Friday, November 18, 2005

My weekly yoga gripe

I love my weekly yoga classes, but there's one bit that I can't stand.

The partner work.

Usually it's not that bad, but sometimes you get stuck with a partner who has smelly feet and underarm hair. And if it's a hot sticky day then this can totally gross me out.

What's up with this partner work anyway?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Results are IN

Oh my! My PhD thesis examiners' reports have just come back!!
This is the moment I've been fearing, dreading, and waiting for for so long.
My heart was thumping as I read them.
But other than a few rather minor corrections everything looks good!!
I expect I'll have about a week or two of work to fix things and then it's off to the review committee, and that's it.
Years of work are nearly done and now it's time to reap the reward: to be able to put those three letters after my name...

Two amusing things I saw today

1. A geek at uni with a tee-shirt that says:

> cd /pub
> more beer

and then hubby says that it would have been funnier if it said "cd /usr/local/pub"

2. A cheap plastic mobile phone toy with a picture of a Barbie-like doll, and written above it in pink swirly letters:

Benign Girl

I'm sure it sounds better in Chinese.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Go Australia

A few days ago I was listening to Question Time at the Parliament on radio (there was nothing better to listen to) and I was thinking to myself how proud I am to be an Australian and to have leaders that are mostly smart, speak to the point, are polite, and get things done. I can't help but compare this to the Israeli Knesset where the politicians are rude and loud. That's when they bother to show up of course.

And then the next morning I heard the news of the police raids that narrowly averted a catastrophic terror attack here in Sydney and in Melbourne. Australia is lucky to have such good leaders, who are not afraid to do the right thing in face of harsh criticism.

I must say I was saddened, but not surprised to hear that a major terror attack was planned. I know that it's not a matter of if, but when, it will happen. When we moved here 4 years ago I thought it was wonderful to be able to live in a country where I can ride the bus without worrying about it being blown to bits by a suicide bomber. Now I don't take that for granted any more. Rather I feel like I did when I lived in Israel during the late 90s, when buses were being blown up quite a lot. You go to work and live your life and deal with it.

I just hope Australia doesn't have to learn how to deal with it, and all planned attacks will end like this one did.

In other good news, the terrorist responsible for the two Bali bombings suffered spontaneous combustion.

Le Riots

Usually I get pretty depressed when I hear the news, but lately I've found myself enjoying the news immensely.

I've had some guilt feelings about my reaction to the riots in France. I should feel bad about the violence, and I do feel bad that people are killed and injured. But I can't help giggling every time I hear about 700 more Citroens being torched, and the French intellectuals talking about how disadvantaged and misguided the poor youth are and how this is the only way they can express themselves etc etc ad nauseum.

I love reading all the advice that France is getting from the rest of the world.
France is eating the stew that it has been cooking for years.
The same France that has always coddled and supported Arab tyrants, that has nothing but venomous words for the US and its war on terror. The same France that wallowed in corruption in Saddam's Oil for Palaces scandal. The same France that sold Iraq not one, but two nuclear power plants. The same France that sends its heroic navy to blow up the Greenpeace boat. I could go on but I'm getting nauseated.

So it is with great satisfaction that I watch France burn, and its leaders hem and haw while riots spread.

It will be mighty interesting to see how this develops. Will the riots spread to the rest of Europe? I suspect they will at some point. Will France surrender to the Muslim Youth? Could be, could be.

In the meantime I can't help but be reminded of that Monty Python sketch with the Killer Cars being eaten by the giant mutant cat.

I'll give Blogger one more chance

and then I'm outa here.
I finally have something to write about, and the time to write it, and then Blogger goes and eats my posts. What's up wit dat??
Here's a bit of trivia: did you know that if you type "Blogger ate my post" in Google you get about 2,400,000 pages?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Horsing Around

Last Tuesday was an important day in Australia, The Melbourne Cup -- the race that stops the nation. I decided to try to get into the spirit of things since I'm now a citizen. I tried hard, but found it difficult to get too excited about a bunch of horses. I don't think I'll ever reach the point where I'll wear an expensive dress, huge hat, and high heels to actually go to a race, however I did put $2 on a horse at the office sweepstakes. My horse came in last, which is good because there's a consolation prize. But he didn't actually make it across the finish line, being the only horse to not finish the race, so that according to the sweepstakes rules I didn't win anything. The damn horse should have been shot and dragged across the finish line. Oh well, I suspect it's at the glue factory by now.
Meanwhile, everyone loves the big winner (for the third time in a row!), Makybe Diva, (sounds a bit like Macabee) and some new parents have even named their daughters, born on Tuesday, Makybe. How awful is that, to be named after a horse.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Yesterday I decided to be brave and upgraded my SUSE 9.3 to the new 10.0.
I had read all sorts of differing opinions and was a bit scared that I might mess everything up and have to reinstall from scratch. Happily this didn't happen, and except for a few dependency issues which I sorted out to the best of my abilities, it went rather smoothly.
Sure, I had to reinstall Thunderbird, xine and a couple of other things, but that wasn't too bad.
The reason I wanted to upgrade (well, one of the reasons) was to see if the new version with the new kernel would help my sound card work. It didn't...
In other new and exciting computing news, I just figured out that I can use the Ctrl+L feature to push citations from JabRef to Kile! Yay!

Reading through this post, I suddenly had this feeling of being a total pathetic geek. This is what gets me excited?? Oy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Surprise -- VSU!

How long has it been since everyone started talking about VSU? Quite some time! But now Australian Unis are saying that it's too quick, too surprising, they didn't have enough time to prepare! Oh well, they'll just have to force the students to pay fees even if it's against the law.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

What a difference two years can make

We celebrated my son's second birthday this weekend. All weekend long I kept thinking, what was I doing 2 years ago? Two years ago I was hugely pregnant... two years ago I went into labour... two years ago I was still in labour... two years ago I was still in labour... two years ago my son was finally yanked out of my belly by two surgeons. Two years ago I heard my son crying for the first time, and held him in my arms. Two years ago I looked at him as he was sleeping, and in the morning we watched his first sunrise together from the hospital room.
He was so excited by the party and the presents that he couldn't fall asleep that night. I sat by his bed and stroked his hair as he fell asleep, and he suddenly looked to me just like he did on that first night in the hospital, when he was only a few hours old. In two years, he learned how to walk, run, talk, jump, do puzzles, feed himself, go to the potty, feed the ducks. He's turned into quite a vivacious, loving, wonderful little boy. But I suspect he will always be my baby...

Career, kids, and life in general

One of the things I love most about working at a university is the opportunity to attend courses, seminars and training programs. Last week I attended a 2-day seminar that was meant to encourage women to seek executive positions at the university. While there are more women than men in the undergraduate, graduate, and lower level academic staff levels, when it comes to the top jobs women are still under-represented, and the university is actively trying to change that.
Well, seeing as I only started my career here a couple of months ago, I'm still rather far from any executive job, however the seminar was very useful in several ways. First, it got me thinking about my career in the long-term, rather than focusing on the next few years like I had been doing. Second, it gave me the opportunity to meet and listen and talk to women who are older than me and more advanced in their careers, and to learn from their experiences. Finally, it was great to meet other women academics and network. And the food was good too.
I was quite stressed specifically about the next couple of years. Now I'm a bit less stressed, but still. It's the same old dilemma that so many other women face: how do you raise kids and also advance your career at the same time? We really want to have another child. I really want to succeed in my new job because I see it at the base of my future career, and also because it's so interesting and I'd love to spend time doing this research. The problem is, there aren't enough hours in the day! As it is, my son is in day care full time, and I spend less than full time at work because I have to drop him off and pick him up, so I'm left in the middle, feeling guilty that I don't spend enough time with my son and that I don't put enough time and effort into my job.
The seminar helped me to think about these things a bit differently and put some things in perspective. I saw that some women took time off, either completely or part-time, to raise their kids when they were very young, and then went on to develop their careers later on. And some women put their kids in day care 50 hours a week, or hired a full time nanny, cleaner, and cook and paid them their entire salary so they could get on with their careers. I decided that I would rather have kids now, enjoy this stage of life of being a parent to very young children, and take time off from my full time job. I think part-time would be the best option. After a few years, when the kids are older and don't need so much attention, I will still be left with three whole decades to advance my career before I retire. I reckon I can achieve quite a lot in that time!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

One Small Step on the Road to Linux Legend

I've been using Linux for several years now, but since I always had the help of Linux Gurus every step of the way, I never really needed to learn anything beyond basic usage stuff. But now in my new job, I'm the only Linux user in the entire department and so I've had to learn quite a lot in the last few weeks. I've done a lot of reading and Googling, and also posted some questions on various forums, and slowly I'm beginning to learn how to do all sorts of things. This is done mostly by trial and error. The biggest mental leap I had to do was to not be afraid to try things out, even if things might break, you can always set things right again and hopefully you will have learned something along the way.

So today I did something that I never did before. I used grep.

Grep has always been this vague Linuxy concept that scared the willies out of me. I know it's a totally useful command, but it just always seemed like something that only Linux experts knew how to use and I, a mere n00b, should not be going around using it. Maybe it's the weird name.

Anyway, today I was looking something up and the output of the command was so huge, and I just wanted to see a bit of it, so I stuck a | grep at the end and it worked!

This was a huge mental leap for me.

It reminded me of cheese.
All my life I have hated white cheese. I don't know why, it must be some childhood trauma or something. But last weekend we went on a romantic getaway to Hunter Valley, and stopped at a gourmet cheese shop and I tried all the white cheeses. And they were yummy!

I know it sounds silly, but it's such a great feeling to get over little mental blocks like these.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

It's Election Time at the Uni

The whole campus is plastered with campaign posters and people are out in their T-shirts handing out flyers. I was assailed by them on the way to my office and I told the Liberals that I wish I was a student so I could vote for them, but that I am with them in spirit. It's good to know I'm not the only pro-VSU person on campus. After I talked to them, one of the people from a lefty party asked me if I knew that I was talking to pro-VSU Liberals, as if I had been conversing with a toad or something.
Most of the parties are trying to show that they are more lefty than all the rest.
"Keep Left" promise that if elected, they will stop war, stop racism, and stop VSU.

That's quite an election promise to keep!
They don't discuss what they will do, on the other hand.

They also have posters warning people not to vote for "Choice" (The pro-VSU Liberal party) because they are "pro war, pro VSU, anti refugees, and they love Howard!!". There's a crossed out picture of John Howard.

Many trees were sacrificed for these posters, and it's odd that even the greenies are out there handing out stacks of flyers. But some of them are rather funny.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Barbie Boom

Check out Barbie's latest fashion accessory.
The story is in Hebrew but the pictures say it all.
These stickers were sold in an Israeli toy shop. It looks like the writing on top of the package is in Japanese?!
Some of the commenters think that these were meant to be sold in the PA.
This would be funny if it weren't so sad...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Book Fairs

Today is the kind of day that makes me love living in Sydney, that perfect sunshine that's just warm enough without causing sunburn, when all the flowers are blooming and you feel like bounding through the fields barefoot.
So I left me subterranean corner and went out for a walk. I stopped by the Great Hall where this week there is a used book fair. I spent quite some time perusing and bought a few books for Junior and one for me, for a grand total of $2. But I couldn't stop thinking about the last used book fair I went to. It was much bigger, spread over 2 floors, and I spent hours happily browsing. I eventually bought a boxfull of books, everything from toddler behaviour to children's books, Walking Trails in the Hunter Valley, a few novels, and even Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I was so happy, I couldn't wait to get home and start reading. I went to pick up Junior from day care, put the box on his pram as I went in to fetch him, and when I came out 3 minutes later... the box was gone.
I was angry not just about the money, it was less than $20 worth of old books. But the time that I spent finding them... Who could possibly be interested in that pile of books except for me? And to think that it was someone from the day care centre too.
Ah well, life goes on, at least we have gorgeous weather.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A sign I saw at the library check out today

Please do not put your library card in your mouth.

We cannot help you if your library card has been in your mouth.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Fisk is Coming to Town

Oh boy! Oh boy! The Robert Fisk is going to be giving a talk here at uni!
I wonder if I should go see the legend.
Just reading through the list of talks makes me sick. Maybe I shouldn't go, I value my health too much.

Friday, September 09, 2005


Last week I went on a shopping frenzy and bought 4 new skirts. They are flooding the shops and look to be the #1 fashion item of the summer. Long, hippie skirts are sure better than how-low-can-you-go hipsters which I am so tired of. So I bought these skirts and they have been hanging in my closet for a week, and today was actually warm enough that I thought I'd wear one. Then I remembered why I haven't worn a skirt in years. It's impossible to find a top that goes with it. Any shirt looks good with jeans, but hardly anything goes with a skirt. Then there are the shoes. You can't wear normal shoes with socks cause that looks geeky. And I don't have those really high boots that go with skirts, and it's too cold for sandals. I ended up fishing a pair of girlie shoes from my closet that I haven't worn in years. I bought them once to go with a dress I wore for the company Christmas party. So I wore them, and my mom sees me and says that I look girlie. My son sees me and is shocked by the skirt and goes about exploring it. Then the teacher at day care said that I look girlie. grrrrr....
And I thought I look like a dossit.
That's the main reason I never wore skirts of course, back in the good old days when I was young if you wore a skirt it had to be super short and tight, just to make sure nobody suspected for an instant that you were a dossit (=religious).
But in Australia, of course, nobody know what a dossit is (well, maybe in Bondi) and women can wear whatever they want.
But there's something quite fun about having all that ventilation... it will be nice in the summer!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

More N.O.

Bravo to Greg Sheridan, I agree with him completely.


It's been a while since I went through a "what am I doing here we have to move back to Israel" phase. I started a new job (a three year contract!) that I actually like, and life is good, and I'm happy here. But could another wave be on the horizon? Hubby is in Israel now, on a business trip combined with family visit. My mom has decided to stop her nomadic lifestyle and go live there too. People are moving there, or back there. Hmmm. It'll be interesting to hear hubby's tales. It's the family that I miss most of all, really. Actually I miss then on behalf of Junior. Now that Savta is staying with us he has grown so attached to her, and he also remembers his other Savta who came to visit a while ago, and soon it'll be just us nuclear family again. And then it will be Christmas which usually brings about a mini-crisis.
But, we are planning a camping trip on Christmas vacation and that should be fun. New job is fun, my new computer is a beast and I'm getting the hang of administrating my own Linux super machine. Junior is so happy in his Gan. It's spring. Australia is a great country to live in.
But still...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Yesterday I got a rare treat: Savta stayed home with Junior and I got to go see a lecture about Einstein. 2005 is the official Einstein Year celebrating 100 years since the phenomenal year when he published landmark papers on special relativity, the nature of light, and others.
The speaker was the curator of the Einstein archive at Hebrew University. He gave a wonderfully captivating talk to an enthusiastic audience that filled the lecture theatre.
Einstein was 26 years old, a father to a one year old boy, and working full time as a clerk in 1905, when he published 6 papers, including his PhD dissertation, one that earned him a Nobel Prize, and one with that famous equation e=mc2.
The speaker then went on to talk about Einstein's scientific achievments, his active role as a defender of human rights, and his connections to the state of Israel and Zionism. There were even a few anectodes about Einstein's connection with Australia. While he never visited the country, it was observations made here that confirmed his prediction regarding the bending of light rays from distant stars around our sun. He even received a didgeridoo from the Australian government.
It was great to go back to my "old" uni, I haven't been there for a few short months and I already miss it. Sydney uni is great but there is a different vibe here. Maybe one day I'll return to UNSW? Who knows.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Penn is Mightier than the National Guard

Honestly, you can't make this stuff up. In a situation which makes me want to cry for the humanity and shameful response to disaster, I always have Sean Penn to cheer me up. I didn't believe this when I first saw it, I was sure it was a joke. It belongs in the Onion, not CNN. Life imitates Team America.

Monday, September 05, 2005

New Orleans

I didn't want to write anything about what's going on in New Orleans. What's to say that hasn't been said? But it has been on my mind on so many levels. Why did people stay there and not evacuate? Why was help so slow to arrive? But most of all I am sad and disappointed at the human response to disaster. I would like to think that most people would respond by helping all the can, not by looting, raping and murdering others. I suppose that the media report the bad stuff because it's sensational, and I'm sure that there's a lot of good will but it's just not being reported as much because it's not news. But still, the lawlessness is sickening.
I keep wondering what I would do if disaster struck and all the civilisation around me that I take for granted disappeared. How would I protect myself and my family? It's hard to imagine a world like that. It reminds me of Fahrenheit 451, where some of the people run off to live in the hills. Also reminds me of Noah's Ark. That flood was supposed to wipe out the evil so that a new society could start. It looks like in New Orleans the evil ones survived the flood.

Friday, September 02, 2005

itsy bitsy camera

I bought a mini-digital camera on eBay. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet (I have to buy batteries first) but it looks so cute! I had a bit of a chuckle reading the enclosed documentation, which contains such gems as "How To Take Phote's", "the louder beep indicates the success of shooting and the lower beep indicate the failure of shooting", and "During the continuous photography period, the incorrect exposure could appear due to the short of rays."
I wanted a small camera that I can have at work to take pictures of the uni, some of the protests signs and posters, and maybe even some of the weirder students. This camer is tiny so it will be easy to carry it around in my pocket. I'm dying to see how the pictures come out.

Monday, August 29, 2005


For the first time in my life I was excited to go to work on a Monday morning. My new computer arrived, very snazzy with a huge monitor and best of all, the little green box with SuSE Linux Pro! I'm so excited, I'm walking around with this huge grin on my face all morning. The IT person is installing Windows on it now (tfu, I don't know why I'm installing it but they are pretty adamant that I should have it there, oh well). Then it will be my turn to get the Linux going. I've never actually installed Linux before so this will be a learning experience. Everything I've read about SuSE has calmed my fears though, it should be a breeze. Plus I have the book and also installation support if I get stuck. I can't wait. I've been using this tiny little Mac iBook and I'm about ready to chuck it out the window.

Friday, August 26, 2005


So I was filling up petrol this morning, getting dizzy from the fumes (or was it the price?) and I'm thinking to myself, why haven't they got that little thingy that holds the petrol pump handle down in Australia? In America you stick the pump in, press the lever, and lock it in place with a little metal clasp. When it's full it pops shut. Here you have to hold the lever yourself the whole time, and for some reason it keeps popping, when I hold it, every 3 or 4 litres, and I have to constantly check to see if it's really full or not.
That, and Trader Joe's, are the two things I miss most about America.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Can you resist the power of the Dark Side?

Here's something cool to keep you amused for a while: test your mental capacity to withstand the Dark Side of the Force: one-on-one with Darth Vader.
Lord Vader claims he can beat anyone at 20 questions. We were flabbergasted that he guessed 'rhubarb' in only 17 questions!

New blog

So what's up with this blog?
I used to write a different blog but I abandoned it for several reasons. It was not especially anonymous, and I had read all these horror stories about personal blogs haunting people who move on to new jobs or whatever, and I decided that maybe it's best to be anonymous. This would also give me more freedom to write about stuff that I might not want to otherwise.
Also, my mom was an avid reader of my old blog and frankly, this just totally killed my desire to write. Whenever I would sit down to write a post, I would imagine her as my audience and this caused some serious writer's block.
I've also got a new house, and a new job; makes sense to start a new blog, don't ya think?


I work at an Australian university and I support the Liberal party on most issues. This means that I'm part of the majority in Australia (whew), but considered a weird right-wing fascist pariah in my workplace. Most of the students and staff don't exactly share my political opinions. That's fine, people can have whatever opinions they want and I have no problem with that. I try not to get into any political discussions though, just to keep things comfortable.
The big issue on campus now is VSU, voluntary student unionism. The government wants to pass a law that will stop universities forcing students to join the student union and pay compusory fees. The students, for some reason, are vocally against this. They want to continue to force everyone to pay them fees. They say that this will keep things like discounted food, childcare, and other services available for students. It will also allow lots of people to continue making all sorts of political statements (invariably anti Howard, Bush, America etc.) while getting conveniently paid.
I can't wait for this VSU bill to pass already, I'm so sick of seeing their posters and protests and slogans written in chalk on the sidewalk proclaiming the end of civilisation if students are allowed to choose whether to join the union or not. Don't they have classes to go to, or papers to write?
Even the Labor Party agrees that forcing people to join a union is just wrong. (It's also against the international human rights treaty!)
On the other hand, stories like this about Australia's lefty teachers pushing their agenda on students really makes my blood boil.


New and exciting posts are soon to come.