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

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.