Archive for the ‘Bloggery’ category

The least German sounding place in Austria

May 6, 2009

I may have jumped the gun in my last entry.

It occurred to me that tomorrow I will be meeting up with a friend in the afternoon and I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be doing and then of course the parents and the sister are coming on Friday, but I shall discuss that tomorrow.

Today, however, I did follow through with my plan.  I went to the Schloss Belvedere palace to film my latest video and, for the most part, I’m happy with it.  I’m more satisfied with the content than I have been in previous videos; I spoke about the architecture of Vienna compared with Seville, a subject I find fascinating and would like to know more about.  It was appropriate that I went to Schloss Belvedere to film as the last time I was there I was walking with an Australian girl who was visiting Vienna for a few days and gave me a basic course on baroque architecture.

Regrettably, I didn’t get much further past Schloss Belvedere.  My days rarely begin before noon at the moment, which will probably be the subject of my next resolution.  I didn’t leave the flat until two today and I had errands to run before I could go sightseeing.  I had to go swimming for one thing.

It’s been a while since I’ve done proper exercise, I didn’t renew my gym membership this month – it’s bloody expensive – and I always get to the pool too late to do anything of value.  Today, though, I knew the opening times and went early and it was a lot of  fun.   Swimming and cycling are sports which don’t feel like work to me because I’ve been doing them so long and because I can go out and do them on my own steam, wherever and whenever I want.  Rowing is like that as well, to an extent, but usually you’re limited to club training times and any other time you need to supplement rowing for a session on the rowing machine.

Going to the swimming pool also meant that I had a prime opportunity to – read “no excuse not to” – go the Westbahnhof, as it’s on the same U-bahn line.  I’ve been meaning – read “forgetting” – to go for a while now, as I’m looking into getting a train back to the UK when I finally leave Vienna in June.  After dealing with the world’s most apathetic bastard of a ticket salesman who said that the ticket would be around four or five hundred Euro, I was informed by travel information that I could probably get there for about €160 in around 15 hours, which doesn’t sound too bad, though I’ll have to run it by my parents as they’re funding the travel.  I’m hoping that it’ll pass muster, I hate flying.  I’d happily take my time getting there and arrived relaxed rather than get there faster and be a bag of nerves and sleep deprivation, which is my usual response to flying.

Because of that surprising show of productivity, I didn’t arrive at the Belvedere until around half sis.  Admittedly, this gave me a couple of hours before it got dark and that would have been fine, had I not been recording my next vlog.  I don’t particularly hate vlogging outside, but having done my last vlog mostly indoors I was particularly raw to the many inconveniences of talking to a camera in a public place.

For a start, it’s embarrassing.  A friend of mine once saw me recording in Plaza Nueva (Seville), he said that I was “walking very slowly talking to [my] shoulder”, and that I basically looked insane.   As time’s gone by, I become less embarrassed by the idea of people seeing me, but I am always conscious that it looks weird and tend to wait for areas to be as clear as it’s possible for tourist spots to be – not very – before I start recording.  Then there’s environmental factors.  It started raining whilst I was recording, not heavily or anywhere near enough to require a coat or umbrella, but enough to cause me a bit of an inconvenience.  And I can’t forget that for every time I record something usable, there’s about two shots which are wrecked by a sudden gust of wind.

Overall, the average time it takes for me to film a video outdoors is about an hour and a half – 30 minutes indoors – which feels entirely too long to produce the raw footage for a sequence which might last 4 minutes at a push.

Over the course of the filming I walked from the Oberes Belvedere, where I had walked before, to the Unteres Belvedere, which I hadn’t actually realised existed.  It’s not quite as impressive as its big brother, but it’s still an attractive little palace and it has the nicer half of the gardens, which I spent a few minutes walking around as night fell and then had no idea where I was.  I simply walked onto the street past the lower palace, which leads to a different part of the city

It was quite a nice sensation, I wasn’t lost; it’s impossible to get lost in the centre of Vienna, you just need to walk far enough and you’ll come to a U-bahn station, but it gave me the opportunity to walk through the city at night sober and alone, so I was paying attention to the buildings.  Vienna in pretty during the day, but beautiful at night.  All the major buildings have footlights shining up wards and picking out architectural intricacies which aren’t as obvious in the day.  And there were a lot of buildings like that, I wonder how I’m supposed to decide what to photograph, I could easily fill entire albums with buildings from Vienna, though I would prefer to have seen it before the introduction of the neon and overhead tram lines which block so many views, which would otherwise be perfect.

When I started walking, I thought had been heading towards the Cathedral, but after about twenty minutes I think I must have found myself turned around, as I started walking down the quieter one way streets, but I struck lucky when I arrived at the next main road and ended up right next to the hotel my parents will be staying at this weekend and the nearest U-bahn not too far away.  It struck me as quite a convenient coincidence that I’d popped up there, but I didn’t become truly excited until I saw the Segway dealership right next door.

I’ve seen Segways before now and they always seemed to be a bit of a touristy gimmick – on fact, my mum wants to take a Segway tour while my family is here – but now I really want one.  They look like fun.  Do I have to learn to drive?  Can’t I just take all the money I’d spend on driving lessons, petrol, MOTs, repairs and invest it in a Segway?

We’ll see if I still feel the same way after this weekend…

It’s an interesting thing.  When I sat down to write this, I was concerned that I’d not done much today, but in reality it’s been a resounding success.

Here’s to the same again tomorrow.


A little bit of resolve

May 5, 2009

I have decided to add “resolutions” to my list of categories.

Every couple of months, weeks, sometimes days, I come up with some new self improving decree, something that will make me better, stronger, faster and all that, then I pretty much invariably fail to carry them out. To this end, I feel I should start making them public – or at least as public as one can consider a blog with an average of less than one view per day.

My most recent resolution was to update this blog everyday, which I have managed about 70% of the time.  Unfortunately, in recent days, I’ve found that I’ve had very little to talk about.  I’ve spent the last few days in my room watching TV shows online, leaving my room just to go to class, the shops or the gym.  It has not been an exciting time.

And this frustrates me!

I am currently on my Erasmus year, currently entering the Twilight of my time abroad with only eight weeks left at the University of Vienna and I’m disappointed in myself that I’ve seen so very little of the city.

I’ve found with a few Erasmus students that they’ve not really seen many of the sights – even those that were here for the first semester as well – and it’s not apathy, so much as the idea that the city will still be there tomorrow, two months still seems like a long time, even if it will fly by.  I need to motivate myself to get out and see things.

My Vienna City Guide has 58 pages given over exclusively to sights.  Every evening I will pick a place and go there the next day, camera in hand and see what I see and I’ll write about it in the evening.  What will come from that?  I don’t know, but I saw so many interesting things in Seville because I spent a lot of time walking around the city and I want that to be the case here.

I’ve also decided that I’m going to start keeping a food diary again, using the book that I originally drafted my blog entries in.  I’d like to find some use for it other than a guilt trip with an attractive cover, but no inspiration has struck me as yet.  I’ll take it with me tomorrow and see if I can think of anything to put in it.

Finally, for the first time, I present:

Tomorrow’s destination: Landstrasse, which is technically cheating as I’ve been there before.  The Schloss Belvedere, one of the first places I visited in the city, is there and I want to film my first Viennese vlog outside it, but there are a few other things out there, which I didn’t see last time.

Caught Up

April 23, 2009

You’ll forgive me for saying that this feels a little odd.  Not the act of blogging itself, no, what I find odd is the fact that I’m posting a blog directly to WordPress without changing the “date published” setting.  Even now, I find myself wanting to change the time to make it look like I’m not posting just before midnight, as if there’s some unwritten blogger’s code which marks me as some sort of deviant for doing so.

Up to now I’ve simply been copying and the relatively small number of blogs I’ve previously posted in various dark corners of the internet, changing the time and date to the original time and date of publication and leaving it at that.  Even this past fortnight, I was drafting these blogs in a diary to copy up neat here later.

However I realised around midway through my “Complicated” entry – the irony is not lost on me – that this method was a) pointless, as any form of computer-based word processing allows me to change and correct segments without leaving scribbles and lines through everything, making it b) a collossal waste of paper.

That said I now have a two thirds unfilled diary to find a use for…

Why do you have to go and make things so complicated?

April 19, 2009

I have a sneaking suspicion that I have a subconscious desire to make life more complicated for myself.

As of today, for example, I possess accounts for Hotmail, YouTube, Twitter and – obviously – WordPress (to which you probably don’t need a link).  Quite aside from being an affront to nearly every grammatical rule I’ve ever learnt, these are websites dedicated to messages, videos, shorter messages and blogging, respectively.  All of these service are offered by Facebook.  And yet, I find myself more and more disinterested with Facebook, in spite of its services.

At the same time, I have, for many years now, resisted any suggestion that I should get a phone for anything other than calling and texting.  Blackberries and iPhones can probably take pictures and video as well as my digital camera and play music as well as my iPod and they have the added benefit of being a phone in a casing so slim that people wouldn’t even notice it in your pocket.  Yet, I possess a phone, a camera and an iPod which, when carried together, make me appear to be following in the fashion footsteps of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  Moreover, with the combined amount  I spent on phone, camera and pod, I could have easily purchased a top of the range phone which offered the features of all three and paid the monthly fees for a year with change to spare.

Admittedly with the internet sites there are some benefits not offered by Facebook; relative anonymity for one.  I enjoy putting myself online, I enjoy the feeling of being connected, even if very few people read what I have to say, but I would never be so open on a site like Facebook, because everyone I know in real life is on there, from people I’ve known since before I started school, to people I’ve had a passing encounter with once, to potential employers.  There are friends who, if I learnt they read this, I would not mind – I might even encourage it – and they would be the ones most likely to read a note of mine on Facebook.  Nonetheless, I don’t want everyone to have access to it, which is why few of my friends know of my my myriad [insert letter here]logs.

However, those same benefits don’t exist in the phone world, most of the options I’d lose from my iPod or camera would be the superfluous ones I don’t use in the first place, so I’m spending more money for things which I don’t use.  With websites, I just have a few more bookmarks, with electronics I have a lot less money.

The irony here is that I’ve always insisted that I choose to have seperate things for specific taks for the sake of simplicity.  When did simplicity become so complex?

Things to do

April 18, 2009

According to a list I wrote on the back of a receipt last night, today I had to do the following things:

1.     Buy Spanish exercise book

Attempted, failed.  I tried several bookshops local to my flat with no joy, eventually I had to go the the Bucherei (German, lit: bookery – a bookshop) at the university, where the teacher had assured the class they could find the book.

It wasn’t there either

I was delighted to find some Jasper Fforde books in there – in English, though I do wonder if I could find them in German – but the Spanish book won’t be in until the end of the week at the earliest.

I’ve resolved to go to the library on Monday to find the book, they should have one copy, at least. (update: did you buggery – 20/04)

2.     Top up phone

Done.  It was a remarkably easy thing to do, I only had to go to the one shop.  However, the guy at the counter twigged I was English and apparently wanted to practice his.  We both seemed to think the grass was greener in the other person’s respective country (he preferred England to Austria and vice versa).  After fifteen minutes though, I started to worry he was going to keep me there all afternoon, but he had to deal with a phone call and bade me goodbye not long after that.

3.     Go to gym

Done.  Now repeat daily.

4.     Finish editing and uploading videos from Kitzbühel

Did one, still have to record a bit for the fourth one.  I should also do a few “lost weeks” videos for Sevilla using photos.  I’m not sure why I think this is something I should do.  Maybe it’s a symptom of the era I grow up in; all our lives must be broadcast!

“Our lives must be broadcast”.  That suddenly got me thinking of a friend of mine who I haven’t heard from in ages, because she deleted her Facebook account.  I feel bad about it, but I wonder if I would still want to contact her if she did have Facebook.

I’ve found myself wondering recently if Facebook allows me to take people for granted, because they’re always in plain site.  Why do I need to get in contact with anyone, when even the most trivial of news is all laid out before me in a convenient feed.  I’ve been debating recently whether or not I should delete the thing, the people that care enough will find another way to contact me and I’m sick of always feeling the ned to update photos and statuses and other such gubbins.

We shall see.