Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Hidden Cost of Terror

Schiphol adds yet more fun for travelers: Look what I’ll be facing on my next flight through Amsterdam.  I can hardly wait.  Now I have to decide if the Paris grope by Air France security trolls is less humiliating than starring in a forced peep show.  Sheesh.

Serendipity to the Rescue

Justice is best served up by an angry mom:  My fellow apartment owners in this building have not been able to deal with the one crazy guy who is making problems for all of us.  He has been violent, he has broken things, stolen things, sabotaged the elevator, and generally make things unpleasant.  The police can’t do anything (we can’t prove that it is him even though we all know).  The minahelet tarbut hadiyur (city position that provides mediation and legal services for tenants and homeowners) was not sympathetic.  She had, after all, worked with the wife of CG (Crazy Guy), and didn’t believe that he could be such a bad person. 

Well, the electrician we called out to fix some of the latest sabotage was actually attacked by CG.  A few of my cohorts troop out to the police and file yet another complaint.  But what we don’t know is that the electrician is the son of minhalet, Miki.  And now Miki not only believes us, but she is pissed off.  She’s a big woman, with a big voice, and the weight of City Hall behind her, and now she’s on a mission.  CG messed with the wrong person! 

Winter sunshine: We have been enjoying a break from the rain. The weather is gorgeous, so I take advantage of the sunshine this morning with an extra long walk.  Terri and I explore the walking path that extends down the other side of the wadi.  Terri gets to chase birds, a few hyrax, and generally have a blast.  Everything is green and sparkling, though under the bushes it is still quite wet and muddy (as I discover when Terri joyously prances up to me and plants her paws on my pants). 

Holiday greetings: Best wishes to all my Christian readers.  It is quite easy to forget about Christmas here, but they mentioned it on the news when listing the shekel rate (because banks in the US are closed).  Reminds me of the time I sat in a meeting with clients, and we tried for ten minutes to contact the offices in the US.  Couldn’t figure out why no one was answering, until someone asked, “Isn’t 25 December a holiday or something?”

Another Birthday

Friends don’t let friends blog drunk:  Oi, the joys of sushi and sake.  Last night’s birthday bash is great, with too much food, lots of laughter (despite discussions of how bad the next attacks from Lebanon will be), and a great haul of presents. 

Here we are at Bon Sai Sushi:
at Bon Sai Sushi

Janet and Renee share a blonde moment:

Someone call the SPCA: God knows that my dog would never support poel yerushalayim!  She’s a Macabbi dog! But it is cold in the house, and that is her most comfortable track suit.  I’m sure that this is illegal somewhere.

Hanukkah s’meach!  Happy Hanukkah to everyone.  I dispensed with the greasy soufgani’ot this year and ate various mysterious fried things last night.  I figure that takes care of my obligation to eat fried food for the season.  Blech.

The Dues Debate

Time to renew your STC membership:  Here we are in December, and I have not yet renewed my STC membership.  Don’t get me wrong — I don’t intend for one moment to let it lapse.  I consider STC the key player in the development of our profession, and I’m in this for the long haul.  The only thing that has kept me from renewing is that I’m still debating: do I go for the less expensive, no-frills membership, or do I pay a bit more and get a lot more with a Gold membership?  The truth is, I function at a different economic scale than many of my North American colleagues.  I make a lot less, and my expenses can be a lot more.  We pay higher taxes.  Durable goods are waaaay more expensive.  Gas?  Last time I crunched the numbers and converted liters to gallons and shekels to dollars, it came out to about $6.80 a gallon.  (But don’t feel too sorry for me — we have medical care!)  And while I dearly wish that I could echo Hedke’s “I’ve made a million through STC” claim, I can’t.  But I have made substantial business contacts and can directly attribute at least 20% of my annual income to STC-related activities. And that certainly makes the difference between a basic “no frills” membership and the Gold membership seem like chicken feed.  STC members now get so much information and enjoy so much input compared to the “old” STC; go back even six years ago and you’ll see an astonishing difference.  The current office had inherited a real mess; they’ve spent the last few years overhalling infrastructure, getting us kosher with legal issues, and generally, well, running things like a real NPO.  Unfortunately, the economic crisis has many members blindsided, and they don’t understand why they can’t get the same stuff at the same price.  To them, I say:

  • This office and this board have done everything possible to cut expenses to the bone, while still providing quality services.
  • The Society is now being run at a more professional level (issues of legal compliance, necessary computer systems and software, and quality of staff).
  • The webinars and certificate courses are new. 
  • STC Notebook is new.
  • The diverse use of social media is new.
  • The complete overhaul of the conference is new.

The decisions about dues were made with much thought and research.  Splitting chapter dues out made sense based on the number of members who are not able to participate in a geographical chapter.  We knew we would get backlash, but we knew that this was the right thing to do.  It boils down to this: are you serious enough about your profession to invest?  To support the single most significant organization that is working to educate the world about the role and value of TC, while helping define our profession and train the next generation?  To take advantage of top-notch publications, webinars, courses, conferences? 

And, Hedke, from your mouth to God’s ears, make a million bucks?

OK.  Gold it is.


…or, why you should study Hebrew:  If you can’t pronounce it, Miky can’t understand you. Hat tip to Central LS.

Trip Pics

A few momentos: I seldom remember to whip out the camera along the way, but here are a few goodies.

The real unit: the story of a technical communicator and a rabbi who ride the subway to rid the world of treif documentation.

A NYC mural:

Hong Kong memories (actually, Chinatown, Lower East Side, NYC):

Eldridge Street Shul:

Home Again

Where has the week gone?  I arrived back in Israel last Friday (stumbling home in the middle of the night).  Long, boring, uneventful flights.  Uneventful, long, boring layovers. The trip left me sleep-deprived and jet-lagged, but, as many people have pointed out, “uneventful” is the best you can hope for in travel adjectives these days.

A few trip highlights:

  • Seeing family, of course.
  • Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “mixed grill” performance, which included The Seasons, Petit Mort, and West Side Story Suite (Seattle). 
  • The Amelia Earhart exhibit at the Museum of Flight (Seattle).
  • The samurai exhibit at the Met (NYC).
  • Circumcise Me: Yisroel Cambell’s one-man show (NYC).
  • Eating at that crazy Indian restaurant with my nephew (Washington, DC).
  • Getting clobbered at cribbage by my dad and Dr. Shuman.
  • Long walks in the rain (various).
  • Doing the Market (Pike Place Market) with my dad and having a few of the old-timers recognize him (Seattle).
  • Visiting the renovated Eldridge Street Shul (NYC).
  • Eating in a hole-in-the-wall place in Chinatown with my sister (NYC).
  • Visiting the very active Puget Sound chapter of STC (Bellevue).

There’s lots more, including a sad visit to Denise’s grave, but there is no doubt that I returned with more memories than things.

Terri is thrilled that I am home, but has already lost her new ball (ran off with it on this morning’s walk and dropped it somewhere in the bushes).  She was in a rush to run away long enough to scarf up some illicit chicken bones from the garbage. Five minutes later, she is begging me to throw the nonexistent ball.  I guess dogs are not known for having great memory.

BTW, Terri scores a photo on the STC blog.  Since I was on the road when I wrote it and had limited photos on my laptop, it isn’t a great photo, but still, no one else blogged about their pet!  Ha!