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

November 2006 Archive

November 01, 2006

Suddenly, I have this urge to learn to play the trumpet and become some kind of Don Cherry or Clifford Thornton or Lee Morgan of sorts. The questions that are circling in my head are: is is possible to even learn a brass instrument at age almost-40? How much time do I have to spend on practicing? Where could I practice, since "in my flat" is not an option, for obvious reasons? Can I ever reach a level with which I will be satisfied? Is the whole thing just a fluke that will be gone again in a few weeks? How much are trumpets anyway? And what the heck do you have to do with your lips to get a sound out of them?

Posted by Horst at 05:17 PM | Comments (3)

November 04, 2006

Okay, so November is here, and as if to prove the concept, somebody lowered the outside temperature by about 15 degrees to just slightly above the freezing point, while somebody else thought it was a good idea to end Daylight Savings Time so that it's now dark pretty much the entire day, and after only four days of this abysmal routine I am beginning to feel depressed.

I have also had a fairly strong headache for two days, possibly weather-related, which isn't helping much.

The only thing I can think of doing -- rather than actual useful work on the MSc thesis that I'm supposed to be working on -- is to go out and buy things which I neither need nor really want. Which everybody else seems to be doing as the shops are crammed with people and there are even articles in the newspaper in which the Chamber of Commerce is announcing record sales this week, "possibly due to the bad weather". It's pretty sad that things have come down to this. Only I feel I'm now past the point where I still believe that a pointless purchase can still make me happy in any way, which makes the whole thing a doubly frustrating exercise. Plus, it's currently so cold and wet outside that leaving the house sounds like a really bad idea, as much as I'd want to.

Of course, I could also go on antidepressants and join the happy Prozac crowd, but the problem is that when you're not on the stuff, these people are so sickening that you wouldn't want to join them.

Posted by Horst at 05:02 PM | Comments (7)

November 05, 2006

A smallish, medium-interested audience did not seem to react at all to my reading from Messages from the Lost Continent last Friday. Neither did they seem bored, nor did the funny lines provoke more than a smallish smile from two listeners.

I guess it was the weather. Or the moon. Or they were just tired. Or I was.

Posted by Horst at 09:45 PM | Comments (4)

November 07, 2006

Okay, so the temperature is up again by 10 degrees, which isn't helping the headache. At all. Fortunately there are TV series such as Gilmore Girls, which I suddenly felt I had to watch by all means, and so I stumbled over this scene in which Lorelai tells Rory about a conversation with her mother,

I talk, I think I'm being clear, and all she hears is "blah blah Ginger".

I was amazed. I was amazed because I know what "blah blah Ginger" refers to, have known it for quite a while (15 years?) in fact, but didn't know that so many other people would know it that you could put it in a comedy TV series and expect people to understand it.

And now I've become curious whether (a) this is is really common knowledge or (b) they just planted a perfectly obscure reference in the dialogue, even though only a few people understand it.

Posted by Horst at 08:37 PM | Comments (5)

November 10, 2006

I'm pretty sure they changed the timetable for tram line 5 here in Vienna, because as far as I remember, the last tram used to leave from Wallensteinplatz considerably later than 00:09 hrs.

Anyway, when I came to the tram stop at 00:10 hrs, all I could see were the last tram's taillights in a distance of about 150 metres or so, and the train indicator at the station happily announcing "Betriebsschluss" (no service).

I didn't feel like paying €12 for a taxi, so I decided to take a swift walk to the nearest subway station, which in this case is above ground, a fact which allowed me to see the last train enter and leave the station when I was still about 150 metres away from it.

I kept walking for about ten minutes until I was approaching my next option, tram number 38. When I was about 150 metres away from the station, the last tram on that line passed through it.

Five minutes later, just as I approached the stop of tram number 41, the same thing happened again. Not that it would have helped me to catch that train, because by then it was so late that I would have missed the connecting service anyway, but I was beginning to get the hang of seeing a cascade of last trams pass at a distance of about 150 metres, like a reminder of the transport authority that if you miss the last tram number 5, your punishment will not just consist of having to walk, you will also be humiliated and frustrated at each subsequent alternative route.

Some ten or fifteen minutes later, I was still on my way and it was well past 00:45 hrs by now, I walked along the route of bus line 13A, a fairly useful line which would have saved me about 15 minutes' walk if it were still in service. However, I was perfectly sure that the last bus must have left some time ago, so I didn't bother to check the timetable at one of the stations that I walked past.

Just when I was right in the middle between that station and the next (actually about 150 metres away from the next), I heard the sound of a bus approaching behind me. I uttered an expletive and started to run.

Posted by Horst at 10:52 PM | Comments (11)

November 14, 2006

Two minutes after my duty at the reference desk had started, a colleague phoned and asked me if by any chance the student ID of a certain Mr X had been found and deposited there. I checked the lost & found box, and there was an ID in it, but unfortunately it wasn't Mr X's, it belonged to a Ms Y.

An hour or so later, a female student came to the desk and asked me if I could look up her library ID number in the computer because she had left her card at home and needed the number to order a book. I asked her for some other identification so I could look it up. The name on it seemed very familiar; so familiar in fact that I went back to the lost & found box, just to check. She was Ms Y alright.

I said to the student, "Are you sure that you left your ID at home?"

She said she was.

I said I wouldn't be so sure about it.

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

November 19, 2006

I went to the strangest concert ever.

They said that the first act would start at 5:45, and when I entered at 5:46, they had already started. They said that the main act would start at 8:00, and they did.

Even though I was crammed in a big hall with hundreds of other people, my t-shirt wasn't soaked with sweat afterwards. That's because they had some clever air conditioning that seemed to always kick in at exactly the right temperature.

I could still wear the shirt that I wore to the concert if I wanted to, because it doesn't smell of cigarette smoke at all. That's because there was a total smoking ban in the entire venue, for the entire evening.

It should be obvious by now that the concert did not take place in Vienna.

Funny enough, even though it was one of the loudest concerts I've ever been to, my ears aren't ringing, and I don't feel particularly deaf. I wonder if that could also be connected with the fact that the concert didn't take place in Vienna. It's unlikely, but then I can't think of another reason that would make sense.

Posted by Horst at 11:04 AM | Comments (6)

November 21, 2006

Identical twins are cute up to the age of eight or so; then the concept is getting a bit strange, and gets spookier the older they get. Actually, it's pretty freaking spooky from age 30 onwards.

Identical twins who wear identical clothes, while not particularly original, can be kind of cute up to the age of four or so; from then on I consider it weirdness.

The other day I saw two identical twins aged around fifty and wearing identical clothes, and it almost freaked me out.

Posted by Horst at 08:25 PM | Comments (4)

November 23, 2006

The happiest guy in the worldThe Happiest Guy in the World and Other Stories About Sex and Pain

Blurb: "A man and his girlfriend looking at the moon; a fetishist trying to find true love at a speed dating event; a woman in shock posing as a private investigator; a girl abducted by enemy soldiers; a painter struggling to not finish her paintings; a master interrogator meeting his match; a man under the influence of pheromones; a mafia killer who has the tables turned on him at a game of Russian roulette; a man observing people from his table at a café -- these are main characters of Horst P. Prillinger's darkish, quirky, but not unlikely stories about sex and pain, two things that are more closely related than some people would like to think"

Contents: "An anxious man in the moon", "Hair fetish", "Less than you'd think", "Liberty, equality, fraternity", "Must I paint you a picture", "The good guy", "Pheromones", "Click click", "The happiest guy in the world". 160 pages. The stories were written between 2004 and 2006; most of them are published in this volume for the first time.

ISBN 978-3-8334-6590-1 - €11.50

Order from Amazon | Order from
In stock at the Vienna bookshops phil and Shakespeare & Co..
Available on order in all bookshops in Austria and Germany.

Posted by Horst at 08:10 AM | Comments (2)

November 24, 2006

Messages from the lost continent"Messages from the Lost Continent is a unique and at times hilariously funny blend of thriller, science fiction and fantasy novel, which was originally published in 2005 as a fiction weblog."

Click here for more information...

Order from Amazon | Order from
In stock at the Vienna bookshops phil and Shakespeare & Co..
Available on order in all bookshops in Austria and Germany.

Posted by Horst at 10:49 AM | Comments (3)

November 26, 2006

After careful consideration, I have now reached the conclusion that iTunes 7 is a mess. That is because after installing iTunes 7, the following symptoms appeared and persisted even after the 7.0.1 and 7.0.2 update:

  • My iPod would freeze/lock up/crash several times a day, mostly right at the beginning of a song, but sometimes also in the middle.
  • My iPod would refuse to play the tracks of some albums in the correct order. iTunes showed them in the correct order, but once disconnected from the computer, the iPod would show and play them in a different order.
  • After switching it on, my iPod would sometimes act as if all the music on it had been deleted; the songs would, however, reappear after a reset;
  • iTunes 7 neither manages to print correct CD booklets, nor does it print correct album lists. In booklet, it fails to print album titles, in album lists, it only prints the first album of each artist.

I could have lived with the printout problem, but the constant crashes made my iPod near unuseable. Not sure whether my iPod was broken or not, I figured that one way to find this out was to revert to iTunes 6, which is not an entirely easy undertaking:

  • Delete iTunes in your Applications folder
  • Delete the file "iTunesX.pkg" in your /Library/Receipts folder
  • Delete the file "iTunes Library" in your user/Music/iTunes folder
  • Open the folder "Previous iTunes Libraries" in that folder and make a copy of the file "iTunes Library 2006-09-13" (or the closest similar date)
  • Rename that file to "iTunes Library" and move it to the user/Music/iTunes folder
  • Download iTunes 6.0.5 from the Apple website
  • Once it has downloaded, install it
  • Launch iTunes and select "Add to library" from the File menu
  • Select your iTunes music folder so that all the files you imported since installing iTunes 7 appear in your library

It's a lengthy and not particularly simple procedure, but once I had iTunes 7 off my hard disk, my iPod stopped crashing, plays the songs in the correct order again and I can once again make proper printouts.

I would strongly warn against installing iTunes 7 unless you absolutely have to.

Posted by Horst at 10:48 PM | Comments (4)

November 27, 2006

Giant white rabbit

One of the things I like about modern art is its constant potential for surprise. A few years ago, I was confronted with a 6ft rat. Yesterday, it was a giant rabbit. And live gherkins.

Live gherkins

The exhibition "Emerging Artists Switzerland" is on until 25 February 2007 at the Sammlung Essl.

Posted by Horst at 01:18 PM | Comments (6)

November 28, 2006

Ever since seeing the gherkin video at that exhibition on Sunday, I've had this craving for gherkins. I finally had some today. They were delicious.

Posted by Horst at 08:07 PM | Comments (1)

November 29, 2006

I'm trying to remember what the blog entry was that I wanted to write today. I remember distinctly lying on the sofa yesterday after I came home from my favourite Indian restaurant, the one where I always get ideas for weblog articles, and this time I didn't get the idea for the weblog entry at the restaurant, but immediately afterwards at home after a glass of Bombay Sapphire I had this great idea, or what seemed like a great idea anyway.

I had a Chet Baker record playing on the turntable, and I remember hearing only the first minute or so of it, because I instantly fell asleep. When I woke up an hour or so later, I had forgotten all about that weblog entry. I had even forgotten that I wanted to write a weblog entry. I blame the Bombay Sapphire.

Today I remembered wanting to write something, but I did not remember what I wanted to write. Instead I thought that I could write a scathing review of the new Joanna Newsom album, but that wasn't the original idea, and right now I don't really feel like it, even though it seems like the next best thing to do.

So I guess tomorrow you'll see whether I remembered what I wanted to write today, or you'll get the Joanna Newsom review. That is, if nothing else happens that seems to be more important.

Posted by Horst at 08:36 AM | Comments (1)

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