Thursday, March 31, 2005


Found this extremely interesting on-line tool that creates graphs of web-sites, based on the google references and links.

I tried it out giving it Dystro's blog as a starting point.

There's an alternative version that uses the amazon database instead, based on subject/keyword relevance. It's very useful if you want to find books relevant to something you are reading or have published!

Monday, March 28, 2005


It's what I call the "Olympic Volunteers Uniform Closet Half-Life" (or, in short O.V.U.C.Ha.Li.), i.e. the average amount of time that it will take all these thousands of volunteers before they start wearing their white/blue/orange suits casually in the streets again.

They totally disappeared after the olympics, and I was wondering for how long, until I saw one the other day in downtown Athens.

My guess is that they will start popping up soon everywhere, as the weather gets warmer, leading to the following statistical expectation / variance of Ovuchali:

E(Ovuchali) ~= 9 months (+/- 3 months)


Now will someone PLEASE explain to me what the deal is with this crappy, shitty, useless waste of money and time that they have been calling "eurovision" since before I was even born?

I mean, let's look at the facts. The music industry is big and strong. There are all sorts of different musical styles that sell like hell, many of them decent. There are so many fresh new young groups that are trying to make it, many of them talented. And there is a ready-to-use infrastructure called the "eurovision song contest", that could have been an excellent platform to promote them. In an ideal world, one could sit through the contest evening and be happily surprized by fresh, modern, decent music of all genres from all countries of Europe.

And instead, you get this God-awful SHIT music, with even more horrific and kitsch appearances. I mean, who the hell ever listens to this music? Who buys it? And even worse, who decides that this is the music that Europeans want to be listening to?

I mean, SAKIS???!!! "Shake it baby" ????!!!! If someone believes that it would take a songwriter/composer more than 30 seconds to come up with the melody and lyrics, please go take a shower because you probably stink and I wouldn't want you around my blog (thanks dystro, I know it's irrelevant but it felt right!). And that was the highlight! Or even worse, that "Jane-meets-Britney" person from the Ukraine with the equally un-original, un-interesting, un-anything song that won last year.

My suggestion: Either ABORT the whole deal, or if not, let's only allow entries like "S.a.g.a.p.o.", if you know what I mean, that are at least REALLY FUNNY (although in an equally sad way).

The only positive thing that I have seen in the entire eurovision business is the small 30 second clips that each country sends in with images from it's nicest parts. Those are usually nice... But that's it.

Ουφ, αυτά είχα να πω, τά 'πα και ξεθύμανα...

Friday, March 25, 2005

One makes a difference...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005



Asia Minor

Inspired by a recent post by my friend and fellow blogger yk , I am posting an old old picture.

It is one of many I have at home. It shows my gradfather (the short guy standing on the left of the patient) operating on a wounded soldier on the battlefield (or nearby, I guess) during the "In Tepe" battle in Asia Minor in 1921.

I had decided to scan many of these pictures before they totally fade (I "retouched" this a little crudely), but I can't find the time lately.

Dear cretins...

I got this by email, and I just HAD to post it. It is a copy of a letter that won a competition in UK as complaint letter of the year.


Dear Cretins,

I have been an NTL customer since 9th July 2001, when
I signed up for your 3-in-one deal for cable TV, cable
modem, and telephone. During this three-month period I
have encountered inadequacy of service which I had not
previously considered possible, as well as ignorance
and stupidity of monolithic proportions. Please allow
me to provide specific details, so that you can either
pursue your professional prerogative, and seek to
rectify these difficulties - or more likely (I
suspect) so that you can have some entertaining
reading material as you while away the working day
smoking B&H and drinking vendor-coffee on the bog in
your office:

My initial installation was cancelled without warning,
resulting in my spending an entire Saturday sitting on
my fat arse waiting for your technician to arrive.
When he did not arrive, I spent a further 57 minutes
listening to your infuriating hold music, and the even
more annoying Scottish robot woman telling me to look
at your helpful website....HOW?

I alleviated the boredom by playing with my testicles
for a few minutes - an activity at which you are
no-doubt both familiar and highly adept. The
rescheduled installation then took place some two
weeks later, although the technician did forget to
bring a number of vital tools - such as a drill-bit,
and his cerebrum. Two weeks later, my cable modem had
still not arrived. After 15 telephone calls over 4
weeks my modem arrived... six weeks after I had
requested it, and begun to pay for it.

I estimate your internet server's downtime is roughly
35%... hours between about 6pm -midnight, Mon-Fri, and
most of the weekend. I am still waiting for my
telephone connection. I have made 9 calls on my mobile
to your no-help line, and have been unhelpfully
transferred to a variety of disinterested individuals,
who are it seems also highly skilled bollock jugglers.

I have been informed that a telephone line is
available (and someone will call me back); that no telephone line is
available (and someone will call me back); that I will
be transferred to someone who knows whether or not a
telephone line is available (and then been cut off);
that I will be transferred to someone (and then been
redirected to an answer machine informing me that your
office is closed); that I will be transferred to
someone and then been redirected to the irritating
Scottish robot woman...and several other variations on
this theme.

Doubtless you are no longer reading this letter, as
you have at least a thousand other dissatisfied
customers to ignore, and also another one of those
crucially important testicle-moments to attend to.
Frankly I don't care; it's far more satisfying as a
customer to voice my frustrations in print than to
shout them at your unending hold music. Forgive me,
therefore, if I continue.

I thought BT were shit, that they had attained the
holy piss-pot of god-awful customer relations, that
no-one, anywhere, ever, could be more disinterested,
less helpful or more obstructive to delivering service
to their customers. That's why I chose NTL, and
because, well, there isn't anyone else is there? How
surprised I therefore was, when I discovered to my
considerable dissatisfaction and disappointment what a
useless shower of bastards you truly are. You are
sputum-filled pieces of distended rectum incompetents
of the highest order.

British Telecom - wankers though they are - shine like
brilliant beacons of success, in the filthy
puss-filled mire of your seemingly limitless
inadequacy. Suffice to say that I have now given up on
my futile and foolhardy quest to receive any kind of
service from you. I suggest that you cease any
potential future attempts to extort payment from me
for the services which you have so pointedly and
catastrophically failed to deliver - any such activity
will be greeted initially with hilarity and disbelief
quickly be replaced by derision, and even perhaps
bemused rage. I enclose two small deposits, selected
with great care from my cats litter tray, as an
_expression of my utter and complete contempt for both
you and your pointless company. I sincerely hope that
they have not become desiccated during transit - they
were satisfyingly moist at the time of posting, and I
would feel considerable disappointment if you did not
experience both their rich aroma and delicate texture.
Consider them the very embodiment of my feelings
towards NTL, and its worthless employees.

Have a nice day - may it be the last in your miserable
short life, you irritatingly incompetent and
infuriatingly unhelpful bunch of twats.

D. Macintyre

Usual Suspects

I's obvious who the bad dude is...

Crime scene

...and you KNOW who the prime suspect is :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Βαρειές κουβέντες

Περπατούσα τις προάλλες με το σκύλο μου τον Άρη. Περάσαμε έξω από την αυλή του κου. Χρήστου, και αμέσως πετάχτηκε ο σκύλος του ο Σπόττυ, γαυγίζοντας σαν τρελός. Με το που τον είδε ο Άρης γύρισε κι αυτός προς το μέρος του, γαυγίζοντας απειλητικά. Δε σταματάγανε με τίποτα. Τράβαγα τον Άρη, του φώναζα "Φτάνει! Προχώρα! Άσ΄τον ήσυχο...". Ο κος Χρήστος κοίταζε όλη τη σκηνή σκεπτικός, χωρίς όμως να κάνει κάποια προσπάθεια να τους χωρίσει. Τον κοίταξα με απορία, γιατί συνήθως παρεμβαίνει σε τέτοιες περιπτώσεις. Κατάλαβε τι σκεφτόμουν μου μάλλον, γιατί μου είπε με βαρύ ύφος, και απόλυτη σοβαρότητα: "Άστο, δεν θα καταφέρεις τίποτα. Έχουν ανταλλάξει βαρειές κουβέντες..."

Sunday, March 13, 2005


I'll go "out on a limb" here, and post something different. It's a controvertial issue, and I hope I don't get misunderstood.

There's been quite a lot of talk about "terrorism", lately (with the sad aniversary of the Madrid incident as well...). As I understand it, terrorism is a label given to any violent attack resulting in the loss of human life (or property), that stems from a political/religious belief or "situation", and that targets people that are not (actively) involved in a military activity (war, soldiers etc). In other words, people that are "minding their own businesses".

My understanding is that many (most?) of such attacks are the results of fanaticism, often religiously driven, and are not "fair".

However, there may be some cases, in which there are groups of people who's rights are oppressed to an extreme extent. People who have no freedom to express their opinions, who are deprived of everything, who are left to die in misery, or tortured to their deaths. These people may stand no chance of escaping their fate. And what's worse, their tragedy may be silenced, tolerated, condoned, or even supported by the leaders of other countries, who, for one reason or other, are in good terms with the authorities that oppress them.

We know of such stories (I won't go into bringing any examples, because I could not support a detailed political discussion on any of them, and that's not the point of this post). The point of this post is the following: When a person, or a group of people, have been reduced to nothing, their rights, liberties, dreams, hopes, families, lifes smashed, and they see that the rest of the world essentially turns the head away from them, either because it is not in their interest to care, or because they have not gone into the trouble of building a character that will make them understand or care, they may feel that the only solution for them is to attract attention, to send out a strong message of dispair, a cry for help. And a "terrorist" (often suicidal) attack may be what they resort to.

In these cases, innocent people may suffer the consequences. But simply condemning such attacks, or simply labeling them "acts of barbarism", is not fair. Actually, it is to some extent hypocritical.

In other words, my point is that when there is such oppression and unfairness in the world, and it is pretty much accepted and tolerated worldwide, then, as a race, us humans have not yet earned the "right" to feel (and be!) safe when we are just "minding our business". We might become the random target of one's desperate attempt to escape hell, just as we may become the random target of a lightning, or an earthquake. And that's something we should learn to live with, perhaps learn from, and even better do something about (but I mean do something productive, something like contributing in making the world more fair and just, not just "go after the bad terrorists" to protect our sense of daily security and saneness)!

I don't know if this came through as I meant it. It's something along the lines of "if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem" idea. And of course it does not mean that I do not feel all the sympathy I can for the victims of such attacks, and I hope that my friends and family or I will never be one.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

One thing I like...

...about blogs, is that I get the chance to practice my written english on non-technical subjects. I don't really have any other such opportunity.

I try my best, but if you spot any mistakes (syntactical, spelling etc, I'm sure there are quite a few) please let me know, it's a good way for me to improve.

By the way, the reason I write in English (apart from the above) is that I totally hate typing in Greek (it takes me ages). Also I once heard that each language one uses to express himself corresponds to a different personality. I don't know if that's true, but sometimes I really feel like saying some things in English, rather than in Greek or Italian, or the other way around...

Who knows...

And that's all I had to say about that!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Now I get it...

I admit I got fooled.

I "dropped into" a post in another blog that made some kind of silly, relatively agressive, and to a certain degree insulting, arguments. I decided it was a good idea to react, and commented on it with a couple of remarks; I even went as far as to become agressive myself.

And then I took a closer look at the entire blog, and I realized that it's pretty much advertised all over it that the point of it is to attract arguments and confrontations.

Silly me... how could I have missed it...

It's like that Monty Python's "argument" sketch:
- I'd like to have an argument, please.
- Certainly sir. Have you been here before?
- ...

Well, you know, I guess why not? If there are blogs out there where you go to talk politics, or read relaxing poetry, there might as well be one where you go and argue violently, to get stuff off your system or something.

Interesting experiment, I guess... just not my style.

Good luck with it, s.s. I might drop by from time to time to check how it goes...

Monday, March 07, 2005

Ending with dignity

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Hang in there, dude...

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Got milk?

Breast-feeding is interesting...

Why? Because it makes some pretty good points about life, and the human nature.

Here are a couple of facts about breast-feeding:

a) It's GOOD! (for the baby, the mother, even the father...)
b) It's TOUGH! (At least at first...)
c) There ARE alternatives!

Mix these three ingredients, and you've got the basic mould that pretty much all dilemmas in life are made of:

OK, it's good, but HOW good? Aren't the alternatives OK too? Is it really worth all the agony, or should one opt for the easy way out? How much should one persist? How does one know they're not a special case, and the usual rules don't apply to them?

And to spice things up, there's the typical entourage of "wise-guys" (or wise-girls, in this case, like mothers-in-law, sisters, aunts, friends etc.), who are quick to jump to all sorts of silly advices and conclusions, like that the mother's milk is not appropriate for the baby, or it's not enough, or the baby's mouth is the wrong shape, or that all alternatives suck, or that the alternatives are much better, or that breast-feeding will cause you all sorts of other problems...

So a young mother will one night find herself in total agony and dispair, her baby crying like hell, and only inches from giving it all up, buying a box of powder and stuffing the baby with it 'till it shuts up and goes to sleep.

What she decides to do is pretty much an instance of the story of her life...

==================> NEW ADDITION TO THIS POST:

In re-reading the above, I realised that I painted an exageratedly grim picture of the breastfeeding experience. It's really not THAT bad. And if you come to that really hard point that I describe above, if you have a little patience and hold on a little longer, chances are that it will be downhill all the way from there, and very soon it will be simply a delightful experience.

So don't be put off, it's not that bad. See also comments below...

<================= END OF NEW ADDITION

Friday, March 04, 2005

War and Peace

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

All set

The roots of pop

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Hyde Park Burning

Memory trees

Ok, that's it. I'm gonna turn this into a photo-blog for a little while. What I'm gonna do is scan old black and white negatives of mine, mess with them on my computer and post the result. Comments are welcome.

This is "Memory trees".

Drops of milk

Came across the negatives from some old attempts of mine in high-speed photography. This is back in 1990. Scanned them, threw in a little bit of color, and here they are.