Tuesday, July 11, 2006

the past week and a hectic weekend

Come summer, and life seems to become faster. There is so much to do, so many people to meet up with.

The Sunday after the parade (2nd July), a few of us CSers met up at Marcus' place in the afternoon. Couchsurfing had died the previous week, with Casey the founder send an emotionally charged obitituary. Of course lots of people couldn't accept it, and quite a few people started to try to recover cached stuff. So did Marcus and a few other geeks here. The Sunday meeting was to discuss this and the planned 10-day CS meeting in Eisenstadt and Vienna at the end of July. The Viennese CS recovery efforts seemed quite redundant, as Casey and a large team of volunteers who turned up in Montreal were at it day and night and expected to have the site back and running in a few days. We spoke to Casey on telephone. And indeed, it is up and fully functional (well a few recent modifications to profiles, friends links, references etc have been lost) since this Friday (7th), I think.

On Monday I finally went to the gym after quite a while.

On Tuesday the institute had organized a Football World Cup Party outside with sausages and drinks and a large screen for viewing the semi-final between Germany and Italy. Although I'm certainly not into football, I enjoy it in these kinds of atmospheres-- there were lots of Germans and Italians around. Germany lost, and the Italians ultimately went on to win the cup on Sunday.

A British girl called Katie had posted on Vienna Expats about wanting to start a free print magazine in English for expats in Vienna. There wasn't much enthusiasm on VE, but I found it to be a great idea. We met up on Wednesday evening and chatted quite a bit. She has written for such a magazine for German-speakers in London. The English-language expat magazine in Berlin apparently became so popular that they had to change it to a proper subscription-magazine. Katie has a very good idea of what she wants and has planned almost everything. She wants to start it from October, and we discussed that I'd write the monthly restaurant review column and contribute to features-- one on CS, for example.

Theatre group on Thursday was fun-- Clark and Rosie were not there, but we had good fun and always watched the video of their performance of our piece from Pulp Fiction at a private function on Monday. I had not participated (as I was away in Paris during the rehersals) and Justin did "my" (Samuel Jackson's) role. Ella did the role Claudia had done (Tarentino). The audience wasn't great, and there weren't a lot of laughs. Next Thursday (day after tomorrwo) Ella will be away, but we do our proper rehersals for Daylight Saving. I haven't learnt any of my lines yet...

I went to the gym for a quick session on Friday before meeting up with Adam S. at Cafe Berg. The food was excellent like last time (I wonder why I neglected this place for so long)-- I had beef pepper steak, and afterwards we went to the cinema to watch The Lake House. The film has an interesting concept, but a different ending would have been better. I realized I'm not a big fan of Keanu Reeves.

I slept in on Saturday, and then went shopping for shoes with Fabien. I bought three pairs (well one was very cheap-- EUR 20), and Fabien bought a pair. I also bought earphones and a 512 MB USB stick. Later we went to Fabien's place and ate ice cream and we listened to the cd of Jethu's songs that I had brought for him-- he said he liked them. Since the weather was so beautiful, we decided to go to the Donauinsel (Danube Island), but as we were getting out, I closed the inner door of Fabien's flat (it has a double door) by mistake. He doesn't carry keys for it, and so we had to call the locksmith to open the door, and had to pay him EUR 160 for a 30 second job (we shared the expense). We had dinner at a Greek place on the Donauinsel that they call "Copa Kagrana" (after the Copacabana beach in Brazil) because that district is called Kagran. The food was really good.

I got up at 9 am on Sunday as I had said I'd go swimming with Fabien. Sunanda called soon after (very conveniently we can speak after I wake up in the morning in Vienna and before she goes to bed in San Fancisco) and we spoke for half an hour, but couldn't finish the conversation because Fabien called to "wake" me.
The swimming pool he had selected was near the Schönbrunn (but not the expensive one in the Schönbrunn). The pool here is indoor, but there is a decent sized outdoor park attached where people lie in the sun. The place was full of families, and hence kids. I am a bad swimmer. Bad in the sense that I cannot do the popular (and easier) breast-stroke. I only go for free-style, but in this I cannot do the associated rhythmic breathing. As a result, I either have to keep my head up all the time, which is terribly tiring because of the immense drag, or I have to do it in one breath. So of course doing lengths like everyone else is difficult for me, and I prefer to do breadths (in one breath), but then this is not very convenient as one bumps into everyone else because they are doing lengths. However this pool was good in a way because most of the people in it were kids jumping around or playing with balls in the shallow part. There were few others who were doing lengths, and so I could easily do a lot of breadths in the deep part.
Let's see what happens in the next weeks. Fabien wants to go to the one in the Schönbrunn because he thinks a lot of gay people go there, but that would be reason I wouldn't want to go there and show everybody my poor swimming skills, not to speak of showing off my embarassing physique...
I had lunch at home-- "Greek" salad and spaghetti, and then called up home. Ma had gone out and I spoke to Baba for quite a bit.
Met up with Fabien again to go to Cafe Berg at 3 pm. A while ago I had started a club called FriendsinVienna on Gayromeo to meet people in a non-sexual English speaking enviroment. A lot of people (40 at the time of blogging) joined up, but my attempts at prodding them to talk in the forums weren't very successful. I had tried to organized two meetings before, and few responded and then backed out. This was my third attempt. I had been anonymous as the owner/organizer in previous attempts. Now I have "come out" and made sure my friends were coming. Nenad and Marcus had signed up for the club and had promised to support it. Nenad isn't around I think (he hasn't logged on for a while). Marcus was undecided and also said he doesn't like posting on the forum. Like last times, another guy who had signed up backed out a day before. Fabian and I went to Cafe Berg. Marcus and Adam S. joined later. Although no one else turned up, it was fun.
Afterwards, Fabien and I were taking a walk and had in fact returning to our respective flats when we saw a Vietnamese Restaurant near Karlsplatz. We both said we wanted to eat there sometime. I half jokingly suggested "now", and Fabien said "yes, why not? We should be spontaneous". We ordered a starter each-- he, a plate of fried prawns, and I, some delicious stuffed chicken wings. For the main course we both ordered the same thing, which turned out to be very elaborate. Each of us had 7-8 thin "rice-papers" and a plate with some noodles, mashed beef rolled in basil (?) leaves, and some leaves and shoots. One had to roll the stuff on the plate in the rice-papers and dip it in sauce before eating.

Not a bad weekend, albeit a bit expensive, considering all the eating out, shopping and the locksmith.

Yesterday and today I have been updating blogs. I have updated 10 days of my Paris trip in my travelogue (i.e., put in the photos) and now this main blog. The last two days of the travelogue still remain. I should actually be doing other stuff. For example, tomorrow I have to present a paper in the PcG journal club of Leonie's group, and I have selected Jürg's complicated paper, but my favourite from his lab. I should be working on that... although I was in his lab when this work was being done, the experiments and the interpretations are so complicated that I have to really spend time on reading it. Also I will have CS guests tomorrow, so a massive cleaning up of the flat is urgently required.
Plus of course there is lots of work in the lab that I have been neglecting.

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