Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
But seriously today we went to the Wien Museum...it was pretty cool...and free;) so we got there and on the first floor there were some really cool roman relics...like pots and other cool stuff..it was pretty amazing...there were also some ridiculous looking helmets...haha..ya...and then we went up to the 2nd floor were they had some really cool sets of armor...and were quite spiffy..i though...there was also a funny looking man...yup he was funny looking...and some really long spears..that were pretty cool...and then up to the 3rd and final floor where there were lots of painting that were quite amazing i thought and some really cool swords...that i thought were awesome...twas cool...and that was basically the museum...and may the force be with you.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Wondrous was that tree of victory, and I stained with sins
wounded sorely with defects, I saw the tree of glory,
honoured with garments, shining joyously,
adorned with gold. Gems had
splendidly covered the Lord’s tree.
I was able, however, to perceive through the gold,
the ancient hostility of wretched ones, [that] it first began
to bleed on the right side. I was all troubled with grief,
I was afraid in the presence of that beautiful sight.
From the Dream of the Rood, 8th Century Saxon Poem
Today we saw wood from the one true cross. Validated and venerated, it is one of the four pieces thought to be genuine, with proofs many and strong from antiquity. We also saw a thorn from the Saviour's crown of thorns. We saw his face emblazoned on a cloth--the image of Christ formed when a woman name Veronica wiped his face with a cloth as he carried the cross up the hill to Golgotha. We also saw the head of the spear that was thrust into the side of Jesus and one of nails that had come from the cross. If it were not true of course they could not have put it in a museum. So we are feeling pretty lucky.
All this was part of the Schatzkammer. The treasures of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Of course it's taking quite a chunk of the treasures of the Pecks to see this stuff, but then, how else do you get to see a piece of the rood? Every time we go to one of these museums we are putting about $30 into their coffers, but I've never yet regretted paying the admission price. How else do you learn things like this:
Do you see those black things marking the white boarder? Those are the black-tipped tails of the ermine pelts that make up the white boarder of the mantle. Weasel tails! Who would have guessed. I've seen those things in many pictures but would not have guessed what they were without seeing them up close? You just don't learn this stuff on TV.
There were swords from the middle ages, which were Nathan's favorite. Emily liked the baby clothes from the 18th century. Lori liked the crowns. The crowns were unbelievable--one had sapphires and rubies the size of walnuts. One of the main treasures on display was a emerald that weighed over half a kilo (1 kilo = 2.2 lbs). It was claimed to be the largest in the world. One the Medici in Italy had offered the Emperor three tons of gold for the stone. The Emperor told him to to keep his gold. There were also on display unicorn horns. Real ones. Well if you believe like I do that narwhals are unicorns. One of the swords hilts was made from a unicorn horn I was thinking that must give you a sense of confidence going into battle; and I would hate to face someone wielding a weapon hilted with a unicorn's horn. There is something simply intimating about that.
My favor ate were the relics of the satins. Holy bones of the various matters. I felt particularly healthy after visiting the relics of St. Stephens. I don't know why.
The Holy Lance (which also contains another of the nails from the cross)
The Schatzkammer. Worth every penny.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
For the last four days we had to survive without hot water or heat. The heater/hot water heater broke. The temperature of our apartment was the same as outside....freezing!! Sunday night I boiled lots of hot water for baths and it was nice to get clean and I did a lot of baking. The warmness of the oven never lasted very long and then it would be freezing again. Finally today (knock on wood) it is fixed and working. I have the temperature on higher than usual to help us to thaw out and we did all showered so we don't stink. Chalk it up to another experience in Vienna.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
On to the real dealio yo, so on the day of yesterday i left early to go play b-ball with the young mens and elders. I left at 10:00 to go there and we were planing on meeting at 10:30. so to get there, I have to get on the U2 (that stands for U-ban 2 and their are 6 U-ban lines so U1-U6..if no ones told you that already) so i ride that 1 stop and get onto the U3 which i ride 3 stops..and then get on to the U6 and ride that 6 stops...ya and thats pretty fun...its not as complicated as it sounds though. so once i get there i wait at he U6 stop and wait for more people to come. and once more people have come we head over to the basket ball place. once there we usually mess around for about a half an hour, then we get into teams and play...we usually play for 3 hours, and its really fun. after wards its really hard to walk cuz we've been running for 3 hours strait. and when i get home all i want to do is sleep or play halo.
Friday, February 15, 2008
I also learned several things to do when taken hostage that I didn’t know, like if you speak their language use it, don’t argue with them, don’t talk to them about politics, but stay on conversations about personal things (as hard as it is to believe, they might not like Obama). Also try and exercise your body and mind by going over movie plots and doing physical exercise to the extent you can. Keep in shape and keep a positive mental attitude. Also don’t appear to be impatient or too demanding. It’s ok to ask for food and water when you needed it and to ask to use the bathroom. This was good to know because I think I would have become impatient with my captors and would have likely earned a beating (which was something to be avoided the training pointed out). Also one should never plead for your life, or act undignified or too friendly. Calm stoicism and obedience seemed to be the rule. Do what your told but don’t lose your perspective that you are an important person too who deserves some dignity!
I have to admit though that even as a university professor I crapped out on the land mine spotting portion. Me, I thought the picture quality too poor to pick out the hidden land mines and when the message kept coming back “You spotted 0 out of 3 landmines” I was quite embarrassed and blamed the unclarity of the photo. It may have just been sour grapes, but just in case, if we are ever walking in a mined area you may not want me on point.
However, if an unruly mob appears, I will show you the skills needed to keep things calm. I think I would be particularly good at the last skill, “You may need to vacate the area quickly.” I might even use that one first. I also found out that many countries carry diseases that are dangerous and life threatening. Who would have thought.
And what office training would be complete without the mandatory “What do you do when you come under fire.” And those little tidbits like an engine block is a more effective cover than bushes. I see the possibility of a series of office motivational posters that really haven’t been tapped yet, like, rather than an eagle soaring with, “Limits are only how high you dare fly” you do something like a bush next to an log, “Cover: its only as good as the stuff it’s made off” or an angry mob waving machetes, “Keep your head and you’ll keep your head” or maybe a picture of a small cell with chains next to a chair, “Movie plots: keeping positive when no one else is.”
Well, so it was just another day of office training. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
P.S. We live for your comments! Nathan's been checking every hour waiting for something on his last blog. And you lurkers--add your voice. We miss all of you!!!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
The 4th thing is kick my dads butt in chess...he has only beat me 8 of the 10 games we've had...so as you can tell from the amount of games ive won i am so much beter than he is...ya im amazing at that to..you could just say im amazing at everything...well i should probably go play him again in another game and kick his but once again...poor poor father cant even beat his own son in chess.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Thursday, February 7, 2008
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
Warning: This blog may contain scientific propaganda from so called 'scientists.' Things should be taken with a grain of accuracy.
Surprisingly this Nazi bunker with 5 foot concrete walls designed to take a direct air raid attack was undamaged by Paula's wrath. Nathan in forground by tree.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Monday, February 4, 2008
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Every night the family would gather with Franz Joseph in the center. They had ten forks and seven glasses for seven kinds of wine (remember this was nightly). The emperor was served first and the eating continued until he placed his knife on the plate. Then it was over for everyone—even the teenagers. You were only allowed apparently to talk to the people next to you and you were seated by rank with sexes alternating. Servants took care of everything so you didn’t need to ask people too far away to pass the potatoes. Everyone had their own salt and pepper shakers, which to me was the ultimate sign of power and affluence. Imagine! Your own salt and pepper shaker!
The coolest bit of crockery was the footwashing gift mugs. Once a year the emperor and empress would wash twelve old poor men’s feet (who had better have gotten their feet meticulously cleansed before showing up). After, as a commemoration they were give a stein of a dark, forest-green shade that seemed earthly and wild. I found it the most surprising and awesome pieces in the collection. They were beautiful. The lucky peasants also got a silver cup with the date of the washing engraved on its side and thirty silver coins (I think all the New Testament symbolism in all this is obvious). On display was the washing tub, the mugs, cups and other things. I found this intriguing and thought what it must have meant to these commoners to have their feet washed by the royal couple and to receive these gifts. I suspect these implements were handed down as the greatest of treasures to their descendants generation after generation (until the age of Ebay where they were sold of quickly and went for a lot of money!).
Upstairs we toured through the tragic life of Empress Elizabeth of Bohemia. Married away from her youth of country living, horseback riding and fun, she became a morose recluse, who hated her older children, wrote dark poetry, traveled to escape her inner demons (among which included opium and cocaine) extensively suffering panic attacks when she stayed anywhere too long, and had her life taken by an assassin while on one her trips. After, she became an icon that the world loved. She was known as Sisi (Franz Joeseph’s nickname for her) and was reimaged as the perfect monarch (echo’s of Princess Di). We saw her death mask. She really wasn’t a bad poet.
Her dressing room was telling. She spent four hours a day doing her ankle length-hair (unless of course it was hair washing day, in which case it took all day). You think she was wasting her time, don’t you. Wrong! She looks absolutely gorgeous in all her portraits. But beyond that she spent the four hours in language study. She was fluent in English, French, Hungarian and Greek (and German of course). Often she had someone reading to her Homer’s Odyssey in Greek while her hair was done. It was one of her favorite books. At my barber’s back home they at least have it tuned to the discovery channel (and I do usually spend about four hours there except 3h 45m are spent waiting in a chair to be the next number called—next time I’m bringing Greek literature).
Franz himself was a likable chap. Lost the empire though, but there was a lot of that going around (China, Russia, Britain etc.). Many call it the great age of empire loosing. Me, I would have tried a little harder to hold on to it—if just for the place settings.