Friday, February 27, 2009


I had completely forgotten the photos I took in KLU earlier this month, or rather, I thought I had already posted them. When Karel returned from a client meeting there last week and mentioned the omnipresent election posters, I remembered. I also remembered having recently deleted the pictures off my camera's SD card without a backup on my computer. The only one salvaged was this one:
election posters (onemorehandbag) In any case, the density of election posters (this Sunday, there are elections in the provinces of Carinthia and Salzburg) was unprecedented and the BZÖ posters particularly nauseating, with the party's leading men posing next to open fireplaces, HELLO! homestory style, in traditional costumes to undermine their allegiance to Ye Good Old National Values and in bright ski gear to demonstrate just how fit and close to nature they are.
It was hard to decide whether the amount of posters and billboards per square metre was higher in KLU or Villach. I wonder when politicians will begin to realise that in economically less prosperous times it might perhaps not be the right signal to their voters to spend so much (of taxpayers') money on propaganda.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

On the Edge

luck (onemorehandbag)

There is a German proverb saying that who goes on a journey will be able to tell many tales upon his return. Well, the same seems to hold true for business trips.

The boss, the Empress and myself had a customer meeting near Innsbruck earlier this week. As the place was more than 20 kms outside and we were booked on 3 different return flights, it was decided that a rental car would be the more economical option than several taxis. As I was the last to fly back a day after the other two, the car was to be rented in my name. To be honest, the idea of driving with a new car in a town I'd never been to by car is somewhat out of my comfort zone, but the prospect of navigating in greater Innbsruck wasn't too scary, after all.

Well, although I had booked the smallest type car, we got upgraded to a huge SUV, a Mitsubishi Outlander 4WD. Still not scary as I had learnt to drive in my granddad's Mitsubishi Pajero, which was of a similar size. As we were approaching our destination, I noticed that the ABS kicked in really fiercly every time I braked in a roundabout. Odd. I should add that there was slush on the roads and it was snowing heavily.

When we arrived at the village where our client's HQs are, we were almost an hour early and decided to go grab a bite to eat. The boss spied a promising looking sign and said we follow it uphill. It was not a terribly steep or curving road, just your typical Austrian mountain road, the likes of which your typical Austrian has driven many times in order to get to a ski resort. The roads, however, were completely covered in snow and the snowplough had apparently not made its rounds recently. As we were getting higher and higher up the mountain and there was still no sign of a restaurant, I said I'd rather return and stopped at the roadside of one of the broader hairpin bends. The boss wanted to carry on and volunteered to drive. I agreed and we got out of the car, almost falling down on the extremely slippery ground. After we had swapped seats, he turned on the engine and...steered the car into snow because the tyres had no grip whatsoever. Said snow formed a natural barrier on the side of road, preventing the car from toppling over, James-Bond-movie-style. "Get. Out. Of. The. Car. Please." a white-lipped Boss instructed us. We were happy to oblige. Thankfully, the postman and a snowplough came up the road a minute or so later. Assessing our situation, they shook their heads and the snowplough driver towed us out with a hemp rope which promptly tore. Our car came to a standstill facing downhill. "Those are summer tyres!" the postman shouted upon which I called the car rental company to give them a piece of my mind and ask them how on earth we should get away from there without snow chains or a tow truck. Well, apparently they were not summer tyres after all, but highly unsuitable anyway for a car that massive.

The local guys strongly advised us not to attempt to drive downhill with those tyres. Nonetheless, the Boss wanted to chance it. We crawled at a 5 km/h pace, seat-bealts unfastened so we could jump out quickly should we need to. The right front and rear wheels were in the fresh snow at the side of the road for some desperately needed natural brake effect, the left ones on the slippery road. Thus we slowly slid downhill, the Boss's hand firmly on the handbrake. It was deadly silent in the car and while I felt the colour of my face draining, the Boss had developed a pretty convincing carribean "tan" by the time we had made it to the village, just in time for our meeting.

Yesterday, before returning to Innsbruck airport where I finally got rid of that monster car, I went into the village church to light 3 candles...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

As Graceful as an...Elephant

Yesterday afternoon I decided to check out the skating rink in front of city hall. I had not been there for a couple of years and had heard of the extended runway through the park. My visions of swooshing elegantly through the throngs of people were shattered when I tried to brake for the first time. I nearly fell over my feet and had to grab the boards in order to stop. Odd. I tried once more and realised I could only skate straight ahead like a train on tracks. Then I remembered that I had had my skates sharpened at Eislaufverein the last time I was there. They apparently had given the blades a hollow cut which meant I could no longer brake by tilting the skates to the side. Scary! I skated for more than half an hour like an absolute beginner with raw eggs instead of skates. Not exactly my idea of fun. As the crows became denser, I decided to call it a day and headed towards the service station, skates in hand, to explain my dilemma. For 6 EUR the guys on duty gave them another cut. Somewhat suspicious I tried them (the skates, not the guys...) out before heading home, relieved to find out I could once more stop without frantically grabbing the boards.
skating @ Rathausplatz (onemorehandbag)

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Just as we were on the verge of feeling ridiculous in our down coats, winter decided to come back with a vengeance, like a mischievous little gnome jumping out from behind a curtain.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Too Much of a Good Thing

Brought up to be weary of medicine (never mind my inability to swallow pills bigger than a dust particle) and to trust natural remedies instead, my first instinct to fight against the first signs of a cold is to inhale salt water.

This time, I must have OD-ed on the salt, though, dissolving a good handful of good (from the Himalayas, no less) cooking salt in boiling water. I only noticed when on Tuesday morning, my sweet breakfast tasted campari-bitter. I first thought the jam had gone mouldy or the bread roll had been stored next to something salty at the baker's. Then I nibbled some trail mix with chocolate and noticed the same phenomenon. Yikes.

Slightly worried, I picked my brain about possible causes, blaming the cold remedy I had taken on Monday night until it dawned on me yesterday that the strange after-taste was salty rather than bitter. I imagined my throat lined with salt crystals, stalactite cave style. I told myself that it might be a good thing in disguise - if sweets taste bad after you have ingested them you might go off them for a while. It's gradually wearing off today and I am after all rather relieved that chocolate doesn't taste like poison anymore.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ain't No Hiding It

I try only to show every third or so bag I buy to my Mum who leads a much more frugal life than me (minor shoe-tick aside) and who is constantly trying to get me to save my hard-earned money rather than blow it on arm candy. She must have given up on me as on her recent visit to Vienna she got me this book:
handbag  book (onemorehandbag)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hot Dates and Colds

It's probably just as well none of my 3 dates on Valentine's Day yesterday (one of them with my great-aunt who is going to be 92 next week) were of the body-fluid-exchanging kind as I woke up with a runny nose and sore throat this morning. I like to think that I haven't succumbed to the killer virus that has kept my boss and most of my colleagues in thrall for the last weeks, but am just nsuffering the aftermath of a train compartment with cold instead of hot air blowing out of its air conditioning unit. We'll see.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Maiden Voyage

MD on the road (onemorehandbag) Happy to report that the new purchase is the perfect business-trip accessory and exceeded expectations on its first outing.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Duck Tales. The Sequel

Remember my correspondence with the Italian Ducks? Well, last Thursday, I received a delivery which looked like this:
Two small bags of slightly different size, arriving in separate parcels and still no sign of the beige inner bag thingie. I composed an e-mail of utmost explicitness, asking them whether the black neopren bag had perhaps been intended as replacement of the beige laptop bag, the latter possibly being out of stock? It turned out there had been a logistic error and they had wanted to only send me ONE small bag plus the laptop bag. I asked whether they wanted me to return the surplus bag, but they said I could keep it.
Yesterday, the missing bag arrived. Phew. That's certainly one way of keeping UPS in business.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What a Vondaful Night

Last night I redeemed my great birthday present and went to see Vonda Shephard with the Empress, the Gazelle and the Mermaid (standing in for the sick MC). As there was free seating, the plan was to arrive early. Well, after a pre-concert prosecco (or two) at the new Hotel Herrenhof near the Mermaid's and our offices and a fortifying pit stop @ McDonald's we arrived at 8 sharp. Just as we had taken our seats, Vonda came on stage so we like to think she had just waited for us.
Vonda S. @ Gasometer (onemorehandbag) The sound was so perfect the Empress and I thought it was playback at first. It wasn't, though and although only 1 person in the stage had the new album when Vonda asked for a show of hands, adding "I'll play some songs from the albums with Callista Flockheart on the cover later", she sure sold crates of them afterwards and patiently signed them all.
Although "live is live" as they say in Austria, we hope MC will like her little souvenir:
signed by Vonda (onemorehandbag)

Monday, February 09, 2009


...from KLU. For some reason, I always seem to return to Vienna with a pair of shoes. Or boots.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The Alpine Equivalent of the Camel Trophy

I took Thursday afternoon off and drove southwards, planning to go skiing on Friday with my Mum. Alas, the weather gods were in a bad mood and decided Carinthia had had enough sunshine and could do with a bit buckets of rain and fog. Ah well. Stubborn creature that I am, I decided that the weather would not deter me and since the weather forecast was worse even for Saturday, Mum and I went skiing on Friday according to my plan. At least there was no problem finding a parking space, there were only 2 other other cars (one with a Viennese, one with a German license plate) in the car park of the Verditz valley station. It's a very "retro" ski resort with ancient lifts which is hardly ever overcrowded anyway, but still. It had only just started raining when we got out of the car and my Mum wasn't convinced the weather would last. We walked up to the ticket booth and she grilled the cashier. "Which direction will the clouds go?" "Is it foggy up the mountain", etc. He looked into his crystal ball or rather webcam and after much deliberation on my mother's part (would it be worth driving elsewhere, perhaps?) I convinced her to give it a try. The cashier seemed impressed and said "You're no coach potato, eh?" to me when he put down the seat of my chair on the one-seater lift.
Well, we got literally empty slopes in return for a wet bum (the 3 chair lifts there are v-e-r-y slow and the seats were wet) and soon wet everything. Why has nobody thought to invent ski goggles with windscreen wipers, by the way? When the snow turned into heavy rain even at the top of the mountain, we gave up and had lunch at one of the few open huts.
There, I saw a sign in rather original English with German syntax at the toilet door:
please tor close (onemorehandbag)

click to enlarge

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Staying Fit in Times of Financial Turmoil

"Have you read that?", Amica asked as we got dressed after our back gym class and pointed at a notice on the door to the changing room. It's probably not out of the blue that a chic inner-city gym offers 2 free months of membership "should you have lost your job as a result of the current financial crisis".

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Retail Poetry

You knew, I'd order the Mandarina Duck briefcase/laptop bag, didn't you? Well, "Joy", as it is so aptly called, arrived by UPS yesterday. wasn't black, or rather "dark" as I'd expected, but a chocolate brown (not that I minded much) and and the detachable inner laptop bag and small bag were missing. It came with a neopren laptop skin instead. I decided to write to MD's customer service, hoping the ducks understood English before I'd have to assault them with my rudimentary Italian ("scusi, ma mancano le altre borse che ho visto nella foto" - you get the idea). They did understand my e-mail indeed and replied an impressive 10 minutes later in nearly impeccable Inglese, telling me that I had apparently ordered the bag in brown (not that it said the colour on the order confirmation, but anyway). They didn't answer my second question regarding the missing bags, so I asked them again, including a screenshot of the item description in the online store and a photo of the delivery. Another 10 minutes and the ducks wrote back:

It is possible that you will receive the Joy briefcase without the inner bag.
In this case, you may contact us again and we will be glad to send you the missing part.
Thank you for your kind interest.
My kind interest dictated that I contacted them again and asked them to gladly send me the missing part that was "possibly" missing.

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