What 'properly clean the oven' looks like

Continuing my clean home pride, here is the oven just after i have thoroughly cleaned it:

Inside of the oven A nice clean oven

I could have shown a picture of me laying on the floor to clean it, but it wouldn’t have looked very attractive!

I love the feeling of pride i get just after i have finished cleaning something. I am definitely going to enable picture uploading to MyChores to use as a motivational tool. I also made use of the MyChores tips feature today – i had some nasty grease spots that Ecover couldn’t shift, so i looked up on MyChores and remembered that bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) is good. It worked, but i used a bit too much and got a sort of salty residue.

Yes, this is a thinly-veiled MyChores plug, of course it is! ;)

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Caturday!

Oh, i haven’t done a Caturday picture for several weeks. Let’s have two tonight:

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Views of Budapest

Here are some views of Budapest. The scenery is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful, and these photos don’t do it justice at all, but here goes, starting with a trip up Gellért Hill:

Crossing Elizabeth Bridge to the Buda side you see this beautiful waterfall:
Waterfall from Gellert Hill

A statue half-way up the hill, looking out over Elizabeth Bridge:
Budapest statue of liberty

At the top you find this lovely garden and statue which can be seen from miles around:
Gellert Hill

Huge statue, though i have no idea who it is or what it represents:
Statue on Gellert Hill

This hill is extremely high; from here you can see the three main bridges over the Danube:
Bridges seen from Gellert Hill

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On resisting Facebook …

I have finally succumbed to the dreaded Facebook! Over the past few months i have been consistently ignoring all Facebook requests … but today i find out that one of my siblings is using Facebook for a blog, and i do want to keep in touch … so i have joined.

Things i don’t like … i can’t use OpenID, i have to provide my full name, there doesn’t seem to be any RSS to keep track of friends (you have to sign in to the Facebook blog platform)

Things i like … it is a clean, well thought-out interface (unlike myspace!) and … well … maybe i’ll find some other things to like about it later!

Things that just scare me … how easy it is to find other people, and whether i’m going to be inundated with faces from my past now. I found the group of the theatre company that i used to be in, and there are so many people there i recognise. I’m not sure whether i want to be in touch with them all again. Maybe it’s just because i know i’m not very good at keeping in touch with people, and i don’t want to disappoint people. Perhaps i really do want to be in touch with them, but i’m not sure they’ll want to know me. I just feel apprehensive.

And yet, in contradictory news … today i have been making the XFN and FoaF to specify my other identities, and links to friends. I have a nice sidebar on my blog to show them all, and i found a good FoaF visualisation tool.

Well, we shall see how it goes with Facebook. Chances are i may really enjoy it once i get used to it. Right now i’m going to upload a few of my holiday photos.

OpenID promoting open networks

This is awesome: We Are Opening the Social Graph – a blog entry by David Recordon who has just returned to Six Apart. Explaining OpenID and showing how it could help us to map social networks and provide even more links between users on separate sites. This is exactly what i’m keen to do since i moved away from LiveJournal!

I want to read it properly when i get home tonight, and i’m going to look into that XFN microformat for claiming your other identities – seems a very nifty idea.

Heroes

A colleague has been a complete hero for me and recorded Heroes whilst i was away. Therefore i have two episodes to watch tonight, and another two tomorrow because it’s a double-episode on BBC2. Hurrah! :)

So no holiday snaps going online tonight, heheh!

Oh yes, and i’ve just remembered i am babysitting for cousins tomorrow night, so that’ll be a marvellous opportunity to watch Heroes on their nice widescreen flatscreen TV.

Talking about books

I thought i would upload holiday photos tonight … but now the time comes i just don’t feel like it. So i’ll save it for another evening, or possibly the weekend. There’s no hurry.

Instead i find myself wanting to record that i am currently reading The Whole Shebang – A State-of-the-Universe(s) Report by Timothy Ferris, and enjoying it very much. I found it in a bookshop in Budapest and managed to bargain it down from 800 to 600 Forints (which is about £1.70). Okay, the book is about 10 years old, but it is very easy to read and understand, with plenty of comparisons to things i can realistically imagine, to help me visualise the concepts that are being explained. I have learnt all about the age and rate of expansion of the universe, red shifts, space-time distortion … i am currently reading about the many fascinating aspects of black holes! :) Best of all, the book is signed by the author on the first page! ;)

I have always been interested in space, and this book works for me where Stephen Hawking’s Brief History of Time did not. I tried twice to read it and got baffled by the science. Hopefully, having read this book, i will be able to try the Stephen Hawking one again. I’m also looking forward to learning more up-to-date developments once i have a thorough understanding of what was known ten years ago.

Whilst on holiday i also read a Terry Pratchett book – The Light Fantastic. It reminded me just why i cannot stand Terry Pratchett – just ridiculously stupidly far too random for my liking – but my partner the book for me (off read it swap it) so i thought i should give it a try. Despite myself, i did actually find parts of it quite funny, and i especially liked Death as a character, so maybe i will try reading Mort one of these days.

I very much enjoyed Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, although i was disappointed that an absolutely perfect plot line i thought was coming did not. It seemed too delicious an opportunity to miss, but it almost seemed as if Sarah considered it, began writing it, then let it flop and instead devised a highly improbable plot device to replace it. There was also a particularly obvious line of contemplation that i think should have been pursued, but was not even touched upon. I’m trying to be cryptic to avoid spoiling the book for anyone else who wants to read it … but if anyone already has, i’d be keen to discuss these ideas.

Back at work

We had a safe, if long, journey home on Saturday. Got back to find our phone line had been cut off – BT were doing some work and managed to cut through the cables, or something like that. Hence no internet, hence no update from me. But it should be getting fixed today.

I had a lovely afternoon yesterday, went to visit my friend who was looking after our hamster. Had a nice time discussing the wonders of the Universe and watching Harry Potter! Suzie seems to have had a wonderful holiday too, but we’re all glad to be back home again! :)

So i am back at work, still wet from a downpour this morning. I may have missed England, but i did not miss English weather. Having worn short sleeves and sun block for the last two weeks, it’s actually quite a shock to come back and realise it’s actually nearly October and Autumn is well on its way.

Mixed emotions

We travel home tomorrow and i have been a strange mix of emotions on our final day. In one sense i am sad about leaving Budapest. I feel i know it quite well now – i am familiar with the transport links, the landmarks, the sights of the city. I have also learnt sufficient Hungarian to get by quite satisfactorily. In another sense i am longing to be back home and return to my normal routine. It’s funny, even after two weeks holiday and relaxing i still feel quite tired, because being away from home is quite stressful for me.

Oh well, i have lots of happy memories and pretty photographs to bring home with me. The weather has been perfectly clear the last few days, not a cloud in the sky. If it’s like that again tomorrow the flight will be incredible!

Happy holidays

We are thoroughly enjoying our holiday, although i am also looking forward to going home. We have been to many museums and visited many tourist attractions. We shall probably spend the remaining days re-visiting places we have already been to take some more photographs.

One of my favourite places we visited was a Roman ampitheatre, out of the way where not many people visit. It was thoroughly overgrown, but felt steeped in history. There were hundreds of lizards living in the stones – so pretty they were. I was lucky enough to find a still one and take a photo. Most of them run away when they hear you coming.

Today i am spending a morning on my own, since i am the kind of person who needs to do that every now and then. I have a bottle of water, a book and an iPod, and i shall walk up the hill to find some peace and stillness, away from the crowds and the noise. I am currently reading Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, which i highly recommend. It is intriguing and fascinating, with a really sweet hinted underlying love story. I am not half way through yet so i do not know what might still happen.

I hope everyone is fine. I look forward to coming back home and being in better contact with everyone.