Saturday, December 17, 2005

We have moved

We've moved to here.

Aviad tried to use his super-l33t advanced geek skills to import all the posts from here to the new site but it wasn't possible.

Apart from that, Wordpress is very nice and yes the theme of the new blog site is based on Mac OS X, but come on, you'd be disappointed if it wasn't, wouldn't you?


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New Home

Just as Joah is moving to a new home (with me!), the blog is moving too. Soon you will not find the blog here anymore (or rather, you won't find it updating here anymore), and it will be located in a new, better place.

I cannot reveal the new location yet as it's still a work in progress, but I can tell you it will have something to do with this post.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Stocking Fellas

Marks and Spencer have come up with a solution for the hordes of men who are too embarrassed or too inept or too lazy to buy the right lingerie for their wife/girlfriend/ secretary/themselves at this ‘festive time’ – the Stocking Fella.

M&S report that tonnes of lingerie gets returned to their stores in January, presumably because women were presented with items that either didn’t fit or they don’t like. So they’ve trained guys to help pick out the perfect pair of pants based on a simple questionnaire about the woman’s personality. Are you sassy [=psychotic]? Flirty [=a tart]? Modern [=43 but dress like a 17 year old]? Glamorous [=overly made up]?

The problem with M&S’s lingerie department is that it combines frilly, lacy, floral garments called things like ‘The Balcony Range’ with those ultra control anti-cellulite pants that have the colour and consistency of a bunion pad. It’s disconcerting to be looking at Brazilian panties and then see a pair of beige control pants that would come up right under your bust.

Urgh.


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Quakin'

Last week (right after coming back from London) we had a big "show" of our software to our client. It was hard work, included staying very late at night (for some even sleep away from home) so we got Thursday off.

Unfortunately, no-one told me of this "Thursday off" business, so I came to work normally last Thursday. Seeing that no-one was here (except those who didn't participate), and having no work to do, I joined a couple of Quake IV games. Unfortunately for everyone, someone from our office saw us, and decided to rat on us to the boss (who wasn't there - Remember, Thursday off). So, here I am - Friday and I'm in the office. Punishment like any other punishment.

What I hate though is "rats". I hate them when they jump into my toilet, and I hate them more when they see something they don't like - Either because they want to do it themselves and can't or because they enjoy others being punished - And tell off to the boss later. It's just horrible, useless, and promotes creating a more secretive society at work, making work tiring and sometimes even more boring.

I enjoy playing computer games. When I do my work, which is a creative type of work, I sometimes stumble into "writer's blocks". Software writers have those too, and those who design software know what I'm talking about. Reading a book, going for a run, listening or playing music - These all help to "clear the mind" and get into the muse of design/code again. For me, playing games helps do the same - So taking 5-10 minutes off work (we play timed games) to "keep me going" shouldn't be punished.

On the other hand, I do understand how it affects others when people play games. The noise may disturb others (so we play with headphones). Others feel weird that they work while others play - That's why used to play during lunch break, if any. That day specifically no-one from my department was at the office, so it wasn't the case. And if it was, the right way to act is to ask from us not to play - Not run to the boss and tell.

I am just upset about the way some people act - Doing this only to feel like they have some power over others. Horrible.

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Argument Technique No. 3






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explosions




This is crazy. The blast was heard up to 40 miles away. The smoke is passing over my house. I am 30 miles away from Hemel.


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Friday, December 09, 2005

ויכוח

Having been ill and rather demotivated by my boss saying something like "Thank you very much for your 8 page paper with colour illustrations sharing your creative ideas but you should have blah blah blah instead...oh is that exact thing on page 7? I didn't read it, I bought an iPod", I had some time to be despondent and ponder on the mysteries of life.

One such mystery of life is why Aviad is so good at winning arguments.

In the great traditions of Derrida and perhaps Wittgenstein, I decided to deconstruct Aviad's argument techniques to see if I could get closer to understanding The Great Master.

Here is a hypothetical argument, in which Aviad claims that black is white. I've tried to analyse it.

Aviad: Here is a white cake.

Me: It's black.

ARGUMENT TECHNIQUE NUMBER 1: "POLISH GUILT"
Aviad: You don't like it...I'm sorry...I carried this white cake for 3797864 miles back from the shop...just for you. Because I love you. No, no. My arm is not that sore...really...it's only broken in three places...it doesn't matter about the pain...I want you to enjoy yourself...you don't like the white cake...

Me: It's black

ARGUMENT TECHNIQUE NUMBER 2:"BOMBARDMENT WITH FACTS HASTILY GLEANED FROM ANSWERS.COM"
Aviad: The cake exhibits the achromatic color value of minimum lightness or maximum darkness; the colour of objects that absorb nearly all light of all visible wavelengths; one extreme of the neutral gray series, the opposite being white. Although strictly a response to zero stimulation of the retina, the perception of black appears to depend on contrast with surrounding colour stimuli. And not the achromatic colour of maximum lightness; the colour of objects that reflect nearly all light of all visible wavelengths; the complement or antagonist of black, the other extreme of the neutral gray series. Although typically a response to maximum stimulation of the retina, the perception of white appears always to depend on contrast.

Me: It's black

ARGUMENT TECHNIQUE NUMBER 3: "CUTE LITTLE BOY"
Aviad: (Making eyes big and brown and dewy, like a fluffy baby red panda) I'm sorry baby...I forgot...

Me: It's sort of a light black.

Aviad missed his vocation and should be a lawyer. Why he is studying the intestines of coral I have no idea.

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Inspire me

After a particularly stupid morning, which I can sum up as "How Many Management Theories Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb", I went to the Borders book megastore on Oxford Street. I randomly picked up a book entitled something like 'Inspirational Quotes for the Modern Life' and opened it to a quote that read something like:

"I didn't get to where I am today by following rules. I got to where I am by following my dream" - Anonymous

Anonymous???!!!!

That's great,, very inspirational, thank you. Just where ARE You today, exactly, Mr Anonymous? You could be in a rehab centre, or selling the Big Issue, or sweeping the streets. For heaven's sake.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

מה????????????????

I'm trying to do my Hebrew homework and I decided that it would be a great idea to try to find an Israeli radio station I can listen to over the internet. What could be simpler?

It turns out that a lot of things could be simpler.

I found a radio station that plays wall to wall trance hits, briefly interspersed by comments in English.

The army station, "IDF WAVE", has an MSN site that does not work on Camino or Safari, and Internet Explorer for Mac does not support Hebrew.

I found a Haredi station that explores issues from an ultra-Orthodox standpoint.

Then I found this: Israel National Radio. I'm not convinced it isn't a parody.

There's this classic philosophical debate:
"What does G-d look like? Can people really only imagine G-d in a human form? If G-d exists, then what are our responsibilities in this world? Also: You will laugh when Tamar teases Tovia on how Hollywood has raised us into accepting their absurd realities as the 'real' world." I just bet I'll laugh til I wet myself, Tamar!

Don't miss this treat: "Goatherders Moshe and Ephraim discuss their biblical profession, and the production of organic, and delicious goat yogurt." Go, Moshe and Ephraim!

Or this one: "Yehoshafat sells organic eggs from the Shomron and Frank Sinatra sings about plane hijackings. Also: JDate becomes Gay-Date."

I'm definitely tuning into this one: "Join Alex and Yishai for a no-holds-barred discussion with Rabbi Maury, a certified Mohel"

And my personal favourite: "So you think you're a Gentile? Think again!"

And honestly, people have to ask why I want to live in Israel? This is awesome!



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Monday, December 05, 2005

So it wasn't Coke after all...

I always knew it was a Dutch thing, but I never knew the whole story - And I honestly thought that it was Coke who invented the red-and-white colours.

This tells a different story... Interesting.

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DOOM

Avah and I went to see the DOOM movie a couple of days ago.

We knew in advance that this was not going to be an intellectual/cultural/quality movie experience (but that suits me fine - after my course in Russian and Soviet Cinema, I really am allergic to "art" movies. You try sitting through 3 hours of black and white film with this sort of plot: "At one point he is in desperate need of clay to fortify the mold for the bell, but can't find earth of the right consistency anywhere. Then fate intervenes and, chasing a lost shoe, he slides down a hill into a muddy patch of just the right kind of clay" and you will also feel this way. DOOM is obviously also not a RomCom as I loathe those too).

So what is DOOM about? I didn't have any hopes about plot or acting, but what I really, really wanted to see were these:





But it was not to be...

There were a couple of zombies and some poor attempts at the monkey creatures. But not a single pink pig thing, not a single giant head spitting fire...nothing. What a disappointment. There was a rather poor attempt at some rather cliched 'science gone wrong something to do with DNA' plotlines, a tiny section of first-person action, and OK, they had the BFG.

But no-one had to find a red keycard.

I hope King Kong is a better film to make up for this.


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Pledgebank

This, from an 'underappreciated charity worker, caught my eye


But then, seriously, why? Why?


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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Speaking Hebrew

Today I had my Hebrew class (to which Aviad, ironically, was not admitted for security reasons) with a more advanced group. It's quite a bit harder than my previous class and I realised how much practice I need at speaking. Although the other people in the class have had far more tuition than me, either having a formal qualification from school and/or going to classes for over a year. So from that sense, I'm doing OK. But I have a Russian accent.

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

קיבוץ אביעד


ָ
Aviad made a little base. Note all the electronic devices.



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