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

April 2005 Archive


April 01, 2005

The Internet is full of April Fool's jokes today. I planted one myself on some online forum, but then, browsing through other websites and encountering lots of April Fool's jokes everywhere, I realized that it isn't really funny (well, one of them was, but only if you like trams and know about the Combino disaster). So whatever you read on any website today, don't believe it. If it's still there tomorrow, it's probably true.

Posted by Horst at 03:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

To me, the cases of both Terri Schiavo and the Pope are examples of how totally helpless we are when it comes to dealing with death. Modern medicine and technology have given us the means to extend life much longer than we used to, but the question that seems impossible to answer is in which cases we are extending someone's life, and in which cases we're merely extending their death. Everyone seems to have a different view on this one.

Posted by Horst at 08:32 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)


April 02, 2005

Signs of growing old, part 47: during the day I remember thrice that it's poetry open mic at the Café Kafka tonight and I want to go there and read some stuff (like part 2 of the story I started there last month). And then, later in the evening, I completely forget about it and have to wait another month for the next meeting.

So if you were there yesterday and had hoped to hear part 2 of "Click Click", please accept my profound apologies.

Posted by Horst at 02:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)


April 04, 2005

The next person who's blocking me in the street trying to get money off me for some animal charity will get their teeth smashed in* if they don't back away immediately after the first warning.

I already cancelled my Greenpeace membership a few years ago because of their professional scroungers that kept intimidating me, but after having been waylaid by three particularly pesky specimen on Mariahilferstrasse today, I resolved to practice a zero tolerance policy from now on.

*) This may or may not be poetic exaggeration. If you are one of these people, it is in your own interest that you do not try to find out if I'm serious about this or not.

Posted by Horst at 07:50 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Okay, so there were those Hindi DVDs that had those weird German subtitles because they had relied on machine translation, and that's kind of understandable if you're in India or the UK and have cool new translation software at your fingertips, but no professional translator or German native speaker anywhere in sight.

But when I recently transferred my old TV recordings of Monty Python's Flying Circus to DVD, I noticed that the German subtitles, which had been done in Germany and well before the age of computer translation, were not perfect there either.

The most bizarre example that I remember (probably because the original was pretty bizarre to start with) was "the golden age of colonic irrigation", which was translated as "das goldene Zeitalter der kolonialen Wasserversorgung" (the golden age of colonial water supply). You should have thought they'd use a dictionary. Or that the floating enema apparatuses in the background would have given them a clue. Not so.

And there are still films out there which translate "the best man" as "der beste Mann", even when the setting is a wedding. Are there some statistics somewhere about how many unnecessary wars were started over translation errors?

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


April 05, 2005

So the Austrian Freedom Party has exploded and split into two new parties:

  • the BZÖ, or "Bündnis für die Zukunft Österreichs" (Alliance for the Future of Austria), comprising the more moderate former Freedom Party politicians, Freedom Party members of government, and the Carinthian Freedom Party. Designated leader of the BZÖ is the not-so-moderate Jörg Haider.
  • the remainder of the Freedom Party, which is now more or less in the hands of the far right, but excluding Haider. The most likely candidate to take over the leadership is Heinz Christian Strache.

This means that there is now a Haider-led Conservative Party Clone and a Far-Right Party, both of which are not exactly options that appeal to a large number of people. This could be interesting at the next elections.

Consequences for the present government? Hardly. All the Freedom Party's government members are now in the Alliance and have made it clear that they will remain in office. Both BZÖ and FPÖ would lose votes massively if there are elections without several months of political agitation, and Chancellor Schüssel knows that he risks losing the Conservative-Far Right majority if elections are held too soon, so unless Mr Strache does something totally unforeseen, I'm fairly convinced that the current coalition government will last until the very last day that's legally possible. So I suppose that apart from a few more embarrassing, but largely inconsequential incidents nothing much will happen.

Posted by Horst at 03:30 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)


April 07, 2005

50 Foot wave: Golden Ocean The Decemberists: Picaresque Sonny Rollins: Tenor Madness Carole King: Tapestry Amon Düül II: Tanz der Lemminge
The Byrds: Untitled/Unissued Wire: The Scottish Play Yo La Tengo: Prisoners of Love Mahavishnu Orchestra: The Inner Mounting Flame Chet Baker Quartet featuring Dick Twardzik
Miles Davis: Four & more Wes Montgomery: Movin along Tori Amos: The beekeeper Ani  DiFranco: Knuckle Down Sonny Rollins: Freedom Suite

Posted by Horst at 11:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)


April 09, 2005

Vereinsamt

When your life takes a certain turn, make sure you stay clear of movies with certain titles.

Posted by Horst at 03:30 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)


April 12, 2005

---

I seem to have seriously run out of ideas and/or inspiration for blogging. Nothing worth writing or even ranting about. Sorry.

Posted by Horst at 03:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)


April 13, 2005

50 Foot Wave - still from 'Clara Bow'

Okay, so I have now finally reached the age (or stage) where I will gladly (and can apparently afford to) travel almost 600 miles for a rock concert. Unless I'm seriously kidding myself. Which I might be, only I don't care. If Brussels is as far east as many American bands are willing to travel, I have little choice. I am definitely not waiting another ten years until I see Kristin Hersh again, and she seriously rocked when I saw her with Throwing Muses back in 1995.

50 Foot Wave, Botanique, Brussels, April 22nd. Anyone care to join?

Music video here (QuickTime stream). It's not their best song, but it'll give you a rough idea. Their new album is seriously addictive.

Posted by Horst at 11:43 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)


April 14, 2005

I have been tagged by Armin, so I guess there's no escape from what looks suspiciously like The Friday Five (only it's not five questions), which would be incompatible with The Blogging manifesto, so I fear this calls for the dreaded manifesto-free zone.

Manifesto-free blog zone

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451; which book do you want to be?
A fire extinguisher manual: slightly subversive, but I'll still be left alone.
Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Yes.
What are you currently reading?
Geständnisse eines Küchenchefs by Anthony Bourdain.
Jazz-Klassiker by Peter N. Wilson
The last book you bought is:
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind.
The last book you read is:
Five books you would take to a desert island:
My desert island books are by necessity those that (a) take a long time to read and (b) can be read over and over again without getting boring. Therefore, even though I've read all of these already, my choices are
 Ulysses by James Joyce
 Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
 The Recognitions by William Gaddis
 Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
 The Bible
Who are you going to pass this stick to? and why?
 Mr deedee and Ms pinkNgreen, just because.
Posted by Horst at 10:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

I am beginning to fear that it's the fault of my iPod that I've run out of ideas for things to blog, because with earplugs full of music in your ears, your life gets kind of introspective. At any rate I miss the overheard conversations on the tram in the morning, some of which were actually pretty good inspiration for weblog articles.

On the other hand, something I also recently noticed is that I haven't been annoyed by cell phone conversations recently, and then I noticed that this is most definitely thanks to the iPod, which simply drowns out the earthskaing news about schnitzels and yeast infections.

I guess I should be thankful after all.

Posted by Horst at 11:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)


April 15, 2005

Recipe for success

[Thanks to Laura for the tip.]

Update: At the request of the Moose Police (see next entry), this picture has been modified slightly to comply with current blogging regulations.

Posted by Horst at 10:47 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

This weblog has been closed down by the Moose Police until further notice for violating the Blogging Manifesto by posting a cat picture outside a manifesto-free zone. Further details will follow.

Posted by Haldur Gislufsson at 12:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


April 16, 2005

After a modification to the previously posted picture, the Moose Police has agreed to allow this weblog to reopen again.

Posted by Haldur Gislufsson at 12:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


April 17, 2005

Teaching a plant the alphabet, by John Baldessari

It seems that I have done a lot more pointless things.

The John Baldessari exhibition at Vienna's Museum of Modern Art is open until June 3rd, and if you are in Vienna, I strongly suggest that you go see it.
Also at the MUMOK until June 5th: Rainer Ganahl. Brilliant. If you can't make the exhibition, at least check out his website, which contains many of the exhibits.

Posted by Horst at 07:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)


April 19, 2005

For a while now (a few months, to be precise), I have been toying with the idea of introducing a podcast on this weblog. I even asked a fellow blogger, Mr deedee, to co-operate in what I envisioned would best work as a joint venture. I haven't been talking about this too much here because I figured it would take a while to come to life.

Well. It looks as if it's going to be the Perennial Project. "Perennial" as in "probably never going to materialise".

The problem is manifold:

  • An podcast should be interesting, or not be made at all. Too much garbage is already clogging up the ether. It should express something new in a new, or at least original way.
  • An interesting podcast must by definition transcend the boundaries of a written weblog, it must offer something that could never be done in writing.
  • Recording a podcast takes planning. Serious planning. Unless you want to limit yourself to two-minute snippets, you need to create concepts, structures, outlines. This in turn takes time. A lot more time than writing a quick entry. Even more time than writing a well thought-out entry.
  • Recording a podcast takes a technical infrastructure and, if you don't have the time to spend at least half a day on it, a production team that does some of the work for you. This, in turn, costs money.

I guess what I want to say is that I seem to be unable to produce the kind of podcast I'd like to make. Lately I've got barely enough time to think of proper weblog entries, so even though I kind of have an idea of what I'd like to podcast, there's no way I'd have the time to do it properly. Or the money to have it done properly.

And I'm beginning to think that unless you don't care at all about quality, the story of podcasts as "Every (wo)man's private radio station that is going to undermine traditional radio" is nothing but a fairy tale. To be done properly, there seems to be no other way than to do it professionally. And there's no way to cheat yourself out of the dilemma — since podcasts are still limited to audio transmissions, there's simply no possibility to podcast cat pictures, even though I'm convinced that as soon as there's video podcasts, there'll be no shortage of cat videos. They're much easier to produce than good audio podcasts, and there's an abundance of viewers who want to watch just that sort of thing. Could be the next huge business idea, actually. Remember you read it here first.

Posted by Horst at 11:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)


April 20, 2005

So today I first came across this story (which I think is totally brilliant) and then I go over to another weblog only to find a link to this site. Spooky.

Posted by Horst at 01:41 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

In case you want to know what I, as a Catholic, think about the new Pope, formerly known as Cardinal Ratzinger, now a.k.a. Benedict XVI., I'm not entirely sure.

For one, I would have been surprised if he had not become the new pope, as it has been fairly obvious that he had been working towards this for quite a while now. He is perhaps also one of the most intelligent men in the conclave, which is good for him, not bad for the Vatican, but also not necessarily good for the rest of us.

I find him a bit spooky. He reminds me of Senator/Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine of Star Wars. I'm not saying he's with the Dark Forces, it's just that I have something of an uncomfortable feeling. I particularly didn't like his first speech in which he described himself as a "simple working man". In some situations, when certain offices are concerned, certain displays of humility just don't ring true. I mean, he's elected into this office where he is second only to God, and he's seriously saying stuff like this? If he's really trying to be humble, he'd better simply shut up. History teaches us that those who display the biggest show of humility will be those who abuse their power the most.

So I guess it's a good thing that the Pope doesn't really have a lot of power these days. But then maybe I'm simply wrong. I mean I kind of knew it would be Ratzinger and I predicted in front of several witnesses that he'd call himself Benedict, but I may be totally wrong about this strange feeling. It's just a hunch.

Posted by Horst at 11:38 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)


April 21, 2005

Possibly my reaction to the new Pope can be summarized through these lines by one of my favourite poets, William Blake:

THERE
is NO
NATURAL
RELIGION

Mans percepti-
-ons are not bound
-ed by organs of
perception, he per-
-ceives more than
sense (tho' ever
so acute) can
discover

Reason or the ra-
-tio of all we have
already known. is
not the same that
it shall be when
we know more

The bounded is
loathed by its pos-
-sessor, The same
dull round even
of a universe would
soon become a
mill with complica-
-ted wheels.

If the many be-
-come the same as
the few, when pos-
-sess'd, More! More!
is the cry of a mista
-ken soul, less than
All cannot satisfy
Man

If any would de-
-sire what he is in-
-capable of posses-
sing. despair must
be his eternal
lot

The desire of
Man being Infi-
-nite the possession
is Infinite & him-
-self Infinite

Conclusion

If it were not for the
Poetic or Prophetic
character, the Philo-
-sophic & Experimen-
-tal would soon be
at the ratio of all
things. & stand still,
unable to do other
than repeat the same
dull round over a-
-gain

Application

He who sees the in-
-finite in all things,
sees God. He who
sees the Ratio only
sees himself only

Therefore

God becomes as
we are, that we
may be as he
is

Posted by Horst at 12:22 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)


April 22, 2005

If you've been thinking about buying some jazz records lately, now may be a good opportunity. Some dimwit clever person at EMI decided that from now on, all new releases and re-releases of the old Blue Note, Pacific Jazz and other labels distributed by EMI are to be released on copy-protected audio CDs media [1] only. Apparently this is because of all music pirates, jazz lovers are the most dangerous and the most numerous.

So now may be your last chance to grab the last of the non-copy protected CDs while stocks last. [via dd]

[1] A court ruling expressly forbids the use of the term "audio CD" for this kind of crippled media.

Posted by Horst at 06:07 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)


April 25, 2005

Has it ever happened to you that you met someone, and by the way they behaved you suddenly get the very strong feeling that you wouldn't really want to meet their father, because while this person was really friendly and pleasant to talk with and everything, you somehow felt that someone, most likely a strong parent, left a very strong imprint in their personality, and you felt that you'd really rather not meet the person who left that imprint?

Posted by Horst at 10:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


April 26, 2005

Souvenirs from the 50 Foot Wave concert

Above: Setlist and ticket (signed by the band) from the 50 Foot Wave concert in Brussels on Friday, plus my copy of their album Golden Ocean, also signed by the band that night (left to right: Bernard Georges, Rob Ahlers, Kristin Hersh).
Below: A selection of the comic books I acquired in Brussels during the weekend.

Souvenirs from Brussels

Posted by Horst at 06:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


April 27, 2005

I pity the children who never experienced the joy of listening to the poor-quality broadcasts of obscure AM radio stations late at night, which consist more of static than anything else. Some of my fonder early teenage memory consist of trying to tune in all kinds of radio stations from around the world with varying success. I remember trying to stay awake in bed one night until 3 a.m. so that I could listen to the famous Wolfman Jack on AFN. I fell asleep though. Then I tried to program a tape recorder to record it during the night, but there was nothing but static on the tape the next morning. And I also remember the number radio stations broadcasting obscure information to Russian spies worldwide, and me and my friends trying to decipher them without much success.

Back in the early 1980s, one of the more popular radio shows for teens started at 10:06 p.m., which was already past my bedtime, so I'd listen to it secretly, either with the volume very very low, or even under the blanket. Oddly, I don't remember much about that show or what exactly they broadcast, the usual chart toppers, I suppose.

What I do remember though was the show that followed immediately afterwards, from 11:05p.m. to midnight. It was called Musik zum Träumen ("music to dream by"), and it was just plain weird. In retrospect I now know that it was a mixture of orchestral easy listening stuff with a generous selection of jazz thrown in for good measure. I'd often keep the radio on for a while into that show just because it was unlike anything else I usually listened to. It was a slow kind of music, sometimes with what sounded like really strange instruments to me (it was a while until I learned about vibes and jazz guitar, let alone mellotrons or theremins), and I remember I found it spooky because it was so oddly unfamiliar. It was more like music to have nightmares by because the strange tunes seemed to reach sections of your subconscious that no other music could touch.

I kept a peculiar fondness for this kind of music. I still like some of those spooky late-night orchestral arragements, and there's nothing like a dose of mellow jazz late in the evening. Coming across jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery almost 30 years later was something of a revelation, as he seemed to be playing exactly that kind of music, only even more interesting — probably because my musical tastes had expanded so that I could appreciate jazz in the meantime.

Or had they? Oddly enough, the feeling whenever I listen to this music, whether it's Montgomery or some other jazz musician of the kind (although it works best with Montgomery, and perhaps the mellower Chet Baker), it's almost as if I get caught in a time warp, and whatever time it is, the clock suddenly seems to set itself to 11:05p.m. and no matter where I really am I seem to be transported to my old bed, and there I am, listening to that radio broadcast with the same kind of weird, slightly spooked fascination. And one day I realised that it's not that I learned to appreciate jazz at some point in my life, it's more that it spooked its way into my subconscious back then with the radio broadcast and simply worked its way from the inside out.

And it's not as if it forced itself in. There was always the "off" switch which I used a lot with other radio shows. No, I let it in willingly all the time without even knowing why.

Posted by Horst at 09:40 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)


April 28, 2005

I swear that I did not copy the idea for yesterday's posting from that other weblog that I read regularly and that I can't name here or link to, because every time I do, that weblog gets attacked and taken down by spammers. If you read this month's posts, you'll know which one I mean anyway.

Actually, I had the idea for my posting on Friday, April 22 at about 11pm, while I was walking through the streets of Brussels on my way back from the 50 Foot Wave concert, which is almost three days before that other, very similar posting showed up on that other weblog. And I honestly hadn't read any other weblogs since my return from Brussels on Tuesday morning. So it wasn't until yesterday, after I had written my post, that I checked out the weblogs on my blogroll and found that very similar entry on that other weblog.

Which means this is my second spooky synchronicity experience with that weblog. I am beginning to think that it's not spammers who are taking down that weblog whenever I link to it. It's really that I and the other author are actually two incarnations of the same person living in slightly shifted, but also slightly overlapping parallel universes, and every time I link to him I am causing a temporary disturbance of the time/space continuum, which fortunately doesn't have any more sinister consequences than causing his server to go down.

Or at least I hope it doesn't.

Posted by Horst at 09:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

RIP

Hardly anyone is allowing Trackbacks anymore. At least none of the people whom I'd occasionally want ping do. Can we say that spam successfully killed this technology?

Of course, maybe it was the technology that was problematic if only the spammers actually bothered to try and figure out what it was useful for.

Posted by Horst at 11:25 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (2)


April 29, 2005

The Fall: The Complete Peel Sessions 1978-2004

The Fall: "28 years, 24 studio albums, 22 live albums, 41 singles, 31 compilations, 10 record labels, around a thousand gigs, 48 members, three Top 40 hits, 14 Top 75 hits" (according to Daryl Easlea's liner notes to 50.000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong). However, this may be their most significant release to date.

In fact, despite a slew of other great re-releases and band reunions I'm pretty sure that this may well be the historically most significant record release this year (and all you Van Der Graaf Generator fans calm down for a moment): finally, the complete collection of The Fall's twenty-four radio sessions for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 are available to buy as an extremely handsome 6-CD box set.

This is significant not just because John Peel, the UK's most influential radio DJ who died unexpectedly last year, was perhaps the band's most ardent — and certainly most influential — fan; it's also not just because the sessions span almost the band's entire career; it's mostly because on these tracks that were especially recorded for the radio show, the Fall often play with an immediacy and direct approach that they barely ever managed to achieve on any of their regular album or single releases. The Fall's Peel sessions were always raw, uncooked, sometimes under-rehearsed, but steadfastly unrelenting.

Last year's compilation 50.000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong was the introduction for beginners; this is now the real thing, a chronicle of musical genius and musical failures. It may not always be pretty, but it's as close to the group's essence as you can get: it's essential in more than one sense of the word. It's a document of almost three decades of Fall-ness, the essence of a band that, according to John Peel is "always different, [...] always the same".

Admittedly, the six discs (97 tracks) are a bit of a tour-de-force, but then you don't really have to listen to all of them in one go. But then on the other hand, if after seven hours of listening you finally arrive at "Blindness", the stand-out track from their last session, and it blows your brain out (figuratively, of course), you'll be thankful. Seriously.

Available from Amazon, Action Records, or (perhaps) a dealer near you.

Posted by Horst at 11:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)


April 30, 2005

I hate printers.

Everything started when my printer ran out of cyan ink. I inserted a replacement cartridge only to notice that afterwards the printer refused to print at all. All it would print were just stripes at more or less regular intervals. I thought the print head might be clogged and started the printer's self-cleaning option, to no avail. If anything, things seemed to be getting worse. And of course, the warranty had expired only 29 days ago.

In total despair, I did a Google search for "epson printer 5200 clogged" and was directed to this page, which pointed out that cleaning the print head might actually damage it and that with this particular kind of printer (and others of the CX series) the problem could be that the ink purge tube might have come loose and fallen off — they even had instructions how to fix it.

I checked my printer, and lo and behold! the tube had indeed fallen off. However, re-attaching it turned out to be a lot more difficult than it had looked in the pictures, mostly because of lack of space to accommodate my hands inside my printer.

About 50 minutes were spent cursing and swearing, resolving twice to simply buy a new printer and forget about this one (but then why buy a new printer if re-attaching a tiny tube can fix it?), getting all kinds of tweezers and tongs, blackening 8 pairs of latex gloves and managing to get ink stains on pretty much everything on my desk.

Eventually, I managed to re-attach the tube, printed a test page, and everything was working beautifully. I was happy.

For a while. I did some 20 colour printouts, only to notice at that point that all the excessive printhead cleaning before had emptied the magenta ink. I exchanged it for a new one, wanted to continue and found that the printer doesn't print magenta. It looks as if the magenta jets are clogged, but that's unlikely as they worked just fine 3 minutes earlier with the almost empty cartridge.

I checked the tube, it was still in place. I cleaned the print head. I did some magenta cartridge shaking, all to no avail. All the other colours print just fine.

I think I'll just get a new printer.

Posted by Horst at 10:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)



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