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01 January 2014

...and 2014 - Happy New Year! Guet's Neus! Καλή χρονιά!

Breaking of a Tradition: No Stats

On this weblog I've had it as a tradition to start the new year with a nice little post combining New Years wishes with a little overview of what happened on the blog in the last year. Well, somewhere in 2013 I broke the stats of my blog and didn't bother to fix them. I still have the access logs, but no fancy numbers to show off.

On the other hand I had to adjust the number of months displayed in the "archive" sidebar box: This weblog now being 9 years old, and the limit set to 99 months, there just wasn't enough space.

So what was happening in betabug's blog land? Not much it seems, there were 3 months, with one post each only (March, August, October), and in generally I was slacking on my writing. I guess it's going to stay that way for a while, but I'm not intending to close the weblog.

Looking through the year, some points stuck out:

  • The wood smog is back in Athens (I wrote about it in last January, it's even been in the news in Switzerland)
  • January also saw me starting to go to work by bike... the bike then went on to rule this year pretty much.
  • My vacation in July certainly was a highlight of blog productivity (and in my personal year too, it's been a while since I had a true vacation)

As a big example of my shift in priorities, instead of writing my new years post first thing today, I went out for a two hour bike ride. In the rain and cold. Well, cold for our parts here, nothing compared to northern Europe of course. Despite having frozen toes for 1.5 hours (I gotta work on the hardware side for that part), I had tremendous fun. Thinking about this ride I still start smiling.

Posted by betabug at 23:55 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
08 January 2014

Griechische EU-Präsidentschaft: Erstmal ein Versammlungs- und Demonstrationsverbot

So fängt man das richtig an

Heute fängt die griechische EU-Präsidentschaft an. Damit man gleich merkt, wessen Geist da weht, gibt es zuerst einmal ein Versammlungs- und Demonstrationsverbot. Wo kämen wir denn da auch hin, wenn die Leute auf die Strasse gehen würden? Natürlich tun sie es doch, denn ob die Demonstration bewilligt ist oder nicht, wen die Polizei erwischt, der landet in der Kiste - da findet sich dann schon immer ein Grund. Die zentralen Athener Metro-Stationen sind natürlich am Nachmittag auch wieder auf Anordung der Polizei geschlossen gewesen, wie immer wenn erwartet wird, dass mehr al 20 Demonstranten zusammenkommen.

Posted by betabug at 18:45 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
20 January 2014

Trading Pulls

Having fun in the wind

Last week my friend George messaged me with the proposition to go for a ride on Monday morning. Now I'm more free with my working hours since I'm a freelancer, but it's not like I throw all my hours around. Still, I couldn't refuse. This January is unusually warm, the weather report promised partly cloudy 17c, but with a strong wind of 5 Beaufort from the South.

When I got up and looked out the report seemed to have missed a few facts. It was dark with stormy clouds and looked like it could rain. I dressed up accordingly and went out to our meeting place. Soon I stopped and removed the rain jacket and leg warmers - it was warmer than it looked - and soon after the sun was out. As George arrived, we exchanged remarks about "that bit of wind".

The "bit of wind" on the coast road was enough to make riding work. So what can a cyclist do? When you're alone, all you can do is make yourself small and put on a stoic face. But when there are two (or more) of you, it's time to trade pulls. Get into a line, one rider 0.3 to 1m behind the other's wheel and the behind rider is sheltered from the wind by the front rider. The front rider does all the work, while the rear one feels as if he was pulled along. When you're tired, it's a huge relief.

Too long at the front though, and your energy saps out fast. So the stronger the wind, the shorter the "pulls" at the front. In our case, we went for roughly 2 minute turns. After a few tries we had the exchange procedure clean and efficient. Work a bit in the wind, exchange to get a bit of rest.

After a while we spotted another cyclist ahead. He seemed to move funny. At first we thought he was sprinting, standing on the pedals, moving his bike wildly from side to side. But that didn't make sense, not in this weather. Getting closer, he almost looked like being drunk. George suggested that he must be tired.

When we passed him, we exchanged greetings and I offered him to "stick to our wheel" to get a bit of a rest. At the next "changing of the engine ahead", he looked a bit confused. He wasn't used to our drill, so I had to signal to him to keep on.. George and me kept on doing the locomotive, not expecting him to take part in the work. He kept on sitting in our slipstream and got a good rest from the wind, later turning off to wherever he went. As he was off, we laughed, talking about this guy who got a looky break and a free ride.

Turning back at the agreed place, we had it easier, with the wind mostly from the back (mostly, because coastal roads tend to twist and turn). Still we kept on trading pulls, because it just felt good to go this fast. We didn't get so much to chat like this, but we sure had a good time working together for a common good.

Posted by betabug at 16:36 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
23 January 2014

Sonntäglicher Mittags-Tisch

Mit Freunden und Familie

Mittags gehe ich gerne mal essen, auch wenn ich alleine zuhause am arbeiten bin. Unter der Woche hat sich da das Angebot stark verkleinert, viele Restaurants in meiner Nähe haben nur noch am Abend offen. Die Krise hat da so einiges geändert und Personal für ein leeres Lokal mögen die Wirte auch nicht zahlen.

An einem der letzten Sonntage war ich zufällig auch wieder alleine zuhause und bin essen gegangen. Da sah es dann aber anders aus, alle offen und alles voll, alle Tische besetzt. Grosse Gruppen von Leuten, mit Freunden und Familie. Das Geld um unter der Woche Mittagessen zu gehen mag nicht mehr da sein, aber an speziellen Tagen mit guter Gesellschaft reicht es dann doch noch und dann darf der Tisch auch ordentlich voll werden.

Da einen Tisch zu finden ist nicht immer so einfach, vor allem, wenn man an so einem Tag alleine ankommt. Aber da ich bei einem der Lokale Stammgast bin (dort, wo ich auch unter der Woche zu Mittag esse), fand sich noch ein kleiner Tisch in der Ecke. Um mein Buch zu lesen war es zu duster und so richtig lange bleiben wollte ich auch nicht, aber es gab was gutes zu essen und darum gings mir ja.

Posted by betabug at 16:21 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)