arcanamundi: (Default)
( Mar. 14th, 2009 09:33 am)
A window display of ties, scarves, and cravats. I like how Austrian men dress.

This spring, the well-heeled Viennese gentleman will accessorize with cheerful yellow and serene dove grey - in his cashmere scarf, umbrella, suspenders, ties, and bespoke suits (bolts of fabric pictures - I assume the yellow is for the waistcoat!

Tafelspitz: it's what I had for my late lunch! It was too dark in my little corner to get a decent picture, plus tafelspitz comes to table as a great many dishes - one chafing dish that has two slices of flank steak in a rich broth with root vegetables and a marrow bone. One dish with two little sauce pitchers containing applesauce in one, and a delicious creamy horseradish in the other. Then there is yet another little bowl containing creamed spinach. Also plated - a round of fried onions and potatos, chopped quite fine, like hashbrowns but smaller. Then you mix and match sauces with the meat and the vegetables, and it was amazingly delicious and satisfying. I have mostly been picnicking and ad-hoccing my meals, but today I had a tiresome and elating afternoon in the archive (funny how that works) and my lunch hotdog felt very far away, and I decided to try something typically Viennese. I will eventually also get some schnitzel. No pictures, sadly - it was too dark in my little corner of the cafe for any of them to come out properly.

Note: if you ask for a hot dog in Vienna, they chop it into bitesize pieces and give it to you on a plate with a big squoosh of ketchup or mustard, your choice, and then offer you a piece of black bread or white bread. That, in my opinion, is not street food. Especially on a windy day. I declined the piece of bread, ate up the pieces of bratwurst-like hot dog before they got blown off my plate, and got to the archive before the sky opened up and gave forth some storm. With lightning and thunder! Which was actually kind of a treat - sitting there with my manuscript on a dark and stormy afternoon. Drama!

The day had moments of true elation - for one, I managed (in one afternoon!) to accurately source, date, attribute, and describe a 15th century manuscript. Although the catalog description was pretty good and whoever wrote it found a couple of pieces of dating information, they did not find the scribal signatures tucked in a few sections. I did! And I was sure that there was a place name in them as well, but of course I don't know Austrian geographical history of the 15th century, and it didn't look familiar. I was pretty sure that it said "in Axpach" or "in Arunpach" or Arumpach if that x thing was actually Tironian and being used weirdly. The archivist who came over to have a look (I went up to ask if there was any kind of inventory that grouped shelfmarks by provenance, like they have at the BSB, which would have told me which monastery it came from and maybe clear the whole thing up instantly) was sure that it said "Marparch" and meant "Marburg". I was really, really, really sure that wasn't right. I mean, you can read the two minims of "in" as an M, but there was a whole letter space between them and the next part. and there was no way that was an R, it didn't look like an of the other Rs in the document, which I quickly pointed out. Plus this really didn't look like a German manuscript. The Lombard capitals were too pretty, with little Christmas balls on them. He was very gracious and said he would look into it, and came back a short time later with the information that there had been a: "“Kartause “marienpforte” in Aggsback” 1373-1782. North of Melk in lower Austria." Carthusian "marienpforte" (fort of Mary?!) in Aggsback = Axpach! Which went with the information I'd pulled out in transcription: "Explicit divinalis rhetoricem venerabilis dominum wilhelm episcopi parisiensis qui fuit tempore S[anctus] thom[us] lector parisius in theologia, per fratrem Jeronimum prespiterum monarchum professum domus porte beate marie" in one place and  "“Iste liber est domus portemarie in axpach ordinis carthusiensis circa melb" about a hundred folia later. Hello, Hieronymus of Aggsbach: I can see you!

Also, getting this nailed down means that I can use the similarities in construction to make at least the preliminary hypothesis that the other manuscript I looked at yesterday may have come from the same place, because the similarity between the illuminated capitals in each was uncanny. Binding was pretty different though. But binding can be changed! Illuminated capitals not so much. So that was fun. Less fun was trying to do transcription while someone did the best of Sammy Davis Jr. tapdancing routines on their goddamn laptop next to me.

A rant about loud typers, with anecdotal comeuppance. )


Because you can't make a decent grilled cheese sandwich without processed American cheese slices!

Watching these horses together was interesting. It was like watching an old married couple - the way they loved each other and pissed each other off. I stood there for a long time, just watching them be affectionate and cranky with each other. There is a way of being cranky which is a benefit of being in harness together - you know the other person is going to have to forgive you for it, because what are they going to do? Leave? Over crankiness? Not likely.

I've seen plenty of street musicians, but a piano in the middle of the road was a first.

I stopped at St. Stephen's to see the crypts but something was going on and it involved a bishop:

So I took a picture and a video and kept on walking. The above picture is blurry because I took it standing in the exact same place I took the bottom picture - my little fixed lens ultrazoom is awesome. I'd be surprised if a DSLR could do any better in low light conditions without a tripod or a gyro stabilized zoom lens.

I went to the tacky tourist concert and it was actually bad enough to be kind of depressing, though there was a pretty chandelier. Mostly what I saw was the tangle of unbrushed old lady hair belonging to the two chicks who kept turning around and giving me the stink eye when ever they heard the tiniest "tick" of me pressing a camera button (the sounds were turned off).


The music was beyond mediocre - the second violin was Chloe from the show 24! She sat there with the most unbelievably sour expression on her face the entire time, and you could barely hear her, and when you could? It was the violin equivalent of someone saying "Blah blah blah blah blah." The first violin was better but hammy, and the viola and cello were mneh. Piano was good. And they had a drunken soprano come in to do a pretty little aria, and she was quite good, though drunk. But seriously, you'd be drunk too. The room full of tourists in terrible tourist clothes, gawping at you, probably 80% of them having never seen live classical music and having no real appreciation for it. But she smiled brilliantly and was gracious and gave a lovely show. As opposed to lemonpuss Chloe-lookalike. I took pictures of her but can't bring myself to upload them to Flickr. They're too blurry from the low light to be any good, and uploading a shitty picture just to show you guys how ugly her expressions were feels too malicious. Here's a picture of the Albertina at night:

And here's the Hotel Sacher. Torte, anyone?

I had a nice nighttime walk, then came back to the hotel room and turned in early for the night. Too many vexations in my day, including my feckless, dunderheaded landlord writing me to claim that I didn't pay rent last August or this January and that I should pay up. What? I looked at my banking site and saw that the January check was present and had been cashed, I have a digital image of it. As was the check I gave him for this semester's rent for Feb,Mar,Apr, and May. I didn't have time to go back as far as last fall to dig around looking for those images and pulling up each one, but I expect it's also a case of the landlord being an idiot. He's just really unbelievable. I wrote back that I had a digital copy of the January rent check, paid in full, endorsed, and cashed. Also that the rent for the semester was paid up, and if there was a problem from LAST AUGUST that he was now bringing to my attention we'll deal with it when I get back and can go to the bank and have all the digital check images from the fall given to me on a CD-ROM. Whatever. I've also been having to argue with the hotel manager every day to get an internet pass - although the web site clearly states that the wireless internet access in the hotel is free, her argument is that there is a sign IN THE ROOM that says that is only for the first 24 hours. After that it's 15 Euros a day. Ridic. I booked the room under the impression there was free wireless, you can't tell me when I get here that's not actually quite true. So far I have been winning these arguments mostly because I stand there like a big stupid obstinate rock who doesn't understand her bizarre human logic, but that might not last much longer. I check out of here on Wednesday morning, so hopefully I can keep it going until Tuesday night!


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