Sunday, September 30, 2012

turning

canada is magnificent when the leaves turn, and our timing couldn't have been better. the reds and oranges, yellows and greens and browns fluttering in the gentle breeze as the sun plays hide-and-seek provides a perfect backdrop for the metaphorical autumn that has settled over pg-and-me land.

it's one thing to fight, and another entirely to be thinking that maybe all is not as it should be. perhaps that's a normal part of fighting, but i wouldn't know. what i do know is that pg and i appear to have vastly differing concepts of what marriage is all about, especially concerning moving to a new country together.

yesterday afternoon ended on a bitter note, and although things have relaxed since then and a whole day that was thoroughly enjoyable has passed the issues are not resolved to my satisfaction. there is a distance that's sprung up, i strongly suspect that that's on me as a pre-emptive defence.

if we're not playing on the same team, then it doesn't matter what country we're in nor under what conditions.

---
the play-by-play on the past two days is as exhausting as the days themselves.

yesterday: at least the early morning shopping experience was pleasant.

after painstakingly verifying that my testing environment was dysfunctional i sent a message to the head of development to see if that was a part of the test. it wasn't, in fact, and he sent me a patch that made things spring to life.

after the first of the unpleasantries of the day pg and i headed out to the botanical gardens, relying on google maps. whoever is responsible for the directions is an asshole: the botanical gardens are right across the road from the metro. instead we took a bus in the wrong direction, then another bus in the right one, hopped off two stops too late thinking that we'd cleverly stopped one early, walked in the bright sun all the way around the gardens to discover that the alternate entrance was a chained fence, took a bus back to the entrance (we'd guessed by then) and finally stepped inside.

the cafeteria options sucked. i didn't want soup, so i had what i suspect is the opposite of vegan (bacon, turkey and the least amount of cheese i could find). lunch was a serious downer in following with the walking in silence that'd gone before. that continued through a long, very long, incredibly long walk through the gardens. i marvelled at the beauty of it all (it really is magnificent) while simultaneously wallowing and reflecting on all the lows of our relationship. near the end of our visit pg informed me that she would be travelling the rest of canada alone. i'm not yet sure if she means it.

we caught the metro back to old montreal intending to visit the notre dame cathedral which was closed to visitors in what appears to be contravention of the times listed on the posters outside. so we sat down in an arbitrary convention center coffee shop and finally exchanged words in a fashion that could be considered a rational discussion.

we stopped off to buy a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my aunt, then returned home in time for me to discuss possible concerts with my cousin. and to check email: now the cto of my old company (in boston) wants me to come back, because i happen to be in canada. i explained to him that my residence on this side of the world depends on my employment so if he can't help me out with that first then there's not much i can do.

dinner was the most pleasant it's been since we arrived. afterwards i headed downtown to meet a friend and his wife who're passing through. we walked a long way to find a quiet place to sit and drink, and ended up with coffee instead of beer. my coffee was far larger than i'd expected. and strong too. i don't know why i finished it.

i was totally wired by the time we all said goodbye. i came home and worked on my employment test until 4am - it's really hard working without a development environment, so i'm building one. i put myself to bed when i realized that i had to be up in four hours.

---
just before going to bed i checked my bank account.

oh.

shit.

the tickets here cost more than twice what i'd been led to believe. i can't understand how my cousin could tell me a number quite a bit less than the actual cost, and then reply in the affirmative to my shocked questions of "how much?", "including taxes?", and "for both of the tickets?!".

---
today:

i woke up as high as i'd gone to bed. i jumped onto the computer and verified that my lack of success the night before was due to a typo and not a technical limitation, then prepped for the long drive to the countryside with everyone else.

once we got out of the city the scenery was absolutely stunning. the conversation with my aunt's friend ran from politics* to philosophy to biology and i was on top form, comfortably slamming my uncle's occasional bigotry with cold, hard reason** in the process.

* the birthright program to introduce foreign jews to israel is a good idea, but there's a guy here in canada who's had an even better one: bring non-jewish businessmen to meet and greet in the holy land. it's apparently already having a positive effect on ignorant anti-semitism. yes, all anti-semitism is ignorant, but i take rhetorical liberties sometimes.

** highlight example: the claim that homosexuality cannot be tolerated because it says so in the bible only requires one counter to shut it down: if you believe in that shit and you don't observe the sabbath according to the law then you should be very comfortable with being stoned to death.

we stopped at the mont-tremblant to mill around the ski resort (it was a great day for it, and i bought replacement lenses for my jawbones!), then carried on to the family-friends' apple farm for the pressing.

hah. apple jews.

the place was amazing, the food was delicious, my opinions were appreciated (there were literate hippies there!), the pressing was fun when i eventually got a turn and i was introduced to a guy who's got three kids working in aerospace and who's willing to put me in touch with them. sweet ^_^

through all of this, pg was with me but not with me. also, my legs really hurt from all the walking of the two days before.

the drive back was long, and when i wasn't passing out i was playing angry birds. the drizzle in montreal was a nice welcome home. dinner was great, i had a long chat with a friend from los angeles and then i settled in to break my head over more web development. i'll have to pick it up again in the morning.

even if i don't take the job, this little assignment is a matter of professional pride and it must be good.

---
the metro chimes sound enough like the theme tune for egoli, plek van goud that i keep stepping out with it stuck in my head.

Friday, September 28, 2012

making waves

yesterday was a glorious, pitiful mess.

my aunt took me and pg for lunch close to where i was to interview, and we had a tough time finding a place that suited my diet. this is apparently a "thing" in canada, and if we don't find more comfortable options then i'm just going to give up when eating out. anyway, pg was unhappy with where we eventually chose and so the pleasant morning took a downturn. we got over it during lunch, my aunt making some rather astute observations and giving what sounds like very good advice.

the interview: what an absolute pleasure to walk into an office of professionals, to sit with people who know how to read a resume and to *click*. as much as i took them by surprise with my responses, they took me by surprise with their crazy and interesting tech and their list of concerns - i could be very happy working with them. the hour i was there flew by, i've been given a weekend assignment to demonstrate my prowess and if they're happy and they make me a decent offer* then we're talking about a time-frame of a couple of weeks.

* as i told them, i've learned my lesson about salary negotiations, and i'm not interested in leading.

my head was spinning all the way home. it was a beautiful day, but slightly warm for my jacket (oh! i was dressed just fine), and the rest of the afternoon was spent discussing possibilities and messing about online.

pg and i decided to go see a movie, and we got all of ten minutes away from the house before we had an argument that turned into a fight, and we turned around. about twenty minutes later we'd resolved it (it involved a time-out wallowing in the park), and were on our way to catch a bus to the movie when pg started feeling horrible, and we came back home and i observed her until she started feeling a bit better.

it was just then that my uncle called us upstairs to offer us dinner, which we gladly accepted. the soup was delicious, but he and his opinions mounted an attack on pg's quiet nature, and he was highly offensive and really upset her.

i went to go talk to her, having attempted to peacefully end the "conversation", and just got more and more upset. pg didn't want me to make things even more awkward by telling him off, and i couldn't just stand by and let him do what he did. so i went upstairs, planning on discussing things with my aunt, but instead of talking to me she walked in to where my uncle was sitting and climbed into him. if we'd already started counting down on defcon i wasn't go to let her go it alone**, and so i came in and the two of us (hopefully successfully, but probably not) got him to understand that not everyone has to be like him and that it's none of his business how we choose to run our lives.

** her relationship with him is her business. i find the way he talks to her when he's irritated shocking, even though i grew up in a household that was way worse.

after that was (sort of) resolved, i had to stand another twenty minute earful from him of why coming to montreal is a terrible idea and the risks we're taking by doing so. i stood my ground, explaining over and over again that as non-canadian citizens, we've got to take whatever chance we get and if that means a couple of tough years then that's what we'll have to deal with. we have no clue what a canadian winter feels like and how we'll manage, and we have no clue what pg's going to do with herself here if i get a job, and we can't see the future and we'll just have to make do as best we can.

i went downstairs to have pg get more upset with me for having talked about our discomfort... i dunno what's going to happen. we watched a few episodes of tiger and bunny and then went to bed early.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

define "offended"

this video just takes the cake. notice how freedom of speech is abused to demand a lack of that freedom, and notice how the guy "doesn't want to ruin it for anyone else" when he has just witnessed everything he stands for badmouthed. if that doesn't get the message across, not much will.

oh, western morality. you are the greatest achievement of mankind, yet your paralysing fear of direct hypocrisy will be your doom. indirect hypocrisy, such as sending off troops to fight in other countries who aren't threatening you, seems to be safe for now.

---
i broke my fast early, but only because i was a mite peckish and i still hadn't found a real excuse to be fasting in the first place. i spent the afternoon engrossed in ready player one, and was dragged out of it to go to a dinner with some of my aunt's friends.

pg *really* didn't want to go, but i'd made her feel obligated (it was too late to tell her she didn't have to come). we both found the evening quite awkward, although some of it was nice and the food was delicious (and there were enough vegan options, even if unwittingly so).

on our return home, my cousin and i went for a very serious walk-and-talk, some of which was pleasant and some not. it felt like exercise either way.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

reflection

i got up yesterday morning and applied for a couple of jobs, called an inappropriate number (she kindly told me that they weren't the kind of people one just calls) and send my resume off to a couple of headhunters.

then i received an exciting email: a really cool company i contacted a few months ago, and who ignored me completely, seem rather enthusiastic about me physically being here and have invited me to an interview tomorrow. that means dressing nicely and familiarizing myself with their solutions. so far i'm impressed.

pg and i went shopping, and this time we were successful. she got a decent pair of walking shoes that actually fit her (this is a new concept) and i got myself a belt. now all i'm missing is a tie and the confidence of not being under-dressed. i suspect i might have to do more shopping tomorrow before the interview :/

dinner was early because today is yom kippur. being unable to repent in the now-traditional manner (tough uphills on rollerblades on the way out of jerusalem), i decided that checking out the community here was worth visiting a synagogue... it's been a few years.

1. my aunt and uncle left a few minutes earlier than they'd said, and so i wasn't ready when they left.
2. my cousin made an effort to be as late as possible, so we missed more than half the service.
3. shaving under my chin and dressing up in jacket and a tie was even more extreme than my efforts for the swiss wedding. while writing this, i've just been informed by my fashion-conscious aunt that aside from my trouser legs being too long i do clean up well, and so i'm a tad more confident about tomorrow's appearance.
4. it's a beautiful synagogue. at first i thought the acoustics were incredible, but later i realized that they were using microphones and speakers. i thought this was an orthodox community? weird.
5. the choir was really, really good. the cantor is an opera singer and the barmitzvah of the year's solo was astounding.

6. since my revelation i've been doing a postmodern reading of all religious texts and general criticism of traditional behaviour that i've come across. prayer, for instance, is an expression of desire that the entreating person then needs to realize. in a sense, i'm not praying for god to make my life better, but rather for the strength to do it myself; as far as the texts go, if i am made in god's image and i should strive to be as close to god as possible, then i should adopt the attributes of god. on yom kippur, we pray to a merciful, accepting and forgiving god, and we are supposed to learn from that that we ourselves should be so.

on the way back my cousin and i argued about arguing. his request that i "dumb it down" because discussing the nature of reality is boring surprised me (he asked me about my attitude towards religion and why i stopped), and after about five minutes i was simply stunned at his irrational mode of thought. it ended when i explained to him that the field in which i have established myself inquisitiveness, critical thinking and problem solving are of utmost importance and i not only can't turn it off, but i wouldn't want to.

i worry about what it is they're teaching kids in college these days.

we came home, chatted some more, and then i turned in with pg for the night. i woke up around 7.30am and spent an hour or two just lying in bed and pondering. i'm still fasting, only i'm not sure why. i can't stop thinking about how much of a non-issue it is for me; after all, it's only food and drink. one day? not the end of the world. as nystire just noted: it is easier to be observant outside of israel.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

one step at a

i'm bombed, and about to shower and crash. it's been a long day, after a long night, and although i finished my cv (it's been educational) and attempted to contact a couple of people i was pretty much useless after lunch.

but the mexican dude sent me a message: he may not have connections to offer, but he does have some advice. and that advice is to focus my search on alberta...

... and to stay out of quebec. interesting.

after a short nap that turned long, i sat down to make some calls and the neighbourhood's power went out. i don't want to call anyone without being ready to capture email addresses or websites or whatever, so i took it as a sign for us to go downtown.

some failed shoe shopping and a movie.

a 3d movie, in imax. the new resident evil is 96 minutes of hardcore eye candy and breath-catching shocks. was there a story? don't care. it was fun, and seemed tailor-made for the screen we watched it on.

trying to pick up a bit of french by watching french tv may or may not be a good idea, but it's not much of a pick-up :P

Monday, September 24, 2012

spilt milk

research done, experiment over. actually eating the skin of a kiwi isn't bad at all, as opposed to the initial thought of doing so. but perhaps i should wait until farming practices get upgraded across the board.

---
over the past couple of weeks my netbook's monitor has begun to flicker whenever i open / close it. without my netbook, i'm going to be in deep trouble* :(

* okay, i can buy another netbook. but i'm trying to keep my costs down and this is really not good timing.

---
i got up early this morning to spend hours online looking for recruiters and not achieving anything. i'd feel better about it if i hadn't allowed myself to be distracted by job listings. i've already begun to pay more attention to those outside of quebec, if nothing else because i haven't even thought of french lessons yet and the bilingualism requirement is daunting.

my aunt took us on a quick tour of the city before dropping us off in old montreal, and pg and i were both surprised at how seriously she took her guide duties. it was a beautiful, cloudy day (aside from the chilly wind) and the views were magnificent. pg and i stopped for coffee, salad and a bretzel, leaving just as soon as a bee began to hover menacingly around my cup. it actually followed us all the way to the door, and i don't usually have my anti-histamines on me so that was pretty scary.

the chill wind made my nose run, just like it does on ski slopes. i've been stuffy since :(

after a long walk, we entered the metro and finally purchased three-day passes. in retrospect, we pissed away a lot of money by not doing this before... and last night's incident wouldn't have been possible...

---
my aunt sat me down to teach me how to write a resume and how to abuse linkedin, and i spent an hour or so adding a few lines to the top of mine. i then made the mistake of comparing to an example developer's cv, and fictitious or not it was so impressive that it made me feel stupid. add to that the general, vague stress of having to deal with the reality that my cv will be read not on the merit of my experience and capabilities, but rather of my ability to write an effective cv. this is not a game anyone should have to play and is indicative of an unhealthy market. but i will play the game, because i have no choice.

i now understand why i've received no responses from anyone who didn't have some kind of personal incentive to read my resume. so those batches of mass sendoffs over the past few months? pointless.

---
dinner tonight was an experience. my uncle was oscillating between genial and magnanimous and bigoted and bitchy, and for the first time in forever i was on form and full of snappy, winning responses. we covered veganism, body art and domestic violence amongst religious communities. we even settled in words who would win if my cousin and i were to get into a fight.

after that pg said she wanted to go for a walk, and that meant that i was to accompany her. we began in silence through the brisk air and the dark streets, and from her sudden, angry outburst over a number of things at the dinner table that had frustrated her we slowly but surely escalated into a long** explosion of tension that's been building up on both sides over the past few days. she's unhappy with our lack of privacy but would feel worse if we stayed somewhere else when in the same city. also, she's usually pretty shy but this immersion into two different languages, one in which she's not entirely comfortable and one in which she's completely lost, is taking its toll. as for me, i was surprised to find myself giving voice to this infernally constant sense of trepidation that's been gnawing at me of late - i'm in a foreign country seeking employment with no cultural yardstick by which to measure myself by, no actual plans and no clue how to tell a good move from a bad one.

** hopefully not too loud, because we were walking past people's houses

it doesn't matter if i have nothing to lose, because what i'm worried about losing is precisely what i desire and don't have. even if i know, on a clear and rational level, that it doesn't matter and that i have lots of options, until a door opens up in front of me i find it hard to believe that such a door exists.

i'm an expert when it comes to software development, but i'm a terrifically poor job hunter. that i empathize with all the others who share my predicament doesn't make me feel the slightest bit less sorry for myself. and as much as i want to ensure that pg enjoys these two months as much as possible, she's taken command of the pants and is calling the shots: i'm under very explicit and strict instructions to focus on getting a job ASAP, here or anywhere else.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

connecting

i have comfortably figured out the metro, even if there were a few unpleasantries along the learning curve. it's all very simple, and the greatest confusion was caused by the ticket seller we bought two tickets from that charged us for four :/

the women at fido confirmed that my phone was fine, and then left me on hold with customer service because her computer wasn't connecting properly. i must've been on hold for between five or ten minutes before i asked another rep to see if she could help out, and after two or three tries she got through and discovered that the system was already updated with the details i was on hold to provide. another five or ten minutes had passed by then, and *just* as i was hearing that the call was unnecessary the muzak stopped and somebody answered.

a giant "thank you" goes out to all the apple fanatics who overloaded the system in their desperate quest to be of the first to upgrade to an iphone that's only a slight improvement over what they already had.

pg and i proceeded underground, where we struggled to find food. not only is it really complicated if you don't speak french, but it appears that the québécois aren't so big on vegetarian options. *everything* here has to come from an animal, it seems :(

we walked a long way after that, less shopping than locating shops and occasionally surfacing for some cool air and to be rained on.

eventually we returned home, rested, cooked dinner, rested a little more and then went back downtown for a party whose invitations stated 10pm. the place is outside the anglophone safety zone; after discovering that we'd arrived on time and far too early we milled around, enjoying the vibe (and for me, the incredible graffiti) and stopping for heart-stoppingly greasy fries at some dodgy all-night fast food joint; the man was kind enough to speak english when he realized that i was trying out french on him. eating so irresponsibly on the way to a party was fun, a nostalgic trip back to the days of my clubbing youth.

we returned to the club and were treated to a really, really great house set. unfortunately, people only began arriving in significant numbers as the dj's switched and the new guy was just meh.

so we left. we'd had drinks and at least the first set was worthwhile.

the return journey was fairly easy, ticket confusion notwithstanding (the earlier bastard had jipped us, and the next ticket seller hadn't a clue what it was i expected from her) although it was anything but pleasant: the ticket incident was the straw that broke the camel's back (indirectly, the rationale is convoluted but sound), and pg has decided that she is not at all interested in living here.

i'm disappointed, because we've barely been here and i still think this is a fantastic city. but if it is what it is, there's not much to be done but to move on...

now that i have an operational phone i've just realized that i didn't think to call my other relatives when i arrived. not cool. i blame my subconscious refusal to acknowledge landlines as anything but leftovers of a now-irrelevant past.

just like fax machines.

or other people's phones as viable alternatives? i guess i don't have a real excuse after all :(

Saturday, September 22, 2012

notnews

good news! i checked my grades yesterday, and was surprised to discover that my american studies paper - the one on tropic thunder and its depiction of racism in hollywood - has been returned with a positive result: no need to rewrite! only one result left for the year... and it's the highly offensive paper...

not so good news: i'm still not getting service and i've just realized that my phone didn't store a ton of photos that i took in amsterdam :( [what, what happens in the 'dam stays in the 'dam? please.]

that only makes my feeling decidedly sick this morning a little bit worse. so i'm up now, waiting for pg so that we can breakfast together, and then we'll be off to the shops. my head's feeling a bit clearer even if the rest of me is in the dumps. and i just noticed that the bites from last night aren't bothering me, so i guess the cream did help even if not immediately.

---
weather report: yesterday was warm[ish] yet rainy, today is already a bit cooler but crazily windy. what a pleasure to have actual weather! and we got out of israel just in time to miss a long, unpleasant heatwave. when i immigrated to israel, i thought i loved the heat. i can tell you i don't like stupidly cold either, but i now know for certain which i prefer.

reality checking

after dinner last night, my uncle asked me a very big question: "why do you want to come here?"

he meant quebec, as opposed to anywhere else in canada, and he proceeded to make a very strong case for "going west". he's very one-sided and pessimistic, though, and i'm sure it's not all as bad as he described it. still, much food for thought and since then i've very seriously thought about the other side of this very, very large country.

not that it really matters. in the meantime i'm going to compile a list of recruiters and employers to contact and on monday i'll get busy ringing them.

after an episode with the dog (he came trotting downstairs to pee, he's seriously in trouble at the moment) my aunt took me and pg downtown this morning to sort out my phone. it took far longer to jailbreak and unlock my phone than anticipated, but as soon as he said he was done i tested my iphone with a random sim of his and it worked just fine.

satisfied, i parted with my $25 and we went to the fido store. the queues for the iphone 5 were surprisingly long, considering the major ios 6 map fail. really? in spite of apple's biggest qa failure to date people are still camping out to get the latest phone before a patch is released? i don't get it.

as we weren't interested in obtaining a new model, we got to skip the line and were treated to first-world class service. not only were the guys at fido all super-helpful, but the contract i've taken is unbelievably good: 500mb 3g, not amazing. free international sms'es and completely unlimited outgoing calls to anywhere in canada?! holy shit!

i felt absolutely awful physically - pg and i are both exhausted but there were a few minutes during which i felt *sick* (i'm sure you know what i mean). then it passed, and we were on our way home with a new sim and an assurance that it would be activated within the next half hour to an hour. very soon, whatever that means.

well, we arrived home, ate, i sorted out my lost apps (at least that wasn't a mission; i kinda assumed that backing up and restoring an iphone would include those), and pg and i went to sleep for a while. i woke up a couple of hours later, it's now more than five hours and my phone still says "no service". i manually select the carrier (it's the correct one) and every time i get the message "restricted network" (although it connects) and my status is "sim not provisioned".

the latter seems to indicate that the fido network is simply overloaded due to the immense number of new phone activations (i have stupendous timing), but my conscience is overshadowed by the possibility that the network unlocking was unsuccessful, and that now that i've had it done (albeit unsuccessfully) i have given up the rights to full assistance from apple.

---
speaking of conscience: yom kippur is coming up soon and with it pg's primary reason for not wanting to stay with my relatives. she is entirely disinterested in jewish rites, and my aunt and uncle might be okay with us not attending synagogue but they would be very uncomfortable with the idea of us not fasting.

i hear tuvye singing about tradition.

on a similar note, i am very conscious of the fact that k-twang totally burned bridges with these people: the sense that he and his girl took advantage of their hosts and were ungrateful is overwhelming, and while i was never ungrateful to begin with i can't help but feel like i'm somewhat in his shadow. fasting aside, this arrangement pg and i have is absolutely fantastic and i can't shake the feeling that small gifts and putting up with my uncle's inappropriate sense of humour and outrageous bigotry is less than inadequate compensation. i can only hope to do these people proud.

which means that i really, somehow, need to get organized with a work sponsor. even if we don't end up in this province, a work permit anywhere will at least afford me the ability to earn decently, live (temporarily) a better quality of life and be close enough to the rest of the country to be able to interview for the real deal. whatever that may be.

...

pg's biggest issue at the moment is not the quebecoi attitude to french and anglophones. it's the size and presence of the muslim community. or arab community. everyone's a little bit racist, sure, but while i'm fairly comfortable with all these people over here - as opposed to in the middle east - i can totally understand her desire to see other bits of the country. the ottowa protocol unfortunately doesn't stop the french and the arabs from hating jews, and there are, as everywhere, less of us than them.

Friday, September 21, 2012

colder now

i started writing this last night, and after one paragraph began falling asleep so i scribbled some reminders and passed out. i was under a giant, fluffy duvet in a house that already feels like home.

---
tuesday:

we packed until the very last moment. it was stressful.

---
yesterday:

pg's mom drove us to the airport. check-in was a nightmare (the new girl really took too long for each pre-checked-in passenger) but security was a breeze. we weren't tired enough to sleep but too tired to actually do something aside from waiting.

that last sentiment covers most of the day, really. and every now and again i remembered that it was international talk-like-a-pirate day.

we had a few hours in amsterdam, so we took a train to the city centre, got lost, got found, and walked around for a bit. we waited for fifteen minutes for a coffee shop to open because i'd been told that one of the guys who works there is my doppelganger; i caught of glimpse of him just as i stepped in - he was just going upstairs not to be seen again - and i *think* i recognized myself. the music was awesome but the place was super-dodgy, so we swiftly reversed ourselves and found another place to relax with some drinks before heading back to the airport. the weather didn't really justify our umbrella (it rained on us for all of five minutes), it was chilly but not really cold.

amsterdam is very cool. surprisingly laid back - it felt like practically nothing opens until noon.

we flew a long flight back through time back to the hour that we took off (more or less), a flight of dehydration, crappy toilets and freaky you-can't-crap-here policy enforcement when the aisles were blocked and i was desperate. thanks, klm. at least we had enough leg room, even if we had to pay an extra $100 for it :S

the only movie i had energy for was pirates! band of misfits; it was okay, but not great. it really was a cutesy kiddie's film :(

i'm not sure what caused it, but i suspect my indulgence in the ice cream they handed out was a factor: i left the plane with the most horrendous belly-ache, and i suffered for hours after.

customs was smooth, even though we'd marked ourselves as having something to declare (chocolate gifts and nut snacks), and my aunt picked us up and drove us home. there's an indefinable quality to the air in this place that immediately reminded me of how much i love it - montreal, it's great to be back!

we dropped our gear and had drinks, and then more drinks, then dinner. the gifts we brought with were greatly appreciated, and the evening ended with a hot shower and a unhealthily comfortable bed.

we slept the night away in deepest oblivion.

---
today:

we have nothing to fear from jetlag, because we usually sleep so late that this morning we woke up at normal-people hours. we had bagels for breakfast, and then walked all the way to downtown. the walk felt much longer there than back. we stopped for second breakfast at a little arab-run coffee shop with no wireless, then came back to meet up with my aunt and hit the mall.

it's been sunny all day, but rather nippy. we like it.

my iphone's network locked, and apparently in order to unlock it i'd need to perform a factory reset. i've backed up my iphone, but only to my home pc and i now have to learn about backing up and restoring with a linux box... if i can't get that right tonight, then i'll just use my cousin's old phone and be without internets in my pocket.

which will be awkward.

we did some serious supermarket shopping, and since i've been back i've done a little consulting, chatted with my mum and learned a little about skyrim. things're all very cool. now it's definitely dinner time.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

perspective

when you reach that last moment, when you've just got to finish packing and tidying and ensuring that everything you leave at home is something that you can live without... you're not supposed to find everything else interesting. right?

*ahem*

i slept brilliantly most of the night, woke up late, still exhausted. i'm almost done packing, and i think i've handled all the important stuff.

amusingly enough, i got a response today to a job application i sent months ago: "we don't have space to employ anyone not currently here". umm - i'm going to be "currently here" in two days. really?!

we just had dinner with pg's family, and by the time we left i was falling over. it's weird to say goodbye for two months and not to know if i'll be gone longer...

---
be safe! this handy guide to stupid passwords is a must-read; thanks to nystire for sneaking it into my inbox.

---
i don't know how i feel about mitt romney, but his attitude towards the middle east is surprisingly on target.

---
i just came across an image doing the facebook rounds: "if income equality didn't exist... every american family would make $193,714.00 per year."

this... makes no sense. it has been demonstrated, time and again, that economic success only happens with capitalism. income inequality provides the incentive that causes the capitalist world's poor to have, on average, a higher standard of living. the fact that so much of "the 99%" have internet access from home already makes their arguments for income equality ridiculous.

what *should* be equal is the tax percentage that everyone pays. the poor should pay very little, and the rich very much, but no different in terms of percentage. that would be *fair*.

headache

today was a long one filled with tidying and painting and packing; i didn't get a heck of a lot done, but what i did manage took ages.

i had coffee with tpj who happened to be nearby, watched some tiger and bunny with pg and her delicious pasta sauce, after which it was time to head to her parents' for second night.

loads of good food and plenty of pleasant conversation, but by the time we left i was exhausted and suffering from sore feet and a headache. we've been messing about with sim cards and i've been focusing on tea; now it's time for bed. perhaps one more episode before that.

---

i was suddenly inspired to try cleaning my iphone with a dot of dishwashing liquid - worked like an absolute charm!

Monday, September 17, 2012

another 4am

at least half an hour of sore feet, agitation, distraction and doubt. why is it so warm? am i ready? do i need to rest or to get grinding?

first night

just got back from a really nice dinner with her family; we ate a lot of great food and i barely deviated from the vegan diet: apparently nobody remembered, but it didn't matter.

we bought a suitcase in the morning, shopped, ate a surprising and fantastic hummus lunch at etnachta, then came home to rest before dinner. today was a good day.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

cotton wool behind my eyes

omg space is very cool.

i'm still sleep-fuzzy, and i've handled two phone calls and failed to negotiate a crappy recruiting site already.

i slept wonderfully. i dreamed long, fascinating dreams in which i investigated things.

i joined pg and her brother on the roof for drinks and a nargila, and we were up there way longer than i was ready for.

botchman came by and we spent an hour or two on the comic script. he's demonstrated that he "gets" what i'm going for, so now that i'm certain that my format is good i guess i'm ready to finish it up.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

freddy got fingered

it's horrible. now i remember - i don't find tom green funny at all.

yecch.

breathe

friday:

yesterday morning was all about shopping. at first, getting lost in the ayalon mall and going around three times until i eventually found the place; all that (including the bus rides in the heat) to return a classmate's copy of gabriel knight - the beast within. then with pg. we had a delicious bagel lunch afterwards, and then i napped because i was designated driver.

i was fine both ways, except that at night and with non-existent highway lighting i tend to get edgy. which made pg edgy, and we argued a lot about whether or not i should be wearing my glasses (i was wearing them throughout). *sigh*

on the way there: warning.

the evening with my cousin was very nice, the weather was perfect for sitting outside and the food was plentiful and delicious.

singing along to metallica - ride the lighting reminded me that a) they were once awesome and b) i still remember most of the lyrics, fifteen years later. those guys were on fire.

today:

i finally completed john dies at the end. i want to pay jason pargin money for enjoying his book, but it's not so simple. so i'm going to pre-order his next one instead.

i carried a potplant to pg's parents' place and was rewarded with a great cup of coffee while sitting on a rocking chair in front of the fan and beginning to read ready player one.

the rest of the day is a relaxed blur. now i'm going to try watching freddy got fingered and hope it isn't as crap as it looks.

where to?

oingo boingo - dead man's party

i've just started on ready player one, and the "level one" opening quote just blew my mind.

"videogames are the only [things] that make life bearable" - it's kind of true. we all want adventure, and in today's crazily globalized and internetted world there are only three authentic options left:
1. the depths of the ocean
2. space
3. the virtual

wow.

warning

about ten minutes before we entered umm al-fahm, pg informed me of the protests in sinai and a few other regions.

then we stopped at a traffic light lined with protestors jumping up and down, their signs almost all in arabic and not a policeman to be seen. i prayed that no stones would be thrown... or worse...

at the time, serj tankian was playing. i suddenly remembered my dismay at discovering that he, too, has picked a side without uncovering the whole of our story. if a man that smart can fall prey to palestinian propaganda, then the israelis have no chance at all.

and here's the thing: the west is tolerant of islam, and that's great. but it's so tolerant that it blatantly ignores the issues because recognizing them might lead the west to hypocrisy. and that hypocrisy is in defending itself from a world-view entirely intolerant of the western ideals of freedom and equality.

you can make outrageous claims such as "the problem is the extremists, the moderates are okay". i, personally, know enough muslims to know that being muslim doesn't stop someone from being kind and caring, nor from being interested in the same things i am nor even from having the same ideals. but being a muslim means submitting to allah's will, and if allah wills the destruction of the infidel then it doesn't matter who the person is "on the inside", they must support the action or at the very least not interfere. even if they don't believe in it, because the penalty for going against allah's will is death.

that, i'm truly sorry to say, makes all muslims the enemies of the free world.

so, umm... western world? be warned. the day will come, pretty soon, when you will have to choose between your own submission to allah's will. or face destruction from within, or the shame of having to set aside your tolerant ideals in order to deal with that which threatens the greatest civilization in the history of mankind.

islam does not respect freedom of speech, nor freedom of religion, nor freedom of thought. each and every muslim, religious or secular, implicitly agrees with the fundamental tenets of islam. do you know what those are, before you accept them? are you willing to submit? because if you're not, you're in trouble.

Friday, September 14, 2012

counting down

i have to do this backwards... bear in mind that the weather today was absolutely wonderful, sunny but comfortable with a light breeze.

i just watched dimensions with pg - it's a very clever and well made film.

i faxed through my details to our reserve duty office to remind them of my existence. apparently, not updating them once per year would have me transferred, which might have me end up doing reserve duty. heck, no.

the climbing wall was painful, but in addition to being told by one of the trainers that i'm a decent climber, i made it over the overhang without doing anything desperate (my leg's still recovering from my first time). yep, the pride in getting it right is quite strong.

i napped and read some more john dies at the end; i'm almost done, and OMGOMGOMGOMG the dude is just brilliant.

i took a slow meander home after a delicious lunch (hybrid fruit/green salad) after doing some gift shopping with pg.

we'd spent the early part of the morning on campus, handing in pg's final (ever) papers, and then had coffee with her folks. her sister and the twins were there, which made for a busy and fun extended moment that we could enjoy with no pressure whatsoever.

we went to bed early after watching the end of romeo x juliet. with all its faults, it's a great series and full of surprises.

wr and i sat watching monty python's flying circus, i've apparently never seen the majority of it and after the first couple of meh episodes it launches into a level of insanity that's even more intellectually astounding than it is funny.

before he arrived i'd been sleeping deeply - i was completely exhausted just as i'd been the day before. pg and i had had a busy day, having a notary authorize our prenup and its translation and then eating lunch at a cafe on bograshov.

i'd gotten up early to apply for more jobs and finally get around to fiddling with sorter's project.

it's been a trying week. we've done almost everything that needed doing and the guy who replaced me at work seems to be holding his own. all that's left is a weekend and a jewish new year and we'll be outta here!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

one nostril, one word

there's something to be said for waking up early to send emails after an uncomfortable night with a blocked nose, with the opening theme tune for one piece stuck in my head - and it's one of my least favourite j-pop tunes.

bugger.

the tough day

i got up early, like 10am, to do stuff. i must have got something done before leaving an hour or so later for the cinematheque to watch sound of my voice.

what a beautiful, ugly, thought-provoking movie! must-see.

i stopped for a giant bowl of hummus on my way home, and was so tired after that that i had to down a dr pepper halfway through running errands for pg just to stay on my feet...

i napped a bit, then joined nystire for coffee-and-beer talk to say goodbye. then i napped a bit more before strapping on my blades and downing some coffee to combat the crazy tiredness.

the route was chilled with awesome downhills and was mostly quite social. i got home hungry, thirsty, sweaty and ready for bed. after showering and doing all the online things, of course.

i'm actually feeling a bit sick, and i suspect it's because my body feels that now's a good time. as i told nystire, i'm definitely feeling burned out and i need the slowdown. also, john dies at the end is making me super-sensitive to the slightest perception errors.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

how tos

i'm exhausted already. i just read a cousin of mine's book that he's recently published, and i won't post the name of it because i have to say that it's excessively meh.

in more positive news, the solution to a couple of issues i've had scripting has been to use html (as opposed to standard word processing or plaintext). now i can (relatively) comfortably edit from the terminal while easily controlling layout.

another day has gone by with very little achieved, i feel.

Monday, September 10, 2012

creeping mindwarp

ye gods - john dies at the end has crawled into my braincase and is wriggling around. i'm halfway through and addicted, and my consciousness is trapped in its lucidly eerie world. you can call it escapism... and i'm definitely enjoying it... but it feels like a trap. i have things to do, and half the day has been spent with my eyes glued to my kindle.

even the jokes he tells are only funny in context; meaning that i would find them funny and perhaps laugh out loud if i was actually in the story with these characters, as opposed to merely observing as a disembodied entity. jason pargin has written an alternative reality device that feels very much like the soy sauce he describes.

---
i began the day early enough, hitting campus to sit with wr for a few minutes, return some of my study material and ensure that i don't have any books outstanding in the library.

i had a choice of remaining there to do some research for my thesis proposal, or returning to my neighbourhood to comic script on the avenue. i chose the latter, it made me feel like i'm on holiday.

i read over a delicious pasta lunch, then suddenly felt exhausted and went back home to nap. once i'd rested enough i hit the avenue again for coffee; i got some scripting done, stumbled upon thesis proposal material by accident, learned that pico sucks but that using a non-graphical terminal makes awesome use of the netbook's battery, and otherwise enjoyed a pretty, breezy evening that was only intruded upon by occasional honking idiots and irresponsible dog owners.

then i returned home to read more on the couch.

fantastic ending :/

godsdammit. i was having an awesome end to a good day and it came to a close with a really stupid fight over bullshit [ie miscommunication, as always] :(

---
i didn't go back to sleep this morning; instead, i went through to the university to officially put my studies on hold. i think they're going to return the full amount that i paid, which would be awfully nice of them. they're actually a surprisingly helpful bunch sometimes.

on the bus my new installation of ubuntu crashed, this time refusing to log me back in. really? they call this a stable release?! and of *course* i did this right before needing it to travel with. superb timing.

i sat with wr over a great cup of coffee and then headed to work. the new guy? i was terrified i'd have to teach him basics, but it turns out he's a proper azure expert. some of the knowledge transfer was spent with him asking "why the heck did you do that?", and some with him just nodding knowingly - the latter made me feel like i know my shit. as for the former, considering the time constraints i seem to have done, if not a great job, then at least a reasonably good one.

also, it was nice to have someone else put the idiot in his place - and this guy does it so unwittingly that i almost felt sorry to see the asshole humbled.

anyway, i had one bug to fix and by way of introduction i told him to familiarize himself with the code and help me fix it; help me he did. i went around the office wishing everyone a happy new year and expressing my desire not to see any of them before i leave, and stopped by the ceo for a quick goodbye in which he appeared to have understood that this is it for us.

he was actually very gracious and even offered to put me in touch with friends of his in canada should i run into any trouble; he also expressed his appreciation of my single-handedly putting together the entire project over the past year. i refrained from mentioning that working alone means less chance of being derailed by assholes.

i met for coffee with nystire, an enjoyable hour or so spent chatting while he tended to my poor little netbook. either he's fixed it or the presence effect kept the bugs at bay. either way, it's not in an unmanageable state and that's good enough for now.

i ran into the kid on the bus, and then read some more john dies at the end. crazy stuff, and well-timed considering my present mental state (semi-burnout, desperately in need of a vacation). i ate quickly and rested, then geared up for the fast rollerblading group. i was just pouring myself coffee when i realized that i was on the verge of jitters: i'd consumed more than my usual daily dose of caffeine already and that might have combined with the excitement of clearing my pc and removing my mug from the office.

i poured it anyway, and set out with groovy house tunes to accompany my ride. between the two energy sources i powered through (sometimes dancing), and overall i enjoyed the route and finished it feeling physically pumped and primed.

i showered and ate, did some things that needed doing, then settled down to watch hancock. then pg and i had an argument about watching hancock, and it ruined it (watching it now, not the movie) for me so i started posting instead. then we talked and we're all cool again. i guess i'll read some more.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

the nothing encroaches

oh, wow. nutritionally, this weekend was a total washout. starting thursday, i feel like i consumed mostly junk food and i suspect that that's a valid reason for having been up half the night with a rather tender belly. right now i'm feeling in particularly bad shape :(

i didn't do much yesterday, and then it was time to be off to the blues brothers screening for carcassonne and belgian waffles.

1. a conflict between the map on the place's website and reality led pg and i on an hour-long walk in the wrong direction. it was just warm enough and humid enough for that to be uncomfortable and pg's only suitable shoes for the evening weren't so for the walk.

2. the event was under-organized. intolerably long queues for everything, scarcity of choice, and everywhere out-of-control groups of little children abandoned by their parents. it wasn't much fun; it would've been better to find a coffee shop somewhere and play there.

once the screening was over the place turned into a street party, which was actually not bad, and i was taken by surprise running into a mexican guy i used to be friendly with over eight years ago; he's been living in calgary, i hope he might be able to hook me up with some connections over there...

pg and i walked home, stopping (exhausted) at streets for pretty good food (and notably excellent service) - we talked about literature, and after being with my fiancée almost two years i now finally *get* what she's into. fantasy, and my kind, but i realize now what it is that doesn't work for her. i finally know what to suggest :)

today is (hopefully) my last day at work. i'm torn between hopping to it and sleeping a little more.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

agents

i am completely useless of late. so many responsibilities, so little energy. we're leaving in just over a week, and my efforts to clean house and arrange everything that needs arranging seem just shy of inconsequential.

---
thursday:

i'm really hating this process of extracting myself from the office. the work itself is kinda okay, but the guy that i'm working with is a complete asshole. we simply cannot communicate, he's uncooperative and explosively aggressive, and the boss doesn't seem to *get* that this was pretty much my last week.

their problem. i'm not letting them make it mine.

i returned home early so that i could meet scrapper on the climbing wall. we totally killed ourselves (my fault, i was goading him both consciously and unconsciously), but i learned all about laybacks. i didn't manage to get over the ceiling again, but this time i was feeling much stronger and more sure of myself and the reason i gave up twice was because i wasn't willing to damage my leg like i did the last time (a scrape and a bump are enough of an indicator that i was doing it wrong) and i held myself in place *just* over the edge for too long trying to find a good next grip.

my left elbow's been hurting since before then, but i'm sure the climbing didn't help much.

we walked back to my place, and botchman arrived while i was in the shower. pg arrived back shortly afterwards, and we ordered burgers (mine veggie) and began an anime marathon, eventually detaching from the screen to play some crazy fluxx before all passing out.

---
friday:

pg's father let himself and the dog in, and we were surprised to discover that scrapper and botchman had already left, tidying and leaving a note on their way out. after a little more sleep, i got up to return sarah glidden - how to understand israel in 60 days or less to my comic friend, rollerblading through the intensely sunny morning to parts of tel aviv so remote that their cycling tracks aren't contiguous.

the graphic novel is uncomfortably on the mark yet easily accessible. i was drawn in because it focuses on a birthright group and i accompanied one during that same year - sarah captures the experience excellently and frames the political issues in an accessible and rational way. i was about halfway through it on the bus to work on thursday when a certain scene made me all teary; i warmly recommend this book.

my friend gave me some important advice about scripting, and on my way back i stopped for an absolutely delicious vegan toast breakfast at what used to be coffeeholic to begin making the appropriate changes; it took a while to get service, but once they got around to me the guys were great. it was a good start to the day.

i spent the rest of the day on the couch. i watched fahrenheit 451, and am disappointed by all of my friends who've told me i *had* to see it because i've seen equilibrium and that's a much cooler version of an almost identical story. then i finished watching waiting for superman, which is touching and thought-provoking. during these hours i upgraded my netbook to the new ubuntu version; it took forever and thoroughly discarded the netbook-friendly package; i suspect that may be a good thing, though, as my battery indicator now seems to be functional and i *suspect* it's more efficient.

i had a long chat with my mother, and even spoke to my second mum who's leaving for her biological family tomorrow. she's been with ours since forever, so i can't imagine how either of them are feeling about this.

pg and i consumed a lot of pasta last night as a prayer that the FSM will grant my mother an opportunity to switch jobs soon, may she be touched by his noodly appendage, ramen. we also watched a few episodes of romeo x juliet, and we're almost done. by and large it's a great series, but it suffers from a couple of boring episodes and the prima donna shakespeare can be as offensive as he is amusing.

i've started reading david wong - john dies at the end, and i honestly can't recall the last time i so enjoyed reading. ingeniously clever and well written.

---
it was a nightmare getting up to take the dog for a walk this morning. i'd had trouble sleeping most of the night, and after returning i crashed for another couple of hours but i was slipping between out-for-the-count and restless. now that i'm up, and i've breakfasted and posted and checked off unimportant items from my to-do list, i guess i need to figure out how to spend the next couple of hours before gaming and a blues brothers screening reduce me to self-loathing.

naaah, i'm just exaggerating. i was pondering what my mother always tells me: "do what you think is right at the time, and you'll never have place for regret". i don't recall precisely where i was taking that line, but it was something in the way of taking advantage of every opportunity to be who you want to be. it's never too late to change.

edu-musing

around 4am. just woke up from a harry potter-like dream in which i broke a witch's sword and she cursed me until i almost threw up in-dream. it was some kind of a familial thing.

now that i'm awake, i'm pondering things like vocational training in high schools that provides students with an introduction to various trades and professions entirely external to the core experience that revolves around education; in part to show the students first-hand just how much more on-top of things adults aren't and the value of some of their education in context. waiting for superman might have something to do with that being on my mind; it's a very poignant documentary.

somehow that musing returned me to my tenth and eleventh-grade computer labs, early mornings playing quake or duke nukem on a sixteen-player lan; krybabie and i (and one or two others) used to completely dominate the maps. contrast that with my twelfth-grade introduction to FPS-induced motion sickness with unreal... although i was always pretty good at counterstrike.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

double stand-up

my morning was kinda slow, and then i went to work. i got through all the important stuff fairly efficiently, then came home and decided to chill because ric bailed on our get-together. then my kibbutz cousin called to cancel our plans for tomorrow evening...

i'm reading sarah glidden - how to understand israel in 60 days or less, and it's really, really good. accurate, to a very large degree, even if it's not the most ambitiously artistic comic attempt ever.

after lots of food, rum and two episodes of romeo x juliet, i'm super-relaxed and not sure if i'm going to read some more or pass out.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

betterer

today was much better. it began on the roof rotating pg's wheels in the glorious morning (with appropriately glorious rocking soundtrack), which was really nice (what can i say, i like having my hands covered in grease and dirt).

the first thing i did when i got into the office was close the door and explain to the boss precisely what had driven me crazy the day before. i had tons to do, and i spent my workday focused on my shit, and my "coworker" seemed to be making an effort to be pleasant.

pg took me out for a huge, delicious dinner (focaccia, the vegan answer to pizza) and a beer, and then i lay down intending to nap until rollerblading time - i was riveted by an article on internet cats, though, and couldn't close my eyes.

the route tonight was gentle with some fun downhills; it was totally social. i'm impressed that my legs - the ones that earlier in the day were still feeling a bit liquidized from sunday night - were just fine.

---
i spoke to one of the artists earlier, and discovered that she'd gotten stuck reading my seminar paper. which i'd already told her to ignore :S
anyway, i think she knows now to look at the script, so hopefully she'll connect.

---
scr sent me a link to ramesh raskar on femtophotography: magnificent!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

screening

there's something weird about legitimately watching screeners and not being allowed to discuss them. but i guess i'm not doing breaking any rules by telling the world that i really enjoyed the awakening and eva.

there, that was as subjective and unhelpful as my movie reviews usually are.

Monday, September 03, 2012

a garfield monday

the good news: pg and i just got back from the climbing wall - words fail me in expressing the elation i experienced when i finally clambered over the overhang and made it to the top. and then did it again ^_^

there were two failures after that and a bunch more on other walls, but they don't count. i'm sore, but i'm feeling really good.

the other good news is that scr likes my idea so much that he'd rather forgo the degree and skip straight to startup. i'm totally in.

---
on to the daily not-so-good news:

my eyesight has been particularly bad today :(

everyone on campus was pleasant enough, and although the money i paid is now locked away it's not necessarily wasted. i'm waiting for communication from the MA advisor that will let me know if i should continue my studies regardless; if i can get my thesis and one of the three outstanding courses out of the way, it'll be worth my while.

after getting a bit lost in ramat aviv, i took the bus to work. work was an absolute nightmare. the guy that i'm supposed to be training is a righteous prick, and he's totally not cooperating. worse, he calls me to ask things before he makes even the slightest effort, and then berates me for suggesting that he tries alone first.

for him, i *don't* have the patience. the funny thing is that he made me feel professionally inadequate at one stage, and after spending a day watching him clumsily do all the wrong things i've realized that he's only slightly above incompetent. as much as that boosts my ego, it frustrates me. and when i explain something to him he makes me feel like i have a severe speech impediment :S

working on my script on the bus home was improving my mood, and then he called to ruin it just as i was getting off.

i'm definitely not depressed.

shower and bed, or shower and movie and bed?

all's well

as i tweeted, the doctor wasn't in despite the claims of the sign on the door to the contrary. so after all that, i stood in the heat for twenty minutes before giving up, grabbed a delicious falafel and promptly missed both buses.

i ran into an old friend on the next bus, so i guess it worked out alright.

    work today:
  1. billing hours for hanging around waiting to help others do the things i usually do is quite relaxing. touching up the documentation wiki was grounding.

  2. the boss was shocked when i reminded him that we agreed that QA was until the end of this week, and that it's not my problem if the other guys are delayed, or off for two days on some random course, or if his new hire to replace me is only starting next week.

    i explained to him my theory that good software developers should be interchangeable, and that i expect everyone to be as capable of running the show as i am by thursday. if not, we can argue until the end of time whether the fault lies with me or with my replacements, but i've got other fish to fry.

  3. scr asked me if i had any ideas for a CS thesis, 'cause it looks like he's ready to continue studying. i took him to the meeting room and laid out an idea i had recently that appears to have excited him as much as it does me; he's taking a couple of days to consider it but in my heart i know that that's what i'm going to start playing with within the next couple of weeks: a lot of companies demand code examples, and this is a great opportunity to impress. if it serves his purposes to collaborate with me, that'll be awesome.
while talking to the boss, i watched with dismay through the window behind him as my bus drove past. i sat down next to the kid on the next one - the funny thing is that the next guy to sit in our area was one of his classmates from a couple of years ago; the serendipity was amusing.

i ate and napped, then joined the fast rollers. we did the same route as the first time i tried, only this time i kept pace with the second group. it was *really* tough, though, and from about halfway through i was grateful that dinner tasted only slightly icky the second time around :/

the helmet and the bicycle light made a huge difference to my confidence, and overall we behaved well and fairly cautiously.

i was annoyed that the supermarket wouldn't let me in without a shirt. i was stupefied by their refusal to grant me access wearing a bicycle helmet, even though my face was totally visible. i was appreciative that they allowed me to be their last customer in spite of the previous uncertainty, and they were mighty friendly about it :)

i meandered home with liquified legs and deliciously cold orange juice, and have done little but shower and read since. now it's time for bed.

---

the internet has been talking about bill nye's video on teaching creationism, and i found this criticism to be particularly constructive.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

easy like... not today

early up to walk the dog and pick up great coffee for the walk back. then i settled in to handle the emails i've been putting off for a week: that was much easier than i expected, even with the hour's interference from the boss actually expecting me to work :P

i tried sorting out my tuition payments... and it's apparent that there's a painful chance that i'm now down four grand with zero compensation. this is seriously not cool, and terrible timing, and... :(

while getting dressed to go to work, i noticed a couple of suspiciously raised moles on my belly where they were smooth before. i'm now detouring through the dermatologist's office because i really needed another thing to worry about now.

---

this morning's news is that petrol prices have been hiked again. my first thought is that this might perhaps increase sensitivity to waste, but within two blocks of my apartment i encountered no less than six cars parked with their engines running: three abandoned*, two with their drivers reading newspapers, and one with its driver talking on the phone. the latter was the only one who switched off when i explained that longer than ten seconds is a waste of petrol. air conditioning might be an excuse if it wasn't such a beautiful day.

* because no-parking zones are totally legit if the engine's running

moans and chains on an israeli monday morning

my alarm just roused me from an epic dream about the death of an ancient, city-sized castle more under threat from violent, greedy people than the zombies and demons tunneling beneath and sometime even through the walls that those people thought they could exploit. and there was a huge trance festival going on in the grounds as well as chavs playing cricket, both of which needed to be escaped even more desperately than the nosferatu.

i was being all noble, trying to prevent the city from becoming like veranassi: a place of power perverted into just another trap to sell trinkets and distant, half-believed memories to tourists. and then I found myself being cruel to the leaders of the greedy buggers - because they have feelings and families too.

ground down

painting takes longer than fifteen minutes. what was i thinking?! i had to leave just as we got started...

... it turned out that i'd spent an absolutely gorgeous, sunny, breezy day indoors and facing the computer. at least i got some time outside on my rollerblades, travelling to play nuns on the run and carcassonne in ramat gan. both brilliant games, both had me not just coming stone last but making horrific mistakes that made me deserve to. and yet, still awesome games, and great fun.

i got home to finish painting, and am now about to... i don't know. i just - don't - know.

---
the world really is bowing down to islam. even timbuctoo has fallen.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

awww man...

i've spent today in front of the computer doing all sorts of things. all sorts. i can't quite recall how many of those things can be considered productive.

this week i discovered that i have to put my studies on hold. today, i both sent off the email to the faculty informing them of this and discovered that yesterday the first payment of the year (more than four grand) was taken from my bank account. that's terrible timing :(

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chickpea revolution made me revisit the health benefits of hummus. now i feel cheated by a lecture during the officer's course that convinced me to keep away from it. lies!!!