Sunday, May 21, 2006

Guns 'n Roses, Reunited - One Night Only!

Lastnight was A's 80s Rock Birthday Party. To honor this occasion, Axl and Slash put aside their grievances to appear 'onstage' together for the first time in years.

They rocked the house with classics such as 'Welcome to the Jungle', 'Sweet Child O' Mine', along with an impromptu 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' (preshow jam).

Mr. T made an appearance... did Joey Ramone, amazingly.

Axl and Slash sharing the love with the birthday girl, one of their biggest fans...

After the success of this evening, tongues are wagging about a G 'n R return to the studio....?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

World Cup

Last week, we received a package that grown men all over Germany weep upon receiving.

World Cup tickets.

That's right, F managed to score 2 tickets to the match up between Trinidad and Tobago and Sweden. However, even though they were actually mailed to us, getting them in our hands was not as easy as one would think.

F got an email from the World Cup people telling him that his tickets were on the way, and would arrive shortly. Since he is away during the week, and I am school during the day, there would be no one here to get them (they won't just leave them in the mailbox). So sure enough, I came home one day a week and a half ago to find the card from the post office telling us that there was a package waiting. F, with a tremble in his voice, asked me to go pick the tix up since we would be in Vienna that weekend.

I raced home from school the next day, trying to get to the post office before they closed. I waited on line, breathless and sweating (it was actually warm in D'dorf), and feeling a little excited myself about getting the tix. I got up to the counter, presented the card, and waited. When the clerk returned, he was actually holding a small box. He then said something unintelligible to me, which turned out to be him asking me for my passport. My passport! Well, I certainly didn't have that with me, as I don't make it a habit to carry it around, and certainly not to pick up things from the PO. As it turned out, even if I had had my passport with me, I wouldn't have been able to pick it up because I am not F, and the box was addressed to him.

I had to bring the card with me to Vienna and have F fill out the back stating that I was authorized to pick up the package, and then of course I had to show my passport and sign a paper acknowledging that I had received the tickets. Security is very tight for this Cup, and FIFA has gone to great lengths to ensure that only those people who bought the tickets through the lotteries attend the matches. Each ticket is barcoded, has some kind of chip in it, and has your name printed on it. I will also have to bring my passport to the match. So even if I didn't want to go and wanted to give my ticket to someone else, it would not be possible.

Here are some pics of what was inside the box from FIFA: a destination guide for Germany (including info about what to know before you go, getting around, communications, getting money, currency converter, and useful phrases, including, 'What team do you support?'); a tournament table (to keep track of the matches and winners); a handy plastic sleeve (to hold your tickets) with a lanyard to wear it around your neck (like a backstage pass for a concert); and a yellow/red card (I guess to give you some feeling like you have some control over any decisions made on the pitch).

F has just bought himself a Panini book, where he can collect and paste stickers of all the players in the World Cup (my friend K's boyfriend is also doing this, so I don't feel quite so much like I'm the only one living with a man-child. In fact, they will probably use us as a conduit to trade stickers...).

The reason I watch football. (His name is pronounced MIK-hai-el, sort of like Barishnykov.)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Yet more Vienna...

Was having problems uploading more pics, so I've split it into 2 posts...continuing...

The Votivkirche (Votiv Church). The church was commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph after an attempt on his life was made. The Emperor survived, and ordered the church built on the spot where the attack happened. It is especially beautiful at night, when it is all lit up.

Some shots from the Naschmarkt, an outdoor food court and market. These are different oils and vinegars.The stalls and restaurants are all crammed together and cover about 2 blocks. It's a bustling place, and as you meander through you are seduced by the scents of flowers, fresh breads, fruits, vegetables, and the myriad cuisines being served there. Yum.

A giant vat of sauerkraut. (The one on the right was almost completely empty.)

F making use of his strong olfactory sense...there were lilac trees all over the city.

Even the water fountains are beautiful!

More Vienna

As I mentioned, Vienna is a beautiful city, with some memorable architecture (not all my taste, but impressive nonetheless). Here are some more pics around the city...

This is the parliament building. Massive. Grand. Picture does not do it justice.

Many buildings had statues lined up along the edges of roofs like this.

Inside the Museums Quartier, where there are several museums flanking the courtyard. There are also restaurants and much space to just relax. These stackable 'benches' were scattered around the courtyard in the MQ. Great for lounging.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Marathon Man

As I mentioned, F ran in the Vienna City Marathon this past Sunday. He was part of a team of four from his company, who ran as a relay team. F's stretch was 9 km, and he started about 2 1/2 hours into the marathon. Here he is searching for his teammate and the 'handoff' so that he could start his leg.

F, victorious after his well-paced 9 km.

And here is his nifty medal for participating.

One of F's colleagues and I spent the day running from meeting point to meeting point to cheer on those from the team who were arriving for their handoff, and psyching up the others while they waited. One of the meeting points was along a shaded, woody lane, and there were great big loudspeakers pumping Mozart...a great accompaniment to the runners.

p.s. F has been wanting to run the NYC marathon, and after he was done running, we went to a kiosk to get a snack - guess what was blaring through their speakers? Ol' Blue Eyes and 'New York, New York' - perhaps next November...? Go Floki!

Rock Me, Amadeus!

Just returned from a quick jaunt over to Vienna for the weekend, where F ran in the Vienna City Marathon on Sunday. When F was on a project in Vienna last fall, he always urged me to come visit, but I never did. And boy am I sorry I missed out on it earlier, because it is a beautiful city. Stunning architecture, friendly people, great open spaces and parks in which to hang out. There were many 'Mozarts' scattered around the cultural points around the city, armed with binders of information about Mozart and the city (no pics). I did feel bad for them, bewigged and clothed in brocade coats in the midst of sunny 75 degree heat.The weather was beautiful, so we didn't get a chance to visit any of the many museums, unfortunately. However, this means that we will definitely be back for another (longer) visit...