- Entries : Category [ life ]
- Life as it is or should be. All about it.
05 July 2006
This Months Meaty Calendar Sheet
Another month, another souvlaki!
At the end of last year (right on time) here at the office we got sent a special calendar for the new year 2006. It came from one of the many Souvlaki shops of the area and it depicts for each month one of their foods. No, I don't know if there is any person who hangs a picture of meat and chips on their wall and flips it over every month.
But in order to share this beauty with you, I scanned in the sheet for July and posted it here. Yeah, I know, the scanner cut off some of the borders, but that can be considered part of the act of creating true art.
You can click on the image to view a bigger image... and even spot the phone number so you could order if this beauty triggers your appetite!
18 July 2006
Juli-Stimmung in Athen
Jetzt im Juli ist in Athen eine besondere Stimmung. Es ist natürlich so heiss, dass jede Abkühlung gesucht wird. Wer die Möglichkeit hat verzieht sich aus der Stadt, zum Beispiel Schüler und Studenten die nach Hause "aufs Dorf" fahren können. Wer arbeiten muss zählt die wenigen Wochen, bis der Jahresurlaub losgeht. Die grosse Jahresermüdung setzt bis dahin schon mal ein. Im Arbeitsleben gibt es dafür den grossen Endspurt, was gemacht werden muss, muss noch vor dem August gemacht werden, denn im August läuft sowieso nichts mehr.
20 July 2006
Outdoor Party for Eleni's Greek Classes
Dancing in the night
Went to a big student party, the last evening of Elenis Greek summer course (THYESPA). Students of Greek from all over the world. Had lots of fun, was even dancing and took some pix. Of course I'm shot today, and the file server failing this morning didn't help. Click on the montage pic for a bigger view and look inside for two more pictures...
People had a fun time dancing. The music was very diverse, but not really ecclectic. Sometimes the DJ made a big break in the music styles. Occasionally it threw people off. From light techno, passing R&B, Pop, slightly Rock, to Tsiftetelia, Syrtaki, ...
Before we went dancing ourselves we had some food and drink. Then we sat some more and chatted and had a view on the dancing scene taking off. Before the dance music started for real, there were some people singing.
22 July 2006
Sunset and Concert at Faliron
We're at the coast in Faliron , watching the last bit of the sunset. The sea is reflecting the dark blue sky.
Next to the beach where we sit, is a concert. Right now we hear the first notes of Alkisti Protopsalti singing.
We'll sit on the beach a bit more where we can hear. Later we will walk up a bit to catch a view of the stage. The sound of the surf mixes with the music.
 a coastal quarter of greater Athens
26 July 2006
Before the Finishing Line
More work than blogging
This week is tough at work, so few ideas and little power for weblogging. That is because this is the last week before the company summer vacation, and (as usual) everything has to be finished before the vacation. Instead of witty writings and my usual lame pics, all you get is this service announcement. Hopefully I'll be back soon with more interesting content.
21 August 2006
The Evening before Work starts
Already halfway into it
My vacations are over now. Tomorrow I'm heading back to work. This year my vacation wasn't as relaxing (nothing beats hanging around in Limnos for a month or so in the "relaxing" department), but for a change I went and travelled around a bit.
One part of my vacation plan was to do a few hours of work every day in the little house on the island. Didn't work out, because we were there only a few days, and also because I bulldozed some changes and broke some CSS that was already done. That discouraged me a bit. Lazily doing some easy work on vacation is nice, but having to sort out boring CSS diffs isn't. So the coming week I'll have to find again what I did and repair it. As you can see, my head is already halfway at work.
Ein paar Gedanken zur Hitze
Gut gebraten in Athen
Wenn man von so einer Reise ans Meer wieder nach Athen zurückkommt, dann kommt einem die Hitze doppelt heiss vor. Ist sie auch, denn momentan ist hier die heisseste Zeit des Jahres angesagt und in der Stadt gibt es fast kein entkommen. Das ist ja auch der wichtigste Grund, warum die Stadtbewohner im Sommer ans Meer flüchten. Für alle Nordlicher ein paar Erinnerungen, was Hitze wirklich bedeutet...
Wasserbedarf: Dass man im Sommer viel trinken sollte weiss jeder, klingt auch als Erinnerung immer wieder gut. Ist aber gar nicht mal nötig zu sagen, denn der Körper meldet sich pausenlos. Ich kippe im Moment alles in mich herein, was trinkbar aussieht, flüssig und kühl ist.
Schlaf: Da die Temperatur zum Beispiel gestern abend um 21 Uhr immer noch mit 35 Grad Celsius gemessen wurde, ist es ganz schön mühsam, Schlaf zu finden. Wer keine Klimaanlage hat, der wälzt sich herum, bis man ihn im eigenen Schweiss marinieren kann. Vor dem Schlafen gehen einmal kalt abduschen hilft etwas, ansonsten wichtigste Regel: Nicht versuchen einzuschlafen, bevor man nicht zum Umfallen müde ist. Lieber nochmal ein Tavli (Backgammon) spielen, bis einem die Augen zufallen, dann nervt die Hitze nicht mehr so.
Klimaanlagen und Strom: Klimaanlagen sind natürlich gross in Mode. So gross, dass alles auf den grossen Blackout auf dem Stromnetz wartet, denn der Stromverbrauch geht extrem hoch und die E-Werke kommen nicht mehr mit. Die Stromrechnung artet aus bei dem Spass. Trotzdem hätte ich zuhause gerade auch gerne eine, Geld und Umwelt zum Teufel, mir ist heiss. Hab ich aber nicht, ein simpler Ventilator muss es auch tun. Die Klimaanlage im Büro kommt übrigens im Moment nicht mehr gegen die Hitze an. Trotz "Vollgas" in der Kühlung sitze ich hier mit verschwitztem T-Shirt.
Rumlaufen: Bewegen tut man sich nur äusserst ungern. Dabei entwickelt man schnellstens den Sinn dafür, jeden kleinsten Flecken Schatten auszunutzen. Grünflächen und Bäume wären auch gut, sind in dieser Stadt aber Mangelware.
Schwimmen gehen: Immer noch das beste. Einmal ins Meer eintauchen, dabei kühlt sich der Körper wiedermal ab, Entspannung stellt sich ein. Denn die Hitze löst auch körperlich Stress aus. Eine Abkühlung gibt dem Körper eine Pause.
24 August 2006
Sunset at Faliron and at Home
Quiet evening for once
Almost at the end of my first work week after the vacation, this evening I did not go for a swim. The first "real" evening at home, and due to being away, there is enough house work for me. Temperatures have fallen some degrees, which makes housekeeping more bearable. At work I still have enough CSS to do (which really started to get boring after doing it before and now after the vacation).
The picture is the sunset from yesterday evening at Faliron. What you see below the sun is part of Piraeus. There was a nice sailing boat moving towards Piraeus, and some people are swimming in the foreground. Myself, I had just come out of the water.
13 September 2006
Ton-Erinnerungen, Jazz, warten
Sitze in einer Ladenpassage in der Innenstadt und warte darauf, dass ein Jazz-Konzert anfängt, über dass ich nichts weiss als dass es hier ist und mehr Leute warten als Stühle da sind. Gehört habe ich davon über meine Mitbewohnerin, die von einem Bekannten eine SMS bekommen hat. Und dann macht es hier eben so ein Klack im Publikum.
Manchmal lösen einzelne, auch nur halb gehörte Töne Erinnerungen und Gedanken aus. Das "Klack" brachte mich darauf, wie ich als Kind einen Tischtennisball mit dem Schläger in der Luft hielt. Klack, klack, klack. Eine Beschäftigung die bei der Warterei ganz nett wäre, wenn auch unmöglich, denn so langsam wird es gesteckt voll.
Lang werde ich wohl nicht bleiben. Die Soundqualität ist miserabel und das wird sich wohl auch nicht ändern wenn die Konserve durch "life" ersertzt wird.
15 September 2006
Tough little black book
A few days ago, Eleni's father came through Athens, and in the few hours
he was in town we went to eat and walked to Syntagma for coffee.
Somewhere around Evripidou street he said he'd want a notebook for a
journal and asked me where to get a good notebook in Athens. I pull out
the little black notebook I use and recommend it. As it seems he was
looking for something cheaper... which is ironic, since we went to
Syntagma square for coffee, another term for throwing money out of the
The brand of my notebook is in fashion, it's a Moleskine. There is a big
marketing hype around these notebooks (that BBC article gives a good
roundup of some of the ambivalences about these things). So much hype
indeed, that I at times
felt an urge to look out for something else. They are quite expensive
too. But I didn't buy mine, both the small, plain one and the bigger one
have been presents. I keep and use them for some simple reasons: They
are very useful and tough enough for me. I carry the small notebook
with me every day since more than two years now, traveling all around
Greece and Athens. I did not expect it to survive that long, even given
that I don't carry it in my trousers pockets. But so far it has kept up
and with no prospect of failure apparent either. The binding is
enduring, the outer cover is absent of cracks. Apart from that it's a
With these notebooks it has become a fashion to publish pages
from it. Especially the painters and sketchers love it and I enjoyed
To show you what I do with mine, I've put the picture online. Mostly I
scribble down thoughts and ideas, small things I try to remember, to-do
lists, anything. Sometimes I can get enough spirit up to do a little
drawing. I like drawing with a normal pen. It is very hard, every little
mistake shows up, but when I like the result it is a good reward. The
picture show's the cape of "Palaiokastro" near Plaka on the island of
Limnos. Of course as I'm not an artist, these pages are very rare.
(Click on the image for a bigger view.)
When I went to the bookshop on Wednesday I turned the marketing hype
upside down. Instead of buying a moleskine because of the famed
reputation Bruce Chatwin gave them (via the marketing hype), I went and
bought the book in which Chatwin mentions the notebook.
02 October 2006
Καινούριες εξελίξεις στο τρεντ του "merging"
Υπάρχουνε εταιρείες που κάνουν παράξενα πράγματα, και υπάρχουν εταιρείες που κάνουν κάπως νορμάλ πράγματα άλλα σε παράξενο συνδυασμό. Το πρωί έβλεπα ένα φορτηγό με την επιγραφή "Δορυφορικά συστήματα" και στην επόμενη γραμμή από κάτω "Έπιπλα Ψάθινα Δώρα".
Μπορεί βεβαίως να έχουν "ενώσει τις δυνάμεις τους" δυο εταιρείες (δεν πρόλαβα να δω αν γράφει "Όμιλος Εταιρειών Νικολάκη" από κάτω), άλλα πιο ενδιαφέρουσα θα ήταν η σκέψη ότι πουλάνε ψάθινες δορυφορικές κεραίες που κάνουν και για καθίσματα και έρχονται σε συσκευασία δώρου...
03 October 2006
From my notebook, pen selection, practice!
This afternoon after work, I went to Kerameikos again. I had left
a little bit earlier, but still had only a short time with direct
sunlight. Made two and a half sketches, the last "half" one abandoned
and given up on. My newly filled up pen is much better than what I used
last time, but I need a lot of more practice. The sketches are from the
last visit, the first shows the Acropolis as seen from the Kerameikos archeological site...
The problem with the intermediary pen was that it smeared. It's a nice
enough Pilot, writes fine, but in the end it's just a single use item.
You can see how it smeared in the enlarged are of this little stone
scene with the arch. First that pen didn't draw as fine a line
when moving it lightly, second it smeared when doing thick lines.
The Parker refill in my rotring pen allows for finer lines and I can put
on darker areas without fear of smearing. The result is a wider range of
expression and with it depth. A lot more satisfying to draw with. But
then the comparison is unfair, as these two are totally different
Some thoughts on drawing with a pen
I like the tonality, it just gives
a different mood than a pencil. Blue is cool. Usually people are
surprised, "but how can you correct mistakes with a pen?" The truth is,
you can't really correct mistakes with a pencil either. If you rub
things out, it never gets really clean. A grey smear will stay, and the
quality of the paper changes, altering how your pencil strokes appear over
it. Making a line with a pen commits you to it, it may be hard to get it
right, but at least maybe you start to put your pen where you really
want that line.
My satisfaction with my sketches varies wildly. In the end I think I
want to continue with them, but I have to learn and re-learn a lot. More
drawing is on the to-do list. Maybe I should get a sketchbook, so I
won't fill up my notebook with all my trials.
07 October 2006
Towing, Ancient Recipes, Pictures
Bits and pieces...
While coming home from Αρχαίων (Arhaion, the restaurant with "ancient" Greek food) by bus, we found our bus suddenly blocked in a small street. In front of us was another bus, and before that one was someone who had parked his car in a corner and walked away. We were close to home, so went out and contemplated walking the last bit. While we thought about it, we had the chance to watch the tow car arrive, hook the offending car up, and tow it away. Revenge! The car didn't have a car alarm, so the sound effects were low-key.
Also I wanted to remark on my last post about that restaurant Αρχαίων. Obviously they can't tell you that their food is really exactly like in ancient Greece, because nobody alive today (and out of a psych clinic) has eaten genuine ancient Greek food. But it's the idea that counts, and maybe the old texts and inspiration were enough for the chef to produce something that could pass for ancient food. It's a bit like "experimental archeology", where they build huts and run around in self-made cloths out of hand-spun wool.
Today we went for coffee at the very nice kafeneion in the National Garden next to Syntagma square. I made a little drawing there, which I liked (no bragging here!) and would have really wanted to use to illustrate this post. But somehow with the drawings I am back to where I was before the digital camera in my phone: I'll have to scan it in and then I can publish it. Maybe I should combine taking photos and doing sketches. Adding the drawings to the posts two days later isn't such a great idea in the weblog format, so maybe I'll add small posts just with the drawings as they come along.
08 October 2006
Magic Dice & Cloud
Tomorrow Eleni will be traveling to Germany. So today we met again with
friends, this time in the cafeteria in the Parko Eleftherias. On the way
home we noticed that there were big towering clouds on the horizon, on
an otherwise spotless blue sky.
I snapped a few pictures, hoping to catch the spirit of those huge
towers, looking along all the street canyons, as there were different
clouds in multiple directions. They were based in the hills around
Likely they are a weather phenomenon due to the shape of the land Athens
is built on. The megalopolis is stretched out over a relatively flat
and wide bowl (just a few hills in the middle), with a ring of hills
around it (and open to the side where the sea is of course). When the
exhaust from cars and heating gets stuck in that ring of hills, we get
smog. Today it seems that those hills caused different layers of air to
intermingle and produce those clouds.
Despite the clouds it's pretty warm, we saw a sign giving 24C at around
19:00 in the afternoon. Warm enough to eat on the balcony and then play
some backgammon out there too. In the process of getting my 3rd or so
doubled game in, I dropped a dice... from the third floor.
Luck had it, there was no one down there. I saw it bounce off the street
a couple of time. I picked up a spare to continue the game (as I'm a
crypto-nut, I always have enough dice at home, the particular one I had
bought in a shop selling backgammon and chess sets in Monastiraki).
Right after the game I looked down from the balcony again, in reverence
to the dice who went down there. And I saw a light spot, on the opposite
side of the street, right next to the line of a car's shade. Must be the
dice! I jumped up and went down (the stairs!), and indeed it was! The dice is mostly
unharmed, with some grey spots on the corners and a hardly noticeable
dent on one side. A magic dice indeed!
16 October 2006
Kühler, also Zeit zu schreiben
...oder lieber gleich mit dem Winterschlaf anfangen?
Die letzten Tage ist es bei uns einiges kühler geworden, vor einer Woche hatten wir oft auch spät abends noch 20 Grad, momentan wirds mit 17 Grad schon richtig kühl. Natürlich nichts im Vergleich zu nördlichen Ländern :-). Die "Temperatureinstellung" des Menschen ist schon was komisches. Heute morgen musste ich noch kurz was erledigen und ging etwas früher aus dem Haus. Ich ertappte mich doch tatsächlich dabei, dass ich probierte ob mein Atem in der kalten Luft sichtbar ist... als ob wir auch nur irgendwo in der Nähe vom Gefrierpunkt wären. Man gewöhnt sich halt an das sommerliche und auch spätsommerlich warme Wetter.
Gerade mit den kühleren Temperaturen habe ich nicht immer so viel Lust rauszugehen und gross was zu unternehmen. Also mehr Zuhause sein und mit etwas Glück auch mal was kreatives machen. So ist zuletzt eben die zopewiki.org/ZopeAndApache-Seite zu einer Überarbeitung gekommen und neue Ideen für anderes habe ich auch schon. Also nur noch die Tendenz zum beginnenden Winterschlaf überwinden und los geht's...
19 October 2006
Blow my fuse, baby!
The last 24 hours were deeply rooted in the power of electricity. First
of all on Wednesday evening at home our super quality electricity system
blew a fuse, which left me sitting in the dark, right as I was talking
on the phone. Then I came into work on Friday morning, logged into
betabug.ch only to find that there had been a power failure in the
housing, which hadn't worked out so well with the G3 (no, no, I'm lucky
there has no permanent problem). And to round things out my new
bluetooth headset acted up in the afternoon, which isn't really in the
electricity category by itself, but I needed the charger to get it to
work again, and the charger was of course at home...
The fuse at home left my room and the kitchen in the dark. This
unusual combination of rooms to be on the same circuit is already a sign
of how strange our power setup is. All power lines in the apartment
have only two cables, no grounding cable. Obviously the setup was for
proper three-pronged cabling, but my guess is that the contractor made
some extra cash by cheating them to do the job with 2/3 of cables. The
fuse board is the old fashioned kind with screw in fuses. That's fine
and dandy, but it usually means that either a.) you have no fuses at
home when you need them or b.) the spare fuses at home are the old ones
from the last failure and you forgot to buy some. Extra note to self:
It's nice to own a good flashlight [pats self on back] for moments like
these. But it would be even better to leave said flashlight in a well
defined place, so I won't have to search for it 10 minutes in the dark.
I then went out at 23:00 to try and buy a fuse. That's not as hopeless
as it sounds, as in Greece we have kiosks (or "newsstands") that are
open all night, and they tend to have all kind of stuff. The first one
I went to didn't have anything electrical, the second had just ran out
of the size of fuses I needed. Back home we then discovered that our
fuse-board has one unused fuse, so we were able to switch around to get
As for the G3, one problem seems to be that the internal battery
is dead. That isn't so unusual for a machine a couple years old,
I'll just replace it when I go to Germany. After the power returned,
apparently the machine didn't power up by itself. I assume that is
because of the dead battery, since normally it's setup to autostart in
after power outages. Peter from the "Internet Ulm" club went in and
booted up all the servers that didn't do that on their own (thank you
Peter!), which were quite a lot. With the G3 he had the extra trouble
that the power switch on the outside seems to be stuck or broken, he had
to open up the box to get it going.
Then there was the bluetooth headset: I wanted to do a call from
the office and had to muck around with the pairing to get the headset to
talk to the computer. Despite what people may tell you, bluetooth is
still a hack. The only times the G4 at work has ever crashed was with
bluetooth problems. This time I went through the little dance of
shutting down bluetooth on the G4, starting up the headset, then
bluetooth on the G4, then checking through the "Sound" system prefs that
input works. It didn't do it. Deleted and recreated the pairing, again
the same dance. At one point I thought I had to do it again, switched
off the headset and noticed at that very moment that I had input, so I
started the headset again, when suddenly everything got stuck. The Mac
user interface got unresponsive (mouse still moving, but no clicks
registering), though I didn't check through the network if the machine
was still alive underneath. A reboot fixed that.
What was worse was that the headset had crashed too. No little blue
light flashing any more. No beeps and twingles as feedback for various
long and short button presses. No reaction whatsoever. Now on 17 grams
of plastic and electronics they don't give you a reset button any more.
There is just a button for on/off/multifunction, and volume up/down. My
line of thought was that when I plug in the power supply it usually shuts
down its function, so maybe it will reset then. But of course the power
supply was at home. No bluetoothing and Internet phoning for me then.
When I came home my theory proved right, I plugged in the good old
power and the blue light came right back too.
When I still was looking for a reviving secret key press for the
headset, I went through several web searches. Apparently Motorola's
support consists of a page telling you that "when you can't connect the
headset to a device, you have to pair them first". Interesting. Then I
found out that abc news has the Motorola H500 in the list of "worst
product of the year 2006/Q3". Nice to know, even though their reasoning
seems based mostly on the headset not having fit their testers ear.