Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sneezing on key

Do you know what note you sneeze on?
To find, out all you need is a standard guitar tuner. First, in order to actually sneeze, take some ground black pepper, arrange it into neat lines, and snort it. This will not make you sneeze yet, but it will tickle your nose which is tons of fun. Then stand in the sun with your eyes closed facing the sun and holding the tuner. Your head should be tilted back, and dont forget to relax your nasal passages. You will feel a sneeze building, and just let it come. Try not to sneeze on the actual tuner, but in case you do have a tissue handy to wipe it off. After you sneeze, quickly look at the little screen and you'll know what note you sneeze on. I sneeze on a D. For years I was wondering what note I sneeze on, and its wonderful to finally know. I had asked a really musical friend of mine to identify the note and he had told me a high C. He was really close.
This shabbos I may or may not go to tzfat. I probably wont know until I'm there, but even then, if I end up there in a trunk, bound and gagged and unconscious I wont know either. It all depends.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Virus & Bullets

The name of my new hit movie thats gonna be released this holiday season. Its an action packed thriller, that actually uses actors instead of the total jokes hollywood tries to sell. Ok I'm kidding. I'm talking about my day so far. My computer got infected by lots of really mean viruses and scary things that popped up at me and threw three syllable words my way, while opening up random internet windows that never closed . (sorta like fred and georges swamp) It was all my fault, cuz I never read what pops up on my screen, I just click ok, cuz its in the way of whatever is behind it, that I'm in middle of working on. So when something popped up, informing me that it was malicious spyware and yada yada yada, I just clicked ok, open and get out of my face I'm in middle of something. So as a result, I spent all day trying to get rid of it. My firewall (whatever that is) I turned off years ago, cuz it kept popping up in middle of no where informing me that everything was running smoothly, which I can see for myself thank you very much. After a while a friend of mine who actually knows a little about computers (as in more then what I know. I know how to turn it on, shut it off, and if you drop a computer onto a sleeping roommates head, it will hurt a lot, depending on if its a desktop or laptop and from how high you drop it. Thats it.)happened to pop by. He immediately started installing all sorts of nifty programs with names like 'spy attacker', 'search and destroy', and 'I've got that bugger in my crosshairs, dont breath'. They didnt do much except fill up my whole desktop with lots of cool icons, so now it looks much more colorful. While they were scanning, we kept ourselves entertained by taking some m-16 bullets and exploding them in our yard. We of course did it the safe way, which involves lighting a fire, chucking them in, and taking cover, cuz you dont know which way they go. Its even more fun then being shot at by someone who is aiming at you, cuz its totally random. Eventually, all those little robots inside the computer finished scanning everything, and they neutralized the problem. It was sad. You could almost hear the little virus crying "what did I do to you? Why me?" Poor thing, oh well at least I've got my computer back.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Nothing About Donuts

On Sunday my great uncle died. I dont think I ever met him. My cousin and brother visited him in the hospital recently, but I was sleeping.(stupid excuse I know, but thats what happened.) We all went to the funeral. I've been to more funerals then I can count back in America, but this was my first Israeli one. Its a lot cooler, cuz the body isn't hidden in a box but covered with a talis and you can actually see the form lying there. We all helped shovel on dirt. I didn't take any pictures during the funeral, but I really wanted to. I didn't want to get all my relatives nervous. Its not fun when you're burying a loved one and theres someone snapping pics a whole time. I think my whole camera habit is slightly out of hand. Theres no reason to feel the need to snap pics, I should be able to remember things without having to refer to pictures.
Today I took pics of the bear world peace exhibit.

Its got a bear painted with themes from each country to promote peace. (Dont ask me howit promotes peace, cuz I have no idea. Its probably something to do with bears being friendly warm and cuddly creatures, who dont have big claws and sharp teeth.)

This is the United states bear.

The one with the kids in front is the Israel bear.

I love the Moldova bear. Its only claim to fame is that nobody has heard of Moldova.

Today we also raced some childs plastic see-saw down some hills. Lots of fun, and nobody got too badly hurt. Then we installed it in our yard as a lawn ornament. (and for the occasional see-sawing.)
Tonight is a close friends wedding, and I'm late and not even caring.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The regular

Today I was sitting in my apartment, just minding my own business. (trying to locate a broker for one armed pirate shirts. If you must know) When I hear a knock at the door. This knock on the door was strange for two reasons. Number one, nobody ever knocks on my door. Ever. They just barge in and plop on the couch, or raid the fridge or something. Number two, it wasn't the polite knock of a person wanting to come in, it was the impatient knock-knock-knock that police officers use when breaking into your house at two in the morning. Its the knock that combines urgency and command to sort of say, "open up this door within thirty seconds, or we're bashing the door down with either a bazooka, or the king size cop who eats donuts for a living." (depending on how much noise they want to make) Anyway I open the door and I see an M-16. Behind it are two rather large police officers. They don't look very happy and are holding some warrant papers. They start interrogating me as to the whereabouts of someone I dont know. Through the conversation they discover that I really don't know who they want, and (finally) I'm actually innocent of any crime (ha, who would've thought)It was only after they left did I realize they were looking for my neighbor. I hadnt realized who they wanted cuz I never knew he had a last name. My neighbor is a real great guy. He's a little psycho, but he loves to party with us.He's gotta be at least 50 but he's always got something crazy going on. The last few days he wasnt being so friendly and his face was bandaged up. The question is what he did, and if I should go look for him to tell him the cops are after him.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


You know how firemen have their fire poles in the fire station? When the big bell rings they all jump off their couches upstairs, stop the card game in middle, and slide down the shiny pole, straight into the fire trucks. What I find interesting, is that they do this to save time, yet no one has even considered how much faster it would be if instead of jumping off the couches and sliding down the pole, they would just have the couches downstairs already. The bell rings and they stand up and go into the truck. No more sliding down poles. It does have a nice effect, but its just pointless and time consuming. In a fire every second counts. Thats why the trucks have loud horns and sirens.
Speaking of fires, the other night we decided to recreate Moses and the burning bush. We selected a cute little green bush in my backyard, covered it with paper and cardboard and lit it. The fire died out after a short while and the bush wasn't burned too badly. Then my brother decided the fire was too wimpy, and took two large mattresses stuck em onto the bush, and lit it.(we'll worry about what to sleep on later) The fire was much bigger, hotter, and lasted much longer. When it finally died down, the bush was completely demolished, and the only thing that remained of the mattresses was the springs.

On the bottom of the page, yahoo has a list of all the popular searches of the day. I figure that if I search for my blog a few thousand times today, I'll be on yahoo. So I'm trying it. If you see my blog on yahoo you'll know it works.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Two week update

I'm back, after a three hundred mile, two week hike and feeling great. Shvil Yisrael is a huge trail that starts at the northern tip of Israel and connects most hiking trails all the way to the southern tip. (of course not even close to being in a straight line) We started in Tel dan nature reserve in Kibbutz Dan, about two kilometers from the Lebanese border. We didnt realize it at first but the first week of our hike was during a record breaking heat wave. We did realize that we were drinking sometimes more then twenty liters of water a day. (Camelbaks make that a lot easier) Some people died on our trail. (nobody from our group though) I had been planning this hike with two friends for a while. Both of them, lets call them Thing one and Thing two (just cuz it sounds funny) are in excellent shape, and I'm in
pretty decent shape too. The problem was the other four guys were about average, and they really got tired and weary during the heat. One guy left half way through the first day and one guy left the second day. The rest hung on for three days, but that was it. Then it was just me, thing one and two, walking, climbing, and having an awesome time.
Our schedule consisted of waking up at five or six in the morning, packing away our sleeping bags, davening shachris, eating breakfast, filling up water, and then hitting the road (at about eight or earlier if we could) until it got dark. We took a break for lunch sometime in the middle of the afternoon. As soon as it got dark we'd set up camp, daven maariv, eat, and hit the sack. Totally out cold until the morning. We'd try to set up camp in a place that had a faucet or a hose. Then we'd have a water supply for drinking, washing our clothes, and showering. Our food consisted of a minimum of a thousand calories a meal. It was whole wheat bread and whatever dairy product we managed to buy at that civilizations grocery, (usually cottage cheese) for breakfast. Bread and peanut butter for lunch, and bread and tuna for supper. We supplemented our diet with occasional snacks of granola and halva and other high energy foods. We didnt carry much food around, cuz our packs were heavy enough. Mine weighed close to fifty pounds. About twenty five of it was just water. (and often I'd have to refill more then once a day)The back pack was a big frame pack with a metal frame. I didnt take any clothes other then what I was wearing, and I tried to cut down as much weight as possible. Heres the basic day by day.
Tuesday the 24th:
Tisha b'av. Fasted all day. Walked around in the heat a little, trying to get some last minute supplies. Most local stores closed. Then at night took a bus to kiryat shmoneh. Found a park with grass, went to sleep.

Wednesday the 25th:
Went to Tel Dan to start on hike. Heres a random pic at the reserve.

Then we started. After a little while Thing one and Two were way ahead, with me keeping up, while most guys fell behind. Heres a pic of a herd of cows blocking part of the trail.

We had to keep an eye out for the shvil yisrael marker. In this pic, the marker tells you to squeeze between that rock and that tree, wade through the stream and continue along to the bank.

We went on for a buncha hours, and the heat was intense. As it got mid afternoon it was something like one hundred and ten degrees in the shade, and yet we pressed on. Eventually the heat got the better of us, one guy left right then and there, and the rest of us passed out in the shade next to a little stream. It was really rough. (we decided from then that we should take a break during the real hot afternoon hours) Then it got a little cooler and we woke up and continued. It was definitely one of the hardest days of the hike. We covered a lot, but as it started getting darker we realized we didnt have a place to fill up on water, and none of us had more then a liter left. (we had already filled up at a cemetery, but the heat combined with the heavy backpack and steep climbing made us sweat more then we were drinking) Finally when it was too dark in the woods to continue, we just unrolled our sleeping bags in the dirt on the side of the trail, to exhausted to set up tent or do anything else.

Thursday the 26th:
We didn't have much water, so when we started off in the morning we knew we'd all dehydrate if we didn't find water before it got real hot. We walked for a bit, met some old farmer who had a field off the trail, he told us if we turned off the trail a bit we'd find an army base. We got to army base, and filled up. Then we continued on.

We passed yiftach, and after a long trek through some real nice mountains and canyons, we got to an outdoor faucet, were we washed up and washed our very sweaty clothes. Then the second guy left. We met some frum Israeli guys doing the exact same hike we were. Heres a part of the trail thats not in the woods.
Got to alma at night. Found some soft grass, and went to sleep.

Friday the 27th:
We wanted to make it to meron before shabbos, but were pretty far away, so we got off the trail, went on to the road and made it there for shabbos. We only walked half a day. Got to meron, had a hot shower in the mikva there.

Shabbos the 28th:
Typical shabbos in meron. Crowded, lots of people camped out. Had a great time. Cops searced us for drugs at least twice. Singing bar yochai and dancing in a circle is never boring, no matter how many times you've done it. We set up a tent, but it was to hot inside, so most of us just slept outdoors. Theres a big hachnosas orchim tent, that supplies everyone with shabbos meals so we had plenty to eat. After shabbos everyone from our group left except for thing one and thing two.

Sunday the 29th:
We did the nachal amud section of the hike. Its real nice mountains and stuff, but some parts can be a little difficult. We did it on sunday, but on friday just a few days before a kid died doing that very hike.

What made it difficult was the lots of climbing, the long distance, and the lack of water until the end. We met a young couple doing the hike. He was carrying all her water though. While we were talking to him, some Israeli kids who were pretty inexperienced stumbled by, they had run out of water, we all donated some, and the guy yelled at them a bit, for being careless and putting their lives at risk. We went on for quite some time, when we a see a ranger running on the trail holding a back pack full of water. When I asked him if he had any extra, he stopped running and started pulling out some water. I told him not for me, but there were some kids back there who really needed. He said he knew and thats why he was running. After going a half hour further we saw a bunch of medics also hurrying up the trail looking for those kids. When he came to a clearing that was accessible to the road, we saw an ambulance and a Magen david adom van. There were also a bunch of jeeps, all part of an emergency rescue team. They had tons of water, and they wanted to make sure we were ok. I was real tired, and sat down in the shade of the truck. Immediately a guy came over and felt my pulse, then he decided I had to drink lots more water, and I may even need an Iv. When the medic checked me out he decided I was ok, but he made sure I drank three liters and had some salt. He also told me not to do anymore walking that day. We had another seven kilometers (about 4 and a half miles) of overgrown canyon to do, so when he wasnt looking, we ran off.

Then we met those frum israeli guys, their group was down to two, ours to three. We all went to chokek to spend the night. Normally its a chiloni settlement, but that week it happened to be rented out by frum people. Our Israeli friends got us food from the hotels kitchen staff, and a nice young family let us all use their shower. We even adopted a dog which we named Concrete. He followed us around and guarded our tent while we slept.

Monday the 30th:
We left the settlement, and started heading back to the trail.We took Concrete with us. He brought along a friend we named Mixmaster Mush.

Heres Concrete enjoying our tent.

Mixmaster's owner removed him after a couple of minutes though.
Concrete was tons of fun on the hike, he walked with us all the way to tiverya. When we went to the kever of R' Meir bal haness, the manager kicked him out, and we lost him. We spent our afternoon break swimming in the kinneret, just relaxing.

That night we went to moshav kinneret and slept in the park.

Tuesday the 31st:
We tried cutting through a farm, it took a lot longer then it should have. There was miles of choppy earth and all sorts of weird plants. We made it to Har Tabor. It was a long climb up. Halfway to the top pic.

We spent the night on the mountain, overlooking an Arab city. It was cool, windy and peaceful up there. Had a great sleep. Heres a pic of where we slept. (Thats Thing 1, who was a little slow in the waking up process)

Wednesday the 1st:
Went down the mountain to Dabbourye, an arab city. We met a friendly family that let us fill up water in their hose. Walked through dabbourye, continued on the trail. Most of that day was mountains, and more mountains.

We ended getting to Alon hagalil, which is a kibbutz that wasnt so far off the trail. (some times to get to civilization we had to walk a while off the trail, only to have to walk back the next morning) Theres a guy on the outskirts who set up a little area for shvil people. We had good grass, an outdoor shower (cold, but we really didnt notice) and bathroom.

Thursday the 2nd:
We wanted to get somewhere where there were frum jews for shabbos. We put on our cellphones to try calling someone who knew the area, when we all got voice messages from Thing 1's friends. His mom had been calling all of the them, going nuts. She heard a kid died on the trail, and for a few days she tried calling and his phone was off, and she was flipping out. (mothers. what can you do. I think its a psychological problem) He called her back, and she made him quit, right then and there. (something about not being able to sleep, and worrying. wtvr)So now its just me and Thing 2 left.We sent the tent back with Thing 1, cuz we never really used it much anyway. We decided to make it somewhere with kosher food for shabbos, we'd have to go fast. So we got on the road and walked fast. We didn't take any real break. (A couple of minutes to eat and daaven) We made it to Zichron yaakov thursday night. Its something like thirty, forty miles. Extremely tired, we got ourselves invited to the gabbai of one of the shuls house. There we had hot showers, a real bed, and good food. Mrs Gabbai even washed our stinky clothes for us. They offered us an invite for shabbos too, but we didn't want to waste a whole friday.

Friday the 3rd:
Walked to Chadera, didn't take that long. I went to a flower shop and found a random lubavitch guy buying flowers. Where else can you find a frum person on a friday afternoon? (next stop would've been the wine store)I told him we needed a place for shabbos and he invited us to his house.

Shabbos the 4th:
Had a very relaxing shabbos. He didnt have mattresses in such short notice, but we didnt mind the floor much. His wife made great food, and he learned inspiring torah with us.

Sunday the 5th:
This was the beaches section of the hike. We walked from chadera until we got to the beach. Then we walked down the coast, through every beach. We stopped briefly in Netanya for lunch. Heres some random beach pics.

We stopped for the night at a herzilya beach. Went to sleep on the grass at a hotel.

Monday the 6th:
Got woken up at a quarter to four by the sprinklers. Soaked, we couldnt fall back asleep, and continued on our way as soon as we ate breakfast and davened. We went real far, many hours, and stopped at a shopping center right past modi'in. Went to sleep in a parking lot of a store.

Tuesday the 7th:
Walked to yerushalayim. On the way there in the morning,when we got to the machsom of the highway that takes you to yerushalayim, the soldiers warned us that we'd be walking past all the dangerous arab settlements. (like ramallah) We didnt get killed, but we did hear gunshots most of the way along the highway. Then after six more hours we made it to Yerushalayim. I then walked the hour and a bit to my apartment. I refused to walk for two weeks and then take a bus, that would be like cutting off your hand just cuz it called you a silly name. Heres a pic of the final machsom into yerushalayim

Here are some random ani tapuach pics אני תפוח from the hike.

I've got lots more pics of the hike but it takes too long to upload, so just imagine I put em on.