Goodbye 2020

Yes, there were some good things that happened in 2020, but they were far outnumbered by the bad things. So much so, that I cannot remember ever feeling so badly disposed towards a year and looking forward so much to the new one. Goodbye 2020 and bad riddance!

Of course, there’s no guarantee 2021 will be better, but following the recommended approach of applying some positive thinking, I just have this feeling…

Here’s to a super 2021 – a year of happiness, good health, peace, and prosperity.

On the Table Catchup

After finishing off the first scenario of Brazen Chariots (it was a draw) I decided I wanted to play something else. I opted for Ukraine ’43 (first edition), a GMT game designed by Mark Simonitch. I played this against the designer back in 2015 and this was an opportunity to refresh the experience.

There are a lot of Soviet troops out there

The campaign is a puzzle for the Germans: how do you stop the Soviets who have overwhelming superiority and seemingly endless numbers of troops? While many gamers have a tendency to over think their play, this type of game requires it. If you put a unit one hex out of place, or fail to cover the area where the enemy breaks through, you will lose.

Somebody’s about to be encircled

One of the aspects that is worth highlighting is that the game provides a Victory Point level that has to be attained to avoid defeat. This translates into a measure of success – for both sides. It also encouraged me to play the short scenario, reset the game and try it all over again.

Good fun.

Vaccination? You bet!

Susan and I tried to get vaccinated against the coronavirus as soon as Maccabi – our Health Fund – told us we were eligible. After a false start when only Tel Aviv was on offer as a place to be inoculated, we secured a slot in Petach Tikva. (Much more convnient.)

How was it? Great. We turned up and in the time it took the front office guy to print us out a ticket for the (non-existent) queue, slots opened up for us and were duly inoculated. In and out in ten minutes or so. Quite an impressive performance by Maccabi.

One witticism doing the rounds gives you a bit of a peek into current Israeli life: can we please get whoever is organizing the vaccinations to be put in charge of the post office?

So that was Chanukah that was

For me, Chanukah was over almost before it started. Definitely a sign of getting old.

With large gatherings off the agenda due to the coronavirus, we had a somewhat smaller first night lighting the menorah event, though do not worry as there were more than enough latkes and donuts to go around!

There were 1,001 online Chanukah events, but given that I spend most of the working day in front of a computer, I generally stay away from such offerings. Susan participated in an online quiz event for the shul. And there was one exception that we both took part in as Susan and I were the featured guests in a sort of foreside chat with Rabbi Moshe Rubin, our former leader in Glasgow. It was great to catch up, even fleetingly, with old familiar faces. Apparently we ruled ourselves out of jobs in the Jewish Agency Aliyah Department with our full and frank answers! However, those who were listening carefully will recall that we both stressed living in Israel was worth the effort. We are grateful we have a very good life here. (Even in these challenging times.)

Windows Baddies

From an article at the Register about Tim Cook and Apple‘s interactions with the media, comes this fascinating tidbit:

Apple’s control isn’t merely felt on its own TV platform, but also how it handles product placement. Kit provided to studios always comes with strings attached, according to Rian Johnson, who directed Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Knives Out.

Fictional bad guys, can’t, for example, use iPhones and MacBooks. During the run of espionage thriller 24, it became immediately apparent who was the antagonist, based on their computer of choice. If they used Windows, they were suspect.

Now you know. If they’re using Windows, they are likely to be baddies!

Youi can read the whole article here.

More Maskless Masses

This is a follow up to Thursday’s post.

On Friday, I went in to Tel Aviv. While a lot of people were wearing masks, in some areas many were not. For example, Kikar Dizengoff and HaBimah were crowded with many groups of people most of whom were maskless. It’s almost as if they weren’t taking the situation seriously. I hope there isn’t a surge in infections in Tel Aviv.

 

Memory and Books

I think upstream I mentioned that I was reading books by Michael Connelly (and others) that I had read before. For example, last week I finished reading Connelly’s The Poet. I know I’ve read it before because, apart from anything else, I remembered who the baddie was. The strange (or funny) aspect was that I could not remember anything else. No line of dialog, nor scene presented as something I had experienced before. It must be 20+ years since I read the book, and I guess my memory for that type of stuff isn’t as good as I thought it was.

On the other hand, when I moved on to Connelly’s The Narrows, I also couldn’t remember anything about it. Not a thing. Eventually, I realized why. A completely different reason. Although I loved Connelly’s books, 20 years back I wasn’t keeping up to date with new stuff other than by regularly browsing the local book shops. (Remember them?) I couldn’t remember any of it because I hadn’t read it before. I missed it. Wow. Maybe there are more Connelly books that I missed.

Nowadays, given the online marketing that publishers do, I doubt I’ll miss another Connelly book. I wonder if that’s a good or a bad thing.

The Man (Not) In the Mask

Ra’anana, 3 December 2020

On the walk back from the office today, I saw this individual coming towards me, pushing an empty stroller. He wasn’t walking quickly. He wasn’t exercising. He wasn’t wearing a mask. There was no mask dangling from either ear, either hand or cuff, nor tied in a knot on the stroller. He was maskless. (My spellchecker rejects ‘maskless’ but I’ve left it in as being the best description.)

As he was just about to pass me, I asked him – politely – where was his mask. His reaction was to ignore me. When I repeated the question, while still walking straight ahead, he turned his head away from me. No explanation. No answer (And no mask.) I made one last attempt to communicate with him, but his walls of ignorance were up and fully engaged.

So, I turned towards him as he passed by and took his picture.

It’s not a great picture; I think he speeded up to get away from me and I had no intention of running after him. However, the side view and the distinctive coloring/logo at the back of the hoodie and the stroller should be enough.

If you know him, the next time you see him, gently remind him we are all in this together. If you prefer me to give him the message, send me his contact details.

 

In the desert

On the table currently is Brazen Chariots, a game in Dean Essig‘s Battalion Combat Series (BCS) about the 1941 battles around Tobruk. I last played this at ConsimWorld 2019 but fairly recently a new version (2.0) of the rules was produced. I wanted to get up to speed with these as the next game in the BCS is about the battles for Budapest and I am keen to try that out.

The full campaign game is beyond me – I don’t have space for the three maps – but there are plenty of other manageable scenarios that I can make my way through. I’m going to start with the first and keep going until I get bored or otherwise redirected to another game.