Sunday, January 29, 2006

music, tennis, and the cold

talk about cold. it was FREEZING for about a week, down to -20 at night, even in/around vienna. *shiver* the danube was frozen as far as i could see from the bridge i cross every day on the train to and from work. the chilly northerly wind did not exactly make me more comfortable, but it seems to be getting warmer now. thank goodness.

took a few pics at dawn a couple of days ago, here's one - quite beautiful.

matt firth's seminar last weekend was good. saw some funny cartoons, both print and on dvd. i had not slept much the previous night, but time went quickly, and i only really felt tired when i got home.

teaching's going well, a group of six is really pleasant to teach.

managed to watch some tennis, and i have become quite a fan of cypriot marcos baghdatis (although greek natives say that his name is mis-spelled in other languages and should read markos pagdatis), as i assume many others have over the last fortnight at the aussie open. what a run he's head. excellent tennis. roger federer was quite emotional after claiming his 7th grand slam today. he deserves it too, he is such an amazing player.

am fast becoming a fan of someone else too - the walkabouts. i have now got more of their albums, and i am wondering why i have never really noticed them before. really great stuff.

slow day today, after spending the evening and half the night at babs and andi's playing games with them and a friend of theirs. sepp is more knackered than i am though. we did not get home until about 4.15! i guess we should start our game sessions earlier in the day ... *S*

here are a few pics:

babs playing the sax for us

andi kneading a tongue-twister (yes, i mean that)

sepp: 250 and counting

going strong, or not? michi and babs

hard to pick a song of the day today, though i have listened to bjork's bachelorette a few times, and watched the video. such a wonderful song. so maybe that's it. :)

Friday, January 20, 2006

teaching, movies, silliness

back to work this week, and about time too. i have a small group of only 6 students, and i am teaching them basics about data management, word, internet and perhaps a little excel; they are not taking any exams. so far things are going fine.

this is a short weekend, because i am attending a seminar tomorrow (sat) from 10 to 5, about using cartoons in english lessons. i look forward to speaking english for a few hours, and hopefully will come away with some useful ideas.

i managed to see two films on wednesday, "a good woman" (based on an oscar wilde play, lady windermere's fan) with helen hunt and scarlett johansson among others, and then "match point", woody allen's latest, this one also featuring scarlett johansson, alongside jonathan rhys-meyers and emily mortimer (whom i recognised from her minor part in "notting hill" where she played that perfect girl introduced to the hugh grant character by matchmaking friends). good stuff. i liked the twist near the end.

have not seen much of the australian open due to the time difference - they are ten hours ahead of us, so most of it is on tv during the night and until about lunchtime, just when i cannot watch. carlos moya went out in the first round, james blake lost in the third. rachael is doing her annual sebastien-cheerleading in melbourne and making me jealous with her emails!

i am slowly starting to write again. i feel like i often do before poems are coming; it's like words are buzzing around my brain, bumping into one another, sparking associations and short lines, but i am not really able to catch them and write them down yet. soon, i hope. no news re submissions, and i will have to inquire about a few next week.

i received dave ruslander's book "voices in my head" but have not had time to read much yet. but i do like what i read so far. picked up my copy of szymborska's "view with a grain of sand" today to reread a few poems. she is a wonderful poet. i'm reading "the shipping news" and finding passages very poetic.

song of the day: tremble (goes the night) by the walkabouts. i am getting into them more and more.

and here's something i came across, something fun. do follow the links, and do try it out yourself.

ten top trivia trips about michaela gabriel
oh right, old cleo, she never could get over the fact that i was more popular with the romans ... but i did take that particular quirk as a compliment.
re #3 ... ah yes, and it bloody hurt too!
re #10 and i had every reason to be doing that, believe me. no idea how to treat a lady, i tell you, that hades and his buddy charon!

ten top trivia tips about michi
i LOVE #4, #6 and #9! :) and i'll leave you wondering whether they're true ...

ten top trivia tips about george w bush
ah well ...
re #1 i wish he did!
re #2 i guess so ...
re #4 sad but i think that's actually true.
re #5 just goes to show, eh? and
re #6 i wonder what they are using him for! ;)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

home, down, reviewed

family visit earlier this week, from sunday afternoon until tuesday afternoon, i had not been home in ages. my granny is doing well, although she is beginning to forget things, so it happens that she asks the same thing twice. we had a little chat on tuesday morning which was nice. spent some time with "little" brother martin, too, who is about to start working on his master's thesis. went shopping, martin doing what i would say is sepp's job, coming along and waiting patiently until i have tried on approximately 27 pairs of boots. but i bought two in the end. pairs, that is, not boots.

taught english on thursday, only four students there, but it was a good lesson. i was tongue-tied in swedish though, really embarrassing. i did not seem to be able to switch from english to swedish, maybe because i had spent the afternoon/evening chatting with paula (in english) and reading "the no.1 ladies' detective agency" (in english), and then teaching english. who knows.

spent wednesday waiting for the plumber who never showed up. why do they do these things? it's ridiculous. anyway, they did come yesterday morning. we had a very pleasant evening scratching silicone from seams around the bathtub, and then filling them again (sepp's job, and a very messy one at that). the smell of the stuff is appalling.

my blog site would not work yesterday - it showed the header and then a bit of code, and that was it. i had not even touched the templates! i was mighty pissed off. sent email to the helpdesk, but they don't really send out anything but standard replies. anyway, i fixed it myself this morning by setting up a new blog and copying the code from there, but i had to type out and find, copy and paste all the links again, which took me the best part of 2 hours. but there are even more music links now. and i have saved the code, just in case this happens again. not many poetry links yet, but they will follow some day. there are a few on my website, but i am pretty sure some of them no longer work. fast-paced world, this one. (not that i know many others.)

a very nice surprise yesterday came from cheryl snell, a poet i know. she sent the draft of a review of my chapbook "apples for adam", asking if i'd mind her publishing that, and whether i had anything to say i wanted included in the review. you can read the review online now. thanks cheryl! (and now go and get her book "epithalamion" which is wonderful!)

excerpt from the review:

Almost any woman can recognize herself in Michaela Gabriel’s first chapbook, “apples for adam”. In these eighteen poems, many written in an intimate, confessional tone, the author explores the female psyche. With an economy of words, intricately woven textures bring each scene and portrait of modern and mythological women to life. [...]
(cheryl snell)
new music! reading is always dangerous, because i am sure to come across reviews of music that i find interesting, and then i have to go and check it out, and then i like it, and have to get it ...

song of the day yesterday: song of the shrimp, frank black. too cute.
song of the day today: what did i ever give you?, the kaiser chiefs. gotta love it.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

mai tai, planter's punch, and caipirinhas

amazing, but i don't even have a headache today, after the different cocktails i tried last night! why didn't anybody tell me that there isn't any punishment for nights out any more? who knows, i might do it more often now! :) gudrun went for strawberry margarita and caipirinha instead. have not inquired after the state of her health yet.

anyway, a couple of before-and-after pics, notice that i have finally had a haircut (not between the before and after, jeeeeeez!):



and guys, you missed your chance of staring at my cleavage. i'll have to be careful with that top i was wearing yesterday. and yes, to answer this once and for all: women DO notice, no matter what you think. we have eyes. we have brains. we use them. both. at the same time. it's called multi-tasking. :-p

speaking of which, arlene has accepted one of my poems for the erotica supplement of niederngasse, due out in february. :) from what i have seen, reading erotic poetry can do your head in. you should all try it some time. :))

allen's website is done, and finally online. go check it out at enjoy the words, music, and art!

am dyeing my hair today. i love it! :)

song of the day, hmmm ... tequila sunrise, perhaps?

Friday, January 06, 2006

slush, aliens, and a book

okay. so it's winter. we've noticed. the message has hit home. you can stop throwing snow at us now, thank you very much.

snow, i firmly believe, belongs in the countryside, snug little villages, fields where kids can spot traces of deer and hare or whatever local wildlife there is, and forests. snow does not belong in cities. though snow is quite alright compared to what it inevitably turns into: slush. yucky dirty stuff that you find yourself sloshing around in as soon as you venture outside. and, occasionally, venture outside is what a girl's gotta do.

standing ankle-deep in filthy-looking semi-frozen stuff is not my idea of a good day. the first thought is: "bleargh." not very eloquent, but entirely appropriate, closely followed by a mental note to never go to the trouble of shining your boots again in this kind of weather, it is a waste of time.

so, having sloshed and splashed one's way to the nearest tram stop, not at all amused by the state of one's formerly clean boots and jeans (now more or less soaked and filthy at the back up to, say, approximately the hollow of one's knee), one glances at other people's shoes and boots and trousers, and discovers that they have just as much reason to be pleased.

but then, inevitably, this one woman turns up. not always the same one, you understand, but some woman - though i secretly believe they are all aliens, really. some woman who, amidst all these puddles and half-melted heaps of soiled snow and filthy-up-to-the-knees (ie normal) humans, looks so squeaky clean as if she had floated to the tram stop inches above the ground. not so much as the tiniest splash or spot on her shoes, immaculate trousers (often cream-coloured or beige, sometimes even white, WHITE for goodness' sake!!) or long coat. how on earth do some people do that? it's not NORMAL!

bo will forgive me for quoting something i said in an email to him yesterday (i am not going to make the rest of our correspondence public, don't worry, although i do wonder whether the world might not benefit from that story you told me about ... oh, perhaps some other time. *smirk*), but: it's like those people who wake up with almost perfect hair - and i am talking about short hair, not long straight hair where you cannot do much wrong. uncanny. i always want to ask such people which planet they come from originally, and how they like it here.

and there is a third specimen of aliens, as i pointed out to my husband yesterday evening: the jeans-always-fit-me kind. people who will walk into any clothes store anywhere in the world, pull out a pair of regular jeans, try them on and announce happily (and very, VERY annoyingly): "okay, i'll take these!" there are other categories of jeans-buyers, i fall into the one titled "hopeless: 723 pairs of jeans later ..."

phew. i am glad i got that off my chest.

the good news is that i received my contributor's copy of "in our own words: a generation defining itself, vol 6" yesterday. edited by marlow peerse weaver, as usual, the book is about 120 pages longer than before, still chockfull of voices from around the world, all born between 1962 and 1980. my poem is called "fuck me lips". the book is available from

"hiss quarterly" told me they have fallen in love with the two poems i sent them, and they will both be published in the next issue - which means i have fallen in love with the magazine all over again. ;)

i think i forgot to mention that i am once again part of a campaign supported by gino d'artali of C.A.U.S.E, the D.I.S.A. ECUADOR 2006 CAMPAIGN which is all about creating awareness of child labour. i am happy to see my friends annette m hyder and anjana basu are also part of the poetry section of the project.

allen's website is almost done, i have been working hard on it, and enjoying it tremendously. my song of the day has to be BMFA by martha wainwright. i really am listening to her all the time at the moment. not tonight though, as gudrun and i are going out for cocktails! we've only been planning this since october, so you see, we are not the dithering kind.