Monthly Archives: October 2009

Too Close to Home

Farewell, Derek:  STC colleague Derek Torres of Paris passed away this week from the H1N1 virus. Derek was very active in STC, helping to form the Europe SIG. I met Derek at several European conferences and I had a lot of respect for him, both as a technical communicator and as an all-around nice guy.

I know several other people who have had the virus, but recovered. It makes every cough and minor symptom seem that much scarier.

The Lesson of the Day

Behind every great man is a women telling him what to wear: Proof positive. Sonia and Shimon split (nothing like deciding to break up at age 86) and immediately our normally dapper president is seen in public wearing brown shoes with a gray suit. Note the guy next to him, who appears to be laughing and pointing at the offending footwear.



A living tribute: The Bellingham Herald ran this lovely article about my sister Denise. It has one or two small mistakes (for example, Denise was very active in spinning and textile work for many, many years before she got sick), but it captures her spirit.


Response to the Goldstone Report:  A UK military perspectiveHat tip to Central LS.

Schedule from Hell

If I’m not working, I must be lying down:  It has been a crazy few weeks.  I started feeling blah during the chaggim, and although it never really developed into a full-blown flu or whatever, it never really went away, either.  I was dragging myself around like a half-dead zombie (wait, aren’t zombies already dead?).  Timing couldn’t have been worse: last Monday I started two courses on the same day, which is exhausting at the best of times.  Friday’s class in Tel Aviv saw me feeling horrible.   (Maybe I should say that if I’m not lying down, I must be teaching!) By the time I dragged myself to the doctor, I was already feeling better.  That’s the downside of waiting for an appointment—you are already better or else you have died by the time it rolls around.

Meanwhile, the local news has been so depressing, I cringe every time I pick up a newspaper or turn on the radio.  The carnage on the roads continues with yet another gruesome accident in my general area (a truck trying to pass and smashing into a private car, near an intersection that I often pass).  The mass murder of an entire family in Rishon (three generations, including an infant and a toddler, wiped out in what appears to be a Russian mafia hit) has the whole country in shock.  Barak’s abuse of public funds barely had time to make the news before it was drowned out by the Goldstone Report and Turkey’s outrageous actions (no worries, the Italians are happy to work with us).  Basically, things seem to be grim and depressing on all fronts.

How do we keep our collective chins up?  I don’t know about you, but here are some of my sanity-savers:

  • My hairy mutt.  Terri continues to do her duty by making me laugh.  Her latest trick is bringing her squeaky hedgehog onto the bed and gnawing it while wriggling in ecstasy.
  • Wasabi peas.  Oh, lord, they hurt taste so good.  (Clear the sinuses, too.  Add a cold beer and you have a little slice of heaven.)
  • Running.
  • Vintage TV shows.

What’s your survival technique?

Surviving the Chaggim

Not as easy as you may think: With the end of Simchat Torah, we are officially through the marathon holiday slog that started with Rosh Hashana.  I don’t know if they’re putting something in the water, but this was a very violent Sukkot.  in addition to the usual road accidents, there was a lot of violence in Jerusalem with lots of injuries.  Shootings, knifings, rock-throwing, you name it.  And not all of it was what you would expect (Palestinians vs. Israeli).  There was plenty of violence on the home front, with a kid stabbing his little sister, and adult son stabbing his mother and brother, fights and shootings at night clubs… It seemed that every time I turned on the radio, there was something else.

Karmiel is quiet and peaceful, though Terri seemed to pick up on this wave of violence and go nuts on our walks, chasing birds, cats, hyrax, her ball, other dogs… She ate goat poo, rolled in something stinky, and argued with Snoopy (a usually mild-mannered dalmation).  She always managed to calm down with small children, however, becoming instantly calm and passive and allowing herself to be mauled by those grubby little hands.

The sukkah roof collapsed after the first rain, but at least I had managed to have one dinner out there. 

Onward, courses!  Today I started two new course (yes, on the same day!).  The morning saw me trudging out at 6:00, bleary-eyed and cranky, to get to Rambam for a new course in medical writing.  Highlight of the session: a cardiologist who wrote that a procedure was to be performed “once anally.”  For the heart?  Yes, says he, once a year.  Ah.  Anually.  Mystery solved to great rejoicing.  The second course today was the first session of an online certificate course that I’m teaching for STC.  A few technical snags, but otherwise OK.  I usually greatly prefer frontal teaching where I can see and interact with participants, but there are a few advantages to online courses, such as being able to wear PJs.