Monday, January 31, 2011

time flies when you're making.... NOTES!

i didn't sleep too late, and i've spent the past seven hours summarizing material to answer a whole half of my second answer. i can't believe how long it takes to produce evidence for things i was totally certain of from the moment i looked at the question :S

note to self: summarize the material the first time. it didn't seem necessary until now :(

aside from breakfast viewing (thanks, tahoma!) and a quick break to be amazed, and going over someone else's paper, it's been a pretty uneventful day.

perhaps i should leave "aristotle is a fan of speed" out of my paper... also, my phone's auto-correct feature translates "freud" to "fraud" automatically. they know something our professor doesn't?


vilayanur ramachandran gives the best talk ever. and it ties in neatly with my own understanding. whoo hoo! another good hook ^_^

(the title: i recall reading leary saying something along the lines that "wow" became the word that defined the 60's)


so there were three major events today, and the one that overshadowed them all was a flame-war on the wall of our english literature group where i was jumped on by a couple of angry girls for trying to protect the rest from exam contamination. i saved most of the posts on my work pc just in case, and by the time i got back to an internet connection someone had deleted the entire stream. the idiot (to be fair, she really does seem to be a bit on the... mmm... not-sharp side... left a last word:

[totalwaste], this whole thread (that has now magically disappeared?) could have been avoided in the first place if you gave up on the tyranny and enabled other group members make their decisions for themselves. More importantly, I don't know where or how have you been raised, but calling an idiot to a girl you have never met and who only wanted to make a point that's reflecting not just her own opinion but other people's as well is disgusting and immature, so you can't be surprised of the outcome. Good luck with the paper.

to which, of course, i responded (after another moderator had tried to clear things up):

[total bitch]: listen to [other moderator]. you're right, i'm sorry i called you an idiot (although as i recall, i said you were behaving *like* an idiot which is not the same thing) - this whole thing could have been avoided if you'd READ what i'd said instead of guessing, and instead of getting personal maybe understood that i was trying to make life easier for everyone, and not let a couple of selfish people ruin the exam for everyone else. i don't want YOU making my exam decisions for me, nor for anybody else. and it's funny that you talk about how i was raised when the first thing out of you that i've ever heard is how i'm an egotistical tyrant and that nobody should listen to me. you spin your own story - but that's what narrative is about. good luck with yours.

the flame lasted an hour or so of back and forth - a really frustrating back and forth because it took more than half an hour for me to realize what really upset her (i'd suggested that everyone gets their work proof-read by a native english speaker... including me) and becoming more and more aggravated because no matter what i said or in which language i said it, she wasn't really interested in reaching an understanding. i don't like people arguing to win regardless of what they're saying.

i got *way* too upset over the whole thing. as one of my managers said: "getting angry about this is like punishing yourself for someone else's stupidity". he's right. but i needed a drink and a good movie (equilibrium - did i really forget the whole thing?) to reset.


the first major event of the day was a minor surgical procedure - the removal of a mole from my temple. the doctor seemed nice, and while waiting for the local anaesthetic to take hold he advised me to let him inspect the rest of me. i think i know how girls feel at the gynaecologist now. the experience was quite uncomfortable. disquieting. at least he didn't find anything there, but he did set me an appointment for a couple of troubling items on my back. he claims i have a redhead's skin :P

the procedure went smoothly, and i returned home for the second major event: some intimate hours with freud and his memories.

my favourite bit is disproving freud using freud's assumptions. i then play down the paradox and pretend it's alright, because i'm sure our lecturer's not going to be happy with the breaking of her favourite story.

i think i'm done with the first half of my paper - i've sent it off to sorter to be checked - but now i have a whole other half to do, and we've just received our poetry exams in the mail. no pressure!

i took a break, went to work, and aside from the flames it was a fairly successful day. i got a ride back to dizengoff, and walked (in the rain, of course, having left my umbrella at work) to pg's. i have now tasted fennel, and it's great. i finished the rum (there was only about a shot left), and the evening was nice.

now i'm back, i've ranted, i've posted, and it's time to get some more work done.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

too much screen time

metin 2 sounds great, but it would be even greater if the interface was clear enough for me to be able to kill a wild dog, "the easiest of the lot". i couldn't so much as figure out how to use my primary weapon. the "help" didn't provide any clues, and after running around for half an hour (dying no less than five times while not finding anyone to talk to) i gave up and got back to work.


all i've succeeded in proving is that our lecturer, who has been repeating the same thing over and over for two months now, has got it wrong. and i'm *not* going to write that in my paper, because that's not going to score me any points. unfortunately, i can't write anything else because that's now what i know. this is what i was talking about when i said i was protecting myself from ideas... only i couldn't protect myself from my own :/

and i am *not* going to start reading freud and 3.30am. i'm going to bed. this exam is a lot harder than i thought it would be.

weekend end

a strange weekend. and i'm having difficulty concentrating. on anything. it kinda reminds me of quitting smoking, for some reason. that doesn't make any sense.



friday began with a slow wake-up, eventually getting out of bed to drag the shaking dog (we don't know why she shivers all the time) for a walk through the disconcertingly hot summery streets. i cleaned up and went for an interview for a job as a marketing officer of a start-up - i'm quite surprised at how much fun that sounds :P

after a lengthy interview, i had a quick discussion with one of the arab girls in our class concerning our exam: when she asked something that sounded non-technical, i stopped her because i hadn't started my paper yet and i didn't want her to contaminate my thoughts. protecting oneself from "ideas" is tough!

i spent an hour or two thoroughly cleaning my apartment. for the second time this whole semester :$
actually, i'm surprised at how clean everything was - although something feels... better. maybe that's my conscience.

i finished in time to join scrapper and botchman for a wicked frisbee session on the square - we played much longer than usual and i finished up with a half a sandwich and hot chocolate with rum at some joint down the road. then i walked home - already feeling the first proper workout i've had in a while - showered, and went to meet pg's for a walk to her sister's for dinner.


i was reminded of two of my sefrican cousins walking hand-in-hand through the mall in toronto, the thought of which has not ceased to please me. it did make me realize, however, that i still have tons to publish from my trip, including most of the canadian bit.

oops :S


after a pleasant dinner (although i'd been spaced out for most of it), i stopped at pg's place to get my head set and then walked to temptation, having completely forgotten that i'd been there before. i walked the whole way, because by the time a shuttle went past i was too close to waste the cash...


gasoline's party was alright - i actually didn't recognize the girl who's replaced my replacement's replacement, although to be fair i'd only met her once. we had a couple of drinks (i'll be damned, van gogh's double-espresso vodka is delicious) and then a few awkward goodbyes, and i got a ride to my neighbourhood for which i paid with some advice: "if you wanna move to the big city, but the apartment you find doesn't have what you need, do the math before you turn it down. it might be worth your while to install it yourself!"

i don't have a clue what time it was when i slid into bed.



we woke up after noon, and had breakfast at our local abu lafya: we both read the menu item as "japanese sambusak" and not "jaffa sambusak" (it's the difference between "ו" and "ן" on a chalkboard), and the guy on the counter had a good laugh at us. regardless of how you say it, it's a great breakfast pastry :)

since i returned home, i've been working on my paper.


not really.

i've been finding plenty of other ways to occupy myself, such as railroad shunting and script writing - at least the latter is grounded in the texts i'm reading from. every time i go over aristotle - poetics i'm inspired in a different direction.

in other news: the mosquitoes seem to be back. being jésus-christ des moustiques is tough.

pg and i broke for a good dinner, which revived thoughts of studying in canada and let me relive terrifying alpine moments careening down icy slopes and losing control... i can't wait to get back in the snow!!!

pg was overheating this evening, and just after she left i started burning up - i hope we're alright...


this has been yet another motif unrelated to studying in the theme that's overrun today... dammit.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

online / offline

waking up at 7am: too much for me. i'd spent half the night sleeping beautifully and enjoying intriguing dreams, and half the night restless and with my legs feeling really stiff. that's been happening a lot lately, and i'm thinking it may be time to return to taekwondo, because i'm desperate and it really is better than nothing.

first important note for the day: i was right, hello kitty was merchandise *before* it became animated. why did i know that?

pg and i took the bus together to campus, where i signed out for my exam and laughed at a girl who tried to interpret the most random, "simply being pleasant" of smiles as an indication of how i felt towards the paper. i've looked it over and it seems... fairly simple and straightforward. i'll get around to it sometime this weekend. instead of focusing on that, i organized an important form from my clinic, picked up my trousers from the dry-cleaner, sorted out lightbulbs and got stuck into railroad shunting.


the reason for that last item being started was that i had to make a phone call to hot about coming to the end of a year's service. it's been an annoying service, so after getting hold of a salesperson and hearing how they weren't going to do anything special* to keep me as a customer i decided to call bezeq, israel's equivalent of south africa's telkom.

* it's not like they care that my service has been spotty and frustrating for most of the year. their tech support refuses to deal with on/off issues. technically speaking i'm always connected and my speeds are good, but most requests have to be sent more than once.

boy, was i *ever* surprised to discover that hot's rates are *far* superior to bezeq's. it only matters who's got the cheapest service when you're a student, so back to hot it was. the person i spoke to explained to me that as i've been on the "bundle" plan (it took me a while to register that she was using an english word) i'd have to speak to netvision and handle the renewal through them.

i called up netvision, eventually got through to someone helpful, and was told that there's no more "bundling" after my contract's up. he did let me know, emphatically, that the account separation would be cheaper for me. "great!", i exclaimed, "sign me up!".
"with the greatest of pleasure. are you going to call them right now and tell them to separate things?"
"sure, why not?"
"good. then you inform them and i'll handle everything on this side."

i probably should've been suspicious from that point already. i called up hot, and the stupid #$@%! i spoke to did nothing but confuse me. it took a while to get her to stop offering me deals that would cost me more money*, and only then did she tell me that if i wanted to separate the "bundle" i'd have to call netvision and get them to send hot a "severance order".

* making me feel like a right bastard, because everytime she made me an offer i repeated, word for word, that i'm a student and that i don't want to spend more.

"couldn't you get in touch with them?"
"no." (total lie, they've always connected me before)
"really? you can't connect us?"
"sorry, sir. it's not within my power."


so by the time i called back netvision, i was pissed. i do pity the poor woman who first answered the phone, because i let out everything only to discover that i'd dialled the wrong number on the automated system.

i hate those systems.

the second time i got through to a really sweet girl who listened to my whole story, calmed me down with promises that she'd sort everything out (although it took a few tries to get her to understand that all i wanted to do was follow the first guy's instructions without screwing myself, paying extra or being disconnected from the internet).

by the end i was more or less convinced, but when she told me that the survey i'm going to be sent should be filled out with regards her only, i let her know that i would tell as much of my anguish as i possibly could, although she could rest assured that i thought highly enough of her that honesty should be just fine.

that was a horrible, horrible experience. i hate the *ahem* service *ahem* industry in this country.


i've been receiving invitations and flyers for big trance festivals, both here and abroad. it's making me fidgety. i definitely need a sponsor.

pg and i shared a salad for lunch, and then an agitated walk / bus to buy ski trip stuff. we looked at hats, gloves, goggles, and backpacks, but eventually i only bought a replacement hat (it's amusing and doesn't go with anything i own). the purchase itself involved everyone in the store going ga-ga over my being an ex-south african; some of them were there for the world cup and were very enthusiastic :)


pg and i stepped on to the bus, and some wanker in the front spat out "you look *SO* cool" as i walked past. i responded with a jovial "thank you!", carried on and only later began to steam about what an asshole that man is. what's your #$@%!ing problem, douchebag?? someone piss in your cornflakes?

the bus trip was made all the lovelier when a teenage girl waltzed in, stood right next to me and proceeded to shout at (one assumes) her friend on the phone, instructing her in how to be a complete bitch. i got off the bus early so that i didn't have to listen to any more, even if it did mean a much longer walk.


work: i feel like a complete moron. why? because i didn't perform a code review on the new guy's last release, and he's done some really stupid shit. we're all going to be paying for this for a while. in addition, i was there until far later than intended because i redid a really complicated section... i was having trouble keeping track of all the changes that needed to be made and there were non-stop interruptions :S

i left around an hour ago, dead on my feet, and now that i've posted i'm off to pg's to watch a movie and get some rest.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

on slander

right, so, after an argument with one of the girls after class, i decided to post the following disclaimer to the group (wherein i'd posted this):

as a self-defensive measure (someone mentioned libel / slander today) - nothing that i have said about [hatman] has been said in bad faith. i really believe that he is a terrible teacher. i can't, however, *prove* that he doesn't understand the things he talks about, only that it doesn't seem so. i don't think he's evil, or a monster; but i also don't think it's alright to have him "teaching" first years.
in particular.
i will not withdraw the poem i posted earlier - it's my perception of events, and entirely subjective.

although it was nice to see that a number of my fellow students have my back on this one, i didn't expect the following private message from the girl i'd been speaking to:

i'm sorry if what i said after the exam offended you.
and i thought the poem was truly awesome - even if i don't share your dislike of
so, just wanted to say that i'm sorry and i didn't mean for it to be so aggressive or to attack you personally.

there was no way i was letting a misunderstanding of that magnitude slide!

what?! *HELL* no!

listen up:

1) you weren't aggressive at all

2) you are completely and utterly entitled to your opinion, and i would have been upset with you if you HADN'T shared it

3) it *is* personal :P

4) what you said is totally valid, and it's what got me thinking about libel.
unless someone else actually said the word, but that's neither here nor there.
either way, i did need to make everything clear. and something you said is totally correct - everyone saying "fire him!" is not the way it's meant to be. i would be totally satisfied if he were to remain here, and teach anthropology instead. in fact, as long as he's not teaching stuff he doesn't get (or seem to get, he says, covering his ass) i'm totally fine with him. i don't think he's a bad person, but i do believe that we deserve better lecturers.

5) i really appreciate your appreciation of my poem ^_^

6) *I* apologize if you thought this was about you - i'm really grateful that you told me something i needed to hear :)

have a great evening!

since then, situation normal :))


today began with a failed attempt at using pre-mixed pancake batter - pg's was excellent, this stuff stuck stubbornly to the pan. that was followed by a flurry of last-minute definitions on the bus to campus, and then a debate outside that largely revolved around preparing to take the supplementary exam. pre-exam coffee was spent discussing japan with the girl who dreamed about me; it turns out she lived there for five years - pretty crazy.

the exam itself was tough. aside from the bureacratics of it being a bit tedious - boy, was i glad that the girl two rows ahead of me had tippex - the identifications weren't so bad, the short questions were a bitch and the essay choices *sucked*. i must have spent about fifteen minutes just figuring out what i was going to write about, and another half an hour sorting out how much i could talk about anything.

my essay was so cheap that i will be greatly surprised if it scores me so much as a passing grade, never mind the 100% that i need :/

my brain was so overtaxed by the time i was done that i was wondering if it were possible to get the extra credit question wrong: "what was your favourite work, and why?". i answered the rime of the ancient mariner, but refrained from supplying the actual reason: because it's piratey, and reminds me of the comic-within-a-comic in watchmen.

apparently a few of us made a lot of noise outside, reviewing the exam. when we were told to shut it, i could only hope that it was the other part of our class that we'd been disturbing, and that they'd managed to glean something useful from us :P

i was mentally exhausted after the exam. work would've been mundane if i hadn't spent the few hours there in a meeting which went almost nowhere, or fighting with the SVN. rebasing manually took so long that as soon as i finally had everything sorted out i fled the office to call it a night.

i only stopped to talk to a co-worker, who's a music major and might be interested in joining forces. that would be really cool.

i went book shopping to burn the rest of my birthday gift cards: this time i got mary shelley - frankenstein and robert louis stevenson - dr jekyll and mr hyde, grimm's fairy tales, dostoyevsky - crime and punishment, oscar wilde - the importance of being earnest, robert louis stevenson - treasure island and jonathan swift - gulliver's travels. now i've been online *way* too long, and have to run to pg's. tomorrow morning's the *DUM* *DUM* *DUM* freud narrative analysis exam. my first take-home :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

it's, like, a sign man

my work here is done.

who's bad in poetry land

today wasn't easy, and it definitely wasn't enough. at least there will be a supplementary, and you know what? i'm not letting this ****er get to me. i almost did. but what i studied today i enjoyed (except wordsworth, he's lame and i appreciate byron calling him "turdsworth"), i learned a lot and the evening so far has been excellent. pg and i spent some time talking about some issues that turned out to be a lot more interesting and a lot less worrying than expected by either of us.


i woke up at 4.30am, but the pages were too blurry to study. i woke up again at 7.30am, read keats and british history in bed until about 11am, went to wake up pg and drag her out to breakfast, sat in the middle of the avenue reading the history of romanticism and some of percy bysshe shelley's works (cool stuff), then went to lie on pg's couch for the remainder of the day, either reading (blake rocks!) or passing out to "internalize".

ah ha! i fixed my camera. well, it turns out that my iphone wasn't in trouble: just in need of a reset. how embarrassing :$

pg and i were discussing the strangeness of physical sex being difficult to determine in extreme cases, with some disturbing results.


so it appears that i support blake's unitarianism from the other end. nice! i like him more, now.


this explanation of pc gaming superiority reminded me that i miss playing. perhaps next semester i'll have a few moments to myself that i won't want to spend writing...

i *am* curious. what would i do with all that oil?

i was going to say "i do so hate to nitpick, but someone forgot..." - and then i remembered that it's "a-ah-ah-ah ha-ah-ah-ah-ah", not "na na na na na na na na na"; still, ac/dc - thunderstruck is one of the most invigorating rock videos of all time.

mental buggery

today began like a regular schoolday, the primary difference being that we have an exam on wednesday and the last thing we needed was more material from mr. mumbles, our psychotic italian anthropologist.
whoa - i've begun using the word "anthropologist" as a pejorative term.


i seem to have loaded my hot chocolate with a bit too much rum - this morning's lecture was a bit hotter than usual. i didn't put in enough to distance myself completely from an experience akin to dante's inferno: he was on top form today, coasting us through two eternal hours of obscurity, strange terms, condescension, ridiculous logical fallacies, and sentences that went along the lines of "and then the two of them did... whatever..." as if we're supposed to infer meanings and develop some sort of "intuition" regarding the material that he's pettily testing us on.

i took a page out of moonflake's book, and spent a good section of the lesson attempting to make his head explode by concentrating really hard. i expected it to do so without so much blood and gore as confetti and glitter. i don't know why. maybe because he got on a "queer theory" roll again.

i was supposed to have another four seminar hours with him afterwards - happy day - so i took a fifteen minute break for lunch. when i arrived the class was half full of fellow sufferers who'd come to campus exclusively for the make-up lesson, and been let down. he was nowhere to be found!

the two gorillas (see ars poetica) were standing outside his office when i went to see if he was there. they asked if i'd recommend taking his classes, and no matter how much i despise them i really wouldn't wish hatman on anyone, not even my worst enemy. i told them, rather emphatically, that they should stay away.

he was nowhere to be found, he wasn't answering his phone and we waited the better part of an hour before giving up and checking with the department secretary. she also didn't know. she advised checking another building, and after discovering that he wasn't there we, disgruntled, disbanded. after a mass bitching session. none of us are big fans.

i was halfway home on the bus when the secretary called me to inform me that he'd magically popped up and was ready to teach. good for him; i informed her that i have an exam of his to study for and other work to do before wishing her a good day.

[a brief altercation with a bunch of arab teenagers playing music loudly on the bus. i won.]

he called me personally as i walked into my apartment, to ask if i was coming to the second half of his imaginary lesson. i'd had more than enough of him for one day, for one semester, for one lifetime, and politely declined his invitation and explained that i was more concerned about his exam in two days' time than about him marking me absent. i mumbled lame acceptance of his mumbled apology - it turns out he'd locked himself in his room the whole time we were searching for him.


i'd be a lot less pleasant if i didn't have to work with him on my seminar paper. until april :(

i was prompted to post the following to my classmates:
i have studied in three different universities, and a couple of colleges - and i have to say that [hatman] is the first lecturer i've ever had that i *HATE*. and i hate him because he's really, really bad at what he does


i passed out, and woke up to a frustrated phone call from our class ostrich. she was bitter, and with good reason - she's been absent three times, so she *had* to attend. not much i could do about that, i'm afraid.

i woke up a bit later and scribbled down plus and אo, then met with tahoma, who grabbed dinner from abulafia - a guy i used to work with, and cannot for the life of me remember his name, is in charge of our local branch and it was nice to see him. tahoma and i sat over coffee and talked for a while until pg arrived, and after he left we took the dog for a walk and talk through the park. we stopped by my aspie coworker for a bit, then returned to my place...

... where i immediately received a phone call regarding a part-time marketing (not promotion) position. sounds interesting, we'll be meeting on friday. it might provide a professional breath of fresh air :)

one of the girls in my class sent me a link to faithless - god is a dj, which sucked me back into a memory from '99 clubbing at pure. *sigh*
and i still remember all the words to faithless - insomnia. great lyrics!

bed + study time.

Monday, January 24, 2011

in a box

on my way to work - i decided to take a couple hours' break from being distracted at home, and i think it helped - i returned to the post office to pick up my minicards. yay! and nothing interesting happened while i was there.

i had a chat with my mum, which left me more than satisfied that her decision to resign was the right one. if only she'd done it sooner! [yes, mother, i *know* you couldn't have known. it's alright. i forgive you :P]

first dealing back at work - having our financial officer explaining to me in even more explicit terms just how little the army helped me. actually, it took her a few attempts and i'm still not 100% percent certain how the army justifies screwing lonely soldiers so simply and effectively to itself :@

i had work to do, and barely touched it because the other guy was experiencing release woes. there were trying moments where i had to be very careful not to lash out (verbally) at him; poor guy has only just finished his (unrelated) degree in CS and it's not fair to expect him to understand that working methodically and according to the procedures will make life simpler for him. i don't do these things because i'm a productive worker in the factory sense of the term, i do them because they make everything easier. the less thinking about menial, trivial stuff one does the more one can focus on the important things. i don't like wasting time because other developers forgot that they were supposed to be reducing my workload. (oh, no - no hinting that the SVN is badly designed or implemented. never.)


one of the managers was bored, and came in to harass me. it began with him attacking me for defining myself as a hippie, because "hippie" is only one set of attributes i incorporate. i tried to explain to him that those attributes are my primary motivators, and that telling me i'm not a hippie because i don't smell bad is tantamount to calling a woman a man because she's productive. see what i did there? and the conversation only spiralled downwards, with him pushing and prodding until eventually i got it through to him that he was...

"you know what i'm getting at?" he asked. "yeah, you're getting at being a prick. and you're succeeding."

i sent him a message later to inform him that if he wants a complete "box" for me then i'm a hippie pastafarian pirate. i think that covers everything ;)


the flex boss finally got back to me, on a positive note. so i'm going to get paid, there's an extra addition to the project, and i'm still within my trial period. good stuff.

i had a pleasant dinner with pg, during which i observed her asymmetry and she mine. i laughed hysterically for a while after realizing that the reason i always have difficulty getting my sideburns to match is because my ears aren't quite level. s'not fair! :)

walking her mother's dog brought us to my place. the dog doesn't dig my pad - she's been here a couple of times and still can't figure everything out. she's the most miserable wretch of a canine you ever did see, and it's impossible to tell what it is that's frightening her at any given moment - she's constantly shaking and nervous :(


someone told me, a few months back, to watch steve jobs' stanford speech. it took me until now to get around to it, and it astounds me to hear the man spouting what i've been preaching for ages - slowly, but surely, we're all going to get somewhere.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

the problem with studying for an exam

when taking a break to hand trousers to the dry-cleaners, i stopped by the post office with a slip for my pick-up. one might assume that i'd only receive the slip after the package was ready for me to get it. one would be wrong.

totally unfocused

mostly because i can't decide whether to stop being formally anonymous or not. i'm not longer in the military, and i'm set on publishing and promoting things. i want everyone to read / hear everything i have to say, and yet... i'm so used to keeping my name out of things.

i guess the biggest deal is letting the people i don't care much for read this, but i suppose that that's their problem if they're offended by anything i write. only people who know me well enough can connect all the dots... i'm still hesitant, though.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

they don't make 'em like they used to

they don't make 'em like they used to - except for wolfmother and tree. the show last night was AMAZING!


dinner last night was great, and pg gave me a *really* good idea... about "noodles" :D
(speaking of which, i've updated the "religion" section of my personal philosophy page; not including amusing links to hymns and classifications)

we watched street fighter - the legend of chun-li until it was time to move to the ozen bar to hear tree. they were supposed to begin at 11pm, which is late enough, but only got on stage around 12.30am. that's *so* not cool :(

having said that, the music was absolutely mind-blowing. there were only a couple of minor irritations:
1. loads of elbows. specifically from an overly masculine girl with no sense of personal space and a look of perpetual intolerance.
2. pg doesn't really appreciate progressive rock. and she chose to stay, even though it was a really long show. it's not that i don't appreciate the gesture, but i'm of the opinion that if you're not enjoying it you should leave.

once back at her place, i passed out before the end of the movie and only woke up around noon, when we took the dog for a walk as an excuse for a waffle breakfast, strolling with my little town and dead or alive for accompaniment.


study time.

Friday, January 21, 2011

exam times - part ii

[... continued]

i had breakfast with karnaf, then hunted the sunshine spots on the way home. it was a beautiful day! i had a shower then hopped off to visit my piercer and get my helix put back in :)

i've spent the afternoon either writing this or chilling with pg, and now... gonna study. by reading a good book ^_^

the union has been playing in the background, and i still can't get over the bit on incarceration. the following segment on the pharmaceutical industry is extremely aggravating, too.

... and speaking of pharmaceuticals, here're a couple of great tracks, one slightly more ambient and one slightly less. (you see what i did there?)

exam times - part i

[post divided retroactively]

wow! the semester is officially over, and my first final is in five days. of course, it's the horrible one - all the rest are take-home papers and i'm rather looking forward to those :D


i awoke to the sounds of construction, interfering with my dreams even more than the alarm clock could. i was nervous, too - my first poetry reading was fast approaching. as i prepared for the day a storm of ideas broke, and i caught them on my iphone's notepad to the pitter-patter sound of my fast-beating heart.

pg's doppelgänger was waiting for the same bus - what, is she also a neighbour?! that's just ridiculous.

wednesday was wr's birthday, so i called him up to wish him a happy one. as it turned out, he was on his way to say hi... we sat watching robot chicken star wars and chatting, and i was going to walk into class a little late but then all my classmates began to walk out the building; she'd stood us up again, and in her place the TA was taking Q 'n A. a few of us missioned to buy beer and drink it in the park while spinning on a carousel. it was as good a start to the day as could be.

except for the bit, earlier on, when i spoke to a financial advisor about the money the army took off my salary for my "pension". so i've been screwed twice - no, thrice by them.
part 1: NIS 9000 that i didn't get because i served 2.5 years with an inappropriate rank.
part 2: earning no more than one third of the minimum salary i'd have commanded if i hadn't signed on.
part 3: that pension money going nowhere. after almost four years, my army pension account is now sitting at a whopping NIS 500. that'd sort me out with lunch for... a couple of weeks. maybe.

after the park we joined the study session in the library. the guy i'd argued with online sat down next to me, and the argument resumed - only much louder than before. at some point a girl behind us couldn't decide whether we were bothering her or if she wanted to take part, so three of us (not including the girl) took the debate outside (after i explained to her that arguments are for arriving at conclusions, and that we're still all friends).
we talked another ten minutes or so before the third guy jumped on my opponent: "ah-HA! you just contradicted yourself!"

it's so nice when others can do that for me :D

eventually we sorted everything out - he understood what i was getting at and agreed that saying things like that outside of one's private circle can be dangerous; in fact, the point the caused the aforementioned contradiction was him saying that he'd think less of any friend that called him "ashkenazi" because he was trying to better himself.

after deciding that we'd understood shklovsky and motifs we took a break for lunch, joined by eidetic and a discussion about course workloads. then it was time to print out the poetry i was going to read and practice. nerves, you see.

the reading itself was fun! and there really wasn't any reason to get so excited. it'll definitely be easier next time. i began with dead eye, shared my stream of consciousness and finished off with a compass. the more i read that last one, the happier i become with it :)

lessons learned: if only i'd thought to thank the organizers while on the stage! it seems to be the right thing to do. also, i guess it's always a good idea to put together a presentation so that it's easier to follow the words (i *hope* i read mine clearly enough, but one never can tell) and get the more obscure references (like the description of the petrified forest, or the "blood-sucking missiles", or the "steamy soprano fissures").

i've been informed indirectly by the sponsor that i'll be invited back at some stage ^_^

pg and i took the bus home, and before going out i crashed for an hour. i don't know how long it's been since i kipped that deeply.

i groggily took the bus and a walk to "arthur's" at the harbour - no indication on the building that that's the place, which is a bit silly in my opinion. i'd brought nerds to share, and we all sat there drinking beers and staring at the victoria's secret fashion show. there were some crazy pieces! and i usually don't care much for that sort of thing, but that was simply smoking hot.

... one of my american co-workers made a decidedly uneducated remark on nixon, and i got stuck into explaining the origins and outcomes of the war on drugs...

i left just in time to catch the nine home, prepare a birthday present, stop by pg's to say goodnight, walk onto the five (two buses with perfect timing? no way!) and arrive in time to join wr for the third song of the evening. the show was absolutely brilliant, so much so that even the band members are a bit concerned about being able to maintain such a high level. we all loved it ^_^

we discussed running a pastafarian bar, where all liquor is considerably cheaper and the rum barely above cost. i think that might work.


epic, long complex dreams disappearing on a puff of sleep dust chased by peaceful alarm clock memories and crushed by adrenaline heart-pounding and failed, desperate clawing to hold on to fragments of their wisdom just long enough to write it down before such heady beauty is lost entirely

virginia woolf - mrs dalloway is growing on me. i'd gotten up super early (6.30am) to catch up on the reading, and after a quarter of the book i decided i quite like it. and it reminded me of bi-planes flying advertising banners. haven't seen those in many years.

i dozed and read on the couch under my warm blanket for a couple of hours, then got ready and left. as i closed the door, my recycling box jumped down onto the floor to remind me that i'd run a load of washing - thank you, cardboard box! that could've been an unpleasant surprise.

on a completely unrelated note: my iphone's camera is fucked. it crashes every time i try to take a photo, and most times without storing the snap :S

our first lecture, with the italian sick, was taken by his teaching assistant. after the class i was compelled to approach her and ask her why she couldn't have taken the whole damned semester. she was a vast improvement.
the study session was difficult to manage without becoming sidetracked. every time the guys got rowdy, i threw another reason at them and we continued. thank you, matthew!

have i asked the following question before? it concerns our italian lecturer: who understands humans and yet chooses to become a cultural anthropologist?
what we need is an anthro-apologist.

i was planning on napping before the last class, but instead found myself meeting new and interesting people instead. one of those people is the child of expatriate south africans, who suggested that i hit the telfed up for a scholarship...

odd that: my iphone corrected the word "telfed" to "gelded".

the last poetry lesson was hardcore: adrienne rich hardcore. that stuff's so potent and heady we didn't have much to say.

work last night was alright, although my beanie appears to be gone. gone. gone. i loved that beanie :(

-someone came to talk to me towards the end of the evening, and just as we'd agreed on how he needs to proceed he said something that i felt, on my lip. spittle flying is never a nice thing for either party involved, but that was worse than usual :S

i made my way home, relatively early (about 10pm), and dropped off my bag. then i took a slow walk to pg's listening to awesome psychedelic rock... [this bit censored on the grounds that it might give a bad impression of us pirates, but it does involve surprisingly piratey behaviour (^_^)]

we were going to watch a movie, but i passed out instead. i do that a lot, lately :S
hopefully the next semester will be a little less crazy.


i walked home via the bookstore, picking up the death of ivan ilyich & other stories, mysteries of celtic britain, great expectations, the great gatsby, heart of darkness, survival of the sickest, fragile things, and, because it seems piratey, pirate latitudes - all paid for using the gift card my employer bought me for my birthday :))

i hurried off to work - i'd agreed to spend an hour there helping out the unhelpful IT guy if and only if nobody else could - and was accosted by the caretaker of a neighbourhood synagogue who needed assistance changing a light-bulb. of course i would help; pity about the bus :/

so i got screwed for breakfast - my hands were cable-tied, as it were. i spent the first hour and a half waiting for him - at least i always have work to do - then the last hour sorting cables.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

outside inside

today began with a violent awakening from pretty cool vampire dreams. [shit, my hands are so cold that my typing's slowed - aircon time]

after three hours (maybe a little more, i don't know for sure) of sleep, i got dressed and ready pretty quickly and (fortunately) picked the right bus without ending up in a different city. i read fielding - tom jones most of the way, but by the last stretch i was too mentally drained even for that. i snuck into the induction base (my card's still good, it seems) to pick up some coffee, and was surprised to see my co-worker joining us when i got back. it was nice to have someone to talk to.

the march was about the lack of equality (again? yes. in pretty much everything.) between the ultra-orthodox (most of whom don't serve in the military), the israeli arabs (who aren't invited to serve in the military), the conscientious objectors and the rest of us. we're not asking them to wield weapons, we want them to perform national service (for instance, social work in their own communities). that's not a lot to ask.

i was amused by the use of the expression "to vote with your feet" prior to marching. the walk was long, about ten kilometres and i guess i must've carried the stretcher for one or two of them. that little girl wasn't so little...

so i exercised arms, shoulders, legs and opinions - although it was kinda preaching to the converted - and it was hot. it's been rather a long time since i've spent so much time in the sunlight!

once we got to beit dagan, i grabbed a sandwich and then a bus to work - i would've liked to continue, but we all have responsibilities. it was strange waiting in a place i'd last stood a little more than half a year ago, sensing an absent smile on my own face from delighting in the fact that i'm me, and i look like myself, and i'm living my own life :)

after a class nap on the bus in the sunlight refracted through the dirty glass windows, i dazedly walked to work from the train station. it was while crossing the bridge that the bridge song popped into my head. i wrote it down and then carried on, laughing at the sight of myself in the mirror as i entered the foyer - me, with my purple beanie and soul patch and wearing my own clothing ^_^

i was surprised to hear that the telephonic interview i was supposed to undergo tomorrow morning regarding my pension plan wasn't telephonic... that complicated things a bit. only much later, after i'd sent an sms telling the representative that they had better be on time because i'd be coming to work especially to see them (and had class afterwards), that our financial specialist came past to tell me that she'd been mistaken; it really is going to be telephonic :P


speaking of telephones: a few days ago orange called to find out if i was satisfied with my upgrade experience. i gave them five very specific reasons (i forgot to mention the battle over phone insurance) why i wasn't. today i got a call from the sales point so that the manager who'd received the review could attack each point in as aggressive a fashion as possible.

'cause that's good service.

struggling to maintain my faith in humanity above my own angry voice, i shouted right back at her until she chilled (relatively) and started to see what i was getting at. at least, i *think* she saw what i was getting at. she did give me a NIS 30 discount for my next half a year: that would make me feel better if it wasn't a sum of money that i know they shouldn't be charging me in the first place.

"to make you happier about being screwed, we're willing to steal a bit less from you than usual." thanks. really.

the ultimate irony was having the IT guy who sits across from me identifying with my agitation and sharing his own personal consumer horror stories; the ones where he's the hero and not the jerk that makes you run through hoops to get basic office issues sorted out :/


it makes no sense that i couldn't find my beanie. anywhere. not even in the stairwell or in the foyer. i searched through the office like a mad thing and was extremely frustrated by the time i had to go. at least the work itself was interesting.

my aspie coworker - her world has no "objective": every opinion she holds is fact. in order to speak to her one needs to learn her language. i've got enough trouble with english, hebrew and soon french, i don't *need* another dialect. in today's case, she was trying to say "long" regarding my hair and the only word that would suffice for her was "extreme" :S


i was so into tom jones (not the singer - him i hate) that i missed the bus: he didn't even slow down after hooting, so i didn't have a chance to register the number and leg it after him. bastard. at least i was still on time.

on the bus, a strange thought struck regarding the annoying fool from yesterday. would it be obvious to the lecturer that i was making fun of him if i immediately followed the next poem we read with the question: "would you agree that there is no irony, that this wonderful poem is a bit stupid?"
would that give him a hint?

i made it early in spite of the bus issue, and ran into someone i did the officer's course with. after an amusing chat i made myself a cup of coffee and walked into the reading.
was it caffeine shakes, or pre-reading nerves? i couldn't stop thinking about tomorrow. my first reading. ever. i've decided to go with dead eye and a compass. i hope i don't sound like an idiot. either way, tonight's reading gave me some insight into the whole practice so i at least know what tomorrow might be like :P

adam schonbrun was definitely my favourite for the evening: pulled no punches, great imagery and a good reading voice. the others were a bit... technical (although ada aharoni - teddy bears for guns was sweet). and the last reader's voice did his writing no favours.

pg met me outside and we bussed back together, speaking in english - yes, that's worth mentioning. we stopped for calzone at pizza pazza, then i spent an hour prepping myself for tomorrow and resubmitting for the poetry competition (my last week alone has produced more interesting offspring than anything i had by december, i think), and then went blading. with two shirts (one long-sleeved) and my mask up and it was still chilly.

the course was good and i was tired. my body is sore and i'm glad that the argument with the photographer (see last week's complaint) was not only resolved, but turned political and that seems to have been resolved (although i did do a fair bit of shouting, so my throat's a bit sore)...

now - to bed. yes. bed's a good idea.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

location: extra dis

i can't tell for sure, but i think it's getting worse. my appointment to see the jaw dude isn't for another two weeks :(


i didn't do as much today as i'd have liked - i blame protoplasm for finally posting his indian photos - absolutely magnificent. i spent an hour at work being horrified by terrible coding practices (every time i look i'm rewriting more), then hopped to campus for the poetry lecture. what a blessing to go a monday without the italian!

the old, annoying dude was on form today. every time he opened his mouth the entire class cringed, and even our lecturer laughed at him at one point because his outbursts are so ridiculous and off-course. everyone wants to shout STFU but nobody's careless or rude enough to actually do it.

a few of us chatted on the bus home, i picked up a laffa for dinner and moved along to pg's, where i read her poetry and was interrupted by an old friend. then pg and i walked to gordo's.

the evening began half an hour late (so i could have shopped for books on the way) with a really bad speaker promoting a 10:23-style event. it was only about half an hour after that that we saw our first waiter. the waiters were terrible.


the "angry lesbians" who walked out are idiots. yes, yes - it's not pc to call them that but being extreme in anything is bad. here we have a bunch of women so absorbed by the "incorrect" use of male / female terms that they missed the point of the lecture: it was a lecture purely on the physical aspects of being male and female, and demonstrating that the distinctions aren't always so clear. the poor guy speaking to us was trying so hard to please them, struggling to convert every "man" and "woman" to "male" and "female" in spite of the discussion being about sex and not gender, and when he refused to let them railroad him they got up and walked out, as if he wasn't doing his part for the revolution.

shit. the talk was eye-opening and they didn't get it. they got me thinking, though, of other homosexual errors.

i was also bothered by some guy afterwards asking a question to which the answer was "i really don't know enough to talk about it", and after receiving said response then attempted to draw an opinion out of the speaker. it's a skeptics evening, so what exactly are you looking for? what point is made by speculation?!


waking up early to march for national service for ultra-orthodox and non-jews. hope it helps.


web design:
on flash intros
8 websites you need to stop building
how to make your shopping cart suck less

little miss muffet:
on curds and whey

marriage rights and parenting licenses

homosexuals / lesbians / transwhatevers* are going about things all wrong. seriously, trying to get recognition for gay marriage is just about on par with feminists burning their bras instead of their high heels.

* the problem with the alternately sexually inclined is that whenever one gets representation the others are all left behind. once gay males are dealt with fairly, then the females gets angry. once they're okay then those of minority races realize that they're still getting shafted. we're improving, but slowly. some of us never had issues with "equality for all", and don't see why they can't fight with the system without fighting with the people.

what they *should* be going for, and in this the rest of us should join them, is the eradication of marriage incentives so that anyone who has children, regardless of sex or religion, can benefit from state support.

one related issue that concerns me is the amount of effort that goes into preventing "unworthy" people (like gay couples) from adopting unwanted / abused / orphaned children. until someone does something wrong, you can't know what kind of parent they're going to be! so either get rid of the restrictions, or stop letting every tom, dick and sally have kids without being tested against the same criteria.

choose: one way or the other. you really can't be unfair to only the group that has trouble with / doesn't want to go through the whole conception ordeal. we have far more kids in need of homes than the other way around.

Monday, January 17, 2011

from peeve to pleasure

i left for pg's after engaging in an argument about the pejorative use of the word "ashkenazi" in israel: i despise it. even if i wasn't of lithuanian origin (making me as "ashkenazi" as one can be), should i be embarrassed about wanting to be a good person, or get educated?

the term implies that we are people who "claim" to be thinking of others, people who "claim" to be getting educated, people who "claim" to be doing their duty... these are things that the non-ashkenazi doesn't lie to himself about. because in reality, everyone's looking out for themselves, and there's no chance for redemption.

the bottom line is that if everyone looked out for everyone else then they'd be looking out for themselves. it's either each man for himself, or everyone together. i choose the latter, and don't appreciate others like me being ridiculed for it.

the people who use the term come from a background where instead of fixing things they're taught to blame problems on their ancestry. that's kind of sad. remember: "no man is an island", and for every asshole out there there're thousands of really nice people that you probably just don't pay enough attention to.


red is a great movie! we watched it until 2am, then passed out and had a lazy morning. good grief, i've been unproductive of late! i told pg that we're just going to have to split up, she's consuming *far* too much of my time :)

i've been struggling with symbian's carbide this morning, and simultaneously polished (relatively) and published another one. it's been a big week for that sort of thing.

now to figure out debugging, then head to work and get in a couple of hours before class.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

pain, cookies, elbows and machine-gods

quote for the day: "freud is to psychology what l. ron hubbard is to religion"

we slept well last night. sleep of the dead. on my way in to class, wr caught up with me to tell me that he and his girlfriend just got back together - sweet news! and then the painful second-last class happened. two hours of summarizing and uncharitable questions and disappointing answers and misery. only one more, though!

our study session in the library turned me into a shocking (literally) teacher, but we did have cookies. everyone seemed to get things in the end - i hope it helped. then i went for lunch with pg, who detected an unusual amount of peas in her noodles. noodles shouldn't have peas, and her pea-to-noodle ratio was border on 50% :S

on the way out we ran into karnaf at the main gate, and i sarcastically wished him a happy new year - i don't get why he's been so difficult to talk to of late...

work was work, and after a couple of frustrating hours i got things untangled and am almost done. after discovering an unidentifiable purchase label on my credit card report last night, i was surprised today to receive an email from a company of the same name. i sent them a response asking them what it is they do and what they think i bought from them - i was certain that someone had snapped up my credit details and that i was in trouble.

a minute or two after sending the mail (having gone to their website to check, just in case) it suddenly occurred to me that this was the company in charge of promoting the marathon i signed up for - what kind of moronic "marketing" company doesn't think to be specific on a credit listing, or, for that matter, not send out a receipt for a purchase?


on the bus home i continued to read olalla - and i heartily advise not reading anything that might contain spoilers.

i was standing and reading, and some asswipe came and stood right next to me. what made him an asswipe is that he was constantly switching things between pockets, and his elbow kept approaching my phone... eventually touching my hand, i politely asked him to keep his distance. what, am i invisible?! then, after getting off the bus without further incident i was walking on the right side of the sidewalk past an old man walking in the middle, when less than a two metres before me he veered left, almost smashing into me. i skipped sideways just in time - good thing i look at everyone i pass - and looked back to see him stopping and staring up, completely unaware that anything was amiss.

it's a sign of a lousy lecturer when students get excited to hear that they're ill and that the lessons are cancelled. our italian is out of commission, and i am *PLEASED*. i know i shouldn't be, i don't actually wish him ill but the readings for the next class are absurdly long and i really was desperate for a god to come out of the machine.

to my husband is really sweet - and sometimes hysterically funny :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011


last night was fun - the home-made was great and there was plenty, even if pg's brother did forget to bring the fish and it was mostly vegetarian :P


speaking of which, her brother-in-law and i had an interesting debate about veganism and he's perfectly stationed to discuss laziness: he's been unemployed for a couple of weeks and having had a quick perspective break (he's an electrical engineer) completely agrees with pretty much everything on the list. actually, my whole point is that everyone *knows* these things to be true, but behaves as if they don't.

this is *our* world, people. *ours*. and *we* have to make things change.


it was an altogether pleasant evening, with a lot of time being spent on the dogs and ceaseless chatter. some of it drug-related, even. once the siblings were gone, pg and i settled in to watch a fish called wanda. yes, i know, it's ridiculous that i hadn't seen it before. and it's so good!!!

we slept late - really late - and it was only around lunchtime that we moved back to my place to study. i didn't get much done... but that's because i wrote out the manifesto and wasted a bit of time on the flash project. i don't like working with morons - these people don't seem capable of understanding that if your flash file is HUGE, it might affect the download time. i think i've had enough :S

i wasn't feeling good, so i had a nap. i'm still not feeling 100%, although ramen at sakai did improve my situation. now to settle down and read.

The Lazy Man’s Manifesto

Technology has improved at an incredible pace, and yet we still live an industrial nightmare. We sacrifice our youth to make more money than we know what to do with, to be used in a future that’s completely unknown. It’s absurd! And for those who don’t make it as far as that distant future, a pathetic waste.

There must be a balance between future concerns and present living, between one’s profession and one’s personal growth. In our post-modern hi-tech world, we no longer suffer such outmoded concepts as “career” and “company loyalty” in the traditional sense, even if we haven’t realized it yet. We are an extreme capitalist society and must adapt our methodologies to this reality.

We all know that a happy worker is more productive, and we all know about “burn-out”. For some reason the engineering and hi-tech industries, “problem-solving industries” if i may, are still working 9 - 5 with expected (and usually unpaid) overtime.
This does harm to both the employee (most people don’t want to spend such a large percentage of their lives stuck in the same place and with the same people) and the employer, who has counted his employee’s hours but not his employee’s effective productivity.

I stress here that I am specifically referring to the types of employment that require these “problem solving” characteristics. This manifesto is largely (but not completely) irrelevant for mechanical job functions.

This is factory mentality, and it’s misplaced. It’s usually not the managers, or even the upper management who are at fault - not directly, in any event. These tiers are usually under the thumb of investors who need numbers in order to satisfy themselves that they’re getting more bang for their buck, and are inadvertently causing their own portfolios harm. The fact that we need a better way to evaluate performance is a separate issue, but not unrelated.

Another primary cause of bad direction is the global capitalist attitude that lets “marketing” hold the reins. It appears that only those who have studied Business Management have learned that marketing and promotion are not the same thing, and most of these “educated” types seem to have forgotten this lesson. Instead of focusing on creating quality products, we set up workhouses to produce whatever can “sort of” match the requirements as quickly and cheaply as possible, giving no consideration to those involved in the process and less to those on the receiving end of the product.

The other issue, of course, is education. We don’t stop complaining about the degradation of our society and the lack of education that influences it, but we simultaneously demand that our children only learn things that will help them increase their potential for employment as opposed to increase their understanding of the world around them. This is a direct attack on our culture and our future, and it must be put to a stop.
The question “what will you get out of it?” has poisoned our well.

The following are a list of changes that need to be made as a part of a correction to the system that runs not only our lives, but our futures. We can fix things, but not incrementally. It’s time to turn the ship around!

1. Hiring

The biggest obstacle in today’s job market are the HR companies. The companies employ people to “filter” applicants according to criteria that they are simply not qualified to understand. In order to get around this, applicants must learn to tweak their resumes to “hack” these filtering companies just to get a fair shot.

Don’t force applicants to lie! It might cost you a few more interviews, but you could be missing out on a star employee that simply doesn’t want to fight with you in order to work for you.

Check applicant CVs personally - or at the very least ensure that the requirements are properly understood by the relevant HR. Standard catchphrases such as “looking for 2nd year students” don’t tell anyone why that’s the requirement.

2. Length of employment

Do you want someone who’ll stay with you through thick and thin, for at least a couple of years? Keep dreaming. The market’s a dirty place, and we’re as far from being Japanese as can be. Employees will remain with you as long as they don’t think they’ll be better off anywhere else.

Motivate loyalty, don't demand it. And don’t expect it. When you ask an interviewee where he sees himself in five years, they’re either going to lie to you or tell you something that won’t match your criteria. Neither of those outcomes are at all relevant - if they’re good, hire them!

Which brings us to the next point: your employees need to be replaceable. Anyone who does a job “nobody else can do” is unprofessional and most likely dragging your product or your environment off course. Either that or they’re a “linchpin” (Seth Godin), and they’re not irreplaceable in the traditional sense.

This is the kind of irreplaceable you need. Also important is knowing when to let bad employees go. Make use of mutual trial periods to ensure that you know how to perform knowledge transfers effectively.

3. Work standards

The greatest use of technology in improving workflows and methodologies that we’ve seen in the last decade is the internal wiki. Wiki’s provide easy to use, easy to update standardized information from "who to call when the UPS dies" to "which product parts exhibit strange behaviour that needs to be checked" (and of course, how to check them). Having seen wiki techniques employed in both sensitive RealTime embedded projects and in call center functions and projects, it’s obvious that this is the best way to store and transfer knowledge.

When applied correctly.

Between wikis, ready internet access, good documentation practices and a culture of satellite applications*, no employee should need more than the basics of the relevant field in order to find his feet quickly. Another problem, specifically in the programming industry, is that it is not clear to employers that once one has a firm grasp of basic programming paradigms and algorithm development one should have no difficulty learning a new syntax and simply getting on with it.

* There’s nothing more ridiculous in the software industry than employees who perform tedious, repetitive tasks because they forget that they can simply build applications to do them instead. I’m sure that a bureaucratic attitude towards approval is to blame for preventing anyone spending time on something that saves time.

As an employer, one should differentiate between those employees who’ll be doing the “thinking” (the engineers and scientists) and those who’ll be doing the “implementing” (the self-taught, usually). It’s a sad state of affairs wherein an industry primarily consisting of Computer Science graduates doesn’t understand that software development and programming are only tentatively related to mathematical thinking and algorithm production.

4. Get out of the factory

“Problem solvers” are always working. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can’t escape work by locking their screens and going out for a cup of coffee, because their subconscious minds are constantly on the alert. They certainly aren’t being paid for the wonderful ideas they have in the middle of the night.

This doesn’t mean that they don’t need to come in to work, only that we’re living in an ADHD world and you can’t measure creative productivity by how much time a person spends attached to their keyboard.
I am of the opinion that for maximum effectiveness, “spacing out” should be focused on educational extras from outside of the industrial sphere. Of course, one cannot direct any employee to do this but it would be wise to suggest these options and make them available. Motivating your employees to get out and get some exercise is also a great practice that I’ve been fortunate to see some employers making use of.

Another aspect of this is that everybody has their preferred work hours. Not only are some people far more productive in the evening hours, but having flexible hours allows people who need to take care of homes and families to do so without these issues distracting them from their work.
Of course, company face time is important. There are many possible methods for arranging work hours that are flexible enough for everyone (or the majority, at least) while still enforcing enough hours for meetings and cooperation.

Speaking of collaboration: how can employers be blind to all the benefits of employing two good minds for the price of one? There's certainly no guarantee that they're good minds: you have to pay attention when hiring and use trial periods to figure that out. The principles of extreme programming, however, indicate that by and large you'd get better quality out of more, and less taxed, workers attacking the same problems.

The last point is the trickiest of the lot: have reasonable deadlines. That’s not so easy to do, and every organization needs to invest some time in figuring out a fair solution. As I’ve mentioned before, let marketing control your production, not promotion.
The all-nighter has become the norm instead of the exception, and it is expected for workers to pour their hearts and souls into their work without sufficient compensation. Lots of money is not compensation. Human beings need to spend time with their families, play sport, read books, watch movies, participate in politics, save the world and otherwise enjoy the fruits of their parents’ labours.

All of this leads me to my main point: Hire students. Students can learn. And encourage studying for your employees who don’t. Only a culture of education can get us working smarter, not harder. We have the tools, we have the manpower, now all we need is the attitude.

It’s 2011, and we don’t have robot slaves. Instead, we’ve found a way to make human ones legitimate again. Let's stop working so hard.

[this post capitalized because i need to present it and don't have the energy to "correct" it]

[added 11/3/2011: months later, and i learn about bertrand russell - in praise of idleness. the man wrote it in 1932 - and our situation has only gotten worse. come on, people!]

Friday, January 14, 2011

frozen morning

we watched barbarella last night. i passed out for most of it, but loved what i saw. it's the second time i've seen it: the first time was a friday night, with my cousin and a buddy of his who were all spaced out on heroin while his girlfriend and i alternatively canned ourselves laughing at the movie and grinned at their vegetable responses.


it was bitterly cold this morning, and the four hours of sleep weren't enough to brace me for it. i launched myself out of bed before i could fall back into my silent dreams, grabbed some clothing and walked out the door, desperately trying to warm myself up with good trance. it might've worked better if i had worn my beanie, because that keeps the earphones in at just the right strength to let me hear the bass properly...

after some hesitation over where to sit for coffee before the appointment, i got a bit of reading done and then waltzed in to the doctor's office to be informed that i appear to have dislocated my jaw. so now i have a referral to the dental clinic. he also gave me a referral for another h. pylori test because it's possible that it's stopped being a problem. when i mentioned that pg had gone for testing too, he laughed and called me "polish" - he says that his wife always seems to get it but not him, so i shouldn't worry about having transferred it. i hope he's right!

it occurred to me a few days ago that my phone cover's string that i always let trail leaves a certain orange afterimage of my religious youth :P

after coming home and resting some more, i walked out to witness buses 20, 64, 55, and 9 arrive at the stop all at once - that never happens. and usually i've just missed the one i'm looking for. would that i could get that sort of service all the time :)

i was too late for the dental clinic and the pharmacy - when the secretary told me i'd need to arrive earlier next time i immediately shot back an incredulous "who gets up before 12 on a friday?!"

i walked out into absolutely stunning weather, and slowly made my way to cafesito for a good breakfast with pg and urchin. afterwards pg and i went to the bookstore, but that closed less than five minutes after we arrived and i wasn't going to buy books under pressure.

we spent the afternoon lazing, and now it's time to get ready for dinner. it's been such a good day! gonna pay for it tomorrow :P

Thursday, January 13, 2011

a hazy end

i'm not physically tired, but mentally completely drained. it's been one tough week. and an unpleasant bellyache followed me around all day.

also, weleda was the first person i saw today. at least it was on the bus, so i nodded a salutation and hurried past to the other side.


the first thing i heard when i got into class is that at the beginning of the semester, when nobody knew my name, i was called "the glasses guy". cute :P

first class was painful as usual. afterwards, we discovered that the new study hall in the library is pretty sweet, and we covered a fair amount and in good fun. pg and i had lunch together once we were done - too much food - and then i walked in to second.

second was off the mark completely. a) his attempt to show that all of dorian gray's behaviour could have been influenced by an opium addiction was reaching in the extreme. b) i found myself giving the class a "hard drugs primer" because our lecturer began with wild statements. they seemed to enjoy it.

after class i argued the definitions of "commodity culture" and "synaesthesia", forgot to tell him to watch the secrets (even though i can't recall why), had him rehash the previous debate (he's still sore) and then finally be informed that he didn't touch my mid-term because the marks he would've added in one place would've been subtracted from somewhere else.


at least he didn't totally throw out the claim that bothered him, but my phrasing was definitely no good.

the last class was tough. none of us were focused, even though the poetry would normally have been really interesting (roethke). i could at least see that i'd like his stuff, but i just couldn't get past the words. too tired.
instead, i found myself breezing through oatmeal comics. damn, he's good.

anime night was very chilled. there weren't a lot of us, but the numbers don't really matter. it's just an excuse to watch on a big screen :)
we watched three episodes of FLCL, and developed some interesting analyses. then we talked for a bit, bussed back to tel aviv and went our separate ways.

now to chill. a big chill.

slightly more routine

seriously? if it wasn't for facebook's groups, first class yesterday would have been an eternity badly spent. at least we had some fun. it's like she's incapable of teaching new material until the last five minutes of class, at which point everyone is so confused that it just goes right past their heads. there's me, after class, trying to calm everyone down because they *didn't* actually miss anything :S

the last literature theory lesson was a good summary, although it began with a question directed at me personally and i was still dumbfounded from the previous class :P

i had lunch with pg, then headed off to work. on the way my kibbutz cousin called to inform me that our ski trip has been authorized and booked, and it's gonna be AMAZING! (^_^)

aside from a lengthy meeting (good call, drinking an espresso just before), and a phone call from orange*, i spent the evening going deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of my current infrastructure mod. each time i think i'm done i discover something that i hadn't understood before or simply didn't think of before; it appears that quite a lot of the system only *looked* to be working up until now. it's positive exciting to be fixing all these things. it's negative exciting to be discovering new screw-ups.

* the nice lady from orange asked me if i was satisfied with my purchasing experience.
1. you didn't give me a choice, i *had* to upgrade in order to get student rates.
1a. i've been a customer for ten years, and i'm never informed of anything unless it helps orange.
1ai. i battle with the hebrew bills, and i only discovered half a year ago that i was paying NIS 40 per month for stuff i didn't want.
2. during the sale the staff gave me incorrect information when it was meaningful
3. the staff sold me whatever they could, not what was good for me. in particular, they sold me an iphone 3g as opposed to telling me to wait for an iphone 4 even though the newer one meets the requirements i told them and the old one... doesn't.
4. the staff would not and could not help me discover how to determine my package use. they wouldn't even help me by telling me who to call to find out from.

"sir, i'm just a representative -"
"i know. this isn't personal. i'm talking to orange, and i want orange to treat me fairly."

i shopped (lots of money :/), ate dinner, played with dropbox - it is good for study material - then went with pg to a party. we laughed the whole way there, parodying the ministry of funny walks, and the music was fantastic. the crowd was... alright... but it did get a bit too crazy for us so we came back, only stopping for good pastries along the way.

my facebook's in pirate - it's cool, but sometimes a little confusing :P

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

a quick shot

i had to sneak this behind pg's back, and i hope it has the desired result...

היי אחי
תקשיב, עד הלילה אני בעצמי לא הבנתי כמה זה מפריע לה להצטלם - היא מאוד ביישנית וזה עד כדי כך לא נעים לה להיכנס בך כדי להבהיר לך שהיא ממש מוטרדת מזה. זה כבר עובר את הגבול של "להציק", זה פוגע.

אז אני מבקש ממך למחוק את התמונות, ובוא נסגור את העניין הזה. זה ממש לא יפה לעשות לה את זה, הסיבה היחידה שבזמן האחרון היא הסכימה להצטלם בכלל זו כי היא התייאשה מלהגיד לך "לא" כל הזמן ואני לא רואה בזה שום דבר חיובי.

תודה - וסליחה על הכבדות...

or in english:
hey bro,
listen, until tonight i myself hadn't realized just how much it bothers her to be photographed - she's really shy and it's that unpleasant for her to go head-to head with you to make it clear that she's feeling harrassed by it. it's beyond "annoying", it's hurtful.

so i'm asking you to erase the photos, and let's close this whole ordeal. it's really not cool to do this to her, and the only reason she's agreed to be photographed at all in the past while is because she gave up saying "no" all the time and i don't see that as at all positive.

thanks - sorry for having to be so harsh...

there is only one word in hebrew for "force" and "rape"; i had to be careful not to use it in this context but the idea is definitely apparent.


that was a good blade, and i had a great time. riiiiiiiiiight until the end. now pg and i are fighting about whether or not it's okay for people to take photos of her, and whether or not it's okay for me to get involved when she's asked me not to, even when it's something that clearly upsets her.

this sucks.