Tuesday, November 29, 2011

almost 2am?

rubbish! i won't have it!

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

holy crap.

...

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

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

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

must... sleep...

Monday, November 28, 2011

stressed out weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 26, 2011

summary fire too

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 25, 2011

summary fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

i don't like wasting words

so i repost them here.

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

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

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

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

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


---
clarification
---

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

<personal details deleted here>

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

Thursday, November 24, 2011

in the enemy's camp

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

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

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

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

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

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

*sigh*

---

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

launching...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

long day

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

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

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

sheesh.

---

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

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

...

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

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

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

...

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


---

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

Monday, November 21, 2011

enthusiasm

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

...

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

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

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

Sunday, November 20, 2011

the new media

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

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

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

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

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

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

---

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

Saturday, November 19, 2011

the studio

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

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

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

reined in

*phew*

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

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

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

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

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

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

holy shit.

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

---

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

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

broken head

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

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

---

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

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

---

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

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

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

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

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

better when moved

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

and in health?

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

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

*sigh*.

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

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

restless mailing

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

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

now to try and sleep a bit more :P

alternative mode of work

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

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

Sunday, November 13, 2011

worst 13th

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

---

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

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

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

---

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

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

---

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

a couple of days ago...

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

Friday, November 11, 2011

bar's out

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

---
thursday:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

---
friday:

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

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

---
today:

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

now for a movie, or something.

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

on relative importance

western black rhino declared extinct

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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

the past of the future of the past

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

i kinda almost felt better after that.

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

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

WE MUST BURN THIS COOKBOOK!

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

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

in passing

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

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

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

now bombed. an super-early morning looms.

Monday, November 07, 2011

strike out

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

what the hell kind of a strike is that?!

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

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

---
quitting.

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

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

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

*sigh*

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

* including releasing me immediately
...

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

---

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

chest pain

i went to bed around 2am, and around 4 or 5am i was up and incredibly uncomfortable. pg must have sensed it, because she woke up soon afterwards and both of us lay in bed, miserable, until the alarm went off at 6.30am. except for when i got up to go to the toilet. on my way back i yawned and stretched, and somehow the stretch made the area around my sternum really sore, like i'd pulled a muscle or something :S

early mornings aren't good for us. but my disk-on-key had not only been found by the caretaker, but he'd sifted through its contents and discovered my phone number. i'm surprised and impressed! i arranged sound equipment for the shakespeare lecture i'm auditing, sorted out thursday's room confusion and had coffee while discovering that while my kindle may be cool, it can't handle indexing thousands of books without draining the battery (so i've just deleted everything except for what i need for my studies). what a silly issue!

french class - not bad, although annoying can't-keep-his-trap-shut dude sat right behind me.

i was buggered by the time i got to work:
"have you lost weight?"
"not really"
"oh. well you look like shit."

the guys left for lunch as i arrived, and it was only after they got back that i was told that there was no reason for me to come in. thanks. rabbitcvs / nautilus / whatever was ruined by the previous upgrade and couldn't be reinstalled, but i did manage to get svn workbench running before i left and it's actually quite a neat little package.

back to school: nim is away for a couple of weeks, and the class was way more interesting without her crowding it. afterwards, a quick snack, excellent mocha at aroma with wordsworth and co-conspirator, and then the three of us walked to our favourite professor's for a long meeting that had both highly entertaining elements and a bit of group shouting therapy. the hardest part was right at the end, when i informed the professor that i'll be cancelling her class; it's true that it's for financial reasons, but i felt uncomfortable when her line of thought turned to "how can we help you more" (my bursary award is quite sizeable) and it was tough to explain that i'll be in a much better position if i defer the courses and don't overload myself.

at least i think i managed to not offend her. i say hopefully.

wordsworth gave me a ride back home, and i would have done some work if i hadn't been so occupied with my kindle, pg's computer re-install, and a train of thought that stretched from checking my bank account and discovering that i've been underpaid this month, to determining the likelihood that i was underpaid last month, to whether or not i'm familiar enough with the tech to take the job i've been interviewed for, to sending mmf a letter of resignation stating all of the reasons for my general unhappiness and expressing the hope that we can still be friends.

although, as pg pointed out, we might well be past that judging by the way i've been treated.

as i said to my mum: i'm feeling better about it already. and tomorrow's a strike; no studies and no public transport, so i've an excuse to work from home.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

seeking the stone

i barely got anything done this morning, for a number of reasons. and reading freud is, as usual, a hassle and a half (not a hoff, thank the gods). i had an absolutely horrid experience with pg's mother's dog, who suffers from an old leg injury that i never thought to consider when i convinced her to jump onto my lap - she got stuck halfway and was so sore afterwards that petting her was impossible and she could no longer climb stairs. she didn't stop staring at me, looking traumatized, and i still feel horrible about it :(

we took siesta, and woke up half an hour before everyone was supposed to arrive for the games / movie evening. a minute or two before my kibbutz cousin called, she and her sister had arrived in tel aviv and pg and i needed to meet with them. after urgent calls and postponing, the two of us met up with the two of them in an arbitrary place for coffee and wine; it wasn't unpleasant, but it was slightly awkward.

we returned home just as the guys were arriving, and we gave up setting up thunderstone: i suspect it would have been easier if everyone had been paying attention. we switched to citadels, which was fun as always but got dragged out by the number of players and the silliness injected by certain players... fun, but much longer than was comfortable.
after scrapper and a couple of others had left, and we had to choose between a movie or a game, i'm well pleased that we decided to give thunderstone another go. we'd missed a crucial point on setup that we got on the second attempt, it wasn't complicated at all and the game, as i remembered, flows smoothly and is a lot of fun!

now back to prepping for class tomorrow.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

saturday morning dreaming

with blue pilots project - mamouth in the background :)

i began the weekend yesterday with a visit to the student union, where i explained my position on a number of political things and agreed to run for humanities representative for the master's studies. weird communication issues with the head of the union, though.

on the way home i had my photo professionally taken for the united states' diversity visa application. it cost me fifty shekels, which kinda sucked, and when i opened my wallet to pull out my usb-on-key (i didn't want them to waste a disc on a picture) i discovered that it had been left in the computer we used for our class on thursday. DAMMIT. another early morning sunday tomorrow, to see if i can retrieve it :'(

pg and i watched another episode and a half of misfits, and i rushed off to the climbing wall. i'd gotten as far as the bus stop when the heavens opened and poured buckets of rain down upon us; we agreed to meet up at rabin square instead. it was glorious, wonderful rain, and i walked happily back home past crowds trapped under buildings, soaked through but rewarded when the sun came back out just as i entered our street.

i dropped off my phone and wallet, switched to a more sporty shirt, and headed out to the square for about an hour of excellent frisbee, only brought to an end because botchman botched a landing (in his defence, he was doing some awesome aerobatics at the time) and needed to get home to wash off the blood and muck. we celebrated with brilliant home-made BLTs and interesting conversion, and then i returned home (it had gotten quite chilly) to shower, arrange the course material for the next orientation class, play fluxx with pg and then head out to max brenner in ramat hachayal for birthday dinner / drinks for a member of the poetry group. i'm not particularly excited about the place, but the company was pleasant. unfortunately, i was so tired by the end that not even coffee could save me...

... and now i've slept a whole bunch - enough for a whole week! - and i've begun the day with freud - the method of dream interpretation.

Friday, November 04, 2011

liking murphy

wednesday mornings are nasty. 8.30am class with the professor who makes our heads spin at any time of day. after that, hitting work (the old office) for a busy few hours including a Very Important Meeting in which i discovered that the project we've been working hard on for the past half a year or so has been rendered obsolete by a decision from the head office...

back to class - nim is offensively lacking in critical thinking skills. otherwise - great class in spite of my having been forced to skim most of the material. both the communist manifesto and wilde - the soul of man under socialism are enriching, but boy did they miscalculate the human propensity for not doing things properly. and for requiring incentive.

home for a quick nap, missing the alarm and being woken by a call from nemesis to say he was on his way. drinking tea and listening to his version of japan on the avenue. arguing the Big Philosophy Questions as he drove me to work.

a late shift, the trainee's a bit slow on the uptake. only got about half the things i needed to do done. got a ride from sorter, didn't swing by a friend's birthday bash because it was 3am already. spent an hour reading instead - relearning the invaluable lesson that sparknotes might give you all the facts summarized, but when you read the text itself the tone and nuances transform the text completely.

slept about four hours, then woke up for the shakespeare course i'm auditing. awesome class. no time between classes to prep for the orientation course. the sonnets seminar is fun. hurriedly (including a bit of running, when i'd forgotten to print my lecture notes) getting set up for the orientation class (same room as our anime nights used to be, with the same reservation issues), then setting about teaching. could've done it better, didn't matter, the kids were enthusiastic and appreciative and hopefully there'll be more next week.

wr and myself running in the rain with a beer keg trolley; the rain began just after we acquired the trolley and stopped just as we found shelter. the picnic was moved to the bomb shelter on account of the weather. long talks, great cake, beer. running the trolley back to the student union, rushing off to bus home, going straight to pg's mum instead. we all went out to great dinner at segev express to celebrate pg's sister's birthday; i ate lots of dumplings.

been back for a while trying to knock things off my to-do lists. mmmmm...

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

pm: the board game?

i woke up in the middle of the night having to rip off my pjs because i'd overheated - the weather's in that tricky, is-it-cold phase - and then couldn't get back to sleep not only because a mosquito caught my ankle while i was exposed but also because i couldn't stop thinking of post-modernism, the board game. it all made so much sense at the time, but now i can't make heads or tails of it.

it's all ee-grek to me

i found my cup! someone was kind enough to move it to the kitchenette, *boy* was i pleased to find it :)

the first french class was kind of boring, but that's how these things go. it's not too hard; the toughest thing about the class is the idiot who knows spanish already and is apparently a french history buff. he appears to have no control over his outbursts because the teacher reprimanded him on a number of occasions, to no avail...

i skipped off to work, and now that the redesign is being done i was left with little more than tweaking and thumb-twiddling to do... so i learned about relocating the /home/ folder to a separate partition and added functionality to one of the applications that really should've been included in the design.

i also spent some time focused on my studies; i was shocked to discover that my tuition fees (now that i'm properly registered) are double what i was expecting... i suppose it's as good an excuse as any to drop some courses and audit them instead, but deciding which to drop is tough because they're all courses that i really want to take. story of my life, these days ^_^

i left relatively early, which didn't help because the tel aviv night run caused massive traffic jams. after getting on to the second bus (an old asshole pushed me out of the last spot on the first bus, and as usual they were all packed at the front and empty at the back) i managed to score a seat, and i would have read a lot more if the heavy odour of unwashed, busy men next to us didn't have us all reeling. or perhaps if i hadn't been that tired and unfocused. regardless, i came home hours before pg (who was stuck in the same traffic, only for much longer) and spent that time eating (both from the vegan dish* and the chocolate cookies), beginning an ubuntu upgrade, and reading until i passed out (that didn't take long).

* the leftover foodstuffs from my apartment when i moved, that was left behind by the girls last april... it doesn't taste good hot, but cold it's delicious!

i woke up feeling terrible, and had a frustrating time communicating to pg that i wasn't feeling good but that i still wanted to go rollerblading. i must say, aside from a runny nose and slightly sensitive ears (it's getting colder) it was a comfortable route and i quite enjoyed it. i had a long chat with my mum in the middle - i'm well impressed with myself for continuing the conversation and only being a little out of breath through one of the steeper uphills...

i got home to find the upgrade successfully executed (that *never* happens! *knocks wood*), and an email from the professor that i mentioned hoping i made a good impression with; it was an email related to my task as webmaster, but she mentioned that she'd heard good things about me from the other faculty members and that... pleases me.

i'd be planning on being more productive if i didn't need to wake up in less than five hours...

[pg's right - i have totally failed in my resolution to write brief summaries only :S]

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

the dark side of midnight

it's close to midnight, the other side of it, and i have *so* much to read and do...

the meeting with wordsworth this morning went well. auditing a class on shakespeare's comedies is fun! and i managed to impress the lecturer by informing him of the "benign violation" theory of humour and using it to justify the original folio's categorization of william's works.

the sonnets class i'm registered for was cancelled on account of a huge rally in continuation of the protesting. too much sun on my face.

big lunch, running into kc's sister, walking into class late for the lecturer who everyone's nuts about. she is great, and i'm pretty certain i made a really good impression.

work in herzeliya: surreal moment of taking mmf outside and berating him for bad practices after i discovered that everything's going to go through another redesign. the rest of the evening was kinda boring, aside from a moment wherein i lost patience with our secretary talking over me (i shouted, she shut up and listened, then i felt bad) and about half an hour of being super-puzzled until finding a bug that's been irritating me for a while.

an interesting conversation with mmf in the car, wherein i convinced him (more or less) than my world-view isn't as enslaving as normal ones (although being aware of the fictional nature of one's inner mapping doesn't mean one doesn't get carried away sometimes - that's the problem with human psychology) and got him to agree (for what that's worth) that paying the price of immediate mobility in favour of public transport is worthwhile in spite of the infrastructure not being nearly as good as it should be.

issues at work in the other office up the wazoo, but some of the evening was fun. fretting about policemen on the way to the bus as usual, reading on the way home, tasty dinner waiting for me, and basically spending about an hour clearing emails; i'm ready to buckle down and get some serious reading done.

and then magically learn french in the morning :P