Monthly Archives: March 2012

Music tastes shift

15-25 years old  – My faves

  1. REM – By far and away my favourite band as a teenager. Bought album after album. Had so many great songs over the years and i even enjoyed some of their later work like New Adventures in HI_FI and Accelerate. Automatic for the People is a near flawless album.
  2. Sheryl Crow – She used to be my favourite female artist with albums like Sheryl Crow and Tuesday Night Music club. To be honest though she does not make the same impression on me nowdays nor do i remember why i used to enjoy listening to her so much.
  3. U2 – U2 have so many wonderful tracks but not a single great album for me. I think my favourite album is POP closely followed by Achtung Baby. But if i had to think in terms of favourite songs i would go for some of their earlier ones.
  4. Nirvana – Nevermind for me is one of the greatest albums i own. I lent it to someone who never returned it and had to buy it again. No regrets. A flawless album.
  5. Xaris Alexiou – I fell in love with Charis during my first year at the university. Di’Euxwn was the first album i listened to. I was reading O Bios k Politeia tou Alexi Zorba while listening to her. I love that album, which like Nevermind, i consider to be a flawless album.

25-35 years old – My faves

  1. Johnny Cash – Oh he is great. I love his entire The American album series. He is one of the few artists i can listen to regardless of what i am doing and how i am feeling. Whether i am feeling down or excited. Whether i am driving or reading a book. Fucking love him!
  2. AC/DC – These guys are simply an awesome feel good hard rock band. I loved listening to them when i was cycling or playing games like Burnout! But a friendly warning, avoid them when you are doing some real driving. It’s easy to get carried away…
  3. Eminem – In my book Eminem is a genius when it comes to lyrics. Maybe it’s the racist in me that of all the excellent rappers/hip-hop singers out there my favourite is the white guy.
  4. Xaris Alexiou – I don’t listen to her so much in the past 4-5years but i consider the Di’Euxwn album one of the best albums in my collection. In fact she is the only artist who is in both lists.
  5. Dire Straits – This is a strange one. Although i adore their Best Of i don’t particularly like any of their individual albums. Very strange.

Current Listening Trends 

I listen to most of my music through tunein, either on the iphone/ipod or the media player. The choice of songs and artists is usually far superior to what i would choose on my own. I find it’s the best way to be introduced to new music and artists without requiring significant time investment.


Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Music


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Message To Bears – Mountains

Message To Bears – Mountains from Message To Bears on Vimeo.

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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Music



Audiobooks – my experience

As i mentioned in January, i wanted to explore the world of audiobooks.

The first attempt was with How We Decide and it proved to be a disaster. I did most of the listening during my walks as i wanted to minimise the distractions i.e. no multitasking. In spite of this, my mind kept drifting away. It could be that the subject matter was not suitable for audiobooks as it does have some technical information and tests/experiments and so t i often found myself thinking of other things. But i never rewound the audiobook to listen to those parts again. I found it inconvenient to do so. So it was pretty much a fail.

However, that was not the end of the audiobooks experience. A friend of mine, let’s call him Loud O, recommended that i listened to the audiobook while actually reading the book. So i did.

I did it with The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes. It was much, much better but not perfect as i did have some problems with the experience..

The first is that i had to consciously try to synchronise my reading with the narration. Sometimes i was ahead while less often behind. And if i wanted to highlight a passage or re-read it i had to pause the audiobook. Too fiddly and distracting, making me over think of how i was reading instead of what i was reading. I imagine it is something that might improve over time but i believe this will always be an issue to some extent.

Another drawback was the narrator. Although i thought he was very good, at a certain point in the book his tone changed. I don’t know if he did that part of the narration at a different time than the previous passages but it was noticeable. My mind kept thinking about the change constantly for the next 20-25 pages once again ruining the immersion.

The third drawback is of course, the cost. The audiobook cost me US$13.45 and the ebook US$12.40 i.e.US$27.75. This is simply too high a cost for reading and listening to books. Certainly not worth doing for more than a few times a year.

I am not done with audiobooks yet. I will do a few more audiobooks the regular way and also a couple more the Loud O way in the future.

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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Books


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Laws of the Game – Fouls & Misconduct

A controversial sending off in last Friday’s APOEL Vs Omonoia football game is the focus of today’s Laws of the Game.

Was Aloneftis’ 2nd yellow card warranted?

Under the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines to Referees this is what the referee had to take in mind with regards to the tackle:

Careless, reckless, using excessive force
“Careless” means that the player has shown a lack of attention or
consideration when making a challenge or that he acted without precaution.
• No further disciplinary sanction is needed if a foul is judged to be careless

“Reckless” means that the player has acted with complete disregard to the
danger to, or consequences for, his opponent.
• A player who plays in a reckless manner must be cautioned

“Using excessive force” means that the player has far exceeded the necessary
use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent.
• A player who uses excessive force must be sent off

Here is Aloneftis’ tackle

In my eyes the ref’s decision for a 2nd yellow card was correct as i think it ticks the first 2 criteria above, because even if he does get the ball as he “jumps” with both feet, studs showing. It was “careless and reckless”.

I am not sure about the final criterion though i.e. “Using excessive force”, although he does jump to make the tackle.

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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Football



Laws of the Game – Other incidents

PENALTY KICKS – Following the APOEL Vs Lyon CL game

APOEL – Lyon (CL knockout stage 16)

The game was decided on penalties.

One of the penalties hit the post, then the APOEL keeper and went in. Should it have counted?

I Asked the Ref

FOULS AND MISCONDUCT – Following the Man Utd Vs Athl. Bilbao Europa League game

Evra (Utd player) played the ball while he was wearing only one boot. The ref gave a free kick against Utd.

Was that the correct decision?

I Asked The Ref

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Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Football


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Laws of the Game – Goalkeeper handballs ball outside area

This is a post i wanted to publish a while ago but for some reason i forgot to schedule it.

Basically it was in response to the APOEL Vs Apollon championship game where the APOEL goalkeeper, Pardo, handled the ball outside his area. He was shown a yellow card.

In the meantime there was another incident in the Olympiakos Vs AEL match this month where the AEL goalkeeper also handled the ball outside his area. Again he was only shown a yellow card.

In both instances there were calls that both goalkeepers should have been sent off.

Unfortunately i don’t have the videos of these incidents which would help to clear things up so i only want to state/copy what the Laws of the Game are. In my opinion the first decision (APOEL keeper) was correct but the 2nd decision (AEL keeper) it was incorrect and should have been sent off. Ironically, he saved a penalty in the following game against Anorthosis.

In bold are the important paragraphs to take note.

“A player is sent off, however, if he prevents a goal or an obvious goalscoring
opportunity by deliberately handling the ball. This punishment arises not from
the act of the player deliberately handling the ball but from the unacceptable
and unfair intervention that prevented a goal being scored.”

“Outside his own penalty area, the goalkeeper has the same restrictions
on handling the ball as any other player.”


Sending off offences

– Denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area)

Handling the ball

Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with
the ball with his hand or arm. The referee must take the following into

  • the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)
  • the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)
  • the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an
  • infringement
  • touching the ball with an object held in the hand (clothing, shinguard, etc.)
  • counts as an infringement
  • hitting the ball with a thrown object (boot, shinguard, etc.) counts as an
  • infringement

Disciplinary sanctions

There are circumstances when a caution for unsporting behaviour is required
when a player deliberately handles the ball, e.g. when a player:

  • deliberately and blatantly handles the ball to prevent an opponent gaining
  • attempts to score a goal by deliberately handling the ball

A player is sent off, however, if he prevents a goal or an obvious goalscoring
opportunity by deliberately handling the ball. This punishment arises not from
the act of the player deliberately handling the ball but from the unacceptable
and unfair intervention that prevented a goal being scored.

Restart of play

  • Direct free kick from the position where the offence occurred (see Law 13 –
    Position of free kick) or penalty kick

Outside his own penalty area, the goalkeeper has the same restrictions
on handling the ball as any other player.

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Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Football


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Why me?

Ok, this is something i’d rather not be blogging about but unfortunately it’s the only thing i can think about at the moment and i just want to vent.

As i’ve mentioned in my 2012 – New Year’s Resolutions post i suffer from PA and i am being treated for it by a rheumatologist and a dermatologist. “Treated” is too strong of a word. PA is chronic degenerative condition and it’s here to stay. I think the word “contained” is more appropriate for what’s going on at the moment. I’ve had 2 serious flares ups this year. The first was around mid January until mid February. My methotrexate dosage had increased significantly last to combat this type of flares ups. But as it so often happens, a solution to one problem is the source of a different problem. Although from mid-February onwards i started to feel better, the increased dosage led to stomach problems.

After a gastroscopy and finding that some “wounds” in my stomach had increased (compared to last year’s gastroscopy), i’ve had to cut back on some my PA medicine dosage. I don’t know if it’s just coincidence but i’ve had another serious flare up for 8 days now so i’ve started taking strong anti-inflammatory drugs which are not doing my stomach any good.  It’s proving to be a vicious circle. Treat one thing while suffer (and cause) another.

The one glimmer of hope in this is that i finally got approval for my PA to be “contained” with the ridiculously expensive biologic drug called Enbrel. This is thought to be less damaging than chemical based drugs, such as methotrexate. However, it weakens the immune system, so if there is any indication of an infection (even a cough or the flu) i need to stop taking it immediately.  I’ve only taken one shot, last week, and i already have a sneaky suspicion of a (not going away) cough. Like i said, a vicious circle.

This condition is the only thing on my mind and it’s leading me into dark thoughts and seeing health problems everywhere (Some real and some from anxiety). Last year i feared for my intestine and now i’m concerned about my heart.

It’s just that i haven’t yet learned how to live with this condition. I am finding it difficult to accept it and move on. I’m still stuck in the “why me” phase.


Posted by on March 19, 2012 in Antidote, Exercise & health