Thursday, June 21, 2007


Cooler than the last weeks, it's only 19° at present and still raining in fits and starts after a terrific thunderstorm late last night; oddly enough the rain hasn't reduced the humidity at all. Can't have everything.

Dinner last night with Princess was at the Neckarblick, an outdoor restaurant on a hillside overlooking the Neckar river above Wangen. Very pleasant. It's not gourmet food, but it was tasty enough and reasonably priced and well served. And the view is tremendous, click on that map link and zoom out towards the northeast (i.e. top right) to see the area we looked out over). We sat until dark and talked about our various recent delights and disappointments, then drove back to town for an ice cream dessert. Very pleasant, I do enjoy being with her.

Princess is ageing, aren't we all. She will turn 49 in November, days before G turns 50. I had a Proustian moment at one point last night, when I turned to her and saw a stranger's face—a middle-aged woman wearing a hint too much makeup—imposed on the person whom I knew to be "Princess," a woman as young as myself. The moment passed soon while she told a story, I recognized that wryly-amused grin as being truly hers. (I just spent the better part of a half-hour flipping through the start of the Guermantes' reception in "Time regained," in search of what I remembered as Proust's vivid and moving description of the effect of seeing a chronology of earlier faces layered upon the physical body that stands before us, but discovered this to be my own distillation of a hundred leisurely pages.)

I have been quite aware of my age since returning from the Camino. I look at somebody on the street and think "Mid-forties" and then "younger than I." I have let so much time and so many opportunities slip through my fingers, as though the supply of both were infinite.

I'm listening to Tristan und Isolde while working blogging and farting about. There's some very fine music in here, especially the last act and in particular Isolde's final aria "Mild und leise wie er lächelt", her farewell to Tristan, which bears a close family resemblance to the "Liebe" theme of the Ring. I saw this in Vienna with Waltraut Meier as Isolde (she was very good, I liked her better than when she sang one of the Valkyries at the Met); can't remember who sang Tristan, so clearly he made less of an impression. Might have been Domingo. Try the link, you might like it.

In business news I have begun to translate and extend my professional website, recognizing that its current state doesn't exactly sell my services. For a start, it's in English and my clients are all Germans; more seriously, it presents the same wide-eyed cheerfully-curious view of the world as does this blog (well, they are both me) rather than giving the impression of an honest and intelligent businessperson who could be entrusted with confidential data and a bag of money. I have been asking myself the alpha-and-omega question that every web-designer should ask every client: What is the site intended to sell to whom? I think that my oft-repeated observation that 90% of database users are women will find application in the answer, but I don't yet know how.

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Blogger rb said...

the overlaying of faces, wonderful description

I've been having this experience lately too, I suppose it's to do with getting old(er)


thanks for the aria

June 21, 2007 at 5:04:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Jean said...

Well, if most of your potential clients are women, I have a slight feeling that women may be less interested in or impressed by whizzy websites than men. A small change/addition in content or emphasis, maybe some chatty concrete examples, might be all you need, rather than a drastically different approach.

June 21, 2007 at 7:38:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Anonymous May said...

Here I don't follow you: when you look at someone that you care for, how can you be distracted by irrelevant details such as wrinkles or makeup?
The eyes of love or affection make me see people beautiful to the point that I am not able, not even when asked, to give an objective judgement.

June 21, 2007 at 7:41:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Anonymous antonia said...

just say when you need help with the german.

June 21, 2007 at 8:13:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Udge said...

rb: I'm sure I lifted the phrase from Proust. Most of my best lines are quotations, alas.

Jean: it'll remain simple and straightforward, that's non-negotiable :-) I'm not going to fall for Flash at my advanced age.

May: yes, that was my point. It was a surpassingly odd moment, almost disturbing as though my brain had misfired; it felt as though I were standing beside a stranger at a bus stop and saw her in that light as I would dispassionately analyze a stranger. As I said, the moment passed. Beauty is internal anyway :-) Jean posted some marvellous photos of French men and women a few months back, just lovely faces. None of them conventionally attractive, but they were fascinating and full of signs of intelligence and character, the faces of people you'd like to get to know.

Antonia: danke, das ist lieb von Dir :-) But I might take you up on it.

June 22, 2007 at 12:53:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

Marketing! Teh bane of postmodern existence! Loved your Proust moment - I understand it completely soemtimes I don't recognie myself anymore! ...and when I saw Pärt on your favorites list, I knew I would enjoy your blog (and that was even before I saw your reading favorites!

June 24, 2007 at 5:02:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Udge said...

TAFKAP: welcome aboard! The Proust Moment is definitely related to getting older, as rb said.

June 24, 2007 at 10:22:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger rb said...

heehee, just last night i had this experience again and i thought of you udge

i was gazing at the face of a cheerful young man with multiple face piercings in his nose, eyebrows, nasal bridge, chin, and ears, and in full body tattoo, and 'remembering' his smooth baby face with twinkly eyes and crinkly smile

it's still there under all that other stuff, it's still him

June 26, 2007 at 12:18:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Late Edition said...

"I have let so much time and so many opportunities slip through my fingers, as though the supply of both were infinite." ... oh i do hear you, brother, i do hear you. i live in fear of getting to my deathbed and realising 'damn ... if i'd only" ...

July 2, 2007 at 1:04:00 p.m. GMT+2  

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