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12 September 2009

Autumn Facts

Some notes

It's been ages since I've written anything. So here are some quick facts. It's a bit more than a week now that I'm back in Athens. The first days were a shock: the smog was thick, it was warm and sticky and much more nervous than on Naxos. Then the weather started to cool down. Finally 2 days now it rains. Surprising enough, it's autumn now. Usually this time of year is warm and mild.
I'm also looking for a flat, only for myself. No more shared flats for me right now. Work, on the other hand, is demanding, with a project that is urgent.
Got my old camera from Switzerland. Took the first pix. Now looking for where to process. It sure has become an elite hobby, with associated price tag. Everybody is ofcoz doing digital now, that's why. I'm enjoying the old fashioned style, but have yet to see my first results.

Posted by betabug at 12:03 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
22 September 2009

Moving Soon

... to new appartment, same server

Found a small apartment. It's close to work, has character (which means that it has some weird downsides, but also lots of small advantages). Now I've got to move there... which currently drives me close to a nervous breakdown. So probably not going to be much writing here. Expect a housewarming party when all the difficult times are over, maybe in a few weeks.

Posted by betabug at 13:00 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
23 September 2009

Where Does the Road Lead To

Looking out over the city

Didn't have my big camera with me and the Pentax still awaits repair, but this evening's sky is worth a picture.
So, where does the road lead to? The one in the picture goes simply to the sea, in direct line of view from where I'm right now.
Metaphorically speaking, it goes on and on, but we can only see a certain piece of the way. Very poetic, especially since from this height and distance, the small problems and annoyances, like cars, disappear.

Posted by betabug at 18:41 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
28 September 2009


Eins nach dem andern

So geht's halt manchmal: Jetzt wo ich endlich den Umzug hinter mir hab, kommt der nächste Druckpunkt. Diesmal muss ein Projekt in der Firma ganz, ganz dringend fertig werden.
Gleichzeitig muss ich meine neue Wohnung auch noch einrichten, denn bis jetzt sind Kisten und Möbel einfach in einem grossen Haufen reingeschmissen. Dazu kommt - tada! - dass ich noch keinen Strom habe. Beim griechischen Strom-Monopolisten ΔEH (DEI) kann sowas auch heutzutage noch etwas länger dauern. Ich hatte gedacht, die hätten sich schon gebessert.
Es ist also wieder mal eine kleine "Herausforderung" nach der andern. Sobald die Wohnung bewohnbar ist, spar ich mir wenigstens den langen Arbeitsweg. Das war ja auch der Grund, da hinzuziehen.

Update from nächsten Morgen: Der Strom ist da! Hat ja auch nur knapp eine Woche gedauert...

Posted by betabug at 19:18 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
05 October 2009

Greek Parliament Elections 2009 Done

Can we go on now...?

I'm happy that the elections are over and with it the pre-election period. Now we should get spared the over sized faces of politicians on all the bus stops and around street corners. We won't have to throw out a bunch of leaflets from under our entrances each morning and afternoon. Oh, and maybe the "news" will have a tiny little bit less of the "politician A says that politician B is wrong" style of announcements.

By the way, yes, so we will have a different government now. Instead of blue it will be green now. Not the "ecologically correct" "Green party" green, the "we gave our party the green color, because others were using red and blue" green.

In order to help you stay informed on the country where I chose to live (because I like to live here, let's not forget this), here are the ...

Final and official results of the Greek national parliament elections 2009:

  • 30% ... couldn't be bothered to vote
  • 40% Κομματόσκυλα - and no matter what their party is (Kommatoskyla, literally "Party-Dogs", is a very derogative term for the die-hard supporters of a party, following the party-line no matter what - in the worst case because their cousin got a job in the public service through someone from the party or they hope to... or similar things. OK, I'll be flamed for labelling so many people with this really bad term... go on, I'll put on my asbestos underwear, bring on the flames!)
  • 15% Swing voters who vote whoever they didn't vote last time in our dual-party system, in order to punish the party that is currently in power... totally forgetting that the last time they had it the other way around.
  • 5% Angry, disillusioned, freaked outs, who are ready to vote no matter what right party (free choice between far-right and right-away fascist), because the right "offers" extreme solutions and/or claims to be no part of the dual-party system.
  • 4% Protest voting the left, chosing between... what was it?... 6 or 7 left/communist parties of different shades.
  • 2% People who value the environment over everything else, voting a "green/ecologist" party, even though nobody has ever heard of these guys.
  • Almost 1% people who would consider it good for strategical reasons if that unknown "green/ecologist" party was in the parliament, even though they themselves don't really dig these unknown guys or don't really trust them that much.
  • that leaves me with 3% who voted for some fun parties ("I give away real estate and free debts party" or "CHICKEN party" anyone?) or probably were confused and handed in any random paper because frankly, what could one really vote in these elections?

Or did I forget anybody?

What about me?

I'm not a Greek citizen, so I didn't get to vote. I'm actually thankful for it, because hey, what could one really vote in these elections?

Personally, I'm not totally happy about these results, but I think it could have been worse. For one thing, the thought that the angry, disillusioned far-right voters are still so little is comforting - even though it's ugly if you think how many people that really are.

I'm surprised and mildly shocked each and every time about how many people still are in the category of the Κομματόσκυλα (Kommatoskyla). Maybe it's because... no, can't really grasp it there. It's a very old thing though, going back a long time through Greek history probably to the time of fiefdoms and swearing allegiance to some local warlord in exchange for a favor. I declare myself exempt from having to comment on it any further. At least for now.

I also would have liked the ecologists/greens to be in the parliament (right now it looks like they just about won't be in), even if it was only for an experiment in applied sociology, so count me into that 1% I gave up there.

Posted by betabug at 10:01 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
07 October 2009

Evening Clouds and Customer Service from

Unexpected but nice
Evening light on buildings in Athens neighborhood

Back down from the soapbox post of a political, not really so usual style for me... I had a nice little experience of customer service yesterday. As regular readers of this uneventful weblog will have noticed, my Pentax Optio W60 broke down (with a shutter button that gave up work). It's within warranty time, but... I must admit I don't know where I left the receipt. Big search everywhere, no luck. Yesterday afternoon I called the contact phone number. I didn't get so far as to tell the guy on the phone the whole story, when he interrupted me and told me: "Go to the store where you bought it, ask them to print you another receipt."

That I did. It was that easy. Of course, given that they have on record everything I bought, one could consider this an easy one for them. In fact it is, but as so many things with customer service, when it fails, it fails on stuff that would be easy. So when a company does the customer service on the easy stuff, I've come to appreciate that. Next step is of course to get the camera to the warranty repair. Wish me luck on this one!

The picture on the other hand has nothing to do with this story. Maybe it has, as I had to snap this nice scenery with my mobile phone, since the Pentax is broken and the Arca Swiss is not strictly functional yet (no tripod - and of course I didn't have it with me, the Arca is not really the camera you always have with you). I just saw the evening light on the buildings and that tip of the cloud lighting up. Better a phone picture than no picture.

Posted by betabug at 09:55 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
06 December 2009

Blonde Hits Bus

Eyes on the road

There I was, having looked up the bus schedule, the bus right on time, the streets empty of traffic, far from the city center (which right now is full of demonstrations and cops busting people for "looking young").
The bus stops at a bus stop. This seems to have surprised someone. We hear a cracking sound, not even very loud.
A blond lady with a little jeep has humped the bus' back, denting it in. It's dripping cooling fluid and we waited for the next bus. On our way now.

Posted by betabug at 14:44 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
09 December 2009

Let them eat muffins instead...

Blueberry muffins
Blueberry muffin lifecycle, various stages

The city is burning, the garbage is piling up... let them eat muffins instead. Blueberry muffins. A few days ago I enjoyed eating an overpriced blueberry muffin together with my lunch sandwich.

Now instead of posting pixx of the garbage piling up in our streets due to a strike of Athens' municipal cleaning workers, I'll post a few little compositions I took. Instead of pictures of demonstrations getting out of hand and police violating several laws, I show you various stages in the life cycle of the common blueberry muffin.

Posted by betabug at 13:50 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
07 January 2010

Griechische Ostern 2010

... und 2 Tage verschlafen?

Die Griechischen Ostern fallen dieses Jahr 2010 zusammen mit dem Rest von Europa auf den 4. April. Das ist früh für Ostern, also werden sich alle Osterlamm-Brater vorsehen müssen, denn das Grillen auf offenem Holzkohlenfeuer ist bei Regen oder Schnee nicht so lustig. So richtig schön ist ein griechisches Osterfest wenn der Frühling in der Luft ist und es schon etwas wärmer ist.

Gut möglich auch, dass durch den kombinierten Termin touristisch mehr los sein wird, wenn sich die Osterferienreisenden mit den Griechen kreuzen, die für Ostern aufs Dorf fahren.

Über den Modus wie Ostern berechnet wird und warum es in Griechenland an einem anderen Termin ist oder auch mal zusammen fällt, habe ich 2008 geschrieben.

Ansonsten habe ich heute morgen 2 Tage verschlafen und das ging so: Mein Telefon weckt mich normalerweise zuverlässig und automatisch Montags bis Freitags. Aus irgendeinem total unverständlichen Grund war das Datum des Telefons heute morgen aber auf Samstag den 9. Januar gestellt... wodurch der Wecker nicht geklingelt hat, denn "Samstag" ist bei "Montag bis Freitag" natürlich nicht drin. Bin allerdings gerade noch rechtzeitig aufgewacht um mit nur einer halben Stunde Verspätung ins Büro zu kommen. Nicht so tragisch und geschlafen habe ich auch gut.

Posted by betabug at 10:03 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
25 January 2010

Ένα ξεχωριστό πάρτι

Saturday Night Smokefree

Σάββατο βράδυ, μας κάλεσε ο graffic στο πάρτι του γραφείου του. Μεγαλώνουν το γραφείο, προσθέτουν έναν όροφο, γιατί τώρα δεν χωράνε πια. Το πάρτι ήταν στον καινούριο όροφο, με μουσική, πίτσα, ποτό. Ο DJ έπαιξε στο στυλ "ό,τι βαράει", δυστυχώς και ο ήχος βαρούσε λίγο. Στο τέλος που αρχίσανε να πέσει λίγο πολύ βαριά το σκυλοπόπ, την κάναμε.

Το καλύτερο για το πάρτι στο τέλος: κανείς δεν κάπνιζε. Τέλειο, να μπορείς να χορεύεις και να αναπνέεις αέρα και όχι μπόχα. Τέλειο που δεν βρωμάνε όλα τα ρούχα μετά. Μπράβο παιδιά!

Posted by betabug at 22:38 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
22 February 2010

Advertising FAIL

Μάλλον δεν το πρόβλεπαν έτσι

Όταν διαφημίζει κάποιος με αφίσες "χύμα" στο δρόμο, αυτό πιθανόν είναι και λίγο παράνομο - αλλά σίγουρα σε εντελώς θεωρητικό επίπεδο - κανείς δεν θα ασχολείται.

Εδώ όμως το κατάφεραν δύο να το συνδυάζουν στο χειρότερο. Τι θέλει να μας πει ο συνδιασμός άραγε; Μπάζα στην Ελλάδα μόνο Παρασκευή; Όλα σαβούρα στο λεγόμενο κλαμπ; θα παίζουν εκείνο το λαϊκό που λέει κάτι για "γκρεμίζ'τα"; Χαμένος πάλι ο Ελβετός σας!

Posted by betabug at 18:53 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
04 March 2010

Safety First

Fix the light... which light

Έφτασα στο δρόμο αυτό ακριβώς στην στιγμή για την παράσταση. 2 λεπτά πριν και δεν θα ήταν τίποτα, 1 λεπτό μετά και κατέβηκε ο "μάστορας".

Μου αρέσει και σαν φωτογραφία, σαν να κάνει εναέριο μπαλέτο.

Posted by betabug at 20:48 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
16 March 2010

A Glimpse of the Sea

On my way to work

While I was waiting for the bus I spotted this nice but faraway view of the sea.

Waiting with me was a very neatly dressed older gentleman. He was concerned that the bus would be late. When I informed him of the scheduled time of the bus - and that the time isn't there yet - he mumbled almost inaudible a bit to himself why he needs the bus to be in time and what he needs to be there in time for.

His mumblings must have been magic, because the bus arrived a minute later and I stopped looking at that sunlit corner of the sea with the ferry boats.

Posted by betabug at 07:33 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
01 April 2010

Alles klar für Ostern

Gutes Wetter und freie Parkplätze
Blühende Bäume zu Ostern

Obwohl Ostern dieses Jahr auf einen frühen Termin fällt, spielt das Wetter freundlicherweise mit. Es ist warm, die Sonne scheint mehr oder weniger und hier in der Stadt blühen die Bäume. Das Photo habe ich auf dem Weg zur Arbeit noch schnell geknippst.

Wie immer zu Ostern leert sich die Stadt langsam. Deutlichstes Anzeichen: Die Zahl freier Parkplätze nimmt zu. Die Leute fragen sich gegenseitig wo sie hinfahren (d.h. auf sein oder ihr Dorf - ganz moderne fliegen ins Ausland um dem Trubel zu entgehen).

Hier im Büro lichten sich die Reihen auch schon, die einen sind gestern schon gefahren, die andern nur heute morgen noch kurz zur Arbeit erschienen und wir letzten werden wohl auch etwas früher gehen. Alles klar für Ostern also!

Posted by betabug at 13:50 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
20 April 2010

The Windmill

In almost working condition
Windmill on Naxos, in front of evening sky

When I was on Naxos, each evening after work I would set out with the camera to take pictures in the late afternoon and evening light. One of those evenings, while walking on the path to the next village, I had set up my camera to take a picture of some cane grass with the village in the background, when up the path came some small, almost fox-like dogs. After the dogs came their owner, a square shaped farmer, with a face and hands to tell of years of work.

We of course started to talk. I've met Stelios again over the course of the next few days. He's one of the few traditional guys left, he even has some horses to till the fields that are so far off that a tractor can't reach them. Amongst other things, he told me some things about this windmill, right up to the hill from where I'm staying. In fact, this thing is in almost working condition. The main shaft is broken outside (due to the weather working on the wood for a looong time), but the replacement is lined up outside.

Internally, all the gears, the millstones and all that stuff are in perfect working condition. Stelios said they'll have the shaft and arms up again come summer time. One day I'll see him again, on his way to milking his cows, or maybe coming back from there, and he'll have the key with him and then we could take some pictures of the inside of the mill. I'm looking forward to it.

Picture taken with the Arca-Swiss 6x9cm, the scan isn't perfect, but so what, it still shows a hint of the evening sky and the mill standing there, almost ready to produce some great, old fashioned wheat flour.

Posted by betabug at 10:22 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
27 April 2010

Circular Rainbow

All around, up in the sky behind my hand
(part of) a circular rainbow, up in the sky behind my hand

On Sunday I went with a group from a mountain club to a place called Αχαρνές (Aharnes) to an educational rock climbing place. While we waited on a parking lot outside the village for people to dripple in, someone spotted this rainbow in the sky. The sky was slightly cloudy, slightly sunny. There was the sun behind some hazy clouds, throwing a perfect circular rainbow around.

I took some snaps with the mobile phone camera, covering the sun itself with my hand. This one is the best shot, slightly tweaked to correct a bit of the camera's color cast. I couldn't get all of the circle into the picture, too bad.

The day spent at the rocks was nice too. I didn't climb more than 2 meters, due to a small accident with my fingers beforehand. Seems you need all your fingers for this climbing business. Those borrowed climbing shoes that hurt like hell also didn't really help. I also took 2 pictures with the Arca, but ran into some technical problems... heck, this camera is pretty old. More on that another time though.

Posted by betabug at 14:11 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
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