Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

Fuuuulllll.  I’mm sooooo fuuullllll.

I ate dinner tonight with Tim Richardson, a guy I met on the streets of Paris.  Literally.  He works for GE Lighting here, lighting being the most dinosaur-istic part of the GE family.  He’s a sharp guy, though, really interesting.  He used to paratroop with the British Armed Forces, served all over the place including West Ireland and the Middle East, and left two years ago to enter civilian life.

He took me to a place called Make You a Pig, though in Hungarian it’s called Fatàl.  You might think I’m joking, but no, this greasy meat emporium really does have that name.  It’s reservation only, and even if you’ve called ahead, you still have to charm the guy on the other side of the velvet rope to let you in.

The food was delicious.  I has a plate tectonic Schnitzel with a little scoop of potatoes the size of a half melon piled on top.  I’m no exaggerating when I describe this schnitzel as being bigger than some pizzas I’ve ordered.

I ate a whopping 4/5ths of it, and skipped dessert, tomorrow’s breakfast and possibly meals this weekend as well.

This was the good part of the day, the other two parts being OK, slightly off, and somewhat disturbing.

The good part of the day was spending time with Os, who had come in from Barcelona to work with Pressflex and set up the office.  I got up in good time, finished packing and met him at my apartment.  There, I dropped off the last of my stuff, making me officially an ex-guest from Miklos’ place.  Miklos and Peter had met us there, and we figured out who was going to go where next.  I ended up going back to Miklos’ place for chairs while they went to the office to open it up, and then to get computers.  The computer place turned out to be out of power so they couldn’t sell anything, or out of parts, or something equally catastrophic, so by the time I got there, Miklos and Os were sitting on the floor with laptops, looking for all the world like young entrepreneurs who had just had their apartment repossessed.

That was the good

Maria was there as well, and her, Os and I went to the John Bull Pub for a spot of lunch.  You can’t have lunch at a pub.  You have to have a spot of lunch.  While we were waiting for our food to arrive, so did the computers, and though the John Bull is about 100 yards from our front door, it wasn’t right to just dash out for our food, so while Tamas, Dora, Miklos and Peter hefted monitors and assorted goods out of a taxi—did I mention Dora’s car stopped working in the way cars are supposed to?—we dined on beef tips and feta cheese.  It all felt very bourgeois, and that was the slightly off bit.

The somewhat disturbing bit is the doctor’s appointment I had.  I went at 2 p.m. to the American Clinic, a very Anglo place where a nurse named Barbara took my pulse and my blood pressure and talked about California and complained about not being around when this beautiful new complex was being set up, which was very recently.  The clinic had opened in February, and serves expats in a North American conveyor belt health care style.

I was there because I’ve been having a pain in my lower right leg, and for the past few days it’s been vaguely painful, occasionally tingly, sometimes tense and just a general feeling of discomfort and something’s wrong.

The doctor said it was probably a muscle cramp caused by lack of sufficient fluids (true), too much caffeine or alcohol (true), not enough electrolytes like calcium and magnesium (true) and a lot of walking (true).  She says that the cramp squeezes tight, and the tissue dies from lack of oxygen.  The toxins can kill surrounding tissue as well, if you don’t hydrate and get circulation going back to the area.  It’s calcium pills and lots of water for me.

The other possibilities for these symptoms are not as good: blood clot, tumor, nerve thingy—she didn’t want to get too specific, and said that she was pretty sure it was a cramp thingy because she couldn’t feel any lumps, the calf was soft and supple (gosh, thanks!) and I was in general good health, young, etc.  She didn’t want to make me pay for expensive bloods tests.  Yet.  If it doesn’t get better soon, then yes, I’ll do that.

Can I just say that I’m glad there’s this clinic just opened, because I went down the list of “English speaking” doctors from a list provided by the American Embassy, and I got mumble, on vacation, mumble, no answer, no answer from the other folks I tried.  This place looks so nice I bought a membership, good for discounts, sort of like a Costco for doctors I guess.

Anyway, after the doctor’s appointment, I went back to my apartment, did some work, chatted with my Mom (our house is sold!), and headed off to do some additional training for the BP people.  They were fun, and training went faster this time.  After they left, I was trying to download an update for virus software on Miklos’ computer, and I discovered a wonderful Stupid Microsoft Glitch.  When you’re downloading a file on windows, if the download window is the foremost window, there’s only one button in that window: the cancel button.  So, if you happen to hit the “Enter” key, even if, say, you’ve been downloading for 20 minutes and have about 5 left to go, the “enter” key causes the “Cancel” button to kick in, and your download is canceled, erased and gone.  Isn’t that amusing?  I see the humor in it now….

I rushed off to Vörösmarty Ter, and met Tim and we walked together down to this “Dismal” or “Perilous” or whatever the restaurant was called.  That was my day!

Oh, I should add one more thing: I watched some more TV tonight—a German TV show about the best commercials.  It was GREAT!  I think there should be a regular show on TV about commercials.  They’re so entertaining!  I laughed really really hard at some of these car, Nike and outpost.com commercials.  Have I been away from TV too long?  (Everyone nods heads… Yes!)

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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