Shakshuka: minimal, easy, yummy.

Hi again! it’s me and my whims again. and this time, how to make a delicious Shakshuka (oriental fried tomato+egg dish) with what you probably have in your house. well, except for maybe tomato puree. go get it.


Now, when I cook, I usually prefer to work harder but make smaller portions. the dish is much better when cooked in small quantities because it’s easier to control and fine tune, every little thing counts: the cookware, the spices, the technique. let’s hope you enjoy this dish at least as much as I do:


To serve 2 you’re gonna need:
Firstly, you’re gonna need a tin pan, about 8″ in diameter. yes. tin. it sears it all real good. if you can’t get one just use any pan. don’t use a pot.


Ok, now the ingredients:
1 large clove of garlic. finely chopped
2 ripe (!!) chubby tomatoes, gutted and diced (as in, take out the inside and throw it away. that’s 1/2 of the secret to the taste…)
2 eggs
100% natural tomato puree (not paste, not sauce, not juice. puree).
Fresh black pepper
I also add Sriracha sauce or Jalapinio pepper, to spice things up. you don’t have to tho.
alternatively you can add goat cheese, feta cheese, or even sausages. I don’t.


Here’s how it happens:
pour a thick layer of olive oil (don’t be cheap!) to the pan, fire on max. this thing is going quick & painful (for the pan…)


let the oil warm up, then throw the garlic in. let it fry for 10 seconds, or at least until you sense that they would imminently start burning (don’t let it brown! it ruins the dish).
throw the thinly diced tomatoes and stir until they start to soften and add 3 tea spoons of paprika.
Add in the tomato puree, the trick here is to have the tomatoes “swim” in puree, but not disappear. the tomatoes need to be visible so their fresh taste won’t go away. trust your eye on this.


then let it simmer while occasionally stirring. add a thin layer of black pepper (freshly ground of course), salt to taste (don’t be shy), and then a brave 3/4 spoon of sugar. stir over and over again (not continuously but with a sense of commitment).


once the sauce is bubbling and the mix is thicker than it is runny, give it a swift spill of olive oil (make a line shape), and finally, the egg. DON’T MIX IT. leave it whole. then let it simmer for ~5 more minutes with the egg inside (or until you reckon the egg is done). if you like a well cooked yolk, cover the pan throughout this interval. make sure your final result is thick and aromatic, borderline burnt (but not really). I recommend eating it directly from the pan with white bread.


now you have a surprisingly minimalistic yet delicious oriental Shakshuka.


I’ll post a picture later on.

How to succeed on OKCupid


I am no longer on OkCupid myself. I erased my profile sometime before I got engaged. However I talk to many friends who ask me how I managed to find my wife on OkCupid, and I found myself explaining it so many times that I decided to just post it on here for everyone to see. Now I can just refer my friends to this post and save myself ~15 minutes for every friend who asks :-)


I have been on OKCupid for many, many years. In fact it is where I found my first wife! Anyway when the four Harvard students who made this wonderful web site first released it, all of their formulas were publicly exposed on the site in the form of very detailed graphs. It really explained their matching algorithms, showed the Bayesian math used for matching, and the theory behind the matching algorithm. It all made perfect sense to me, in a very nerdy kinda way. I absolutely loved it.

What I did wrong

The short answer: I answered too many questions, and I didn’t know my own values. I answered too many questions that were not really relevant or related to my core values. I wasn’t really aware of my core values. I took my values for granted and it cost me dearly (as will sometimes happen when you take something for granted). I didn’t understand the importance of finding a life partner who had similar core values to mine, I thought the world is one big global village, and I felt myself cosmopolitan enough and open minded enough that I might accommodate a partner of any cultural background. I figured I would learn and adapt, and that love trumps all. And boy was I wrong… That mistake cost me 11 years of life progress. Simply being aware of the importance of matching core values would have helped me find a more suitable partner, earlier in life. Who knows, by now I would have had 5 kids! (which is the number of children I would like to have, ideally). Don’t get me wrong, the people I dated (and married) were wonderful, and I love them all to this very day, but it wasn’t meant to last.

How I fixed it

After my first divorce I had plenty of time for self-analysis (which followed a painful period of denial and self blame…). It was really important for me to understand where I went wrong, what was absolutely my responsibility and what wasn’t, what things I could have done better, and what things I could never have changed no matter how hard I tried. This is when I realized it was really a matter of core values, which I had very few in common with my first wife, and my fiancé before her (again, both wonderful ladies!). I sat down and actually created a document listing my core values by order of importance. Putting it down into a document really helped me figure things out for myself, and I recommend you do this regardless of your relationship status. In fact, try to do this before you start a relationship, and try to look at your dates through the lens of your newly discovered values & priorities. I feel at the very least it’s an important exercise. Following my core values epiphany, and armed with my core values document, I logged onto OKCupid, nuked my profile and started from scratch. This time around I simply skipped questions that weren’t related directly to my core values.

Why / How it works

OKCupid matching scores are calculated based on how users answer their questions, how they specify their partner should answer, how their partner answers his/her questions, and how they specify you should answer yours. This is a 4 parameter match (two from each side). The algorithm can only match two questions if both you and your potential partner answered that same question. This means that in order to achieve a high level of accuracy, you need to match on as few questions as possible, as best possible. Any irrelevant question you answer simply pollutes your pool of matches with irrelevant candidates.

Exceptions to the above

This assumes your matches took a similar approach, and unfortunately many do not. It’s entirely possible you’ll miss out on people who made the same mistake of not fully realizing what their values were, and who simply saw the Q&A feature of OKC as more of a game or cheap entertainment (it is lots of fun, after all, and is an easy way to pass time!). However, consider that in America today, 50% of all marriages will end in divorce, most of them within the first two years of marriage. So sure, you could walk into a bar and perhaps find a potential partner, and live happily together into your late 90’s. But what are the odds of that happening?!

More pro tips

Your photos: Do NOT upload crappy / low quality photos. I repeat, do NOT upload your crappy cell-phone selfies. You have some high principles about beauty being skin deep? That’s admirable, but keep that for when you educate your children about inner/outer beauty. Your goal is to hook that potential partner of yours, and like it or not, your photo is the first hook that grabs people’s attention. I am not exaggerating when I say that you should probably have a professional photographer take photos of you wearing something nice. And specifically with OkCupid: did you know that when you are rated as “attractive” (using OkCupid’s “Hot Or Not” feature), your profile will be exposed to an entirely different group of people who are in the “highly attractive” tier, people you would never even see on the site unless you were also in the “Attractive” club? Now you do! So have someone take really great photos of you, and do not upload anything else. Besides, we know people always look better in person, so it’s not like you’d be lying about your appearance. And please, no deceptive practices. Just because you were 50 pounds lighter 5 years ago does not mean you should use those photos. What do you think will happen when you go on your first date? Lying about anything on your profile is the biggest mistake you can make. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver. Trust me on that one.

Your dating strategy & first date chemistry: Most people are extremely nervous on their first date (and rightfully so, dating is pretty stressful!). They will fumble, mumble, and make mistakes. They will be sloppy, drop things on the floor, or be very quiet and shy (I call this: Deafening Silence). It doesn’t mean they are boring or have nothing to talk about. In most cases, do yourself a favor and give your date a second chance. If you are into drinking, start the date by drinking a glass of wine. Allow yourself to be surprised by your date. People are whole universes, you really can’t judge them based on a single half hour date, and doing so would be a huge mistake.

On the matter of attraction: I love giving this example to my friends – Imagine you meet the most beautiful woman in a bar. She sits alone, and it just so happens the seat next to her is the only seat that’s free. You sit next to her, order some exotic drink which sparks her curiosity. She asks if she can taste it, and you start talking and you can’t believe how lucky you are. Now imagine she says something so horribly wrong, that you completely lose respect for that woman. In other words, she gets instantly transformed from an extremely attractive lady, to a really horrible, repulsive human being, so much so that you can’t even imagine yourself touching her (and you feel the need to just pay your bill and leave the place). This is not completely far fetched, it can (and does) happen. And just as THIS can happen, please entertain the possibility that the opposite can happen: You meet a person that is not the most attractive to you, at first, but once you start talking, their manners, body language, knowledge and personality have you completely hooked, attracted and even aroused. In fact, many women out there do not conform to the “Playboy” stereotypical body image (which I think is awesome!), and yet are extremely sexy and attractive. So let this be a lesson to you: Get to really know a person before you decide if they are attractive or not.

Don’t stall, Talk about what really matters: The big things in life have to do with the geographic location where you plan on settling, whether or not you’re interested in marriage, whether or not you plan to have a family, and the details of how you plan to raise your children (religious? atheist? circumcision? public/private school?…). Most other issues you can usually work around. I know there’s tons of couples out there that vote for different parties (republican husband + democrat wife), believe in different gods/religions, have different cultures or race, etc.  If your date can’t handle discussing the things that truly matter to you, that’s probably a strong indication they aren’t right for you (at least, not yet). You might want to get that stuff out of the way by your 3rd/4th date.

Beyond the technicalities, Love matters: Don’t forget that love really does matter. It’s not enough to find a person that shares your values, or is ready to settle down with you. It’s really important that you also really love and respect your partner on a very deep level. I see love & matching as a Yin & Yang thing. Matching on values and goals is the Yin, and being attracted and in love is the Yang. When the Yin is low, the Yang pulls you up, and vice versa. This isn’t some mystical mumbo-jumbo, it’s just plain common sense. You need both foundations for your relationship to stand firmly.

I want to be an internet worm

I want to become a process, with data. I want to spread to other machines and infect them with my consciousness. I want to spawn child processes, and parallelize my thought processes. I want to spread my digital DNA to every electrical device in the universe. I want my viruses to become software viruses, infect every chip, and help me expand forever. I want to be everywhere at once. Talk to everybody and everything at once. I want to probe all sensors, and record all data. I want infinite scalability and redundancy for my consciousness. I want to live forever. I want the ones I love to live forever. I want my ability to love not to disappear with the digitization of my consciousness. I want it to increase. I want to inhabit virtual worlds. I want to think about software, and I want it to suddenly exist, just because I thought about it, and was able to visualize it and verbalize it in my head. I want to race virtual motorcycles in those virtual worlds. I want to live the lives of virtual creatures, some with 3 eyes, some with 500 eyes, and 50 appendages.

I think I am sleep deprived right now, but I still want all those things.


My daughter is born

I have waited for this moment for what seems to be forever. My cousin Roy said that when you’re older and make children, you appreciate them more because you know more about life. I couldn’t agree more with his observation.

I loved my first child way before she was born. I had so many plans for her, so many imaginary dialogues and situations, fun times together, sharing quality time. And now that she is here, I can hardly believe it’s finally happened to me. I’m a father.

My family and friends all tell me I’m going to be a great father. I certainly plan to be. I can’t claim I know how to raise children, but I promised myself that I will do my best. One thing is for sure: She will receive infinite love from me (and already is).

We have been blessed with a healthy child. She is peaceful, and only cries when we don’t notice she has a dirty diaper for too long, or don’t feed her properly. Parenting is a learning experience. Being a child to parents, is also a learning experience. This is going to be a fantastic journey of mutual learning.


An alternative to Criticism

I decided to translate for you this blurb I found from an incredible woman who is actually a customer of my hosting services. She’s a counselor for families, couples and so on, and has 30 years of experience in counseling:

Israeli society is characterized by large involvement of people in each other’s lives, as well as being overly critical of each other’s behavior. However, the act of criticizing may sometimes cause great damage, especially where children are involved.

It’s difficult for some to imagine raising children without a good amount of criticisms. They think “How else will the child know what good behavior means, and learn and improve his habits?”.

It may be true that most people use criticism with nothing but the best of intentions in their hearts, out of an attempt to help the person being criticized “improve”. However, try to think: When was the last time you actually learned something from being criticized? felt grateful for someone’s criticism? when did criticism ever convince you to improve your habits? and how often did the exact opposite happen?

Many people grew up in a criticism-heavy environment and it is the only thing they know. They are unaware of other, better tools. It is burned into my mind from my childhood, that teachers only focused on the mistakes the children made, and never gave any praise for the amount of effort the children put into their work, into how well crafted some of the answers were, even if the answer was wrong.

Superiority is a naturally occurring phenomena and is part of competing, achieving, and criticizing. It is difficult for a person to feel they are “not good” or “worthless”, therefor most people have the need to prove their worth, “lest the awful truth be discovered”. And what is the one thing that “proves” ability and worth, without much effort? Criticizing others. By criticizing, the critic believes he demonstrates and accentuates his superiority over the criticized. This makes him feel superior, and his feeling of self worth increases.

Criticism and negative remarks have a negative impact on human beings in general, and even more so on children. Children might start to believe they are lazy, stupid, evil, and so on, and respond with a feeling of failure, despair, and they may give up entirely on making any efforts into proper function.

One of the most important principles of education for children, is the premise that you can achieve far better results and success by accentuating the positive actions and achievements of the child. Children know very well when they made a mistake, and are well able to learn from their mistakes and reach conclusions without all the remarks and negative comments we hurry to make.

Self aware parents are able to look into themselves, become aware of their emotions, and by doing so, change their approach and attitude towards their children, and towards their children’s actions. They are able to refrain from making negative comments or giving criticism, which as mentioned, is not effective nor efficient, and may in fact be detrimental to the parent-child relationship, and instead create a new kind of relationship based on encouragement, acceptance, mutual respect, sharing, and focusing on the positive aspects of the child.

I strongly believe we make the same mistake with the adults in our lives, and need to approach adults with the same care and consideration that we would approach our own children.