Me last Purim

Once a year

Since all the cool people are doing it:

What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
Travel on my own: both my first unaccompanied airplane ride and my first unaccompanied stay in a city (two days in Berlin).

Did you keep your new year's resolutions and will you make more next year?
I didn't exactly keep my resolutions for last year - I found an adviser, but then I dropped out before I got to start working. I did, however, figure out that I don't want to stay in Israel, and I'm working towards the goal of leaving.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not to the best of my knowledge.

Did anyone close to you die?
Not to the best of my knowledge.

What countries did you visit?
Prague, the UK, the States, Germany and Switzerland.

What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A job in the United States, and a working permit.

What dates from 2009 will remain etched in your memory and why?
12/24/2009 was quite possibly the best day of my life. As an Israeli with Jewish ancestry, this was my first real Christmas.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
It's been a big mess, and I changed a lot. I went from "people don't belong to specific places" to "I need to find the place where I belong" and from "US sucks" to "I want to live in New York City".

What was your biggest failure this year?
Dropping out of grad school, though it turned out for the best.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Colds, nothing serious.

What was the best thing you bought?
Airplane tickets and foreign currency,

Whose behavior merited celebration?
Friends from abroad.

Whose behavior made you appalled and/or depressed?
Old judgmental friends, as usual.

What did you spend most of your spare cash on?
Airplane tickets and foreign currency.

What song will always remind you of 2009?
"O Tannenbaum" and "Aux Champs Elysees"

Happier or sadder?
Sadder, because I realized what I don't have. But some of it I can still gain, and by $DIETY I'm working on it.

Thinner or fatter?
A few pounds fatter, nothing to write home about. All that Christmas chocolate.

What do you wish you'd done more of?
What do you wish you'd done less of?
Know what? For all its faults, 2009 was a year well spent. Sure, I could say I wish I checked out this or the other landmark (or train station, I love train stations), but 2009 brought me here to the beginning of 2010, on my way to where I want to be.

How will you be spendingdid you spend Hannukah?
Despite what some Christians think, Hannukah isn't that big a deal. I spent some of it with family, some with friends and some at work, just like any other week. (Christmas, on the other hand...)

Did you fall in love in 2009?
Not romantically but I exchanged platonic "I love you"s with a very special person.

How many one-night-stands?

What was your favorite TV series?
I guess that would (still) have to be The Big Bang Theory. Ready to report for reeducation.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

What was the last book you read?
"Dial M for Merde". It's really an airplane/hotel book, though. The one before that was "The To-Do List", also an airplane/hotel book, but it kinda touched me.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
The fact that I don't listen to as much music as I should.

What did you want and get?
You can't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.

What did you want and not get?
Didn't get to go to the States. Yet.

What was your favorite film this year?
Don't really know, I didn't see that many.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If I could do two things at once - finish my degree AND have a great Christmas.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Girlish, as always.

What kept you sane?
I'm not really sure...

What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Who do you miss?
Friends from Abroad. Friends from Jerusalem. Friends from Rehovot. Even friends from Tel-Aviv.

Who was the best new person you met this year?
My friend Tessa.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
I got nothing. I just winged it through this year. I think I came out relatively unscathed (if a bit dehydrated)

My new resolutions:
1. Make friends and start a life in a new city. I know which one I want it to be, but it might be boring old Tel-Aviv.
2. Go into a pub alone and mingle. Maybe ifI write it here I'll finally do it.
3. Start experimenting with electronics, like I've always wanted to since I was in high-school.
Me last Purim


I heard this song again today. It's actually from a year and a half ago, and I almost certainly heard it the week it was written, but I just got a new MP3 player and heard a bunch of stuff again.

Anyway, the song talks about people over on Wikipedia that spend lots of time arguing for or against deleting pages with no content. It's true that these people exist, and maybe it's true that they have no life outside of this endeavor. My problem is not with those remarks, but with the sentiment that this is in some way bad. I think some pages do not belong on Wikipedia, but had a problem reconciling this opinion with Smith's statement "Web pages are in short supply, and what if we run out?"

Then this morning I came across this page on Wikipedia while trying to figure out how to input the Greek letter rho. I think this is a stellar example of a page that does not belong on Wikipedia, and in fact Wikipedia is a worse website for including the page. Of course, this doesn't mean any given rule about page deletion is the "right" one, if there can even be such a thing. But it does mean that one can't argue against page-deletion simply on the basis of "there are enough web pages, so why not include everything?"

Me last Purim

С новом годом

Followup to this.

I'm on my second degree, finally. CS at the Weizmann Institute. Of course, I don't yet know what I want or how I'm going to get it, but it looks further away than I could ever imagine. That's OK - the fact that I know that proves I've been making progress towards finding out just what it is I want.

I'm stuck here for the next two years, so I'll divide this into two. First, a resolution for this coming year that's pretty generic: Find an adviser, topic, start working on a thesis.

Next are long term (post-Masters) plans: figure out where I want to live. The more non-Israelis I meet (I live in the dorms with people from all over the world), the more I realize there are other places than Israel out there, and they're all different. Maybe one of them's for me.

On an unrelated note, I haven't been updating lately because I started a new blog. It's written with ink on paper and doesn't have an RSS feed, so I won't link to it, but it's there. Anyone who wants to know what's up with me, standard communication methods apply.
Me last Purim


It's the funniest thing: I remember that I was slightly sick last night; I even emailed nurint about it when she asked how I was. But, here's the thing: I don't remember actually being sick.

Collapse )

Oh, look, it's "Undead Journal" for halloween, how cute!
Me last Purim


Went to my parents' place, my brother gave me some suitcases for the move to Rehovot. I'm walking from their house to mine with three suitcases, and a lady asks "את צריכה עזרה?" before she notices and corrects herself to "אתה".

My answer: תודה, אבל אני מסתדר... או מסתדרת
Me last Purim

Rest of the week, or, week sans rest

I wish I could say that after the second performance I went home and slept for a month. Unfortunately, I had to go to the university first thing Wednesday morning to hand in my students' grades. I also gave back the keys I had, and then I went to work. On my way to work I suddenly got lost in thought and didn't realize what bus I was on, but that's OK, I suppose.

Thursday, just as I was arriving to the office, came the highlight of my (short) career as a TA: I got a phone call from a student thanking me for the grade I gave her. Now, there are four kinds of students in a class such as mine: The students who study and go home; the students that ask for help in the most general terms the day before the test; the students who took philosophy or math and therefore know all this stuff already; and the one student who came up to me and asked for help every time she didn't understand something. I really respect this student, and she earned every point of her (rather high) grade.

Later, I saw a friend's status on Google Talk was " hates the internet". I asked him what's wrong with the internet, and nineteen minutes later he replied "Lag".

Changed my status to "Broadcast to VM: Anyone for sushi?" and had a sandwich an hour later. (No sushi :-( )

As we were leaving for the mall to go eat, I ran up to the fourth floor to see if anyone wanted to join. It was locked, so I ran back down to the third and got there just as the elevator was closing. (Made it)

And finally, on Friday my parents told me not to come for lunch, but to come for dinner instead. Making it "Friday night dinner". I watched way too much Gilmore Girls.

And on the seventh day, I rested.
Me last Purim


So, we had a performance last Sunday. The idea was to get in front of a small crowd that included five judges, sing four songs, and get points/criticism later.

The week started on Saturday morning, when we had a last-minute rehearsal. <rant>I got a rare opportunity to see what 9AM on a Saturday looks like</rant>. Since Jeanne had two groups in the festival, we shared some of the rehearsal with them (we also used the building they usually use). They were absolutely wonderful (great acapella work), and we were pretty good as well, though we were down our most important soprano.

Saturday evening, I got a call inviting me to some party. Knowing I'd have to change for the performance and for the party, I packed a suitcase with clothes, shoes, and a bag for the store where I planned to stop on the way.

My parents flew in from Spain early Sunday morning, and I called to invite them to the performance. They didn't make it, though they really wanted to.

Sunday afternoon I was picked up in Kfar-Sava, and we went to where the performance was going to be. Both of the groups did some last-minute rehearsing, and went on stage. The performances were on a very tight schedule (one-hour rounds, fifteen minutes per group for singing four songs and getting on and off stage, with no time budgeted for talking or for people entering and leaving between rounds), so we were over an hour late. There was some "behind-the-scenes" fun, only it was all in the audience while listening to the groups that came before us.

We got up when the group before us started performing (mostly because we thought it was our turn), so Jeanne took us outside for last-minute rehearsing. Then we performed (on fire, baby!), waited for the end of our round and left. A friend from work was there, so we went back to work together.

Evening, party. Unfortunately, due to work and to (lack of) buses, I had to leave early. About the time I got home, Jeanne sent out an email saying we were great and she hopes we'll get the results soon. If only she knew...

Monday - half day at work, then home. Dinner with the parents, and then I went out with a friend in the evening, and at 11PM got a call from another member of our group: We came in second, the other group came in first, and we're to go back for a repeat performance (only two songs this time) on Tuesday (balance afternoon, performance evening). So my parents got a chance to watch me after all.

I saw a few groups on both Sunday and Tuesday, and all of them were better on Sunday. I think this comes from a combination of lack of preparation (our programme for Tuesday was decided on Tuesday morning) and the formal-ness of the second performance (Sunday was a small theater and no mikes, Tuesday was a real thing that people bought tickets for). I think the event's coordinators could do a lot better (for example, at the beginning they gave the conductors diplomas; the conductors had to get on stage to get them, and we had to wait for a pretty long time), but all in all it was fun.
Me last Purim

Seemed like a good idea at the time

So, I'm dreaming about my father, and he's telling me how he was stopped at border control somewhere and had to show all of his memory cards. He was at the limit of the number of things he could show, so he was lucky the actual bit of electronics that reads the cards (digital camera, probably) was in my mom's luggage and not his.

Anyway, so I wrote eight bits of information in green pen on my hand, something like

1 0 1
0 1 0
1 0

and said it's eight bits of digital memory. I then devised a backward-compatible way of storing sixteen bits of information, by allowing the digits to go up to 4 and deciding that each digit encodes a bit from the high byte and a bit from the low byte. Those following at home will no doubt realize that the digits only had to go up to 3, which I know now that I'm fully awake. (In my defense, I think I skipped 2 in my dream, so it's still the correct number of options).
Me last Purim

Oh, Facebook

My current Facebook status is "Roie is considering using Facebook more often... it'll pass". But I decided to take a look at my facebook requests that I've been ignoring, and stop ignoring them just long enough to press the "Ignore" button. Two gems I saw: One friend whose name I won't give here invited me to some birthday reminder application. While pressing "Ignore", I said "thank you but I already remember all my friends' birthdays", then realized that her birthday was two days ago and I completely forgot. I have an excuse, though, she's on a different continent.
Second was from a different friend who invited me to throw a pillow at her, something I'd gladly do (out of love, not hate), if she weren't on a different continent as well.
Me last Purim

Week to date

Sunday @ Rehovot. Got the key to my dorm room. It's not much, just a room with two beds (yes, I have a roommate), and the shower is shared with another two guys from the room next door. I don't know anyone there yet either.

I walked a bit around the town, took some buses and saw the central station. It's a rather ugly city, Ra'anana is much better. But it'll have to do for the next two years or so.

The great thing about trains is that I got to grade papers on my way there and back; I almost finished that day (but I only completely finished today)

Monday. I call someone I'm supposed to meet, to ask her when we scheduled. Turns out it's the following Tuesday, right during my scheduled meeting with someone else. With Yom Kippur coming, there was no time to reschedule except Tuesday, so I had to take the day off work. Well, there are worse things in the world.

Tuesday morning found me in Kfar-Saba. While waiting for a bus, I discovered the following fact: Buses to Tel-Aviv stop at a completely different place than buses to Ra'anana. After losing two buses to that fact, I hopped on a cab.

Then the secretary from the university called, they're closed for the holidays and want my grades. I tell her that I'm not finished, since I have three weeks which won't be over until after Yom Kippur. I just emailed her the grades, but she'll want the actual paper for it to count.

Wednesday and Thursday - Yom Kippur.