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20 September 2013

I still have something to say...

... but then, it's bubbles
bubbles, bubbles everywhere

Hey there, so, I'm still here. Here on the weblog and here on Naxos. I've been working, biking, and occasionally swimming. The work is going fine. I've got interesting stuff to do, and with the team that works for one of my customers we will soon have another sprint week, here on Naxos.

The cycling is going fine too... obviously, since I'm in a great environment for cycling. I've bought a big, freakin' bike light, so I can head out in the late afternoon and continue riding well into the night. I'm considering writing a review on that thing.

Also there is the swimming. This year during August I didn't go much to swim. For one thing I was cycling. Then, due to the main tourist season I didn't much like to go out on crowded beaches. Now that it's September, it's much more relaxed. The sea is still warm, the sun is still shining and it's nice to enjoy it all a few days more.

Posted by betabug at 12:20 | 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)
30 April 2014

10 Jahre in Griechenland

Tja, so läuft die Zeit

Anfang April kam ein Jubiläum vorbei, eines das ich zwar nicht vergessen habe, aber das ich auch nicht gross feiere. Vor 10 Jahren kam ich (wieder einmal) in Griechenland an und ich lebe seither all diese Jahre hier. In der Zwischenzeit hat sich viel verändert, sowohl bei mir (denke ich) als auch in Griechenland.

Trotzdem bin ich immer noch hier und es gefällt mir auch immer noch hier. Ich bin nicht mehr ganz so gerne in Athen, momentan gefällt es mir in der Provinz besser. Hautsächlich liegt es daran, dass mir die Grosstadt auf die Nerfen geht. Zuviel Lärm, zuviel Nervosität. Naja, es geht auch anders, auf dem Land ist es auch schön.

Posted by betabug at 10:22 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
04 October 2014

Mini Glas-Container

Es sammelt sich
Ein Mini-Recyclingcontainer für Glas in Athen

Nachdem ich vor Jahren schon über die ersten Schritte im Recycling in Athen berichtet hatte, lief ich heute wieder mal einer interessanten, neuen Entwicklung über den Weg. Ein Container für Glas-Recycling. Mit Ôsen, mit denen der Container gleich komplett abtransportiert werden kann, aber in Mini-Ausführung. Zum Grössenvergleich der übliche "blaue" Recycling-Container daneben.

Ich denke, dass das eine gute Idee ist. Die blauen Container (Marke "der Grüne Punkt") werden nicht überall gleich qualitativ befüllt - sprich, es landet auch viel Müll drin. Die Verarbeitungskette dahinter ist meines Wissens in Griechenland unvollständig, aber ich kann mich da täuschen, ich habe schon länger nicht mehr nachgeschaut. Vor ein paar Jahren wurde das Recyclinggut getrennt und dann deponiert. Mit Glas gibt es eine klarere Recyclingstory.

Posted by betabug at 11:08 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
19 December 2014

A Not So Common Cold

Been lucky for some time

Last week I had caught a cold. I haven't had one in a while, in fact I didn't have a cold in the last 2 winters. Since I was lying in bed, I had a lot of time to think about why this could be.

One reason that immediately sprang to mind: I'm not working in an office any more. In your usual office environment, there is always someone who goes to work feeling slightly sick, and then takes on the role of prime virus dispenser. Also I'm much less in public transport, which is also a nice source of sharing microorganisms. Not going daily to the office, means less time in bus and metro.

Another source of reduction of public transport exposure is that I have started to cycle again. I guess you get a lot of exhaust and spray water from passing cars, but no Common Cold virus. It's also quite likely that a bit of "sport" (or at least a more active lifestyle) due to the bike results in a slightly improved immune system. The last winter I rode my bike all the time, in any kind of weather, patting my own shoulder for being so tough and hardening my immune system.

Here in Greece they say that swimming in the sea during summer is an excellent strategy for avoiding getting a cold in winter. My theory about that is that the salt water in the nose and throat makes things more resilient there... it might not be scientific proof, but it worked for me. That's also what I blame for having fallen for the cold virus this time: The last summer I was in the sea much less.

There's this other thing they have here: You shouldn't go out when you have wet hair or you're sweaty or so. Last week it was pretty much rainy all week, there was just one opening, which I used to go out for a ride. Unfortunately I dressed too warm, so I was sweaty for almost all the way back. Prime suspect.

Now one could say that it's much more likely that I simply got the virus from someone, and that my immune system was a bit weaker than usual at that point. But I would prefer to have my home made theories not spoiled by anything like science or facts! In any case, the cold passed mostly, and I'm back on my bike, working on hardening myself for the next assault of some garden variety micro critter.

Posted by betabug at 13:46 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
31 December 2014

This Thing Called New Year's Resolutions

Next year for sure I will...
Village in the mountains of Naxos, on a winter day

For all my life I never remember having taken new year's resolutiions seriously. Except that one time where I set myself the task to set up this weblog and write every day (or in the worst case every second day) in it. I managed to do that and you're reading this on the resulting blog. If you look at the last few posts, it's obvious I haven't stuck to the once per day rule lately - but I kept at it for many years in that rhythm. Now I'm at it more to the tune of "never a month without at least one post".

So, what made that new year's resolution work? I guess it could have just as well been any point in time that I would have decided to "do this". The motivation was there, publishing this stuff and getting feedback (stats, comments, direct feedback) made me stick to it. If I'd slack too much, it would show... so I didn't want to let that happen and I would sit down to write something. Even if it was something small - in fact, whenever I was planning a big super, great article was when things would get stuck.

A while ago, when I was laying in bed with that cold, I had a lot of time to think about doing another new year's resolution. Candidates where to revive the weblog, or maybe to set a target (10 - 12 hours per week) for the training on the bike. In the end I'm not going to do that. If I feel the motivation to write more on the blog, that will happen. Likewise with the bike: When things work out, I'll get the hours in, I'll enjoy myself and the training happens. When I'm travelling, when things go upside down in life, training stops. I'm not training for something, so in fact, "training" is just being out riding, having fun.

When I can, I'm trying to get in 3 to 4 rides per week. At that point, after a while, I start to be in a shape where riding gets easy, and when it gets easy, it becomes a lot of fun. No need to make me a rule about it. Who needs a plan to ride in a place like the one in the picture?

Posted by betabug at 19:38 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
28 February 2015

A Month of Recovery

It will still take time, but getting there
A month of recovery with physio exercises, walking, and indoor cycling

After I broke my leg in January, there was a time when I was just glad to rest. The thought of going cycling was far off. Before the surgery they had told me "the next day after surgery you can walk". That was indeed true, but not in the way you'd expect from such a sentence. In fact the physiotherapists passed by my hospital bed and with their instructions I managed to do two steps with crutches and back to my bed. They also gave me some exercises to do with the leg. The next day I managed to do 20 steps and I've ever increased since then. The last month I've been on a physio training program.

Lots of exercises. Lots of walking with the crutches, putting a bit of weight on the hurt leg, increasing that weight ever so slightly. Now I'm still walking with crutches, but it goes much better and I'm already feeling stronger. But there is still a long way to go and I'll need a lot of patience yet before I can walk normally.

A "turbo trainer" setup

I also got myself a "turbo trainer", which is a contraption that you insert your bicycle into, and then you have a static training bike. After the physiotherapist said that I could try carefully to start with this, I gave it a try a few days ago. It was a test just to get on the bike initially. It did felt safe to sit on it though, nothing moves at all. I'm also pedalling very soft.

It feels good to be on the bike, and it feels good to have an exercise that gets the heart pumping a little bit. I'm of course very careful with it. After a bike "ride", I feel less discomfort compared to what I get after a long walk. So I think it will help me get the muscles to become stronger again, while also beating the boredom of my current, unfortunately forced couch-existence a bit.

Posted by betabug at 10:01 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
21 April 2015

Endlich Frühling!

Langer, nasser Winter
Frühlingsblumen, aber noch kein Mohn

Endlich ist es Frühling, der Winter war dieses Jahr lang und nass. Auf Naxos hat es drei mal geschneit - was sonst nur so alle 6-10 Jahre vorkommt. Gut für die Insel, die Wasser-Reservoire sind voll, die Erde hat viel Wasser gespeichert, die Insel ist grün.

Diesen Winter war der Plan eigentlich so oft und lange wie möglich auf Naxos zu bleiben. Athen geht mir momentan auf den Keks. Das Problem dabei war einerseits, dass unsere Unterkunft nicht geheizt ist (und es zieht), also ist das ganze vom Wetter abhängig. Das andere Problem war dann natürlich der Beinbruch.

Also waren wir lange nicht so oft hier wie wir wollten. Und als wir Ende März hier ankamen, war es noch sehr winterlich: Windig, regnerisch, kalt. Vielleicht nicht "Winter in der Schweiz"-kalt, aber kalt genug wenn das Haus nicht geheizt ist. Noch am (griechischen) Karfreitag stürmte es so stark, dass der Schiffsverkehr eingestellt wurde.

Am Oster-Sonntag war dann alles anders: Wir sassen mit Freunden beim Mittagessen und bevorzugt im Schatten, in der Sonne war es schon zu heiss. Für ein paar Tage war es richtig warm. Die Insulaner beschwerten sich schon wieder, "vom Winter gleich zum Sommer, wo ist unser Frühling?" Der Frühling ist schon da, es ist wieder etwas kühler geworden und überall blüht es. Für mich gibt es da keinen Grund zu jammern.

Posted by betabug at 15:28 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
26 April 2015

No more Captain Ahab

Getting rid of the crutches

So, starting on last Thursday (2 days ago now), I got rid of the crutches. Actually, 3 weeks ago already, the doctor had instructed me to jettison the one crutch, and walk only with one, opposite from the weak leg. That was already an improvement, as I had one hand free: At least now I could carry a glass of water to the table!

Now without crutches, life is sooo much nicer. No more walking with tack-tack-tack sounds. Those sounds had prompted me to call myself "Captain Ahab". I still walk pretty weird, the body tries to shift the weight to the other leg. I'm practicing walking straight up and not swerving wildly all the time. Each time I get up from sitting and notice that I don't have to fetch around for the crutches, I sigh a breath of relief. This is so nice.

Posted by betabug at 10:50 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
04 May 2015

First Swim of the Season

Splish splash!

Last Thursday I had my last after-surgery checkup at the Orthopedist. Everything fine, apparently the bone has healed and it's time to build up the muscles again. So the Doctor wants me to go and swim. Right. It's still May, but I'm a good boy, and I do what I'm told, so I went to my first swim this afternoon. It was pleasant enough outside (at the Mikri Vigla beach), but the water was "a bit fresh".

Interesting how much easier it is to go into the cold water, when you're supposed to go in and swim. The inner dialog wasn't about "should I go in or shouldn't I" or about "will anybody see me when I give up?", it was more along the lines of "ok, let's get inside and get this done". It wasn't so cold that my life or health would be at risk (not by far), so any reluctance is just psychological, in short a sign of weakness. Can't have that!

So I went and swam a bit up and down, which felt good in the leg. It wasn't enough to get the muscles tired, but after some time I just let it be enough. I'll go again soon, now that it's in the program.

(Oh, and I totally forgot to take a pic, left the phone in the car and didn't have the digicam with me. Next time.)

Posted by betabug at 20:20 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
03 June 2015

Μην προσπαθείς να πιάσεις την γάτα σου όταν βλέπει εφιάλτη

Αφού όλο κοιμάται...

Ο γάτος αυτός έχει περάσει κάποια δύσκολα πράγματα στην (αρκετά νέα ακόμα) ζωή του. Μάλλον γι' αυτό βλέπει συχνά όνειρα, τα όποια πολλά είναι εφιάλτες. Κάποιες στιγμές πετάγεται, ξυπνάει, και ψάχνει τρομαγμένος γύρο του, που είναι και τι του συμβαίνει. Πολλές φορές όταν τον βλέπω να έχει εφιάλτη, μιλάω σιγά σιγά. Θέλω απλά να ακούει την φωνή μου. Η γάτες κοιμούνται με "ανοιχτή ακρόαση", δλδ συνεχίζουν να ακούνε τι συμβαίνει γύρο τους.

Σήμερα, μάλλον χωρίς να σκέφτομαι, μου ήρθε αντί να μιλάω, να τον πιάσω στην πλάτη... μεγάλο λάθος. Πετάχτηκε, με γρατζούνισε και με δάγκωσε με πολύ δύναμη. Πέρασαν μερικά δευτερόλεπτα μέχρι που κατάλαβε που είναι και ποιον δαγκώνει.

Posted by betabug at 16:57 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
25 June 2015

Back on the Bicycle after Five Months

It took some while
Getting back on the physiotherapy track and back to riding

Five months have passed since my accident. I've been through a transport to a hospital in Athens, surgery, a few days in the hospital, recovery in bed at home, almost 35 hours of physiotherapy, a lot of walking with crutches, 5 xray exams, almost 15 hours of indoor cycling on the trainer, almost 10 hours of swimming time and learning to actually swim in the process.

Last Monday I had another talk with the local orthopedist, the one who examined me right after the accident. He said that things are going very well with my leg, and that the little discomfort and occasional pain I have are due to the surgery and muscle rebuild, not due to the bone. He suggested lots of exercise. From talking to various doctors and physiotherapists, I got the impression that with most patients the problem is that they never do the exercises that they're told to do.

As you can see on the calendar, last Tuesday I went out on the bike again for the first time. (The indoor cycling symbol has little dots under the wheels, not very visible.) I just went a bit up the road and back, not even 2km and just 8 minutes. I wobbled around a lot, going slalom on the road. It felt a bit scary.

This morning I decided that it's time to make another go for it. To overcome my insecurity, I'll have to go out and ride. So out I went, this time further up the road, going as far as the next village. I felt much more secure, I was able to enjoy the ride.

I wasn't fast at all. First of all, I wasn't taking any risks. On the downhill parts, I wasn't constantly braking, but I did not let the speed build up either. Then, I'm very much down on my endurance. With the slightest incline of the road, my heartrate was going up and over the roof. Not much of a racing spirit. Instead I appreciated the landscape, and seeing it from a bicycle and not a car window again. So I clocked in 14km, in 39 minutes, climbing 189m.

Posted by betabug at 13:18 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
24 September 2015

The Big Move

Technically, it's not ch-athens any more

Man, almost a month without posts on this lazy weblog. In the meantime, early September, I emptied my appartment in Athens and moved finally to Naxos. So technically, this blog should not be called "ch-athens" any more, but I don't think I'll rename it anyway.

It would be nice if I could describe the move as uneventful, but that wasn't what happened. Since I'm moving to an island, ships are involved. Which means that you can't just rent any old van and carry your stuff over. Doing so would mean to pay a lot of money for bringing a car over on the ferry boat and then bringing it back. So what I did is hire a mover.

That was necessary for another reason: I'm still recovering from that broken leg, and therefore I shouldn't lift stuff. So they did all the lifting. But this is also the point where the "eventful" part of the move happened for me. Even if I didn't lift heavy stuff, I put a lot of stress on the leg. Push something over here, lift a box on top of another box there. Put lots of stuff into boxes. Carry the garbage downstairs. I had a very tired leg.

Towards the 3rd day, I was completely exhausted. I had problems going up the stairs, even without carrying anything. At some point I was sitting somewhere, and I saw a picture frame that I had to take down. I must have looked at it for 15 minutes, trying to gather the strength to get up and do that task too. What saved me was my friend Panos, who came over on the last day and did the last "heavy" jobs, like carrying down the last garbage.

At the end of it all, I went to the port and took the boat back to my new home. The tourist season was still in almost full swing, so the boat was pretty much full. I got myself a cabin, laid down and slept till Paros (1 hour before Naxos). Then I had a shower and got myself ready to arrive. It cost some extra money, but I already started to feel a bit better.

It took the leg some time to recover though. I guess it threw me back 2 or 3 weeks. On the next day I started with my regular swimming routine again, and as soon as I was floating in the water, I felt as if the recovery process in the leg was starting again.

Posted by betabug at 08:12 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
19 December 2015

Die Waschmaschine


Ich habe eine ältere Waschmaschine. So ein Teil, das man von oben befüllt. Es passt nicht allzuviel Wäsche rein, und moderne Waschmaschinen brauchen garantiert weniger Strom und Wasser. Ich hab sie gratis bekommen: Als unsere WG zügelte, war sie im neuen Badezimmer, aber kaputt. Der herbeigerufene Reparaturtrupp zuckte nur mit den Achseln, und ich "reparierte" sie dann selber (der Abwasser-Schlauch musste höher gehängt werden), dann wusch sie wieder weisser.

Letzte Woche war sie dann wirklich kaputt. Das Lämpchen ging noch an, aber sie startete nicht mehr. Einige der "Programme" auf dem Drehrad brachten sie noch in Bewegung, aber wann immer Wasser angepumpt werden sollte, ging gar nichts.

Also überlegt man sich, ein neues Teil zu kaufen. Nur, schade ist es schon. Also doch nochmal einen Mechaniker finden und schauen was geht. Wir haben hier einen sehr guten Klempner, den habe ich um eine Empfehlung für einen Waschmaschinen-Menschen gefragt. Zuerst wusste er keinen, dann fiel ihm einer ein, und dann rief ich den an. Er kam dann auch vorbei, mit 3 Stunden Verspätung (mein Klempner ist immer pünktlich) an einem sehr kalten Abend.

Er kuckte sich das Teil von vorne und hinten an, drehte etwas am Programmrad rum, klick, klick, klick. Dann schlug er den Deckel einmal ordentlich und mit Schwung zu. Paff! Und die Maschine sprang an. Was haben wir gelacht, schnellste Reparatur seit langem. Im Deckel-Verschluss ist ein Sicherheits-Schalter, und der ist alt und lahm. Jetzt dürfen wir mit dem Deckel jedesmal zwei oder dreimal zuschlagen, dann läuft die Maschine. Falls der Schalter mal ganz aussteigt, überbrücken wir ihn.

Eine neue Maschine empfahl der Mann nicht (obwohl er sie verkauft), denn bei den Stromschwankungen im Netz hier brennt öfter mal die Elektronik durch. Das hatten wir auch schon von anderen Leuten gehört, bei der ersten Panne nach Ablauf der Garantie kann man das Gerät dann wegwerfen. Da muss es schon sehr viel Strom und Wasser sparen, damit sich das lohnt.

Posted by betabug at 19:47 | Comments (0) | 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)
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