Saturday, December 31, 2005

another year over ...

... to quote mr john lennon. and no. no i won't say it. i won't chime in. no way. i'm not going to say that i cannot believe another year has come and gone. i'm not one of those lamenting the passing of time in a flash. no. nor will i breathe a word about getting old. instead i'll mention a few of the good things about 2005, inspired by bo's best of list which i promised to reply to and "imitate".

so. i am sure i am not thinking of everything i read and saw and heard this year, but here goes:

best films this year: closer, million dollar baby, mar adentro (the sea inside), sideways, så som i himmelen (as it is in heaven), the life aquatic with steve zissou, broken flowers

most wonderful musical discoveries (not necessarily new stuff, but new to me): richard hawley, martha wainwright, lucky jim, madrugada, goldfrapp, the walkabouts, kaizer's orchestra, ed harcourt, holly golightly, britta phillips & dean wareham

best albums: richard hawley - coles corner, franz ferdinand - you could have it so much better, element of crime - mittelpunkt der welt, martha wainwright - martha wainwright, lucky jim - our troubles end tonight, the walkabouts - acetylene

best concerts: kaizer's orchestra, adam green, tori amos in london; and the performance by attwenger at the donauinselfest

best books i read this year: jasper fforde's thursday next series, dan brown - the da vinci code, terry pratchett - soul music, arlene ang - the desecration of doves (poetry)

bestest game: älgar!

most memorable days: holding my first chapbook in my hands, hiking in abisko np (sweden), hiking on kvaløy and fjellheisen (tromsø, norway), gudrun and harald's "second" wedding (church) incl baptism of their little simon, the return of my muse *S*, having a tooth extracted (very painfully)

and here are some pics taken on our balcony this morning. enjoy.

duck, up to the neck in it!

not much need for water

where have all the flowers gone?

snow shoe

no smoke, no fire

have a happy, healthy, sparkling, sun-filled, fun-filled, successful, fabulous new year everyone. :)

oh and song of the day (besides abba's happy new year): GPT by martha wainwright.

Monday, December 26, 2005

a rejection, books, and christmas

received a short rejection note from ghoti magazine where i had sent four poems. they addressed me as dear mr gabriel, but that has happened before, and will certainly happen again. ;) need to send out more subs soon, there are a few deadlines coming up. have not written anything either. hope to get into that mode again soon.

i was given a few books for my birthday, and bought some as well, despite having a backlog. i have dipped into "der dativ ist dem genitiv sein tod" several times, also into "the meaning of tingo". i read a girly book yesterday, it is so relaxing to read such books in between. got "quite ugly one morning" by christopher brookmyre for christmas, and am reading that now. good thing i did not begin it after having eaten - the first few pages could easily lead to recycled food ... i ordered four more books from amazon today, with gudrun and harald's birthday present, a gift voucher. there's a terry pratchett novel among those, and i look forward to reading that! i finished julian barnes' "england england" last week, a solid novel, but not the most impressive i have read. am also dipping into "in the arms of words" and allen itz' poetry collection now and then, enjoying both.

we stayed in vienna for christmas, spending the holidays at sepp's place. decorated the tree which is about 50-60cm high blue and silver:

sepp cooked us dinner, we listened to christmas songs, opened our presents - there wasn't that much, just a little something. we're both no fans of expensive gifts and christmas shopping frenzies.

my parents had sent some money and told me to get something for sepp, so i chose a book by sten nadolny and the bruce springsteen storytellers dvd. i gave him a dvd with some episodes of a children's programme which he used to love and in fact still likes, and his favourite sweets. i got a calendar with photos of sweden, and the brookmyre book.

we decided to sing a little ourselves, english, german and even a swedish song, and that was quite nice - as long as you were not an outsider listening, i suppose. ;)

here are a couple more pictures:

music: i am grateful to bo for mentioning martha wainwright not too long ago, rufus' sister. her cd martha wainwright is just wonderful. i cannot decide which is my favourite song, but "tv show" is a strong contender, and my song of the day:

I'm not such a good lover
I'm a better talker
So when you touch me there
I'm scared that you'll see
Not the way that I don't love you
But the way that I don't love myself
check her out.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

franz ferdinand, poetry, and no poetry

another concert then, franz ferdinand last thursday. i knew before even buying a ticket, that the stadthalle is not the best place for a band like franz ferdinand. they would be better off at a small venue - and so would we, the audience.

i met my friend tom for a chat before the concert at the beautifully named "by charles", clearly not an establishment of native english speakers but someone who has not twigged yet that the german "bei" and the english "by" can be false friends ... anyway, we were rather late then, missed the support band the rakes completely. my mood was seriously in danger when we were confronted with the cloakroom situation, or should i say, catastrophe? we tried four cloakrooms in vain ("oh but everything's full!), hoped the fifth would have room for our thick winter jackets and my heavy bag, but were sorely disappointed and moved on to cloakroom six where we just made it. quite a few people were less fortunate. i cannot how unprofessional all that was, and it was even worse after the concert. this was, after all, not the first sold-out concert there. hm.

anyway, the concert was good, a solid rock concert that got better after the initial few songs. acoustics are never really good at stadthalle, and that evening was no exception. i enjoyed the concert, it was a series of really good, even great songs, and of course i knew every single one them: from "dark of the matinee" to "this fire", from "auf achse" to "do you want to". they even played "eleanor put your boots on" and the equally charming "walk away". but - there is a but here - i would have loved to see them at a smaller, more intimate venue. and i think i was not the only one who tought so. maybe next time. until then, i will keep listening to their terrific second album. "you could have it so much better" - perhaps there is something to that, guys!

my poetry has recently appeared in or will shortly appear in:
* in the arms of words - poems for disaster relief, edited by amy ouzoonian, a print publication that is raising funds for the tsunami and katrina victims. you can read more about it on this site; buy it, it makes a lovely present.
* loch raven review - an excellent online magazine. four of the five poems i sent them were accepted, among them two rules poems, my poem dedicated to wladyslaw szpilman (remember "the pianist"?) and a poem about my neighbour, frau rausch. all poems were written during the 90 days at inside the writer's studio.

i received a rejection note from half drunk muse today:

I regret we will not be able to include your poems in the upcoming issue. Submissions this issue were especially strong and final decisions were difficult to make.
better luck next time. it is still a really cool zine! :)

still quite a few poems pending, i have been waiting well over three months for a reply from several magazines now, which i think is pretty long. i will have to inquire over the holidays. and submit to more zines!

i have not written more than one poem lately, since i stopped writing daily for the 30/30, but i hope to get back into the habit again after the madness of december has subsided. thank goodness i don't have to rush around buying christmas presents.

company christmas party last friday. here's a pic - (c) whoever it was who took the pics at the venue, mozart & meisl. it's me and andi, one of the technicians. it was rather nice, although i hardly knew anybody outside our floridsdorf team; stayed until 2.

saw the latest harry potter movie with sepp and birgit on saturday, not bad. we were at reinhard's on sunday, about 10 of us, to chat, eat, and watch "the blues brothers":
it's 106 miles to chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, a packet of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses. -- let's hit it.

finally saw gudrun and simon yesterday afternoon/evening. it was about time too! slept really badly last night, and i woke up at 20 to 6 this morning, unable to go back to sleep. 5.40! i ask you.

other news: bo, that former friend of mine (who will now most likely only hang out with other lucky bastards), won no less than a car at his company's christmas party, on his birthday! i am still waiting for a punchline to what MUST be a joke, but he is not delivering it. so - congrats bo! you should be relieved the winning ticket was 333, not 666. ;-p

i bought (yes, B-O-U-G-H-T, not won!) an mp3 player with some of my birthday money, but have not had time to play with it yet.

got me the book the meaning of tingo. check it out!

song of the day: walk away, by franz ferdinand (mascara bleeds a blackened tear indeed! ah!). or fade together, also by ff. so long!

Monday, December 12, 2005

billy, 90/90, and a worm

so i went to another concert last week. my teenage years were back to haunt me, it seems. my husband had persuaded me to come along to the billy idol concert with him and our friend tom, and who was i to say no to a free ticket (he paid)? so there we were, in the middle of a very mixed audience. i saw a couple who must have been around 60 as well as youngsters who must have been toddlers way back when billy had his big hits. unfortunately i was not really in a mood for a concert, and it was rather difficult for me to get into it, and it did not help that the place was sooooo packed, and i was separated from the guys pretty early on. but hey, it was a pretty good show. the guitar playing was impressive, as was billy's body. not many 50 year olds can show their body off like that, and get away with it. wow. not bad at all. of course there were all the big hits like flesh for fantasy, eyes without a face, hot in the city, rebel yell, dancing with myself, sweet sixteen and white wedding, as well as new songs. he definitely gave us a lot of music for our money, he played well over two hours. so even though i was a little lame myself, it was definitely worth going. quite fun too. :)

i look forward to thursday's concert, franz ferdinand! yay!

i have completed yet another round of 30/30 on ITWS, but am now taking a break. the last few days were quite a struggle, and i feel a little burnt-out, poetry-wise. also, there is very little time at the moment, so a time-out comes naturally, really. nobody was more surprised than myself that i managed to keep going for 90 days. the people at the forum are darlings, so supportive. and talented. such good poetry every day! i hope i won't stay away too long.

one of my 30/30 poems, inspired by arlene's generous threat, i mean: offer to marry me off to the frog prince, was published in (the poetry)worm. it's called frog prince. it is not online yet, the worm is circulated via email but will be archived at a later date. the sequel, wedded to the frog prince, has not been submitted anywhere yet.

several poems are still under consideration, having made it through first and second rounds. we'll see what comes of that.

work's going alright. teaching till four is actually not as bad as i had expected. time goes fast, for the most part. the group's still rather quiet, not just compared to the previous one. i still miss them, actually.

went out with my friend prue last friday, one of my celta buddies. she's such a lovely woman. we had considered going to the movies, but couldn't find anything that really tempted us, or showed at a decent time, so we just chatted away for hours.

prior to that, i finally visited LUSH! in vienna. ah! the smell! lovely, lovely indeed. only bought two shampoo bars that will certainly last for ages, at least until spring 2007. i adore that stuff!

we were in upper austria this past weekend, for sepp's dad's 70th birthday. it was nice, especially with sepp's niece and nephew, julia and manuel. lots of food though, unfortunately. *sigh* i had to work my gym bike hard when we were back sunday evening.

sepp got himself a new job - although he still is not quite sure what he's let himself in for. i guess he'll find out soon enough ... ;) e-learning manager at the university of natural resources and applied life sciences, does that sound impressive or what? *G* he'll be employed which is a big big bonus. anyway, we'll have some bubbly now, if you'll excuse me.

oh, before i go: song of the last few days, i suppose in the dutch mountains by the nits. always reminds me of my little brother when he actually was rather little. ;) so then - follow the cloud that looks like a sheep!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

reading, thinking, writing

read anita diamant's "the red tent" which i found to be a very well-told story, whether historically accurate or not. found some articles discussing the book as well:
jewish news
study series using the novel

i have picked up "mother tongue" by bill bryson again, always fascinating to delve into the peculiarities of the english language. and fun too!

thinking of sponsoring a child somewhere on this planet. sounds like a good idea to me. there are so many people out there who need our help. i as contemplating donating money instead of buying christmas presents, but then my father approached me with an idea for a christmas present for him, and i didn't say no, so ...
i am not growing any fonder of christmas as the years pass, perhaps i will like it better when i have a child of my own and i can watch him or her enjoy christmas trees and gifts.

i am still writing! i am on day 26 of round 3, though i am contemplating a break after this round. i might be away from the computer for a while around christmas anyway. we shall see. part of me is actually scared to break the flow. *S*

had some lovely feedback re my poetry, not just the latest published at underground window, but also on the poems posted on my website (which is badly in need of an update!), those in my chapbook, and those posted at the 30/30 forum. :)

song of the day, song of most of the last week in fact: whisper by the walkabouts. i love love love it.

Truth's a whisper
A shaky whisper
Chase it, then it's wrong
Time is panic
Hushed and rankled
You feel it, then it's gone
Shout! Got nothing to show for this
Shout! Where is the now?
Where are the next three minutes?