Monthly Archives: July 2008

Day 6/7 – Vienna (I finally love thee) part 2

So, after the incredible visit to the cathedral “TG-TE”, remembering my love for Mozart, took us down a side street to the Mozarthaus Vienna. Which means I walked where Mozart walked, and I am going to pretend that the cobble stones have not been changed… but he did in fact live in the building. Just a bit from the front door is this view of the sky as viewed from the side street alley way we were in. I have yet to get a firm grasp on what the architecture is like there, it is very different, and I am not sure yet what it is like… I did not get time to spend looking at the buildings… next time Vienna, I promise!

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We did not go inside, we went on down the alley and Schatz got a picture of my talking to “TG_TE” in what you may notices becomes my ubiquitous pink raincoat (I love this rain coat!). I am probably asking some stupid touristy type question to which he probably has an answer too because he (aside from my mother and his girlfriend) is one of the smartest people I know.

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This here is the courtyard where the picture was taken (I believe) as “TG-TE” and I head off to the next adventure in making me love Vienna (at this time, I was liking it a bit more, but still a bit meh.

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This photo here is my shout out to Fake Sacajawea of the Evil League of Evil fame… This here is the view from the cafe in that movie Before Sunrise. So, this link will show you what the store front looks like. No, we did not sit and have a cup of coffee, it was not open yet… However, the view in the picture is of a monastery in what is known as Franziskanerplatz.

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Oh, wait, back at the church… see this, it is a tourist attraction….

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But be careful, I think this may just be the “thoroughbred of sin” himself on a madcap caper to rule Austria (no I did not see dead bowie anywhere nearby)… (and of course I had no idea of this until I got home and started making this post….

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OK, so this morning I was talking about the differences between American and European women (generally speaking, of course) this somewhat falls in line with what my perceptions are… and please know that I do not think it is a bad thing (well, most of the time anyway)! Anyway, this is a barber on the left and a hairdresser on the right… with seperate entrances.

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So we walked, and walked, and walked, and walked and my arches started falling because i am getting old and let’s face it… no one walks in Arizona. But hell if I was going to complain. I will do one more Vienna post with pictures of things we saw but of which we did not take pictures of…

OK, so at one point we went to the Belvedere, (not that Belvedere). See, there is my awesome pink raincoat again! We only walked the grounds of the place, but they were huge and they were being gussied up for some “football” thing that was going to happen in Vienna later in the year.

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Did you notice those specks… yeah, those are what make Schatz so crabby he refused to take many pictures during this outing! This picture below, it is of only one side of the front lawn garden… that place was huge… and built in a manner that was “horse” friendly… meaning that on one end was the house, the other the stables… (what you see at the end of the garden in the photo below)… and the walkways were designed so that the horses could be brought back and forth.

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To illustrate just how tired I was, I was somehow caught mid blink in this photo… no, they were not silicone! Look how embarrassed “TG-TE” is to be seen with me here!

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And yes, I did end up loving Vienna enough to want to explore it more the next time I visit. And I promise to bring better shoes and a toothbrush.

Next update:
What we did not take pictures of… for better or for worse.

Day 6/7 – Vienna (I finally love thee) part 1

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for some, we do not have many pictures of Vienna. Mainly due in part to Schatz commandeering of the DSLR in (yes, I do mean in) which he managed to get some specks and was so sullen about this that he refused to take pictures and those he did were mostly “artsy” (did not include family of people) and so I therefore have to resort to using other folks’ pictures (if I can find them that is, I will try, no promises) with the exception of one that some of my relatives might claim is NSFW (but not in my world and may appear in part deux).

I was last in Vienna in 1993. At that time I thought its only redeeming virtue was its elderly. In fact, it was really only one elderly man. Every one else was snobby and well, for a lack of a better word… Germanic. We arrived there after my first introduction to Hungary, which was fabulous and glorious and had managed to steal my heart like a glinty-eyed Lothario (Yeah, I am sadly too easily swept away by things like that)… So, I fear that a Sunday in Vienna after a weekend in Budapest in or around 1993, was the worst possible thing I could do to Vienna in terms of how much or how little I esteemed it. I bring up the Sunday thing because it was probably the main catalyst in why I chose not to like the city. Apparently, Vienna in 1993 closed on Sundays, if anything was open it was done begrudgingly… except of course those coffee houses because I have never, ever, ever, been in any place that drinks as much coffee as the whole of Austria. They do take their coffee seriously, and we can thank the Turks that they at least understand what makes for a good cuppa (though I am not so sure they get what a good pastry is, because I still think the Sacher Torte was… well, it left much to be desired).

Where was I? Oh, yeah… I hated Vienna, and by default Austria.

So imagine my horror and disbelief when I found out my husband was actually born there. I jest, I could forgive that.

Anyway, Oma and Opa arrange to enroll Squink into kinder because the Austrians are progressive that way and my 3 year old can go. They load us back up into the Range Rover and send us on our way with some special sticker that says we are allowed to drive on the freeways. I have to interrupt myself to tell you that apparently they charge trucks, as in semi’s, 25 cents a km to drive their highways. OK, so Schatz and I head up to Chris’s sisters. They live rather close to the train to Vienna so we can take a jaunt up to see the city… and show me and my closed little mind that Austria, and Vienna in particular, was a country (city) of great splendor.

So, when we arrive at the sisters home, “The Godfather – the younger” offers to let us use his flat and stay overnight (I have a sneaking suspicion his mother made him do it). This was a bit unexpected as we did not even bring a toothbrush, but hey I am never one to leave the opportunity go… especially since we called Oma and Opa and they were all gung-ho to have the squink to themselves with out my meddling.

So, we arrange to meet “The Godfather – the elder” (hereafter TGTE) at a cafe near the center of town so he can take us on a city tour. The poor thing. We met up in the most pepto bismol place I have ever been in… the Café Konditorei Aida, where I was introduced to the melange which is the Austrian version of a cappuccino and because it is so nice to say “melange” (go ahead say it, with a faint European accent, doesn’t that just roll off you tongue and make you feel all cold and sophisticated inside… yeah, me too!) I proceeded to order it every chance I got.

So, we all sipped our coffee’s and “TG-TE” asked where we were interested in going. Here is where I either told him of my fateful previous trip or reminded him of the sad tale. He got a thoughtful look and said… how about we start at St Stephens Cathedral. I agreed, because it was SUNDAY the last time I saw it and the place was closed (OK, it was probably for a mass)! It is a lovely building and filled with all sorts of imagery that makes you think all the men of Europe were probably Freemasons … which, of course, its architect most probably was.
Here is a picture Schatz took of the interior… but I recommend you read the linked wikipedia article on the place.
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I asked for this to be taken because
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it reminds me of these retablos.

Outside the Cathedral we see this O5 scratched in the surface of the structure. Click on through to read what the photographer wrote (then come back and finish reading this post, because it has taken me a month to write it and well it is the nice thing to do).
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My nephew added that Austria was able to retain autonomy after the war once they were able to prove a resistance effort, without it, they would have remained under Russian control. It is interesting that the main resistance fighters were socialists and catholics. Well, no, not really, not once I recall all the catholic priests I knew in South America during the 70’s.

Here are some photos of other areas about the cathedral:
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Outside, I think it might be one of the places where outside services were held.

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I am always intrigued by uses of red in churches.

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I was intrigued by how there were these two together, that the one was not tossed (the one on the right) as I figure many churches might do in the USA.

So I have spent enough time on this that it should be made available for one and all to see and read since the world absolutely cannot live without it.
Coming next in the great boring blog slideshow of my trip to Europe: Sisi, you may or may not be my kinda gal and who was Belvedere and did he know Mozart.
I wish I could sing it all to you, musical style, with fine editing and production. I blame most of the sarcasm in this post on Dr Horrible and the Evil League of Evil, I may even be haunted by the thoroughbred of sin. Thank goodness I bought them on iTunes. Shout out to Anne from the League of Awesomeness for the intro… there is a picture all for you in the next Vienna post, well dedicated to you anyway.

feebalities of my mind

because I feel free to make up words.

In case you missed it that made up word is feebalities, the root word of which is feeble and you might understand it if you read my post a few back.

Last night I had dinner with my cousin, from my paternal side. She recently moved nearby (implying that she used to live further away which would be the truth). This is not the first time we have done this, but it was so very nice to do this again. But, what happened is, is that we talked about my paternal side, which makes the maudlin Scot ancestors of my mothers side all nostalgic for that which cannot ever be had… which is the attainment of some sort of connect with all my relatives (maternal and paternal) which is somehow absent of that which makes us all human… and by that I mean critical judgment (and because this is mainly about me, I am of course referring to the critical judgment of myself). OK, here I go feebleizing again (same root word, just go with it, I make words up). So, what did I end up doing… I went in and found the facebook pages of “long lost” relatives (OK, they aren’t all that long or lost, but I don’t see them that often… to the extent that I really don’t know them).

So, they all graciously “friended” me, even one I have not seen since he was like 6 but was one of my favorites from his family branch. SO I delved into and “reunited” with paternal family members… but there are plenty of maternal family members that are not speaking to us (mainly, in my mind, due to the fact that by comparison we are Godless)… I found a cousin in law, and like me she was pretty open with what she has on the web… and part of me felt guilty for looking into her blogs and such because the side of the family she is on has made it very “virtually” clear that we are not welcome into their lives (and probably because we are Godless by comparison). But, as I read what she had written I realized how much I liked her based on what I was seeing, she struggled with so many similar things, she loves similar things, she is artsy… so I sat in front of my computer with this thought that I had to leave a comment… but how, and what to do and say.

So I found a book and I commented on it and I said things that popped into my head and gave her the power of what was to happen with that comment.
I expect, says the pessimist in me, that it will end there, I will not hear from her, which will make it clear that I am not to do any such crazy nonsense again. This, of course, would make me sad but I lay it at her feet, it is her choice and I promised to respect that. What I would like to have happen is a simple note, something that says somethign along one of the following;
I respect your person and that says that she thinks this is too tough to deal with right now, I want to be able to examine this and perhaps revisit this in the future.
Or
Thank you for the note, I will look into the author recommendation. Feel free to comment again.

I don’t know but as may be obvious, this is just a post to let her know I mean absolutely no harm. Really.

But the best news is that I really love the cousin I had dinner with… a lot!

well, what does one say when they have so much to say and…

…yet nothing to say at the same time.

Here are some posts that have been mulling around in my mind (but not in blogger);

  • Virtual aunties.
  • Open letter to Ingrid Betancourt.
  • Chopin’s Nocturne in C sharp minor.
  • Day 6 – Vienna, I finally love thee.
  • Cartoon influences

But my Facebook obsession requirements have managed to put those off indefinitely. You see, every morning Squink and I tend to our (lil)Green Patch where we chase butterflies and give people flowers, we send out a twitter, we check on our (fluff)friends, send out some good karma, and poke some people and if we are lucky find some things for our scavenger hunt and smile at mafalda and wonder who we might know that knows about her (I would venture to say she is the Latin American version of TinTin and Asterix) so we can send her as a gift…

that and the fact that I am resigned to the idea that I am just not as good a writer in meat life as I am in my own world and want to spare folks the tediousness of what wanders around in my feeble brain.

Reading around the world – Burundi and Italy

My Reading List and the story behind the project.

The True Sources of the Nile: A Novel The True Sources of the Nile: A Novel by Sarah Stone

My review


rating: 3 of 5 stars
Burundi.

While some of the book, the second half really takes place in the US it resonates with how an American expat brings the country with them when they return to the USA. Frankly, to me, that is an integral part of visiting so I am keeping this as a part of my “reading around the world” read-a-thon.

I am not sure why I did not chose more than three stars, it might be perhaps that while I could identify in some ways with the main character, I could not really make that connection. The character was like so many expats I have met who feel that their presence validates a country, which always rings so false with me. Having said that though, the character was a typical expat and that in and of itself deserves something more than the three stars, but that is to someone else, not me.

I learned a lot about Burundi and liked the way the relations between the Tutsis and Hutus was addressed, though I frankly know little about that situation. I think this is a good read for anyone exploring Africa in a read around the world.

View all my reviews.

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco

My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars

Italy

I love Eco, and this is so not typical of him that I love him even more. This book is a pictorial journey through Italy in WWII. I have been a fan of Magic realism and this book seems to fit that bill. But a trip into the Italian soul of a book lovers journey is a wild and entertaining tale.

If you like the genre, read it.!

View all my reviews.

Please go vote for the best nerd crushes.

And please forgive any weird symbols because my keyboard has set itself to a non’english qwerty layout and I can´t find a bunch of stuff like the colon, semicolon the greater than or less than. I tried to reset it but to no avail… it may require a restart… I miss my mac, which has been commandeered by the schatz. (to be fair is has not been the macbook, but that screen is just too small for blog posting).

Announcements
My mom posted about the rule of 10,000 years. She wrote 10,000,000 but the idea still works…

So, The nerd crush post was to enter a contest, for chocolate. At least I think it was for chocolate, because I don´t usually enter blog contests.. except for the Wii one at Dooce, or the ones at Blake Makes, or the ones Ree has over at PW… oh, OK shush now, I am a contest whore lover.

So, a facebooked friend from HS joined this group and the title intrigued me… Slackmistress. If you were a alternateen in the 80´s (or even a wanna be alternateen) or like me and just went to the beat of your drummer… you hear the word slack and you think ¨I can totally get that¨.

So, I ventured over to one of the gazillion related websites and was hooked, and lo and behold there was a contest, and it was good. But I did not do anything yet, though I did add the slack mistress to my twitter friends. And since I saw she has like these video things and as a mom who doesn´t go out that often (gladly might I add) unless the Squink is welcome… well, I was around so I joined in and wore a bee hat… and it was good. So, I entered the contest.

So, since there were a lot of nerd crushes the Slackmistress has decided to do two rounds and have folks vote.

So, go vote!

And it is some tough voting too-

I too love Yvonne Craig, she was a part of the foundation upon which I rest my adoration for Modesty Blaise

Isis, I remember that show, it was nice to be reminded about it too. It was awesome and I loved Isis, and yet, another foundation piece for that which would be come my innocent obsession with Modesty Blaise.

Buzz Aldrin – Who doesn´t love astronauts, and especially those named Buzz.

Parker Stevenson as Frank Hardy, John Schneider as Bo Duke from the Dukes of Hazzard Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, Richard Hatch as Apollo on the original Battlestar Galactica, Dirk Benedict as Templeten “Faceman” Peck from The A-Team. All teen girl dream crushes, and nerdy to boot!

Urkle – I loved his love of color, he was the best dressed nerd ever!

And Christopher Walken came late to my life, and while I did fall in love with his watch monologue from a certain movie, I did not include him because well, I don´t think he is a nerdy crush to me though I fully allow him to be a nerdy crush to anyone who ¨discovered¨ him while their friends were in the throws of a Kirk Cameron lust fest… cause that would be nerdy awesomeness.

Betty and Veronica, the two women who were what America was all about.

So my nerd crushes are posted here. But the Slackmistress failed to mention that I also loved Chaka, from another comment I left on the original nerd crush request post. Chaka, from Land of the Lost, yeah… I think that show and that character specifically helped form my love for anthropology… I wanted a Chaka for my very own and he-she-it will not be left of my list!