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14 December 2007

Celebrating with Chäshörnli

Always a reason to party!

The swiss political system is very peculiar - it's very much different from most other countries systems. For example, we have only 7 ministers in the government, and they come from 4 different parties. For four years we had a certain Multi-Millionaire by the name of Christoph Blocher in the government, someone on the "political right", who (as usual) plays the role of "people's poltitician" but in truth just bought his way to power. Well, to make a long story short, his stint in the government will be over by the end of the year. The swiss political system is built on cooperation, compromise, and consociationalism - which didn't work well with someone who wanted all the power for himself. In the end the system was healthy enough to clean up itself.

Myself I was smiling all day yesterday. Not only does it mean that the country where I grew up has still some chances for a continuation of a political system that is slightly more sane than other countries', but it also means that it's much easier not having to explain to non-swiss people why a country that is perceived as free and democratic has someone like Blocher in the government.

So, yesterday I bought some swiss cheese and tonight I'll serve my friends swiss Chäshörnli (recipe in Greek) in celebration. Always a reason to party! I should translate that recipe to English and take some nice pictures. Hmm, I should get a real camera (like wildweasel tells me all the time), so I could take food pictures like the ones on the Once Upon a Tart blog. Incidentally I found her by searching for chäshörnli pictures, but her recipe is much different from mine.

Posted by betabug at 09:54 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
17 December 2007

Tilt! Tilt!

And ring the bell

There I was, early morning in bed, already awake with thoughts and problems rolling around in my head and me rolling around in my bed. Felt like a pinball machine, with me involuntarily hitting the ball again and again, rocking the machine and cursing myself for not finding sleep again. Hey, I have to get to work later, can't I find some rest? I expected my mind to go "tilt" any moment. Maybe that would have been a good thing, but the ball didn't stop rocking back and forth.

Then my wake up clock rang. I grabbed it, shut it down, settled back for a moment and... closed my eyes to fall sound asleep. I even dreamed nice and cozy dreams. To make an end to this story: I managed to get up almost in time, but I seriously need to rewire that wake up clock. It's supposed to ring when I have to wake up, not when I fall asleep.

Posted by betabug at 09:20 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
02 January 2008

Griechische Ostern 2008

Kleine Erinnerung für alle (Ferien-)Planenden:

Die Griechischen Ostern 2008 fallen dieses Jahr auf den 27. April (das ist der Ostersonntag). Wie üblich wird Reiseverkehrsmässig wieder viel los sein. In der Osterwoche muss man auch damit rechnen, dass wegen Fastenzeit in nicht so touristischen Lokalen die Speisekarte stark eingeschränkt oder verändert sein wird.

Im Rest von Europa fällt der Ostersonntag auf den 23. März. Der Modus wann Ostern ist, ist übrigens bei allen gleich: Ostersonntag ist der erste Sonntag nach dem ersten Vollmond nach dem Frühlingsanfang. Die unterschiedlichen Termine ergeben sich durch die Verwendung des "alten", orthodoxen Kalenders für die bestimmung des Frühlingsanfangs. Je nach Mondstand können die beiden Ostern zusammenfallen oder bis zu vier Wochen auseinanderdriften.

Posted by betabug at 13:16 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
03 January 2008

Shop 'til You Drop!

... and look at the ice skaters on the way
Ice skaters on Munich's "Stachus" square

This vacation I've been bitten by the shopping virus. I got books, books, books, earphones, chocolate (as usual mostly to give away), a new firewire cable for my old iPod, swimming trunks (we're planning to go to an indoor pool here), and a cheap digital camera (at a reduced price, more about that one in another post Real Soon Now™). To top all this, today I went out and got a suitcase with wheels, because no way am I going to carry all that weight over my shoulder to the airport. I'll be broke, but at least my back won't hurt.

On the way to today's shopping spree, we came by Munich's "Stachus" square. This time of year it sports an ice rink with people enjoying skating under an exceptional blue sky. In the back of the picture you can see the palace of justice. Usually it's more gray skies here, and it seems to be always cold.

Posted by betabug at 15:54 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
04 January 2008

Χειμερινό κολύμπι

-2° και τι μας νοιάζει;

Χτες πήγαμε για κολύμπι (σε πισίνα, ακόμα Μόναχο είμαι). Το κολυμβητήριο έχει πισίνα μέσα και έξω, η εξωτερική πισίνα έχει περίπου 34° Κελσίου, οπότε είσαι πολύ άνετος, εκτός αν μένεις πολύ ώρα και αρχίζεις και κρυώνεις στα αυτιά (περίπου -2° έχουμε). Είναι μια παράξενη αίσθηση με τα φώτα πολυκατοικιών τριγύρω, μαύρο ουρανό από πάνω, και ατμό να ανεβαίνει από το νερό που κάνεις μπάνιο.

Κάθε μισή ώρα βάζουν μπροστά κάποιες μεγάλες τρόμπες, το νερό γυρίζει σαν μεγάλος στρόβιλος στην στρογγυλή πισίνα. Στην μέση της πισίνας έχει ένα μέρος που τότε γίνεται σαν whirlpool. Όταν κάθεσαι εκεί με τους μπουρμπουλήθρες και τον ατμό νιώθεις σαν να σε βράσουν οι κανιβάλοι. Πάντως πολύ χαλαρωτικό.

Φωτογραφίες δεν έχω, αλλά στην σελίδα εδώ με την πανοραμική φωτογραφία όλο αριστερά φαίνεται η εξωτερική πισίνα.

Posted by betabug at 23:47 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
12 January 2008

graffic meets betabug meets graffic

Foreign programmers in Greece meetup
Blogger and programmers meet in Kolonaki cafeteria

Here I am, sitting outside a Kolonaki bar with graffic having a beer and talking about being a foreign programmer in Greece. Graffic is from Spain and works here at a big ISP, writing Java and Python stuff. He's here for much of the same reason than me: It's just nice to be here.

We've been to the Parko Eleftherias first for some coffee, now we're hitting the beers and drinks. Unfortunately I left my camera cable at home, so the picture is taken with the camera of his MacBook pro.

Graf: Really nice place Parko Eleftherias, I've never been there, but since today it has become a place to visit again with my friends. What else... It's a bit cold to write, but I hope a beer can help a bit :)

Posted by betabug at 18:55 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (1)
15 January 2008


Ab ins Bett

An der Party vorgestern hab ich eigentlich fast gar nichts getrunken - schliesslich musste ich fahren. Aber gestern gings mir trotzdem als hätt ich alleine eine Flasche Ouzo leer gemacht, Kopfweh und verdrehter Magen. Den Tag durch hab ich noch versucht etwas produktives zu tun, aber das war natürlich sinnlos. Schlussendlich bin ich früher gegangen und hab mich zuhause um sechs Uhr abends ins Bett gelegt. Durchgeschlafen bis um elf, dann nach einer kurzen Unterbrechung bis heut morgen. Jetzt geht's mir besser.

Heute morgen dann auch wieder eitel Sonnenschein draussen. Nach dem gestrigen Regenwetter fielen mir aber genau die Zeilen aus einem Lied der Eurythmics ein:

Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion
I want to walk in the open wind
I want to talk like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you

Meinem Kopf und Magen geht es jedenfalls wieder gut.

Posted by betabug at 08:42 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
16 January 2008

Study and Play

Congratulations Eleni!
The fries at the Athens University building in Panepistimiou, by night

Yesterday afternoon the gf had her (second to last) final exam... and passed! Congratulations Eleni! I'm so proud of you!

I'm usually shy to put too personal stuff on my weblog. But yesterday was in a large part governed by this exam. In the morning we phoned, I was nervous through the last preparations, then was even more nervous through the one hour that her professor quizzed her on her three chosen areas of musicology. In the end she got a good grade and one chapter of her studies is closing.

Unfortunately we had to celebrate apart: While she went out with friends in Munich, I went out with a few good friends, first to a bar near Klathmonos square, then to the taverna "Ipeiros" in the meat market in Athinas street. On the way back I passed by the Athens University building in Panepistimiou street, which connects me to the gf in multiple ways: First it was at this uni that she studied for a year in Athens (not necessarily at this building), then it is an example of neoclassical, "othonian" architecture, and she knows all and everything about that period, which I find quite cool.

Posted by betabug at 10:16 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
24 January 2008

Ein weiterer Schritt und eine weitere Gratulation

Die letzte Prüfung

Heute Nachmittag hat Eleni auch die allerletzte Prüfung auf dem Weg zum "Magister" bestanden. Gratuliere! Und wiedermal hat die Geschichte bewiesen, dass man eine halbe Stunde mündliche Prüfung tatsächlich überleben kann, auch in Byzantinistik, auch wenn man vorher nervös ist :-) Ich freue mich so! Ich glaube solche Abschlüsse sind die Punkte, wo einem bewusst wird, dass es im Leben immer nur vorwärts (oder weiter) geht, dass man weder zurück kann, noch stehen bleiben. Aber der nächste Teil des Lebens kann genauso schön werden, wie es der letzte war (oder sogar noch schöner)!

Posted by betabug at 18:45 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
30 January 2008

To The Bone

Cold and shaky
Dressing up for office work

Yesterday the earth shook. Today it's chilly cold.

It might not be a record breaking low in temperatures, but the cold goes to the bone when you sit all day in the office. Better to dress up and try to shield yourself from the outside world.

Posted by betabug at 11:00 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
04 February 2008

Maintenance Mode

Gotta get past this cold
Water fountain outside Panepistimiou in central Athens

All through this weekend I was fighting a cold. Not too bad, but since it's been a while that I was sick, I'm pretty annoyed. Today I managed to work, but I'm more or less in "maintenance mode" on myself. I've got no power and I'm doing as little as possible.

So instead of any real content (there would be some stories to tell from this weekend too), here is simply a picture I took before Friday evening's visit to the books bazaar in Athens center.

Posted by betabug at 19:43 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
07 February 2008

Jumping the Law... a Little

Pedestrian traffic lights

This morning on the way to work a pedestrian traffic light turned to red right when I arrived at the intersection. Pedestrian traffic lights of course don't mean much in Athens, so instead of patiently waiting for it to turn green again, I stepped forward, ready to cross the street on the red light on the first opening in traffic. While I waited, a guy in a suit walked up and waited next to me. The first lull in traffic came, suit guy moved across the street... but my good upbringing showed, I waited, because after the break in traffic there was a single police car coming along.

Now I don't believe that the police here gives even an old 50 drachmas bill about a pedestrian crossing with red while they drive by, but certain childhood conditioning seemed to have shown through. As there was a second pause in traffic right after the "black and white", I assembled my courage and stepped forward to pass right after the police. Interesting enough, in the car sat just a single police man... and he was talking on his mobile phone. So much for keeping to the law myself.

Posted by betabug at 09:15 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
14 February 2008

How an Earthquake Looks Like On IRC

Life from the house of cards

This noon our office building shook for a long time (at least it felt long) again. Since the building is an oldish concrete and glass affair that will probably crumble like a house of cards on "the big one" (knock on wood here), all I did was to inform the gang on IRC:

12:11 < betabug> earthquake
12:11 < betabug> f* big eathquqke
12:11 < betabug> looooong f* big earthquake
12:12 < betabug> wow, that was scary

Magnitude was reported by USGS at first to be 7.3, now reduced to 6.7. Note how the time is given as "10:09:23 (UTC)". Considering we're UTC+2 (aka GMT+2 - unlike the times given on this weblog, which are GMT+1), and that there probably was a delay, there were tremors for around 2 minutes. They weren't too strong though. It felt like they shook the building in North-South direction.

Posted by betabug at 11:49 | Comments (14) | Trackbacks (0)
28 February 2008

Big City Catching Up

The cultural thing

One big advantage people usually give for living in a big city is that you have lots of choice in cultural events. It's all too true, but you have to get your ass up and actually go there. The last week or so I did. Here's a bit of catching up on it...

Last Friday evening we went to see and listen to Yiorgos Psihoyios play his Jazz "Love Obsession" at the Institut Française in Athens. I was there with company, some of which didn't like it and left early. Myself I loved it. Bought a CD and my flatmate bought the 2nd CD. Damn it, the concert was even free! Just walk in and enjoy world class Jazz, performed live by devoted musicians.

On Saturday I didn't do much, except read a book, slack, and clean the house. Probably I lamented my personal fate, cursed myself for not getting my ass up to do all the things I want to in my private projects, but wtf, there has to be a time to relax and gather strength again.

Karagiosis (dressed as carnival director) with band

Sunday on the other hand started with a performance of Greek shadow theater Karagiosis, which I went to see at the Plaka, together with good friends. They played "The Carnival of Karagiosis", not one of the traditional plays, but fun none the less. The picture shows Karagiosis dressed as carnival director, with the band performing the ending "kalamatianos". Went to enjoy the good weather (such a relief after all the cold and snow) in a cafeteria in Thision afterwards. Tout Athènes had the same idea of course.

On Tuesday I met the International Pizza gang at the ouzerie Lesvos in Exarheia. One of the unforgettable evenings with this bunch of most excellent friends and drinking buddies ensued. Of course going out with good friends and enjoying excellent food and drink can be had in a small town or village too, I don't say that.

There are reasons to stay in a small village too. I love that life myself. If you want to know why, instead of reading my lame articles, you have to head over to kassandra (who is lately silent, to my great despair) and read her wonderful piece The Village vs. The City.

Posted by betabug at 10:10 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
04 March 2008

Dynamite... no water

Bum bum bum bum

Apparently last night some people placed some dynamite outside a nightclub and the resulting explosion damaged a big water pipe (amongst other things, for example it took out the local tax authority office for a day). This noon at the office we have no water, looks like they had to cut the water to the area to make the necessary repairs.

According to the news report it was some settlement of bills between a couple of bigwits in the night business.

Posted by betabug at 13:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
10 March 2008

Gedanken unterwegs

Sternschnuppen, nur ohne Sternschnuppen

Wenn ich irgendwo Gelegenheit habe, den Nachthimmel zu sehen, halte ich gern Ausschauh nach Sternschnuppen. Wenn man eine sieht, darf man sich was wünschen. Praktisch. Lange Zeit wusste ich nie, was ich mir wünschen sollte. Zwar nicht total wunschlos glücklich, aber viele Wünsche erfüllte ich mir selbst und was richtiges sollte es ja schon sein. Dann ist die Sternschnuppe schnell vorbei.

In letzter Zeit hätt ich wieder mal ein paar Wünsche anzubringen. Für mich und für Menschen, die mir Nahe stehen. Leider sitze ich im Bus aus Patras nach Hause (steckt mehr oder weniger im Stau) und der Sternenhimmel ist nicht zu sehen. Ob ich dann schnell genug wär, wüsst ich auch nicht.

Ich würd übrigens nicht versuchen zu viel zwischen den Zeilen zu lesen, das wird eh nix. Einen, nicht all zu persönlichen, Wunsch kann ich verraten: Halbwegs zügig ankommen. :-)

Posted by betabug at 20:14 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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