live from lotan!

earthlings, compadres, the time is now!

plowIt’s been about a week here. I’ll start with the rundown, in typical Aaron semi stream of conciousness ADD style that by now I hope you’ve become accustomed to: our living room is an actual mudhouse, my roomate is 35, moroccan, bought 3 acres of land in the desert and is starting to farm immediately after this thing is over, i’ve learned all about compost, soil introduction, sheet mulch, growing herbs, why socialism is essentially flawed, why capitalism is morally flawed, It’s very hot and windy here!

I like being a farmer. the labor is being taught by professionals, complimented by a lot of science and explanations behind everything, making it all worthwhile.
it’s changing me. kibbutz life, tiring and fun, communal and intimate…it’s something we miss in america, or at least the town I come from. Where am I going with all this? The stillness, the nature, the people, the love and connection within a healthy community…Its inspiring me and opening up my eyes, possibilities, to new ways of life and lifestyle. It’s revealing what I want to get away from (mass consumerism, vanity, mechanical beasts, overwhelming stimuli) and what I want to move towards. Earth, nature, friendliness, healthiness, tea, lovely people, creativity, balance, love, family. because, in the end, what else is there really?

oh. and the rest of the kids on the program are great. though its kinda like the real world. the real, real world.

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everything in its right place

so I head down to the arava valley desert tomorrow. 10 weeks of saturating sun, mud building, getting up at 6 am, awkward first encounters, snoring roommates, and the stillness of sand everywhere. with my white complexion I’m packing 2 jugs of spf 40 sunscreen, and a spare jug when those run out.

the urban eskimo’s ailments of recent days have kept me under self-imposed house arrest, allowing for massive amplication of preexisting moods of self introspection. it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment of epiphany, but if someone put a katushya next to my head, it’d be somewhere around today 2:30 in the afternoon, at cafe neto.  those who know me well, and perhaps those who’ve received an on the surface understanding of the kid who left civilization, left work, left a job teaching jewish studies to an inspired group of children in the rich suburban bubble called Santa Barbara, fell hard for a girl and spent a weekend with her based on knowing her for a trite, passionate amount of hours, left normalcy, left a comfortable language, for what promised to be adventure, rebuilding areas savagely ripped apart by war, traveling throughout a hyper fantasized land, and living in the desert, turned out into something so entirely different, so beyond what I would have expected to happen, that that awareness has made everything truly worth it.  I don’t need to tell you how everything turned out – history is being written and is written with every breath eye movement thought turn of the head and changing streetlight.

Before I left my bedroom in America I said “Goodbye!” and meant it with the confidence of a boy whose insides were being torn apart in 17 different directions by unseen futures exploding with adventure, that drug I’ve been addicted to since I can remember remembering. and this now-written tale of life as an israelite, I can say with assurance on the eve of my “program,” has fallen short of expectations, or perhaps was it I who erred by setting them too high?  reconstruction was repainting, sometimes i miss the kids I teach, the romantic relationship dissolved as swiftly as it left the harbor, travel week became farm work, and the desert – there lies the vast desert – a few hours away.

but no tale ends with a sad ending. it’s against the rules, and my book is no different. my coming to terms with israel, this strange place which leaves me alienated as a true stranger in a land of strangers, a land whose culture and way of life I simply abhor yet at the same time accept, has slowed me down to an almost standstill, and it is with a heavy heart that I begin to declare that this journey of nomadic madness is coming around it final curve, the fruits of my wandering reaped and placed into a basket whose owner is slowly getting used to the ground and looking for a nice, soft, interesting place to touch down, for the landing is an adventure in and of itself. 

this new desire to stay afloat, in one place at one time with one mind, and the death of my former self…it would be preposterous of me to affirm unflinchingly that I’m fully satisfied with the outcome, but I’m feeling disarmed by logic, love, and the passing of time. hours. days. weeks. months. years. it’s all added up to this, or so we’d like to think. what fools we are, loyal to this myth of choice and want and time and space. what is everything really, but a series of interactions, moments, experiences, and actors who pass through our own personal books of history?

everything in its right place, moving along this fast-moving track, the pollution clearing, the noise and impediments brushed aside with each added second flour sifted for the next day’s bread. and down the road it is with clarity, though still blurry, that I envision sitting there my own family, my own children, a home, a space, and I’m doing nothing but staring and reminded of this day.

how do you say codeine in hebrew?

body“and when ya can’t find an opiate, ya use an analgesic!” so the saying goes around here.

but seriously. my neck is starting to feel better. and the diahrea has subsided to untraceable levels. and that, my friends, has made my hosts feel better.

about the laptop, i didn’t even have enough time to get to know the thing. we only went for a few months, hooked up a few times, i always ended up paying, and she never said thank you. then she runs off with another guy, like the whore that everyone looks for when the club closes with that not-so-discreet eye. come on. you know what im talking about. you’re single, dry for three weeks…even the russian bouncer starts to look attractive.

this state of semi paralysis has led me to a number of things though, that I’ll share:

-practicing brazilian jujistu holds on my 14 year old cousin

-looking for environmental design and sales jobs in someplace outside of Los Angeles

-couting the number of buttons on the keyboard (58 on this one)

-playing company on heroes on my cousins computer (amazing wwII strategy game), getting in touch with my inner [and outer] nerd.

praying

-sailing

-creating sarcastic, often counterfeit ‘things i’ve been up to lately’ lists and posting them on the internet

-drafting business plans, reading rich dad poor dad, not responding to emails, planning for world apocalpse. pretty usual stuff. and making amazing bagel sandwiches. nobody fucks with my bagels.  not even mister diahrea!

it’s getting to me

a few things i should mention

– i have whiplash. i really messed up my neck grabbing the rim playing basketball. im dizzy, i cant turn my head, i have headaches, my head hurts, its inflamed. i am in pain. thus i want painkillers. if you have any, please send them to herzliya.

-my aunts house got broken into last night. the thieves didnt take anything but some cash, and oh yeah, my 3 month old macbook laptop. a pretty penny. i had tons of pictures and videos, music…gone. it hasnt really sunk in yet due to the neck stress, which has begun to affect my concentration.

-i also have diareahh. i like spelling diareahh, d-i-a-r-e-a-h-h.

the israeli lifestyle, the arrogant threads of culture,  the harsh tones of everyday life have (stolen computer aside) have somehow dropped anchor in my head this week. i’ve always been fascinated with israel, conjured up this fantasy world of fun and action and art and aggresiveness and culture. its taken me about 8 weeks to come full circle and take off those naive lenses i brought along with me.

its rare, VERY rare, for me to find someone living in this country who is genuinely happy.  life here, and this might follow or go against many preconceptions (depending on whether you have family here or at the other end of the spectrum, donate heavily to your local jewish federation) is insanely difficult. everything here is a struggle, a sippur, a balagan – from ordering falafel to fake ice cream at mcdonalds to fighting for your place in line to dealing with traffic jams. america is a dream. its easy to understand why most israelis here say to me, “you left california for here? go back?” maybe los angeles does lack in action and synergy, but id rather take a mellow, easier going atmosphere over anything.

its exhausting. it really is. my neck hurts. even more now.  this miconception, preconception i had of this country, the people, the lifestyle, and how quickly it has shattered and beginning to crumble…its also very tough to deal with, and not assuaging my feelings of homesickness to a great extent. i dont necessarily miss home, or ameneties, or certain types of food. i just miss how easy everything is. that might sound spoiled, so ill have to rephrase that, even at the risk of sounding grotesquely ethno-centric : i miss how NORMAL and logical everything is.. watching people yell at eachother on the street or fight for who gets salad first is a novelty at first, but over time, it just doesnt make sense to me. why not be patient? be courteous? be friendly? doesnt that yield a better result? what the hell is going on here?

luckily im heading down to the desert, where life promises to be slower. my type of israel. my type of party.

hope you’re all feeling good. thanks for reading this blog.

iguana man

gilly

Remember when we built forts? Flanked the neighbors with water pistols and got arrested by the cops for trespassing? Stole popsicles, tripped home and you gave me band-aid? Do you remember lying about your report card? Do you remember who signed it for you? Ate frog legs in Shanghai? Skipped train fare in Venice?

Then he ran off to Peru to fight on horseback with the Zapatistas, get lost in waterfalls in the amazon, snap the necks of tenacious bears with his hands (now bigger, more adept), call home once in awhile before the Sabbath, bathe children when necessary, make love to iguanas and bury himself in indigenous earth.

“that’s your brother.”
“who?”
“him.”
“can’t be.”
“yeah.”
“he looks bigger.”
“well. he grew a lot. go say hi.”


had the first 20 minute conversation with my brother in 2 months. he’s in honduras right now. teaching orphans how to survive. big ups.

my wrist hurts

Started writing again. Spent a good 20 minutes looking for a story, and it all came back to Baghdad and my overexxagerated Iraqi heritage, my mom’s addiction to tea, my frequent trips around the world, adult ADD and crossword puzzles. Look no further than your own [dysfunctional] family! We’re not at all dysfunctional, actually. Normal, easygoing Los Angeles suburbanites who mostly fight about who sits bitch when we drive to one of our aunts house for one of the big Jewish holidays.  (It’s usually me or Gil)

Thank you David Sedaris, and thank you transatlantic flights!

back the attack!

i’m not into conspiracy theories (well…actually..the smalls have been known to believe in aliens) but here’s the text of a new bill passed by NY-D charles rangle…

110th CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 393

To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the favorable treatment afforded combat pay under the earned income tax credit, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES – January 10, 2007

Read the summary. It lists exemptions. If you’re in the 11th grade, you won’t need to wear a uniform. Rad! Tell me…Why oh why is this topic of reinstatement getting tossed around both floors lately? Is it coincidence or is there a genuine political push for more US soldiers? You can say “Bullshit! The eskimo is paranoid!” But I’ll bet you don’t even remember turning 42. Do ya?

And check out the date. The piece of legislation was introduced the same day Bush requested another 21000 troops. We’ll need more than that if he plans to invade Iran. He’s got 2 years to do it!

Far right Evangelical Christian Godspeed!