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Um, another two-week hiatus; but this time it wasn't just sheer laziness/apathy. I've (finally, finally) made it to Salzburg Thu. evening last week and stayed until Wed., and while I didn't do as much as I'd planned, I enjoyed it a lot.

Personal ramblings and a few photos. )
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I should maybe update again? Finally drove to Salzburg last Thursday, via a very scenic route in both senses of the word, following the Danube until Grein, because you can only take the Westautobahn so many times before getting bored out of your mind, and that was already a gorgeous start to this holiday, sun glittering on the water, the vineyard terraces on the hills that at this time of the year, without the cover of vegetation, gave the whole landscape a somewhat scarred, patched up look...

Friday and Saturday were incredibly beautiful, sunny but hazy, a blue sky behind a veil, distances blurred, all creating a very dreamlike, almost unreal, magical mood. Biked to Salzburg Friday afternoon and took a long walk around the Mönchsberg, the city lovely below, shining in bright pastels against the background of muted browns and light blues. Saturday I drove to Bad Ischl, but ended up just walking around a lot, aimlessly following various footpaths. It makes me feel so uncultured, but I'm really not in the mood for sightseeing or museums these days. I want to either be outside, or read or write. Then drove on to Obertraun, because I wanted to check something out, and walked along the Hallstätter See until the sun disappeared behind the mountains. It was so gorgeous I can't even begin to describe it. I had the camera with me, but no photo would have adequately captured the mood, so I didn't even bother taking it out. Felt surprisingly relaxed and at peace; usually it takes me at least several days to get into this mood.

Sunday was mostly overcast and I stayed indoors, and yesterday the weather changed. Everything is bright and clear now, colours are deeper and warmer already, and it feels more like spring. Still beautiful, but in a different way, and not quite as ethereally magical. Slightly intimidating, for some reason.

What else? I'm spending quite a bit of time beating into shape the Jack/Ianto meta I'm currently writing (I know, I know. I hadn't actually thought it'd be possible to find something new to write on this subject either, but turns out I was wrong. God knows I wasn't planning on this. But it's actually quite good, or at least that's how it felt yesterday when I'd finally transformed the S2 chapter from a formless mess I rather hated, because the main argument is really in S1, into something that made sense and fit logically.)

Still, though. When have I lost the knack of writing meta under 5000 words? I'm at ca. 8300, and the CoE part is only a draft, because I've only just rewatched D1 and D2 yesterday. It's strange... I haven't even cried after the first time, it's not as if I'm falling into a pit of depression for days afterwards, but CoE is still one of these cases where there's always this moment of hesitancy, where I keep putting it off and off, vague thoughts of whether I really want to put myself through this, until I finally give myself a push. Sometimes I wonder if I'd have rewatched it at all if I hadn't wanted to write about it.

Meanwhile, I'm also reading Alex Ross's The Rest is Noise (huge thanks @ [ profile] un_crayon_rouge for the tip!) and am enjoying a lot. Most of the more musical theoretical stuff is of course beyond me, since I can only read music only on a very, very basic level, but it's extremely interesting from a historic perspective, and really helps me to slot into place all the names I'm already vaguely familiar with either from work or TM's diaries, giving them context and chronology.

*sigh* It's Tuesday already, almost the middle of the second week of my holiday. First week of March. Why does there always seem to be too little time, especially for the stuff I love doing, that makes me feel like myself?

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# I'm not actually dead. I've even been online, more or less - I used to insist that Salzburg/Maishofen was my internet and computer free time, just me and my books, detox, but I've finally caved and bought myself usb-stick internet for my sister's old laptop that I mainly got to familiarise my Mac using self with Office, Excel, etc., which I've totally failed to do so far. But, holiday internet. *conflicted sigh* I'm not using it as much as I do at home, partly, but hopefully not only because I'm paying for bandwidth; I'm feeling quieter here, more at peace, not as compelled to follow every bit of discussion or drama, because god forbid I should miss someone being wrong on the internet somewhere; more removed from it all; but the mere fact that this whole world is there when I want it is a reassurance. Which actually scares me quite a bit. We shouldn't be so dependent on things that... are real, I'm not going to argue that, but also in a way seem very fragile and... disappearable? Which isn't a word, I know. Maybe it's not having grown up with all this technology that makes me a bit wary of its permanence and ultimate reliability.

# Anyway. Had seven rather nice days of skiing... )

# With all this and my whole lack-of-fitness related state of constant tiredness I didn't get a lot of reading done so far. Finished re-reading TM's Königliche Hoheit, which I still find kind of... sad. There are brilliant ironic and genuinely funny parts, but the love story, while touching, strikes me as more melancholy than not.

Then read R. Safanski's Heidegger biography (Ein Meister aus Deutschland), which I picked rather randomly out of my father's bookcase for no very good reason, except that I vaguely wanted to start getting over my complete stupidity/lack of understanding/slight apprehension when it comes to philosophy, which I've always avoided because it seemed a bit too abstract for my too-materialist, too-concrete brain that finds it easier to look for models and answers in history, sociology and psychology, and found it readable and interesting when I opened it and gave it a cursory glance. And at least in the first part of the book Safranski did manage to convey even to me an idea what philosophy can be about, and while the philosophic parts were a bit of a difficult read at first for the complete newbie lacking even a good part of the basic terminology, also an impression of where Heidegger was going with his ideas. But then of course there's the inherent question about the worth of philosophy when it doesn't stop the philosopher from being just as fallible and wilfully blind as the next average, unphilosophic person... In any case, it was a fascinating introduction into the history of thought in the 20th century, and I found at least Heidegger's early philosophy with its importance of questions instead of answers, deconstruction of absolutes and emphasis on personal perception and immediate experience of living interesting, if a little too... self-involved, maybe, in the end? It touches something I've been wondering myself - how much, how far can you deconstruct absolutes and preconceptions, something that studying history does, too, until you're left with nothing, floating in relatives, questioning and second guessing your every opinion? Feeling like you're losing yourself in all the ifs and buts and OTOHs and looking at everything from every possible angle? And what then? Where, to quote Buffy & Co, do we go from here? Are there any answers? Or is this only a problem because on some fundamental level my ex-catholic brain hasn't quite given up wanting or believing in the existence of absolutes?

[On a side-note, in my personal and admittedly once again completely materialist opinion the next major revolution about human thought and self-perception, the definition of man and structure of society will be caused by what science will discover about the function of the human brain over the next decades.]

It also totally made me want to write something about the philosophic background in TW, which I guess is wildly, wildly inappropriate? Not to mention completely presumptuous and idiotic considering my vague to the point of barely-there-at-all knowledge about 20th century philosophy. But I already have ideas & notes! Gah! Read about Heidegger and wrote notes about Jack. Oh dear. *facepalm* But he's such a classic example of being 'thrown' into life, and if it isn't the knowledge of his own mortality that defines his life (rather the reverse), it's everyone else's. Would it be possible to do this sticking strictly to the TW-text and not dragging and actual philosophers into it & thereby making an utter fool of myself?

# Saw Avatar with G. last week before I left & was mainly bored & more bored (also cramped after three hours & I still find 3D movies exhausting to watch), although I have to say I kind of liked Neytiri. What completely baffles me is that apparently you can spend what must have been an absolutely indecent amount of money on the special effects, and still have a script & dialogue that are this bad. What could a good script writer have cost in comparison?

# I'll have to catch up with all the recorded figure skating when I come home, but I'm sad that Lambiel didn't make it on the podium. This was the one Olympic fairytale I really wanted to see happen.

# Friday already! Having to drive home the day after tomorrow. Still so much Russian homework to do. Back to work on Monday. I think I'm going to be sick.
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::yawns:: I guess it would have been too much to ask to be eased gently from holiday-mode into work-mode.

Woke up from a nightmare today where - my sister, I think - killed someone and I spent the the best part of the dream trying to get rid of a plastic bag with (curiously small) body parts. Very relieved to wake up, let me tell you. That's what you get when you're wishing for 'real' nightmares instead of university/work related anxiety dreams. :)


Brief holiday summery.

# Lazy, lazy, lazy. Never even made it to Maishofen, stayed in Salzburg the whole two weeks.

# The single exeption from the general & completely embarrassing laziness was a lot of Russian learning. Once I actually brought myself to open the book & put the CD into the CD player, I really enjoyed it, or at least it wasn't a chore & gave me the sense of having achieved something and actually using my brain for once; I don't know why I kept putting off and off and off until I'd forgotten so much, for one and a half months. My brain works in strange and unfathomable ways. [ETA a couple of tiring work days (& coming home completely braindead) later... oh wait. Question answered.] Repeated, wrote a lot/много писала, and I mean a lot, used up almost a whole spiral notebook, the next person to use the recycling bin is going to wonder, because as it was I couldn't spell at all without checking with the textbook over and over, and sadly knowing how to pronounce the word rarely helps (*is nostalgic for Spanish*), browsed a bit through the rest of our textbook and went through the first six tracks of my vocabulary CD [новые слова изучала]. I hate the early stages of a language when you're hitting walls with every step & can't say anything beyond, Меня зовут Вероника, живу в Вене, русский язык изучаю, because you're lacking the grammar and words. Grr.

At one point, when I was tinkering with my TW fic I started to write g's for d's and cyrillic s's and for a moment couldn't remember how to write a latin one. *headdesk*

# Reading: Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus (reread), and then The Making Of Die Entstehung des Doktor Faustus (new) & more about that later, because the desire to say something even remotely intelligent and coherent is what keeps me from hitting 'post' since Monday-ish; maybe when I've also reread the relevant diary years. Still very brilliant; still completely heartbreakingly sad. Struggled through the music passages like always with only a very shadowy understanding, because my theoretical knowledge stops at being able to read a (simple) score, but repeatedly caught myself at the thought that I must get the CDs. ::facepalm::

Finished Modern Nature and started Smiling in Slow Motion (rereads; & btw, watched The Garden just before I left, which is eerily, elegically beautiful & which I'm going to take a gazillion screencaps of for my screensaver folder to replace the current Torchwood wallpapers); read Dostojewskij's Aufzeichnungen aus dem Kellerloch (one of those books that are just a bit too close for comfort, even if you're aware of enough distance and difference not to actually identify) and Vladimir Sorokin's Der Himmelblaue Speck (No comment here; so far I've always liked his novels, but this was just crazy, and not a little shocking; I've no idea where, if anywhere, he's going with it; probably I've missed the point completely.)

Tried to reread Mrs Dalloway, but while I still love Virgininia Woolf's prose, I can't seem to focus. I stare at a paragraph for minutes, starting over and over, and my mind keeps drifting, I've no idea why.

# Discovered to my complete shock & amazement that I was still fit enough to run through the park, down the whole Hellbrunner Allee and back again without a break. More morning runs. A bit of biking around, to Bad Reichenhall and, once, around the Untersberg, this with a lot of ups & downs, geographically speaking.

# A bit of uninspired (everything too lush & green, too neat & picturesque) photography, although with some surprisingly nice results when I least expected them. Or at least that's what I thought when I quickly looked through the pictures yesterday.

# Watched some old school DW, Genesis of the Daleks, which was a bit... um, archaic?, and, er, maybe kind of stiff when you haven't grown up with it, but I can totally see the cult potential (although I think I prefer modern day Sarah Jane), and City of Death, which I genuinely enjoyed (without politely phrased reservations); funny, with Douglas Adams' touch very recognisable.

# Day-trip to Munich, Lenbachhaus and Pinakothek der Moderne. The former — lots of early Kandinsky landscapes; lovely but almost impossible to appreciate hanging side by side like that, one explosion of colour after another, impossible to chose; frustration at the sudden complete block in my mind at his abstract paintings, fighting my stupid and too literal brain for something like fifteen minutes, trying to make some kind of connection, with some success, but no real understanding. It's strange, or maybe more precisely, fascinating how these things work, or don't work. Earlier that morning I had the rather unsettling experience of looking at a painting and suddenly it kind of... dissolved and all I could see was strokes of paint on a canvas, and it meant nothing at all. It passed, but wtf, brain? Münter, Jawlensky, Marc; Klee, lovely - mystery and subtle humour. Sitting in the garden, the sun coming out after a rainy morning, writing this into my notebook, the square paving stones of the path, greyish- brown, with moss and the occasional small plant growing between them, like a Klee painting. Nothing that I completely loved, but a lot that I liked.

The Pinakothek - More expressionism, since it fit the theme of the day, skipped most of the rest.

# All the time the underlying (although not very worrying) question, why all this, what am I trying to find in all those, books, stories, art — distraction, entertainment, truth, a better understanding of life? Coupled with the suspicion that it all isn't quite real, quite essential, at least looking at it (creating might be different); but what is? The obvious answer is children, but I don't have the least desire for a child. So. ::shrugs:: Also a certain restlessness, dissatisfaction with the sameness & repetition; I think I need a out-of-Austria holiday soonish.

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Had a lovely week full of sunshine, blue sky, biking around a bit, walks in Hellbrunn and around Salzburg, a bit of photography (*), a zoo visit, two museum visits (neither very satisfactory, because I most definitely wasn't in the right mood for looking at art or learning about Salzburg history; everything from taking photos to reading a book or simply being outside seemed more inviting); reading (**), re-watching Doctor Who (S1 & the beginning of S2; it had taken me half a season to get used to David Tennant, but now going back is a bit weird...) and Brokeback Mountain (***). A lovely trip to the Chiemsee, which was a dream of mist and sunshine, frost on trees and and blue water in the morning, sunshine and hazy snowy mountains on the horizon across more blue water in the afternoon, also a boat trip and barely any tourists at all.

Generally felt very balanced and at peace with myself; this week finally a got a bit itchy and restless and thought perhaps now I'd enjoy going skiing after all, but on the whole I'm glad I didn't. In a way I love it too much, and every time I have to drive home again, which is invariably on a day when the sun is shining from a perfect blue sky and the snow is glistening, I slip right into depression again at the thought of my boring job in my sunless shop with nothing but houses and concrete to look at and all the supposed holiday relaxation was for nothing. Less of a endorphin rush, more quiet and peacefulness, which I think was what I needed.

My mother came over for a night because of the skylight we're supposed to be getting, but in my zen state of mind that was all right, too, even if she does drive me kind of crazy by immediately putting away everything which isn't in its proper place and talking all the time, and mostly about things that to me just don't seem really worth talking about; at least not at such a length... But then, that's what she'd think if she knew, oh, about my TW rambling.

And speaking of which... two episodes to watch now. :)

(*) Although I still lack the right kind of eye, or maybe the right kind of feeling, for this city. I'm starting to like it better and to see the beauty, but it seems impossible to take a photo that has individuality and some sort of personal perspective instead ob bland, boring prettiness, and doesn't already exist in a million tourists' versions...

(**) Yevgeny Zamyatin's We (fascinating, loved it), Halid Ziya Uşaklıgil's Verbotene Lieben (good read, even if not exactly my kind of thing), D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover (enjoyed the beginning, but ended up disliking it a lot), the better part of Simon Wiesenthal's Recht, nicht Rache and a bit of Clive Barker's Weaveworld (re-read), some of which I might actually write about a bit (i.e., type up what I wrote in my away-from-the-internet paper-journal), if ever all that TW lets me.

(***) I swear that film depresses me more every time I watch it. Perhaps because it's impossible after the first time to see the romance part and not already also know about the tragedy and futility and waste of lives, or maybe this is simply the part that resonates most strongly with me...

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Quick summary of, er, since I last updated. (Funny how every time I make a big dramatic post about OMGjournalingblock&self-hatred, updating suddenly becomes easier...)

Around All Saints Day I took a couple of days off for a four days trip to Salzburg, where I took a lot of walks as well as a lot of photographs, and felt, if not exactly happy, at least mostly relaxed and content and a bit more like breathing freely.

a few more pictures )

Also watched S5 finishing my B5 marathon and I cried through the best part Sleeping In Light from the moment Susan gets Sheridan's letter, which must be a new record. One might think I'd have become a bit desensitised by the third or fourth time, but apparently I'm getting even more sentimental in my old age. ::sigh::

Surprisingly enough I found I liked - the telepath[s of the very glossy hair, and does it come with the gene?]-arc aside - S5 best of all, maybe because it's the most grittily realistic. Maybe I've become too old and cynical, or maybe it's the spirit of the time and we've all become harder and more disillusioned, but at times throughout the earlier seasons I caught myself thinking that this would never work out, people are just never that idealistic, self-less and heroic and not the least bit corrupted by the power the wield. (And I guess MJS must have been aware of that potential problem, or he wouldn't have gone to such lengths to establish Sheridan and Delenn's personal integrity, not to mention Sheridan's personal memento mori.)

The character I most identify with is still Garibaldi, Sinclair can be surprisingly, dare I say it, hot on occasion, and somehow Ivanonva doesn't live up to the memories I have from when I watched the show on tv.

reading: Naomi Novik: Empire Of Ivory, Perihan Maǧden: Two Girls, Clive Barker, Mister B. Gone )

Since then, work, procrastinating (as usual), two birthday cakes (cheesecake for B. and M. at work, apple cake for my father), a bit of a lingering cold, more work with books arriving at the last possible moment or later, skipped Spanish class & belly dancing class this week because I was too tired and sick, with a sudden pain in my back/right hip to add to the general miserableness, snow, cold, heat in my apartment not working when I tried to turn it on Saturday (repair guy comes tomorrow), being wrapped in blankets with a hot water bottle as a result, starting to watch the Hornblower DVDs I bought a while back, and while it's a bit like O'Brian light, the boy is ridculously pretty as well as heroic, and it's fairly enjoyable to watch...
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*sigh* I tried to put nailpolish on my toenails, but immediately realised that the last thing my feet needed was anything drawing attention to them. Now I've got ugly violet stains there that I can't get entirely rid off. I obviously suck at all things female.

Pessoa's Buch der Unruhe is one of the books I took along but didn't read, but '[...] meine Autobiographie ohne Fakten, meine Geschichte ohne Leben' - I'm somewhat tempted to make that the title of my journal if it weren't too depressing; it's so fitting.

The possibility of reincarnation scares me.

. o O o .

Vacation so far has been a bit of a failure. )

. o O o .

Yesterday, four hour drive home from a cool Salzburg morning to sultry 30+ degree Vienna, dentist appointment (thankfully uneventful), laundry, crashed in front of the tv, tried to catch up with the internet.

Today, IKEA with my sister and niece, and if I ever needed confirmation that I'd not be suited to be a mother... Not that I don't love my niece, because I do, but I don't think I'd be able to deal with a child 24/7.

And now it's 22:30, I haven't packed anything, and I must leave before 8.00 tomorrow. Somehow I'd thought it was later.


*rushes off*

*comes back to edit*

*rushes off again*

solitary_summer: (cat (© clive barker))

Holiday, pt. 2

[ more pictures here ]

To sum up, and contrary to the evidence of the picture above, it rained. A lot.

In slightly more detail, I arrived in Maishofen. It started to rain. And went on raining. Thursday it finally cleared up and I managed a hiking tour, which was mostly pretty, but where I found out that despite the morning runs my form is still? again? sadly lacking. (Yes, it was kind of steep, and also a few days before my period started, but still...) Also, I need to do something against my cow-phobia. Saturday It started to rain again, and that pretty much was it. So it didn't really matter all that much that - Tuesday, I think - I ran against the door-frame and bruised and maybe, but probably not, slightly cracked my little toe. Trip to the hospital, X-ray, which at least killed an hour or so. Couple of days of hopping around, which was less than amusing. Saturday before I left if finally cleared up again, but by then I still couldn't wear my hiking boots without the toe hurting. Sat on the balcony in the evening with a glass of wine, watching first dusk fall, and then a thunderstorm approaching from the west, lightning flashing over the mountains... which was pretty much the only time I felt truly relaxed and almost happy.

And yes, I do realise that it's horribly self-indulgent and petty to whine about such minor irritations when a couple of hundred kilometers further west streets and houses were swept away by flooding and land-slides.

So what I did was try to at least get out on the bike for a couple of hours each day when/if the rain stopped, and read. A lot. Tolstoi's War and Peace, which for the greater part I liked very much. My only (very minor) issue is with the second part, where occasionally he gets a little too long-windedly didactic in his theoretical historic passages for my taste. The problem, I guess, is whereas his historic approach was probably ground-breaking and new when he wrote the novel, it is rather less so a century and a half's worth of historical and sociological theories later, and you occasionally get a little exasperated, when what you already understood and found interesting the first, second and third time, is explained over and over again. And there's the occasional over-dose of patriotism and partiality for Kutusow... Also while you get to like the characters so much you want them to be happy, the epilogue with everyone happily married and I don't know many children is a little too sweet for my taste, but, again, minor irritations. Great writing, great characters throughout, loved it. Cried through Andrej's death; he's perhaps the character I liked best, always searching for something...something more, something beyond, and never quite reaching it, never really finding peace, only in the end, 'waking up from life'.

Finished Dostojewski's Crime and Punishment this time, and was very impressed with it. The first time I got stuck somewhere around Marmeladow's death, because between the endless, all-pervading misery, the apparently pointless murder and Raskolnikow's constant mood-swings and near-hysteria, I found it rather tiring to read, but once Raskolnikow's motif is explained it and his true tragedy becomes apparent, that it is not remorse for the murder that tortures him, but the fact that he fell short of his own standards because he could not coldly commit and bear the murder that was supposed to prove him one of the few, great people set apart from the masses who for the good of humankind in his opinion are above rules, conventions and laws. The problem of course is that partly he is right, because history has double standards and allows people to spill a lot of blood and will still call them great, but the sheer arrogance of deciding that he is one of these people and committing a murder almost exclusively with the purpose of proving this is breathtaking, as is the hurt pride in the self-disgust at having failed. (It is rather symptomatic that he's convinced that his sister is willing to martyr herself for him, but when she does appear in person it turns out she's not quite the self-sacrificing suffering saint, but a woman with a brain, personality and standards, who's in fact perfectly capable of weighing her options and making decisions for her life.)

Somehow, this novel and Raskolnikow's character seem to be almost prophetic for a good part of the 20th century...

Aber wenn du Blutvergießen aus Gewissen erlaubst, so ist das entsetzlicher als eine offizielle, sanktionierte Erlaubnis zum Morden...

I can't put it into wordes, but there's something about both novels, the sheer scope and depth of emotions, the subjects adressed, that is... TM's 'heilige russische Literatur' makes a lot of sense.

Also read Gogol's Dead Souls, which was a good, amusing read, but I do hate unfinished WIPs, so it's probably a good thing I didn't know that when I bought it...

Barbara Nadel, Belsazar's Tochter and Ake Edwardson, Der Himmel auf Erden, because they were on sale and you can't read Russian classics all the time.

Re-read a good part of TM's Doktor Faustus, still/again very much intrigued & noticed that TM is the first author in a long time whose books I actually re-read.

Gave up on Josef Winkler (too depressing) and Amos Oz (just couldn't get into it).
solitary_summer: (collar ((© clive barker)))

The most pointless, frustrating, depressing (& depressed) and generally annoying vacation ever. I'm too disgusted with myself & circumstances to even rant about it.

For now. (::sigh::)

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::sigh:: I don't really want to, but if I don't write it now, it'll get relegated to notepad & remain half-finished forever... In any case even this is preferable to proof-reading G.'s really quite horrible English.

10. - 16. 6., just for personal reference )

Also, pictures, in case anyone is interested. Mostly I'm not really satisfied with them, too touristy, too shiny, there was never any time to really chose a motif, and I'm really not familiar enough with my camera & its functions.

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No traveling with an organised group. No traveling with a parent. Ever, EVER again. My solitary self just can't deal with the stress.

It was rather interesting, though, otherwise, but more tomorrow.

*is dead*
solitary_summer: (candy 2 (© clive barker))

Back, & not very happy about it. Somewhat erholt, but having to leave today - snow & snow & snow, with the sun shining from a deep blue sky, not a cloud in sight, was cruel. Gah.


so... )

Read a lot, but that's another entry... v. tired.
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torn between an increasing sense of pointlessness of keeping a journal & the nagging feeling of guilt that at this rate i'll never catch up. too many entries half-formed in my head and never enough time or energy to actually write them out. words never seem to fit recently, always akward, out of reach...

'Don Giovanni' at Salzburg with the parents, by their invitation, obviously. didn't have the nerve to ask what the ticket actually cost. :: facepalm :: god. i'm feeling so very posh even mentioning this. about as much as i felt underdressed there.

anyway. in retrospect perhaps it was wrong wanting to see this solely upon M. Kusej directing. after all - and maybe i hadn't been sufficiently aware of this - direction is not the most important thing with an opera, or at least not as important as it can be with theatre - the music is; me being not much of an opera person i obviously lack a lot of listening experience to really appreciate the music the way it deserved to be. as far as i can tell, the singers were all very good. acted, too.

the production was sparely elegant, with Kusej's trade mark beautiful, rather static images, emphasising the emotional coldness, the brutality, the meaninglessness of the life DG leads.
about Leporello killing DG in the end - from what i gathered from various articles, the intention was to show that DG was already dead as far as his soul was concerned and Leporello was merely killing him as a kind of mercy. but seeing as this happens right before DG is being dragged to hell this still doesn't make a lot of sense to me (unless of course you're supposed to interpret 'hell' as a psychological process only, a kind of ultimate decline), though i actually did understand it that way at the moment i was seeing it. right then i thought perhaps he believed he might save DG's soul by killing him, though i don't think in reality there's much indication for that.

on the other hand, starting from something my mother said (despite the fact that her idea was derived from a misunderstanding of something she'd read) DG and Leporello might indeed be looked at as two aspects of the same person. after a series of unsuccessful tries at either making him change his behaviour or leaving him, starting from the non voglio più servir at the beginning, in the final crisis unable to save him he is forced to take a decision - kill him or be dragged to hell (or whatever mental and moral decline this is a metaphor for) along with him. i'm no longer sure it makes much sense put this way, but it did make sense in my head at one point.

that it's not Leporello, but DG who sings the first couple of lines might hint at this, and it would fit with what Kusej did with Hamlet a couple of years ago, merging several parts and having them personify the different voices in Hamlet's head.

the revolving stage with its doors and concentric structure - metaphor for the self-centered mind, the guilt (personified by his victims) waiting at the center, unseen or ignored, biding their time until he is forced to ultimately acknowledge them ?

interesting, too, that at the beginning of the 21st century 'DG' has become decidedly moral, presented in a way that isn't supposed to invite the least sympathy for the main character any longer. we see his skillfully employed charm at work in his seductions, but the brutality of his behaviour otherwise makes the sweetness all the more horrific. this is not the rebellion of the individual against social norms, but a libertà empty of meaning and lacking anything to defend itself against; no brave, if ill-advised, defiance of conformity until the end, no tragic hubris that has at least a touch of grandeur, but the necessary end to a meaningless life that revolves around an obsessive and neverending search for distraction from its emptiness. voglio divertirmi.

now this makes the opera very dark indeed, all the lives influenced, almost destroyed by and revolving about this centre of negativity...

pity that seeing it again isn't an option...

visited Schloss Hellbrunn while i was there, very pretty. got wet at the trick fountains along with a horde of tourists, which was quite fun, especially in this heat. learned that the sunflower did come from Peru, which, in all honesty i hadn't known. never given it much thought.

my father insisted we all have lunch together, the result being i was sick on the train home and didn't feel too well all evening. :: le sigh :: family...

actually managed to go biking for 3 hrs before work - i'm kinda proud of myself.

drove the car over to my sister's place and returned by train - crossing the Danube offered an incredible view... the sun was just setting, the sky a very pale blue partly veiled with thin white clouds - somehow its reflection made the river look like it was made of some solid substance rather than water, a broad, light band just lying there, stretching under the bridge, absolutely unmoving. surreal.

also, Buffy finale. plot-wise, i wasn't overly impressed, but imho the show has always been better with the small touches, character building, humour and such, than the big plot arcs. however, i rather liked how it became more and more blatantly feminist towards the end - now one could or course argue that 'Buffy' is inherently feminist, but it never struck me as forcible as in the last couple of episodes when the girls stand up to the guardians of patriarchalic order - the police when they try to beat up Faith, the obsessively misogynist priest Caleb (imo one of the scariest villains in the Buffy-verse), ultimately changing the fundamental rules about there being only one slayer. it could have been horribly cliched, but somehow it wasn't...

plus, i've always had a soft spot for the Spike/Buffy , er, 'relationship' after her, er, resurrection, maybe because for (or because of) all the issues it's fraught with it's remarkably lacking in gender clichés...

sweet, in the end. ah well, enough said, it's almost 4 am & i'm drop dead tired... g* came over earlier & it was actually kind of nice, companionable. friendshipy. but now the caffeine is finally wearing off...

now i only wish some tv station would do a complete rerun, because i only started watching at some point mid-4th season...

solitary_summer: (Default)

[typed and edited 10-09-2003]

8:30 [? might have been a bit earlier] Saalfelden (Einsiedelei)
10:00 Peter Wiechenthaler Hütte (1.707 m)
(short lunch break)
14:00 Riemannhaus (2.177 m)
(another short break)
17.15 back at the car, somewhat stumbling with fatigue. Or would have been, except for the hiking poles, which are the best invention since, well, ever for walking downhill.

Beautiful, especially the first part of the hike; the part on the plateau itself between the Weissbachscharte and the Riemannhaus was a bit tiring; though I like the Steinerne Meer, its bleak, forbidding aspect, grey with only the occasional veins of brick red, violet or yellow running through the stone across one's path, those limestone rocks are not exactly ideal for hiking. The last part down from the Riemannhaus was annoyingly overcrowded and not really worth mentioning, except when one turned around and looked up at the mountains, a rather spectacular view.

I took so many books on this vacation, but actually read almost nothing worth mentioning. Indulged my fantasy loving side with R. Pinto's 'The Standing Dead', skipping back and forth, unsure whether to bother finishing it at all, but ended up reading most of it. He certainly has a fondness for gruesome details, but it's refreshing to read a fantasy novel where the author at least has a realistic view of the type of society he bases his world on. Nothing more annoying than those writers who only have the sketchiest historical knowledge or concept of different societies functioning in widly different ways and end up with some nauseatingly cloying mixture of the (alleged) romance of feudalism and the political correctness of late 20th century democratic ideals.

And while I do have a very un-intellectual love for sappy happy endings, I have even more respect for an author (especially in this genre), who sacrifices a potential happy ending in favour of realism and character development.
solitary_summer: (Default)

[typed and edited 10-09-2003]

Finished re-reading Tania Blixen's 'Out of Africa', wondering whether the version I had before might have been an abridged one. 'Shadows on the Grass' certainly hadn't been included, but even from the rest I remember some passages quite clearly, others not at all.

I'm maybe not quite as struck with it as I was when I read it the first time six or more years ago, but I still find the narrative style rather appealing. Vivid, a curious mixture of poetry, human understanding and humour - the ability not to take herself too serious, which takes the sting out of some passages that could be considered less than politically correct from today's perspective. Very straightforward, often tinged with the wildness, even unconscious brutality of someone living in close touch with nature, not separated or protected from her.

Emotional, too, in a very understated way, one can feel her intense love for the place and the farm, more so because the style itself is very clear and unostentatious, entirely lacking in drama. But her grief at having to give up the farm is just so blatant; I was on the verge of tears during most of the later chapters.

Is it the full moon that makes me so... irritable, discontent, or PMS?

The loneliness is oppressive, random sounds of other people going about their lives, disconnected from them.

I need someone to talk to, a random chat would do, but what I really want is a meaningful, inspiring conversation, an exchange of ideas.

Words dry up for lack of use, I guess thoughts will too, sooner or later.

It's a decline in every respect and I'm not strong enough to oppose it.

It's a frightening realisation that it's the internet that I mostly use as a voyeur (er, lurker) and the random talk at work that keeps the despair at bay that regularly catches up with me here.

Too tired to concentrate on anything, too restless to sleep.

In the evening all my determination and resolutions drain away, too weak to last with nothing to fuel them, leaving me hopeless and stranded.

Waiting for the moon to rise I saw two falling stars, the first one small and far away, the second a few minutes later, very bright, almost a confirmation.

Make a wish?


A hint of what I might see if I only dared look outside, away from the surrounding walls.
solitary_summer: (Default)

[typed and edited 10-08-2003]

Hiking tour, take two.
Ingolstädter Haus via Diessbachsteig (4 3/4 hrs), back via Weissbach.

Pretty, but hot even up there, unless the wind was blowing.

It was kind of impressive, especially the part where the path climbs up to the plateau at the end of the valley, but I won't remember it the way I remember my tour from last summer, where I met practically no one all day. That had been mine, a private experience, only I had see the clouds pulling away from the mountains just like that... Today - the same path, the same view for all the people who went up there, nothing all that special. But what with the heat and my lack of physical fitness I didn't really dare chose such an obscure path.

I actually bought soup and something to drink at the hut, something of a progress in socialisation for me. And hitched a ride for the last part of the way down.

The new socks apparently messed with my hiking boots, both achilles tendons hurt, especially (and sometimes quite badly) when there was pressure both from the side and back. Never had this problem before, but there's just no way I'm giving up twice on the same hiking tour.

I generally like hiking, but at one point between the sun beating down and me trying not to strain my feet the wrong way, sweat and sunscreen dripping down my face, worrying about getting sunburned to boot, part of me was really asking why I keep doing this...

Except that I hated to find out how truly unfit I'd become... That my body isn't really up to such rather average exertions bothers me more than the few extra kilos. I seriously need to get a little more exercise during the year; I'm not 20 any more...

Sat on the balcony in the evening, watching the moon come up from behind the mountains... full moon, turning the feathery clouds into dark continents and islands with bright shores.

Sound of the bell of a cow grazing, cicadas, train in the distance. Still very warm - sitting outside at 11 pm with only a t-shirt, not feeling even remotely chilly.

Not a breeze stirring.
solitary_summer: (Default)

[typed and edited 10-08-2003]

Waste of paper/webspace to even write this down.

In default of anyone else I didn't want to bother I called my mother yesterday, and because 'I'm lonely' sounds pathetic even to me, I mostly bitched about the heat and the aborted hiking tour.

I hate the way my life is subjected to the constraints of work time, meaning that these two weeks filled with whining about the heat are all the holiday I'll be getting until next year.

Slept early, full of strange dreams. A desert scene so brilliantly hot that the white sand was scintillating in shades of blue and violet.
A three legged baby elephant.

The heat must be good for spiders, if nothing & no one else; there are cobwebs everywhere on the balcony. The telephone booth I used yesterday could have been in the early scenes of any given spider horror movie. Good thing I don't have a phobia...

There have been clouds all day, dauntingly drawing together and dispersing again, no rain to speak of, but a bit of a thunderstorm further north and south. The wind picked up, rustling through the trees, rippling the long grass on the meadows like waves, like water; But only a few drops of rain and a curtain of clouds hanging low, concealing the northern mountain range for a moment before moving on again.

Still, on a psychological level it was a relief even so.

Rosy sky, a refreshing breeze, a welcome change from the evenings that are only a tired end to a heat stunned day.

There's a bee drinking from the nectarine juice I spilled on the balcony floor earlier, always flying away & returning again. Can't wipe it up yet...
solitary_summer: (Default)

[typed and edited 10-08-2003]

Er. Hiking tour, take one.

:: facepalm :: This is depressing, not to mention incredibly embarrassing.

The usual routine, get up at 6 am (vacation? what vacation?) leave at 7. Started out from Weissbach at 7:30, not quite where I intended, but never mind that for the moment, managed to take the wrong direction at a crossroad quite early, but didn't notice my mistake until the forest road that had looked really inviting ended absolutely nowhere. I had to go back all the way and lost almost two hours only to end up barely 200 m higher than where I 'd started, at 10 am, the day already starting to grow hot, so angry with myself I could have cried.

Part of me would have liked to return home at once, but I forced myself to go as far as the Diessbachstausee at least, the Ingolstädterhaus of course being out of question at this point. Self-punishment, more than anything.

Pretty, but kind of pointless (my standards for hiking tours are if it's not 2000+ m, it's just not worth bothering), but then so are the biking tours, by now.

Another day like this and I'm either leaving or killing myself. Kidding, mostly.

Finished the HP books, and please JKR, enough with the ... . I'm using them too often myself, when I'm too lazy to finish a sentence or thought, but that is some serious overkill there.

There might be a thunderstorm.


It's such a thin line between the normal functioning me (or what passes for that) and the meaninglessness and resignation. So easily crossed, stumbled across.

The evenings are worst - want someone to talk to, alone I'm nothing.



solitary_summer: (Default)

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