Sunday, 28 February 2010

Long Sunday...

Winter's been dragging for ages this year. It started early and it kept going on without a single break. It's very tiring. I really wonder when it will end. It's so depressing when it's Sunday and the weather's so bad.

I haven't been feeling very well on top of that. I woke up with a sore throat and a runny nose. I spent the day mostly indoors not to make it worse. I only went out to visit the local 'Boots' to get my new supplies of paracetamol, nasal spray and tissues. I know, not very attractive. That's life though...

I hope to get better soon. I have to get back soon on track. I have my run in 7 days.

Friday, 26 February 2010

OK, call me stupid…

Sometimes I really worry about my intelligence. I’m not going to personally admit it of course, but sometimes some things don’t click easily. I’ve been complaining about pain in my right foot for the past couple of weeks. Running all these miles wasn’t helping of course the healing process. When you jog for about two hours nonstop, any small problem or irritation can be augmented to be a major problem / pain / blister. I found out that the physical status of my feet and running demanded that I’d have to change shoes. The new ones are really good. I can run on them easier. However, some soreness was still there.

Then, it finally clicked! Why only my right foot and not the left? The answer was in front of my eyes but I didn’t see it. The problem was mostly caused by the fact that I sit on it at work. Yes, I put my right foot under me when I sit at my desk. I do it so involuntary that I don’t even pay attention to it any more. I tried to put that theory to test and I’ve seen tremendous progress. I’ve stopped sitting on it for the past three days and it completely stopped hurting… Duh!
Yes, it sounds stupid but it’s true. By the way, if you make comments about my intelligence to my face I’ll not take it very well. I am allowed to talk bad about me, not you…


Anyway, in order to make you stop doubting me, I’m giving you my Greek spinach and feta pastry pie recipe. It’s Friday, pay day and I’m happy! I made that yesterday. Preparing it will not take more than 15 minutes. Baking it does take a while, but it’s worth it.
In order to make a Greek spinach and feta pie I used:
600gr of Spinach leaves,
300gr of Feta cheese,some grated cheddar cheese,two already rolled puff pastry leaves,
some spring onions chopped,two eggs,
salt and pepper.For the stuffing you put in a pot on the hob a spoon of water, the chopped spring onions and the spinach leaves.

In order to make sure that the leaves are cooked properly you fold the cooked spinach at the bottom of the pan over the uncooked leaves at the top. The spinach is cooked when the leaves are wilted completely but still bright green, which takes about 2 to 3 minutes. It looks a little bit disgusting but tastes very good. Remove the pot from the hob and let it cool down a bit. Then add the grated feta, the cheddar, the dill, seasoning and the eggs. Keep a little bit of the scrambled eggs for the top of the pie (I’ll explain later). Without the dill I do the same stuffing for cannelloni or lasagna:

I usually buy already rolled puff pastry leaves. In a tray, put some baking paper and place the first leaf after you’ve stretched it a bit. You need to make it fill the bottom of your tray so that the stuffing will be kept inside. It’s not that difficult and if you make holes to the leaf you can always cover them. Add the stuffing and then the second pastry leaf on top. Try to shield the edges. Finally add some holes to the upper leaf and spread the part of the egg you’ve kept. That will make the pie turn nicely brown. I also add some sesame on top.

I bake the pie in low heat of 3 to 4 for gas ovens for about 1h and 20 minutes. I also turn it halfway there to bake evenly on all sides. You know it’s done by its colour. It has to turn brown. Don’t bake it in high temperature because the pastry leaf on the bottom will not be cooked properly.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Sorry, we’re closed…

The latest news in Greece’s front is that all workers’ unions today are on strike. The whole country is not working today. To give you an idea, even the country’s airspace is closed today, until midnight tonight. There will be no public transportation, newspapers, news broadcasting and mostly all schools and public sector departments will be closed for the day. There are also some marches planned for today in major cities where I hope no bad incidents will happen.

All these events are not making the situation any easier. The way I see it (from the outside), some tough measures have to be taken in order to help the country’s economy. There is simply no other way. Of course it’s going to be tough. Ok, I might sound arrogant now since I’m speaking from a very safe place. However, from my point of view, the measures announced can be the nation’s only hope. If the current government manages to decrease the public deficit of 12.7% to 8.7% during 2010 alone as they pledge, it will be wonderful. Truthfully, I wasn’t a great supporter of that specific party in the past, but from what I can see, they are indeed working in the right direction.

On the other hand, the opposition broadcasts that the situation is not that bad. They claim that Greece’s been through tougher periods and that the current government is not making the right choices by putting all this pressure on the people. They argue that the bailout agreement with the rest of the EU countries was wrong, damaging Greece’s image to the rest of Europe. The fact that the country is not that popular can be proven by an article on German’s ‘Focus’ magazine displaying the following cover (that caused a major bad reaction in Greece) whose title can be translated as “imposters in the Euro-Zone”.

There is a part of the Greek population believing that there is a conspiracy against the country. That everybody is targeting it to cover their own mess and that the rest of the ‘PIIGS’ (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) group is not in a much better position. I don’t know how much this accusation is correct but the truth is that the country needs some drastic measures in order to start being productive and reduce its debt. What do they think has to be done in order to accomplish that? How can declaring a whole day of mass strike help?

I’m not going to talk much about what the left wing parties are saying. They are so much out of reality, I’m not sure they know what’s going on. I quote from their website: They (the workers being on strike) have shown that Greece is not in danger of bankruptcy and that the big capital is responsible for the deficits and the debts. It’s the big capital that before and during the crisis has made fabulous profits blackmailing the working and popular strata and placing the burden of the crisis on their shoulders. They also make a list of demands like 1400 euro minimum salary or Full health and pharmaceutical care for all, without of course stating how all that will be achieved.

Anyway, the whole situation is sad. What made me smile though is an article I found in Times that lists the ‘Grand resort of Lagonissi’ in Athens as one of the most expensive hotels in the world where the Royal Villa costs £21,000 per night ($32,300). It looks quite nice though:

Ok, I know I'm being all political again... Sorry

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Happy chap

I’m quite pleased today. My developing team had a major meeting with one of our clients. When of course I say ‘my’ team I mean the team I belong to, not that it’s mine (yet)! We presented to our clients a new very important feature for one of our software packages that they ordered. I designed and developed a big part of it, so I had to present that part myself. I was slightly nervous. I always get that because I’m not used to doing presentations in English, I’m afraid that they will not get my accent and I’m also worried that the system might crash.

It went quite well though. My part took around 20 minutes. The discussion after it also went smoothly. Overall the meeting took around 2 hours with the client saying that they’d like to pay us some money upfront with the rest following at the day of installation in a couple weeks time. So, I guess it went well. And the managers / directors are happy, so we’re happy. I just want to establish myself as a developer more, since my background is more in Engineering and I am happy that this opportunity came up.

That’s enough work related news… On a very different matter, I was watching a little bit of the Winter Olympics Games. I’m not a great fan of them as I am of the normal Olympics (the real deal). Ok, maybe because I am Greek but I really do not get some of the sports, especially ‘curling’. I simply can’t! What’s the big deal? It’s not even a sport! It’s like weird bowling with brooms on ice. You can’t have bowling as an Olympic Sport. What’s next? Backgammon? No, that to me seems wrong… I’m sorry for the true fans out there…

I went yesterday to see ‘A single Man’ with ‘JJ’. The movie was overall very nice. I liked very much its aesthetics, photography and of course the clothes. Colin Firth was playing magnificently. He really deserves every award or award nomination he receives. I also loved Julienne Moore in her role. The only thing that slightly tired me was the plot. In general in was a bit slow and some things could be done differently. Maybe I felt like that since I saw the movie right after work and I wasn’t in the best of moods. However, Tom Ford’s first attempt in directing can really be praised. He did a brilliant job.

Monday, 22 February 2010

How old are you again?

Ok, it’s a much known fact that you can meet online some really weird people. All types of users are able to express themselves in every possible way. In a way, that is not a bad thing, since people with peculiar and not customary interests found ways to communicate and share them.
However, when I came across the webpage I’ll describe now, I couldn’t stop laughing.
The url is: and apparently you log in there to testify that you just had sex by also adding the location in Google Maps. You can say when that happened, comments about it, position(s), whether a condom was used etc. You can even add pictures if you want.
The first question that came into my mind was ‘why’. Why would you want to share this information to the rest of the world? If you want to keep track of how many times you ‘hide the salami’, keep a personal journal! Do you really need to boast about it? How old are you anyway? I hoped that adults would treat the whole subject in a more serious / mature way. I would be so wrong…

The second question that came into my mind was ‘who’. Who will be the frequent user of this website? Do I really care about who had sex the last two weeks in my neighborhood? Unless it involves me I am not really interested…
For scientific purposes I tried to test that website. I browsed to find the London area and checked who had gay sex in the last month. The filter result mentioned 17 times. Only? Yeah, right…
The very first marker I checked was about a guy, who had sex outdoors (the tree symbol) in 5 different positions. His comment was ‘shit’! He’s probably a guy of few words but lots of action (unfortunately not very successful)…

Seriously, I am beginning to be worried about the type of information people put and share online. Is there no limit? It might seem harmless at first sight, but these things can so easily be tracked. People are putting online their most intimate information for everybody else to see.
Think about children and teenagers now having easy access to all these things. It made me wonder: Are there any lectures at school to educate them of the dangers?

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Where to go to watch porn…

The new place to go to watch gay porn nowadays is not in the privacy of your own room but at your local Church. I was surprised / stunned / shocked when I read in BBC that gay porn was showed in a Uganda church to make people join the clergyman’s homophobic plans! His plans were to make homosexuality into a death penalty disserved crime.

I feel so lucky that I’ve managed to get to live in a place like London and lead the life I do. This post made me think where in the world homosexuality is still a criminal offence. I came across this from Wikipedia:

Click on Map to see it better

I don’t know how accurate this map is, since I cannot imagine Turkey to be for example a very gay friendly place. I also know that in Greece, conservative as it is (forget what you see in Mykonos), a gay military man or priest wouldn’t be easily accepted. A priest coming out would create such a scandal there, that I am laughing on my own just by thinking about it. It’s so ironic (hypocritical and fake) that there isn’t any politician, athlete or even singer that’s officially said that he or she is gay! The ancient Greeks that lived so many centuries ago were far more open minded than the current society.

On a very (very) different issue, I’m quite pleased with myself because my training for my half-marathon is going well. I tried to test my new shoes yesterday by running for a little more than 17km around West London. Time is running out (actual date of the event is the 7th of March) and I wanted to see whether I’d able to do it. Running this distance on a week day after work proved to me that I can make it. On top of that I might add, before going running and after work, I managed to put in the oven a chicken with potatoes to bake in a mustard / lemon sauce…
I’ve used a cooking bag and the oven was in medium heat, so when I returned from my run (after a couple of hours), the chicken was deliciously ready and my house not burnt!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Shoe Experience

Yesterday I was checked by a very hunky athletic guy. He was blond with very short hair, blue eyes, beautiful face who was also running the London marathon each year. Unfortunately he was only interested in just checking my feet since I was there to get new fitted shoes.

OK, let me start from the beginning. I’ve been complaining about aches I’ve been having in my right foot after going running. One of the very fundamental rules regarding running is to have the proper kind of shoes. What I had till now was a pair of Asics Gel that looks like the ones in the picture. I bought them from ‘Decathlon’ almost a year ago when I first started going running. I didn’t know exactly what to buy back then and I went for neutral comfort, price and style. Since they are almost a year old and I am increasing the mileage of my runs, I knew it was time to change them and I wanted to go to the specialists to find my next best running shoes.

So, I went yesterday to the ‘London Marathon Store’. I was told that they run tests on your feet and you can get what’s best for you. It is a small corner store next to Covent Garden in the centre. You can’t miss it since there is a big countdown clock above the entrance to the next London Marathon in two months. I went into the store and found one of the people working there (the guy previously described) and I explained to him the issues I’ve been recently having with my foot. He listened to me patiently and then suggested we run some tests to see if the problem was related to my shoes or it was something more serious.

He took me downstairs where they run the tests. He made me take my shoes and socks off, lift my jeans and do some squats. I was happy to oblige and from that he was able to see that I have high arched feet. Of course I’d have the least common of the three cases (I like being special). That meant that most likely I need special shoes and that the problem to my feet was caused by not having proper support when running. In order to test that theory I wore my (very soon to be) old Asics and hit the treadmill. They had a camera next to the treadmill focusing on the runner’s feet from behind and I started jogging. It didn’t take a professional’s eye to see how wrong it seemed. My ankles didn’t seem straight and there was an angle between my foot and my leg (pronation) and I was not running properly.

Then, the guy gave me some shoes that provide better support to try on the treadmill. The change in the way my running looked was tremendous. There was still a small angle formed but it looked so much better. That convinced us that the problem was the old shoes I had, that needed to be replaced. After trying three different pairs I bought a new pair of ‘Mizunos Nexus Wave 4’ (a brand I didn’t even know existed). I can’t wait to go running with them but I first need to try them on a couple of times to stretch and soften them.

I am quite happy about the whole experience. I feel more confident now regarding my running and I can’t wait to try them on. It was a bit of a revelation knowing about my high arched feet and pronation. These are things that I didn’t know before but at least learnt before more serious harm was done.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Clean Monday

also known as Pure Monday. According to Orthodox beliefs and customs, yesterday was the last day of the Carnival. Today we celebrate the first day of a fasting period that will last until Easter. In order to celebrate the end of that sinful period and the beginning of a cleansing and preparatory period, today is a bank holiday in Greece.

This celebration is quite different than Mardi Gras because the Great Lent has already began and no sinful practices (in theory) should take place. Traditionally, people escape from the cities to have picnics that day. No meat or dairy is allowed of any kind but only simple foods like olives, beans, taramosalata and specially prepared bread. Also, this is the only day of the year where kites are flown all around the country.

Some of my very early childhood memories are linked to Clean Monday. We used to gather in a field with 3 or more other families of friends with children of similar age. Back then we tried to make our own rhombus or hexagonal shaped kites from light wood and tough cloth used for sailing. It can get quite tricky to get the perfect weight and balance using colourful tails from pieces of ribbon.

So, that day was carefree spent outdoors playing while enjoying the fact of not having to go to school. Today, many years after that, I live and work in London. Of course it’s not a bank holiday here and I have to be at work. The only thing reminding me of flying kites, home made taramosalata or running around outdoors is some articles of a Greek newspaper I read online or the fact that none of my friends is online to chat on IM. I really hope they're having fun...

Friday, 12 February 2010

100th Post

I did it. I reached my number 100 post.
YAY! I first started last August and during this period I came out to my parents, ‘D’ permanently left the country (we hadn’t had the chance to see if we could make it work), I started seeing ‘Mr. T’, I started seeing ‘Essex Boy’ and now I am with ‘JJ’ (after I’ve stopped seeing the rest).

So if you were wondering:
I’m the guy with the funny Greek accent. I’m the guy that would love to remember how to properly speak French. I am the guy that is almost always early. I’m the guy whose favourite pastime is browsing through books in a bookstore. I am the guy you see checking seafood in the local supermarket. I am the guy you see friends take with them when trying to get new clothes. I am the hairiest guy in the two gyms I go. I am the guy you’ll see reading his books or solving Sudoku in an overnight flight because he can’t get any sleep in an airplane. I’m the guy who will give you the silent treatment if I’m pissed off. I’m the guy you’ll see reading his Sunday paper in a coffee shop. I’m the guy who will never change or arrange his plans according to what’s on TV. I am the guy who just loves the sound of waves. I am the guy whose only items in his wish list in Amazon are books and comics. I am the guy who loves to read about Greek mythology and ancient Greek plays but can’t remember the connections or names if asked. I am the guy that doesn’t like fruit combined with meat in a main course. I am the guy who’s always up for some more fries. I am the guy who’s seen all episodes of Friends more than ten times. I am the guy who gets really ticklish after sex. I am the guy who doesn’t like whisky. I am the guy you’ll most likely see in jeans, snickers and a t-shirt. I’m the guy always wanting to visit Japan. I am the guy scared to go and see a horror movie in the cinema because it’s scarier. I was the really underweight guy until his teens. I am the guy who’s seen all of Almodovar older movies. I'm the guy that always averts his eyes first if you stare at him too long. I am the guy who doesn’t like drawing attention to him. I hope I am the guy that tries to take good care of my friends. I am the guy that likes it when unexpected good friends arrive for a visit. I am the guy who’s forgetting how to spell properly in his mother language. I’m the guy whose mother threw away his first comic book collection in order to make him start reading ‘proper’ books. I am the guy entering his thirties believing it to be the best period of his life. I am the guy who had his Greek coffee cup ‘read’ with huge success. I am the guy who doesn’t like to live on his own. I am the guy who wants to have sex on the beach in a warm summer night. I am the guy terrified of the idea of getting HIV. I am the guy who likes musicals. I am the guy whose sense of smell is not very good. I am the guy who really likes baking pies. I am the guy who’d like to buy a Garmin Forerunner but his running partner is making fun off. I am the guy who cannot watch twice drama movies he liked, like the ‘La vita è bella’ or ‘The colour purple’. I am the guy who you will never see in a loud argument easily. I am the guy checking people out in the gym. I am the guy who feels sad when talented people cannot appreciate what they were given, like Amy Winehouse. I am the guy who thinks that haute couture most of the times takes advantage of naïve rich people. I’m the guy who doesn’t like the contemporary, hairless, clean-cut, over artistic male icons / models. I am the guy who loves to have friends over for home made food and good wine. I am the guy who finds Shakespeare slightly overrated. I’m the guy that likes junk food and hates microwave TV dinners. I’m the guy never been dressed in drag. I am the guy visiting Europe each year while growing up with his family and really appreciates the memories. I am the guy knowing lines by heart from the first Star Wars trilogy but couldn’t really get into Star Trek. I am the guy without a TV set for 7 months in 2009. I am the guy who wishes to be able to do a whole marathon. I am the guy who wants to visit an Eskimo living in an Igloo. I’m the guy who doesn’t get celebritydome. I’m the guy who believes in God but not in church. I’m the guy who can’t imagine buying his own house yet and settling down somewhere permanently. I’m the guy who never had a proper indoors pet, apart from some stray cats coming and going. I’m the guy who would go back in time just to watch ‘the Queen’ perform live. I am the guy who thinks that Christina Ricci could be amazing to hang around with. I'm a guy who agrees that guys with big dicks have attitude problems. I am the guy who will stuff himself with food when depressed. I am the guy who you will not see taking drugs. I am the guy who you will see reading his book / magazine / newspaper under the sun in the local park.
I’m just a guy…

X-Men #100

Thursday, 11 February 2010


Let’s say you are an Arab.
You are a successful man.
You are your country’s ambassador living the big life in Dubai.
It’s time for you to get married so you try to find the perfect bride to share your life with.
You ask around trying to find it.
(Of course flirting is not allowed)
(All women around are wearing veils and you cannot really see them anyway)
You think you find the perfect one…
Probably they tell you that she has not been corrupted by the western way of life, most likely she’s still a virgin, who knows how to cook well.
You only see a picture of her without a veil.
You check her family’s history.
You meet her a couple of times and she seems nice.
So, you marry her…
You’ve been waiting for the first night to get to know her even more.
You lift her veil to kiss her to realize that:
She is cross eyed and has a beard!!!!!

I laughed so much when I read that in BBC today… Apparently the ambassador was tricked with pictures of the pride’s sister! What did they expect?
That he wouldn’t find out or that he would never be able to get rid of her?
I can’t stop feeling slightly bad for the girl though…


On a very different matter, things are not looking too well for Greece’s economy.

OK, Greece never had a very strong economy. We used to have some kind of industry some decades ago but it couldn’t maintain itself. Most of them had to be relocated in our neighbor countries like Bulgaria or Albania where labor is much cheaper and taxes are less painful. I know that very well because in the area I grew up, being very close to Bulgaria borders, many people I know went into unemployment since their factories moved across the borders years ago.

We are also struggling to maintain a high agricultural or dairy production that will allow us to export goods to the rest of Europe. I think that there is an effort being made for that industry to sustain itself but it is not easy. After following the European Union’s directives production is changing and getting more advanced. However, it is not as it used to be since there are products of the rest of the Mediterranean area to rival.

What Greece is trying to sell now is tourism. It is trying to present itself as a modern tourist destination. Luckily for us, there is a landscape variation to attract people with different interests since there are destinations that offer great nightlife, quiet escapes or beautiful scenery. We also have the history and ancient sites to advertise that give to the country a major competitive advantage. However, there is a lack in the infrastructure to maintain that advantage. While trying to be tourist friendly as a society some things are done in a very amateur way. On top of that, there is a part of a population in touristic destinations that in their own shortsightedness will try to exploit tourism in the most horrible way, pushing people away. Also, the global economic recession has minimized the amount of visitors coming to the country, reasonably preferring to visit cheaper destination like Turkey.

Large political economical scandals, former governments hiding or fixing the actual economical figures, the lack of preparation regarding the global economic recession even after hitting other countries before Greece, the unwillingness from the people to think about and invest for the future and comply with national laws are also major factors to bring Greece to the edge of declaring bankruptcy.

The next couple of years or even decades look very tough for the citizens of my country. Hopefully today France and Germany foremost will announce financial aid being given to Greece since they do not want a member of the EU to fall out of grace like that. The general public of these countries and the rest of the EU will not like to pay for Greece’s shortcomings though. On top of that, Greek citizens are not willing to easily accept the new directions being imposed and pay the price. There is a massive wave of demonstrations and strikes taking place, not helping of course the situation.

I cannot imagine what will happen to Greece if it is excluded from the European Union. I don’t think we could survive without their help.
I can only hope for the best though. I’m too young to do otherwise. I truly hope that in 5 to 10 years things will seem to get better. I just love the place I come from…

Anyway, I’ve probably lost even the most willing reader to finish this simplified economic analysis of Greece. I do apologise for that. I promise my next posts to be more interesting…

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

The honeymoon period (or thoughts on relationship part 2)

I’m not going to be any more cynical on the whole ‘starting a new relationship’ kind of thing. I love the time I spend with ‘JJ’. None of the reasons I posted previously do really matter. My answer to them is that I’ll just try to have more sex with him. It’s free, time consuming, amazingly pleasant AND you burn calories by doing it.

On a very different issue, when we were recently (me and JJ that is) in a very nice pub in Shepherd’s Bush area in west London we encountered a friendly gay couple. We were there attending the good bye party (aka lot’s of drinks) of a friend of mine who was leaving the UK permanently. She was going away with her boyfriend to live in Australia. For the time being they live in a small shack in Goa, totally next to the sea (lucky bitches), before they reach Australia.

Anyway, while we were there we came across ‘Jay’ and ‘Ri’. I knew ‘Jay’ because he was an ex of a friend. He seems in general a nice guy. I heard some bad things from our common friend but I didn’t want to stick to them. I wanted to make my own mind about him so I started chatting with him. A part of the conversation went like this:
-Him: So, how long have you been with ‘JJ’?
-Me: A couple of months
-Him: So, you are still in your honeymoon period
-Me: Meaning?
-Him: For NOW, even his farts smell like roses
-Me: (Shocked from the inside – laughing from the outside) Ha-ha, How long do you think that the honeymoon period lasts?
-Him: It normally lasts for around 6 months. If you’re lucky it lasts around a year
-Me: (still not believing what he was telling me) So, how long have you been with ‘Ri’?
-Him: We’ve been living together for 2.5 years. I know him for about a year longer.
-Me: So, the honeymoon period is over?
-Him: Oh, yes, his farts don’t smell like roses any more!
-Me: (still being shocked)
-Him: No, no. Don’t get me wrong. After the honeymoon period you enter another nice period of love, security etc… (and the conversation went to other subjects)

I was mostly shocked from what I heard not because I don’t expect my relationship with JJ to evolve and change. I know that he is not perfect (as wozzel recently said and RyanO commented). I know that I am not perfect either. We will have our downsides and troubles. I am not denying that.

However, I would never say to someone what ‘Jay ’ said to me! I found it to be so rude. That’s the second time I’ve met him in 3 years and him implying that I live a fake fairytale that will soon end is preposterous. He doesn’t know me or ‘JJ’ either. I could feel ‘JJ’ flinching next to me while hearing the conversation. (I also don’t talk about farting to people I don’t know)

The irony behind the whole thing is that ‘Jay’ and ‘Ri’ have a common Manhunt profile trying to find a third person to keep them company in their bed. And I happen to know that because they were checking my profile when I had one.

Anyway, I got annoyed because ‘JJ’ being slightly more sentimental than I am (and having drunk a bit) was feeling weird, somewhere between offended and worried. We slightly talked about it on our way back and laughed about it. There is no need to worry beforehand and regarding the smell…

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

How dating can be bad for you

With Valentine’s day coming up (I will not comment on that just yet) I was thinking that there are some issues you have to consider when dating. There are some side effects and you have to find ways to overcome them.

When dating:
  1. Your amount of calories intake can rise dramatically. There will be times that takeaways will be ordered, restaurant tables will be booked and ice cream shared. Even when dinner is arranged to be at home, you can’t simply treat your date with just a salad. You’ll probably prepare one or more side dishes and desert.
  2. Your time spent working out will diminish. There will be times that you spend being lazy in bed or cuddling watching TV, instead of going to the gym.
  3. Your budget will go overboard. Even with Suf_n_Steve’s advices on dating, at the beginning of a new relationship you will go out more. You cannot treat your new date to a dinner in McDonalds or a cheap chip shop. You’ll probably go to ‘someplace nice’ where even the air you breathe is priced without noticing. I will not go into the whole mobile phone bills increase.
  4. Your time spent with friends, work colleagues or relatives will diminish. You work daily and you have to arrange on how to spend your free evenings and weekends. You also cannot arrange for something every single evening, sometimes you want to stay home and relax. Your high priority at the moment is your new bf or gf. However, you’ll have family birthday parties to go to, spend time in the pub with work colleagues (if you want a career, you have to attend them) or see some old friends. You can’t drag a new bf at all of these all the time. So, your social life takes a plunge.
  5. Your career will be threatened. Apart from not attending some social work events, you are psychologically absent most of the time from work by daydreaming. You can’t concentrate easily and don’t pay attention to what’s been told in meetings. You are forgetful, absentminded and your productivity goes down. Just pray that the boss will not notice
OK, I think I’m done. I made 5 good points on how dating, starting a new relationship, can be bad for you… What have I forgotten?
Lmao! Do I really believe these things? Do they really matter? Aren't there no solutions?
Hell no…

Enron the musical

Yesterday was theatre night. I went with some friends to see ‘Enron the Musical’. When they first mentioned to me that there is a play called ‘Enron the Musical’ my reaction was: ‘You got to be kidding me. How can you make that story into a musical?’

Kenneth Lay with the Board of Directors

The answer is that they can make it a musical and a brilliant one. I truly found it amazing. It was very cleverly done and as you can see from the pictures, it has amazing aesthetics. The direction is very good and the choreography was excellent.

The workforce

I knew the general story of Enron, but I didn’t know many details that were ingeniously presented to even the most ignorant of the story viewer. You don’t have to know how the stock market works to follow the plot. I also loved the fact that it was a political satire of a story that affected so many people’s lives and is still affected today’s economy dramatically. I don’t think that the general public knows the political games played all over the world and how governments rise and fall in them. Simplistically presented through a satire is the best way of doing that.

The stock market

I truly suggest you go and see it. It’s also been nominated for three Lawrence Olivier nominations including for ‘Best New Play’.

The Lehman Brothers

“ Are you kidding me? Did we take advantage? That's what we do, that's how the world works! If you want an objective morality, you're living in a dream. So when you ask, 'did we take advantage?', I hear, 'do you make a living?', 'do you breathe in and out?', 'are you a man?'! Yes, we took advantage. And the only difference between me and the people judging me is they weren't smart enough to do what we did. Now, are you gonna judge me or are you gonna help me? “
Jeff Skilling (President, COO and CEO) from ENRON by Lucy Prebble

Monday, 8 February 2010

Weekend events…

On Friday after work, I went with ‘gb’ to the gym. We had our weekly session with our personal torturer (aka personal trainer). It was quite bad. I was exhausted after a very busy week at work and I really struggled to keep up with the program. I was content that I managed to do it, but more happy to finish it. We had told him not to work on our legs since the plan was to go running the next morning and he concentrated on our upper bodies.

I had a minor pain in my right foot when I was stepping on it since I last went running on Wednesday. I though it was a kind of a callous right on my underfoot and I wore a patch to make it go away. Since I was feeling better on Saturday, I went running. The pain on my foot increased but I didn’t do much to relax on Saturday. I kept on my schedule with ‘JJ’ and we went shopping, for a coffee etc. At the end of the day I wasn’t feeling very well and I couldn’t step on it without feeling pain.

It is kind of weird because it is not swollen, stiff or blue. I am just feeling pain on my underfoot when I walk. I tried to behave after Saturday evening. I didn’t go to a club or dancing that I wanted but instead I settled with going to the cinema which is 4 minutes walk from my place and I also stayed in the whole Sunday! That means that for the whole day I didn’t exit my flat at all. I don’t remember when I last did that. I’ve certainly not stayed in for a whole day in the flat I am now, since early November. For those that know me, they can understand what a sacrifice that is.

I’m worried. I think that it is not broken and I hope that it is something that will go away in the next couple of days if I rest it. Hopefully I’ve only slightly twisted it. I’ll try to go to a doctor to take a look at it later on today. I am supposed to run half a marathon in less than a month. I think that I can cover that distance. I have to keep on training though. I can’t afford to stop running for the next two weeks and I certainly can’t have a doctor telling me that I cannot do the run at all. I have a responsibility to all people sponsoring me to do the run for Cancer Research UK.


The movie I saw on Saturday was ‘Up in the air’ with George Clooney. He plays a character with the worst possible job ever: he is hired to fire people! He just travels around in the States to go and announce to people that they are fired! He travels so much that he spends almost every year of his life between airports and hotels. So, the movie is about his lifestyle, his personal life and possible future. Overall the movie is very good, entertaining and interesting. I like the fact that it is not shallow and naïve. I feared that it would be a bad chick flick and thankfully it isn’t. All actors playing in it are very good, the direction is good and the script is very interesting. I am not sure why it was nominated for 6 Academy Awards though. Yes it is very good and I recommend it, but 6 Oscars?

Friday, 5 February 2010

Linux and me…

In theory I’m good with technology. I grew up in a family that has really good relationship with it. My parents were playing video games in a ZX Spectrum with rubber keyboard before I was born. My mother was on the phone with me yesterday about creating and setting automatically created table of contents in Word. She couldn’t remember how to do it. I started using Windows 3.1 and moved through all versions of Windows. The only reason I still haven’t installed Windows 7 is because I’m only using Linux at home now. I formatted my laptop in November when Ubuntu 9.10 was released and I have only that installed. It’s been three months now and I can say that I ‘m very pleased with them.

In general I really like Linux. There are so many different distributions that there must be one out there to fill your needs. I’m not that experienced in them but I am happily now getting to start to know them. What of course is their major advantage is the fact that you can get them for free. Yes, for free... After Leopard or Windows it is really a pleasure to have an OS (operation system) free of charge. I do not know about Leopard (I never owned a Mac) but Windows Vista had so many problems that it was ridiculous!

You can simply visit their website and download them. You might only get charged if you order CDs or DVDs delivered to your place. What I also found very interesting is the fact that for most Linux distributions, you can create a live bootable CD that can allow you to boot into the OS without making any permanent changes to your PC.

That is how, out of pure curiosity, I first tested Ubuntu 8.4 and OpenSUSE 10.0. I am not a core programmer and the only differences I could primarily see where according to their User Interface. The first is using by default Gnome and the second is using KDE. What made me select Ubuntu though was the fact that it was able to find my wireless connection and get automatically and easily connected to the internet. OpenSUSE couldn’t see my wireless adaptor.

Having internet connection a whole new world of applications are open for you to explore. You can just as easily download almost everything from games, design tools, photo editing software and video players without even visiting their websites. You can have displayed a whole list of software packages to simply choose from.

Most people believe that Linux is very complicated and only programmers can use it. I think that Linux can be as complicated as you want to make them. Modern Linux now are quite Windows-lookalike and you will not have to open and use command lines often. Of course there can be some issues with hardware drivers (although I didn’t have any problem with them) and some command lines might have to be written manually, but to be honest, that seldom happens. Also, there are so many Linux users now and many forums to check for solutions.

What can be irritating is that not all Windows software work on Linux. You are able to find equivalent software working on Linux or you could have ‘Wine’ that ‘emulates’ and runs Windows programs, but not all of them work. If you are a hard core gamer, you will not like Linux since most new games will not load. Most of older games do work in Linux though. I am happily playing ‘Morrowind’ at the moment, without any issues. Also, if you want to work on a specific software package like AutoCAD or ArcGIS then you might also encounter problems. If you are an everyday user like me at home, just browsing the internet, playing some games and using OpenOffice a bit, then Linux is an OS for you, even if it can be slightly rough at the edges…

Ok, maybe my analysis so far was a bit simplistic or even childish but I strongly believe that open source software is the future. You can check on today’s news that Symbian is giving away billions of dollars of code by going ‘open source’. Do you think they do not know what they are doing? Also Google’s new OS called Chrome OS is based on Linux.

Binary heart

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Long Distance…

I just finished writing an email to my ‘man to be’ from Brazil. I don’t think that I’ve ever mentioned him so far and I think I should.

Ok, let’s start from the beginning.
A couple of years ago, during the summer of 2008, almost two years ago, I was online doing what I loved doing, browsing through handsome men’s profiles in ‘manhunt’. At some point I received a message from a handsome, dark haired, witty smiled, 25 year old Brazilian. I remember that he looked quite normal and he didn’t have any hidden or sleazy naked pictures in his profile (that’s a major plus if you’re not looking for a sex date or a freak). At least, it’s a plus for me. So we started chatting.

We started talking around July and he told me that earlier that year he had visited London and loved it. He was planning to start a postgraduate degree that September in London. He wanted to do something in business analysis. So, he was using ‘Manhunt’ to find friends to show him around and also help him improve his English. I didn’t really mind (I had lots of free time then) and we started exchanging emails.

Unfortunately, during that August he was diagnosed with cancer. He never really told me exactly what type and I didn’t insist much to find out. His English aren’t that great either. So, beginning September he started chemio. During that time, he spent a lot of time in the hospital. Luckily, he had his laptop and we were still talking. We exchanged a LOT of emails then.I found out a lot about his life. About how he came out to his parents, his childhood, his best friend living in Spain that went to visit him, his former longest relationship, the gay life of Brazil, his small town where he lived, the poverty and troubles of that country. It was all quite interesting since I’ve never visited the place and he just needed someone to keep him company and chat in no-visiting hours. He also tried to explain to me how his faith was helping him accept his fate and deal with the troubles he was having.

I tried to help him and support him as much as I could. I couldn’t of course grasp what he was going through but I just tried to be there and just listen. I’m not going to argue though that I did the same as well. I used him as a ‘Dear Diary’ moment. I kept sending him emails about my troubles and everyday life. About the guys I was dating and what I’d like to do with my life, about my fears and worries.

Fortunately, his health improved during that winter of 2008 and 2009. He had a transplant (that he keeps calling transplantion), which I still don’t know what exactly he had transplanted, and after the second chemotherapy he is out of the hospitals. His hair started growing again and as he proudly told me, he now has hair everywhere. He even managed to gain some weight and is very proud of his small beer belly. He’s back to work and started dating again. That means that we don’t talk as much as we used to, but that’s fine by me. As long as he’s healthy, I don’t care… He’s annual checkup is coming up later this month (I think)…

I really do like his sense of humor, admire his courage and respect his beliefs. It’s funny because he’s jealous of every guy I’m dating (not seriously) and insists that he will come some day to London to marry me. Let’s see…

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Road trip (part 2 of 2)

So, on Saturday we took the car and we drove to Stonehenge.
We were trying to find another nice destination close to London for a day trip and ‘JJ’ suggested going by the sea to check the White Cliffs of Dover. Dover is a port in Kent, South East of England, where boats leave to sail to France, especially Calais. He was again the only one driving, since I still haven’t tried driving on the left. I get sometimes very confused in roundabouts and major junctions. I go for the wrong lane (which is not very good / safe).

Since he was driving and wanted to see the Cliffs, I agreed. I didn’t mind going there and I’m always up to go to the seafront. My whole life I’ve been living in a city by the sea and I miss it a lot. I liked spending hours daydreaming watching the waves, listening to music or taking long walks while doing that.

It took us around 2 hours drive to reach Dover. The city itself is not very nice and seems very industrial. The port as seen in the picture is massive. The whole thing is not very welcoming to say the least. I don’t think that people like to stay and visit it. There is a very nice castle though, on the hill, next to the city. However, since we wanted to go to the Cliffs we didn’t visit the castle.

The Cliffs were amazing. There were many pathways to follow and people were tracking the designated paths. The view was splendid. The only bad thing was the amount of mud on the pathways. There was so much mud either sticking on our shoes or making us slide uncontrollably, that it was ridiculous. We laughed so much about it though! Unfortunately, we couldn’t go far! We returned to a very nice café by the car park for tea and coffee, enjoying the sun and the view while sitting outside. It was very beautiful.

After that, we headed to ‘Folkestone’ that seemed to be a nice small town close by to get some dinner (at least on the map). Unfortunately, the place was not as nice. Again, the city centre was located away from the sea and we couldn’t seem to find someplace nice to stay. However, we asked some locals and they recommended an amazing seafood restaurant in a small village by the sea called Hythe! Now, that was amazing. It served great seafood, in prices not found in London. It was so cheap we stuffed ourselves with fresh fish! After that, we drove back.

Overall it was an amazing weekend. We’re thinking of getting some proper tracking boots or good wellies for next time. By the way, today is my 2nd month anniversary with JJ. It’s not that much I know, but I’ve enjoyed them very much.

The shoe Whore Awards…

Wow! I’m so flattered. I never expected to receive an award concerning anything that has to do with fashion, shoes etc. I have to admit that I do not know much about it and I am probably one of the last people to come for advice. I’m just not easily impressed by expensive clothing. I understand and respect its value, but I wouldn’t go abroad trying to get something I had my eyes on.

Luckily I work in a geeky environment, without a proper dress code. We are in IT. We are a nerdy team hidden from common view. Clients are never allowed to see us, so we can wear whatever we want. Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit, but luckily (for me), we can wear whatever we want. So, in most of cases I come to work with my jeans and snickers. I try to wear shirts and proper shoes from time to time (show some respect), but that doesn’t happen often.

1. Say big thank you to the one whom tagging with these Awards! (remember to hyperlink them!)!

Thank you so much to Sufi and Steve for giving it to me… I have no words…

2. Please paste the following graphic onto your blog, so people know you are nominated for the shoe whore awards:

3. Proceed with how many shoes in your belonging, the description of the damages (prices), maybe tell us why you bought that shoes? and if possible the pictures (it can be taken from internet resources too)

I have only two formal pairs of shoes for my suits, one brown and one black. Not very expensive and I only wear them in special occasions. I know that they are leather but I bought them in Greece and I do not think that they are from a famous brand. Let’s say I spent around $400 on both…

I have a pair of brown boots from Ellesse, that I got ages ago and I wear in extreme weather conditions. They look like the normal Dr. Martens but in fine leather… Let’s say I spent $150 on them.

All the rest of the shoes I wear everyday are snickers that cost from $50 to $100. OK, I have lots of them, in various colours:

Having around 5 or 6 of them, let’s say that I’ve spent around $450 on them… Overall that would be $1000 over the years… The numbers could be far away from the truth…

Regarding the damages, if you’d asked me how many comic books I have and how much money I’ve spent there… That could take a while to calculate.

4. Later on, nominate another THREE blogger for these awards...

That’s a tough one… I don’t know which to nominate… My first thought would be Paige. She’s a woman and naturally I’d expect to have a thing for shoes… My next nominees would be MadeInScotland and SalaciousSoul.

5. and Please, Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Will do…