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First day over, and I am knackered. Having spent most of the day with two of my new colleagues, getting more or less non-stop input, information, sitting in on a conference call, sitting in on another conference call – and did I sit in on a third conference call? not sure anymore – then some more information, and then some information, come 1.30pm and my head was screaming for a break.

So I begged for a little time to read through some of the other information that had been printed out for me and handed over in a jolly, yellow folder.

One hour went by and then – then the words started running around on the page and I felt a twitch in my left cheek. I looked up. I looked around. I saw – very little. And then. That familiar feeling of total drainage.

Migraine.

Hate them.

Could just see enough to send a message to colleague 1 – then out of the side of my remaining vision I could see him walk in so I did a slow dash in his direction telling him that – uh, I have bad news – I’m getting a migraine… to which he (to my huge relief) replied not to worry! it was probably the weather, and sent me home.

I packed up my stuff as best I could while rapidly going extremely tunnel visioned and dragged myself outside. The heat hit me. Not kidding – it was like mid-summer in Norway, just without the refreshingly cool breeze.

The weather. It’s amazing, when I was young I would get migraines as a result of hormones combined with overwork and general stress and depression. For the past 20 years I’ve had one or at most two per year, but only here in Vienna has the weather been a factor. And that is no joke. These sudden changes to hot weather with “der Föhn” – the warm winds from the East, are a total killer.

Suffice it to say I had no choice but to walk home while holding on to my pushbike for support actually trying to avoid walking in the sun. I hate winter so much, but this sudden change to summer came as a bit of a shock to the system.

So. Wish me luck for my next few days trying to cover two jobs, as I’m still working part-time for Berlitz. I really know how to have fun, I do.

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ambuzzador

Am about to start a new job. Wish me luck!

There we were. Sunday evening. Watching TV.

Fast and Furious number whatever.

I try to go along with my gorgeous husband’s wishes for something simple and entertaining to watch at the end of the week, something to wind down to, something not too taxing, as I know, we know, that we have pretty busy and complex weekdays.

And so, there we were. Sunday evening. Fast and Furious number whatever.

They all look the same to me, the characters are all the same, the absence of a story identical.

This is where Thomas and I diverge. To him, this is just about the perfect stuff to zone out to. To me, it is the perfect stuff to melt my brain and make me want to tear my hair and gauge my eyes out and pour molten lead into my ears to.

I am completely baffled about why one would want to watch something like that – and why on earth one would want to make something like that in the first place. It’s – vacuous, to say the least. There is simply NOTHING there. To me, the stuff looks like a soulless computer game where every single “character” (the word is actually way too good for the action figures featured in this stuff) looks the same bar the colour of the eyes and possibly the tone of their skin. Even the few females are like male computer figures, more male than the men – they hit harder, fight more furiously, are even tougher and more soulless than the males, with scowls that could outdo the joint scowl of every GI Joe on the entire planet. In some misunderstood attempt at including more women in action movies, they have turned the females into even more one-dimensional versions of the male figures – just with cleavages strategically displayed to claim them as female.

AND – there is NO STORY! NONE. The dialogue, for want of a more approriate word, is as enticing as the conversations of pubescent teenage boys. Are action movies perhaps “written” by such? Because, if these scripts are produced by adult males there is just no hope.

It is so DROSS. So dumb.

So infuriating.

Now the pressing question is – how can I avoid watching another of those in the future? How can I avoid telling Thomas that I would rather poke myself in the eye with a blunt fork for two hours than watch another action movie ever again? After all, he has sat through quite a few of my “intellectual” movies (admittedly checking Facebook continuously on his mobile) for my sake.

Married life is sometimes so complicated.

Dear Death, we need to talk

Just to let you know: You did a fine job last year! Really. Very fine work – souls harvested with precision and skill – just like you do every year! Well done! But. I would like to make one request for this year.

Now, don’t take this as criticism. It’s only meant as a small request from one concerned World Citizen. Could you, perhaps, shift your focus a little? Please don’t be offended, but I really am worried about the state of our planet. And your focus seems to have been particularly set on artists. Though admittedly this group of people are by no means harmless, they actually make the world a better place.

Now, I understand that you are a busy man with a lot on your bony hands. Perhaps you even have a quota to fill and not quite enough time to get your targets sorted out in the process. So if you need a little hint as to the area where your special talents might be better employed, please feel free to PM me. I’d be honoured to lend a hand. In the meantime I’ll provide you with a few hints:

People who encourage misogyny, xenophobia and racism; religious fanatics (this would also likely help cut down on your workload in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the US) – oh, and orange is the new black.

Let me know if you get that last one! I thought it was pretty clever myself!

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Paul Kidby’s Death for Terry Pratchett’s Discworld-series

Changes

This blog has gone from being quite a fun, silly blog about this and that and nothing special, to one long moan. Since that happened, I’m sad to say I’ve been struggling to apply my usual sarcasm and sense of irony to what I write. It seems that with my divorce, my sense of humour took a nosedive too.

I can’t promise to rectify that. I am presently searching for a new perspective for my writing, perhaps even a new style. In the meantime there is a lot of soulsearching going on here, horrified observations of a press-image of a world gone crazy: war and torture and refugees reaching a new level of horrible; feminism and equal rights reaching another low; the people of USA allowing the lowest of the low to be their new leader.

If it wasn’t so awful, it would be perfect material for a Monthy Pyton sketch.

So bear with me while I rediscover my writing skills and find myself again. In the meantime I can report that Vienna is beautiful, the Christmas markets are putting in their last desperate bids to get people to spend money they don’t have, I have wonderful friends, and I can hardly wait for spring to come and warm my bones again!

Happy Christmas to all!

Overload

Thomas is the one person in my life who personifies the term “extrovert” in its most extreme form. It’s a small wonder that he is also my soulmate… We’re so different in this sense we almost come full circle.

It has its challenges. For one: when I am down that road of needing alone time, I find it impossible to communicate it and set the terms. Thus, Thomas has no idea what’s going on until all hell breaks loose. He has got better at reading the signs, but it still takes a while before he realised that I don’t just need space, I also need silence – and the freedom NOT to respond to things.

Just minutes ago he tried to play me a version of a song we both really like. It was a live version, and I thought for a moment I might scream with the effort of listening to the heavy beat at the base of the song. I had to ask him to stop it, whimpering “Right now, it’s just too much for me!”

I feel pathetic when it happens. And I feel as if I need to reassure him and apologise to him and – all the things I can’t cope with doing just to make him feel better (at the cost of my own sanity). Can’t wait for the day I don’t need THAT anymore. Sanity is definitely overrated.

funny-introvert-comics-24-57441cb10cb86__700

Oh, to hell with religion

Over the past few years I have read all sorts of articles on Islam and its different manifestations (I even read one of the translations of the Quran). I have also devoured countless writs on the various forms of Christianity and Judaism, to the point of being a regular visitor to the website askmoses.com.

Today, after yet another attempt at opening up to the blessings of religion, I have made the decision that enough is enough. There really is no point to this quest for understanding. Because – I do not and never will understand.

I still totally fail to see why it is important to believe in an all-powerful and totally invisible being. Why is that important? And even if you choose to believe in it – why is it necessary for you to be so damned public about it, build huge and expensive edifices to the worship of your invisible deity, flock to huge ceremonies conducted and dictated by a few (self-)important (mostly) men and then proceed to abuse all those – of whom there will always be millions – who do not do the same?

Now, I will always have empathy for the ‘quiet worshipper’. The person who heads into nature and goes ‘Ahhhhhhh! This is just greater than me!’ – and then sort of leaves it at that. The one who is astounded by the beauty of all that mankind has not yet ruined and feels that there just has to be a greater being behind it all. The person who lets Nature be the temple to the creative force and doesn’t insist on stealing from the poor to build for the rich (see: Catholic church over the years, followed by most other forms of organised religions – sure, there were religions before this that were used in the same way – but I have been blessed with not having to try to understand those).

I will also have a slightly misunderstood empathy with those who join in the odd religious ritual just because it is pretty and everything feels better with a little midnight mass thrown in for good measure on the 24th December. And I listen eagerly to my Muslim and Jewish students when they tell me about their own favourite rituals. I even sang in a church choir for two years and loved every minute of it, but I think that had more to do with the beautiful music we got to sing.

I understand beauty. I even see the beauty of the many places of worship that have been built to invisible gods over the millennia. I live close to one of the most stunning churches in Vienna (Votivkirche) and no, I would not want to see it torn down.

The part I fail completely to understand, though, is organised religion where the participants accept having words and actions dictated to them, unquestioningly. I don’t understand blind followers. Wrong. I don’t ACCEPT blind followers. I refuse to accept those who kill on behalf of a religion. My refusal to accept goes along the entire scale of actions seemingly dictated by a religion, be it the wearing of a headscarf, slapping a naughty child, ostracising women who’ve had an abortion or beheading an ‘infidel’ – I DO NOT ACCEPT THIS WILLINGNESS TO HIDE BEHIND RELIGION. It’s weak.

YOU are the one who chooses to kill. The one who chooses to hit a child. The one who chooses to hurl abuse at another being. Those are YOUR actions. And when you decide to put the blame for your despicable actions on an invisible deity, I have nothing but contempt left for you. You are a weak person, and you have chosen that path yourself.

So no, there is no more room in me for understanding. If you feel an intense need to go to church regularly, do so. If you feel that praying x number of times per day while facing Mecca makes you a better person, do so. If you want to wear religious underwear or a hijab, go right ahead. But don’t ever tell me it is your religion that actually demands it. Or that anyone else is less worthy because their choices are different to yours. YOU are the one who chooses to wear certain things or perform specific rituals and your choices are yours alone. I am willing to respect you, but I will never again respect your religion over you – or over myself.