# Still coughing, but today I got so stir crazy that I went for a short hiking tour regardless, and it doesn't seem to have done much damage. And the day was absolutely, although perhaps somewhat unseasonably, gorgeous (see below).
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# Christmas was okay-ish. Spent the 24th with the parents and a good part of the 25th baking our traditional Mohnstrudel, which for once did turn out really well. (Especially gratifying since last time I made if for my sister's birthday 1) the yeast dough didn't really rise and 2) I fell asleep, because by the time I put it in the oven it was well past midnight, and the damn thing very nearly burned. Stayed at home on the 26th, though, since I didn't want to pass the cold on to the nieces, and I wasn't really up to so much family, either.
# Merlin, again, because the more I actually think about it, the more the ending annoys me. It is a cheap cop-out in the end, not to mention manipulative both on a Watsonian and Doylist level.
An Arthur not days/hours away from death and despite everything grateful for Merlin doing everything to save his life would have asked harder questions about more specific instances, like if they would even be in this place if Merlin hadn't lied to his face a mere eight episodes earlier. And it's simply not true that Arthur would just have chopped Merlin's head of if he'd found out. Uther would have, no doubt about that, but if Merlin had sat Arthur down some time after Uther's death and said something along the lines of, well, at the time we didn't want you to kill his father, but what you learned from Morgause was actually true, ask Gaius if you don't believe me? Merlin is a classic case of the road to hell being paved with good intentions, and he can go on blaming himself for Arthur right along with Morgana. But does the show intend for us to see it that way?
And the audience is too distracted by the fanservice and too busy sniffing and hunting for tissues to notice that, or that the issue of magic and the old religion was quite a bit more complex than a teary 'But I did it all for you'.
Once again, right until the end, Arthur has no agency whatever, getting himself killed in a war that he could very likely have been avoided if only he'd known all the facts.
Gah. Enough said.
# Downloaded the DW Christmas episode, because, hey, it's been more than a year and a half, maybe I've changed my mind? Except things never happens like that, do they?
# Spent a rather indecent amount of money on a fjällräven parka and feel really kind of guilty. Granted, two thirds of it were gift vouchers I got from the parents and sister for Christmas, but still...
# Started the fourth draft of the Meta from Hell (tm). Every time I open the damn thing after a couple of months and look at it, somehow a complete re-write or at least rearrangement seems to be necessary. Kill me now, please.
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( spoilers )
Secondly, picture spam. This is from my brief and too-soon-over holiday last week, before the snow. From Hallstatt up to the Wiesberghaus (1.884m). I only regret not taking pictures on my way up when it was still sunny... (In case anyone is interested, this (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) is what it looked like on top. I'm only linking these pictures because they're really crap photography-wise, but there is little you can do if the sky is completely colourless/white...)
(*) Very spammy indeed. The day was glorious and I couldn't decide which pictures to pick and which to leave out.
( take a walk... )
# Will have an early lunch and then go for a walk ~in the snow~.
# Pulled out the Meta of Doom again yesterday and actually beat the second half into, well, something a little more approaching a shape than it was before, but, wah. I'm still not sure it holds together, I keep getting side-tracked by Jack (cut! delete!), and by the time it will be finished, presuming I'll ever get that far, that is, there'll be no one left interested in reading it.
# Haven't watched this week's Merlin yet, but last week's was... pretty much what selenak says here; partly not bad, largely stale and frustrating. Season five and Arthur still gets conveniently knocked out when Merlin does something magical? Quo usque tandem, show, quo usque tandem...
# Clearing out my backlog... (The weather could have been better, but it was a nice hike and I still kind of like the pictures.)
( +5 )
This was also the most relaxed tour, because I didn't put any pressure on myself, but let myself stop for taking pictures, breaks, or just to sit down and enjoying the view for a bit, because I knew I had to drive back to Vienna the next day and really, really didn't want to leave. I don't remember having felt so at peace for a long time, although sadly last week killed that mood pretty fast.
Horses, for a change. At least better than cows, although I try to keep a respectful distance too...
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Once again, so, so gorgeous.
This time I took the camera a couple of times on my way up because the morning light was so beautiful...
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My level of fitness, or rather lack thereof, still makes 1.000+ m of hight difference a bit of an exercise in masochism, but I've never been to Salzburg this early in the year, and not only was it still incredibly quiet and peaceful — even on a Sunday I was more or less alone for most of the day and only met a handful of hikers towards the end of the tour —, but it caught me by surprise how much spring still lingers up in the mountains. Above 1.700, 1.800 m there were still plenty of snowfields, and in other places you could still see the pressed-down dried grass where the snow had molten only recently, with the first flowers coming out.
This batch of pictures is from Monday when we had a heatwave and I got up at 4:30ish and started out at 6:15 in the morning to avoid the worst of the heat, up to the Passauer Hütte. (Which I forgot to take a picture of, but you can sorta kinda see on a high resolution version of the tenth picture, where the right edge of the clouds meets the top of the mountain.) The pictures were taken on the way down, so they're in reverse order, snow and rocks to tree-line and flowers...
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( Personal ramblings and a few photos. )
( navel-gazing... )
A few pictures from a decidedly un-Easterly Easter Sunday...
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Monday morning I had a dentist appointment, which wasn't the best of ideas in my currently, shall we say, a bit emotionally volatile state, because even a routine check-up and the suggestion of dental hygiene in the near future was enough to almost trip me into a panic attack, but after lunch and having calmed down a bit I decided to go for a quick hike after all, took the train to Bad Vöslau and went up to the Eisernes Tor. Sunny and warm enough for nothing but a t-shirt at least on my way up, trees in gardens were already blossoming, and looking out from the train window the landscape had taken on a green hue. Further up it was still pretty brown and bare, although also dotted with primroses, Leberblümchen, pink/purple erica shrubs and other early flowers, and if you looked closer, buds were beginning to open, too. Came down to the train-station in Baden at dusk, tired and a bit sore, but more balanced than I've felt in a while, and something of that has thankfully stuck during the week...
(It was also rather gratifying to note that despite not doing very much during winter, for the first time I really noticed an effect of all that walking and hiking, with less stopping and having to catch my breath on steep climbs... Definitely looking forward to Rax and Schneeberg this summer.)
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Nothing much happened in the greater scheme of things; I'm not dead (obviously); Russian was all right, if stressful, and I didn't learn as much as I wanted to, because I simply didn't have the energy. Mostly I'm trying to finally get rid of the winter depression that I still seem to be stuck with/in. There were good days, hiking tours, sunshine and warmth, short sleeves, and my first Greek salad of the year, getting a couple of (minor) things done that needed doing. But every time things seem to look a little brighter for a day or two, I fall back again into lethargy, constant tiredness (I don't think I've ever in my adult life been to bed before midnight that often), crying, job worries/anxiety, complete hopelessness and apathy. Mostly, I just want to be able to feel enthusiastic about something again. Anything, really.
Since I can't seem to be able to put together a coherent entry, I'll just post a few pictures from my hiking tour two weeks ago. The first part (from Pottenstein to the Hoher Mandling) was the same as last November, where I took all those picturesque fog pictures, so it was interesting both to actually see where I was going, and to see the change of seasons. Everything was still very bare and wintery, but with a touch of spring; pale yellow primroses and violet Leberblümchen poking through the pale brown of last year's leaves, sometimes right in the middle of the path, and further up I came across large patches of Christmas roses, which made me happy, because I thought I'd missed them again this year. When we were children, we were always picking Christmas roses on our Suday walks in early spring, but I haven't seen any in the wild (there's a flower shop on my way to work that had potted ones standing outside) for, quite literally, decades. Lizards sunning themselves and scuttling away when I walked past, and a couple of early butterflies.
(I've had Anna Karenina on my iPod recently, and while I still don't much like the religious framework and basic anti-intellectualism of the ending, I sometimes think Lewin/Tolstoy maybe was right re. thinking about the meaning of life vs. just living it...)
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Slept, wasted time, watched another two episodes of Miracle Day (5 & 6). (In parenthesis, just briefly, because I don't want to say a lot before I'm finished, but I'm rather surprised at how much I enjoyed it so far, how well it stands the test of rewatching and how fond I'd become of the characters without really noticing when — or even that — that happened. And it's not that Christmas makes me more charitable either, because I mentally bitch about Merlin every week. Sometimes I think one should avoid expectations as much as possible, because they can really ruin things. When I watched MD back in summer, I always had this voice in my head that kept comparing it to CoE, kept making assumptions about what was going to happen, which, in hindsight didn't help. At all. Maybe it's knowing where the story goes, how it ends and how the pieces fit, but it flows much smoother this time around and there are things I found jarring the first time that I simply don't notice any longer in a negative way now that I don't expect it to be CoE II. It's maybe a bit too concept-heavy overall, but it most definitely isn't stupid.)
Went for a bit of a walk around six, browsing two Christmas markets on my way. (Same stuff as every year, bit depressing really, and drinking punch on your own makes you look like a sad alcoholic, so I didn't. Plus, it wasn't cold enough either.) I guess it didn't help that I had Glukhovsky's Metro 2033 on my iPod, because listening to Artyom getting very nearly executed in the Moscow underground in a post-nuclear world while looking at Christmas tree ornaments and various arts & crafts stuff is a bit... bizarre, and not in a good way. Returned home an hour and a half later, depressed and disproportionally tired.
A couple of pictures from last Sunday that I never got around to posting, partly also to cheer myself up and remind me of the fact that somewhere the sun is shining, even when all I'm seeing is mist and darkness and artificial light. I had to get up at 6:30 to catch a train at 9:00 and a bus at 9:30; it was still frosty when I arrived at Heiligenkreuz (and there was even a bit of snow higher up on the Peilstein), but it was a such beautiful sunny day, although everything was very bare already. Strangely enough it felt more like early spring than late autumn. I should have taken sunglasses, but after what felt like weeks and weeks of mist and city greness I didn't even think of that. Probably a good thing I still had an old tube of sunscreen in my rucksack...
(I'm also kind of proud of myself, because for once in my life I managed to set myself a schedule, stick to it, and actually get something done.)
A few photos from last Monday, when I was so tired that I had to practically kick myself out of doors. Everything is changing so quickly... All the colours are gone except for a thick carpet of leaves covering the ground, the trees are bare already, it's almost dark at 16:30, and I'm not ready for that yet. I'm not ready for another five weeks of shortening days and increasing darkness. I don't mind the cold, but I do miss the light.
( +2 )
I'm just so tired. I'm also turning into a complete hermit, apparently. I feel somewhat guilty because I keep turning down people who want to do things with me, but at the moment spending what free time I have sitting cooped up in a cinema, or standing around in a museum, watching/looking at something I'm only 50% interested in at best seems simply intolerable. I need to be outside, I need to move, and I'm not really willing to make compromises for other people's levels of fitness either. I know I'm being rude, but on the other hand I think that's what kept me functioning over the last weeks. I only have so much energy.
So, anyway, pictures from Tuesday's hiking tour; no artistic aspirations, I just want to share them. Hours of walking through the mist, colours continuously changing from yellow (maple trees) to russet (beech trees) to a sober green-grey (pine trees), blurred like an impressionistic painting, the sound of water dripping from the trees and leaves falling on the wet ground. Almost completely alone the whole time, only twice meeting other hikers. It's an eerie feeling, even if you have a map and the path is clearly marked, when everything outside the circle you're moving in disappears in a greyish-white nothingness, especially when you're somewhere you've never been before. Apparently all the fairytales you've listened to as a child leave you with an archaic subconscious fear of getting lost in the woods that neither reason nor maps can't quite dispel... And then I was finally high enough and the mist started to thin, and after all those hours in the dripping grey it was simply wonderful to see a blue sky again, and the sun filtered through the branches and last wisps of mist, everything suddenly almost shockingly crisp and clear.
(On a more prosaic note, I was also forced to notice that I'm not really in a very good shape. Note to lazy self: pick more demanding routes. Uphill ones, that is.)
( and the rest... )
Before I go to bed, a few pictures from yesterday to cheer myself up. Everything is still very green, although the leaves are beginning to change colour and fall, but the mist gave the forest a quite interesting fairy tale atmosphere....
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