Oy va voy there are some days that aren't worth getting up for and this was almost one of them. I went to bed at 4, after working on a paper, and had to get up at 6 to make the meeting in Jerusalem. Can I just say that Yossi Vardi is an extremely nice, intelligent, and warm person. Absolutely not what I would have expected in that he did not behave in the least like one would expect a major entrepreneur, someone who is extremely wealthy, well-respected, and basically famous to behave. Meeting and talking with him was the bright spot of my day. He is so down to earth, and so unassuming. We gave him a ride in the kinda disaster area within car that we'd driven to Jerusalem in to drop him off for giving a talk at the Knesset after our meeting. He didn't have a problem with squeezing into a car with at least half of Israel's "recycle me" products scattered on the various "you might could put your foot there" surfaces.
Thankfully, the "don't steal me cos I don't start with a key" feature worked from the meeting spot to dropping him off. It shortly thereafter didn't work. We pulled over at Abu Gosh because we thought we had a flat tire (turns out it was just the road that was bad). We stopped the car and turned it off to inspect things. Great, nothing wrong. Back in the car and...the "immobilizer" was more than doing its job --we were immobilized alright. We played musical car for the next hour plus. You do this by getting into the boiling hot car, shutting the doors --windows needing to be rolled up, and trying the de-immobilize routine again and again. Every 3rd or 4th try we'd get out of the car, shut the doors for about one minute trying to convince it that ok now we are getting in and you should do your starting job right about....NOW. But no. So out and in and in and out we went. Sit on the side of the road hoping it might forget that it obviously thought we were trying to steal said car --hey look, it has been 10 minutes, obviously we are new people and yes, we have the code. What finally worked was calling the immobilizer people and leaving a desperate message "we are about to sweat to death on the side of the road so call us back NOW." Two seconds (he had just clicked the phone shut) the car mysteriously started. No idea why but we were quite happy it did. The immobilizer people never did call us back.
So I got home just in time to rush to the meeting with a student who never showed up.
I got back to find the small kitten had attacked my computer and eaten or otherwise done away with the "u" on my keyboard. Hmmm the computer is still under warranty (though goodness knows where the warranty papers are) and so maybe IBM will give me a hebrew-english keyboard? I'd fall down and kiss their little feets.
Then I went down and checked my mail and found a notice saying "YO, your extremely sweet, nice, lonely, but senile landlady has not paid the electric and so we are going to cut off your service TODAY. So call and pay (almost 900 shekels)miyad!!" So I call 103 and followed the directions they gave as far as I could figure out and in every possible combination and could never get beyond the direction menu when not disconnecting myself either on purpose or by accident--dial 03 star 10330 if you are in Tel Aviv --uh but this doesn't work in any form or fashion. Finally, after an hour of pulling my hair out, having to recharge my phone, and nearly deciding candlelight for the rest of my life might not be so bad, I called information and pleaded for a direct number. Now they had left a direct number on the slip but uh, it was a fax machine and nearly broke my eardrum. Then after a half-hour wait I finally got a real live human bean who helped me by happily decimating my bank account. But, let there be light I said and there was and is.