In recent days I've had this strange thing: a bitter taste in the mouth after eating food. It's a recurring condition that comes, lasts a few days, then goes away again. Every few months I get this. Besides the bitter taste, there's a slight discomfort in the upper part of the stomach sometimes. Reading on the web, it seems to match most closely the symptoms of what's called a hiatus hernia or hiatal hernia. I think I'll settle for that explanation, since it doesn't sound all that serious.
After researching my maladies I got on with cleaning the house, then read a little more of Divisadero. I'm plodding along slowly with that - probably because I'm spending too much time on computers these days. I love Ondaatje's books and read so far The English Patient, Anil's Ghost and many of the poems in The Cinnamon Peeler.
Then Deb came over. She talked about the writing guide for activists that she is writing. Later in the day we had a visit from two men from the German government who may be willing to help us with the Library project. I met them together with Nava.
Dorit meanwhile had meetings with Frans and Hans from Holland. Hans is director of an organization called Stichting Collusie, (translation to English) . They aim "to advise socially and economically vulnerable groups in the area of sustainability, energy saving and environmental protection." Since they take volunteers and Yotam is currently checking possibilities for volunteering abroad, she also arranged an interview with him.
In between I looked at FriendFeed. Found there a link to an interesting article and discussion to identity issues of Muslims in India. Some of the comments complained about the phenomenon of Indian college students rooting for Pakistan in cricket matches between the two nations. That reminded me of the way Palestinian Israeli citizens often support foreign teams playing against Israel in soccer or basketball.
On TV heard an interview with a speaker of Esperanto - a language that I would love to study one day. It takes about 15 lessons by correspondence or through the web to learn the language. The interview was with an astrophysicist, who appeared with his daughter, with whom he had spoken the language since she was a baby. As against the popular conception, the creator of Esperanto, L. L. Zamenhof had never intended to replace existing languages, but to create a universal second language for everyone, which would be especially easy to learn. The effect would actually be to preserve existing languages by not threatening them by cultural dominance. This year is the 150th year of Zamenhof's birth. Too bad the idea never properly caught on. But there's a street named after him in Tel Aviv.
In the evening I looked up some more news feeds and links on Friendfeed. Finally discovered a work around for my audio problem in the Flock browser. There's a Firefox extension rather pompously called "The Flash Video Resources Downloader". You click an icon in the taskbar and it finds the flash video. You click another button to download the video in the suitable format. Then I can open it in Totem. Fine. The only snag is having to wait for the entire video to download before listening.