This is a stone we found at Seven Sisters: flint and chalk. Also: proof of Starfleet’s existence


“Apuka” means “Daddy” in Hungarian. My loving wife last week looked at me, and named me “Apukalypse”.

I think this does not need further explanation. Only from her.

Well, my wife has found this gem of a series on Amazon Prime. Not really to watch it, but it’s something that runs in the background completely muted with subtitles on while she is sitting immobile with the baby attached. (Since said baby is quite young it happens quite often and for a prolonged period of time.)

But you can’t help but pick stuff up while it is running in the background. My observations are the following.

How can surgeons discuss their private lives (both on emotional and sexual level), and even argue with each other over who banged whom, while elbow deep in a patient? When I do something that needs my focus, even if it is just cutting up my food, I normally can’t deal with other issues. These people must be really amazing at multitasking.

How come they make such crappy choices in their private lives? I think they should not be allowed to make decisions regarding the color of their socks, let alone on matters of life and death based on their everyday lives.

There are a lot of series about the glamorous side of medicine: ER, Dr House, Scrubs, Nemocnice na kraji města, and so on and so forth. How come nobody made a series about proctologists yet? I demand justice!

I really felt that this series (and all other medicine-based soap operas) are, in their basic form, suffering porn. You watch people struggle with real conditions, having their lives torn away from them, while you sit in front of your screen hoping that it will not happen to you. Maybe it is just me and my morbid fear of death, but I found a lof ot the scenes a bit too real for comfort. I did not find the same escapism as I find in other series/movies. At least with Game of Thrones, however bloody it is, I know there is little chance of me being immolated by a big-ass dragon. (Or being swarmed by naked concubines, but that is a different topic for a different day.) As long as I don’t hurt random dogs (and I would never do that), I know I am safe from John Wick. It’s all just entertainment. I am not sure I can be (or should be) entertained by actors playing people struggling with pancreatic cancer. And the worst thing is that all this suffering is meaningless when it comes to the main characters – no matter how gut-wrenching and tear-inducing a patient’s fate was, by the next episode it’s all gone. It’s tabula rasa, baby; the characters did not grow, change or were affected in any way by it.

And finally (and it ties to the whole escapism part), my wife does not like the more action-packed movies I prefer, saying that they are way too bloody. Well, at least those people die healthy, moreover I do think Grey’s Anatomy has more gore than your regular action flick. So there you go.

So we have a baby now. She is quite young, so she does not yet move around on her own, but the time will come when we will have a small human running around the house like a tiny banshee.
So I plan.
The stairs will obviously need to be protected with a set of baby gates, the shelves need to be fixed to the walls, the edges and corners will need to be coated with some sort of soft material. The doors, however, do pose some challenge: they are the fancy, glass door type. All of them have large, opaque windows set in.
Which does pose a challenge; after all, I can picture someone carelessly run into them.
When I shared my worries with my beloved she looked at me exasperated (she does think I fret too much): “perhaps we could attach those bird-of-prey decals to the glass they put on windows” she said rolling her eyes.

Since we have our baby, I noticed a weird reflex that had built up: I automatically slew the stroller whenever I stop for something. Even when it’s empty because my wife took the baby out for a quick change.

Or even if I have a shopping cart.

It turns out I have been lied to all my life. Apparently the well-known baby-smell is how the Johnson and Johnson baby products smell like. Since we do not use them our baby smells completely differently.

Now I feel cheated.

This is a pretty old story, but funny, nevertheless. I attended to one of the largest university in Budapest, the Eötvös Loránd University. Unlike most Western European and American universities it was, well, big. (Eleven thousand students attending only the STEM sciences; Biology was an entire faculty, with several departments (Molecular biology, biochemistry, Immunology, Plant taxonomy, and so on and so forth), not just one department. In this, it was not unique among Hungarian universities; I was surpised to find how small most institutions were in the US and Western Europe later.

Because of the size, our programs tended to be reasonably large, too. There were several over the school year, one of them is an orineteering course in the Pilis mountains around Budapest. Because it was a popular event, ‘sister’ universities sometimes joined us; such as teams from the University of Veterinary Medicine.

Anyhow, the orineteering was pretty silly to begin with mixed with a large amount of disgusting stuff -just to live up to the expectations of crazy biologists. At one station, for example, you had to “set your eyes on David Hasselhoff”, which, in practice, meant you had to throw actual cow eyes at his poster with your bare hands. (That was the worst of the tasks. Others involved identifying plants or animals, and whatnot.)

Anyhow, it was a fun event, and some took it even more seriously, than others- one of the groups in the Vet groups had a guy dressed as a pre-Christian Shaman with furs and antlers- the whole shebang.

Something like this plus the antlers:


(By the way, it is from is a pretty cool painting, worth checking it out.)

I was sitting with my group on a rock, waiting for our turn by a station. The rock was also frequented by rock climbers, so the forests were quite busy that day for sure. A climber with about ten kilos of facial piercings and tattoos was chilling next to me. And I mean he really took piercings seriously: all along his eyebrows, his nostrils, his lips- metal everywhere. When he set his eyes on the shaman, he looks at me, and say, quite unironically:

“There are some serious weirdos out there today, aren’t there?”