Thursday, June 4, 2009

But I WANT to give you money!

I'm an honest person. I download tv shows to watch online, but if there is a movie I want to keep, or an album I want, I buy them. Especially so if the album is by an independent artist. I even downloaded an album from a website, that didn't require payment in advance. I listened to the album, really enjoyed it, decided to keep it, and went back and paid for it. I never received an acknowledgement from the not-known-outside-his-local-bar-scene artist, but that's a different rant altogether.

Today I came across an album that I wanted to download. I went through the whole payment procedure, came to "billing address" and started filling in my Israeli information. I selected "Israel" from the drop-down menu for country. Everytime I hit enter, up came an error message stating that my zip code didn't match my state.

Fine. I finally sent an email to Amazon and got this response:
At this time music downloads are only available to customers using a credit or debit card issued by a U.S. bank with a U.S. billing address...You also must be physically located in the U.S. at the time of purchase.
Well, okey dokey then. I understand distribution rights and whatnot, so I'm not too surprised by that. But please explain to me why they would have a drop-down menu with numerous countries listed if you can only be in one country?

A global world demands global accessability, but no one will let me buy this CD. If it were an independent artist, I would download it from a torrent, and send the artist a cheque. In this case, it's not, there's nowhere to send a cheque to. So sadly, the simple fact of living b'aretz, in the Land, means I shall have to find another *cough* means of *cough* accessing this CD.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bang head here

When I was in the process of immigrating to Canada, I followed quite a few online forums about Canadian immigration. There were frequently jokes made about how if you called the immigration office multiple times with the same question, you would get a different answer every time. Except we weren't really laughing, because it was true. A number of us tested the information line, and never got the same information twice.

I'm thankful for that preparation, because despite having a fairly easy time with the bureaucracy here, we still occasionally experience some serious head-banging frustrations. Case in point:

We are leaving the country (we're not going far, just to Greece. Ha! Greece is "not far"!!) prior to having been in Israel for one year. That means we have to get a special travel document, a Teudat Ma'avar. Fortunately, a T"M is easily obtained at our local Misrad HaPnim office.

Um. "easily"

We went to the office, and were told we need a picture of each of us. Okay, that we already have from our original aliyah process. We go home, but have to come back another time with the pictures, because, like most government offices, banks and post offices here in Israel, they close for the afternoon.

So we come back another time with our pictures. While we're trying to figure out from which category to take our number, an employee comes out to help (for you Canadians, think of the Air Canada employee who wanders the terminals looking to direct passengers to the self-service machines). She informs us we need TWO pictures each. Now I'm really frustrated, because we have two pictures each, but I only brought one of each, because we were told we only needed one, but why didn't I just bring the others just in case and it's not like they're heavy or anything, they're only photos for cryin' out loud.


Because the office is only open two afternoons a week, and I have ulpan (Hebrew school) in the morning, we are limited as to when we can go. So we went today, not realizing that today is not one of the two afternoons a week that the office is open, only to be told by the very helpful (different) lady there that because it's now less than 3 weeks until our trip, we have to go to the city of Ramle to get our Teudat Ma'avar. It seems the office in Modi'in is just a satellite office that sends everything to Ramle to be processed. This apparently adds over a week to the actual processing time, so we wouldn't get our T"M back in time for the trip.

So now we have to figure out how to get to Ramle, where the office is in Ramle, when they're open, and I get to miss another day of ulpan.

Funny: after I explained to the woman why I was about to collapse in a puddle of tears, I listed off all the things we need for the T"M and asked, "that's definitely IT, right? We don't need anything else?" She said, "ומחייך*." Smiles.

Guess she's dealt with olim before.

* I have been corrected; apparently I misheard. Smiles is חיוכים (chiyuchim). Thanks C!