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01 January 2016

2016 - Happy New Year! Guets Neus! Καλή χρονιά!

... and also 11 years of ch-athens
Snow on an olive grove on Naxos, mountains in the background

Yesterday the year 2015 went out and today 2016 started. Thinking back to the "old" year, I feel ok about it. There were some difficulties to overcome personally (my accident with the broken leg), but I think I made the best out of it and was lucky that all went well. There were some incredibly bad times in politics and economy of the country I chose to live in. In the end, I disconnected myself from politics, and my own economic situation is good enough (knocking on wood). There were also some very good times in work, to work together with a team of friends. Another big event was my move out of Athens to Naxos, which makes my life much more beautiful, even though I see a lot of my friends less than before.

For 2016... I'm not really an optimistic person, let's just hope for the best, even if it might not be much. I don't have any new years resolutions or the like. I hope to continue with some good stuff, and to improve myself to avoid some not-so-good stuff in my life.

11 years of ch-athens

As usual, the new year is also the birthday party of this weblog. Because you know, 11 years ago, I did have a new years resolution: to make a weblog.

Same as last year, I didn't keep stats on the blog any more. Sometimes it would have been interesting to see the access numbers, but mostly I didn't care. I think access numbers have declined a lot. I'm not writing so often, so people don't check the blog a lot any more.

Basically my frequency of posts in 2015 was 1 to 3 times per month, with some exceptions where I rallied myself into posting a lot more regular over some time. I might have been tempted to drop the whole thing, but in the end each time I decided I still like this weblog, and that seeing it being without posts for a whole month would be sad.

For the themes of the posts, there were a slight resurrection of political writing, around the referendum in Greece. I talked about how I would vote, and I correctly predicted the result of the referendum. I did not predict the left government falling over and betraying its own people so absolutely, so I stopped writing about these things. It just hurt too much.

The other story line was my recovery from the accident, and various perceived milestones of "first time I was able to do xy". You were treated to a few pictures and some simple reports on my sportive progress. Which included learning to swim the breaststroke properly, buying and riding my bike on a trainer, and then getting back out on the streets and into the mountains.

Oh, and in January there was a post about how we had missed seeing the snow in Naxos. Well, we didn't miss it this year, we're right in the middle of it.

Posted by betabug at 15:08 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
18 January 2016

Willst Du den Winter auf den Kykladen verbringen, brauchst Du einen Luftentfeuchter

Plitsch, platsch

Wenn man sich mit Griechen darüber unterhält, auf den Kykladen den Winter zu verbringen, ist einer der ersten Kommentare oft "aber diese Feuchtigkeit!". Und Recht haben sie. Ich weiss nicht, ob es an der Bauweise liegt, an der Nähe des Meeres, am Fehlen von Isolierung und Zentralheizung, aber sobald es etwas kühler wird, wird es meistens auch unangenehm feucht in Innenräumen. Wenn man dann mit dem Heizofen die Räume wärmt, schlägt sich Kondenswasser an den Fenstern nieder. Beim Neujahrs-Schnee ging es bei uns im Haus so weit, dass sich das Kondenswasser an der Decke sammelte und fröhlich auf uns nieder plätscherte.

Also musste endlich ein Luftentfeuchter her, wie uns von vielen Seiten schon längst angeraten war. Von diesen Geräten gibt es im Handel zwei Varianten: Die klassischen, die mit Kompressor und einer Kühlflüssigkeit arbeiten, und die neueren mit einem "desiccant" (auf Deutsch "Adsorbens"). Bei diesen Geräten wird ein Material verwendet, dass die Feuchtigkeit aufnimmt und dann wieder kontrolliert abgibt. Der Vorteil davon ist, dass die Funktion bei niedrigen Temperaturen besser funktioniert. Wir haben so ein Teil gekauft, weil wir dann den Luftentfeuchter in einem Teil des Hauses laufen lassen können, auch wenn wir dort gerade nicht heizen. Das Gebläse im Gerät ist doch etwas laut.

Das Resultat ist eindrücklich. Das Haus ist spürbar angenehmer. Kein Kondenswasser mehr an der Decke, kein feucht-kaltes Gefühl mehr wenn man zur Tür reinkommt. Keine klammen und feuchten Klamotten mehr im Kleiderschrank. Und auch der Heizofen scheint weniger Probleme zu haben eine eingestellte Temperatur zu halten. Den Stromverbrauch werde ich dann auf der nächsten Rechnung sehen, aber ich bin mir sicher, dass es das Wert ist.

Posted by betabug at 14:43 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
25 January 2016

Cleaning My Fountain Pen

So it went for a swim
Rotring 600... the dust should have been cleaned for the photo, but wasn't

Yesterday I managed to get my fountain pen back into a useful state. I've had this Rotring 600 for a long time, probably almost 25 years or so. There are times when I use it a lot, and there are times when it just sits there till the ink dries up in the cartridge, and then I clean it a bit and put in a new cartridge. Lately that didn't work any more.

So either it was hopeless, or it needed better cleaning. A quick search on the intarwebz showed, that this model is not sold any more. On the other hand, there is a lot of advice about cleaning around. The safest method, and the first one should try, is to place the front part of the pen (the one with the nib) in a little warm water. Let it bath there for 20 minutes or so. I tried that. An impressive amount of ink liberated itself and did a credible octopus-impersonation. I changed the water a couple of times afterwards, and let running water run through the pen after that.

It worked. Putting in the half-used cartridge again, it writes very well now. If I let it sit again, it will probably dry up again, but not as fast as before. But then I will try to use it more regularly now, both to enjoy it more, and to not let it dry up.

Posted by betabug at 12:14 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
26 January 2016

Carfree Rain Sounds

No swooosh

When you think of it, rain doesn't make a lot of noise, unless it's strong rain. There might be some dripping and splashing, and when it gets to strong rain, a thin drumming on the earth and on your window. One sound that tells us that it's raining outside, when we can't see it from the window, is the swooshing that car tires make on rainy streets. We got used to that from living alongside cars all the time.

Now that I live in a car free village, that sound simply isn't there. It's rare to hear any car sounds at all, sometimes at quiet times we can faintly hear a very loud car exhaust over on the road. As for the rain sounds, since things are overall more quiet, it's easier for me to hear the rain itself.

But then there are surprises too. A few days ago when it was cloudy and very windy, I heard something like the whooshing of car tires on wet roads, and concluded that it started raining without thinking about the impossibility of it. Even if a car would make it onto the donkey-sized village "street", it couldn't produce that rhythmic sound of cars passing up and down again and again. Intrigued I stepped outside to have a look. The little enigma was solved quickly enough: My neighbors have a palm tree with those thing-fingered palm leaves. The wind threw them around, and they managed to put on a good car tire sound imitation.

Posted by betabug at 21:59 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 January 2016

Vehicles and Berets... and French Restaurants

When I was still driving a 2CV
Me, with my former 2CV, on some road on mainland Greece

Since I'm wearing a beret lately, I've taken to reading the Beret Project blog (and especially looking at the wonderful pictures that Daan finds all over the place). Today's post is about Best Vehicles to Accompany a Beret, with some nice pics of Citroën cars. This instantly reminded me of a story back when I was driving a red 2CV in Switzerland...

One day I had arranged to meet with a friend in a French restaurant in Zurich. The restaurant was not exactly in the center, but nearby, close to the Limmat. I arrived with the 2CV, but there I had a hard time to find a place to park the car. After going in circles for a while, I noticed that the only spot was right outsided the door of the restaurant, marked "reserved for restaurant ..." (I forgot the name of the restaurant). Well, what could I do?

I was already late, so I just parked my car on that spot. As I entered the restaurant, I went to a waitress and said: "I'm sorry, I put my car on your parking place." As I told her that, she started to pump herself up, probably to tell me to take my car somewhere else, that they needed the space, that the space is not just for anybody etc. etc. But just as she was getting ready to blast me with her speech, she looked over my shoulder and noticed my car. A red 2CV outside a french restaurant in Zurich. It was like an advertising piece. She visibly deflated and told me it's ok, so I went on to have some nice crêpes. Too bad I wasn't in the habit of wearing a beret back then.

Posted by betabug at 10:29 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
28 January 2016

Reading Conflict Markers in Darcs

Doctor, it's an urgent case of RTFM!

Here I had to merge a substancial feature branch in our main development tree, with some complicated conflicts coming up. Since even with a small team of developers it's still rare to get conflicts working with darcs, when it's finally happening, enough time has passed for me to forgot details, and I usually have to look up what to do again.

I found the FAQ page on conflicts in darcs to be a good starting point, but quite often in the past I have gotten stuck on the darn conflict markers themselves. I mean, it's clear enough that here there be conflicts, but which point of the marker is which state?

It's not mentioned in the FAQ page. But that's ok for the FAQ page, since the answer is clearly a case of RTFM. Typing darcs help mark-conflicts into a friendly shell near you gets you:

v v v v v v v
Initial state.
First choice.
Second choice.
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

... which is nice and clear. With multiple conflicts in the same file, the "First choice" and "Second choice" are not always referring to the same patch, but usually things are clear enough for me once I figure out things this far. The hint to run darcs help on mark-conflicts came from the output darcs gives me when I try to apply a patch with conflicts.

Posted by betabug at 10:00 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
29 January 2016

Ταχύτητα στους δρόμους

Μερικές σκέψεις

Οδηγώντας αυτοκίνητο (το τελευταίο καιρό πιο πολύ απ' όσο θέλω) στην Νάξο μου έδωσε μερικές σκέψεις.

Αγροτικά δύο ταχύτητων

Τα αγροτικά αυτοκίνητα εδώ κινούνται σε δύο ταχύτητες: Ή πάνε υπερβολικά γρήγορα, ή πάνε εντελώς αργά. Συνήθως όταν είναι Datsun του προτελευταίου αιώνα, το οδηγεί ο μπάρμπας, και το πάει με 30-40 χλμ/ώρα. Όταν είναι καινούριο (τα οποία είναι και περίπου διπλάσια από μέγεθος) πιθανώς το πάει γαμ...όντας με 80 χλμ/ώρα και είναι κάνας νέος μέσα. Aλλά συμβαίνει και ο μπάρμπας να έχει πάρει καινούριο, οπότε πάλι σαν το σαλιγκάρι πάει.

Το πιο αργό σαφώς είναι πιο ασφαλές. Μόνο που το αργό βάζει όλους τους άλλους στον πειρασμό να τον προσπερνάνε, και εδώ δεν ενδιαφέρονται να βλέπουν μπροστά όταν προσπερνάνε, η όλη ιδέα του να μπορείς να προσπεράσεις με ασφαλή τρόπο (βλέποντας αν έρχεται κανείς, όχι μπροστά από στροφή κτλ) είναι εντελώς άγνωστο εδώ.

Λογική ταχύτητα

Στους δρόμους εδώ θεωρώ μια λογική ταχύτητα να κυκλοφορώ περίπου 50 - 60 χλμ/ώρα, σε σημεία με χαμηλή ορατότητα και 40. Δεν είμαι και μόνος, πολλές φορές συναντώ αυτοκίνητα με παρόμοιες ταχύτητες. Δεν είναι το οδόστρωμα που με περιορίζει, απλά με όλες τις στροφές, μικρούς δρόμους, διασταυρώσεις, ζώα στους δρόμους (τετράποδα) κτλ, χρειάζεσαι χρόνο για να μπορείς να αντιδράς στο απρόοπτο.

Δεν αξίζει να τρέχεις

Μια από αυτές τις μέρες όταν ήμουνα σε βόλτα με το ποδήλατο, με πέρασε ένα αυτοκίνητο γνωστού μου με επικίνδυνο τρόπο, στον Άγ. Προκόπη. Αφού ήταν φορτηγάκι, δεν ήμουνα και εντελώς σίγουρος αν ήταν ο ίδιος στο τιμόνι. Όταν έφτασα στην χώρα, τον πέρασα πάλι. Μόλις κατάφερε να παρκάρει και ετοιμαζόταν να βγει από το αμάξι. Υπενθυμίζω ότι ήμουν στο ποδήλατο, οπότε είχαμε μεγάλη διαφορά ταχύτητας. Παρόλο αυτό ο άνθρωπος δεν κέρδισε και πολύ χρόνο. Αν υπολογίουμε πόσο κερδίζει κανείς να πάει με 60 αντί για 50 στις σχετικά μικρές αποστάσεις του νησιού, ο χρόνος που μπορεί να κερδίζει κανείς είναι γελοίος. Πέραν από αυτό, οι οδηγοί συνήθως ξεγελάνε τον εαυτό τους με τι μέσο όρο ταχύτητας όντως κυκλοφορούν.

Posted by betabug at 13:48 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
31 January 2016

I tried to be social once

Usually I just try to be funny, with equally lame results

Yesterday as I was shopping in town, the supermarket didn't have any milk (Naxian, real milk, not plastified white water). Luckily we have a "περίπτερο" (periptero, a kiosk) in the next village, which is usually well stocked with said milk. So on my way back I stopped there. Now, since a while there is (apart from Michalis, the owner) a young lady who works some of the shifts there, and as I've heard through a third party, she had gone on a trip for some university exams. As I arrived, I noticed a young lady in the kiosk.

So I picked up my milk from the fridge, and went to pay. As I gave her the money, I nonchalantly said: "So, how was the trip, everything went well?" She gave me a blank look, "You mean Michalis trip? He's been back for some time?" "No, I thought you had gone to university for those exams." Turns out, I had the wrong young lady. Ah, la honte, as the frenchman says! Now there is a young lady who either thinks that I'm pretty ignorant or blind, or both. Well, for once I try to be social, and that's the result. I should probably get back to making cheap jokes instead.

Posted by betabug at 19:33 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)