A little bit of this, a little bit of that…

“The opposite of death isn’t life…it’s creation!” – RENT

So I’m still waiting to hear back from the kibbutz as to whether or not I’ll see any money for the 4,000 shekels (~1000.00USD) worth of electronics that were stolen from my room. All of the members of the kibbutz who I’ve had a chance to speak with believe that it would be the right thing for the kibbutz to do something, so we’ll see. My kibbutz father (Arieh) has been running around like a bulldog harassing all of the people that need to be harassed if we’re going to get anywhere and with (and because of) his efforts it is likely that I’ll get something back.

What makes this frustrating is that it comes at a point in time where I’ve been writing like a mad man (now in notebooks) and have been really looking forward to getting back into daily blogging. I have a wireless modem from my cell phone company so I can write and work while on the bus or train, everything was set to go…and then it all gets stolen…leaving me with a 3G modem that I have to pay for but can’t use at the moment since I have no laptop to use it with, a bank loan for a laptop that is now in the hands of someone other than myself, and adding more time onto what has been more than seven months of poor communication, lack of being able to check email regularly, and general frustration.

As they say, c’est la vie!

My New Room

Through all this though, I’ve been given a new room on the kibbutz. This isn’t actually because my room was broken into, but is rather due to my kibbutz father harassing the director of lonely soldiers into giving me better living quarters.

My last room was large, but the floor was coming apart, there was no bomb shelter (something I hope I never need again), and it was sort of gross (I cleared out numerous colonies of bacteria that were left thriving in various drawers throughout the room from the former tenant…and there were still tentacles growing when I started cleaning the room for the new tenant early this morning..)

Saying that my new room is a drastic improvement is putting it mildly.

The new room is bigger since this room actually has a bomb shelter which functions as a bedroom. The shelter is off to the side of the room (instead of being attached to the back) giving it a rather nice layout that doesn’t resemble an elongated shoe box like the other rooms where I live.

The main room is now a living room with a kitchenette. Arieh & Shulah gave me a couch-like thing to sit on (it’s like two crutons put together to make a futon) for my living room, Efrat’s family is giving me their old TV (and by old TV, I mean ridiculously large and amazing television that they’re getting rid of because her father is keeping up with the Joneses), and I’ll find other furniture and decorations as I go on.

I also have my commanders potted plant which I rescued from the depths of his office.

I’m really, really excited…it’s starting to feel like a real home. It’s fun to finally be into decorating my space. I lost patience with my last room after the first few weeks when it was next to impossible to properly wash the floor because it was coming apart and so it felt gross all the time.

I hope to have a picture post up tomorrow or Monday of the room and my kibbutz so you can see where I’ve been calling home these past few months.

“The Freedom of the Hills”

In Israel, many companies (including the IDF) give out what are called “Tlushim.”

Tlushim are sort of like gift certificates, they’re usually good at either one store, or a block of stores (usually electronic stores, clothing stores, grocery stores, housewares stores, home improvement centers, etc). They’re used not so much as rewards, but more like “food stamps” to help employees and lonely soldiers buy things that they need for their homes, etc. The ones I get from the army are usually able to be used at around fifty stores.

Efrat (one of my friends and a fellow soldier in my branch) received one a couple of months ago from her father’s company to use to one store, Rikoshet…she was kind enough to pass it on to me the other day (since she wasn’t going to use it as hiking and camping aren’t really her thing). This meant that I had the opportunity to spend a glorious hour and a half playing around the hiking and camping store, trying out all of their new stock and making lists for when the army gives me my next few sets of tlushim (though my next set goes to Shirah, since I traded her my next set of Tlushim for her oven).

I was quite happy that they had exactly what I went in for. I’ve been meaning to get a camping mat for awhile now (ever since I woke up after one night of camping with back pain that lasted for a few days) so I can make the ground a little softer to sleep on if I’m not on plush, grass covered terrain. I wanted to try it out this weekend, but I’ve had to put camping plans off until next month since I was given the opportunity to move into my new room this weekend and I’m having a “nomadmatan finally has a room with bars on the window and a bomb shelter” house warming party next weekend.

Take only pictures, leave only footprints…

I’ve been trying to take the Leave No Trace Master Trainer Course for some time now. The only problem is that it has yet to be taught when it’s convenient for me to get to or when I have the time to take it. I’m going to send them an email later today asking them what my other options are if I want to take the course but live in a region that they don’t really service. As far as I know, I live in a part of the world where there are no trainers, or where there are no trainers who are qualified to train someone else to be a trainer.

There’s a ton of other courses I want to take at some of the other outdoor stores I go to (the ropes course first on that list) so I’m hoping that I’ll have some time for a one day or two day course when I’m in New York in September.

NaNoWriMo Merit Badges

There’s only four or so short ridiculously long months to go before NaNoWriMo begins! For a few years, I would go to their donations/store page and look at a coffee mug that they used to have and say “I think I’ll buy that…” and then never actually wind up buying it (for no particular reason…OHH LET’S GO RIDE BIKES!). Then, they sold out of the mug that I wanted.

I had noticed that for the past few months I’ve been going to their on line store, taking a look at something that they had on it and saying the same thing “I’m going to buy that…” and then never buying it. Realizing that maybe repeating the same action again, and again, and again expecting different results might actually have some kind of formalized name (and an ICD9 code to go along with it) I finally took out my wallet and placed an order.

I am the proud new owner of NaNoWriMo Merit Badges! To earn these merit badges during the thirty days and thirty nights of literary abandon one has to:


    • NaNo Socializing – make at least one meet up


    • Word-Count Padding – and…and…and…and…


    • Procrastination – I’ve always wanted to weave a tapestry out of hand picked fibers


    • Caffeine Abuse – Turkish Coffee, RedBull, Excedrin…


    • Secret Noveling – Writing at work…


    • Creative Nonfiction – Abraham Lincoln clearly had something going on with Aliens in Roswell…known fact…


    • Rally Day – WOOOHOOOO….


    • the Eureka Moment – THE PLOT WORKS!


    • Random Ending – John fell into a well, Mary Beth won the lottery and everyone else died.


    • and Victory – 50,000 words!



…I anxiously look forward to earning them during November and sewing them onto my bag one at a time.

I have the name of my novel. I have the outline all done in my head. I have the schpilkes. I don’t want to rush time by…but I’m really, really looking forward to November.

The New York Trip

I’m still in the planning stages of my New York Trip! Below is just a rough outline of where I’ll be and some things I’m planning on doing. Anyone with suggestions, feel free to let me know and I’ll add them. Obviously, I want to see as many people as possible – everyone should feel free to invite themselves along, invite themselves to pizza or Chinese food nights or to trips to the city…everyone is welcome to everything, everywhere, just let me know if you want to join me :o)

Also, if you’re an Islander or a Buffalonian or a New Yorker who’s on my friends list and I haven’t met you, send me an email, comment here, let’s meet up!

Plainview Scoobies should know that their presence and hang out time doesn’t need to be typed…I’m on Long Island, we’re free…it’s assumed.

Sunday, September 6, 2009
Leave TLV for JFK – I have to double check with ELAL since they’ve made some flight changes (time of departure, so I’m told) and still haven’t emailed me. I’ll spend the night (or day) in Tel Aviv and then head out to Ben-Gurion for what Itai (nir1) used to refer to as QBGAT: Quality Ben Gurion Airport Time.

Monday, September 7, 2009
On Long Island


    • Pizza


    • Plainview Scoobies Roll Call


Tuesday, September 8, 2009
New York City


    • Natural History Museum


    • Lunch With Grandparents (?)


Wednesday, September 9, 2009
On Long Island


    • Hanging out in General


    • Movies



Thursday, September 10, 2009
On Long Island


    • Packing for Florida


    • Playing with my Poodle



Friday, September 11, 2009
Leave for West Palm Beach


    • Vodka on the Plane


Saturday, September 12, 2009
West Palm Beach


    • Visiting Grandma


Sunday, September 13, 2009
Leave for Long Island


    • Vodka on the Plane


    • Recovery Night – Chinese Food
      • Vegetarian General Tso’s


Monday, September 14, 2009
On Long Island


    • Matt & Dave’s Sort of Late 25th Birthday Party


Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The Desert to Garden Tour


    • Dinner with the QCPRG Crew in NYC


    • Sleeping Over at Christine’s


Wednesday, September 16, 2009
The Desert to Garden Tour


    • Movies & Drinks at Christine’s


    • Sleeping Over at Christine’s


Thursday, September 17, 2009
The Desert to Garden Tour


    • Movies & Drinks at Christine’s


    • Sleeping Over at Christine’s


Friday, September 18, 2009
On Long Island, Erev Rosh HaShanah


    • Happy New Year!


Saturday, September 19, 2009
On Long Island, Rosh HaShanah


    • Happy New Year!


Sunday, September 20, 2009
On Long Island, Rosh HaShanah


    • Happy New Year!


Monday, September 21, 2009
In Buffalo, New York


    • East Amherst Youth Hostel


    • Kaymar Crew


    • Lovable and Squishy Pagans


Tuesday, September 22, 2009
In Buffalo, New York


    • East Amherst Youth Hostel


    • Kaymar Crew


    • Lovable and Squishy Pagans


    • SPoT Coffee


    • Strange Brew


Wednesday, September 23, 2009
In Buffalo, New York


    • Hillel


    • Department of Linguistics


    • The Buffalo, NY Store


    • Elmwood Avenue


Thursday, September 24, 2009
In Buffalo, New York


    • East Amherst Youth Hostel


    • Kaymar Crew


    • Lovable and Squishy Pagans


    • Gay Clubs/Bars


Friday, September 25, 2009
Depart for Long Island


    • Shabbat Services


Saturday, September 26, 2009
On Long Island


    • Saturday Morning Services


Sunday, September 27, 2009
On Long Island, Erev Yom Kippur


    • Repenting Like Whoa


Monday, September 28, 2009
On Long Island, Yom Kippur


    • Repenting Like Whoa


Tuesday, September 29, 2009
New York City


    • 364 More Days to Fuck Up Until Next Year


    • Fun Artsy Things With Mom


    • Picking up things people have asked for


Wednesday, September 30, 2009
On Long Island


    • Did someone say Friendly’s?


Thursday, October 1, 2009
On Long Island


    • I think someone said Friendly’s again…


Friday, October 2, 2009
New York City


    • Shopping Trip 2


Saturday, October 3, 2009
On Long Island


    • General Hanging Out


Sunday, October 4, 2009
On Long Island


    • Bagel Boss


Monday, October 5, 2009
Depart for Tel Aviv


    • Back to work on October 6, 2009


Now for something completely different…

Efrat, Ofer, Jade (?), Itai (?) and I are going to go visit a friend of ours on Guard Duty.

Peace all!