Wednesday, March 30, 2011

thank you for smoking

you know, ever since i quit smoking, i've been suffering from low blood pressure, general agitation and... i can sit for hours in front of the computer without getting up to go outside. and when i do take a break, there's no "nothing" to occupy myself with. i'm thinking / talking / doing... not just being.

if we're talking about health, i'd say that that last one really makes the case for smoking.

---

i was dead yesterday morning - that tough wake-up was only shown up by this morning's.

it was a beautiful day, as was today. instead of finishing up with vacating my apartment, i slept in and met up with sammy for breakfast (his lunch). the place is called "jewish beef", it's sandwiched between strip clubs and their sandwiches are brilliant. a stack of meat, good garnishing... only the salad was ruined by excessively liberal use of otherwise decent mustard.

the music was great.

i went straight to the physiotherapist, who was shocked to learn about syncopes and how (seemingly) prevalent they are. the return shock of electro-therapy was unpleasant.

---

i was so tired, i've been so tired for a couple of weeks now. and not regular tired, either. creepy when a guy i know asked on facebook if anyone else has been feeling off for the last short while... creepier when a bunch of people answered in the affirmative. it's probably meaningless.

---

our svn is having me on. it's doing shit that should be impossible, only when the r&d guy came to show me how to use the system he discovered i was doing everything right, and he walked out of my office scratching his head. reminds me of something.

---

"are you lonely planet people too?" asked the girl on the bus. then i watched as some funny-looking guy lurchingly half-ran at the side door, trying desperately to spit at it; his underpowered loogey *just* cleared his shoes.

that was kinda sad.

---

i was early for the doctor and it was a lot colder than it should've been for a day that i'd left the apartment without a sweater. i was expecting the examination to be horrific (i always expect the worst), but was astounded by one of the few doctors i've come across in the country with a decent bedside manner. i've had worse.

i ran laundry before taking pg out to dinner - not a bad dinner, but the service was weird. then i went to work for an hour or so, and discovered on the way back that my headphones have died (only one side works). at least i've gotten good mileage out of them this time.

the rollerblading route was brilliant! and enjoyable socially as well. it was a good night, and pg and i finished it off with great sorbet at vaniglia before going to bed.

---

today was simple. poetry in the morning, some of which was boring and some of which was completely fascinating. i suspect the boring bits were such because i wasn't totally concentrating.

the first meeting of the humanities forum was not entirely unsuccessful, in spite of the fact that only six people showed up. after an hour of speeches and arguments, and a little yelling, we had a first conclusion. i went off to the student union to hold up a mirror - the guys i spoke to all seem interested, we'll see if anything magically moves - and then had a decent lunch before coming to work.

i had a talk with the boss, which was quite amiable considering that i keep reminding him that i'm about to leave, then a talk with one of my co-workers on the benefits of dreadlocks. i then spent the rest of the afternoon going - over - every - script - in - minute - detail - to - check - that - i - wasn't - endangering - anything - by - overhauling - the - configuration - files. it was mind-numbing. and i was exhausted to begin with.

at least it's done. more or less. either way, i've had enough of today and i have yet to begin tomorrow's readings :(

---

daddy ran away with the circus is cool.

taylor mali is freakin' AWESOME. so is shira erlichman.

hate vs freedom of

thank you facebook for finally acknowledging that "kill all the israelis" is hate speech. your "freedom of speech" replies during the two weeks it took to take the third intifada page down were shameful, and i for one shall not forget.

Monday, March 28, 2011

real smooth

moving last night - two shifts, most of the important stuff done. i was shocked this morning when i bent over (without picking anything up) and suffering a back spasm... i hope it's not related. or that it is related. i hope it's not important.

this morning was relatively comfortable, although i think i'm more emotionally drained than physically. first class was interesting - i discovered that walt whitman actually had some good ideas even if i don't adore his poetry - and after i explained to our lecturer what my 4am email had been about she was happy to take another look at it :P

i sorted out a room for the shakespeare screening, even though i wasn't going to be able to make it, then enjoyed second class (with too many wafers... i really shouldn't eat those). afterwards i joined a forum for the master's students, which was interesting and enjoyable. unfortunately, nobody went to the screening. i give up.

---
    when hiring academics:
  • publications first
  • conferences second
  • letters of recommendation third
  • police record fourth
---
i came straight to work, and have been discovering weird and wonderful things about the system. at least *i'm* going to document them...

sudden hand pain? and serious, too. fleeting, at least, but that plus the back incident worries me :/

i just made a huge fix, tested it, and realized i had to reverse my changes because it didn't work. 1. i then spent ages reversing the change piece by piece to discover what broke it, eventually getting back to where i started - when it worked perfectly. 2. it suddenly wasn't working, so i began clean-building repeatedly, because sometimes flex just doesn't build right. 3. i then realized that the entire time, it had been working perfectly and that something external to the system had changed. so stages 1, 2, and 3 were ALL fine. i'm not happy.

not happy at all.

and i'm going to miss my bus. sod this :(

[added five minutes later] *real* smooth. i forgot that the clock on this pc is an hour fast...

naïveté

what is it about me and seeing everything in black and white? and caring about everything, and wanting everything to be perfect? where did i learn it from?

yesterday's argument over reading varsity mail got me thinking, and not just about how easily i upset people with my tone of voice when i'm bothered.

in 2000, i left south africa and came to israel with intent to study, serve and then somehow conquer the world by getting involved in the global push to get off the planet. i'm not the most mathematically-minded of people, and i struggled through my undergrad. even so, i had this purist attitude towards studying that meant that i had to pass my exams because i actually knew what was going on, and the only exam that i passed on sheer luck (i think i was the only person who didn't try to cheat) had me feeling really down and out. i was shocked to discover how many people there were in my class who received that final piece of paper that will adorn their walls for the rest of their lives in spite of having done everything in the power to avoid actually learning something along the way.

military: in spite of being emotionally abused for six years, and in spite of everyone and their mother (literally) telling me to stop taking things so seriously because nobody else does, i kept on doing the right thing, trying to fix the system and to teach the people around me about working ethically and professionally. the distress this caused me, especially as a non-violent hedonist aware of the need for our tiny country to defend itself, combined with that of ten months of interrogations that sharpened my understanding of the value of every minute of freedom, was the primary motivator for taking a couple of years off my aforementioned plan for saving the world to study something selfish.

partying: the disappointment i felt with chc would have been isolated if not for the uncovering of the fact that most of my party friends go for the drugs and not the music. i don't have any qualms with taking drugs, but i definitely have a hard time understanding the logic of "if i don't want to take drugs, i'm not going to go to a party with powerful music and great people".

and here i am, loving the studies and trying to suck out every bit of the marrow. i'm being horrified by the number of students who are studying english literature because there are mandatory inter-disciplinary courses, or because it's easy*, and even more so by the embarrassingly bad management of the faculty. or of universities in general. some of these things are stressing me because i do so want everything to be perfect... because i believe in the need for humanities studies and i believe that our society is crumbling under the weight of its own political and industrial hubris. i wanna fix all this. because i'm completely bat-shit insane.

* xkcd tells me so. the truth is, you don't need a degree in literature to be able to provide valid insight into literature, philosophy, psychology or theology... but it helps.

a weird equation popped into my head this afternoon:
naive = believe = achieve
you can't really achieve much if you don't believe in what you're doing, and to do so you have to ignore all the facts that point towards the impossibility of success...

the definitions of "big" or "small", "important" or "stupid" when discussing achievements is entirely subjective, as is the "level" of impossibility.

there is no "hardcore" - if you believe something can and should be done, then you'll do it. you may struggle, but it's worth it for you if you believe in it.
and that belief, no matter what's being discussed, is naive... because it's very easy to convince someone either that they can't do what needs to be done, or that what needs to be done is wrong. that's cynicism. and that "someone" can - and usually is - reflexive.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

drawing a line on autism and asperger's

it's a tough call as to whether it can be considered a disease or not...
but let's use a parallel of children who are born with ten fingers on each hand but no thumbs.

they can play the piano a hell of a lot better than we can, but have difficulties grasping without opposable thumbs.

whether or not they're healthy or able to live somewhat normal lives is irrelevant - should we be mocking them? i've been informed that beauty and the geek is not particularly kind or flattering in the way they present these kids, and being on the spectrum is pretty much the criteria.

stressmonger

i arrived at pg's around 2am, and she was still awake. i'd be glad for not having woken her, except that she's not as compatible with the lack of sleep as i am :(

the day began with an upset phone call from a girl whose voice i didn't need to hear so early in the morning. it was a stupid misunderstanding between her and someone else and i wasn't in the mood for patching shit.

---

the midterm was unfortunate. it went alright (or not, haven't really a clue), except for the beginning. i registered, sat down, and got handed my paper. the first thing i did was skip to the part where we recall the poetry we had to memorize so that i wouldn't get confused later, and i was halfway through when our professor informed us that we weren't to quote a poem that was given in the exam. obviously.

what a bummer that i was the only student who'd picked a poem that did appear! i hadn't noticed (although i did get it 100%, yay me), and she said it'd be fine if i explained it... *sigh*
it's a bit unfair, really. she shouldn't have given us works from the same list.

i amused myself - and hopefully didn't damage my grade - by making a claim in my third answer that almost invalidated my second. i hope it's appreciated that i explained how it affects things and why it's not the end of the world :P

---

i had lunch with pg, then boarded a packed bus to work. i was in a good mood when i walked in - pornkings - up to no good was up on my playlist - but that was soon destroyed by a bug report on a system that i really don't have time for. i eventually got stuck with something that i needed help with, and i called in our predecessor... the code's so bad that it took him all of five minutes to figure out what was going on, and as usual he was terrified when i suggested re-writing it.

$500 for fixing the telly - $5 for hitting it with a hammer, $495 for knowing where to hit it: the difference between writing a good program and maintaining a bad one? it takes far more time to modify something because you spend all your time (the $495, only i'm much cheaper than that right now) double and triple-checking to make sure you haven't laid any easter eggs.

aside from a massive headache (initially caused by a combination of the aforementioned bug and the fact that the SVN has once again made our lives far too complicated), yet another bout of causing unintentional offense on a public forum (i've been told that i talk down to students who don't read their varsity mail), a calming chat with my mum and another with our kibbutz cousin, and little bit of as you like it while compiling... it's been an uneventful afternoon / evening.

i gotta start moving across to pg's tonight. it's a bit exciting, really. never lived with a girlfriend before.

---

as a continuation of the rant i began in big "oh, brother":
you sound like my grampa when he first heard the 'devil's music' aka rock 'n roll

because reality shows are "rock and roll".
i'm not saying it's too hardcore for me, i'm calling it pathetic. you're more than welcome to explain to me why it's not: show me the error of my ways!

otherwise, you kids get off'a my lawn!


for starters, the main idea of the show, the heart of it, is people having to spend time with people who are very much different from them, and whom they hate most of the time.
and still, we get to watch them get along, after they put their minds to it, even under the extreme pressure of the money at stake.
in the fusion-made society we live in, that lesson is damn valuable.
furthermore, the competitors' choice to enter the house seems to be easily understandable -
they want to get their personal message out to the world.
isn't that something we all wish to do?
[a friend], you demonize the desire of the small man to become famous, yet what do you strive for, when you hand out cds in the streets? are you making yourself an exception?
and about the money, he of us who wouldn't have less to worry about with one more million in the bank, let him throw the first rock.


the "getting along" notion seems a noble one, but i hardly think "getting along" and "going to get the cash, me NOT you" is the same thing. that's an implication that we're all friends with conflicting interests.

can you give me an example of a personal message? did a viewer get taught something that they could incorporate into their own lives, that wasn't a lesson about how stupid some people can be?

i don't think
[a friend] was demonizing; regardless - wanting to share one's music (and make money from it) is not the same as becoming famous for fame's sake.

and if i had *any* problem with the monetary incentive, i wouldn't have gone to the casting for beauty and the geek. i'm not actually slamming the participants, i'm complaining about everyone and their mother (literally) who watches these shows.


are we discussing what's visible on screen? you never see anyone expressing aggressive emotions.
like in the real world, they learn to keep them sealed tight inside.
on the screen you never see anyone stepping on anyone else to get the gold. that's survivor.

well. i have watched just one episode, but in that one episode something interesting happened. long story short, a strong woman freed herself from an abusive (though loving) boyfriend.
that had a strong message. where else can teenage kids get a model for how relationships should and shouldn't be?
especially now days, when the percentage of kids being raised by single parents is the highest israel has ever seen.

and another thing, how stupid people can is a very important lesson. i wish i'd have learned it sooner myself.

well, that depends on what came first, the music or the desire for acknowledgement.

about beauty and the geek-
saying someone is suffering from asperger's syndrome is like drawing a line somewhere along the spectrum, and saying, anyone with this level of social capability or less is disabled. it's arbitrary. there is no clear border between "normal" and autistic. i don't see how making fun of someone that's naturally stupid is in any way better.

hmm?


i'm a firm believer that the only thing wrong with single parents is that they (usually) struggle more to make ends meet.
television is as good a place as any to learn the right values, but i hardly think reality television in particular is a good source. i'm also sure that for every positive example you can give me, there's at least one negative one to offset it...


yeah, you're probably right.
it was extremely hard trying to make that abomination look good.
i get tremors when i think about children actually watching that crap and learning something from it.

you know you're getting old when...

a track like sj - shiver has you out of breath. and quickly. i haven't heard that track in soooooooo long and it is just as gorgeously funky and hard as i remember it.

YEAH.

---

i made a little headway on my seminar today, and i haven't yet written anything i consider to be rubbish. i'm praying to get a little further than a third of the way, though, before the middle of april. i want to hit the festival's dancefloor with a clear conscience :)

i haven't, however, done much studying for the poetry exam in the morning. bother.

pg and i went to her family (she wasn't there) for lunch; boisterous, entertaining and i ate far too much. her mother and i tried to play table tennis but their exceptionally cute bulldog has a fetish for ping-pong balls.

siesta was longer than planned, and i've been attached to my pc since. yay!
there's nothing like grabbing the last yoghurt and halfway through realizing that the furry taste coincides with it being the expiry date :(

---

OMG! a guy i used to be really close friends with just found a track that i heard the tail end of once in pure and wondered about ever since. thank you, facebook! the benedict brothers - honeychild - it was "bang, nine, automatic" and not "wham, bam", but that's still not a bad memory feat over a decade later!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

big "oh, brother"

is nobody else concerned about the impact of these shows on our intelligence? i swear, everyone starts off being hooked by just how stupid these people are, and then two weeks later already identify with their characters and think of them as "geniuses".

or think that someone with talent and a brain would need television to make it.

reality television: the great reality re-writer.

a friend of mine responded to this sentiment as follows:
make it as what? you know, i feel roughly comfortable making the gross generalization that the people who find themselves on this show know that they are there for the chance to make it as being be famous. that seems to have become the thing we want most as a society now a days, to be recognized and worshiped and adored.. it's like everything is one big popularity contest.

and also, reality re-writer? let's not forget that it's a part of reality.. and it's ours to write ^_^

and about watching it myself, i found it amazing how intimate (one sidedly, but still) i felt with frida hecht after watching her for a few moments on the show. i know how she makes an omlette via extreme close up. i don't know my own mother -that- well


to be famous, and have lots of money. screw principles, screw relationships, and let's not get distracted from television reality by our politicians driving us into the sea even more effectively than the arab world can.

as for being ours to write - you know as well as i do that unless you're producing a show, you're not rewriting anything. at least (personally - the guy's a great singer / songwriter) you're talented enough to have a chance of affecting change, but should you have to be big on tv in order to do so? fuck that.

i don't have a clue who frida hecht is, nor how she makes an omelette - but i think i'd rather watch someone i have reason to care about in the kitchen instead of getting intimate with people who don't even know i exist.
what i read into this is that we're becoming so inept and uncomfortable with intimacy that we need to find it on the telly, and that leaves us with a disturbingly voyeuristic bond with everyone else who watches the same thing.

this is like that photo of the four japanese peeping-toms watching a couple having sex in the bushes, only they meet afterwards over a beer to discuss their technique. i think i'd rather be one of the couple in the bushes. i'd definitely rather be outside of the photo, having sex in the privacy of my own home with a girl i can be intimate with, and not with someone who i only picked up in a bar because she was drunk.

jesus, i'm weird.

--- 11.19pm ---

*has a reflexive moment*

you know what? i suspect myself of being just as fascinated by all the interest in reality shows as the viewers of those reality shows. it's like we're all doing the same thing, only i'm not watching a television. it's all very mise en abyme.

i feel dirty now.

[continued in stressmonger]

minorities - personal edition

[see the previous post for the national edition]

i don't worship
god,
money,
sex
or science

just a figment of my imagination that i call
humans,
future,
brotherhood,
love,
aliens,
art

what kind of a minority am i?
or is there a tiny bit of me in everyone?


---

i finally finished reading the scarlet letter during first class, and i - quite surprisingly - enjoyed the ending. i wolfed down a decent lunch between classes, the got drizzled on on my way to second.
after second we went up to the designated classroom to watch the first part of king henry iv, but the secretary had organized us a projector without a dvd player. useful. the building's caretaker told me there was nothing to be done but seek another class - fat chance finding one - and so we ended up in the lecturer's tiny office watching it intimately on his computer.

better than nothing, really. co-conspirator began to grate on my nerves when she complained about the acting being so - shakespearian. she's a film student, for chrissake's! she's also planning on taking her master's, and we got into an argument after the screening concerning her attitude that the secretariat should make it clear when there're interesting events on campus... more clear than sending four or five reminders by email. she couldn't understand why *i* don't take it upon myself to remind everyone.

what, are we in nursery school? or the army? DAMN.

after convincing her that i hadn't meant to get so upset, i was going to introduce her to the wonders of the wiki world (she's never used wikipedia before?) but another girl in the labs caught me with a stumper: how to copy and paste excel tables into word with a hebrew interface. by the time i'd turned back co-conspirator had gone.

while waiting for sir ronald harwood's lecture to begin, i found myself dragged into a conversation with an elderly member of the arts faculty; i'm terrible with extricating myself from awkward conversations.

the lecture was delightful! and quite edifying. i'm waiting for my mum to get back to me on a question of names i've already forgotten - i suspect that sir ronald harwood and i went to the same speech teacher, and i was dying to tell him that she'd be disappointed in his pronunciation of the word "off" - "o" as in "cot" :P

the questions afterwards were irritating - some mere praise, some merely trying to use a q&a session as a platform to boast - and i caught up with co-conspirator and introduced her to marvellous world of "fix it yourself" (wiki). we then discussed humanities politics before i ran off to catch the bus to work.

work was a quick and fun two hours - i'm really glad i'm enjoying it, and a bit irritated that i'm not being paid to be doing it so well and it's burning into my study time :(

also, i checked my hours and i've worked *just* enough to struggle next month as well. excellent :/

i stopped at home to burn a couple of movies, and went to pg's to watch as much of the seven year itch before the disc failed us. my headache flared up briefly, and as soon as it settled it was time for bed.

---

friday morning, sunshine, still drowsy, did you hear me leading to ice cream truck poetry. i breakfasted on vampires, churning that out hurriedly before heading off to florentin. i was dead tired on the bus.

am i being passive again? am i sleeping too much?

beer didn't help me wake up, but i enjoyed the *idea* of beer in the morning. the meeting was highly entertaining and the pieces read were all interesting, even if some of their language left a bit to be desired... wordsworth gave me a ride back through the friday traffic, and i hopped off to meet dp at cafesito and enjoy a cup of coffee on the avenue before bringing her to see my apartment.

by the time she left it was already 4pm; i took a fresh look at robert frost and then popped over to pg's to laze around with skin pens (lord knows where those came from, but the piggy she turned my chest into was very cute) and then rest.

we met up with her family for dinner, then came to my place where she watched the last starfighter and i got through a few pages of my seminar. this is a pill that i was given by a girl in our poetry group who posted next week's assignment in the middle of the night.

---

i went to bed about 5 o'clock this morning, and just woke up about half an hour ago to lie in bed memorizing adelaide crapsey's the warning, ezra pound's in a station of the metro and paul violi's at a bank near the metro*. i find the sequence amusing.

* google informs me that at a bank near the metro is unavailable online, so i'll fix that:
At a Bank Near the Metro
Let's have the money or else.
Just do what I say
and nobody will get hurt.

---


facebook intifada call: i hope they'll have taken it down by the time you attempt to open this link. it's been up and complained about for over a week, though...

perhaps facebook's concerned about the threat to pull all muslims off facebook if the page is taken down? perhap's the counter "israeli's against the intifada" page is considered equally* offensive?

if it's not an empty threat, then i can't see it as being a bad thing. but i've a feeling it is an empty threat - i have faith, at least in the muslims i know, that they'll stay online even if the page doesn't.

wait. what?! this is a muslim thing, and not a palestinian thing?! so we're facing off with the entirety of islam? seems a little unfair.

either way, if the above link still works, then please:
1. click on report page.
2. choose "contains hate speech or attacks an individual".
3. then choose "targets a religious group".
4. spread the word.

thank you.

* the difference being that one is violent action against a people, and the other is being against that action

Friday, March 25, 2011

minorities

THIS IS AN ANNOUNCEMENT TO MY NON-ISRAELI READERS:
in the last 72 hours, a bomb exploded in jerusalem wounding 35 people and killing 1, more than 70 missiles were shot by the hamas into israel. israel will probably have to react soon - things might get ugly - you'll PROBABLY hear about it for the first time when the media in your country presents israel as the aggressor.

FYI.

---

the problem with western morality is that we're always trying to take the other's perspective, which is great! only the other isn't always trying to take ours.

it's very hard for most people to accept that some people don't want to be friends with everyone. and it's even harder for some people to understand that having better weapons and technology is not what makes a nation the stronger.

only those who have been on the ground in iraq or afghanistan can understand what we've been dealing with, and how complex the situation is. it would be nice if we could all just get along, and it doesn't help that there're many israelis and palestinians who aren't fans of violence.

the word "innocent" has no meaning to them, the same as it no longer has any meaning to us when the difference between an innocent and a terrorist is not whether he fired the gun two seconds ago, but rather whether or not he's holding a gun RIGHT NOW.
and most israelis have served in the army, making us all guilty. disregard the fact that very few of us WANT to serve.

thank you, rest of the world, for being so understanding.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

how'rs

whoa - i'm broken. it's almost 2am, i'm at work and i meant to do so much more studying... but i kept getting sucked into decidedly therapeutic rewrites... with some very satisfying results. i like suddenly realizing elegant ways to do things :D

---

today began a bit sour, with pg agitated and me unwittingly making that agitation worse. a sandwich was lost due to tension :(

we were warned it'd be rainy, but i refused to be deterred from heading out in shorts and sandals. it was a bit cloudy, but overall comfortable. i did the right thing :P

first class was nice, but i was kinda missing the point so i waded into comics. lots of xkcd comics touch me, but three in - a - row's a bit crazy!
the first one because of what i'm about to describe, the second one after watching 2009's tokyo magnitude 8.0 on thursday, and the third after last night's beer with nemesis.

damn.

after lunch with one of the kid's friends, i did the rounds at the student union, pushing a forum wordsworth and i have begun to attempt to correct certain unhelpful phenomena in the humanities faculty. oh, the humanities!
everyone we spoke to was enthusiastic and helpful, and eventually even our class representative - who's not *our* class's representative - who tried to talk me out of it. i got her enthusiastic: go me! :D

bob dylan's coming to israel?! i think i gotta go!

aside from loads and loads of (and i'm not being sarcastic) fascinating and fun work, we had a knowledge transfer so that the other dev guy can go on vacation. i told him as much: he's got a long way to go, but i'm really proud of how he's progressing. we've gotten to the point where i say "did you write that down?" and he points me to simple and easy-to-understand comments in the code. my work here is done.

also - tickets! pg's in eilat at the moment (or is she already on her way back? her plans confused me) and she sent me an sms informing me that a friend of hers wants to come to the festival but doesn't have the money... so i just got in touch with the organizers and volunteered to work a relatively short shift for a free ticket ^_^

the day / night's been great, and i'm only a little worried that i have to walk home (about half an hour) and then be up less than six hours later. usually that wouldn't be an issue, but i've been completely worn out the entire week. at least the headache's *knocks on wood* relaxed for the moment.

---

i keep mixing good with bad: i only found out about the bombing in jerusalem this evening. crap. could we please end this shit already? it's a bit childish. very last-millennium.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

on the importance of going out for beer

nemesis and i sat on levontin's corner over beer (and liver, and other stuff) and discussed the nature of reality. it was a fascinating discussion, he's got a seminar topic and i'm still convinced that i'm going to have a thesis out of it :)

it drizzled a bit, but not enough to put us off rollerblading. the costumes and outfits were outrageous! i've had good use out of my green hair :D

i just finished chatting with my mum, now it's time for a shower and the rest of the week. so far, so good. in spite of the headache :P

---

more intrigue we don't need :(

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

curses!

yesterday:

after first class, a few of us created the humanities forum to discuss fixing broken systems and outsmarting bureaucracy. after a great second class, it was time for lunch; a quick talk with pg, and poetics and politics with wordsworth. we then moved to the labs, to sit on poetry and the manifesto before sitting down for a talk with sir ronald harwood.

the man is brilliant.

his description of his writing process reminded me of the introductory chapter to the scarlet letter, where hawthorne lives with his characters... his slamming of our freudian professor's attempts to employ psychoanalytic techniques was rather satisfying :D

i'd had a headache for most of the day, was even fighting word-soup during first class when i had a point to make, and it peaked after the lecture. our systems gave me trouble at work, and i wasn't even conscious of how much i was swearing until the other dev guy pointed it out :$

i got home late, exhausted, and after discovering that the manifesto's translation to hebrew wasn't done to satisfaction (the advantages of having a linguistics and hebrew language student around) i put myself to bed. i was completely lost to the world until about 10am, which is a meaningless time because i haven't a clue what time i lay down.

---

today:

the day began with a skype call to my sister - it was so nice to talk to her! and i now understand the difference between skype *with* a webcam: maybe i should try to find mine. it's around, somewhere :P

work:

using quartz requires slf4j. sneaky. here i was trying to minimize the amount of new things to get into my head... at least slf4j is a no-brainer :)

physiotherapy:
i can't remember my physiotherapist's name. how embarrassing.
she complained about my beard interfering with the electrocution. oh, no! so only half my face was traumatized :P
saying goodbye was awkward. she just took off the clips, said "oookay" and disappeared :P

on the way back to work, i shocked a surveyor who was staring at me by greeting him, then grabbed a good meal on my way into the office. what a difference having a trash can next to my desk makes!

i learned a hard lesson today about System.exit: you're damned if you don't (weird errors and exceptions) and you're damned if you do (schedulers can't be run). *sigh*

my rant regarding an unfinished coke bottle was spread over both sides of a meeting (i sent a rude email to the entire department, decrying the offender as a non-participant in our civilization), and upset pg by informing her that i wasn't going to leave work early "because she feels like it", nor was i going to let nemesis down when he's waited a week to be able to meet with me (i have a tough schedule :P).

i don't know if she was really upset, but her sms'es made me laugh so much that i had to call her. i may have made things worse, but i haven't laughed so hard in a while :D

i've gotten a lot of work done, and now i'm off. maybe the beer'll be good for my head.

Monday, March 21, 2011

dressing up, dressing down, tea

holy crap. it's monday morning, and i haven't posted since thursday morning. because i haven't had the time.

the most important thing that must be said is that the past three days have carried with them the definite, tangible sense of spring. it's warm(er, at least), enough that as of yesterday i'm back to wearing sandals. there's also a sense of the spring festival coming up - the tribe is gathering ^_^

---

thursday:

after getting up early, getting barely any reading done, arriving on campus early and *still* getting barely any more reading done, we sat down for a long talk on legless horsemen. this was followed by beer and a drum circle (although i stood on the outside, otherwise i'd never have finished my beer) before arriving late to a lecture on falstaff dressed as a clown; the lecture's response to my entering the room was quite amusing.

so, falstaff: not funny. i didn't foresee a lecture on the serious side of his character - intriguing and touching.

i decided to check early that our anime night room would be alright, and was (again) disappointed. after running down to the student union, things got sorted out and i wondered again why things have to be handled personally in order to get them right :/

the most common remark i received on thursday, from students and staff, was how much my giant, neon green clown-afro suits me. i don't know if i should take that as a compliment or not :P

---

wordsworth and i sat down for a screening of taking sides - a movie made even more powerful and distressing after having picked apart sir ronald harwood's collaboration. insightful, and sometimes even amusing in its cruelty.

until like the last screening, there were a whole five of us. i was completely shocked, mortified, to meet the professor bearing the name that i'd inadvertently assigned to my mentor because she was the only person on the faculty page with that first name. now i know why i haven't seen my mentor anywhere - apparently she left the university the year that i met her :P

the movie reminded me of an article i read in wired about crowd-sourcing bureaucratic nightmares - like turning the british police's fraudulent receipts over to the public as a game. jolly good idea!

on of the faculty members blew my mind on the way out. when the department head told her to come to meet harwood, she claimed that she couldn't because she had a class.
"so bring them along!"
"but... but they're undergrads" (said with disgust)

eh?! what the hell kind of an attitude is that?!?!

---

anime night: tokyo magnitude 8.0. so soon after the actual events, made it completely surreal.

we had a kanji lesson by a girl who didn't get that we're all familiar with the general idea, and some of us know far more than she does... all we wanted were some examples, and she turned on "teacher mode". "teacher mode" is a very weird set of phrases and behaviours that some people affect because they think that's how teachers need to behave... at least she didn't *demand* that we write everything down. we were getting worried for a second :P

*WARNING* *HIGHLY DISTURBING CONTENT*
(mostly because it doesn't make ANY sense)
THIS IS NOT A STRANGE COFFEE AD - it's a part of a strange movie called funky forest. botchman put it up on the screen and sent our brains reeling.

---

i apparently make a great zombie clown! the zombie walk this year was impressive - so many people, so wonderfully dressed up! the only issue i had is that most of them were simply *walking*. no groans, no limps, no nothing. a bit sad, really.

---

friday:

pg and i woke up late and i made us a serious omelette (i'm good with the basics, at least); then i hurried home to get ready, and of course *EVERYONE* and their mother called me while i was on my way out :P

i arrived at the park a little late, but we had most of two hours and a group of six poets reading an analysing - it was awesome.

---

"i'm late! i'm late!" - i arrived at pappa's *just* on time, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the tables had been laid out beautifully, even better than promised. my introductory "EAT ME" cards made people smile while telling them they'd have to pay their own way... and nobody stiffed me with a bill!

we began about twenty minutes late, but everyone made an effort in their costumes and at the end we only *just* went over our two-hour there-are-other-reservations limit. we had two faculty members with us - one of them "oh, captain, my captain" karen alkalay-gut, who not only made the event legitimate and special by her very presence, but also read some fantastic pieces! her poem on freud wearing aristotle's red was not only appropriate, but totally right :D

there were so many people who benefited psychologically from their first reading in front of an audience, and a couple of their poems were excellent! i'll even forgive wordsword for beginning with an almost-epic poem, but only because a loud cry of "off with his head" went up from the red queens when he was done :)

as primary organizer, it fell upon me to fill the gaps. i opened with the teapot song, and after most of the undead poets' society had had a go, followed suit with my take on twinkle, twinkle. once we had reasonable momentum, we sang - and this was extremely touching, as it was loud, boisterous, completely discordant - we sang pirate carols. almost all of the party (upwards of thirty people) joined in enthusiastically, and almost all of the other patrons could be heard laughing during the pauses ^_^

we were so busy that there were a couple of serious poems read, but i covered those up with in another sleepy hollow and i sat down with my hat on, which went down well as well.

it was an afternoon of good costumes, (mostly) good poetry, general cheer and much enthusiasm all round - no greater compliment than repeatedly hearing "when's the next one??" and a couple of humble requests to join the undead poets' society :D

---

we ate dinner at pg's brother's place - we ate a lot. i introduce pg, her brother and one of their friends to alanis morissette - my humps, which promptly got stuck in my head for the weekend.

the purim party - i haven't seen these guys since last year, and it was great! we got tickets to the festival, and were surprised to see dp sneak in - and when she's back, everyone gets together. or, at least, i get invited too :P

we drank loads of booze, talked and laughed, and eventually... i think i went to bed still dressed as a clown.

---

saturday:

after a big breakfast, i got home to - what? study? and not argue on facebook over the rights and wrongs of our faculty management and attempt to convince people to join the forum we're putting together to address all the issues?

i went over to pg's to stand with her on her rooftop and see the moon as close as it gets in eighteen years - pretty! and warm, too. spring!

i spoke to dp, offering her my place for a couple of months while pg and i see how living together goes... i was overheating the entire conversation. partially because of the significance of the sentiment, partly because i'm never comfortable on phones and something came out wrong and kept getting worse... :S

we watched half of 20000 leagues under the sea over burgers from wolfnights. not their usual good quality :/
we only stopped watching because i passed out...

---

yesterday:

i was amazed at how bright it was for 6am! until i realized that pg had heard me say 8am when she set the alarm. either way, it was shorts and sandals weather ^_^

i had my stitches removed, and friendly surgeon reported that while the mole out of my back was fine, what he took out of my temple was only the "crust" and so inconclusive. basically, i have to hope that nothing grows there again.
his asking me if my piercings were sexually pleasurable made me a little uncomfortable.

afterwards, i called the clinic to make an appointment for a different surgeon for something even more uncomfortable, and had a hard time communicating with the arab woman i spoke to. i'm not good with heavy accents :(

i was at work the whole day, without much time for non-work. at least it was interesting.

someone called me up to get in touch, and i felt bad (i guess he wasn't too happy about it either) informing him that he'd have to join one of my projects if he wants to see me, because i'm so strapped for time...

i went straight to pg's to help her make dinner (yay! she's forcing me to cook! ^_^), and we finished the movie. only interrupted once by the other dev guy; i can't figure out how he misunderstood the diagram i left him on the whiteboard :/

---

emerson blows my mind. listening to this while reading self reliance, wherein he basically covers all the ideas i've been preaching for the past couple of years, was deeply satisfying.

prawns: i was telling of my own encounters; these things are nuts. thank you, neill blomkamp.

my cousin posted an interesting note on promotions, felt like sharing

Thursday, March 17, 2011

nerd-day

yesterday began with an email to a friend that leads me to assume that not everyone has a clue what nin is about. so here's the primer - not 100% accurate, but containing the general gist:

the first album trent reznor released (he [[kind of] ditched computer science to develop electronic music) is pretty hate machine

the second album, a lot rougher, is the downward spiral. it's a narrative album, and the main character slips to his destruction as the album progresses. the fifth track, closer, is possibly the only song about rape that makes most people want to sing along - disturbingly great track.

due to its popularity, meathead had a go at it. his version, closer to mario, is pretty off the wall and feels surprisingly right.

---

i was accused (by a fellow classmate) of not paying attention in the poetry class... i'm multi-tasking! i *think* i'm getting what's going on, at least :P

the phototaxis performed on campus after first, and their final song brought in the social-work students' rallying cries: yet another group of people important to the welfare of our society (like teachers) who won't earn more than the minimum wage. again: why do we have an education problem?

a two hour discussion and dissection of sir ronald harwood's collaboration: enlightening stuff! and good to feel a part of the MA programme :)

it was not the first time margaret thatcher's take on the parrot would be mentioned yesterday. brilliant! someone later linked me to some of graham chapman's funeral - touching.

wordsworth and i have begun putting together an orientation course for next year's first years... it would be really sweet to be able to train some innocents...

as quickly as i could, i bussed to the screen-test for beauty and the geek. after awkwardly finding the desk, signing away my rights and filling out the "how mainstream are you?" questionnaire,
i was invited in for the test. a fairly comfortable chat later - although i was uncomfortable answering questions concerning pg, i hadn't signed away *her* rights - and i was told "you're not a geek, dude".

the nerve! i was offended, and told her as much. i explained the difference between a geek and a nerd (firmly placing myself in the nerd camp for a moment), and that no, i hadn't actually watched any of the series or perhaps i would've known that, at least what i gleaned from her description, they're not interested in geeks or nerds but rather in people on the autistic spectrum.

creepy. a co-worker, and later pg, duly informed me that i don't want to participate on reality shows in general, and on that one in particular. i dunno... i thought it would be good for a laugh :P

i went to work, spending most of my hours back-seat driving xml verification. thrilling. then i bussed straight to pg's and we finished watching the seventh seal: fascinating film!

i got an early night, but woke up to take care of all the little things i missed yesterday and to catch up on the readings... here we go!

---

israel is not always to blame. in fact, it usually isn't to blame. (in case you missed it, because it didn't make international headlines, we had another event this week)
it's distressing to consider just how influential global media is, and just how selective it is. so many years pleading "poor palestinians", the chances of them suddenly turning around and saying "oops! we were wrong all along!" is about the same as the american government suddenly ending the war on drugs.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

on batteries

hido just posted a note concerning the lack of power in japan. it reminded me of joe rogan.

not so funny when the lights really go out.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

asleep in a teacup

i read a bit, after posting this morning... but got a bit drowsy. i made some tea, and it didn't help at all, but i didn't want to go all the way with coffee so i called it quits and rocked up at pg's around 4am.

around 10am my co-organizer woke me up - i've spoken to her before about not calling so early in the morning :P
pg and i hit the mall - on a tuesday morning, and already a long queue had formed from bruria. we eventually got in, grabbed make-up and apparel that should comfortably turn me into a zombie clown. pennywise-style.

it was a bright sunshiny day today - loving it! i came into work and had it out with the boss: good talk! much less complicated than i thought it'd be. we'll see how things progress. the end of the discussion transformed me into a nomad for a day - i had to move offices. the new one has more space, at least, but it's all the way in the corner...

i went off to meet with the owner of pappa's, to discuss the tea party. on the way there, i was mortified at the amount of hooting and general aggression on the roads - good thing i was in a bus :/

free beer at lunchtime is always a good start. being caught totally off-guard regarding the logistics of the thing, not so much. we eventually got it right, i think, and i suppose we'll only really have a clue how close we are to the mark when friday rolls around.

i met up with pg and we shared one of the shortest laffot i can recall. we walked through king george, rather impressed with the purim offerings, and eventually arrived at yogo's for delicious frozen yoghurt. on my way from there to here (i'm at work), i was called by beauty and the geek for an interview tomorrow. i've decided that unless they'd actually like me to do it, i'm not telling pg. then she can decide whether she's comfortable with it...

... sounds like fun, though. and i could do with a bit of extra cash :P

i walked into work as one of the guys asked, incredulously, "who lives in nes tziona?!". i regaled them with my tale of mpe, who was quite upset that i wouldn't leave tel aviv to visit her home.

*TMI WARNING* *TMI WARNING* *TMI WARNING*
the horror of surprise (and surprisingly loud) flatulence in a new office is hard to get over, even after discovering that everyone's in a meeting
*TMI WARNING* *TMI WARNING* *TMI WARNING*

---

i'd left the previous tenant's computer installing updates and shutting down, and when i returned it was still on update 47 of 52. i waited a half an hour before deciding that it was stuck, and scrapping it :P
the ensuing discussion with one of the techies reminded me of a girl i once lived with, who became *the* go-to-girl with microsoft's project in israel. once, when she got stuck, she resorted to calling microsoft israel's tech-support; they told her they'd get back to her.

after waiting a fair amount of time for a response, she received a call from the states - microsoft project's base of operation. they were calling her back to tell her that they themselves were at a loss, but they could refer her to an israeli expert who would *definitely* be able to help her out even if they couldn't.

they referred her to herself.

---

the new office - i now have a wide screen that's functionally the equivalent of two side-by-side. it's awesome. and i have speakers! and a trash can!
the only bummer is that i'm now sitting with a guy who's miserable and hyper-sensitive because he's just been retrenched.

tense :(

after much aggravation, i finally found someone who could help me with apache - when apache cannot start, the error messages are all along the lines of "something failed". not very helpful. two complete re-installations later, and *now* someone tells me that there's a program called httpd.
httpd -t tells you exactly where the configuration problems are. AMAZING!

the rest of the setup was lengthy, but smooth, and i'm now ready to roll. literally, too - i gotta get home to rollerblade :)
Apache's secret code

old movies

did you know that "catarrh" (sounds like qatar, no?) means "excessive discharge or buildup of mucus in the nose or throat"? i certainly didn't.

another spring morning. it promised to lead on to a gorgeous day, and didn't fail. it felt good, smelled good; it was good.

i began the day reading emerson - i love his thoughts as much as i enjoy reading his full name - and then skipped past the bank to open up a credit line so that i can go into negatives. i'm not happy with this, but at least i finally got a (paying) job last week so i should be fine... i still managed to arrive early to class, which is a sure-fire way to not get any reading done :P

i intended to relate a funny story from class, where the teacher picked on me and i waited until after class to retort - but i still haven't reached a conclusion regarding my anonymity. one of the guys came in late, and a bit smelly, and sat down next to me. he promptly fell asleep. being a good neighbour, i elbowed him whenever he began to snore; he informed me he'd come in straight from a night shift. i've done that before - to worse classes - so i can identify. it took me quite a while to convince him to get up, get some coffee and splash water on his face. he disappeared, and didn't return. leaving his bag behind. while hunting for him between classes (before giving up and leaving the bag with the caretaker) i walked past the lecturer, and i think she invited me for coffee. awkward, although positive.

second class was fascinating as usual, but the classroom was cold! this was followed by a debate over whether (and when) to screen all the plays we'll be studying. can i have another few hours in the day, please?

after a standard lunch and a debate over the politic influence of the media* and the merits of a meritocracy as opposed to a blanket ban on politicians with families to take care of... ru55 called to inform me that the guy i interviewed with a couple of weeks ago has finally realized that he wants to work with me.

brilliant. i told him i'd be in touch if things don't work out with what i've got. how is it that after ten months of desperate searching, i finally find something and suddenly my inbox is overflowing with "hey! your cv is amazing, are you interested in working with us?" - thank you, murphy. no sarcasm. 'onest injun.

* if you want to change the world, through a medium of fear, become a journalist. it's frightening how much power they wield - they can frighten one into doing the most absurd things.

i read a bit of sir ronald harwood - collaboration, then called up the campus IT department to harass them about collaborating with me. the head of development sounds like a bureaucratic bumbler, and when i told him what i want to do he briskly informed me that a system like that already exists and there's no need to waste his time. so i visited our department secretary and asked her to show me this wonderful system, which has absolutely nothing to do with what i tried to describe and isn't at all useful to our administration either.

i think it's time to build something.

i was handed the cassette of the dresser and sent to set up. the caretaker wasn't too happy with me but we got sorted out in the end, and everyone arrived on time. altogether. all three of them - the department head and secretary, and an italian wearing a hat. awkward. not positive. good grief.

not the end of the world, though. we were just watching a movie, and it's a *brilliant* one. a great pity that none of the shakespeare class got to view it, especially after this morning's lecture about the difficulties in classifying his plays according to genre. it really is a tragically funny film.

moment: on the walk to work, i turned up a dark path surrounded by thick vegetation with a woman feeding many angry cats and panic ensemble - fear playing off my ipod.

work saw us (both developers) hating either flex (it was doing such very weird things, i'm so glad it was his problem) or apache / php installations. aspie was in, and loves that shit so she jumped in to lend a hand. our debate spawned this preachy post.

eventually she gave up, and we completely uninstalled. i left, caught the last bus home, and... umm... as usual, i've no clue where the last hour and a half went. this is becoming normal. not cool.

programming principles

my experience tonight taught me something valuable about myself. i will happily go to the ends of the earth to make sure that my codebase is 100% - but i have zero tolerance when dealing with the shortcomings of third party off-the-shelf software. apache foundation, ibm rational, tortoise, i'm looking at YOU. take some pride in your work!

aspie girl tells me that i should expect less. i don't. and because i don't, i produce higher quality. it's because i'm lazy. it's because experience has taught me that the easy way is the right way, and the quick and dirty way is the long and stupid way. i understand, not just as a catchy phrase but as an internalized fundamental principle, that anyone who says "we don't have time to do it right" is not only completely wrong and logically backwards, but is fully deserving of the title "imbecile" and "organizational hazard".

the end user is stupid, and pays for the right to be so. the middle user (or developer) is also stupid, and there's no way to distinguish between middle user and original developer because we all use each others' tools so that makes the developer stupid too. don't piss in your own pool.

i would rather (like i've just done) deal with the frustration of having to teach a newbie all the basics than fight with an experienced developer who's been taught to play dumb. that sentiment does not preclude my willingness to preach to the sinners, though. any monkey can churn out a piece of code that works - for a given definition of "works". but you have to think a little bigger to make something that will continue to work.

and not end all austrian email addresses with an @ sign. nor require that your users *know* that they should look for help in a forum before running what appears to be a standard installation package. with error messages like "did not run", and no explanation. seriously?!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

irony

today began with a two hour lecture on irony. our professor was amused when i approached afterwards to share my adoration for the sheer brilliance of alanis morissette's ironic: it is precisely due to the fact the song contains absolutely no irony whatsoever that it is a most perfect specimen of irony.

i was misquoted today: i said "paper-mâché is the perfect combination of journalism and art."
in hebrew, that last word's a bit difficult to hear sometimes: "paper-mâché is the perfect combination of journalism and masturbation." that's not what i was getting at, it's disgusting and amusingly accurate.

after lunch with pg, i sat with wordsworth over my manifesto and accepted his most constructive criticism: it wasn't written seriously enough, and the modifications make just enough of a difference... it should be published in the missing slate soon; that's a surprisingly interesting magazine that i'd never heard of.

i was caught up in our university's magazine ("teza", or "thesis") on my way to work - i'm shocked at how readable it is for someone who doesn't enjoy reading hebrew. they have some interesting things to say, it seems.

i walked into work, requested some of my next month's salary up front (damn you, israeli internet / cable companies!), began working on a task manager and then entered a meeting about installing servers.

during the meeting i was attacked with sage advice: not only regarding server installation, but also concerning programming habits. i've become used to reinventing the wheel over here, and as the server i'm setting up is to become our very first testing environment i can actually go wild (whooooo!!!) and play around with helper applications. like off-the-shelf task managers.

it's like i'm living in the future, man.

i've spent the rest of the day downloading all the software and setting up the server... but i've hit a dead end. that's what asking a programmer to do a techie's job will get you.

and i gotta go soon - pg and i are celebrating five whole months together. ridiculous :D

---

as i mentioned yesterday, facebook is my news source. this morning, while one of the girls in class was laughing at me about my delayed earthquake awareness, i informed her about the horrors of the day - which i'd discovered through facebook. sometimes, it's not nice to be the first to know...

the message i received that alerted me to the news:
a family was murdered in cold blood as they slept. the killer entered their home and slit their throats, then left. among the victims were a four year old boy who was stabbed in the heart and his baby three month old sister who had her throat slashed. their parents and their 11 year old brother were also viciously stabbed and murdered. hours later, on the streets of gaza and the west bank there was celebration in response to this heinous crime.

the victims were rabbi and IDF tank unit officer udi fogel, his wife ruth, 11-year-old yoav, four-year-old elad and three-month-old hadas. the palestinian authority, israel’s “peace” partners seem to be in no hurry to condemn this abominable act. instead, PA leader, mahmoud abbas stated ambiguously, "violence will only bring more violence – we must hurry to find a comprehensive, just solution to the conflict.” just what does this mean?

where is goldstone and the UN now? where are the international press who are so quick to demonize every action of the state of israel. there have been no international headlines reporting this. will a response to this go just as unnoticed? the answer is ‘NO’.

our government needs to respond harsh and swiftly without fear of international opinion. international opinion against israel and the jews is already at an all time low. now is not the time to be concerned with what the world thinks about how we defend ourselves and survive. if this goes unpunished, we will be seen as even weaker than we already are.

only last week, it was reported in the press, how a new mini-series currently showing in britain, portrays israel in a completely biased light showing israeli soldiers as blood-thirsty, while the palestinians were mostly in the role of helpless victims. the show received an audience of two million people. this is completely reminiscent of nazi german propaganda in the 1930’s. history is repeating itself at an astonishing rate.

condemnation is not required, action is the answer. to begin, these words need to be repeated and repeated until they are heard and action is carried out.


this update is what i read after seeing the above. i didn't need to see the pictures (although i did, and they're horrific). i certainly won't be passing them along.

---

and like any news source: the humourous mail saved for after the tragedy. i recently received an email from a friend of a friend who i was once in touch with, and couldn't for the life of me remember what we discussed.

[...]
my boss has asked me instead to help him with the optimization of his daughter's website.
this is a whole new field that i am trying to get to grips with and there are plenty of hurdles and pitfalls but i am beginning to understand the basics. following courses and reading books is one thing but from time to time one does need someone to ask a technical question. {the gemarra teaches us that one should choose a rebbi for himself}
[...]
i do not expect you to do this for free
[...]


i did put a bit of thought into the response:
[...]
i'd suggest you wait until you hit that end-of-the-world brick wall before seeking assistance from an offline source - there is so much material online that you're not going to find a single "expert" who knows more than you can find out with a simple google search and five minutes of reading.

i'm pretty sure the gemarrah doesn't include a section on apache servers - i'd stick to the free and abundant advice online before finding myself a rebbe :)
[...]


that, plus a politely worded response to my muslim "friend" from india - who keeps trying to convince me that embracing islam is only a logical next-step for any upstanding christian - suggesting that he get educated before we continue the debate...

so i think my karma's good for today.

seminal cat

friday:

after posting, and instead of getting my teeth into my seminar, i went with pg to her mother's place to convert a t-shirt into a tea-party outfit. it didn't come out perfectly, but the effect rocks anyway ^_^

i knew something was up in japan because i logged into facebook to check something and saw a couple of posts containing the words "japan" and "armageddon"; right then my mother sent me an sms asking after hido. that was how i heard about the earthquake - eleven hours after it began. i checked his facebook page to determine that he was alright, and we watched the news for the next half an hour. tough stuff, that :(

pg and i went out for soup, then went to watch battle: los angeles. it's a fun film; not very original, but very entertaining.

---

yesterday:

my seventh grade english teacher is sitting vigil, i fake sleep when he's in our room so i can watch tv. he comes and checks, i hit the bed and "snooze", he leaves, i get back to the couch and watch - all's fine until the dog begins barking. too tired to go back up to the bunk to fake it; thinking that when the dog runs out the teacher won't bother to enter our room, i stay on the couch... and i'm busted - but it's time to get up anyway.

yesterday was a beautiful spring day, right off the bat. i know this because i walked from pg's to my place, and because twice during the day i stepped outside to stand in a ray of sunshine. otherwise, i spent in indoors trying to get ahead with my seminar.

towards the end of the day tahoma came by to drop off my lewis carroll collection, and aside from my talking too much (i think it's worse that i'm conscious of it and compelled to carry on anyway) we discussed his plans - which brought us onto the topic of education. i'd just watched salman khan, and been blown away by his vision for school practices...

i spent half an hour preparing for the tea party - a combination of FSM poetry, psalms and carols; a bit of lewis carroll; finally, my second undead poets' society task.

i went to pg's to watch public enemies and eats loads of good sushi, and soon after that we crashed hard.

numbers: i have two pages of my seminar paper done, and otherwise enjoyed the weekend. this is the second gorgeous spring day - we didn't get an autumn before winter... just killer summer, and a delay. but these two days of spring? can i fantasize, even for a moment, that we could have a whole season of them?

Friday, March 11, 2011

the end of a tough week

i woke up yesterday with the back of my throat feeling like it had cement drying in it.

an easy day - i spent a large part of first class beginning to write a story i want to turn into a graphic novel, and the second class reinterpreting shakespeare's sonnets: 116 is all about sex, and 129 is all about opium. actually, i suspect that most of his "dark mistress" sonnets are about drugs.

it took one minute to write the script, four minutes to prepare, thirty five seconds for the first and only take and there was no editing required: our promo video for the poetry reading came out brilliantly! although i worry that the metaphysical poetry lecturer is offended after discovering that he's the march hare :D

the undead poets' society met in the reading room to go over the visual poetry assignment. i think mine was by far the worst on offer - a couple of them were amazing!

wr invited me to a beer in the park; so i didn't have time for lunch. i went straight from there to a lecture... my iphone told me which class to go to. the first thing i did was make sure there were plenty of elderly non-students; i picked a seat, opened up my netbook and fiddled until the lecturer began.

i was at first concerned about him speaking in hebrew. then about him asking who hadn't been in the previous week's lecture - this wasn't supposed to be a series! he went up and down the class, then settled at his desk and began talking about globalization.

globalization is not rhetoric. i asked the guy next to me, who laughed. whoops! i snuck out, and when the lecturer stopped to ask me what was wrong i spun around: "i am in the COMPLETELY wrong class!"
i trundled up the stairs, walked in half an hour late - turned out to be *just* right, in time for one speech and then the lecture itself - to be blown away by a magnificent talk on the rhetoric of abraham lincoln, with the lecturer applying his trade beautifully. i would have enjoyed it even more if i hadn't needed to visit the bathroom from near the beginning (because i was late, i had to sit right near the speaker and i didn't want to get up and walk through everyone) and if the week hadn't caught up with me and made it really hard to keep my eyes open.

for about ten minutes i began to nod off, and at some stage actually fell asleep. i know this wasn't for very long; i know i didn't miss much because i was still following when my phone vibrated and properly shook me awake.

afterwards, i ran into my old dean. he told me about bertrand russell's take on what i've been harping on about. holy shit! 1932?!

i took a bus home, met up with pg and went to 24 rupees. it's a nice place, and the food is good... but expensive! it was really weird to be eating indian food in a clean establishment; i spent the evening laughing to myself over my experiences in india and being amused by the place in general.

pg's generally pretty quiet, and i have difficulty meeting new people. it didn't help that we were seated far away from all the people we usually enjoy talking to (it was a birthday party of two members of the rollerblading group), so we mostly kept to ourselves. it was a pleasant evening, nonetheless...

... until the end. pg said something that caught me by surprise, and my reaction offended her. the ensuing talk only served to upset her more, until eventually she managed to offend me... and we bussed home in silence, horrible scenarios playing themselves out in my head. we kinda sorted it all out when we got back, but a certain tension remains, so i'm a bit sad at the moment :(

...

we slept late, and made great pancakes for breakfast. i've been back a couple of hours now (i did some major shopping), i've done all the online usuals and i was going to attack my seminar but have just been invited to join pg in constructing my cheshire cat outfit for next week.

i just discovered that a surprise bill has dropped me into the danger zone, so i think i'm going to have to ask my employer for an advance on sunday...

---
there are tons of FSM songs and hymns that are absolutely exquisite - i'm going to drag them along to the poetry reading next week :D

Thursday, March 10, 2011

impressionable

i got to pg's around 3.30am, and got straight to work dreaming. i wasn't done by the time my alarm woke me up (8am). i was packed and ready to go on time, and in spite of having taken a ticket for the wrong teller at the post office (i hate their system, it gets me every time) and wasting time playing with a gorgeous puppy until it was my turn to discover that i was in the wrong place, i walked out with my new passport in time to meet pg at the bus stop.

our first class was a poetry reading by bernard horn, who was riveting. i wrote that at the time, and was quite relieved when he decided to re-read the piece that that thought had interrupted :)

it was raining, and i wasn't ready for more rain. during a lull two of us started off towards the cafeteria, but we didn't make it as far as the next building before it began bucketing down again. fortuitously, we stopped just in time for pg to spot me and fight over her umbrella (like i would leave her without). as she skipped off to class the weather relaxed, and we managed to get to the food without getting too wet.

after a quick lunch, and great amusement with a borrowed stapler, posters for the poetry reading coming up and a plan for a literature department production of macbeth, it was time to go to work.

we suffered a long meeting because i refused to make an "innocent" change without understanding what was behind it - the result of which was general agreement that i'd been right to question. i'm hoping the lesson rubs off on young padawan... and we've been told that the guy who left the system in our hands might be reassigned to us temporarily. i warned the boss that that might get a little awkward; as it stands, i've spent most of the past half a year rewriting his code...

i crashed, semi-controlled, after the meeting. the week's almost over and i haven't slept properly since friday - i had it coming.

---

mmf surprised me by finally getting in touch, and through the high winds and rain - shielding myself with my crumpling umbrella - i walked to his place. we talked, then talked some more; i got what i need, for the moment. now i just need to figure out how to untangle myself from the place i'm at at present.

---

pg's pick at the movies: i am number four. we were alone in the theatre (not including one apparently homeless guy - he was nice enough to offer us from his flask), and the movie was great fun! not too much brain-food, but extremely pleasurable nonetheless.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

it's a matter of interest

i'm frustrated. particularly because i haven't done a stitch of academic work today, and theoretically i should have had ample time to get ahead of it. just because i'm at work shouldn't mean that i should be working, right?

it rained hard this morning, and for a long time. the best part of that was lying in bed, not having to get up, just enjoying the sound for an age. pg had left her boots at her place, though, so while she was getting ready i was taking a walk through the (of course) craziest downpour of the day. getting to her place wasn't a problem, but in the two or three minutes that it took for me to get upstairs, snatch up her boots and get back down again both sides of her road had become flooded.

i was trapped. gotta love israeli infrastructure.

once on the bus, the roads were so tied up that i had plenty of time in the cozy warmth to read (usually takes about five, maybe ten minutes at a stretch), and i still walked in to the office at an hour that was so unusually early that everyone there had to remark.

first order of the day: the company is willing to front me some cash if i find myself in dire straits, for which i'm quite grateful. after that i received an email from mmf informing me that he hasn't forgotten me - i hope that means that we might actually meet this week :/

i've begun writing design documents in the present tense so that they'll serve as documentation that can be copied and pasted into the internal wiki when we're done. am i efficient, or overly-optimistic?

break from work:

a) the english department has been designated for an innovative trial to improve our overall studying conditions. i've already sent in three suggestions :P

b) i went to the physiotherapist today, who hadn't read the report from the first meeting because it was too long.
"come on, just give me the summary!" - that's very professional. i wasn't particularly fond of her talking with her hands in my face, either. nor impressed by her decidedly unfunny reaction to my tongue piercing. nor having electrotherapy applied to my face; it may have been amusing from the outside, but it was downright uncomfortable from within.

then, for no apparent reason, my knee felt tender on the walk to the bus. i walked into the office only to be sent out to buy seeds - i thought it fair to be compensated with a couple of shekels' worth of peanuts myself. big joke, a song and dance by aspie girl in giving me a ten shekel coin... which provided me, it turned out, exactly the amount i needed for the purchase in total. if i hadn't taken it i might've found myself having gone all the way there for nothing :S

speaking of aspie - i forget. i'm sorry. i'm not good with communicating with a girl who seems all normal one moment and then suddenly explodes inexplicably. it's very trying. it's even more confusing.

it took a while to calm down from that episode.

i left in the evening for a doctor's appointment, and got stuck with the phrase "sun-set to stun". i arrived just in time for some angry birds, and couldn't decide whether the office smelled worse inside or out.

i've been ordered another h. pylori breath test, been informed that my army doctor who made me go through an awful test experience had done so because he's a complete moron, given a script for dry tongue tablets, and been informed that i don't need a referral to orthopedists for my back issues.

the rest of the evening at work: no time to do the "nothings" i had planned. we had problems, and i fixed them. it was a long evening.

i got home to find a personal note from our caretaker to remind me to pay him money that i've already paid because he ripped me off on the last bill. it bothers me that he always asks me to pay the full amount when he's supposed to know that only 2/3 is his due. his previous note slipped through my defenses... at least i caught it this time.

*sigh*
where are these days going? i feel like i'm not actually achieving anything.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

"don't panic! it's just the end of the..." *

* kula shaker - mystical machine gun

*breathes*

the money from january just came in, so i have enough right now to cover both the credit card and the mortgage. it leaves me with NIS 200 for the rest of the month, but i guess i can use my credit card for food etc.

and i'll just have to work stupidly long hours and pray that by some miracle one of the potential employers decides to do the right thing. (aren't i presumptuous?)

and be very grateful to have a girlfriend who sneaks foodstuffs into my apartment when i'm not at home :P

bouncy

and somewhat philosophical.

1. today was a good hair day. i don't think, with my attitude, that it's possible to have bad hair days, but today it held in a smooth drop (kinda emo) and made me smile every time i saw it. because it's there, mainly. also, i've been keeping my back straight for the past couple of days and i'll be damned if my body hasn't been transformed. i feel like i look like i feel again (^_^)

2. the question i posed on thursday has turned into the resurrection of the MA forum. the girl who'll be organizing it approached me this morning to thank me for the inspiration (^_^)

3. i may not have received the grade i desired, but i was ushered into the professor's office and warmly welcomed in spite of her being in an absolute rage over the formal complaint she received from the class over her attitude towards teaching throughout the course. i don't quite agree with all her comments, but i do see what she was getting at and plan on putting it into practice with my seminar. and of *course* the ego-stroke ("yours was undoubtedly the best work in the class") was nice (^_^)

4. i was going to complain about the amount of time i spend babysitting the new guy, but then he caught me on his way out to thank me for all the time i spend instructing him. he said the same thing pg did once (although we were discussing philosophy): "it never makes sense at the time, but then afterwards i think about it and you're always totally right."
how can i be irritated by someone like that? (^_^)

5. my girlfriend is quite disarming. literally and figuratively simultaneously, when she digs an elbow into the tiny point between my shoulder and scapula as i've taught her. it's too painful and pleasurable to function; it always amazes me how that one little spot releases everything from my skull to my lower back (^_^)

on to the mundane.

our american culture lecturer is dry, but amusing - she definitely has a sense of humour. it's unfortunate that i find myself drifting* sometimes in class, but she's mostly easy to understand and says fascinating things.

* one of those drifts was productive, i got my first visual poem out of the way (it was the task i assigned for the undead poets' society) and then made an attempt at a nonsense poem (although it started making sense).

on the way into the professor's office, i caught another of my lecturers and invited him to join us for our purim poetry bash. he found the reason for my affection for coleridge's rime of the ancient mariner amusing, and made me distinctly aware that i know nothing of metaphysical poetry.

pg sms'ed me in class: h. pylori doesn't (necessarily) catch? excellent! she hasn't got it ^_^

after class, i announced the poetry reading and was pleased by a couple of responses. one shy girl seemed a lot more excited about it than i'd expected :D

another girl made a different impression altogether. she has a habit of saying remarkably inappropriate things in class - and today's outburst made me take a look at her... i think she's a bit handicapped, unless i miss my mark. anyway, after class she asked if i'm <totalwaste>, and after the third attempt i managed to get her name. i began talking to co-conspirator (the girl who's organizing the event with me, and who dragged me off to meet the student union heads) about the professor's rage i'd witnessed earlier, and this new girl kinda jumped in. i was being pleasantly polite, but after the third interjection that i'd had trouble understanding i tried to intimate with body-language that the conversation had turned private. before she turned to go, she touched my arm to make a point of saying goodbye...

awkward.

after a whirlwind discussion outside the building, i met with pg and she treated me to lunch. it's crazy being totally out of cash :/
in spite of the previous sentiment, i was quite buoyant, joyful even. then i went to work.

aside from an infernal-eternal meeting wherein i had to convince the boss to leave the coding decisions to the professionals*, the day was alright. i got a fair amount done, mostly administrative or helping the other guy - i think this experience should count as "team leader" on my cv...

* he was like a dog with a bone on the topic of using md5, as if it's the latest, greatest, fix-everything mechanism

i can't help thinking about how much i'm being paid. as they're paying me slightly over a tenth of what i should be earning with my experience (if i wasn't a student), i suppose if i come in for a day's work and spend almost a half of that working then they're still making a serious profit. unfortunately, i can't bring myself to do that. thanks, mom, for making me far too honest for my own good :/

[just kidding; i really am grateful. as i read this morning, it was benjamin franklin (as "poor richard") who said that a man in trouble has a hard time remaining honest. i hope i never find myself in that much trouble.]

on the way home, i couldn't stop staring at the faces of the people on the bus with me. good salesmen (con-men) notwithstanding, i think one can tell a lot about a person's integrity and general world view by their eyes and bearing. my thoughts could be complete bollocks, but it fascinates me nonetheless.

pg cooked great food tonight, and we had a pleasant evening. i came back to work on my seminar, but lo! it's hours later and i still haven't gotten around to it...

*sigh*

Monday, March 07, 2011

more crocodiles

with snapping and gnashing and general scaliness - this month is kinda... not good.

one thing i forgot to mention about saturday evening was a very funny attempt to teach pg a couple of xhosa words i know...

the day began with an average poetry class and a bitter after-taste of seeing the comments from my freud paper. they were stupid. hopefully tomorrow's meeting with the department head will clear things up. i just want closure.

trying out angry birds on the bus to work turned into exercise as i missed my stop... the workday began with lecturing the other dev guy about the evils of over-complication, explaining to the boss why the rewrite needs to take place, and then heading off to have a mole removed from my lower back.

i forgot my sweater at the office, but it didn't matter. it was HOT today. a dusty, dirty warm that would indicate summer if it didn't point towards an unhappy desert heat wave. i've never dreaded summer before - this one's going to be a scorcher :(

i didn't have to wait too long for the doctor to begin with the anaesthetic, but he then drew the curtains and forgot about me. about half an hour later i heard him calling from a distance, as he'd thought i'd gone outside or something.

strange.

the procedure was simple, although it's going to be a bit uncomfortable for the next two weeks. one fun thing about stitches is that strangers suddenly become more intimate. nothing like trying to climb onto a bus with a crowd of people standing *just* too close for comfort :S

---

what is it with "express" queues??? i don't give a shit about how many items you're paying for - what i care about is how long it takes you to complete your transaction and get out of my way so that i can get on mine. things inappropriate in an express queue:
a) exceptionally slow person working the till
b) exceptionally slow customer. if pulling out your wallet takes more than ten seconds, you're out.
c) specials. don't offer the express queue customers specials.
d) troublemakers. people who arrive with coupons and other special requirements.
e) when the express queue limit covers more than the average customer's purchasing requirements, it becomes the slower queue.

today i got caught with a) and e). suck.

---

my bestest friend, the other dev guy, showed me today how grossly underpaid i am. i had to argue with him for five minutes before his lights went on and he realized his mistake. then i had to spend a couple of hours (on and off, my patience has easily reachable limits) babysitting him. he seems to think sideways, and not in a good way :/

he was trying to show me how using dynamically loaded classes was more efficient that a single, coherent class of related functions. it was only once he began to create what i'd told him to that he could see that because his code was stored externally from our code base its travesty of efficiency was simply hidden away.
i had to be embarrassed for him, as he doesn't seem to realize how far his programming is from what i would consider to be "logic 101": K.I.S.S.

i ate a lot today. 'cause "i eat when i'm unhappy".

Sunday, March 06, 2011

crocodiles

i just woke up from a dream in which i was escorting two people through a game environment, and one of those people accidentally took a dive into a pool filled with crocodiles. my ghostly avatar (first person perspective) entered the water, concerned, only to be attacked by a crocodile. that wasn't meant to happen!

---

i studied a bit yesterday, until my apartment was boarded by a dinner-wielding pg. after supping, i resumed my summarizing, when that was done we went to organik's birthday party.

well, we had a couple of drinks first. and a little more when we were there. a drink each, and lots of funny chatter, and awesome tunes, then we had to get going.

the going took a while, as i had a fair amount of alcohol thinning my bloodstream and pg a little more... that was one highly amusing walk home. all in all, a highly entertaining and fun evening :))

[she *just* woke up, stared at me and exclaimed "what?! we didn't dance at all last night!"]