Archive for Personal

Under Construction

under-construction

Okay, despite the low readership here and despite the fact that I have no idea whatsoever how to promote this blog, I’ve purchased hosting services at bluehost.com and will soon move this blog from its wordpress servers to my own personal domain. The address remains the same, only this time it won’t be a redirect to https://obsessedwithreality.wordpress.com

The new site will simply be on my original domain: http://obsessedwithreality.com or conversely, http://www.obsessedwithreality.com (I think. I’m sure about the former, though).

I’m planning to add at least one important plugin, and that is the comment subscription plugin. I bet most people never return here after they comment because you can’t subscribe to comments. So I’ll be adding a plugin that allows email notification to all commentators here.

I’d also like to try promoting the blog somehow, but since this isn’t exactly a business, I’m not sure what will be a legitimate way of doing so. I just write about biology, atheism and deaf people, it’s not like I’m trying to sell a product.

Anyone got any ideas?

I’ll update more during the week (it takes about 3 days for the registrar to update my DNS’s, so this means that I can’t really do anything yet until Wednesday).

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Vacated!

A much needed vacation is afoot.ย  This weekend I’ll be chilling with my gorgeous missus in a cabin for two in a beautiful mountainous village (or as we Israelis call those modern hamlets: “Moshav”) on the western Galilee. Any Christian readers this blog might have will actually recognize the name, since it’s the region in Palestine Jesus of Nazerath originated from (I bet ye for’ners din’ know that Nazerath is still a city in modern day Israel). The missus was kind enough to correct me that it’s actually a place near Kinneret, the Israeli chief fresh water lake and favourite pissing pot.

I’m taking the laptop (too attached to it), but I doubt it there’ll be wi-fi, and even if there will, I’ll be too busy snoozing in the jacuzzi with my blessedly bathing-suited babe of a girlfriend.

Too bad I have two days of hardcore studyin’, trainin’ and workin’ to do before that. I promise to post some pictures (not just beautiful landscapes, but some of the smoochin’ couple, too).

Ignorance isn’t Bliss, Lack of Introspection Is

Frankly, this is something that’s been nagging in my head for some time now (due to stuff that’s happening in my personal life, and thus aren’t particularly interesting enough to post about). I’m saying “frankly” because I’m not sure how to phrase the idea I’m talking about in an interesting way, but I’ll give it a try, anyway.
I had a chat with the missus today about how miserable I get because I’m constantly aware of how inferior I am all the time. This is, I told her, not an indication of superior intelligence, but only of a bad habit of over-comparison with everybody else. It’s a dangerous occupation I can’t rid myself of, and it brings me my penchant for horrible, incapacitating moods (that’s okay, I only have them when no one’s watching, which is most of the time ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

I’m well aware that there are people out there who are beyond ecstatic on a perpetual basis, and for some reason, the fact that I run faster or have a bigger vocabulary than theirs does not shatter their jubilance in the least. When I was (an even more) arrogant adolescent, I viewed this apparent imperviousness as stupidity or ignorance. This was sadly disproven when I noted that people like that are my vast superiors in many respects, and it further pestered me that even “idiots” can beat me at my own game.

Well, needless to say, I was using the wrong paradigm. It’s not that they were idiots, they just didn’t bother as much as I did (and do) with comparative introspection. The truth of the matter is that I will be a much happier man if I just “lightened up”, but I really can’t do that. It’s my eternal quest for scoring more points than everybody else that seems to propel me to do greater things, and without that, I really don’t know if I’d push as hard as I do.

This doesn’t mean that I’m afraid I won’t be as successful (I’d probably be more) if I stopped sizing myself up all the time, but the fact remains that I can’t stop, even though I want to.

Can I do research?

I know I’m only a biology undergrad, but I can’t help thinking that I might not have what it takes to be a researcher. Am I creative enough? Smart enough? Innovative enough? What does it take? Can I get a clue now before I spend 10 years on my life pursuing a career I won’t be any good at?

Adding a new page: ” Quirky Search Entries That Brought People Here”

No need to elaborate ๐Ÿ™‚

Just check the left side bar for the darnest search entries that found their way to this blog!

Overheads Underfoot

Yeah, yeah, I keep jabbering on and on about how this is not a personal blog. Well, a lot of the topics I write about eventually have to go through the person writing them, but I don’t like much writing “personal diary entries”. But I’m going to do this time, anyway.

Anyway, I skipped yesterday’s Latin and today’s Botany because of “fatigue overheads”. I was too tired after Sunday’s 13-hour long day, so I skipped yesterday’s Latin so I could have more time to finish up stuff for today, and then I skipped today’s Botany so I could wrap up things for tomorrow. I’m still going to Botany labs because we have a quiz every week (this week’s on fungi, ah, what fun (yeah, yeah) .

In short, I’m kind of freaked out that this might be a slippery slope. Since I’m 4 weeks into the semester, it’s possible that the combination of training, working, studying and trying to lead an almost non-existent social life (while still being Dad’s son) is wearing me down.

Bah. What can I do if coffee doesn’t work on me?

Silent Classroom

listening

This is the first post I will write about my college experience, and not only because it’s about the first courses I attended.

In 3 days, I’ve trekked (boy, I did) to 3 faculties: Classical Studies (looks like the place where Kent Hovind got (read bought) his Ph.D in), Languages (a branch of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities here at BIU, in a building that kind of reminds me of Prague) and Life Sciences (for my Biology B.Sc.

The first thing that popped into my head when I entered the classroom this Sunday was: “Hell, each and every one of these people is just like me, a hearing person with access and affiliation to the deaf world”.

I remember thinking that I find it much easier to feel special and my signing to be a sign (ha) of my exotic background while interacting with the hearing, but I felt helplessly inferior with this population. With these guys, I’m just another peer. In fact, it’s the first time in my life I was really in a place filled with my peers, since I belong to a very unusual minority, this is quite an extraordinary occasion. Sometimes, the classmates had to sign to each other. It was the first time in my entire life I have ever used sign to communicate with the hearing.

There’s much to tell about my experiences (it was 10 hours straight, sheesh), but frankly, I’m not interested in writing a journal entry and document the whole thing. I am, however, interested in recording just one amazing aspect of studying Sign in an academic institute.

Firstly, we have 2 teachers who are 100% deaf. Moreover, one of our hearing teachers is a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) who’s married to a deaf person, and also someone I’ve known in person ever since I was a pup.

Thirdly, and this is the big whopper for me:

Two classes out of five were conducted in a foreign language. It is the first time in my life I ever sat in a class that was taught in a language other than Hebrew (or English and Hebrew, in cases where the subject was “English”).

In fact, the most amazing part about studying sign language interpreting is the fact that the classes themselves are in sign language. It’s an extremely exhilirating experience, and more so, an incredible phenomenon:

20 students sitting in a class, for hours on end, that is completely silent. Not a squeak, not a peep, but throughout the entire session, people were livid, burning with passion, teasing and gossipping, voicing (hur, hur) their opinions, and generally: behaving like your garden variety young and enthusiastic students, except everything was in brain-dead silence. It almost brought me to tears.

There’s nothing more amazing to me than a silent classroom.

A Sign for Mommy

These days, I don’t write about Mom as I used to back in the pre-Efes days, but this is an extraordinary occasion, and it demands a reference.

Tomorrow is the first day of my training as a certified Israeli Sign Language interpreter.

I often, in my many sojourns into the (mostly) foreign blogosphere, point out that I was “born and raised Jewish”. I add that I’m an Israeli, ethnically Jewish, a person of some Jewish or some Israeli tradition, a modern-day tri-lingual Hebrew.

But the truth of the matter is different, and I can’t blame myself for not stating it bluntly whenever I introduce my “origins”.

The truth is, really, that the true upbringing that I had can only be faithfully be described as “Born and raised Deaf”.

After the Efes, I decided that my infatuation with Biology is not enough. I feltย  that it’s vitally important for me to remember not only where I want to be (a cog in the massive cogwheel of science), but also also where I came from (a Deaf person with functioning ears).

This is for you, Mom. I will always love you.

Boo-jeers for Local In(s)anity

Great, just great. I just tried to access my curriculum (I have no idea where my classes are, yet, and the semester’s starting on Sunday) and I got a message telling me that the information services in BIU (Bar Ilan University) are offline through the weekend. The reason being that the university servers, apparently, are observing the Shabat.

Now, I would just like to ask: is this because of the decree that servants and slaves are (a la Deuteronomy) not allowed to work on the Shabat, then today, now that slavery is abolished,ย  “servers” are considered to be “servants”? Maybe it’s a friggin’ typo.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.

STUPID FUCKERS.

Post Cemetry

Today I found myself contemplating what happens to posts once they die. The most circulated blog I can think of is probably Pharyngula. PZ Myers’ words are being viewed and re-viewed about a million times every month, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets to more than that on particularly spicy seasons. But even Pharyngula has archives, and I’m betting the ancient posts (especially those on Pharyngula.org, the older blog) never get accessed again.

Blogs aren’t like books, codices of carefully constructed words, designed, should people “read Kafka” or “read Conan Doyle” to be immortalized as character witnesses for the authors who created them.

But with blogs, words are ephemeral. PZ Myers and other notable bloggers might have written amazing and popular posts in the past, and those posts are forever forgotten. It’s possible that some literary jewels were created almost on a daily basis, and they’re all gone forever. In a way, this makes blogging a middle-ground between literature and journalism. Sure, responsible bloggers proof-read and carefully pick their post’s main topics and issues, and very serious bloggers even write multiple drafts – but no post ever conceived beats the literary manuscript. The worded piece of art that its creator proudly refers to it as “my book”.

All of this made me come to the realization that even when I write a post that actually gets read (the only example I can give is the post I wrote about the Yom Kippur riots), I know that it doesn’t matter much. People click on a link, skim through your carefully crafted words, and forget all about you, or blog, and your post the next day.

So what makes the distinction between “a person who blogs” and a “blogger”? Unlike bookwriters, it’s not any particular post or even a particular category of posts, but simply the style and history of the blog. Most Pharyngula readers aren’t science afficionados, and even though I love reading PZ’s posts on science, most of the time PZ writes about activist freethought and liberal politics (or about their antagonists).

This is, of course, not a problem in the least, but still, Pharyngula is without a doubt more of an “Atheist blog” than a “Science blog”, and that’s hardly a shame. Seeing the world of science through a self-avowed atheist with the charming and captivating worldview of PZ Myers is quite rewarding on its own. However, reading a science textbook is rewarding in a totally different fashion.

This also brought me to the realization that this blog will probably never succeed in its current setting. It’s not necessarily because I’m a bad writer (I’d say “smack average” would describe me well) or because I write about boring topics (hardly, I’ve touched some interesting issues, entirely not of my own merit, while this blog’s been alive) – I think it’s because this blog doesn’t offer the possibility of a posse like other blogs do (religion related blogs are a good example to cite). I do not offer “a home for like-minded atheists” like Pharyngula does. I do not offer a breeding ground for passionate biologists or even rather interested young peers.
Obsessed With Reality, like me, is destined to always swivel and veer to whichever my convoluted mind is up to and that, since I’m no celebrity, politician, or large-breasted female human, is of no interest to almost anyone (except other reality-obsessives, which I scarcely meet or know of).

This fact, although disheartening, is never going to be a death warrant for the blog. Writing things down endows me with some sort of releasing sensation. To be obnoxiously poetic, I could say that putting my meandering thoughts and ideas in writing “sets them free”, in a way – and that is something I’ll always love and require and fortunately, this doesn’t need a large readership to achieve.

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