Gefilte Fish Out of Water

April 28, 2009, 10:00 pm
Filed under: Cool Things, Identity


I just posted about how Yom Hazikaron is really sad.  Well beginning tonight it’s Independence Day, and it’s the total opposite.

My friend Abi and I walked over to Rabin Square, where there was a concert and people gathering.  Walking up to it on Ibn Gvirol Blvd. was a bit like approaching Times Square on New Years Eve.  Kids spraying everyone and everything with silly string, loads of drunk people, and people carrying inflatable blue & white jumbo hammers, don’t ask me why.  Plus, silly hats, glow sticks, merry makers – the works.

Abs and I stayed a half hour.  The music was kinda lame (we had wanted to rock out), although the singer did look a bit like Danny Aiello.  But the fireworks were surprisingly good!

This says (right to left) "Happy Festival" (what you say for any joyous holiday in Israel), with the 61 in the middle for how old Israel is today.  But it looks like it says (left to right) "Now 61," doesn't it?

This says (right to left) "Chag Sameach" ("Happy Festival"), what you say for any joyous holiday in Israel), with the 61 in the middle for how old Israel is today. But it looks like it says (left to right) "Now 61," doesn't it?

The crowd is out tonight, alright.

The crowd is out tonight, alright.

Fairly ersatz music unfortunately.  Nice set, though.

Fairly ersatz music unfortunately. Nice set, though.


Quality Nap Time
April 28, 2009, 9:19 pm
Filed under: School


In Israel they do something very interesting:  they take Independence Day (“Yom Ha’atzmaut“, which celebrated on the day it originally occured according to the Jewish calendar so it jumps around year to year, like Hanukkah, Pesach, Rosh Hashana and all the other holidays do) and they make Memorial Day (“Yom Hazikaron“) always occur the day immediately before it. 

So one day is very sad.  The radio only plays sad songs.  In Tel Aviv, people gather in Rabin Square and sing only sad songs.  Once in the evening (remember, all Jewish holidays start after sundown the night before) and once the next day a siren goes off and EVERYBODY stops what they’re doing and stands still and looks up at the sky.  Busses and cars stop on the road and people get out of them, people get off bicycles and do this, it’s really, really – there’s just nothing like it.  And EVERYTHING is closed for that first evening.  It’s actually the law.  Even the mini marts and stuff that stay open on Shabbat are closed.  Zip.

Today in school, we had an assembly about Memorial Day.  Everyone was supposed to wear white shirts and blue pants (I’m not sure if this is for all of Israel, or just our school).  I was mainly excited to see the auditorium and that the img_1842whole school would be gathered there together.  The program included poetry readings, speech readings, and *you guessed it!* sad songs, played on guitar and sung beautifully in a deep voice by a dykey looking, buzz cutted K.D. Lang wannabe (I can say that, b/c I’m gay).

Anyway, I mean no disrespect to Israel, to the holiday or the 22,570 soldiers and terrorism victims killed since Israeli statehood in 1948, but I fell asleep.  At first I was trying to see how many words I could recognize in the speeches and see if I could comprehend any of it (and I could, some), but it was just too boring, sorry.  Look, I don’t like synagogue services, I used fall asleep in the larger AA meetings back in New York all the time….my belief is: as long as you don’t snore and ruin it for anybody else, it’s fine to fall asleep.  In fact, it’s quite wonderful that you feel safe and comfortable enough to do so, and obviously some rest was what I needed at that moment if I’m falling asleep, so I’m giving myself what my body needs. 

Although I did wake up for the sing-along.

Um, it was my understanding there was to be no math in this supermarket.
April 28, 2009, 8:31 pm
Filed under: Cultural Differences, Mistakes


Went to the supermarke the other day.  Needed some turkey breast.  I know how to say turkey now.  It’s “hodu.”

So I order two kilograms.  B/c it’s the metric system here, and they won’t know what you’re talking about if you ask for a pound.  The woman asks me “schteim kilogram?” (two kg)?  “Yeah,” I tell her.  “Schteim kg.”  She’s not sure of my answer and gets her colleague, who speaks English.  She asks me in English, and I answer the same, “Yeah, two kilograms.”  She also tells me it’s on sale, so they’ll give me like 3 kg for the price of 2 kg.  “Fine,” I say.

And I watch the first lady slice it up.

And slice, and slice, and slice some more…

…….and wrap that bunch up in paper, then plastic wrap, and then slice some more, and more and more, and slice and slice and more and more…

I give it a little more time, b/c the other lady said I’d be getting extra…but something’s not right.  Finally I have to say, “Ahtzohr, bvakihshah!”  (“stop, please”)  I tell her that’s enough, even though she tries to explain she’s not done  yet.

That’s when I remember a kg is double the amount of a pound.  (A km is less than a mile, but a kg is more than a pound.  Screwy, I know.)  So, I should have asked for 1/2 kg, but I asked for 2  – which is the same as asking for FOUR pounds of turkey breast.  I’m a nice guy, so I wasn’t gonna waste it, so I bought it all.  Like $25 worth.  Fuck!  Turkey for breakfast, turkey for lunch, think I’ll have a snack of turkey, want some?, turkey for dinner….

Stoopid metric system.

‘Thonners Tan (Final ‘thon Dispatch!)
April 27, 2009, 4:03 pm
Filed under: Pot Luck


img_1828aLater that night, as my friend Elana was cooking a nice Puerto Rican dinner for me and my friend Abi, I said to them, “Hey guys, is it my imagination, or am I sunburned only in a stripe on the top of my forehead?”

“It’s not your imagination,” they said.

D’oh!  Even though I had skin cream with SPF 15 on my face, b/c my bandana headband was only covering half my forehead, I got sunburned only on the top of my forehead.  Three days later, and it’s still there!

I’ve heard of a Farmer’s Tan, but this is a little bit ridiculous.

And that, folks, is all she friggin’ wrote !!!

No ice?! Rub me, then! (penultimate ‘thon post)
April 27, 2009, 3:53 pm
Filed under: Cool Things, Exploits


Got my medal, which was kinda dinky by New York standards.  Hey, I’m not complain’ (actually, I guess I am), but it sorta looked like it came from a gumball machine.

Went to one of two recovery areas.  Massage therapists from a local spas were giving runners free massages.  What I dscf1111needed first was some ice, though.  I have a chronic shin condition called borderline chronic compartment syndrome.  If I don’t do certain preventative things when I run, I risk having pain like a shin splint, but forever for the rest of my life.  One of the things I’m supposed to do is ice my shins down for 10 minutes after running.  Can you believe the first aid area didn’t have any ice???  I had to go hunting for it myself, and wound up getting some from the Red Bull peeps in the V.I.P. tent, after getting past the Bratz wannabe guarding the entrance.

I iced myself while I was joined by Jean, Elaine, Dave, as well as their friend whose name escapes me at the moment (sorry!)  They are all super amazing.

They offered to take me out to lunch, but I told them about the free massages and how of course I wanted one.  They bid me goodbye, and I waited my turn for one of the last massages, before the therapists packed up.

[p.s. It was totally worth it.]

Gotta get me one of these.

Gotta get me one of these.

I should run marathons more often.  They seem to make me more handsome.

I should run marathons more often. They seem to make me more handsome.


See what I'm talkin' about?

See what I'm talkin' about?

Ah, yes.  Right there, please.

Ah, yes. Right there, please.

Are you as sick of marathon posts as me? (penultimate-ultimate ‘thon dispatch)
April 27, 2009, 3:23 pm
Filed under: Cool Things, Exploits


I’m not gonna lie, the last 2.5 km were tough.  Fortunately, my friend Leah was waiting for me at 40km.  Hi, Leah!

Just like in the NYC ‘thon, as you exit Central Park and start to run up 59th street before reentering at Columbus Circle, those final km/miles are kinda elusive; think that rack-focus shot in “Poltergeist” when JoBeth Williams realizes her kids are back in danger the night after they thought all their spooky problems were behind them.  Remember that shot – the hallway seems to grow and grow and grow?  I’m tellin’ you, something happens to those last miles/km….they go like in super slomo.  I’m always worried if I take them too hard, I’m gonna run out of gas.

Plus, this was more difficult, b/c in NYC, I know the course.  In TLV, the finish line turned about to be about 75 km in from a sudden right turn off Haryarkon Street, which runs parallel to the beach.  But I didn’t know this, and I kept wondering why I couldn’t see the finish line yet.

So, I went totally internal and tuned out the whole crowd.  Shame, b/c finally there was one!  Leah came back alongside me on her bike, but I told her, “Sorry, I’ve got to focus if I wanna finish this.”  I wound up missing my dear friend Abi, b/c I was looking at the ground and had the iPod on.  😦   But I did see my friend Dov, and then my friends Jean, Elaine and Davey.  Yay, to all of them!

Then, I made the turn and turned on the juice.  I had a lot of reserves apparently, b/c I really flew that last stretch.

Finished at 5:08:XX.  That’s not a typo, I ran for over five hours!  This was actually my slowest finishing time ever, but I’m really proud of it still, because:

– I haven’t run a marathon in five years.

– Normally I train for 5 months.  For this race I trained only one month.

– It was the warmest weather by far that I ever ran one.

– I’m five years older now!

– It was only my slowest time by five minutes.

Still can’t believe I did it.  It was soooo different than running New York.  So solitary.  I was really alone out there for most of the five hours.  Talk about endurance.  I amazed myself.

The Leader of the Pack (‘thon dispatch # 7)
April 26, 2009, 9:23 pm
Filed under: Cool Things

thon1When I cleared the park, I turned onto Hayarkon Street, which was still blocked from traffic.  And even though I was at the tail end of the runners, the impression I had was of being the leader.

It was really cool.  It reminded me of watching NYC ‘thon coverage, when the leader is way out ahead in Central Park and (s)he’s just all alone.  It’s a real peaceful shot, before the chaos of all the other runners behind him/her get to that point in a few minutes.

Anyway, I tripped out for a bit, imagining that annoying WNBC announcer Al Trautwig and whoever he’s broadcasting with, talking about Scotty P, out in front of everyone else, looking calm, looking cool….

Very cool how the Sheryl Crow track “Run Baby Run” came on the iPod, right about now.

And since traffic was still flowing on the other side of the median, I was getting attention again – cheers and honks.  More my style…