Friday, December 10, 2010

Westbound Again (& Book Updates)

Hello all, hope you’re all doing well.

I hope that the French of you have calmed down since the October strikes, and my deepest sympathies with you, the English, who are now going to pay triple as much for tuition fees. This world is clearly showing the signs of being thrown right to the toilet, and the only question remaining is who’s gonna end up pulling that handle and flush the mess down.

It’s only been a month since I wrote here but it seems like it’s been a lifetime. So much is happening nowadays—with the world, with me—that keeping up starts being tricky.

Back home in Israel, a huge fire—the worst fire in Israel’s history—has literally wiped out thousands over thousands of acres in the Carmel heights; 41 people were killed, while being trapped in a bus that was sent to a nearby prison to evacuate inmates from the wrath of the flames. The entire country was (and still is) in shock, and I was following the news very closely. Again I reminisced some of the reasons why I left that country in the first place—primarily, the fact that it is run, and has always been run since circa 1995—by complete and utter morons.

An Australian chap who answers to the name of Julian Assange has been pointing out—in his own unique way—how terribly wrong this world is being run. Insanely stupid people such as Sarah Palin (come on, Alaska; you can do better. Palin is almost as clueless as that guy… what’s his name… Barrack O-something) call to assassinate this guy when all he did was to put a huge honking mirror in front of world politics. What the f**k people; how about cutting the Prozac’s in half, for better absorption?

More on those—in a later post.

Traveling… Again

I was so happy to come back home after spending four months following the “Get Lucky” tour; I was looking forward to the opportunity to finally rest for a bit. Life’s been a breeze, until I started feeling awfully homesick. Luckily, this happened just around the time when I usually book my flight ticket back home (I made it a habit to visit Israel at least once a year, in December; weather is unbearably hot otherwise). After contemplating with the idea of staying somewhere in Europe for a few days on my way to Israel (an extended lay-over, say, in London), I decided that I have had my fair share of travel for this year and went for the shortest route home.

On December 16, which is next Thursday, I will make my way to Toronto’s Pearson Airport; Air Canada flight to Frankfurt, short one hour layover and then Lufthansa to Tel-Aviv, for a month in the sun, surrounded by my family and my closest friends. I can’t wait.

I intend to do quite a bit of writing while in there… As I always do.

I will return to Canada on January 16; this time, however, it’s going to be different—as I will only be at home for a few days… Which brings me to the next subject:

Moving… Again

The last time I moved was almost six years ago. Shortly after I became independent, I started working on short-term contracts, here, there and pretty much everywhere in this giant country. During 2004-2005, I moved no less than 5 (!) times, until I decided to settle in Waterloo, Ontario for reasons that I… Well, never mind.

At some point, I believe it was just about a month or so ago, something happened. I cannot remember the last time I felt like this but I had the feeling as if I’m wasting my time. I finally grew sick and tired of living in a small city and needed a change. Combined with homesickness, I realized that it was time to do something.

I contemplated a lot between two options—returning to Israel or moving to Canada’s west coast (for a short period, I also considered USA’s west coast however, for technical reasons, I decided to pass). Both options were lucrative for their own reasons. After playing some sort of a simulation game in my head, I realized that there is no way in hell I can ever return to Israel before at least trying to live in Canada’s west coast.

Some of you might have already heard me (or read me) raving about the city of Vancouver, BC. It has always been my dream to live there (and for a short period during 2006, I did—lived and worked there for 3-4 months); having seen my share of beautiful cities around the world, I can honestly and positively say that Vancouver is very hard to beat.

Another feature of Vancouver, besides it being such a breathtaking city, is that I have quite a few friends there. So, one conversation led to another and, before I knew it, I was already in the process of getting acquainted with a new client. Few phone calls, gruelling interviews by people who really know what they’re doing, and then it happened—an invitation for a face-to-face meeting.

There I found myself, two weeks ago, driving to Buffalo, NY to catch a flight to Seattle, WA with a short stop in Chicago. Seattle, coincidentally, also serves as the residence of Hadar (see http://gl.isaac.shabtay.com/2010/04/concert-day-keller-auditorium-portland.html); she picked me up, and we drove straight to Vancouver as my meeting there was going to take place the morning after.

I arrived to Seattle about a day or two after a snowfall. It was hilarious for me to see how spoiled people are there when it comes to snow. A few inches of snow, and the entire city was talking about it, as if Starbucks went out of business (it didn’t). I looked at the measly puddles of thin snow and wondered what would these people do had they lived one winter in Ontario.

It was so good to once again breathe Vancouver’s air; a hotel right downtown, good meal in White Spot and a great night sleep.

The meeting with the prospective client, held the next morning, was great—but not as great as once again meeting my good friends there, a cute couple whom I first met long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Great meal—all four of us—in Earl’s, which is a BC restaurant chain who is in the habit of producing good food for reasonable prices. Another thing—it is their policy to only hire women who exhibit features greatly appreciated by the typical superficial man. I am not talking nonsense; I actually bothered to check.

Later, a meeting with my good friend Joyti and a friend of hers; it wasn’t before 7:00pm when I started driving back to Seattle.

A few more days in the lovely city of Kirkland, WA (just facing Seattle, across Lake Washington) have finally convinced me: I have got to live in the west coast, no matter what. The time has come.

Very few people knew of my intentions, as I decided to keep that one to myself until the very end. It was one of those wishes—those plans—that, when they don’t materialize, you really wanna be the only person in the universe who’s aware of it. It was bizarre for me—keeping it secret from the people I admire the most, including my best friends—but it just felt right to do so.

A week later, I decided: I will move to Vancouver, regardless of having any work lined up. There’s no point in working in Ontario and being miserable; I prefer being (temporarily) workless in a place I really love being in.

A few days later, I got the good news: I am starting work in Vancouver on January 24, 2011.

It’s final… And just as it is final, it is exciting. I am moving to the city I love the most, one of the greatest cities on this planet.

Goodbye Ontario; AND A WARM, HEARTY HELLO TO YOU, BRITISH COLUMBIA.

The Book

So here is something you guys should know about mail in Canada: it is reasonably quick domestically, but when it comes to international mail—that includes, of course, mail being sent from Canada’s most important trade partner, the USA—it is horrendously slow.

More than three weeks ago, I ordered the first copy of my book—actually, two copies: one in color, and one black & white—just to make sure that everything’s in place and that the book looks the way I expected it to. I checked the mailbox daily, sometimes even twice daily… to no avail.

Then I got word from a client of mine that there’s a software development team somewhere in downtown Toronto who need a bit of help catching up with technology; packed a suitcase and drove to the big city. Spent a couple of nights in my good friend Jonathan’s and his girlfriend Adi’s apartment, right downtown—then moved to a hotel nearby when I realized that helping that team out may take more than a couple of days. During that time, I kept nagging one of my tenants to check the mail with specific instructions to send me a text message as soon as my books arrive.

It finally arrived on Thursday (yesterday); as I was scheduled to go back home on Friday, I decided to hold just one more day before I lay my hands on the first copy of this book.

As soon as work was done earlier today (Friday), I rushed to my car, and started driving back home. Toronto traffic… Friday at 6:00pm… Not the most pleasant way to pass the time, I tell you; but I was excited, and couldn’t wait to finally see what’s in the mail.

Arriving at home, the package waited for me on the kitchen table. At first, i thought that someone was playing a joke on me: the two books were wrapped in a cardboard box, and that cardboard box was, in turn, wrapped with a f**king giant hard-nylon wrap. It was the size of an average household garbage bag, with all sorts of tags on it—as if it wasn’t a couple of books inside the package, but Plutonium instead.

I cut the huge nylon wrap…

IMG00015-20101210-2153

And there it was:

IMG00014-20101210-2101

My pulse went sky-rocketing; I rarely get that excited about anything. I carefully took the bubble wrap away, took the first copy, and opened it.

It was the coloured one.

It took me minutes until I could stop smiling. In any way I looked at it, it looked perfect. Everything about this book is just perfect; as a perfectionist, I don’t say this very frequently but, hell, I could have not imagined it turning out any better than this.

I therefore decided that yes—that’s how I want my book to look like. I therefore announce this copy as the final revision of the book—no updates necessary; it is just perfect.

The Next Step

I am still in the process of establishing the formalities behind the charity involved. For certain reasons, I cannot announce the name of the charity I chosen until everything is finalized, but for now I will say, that it has to do with the health and welfare of children in Canada. Having lost a 6 years old cousin to cancer—almost 20 years ago—I can think of no more suitable type of charity to donate to.

As I wrote in my last post, the first phase will be a “private distribution” phase, and it opens right now. Whoever expresses interest in the book from now until the end of the year, will take a part in this phase:

  • Prices are shown in my previous post, so check it out (http://blog.isaac.shabtay.com/2010/11/tour-blog-for-charity-book-charity.html): $98 to print a coloured book, about $26 to print a black & white book, not including shipping which ranges anywhere between $7-15 depending on destination (Europe is, surprisingly, the cheapest to ship to).
  • Your price is any price you are willing to pay, as long as it covers the cost of printing and shipping; the rest will be donated to this important, purposeful charity that I had decided upon.
  • Payment can be done via PayPal; use my email address (isaac@shabtay.com) as the destination.
  • It is highly possible that, due to quantity, we will get a discount. $98 (colour) or $25 (black & white) is the maximum cost of printing a book, and there’s a good chance we’ll make it to the quantity that gives us %10-15 discount. Any leftover funds will be donated to the same charity as well.
  • The order for the “private distribution” phase will take place on January 1, 2011. If you decide to buy one of the books, but change your mind before the cut-off date—your money will be returned to you in its entirety.
  • All books in the “private distribution” phase will be personally signed and dedicated. If you have a specific request for a dedication, let me know.

If you have any questions, just comment here or email me.

All the best, and get that RSS subscription (it’s free) going so you can catch up with the latest of my travels in the wonderful country of Israel, starting one week from now.

Cheers,
Isaac

3 comments:

Bill said...

I'll take 1 B/W for $40+shipping (I guess I can't get 0 for pickup anymore since you're moving :) )

Bill said...

BTW: If you're ever back in Waterloo you are always welcome to use our spare bedroom. (Comes with Internet and good food as you can guess by my girth)

Isaac said...

Thanks Billy, and yes, you're right. Your girth definitely suggests that good food isn't much of a stranger to your stomach... Go Kelly, Go!