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

January 2007 Archive

January 10, 2007

As you probably noticed, I've been somewhat hesitant as to whether post a blog entry this year or not, figuring that the best time to stop and reconsider is at the end of the year. And a lot of people on my blogroll have used the opportunity this year to stop blogging -- most of them people who started around the time when I started.

But what the heck. I guess I'll continue, although at a schedule that might be even more irregular than it has been recently.

But do not despair. On the contrary, expect an entirely new blog in which I will participate in early February, and possibly even a new fiction project in spring/early summer. More details will follow.

Finally, all of you who didn't receive a copy of Messages or The Happiest Guy before Christmas because I was sold out too soon will be pleased to hear that the discounted copies available directly from me are available again -- just drop me a note if you want yours. Amazon has unfortunately still not corrected the glitch which made Messages disappear completely from their catalogue, but it is available from just use the order links above or on the right.

And thanks to everybody who read them and gave me feedback of some sort... particularly in the case of The Happiest Guy in the World, about which I had had my doubts, but which seems to hit a nerve with almost everybody I heard from so far. One reader told me it gave her really weird dreams. I take that as very positive criticism.

Posted by Horst at 07:19 PM | Comments (2)

January 11, 2007

The woman in front of me in the supermarket queue bought ten slotted spoons and one whole raw pig's leg.

I am always baffled about apparent non-sequiturs that occur outside Monty Python sketches.

And I got really weird ideas about those slotted spoons.

Posted by Horst at 03:59 PM | Comments (4)

January 14, 2007

There's this man living in the neighbourhood who seems to be content wearing nothing but a polo shirt, shorts, and sandals all the time. I've noticed him several times and his dresscode seems to be persistent, and it doesn't seem to be his response to the unbelievably mild winter we are having this year because I also saw him on the one cold day that we had, and he was wearing the exact same thing.

That one cold day was that day when a friend asked me if my shirt was really everything I was wearing underneath my jacket, and if I wasn't feeling cold like that, and I said I wasn't. A little while later we were encountering the man in the polo shirt, the shorts and the sandals walking his dog, and it looked bizarre, him compared to everybody else in the street, all of them wearing thick coats and jackets.

I remember when I was living in Scotland I was one of the few students who didn't show up at the lectures in a t-shirt, but contrary to everybody else I seemed to be the only one impressed by the snow storm outside. I also remember that a week later, the collective coughing and sneezing was so loud you could barely hear the lecturer, and I remembered pitying him for the amount of viruses and bacteria dispelled in his direction.

But even in Scotland, no-one was wearing shorts. But then again, in Scotland no-one above the age of ten is wearing shorts.

Posted by Horst at 11:26 PM | Comments (6)

January 16, 2007

kuufuu is people

I realize that the older I get, the more trouble I have understanding young people, and the more trouble they have understanding me. For example, from a random sample of 25 people nobody got the "kuufuu is people" joke that I used on the promotional Messages from the Lost Continent website.

Not the "kuufuu" part, because for that you obviously need to read the Messages. They didn't get the "is people" part, nor my snickering reference to green biscuits.

Most of them also didn't know who or what Charlton Heston is. That's where it got really frightening. Not that I think that a life without knowledge of Charlton Heston is all that bad; quite on the contrary. It's the realization that my jokes are becoming generation-specific that hurt most.

Posted by Horst at 07:46 PM | Comments (15)

January 23, 2007

Just to inform you that Messages from the Lost Continent has been entered to compete with numerous other books in the 2007 Lulu Blooker Prize. It's one of those few prizes where you don't have to pay anything to submit your work, and the Grand Prize is an actual $10,000 (before taxes). However, the competition is tough, and it's not one of those prizes where the public can vote, so I can't ask my handful of readers to vote for me, and the book will have to make it through the process all on its own merits.

The shortlist will be announced on 12 March. I don't really care about the prize, but I'd really want to be on the shortlist. Sigh.

Posted by Horst at 08:18 PM | Comments (2)

January 26, 2007

I've been wanting to blog about a brief snippet of a conversation that I had with Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress on the evening after the BlogTalk conference in Vienna last year. His software business aside, Matt also is (used to be?) a saxophone player, and that evening someone asked him who he thought was the best saxophone player in history.

Matt said something to the effect of, "well, best I don't know, but John Coltrane would probably be the most important one. And I used to like Stan Getz a lot."

I found that statement very interesting, mostly because I agree. Not about Stan Getz, but about John Coltrane probably being the most important one, but hesitating to call him the best one.

For some reason it seems to be hard to call Coltrane your favourite saxophone player, even though it's totally impossible to doubt his greatness even for a second. Even though my favourite jazz album of all times is most certainly and without a doubt Coltrane's The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings and even though I must have listened to Coltrane more intensively than to any other jazz musician, I would still not call him my favourite. And while I think that much of his music bears the stroke of genius, I'm not even sure whether I would call it beautiful.

I have no idea why.

Chet Baker, for example, had a different kind of genius, and he made some of the most beautiful jazz records that I know. But I wouldn't really call him all that important. I'd probably call him my favourite. But his music adresses a totally different section of my brain, and none of his albums would make my Top 3 of favourite jazz records (even though his Live in Tokyo is a close fourth.

Oddly enough, while I could name a favourite drummer, a favourite trumpet player, a favourite bass player, a favourite pianist even, I can't think of a single jazz musician that I would call my favourite saxophone player.

No idea why the brain works that way.

Posted by Horst at 08:37 PM | Comments (2)

January 27, 2007

I always thought that engagements only happen in American movies and American TV series. I don't think I know anybody who got officially engaged before they got married, with engagement ring, huge hoo-ha and everything. I always though it was something of an anachronism, and I'm saying that as a person who's somewhat more romantically inclined than the average Austrian. Engagements in American movies and American TV series always looked all soupy and syrupy.

And now I've got the message that Suw got engaged. Which is wonderful news of course, but it still makes me feel as if she was suddenly relocated into an American TV series and as if I will soon be able to see Chocolate and Vodka on a TV screen near me anytime soon.

It also made me realize that I know nothing about English dating and wedding rituals. Engagements may be perfectly normal there. Of course her fiancÚ is American, which could also explain things.

Anyway, I wish her and Kevin the best of luck.

Posted by Horst at 12:22 PM | Comments (7)

January 28, 2007

I met a friend of mine in a bar earlier tonight, and she said something like, "There are a lot of drunk Russians everywhere in the city tonight", and I said something like, "Russians? Why Russians?", and she said something like, "Well I don't know, but they're everywhere."

On my way home I noticed that there were indeed a lot of drunk Russians about, like the two in Stephansplatz subway station. One of them had a bottle of cognac in his hand, and they were trying to communicate with each other, but gave the impression that all communication was failing to due high cognac intake from earlier on.

Yes, cognac. Not vodka. And please don't ask me why Russians or why cognac. I don't have the slightest idea.

Posted by Horst at 11:58 PM | Comments (3)

January 29, 2007

Need a good & cheap hi-fi amplifier from a trustworthy source?
Look no further than here: My old amplifier is for sale at ebay.

Posted by Horst at 01:30 AM | Comments (5)

January 30, 2007

A recent posting on Scott's Flickr Page had me think that I could possibly apply for one of those TV shows where some next-door person appears, claims he has some weird ability and then demonstrates it with or without some celebrity betting that they can/can't do it.

Anyway, as I realized through Scott's photograph, one of my marketable abilities could be to identify Vienna underground stations from pictures of the escalators therein. Like most things on TV it's perfectly useless, but hey, so were most of those forklift stunts they did in the 1980s. At least whenever somebody sees me in an underground station and recognizes me from the show, they'll get that sense of security that whenever they get lost, they can always ask me where they are.

Which, oddly enough, happens a lot lately even though I haven't showed off my escalator stunt in any TV show yet.

Posted by Horst at 08:03 AM | Comments (2)

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