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

July 2006 Archive

July 10, 2006

  • How one of the two teams that I didn't want to win the World Cup actually won the World Cup
  • How to alienate your weblog readers
  • Why human children scream considerably more than those of any other species
  • Why Wikipedia still sucks, and probably more so than ever before
  • Zidane, the unprofessional football player
  • The weather
  • Smells that I find profoundly erotic
  • Serious thoughts on death and the afterlife
  • How my horoscope prevents me from having sex being rich
  • Boring weblogs
  • The urge to insult people
  • Writing lists
  • Making raspberry yoghurt
  • What Closure/• stands for
  • How it's time to move on

I just can't be bothered.

Posted by Horst at 10:48 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

July 14, 2006

1. The newer or the more recently refurbished a given McDonald's restaurant is, the lower they mounted the urinals in the male toilets. I can only speculate about the reasons for this, but my safest guiess is that their target customers are getting younger and younger. I wouldn't be surprised if they converted the restaurants into kindergardens any time soon. They sure look more like kindergardens every time I enter one of them.

2. I wonder how actors feel about the characters they are playing. Do they miss them once the play closes or the film is in the box? I spent only a couple of days getting into the skin of Dr Cosma, but I miss him somehow now. Is that normal or is it a sign of beginning schizophrenia? Are there more schizophreniacs among actors than among librarians?

3. Ukuleles are obviously made for people with tiny, tiny fingers. How is a person with hands my size supposed to play a B major chord on one of these things? It's just not possible. A C major chord is just about doable, but even an A major chord, which is quite easy in theory, is near impossible in practice. Do Hawaiians have tinier hands than people from other countries? Or did they embrace the steel guitar so enthusiastically because they were also having enough of the hand cramps?

4. EVCO rules. Thanks & congrats to Mig for pulling this off (and for paying our bills at the closing event).

Posted by Horst at 09:49 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

July 16, 2006

They've won!

They're everywhere! And those squirrels look evil!

Posted by Horst at 06:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

July 18, 2006

1. The ukulele is a fretted string instrument which is, in its construction, essentially a smaller, four-stringed version of the guitar.

2. The word 'ukulele' is of Hawaiian origin and roughly translates as "jumping flea".

3. The ukulele is based on a Portuguese instrument and was in fact introduced to Hawaii by the Portuguese in 1879. Why the Portuguese travelled to Hawaii is not known, but it was presumably not to sell musical instruments.

4. Anyway, the ukulele is now more popular in Hawaii than in Portugal.

5. The ukulele is usually tuned in the chord of C6: G-C-E-A from low to high, with the G-string traditionally tuned an octave up, so it is pitched between the E- and A-strings. Incidentally, this is known as the 'My dog has fleas' tuning.

6. When the strings are new, the ukulele cannot hold a tune for more than a few seconds. It can take up to two weeks for new strings to stretch out and hold a tune; at any rate longer than it takes for the dog to get rid of its fleas.

7. Ukulele players are known for their impatience and the harshness of their expletives once the ukulele has gone out of tune yet again, which means one expletive about every 5 seconds if the strings are really new.

8. The ukulele is a tiny instrument that is best played by a player with tiny hands.

Average ukulele.
Average male hand.
Size comparison: ukulele vs. male hand.
Average male hand trying to play a B major chord on average ukulele. It's not possible!

9. The ukulele feels even tinier if you normally play the bass guitar. Conversely, the bass guitar strings feel like thick ropes of steel after you've practiced on the ukulele for a while.

Size comparison ukulele vs. acoustic bass guitar.

10. It takes the French writer/artist Joann Sfar a mere 437 pages to learn to play the ukulele. It is believed that Austrian librarians need more time to accomplish the same feat.

Posted by Horst at 12:58 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

July 20, 2006

What the shop assistant thought I was looking for: her.
What I was looking for: the men's toiletries shelf.
What I found: a shop assistant blocking the way to the men's toiletries shelf and redirecting me somewhere else.

What the shop assistant wanted this to be like: lucrative.
What I wanted it to be like: quick and easy.
What it was like: fairly quick, not so easy.

Amount of time the shop assistant thought I had at my disposal: at least 30 minutes.
Amount of time I wanted to spend on this: no more than 1 minute.
Amount of time I spent on this: about 4 minutes.

Expression on shop assistant's face when she held a bottle of tangerine-scented shower gel under my nose: delight.
Expression I wanted to put on my face while sniffing tangerine-scented shower gel: polite decline.
Expression I put on my face when smell of tangerine-scented shower gel hit my nose: disgust.

How the show assistant came across: pushy.
How I wanted to come across: coolly detached, sarcastic.
How I likely came across: insulting.

What the shop assistant wanted to sell me: everything in her shop.
What I wanted to buy: one specific kind of shower gel and shaving cream.
What I bought: that specific shower gel and shaving cream.

What the shop assistant said: "Do you also need a shaving brush?"
What I wanted to say: "Why thank you for thinking I'm so young that I just started shaving."
What I said: "No, I've been shaving for a while now."

Posted by Horst at 12:23 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

July 22, 2006


These folks will be the 8th, 9th and 10th tomato that I have grown on my windowsill this year. Number 1-7 were quite yummy, though slightly disappointing. I had expected more taste from homegrown tomatoes, but tastewise they were merely somewhere between the organic and the non-organic tomatoes from the supermarket. However, since #6 and #7 were tastier than their predecessors, I have high hopes for #8, #9 and #10. To boost their egos, I've named them Harold, Jessica, and Justine.

Come to think of it, I'm wondering why Justine is such a (relatively) popular first name in Great Britain. I mean it's kind of pretty and sounds okay and everything, it's just that there's this book entitled Justine by the Marquis De Sade, and in it, lots and lots of rather awful things happen to poor Justine, and I'm not sure if that kind of association is something I'd like, neither as the bearer of the name, nor as a parent. I mean, Adolf hasn't gone out of fashion for no particular reason either. Which means that either the British are blissfully unaware of De Sade's Justine, or there's some subconscious thing going on that I don't want to know more about.

Anyway, tomatoes. Tomato tip of the day #1: Don't water your tomato plants more than usual once the tomatoes are getting red, because if you do, the plant will try to deposit more water in the tomatoes, whose skin is already pretty tough, and which will thus break and the tomato will burst open.

Tomato tip of the day #2: I think tomatoes like jazz. I find that identical tomato plants bought at the same tomato plant dealer's market stall develop fairly differently at my place where they're exposed to a large amount of jazz music (harvested tomatoes so far: 7; soon ready to eat: 6) as opposed to a friend's place where they are exposed to a fair amount of East Asian meditation music (harvested tomatoes so far: 0; soon ready to eat: 1). It's either that or the ukulele.

As for Justine the Tomato, nasty things are bound to happen to her, too: she'll be eaten pretty soon, most likely tomorrow.

Posted by Horst at 04:45 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

July 23, 2006

Sunday 23 July
DJs dd & h-prill @ Rhiz
1080 Wien, Gürtelbogen 37-38 (U6 Josefstädter Strasse)
Starts 9pm - ends late.
Come. If you can't come, listen to the live stream.

(Note: this entry will remain at the top of this page for a while. Scroll down for new entries.)

Posted by Horst at 09:50 PM | Comments (3)

July 28, 2006

Which feels better: two blog readers a day who are coming to this weblog from the Top 10 Blogging Librarians Page, where I'm apparently ranked at number 9, or about 35 readers who are coming, of all things, from the wikipedia article on sliced bread, which for some obscure reason is also linking to me?


And the proof that I'm at least as sucky as wikipedia is that I'm such a sucker for visitors that I still haven't found the heart to delete the link on the sliced bread page, even though I don't think it makes much sense.

Given how often my anti-wikipedia rant from two years ago is linked to and quoted (and it's linked to a lot), I'm quite surprised that no-one has so far deemed it necessary and/or interesting to actually conduct an interview with me. I admit it's easier to copy and paste lines from a 2-year-old rant of mine (and it certainly mirrors the spirit of today's media culture, which is essentially a copy-and-paste culture), but even if they think I'm a raving lunatic you'd think somebody would be interested in the person behind the rant.

Like: what was I thinking when I wrote the anti-wikipedia article? Am I a raving lunatic? What about the tomatoes on my windowsill? Would I love to discuss the influence of jazz on tomatoes with Jane Perrone? My thoughts on how to achieve world peace? Do I think Lee Konitz's Motion is more underrated than Grachan Moncur's Evolution? What about the woman who is the great love of my life? Can we expect my big breakthrough novel anytime soon? Why are there so many typos in my weblog entries? And suchlike.

Not so. But then I'll have to admit that I don't really see how anybody could be interested in any of this (except perhaps the jazz/tomato thing) either.

As part of our increased PR efforts at work, a colleague of mine was trying all day Friday to get an article on Vienna University Library into wikipedia. His expletives could be heard all along the corridor. His conclusion was that no normal person has the time to figure out all the necessary mechanisms to get a properly formatted article online. He said that the 200+ pages of printouts of help pages weren't particularly helpful and doubted the democratic nature of wikipedia. He said that very obviously only an elite of initiates can know how to do it.

I told him that the easiest thing might be to insert a really long text about the library into the existing article on the university, because the democratic nature of wikipedia works in such a way that one of the initiates is bound to be annoyed about that long text at some point and will either delete it or turn it into an article of its own.

He agreed that a 50:50 chance was better than nothing and said he'd give it a try.

Posted by Horst at 07:42 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

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