november, 2001

Donnerstag, 1. November, zweitausendeins, 20:29 (GMT +0100)

i just figured out the hard way what Essig is. look at the word. looks kind of etymologically related to essen, to eat, right? i don't think austria wants me to cook, i really don't. chris is doing well, cooking up a fucking storm with wayne in his apartment in new jersey. he may not have 50-schilling opera twelve minutes by foot away, but he does have a real kitchen ... here at the institute there's a little hole in the wall with about two forks, no knives that actually cut, which is probably a good thing since there are no cutting boards. there's a nasty little fridge, but things in it seem to ... well, keep, i suppose, but they take on a nasty smell, and it doesn't feel really cold in there. there are no measurements -- we use empty half-liter coke bottles to decide how much water to put in our pasta and soup packages -- and only one burner wants to actually cook the water (i mean boil -- kochen, cook, whatever) once it's measured. at frau bernthaler's, things are a little more equipped, because she actually does use it daily. well, not her per se (she and gabor had an argument over dinner the other night about wienerschnitzel -- do you put milk in the batter or not? (9 sources out of 10 have now confirmed that you don't, as she said you did) -- and gabor shot back, seit wann hast Du gekocht?! which was a valid accusation, since i bet she couldn't make an omelet to save her life) -- but the hungarian maid eva ("eva ist immer kochen," said she yesterday in her broken deutsch) or traude. and i don't know how they produce what they do from the kitchen they have to work in! it's bigger, at least, than the one at the institut, and while she has all kinds of pots and pans, none seem to be clean, or useful. there is one liquid measurement i can find and it's holding cooking utensils. it's really not awful -- but we can't stock it like i did the lodge kitchen, which, while a nasty, rat-infested hole in the wall, turned out some wonders because we linoleumed it, kept it beautiful and clean, had utensils and implements, and actually kept it stocked. so i'm reduced to eating out of packages that don't require much more than an egg or a little butter -- things i can find and don't have to really stock.

and i would love to stock a kitchen here! the naschmarkt is but a few blocks away, and there they have everything -- they have sharp paprika for dirt cheap -- 100g for a dollar or something? spices all over the place, huge stands of olives and schafskäse, white asparagus, pink artichokes ("why?" asks chris), mangoes, fresh fish and meat and such (not that i eat it, but if i did, i imagine this would be some kind of paradise), et cetera. it's two blocks long and one block wide, crammed full. i would love to go buy fresh tofu and turkish delight and baqlawa and bok choy every day!

tonight was an eating-out-of-a-package night. it's all saints' day, which in this country means that everything and its mother is geschlossen, and i had to buy groceries yesterday if i wanted to eat today. (okay, i'm exaggerating -- billa and most restaurants were indeed closed, but i got pasta at segafredo's for lunch, where a persian guy tried to pick me up, and when i went to the westbahnhof to buy my ticket to munich (turns out i'm actually going there tomorrow, instead of the other way around), even the bipa there was open and all the stores were bustling. but if you needed baby food or something special, you had to stock up the day before.) i went to oliver's father's grocery, ding haw, and got some chinese noodles and a package of peanut sauce. all i had to do was add

  • 110ml Wasser,
  • 1 Esslöffel Zucker, and
  • 3 Esslöffel Öl.

now really, how hard could that be? i asked eva the hungarian maid (i differentiate from frau eva pürrer, our wonderful guide through salzburg last week, who wrote the recipe for glühwein in my recipebook) for some öl, please. she showed me the olivenöl. i really wanted not olive oil, but cooking oil. wesson. you know the stuff -- yellowish in color, but not something to make a cake taste funny. (i put sesame oil in carrot cake last semester sometime, i remember, when i had run out of cooking- and olive oil -- it tasted damn funny. palatable, but not after you knew what the inadvertent secret ingredient was.) so i saw a bottle of what looked like cooking oil, and i asked eva if that was it. she said, it's for salad. you put oil on salad, right? like part of a dressing. so i said, i don't want to use olive oil, i'll use that.

i noticed as i poured it in that it wasn't really coating the spoon like oil does -- any type of oil. after the third löffel-ful was already in the mix, i thought to smell the Essig ("eating-oil," right?) -- very pungent, very distinct, very much not öl.


yeah, so next time i smell the stuff first -- and now i'll never forget what Essig is! i told eva when i figured it out, and she laughed at me. i deserved that. the sauce turned out to be not bad. after all, i do put a tablespoon or so of vinegar in my gado-gado awesome peanut sauce, when i have a kitchen and when i'm actually cooking ... not three, but hell, it was edible. good, even. i'll get the mix again and try it with actual öl.

really not a bad day in all, so far, and promises to be better before i go to bed. as eva commented today, "allein ist nicht gut." no, it isn't -- olivia's been in cardiff for two days now -- she went this weekend because she thought she was going to be all lonely while i was in munich, and now she leaves me being by myself for two days ... it's good to be in different company now and then, but totally alone has its drawbacks (especially when i can't cook! rar). yesterday was pretty boring. i did some homework, read about klimt in the carl schorske book we're reading (fin-de-siècle vienna, which is interesting at points, and dry as sawdust in others), which was actually cool, walked around the glorious naschmarkt and picked up some of the aforementioned curries-in-packages, and then pretty much bided my time -- doing something productive, i'm sure; i practiced some, read through the milhaud that jack elena's friend gave me -- until the brahms' requiem that night. it promised to be awesome. i didn't get the best stehplatz, because people were already in the middle before the buzzer läuted (dipshits -- people were badmouthing them in loud german, hehe), but i could hear -- the first 1.5 movements, that is, until i started feeling very hot, and then almost fainting. i knew it was time to go when the stage started swirling and i started feeling nauseous. the ushers were very attentive, giving me water and offering me a doctor -- which i accepted and declined, respectively, auf deutsch. but it was clear that i had to go home, so i did, and slept. good thing the concert was again this morning -- i went at 9:30 and waited in the cold (i might have to get some gloves that will go with this jacket -- the bright orange ones might clash just a little with this mango jacket, mom) for an hour or so, reading dürrenmatt that mom had given me -- to my surprise, i'm actually understanding a lot, and i haven't looked up a single word yet (on purpose). finally heard the requiem this morning, performed by some dresden orchestra, i think, with sir andrew davis conducting, the wiener singverein, laura aikin on soprano, and the diminutive but powerfully-voiced thomas quasthoff on baritone. all, with the possible exception of the thin-voiced aikin, were wonderful. great morning.

lunch at segafredo's, i said, where a persian dude told me i had an american accent (thanks) and wanted to practice his english, so i agreed to meet him next week. he said, maybe we could catch a movie, too, and i said, how about we just meet up here and speak english. blah. train ticket to munich without problems, unlike mom's the other day. hurrah for these more frequent and less up-ge-tripping (as mom would say in her germanicized english past participling) german exchanges -- he told me if i had an ausweis it would be billiger; he said if i wanted to leave half an hour earlier i wouldn't have to umsteigein in salzburg, but i said that was too early. have since finished the schorske-klimt, done my german homework, cooked that peanut sauce mit Essig, and after practicing, i have plans to meet up (finally) with oliver's friends florian and attila. some cafe. works for me -- i got no plans until 11:20 tomorrow morning, when my train leaves for munich ...

Sonntag, 4. November, zweitausendeins, 11:01 (GMT +0100)

i'm sitting in munich, 11:00 a.m. plus a few seconds, on a debian machine (flat screen now to replace the old noisy one he had hooked up to four computers simultaneously in august), finally typing with a correct keyboard and in linux (i missed my operating system!). looking at my links to random pages, the weather, people's journals, what is going down on the new york times online, et cetera, and i do not want to go back to vienna. it's not like i have anything to do here, per se, or that i'm implying that munich is much better than vienna, but i want to be anywhere rather than vienna! i look at the weather report for the next few days, linked to my page, and what the hell do i want this that city? there i have precisely one friend (making more -- chilling with florian and attila the other night was fun), i have no fun in my daily routine, my room is the ugliest piece of shit ever and i hate, really hate, depressing living environments ... i really do not want to go back. and i have to tomorrow, and while i may the city leave once or twice before the program ends, it would be to go to prague with anna, or who even knows where. i don't like prague any better, and i have even fewer friends there. (at least the crown's deflated.) what is there for me in vienna?!

i thought i was getting better on this, when i went to salzburg and then to vienna with mom, and then the few days before i came to munich. martin says, and quite rationally, that it's a city of 1.4 million people -- same as munich, roughly -- how can it have nothing to do? even if the nightlife is not anything even close to munich's scene (kunstpark ost again the other night, to natarj temple, to driving games, and to aubergine sandwiches -- i could live on that :), 1.4 million people don't sit on their asses all day. what do they do? what's fun that i could do, to? --i have no idea. i'm at my wits' end! i really don't know, and i'm so frustrated by it. i'm sure a lot of it is the things i already mentioned -- only having one person there ever whom i talk to; living in depressing quarters; having nothing to keep me occupied; not being able to work because i'm not a citizen; &c. but i try not to hate the city! i try to want to go back to it tomorrow! and the train ride east is really the last thing on my list.

it's cold, too. vienna and munich have gotten much chillier much faster, and one reason for my visit here is to reclaim my winter coat, which i left here (too bulky) in august. my beautiful mango coat can't take 0 degrees celsius, i hate to admit. martin's got the door open to air out the room, and while the view from the balcony is beautifully lit with yet-morning sun on the autumn-colored trees outside of his house (why is vienna not turning colors?? salzburg is. munich is. what's up??), it promises to be a gorgeous but frigid day. maybe weather for more pool-playing -- i could use a chance to reclaim my billiards-honor from yesterday afternoon!

i'm having fun here. it's great to see martin again, in all kinds of capacities. his parents took us out to dinner last night -- which was fun! i like them -- which started out in german (mine's so much better than when i met them last, five months ago almost exactly, when i had a few words and couldn't understand a thing -- the language even sounds worlds different to me from august to november, when then i couldn't understand a word that came out of either his or his brother's mouth, and now i can understand a good half to three-quarters -- i love it), but when the talk turned to a topic i could follow but not contribute to, and one i cared about, it started being half and half. we debated for hours (both during and after dinner, with and without parents) everything from the american tribal mentality to the difference between iterative and recursive functions, and how you can tell one from the other one level up. i love the discourse! god, how does one survive outside of a swarthmore environment for an extended period of time? i mean after you graduate? props to those graduated seniors who aren't experiencing huge breakdowns slightly related to that.

things are chunky-peanut-butter-like, i guess. smooth and great until one hits a bump. seufz -- i hope things work out.

i do not want to go back to vienna. fuck.

Montag, 5. November, zweitausendeins, 15:26 (GMT +0100)

in august we listed to his zweiraumwohnung cd and while i liked the liebe ohne ende track, the one he played over and over said:
zwei von millionen von sternen
die sich immer mehr von einander entfernen

i realized that immediately but tried not to think about it too much. fuck.

i think bavaria and the top part of austria were foggy today on the train ride back from munich, but it could just be that my contacts are so salted over that even when i got out into the bright sun on mariahilferstraße back in vienna, things were still cloudy.

Mittwoch, 7. November, zweitausendeins, 24:21 (GMT +0100)

i feel much lighter.

which for the past eight months would have been an awful thing, terrible in the kundera sense.

now, i think perhaps parmenides was right after all ... i can see everything without weight. the lights at the opera house tonight, as i looked up at them from the floor of my stehplatz (salome), where i was reading the dürrenmatt mom gave me, and noticed that there was no sheen over them. i don't mean the salt that coated my eyes from crying all night sunday and monday morning, when i woke up in munich, missed my early train, was given sandwiches (his mother), a kiss on the forehead and twenty marks to go sit in a cafe until the next train left (him), and then clouded my vision the whole train ride home. it is almost physical weight that was gone from these lights, which finally had no metaphysical meaning except as crystal diffusers of light.

am i making sense? true, tuesday morning (as i predicted in the yellow car) i woke up three times during the night, unable to figure out where i was (barcelona? munich? prague? salzburg? madison? swarthmore? vienna? --all recent possibilities), at what point in my life i was, what time of year it was, et cetera. very disturbing. when i finally did realize all this, it took me a little longer to remember the past weekend, and my (cold -- i miss martin's house, heated bathroom floor, full beautiful water pressure, usw.!!) shower was less than happy. but since a couple small crumblings of my surroundings that day (you know when you stop, arrested by a visceral memory, and the world kind of falls off its skin, dalí-like?), my vision has stayed clear, and has maybe even been washed.

this applies to not only my mental state post-weekend -- much more lucid and resilient than i had anticipated by about 71 times -- but to the city of vienna, with which i might be beginning to make peace. finally. it's fleshing out a little. oliver's dudes flo(rian) and attila are the first actual austrians within about two decades of my age with whom i've had any contact, let alone very pleasant contact. the fact that we talk (mostly) auf deutsch makes that somehow more authentic, even if my german's not quite colloquial. genau. whatever. fun to drink socially again, club (u4 last night, which was perhaps not the most enlightened decision i've ever made the night before an 8:30, but dr. l. this morning was blown away by our correct pronunciation and apparent knowledge of the eumenides and its characters, so what did it eventually matter?), just chill with cool people my age.

the city has more colors? am i imagining this? there's no reason for it to have any more, since the only foliage visible is the dead-yellow color along the ring, and since it rained tonight, and has been partially overcast. but yesterday we went into the ever-colorful naschmarkt again, where oliver's dad wouldn't let us pay for groceries, and walked right by the gold-laureled secession building vienna secession building(from which we incidentally live about three blocks), behind the red academy of fine arts on schillerplatz, and then that same afternoon, because the leopold museum was closed, we went in and saw the modern, yet astoundingly hundred-year-old exhibition space with a new show hung, and then the klimt beethoven frieze in the basement. that evening to the musikverein, into the gilt theophil von hansen room with half-women standing baroque guard around the permiter, and surprisngly good acoustics, to hear the vienna philharmonic play "mein vaterland." stunning. well do they deserve their status as one of the best orchestras in the world! i'd heard them on disc, but never live ... a different world.

i haven't perhaps been giving this city a fair chance. it's been damn hard to! stripped of friends, academics, language, and music, and when i can't cook and am so isolated. but i'm perhaps finally branching out, and i defiantly did something (if not anything special) with shiitake and fresh tofu and a ding haw indian curry the other day for lunch, have plans to attempt kürbiscremesuppe, am finally making friends, and even have a little homework. time to read -- maybe i will indeed ask martin's mother (great to meet his parents -- an exercise in german, half the time, and they're great - took me to hear kim kashkashian(!) when he was working all sunday, trying to learn a course to teach monday morning) to bring that biography she tried to lend me of kaiserin elizabeth down with her when she comes to vienna with martin's other brother this weekend (i declined because it was about 500 pages long and in german, but now i'm curious, and even martin, who won't speak to me in german, says i can handle it and has been telling his parents i'm "sprachbegabt"); gödelescherbach to finish before m finishes it twice already; fahrenheit 451 on loan from jp; dürrenmatt i'm actually understanding and enjoying; that generative theory of tonal music (universal language -- more and more i think this -- the opera tonight, a chinese couple saying things i couldn't hope to understand until they started singing leitmotifs of the opera) -- and my märchenbuch, natürlich. time to think more about everything, and to lift this weight, understand it, and really constructively think like i never have time to at swat. seufz, but you have to sigh to live through and past it. (after all, leidenschaft contains the word leiden ... also contains the word "shaft," as some nameless boy once pointed out, heh.)

i've popped out a level of some escher lithograph, able to see things from a level of distance that i was absolutely mired in before. the meta has disappeared and things take on their normal weight. had i been living in the unbearable lightness?? here in vienna, close to the philosophic tristesse of the eastern block, and sandwiched between the czech republic and switzerland like the characters, why not? did everything have semantic sussurus; was every bowler hat a whole motive and partial symphony? gott, but with all that metaphysical weight, how did i live?

(i know the answer of course. weight was beautiful and sparkling, like the title suggests, and the impending lightness was unbearable. but disentangled from this web of levels and symbolic semantics, i can only wonder at (a) my previous survival, and (b) my current relative lucidity.)

i am lighter, and i feel generally the better for it. he was right -- perhaps i'll run into him on a train in three or eight years, but before then he was just not at the right time in his life. this weekend made it clear. and so i will keep my love of linux, white wine, gummibärchen, muppet movies, electronica / bowie / pink floyd / phish / house / all the rest, french fries with mayonnaise, this cool new language, glow sticks, both colors orange and yellow, and a pretty innumerable list, and live happily in this vienna without weights around its ankles. i hope. kundera, go stuff it (for now).

Samstag, 10. November, zweitausendeins, 16:46 (GMT +0100)

mein deutsch is wie ein schlechtes radio -- sometimes i can hear everything, understand, participate in a non-contextual conversation, talk in the hypothetical and use actual vocabulary; sometimes i stare into a hazy coffee, or at a poster on the wall, the unparsed static emanating from my companion's mouth clouding over not only my linguistic sensors but my vision, too. it's funny that it goes in such phases like this. i suppose it's overload: i begin by comprehending everything that goes on, language being poured into the vessel that is my head until suddenly my brain becomes supersaturated with this rich liquid, and everything starts to wash over me. in these instances i'm surprised my hair doesn't get wet.

it also depends on who's speaking, how fast, with what accent, how loud, about which topic, where we are, and how many glasses of wine or cups of coffee i've had. (i only ever have one of the latter, and while it has a very different effect on me than the former, it still plays a role in my language comprehension.) our professor has us read out loud in class, and stresses that we inflect our speech more, rising pitch deliberately for questions, imitating the unique cadence of german. to demonstrate how hard it was to understand us when we spoke monotonically, she dropped for a minute her perfect hoch deutsch inflection and spoke flatly. i could only understand by running the words as if on a ticker-tape through my brain, and i parsed a second slower than she spoke. doable, but that was in a classroom with no smoke, no noise, and no other obstructions.

but that's how the junge leute here speak normalerweise, without indication of where the clauses and commas are in their sentences. a general linguistic sense tells me some of these, and by getting the basic syntax i can often listen to a full paragraph before i understand anything, just by filling in the empty nodes in the rapid, complex trees sprouting angularly in my head. i'd like to diagram german sometime, see what it looks like. in english it's S = NP + VP, straight up, in that order. a main clause in german sometimes has that -- the verb is always second, so if i say, i do this, it's noun-verb, but if i say, yesterday did i this, then it's verb-noun. and that just in a main clause. german fascinates me, it really does. wish i actually knew enough to take a ling course at the uni in german and about german, or that swat offered one. maybe i should go to grad school after all, maybe just to take the classes i absolutely won't have time for in undergrad -- more psychological things, epistemology, to actually read chomsky (i get the idea that we're discouraged form going to the source before we get our bachelor's), to learn about the structure of the german language, to meet other wackos interested in the same thing and write a book together like "a generative theory of tonal music" (which i have yet to read -- high on my list, though). hollis's linked comic darüber has perhaps piqued my interest. i miss the bumpersticker on my old car -- "the truly educated never graduate."

just went out with martin's mother and brother (thomas) for lunch and coffee, at trzesniewski and hawelka respectively, both on dorotheergasse right off the graben, within five meters of each other, yet we took a scenic (if unintentional) spaziergang almost to kärntnerstraße and back to get from one to the other. both locales sehr toll -- the first little brötchen with excellent toppings; the second a real chunk of the modern scene right in the heart of the first district. more young people than i've ever seen in once place here except in my one venture into the belly of the uni when i tried to audit an intro ling class (never went back; even though the german was interesting, i would have been bored by the material, which i know six times over already). very chill; i'll have to go back. a few sentences exchanged in english with his mother, but german the rest of the time. i'm doing pretty well. finished the dürrenmatt the other day and actually understand the dénouement: whodunnit, whydunnit, and whofiguredoutwhodunnit. pretty cool; i was feeling pretty good about my slim five months of german and how far they'd gotten me, that is, until i went to the opera with helaine (studying in prague this semester and is down for the weekend), her friend, olivia, and flo. chilled with the latter as we didn't all get stehplätze in the same row, and while i think he was out of his element just a little more than i am drinking a glass of wine and playing pool, he spoke quieter for it, and i could barely understand. wie ein schlechtes radio, mein deutsch. but this morning i got much more from someone the same age (granted, wienerisch is still rather opaque to me, and thomas's is much closer to hoch than flo's) -- is it just that thomas speaks more clearly than either of his brothers?

it's uncanny, his resemblance, especially to the elder -- i might not have picked him out of a crowd, but his inflection, sense of humor, and a few facial gestures -- wrinkling his nose, the way he laughs -- are exactly the same. it's so weird to see those gestures i know so well on someone else! he reads more than martin, has a more literary / philosophical bent than the one i know much better. he's flown down from köln to wien, here with his mother, his friend and his mother to see goethe's faust, a 21-hour long production, a delayed birthday present. somehow i get the idea that's much more of a birthday present for him than it would have been for m. interesting to see elements of a person i know so well, as i said, on a different person, and interwoven with completely different bents. families are illuminating.

these past few days have been nice and glittering with coffee. yesterday i sat in café kafka, just um die ecke, and had a melange while i finished that dürrenmatt. excellent coffee here! and the paintings on the walls were set off in unintentional frames by a few wall-chandeliers, a woman smoking pensively. warm coffee on the fin-de-siècle-upholstered bench, my mismatched feet tucked under me. went back to the historisches museum today and bought a few postcards of the secession building and the typical wienerisch melange: cup + saucer, small glass water to offset the reaction in your stomach, demilöffel, on a silver tray. remnants of imperial vienna, it feels like, but now just a way of coffee. a birthright substance, and your vienna citizenship means that it will always come on the small silver tray and with an achtel of water. like cigarettes, which come with the coffee, both of which come with the pablum. social smoking, social coffee; pensive allein smoking, warm reading-a-book coffee. there is much to be absorbed in this city, and since last sunday night somehow -- with these weights miraculously lifted -- i've been able to see the viennese glitter in the smoke curls and coffee steam.

and i cooked the other night, for real! aislynn had a dinner party of sorts chez jeff&nadja, and i came and made a salad of fanjul's inspiration -- endives, cucumber, and lettuce, a little wilted by and garnished with apple vinegar, enhanced by feta (couldn't find chevre in billa, and figured goatcheese, sheepcheese, what's the difference?) melted with sautéed leeks, green onion, a little garlic, salt and pepper, and then rolled into small chunks in ground almonds, which got under my viola-chopped fingernails. excellent salad, and i was so pleased to have created something good in the gustatoric realm. i save my creative powers anymore for this journal and the kitchen (interpretive for music, mind you the difference), and deprived of the one, i've been suffering! i should perhaps do that more -- i finally figured out the conversion from kilograms the other day, and realized that i've lost around ten pounds since september. no wonder my pants don't fit anymore!

time to go put those viola-chopped fingernails to work. yesterday campagnoli offered up a tuneful étude almost all in double-stops, and then stamitz came easier to my fingers. i love exact bow divisioning (was heißt "teilen" auf englisch?? apportioning? damn, can't translate), shifts up to harmonics, dynamic control, all that which comes with daily practice. off to mehr üben.

Dienstag, 13. November, zweitausendeins, 18:05 (GMT +0100)

after having finished the dürrenmatt and jp's loaned fahrenheit 451 (a short part of the distopic canon i somehow just missed), i should either (a) finish gödelescherbach or (b) do some more german. i really like both, but geb just isn't fiction, and when i get a great recommendation, there's little if nothing preventing me from walking down to the british bookshop not half a block away and spending about 50% more on it than it should cost. yeah, but it's a book. who was it? --erasmus: "when i get a little money, i buy books. and if there is any left over, i buy food." the old dude had it right, and was perhaps speaking of neal stephanson's cryptonomicon. the first twenty or thirty pages are enough to tell me that i'm going to need to finish geb, and that i'm going to read both of these twice over, and are reinvigorating my crazy thesis ideas. these need to be formalized at some point in the relatively near future, i realize, as i'm writing it next fall, but in the mean time, the course schedule for the spring is out, and i'm busy plotting how i'm going to graduate:

  • MUSI 015 -- TTH 11:20am-12:35pm -- Harmony and Counterpoint 5
  • MUSI 020 -- TTH 01:15pm-02:30pm -- Medieval and Renais. Music
  • GNPRH282B - WF 12:30-2 -- Structure of Chinese
  • PHIL 001 -- TTH 08:30am-09:45am -- Intro:Knowledge & Value

the chinese is at haverford, and allison assures me it's taught by an awesome prof. this is instead of asl, which while taught by donna jo, i didn't really have much of an interest in, but needed to fulfill my non-indo-european requirement. after that i'll only have the thesis and syntax left in the major. the intro philosophy is taught by schuldenfrei, and fulfills a pdc requirement i need. the musics leave me with only two histories (plus comps &c.) to complete the major. i'm also receiving two german credits for my work at uw and here in vienna, which prof. hansjakob werlen has just graciously awarded me. hopefully i'll also be doing african one (dance), and orchestra and all that music whatevernot. looking forward to swat!

meantime, chilling in vienna. went to cafe kafka again, another melange out of the chilling rain, with my new book. a viola lesson, during which my finger whose nail i keep chopping off to be able to play, and whom i keep indenting with deep groves from the strings, started to really hurt. it has been all day today, too. only solution is more practice, i guess, and now i have the milhaud sonata that jack gave me to learn!

got to go to the burgtheater on saturday night, when frau b had an extra ticket and i, sitting on my bed reading briefly before i practiced (or so i thought), was her absolute last resort. from the second row we saw damen der gesellschaft (i think just originally "the women" in the english), a hilarious 1936 play, which i actually followed. i was kind of surprised at myself, but they spoke clearly, and i followed and loved it. later that night went out to the zwölf apostel keller -- dates back to 1516, i think, and it was echt cool -- with thomas (krafft) and sebastian, who the next night stood me up, but giving them the benefit of the doubt after fourteen hours of faust, they were probably just tired. before even that, though, i managed to see a painting i hated (a naked schiele) in the leopold museum sunday afternoon, which, in combination with events not a week past, i'm sure set me off somehow in the middle of our art history tour. cooled off with a fucking excellent melange in the leopold museum cafe (i really love the coffee here) and ended up not seeing much more of the collection. oh well, i'll go back (i'm a block away, after all), and i couldn't take it right then. this sudden stability hasn't been quite natural, anyhow; it makes sense that schiele (?) would set me off ... or sth ... was pissed off at having been stood up, as i actually found cafes in the 1. bezirk that were open until a good 2 or 4h on a sunday night, and didn't feel like sleeping. brothers, pah. oh well, very glad (as i said) to have met him, and i lent him my kundera auf deutsch and got the cryptonomicon from his recommendation. alles chillig, sez flo. word up. and we had good sushi last night, which after a day of rain (even with a good, if slightly painful, viola lesson) was most welcome. sake too. lychees. tonight out to a keller with our german class, before which i should probably eat. prossinger fed us kugelhopf and peppermint tea when we came in out of the rain for our slide lecture this afternoon, but that won't hold me. off to find a space for milhaud.

Donnerstag, 15. November, zweitausendeins, 16:04 (GMT +0100)

it is scheißkalt here, in the low aughts celsius, and i really ought to start wearing my winter jacket. as it is though, i wrap myself in laurel's purple wool sweater and my twenty-five-cent green scarf which is big enough to keep a moose from getting a throat cold, and sometimes compliment the ensemble with my mushroom wool hat, which doesn't really keep the cold away from my ears but insulates the top of a wet post-shower head pretty well.

but perhaps instead of coveting a sleeker, black-wool winter coat (to which i would, i'm sure, be allergic anyhow), i think i've found the answer: maroni. i've finally gotten past my -and-cheese associations with that word -- i only have a couple cross-linguistic phonetic associations like that, but the do really fuck me up occasionally, like the french savoir and the german completely-unrelated-yet-equally-as-common sagen (to know and to say, respectively -- i've almost completely stopped screwing that one up, the germanic having taken over my brain and kind of supplanted the italic remnants there ... though i did manage to produce aglio in answer to the italian girl's knoblauch query at the melker stiftskeller tuesday night). these maroni are the things i thought only existed in one song, and those which made an sentimental old inattentive woman's house burn down one night when she tried to roast them on an open fire -- chestnuts.

they are sold on the street here (along with potato puffers, basted in garlic sauce and salted) in "klein" and "groß" sizes, which vary by price and by amount depending on location, coldness, and time of day. the men selling them all have their own semi-permanent chestnut shacks, with a big black steel drum with grill-drawers in them which house the fire and more small potato pieces. they come sliced down the middle, inner tan nutmeat exposed, for easy extraction in small paper cones. there's one maroni guy on our street, mariahilferstraße (which is a straße and not a gasse -- bigger than the offhand english "street" makes it sound, it's an actual boulevard, parading past the museumsquartier and turning into one of the biggest shopping districts in the city). olivia started buying chestnuts a month or so ago, and by walking past his stand every day at least twice, soon had befriended him. he's from egypt, and is trying to earn enough money to bring his wife and small daughter to vienna, too. he waves when we walk by, and when we get maroni he throws in three or four small potato bits.

this morning i stopped to say hello, one ungloved hand shoved in my pocket, the other holding my german text and folder. he gave me three maroni right off the grill (i tried to pay; he said, next time), and i held these hot little nut-bombs in each fist. better than gloves, and they taste better, too!

* * *

i finally seem to have double stops under my fingers, to a point where, even if the nails hurt from being cut off too much too frequently, the finger joints don't from the unnatural stretching. my current campagnoli is just about all thirds with a handful of assorted other intervals, and one page of the stamitz is heavy with that same bottom half of a major triad. incredibly unmajor, however, is schönberg's fourth string quartet, which sounds like bartók to my uneducated ear, and to which i wish i had a score. bought the cd for a little too much yesterday, but wrote it off as an academic, which it actually is. couldn't find the score, though i tried not only the cute musikhaus on krugerstraße by the post office but also doblinger on dorotheergasse (right next to trzesniewski and hawelka, incidentally), who had the first, second, and third, but who assured me that the fourth didn't exist in score form. a little online research shows that to be blatantly untrue, but it appears not to be available for under $40. we'll see if the institut wants to pay for this one -- i'd love to see the twelve-tone row and its inversions and manipulations, in the pinnacle of the creator's compositions within his own method. (especially since i think i'm writing a paper on it.)

despite a stupid recent airing of dirty laundry (not exactly my lieblingspasse-temps to begin with, it was pointed out), people in general are rising in my opinion. i realized i haven't reached a completely misanthropic state in almost three-quarters of a year, which i can probably pinpoint exactly, but which is nonetheless a good thing, capital g, capital t. tuesday night eight or nine of us from our eclectically-ethnic german class converged on the melker stiftskeller in schottengasse, a few blocks from the imposingly gothic (yet really only a hundred or so years old) votivkirche -- down a level, high brick ceilings, the typical viennese cellar-gone-kneipe, wine cellar -- with an excellent speisekarte to boot. a viertel of riesling and spinatstrudel were not too scheißteuer, and the good company and pidgindeutsch were good fun. around the table i think we had two italians, two americans, a slovakian, one pole, two czechs, and the austrian prof. i think. last night i went to giselle (perhaps i just don't like ballet ...), and then from there adjourned to hawelka with heidi and justin. flo showed up, announcing the utter loss of austria to turkey (fußball; fünf-null), and i had a buchteln with hot plums made (flo insisted) by the 92-year-old frau hawelka herself, who was blustering around the cafe, albeit in a nonogenarian gait, moving tables and refusing chivalrous offers. the anomalously-tuxedoed waiter displayed some classic schmäh. spent too much and drank just enough. sehr angenehm. and jetzt a few emails renewing or beginning contact, a postcard written, and, alles chillig.

* * *

i should find some better gloves than the chestnuts. i'm planning on taking the big orange ones mom gave me to st. ägyd this weekend, where we've been promised hiking, waltzing, and being repeatedly stuffed full of excellent food. in the meantime, though, the maroni man could use business, and i could use some hand warmers.

Sonntag, 18. November, zweitausendeins, 22:56 (GMT +0100)

i have a slightly bloody toe, and dirt beneath my already too-short fingernails. both my legs and arms ache with muscles i haven't used in months. the yellow dye is mostly faded from the palm of my right hand. there's a rough fingernail scratch on the side of my hand. --all this, i suppose, is the price i pay for a weekend in sankt ägyd, a tiny town in niederösterreich.

friday morning before the sun was up (literally! i haven't done that in a while, and certainly not since daylight savings time), olivia and i met the linfield kids at the institut, where we piled into a small bus and drove through st. pölten and melk (to see baroque buildings, apparently, and a ridiculously ostentatious abbey), before we hit st. ägyd. never mind that the three epigees -- wien, melk, and st. ägyd -- define a pretty isoscles (but not that trivial; angles a good 75 degrees or so) triangle and are thus not really on each others' way. the touring was perhaps interesting but would have been more welcome had it not been about zero celsius outside. my favorite part of st. pölten was the vanilla buchteln i had for half my lunch (along with hagebutten -- rose hip -- tee). melk was, well, a large baroque abbey.

sankt ägyd doesn't look like much, but that's the point. it's a quaint dorf in the german, or perhaps even austrian or wienerisch, sense of the word. language, i have been slowly learning these past few months, is such a semantic mapping of irrelevant phonetics onto conglomerations of concepts or ideas in our brain. each language is therefore wildly different, even though it can pretend to express the same concepts, or to be translated. our german professor related the other day something her old language teacher had once told her: "there are two kinds of dictionaries: bad ones, and less bad ones." --word up, as i say in english, or stimmt, as my german equivalent has been roughly übergesetzt. what's in a name? that which we call a rose et cetera, but the same kind of roses don't grow in austria that do in the states, or if they do, they're not surrounded by the same contexts. even ignoring for the moment the huge difference in individual speakers' idiolects, ignoring my wrappings of the word with the roses in my mother's backyard garden which she covered with burlap every winter and into which rabbits eventually burrowed, destroying them, the cranberries we had on our (saturday night) thanksgiving dinner were not preiselbeeren or rather, they were, but preiselbeeren aren't cranberries. there is no other word in either language for them, and they taste roughly the same, and are used in similar contexts (so far as you want to compare the cuisines of austria and the states, and argue to what extent käse is really cheese? are liptauer and camembert of the same class as cheddar and smoky jack?), but they simply don't exist in each other's languages.

in a similar linguistic-cultural vein, i realized today that i finally understand (well, at least much better) and have incorporated into my speech a two-syllable utterance of martin's that i hated during the months we spent together, because it (a) baffled me and felt (b) both sighing and dismissive at the same time: naja. his was actually jaja, but as far as i can tell (and this is speaking as the admittedly undereducated american-as-pseudo-austrian-speaking-for-a-german) they're only phonetically a minimal pair -- semantically, in intonation, and in degree of seufz they're the same. it was sighing, and it was dismissive, but it was a word i had never heard before, and tried to map on to the english yeah, yeah -- which is much ruder, and much more dismissive than the german expression is, which merely conveys an acknowledgement of the status quo, with occasional dislike implied. given a the crudest sketch of the context and his state of mind at the time of utterance, i could have easily parsed that comment to mean much less, to be half as significant as i thought it to be, and it would not have troubled me as much. now i use it myself on a daily basis, and given a cultural context, i see what he must have meant those thousands of time it escaped his lips. what a little culture will do for the language!

thus was the cranberry sauce we had with (turkey for the carnivores and) knödel for this feast really preiselbeeren, and thus is sankt ägyd more of a dorf than a village. i don't yet have the cultural authority to say this, but -- and i wager austrians who have spent time in the states or in england would agree with me -- the small conglomeration of snow-covered roofs in the valley of treelined mountains, with old outward-opening windows and gemüsestrudel or rindsuppe cooking over an ancient oven inside, is much better encapsulated in the word dorf than the only english equivalent "village" could ever hope to do.

after all, where but in niederösterreich could we visit a woman whose name i never really caught, who greeted us in a blustering austrian accent wearing a dress most americans see in "the sound of music," whose house-cum-gasthof had typical volkkunst-decorated chests of drawers, who cooked the whole weekend long (and has, i imagine, most of her life) and stuffed us full of spinat-mit-eier, knödel, preiselbeerensauce, letscho (lecsó? --it's hungarian anyhow), weißwein, handmade rolls, cheese spreads, fruit tea, and at least four different kinds of cakes? she spoke the wienerisch i have so much trouble understanding, and i began to parse as the adults sat around playing guitars after waltzing saturday night, singing songs in dialect, hermann drunk (freely admitting it, and imitating the tennessee professors to boot) -- i a for ich auch, other such consonant-dropping and monophthongierung. the eleven students and handful of adults (of moderate degrees of erwachsene slept in red and white gingham-checkered beds, the full down duvet of the eastern europe luxurious sleep and showered in hot water with water pressure.

post a violent game of "löffel" friday night, during which a battle for the last spoon inflicted a small wound on my hand, friday night was a tired and early one. saturday morning we trekked over what seemed like a mountain from our viewpoint in the valley but turned out in retrospect of the following day's hike to really have only been a small hill, to find the place lebkuchen decorating that set the world record in 1989 for largest lebkuchen ever: the holzhof. run by a cheery woman who served us drinks and squeezed frosting onto gingerbread as if there was no tomorrow, the main purpose of the haus (not a house!) was apparently for people like us to come decorate cookies. i think you're supposed to hang them on the weihnachtsbaum somehow, but most of them ended up being consumed on the train ride back to vienna this evening. the frau who ran the whole business slapped frosting into inside-out plastic bags, snipped the tops off, and gave us tubs to decorate. while a cool idea for cheap decorating apparati, the bags aren't the sturdiest things in the world, and a few whites and the yellow popped open, the colored ones temporarily dying our hands. my pop-art wise guy(not man), cubist pig, and six-pointed(?) star are probably past consuming point, but maybe i'll find some shellac and hang them on a tree sometime.

lunch was the hugest thing i've eaten in ages -- three half-potatoes and a hunk of gemüsestrudel drowned in a sour cream sauce, and that was just the hauptspeise -- so i had to go out afterwards and get my ass thrown into the dirt multiple times with a couple other kids, who taught me how to actually throw a(n american) football, and where a game of keep-away kept the surrounding mountains echoing with our battle cries as we dove into the snow-thawed mud to capture the ball for a good two hours. [thanksgiving] dinner was almost as huge as lunch, but certainly had more people, as many of the linfield kids' host families showed up for the festivities. amy's "dad" taught us the wienerwaltz afterwards, and as usual i taught some boys to lead, and got my toe wiener ball stepped on (and a little bloodied). both amy's dad and a professor there, with both of whom i danced (what the hell for a scheißclause is that? sometimes even a native speaker of english gets tangled in her own subordinate clauses) asked if i were a dancer, and said i moved well, and that i should go to a ball in vienna sometime. i would love to, and even though the season's started, the biggest ones are in jänner and februar, and plus i would have to find a dress and a partner and i'm guessing some Geld. anyone want to take me?

stayed up past that singing in the wiener dialect, and then american songs. voice went out, and i went to bed around one, which was apparently four hours before most of the group turned in for the night. perhaps not the smartest idea, given the next morning's activity -- a hike (and this time they meant a real one, not this wussy bear-went-over-the-mountain child's play stuff) through the mountains (and this time they meant real ones, not little hills, and not the kind with paths much) of niederösterreich.

while laurel's purple sweater is certainly getting its semester-loan's worth, it really sucks that i'm allergic to it. i wore it anyhow, though, and another sweater, aislynn's jacket over it, a scarf, had, gloves ... all of which quickly became much too much, considering we were ascending the mountain at an angle of about 80 fucking degrees. below the clouds the frost was still crystallized on everything in patterns that never cease to astound me -- pointed arms of ice sticking straight off a blade of grass; the borders of a leaf highlighted in hoar white -- but above the fog and other condensation, things became quickly warmer. sweaters were tied around waists as we left the switchback path pretty quickly and followed the ascent of our guide, who had hiking poles, identical to the ski kind and great for bushwhacking your way up the coniferous and decidedly sylvan side of a mountain. (i am currently feeling the aftereffects of the football keep-away and the hike, from my arms down to my legs, despite the yoga frau stoltzer led saturday afternoon, and despite stretching.) we walked through a pretty newly-snowed wood up for two hours or so up to a hütte at the summit, from whose vantage point you could see the highest mountain in niederösterreich (schneeberg -- not too creatively named, but aptly), and where glühwein and other yummy imbibables were served. we then all but slid on our asses back down the sharp descent to our gasthof and letscho mit reis, weißwein, and don't forget the torte. the hike was beautiful, reminding me of instances last year, of winter break, wisconsin and much colder weather (it hovered between two and five degrees celsius this morning), allison and my drive back to swat last year blasting paul simon through I-80's scenic new snow melted over ice which had formed on the hewn highway sides, on every remote branch of every tree.

a couple stuffed-full train rides and a hundred pages of cryptonomicon later, i'm back in vienna, and reminiscing, but not hardcore. and not limited to in the past -- just letting my brain spin of previous points of reference into channels it hasn't visited in a while. formal dances and the wiener waltz, and dancing with someone; boys offering me cigarettes and the post-meal angenehm-ity; old thanksgivings, people, and heurigen; new acquaintances and prohibitive distance; the differences of language and sometimes the concomitant social barriers (i am still constructing meaningful sentences in german, and have not yet progressed to meaningful subtexts, at least so far as one needs language dafür); coldness snow frost cold cars old friends new year's eve; a reässerting of my tromping-through-the-snow independence, seeing things as they relate to me and not having an exterior frame for my thoughts or my life (etwas traurig but viel einfacher, at least that's how it had to be this time around). feeling generally comfortable and quiet, thoughtful as in full of thoughts but not pensive, well-fed, and maybe even warm. i like winter.

Freitag, 23. November, zweitausendeins, 12:16 (GMT +0100)

the schönberg center closes at five, and i want to get there to devour some more of his style and idea before they lock it up for the weekend. visited this cool place tuesday afternoon and have been back since -- they have a score, which i haven't been able to find in this city (!) and also academic works in english, which is great, seeing as my german is, while competent, not up to the academic research level.

this stuff is fascinating. it's completely absorbing, and the theory of it all is enough to spawn closets-ful of dissertations ... which i well might write. taking ross's idea, i made a list on amazon ... half of that's fiction, half of it is theoretical music books; some is halfway in between. they're all either currently being read, recently read, or are waiting for me on my shelves here and/or at home. the more i read the more i am ridiculously excited to write my thesis, and the more i think about that, the less i know how to go about it. right now i'm just looking at the musical aspect of things, without really considering the language ... but i'm constantly ruminating about both aspects, so i hope it will all come together next fall (or even by next summer? depending) when i start putting the proverbial pen to the proverbial paper, both of which will of course be supplanted by a computer running linux. (i miss linux.)

sitting in cafe kafka the other day, drinking an achtel of welschriesling, reading about the limitations of twelve-tone, the style and almost mathematical structure of it, and my brain wanders off to gödel-numbering the tones and producing rows and their inversions, retrogrades, and other such fugal techniques all numberwise. then i read that milton babbitt has beaten me to the punch, somewhat, about 50 years ago. but i bet he hadn't read the hofstadter!

thanksgiving last night at a heurigen in the XIX. district. most host families were there, plus affiliates of the amerika-institut, &c. very nice, and i went home and spent about two hundred schillings calling four states and wishing my extended thanksgiving-families a happy turkey (or lack thereof) day. good to talk to them all.

just got tickets to see air on saturday night. means i miss la bohème, but i think i can live to see air once. vienna is a cultural city in many respects -- just discovered the wealth at the jugendinfo office, conveniently situated around the corner from me. i have a pretty damn good location!

sporadic contact with swatties; people around the globe. will see most all of them within the next two months. i like this city. my dad in his annual letter said, "Nori is in Vienna for the fall, studying music, German, Glühwein, and Sachertorte." pretty accurate. they're selling the spiced, hot glühwein in little mugs outside the mariahilferkirche a couple blocks up now, and little weihnachtshütte are opening up. cold but festive. i finally succumbed to the cold and pulled out my big winter coat.

Sonntag, 25. November, zweitausendeins, 16:23 (GMT +0100)

Südportalstraße is relatively obscure to be the site of a huge concert venue, but as it turned out I ran into Daniele, Sybille, and Alessio at the Straßenbahnhaltestelle, and even if I hadn't, I could have just followed the crowds down a few streets to find the Pepsi Music Center (oy-e, rampant corporate colonization even in vienna). The bouncers frisked us down, and we ditched our coats behind one of the bars (keine Haftung, but we knew that). Air had an impressive setup onstage, not that I could see half of it -- I reëstablished that I am one of the shorter people of my generation, or perhaps the twenty-somethings, to which (tall) group I now belong. Also reëstablished my desire for a nose-ring (stud). It was smoky, and not homogeneously so, as one could smell. The odd opening group consisted of a woman in a blue dress picking at an invisible air guitar with one hand and thumbing a distortion rod with the other, and then breaking down and screaming, while the guy playing guitar next to her continued to accompany himself making noises into the mic. I haven't been to a [non-classical] concert in a long time, and I think even the last time I did, I had a[n at least nominal] seat. People were packed towards the stage; Alessio stood so close behind I could feel his breath exhaling warm cigarette smoke on my neck. The dredlocks in front of me blocked off half the view, but also served as a cool filter for the amazing lights they had rigged up. The set was too short, and I would have happily stood there for another two hours soaking up the live performance of 10,000 Hz Legend, which, especially knowing the album (thanks to a certain package I received this summer!), was so much cooler than the recorded kind. I hadn't quite worked out that that held true for non-classical, especially when half of it was electronicized.

Afterwards, the U-Bahn hadn't yet shut down, which meant it was nowhere near time to go home. Daniele called Tomás, who (raising the native languages of the group to four but simultaneously lowering the functional ones to one with the absence of any English or Italian on his part) was at Charlie P's on Währingerstraße (near the Volksoper, where Daniele and Sybille live), so we converged on that ridiculously crowded locale for an hour, until I taught Alessio how to fold paper cranes out of the little "reserved" tags and Daniele, sensing the saturation point, proposed retiring to chez eux for a bottle of wine.

The four of us, with three Muttersprache between us, conversed in all of our languages, non of which was completely opaque to the others, depending (again) on blood-alcohol level of the speaker, amount of ambient noise, and who was speaking whose native language. I haven't had red wine in a long time, but it was good, and they were Italians (the boys, at least; Sybille's German), so I should have expected it. Accompanied by a plate of cheese and coldcuts, without bread ("wir haben leider kein Brot," S. told me -- though quite fluent in English, the language in which her and Daniele's relationship is based, she's apparently decided i'm German-worthy, and speaks to me (but not to D.) auf deutsch, which pleases me), but in this student apartment, it was not a rude surprise. It's the kind of apartment I wish I could have here, sharing with friends; having people from home (especially when "home" means Verona (Italy, not Wisconsin!)) come crash on futons; cooking; a bottle of red on the shelf and white in the fridge; espresso makers and coffee pots strewn throughout the kitchen; Radiohead and a stereo to play it on; your own place. I would have liked to do Vienna like this -- maybe next time. Jeremy Irons in Lolita put D. to sleep, and even though I'd been planning to deal with the night busses, I followed suit at their place. I woke up several times during the night in the unfamiliar bed, and finally got up (I'm not going to tell you how late) in Sybille's black shirt she had lent me, with my hair, unsecured save for the removed bobby pins, having partially unbraided itself and stringing in brown contrast down the shirt. And now, a few hours later, it's already dark. Damn this daylight savings thing.

Donnerstag, 29. November, zweitausendeins, 17:56 (GMT +0100)

The woman in the kleines Café just around the corner from the building where we have German class twice a week knows us now. Or at least recognizes the group of students who troop into her small bar around ten a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, drink a quick coffee or consume warm apfelstrudel (Irene), quickly pay, and then run back to class, all during the 15-minute pause. Today the group had expanded to include me, Daniele, Tomás, Irene, and Olivia. The woman comes over -- "ein Melange?" I've always wanted to go somewhere where I was a regular. We never have time to drink the whole coffee, or at least I don't my melange, but Olivia did her kleiner Brauner today. That's probably good, as I can only hold so much koffein pro Tag. Wakes me up for the rest of the early Stunde, though, which is the first 8:30 class since eleventh grade (no joke) that I've been able to take. And it goes until 11:00, so even though it's only twice a week and there's not a ton of actual participation, I can certainly use the buzz.

* * *

Olivia and I returned from seeing Harry Potter auf deutsch Tuesday night -- all three hours of it, including intermission! -- to find Frau B.'s "tea party," which had started at 6, still raging. And they were shaking the house -- a Hungarian-turned-Viennese pianist pounding away on the keyboard, and septuagenarians violently dancing the night away. Eva fed us sweets she and Traude had cooked, and two old men offered me wine, and three asked me to dance. We each played a stück (she flöte I bratsche), and I sang when the Hungarian started playing Beatles and Louis Armstrong. We went to bed around two, and the party blasted on for two more hours. Frau B. was up after three hours' sleep, playing with her grandchildren in the Kinderzimmer; we were on our way to a tired class.

* * *

Last night, after a ridiculously frustrating episode of trying to nail down to which Beethoven symphony a certain D-Major a passage belonged (the woman at the Virgin record store told me the fünfte; there's no way she's right -- that symphony in C does not have an extended period of tonality in D!) which precluded half the practicing I wanted to do (oh well; if the venture left me frustrated with Beethoven, I did pick up a ridiculously cheap CD of James Levine with the Chicago Symphony doing Dvorák's New World, which PYO is rehearsing with the philly orchestra in february!), and after Olivia went to bed, I went out for a kleines (für mich; großes für ihn) Bier with Daniele, about ten paces from his apartment near the Volksoper. Feuer(-zeug; rote Kerzen) and an Italian accent chilling for a few hours in one of those you-have-to-stumble-on-it Lokales that seem to populate the city, the tacet hideouts of the under-forty crowd. I managed to chill a little too long, though, and after the short walk down Währingerstraße (having realized that the Straßenbahnen were no longer running), missed the last U-Bahn back to the Museumsquartier (betriebsschluss, verdammt!). Subsequently took a gemütlicher Spaziergang durch Wien bei nacht, around the Ring, which I realized I haven't ever done bei Fuß. Was worth it -- the Rathaus all decked out in its Advent Kalendar, the little Glühweinhütte all zu for the nacht; the Burgtheater gerade gegenüber; a little farther on the Parliament, directly followed by the half-hidden Volkstheater, then the two mirrored museums of the Kunsthistorischem and the other one, whatever it is, Maria Theresia presiding over the middle, gesturing to the huge Hofburg, which the whole Ring framed. I cut through right under the old Empress's feet. It wasn't that far of a walk, or that cold (warm beer?), and it was so schön to see the scenery in that context. I should perhaps start missing the last U-Bahn more often.

* * *

Just bought self three new pairs socks (sock attack!) and black strumpfhose, as all of mine have suddenly sprouted huge holes. Anna comes tonight. She will be shown the joys that are Glühwein, Apfelstrudel, the Staatsoper, Flex (incl. Kruder & Dorfmeister), Hawelka, Siddhartha, Maroni, and much more.

Now that I've found my groove in this city I don't want to leave.

all this ©nori heikkinen, November 2001

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