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Also, I am so boring. But I found new ones for € 85.00 on amazon, and since my old boots are already pretty shabby — beginning to fall apart, actually, there's a hole in the left one — I bought them. Although the thought crossed my mind that since I'm going to turn 40 this year I should perhaps finally get more, er, grown-up, 'serious' shoes? (It's probably already a sign of getting older that I kind of shudder at the thought of having to break them in now...)




 

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Another picture from last week...




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Another picture from Wednesday...




in black and white )

slightly different composition )
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At the risk of repeating myself, spring! :)




Day off, and since my sister & family are on holiday, no niece day; tried, emphatic emphasis on tried, to buy some new clothes (much needed) at H&M, and it was like some kind of 80ies inspired nightmare. Is it just me, or is fashion getting worse and more frilly & feminine by the year? It's literally been years since I found something I actually liked that wasn't plain black shirts, both of the long- and short-sleeved variety. Even my trousers and skirts are from way back. My spring/autumn coat is so shabby (corduroy + messenger bag + biking a lot don't mix well) that I expect to get thrown out of places, but I can't find anything I even remotely like. And whoever thought it was a good idea to bring back leggings? People whose ass is smaller than mine, obviously.

Then drove to Laxenburg and had very nice walk in the afternoon sunshine; everything still looking very bare, but Leberblümchen and Primeln and Bärlauch and some kind of violet flower I don't know the name of are already out and the buds are starting to open, if you look closely. Took a few photos, which I haven't done for months, and quite enjoyed it.

Also called the dentist and fixed an appointment, which I've bee putting off since I came back from my holiday.

One of the better days, actually.
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Aaaand... more picture spam.





+4 )



I could get used to this. M. gave me Mon.-Thu. off, and I'm really enjoying it. Drove to Laxenburg this afternoon and took a long walk through the park. Lovely late summer/early autumn day, almost too warm in the sun at 3 pm and still pleasant at 7; very quiet on a Monday. Smell of dry pine needles on dusty ground and mown grass still wet. It felt incredibly peaceful, no iPod, no Russian anything, no hurry (and no right way to find or lose either); just sort of drifting, mentally and physically.

I wasn't sure at all whether to even take the camera along, mostly because I've had very little interest in photography over the last months; it all felt so repetitive and uninspired (also, that thing is heavy); but I'm glad I did. I chose black and white pretty much by default because colour makes for very bland results at this time of the year when everything is an almost uniform and slightly dusty late summer green with only a few yellow leaves here and there, but I'm really pleased with some of the results. Or this might be the glass of wine I'm having. *cough* In which case, apologies. ;)

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+2 )



Is it a sign that you're getting old & boring (really boring, since I very much doubt that I ever was anything else) when you're doing the hiking tours you hated when your parents dragged you on them on Sundays when you were a child and you'd much rather have stayed at home and read a book or in any case done something less athletic and pedagogic? It was nice though, sunny, warm afternoon, Vöslauerhütte and Hoher Lindkogel/Eisernes Tor, and the ruins of an old castle on my way back; and I really need to do this kind of thing more often because I'm really in embarrassingly bad shape. Also, note to self - maps. They tend to be kind of useful, even if it's only the Wienerwald and not the Alps. Would have saved me three quarters of an hour of following the wrong path (twice, even) and having to go back again (uphill).

Home again, tired & with aching feet, had dinner & a piece of Saturday's birthday cake, and then watched the new Merlin episode which I feel a bit meh about. Not that it isn't still awfully cute, but on the whole it seemed a bit repetitive; many scenes felt like I've seen them before. But - I guess - new season, first episode, possibly new viewers, needs to re-establish the premises & basic character traits; (hopefully) moving on now.

a couple of brief comments )
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(Boring poppy photo is boring, but at least somewhat less so than the non-overexposed version.)






Also, deleted (with a sigh of regret) the last entry, because while I still think she's a brilliant singer, she apparently also holds some really unappealing political opinions, which rather spoiled my enthusiasm... It's a crying shame, really.

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Obligatory Merry Christmas post. :)





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So tired. I'm making myself some Earl Grey tea to stay awake but the more sensible choice would be to go to bed instead... Orthodontist appointment before work tomorrow! Russian class afterwards! Belly dancing class! Car is still two light bulbs short, because those idiots forgot, needs to fixed until Wednesday. God! I need a break.


Saturday afternoon went to the Wien Museum after work to see the (turns out, rather small) Elfriede Mejchar exhibition, which I loved because this kind of thing fascinates me too, the remnants of the past, those places where city and country blend into each other, and while much of what she photographed is gone today, you can still find these contrasts sometimes. In Simmering, a couple of hundred meters from the Gasometers, Jean Nouvel, Coop Himmelb(l)au, etc., it's still a village, although probably not for very long now, which always makes me a bit wehmütig. I really need to go out with my camera again, but where's the time?

Would have loved to go home afterwards & crash, but no, book presentation, because when you're being given an invitation at the end of a job interview common sense dictates that you better make an appearance, even if you've never heard of the author and however little you might be interested in the subject - which turned out to be genuinely interesting, but still, so, so tired.

~

I've been reading further into RTD's book, and it's fascinating. I thought it might be disillusioning, break the forth wall too much, but I really love it, all the What-Ifs and Maybes, the stories that didn't happen, Penny becoming Donna, the Vorax; the after-deadline panics and budget compromises, rants about internet criticism ruining writers and adorable drawings of a still blue-faced Bannakaffalatta; it's kind of a whole, it makes the process of story telling so vibrant and alive.

Oh, and p. 74. Last night I suddenly realised, wrong character. It should be Owen. Seven scripts are now being rewritten, including scenes that are actually being filmed today! Lines handed to the cast on the spot!. Er. Would have saved me about 4000 words, and embarrassingly enough I already had the book lying around at home - unread - when I hit 'post' on that entry. Feeling slightly validated here, but mostly rather stupid. And maybe it did make the show better, maybe he had the right instinct, it's impossible to tell without knowing the alternative/original version, but the collateral damage from all those last minute changes is noticeable.

Still though, between this, and Merlin, and Stephen Fry's recent blog entry about how people should stop being so pedantic and nit-picky about changes and misuses of language but rather enjoy using it, - and interestingly enough some things said at yesterday's book presentation about quotations and citations and remixes and nothing ever being really 'finished' these days tied into this, too - it made me think about stories developing. Now I have to admit I tend to be one of those people who bitch when in yet another feudalism-based fantasy universe everyone (or at least every good guy) is inevitably a paragon of equality and democracy, and I did snark when in Troy - was it Briseis? I forget - killed Menelaos and at the quite unexpected end of the tv version of the Nibelungen saga that I saw a while ago, but on the other hand, maybe what Stephen Fry writes is true here also: Dive into the open flowing waters and leave the stagnant canals be. Of course some of the retellings/reworkings are better than others, J.K.Rowling, Joss Whedon, B5 and MJS using motives from LotR, Clive Barker's Imajica, but even the not so good ones are valid and mean those stories are still alive; they developed before and it's only logical that they will - and indeed have to - go on developing, reflecting a new audience's tastes and expectations and new social realities like the change in women's roles, or they'll become obsolete.

~

Also, a Merlin question - did Merlin's better nature/bad conscience catch up with him in the end, or did the boy Mordred somehow telepathically command him? I thought it was the latter, but I've read the former interpretation, so I'm kind of wondering...

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[Somewhat iPhoto'd - a couple of clicks on 'antique' and a couple more on 'blurred', and I think I changed the saturation, too.]

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Another picture from yesterday; no artistic pretensions, posted merely for the cuteness factor and the pretty colour contrast. :)



Lazy day, went to see the Paul Klee exhibition in the Albertina, and then walked, faster and somewhat less focused, through their second exhibition Monet bis Picasso - Die Sammlung Batliner. (And will probably go to see the Phantastische Realisten before I leave for Maishofen, too.)

Liked the Klee as well as parts of Monet bis Picasso (not so much Monet or Picasso, though; mainly the German expressionists and the Russians unless they're completely abstract; all those wild splashes of colour, as well as the dreaminess of Chagall and Miro; impressionism rather bores me at the moment) and would say more about it, if I could find the right words, but I've noticed that the longer I've been away from university, the harder I find it to intelligently talk about art. On the other hand my taste has broadened a lot and I tend to believe that the need to frame everything in thoughts and words has limited me. Maybe it's a lazy mental shortcut; maybe one should or even has to appreciate art more intellectually, and it's not as if I won't read the explanations and information, but I find that in most cases they adds little to the actual experience of looking at a painting, especially if it's modern art. The more individualistic a work of art is, the more it is rooted only in the artist's imagination and reflects his view of reality instead of being at least partly determined by a larger framework of social factors and values - a fixed iconographic canon, patrons' expectations, political or religious messages a contemporary audience was supposed to understand, etc., the less words touch the central experience of getting a glimpse into someone's mind and imagination for me.

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[Note: warmth adjusted in iPhoto since it came out rather blue-tinged; otherwise unchanged. I really like the a bit Schiele-esque result here...]

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Spent a lot of time browsing through reviews of Nikon lenses today, with indifferent results. I do most of my photographing walking through Vienna, so I need a zoom lens. Or believe I do? I guess a fixed focal length could be an artistic challenge, but it seems so impractical, and I kind of suspect I'd end up getting run over by a car taking a photo standing in the middle of a street. Also, my walks tend to be long and I don't want to be weighed down by a camera bag and different lenses.

My main issue with the 18-135 that I'm currently using is that it goes from barrel distortion straight into pincushion distortion, sometimes doing a kind of wave-thing for variety, making it near-impossible to photograph something with straight lines running across the picture (facades, etc.), unless the lines go more or less through the middle. However, the 18-200 that a lot of people (though not all) are very enthusiastic about seems to have distortion problems as well (although apparently not as bad ones, since they're not singled out in almost every amazon review...), the 55-200 that someone from the Viennese flickr group recommended seems to have little distortion, but other disadvantages. Is the 18-200's alleged sharpness problem that people mention something I'd even notice? Or, OTOH, apart from VR which I'd probably like, but can't say I've missed so far, does it offer enough advantages over the 18-135 for a hobby-photographer like me to justify the cost?

Check out alternatives that aren't Nikon?

Or maybe invest in some decent software to correct the distortion problem, and wait and see? But lazy person that I am I'm not particularly fond of endlessly fiddling with my photos afterwards...



Also, after much writing, deleting and rewriting more or less composed a letter to my aunt (letter, since she's decreed that because she abhorrs e-mails they are henceforth only to be used for communicating brief news, and everything longer than ten lines will be deleted), essentially telling her that while I appreciate her offer, if we're going to meet again, it'll be because we like each other enough to do so, not with all the resentment that radiated from everything she wrote, and not with her elaborate rules and conditions, and 'jokers' grudgingly granted, and to let me know if she should ever want that. I'm a bit concerned that I'm turning this into a power-game myself where I take pride in remaining calm and not rising to her provocation (although admittedly I am a tiny bit proud of myself, because I'm usually not very good in conflict situations), but as far as I can see this is the best I can do, not burning the bridges completely, being honest, but at the same time not sacrificing my self-respect.



ETA: Go him! Also, Tintin? *gg*

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The single actually productive thing I did last week -- teach myself cursive cyrillic. We haven't done that in class so far, but last Monday we had a (incredibly cute, btw) stand-in teacher who used the cursive letters all the time, and after the third time when one of us said that we couldn't read that, said, exasperated, "But no one writes like that! No one!!!".


Back to work tomorrow. ::sigh:: Had a niceish afternoon with R., driving out to Laxenburg for a walk but getting caught in the rain which turned out to be a bit more persistent and not quite as brief shower-y as the forecast predicted, drove back and went to see Doris Dörrie's Kirschblüten (a bit on the kitsch/tearjerker side occasionally, but mostly a very moving, well-acted film). Went through our belly-dancing choreography. Did a bit of Russian studying.


In DWish news -- The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky for some reason left me really cold, and while I liked Martha in S3 she's becoming a bit too ubiquitous (another episode?); it doesn't seem fair that Donna, who is my favourite companion already and perfectly lovely all by herself, or by herself with the Doctor, has to share the season with Martha, Rose, Jack and the remaining Torchwood team and whomever else they'll be bringing in. (Don't tell me!! I'm trying to remain relatively unspoiled for the finale beyond that.)
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