Thursday, September 29

"and now for something completely different"

one of the best things one can do for improving one's fluency is writing; for any purpose;

because i've been writing for some time, as i considered writing this a lot of introductions came to my mind; i settled on ramblings about writing blogs :);

so this entry will have something for everyone:

for the romantic geek in all of us:
hey, i held a great girl in my arms; and i let her go;
i mean ... I crossed the door with her in my arms ... and she had a hand around my neck and ...

i almost dropped her on the stairs :)

she was weak in my arms ... but i usually have that effect on the opposite sex so that's not that unusual ...

for the smart people among us:
i started learning bridge. it's the game of the smart people. it involves a lot of thinking, then talking to your partner in crime, then thinking some more, then talking some more, then some more thinking, then someone starts playing, then some thinking, then someone drops some cards, then you do some more thinking, then it continues with some more cards, you think some more, then the cards finish and you find out you lost ... errr ... i think :)

it seems the most important part of the game is the thinking part; i don't think i'll be very good at this game :)

for the adventurous among us:
who said working people don't go out during the week?
well ... we did.

and who said programmers are not spontaneous?
well ... we got out spontaneously; completely unplanned; and fun (in a sick kind of way ... literally!);

we spinned around the city by car last night ... and followed a taxi through the city (kind of like that movie clichee: hey, driver! follow that car)

and we interracted with people ... and in the end had a bunch of laughs ...

for movie goers:
every ... (i don't remember every 'who' it was) has a legend ...

every legend has a hero ...

every hero is learning to play bridge ... well ... not quite but ... oh, never mind!

"and now, for something completely different!"
... like ... the truth
a few weeks ago i talked M. into her teaching me bridge ... or ... she talked me into me learning to play; whatever! yesterday they decided it was time for a practical lesson ... so i came from work, made some quick pasta for myself, had a shower, and took my MTB to her house.

we started playing ... with lots of explanations and things I didn't understand ... but it was fun ... and I'd like to know more at this stage, which is cool.

then, M. suddenly got up and went to her room. we looked at each other once, then once again and then followed her; she was laying in her bed with big stomac pain, and it took her all of five seconds or so to faint ... i think.

then she became rigid and started shaking ... and some of us - namely I. got scarred ... and we didn't know what to do.

i was for waiting to see if it passes, C. was looking for medical emergency phone numbers on the net, and I. ... i think I. wanted us to take M. to the hospital.

long story short, (after five minutes or so with M. conscious and feeling very weak) me and C. started talking her to the hospital; I lifted her up (that's what the girl in my arms thing was all about), and got her half way down the stairs ... where my big strong arm muscles failed spectacularly and C. had to take her over;

since we didn't know where the limassol hospital was, we decided to find a taxi-station and ask; seemed easy;

three empty taxy stations later (it was around 12AM), i got into a taxi, and C. followed us with his car (and M. in the backseat).

we reached the emergency room fifteen long minutes later, and i managed to grab a wheelchair; by this time M. was ok, but was still very weak.

after some more minutes (with lots of small things - what's her name? - .../what's your phone number? - 99... /lay her on that bed/she has an insurance - she won't need it for the e.r./etc.), me and C. were cracking lame jokes and M. was laughing and begging us to stop making her laugh since she still was in a bit of stomac-ache; what can i say? yeah - we have a sadistic streak!

the night ended with C. going home and me giving M. a massage and going to sleep. i slept unturned, woke tired this morning, and then made her something to eat (yeah ... deep inside i'm a good person :) - but if you say that around i might deny it).

by the way, bridge is an interesting game :)

Wednesday, September 28

ups and downs

fearing is the worst emotion one can surround himself in.

today i realized my fear of something. and confronted it;

... no, i'm not the fearless guy confronting his fears by himself ... i'm the guy confronting his fears by himself when after a week in doubt and swimming through it:|;
at least i didn't drown in my fears :)

anyway ... turns out that fear is worse that what you fear coming to pass.
bet you knew that, didn't you?

now it's come to pass ... and it's great relief knowing what is so; relief and feeling of loss. i've lost a friend;

may you allways find what you seek!

Friday, September 23

a traveling web-lurker's dream

i'm going over the logistics of my next holliday these days ...

and i get to remember all the annoyances i had with planning the first one.


it's really simple: i want to see what planes travel on a regular basis between points A and B, and on what dates.

instead, the few flight search-engines only say:
tell me points A and B, tell me the date, and i'll tell you the flights;

ofcourse you fill in A and B, then get
there is no route between A and B on your date

for frank's sake, i don't care when there aren't any flights!

i want to know when there are!

why is it so difficult? do i have to blog about a search engine's usability scenarios? any half-competent web-service interface designer should know that!


i'm done ranting; i feel all better now.

signing off.

nicest email ever

... actually not ever ... i received one like it before.

anyway, here it is in all it's beauty:

From: Mr. Manager
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2005 12:15 PM
To: utnapistim
Cc: Mrs. Group Leader
Subject: RE: Holiday request

Mrs. Group Leader - please update this in plan.


From: utnapistim
Sent: Fri 9/23/2005 12:08 PM
To: Mr. Manager
Cc: Mrs. Group Leader
Subject: Holiday request


I would like to take holiday between 24 and 27 October.

Please approve as soon as possible so I can further advance my plans.

Programming Sr. SME, within Mr. Product
+357 (25) XXxXXXX (desk)
+357 (99) XXX XXX (mobile)
+357 (25) XXxXXXX (fax)

Thursday, September 22

nothing new methinks

at some point in the past i've slipped into routine. it's nothing spectacular ... not even doing the same thing over and over again.

it's just ...
i cannot say it's nothing new either ...

i guess i got used to this (by this i mean the diving, the getting out over the weekend, the parties - thow i don't go to that many parties either);

maybe that's why i haven't blogged much lately.

but things still happen ... i mean ... i just made a breakthrough with my little divelog project (i managed to understand - slowly - why my code using SpringLayout behaves the way it does and this allowed me to create a nicer GUI.

lunix is working fine (althow i still cannot compile any C++ wxWidgets code to save my life :( )

and my plans for a week in egypt around the end of october are taking shape.

actually from putting all this down it seems like a lot has been happening ...

well ... you know me: my middle name could probably be
Captain Understatement!

anyway ... hope your lives are as uninteresting as mine...

till later,

Tuesday, September 20

on nitrogen narcosis

one of the most insightfull descriptions of nitrogen narcosis i've ever read is here

"The impairment is in perception... awareness... your frame of active attention is diminished!

And that is why it is insidious... you can concentrate and function normally within an ever decreasing circle of awareness and this tricks you into thinking that everything is fine... well it isn't... you are peripherally impaired!

This is not the same as tunnel vision but similar. Think of it in terms of tunnel awareness. That is why you will miss the subtle cues that things are starting to go sideways... little things going wrong that you would be able to pick up on if you were not impaired... and the cascade of failures begins.

You can function almost normally in the center of attention but are unaware that the walls are closing it. The better divers are the ones who can sense what is happening at the earliest stages by first of all knowing the truth about nitrogen narcosis and secondly by noticing what is not perceived... they recognize the holes in awareness... then the need to over-concentrate... finally the difficulty of shifting attention from one task to another... ect.

Friday, September 16

Thursday, September 15

i found an interesting weblog

I was reading /. this morning and found an interesting weblog posted by someone in a reply.

here's an excerpt:
Combat comes unexpectedly, even in war.

On Monday, while conducting operations in west Mosul, a voice came over the radio saying troops from our brother unit, the 3-21, were fighting with the enemy in east Mosul on the opposite side of the Tigris River. Moments later, SSG Will Shockley relayed word to us that an American soldier was dead. We began searching for the shooters near one of the bridges on our side of the Tigris, but they got away. Jose L. Ruiz was killed in action.

Tuesday, September 13

the end of the day

i'm in office.

funny: since i'm in the new project i've spent more evenings in the office than before (one or two per week at least).

it's not that i'm working (well ... it is, but i'm not working today). it's just waiting for a phone call to someone in the states.

i had two meetings today, one after the other, and at the first one i almost fell asleep; it's that sensation of your vision getting unfocused, then fuzzy, then realizing your eyes are closed without remembering when you actually closed them.

i had to get out during the meeting and get a coffee.

i'm about to get home (as soon as i get some feedback about that phone-call that is).
happy late evening to us all!

Monday, September 12


tilted Zen, originally uploaded by utnapistim.

divers at deco stop

divers at deco stop, originally uploaded by utnapistim.

I took this yesterday on the deco stop, at the end of the first dive.

Friday, September 9

bad day...

some days are boring ...
and some are tiring ...
some are ... just routine ...

today was a bad day ... a bad morning actually ... since i managed to relax in the afternoon.

what happened?

it started two days ago.

i got the happy task of doing an installation ... one of those installations.

i started by installing the server on some *NIX machine, but couldn't get past one point in the setup. we had some documentation on it, but only for windows and it was one of those screenshot-schreenshot-click next-you're done type of things;
then, i raised the issue to the manager and got advized to raise it further, to the guys over the pond;
response took one day, due to the difference in time zones.

then, two days later manager tries the same setup and it works without a hinch.

murphy's law?


today i went through the next setup in the series, only to stumble upon yet another error.

at this point i was a bit affraid to complain about it, wary of raising the issue with my manager (that kind-of happens when he assumes it's your fault).

i told him about it, since the alternative was to stare at my coleagues and i don't want to be annoying (too late for that); after explaining two people my problem and involving another three in solving it, i went to lunch, cooled down and then went in detention block B (i do my sentence in block C) for a frappe.

then, i came to my cell .. err ... cubicle i mean and spent the afternoon staring at my coleagues: my blocking issue was still blocking and i was out of ideas.

so, i'll have to visit the office tomorrow and get another try.

i didn't think i'll say that, but i wish they'd put us through training for this.

and now, onto the happy news:
in 20 minutes i'm going to the end of summer party organized by the company (expect some pictures in a few days)
and in two days (sunday that is) i'm going to the Zen again.

Monday, September 5

bombs R'us

bombs R' us, originally uploaded by utnapistim.

underwater hellicopter

underwater hellicopter, originally uploaded by utnapistim.


surrounded, originally uploaded by utnapistim.

artifficial reef

artifficial reef, originally uploaded by utnapistim.

Friday, September 2

weekend plans ... again

i just spoke to someone on the phone and booked two dives for tomorrow morning with dive in.

i hate getting out of bed so early ... but it's for diving so it'll be worthed :D

i still have no plans for neither tomorrow afternoon nor sunday.

but it's a big world ... anything can happen 'till then.

Thursday, September 1

below the surface at cape greko

boats from below at cape greko, originally uploaded by utnapistim.