Tuesday, November 29, 2011

5 Things

Happy Tuesday.  In light of my desire to catch up on stuff and also some important topical things happening, that you might have missed in your busy lives.
  1. The Euro is in big trouble.  Asides from the EU's open borders, the common currency is probably the biggest thing the group has done.  That currency is in jeopardy due to things that my college roommate could explain a lot better than me.  So, if you're like me and don't really understand the world of sovereign debt, JP Morgan explains it in Legos. If you want to read the article, I've linked it here.
  2. Patrice O'Neal has died of complications following complications following a stroke he had in October.  His last public appearance was on Charlie Sheen's roast. If I asked you who the best comic from Massachusetts, who would you say?  If the words Dane Cook came out of your mouth, find the tallest structure where you're reading this and jump off it.  Bill Burr and Patrice O'Neal are two of my favorite comics and they both hail from Boston.  Below is one on my favorite clips from Patrice.  Rest easy, big fella. 
  3. I ran my third 5K on Thanksgiving.  So I am thankful that I didn't die.  But allow me to tell you this, but if I can run a 5K, anyone can.  One of the best things about it is that you will always run faster than someone else, be they morbidly obese or 100 years old.  Passing people makes you feel like a rockstar.  Also, don't be fooled by the small kids.  They have tons of energy, but they don't understand pacing, so you will end up playing a yo-yo game with them all race.  Most important, don't let any walkers pass you.  That way you can wear your free t-shirt with pride. 
  4. Wegman's is my new favorite place.  It's seriously the best grocery store ever.  They're a Buffalo-based chain, and they are slowly making their way south.  They have a whole side of pre-made food that you can eat in a cafe.  Mine even is a singles hangout that has live music.  Their store brand is terrific.  So, watch out Massholes as there's one coming to Northborough. 
  5. Finally, as you probably do know, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) is retiring after this term.  His sexual preference allowed for one of my favorite sayings I learned from my pal Steve.  "I'm out like Barney Frank" which he would say when he had to depart.  The best thing to come out of the news cycle today on this was the New York Times correction to their article.  
Correction: November 28, 2011
An earlier version of the article called Mr. Frank the first openly gay member of Congress. He was the first member of Congress to voluntarily acknowledge he was gay.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Final Day in Budapest


I'd apologize for not blogging more.  But I'm not really sorry.  Very rarely while walking around, or being out at dinner, or cuddling in bed, did the words "I really should blog now" come out of my mouth.  Alas, I thought I would write on our final day in the Pest.  Technically I can say this, as we are on the Pest side.  Tomorrow morning, Lufthansa takes us back to the Motherland at 6AM, before we get on a flight operated by Continited for the final leg home. 

The last few days have seen bathing in the public baths, which really are quite awesome.  Then we saw where they put all the communist statues after the communists were kicked out and then we saw the HQ of the Secret Police (both Nazi and Communist) Chuck, I did buy you something and it's on the way shortly. 

Today we're going to check out Parliament and the Great Synagogue, second only in size to my personal favorite and site of many barmitzvahs, Temple Emanu-el in NYC.  First though, to get some breakfast and a cappucino.

Coolest thing:  A good friend of Ross's has a vineyard here and he had two bottles of wine dropped off at the hotel.  So that's awesome.  Sauska Vineyards.  Funniest part was the guy called from downstairs and Allyson picked up the phone after 11 (We were watching Sons of Anarchy) and he kept saying in a whisper voice "I have your package." She thought it was a pervert.  Thanks Christian!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Greetings from Pest

So we're on our third night in Budapest.  Our hotel is on the Pest side of the Danube.  They just opened up their Christmas market right behind the hotel, which is really nice.  I remember a similar one in Prague.  Mulled wine always is a great treat.  Tomorrow I'm going for a run along the Danube.  Partly because I haven't run at all this week, but mostly so I can use the phrase "when I ran along the Danube" in conversation. 

Interesting things about Hungary:
  • They've gotten the fuzzy end of the lollipop.  Beaten by the Ottomans, choosing the wrong side in WWI and losing half of their country, siding with the Germans only to have them invade and kill all their Jews in WWII, and then to have the Russians introduce them to concrete as architecture and dreary propaganda
  • The escalators on their subway are really fast.  And they work.  Do you hear that Metro?  They not only have escalators, but they are speedy.  Odd that the capital of Hungary can get this right, but not the capital of the US.  
  • At the Xmas market today, we bought some sort of pizza like thing except is was sour cream on warm dough with a topping.  Allyson got sausage.  I got cracklins, which is supposedly a Hungarian specialty.  I loved it, and I hope to never find out what cracklins are.  
  • It gets dark here really early.  Like 4PM early.  And cold.  It's no wonder goulash is the national food.  Cheap and hot. 
Tomorrow is a tour of Memento Park to check out communist statues, and then a dip in the famous public baths.  Oh, and tonight we went to a great place called the For Sale Bar where thousands of people have left business cards.  I didn't have any of mine.  But I added our names to my friend Chuck's.  So if you see a Booz Allen card with the word "Blumpkins" written on it, that was me.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 1...or is it Day 2?

So currently sitting in the Munich Airport at the Lufthansa Senator Lounge, which is their lounge.  Allow me to geek out here for a second and say that international lounges are far superior to those in the United States.  Most everything is self-service, which means you get treated like an adult.  And they have real food.  The snacks at US Air's Clubs make me feel like lining up for feed time to get some Sun Chips.  Star Alliance Gold status is awesome when traveling internationally. 

Allyson and I are on the way to Budapest.  Lots of people ask why Budapest.  And quite simply, the dates worked and the airfare worked.  I used Starwood points for the hotel, which is supposed to be pretty swanky.  We're waiting for our connection to Budapest which isn't for about 2 hours.  And we already took showers.  Because we're ballers.  Nothing makes you feel more refreshed than a shower when you land.  God bless excess. 

More from Hungary soon.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Saturday Thoughts

As I sit in the US Air Club in the Philadelphia Airport, waiting for my tin can to leave for DCA, I had some thoughts.  Not that anyone hopefully is home and reading this at 8PM.

  • When on a plane, don't mention things you learn from airport firefighters.  The guy in the seat behind me asked why they had to close their shades for takeoff and landing.  The FA said it was airline policy.  I turned around and said it was so that firefighters could see where the fire and injuries were, so they could use the piercing nozzle correctly and put out the fire.  
  • Never get into the game with your partner of "who cares less," which sounds a lot like this song by Ben Folds Five. Eventually you both play bad cop enough to make the other person really think you don't care, when in fact all you're trying to do is make the other person care. The result is two people disconnected, which is a little awkward.  
  • Bailey's and coffee is genius.  Even though I drink decaf now because Allyson says I have the "jimmy leg" which I think is a made up term, it still tastes like warm heaven.  Thank you, booze gods, for making my body more flexible before I get onto the worst plane in the history of the world.  And one, mind you, that doesn't even stop at a gate at DCA.  I have to take a bus.  The most inhuman of all transportation.