Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More Life Stuff

I'm still working on that post about the Gush Katif people I met. It's a good opportunity to practice writing exposition, which is the toughest type of writing to do. I've been listening to these recordings by Sol Stein over and over about how to produce decent stuff, and it's really a challenge. Makes you realize, when enjoying a "good read," just how many hours of sweat go into every paragraph.

In the mean time, I will regale you with tales of my own life, replete with unrefined exposition.

Over Chanukah vacation, I also ordered a desk. I got it on sale for about 400 shekels, which was a great deal for such a quality desk. When it came time to order, I had the choice of ordering it built or disassembled. The built price was 100 shekels more. That's a full 25% price hike, which I realized, after doing a cost benefit analysis, would wipe out my savings. So I figured, hey, I'm an engineer, so I can put it together, right?

"How long will it take for delivery?" I asked the clerk.

"Within five business days, garunteed."

I started to hesitate, knowing that I was leaving for my Negev tiyul, and wouldn't be back for another six days. But then I remembered this was Israel. When they say, "Within five days," that means you are allowed to start complainging and hassling them on day six.

"Sounds good. Five days then."

Two weeks later, it got here, disassembled as requested. I took apart the box and discovered, to my regret, that this was not just like one of those pop-together deals. THis was the real McCoy, with dozens of pieces of wood and hundreds of screws. I stared at the instructions for a full hour before making a plan of attack. I woudl have to number each board before beginning. Right now I've spent at least 4 hours working on it, and it's still not done. One of the problems is that I got it in order to clear off my desk, which is still really the same folding picnic table I bought when I first set up here. but some of the components end up buried on my desk, thus setting up a catch 22 situation. Can't build the desk without the screws and bolts, can't find the screws and bolts without being able to clear off my work table, can't clear off my work table without somewhere to put all the stuff.

Meanwhile, my apartment is full of numbered pieces of wood....


Let's see... the town of Ain Ganim was on the border between the tribes of Isachar and Menasheh as described in the book of Joshua. The Arabs took the name Ganim and transliterated it to Jenin, and it is today the capital of Islamic fundamentalism in Samaria. What's interesting is that we just read parashat Vayechi, whic describes the blesings Ya'akov (Jacob) gave to his twelve sons. These blessings correspond to the geographic locations of the twelve tribes who descended from these twelve sons. For instance, Ya'akov blesses Naftali to be a seagoing, involved in trade and commerce. Sure enough, they received as an inheritance the area of Haifa, the largest seaport in the Land of Israel.

Learned lots of other stuff too, but I'll save it for later.

Tomorrow: the desk!

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