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!


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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.

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 

"YOU FUCKING TOUCHED ME! YOU WANT ME TO CALL THE COPS ON YOUR FUCKING PERVERTED ASS?! I'LL CALL THE COPS, GODDAMMIT I WILL!!" 

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.