26 July 2010

When You're Broke, You've Got to Get Creative

I have 47 pairs of earrings, which is a lot by my mother's standards, but probably not too many if you ask other women my age. For a while I had them hanging on some strips of cardboard taped to the side of my dresser, but the humidity made the tape peel, which made everything fall to the ground.

I wanted something to hang my earrings on, but I'm just about dead broke. So the only thing to do was make an earring board myself. It doesn't require much, just a piece of thin canvas and a thumb-tac to make holes with. It helps if you have these things around the house, I guess.

Then I used some stickers and decorations that I had stored in my closet (I'm big on making things for holidays. Last Valentine's Day, I made a really nice book/collage for my ex-boyfriend. I want that back now!) to make it look pretty, and then hung my earrings on it, and then I was done, for relatively little or no cost!

21 July 2010

Tired of Plain Ol' Spaghetti? Try Hungarian Spaghetti!

I am going to share with you the very simple recipe for Hungarian spaghetti (which is really more like lasagna, but very delicious). If you try to cook it, let me know how it turns out!

INGREDIENTS: oil, chopped meat, a box of spaghetti pasta, black pepper, paprika, salt, laurel (bay) leaves, sour cream, cheese.

1. Boil water and cook the spaghetti noodles.
2. While that’s cooking, pour oil into a pan and sautee the onions until they start to be translucent.
3. Put the meat into the same pan and cook for about five minutes
4. Put in four laurel leaves and let the flavor cook into the meat
5. Cook the meat until brown
6. Sprinkle black pepper, salt, and paprika onto the meat. Put as much or little as you want. I put a lot of paprika, a medium amount of black pepper, and just a little salt, but it depends on your taste preferences.  If it seems too dry, add a little bit of water to the pan, but not too much, because you don’t want to turn it into a sauce. If there’s a sauce or ’juice’, you’ve used too much water and should pour some out before doing the following steps.
7. When the meet is cooked, get a baking pan, preferably rectangular shaped but really, anything will do, as long as you can perform the following steps.
8. Completely cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of noodles. This should be about half of the noodles you’ve cooked.
9. Completely cover that with a layer of meat. This should use up all of the meat you’ve cooked.
10. Cover that with another layer of noodles, finishing up your noodles. Spread sour cream on top of the noodles. I like to put a lot, so that the noodles are completely covered.
11. Sprinkle cheese on top of the sour cream. Again, you can put as much as you want, but I usually put a lot of cheese, so that the sour cream is totally covered. As for type of cheese, I use a mixture of mozarella and cheddar.
12. Bake until the cheese gets melty (or even until it starts getting those baked brown spots, that’s good), but don’t burn it.
13. Cut like lasagna and sprinkle more paprika on top of your piece if necessary (I always do this). 


Trip Journal: DAY EIGHT --- 31 May 2010

2:08 p.m.

            Yesterday we went to András’ grandma’s for lunch and had delicious goulash soup with nokedli – I ate two plates! I can’t believe week one is nearly over already. Tomorrow we go to Budapest already. My Hungarian speaking skills are improving and I’m trying to speak more. After lunch we came back here and played some indoor hackeysack and watched HAIR (in English with Hungarian subtitles) and then went over to visit Attila again. We hung upstairs for a bit and Melivn taught me some guitar. It was actually a lot of fun and I want to buy a blue guitar now. Maybe I’ll get one once I have some money, so probably not for a while haha.
            Then we went outside and played hackeysack for a while, but when it started getting dark we just sat at the pinic table and talked. Attila got Melvin pretty drunk and me and András just watched them talking to each other. Melvin talks a lot when he’s drunk, and me and András laughed because we’d heard the same stories like three times now, every time he drank a fair amount. It wasn’t bad, though, we didn’t mind, and I think it was helping András’ English anyway. At one point Melvin and Attila went behind the shed to talk and András and I were just like ’Um... ok...’
            Oh, and funny stuff, the other night András asked Melvin if he’d ever see the Golden Gate, and Melvin thought he meant the bridge (I did, too, hearing the conversation from the bathroom where I was drying off after a shower), but it turns out he meant a Hungarian porn site!

11:55 p.m.

            Today we went to the city center and Melvin bought an acoustic/electric guitar and we met András’ friend. Then we came here and cooked spaghetti, but it was more like lasagna. I’ll put the recipe here in case anyone wants to make it. Then we went bowling and András won, twice. That’s about it. Tomorrow – Budapest.


20 July 2010

A Separate Peace

I first read John Knowles' A Separate Peace in high school, and the book immediately drew me in with it's stark, yet still poetic, descriptions and colorful characters, with the tension between Gene and Finny, the way kept questioning what happened up in that tree. 

After more than four years, I've decided to re-read it, more deeply and thoroughly than before, with the eyes of a writer, as Tim O'Brien once advised during an interview I conducted with him for amNewYork. I need to do all I can to advance myself as a reader and as a writer, as a writer who reads, as a reader who lives to write. 

And I've been thinking that the tension between Gene and the  tree, the way it makes him uneasy, is the same as what I feel towards (don't laugh) Twitter. Whenever I hear about Twitter, I get this very bad feeling that technology is spiraling in a very useless, mindless direction, where everything we need is at our fingertips, but we've forgotten that the important part is the journey. 

That said, I am trying to make peace with my tension, and give Twitter another go, as my friend Paul F (also on Twitter)advised me to do, even though the first time failed miserably. One Tweet was all I managed. But Paul is one of the people I listen to when he gives advice, so here goes.

So, follow me on Twitter here or just search hungupon! Start a feed, and I'll gladly follow you, too!

The Guild Season 4 Episode 2!

 If you looked at my last post about "The Guild," a show about a group of WOW gamers in a guild, focusing mainly on a nerdy, awkward chick named Codex (and featuring a super hot - but young - kid named Bladezz), then I have good news -- there's a new episode!! Not only that, but a new episode will be released every Tuesday at midnight until the season is complete!!!

So check it out here. Love it.

14 July 2010

'The Guild' Is My New Guilty Pleasure

I'm a sucker for anything sci-fi fantasy, and I'm also quite the nerd. Although I'm not a serious gamer myself (I don't have the patience to sit there making a little person run around fighting things to level up), I do enjoy some video games and I enjoy the gamer culture. 
That's why my newest favorite show is "The Guild," a three-season (so far) series of mini webisodes about the members of a World of Warcraft guild called "The Knights of Good." But when the members decide to meet in person, things start going downhill and the guild is faced with possible disbandment. It's quirky, silly, and engaging, especially if you get the gamer jokes and nerd references (I do; my brother's a gamer). 
So, check it out. You can find the past three seasons here and you can find the first bit of season four (so good!) on Bing or MSN.

12 July 2010

The Start of My Second Poetry Collection

when the line blurs between reality and writing

it takes me three hours to drink a Venti
shaken black tea lemonade
two pumps sweetened and
when i'm done i've lived three lives
and knew how to drive
spoke in tongues and 
saw you, found love
that shifted the energy of the cosmos
from spirals to star-shapes
i lost a little menace
gained a little mirth --
          Look, the novel's finished but
          i've still got this picture of you
          so it doesn't matter if the cup 
          is half empty or half full or
          never really existed at all


ancient love potion

i swear that i will make you mine:
           blow on every dandelion i can find
         call you to me under a harvest moon
         wrap feathers in your hair and shove
         semi-precious stones into your stomach

... if all that fails, i might actually have to talk to you
          but i'm hoping that isn't the case.


i need you but you're stuck on a horizontal staircase

you can only stumble sideways into empty space
where you see the nothing, you don't pretend there's something
in the shadows, your face glows like the moon, and i'm learning
some ancient magic that will turn me into a fruit bat and then i'll
spread my wings and bear my tiny teeth and hear you from so very
far away.

Trip Journal: DAY SEVEN - 30 May 2010

            Yesterday we went to the store, bought some juice and cheese and sour cherries (oops – should I have fridged those?) and we came back and made dough for lángos. Melvin filmed the actual dough-making. We were just being silly and dancing around a lot while András gave us directions on what to do. Then we left for grandpa’s sister’s house, where we saw Jóska and his son and then ate chicken (why are we eating so much chicken? I eat too much chicken as it is at home!) and french fries. So Hungarian, I know. Then we had a creme pastry dessert and just talked. Or, should I say, Jóska talked. And talked. And talked. About his coral collection, which was pretty interesting, and about how he once camped out in a car parking lot and about the renovations they were doing on the house. Finally we left, and in the car we all breathed sighs of relief and broke out into nearly hystserical laughter. We laughed, also, because Jóska’s pretty old and he couldn’t remember Melvin’s name, so in order to explain it to him, András would say ’mell’ (which means breasts in Hungarian) and point to his chest) plus vin, but Jóska always only remembered the breasts half after that.
            Then we listened to music. Melvin learned ’Burning Bridges’ by Chris Pureka (I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t ever listened to her) and we sang for a bit. Then we helped András with the rest of the dough and made a fruit cake. We were all just being silly and I love that, that we’re all so willing to laugh at ourselves and make fools of ourselves together. I could easily see the three of us living together and having a blast nearly every night.  It’s a lot of fun. Then later I taught Melvin to skank and two-step and we started frying the lángos. Then we ate them with garlic and sour cream and lots of cheese – delicious. We laughed a lot – about how much cheese Melvin had grated because I really wanted cheese, and about my attempts to eat a third lángos, which I did, but barely. It was a moment I wanted to bottle up and keep forever, to peek into whenever I’m sad or lonely so that it can cheer me up. It was such a small moment, but it really made me feel grateful to be here in Hungary. It’s the simple moments that always mean the most.
            After eating we played more cards but then we were too tired and went to sleep. Oh, but before that, Melvin and I had a nice heart-to-heart about John and other things. I’m really glad he came with me to Hungary. He’s a really good friend, and I think this has made our friendship stronger.


11 July 2010


     As anyone who follows this blog knows, I'm a huge fan of romantic comedies. Last night I watched one called "Timer," which my friend Jo recommended to me. It was really good, with an interesting plot and good set of characters and actors. The main theme of the movie was that everyone could get a timer on their wrist, which would countdown to the day they met their one true love. If your timer was blank, it meant your true love didn't have a timer. 

     I've been thinking about the timer idea since yesterday night, when I watched the film, and the more I think about it, the more vehemently I disbelieve it (or want to, anyway). If I had the chance to get a timer, I'd refuse. Sure, it would be convenient and relieving to know that I have a true love out there, to even know exactly when we're going to meet. But don't you think that would be a little boring? I think half the excitement of true love would be feeling that jolt when stumbling upon it. I think half the point of love is believing that it's true without having to be told. How can there be mystery or unbridled passion if you're told how long you have to wait till you find your "one"?

    Of course, all of this operates on the premise that there is a "one," and if we disprove the premise, we disprove the idea of the timer (thank you, ConLaw). I haven't decided if I think there's a "one" or not. I guess only time will tell. What does anyone else think about it?

Trip Journal: DAY FIVE -- 28 May 2010

            Shaved and showered this morning while Melvin slept on. Finally I had to wake him up and we ate and then went to the ceremony with András grandmother, where we put flowers on the grave. Then we went to see Mariska and cousin Attila and the baby, Levente. I’m a fan of the name. Lunch was soup, chicken, rice, pastries. Played some hackey sack out back for a bit, even though I was wearing a skirt, then went to a bar where I didn’t drink (because I don’t drink), but my cousins gave Melvin Unicum, a strong drink similar to absinthe. It was super funny. We went back inside later, Melvin played some guitar, and then we came back here, where we listened to music and danced a bit, and now I’m not sure what we’re doing. I texted Garrett for the first time today and said I missed him.


04 July 2010

Trip Journal: DAY FOUR -- 27 May 2010

10:15 a.m.

We played some weird version of Rummy last night. I don’t think András knows how to play Rummy. I didn’t win but I didn’t lose either. Oh, got to run. More later.


11:25 p.m.

     Anyway, in his weird version of Rummy, you count card numbers and used jokers and could only take one card from the discard pile if you needed it. We showed András some music, like Dethklok, which I have to really be in the mood to listen to because they’re pretty heavy metal. Then we slept.
     This morning I woke up at 6:30 a.m. and got ready. I thought were going to swim in Héviz, this radioactive lake that’s filled with sulfur and other minerals and actually is thought to have healing properties. (I swam in it last time I visited Hungary and it smelled terrible! And stained my bathing suit! But was a cool experience, in and of itself). But we never got around to it, I think because rain loomed in the sky above the entire time.
     While driving there, we saw a house in the middle of a tiny lake, with no way in or out but by rowboat or swimming, and I thought that I would possibly like to have a house like that. Yes, it would be inconvenient if my boat capsized and my makeup got ruined, or if my house got a little flooded. But mostly it would be pretty awesome to know that no one could get to my house unless they had a boat or decided to swim, and that either way I’d probably hear them coming before they got there. It speaks to a sense of privacy that you don’t really ever find in a city like New York. Not to mention that the little lake was then surrounded by vast, breath-taking countryside, filled with trees and crops and red flowers whose name I don’t know, and marred only by the two-lane road on which we drove.
     Then we visited András' sister and saw Héviz lake and the surrounding town, which was nice but more modern, filled with larger houses with newer designs, lots of glass, and reminiscent of the place my grandparents live in Florida. There was a blue church, and a bunch of touristy shops where we got ice cream and put our hands in this big block of stone that was supposed to tell one’s fortune. Although I’ve lost the paper since then, I did write down that it gave me the most stars for love and life and the least stars for luck and health, with a satisfactory amount of stars for sex. It also said that I would become entangled in a morally reprehensible act, probably because of my vanity, but that I would have one of those rare, beautiful marriages (whatever that means, and, considering I’m not even sure I believe in marriage…)
     I liked the town, but if I live in Hungary, I’d either want it to be right in Budapest or in a legitimate little house in a legitimate little town. At András' sister’s place, she offered Melvin some wine, and András pushed her to give it to him. When she seemed unsure, he said, all you have to do is put it in front of him, and Melvin will drink it. We all got a good laugh at that, because it was pretty true. Melvin even admits it’s true. Also, she kept calling him “Kelvin” instead of “Melvin,” no matter how many times we corrected her. It was pretty hilarious, at the time.
     The day was warm, and I wore the dress my cousin got me as a graduation gift. András wore these tight leather pants with ties up the sides of both legs, which Melvin and I got a kick out of (and still laugh about). At one point I asked him, wasn’t he warm? And he said that yes, he’d already pretty much fried his balls off. Despite this, he wore the pants a bunch more times before we left. I imagine he thought he looked bad-ass and cool in them.
      Later, we drove to Sümeg Castle and walked up the hill to the castle. Melvin ran ahead off of the path and András wanted me to go with him so he could take a photo. I didn’t really want to, but I decided that you have to sometimes do things you don’t want to do. So Melvin helped me up but it was steep and really high and I was wearing Converse, so I screamed the entire way up and down. We slid near the bottom and almost fell but András caught me. The castle was closed when we got there, but we took pictures and looked out at the stunning view of little towns, landscape, and one long road that András said went all the way back to Szombathely, and that on clear days you could see Szombathely from that vantage point.
     On the drive home, Melvin fell asleep as András and I spoke about cars. He said he’d drive everywhere if he could, with no cars on the road, at dusk. I said it’d be nice, but that cars aren’t very good for the planet, considering how much pollution they spew. I tried to explain in Hungarian why I didn’t think there should be more roads in Hungary, but I don’t think I really got the point across. The best I could say was, In New York there are many roads. See this countryside? In New York, there is no countryside because there are so many roads. All András replied was, So? I gave up after that.
     12:20 a.m. now. It took me an hour to write this. Bassza meg (practicing my curse words)!


03 July 2010

Trip Journal: DAY THREE -- 26 May 201

            I forgot to mention yesterday that András made us eat at like eleven at night. It was so late! It was good, but I wasn’t really hungry. I think I’m going to try to avoid eating breakfast now, because I’m still not hungry. In other news, my thigh hurts. I think I pulled a muscle playing hackey sack the other day. But on the plus side, I think I’ve already adapted to the time change and don’t feel jet-lagged. If anything, I feel more energized and healthy, more mentally stable and less stressed. It’s a good feeling. It’s something about the air and the energy and the aura of the place itself, and the calm pace of the people here, my family included. There’s an old feeling to the energy, something ancient and primal that touches a deep part of me and my past, something nostalgic and magical.
            Yesterday András said he didn’t like patriotic Hungary songs, or the idea of being overly patriotic about one’s country, especially about Hungary because it’s such a small country that’s relatively powerless. But I like the idea of patriotism, of celebrating one’s culture and heritage. Not to the point of bigotry or racism, of course, but I like the notion of being proud of who you are and where you’re from. And besides, the Magyars were pretty powerful, according to legend. And Hungary lost most of its land. I think the Magyars can be restored to their former glory.


6:10 p.m.

            Today we visited Mariska and the family there. It was a decent time, although I still can’t understand a word she says when she talks to me. She just mumbles and jumbles all of her words together, like she’s slurring. Later on we visited Tetta and that was better. She speaks faster, but much more clearly. She made cabbage noodles (delicious) and chicken cutlet and mashed potato. It was good; she’s not a bad cook. Then we brought some stuff back here and went to meet with András friend Zsofi. She seemed nice but I didn’t talk. You know how I feel about most girls. There was ice cream but we just ate lunch so I really wasn’t hungry right then. Then we drove to Köszeg but it was raining on the way there, pouring so hard that you couldn’t see out of the windows. So we pulled over on the side of the road and just sat in the car while the rain poured down around us. I wouldn’t mind sitting like that for a good while, just talking or writing with a good group of people or alone. When it subsided we walked around the city a bit, but then my camera died so we just came back home and now I think we’re going to play cards.