36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 151: New Year’s Eve—Die Fledermaus

Day 151 — New Year’s Eve—Die Fledermaus
31-December-1971 (Fri.)

A day filled with New Year's Eve traditions—spending all day in a standing room line, an ad-lib performance of
Die Fledermaus, sneaking in champagne into the opera house (?), Kärtnerstrasse, Stephansdom Platz, and partying. Great performances. Great traditions. Too much to drink. Read More...

Day 150: Lord of Wagner's Ring

Day 150 — Lord of Wagner's Ring
30-December-1971 (Thur.)

Lucille and the Dixie Pixies
Before the Lord of the Rings movies, there was Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle. I go to see the first opera, Das Rheingold. Although there is no CGI (computer-graphic imagery) in these operas, as in the movie, the live staging and effects that an opera company often produces for a Wagnerian opera can often be quite dramatic and inspiring.

What do these girls (above) have to do with Wagner? Nothing. A Montclair State friend, Lucille, informs me that they are heading to Munich soon. Yay.


Day 149: My Google ranking drops; about the Blog

Day 149 — My Google ranking drops; about the Blog
29-December-1971 (Wed.)

Today has nothing to do with Vienna.

In 2007, my Google ranking seems to drop to ZERO. I am no longer viable. Is my content boring? Google engineers have programmed me into oblivion. No one likes me. A vacuum closes around me. I’m alone. I do not exist.

I talk a bit, once again, about the reason for this blog—inspiration—and the difficulties of getting a blog noticed in the blogosphere. Hmmm, I haven’t actually done any marketing yet.

In today’s post, I’m being rhetorical and dramatic purely for journalistic purposes. I hope Sergei and Larry from Google call me, and invest. I’m ready. Larry? Sergei?



Day 148: Fly Dutchman, Fly

Day 148 — Fly Dutchman, Fly
28-December-1971 (Tue.)

Richard Wagner PD
A normal school day; my first Wagnerian opera ends the day. Read More...

Day 147: Get your eyes checked regularly

Day 147 — Get your eyes checked regularly
27-December-1971 (Mon.)

I’m back at school and work. Today is about letters from family and friends. I reminisce about a good friend of mine, Andre, to whom I am indebted for my eyesight. Get your eyes checked regularly. I know the title has nothing to do with Vienna, but it's important.


Day 146: My Christmas present

Day 146 — My Christmas present
26-December-1971 (Sun.)


My Christmas present comes today—a package of candy from the elderly lady whose money I found on the bus.

Other than that, myself and two girls wander Vienna's famous graveyard, the Central Cemetery, where many a famous composer is buried. It is foggy. It is eerie. Are the spirits talking to me? Happy

A delightful Bedrich Smetana opera ends the day.

Day 145: Vienna! Frohe Weihnachten—Merry Christmas!

Day 145 — Vienna! Frohe Weihnachten—Merry Christmas!
25-December-1971 (Sat.)

Christmas market in Vienna Bernhard Vogl
A wonderful Viennese Christmas day with my roommate, Pavel, his sister, and her friend who have come to see Pavel all the way from California. A good day with some sightseeing, dinner, and conversation. A Verdi opera concludes a great day.

The spirit of Christmas is about families. Meet John’s family and brothers. A photo bonanza. (There are so many photos today—you may need a fast Internet connection for this post.)


Day 144: Goodbye Innsbruck; Christmas Eve

Scenic Innsbruck mountains
It’s goodbye to skiing, Innsbruck, the scenic mountains (see photo), Elisabeth, George, and a new girl I’m trying to pick up at the train station. (I’m now Don John.) It was an incredible week of skiing, beautiful scenery, friendships, spas, and picture taking. What a vacation! Back to Vienna. It’s Christmas Eve. Read More...

Day 143: Skiing Mutters

Day 143 — Skiing Mutters
23-December-1971 (Thur.)

Mountains valleys and skiing
Today is my last skiing day in Innsbruck. I hit Mutters mountain and find some icy skiing. Yes, skiing matters, I mean Mutters. A quick goodbye to my newly-found ski partner, Elisabeth. I will miss her.

I am reminded of a ski story with my wife, Olga. Looking for ski partners.

Day 142: Skiing Igls with Elisabeth

Day 142 — Skiing Igls with Elisabeth
22-December-1971 (Wed.)

Skiing partner Elisabeth
A short day of skiing with Elisabeth. Trying to do too much in too short a time. Igls has sunny skiing, providing a day of good skiing and picture taking.

Being a student is a bond that facilitates meeting other students internationally. Being young is a special time. Enjoy it, responsibly.

Day 141: Great skiing at Igls

Day 141 — Great skiing at Igls
21-December-1971 (Tue.)

Great skiing scenery
A great day of skiing at Innsbruck’s Igls mountain. The weather was sunny and the snow was in perfect condition (not icy). I have a great dinner and conversation with Elisabeth. I keep mentioning my mom and seek Sigmund Freud’s help.

Day 140: Skiing; Elisabeth; naked men in a sauna

Day 140 — Skiing, Elisabeth, naked men in a sauna
20-December-1971 (Mon.)

Meet Elisabeth
I have an extremely long journal post today. Why? I love Innsbruck. It was an incredible fun-filled day. From rain in Innsbruck to snow in Seegrube, to the extreme but pleasant torture of an Innsbruck health spa—complete with sauna, cold bath, hot and cold foot and body baths, and naked men in saunas.

There is only one Austrian in my ski class. She is a good-looking Austrian girl, Elisabeth. She becomes my skiing partner and a welcomed source of information on Innsbruck. When I said, “Where can I run around naked with a bunch of old men?,” she was right there pointing me to the health spa. Only kidding. Winking


Day 139: Innsbruck: Seegrube Ski School

Day 139 — Innsbruck: Seegrube Ski School
19-December-1971 (Sun.)

Beautiful scenery
My first day of skiing in the Austrian Alps is at Seegrube. I take lessons to improve my paralleling—after all this is Austria. If they can’t teach me to ski, no one can. I love it. I love the fresh air. Just thinking about it, I want to go back. Right now!

Day 138: Arrival in Innsbruck

Day 138 — Arrival in Innsbruck
18-December-1971 (Sat.)

Innsbruck St Anne column
I’m in Innsbruck. Yay, my first look at the Austrian Alps, or any Alps for that matter. A little bit of sightseeing and then I get ready for some exciting skiing tomorrow. St. Anne's column in Innsbruck's old town is a well-known landmark.

Day 137: Christmas in class

Day 137 — Christmas in class
17-December-1971 (Fri.)

While drinking a little wine in class, we create some Christmas tree patterns on an oscilloscope. How's that for education? We’re about to break for the holidays. Tonight I leave for Innsbruck.


Day 136: Nothing today

Day 136 — Nothing today
16-December-1971 (Thur.)

A busy day. Nothing to report.

Day 135: “Letter Home” is finished

Day 135 — “Letter Home” is finished
15-December-1971 (Wed.)

Anton Heiler concert
A good full day. I finish my electronic music letter. I plan on taking a skiing trip to Innsbruck. I see a second Anton Heiler organ concert.

Yay. Yay. Yay.

Day 134: Zappa's 200 Motels

Day 134 — Zappa's 200 Motels
14-December-1971 (Tue.)

It’s Frank Zappa at the movies today—
200 Motels.

Day 133: Wrote a new song

Day 133 — Wrote a new song
13-December-1971 (Mon.)

Wrote a new song today. I don’t know what that song is, but I wrote it. Maybe, one day, I'll release it to the public. Maybe. One day.


Day 132: Music and art

Day 132 — Music and art
12-December-1971 (Sun.)

A good day with both contemporary art and Romantic music. I have great subscription seats in the Vienna Musikverein, where I can see the conductor as he conducts the orchestra. From the front. Nice.

Day 131: Beautiful Burgtheater

Day 131 — Beautiful Burgtheater
11-December-1971 (Sat.)

Vienna Burgtheater
A full day of electronic music followed by a play in the absolutely beautiful Burgtheater.


Day 130: Electronic letter

Day 130 — Electronic letter
10-December-1971 (Fri.)

Nothing happening today. Just working on my electronic letter.

Day 129: Planning for St. Anton

Day 129 — Planning for St. Anton
09-December-1971 (Thur.)

I make reservations to ski at St. Anton in the Austrian Alps. (Wait until you see the pictures.) I am nervous about the money, but hope it will be worth it.

My French horn needs some fixing. Oh boy.


Day 128: My first “thunder-snow”

Day 128 — My first “thunder-snow”
08-December-1971 (Wed.)

Vienna is an amazing city. So amazing that there was thunder and lightening during a snow storm. Wow. I have never experienced that again, even to this day. The opera,
Othello, based on Shakespeare play, ends the day.

Day 127: Christmas $$

Day 127 — Christmas $$
07-December-1971 (Tue.)

In 2007, I come to the realization that Christmas is, has been, and will always be expensive. I complain about spending 20s for mailing Christmas cards in 1971. Today, I wish I was only spending 20 schillings.

Day 126: Guitarist Julian Bream

Day 126 — Guitarist Julian Bream
06-December-1971 (Mon.)

A Julian Bream guitar concert reminds me of the wonderful experience of hearing top artists perform “live.” Hey, I find some YouTube videos of Bream. Why didn't I think of this before?

I encourage you all to experience as many live music and concert events as are affordable and convenient to you. An apartment or condo in New York City would be nice. And convenient. And expensive.


Day 125: Good friends depart

Day 125 — Good friends depart
05-December-1971 (Sun.)

Christmas with Lisa and Kathy
Nothing happening in 1971.

In 2007, two good friends, Lisa and Kathy, are departing work.

Day 124: Improvisation

Day 124 — Improvisation
04-December-1971 (Sat.)

We’re improvising today in electronic music class. Yes, that means were making things up. I learn that improvisation is not easy and is a learned skill. As with everything, practicing helps to develop those skill sets.

Day 123: Splicing a letter home

Day 123 — Splicing a letter home
03-December-1971 (Fri.)

I start writing, err splicing, an audio letter to my family for Christmas. It is corny. I guess, back in 1971, I was just a corny young guy. Today, I am still a corny old guy, perhaps. Oh well.

Day 122: Frank Zappa rocks Vienna

Day 122 — Frank Zappa rocks Vienna
02-December-1971 (Thur.)

First 2007 mini snowfall
It’s Vienna—Mahler, Mozart, Beethoven, Puccini, opera, symphony orchestras, and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Zappa rocks the Konzerthaus in Vienna. Hippies all over the place. It was a blast of a concert. 2007 sees its first mini-snowfall. Read More...

Day 121: Thanking Rotary

Day 121 — Thanking Rotary
01-December-1971 (Wed.)

Rotary Clubs award 1
Today, I begin writing Christmas cards to send home. I single out two cards that I am sending to two special Rotarians that awarded me the Rotary fellowship—Mr. Spaulding, the District Governor of Rotary #749, and Mr. Mitchell, the Chairman of the Walter D. Head Foundation. I am truly thankful to Rotary Clubs International and my sponsor and boss, Nick Lioy (pictured left, standing right), for this incredible year.