Monday, February 28, 2011

don't check mail while studying

i woke up early to read up for the morning, and received a mail from my mother harassing me to "dress properly" for work interviews (because she understands how things work in israel) based on a follow-up interview gone wrong.

now i'm distracted because i can't stop thinking about how offensive their offer was. i keep thinking that my reaction was too polite.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

tough on the legs

my legs were so stiff that i could barely sleep last night. it probably didn't help that i went to bed too early because i'm not comfortable with sitting up late with the light on when pg's sleeping - even though she claims that she doesn't have a problem with it.

first class was alright, although i distracted myself by applying for a job with ibm. my heart wasn't into tone and attitude. one of my classmates and i were comparing poetry beforehand, and earlier this evening considered starting a small group of after-school poetry writing and review. his shit's pretty hardcore - maybe i'll be inspired to up my standards :P

our professor expressed enthusiastic interest when i described our plans to execute wr's idea of a mad hatter's tea party for purim - here's hoping we have a winner! although writing nonsense poetry is tough.

i went searching for the italian wearing a hat but found the head of the master's program instead. she confirmed the rumour i'd heard on thursday, that i should be making an effort to impress with my seminar. i had lunch with pg, was disappointed that wr was in class (we were supposed to meet to discuss my imaginary seminar), spoke to an old lady about her flexibility at the bus stop (how the fuck do these things happen to me so often?!) and went to work.

my computer wasn't responding. i checked mail from another pc, then entered the meeting that i'd thought i'd avoided.
*sigh*
what would they do without me?

after we'd sorted out pretty much everything, the guy we spoke to tried to give us a demonstration but his system wasn't having any of it. i managed to come out tops in a(n office-)politically charged debate - my boss was well pleased - and then i returned to my desk to diagnose my pc as dead. when my boss asked me how i was getting along, i told him i'd just found my computer to "have died" (נפטר or niftar) - which sounds like "problem solved" (נפתר, also niftar). after resolving the ensuing confusion, i was treated to a demonstration of the usefulness of our CEO: he came to fix it.

so if it's a hardware problem, call the BIG boss.

i spent the rest of the work day upgrading the SVN gui (what a miserable failure of an installation file) and confirming something i'd begun to suspect on the way to work: i'd misunderstood our alert mechanism, and created an alert for a critical condition without passing it into the pipeline. the new guy has agreed with me that we need to connect the object and the pipeline so that the creation of an alert will be enough to have it sent. isn't that just a little more logical? i think so.

i skipped off early to meet with nystire. we had coffee, talked, and he handed me a couple of gifts from south africa - red riding hood treats' hot wasabi nuts are sinus-clearing and morish. venco drop for the win!

a couple of hours at home doing not much (like watching an episode of arrested development: not bad), a serious and enlightening heart-to-heart with pg, and i'm now ready to get busy with preparing for tomorrow... it's not late, is it?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

stupor

today makes no sense to me. i woke up this morning with a mission: read and internalize a white paper in preparation for a job interview this week. i woke up early enough, and aside from an hour or two with pg (a good lunch followed by rollerblading to try and work yesterday's kinks out of my legs), sat in front of my pc all day.

so the paper took me about twelve hours to get through. it was a short paper, and none too complicated, which means that i "l-l-l-l-lost time" and spent a disproportionate amount of time doing other stuff.

if only i knew what that other stuff could be, because i spent no more than ten minutes on norman's database and perhaps an hour all told communicating via facebook and chat apps.

oh, and what i think was about an hour snoozing. nystire sent me a link that's got me thinking about changing my sleep patterns...

diet, day two: i've eaten three apples, a bowl of cereal, a chicken salad, fried eggs and a banana today. and drunk mostly tea and water. i'm feeling alright, i guess. i even refused chocolate earlier because i'd rather enjoy a proper dig into a giant slice of chocolate cake (last night's dessert, to counter the soup for dinner) than a tantalizing taste.

i just checked - apparently i've consumed less than half of what i should have. nutrition is hard.

...

i like what i wrote today.

public persona

i just watched an amazing short that's too simply too out-there and offensive to post elsewhere. you have been warned. malice in wonderland: you may have to log in to view it.

soup, and the mishima zaibatsu

what an interesting evening! pg took me out for soup at zuppa - great bisk - and then i went to a friend's birthday party that introduced me to tekken 6. that's *good* tekken! although the differences between 6 and 3 are somewhat difficult to get used to, they're mostly for the best.

i suddenly realized, on my second handful of pretzels and my second beer, that those two items aren't appropriate for the new reduced-carbs diet :P

pg made a suggestion that totally blows a project i've been pondering and toying with out of the water - i was overcomplicating things and it needed an outsider's perspective: groovy!

---

tamar capsouto kicks ass! i hope she manages to get somewhere, the music legislation in this country is total rubbish.

Friday, February 25, 2011

friday perspective

i slept well, i guess, and my stomache seems to be settling down a bit. heck, after a corned-beef salad for lunch i went for my first proper run in half a year. according to google maps i did about 13km, and that just about matches what my legs report :)

this morning i missioned to buy glycerine - it's a requirement for constructing a snow globe. the supermarket doesn't stock, and the woman at the pharmacy told me that while they're out, *every* pharmacy should have. at least i don't need it urgently.

---

on the way, i spoke to the hardware dude and he threw a solid reality check. he hardly remembers my name, but asked me how work is going. when i told him i still haven't found a job, he said that if you want to make money in this economy you have to be a bug, a slave, and studying isn't endearing to task-masters. he said that even if i'm right about how people should be employed, society is unchanging and i need to fit in if i want to survive.

he's right, to a degree. but i'm not letting go that easily. the question that's been swirling around my head since that discussion is "how can employers be blind to all the benefits of employing two good minds for the price of one?"
for sure, there's no guarantee that they're good minds: you have to pay attention when hiring and use trial periods to figure that out. but the principles of extreme programming indicate that by and large, you'd get better quality out of more, and less taxed, workers. [now adding this to the manifesto]

---

pg rocked up for lunch, just as i was finalizing the purchase of a domain for my wired-inspired project (i'm going to call it norman for now). taking a break from the skate farm (eddy matzger's two-day rollerblading camp). she had the beef parisian, i settled for a taste :)

once i got back from the run, i built norman's database - most of it, at least. i'm surprised at how cohesive all the bits are and how obviously all the pieces fit together.

exposed: unpostable

there're tons of these, but this one suddenly struck me as appropriate. it's dated 26.10.2009:

i'm learning something absolutely frightening about the denial-of-attention that i received when trying to unsubscribe from the mailing list a few months back. i argued with the general command for a while before they told me to give up, and someone else picked up the baton and had a go today.

apparently, the man in charge - extremely high-ranking - is adamant that the magazine gets out, and refuses to consider an electronic version. because he's too (old / cool) for school. when told that it's a destructive attitude, he first expressed how important the magazine is (which practically nobody reads), and then claimed that out of consideration for the environment he won't let anyone use the air-conditioner in the office.

i think that's fantastic. so the environment suffers for one action, and those under his command for its counter-action. the man is a genius.

unfocused

not only today, but yesterday as well. i forgot to post something i discovered during class that intrigued me.

a couple of us spent about three hours discussing seminars* and reading shakespeare to while away the time until the lecture half the campus has been waiting for with bated breath began. wow - worst event organization ever. disappointing. we all came to see umberto eco; they knew up to an hour before (because when *we* arrived the foyer was completely packed) that there wasn't so much as a quarter of the space required, and instead of setting up for the foyer or moving out to the grass they simply cut us off from the auditorium. wonderful. the ordeal was a bit too intimate. and we were there for so long that we began singing monty python songs :P

according to one of my classmates: "apparently we had been outsmarted - most people that attended the lecture actually went to the lecture before that and refused to make room for the crowd". why didn't i... no, wait. ASSHOLES. to make things more interesting: i just got a message back from one of the organizers - well, sort of back, she forwarded on my mail to one of my professors and cc'ed me. she claimed that the faculty does "not have the woman-power to register people".

really? want me to show you how to use an excel spreadsheet, and how to send out an email saying "sorry, no space for you"?

good thing i introduced myself to the professor this morning - even better that i began by describing myself as "an unintentional trouble-maker". although that might have been offset by her standing right beside me (just outside of my peripheral vision) when i told a girl in our class that one doesn't need an excuse to drink on campus, and that the rest of us were off for free** beer...

* so i discovered today that not only did we suffer the italian's inanity and a crushing semester of boring, high-density 19th century literature, but he kinda forgot to teach us the basics of how to write a seminar and what to write it on. i thought i had a topic. now i've got nothing. this greatly upsets me.

** yes! free! as in beer! and then we got to the designated spot, and not only was i accused of faking being a native english-speaker by some arshat [couldn't resist] but they charged us NIS 6 for a glass. it's cheap, but not cheap enough.

not only did i have to inform the head of the department and the italian that they weren't getting in either, but pg's mom had come to hear him speak as well. at least i got a ride home :)

i wasted a couple of hours on hawthorne - maybe i'll find something to say - then went to pg's parents' for dinner. i'd been warned that everything would be cheese, but there was enough salad and fennel to keep me satisfied. i was surprised by pg's brother's girlfriend's interest in economics (forgot that she studied that) and philosophy, and i pushed re-visioning psychology and in praise of doubt while discussing the wonders of freakonomics and their relation to misguided statistics in the wired article on the definitions of mental illness.

i need to go on a diet. my belly's a little out there of late, and controlling my constant urge to eat with tea is offset by polishing off a bag of marshmallows while my inner voice of reason screamed and shouted at me.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

striking

it was tough getting up this morning. not entirely surprisingly. the day began with john donne - batter my heart; not only did it lead to me asking the professor at the end: "so he [john donne] is not the messiah, but a very naughty boy?", but also struck me with what i previously posted.

after class i had lunch with the same guy i'd sat with on monday, and the regular noodles were surprisingly tasty. the cats we ate with were highly amusing, too. we discussed operating systems and received an sms to alert us that our grades for the first paper were out... i scored two points less than i'd have liked - gosh, but my ego's become enlarged over the course of the last semester - and thirteen more than i needed to pass ^_^

we ran into a couple of the girls on our way out, and although the chat was fun i (was made to) feel bad about badmouthing the italian. i can't help it, really. and i have yet to begin on his seminar paper :S

the regular boss wanted to know when i would be available to participate in a meeting that requires tact (see yesterday's comment) and i think that my arguing my way out of it counts as keeping my part of the agreement not to get involved :P

i was on the bus with one of the girls from our class and her boyfriend, pushing the commanding heights during a discussion on the importance of basic economic literacy. that shit made me feel educated, man.

when i got home i made two appointments with laser clinics to check out whether fixing my eyes is a good idea or not - in spite of not having enough money to consider something like that: i'm pretty much broke :/
i then spoke to yogi's father, and have been put in touch with a new participant. it looks like *crosses fingers* i might be switching primary jobs soon. that would be cool. having a partial salary would be awesome. which reminds me, one of my classmates told me today that it's strange that i'm complaining about being unable to find part-time hi-tech work as he has a friend who manages just fine with a far less impressive cv than mine.

i don't get it.

i proceeded to crash for a couple of hours, waking up with that weird post-deep-dreaming sensation although still a bit tired. i focused on my studies, then went with pg to see black swan. just before we went in, i saw one of my classmates who told me it was a crap film.
thanks for that.

i'm really glad that the information was completely, absurdly wrong! that movie kicked my ass, and pg was in tears. i couldn't stop thinking about *SPOILER ALERT* this *SPOILER ALERT* for most of the film.

---

it seems a bit insensitive to use a break-up vulture app.

democracy and totalitarian majority-minorities don't mix.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

the holy trinity

the father: the soul.

the son: the body.

the holy ghost: society.


why does that work so well? that the body's needs and desires must be sacrificed for the sake of the soul's acceptance in society; that "society" really is a "holy ghost" in the sense that we both form it and suffer it?

[this thought backgrounded by nin - hurt. eerily appropriate.]

last laugh

this just occurred.

unusually usual

i slept in a bit this morning, and was a bit hurried in my mission to renew my passport. i began reading the great gatsby on the way, sort of in preparation for a paper i'll have to write in another month or so. the snowboarding gave me an edge when it came to reading while standing on a bus with the driver pumping the brakes.

they all pump the brakes. and the gas. can they not see that they have passengers? do they not feel the lurching themselves?

the process of applying could have been worse. unlike when i was a soldier, i didn't have to remove my belt and boots and hold up my pants with my hand to go through the metal detector. on approaching the window i immediately complained about having to fill out a long form, and was spoken to sharply about their being forbidden to assist. so i settled down, and discovered that i only needed help with one word. one word, out of a whole form? brilliant!

that should've been it, but then i was hit with the wonderful news that the new passport would cost me a hefty NIS 260. bummer :(
and i'm going to have to hang on to the old passport for the visas. *sigh*

i went from there to work, and aside from a fun lunch break with sammy was there for the next nine hours. most of that time was spent fiddling and fighting with the SVN. while that made for a totally frustrating day, i was less stressed than i've been for a while (mainly because i wasn't in a hurry to deploy anything) and i walked out satisfied with a job well done. even if we did have to undergo two managerial-pomp meetings too many.

it amuses me that my bosses are always quick to pick up that i don't like office politics and i don't play ball with bullshit. i had to promise not to get involved with something that's likely going to become a mess: not my problem.

the flash boss called me up to confuse me with tax issues - at least he's good enough to offer to take me to see the collectors and sort that shit out. i'd rather not have half my pay deducted automatically. to make things more cheery, i received an email from someone new praising my cv and inviting me to be in touch when i'm willing to work slave hours, and another informing me that a fairly well-paying job as a personal secretary has been snapped up by someone else.

*sigh*

prior to rollerblading i sent a submission to voices: Post Modernist Stress, training wheels, bridge song and observations for a nicely-rounded celebration of the arbitrary. it would be so nice to get published!

the route was very cool, and we were joined by eddy, who gave us some really useful tips. we were accompanied by police on wheels, and in the meeting that followed it was decided that we're alright - legitimacy!

surprising.

pg and i had a fight over pet names: she called me a name that i didn't appreciate, and i asked her not to. she then repeated it a couple of times, after which i threatened to throw water on her if she continued. when she again called it, i threw a little water. the last one got her the rest of the bottle (admittedly, there wasn't really very much left so it was more symbolic than anything else).

then she was upset with me for wetting her. *facepalm*

right - now it's time for the poetry reading for tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

fleeting moments

in short, today was a breeze. the second installment of the lectures which began with an italian wearing a hat is being taken by a woman who sounds like she knows what she's talking about. she may be a tough cookie, but at least she's talking *to* us. i hope my enthusiasm is warranted.

she even finished on time. half an hour between classes is new, strange and pleasurable.

the second class, on shakespeare... well, we'd been warned. the man is LEGEND. he blew away the entire conspiracy within fifteen minutes, and presented such a convincing argument that i'm left doubtless. as for the rest of the lesson - the man is interesting. so that's two great courses out of three, as opposed to the last semester's two out of five.

w00t!

bad accent: "shucks-speare"? is that like removing all of his organs and leaving the bones?

the next couple of hours were spent waiting for the meeting, and they were spent well. i sat with a classmate and poured out a whole lot of my personal philosophy in response to a few of his questions, and the debate appears to have left us both satisfied :)

the meeting itself seemed productive. i've been given a phone number and advice to pursue.

work was interesting, and i believe successful. the almost five hours felt like a long stretch, though. i left close to 10pm, did some shopping and then sat for an hour or two with yogi. we shouted ideas at each other and i believe we're both onto something.

it's now late, so i'm going to head over to pg's.

---
URGENT NEWS!!!
it appears that there's a chance (i don't care how big or small it is) that if enough people buy operation doom it'll prove to nickelodeon that there's enough demand to begin another season of zim. i'm now officially BEGGING each and every one of you to either buy it, or pass this link along.

to anyone who doesn't understand the holiness of this mission, see the nightmare begins.

---
i was well pleased to receive positive feedback from another classmate today, on drugs and drug policy.

flying anvils are great!

just a quick listen: i'm impressed by these piss-takers. and the baby in the bar is a really good idea!

and finally: money repayment is all about principles. i'm so glad i'm not alone, people who insist on paying back micro-amounts are douchebags.

Monday, February 21, 2011

sunday, blessed sunday!

what a difference! easing into a sunday morning with a single class, and it's my favourite professor teaching poetry. awesome ^_^

i woke up really early, around 7am, so i did some emergency breakfast shopping and then woke pg up for class. after first we had lunch, then i skipped off to the student union to discuss their disorder and arrange a meeting with one of the guys to discuss being lazy.

i headed to work, and for the remainder of the day broke my head over the project that was supposed to be done before i left. except when i was at the physiotherapist, being told i have a "sort-of" dislocated jaw and that i should get my yellow tongue sorted out. having a yellow tongue sucks - i just sort of assumed that it's from the yellow smiley of my piercing, but i guess i should get it checked out...

i had an argument with the physio over the definition of "headache" when filling out the questionnaire... it's a discourse thing. is it still a headache if it's from exhaustion, as opposed to being cracked in the teeth with a heavy, blunt object? or being kicked in the head?

the work problems were partially minor bugs and partially my trusting others' theoretical code because i hadn't been aware that it was untested. one shouldn't be learning new things about a system during the final stages of QA testing :S

i released the version minutes before heading out the office, then returned home to be distracted by pg having a long series of silly moments... highly amusing, but not very good for the studies :P

Sunday, February 20, 2011

travelneck

it's a bit better now - my neck's been fairly alright since we landed, actually. it was killing me since i woke up - and every angle between the bed, the stupidly long bus ride (with or without the inflatable neck pillow) and the intolerable flight from münchen was agonizing.

we got onto the bus early, grabbed seats as far back as possible from where we suspected the baby factory would be sitting and were unhappy to discover that there were a *number* of baby sets, so we still had to deal with whining and whinging for the next four hours. and one of the arsim was behind us chattering away the entire time, and one of the russians was showing videos of their dinners with the volume turned up...

i still managed to get through a lot of wired, though. and i read some pieces that were straight-up inspirational. as usual. one of them planted an idea with HUGE potential in the do-gooder *and* make money departments, and i spent half the flight unable to focus on anything but the design and infrastructure. i'm gonna get cracking with that soon, i hope :))

we were late for the flight, because our operator, PINGWIN, got cheap and had only one shuttle for two flights. oh, the guys for the later one had *more* than enough time to check in... our flight had to be re-opened, and in addition to the hassle i declared badly at the security check and had to go over everything again, and slower. i hate that.

my passport photo, as i mentioned when writing about the way there, is out of date - the guy asked if i have my south african passport.
"not on me, no..."
"wow, so: south african, huh?"
"umm, yeah?"
"that's hardcore."
"you can't really do anything with it..."
"yeah, but, you could have, like, gone out with charlize theron!"
"naah, thanks. i prefer my own girlfriend."

one of his friends was blown away by my response, another winked and informed me that all their conversations are recorded :P

the flight itself was a veritable sauna and i was seated between two old german ladies whom i believe were flying for the first time. they didn't want to switch seats with me, preferring instead to talk through me. fantastisch.

we had to wait an hour for the train, by which time i managed to catch up on all the wireds from the last semester. getting home was madness - i was juggling between all sorts of communications (like talking to my mum, facebook, and email), laundry (plus exploded bag of washing powder), and updating my netbook pre-semester. also - the british culture paper i was so pleased with was awarded a two-point bonus as a curve, so i scored *exactly* 85% for the course and not less. no need for favours or blind eyes!!! :D

shower-and-bed time again.

anschluss: meyrhofen

12.02.2011
0640
BREAKING POINT. i tried napping yesterday afternoon, but couldn't distract myself from packing details so i began to prepare. i was pretty much done by dinnertime - dinner was pleasant, but i sense that my silence is noticeable: this week really took it out of me.

- it's a phenomenally beautiful sunrise -

i chatted with my mum, finished sorting things out and packing, then left for pg's. the only interesting thing that happened from that point was having my trouser-leg run over by a cyclist when i went shopping for hot chocolate. waking up was, as i'd predicated it would be, killer. airport security wasn't too bad, aside from the first guy who wasn't convinced i'm me: the new look is pretty... new. gonna have to renew my passport anyway.

my first trip with pg - with any girl, ever - it's a strange and exciting notion.

---
ah - the ride to the airport was uncomfortably smelly. also - bellyache. last night's (delicious) feta lasagne? or the half-baked soufflés?

13.02.2011
18.05
god - damn. everything hurts, or feels strained, but we both did our post-snow stretches and it's wonderful to shower when you don't need to worry about wasting too much water.

this post is going to include everything from yesterday as well - i began writing in the flaine diary last night and then suddenly remembered that i'd brought my netbook... it would be silly to think of transcribing these things. as it is i still haven't gotten anywhere with my japan / india notes :$

today began on the wrong foot because our shuttle left the airport at least an hour late yesterday. we were told we were waiting for someone who was being held up by passport control, but i understood later that whoever it was had supposedly been on the bus the entire time... go figure. either way, the three / four hour ride was killer. even the four hour flight was more comfortable, but i suspect that's because i was dead to the world for most of it. the shuttle's tardiness meant that we arrived too late to pick up equipment and sort out classes.

organizing the equipment this morning was a real drag. not only does every map here appear to describe a different place and the locals can't make heads or tails of any of them, it took forever to get sorted and pg couldn't find comfortable boots - the boots she eventually left with hurt her so we ended up back there in the afternoon; that was when i discovered that my bindings had been loose the entire session. that explains a certain amount of my lack of control...

and if i've bitched about the ride to austria, let me not forget the large family with annoying seat-kicking brat and two infants. there were thankfully only short bursts of screaming, but i loved the irony of the mother complaining "this ride is punishment!" when we were suffering the same stiff legs, the same impatience to arrive and her family. she left a used diaper in the poor driver's bin. so cultured.
on the other hand, it would have been nice if our shuttle driver could have been waiting with a sign, just like all the other operators. and like it said on the package details :/

we *might* have managed the equipment last night (with rushing and stress) if we hadn't waited for half an hour for a shuttle to take us the five minute walk to our lodgings. they could have just pointed the way :S
at least i can't blame passport control for any of the delay - munich's is obviously understaffed (they have exactly two booths) and inefficiently friendly, but our bags came off the conveyor just as we went through and we were pretty much the last of our flight.

why do people stand so damned close to the conveyor? and then get upset when someone who can see their luggage has to push through to get it?

weather: from the over-heated aeroplane to the cloud-breath outside, a too-warm bus, cool apartment and absolute freezing (okay, three degrees) streets, my body's totally uncomprehending and waking up coughing at 2am wasn't very reassuring. the rest of the day's been fine, though, so i guess i'm okay. it's almost tradition - i always arrive feeling ill and magically hit 100% on the slopes :D

speaking of 100% - i checked mail when the wireless at the restaurant turned out to be free, and was completely gratified to discover that the post-modernism paper i wrote scored me a perfect grade! ^_^
it's a bit sad that the pop-quiz grades will drag me down, but i'm really happy about it just the same.

accommodation: seems like a semi-private home, and it's a little awkward. petra and the strange dude who appears to be her husband are exceedingly polite, but none too forthcoming with advice and instructions. the toilet design is a bit freaky - apparently it's standard germanic. it collects all non-liquid ejections in a shallow upper bowl, and when you flush it it throws whatever's there at the lower bowl. the first time i flushed i thought everything was going to fly out and hit the opposite wall. i still don't trust it.
dinner is a strange affair too. we have a permanent seat kept for us for three hours, and there's a set menu. it's not bad, mind, but it's a bit snarky that nothing off the set menu, like drinks, are listed. that way you don't know until the bill comes that the orange juice costs twice as much as a glass of wine. we were really pleased tonight to discover that if you order a caraffe of water it doesn't cost. pity about the steak being so tough :P

at least they do let you know (if you bother to bring a calculator) that a bottle of wine is five euros more expensive than the equivalent volume in glasses :P

continued 21.00

my left thigh *really* hurts - i bruised it badly falling off a slide in the snow park. the worst part: i knew what i was doing wrong at the time, and that knowledge didn't help. on the plus side, the reason i was there in the first place is that only beginners showed up to the afternoon session and that left me with a private instructor. she's a french girl from les arcs, and appeared to be impressed with how good i am after only two weeks. i didn't feel like i was doing so well, though... she basically showed me that i've been doing it all wrong. it's a beginner's mistake to control with the back foot, and i don't use my whole body which keeps me perpetually *just* off balance.

the weirdest thing we discovered afterwards: both of us have what appears to be silver paint on the shoulders of our ski jackets. that shit doesn't come off :(

today pg and i celebrated being together four months. and still all good! we were treated to our first sight of snow as it's supposed to be; neither of us had, until today, seen individual snowflakes. freakin' cool, and they float everywhere ^_^

last night we slept beautifully - we were both exhausted and i don't think either of us has had a proper good night's rest since before the exams began. now hitting the sack again, and this time we (think we) know what tomorrow will bring :D

14.02.2011
20.10

happy valentine's day! yep, most valentine's valentine's day i've ever had. including spending the late afternoon eating sweets in bed because pg didn't have the energy to get back on the slopes after siesta and my ski jacket was at the dry-cleaner's - at the expense of the guys who run penkenbahn - to get the silver from yesterday off. it turns out that my instructor and i were on a freshly painted ski lift. bizarre! although to be honest, it was hot enough that i was keen to go out in just a t-shirt.

the day began with a boiled egg - too soft, and unpleasantly so. it does irk me a bit that it seems that our hosts don't offer us anything because we don't speak german, so we only know to order what we see the other tables getting :/

we were both sore this morning, and i was *so* tired that until i was on a slope i wasn't too sure i'd have the energy for anything. getting up there was a hassle - everyone was pushing, but in particular a group of russians who split us up, and i ended up chatting for the fifteen minutes with some dutch guy whose girlfriend was travelling in the same car as mine :P

otherwise - it was a stunning day. beautiful, hot, and only some of the slopes were too icy to handle. i joined a dutch instructor's group; they were doing reds and a bit of jumping, but were easy enough that i could spend the morning practising all the things i learned yesterday. i think... i think i got it ^_^

pg and i shared a long lunch at the bottom of one of the slopes, then hit a few reds together. the pace is mostly okay - i don't need to wait too long for her and i'm beginning to get comfortable with high speed moguls. and flats! whoo hoo!

we spent the evening window shopping: seriously? ski fashion is the most awesome shit around. the crazy hats and shoes and jackets are brilliant, and goggles simply rock. always. even though i've given up on mine - they look amazing but they're always misted up. my combo silly rainbow bobble hat and bright green jawbones are all i need. i was amused when two of the littler kids in the group giggled every time they looked at me :)

the hot chocolate we had before dinner wasn't so special, and quite frankly i prefer the nesquik i just made in our room. dinner was... alright. our waitress isn't all there, i think, and we suspect we may be tipping too much with our ten percent at every meal :P

now for another early-to-bed: this reading and sleeping thing is awesome, it feels like it's been a long time since that was possible.

16.02.2011
21.05

there have been some amazing moments during this trip, not least of which being today's sudden return to snowboarder mode. i went a little crazy, got back into the swing of picking up speed and careening over edges, jumping big and small (even though the one big jump landed me straight on my bum - the same bruise is starting to get ugly) and generally feeling it.

what's beginning to get to me, however, is that pg seems to be miserable. i don't get it - i don't understand if she even likes skiing. she told me today, when i asked her if she was enjoying it or not, that there's a point in the middle: apathy. in my book, that's not enjoying it. she doesn't dig the classes so we travel together instead, and she's too anxious about every - single - turn to just let loose and enjoy the ride. i haven't seen her smile on the slopes. not once. i wouldn't mind waiting for her so much if she was at least having some fun.

---
yesterday:

yesterday began as my first day of "good" sore - my body was hurting but it was all healthy using-new-muscles pain. pg woke up saying "i wanna go home". she was specifically complaining about not wanting to wake up so early for classes, but that kinda dampened my enthusiasm.

i walked out into the freezing cold in my ski pants and a t-shirt (with my board and boots, of course), to pick up my jacket from the cleaners. i must have been a strange sight. i was well impressed by the clean - they weren't completely done but for such slight damage (it merely looks a little damp) i wasn't going to hand in my jacket a second time. it was a *cold* brisk walk :P

the guys who were behind us on the plane were behind us in the line up to the ski lift. they cursed so much and so freely that it was difficult to distinguish their hebrew from arabic (most israeli curse words are stolen from arabic), and we would have said something about it if that language wasn't such a solid indicator of the type of people we would be dealing with... how we *love* arsim.

my feet really hurt yesterday morning, and a little today. on one of the slopes i wiped out pretty badly, and almost took a little girl out with me. not cool. at the same time, in spite of what appears to be a weak left leg my control's improving dramatically. as i mentioned earlier - i'm feeling it again. and it feels good.

have i mentioned the scenery? this place is magnificent. it even looks awesome when the weather's shitty. the biggest problem i have with this place is that it's totally overcrowded...

that reminds me - i must be grateful that the iphone has good enough speakers to provide musical accompaniment without headphones. i can't snowboard with headphones, and having a soundtrack kicks ass :))

we shopped for chocolate and sweets at the spar, then hit the coffee shop for hot chocolate and free wireless. pg and i had a fight over a miscommunication, which made the hot chocolate taste less than good and highlighted the waitress' bad service and less than unappreciated tone of voice when asking us to move to the bar.

dinner afterwards was alright, maybe mediocre, but uncomfortably quiet.

today:

i went to bed after reading wired's article on inception theories. i slept horribly and dreamed frustrating inception dreams. the whole gorram night :(

i woke up aching. everywhere. breakfast was standard although i suspect that the germans who always sit at the table next to us aren't so fond of us any more (they didn't respond when i wished them a good morning, and for the first time didn't say goodbye). visibility was shocking at breakfast time, and when we got up to the top of penkenbahn we needed our face masks to deal with the cold.

after a couple of decent warm-up runs, i joined the group again. there was more snowfighting than snowboarding, but it was a great class and involved jumping and speed trials.

pg and i did a couple of runs before stopping for lunch, then another couple before coming back down to the room. i couldn't deal with her being so miserable, even though i was doing brilliantly for the first time in two years. i don't remember ever feeling so confident!

she slept the afternoon away while i read - makes me wonder if she's unhappy because she's sleeping too much or if it's the other way around. that leads me to wonder if the reason so many people suffer from depression is that very few people exert themselves enough physically these days to warrant the amount of sleep they get... where did i read about napolean saying that nobody needs more than six hours' sleep? and i think i'm going to buy the four hour body. apparently according to the author's gathered evidence einstein's twenty minutes every couple of hours is enough, although i think that's a bit extreme even for me :P

is it normal to be so pleased with one's hair when one looks in the mirror? i'm constantly and pleasantly surprised every time i see myself, especially now that my hair's starting to show from behind my ears :)

dinner this evening: pretty good. my steak was bloody: bloody tasty, but was it dangerous? there's too much fear-mongering in the news. the new waiter - he's been around since last night - tries really hard but just doesn't have that professional edge that one seeks in the service industry. when the brits next to us all ordered wine, i could hear "ka-tching!" going through his head every time he poured :P

i wanted to respond, but it would've been rude to interfere: one of those brits made a snarky comment to a couple of his fellow travellers: "when you kids grow up, you'll see that skiing is the way forward."
he's absolutely right! snowboarding, on the other hand, is about enjoying the way.

17.02.2011
21.21

good news, everyone! no, it's not delivering cargo into the sun. both have me really excitable too, but the first even more than the second - item number one on the list: no more italian wearing a hat! except maybe for seminar counselling, where i take my paper to him so that he feels useful. i just discovered that i passed his course with a grade no more than two points lower than i needed (85 - meaning i scored a 92 for the final), and after the meeting i had with the professor last wednesday that means that i passed it without needing to do any work for extra-credit! whoo hoo!!! and that got me thinking about the second semester, where i have one horrible course (but we have all the notes and advice from the second years), one i-shouldn't-be-taking-this course (the intro to poetry, when i just completed an advanced poetry course), one cool course (shakespeare, with a lecturer who's apparently brilliant) and the slapping together of the seminar paper, which is basically cramming in a whole bunch of examples that we've already read in class to make a point that's neither here nor there.

so i'm all good academically ^_^

the second item on the list: pg and i had it out before going to bed last night, and it appears that the two of us simply keep miscommunicating. we spent the whole day together on the slopes today, and it was a lot of fun!

aside from the damage, of course. i went a bit nuts, and although i'm much more confident at high speed on dangerous curves and with low visibility, my balance disappears as soon as i stop and i've had a couple of bad falls on the same damn spot. and one terrible fall on a new spot; isn't my bum fatty enough to absorb the impact?! if tomorrow wasn't our last day i would actually consider buying a protector.

this morning began with me waking up to the revelation that i'm officially a bad boyfriend. pg doesn't agree with me, and when i gave her free reign she chose reds over blues most of the time, but according to the first "welcome to the snow" speech i ever heard, if you take your girlfriend on runs she's not ready for...

---
the dream i had before that was of my great uncle who passed away in 2008: last week i took a photo of a photo of him making a face for his grandson, and in the dream i met him and told him about the photo. "that's nothing," he said, "you should see my angry face!"

he proceeded to show me, and it wasn't particularly impressive.

---
over breakfast we stared at the screen and couldn't match the sight of the slopes with the white-out cloud cover (in)visible through the window. it turned out that meyrhofen was blanketed in clouds, but we broke through them less than five minutes up the cable car. it was a fantastic sight - nothing but beautiful mountains and a smoky valley. it was a wonderful sunny day, and the only thing wrong with that is that the weather's been too good this week and the routes are all ice and slush :/

the warmup runs were red 3 and 5, and we hate those. steep sheets of ice, which means sore bums and ankles :S
the first blue we hit was amazing, though. i zoomed past everyone, catching a fair bit of airtime on the way :D

so aside from a serious bitch about a ridiculously long t-lift, a very sore upper left arm from a few bad landings and a blue at the end whose stupid lengths of flat expressed perfectly to pg why i hate blues, it was a fantastic day. such a pity we only have one left! noooooo!!!

that always happens :(

i had the tron: legacy ost playing on my iphone on the packed lift down, and one of the guys couldn't figure out where the music was coming from but was bopping his head to it and humming along. it's an excellent soundtrack for the slopes :)

late afternoon: chocolate, marshmallows and ohmigod-holy-shit-i've-missed-a-lot: i can't believe i haven't made time to read wired during the last four months. so - much - info. so many cool things, and so much inspiration!

our second last dinner was a little less than mediocre, and we have our old waitress back. i don't think i've mentioned the bar next door that's a part of the hotel - it appears to be the only after-piste party in town, and it's incredible how much drunken enthusiasm can be garnered for such horrendous taste in music. every time someone walks through the door we're blasted with 'orrible shit, but i can't help smiling whenever we walk past and see the reverie.

after dessert we went to the coffee shop to check mail (and results) - the smell of fungus-covered old feet coming from the fondue pot of the couple next to us was outrageous. then the temperature rose suddenly - freakishly. we high-tailed it out of there, and now that i've gotten this out i'm going to get back into bed. and read until i pass out. and be upset that tomorrow's our last day. and ecstatic that we're both enjoying this. and deliriously happy that i passed that damned course.

18.02.2011
21.05
last night was dreadful. i barely slept, and what little i managed was plagued by disturbing dreams. my stomache was in disarray and all my muscles ached in a bad way. to make matters worse, i woke up with my teeth feeling loose (not entirely uncommon when sleeping with my guard) and i looked out the window to discover zero visibility.

fortunately, it was only cloud cover in the valley again. i gotta say - this week has been the worst weather for snow sports imaginable. everything was ice for most of it, and by today the situation was so bad that i cannot recall a single slope that didn't give me a bad slide and a hard, thumping sit-down on the same spot on my ass. even worse was falling *really* badly on my left arm in the middle of a long, wide red and with no sunshine - ie. impossible to identify moguls - and it's been uncomfortable since. it took me a while to gather enough will to get up and carry on down.

this morning's riding began badly because i was so sensitive and tired from the night before, and it took me until early afternoon to get my head sorted out. and to get my body to respond to basic instructions. it was far too late in the week to suddenly *get* that the entire time i've either been bending into everything or standing up against everything, instead of mixing it up smoothly like my first instructor told me on sunday. soon after i got that right, pg (extremely bravely) chose to go down the insane black slope that we'd been watching with morbid fascination the entire week. the beginning was too icy for me, but once a bit of sunlight peeped out from behind the clouds and i could differentiate between moguls and ice, i carreened down at high speed and with barely a prayer - it was frikkin' AMAZING. that rush was worth every bit of frustration from the rest of the week, every moment of physical pain, and even made up for the fact that my bindings were all screwy from yesterday and my right foot kept falling asleep on the job.

it would be nice if i had videos for the good rides. note to self: acquire helmet-cam.

hmmph - i suddenly realized that when it comes to snowboarding, i'm actually fairly competitive. unlike everything else i do in life, i can't help but try to out-do other snowboarders even when i'm not nearly at their level of competence. in other amusing news: halfway down that black run, i put some music on and forgot to zip up my jacket. a few seconds later i pulled a massive slide and drove straight into the resulting shower of ice - and it was a lot colder than i'd expected :P

so between yesterday afternoon and today's black run, i remembered - completely and utterly - that i LOVE this shit. if i'm wealthy enough by next year, i'm so gonna buy my own gear so that i don't have to go through the rental irritations again...

lunchtime: i made a bad call when organizing lunch for the both of us... she got me back later by dragging me shopping after we returned our gear :P

after stretching and showering - god, that hot water was an incredible way to end the week - i got into bed with my wired and a decidedly sore neck. of all my aches and pains, that's the one that's really getting to me now. at least i can relax about physical performance for a while :P

dinner was okay as usual; pg's a bit wary about the next semester but i'm all excited. and tomorrow, when we get back, i'm going to phone gco and apologize for ignoring all his phone calls and repeated messages to join him for his birthday celebrations tonight. i still can't figure out if we're friends or not. if i can't, i believe that's an automatic negative. when hinting doesn't work, but stating outright is rude - what does one do? we can't all be zim.

this week, as all good weeks, came to an end too soon. i needed it physically almost as much as i needed it psychologically - *this* was a holiday. as opposed to all the travelling i did from august to october, which was a head-shaking demon-exorcizing anthropological excursion. i feel... complete, again. even more so, with pg. this wasn't a hardcore snowboarding experience, it was a chilled let's-do-whatever experience that happened to have some gnarly rides mixed in. and now i'm mostly packed and going to bed.

Friday, February 11, 2011

vicissitudes

the first of the most important realizations from the past two days: the tablets that i was given on thursday appear to be wholly responsible for the horrific headache and ugly exhaustion that i suffered constantly for the past week. it had an enormous effect on my last two exams and made working unpleasant - and it was only yesterday morning that something made me open up etopan's list of side effects: dizziness, headache, stomache ache, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, mouth sores, numbness and pricking sensation in the limbs and hypersensitivity to light. one... two... three... four... twelve... and muscles aches which were listed on the oh-god-seek-help-immediately list; i didn't take the pill last night and it feels like sunlight has burst in to my life after a week of clouds and rain. erm - surprisingly parallel to the actual weather, in fact.

thanks, doc. good one.

---

wednesday:

getting out of bed was tough. it had to be done, though. i got up, braced myself spiritually as much as i could and headed off to meet with the head of the english department. i'm quite proud of myself for managing to control my facial expression after the shock of the velvet door, replete with velvet door handle - everything else was gaudy, but not too wild. i played a political game [read: didn't say anything completely tactless about certain hat-wearing italians, amongst other topics], and came out alright because i've been told not to worry about the british culture mark that's been bothering me, and i've at least been offered sympathy for the quantity of courses i took this last semester and for my financial situation. i even got to make a point or two regarding her teaching methods, but i'm fairly certain that's not going to come to anything too interesting.

otherwise - freud's instincts and vicissitudes surprised me with its elegance and rationality. quite unlike his other works.

i walked out of her office quite glad for having made the effort. on my way to the exit i walked past a woman struggling with an awkward cardboard box, and i offered to help her. it was no sweat for me, and she was so pleased she made a point of finding me a breakfast sandwich from the remains of an american studies gathering :P

i left campus electrically aware of the morning's beauty: a light mist all around, the sun gently blanketing everything and the cool air filling my lungs with freshness.

i went straight to work, where i sat for the next nine hours grinding out code, or thinking about open source idiocy* and feeling absolutely terrible, with a massive headache and painful tiredness. i found a better solution to a problem i'd invested a lot of time solving another way, and spent a fair amount of time on a mass undo. a bit bitter, but better than leaving in clumsy cruft. the other developer (bingo, i dub thee!) and i sat for a couple of hours on the tangled mess of versions and eventually decided to do things the completely wrong way. which is the only way, sometimes :S

* the open source svn. i'm all for software socialism, and i believe in open source. to be fair, i think that tortoise is pretty much on par with rational's clearcase. the difference is that the open source community has no excuses when building a product that serves other developers and mangles the basic idea. all those responsible for the fact that the merge functions aren't reliable and that one cannot revert easily to a previous version MISSED THE FRIGGIN' POINT OF AN SVN. and if we're already complaining about open source development for developers, eclipse provides a wonderful example of remarkable stupidity in that the gorram *plain-text* searches are difficult to run and are unreliable. i search, i find. i modify something unrelated. i search - gone. i can see the damn code. i SEE it. but i can't search for it. how hard is it to run a search?! a little professionalism, guys?! pretty please???

i left around 9pm, feeling the worse for wear. boy, was i surprised by pg when i got to her place - she'd made cottage pie! it wasn't perfect, but it was a delicious first attempt and i am well pleased ^_^

we watched the secrets (although unfortunately without subtitles for the french) and consumed a lot of marshmallows. it's becoming a thing.

thursday:

i slept really badly. the muscle aches i mentioned earlier in particular, and general restlessness. there was thunder, and rain. there was the reading of the etopan instructions like the exposition of a low budget horror. there was stopping by my place on the way to work and discovering that my patio's roof still leaks. oh, for the money to move around the walls of my apartment and fix that damned roof! i'll get there eventually :P

i picked up amusia from the post office, whose automatic queue number system always irritates me. i've come to pick up a package, so i mustn't press the button for "packages", but "business". wtf?! why???

the disc is brilliant, at least :)

i sorted out financial stuff when i got to work, and it appears that the army treated me a little better than i'd thought. i'm awaiting confirmation, but i can't be as bitter as i was a couple of weeks ago.

---

i was in a hurry to finish the re-infrastructure project before taking a vacation, and i spent the afternoon becoming progressively more frustrated, and eventually angry, because our network was stressed and everything was infinitely more of a mission that it needed to be. i'm getting to the point where, just like in the army, i'm going to stop caring if i get my shit done because you can't be the only one on the field playing ball. i don't like that point. i've managed to get a lot of shit done in the last half a year, and i'm proud of almost all of it. i've even managed to train a fresh graduate to work smarter. mostly.

in order to test one of my function sets i compared its results to those of the present version; after clearing out a couple of bugs, i racked my brain for far too long before realizing that the difference was caused by a bug in the code i'm replacing :S

the slower the network got, the more problems i had with the evil svn, the more agitated i became. then the flash boss called me, and i'd forgotten about his habit of expressing far too much verbally. eventually i'd had too much, and i was in a hurry to begin testing, and we were experiencing office hardware problems... all very last minute, and i had to lose my cool before he indicated that he understood that i was busy and would send everything in an email. which he should have done anyway.

when i went to verify the testing procedure with bingo - thank you, officer's course, for teaching us to always make doubly sure that the instructions have been understood - i discovered that we'd had a rather serious miscommunication. halfway through my repeat explanation, i stopped to apologize to him for being curt - it really wasn't his fault that i'd had enough of the day.

my office farewell - my aspie co-worker and i were agreeing on the state of the nation when the manager on duty got pissed off with my presumptuousness because i didn't go through the school system in this country. it doesn't matter that i understand the situation second-hand, enough that my position was defended by other people in the room: in my opinion that's tantamount to saying that i don't deserve to be politically active because i grew up in another country. i sent him a message later to express my sincere hope that he wasn't too offended by the ensuing response.

it was one of those days, i guess.

---

four fire engines passing by of a rainy evening? seems like they're trying to make up for the big one...

pg arrived at my place with empty luggage (!). we prepped for the evening, took the bus to levontin and arrived just in time for panic ensemble; a great show, but i couldn't gauge if pg was really enjoying it or not. from there we walked to the caliph, and walked a lot further than we should have because they super-intelligently have two signs at the entrance: the one with the correct address points away. fan - tastic. we were all walked out by the time we eventually got back there. the place looked familiar...

we'd arrived too early, so after chatting with a couple of friends we went to the main road to grab some food and eat it under an awning in the rain. by the time we got back the music had begun to warm up, and by the time pg decided she was way too tired it had gotten good. can't say i hadn't seen it coming, even though i'd told her that the idea was to be out until sunrise, but i wasn't going to send her home alone in the middle of the night from an area she's not totally comfortable with. with good reason.

t'was a long walk to the taxi rank, and i don't know what time it was when we eventually got into bed. i don't know how she woke up so early (before 11am!), and she dragged me out of bed so i could take my laundry to her place (she has a dryer, and i need stuff for the trip). after breakfast i realized that i didn't really have much to do aside from sleep and post, so once i'd gotten through the supermarket and eventually* gotten through to orange to sort out my phone for the next week i sat down to post. now to hang up the other laundry and get some rest.

* five minutes of "all our operators are busy so this may take a while, in the meantime you may as well listen to some advertisements for new phone models that have just become available" before getting to the menu system, dialling all my data, and then (still on the automatic phone system) being told i needed to dial a different number. i'm fairly certain they could've gotten to the point earlier.

(!) the second of the most important realizations from the past two days: we're leaving early tomorrow morning for austria! snow, here we come!!! ^_^

---

exposing fraudulent psychics: genius :))

amusing stats: the best questions for first dates

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

mental yoga

right. so. yesterday.

i woke up around six hours later and plonked myself right back down in front of my pc for some last-minute fixing, then headed off to campus in the rain. i headed straight for the library, and was disappointed to find - eventually - exactly what i was looking for, but in french.

brilliant.

so i verneeked* my intro, rephrasing so that i wouldn't have to quote directly, formatted it all and breathed a (rather strained) sigh of relief when it was mailed, printed, and handed in all neatly.

* a south african's dodgy dealing

then i returned to the lab to finally get into the last poem, because i hadn't touched it. it didn't take me too long, and although i'm not proud of it i think the rest of my paper makes it obvious that i know what i'm doing. or at least that's what i'm telling myself until the results come out. that's going to be interesting. i printed it out (with a giant appendix of the poems themselves, i hope that's not too anti-MLA) and handed it in, disappointing the secretary because i have a girlfriend and i didn't even give her a chance to tell me who she wants to connect me with :P

i walked off campus with a giant headache but a definite sense of catharsis; my brain was total mush and i couldn't piece together the last few days to save a life, but i felt good about it being over, even if i *knocks wood, prays fervently that he doesn't* have to do any supplementaries...

once home, pg came over and we flipped through all the info for the ski trip we're leaving for on saturday ^_^

then we took a long drive up north to visit my kibbutz cousin.
a) loads of traffic, in the rain and at night
b) completely exhausted
c) my cousin looks amazing! she really is (literally) half the person she was six months ago when i last saw her
d) her family's slowly getting sorted out
e) she seems to like the two gifts i brought her from india
f) dinner was pleasant
g) the ride back seemed shorter - perhaps because pg and i had a distracting argument with interesting conclusions

botchman called me to invite to a gathering, but my brain was feeling fried and it's been past my bedtime for a couple of weeks now :P
i woke up this morning in the middle of a strange dream: i was standing outside an exit to an inner campus of a university and had placed a book on the ground. some guy drove out the exit, reached out his window and picked up the book: when i indicated it was mine, he flung it out the window and i yelled "hey!" angrily, then witnessed him stop the car and begin beating the poor guy travelling with him. he almost rode me over when i tried to get him to stop, and i struggled to call campus security to tell them not to let the car with the registration number ending in "2ps ps" out the main gate

then i thought of meat puzzles.

---

saying a rushed goodbye to pg this morning, i stopped to take a good look at her - the longer we're together the more beautiful she gets. next week we'll have been together four months, and i can only hope things carry on the way they have been. i don't recall ever being so healthily happy with someone. there's always been something awkward or out-of-place, yet somehow she just keeps being awesome and takes all my shit in stride.

---

the thought struck me this morning that i now understand what tgtbt's success actually means. it's way more impressive than i originally thought.

i picked up my copy of beginning theory on my way to breakfast (mine) / lunch (his) with sammy, and it's unfortunate that it arrived exactly one week too late to help me with my papers :P

a couple of interesting extra-work related incidents: my old boss got in touch with me to warn me that his brother, who i had dealings with when i left the army, might be looking for a salaried employee and that i might fit the bill. i was then offered a job - an incredibly worthy one - by a couple of friends of mine involved in the party scene. while we were talking one of them started, then exclaimed "hey! i think your poncho's still in my trunk!"

and it was. i was looking for that - i thought i'd left it in south africa! sweet!

there was lots of work, and a meeting wherein we were told, both officially and practically, nothing. there was supposed to be a knowledge transfer but mine interfered [i'd link, but i haven't yet reached a decision about maintaining anonymity :P], and led to an argument that resulted in a more-or-less consensual agreement that superman was a self-hating homosexual. the one guy who isn't of the same opinion was mortified and upset. i hope not too deeply :P

i completed a fair amount of what i'd planned, got a ride home with a chatty co-worker, had *just* enough time to gobble something down and then strapped on my blades and joined pg and her mum on their way to the group.

it was a good, good blade. i don't remember when last i exerted myself so much. my neck had been feeling tight and uncomfortable all evening and it finally loosened up, and i had a couple of interesting discussions to boot. all in all - a good night, and much needed. i got back to sit on freud's instincts and their vicissitudes in preparation for the morning's disturbathon, and now that i've posted i'm *just* about ready for bed.

Monday, February 07, 2011

8 hours gone 1 item left 9 hours to go

it's 3am, and i have one more poetry piece to massage and coerce before i can go to bed. the only time i've left my pc since waking up has been to eat, including one instance when nystire informed me that he was eating dried dead kudu and in response i discovered that it had been raining for a while as i walked out the door for the first time in a day and a half - to pick up junk food.

arbitraries: vegan prophecy in his sleep: cool. i can hear my mum laughing at me. this beat is addictive. i finished off my literary theory paper with the line fragment: "as Marx says, we do all need our opium". i laughed with nystire about the third item, not imagining that a few minutes later i'd be incorporating lament into my work (i haven't really decided if i'm gonna keep it, though). i never thought i'd find myself writing a university paper that included a comparison between poetry and the porn industry. xkcd had me laughing at poetic constructs. with the use of an elastic, my hair has gone back to the 80's. i like it. during the write-up of an intro to my poetry paper i had a sudden, dizzying sense of déjà vu. creepy. i simply buzzed over the parsecs, but i can't ignore where this man takes it.

there's nothing better than positive feedback on a paper i'm uncertain about. at least my paper kinda makes sense.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

little victory dance

up until 14 hours ago, i still didn't have a paper. the idea that i exposed yesterday was far too deep to fit in to a simple final; it's worthy of a seminar both in scope and in the amount of research i'd have to do to back it up.

in short, up until today i thought i'd understood post-modernism. i sort of do, but i'll be damned if i have an inkling of what modernism itself is about in any useful sense. the paper i've written isn't good, but maybe it'll be good enough. otherwise, supplementary. if that's what happens i will definitely be choosing something a little less abstract :P

aside from a break yesterday afternoon, where i fled to pg's arms (there's nothing as soothing as a real hug) from a potential breakdown caused by excessive meta-thought, and she made soy-based sachlav which was pretty darn good. then i crashed for a short while, and felt a little better for it. i spoke to my mum, trying and failing to explain what i myself am unsure of, and then focused on my poetry exam.

i've done about a third of it, and it wasn't a strain, so once i've finished going over another paper - hah! me, checking papers as if i myself know what's potting* - i'm going to hit that again. boy, will i ever be glad to hand in tomorrow. even if i don't do as well as i'd like, i'm pleased that i finally got something out. i was beginning to consider choosing an easier topic.

* it's funny, but blogging all these years has made me pretty damn good at editing.

ruzz's wife helped me out with this one, too. over the phone, which was a lot more difficult for me than i expected :P
it's comforting to hear that compared to other departments we've done a lot, in her opinion more than a first year course in literary theory should.

i seem to be handling well, though. i've acquired a stack of papers and books that i *must* read but simply haven't the time for. as it is, i just noticed that i have about four editions of wired that i haven't taken out the plastic yet. that'll do for next week's snow trip ^_^

---

speaking of soy products... i must thank my SO for getting me to buy soy juice. i've been drinking black tea for a long time, and it just doesn't taste as good.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

let the right one in

today was... friday? i vaguely recall shopping to replenish my tea supplies, continuing to learn about everything related to everything in enemy transmissions and johnny mnemonic.

boy, is that a lot. i've come up with an interesting interpretation of the possibly allegorical nature of gibson's work, and i'm hoping to piece everything together in a sensible way... the night is young :P

i spoke to the girl about this morning's email, and she seemed a little cooler than i'd expected. the only other distraction was dinner. i can't believe i ate so much :(

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ragnarök = a good prophecy to work off?

scott adams: "creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. art is knowing which ones to keep."

this is excellent: rainbow auto-spray. the video itself it really cool!

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after seeing this burger set (especially the list at the end): i'm *not* saying that this is okay, but the problem with a list of random chemicals is that we're not qualified to understand what's healthy and what's harmful. some toxins cancel each other out, and others like dihydrogen monoxide should be feared only in really large quantities. like tsunami quantities.

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please read from okay, that's enough. i was agitated before, but now i'm horrified, and in the same way our two heroes are. horrified that there are so many misguided individuals whose minds have become so corrupted with modern mantras that they can in no way look at something for what it is, and horrified that there are those on the "right" side of the argument who seem to miss the point entirely.
"you idiots! we're against rape! but all for murder!"

well, shit.

Friday, February 04, 2011

ups and downs

two emails - one awesome, one not so awesome. so i'll start with the not-so.

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the girl who's paper i checked? her response:
OMG :O ... I am just gonna write a different paper now.. I should get started.

dammit. that wasn't the intention at all :(

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my mother:
my mother is just beginning to work / live like a human being, so she can start doing her own thing. i - am - SO - pleased! ^_^

on ismism - part ii

[... continued]

insight: i specialize in logics and in syntax translation. that's quite compatible with literary analysis :)

note to self: don't wear the blue sometimes-static shirt under the reversible jacket. shocking.

i've been reading woolf - mrs dalloway on the off chance (hope not) that i'll be taking the supplementary exam in introduction to british culture. she has a habit of defamiliarizing religion that keeps making me smile. it's not an easy book to get into, but it does have a certain charm.

once home, i napped for an hour or so and pg woke me up; we took the first movie from the alien box set and watched it on the big screen at her place. AWESOME ^_^

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studying / playing advisor to terrified first years until stupid o'clock in the morning?

discovering that i'm a classical facist (another ism) and a *bit* of a marxist (another ism)? that the nazi's did crazier shit than i thought? that jung said what?! (and may have been right?)

and that frottage (another ism - just kidding) is an art?
[did i miss the discussion on gods? i think we could do better than scientology, for a start]

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yesterday:

missed alarm - hurried but arrived at the specialist about ten minutes late, and so had to wait a long time to be reassigned a time slot. i'm sure my complaint at the reception about the bad signage wasn't passed along to management. discovering that the girl who asked me if i was american is from cape town was surprising, but not as surprising as her recalling my name on her way out when i hadn't told her. our discussion about peta and greenpeace had potential - she's a member of the latter, and i compared peta's attitude to pet ownership (read through euthanasia) with greenpeace's alignment with our political left.

while waiting, we were treated to a show. or two. i'm amazed - i'd almost forgotten that "normal" people were so ****** up. there are some weird folk around during the daylight hours.

so i'm taking tablets for infection, i've got an appointment for physiotherapy and i've been instructed to sleep with my mouth-guard and not chew gum. goody.

that, the pharmacy and the making a physiotherapy appointment all took THREE AND A HALF HOURS. that's a lot. and the people walking past as i waited for the bus were even stranger the ones i'd been gawking at before.

oh, and i was totally sleep deprived. so i came home, crashed, and felt much better after dreaming of spongebob's "friend" day being celebrated on campus and unintentionally making too much noise in the library.

i had dinner at pg's, we walked the dog, and i came home to go over a classmate's (another in potentia master's student) paper... my word, i think i know what being a teacher's assistant is like. that shit took me a long time; the english corrections were easy enough, pointing out logical errors and bitching about a lack of coherence wasn't :/

i've spent the past few hours (not including what must've taken an hour and a half to sort out this post) learning and making notes, and i'm not yet sure if i'm going about this correctly but it's friday now and i've got two days to hand in two papers.

oh, bugger.

on ismism - part i

[post divided retroactively]

in prepping for my paper on literary theory, i'm studying modernism. it's taking me a long time to wrap my head around all the different isms, and here are some wonderful little bits i've uncovered. a diligent reader may notice that some of my references are to wikipedia. "hey! that's not a good source!" one might very well exclaim. maybe not, but it's an excellent source of sources. and it has some useful summaries.

oh, and lenin on anti-semitism (another popular ism, may have had some impact on behaviour during the second world war) made up for reading a version of jewish / egyptian history that denied us hebrews had *ever* been slaves in egypt. this man isn't entirely wrong; but he seems to forget that herodotus wasn't the most reliable of sources, and that the israelites wandered about in the desert for forty years. deserts have a habit of not holding evidence as well as other types of terrain.

and in almost related news: why the suggestion that drug use in arts departments shouldn't be met with antagonism (there were wild accusations made about freud, then about freud's students), and whether or not i'm allowed to express my personal theories in a course being set up for the next semester.

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wednesday:

after posting, i crept over to pg's and slept like the dead. getting out of bed was tough, and i lumbered home to get my gear and head off to campus. i wore my new trapper beanie (something like this), and when an idiot taxi driver honked right next to me i automatically made tapping motions to where my ear would be visible had i not been wearing it. my attempt to make it clearer scored me a look that informed me that i'd made the same impression as obelix tapping his head saying "these romans are crazy".

i made those well-known last-minute on-campus pre-print corrections, and then my paper was served. what a great sensation! i handed in with one of the other in potentia master's students, and our chat on the way out was interesting. i paid wr a visit, still stuck in a freudian (huh, my phone auto-corrects to "fraud") loop...

i ran into sorter on my way into the office, and we walked and talked to pick up seeds and lunch. while waiting for my delicious schnitzel sandwich, some guy in the street held his hand on the hooter for twenty second intervals for at least ten minutes. it was driving everyone crazy, but as my manager said: not the area where you really want to say something. i considered calling the police, but they'd probably just laugh at me :(

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having learned a very serious lesson about code reviews, i sat with -someone and had a really productive session. i have learned to articulate the use for comments: they're not just for making the code easily readable. they do that too. but they more importantly provide the only convenient way - for both programmer and reviewer - to know if the code does what it's supposed to do.

"i didn't comment this because it's so obvious what it does"
"why does it do that?"
"ummm... lemme see now..."

no. none of that. by the time we were done his code was readable and we knew exactly what he had to fix and why. there were a couple of i-can-hear-angels-singing moments when he launched into a commenting frenzy pre-emptively, and i *think* that means he got the message. i taught him a few other tricks along the way, but that was the one that counts.

[continued...]

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

on my way out, brain exploding

is that it? did i just finish my paper?

...

and did i only now realize that it's due tomorrow, and not today?

better than the other way around, i guess.

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ze germans have provided ze links - and these are both abso-frikkin'-lutely fantastic. the first is an interesting summarizing project called qwiki. try "freud". no, wait! try something you're actually interested in :)

the second is the google art project. this video says it all.

all rather freudian

i woke up this morning with a more refined idea of the script i'm working on; every addition opens it up and makes it more coherent. i'm loving this :)

i got straight to work on freud, and it was only after about five hours of drudging that i eventually had something that felt more or less finished.

ruzz put me in touch with his boss today - sounds promising. a lot more than the meeting yesterday: i think i'm going to turn them down.

pg arrived while i was finishing off my paper, and after i finished and we'd spoken to my kibbutz cousin (making the first payment for our ski trip! w00t!) she escorted me to lunch. i was feeling really, really slow. but not too slow - i had a sudden revelation on my way to work. if only etymology worked in reverse:
if information is processed data then that's the same as saying that a motif is a processed chronological series of events. events must be processed in order to become a part of the psychic formation, and are integrated into the formation by the addition of causal connections and the performance of extrapolation and inference. this is the "ingesting" of an idea, conscious or unconscious. if the external "data" has not been turned into "information" (in - formation) then it is discarded and has no effect, i.e. the idea has not been incorporated or learned.

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i walked in to the new guy's office and told him off properly - something i should have done at the time. i'm fairly certain he got the point, i just hope it sinks in.

on a regular day, being totally slowed down and distracted wouldn't have mattered much. today we had a meeting about a fix that i had the better solution to, and it took a while to convince the boss that it was the best and safest way to go. the espresso hadn't kicked in yet :(

i got some good work done, and then the new guy and i got sidetracked again with more hassles using the SVN. seriously, i don't get it. i'm pretty certain that if i could find a sponsor i could build, alone and in a relatively short amount of time, a repository that didn't suck. all of these systems are badly designed from the get-go, and are so crufty that it doesn't matter how much whining the software produces, that shit stays :S

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i came home fairly early, did some serious shopping and then went with pg to the square to play frisbee. that girl does me proud - the session wasn't bad at all! and then a horrible thing happened, but it just showed me that i have the coolest girlfriend ever ^_^ she refused to stop playing even after catching a frisbee with her face. she's got a swollen (and slightly cut) lip and a broken nail or two, but otherwise she's fine and it didn't mess with the rest of her throws at all :)

ruzz's wife - a coach and mentor - sent me an edited version of my paper with a long list of "todo" comments. as i told her, she kicked my paper's ass, and i am really grateful! it took a couple of hours to make all the changes and find all the details for my citations (that was *way* harder than it should have been), but the difference is almost palpable.

now i'm going to go through my manager's revisions and see if there's anything else i've missed before hand-in tomorrow. i'm shocked that this paper took so much effort to produce.

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i would *LOVE* to see an episode of celebrity deathmatch with freud vs aristotle, chapman vs tomashevsky and our narrative professor vs little hans. that was be AWESOME.

...

indian music traces are always good.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

don't say i didn't warn you

aubrey just popped into my head, and it occurred to me that both on a physical level and on a metaphorical one he would be setting us up for a zombie invasion. i'd rather not be consumed by an older generation, and i'd rather not consume my young.

for whatever that's worth. just sending that out.

into the depths of freud

i cannot believe i wasted so much time on a false lead - it appears that we weren't given access to the very texts that our course material has been based on, *AND* the university site isn't allowing some of us to log in. which makes it kinda tough to verify claims and cite. i *could* pay for access to some online pdfs, but i'm not gonna. well, not unless i get really desperate.

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splashtop: in light of much recent experience with "free" apps, you pay a lot more than $2 in frustration and set-up fees: my half hour is worth more than that. this app rocks! now i have a remote control for my pc ^_^ (thank you, nystire)

mike's post on dickwolves upsets me. it upsets me that there are so many people whose sense of humour is so limited that this offends them. at least he's left the original comic up. at least you can see how stupid these whiners are being. they're not exactly making rape sound enticing, are they?

on to a more positive topic - ratfist is great! it's by the guy who made earthworm jim, and it's gorgeous.

knowing the price of everything

a few minutes ago i decided to support a friend of mine by buying a disc of his. the checkout surprised me.

airmail: 2 to 8 days, $3
express mail with tracking: 3 to 14 days, $26

ummm. really???

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i edited a couple of papers this afternoon - the first one was simple enough, but the second was tough. not only that, a lot of it seemed really similar to mine and i was greatly relieved when, about halfway through, the author took a completely different course :)

in other news - i'm making crazy headway into that script i mentioned... these works we're reading aren't really intended to be instructional, but they're a darn good source of inspiration!

around 7pm i needed a break, so i left and got caught in the rain (good thing i took the umbrella with just in case) on the way to meeting pg for a quick bite. we sat next to a couple nursing a miniature bruce willis - the resemblance was startling!

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i was going to dress up for the follow-up meeting, but at the last minute thought better of it and went to the meeting a compromise between rogue and slick. the meeting began really well, and remained upbeat right until the question of money came up.

i played nice, but i really didn't know whether to be amused or offended: "we checked how much someone with your experience earns in the market..." - before offering me even less than the army pays, which is at most a third of my market value? did you misread my cv?!

so things were a little awkward after that, and it didn't help that the waiter forgot my coffee and the big-boss-in-potentia hadn't forgotten.

...

now for the real joke: am i desperate enough to take the job anyway?

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so... i got to thinking on the way back home. yeah, it's still gnawing away. it's not being called a tyrant that set me off, nor egotistical. what really pushed my buttons at the very beginning was an aggressive insinuation concerning my lack of integrity, because the little genius doesn't want to understand that one cannot prevent idea contamination.

*hackles rise*

to make matters worse - i probably shouldn't be spending too much time alone right now - i'm still beating myself up over my co-worker's idiocy. i'm obviously an abysmal failure when it comes to teaching people to do things the right way. either that, or he's sabotaging the project to ensure that the work won't run out. the system's so badly designed that it's unlikely that that's going to happen, so i gotta run with the former.

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am i an alcoholic if rum helps me to focus better on freud? as it is, i'm hunting details on "formation" in what appear to be all the wrong places. it's the last thing i have left for this ugly assignment, and it's taking forever!

now back to work. i've been on a long enough break (thanks, nystire).