Gefilte Fish Out of Water

Wild & Crazy Comedy


A couple of weeks ago, my friend Leah and I rode a sherut to Jerusalem to see a sketch comedy & improv show by a new English-speaking group called Hahafuch. (Join their Facebook group!) 


Cafe Afuch is a type of hot coffee drink in Israel.  It means “upside down coffee,” but it’s basically just a cappuccino.  So, Hahafuch is a play on words on that – like “haha funny” – get it? 

Anyway, the show wasn’t held in a bar or club like we expected.  It was held in the theater of an old “absorbsion center” for American Olim (place for new immigrants in Israel).  Sad story.  The place used to be thriving, but the owners lost everything thanks to Bernie Madoff.  For realz.  #sad  Anyway, after the sherut, Leah and I hopped in a taxi, and we were kind of like WTF when it dropped us off on a quiet, residential street.  We were on the right path, b/c we saw a Hahafuch sign, but we were like, climbing over fences and walking past abandonded buildings and whatnot.  I was ready to start making Friday the 13th/Jason noises (ch-ch-ch-ch…kill-kill-kill-kill), but finally we came upon the theater, and all was normal again.  We paid for tickets and entered an already packed theater, as the show had already started.  My friend Debra had saved us seats. 

The first act was improv.  Some very funny stuff, with contributions from the audience and without a net for the performers. 

Then, how much did I love the fact that two very talented women came out and did an acoustic set of Madonna’s 1999 top 20 hit (and one of my favorites), Beautiful Stranger!  Honestly, this made the whole trip worthwhile on its own. 

After intermission, the performances switched to sketch comedy.  We liked this even better!  Some *very* funny stuff!  Like this sketch, “Benyamin Netanyahu’s Speech as Translated by a Struggling First-Year Ulpan Student.”  Benji Lovitt played Netanyahu.  Benji is part of this social media savvy Israeli crowd of mostly Olim I’m getting to know on Twitter.  Benji was the straight guy in this sketch, doing a really authentic and kinda angry/passionate Netanyahu.  The student would translate a few sentences right, and then botch something to comedic effect.  (Like you can imagine Netanyahu was talking about keeping Jerusalem our undividied capital, and the student would say something obviously wrong, like, “So we can have more onions!”  Then, Bibi would give him an awesome stink-eye, and yell the word in Hebrew again, and the poor student would repeat it incorrectly again, making it worse (“Onions!”) 



Another sketch I really enjoyed was one called “Aliyahonics Anonymous.”  It was a bunch of Olim like me bitching about the often incredulous and rude behavior from native Israelis directed at immigrants. 

Here’s a shot from a “Weekend Update” style segment, complete w/ video still shots on a screen for added effect. 


Here’s two funny videos the group prepared in advance to add to the show as multi-media elements.  This first one’s a travel commercial spoof about taking a trip to the “real” Israel, where Israelis try and make tourists look like “friars” (suckers). 

This one’s sort of a “man on the street” style news package segment, making fun of Israeli’s without their consent, in the style of old school Letterman, or Billy Eichner’s Creation Nation

[Damn, sidebar!  Billy Eichner is just so damn funny !!] 

Anyway, so is Hahafuch, and I will be going back to their next show – and trying to get my friend Anna Becker Barkin to audition for them!


Let’s Go Vegetarian!
May 22, 2010, 1:30 pm
Filed under: Infrastructure | Tags: ,

So, as I was winding down my 12-day cleanse, I had tea one night w/ my friend Matan.  Besides being a fascinating and brilliant soldier, Matan is also a vegetarian.  And now, so am I. 

Boy talks a good game, what can I say?  Look, besides to lose weight, the whole point of my MC was to reboot my relationship w/ food.  I wanted a clean break and “do-over” from my behavior of using cookies, cake, and ice cream to escape feelings of anxiety and/or lonliness.  So, I knew I wanted to eat better.  I didn’t plan on that meaning cutting out chicken and fish (I already didn’t eat very much red meat).  But I did know I didn’t eat enough fruits and vegetables.

But, if you take away the meats, and fruits & veggies are one of the only things left you can eat, then you will probably eat more of them or die.  (Welcome to my mind.)

Anyway, when the student is ready the teacher appears.  So, I bookmarked a few sites, including this one which had a lists of 20 ingredients for 20 vegetarian meals and also 20 pantry staples for every vegetarian.  And I went back to the Shuk, the supermarket and the dollar store, and spent a fortune.  (Another part of my twisted thinking: if I spend a bunch of money on something, I am going to commit to it.  Way to make my cheapness work for me!)  I bought kilos of peppers, onions, potatoes, tomatoes and other veggies.  I bought grams of crushed red pepper, thyme, dill, spicy curry, ginger and other spices.  I bought bowls, spice jars, rubber spoons, and a big ole’ toaster oven (also a printer/scanner, but that was totally unrelated).  You see, I wasn’t just jumping into vegetarianism, but also cooking, which I don’t didn’t do.  Double whammy.  Very Scotty behavior.

Anyway, so far so good.  G-Fish is *not* morphing into a food blog, but here’s a step-by step pictorial of my first few dishes.

Veggie, cheese omelete – omelets are one thing I have alwasy cooked.  But I usually just lathered a little salsa and black & crushed red pepper in there.  This time I used the veggies in the top picture.  Guess what, with only two eggs, that is *way* too much veggies to be able to close and make an omelet.  So, voila!  Make that scrambled-eggs-somethere-in-there-buried-underneath-mountains-of-vegetables!

Take it from me - do *not* rub your eyes after handling a raw jalepeno pepper!


Hot & Spicy Tofu

Is corn flour the same thing as corn starch?

OMG, just like Rachel Ray, right?

Egg timer is cute

Evil Petey dreams of new things of mine to destroy. Actually, cute how he likes to be near me all the time.

Finished product! (Guess I should have rice or couscous w/ it, but gimme a break, m'kay?)

Tasted even better cold!

But seriously, peeps – your recipes are welcome.  I’ve made a few other dishes since then…and they all look the same.  Basically: chopped peppers.  I need to bring in pasta and all this other stuff.  I’m going to see a nutritionist for free under Israel’s national health insurance plan.  And I’m eating lots of cottage cheese and almonds for protein, so don’t worry.


May 22, 2010, 12:43 pm
Filed under: Identity, Infrastructure | Tags:

It was one of those “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass” maneuvers.  When my weight gets to a certain point, it feels like every “sensible meal,” every 5- mile jog – just has no effect.  I know of course it does, but my fat rolls try and convince me otherwise.

So, I go on a colon cleanse Beyonce’s diet I starve myself the Master Cleanse.  Intended as a detox for your colon and intestines, but with strong weight loss properties, the Master Cleanse – while controversial – is safe to do between 10-30 days.  I’m cool with it despite all the Haters, b/c my doctor from New York gave me her blessing, and I have done it successfully three times before (10 days twice, 7 days once).

Anyway, with summer arriving, and me topping out at 183 pounds, it was time for the MC again.  I loaded up on 50 lemons and 200 grams of cayenne pepper at the Shuk and found Israel’s only connection to importing Grade B maple syrup.  (Grade A, while it might sound better, is actually more refined.  Believe me, if all you’re “eating” is maple syrup, you want the less refined kind with more nutrients).  Yeah, I found this guy who owns a health food store and – with one phone call, made a case of Grade B show up the next day, so I bought the entire case.

Click the MC link above for all the deets (or Google “Master Cleanse,” “master cleanse lemonade recipe,” or some other variant), b/c I don’t want to explain it all, but in a nutshell:

  1. You make a lemonade of 10-12 oz filtered water, 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.  Drink 8-12 glasses of it a day, whenever you feel hungry.  (But really you can drink as much as you want)

    2.   In the mornings, mix a quart of warm water with 2 tsp of sea salt and drink it down. (Nasty!)  Called “brackish water,” it’s not salty enough to make you vomit, but it is salty enough that your body fast-tracks it through you system, and you “poop soup” 30 minutes after drinking it, for about four rounds on the John.  (Don’t make plans or leave the house for the next 90 minutes.)  Also called  “top down enema,” this is what flushes the toxins out of your body that you have dislodged from your intestines by drinking the lemonade.

Anyway, that’s it.  I went for 12 days this time and lost 17 pounds!  It’s a week later, and I’m holding steady at 170 pounds, a net loss of 12 pounds.  Perfectly happy with this.

Petey’s Evil, Dasterdly Revenge
May 22, 2010, 12:15 pm
Filed under: Petey

When we first moved into our new place, I had to lock Petey in his crate when I left him alone.  He had graduated to free reign of the old place, but until I was fully unpacked, there was just too much shit to explore and eat all over the floor.

But Pete’s crate is so enormous, that I’m keeping it on our enclosed front porch.  And b/c I wouldn’t take too kindkly to anyone coming in off the street and waltzing into my apartment, I have to close and lock the door to the front porch – effectively leaving Pete doubly locked in – in a crate inside of a small room.  It can’t be that fun for him.

So, finally I got unpacked and tried giving him free reign again.  It worked well….for a while.  I was out working from a cafe – as part of my new plan to “get out there” more and try and meet guys to go on dates with – and feeling exceptionally great.  Look here’s the tweet:

(I know, cute thumbnail.)

So, I come home and find….destruction.  There is foam everywhere.  At first I think it’s just that Pete has eaten his new dog bed.  I’ve caught him doing this when I’m home.  I yell at him, but not really caring all that much.  After all, it’s his bed and he’ll have to lay in it. 

But upon closer inspection, I see that he’s chewed the entire corner of my prized Le Corbusier lounge chair replica.

NO !!!!!  Not the chair, Pete  !!!!!

That thing was ordered specially from NJ Modern back in 2008.  It’s the longest story ever, but it kept being delayed and delayed again, and then I unexpectedly moved to Israel and finally it was ready and I had it shipped here.

Me & the chair in happier times, 2009

I lost it and smacked Pete’s face hard.  I think he peed a little.  I’m not sure what I’ll do about the chair – either try and have my tailor dressmaker restuff the corner and sew it up.  Or, buy new fabric (maybe chocolate brown to match the wall?) and have her cut a whole new pattern and sew a replacement cushion.  Probably the former (cheaper).  Who cares if the bottom tip is a little asymmetrical? Right?

Besides beating his ass, I started giving him the silent treatment for like the next 24 hours.  Anytime he tried to approach me,  I got on the ground so my face was next to/level with the destroyed chair and he’d have to focus on it, and I raised my voice to him.  He knew what he had done.  In fact, he exiled himself to the front porch the whole next day and hid out there, even though the door was not closed.  Serves you right, bitch.

Oh, it only that were the end of Pete’s maniacal wrath!  Next day, I took him on a leash out jogging with me.  Out of nowhere he jumps up to Michael Jordan heights and pulls out my $100 Bose in-ear headphones out of my ears!  I think maybe I’ve lost a plastic tip, but that’d be no biggie, b/c I have extras.  But no – Pete has ripped the plastic casing from the right earbud, and it has fallen under the boardwalk.  No way I could yell at him for this, he has no idea what he’s done this time, and it was purely an accident.  Plus, I think since I have an older, defunct pair of the same ‘phones at home, I can maybe pull off some MacGyver-like repair job by affixing a piece of the old ‘phones onto the new ones and krazy gluing it there.

[Pats self on back], And it worked!  But #fail nonetheless, as it appears Pete’s chomp has destroyed the speaker’s bass and that ain’t comin back.  A failure made worse by the fact that my friend Evan brought these back from the States for me only last winter, so I’ve had them just a few months.

Damn.  So, I immediately become obsesses w/ purchasing a replacement ASAP.  I don’t need much – travel, clean floors, a husband – but fuck w/ my ability to have top quality mobile digital music I can bike, jog or workout to, and watch out.  I try both ebay and Amazon.  I find them for as low as $44.00.  But no one ships to Israel – not even the vendor w/ “international” shipping.  #Failey McFail.  Alcoholic obsession serves me well occasionally except when it almost ruins my life every other time, and I found the Israeli ebay, called “GetIT.”  Yes, they have the headphones!  And bonus, the site integrates automatically w/ Google Translate quite well.  I could pay 329 shekels ($87.00) if I bid on them, or 500 shekels ($132.00) if I “get it now.”  Even though the site translates into English well, I don’t want to have to bid repeatedly, so I just buy them now, and I’m waiting to receive them.

Having an evil, monsterous, rabid, Lord of the Flies type dog is expensive!

So no more jogging w/ Pete.  And, no more free reign in the apartment when I’m away.  Sorry, Pete – it’s the crate for you until you’re at least one and a half years old  (currently 11 months).

Why was Pete doing this to me, you guys?  My mom and a few other peeps chimed in that Pete could be feeling uncomfortable in the new apartment still.  B/c I work from home, I’m here a lot, so it’s not so much as an issue for him.   But once I leave him alone, it kicks in and he goes berserk?  (It’s a theory.)  Yoda Jeremy also said to double-down on the Kong toys I have for him (stuffed with treats).  So, I bought a few more (another $30), and now whenever I leave him alone in the crate, he gets one of his three Kongs in rotation, each stuffed with a different kind of treats, and I’ve even started putting them in the freezer, to give him an additional sensation.

And still – I come home to find he’s completely destroyed his other dog bed that lines his crate. 

WTF, Pete?  He is definitely acting out about being kept in this crate inside the locked porch.  But, tough!  I tried giving him free reign in the apartment, and he ate my fucking chair.


May 22, 2010, 11:07 am
Filed under: Infrastructure | Tags:


Part of the master plan for my new apartment is to have a loft bed in the main room.  You see, while it’s a big apartment – with two porches and a separate kitchen – much of the living will still be done in one room, which has to do double-duty as both bedroom and living room.  

Bestie Anna nailed it when she said I needed a loft bed – “to take the bed out of the equation” when you have guests over.  (So no one’s uncomfortable asking if it’s alright to sit on it, etc.)  

So my friend Ariel swooped in and totally dealt w/ all the Hebronics with this metalworker guy whose shop is across the street from his recording studio.  Things took a little longer than I wanted to get set up, but that was primarily b/c I was temporarily chanllenged in the bank account department.  (Ah, the joys of freelancing.)  

With that all straightened out, it came time to put the bed up.  And I must say – what a great job they did!  (Except for that part where I turned around for one second and they were drilling holes through the wrong wall!  No probs – I did butch drag and plastered that later all by myself!)  

It’s not finished yet.  The frame was supposed to be made larger than my mattress, so I’d have space to put a lamp, alarmclock condoms, etc. up there.  So, Ariel said he’s going to arrange for them to cut and weld a square “night table” shelf to the right side by the head of the bed.  Similarly, since the ladder rungs are narrow and hurt my feetsies when I walk up/down it, I want a little “shoe bin” sodered to the top, so I can walk up wearing flip-flops and put them in there when I reach the top.   

Here’s some shots of the guys working.  


The other guy (not to be outdone)



Pete did NOT like it when I climbed up there for the first time.  Barked, he did.  Here’s his view as I climbed down the first morning after sleeping in it.  (Note his evil eyes, as he plots his revenge.  Think I’m kidding?)  

Sleeping with Petey
May 8, 2010, 12:58 pm
Filed under: Mistakes, Petey, Struggles

As much as I love my dog, I was sticking to my “not allowed in the bed” rule.  I just didn’t want to become the metaphorical “Crazy Cat Lady” – you know, the guy who sleeps with his dog.

[Sidebar: people are really divided on this issue!  When I posted about it on Facebook, there was a strong Of course you let them into the bed! camp and just as emphatic No! They are dirty animals! posters.]

But anyway, I was SO stressed leading up to my concurrent move and job change that I couldn’t take the pressure, and I invited him in.  I have to say, cuddling w/ Pete is pretty wonderful.  Like a live-action teddy bear!  But, you know, he sheds so badly, that after one night, the bed looked like a crackhouse.

Then, of course he began to think the bed was his, too.  So, I’d get up from the computer to get a drink or something, and he’d be nowhere to be found…until I peered into the bedroom and found:

Then, we moved, and I haven’t gotten my loft bed immediately, so he continued sleeping w/ me in the bed in our new place – and lounging on it behind me while I worked (totally sprawled out like that famous Marilyn Monroe centerfold (wish I had a real pic).

[photo courtesy of Robert Roberts]

Anyway, last week I was out at the dog park w/ Petey, Jeremy, Samadar & Merlin (dog), and said to Samaderemy – I really can’t wait until I get my loft bed.  The bed is just so disgusting with dog hair and bits of bone from Petey chomping in there, I can’t stand to sleep in there anymore, it’s disgusting.  Jeremy countered w/ Why wait?  Kick him out tonight.  I felt so guilty though!  I knew Petey wouldn’t understand, and he’d be like Wha- WTF – what’s happening? What’d I do?  Why?  Why ???  And I’m sensitive, and I didn’t him to feel this way and be racking his little dog brain and shiz.  But then Jeremy Yoda said, Are you gonna give him a bath tonight?  I’m like, No, why?  And he’s like, ‘Cause look at him!  [Petey was chasing a few dogs and rolling around w/ them in the dirt in the dog park.]  Look where he is and what he’s  doing – you’re really gonna let that into your bed tonight?  That settled it – NO.  Sorry, sleeping-w/-your-dogs camp, even if I’m 49% with you, I”m 51% OCD/Miss Priss/no way!

So, I kicked him out, and he reacted as I expected he would – not understanding at all.  That first night, even though I’d moved his dog bed next to my bed, I’d keep waking up to discover he had climbed in with me, and I had to yell and throw him out.  Other times, I would turn around from the PC where I was working, or walk back into the room to find him sprawled out on the bed, Marilyn-style.  Pete, no !!

So, this week, I bought him a new dog bed.  This way, his old one can remain in his crate, which I’m locking him in when I leave the apartment (even though he had free reign in the old place; there is just too much stuff on the ground and not packed away here yet; too much for him to eat and destroy), and he has a nice, new, bigger one next to mine for when I’m working or sleeping.  I can lean over and pet him and let him lick my face.  He loves it, and that’s the end of this story.

Petey’s Bad Week
May 8, 2010, 12:01 pm
Filed under: Petey


This was a few weeks ago, and I really don’t feel like going into the whole story, but I brought it up, so I guess I have to.  #Fail   

Pete and I were walking in Park Hayarkon; not even the dog park, but the regular park.  Powerwalking in fact, as I was fighting my downward spiral into fat-assdom.  When all of a sudden, this enormous, unleashed German Shephard attacks Pete!  His owner was standing to the side, kibbitzing w/ some other people, and the dog just lunged from out of nowhere and chomped his jaw closed around Petey’s face.    


Poor Petey screamed super intensely!  But one leash-pull from me freed him from the Shep’s clutches, and we continued on our walk.  The whole thing didn’t last more than two seconds.  Except when I took a few steps and noticed something wrong w/ the side of Pete’s gums.  I touched it, and – HORRORS !! – he was bleeding.   

I turned right around, held my hand out all dramatically so they could see the blood on it, and said My dog’s bleeding.  The owner was a 60-ish, thin man, who was pretty reticent and unforthcoming about the whole thing.  The only thing he said was I don’t know what he [meaning Pete] did to aggrivate him [meaning Cujo]As if !!!   Um, maybe *breathing*, you dipshit !?  Walking !?  Petey did nothing to aggrivate his monster, we were simply mall-walking like goobers when his menace lunged on us.  Fool!   


Anyway, I wish I handled the next part differently.  The criminal owner had an adult daughter w/ him.  I said to them Has he ever done this before?  She answered No!  I said Well, is he fully vaccinated?  She said, Oh, yes.  Then, I just gave her the stink eye and left.  My BlackBerry was rebooting at that very moment, or maybe I would have thought to take a picture of them or Petey.  Plus, I should have asked for their names and phone numbers, and I wish I had something like Your dog attacked us unprovoked, and now I have to treat my dog and get him medical care, and you’re going to pay for it.  But I didn’t.   

Anyway, we finished our walk, and then I photographed Pete and put the story out immediately on Facebook.  My friend Maya told me where the 24-hour veterinary hospital was, but my friend Danny said we could wait until tomorrow.  I put triple-antibiotic ointment on Petey’s three wounds, but he tried to scratch band-aids off, so I didn’t use them.  He wasn’t bleeding anymore, but as you can see the skin was definitely torn in two places, and open in a third.  Danny said he might need to get his skin stapled.  And my mom said Petey should definitely be put on a course of antibiotics.   

We went to our vet, and he did in fact put Pete on a course of antibiotics.  190 shekels !!!  Prick (the owner of the Shephard).  In a possible lucky break, my friend Danny thinks the A-Hole owner might be his neighbor, and he watched his neighbor’s shephard attack another dog.  So, as much as I don’t feel like turning up the heat and expending the energy to insist this turd fool reimburse me for Pete’s treatment, if it turns out to be the guy, I will probably do this.  Not so much for the money, but b/c if this guys’ dog is going around biting other people’s dogs, he has to be told that his dog is a problem and needs to stay at home or be muzzled if he goes out.   

Anyway, that was only Part of Petey’s bad week.  He was also on a chewing frenzy.  Now, we never really had this problem when he was younger.  If you’re a regular G-Fish reader, you know that he had his potty training issues, but he was not a furniture destroyer.  Until recently anyway.  My mom thinks it’s b/c I’ve been incredibly stressed out the last few weeks, with major changes of housing and employment coming simultaneously.  She thinks Pete had defintely picked up on that and was acting out as a result.  (She could be right, he’s kind of stopped now that we’re more settled in our new place.)  Some things Pete destroyed or effed up:   

My bluetooth headset. (Thanks, Anna, for bringing back a new one from the States!)


The punk loves to go through the trash can and bring trash back to his crate to munch on.


Knocked my coffee cup over onto carpet


On the lighter side, we did go to the dog beach a few weeks ago, and here’s a vid I took of The Petester chasing a doppleganger doggie down the beach.  I’m glad he’s behaving better lately.   

Also, here’s how his wounds have healed: