Oct
26
2008
3

Granny at the Disco

On Friday night Chris, Maria and I went to magazine launch party at this fancy club. We have a new friend whose photography work is in the current issue of a new Hungarian fashion and art magazine. I had seen the magazine before we went, and it was very fancy-schmancy, so I should have known what we were getting into. Now, I try to think of myself as being able to hang out comfortably in a number of different social situations, from a local hoe-down to a stuffy dinner party. But I realized very quickly when we arrived that, not matter how much I deny it, I am a corn-fed, jeans-wearin’, Midwestern girl. And I’m also old. Now, I know there are people who read this blog that are older than me, but compared to the zygotes at this party, I am OLD.

Hunter and Zoe knew that this was going to be a night to remember...

Hunter and Zoe knew that this was going to be a night to remember...

(more…)

Written by Laura in: News,Photos | 3 Comments »
Oct
26
2008
1

A dilemma of significant proportions

So, say you need a pair of scissors because you don’t have any in your new apartment. You go to Ikea and get some, along with a bunch of other stuff that will need to be unpackaged with said scissors. You get everything home and you are so excited to unwrap everything and make your place feel like a home. You go immediately for the scissors, only to realize you have a serious conundrum on your hands:

Um, I need scissors to unwrap my scissors. But, I need scissors to do that. But...

Um, I need scissors to unwrap my scissors. But, I need scissors to do that. But...

Written by Laura in: Goofing Off | 1 Comment »
Oct
23
2008
0

Riots on Empty Streets

So October 23rd is an important day in Hungary.

  • In 1944, the Soviet Red Army invaded Hungary on this day.
  • In 1956, there was a massive student uprising against the Stalinist government on this day.
  • In 1989, Hungary was declared a Republic on this day.

While the National Day is an important day of celebration, it’s also seen as an opportunity to protest.  In 2006 there was a massive protest which turned into a riot.

Articles with titles like “New surveys suggest Hungarians much more sensible than they will seem during tomorrow’s riots“, the very recent crash of the Hungarian Forint against the Euro and USD, seemed to suggest that there might be some action on the streets today.  But there wasn’t much.  Perhaps it was the dreary weather?  Perhaps people just took the day off.  When I was out walking this morning I noted endless Hungarian flags, but the streets were almost completely empty.  Just a few confused tourists trying to figure out why everything was closed.  A strange silence.

Written by Christopher Baker in: News | No Comments »
Oct
23
2008
1

Things I wouldn’t see in Minneapolis

I was going to title this post “Things I wouldn’t see in the U.S.” but I was afraid someone would write a comment saying “What are you talking about? OF COURSE you see things like this in the U.S. Were you some kind of frumpy homebody who never got out to explore your country??” (Sidenote: Thank you everyone for making comments! It gives me warm fuzzies knowing that people are actually interested in reading my ramblings!) So, to save myself from a mocking beratement, I will stick with what I think I know–the great city of Minneapolis in the heart of the American Tundra. (Sidenote #2: I am so so so happy to get a break from the AT’s winter this year. I may actually be able to feel my toes for a full 12 months!)

So, Things I Wouldn’t See in Minneapolis (a.k.a “the AT”):

The coolest slides I've ever seen. There is no way any Minneapolis City Park

The coolest slides I've ever seen. There's no way the lawsuit-terrified public park managers in the AT would allow this to be built. And that is a shame, because if you are going to die, wouldn't you want to be shouting "WEEEEEE!!" just before you see the Pearly Gates?

(more…)

Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 1 Comment »
Oct
20
2008
7

Our apartment

The apartment Chris and I are staying in now was to be temporary, so I didn’t think about posting pictures of it; I was thinking I’d get to show you pictures of “our place”. Well, a few “extenuating circumstances” have arisen and we may end up staying here longer than we anticipated. Which is okay, especially the free rent part. I think I would have enjoyed looking for a place around the city, but we may still do that in the next few months. A lot depends on our financial situation and the ability of the lab to allow us to stay here (they have people coming in and out quite often so they may need the apartment back for guest use).

So, because I foresee us living here for awhile, I thought I’d show a few pictures. It’s still pretty empty because the lab just started renting it a few months ago. I’m actually going to Ikea tomorrow to buy a few things to make it more homey, which will be nice. So, here ya go:

Our front courtyard. You have to crawl deep into a dungeon to get to it. No, not really, it was just nighttime when I took the photo.

Our front courtyard. You have to crawl deep into a cave to get to it.

(more…)

Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 7 Comments »
Oct
20
2008
1

Obama-mania

I’m not going to post a whole lot on politics on this blog, because you can get plenty of political coverage elsewhere and I’d rather keep this website controversy-free. Politics always puts people in opposing corners. However, I want to just mention what it’s been like for a couple of U.S. expatriots to be living in another country a month before what I think we can all agree is going to be a very important election.

People are always asking us what we think of the two candidates for president. Chris read about a recent poll that was conducted that indicated if Europe was allowed to vote in the U.S. election, 90% of them would vote for Obama. Many people we meet here have said that they feel they SHOULD be allowed to vote in our election, considering how much U.S. politics affects them on a very real level; everything from the import/export economy, to international policies, to culture. I hadn’t realized how much Hungarians were thinking about it until someone at the lab found this flyer littered around the city:

Essentially it’s a call for American citizens living in Hungary to register and vote. No matter what your political views, you gotta hand to the Obama campaign–they are really turning this into a global election.

It will be early in the morning on November 5th here when the polls close in the U.S. on the 4th. If the campaign so far has been any indication, it will be a drama-filled event no matter where you are in the world.

Written by Laura in: Culture | 1 Comment »
Oct
20
2008
5

Blog Commenting 101

I love my man's smile in this photo--halfway between adorable and sinister. Just the way I like him. It keeps things interesting.

I love my man's smile in this photo--halfway between adorable and sinister. Just the way I like him. It keeps things interesting.

I am feeling a little lonely on this side of this blog–no one has commented on any of my posts. Part of that is my fault–the blog template I chose doesn’t exactly make it obvious how to comment. So, if you have tried to comment and couldn’t figure out how, here’s a little tutorial. If you haven’t tried, here’s my not-so-subtle hint to do so if you feel the urge at some point. It makes me feel like I’m not just blogging into space. And I know that the things I am posting are just so profound that who WOULDN’T want to comment?? Global warming? Who cares! U.S. Elections? I can’t think why anyone would have any use for it. But my blog? Pure poetry. A reason to live, really.

Okay, back to the tutorial. There are three tabs at the top of my blog header: Home, About Trajectories, and Log In. Click the Log In tab, where you’ll be asked to sign up in order to comment. Don’t worry, they won’t ask for your first-born child, just a username and password.

UPDATE: I changed the settings on the blog, so now you don’t have to register to leave a comment. Hopefully this will make things easier for people!

Then, when you read something I’ve written and thought to yourself, “Wow, that was amazing. I think I should comment on this!!” click the link at the bottom of every post that will say either No Comments (if you are the first one) or X Comments, if other people already have.

It’s that easy! Now go think of interesting things to say because Lord knows this blog needs some comments from people who actually know what they are talking about.

Written by Laura in: Goofing Off | 5 Comments »
Oct
19
2008
0

Terror and Relaxation

I played tourist again yesterday, after a couple days’ break. My first stop was to the House of Terror which, by its name, seems to indicate that bad things happened there. But that was just a hunch before I got there. The building was used first by the Nazis and then the Communists in Hungary as a prison and torture chamber, targeting Jews and anyone else they suspected of disagreeing with the government. The museum is an historical record and a memorial to the many people who were tortured and murdered there.

The building was retrofitted with an imposing steel "ribbon" along its edge

This museum was one of the best I have been to. Obviously its subject matter is fascinating and emotional, but the way it was designed was brilliant. Art and history play equal roles here. Each room evokes a new feeling: sickness, sorrow, anger, curriosity, frustration. You couldn’t take photos inside, but I found a few online that shows just a small portion of the large museum.

The museum's rooms all face towards this inner courtyard. Faces of the victims were carved into tiles and placed on the walls.

The museum's many rooms all face towards this inner courtyard. The faces of the victims were carved into tiles and displayed on the walls.

At the time of the Nazi and Communist occupations, most Hungarians identified themselves as Roman Catholics. This room tells the story of how many people were forced to practice their faith in secret.

At the time of the Nazi and Communist occupations, most Hungarians identified themselves as Roman Catholics. This room tells the story of how many people were forced to practice their faith in secret.

I spent nearly two hours here and I was blown away. I must confess I knew nothing about the history of Hungary before this. They have been caught in the crossfire of many wars over the years.

After the emotional experience of the House of Terror, I met up with Chris and a group of others at the Széchenyi Spring Baths for some needed relaxation. It was three hours of pure bliss. The biggest decisions I had to make was whether to go in a mineral bath, a steam room, a sauna, or the outdoor hot baths. It was the most difficult three hours of my life.

Entrance to my own personal heaven.

Entrance to my own personal heaven.

The outdoor hot springs

The outdoor hot springs

I love this building. If we ever buy a house, I'm going to paint it this color. Do you think the neighbors will mind?

I love this building. If we ever buy a house, I am going to paint it this color. Do you think the neighbors will mind?

If you've ever seen a picture of the Széchenyi Baths, one of the first images you'll probably come across is this: a group of old-timers playing chess by the side of the pool.

If you ever search for a picture of the Széchenyi Baths, this is probably one of the first you'd see: a group of old-timers playing chess by the side of the pool. Classic.

We hobbled out of the baths and went to a new club in town to have drinks with friends and watch short films about dance. The drinks were good, the fims–not so much. Films about modern dance always end up capturing the worst cliches about modern dance; all the writhing on the ground and dancing among industrial ruins gets to a person after awhile. But the club was cool:

Much merriment was had by all.

Much merriment was had by all.

Chris and I then called it a night and came home to bowls of delicious pesto pasta (we found rice pasta!!) and a tasty Greek salad made by my one true love. It was a lovely day.

Gluten-free deliciousness.

Gluten-free deliciousness.

Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | No Comments »
Oct
17
2008
0

Playing

The past three years of my life have not been easy. Life-changing and interesting, but not easy. While I’m not interested in just flowing through life on easy street all the time–you don’t seem to learn anything that way–I have come to realize that I really missed playing. You know, that feeling of freedom to be goofy and joke around and not worry about what other people are thinking. I was missing out on playing not because I didn’t have great friends who wouldn’t play with me if I asked, but because I was so stressed and caught up in the never-ending tasks for graduate school that play didn’t even cross my mind as something I could do.

I needed to get away, so I joined a group of vikings on their boating adventures

I needed to get away, so I joined a group of vikings on their boating adventures

I am not a natural at this whole “play thing” anyway. It has always taken work for me to let go and laugh and be silly. This last week, however, I have had many opportunities to play and enjoy life, which feels like fresh oxygen reaching my lungs for the first time in years. Chris and I have especially had a good time playing with Maria and John. The four of us live at the media lab, so when everyone else leaves to go home or to deal with other aspects of their lives, our world is pretty much right here.

Me, Chris and John after much Palinka madness

Me, Chris and John after much Palinka madness

Lost in the woods without a GPS navigation system or wireless internet. How will we ever survive??

Lost in the woods without a GPS navigation system or wireless internet. How will we ever survive??

Queens of the world

Queens of the world

On the tram system

On the tram system

Motherboard Table Tennis--the next wave of computer recycling

Motherboard Table Tennis--the next wave of computer recycling

The winning team

The winning team

Sooner than later, I will be starting a new job, so I am glad I had this time to feel a bit more free and a little more light-hearted. These are the times that get you through what you mother always calls “learning experiences.”

Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | No Comments »
Oct
17
2008
2

Flight of the Condor. Or Hawk. Or Whatever

As you may recall, I went to a Palinka and Sausage Festival one of the first days we were in Budapest. Along with getting very sleepy from all of the Palinka, I also tried out for a part in an episode of Wild Kingdom. Okay, not really, but I thought I should share, in pictorial format, my run-in with this hawk. At least I think it was a hawk of some sort. (Bird-lovers, don’t get mad if I am completely wrong).

Uh, sir, are you sure this is safe?

Uh, sir, are you sure this is safe?

Okay, easy now...

Okay, easy now...

This isn't so bad...

This isn't so bad...

Hey there, little fella!

Hey there, little fella!

Aaack! What are you doing???

Aaack! What are you doing???

[the fact that I just posted this horrible image of my face for all to see should assure you of my commitment to report the series of events accurately, regardless of possible humiliation on my part]

Is it over yet? Is it over yet??

Is it over yet? Is it over yet??

Oh, hey there little fella...

You think that was funny, huh? This awkward smile on my face says otherwise.

Written by Laura in: Goofing Off | 2 Comments »

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