Saturday, January 31, 2009


She promised me (bwo that is) that there would not be a huge amount of stuff waiting for me when I got to Texas. As is well known by all US mail order houses, Houston is the base camp for all blackfamilyo's US operations. Blacksistero told me last night than she could sense my approaching Texas by the increased frequency of UPS deliveries. I knew at this point I was in trouble. Here are the "just a few little things" that were waiting for me in Houston. (This does not include the shopping list I'm personally expected to buy):

All I am really is just a pack mule. Not shown are the left over potions and lotions from last trip.

I was struck down by a vicious attack of the cold and flu in California, on Thursday. I spent much of the day shaking and shivering in bed. I managed to get up at 3:30am to make my flight to Houston yesterday (Friday) and spent Shabat dinner in the bosom of my family. Here's the Houston family in all its glory.

Unfortunately John is not in this picture because we needed him to be the photographer. It's great to be here. Check out how they (mosty) dressed in black for me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Travel Tips

I have decided to be magnanimous this morning and provide you, the reading audience with a few travel tips. Treasure this knowledge, it has been acquired through long sleepless hours traveling the globe.

This one's for all of you intellectuals that only own black clothing except for the odd white reflective T shirt to aid in easy roadside identification and accident prevention while walking or jogging. You may have noticed that once your bag is packed and you're on the road, identifying clean from dirty can be an issue. All the beautiful black clothing tends to meld together into a homogeneous blob in your bag. Here's a simple tip. Once worn, turn each item inside out. This distinguishes the worn from the clean clothes. This doesn't work so well for plain black socks, mind.

My second tip is relevant to all you overseas travelers. People are always going off about what to do about a cell phone in the US. We tried all sorts of ridiculous schemes in the past including some Russian company that called you back automatically (press "Da" or "Neut" to continue). None were satisfactory. The best move is to buy a $14 "ATT go phone" at Walmart. These come with a "pay as you go" SIM. Mine was preloaded with $10 of calls, so the phone only actually costs $4. You need to keep it topped up, but at 10c a minute and free calls to other ATT phones, its a bargain. It's a pity it does not work all that well up here in the hills.

Finally, make sure you time your trip to miss KQED's pledge drives. KQED is the excellent Public Radio station here in Northern California. Unfortunately they seem to have a pledge drive each quarter, and I have hit "pledge week" the last two times I came out here. It's so annoying, every interesting program is cut short and you are subjected to this annoying pair grovelling for money. Come on guys, I realize you are publicly funded, but can't you arrange for this to happen when I am back home.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nobody Loves Me, Everybody Hates Me I think I'll Eat Some Worms.

I was sitting here at the kitchen table, miserable in the pre-dawn jetlag. I got to thinking about what it is that's pulling me down. It's that dammed google calendar. In my daily life I usually don'y have too many items on my schedule. At most a meeting a day. Sometimes things get hectic and there are arrangements over the weekend and more meetings at work and this tend to stress me out.

I just realized. It's my calendar that makes me crazy. Just sitting here and looking at the stuff I have to do over the next few days is exhausting. I'm off to the city (SF) this morning for a meeting, then a meeting this afternoon, and dinner tonight, early morning call tomorrow, morning meeting, lunch meeting, possible afternoon meeting, dinner tomorrow, a middle-seat 5 hour flight to Houston on Friday, the family, more meetings Monday, and a 20 something hour flight home (with a very stressful one hour connection at Heathrow). Each gray block on my google calendar means more talking, arranging, traveling, driving, note taking and more expectations. I'm pining for empty days with nothing on my head. And now it looks like we will have to chuck our Spring Vacation due to financial concerns.

Don't take any of this seriously, my throat started itching last night and is quite sore this morning. You know how miserable I get when I'm even slightly ill. I'm simply feeling sorry for myself.

Afterthought: This is why America is great. Just check out The Bacon Explosion. Perfect for Superbowl Sunday.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

California Dreaming

One good thing about being old, is that you get to watch the young ones around you grow and flourish. I have managed bright young people forever and bwo and I have attended more than our share of marriages and other celebrations over the years. While I have been here in the US, my boys have been busy. Ariel and Daniela gave birth to Noga, and Ravid and Shiri gave Kesem a sister called Nahal (I am not sure of the English spelling). All this makes me think back to the heart thumping, emotional roller coaster that accompanied the birth long ago of bso and bdo (heckle and jeckle). Good luck guys. I know you will make perfect parents. Your children are most fortunate.

Talking about births, my old friend BobA revived his blog, Bob is the original POW (piece of work) and he and his brilliant, kind, gentle, long-suffering wife Wendy were our closest friends when we lived here in the Valley. I still think of them everyday. Yesterday I drove down Marsh Road, close to where they used to live in Menlo Park. We have not seen each other for many years, but keep in loose electronic contact. They are the kind of people I know we will always fit with even after all these years and miles. They watched and helped our two kids grow as Bob and I worked our butts off at SGI.

It's always bitter sweet coming back here to California. There is not much not to love. The mountains, the woods, the friends. While driving around, I see much and meet many that remind me of the time we lived here. But, we now live far away and those days are long gone. I don't for a second regret moving to Israel, but can't help wondering what would have been had we stayed. I would love to share these travels with my family as this place is as much theirs as it is mine. Maybe we can come back in the summer.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Walk In The Park

Yesterday morning we went walking in Monte Bello Park off Skyline Ridge. The air was crisp, cold and fresh. We warmed up by walking up and down the hills. It was great. Later, I visited Ilan and Gabi and their kids, and Alpana and her kids. A good day. I collapsed exhausted at 9pm, and woke wide awake at 2:30am. Its going to be tough to get through the day. Here is a bad picture of the skyline at Monte Bello. I really need a better camera.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Joys Of Travel

It's early in the morning here. I wanted to sleep in, but my body refused. I went to bed late last night, after a midnight skype chat with bwo. I was tired but happy. I had an excellent day yesterday. I woke early and popped off to Starbucks for a coffee and blueberry muffin (when in America, one must be American). I walked around Los Altos downtown and then drove up into the hills to look at the view. It was rather cloudy, and so not much to see.

I met Greg and Dave a bit later and after a tour of Greg's world class garage shop (I have never seen a neater and more organized shop anywhere), we headed off to the Japan Woodworker in Alameda. Wonderful place. I bought bwo two Japanese vegetable cleavers as she requested and poured over the amazing Japanese and top of the line US hand tools. We got chatting with the guys running the store, who gave us each a freebie T-Shirt. They were fascinated by the fact that I was from Israel. Turns out they are both Jewish. After a lengthy conversation covering the bad harvest of Etrogs in the San Fernando Valley they let me take their picture. We decided it should be called "The Only Two Jewish Woodworkers In the Bay Area". Check 'em out (I'm sorry I never got their names).

Next we visited Hida Tool, the other Japanese tool dealer in Berkeley. We poked and examined and discussed each interesting item in turn and generally made a bit on a nuisance of ourselves. I was amazed that even though it was a rainy Saturday afternoon, both stores were pretty empty and trade seemed very slow. I hope these guys make it through the recession. They both carry a huge amount of stock.

We drove around aimlessly for a while looking for somewhere to eat, and by chance stumbled upon Jimmy Bean's. It's sort of a cafe slash coffee house. The food was excellent. My veggie wrap was really tasty, filled with fresh seasonal veggies, and spiced to my taste. We all three enjoyed our lunch.

We motored back to the South Bay talking all the while about the important world-changing things we usually discuss. Things like how the ipod shuffle can be dismantled and how digital camera's really work. I had a wonderful time. I really miss having these two "mavens" around.

When I got back home, I collapsed on my bed for an afternoon nap. I woke up completely disorientated after about an hour. Just lay on the bead an gazed out the window. This is the view from my bed.

Don't suck does it?

Dewi made us a superb supper. Vegetables and couscous cooked to perfection. They had invited over a German friend (also called Peter) and the conversation was interesting. So many of the people around here have accomplished much in their lives. And as is typical for Silicon Valley, we have the computer industry in common, so there always a lot to learn from each other.

I collapsed (I think I talked everyone under the table) around midnight. A good day.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Early morning Musings From The Hills.

I arrived in California last night after what seemed like an age on the plane. The TLV-LHR leg was not too bed as the plane was about a quarter full and as we all know, there is nothing better than an empty plane. The long flight from LHR-SFO was packed, but I had a pretty Belgian woman sitting next to me. She works in sales for a medical company, and we had one of those deep in-flight chats that you have with someone you will probably never see again. I learned about life in Belguim, the difficulties of being a women rep in a man's field and about the joys and challenges of bringing up three kids of varying ages and varying partners.

While munching on a PretA Manger sandwich in Heathrow, I got a distressing call from bwo. She had just returned from a talk with bdo's counselor and teachers. It's tough going there, and what's worse, I'll be out and helpless for nearly two weeks. It's not only at school that bdo is having a hard time. We got her last month's cell phone bill and she spent over 800NIS. She had sworn blind, that this past month she would cut down to at most a quarter of that. So we are going to get her a prepaid SIM card (called a talkman) and give her the simple phone that has no internet capabilities and we should see from there. I feel so helpless. Long distance parenting is not something I am good at. I have enough trouble when I am right there. I love my girl and we will do what is necessary to get her back on track.

Its 6am here and pitch black outside. I would go for a walk, but there are no streetlamps in Los Altos Hills, and there are man eating deer roaming the streets. Jonathan and Dewi have been wonderful as usual, and I'm looking forward to going tool gazing with my boys in a few hours. I brought my camera and will try remember to take some pics. Stay safe peeps.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm Leaving On A Jetplane

My neck is stiff. My jaws ache from clenching. I have already had two spats with the loving bwo. I have a headache and feel a tad nauseous. Oh Yes, I'm traveling tomorrow. I like being there, it's the getting there I loathe. My washing is done, my bags are packed and I've online checked in. I've had the hour long conversation with a board member, done my online banking, ran into town to pick up some nuts and charged all phones and ipods. Now all that's left is to sort out my hand luggage and sleep a few hours before heading off to the airport at the god awful time of 4am.

This trip wasn't looking all that grim. Jacky, our CTO, was going to meet me in the Bay Area and we would go together to meet our now and hopefully future customers. I could watch while he did the whole dog and pony show. But, wouldn't you know it, Jacky came down with a swollen leg and his doctors wouldn't let him travel. This all happened today, so I haven't even had a chance to get used to the idea. So I'll be on my own.

A week in the Bay Area can't all be bad, can it? I get to stay with J+D, this is good. I'm off to the Japan Woodworker in Berkeley on Saturday with Greg and Dave. I get to see Mark, Danny, Alex, Alpana, Shawn, Jimmy and other old friends. Then it's off to Texas for the weekend to see my family. It's the long cramped flights, sterile airports, jetlag and the missing of the bfo that I can do without. Well, at least I get to eat at Chipotles.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Obamitzvah

I watched some of the Obamitzvah yesterday. I felt very proud of the USA. Good job folks. I also realized it's the first time in my life I ever voted for the winning presidential (or prime ministerial) candidate. I just hope his actions can match his excellent words. Time will tell. Good Luck, dude, you have a difficult road ahead of you.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Some Nostalgia

I was letting my computer update itself this morning when I noticed that it wanted to install the myspell "shoutafrican" dictionary. What follows is a snippet of Linux talk, just ignore if you don't care:

who:/home/petero-> aptitude search myspell-en-za
i myspell-en-za - English_shouthafrican dictionary for myspell

While it was installing I got to thinking about being Shoutafrican. I have not been back to SA since 1984. This means I have not been back for longer than I ever lived there. I was fortunate to grow up in Port Elizabeth (PE). It was a paradise when I was young (and clueless about apartheid). A few days back, blackbrothero pointed out the Port Elizabeth Daily Photo Blog. I spent hours pouring over the excellent photos of PE and boy did the nostalgia kick in. What a beautiful place. My favorite is the picture of the Red Windmill. My dad used to take me and my Mom on a "Sunday Drive" when I was young. We often stopped at the Red Windmill after spending time in the "docks" watching bales of his hides and skins being loaded into the belly of some cargo ship. I always had a hot dog, with no trimmings. They used to put, what in those days seemed most horrid, tomato and onion stuff on the bun and even a touch of this made it inedible. We could then sit in the car and watch the Hobies sailing out on the bay. It was particularly spectacular when the constant wind blew a storm in over the sea and the wave crashed into the rocks at Flatrock.

So much has changed in South Africa. I really had little desire to return as there are many other places in this world I still have not visited (Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia to name a few). But, looking at the photos of PE, I think I need to take blackfamilyo there one of these days. Growing up there most definitely shaped who I am.

Fixed bdo, broken network.

Blackdaughtero is OK. The hospital gave her a clean bill of health. We have to monitor her closely and any sign of nausea, vomiting or headache must be taken seriously. So she is OK. The blackfamilyo network is not. We are still having network problems. No one can do anything on the internet as its dog slow. Currently, blacksono's computer looks like it's the problem. As soon as we turned it off, all seems better. He is desperately trying to get a new network card working. Lets hope that's it. I don't know how much more of this nonsense I can take. I'm really tired of hassling with machines at home and at work.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Reason's To Be Cheerful

A series of "unfortunate" events prevented me from posting yesterday. I had one of those days where absolutely nothing went right, till we went out for dinner with the Hardens in the evening. Actually, today, things have not improved much. How about this:

  • Bdo's eye suddenly filled with blood yesterday. It sounds dramatic, and looks pretty scary. The doctor was more worried that she's had a headache for a few days. So even as we speak, she and bwo are at Tel HaShomer Hospital seeing an eye specialist, and ENT specialist and neurologist. Hopefully it's nothing serious. I will keep you updated.

  • Our home server (mumps) crashed and burned yesterday morning. This machine runs all the email, web pages and everything that is, so its pretty important. I spent yesterday running around like a chicken without a head trying to get the machine back up. It's completely fried. I was caught in a little purgatory, I needed access to the internet to get mump's replacement up and running, and our router was stuck looking for mumps. So even the backups I had did not help. A whole day was spent without internet.

  • At some point I decided I would go off to work to get the software I needed to get mump's replacement (ocd) up and running. I got about half way there only to realize I did not have my keys. I went back home, searched everywhere and realized I must have left them at work on Friday. Sigh!

  • Bso had two friends over for the weekend. They moved the "rockband" drums and guitars into the lounge. We were subjected to incessant brain-numbing beats and wails while they played every song in the game. They went on till 4AM Friday night and most of Saturday. I hate that game.

  • To crown it all my Prius decided it did not want to unlock or lock using either of the remote controls. I thought it strange that both batteries should give out at the same time, but what do I know. This morning I took both remote controls into Hertz. They handle the leasing of cars for the squints and thus are theoretically responsible for all repairs. So they took the remotes and promised to deal. They returned them a few hours later with the following story. It appears that the Toyota dealer has been swamped with cars having problems locking and unlocking using their remotes. They claim the reason is that due to the war, the Airforce is using some technology that causes these remotes to stop working sometimes (I swear on my life this is true). Apparently there was an expose on this on TV on Friday. So the war is even effecting us wimps in the center.

  • To top it off we ran out of toilet paper here at squint central. That is bad news for a roughage loving vegetarian.

  • Mostly I'm stressed because I'm off to the States on Friday and you all know how much I just love traveling.

Bwo just sent me a picture from her cell of bdo's eye (I updated it with a picture from later, that's Julian in the background). They are still sending them from doctor to doctor and want Dylan to come in tomorrow for some tests to see why this is happening. I don't like it at all.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Return Of The Ten Thousand Pounder

I just can't stop eating. I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm hoping it's just the cold weather getting to me, because I cannot carry on like this. Today I woke up lateish, seeing its the weekend. I had my first breakfast with bdo, four pieces of toast and Marmite. Then I gobbled down a dozen cookies, made by Jill, left over from a meeting held here on Wednesday. They were excellent. Feeling slightly peckish, an hour or so later, I polished off the leftover rigatoni, 2 veggie schnitzels, half a loaf of whole wheat bread and the left over chips. And don't for a second think I'm not still hungry. That must be 50 points already today and its not yet 4pm, and we're going out for Shabbat dinner tonight. Help!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I was thinking about the party we had on New Years Eve. In looking back, I realize it was all a little weird and uncomfortable for me. See the things is, at social events, I usually like to keep in the background. I can usually be found hanging out in the periphery of the function. I love to people watch. I like to try figure out who's in, who's out and who's against whom. I build little scenarios in my head. Truly it's the only way I can get through a lot of these.

All that changes when you're the host. You have to be in the center of things. No one lets you watch from the sidelines. It really places me firmly outside my comfort zone. Our parties are populated by all sorts of people we know. There are the boring old people like us, there are squints and friends of squints. There are people we never expected would show up and those we see far too little of. There are those that you would prefer to talk to one on one at length and those that you never have anything in common with, and have even less to chat about now that you're busy being busy. It's all rather exhausting. In fact I'm so tired I'm off to sleep.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We all want to be loved

Hi all

I asked Peter to write this blog post because I felt I wanted a bigger non Israeli audience.
My gripe is about the Israeli public image with the Gaza war waging on.

The urge to write about this subject came from two opposite directions:
1. Israeli complaints about the one sided pro Palestinian view of the current war.
2. People comparing Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto etc...

I do not want to argue about facts at all, I just want to point out one thing:

If you are loved/popular/sympathized by the world  - it means that you are in deep shit!
A few examples:
Animals on the brink of extinction.
Jews after world war 2.
People from Darfur.

Yuval Drori

Start Up

We play a game around here, it's called "I Have An Idea For A Startup". It's sort of like "Who Want's To Be A Millionaire" except there is absolutely no chance you will win any money at all or be on TV. You are also certain to have a bunch of squints pointing out the lameness of your idea. So what, I say. I have an idea for a startup. Here it is:

I often buy six packs of 1.5 liter bottles of water when I fill up my car. Combining the facts that I walk or bus to work often and the car's a hybrid, this does not happen too often. So when I do fill up the car, I usually buy two six packs. Once opened, they roll around in the trunk (boot) constantly, just like shifting containers in the hold of a ship in a storm. It drives me nuts. No matter how I try convince these bottles to stay put, they break free and bash around at every turn and stop. So, how about a velcro based partitioned box like thing (like the cardboard boxes high end drinks come in with pigeon holes to hold the bottles vertical, they used to deliver milk in these in the old country). This must fold down flat when not in use, so it does not take up space when not needed. I would buy something like that. It's probably a better business than a squint filled graphics software engineering services house.


For some reason I am feeling down today and needed cheering up. Maybe its because no one noticed that I missed Music Video Tuesday last week. Honestly, I did it on purpose because, Itai, one of the few people that actually follows this blog, said that it's the post he likes the least all week. Well, I missed the videos and so they're back. It's good to be the king. Strangely, my two emos (bso and bdo) seemed to miss them, and bdo suggested the following. Here you have it, the Tiny Toons video of Istanbul (Not Constantinople) by They Might Be Giants.

And if that is not enough check out Particle Man, which contains the excellent line, "When he's underwater does he get wet? Or does the water get him instead?"

Monday, January 12, 2009

Life Goes On

We went to a funeral today. Itzik's dad passed on. I never met him, but in Israel, you go to funerals to support the living family. We go to more funerals each year as we get older. There are some strange things about being buried here in the Holy Land. They don't use coffins and you are buried in a Tallit, a prayer shawl. You can see the outline of the body, and its a bit too personal for me. A stark reminder that this once was a living, breathing human. The body is carried on a stretcher and sort of dumped into the ground. We noticed that the grave seemed very deep. The digger dude climbed way down into the hole (with a ladder) to straighten things out, I think, it was all rather weird. Then I noticed that some of the graves had dual stones, many with one side blank. I realized that the deep hole was probably for two. The later burial being placed on top of the resident occupant. Makes sense in a country with little land.

Each time I go to a cemetery, I remember just how inevitable death is. It's a good reminder for me - I should enjoy what I have here and now to its fullest. This graveyard, called "Orchard of Life" (what a name) is on the edge of Kfar Sava, in the shadow of the Arab town of Kalkilia. There is a nice view of the fields and hills of the Sharon. In the distance we could faintly hear the sound of the muezzin calling his flock to prayers, a strangely comforting reminder that life goes on.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

So What's behind Your Dishwasher?

This is what was behind our dishwasher. Its quite amazing actually. I can understand the dead roaches, bottle caps, breakfast cereal and broken cup shards, but why did the Tupperware lids and a brand new pencil choose to hide there. The reason our dishwasher is shorting out the house is its heating element has gone. But don't worry, David the appliance dude (from Haifa, from whence all good appliance dudes hail) says it can be replaced for a few hundred sheks. No guarantee it will actually begin to clean dishes though. David went upstairs to say Hi to Jonathan the washing machine, after all they're old buddies.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I love Saturdays. What's not to love, it's the weekend. I spent the day watching Planet Earth, The World at War, Time Team and Cosmos. Then we went to visit our friends Brian and Irit. They just moved into their new house and it was the first time I visited. It's very nice indeed. For years and years, as long as I have known Brian (probably 30 years), he has always loved movies. He always had more TV than anyone, more video and more DVDs than anyone. Finally he's built the home theater he always wanted. It is fine. The picture quality is perfect, the sound crisp and clear and the couches incredibly comfortable. We watched some chick flick with only women in it, and some David Gilmore concert. It's simply a pleasure to experience the quality that's gone into the whole system. I am very happy for him.

One of the best thing about growing old up is that finally you can, without conscience, invest in what you love. I have my tools, books and music, Brian his home theater and movies, and Larry his running shoes and boogie board. And you would think, I could, without conscience, be able to spend a whole Saturday lounging around, watching TV shows, visiting friends, and doing nothing constructive.

You would think I could just relax, but every recent Saturday evening, thinking about the start of the work week tomorrow and the five long days till the next weekend, I feel hollow inside. Where did this weekend go?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Kitchen Flu

It started with the blocked drain. The water in the sink would not go down but sat there bubbling and burping like a mangrove swamp. I plunged and plunged and the only result was I got drenched with foul smelling sink juice. When it started to smell sharper than cat pee, we called the plumber. 280NIS later it turned out that in mother-in-law-superior's zealous cleaning of the myriad menorahs, post Hanukkah, the drain had become blocked with the high quality wax left by the Chinese candles.

Next the microwave got a virus and just stopped working. Dead, not even the clock's eternal flashing on the wrong time as it has since we got it. Faced with the modern day dilemma of, dare we try fix it or should we just buy new, I insisted on an attempted repair. In my local wondering I pass a nice repair shop on the Raanana Herzliya boarder. I noticed people smiling when leaving and once saw a repair person actually carry a mixer out to an old person's car. Blackwifeo took the micro in, and only two days and 250NIS later it's back heating the food of the masses. I like that. Unbidden they even replaced the light inside, something we have lived without for five years.

But now the dishwasher caught the disease. It was supposed to be a top of the line model. We bought it when we first arrived back in the Holy Land and honestly its a piece of Italian (pronounced Eye-talian) crap. You have to wash the dishes by hand before you put them in the dishwasher or else all that happens is the food gets bonded to the dish. What's the point? But never being bothered by facts, we continue to use it to wash and store hand cleaned dishes. A few days ago it started tripping the mains. This is a pain as each time the house trips the computers need to be restarted (in a specific order) - we must remain online. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that causes a more immediate panic and a slew of extra high priority, meeting interrupting calls to me at work, than handholding the rebooting of blackfamilyo. So the dishwasher will have to be repaired (or replaced), David our appliance dude (he comes all the way from Haifa) will be by Sunday to check it out. In the mean time I'm on extra kitchen duty.

I've noticed that appliances disease seems to spread from one machine to the next. I wonder what will be next. I just hope it's not Jonathan the washing machine.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I just had to post this picture. It was posted on Vilgilant Squirrel's blog. He snapped the picture at an anti-Israel rally in NYC. There, of course, are all sorts of puns associated with this. Like "I bet he gets his news from Al-juice-era" and the well known "I used to drink orange juice until I found out it was acidic, and now I don't like acidic juice". The thread on reddit pointed to all sorts of tasteless stuff including this: Holocaust Tycoon. I particularly like the faint ZIONIST in parens above the JUICE in the picture. This guy is very specific about his death threats, only Zionist juice must die. Need we say more?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No Bedroom Screen

If I have learned one secret in life, it's this. There is one easy way to attain a better quality of life. Get rid of the TV in your bedroom. Take it from me, it works. It took around 18 years of marriage to get the tenure necessary to actually be the one chosen when the "either it's me or the TV" debate finally came down to action. I love not having a TV in the room. Bwo and I can each sit with our laptops, she on her side of the bed, me on my comfy chair. We can each watch whatever show we want off the net. We can send each other emails (can't talk over the headphones), and if necessary even IM each other. The perfect twenty first century partnership. There is supreme comfort in looking across at her lying contentedly on her side of the bed, macbook perched on her stomach, headphones on, surrounded by her necessities, her cell, the house phone, 2 plates one with a congealed bean like dinner made by bso, apple cores, today's (and yesterday's) clothing and assorted potions and lotions.

You see, each of us watching our own choice means I never have to pause when her cell phone rings with another self-helpless, on-the-ledge, poor soul in need of calming words. She never has to watch war documentaries and I need never watch quasi-reality cooking shows. It works perfectly. We can each choose what to watch when, true video on demand. And if it means I need to clean all her crap off my side of the bed before I go to sleep, its a small price to pay. So thanks bwo for letting me get rid of the TV on the bedroom, my life has improved beyond measure.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Son The General

I'm verflempt, my son told me last night he finally made General. And there are only six in the whole game. I'm so proud. Now if the General would only go to bed, he has school tomorrow.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Sign, A Sign!

Near the Geha Intersection (all roads in Israel are named by their intersections, I have no idea why), someone spotted the interesting juxtapositioning (always wanted to find a reason to use that word) of these two signs. Sagi sent me the picture which appeared in a local paper. The sign in front, advertising a placement firm, reads "Stuck with labor (work) that does not suit you", and behind is an election sign for Ehud Barak, head of the labor party (and our current minister of war in Gaza). Maybe he will get the message.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Contemporary Art

I got bored sitting around today. Having finally recovered from the party, I decided to take a walk to the "Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art". It's not too far and it was a nice day, so off it went. To my amazement it only cost 10NIS entrance, the best deal in Israel. But I have to say I do not understand the art there at all.

Firstly, I visited the huge "dust" sculpture by Peter Buggenhout. Basically, it looks like a giant version of the inside of mumps, our house computer, who died this morning because it was so clogged with dust that the fans could not turn. I wonder how they vacuum the museum, the cleaners will be destroying valuable artwork.

Next I visited the "No Nonsense" exhibition, which as far as I can tell is the output of a bunch of film school dropouts who have been let loose with video cameras. The stuff was weird. There was one piece that showed the butts of people walking, another that followed a toy remote controlled car as it navigated the naked curves of a shapely model. A weird 3 minute clip here these two Tel Avivies are watching a Rambo movie, then suddenly start mimicking the action on the screen as Rambo removes a bullet from his muscle bound side. It was all a bit beyond me. Here is a key action shot from "Rambo".

I am happy it only cost 10 Sheks to see this (It included a guided tour at noon). Any more and I would have felt ripped off. I tried approaching this with an open mind, but I'm just a peasant. At least the tour guide was cute.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Party Trivia

More party trivia:

  • The DJs played The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" at midnight. It's a Christmas song for god's sake.
  • Blacksono actually spent some time mingling with the people, before going off to bed. I hear tell that his favorite drink is Captain Morgan.
  • Blackdaughtero would have nothing to do with the party at all, she did not help set up, she did not help take down. She slept through all the helping and then came back home around 4am. I was not amused.
  • Somehow we ended up with four BBQs. We brought a large and small Weber with us from the US. Maybe they had twins - a pair of Chinese Weber clones. They came in very handy and the fires almost kept us toasty and warm.
  • Larry brought 6 bags of charcoal, Barry brought three. Larry and blacksono went out and scavenged wood. We burned it all and still froze.
  • The sweater I was wearing with the Rasta fringes was indeed hand made for me by blackwifeo when she was 15. It finally fits.
  • Ravid, Shiri and Kesem came the furthest, all the way from Kanaf (next to Syria). They surprised me. When I called Ravid the day before the party he claimed they could not make it for all sorts of reasons, not least of which Shiri is two weeks from her due date. It made the whole evening for me.
  • My in-laws babysat Kesem as well as Dana (thewhitegoato) and Yann's kids. It's not often that having the blackgoldsmithos is an advantage, but they do come through in a bind.
  • We had a gatecrasher. He heard the music, came in, poured himself a drink and sat in the Shanti corner and chatted to blackavrilo.
  • For the first time ever, we did not have enough food. The mob ate all the humus, 200 chicken wings, a huge cauldron of soup, a sack of baked un-shelled peanuts, pretzels, bamba, chips, munchies, chocolate biscuits and brownies, crudites with smoky chipotle dip, and all the pitot and bread we bought for the weekend.
  • With all the various forms of smoke, including cigarettes, cigars, wood, charcoal, whacky backy, and the horrid smoke machine we increased Israeli's carbon footprint by more than the little war in Gaza.
  • Tikva and Itzik passed the hat (a baladi container) and everyone donated their 30 NIS. We nearly covered the DJ, so thanks.
  • Dana brought her two week old baby and Kutner brought his little son, neither of them seemed in the least fazed out by the noise.
  • It's now Friday night and we still have not put the lounge back together. Maybe tomorrow.
  • It was a blast, same time next year?

Anyone got anymore to add?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009

Where to begin. I can hardly move. I spent today, the first of the first, laying around, cleaning up (it's unbelievable where I found discarded beer bottles). I am feeling old and decrepit. Last night we had our "New Years Eve mother of a party". There was music, all too little dancing, cold, no rain, chicken wings, bean soup, fires outside, best friends and best people. I am too whacked to do justice to a party post, I promise I will go into more details over the next few days. Here is a picture of some of the aftermath:

I uploaded the pictures (too few and mostly bad) to flickr, you can check them out or see the slideshow below. You can also comment on individual pictures (I captioned them already):