Jewish stuff at ChaiSpace!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Home Sweet Home

I'm home. Yeah. That would be more enthusiastic but I'm going on about 3 straight hours of sleep with about 2 additional hours if you add up all the little dozes I got in. Guarded last night so I have been awake since 2:45 this morning. Which is actually closer to 2 because some guy had some of his crazy friends visiting who just happened to be sitting outside my window screaming all night. It actually woke me at about 2 and kept me from falling asleep till just about 11. I never actually put more music on the iPod even though I have downloaded more music. It wouldn't really matter though anyway because I ended up forgetting it at home Thursday morning. Of all the days to forget it that was not a good one. I'm really tired and don't really have anything interesting to say so I'm gonna stop now.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

To Drive or Not to Drive- There is No Question

This blogger is now also finally a licensed driver. Today I finally passed that damn test after too many failed ones. Now I just need to wait for the paperwork to come through, which should be by Sunday (delays because officially they are on strike) and dealing with insurance. Then look out world cause I'm hittin the roads...with my parents in the car...but only for three months. Anyway, I'm really excited and happy and my friends from base all cheered and clapped over the phone which I thought was pretty cool, so I'm going to bring in some drinks and food on Sunday and we'll celebrate a bit. Tonight I'll celebrate with my home friends, drinks at "Coffee and Friends", a small bar/cafe, I think. Tomorrow I'm guarding on base but will be home for the weekend early Friday afternoon. I need to update my iPod's music badly, I'm sick of it all. I think I'll go do that now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Soldier Chick

Soldier Chick
Originally uploaded by Benjamin Ludman.
I love this country! Where else in the world can you see a female soldier with an M-16 talking on her celphone on the bus?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Movie at Ren's

See Ren I do write about you, and I did miss you! The Italy pics were great!

So anyway. Saw "Sin City" tonight with Ren. Was a really weird movie. The way it was shot was pretty cool. Mostly black and white with this cool sort of comic effect. A bit of color here and there. Kinda cool. It also had lots of famous actors in it which was interesting. I thought the plot was a little dry and choppy but I liked how at by the end everything was tied together. Though I debated leaving about 40 minutes from the end ( I think I'm getting a sinus infection) I'm glad I sat through the needless violence and gore to see then end. Not sure it's really worth renting but if you know someone renting it, go watch it. Or just download it-legally of course because pirating is a crime. Remember people- you wouldn't steal a movie from a store would you;) I think I had something else I wanted to write tonight but quite frankly I feel kinda shitty and I'm exhausted. Good night all.

"Little rabbit foo foo hopping through the forrest"
~or perhaps~
"Turkey's annual shadow puppet festival"

Comment with your caption

50 Million Smackaroos

Loto Line
Originally uploaded by Benjamin Ludman.
Tonight is the draw for 50 million. This was the line to buy tivkets at the last minute. I was eating dinner at a cafe next door and that line was there for at least 45 minutes.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

It's Alive!

Well, as I said the other day with a rather dramatically titled post, my computer died. It wouldn't start up again and I was freaking out a bit. The culprit was that same old hard drive. I thought I had lost everything including ALL my digital pictures I have taken and some websites I have built. But I was lucky and performed a transplant operation, transplanting the hard drive into another computer and rescuing the important files. I also ran some diagnostics and, I hope, fixed the hard drive at least for the time being. I still haven't re-attached the hard drive to my computer mostly cause I'm scared it still wont work. Below I have posted some pictures from the operation.

The biggest obstacle was figuring out how to get the damn hard drive out. It was screwed in from both sides and the other side is completely inaccessible. There are holes in the metal case but they aren't lined up properly. It was only after I realized that by removing a few screws, I could take out the whole container that houses the hard drives, actually giving me better access to all the screws.

Speaking of surgery. Last night when I should have been sleeping I saw this show on plastic surgery. It's a REALLY disgusting process and can't understand how anyone could stomach performing any of the operations. Even the simplest, least disgusting ones are pretty nasty. I guess that's one career I definitely won't be following.

Hard Drive Container Removed

Here you can see I detached the third hard drive and the container that hold teh other two hard drives and the floppy drives has been removed from teh main case.

Hard Drive Container

Hard Drive Container
Originally uploaded by Benjamin Ludman.
This is the hard drive container after it has been removed from the main case. It holds the two main hard drives and the floppy drive.

Unscrewing the Hard Drive

Unscrewing the Hard Drive
Originally uploaded by Benjamin Ludman.
Unscrewing the hard drive.

Successful Transplant

Successful Transplant
Originally uploaded by Benjamin Ludman.
The hard drive has successfully been transplated into the second computer.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Simon Wiesenthal-December 31, 1908– September 20, 2005

Friday saw the burial of a great man. Simon Wiesenthal died this past Tueasday in his sleep, at his home in Vienna. He was layed to rest here in Israel on Friday.

Wiesenthal was credited with helping to bring more than 1,100 nazi war criminals to justice. These included Adolf Eichmann, an architect of the Holocaust, and Franz Stangl, commandant of the Treblinka and Sobibor Nazi death camps in Poland. Eichamnn remains the only person sentenced to death in Israel.

In 1977 the Simon Wiesenthall Center was named in his honor. The center promotes awareness of anti-Semitism and racism. It also monitors neo-Nazi activity and helps bring surviving Nazi war criminals to justice.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The death of a good friend

RELAX! It's just my computer. My computer has been on it's last legs for the past, oh, 3 years. Every time it gets sick I usually manage to nurse it back to health. It seams to be dying on me, yet again. This morning it froze and refused to start again when I rebooted. ARG! Finally I got it running but only after I removed a hard drive and putzed with it a bit. That damn hardrive has been giving me problems since day one. Well not day one but about day 366. I have a lot of important stuff on the hardrive (including almost all of my digital pictures). And will be really pissed if I can't manage to recover it. I'm not going to preach backups cause I try to be as minimally hypocritical as possible and god knows I never backup stuff.

It's definitely time to buy a new computer. It's been time fro a while. But alas, no moolah. And also, I'm stubborn. That and I know that in two years I'm gonna buy a laptop for school (probably something like the one from this post). My computer is constantly getting taken apart. Just two weeks ago my burner died so I took it out and replaced it with and hold hardrive. My computer seems to have had more surgeries and upgrades then Joan Rivers.

Well I think that's enough complaining about my computer. I'll leave you all with a few cool links that I've found recently: ridiculously addictive game
Konfabulator-some cool stuff for your desktop
Plague hits the cyber-world

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Life and Love and Why?

Well this post has nothing to do with love. And why is way beyond the scope of my blog, or at least this post. But just calling this post "life" would be a bit boring and I like a song by this name by Switchfoot. So "Life and Love and Why" it is.

Anyway, I'll start with today and then go back to yesterday. I started my Thursday like I do most Thursdays: woke up at the ungodly hour of 5:45, which means actually getting out of bed at 6, so I could catch a bus fro 630. Caught the bus and went to my base. I then did my usual "Thursday morning manual labor with the NCO ass". (It's so important to me it has it's own name) Now I got out of it at the beginning but then had to come back and help. They were gonna let me go cause they decided they didn't need my help but then decided to make me paint the dining hall wall white. I'll take "things that are already white" for 500 Alex. Yup, I painted a white wall white. It wasn't even like "paint an 'eggshell white' wall 'snow white'. This was a perfectly good white wall that I simply repainted white. The wall didn't even have any spots on it. So then as I'm leaving afterwards, I decided to shine my boots cause the now had paint on them (not the best painter in the world). As I'm finishing up with my boots the NCO asks me to give him a hand for a minute. So being the nice Canadian that I am, I said sure. BIG MISTAKE. About an hour later I finished, having helped move two giant industrial ovens and with a giant bruise on my hand. One of the guys who was helping must have been hungry cause he decided to make a sandwich out of the wall, my hand and the oven bursting all the blood vessels in a 1cm X 2cm area on the side of my hand. It looked like I tried, unsuccessfully, to Karate chop a board in two. WAX ON WAX OFF! Several people tried to send me to the infirmary, but being the tough guy that I am (laugh) I said that was unnecessary. It actually looks a lot better now. It's about half the size and has turned from a dark reddish-purple to a light pinkish-brown. But what do I know, I'm color blind. Speaking of color blindness, the other night I passed Katz a green candy and said "here, have a red candy". I haven't screwed up that badly in a while!

But enough of my ADD ranting.

Let me tell you about yesterday. Yesterday was interesting. I'll start from the end and work my way backwards. We had this lecture thing on safety. This woman came to talk to us. She told us the story of how her son was killed in a training exercise because people where careless. It was quite sad and meaningful. I'm really glad that I went (not that I had a choice).

Earlier in the day when I was heading to base I looked around on the bus and realized how interesting of a study you could do on people's behavior just by sitting on the bus and watching other people. You got one girl who's putting on fishnet stockings to your right. The crazy drunk Russian in front of you keeps yelling at random things in Russian. The guys to left of you stinks of BO and keeps leaning towards you as if he's going to pass out make your green uniform a lighter shade. You got the people studying, the people sleeping (I'm usually one of them), the people listening to music (one of them too) and the people talking to the person next to them (or their cellphone-more likely). It's really quite interesting to watch!

What got me watching other people so intensely? Well, I was switching buses just a few minutes before and a thought-provoking situation occurred. As I was walking to the bus stop, not really paying attention to where I was walking, I almost tripped over a pile of rags with really horrible smell. I then realized that this pungent pile of rags was actually a person. There was a man passed out in a pile of his own feces on a few newspapers covered in a few rags. A lot of emotions and thoughts ran through my head. The first was,"God that stinks!" Then I think it was "Yuk that's really gross". Then it was "is that guy ok? Is he dead?" The thought really crossed my mind. He wasn't moving at all. I then sat there for a few minutes try to decide what to do. Do I call someone? There were lots of people around (including security guard and transit police) and no one seemed be having the same dilemma as I was. Most people seemed to just have my first reaction of "That stinks", many not realizing that there was actually a human being on the ground. Some just kinda stepped over him. A couple people threw some coins at his feet. Then the guy stirred and got up. That was a bit of a relief. He started asking people for cigarettes and he looked like he was suffering from withdrawal symptoms from something. He was very shaky and quite out of it. A few minutes later an ambulance arrived and asked if the guy was ok. He said he was (although I'm not so sure) and they left. My bus came and I couldn't get this guy out of my head. Should I have tried to help him somehow? How insensitive have people become to just step over someone laying on the ground? What insensitive have I become?

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this. It was just a weird day overall, with some weird situations. But I guess that's life.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Motor Trike

Motor Trike
Originally uploaded by Benjamin Ludman.
I lot of interesting things happened today but I am way too exhausted to write about them. For now you'll have to deal with this picture I took with my cameraphone yesterday on the bus. I didn't know moped trikes existed!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Candy's Birthday

Last night we celebrated Candy's 20th Birthday (Happy Birthday today Candy!) at a place called "Makom BaLev". It was this great outdoor cafe/restaurant with a really cool atmosphere. The whole place is surrounded in trees and little streams. Very relaxing and calming. The food was pretty good. I had a drink and a Creme Brule, but I'm told the rest was good too. We all had a great time and felt both really grown up and really young at the same time. Grown up because we went to a pretty fancy restaurant and young because almost everyone there was 20-40 years our senior. I posted below some of the pictures I took. Enjoy!

Amaretto Sour-Yum!

Amaretto Sour
Originally uploaded by Benjamin Ludman.
My Prrreeeeeccccious!


Originally uploaded by Benjamin Ludman.
I thought this was kind of artistic of me. That's about the limit of my artistic abilities.

Who is that handsome guy?! ;)

Originally uploaded by Benjamin Ludman.
Me at Makom BaLev for Candy's Birthday. Hurwitz caught me by surprise.

Uploaded by Benjamin Ludman on 18 Sep '05, 9.25pm IDT.


Originally uploaded by Benjamin Ludman.
Candy at Makom BaLev for her Birthday. Doesn't she look happy?

Ilan M and Candy

Ilan M and Candy
Originally uploaded by Benjamin Ludman.
Ilan M and Candy at Makom BaLev for Candy's Birthday.

Ilan H, Candy and David

Ilan H, Candy and David
Originally uploaded by Benjamin Ludman.
Ilan, Candy and David at Makom BaLev for Candy's Birthday.

Candy and Ele

Candy and Ele
Originally uploaded by Benjamin Ludman.
Candy and Ele at Makom BaLev for Candy's Birthday.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bus stop Catharsis

Bus stop Catharsis
Originally uploaded by Ben Ludman.
"I don't understand how she's going out with you"

I saw this on the bus stop at Tzomet Ashkelon- where I would get picked up from to go to Gaza. I thought it was a really interesting piece of graffiti.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Super Or

Super Or
Originally uploaded by Ben Ludman.
After a long, hard day of work in a hot, un- air conditioned office, you're bound to get a bit goofy. This is my friend Or, or should I say, "Super Or".

Monday, September 12, 2005

My day in the situation room

Today was not a very eventful day. Went to Bat Yam, a city near my base in Yafo. Had to help dismantle a situation room that was no longer being used. Not sure when it was last in use, I have never been there so I would say at least a year. It was annoying manual labor, mostly carrying tables, chairs, desks,etc. Up stairs and loading it on a truck. The whole place stank of urine and rat feces was everywhere. Not my idea of good working conditions. Then went to my base, worked for about 20 minutes on some virus problems while waiting for the truck to arrive, and then unloaded it. I was lucky and allowed to go home early when I finished, so I worked hard and fast and got out of there at about 12ish. The bus from Tel Aviv home was really fast today (in both directions actually) and I made it home at about 1, which was a welcome change. Mostly wasted my afternoon playing on my computer. Installed an extra hard drive instead of my burner (it wasn't working anyway). I think that's all I have to share about my day, gonna go to bed early tonight. Good Night all.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Today is September 11th. If you didn't already know that, a quick glance to your bottom right hand corner can confirm that for you. I think there are very few people in the world who don't know what happened on this day. It was a tragedy and perhaps a wakeup call to the US that terrorism is closer than it thinks. It prompted Bush's "war on terrorism"- which I fully support but that is besides the point I want to make in this post.

It's days like these, and the acts of sheer hatred that cause them to become memorable days, that remind me how lucky I am. Today was my first day back on base after two months (minus a few days in the middle). Seeing all my friends there and their warm welcomes back was needless to say, wonderful. It reminded me how proud I am to serve in the IDF. It reminded me really how lucky I am to have such great friends both on base and at home. To have a wonderful family waiting for me (well maybe not waiting) when I get home. Days like today remind you that in an instant it can all be over.

So as Horace said:"Carpe Diem!" SEIZE THAT FISH! mean day. Seize the day!

"Everyday, live it like it's your last one. Every kiss, kiss it like it's your first love."-Bif Naked

~In memory of the brave heroes that died today, 4 years ago.~

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hurricane Relief

What is happening in Mississippi and Louisiana is horrible. I have no other way of putting it. The destruction caused by hurricane Katrina is just amazing. I would really like to commend the police, fire and rescue people, as well as all people helping, who are still working hard there and really rose to the occasion. I'm not going to preach now about what the governments over there should have done or should now do. I also don't want to talk about all that destruction. I want to talk about what we are doing to help.

The people there need our help. Plain and simple. So please give what you can to the worth organization that are helping.

Thousands of people have been displaced form their houses and need places to stay:

Donate Housing :: Find Shelter

Money is also needed. The funds required to rebuild and relocate stretch into the billions. Please give your support to the United Way. You can also donate via PayPal.

While the red cross is also helping with relief I prefer not to support them as long as there are other ways to help. For years the ICRC (International committee of the Red Cross) has demonstrated anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic tendencies. Even in this day and age of tolerance the ICRC still refuses to the Israeli MDA (Magen David Adom- Red Star of David) full membership in the organization,even though it meets all the criteria for membership, on the grounds that MDA doesn't "use one of the approved symbols". These symbols are the Red Cross, Red Crescent, and Red Lion and Sun (formerly used by Iran) recognized at the 1948 Geneva Conventions. The ICRC's position is that other societies can only use the recognized symbols, the latter two were added because of religious considerations to the Muslims. The ICRC still refuses to add the Star of David as an approved symbol even though MDA has existed since 1930. The other symbols are clearly religiously connected and I see no reason not to add the Star of David and grant MDA full membership.

You can make the decision for yourself: Donate to the Red Cross

Last Pictures from Gaza

These are the last of my cameraphone pictures from Gaza. Hope you enjoy!

Tanks and APCs in Netzer Hazani after the houses have been destroyed
Kfar Darom- Some of the houses have been destroyed. Looks more like Kosovo than Israel.
House getting destroyed in Neveh Dekalim

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Map of Gaza Strip - Follow my trip!

Map of Gaza Strip
Originally uploaded by Ben Ludman.
This is a map of Gaza I found on the net. I used Flickr's note option to show where I was and when so now you can follow my trips into the strip. (Click the picture)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


I have finally freed myself from the grasps of Gaza. Actually I didn't do anything. We finished our work so I'm home now and probably will never set foot in Gaza again. Kinda sad when you think about it. It's a completely different place after you've been there. I really have to eat my words that I said to my mother when I made fun of her for saying that. Sorry Mom. But anyway. Tomorrow I've got a day off (much needed) and Thursday I'm back to base. I miss it a bit, mostly the people. In less than a month we a have a review/inspection so I'm a bit nervous about it, especially because I haven't been around to make sure things are running smoothly but I'm sure everyone will survive without me. Man! It's so good to be home! I feel like this huge weight has been lifted off my chest now that I know I'm not going back. Last night at 9 they sent me to this random place like an hour south to be a backup for the guards. I basically was there to sleep but even that wasn't so successful. We slept in this portable bomb shelter that they took out of Gaza. It was basically open to the element (as if there are any this time of year). I was up till like two am (then slept till 6) because of this damn cricket. It wouldn't shut up. One of the guys eventually made it shut up...With a soccer ball . Use your imagination.

I think this post is jumping around a bit. Probably the lack of sleep. Had a good steak when I cam home. Much MUCH better than tuna! I'm gonna go to sleep I think. But first a much needed shower. Tomorrow I'll post some more pictures.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Pictures From Gaza

Shirat HaYam Beach-One of the nicest calmest beaches I've ever seen
Two Pictures of Gush Katif in Gaza

Back to Gaza

Tomorrow (actually today at this point) I go back to Gaza for the week again, although I'm told it's the last week (Yeah!). This past week I was mostly doing work with cranes, basically lifting these big emergency water tanks onto big 18-wheelers and bringing them to an army base. I mostly just tied things down and attached hooks and stuff because I'm not even close to qualified to operate heavy machinery. The work it pretty boring but it passes the day pretty fast and I got a decent tan from working in the sun. I'm really looking forward to going back to regular job because I miss the people there and the work is so much more interesting. Plus I get to sleep in my bed and not a tent in the middle of the sandy desert. I've eaten so much tuna in the past week from field rations I never want to see fish again. Naturally I Come home for the weekend and eat nothing but salmon (3 meals containing salmon). At least it's healthy and I've lost a bit of the weight I put on over the summer (the result of stuffing my face with junk food 24/7). Speaking of healthy, I really miss working out. I used to work 3 times a week. Now because of the army I have no time or energy when I get home. When I first went in I worked out a bit (basic training and course) but now I'm just too lazy (and I don't have a membership at a gym anymore).

I've been reading a lot of books lately (the result of not being home and not having much to do during my free time). In the past two weeks I've read By the Rivers of Babylon and Plum Island. Both by Nelson DeMille. I'm in a DeMille phase right now. Mainly because he writes really good suspense books. This was all brought about when I stumbled on his latest book, Night Fall. It got me hooked and now I have a bunch of his book at home for me to read. So far the only one I didn't like was Cathedral. Couldn't get through it so I stopped. Maybe I'll go back sometime.

Anyway, that's all I really have to say. I'll add a post now with some more pictures for those of you who have requested more pictures.