too.

i scrambled home, buying olive oil on the way and wondering, once again, why the express queue is always the slowest. i mean, i know *why* - they just have to herd troublemakers over to another aisle - but i don't understand why it's not taken care of.

i did a bit of work, then joined sorter at my apartment to spend an hour or two terrified by the fact that we were working with asbestos (not directly, but the dust was everywhere and i'm not sure that our masks were really enough. it was dirty, disgusting work (i didn't do much aside from share my opinions and try to avoid the dust - not that the troublesome particles are visible) and i *really* hope we've sorted the leak out this time.

whether we have or haven't, though, we now know what the situation under the roof is and i'm going to need to set up something a little more solid.

we came back to my place for a beer, after which i showered and ate (and joined pg in watching an episode or so of invader zim, and now i'm working / playing...

oh, crap. and YAY!

i'm a bit blown. it's 1am and i've barely begun the stuff that needs to be finished this week, because every - single - time i try to do something i learn a new limitation or something else goes pear-shaped. no pressure... i'm reduced to simulating the functions that are working but somehow inaccessible by copying and pasting their live results into the code i'm writing.

this is shameful.

---

the other crazy news:
i made a serious faux pas yesterday with both my bosses, and i got the feeling that at that moment i'd blown the whole thing and had lost the job. it ate away at me all the way home, by which time i'd settled on a course of action that involved sending a long email to explain exactly what was going through my mind when i said what i did.

apparently they're both surprised and satisfied by the email, but we'll only know when it comes time to make the hiring decision...

mongoose called me up yesterday, and spoke to me in a way that i find... disappointing. i'm actually quite irritated with him, and i suspect that we're not friends anymore, nor have we been for a while.

this morning began way too early with way too much freud and lacan. i'm not entirely sure what was going on - i tried to take notes but the words blew away like wisps of smoke in a breeze. something about navels and signifiers and not knowing anything. that was all after witnessing an absolutely horrifying incident with some violent kids (and i mean, 8-12 year olds) continuing to be disgracefully rude to an elderly lady in spite of three of us (on a packed bus) stepping in; one was adamant that he was both polite and a grown man, and i'm fairly certain that his parents should be culled.

---

the good stuff:

on my way off campus last week my left ankle developed shooting pains at every step, and i suspect a bit of a sprain. it only got worse whatever i did, and then i figured out that if i forced my leg out and to the left it didn't hurt so much... it's kinda like i'm retraining my leg, only without the use of orthotics. the odd bit is that when i went for a run on sunday (forcing it outwards consciously) it was okay... anyway, it felt much better today.

rollerblading last night was excellent. today, so many birthday wishes *did* make me smile in spite of my cynicism. it made it tough to get things done! the best part of the day: cooking liver for dinner and then being treated to pg's excessively decadent personal pavlovas. small for a pavlova, giant for a meringue ^_^
every time i leave the study i'm surrounded by balloons and wishes; and pg knitted me a really funky scarf! (i didn't realize she'd made it herself, i was certain it was store-bought :P)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

almost 2am?

rubbish! i won't have it!

i've finally learned how to use linq. why it's so complicated to find out how simple everything is is beyond me. add new item, linq to sql classes, drag and drop, save, et voilà. sheesh. so now i have http referral, wcf, linq, and manual sql server database manipulation under control, all i have to do is produce a hefty frikkin' service-based interface for the users in two / three days.

holy crap.

...

mondays are long days, and in the third class i discovered that i hadn't even bothered to look at the materials for the second course i'm only auditing. thank the gods that i'm auditing, i was lost for half the lesson (although the other half was interesting).
the earlier classes were great.

half the time i was at work was spent engaged in conversation with my co-workers - i *really* like the new office. i really hope i can impress the bosses enough to take me on.

i came straight home, ate dinner, and aside from five minutes of sitting with pg while she's going through invader zim (it was my favourite episode, hobo 13) i've been here, in front of the screen.

must... sleep...

Monday, November 28, 2011

stressed out weekend

i don't feel like i had much of a weekend... i spent all of yesterday stressing because i couldn't get a basic wcf restful application running. i had sample code and too much documentation to pour over, and while i thought i understood everything i just couldn't get things functional.

i took a break midway through the day to watch i, claudius, expecting it to be a comedy. it's about as funny as stepping barefoot on a sharp knife when lost and hungry in a dark forest. it's kind of like watching rome (the series), only with less psychedelics, less sex, and less amusing lines.

at night we walked to mike's place for a joint birthday party (mine and one other), and the evening was quite awkward (mostly seating issues, but some social ones too). mindless echoes was supposed to play at 10pm, which was then moved to 11pm, which meant that they only really got on stage around 11.45pm and we had to be out of there by midnight... at least the second song was awesome.

i have to admit that i ate far too much. when i got home, i looked in the mirror and was horrified to see my gut hanging out at me - no way. in response, i didn't have an appetite nor anything to eat today*, minus an energy bar around 4pm and a bowl of cereal two to three hours before returning home to go for a run.

* yes, i know it's counter-productive.

today began at the tax bureau, where i offended the first guy into a state of intentional, petty uselessness, and walked around in circles** until eventually somebody took pity on me. i'm still not sure what happened after that, only it involved filling out a form. i'd written "less than one month," and the woman read it and looked up at me: "i don't understand, you need to mention time-frame. like, a month? a year? something."

** literally, they've placed all the offices in a circle and have useless signs, for maximum confusion.

french class wasn't bad, and then i was stressing again on my way to work. stressing because i have four days left to make good on this contract and i haven't made any progress with actual code in days... then i got into the office (minus a short visit to the old office to say hi and discuss monies) to have scr laugh at me: all of the documentation i'd found for wcf was for versions 3 or 3.5, and the example he'd given me is for version 4. within one minute we'd sorted it all out and damn they made that shit easier!

back to campus, for an amusing and deeply satisfying class on the russian revolution. really. i made a connection between conway's game of life and the post-revolution riots that, combined with the trauma classes, have me pretty certain that i know what my seminar paper's going to be about. i had to refrain from arguing with our professor about zombies because i don't want to let the cat out of the bag regarding my plans for my thesis, and most certainly not in front of other students :P

a couple of hours in the old office, with sorter and i agreeing that with my schedule conflicts (the past couple of months have not gone according to plan) it's a good idea to bring someone in, and it just so happens that my co-worker, for all his faults, is the ideal candidate. so we had a chat and i've just now sent him the outline with the first stuff he needs to get done.

i came home to change clothes - not warm enough, unfortunately - and go for a run. i feel better already, have eaten a delicious and almost carb-free dinner***, done a couple of things that needed doing (hopefully i've done them correctly) and am ready to get to bed.

*** yes, i know complex carbs are okay nutritionally, but they're not very helpful when trying to lose weight!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

summary fire too

it was really tough focusing on things today. the amusing bit is that i only realized two important things at the end of it that would have made me waste a lot less time earlier:

1. i *did* have the details i needed to get started on transferring our department's website. when i did remember, i got started and it's such a pleasure to work with joomla!

2. visual studio's c# express has more than enough power to create and manipulate an sql database (even though it's not designed for this, and requires ignoring a lot of "this is all wrong" alerts).

the kak bit of the day - a rehashed argument (and not an enlightening one) with an annoying girl in our department forum on facebook. the excellent bit - going to the tmuna with wr (with him carrying a book of shakespeare*, that doesn't happen as often) to hear some didgeridoo artists, groovy funk music and then excellent trance.

* edit: this was more amusing when i used to refer to wr as shakespeare.

Friday, November 25, 2011

summary fire

the scientologists didn't have authorization to enter campus, which reflects better on both the student union and the contractors who organize the bazaar. the day was long and entertaining, i got a nasty surprise at work (although i suspect that it's my own fault that i misunderstood the requirement, and otherwise everything's great), then i came home to shop and didn't have energy to do anything more than watch big fish and go to bed.

picked up my copy of ferenc karinthy - metropole this morning, bought stickers (so it's now going to cost me less than a shekel per sheet, instead of twelve), and i've now given up on my webmaster duties for the weekend in favour of getting real work / studying done.

---
update: oh, shit! i completely forgot two awesome items:

1. the march hare reading eric idle - who wrote shakespeare? at the beginning of class. inspirational!

2. until yesterday i hadn't been exposed to kant's formulations:

a. "act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law."
b. "act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end."
c. "therefore, every rational being must so act as if he were through his maxim always a legislating member in the universal kingdom of ends."

good to know. i can't disagree with kant... only with those who misinterpret him.

i don't like wasting words

so i repost them here.

the paper makes one incredibly large assumption at the very beginning - that people are rational. the problem is that the very notion of "rational" depends on culture and world-view.

the universe as you know it is entirely constructed of partial sensory data that you put together in causal sequence to create narrative. that's not to say that you don't get anything right, but that is to say that you "tune out" or "smooth over" contradictions in order to contain them. considering the simple fact that your experience of the world is not identical to the world itself* is a giant contradiction that you have to make peace with, and that effects most of your rational decision-making processes.

the bottom line is that the scientific method is the one method ideally suited for discovering facts outside of the human experience, but it's incomplete (i'm being exceedingly generous here) when applied to human consciousness because psychologizing is a process that does not take place in isolation and cannot (at least at this stage in our technological / philosophical development) be measured in any meaningful way. understanding human behaviour demands a lot more than understanding "desire", because there are deeper desires that determine whether those shallower desires will be acted upon and it is uncannily complicated to communicate them - meaning that it is fantastically difficult to assume that you can figure out what drives someone else. or even yourself.

* for instance, there's no such thing as colour, only differing wavelengths reflected from light hitting a surface, but you identify them as colour and most of us can all talk about the colour blue** regardless of how we see it.

** assuming, of course, that it's a culturally significant colour. this is why the russians differentiate between a lot more reds than the rest of us.


---
clarification
---

> "your paper makes one incredibly large assumption at the very beginning - that people are rational. the problem is that the very notion of "rational" depends on culture and world-view."

Where does the paper make that assumption? The paper is fully about how to consider irrational acts. Looking at statements in the preamble before examples of irrationality are introduced simply doesn't do the paper justice.

i'm sorry, i went through the paper and it appeared to be trying to make sense of human behaviour. Everything talked of utility, and the idea of utility implies being able to determine what that utility is. The underlying assumption that people want money doesn't fly for a surprising number of people.

> "considering the simple fact that your experience of the world is not identical to the world itself* is a giant contradiction that you have to make peace with, and that effects most of your rational decision-making processes."

First off, calling it a contradiction is erroneous. I am happy to concede the DUALIST approach. Yet I am a functional materialist in so far as the experience of evidence -fits- with other evidence.

it's not a matter of evidence fitting or not fitting, it's the notion that your reality IS reality instead of just a MAP onto reality. which is not the same thing.

> "the bottom line is that the scientific method is the one method ideally suited for discovering facts outside of the human experience, but it's incomplete (i'm being excessively generous here) when applied to human consciousness because psychologizing is a process that does not take place in isolation and cannot (at least at this stage in our technological / philosophical development) be measured in any meaningful way."

Firstly that is not my experience of the human mind and people in general. The atom may not be deterministic due to Quantum theory, but my experience of people suggests determinism on a grand scale. Even what people consider to be 'irrational'.

The thing is that you seem to think it's possible to simplify; one's internal universe (the mapping) is vast and complex, and neurologically riddled with feedback loops and filters. the fact that you see determinism on a grand scale is a perfect example of how your mind creates a coherent narrative on top of events in order to link them with causality. this is something YOU do, not something that exists outside of your experience.

Further, even if the scientific method is in error, it would be even more erroneous to suggest that emotional argument or beliefs is the superior form.

i'm not sure how to express this succinctly: the scientific method is not in error, we are incapable of using it on ourselves. it becomes irrelevant to discussions of human behaviour because we are unable to isolate the variables.

>" understanding human behaviour demands a lot more than understanding "desire", because there are deeper desires that determine whether those shallower desires will be acted upon and it is uncannily complicated to communicate them - meaning that it is fantastically difficult to assume that you can figure out what drives someone else. or even yourself. "

This is probably your own work. I suggest nothing more than there are separate human desires that are often in conflict, even in the individual, and belief systems are the means of picking and choosing between the conflict, whether cognitively or not.

100%. but you don't have access to the processes, so to make assumptions about them is ridiculous.

>"* for instance, there's no such thing as colour, only differing wavelengths reflected from light hitting a surface, but you identify them as colour and most of us can all talk about the colour blue** regardless of how we see it."

Here, you are wrong. Colour is simply the ASSOCIATION between distinguishable wavelength and various experiences. Assuming that an association is 'not a real thing', is a fundamental flaw on your part.

here we have a terminological quandary. instead of "real", i use the terms "true" to indicate a subjective reality and "fact" to indicate an objective one. if you believe something, it's true and real for you. if that belief can be verified using the scientific method (and here we have to be reasonable, because even though scientific consensus isn't always right, it is always "as right as can be until we get new information") then it's "fact" and real for everyone.

"colour" is the interpretation of a wavelength, which means that it's very real for every human being, but not real in an external sense. colour is truth, not fact.


>"** assuming, of course, that it's a culturally significant colour. this is why the russians differentiate between a lot more reds than the rest of us"

<personal details deleted here>

our brain performs two functions: filtering and pattern-matching. you're right - it's incentivized, meaning that if we don't need certain information then we drop it. just like the japanese, unable to differentiate between "r" and "l". there is no "conflict", as such; it's a personal mapping that either has a value for a specified wavelength or doesn't.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

in the enemy's camp

i couldn't keep my eyes open during first class. it was painful and uncomfortable and filled with lacan and freud and bad parenting.

i had to write a paper about trauma today, and i learned so much while writing it that i'm fairly astounded by my own insight.

the evening class was entertaining as usual, work (old office) was a bit productive, the bus there (with the girl who scrapper met through me, somehow) was initially awkward, then kinda interesting, and interrupted by a girl sitting in the row in front of us who started asking me questions out of the blue. i was completely thrown by this; when she got to asking how i feel about israel, my immediate response was "it's a shit-hole."

"why?" she asked, sounding a bit hurt.
"it's the lack of culture. it kills me."

and she left me alone. then i felt bad for being so vague and not being specific: it's because everyone's completely absorbed by their own needs and desires and the notion of being considerate is completely out the window, to the point where israelis make themselves miserable by behaving so badly.

this evening it felt like pg and i were celebrating without specific cause - dinner out followed by ice-cream. and the real gift? she's been watching invader zim since she got home around noon.

*sigh*

---

the one thing that's pissed me right off, though, is seeing a scientology stand on campus. they profile you to see if you're normal, then teach you to do what essentially amounts to lobotomizing yourself before hitting you with the whopper. i realize that that sounds suspiciously like other religions. it's an anti-academic anti-science foundation that violently suppresses dissidence. that means that if you're stupid enough to fall for their shit, you're screwed. shit. that's still like a few other religions.

there are two types of scientologists: assholes, and morons. and they're both dangerous. the original judeo-christian texts in general and jewish philosophy in particular are full of profundity, but "the fans", as someone so eloquently said, are the problem. scientology, however, is a practical joke by a well-known science fiction author that went too far.

scientology is not like the others. scientology was designed to be a giant con; at least the other religions have *some* positive side-effects, scientology is net-mega-negative.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

launching...

i walked home fast from work last night, partly because there were lurkers at the beginning of the road and i didn't want them to see that i was... distrustful... i had a quick shower and went straight to bed.

i'm very lucky - as is pg - that after she got up at 6.30am and was getting ready to go to class, i began to stir and somehow registered that i hadn't informed her of the strike. we hadn't been sent any details, so she decided to take a chance and went back to bed. two hours later i got up for my class (with the same teacher), and i arrived on campus to discover that the lessons were indeed cancelled and that pg had gotten it right.

---
so i went to work. they set me up in an office with two other guys (who seem nice enough, but then again i've only seen this company as having a good dynamic), and after a weird struggle with security settings i managed to get started. aside from two short breaks for phone calls and coffee, i worked straight through from 11-5 and *enjoyed* myself. not least of which was caused by my getting the basic underlying requirement functional.

i'm kinda proud of myself. and grateful to microsoft for their visual studio line. it has evolved into a set of exquisitely solid products and aside from a few nuances (almost nothing that a good forum hunt can't handle) they really do allow one to focus on the programmatical problems instead of the environmental.

---
the bus back to tel aviv smelled bad. at certain hours of the day, the back of the bus is packed with less hygiene-orientated people and it's hard to concentrate on reading shakespeare (we're on taming of the shrew, and it turns out i don't remember any of it) in that sort of environment...

i met up at the lincoln with daddy-o, and we spent a good hour and a half catching up, arguing politics and getting into the games; i think the last time i saw him we were taking the judges examination together in order to be promoted to captains, and now we're both civilians (he's been out two weeks) we can discuss this stuff freely :)

late for a meeting with nystire - and slightly tipsy, and with my mind still racing from the debating - i rushed to azrieli to meet him and his wife for coffee and rather interesting conversation. then i rushed home to strap on blades for a really fun couple of hours around tel aviv.

now i'm about to hit the hay: i'm still really excited about the day in general. the only thing that mars it somewhat is hearing about the south african secrecy bill. well done, assholes.

---
i wonder why stephen hawking thinks we can't manage? and who was that weirdo who used to say the same thing? oh, yes... timothy leary... you don't wanna listen to someone like that... </massive irony>

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

long day

it was a long day, whether in the classroom, or the office. those are the only places i've been. and i think i'm nursing a throat infection.

the day began with a horrible incident with the slow girl who annoyed me the whole of last semester. she called me over, then stood with arms open expectantly until i couldn't not hug her without making a scene. i didn't want to hug her. then she spoke inanities at me that i had no response to. when someone i knew came past, i jumped at the opportunity to run away, feeling mortified at needing a pretext and disgusted at myself for butting into what could well have been a private conversation. no amount of apologizing could make me feel better about what i'd done.

it was a long day - my last professor had seen me arrive in the morning - a long day of supremely intriguing ideas. then i came straight to work, and have surprised myself by doing almost nothing but work since i arrived. and that was about six hours ago.

sheesh.

---

memorable facebook argument for today: on academic strikes and whether or not they're justified.
you're not a customer, you're a student. and those people who are on strike are also students, who have no job security and it's their only way to pay for their studies.

the responsibilities in academia for actually learning anything fall on the student, not on the teacher - this isn't high school. the classes that are cancelled have to be made up... they probably will.

...

one of the problems with the university is that it's a giant bureaucratic organism and there're always "rationality gaps". the question is, if you were only taking two courses this year and were paying an amount accordingly, would you be less upset?

i don't think the money's the issue. most of us are paying a lot. but then, most of us aren't planning professional academic careers and it doesn't matter to us if the (non-tenured career academics) get fucked. but that's their career, and it matters to them. and if they don't get better conditions, in the long run the chances are there'd be far less people willing to choose academia as a career path. far less people to teach you stuff.

and then actual universities would be even closer to shutting their doors than they've become. you'll be able to choose whatever college you want to learn a trade, education can get stuffed and welcome to a Much Better World filled with Only Practical Things.

...

dick moves are all they have. the problem with any strike / boycott / protest is that if you don't mess things up then nobody will care. it's a sign of desperation that they're resorting to this :(


---

and speaking of protesting: this just blows my mind - people put up with this shit?
good on this guy for slicing through. we're talking about non-violent and apparently non-disruptive protest. if it's a private school and the students are making a nuisance of themselves, they're more than welcome to have them removed in a reasonable fashion. the methods employed were not reasonable. and as far as i can tell we're talking about a public institution.

Monday, November 21, 2011

enthusiasm

but undone prep for tomorrow's classes. it's about 2am and i've spent the past few hours playing with visual studio... and actually getting somewhere. i love working with things that, umm, work.

...

french class was alright. "that guy" in our french class got me thinking: "if you ejaculate each thought as it occurs, you limit the speed of your thoughts to that of your flapping gums". i didn't say it out loud.

a few hours in the office, getting advice from scr (who's pretty much my team leader now) and discussing terms with the bosses - i *like* these terms - and then i returned to campus to get some reading done before the second class. which was another mind-meltingly interesting one.

i stopped by the old office on the way home to perform a code review and chew out -someone (as usual), then returned home to Get Stuff Done. only, Stuff ended up in the singular, which wasn't the plan...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

the new media

after being hit by an inspiration particle after trying to come up with something clever on the theme of "poetry in unexpected places", and having sounded the idea off people i'm close to, i have come up with an idea that may very well change the way we interact with our world; an idea to breach the fictitious gap between cyberspace and meatspace.

PART 1 - GRAFFITI
the first part is cheap to do and astoundingly simple. instead of spraying "killroy was here", or even something fantastically artistic but physical, it is now possible to cheaply and easily print and place a QR code that represents whatever message or links to whatever static / dynamic artwork one wishes to display.

this becomes interesting when the text or linked item in question is strongly connected with the location of the QR code. for instance, imagine walking through a park and spotting a QR code on a bench. when you pass your scanner over the code, an apparition appears on the bench (viewed from the perspective of the camera facing the sticker) and adds a ghostly narrative to your experience of the park.
or, upon pointing your camera at a code on a street corner, you're treated to a band playing a song on that very same corner.

PART 2 - AUGMENTED REALITY
this takes the previous idea one level further, and requires cellphone applications that superimpose data from a QR code over the camera display. this could be anything from seeing objects that aren't there - similar to the idea in part 1 only viewable from any angle - to reconstructing the objects that are.

for example, if i'm wearing a QR code on the back of my t-shirt and it links to a skin of an alien monster, the application could display the skin instead of me and match its movements to mine.

BOTH ARE LIMITLESS
the interactivity made possible in either phase is bounded only by the imagination of the artist. a QR code can link to a puzzle that must be solved in order to find the next QR code. or it can be used to correspond with the previous / next viewers of the QR code. the target site of the code can be updated to reflect changes in the time, the weather, the political situation, the number of people who have already viewed the content, and so on...

---

imagine a world where you can take in a good play, or catch up with your favourite "television" show just by following codes through the cityscape. i just did, and it sounds really, really good to me!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

the studio

it's been a long, long couple of days. some of the visual studio stuff was so simple that i'm still not entirely sure how it works or that i did the right things. some of the stuff - the stuff that *should* have been simple, like setting up a database in sql server - has taken a lot of my time and gotten me nowhere.

what bothers me is that aside from a couple of breaks (dinner last night, lunch this afternoon and in about half an hour we're hosting gaming / anime night as usual) i've spent all of my time focused on work and none on studies :/

at least most of the weekend has been fun. and pg made cookies! we have too many cookies. the marshmallow ones are a disaster in the diet department.

Friday, November 18, 2011

reined in

*phew*

by the time the last class came around yesterday, i was totally bombed and had the strange sensation that it was monday and that the week was only beginning.

i'd learned a little during the night, but those hours are all a bit hazy. i think i managed to put my head down for ten minutes at some stage. sorter gave me a ride home, and i arrived around 5am and went straight to bed. at 8.30 i somehow dragged my carcass through the freezing cold between the warm blankets and a hot shower, then headed back to campus.

i was *tired*. the classes were interesting, but it was hard to keep the yawns in and the eyelids up.

after the orientation class i went to the new office - right next door to the old new office - to present my design and time estimate. we sat talking about it all for a couple of hours, and then i was sent home. by sunday i'll have a computer to work on and a contract to sign, and they don't care if i'm in the office or at home, as long as the work gets done.

so: visual studio express is free? i like it!

i napped a bit on the bus, waking up just before we hit my stop. i began the visual studio download before hitting the sack; i woke up a couple of hours later to eat and go to cinema city for the half-past-midnight show with pg and her father. i was horrified to discover that one of the three tickets i'd booked had magically been switched to the previous night, but they were kind enough to find us a seat (the house was packed, so i'm even more grateful) and we went in to watch immortals.

holy shit.

that was, aesthetically speaking, one of the greatest movies i've ever seen. everything else was made of win. even the fact that we were surrounded by arsim, and that the guy next to me had a perpetual nostril-whistle thing going on, could not detract from the magnificent experience. it's very visceral. it's not a family film at all.

---

i slept like a baby, and until late. i got up, played around with visual studio, and was about to go out and cross a few items off my list when i realized that the rain was bucketing down. i went back to bed instead. we got up a couple of hours later, ate a hearty breakfast and did our french homework, and i'm now installing more visual studio stuff so that i can continue.

i'm feeling *so* much better now :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

broken head

it's the sense of perpetual bewilderment that's dragging me down... and yesterday's disappointment is making it worse.

my error wasn't in the code i wrote, but in the lack of precision that i felt compelled to work with. i *should* have done more research. i *should* have emailed them with a request for clarification instead of making as much sense from the nonsensical as i could.

---

this idea i've been vaguely referring to has also been consuming an inordinate quantity of my mind-space, but it's import is so massive that i cannot ignore it...

life can be really tough sometimes. as usual, though, it's all because i don't say no to my desires. everything has a price attached.

---

waking up at 6.30am every wednesday morning is tough; not as tough as doing it this week, when i'm still feeling under the weather. the first class was interesting in spite of that... but as the day has progressed "word soup" has begun to set in. haven't suffered that since india...

i went to a meeting with the other company i interviewed for, and aside from getting caught up in a massive thunderstorm that pummeled me with rain* i spent a couple of hours having my first project explained.

* i cannot thank pg enough - i saw her on campus for two seconds and discovered she'd brought me a brolly. win!

back to campus for four hours of interesting stuff, some formal, some informal, and then here to the office. now i'm working until 4.30am (and waking up at 8.30am, not including an hour to get home and get ready for bed), and i need to spending some of those hours learning all sorts of things for the project...

i've been told i look like i need to get some rest. from a distance.

better when moved

i feel much better now that i've had some exercise. the rest of the day went well, from laughs with the head of the department to a very serious code review and demonstrating the basics of QA to my co-worker; to gathering players for this idea of mine. i'm now comfortable and ready for bed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

and in health?

i feel sick. i think i've been sick since the weekend, now that i'm conscious of the possibility. i'm feeling tired (yesterday was terrible, today's a little better), disconnected, distracted.

it doesn't help that i already got a response regarding the assignment i fretted over until this morning: "we regret to inform you that youre application does not meet our expectations". i *do* wish i'd had some indication as to what they were looking for. i can't say i'm not disappointed; on the other hand, i was unable to do better with the information that i had and i'm still pleased with my work.

*sigh*.

and the french teacher zoomed into a whole other level this morning. in both classes, pg was also taken by surprise - we're going to be practicing this week.

karnivool songs have been stuck in my head for days now.

restless mailing

stress or excitement? i was incoherent by the time i went to bed, but i couldn't sleep easily with this assignment looming. i eventually (about half an hour ago) got up, composed a lengthy email explaining the functional versus incomplete and more correct versions i've sent (of course i've sent both); i decided that it's better to hand it in on time when a guideline has been set and stated something to that effect.

i hope i've done the right thing. it's a good sample, though - i'm proud of it whether they like it or not, and i learned cool stuff, and it was fun. i really do wish they like it!

now to try and sleep a bit more :P

alternative mode of work

i've been doing this "two hour" interview assignment for about four hours; some of that time was wasted because i didn't fully understand what i was supposed to be doing (unclear instructions) and when the penny dropped i had to rewrite a bunch of things. most of it because i'm totally over-engineering this thing.

and i was dead tired all day. i couldn't even enjoy the rain...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

worst 13th

we've been having issues since friday, so celebrating this evening was a bit of a downer. although i think we're okay now; "celebrating" was a good excuse to talk things out. not a small part of the issues is the idea that i want to get out of israel - it's most certainly a lot to think about.

---

the french lesson this morning was alright - although i suspect that i should have taken the "quick" course and it's too late to switch. oh, well.

the interview was fascinating, and i'm definitely interested in working there. also, the test they've sent me in the mail is interesting! i have a day or two to do it, so i'm going to focus on tomorrow's reading instead...

i returned to the office for a quick sort-out and meeting, then bussed back to campus. i had time to read before class, but it was squandered arguing with my classmates about the greatness of terry pratchett and neil gaiman. tough times. the lesson itself was edifying as usual.

---

i skipped back to work to be horrified when the QA team leader waltzed in to show us how it's done - -someone had invited her because he wanted help, instead of asking me first. i'm not sure that he really understands what i was trying to tell him (after i dismissed her) - they don't have any "easy" methods to do QA, and having done my own for years i'm not only in a perfect position to teach him how (which i've already tried to teach him, but he's too damned lazy and unmethodical to actually listen) but doing it without intervention means plausible deniability when the boss asks why we're not filling out QA forms.

frikkin' kit-bag questions. they don't pay me enough to participate in bureaucratic revelries.

---

after getting a bit of work done i came home; botchman cancelled on me, so pg and i "celebrated" earlier rather than later at one of the better sushi / ramen bars. it worked out for the best. now for the class prep.

a couple of days ago...

... i had the idea of a lifetime. i shared it this evening, and the idea was received with much enthusiasm. i hope we can pull it off...

Friday, November 11, 2011

bar's out

well - i had to wait six years to put my tongue bar back in; it's a year and a half later and i've finally decided that it's not worth the limitations. goodbye, vestige of a childhood.

---
thursday:

bladed to university, left my shoes in my locker. i hope i don't get stopped at the entrance, because then i'd have to tread barefoot all the way to my shoes.

first class: tons of exercise carrying the giant speaker from the student union to the classroom. only to discover that the cable we'd been provided with was absolutely useless.

rushing between classes (and returning the speaker) to grab a bowl of noodles, and eating while walking was kinda weird.

---
sonnets. between wyatt, spenser and shakespeare we had ourselves a field day - only one example from each, but it was nothing short of inspirational. unfortunately, i ruined shakespeare's first sonnet for everyone - the lecturer didn't want to continue - by suggesting arnold schwarzenegger's role in junior as an example of increase being brought about in a male subject...

i tend to say a lot during most of my classes, and i'm always worried about being "that guy", the one vocal idiot who's always ruining it for everyone else. i'm always careful (or, i try to be) to give others a chance to speak and sometimes i open my mouth and feel bad for doing so. that's usually the end of it, except that when this class was over co-conspirator made a remark about the quantity that i share and the lecturer pounced: "are you trying to shut him up?". when i put forth that i *had* felt like i'd gone too far, i was taken completely by surprise by an aggressive outburst from another student: "NO! please! don't stop! i also hate it when people talk too much, but everything YOU say is intelligent and interesting!"
she went on a little more than that, and i was overwhelmed and a bit flustered... very pleased, though. i hope i appeared to be as flattered and grateful for the compliment as i am.

anyway, the sonnet masters blow my mind (all the italians included), and analysing their works is intense.

---
it was then time for the orientation course - we have a schedule problem, and we're definitely going to have to sort this out. my part of the lecture didn't go nearly as well as i'd planned...

i bladed home to pick something up that needed to go to work, and occupied myself there for a few hours before returning to watch an episode and a bit of the wire (i passed out after the "bit"). i went to bed early, and slept well.

---
friday:

i spent the morning deciding whether to continue working with flex and upgrading my sdk. then i met up with sorter and we went to play on the roof of my apartment's patio. it took a couple of hours and it doesn't look like much, but it's cheap and i suspect it might just do the trick! and if it doesn't, then we were all wrong about the source of the problem and i didn't spend thousands of shekels on something unrelated.

i spent the afternoon coding and blogging, and fighting with pg over rubbish (i think we both feel bad about that), then went to her parents for dinner. i ate too much and have been doing so a lot lately. i suspect it's related to the sleep deprivation. after dinner we played with magnet balls, and it turns out i have a knack for them :)

---
today:

waking up early, getting picked up by cousins to make a video for kc's wedding. it was a really fun morning filled with hilarity, which was followed by a huge lunch at her parents' which was absolutely delicious but demanded siesta. i woke up and had a loooooong talk with my mother (we eventually understood each other, we're apparently in interesting times) and am waiting for botchman to get in touch with me because i've had a magnificent artistic idea and i need to put together a group to execute it }:D

now for a movie, or something.

---
anti-vaccination crisis - they were going too far from the beginning, but this?!

on relative importance

western black rhino declared extinct

how does one go about making idiots who use rhino horns extinct?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

the past of the future of the past

early morning discourse - two classes so far, and we've only gotten as far as examining the title of the first text. which is all of three words, translated from slightly more complex french. and today's class was interesting. during the break i stuffed my bag into my locker and worked on my response paper, taking a break to get advice on which courses to drop. satisfied, i continued a long argument with co-conspirator on the way to lunch, after which i was so bombed (and my eyes really hurt) that i crashed in the shade of a tree for half an hour.

i kinda almost felt better after that.

i finished my paper, including a bit on perspective of time inspired by cubism and james joyce, then made an appointment for a job interview on my way to meeting wordsworth and co-conspirator for a planning session. then back to class; futurism fascinates me.
as a pastafarian, i take deepest offense to "down with pasta!" from the futurist cookbook:

"the defenders of pasta are shackled by its ball and chain like convicted lifers or carry its ruins in their stomach like archeologists"

WE MUST BURN THIS COOKBOOK!

and before anybody claims that i'd burn people, the manifesto is a must-read
from there to work, where we finally closed the door on the current version that's dragged out far too long, before coming home and attempting to study. and re-install pg's computer at the same time. discovering that she's not only a bit clueless, but terrified of (technological) change. it's been a long night, and i'm not yet done with the ovid reading...

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

in passing

tahoma woke me up just as my alarm was going to go off, and i met with him for pleasant breakfast at etnachta. he scurried off to work, and i to french class. i feel like i learned something today.

after quick lunch with pg, i made my way to work. i handed over my keys, i updated the documentation, i erased my users, i said goodbye. done.

i stopped by campus on my way to work to sit with kc's sister for a while over coffee, mostly discussing studies, then headed off to work (there's only one again). from there i returned home, meeting pg for falafel and then strapping on blades. relatively short route, quite nice, very social.

now bombed. an super-early morning looms.

Monday, November 07, 2011

strike out

well, that was an unpleasant surprise. having planned for a strike, and having gone to bed rather late, i was woken at 7.17am by an sms informing us that the strike would be in the morning only, and at 10am studies would resume as usual. so... umm... no difference then. except for no public transport. so i dragged myself out of bed, dressed warmly (it was quite chilly), put on my rollerblades, and was about five minutes away when i registered that there were buses picking up passengers.

what the hell kind of a strike is that?!

the sun had come up and the air was super-heated by the time i arrived on campus half an hour later; nothing like arriving all sweaty for class. i did learn about campus lockers, though - i now have one for the year. it's big enough for my rollerblades or my full bag, which solves all sorts of issues! a bit expensive, but i'm guessing it'll be worth it.

a pity the air-conditioning wasn't working in our classroom: my winter clothing was, to put it mildly, absurdly inappropriate. the three lessons in a row with nary enough time for breaks was tough. the class on rhetoric in elizabethan england was so incredibly bleak and depressing that the topic of titus andronicus was fun by comparison - i now understand where the devil's advocate *really* stands strong :(

---
quitting.

i received a mail from mmf expressing his appreciation and understanding, his disappointment in my decision and his willingness to make me as comfortable as possible* on my way out. aside from correcting him about a nuance in his response, i called him up to discuss the money owed. even after my email he claimed he didn't understand what money was missing, and when i explained again his response was "but that's what we agreed on!"

no, i did not agree to be paid less the more i worked. that doesn't make any sense.

the good news is that he's acquiesced, and i will receive the cash at the end of the month. he's also been kind enough to offer me a return to the company in the future if i change my mind. nice of him, but i can't really see myself doing that - unless i get *really* desperate. and if, gods-forbid, i do, it will be with a written contract stating the payment terms explicitly as a condition.

*sigh*

at least i wasn't completely taken advantage of. still not nice, though.

* including releasing me immediately
...

the email after mmf's was from scr, and i'll be paying him a visit after i sort things out in the other office. wouldn't it be nice if i began working for them immediately?

---

i bladed straight to work, for an evening of multi-tasking and finally *knocks wood* sorting out the last of the release issues and performing the final testing. i came home to excellent dinner (i really need to go running) and french homework with pg, and now that i've done the internet do's i'm off to bed early.