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

October 2005 Archive

October 02, 2005

Okay, so I suppose I should post something to humour my last remaining few readers. Therefore, here are some QuickTime VR panoramas from my holidays in Greece three weeks ago. Enjoy.

Chania, Venetian harbour.

Kommos beach in southern Crete.

Hold the mouse button and drag the picture to view it. Press Shift to zoom in, Ctrl to zoom out.

Posted by Horst at 10:44 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

October 03, 2005

I'd like to think that I'm a bit cool sometimes. Which is, of course, wishful thinking. Losing another 10 kilos might get me a bit closer to my goal, but, let's face it, I'm simply not a cool person. There's a couple of people who keep telling me that's actually a good thing, but I don't believe them. I think they say it just to humour me.

Good thing I have those really cool sunglasses, which kind of help me establish an image that normally I don't have at all. When the rental car company gave me a black Audi A4 with tinted windows the last time, I felt almost like a bad guy from some movie while I had my sunglasses on. However, what really hurts is the instant transformation from just a tiny bit cool to not cool at all, which happens every time in summer when I enter a building and take off my sunglasses and put on my regular glasses. Even though the frames are cool enough, the lenses have 4.5 dioptres, which is cool only in Nerd Central, the place I hoped to have escaped a few years back.

Which is why I like summer so much and keep my sunglasses on most of the time.

Posted by Horst at 03:04 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

October 05, 2005

I noticed this summer that the fashion trend to wear khakis has somewhat changed into a more pronounced military look. In fact, most of the H&M summer collection was that way, more or less. It's a fashion thing of course, one that will pass eventually, just as the pseudo-Byronic look that they're pushing right now will be the object of ridicule in a year or so, but it still got me thinking.

I wonder if it has to do with the fact that fewer and fewer young people in the western world have to do compulsory military service at some point in their lives.

Thinking back on my own military service, which was a while ago, I remember I was pretty keen to get out of uniform as soon as possible when I went off duty, and the thought of wearing anything with an even remotely military look in my leisure time was pretty unthinkable even years afterwards. Frankly, I can't imagine how anybody who's forced to wear this kind of clothing for a certain length of time would put it on voluntarily.

The other thing that this fashion seems to express, which I find somewhat odd, is the notion also perpetuated by American movies, that the military is actually kind of cool. Let me assure you that it is not. If anything, it is a sad necessity, but even that is up to debate.

Posted by Horst at 11:34 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

October 06, 2005

Just a brief note that I will be reading a section from my new short story "Hair Fetish" tomorrow (7 October) at the Labyrinth Poetry Open Mic at Café Kafka, 1060 Vienna, Capistrangasse 8 (starting around 8:30pm), which will reveal the truth about speed dating and what men really talk about when they talk about sex.

Posted by Horst at 08:38 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

October 07, 2005

I've finally made it onto TV. I thought the whole thing would be a bit more glamorous, like something about me accepting some prize for one of my short stories or something like that, but I guess for now I'll have to be content with expressing my opinion on the Christmas sales that have started in shops all around Vienna, even though temperatures are more like late summer than anything even remotely reminiscent of Christmas. The team from ATV television interviewed me for about three minutes, and you can see the result if you click the link below.

Yes, I'm sorry, but that's really all they broadcast. No sign of me musing about the destructive power of Christmas Carols in October, or me waving that little moose handpuppet. Call it my one second of fame. The good thing about it is that they can re-use the segment over and over again, and I could achieve fame merely by force of repetition as the "I Think It's Pretty Bad" Man, unless of course it ends up in the wrong kind of context. That would be nasty.

Posted by Horst at 06:55 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

October 10, 2005

Only noticed today as I was riding past it on a train that the giant neon sign on top of the student hostel where I used to live almost 20 years ago has been replaced with a new one: it used to be an advertisement for a brand of cigarettes; now it's the name of a mobile phone company.

If I had to summarize the most significant changes in a student's life during the past 20 years in 50 words, I would probably cite this example.

Posted by Horst at 08:36 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

October 17, 2005

Dang. I only just remembered that I completely forgot about two things:

  • Writing the handout for the lecture on "the digital library" that I held last week and that I couldn't submit beforehand because the whole thing took place at such short notice, and which I had therefore promised to submit by the end of last week.
  • Perhaps more importantly, sending in my fee contract and invoice for said lecture, so that I might actually get an amount of money that I could use pretty well at the moment.

Did I mention that I'm totally inundated in work at the moment and don't seem to have time for anything during the day (in fact, my backlog at work is growing exponentially) and a totally empty brain in the evening? I wonder when things go back to normal. It's not particularly funny this way.

Posted by Horst at 06:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

October 18, 2005

Still no word from either of the publishers that I contacted about my short story collection. I wonder whether they do actually send rejection letters (or e-mails) these days when they're not interested. Like a couple of years ago, employers used to send you a rejection letter if you applied for a job and didn't get it. These days, hardly anyone writes back to say they don't want you.

I wonder how long I should wait before either contacting them again or trying somewhere else. An awful lot of time just seems to be wasted doing nothing.

In the meantime I wanted to submit one of the stories in a competition, but it seems that most competitions require you to pay money before you can actually submit something. Looks like a big rip-off to me.

Posted by Horst at 07:47 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

October 19, 2005

Bah. I eat one small piece of chocolate and can almost watch the spots in my face grow. Chocolate gives me acne worse than anything I ever had during puberty. Don't think I couldn't top it though; it's even worse when I eat pork. Pork in chocolate sauce would probably be deadly.

What a coincidence that some trackback spammers would pop by today and provide a link to herbal anti-acne medication just when I needed it. I actually hesitated half a second before I hit the Delete button.

Posted by Horst at 08:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

October 25, 2005

Funny thing is, with a few days off work, I'm beginning to have ideas for my weblog again. The problem is that with a body temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) I'm (a) not sure whether they're genuinely good ideas and not just weird feverish fantasies that don't make any senseat all and (b) feel just too exhausted to type them in and sometimes fall asleep right in the midd

Posted by Horst at 01:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 26, 2005

The noise of fighter jets overhead made me want to run for cover today. Interestingly, it made many other people want to look out the window. Thousands of people even went to Vienna's Ringstrasse, where the Austrian army held its biggest military parade in history, to watch them (and a couple of tanks, and helicopters, and stuff like that).

Like I never got the appeal of the firecrackers that people are detonating like crazy on New Year's Eve. Okay, once they were used to scare away the Demons of the Old Year, but these days it seems to have become a strange kind of fun.

Mr deedee has some pictures. They aptly express the feeling of doom that I had just from hearing the airplanes.

Incidentally, only yesterday I zapped into an episode of J.A.G., a TV series heavily sponsored by the US army, just as one of the characters said, "we need this so that we can do our best to defend the United States", and I thought how relative that statement was.

Posted by Horst at 10:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

October 27, 2005

I don't know when I switched on Word's auto-correct feature again, but I must have because it's on, and it's interfering with my ability to assign sensible essay topics to my students.

The first person who knows what I'm talking about in the headline gets the usual prize. [Hint: three words were modified, but only one vowel was changed into a different vowel, and one consonant into a different consonant. Film buffs are at an advantage.]

Posted by Horst at 05:32 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

October 28, 2005

Stay clear of Hofer's "Latte macchiato Gugelhupf". I bought it by accident, thinking it was a "Marmorgugelhupf" (yes, going shopping in a feverish state makes you do strange things). It's vile.

Posted by Horst at 10:54 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

I noticed one interesting phenomenon with most of the bloggers that I read more or less regularly, that started around the time that I did (i.e. about three years ago), and that seem to be more like human beings writing about their lives than robots churning out multiple messages on a regular basis: most of them are currently going through a period of not posting anything.

I'm not using this as an excuse for my own prolonged absence. This October really seems to be a bad month for most bloggers. In my case work at the office has so dried out my brain that I simply can't think of anything to blog about, and any ideas that I have seem to be gone as soon as I want to write them down.

I also read fewer and fewer other blogs, which, I guess, leads to getting fewer and fewer ideas to write about. Add to that that I don't seem to care about my reader statistics anymore. I checked them for the first time in ages today and noticed that I lost at least half my readers during the past 20 weeks. Do I care? Yes and no. After three years of blogging, there seem to be more important things, but I still don't seem to be able to let go of this completely.

They say that in human relationships all of the euphoria hormones are gone after about three years. I wonder if this also applies to weblogs, readers and writers alike. When does your writing output fall back to a normal level, when does your everyday life again assume total priority over your writing, like when was the point when would you actually stop writing in the middle of a weblog posting to get out the vacuum cleaner and hoover under the writing desk to get rid of the totally disgusting stuff under there, like I just did before I wrote this very sentence?

I wonder what all the other weblog absences are about. Like, how many who were part of the hype are on to the Next Big Thing, how many just ran out of fuel, how many are so inundated in their work that they have other things to do? At any rate, it looks as if things are somehow slowly returning back to normal.

Posted by Horst at 11:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

October 30, 2005

According to a communiqué by the Federal Austria Railways (ÖBB), yesterday's complete breakdown of traffic on the Vienna S-Bahn between approx. 11am and 5pm was due to overhead catenary damage caused by, believe it or not, pigeons.

It is unclear whether the damage was caused with criminal intent, uncontrolled aggression, boredom or just plain stupidity.

Or loss of credibility.

Posted by Horst at 03:13 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

October 31, 2005

So, like, five years ago people went to cemeteries at this time of the year to commemorate the dead. Today, they dress to look like the dead themselves. I find that an interesting cultural change.

Posted by Horst at 06:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

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