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

January 2008 Archive

January 02, 2008

Usually it's the Chinese who excel at hilarious translations. However, a box of German-made fortune cookies recently proved that the Germans are pretty good at them, too:

Fortune Cookies

Unfortunately, all I found inside the cookie was the slip of paper promised by the German text. The fortune would have been nice, though.

Posted by Horst at 09:00 AM | Comments (3)

January 03, 2008

Recent observations have led me to believe that something is going to happen, and I'm afraid it might involve me receiving a nasal injury of some sort. There is this Monty Python sketch where you can see numerous people with bandaged noses coming out of a department store, which is then shown to even have a "Nasal Injuries Hall", only to immediately reveal the reason why so many people hurt their noses.

Person with a bandaged nose leaving department store   Shop floor plan from Monty Python sketch

During the past week I have seen more people with bandaged noses than I have seen during the entire previous year. No, make that the previous five years. Overall, since the 26th of December, I have counted five bandaged noses in Vienna, and when I took a brief trip to Venice before New Year's Eve, I encountered four people with bandaged noses there too. That makes nine bandaged noses. I already felt a bit uneasy after the first three of them, because that would have been a lot more bandaged noses than you usually see over such a short period of time, but nine is positively terrifying.

You're probably aware how we only notice things around us when they concern us directly. Like, pregnant women tell me that they see nothing but pregnant women in the streets all the time, and when I broke my arm a few years ago, I saw arms in plastercasts everywhere. The problem is that right now, my nose isn't bandaged. At least not yet. Very obviously, something is happening somewhere that is causing nasal injuries, and unlike the Monty Python sketch, I have no idea what it is and where. I only have the very uncomfortable feeling that I might be one of the next victims.

Posted by Horst at 12:45 PM | Comments (2)

January 04, 2008

I might be reading at the Poetry Open Mic at Café Kafka tonight. I'm not really sure yet if I'll be there, but I probably will. As usual, the event starts at 8:30pm, you can come and read your own texts if you like (any language is ok), and the address is Capistrangasse 8 in the 6th district.

Posted by Horst at 09:14 AM | Comments (1)

January 07, 2008

I'm a sucker for anthropomorphism. Latest point to prove it: The other day, after talking about it for only about ten years or so, I finally went and ordered a Henry. In case you haven't heard about Henry yet, it's only one of the most popular vacuum cleaners in the UK, with over 6 million sold.

Part of this extraordinary success is apparently that Henry is built for heavy use and near indestructible, but I think the true secret to his success is that he is also irresistibly cute, as, by the way, are his brethren Charles, George and James.

vacuum cleaners Henry, George and James

It's also refreshing to see that the designers at Numatic Ltd aren't entirely immune to Henry's cuteness either, as their latest product demonstrates: Hetty. The accompanying text reveals the full extent to which the anthropomorph vacuum cleaners have affected designers and customers alike:

Everyone knows Henry, Europe’s favourite vacuum cleaner [...]. Henry has now got a friend ... Hetty. So you now have a choice ... Henry or Hetty ... or both! Hetty is not just a pretty face, she has all of the Henry features and specification [...]. People love Henry ... and you'll soon be loving Hetty too!

I have to admit that Hetty is indeed a cutie. I suppose the day when I place an order for a Hetty just so that my Henry doesn't feel so lonely is the day when you can officially call me an eccentric.

Posted by Horst at 11:05 PM | Comments (3)

January 08, 2008

The other day, on the subway train, I sat opposite an old man in a gray coat who made a fairly normal impression, which is quite a remarkable occurrence these days. The only two things about him that were not entirely normal were as follows:

1. He was reading a copy of the free magazine that hangs around on subway trains in Vienna, and at oddly regular intervals lifting the magazine in front of his head, and heartily coughing into it. Since most people these days are coughing right into your face without bothering to cover their mouths, I considered this very thoughtful of him, but I was still confirmed in my resolve not to ever touch those free magazines.

2. There was a 100 watt light bulb sitting in the seat next to him. If I say "sitting" it's because the box with the bulb in it was positioned upright, and at the exact centre of the seat. Now the train was fairly full, with numerous people standing and people looking for free seats at every stop, but no one dared to talk to the man to tell him to remove his light bulb from the seat. It went like that for five or six stops. Several people were standing around the seat, suspiciously eyeing the light bulb, but no one made the slightest move to actually claim the seat. Luckily, no one sat down on it without looking either. As usual on this line, most people got off the subway at the stop below Westbahnhof station, after which it was fairly empty. As the subway started moving again, the man put back the magazine onto its hook and removed the light bulb from the seat.

Until I got off three stops later, he never even coughed once, and he held the light bulb in his hand all the time.

Posted by Horst at 06:19 PM | Comments (7)

January 29, 2008

My lips are all sore from the extensive training programme that my trumpet teacher put me through to compensate for several weeks of practice sloppiness that sort of managed to sneak in during and after the Christmas holidays. Basically, I didn't lose anything in my range, but my lips get tired much sooner than they should. After Saturday's trumpet lesson, my lips felt like a sloppy sponge all Sunday, and I still don't feel like there's much strength in them. Plus, they hurt.

On Saturday, I also met my trumpet teacher's dog for the first time. My trumpet teacher has a dog. It's about the most stoic dog I've ever met. It also looks like a very wise dog, in that "been there, done that, can tell you all about it, where's my dinner?" sort of way. I can imagine the dog giving good advice to younger dogs, things like "always sniff the ground that you walk on", "always bark as badly as you are going to bite", and "understanding is a three-pointed stick."

I've met a very wise dog before, a wiser dog than my trumpet teacher's dog I think. It was a Scottish border collie who largely cured my fear of dogs during our encounter. He didn't tell me anything about three-pointed sticks, but he had extremely fine karma, very much like my trumpet teacher's dog.

Both dogs were kind of old. I don't know about the border collie, but it looked very much like a very old sheepdog in retirement. My trumpet teacher's dog is fourteen. That's ninety-eight in human terms. It looked very agile for the equivalent of ninety-eight.

Of course, the whole wisdom thing can just be a side-effect of the fact that neither the border collie nor the trumpet teacher's dog talked a lot, and my trumpet teacher's dog's stoicism is probably due to the fact that it's really quite deaf. I guess that's the price a dog pays for living fourteen years with a professional trumpet player. Both dogs seemed to share an aura of being happy in a close-to-canine-enlightenment sort of way though. Dog monkish, or dog buddha-like, even.

My trumpet teacher's dog knows this trick where it will balance a dog cookie on its nose for an extended time, and upon command will throw it high up into the air and then catch and eat it.

"I was really, really profoundly bored at the time," my trumpet teacher said.

Posted by Horst at 04:33 PM | Comments (3)

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