The new kid goes to the movies

August 4, 2007 at 11:38 am | Posted in Vienna | 4 Comments
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Being the new kid in town, I am beginning to explore my environment. I am pleased to say that my hood offers all the diversion that I require: tube, tram and bus stops within walking distance (2-5 minutes), a cinema where they play original versions just two tram stops away, and a pub where you can buy 1/8l of red wine for € 1,50; a turbo-cheap supermarket (Hofer, the equivalent of Aldi in Germany), an Indian cornershop and another more upmarket supermarket that is open on Saturdays and Sunday. Furthermore, at least five different cafés where you can tap into their wireless for ‘free’ (I drink one cappuccino in two hours).

The movie theatre I’ve been to twice so far [Votivkino] is perfectly tailored to my preferences: I like to sit in the front row (although I really only get to sit in the front row when I go on my own; it’s difficult to find movie comrades who also consider this a premium seat; 3rd row is usually the most that I can persuade anyone to accept). The Votivkino, however, offers special rates to people in the front row: € 6,50 per ticket (it’s € 7,50 from row 2 to 7, and € 8 in the very back – who wants to sit in the back anyway?).

Surprisingly, this does not make people choose front row more often: The two times that I sat comfortably in the middle of the front row with no one next or behind me), indulging in the idea that I had the cinema and the movie completely to myself.

The first movie I saw was Death Proof, the new Tarantino which was allegedly a flop in the U.S. (also because it was offered as part of a double feature, it seems). It seems to be well-received in Europe. It took me a little to get into it, and I do not agree with the often heard verdict that it is a ‘post-feminist movie’, simply because the female characters in the second half are simply behaving like men in female bodies. But I did quite enjoy it, in particular that second half. I don’t want to revea too much about the action, as that would take away too much of the fun. It’s got Rosario Dawson and Kurt Russel in it – let this be enough.

What I did not like about the first half was the (in my eyes) all too obvious reverence to movies of the 60s that came in the form of flickering images, fake scratches on the reel, and other gadgets like intermitted sound that were meant to add 1960’s patina to the viewing experience. It didn’t work for me because it contradicted what happened on the screen; e.g. the characters were using fancy cell phones and sent text messages to each other – I am terribly picky about such details.

I actually though that Death Proof had a certain Bollywood appeal, because the 2nd half was simply an inversion of the 1st half, giving it a positive inflection. If you’ve ever seen any Bollywood movies, you’ll know that everything goes downhill in the first part, reaching a dystopic climax just before the intermission, and that the second half attends to fixing all those flaws in the world (and in the family history in particular). In that sense, the second half of Death Proof comes to right all the wrongs that are done in the first half – you might not have agreed with what happens in that second part if the first hadn’t existed, but in combination it is a truly cathartic experience.

The second movie I saw was Irina Palm, starring Marianne Faithful who plays the role of an elderly woman who takes on a job in a night club, wanking off men who stick their cocks through a hole in a wall. That part of the story intrigued me, and that’s why I wanted to see the movie. As a complete package the story goes different though: Maggie a.k.a Irina Palm does so to save her grandson who is dying from a mysterious disease and who can only be cured in Australia. The treatment is pro bono, but the flight tickets need to be paid for – and both Maggie’s son and stepdaughter are unemployed. The screenplay contains even more of such knickknacks – the club owner falls in love with Maggie (after having ‘tried her out’ secretly), her co-worker Suzie Lush gets the sack because Maggie wanks the men off better than she does, and of course the useless son accuses his mom of being a whore. All in all, too many stereotypes and conventional plot twists for my taste to make this a truly interesting movie. The climax is reached when Maggie accuses her boss (before they fall in love) that she is just ‘business’ for him – well, what did she expect, moonlighting in a night club? Yawn.

Ok, my battery is beginning to run low, must leave the café.

New day, new wireless, abysmal traffic (and I want ot that way)

August 3, 2007 at 12:05 pm | Posted in Vienna | 6 Comments
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I am just checking out the wireless at a different café, called Milano, also in the same district, where they play some unspecified soft techno music and everything is self service. Four people including me are hacking silently into their notebooks what ever comes to their mind.

A while ago my blog got exposed, because somebody linked to it using my real name in the link. That was, apparently, enough to make it show up when entering my name in a search engine. I, of course, do not want that. So I decided to make my blog invisible to search engines. Traffic goes down quite a bit, but I suppose I need not worry. The posts that brought in the most search engine traffic were dedicated to Britney Spears undergarments (or the lack of any) and those people never interacted anyway.

Or have any of my favourite visitors found out about my blog due to Britney?

Yes! I am on freewave!

August 2, 2007 at 1:02 pm | Posted in Vienna | Leave a comment
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Werkzeug H had already gone on holiday, but I am on Freewave now: 70 Hotspots in Linz, Villach, Vösendorf and Vienna. I am sitting in the shade next to the Leopoldmuseum in the yard of the Museumsquartier with my Macbook. Doing research:-)

Day 7 in Vienna

August 2, 2007 at 12:17 pm | Posted in Vienna | 1 Comment

I am still with no more furniture than an inflatable matress and a water cooker, but the city is offering sufficient distraction. This morning I went to the German embassy to have my passport changed, and it was quite entertaining to see how German the German customers behaved:-) There was fighting and argueing on every counter, with one woman even walking up and down the hall, hissing “This is unbelievable! This is unvelievable” and swinging her stick (she had both a speech and walking impediment which gave the scene a rather surrealistic tone; a little boy sitting next to me and being constantly shushed by his mom asled “Are they actors?” which sounded like a reasonable question to me.)

I’m somewhere near Pilgram alley, looking for a bar called “Werkzeug H” were they are supposed to have free wireless, but haven’t been particularly successful so far.

I am a Wienerin!

July 28, 2007 at 7:03 pm | Posted in Vienna | 7 Comments
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Just a brief hello from Vienna – I have now signed the lease for a gorgeous, but substandard (and hence cheap) apartment in the ninth district of Vienna. I have no clue how I could ever have been so thick as to move to a village of 40,000 and stay there for three years. It feels like I have my life back 🙂

Conference marathon

July 5, 2007 at 4:15 pm | Posted in Job, job search, Vienna | Leave a comment
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Right now I am attending the third convention / conference since 9 June, but luckily this time at he place where I work. I gave a poster session on combining Problem Based Learning with Content and Language Integrated Learning. The session wasn’t ‘over-attended’, but considerably well-received. Some colleagues of mine also were so kind as to hook me up with a few people from Vienna who might in the long run be able to offer jobs (that was the idea of my colleagues) – but I’m not terribly comfortable with being introduced as a job-seeker. In particular not because I am not sooo sure (as you might have noticed) whether I would like to stay in the teaching profession. I’d definitely like to do something with all the materials I have developed. Yet what that could be is still to be defined.

Back – with an apartment and no job

July 3, 2007 at 1:10 pm | Posted in job search, jobs, knowledge management, Vienna | 6 Comments
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It looks like I found us an apartment in the 9th district in Vienna – one bedroom, living, kitchen, loo (the shower is in the kitchen) – and it pretty much epitomizes the essence of Viennese apartments. Viennese apartments for people with not so much money to squander some might say, but also with the things that I have always dreamed of when it came to apartments: old building, double doors, high ceilings, wooden floor, tiled stove, with a view of the Danube channel and green trees in the courtyard:-)

The job search wasn’t quite was successful, i.e. I think I could get the job, and the job itself is wonderful, but…. hardly any pay. 1000 € after taxes for 40 hours of work a week, and they are looking for someone on a long term basis. The person now doing the job has worked in it for 20 years. It’s a position in an archive, and there actually is heavy duty knowledge management involved, even though the directors of that place are probably not looking at it that way. Can’t have a knowledge manager for 1000 – and I don’t think I want to live on that amount for the next 5-10 years. I could, of course, I haven’t lost my ability to scrimp and squeeze, and I am willing to do that for another year or two, but not 5 to 10 years.

So there goes my dream job:-(

Off to Vienna… and Cologne… before I grow old and wrinkly oppie platteland… back in 4-5 days

June 28, 2007 at 12:52 pm | Posted in Vienna | Leave a comment
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