Archive for December, 2007

My First Art Sale

A couple of weeks ago, I put some art up at ImageKind to allow people to buy prints, and today I made my first sale — and the buyer turned out to be someone I was interviewing for an article I’m writing.

Which piece did I sell? One of my favorites, as well as one of my only ventures into working on scratchboard:

Black and White Man Abstract

Christmas Eve at the Fields’

Last night, we went over to our good friends the Fields’ for a Christmas eve dinner. Most of us, including the hosts, were Jewish, there was no turkey or ham served, and there was no eggnog. There was still lots of food and drink, some games which involved guessing how many cranberries or other items were in a container or in the house as well as guessing the height difference between the shortest and tallest guests — my mom was the shortest, not very surprisingly. I got mistaken for both of my sisters various times — even my mom said I looked a lot like Suzie yesterday. And we went on an after-dinner boat ride on the Duffy to look at the lights around Naples (no, not Italy, Naples Island in Long Beach, CA).

Christmas lights in Naples, Long Beach

Overall, a really fun night. Thanks, Fieldsies!

Sorry if this post is a bit disjointed. I’m still really jet-lagged, and I woke up at 5 a.m. I took the photo from the boat with my cell pone. Not the best quality, but you should get the idea.

A 24-Hour Trip Back to LA

My alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. in Budapest on Saturday. I got up, showered, and was ready to be taken to the airport at 6:30. Evan came along, too, just to drop me off. His flight was later in the day. I got through check-in, passport control and security in about five minutes. And I was supposed to have about an hour before my plane was boarding. That hour stretched to about 3 hours — there was heavy fog in London slowing things down.

Everyone at the Budapest airport was really nice about it, though. The captain for our British Airways flight even hung out with us and talked to us about the delays. She was very nice. Anyway, I got a new flight to LA, since I was going to be missing mine, and I just waited until we could finally leave.

We got to London at noon, and I had about three hours to wait before my next flight. Evan’s flight was delayed a bit, too, but he was able to make his connection.

I got to my gate, and looking at my new ticket, I realized that they’d put me in Word Traveler Plus — the BA premium economy section. I was excited about it. And when they finally scanned my ticket, they said it was changed again — turned out that I was flying business class! I’ve had some good luck on BA. This was my second business class flight this year with them.

firstclass.jpgI sat down and enjoyed a glass of champagne, and we ended up sitting at our gate for an hour and a half or so before getting any sort of start. Our 10-plus hour flight went by smoothly. I enjoyed lying back and putting my feet up, and I didn’t sleep, but watched a bunch of on-demand movies. This was I think the first time on a BA flight that the entertainment worked properly. On the other 3 transatlantic flights I’ve taken recently, there were a lot of issues with the system. I watched:

  1. Stardust: Very entertaining! I’d definitely recommend it.
  2. The Simpson’s Movie: If you like the show, you’ll enjoy the movie. I chuckled quite a bit.
  3. The Darjeeling Limited: I enjoyed it a lot.
  4. Ratatouille: Cute, though doesn’t make all that much sense.
  5. Hairspray: Rather annoying. Especially John Travolta’s role. I can’t believe I watched the whole thing.
  6. Shrek the Third: I only saw the first bit of it. Wasn’t terribly interested.

Of course, the waiting and long lines didn’t stop once I got off the plane. Immigration had really long lines, the baggage claims were packed and then the lines to get through customs were completely chaotic and winding all around the various baggage claims and columns. I finally got out, and my mom and sister picked me up. And it took quite a while to get out of the parking garage, too.

I finally got home at 9 p.m. or so. Long, long day.

Evan got home to Syracuse a bit after that. He had 3 flights.

Our Last Day in Budapest

Saint Stephens Cathedral, BudapestOn our last day in Budapest, Evan and I tried to accomplish items #2 and #3 on our list, so we went down to Saint Stephen’s Cathedral (photo taken in July when I visited the first time), and we tried to get a ticket to climb the towers, but it turns out that that’s a warm weather activity — it’s closed until April. We went into the church briefly, but we couldn’t go into the room with St. Stephen’s desiccated hand, either.

Later that night, we had a reservation at Taj Mahal, which was great as usual. I know, not terribly Hungarian to spend our last night at an Indian restaurant, but it’s really delicious.

And we got one more kurtos kalacs in the afternoon. Couldn’t leave without having our favorite winter treat one more time!

The Gellert Baths, Group Changing Rooms and a Spanish Speaking Hungarian

Yesterday, Evan and I checked off item #1 on our list by going to the Gellert Baths. I actually went during the summer, but the main pool was under construction and it was really crowded. I felt like it was a waste of my money. Thankfully, when Evan and I made it there yesterday, I had a very different experience.

We got to the baths at about 5:30, and they’re only open until 7. So when we bought tickets, they were discounted and cost about half as much as I spent last time I went. We got our check-in cards and our receipt, and we went to find the changing rooms. I went to follow the sign that said women — go figure, right? But they directed me away from there and to the same changing room as Evan. I kept worrying that I would be turned away or yelled at, but as we walked through the long tiled hallways that make you feel like you’re entering an undersea palace, complete with portals looking in on the main pool, nobody seemed bothered that I was there.

When we reached the changing room, we were greeted with a Buenos Dias, not something you’d usually hear in Hungary. I didn’t really hear it at first, since the tiled room had quite an echo and I certainly wasn’t expecting it, but Evan did, and he started speaking with the guy in Spanish. He showed us to our changing room — apparently we got a little room for the two of us to change and store our stuff in as opposed to the lockers in crowded locker rooms we were always given at Szechenyi baths and that I got the first time at Gellert.

Once we changed, we went off to find the pool. Cybelle and I had a hard time trying to find our way around last time, especially because of all the construction going on, but this time it was easier. Still confusing, but it didn’t seem to take as long. We went into the smaller bath that sits at the end of the effervescent pool, and relaxed in its warm water for a bit.

We dipped our toes in the effervescent pool, too, but we decided it was a bit too cold to do so early into our stay, so we went to the thermal bath room — a different one than I was in before, and relaxed in the 36-degree-Celsius and 38-degree-Celsius pools, which was very relaxing. It was actually a different room than I had been in over the summer, though it was very similar. The one over the summer, though, was decorated differently. There’s supposed to be a men’s side and a women’s side, but I suppose with the construction everyone just goes together.

After spending a good amount of time in the warm pools, under the green tiled roof, we went back to the effervescent pool to try it out, and we were glad we did. Once we got over the initial shock of it being cool (it really wasn’t cold, just more like a normal swimming pool), we only made it one lap before the lifeguard/attendant told us we had to get out because the baths were closing. But before we got out, they did turn on the bubblers, which offered a neat effect. And the pool itself is very majestic-looking, under a large skylight and in a two-story room with balconies and columns.

The attendant yelled at us again, since we made a quick stop in the first pool we went into to warm up before changing, and we went back to the changing room to find our clothes. We met our Spanish-speaking friend again, who didn’t quite understand everything Evan was asking him, and we chatted a bit about where we were from. He was Hungarian — I don’t know where his passion for Spanish came from, but he was also wearing an Espana lanyard around his neck. And we told him we were American, to which he asked, “North or south?” Then asked if we were from Canada. And then maybe Mexico before we cleared it up that we were from the U.S.

We could have spent a bit more time there, but the time we did have was relaxing and fun, and we’re happy to check one more must-do off our list.

We didn’t bring a camera, but Evan took a few cell phone shots, so hopefully I can put those up later.

It’s Cold in the Apartment!

I’m not usually too cold here (except when I go outside), but today, after I opened the curtains in the living room and got to work, I noticed it was getting colder and colder and colder. I finally got off the couch and went to the window to see if something was up and, well, it was — the window/door wasn’t closed properly, letting in quite a draft. I’ve been trying to warm up since then, by wrapping myself in a blanket and putting on a hood. It’s finally getting a bit better, but my nose is still cold.

Man, it’ll be nice to be somewhere without freezing temperatures for a while.

Check Out the Hellboy II Trailer

Check out what Evan’s been working on for the past seven months — and what he’ll be working on for the next six months.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army trailer

You can also watch a bigger version on IGN.