June 2005 Archives

Hitting the Road Again

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For the first time in over a year, I ran from my apartment to the neighboring Mauer neighborhood, located about 1.15 miles (1.85km) away. After a short break I ran back. It was hot as hell out as usual, and the it took me a little over ten minutes each way. I used to run this stretch all the time when I was in high school but eventually became lazy. Let's see how long I can keep it up this time. The fastest I ever ran this stretch, which goes up a hill and then back down again, was about 8.5 minutes. That was in the spring of 2002 though, when it was much cooler.

A comparison for my Syracuse friends (thanks to Mapquest): 1.15 miles is about the distance from my apartment at 1206 Harrison Street to the Lancaster Market.

pulstv.jpg

So I turned on the TV about an hour ago and was just randomly channel surfing, when I stumbled upon a fairly new local channel here in Vienna called "puls tv." They had the "Wien Quiz" call-in game show going. There was the puzzle above. Not one person called in for 45 minutes even though it was ridiculously easy because the dude kept giving tons of obvious clues. Let me give you an American equivalent:

EMP
ISTA
RETE

Then I'll go on to give you clues like: It's a skyscraper in New York City, you can take an elevator to the top, etc.

It shouldn't have taken you longer than a few seconds to fire out that that's the Empire State Building. In the example on TV it was Donauturm (Danube Tower), which any Viennese with half-a-brain could have figured out. This leads me to believe that no one was actually watching the channel (at least with volume) besides me! Or they were all as hesitant as me to call in because the call costs 70 cents. after about 45 minutes a woman called in and answered it correctly and won Ǩ100 (about $120). I was really pissed at myself for not calling in. Immediately after this they started the "Hallo Wien Quiz," where you call in (for 70 cents again) and their caller ID saves your number and then random calls one back. You have five minutes and you can call as often as you want. If your phone than rings you have to answer "Hallo Wien Quiz." The same friggin' woman won again... This time Ǩ50 (about $61). SHe was most likely the only one who called in again. So I blew the easy chance of getting an extra Ǩ150 (about $181) for doing absolutely nothing.

Update: Well, I have to retract the above a little bit. It seems, as you can see in that TV shot, you only get through to the studio if you get one of the songs, listed on that red stripe, on the line when you call in. My dad clarified this to me because he had read about it in the paper. Nevertheless, the fact that the same woman won twice still leads me to believe that no one watches the show and that it's not too hard to win.

As I was sitting on a bench in the middle of Vienna the other night, frustrated about the fact that's it's impossible to get anyone to come out these days, and when they do, I'm always the last to know where everyone will be at, I fantasized about how life must have been better before cell phones.

Before I get to that, let me explain the whole background of my anger. Like I just mentioned, I am always the last to know what's going on at night in Vienna. In fact, there's a whole set of terminology that developed around my horrible situation:

"Orders": My dad came up with this one. He'll ask, "Haven't you gotten your orders yet tonight?" when I'm sitting around at home, waiting for someone to call or IM me about the night's happenings.

"Memo": I believe I randomly adopted this term after having heard it in common use by friend from college, Greg Doyle. Nowadays I use it mostly in frustration when people are already at a party and they call me up, or (more often) I call them up. I'll say, "I didn't get the memo about that" (the party). In fact, nowadays I hardly ever get "the memo."

3g-mobile.jpg: This file has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. This applies worldwide.
The destroyer of the planned-out evening

Anyway, back to the issue at hand: While I was enraged the other night on the bench, I decided to do a little stat checking. You can try this for fun too! Find the counters on your cell phone. They'll usually be in a menu called something like "Call Timers." You'll probably see options for incoming and outgoing calls. Ready for the reality check? Compare the two! Here are my current stats:

Incoming: 1 hour, 52 minutes, 52 seconds
Outgoing: 1 hour, 59 minutes, 33 seconds

It doesn't look too bad at first glance, right? But once you factor in that a ton of my incoming minutes were from my parents, as those conversations tend to be rather long, it becomes very disproportionate.

Anyway, back to life before cell phones: It's strange to imagine how much different my high school years would have been if I would be just five years older. Everything would be planned ahead by at least an hour or two, probably much more. There would be no "we're going downtown and then we'll see"-ing going on, unless you already decided to meet at a meeting point before that and don't plan to meet anyone else.

I'm not a big plan-ahead kind of guy. I don't even have a planner--Neither the paper kind nor some computer program. I live every day for the day and every night for the night. But when you combine lack of planning with the lack of phone calls I receive from my friends, nightlife becomes very frustrating. And it's not like no one has my number! It's on this website at least three times, on business cards I've handed out, even in my MSN display name. So I really don't know what's going on. Maybe I'm just on everyone who is still in Vienna's "B-List of Friends," the guy they call when nobody from their "A-List" is out.

I fondly look back at the days when parties were planned weeks, or at least hours in advance--Those days when the night's happenings were talked about over lunch in the school cafeteria. Nowadays I arrive downtown and have to make ten phone calls at ten-minute intervals just to get things going. My nightlife has turned to crap.

No Tuna on the Pizza

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Anyone who has ever lived with me knows I hate tuna. I really hate tuna. Last year I had a crossed-out tuna fish on my bedroom door, and my apartment-mate Gerry gave me a warning every time he opened a can.

Tonight, after a hellish-hot-and-long public ride home, I preheated the oven and took a pizza labeled "Pizza Quattro Stagioni" out of the freezer. See, here in Austria pizzas are like breeds of dogs. They all have unique names and you're expected to know what each name entails.

The exception I guess is "Pizza Quattro Stagioni," which I guess only means "Pizza Four Seasons." I guess the "seasons" can change because I always bought this pizza by name, and never had a problem with the "seasons."

Tonight I discovered that one of the "seasons" was tuna. Just to make sure, I gave the section a sniff, and despite being frozen, it smelled like the worst smell in the world... Tuna! My first attempt to bypass this misfortune was to try to scrape the tuna off. I got most of it off, but some of it was still frozen deep into the pizza.

Becoming a bit more drastic, I got out a large sharp knife and cut the section out. Cutting a frozen pizza is about as hard as meeting a girl in Vienna, but I eventually succeeded. My meal was reduced by 25 percent tonight, but I'll survive. If I had eaten tuna it would have been a different story!


My final creation

Nude Airport

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I have some good news and some bad news. The good news: Passing through airport security will soon be a little quicker and effective. The bad news: Unless youre an exhibitionist, you might object to the new backscatter x-ray machines now beginning to be used, which give your screener a naked image of your body.

Has this gone too far? You decide.

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The TSA's new toy vs. my camcorder when it comes to translucent imagery. As you can see, the backscatter machine goes a little deeper!

As a part of my annual whining about how air-conditioning is nearly non-existant in Austria, I'd like to present you with the following facts:

The first air-conditioned subway cars in New York City began operation in 1967. The Vienna subway opened twelve years later, in 1979, and none of its brand-new cars were air-conditioned. In 1987 the next generation of subway cars were rolled out (they look almost identical to the first ones), but these weren't air-conditioned either. Finally in 2000 a prototype of the third generation was rolled out, and it's air-conditioned. It won't be until late this year before more of these start rolling out, however.

So Vienna is 33 years behind in subway car technology, at least concerning air-conditioning. I can recommend the Austrian Federal Railways' S45 line though, as it seems to now be run with brand new air-conditioned trains, as I experienced last night:


Inside a Talent Train on the S45 in Vienna

I Refuse to Yuppify

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Remember when you got to dress up for prom, pay a ridiculous amount of money (or have it spent for you) for a limousine and got to play high society for the night?

Well here in Vienna prom night is every night, and an increasing amount of my surroundings are participating it. Whether it's the Ǩ4.50 beers at Buddha Club or the Ǩ80 vodka bottles at Passage, everyone's loving it.

Take the university that I'm currently taking one class at this summer for example. The first party organized by the university this summer was at the above-mention Buddha Club. Luckily my tuition paid for all my drinks from ten to midnight, otherwise I would have had a wonderful Ǩ30 bill from that alone.

The next night, last Saturday, the high school that I graduated from back in 2002 held its graduation. The after-party was also at this Buddha joint. Upon approaching the place I was immediately stopped by a dude in a suit who had apparently seen too many rap videos. The demand: Ǩ10. After meeting the demand of 1.6 hours of pay from my job at Target, I approached the bar and asked for a beer. Nothing fancy, no Corona, Heineken, Lindmans Fambois -- Just a beer. The price: Ǩ4.50. All right, let's recap: I had just spent Ǩ14.50; just to walk into a "club" and order a beer. This equates to 2.3 hours of work at Target, just to start the night.

Granted, I should also mention that there was a free club-sized bottle of vodka at each table, but let loose sixty freshly-graduated eighteen year-olds (and their sixteen year-old girlfriends) onto that amount, and you can imagine how fast that disappears.

Anyway, call me selfish, but I feel an hour of work should at least afford me two beers!

Tonight there was another Webster University party at some other ridiculous place off Mariahilfer Strae. I was driving tonight, and I took a couple spins around the drop-off circle in front of it, saw a bunch of Yu--ies (they're just young and urban, not professional yet, although that's why they're studying business) enter the place, and then floored my six-times-dented 1990 VW Golf back towards Speising, where I live.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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