Tuesday, May 31, 2011

what kind of a day is tuesday? [part i]

it's almost 11am on a tuesday. i've just finished a great breakfast sitting on the coffeeholic corner, swallowing the last of my antibiotics and feeling... pretty good. except for the heat - it's going to be hot today. tomorrow i celebrate exactly one year of freedom - a freedom that was harder won and even harder enjoyed than i ever expected. but things are good now, and in the grand scheme of things that didn't take very long at all. what is it about time, even short spans of it, that reduces sleepless nights and terror and sheer hopeless exhaustion into the distant memories of another being?

---

sunday:

the bus that arrived was packed. really packed. there was pushing, and shoving, there were smells and looks, and some old lady got her hand crunched in the door in her desperation to be let on in spite of all evidence pointing to her not being able to enter physically.

is it just me? am i crazy? pg and i shouldered and sneaked and excused our way through to the back... which was empty. why do i feel like i'm living in the twilight zone?

---

after class, i had it out with the guy who'd been arguing with me online. it upset me that someone possessed of such a wonderful grasp of language could completely disregard the power of words... i built up to the central argument with an explanation of my sources: i lived and studied with a few palestinians when i first arrived in israel, and it took a long time for me to *begin* to understand what they were telling me. our world-views are *completely* different, and as such we cannot compare ideologies nor interpret intents without bearing those innate differences in master narrative in the foreground.

for those who don't know what i'm talking about: good luck with that.

i almost felt bad for him as i slammed home what i'd been trying to say. unfortunately, i was pressed for time and he speaks very slowly, so once we'd gotten over the hump i took my leave with a promise to follow up. sometime.

---

pg and i almost had a food fight in the cafeteria... then i took the bus to work. improvement no. 1: a desk and a chair. very important. my boss and i missioned to acquire coffee corner things, and we were astounded to discover that there is a self-service checkout, american style, in the supermarket. using it was quick, easy, and the promotional stuff is less annoying when it's a machine doing it.

it just proves how unnecessary clerks are.

---

i began receiving praise for my mother's birthday poetry: it's nice to know i'm not the only person who thinks so highly of her :)

i spent the afternoon still tweaking and fighting with the basic stuff - the lack of compilation checks in web development is a bitch.

it's always nice to be thanked when alerting people to their petrol wastes.

i took the bus to university, getting quite a suntan on the way. have i mentioned that summer's here? it's here in force.

the lectures on marlowe were fun and intriguing, but the guy whose translation we were celebrating speaks quite slowly and we overran the student concentration span limit of 1.5 hours by at least twenty minutes... and it was still riveting. the second speaker is a sports announcer (or something to that effect), and i have never before been exposed to such rapid-fire high hebrew. i'm shocked that i managed to follow at all.

---

i had a long chat with my mum while i made my way home, then caught up with loudcast. i tried to review it on itunes but the "review" button was simply unresponsive. so i'll write it here.

(*)(*)(*)(*)()

the good: great streams and an excellent way to read them. it's comfortable and simple. the not-so-good: every switch between apps requires a restart. the twitter sharing would be superb if the login worked (it really is a well-thought out interface). the settings page needs a complete redesign, or to be scrapped - it doesn't appear to have any settings and there's no way to scroll...

the good far outweighs the bad, but i'd have to see those issues resolved before giving it the five stars it really wants.


---

i spilled black coffee on my sandal, which kinda freaked pg out when i limped strangely in and straight to the shower so as not to dirty anything on the way... "i had an accident" was not the right thing to say :P

[post cut short on account of my being caught up in conversation with a fellow patron
continued...]

Sunday, May 29, 2011

delayed post: screen day

i woke up fairly early, transcribed some pieces of poetry so that i could toss the original papers, joined pg in a lovely morning's walking the dog, then settled down to work.

i worked a lot. it's past 3am and i still haven't actually finished :((

i did take a couple of breaks, though. watching sir ken robinson was inspiring.

i'm amused - i discovered today that since taking the anti-biotics, the size of the scar on my back (the second last surgery) has gone down almost completely; i guess it'd been infected.

the real steel trailer made me shiver again - it looks amazing. so does the next transformers movie. and immortality.

pirates of the caribbean 4: it took us a while to see it, but my word - i don't think there was a single minute that i didn't thoroughly enjoy of it. absolutely gorgeous! waiting through eight minutes of credits wasn't *really* worth the ending, though. it was just cute, whereas the others were great.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

four dreams

there was an officer dream, some sort of conference / lecture in a field that smacked of bureaucracy, from which we had to wait a long time to be let out and i got into trouble for pitching my tent without permission.

there was running for my life from a man chasing me on foot from ibn gvirol with gun drawn for gesturing when he honked unnecessarily.

there was a nature party, in the wind with blowing student day buildings, somehow arriving in j-lo's apartment (had i been there already in that dream?) and applauding the decor before having to explain to her why i wasn't going to cheat on my girlfriend.

there was a visit to the bar / restaurants on the beach in cape town, where customer service made me cry for having ever left.

there was a hotel lecture, i'd had a shower and was toweling off and get dressed before it began while others arrived. an old friend from primary school caught me for a conversation just as i was trying to put my underwear on, i was distracted and by the time the lecture to the packed room began i was still naked... but not embarrassed. during the break i bought something from the bar in the corner but couldn't remember which denomination note i'd paid with, and i mentioned building a cash-register to solve the problem and he offered to help me do it if i'd just give him a business plan.


---

yesterday:
i woke up around 10 / 10.30am and sat down to get some things done; aside from a couple of arguments / posts i haven't a clue where the next two hours went.

pg and i left for the market area, the primary objective being for me to exchange the small pockets i'd bought the week before. after waiting a short while for the bus and then the bus taking forever to get there, i realized that i'd left the pockets at home... she headed into the market while i waited for a bus back home.

it's a good thing that on the way we'd calculated how much the studan deal saved us on public transport during the year: for her, not so much, but for me - well over a thousand shekels. and the stress over wasted cash in the obscure event that i'd taken a bus ride for nothing.

it took so long for a return bus to come and then so long to get home that i decided to do the next there / back on blades, leading me to write a guide in the wake of a really crazy run in which i merged superbly with the traffic and, aside from motorcycles, totally outpaced it in addition to being able to take streets in the wrong direction (we can jump onto the pavement in a hurry, bikes not so much).

the pocket exchange was painless and i stopped a couple of times to alert drivers to their wasteful idling; their enthusiastic gratitude more than made up for the handful of sour responses i've received.

pg arrived after i'd had a quick shower (i was *really* sweaty, summer has indeed arrived) and we went to goocha for lunch. i've been there twice or thrice before, but hadn't sat on the bar. watching the chefs at work was an absolute pleasure - their professionalism and the looks and smells coming off the grills were wonderful to behold. our food - our food was exquisite. and because we were on the bar i could send my compliments myself. the food is expensive, relatively speaking, but for quality and quantity is extremely reasonable.

pg and i transferred my comics and other valuable books from my apartment, and i then returned for a second round. on the way i hit the bottle store to pick up wine as a dinner gift, and ran into my old neighbour at the coffee shop. i'm really pleased i did, because he had some advice for me that was really useful apropos the september event.
we then discussed facebook filters for a few minutes before he had to rush off.

after bringing back another heavy load of discs and books (all the important stuff's moved, i should transfer my insurance) i spent about half an hour tidying (we definitely need another bookshelf), and then we drove to the cousins for dinner.

dinner was great! excellent food, and everyone was in fun spirits.

i drove back, quite tired and at some point a little unaware - not good. we found a really lucky parking spot close to home, and almost went straight to bed except for a short, surreal puppet-show.

politically charged: issues of judeo-muslim relations

it's been two days wherein most of my internet communication has been arguing political stances. i need to get some work done...

in response to the video i praised, one of my fellow poets wrote the following:


‎"jews were driven out of europe by hate-filled muslim immigrants"? and what is "the islamic mentality" exactly? and palestinians are apparently driving us into the sea? This is not a reasonable man - he's just pissed off. and, although in a subtler level, he's doing much the same thing that he's criticizing others for, namely: making appearances / cases he's noticed into a general rule.

on the other hand, it is plausible that muslims would be taught to hate jews (in a sort of formal-yet-informal way), just as much as jews are taught to hate muslims.

i definitely agree on one point (from which he started all this in the first place) - jews aren't dominating the world or anything like that. that's just silly.


dude - i'm blown away by your disconnection from a reality that's on your own doorstep. the fact that you aren't aware of the muslim (specifically palestinian) education system is actually quite worrying.

this man is totally reasonable.


i would say that he is not, and could never be, *totally* reasonable. as you say, i am quite disconnected from reality - i'm not familiar with the palestinian (or any muslim) education system. as much as i'm not familiar with the jew orthodox education system. this is a fault of mine, i agree.

so what you're doing is injecting a philosophical stance on a technical nuance of my description which has nothing whatsoever to do with the subject at hand, with political consequences? because your suggestion, by extension, is that all of the palestinian / muslim propaganda *is* reasonable.

of course it is reasonable. as much as israeli propaganda is reasonable for us. i did insist on the nuance, and maybe that's a quirk of mine, but i also wrote something else. i'm surprised that you'd continue this argument where i tried to suggest it should end.

i'll tell you what bothers me about what you're saying: this man is not discussing israeli propaganda, he is an european atheist non-jew and is talking from an historical perspective. there is nothing that he has said that's off the mark, he is basing his arguments on the current state of europe, and if you're not familiar with the crazy shit that's been going on for the last decade then you should use google.

do some research before you throw your opinions out into the public sphere. and yes, this is "the public sphere". even if only two people read it.


thing is, in the midst of this i missed something really slanted - he talks about "as jews are taught to hate muslims," which is a hard-line leftist approach and is completely untrue. not that there aren't groups who raise their children in a xenophobic environment, but the board of education is very progressive in its perspective and most certainly NOT guilty of any hate-mongering or teachings of intolerance.

Friday, May 27, 2011

a guide to travelling in tel aviv

by far the most flexible and exhilarating way to travel is on in-line skates; the only way in which bicycles are better is in their ability to go over sand; considering that there're always parts of tel aviv being upgraded, it's not a big deal but it can be frustrating.

bringing a private car into the city is a mistake. traffic is always a problem, most of the roads are right-turn only and to the unfamiliar this can be extremely aggravating. there is almost never any free parking, and one can easily waste a hateful hour seeking it. paid parking is expensive.

the two most annoying methods of transport are taxis and private cars - for some reason drivers seem to think that loud honking will magically clear up the roads before them, and they are so isolated in their little boxes that they fail to realize, or simply don't care, that their honking drives everyone around them crazy.

advice to anyone travelling to tel aviv from outside its borders: park on the outskirts, take a bus in. or better yet, use the new city council bikes, which are cheap, easy to rent and ubiquitous. or bring a pair of in-line skates with you. skating anywhere in israel is tantamount to an extreme sport - it's loads of fun, but you'll need to wear protection (helmet optional, the police eventually conceded that they weren't going to win that one).
failing that, buses and legs are far superior alternatives to the hassle, expensive and general unhappiness of driving around the overcrowded city streets.

---

rankings from highest to lowest.

    speed
  • motorcycle / scooter
  • in-line skates
  • taxi
  • private car
  • bicycle
  • bus

    danger
  • motorcycle / scooter
  • in-line skates
  • bicycle
  • taxi
  • private car
  • bus

    expense
  • private car
  • taxi
  • motorcycle / scooter
  • bus
  • bicycle
  • in-line skates

    freedom of movement
  • in-line skates
  • bicycle
  • motorcycle / scooter
  • taxi
  • bus
  • private car

sharp vegan teeth

i've already got a response on the vegan issue, surprisingly enough from scrapper:

well, i find that shit offensive, and i'm pretty sure a lot of the technical stuff is just wrong. i would have written a longer retort, but i'm just so damn lazy. probably the lack of protein, right?

the truth offensive? you need to check that shit. your "pretty sure" means that you didn't do any research, which from a health point of view is my primary complaint. let me know when you figure out how effective vegans are when it comes to the poor animals they care so much about.

it would be nice if some of them cared about humans, too... yes, it IS possible to care about both. at the same time.


"pretty sure" is a matter of speech.
i'm absolutely sure cows have to be milked every six hours because years of selection created a creature that couldn't survive without our aid. i'm absolutely sure that generalizing "vegans don't eat animals so there will be less killing" is a gross generalization. you don't have to be very observant to see that everything on this planet lives at the expense of something else. things die all the time, it can't be stopped. it's how they live that's the problem.
but's that not the real problem with what you're saying. the vegan strategy could be effective in the long run - if a large percent of the populous turns vegan, the corporations will have to adjust to the lesser demand and "produce" less.
but your problem with that is that their plan isn't fast enough?
it's like you're even encouraging people to really build farm and save kids in africa, you address only the minority that is actually making a little effort and telling them that they are wrong and lazy instead of, let's say, addressing the rest who aren't doing squat, and telling them that they are wrong and lazy.

do you see why it might look distasteful from the other side?


it's distasteful that so many people become so self-righteous and aggressive when they're not actually doing anything. no, it ISN'T fast enough. stop talking about "corporations" like they're some distant, evil force, like conspiracy theorists talk about "big pharma" like medicine is made in the bowels of hell. human beings have a lot of ways to affect change, and lying about shit - to themselves or to others - is NOT one of them.

generalizing "vegans don't eat animals because": am i wrong? i'm specifically targeting politicized veganism, NOT people who have personal issues.

the long-run strategy is not nearly as simple as you make out. whether right or wrong, our somewhat symbiotic relationship with cows is the reality, and unless you plan on "correcting our mistakes" by wiping out all cows, deal with it.

i AM encouraging people to build a farm. or to boycott specific farmers until they change their ways. i'm advocating DOING SOMETHING, not harassing other people without even caring enough to check out the effects on HUMAN health. i'm a human being, and i'm not proud of everything we do. but we're still amazing and we still have the potential to do good, and i don't want to watch our species filling with self-hatred. [we have plenty already, thanks]

there's nothing more disturbing than hearing vegans (and i shit you not, i've heard this example a couple of times already) saying that we make animals suffer because we derive sadistic pleasure from it. because of course, when i go out for a hamburger, what's tasting so good is knowing that the animal was treated cruelly.

you're very defensive for someone who's really smart and has access to such a wealth of information on the topic. more than me. i applaud your morality - i applaud the morality of most vegans - but i do NOT applaud your succumbing to what is nothing more than a selfish propaganda push.

when you're all willing to make an effort to figure out solutions to problems instead of adding to them, i'll leave things be.


---

i also got positive responses: someone sent me a link to an article about vegan morality

a man with a brain just walked in

this dude just made my day. you're awesome, man. it's rare to see someone on the topic who's functionally rational.

the vegan hypocrisy

it's been a long night, and i've barely done anything productive.

in response to this article:
fear mongering: heart-disease, diabetes and cancer.

diabetes is not caused by eating meat. there are precisely three contributing factors to developing diabetes: being overweight, not exercising, and aging. if any statistical correlation can be shown then it indicates nothing more than a spurious relation. you see, when you learn how statistics work then others cannot leverage them against you.

cancer? everything causes cancer. there has never been a scientifically run study that shows that meat causes cancer. there has, however, been a rigorous and intriguing study showing that living on a diet consisting of meat, its fat, and NOTHING ELSE has surprisingly excellent health benefits.

we're not herbivores, so this makes sense.

thursday arrived

just in case my earlier confusion hadn't been removed, i went to the post office to pick up what i thought would be the rest of pg's present, and found my brand new copy of thursday instead. still a good start! then all the buses drove past me on my way to catch them, all early. there was me, running alongside the last one with sandals that don't hold very well...

and then the bus turned out to have a weird configuration - something about the back window becoming a wall with a tiny window at its top. it seemed like it made the bus seem bigger.

i left my wired at home so i continued reading brave new world on my iphone instead. i thought about it today - i really have become dependant on this little device. yes, yes, i know it's not *really* as good as an android phone, but it doesn't matter. it's what i had to take and i'm really pleased that i did.

on arriving on campus: the old dude who passed me dressed sharply but with his formal shirt unbuttoned to expose his 300 t-shirt must be cool.

first class was boring. second class was incredible. in spite of the student day celebrations waking the dead for miles around, the class we were in is on the bunker level and we weren't bothered at all. i had a few observations to impart, and was well pleased when our lecturer, instead of his usual derision, stopped on two of them, thought a bit, and then stated: "that's really good." i'm starting to pick up all sorts of interesting bits and pieces in shakespeare and i'm loving it immensely. it's like i've begun to understand the code ^_^

student day: meh, less exciting now that i'm a student. wish fulfilment - i know where i was for the last one and i'm still excited about my present situation :D
i bought a super-expensive hamburger (probably should have just gone to the cafeteria), chatting with classmates until pg arrived. we bought lunch, and just before we found a spot to sit with it, i received a phone call from an unidentified caller. there was a lot of noise, so i told her to call back in twenty minutes; she agreed.

---
twenty minutes later we were standing in a quiet spot behind one of the buildings, with pg laughing at me for being so precise. is it too much to ask that when someone has accepted terms that they abide by them? apparently. because i eventually received the call about an hour later, while sitting with friends near a stage.

so there i was, laying on the ground with a finger pressed hard into one ear and the other squished by my phone, having a long heart-to-heart with the manager i spoke to the last time. please notice what i wrote then about strikes. because i explained to her, in no uncertain terms, that while i appreciate her getting in touch with me and i appreciate her efforts (and she really did try) to keep me paying, my policy being great is entirely hypothetical until such time as i really need it and if they're treating me like this now then i'm out.

i'm not a number, i'm a free man! [you know it]

your breach of faith, my money, and you'll be having no more of it. when she repeated the sentiment expressed by the salesman that "none of the other insurance companies are any better" i was prepared: "maybe. but the other companies haven't made me unhappy yet, so they've all got one up on you guys." fool me once...

---
i was tired and neither pg nor i were particularly impressed by the concert line-up, so we decided to make a move. the bus we hopped on has a vending machine after the first row. i'm sure i've mentioned before the atrocities committed against passengers, upstanding or not - the drivers all suffer from klapvoet, the inability to perform acceleration / braking gently. and they take corners at high speed; i sometimes get motion sickness from just sitting, standing is great exercise for snowboarding, and there i was putting coins in a tiny, coin-sized slot while being thrown around roughly.

i did get my drink, though. i feel like i worked for it.

---
we stopped to shop for iron-on transfer paper, and i asked if there's a student discount. "hush!" she loudly whispered, we do have a student discount but you know how israelis are - if other people get wind of it they'll all magically become "students"...

what the hell is the point of having a student discount if you don't want to tell anyone about it?! this is not a good marketing strategy.

we had a pleasant evening that involved good dinner and two great episodes of one piece amongst other things, and i've been very busy for the last couple of hours writing this, handling another blog that i've just started and planning gleefully.

now to handle my snail-mail and then i guess i'll get some work done. i'm feeling better today - perhaps it was tuesday's crazy exercise that wiped me out.

---
i totally forgot to mention a video i saw a couple of days ago that's really touching: the power of words

Thursday, May 26, 2011

today is thursday

i must admit to being a bit confused about such things as "days of the week" - there were a brief couple of days when i felt like i suddenly had time to breath, and then i began with antibiotics and exam fretting so it's all a bit...

---
tuesday night:
the route was great, although pg was quite impatient with me and we sat in silence over the post-blade frozen yoghurt. the sense of drama on heightened when she discovered that the shower door's damaged - neither of us know how but i'm considered the prime suspect. it's the kind of damage that requires a professional :(

---
we went to be early, around 2 - 2.30pm, and i got up early to go to the bank and sort out a money transfer. the woman presented me with one of the unfriendliest forms to fill in, one that contained far too many unnecessarily legal terms and even post-translation was unclear. i became progressively more tense, and then the poor clerk got upset because she thought i was angry with her.

well, i should have been. she didn't offer me much assistance with the damned thing, and to make matters worse i got a phone call a few hours later explaining that there were a couple of details i hadn't filled in so i'd have to come in and do it again. very professional, lady. very professional.

---
pg was super-weird yesterday morning. we walked to the bus in uncomfortable silence, and then we stood on the traffic island and she accused me of putting ideas of awkwardness into her head. i can't say i'm completely innocent, but i've been sensing strange cues the whole week...

the day began with a headache. the first class was a two hour preparation for mark strand's later appearance, and it was fairly interesting. after lunch with wr (who proposed some interesting ideas for the september event) and a few minutes sitting with one of my study groups (some of whom were engrossed in linguistics homework, which looked really familiar... it resembles discrete mathematics, actually) i went out to wait for a friend of mine to pick me up.

after two hours discussing politics, the arts and how to approach the problems in israeli society - two hours during which i learned about all sorts of surprisingly awesome projects that don't get promoted at all - he dropped me back on campus for mark strand. on the way i spoke to nystire, who made a pretty good case for why i shouldn't return to training until i'm over the antibiotics. no, i don't really want to risk kidney troubles :S

---
a certain professor gave the introduction, and some members of the faculty were as shocked as the rest of us to hear her obscure analysis of mark strand's poetry. quite presumptuous. one of the poets who introduced him (there were a number of hebrew translations read, and they were very good) told us how he used to publish strand's poems on the back of the magazine he was working for, without informing readers that it was poetry - shock poetry? apparently it was surprisingly engaging.

mark strand was absolutely inspirational. everything he read was magic - few poems, but it was all poetry: he's very funny on the topic of prose form. riveting stuff, presented with such easy humanity that i was touched. and all of this appreciation in spite of the splitting headache; i only managed the reading on the wings of the chocolate and coke that i'd arranged at the last minute :P

---
from art to politics: i walked to the building next door for a talk by noam shalit. while waiting for him to arrive, a man with a really cool t-shirt walked in.

i'm really glad i went to hear him speak. noam shalit just gave me a whole new perspective on an issue that i had taken a rather solid stance on. i'll discuss it more in detail at a later stage, but the bottom line really is that gilad shalit has been in captivity for almost five years and it's past time that we should bring him home.

trading terrorists is not a perfect solution, but it is the right one. it's time.

---
i spent the way back home stuck into my phone, learning about twitter. i have begun providing a service that i'm hoping will take off, and there's a certain amount of journalistic responsibility involved...

i took pg out for sushi - for the first time this week things are back to normal ^_^
we ate way too much and it was really good.

the scar on my lower back (i had a mole removed a couple of months ago) is itching, and driving me crazy. i wonder if that has to do with the antibiotics?

...

i went straight to bed afterwards, and woke up early thinking to post this and get some reading done... so much for the reading. and what's here only made up about 50% of my notes; i have a daunting to-do list...

---
gay parent bashing. in texas. this is quite touching.

another riddick? i can handle that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

aholic

whoa - i'm about to put myself to bed for twenty minutes before rollerblading, but i had to report on a marvellous day (even if the telling may be a tad tedious):

i couldn't get back to sleep after pg woke up, so i carried on working until it was time to leave.

i begun all the antibiotics over breakfast, by the way, and i'm terrified of what they're going to do to me... last year's experience was awful.

i ran into one of the coffee shop crew on the bus, and we chatted all the way there. i'd arrived at work at a specific time for a meeting which never took place... i got so into my work that i almost didn't notice when it was high time to leave... fifteen hours of work in two days is like a real job, i gotta be careful :P
i got some great stuff done today and the bosses are pleased. i feel the need to mention lunch; NIS 32 for a laffa stuffed with a kebab and chicken liver? awesome. couldn't finish it.

the buses back were smoother than usual. i almost got run over when i walked between two buses to cross the road and a motorcycle zoomed past the edge of my nose; just then a taxi came the other way followed by a bus. too much stress, totally not worth it :S

i drew pg a map of how to find the gym and hurriedly dressed and left. i am SO proud of myself! i launched straight in to high intensity, and not only handled all the general work but i fought well and somehow remember all the forms i've learned... wow ^_^

i was great (although remarkably sweaty) until the last five minutes, by which stage i was tipping to one side and begin to worry about passing out. i walked sideways to the supermarket to by bitter lemon, thinking that i could use it for drinks but later realizing that i can't drink for the next couple of weeks... i bought a speaker at the computer store (gift card from the old work) for rollerblading with, then caught the bus home.

right in time for dinner, and how i met your mother. now for a nap, and much later i'm going to try to get through some of my exam materials that one of my managers so gracefully bestowed upon me :D

my legs hurt, but i'm well pleased with my performance. and the rollerblading should help loosen things up a bit ;)

presenting tech

my brain's full of muck: php, mysql, pdo, json... each and every part has given me individual grief over the past five / six hours, but i've finally got things looking vaguely right. even if i cheated a bit; at least when i cheat it's on things that can be added without too much hassle. and overall the system's beginning to take shape.

whatever. it's bloody late already.

Monday, May 23, 2011

logging errors

i managed to get the hang of flex logging last night in spite of the mostly useless documentation.
i bussed home and was going to go to bed early but joined pg in watching how i met your mother instead.

i woke up early this morning and caught the bus to the doctor's. the walk from the stop i alighted at to the doctor's office was delightful! it was a super-pleasant morning :)

my doctor: "you're like an old lady."
i got the info i needed and headed off to the university, hoping to catch the blood donation truck before beginning my antibiotics. it wasn't there :(

i sat at the coffee shop recreating the blog that was destroyed during blogger's maintenance fumble a couple of weeks ago, then went to class. some girls were harping on about a weird smell that most of us couldn't detect - i thought maybe i'd gone deaf in the nose until the building caretaker came in with a spray that let me know, in no uncertain terms, that i was doing just fine.

a guy in our class came to sit by one of the girls who sits near me, presumably to flirt with her. totally emotionally dyslexic, switching accents frequently and then getting stuck in a loop quoting fat bastard. he didn't stop even when we switched from gentle chiding to sharp deriding :/

second class began strangely: co-conspirator asked if i'd bought wafers, and i told her that if she wanted one she'd have to get it from my seat. she came back with the packet, munching away, and went so far as to offer to others before i stopped her. she didn't understand afterwards that i wasn't so much interested in the monetary value; i'd bought them for the lesson (and the afternoon at work), and as they were mine i would have at least liked to have been consulted first.

when the lecturer makes tons of references and interesting asides, it's quite frustrating to have spotty internet access :S

medical insurance: i had a long argument with the salesman on my way to the bus, and eventually got him to acknowledge that they'd done me a disservice and told him that i want out. now a whole new bureaucratic battle begins...

the bullshit that particularly annoyed me: automatic, impersonal threats being sent out by computer with no human interaction, not even the promised human interaction after the last conversation we'd had, is very personal to *me*, the recipient. eventually, i think i got him to understand that. telling me that the other insurance companies are just as bad didn't make my heart melt. the other companies haven't messed me around yet.

i played angry birds on the bus, almost missing my stop. i came in to an empty office, and a few minutes later was joined by yogi. a few minutes later the rest showed up, and the day became very busy.

as much as i could do a little dance and sing "i told you so" at my boss - the fact that i'm going to have to manually revert some of the changes he made to my code does not sit well with me. it's going to be a long night, and i have to be ready in the morning for a demonstration...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

silent nights

i'm excited. and feeling good. i was feeling exhausted and horrible until i left campus, but when i plugged in my earphones and pumped up the volume on my house collection my spirits rose and things have been smooth since. i had a good, productive day in the (new) office*, had a very positive chat with mmf on my way to the old office, and life feels like it's on track.

* aside from tax issues: the fact that i work two jobs means that both my employers have to pay more taxes for me, and i get paid less to boot. i'm "fortunate" enough to be earning below the next tax bracket, and if i earned more than that such a large percentage would go to tax that it would reduce the incentive to work more hours to zero. what an intelligent system we live with.

---
thursday night:

this thing about letting people know how much petrol it takes to start a car... it's like the starfish story.

intimacy on the bus: i was standing reading from my iphone in the middle of the practically empty bus when a man walked in, stood on my left and put his arm across to the pole on my right, leaving me approximately an inch of breathing space. after glaring at him for a minute, i asked him to let me out and stood on his left. i don't think he got the hint.

i wrapped pg's birthday present while she got started with pitch black: a movie that you just *know* came out of an rpg. it's awesome.

---
friday:

at midnight, i presented the gifts - a nordstrom snow globe (why are decent snow globes so hard to find? and the shipping made this expensive) and a cute snow-globe keyring with santa claus inside - then we ate cake, i drank whiskey, we watched one piece (my legs got super-stiff again, it's very frustrating) and then passed out.

we woke up comfortably, made good pancakes, argued about the value of judaism and then went on a shopping spree. i can't stand shopping, but i figure that only going once a year on a birthday trip is acceptable. it was tough, but i survived. in the last shop we went to i overheard some old lady talking about a "one piece" and wondered if the manga could be interpreted as some sort of fashion metaphor, where the king of pirates is... yeah, it's a bit much :P

i bought something for myself on the way; two pairs of strap-on pockets. only i forgot to try on both for size, and one of them's too small :S

we had japanese for lunch, which was pretty good - although both of us suspect it had something to do with our not feeling quite well for the remainder of the afternoon.

...

---
saturday:

it's weird having constant munchies. and distracting. i spent saturday working. aside from a strange hassle accessing my apache server which resulted in my reinstalling it, only to discover that it was a problem with chrome redirecting my queries to www.localhost.com (good grief!). i was treated to the new version of internet explorer when the auto-updater kicked in. WOW. it's now chrome. it's like microsoft just gave up. yes, i know i'm behind the times, but still...

i took a long walk in the middle of the day to meet with a guy from the completion course so that he could hand-deliver a wedding invitation... i took the opportunity to shop for meat and beers for the evening. those beers turned out to be pretty heavy going on rollerblades, in addition to all the other gear i took with. the spot co-conspirator had found wasn't bad, until the huge function next door put on loud, crappy music* and not even our megaphone could save us.

* a pretentious, emotionally dyslexic child in rishikesh drove me nuts one day playing a song repeatedly on his cellphone, and when i heard it last night i immediately asked what it was.
justin bieber, i hate you.

the barbecue was alright, but i was upset that during the first round of poetry readings barely anybody volunteered and the march hare had joined us. he felt bad because he thought he'd ruined the party, and in the end it turned out that all that was missing was alcoholic lubrication. next time, i'm going to request that everyone starts drinking before they arrive.

the evening was mostly fun, although i was really tired and i'm glad that wr's cocktails weren't particularly strong. the most upsetting part of it all was the end, when i replaced the mat i'd brought and discovered that i hadn't taken out the meat. it had defrosted, so we gave it to some revellers close by and i felt silly.

on the way back home i went past the spot that we'd originally thought to sit at (that wasn't sanctioned by the authorities) and saw that nobody had a problem with barbecuing there, the lighting was better and everywhere was more or less quiet.

dammit :(

i was absolutely exhausted when i got home. pg and i had a number of miscommunications in a row and i went to bed broken and unhappy. at least things were better in the morning.

---
today:

i got some work done before heading out... i'd planned on starting my antibiotics courses today, but the pharmacist hadn't put stickers on the pills and i appear to have lost the script. that's quite annoying.

first class was cool - i enjoyed the material and amused myself with the list of common misconceptions. one of the girls gave me a copy of the second gabriel knight game, and pg and i had lunch together before i left campus.

...

now i've got to get some work done.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

quick breakdown

i just realized what time it is, and i'm disappointed because i've gotten so little done today. i'm definitely going to sleep tonight - tomorrow's a big day.

reading richard wright on the way to class was horrifying... his depiction of post-slavery in the southern states of america was enlightening - or endarkening. i highly recommend a glance. it's works like these that make me glad i'm studying again - we're just being exposed to snippets, and my reading list has expanded to impossible lengths :)

the same security guard has made a point of stopping me twice and being excessively thorough when everyone else is merely glanced at. he's making me feel like it's personal...

there's a penalty for being the first to use the hot water in our building: it takes three minutes to heat up. when you're in a hurry, that's annoying.

after hearing about the coolest honeymoon ever - going across the states during convention season with a spouse equally into comics and gaming - i was informed that i should answer icon's call for papers. when i protested "but i don't have anything to talk about!" i was laughed at, and then i blushed and realized that i always have *something* to talk about :P

first class was more interesting than usual; perhaps influenced by my earlier reading. i'd found du boise's texts gripping too...

the introductory lesson to shakespeare's measure for measure was mind-blowing. our lecturer made a great case for opening up the new testament, and the twists and turns and tricks of equivocation in the play were most intriguing. the only thing i definitely disagreed with him about is in calling it a comedy. i was impressed by scenes based on great wit, but the context was so dark that i didn't find myself actually laughing.

on the way out of class, i had a long and exciting chat with one of the girls about LARPing - i've begun trying to get hold of some from my friends from UCT, and if that doesn't work i'm going to write my own after exams. 'cause i'll have time ^_^

i spent a few minutes with co-conspirator organizing a megaphone; great solution, that, and i'm glad i thought of it. reading spiritual / metaphysical poetry through one of those will most assuredly be special :P

after enjoying an all-important ice-cream on the way off campus, i almost got on the bus before my boss sent me a just-in-time sms telling me not to bother. i went to wait on the other side, confronted by the question of whether or not to report the tiny packet on the bench to the police as a suspicious object until some stranger came and took it away (i'm fairly certain it wasn't hers). i then missed the stop to come here (old office), but i'm not really counting hours anymore so i don't care.

the previous development head helped me out with a weird flex problem i was having, only once it was solved another one popped up, this one with a super-helpful error number but no information concerning where in the code it has been thrown. after much searching i went back to the same guy, who showed me that flex has a logging system. the logging system is a shining example of how bad the flex documentation is - and the design's not at all intuitive either; i haven't really gotten very far :S

aside from a shocking response, it's been a fairly uneventful evening. i have wrapping paper printed for pg's birthday present, and it's past time i go home.

---
eli pariser - filter bubbles: if you remove the "i" from his name... this is fascinating, and disturbing. it's like the algorithms are performing similar functions to our brains in filtering, only with even less precision...

shock comments

in response to my review:

So can I assume you recommend the book?
I think your type of reaction is exactly what the author intended to evoke in the readers. You would probably be a perfect example of what the author meant with a "mass-produced-creature". A person who is so brainwashed, that the moment he reads something which isn't in sync with his own point of view, he feels insecure and takes it as a personal attack, which is a stereotype behavior of a shallow and ignorant personality.
I do not agree with all the viewpoints in the book and I doubt the author agrees with all of them. He probably created a character to be amusing and to create a new way of thinking, which in my opinion he managed to do both.
The novel never intended to be "War and peace" and from now on I'd recommend you to read "Snow White" and "Beauty and the Beast," if you can't deal with a world which isn't to your liking.
Wish you all the best...


after the initial shock at this response - i'm fairly confident that it's the author himself - i posted back. i really hope this doesn't become a loop.

I most certainly do NOT recommend the book.

Your reaction to my review is projection: you assume that anyone who disagrees with this book is automatically wrong because you believe that it expresses an absolute truth. You *have* found truth... *a* truth, not some grand all-encompassing unified theory... but even the ideas expressed by Man demonstrate a lack of interest in truly examining the world around him. It is a truth that any man can construct for himself - nihilism is a simple answer, depressing as it may be. Nihilism is old news, and we've progressed much in the interim. Please do some reading before fighting a review whose intent is entirely naive; I have shared my viewpoint as a service to potential readers. Let those who can appreciate it read it, and those who can't will ignore it anyway.

It is precisely because I am not brainwashed and because I choose to do research and consider things for myself that I am so disappointed with this book. It appears to me that you didn't completely read what I wrote, because I am specifically disturbed by the lack of insight and willingness to explore on the part of the author and the protagonist.

Finally - I am intrigued by your reference to fairy tales as being only for children, and I highly recommend taking some basic courses in literature before being so flippant. My review is honest, and my review is considerably well-informed, and if you're going to be defensive to the point of name-calling then I'd advise stepping out of the literary pool to which you have jumped. Writing a book is easy, and it appears that getting it published is also - writing a GOOD book is not.


[ADDED ONE DAY LATER: the final word]

Your response seriously makes me laugh... You obviously have no sense of humor. As if I really meant it when I asked "If you recommend it..."
Second of all, I never said this book represents absolute truth. In fact, I don't think this book represents absolute truth, nor do I think it represents absolute falseness. And I highly doubt that this was the intention of the book in the first place. I don't think he intended it to be a philosophical work either. You like to see things black and white. You like it simple, but that's just not how life works. You have issues with a fictional character. Why don't you go shoot Freddy Krueger for killing innocent people...
You have to ask yourself why you are taking it as a personal attack... Where does this rage come from? It's ok to disagree... that's what makes life interesting, but the manner in which you disagree is childish at best. It's as if when you were a kid and your friend borrowed a pencil from you without asking and you decide to punch him in the face as a response. Often in my life I disagree with people and I'm just fine with that. You probably believe in a dictatorship.
Let's just agree to disagree.
Peace.


"Often in my life I disagree with people and I'm just fine with that"
- I can see that. I'm guessing that often in your life you don't actually listen to what others are saying to you, because you know SO much more than they do. I've included some links that I think you mind find helpful:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_Projection_Fallacy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychologist%27s_fallacy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

Your response indicates that you are the author. Even if you're not, if you're going to publish something into the public domain, at least be prepared to receive criticism from people who know more than you or have thought deeper than you.
The fact that you have surrounded yourself by sycophants and ridicule people and their opinions without understanding or even trying to understand them is extremely low-brow.

Please learn to read. You are pretentious, and aggressive, and I'm not going to waste my energy responding to your schoolyard comments anymore. I've said what I had to say, and anybody with half a brain will be happy that I've done so. All the best.

partly cloudy

i didn't sleep many hours, but i slept like a log and did some epic dreaming. it was hard getting up. i made it to the post office on time, even with the prerequisite ticket confusion (why can't they just label the buttons meaningfully?!), to pick up my registered mail:
i've been served.
this time, the health insurance company is threatening to cancel my subscription and take legal action, and now there's NO excuse. they promised me they'd sort these things out, but they obviously don't care.

i had to leave a message with the salesman's voice-mail, and was really embarrassed when i hung up the phone and realized i'd made a really obscure hebrew mistake (i said "from behind" instead of "after" when talking about time).

i wrote an attempt at a metaphysical poem during first class. between the weather and the sleep deprivation, after class i was feeling confused and my sense of humour failed when one of the girls made a really stupid joke that tied in to last night's shirt issue in bnei brak. it aches me to see the religious and the anti erecting nothing but walls - one day, if we ever manage to calm our neighbours for long enough we're probably going to implode.

i walked away exhausted and miserable, and went to the student union to sort out co-conspirator's mess. i was too tired to play nice, and i made a couple of the guys uncomfortable with my inability to fake a smile.

i spoke to the health insurance salesman and explained it all - possibly a little more sternly than was appropriate. he didn't get back to me as promised.

i got hold of urchin on my way back home, and we talked for a while... she's stressed to the max, her exhibit in paris fell through because the printers screwed up the job and wouldn't reprint at their own expense - sounds like she's been had. calming her down lent me perspective, and i explained to her that to pass her exams she needs to focus, and being able to focus and to not stress is the real test. i told her to save her best for when she's got her diploma.

i worked away the rest of the day, aside from a playful moment of installing whatsapp on my iphone and shopping with pg. then i came back and sat down to produce my review; expecting catharsis and finding none.

the bad news - one of the items i bought for pg's birthday hasn't arrived yet. the good news - i've been reimbursed. if it does eventually arrive, do i return the return?
faux pas: shouldn't have said anything to pg. i don't know what i was thinking :S

i got to help in the kitchen tonight: we baked fish. AWESOME! i'm so pleased every time i don't screw something up.

i finally finished the first half of a php program that should've been completed on the weekend... what a crazy experience - why do i always end up working on things that are buggy / incomplete and require magical workarounds? it's a great excuse to build interesting helper classes and gain experience, but it takes forever.

at least i have a development environment now. that shit could've gotten crazy on my netbook.

now i'm done, now to do some reading for the morning's class.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

my first book review

as a literature student, as one who claims to be post-human and understand the basics of psychology, it would be unethical of me to let this be.

the book: jonathan wyler - man

---

the review as posted on amazon:
In reading "Man" I have been led to feel pity for the protagonist, who has thought himself into a dark place from which he is only confronted with the ugly side of a realm no less imaginary than the happier ones he decries. He keeps himself disconnected from anyone who could present him with any intellectual challenge, suffers delusions of grandeur and brings to mind a child Narcissis, fascinated upon seeing his reflection for the first time and assuming that he is the first to do so.

What little he gets right is alarmingly overwhelmed by what he gets wrong - this man is so proud of his ability to dissect social form that he has blinded himself to social function. From the arts to philosophy to love, the sheer pretentiousness of such unformed, uninformed, childish philosophy and lack of even a basic grasp of the complexities of human psychology shine through to make this text tedious and at times unbearable; I couldn't put it down simply because I kept hoping that the next page would bring character development and reversal.

This appears to be the work of an uneducated man too lazy to perform even the most cursory research before sharing his opinions in a manner declaring him to consider himself an intellectual. He speaks authoritatively of the most superficial and childlike of observations and I would hope that the $7 I've sprung for this rubbish could go towards a semester or two of literature studies, to expose the author to something of the vast, wonderful world of literature, psychology and philosophy for which this book functions as a desperate cry for help.

He examines everyone's life but his own, and the irony is far from delightful. His lack of understanding in realms of human motivation, music, cinema, legal systems and the concept of justice, and even on topics as uninteresting as that of the service industry are all offensive in their myopia and serve no function other than to highlight a perspective more appropriate to an angsty teenager than to someone who considers himself an author.

"Be skeptical of textbooks, university professors and bosses," he states, and this would be a good stance to take if it wasn't presented within a warped context in which it expresses disavowal rather than caution.

The author is in search of questions, but is not interested enough in obtaining the answers to them to look around at the excess of information that any member of the first world has access to. In deconstructing the "what"s of the world and not the "why"s, he appears to be trapped in Plato's cave, one foot on the path to the light but the other firmly planted in the dark.

I consider this book to be dangerously subversive in that it has the potential to influence the negative and the lazy in a morbid and self-destructive manner; the author has herein constructed a dark master narrative so wrapped up in the certainty of its own reality that he is blind to the absurdity of its contradictions with that which he does not understand and so willfully ignores.

I'm less concerned about my money being squandered than I am about the time that I've spent being offended by such shameless anti-literature. It is tempting to respond to each and every offending example, but if what I have written above hasn't brought about catharsis then becoming petty probably won't either. In response to "The Educator": "I think this is the kind of book that should go into school in our era of post-modernism" is the kind of comment that I can only hope is being made ironically.


the following are excerpts that i removed prior to posting the review. primarily because they contain potentially offensive material.

---

on downloading:

man is a book written by a guy i used to study with that came to our barbecue on independence day - i've heard good reviews, and i will definitely check it out when i have a moment.

---

after the first couple of chapters:

so far, not so good. as far as style goes it's the second worst thing i've ever read, and as far as content goes... well, quite frankly it's offensively stupid and miserable.
...
the protagonist is such a complete and utter douche that i feel my gorge rising at every utterance. this is what happens when a work of fiction is written by someone who has no talent, doesn't read and has zero appreciation for literature. but i'm hoping he's just really, really good at constructing completely foreign characters and then destroying them.

---

midway:

... i would hope that the $7 I've sprung for this rubbish will go towards an internet connection or a library card, perhaps even a semester of literature studies, to expose the author to something of this vast, wonderful world of literature, psychology and philosophy ...

... his lack of understanding in realms of human motivations, music, legal systems and the concept of justice, the service industry - are offensive in their myopia and serve no other function than to highlight a head so far up his bum that everything looks and smells bad...

... and makes claim about such newsworthy items as phones causing cancer that proves how little he himself researches when presented by false data...

... author's delusions of grandeur... the book is a manifestation of Man's behavior, a harassment of the sensibilities by a self-aggrandizing loser ... entirely unoriginal in thought but exquisitely powerful in its lack of insight...

... i must admit that i lost patience after reading Man's review of slumdog millionaire... in the final scene i was accosted by an ending so puerile and fantastically lacking in any sense of reality that i could almost hear the crystal ball of my hopes of a suddenly emerging intellectual discovery exploding into a mist of fine shards of disillusionment...

chores

i woke up mid-sleep, still feeling great. it took me a little while to get out of the apartment - mostly because i was constantly double-checking that i hadn't forgot any papers and because physically handling all papers plus the bottles and the papers for recycling while wearing wrist-guards and trying to lock the door all at once does require a bit of dexterity.

first stop - post office. i finally finished the awful book i've been subjecting myself to, but only because it got so bad that i skipped to the last chapter to see if it ever gets any better...

nope.

from there i went to the clinic to have my stitches removed. the first nurse i spoke to was quite unpleasant, the second seemed unprofessional; the second had to call the first to come and check that my post-stitches wound would be alright. it doesn't look so good, but at least it's not anywhere that i care too much about :P

i made one last stop to buy tickets to see bob dylan next month - w00t!!! - and then stopped off at home for a pirate bath (i hadn't realized how hot it had become) and a change of clothes for work.
the sewage guy's response to my suggestion that he not leave his engine running was quite overpowering in its haughtiness: "that's great, but what happens when my starter fails? it's happened before. thanks anyway."

shouldn't you get your starter fixed if that's the case? just a thought. his previous claim had been that his truck (i can't remember the brand) doesn't cause pollution. wow.

mail check: i do love getting second notices from the post office without having received a first :/

it's a bad sign when someone like me begins to wonder if perhaps he should consider living somewhere else. do i really want to give up on a country i've sacrificed so much for? when i know that when shit hits the fan overseas, i'll have to come back here and be stuck with the same frustrating lack of civilization? a couple of conversations during the past two days have brought me down a bit...

i went to work, confused by the bus driver's unwillingness to punch my card until i figured out that i was paying more than i should have if i would have used cash. useless bloody card, that.

work was alright, and it's definitely better to be sitting next to someone who can help me with the nuances of php, and can see that it's not just me when weird shit starts happening. my gremlins haven't entirely given up, it seems :P

the bus back to tel aviv took forever to arrive, and the driver was being funny which i wasn't in the mood for. i don't have an israeli sense of humour, and i'm not certain that it's possible to develop one after arriving as an adult.

if i hadn't tricked myself by diarizing my appointment ten minutes early, i probably wouldn't have made it on time. note to self: leave spare. it turns out that my h. pylori count is really high. this bodes ill. literally - i've got to start the triple course of antibiotics again and i'm NOT looking forward to it :S

i stopped by the pharmacy to pick up my meds (and, while i waited, a couple of other things i keep forgetting to organize). that was the second time today that a fancy touch-screen for handling queue numbers didn't work (the first being at the post-office). KISS - simple, mechanical push buttons are better.

i made myself four decent sandwiches for lunch because i was much hungrier than i'd thought, watched some more macbeth while washing the dishes (for which i got shouted at later; i've got to learn to use the dishwasher :P), then passed out for a couple of hours.

waking up as pg and her mother entered when the blanket had fallen and i was in my underwear was a little weird. more for her mum than for me, i think, and then i felt bad because she seemed uncomfortable :(

i had a fight with co-conspirator over the phone because she's not willing to talk to faculty members without me - wtf?!

i spent a short while sorting out papers, then went up with pg to the roof to rotate my wheels while i drank hot chocolate and we smoked nargila with great music playing off my ipod. i felt totally stoned by the time we came downstairs to get ready to roll...

... and received a phone call from my kibbutz cousin, who's just become a grandmother ^_^

rollerblading tonight was sweaty business; i think i agree with the general opinion that summer's here. it's also apparent from the size of the group: it was HUGE tonight.

we went through bnei brak and some guy was so worried about them throwing stones at us that he browbeat someone else into giving up their security shirt and then me into wearing it. only later did the two of us discover that we'd both been lied to; the lender of the shirt was told that i was one of the volunteer organizers and i'd been told the he was responsible for the medics.

crazy bullshitter. weird.

pg and i stopped for great sorbet at vaniglia, then came home. i thought i'd push out the book review this evening, but i've taken longer than i expected so i'm just gonna crash.

my hair's in a bun, and aside from resembling a sumo wrestler i'm quite satisfied with the look. earlier someone in the rollerblading group called me "curly hair" to get my attention, which i found highly amusing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

intimacy

it has been so long since i last found myself putting myself to bed at such a ridiculous hour - midnight to 7am are hours i've considered "mine" and "working" since i left high school and due to external pressures i haven't used them comfortably in many years. it's not just about working late, it's about enjoying myself doing so.

so there was something magical about going to bed after realizing that i had to be up and about in the morning, and slipping into bed with the early birds chirping and the girl that i love in my arms; that combination of the good of my past and the good of my present was so exciting that it took me a little while to fall asleep because i didn't want the moment to disappear.

and pg was oblivious to it all. i had to share my experience over breakfast :)

work hours

my mum just reminded me that it's 5am - where'd the night go?!

1. the keyboard-nub mouse pointer, the switched ctrl / function buttons, the unconfigurable touchpad, and the super-useful buttons crammed on here that i've yet to get used to all interfere somewhat with the user experience.

2. on the other hand, this machine actually works and aside from one hiccup (apache server doesn't dig skype; didn't see that coming) it's been smooth sailing and i'm working from an actual development environment for the first time in forever. like, it's been the greater part of a decade that i've used a decent system and configuration.

3. php: i'm proud of the function i've constructed to replace mysql's REPLACE statement. i'm disappointed with how hard it is to convert a string to a datetime variable when i have an appropriate format string at the ready.

4. bed.

coasting

racism vs racial awareness: i used the wrong word in hebrew, and i was told afterwards that i was euphemising - don't presume to know what's subconsciously underlying my speech when i'm speaking in my second language. hell, don't do it when i'm speaking in my mother tongue.

is this an israeli thing - or is it universal - to assume that you know how other people think, and how to interpret their communicated signs or which ones are intended or not?

---

first class began with a plagiarism warning, and most of us were stressed even though we hadn't done anything wrong: a plagiarism accusation is a case of guilty until proven innocent; and there's not really any defence once accused.

after class, and after getting back a great grade for my assignment, i asked about the whole plagiarism thing and was pleasantly surprised by the fairness. and totally shocked by the crudeness of the example of plagiarism that they showed me.

i was most pleased when discussing it afterwards with the TA, and her feedback on my paper was really soothing considering how much effort i invested and how badly i messed up in the poetry midterm. that shit had impact.

---

second class was absolutely brilliant, and ended with a discussion on the lack of catharsis at the end of macbeth. i believe that the analysis of it brought its own catharsis. our lecturer keeps wow'ing us.

after class i met with our class rep, and that was the second pleasant surprise for the day - she's alright, which i hadn't been certain of, and we're on more or less the same page.

i bussed to the new office to pick up my laptop, and it was decided that it's a good time for me to start coming in to work. i went out to draw cash and find take-out, which somehow turned into a long lunch, even though i didn't linger at any point.

i spent an hour with installations (not completed yet), then mmf gave me a ride back to campus and lectured me about being irresponsible with bills and banking; he introduced me to banking using my iphone, and although it took a while to install the software, by the time i arrived on campus i knew that my financial situation was all sorted out and a layer of stress had dropped.

the forum meeting was fascinating, but i was tired and the aircon was off and the windows were closed and... i hadn't done the reading (i hadn't realized there was one), so i only got a partial :(

pg and i met up coincidentally on the bus, the third pleasant surprise. we missioned around looking for bob dylan tickets, then came home. i had the last steak (delicious!), shaved and showered, and crashed on the couch for two hours. i slept deeply.

i feel able to work now. i don't know why posting this took so long. i suspect having how i met your mother in the background affects my productivity.

Monday, May 16, 2011

poor me: a weekly review part iii

[continued...]

i slept like the dead on the couch, and was woken a bit later to vacuum, and take a call from co-conspirator. i didn't have the energy, but i told her i'd update her once i'd done the park at night.

after having discussed things with ru55, and then grabbing some tips online, pg and i took her electric grill up to the roof and i cooked my first steak. it came out beautifully. it was a perfect night and we smoked a nargila for dessert, and life was good.

it took a while to set up the subtitles for shaun of the dead for pg, but i got them going eventually. i then set upon my poetry paper before going to bed around 2am, not making it there before discovering that i wasn't in a good situation.

it took a while to get to sleep.

---
saturday:

pg transferred me a temporary solution and i got stuck into finished my paper. that was a tough paper, and made tougher by my previous failure. i managed to finish before pg's family started arriving...

the afternoon on the roof was great, everything went well except for the fact that her family aren't really big into meat. her father considered his steak to be underdone, and the truth is that the electric grill cooks so slowly that you'd have to double-kill the outside to get the inside bloodless, and i don't know if i'm psychologically capable of doing that. i enjoyed two steaks, and still had another two as leftovers by the time we were done. add the chorizos and i was stuffed - finishing the lunch with pg's exquisite triple-layer cream cake, great 60s folk music, a good cup of coffee and a nargila was fantastic.

i found being thanked at the end for hosting to be awkward. i don't feel like i did very much, and even though i live here now it's odd for me to consider myself as a host.

pg and i spent a while cleaning up, and i then bladed over to my old neighbour for a delightful and conspiratorially productive visit. i continued on to the park and figured out where we'd be. i was on my way back when i reported my success to co-conspirator; i was home already when she informed me that she'd done a round herself.

i was irritated, because she'd sent me a message during the day to ask if i'd gone and i'd ignored it because we'd talked and agreed that i would report when i had - i don't like how pushy she is. to then go and see without telling me, when i have other stuff to do, is not very nice.

when i approached her about this this morning she told me she'd only been during the day, so i guess that doesn't count, even though it was quite aggravating at the time.

i worked quite late,

---
today:

and got up quite early (6.40). i finally finished the first draft of the file i'd been working on just before i had to go, and it was eerie seeing it run successfully first time. i checked my mailbox (no mail for me) and then began to use all my travelling as an opportunity to read the book i was told about on tuesday. the author is a guy i studied with (my first degree), and when i asked him what he was up to he proudly exclaimed "i've written a book!" our mutual friends claim to have read it and gave it rave reviews - i felt it worthwhile to pay the $7 to check it out on kindle.

so far, not so good. as far as style goes it's the second worst thing i've ever read*, and as far as content goes... well, quite frankly it's offensively stupid and miserable. it's a real page-turner, though. it's so bad that i *have* to find out if there's some character development, if there's a complete reversal. the protagonist is such a complete and utter douche that i feel my gorge rising at every utterance. this is what happens when a work of fiction is written by someone who has no talent, doesn't read and has zero appreciation for literature. but i'm hoping he's just really, really good at constructing completely foreign characters and then destroying them.

* psychotic american's efforts were even worse

i had a chat with mmf before class; now i understand the way the tax works, i think, and he's wired me the cash. the only problem left is that i need to find out whether my mortgage payment went through today because the internet access doesn't reflect changes fast enough. and it turns out that we had a misunderstanding concerning the amount i need to earn, so we're already up for our first renegotiation.

after class we made a promo video for this weekend's poetry event, and while it took much longer to produce it came out just as well. i'm quite pleased.

i stopped by (old) work for half an hour before going to physiotherapy; prior to the electrotherapy i was falling asleep, and i thought that would help me during. when your back's arched unnaturally and your eyes and teeth are shut tight, it's not so easy to nap.

my physiotherapist and i haven't gotten along from the start - today she really threw me when she stated that in order to treat me she "has the right" to shave parts of my beard (i forgot to shave again, and the tabs don't stick well). i do believe i "have the right" to not be treated if i don't want to look like an asshole. this isn't exactly life or death.

the rest of the workday was long and mostly uneventful. i returned home for steak leftovers (^_^) and have been working until stupid o'clock, and for most of the time my brain's been fuzzed. so i'm finally getting to bed.

i can't believe i've finally gotten all of this down!

poor me: a weekly review part ii

[... continued]

i was planning on blading to campus, but i felt a few raindrops on my way home to pick up my bag and made an extremely wise decision to put on my shoes and take the bus. that meant literally running for the bus :/

i'm been reading aldous huxley - brave new world on the bus and i couldn't figure out where i'd read "multitudinous seas incarnadine" until second class... how fortunate that we're studying macbeth :)

i spoke to someone in the morning on my way in to get coffee, and somehow the notion of summer vacation was raised... good heavens! i'll have time to actually *DO* stuff! that totally energized me, and i would have remained quite bouncy if first class hadn't been so uninspiring.

i picked up a couple of students interested in joining our anime group, and the lecturer invited me to a lecture that was going to take place in the afternoon.

i was dead again after first, but second was a great class that began by explaining how woody allen misunderstood shakespeare, and ended with me being distracted and agonizing over a rather embarrassing mix-up with my calendar - i'd okayed pg's birthday barbecue for the same evening that i was organizing a poetry reading, because she'd given me a date and i hadn't associated it with the festival we're latching onto (lag ba'omer)... embarrassing and unpleasant.

after engaging one of the poetry lecturers to invite him to the reading i was in a bit of a hurry to get to the student union to organize a bullhorn when i ran into a friend of scrapper's that i used to serve with. a fascinating chat that took far too long; he agreed with me at first, but then got defensive and began tying himself into logic knots. it's tough trying to give hope to someone who understands on an intellectual level but whose emotions cannot bring him to keep it together. we ended with an argument over choice, about which i have far too much to say to include here.

what a pleasure to receive the cash from the alternative ride to compensate me for my having to repurchase thursday after he lost it. and now i feel stupid because the link i just added is to the director's cut and it's cheaper than what i found on ebay. i didn't even *think* to look on amazon :S

on my mission to inform israel that one should turn off the engine when idling for more than ten seconds, i have received three classes of response. the first, the majority, is a postive "thank you!" and the turning of the key. the second, much less, is a blank, uncomprehending stare, with eyes glazed and mouth agape. the third, only one, i got on my way to visiting wr from someone who obviously (by his look and tone) considers himself something of an intellectual: "what a waste of your time."

i didn't think of it quickly enough, but that deserved a "what a waste of your money." what a dumbass.

the lecture that i'd been invited to was really interesting! what a bummer they always have them when i'm completely exhausted. half the lecture i couldn't tell if i was awake or dreaming, every now and then starting and wondering if i'd closed my eyes, snored or drooled... i don't know how the scene began to form in my mind, and i wrote it on my way to the bus.

walking down the road near our apartment: the pinks and yellows and purples of a tiny road after the sun-bronzed facades of the main street were peeping, glowing, through the foliage - but why were all the metals purple?

i arrived just in time to help pg and her parents erect the serious gazebo; afterwards i rested, had dinner and a shower and we walked to the cinema to see thor.

i saw the poster for the fast and the furious 5: oh gods no. it's like tropic thunder just became real. on the other hand, i believe priest, real steel and the fourth pirates of the caribbean are all going to be amazing :)

as for thor: dude. awesome. i don't think there was anything i didn't like, i had fun the whole movie and i was shocked by the tidiness of the fight scenes after having read a review that stated that it wasn't a good idea to watch in 3-d because there's too much motion to make sense of things. 3D was *just* right, thank you very much. gorgeous film, go see it.

i was shocked when i received a refusal to participate in the organization that's getting going; not because i expected participation, but because i hadn't asked for it. i found myself angrily clarifying that all i was seeking was advice and contacts... why does everyone have to make things so complicated?!

pg and i went thursday night shopping, and had an amusing little "no *i'm* paying" scene that wherein the cashier intervened on my behalf and was then embarrassed to have done so.

i can't recall what made me think of it, but i wonder if anyone misheard and thought the chant was "what's that smell?"

rum works with redbull, and it works with orange juice. we had a drink or two and made our way to the zizi club. we met a few people i know on the way in, had an unpleasant moment with the bouncer who didn't understand that i'd heard what he'd said and was actually planning on complying, and walked in to discover that this was where pg and i had come a few months ago, also on the date when we celebrate our x months together. interesting timing :P

the music was frikkin' AMAZING. but the place was crowded and eventually we left because pg was having to work too hard to defend herself; i wasn't faring too much better.

i was startled by a taxi driver on the way home because he so enthusiastically received my explanation of the evils of idling. sometimes you really don't know who'll surprise you the most.

---
friday:

i woke up with a skew neck, and was planning on rollerblading to the park to scout for a spot when it began to rain... to REALLY rain. i was sensing a pattern :P

i bought meat from the butcher, for the first time ever, thinking i'd bought *just* about enough to cover everyone. on the way back, inspiration struck:
i have it! the police don't know - that's what they told me, at least - how to stop people from using the horn in inappropriate situations; if every israeli car's horn gave a little electric shock, it wouldn't stop people from emergency use but they'd think twice before holding it down for more than a second

i really do believe that that could be done.

pg and i went to buy strawberries, and passed by a supermarket on the way to pick up breakfast. the donuts looked pretty good, but the girl at the counter couldn't spell donut in any language and i eventually had to shout at her to get her to give up and let me go without :S

an old lady was being really pathetic about blocking the road so i got involved as i walked past and the woman she was griefing was quite grateful. how embarrassing to get home and realize that the old woman is our neighbour, and have to explain all the way up the stairs why what she did was wrong. awkward.

the weather had cleared a bit so i strapped on my blades and headed to the park, purchasing a bicycle bell on the way (quite a story, sadly) that can fit on my finger like a large ring. it's bloody helpful - and funny, too.

after a while of scouting i realized that daylight snaps were not particularly productive, and so i returned home. on the way, i travelled parallel to a cyclist with a dog running after him. when his dog ran to the side to relief herself, i asked him if it's legal to let one's animals relieve themselves freely in the park.
"no, " he answering without hesitation.
a second passed.
"but my bitch is allowed."

the audacity astounds me. i harrumphed (there's a hebrew word for that that i used loudly and abrasively) and sped along.

i watched measure for measure when i got home, and it was a far sight easier than reading the damn play. i don't know why i found it so confusing.

[continued...]

Sunday, May 15, 2011

poor me: a weekly review part i

this is a daunting post, i'm considering leaving it at bullet points.

---

monday night

i watched the first bit of macbeth, and it is creepy and beautiful and deserving of all the praise it has received. to offset pg's watching twilight, which i haven't seen but have had my ears abused by its background badness, we watched a couple of episodes of being human (there's an american version too?!).

then i strapped on my blades for a short run. i returned, breathless and exhilarated, had a quick shower and settles down with pg to celebrate independence day by watching mononoke hime.

---

tuesday

i went to sleep around midnight, then woke up around 2am and hurriedly got ready to party. i met up with the girls at my apartment, and we ended up leaving around 4am, hitting the gilboa at the perfect time to catch a beautiful sunrise. we got lost looking for the parking, but eventually managed to find the place... one of the girls tried to convince the guard to let us park in the organizers space, and laughed at me for not playing along and pretending to be a dj.

i don't do games.

after a lengthy argument between her and the tickets sales - the tickets were ridiculously expensive - we had a bit of a hike before arriving on the scene.

kindzadza was hectic, zirkin was fun, the hamburger for breakfast (so i could take my pills) was kinda alright. sandman was pretty decent, but then...

... green nuns of the revolution were frikkin' AMAZING. total flashback goa trance set, absolutely incredible.

there were hints of mud on the dancefloor. after the old-school madness the oddball eclectic electro wasn't too cool, although the middle of the set was pretty good. then the majority of our car decided it was time to go, and the next set saw us out with solid groovy beats.

the plastic flap behind the back wheel came loose, and anti-1 got to it before i did so while she did all the dirty work i became the butt of the jokes of the family picnicking a few metres away. they invited us to partake of their (very decent) lunch, and refused to accept my declining their offer. i wasn't hungry, i was proud of having said "no" in light of my undesirably large appetit of late, and there i was being forced to take sausages to placate their sense of hospitality :/

it was a comfortable drive, and even our hitch-hikers slept well. i dropped myself at ze germans' traditional barbecue, which was comfortable and cool and not infiltrated by the brother-in-law's family like last time. i went downstairs to put on my boardies, and smacked my head into their dangerously low roof. unfortunately, my very expensive sunglasses were on my heard and they exploded into two pieces.

fortunately, they're really well designed and the snap was totally controlled and the pieces could be clicked right back into place. awesome!!!

not so awesome was managing to step on a bee. i count myself very lucky that one of the girls lives close by and she fetched me an antihistamine.

it was far too cold by the time sunset had arrived, so after a fair amount of eating and chatting i walked to the bus and returned to tel aviv. i stopped by the supermarket on the way, and was highly amused by having made the right decision to stand in the slow queue as opposed to the express. and that in spite of the queue i chose being triply slow: the woman couldn't decide what she wanted to buy, then how to pay, and then the computer wouldn't process her coupons. i was also amused to hear the computers being called "thinkers" by the woman working the counter :P

i joined pg in watching how i met your mother before bed. she's still watching the funny seasons.

---

wednesday

i was *exhausted*. the class on rhyming felt like a no-go, meeting the class-rep was a no-go, the class we'd reserved for the anime night was non-existent. we were told we had a class that was fictitious. after cancelling the event in utter disappointment, i went to fight with the student union. after a couple of speeches, we discovered that the error was far less sinister or complicated than i'd thought: right room number, wrong building.

OH.

i bussed home for a nap, then visited my apartment to pick up the rent. and learn that i'd missed a crazy party the night before...

i got a bit of work done, said hi and goodbye to pg as she came in, then returned to campus.

the medical building is great; eerily hospital-like. and the one-way doors are stupid. as are the coins-only vending machines. in the end, three of us sat watching the first half of galaxy express 999 (botchman and eidetic hadn't been with us the week before), and we decided that we're moving the anime nights back to tel aviv, back to our homes, and incorporating them with munchkin, talisman, or d&d as our fancy takes us.

after a quick communication through ebay about a gift that i'm almost certain won't arrive in time. i then stole transferred a few large concrete blocks to the roof, did some work, watched how i met your mom with pg, then hit the hay.

---

thursday

i arose at 6.40am to prepare for my visit to the dentist. i spent so much time building a socially constructive blog that i was almost late. i left in a hurry, it was a warm day, and got halfway to the bus before i realized that i'd left my panoramic at home... i *ran* back, and consider myself very lucky that pg was groggily half-awake and mumbled "are you going on rollerblades?" at me. i hadn't thought of it, but i scrambled and made it *just* in time.

only when i arrived, i realized that i'd forgotten to bring a certain form... at least i could get it organized in the same building.
i rolled back home, passing by the bank for a half an hour social because the computers had died... an elderly "gentleman" claimed that it's our generation's fault that we're at the mercy of technology. i think he was confused about my age.

as i was standing with the teller, netvision called:
"would you like to renew your telephone contract?"
"can you call me back in 20 minutes?"
"no."
"i don't understand. please call me back in twenty minutes."
"you can call our customer service number at..."
"your customer service line sucks. you've called me now, when i can't take your call, now please call me back in twenty minutes."
"i'm not calling you back."
"let me speak to your manager please."
[some excuse as to why she can't connect me]
"hang on - you're calling to find out if i want to renew with you guys?"
"yes."
"then the answer's no."

[continued...]