I’m Still Alive, in Case You Were Wondering

See above. Although it feels like my esophagus has been replaced with a tube of 40-grit sandpaper, I’m still kicking. I also have to finish finals.

I think I’m posting to validate the inordinate amount of time I just spent trying to get my new phone plan together. The website ran me through the whole selection/billing fiasco, and then announce that there was an error and I should see the nearest dealer. Of which there aren’t any in Israel.

I was also wasting time and looking at some of my first blog posts from way back when, and my style has changed quite a lot. I think I’ve lost my touch, reduced to merely recounting events. See this one, for example.

All right, I really should get these essays out of the way. Oh, and Happy New Year!

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Christmas is …

Walking through the streets of Jerusalem, not exactly sure where you’re going
Riding in an Arab bus beside concrete shield walls, two stories high and angled at the top to protect cars on the road from falling blast debris and bullets
Conversing with a cab driver in Hebrew
Being warned by above driver to speak only English in the West Bank
Following the sounds of brass Christmas carols to Manger Square
Standing in the middle of a concert audience with absolutely no room to move

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Day 0.5: Be’er Sheva or Bust

The following are excerpts from my journal, written on my bike trip over the past week:

28 September 2007 – 13:11

Route for Day One

Greetings from Be’er Sheva! The only problem is that I was supposed to be in Arad by now, thirty miles east.

The morning started off great – I got up at 5:15 – okay, maybe it didn’t start off great. I hate getting up early. Hate it hate it hate it. And yet, for some odd reason, I’m going to be doing this voluntarily for the next week. Go figure.

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Trains, Terraces, and Theaters (Pictures)

Something funny, but not a little embarrassing, just happened, and I’m debating whether or not to relate it.

Oh, what the heck.

I may have mentioned my devastating addiction to hummus before – it’s still going strong, and probably isn’t good for me. Still, pita and hummus makes a good lunch, which was what I was eating while working on my computer. An absent-minded turn, a swipe with the elbow, and I discovered that tubs of hummus obey what I must now call Murphy’s Law of Hummus, or the Hummus Corollary to the Theorem of Buttered Bread: The container will always land open side down. In this case, its descent to the floor was intercepted by my tennis shoe. My dirty tennis shoe. My tennis shoe that has been trekking all over Haifa and Caesarea for the past two days.

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Hacking Around in Haifa (Pictures)

Sit back and get comfortable, because this is going to take awhile. The following are excerpts from my journal (pictures included):

24 September 2007, 08:55

So – I’m in the train on the way to Haifa, being very thankful that I at least know my numbers in Hebrew, because all the platform announcements were in Hebrew. All around me are people settled in for the hour-long ride north. longer if they’re going further. You can’t get much further than Haifa – then you hit the Lebanon border, and South Lebanon was slightly chewed up last summer.

We’re passing through vineyards now, having left the suburbs of Tel Aviv about five or ten minutes ago. The two people across the aisle are sleeping, and everyone else is listening to music or talking on their cell phones, or reading newspapers. Newspaper reading is insanely prolific here. It’s not just businessmen who carry a folded newspaper under their arms – everybody – students, housewives, travelers – grabs a paper on their way out of the station or onto the train.

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Bauhaus in Pictures

I’ve decided to put pictures in this time, first of all because it’s much easier to show, rather than tell about, Bauhaus architecture, and also because when I try to email pictures home, my mail account screams at me and takes forever. There are also some cool Spider-man and rooftop photos.

As yesterday was Friday, which is the equivalent of Saturday, I decided to sacrifice my precious sleeping privileges and take a tour, under the auspices of the Bauhaus Center of Tel Aviv. This style of architecture, technically known as the “International Style” is incredibly prolific here, because the city was built in a culture and time when the architecture and ideology were quite popular. (A side-note: I’m being spoiled. I haven’t had real week-ends since … tenth grade, and the concept of not having to do anything is mindblowing.) In fact, Tel Aviv is known as “the White City” – pity there’s no resemblance to Minas Tirith – and as the Bauhaus Capital of the world. In 2003 it was designated a UNESCO heritage site. But what exactly is Bauhaus?

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Entropy

Yesterday was interesting. I acquired both a bicycle and a roommate – two items that shall drastically change my life, albeit in different ways. After all, the two are slightly different: a bicycle is a machine; a roommate is a person. I paid for the bike; the roommate was free. The bike is of local manufacture (I think); the roommate is Belgienne.

Before I elaborate on either of these, I’d like to draw your attention to the sidebar (assuming you’re viewing my blogsite and not my Facebook feed. If you’re on Facebook, click on the “Imported From” link to get to my site. Ahem. Sidebar. Under “currently…” there are a few links. These are just five random stories from my RSS feeds that I thought share-worthy. I’ll be changing these fairly often – possibly every day – so enjoy. And check out the xkcd that makes a not-so-subtle tribute to Firefly.
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