Archive for April, 2008

Pest City Wall

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

This photo shows a portion of the Pest City Wall (Pest is the East Bank city of Budapest — Buda is the city on the West bank). The City Wall was built in the 1400’s after the Mongol Invasion to better protect Pest’s citizens. Not much of the Wall survives — there are two large fragments near our house. The amazing thing to me is that our apartment is located inside the Wall. This fragment is three blocks away from us, walking away from the Danube. That means the area is really, really urban. Its been urban for centuries.

In other news, congrats to Andy and Ashley on their wedding in Florida! We’ve seen the photos here and from Charley on Facebook. Thursday starts a four day holiday here in Hungary (and most of the rest of the non-US world), May Day. We’ll be taking the kids to the parade on Thursday and have lots of family get togethers over the holiday. No doubt, some of the better photos will find their way onto the blog.

the big day

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

wedding party

Well here is the big day. Yesterday, April 26th Andy Parkinson, first grandchild of the steussy clan and Ashley Cooper got married. It was a beautiful setting and went off without a hitch from my perspective except for a slight moment when the best man seemed to have forgotten which pocket he put the rings in.

The day started warm and clear and after Isabella (flower girl, seated) and I took a swim she was whisked away to get her hair done with the rest of the party. The non-wedding party (or Budapest dwelling) siblings went out to a nice lunch at a 50s style diner. Nic, Marti, Helen alex, KC & TJ enjoyed a relaxing meal before afternoon errands and getting dolled up for the wedding. My errands included going here;

Daytona Intl. Speedway

To buy a present for our son Calvin (six) who stayed at home with Mom. After the track I made my way to the wedding sight to be greeted by the beautiful flower girl;


Cold wine and beer flowed as guests mingled in the warm late Florida afternoon including the president of Beacon College where Andy and Ashley met and both graduated from seen here ctaching up with Andy before the big day.

Andy and the president

The wedding was originally going to take place at Disney World where Andy worked for a while but without his employment there the event was switched to Ashley’s house. The vows were taken on a rather precarious wooden “stage” set atop a waterfall flowing into a pool with flower petals floating on top. Very pretty and lots of joke fodder about “jumping in” but seating was at a bit of a premium. I’m sure many better pictures will be coming but this is proof that it happened.

The vows

After the vows and the praying and the preaching by a pretty entertaining and folksy southern preacher man the formal shots were shot while more cold beer and wine flowed for the guests. At one unguarded moment Ashley said , “Hey Andy, hold these” at which moment I caught this pic not likely to be in the official album.

He\'s got it all

Finally a great dinner was served with much newlywed kissing and guests mingling. It was rather late rather quick though and as the cake was just about to be served around 10pm Nic and Marti(seen Here)Wedding Dinner

had to say good night. Isabella and I also had a very early flight to catch (wake up call at 4am) so after cake we said our good-byes. Sorry I can’t report on the dancing and the late night festivities but I’m sure we’ll hear about that all later. Here’s one last Pic (hope I didn’t fill the blog up!) of the new husband getting more grub.

Andy eats as a married man

From Chris in Florida

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Its 10pm in Daytona Beach Florida and I, brother Chris, am blogging away (or trying) about Andy and Ashley’s wedding rehearsal.  It was a beautiful day here, warm and muggy, but thats the beauty of Florida.

Today we had two run throughs at the beautiful house/compound where Ashley and her siblings were raised just north of Daytona Beach.  Ashley is a lovely, lovely girl and Andy is very lucky guy and a bit nervous up at the height of things but I’m sure it will come off well.  Like I told Cally tonight, regardless of what happens, they’re going to end up married.

The rehearsal dinner was a beautiful location with a view of the waves in the setting sun within a large chandeliered room at the Plaza.  We had a mashed potato bar (in margarita glasses!) a chocolate fountain, delicious foods all around, touching toasts by Rich, the father of the groom, Charlie, Andy’s sister and Ashley’s father.  Andy and Ashley gave their parents beautiful framed pictures, and as the father of the bride said, “if you don’t want to see a grown man cry, then don’t come tomorrow.”

College and Graduate School Advice

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

This is originally written by Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution. I wish I had read it when I was 19 or 20 years old and still serious about academia (not that what I ended up doing was bad in any way).

1. To potential academic employers you are defined by your job market paper, your letters of recommendation, and by your publications, if you have any.  Your formal “fields” aren’t that important, nor are your classes per se.

2. Pick classes to learn skills and choose your classes on the quality of the professor, not on the topic per se. A quick classroom visit often reveals this quality within thirty seconds.

3. Pick a mentor that you, on a personal basis, relate to very well.  This is of extreme importance.  If he or she doesn’t like you, all is lost.

Original is here.

Jarad Diamond — Revenge

Thursday, April 24th, 2008


Jarad Diamond, author of Guns, Germs and Steel (still the best book I have read as an adult), has an insightful article on revenge in the New Yorker. Article is here.

Hat tip to Boing-boing

Postscript: Wow. I was still being struck with this hours later on a bus ride to my in-laws. Powerful stuff.

Drinking Tea with Camilla

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Sharing a morning beverage with Dad after jogging.


Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Last weekend, we went to Visegrád Castle, a thousand year old fortress north of Budapest. It sits on top of a hill with a commanding view of a bend in the Danube.

Main entrance.

Dan-dan exploring.

Camilla dancing in the castle.

Car Ferry

Monday, April 21st, 2008

I’ve been experimenting with some new controls in WordPress. One of them is to allow me to upload full-size photos. In the past, I’ve had to upload reduced size images to make sure they fit inside the blog’s frame. Unfortunately, this means if Mom (or anyone else) wants to print the picture, they’re stuck with a very small, unusable image.

The new system means that I upload a full-size image, and the blog automatically reduces the size to fit in its frame. If you click on any photo now, you’ll download a full-size, printable image. That will be true for every photo from now on in the blog.

Going across the Danube

Here we are on a really, really old Car Ferry going across the Danube at Visegrád. We went there this Sunday to explore a real castle with the kids. It was great fun!

Click on the picture to see it at its real size!

Café Culture

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Spring has sprung here in Budapest. All of the restaurants and pubs are converting themselves to streetside cafés. There is one in our building that is rather well-known, Véndiák, which we’ve not gone to as long as it was a classy, but glass-enclosed pub. Now that it has opened itself to the street, it is much more inviting and we’ve stopped in twice now.

The first time, while sipping drinks for a total of maybe fifteen minutes, Two of the passers by were people we knew who stopped to say hello. Really cool! Not something that you would see in car-culture Southern California.

The second time, Gabi and I stopped by during the day for lunch with Aaron. When leaving, the waiter asked if we had two older kids. “Yes, but how did you know?” He’d seen me walking by them during the days.

I suppose this fits the definition of a “Third Place” — not home, not office, but a place you can go and belong. I like it.

Flower Garden Birthday Party

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

It was a birthday party for a 4 year old (Vicky – Reka’s daughter). But the stunning thing was the flower garden in their back yard. It was the most colorful setting I’d seen in years.