Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Israel and Its Lack of Organizational People Skills

I apologize in advance for the massive amount of cursing there will be here, but it's Israel's motto and I have to be as close to the source as possible. This is a post I felt was mandatory to put up in case anyone out there is curious how "sharp" and "friendly" Israel is. Don't get me wrong, Israel had a strong army (I would use "has" but I'll get to that in a minute), their medical department is top notch, and... that's it. Everything else is pretty much crap service unless you're their best friends or family of family of family, seeing as Israel is one giant Mob family that will rob and beat you senseless should you give them the wrong tone of voice.

Never in my life had I ever dealt with assholes who refuse to help, smart ass waiters who are allowed to be complete jerks and expect a high tip, and have a highly complex form of organization from the program itself and it's partners. Someone should honestly point out the flat out stupidity this nation seems to run on.

Customer Is, Was, And Will Always Be Right-- Unless You're In Israel.
This is a train of thought that is almost impossible for any Israeli to notice. This could be argued seeing as my parents are both loving that train of thought and have successfully managed to snag amazing deals out of this (furniture, cars, bills, etc) because it's a simple train of thought, "You want money? You want a lot of money? Appease the customer, and the money will flow." But not in Israel, in Israel it's "Take the deal, or leave it. Fuck you, because I run this convenient store!" And the amount of time I had Israelis yell at me is psychotic. Forget the whole "but they love you like family" bullshit because, like I said, unless you're friend of the family's family, then you're just dirt to them. In the literal sense since one time my mom slipped on a wet floor in the mall (with no sign stating the floor was slippery) and injured her back, not a single Israeli came to pick her up. And only AFTER she fell did they put the sign up. We could sue to our hearts content but Israel has the whole "fuck you" attitude, so I don't recall if we succeeded or not in that case.

Another example of Israel and it's lack of Humanity was how I was ordering lunch one day, and I always had this one waitress who practically became my friend due to the massive amount of time I went there for lunch and showed me which menu to pick up to order. The other day I go to the same restaurant where there was a new waitress, an older lady who looks bored with her life. She sees me picking up the menu and yanks it out of my hand and shoves me a shitty take out version of the exact same menu. This version was harder to read and I honestly wished I photographed it to prove my point, so after a few minutes of struggling to find the meal I already saw in the other menu, the woman begins to shout at me that I'm taking to long and should just leave. I argued back saying why can't I just look at the other menu because this one is too hard to read, so she yanks my shitty take out menu, throws it on the counter and shoves the other one in to my hand and mutters "Happy, princess?" I ordered my meal and left.

Fuck you, you're not getting a tip from me, you old hag.

The World's Best Army of High Schoolers 
Lies, lies, and more lies. Israel's foundation is that by the striking age of eighteen, boys and girls MUST join the armies; no ifs, ands, or buts. But here's the thing: eighteen. You're fresh out of high school, you're free form learning, and you're free from teachers hounding you night and day, and you're heading straight to boot camp. At eighteen the army has new recruits come in and take positions such as passports, visas, and new aliyahs (people who are moving to live permanently in Israel). Holy crap. I stated my story about my passport and why Israel is hell bent on my arrest (I'm cleared by the way, happy days after THREE YEARS), so when I handed my passport to a family friend to get it cleared we found it what was more or less the case why Israel was having the hardest time updating the computer.

So apparently, one of their solders, an eighteen year old one, managed to mistype my number. Mistype led to a mess up in the system which led to a mess up with the army and me. I have the paper, I'm legally in the clear, but it would be such a huge pain in the ass that come time I leave I have to be pulled aside, show the paper, answer a few questions and THEN bored the plane. I would much rather have it all done then and there. It really baffles me why it's so hard, in the digital age where everyone and their moms knows how to tweet and post a status on Facebook, to simply re-type my number in correctly. Israel is also known to be technologically advance, I should add.

Just Answer The Fucking Question!
Warning: lots of use with the word "fuck".
So this is geared more at my program and it's pathetic excuse that they call organizational adult skills, and really the bread and butter of this post. When we first came to the program they gave us cellphones to use in Israel because it's cheaper, however when it will come the time to leave (mine is Aug. 9 hopefully) I will need to return the phone. So today at a meeting I asked how the process of it goes; this resulted in everyone pretty calling me an idiot and saying so "obviously" that it's on my box in which I received the phone, and if not there then the website! DUH. Stupid twenty one year old American who interns at silly video games, how stupid is SHE? HAHAHAHAHA!

Allow me to show you why I asked this question because first of all, I ask questions because they, for the most part, have a huge purpose. I don't just pull this kind of questions out of the blue to hear myself speak:

First of all this, there are literally TWO numbers to call from! Which one do I call?! And it's not to the company, it's just the toll number to dial. So THAT'S not the numbers!

That's my number, I'm not stupid to call my own number.

Now THIS one was beautiful. There is literally SIX numbers to go by on that one piece of paper alone. And that small card on the right has FOUR numbers to work with. Yup! SO obvious!

So clearly the box has failed me, time to check the website! That should be easy!

That's the two pages it led me to when I clicked "Equipment Return", there is not a SINGLE phone line to contact.

I should check out the contact list, that should be helpful! I apologize here because this was when I lost hope in Israel and humanity.


CLEARLY just telling me which number to call is SO much work and me as an adult should be able to handle it just fine! I would say I would ask the main person in charge, but I did and what has transpired was the end result. I trusted her and she managed to successfully make me look like a freaking idiot for not understanding this rubix cube of numbers. So screw that noise, I'm going to call the head of the program as a whole, not Ricky. Hopefully I will get the proper response other wise I'm just going to throw this phone to the nearest hobo.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

April 6, 2012 - Passing Passover

Now I will say this, I haven't spent Passover in well over three years if only because my time was spent in the dark depths of the labs back at my college. Now that I'm in Israel, it only stood to reason I would finally celebrate it: Israel Style.

It was established in the beginning that I would be spending the break with my Aunt, after learning that my Grandma doesn't like the holidays and suddenly gets "sick" (an actual problem that exists, apparently). But from what I've heard, the people in Israel treat the Jewish new year and PO as if it's Christmas, ergo work places giving presents to their employees (some places at least, don't hold me word to it), and honestly I wasn't expecting anything big. Maybe a card, but nothing more. To my surprise, I got a gift card of 250 shekels from my boss (and in my stupidity, I mistook the expiration date as April 13 and not April 2013. Winner is me). With that sweet present, I finished my work and made my way to spend the weekend with the Aunt and Uncle. Again, like Christmas, you give presents to people... only not under a tree or anything botanic. With the help of my mom, I bought my uncle a CD and for the girls I bought them identical headbands (there was no way I was going to put up with the two arguing who's is better), with my aunt however, I went on the day of to the mall with a family friend's daughter to the mall so that I can pick up a bouquet of flowers for her as well as my aunt's mom (who was hosting me). While there we also picked up the headbands.

Totally like Christmas, it was jammed packed! Elbow to elbow, prices SKYROCKETING (honestly, 80 shekels for one bouquet?) and people pushing and shoving for the last item. People are crazy... so after helping my friend find some clothes and buying what I needed, I stopped by her place so I can FINALLY say hello to my second mom. We sat, chatted it up a bit, and caught up on several things, one of which was my friend's older brother who gave me what I consider the tightest hug ever since I came here. Like, spine bent in a weird way... might have something to do with him being incredibly tall now. He then made a dinosaur noise (it's... it's a long story) and left to play soccer with friends, at the same time I did meet his girlfriend, albeit very VERY briefly. Afterwards, I went back home so that I can change clothes and give the presents.

When I made it back to the apartment, I quietly opened the door and made it for my room (keep in mind, all of this taking place at my aunt and uncle's place). I quickly changed my clothes took out all the necessary presents. The girls finally found me when they heard the first floor bathroom in use and asked me their usual twenty one questions (with, of course, the predictable head butt that is the oldest one's version of a hug). I gave them their presents to which they both fell madly in love with and ran to my aunt, begging her to fix their hair according to the headband. With that done, I gave my aunt her flowers (the girls asked me if I had presents for my aunt and uncle earlier to which I said yes, but it was a surprise) and she loved them, and waited for my uncle to come downstairs so I can give him his present. We ended up driving while listening to the music on full blast. While driving, we Skyped call my mom to show her the crazy traffic that would only appear in Israel for Passover as well as wishing her a Happy Passover. I was already informed about the people we were going to, but I wasn't expecting what I got; the view was phenomenal and the apartment had a clean, modern, but home-y feel to it.

My aunt's parents were the sweetest hosts I've had the pleasure of meeting and apparently have already heard of me, to their surprise, I was speaking to them most of the time in Hebrew (the running theme of people from Israel is that only people from Israel can speak fluent Hebrew, the rest of the world is retarded when it comes to speaking Hebrew). I offered my help as much as I could to my aunt's mom before my uncle and my aunt's dad decided to show me the balcony. To which, again, view was phenomenal.

(...I seem to have lost the picture...)

After looking at the sight, we then went back inside when my aunt's brother and his wife and son (who was one) came. I was told that one of my aunt's sisters won't be able to show up because she is celebrating with her husband's in-laws, but I was alright with it because that saved the issue of which of the two they were calling (our name is the same). My aunt eventually showed up with her other sister (who's car was missing) and we all chatted a bit before heading to the dinner table.

My uncle stated it perfectly "It wasn't the Tower of Babel that got us mixed up with languages, it was the fifty Hagadahs".

What transpired was easily one of the more amusing PO I ever had in my life. I mean, sure I had my friend with me to make the night bearable and always managed to entertain myself, but this time there was something amusing about it. The running joke about PO which I'm pretty sure is in everyone else's household, is that there are more than ten different versions of the haggadah in possession... this house literally had ten different versions so between my aunt's dad reading from a sixty (that's right, 60) year old, Arabic haggadah, my two cousins shouting for the afikoman, my uncle sitting there talking about the death of Mac, me completely zoning out due to the amount of Hebrew I've never heard in my life (or if I did, had NO idea what it meant), my aunt's youngest sister yelling that her dad is using an ancient book, and my aunt's mom trying to be as calm as possible, we spent easily four hours trying to get passed Ma Nistana.

Once we passed one of the parts in the haggadah, as we were jumping back and forth with none of us having a single clue where we're suppose to be on, the girls got impatient and decided now was the perfect time to be as obnoxious as possible for the afikoman. The way they do it, or at least this is their train of thought of how things work to get things, is to take both index fingers, pushed them as hard as possible on both sides of their cheeks (the harder, the more insistent) while smiling, head tilting to the side, and in their squeakiness (not even cute squeaky, I should add) repeat "Bevakasha" which is "Please" in Hebrew. If you should say no, they will only repeat this with pushing in the cheeks harder, tilt the head more, move in closer, and raise the squeakiness of their voice. My aunt's dad (whom I'll just call Sir because that's easier to type over and over again) sighed and kept his cool the whole time, clearly he's use to this kind of shit, in which case, I applaud him. When he finally made it to the matza segment (and matza = afikoman) the girls went apeshit and were telling him-- more like demanding really, where he was planning on hiding the afikoman (by the way, the afikoman is a broken half of the matza during the dinner, one part stays on the dinner table, and the other gets hidden for the youngest children to go search. First one to find it gets a present, but in full honesty, all the kids get presents, so it's more for the pride of it, if anything), deciding to be helpful I asked the oldest if I could have a hug (she headbutts my stomach so her eyes are usually smashed into my stomach) seeing as my Aunt called the middle one over. It worked perfectly, so one headbutt later, the two girls went running off to find the golden cracker.

Several seconds later we hear yelling, shouting, and crying. Emerging from one of the rooms, the oldest one leaves crying her eyes out because the middle one was "cheating" by following her everywhere. So once we were able to calm them down (seriously, all of this over a freaking cracker that tastes like moldy cardboard box) they went back into the fray (it was honestly just those two) with the victor being the oldest, middle one coming in chiming that she helped. So those two, the one year old, and even the baby got presents (dollar store material if you asked me) that consisted of balloon making equipment, clay, and markers. I'll get into that in a minute because those three gifts truly were the highlight of the night.

The weird thing about the PO sedar here was that their train of though was that we should eat and enjoy the meal first, THEN read the haggadah (and those four hours of trying to figure out where the hell we were didn't count in the slightest... apparently) because your mind won't be on the food, but rather on the haggadah itself. While that makes complete sense (believe me, I loved that idea), it also ruins the whole point of why to even do a sedar. It's to relive what the Jews in Egypt had to go through so we can appreciate the meal. Once we finished eating (the meal was exquisite), the kids went off to play while my aunt fed the baby cousin. Which now brings me to their three gifts.

The oldest loves to draw. I found this out when she came running to me one day begging me to teach her how to draw (she heard her big cousin draws, why not get a proper lesson?) so when she she got markers, she started to draw a lot. The third youngest (the one year old), is still learning how to walk and grab at the same time, so as he walked over to her, he picked up her marker and began to make a run for it. Confusing her chasing for a game, he started giggling while clinging crazy hard to her marker, this resulted with the oldest one getting aggravated, which ended with her yelling and crying that he was stealing from her, not getting that he was simply learning how to run and grab. This was the less severe of the two stories that transpired.

I love play-doe, I think it's the best thing that the world has created. And if I like it, then it's only obvious that the girls love it as well. Oldest one was making a turtle and was proud of it, middle one was trying to imitate the oldest one, and out of boredom, I made for the both of them a rose (it's the only thing I remember how to make). Eventually I made my way to the dinner table to join the rest of the adults, cause the oldest one clearly wanted to use all the clay for whatever her artistic mind had in store. Sitting there while we were talking about who knows what (I couldn't keep up with what was going on between Sir reading and talking to himself and my uncle proclaiming that Mac is dead), the oldest runs to my aunt to show her her newest creation, she was really proud of it so my aunt smile and said it was fantastic. With the middle one though... she suddenly felt her creation wasn't as good as the oldest one (she copied to a T what the oldest one made) so she instead asked my aunt to fix it to match perfectly to the oldest one. And every single iteration my aunt did, the middle one threw a tantrum how it was nothing like the oldest one, she got too extreme regarding this that she just ended up taking it and smashing it into a multi-color blob, screaming the whole way about how she (my aunt) ruined the clay, how it's horrible, and so on. Her tantrum got so severe that she flew herself to the floor screaming profanity at the young age of five. My uncle went to her and tried to calm her down by she just screamed louder and shrieked that my uncle should go away and how she hated him (all this, mind you, for a freaking play-doe) we all were mortified by the behavior that my uncle and aunt decided to go with the ignore approach to show the middle one that that kind of action won't do her any good. Eventually my aunt's younger sister took care of the middle one that the middle kid calmed down for a bit.

Balloon Animals
This was the climax of the night, with the oldest one sitting on the reclining chair with my uncle on the balcony (did I mention how amazing the view was?) the middle one began to play with the balloon equipment, attempting to make simple balloon animals that she saw the oldest one do earlier. It screwed up and she started to throw fits of rage about it but we all thought it would blow over. My aunt's youngest sister, a make up artist, started to paint all the girls' finger nails as a tradition that it's to give good luck. So while the kids were doing whatever it was kids do, the guys just sitting around and chilling, us girls had our finger nails done by my aunt's sister. During my aunt's turn, the middle one stormed over to my aunt demanding her to fix the balloon animal, an attempt my aunt failed almost a half hour ago. She started off with "in a few minutes" but the middle one would have none of that and demanded it right then and there, so instead of dealing with her constant screams, she told her to go to my uncle. He knows how to.

He doesn't.

So when the middle one went to the balcony, where my uncle and oldest was cuddling under a blanket in a comfy chair staring at the view, my back was to the window waiting for my nails to dry. Shortly what happened later, not going to lie, I'm laughing right now as I type this; my aunt breaks out laughing incredibly hard. We all thought she finally lost her mind, but she pointed towards the balcony, tears streaming down her face, and I turned around out of curiosity. Lo an behold, my uncle, still in the chair with the oldest one cuddling up next to him, attempting to do an animal balloon and to his side, the middle one shrieking, face turning red, and veins nearly popping out of her neck. Everyone in the house couldn't help but break out laughing. She eventually stomped in holding a little piece of a balloon and yelling that her dad is ruining her life as well as the balloon and stormed out. Aunt's sister chased after her shortly when my uncle came in, slightly daze, and a smirk on his face. He holds the small remaining part of the balloon.

"Wiener dog."

And then we all couldn't stop laughing.

Tall Tales Part 1

Well, it seems we have hit the final countdown of this blog. Many stories left unsaid and many more to come. Time for me to nutshell things up!

While I haven't been the best at updating period, allow me to explain what happened within the four months that has happened that I personally witness without the need of a written document. I felt myself grow as an individual, I learned how to stand up straight with my head held high (granted I may have my sob moment where I just break down into tears and wonder why I hate the world and everyone in it), how to not let people rain down on my parade, and just how to overall handle myself in various situations.

I'll Show You How You Get Things Done.
At my workplace, I mentioned the new intern. All the guys (primarily the one guy that has something with me) love him and trust him with all of the technical work. Something I was working at doing. Eventually all my projects were stolen from me and given to the guy by practically everyone in the office, leaving me with nothing to work on. Now this is where the growth kicks in. After two months of not working, I finally went to my boss and told him that I'm reaching a point where I'm finding it hard to come to work when I have nothing to do. I want to stay for the remaining time I have here but at this pace I'm slowly loosing motivation. Understanding where I'm coming from, he goes to the guy who is constantly stealing my work and tells him my new project (which was to go around and interview all the people who work in the office and ask what it was like to work on the game, an idea I had the moment my boss asked me how we can promote our game more), the guy, naturally, takes my idea, gives it to someone else and tells me it's basically written and done. I don't need to work on it. Growth number two kicks in. With no more office work left, me and my boss decided I will be the one to handle the party and arrangements, because clearly none of the guys know how to do it (claims it's girly), so as "girly" as it was, I was the one in charge of the launch party at the beach, I e-mailed everyone important, called some others, arranged the area, set up the machine, wrote the invitation, and fixed up the xbox kinect all for the party. Suck. On. That. It was a massive success and I felt proud that everyone was there drinking, getting drunk, and flailing their arms around in front of the projector because of me. Not that stupid intern. Whom, by the way, left the party before my boss handed out to all of those who worked on the project 40% alcohol shots. The following day he started admitting that ALL American girls are drunks who drink beer at the early age of eighteen and that everyone in America actually drinks beer, this coming after one of the guys in the office was asking me why I'm not drinking beer, and there by not putting it on my sandwich. Sorry party boy, I'm no letting you get away with that. Can't really blame me for loosing my patience when this kind of thing goes on for more than three weeks, mainly after party boy here started working with us. So I snapped my head and, very calmly I should add, a very honest remark 

"I don't know what kind of slutty bimbos you slept with, but some women actually have class".

So the next time you think all Americans are drunken retards, remember my face and how I practically owned your ass.

My Roommates, My Program, My Self Esteem.
I don't want to go further into this topic considering this is nothing short of a giant angst fest, however said angst-fest has also led to my dramatic growth. Up until now I was handled like a little kid, ignored constantly, talked down to a lot, and sometimes even flat out yelled at. And I admit, this greatly hurt me. On the Fourth of July I was yelled at for being too dependent on others, which I knew for a FACT was a flat out lie seeing as I was on my own for the majority of the trip (save for the occasional visits to my family and family friends), I had to learn my mistakes the hard way, deal with angry Israelis (don't… get me started on that), and overall jerks who's head is so far up their ass it would put a yoga instructor to shame. At some point, I was even ignored by the RA (who is infatuated with my roommates, so by default he would side with her with everything) and was told it was my responsibility to take care of everyone else, especially my roommate and not him. The head of the program, while sweet, talked down to me when I told her about the situation. I did break down into tears and I was (am) cursing out Israel for all of it's annoying-ness they tend to have considering up to that point, it was almost two weeks straight of a brutal critique why "I'm a flawed human being and should be ashamed I wake up every morning". A handful, at best, of Israelis can shake my world and make me feel like I was acting silly for raging out on Israel, but you know what they say; the loudest ones are the annoying ones. No avoiding it, and not wanting to deal with it, Tel Aviv and all of it's programmies (mainly my group) can quite frankly, go and fuck themselves.

Thank you program, for making me age up at double the rate and still make me feel like I'm insufficient, as well as making me grow what is probably the strongest back bone known to mankind.

Multi-Culture Advocate
So a running theme in Israel (not sure if I mentioned this in a previous post) is that the moment Israelis hear someone speak in English, they will either do one of three things: 

1- Insinuate all English speakers as naive, stupid, Americans.
2- Insinuate all English speakers are speakers for Obama
3- Speak to you in nothing but English and get agitated when you stare at them as they mess up the word "ate" and "eight".

Fortunate for me, I can speak hebrew rather fluently kudos to my twelve years at a private Jewish school and my whole entire family being natives of Israel. However, being raised in the states, my grandma pointed out I have an accent when speaking hebrew… a very AMERICAN accent. Which resulted with me trying to limit my speaking whenever possible, the gods of language must have smiled down upon me whenever I opened my mouth because the first assumption Israelis think I'm from is either Spain or France, the latter being my favorite choice and my odd temptation to go around by my middle name 'Michelle'. In fact I almost admitted to being from France during one of my rare drunken escapade (bartenders are your bestest friends when completely shit faced and need a pick-me-up with three glasses of alcohol). Of course every now and again I have to advocate on behalf of America seeing as no one in my program is willing to and would love to see it up and burn to a crisp. Funny. In the States, I have to advocate for Israel and why it's worth defending, yet when I go to Israel, I have to defend the States from the continuous backlash it's "sister" country. But my favorite experience that has occurred so far in my stay was whenever someone, ANYONE, who isn't from the States, let alone Miami, would ask me a question or try to state a point, and asked for my take (those very rare occasions when asked a question), I would answer… You asked me a question, what kind of a response were you expecting?! Unless it was a rhetorical question in which case, for the purpose of not looking like a total bitch; STATE IT.  It wasn't until a few weeks ago where I just went "forget this crap!" and left it up for others to go at each other's throats. 

Make Way For Miami's Israeli Speaker!
And seeing as Israelis have a love/hate with America, me saying I'm from the States, and not only the states, but from MIAMI. OH LORD HAVE MERCY! Israelis would love it! To much of my roommates disgust, they would always introduced themselves as "England, she speaks BRITISH. Ohio, I'm AMERICAN. And that one… she speaks fluent Hebrew!" Yeah, not really much of a ground breaker when your in a country of hebrew speakers. It's kind of like saying "It's so cool that you can breathe on Earth that's filled with OXYGEN!" In fact, during one of our many trips, we went to a blind tour where we were literally blind for three hours. It was powerful, but that's digressing. The tour guide asked where we're all from, to which my roommate starts to show off how she and another girl from New York are Americans, South African, Australian, British… and then that one girl who speaks fluent hebrew. The guide asked me where I was from to which, at this point shamefully, muttered Miami. 

The man was shocked and started gushing how he wants to visit Miami and how it's the coolest state in America. 

The roommate tried to bring up how she's from Ohio and the other is from England, but the man gave two shits about it. Miami is, was, and always will be the hot spot, bitches! AND I just happened to speak Hebrew!

However when it comes to shopping, it's a whole different story. I figured if I speak in Hebrew, there will be less bullshit then usual, but here's the thing. The moment I slip just ONE mistake, they instantly know. Like sharks being attracted to blood in the ocean and know there's a meal waiting for them there, Israelis will start speaking to you English, no matter HOW much Hebrew you speak. You dropped your guard, and know they will have a field day with you in their somewhat broken English. Prepare the frustrations and constant eye rolls. And hope to God they're not informing the others that you're a foreigner. I understand that they love people who speak English because it gives them an excuse to speak English as well, but I can't help but feel that they are somewhat insulting me and complimenting me at the same time.

I'm Not Just Pulling This Out Of My Ass
It seems people here constantly forget that I came here not only to be an intern, but to intern at a Video Game company. Meaning lots and lots of computer work. Meaning you damn well better know the basics of the computer to work here. I sent in, what I think, is a pretty impressive resume from a certain stand point. Gotta start somewhere and all that jazz. I wrote, and constantly, that I have amazing organizational skills, a fast learner, and pretty skillful with the computer (say that to my updating skills Ba-Dum-DISH!) so imagine how annoying it is after a while that people STILL get shocked that I'm not some youngster idiot doing dumb things in Israel (okay, maybe I tend to do a lot of stupid things like crossing the streets when it's still a red light. Sue me!) and am actually pretty bright with things. With that said, with both work place and program, I figured that my way of thinking "actions speaks louder then words" goes into full blown affect around these people. 

We had a pitch party in my office a few days ago and a bunch of the guys gave me the chore of running around, collecting peoples' names, their pitch title, printing the paper and handing it out to them. Very 1950's but I did write I was very organized, when came time to the pitch party, I asked if I could go last (to my boss's humor, he made me second to last). The reason being was that when I saw the guys pitch (my boss being first) one of the guys quickly shot him down before his idea took off, and with each person, everyone tore their ideas down with why it wouldn't work and why it's broken. This mirrored my college experience too well to the point that I got nauseous and was almost having cold sweat. Memories of having to pitch under four minutes with a fancy presentation and such... I came here to avoid that trauma, and yet here I am smacked dab in the middle of it. When my turn finally came around, I took a deep breath, counted till five, and started.

I have to thank my college and my teacher, cause I'm truly their bitch forever.

I opened up by saying that I have no fancy presentations like the guys have, nor a drawing, or even a sketch good enough to be projected. Just a very simple idea I had running around for a while.

I sold the idea under four minutes like it was gold from El Dorado, these guys absolutely loved my idea and took off with it on how it's such an amazing idea that the idea practically became their own. The remaining six minutes was spent on how I thought up such a brilliant and unique idea, why I want the character to be a certain way (out of curiosity more so then a critique), and so on. They were amazed at how some random intern who almost does nothing but sits and does paper work can come out with an idea that, by their standard, is almost ground breaking.

A few weeks later, I took the new Intern's project (karma, asshole) and began to do sound and video editing like it was my second hand. The only thing holding me back was the pirated program the intern got that refused anyone from using it. The guys, again, were shocked that I was able to take a brand new program and within minutes use it like I have known it my whole life (...okay, so maybe I have used Premier before... it's been a while since I used it!), once again proving that my actions are louder. 

Helps to check out my resume the next time you need someone to do some technical work or fixing up an event.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 23, 2012 - The Office

Israel has finally finished it's holiday extravaganza, the winter has officially diminished, and the sun has become more brutal. So much so that if I sit in the sun for an hour, I'm guaranteed a sun burn of ungodly proportions and coming back from the local AM:PM is like coming back from swimming in the ocean. Soon jelly fish season will start and I will be unable to swim in the ocean (which I have learned, no body in Israel sees the beach as a swimming place and more of a mating place. Go figure.) so that leaves me the option of finding the pool, my goal is now to find the local Gordon Pool... in the sun... joy.

Life In The Office

Avenging Madonna
May 31, 2012
The fun thing about my work place is it's location. It's right across the street from the soccer stadium (where a few weeks ago was a soccer match between Tel Aviv and Haifa), and right next to the stadium is the Ayalon Mall. So when news of The Avengers came out, I had to go see it... of course waiting almost two weeks after it's initial launch in the States. Desperate to see the movie once it was released in the states, I asked around if people were willing to see it. Either they saw it already (via bootleg) or don't care. Luckily, my work place is filled with geeks. So I asked around and the programmer of the company agreed to see it with me because neither of us saw it while everyone else in the office have. We agreed on May 31 to see it together, completely forgetting that at the same time, there was to be a Madonna concert.

On the day of the movie date (honestly, we were seeing it as friends and nothing more, so don't get any ideas) while waiting for the clock to move forward, we heard her. Madonna, right across the street from us, was rehearsing one more time before her big show, and while I'm not a big fan of Madonna, I will say that it was beyond awesome to hear her and knowing that she was right across the street from me. The guys in the office groaned (apparently the last time they heard a singer rehearse was Justin Bieber, and that was brutal) but I found the amazingness of it all. Time passed, and I left for the mall, only having to wait for an hour for the programmer to come.

Once we bought our tickets (and him getting popcorn for the both of us), we took our spots they assigned us and enjoyed the movie for what it had to offer us (and yes, I was more excited for the movie then anything else. Also it was an amazing movie). Once it ended, he had things to do and I wanted to head home, we bid each other good night and left. Madonna made sure the block off the streets so I had to walk an extra fifteen minutes to the nearest bus stop when I heard her. And the shouts and cheers of her fans. I quickly took out my iPod and just recorded her song. What I FAILED at doing, was catching the end where she yells out to her adoring fans "SHALOM TEL AVIV!!"

We Made It Big
June 5, 2012

At my work place, we have officially launched the game I've been play testing. Meaning now I can state it's name, which is Mini Ninja Adventures for the Xbox Kinect (it's a download-only game). I was sitting in my space when one of the guys came in and was freaking out about the announcement. My boss, creative director (been having issues with him a bit), and my QA "boss" all flew out to L.A for E3 (a big event for video games) leaving a few amount of people. We all ran to the nearest computer (as for me, scooted my chair closer to my desk) to look at our website for the news and lo and behold; my website design was up and running. With big changes. I originally told them to lose the black and dark background in place of a brighter, cleaner, approach, all this basing off of the design of one website they really liked as well as telling them to put a video instead of a slideshow of pictures because people want something in their face, not something that requires them to sit and read.

What I got instead was almost a kick to the face.

We got their brighter background, as I instructed, and we got the moving graphics in the menu (again, something I instructed), but instead of a white, clean, and neutral color... I got a big fat graphic of the Mini Ninjas game. Okay, I showed them my design of a Mini Ninja-esque website to show at E3, but it was so in the face that I didn't know how to react. And the video... the video made me want to head desk so hard. When I asked who was the idiot that thought that the video was to be a slideshow of the pictures (which, by the way, COMPLETELY DEFEATS THE PURPOSE OF A VIDEO), one of the people in the office told me, in a very "obvious" tone, that it was the Creative Director.

I wanted to punch a wall.

Taking a deep breath and counting till 10 (a technique my aunt taught me when dealing with my uncle) I simply (really attempted) shrugged it off as a "heat of the moment" technical thing, we were already a month behind the deadline of the website so the day of E3 and needing a website, it made sense that the video was a complete pile of shit. When they came back two weeks later (after my own week off... that's in a video) we threw a huge party for the success of the game's launch and had sushi (to the disgust of one of the workers who helped me throughout the website ordeal... he was in China the whole week) and got some "swag". I got a huge T-shit, four buttons, and a sticker. To be perfectly honest, this is probably the closest I'll ever get to E3, and I cherish each item greatly.

www.sidekick.co.il (Website Name Just In Case...)

The New Intern
June 2012-Present
Prior to my Boss leaving for E3, he told me that we would be getting a new intern who was also from the states and he was to help us with the website because he knows how to code and program websites.

About. Time.

If this meant that I didn't have to deal with those idiots back at the website company ever again, then I'll be happy forever. I will admit, at first I was a bit jealous that my Boss brought in someone new and probably more useful than an art student and will get the best out of this guy, but I shortly found out why he told me. It was because I was about to work and almost be this guy's boss. I did the creative design of the website, and I needed the tools... now comes this guy who knows the tools but not the design, meaning he will need me to tell him what I want to see on the website.

So now that the guy is here, I found out who he was and the one thing we had in common (aside from both of us being from the states and are only here because of a Jewish program) is that we both worked with UDK. And I can only say that when he brought it up, THAT felt like I was finally reunited with an old friend. Up until that point he would only come up to me and talk to me about how drunk he was and all the bars he goes to... something that is completely far from my interests. I already deal with drunks in my own program, I sure as hell didn't need it in my internship. So when he slipped that he worked once at UDK as an intern, I finally found something to talk to him about. And we would spend hours talking about it and how it's amazing.

I stated earlier in my entries that when I came to work and seeing everyone talking about Maya and Photoshop felt like home for me, having someone to talk to about UDK was walking through memory lane. Memory lane without the anger I felt when I got the e-mail from my professor. It was only the good times I had with it, the struggle of textures and such. Finally was someone I could talk to about and share stories about the time UDK crashed, or how much of a pain it was to transfer textures... but the end results was the same, and the sensation of joy that we created something with our own hands.

But all things must come to an end, cause every time I tried to bring back UDK, he would go back to talking about the arak, to my annoyance. I finally bit the bullet and asked how old he was (I know, I know, hypocrite move of me) because this was a conversation I needed to clear up to understand why he was so hell bent into talking about alcohol. Turns out he recently turned twenty, and the legal age in the states is twenty one where as in Israel it's I think sixteen.

Totally. Freaking. Sense.

It was his first time being "legal" and he's here until August, so why not take the most advantage of it? Once I understood why he was constantly insisting talking about bars, I broke the news to him that I simply do not care about the bars in Israel and would much rather focus my money on food and clothes as oppose to taxi rides, club fees, and alcohol.

Still, he's a brilliant guy and helped getting the website ready. I... did butt heads a lot with the Creative Director because I wanted certain things on the website where as he wanted to add more chaos into it. God bless my Boss for intervening and leaving the website's life in mine and the Intern's hands.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24, 2012 - Webisode One, Mickey's Debut!

Other wise known as "Why it took forever for Mickey to upload a new journal entry." It should be noted that it takes forever to edit videos. It was worth it, so expect more!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Angry pt.2

The World's Worst Drivers
I've seen it first hand. I've seen the psychotic-ness of Israeli drivers. And he takes the form of my dad. Ever since I was little, my dad was the type who drove in very fast and very jerky manner. I mean, he's a safe driver and hasn't killed or run through anything, and he's always the one driving on trips, but when there's road rage. He's the epitome of it. It was during a drive back from the dentist when we encountered really bad rush hour when he nonchalantly comments "This is why I wish I had rockets attached to the car. So I can blow them up and drive right through..." I joked about how I would just use a flying car to which he goes "...A flying car with rockets."

So imagine my reaction to the crazy Israeli drivers that roam the sidewalks. My mom even pointed out that she would never be caught driving in Israel BECAUSE of said crazy drivers. While my dad simply mutters with annoyance, occasionally honks, and grunts in frustration, Israeli drivers are like that. Only a million times worse. Ranging from trying to run me over, claiming it's their right of way even though I'm the one with the green light and they are the ones on red, and god forbid actually using the the sidewalk. Israeli drivers, are, bar non, the worst things to have happened in Israel. There is nothing good about them aside from road rage. In fact, Israel is the only place where if you fender bender someone, it's perfectly normal, but using the crosswalk to get to the other side of the road? You're just being selfish and stupid.

One night after Ulpan, a bunch of us were heading to the bus stop to take from home (you could walk and it would take roughly the same amount of time), we looked to see if any cars were coming our way but it was almost a dead street, as we were walking, we noticed a car coming by, and we were thinking that it was probably going by the speed limit. Until we heard it stepping on the gas pedal, causing the engine to roar. We whipped our heads to the car and noticed it was speeding at a dangerous speed and aiming at us, not even thinking twice we ran for the side walk and jumped as fast as we could away from the car. What basically happened was the same treatment we were giving to the stray cats, only instead of kicking with our feet in the air, the car tried to run us over. 

Israelis' also don't believe in the concept of turning around for anything. Like backing up. The building where I work, as mentioned before, is on a street of nothing but car shops, so naturally there will be a lot of cars going in and out either backwards or forward. So when I'm walking, I usually have to keep 100% attention to where everything is, because all the cars love to backup and not even look behind themselves, I got bumped, honked, and yelled at for walking by them and for yelling at them to watch where they're going for once in their stupid life. One day in particular I was coming back from the mall to grab some food (something other than pasta) when I noticed there was a lot of traffic. Meaning I can walk between the cars without the fear of being ran over, if I went quickly enough. As I was making my way through, I see a car ZOOMING at me (convinced it's the same guy who's trying to run me over or back up into me) when he screeches and honks, his window being rolled up, I only hear the muffle yells from his angry red face. I turn around and just shrugged at him. He shouldn't be driving like Evil Kanevil and expect me to move out of my way for him. And there isn't exactly a big enough sidewalk. In fact there's only ONE sidewalk. And it was the one I was trying to get to avoid people like him. He zooms to the building I pass by, slams the door open and proceeds to yell to a stranger about "THE STUPID FUCKING [word too vulgar to be online] WHO HAS THE FUCKING HEADPHONES!" Although in my defense, the headphones were around my neck so I can hear the honking. So I smiled, flicked him off, and made my way back to the building where I work.

Hey, when in Rome...

And speaking of sidewalks! Scooter and Motorcycle riders. They believe that just because the vehicle they are riding is two wheels and in the open, justifies the reason why they are allowed to ride the sidewalk like a normal cyclist. I get honked at for being on the sidewalk and blocking their way. Any other time, if it was in the movies for example, I would think it's cool that they defy the law and ride on the sidewalk. This isn't the movies and it sure as hell is a pain to hear them honking and yelling at you to get out of the way. Granted, their yelling is just them putting more pressure on the gas and the smell is a dead giveaway, but never the less. Nothing is safe and everything is trying to run you over.

I honestly believe if we send the Israeli drivers to war, preferably in their own cars and guaranteed with full on road rage, we would win hands down every time. Every time.

Kids, Shut Up!
From what I was told, parents put their kids on pedestals. And who can blame them? It's their flesh and blood, it's their livelihood, it's their branch to the ever growing family tree. Any parent around the world, no matter what, will always look at their kids at theirs. Now what makes Israel's kids different is the fact that they are, to put it bluntly, spoiled. They get everything by throwing a tantrum, calling their parents stupid, disobeying authoritative figures (e.g. teachers), and basically thinking that the world is theirs and there by they deserve everything. It could be theirs, if they knew the right tone of voice to use. But sadly, they don't, and they look like a great big bag of crap while doing it. To put it in perspective, if the show "Keeping Up With The Kardasians" married "Toddlers and Tiaras" and had a love affair with "Jersey Shore", that would basically be Israeli kids. In the states (or any other country in the world for that matter) had spoiled kids, they wouldn't take it, they would punish them (be it physically or vocally) and nip it at the bud. Parents are your friends, but you had to know the line which not to pass; refusing the chore you were given was right there a sure guarantee for a scolding. Calling them stupid, idiots, and telling them to stop being parents however? That was earned with a nice smack and a "go to your room and think what you've done." 

I experienced the spoiled kids with my cousins for the few times I was around. The oldest one played this online game constantly, ever since I came to Israel, she was caught playing that game and would cry her eyes out whenever she was told to stop playing. Neither of the girls would listen to their dad and would blatantly ignore him when he called their names, showering the newborn with affection. I figured it was them being sisterly and loving the new born, but at one point it got way over board. The middle child just follows what the oldest one does, and the oldest one is spoiled rotten.

One day I was changing clothes, (had to go to the bathroom because she practically stole my room to play her online game), I hear the youngest one is crying like crazy with my uncle trying to calm him but needing to do other things. The middle child was trying her best to help my uncle out while he was calling for the oldest one to come and help as well. The sisterly affection thing, I pointed out earlier. She didn't even bother saying "what", so when my uncle told the middle one to get her, she went into the room and told her to come out and help, still, ignored. My uncle then put the baby down, and told the middle one to keep an eye on him and to try to cheer him up while he went to scold the oldest. What ended up happening was him threatening to take her computer away and her bawling her eyes out, begging, not to have the laptop taken away, as if child services came to take her kid. So when my uncle ask if she was going to help and actually answer him when he asks for her, she answered back:

"I don't have to... stop it dad."

Laptop privileges revoked. Hysterical crying ensued.  

Don't get me wrong, the middle child has her moments as well, but they aren't as severe as the older child, usually the whines from the middle originate from an action the oldest has done. The worst she's done (from what I've seen) was her trying to clean the tent one picnic and the oldest didn't do anything, so the middle one, feeling unjustified, begins to yell at the top of her lungs about how her parents are worthless and aren't helping her. When the dad and mom insist she's doing a wonderful job, the middle one just simply yells and cries. I'm guessing she would rather see the older one do her fair share over her parents' approval.

Doesn't help that across the street from me there a family with, what I assume, a single mom and three kids. They look roughly the same ages of my cousins, and are bad, if not worse. One night I was dreaming I was on a train touring Switzerland, it was nice, coach, and very luxurious, when suddenly the room points focus on a little girl screaming at the top of her lungs as she is holding on as long as she can to the carpet so as not to fly off the train to the barbed wire for tracks below as the female train conductor came yelling at the girl in a language I couldn't understand as the girl screamed louder, crying. I got scared, I had no idea what was going on and jolted myself awake with the scream of the conductor and the girl still going on. But I wasn't dreaming? How is it possible that I still hear them? I shuffled out of my bed and to the source of the sound which was by my window and lo and behold. The woman (conductor) yelling, holding the baby in her arms and the middle child on her leg, while the (what I assume) oldest is yelling and crying at the woman. The subconscious works in weird ways. One of things I noticed was in my dream, I didn't understand the language they were speaking in, but looking at them, I realized they were refugees, and were speaking the language of their homeland. The mom was yelling at the boy and walked in big strides to him as the kid ran another ten feet away from her, keeping a distance between them. He then came running back and proceeded to smack his mother with his hand until the mom yelled (I admit, I was terrified myself) and the boy ran again, only five feet instead of ten). They stared at each other as the middle child stayed by his mom when the oldest charged at them and proceeded to whip them (and by extension, the baby she was holding) with his blanket. Fortunately, the mom caught it in the first swing and with one powerful tug, yanked it out of the boy's arm and did a gesture I thought was extinct in Israel:

She raised her arm up, clearly ready to bring it down hard.

The boy cries, and runs away as fast as he can as she takes quick stride hand still ready to collide with the child's face, calling the middle child to follow suit so she can, what I assume, take them to school (their school bags was a give away).

But with every bad kid, there are good ones. One of the people's kids at my internship came by twice since I was here and both times she say quietly watching whatever movie her dad had at the time. She had amazing taste for she picked Mary Poppins over a Barbie movie, resulting with her dad going "Again Mary Poppin?" She just nodded her head, grabbed a coloring book, and proceeded to watch and draw at the same time. And then there's my baby cousin, I mentioned him before in a previous journal how his smile and laugh can steal your heart. I just hope he retains that good nature as he gets older, only time can tell.

See you guys in my next journal entry.

"Don't Panic."
     -Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Good, The Bad, and The Angry pt.1

Israelis: notorious for being loud, crazy, selfish, and yet motherly and welcoming. It has been now almost two full months since I've been here and I still get shocked by the behavior I receive from the folks of Israel. Israelis have their own "knack" of showing who they are towards their fellow man, and most of the time, they are just really really pissed off. And who can blame them? When half the world hates them and the guy right next to them is cursing their mother for cutting him off at a green light, and yet when the time calls for it, they can join hand in hand as friends like nothing happened. Until the bastard decides to walk in the middle of the street while the other is doing 90 in a 20 mile zone trying to beat the unbeatable red light.

I already discussed the amazing capabilities of Israeli way back in the beginning regarding the awesome flight crew helping me find my passports, but I've never gone into full details about the remaining citizens. I was planning on writing about them with each journal entry, but then it would have become a common motif if it happens daily, so I thought "why not do a whole journal entry about them?" and as I was writing down the pros and cons of them: it filled up two pages.


Meaning two journal entries about people. That's two pages why I think that the American style of raising a kid is a MILLION times better then the Israeli way, two pages why the elderly truly and royally piss me off and I completely respect my dad's job, and two pages of the behavior the Jewish Nation has and why I think they are the most brilliant, yet stupidly messed up nation and how it's truly a miracle we are surviving as long as we are doing it.

Obey The Elderly. 
The elderly people here are weird. REALLY weird, like, not even comedic weird. I always heard fun (or really interesting) stories from my dad about his patients and how some of them can either be the sweetest, the funniest, or the scariest (one story consist of a patient threatening my dad with a shotgun. Don't hold me word to it) so I was expecting some odd behavior from them.

And odd behavior I got!

April 4, 2012
The night before I was working on a huge presentation that I was to present to the company in regards to an updated website, and as an artist (hate that word), how I would make it better to get more people to look at the website. I'm OCD, so I was up till three in the morning coloring each page (roughly ten slides in the presentation) and double checking my typos. I have my alarm set to eight each morning so I can start my day and have time to eat and fix my bed, but today was the one day I decided "screw it" and just changed, washed up, and left for the bus stop. By the time I reached my bus, I put on my headphones and drifted off for a quick snooze, seeing as it was a thirty minute bus ride and today the bus was being extra slow, meaning it was a forty minute bus ride. When I woke up to see where I was (and remember, only five hours of sleep), I was thrown off to where I was that I hopped off my chair and went to the front of the bus in hopes to ask the bus drive to stop to see if I can get off. I go to the driver and said "Slicha" ("sorry" in Hebrew) when I felt a shove and an old man (roughly 70 by the look of him and his cane) glancing at me. I was holding on the rails of the bus so I wouldn't fly to the back seeing as the bus is jerky (balance is non-existent), and I was already unbalanced enough as it is. The guy then proceeded to scold me:

"Sorry? SORRY?! Do you see us?! We're here waiting, who do you think you are? Just because you said sorry you automatically assume you're PERMITTED to go in front of us?"

He then proceeded to smack my hand off the railing and yelled at me to go to the back of the bus. I was completely thrown off as to what the hell just happened that I couldn't retort back to him. I did find out however, that I was just reaching my stop, and it was just my exhaustion that threw me off.

April 5, 2012
This was a day after the bus incident, but it didn't ruin my whole day, because today was the day I presented and was on cloud nine. So I went to celebrate by going all out and getting a great dinner, which consisted of salmon, salad, and delicious bread. I also decided to buy some cake as a treat for myself. So my hands are getting full (as I went to get some milk as well seeing that I had enough for a half a cup of it) and I waited for my bus to arrive, the amount of people on there was insane, there were so many people.Luckily I found a spot where a woman placed her groceries on the chair next to her. Sitting across from her, I did the same thing and both of us enjoyed the ride home. I learn my mistake last time: and that is to NEVER sit in the front, so I made it my business to always sit in the back. Hilariously enough, all the youth (up to ages 30 something) are in the back while orthodox and elderly were in the front.

Of course, that one old lady HAD to come to the back. Because the front was too empty (a handful of elderly folks were there). There was so much room in the front, that the lady (who was in her late 60's early 70's) had to shove my groceries onto my lap so she can sit. Not even in the back am I safe from the wrath of the walkers, the lady I sat across from gave me a "sucks to be you" look. As revenge, I got off early to made the old lady stand up and move. Giving her some exercise and what not.

April 23, 2012.
This is where I draw the line to the elderly (or as my mom gladly pointed out, bus riders), left work early so I could meet with my Ulpan group to watch live in theater "Fiddler on the Roof", so I was in a bit a time crunch and looking for the bus. When one of my buses arrived, I was trying to make my way through, but a sea of people came pouring out of the doors like fishes being free from a net. As such, the swarm pushed me a bit further away from the doors and more to the front where and old lady decided she was more important and the life of her fat-ass outweighed the needs of the youth...

...and shoved me to the front of the bus. 

Thank God the bus wasn't moving, otherwise I would've been a goner. But I had it with the old thinking they are the best and are stupidly rotten spoiled (like the kids, which I will get into), and the Israeli mentality officially pissed off the American in me, so I did the most patriotic thing imaginable:

I shoved her fat ass into the back of her bus she was running to*. 

I then climbed into the overly packed bus and made my way to the theater. The show must go on, after all. 

Being already in a pissed off state of mind, I got off at the wrong stop, a fifteen minute run but nothing too bad. I stopped for directions of any sorts when I came across to old ladies. Again, being pissed and nearly killing one not a few moments ago, I bit the bullet and asked if they knew where the theater was.

"Oh! You're going to see Fiddler on the Roof too?" One of them asked.
"Uh... yeah. You know where it is?" I replied
"Yes! We're actually on our way there now, come join us!" The second on piped in.

The walk there was pleasant as I chatted with the two older women. They figured that my sense of direction (not my accent) gave me away as someone not from Tel Aviv, so I replied that I was from Miami. "Ah, so you really AREN'T Tel Avivian!" one of them joked, they then proceeded to ask me what it's like and what on earth I was doing so far away from home. I explained (to the best of my abilities) what my program was about till we reached the stairs to the theater. I thanked them for the walk and both of them smiled and said "No problem, enjoy the show and your time in Israel."

Okay, so not all of the old people are asses. Just those riding the goddamn bus.

The Rules of the Bus
I mentioned this at one point on Facebook during my travels on the bus (in fact, you can almost be guarantee some form of shenanigans while I'm on the bus) but I have picked up on several unspoken rules on the bus.

1- The front belong to the elderly. Touch it, and be prepared to get the scolded stare the whole bus ride. 
2- Don't EVER go in front of the elderly when trying to get off the bus, because that's just being a dick. 
3- If you were in the front, get behind them, because they don't take to kindly to young whippersnappers who are ahead of them. 
4- Don't bother apologizing. You're going to fly, and crash, into every single person the moment the bus starts when trying to find a spot to sit.
5- There's a 99% chance that anyone who is on the phone is using a Nokia. The default ringtone is bound to go off.
6- On special occasions, you get to meet really interesting people on the bus e.g a Rabbi playing Angry Birds on his smart phone or an angry drunk that would put Rush Limbaugh to shame.

Unlike the elderly, I can't remember the exact dates but the stories I can tell from there... oh the stories...

The Drunk
It should be pointed out that the majority of the bus tales are usually spanned from to and from work, seeing as I usually walk everywhere when I'm in Tel Aviv. So during one of my trips back from work, I waited at my usual bus stop waiting for it to arrive with a bunch of other people when I noticed a few... interesting characters. One of them looked like a lost old man, another looked confused, and one was stumbling around and talking to them. I naturally chalked it up to the three knowing each other, otherwise how else would they all look terribly lost and confused? When the bus arrived, a bunch of us climbed aboard and swiped our cards to the bus, the only available spot on the bus was somewhere near the front, and a few sketchy places in the back, luckily there was only on old lady but she was no where near me. The stumbling man climbed up as well, tripping everywhere and proceeding to converse with the bus driver, I decided to tune him out because, again, I assumed that this guy was just a very, very, VERY talkative people-person. The bus started and the man flew in a stumbling manner to the back. I wish I was more observant earlier because I didn't know he was holding a bottle in his hand when I heard a couple of feet rushing towards where I was. I looked up (I was listening to my ipod) and noticed two girls quickly taking the two vacant seats in front of me and looking scared, so I naturally turned around to see why they did what they did, and noticed that the stumbling man was nothing short of a raging drunk, yelling at the two girls, and shortly after the remaining women in the back who followed suit shortly later to the front. With no women to yell at, the drunk proceeded to "sing" at the top of his lungs mizrachi music. If anyone out there knows me well enough, they know I can not STAND mizrachi music if only because it sounds like dying cats to me. On top of that he sung off key and as a drunk so the combination was less than stellar. Eventually we reached a bus stop and the drunk fell off the bus and we drove on, not talking at all about what transpired.

Fem Fatal
Again, on the bus on the way home listening to my music. We were a smaller group this time around, a handful of old people, two rabbis, a woman who looked disgruntled, a business man with slick back hair, some Tel Avivians, and myself. We were reaching at one of the many bus stops for people to climb up and on when the business man (who sat all the way in the back, three rows away from me) proceeded to climb down to get to his stop. With the bus being jerky enough as it was, he stumbled a bit and missed grabbing the bar and ended up grabbing the disgruntled woman's shoulder. He quickly apologized for his action but fell it on deaf ears as the woman proceeded to scream as loud as she can 


Everyone froze as we stared at the woman yelling and shouting, the bus driver quickly shut the doors so as no one can leave or enter and looked through the mirror to see what the commotion was about. I pitied the business man because he honestly had no idea what was going on, he whipped his arms up like how the police would force you to be and with eyes widen in confusion. He glanced around at all of us as to help him comprehend as to what the hell just happened. We all stared back on the same level of confusion. With the arms up, and keeping a good distance from her, he apologized: 
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cause you such distress." the woman puffed and cruelly retorted with a pathetic "whatever" and crossed her arms, not even looking at the man who was giving a sincere apology he never had to do in the beginning. He looked at the bus driver who simply shrugged and opened the door, all of us knowing who was the real ass of the day. As he went through the door, he quickly turned around and calmly said the final word to the lady.

"I'm truly sorry, and have a wonderful day." 

Leisure Suit Pervert
About a few weeks ago, I was at my bus stop from work with a bag of drinks consisting of both milk and chocolate milk while drinking a small travel size version of ice coffee. I plugged in my headphones (you notice the running theme with me and buses, right?) and simply waited when I saw a man strolling up. I didn't pay much attention to him as I was drinking my ice coffee, but I did catch him glancing at what was in both my grocery bag and what I was holding. He proceeded to word something and staring at my direction so I pieced two and two together and realized he was talking to me. I paused my ipod and took off my headphones and asked him to repeat what he was saying.

"Which bus goes to the Ben Gorian Airport?" he asked, albeit very quietly that I had to ask him to repeat twice.
"Um... I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure you can ask the bus driver?"
"Ah, you see I'm going to the airport." He repeated
"Yeeeeaaaahhh.... ask the bus driver, he should know." and with that, I put back my headphones and resumed listening to my music.

Again, his mouth was moving and he was looking at me. I sighed and gave up the attempt to listening to my music and once again took off my headphones. I asked him to repeat the question and he pointed at my grocery bag and asked if he can sit there. Not one to start up trouble for something silly, I moved my bag and allowed the man to sit. He stared at me for a few minutes while smiling (fun fact: I loathe when people stare at me, smiling, and not say anything for a long period of time) and dropped his Q&A act.

"I wanted to start a conversation with you." He said, still smiling and looking at me.
"Oh...kay...? Why?" Stupid move on my part.
"Because you're cute."

This threw me back a bit, seeing as I normally don't get called "cute" or any form of flattery from the opposite gender. Excluding my dad and male relatives in the family, no one has openly told me I was cute (except my ex, but that doesn't count). I thanked him for the compliment and honestly felt flattered by this, but what he said next removed the flattery feel to quickly defensive.

"Are you 18?" What. No one, and I mean, NO ONE ever simply asks if one is eighteen, usually you go around with "how old are you?"  or the gentleman's approach by NOT BRINGING UP ONE'S AGE. ESPECIALLY if they're females! I looked at him and very quickly, and angrily, I replied with a no, he brightens up and eagerly goes "SIXTEEN?!" wearing a Cheshire Cat smile. 

Fan-freaking-tastic. I'm dealing with a pervert. And not just any pervert. A pedophile, Just my luck.

With even more rage, but holding back all my anger, I say no, and it gets worse, cause he goes lower to the point of fourteen. When I told him he was no where near my age, he frowns and goes "thirty two?" I decided to be an ass and make the pervert keep guessing as I glanced around looking for people who are older and stronger should things go sour. I found two built guys roughly in their twenties and a mother with a child. Not bad, in case I need to scream. He finally guessed my age and went on to ask another question. "Do you have a boyfriend?"

I lied and said kinda yes.

His disgusting smile came back and he goes "Ah, but you said kinda. So you don't." I was quickly thinking of the description of a guy I know while mixing some traits of my dog when the bus finally showed up. I scowl and say I do have and made a mad dash to the two built guys and tried to hang around them as the pervert made his way closer to me. The doors open, I ran in, swiped my card and made it for a spot that was filled with people, leaving no room for the bastard to sit anywhere near me. When the bus began to movie, I looked to see that standing at the stop, and not in the bus, was the pervert. He wasn't riding the same bus I was. I sighed in relief, put on my headphones, and enjoyed the rest of the ride home.

The man was somewhere in his late thirties, early forties.