Monday, 29 September 2008

The Monday after.

Children laugh and play in front of the Parliament while the sun shines with unbearably ironic alacrity in the face of the election result. TV teams are bustling around in the shadow of the splendid architecture of the Ring road, and the politicians are still beaming down from the election posters, most of them with a large "Thank you" slogan pasted across their faces - solely the Greens seem to have dispensed with this superfluous task which is really just a waste of precious ressources, especially in their case - the smiles and thank you's bearing in all cases a certain ambiguity which can be felt somewhere between the solarplexus and the midriff, and which creates a curious sensation that seems to be unable to decide whether it is the urge to laugh or to lament. I feel odd, I have been flogging a horse that turned out to be even deader than expected, and I want to join the general outcry uttered by all people of sense, and say: "Why???"
I have read today, that according to the Anholt-GfK Roper Nations Brand Index (what a name for a thing!) Austria - as a country - is as popular as Norway, and ranks 13th of 50. I assume this will now rapidly change. I expect something like ... Dylan Moran, on Germany ...

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Stressful, some reads.

Squee, one of my uni professors (Art History) came to the Palace today. I found this positively unnerving, because I think he's a bit great. Funny how I didn't recognise him at first, though I thought he looked awfully familiar, but the penny really only dropped when I heard his voice. He was there with his entire family, who are apparently all extremely intellectual and educated, as well as rich: a typical dynasty from the Austrian Bildungsbürgertum. Hah, I was slightly relieved that I was not the one who had to do the tour with them, because it would've felt really ridiculous to try and impress them with my clearly inferior knowledge of Baroque furniture and Tencalla frescoes. Sigh.

Tomorrow, I have to get up really early. I will make up my mind for whom I will vote while I shower and shave my legs (no way I can put this off, this time) and then I will go and vote and then I will go to work, do my 5 odd tours and take a bus or train to Vienna and enjoy my first bit of leisure in what seems like weeks (somehow I cannot count Paris as leisure, it was much too exhausting) ...

There is really not much of an emptiness or post-modern sadness to complain about at the moment.

In literary news, I'm reading Kate Chopin's Awakening (and other Stories)

(what an obscenely tiny picture)

It's really a nice read, very well written, though maybe a bit banal in regard to the plot. But it's one of those books that are typical of the end of the 19th century, where you can perceive an on-the-brink-of-Modernism opening of the mind to certain new themes, and the questioning of old values, while in style, they still more or less stick to the Victorian conventions (though Victorian is not really correct in this case, because it's an American novel) ... but it reminds me of Virginia Woolf's earliest novels (which, by the way, I'll definitely have to re-read soon) and that is a good thing.

I still owe the blog the latter 2 thirds of my Paris account, but this will be done, as I mentioned, with the help of the photos - and they have to wait till tomorrow at least.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Des Jardins, des tartes.

I am looking for someone who will visit this exhibition with me:

If nobody comes along, I'm going with my mother. Ha!

I also have a new "goal" in life, which is making this cake:

A Biedermeiertorte. It's not a challenge, if it's not "tricky"! Anyone can make a friggin' Sachertorte. There is only one slight problem, and that is that I cannot seem to find a recipe that will result in the sort of cake which you see pictured here, so I might just have to improvise/invent a recipe. All these things will happen in October.

Mission "Seeing the Divine Comedy in Paris": Accomplished!

Wow. I haven't been online for a week, and I am already completely out of touch with the majority of my friends - at least those who haven't been with me for the greater part of the week, or are in constant drivel exchanging text contact with me.
So while the world has clearly moved on, my last week has been quite eventful as well.

Let's rewind to Sunday, September 21st!

Of course, I spend the day at work, and after 6, rushed to Vienna. I pursued my traditional custom of cleaning, which is what I always do when I return to my flat after my flatmate has been inhabiting it on her own for a while. After that, I started finishing my English Literature paper, which took longer than expected, and resulted in my dear friend Julia beta-reading it till 1 a.m. and Max waiting for us to finish with increasing desperation, as he was the one who was commissioned to hand it in at the office the next day, and he really had better things to do. (When will I finally learn not to do everything SO last minute that it drives me and the people around me to the point of (almost) having a nervous breakdown? There are two possible answers:
a) Why, this semester, of course!
b) Never.
You are invited to place bets on which answer makes it.)

Eventually I went to bed, but found it hard to go to sleep, as tense and stressed out as I apparently was, and considering the prospect of having to get up in just 2 and a half hours, to catch our flight
Lisa and Karl picked Julia and me up at 4 a.m. and we drove to the airport. Everything went smoothly there, and we even found time to smoke pink cigarettes from Barcelona.

We arrived in Paris at half past seven, it was still early in the morning, and the RER (err-eu-err = erreur) was delayed so we had some coffee and pain au chocolate (a fun fact: it falls under the category "Viennoiserie", so the most edible items of french cuisine are actually Austrian, SCOOOORE). When we arrived at our "hotel" it was still too early to check in, so we just left our suitcases, and went for a walk. The lovely concierge didn't even allow us to use the toilets, ftw. I don't really remember what we did during those 3 or 4 hours. I think we staggered through The Marais and the adjoining arrondissements, but my memory is hazy due to extreme fatigue causing a near-unconscious state of mind. I do have evidence of finding two really cheap Vintage shops and buying a mindless number of dresses (3? ... no 2, well not so mindless), as well as 2 shawls (Victorian prostitute style) and a short-sleeved pink jumper.
Eventually we did check into the hotel, where we tried to get some sleep, and prepare ourselves mentally for the concert. Somehow we were all far too tired to get properly excited. But at the end it was a really great concert. We were in the 3rd row, and I managed to procure quite some enthusiasm there - but somehow I increasingly get the impression that in general my obsessibility is starting to fade.

The Cité de la Musique looks a bit like the Kulturzentrum in Eisenstadt (a bit of a turn-off), but Neil Hannon looked lovely in a lavender shirt, purple cardigan, and brownish jacket (turn-on). The concert was not thoroughly seated, as we first suspected (turn-off-ish, but at least gave us the opportunity to dance) The "friends" mentioned on the ticket were Vincent Delerm (I had as much as guessed that one - turn on!) and a woman named Daphné, who had a great voice but an annoying appearance (turn-off?). The set was tailored for a French audience, that means they played a brief The Divine Comedy best of interspersed with a number of interesting covers of French chansons, etc. So there was Brel, Galle, Hardy, even Vanessa Paradis! I'm sure I forgot some. He sang Songs of Love together with Vincent, and If together with Daphné. Many many songs were dearly missed by me, but I assume he would have to play a 10 hour gig in order to satisfy me. :/

I will tell about the following 2 days in Paris tomorrow & or on Sunday, and will come bearing pictures, to back up the story. I assume that will make it much more readable. :)

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Cowardly fruit, brave new world.

Here's a picture of a fig cut in half (I love taking photos of my food before I devour the succulent little bastards):

Here's an obscene picture of Neil Hannon with attachments:

(It's hilarious, red haired bride and everything.)

I'm ill, but I will see The Divine Comedy and Paris on Monday.

Something is wrong with our mobile phones. Texting is growing increasingly unreliable. We believe it's possibly a terrible plot initiated by Orange, but we know not why anybody would be so cruel.

I just cut my own hair, now I look like a turtle.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

As if I didn't have better things to do.

01. I've come to realize that my butt: is only 2 letters away from being butter.
02. I've come to realize that when I talk: I constantly think that the opposite of what I just said could also be true, depending on the way you look at the whole matter.
03. I've come to realize that if I love someone: I don't mind anything else.
04. I've come to realize that I need: a certain amount of time to myself in order to function as a human being.
05. I've come to realize that I've lost: a great deal of anxiety.
06. I've come to realize that I hate it when: people try to pressurise me into doing something.
07. I've come to realize that if I'm drunk: I get a little more assertive than usually.
08. I've come to realize that money: can be earned & fortune really depends on the tone of your voice, at least when you're a tour guide.
09. I've come to realize that my mother: is a person of her own right but lives her life primarily for others and that I am probably a lot more like her than I always thought.
10. I've come to realize that I'll probably always be: a little less good than I want to be.
11. I've come to realize that I have a crush on: somebody nice.
12. I've come to realize that the last time I cried was: appalled by the Palin-woman.
13. I've come to realize that my cell phone: is a bit confusing.
14. I've come to realize that when I wake up in the morning: I first go to the toilet, then brush my teeth.
15. I've come to realize that before I go to sleep at night: I recap.
16. I've come to realize that right now I am thinking about: something else than what I should be thinking about which is how to finish the paper till tonight.
17. I've come to realize that babies: are really antisocial and that I don't have a lot of time for them.
18. I've come to realize that when I get on livejournal: I leave as quickly as I can.
19. I've come to realize that today I will: be better than myself, for a change.
20. I've come to realize that tonight I will: be working.
21. I've come to realize that tomorrow I will: be working in a different place.
22. I've come to realize that I really want to: get this paper over and done with and savour the beautiful feeling of achievement that ensues.
23. I've come to realize that who is most likely to repost this is: probably not even going to read this.
24. I've come to realize relationships: are apparently compulsory.
25. I've come to realize love: is worthwhile.
26. I've come to realize my best guy friend: cannot be discussed in this form.
27. I've come to realize my best girl friend: is who she is and will never change.
28. I've come to realize food: is only the beginning.
29. I've come to realize that when I'm a boyfriend: I'm usually dreaming.
30. I've come to realize girls and boys: are equally silly and equally lovely.
31. I've come to realize over the summer: that time passes too quickly when you're waiting for something.
32. I've come to realize heartbreak: is either imaginary, or educational.

The mark of the devil is upon you.

Wonderful, almost lyrical example of Japanese(?) "Engrish" on the package of a children's toy bought in Budapest:

I feel that way about so many things in my life.

Right now, I'm listening to Snowball in Negative, by the Divine Comedy, and finally there is the spark that I've been waiting for. After all, I'm seeing him on Monday, and I was scared that I might not really be in the right mood for the concert now - in that I wasn't as excited as I think I should be.
But yes, here it is. Lovely, lovely.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The cold has a name, and it's Hanna.

First of all, a little rant: I'm not a big fan of telecommunication. It's nice when it works, but not much nicer than when you don't even try to do it. However, if you do try, and it doesn't work, it drives you mad. At least me. It depresses me to no end. This is why I am out of principle reluctant to call anybody, or even text them. Although, of course, this reluctance must frequently be overcome for the sake of social success. So I don't really know.


The weather is trying to prove a point, though I am not sure what this point is. Possibly it wants to prove that it can totally compete with Edinburgh in terms of dampness and chilliness. Possibly it wants to make sure, once and for all, that everybody knows that this is the end of summer 2008. Possibly it's just a grumpy fucker.
I'm not really that pleased with it. I mean I am definitely a fan of autumn, but when I say that, I think of golden light and fallen leaves and walks through the park and chestnuts, always, always chestnuts. Building animals out of toothpicks and chestnuts.
I don't think of cold and wet feet, wind, and being caught entirely unprepared by a temperature drop of some 20°C. In short, I'd like a classic, middle European autumn, instead of an Icelandic summer, kthxbye.

By the way, at the moment, I look a bit like this.

In my work clothes, which, in terms of colours and number of layers, are already adapted to the weather. With a sceptical and possibly even fearful look out of the window, wondering what devastatingness may be lurking out there in the form of earthbound water and adverse northerly winds.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Where the winds are born.

It's autumn. Thank god for that.

As October nears, I always want to go to Penzance.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Hybrids and other malapropisms.

I love hybrids. It is probably an extension of my obsession with intertextuality The past has seen me spazzing about zebroids, especially the little baby zebroid which made the rounds on the internet like a new French fashion would've in Restoration England. (drip, drop.)
Today I bring to you a marvellous picture of a Liger:

I think he is called Patrick. He reminds me of my boy-kitten, although that one is more of a lier than a liger. Meaning that he lies around all the time.

The other thing I want to draw your attention to is the word 'chou-croute', which is French for Sauerkraut. The word is fascinating, because according to Wikipedia it's actually a - french - phonological parallel to the Alsatian 'Sürkrüt' (which is nothing but 'Sauerkraut' in another dialect). But interestingly the french word 'chou' (cabbage) has been thrown into the mix, making 'chou-croute' a malaprope hybrid hendiadyoin* that means "cabbage-cabbage", or if you will "Kraut-Kraut".
Anyway I love it, and, by the way, I made some pretty awesome Sauerkraut today.

*there is probably a neat term for this phenomenon already but I have not yet come across it.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

I want ...

... delicate patisseries.

Weird and wonderful pictures from the Donauinselfest.

Incidentally, they're predominantly of Kevin and Theodora. He had been given a silly hat, she was skeptical. It was raining. And then the Shout Out Louds played.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Baby, don't the sharks shine bright.

Oh! I've always wanted individual cleavage, I think.

This sort of looks like a Sufjan Stevens song. Or Vivaldi. (Taken from the train from Vienna to Wulkaprodersdorf on the morning of September 6th. Gleaming sunlight featuring early morning mist.)

Oh by the way: Come On! Feel The Illinoise! features the same or almost exactly the same melody line as The Cure's Close To Me. It took my brother playing bass along to a midi-version of the latter and my utter confusion when I thought he might be playing a Sufjan Stevens song to realise this.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

The way we live now.

Still no pictures of the beeps. Tomorrow, maybe. .) Along with some of my work-place, maybe.

2 pictures though:

One of my new phone and the sock I knitted for it:

And the other one of my "new" favourite piece of clothing - this genuinely retro, touristy "Greece" shirt. I stole it from my mum. It's wonderful. Don't laugh. I don't wear it in public anyway. ;)

I'm knackered, and I've eaten too many Schnitzel. Shame on me.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

How much do you miss complaining?

I was early for work this morning, so I spent half an hour sitting by the Leopoldinentempel reading some essays on Restauration Drama and watching the ducks and rails run around. It felt very peaceful, and I'm in love with the rails. They're tiny feathery dinosaurs that go "bee bee bee". Tomorrow I'll take photos & post them here.

Graham is posting loads of music recommendations on the forum these days. I'll just keep this for reference.

The Wedding Present ...

"Oh, have you lost your love of life? Too much apple pie." ... I like this song. It sums up my life, sometimes.

And, concludingly, I need to post a video of this song, because I've been singing it in my head all day long, wishing I was looking for Simon&Garfunkel tapes when indeed I was sorting the classical CDs at the gift-shop.