Scribe, ut possis cum voles dicere: dices cum velle debebis (Pl. Ep. 6.29)

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Help Me God, Please. Please

I am not a very bad person. I help old and blind people cross the street, even when i'm in a hurry (it makes a good excuse too). When i'm programming, i try to write readable and maintainable code. I do my best not to be promiscous and overly greedy. I don't keep strictly kosher, i don't fast on Yom Kippur and my interpretation of Sabbath laws is particularly liberal, but basically i believe in God and try to be moral. Sometimes i fib, but to paraphrase Amir G., who got a ticket for breaking a very minor traffic regulation -- "that's a normative offence (fuck that cop!!!)". He said it in my presence, and he was still my boss then -- talk about setting an example.

What i'm basically saying is this: I'm looking for an IT job. What i have to offer is good English, seven years of experience managing mission-critical systems, good OpenVMS skills and some understanding of Windows and Unix too. What i want is the same thing that everyone wants: Professional interest, ability to fulfill my potential, friendly colleagues and understanding bosses, comfortable working hours, promotion opportunities, and decent salary. Really not too much to ask. Now what do i have to do, when two competing IT outsourcing companies want no-one but me for the same position offered by a government tender?

Both companies have a feeling that with me on board their offer will win, which is probably not far from the truth, because few people have the OpenVMS experience required for the offered position. One company promised me a desirable salary without a lot of debate and i agreed verbally to be included in their response to the offer. Then another company to which i sent a CV once called. Although both companies were speaking in codes (revealing full details of a government proposal is illegal in my country) i guessed that they were both talking about the same position. I told them that i'm already being proposed by another company, but they said that it's perfectly legal to be offered by several companies. And they offered me higher salary. And somehow they sounded more convincing about promotion opportunities. I don't take all that verbal promises for granted -- we are talking about HR and sales professionals, whose job is to sound convincing. So i agreed to be offered by them too. To be perfectly honest, i called the first company and told them everything; they were obviously unhappy, but sounded understanding. I made my best to sound moral and explained them that i have no intention to fuck them, i just have my interests.

I am not a "sales shark", i don't know jack about the legal stuff, i just want decent working conditions and i don't want any moral residue. I don't want to feel shame for anything and i don't want to burn bridges. I mean -- the government chooses its suppliers in a competition, why should i feel ashamed about employers competing for me?

Saturday, December 11, 2004

I won, I won, I won

Searching Google today for "Amir Aharoni" brings up my Blogger profile as the first result. The second result is an page with all the record reviews i wrote. All the other Amir Aharoni's, most of whom are board members of Israeli startups (and maybe it's the same guy in all of them) come after me.

Bow down to The New Economy -- I won the eyeballs war.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Freedom update

I've been thinking philosophically about the concept of freedom. I am not free, because i'm bound by a work contract that i don't like. But is that all? When i'm through with it, will i become really free?

What is freedom? Dictionary definitions include: "Exemption from the arbitrary exercise of authority in the performance of a specific action", "Exemption from an unpleasant or onerous condition", "The capacity to exercise choice", "Ease or facility of movement", "Frankness or boldness; lack of modesty or reserve", "A right or the power to engage in certain actions without control or interference" (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition).

I define it as "being able to live and express myself the way i choose".

I finally lost all my wisdom

That's it -- my last wisdom tooth, number 28, was removed today. I didn't bother to document number 18, because it went so well. 28 was a breeze too. So symbolical that i could write a song about it -- 28 gone, 28 left.

Friday, November 19, 2004

This one's optimistics, this one went to market

I polished my résumé once again. This time i made it simplistic -- without templates, tables, fancy titles or styles. So non-Aharoni of me, but i think that this time i got it right: It finally looks natural on one page, it's simple and clean and emphasizes the right points. I hope that the market is ready for me.

The guys from IBM are asking me repeatedly to send it; Taldor and NDS contacts are waiting too. It won't be long yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah. It won't be long. Freedom is around the corner. Here i come.

Old Driver

I received my new driver's license. I'm not a "new driver" anymore, although i beat the statistics by barely driving in those first two years, so practically i'm still very very new. God help me.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Haven't written for a while

Mira, Nev, Noga, Roz, Shluli and whoever else is reading my blog -- i apologize for not updating for a long time. What happened in the meantime: A trip to Eilat, a new digital camera, a new academic year, Hadar gets new dorm room, i read the amazing, amazing Life of Pi (thank you, Mira, for the recommendation), Dad comes back from Moscow with two bottles of fine single malt whiskey (Cragganmore and Glenfiddich Solera Reserve) and a new video camera, my old computer finally gives up and dies, and i buy a new one. With all that excitement i had no time to update the blog; i was hardly home to freely use the web at all (i experience a strange boost in my work ethics lately, so i didn't feel right to update the blog while i'm on duty).

I hope i'll find the time to expand on all of these things, especially Life of Pi. A truly astounding book.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Made Me Cry - Laith Bahrani/Creep

There's a fashion lately -- film and graphics artists are making unnofficial videos for their favorite songs. Somehow Radiohead have quite a lot of their songs rendered that way. This one here made me just weep.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


This is the first entry in my blog which is written while i'm inebriated. I went out with Yisrael to the Back Door pub in German Colony. I'm really drunk. I can hardly type, but i promise not to fix this entry after i post it. It was fun. I drank: A pint of Beamish, which was tasty, but a bit too liquid (Guinness has better texture); a generous glass of Danzka which is my favourite vodka, and a bottle Hoegaarden Grand Cru, which was fabulous. I'm making a lot of mistakes while i'm typing, but again -- i promise not to edit it after posting.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

God, Save [Me From] America

Apparently there's a bible for guys and for gals.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Pimp Floyd

I've seen and heard more than a few musicians perform cover versions of Pink Floyd songs. Here's my top 10 chart:

  1. Rockfour play Astronomy Domine. It was the first time i saw Rockfour live and it was the first song in the show. I didn't know that it's a PF song and thought that it's the best song Rockfour wrote. If you ask me now, it was the very best performance of Astronomy Domine, by any band, ever.
  2. David Gilmour, Rick Wright, Nick Mason, Dick Parry and a bunch of other guys play a lot of PF songs, including a complete performance of Dark Side of the Moon. They even released it on a 2xCD called "Pulse". Their cover version of Astronomy Domine there comes second only to Rockfour's.
  3. My friend Sasha Abramovich plays and sings Wish You Were Here at a department trip to Negev.
  4. My boss Amir G. sings Wish You Were Here at a department trip to Negev with Amir Aharoni on the piano. Actually it was Yitzhak Klepter's "Tzlil Mechuvan", which has very little to do with Pink Floyd, but this band's members had ego issues similar to PF's. It was a pretty good performance, though.
  5. Fred Durst sings Wish You Were Here at the 9/11 telethon somewhere in between God Save America, Amazing Grace and Living on a Prayer (believe it or not, Bon Jovi did that really, really well). In retrospect, he sang that even worse than he sang Behind Blue Eyes, but it seemed that at the moment he meant it.
  6. Thom Yorke sings Wish You Were Here with Mark Linkous. Actually Thom is barely audible at all, but putting his name on it helped sell the compilations on which that performance was included.
  7. Amir E. Aharoni plays Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts I-IX!) to his parents and their friends. They all said that they liked it, they probably lied, and even though i knew it, i "interpreted" it as a request for an encore and played an abridged version of Dark Side of the Moon. The heartbeat + noises thing in the intro scared the shit out of them. Like what, don't they know there's supposed to be an intro with heartbeats and noises?? OK, they don't, but it's their problem.
  8. A band dressed in white suits in Las Vegas plays Dark Side of the Moon to a crowd of RV renters. They play pretty well, but the crowd is quite indifferent.
  9. Billy Corgan plays the whole of The Final Cut with Eric Clapton on the guitar and Martin Gore on the bass.
  10. Someone called Roger Waters sings some PF songs to a big crowd, which for some reason keeps applauding, even though he can't sing at all and his band treats the songs with a profound lack of skill and respect. I don't know why, but he even released it on a 2xCD called "In the Flesh".

I made up numbers 8 and 9, but even if they were real, they would still sound better than the performance of "Dark Side of the Moon" by The Blues Messengers last night at the Tsavta hall. If you can read Hebrew, better don't believe the critic who praises them there. Someone probably paid him.

It's not that they can't play. Chelly Sigalski, the lead guitarist and The Blues Messengers' founder can play at least as well as the Kley Zemer salesman in Hadera. There are two problems though: First, with his greasy hair and black suit he looks just like a pimp, which is not really compatible with Dave Gilmour's kind druggy look inside Dark Side's sleeve. Besides, he got the riffs and slides totally wrong. Getting the first few seconds of Breathe properly are crucial to the overall quality of the performance and his disrespect to them made me wonder if he ever listened to the record at all. An if he did -- did he like it? How can it be possible to play Dark Side of the Moon without even trying to recreate that perfect slide guitar sound? Instead of sliding he just played chord after chord. The delay (or whatever) effects were more or less correct, but it's the slides that make the difference. Now, even before the slides there's The First Chord. That magical first chord of "Breathe" that's supposed to come crashing in the listener's face was rendered by The Blues Messengers as a yet another powerchord. During the whole concert Chelly didn't get even one slide properly. I know all these subtleties all too well and when a cover band plays them, they should either play it 100% perfectly or give the music their whole new interpretation, but anything in the middle is insolence.

And then there's the singer. Danny Shushan looked like a pimp even more than Chelly. In fact, he posed a very strong resemblance to the strange man that defecated on Woody Allen's character's sister in Crimes and Misdemeanors. His diction is perfect - every word he read in the lyric sheet was pronounced letter-by-letter, just the way it should not be. The original singing is cohesive; Dave and Roger sang songs, not words, but why should Danny care? He knows English, he can read and he can speak; to hell with respecting the original masterpiece. Breathe. Breathe. In. The. Air. Don't. Be. Afraid. To. Care. And. Everything. Under. The. Sun. Is. In. Tune. Shut. The. Fuck. Up. You. Fucking. Pimp!!

There were tolerable points. Speak to Me, On the Run, Any Colour You Like. OK, they're instrumentals and without Danny "Pimp-Man" Shushan everything sounds better. Then there was The Great Gig in the Sky, for which i was naïve enough to expect that they would bring one of the Black Hebrews in place of Clare Torry. Instead, the keyboards player sang, and to my amazement, his vocals, although heavily processed by various reverb effects, were nevertheless far better than the Pimp's. And then there was the über-kool Ilan Virtzberg, of the "Good Vintage (Batzir Tov)" fame. He doesn't look like a pimp, he plays his guitar well and without any pomp, but he's overshadowed by Sigalski and Shushan.

I swear i tried to enjoy it, but i couldn't wait for that torture to finish. Everything was heavy handed and clumsy. The saxophone on Money was barely heard and the melody was completely wrong. When playing a classic rock song, the saxophonist is supposed to recreate, not improvise. The singing on Money and Us and Them was Shushan's nadir. Eclipse was dull and particularly hurt by his enunciation and the lack of the very necessary gospel choir.

But then came the good surprise: After the less-then-average Dark Side of the Moon, Danny Shushan suddenly screamed: "Ein, zwei, drei, vier", and "In the Flesh" began. During its first seconds i prayed that they won't play the opening chords twice, solo-Waters-style, but will stick to the album version - and they did. Thank God, thank you so much. From this moment on the show became more than tolerable and towards then end it even rocked. Their abridged performance of The Wall was far better than of Dark Side, mostly because it didn't require a lot of good vocals, but rather fanatic screaming, which Shushan accomplished much more gracefully then Bob Geldof in the film and essentially as good as Waters himself. I think that old Roger would be pleased. Ilan Virtzberg shined when he was finally allowed to sing on Hey You, which Hadar enjoyed, because she knew that song well (she's not a Floyd expert like me). This was essentially a good, long encore, and the only weak point was the out-of-place Have a Cigar, which suffered from the same problems as Dark Side: It was totally uninspired and Sigalski didn't bother to recreate the unique guitar riff sound, just playing some chords instead. But the grand finale was excellent; Just as i expected it was "On the Run", energetic and true to the original.

Cover bands can be good. Eggroll handle much harder Genesis, Yes and King Crimson songs to the very last note, drum solo and guitar effect and Magical Mystery Tour play Beatles perfectly and make the crowd ecstatic. What went wrong with those Blues Messengers? I cannot put my finger on it, but it's probably the deadly combination of pomp, disrespect to the originals, and the unsuccessful seat-only location. I know i don't want to see them again, at least not in this lineup.

At least Hadar wore her beautiful red dress from Rome.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Having Found

Having found
Having found
Round around
Safe and sound

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Made Me Cry - Flaming Lips

Flaming Lips is one of those bands the members of which (Wayne in particular) seem, in addition to being great songwriters, are great, kind, wonderful people (the other notable band of that kind is Yo La Tengo). And yesterday their song "Race for the Prize" made me cry.

How can it be, that i so rarely care about lyrics at all and of all artists Flaming Lips moved me so much? They have a bunch of them -- those beautiful and happy songs about injury, weakness, disappointment and death of course. That endless humanity. And "Race for the Prize" is one of the best: Two scientists are racing for the cure that is the prize ... so determined ... Theirs is to win if it kills them, they're just humans with wives and children. It's a cliché, it's manipulative -- and it works.

Listen to the song on the website (click on Music -> Soft Bulletin -> Race for the Prize). No, really, do it.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Not So Fast

I fast on Tish'a B'av, but not on Yom Kippur. For several reasons:

  1. This is the real reason -- the rest is just a rant: Because i'm home with my 100% secular parents and with motivation to surf the web, listen to some music and study some DBA'ing and without Hadar, her parents or any religious or non-religious friends to motivate me to fast. With my parents i am kinda less Jewish. It is a horrible description, but i can't think of anything better.
  2. Because Tish'a B'av has more historical significance, while Yom Kippur is "just" a commandment. So the secularist-nationalist satan inside me says that Tish'a B'av is important, and commandments are really just traditional superstitions. But, as stated above, this terrible blasphemy is nothing but a rant.

Hadar is home with her parents, fasting and not using electricity, fire or musical instruments. Pretty strict. It is quite likely that if i spent Yom Kippur with her (with or without her parents!) i would fast, even though she would probably not want to. Strange world ...

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Aharoni in Unicode? Ya mama!

Today i decided to finally start writing email in Unicode. It's an important decision and i'll do my best to stick to it. It's really about time.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

My Political Compass

According to this site, my "political compass" is:

Economic Left/Right: -2.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.13

According to the same site, it puts me in good company with Gandhi, Dalai Lama, and Nelson Mandela and opposite Ariel Sharon and Tony Blair.

I Made Myself an 88x31 Button

Aharoni, ya mama
Ya mama.

אני מקנחת את האף

אני מקנחת את האף
בנייר טישיו,
לא שבמטפחת יש פחות תועלת,
אבל אין בה בשר,
השלמה לנשמת אפי.

לובשת ורוד

רוצה לראות אותך לובשת ורוד,
את עושה את זה הרבה,
עלייך לא שמים לב;
אולי גם אני אנסה.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Commit, Rollback, Jackass

Yesterday i've seen "The Commitments" and "Jackass: The Movie" on TV.

I won't review either, 'cuz i don't have anything new to say that hasn't already been said. "The Commitments" has these beautiful lines, when Rabbitte goes into a tower block where a kid is waiting at the lift with a horse:

Rabbitte: "You're not bringing that horse in the lift"
Kid: "He won't fit up the stairs"

I didn't remember the exact phrasing, so i googled for "commitments movie script", but didn't find it. So i tried "Commitments horse lift stairs" and bingo.

Jackass is American in a very scary way. Considering that the USA strive to conquer the world overtly and covertly, i'm asking myself -- is that the world i want my children to live in, a world of machos that are so bored they are destroying and humiliating themselves? I grok freedom of speech and i admit to laughing out loud for the duration of the whole movie, but enough is enough. If you shoot yourself with so-called "less lethal" riot ammo out of boredom today, someday you'll shoot yourself with live bullets.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

A Dark and Grim Force Set Sail

I set up a new blog -- Oracle 10g Study. It looks 99% just like this one1 and tells about my journey into the self-study of the Oracle 10g Database. Let's see if i do well.

1 Becuz i'm too lazy to customize the templates and this one is good enough anyway.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Women like us strengthen most

Björk's new album is her best since Post. Sorry, on Medúlla there are no shining standouts like "Isobel", "Bachelorette" or "Pagan Poetry", but as a multi-layered concept album, which it was supposed to be, it is a hands-down winner. First of all -- it's her most consistent, without the pretentious half-baked throwaways of Homogenic and unfulfilled avantgarde takes of Vespertine. And also the most original -- and not only because of the a-cappella/human-beat-box stuff. That's not much more than a well-performed gimmick. In fact, i've gotta admit that i've been doing it for years -- entertaining myself with my mouth ... 'nuff said. The important factor, however, is the songwriting. It always is. Paired with excellent sequencing it singles out Medúlla as a statement of successful sternness.

The chord progressions in the opener, "Pleasure is All Mine", are perfectly placed to set the mood for the rest of the record and its beautiful melody is an astonishing proof of Björk's avant-classical composition skills. "Show Me Forgiveness", which follows, is one of Medúlla's few really a-cappella tracks; after the overtly emotional opener its characteristic, unmistakably 100% Björkish melody and tone are truly soothing. Then comes "Where is the Line", in which the artist displays her influence, direct or indirect, by Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother" -- both feature a menacing neurotic choir. And then "Vökuró" lulls the listener again. Björk's sincere singing in her inherently beautiful and noble mother-tongue is so revelatory, that one must marvel why did it take her sixteen years to put a complete Icelandic song on an international LP, and even now it wasn't written by her (the last time it was the Sugarcubes' "Taktu bensín elskan" on their brilliant 1988 release "Life's Too Good"). No, i don't have any smart ideas about her reasons, especially given her well-known boundless self-expression.

And then there are the very experimental "instrumentals". There are no instruments there -- only vocals, and although two of them have "icelandic" names, it's all gibberish. Once again that unstoppable girl redefines the meaning of music, but she's used to it. "Ancestors" is her boldest experiment ever -- deep into a successful solo career she releases a track with no melody and no beat; it's hard to call it even "ambient", considering the extremes of Björk's wimpers and Tagaq's snarls. It works, because self-expression kicks in again. Another instrumental, "Öll Birtan", is my personal favourite on the album; the repeated "Hal. Hal. Hal.", although not metronomic, sets the beat, and must be a good accompaniment to medidation (or sex, for that matter.)

"Submarine" is another look to the seventies, a perfectly produced duo with Robert Wyatt. They were bound to work together. That makes me wonder whether she will finally record something with Bowie or Fripp. And "Desired Constellation" and "Mouth's Cradle" and "Sonnets / Unrealities XI" are perfected realizations of ideas from Vespertine, respectively -- "Harm of Will", "Heirloom" and "Sun in My Mouth". Here they sound completely in place, not disturbing the flow and not self-indulgent for even a moment.

So, how do i master the perfect day? Six glasses of Neviot(h), two listens to "Medúlla". And some self-expression. That's the way.

Related posts:

Made Me Cry Today

New series -- things that make me cry. Sometimes a song, sometimes a piece of news, or a manipulative tv ad.

  1. Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One. A brilliant album that i haven't heard in a while.
  2. A hummus ad. It shows different Israeli families from different backgrounds -- Morrocan, Polish, Ethiopian, Russian. Everyone are eating together -- couscous, tzimmes, injeera, borscht. And everyone eats hummus. And i love hummus so much. And i'm Israeli. And the advertisers know that it will make me cry. They probably don't know that i prefer Pam-Pam's freshly made hummus to their preservative-filled mass-marketed knock-off. But they still made me cry.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

This One's Optimistic 2004

Work became really so much more fun ever since Amir G. left. On one hand, it's a shame that i wasted those three years on hating that slackless twat, painfully regretting signing the work contract and dabbling in the same old VMS stuff and inventory management crap and studying almost nothing new. On the other hand -- everything is for the better. Everything.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Now I Got Worry

I didn't like antivirus software. Even Microsoft's advice included in the notorious WinXP Service Pack 2 didn't convince me. "Just be careful with drive-by downloads and email attachments, and you'll be fine", i told myself. Until today.

Ginat's place was empty this weekend, so Hadar and me spent it there. Hadar studied to her Physics exams and i fixed Ginat's PC, which was infested with spyware. Internet Explorer hardly worked with all the popups. I thought that it would be simple. AdAware detected a little something called CoolWebSearch. And it even removed it. But then it came back, under a different name. I tried to fight, but it mutated and fought back -- changed the names of it's dll's to random four-letter combination, forced Notepad and AdAware to close, etc. After each cleanup it somehow reinstalled itself. Some websites said that even installing the service pack wouldn't help -- only restoring the registry (yeah, right) or complete Windows reinstall.

And then i came upon the alternative anti-spyware "tool" -- HiJackThis. It collects a generous log of suspicious, but not necessarily malicious registry keys. That log can be posted to security forums, such as AumHa (but there are also others), where volunteers will check it and suggest further actions. To make a long a story short -- i did it, got a reply and it worked perfectly.

This cleanup took me almost the whole day. I did it out of sheer curiosity and will to help Ginat, and i swear i wasn't fishing for compliments. I am amazed that these volunteers dedicate their time and patiently help strangers to clean the mess on their computer for free. It's good to know that there are still some good guys left.

On the other hand, it taught me a sad lesson -- there are bad guys, too. And sometimes they are really nasty, they just won't let go, they'll do their best to bog down innocent people's PC's. And if a stupid adware program can be so nasty, then what is there to say about truly destructive viruses? Maybe i'll succumb and install one myself. Maybe i'll even pay for it (goodness!)

In the meantime, i installed Firefox and Thunderbird. Service Pack good, alternative browser better.

Black Gold

Black gold,
Red label,
White script letters pronounce the name,
The bubbles -- so pleasant to my mouth,
The sweetness -- so endless,
And the bottle -- so beautiful,
Worth to wake up for;
I love Coca-Cola --

But i love you more.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Wind of Change 2004

Not two years, not one, not even half-a-year until i finish my current work contract. Less than four months left. I didn't even try yet to look for a new job; they are somehow looking for me. By now i have three offers. It just can't be that good.

I can only hope that nev is as optimistic as me these days.

Thursday, September 02, 2004


I had another wisdom tooth removed today.

I did the first one in my usual clinic in Tel-Aviv; the operation lasted over an hour, in the middle of it the young doctor called an older colleague, who took a look and said: "In the Sheba clinic they would have done it better" and went on with ripping my gums apart. For the second one i insisted on doing it at Sheba. I had to go through pretty weird hoops to get an appointment there, even though my dental insurance covers it. In any case it was worth it. It's pretty much like the difference between Caesarea and Jenin: in Tel-Aviv it was long and violent, in Sheba it was short, swift and nearly painless in comparison.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Re-design work in progress

If this page looks really ugly, it's supposed to be so. Sorry for inconvenience.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Life is a Long Song

Saw the living legend -- Jethro Tull -- yesterday. The Roman Amphitheatre in Caesarea is a perfect setting -- older even than Jethro Tull themselves. They opened with the excellent Life is a Long Song and Living in the Past and it went on to be better and better. Yes -- Ian is a big man who plays a very little guitar, he jumps around on the stage, dances silly British folk dances, and of course -- plays his flute with his foot up. And he tells silly jokes. It was wonderful -- they are true professionals and they have soul too. There were some weak points, let's finish with it quickly: first, Budapest is completely un-Tull, it would fit Lou Reed maybe. They should've played Thick as a Brick instead, and there are around 2000 people to agree with me, but then i've seen Brick played very well by Eggroll, so it's OK. Also, there was Martin Barre's solo instrumental, which can serve as a definition of the "guitar-virtuoso" style, which i am not particularly fond of. But r0z would probably love it. Then there were the folksy, mostly instrumental, numbers from the recently released "Jethro Tull Christmas Album" and Ian Anderson's "Rupi's Dance". And they were even good, but Ian himself said something in the lines of "This is very bad programming ... The 'Christmas Album' stuff means nothing at all to you". And on that Hadar remarked -- "I thought they were supposed to be heavier" and it sums it up very well.

But why whine, when there were the heavy Aqualung and also a marvelous rendition of Mother Goose with the keyboardist Andrew Giddings playing block flute through his nose. And the brillant, passionate electrobluesy New Day Yesterday. And the giant balloons with a picture of Ian thrown at the crowd during the encore.

Plus -- i was really happy that i bought the expensive seats. It really changes the picture. Whoa, i'm filthy rich.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Athens 2004 -- The Olympic Summary

"All those songs are in Greek. I don't understand them." -- Hadar's father watching the Closing Ceremony of the XXVIII Olympiad.

I did understand one, though -- "Misirlou", made world-famous by Quentin Tarantino, who used Dick Dale's version in "Pulp Fiction." Apparently it's Greek. I even heard the Greek chanteuse sing the word "misirlou" in the chorus; i still don't know what it means.

Sports? Yeah, i watched some. Athletics is nice to watch, even when there are no Israelis.

I Hear Voices

So, nev asked me to explain that poem i wrote. It's called "Shouted Words 1", which means that these words (or most of them) were "shouted" at my ears by an unknown entity. That's right -- i hear voices. It usually happens a few minutes before i fall asleep, so i guess it's a kind of an "audio-dream", but when i experience it i am quite aware of it. I asked a few other people if it happens to them and they said no. Maybe they just never noticed and maybe i'm insane.

The first time it happened, a few years ago, it sounded like all members of dEUS are shouting some song of theirs at me. Sometimes it sounds like my parents, sometimes like my friends and sometimes like myself, but most of the time it sounds like people that i don't know. It can be in English, Russian and Hebrew and also in Gibberish and Unknown Languages (which are different things). Sometimes i like to think that it's God saying something to me; it's a shame i never remember it. This was the first time i wrote it down (jumped out of bed to do that!), hence it's called "number 1".

As for the words themselves -- the first few lines were fixed by me to look like a poem, but the ideas are taken from the so-called "quality" practices of my workplace. The final lines (in italics) are written down word-by-word. That, i guess, is some kind of personal unconscious reflection on my strife to be more responsible and pedantic -- the unattainable perfection; the omnipotence of slack.

I won't translate it, because i can't imagine translating dreams; i don't think that i have the right to translate something that i created unconsciously. If you liked the "audio-dream" concept, you can just hope that one day i'll have it in other languages.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

מילים נצעקות 1

אתה יכול לקבוע עובדות
אתה יכול לקרוא ממצאים
אתה יכול להסיק מסקנות
אתה יכול להפיק לקחים
אתה גם יכול לקבל החלטות

אתה יכול לעמוד בזמן
כי הוא ממשיך עוד
הוא ממשיך עוד,
הוא ממשיך עוד ועוד ועוד ועוד ועוד.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Bye bye Amir G.

Amir G. was promoted, to a different department. That's it, he's not my boss anymore. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Mail Order

We all heard about this kind of business, but it's the first time i see it called "mail-order"...

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Why does the free-thinker Amir E. Aharoni fast on Tish'a B'Av?

  1. It's cynical, i know -- but it's healthy.
  2. It's an excellent willpower exercise. I proudly stood the test.
  3. Because i am a free-thinker. I am a free-thinker because i think like myself and not like other "free-thinkers" that scoff the Haredim for ignoring the Holocaust Day 10:00 siren, but ignore Tish'a B'Av. Before there was the tragedy of Holocaust, there was the tragedy of the destruction of the Temples. It wasn't just a desecration of a holy site -- people were killed there. It was not only a destruction of some Temple, it was a destruction of a nation. So i observe both days. Call it "providing a good example."

At 19:00 before the fast began i ate wonderful Pam-Pam's Hummus with Mushrooms, drank a lot of water and didn't eat or drink anything until 20:00 the next day. Unlike some of my freunds (wink wink) i worked regularly and by a total coincidence was released at 15:00 and then went to visit Hadar.

On the way to Jerusalem i sat next to Haggai, a nice Chabadnik, whom i asked to teach me a bit Tanya. An interesting piece of religious-philosophic literature, once you understand all the abbreviations. A lot can be said about Chabad's unusual practices, but the book of Tanya is not a hoax; any opposition to it is purely political. Incidentally or not the part which is supposed to be studied on the 9th of Av speaks about self control and power of will, something very human, with almost no references to Sabbath and Kashruth etc. Haggai told that whahtever i will learn is "personal providence" -- why not, i accept that.

For supper i ate one toast with Feta cheese and tomatoes and a little salad. And a yoghurt. And an apple and a few grapes. And finished the first half of "War and Peace".

The 9th of Av of 5764 was a good day for me. Today, the day after, was yet another 8:30 to 17:30 workday with Pam-Pam's Kabab in pita for dinner. We all need special days sometimes.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Redesign Begins

I'm changing the template. Currently it's pre-designed, but customizations will be made. Don't expect XHTML compliance for now.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Russian classical novels -- what is it good for?

I'm finally taking up Tolstoy's "War and Peace, What is it Good For" in its original tongue, Russian French. It goes surprisingly quickly, i'm already on page 370. It's truly amazing how lively his language sounds. Tolstoy is so damn good at presenting different character types, such as Boris' disgusting adaptiveness to army bureaucracy -- "a subordination in which a well-connected staff sergeant can give orders to a colonel". And then there are also Marie's modest religiousness, Dolokhov's repulsive cruelty, and Prince Andrew's manly, blunt and individualistic reasoning. But my favourite is Pierre Bezukhov, of course, with his emotional directness, unpretentiousness and naïve search for truth.

Some critics go all the way to say that "War and Peace" is really more of an excercise in character prototyping than an actual novel, but that's exactly the thing i love about it. Tolstoy's philosophy never stops surprising me -- i would expect that he would emphasize virtues like patriotism, faith and honor much more, but he stubbornly keeps teaching the reader that nothing is more important than humanity, life and love. If only he was the czar.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

I'm sick too

I had a heart attack yesterday. Actually it was in my belly, but i don't know how they call it when it happens there. I felt this sharp pain in my belly, tried to tell Eitan that i'm dying, but could hardly speak. Then my head began to explode, there was funny noise in my ears and i lost my clarity for a few moments. Finally Eitan and the guys from IBM who work with us called an ambulance. The paramedics found that my blood pressure dropped to something like 80/50, but i felt fine except that. They took me to Sourasky (Ikhilov), where a male nurse took my blood, or at least tried, because his needle stuck inside, bended and he had to take it from the other hand. When he finally succeeded, a doctor came to check me. Actually she was an intern, and she wasn't particularly nice; impatient and cynical, Israeli-style. Eventually after almost 2 hours in the E.R. they just said that i'm in perfect health. I'm not a hypochondriac, but somehow i just don't believe them.

We are American -- please let us kiss your ass

Avis responded to the customer survey that i filled and El'ad was kind enough to mail, apologizing for the slow shuttle bus, saying that "there is no excuse for being late etc." And they gave me a $25 (valid until June-2006 in USA and a few other countries).

They actually care about their promise to try harder. Good for them.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

R.I.P. Yekhezk'el Mualem

Hadar's uncle passed away last night after a long illness. I didn't know much about it, i knew that he is ill, and he was operated recently, but until the very last time i saw him he made his best efforts to enjoy every little moment of his life, and i think he did. I'll remember him as a good, happy and loved human being. TNZBH.

Newsflash: Amir G. gives me anxiety headache

Amir G. is a sick fuck. Just had an urge to say it.

I went to my usual physician a few days ago and told her how bad i feel at the workplace. Physically ill. She asked me if there's someone in particular in my workplace that makes me so ill, i said yes. She asked me if everything becomes normal when i come home, i said yes. She said that it's a known condition, medically called "anxiety". She couldn't formulate it better: "It sometimes happens that some loser is over-promoted and then he ruins the lives of his employees ... usually out of envy." She gave me one sick day, with the diagnosis "Headache".

There it is, Mr. G.: To you i'm just a little soldier, but to me you're just a little man. I have just six months until the end of that damned contract. You won't break me.

My dad discovers the world of MP3

Yes -- he bought a new CD player for the car, now all his tapes are obsolete and he wants something new and obviously the possibility of getting free Leningrad music excites him.

Of course, searching for "leningrad mp3" is not very productive, as most of those monster mp3 sites are strange ad traps and God knows why do they exist at all. Advanced users like me can't find anything there, so what can users like my dad do.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Amazon order statistics

Ordered on 2004-06-13:

501 Italian Verbs $10.47
Merriam-Webster's Spanish-English Dictionary $13.97
Sonic Youth - Corporate Ghost: Videos, 1990-2002 DVD $12.28
Sonic Youth - Sonic Nurse CD $12.99 - 2$ discount for buying with the DVD = $10.99

S&H $18.95 - $1.40 gift certificates, Total: $65.26

Shipped on 2004-06-14

Arrived today, that is on 2004-06-24

Amazon's dedlivery estimate was Jul 7, 2004 - Jul 20, 2004! I love Amazon. Really. And as if the quick shipment is not enough, the breakdown of the price is as follows: $65.26 = 295.25 NIS. How much would i pay if i bought this stuff in Israel? CD costs 45 NIS in Jerusalem's "Hatav Hashmini" and 501 Verbs costs 89 NIS at the Academon which leaves us with 161.25 NIS; I haven't seen the DVD or the dictionary here, but DVD would cost at least 80 NIS and the dictionary at least 140 NIS, so i saved at least about 50 NIS.

Reviews of at least some of the above items to follow.

Saturday, June 05, 2004


From now on i'm gradually changing the way i write dates. It is actually quite a principal decision and that's why i'll elaborate on it now for a minute. I'm sick of VMS-style dates. They are lovely, but i need a change in my life, so there. From now on i'm going for the Japanese style YYYY-MM-DD, because when you come to think of it, it is the one which is best-suited for technical purposes, as it is the easiest to sort. Thanks for your attention to that.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Family 2004

My bigger sister Zhenja, her daughters Sasha (11) and Dasha (4) and my other sister Olga's son Nikita (12) are here. Olga is coming too on the 18th. I've been waiting so long for them. Family, afterall. Nikita, in a way, would be my smaller brother. I wonder how much i missed this as a lone child. And i admit that it's a little awkward. I hope not to disappoint anyone, especially myself.

After looking for stuff to talk about i finally got to the simple things -- i'm explaining them about Israel and Jews and Hebrew, and why are there so much people speaking Russian here, especially the cashiers. Sasha thought that they all just learnt it, because hey -- everyone knows Russian, it's so easy...

Friday, May 28, 2004

SevenWeeks 5764 or Give Me Mozarella or Give me Death

Shavuot, my favourite holiday, foodwise. Cheese! And more cheese!

This time i made a lasagna. My first. It was kosher -- i replaced the meat with mushrooms, which was a gamble, but came out really well.

The night after that i had some weird dreams -- first, that i'm a character in a Big Lebowski sequel, where Walter "Shomer-Shabbes" Sobchak becomes a cheese factory manager. And later, that i went to a trip with El'ad and forgot to take the food and had to come back and somehow made all the way to a supermarket in Moscow, where i had to choose between Gouda cheese and beef jerky ... Guess what i got.

Thursday, May 20, 2004


Sonic Youth -- finally, a pop band. I am still keeping my Stina Nordenstam fixation, classifying artists by the degree of their susceptibility and submission to their fans. And so it seems, that Sonic Youth are going to surrender completely to critics' and fans' will and make a sequel to 2002's duely acclaimed Murray Street.

Now please forget anything you may or may not think about this rock'n'roll band and just listen patiently to this teaser song from the upcoming album Sonic Nurse, I Love You Golden Blue. I know nearly all of their catalog by heart, so from the first moments it sounded just like them -- quiet static. It actually somehow gave me the feeling of the color blue. After a few seconds some sporadic strumming joins, again it is trademark SY. Beautiful, by the way. To the trained fan's ear it's been a treat until now, almost a guilty pleasure, but it's just the beginning, as after a minute or so, the actual song starts, quiet, slow and melodic! AHHHHHHHH! And yet it is 100% Sonic Youth. Kim sings, and unlike most of the time, she actually tries not to fake! The song is quite long, but pretty much verse-chorus-verse and without any chaotic feedback freakouts. As it draws to the end, i understand that i won't need a thesaurus to look for adjectives that could properly describe the outcome -- it is very simply beautiful. Just as i expected. Classic Sonic Youth, lovable Sonic Youth, my favourite old Sonic Youth, doing what they do so well for over 20 years now, beautiful songs.

And the point is that this whole expectedness is actually worrying. Are words like "songcraft" about to be applied to the great iconoclasts of pop culture? Did they become, God forbid, professional in indie-crowd-pleasing? Particularly worrying are the lines Kim sings in the chorus:

I can't feel the thrill,
I don't have the will.

It is worrying, cuz the last time their lyrics seemed so multidimensionally self-referential was on Dirty's "Youth Against Fascism" with "It's the song I hate", when it wasn't clear what Thurston hates more -- fascists or making MTV hits. So, Kim -- who can't feel the thrill? The imaginary hero of the song, or maybe yourself after all those years? Cuz i admit that i'm still thrilled to hear you. Even though you can't sing.

As i go back to their excellent official website and listen to the "mixtape" (recommended to fans only), i relax. They still can kick some avant-garde ass if they want to, and release an incredible pop album every two years so Geffen keeps giving them money to hang in the studio (click on ECHOCAM at their website). Now let me please just let go and enjoy.

P.S. Two more things, that i wanted to write in this entry, but couldn't find the write place:

  1. Sonic Youth albums seem to be getting better and better ever since 1995's Washing Machine (this includes the underrated 2000's NYC Ghosts and Flowers).
  2. So does their artwork.

That's it. I hope everyone enjoys it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Shtetl City

At some point during the trip, i asked El'ad -- "Is there a town in the USA which is completely Jewish?"

He replied -- "I don't think so, I've never heard of one ... except New York, of course."

Sunday, May 16, 2004


My trip story will follow shortly. In the meantime, this little important thing:

Amir G. makes me sick, very physically, sick and nauseous. When i first came to the job after the trip, with his usual abysmally serious intonation he uttered: "Aharoni! You're finally back. You left a lot of unfinished tasks! We are very unhappy about you." Keep reading, it's getting better!

"What unfinished tasks?", i asked him. His viciousness was clearly unprepared for that.

"Ehh ... ehh ... Rakhamim will tell you."

And then, by some magic, Rakhamin enters the office. By that time, i was already feeling dizzy, disoriented and squeamish.

"Rakhamim! Tell Aharoni why are we so mad at him!", said Amir G. before making himself busy with the traditional duty-free Toblerone's i brought.

"Aharoni! It's good you're back. I want to punish you, you left a lot of undone work. But first, do you know that you have several special nightshifts starting next week?"

Of course it was spoken with the familiar clueless smile, that i tried so hard to forget in California. After a few minutes of some more void speeches both left the room, leaving me nauseous until the end of the day, and i'm quite sure that jet lag was not to blame here.

Thank you, my dearly beloved wonderful bosses for this hearty reception. Damn those work contracts.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

California day 15 and the flight back

I insisted that El'ad should drive with me to the airport because i didn't want to kill myself on the last day. I took me a few minutes to convince him that he can take the bus back after we return the car, but common sense prevailed.

The drive was indeed dangerous -- there's no chance i could do it myself safely. The car return process was very easy and quick. On the shuttle from Avis agency to the airport i filled a customer survey and asked El'ad to mail it for me when he gets back to Beverly Hills.

The baggage check-in was mostly a breeze, and just like in the way back from London, they hardly looked at my passport. They did check the bags though, because of the tent and it was a little embarassing to show the security girl the Hooters calendar.

Then i bought Rémy Martin XO in the duty-free for $88 for my dad, ate one last burrito, said El'ad one last goodbye and went to the boarding gate. The Israelis there were very unhappy to realize that they missed the duty-free.

The flight was so-so, i hardly got any sleep, but the movies weren't so bad: Cheaper by the Dozen which was actually unprecedented crap; Along Came Polly, which was silly, but had nice dance scenes (i can't believe i just wrote that); Paycheck, which was 98% copied from Minority Report, not half as good, but entertaining; Mooseport with Gene Hackman and Ray Romano, which was entertaining too, but only mildly and it also made me feel happy (for the thousandth time) that i'm not American. But it took Girl with a Pearl Earring to finally help me doze off.

The interesting part in the flight was talking to Doc, a 70+ year old Jewish surfer from Hawaii. Like many ... things in America, it was a little surreal: his baggage consisted of surfers posters and a surfboard. And he could hardly walk. We talked about surfing, Israel, Israeli girls, more surfing, Tel Aviv hotels and beaches and i also told him why is it important not to change currency at the airport (those shameless Jews!)

Towards the end of the flight i imagined myself meeting Hadar, which actually made me extremely happy. I imagined it all in great detail (but nothing dirty) and it put a big phat smile on my face. It's good to be on the road back home again.

When i landed i was surprised that El-Al didn't lose any of my baggage, not even the sleeping bag mattress. Hadar's parents kindly picked up my stuff and put it at their place and i went straight to Jerusalem to meet my darling. She was at the Student Day party at Giv'at-Ram, so i took a shower at the dorms and went to see her there. When i came in, Ivri Lider was on the stage. The second i saw Hadari, i ran to her and we had a very very long hug.

If there is one reason to travel, coming home would be it.

Monday, May 10, 2004

California day 14

One day before the last. It's about time -- a great trip is coming to an end and i had enough, in a good way.

Essentially it was one more long and calm drive. I was starting to get really mad missing my dear Hadar, but on the other hand i knew that i'm getting closer to her every second and it soothed me.

We decided to pass on the world-famous Hearst Castle, because we didn't have too much time and didn't want to pay $10 each for yet another tourist trap. The seals on the beach nearby were great though (and free).

We had dinner in a beach town called Cayucos, at "Skippers Restaurant", the best diner we tried anywhere in the U.S. A very good family feel. They still asked me for ID when i ordered beer.

San Luis Obispo mission -- nothing particularly fancy. It met my expectations -- i didn't think that it would look like Notre-Dame, but El'ad seemed a little disappointed. A simple catholic church and quiet gardens. Good for a relaxing half hour.

Santa Barbara -- not an extremely fancy place, as some people might believe. Yet another beach town, bigger than the most, but very Californian. We already got this California vibe and were totally used to it. After relaxing on the beach there, we were completely ready to change the atmosphere. On the way out from Santa Barbara, we popped into Taco-Bell; it was my favourite junk-food ever, but El'ad hated it. He just can't stand those tortillas.

Los-Angeles felt strangely welcoming. It took us some time to find El'ad's parents' friends' home in Beverly Hills, but when we finally arrived, it was all very nice. A very Jewish house, with religious books in English and Hebrew, mezuzot, brakhot hanging on the walls, ritual handwashing ware, kosher food etc. It surely felt very warm. We spoke in a mix of English and Hebrew, told our lovely hosts about our trip experiences, refreshed our memory, and had some interesting reflections of our own. A little taste of Jewish life on the way back home ...

Sunday, May 09, 2004

California day 13

It's the VE-DAY today (as celebrated in Russia) which is an important holiday, because we kicked some Nazi ass back in nineteen forty five.

Not much to tell about the trip today, as it was mostly driving and views. We started our journey south, back to LA through the west coast and Big Sur. When we left SF and moved into its suburbs we finally experienced the famous Bay Area fog -- the visibility was indeed pretty bad and we had to drive carefully.

We stopped at Santa Cruz for a great pizza and headed further on HWY 1. Quiet clean beaches, trees, hills etc.

Monterey is a tranquil beach community with happy children and very clean streets, but there was nothing that we were particularly interested to see. We decided to try the world-famous 17-Mile Drive. The entrance costs quite a few dollars (don't remember how many exactly...); is it worth it? Well, the nature there is somewhat more unique than most of the west coast and it is pretty well-preserved, but it's 17 miles! Which is long, considering the 25 mph speed limit. So except for a few nice places to shoot photos, there's nothing very special.

We slept at the Big Sur Campground -- very friendly place, $20 per car per night. There we decided to throw a spontaneous Bar-B-Q, got us some wood, burgers, sausages and marshmallows. It came out very well. We also had a friendly conversations with some girls at a site next to ours and i guessed that they spoke Czech and Polish.

The 22:00 curfew was obeyed perfectly there. Just amazing.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

California day 12

We decided to stay another day in SF, but move to a different hotel -- the lovable Travelodge. Should have done it in the first place -- much cheaper and not that bad at all.

Not much to tell ... a had-to-be-there thing? Well, we saw the world-famous Coit tower, but didn't go up ($5 tourist trap) and took some walks through the neighbourhoods, the world-famous crookedest street in the world -- Lombard St., and we took a ride on the world-famous cable car ($3!!) Took some pics too.

Lunch at the China Town. It is indeed all very Chinese -- the people, the food, the trucks, the advertising. We dined at a place that was described in National Geographic's Traveler magazine and it was exactly as described -- they didn't speak English, there was no style, design, or, for that matter, clean tables and we had no idea what are we eating except that it was all very tasty and filling and cost just $5.

Later i dragged the tired El'ad to True Sake, a store i read about in a magazine placed in our hotel room. I learned a lot about sake there -- why it is better cold, what are the different types of rice it is made from etc., but forgot most of it. The good idea that Beau, the store owner, had was to put labels on all bottles that recommend the sakes according to buyer's taste in food, wine and beer. There was a lot to choose from, hundreds of different brands; eventually i chose Toranoko, the one recommended for lovers of dark ales and semi-dry white wines, with green apples flavour, which describes me perfectly.

After some rest in the hotel we took a look at the nearby Japan town, which was much more quiet and clean than its Chinese cousin, but also a lot more American. There we had a good Japanese dinner and i also tasted Suishin, a sake which i wanted to buy at the store, but didn't and it was indeed good. I have a reason to go back to SF now.

Above the restaurant we noticed a Japanese karaoke club, which of course was very interesting for me, but a little less so to El'ad. I insisted on checking it out; the nice j-hostess said that the evenings begin at 22:30 (finally, some normality!) and they play both Western and Asian music, and i decided that i really want it. I still don't understand why El'ad wasn't so excited, he seems to be much more interested in both nightclubbing and j-girls than me. After some more rest at the hotel (it took me an hour to get Roz out of bed) we finally came there, seeing the amazing Hummer limo on the way. There was, indeed a lot of Asian music in the beginning, and some bishonen sang three Lifehouse songs in a row. We will probably never understand the Japanese' taste in music (and the French's, for that matter.) Eventually i sang Beatles' "Come Together", which came out really great, my voice was in a surprisingly good shape and some j-girls that were sitting next to us asked me about it. But it didn't develop. I quietly noted to myself that i'm content to have the potential. If i only had a way to pass it to El'ad. We went back pretty drunk, after a few cocktails, a healthy dose of Bishonen sake, and a bottle of Bud light, which was obviously horrible, but i had to taste it sooner or later.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

California day 11

So, first things thirst -- we ordered room service! A nice Japanese (or Chinese?) guy brought us our "Golden Gate Eggs and Sausage". And a fresh apple.

Then the tourist public transportation ticket, which at $15 for three days is still a robbery. Elad lost his shortly afterwards.

Then -- to fisherman's wharf, the world-famous Pier 39. Probably the nicest tourist trap in the world. There are charming Hawaiian Pearls salespeople (who are actually Vietnamese, but who cares); i bought one for Hadar. Very simple and beautiful. And the world-famous sea lions, of course.

We rented a bike, to bike The Bridge. The way to Sausalito was very easy, thanks to the lucky winds. We dined at a fine restaurant there, except that the Guiness pint that El'ad ordered was almost hot. Then, a surprise: it's impossible to take the ferry back, because no bikes were allowed at that particular time. So we had to go all the way back, and by a total coincidence it became my first mountain biking trip, which was hard, but rewarding. When we returneed the bikes, the receptionist, noticing our names, asked "Ma shlomkhem, El'ad ve-Amir?" and then explained us in friendly Hebrew that there's an unwritten agreement between SFPD and the petty street criminals -- they don't trouble the tourists and the police doesn't trouble them. This free spirit of San Francisco is everywhere; i heard that in NYC, ever since Giuliani came, it's just the other way around.

In the evening we headed to the gay center, Castro; it was, as always, too late (we still don't learn!), so we just saw the huge Rainbow flag, a lot of dyke couples and a Yossi & Jagger poster in a gay-porn DVD shop and also grabbed a delicious slice of gay pizza and good American beer called Red Hook.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

California day 10

The last day in Yosemite. We love this place. The camping is peaceful, the waterfalls are breathtaking, and all those cute squirrels everywhere.

Before leaving to San Francisco, we went to Vernal Falls. Everyone warned us that we'll get wet, but we just went on. The climb was hard and then those terrible drops from the waterfall were very disturbing, and when we had to decide whether to go on to Nevada Falls or go back down, we went on. I've got to admit, though, that i felt with El'ad like Hadar feels with me -- El'ad went faster than me and i needed more rest. So OK, he's in better shape than me, but he's supposed to be laid back! How many times i have to remind him that?

Anyway, after that ordeal we rested a little and went back down on a different path. We took some very impressive pictures there. The waterfalls, the waterfalls...

And then the long way to San Francisco. I drove those 3+ hours. Where Yosemite National Park ends, Stanislaus National Forest begins, and i, knowing some Latin, understood that a Park is something more preserved and a Forest is just a forest. But it's still national. The transition from park to forest to just a bunch of hills and then to the usual American sprawl was very gradual. A little before San Francisco i made a very silly mistake -- attempted changing lanes without looking at the dead zone and almost crashed the car. But only almost. The car into which i almost crashed already had some bumps in it. But i still learned my lesson well.

Driving inside SF is very hard. All those strange angles between Market St. and the numbered streets are very confusing with unusual traffic lights, one-way streets etc. Good thing the hotel was close to the highway. We stayed in Holiday Inn Civic Center and they are complete thiefs. The parking is fucking $25 a day! And the hotel is not really that good.

At 22:00 we went out to take a look at the city. Hey, we never learn -- no-one goes out so late in USA. There were a lot of homeless and drug dealers on the streets, but they didn't harrass us. At least we found an Internet cafe. Which was still very expensive.

The impression, however, is that SF is the closest i've seen yet to a real, that is, European city. But it's still very American with these srtaight streets.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

California day 9

Another day at the world-famous Yosemite. I wish i could tell you where we went and what waterfalls we saw, but i forgot all those names and it really doesn't matter so much. It was beautiful. The pictures tell the rest.

In the morning we asked in the visitors center if we can go to some place where there are beautiful views, and so many people, and they recommended lake Hetch Hetchy. In the evening we went there. It's a long drive and some it is outside Yosemite proper and the road is narrow and a little ruined. We listened to Kid A on the way and it was really fitting. The lake is pretty big and there is a dam. I thought to myself -- "is it, like, God dam?"

Monday, May 03, 2004

California day 8

Bye bye Coachella, we're going to Yosemite. It's a long way and we drove something like ten hours. Passed Bakersfield and Fresno on the way. A lot of those American sprawls. So many Denny's and In-And-Out's and Jack-in-the-Box's and Motels6's along the way. Those simple signs -- "FOOD", "GAS". I enjoyed this driving. So American.

The arrival to Yosemite was wonderful. All those forests and mountains and waterfalls whose name i can't remember. A little after we came in we stopped at a vista point to take a piss and for some reason couldn't stop laughing at each for a few minutes. I decided to hide from El'ad to take a dump quietly and started climbing down the slope. El'ad stopped me before i totally lost my mind and maybe my life. Maybe it was some kind of oxygen poisoning.

When we arrived to the camp site the ranger reminded us to hide all the food and everything that has odor from the bears. They are really keen about it there.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

California day 7

We learned the lesson. Fuck the crappy bands, we said, they're not worth our sweat. We're too old. So in the morning we went where the streets have no name -- Joshua Tree National Park. El'ad was very strongly impressed by it, me -- a bit less, but still something to remember. Those trees look very human. Like everything in America, the park is huge, and its sheer size is overwhelming. El'ad developed a conversation with a 35+ woman, who apparently saw the Pixies on the Doolittle tour, and was particularly fond of Kim Deal and even met Kim's mother in person. We were kids then and haven't even heard about the Pixies; she was younger; the Pixies themselves were younger, but -- the songs stayed the same. This put me in a very philosophical mood. She also told us about her love for Gram Parsons and his love for the Joshua Tree Park. I should check him out.

In the evening we went back to Coachella to catch good places for the Flaming Lips. We saw Belle and Sebastian doing the last few songs, then Air (French Band), which were kinda good, but not too amazing, and then the big wait for the Lips began. They were probably the first band on the entire festival which started the show late. Their excuse is that they had a lot of stuff to prepare. So -- not only they had lots of people in funny costumes (animals, Santa, the Sun, etc.) waving flashlights and doing silly stuff, as they do on most of their shows, this time they went one step ahead: Wayne Coyne descended on the crowd from the outer space in a giant bubble and tried some stage-diving to the sound of his band playing an almost Wagnerian overture. The very short setlist: Race for the Prize, Fight Test, The Gash, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots p. 1. In between the songs Wayne tried to teach the crowd about democracy, Bush, Kerry, Schwarzenegger etc.; a notable quote: "I'm not saying 'Fuck Bush', because he was elected by the people, so i'll just say 'Stop Bush'. Let's say it, let's wake all of Palm Springs saying it!!" Actually Bush was not elected by the people, but who remembers that now.

As the show went on, Wayne kept saying the crowd not to worry, as the Flaming Lips will finish on time and let the Cure begin. However, i didn't care about the Cure so much, and right after the Lips finished, i ran to see Mogwai on another stage. Mogwai were smashing and it's a shame i missed the first few songs. The Cure were total trash. Everyone knows that Robert Smith can't really sing, but this time he didn't even try. And they didn't play so well either. Bollocks. Oh well.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

California day 6

It's desert, it's high, it's Coachella! Quick shower in the morning -- getting in line at 06:45am was a smart move, by the time the showers opened at 07:00am, the line was already long. So i was lucky. El'ad was lazy and had to wait for at least 40 minutes. Then a little shopping -- snacks, water, stuff and then we discovered that no food or drinks may be brought into the festival grounds. Stinking capitalists, they wanted us to buy water inside. $2 for 33cl.

A little about the music -- The Sounds are Blondie look- and sound-alikes, whether they mean it or not. Even their websites look the same. But they write their own songs and it's fun, so why not. Kinky were incredibly bad, but the crowd loved them. Their most sophisticated song had four words in it!! "Welcome to my world,/Welcome to my world,/Welcome to my world,/Welcome to my world" ad nauseam. Juana Molina and stellastarr* -- both were very good, but they played in that terrible super-hot tent, so we couldn't handle it and left to rest after a few songs. Beck came to a surprise show, but it was in the same crappy tent! Too small. Obviously a lot of people wanted to see the world-famous Beck, so this time we stood outside, and hardly saw, but he was pretty good, alone with acoustic guitar. And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead were good, but i wasn't prepared so well. Howie Day -- he had a little nu-metal look, but actually he's pretty much a singer-songwriter. El'ad liked him.

The food and drink were terribly expensive, and i even broke my promise to Hadar not to drink any Coca-Cola (i confessed later), because the line for the water was just much longer. After a few tiresome hours we went into the movie pavilion where we watched "Bodysong", which is famous for having a soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood. Very graphic presentation of birth, growing up in very varied kinds of environments and schools, games, love, sex (did i mention "graphic"?), suffering, death etc. Very expressive, well-done, i guess, not ultra-genius, but there was air-conditioning in that pavilion, and i didn't care about anything else. I needed rest before the Pixies.

The Pixies show was amazing. El'ad wasn't impressed too much, because i failed to educate him on that matter. Oh well. It was a standard Pixies reunion show, as much as it can be called "standard" -- Bone Machine, Isla de Encanta, Monkey Gone to Heaven, Velouria, Broken Face, Tame, Debaser. All those great songs that i and so many other people know by heart. Most of them were performed just like on the album, but there was a nice slow rendition of Nimrod's Son. In Heaven with Kim's lyrics was a little disappointing, but except that -- pure bliss. Radiohead were pretty good too. Excellent, actually, with mind-blowing performances of There There and 2+2=5 for the kickoff, heartbreaking Exit Music (For a Film) which started very quietly and was interrupted by some rap band on the other stage (which made the Radiohead audience rightfully angry) and two wonderful surprises for the encore -- Planet Telex and Creep. I took a small peek at Kraftwerk extravaganza -- they were performing "Tschernobyl, Harrisburgh, Sellafield, Hiroshima". I loved it, but El'ad was tired so we went after two songs. I'd like to catch them some other time.

The amazing thing about camping in USA is that the campers actually obey the noise curfew. We wouldn't imagine that someone would care about it, because in Israel no-one does. Makes me think about how we Israelis don't care about good sleep for ourselves or our friends.

Friday, April 30, 2004

California day 5

We're going to Coachella today! Wow. But first, a little more San Diego. So hard to leave this wonderful place. So we drove a little around La Jolla, took some pictures at the beautiful LDS temple (which is, as i mentioned earlier, even more impressive during the twilight) and then the truly greatest American experience -- dinner at the world-famous Hooters! Our server (which is an American word for "waiter") was Starley, who is apparently Jewish! Horrors! She even went to Kotel on her Bat-Mitzvah! Oh my. After a little stroll on the beach, we headed to the desert.

But no, not yet -- California is a very diverse place, so we had some mountains and forests on the way. So it was similar to Beyt-Oren again, but much longer and with a genius improvement called "Turnouts" -- short side lanes for slow traffic. Slow traffic is me, of course, and i let all those American guys to pass me. I still don't why were they in such a hurry.

And finally the desert. Huge, endless, with quite a lot of RV's going to and fro. Some half-abandoned "restaurants" on the way. A very long drive there, and though monotonous, not boring, and even quite beautiful.

Now Coachella is the name of the valley and also of a small town there. Nothing special about the town, except the Polo field. It's special, because first of all, all the other "fields" we've seen there were golf places, and there are a lot of them. Secondly, the Coachella Music and Arts Festival took place there. We've spotted the place from afar -- there were huge lights pointing at the sky (like in a Soviet war movie, i thought.) We arrived at the campsite right on time, just a few minutes before a very long line formed there. The tent was a good surprise -- it was my first time building it, and it was a breeze. The box said that it is for four people, but it had place only for two, or as El'ad said: "It is fine for two people, but four? - Sprats!" Riga sprat, Riga sprat, goes so well with this or that.

That's it, tomorrow's the big day. Pixies.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

California day 4

We took a peek at the old city of San Diego -- nicely restored with dressed-up tourist guides, but interesting mostly for the kids. Then some driving around the hills, some nice views and then -- the world-famous zoo! Ya mama. Animals and stuff. Very fun, but really not that much to tell. I took some pictures, and i'm particularly proud of the hummingbirds. Maybe i should study a little ornithology. El'ad, for some reason, was very curious about the koalas. The pandas there symbolized San Diego in the best way -- laid-back.

Later we took a little walk around the Balboa park, which is really nice. Maybe we should have went there earlier -- it's a quiet place with some very nice Spanish buildings. Maybe some other time. Then some more driving around the city, and also to the world-famous Coronado -- the fancy suburb on the peninsula connected to mainland with a long narrow bridge. Some impressive pics there too, and a supper in a Japanese restaurant. El'ad kept complaining about the quality of sushi there -- he was very disappointed, according to him it paled in comparison to Tel-Aviv's Sakura. Actually he was right, but hey, it's San Diego! He's supposed to be LAID-BACK!! In the evening we found ourselves an internet cafe. Expensive, damn it!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

California day 3

The last day in LA. We were planning to go to San Diego in the evening, but were in a mood for a little culture in the morning, to balance the rollercoasters, so we went to the world-famous Getty. As El'ad said, "That's what happens when someone gives someone else a billion dollars and tells him to build a museum". The experience begins at the parking: it is located at the foot of a picturesque hill, and the city had built a highway way just to facilitate it. From the parking there's a monorail tram going up the hill, and on its top is the museum. An appropriate word to describe the whole thing is "futuristic", but "Gattaca" is even more on the spot: everything and everyone is squeaky clean, the walls are sparkling white, and the gardens downstairs ... oh the gardens. The museum itself is not too big; maybe LA can't take large doses of high culture. But for what it is, it is a very worthy visit.

For the afternoon we went to Venice beach, which is quite like the Eilat promenade, but American, which here means -- original and real. And of course much much bigger. No chic there, just a lot of interesting and very free people.

Before hitting the highways for San Diego, we stopped to buy the camera for Dudi in a small store on Hollywood boulevard. It's a Minolta DiMAGE Z1, and though it looks a little weird on the pictures, it's very cool in reality.

I drove all the way to SD; there was some slow traffic on the way and crossing the huge sprawl of LA's one-story suburbs started to feel like eternity at some point, but as soon as we hit the country it started to look very nice. When we got close to San Diego, the sun was almost down, so we got an amazing view of the San Diego LDS temple, which is much more beautiful and unique than the one in LA. Indeed, this was just the start of how nearly everything in SD is just better than in LA.

Our hotel in SD was Travelodge. "Well maintained" means "not ruined", but El'ad says that it's not that they don't have the means to clean it, it's just meant to be that way, because one old Jew owns 99% of the hotels in the world, the cheap and the chic, and Travelodge is supposed to look like a motel; it's diversity, really. Sounds somewhat reasonable.

In the evening i drove to the world-famous Gaslamp Quarter and after i turned to Broadway St., i noticed police lights in the rear-view-mirror. For a few moments i thought that he's not after me, but then he activated the siren. At that point i wanted to die. I carefully pulled over, opened the window, and a very slick young policeman asked, just as i expected: "Your license and registration please." He checked my passport and told me that i turned left from a straight line. I was so shocked that i didn't even understand what he said exactly and just let El'ad do the talking. He let me go with a warning. I hardly managed to handle the car to the parking, then we went to an Italian restaurant and i ordered Gin-Martini right away. And then some wine. Just didn't want to leave El'ad any doubts about who's driving back. It took me a couple of days to understand what the policeman said, 'cause i started to imagine all kinds of weird things about the American traffic regulations. The meal was pretty good, but for me that evening was pretty much ruined. Trauma.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

California day 2

After the little driving exercise last night we went back to the hotel to finally get a proper sleep, but alas -- we couldn't. Oh, the jet lag. Both of us hardly got any sleep. At least it was easy to wake up early.

We quickly agreed that there are probably no serious cultural, historical or natural landmarks in this town. Now El'ad didn't have any particular ideas of where to go, but i, of course, wanted to go to the happiest place on Earth -- Disneyland. El'ad vetoed, just as i expected, not wanting to expose himself to the cheesiest tourist trap on Earth. Eventually we settled on the world-famous Six Flags, because it's lighter on the theme part and heavier on the thrills and rides part, which was perfect for me. Before that, however, we took a ride on the world-famous Mulholland drive. A long road through forests and mountains, it resembles the Beyt-Oren road in Israel, except that it's in the middle of a city. It was very cool and l33t to park the car on a steep cliff. Watching the fancy villas, we quickly came up with the second silly-phrase-that-would-follow-us-till-the-end-of-the-trip -- "Mi shegar po -- histader!!" ("Whoever lives here - made it!!"). El'ad was very pleased that from that moment on he can brag in front of Eisenberg that he visited the street after which that movie was named. I almost made an accident there, when i turned left on green without yielding to the cars in front of me. Apparently that's the rule in USA. It would never work in Israel, where green is always green!

On the way to Six Flags we dined at a world-famous unique gourmet restaurant called Denny's. Just kidding -- it is obviously a chain, but not even half as good as London's Garfunkel's. Very American of course, and very junk, no matter how hard they advertise their veggie, diet or low-carb meals. The pancakes are served with all possible sauces and confitures AND whipped cream. A lot of it. But of course i finished all of it. Hey, it is America.

Six Flags was a real treat. A little expensive, but worth the price, as it is chock-full of rollercoasters, just the way Aharoni likes it. As for El'ad -- it took him some time to wash away the desperate "get-me-out-of-this-silly-tourist-trap!!!" face (and i also yelled at him -- it worked) and eventually he started to enjoy it. In a Whack-A-Mole race against El'ad i won a stuffed animal of an unknown sort -- we called it "Cat", but Hadar says it looks like a dog. Both of us took a lifetime dose of rollercoasters. On one of them, the world-famous "Viper", every time a ride started the P.A. proclaimed "Enjoy your ride on the V-I-P-E-R!!!", and because we stood in line for some time there and heard it at least five times it became the third silly-phrase-that-would-follow-us-till-the-end-of-the-trip. Other memorable rides include "Goliath", "Gotham City" and "X" (the one with the longest line). One last notable thing: El'ad noticed that nearly all girls there, of all ages (most were around 14) wore denim panties. I don't think i would notice it myself; he says that it induces pedophilia.

On the way back from Six Flags there was a huge traffic jam on the I-5 highway. We listened to OK Computer and at "Exit Music" El'ad came up with the fourth silly-phrase-that-would-follow-us-till-the-end-of-the-trip: "We hope/cha cha cha/cha cha cha." (It later developed to include "... a song to keep us warm/there's cha cha cha/cha cha cha" and applied to many more songs.) Sick of that jam, we got off the road (pesha`!!!) and had a dinner at a restaurant which actually looked like it is not a part of any chain, "Wild Thyme" (seriously). The food was slightly better than the average junk, and the waitress was particularly nice (later we found out that in USA most of them are). The funny part was that i heard a familiar song, and realized that i'm familiar with the version performed by the venerable Flys. I knew that it's probably a Byrds cover, but didn't know what is the name of the English original, so i asked the waitress, and all she could tell me was: "It kinda sounds like the Beatles..."

On the way back to LA we checked out the sleeping bags prices at Sport Chalet, and i picked up a bottle of the world-famous Mug root beer. Damn it, i wanted to taste the notorious beer replacement for minors and the ultimate weapon of ghost-pirate destruction. El'ad said that it's the most disgusting thing he ever tasted; i didn't think so, but it did taste just like Ben-Gay, so i won't be drinking that crap again anytime soon. In general, the soft drinks in USA are rather bad compared to those in Israel and i'm not quite sure that it's just a matter of what i'm used to. Judging by the American taste, it seems that Israel's cheap "Super Drink" brand would be a real hit there, while Coca-Cola bottled in Bney-Brak and adopted to the Israeli taste wouldn't stand a chance.

Monday, April 26, 2004

California day 1

The flight was pretty bad. The food was OK (El-Al), but there were no movies (because of the Memorial Day), and i hardly got any sleep. My first jet lag.

The car: at LAX the car agencies are not at the airport itself and there are shuttles to the pick-up lots. Which is not bad, but for some reason the AVIS shuttle arrived late, and we were pretty pissed to see happy Dollar, Hertz and Thrifty clients taking one shuttle after another. Oh well.

Hadar made me promise that i won't drive on the highway right away, which was a good thing, because the world-famous LA highways are crazy. El'ad handled them pretty well. A notable feature of nearly all roads in the USA is poor asphalt, so pretty quickly we came with the first silly-phrase-that-would-follow-us-till-the-end-of-the-trip -- "Do we have a puncture? We should pull over to check". The first time we thought we had a puncture we actually did it.

The first night we stayed at Motel6 Hollywood. It is indeed pretty cheap, but they are fair: if the guest leaves early, they give the money back. If there's no parking at the hotel, they give back the money for the parking outside. The room is a little smelly when you enter it, but after opening the window, it goes away. Overall -- a decent place to sleep. Only one serious problem -- CNN's was not on channel three, in fact there was no TV at all.

We took a little walk on the Hollywood boulevard, the one with the stars. Nothing special, really, it looks just like Allenby in Tel Aviv (that is -- not particularly good!), just with the stars. So there are some attractions -- the world-famous Grauman's Chinese Theater (with the stars' handprints), Ripley's Believe it or Not and of course, L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition (apparently, that last one became so important that it can be found on the MSN map, in LA tour guides, and among the flyers in hotel lobbies. I get the impression that Scientology is doing a pretty good PR job lately). Anyway, the jet lag kicked in, so we only took a peek at the Grauman's Theater and went back to the hotel to hit the sack.

I set the alarm clock on 08:00pm, but obviously woke up much later, at around 09:00pm. And of course it took some more time to wake El'ad. We went out to explore LA's nightlife and i drove for the first time. After going on red light once, i got a grip of myself. I drove through all of the world-famous Santa Monica boulevard, which, despite being featured in certain hit songs, it's just a very long street with a lot of traffic lights connecting several suburbs. If i'll go on with comparisons to Israeli streets, then this one is like Zhabotinsky in Ramat-Gan etc., really nothing special. The only landmarks worth of notice on this street are the Herbalife building, the Flynt Publications building, and LA LDS Temple. There's a little alley in the end of that street, near the beach, with some pubs and restaurants, but it's not Israel, so at 10:30pm they were all closed, and most of the people at that alley were homeless.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

California day 0

The bags are ready at Hadar's place. My last mindless day at work. Apparently my lovely government decided to play with the calendar, so my flight is on the Memorial Day and not on the Independence Day, which is not very nice. In any case, i also noticed that i land back in Israel a day later than i thought. Oh, the dates. But why should i care.

In the duty free we got ourselves 500ml of Chivas Regal in a plastic bottle, for the trip.

Friday, April 23, 2004

I have comments now

Say something, or i'll report you to the feedback officer.

My last day at home

I'm leaving home today. I fly on Sunday. My bags are not ready yet.

On the other hand, Blogger were really nice to let me beta-test GMail.

Happy G.

Remember Amir G.? Of course you do. The boss man. He's also a well-known coffee-addict. I guess that many bosses are. Seeing him, i certainly don't want to get addicted to coffee.

Anyway, i brought a coffee machine to our building. The vendor installed the machine for free and we pay only 2 NIS ($0.40!) for a cup. When Amir saw it, he was happy, and i saw a very rare spark in his eyes. "Aharoni?! A coffee machine? Who brought it? Did you bring it? How much does it cost? Where did you get it? A coffee-machine!!!!!????!!!!"

He, too, can be human.


New and promising venture -- this guy, Ahava Shmaya, contacted me, he wants to play with me. His music is very good -- Hebrew, English, and instrumental too. Give it a listen! Clearly influenced by Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd and Radiohead to some point, but very original and varied. We swapped emails and i hope we will meet after my vacation.

It will be particularly interesting if i could hook him up with Eran and Miron...

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Wednesday, April 21, 2004


The physical world makes us exist in the form of molecules and language makes us human. Yet most of us don't care that we understand language even less than we understand physics. It is a good proof that there is a God.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Side Effect

It was a huge gamble. Someone bet the life of a whole family. It was crazy. No-one is quite sure if it worked out.

They think they know why it happened. They think they control it. They take their medication daily, even though some of them think they don't need it. Each of them responds to it quite differently. They seldom wonder about its function.

Turns out it went on for longer than they expected.

Turns out it was bigger than anyone would imagine. Someone told those chips quite clearly that it would be bad. "In fact, it is bad already", he assured them. They recklessly moved on, the pictures burnt into their minds forever, but they still didn't notice it. Perhaps they knew better. People are strange.

This is Amir Aharoni's blog. I don't really know what am i talking about, i am just an inspired side effect.

Monday, April 19, 2004

I can be anything if i just want to

Hadar read my Stina Nordenstam rambling and said that it was very hard to understand and she had to look up half of the words. It's a good sign, it means that i'm on my way to becoming a certified music critic, whose language is probably the most unintelligible in modern written English.

Monday, April 12, 2004


No more Dead. amir_e_a is virgola9 now.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Art Rock - A very long AllExperts answer

Someone asked me, as a Sonic Youth expert, for "a good definition of Art Rock". My answer was very long of course. I'm quite proud of it. Here it is:


"Art Rock" is a common name for an endlessly varied bunch of genres and artists, which are unified by the idea that the simple format of rock music -- guitar, bass, drums, vocals -- can be considered an expressive art form, just as well as classical music is and not only music for dancing and entertainment.

There are, as i said, many varieties of art rock. Consider the simplest case, the Beatles: they experimented with lyrics, and dared to write rock 'n roll songs which were not about dancing or teen age love, such as "Paperback Writer" or "Taxman" and publish "Eleanor Rigby" as a rock song, while it was actually played by a symphonic orchestra. They have also quit playing live concerts for screaming young girls who cared more about their looks than about their music and proceeded to playing albums only.

The most bombastic kind of Art Rock, is of course the British "Progressive Rock", with bands such as Genesis, ELP, King Crimson etc.; they were rock bands, but often played multi-part songs, sometimes more than 20 minutes long, they incorporated many elements of classical and folk music, plus they played their instruments particularly well and added keyboards, flutes, organs and other unusual instruments to the simple guitar-bass-drums base.

Sonic Youth presented a new kind of Art Rock. Their background was punk-rock, which, ironically, emerged as a reaction to the sometimes over-bombastic and self-indulgent aforementioned progressive rock, but soon developed into a different art form at its own right. For example, the New York punk singer Patti Smith used punk rock to deliver the poetry she wrote.

Sonic Youth decided that their innovation would be mainly in the kind of distorted noise that they incorporate in their songs. It actually makes sense, that their songs about confusion, violence, perversion, rebellion etc. should have a confusing and violent sound. They definitely didn't have any intention of getting their songs played on the radio, but expressed their ideas in a totally independent form, which wasn't encumbered by record companies.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Burn the Bra and Burn the Steak

Must, must read this. The essence of USA in a few paragraphs!

Sunday, April 04, 2004

The Dawning of the New Age

I ordered a new camera -- Olympus UC750. 4MP, 10x optical zoom, xD card, 4 NiMh batteries and the rest is not very interesting. 486$.

I try to recall how it was when i had the Fuji. It is much harder than to recall how it was when i lived in the USSR.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Panic On the Streets of Pripiat'

Apparently The Smiths' "Panic" was inspired by a British DJ who senselessly played a Wham song after the radio reported about the Chernobyl disaster. A few days ago Slashdot posted this link about Chernobyl. A shocking and devastating website, and an absolute must-see. The English is a little broken (which is interesting for me as a linguist), but the pictures mostly speak for themselves. Did i tell you that it is a must-see?

Panic On the Streets of Gaash

I went to a disco in Gaash last night with Hadar and her sister Ginat. I don't like discotheques. It seems to me, at least subjectively, that there's something very wrong in the concept of paying to enter some place with a lot of people you don't know to dance to music you didn't choose and drink free alcohol to forget that you don't really enjoy the whole thing (unless of course it's good alcohol, in which case you have to pay for it separately! Now talk about hospitality.)

Now Ginat, she really likes the concept of disco, and she likes that kind music (we'll get to that later too.) And so does her husband. Hadar is less excited about the music, but she likes discos, she likes dancing. She's begging me to come to a dance party with her for a very long time, so could i say no?

It's not that if i wouldn't have a girlfriend i would enjoy eyeing the girls (and no, if they would be more tastefully dressed it wouldn't help either.)

And it's not that the if the music would be to my taste, i'd feel better. It's not just Ginat's taste in music. Elad's taste is closer to mine (rawk, yeah!), but i still don't dig his passionate fascination with those nightclubs.

I like listening to music privately, intimately. In the car, on my headphones, on my stereo -- but alone! Or with few people whom i know to enjoy it as much as i do. It's very hard for me to listen to music with someone that doesn't like it. It really scares me; i'm not interested in turning them on to my style. It's my style and that's the way i like it. But people like Ginat are sure that everyone likes the same music that they do, and i can't blame them -- they are the majority, after all. Although it does bother me that ever since 1994 or so, the music at the discos didn't change at all. It used to be more dynamic before that. Oh, whatever.

What makes things even worse is that since i experienced the De La Guarda fiesta, it became even harder to impress. So ok, the party last night was pretty well organized, there were free drinks (to some extent), the sound was fine, the music was probably good for those who like that style, the place was clean and the security people were professional -- they even had a female guard to check the girls, but what now? Is that all? Can't i just mix myself drinks from my own booze and crank up 99FM radio and listen to exactly the same music for free (And God forbid -- i don't really want to)? I'm sorry, i give up, i just don't get it.

Burn down the disco
Hang the blessed DJ.