Monday, November 29, 2004

Driving in Israel #3,219

You gotta smile...
There I was on the freeway, trying to maneuver myself over to the right to make an exit at La Guardia. Suddenly the car behind me in the right lane sees me indicate and speeds up and closes the gap. We're talking 90km/h here, by the way. OK, me thinks, I'll keep indicating and he's sure to let me in. No feckin' chance. The gap gets smaller. This driver is quite clearly not going to let me in, and in fact is doing his best to piggy-back the lorry in front of him. Meanwhile the exit lane at La Guardia is fast disappearing. With no choice, I slow down to wait for him to pass and mouth a 'Thanks' to the driver, with my thumb raised for a 'right-on' appreciation of his generosity. The driver was wearing a police uniform and smiled at me, bless his heart. Fucker.

No worries

If any of you out there are worried about the Arse, don''ll all come good. Promise. Swear to God. All of those feckers that came to my corner of the corridor this morning and gloated, you should know it's never over till the fat lady sings...the season is young, every team goes through a blip, etc., etc.,. Am I getting worried about inviting G (he was a corridor gloater, and worst of all, he's crazy about Manure, poor lad) round for the match on Wednesday night (Manure v Arsenal, again)? No worries.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Take it easy

Back from my bike ride round the park. Heading for the shower before 4 hours of live football (well, strictly speaking it'll be 3 hours), accompanied by some of Denmark's finest. Mrs. anglosaxy is bringing home the bacon today. If any of you are thinking I'm having an easy life, it's all gonna change real soon. Trust me on that one.

I say old chap!

I say, 'haughty' seems a trifle off the mark, old bean. Stiff upper lip and all that.
I know us Brits like our cucumber sandwiches and cups of tea (I hereby announce that I only drink tea sans milk) but I am firmly of the belief that we once you get past that first conversation or introduction, we are very warm, even cute and cuddly. Oooer, steady on there old chap!

Bleedin 'eck! Now I've had a pint I feel feckin' great! Oi! I'll have you, you feckin' git!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The Incredible Incredibles

It's been a bit of a movie fest round these parts lately. This afternoon we finally managed to take mrs. anglosaxy's nephews to see The Incredibles. Apart from the 200 kids snuggled in around us (I take my hat off to all you parents), it was a fine movie, some very cute moments with incredible graphics. The nephews, and I, enjoyed it, mrs. anglosaxy less so (she's more of a drama queen...).

Other films getting a premiere showing (thanks to all those DVDs smuggled through Chinese customs) at the anglosaxy multi-complex include:

Tonight's premiere: Mona Lisa Smile (a mrs. anglosaxy selection I'm afraid...).

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Oh come on...

Gold star for me. This evening I spotted my first Israeli clad in wooly hat AND gloves (it doesn't count if they are wearing just a hat or just the gloves). Temperature at time: approximately 18 degrees (my weather pixie had it at 17 degrees at 10.50pm, so...). Even mrs. anglosaxy had to stifle a smirk. Hardy bastards over here.

Burning ear

Blimey guv, talk about 'bending the ear'...I've just got off the phone after 2 hours talking with Shanghai, I had to prise the phone off me ear. They want to have another phone interview next week sometime but it's looking good...nice package as well, let's just say that I'll be better off in China as a Tech Writer than I would as an English Teacher. And then there are the real stock options and bonuses, not like the imaginary bonuses and stock options that get regularly dangled in front of our eyes in corridor land. For a career move (and a cultural one) this couldn't be better. If they offer, I want. Just got to convince mrs. anglosaxy now...

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Can't fault the effort

The owners of a school I'm interested in working for in China are pulling out all the stops. They have sent me a deluge of pictures of the town, of the school, of themselves eating, of the local MacDonalds (deal-clincher, er, maybe not), of guys mopeding down the streets...but the clincher could be this one, apparently my flat is somewhere in the background:

The school isn't in a major city, but is 2 hours bus away from Hong Kong and Macau, which could prove very tempting for long weekends away.

Meanwhile, in my quest for something juicy, I have a telephone interview tomorrow morning with a software company settled in Shanghai, could be my dream job...but what do they expect to learn over the phone? That I can speak English? That I am extremely competent at my job? I don't want to blow it, but am very unsure of what to expect...and what is the next step? Me popping over to Shanghai for a face-to-face interview?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


OK, so I boobed with mrs. anglosaxy's nephews, the Incredibles only opens in Israel on Thursday. You should have heard their voices on the telephone when we told them the news...mrs. anglosaxy blames me for the cock up, though I did ask for her assistance in tracking down a site where I could check out the times and cinemas...finally, G from work did the business, via the site Mostly in Hebrew, this site ain't that much help unless you know the logic behind the translated Hebrew title of the movie (there ain't no logic). But it's well worth bookmarking for future use.

Nudge nudge, wink wink, I wonder how many sex-starved browsers will come across this blog after searching for 'boob' and 'cock' in the same search query? Boob, boobie, booby, boobies, that should cover it.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Got back from the interview an hour or so ago, went pretty well I think. Even managed to get there early thanks to my worrying about the traffic. I'd forgotten that it's hopeless in the other direction - coming into Tel Aviv. The place was nice, the interviewer was nice and I was exceedingly nice (oooh, I can be a right charmer sometimes). But does it do it for me? Is it going to get me jumping out of bed in a mad rush to get to the office? Will it get my stale, dry Technical Writing juices flowing again? Jury's out at the moment. It might just be too nice...

And why do interviews seem to have become this long drawn out process? I remember it being one big interview (in the hi-tech boom days) where all matters were raised and discussed, including salary, hours, etc. It appears that today's interview was a preliminary viewing just to check that I didn't have 3 eyes, or a hunch popping out of my back. Next stage is to send them some examples, then another interview with a big boss. Then, if all goes well, an interview with the big big boss. By that time, I could be in China...

Talking of niceness, I'm doing my 'nice Uncle' act today, taking mrs. anglosaxy's nephews to see 'the Incredibles' (in Hebrew it has been converted to 'Superhero Family'), which actually looks mighty fine to me (I'll be honest, I wanted to see it badly and invited them as a cover). Only problem, we'll be going to see the Hebrew version so I might miss a word or 3...anyone seen it yet?

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Will the last person to leave please turn off the lights!

Blimey, the corridor missed my towering frame for a couple of days and I go miss all the fun. Another 3 people left on Thursday, while one of the long-termers let it be known he is off. The ship is truly sinking, though at least there are a few cakes being eaten to ease the pain. When I finally leave I'll go quietly, with perhaps just a couple of tearful (tears of joy!) beers in the evening with a few department members. No cakes from me mate, no fecking way. Though you know what, I think I'll be so happy to finally be out of here, anything is possible.

In the meantime, I'm having long distance chats with schools in little ol' China, while waiting for my dream table tennis/pool playing job to get back to me...and tomorrow I have an interview for a company in the Sharon area, not too sure what to expect though I feel pretty confident because I have a few alternative solutions lined up. They'll have to be pretty good to convince me that my immediate future lies here...though I think mrs. anglosaxy is secretly hoping that they offer pool playing lunch hours, with flexi hours and a no suit and tie policy, not to mention a gleaming table tennis table...

You might be able to tell that I'm not too optimistic about the upcoming meeting my boss has arranged yet to schedule to discuss my future...

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Open all hours

Wide awake at 2am due to a Friday afternoon kip, something I never usually do...we've just come back from seeing some friends, who are expecting their first kid in about 2 weeks time. The Drambouie helped (that stuff has become a 'must buy' whenever I find myself in the duty free), but seeing the conversion of their house into a nursery and the tiny socks piled up in drawers kinda made me feel a little pressured. We want, and it will happen one day, but seeing close friends living it made it all seem so surreal. I had to get out of their nursery pretty sharpish, especially when the conversation moved to prams and nappies for newborns...

Thursday, November 18, 2004

This is more like it

Back from my ride around the park - I've embarked on a new health drive - I was pleasantly surprised to find an email from a company I'd sent a "CV email" to some 3 weeks ago. Not going to go into too many details, let's just say that I'm VERY interested. Their website states: dress is casual and hours flexible, lunch hours in fierce table tennis and pool tournaments - is that me or what?!

Roonster loses the plot

In contrast to Israel's first ever win over Cyprus (first ever win in Cyprus, more accurately), England, and in particular a certain Wayne Rooney, were pretty hopeless against Spain. By chance I caught some of the first half of Israel's game and, for once, Israel looked like they knew how to play. Later I managed to catch the England game on the TVE channel (always worth checking), but wished I hadn't. Rooney was an idiot, I just hope he learns from this...while England were useless and a bit over the top - and this was supposed to be a friendly. And there is certainly no room in the modern game for the monkey chants from the Spanish supporters, aimed at England's black players. How many brain cells do these idiots not have? As the Daily Telegraph put it: England would have deserved applause around the civilised world if they had picked up the ball and walked off the pitch. One day a team should give it a go.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

China, The Final Part

Wrapping up the China posts, for now, is this collection of kids (spot the quick access nappy). I hope it doesn't look too paedophilic, but as anyone who has traveled there will know, the kids are so cute and photogenic. Some of them were well keen for us to take their pictures, others were painfully shy. What always amazed me was watching their faces after taking a picture and then showing them on the screen.

It's raining, it's pouring...

I don't know about where you are, but here it's totally pissing down. Yeehaa! The winter's here! Now it's spot the Israeli time as they all drag out their thick leather coats and scarves.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Honesty is the best policy...?

Just came back from a meeting with one of the big boys, that he was late for, of course. I put all my cards on the table, told 'em what I think about them and their lack of professionalism (just to make it look like it's coming from them). His face was quite a picture, though I said it all very nicely and diplomatically. Told him that I want A, B and C done or provided, otherwise my professional integrity will suffer and I will have to leave. Also suggested that they be honest with me, like I am with them, and if they don't feel they can match my requests, they should let me go. We have a meeting next week to see if they can come up with the goods. Fat chance. I was impressed with my bullshitting though, at least I know I can still shmooze like a pro...but all this for a few thousand shekels pitzuim, what have I become??!!

Monday, November 15, 2004


This is for those who have a clue about the Israeli employment laws: How can I maximize my chances of getting all the pitzuim this company will owe me (4 years), when (not if) I finally decide to hang up my keyboard? They are notorious for not giving...I don't want to burn any bridges here, and a glowing recommendation would be nice to take with me, but is there a 'by the book' procedure I can follow to ensure a pay-off? My email is over there on the right if anyone is a little shy.

Sit boy, sit!

Just came back from taking young Z out for his evening walkies. I have to say it's getting slightly parky out, I might even have to start wearing socks soon...but where is that winter? It's mid-November and I'm still in me shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops. Damn shame.

Talking of taking dogs for a walk, it always amazes me how some people fail to put their dogs on a lead and then come out with the ol' classic: "He/she's OK, he/she's never touched anyone before" as their bundle of joy jumps on Z, pinning him down in a classic WWF move. Or the guys who take their killer dogs for a walk and then expect me to cross the road or steer clear of them as I pass. You've got the problem dog mate, your problem. I swear my boot, or flip-flop, is going to find itself fleetingly attached to one particular furry arse that is allowed to roam free and bark crazily as it comes loping towards Z.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

China, Part V

A cute, blunt message found in a Chinese toilet.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

It's a lovely game

After watching Arsenal beat Tottenham 5-4 at White Hart Lane, I now know why I'll never cease loving this game...I defy anyone to watch the second half of this game and say that they didn't enjoy it. Some nice goals, some sloppy defending, that's what we like to see. I guess Spurs will be feeling a little unlucky that they managed to score 4 goals against Arsenal and still didn't come away with a point. Tough shit!

Friday, November 12, 2004

China, Part IV

Tales of China continue here...

One of the main targets on the trip to China was to trek the Tiger Leaping Gorge. I'd heard so much about this place prior to flying out that it had become a definite 'must do'. I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive, especially with some of the tales I'd heard, while news of a missing American tourist who'd gone trekking there just a month previously (alone, the idiot) hardly helped. But, it had to be done.

We decided to do the trek over 3 days, with 2 nights spent in local guesthouses. The first step was actually getting there, because the language problem becomes a significant barrier when trying to buy tickets or garner any relevant information. Well, after finally buying tickets, we ended up in a small minibus that took us to the starting point.

After taking note of the large sign at the entrance that heaps all responsibility on the trekker, we started the long trek uphill. It was tough, and this was the easy part! After 2.5 hours we decided to stop for a long lunch at the Naxi Family Guesthouse, which then turned into our first overnight stop. The very cute Show Fein became our source of entertainment, trying to learn some Chinese while she picked up some words in English. I love mixing with the locals, for me it's one of the best parts of any trip. This was perhaps our cheapest night of the whole trip, costing something like 5 shekels per person for a double room, while the beers and food were tasty and very cheap too. After some rough nights so far on the trip, I slept like a baby.

The next morning we were up early and after downing a great egg and vegetable pancake we were off. Now this was the hard part. Holy shit, WHAT A CLIMB! 3 hours of steep, steep terrain, though accompanied by some amazing views. We were soon reaching heights of 2000m plus, while the path was getting a little dodgy in places, with drops straight down to the river below.

As what goes up must come down, we were soon on our way down the other side of the steep climb...though we soon picked up speed as raindrops started falling. We knew that the whole trek would take a turn for the worse if it started to rain, but it just about managed to hold off until the late afternoon, when we skidded and slid down to the next overnight stop, at Tina's Guesthouse.

We met up with an English couple and tales of Arsenal's astonishing form were soon being swapped over a few Chinese beers, though they were Fulham supporters (poor bastards!)...the cold and rain was all around us by now, but the fried rice and Tsingtao beers were doing a fine job in sheltering us from the elements.

The next morning it was still raining, so we had to catch a ride to the ferry station, which would carry us over to the other side of the river. It's just too dodgy to walk when it's raining, and besides the view was non-existent what with all the low clouds. A little anti-climatic, though we had done the hardest part...though once crossing the other side of the river little did we know that we'd be stuck in a landslide for 3 hours and shifting rocks by hand in the torrential rain that followed...

Great trek, highly recommended if you're ever in SW China.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Bless 'er

Last night I had a lesson with my favourite 9 year old (OK, she's my only 9 year old) and was pleasantly surprised to get a little birthday card she'd made, totally in English. What was even more surprising was the little bag she also handed over. I was very touched, the cockles of me heart were roasting hand pulled out the silkiest and slinkiest pair of underwear I've ever seen! Blimey! mrs. anglosaxy reckons she's fallen in love with me, but these were a pair that they wouldn't dare show in a porn movie! Trying to change the focus a little, it was a quick "OK, so do you remember how to spell bread?"...mrs. anglosaxy had a good laugh when I picked her up afterwards and showed her the present! Now she wants a private showing, of course...

Tonight it's more birthday shenanigans, as I'm doing my Jamie Oliver bit and having a few friends round for a barbie. Typically, for the first time in some 6 months it's gone all cloudy and ominous-like...maybe God is a little sore at losing one of his little troopers.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Career update

For those of you who give a shit, I thought I'd give you a taste of what I'm going through at the moment. With mrs. anglosaxy's blessing I've been checking out some schools in China, where hopefully I (even we) can go and teach English. If something comes up that really grabs me, then we'll be off. I think. From what I've read, all you need is a pulse and a Western face to get a half-decent job over there, but you have to be careful of the cowboy recruiters...

Like the one who happily responded to my request of an email address of a former teacher ( just so that I could check the school out from a Westerner's viewpoint). The glowing recommendation from the teacher almost had me signing on the dotted line. But the recruiter kind of gave the game away when he let slip that the teacher was in fact his BROTHER! Er, totally unbiased then.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

"It's your birthday, it's your birthday"

Today I am officially coming to the end of my 'mid-30s'. It's still not the dreaded 'late-30s', but next year some might choose to lump me in the 'late-30s' group. I will go there kicking and screaming. As the Chinese like to put it, and thank God for their life philosophy, the 30s are your Golden Years. 'Bout time I started having some golden times, me thinks, while I've still got some of them 30s to celebrate...

My birthday wish was for a Chinese - I meant a nice, cute, long haired Chinese girl, but mrs. anglosaxy obviously didn't understand and has reserved a table for 2 at some fancy Chinese restaurant. Ah well.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Progress is sweet

It's always nice when you see one of your students progressing. Mr. 'Put the kids in the shopping queue' has been progressing nicely, especially in his reading. I bought him a Penguin series book (called 'Brown Eyes') and he's roaring through it quite nicely. And this was a guy who couldn't even give me the alphabet just a few months ago. I keep trying to hint that he should take more lessons to improve more quickly, as it's a little frustrating to see him only once a week. Maybe I can convince him to send his kids to the supermarket while he takes another lesson...

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Dead Sea drektrek

Oi me legs, Oi me back...
Let me explain. Yesterday was spent down near the Dead Sea, trekking with S's hubbie and a couple of his friends (no mrs. anglosaxy - she did all her trekking on Friday at the Kfar Saba shopping mall). And this is the last time I go on one of their'd like a list of reasons as to why not? OK...

1. The day started with a 4.30am wakeup call (on a Saturday morning? Blasphemy!).
2. We waited, starting at 5.30am, for an hour for one of the friends to turn up at the designated meeting place.
3. The Southern end of the Dead Sea had been partly washed away (last week I think), so we had to take a different route. This route was blocked for an hour by a lorry that had somehow managed to hermetically seal the road. No going round, no nothing.
4. The guys all knew each other from the army, so there was way too much back-slapping and singing of army songs. Way, way too much.
5. I stubbed my toe on a rock and had to hobble the second part of the trek.
6. Night-time fell upon us pretty quickly, while we were stuck in the middle of a neverending gorge filled with tens of pools. Which had to be swum across. Via star light. With backpacks filled with phones, car radios and other assorted goodies.
7. The night-time part of the trek took a turn for the worse when, thanks to the Israeli instinct for shortcuts, we stumbled into a minefield. Do they teach guys in the army to read maps?
8. To cap it all off, the beers I'd kept in the cooler in the car were, heaven forbid, no longer cold when we arrived at the car (about 10pm).

"Why so negative?" I hear you cry...OK, so there were some positives:
1. My camera. My luverly camera. Thank God I couldn't find the rechargeable batteries in the morning, otherwise right now I'd be holding the camera up and shaking out all the water.
2. My auto-pilot senses are working extremely well, especially when driving up from the Dead Sea at midnight. Christ knows how I made it home...
3. Gorgeous ol' mrs. anglosaxy was waiting for me with a kiss and a hug at 1.30am...bless her cotton socks.

Friday, November 05, 2004

That time again

Votes have been counted (blimey, even the US elections were quicker than the anglosaxy vote count) for the 'where would you most like to live' poll...and the results are:

1. Israel (I'm on my way) 30% - Theodore would have been proud of you all.
2. Israel (here and staying) 17% - Theodore would be feeling pretty smug right now...
3. USA 15% - Not sure what happened here, some kind of malfunction...
4. Somewhere very, very cold 10% - Have a feeling some Tel Avivians voted...

Time for a new poll again kids...this time it's "Since being in Israel, what has changed about you the most?". My vote is top secret as always, though could be something to do with the road rage I regularly experience...

Thursday, November 04, 2004

And how was China?

I got an email from my boss today: 'I haven't asked you about your trip to China. I'm going to the US next week but let's sit and synchronise (what?) when I get back.'
Just a shame he couldn't spell my name right...

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I can't find a pulse

Corridor update: The big boss called all the smaller, big bosses into his big office and had a big talk with them. Apparently he's worried about the number of people who are leaving the company. Let me put that another way: he's worried about the droves of workers piling out of the doors. He's so worried, he's decided to put on his caring hat and declared that he intends from now on to "keep his finger on the pulse". Pulse? What pulse?

Ah, stop, stop, you're killing me!

Ever get that moment when you can't stop laughing and the tears are streaming down your cheeks, even at something not really that funny? Well, corridor land just saw a bout of eye-dabbing as myself and O pondered over some API wording issues (zzzz...). She was telling me that she'd heard two kids insulting each other, when the closing shot grabbed her attention: "Go and be the DJ in an ice-cream van!".

Quite creative and all, but that wasn't what had us in stiches. We were already giggly when from beyond the wall (the corridor walls here are very thin, 'walls have ears' has never been more pertinent) came the new guy's response. Now, the new guy is alright, he gets the thumbs up, but he is a little, er, he started rambling on about some similar tale, while me and O were trying not to fall off our chairs, waiting impatiently for the... punchline... that... never... seemed... to... come. As we pretended to respond, the corridor wall seemed to get even thinner as our stifled laughs seemed to be getting louder. I was on my knees, while O's reddened face was starting to worry me! As the new guy paused, obviously for the punchline, there was no turning back, we just let it go. The new guy then also started guffawing as he probably thought we were laughing with him...stop! no more! pleeeease!

Yeh, yeh, I know, probably not that nice to laugh at somebody, but here in corridor land, it's laugh or cry...

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Not exactly swinging it for me...

In my current time for new pastures mode, yesterday's Carmel Market bombing hasn't done much to bring me round to thinking that life in Israel is hunky dory. This is a place that I frequently visit and was there on Friday (cheapest place to get a crate of beers, but then you knew that's why I went there...). This is a place that Esteemed Forebear and LC (you'll have to guess what that stands for!) visited when they came over 3 years ago, as do so many tourists (when they actually come). A symbol of Tel Aviv if you like, all action, larger than life characters, a feast of sights, sounds and smells...and, though it was back to normal within hours, it might just never be the same again, at least for me anyway.

China, Part III

Our nights in China usually revolved around finding some kind of bar/restaurant for some much needed alcohol and some fried rice/noodles. In Lijiang, a cute town near the Tibet border, we struck lucky. On most trips I've been, there's always been one night, one night that stands out above all others and will stick in my mind forever. Here in Lijiang we were in for a corker of a night.

On first impressions, I had wanted to get the hell out of Lijiang, especially the very cute Old City, which was chokablok with tourists. We'd arrived there during the National Holiday week, when every spitting Chinaman and his video camera was in town. After spending one night there, we decided to go for some nearby Tiger Leaping (my next China post), before returning.

Hungry one night, and thrusting our way through the crowds, we decided to settle in at the Sakura Pub. A couple of huge beers were soon plonked on the table, while plates of noodles were being devoured. Aaahh, much better! The place was packed, the music was blasting (they even played some Israeli tunes that had M singing along) and people were enjoying themselves. A few tables were playing a strange dice game, which involved 5 dice and lots of shouting and drinking. We sat watching, intrigued, trying to fathom out the rules, but to no avail. The 4 Chinese sitting at the table next to us even tried to show us, but we were totally lost...eventually they showed us a watered down version of the game involving just 2 dice - this we could handle!

The rules: basically, a glass is placed in the middle of the table and filled with beer. Each person takes it in turn to roll the 2 dice (or shake in a glass). If your dice turn up 9 you have to drink the whole glass, if you get 8 you drink half, if 7, then you fill up the glass and roll again...and so on.

It wasn't long before we were shouting "Diou, diou, diou! (9, 9, 9!)" as each person shook their glass...and our game soon attracted a couple of English guys we'd met earlier that day, while others looked on at the rowdy foreigners taking over the the game wore on, we got louder and louder and a couple of the Chinese were certainly the worse for wear, though one of them was outdrinking us all! The pile of empty bottles was very impressive, some 20-25 stacked up around the table. Unfortunately the night had to end around 2 as we had a bus at 7 in the morning to catch, so we eventually staggered out, amid hugs and picture-taking with the Chinese...we went up the old, cobbled streets back to our guesthouse while singing and slurring our heads off, bloody foreigners!

Monday, November 01, 2004

"She's gonna blow, captain!"

Aye, it could be the time to do a big'n'juicy, I just cannae take it nae more...


Bloomin' 'eck, November already? This year has flown...
Actually I love November because as 50c put it [dons baseball cap, folds arms over chest] "it's my birthday, it's my birthday" (very soon) and also because the long, hard Israeli winter starts kicking in, but, [looks outside, squints in dazzling sunlight] I guess not today.