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

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Known as a bug

This is not a joke, this is an actual result of an "analysis" done by Microsoft after i submitted an automatic application crash report. Note that it says that the problem is "MSN Messenger is not responding" - well, i don't have MSN Messenger on this computer and the program that crashed was Windows Explorer. But anyway, enjoy:

MSN Messenger is not responding: try these steps

Thank you for submitting an error report.

Problem description

This type error occurs when MSN Messenger is slow or has stopped responding and you choose to shut it down.

Possible causes

Our analysis shows that some of the reasons for unresponsive applications include, but are not limited to:

  • A problem in the application software itself—also known as a bug—that has caused the application to become unresponsive.
  • Spyware, malware, or other malicious software on the computer.

Thank you, Microsoft. I had a hunch that i'm an idiot, but now i'm sure.

The original might still be accessible here.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Ágætis byrjun

The show was pretty good.

אפשר לגלגל למטה להסבר בעברית ומילים.

סליחה על איכות הווידאו.

The good: A lot of people came. Mostly Miron's friends, and a few of mine. The crowd didn't boo us off stage (actually it wasn't really a stage, we just stood on the floor and moved some tables away.) It was longer than we planned - well over an hour. We didn't kill each other. We managed to play most of the songs from the beginning to the end, even though we rehearsed for only four days and Ofer the drummer forgot his beats notebook. Miron remembered most of the lyrics. The barkeeper payed us.

The bad: The lighting was virtually non-existent, hence the terrible video quality. Miron was pissed off at me for "playing jazz". Actually i never played jazz before, but somehow i became jazzy during a couple of songs (but not this one). The sound wasn't perfect, my piano was too loud, bass wasn't amplified well, and Ofer kept complaining (rightly) about the lack of monitors, without which we could hardly hear ourselves.

But all in all, it was a pretty good start.

Ágætis byrjun means "a pretty good start" in Icelandic; it's also the name of a wonderful album by Sigur Rós.

ההופעה הייתה לא רעה.

הטוב: באו הרבה אנשים. בעיקר חברים של מירון, וגם קצת שלי. הם לא שרקו בוז ולא העיפו אותנו מהבמה (בעצם זו לא הייתה ממש במה, סתם הזזנו כמה שולחנות ועמדנו על הריצפה.) זה היה ארוך משתיכננו - הרבה יותר משעה. לא רצחנו אחד השני. ניגנו את רוב השירים מהתחלה עד הסוף, למרות שעשינו רק ארבעה ימים של חזרות ועופר המתופף שכח את מחברת המקצבים שלו. מירון זכר את רוב המילים. בעל הבית שילם לנו.

הרע: התאורה לא הייתה כל כך קיימת, מה שמסביר את את איכות הווידאו המזעזעת. מירון התעצבן עליי על כך ש"ניגנתי ג'אז". האמת היא שאף פעם בחיים לא ניגנתי ממש ג'אז כי חשבתי שאין לי מספיק כישרון לזה, אבל איכשהו בהופעה זה פשוט החליק לי באיזה שניים שלושה שירים (לא זה שרואים פה). הסאונד היה רחוק מאד משלמות, הפסנתר שלי היה חזק מדי, הבס לא היה מוגבר טוב ועופר התלונן, ובצדק, על המחסור במוניטורים, שבלעדיהם בקושי שמענו את עצמנו.

אבל בסך הכל התחלה נחמדה.

Ágætis byrjun זה "התחלה נחמדה" בשפה האיסלנדית; זה גם שם של אלבום נפלא של להקת סיגור רוס.

לבקשת הגולשים - תמליל:

...ככה הגעתי להודו, וחודש - כלום. מה זה המקום הזה. מה ההתלהבות? ואז אני יושב שם בוורקלה, מסתכל ככה על הצוק הזה עם הים, מסתכל על העמוד שמרכיב את הגדר, אני אומר למה? למה הייתם צריכים להשתמש בעמוד גרניט 10 על 10? שעה אתם חוצבים אותו. לכו תתפסו בזנ"ט כמו שפעם היו עושים בצבא ... ואז יצא

עמוד גרניט

עמוד גרניט - המון עבודה,
ישר מהטבע הדרך קלה,
תיל מתוח כמו מסגרת תמונה,
צילום העיט על רקע הים,

האגו נפגע באיזו צורה,
אף רופא לא תיאר את חומרת הפגיעה,
קשה או קל, אולי בינוני,
שנים ידברו, תביני אותי,

זה קצת גדול עליי,
כשלא מנוסים,
ואין עננים, שמיים בהירים,
אלפי פליטים נוהרים לחופים,
זה חוף מקלט, ניצולי חבלים,

לאט לאט נכנס,
לאט זה מחלחל,
גל של ים ברעש מתנפץ,
אגוז של קוקוס נופל,
משהו נכנס בי אך גם משהו חסר,
אוכל את זה לאט, נזהר
לא להחנק.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Miron and me and Elad the bassist and Ofer the drummer are playing our first show together tonight in Ashdod in a place called Outsider.

I'm too overwhelmed to write anything more.

But i'll try to have it videotaped.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

אחרי פקקים באיילון דרום

ניגשת אליי נרגשת
ובגדיה קרועים,
מחבקת אותי, אומרת
"אמיר יקירי",

לשתי דקות קצת מאושרת,
אותה לא תראה בוכה,
מחזיקה לי את היד, אומרת
"העיקר - היא חייכה".

(תודה למאיר אריאל)

People Speaking - Swimming

I'm doing an ISTQB certification course. "Rex" and "Assume" posts are related to it too. Here's another nice one from it:

"... Sometimes it may be a good idea to formulate a bug report as a question. For example: 'Is it supposed to crash?' can be surprisingly effective. But don't be cynical, like 'So, it's supposed to crash, eh?' or 'So, we went swimming yesterday, eh?' - that's not nice."



Durus Rex - Sed Rex Black

Ch'check it out - this guy is apparently a world-famous technology consultant, but he's got a name of porn star.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

No Nukes, part 2

Believe what you want.

A simulation of the nuclear reactor in Dimona, from Israel 10.

If it is true, i can't say that i'm too proud, but i really don't think that it is.

Druze Musabbaha

After the nice Weekend With Folks i wanted to keep the good vibe and after politely telling mum that i'm not hungry i left the parents' home at about 15:30 and went to a rehearsal with Miron. I decided to take my time and drove through Isfiya to find some hummus place. There were a lot of restaurants on the way. OK now, let's see - "Carmel Garden"? Sounds like a tourist trap. "Carmel View"? Another tourist trap. "Best Druze Home Cooking"? Were you too lazy to make up a real name for your restaurant? A thought came to me that i shouldn't go to any place that doesn't have "Abu" in it's name. A minute later i saw "Abu Salah - Hummus Ful". Yeah baby.

I asked the modestly dressed Druze lady at the reception whether they were serving Hummmmmmus. Of course they were. She gave me a menu and i asked for musabbaha, which is the best kind of hummus - served warm and fresh. She was absolutely delighted to hear me pronouncing the name of the dish as close as i could to the way Arabs pronounce it.

The musabbaha was delicious, as well as the generous plates of pickled vegetables and falafel with tahina.

Dear MeahevServi - That's my favorite part of life in Israel.

WWF - Weekend With Folks

I wrote this offline on Friday evening after having yet another veg talk with my mum:

— "I just want to understand - in what direction are you doing it?

— "Direction? What do you mean?"

— "Is it some group? Greenpeace?"

— "No. No group. Just us, we decided about it ourselves, we aren't members of any group. I don't think that there is any official vegetarian group in Israel. There are some animal rights groups here, but i'm not a member of any of them. There are vegetarian associations in other countries, such as England and America. Probably Russia too."

— "Greenpeace people came, broke into a kennel of fur animals, released them all and burnt the building down. The kennel keeper wept - she said that if they wanted to save the animals' lives, they did just the opposite, because in the wild they would die very soon. So what, are you like them?"

— "No, mum, i'm not a member of Greenpeace, i don't break into places and i don't burn them down. I just don't eat meat."

— "And what about the eskimoes? They live in the north, they need fur."

— "Well, if they live in the north, i don't know how i can help them. They can move to warmer places and they won't need fur, but i don't think they should be forced to do it."

— "So you hate eskimoes? Do you know that they need to eat whale meat? The government doesn't let them hunt whales anymore and now they don't know how can they live and raise children. The need for whale meat is in their genes."

I wanted to say that to the best of my very limited knowledge in biology it seems unlikely, but refrained, 'cuz my knowledge is indeed very limited and even if i did know better, she wouldn't listen anyway - by now it should be clear that parents in such situations do not let facts confuse them.

— "No, mum, i don't hate eskimoes."

— "You are getting extreme. You want to be like those that spill acid on people who wear fur. Those extremists, are you with them?"

— "No, mum, i'm not an extremist and i don't spill acid on anyone. I just don't eat meat."

... Later:

— "So what about the music?"

— "Actually i don't know about the music. I don't really want to know. Let the music be whatever you want. As far as i'm concerened it's gonna be crap anyway. I hate dancing and i hate weddings music."

— "You don't like to dance, because you don't have any joy in your life. And you don't have any joy in your life, because you don't eat meat."

Now, a bonus: I want to be A Good Linguist and Good Linguists don't do such things, but as an exception, i constructed this phrase from pieces of other phrases, inspired by a certain book (guess which one). Sadly, no-one actually said it, but it conveys the spirit of the talk well:

— "Now I don't understand anything in nutrition and I can't order you to eat chicken, but you must eat chicken and that's an order!"

This vegetarian wedding thing is expensive and it depresses my and Hadar's parents badly. Am i wrong somewhere?

... And with this depressing thought i went to sleep before my father came back from work. I expected an even harder talk with him in the morning.

I woke up at seven. Went back to sleep. By eight forty i couldn't sleep any more. Killed some more time. Finally left bed at about nine. Dad made breakfast. Then we talked about music and he danced to a funny Leningrad song. And we talked about digital video recording technologies. And about tea leaves. And about prices of vacations in Eilat and the Dead Sea. And about the funny differences between Russian and Ukrainian. And then we worked in the garden - mowed lawn and cut plants that creeped into the neighbour's yard.

Not a word about the damage of vegetarian ideology or the impossibility of throwing a wedding party without meat.

It was the best weekend with my parents ever.

Sunny Thursday

Several weeks ago i participated in a competition in the University. It was organized by Sprite and went like this: Sprite representatives go around the campus on Segways, "catch" people who have Sprite bottles and ask them trivia questions. Those who get the best points advanced to another round, semifinals etc., and the jackpot is a Segway.

I bought a bottle and drank it and no one "caught" me. But i was stubborn and filled it with water, in case they do catch me and want proof that it's really Sprite. And eventually they caught me and asked me the questions. I failed at: "When did Hawaii join the USA?" and got 75 points. The Sprite girl even tried to help me, but i ignored it and answered wrong. I'm too honest sometimes. She was very disappointed and said that i needed only two more answers to get to the semifinals. Well, it was fun.

But after a few days a Sprite representative called and said that i did make it to the semifinals - which will be on Student's Day in Tel Aviv University on Thursday May 11th. Sweet, i thought - live gigs, beer, and a chance to win a Segway.

So on Thursday afternoon i left work early and went to Tel Aviv. On road 443 i picked a Haredi guy. He asked for a ride to Shilat junction, which is in Modiin. When we reached Shilat, he asked if i can take him to the next junction. So i guessed that he needs to go to El'ad.

— "Do you live in El'ad?"

— "Yes. How did you know?"

— "Oh well, i guessed, 'cuz you wanted to disembark on the next junction..."

— "It's funny, 'cuz few people know where El'ad is."

— "I'm familiar with the area. Actually today i received a CV from someone who lives in El'ad and wants to work in my company, but the fax was smudgy and i couldn't read his phone number. Maybe you know him ... his name is Shemesh." El'ad is not a very small town, but there's a fair chance that Haredi families would know each other better than average.

— "Yeah, that's my dad."

Look how God sets things up.

I didn't win the Segway, though.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

New Economy

Direct digital advertising for generic and branded man's health remedies, discounted OEM software, replicas of swiss watches and university diplomas and also free stock tips, all of which is collectively known as spam is very interesting. I read all the spam that i receive. The fun part is the tricks they use to bypass filters:

  • Using HTML and CSS tricks such as dir, float, div, table etc., so that invisible characters are inserted between the letters of the words 6EnerIc v1/|Gra. Often those characters are floated to the right side of the message, so when you try to mark the word C|a1i5 you see that a bunch of gibberish characters are selected at the other part of the window.
  • Generic subjects: The word "news" is very prominent, but i obviously can't block every message with it. Also featuring: "You blocked my AIM", "party tonight", "Re: [5]", "Fw: meeting" etc.
  • Dada: Excerpts from books and news are inserted at the bottom of the email. A few months ago articles about Harry Potter were the most common source, which prompted Google to present me with advertising about Harry Potter merchandise. Luckily Google realized after some time then showing ads on spam messages is not very clever and turned it off. Later it was the book "Bourne Identity" and recently they switched to "The Hobbit". Smaug, Fili, Kili, Bombur, Gandalf, Bard and Bilbo - my goodness! I send my thanks to the spammers for reminding me that i should read the book again.
  • A blank email with no sender and no subject. And no To: field either. The most pointless thing ever. Maybe it is just a bug in the GMail system, but it is tagged as spam.
  • Nonsense text, probably auto-generated, the kind of which i used to post here under the title "Vegetarian Spam". I absolutely love these and save them all. Here's another fine sample:

somewhere pride drew fly, least motor explain light. drew again light.
find immediate yours fascinate? different human disappoint use very.
carefully disappoint edge slow rich why.
servants social tying. nothing corner sugar servants. here similar profession,
raise wanted immediate anything. allow evening development use fascinate evening.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Amir Aharoni nearly fell asleep
Weary lone mother. Photo: D.P.

Today we had a team meeting and it was very interesting.

Little Lassie - update

Little Lassie's owners were found. Her real name is Sissy. They live in Jerusalem and apparently they gave her to another family in Mevasseret Zion, which is quite close to our village, and she allegedly ran away from them. Now the original owners decided to adopt her back. One good deed a day makes a difference.

Ethic אתיקה

I'm on to something big with Miron.

He's a great songwriter, as i already wrote. It is most important. But something must be done about it too.

So we developed ourselves a work ethic:

  • At least one rehearsal a week. Quite simply, everything started moving since i made this firm decision.
  • If a song is written and a demo is recorded, it must be played as it is written. That's Miron's demand and it is fair - these are his songs after all. It's not a dictatorship: Everyone can offer his solos, chords and ideas, but a clear line is drawn between rehearsing a song and jamming.
  • We are trying to establish a playlist for a gig.

Except that: We have a regular bassist and he fits in well. Miron's harmonies are easy in the first place, so the bassist just needs a rhythm and a basic playing technique. Our guy has them both.

We also need a drummer. Some songs need a full drum line complete with snares and cymbals and others only need percussion. We haven't found a drummer yet, but we tried several percussionists, mostly darbuka players, and they were good - playing darbuka is not as simple as it seems. However the guy that played with us yesterday was truly amazing. He didn't bring a full drumkit, but he had a cajón, which is a wooden crate with strings inside that essentially work like the springs in a snare drum. (And cajón means simply "crate" in Spanish.) He also had drumsticks, rainsticks, bracelets, rattles, tambourines, bells et cetera and in addition he drummed on found stuff such as glasses and ashtrays and he built improvised instruments with completely new sound from cheap darbukas found at Miron's home. It looks good, it sounds good, it is original, it is cool and it fits Miron's music. It is important to note that the sound of this percussionist is close enough to the sound of a mainstream drumkit, so when we'll play we won't be pushed into some ethnic niche. So as far as i'm concerned we don't need another drummer.

We have a future.

אני עליתי על משהו גדול עם מירון.

זה שהוא כותב שירים דגול כבר כתבתי. וזה הכי חשוב. אבל צריך גם לעשות עם זה משהו.

אז פיתחנו לנו משמעת עבודה:

  • לפחות חזרה אחת בשבוע. למעשה הכל התחיל לזוז מאז שקיבלתי את ההחלטה הזו.
  • מה שכבר כתוב ומוקלט - צריך לנגן כמו שהוא. לא לאלתר. זו דרישה הוגנת של מירון. השירים באמת שלו והם, כאמור, טובים. להציע סולואים חדשים זה בסדר ואני עושה את זה, אבל יש הפרדה בין נגינה מסודרת של שיר מוכן לבין ג'ם. זה עובד.
  • אנו עושים נסיונות מלומדים לגבש רשימת שירים להופעה.

ומה עוד חדש? יש בסיסט קבוע שתופס את העניינים יפה. בסך הכל ההרמוניות של מירון קלות מאד, ומה שצריך זה תחושת קצב וקצת טכניקת נגינה ויש לו את שניהם.

צריך גם מתופף. לפחות חלק מהשירים דורשים מתופף ממש עם מערכת שלמה, לאחרים מספיקה הקשה. מתופף ממש עוד לא מצאנו, אבל ניסינו כמה נגני כלי הקשה, בעיקר דרבוקות, והם היו סבבה - צריך לדעת גם לדרבק. אבל אתמול הגיע המקישן שמנצח את כולם. לא הייתה לו מערכת תופים, אבל היה לו קחון שזה סוג של תוף דרום אמריקאי. זה נראה כמו ארגז עץ עם מיתרים בפנים, שעושים צליל של תוף סְנֶר. (ובאמת cajón בספרדית זה ארגז.) וזה נשמע פשוט, אבל דורש כישרון וידע. הקחון הוא מרכז המערכת שלו - בנוסף יש לו תיק קסמים עם מקלות תיפוף, מקלות גשם, צמידים, רעשנים, טמבורינים, פעמונים וכיוצא באלה והוא מתופף גם על דברים שהוא מוצא בסביבה כמו כוסות ומאפרות, והוא בונה מדרבוקות זולות שזרוקות אצל מירון תופים עם צלילים חדשים לגמרי. זה נשמע טוב, זה נראה טוב, זה מקורי, זה מגניב וזה מתאים למוזיקה של מירון. חשוב גם לומר שהצליל של המקישן הזה יכול להיות מספיק קרוב לצליל של מערכת תופים רגילה, כדי שלא ניכנס לנישה אתנית. מבחינתי הוא יכול לתפוס את מקום המתופף ולא צריך הרבה יותר מזה.

יש לנו עתיד.

Hi! Everybody

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that i have more regular readers than i thought i had. Hi, all of you.

They had complaints, which will all be addressed someday:

  • Everyone hates the obligatory registration to Blogger in order to leave a comment. Due to the demand i decided to cancel the obligatory registration, but i want to find some way to ask people nicely to sign their comments. Eventually i plan to move away from Blogger, to WordPress or something, but it will take time, 'cuz i want to do it nicely. In the meantime suggestions are welcome. Thanks for your patience.
  • I call myself "Aharoni in Unicode", but use Unicode too little. Particularly, i write too little Hebrew. I am thinking about it, too. I'm quite used to English, but i am considering some format change. Yet again, thanks for your patience.

Also - huge, huge thanks for everyone's support on the vegetarian wedding thing.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

People Speaking - Shrug

All by my father (see also here).

— "Of course there are millions of people who don't eat meat. Even billions. They are the niggers in Africa. That's why they are underdeveloped."

— "Ever since you told me you're vegetarian I don't live. I just exist. I can't eat meat because I think about it. I can't eat vegetables either because I think about it. I can't drive because I think about it. I can't work because I think about it. But it's alright, because in the end I will die a physical death. It's you I'm worried about. But you seem to care more about a cow than about me."

— "... Of course I can just avoid talking about you at work. I have a friend at work who has a daughter and he never talks about her, because she's mentally ill. For example she doesn't eat anything that wasn't prepared at home. I told him once - 'At the cafeteria they are giving away untouched prepared packed meals, why don't you take some home?' He told me that he would, but his daughter wouldn't eat it. So it's possible that I just won't talk about you either."

— "It's all an idea. And all ideas are bad. I would understand if it was for health, but you are avoiding meat for an ideology and it's just inconceivable. About other people I can shrug, but about my son I just can't remain indifferent. I can't support it in any way."

Now suppose i win in these arguments. How can i win them without humiliating my father on the way?