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Opeth in Israel

November 12, 2009 1 comment

I think most of my readers don’t know this about me, but I am somewhat of a headbanger, and my favorite band is Opeth. A lot has been said about these amazing guys, so I will write about my impressions from their gig here in Israel.

It was held in Tel Aviv, in a very nice location (Hangar 11, Tel Aviv port). Opeth went on stage and kicked in with Heir Apparent. I swear to Satan, the impact of the first 2 notes was so astounding it made the unlikely hypothesis of the rising of His Unholiness himself and his entire entire Army of Darkness look pale and insignificant in comparison. Unfortunately, this effect did not last long, probably because I got used to the sound and everything. But the show was so great nontheless.

Once Heir was done, they quickly switched to Ghost of Perdition. And after some funnies from Mikael they played The Leper Affinity and White Cluster. During Windowpane Mikael almost swallowed his pick and missed a line, which was quite amusing (and brought many cheers from the audience). I guess he should have thought less on tits and more on playing (referring to his report on what they did at the beach before the show).

I enjoy listening to Mikael between songs. He’s so laid back talking as opposed to playing and singing. After another talk they played The Lotus Eater. Then Mikael decided to suddenly change the plans and play something off setlist, so they did Bleak, which was played fairly well, considering Opeth’s claim they did not rehearse it in a while. After that they played April Ethereal and Reverie/Harlequin Forest.

I think one of the best songs Opeth played that night was Reverie/Harlequin Forest. And Hex Omega. They are both amazing live, even though they’re less heavy than, say, Deliverance, which they played after the encore, and was a pretty good finale to a truly awesome night. Right before Deliverance Frederik astounded everyone with an amazing killer solo.

I really enjoy Mikael’s presence on stage. He doesn’t take things too serious or false pretending. All is fun and games with Opeth, because they know they don’t need the pretension – they prove their seriousness and professionalism through their music.

It’s going to be hard for me to get back to listen to Opeth. Every record now sounds so dull and empty in comparison. Ugh, who am I kidding? I couldn’t resist and popped in Watershed a few minutes ago.

P.S. Thanks Israeli Youtubers for putting some clips online. Most of them really suck because you guys have shitty equipment, but I managed to dig the few decent ones.

Elia Leibowitz’s lecture on the fallacies of intelligent design @ Icon

October 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Yesterday, my friend Ben and I, have checked what’s going on in Icon, a science fiction and fantasy convention held here at the Tel Aviv’s Cinematheque. There was the usual cosplay activity, books and role playing games stands and all sorts of geeks wandering about. Great atmosphere. I should have taken my camera with me…

We then attended a lecture, which was part of the convention, called “Intelligence Design: the oldest science fiction” hosted by Professor of astronomy Elia Leibowitz from Tel Aviv University and also a member of the Sackler Institute of Astronomy.

Prof. Leibowitz started with an overview of how we gather information we consider to be true and how, based on that information alone, we sometimes make false assumptions about our surroundings. Based on this alone, we’re likely to interpret the world wrong. In order to understand our world as accurately as possible, we must base our conclusions on common sense and experimentations as well as the knowledge we gather.

It seems obvious, of course, but it isn’t. And that’s where intelligent design comes in. Basically, ID proponents say our universe is too complex and unique to be the result of mere random events. Evolution and science can’t explain the uniqueness of the creation of the universe, so there must be a creator behind it. It’s a false dichotomy: if not evolution, then has to be a god. Leibowitz gave the example of the watch and the shell: If the watch was made by an intelligent creator, so must have been the shell, because both of them are complex designs.

The main problem with the IDers’ reasoning is that they ignore the fact that any importance we imply on the world strictly comes from our own interpretation. It’s very easy to be impressed by the sheer beauty of a view from the cliffs and the complexity of a bacterial flagellum. Well, these are quite amazing. Nature IS amazing. But it’s not unique. Not beyond what we make of it. There is no universal uniqueness in our world. And if there is non, randomness is a plausible explanation. The universe developed the way it was, but it could have easily developed in any other way If there is no uniqueness, there is no need for an intelligent creator.

I’m not implying there is no possibility for the existence of an intelligent designer of some sort (although I don’t believe that possibility), I don’t think the arguments presented by ID proponents are good enough to support this claim. According to modern knowledge and all the evidence we have, this simply just doesn’t add up.

This has been a great evening. I got to meet a few very interesting people along the way, including a very talented illustrator pursuing a career in animation! I hope next Icon I’ll be able to participate in more events and have a lot more to write about!

Some Poi action in Tel Aviv

September 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Dan invited me to join him for a fire and poi gathering at The Tupim Beach in Tel Aviv a couple of weeks ago. Not a poi practitioner myself, I decided it’d be a good time to take some photos. I haven’t done that in a while, and as I’ve shown here before, I really like taking photos of people juggling. It’s a great opportunity to see what your camera’s capable of and what you can do with it. I’ve included here some of my favorite ones. For the rest of the photos go here.

Some girl wearing an interesting outfit dancing around with fire.

Some girl wearing an interesting outfit dancing around with fire.

Two dudes went into the water and juggled over there. Great reflections.

Two dudes went into the water and juggled over there. Great reflections.

Fire spitting!

Fire spitting!

Dan enjoys himself.

Dan enjoys himself.

Animation and Effects Lectures evening

July 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Next Teusday, July 27th, 2009, there’s going to be a 3 lecture packed evening in Tel Aviv.

Amir Green from Sony is going to talk about special effects and explotions in motion pictures. Tal Schwatzman will show how he created animation for the Dreamworks feature Monsters Vs. Aliens and Dror Lazar is going to talk about management and time planning for small projects.

Sounds interesting. I’m gonna be there and let you all know how it was.

Full details are in the PDF available here.

Nuit blanche in Tel-Aviv wrap

June 12, 2009 Leave a comment

This year’s nuit blanche’s theme was the city’s 100th birthday.  The streets were crouded with people. The main attractions were on Rothschild blvd and they were mostly fashion shows, historic and nostalgic presentations and street performances.

Here are few of the photos I took during this event.

King George st. is full of people.King George st. is full of people.

Some of the street shows on Rothschild blvd.: