The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

August 2004 Archive

August 01, 2004

Just a quick note: if you should ever meet me, I don't like carrots. Actually, most mooses don't like carrots. Not even when we're tired. I mean we mooses are usually grateful about company, even though most mooses prefer moose company to human company, but we don't really like carrots.

Posted by Haldur Gislufsson at 12:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

We regret to announce
that due to technical reasons beyond our control
this weblog will probably not be updated
during the next two weeks.

We apologize for any inconvenience
this may cause.

Posted by Haldur Gislufsson at 12:55 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

August 13, 2004

Due to the technical problems between the 2nd of August and today, I completely missed my weblog's second anniversary on August 3rd. Would you believe it — it's already two years ago that I started this weblog. And I'm still doing this. Unbelievable. Thanks to all my readers for coming by on a regular or irregular basis. It's much appreciated.

Posted by Horst at 10:56 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

During my absence from blogging I finally got hold of the latest volume of Lewis Trondheim's Formidables Aventures de Lapinot (that's volume 8 — volume 9 was already published last year). Especially after the light-hearted hommage to Spirou that was volume 9, I wasn't quite prepared for it.

This is without doubt the darkest and most depressing volume in the series with a rather unexpected, even more depressing ending. It was already a major blow to all fans when earlier this year, Lewis announced that he would stop drawing completely (he only intends to keep writing scenarios for Donjon and Le Roi Catastrophe), but even if he reverses his decision, I don't see how he could conceivably continue Lapinot, which is particularly sad.

Richard massacres Barbara's 'L'aigle noir'. But the good things can't last forever I suppose, so here I give you one of the funny moments from the book: Richard sings in the Paris metro, and the novelty factor about it is that he doesn't want any money for it (if you've ever travelled on the Paris metro, you'll appreciate the humour). If you're interested in the original version of the song he "massacres", L'aigle noir by Barbara, you can listen to it here (MP3, 4.5 MB).

I'll put up a separate web page on the entire Lapinot series, with brief summaries in English, in a few days.

Posted by Horst at 11:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)


Guess the language. Then guess what it could mean. Big prizes wait for the winner(s)! (Use the comments for your contributions.)

I wanted to make this a language quiz, but then I checked with Google and found the answer within thirty seconds. Google really takes all the fun out of these things. So no big prizes for you. Tough luck.

If you still feel like guessing the language and the meaning without checking it in Google first, go ahead and post in the comments.

Update: If you find out where this sign is, you'll also know where I was on August 6th. The Potz was one of the "technical reasons" for my absence.

Posted by Horst at 05:54 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

August 14, 2004

They say, "when in Rome, eat as the Romans do". Which reminded me of a dilemma that I was confronted with a while ago when friends from abroad were visiting and we were considering in what kind of restaurant to eat.

I have recently refined the problem somewhat, and it boils down to the question:

If you find yourself in Belgium, which is worse: eating at an Indian restaurant, or eating at Quick (a Belgian-owned hamburger chain)?

Posted by Horst at 04:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

August 15, 2004

This is pretty good: John Peel session #24 of The Fall, broadcast 12 August 2004 (pics here). The new stuff sounds promising.

And this is just as interesting: The Fall Video Archive.

Update: According to Fall News, The Fall play in Vienna at the Szene on 12 October. Guess who'll be there. Anyone else interested in coming?

Posted by Horst at 01:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

In an effort to make life safer for Swedish mooses, an English company is now building moose repelling devices for Swedish trains.

Numerous mooses are run over every year by the train to Arlanda airport in Sweden. The new device, something like a rubber nose, apparently "acts as an impact-absorber, repelling the moose without injuring them while keeping passengers safe".

Are they sure this is going to work? An impact absorber that allows a train running at 150kph to hit a moose without injuring the moose? Sounds to me like the people who wrote this are wearing rubber noses themselves — red clown noses.

Posted by Haldur Gislufsson at 10:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 16, 2004

I'm well aware that people who say say "I told you so" after something has gone wrong are not exactly universally loved. Still, this time I simply can't resist becoming one of these people myself. Wikipedia administrator Ulrich Fuchs resigns because

The mob - a nasty word, I know - has taken over the [Wikipedia] project and is bringing it down to the level of the level of the rest of the Internet without anybody protesting.
Those [admins] who advocate quality of content have largely surrendered to the camarilla of web designers and wiki fetishists Diejenigen, die hier die Qualität hochhalten wollten, haben vor dieser Kamarilla der Webdesigner und Wikifetischisten unter den Admins leider zum großen Teil resigniert. These are now systematically sabotaging the aims of the Wikipedia because they are seeing the wiki as only an end in itself and are using it to satisfy their play instinct, but don't understand it as a means for a certain purpose.

[Original article in German; my translation, found via netbib weblog]

Well, I told you so, didn't I?

Posted by Horst at 12:08 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

aa aa zaa Qaa öaa Jaa jaaWaaa aa SaaÄF

It seems that public transport customer information in the Land of Potz is no more reliable than in Austria, even though their problems look somewhat more poetic than ours.

Posted by Horst at 12:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 17, 2004

I'd briefly like to join in the current audioblogging debate that has been sparked off by a couple of people [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] recently. I think there has been a huge misunderstanding what audioblogging is. It is not just reading or speaking your weblog entries as opposed to writing them, just as a photoblog is not just portraits of yourself, or a videoblog is not just a video of yourself sitting at a desk talking into a camera, speaking your entries.

We should be aware that different media exist for a reason, because they allow us different forms of expression for different kinds of content. Of course we can mediate the same content through different media (writing/audio/videography/still photography), but the result will be successful to very different degrees, simply because some kind of content works significantly better over one specific medium and probably not at all over a different medium.

Everybody understands this when we compare writing and photography. It is my belief that audioblogging certainly has its uses, it's just that so far it has mostly been used for the mere transformation of written text into spoken text, which is just one marginal use of what audio technology allows us to do. We need to experiment more with it, be more open to exploring its possibilities. Just imagine that musicians had only ever used recording technology to record just the spoken lyrics of their songs and had played the music only in live performances.

But that's exactly what most audioblogging is like today. And this is wrong because it's the use of a medium for something it's not particularly good at. We should start audioblogging not simply because we want to spread our message through this medium, but because we have no other way to express what we want to express. There's no way that words can express what you can see on most photographs. Likewise, you use a sound recording because it's impossible to write down what you can hear in your audioblog entry.

This would mean of course that to do proper audioblog entries you need a lot more than just a microphone. You need a concept, probably even a script, good audio editing software, and a lot of time.

I've used audioblog entries very rarely in the past, simply because they seemed more of a hassle than anything else for the things that I wanted to say. Two occasions that I can think of where I put them to use because what I wanted to say didn't work in writing was when I demonstrated the fan noise of my PowerMac G4 and when the USA attacked Iraq last year.

Posted by Horst at 10:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (3)

Marc Chostakoff : Horizon 32, Sanary-sur-Mer

Fantastic: Marc Chostakoff. Some of his work is currently on exhibition in the capital of the Land of Potz.

Posted by Horst at 05:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 18, 2004

While some folks have been voting on the most untranslatable word in the world, a look into my referrer log has convinced me that almost all words are untranslatable for your average translation software.

Now I am aware that automatic translations usually produce results that are considerably more humorous than useful, but did the poor soul who who used a Google translation of my recipe page know it, too? Did he or she actually attempt to cook something that requires "blood ulcers" or "seeds with one mustard of the brown teaspoon"? If yes, did the result taste as originally intended?

How long have we had these silly translation utilities now? Ten years? More? And why does it seem to me that even after all this time they are still producing the same nonsense that they produced ten years ago? Is computer translation really such a technological dead end that there's not even the slightest progress in a decade?

For your amusement, and because I can't think of anything else at the moment, I give you the miraculous shape-shifting lentil recipe. First, the original from The Aardvark Cooks:

Red lentils with onions
A very quick, simple lentil dish. It's spicy, but the sugar and the whole shallots give it an unique sweetish taste.
250g red lentils (masoor dal); 4 tablespoons vegetable oil; 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds; 1 large pinch asafoetida; 10 curry leaves; 2 cloves; 4 dried red chilies, deseeded and crushed; 500g shallots, peeled, but left whole; 2 tablespoons brown sugar; 1 teaspoon tamarind paste; 1 teaspoon turmeric; salt
Rinse the lentils thoroughly and check for stones. Then put them in a pot with twice the amount of water and bring to boil. Remove any froth that forms with a slotted spoon. Boil until the lentils are very soft, but have not disintegrated (approx. 10 minutes). Drain excess water, if any is left.
In a second pot, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the asafoetida, curry leaves, cloves and red chilies. Fry briefly for about one minute, then add the whole shallots. Fry them for several minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the sugar, tamarind, turmeric, salt and 1 cup of water. Let simmer until the shallots have become transparent, stirring occasionally. Most of the water should evaporate in the process (add some more water if necessary).
Add the cooked lentils. Stir well, adjust seasoning if necessary, then serve immediately with chapatis or rice.
Posted by Horst to Vegetarian

This was then translated into German and back into English:

Red lenses with the bulbs
A very fast, simple lens plate. It is spicy, but the sugar and the complete Schalotten give it a singular sweetishgeschmack.
red lenses 250g (masoordal); 4 essloeffel vegetable oil; the seeds with 1 Senfen of the teeloeffels brown; 1 large Klemmasafoetida; 10, the Curry; 2 carnations; 4, dried red paprikas leave, deseeded and crushed; the Schalotten 500g, taken off, but left complete; 2 essloeffel brown sugar; of the 1 Teeloeffeltamarindepaste; 1 Teeloeffelgelbwurz; you completely salt and examine rinses the lenses you for stones. Insert it then into a pot with twice the quantity of the water and get you to the blood ulcer. Remove for each possible this foam forms with a notched spoon. Blood ulcer, until the lenses are very soft, but not dissolved (approx. 10 minutes). Discharge surplus water, if any is left.
In a second pot you heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds. If they begin to slam, add you the Asafoetida, Curry leave, carnations and red paprikas. If you roast briefly for approximately one minute, then you add the complete Schalotten. Roast it for some minutes and constantly agitate.
Add the sugar, Tamarinde, Gelbwurz, salt and 1 bowl water. Leave more simmer, until the Schalotten became transparency and occasionally agitates. Most of the water should evaporate during the process (to add it more waters if necessarily).
Add the cooked lenses. With you agitate well, adjust you if necessarily pepper, then you serve Chapati or rice immediately.
Communicated by refuge to the vegetarian

Then it was translated into German and back into English for a second time:

Red objectives with the pears
A very fast, simple objective plate. It is spicy, but the sugar and the complete Schalotten give it a singular sweetishgeschmack.
red objectives 250g (masoordal); vegetable oil with 4 essloeffel; the seeds with 1 Senfen the teeloeffels burnish; 1 large Klemmasafoetida; 10, the Curry; 2 gartennelken; 4, leave dried red paprika, deseeded and crushed; the Schalotten 500g, far away, but lead to the left through; the brown sugar with 2 essloeffel; the 1 Teeloeffeltamarindepaste; 1 Teeloeffelgelbwurz; you completely salt and examine rinses the objectives you for stones. Insert it then into a pot with twice the quantity of the water and arrive you you at the blood ulcer. Remove for forms each possible of this foam rubber with for notch a spoon. Blood ulcer, until the objectives are very soft, but not dissolved (approx. 10 minutes). Unload surplus water, if any is left.
In a second pot you heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds. If they begin to slam shut, add you you the Asafoetida -, Curryurlaub, gartennelken and red paprika. If you roast briefly for approximately one minute, then you add the complete Schalotten. Roast it for certain minutes and constantly excite you.
Add the sugar, Tamarinde, Gelbwurz, salt and 1 dish water. Leave more more simmer, until the Schalotten became transparency and excites occasionally. Most of the water should evaporate during the process (it to add more waters if necessarily).
Add the cooked objectives. With you you move well, adjust you if necessarily pepper up, then you serve Chapati or rice immediately.
In connection confessed by protection to the vegetarian

I think I'd confess anything too if they fed me this stuff.

Posted by Horst at 07:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Athlete's Foot

Yes, it's a shoe shop. And they're either super self-ironic or blissfully ignorant because this is just not a good name for a shoe shop. Not sure if it affects business in any way though — I don't know how many people in the Land of Potz speak English so well that they'd notice the problem.

Update: Sheesh, it's apparently an American company. However, in the US they seem to be using the word "the", which does change things somewhat.

Posted by Horst at 08:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

August 19, 2004

GWO sightings between August 5th and 11th: Thursday 3; Friday 3; Saturday 1; Sunday 4; Monday 4; Tuesday 5; Wednesday 3.

That's more in one week in France (including the Land of Potz) than in the entire last year in Austria. Sigh.

Posted by Horst at 12:04 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

Lapinot website

The website on Lewis Trondheim's Lapinot series that I promised is now more or less online. Still needs a couple of tweaks, but generally it's done, I guess. And the URI is:


Posted by Horst at 01:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 22, 2004

Zen is everything

Tomorrow a group of construction workers will come to our flat and make quite a mess trying to repair all of our windows. Horst is already covering selected pieces of furniture (like my sofa) with plastic foil. It looks like the workers will need three full days to accomplish the task. I guess the only way to survive this with my nerves intact is some serious Zen meditation.

Posted by Haldur Gislufsson at 07:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

August 23, 2004

Pharmacie normale

I wonder what exactly they are selling at abnormal pharmacies.

Posted by Horst at 01:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

August 24, 2004

Can anyone explain to me why a comment spammer would bother to spam my recipe weblog from multiple IP numbers with links to non-existent URLs?

Posted by Horst at 11:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

One of the weirder things where France differs substantially from Austria is the "beggars vs. waiters" dichotomy.

In Austria, the beggars don't seem to care if you don't give them any money, but the waiters react in a very irritated, sometimes even angry way if you don't tip them.

In France, the waiters don't seem to care at all if you don't tip them, but the beggars can get really angry and even aggressive if you don't give them anything.

Posted by Horst at 04:08 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

August 25, 2004

If there's one thing I truly hate about Vienna it's the fact that way too many people own dogs, and not only is it next to impossible to go for a quiet walk in a park without being barked at by some malicious four-legged beast, the city is also inundated in dog dirt. It's quite impossible to actually take in your surroundings because you have to keep your eyes fixated on the pavement in front of your feet at all times to avoid stepping into dog dirt.

I hadn't thought it would be possible, but I have now found a city with an even worse dog dirt problem: Montpellier, France.

Mind you, it's a pretty city, in some aspects even prettier than Vienna, with a very agreeable Mediterranean climate and everything, but the amount of dog dirt on the streets is breathtaking. Literally. The stench of the dog dirt on a hot summer Sunday was unbearable. There were a couple of nice terraces in front of some nice cafés where I would have loved to sit down, but I just couldn't stand the smell.

Oddly enough, there was all this dog dirt, but I didn't see a single dog all day. Like, in Vienna you know where all the dirt is coming from, but in Montpellier it remained a mystery. Unless they have a new breed of invisible dog.

Posted by Horst at 11:51 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

August 26, 2004

What's this then — the Blair Digicam Project? Well, creepy it is. Look closely and you may see more than you wanted to see. [via Hebig #2].

Konstantin mentioned Tyneham yesterday, so I thought I should mention Döllersheim today. A striking parallel, except for the fact that the inhabitants of Tyneham left voluntarily, whereas the inhabitants of Döllersheim were forced to leave. None of them were ever allowed to return. [Both links in German].

And people will probably never be able to properly distinguish between Austria and Australia when such a fine athlete as Australian-born Kate Allen wins the first gold medal for Austria at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Congrats, Kate!

Oh, and lastly, in case you didn't know — I'm apparently schizoid. Which is of course the reason why I'm writing totally erratic weblog entries about totally unrelated stuff. Which Personality Disorder Do You Have? [Quizilla via baronesse]

Posted by Horst at 10:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Heinzwortz glucken der Schlöss

It's not real German at all, and I guess that's what makes it so hilariously funny to me. And if you want to find out what Jérémie is seeing that makes him sweat so profusely in the last panel, you'll have to read Le Pays de la Soif (The Land of Thirst).

Meet Riad Sattouf, one of the new shooting stars of the French comic scene. I've read a prepublication of No Sex in New York, due for publication in November this year, and was seriously impressed.

To finish this posting, here's a brief look into Sattouf's head:

Inside the head of Riad Sattouf

Posted by Horst at 06:12 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

August 27, 2004

I think France is one of the few European countries that doesn't have to worry about dying out. I've never spent so much time stumbling over prams or trying to avoid being run over by a pram than during the time I spent there. And one other thing struck me as peculiar: in Austria, you can't sit on a train without hearing a mobile phone going off every couple of minutes. In France, you can't sit on a train without hearing a child going off every couple of minutes.

Posted by Horst at 07:07 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (1)

August 29, 2004

It seems that the joiners and painters that did all weird sorts of things with Horst's windows (Horst's windows, not Horst's Windows) are gone now. Which is kind of strange, because they removed four of the windows a couple of days ago and haven't brought them back yet. So I really hope they'll come back at some time before it gets really cold outside, because it would be very inconvenient if they didn't.

And I certainly hope they'll create less dust and dirt next time. This time I had the most unpleasant Laura PalmerKaspar Hauser experience, as I had to spend half the time wrapped in plastic, and the other half in some dark wardrobe to protect me from the dust and dirt. I think next time I'll wrap those workers in plastic myself!

Other than that, no big news. Horst is off on his bicycle as I write this. Apparently skating for an hour wasn't enough for him, so he's on a 40km bike tour now. He's so desperately trying to lose weight by exercising. I tell him that trying to lose weight by eating less would be a promising complement, but he doesn't seem to believe me. O well. Nobody believes us mooses, or the world would be a much nicer place. Anyway, I'll retreat for some more Zen meditation now. See you next week!

Posted by Haldur Gislufsson at 03:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 30, 2004

Apparently my text-to content ratio needs improvement (see also here). Still, I beat Der Spiegel, which is not too bad, I guess.

Posted by Horst at 06:36 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)

Lewis Trondheim and people in the metro
from Lewis Trondheim, Approximativement. Paris: Cornélius, 2001.

I reckon that the Paris Métro must be something like the world's largest concert hall — or at least the world's largest concert hall of bad music. In addition to musically inept buskers in the stations, you have also a rather remarkable number of buskers on the trains. I don't dare to guess just exactly how many mobile buskers there are, but on one day I enjoyed no less than five performances, although two of them were by the same old man and his accordion on line 2. He wasn't even bad, but his performance didn't really make up for what I had had to endure before, a heartrending performance of "Besame mucho" and "O sole mio" smattered into a portable amplifier by a guy with a Casio keyboard, too much brillantine in his hair and no singing talent whatsoever.

With so many buskers on the network, I wonder whether there are any rules among them as to who can be where, and what happens if two of them want to board the same train at the same time.

And as on the many occasions when a busker entered a train I never — never — saw anyone give any of them any money, I also wonder why they even bother.

Cut to Vienna: Yesterday, I saw the ultimate picture of futility: two street musicians, most likely from some Eastern European country, one of them strumming a guitar with broken strings, the other making weird atonal sounds with a violin. They had set themselves up in a street adjoining the university, where there are absolutely no students at this time of the year, no tourists at any time of the year, and pretty much nobody else the rest of the time. How they expected to get money for the scratching noises they produced was strange enough (well, the pity factor might work), but how they expected to get any money in this particular place is shrouded in mystery.

Posted by Horst at 06:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Next poetry reading, including stuff from Cursed and new poems:

  • Saturday, 4 September 2004, around 3:30pm
    Theseustempel, Volksgarten, Vienna

    (as part of Labyrinth's "Poetry in the Park" session — N.B.: there are two more PitP sessions on 11 and 18 September, but this is the only one at which I'll be reading).
Posted by Horst at 07:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 31, 2004

Alex Halavais proves that Wikipedia is not trustworthy and curiously interprets his experiment as a proof why Wikipedia works. In the meantime, a number of Wikipedia advocates attack a journalist because he quoted the Wikipedia disclaimer and was disappointed to find out Wikipedia itself admits it's not authoritative. Even Joi Ito for once is totally clueless about what distinguishes a knowledge-building tool like a wiki from a knowledge pool like an encyclopedia.

And all because all of them see Wikipedia from the engineer's perspective (i.e. knowledge building) and not from a user's point of view (i.e. knowledge retrieval). I posted my thoughts here in Joi's comments, and you can post your replies over there.

Posted by Horst at 09:36 PM | TrackBack (0)

Why do I like popular music with lyrics in English better than popular music with lyrics in German? Is it that German as such is just useless for writing song lyrics or are German lyricists simply much worse than English lyricists? Are English lyrics better or can I merely ignore them more easily? Or is the fact that they're not in my native language preventing me from seeing their full atrocity? Just how atrocious are they in the ears of an average native speaker?

Posted by Horst at 10:54 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

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