Sep. 20th, 2006 08:24 pm
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Fandom)
Gotten myself a new pair of glasses last week -- the frames on the old ones had finally given out with one of the small pieces that supported the nose breaking off entirely. It'd been many years since I'd been in an ophthalmologist's anyway -- my sight has worsened slightly: it used to be 4.5 astigmatism on the one eye, and 2.5/2.5 astigmatism and myopia on the other. Now the astigmatism has gone up to 5.0 on the one eye, and myopia/astigmatism has gone 3.0/2.75 on the other.

But I like my new glasses well enough; the frame is even lighter than the old one, I think. Perhaps in a few months I'll even try out for contact lenses and be done with the glasses' annoyance in its entirety (to be replaced with a new annoyance ofcourse :-)


On other matters, has anyone reading this played World of Warcraft? I got the game 10 days ago or so, and yeah I have to sa that I *like* it.

If anyone's played, let me know the server/realm you are on. I have a character already in "Darkspear", but in a few days I may choose to create another one elsewhere and start from scratch. So it'd be cool to know some people already there. :-)


Back to politics -- we have a democratic revolution in *Hungary* of all places. And one that's actually of a *rare* kind I think: one that pushes the concept of democratic governance forward, rather than merely seek to drive out an obvious tyranny, like e.g the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. Which was a lot more significant, but not quite as original.

It's a muddled concept I'm trying to describe, I think. But the Orange Revolution was like successfully helping rescuscitate a drowned person. Such rescuscitations are *vast* in importance, lifes are saved, but they have been done *before* -- dictatorships have collapsed before before the face of public opposition.

The current Hungarian Revolution on the other hand seems to me like an attempt to cure a disease that has not yet been cured anywhere at all in the world; namely the arrogance of every country's political elite who think that they can even pretend to hold any sort of democratic mandate when they lied to get it.

Even if Hungary's disease is minor comparatively to the death-and-life struggle that Ukraine faced... it's still a *new* cure that's attempted, and so a new dimension of glory, with possibly global repercussion. I hope the protesters succeed in overthrowing that government.


I've downloaded the Windows Vista RC1 operating system, the release candidate that Microsoft's offering for free so that they get a pool of testers.

Now I'm debating with myself whether to actually *install* it on my computer. On the one hand I tend to hold that curiosity regretted is better than curiosity unsated. On the other hand, it's a brand new computer and I'd hate to mess it up. :-)
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Will be getting me a new computer today. :-)

I first went out to check prices and options a month ago -- but I heard that there was gonna be a major price cut in AMD processors once Intel's latest had come out. So I waited, and it did, and now I'll be getting myself a double-core Athlon with less money than the single-core one I had planned on in the first place.

Also gonna be making sure this one's *quiet*. My old comp had started to bug me, not just with its crashes and delays, which had started making it nearly unworkable, but also with its noise whenever it was on. (which was pretty much continuously as I tend to have it downloading stuff all the time)
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Fandom)
I've been doing the antisocial thing a bit this month, but that's mainly because I've been busy. Indeed I was more busy the past month than I'm gonna be from now on since, besides my new job, in the evenings I also had another obligation I'd undertaken earlier on, assisting-teach computer usage.

Some photos of my coworkers and me:

People committing suicide in frustration over bugs in the code )

Hard at work )

Group shot )

Anyway, before the result of some semifinal proves me wrong on this, here's my desires for the World Cup -- having Portugal win against Germany in the final. That'd be a quite nice repeat of the 2004 Euro Cup, where Greece won against Portugal *in* Portugal.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
In regards to my last post, I ended up opting to take a position that was offered me by another company. They'd not contacted me by the time of my last post -- so I wasn't sure they wanted me. But yeah they did -- and I preferred them. The pay's almost as good, and the distance from home is half that of the other one I had in mind, while the hours also seem (in theory atleast) better. The difference really wasn't worth the life-devouring timewaste I'd have to suffer every single day.

The one I ended up picking is a Belgium-based company, and because a Belgian was also present in the interview, it was conducted in English. *g* I only had a single instance of trouble in it -- when the guy (in order to determine that I did have the programming knowledge I mentioned in my CV) asked me concerning try-catch and for ten-fifteen seconds or so my mind was processing this as "trycuts" and I was metaphorically blinking in confusion. But since I ended up figuring it out, and telling them enough to understand that I did know what I was talking about, no harm done.

I begin work on June 5th. So this next "empty" week I'm gonna fill with various odds and ends. Some recreation before the plunge for starters - I went Friday and grabbed several books for starters -- Ursula Le Guin and Orson Scott Card. I'm gonna open me a bank account as will be necessary to get paid. Will also get me one of those new-type ID cards that can also double as travel documents throughout the EU. Perhaps also renew my passport. Today I did go and got photographs enough for all of these.

Need to replace my broken printer some time too, but I'll probably only do that after my first paycheck. It can probably afford to wait.

Job offer.

May. 23rd, 2006 02:14 pm
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Well, I've had my first on-the-spot job offer. I hesitated and told them I'll tell them for sure tomorrow.

The good thing is that the pay is as good as it's possible for me to get at this early stage. And the company at first glance looked a good place to be.

The bad thing is that the hours are long -- also the place is almost an hour's distance from home. Plus an hour to return, that's 2 hours spent a day just in journeying.

I'm most likely gonna say yes. But if so, am gonna need to buy me lots of books to read during the trips to and fro, so that it won't be a total waste.


May. 21st, 2006 05:40 pm
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Fandom)
My favourite song was the Norwegian one actually -- but I have to say that given how that one didn't even enter the top ten, I'm glad that the Finns won -- they were my second choice. For starters it's a very nice break from all the cute and pretty people singing cute and pretty songs. :-)

And I'm additionally glad that Greece was one of the countries that gave them the 12 points. Cyprus' early elimination made that possible, and it was good to see.

Ofcourse my mother and particularly my brother were going all "woe is us" and "alas, alas" at what happened. *rolls eyes*
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Fandom)
Looking through my hard disk, I saw again a photo that I'm really without an excuse for not posting for so many months. :-)

This was taken back when I was serving in Samos. The opening of a kindergarten/daycare center for the children of the officers and personnel was being celebrated. I had been sent to take photos with a digital camera. *g* The one below is a particular favourite of mine.

Warning: Cuteness inside )

Just look at those cheeks! And that look the baby is giving the camera. Heh.


On an utterly unrelated and trivial piece of news, on the subway today I saw a woman reading something that looked like a newsletter with the title "Scyrian news." -- meaning from the island of Skyros in Greece. Except that for a second or so I thought it read "Scythian news" instead, and my first thought was "...what the hell? The Scyths still exist?"

Which wasn't really that ludicrous -- afterall the Assyrians still exist, as a stateless nation. *rolls eyes* But ofcourse, even if the Scyths still existed it would have been kinda odd for them to have a newsletter in the Greek language.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
So, I'm done with the army. Off with trying to find some real job.


But before that, here's a self-analysis post, the sort of thing I don't usually tend to make. Because basically I don't tend to say anything much unless I've arrived to a conclusion, and I think I've only arrived to a real conclusion two or three days ago.

Self-analysis time )
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Fandom)
Funny thing happened Tuesday morning. Funny ha-ha, but also (and primarily) funny *weird*. And it did weird me out, but in a good way.

Was returning early morning to the camp from an overnight stay at home (dianyktereusi). Showed my ID as usual to the guy at the gate -- a cadet officer (I think that's what it's called in English, dokimos-δόκιμος in Greek) Instead of just waving me through he seemed to consider my name:

Him: KaTSAris. [wrongly stressing it on the second syllable, but thinking it over as if he wasn't sure I belonged].
Me: KatsaRIS. I'm at SAEP. [my unit]
Him: That's not it. Are you the known Aris Katsaris?

Read more... )
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Fandom)
Have gotten ADSL again and life is good.

Details, and how I've gone into a selling-frenzy )


How can intelligent successful people make really, *really* stupid comments, especially as concerns their own field of work? Bill Gates, and the next optical disc format )


Went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire yesterday, with a group of friends. Long review/commentary forthcoming, almost certainly not today, but hopefully tomorrow, or at the very latest the day after.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Back to Athens, and away from Samos, for good this time. *g* About a week ago (or perhaps slightly more) I passed the six-month mark of my service which means I'm more than half through. And ofcourse it was the harder half: basic training at Corinth and the months at the near-border location. It's gonna be far easier from now on. Certainly up to two weeks ago I wasn't posting much to the Internet because I didn't have enough time. These past few days (since Wednesday when I came back here), I didn't post any because I was reading new books I got. That's a definite improvement quality-of-life-wise. :-)

See, Saturday was out to celebrate two friends' birthdays -- while I was picking up gifts for them, I also got myself three new books, the next (and next-to-last) Dark Tower book by Stephen King (Song of Susannah), Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, and the newest Pressfield book, the one about Alexander the Great, Virtues of War. Have already finished the first of these, Song of Susannah. On to the next! :-)

Tomorrow I'm also getting myself an ADSL connection. Cheaper in the long run -- by far.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Utterly annoying when I lose a long post -- especially when it's my first post after quite a while....

Here's the abbreviated version of the post I lost: Tomorrow I'm leaving Samos and returning to Athens for a week or so of leave... Will be going by ship so it'll be a 12-hour journey.

Am not sure what my level of internet access will be in Athens -- but I'll probably get the chance to post more, since I'll have free time enough to *write* more. Also many apologies to my friends for not maintaining more regular communications while here in Samos -- to my defense, Internet access here has been less available than I'd have liked and otherwise problematic...

More things concerning books I recently read and such will have to wait for another post: Too tired right now to rewrite them.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
I really like programming again.

Let me repeat that: I REALLY LIKE programming again. For starters it's my real element (or one of my real elements anyway :-) and I'm submerged in it once more. Secondly, it's probably the first time since I've entered the army that I feel like I'm doing anything productive or useful.

So all in all I like my unit here at Samos quite a bit -- and definitely more than Corinth. Though it has its difficult bits too: guard duty every day for starters -- ugh.

Internet Cafe at Samos is awfully expensive though. I probably won't be able to post as frequently as I had hoped, and the few times I do, my comments will probably have been typed beforehand. That's a second ugh.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Well, I've had news for the past two weeks -- but at the same time these past weeks I was in one of my occasional no-chatting, no-livejournaling, no-emailing moods. *g* Not that the mood has entirely passed, so don't expect this to be a very long entry.

Anyway, normally I should be in Samos right now, my regular unit for the next several months. But instead I'm on sick leave 'till the end of the month.

A month or so back, during my last couple days in Corinth, we had one of our usual long marches to "Examilia", the shooting range. As usual it was exhausting just to walk there. This time though, after a while, my right foot also started hurting me whenever I put pressure on it. By the time we reached there (and even more so by the time we got back) each step was a pain and I'm limping.

I went to the doctor's there later that same day but back then they only gave me some pills for the pain and some sort of ointment-thingy (sorry English medical terminology escapes me) for the swelling.

Next couple days, foot still hurt whenever I step, but less so. After a few days more the pain starts appearing only after I have walked a while. I think it's improving and am letting it go.

But two weeks after, the pain still existed and didn't seem to improve any more -- if I walked for a few minutes I was always starting to limp again. So finally I figured something's wrong that won't go away by itself, I ask to go to the doctor's again, and they send me for x-rays. They found "third metatarsal bone" in the right foot was "stress-fractured". Put me in the hospital for a day then gave 30 days sick-leave. 18 of these I'm entitled to, the other 12 I'll have to serve in addition. (Ugh)

This whole thing is annoying mainly because I'll have to go to Samos by myself at the end of the month (if all goes well and they don't tell me I'll need to stay out of it for more time), rather than with a group of fellow soldiers.

The main silver lining is that I'll be here when the new Harry Potter comes out this Saturday, and be able to read it in leisure. I'm thinking of doing a chapter-by-chapter comment thingy as I've enjoyed seeing others do with previous books. :-)

I got a brief dial-up connection for the time I'm here, since I had cancelled my ADSL connection and account a while back.

Bored out of my mind to a large extent, but I did get to read the Dark Materials trilogy of Phillip Pullman. Finished it today and found it so-and-so. More comments on later post.

In fact I'll probably get to do some more book-reviewing posts in the next couple days. To get back into the whole internet communicative mood, I'll probably try to do one of these per day, till HP comes out.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
About a week and a half (or so ago), I had several days of leave just after I took the soldier's oath -- but at the time I wasn't much in the mood for either livejournaling or emailing: got to do some surfing, download the latest episode of Bleach, see the last StarWars with Tilemachos, got myself some books and that's about it. Now I have some exit time from the camp, and got myself in an internet cafe to surf a bit again and make this entry.

*g* So, a brief update -- soldier's life for me can be best described as an unpleasant but liveable *routine* most of all. Liveable, but not life -- life itself exists mainly in the gaps: the times for rest, relaxation, amusement. But these gaps are fortunately plentiful, atleast so far.

A couple weeks ago I was mildly annoyed at how so much of the time seemed to spent on rehearsals for the oath ceremony or the parade and such matters of making an *impression*, rather than actually training us for anything useful -- but after the oath, the ratio of time used on actual training (maintaining and firing a weapon, techniques for moving and camouflage, etc), actual service like standing watch, or relaxation time, to the time used on meaningless activity seems to have increased, so that's all right.

Standing watch -- I've so far stood watch in two 2-hour shifts, one in the late afternoon and one in the middle of the night (standing watch again tomorrow) and both of the time my experience was similar: Both first hours I actually got to enjoy the silence and solitude which are two things I've been largely missing in the army (I actually got to figure out what I wanted to tell about in the Hikaru/Ogata ficlet I've been planning to write during the first of those shifts). The second hour I found in both times boring and tiresome, dully waiting till I'm replaced.

Each of us was supposed to have made shots at three different ranges, 100m, 200m, 300m, and also throw a training grenade. But many of us (including me) got sent to a different camp for guarding service during the two last days meant for those activities, so I didn't get to throw a grenade (drat! :-) or to fire at the 300m. And my 100m shot was hopelessly miscalculated, due to the fact that the person next to me seems to have been wrongly shooting at *my* target as well -- out of 10 bullets fired I saw 15 bullet-holes, and got given a grade of 10/40 (out of a maximum of 10/50 which would meaning 10 bullets all hitting the 5-point bulls-eye) -- very likely more than I deserved. My more accurately measured 200m shot was graded at 8/28, which is decent enough -- most people got less I think.

Both leave time and exit time helps tremendously. I was much more relaxed once I returned from my first leave time than before it. And this morning (after one week of no exit or leave at all) I felt snappish -- now as I'm enjoying a full afternoon and evening of exit time, I don't think I could feel more relaxed.

Bought "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco today. In Greek, since I can't read Italian -- it's been a while since I've read a book in Greek I think, since I prefer to read English-language books in the original language.

This week (starting Monday) they'll be sending us to the near-the-border destinations which we'll be spending many months. Much depends on where they send us, but how unpleasant life will be there depends muchly I'm sure to the people we encounter there -- a thing outside our control. Hoping for an island rather than Evros, but that's just about it -- and ofcourse also hoping that they take me for the computer-related Research-Informatics section.

*g* That's all for now.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Peter Pan)

Got my army notice yesterday, finally. Am to present myself at May 11, in Corinth. Gonna spent time next couple weeks gathering the things they want -- x-rays, copies of diplomas, copy of criminal record. I wonder if that old quadruple murder conviction is gonna keep me from positions of trust. :-)

Anyway, I'll be discontinuing my Otenet account at May 10, and keeping only my gmail account for email purposes. Gonna also have to see about transferring my old page from Otenet to some new website provider by that time. IIRC verizon was recommended to me by a friend, does anyone else have any more suggestions?

Also gonna see if I can write a small fanfic I have in mind by that time -- there's nothing like a deadline to get me writing fast. Come to think of it there's several more things I want to do internet-wise: I have half-written comments on Kyzlowski's red movie, as well as a comparison on the developments of nations in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien vs Robin Hobb vs George R.R. Martin... And there's also one or two specific Wikipedia contributions I want to make while I have the time. Will see how many of these I can do. :-)

And also need to get myself the series finale of "Friends" ofcourse. :-)

Which reminds me: Tilemache, we need to meet some time to lend you those DVDs we had talked about, if you're still interested.

Got myself a collection of Ursula Le Guin's shorter (and more recent) Earthsea stories today as I was returning from requesting a copy of my diploma. And an issue of Asimov's maganize. And an issue of Analog. Between sleeping (barely slept last night) and reading these, I think this day is done, though it's still just 3:40pm. The next one too, possibly.

And as a sidenote, it's always very annoying when I lose a post and need to rewrite it almost from scratch, as was the case with this one now. Am just glad it wasn't longer.

Btw, new Bleach eps keep on being very cool -- it's almost a different series now, compared to how it begun and the meaningless "Hollow" fights.

katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Yesterday (Monday), I was given one of the scares of my life, at the university, for two hours or so -- when I had gone to make the application for the graduation ceremony and they told me that it didn't seem I had gathered all necessary education points ("didaktikes monades") from classes. Now I definitely remembered calculating that I had fulfilled every prerequisite, but I had to ask for a list of what classes they *had* registered -- and yet that list didn't help me remember much which class it was whose results on me they *hadn't* registered. I went to talk with Cotronis (professor-in-charge of the 2nd direction, which I belong to) with whom I had had to register all classes I had taken the last years. I had to wait more than an hour and a half to talk with him since he'd been examining students, but he couldn't help me much because he had handed over all those papers of his for the time being and wouldn't get them back soon.

So then I just went to www.di.uoa.gr in the list of subjects and tried to figure out from memory which class I had taken whose result had been omitted. There were several classes that rang bells but some of those I had just watched some lessons and later decided to abandon -- or I knew they only reminded me of their equivalent undergraduate classes.

*Finally* figured it out -- it was the "Hypermedia and Multimedia Systems" of Martakos and Hatziefthimiadis that the secretariat hadn't registered -- even though I remembered passing it about 2 and a half years ago and even did a whole VRML exercise in that class. So then I had to go to find Martakos and explain the situation, and Martakos sends me over to Hatziefthimiadis who kept all grades in question. Going down stairs, through some doors and areas of the department I hadn't even visited before (wow -- 7 years in the school undergrad and postgrad, and I don't remember ever going to the NOC building before now.) and seeing Hatziefthimiadis, and he searches his own files and he first searches for my student code (M473) and can't find it, and I'm all cold-sweating and stuff, but he eventually finds my *name*.

Someone had typed out my code as M437 instead of M473, it seems. That's why the secretariat (is that a good translation of "grammateia"?) couldn't find my grade at that class. And somehow I had missed catching the absense of that class in the various papers (analytikes) I'd received since then.

Anyway, all good now, Hatziefthimiadis said he'll send the correction early Tuesday. After that scare, I certainly got one of the biggest *reliefs* of my life. Felt like skipping down the hallways. And did so for a couple steps. Would have looked quite ridiculous, I'm sure, but I hardly cared.

The funny thing is I have no idea who M437 is and whether my own grade has helped him graduate already. :-)
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Things to do:

-- Install ADSL. Get modem, upgrade subscription, the whole jazz. Had asked for ADSL line since Spring or so, and they've only put it in the last couple days. Then I may not necessarily be *more* time in the Internet (not sure that's possible :-)) -- but it'll be both cheaper and faster when I'm in it. :-)
-- Gotta go to the dentist. A tooth has been hurting me on and off for a *LONG* time. Probably next week this one. Say "ouchie" on my behalf.
-- Comdex, early November.
-- Gotta go see Shrek 2. Tilemache, gonna be here to see it with me in a couple weeks? I suppose it'll still be playing.
-- Gotta go cancel the army's "postponement" (anavoli). Not too much rush over that, gonna leave it for after a couple weeks.
-- Gonna post atleast one livejournal per day for atleast a month. Heavens knows there's much I can comment on, both fanwise, filmwise and politics wise.
-- Gotta start sleeping in more reasonable hours. No more going to bed at 8 AM when I have to be up by 9 AM. :-)
-- Gotta see a lot of DVDs.


Oct. 26th, 2004 06:13 pm
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)

Went good enough. Could have used some more time than the half-hour given us; the last slides had to be rushed. But all good on the whole. Done. All that remains is the formality of binding the text and handing it to the department's library. Any of my Greek friends know of any good place for binding? (library said "binding"-bibliodesia, not "thermokollisi". ).

The previous day it even seemed I was coming down with fever, but was thankfully better today for the presentation. Still not fully well, I think.

More posting later. Now SLEEP.

EDIT: Changed "typicality" to the correct "formality", since I should have known better than assume typicality meant in English what it means in Greek. ;-)
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
For those who are interested (easier than mass email, this lj entry), current timeline for diploma:
15 October (or so) the last version of the text is expected to be handed in.
Sometime between 20-25 October (don't know the exact date), I'll have to give a presentation on it (Ugh, I hate presentations).
November, the oath.


On less personal news, the Ansari-X prize has been awarded! Tier One: Praise them with great praise.

Those interested in the Bush-Kerry thing go here for comments from Adam Cadre -- someone whom I often like to read.

Recently on It's Walky, where almost every character, good or bad, including the title character, has recently met his demise, I was amused to see an afterlife with even the atheist viewpoint depicted.

Can't say that I've seen many fictional universes with the possibility of atheistic afterlifes. :-)


Lastly, to the people I've not responded to either in email or in lj, or to whom I've otherwise been remiss -- I sincerely apologize. *g* Starting next month I'll be a better friend again, I promise you. :-)


katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Aris Katsaris

July 2011

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