03 June 2009
Greek Urban Surrealism
Ελληνικός αστικός σουρεαλισμός, as named by Panos
My friend Panos names these things as "ελληνικός αστικός σουρεαλισμός" (ellinikos astikos sourrealismos) - "Greek urban surrealism". Those spots of life where things go that little extra step that make them "get out of hand". We're pretty much used to these things here in Athens, we'll just look and walk by, often times not even notice or just do as much as chuckle. But quite often if you keep your eyes open and then really think about it for a moment... life and people here produce bizarre stuff really. A few posts back I already offered an example.
There used to be a time when parking lot guardians had little transistor radios. They were parking your car in front of that restaurant and then watching over the lot like a modern version shepherd. While they sat around doing that (i.e. nothing) they listened to the match on that squeaky radio. This guy here went a step further. He installed a portable LCD tv, complete with remote control and "suck on" antenna (antenna unfortunately not pictured). Coincidentally this scene was found less than 50m from and at the same time as the previous example. Maybe there is a strong surrealism force field at that spot?
09 June 2009
Kartoffelpuffer My Breakfast!
Dunno if it's healthy, but it's good!
If one morning you find yourself in the possession of some left over mashed potatoes from the evening before, then I have a breakfast idea for you. Take whatever your dinner guests didn't manage, put in some eggs and fry in a lot of butter or olive oil (or even an olive oil and butter mix if you want the butter flavor and the olive oil healthy good feeling)... you just made some nice "Kartoffelpuffer" (potato pancakes).
The quantity of eggs added makes the difference: if you have too little egg and the mashed potatoes are mashed really fine, the "Kartoffelpuffer" stay too fluid. I ended up with about 2 eggs for one deep plate of mashed potatoes. Frying needs a lot of heat if your pan is teflon (but it makes trying certainly easier). Fry one side till you see the corner get brown, then turn around and do the other side.
Wonderful to eat with: Honey, marmalade, cottage cheese, apple compott or apple sauce ("Apfelmuss"). Works as a side dish for dinner too. As a breakfast it gives you a lot of energy to last for a good day's work.
11 June 2009
Moved to New Garage
Workplace in the Sky
Last Friday our company moved to our new offices. We're on the 7th floor, with a great view over a lot of Athens. No, we can't see the Acropolis, there's a building in between, but if we go up on the roof we can see it.
There's still a lot of things to do, some furniture hasn't arrived yet. My computer is placed on a "borrowed" place, on someone else's desk. Except that in this office I can really sit and work wherever I want. There will be some sofas (still to arrive), some coffee tables (still to arrive) and some regular desks to work at.
Instead of an office phone, I've got the SIP phone client on my Nokia e71 set up to connect to the office PBX. One less device to carry around or place on a desk. I could run a SIP client on the laptop too, but I find the mobile more practical.
We've got a nice, clean, climatized server room too now. Makes a huge difference when server's aren't just standing around in a rack in some corner of a workroom.
Linedrops While Copying Files over scp? Use rsync!
At least you can restart...
What to do when you want to copy a big file over scp and you get dropped connections, hangs, stalls, stuck connections? The problem is that scp does not pick up where it left off, it doesn't reconnect or recover dropped transfers... the magic trick is to switch tools: Use rsync.
Yes, rsync is usually used to "sync" two folders of files, but it can very well be used to copy only a single file too. Given the right "switches", rsync will pick up where it was when your line dropped...
Continue reading "Linedrops While Copying Files over scp? Use rsync!"
15 June 2009
Schaltkreis Wassermann @ Benaki
This weekend I had visitors from Switzerland. The electronic music group Schaltkreis Wassermann - good friends from back in Switzerland - came for a gig at the synch festival. They played on Sunday evening in the atrium of the (new) Benaki museum on Pireus Street.
Appart from the concert we went out for food & drinks with them, got them to visit the Acropolis and a few other places in Athens, went one other evening with them to the synch festival. The festival itself I wasn't really so enthusiastic about. At the main venue in the Gazi, the sound from the two stages clashed. It also happened not to be something I liked too much, whatever it was that was playing at the moment. In other words: I didn't really warm up to the sound.
The Schaltkreis Wassermann gig was a bit different there: I had previously heard only some pieces, but I like their music now. I was also quite occupied, as I got handed a DSLR camera (some Canon thing) and was busy taking psychedelic pictures by forcing a long exposure and zooming around (ok, I took some more "serious" pictures too). The pic here is taken with my own little "toy" camera though.
17 June 2009
This was a green hill 2 days ago
Two days ago this hill on the Ymittos range in Ano Glyfada was still green. It's trees and bushes were providing fresh air and lowering the temperature of the local area. On the early afternoon of Monday something (or likely: someone) started a fire, with the heavy wind powering up the flames to consume a series of hills. The fire passed very quick over this hill, that's why some of the trees are still standing.
There is a large suspicion that this fire was started by arson, in order to gain land to build and turn a criminal profit. With the heavy wind this turned into a big catastrophe. In some places the fire stopped only some meters from houses, due to the wind shifting at the last moment. The fire being started on such a windy day is a grave condition, personally I believe that it was calculated in. When the destruction is very great, the fire brigade can not concentrate their effort on the piece of land the criminals try to gain control of.
For more than a day after this, there were small fires still popping up on the burnt slopes. In the beginning everywhere, in a very dense pattern, occasionally turning into big fires that burnt for hours. Yesterday I observed one more small fire in the dark, that was extinguished after a wihle, presumably by firemen and two other suspected fires that disappeared fast.
18 June 2009
Euro-Elections: More Greek Urban Surrealism
Football or Politics
While most of Europe (and Greece along with it) showed the lowest
participation in any Euro elections and others take things really
serious, there seem to be some for whom it's all just a game - something
like a couple of football teams to root for.
This young lady left a lasting impressions one or two days before the
election Sunday, when I saw her in the subway, dressed in a short skirt
partially made with a party flag and carrying another party flag. Her
attire was suitably party-style too... but the other kind of "party".
Obvioulsy I tried to snap some pictures, but stupid me had forgotten
the camera's ISO setting on 100 ISO (for some long exposure shots) and
there wasn't enough light for that in the Metro station. The picture has
some movement blur, but with a bit of tweeking this daily surreal scene
from Athens life (ελληνικός αστικός σουρεαλισμός, ellinikos astikos sourrealismos, term coined by libero) is viewable I
20 June 2009
Short Rest in the Shade
Hot up here
We're on an excursion with a few people from the Krystallis (Κρυστάλλης) mountain club. We're on Evia, on the way up the Ohi, highest peak of the island.
The place is nice, the view is wonderful, but some assholes built a huge concrete road up here.
It's pretty hot and for water you get only what you carry yourself.
We took a small rest in the shade of a wild castania tree. Now for one more leg and then up to the peak.
21 June 2009
From the Mountain to the Beach
On and on the path goes on
Yesterday after our rest we continued upwards. After a few hours we reached the peak. It had fooled me a couple of times, as I was thinking "this is it, just this more steep climb" and another view opened, showing a higher peak.
Finally we had reached it, took some pictures. We enjoyed the panoramic view of the Evian range, the islands around, even Attika.
Finally we descended and clambered down the path that is strewn with loose stones. An hour later we collapsed in the tiny shade under a small rock standing all alone. A few fruits, water and finally some real food put some more power into us.
We needed it. We had a nice shady valley to go down, on a good path following a nice brook. But the path went on and on and our packs and feet were not getting lighter.
The sea, where we were planning to camp didn't seem to get any closer as time passed.
We took another longer rest where there were a few small waterfalls and basins. Some of us even went swimming in the cold water.
We then finally reached our friends at a tavern at 9 in the evening, having walked since 7 in the morning. Food, setting up the tents, sleeping and waking up to a day relaxing at the beach.
Traffic Jam in the Village
These cars are not parked. They're the traffic jam of cars waiting for the ferry boat back to Attika and therefore Athens.
Athens is a nice enough place, but of course people want to go to nicer, fresher places for the weekend. While not everybody leaves town at the same time, most people return Sunday evening to be Monday at work.
Result: lots of traffic jams. Usually at the entrances to the city limits, but sometimes - as here - in some remoter places that are traffic choke points. Like this village with a small ferry connection where we're on our way back from the mountain and the sea.
26 June 2009
An installation by George Zongolopoulos
There are many sculptures and art pieces in the Athens Metro system. Some of it I pass quite often, sometimes even daily. Some other things are more well hidden.
A few weeks ago, going a path and direction I never took before, in the Syntagma station, I came across this installation. It is by the sculptor George Zongolopoulos (Γιώργος Ζογγολόπουλος, 1903-2004).
It struck me as very beautiful, a piece of art that you can look at and loose yourself within. I would have liked it if this was in some place where I passed more often. I believe I would stop and look each time.
In case you can't make head or tails from my picture: The installation seems to be in some kind of ventilation shaft. The passengers walk right underneath it, some of them not even noticing that there is something above them. Look up though and you will notice a round window to the sky, silver coated walls and an assortment of "flying" objects. Every little move of your position will change the light, the positions of the objects, the reflections.
28 June 2009
Open Air Art
Another scultpure by George Zongolopoulos in Paleo Psychiko
Speaking of the art of George Zongolopoulos (Γιώργος Ζογγολόπουλος), there is another of his works which I have seen. Some weeks ago I went to my friend indyone's (Yannis) marriage. On the way to the church in Παλαιό Ψυχικό (Palaio Psychiko), I came across this thing. I had no idea what it was, but saw it as beautiful.
Only when I searched about the artist for the previous post, did I notice that what I had seen and pictured was one more of his works.
It was by chance a very good moment to take pictures of this sculpture. The afternoon sun highlights the metal beams in front of the trees. Art in public places is quite often not understood, people see it as "this strange thing" or even ridicule things. OK, myself I might not like every piece of art displayed on streets and places. But sometimes I come across something that just looks good, seems to have spirit. In those moments I can appreciate art, no matter if I "know" anything about it or not.