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

March 2006 Archive

March 01, 2006

Whenever somebody tells me to write, my first instinct is to not write anything. Even if I actually have an idea for some text that I could write.

It doesn't work the other way round though. Telling me not to write anything does not make me write.

I'm kinda funny that way.

Posted by Horst at 11:18 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

March 03, 2006

1. You know it's one of these days when you see, in totally different parts of the city where you happen to wander around, five people lugging around ridiculously large cat scratchposts.

2. A friend gave me the ultimate hi-fi tuning accessory today: a door stop. Don't ask.

3. When they interviewed me for this TV feature four weeks ago, they told me that they'd certainly, definitely, absolutely inform me before it was broadcast. Then my parents called because my aunt had called them and told them that I had been on TV. They wanted to know why I hadn't told them I would be on TV today. I want to know why the TV people didn't tell me I'd be on TV today.

4. I still haven't figured out whether Ikea is just a normal furniture store or actually a clever plan for world domination. But the way they are making me buy weird objects whose name I can't even pronounce is somewhat frightening.

5. I fear I might have rediscovered chocolate.

Posted by Horst at 08:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

March 04, 2006

Thanks to the invention of repeats, I was finally able to watch my first interview on television (QuickTime, 4.7MB, 3min -- will be removed in a few days for copyright reasons).

Somehow I fear I won't win a beauty contest, like, ever. Maybe the camera team should have brought a hair stylist and a makeup artist. And a hair stylist. Also, I hope I look somewhat healthier (as in "less pale") in real life.

If you don't understand any German, don't worry. I'm not talking about blogs in this interview. You'll get a rough idea what this is about.

Posted by Horst at 11:28 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

March 07, 2006


True fans will easily recognize which concert I'm going to tonight just by looking at this picture.

Update: Back from the concert. Good stuff. The support group was a bit lame, as their name already suggested, but the main act lived up to the expectations, even though their second guitarist was ill and therefore absent. Romantik!

Posted by Horst at 05:30 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

March 08, 2006

Teaching subject cataloguing. Today, 8:30am to 4:30pm. My idea of fun. Not. I'm having trouble remembering why I volunteered for this.

Posted by Horst at 06:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Any of my Viennese readers interested in buying a used Yamaha hifi amplifier (tech specs here) might want to check out this link. If you quote this blog post, you get a 10% discount on the price and free delivery within Vienna.*

*) Free delivery does not apply in areas that cannot be reached easily by public transport.

Posted by Horst at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2006

Tech specs sometimes puzzle me to no end. But I suppose that's what they're there for.

Tech specs of undisclosed product -- use Google if you're curious
(Click to enlarge)

This is especially true if you have the choice between several products from one manufacturer, and the specifications seem to be all but identical, only the price is not.

And you either start wondering why there's a 200% price difference between two seemingly identical products, or you start realizing that many things aren't really quantifiable.

Posted by Horst at 12:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Please notice that Trackbacks on this weblog have been changed to operate on a whitelist-only basis, effective immediately.

Meaning that if you want to send me a Trackback ping every now and then, please send me an e-mail with CV, credentials and a letter of recommendation from an established A-, B- or C-list blogger, and you will be put on my Trackback whitelist.

Posted by Horst at 12:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

March 12, 2006


It involved a lot of noise, and I was slightly deaf afterwards, but it was worth travelling all the way to Berlin just to see them live. What a night.

Posted by Horst at 12:02 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

March 13, 2006

After people have been trying to talk me into doing it for years, I have now finally read Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman. I must admit that I didn't do it because of other people's recommendations (which were plentiful), but mostly because the creators of the TV series Lost said that anyone who has read the book "will have a lot more ammunition when dissecting plotlines" of the show.

And I could see a number of interesting parallels to the TV show, especially in the part of the book that deals with eternity. Mostly, however, I was disappointed. In fact, I see why O'Brien's book was initially turned down by the publisher; and I don't see why people find it funny. But maybe it's just incompatible with my sense of humour. I think it's trying too hard to be clever and it's trying too hard to be funny, and like most things that are trying too hard, it fails to be either.

The supposedly big revelation of the book was obvious to me the whole time (maybe I just read too many crime novels to figure it out instantly), hence there was no big mystery about anything that went on, and the remainder of the story was a bit thin. I actually had to struggle my way through the book, only to get a confirmation of what I had already known.

Are strange theories about people and bicycles really enough to turn a book into a cult book?

Posted by Horst at 11:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

March 15, 2006

I just realized that the main danger about buying used records is not that you end up with scratched, dirty or mouldy pieces of vinyl that produce more noise than music.

Real dangers when buying used records include the following:

  • Double albums that contain the same record twice
  • Records with the correct label, but the wrong music on them
  • Double albums with the sides in the sequence 1/4 - 2/3
  • No audible sound. At all.
  • Bad music

And yes, I encountered two of the above very recently.

Posted by Horst at 10:19 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

March 16, 2006


and, oddly enough, no apparent trace of midlife crisis. The medication must be working.

Posted by Horst at 09:10 PM | Comments (7)

March 17, 2006

Recently I got stuck on this website where people were discussing the merits of record washing machines. According to the people who run this site, apparently the only way to get true high fidelity sound of vinyl records is to regularly wash them with one of these high-tech contraptions.

Never mind that I believe that the term "high fidelity vinyl record" is actually an oxymoron. Don't get me wrong, vinyl records can produce excellent sound that can be vastly superior to any compact disc, but unless you define hi-fi by the terms of the somewhat outdated DIN 45500 standard from the 1970s, the technological principle behind records and record players is fundamentally flawed, and not even with the finest technological tricks to circumvent rumble, resonance and tracking can you ever get pure sound out of a vinyl record, because every time you are playing a record, it is being damaged. It follows that the only way to get the best possible sound out of a vinyl record is not to wash it, but to never play it.

I can also think of better ways to spend €3000 than on a record washing machine, but then I'm one of these dilettantes who would also consider spending the same amount of money on a record player slightly extravagant. Even if that record player would inflict next to no damage at all to my precious records.

But that's hardly the point. It's mostly the human obsession with permanence, which is an oddity itself, especially considering that we ourselves are hardly permanent.

The dirt in the grooves of a vinyl record is nothing other than the dust of time settling there; the damage inflicted on the record by the needle each time you play it is little different from the things that shape you or wear you out every day. The record washing machine is something like the shower you take every morning, which makes you feel slightly fresher as you take it, but it won't ever prevent you from getting older and, eventually, dying.

And like the record washing machine, the shower will clean your body, but it won't ever clean your soul, which is pure or rotten based on totally different things.

Interestingly, having a shower installed in your flat also costs around €3000 these days.

Posted by Horst at 10:57 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (1)

March 20, 2006

There is no point. Things are just what they are, with no benevolent or malevolent intentions. They may seem to be the one or the other, but mostly it's down to your very own personal paranoia what you perceive them to be. Unless, of course, things are as they are because some benevolent or malevolent person designed them that way. Like the cellophane wrapper that CDs come in, which nobody not equipped with a Swiss army knife or the equivalent thereof will ever be able to open. They're the things that give you the feeling that this is one of those things where people who are really unhappy with their workplace let you suffer for their frustrations. I pity the cellophane guy with every single CD I am unable to open.

The other day, I had a talk with some friends about how we feel about our work and specifically, which book best represents the workplace situation at our respective employers. One of them said he feels like a character out of Dilbert, up to the fact that his boss is as pointy-haired and as incompetent as Dilbert's boss. Another said it's a bit like Waiting for Godot; lots of pointless talk and the increasing urge to hang oneself. The third said it's somewhat like some Kafka novel, or any Kafka novel actually. One said it was like Crime and Punishment, but didn't want to go into the details. Another said that it's a lot like in The Corporation, but somehow this seemed rather unsurprising. The last one was self-employed and did not say much.

I said I'm beginning to feel a bit like Bartleby the Scrivener because I have this increasing urge to say "I'd prefer not to" when people ask me to do things. On the other hand, the general situation is somewhat reminiscent of Catch-22, even though the guy in charge of Health & Medicine is a molluscologist rather than a cetologist. Still, the one thing I'd like to achieve is the status of this character called Major Major, who gets promoted against his wishes and then decrees that he will only see people when he's out of his office, but he won't talk to them anywhere other than in his office. In the meantime, someone else has already been successful in assuming the role of Milo Minderbinder -- removing the water from the toilets, an interesting feat which has already been talked about elsewhere, seems fairly akin to removing the parachutes from the fighter aeroplanes.

Maybe I should say here that I'm not even close to inventing some kind of cellophane wrapper. But I am close to putting in the crab apples.

My apologies those readers who have not read Joseph Heller's Catch-22, as they might not be able to understand all of today's jokes and allusions. Especially the thing with the crab apples.

Posted by Horst at 08:58 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

March 21, 2006

An electrifying evening with DJs h-prill and deedee at the Cafe Frame, 1200 Wien, Jaegerstrasse 28

Expect an evening with strange music from a wide spectrum of genres and for all kinds of tastes.

How to get there: tram 5 or 33 to Wallensteinplatz or tram 31 to Gaussplatz + five minutes walk or subway U6 to Jägerstrasse + ten minutes walk.

Posted by Horst at 03:15 PM | Comments (1)

March 22, 2006

An angry parents' initiative has started an online petition to the Mayor of Vienna to do something against the dog dirt problem. They are being supported by the Vienna Chamber of Physicians. Sign the petition now.

Posted by Horst at 06:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

I'd like to think that things and the words that describe them have some kind of relationship. Like simple, basic things that you encounter on a regular basis have simple, basic (often one-syllable) words that can be pronounced quickly and without much effort. The more outlandish a concept, the more difficult is the word for it. Consider, for example the German words "Brot" (bread) vs. "Arbeitnehmerveranlagung" (tax declaration for employees).

My knowledge of Hawaiian culture is limited to a tiny handful of things. It's apparently called the Aloha State, it used to be a kingdom until 1893, the song "Aloha Oe" was composed by a Hawaiian princess, and steel guitar player Sol Hoopii was the youngest of 21 children.

The booklet included with a CD of Early Hawaiian Classics has now taught me an interesting thing about the Hawaiian language, and thus probably also about Hawaiian culture. I quote:

Wahine Ui is ... a classic falsetto song featured by every major Hawaiian singer. The title means "beautiful young woman" — wahine translates as "woman," ui roughly translates as "the beauty of the 17-21-year-old."

So much about simple, basic words for simple, basic concepts. And so much about what other cultures consider to be simple, basic concepts. Such as ui.

Posted by Horst at 07:07 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

March 23, 2006

or, an exercise in non-sequiturs. See for yourself.

1. Around 1926, the Hawaiian singer and steel guitar player Mike Hanapi founded a band aptly called The Hanapi Trio. The other band members were William Kalama and Bob Nawahine.

2. When Dave Kaleipua Munson joined in 1927, they changed their name to Kalama's Quartet.

3. Even though they were technically a quintet after Bob Matsu joined in 1928, they kept calling themselves Kalama's Quartet until they disbanded in 1932.

Kalama's Quartet

4. The above photograph is one of the very few pictures that exist of the Quartet. It dates from around 1930, when the band consisted of five members. The four men on the picture are, left to right, Nawahine, Kalama, Hanapi and, on the right, a man identified as Dan Pokipala. The nature of Pokipala's association with the band is completely unknown. He is also not credited on any of the Quartet's recordings.

5. The song "Aloha Oe", probably the best-known of all Hawaiian songs and one of the Quartet's greater successes, is not included on the CD reissue of the only currently available compilation album of the Quartet's songs, even though it was on the previous vinyl release of the same album.

6. Mike Hanapi is not related to the former Austrian soccer player Gerhard Hanappi. As far as is known, Gerhard Hanappi was not of Hawaiian descent.

Posted by Horst at 12:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 27, 2006

I'm not in the mood for a witty or otherwise intelligent blog entry today, so simply for the reason that there hasn't been any moose content here in quite a while, I suggest that you have a look at this link (also includes video).

More moose content in weblogs!

Posted by Horst at 04:17 PM | Comments (8)

March 28, 2006

If you had €100 to spare, would you rather spend it on a cheap flight to London to see the last Faith Healers concert, or would you register for the BlogTalk conference in Vienna later this year?

Not much of a dilemma, is it?

Posted by Horst at 07:36 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

I've started washing my vinyl records now. F**k the philosophy of time settling in the grooves. Pure sound has its advantages too.

Posted by Horst at 07:42 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

I only found out yesterday that Heyne Verlag has been publishing great reissues of the German translations of Philip K. Dick's novels.

My only problem is that I'd like to read the original English version. So when will we finally get the long overdue, equally pretty English edition? The currently available editions in English look more like cheap dime store novels, with cheesy cover designs, poor paper quality and cluttered typography. In fact I bought a few of the German translations [1 2 3 4 5 6 7] just because the design difference really makes up for the language difference.

Posted by Horst at 12:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

March 29, 2006

Somehow I can't help feeling that her lips were somewhat different -- larger, more pouty -- in Match Point than they were in Lost in Translation. I liked her in LiT because she looked so unblemished by surgical alterations, and I fear now that she is going the way of all Hollywood flesh. Which, in my very humble opinion, would be a major pity.

Anyway, she was just voted "Sexiest Woman of the Year" by some men's magazine, displacing Angelina Jolie, last year's winner and herself owner of a pair of rather voluminous lips, to number 2.

I remember how one of my ex-girlfriends used to call Michelle Pfeiffer "The Duck" because of her lips. That was before Pfeiffer played Catwoman; afterwards she referred to her as "Duckwoman". Anyway, Pfeiffer's lips may have been large by 1980s standards, but they were really minuscule compared to the fashion of twenty years later.

I still remember very vividly the shock when, for some unknown reason, Julia Roberts decided to effectively double the size of her lips for her role in Ocean's Eleven. I have no idea why she thought this was necessary, but I remember staring at nothing other than those grotesquely enormous lips whenever she appeared on the screen, being totally unable to follow the plot.

Anyway, Scarlett Johansson's lips seem more pouty these days, and she won this poll, and I am wondering whether she got a lip job. That's really all I wanted to say.

Posted by Horst at 12:03 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

The World Has Been Empty Since the Romans

Another great artist gone. What is wrong with this year?

Obituary in The Guardian

The Sea's leaves, the Strawberry's Waves

It is doubtful that flags will ever become obsolete

Posted by Horst at 07:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

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