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25 October 2006

Long Time No See

Going for a special coffee in Kalamaki
Evening sky over the sea near Faliron

When I was about to leave work yesterday, I made a phone call to my friend Φωτεινή (Fotini, or Fofi for short) from old times, back when I was living in Athens for the first time. We haven't seen each other for what? 15? 16? or 17 years? A very long time. From work I took the bus and went to Faliron, from where I walked to Kalamaki. I could have taken another bus of course, but I had plenty of time and the sea was a sight (click on the picture for a bigger view).

Then we finally met again, went for coffee and had lots of stories to tell. I had the pleasure to see that she's doing very well, turned out to become a successful and busy businesswoman. There were lots of moments when I was just struck by the situation and probably couldn't open my mouth and say a word. Let me say just so much now: That was a very long time.

Posted by betabug at 09:24 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
28 October 2006

Mit einem Lächeln von der Arbeit

Manchmal klappt's halt auch

Manche Arbeitstage funktionieren halt besser als andere... am Freitag kam ich zum Beispiel mit einem Lächeln aus dem Büro. Unsere Applikation wird immer runder, voller und (wenn ich das mal selber behaupten darf) besser. Da kommen dann halt die Enden schön zusammen und wenn die Einzelteile "zusammenklicken" macht das Spielen mit Bauklötzen ja bekanntlich auch mehr Spass. Wenn dann mein Chef noch nach gewünschten Funktionen fragt und es ist alles schon da und eingebaut, da fängt es richtig an witzig zu werden.

Dann habe ich für die HelMUG auf dem Server noch was gebastelt, was sich "greylisting" nennt und den SPAM reduzieren sollte. Zuerst hat es sich beim Einbauen etwas quer gestellt, dann gings doch noch. Und dann habe ich das Logfile vom Mailserver aufgemacht und mitlaufen lassen... die SPAMs prallen auf eine Betonwand. Platsch! Das macht dann auch Spass zuzuschauen.

Greylisting ist nicht ganz unumstritten, aber für den Moment reduziert es sowohl den SPAM, den die Benutzer abkriegen, als auch den Arbeitsaufwand den der Server hat, denn die SPAMs wurden immer auch noch auf Viren geprüft, was aufwendig ist. Für den kurzen Auwand den ich hatte (selbst mit Problemen beim installieren), hat sich's gelohnt.

Posted by betabug at 23:53 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 October 2006

Business Class Emigrants

The Swiss Embassy performs

After a while where they couldn't get my address change right, the Swiss Embassy here in Athens found out where I am and sent me some mail. Next to the usual bimonthly color news magazine, there was also a letter from the ambassador. He's informing "the swiss colony in Greece" (my translation) about what to do in case of a crisis.

The first thought that came to my mind was that being a swiss emigrant nowadays really is the business class of emigration. I mean, which other country produces a four color magazine for its expatriates? And offers so much hand holding? (Even though the embassy doesn't really help when you come and ask for things like where to do your papers in the Greek bureaucracy, or where to find a lawyer/doctor/whatever.) I've seen the people waiting outside some third world embassies, and they aren't treated like that, they can feel lucky if their embassy gives them their necessary (and rightful) papers in a reasonable time. Ah well, can't change the world (especially not through writing in a weblog).

Then I looked through the info sheet about the crises. It isn't half bad, actually it's quite a good idea. I mean, I'm quite paranoid, but some swiss people arriving here could be ignorant about the fact that, yes, Greece has earthquakes, and yes, all kind of ugly stuff can happen in a middle to major earthquake. It's just good advice, not pushing things up and scaring people. There might be a tiny dose of CYA ("cover your ass") in there, where they state that in any natural catastrophic event, the duty of rescuing people (etc.) is on the Greek authorities. But all in all it reminded me of the usual swiss mentality of planning for the worst too and buying lots of insurance. I'll even go and implement some of their advice.

Posted by betabug at 23:11 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
05 December 2006

Asphalt Surfing ins Büro

Es rollt sich was zusammen
Longboard im Büro

Eines der direkten Resultate meiner Reise nach Deutschland und in die Schweiz ist, dass ich mein Longboard mitgebracht habe. Gestern hatte ich es dann zum zweiten Mal auf dem Weg ins Büro dabei. Den grössten Teil der Strecke mache ich mit dem Bus, aber es gibt zwei, drei Strassen, in denen es ruhig genug ist, dass ich rollen kann.

Gestern morgen bin ich dann an der Vassilissis Sofia angekommen und nach einem kleinen Spurt über die Kreuzung (kurze Grünphase mit Slalom durch die Abbieger) war ich doch ganz schön ausser Atem. So kann das natürlich nicht bleiben. Nach meiner Zeit auf Limnos hatte ich ja eigentlich eine ganz brauchbare Kondition, aber die Stadt ruiniert sowas schnellstens.

Also bin ich heute gleich wieder mit dem Rollbrettchen los. Jeden Tag liegt der Verkehr anders und wo ich gestern noch um Autokolonnen herumgelaufen bin, konnte ich heute eine schöne, leere Strecke asphaltsurfen. Auf die Schlaglöcher muss ich dabei aufpassen, Athener Asphalt halt. Im Büro macht sich das Brett dafür wieder ganz hübsch...

Posted by betabug at 23:57 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
09 December 2006

Dark Sun

Going out to the "gothadika"

Yesterday night I went out to party with Panos (libero) and Thanassis (mckellaris) from HelMUG. We went to a γκοθάδικο (gothadiko) [1] called Dark Sun. I was going to say that it is a nice place, but of course that's not a compliment for a goth club. So... uhmm.. it's actually a pretty dark, depressing and overall very black place. It gives you the creeps and can be very scary. The music is eery too and they have a looped tape of some outworldish depressing animation movie playing on a projector. Summing it up, all in all it's very nice for a goth place :-).

The music I liked a lot. Especially in the beginning (shop opens at midnight, what else), when there weren't a lot of people around it was all very spheric and carrying. Later as more guests came in the music got a tiny bit more "danceable" with more of a discernible rhythm. It also got louder which made our conversation harder, but that's what you get for going to a club.

The club's decoration is well done. It is of course (did I mention this already?) all very dark, with a tendency to red light effect lamps. But they have a nice little green laser too. It was too dark to take pictures. There are some pictures on the web, but they were taken with flash and pay the place no tribute. Some of the furniture looked like it came from Monastiraki flea market or some old aunts place. There are masks, figures, and body parts worked into little sculptures, which try to give you a scary or at least ghostly feeling.

In case you wonder: Yes, I wore black :-) I put on a black t-shirt for the occasion, out of courtesy, but I was wearing plain blue jeans too.

[1] The word "gothadiko" for a goth club is produced with the greek ending -diko turning it into something like a "goth joint", much like a σουβλατσίδικο / souvlatsidiko is a "souvlaki joint". I find that amusing to no end, as it plays with the dark/serious stuff and turning it into something childish/playful.

Posted by betabug at 22:11 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
21 December 2006

The Dasein in Athens

Culture cafe in Exarheia

While the center of athens is putting up christmas lights as if it was flak to shoot down the next suicide plane attack, with the terrorpilots uncertain where to hit (enough ugly buildings to choose from), I'm sitting in the slightly bohème culture café "Dasein" in Athens anarchist quartier Exarheia. The previous longwinding sentence is like that on purpose, on Tuesdays you can come here to hear the "philosophy café" discuss Kant.

Myself I came to watch a xmas horror b-movie called "Silent Night Deadly Night". It's about time to get into the festive mood. For the time being I'm wolfing down a hotdog and waiting for Takis (from HelMUG) to show up and the show to start.

The dasein has a wooden floor and couches opposite a bar. Good atmosphere, good music. Not too unusual by Exarheia standards though.

Posted by betabug at 21:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
12 January 2007

Bazooka at American Embassy

...hit the toilets on 3rd floor!

Apparently someone fired a bazooka at the american embassy at 5:57 local time this morning. They were aiming for the "seal" sign in the front, but hit only the toilets in 3rd floor. Police spokespeople announced that the ambassador will have to go downstairs now to take a crap. When I passed by in the bus on the way to work this morning there was police all around the street outside the embassy. Traffic had been closed for hours (actually all the area had been closed off), but I was lucky that it was reopened in time for my commute.

Nobody was hurt, we're all happy about that. In other news on an average weekend in Greece about 20 people die in road accidents. Oh you didn't want to hear that? Let's see, the number of civilians dying (or being seriously wounded) in Iraq each day likely passes that number. More to your liking? Apparently a small scale local leftist group claimed responsibility for the act.

Looking at my server logs I noticed "people" hotlinking to a picture of mine of the american embassy. Let me tell you one thing: The architecture of the american embassy in Athens, Greece is the biggest PR desaster the "U.S.A." had ever had. But, if you want to use a picture of that ugly building go make your own. If you hotlink to my pictures, you put your page at my mercy. My high tech surveillance technology updates my pictures in real time, so you might not get what you expected.

In response to the uneducated and idiotic remarks in those discussions (of the style "Get out of Athens now", "I can't send my son to Greece any more"): Athens is one of the safest cities in Europe (and likely in the world). In the average Greek village I'd leave my car, front door and sleeping room door unlocked without so much as a second thought. Sending your son to Athens could pose a different danger though, he might learn that there is more to the world than north america and Hollywood.

Posted by betabug at 11:38 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
14 January 2007

Longboarding the Coast Line

From Kalamaki to Faliron

I was in Kalamaki (my old neighbourhood from way back) today, helping Manos with setting up a streaming server [1]. On the way back it was already dark, but nonetheless I went down to the coast. I had some difficulty to pass Poseidonos Avenue (Sunday evening traffic already coming in), but then I was rolling on my longboard along the waterline, passing by the fancy yachts, then on to the promenade...

The pavement on the promenade is a bit rough, but my wheels managed. At the end near Floisvos, there is a bit of rough asphalt, where I misjudged a bit of it and took a dive. Nothing serious though, not even a scratch. I enjoyed the fresh air and the physical exercise. When I sat in the bus I noticed that I was sweated through and in need of a shower - I hope I didn't annoy my fellow passengers too much.

I'll probably do this again. It's a good way to get a bit of exercise in Athens where the sea brings a bit of clean air. Once or twice a week shouldn't be too difficult. Now in winter the promenade isn't too crowded, in summer it would be impossible to pass with a skateboard with all the athenians going for an evening stroll there.

1: At first we tried Darwin Streaming Server, which wouldn't move on the swerver, because it needed a newer version of a library. Then we tried Icecast. We had more trouble to compile the ogg and vorbis libraries, but in the end following the advice from the error message actually helped :-). Getting a broadcaster up and running was the next challenge. That's where I had enough and started for home, while Manos persisted and got everything up and running after I had left. He called me while I was still in the bus, when I came home I "tuned in" to his mini net radio station.

Posted by betabug at 22:47 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
22 February 2007

Rembetiko im Goethe-Institut

...und als nächstes Souvlaki mit brauner Sauce

Statt gestern abend endlich die Bilder vom Karneval in Patras aufs Netz zu stellen sind wir ausgegangen. Im Goethe-Institut wurden Filme von Angela Milonaki gezeigt. Danach spielten die "Mourmourakia", eine Rembetiko-Truppe, die wir aus München kennen. Der Abend war ganz interessant...

Wir waren am Anfang etwas früh dran und der Plan war eigentlich irgendwo noch etwas zu trinken bevor wir uns in den Kulturkampf stürzen. Schlussendlich landeten wir dann doch in der Cafeteria des Goethe-Instituts, wo es Kaffee und Kuchen gibt (neben einem Sortiment aus Weisswürsten, Frankfurtern, bayrischem Bier und Haribo). Die Cafeteria des Goethe-Instituts dürfte wohl das Heimwehpflaster für Griechenland-Deutsche mit Bundesverordnungsverfügungsreglementsdurchführungserklärungs-Entzugserscheinungen sein. Wer immer es kurzfristig leid ist bei rot über die Ampel gehen zu dürfen kehrt hier ein und dürfte dann auch den Hauch von Ambiente eines "Mutations-Griechen" (entschludrigung: "griechischen Restaurants") in Stuttgart-Hinterbreiten zu schätzen wissen. Wir trafen eine Professorin von Eleni aus München, begrüssten die Musiker und fanden auch unseren Freund Alexandros.

Dann gings runter in den Veranstaltungs-Saal. Gezeigt wurden drei Kurzfilme von Angela Milonaki (siehe Programm). Die ersten beiden waren meiner (total unmassgeblichen) Meinung nach einfach schrecklich. Nicht gedacht um gezeigt zu werden. Der dritte Film hingegen wars wert. "Bach&Bouzouki" hat Athmosphäre, eine Geschichte, Spannung und Charaktere, die man lieben kann. Auch technisch auf sehr gutem Niveau, so dass es Spass macht den Film zu schauen.

Rembetika mit den Mourmourakia

Die Musik stammt von den "Mourmourakia". Die hörten wir nach der Filmvorführung, zurück im Foyer. Die Jungs spielen wirklich gut. Die Stimmung des Abends allerdings war schon leicht schizophren... Rembetika im Deutschen Institut in Athen. Es war wie ein Pingpong der Auswanderer... griechische Kultur wie exportiert nach Deutschland aber in Griechenland vor einem Publikum von Deutschen exportiert nach Griechenland und Griechen ehemals (oder demnächst) exportiert nach Deutschland. "Griechen in Deutschland"-Heimweh im Hohepriesteramt der "Deutschen in Griechenland"-Heimwehzentrale. Wir hatten das Gefühl, dass die seltsame Stimmung auch auf den Musikern ihren Eindruck hinterliess. Die nicht ganz ideale Akustik (des Raums? der Verstärkeranlage?) half nicht unbedingt. Alexandros war zusätzlich beeindruckt Musik zu hören im Raum an dem er mal an einer Deutsch-Prüfung teilgenommen hatte.

Nach kurzer Zeit gingen wir. Am Freitag spielen die Mourmourakia nochmal in Exarcheia, da wird die Stimmung wohl mehr passen.

Posted by betabug at 09:47 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 February 2007

Someone Smashed my Car!

Gotta take the bus now :-(
Someone smashed my car

Update: It was a joke, I don't own a car... see comments below

Look what I saw this morning when I came out of my home: Someone had smashed into my car (that was parked on the corner, should have taken it into my parking, but it was late when I came home from the club). There wasn't even a note saying "sorry" or something, no phone number, anything. It's not as much that I'll have to run for the insurance company now, but I'll be forced to take a taxi or (gasp!) the bus to get into town!

I wonder if it's worth to fix it at all, I mean, who wants to drive a sportscar if you know it had looked like this before? Maybe better buy a new one right away.

Posted by betabug at 10:22 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)
01 March 2007

Umzug demnächst

...und auch sonst echt geschafft

Wenn man durch die letzten Tage auf diesem Weblog schaut, dann könnte man der Meinung sein, dass ich mich nur noch mit Zwiki beschäftige und ansonsten viel freie Zeit haben müsste. Ist aber nicht ganz so: Letzte Woche hatte ich beschlossen, endlich eine neue Wohnung suchen zu wollen und ich konnte meine Mitbewohnerinnen überzeugen. Kurz drauf eine Wohnung gefunden, am Sonntag haben wir den Vertrag unterschrieben, das ging echt schnell. Umzug ist demnächst...

Passend zum Umzug war ich die ganze letzte Woche auf und ab am kränkeln. Nichts ernstes aber so wirklich gut gings mir nicht und Power war auch keine da. So langsam geht's wieder aufwärts. Muss es auch, denn der Umzug steht ja noch an.

Ich freue mich schon sehr auf die neue Wohnung. Wir haben für den gleichen Preis ein (Wohn-)Zimmer mehr, so dass auch mal Gäste übernachten können. Dafür ist die neue Wohnung nicht mehr "möbliert", so dass wir momentan auf der Suche nach Möbeln, Kochherd und Kühlschrank sind. Ist aber auch recht so, denn bei der alten Wohnung hat eigentlich jede(r) beim einziehen als erstes auf irgendein Möbel gezeigt und gefragt: "Kann ich das wegschmeissen?" In der Praxis bedeutet "möbliert" halt einfach dass der Vermieter alles was er nicht mehr will in die Wohnung reinstellt.

Posted by betabug at 14:30 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
04 March 2007

Week's Preview: Busy

Moving week

The preview for the coming week says that I will be pretty busy. Me and my flatmates, we're moving to a bigger (and nicer I believe) appartment. I'm looking forward to a lot of work, packing, cleaning, carrying, that kind of stuff. The new place is worth it. We get one more room, for the same rent. My own room will be a little smaller. But since I'm next to the living room, I'll just hop over when I want to stretch my feet on the sofa. One reason I wanted to get a bigger appartment is that now friends can stay for a few days when they come to visit here in Athens.

Living in Greece is special in this respect: It's a vacation country. Athens itself might not be the first choice vacation spot, but it improved a lot in the last years, now it's interesting and cool for a city trip. So it happens that friends and familiy come to visit or pass by on the way to their vacation destinations. Now with the extra living room we will be able to provide them with a couch-bed. And some privacy, since the living room can be closed.

Posted by betabug at 21:31 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
11 March 2007

Born to Screw

Scew it!

Tired, that's what I am and moving hasn't finished yet, the tough part comes today. Yesterday I dismantled my bed, which is a huge metal affair that lets me sleep "upstairs". Lots of screws to unscrew. Funny how my years spent in a motorcycle repair shop prepared me for this: I never have to think in which direction to turn a screw, no matter which 3-dimensional position it holds against me. Unless of course I start to think about all this, at that moment I get totally stuck and won't remember which way to turn even if I think about it.

Posted by betabug at 09:02 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Schlepp Dings

Umzug geschafft, ich auch
Kisten beim Umzug

Uff, das gröbste ist geschafft... und ich auch. Wir sind umgezogen und ab heute in der neuen Wohnung. Wie man sieht steht momentan alles noch in Kisten rum. Es gibt also noch genug zu tun, aber wenigstens ist die Schlepperei vorbei.

Einen "neuen" Kühlschrank haben wir heute auch noch gleich abgeholt. Waschmaschine gabs in der Wohnung schon. Jetzt mach ich erstmal eine Pause und dann werden die wichtigsten Sachen ausgepackt.

Posted by betabug at 13:22 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
18 March 2007

Exceptions, PGP, and Athens by Night and Bike

Weekend in new appartment

Yesterday I worked some more on Zwiki, sitting on the new sofa, hacking on the new laptop. Even though I didn't get out much, I enjoyed the good weather in the new, shiny and light apartment. My main target was reducing the "blanked" except-clauses. Catching exceptions in the code is a good thing, but only if we catch the specific exceptions that reasonably might happen. Moving forward on that topic.

pop bar in Athens

Also I made some progress with the PGP seminar I'm preparing for HelMUG. I had started writing up for this two months ago. Now I reread what I had said, decided it's all boring and not up to standard and started anew. I'm done with most of it now, but still have to fill in some blanks. Also need a lot of corrections in the Greek text.

After all that "work" in the evening I went out with libero (of HelMUG fame). We rode on his Vespa across town. Athens by night on a bike is always a special experience. Driving between rows of cars to be the first on the traffic light. In difference to the 1980's we're wearing helmets now. Modern times. We rode to a bar called "Pop", near Ermou / Agios Markos. There we had a drink (or three) and enjoyed the good music. Before going home we picked up a meal at a 24h restaurant near my place. Nice way to end a good day.

Posted by betabug at 15:01 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
21 March 2007


Reden wir über das Wetter

Schon komisch wie der Frühlingsanfang "nach Kalender" dieses Jahr mit dem Wetter-Frühlingsanfang zusammenzufallen scheint. Obwohl es die letzten Tage windig war und etwas abgekühlt hat riecht es anders und die Luft "fühlt sich anders an". Dazu kommt noch, dass es mir immer schon gefallen hat, wenn es stürmt und windet. Als ich heute aus dem Büro kam, musste ich sofort an Urlaub denken. Liegt wohl dran, dass das Büro nicht allzuweit vom Meer entfernt ist und da kommt vielleicht mit dem Wind etwas unterschwelliger Meeresgeruch mit.

Posted by betabug at 21:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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