Archive for December, 2007

Indie isn’t Depressing – Songs for a New Year


Since last.fm won’t allow me to add more than one playlist to my profile, I’ve added my musical recommendations for 2008 as a published iTunes playlist (also known as an “iMix“).

Click on the title of the playilst in the widget and it will open up the published playlist page in iTunes (assuming you have that installed). If you don’t have iTunes, you can install it here. If you’re on Linux, er, sorry.

Happy New Year!

Qype: flughafen schönefeld in Berlin


BerlinTravel & HotelsAirports

If I would write a letter to Berlin’s Schönefeld airport, it’d probably go a little something like this:

Dear workers and ground crew of Schönefeld airport,

Your Terminal C is the most uncomfortable terminal I have ever flown out of or arrived in. It is embarrasing, and I think you know it.

I know you have a separate terminal building for flights to and from Israel, which provides the need for a controlled area. However, I don’t feel you’re doing such a good job of making sure we don’t feel like cattle. When I arrive, I always have the military to greet me. There is a tank outside, the soldiers are chain smoking and talking about yesterdays’ copy of Bild.

Inside, I get to wait two hours in a line just to get to initial security. In the meantime, I get to watch spectacles of all sorts happening in the check-in terminal. Most Israelis breeze through, but EU passport holders will be vigorously questioned and folks who are "foreign looking" will in all probabilities be pulled aside. Loud arguments arise between security personel and travelers at regular intervals.

After these and the baggage check, there is the (longer) wait. Ushered up into the terminal hall, we get to pack ourselves in, most (including entire families) sitting on the floor for lack of space. We get to wait here sometimes for 2-3 hours. If you’d like to stretch your legs, there’s nowhere to go in the meantime, as one is not permitted to leave the terminal. No free wifi.

Out on the runway are the soldiers patrolling with guns and a few military vehicles. We take off – and the nightmare is mostly over, because I’m finally in the hands of the Israelis who serve surprisingly good airline food. 3 1/2 hours later I arrive in Tel Aviv at one of the world’s most beautiful airports. "Thank goodness", I sigh, "that I am no longer at Schönefeld".

Liron

Check out my review of flughafen sch̦nefeld РI am liron Рon Qype

Christmas is great, especially if you’re Jewish (or Muslim, or Bahai, or Buddhist)


This is my second Christmas in Germany, which for me, is a rather odd experience. My second Christmas in Germany means, for all intents and purposes, my second Christmas – period. Before December 07′ I had never experienced a Christmas celebration, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I was rather nervous about it last year, but this year blew over rather well. There’s nothing quite like experiencing a mass, nation-wide social-religious event hysteria from the outside; sitting back with one’s legs crossed over the table, watching the Christmas season pass you by.

Consumer culture here in Germany seems to be extremely deeply rooted, especially during Christmastime. I had a stroll through Hamburg’s shopping district an hour before closing time on Christmas eve, and it was like the running of the bulls. I don’t remember experiencing anything like this back in Israel. It seems that us Israeli folks have more of a tendency towards regifting.

I did some Christmas shopping myself – I picked up a pair of shoes, some music and if it counts, a whopping burger.

As for Christmas here in the city of the north, my mother sent me this link on etsy about the holiday here in Germany, with some photos from the Hamburg Christmas celebrations. This might be a nudge that I’m not sending enough photos home, or at least, photos which aren’t party photos.

So. Merry Crizmiz everyone, hope you’re having a tolerable holiday season and happy new year!

Insert coin here for “Instant Karma” – Green Day’s cover of “Working Class Hero”


If you follow my blog, you’ll know that now and again I talk about music, but it’s a fairly rare occurrence. Two years ago, I wrote a post about one of my favorite bands, Green Day, their relationship with the RIAA and my feelings towards the issue as a then 10 year-long fan. Due to Green Day’s relationship with the RIAA, the last album of theirs which I bought was Shenanigans, a collection of b-sides.

As I outlined in the post, Green Day’s music had provided me with quite a few years of repeating disappointments. While the band had always had a style all their own, I felt that their music progression stopped somewhere in the late 90’s and only revived itself somewhat with the 2004 release of American Idiot. I never did buy that album – by the time they released it, the band was so deep under the sheets with the RIAA that I initially contemplated, but later refused to buy the album. They no longer need the likes of me to support them, as they did in the mid 90’s. I am no longer part of the legion of 13 year olds – I now belong to the oldest layer of Generation Y (or the youngest of Generation X, depending on how you look at it) who occasionally buy subscriptions to emusic and buy tickets to shows of bands like The Decemberists and other indie/post-indie ensembles.

So. Five years after a silent boycott, I hopped on iTunes this evening and purchased a copy of Green Day’s cover of John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero“. The single is part of the “Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur” initiative, which released cover versions of John Lennon’s songs with proceeds going to “benefit Amnesty International’s campaign to alleviate the crisis in Darfur” (You can buy the complete digital album of 70 tracks + 4 music videos for 25eu here on iTunes or the basic version of 38 tracks on iTunes here).

I admit, I would have not bought this single unless it was for such a cause, but for all intents and purposes, this is an excellent cover. Interestingly enough, this being a cover, it brings out many of what Green Day’s albums generally lack; (some) variation in Billy Joe’s tone range, great drumming by Tre (honestly) and Mike’s guitar work was obviously creative and lively enough to keep him awake long enough to record the single. I know I’m being harsh, but I’m a spoiled fan, who looks for and expects that emotional response she remembers from this band’s music, 13 years ago. Bitter? Maybe. But optimistic – Green Day’s cover of “Working Class Hero” proves that they’ve still got it in them, so no excuses, really.

You can download the single for 2eu on iTunes here.

An Israeli Hannukah: A photo mosaic


We’re back from Israel! Here are some photos from our trip to keep you entertained.

Dreidels at Herzlia Seven Stars mallJelly donuts in town, ready to be eaten.Don't learn German from IsrairLahav and FelixMy father and FelixMe and my mother... eek!My father and FelixMy mother, Felix and my fatherLahav and my motherFelix and my father1st night of HannukahSomewhere over the rainbowCorridor at Ben Gurion airport, Tel AvivLahav and FelixOn the airport express to Berlin SchoenefeldBooks at the mallIt's a sunny day!Felix and Dina dancingFelix and Dina dancingFelix and Dina dancingA human menorahMy mother and FelixMichal, me, Felix.Michal and LahavHannukah at the TockersMaya and MichalMe, MayaMichal and LahavHannukah at the TockersLahavA human menorahMichal, Lahav, me.Lahav and my grandmother at White HallMy father and Lahav at White HallWhite Hall steakhouseMy mother at White HallFelix and I at White HallMy grandmother at White HallWe are not related.My parents doing the mamboMy parents doing the mamboIce AromaLahad and Felix, lighting candles.Lahad and Felix, lighting candles.Lahad and Felix, lighting candles.Lahad and Felix, lighting candles.Lahad and Felix, lighting candles.Lahad and Felix, lighting candles.Dessert at Running SushiThe gang at Running SushiThe gang at Running SushiLahad and Felix at Running SushiAnat and Eyal's sushi platter at Running SushiDina and I at Running SushiMe and Lahad at Running SushiFelix and Ivon at Running SushiDina at Running SushiFelix and Ivon (and Roy) at Running SushiFelix and I at Bar GiyoraDina at Bar GiyoraFelix and Dina outside PlazmaDina, me and Frank outside PlazmaFelix, Lilach and Frank in Tel AviviPod nano knockoffIn she goes......out she blows.Frank and Felix in Tel AvivA shekel an itemUzi does it.A rather... busty mannequin.Yeeee....haw!Oishi Oishi at Arena mall, Herzlia marinaAnat's shiny new nargila (sisha)Street art 'round the cornerDizengoff Center, Tel AvivSeafood pasta in the sunBoats at Herzlia MarinaFrench fry dispenser at Herzlia MarinaBoats at Herzlia MarinaMore HumusA no smoking sign in a biblical fontBus line 48 on the way back from Tel AvivEating a sandwhich at Bar Giyora in Tel AvivStreet art in HerzliaBus line 48 on the way back from Tel AvivEating a sandwhich at Bar Giyora in Tel AvivFelix in a military jacket, with FrankDeath of a chocolate cakeFelix in a military jacket, with FrankWorld Press Photo 2007, Tel AvivWorld Press Photo 2007, Tel AvivSeafood Pasta in the sun at Herzlia MarinaSeafood Pasta in the sun at Herzlia Marina

Notes from the road: Tel Aviv, Israel


I’ve already mentioned that I’m the worst blogger in the world, but now I really have an excuse – I’ve jumped across the pond to visit my family in Israel for the holidays (Hannukah, not Christmas, thankyouverymuch) and have been having a blast back home. Nothing ever changes around here, so familiar places and familiar faces always manage to make me feel like it hasn’t actually been almost two years since I moved away.

One of the things which I enjoy most about visiting back home, besides seeing my family and friends, and cozying up in front of the TV with an afghan blanket, is being able to speak my native language on a daily basis. I enjoy speaking the Hebrew language and when in Germany, not having many people to speak Hebrew with is one of the things I miss most on a daily basis. While I speak English at mother-tongue level (my mother is American and we speak it around the house), I find that in most cases, I can explain ideas and express myself better in Hebrew. I find my Hebrew to be much more intuitively spoken.

During my stay here, I’ve been been mainly catching up with friends, running errands (bank, haircut, dentist, etc), shopping, taking in the sun and drinking a lot of coffee. Felix and I have been spending our evenings either with friends or at home with the laptops on the dining room table – I’m not entirely sure what he’s doing there for hours on end, but I have been uploading trip photos at an industrial rate.

Some of my friends and colleagues back in Germany had been concerned for our safety during our trip. Rest assured, our trip has been very safe and besides the cross-eyed security guard at Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv (which had us somewhat worried), we have had nothing to worry about. Apropos, here’s what the inside of an Israeli bus looks like.

Tomorrow we’re going to be visiting the World Press Photo exhibition in Tel Aviv and spend the rest of the evening packing and relaxing with friends and family. Friday morning we will be flying to Berlin, and are expected to return to Hamburg late in the evening. This trip has been fun and exciting for me, but I am also excited to return to everyone in Hamburg.

Keep well, be safe, and happy landings,
Liron in Israel

Corridor at Ben Gurion airport, Tel Aviv


Be back soon.. I’m currently spending Hannukah with the ‘rents in Israel. Follow the photos here.

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