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.