08 November, 2005
20 October, 2005
Psychologists have proven that the second most stressful experience a person can go through in their life is moving house. Here in the LIGTFAB family however, we’ve never been happy with second place when in comes to psychological norms. So we tried to find the short time in which my wife has her last exams, I start my new university and is just over the chagim, and decided to move then. Genius.
It’s not just my wife’s exams, it’s her moed bet, her “second chance” exams, as she spent the first lot marrying me. So she really has to do well in these.
And I’m not just starting a new university, I’m taking the 5 week, 80 hour super-intense prep course, which I need to pass to stay here. So no pressure there then.
And It’s not just over the chagim - when the entire country decides to close for a month and traffic is at its all time worst - it’s over the few weeks in the year in which a myriad of friends and family come out to Israel, who we just have to see.
And it’s raining - great.
In short, I really don’t have time for a blogspot.
03 October, 2005
29 September, 2005
One of the problems with living in an Israeli society and studying in an American university, is that no-one I know swears properly. The average American’s vocabulary, when it comes to swearing, consists of just two crude words, to be termed the "f-word" and the "s-word".
As I live and work among these unenlightened folk, I feel it my obligation expand their basic lexicon with some good English swear words. Therefore, I shall be teaching the basic English swear words here, over the next few weeks, for you to learn.
This public service comes with 3 preconditions:
- For reasons of piety (i.e. My mother probably reads this blog), I shall not be including the more vulgar of the English swear words.
- The reader must agree to take upon his or herself to incorporate all the words, at the rate of word a day, into his or her vocabulary, thus learning to swear properly in just under a week.
- Whenever possible, all words should be said with a good British accent, preferably a London accent or the queen's English. If this proves too difficult, a Manc or Brummy accent will do, however please do not resort to a Scouse accent, as this may offend.
We are specifically starting with four words that are used in a similar way to - and thus easily exchangeable with - their cruder American counterpart. These four B-words also form the base of a swearing Brit's vocabulary. They are:
Bugger, Bollocks, Bloody and Bastard
Similarly, bollocks should be used as a replacement for the s-word, in phrases like "oh bollocks" and "what a load of bollocks". You could describe a certain film or event by saying "it was bollocks", or use it by itself as an exasperated "bollocks!”
Bloody, the most English of the b-words, is equally interchangeable with the term "f-ing", as an adverb or adjective placed before the word it’s describing. It can be used simply, as in “bloody hell” or extensively, as is “I’m not bloody chasing after that bloody dog any bloody more!”
And finally, Bastard. Being the most internationally recognised English swear word is an advantage, as it is easy to learn and incorporate into your everyday language. However this can also be a great disadvantage, as the subtleties that make it truly English are often lost. But don’t worry about that now, we’ll be coming back to that in lesson 4...
Until then, keep practising!
Lesson 2 - Mothers, fathers and other blood relatives
28 September, 2005
Some things just shouldn't be allowed, like this guy who photographed his own brain surgery.
26 September, 2005
I wish to officially take back what I said two weeks ago. I hate Ikea! I loath it with an unearthly passion and now I'm going to tell you why. I'm going to moan, I'm going to rant, I'm going to blitch, and you're just going to have to listen. Cos it's my blog. And I said so.
This is how you buy stuff in Ikea Israel. First, you have a look through the catalogue, either online or in print, and get a rough idea of what you want to buy. You choose beds, a sofa or two, tables for the kitchen and dining room, chairs for both, bathroom cabinets, office equipment, etc. Then you go to Ikea, and are greeted instantly by bright lights, clean walls, a kid’s crèche and two elegant restaurants (one meat, one milk - both fully kosher). Until now you're doing great, you're happy, you're relaxed, you're naïve.
You spend a good few hours on the top floor, where everything is laid out nicely and it's easy to see what Ikea has to offer. You're given a small pad and a truly Swedish pencil, and walk around with the catalogue in one hand, the pad in the other and the pencil in your mouth (or behind the ear for the authentic experience) choosing what you want for your new home and writing down all the product codes. This part is actually quite difficult, as you try to match colours, fabrics, rooms and themes as much as possible. Admittedly, it's slightly irritating that "light wood" in one bookshelf isn't quite the same tone as in another, and that the chairs that match your table only come with red, black or beige cushions, while the matching couch comes in blue, green, yellow or white. But you're bigger than that. You struggle on, and with a triumphant but weary smile on your face you bring your full list, with codes, numbers and colours to the cashier.
With a tone that one normally saves for children and the physically disabled, your cashier pitifully informs you that you've been writing down the wrong product code. You've been looking at the red number on the bottom left corner, when you really need the black number on the bottom right. You need to start again.
Most of us begin to crumble at this point, but some foolhardy people still believe they can keep their composure, and with a smile slightly wearier than triumphant, they head off back through the faux wood jungle once again. Many are lead to believe, you see, that re-writing their list "should be easy", as they've "done in once before" and that all they need to do is find the stuff on their list and write down the other number. I mean, it sounds logical? No? No. for this is Ikea, and logic hath no place within these halogen lit walls.
The Ikea designers, with their incessant scheming, have named all their products in their warehouse after Swedish porn stars! Their basic extending kitchen table is called "Mygård", their single beds are "Tðvik", their bookshelf’s "Billy", and their aptly named saucepan rack "Feckїt". So you're trawling through the shower curtains, trying to find the code to something on your list called an "Anneboded", and about now even the most hardened crusader begins to loose his cool.
But this, my friends, is just the beginning.
Because sometimes, the product code you now need is missing, replaced by a little yellow slip that says "ask at the product helpdesk". So you go to the product helpdesk, to be told that for some reason or another, the product that you want isn't available. Here is a true list of reasons we were told we couldn't get the products we wanted today, in order of appearance:
- The one in stock only has one door instead of two.
- It’s not available in that size.
- No-one else wants it in blue.
- Everyone else wants it in blue.
- It’s not in stock, never was in stock, and never will be in stock.
- The guy who knows where we keep those isn't here today.
- It’s in our warehouse, but too high up.
I'm gonna speed up here cos I'm probably boring you. I boring me for goodness sake! Here is the abridged version from what happens next to when you finally get to go home:
You go back to the counter to pay, she sends you downstairs to the warehouse, they send you back upstairs to get the petek (product slips) for half your stuff, and tell you to come back down afterwards to get the rest off your stuff. When you get back downstairs, you discover that they don't get the stuff for you (like in Chul), but that you have to go round the warehouse and get it all yourself. So you spend an hour or so putting beds, wardrobes, desks, bookcases and the likes into oversized yet still ridiculously small trolleys. Then, physically exhausted, you bring said trolleys to the checkout only to discover that they don't fit through the slim checkout isles. I have seen grown men cry at this point. Somehow, you get the stuff through the checkout, give in the aforementioned petek, and are told that you have to wait another hour while they get the aforementioned stuff for you. At this point, I cried. Finally, and I do mean finally, you get all your stuff together, pay for it, they give you the receipt and another slip of paper which you take, with your beds, wardrobes, desks, bookcases and the likes, to home delivery where you have to wait for yet another hour for them to give you stickers to label all your products and a stick to hit the dog that bit the cat that ate the goat.
You can then, after spending seven hours wandering around SvedënHell learning to swear profusely in Swedish and cursing every Nordic god you can think off, go home.
Thank you for listening, I feel much better now.