01 August 2006
Me and the Machine Get Hot
It's summer, it's hot in my room and because the vacation started I'm not in the air conditioned office any more. So the machines have to stand some more heat. Since I'm preparing some stuff and installing some programs on the old PowerBook from my boss, the machine temperature is rising. I noticed the small internal fan spinning on its highest speed, and the lower side of the 'book got really hot. Time for some remedies...
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Avoiding Dangerous Menu Logout
Don't send the server to sleep
With the HelMUG server (running Mac OS X Server 10.4) we once had the problem that one of us wanted to logout through VNC, but slipped onto the "Sleep" menu command in the Apple menu. The server went to sleep as told, and someone had to go to the rackfarm, connect a keyboard and wake the server up. A lot of trouble. Since then I always get half of a heart attack when I have to go to "Log out" through the Apple menu. I've solved that now: I'm avoiding going to the Apple menu at all for logout, I made a small AppleScript...
The script is very simple, actually just one line.
tell application "System Events" to log out
I've saved the script as an "Application", and placed that on my desktop. Now I can safely double click this and then confirm the logout.
02 August 2006
We've reached the ship in time
Getting to the port in Lavrio was a bit of a nervous number this time. We prepared everything in time, got ready and packed up early. Then we took a taxi to Αμπελοκοιποι (Ambelokoipi), where we waited at the bus stop for the ΚΤΕΛ (KTEL) overland bus. Lot's of busses passed by, but not ours.
Finally we concluded that we should have taken the bus to Sounion, which stops at Lavrion too and had passed by before. Our next bus came one hour later, so we were a bit worried that we would miss the boat - the next one leaves in 2 days.
As if to counteract the information deficit that had caused us so much trouble, the ticket lady in our bus was very informative. She made sure we had the right bus right away. She also proclaimed stations loud. There were not many stops, so we made the ship without further pressure on our nerves.
Now we sit outside abovedecks. We're looking forward to another seagoing night under the stars, as we see the lights of Lavrion blink away ever further off.
08 August 2006
A Few Days Of Limnos
Lazy beach vacation, with a bad start
We're already in Limnos (and in the village Panagia) for a few days now. We arrived in Myrina from the Ship on Thursday morning. Went straight to the beach in Myrina, took a good swim. The sea was as calm as it ever gets, the water was warm and silken. Swimming was the real thing after a night on the ship. I had slept considerably well (outside, above deck), but my bones were slightly in disorder - too used to good, soft beds.
We bought some groceries (when I went to Panagia for the first times, getting vegetables was a problem, as the shops didn't stock every day). Then we took the bus across the island to our village. The bus driver stopped again and again for old people to get off near their homes. After a good tour of the island we got to Panagia, where the bus driver refused to make an extra stop for us too. So we loaded our bags and had to walk the small distance. Into the homely house we went, to clean up, unpack, let the vacation begin.
Meeting old friends
At noon I went to the kafeneion to say hello to my friends. Big smiles as a welcome, "how have you been?", "how are things here now?", "sit down and drink something!", and I'm back as if I had left yesterday. I had my first Ouzo, and we chatted along.
When I went back for my well deserved siesta, I felt a small headache. Not much, but after all I hadn't slept so much and had been drinking at noon. I lay down and found some sleep, only to wake up to more headache and ear pain. My ears were closed and I started to feel terrible. Looks like I had gotten too much wind on the ship. After a while the left ear cleared up, while the right ear got worse. I took some pain killer, put a bit of cotton with two drops of alcohol into the ear (to warm it up) and went to sleep again. In the morning all the pain was gone and I was lucky to have been left only with the ear being slightly "closed", a condition which is slowly going away too.
Lazy beach vacation
The next few days have been spent idling, visiting people, eating. Late in the evenings we were walking to the beach. The distance by foot is about half an hour. In past years I went there by bicycle in five minutes, but this time we are two of us and only one bicycle. We went late when the sun is only pleasantly warming, took our time and had a swim in the sea to cool us down afterwards. The first day the sea was again like a mirror. The water was mainly warm, with some flows of colder water inbetween.
We sat on the beach for a long time afterwards, watching as the colors of the sky and the sea changed as the sun went down behind the hills behind our backs. At one point the sea started to turn a rosy, orange color, mixed with light blue, almost illuminated against the darker horizon. A big waxing moon above that. I tried to take a picture, but a camera can only attempt to take a faint memory of such a moment.
Goodbye Little House
It's been a splendid time
Today is the last day, tonight is the last night for me in this little house. More than two years ago I came here in a helter skelter, had the chance to stay here (against a lot of odds) for half a year. My time in this quiet little house in the quiet little village helped my personal sanity a lot and all the sports I did back then (bicycle, running on the beach, swimming) helped me to get a little better relationship with my body. Last year I had another chance to come back for another month in the summer, and this year I came here for greek eastern and now for a short week in summer.
Tomorrow morning my lifeline and the lifeline of this little house will part. I'm not sad about it. Instead I'm thankfull for the time I've had and the good shelter I've been in. I got to appreciate both the oddities and the presents this house gave me, and I'll keep them in my memory.
I also got to know the village Panagia on Limnos. Another present. This is no paradise, the people here have their quarrels and their share of problems. But I got to know them a little bit during my time here and I got to like them. It's a good place to be and I'm looking forward to come here again. We will stay here for another three days in a rented room and then we will go on and visit another island: Samothraki, the island that I've seen so many times in the distance from here.
Looks like my Zope was down
Obviously restarted now
Noticed right now that my Zope server process was producing errors for a while. Unfortunately I didn't notice, so I had sent in two posts, and they went online right now. Looks like I have a hidden problem somewhere, I saw a bit of a traceback about a "CacheException: The data for the cache is not pickleable." I'll have to investigate when I'm back in full Internet civilization, as it would get a bit expensive with the gprs connection here. Sorry for the inconvenience and I hope the service will work for a while now!
09 August 2006
Lying in the Sand
Sunbathing, watching the game from afar
Neon pink and yellow spots jumping in the sun. Thumping sounds as the ball is hit, players shouting and announcing numbers. A little bit of a chill as the sun hides behind a cloud. We are lying in deckchairs on the beach. Slacking in the sun is what we do.
13 August 2006
Under the Moon
Listen to the surf
We've slept our last night on Limnos on the beach, under the moon and the stars. Before falling asleep I was watching the shooting stars. The sleeping bags kept us warm, even the morning dew didn't disturb us. I slept sound and untroubled, but not long enough.
When the sun went up again, we walked back to the village. I saw the sun rise behind the little creek that runs to the beach (when there is rainfall, not now).
From the village the taxi took us to Myrina, where we are now aboard the F/B Παναγια Σουμελα (Panagia Soumela) to take us to Samothraki. I'm not yet really awake and unable to ingest solid food. Breakfast will have to wait and a bed and falling asleep again would be heaven.
14 August 2006
Climbing to the Moon
Up the peak of Samothraki
Samothraki island is full of hippies and kids who came too late for woodstock and try to make it up.
When we went for a swim in the afternoon we even saw a rare nudist (trying to get a sunburn on his balls, likely). We slept under the stars at the municipal camping. Woke up early, packed our things and started walking.
Right now we are about 1 hour up the shoulder of the mountain Φεγγαρι (Fengari - moon). We hope to get to the top (about 1620m) in 2 to 4 more hours.
It's hot, we're sweated through already. The path markings aren't too clear, so we already got lost and had to trackback once. But the spirit is still up, as goes the path!
15 August 2006
A Day for our tired Feet in Samothraki
Yesterday's mountain day wasn't as successfull as we had hoped. We had started a bit too late and were moving too slow, so we didn't make it all up to the top of the mountain. We reached a nice little spring at about 1000m, had a nice break with cool water and started our way back down. The path down was taxing on our limbs and we were very tired when we arrived on sea level - about 10 hours after we had started out...
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16 August 2006
All Around the Island
Taking a boat tour
We're aboard the excursion boat "Samothraki", going around the island.
The sea is a bit messy. We have about 4-5 beaufort wind, so our little boat is rolling often. Still it's a lot of fun and we get shown all the nice places of the island (comments in greek of course).
The tour will make a big stop at a beach, so we have time to go for a swim. Most of the greek tourists have bags of stuff, parasols, swimming gear, and food with them.
No hippies on board though, maybe departure at 11AM was too early for them.
Stopp am Strand, zum Schwimmen und Essen
Unser Ausflugsboot hat hier am Strand Παχιά Αμουδιά (Pachia Amoudia, "fetter Sand") angelegt. Das Boot baut auf einem "Kaïki"-Rumpf auf, so dass es der Käptn einfach auf den Strand setzen kann.
Da sind wir dann erstmal schwimmen gegangen, danach in die Sonne. Sonne aber nur kurz, denn es brät ganz schön runter.
Was auch gut brät ist unsere Bestellung auf dem Grill (Wurst und Steak). Die christliche Seefahrt macht ganz schön hungrig. Da kommt es gut, dass der Ausflugsdampfer einen Grill mitführt.
17 August 2006
Schaukelpartie und Weiterfahrt
Abschied von Samothraki - über Kavala nach Thessaloniki
Der gestrige Ausflug wurde doch noch ganz interessant. Am Strand sollten wir abwarten, dass sich das Wetter und die See wieder beruhigen. Doch so kam's nicht und das zweite Anlegen am abgelegenen Strand Βάτο (Vato) musste zur Sicherheit von Boot und Passagieren abgesagt werden. Bei heftigem Seegang und Geschaukele gings weiter. Wir sahen uns spektakuläre Felsformationen und einen Wasserfall an. Die letzte Stunde war den Passagieren das Geschaukele doch zu viel, einigen gings wohl nicht mehr so gut. Mir hat die Achterbahnfahrt Spass gemacht.
Am Abend waren wir dann geschafft und haben es ruhig genommen. Packen mussten wir ja auch noch. Heute morgen dann Zimmer abgeben, frühstücken und nochmal Tavli (Backgammon) spielen... und dann kam auch schon unser Schiff. Mit einem "Peace!"-Hippygruss verabschiedeten wir uns von Samothraki. Jetzt sitzen wir an Deck und lassen uns nach Kavala fahren, mit bedeutend weniger Gewackele.
18 August 2006
Hello White Tower
From Kavala (where the ferry boat delivered us) we arrived by KTEL bus in Thessaloniki. MacYannis of HelMUG fame picked us up at the round bus terminal. This morning he took is for a sightseeing walk all through the center of Thessaloniki. We passed by the roman agora, the Agios Dimitrios Church, the "Rotonda" church, Aristotelous square, the place where the cinema festival is held, the "white tower" (symbol of Thessaloniki) and many other places. I've been to Thessaloniki before, but back then we were busy to reinstall the HelMUG server with some other HelMUG people. One nice thing about this city is that the center offers all these historical places in walking distance.
19 August 2006
Back Home By Night Train
Sleep, lots of sleep
Yesterday evening we boarded the night train from Thessaloniki to Athens. We had booked beds and hoped for a bit of sleep on the train, which was scheduled to leave at 23:45. When we boarded the train it was hot like a furnace, people crowded around the windows. We were quite late, so we hoped for a short wait and then some cooling down due to the driving wind...
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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...
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23 August 2006
Evening Swimming at Faliron
Walking the promenade for some fresher air
The last two evenings I went straight from work to the coastline at
Παλαιόν Φάληρον (Palaion Faliron). First reason was a bit of relief from the heat we have
right now in the city. Near the sea there is always a bit of fresh air.
I went for a swim both evenings. Yes, I know, I know, old time Athenians
always tell how bad the water quality is. In my experience the water quality
has improved a lot. The sea isn't really absolutely clean, but in my
opinion it's acceptable. The municipality of Faliron provides fresh
water showers, so after the swim one can wash off the salt and any
remainings of suspected dirt.
Oh to describe what joy a swim in the cool sea brings at the current
temperatures. The body is relieved for some time from the stress of
being boiled and fried alive. I splash around like a little child and
then just float around, soaking up coolness (or disseminate all the
accumulated heat from my body). The refreshened feeling persists all the
time that I still sit at the beach.
After the swim we went for a promenade on the sea-walk from Faliron to my
old neighborhood in Kalamaki. On Monday leaving the beach and going back
next to the road, the heat hit me like a solid wall. It embraces the
body like a python in a cheap horror movie, pulling and tightening.
After a while we descended to another beach and I went for a second
swim. Yesterday evening the temperature must already have been fallen
by a couple of precious degrees and one single swim was enough for me.
(As usual, click on the image for a bigger view.)
Ship Panorama Pics at Wu's
Tall sailing ships
Speaking of montage / panorama pictures, my friend Wu from #bsdcow has some very good montage pictures from "Tall Ships' Races" in A Coruna. I wish I could have seen those ships.
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.
28 August 2006
Fernando Botero at the National Gallery in Athens
Yesterday I woke up comparably early (for a Sunday) so we had time to visit the exhibition of paintings of the colombian painter Fernando Botero. I knew beforehand, that I would like his works and I wasn't disappointed...
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