Tuesday, June 27, 2006

thunder, lightning, and RAIN!

i KNOW it's the second post of the day - but ahhh! what relief! finally some rain, and a really long and wonderful thunderstorm. i was talking to my dad (whom i REALLY envied today when he said he had been on some mountain this afternoon and rested amid a sea of koch's gentians, with the sun shining, and cowbells tinkling) on the phone saying "doesn't look like we'll get the predicted thunderstorm tonight either", when lightning flashed across the sky in the east. dark clouds moved in from all sides, the breeze changed into a storm, and pretty soon we had a massive downpour, lots of gorgeous lightning, and some noise too. i watched it for about an hour. tried to take pictures, but only got two worth posting:

i should have turned a little right - this way, i only just caught the flash of lightning.

yes, this was taken at night, around 9.40pm when it was really pitch dark outside - amazing, isn't it, how bright it gets when lightning flashes! this is towards the east, the storm moved there, right across vienna.

it's cooled down, it is a joy to go outside and BREATHE! it's still raining, so i hope to sleep better tonight. ah - more thunder, another flash of lightning, perhaps it's coming back!

music, poetry, plants

another concert yesterday - billy joel. i saw him once before, in 1994 (yes, a while ago), and i had not thought that he would actually tour again. but - i am glad he reconsidered. i was not entirely sure what to expect though, because it is common knowledge that he had alcohol problems over the last few years, and there have been others before him who did not really reach their previous form anymore after such troublesome periods, and quite a while away from the business. no need to worry though, as it turned out: his performance was no less terrific than in 1994, he is still a good entertainer, he still knows how to get the people going, he seems to love what he is doing, and his voice, if anything, was even better than 12 years ago. and he is, quite simply, one of the best storytellers and songwriters ever. i don't think his songs will ever grow old or stale.

he started out with Angry Young Man, followed by My Life, and that was enough to get everyone up on their feet, clapping, stamping, screaming. he could have gone home after that. *L* fortunately, he didn't.

i don't think it's a coincidence that this european tour starts here in vienna. there is a special relationship with this city - joel's father lives here, and so does his half-brother alexander, a classical musician and conductor (he's in the austrian phone directory if you don't believe me *L*). and that shows, not only when joel sings what he sang next, the song inspired by vienna, and named after it, a song i really love:

Slow down, you crazy child
you're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart, tell me
Why are you still so afraid?
You've got your passion, you've got your pride
but don't you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

the rest of the set list:

Everybody Loves You Now
The Entertainer
New York State of Mind
The Downeaster Alexa
Movin' Out
Big Man On Mulberry Street
Innocent Man
I Go To Extremes
Keeping The Faith
She's Always A Woman
River of Dreams
Highway To Hell (now that was funny, his roadie by the endearing name of Chainsaw - apparently i had NOT misheard! - did that; very cool!)
We Didn't Start The Fire
It's Still Rock & Roll To Me
Big Shot
You May Be Right
Only The Good Die Young
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
Piano Man

The Entertainer is still such a brilliant song, i was pleased that he played that, as well as Scenes and Piano Man, they are quite simply songs that i cannot imagine missing from a billy joel concert. Innocent Man took my best friend gudrun (sitting next to me) and me way back to 1984 when we, at the tender age, of 13, listened to that album again and again and again at her place. lovely memories. to this day, i know every single note, every word, every little pause of this song by heart.

it was incredibly hot at the concert venue - at 34C outside that was not exactly surprising, but it was great. sepp and our other friends who came along all loved it. i bet babs was very pleased with this birthday present!

editing in to add two links - reviews in german, but there are pics too:
wiener zeitung
oe3.orf.at (click on SLIDESHOW link for pics)

now, enough of music:

five of my poems are currently up at a little poetry. the summer edition was guest edited by lisa zaran. i am thrilled to be part of it!

i received an acceptance note from lily today, another classy zine, so there's no end to being thrilled. quite a fast response too, and the poem will be in the july issue.

i am writing a little these days - not too much, not nothing either. here is the current version of my poem-title-generator-inspired piece (which needs work, i know):
what if i fancy the woman on the train

whose blonde curls take me by surprise as they
cast delicate shadows, curlicue some foreign
script along the nape of her neck - no full stops,
only intrepid question marks, languid dashes?

what if her earrings whisper slander, undue
warnings? what if she hears, stops reading,
tilts her head a bit? what if she understands,
takes notes like some conscientious pupil?

even if her anklet takes my side, its charms
hysterically rattling off their morse code in
my aid, i will not stand a chance. she'll drop
those eyelids and pretend i am not there,

like i pretend to read a book whose pages
long to be wiped clean to make room for
my story. outside the window, summer burns
the grass, a washed-out sky becomes a slate:

i draw her closer to me than she is - freckled
chest, breasts plump and firmer than my own,
and those two delightful toes, neatly wrapped
in band-aids, very nearly touching mine.
the poem title generator, btw, is still operating (see below). in fact, it's hungry to be fed some words! sharon, alex, and lia have alredy written their poems! well done you!

here are a few more plant pics - they are doing well, enjoying the heat much more than i do, in fact.

colourful mix

the first tomato - still a little green, but ... we'll get there. this was taken on sunday, by now there are three more!


song of the day: a matter of trust by billy joel, which bo planted firmly in my head by mentioning it yesterday.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

a check, an irritation, and vienna's first POEM TITLE GENERATOR

one word of my poetry is worth US$ 0,109375 - at least that's the amount i get when i divide the US $35 i received from flashquake by the number of words in my two published poems. along with the check i received a cd copy of the issue in which my work appears, and a lovely note from debi orton. thanks!

less pleasant - this incident: at the end of april withdrew my poems from taj mahal review after they had accepted two for publication - and after i had found out i would have to buy a contributor's copy rather than get one. this is what the editors wrote back: OK we will not publish. so far so good. perhaps somebody out there has an explanation for their email of sunday:

Dear Michaela A. Gabriel
Hope you are fine there. We are pleased to write that your CAFÉ WESTEND and I DREAM OF HAVING A DAUGHTER have been published in June 2006 issue of Taj Mahal Review. ... etc
i mean, what the ...???

instead of telling them what unprofessional (fill in whichever word you prefer) they were, i remained very polite in my reply in which i merely stated that i was not exactly pleased with the news, and that they had confirmed withdrawal of said poems.
the only "reply" i got, and i am not sure it wasn't a mistake, was a fwd of the email in which i acknowledged their acceptance of my poems for the june issue, which had - OF COURSE - come some time BEFORE my withdrawal.

okay, and here is ...

answer the questions and it will tell you the title of the (next) poem you should write! if you like, do post the poem in reply to this, or on your blog. i look forward to reading the poetry!
I On which day of the week were you born?

II What's the furthest you've been away from the place you were born?

III Right now, which three CDs (max.) would you take "to the island" with you?

IV Let's talk about your toes. Choose the answer that's closest to what you might actually say.
a) I am the next toe model!
b) They're hairier than my head.
c) They fill out all that space in my shoes really nicely.
d) They're the eleven best things about me.
e) What kind of person wants to know things like these?

V What's your first association for each of these words:
a) Ethel b) Austria c) mellifluous

VI Which of these places (all real!) sounds most promising:
a) Rottenegg b) Piddletrenthide c) Burnt Bottom d) Ryme Intrinseca

VII Which of these poem titles most appeals to you:
a) To Help the Monkey Cross the River
b) Relaxing with Taxidermy
c) If He Were Alive Today, Mayhap, Mr. Morgan Would Sit on the Midget's Lap
d) A Green Song To Sing At The Bottle Bank
e) Scorflufus
Arlene -
the poem you should write is "Soliloquy for Alessandra Mussolini". shouldn't be too difficult to come up with the most interesting thing she's ever had to say
Carl -
thanks for using the PTG. it says that the poem that you need to write (and that might make you immortal) is quite obviously "The Brandenburg Nightmares, Part I: Watermelon Quickstep". you may choose the subtitles for the brandenburg nightmares, parts 2-37 yourself.
Sarah -
it took the PTG a while to figure this out, but now it is quite happy to tell you that the poem title that has been waiting for you, is "miss honey shows off her toes at the bar". there may be some tom waits grumbling in the background.
Alex -
that was easy. your title is, naturally: "The Barman Analyses Lucy's Fear of Pumpkins". he might be wiping tabletops or glasses, and miss lucy might actually be distracted by ... ah, you'll know.
Michi (me, that is) -
PTG caims that my title is "what if i fancy the woman on the train". aha. wherever that came from. and yes, what if?
Lia -
nice to see you here! the PTG was just as pleased as me, and it recommends this title for one of your future creations: "lessons in surrender". great choice of canadian music, btw. *S*
Sharon -
the PTG went crazy when i fed it your answers. it spun for approx. 3 hours and 15 minutes, gurgled a little, beeped, and told me that it couldn't decide which title was best. at gunpoint, however, it said this: "The Taxidermist's Guide to Alpine Fauna" is perfect for you.
Lauren -
apparently the PTG decided that it was okay, after all, to work with only one association in answer to question V, and it told me to post this as your poem's title: "On a common Thursday in Troy", even though that does not necessarily include monkeys and burnt bottoms.
Sharon again -
one of the sillier titles the PTG tentatively suggested was "A Portrait Of The Taxidermist As A Stuffed Shirt". it did, barely, resist the temptation of going for "There are no words ugly enough to describe a burnt bottom", but did think "Sister Lucy's Cauliflower Experiment" might be an acceptable title. i wonder if i might have to reprogram it ...
Nate -
the PTG thinks that your title is "Still Life With Mellifluous Strings", but it thinks there might be another one in this somewhere. perhaps with kangaroos, those natives of the austrian alps. *G* check back again, the machine is still spluttering and creaking as i am typing this.
Shelley -
the PTG claims that your poem title is "The Merman Attempts To Cross The River"; it does not say whether he takes off his shoes first, but it thinks it might have happened on a tuesday.
Liz -
my PTG and i may not have been introduced to you formally, and i certainly would not feed YOU to the machine (not whole, anyway *G*), but we are pleased you think we can be of service. the PTG sputtered and creaked a while, thus telling me that it was trying to decide between two titles, before it presented this: "A Chinese Song of Bread and Honey", no hints re monkeys, toes, or days of the week.
Sepp -
while the PTG is perfectly aware of the fact that you do not write poetry, it was happy to have something to chew on for a while, and i swear i heard it chuckle too! so, this is your title: "disturbed amoebae split on bruce the cleaner's lap". i am not entirely sure whether i should say i look forward to seeing what you can come up with ...
the PTG was quite happy to have more answers fed into its huge hungry mouth. the belching and grumbling got a little out of hand after a while, but i guess that's okay considering the poor machine had a hard time deciding between two titles. it asked very nicely to give you them both, and who am i to say no? so, there's "Love Sits Neatly on Lucy's Lap" and "Paris, Wednesday Morning: The Diva Is Still Dancing" - no hints whether bears or peter gabriel were involved, though mr morgan was spotted on the sidelines.
Andie -
thanks for stopping by! the PTG is purring happily in the background, and it has told me, quite confidently, that this is your poem title: "I should know that when the pawn crosses the river ...". no mention of ben folds - though even the PTG noticed your choice of a tori amos album - for me it was a choice between little earthquakes and from the choirgirl hotel - must have been more in a choirgirl mood that day!
jenniforr -
thank you for stopping by to give the PTG something to do; it was starting to get rusty. i was amazed that it found a title for your poem in no time at all: "Eleven Things You Never Knew About Austin Winters". and no, it did not say whether this is supposed to mean the season in the city of austin or a person called Austin Winters, but i am sure you will know what to do. oh and - *hi* from vienna!

song of the day: azzurro by adriano celentano.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

poetry, pics, and plants

yay! i finally started working on my new series of poems yesterday, and wrote not only one, but two poems, with a few notes for poems number three and four! the series is tentatively titled the secret meanings of greek letters. both poems still need work, but here are a few lines from alpha:

not an ox; rather a woman who suddenly
remembers to cry, teeth bared, for gowns
the colour of yolks, a jar that might contain
her tears, a goddess to turn them into wine.
good news from one of my favourite e-zines too, this morning, but i don't want to say anything more just yet.

oh and thanks to my poet friend allen who said something very kind about my work on his blog.

here are a few pictures taken on thursday, our wedding anniversary, at belvedere palace. the most interesting thing about them is the fact that i am actually wearing a skirt. that happens about once or twice a year.

the indian food at demi tass was delicious, and so was the planter's punch i had afterwards. :)

instead of more reminiscing and going out to dinner again on friday, we finally played tennis! we had long intended to go, but it always rained on weekends. not on friday. we'd wanted to play one hour, but ended up playing two, as usual. it was quite muggy until about eight, but then it was okay, with a light breeze and a few clouds. of course, yesterday was gee-i-never-knew-about-THOSE-muscles day. we want to play again today, but we have already had a few showers this morning, not sure how it turns out.

lots going on in our "garden"! see for yourself:

white radishes, carrots, tomatoes, morning glory, etc

sunflower, peppers, snapdragon, etc

various blossoms

random notes:

TRT (the turkish radio and television corporation) is putting a ban on winnie pooh, because piglet is, well, a pig, and pigs are considered impure in islamic countries. apparently the government put pressure on TRT. privately owned channels, however, do show winnie and his adorable friends.

ever wanted to know which celebrity you are? take sarah sloat's quiz and find out! i am marilyn, according to ms sloat, and i am friends with christopher walken.

about time i made my own quiz, don't you think?

song of the day: crystalline green by goldfrapp.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

before, during, and after (part II)

as promised, on the 5th anniversary of our wedding, here are a few pictures taken before, during, and after the wedding which took place at kaasgrabenkirche in vienna's 19th district. a professional photographer took pictures of us afterwards - you'd never guess the scene was a roundabout not far from the church, right? the reception and party that followed were held at a restaurant / hotel in the 19th district, and went on until the small hours. what a beautiful, and fun day it was!

here comes the bride!

lighting our candle during the ceremony

just married! the deacon, pius zessner-spitzenberg, is in the background

the wedding party in front of the church


party time! we're looking quite happy, don't you think?

home-made menu: i drew all the little figures for the invitations, menus, and place cards myself - enjoyed that, too!

all photos except "party time" and menu / place cards by peter nikolaus.

more photos and a report can (still) be found in our wedding album (the quality's not always the greatest though).

song of the day: chapel of love by the dixie cups. but of course. :)

before, during, and after (part I)

exactly five years ago, i married dr josef weissenboeck, better known as sepp. sometimes it didn't even look like we would make it to the first anniversary; at the moment, it looks like there will be many more. :)

as for the wedding on 15 june 2001: it was a brief ceremony at the registry office in vienna's 10th district, and apart from sepp and me, only our witnesses gudrun and manfred were present. afterwards, we strolled around belvedere palace's park, and then we had lunch at the indian restaurant demi tass - which is where we are going later today.

here are a few pics (click to enlarge):

still unmarried, at the registry office with manfred aka "willi", sepp's witness

a ring for my finger!

married couple with witnesses

just married - in front of the upper belvedere

here's a link to more pictures in our wedding album.

something about the ceremony at church will be posted tomorrow.

song of the day: i do i do i do by abba. what else. ;)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

tryst, subs, patience

the new (anniversary) issue of tryst is online - looking (and sounding!) great. my poem alice takes issue with the queen can be found there, alongside work by allen itz, dorothy doyle mienko, kristy bowen, et al.

i've sent out several submissions yesterday and today, it was about time too.

i have also finally found out which of my submitted poems has been chosen for the vienna views anthology: how to survive in vienna, another one of my rules poems!

still not a word from a few publications, despite inquiries:
one of these zines is mastodon dentist - any of you worked with them? i sent the submission in october, inquired twice, the second time to tell them i'd withdraw my work and asking them to acknowledge that - nothing.
i sent three inquiries to adirondack review, to several of their email addresses, from several of my email addresses. i had worked with them before, and the editor had been very friendly and reliable. odd that i have not heard back from them even though it has been 9 months.
hinge seems to be playing dead too. i'll wait until the next deadline and send a query then.

i am also still waiting for my print copy of arabesques review - it has "only" been two months, and correspondence is erratic. (yep, arlene, still nothing. perhaps you should send them one of your oriental-style mails?)

song of the day: everything reminds me of my therapist by nancy tucker.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

tennis, plants, and the monster

so - the french open are over. i'm very pleased that justine henin-hardenne won the women's title. when she plays her best tennis, she is just marvellous to watch. i was probably not the only one who could not believe that roger federer took the first set 6-1 today against rafael nadal - he was brilliant. i don't think i have ever seen him play that well on clay before. but then, whatever happened, he lost his game, and nadal woke up. he *really* woke up. i think he deserves the win, he is the best clay courter at the moment, and has been for a while, but i still would have liked to see federer win and attempt the grand slam within the year. maybe next time. ;)

here's a visual update on the "garden", the plants on our balcony. they are getting more sunshine now, and it's warmer, so there should be a lot of progress shortly.

first marigold!

sunflower, still small, but growing

all sorts of plants

i have always wanted to know what kind of monster i am (i am sure you have, too), and fortunately blogthings has the answer:

My Monster Profile

Hungry Killer
You Feast On: Beer
You Lurk Around In: Olive Gardens
You Especially Like to Torment: Your Evil Twin

the funny thing is: i HATE beer, and cannot stand olives! *L*

song of the day: i burn today by frank black.

Friday, June 09, 2006

links, tennis, and me not talking about the football world cup

here are two links for you -

     beautiful photographs of people and nature

     how to speak hip

went back to work yesterday - and i was tired enough after the four hours with my new class; there are only six people, one of them, the only guy, is completely new to computers though. not sure yet whether there is a language problem, since he is originally from ex-yugoslavia, but so far he seems to understand alright. the group's very different from the previous one, the chemistry is so different. they're quieter, not connecting as easily, it seems. they seemed less tense today, however, and i am sure it'll be alright.

had to teach english yesterday evening, too, and i was very tired on my way home. today, i felt pretty okay most of the day, the only thing is that my head still feels like a padded bag, especially in the morning and evening.

watched more tennis - some really good games too. the dream final is on for sunday - federer vs nadal, and the women's final could be very interesting too - henin-hardenne vs kuznetsova. federer was simply not *there* earlier today, at the beginning of the match against nalbandian, but then he woke up, and took control. perfect tennis for a while. nalbandian had to retire eventually, shame. i did not see nadal's match against ljubicic. so - two more matches to watch at the french open.

austria's very talented junior tamira paszek went out in the quarter finals against the no. 1 seed, but it was a very close match. she's such a huge talent, and i hope they don't mess her up. she's only 15 1/2 and already managed to win a few games against professional players, the last one alicia molik at a recent tournament. one to watch.

all the guys are happy because THE day is here: the football world cup has begun. all the girls are happy, because they have a month of freedom coming up! ;)
i'll put a picture of my husband on my desk, so i won't forget what he looks like.

i hope to write some poetry again soon - so many ideas, but i cannot seem to put anything on paper. something's brewing, but it might take a little while longer until the time is ripe.

i received a note that james reidel's book of translations of austrian novelist and playwright thomas bernhard's poetry is now available. i am very much looking forward to reading it. i once translated several of bernhard's poems for a friend, but i am not sure whether the book includes translations of these particular works.

song of the day: the ice storm, big gust, and you by tilly & the wall.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

burble, babble, blab

after feeling *really* shitty and feverish friday night and most of saturday, things started to get better on sunday. no more 39°C (102F), no longer feeling as if my throat and mouth were on fire, no more agues. i spent most of the past days sleeping, resting, sweating, drinking lots, and watching tennis in between, wrapped up warm on the living room couch. sepp's been a really good nurse too. :)

monday was a public holiday anyway, and i decided not to go back to work until thursday, i hope i will be alright by then. thanks everyone for your good wishes!

as you can imagine, my life has not been *that* exciting over the last few days. today's date - 6/6/6 - is one of the most interesting things i have observed; that and the fact that i have 999 emails in my outlook express trash can. would you call that (666 vs 999) a sign? *L*

the weather was crap anyway last weekend, apart from several sunny hours on monday. clouds and sunshine today, and a little warmer. it's been chilly lately.

the french open brought some very entertaining matches, and some stunning games. nadal vs mathieu was terrific to watch. justine henin-hardenne played a perfect set against myskina. nicole vaidisova is one of the rising stars, it seems. she beat mauresmo (once again, sadly, shaky nerves in front of the home crowd) and venus williams. sad to see james blake go out - but he is not a clay courter, so there is hope for the upcoming tournaments on grass courts and hardcourts. :) i'm going to watch federer once i've finished this blog post - haven't seen much of him yet.

i am also finally reading, rather than dipping into, tori amos - piece by piece. very interesting stuff, an unusual approach to a "biography", consisting of interviews, ramblings, background information on songs, stories about her growing up (indian blood in the family, father a minister, religion a very important factor at home), her views on religion and the sacred feminine, and also insights into her creative process (particularly interesting for other artists). a must-read if you - like me - adore tori.

you will be pleased to hear (i think) that i am only 16% abnormal:

You are at low risk for being a psychopath. It is unlikely that you have no soul. You are at low risk for having a borderline personality. It is unlikely that you are a chaotic mess. You are at low risk for having a narcissistic personality. It is unlikely that you are in love with your own reflection. You are at low risk for having a social phobia. It is unlikely that you feel most comfortable in your mom's basement. You are at low risk for obsessive compulsive disorder. It is unlikely that you are addicted to hand sanitizer.

if we ever meet in ireland, you may address me as kayleigh o'neill which, according to blogthings, is my irish name. that's nice. i've always liked the name kayleigh, and the song by marillion is one of my favourite 80s songs.

still - today's song of the day's got to be something by tori amos. as i am just listening to it, i'll pick: father figure (live).

enough babbling for one day.

Friday, June 02, 2006

presents, flashquake, and a very sore throat

today was the last day with the group of 10 and then 11 women i taught for the last 10 weeks. after their last ECDL test, we sat and chatted, and had a few snacks - and the lovely ladies spoiled me rotten with their farewell gifts! this is what they gave me:

all swedish stuff! yay! they must have paid attention to more than just those things they needed to pass their tests ...

see - proof that i did not pig out on the goodies straight away! ;)

one student's card touched me especially - i have obviously made a little difference to her life, and it's wonderful to get such feedback.

thanks ladies!

more good news: the summer issue of flashquake is online! sharon hurlbut guest edited, and therefore is at least partly to blame that you will find 2 poems of yours truly in it: dream in c major and after the shipwreck - both 30/30 poems.

the not so good news: i have a terribly sore throat - every word is painful by now, and so is eating most things except soup. :( i am also running a temperature, and will take myself off to bed asap. sigh. the weather is horrible, and promises to get worse. ugh. so much for a nice long weekend.

EDITING IN: i've got the flu! waaaah! temperature's at 38,5C (101F) and rising! can somebody tell it to please go away? *sigh* back to bed ...

song of the day: ask the mountains by stina nordenstam and vangelis

Thursday, June 01, 2006

neologisms, zines, and my japanese name

not brand new, but in my inbox today - the results of the washington post's annual neologism contest:

1. Coffee (n.) the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.) appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.) to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.) to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.) impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.) describes a condition in which you absent-mindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.) to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n.) olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.) a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.) a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.) the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon (n) a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.) a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.) (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.) an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

why don't you add your own?

the new issues of tilt and the new issue of lily are online - go and read them!

oh and my japanese name, in case you ever want to address me in that language, is Tomiko Nakamura - according to blogthings.

song of the day - bob dylan man gave names to all the animals