Camera question

I am thinking of getting a digital camera. I heard the Panasonic Lumix line is good, and i like the idea of a camera with “Leica” on the lens. Do any of you have any recommendations? Other brands? The Lumix seems fast, has a nice zoom (the one I am looking at is 12:1 optical), is very light, seems rather simple, and has an optional cowbell.

Why I get up so early in the morning

Sometimes I wonder. It is quieter in the morning and life is easier to cope with when no one else is around and I can sit there and let things happen. Maybe an hour of peace in the morning helps me during the rest of the day, although as soon as someone else gets up and starts talking, I forget all about the peace until the next day.
I opened curtains downstairs and the sun was coming up. We have no view from our house, not really, but I could see the sky above my neighbors’ houses filling with light. I thought, sigh, no view; but then I thought, this is better than nothing. Something is better than nothing in most cases, except maybe for some medical tests. The sky filling with light above a neighbor’s house beats the sky filling with smoke, or ants.
It comes back to perspective.
In the living room the grey cat was sitting on the sill when I opened the curtain. I don’t know which one of us was more startled. I thought, this is one of his power spots. Cats and their power spots. Then I remembered how the red cat wouldn’t leave my lap yesterday, and thought, there’s a power spot joke in there somewhere, but I’m too lazy to look for it.
Now and then a car drives past. It’s 5.46 AM. Austrians are such early risers.
One of the roses in a vase on the table has a bunch of aphids on it. We are looking for something natural against aphids, since the tortoise lives in that flower bed, and little birds like to come eat the aphids too. If enough little birds would come eat aphids, that would solve the problem, but only a few come.
Still, I’d hate to poison the little guys.
I’ve been waking up with hangovers all week. Since I haven’t been drinking, I’m guessing it’s the mosquito repellant thing we’re using. Maybe it works by giving mosquitos hangovers too, until they think, Enough of this, I’m on the wagon.
A dump truck just rumbled past in a hurry.
Everyone else is still asleep. The kitchen wall clock keeps ticking. I pour myself another coffee. Then maybe I’ll make lunches.


I’ve never thought of myself as particularly clumsy, but I just got a birthday card from my sports injuries doctor.

The stages of barbecuing

  1. Charcoal house invention stage. In this stage, when you are trying to ignite the charcoal, you at some point wonder why they don’t build houses out of charcoal, as obviously they’d never burn down.

  2. Wood idea stage. In this stage, the charcoal is burning a little, but you think, if I put a little real wood on the barbecue, I might get some nice coals eventually like on that last campfire at orchestra camp where all the other adults thought we (me and the pyro guitar teacher) were going to start a forest fire.
  3. Ham stage. At this point you realize that grills were obviously not built to hold campfires and that the saying “where there’s smoke there’s fire” is not always true. You hope the neighbors won’t start to yell at you, and you consider things to yell back if they do. You try different methods to increase the flame and decrease the smoke. You go into the house for a beer, and Gamma, who is celebrating her birthday now with relatives (after spending the morning with friends) and having a good time – thanks for all the birthday wishes – asks, “was riecht wie ein Osterschinken?” (What smells like an Easter ham?) and her mother says, “das ist dein Papa.”
  4. Cooking stage. Guests are here, if you don’t start cooking now nothing will get done in time. Irregular spots of heat, smoke and less heat on the grill but pff. Throw everything on, using those aluminum pan things. A few things get pretty grey from the smoke, but then they get so dark from the heat it’s no longer obvious. Everything tastes okay.
  5. Eating stage. No one complains.
  6. Perfect coal stage. At this point, the coals are glowing with an even, hot redness and you wish you had something to throw on there. Instead, you put on the lid and extinguish them.
  7. Maikaefer stage. In this stage, you put bicycles back into cellar in the dark with older daughter. Trip over lawnmower and do one of those slow motion falls, like a Las Vegas casino being imploded, over a pile of pool toys, boxes of stuffed animals to be discarded, boxes of things that float, things used in the garden and things made of wire into a pile of flower pots, which breaks your fall. Daughter expresses extreme concern. You assure her you’re fine. She asks, Really? You assure her, Yes, really. This goes on for a while until you fight your way back up out of a difficult position. Later, telling the story, she uses the simile, “Papa ist da gelegen wie ein Maikaefer…” (dad was lying there like a stupid, clumsy insect referred to in German as a May bug, which has a hell of a time getting back up if it falls onto its back).


Today is Gamma’s birthday. It is the perfect day to have a birthday – a holiday every year, without the gift penalty people who have a birthday around Christmas suffer. It is being celebrated at Minopolis, an establishment in Vienna set up like a sort of indoor city where children can work at various jobs and earn and spend minopolis money. Kids around Gamma’s age (10 today) like it. Gamma generally comes home with blue hair etc because they have a beauty salon here too. You can have birthday parties here, which is what we did. For a mere arm+leg a bunch of kids get a cake, and drinks, and snacks, and can run around doing this stuff while parents hang out in the lounge which has WIFI and blog or whatever. The whole mess stays here, is the big attraction for us.

Gamma just ran past on her way to the television studio.

Sunny out today, little cold though. Apparently I’m barbecuing this afternoon when relatives come over.

More precisely, I’m barbecuing chicken this afternoon. And sausages. I’m not actually barbecuing this afternoon. It would be cool if one could barbecue a time of day though, wouldn’t it. Afternoon would be the time of day I would choose, too, I’m always so sleepy then.

Orchestra camp was nice. I really admire the teachers, who are so good at what they do, and so motivated and dedicated and such nice people; but also the kids themselves, who are good musicians and fun to be around, for humans.

I managed to be a little less shy and more social this year. That was nice.

And the concert went well. I totally disneyed just about every song, but at least managed not to ruin anything. And listen: Beta played a solo. Handel. You should have been there. The harp was right next to the cellos, so I saw it all. The orchestra’s first tune was a Vivaldi, no harp. Then came the Handel. Beta made an entrance. She has dark hair and pale skin, Beta, like a 1940s movie star, and the orchestra sat there and waited as she walked in, slowly, relaxed, good posture, and sat down. And we played. And she had her solos. And then the number was finished. I looked into the audience and a woman was crying.

I forget where I was going with this. Kids get older, maybe. You live in dread and worry, but things can go right, maybe. You can fear a hypothetical future, but look at this moment. An iris is blooming. Your child has touched a stranger’s heart.

I forget. Forgetting is so easy. I forgot when our wedding anniversary is. I had to search my blog to remind myself. Relationship tip: never ask your spouse. Sheesh.

Forgetting is so easy. I think you have to let go, of course, but still remember.

I used to be quite the luddite. Until both my daughters were born prematurely and I was suddenly a big fan of medical technology. And now look at them.

Christ, now they’re all here in the lounge arguing over whether to go to the toilet or the bakery and can they stay half an hour longer.

My point is, I guess, no point. I got up Sunday morning and went outside for a walk and thought, it can’t get any better than this. Then a beautiful blonde cellist with a goofy smile wished me a good morning from her window, where she sat eating an apple and reading Hesse and I was all, actually, it can get better.

That’s the thing: no matter how bad things are, it can always get worse; but no matter how good they are, they can always get better, too.

Like I said, no particular point. Happy May day.