Please watch the following video, it’s from the busiest major road in my country, taken at 10 AM. Note that it is not staged in any way or form:
This is footage from the, well, for lack of a better way to put it, one of Israel’s (Jewish majority’s) two secular high holy days, the Holocaust Remembrance day. On 10 AM during the Holocaust Remembrance Day, once at 6 PM the evening of the Soldiers’ and War casaulties’ memorial day, and once at 10 AM the day of. The two occasions are one week apart.
Wow, it’s been 4 months since my last entry. I’ve really been remiss in my updates of this blog. I guess you could say it’s taken an end of summer and autumn hibernation. It’s not that I didn’t have what to say… I had a lot to say. But once you stop updating, it’s sort of what I experience with certain fora (plural of forum) or topics; they remember where is the first unread post, so if you see they have 15 unread posts, you wait till you have time to read them all. And then it’s 150 unread posts and you know you’ll never get to it.
Grrrrr. WordPress just ate a couple of paragraphs I wrote…
Anyway, there are two ways to get back to posting: Go with “I’ll post whenever I feel like it”, so you’d make a post without feeling an obligation to keep on posting, which I dislike (and also, once I resume posting, it’s not an obligation as much as a snowball; can’t stop!). The other method is to bite the bullet. Stop procrastinating, and just resume blogging. Delve head-first.
There’ll be a blog post coming once a week, gauranteed. Even if the skies fall or Cthulhu and the lost city of R’lyeh resurface. I will try, and I think in most weeks will succeed, to get two posts up. I’ll be aiming for Sunday-Tuesday for one and Thursday-Saturday for the other. Some weeks may have three posts, but I’m not promising. I’m too wise for that.
As I begin writing this post, we are 2 hours and 35 minutes away from midnight in Israel, when Starcraft 2 will be released. For the first time, I will be going to a midnight release of a video game. Not because I’m such a huge Starcraft fan, but, why not?
The hype and excitement over Starcraft 2 is quite crazy, and it’s not like Blizzard even had to do a lot to fan it. Well, that’s not entirely true, they fanned it by not speaking too much about it, and letting gamers who were honestly excited do all the promotion on their own. This is a winning technique, when you already have people going crazy for your next release, no matter what you say or do.
I really started playing serious video games in my own home when I was in fourth grade. One of the first few games I’ve received was Warcraft 2, and then its expansion (which I didn’t enjoy much with the crazy magic difficulty). I still remember after my father installed it he tried to play and couldn’t get things done, and I got things working from the first few minutes of playing the campaign – I found it intuitive; same as some years later my cousin had Age of Empires and didn’t know how to get things done, and I sat down and within a couple of minutes got the hang of the game.
Well, this should not come as any surprise to you guys, but summer is the season of sweat. It’s not all bad of course, look at all those people who think they look better with sweat, erm, yeah, you don’t really see them off of billboards and ads for shoes, perfumes, or sportscars, do you?
Summer is the season where traditionally students are let off from their chains at school, to go home for two months and go to sleep somewhere between 4 and 5 AM, and wake up around the time they’d usually return from school. Well, it’s been 2003 the last time I had a proper summer vacation, aside from the time I had after finishing my time as a medic and beginning university back in 2007. Yeah, that’s a time where I had time off…
Sometimes you come across something that is perfect. A moment frozen in time that you can return to time and time again. Books can be good at that. Such a perfect book for me when I was a child, that I still read every several years, is The Brothers Lionheart, by Astrid Lindgren who is best known for writing Pippi Longstocking.
I first read this book in the third grade. A story about life and death, a story about living under occupation, of fighting for freedom where freedom should be assured for you, for life after death, about death after death. It is a story about sacrifice, of growing up, of love, of loving your older brother, of being loved by your older brother. It is a story about being weak. It is a story about mythology.
What is the plot about? Karl adores his big brother Jonatan, and they die, then they get to live in this land beyond death, but treachery and an evil tyrant loom over the peaceful valleys. And things progress from there.
When I tell you that the book is perfect, and that I really love it, I mean it. Look on its Amazon page, out of 53 reviews, 50 give it a five stars. That’s almost unprecedented. We have two copies of this book in our household, as I was unwilling to give the book to my younger siblings to read. This book, it is just mine.
This book does not cut corners. The protagonist is a ten-year-old boy. I read it as a nine-year-old boy, the first time. And yet, as you can see, those are some really heady issues that the book does not shirk from. You get to face these issues squarely as Karl, the protagonist, does. This book speaks to children without making light their capability to understand these topics. As such, it’s also a book that you’d be perfectly happy to read as an adult, because it’s a book that speaks in the language it does, not trying to speak to children or over their heads.
I don’t have much to say of this book, because I have SO much to say of the book. I could write thousands and thousands of words about the book, but it’d be best if you’d read it. I could write thousands upon thousands of words regarding the book, but I’d rather do it in a discussion with you guys, and not here from my position as a blogger.
I have said often before that one of the main criteria I use to judge books is its emotional impact. I can use that criteria to judge this book. Both using that criteria, and not using that criteria, this book is just about perfect.
This book gets a 10/10 score, and only because I can’t give it 11.
So what are your favourite childhood books, and why? And do you think you’ll still enjoy them today?
Well, I thought it was time for another entry that is light-hearted, and probably even more important, short, so it’s just fitting that this entry will be of a cat. And no, you will not see any photos of the cat in question, for reasons that will shortly be explained.
A friend of mine had gone on vacation recently, and I was entrusted with the task of taking care of his cat. I went there every day, and did not see the cat once; merely… cat traces.
The cat is one I’ve seen before, and is named Naftali, a name that was more common in Israel 40-60 years ago. Regardless, this was the cat’s name.
Each day I would go to my friend’s house, call to the cat, look in all the rooms, and I would not see the cat. I was worried so much that the first day I mailed my friend that his cat was seemingly not there, but had declared that I will return that night in order to see whether the food was consumed, and the litter-box used: Evidence that the cat was still there.
I did check, and food was consumed, and the litter-box disturbed. The cat, though elusive, was still on the premises, but it had eluded me.
For five days and for five nights, I have taken care of the cat (once per day or night, usually). And for five days and for five nights, I had seen neither tail nor hide of the cat, but its food-plate was filled, its water refreshed, and its litter-sand scooped.
And so I deemed this cat to be Bigfoot Cat, not for the size of his feet or paws (which I assure you all, are quite normal and average), but for the fact that there was never any direct reporting of the cat itself, merely… cat traces.
P.S. Three more entries to this blog’s 100th entry.
Favourites are moments which had been frozen in time. At least the ones which we can find in media, because as we all know, memories are something which is constructed, and not only at the time in which they occur, they keep being constructed after the fact to fit with new information received.
Media memories are memories, or rather, occurrences from books, movies, series, music, they are frozen in time, crystallized, so to speak, because we can return to them, time and time again. The passage that had stirred our blood so in a novel, the elation that we had felt when listening to an overture in an opera, and so many others.
But can we truly return to these perfect moments, to revisit these perfect memories, or are our memories moments that are constructed from an alchemical fusion of two things, which can never truly be reproduced, as Dr Jackyll had found to his dismay? A unification of the media section, that indeed can be experienced again, and of our emotional and psychological state at the time, which are not only something one would be hard pressed to reproduce, but even to merely identify?
Read more, and please share your own frozen perfect moments!
Time is of the essence, or so they say, and time keeps running out. It is funny to say that time runs out, because as many of us know, or at least have been told, time is infinite, so how can it be that we never have enough?
Well, look at space, and what we are told of space and matter. If space is infinite, and the amount of matter is finite, then comparatively speaking, there’s no matter in the world. If you divide any number by infinity, you end up with a zero.
Likewise, the problem is not that time is infinite, but rather that we only have a finite amount of time, so we always have no time, because for us, the amount of time, figuratively speaking, is always zero.
Keep reading to see how it all makes sense, and why it is also seasonal!
I’ve watched Grave of the Fireflies a couple of years ago, and to be honest, I totally didn’t expect what I got. I was watching it with a friend with whom I’d been watching a movie every two weeks, I had this anime movie DVD at home, so I brought it along. What I received was a heavy story, a depressing story, in anime form.
For those who do not know, I hail from Israel, and the state religion is Judaism. One of the dates commemorated in Israel is the Holocaust (and Bravery) Memorial Day, which is held each year a week before Independence Day. As a student in the Israeli school system, we’d get taught over the issue every year, at least during our younger years, and talk of the Holocaust permeated much of the public discussion in Israel, always in the background.
More than that, aside from the memorial day, when all TV broadcast were dedicated to the issue, we’d get films related to the issue at other times of the year. As such, when I say “Holocaust movie”, there’s a certain meaning to it.
Yesterday I’ve happened to watch a documentary film about the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki‘s atomic bombing, but this post was coming for some time anyway.