Saturday, November 21, 2009


Schon = beautiful. Schon is a word. The umlaut 'O' looks like a face. It can be read like an image. The umlaut 'O' face is saying, via the speech bubble (a symbol) another image or picture which can be understood as beautiful. The drawing refers to itself in a kind of circular way by using symbols and images interchangeably.

It's not really that complicated: the drawing is a word that means beautiful, and a face that says beautiful, and a picture that refers to beautiful.

Pascal and Lena

Pascal was invited to a birthday party (Lena's) last week. We found out from Lena's parents that Lena likes Pascal a lot. Very much. He's special.

This week a bunch of Pascal's drawings from Kindergarten were stuffed into his backpack to take home. Pascal actually is not so much into drawing - but there were maybe 8 drawings not from Pascal. They were full of hearts, houses, flowers and butterflies, and they were all from Lena. I asked the Kindergarten teachers if they mixed up the kids drawings, but I'm pretty sure they didn't, and Lena gave Pascal all those drawings. How sweet.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Should be: "Heute scheint die Sonne"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

We, the Good People

All good people agree
And all good people say
All nice people, like Us, are We
And every one else is They

-- Rudyard Kipling

So true mate! Living as a foreigner has made me acutely aware of being 'They' and not 'We'. But we're all subject to this faulty division between 'Us' and 'Them'. I have met a Russian during my gymnastics work-outs (he's trained as a physicist, but working for a bank calculating risk assessments) and we got to talking about the old soviet union, east germany, etc, and I complained about how hopeless communism seemed, how corrupt it all ended up, and how capitalism seems to be a much better system, no? But he defended, partially, communism and pointed out how corruption in america is channeled through semi-legal systems like Lobbying. I don't think he was completely defending the communist system, but he rightly pointed out some inconsistencies in my thinking, and made me realize that my thinking about these matters is certainly influenced by the culture I live in. America promotes a certain ideology about capitalism and it's virtues, and even though I try to be objective I am influenced by this point of view, if for no other reason than I don't hear the other side's arguments.

It's the 'Us' and 'They' problem, and you can't be vigilant enough in questioning your own judgements. Cheers to Rudyard Kipling for summing it all up in such a simple and tidy way.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Broke out the clay, navajo red to be exact. Maybe making something from the Navajo soil will ward off the evil spirits of winter. Actually I wanted to do a sculpture of Anika before I start working and lose all my spare time. I made one of Pascal a long time ago, so it was Anika's turn finally. When Tessa gets here it'll be her turn.

Anika really liked her 'head', and she asked to make a sculpture herself. We decided to make a head of Cinnamon our Alameda cat. It came out pretty good. Gotta find a place in Wien to fire these babies up!!

In the Kunst Historische Museum they have a sculpture room full of, I think, mostly Roman heads. Some of them are so realistic, and specific, or individualistic it's remarkable. Walking around the room, between all the different heads is quite an experience - the verisimilitude of the many heads all in one room and mounted at eye level, make you feel like you're walking through an ancient cocktail party where all the guests, besides yourself, are mysteriously frozen still. Will they suddenly break their frozen state and begin chattering away?

I prefer the heads that are less idealized, i.e. not the perfect women's head which unfortunately start to all appear the same. The children, and adolescent heads are remarkable for their liveliness, and individuality. One of the woman's head's haircut reminds me of a famous Matisse sculpture, all curvy and massive. There were also a couple of men's heads which looked like the models were former boxers, one in particular with its nose accidently broken off, was even more expressive of the beaten worn boxers visage because of the accidental nose damage.

Friday, November 6, 2009


So I'm eating a 'Doner' - lamb or chicken with onions, tomato, salad and yogurt sauce stuffed in a thick pita bread - on Mariahilferstrasse and I notice this pigeon standing at my feet. It's cocking its head around to look at me eating; it's waiting for crumbs; it has no fear. I feed it a couple crumbs. The pigeon reminds me of a dog begging at the table, and I'm starting to consider if a pigeon can be as smart as a dog - it sure is acting smart. A couple more crumbs.

And then the thing leaps at me! Alright, it kind of flaps it's wings and hovers in front of my face, or more exactly in front of my Doner. I swat at it and it hovers away, and then right back in front of my face. I see an evil red glow in this buggers eyes. He is persistant. Go away!! Get back on the ground like a good dog! Swat, Swat. He doesn't leave.

I end up moving on down the street.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Anika Liest Deutsch

Whereas Pascal got a huge kick out of the swordfights at the Ritter museum, Anika likes to read. She actually brought along a book for our museum night, and fittingly enough sat down in the Bibliotech and took a read. She read Deutsch too. She's so sweet.

P.S. Anika liked the swordfighting too, although she was a little scared of the knights armor.

Dangerous Dude

About a month ago we went out for the "Nacht des Museums", where all the museums are free and open until 11pm. We visited the Bibliotech, the Albertina, and the Ritter museum. There was a huge collection of knights armor. Many had strange, scary bird like helmets. Some were custom made for an obviously huge pot belly. One had a huge bulge in the nether regions. Anything to be scary.

While we were visiting the Ritter museum we watched a live display of swordsmanship. Pretty cool stuff, we learned about all the different types of swords and how they were designed for different kinds of fighting. The head swordsman (in red) was also pretty funny and merrily wallowed in the guts and gore of the sword fight.

Pascal was very impressed. Soon after we came home, Pascal got out a pair of Anika's boots, picked some kitchen knives from the drawer, and made ready for battle. The video is probably the last time we're going to let Pascal go at it like this - the little dude is DANGEROUS! I think we're going to have to get him a set of sturdy wooden swords, although the clink and clank of the metal knives clashing together does have its appeal.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Today, Sunday, with nothing much to do after Halloween, we went to the Park. Actually we wanted to go to the "Technische Museum" but it was closed. The leaves are really falling now from the big oak trees. Sabine decided to make a leaf pile to jump in. Anika and Pascal had loads of fun building the leaf pile, burying Mama, and throwing leaves around. A couple of people stopped to look at us crazies diving through the leaves. One Grand-pa and grandson started their own leaf pile. I helped with the leaves but didn't jump in, 'cause you know, leaves are dirt basically - I mean they will be dirt soon, so..... they must have some portion of dirt in them already. And because of my grass allergies, something about rolling around in vegetation just "rubs" me the wrong way. What a kill-joy. Thank God for Mama!

The regal Wienerin and the talkative Filipino

One day riding in the U-bahn with Anika, a regal, aristocratic fifty-something year old lady walked into our car. She held her head high, wore fashionable clothes and make-up. She wore her hair in a pony tail which reached down to her knees! Really, her knees! She wore eight black hairbands, her hair was that long. And funny thing, she didn't dye her hair at all, there was grey all mixed into her black hair. The long hair together with her regal composure, reminded us of some princess in a fairy tale.

Another women noticed us noticing the regal woman's hair. She, a Filipino, spoke in english to us encouraging Ani to get up out of her seat to take a good look at the regal woman's hair. The Filipino spoke to us right behind the regal woman's back, as if she, the Filipino were invisible. It was all pretty funny. We talked and pointed behind the regal woman's back, and she, with her head held up so high, didn't seem to notice at all.