25 June 2015
Back on the Bicycle after Five Months
It took some while
Five months have passed since my accident. I've been through a
transport to a hospital in Athens, surgery, a few days in the
hospital, recovery in bed at home, almost 35 hours of physiotherapy, a
lot of walking with crutches, 5 xray exams, almost 15 hours of indoor
cycling on the trainer, almost 10 hours of swimming time and learning to
actually swim in the process.
Last Monday I had another talk with the local orthopedist, the one who
examined me right after the accident. He said that things are going
very well with my leg, and that the little discomfort and occasional
pain I have are due to the surgery and muscle rebuild, not due to the
bone. He suggested lots of exercise. From talking to various doctors
and physiotherapists, I got the impression that with most patients the
problem is that they never do the exercises that they're told to do.
As you can see on the calendar, last Tuesday I went out on the bike
again for the first time. (The indoor cycling symbol has little dots under the wheels, not very visible.) I just went a bit up the road and back, not
even 2km and just 8 minutes. I wobbled around a lot, going slalom on the
road. It felt a bit scary.
This morning I decided that it's time to make another go for it. To
overcome my insecurity, I'll have to go out and ride. So out I went,
this time further up the road, going as far as the next village. I felt
much more secure, I was able to enjoy the ride.
I wasn't fast at all. First of all, I wasn't taking any risks. On the
downhill parts, I wasn't constantly braking, but I did not let the speed
build up either. Then, I'm very much down on my endurance. With the
slightest incline of the road, my heartrate was going up and over the
roof. Not much of a racing spirit. Instead I appreciated the landscape,
and seeing it from a bicycle and not a car window again. So I clocked in
14km, in 39 minutes, climbing 189m.
15 June 2015
[x] Swim 1 km
On Sunday I swam 1km. Which is pretty crazy, considering that basically
I've been saying "I can't really swim" 6 weeks ago. I've improved on the
"GPS under Swimcap" trick, by turning on distance alerts every 100m on
the GPS. I wasn't sure if I would be able to hear the beep, but in the
end the sea was very calm, and I could hear it well. Each 100m I counted
to myself how far I had come, and at 500m I stopped for a moment, then
turned around. I went one long line along the Mikri Vigla beach,
going towards some houses (probably in Kastraki) to stay my course.
After the 1km beep, I continued on a bit, rested for a moment in the
shallow water on the rocks, then headed back to the beach. I wasn't
really fast, 29m 10s for the 1km in breaststroke, but that's definitely good enough for
me. Looking how fast other people swim, everybody is obviously faster
than me, polar bears are 5x faster than me, which means I'll better
not go to swim in the Arctic.
13 June 2015
Mal wieder geschafft abzustimmen
Eine gewisse Ausfallquote
Dieses Wochenende ist in der Schweiz Abstimmungswochenende. Als
Ausland-Schweizer habe ich es diesmal wieder mal geschafft abzustimmen.
Das klingt jetzt etwas flapsig, aber tatsächlich gibt es bei mir dabei
eine gewisse Ausfallquote.
Das erste grosse Hindernis ist, dass mich die Abstimmungsunterlagen
erreichen sollten. Dummerweise gibt es bei meiner Post eine Verlustquote
von etwa 20% (sehr grob geschätzt). Also kommen ab und zu die
Abstimmungsunterlagen gar nicht erst an. Dann bin auch mal ich schuld,
dass ich die Abstimmungsunterlagen nicht habe, wenn ich nämlich
unterwegs bin (z.B. auf der Insel) und der Umschlag bei mir zu Hause in
Danach gibt es noch das Problem mit den Abstimmungszeiten, bei dem ich
wohl auch selber schuld bin: Die "elektronische" Wahl-Urne schliesst am
Samstag um 12 Uhr (Schweizer Zeit). Es kam schon öfters vor, dass ich
die Unterlagen zur Hand nahm, im festen Glauben, dass ich bis Sonntag
12 Uhr abstimmen kann. Puff, war nix, schon zu spät. Heute fiel mir
dann grade noch ein "hmmm, die Abstimmungszeiten sind immer so komisch,
lieber nochmal nachschauen". Da hatte ich dann noch 40 Minuten Zeit
abzustimmen, aber das reicht ja.
Als Auslandschweizer kann ich übrigens (versuchsweise) per Internet
abstimmen. Ist schon sehr praktisch. Es gibt auch 2-3 Versicherungen im
System, damit man überprüfen kann, dass die Stimmabgabe korrekt zum
Wahlsystem übermittelt wurde. Das ist natürlich schlicht und einfach
Blödsinn. Bei der elektronischen Stimmabgabe ist gar nichts sicher,
alles ist offen für Manipulationen. Spätestens sobald die Stimme auf dem
Wahlsystem ist, kann sie nach belieben manipuliert werden. Im Gegensatz
zum Wahlzettel aus Papier gibt es keine Möglichkeit der Kontrolle, z.B.
durch Nachzählen oder einer unabhängigen Kontrolle der Wahlzettel.
07 June 2015
The Space Alien Swimmer Keeps Track
Swimming with GPS
For the last 5 weeks I've been on this new swimming adventure of mine.
Recap for those who just now tuned in on their TV sets (or for those
who were actually watching TV instead of reading on the Intarwebz):
The doctor ordered me to swim, for the muscles on my previously broken
leg to rebuild. Instead of just slapping around in the water now
and then, I decided to actually learn to swim. I would keep track
of how long I stayed in the water, and guess what distance I had
been swimming. After checking with a tool to measure on a satellite
image, I noticed that my guesses were way too low.
So I decided to use my (cycling) GPS to track one of my swims. There are
devices that are actually meant for this job, GPS watches that are fully
waterproof up to 50m. There are two downsides to these devices for me:
1) I don't own one, and 2) I swim breaststroke for now, and these GPS
watches need you to have your hand outside the water at least partially
(which works while crawling but not for breaststroke). What people do is
to put the GPS under a swim cap. That's what I did too now.
Basically my GPS is waterproof up to 30 minutes for a depth of 1m. Not
good enough, therefore I put it into a ziploc bag, and stuffed it under
a swimcap. No, I didn't own a swim cap, I went and bought one. Putting
on all that, plus my swimming goggles, I felt like a space alien. I
probably looked like one too, so I did not turn around to look at the
spectators on the beach when I went into the water, out of fear that
they were rolling about in the sand, laughing.
I was glad that my GPS emits a funny little sound when you start the
tracking, as I could not check the screen in this setup. I went into the
water and swam what to me appeared to be reasonably straight lines. I
swam a couple of times back and forth in the cove. No matter the GPS, I
enjoyed the swim, since the rock formtions in the water have a magical
look when viewed with the goggles.
Of course the GPS had a good laugh at my notion of "straight lines", I
basically zig-zagged around for a bit. My guess that a part of that is
the GPS signal jumping around too. In the end the distance was much
further than I would have guessed. The swim in the picture clogged in at
350m, I did a 2nd one at 250m. Probably I should substract some amount
for the GPS jumping around, but who cares. I will continue a few times
to swim with the GPS, also on the other beach where I am more often, but
I don't think I'll do this all the time.
04 June 2015
Fixing the Mio Link Charger with... a rubber band
Not sticking due to the crappy magnetic solution
I bought a Mio Link heartrate monitor right when they came out. The
chest strap HR monitor caused me discomfort, the Mio Link was new, I was
willing to take the risk and try it out. For me it works, even though
there are two problems with it:
- it sometimes gets stuck and looses my pulse (I just restart it, this is a bit annoying, but no big concern to me, as I'm not any serious athlete), and
- the solution to use a magnet to ensure the contact between the device and the charger often results in the device not being charged, because I have to hook it to the laptop, and something bumps against the combo and the Link snaps out of the charger.
I think Mio's solution was to put in a stronger magnet into later
builds of the device. They should have just switched on their brain,
and redesigned for a click-in-charger that makes certain the charger
stays on. Magnets are doing "attraction", for electrical contacts you
need "connection". This state had annoyed me for quite some time now, so
today I switched on a select few the remaining brain cells of my own,
and came up with a solution.
As you can see in the photos, I'm using a rubber band to ensure the Mio
Link and the charger stay best friends for a while. The test is using a
wall wart with the charger and hanging up the whole set. When not in
use, the rubber band can stay there. It's easy to fit in the device
(connect as normal, hook the rubber band over the "open end").
03 June 2015
Μην προσπαθείς να πιάσεις την γάτα σου όταν βλέπει εφιάλτη
Αφού όλο κοιμάται...
Ο γάτος αυτός έχει περάσει κάποια δύσκολα πράγματα στην (αρκετά νέα ακόμα)
ζωή του. Μάλλον γι' αυτό βλέπει συχνά όνειρα, τα όποια πολλά είναι
εφιάλτες. Κάποιες στιγμές πετάγεται, ξυπνάει, και ψάχνει τρομαγμένος
γύρο του, που
είναι και τι του συμβαίνει. Πολλές φορές όταν τον βλέπω να έχει εφιάλτη,
μιλάω σιγά σιγά. Θέλω απλά να ακούει την φωνή μου. Η γάτες κοιμούνται με
"ανοιχτή ακρόαση", δλδ συνεχίζουν να ακούνε τι συμβαίνει γύρο τους.
Σήμερα, μάλλον χωρίς να σκέφτομαι, μου ήρθε αντί να μιλάω, να τον πιάσω
στην πλάτη... μεγάλο λάθος. Πετάχτηκε, με γρατζούνισε και με δάγκωσε με
πολύ δύναμη. Πέρασαν μερικά δευτερόλεπτα μέχρι που κατάλαβε που είναι
και ποιον δαγκώνει.
30 May 2015
New (Style) Swimming Glasses
Hey, somebody came up with something better
Since picking up this swimming project (as physiotherapy and to teach
myself to swim a bit better), I've bought myself a new pair of swimming
goggles. Over the years I had a number of these things, but most of them
were really quite bad. Reason 1: I bought cheap ones. Reason 2: When
buying swimming glasses, you should actually try them on, but here in
Greece I never had found a shop that let you do that. Well, that just
changed, both of it.
In Naxos town, there is a shop near the "court square" (πλατεία
προτοδηκείου) that has some diving equipment (and a lot of summer clothes,
and swimsuits etc.), so I decided to try my luck there. The guy there
showed me the display of swimming goggles. Piles of swimming goggles.
Tons of them. I just looked at him and said: "OK, so what do I do now? I
have no idea where to start or what to take." His reply was: "Try some
of them on." Now that was a relief.
Then he started to show me some of them, and it turns out that there
is now a new style of swimming goggles. They have a "skirt" around the
glasses that goes further out around your eyes, almost like a dive mask.
Putting them on your face, they get stuck like a suction cup. On dry
land, the feeling is a bit uncomfortable, but in the water it's perfect.
I tried 5 models or so, in the end choosing one mostly on the looks
of them. They are from a company called "Cressi swim", and the model
is called "Saturn", but I'd say that doesn't matter much, what I do
recommend is this style of swimming goggles.
I've since used these glasses 6 times in 2 weeks, and I'm hooked. No
water getting in. Which means no annoying stops to get the water out. No
fogging (well, maybe on that account it's because they're still new).
Very comfortable. Very good view both under water and above. Today the
water was very clear, and it was a joy to see all the little fishes,
still the goggles do not disturb me at all while exercising. Absolute
bonus: While doing a bit of backstroke, I can look through the "skirt"
of the goggles, to control my course, without having to raise my head
very much out of the water.
29 May 2015
Starting a New Project Naively Sure is Easier
Experience is not always an advantage
Starting a new pyramid fun project with some friends here. Sometimes I
think that having experience with another pyramid project isn't always
helpful. Instead of just writing my simple objects and growing them, I'm
thinking: "well, for this kind of thing, we added xy and yz, and we made
a feature to ..." and then instead of coding along, I'm sitting there,
thinking if adding that feature right away makes sense, and if I should
copy that bit of code or not.
Sure I could start with the simpler objects, but then I'd have to migrate
them later on. On the other hand, if I try to do it all at once now,
I can just sit there with a cup of tea for a couple of days and try to
"waterfall" it all through. Have to find some middle ground somewhere,
and have to accept that at least initially "migration" will be to the
tune of "throw away your database and start over". Gotta get moving.
24 May 2015
Weblog Technical Status
What can we clean up?
There are currently some problems with the technical platform that this weblog runs on. Aparently once every while, the process runs out of memory, and then the blog is stuck. Funny, since with the new server, there is more memory available now. I'll have to check if there is some kind of memory leak or refcount leak happening. In the meantime, I've reduced some cache settings, and well, sometimes the blog might be unavailable till I "unstuck" it.
While playing around with the cache settings, I also cleaned up some of the other blogs I'm subscribed to in the sidebar. Sadly, some of them are offline now. Some others moved, and I've adjusted the feeds. I've also removed the links to the Zope planet (does not exist any more), and to the expat blogs site (can't identify with that any more).
22 May 2015
Doing My Swimming Lessons
Teach your self how to... blubb blubb blubb
I can't really swim. I admit that much. OK, I won't just drown when you
throw me into the water, and I'm ready enough to jump in. But anything
more than a few tens of meters, and I'm pretty lost. Given calm seas, I
can manage to go a short distance, by going slowly, taking lots of rest.
Now that I'm supposed to swim, I decided it's time to change that, at
least for a bit. So I looked up what I'm actually supposed to do. Went
through a couple of How-To guides, saw a couple of videos. I'm the kind
of guy who is better able to learn this kind of thing by "understanding"
it technically first, with my head. No intuitive learning for me there.
Right now I'm concentrating on breaststroke, but later maybe I'll go for
the freestyle too.
So far there seems to be a tiny bit of progress. At todays swim, I
thought that I was a bit more relaxed. I have to be calm and remember
what to do and then the movements seem to work out a bit better.
Definitely makes it more enjoyable. Having a very calm see today helped
too. Still in bicycle terms, I feel often like a kid going up a hill, all he
can do is stand on the pedals and stomp as far as his lungs will take
him. I'll have to learn to get a rhythm into my breathing, take it
calmer, and go there in my good time.