Sunday, May 24, 2009

If I knew you were coming I'd have baked a cake

Our 11th wedding anniversary approaches. I've been looking for one of those fancy industrial-style mixers (Kenwood or Kitchenaid) for the missus. Don't worry dear reader, (a) this is something she really really wants - and quite possibly needs, and (b) the chances of her reading this are slim to none...

I saw one online at the website for Big Bucks, at a price that was ok-ish, comfortable payments, proper guarantee etc, and decided to go and pick one up from our local branch. I'd sort of assumed that the machine would cost a bit more in the shop, but "a bit" turned out to be 500 shekels. Eleven long years in this fair land have taught me some valuable lessons in the art of Not Being A Freier, especially not to the tune of 500 shekels, so I'm busy looking for Plan B. I've seen some nice ironing boards around...

Disclaimer: the bit about the ironing board was intended for humorous effect only, and should not be construed as accurately or otherwise depicting the relationship between Tim and/or Mrs Tim, or not as the case may be, hereinafterforetoward referred to as the Disclaimer.

Addendum: Mrs Tim has no idea what an iron is for, and Tim only does the ironing (a) in the winter and (b) when he can be bothered - i.e. effectively never)

Useful Tip: How to spot Tim - large number of tattoos, and badly creased shirts.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Voice. Over.

I occasionally get to do voiceover work (and would love to do more, as it usually offers quite good money for incredibly little effort).

This clip really struck a chord with me, having been more than once stuck in a recording booth listening to the wisdom of some bloke who has no idea at all what he wants, other than he doesn't want it to sound the way I'm doing it. William Shatner is king! Go Bill! Take 2!!

Back on the Moxypen

No, not me. Twin #1. She spent most of last year having recurring ear infections. On several occasions her eardrums actually burst. Prior to each event, she was in incredible pain from the fluid buildup. So we finally decided to put her through the operation to fit grommets in the eardrums. No parent wants a very small child to go through an operation under general anaesthetic, however light. On the other hand, it was hard seeing her in such pain, and needing a long potent course of antibiotics each time...

So for the last 6 months or so since the op, she's been absolutely fine. She started walking, and her speech improved dramatically. It's actually quite hard to get her to stop talking. Ah yes, she'll grow into a fine Israeli gal :)

Anyway, we thought the problems had come back yesterday, but the doctor said that the infections can still occur even with the grommets. It's just that they don't become so painful, with a high fever etc, and the fluids drain away rather than build up inside the ear. So the little 'un is now on a short course of Moxypen, which will hopefully clear up the problem.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I have to admit that the Wolfram Alpha thing is quite impressive.

It isn't the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything
It isn't Google
It isn't Wikipedia
It isn't really a search engine either, although you can sort-of use it as such

What it does do nicely is computation - mathematic formulas, comparison of statistics and so on.

As a trivial example, type in "weather tel aviv", and it returns in detail, not just the current state, but historical graphs and data.

Now try "us israel population" and you'll see some quite interesting comparisons of population data - not least that average life expectancy is better here in the "Holy" land.

Have a look at the box on the right hand side of their front page "New to WolframAlpha" and you'll see some more possibilities.

You do have to phrase your inquiry quite carefully, and there are some things that I'd expect it to know, but baffle the system completely. But I think this is certainly one to watch. I only wish it had been around when I was in high school. We were bloody lucky to have these new-fangled e-lec-tronic calculators when I were a lad...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I'm not well

Nothing serious. Just the usual colds that crop up around this time of year. Either I pick 'em up from work, or (more likely) the twins get 'em from kindergarten. The bug will then hop from twin to twin to Tim to Mrs Tim, and back round again until it gets bored.

So, as mentioned, it's that time of year, when Someone flips the switch, and the central coastal area of Israel is transformed from being pleasantly sunny and warm, to being unpleasantly hot and humid. It will mostly likely stay hot and humid until October-ish. I occasionally toy with the thought of moving somewhere a good deal drier - like Jerusalem or Eilat. In the end, the sheer convenience of the central area keeps me here - the opportunities for gainful employment are better, and it's nice to be close to the sea.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nigel wants to go and see Depeche Mode

Thus spake Attila the Stockbroker. Unfortunately Tim didn't get to go and see Depeche Mode.

Being in the radio biz (marginally), I sometimes get free tickets for gigs (examples: Tina Turner, The Australian Pink Floyd - who are actually very very very good), but this time I failed dismally. I also failed to get free tix for Paul McCartney. Sigh... *

Apparently the DM were very good - you can read Ashley's review and watch a clip.

It seems you can take in cameras to gigs nowadays. Maybe this is an Israeli thing. I recall the last time I went to a gig in the UK (Status Quo, if you must ask... my ex was crazy about them. Honest.) you weren't allowed to take in cameras, cassette recorders etc - presumably for fear of bootlegging. I guess these days the bands regard any free publicity as being a Good Thing.

* I also occasionally get free vouchers for Glida Frutti and Beit HaPancake (HaMekori). Not quite compensation for missing Depeche Mode or Paul McCartney, but hey...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The trouble with Israel

Have a read of this article which nicely explains why Israel is perceived as a pariah, while some other states, rather more deserving of the title - are not.

Have a read through the talkbacks at the end of the article, and despair...

Fortunately the world is not run according to the whims of talkbackers, otherwise we'd all be stringing each other up from lampposts.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Taken, but not stirred

I watched Taken with Liam Neeson. Fortunately it was a freebie on VOD.

Liam's acting was probably the best part of the movie, but the poor sod didn't have a whole lot to work with.

I won't share too much of the plot, and really there isn't too much to share. Basically Liam runs around Paris offing large numbers of Albanians and a few Arabs. Anyone with stagey foreign accent will do nicely.

I lost track of the body count at some stage, but take it from me there were a lot. Avoid, unless you like shoot-em-up type movies with minimal plot.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


If you're interested in knowing more about Israel, have a look in my Profile (over on the right). There is a list of exceptionally fine blogs there - all are recommended. This is a fascinating country that gets a shockingly bad press sometimes - mostly from people with limited knowledge of the place, or ill-formed preconceptions.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Been feeling crap of late (a number of tedious symptoms that I won't go into). The doctor gave me a fairly comprehensive set of blood tests in order to narrow down the cause. The only concrete thing I can see is that my HDL ("good" cholesterol) and total cholesterol are low.

Also my neutrophils are high as a percentage, and lymphocytes are low. I have no idea what this means other than that my body is fighting off some kind of infection. All the other factors she tested for are within the usual ranges. The doctor will hopefully have a better idea of what's going on when I see her tomorrow morning.

Ah, the joys of middle-agedness. I was reflecting with an old friend the other day, that when we first met back in the mid-80s our sole concerns were getting laid and where was the coolest bar.
Nowadays we spend most of our time discussing hereditary diseases and blood pressure medication.

I've just invented a new word, "nymphocytes", which sounds a good deal more entertaining than lymphocytes.

In other health noooooz, the pig flu panic seems to be dissipating. All in all, it was a bit of a damp squib, unless you happen to be one of the 150+ people killed by the disease. Here in Israel, we must apparently call it Mexican Flu, according to the deputy health minister (who is ultra-Orthodox). This edict is being widely ignored by the media.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Suddenly April Was Over

I noticed a message taped to a lamp post in Kfar Saba that simply said Happy May Day. Ah yes, May Day - socialism still lives on in someone's heart!

Given the current economic situation, with all the cash injections, kick-starts, stimulii, whatever, it seems that socialism is making a comeback. It's suddenly ok for governments to Do Something For The People, rather than flog off publicly-owned utilities and enterprises to the highest bidder. Sadly, I think this phase will pass. Once economies start to stabilise, and the rich resume their ever onwards pursuit of becoming even richer, I'm sure that Big Government will once again be regarded as a Bad Thing.

Incidentally, I have zero problem with people being rich - as long as it's genuinely through the fruits of their labour, rather from screwing the less-rich, or from dodgy tax 'avoidance' schemes and the like. And if you're truly rich (in financial terms, let's not touch on spiritual richness just yet), then consider yourself lucky, and pay up the taxes of your country - and stop moaning about it.

There's some kerfuffle in my country of birth (the UK) because people earning over 150,000 pounds a year will have to pay a marginal tax rate of 50% in future. Note - that doesn't mean 50% of their earnings. It simply means that the top chunk of their earnings over a certain level will be taxed at 50%.

The usual whingeing has started: it will drive away talented people, disincentivise people from working hard etc etc. That's fecking bullshit. If someone chooses to leave the UK because of the tax rate, more fool them. Frankly the top earners in the UK financial sector didn't turn out to be particularly talented in any case. Let them take their ineptitude somewhere else. There are plenty of more talented, lower paid people who would love the chance to take up the reins of running companies and organisations.

I well recall the captains of the newly privatised utilities racking up huge pay increases for themselves, on the basis that "we need to retain the best talent" and "these salaries are in line with those paid in the US". Well, get this. The UK is definitely not the US. It's a smaller country, with a population one twentieth that of the States. Lordy, why did we have to blindly follow the Americans?

Everyone Fecked Off To Twitter So I Started A Blog

And here it is.

The hardest part is choosing the domain name. Interestingly enough "" was free, there remains a chance that I'd have to explain it to some elderly person, and I really don't have the emotional energy for that.

So, here we are. I'll fill in the useful biographic details fairly shortly, but suffice it to say, that (in no particular order) I'm middle-aged, ex-pirate, tattooed, Christian, father of twins, working for an American SaaS company in Israel (no, you'll have to Google that, it's really not interesting), and to maintain my sanity I host two one-hour oldies shows on our local commercial radio station.

More anon.