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

May 2006 Archive

May 02, 2006

If you think that you need just four ingredients for a strawberry milkshake, think again.


Eric Schlosser's new book Chew on This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food will be out on 25 May.

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

May 03, 2006

When I came home I noticed that there was a message on the answering machine. I pushed the button, and there was this rather angry woman's voice (which sounded totally unfamiliar) saying, "Why?!?! I want to talk to somebody!!"

Then there were about 40 seconds of ambient noise, like she hadn't switched her cell phone off. However, for somebody who wanted to talk to somebody this urgently, everything sounded disquietingly quiet.

I assume this was a case of wrong number. At least I hope it was.

Posted by Horst at 07:39 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

If there is anybody in Vienna who would like to assist me presenting a new poem of mine at the Café Kafka this Friday, please contact me. I need a total of four people to read this. Any help would be gladly appreciated.

I suppose I shouldn't write a poem for five voices when I'm perfectly unable to find the necessary number of people to perform this, but there you go.

But today my mind is clouded with the all-consuming question "Will Henry Gale finally start talking sense on today's episode of Lost?" anyway.

Posted by Horst at 11:37 AM | Comments (2)

May 05, 2006

The Swindon Magic Roundabout

The Labyrinth Poetry Open Mic featuring
"The Swindon Magic Roundabout" -- a poem for five voices by Yours Truly.

Café Kafka, Capistrangasse 8, 1060 Wien.
Event starts around 8:30pm. The roundabout will most likely be presented after the break around 10pm.

Posted by Horst at 02:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

May 08, 2006

At the moment, my life seems to be full of things that I don't want to do. In fact, most things I've been doing for the past two or three or four years seem so profoundly boring at the moment that I've lost all interest in continuing to do them. Unfortunately, one of them is my job, and I kind of need to continue that one, at least until I've found another one that pays equally well. But then I've also spent part of the past two years looking for a new job, and that has become fairly boring now as well. I suppose this is called a dilemma.

The point is that even though "getting away from it all" is one of the most widely-used topoi in western civilization, you can't really get away from it all, because whereever you get away to you need money, and the necessity to earn money firmly keeps you glued in your position, unable to move even an inch away from where you are at the moment. In fact, I am getting the impression that the whole hing about "getting away" is little more than a ruse of the holiday and tourism industry to get at your money while making sure that you remain in a position that will ensure that you remain their customer, which wouldn't be the case if you really got away from it all. I suppose this is called economics.

Where this profound feeling of boredom, frustration and fatigue comes from I don't know. I suppose you might even call it depression, even though I don't feel depressed, I merely feel the need for change on a major scale. I also feel the need to learn to play the guitar so that I can sing songs about sadness and despair. I suppose this is called the blues.

Oddly enough, my horoscope told me that this year would be the year of a major change for me. But then last year it told me that I'd find the woman of my dreams who'd fulfill all my sexual fantasies, which has not even remotely happened. Not even in my dreams. I suppose this is called unreliability.

Posted by Horst at 10:26 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

May 12, 2006

Saturday 13 May
DJs p(i)x - barbara - h-prill
1070 Wien, Richtergasse 8
Starts 9pm - ends late.

Posted by Horst at 06:34 PM | Comments (4)

May 16, 2006

I just came across a policeman in a new uniform, and must say I'm impressed.

(The back story, which I should perhaps add for the benefit of foreign readers, is as follows: shortly after they won the elections in 2000, the new Conservative Austrian government decided to merge the two branches of the Austrian police force, the federal Polizei (green uniform) and the state Gendarmerie (gray uniforms) into just one federal police force with blue uniforms.)

Whether the current reorganisation of the Austrian police force is a success will remain to be seen. However, it can be said without hesitation that the new blue uniforms are, well, not entirely successful. The policeman I saw today looked a bit like one of the people from the gas works who come to check your meter, only he seemed to wear trousers taken from an Adidas track suit. I'm pretty sure he was police because he had this patch saying "Polizei" on his uniform and he was standing in front of the Parliament building, with not a gas meter anywhere in sight.

Somehow I feel that the new uniforms might have an adverse effect as far as the authority of the police is concerned, or would you accept a traffic fine from a man from the gas works wearing Adidas track suit trousers? I daresay I wouldn't.

This is, however, in line with the policy of making police stations invisible by replacing the illuminated red-and-white signs with barely visible blue ones and repainting all police cars silver so that they look like just about every other car. If I were susceptible to conspiracy theories, I'd have a go at this one.

Posted by Horst at 09:00 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

May 17, 2006

Nutzen Sie die Dynamik, die in Ihrem Unternehmen steckt

So I spent eight hours trying to determine just which part of my perfectly valid HTML code caused Microsoft Internet Explorer (and only Microsoft Internet Explorer) to not display part of a web page I'm designing. It turned out MSIE would display the page correctly if I merely scrolled down and then up again, which seemed to confirm that it was really a bug in Internet Explorer and not some kind of problem in my code.

First, I checked my HTML if all of it was valid. It was. Then I checked my CSS if all of it was valid. It was.

Then I spent a couple of hours to determine just which part of my code would trigger the display bug. This morning, I came closer to the soulution as I found that MSIE doesn't want one particular text section to be defined by means of a text block tag (such as <div>, <p> or <h2>). In fact it also doesn't want the text to be defined as normal text with a different background colour or some padding added by means of a <span> tag. Each of these cases would cause the text to disappear.

Having finally isolated the cause, I managed to come up with a solution, which was to place the entire part of the page that was affected by the bug within a <div style="width:96%;"> tag.

And I thought I'd post this here just in case somebody googles for "Internet Explorer text disappears", they find this and give it a try.

In related news, Microsoft is currently running an intense advertising campaign in Austria. The slogan, pictured above, translates as "Use the dynamics of your company". Following what I would describe as a colossal waste of time, which I had to spend on trying to identify and work around a Microsoft software bug, I feel prone to read the slogan as "Use the dynamics of your company to deal with our buggy software."

Posted by Horst at 04:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 22, 2006

The Muse is a funny creature. Not only is she moody and prone to prolonged absences, she is also totally unpredictable. I can pick up the bass guitar any day, and most of the time the result will be a more or less, but rather less, melodic plonking. And then one day, without any warning at all and for no good reason at all, I'm suddenly playing bass lines or melodies that actually make sense. And of course that ability is limited to a couple of hours and the very next day I'm back to plonking, as if the bass guitar had reverted into a pumpkin at midnight.

The Muse also has a strange sense of humour. Yesterday she told me to rearrange my record shelf, a totally useless task that got me sweating while I'm sure she had a good laugh as she saw me lugging heavy objects through my flat. At least all vinyl records and all CDs are now in the same group of shelves, but as a conseuqnce some of my books are now living in a rather cramped environment and getting bouts of claustrophobia.

The Muse is caring. A while ago she told me to plant radishes on my windowsill. The first harvest was rather yummy, much better than the watery pseudo-radishes that you get at the supermarket, and the second batch is growing as I'm writing this. In addition to the radishes, two tomato plants and two chili plants also moved into my flat; they are now occupying the second windowsill and are growing at amazing speeds. However, so far the Muse has not told me how to persuade the bees to come and pollinate them. So far the tomato plants are dropping their buds after a few days of blooming, in what seems to be utter sexual frustration.

In terms of weblogging, the Muse is somewhat silent at the moment, which may be because I'm rather busy building websites at the office and rather busy carrying CDs, LP records, radishes and tomato plants to and fro in my flat. Besides, the Muse seems to think that making plonking noises on my pumpkin guitar makes more sense than writing weblog entries. I don't fully agree with her, but the truth is, she may have a point.

Anyway, this is what things are like at the moment.

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

May 23, 2006

I think it's unfair how American TV series producers always seem to think that series finales have to be massive tearjerkers. Babylon 5 was terrible that way. Heck, even Friends went for the lachrymal glands. And in the MASH finale they even managed to make it look as if it was a bad thing that the blokes finally got out of Korea. And even though it still has a few years to go, I'm already afraid about what the Lost finale has in store for us.

I finally managed to watch the last three episodes of Six Feet Under yesterday, and I'm sorry to say that all of them are tearjerkers, the last one massively so, and in addition to that it's also one of those episodes that make you feel that you have to totally reconsider your life and do things that really make sense for a change, and, above all, make sure that you love and be loved in the little time that you have on this planet.

How utterly depressing.

The whole thing even followed me into my sleep, giving me some of the more depressing dreams I've had so far this year, and if I don't pay attention it may trigger some kind of midlife crisis. After all, I am almost forty, and if I'm lucky, only have about another forty years to go and do things that matter so perhaps I should totally reconsider my life and do things that really make sense for a change, and, above all, make sure that I love and am loved in the little time that I have on this planet.

Did I manage to say that I really hate how American TV series producers always seem to think that series finales have to be massive, depressing tearjerkers?

Posted by Horst at 08:11 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

May 24, 2006

As you may have noticed, I added a Flickr link in the sidebar, and I decided to start the "A Photo A Day" initiative today. Meaning that I'll take one photo a day (weekends and holidays excepted, I suppose) and post it on Flickr. It'll be interesting to see how soon I get bored with this thing. You may also notice that I haven't posted a photo today yet, which is just my way of teaching people to be patient. The point of the exercise being that there isn't much of a point really, other than to keep my readers (who must by now be pretty frustrated with this blog) interested with minimal effort on my part.

Just kidding.

In related news, it seems that someone at Amazon didn't quite get the point (albeit a different point) either:

unvergessene vergessene Straßenbahnen

Oh well.

Posted by Horst at 07:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 29, 2006


I'm happy to say that the hot curries at my favourite Indian restaurant in Vienna are now again as hot as they used to be; or at least that's what I think because I left the place in tears three times in a row now.

This may be because they are preparing the Chicken Madras spicier than they uesd to, or it may be due to the fact that a couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine, with whom I went there, ordered the Madras Plate "a bit hotter than last time", which was just about right back at the time, but since then all the hot curries I've had there were pretty close to the Point of Pain.

You don't see me complaining though. A hot curry is always miles better than a boring one. Also, every time I go to this particular restaurant, I end up with ideas for at least three new weblog entries, so the karma there (or the food) must be exceptional.

Posted by Horst at 09:15 PM | Comments (2)

May 30, 2006

I'm beginning to re-evaluate the image that I had of Miles Davs as an innovator in jazz music. The more stuff I hear that other musicians recorded at around the same time, I'm beginning to think that Miles may have reacted to what was going on around him rather than having been a driving force in the reshaping of jazz music during the 1960s and 70s, and that his relative importance may have more to do with the fact that he had the backing of a strong record label than with the music that he recorded; in other words, that he is simply better known than some of the more innovative musicians of the time.

Point 1: Clifford Brown. If you take what Miles recorded between 1953 and 56 and compare it to Clifford Brown's output, Miles looks remarkably poor. It's obvious that Clifford Brown was better, both in terms of composition/conception and execution. Unfortunately, Brown died in a car accident in 1956, so it's impossible to say just how he would have developed. On the other hand, in the same year, Miles made the groundbreaking recordings with his first Great Quintet, even though it can be (and probably should be) argued that the greatness of these recordings, just as was very obviously the case with his second Great Quintet in the mid-1960s, was really more the result of a group effort rather than of his own making.

Point 2: Grachan Moncur III. Who but the truly initiated have ever even heard of Grachan Moncur III? Yet on his 1964 album Evolution, Moncur has already developed a musical vocabulary that is very obviously taken up or at least referred to repeatedly by Miles on a couple of albums stretching from Nefertiti (1968) to Get Up With It (1975), and the fact that you find traces of Moncur's brilliant "Evolution" over ten years later in Davis's equally majestic "He Loved Him Madly" says a lot about the sheer power of Moncur's compositional prowess.

I could add more points; the one about John Coltrane eclipsing his former band leader being the most obvious one, but I think the point that Davis was perhaps more successful but not necessarily not more innovative than other musicians has been made.

That is not to say that Miles wasn't an innovator. He was, but the closer you look at what was going on around him, the more you begin to feel that this was more by chance than on purpose. Different musicians reacted differently to the Great Crisis of Jazz in the late 1960s. Chet Baker and Bud Shank, and even Wes Montgomery went commercial, and very shamelessly so. Grant Green went hopelessly astray until he found a footing in Soul again. Miles too tried to adapt to what was "hip" at the time, but apparently he needed the money less urgently, or he found different things to be "hip", but the chaos on some of his early 1970s albums may be loss of orientation after all, especially as over and over again you find single tracks that prove that from time to time he did indeed find musical spaces that he could identify with. But I now feel very strongly that is was more hit-and-miss than I originally thought.

Posted by Horst at 10:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

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