Winter Holidays in Russia -- An article about the Russian version of the New Year. It's not 100% precise, i remember some things differently, but the second part about the presents is very true!
Scribe, ut possis cum voles dicere: dices cum velle debebis (Pl. Ep. 6.29)
Scribe, ut possis cum voles dicere: dices cum velle debebis (Pl. Ep. 6.29)
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Buying a digital camera is not easy.
There are too much specs, which soon left me caring mostly for mega-pixels and optical zoom and, to a lesser degree, for the type of batteries and storage. Viewfinder, manual aperture, bla-bla-bla, i don't have the attention, i give up.
There is a good helper site, dpreview, but as i said, there are too much specs to choose from and it's not so clear where do the prices listed there come from. It is definite, however, that the prices in Israel are droven up wildly. Only a complete sucker will buy a camera in a retail store here; online stores and duty-free seem better, but:
- The duty-free is a mystery, as their website is too terse and doesn't seem to be up-to-date and they don't give any "marketing information" (?!) on the phone, so there's no way to know if they have the brands i want.
- Online stores seem to be rather cheap, but they ship after 21 days and i'm flying next Monday.
I will buy a camera eventually...
Monday, December 22, 2003
Moving to the new office cooled me off. It was probably some kind of change anguish. The new place has actual windows, which is a huge step forward.
El'ad went all the way to Eilat to get his passport. After being strung around by the govt. for a week -- will it or will not come in the mail? -- it finally came, so we are flying and it is final.
In the duty-free i'm planning to buy a digital camera -- Canon A80 or maybe G3... I'm accesorising myself -- minidisc, discman, colour cellphone, Ray-Ban, Hohner, Latin Dictionary, good stuffs. In London i'm not planning to buy nothing but beer, beer, beer, beer, beer, beer, beer, beer, whiskey and some very silly souvenir for Avital O. (he specifically asked for something very silly).
When you have it, you suffer,
And when you don't, you suffer,
Her name is Pussy Hell.
(T. Albert 1994)
Friday, December 19, 2003
Hello. I have a new cellphone. It's my fourth since 1997. It is made by a company that i have never heard of before -- Telit; i got it because its ability to store 1500 phone numbers captured my attention. It also has an SMS quick-speller and a color display! Ya mama. I have a strange feeling that for the first time i got a cellphone a little before that model became completely obsolete.
The website says that the company is Italian, but the user's manual says that it's Korean. Whatever's the truth, it felt great when i saw that their download section was written in Italian and could read it. That's how bugs can sometimes make people happy.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Monday, December 15, 2003
My lovely government builds a bunker for itself in Jerusalem. Apparently it is very big with miles and miles of tunnels with a center in the Government campus in Givat-Ram. The tunnels were shown on TV -- and if they were just a few inches wider, they could be used for a metropolitan underground. Above the ground a light rail is being built, because a committee found that building an underground would be too expensive. The solution -- build them both! The government of Israel, i love you so much.
I swear i thought about it myself. Here is my theory about the "Baby Mozart"-tape industry: there is no copyright on classical music! It costs nothing to pay a very cheap orchestra to play it, put it on CD, publish a mocked-up "scientific study" that claims that babies that listen to Mozart grow up smarter -- kazoom, the guy's a millionaire. I have an absolutely disgusting feeling that he is Jewish. Why Mozart? -- because he's the most famous classical composer and has the most pronouncable name. Imagine "Baby Musorgsky", "Baby Rimsky-Korsakov", "Baby Rakhmaninov" or "Baby Händel" -- it wouldn't sell. I should check if there other people who think like me.
Sunday, December 14, 2003
Saturday, December 13, 2003
Sorry, i didn't really get it. Probably there are a lot of people who understood it even less than me. It wasn't a complete waste of time, but there was a feeling that i missed something. Or maybe it just sucks and everyone is afraid to admit that it does to seem intelligent. Whatever.
The "Cooking According to Your Blood Type" says that pork is bad for my bloodtype. Which seems to fit with my former hypothesis. However it also says that i shouldn't eat caviar and almost any kind of cheese except goat and mozarella and as if that is not bad enough, then it discourages me and all of my O-blood-type mates to avoid durum wheat from which pasta is made.
No, thank you, this just can't be true.
Thursday, December 11, 2003
What it is: four audio CD's with live concerts, each corresponding to a studio album; one DVD with five clips; and a booklet with a long interview and quite a lot of photos; all in a nicely designed black box. Read more specs here. It has cost me 209.90 NIS (46$) in Musica Neto.
Why do i love it so much: mostly because of CD #2 -- Post live. I even feel a little ashamed to be so unoriginal, because hey -- Post is my favourite Björk studio album too and it was the only tour i experienced myself (twice). And yes -- that's exactly the reason CD #2 also makes the whole box worth the money. Because it IS the best example of playing electronic music in a live setting, whether you call it Rock or not (i certainly do, even though Björk herself might not be so pleased with that.) And i swear it's more than nostalgia.
The brilliance of putting live drums, a sampler and an accordion on the same stage with a pretty minimalistic decoration -- but decoration nevertheless, really ties the concert together. In fact, i was a little disappointed when i read in the booklet that she chose the accordion because of budget issues -- the record company wouldn't let her drag a whole orchestra around the world back then, as she did on later tours, but in any case, the arrangements were mesmerizing, especially Anchor Song. It was new music being created, the wettest dream of any serious musician. It wasn't rock, it wasn't dance, it wasn't retro, and it was NOT some "fusion of it all", as the whole was so much greater than the sum of its parts. And although her concerts became larger and more spectacular on Homogenic and Vespertine tours, they were, ironically, somewhat less groundbreaking.
Which doesn't mean they weren't great. The tamer Homogenic songs (5 Years, All Neon Like, Immature) are more pleasing here than on the album and yet another rendition of Anchor Song, this time with strings, is also welcome. And it hurts to say that as good as it is, CD #4 is probably the weakest in the box as it doesn't add much to the studio album, except a little different performances of Frosti and Hidden Place and the non-album track Generous Palmstrtoke, but it certainly isn't worse than the studio version.
Which brings us to CD #1 -- the MTV Unplugged. While in the battle of the albums Post wins triumphantly over Debut, the live concerts is a much tougher strife. First of all, for the protocol: that Unplugged performance remains one of the greatest proofs that MTV actually mattered once as a cultural phenomenon -- and i swear again that it is not me getting all nostalgic for my teen-age years. Secondly, it was an amazing show. It didn't run around the world for months like the Post show, but it was so complicated (just check out One Day on the DVD1) and, for that matter, so astonishingly well-produced and performed that it is easily one of the most important musical events of the twentieth century. To devise two such performances -- Unplugged and Post -- within two years, proves that God is good and generous.
Why shouldn't the CD format become obsolete: because.
1 Or better, get the complete show on DVD along with another nice MTV live performance.
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
First, here's the email that i sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Saturday i experienced your wonderful show in Tel-Aviv Cinerama. I expected some "cool" "modern dance", acrobatic show, maybe something "Stomp"-style, but i got so much more!! It was such a complete mind-altering EXPERIENCE, it actually influenced my views about life - definitely for the better. Of all the modern artists who try to be trendy by mixing cultures and looking tribal and pagan you are easily the best and the most original!
As great as the rope parts where, i loved the Fiesta part most of all for the sheer simplicity of it - somehow i got a million times more excited there than on any party or disco ever before. I have never ever saw such wonderful and boundless love and fun developed within moments between total strangers coming from different sides of the world.
A million thank-you's, kisses and hugs to all De La Guarda staff and crew!!!
This cheesy-smartass email tells most of it, basically. I came with my silly oriental cap with hope that it will attract their attention and they'll pick me up in the air. They didn't pick me up, but i did attract their attention in the Fiesta part -- they took it off my head and put it on themselves, we danced, we hugged and kissed and had the best time of our lives. They are experiencing it every day and although i did it only once, i'll remember it for a very long time.
I hope that one day all parties will be at least as good as that Fiesta was.
Thursday, December 04, 2003
Monday, December 01, 2003
I found out today that all my template changes were overwritten. I don't know if it happened because of all those problem reports i sent to them, or because it's the 1st of the month. I'll follow it closely. It's good that i kept a local copy.
Geneva accord - They just won't stop, eh?
It's very sad, the state in which humanity is today. The moment i heard on GLZ news that "a few minutes ago a plane crashed into one of the Twin towers in New York City", i thought: "What day is it today? September 11th ... very soon it will be a memorable date."
Whether the Geneva accord is good or not, there's this issue of memory -- somehow i'm not sure that even the greatest supporters of the Oslo accord can remember the day it was signed. My bet -- as well as the Road Map (come again?), "the first of December" will be forgotten very soon. It's not a coincidence that the Geneva guys tried to organize that ceremony on the 4th of November -- of course, the day Rabin was killed seems more important to remember than the day he shook Arafat's hand. They failed to sign it then, so today they are trying another "easy date" ... Let's see if they succeed. I am putting a reminder for 01-DEC-2004 on my cell phone.