Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The TV Episode

I have discovered a problem in my life. You see, I never used to watch any TV at all. Now a while back, blackalexio showed up with the DVD set of the first season of House. So I got hooked, then I got into Bones, next CSI (with a brief stint trying to get in touch with my feminine side by watching Grey's Anatomy - It was horrible) finally I tried a bit of Dexter. All this with the aid of internet TV. Man, I love it. You can watch a whole season in order, all you need do is wait for the annoying bar to slowly fill up the video feed. And you can even read your email at the same time.

Where's the problem one may ask. Well its like this. Blackwifeo has been getting more and more pissed at me because I "do it on my own". I am not good at sharing (80% for sharing would be way past double what I deserve). I like to sit on my comfy chair, the Macbook Pro balance on the arm watching hour after hour of my latest addiction - on my own. So this week she (wifeo) went out and rented the first season of Dexter. Which we duly started to watch on the Giant TV from hell that takes up most of the lounge. It was a beautiful thing. A bonding experience. We sat there, toes gently touching as our legs were propped up on the coffee table. Just as I was actually getting into the second or third episode, the phone rang - black(babe in the woods cousin from Miami)o. Two hours on the phone - I swear, Baruch Hashem. By the time the call was over I had lost interest. Now I am in trouble because I, once again, don't want to share the experience. You just can't win. Its impossible to focus on anything in my ADD household.

So what can I say. I will continue to not share (I am well over 80% at NOT sharing) my TV viewing experience. I love my wife - I just hope she forgives me. What do I watch now that I am up to date in House and Bones.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


To be honest I don't really have anything specific to rant about today, but anything is better than writing performance reviews. Its that time of year, where all managers get punished for not being smart enough to choose a purely technical career. Performance reviews are what you get to spend your days doing when you finally get to hell (actually in hell you have to do them at a desk in the middle of the water park at Shevaim in July). But, even amidst the mist of performance review purgatory, the 80%ness of it all shines through.

Firstly, the season finale of both Bones and House were weaker than I would have hoped. So Zack, the squintest of all squints turns out after three seasons to be a murdering cannibal. And Thirteen, the hottest AC/DC doctor alive now has Huntingtons. Really. Less importantly, our Prime Minister seems to have take a cash money bribe, and is too busy to give a statement to the police. He joins a long line of Pillar of the Community politicians we can look up to here in Israel, and will soon take his place in history alongside the sexual harassing President and a Finance Minister indicted for breach of trust, money laundering, theft and fraud.

On top of it all, today is Lag BaOmer. The day that Israel goes crazier than usual and burns all the wood in the country. We have very few trees here in this desert we call home. All the wood we need is imported from various depleted rain forests around the world. Once a year, we encourage all our children to rob building sites and steal anything that can burn, then set about maximizing our carbon footprint by lighting bonfires on every available patch of land. Everything that can light is burned. The air gets full of soot. No one sleeps because teenagers spend the night screaming at each other over the flames of burning Vodka bottles. The supermarket trolleys that are stolen to move the giant piles of wood lifted from building sites are left standing charred in fire's ashes like the buildings of Hiroshima. The hospitals are filled with Darwin Award candidates with varying degrees of body burns.

All in all a fun time for all. Writing performance reviews suddenly doesn't seem so bad after all.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm a Demographic

Its come to my attention that I am now a target demographic. Blacknephewo has been claiming for years that someone scanned his ipod and decided to use all his music for TV commercials. My epiphany came yesterday. You see, recently I have started watching all the TV series I had heard about but claimed I had no time for. Thanks to the magic of the "internet" I am now hooked. This weekend I decided the time had come to start watching CSI (the original in Vegas). So I watched the pilot and to my horror I discovered that the theme music is The Who's "Who are You". I accidentally started watching a CSI:NY and lo and behold they use "Won't get fooled again". Now House, my current guru, uses Massive Attack's "Teardrop" and Bones uses a riff from a Crystal Method number. What is this. Have they been looking at my iTunes lists and using them for TV shows.

I swear it all went downhill with Volkswagen's Nick Drake "Pink Moon" commercial. Is nothing sacred anymore!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm Sorry

Its all very well to sit here and go off about how everything is 80%. Unfortunately from time to time you have to stare into the eyes of your own 80%ness. Last night I really screwed up. All I needed to do was to shut up and listen, nod sagely and agree. Instead I ranted and raved and flayed around in an embarrassingly pompous way. Just sitting there and quietly letting things take their own course would have been so much more successful. What is worse, I even knew it at the time. I just could not stop myself - a complete (100%) lack of control. This will not do.

I have noticed that this happens to me from time to time. Mostly with my family. Sometimes at work, or on the road. It sucks facing your own 80%ness.

So, I would like to say I'm sorry. I blackpetero, would like to apologize to the world. To blackwifeo, blackdaughtero and blacksono. I would like to apologize to blackparentso and to blackin-lawso, to blackfamilyo in general. I want each and every blacksquinto to know that I grovel before you in my unworthiness. To all of blackisraelo - I'm sorry. I expect 100% of all of you, while struggling to reach my own 80%.

And so with 100% hypocracy, I will continue to pass commentary on the world as I see it while I try embrace my 80%, and forgive myself.

Monday, May 12, 2008


The last few weeks its been tough to find a pair of socks. The only socks left in my sock drawer are the very thick and very small - none of my first team socks were to be found. So I took a deep breath and entered the laundry room. It took a few moments to swallow my nausea during which I scoped the place. With shock I realized we have a sock concentration camp going on right under here our own roof. There were bags of socks, baskets of socks, painfully thin socks blankly staring out of their bunks, all single and all crying for help. Like the U.S. armies liberating Dachau, we swept in and herded all the socks to safely. Like the Red Cross we spent hours nurturing them back to health. Like the Displaced Peoples Administration we paired them up and rebuild broken families. It felt great.

NOTE: The "we"s above refer to my loving daughter and I. I initially made an extreme error by using "I". Never fear, I was quickly reminded of the truth. I beg forgiveness.

I sent my people out to find the architects of this heinous crime. When all the facts were in, the irrefutable evidence from the forensic lab at the Jeffersonian pointed to none other than My Wife. Who would have thought that under that beautiful, kind, smiling exterior lurked a dark secret. When put on the stand and asked to confront her crimes, she calmly responded "I am indifferent to socks, I find them uninteresting". What did I expect, bloodshot eyes and fangs??

So I am starting the SPCS - The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Socks. Please people, socks are clothes too, give them the respect they deserve. They quietly do their job protecting your feet from the dangerous, cold world outside, and ask nothing more than a partner and a warm drawer.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Growing Old Is Not For The Weak

I am feeling particularly old today. So old that I may be repeating myself. So old that I may be repeating myself. You guys have heard it all before. How it sucks that at my age (48 today), even waking up in the morning after a good nights sleep, hurts. You've all heard the story of my epiphany at the gym when I locked my glasses in my locker and I stood there squinting to try see the numbers on the combination lock. I have realized that I will never again be able to read without my glasses. No more assuming that this body will recover from anything I put it through.

Last week I sat cross legged on the floor while I alphabetized my CD collection (I swear), when I stood up after an hour, I could not move. I hobbled around like a cripple for 10 minutes, until my legs woke up. You've all heard me moan about reaching that age where nothing is really interesting anymore, only food. I used to live for sex, drugs, R&R - now a fresh slice of bread with Marmite is what its all about.

Sigh, all there is to look forward to is free bus passes and "blender" for lunch. Man I feel sorry for myself.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

What's With The Brackets?

I signed up at a prestigious Israeli website today ( I used my usual name "blackpetero". On my personal page the heading is: (Peter Ostrin (blackpetero . This is something I have noticed many times, Hebrew and English do not mix on the internet. The brackets particularly seem to be an issue. If you have even tried to type a few English words into a Hebrew doc, you know all about it. The cursor does this funky dance and moves in the wrong direction before understanding its English. I realize dealing with the language direction is difficult, but actually Word seems to have got the English, Hebrew thing together and it behaves predictably once you change the language in the language bar. Its generic (Hebrew) sites that really have an issue. The bracket issue is always tough and I have seen all sorts of documents with ) inverted ( brackets. You would think they would get this right eventually. I suppose in this case 80% is really the best one can hope for.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Anyone need some QA?

My daughter could be a start-up. She could test quality on any device know to man. In the last month or so she has broken her cell phone, mp3 player (its not actually broken, the volume does not work), camera (we already replaced it once), and thats not all. Last night she sheepishly shows me the screen of the beautiful Dell laptop she is using. It has a horrible vertical line permanently burned into the screen (I see dead pixels). She is a sweet girl, but rather heavy handed it would seem. In all my 48 years I have never broken a camera. I still have my first generation Ipod and as long as its connected to the power, it works perfectly (the batteries on those never did last). It seems that things "just break" for some people. I reportedly have a nephew who cannot wear a watch because they just stop after a few days (digital and analog). My daughter claims that she treats these devices with respect, but in fact, the last phone fell into a cup of coffee.

I wonder if this is an hereditary trait? If so it must come from her mother. My son inherited my misery gene and thats all I'm responsible for.