Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Washing dishes

After spending some hours in the library on Saturday (fortunately I didn’t have a hangover) I went to JJ’s place for dinner (and staying over). When I arrived there I found him finishing cooking (steak, fries, boiled vegetables and butternut squash soup for starter). I could see from the very first minute that he was in a weird state and that something was bothering him. His eyes had a bizarre sparkle on them.

I thought about if for a minute. I tried to remember if I had forgotten something important (birthday, anniversary, groceries etc) and I was to blame for his obvious bad mood. I couldn’t think of something, so I asked him what was up. He told me he had a fight with both his housemates. After feeling slightly relieved I wasn’t the cause of this, I asked him about what happened.

One of the housemates almost burnt the house. She was cooking and left the toaster on ‘reheat’ with an old kitchen towel on top! When JJ arrived home from work the towel of course was extremely hot and slightly smoking. He wasn’t very happy about it (I wonder why) so he told that housemate off. That whole incident put him in an annoyed mood that became an angry mood towards the other housemate who hadn’t cleaned anything in ages! Next to the burning toaster a big pile of dirty dishes welcomed a tired JJ from work, who was thinking about having a nice quiet dinner with me later that evening. All that made him quite cross with both of them. Needless to say that both housemates were retired to their rooms when I arrived and while staying there for the whole evening I didn’t see any of them.

Anyway, after a while, he relaxed and was his normal happy self. I helped him set the table and cleaned the dishes we made (it’s only fair that one cooks, the other cleans). After dinner (it was amazing by the way), when I was relaxing with JJ I asked him about the whole thing. My exact words were: “In 25 years, when we will be living together, will you be so mad at me like that when I leave the dishes dirty?” That question of course started negotiations about when we might be living together. You know how it goes. I said 25 years, he said 25 days. I said 10 years, he said 10 months. We finally left it to about 2 years… I implied we will discuss it in 2 years, he believes that we will live together in two years.

Anyway, what I really meant was the fact that in the future, when we will be living together, our everyday lives will be catching up. It will not be all ‘roses’ and ‘pedals’ (you know what I mean) and that minor things happening (dirty dishes) will not be dealt always nicely. That is what I sometimes think and worry about: everyday friction changing the way we treat one another. I know that now he will happily be washing dishes without complaining. What about in two - three years? (You know that the dishes are only a metaphor, right?)

Monday, 25 October 2010

Interesting weekend…

My weekend was fun. I’ve managed to do lots of things. I went out dancing till early in the morning on Friday night. I was robbed by a bank that same night (I’ll explain). I spent many hours in a local library studying. I’ve started the process of arranging a diving trip to go and play with seals in mid Spring next year and I had a ‘puppy’ and ‘living together’ talk with JJ. I also managed a nice 5.5 mile run on Sunday afternoon. (No, I didn’t get bored this weekend, at all).

I really can’t even remember the last time I went out dancing. It was definitely before going to Greece for summer since I started my courses right after I came back. Having the course run through the whole Saturday meant that I had to go to sleep early the night before and that I was dead tired that same night. That means that I last went out late in early August or late July. It could be the day of the London Pride in July.

Anyway, I decided it was high time I went out so I called some friends and I arranged to meet them late at night on Friday to go to Vauxhall. I hadn’t been there in ages but I know it provides some good (?) venues to go out. ‘JJ’ couldn’t come because he was working the next day early in the morning. Funnily enough I’ve never been out clubbing with him. We have been out of course, but not till early in the morning dancing. I have to arrange that at some point…

On the way to the tube station, I stopped at a local branch of ‘Halifax’ to get some money from the ATM. I’m not a ‘Halifax’ customer (and I probably never will be) but the location of the ATM is convenient. Anyway, I put my card in, type in the pin number and selected to take £30 out. I don’t know exactly what the machine was thinking, maybe he had a very bad day or maybe he simply didn’t like me, but only gave me £20 back! I was pretty sure that I selected to get £30 so I went to a Natwest to get a mini statement which said that I took £30 from my previous transaction! I got a bit annoyed and not about the £10 but for the fact that Halifax took money from me (I am a man of principles)! I went the next day to file a complaint but they told me I have to wait till Monday for the transaction to be fully registered. Apparently I can go to Natwest and file a report on Halifax’s mean ATM! This means ‘war’!

Anyhow, I ignored the whole event for the time being and I went to meet my friends in Vauxhall. We went for a couple ‘start’ drinks in a nice pub called ‘The Griffin’ to warm up and then walked around to find a dance venue. Some guys were giving away leaflets for a £1 entry to a local club called ‘Arena’ that hosts a party called ‘Onyx’ every Friday. The entrance fee was good, so we decided to give it a go. What I like in the Vauxhall bars and clubs is the fact that they are integrated underneath the rail tracks. That means that they use the arches of the tracks and they form long ‘corridors’ with thick brown bricks.

The Griffin

In general, we had a really nice time. ‘Arena’ has three stages and you can freely walk around and choose what kind of music you want. We mostly stayed in the main club area where nice remixes of older songs from the 90’s kept us dancing for most of the night.

I had slightly forgotten how it is going out in a gay club. The people having to extensively show off their time spent in the gym without wearing many clothes, the drugs, the attitudes, the extravagant outfits, the eye flirting, the pervs, the sex games. It was all very interesting to watch. I got asked twice if I wanted to buy pills, which kind of came as a surprise. Maybe they thought I wasn’t having enough fun or I didn’t look wasted enough. By the way, when they say ‘pills’ what kind do they mean? Is it ‘ecstasy’? Or they offer a variety and you can choose according to colour and shape?

No, I am not being judgemental. I had my drinks. I had lots of fun. I danced a lot till very late. I just prefer to be able to stand without help to take my night bus home and have the mental capability to perform simple acts on my own, like not fall or faint on the streets. I had to get up the next day and study a bit anyway (I am a bit bore, I know)…

Friday, 22 October 2010

End of World delayed…

Isn’t this disappointing?

According to this, the interpretation of the Mayan calendar was not done correctly. That means that the World will NOT end on the 12.12.12! I repeat it will not end. What a bummer. So many people were looking forward to it!

At least the Calendar is correct. Our interpretation was wrong...

Some of us even watched the movie called ‘2012’ (I’m so very sorry for that) and were doing preparations for the day what the Earth would stop turning. I have some friends that are planning of taking lessons on how to fly small planes with simulations on Earthquake take offs. Landings are not really needed…

I’m really hoping they can come with a different date. 06.06.06 would also be cool but that date passed with no major events…

Any other ideas?

I hope you have a really nice weekend. xxx


Yesterday was theatre night for us and we went to see ‘Shirley Valentine’. I love the movie, so I thought that the play would be good. Fortunately the adaptation was very close to the movie script. Meera Syal playing Shirley is truly amazing.

The very interesting thing is that the whole play is one large monologue. There is only the actress playing Shirley, telling the stories and mimicking the rest of the characters. But she is doing it so well. If I knew it beforehand I might have been a bit worried about getting bored. Meera was truly captivating though! For example on the first act, she talks about the woman’s clitoris while actually cooking eggs and chips on stage! It was hilarious…

Having an adaption following the successful movie script however can be bad since no new elements have been added and you end up eating reheated food. Very good food, but reheated none the less.

Ultimately, I loved it. I had a really nice time and I enjoyed the play very much.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

It’s not even Halloween yet!

I went this morning to study in my local ‘Costa’. I prefer to keep my evenings from free, so I try to study for an hour before going to work, from 7:30 to 8:30 in the morning. I take my (small) coffee bucket, sit on a corner table and get into the world of Java Interfaces, Objects and Classes!

This morning at some point, I raised my head (not to check on a very beautiful man passing by, honestly) when I heard the café music playing. I wasn’t really paying attention since I was studying but I was awestruck to listen to ‘Let in snow’. I was like: WTF?

It’s not even Halloween yet and they’re playing Christmas songs? OK, ‘Let it snow’ does not make a clear reference to Christmas but for public places like Costa that want to be politically correct, it is as close as it gets! It’s still October for crying out loud. I was thinking that the people working there will be driven mad by the end of the Holiday season…

At least I haven’t heard ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham yet…


On a different subject, the weather here has been quite chilly. The temperature has dropped significantly. Apart from some nutcases I’ve seen yesterday walking around with a simple t-shirt, flip flops or shorts, most people wear winter clothes. However, I have an issue with men (especially younger ones) wearing black leather gloves. I really don’t know why. They remind me of murder scenes.

Especially if I see someone wearing a long brown coat and black leather gloves I think about killings. Maybe it was a movie I saw when I was a kid. I can’t really put my finger on it, but these people creep me out...

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The word in (almost) everyone’s lips in the country

Cuts! And I’m not talking about haircuts but I’m talking about governmental financial cuts that will affect everybody’s life here in Britain. What’s different about normal Budget cuts is the fact that the measures announced today will be affective for a number of years and not just for one.

People are talking about near 500,000 public sector jobs that will be lost by 2014-2015. The Defence Budget cuts were already announced yesterday (42,000 jobs to go by 2015). These numbers are so frightening. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of families that will be affected. We’re talking about whole communities.

Yesterday on the news there was a pub owner near an RAF base that will close in the near future. He had this pub for so many years and yet he will go out of business immediately when the military base closes. He broke into tears while talking. It was heart breaking…

I’m not exactly sure how and when this tide will turn. Such a hit on the public sector will definitely affect the private sector immensely. Construction, house prices, trade, inflation will all of course change. Unfortunately, I do believe that the people most affected will be from the lowest and middle incomes. Some people will have a difficult Christmas period or probably their last chance to enjoy it.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Homosexuality in ancient Greece

The term homosexuality was primarily used by a German psychologist called Karoly Maria Benkert in the 19th century. Of course homosexuality was not ‘invented’ then but existed throughout history. In the ancient times, in Greece, people were not defined by their sexual orientation. Everything was done more freely and it was believed that someone can respond erotically to beauty in either sex.

Of course it was different for women. In ancient “democratic” Athens, women were not respected in the society and that is why her presence is not very distinctive. She couldn’t take part in the government of the city-country or protest against her husband’s will. She was considered in a slightly better position than a slave. Men moved much more freely and they could develop their relationships freely.

To give you the example of Alcibiades who was a famous Athenian general and politician of the 5th century B.C. It is said that “in his adolescence he drew away the husbands from their wives and as a young man the wives from their husbands.”

The status of a man was what defined these relationships. Given that only free men had full status, women and male slaves were not unaccepted or difficult sexual partners. The central distinction in ancient Greek sexual relations was between taking an active role, versus a passive or penetrated one. The passive role was mostly acceptable only for what it was considered inferiors, such as women, slaves, or male youths who were not yet citizens. That is why the cultural ideal of a same-sex relationship was between an older man, probably in his 20's or 30's (that was considered old then), known as the erastes (εραστές), and a boy whose beard had not yet begun to grow, the eromenos (ερωμένος). That is why each relationship was to be temporary and should end upon the boy reaching adulthood. However, while the passive role was thus seen as problematic, to be attracted to men was often taken as a sign of masculinity. The erastes had to show that they had nobler interests in the boy, rather than a purely sexual concern. The boy was not to submit too easily, and if pursued by more than one man, was to show discretion and pick the nobler one.

I would like to specially comment on Plato’s Symposium (Συμπόσιον) written in 385–380 BC which exploits the purpose of life and nature of love. It describes a drinking party, attended by seven important and powerful men like Socrates or Aristophanes who were all supposed to have a monologue praising Love based on their own life experience. This document illustrates the widespread nature of homosexuality in ancient Greek society. Not only was it considered admirable, but the Symposium presents an argument that claims homosexuality to be superior to heterosexuality.

A symposium scene (475 BC.)

Even in Greek mythology homosexuality is present. The love story between the greater of the gods Zeus and a blonde boy called Ganymede (Γανυμήδης), a young Trojan prince, was well known. Zeus fell in love with him so badly that he turned himself into an eagle that abducted Ganymede from his home town during an unprecedented storm. He flew him into Olympus, the gods’ residence, and he granted him immortality and eternal youth so that his beauty might not fade. He also made the former now price the cupbearer of the gods, making him a part of all of gods’ feasts.

Ganymede's abduction (450 BC.)

Zeus’ wife, Hera, couldn’t accept her husband’s new lover and thirsted for revenge made Greece attack the Trojans. As Ganymede looked on in horror, the Greeks slaughtered Ganymede’s kin and the whole Trojan race. All Zeus could do, was draw a veil of cloud over the butchery to shield the boy from the horrific sight. He wanted to protect the boy so he placed him beyond her reach. He set his darling among the stars as the Aquarius, the water bearer.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Busy weekend…

I had a brilliant and busy weekend!

On Saturday I finished school! I had my final course regarding Java programming. The next step is to study on my own to take the exams of becoming a qualified Java programmer. I was thinking of applying now to take the exams on a specific day in mid November. That way, I will put pressure on myself to keep on studying. I want to have enough time to study so that I will succeed on the exams (the fees are quite high) but not too much to forget what I was taught…

Saturday evening I cooked for ‘JJ’ as planned. I made pasta with various seafood on a red sauce with a little bit of garlic and onion. For a side dish, appetizer, I made an asparagus tart. I boiled the asparagus with a little bit of leek (I had it in the fridge and it was about to expire). I used an already rolled puff pastry for a base and I added tomato sauce with basil on top. I’ve added pieces of parmesan, the vegetables and some prosciutto on top. It was really good. I think JJ enjoyed it more than the pasta… I didn’t want to fry asparagus parcels with the prosciutto and the parmesan but something lighter…

On Sunday morning we went to Victoria Park in Easter London for the Cancer Research UK 10k run. The weather was amazing for a run. It was slightly chilly but sunny. There were 3700 runners with friends and family. I love these events because of the atmosphere. Everybody is so happy just to participate! I do recommend it. I managed to do the run in less time than last year but still in over an hour. I will get better, I promise.

lot's of people running

Today’s Garfield:

Friday, 15 October 2010

Music to my ears!

It’s Friday! YAY!
I have a fully booked two days ahead of me and I have to wait for the following weekend to get some rest, but I’m happy nonetheless. At least I plan to do things that I enjoy. I’m finishing the course and go running the 10k for Cancer Research UK.

I plan to cook tomorrow night a pile of pasta for me and ‘JJ’. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to make, but I think that seafood pasta will be appropriate. We both love seafood. I also need to find some nice and easy-to-make side dish or entrées. Maybe I’ll make some gazpacho or bruschettas.

I also need to pin my running number on the Cancer Research UK t-shirt (I always love doing that), buy bananas to consume on the day, check what else I’ll be wearing and maybe wash my running shoes (if there is time). Fortunately, the weather will not be very bad. It will be chilly and clouded but at least it will not be raining. I hope lots of people attend the event. I love the atmosphere the viewers make… If you’re not doing anything Sunday morning a little bit before noon, go for a walk in Victoria Park, London.

These are some pictures from last year:

Have a great weekend all! Good luck to me. I hope to do it in less time than last year!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Lost in translation.

You know these meaningless emails that circulate around, most of which are simply just boring. Once in a while, something interesting appears, like Engrish. Engrish is a website dedicated to promoting good English and funny pictures seen around the world. It categorises pictures from 1996 till date. Take a look at these:

Speaking of 'Tourism' I went online yesterday on Octopus Travel to find an hotel in Edinburgh. I was SO lucky to find the following offer while browsing through available hotels. Talking about major discounts:

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

My recent life in numbers

1 is the number of courses I have left to finish my Java course. After that, I want to spend at least 2 more weeks studying before I take the exams (they are not that cheap). I have lots of things to cover and Java is not that easy. One of my classmates (in his forties working as a freelancer software engineer for many years) told me: “I hate Java. It’s like being a dyslectic compared to other, more elegant, languages like Pearl. However, it is really needed. You can’t easily find work without it.” That somehow gave me courage that I am doing the right thing. (I have to study though)

is the number of nights we will spend end of November in Copenhagen, Denmark. I have never been there but I wanted a trip after I finish the whole Java saga. I want to take JJ away to make it up to him for being constantly tired and whining lately. I have also been unavailable a lot either at class or at the library studying. I believe Copenhagen is beautiful and I hope that it will be nicely decorated for Christmas by then. We found a nice hotel near the centre.

10 is the number of kilometres I will run this Sunday in Victoria Park to raise money and awareness for Cancer Research UK. I have managed to raise the money I wanted and I managed to train a bit (not much). My last long run was this Friday from JJ’s place to mine. The distance was 10.7 kilometres which I finished in a little bit over an hour and 5 minutes. That wasn’t my best time, but it was Friday after work and I was tired. I had to climb two nice steep rail bridges on the way. I also managed to freak out when I almost stepped on a massive toad at a dark part of a road.

21 is the number of kilometres I’d like to run on my next half marathon in 2011. I wasn’t accepted in the Virgin London Marathon, so I will register for another run somewhere else. I’m talking with JJ to find a nice race outside London so we can combine a nice weekend away as well. We have something in mind and we want to double confirm the dates and everything before applying.

72 is the number of days (Google counter) till my already booked Christmas holidays. I plan to go to Greece to my parents, see my friends, devour huge amounts of food and do nothing for more than a week. JJ will also go to South Africa to his parents. It will be fun to go back. I love spending Christmas with them… I even start my Chrismas shopping ealry this year.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

How can you tell when it is time to move on?

One of my happiest days in my recent life was the day that I was accepted for my current job position in London. Staying to work in this city was a goal I had for years. I didn’t want to go back to my home town and work there, use my parent’s connections and influence and practically live with them. I wanted something more. I wanted to be able to make it on my own, find a job that would pay for my bills and rent and create a career based on my abilities alone. Fortunately for me, the timing was good and I managed to leave Greece a few years before the major economic crisis.

That job I found was a graduate role that would allow me to gain some experience in the field. The company is small and the environment very friendly. Three years later and I am still in the same position. I managed to change my role into something a little bit more productive and I also got some pay rises through these years. However, the company is so small that there is no room to properly evolve. If I stay here I will remain in the same position that doesn’t have to offer me anything else and I still will be underpaid. That is why I am thinking of changing jobs and the reason I started my Saturday courses to learn to program in Java.

I know I am doing the right thing and I know all the reasons why I want to change jobs. However, I have to day that I like it where I am at the moment. I’m used to working with these people and I wake up content in the morning having to come to the office. I fear the change and the unknown. I am reluctant to get out there and maybe end up in a role with colleagues I will not like or a stressful role in a big company.

On top of that, I am not sure if I want to relocate. Some IT companies I know have moved outside of London for financial reasons. Some other really nice companies are located outside the UK or even Europe. I think that I am at the age that I should be willing to try working in a foreign country. I wouldn’t like to lose the opportunity. It would be amazing going for work in Japan, the States or Australia. Then, I think of my life here, my friends and most of all ‘JJ’. I don’t know how I could bear to lose him, to tell him that I found my dream job role in the other side of the World and that I’m leaving…

OK, I know that I’m talking completely theoretically and I wasn’t proposed for example a role in Google that would demand me to relocate to the Silicon Valley (yet), but how can you decide between your career and your personal life? When you grow old, what would you regret sacrificing more? You can never tell which job or which relationship is the best for you in the long term…

Anyway, in the meantime I’ll keep on trying to finish that (bloody) course. I only have another class this Saturday and probably two or three weeks of heavy studying to go before I take the exams. I’ll also keep on applying for interesting positions and hope for the best. Fortunately, I still have my safety net of my current job.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Your country needs you!

That is probably one of the scariest phrases ever used. I have it related with times of war, when ultimate sacrifices have to be made in the name of the nation. I instinctively think of World War II, bombings, sirens, hunger and depression.

That is the phrase that the British Prime Minister said yesterday to ask for people’s support on the economic crisis. He mentioned that there are tough times ahead of us and that everybody should do their bit to help the country! He believes that people should start feeling united and willing to help their country in time of need. He also implies that people shouldn’t complain (go on strike) but accept the situation and be patient when funding is cut or jobs are lost.

However, how far from the truth is he? Are the cuts that he is proposing justified? Are they going to be beneficial in the long term or not? Are the measures proposed too little or too late?

Of course, don’t expect me to answer these questions. Only time will tell. What I can’t personally understand is the fact that one day they mention they will cut /reduce child benefits from families and the other day it is mentioned that bank bonuses will ‘fall’ to £5bn! Notice that ‘fall’ bit. Last year it was £5.3bn. These people expected bonuses up to £7bn ($11.1bn) this year, so they are naturally a little bit disappointed… However, I think that some billion pounds can be used to save the economy, especially if the situation is so grim that it seems like ‘wartime’.

OK, I may be too naïve, simple minded or ignorant of the games being played or the situation. In the situation the PM is in, there is not much he can say when addressing the people. That phrase can also imply that we managed to overcome difficult times in the past, so we will overcome this one as well. There is a small hint of hope talking about unity or common purposes…

I might even be repeating myself, tiring you about economics. However, I think that ‘London Underground’ and ‘British Airways’ should be privatised and that the ‘benefits mentality’ of adolescent pregnancies or chronic unemployment should be dealt with…


Anyway, I leave you with a shocking story I also heard today. Meet Clara Meadmore. She’s 107, one of the oldest women of Britain. She must have been through and have seen so much! What’s so different about her is that she is a virgin! Yes, she is. When she was young sex was only allowed after been married and she never did. Talking about a dry spell… And some people are complaining about it…

It’s all a state of mind…

Weekly, I pack my nice gym bag and I head with my co-worker and friend ‘gb’ to the city center to have a gym session with our personal trainer. Our ‘pt’ is a lovely guy. We’ve been training with him for over a year now (time flies so fast). However, each time we go there, he is utterly destroying us!

I know it for a fact that I will be so exhausted at the end of the session that I will have difficulties getting undressed, shower my hair and getting back dressed at the gym, since I will not be able to raise my arms. I will also feel every step of the tube stairs while crawling back home. I also know that because there is no time to stretch, I will be in pain for the next couple days. Unfortunately, the gym closes early and because of work, we have ‘pt’ quite late. Also ‘gb’ thinks that we shouldn’t be paying him to help us simply stretch!

With everything else that’s been going on in my life, I’ve been having quite a busy schedule. Just the thought of going to the gym with ‘pt’, makes me moody. That unwillingness of course make the sessions even harder. I know that it is very vital to have a positive thinking when it comes to exercise. Just trying to put a smile on your face and keep repeating to yourself “I can this, I can do this” can help you do these extra miles you’ve always wanted to do…

It’s just sometimes very difficult to put that smile on your face.

So, I plan to make changes. I’ll talk to ‘gb’ and ‘pt’. I’ll tell them that since now we’ve been doing this combination of exercises, you know when between sets of an exercise, you do something else to confuse your muscles, we do almost all muscle groups really quickly. We can make some time for stretches! I have thought of stopping exercising altogether with ‘pt’, but I wouldn’t really like it. I’ve made so much progress the last year him. But I need to get my groove and determination back. I need to enjoy going to the gym and not feel it like a torture…

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Situations change…

OK, first of all. My pie yesterday was a huge success. You can find the recipe here. The only thing I changed was the fact that I added some spring onions and leeks. I’ve added them together with the spinach to steam. I don’t like adding oil to the pie to make it lighter. I’ve only added some dill, parsley, pepper and two eggs for flavour. A spoon of flour was only needed to obtain the water.


On a different matter, my housemate just returned from a weekend in Greece. She told me that the situation there and people’s habitudes changed. Greeks used to behave differently. In the past, they were more extravagant when going out, not caring about overspending if they were having a really good time with friends. It was considered shameful in a way to pay attention to pennies. For example, when friends met to go out for dinner, there was a small battle when the bill arrived about who will pay for everybody else first. It might seem weird, but that’s the way it used to be…

Now, things are different. People do not leave tips any more in restaurants and bars. They don’t go out that often and they pay attention to the groceries they buy. That change was about to happen following the recent developments of Greece’s economy. It happened gradually there but for those of us, like me, visiting Greece from time to time, it can be shocking. There are so many closed stores on the streets and there is a melancholic atmosphere everywhere. Misery…

Ok, it's not always funny, but sometimes it can be...

I want to be optimistic though. Recently Qatar announced that an Emir would like to buy the location where the old Athens International airport used to be to build a small airport for Lear jets, luxurious Hotels and shopping centres. Also, the Chinese Prime Minister visited the country declaring that he would like to buy and build a new harbour outside Athens. They plan to create a new Hellenic-Chinese Nautical Institute.

I am not sure that these investments are the best (environmental friendly) way to get the country out of recession. I would prefer to see the area of the old Athens airport changed into a metropolitan Park as first planed. The city definitely needs a new area of green. However, these investments will lower the unemployment rates, bring foreign currency to the country and help increase trade. There could be some light at the end of the tunnel… Only time can tell though.

let's pray, it isn't

Monday, 4 October 2010

No news - good news…

I’ve been living quite a quiet life recently. I have been a good student following my courses and studying. I visited the library as planned and managed to stay there for a little bit more than three hours, not checking out people but actually studying… It was nice being indoors with my books and laptop, while it was heavily raining outside.

My life is so thrilling at the moment that I feel excited about going running tonight and then baking a spinach-leek pie for dinner! I haven’t been running since last Monday and I have my 10k for Cancer Research UK in two weeks. I don’t think I’ll manage to break any Personal Records, but anyway. At least I managed to raise the money I wanted for the charity…

Thankfully, I don’t have to face the London Tube Strike today. I am one of the very fortunate to be able to walk from home to work and back. It will be so chaotic on the streets. I don’t really want to comment on Bob Crow (leader of the Underground Union - RMT) much. Let’s simply say that I don’t like him very much and that he is extensively abusing the power he’s been given. He received a pay rise this August of 12%! He now earns £133,183 ($210283) per year! Bear in mind that the UK Prime Minister gets paid £142,500 per year! In a year he might be earning more than the leader of this country… He is really unstoppable.

I think that syndicalism is generally a good thing. However, it’s no good when it is practiced like that…

Anyway, I'll go back to my exciting life...

Friday, 1 October 2010

Changing projects…

I received yesterday through post my letter of rejection for the London Marathon. Boo…

I wanted to do that next year

I tried to enter the London Marathon through the ballot which selects people randomly. You can also enter by implying for a position with a charity but they demand to raise so much money these days. It would be so difficult training for the actual run and also trying to raise around £2000 ($3100) through recession! I can’t ask from friends, relatives and co-workers so much money. I don’t think I’ll be able to do it. I know people last year that had to add the remaining £300 to £400 on their own to complete the amount.

So, my plan A to run a London Marathon the year I turn 30 is not going to happen. I now have to find a plan B by finding another event to enter or another challenge to accomplish. I will look for a half marathon in spring or marathon in summer (to have more time to train) in a nice place. A colleague is doing in two weeks the Venice Marathon. I would really love to do that. However, because I am a wuss, I’ll try to get JJ’s support first. I don’t mind running alone, but I don’t want to travel alone to a different country, place and run. I need the support.

So, I’d better start looking… Anyone else interested?


On a different kind of projects, since I don’t have enough on my plate to do (Java, work, studying, social life, running, gym etc) I’ve decided to start something completely new! Yay! This will be something fun though, to work on my free (?) time.

I want to create a web page for JJ, and his paintings. I don’t want to create something extremely fancy with many videos or animations, but I’d like to do a website with information, news for upcoming events, his portfolio etc. I don’t think I can add online selling yet. I think it will be too complicated and a hustle for an inexperienced user like me, even by using PayPal or something similar.

It’s about time he a web site. Painting for him is something to do on his free time. He never thought of becoming a professional painter and sell his paintings for an extra income. Of course as an artist, he doesn’t really appreciate his work. He has in the past just given away his work for free to strangers on the street! However, I see some potential there and there is no harm trying!

I’ve never created a website before. I had some courses in ‘Flash’ back in the university. It was called ‘Macromedia’ back then, now it’s called ‘Adobe Flash’. I’m hoping to find some tutorials and set a simple website using a template I can find online and modify. I don’t believe using ‘HTML’ is so difficult. I’ve been slightly playing around with it for this blog anyway.

I also want it to be a surprise for JJ. I was checking online and I found some websites that sell art on line. They work with commission or annual membership. He could do something like that as well, but having his own website is always good and it doesn’t cost that much. I now have to find a domain and a host (after I finish programming the damn thing).