Archives for the month of: June, 2005

Well I started my new job today, and am currently on my lunch break. I haven’t actually been given any real work to do yet, it’s all been orientation and introductions and whatnot.
Real work will be commencing in the afternoon.

Unfortunately my home computer seems to have kicked the bucket. Annoyingly I think it’s the hard drive controller, which means I won’t be able to fix it. This has pretty much skuppered my idea of continuing my retrospective holiday diary. May still continue it at work though.

Fortunately I managed to back up all my photos before the death, although I think they should still be safe on the hard drive (I hope).
It’ll probably be a long time before I can afford to get a new computer too, so blogging will probably be quite sporadic.

We started off this day by deciding to go to one of the spars. I’d gotten a bit nervous about the whole deal (even though it was my idea) because the guide books seemed to suggest that you couldn’t wear your own trunks, and had to wear a loin cloth type dealie. Fortunately it turned out that you could wear your own thing, and in fact most people did. So we spent about two hours or so relaxing in the hot spar water, alternating between the hot and less-hot pools (38 & 36 degrees C). Tried out the steam room but I found it so hard to breath in there that I quickly left.
Then we rounded off the session with a medical massage. This was very intense and in some cases slightly painful. It was however quite enjoyable apart from the need to go completely naked.
After that we had some lunch at an Italian place (nice pizza) and went shopping. I was trying to find some sandals but decided not to bother, the prices were no cheaper than England and nothing really took my fancy. We then went back to the hotel for a shower to prepare for the evening out
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Well yesterdays post recounting the events of the holiday was delayed due to another crash of my machine. This is not good, although now I have backed up all my pictures. Hopefully it’ll hold out until I go home this weekend where I can backup all my stuff on my dads machine and go through the trauma of a complete restall.
This is long over due as the last time I did a complete format was in my final year at uni, which is now distressingly over two years ago.

Seeing as breakfast went on until a lesurely 10am, we didn’t get up until about 9:30. A mistake we quickly decided to never repeat as the selection left was pretty poor.
On this day we decided to visit the castle district of Budapest, a section of the old town that holds a lot of historic and interesting buildings. We wisely decided not to take public transport all the way, not because it’s bad, but because we’d get to see more of the city if we went most of the way on foot. This was a good idea as we saw a few more interesting sights on the way to the castle district. I won’t bore you with a list of all the buildings that we saw, although the Royal Palace was particularly grand. We had an expensive touristy lunch and continued our sight seeing.
In the evening we managed to get a bit off the tourist track and found a very cheap italian restraunt that was amasingly tasty. By this I mean £20 payed for all four of us to have our meals, drinks and tips. The food was so tasty it was ranking in the top five meals of my entire life!
Had a few beers and made our way back to the hotel.

Well the day started early, I had to pack, pick up my camera and be at the airport by midday. I’m damn glad that I have a habit of leaving slightly too much time, as it took me a nerve wracking half an hour to find my passport.
Other than that the morning went suspiciously smoothly. I met up with the guys at the airport at exactly 12, they in turn had left at exactly 8, got to Matt’s at exactly 9, and arrived at airport parking at exactly 11. All according to plan. It seemed to be too good to be true. Turned out that it was. The flight was delayed. Not by long I’ll admit but it was still a mar on our perfect record of time keeping.
Greig also got searched going through the metal detector at departures, something that would become a theme of the holiday. We all got searched by customs coming into Budapest, but then a group of four likely looking lads have got to expect that!
We had to wait about half an hour for the minibus to take us to the hotel but that all went smoothly.
After plonking our stuff in the rooms and possibly checking out how many of the TV channels were in English, the matter of food quickly became an urgent one.
The receptionist at the desk provided us with a map and the advice that the nearest metro station was a 15-20 minute walk and we could get into the centre of town from there.
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Reading around, online, as I do I came across a link to this:Dangerrrr: cats could alter your personality. I read it, and thought it was an April fools gag. Except it was published in September.
The upshot of the article for those that can’t be bothered to read it is this: Cats carry a parasite called toxoplasma gondii, this can be transmitted to humans. This is not such a big deal as (assuming your immune system is ok and you’re not a featus) it doesn’t cause any major problems. It can however have an effect on your personality. Men become more aggressive, scruffy and antisocial. Women however, suffer from the ‘sex kitten’ effect, they become more fun loving, less trust worthy and more desirable.

Reading this I thought two things: Firstly what a load of B.S. ™ and secondly women seem to get a much better deal.

I got curious and did a bit of digging. It seems that there is indeed a parasite in cats called toxoplasma gondii, and it can be passed to humans. The possible change in personality has been measured but not conclusively. It can be contracted by eating contaminated food. Or playing with kitty litter.
Simply put the eggs or larvae (or whatever they are) are found in the cats feces, the final life stage of the parasite is in the cat, if you see what I mean.
It can be quite a nast little thing, if you’ve got AIDS, or have a generally weak immune system. Apparently this can include pregnant women and babies.

Seeing as at least half of the British cat population has the parasite, well I’d advise you to stop eating that cat feces.
Something I’d advise against anyway to be fair.

This is a lesson I’ve learnt, unfortunately too late, when getting foreign currency. We were advised to get our Hungarian Forints from the post office because they don’t charge commission. It seems however that instead of commission they give you really crap exchange rates. For example, we got a rate of roughly 330 Forints to the pound.
I looked up the exchange rate this morning and it’s hovering around the 370 mark. I got £175 worth of Forints (for myself and Andy) and with the difference in rates, from ideal to what we got (if that makes sense) I paid an equivalent commission of about £15.
Admitedly I don’t know what kind of commission other places charge but I’m sure that there are places that charge less than that.

Oh well nevermind.
Live and learn and all that. Hopefully £75 will be enough for the week, otherwise I’ll have to start using cards and cash machines and the like. Although that didn’t actually cause any problems in France, I don’t know if it’s a good idea in eastern europe.

Well, last night I tried out the pickup the I (with the help of the workshop guru at work) fitted to my guitar yesterday. Damn it sounds good, with one quick swipe of the credit card I’ve upgraded my quite nice guitar to a quite nice electro-acoustic guitar.
Admittedly the sound isn’t astonishing but seeing as the pickup was only £40 and I’m no virtuoso it doesn’t bother me.
If I was that bothered about the sound quality then I would have spent more than £200 on my guitar in the first place! 🙂

This is the general format of online shopping.
Yes, friends, once again my knowledge of my credit card number has led me into more impulse buying of the online kind. Only this time it was roughly four-hundred pounds worth of music gear.
To break it down: A digital 8-track portable studio, a combined midi synth and sampler (although I have it on good authority that the sampler is too slow for live use), and an under-saddle pickup for my guitar (this means it will be converted to an electro-acoustic).

This is quite obviously a very silly thing to do seeing as I’ve yet to pay for my holiday (or at least the cheque hasn’t been paid in) and I think I have to tax my car this month too (still have to check that).

So next month, honestly I’ll not spend ANY money that I don’t have to.


Had quite a close call yesterday, left the house (can’t remember why) but left my computer on. When I came back the computer had a completely blank screen. Not a big deal you may think, screensavers have been around for ages. Thing is my computer was not responding in the slightest. Turned it off and on again.
Bios basically said (in not such clear english) ‘You have no drives in this computer, no hard drive, no CD drive, nothing. Go away.’ Reboot, same thing. Bios fiddling, same thing.
This is a disaster, last time I backed up all my pictures (the only things of real importance on there) was about six or seven months ago.
There’s nothing I could do at home, just hope that its the IDE controller thats gone and the actual drives are fine. This would mean that the entire laptop was completely useless but at least I’d be able to retrieve my data.
So, I take it into work to try and find the problem. Turn it on…
‘Booting windows, no problems here.’

The relieve is indescribable. Back up of pictures will commence as soon as I have a free minute.