Τρίτη, 29 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Στέλιος Φουρλής

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Cool article: How To Not Hate Running

Summer hedonism season is over — now's the perfect time to fall in love with the world's simplest sport. Here’s a shortlist of things that running has definitively solved for me over the years: relationships, pitches, stories, existential problems, petty problems, medium problems, and my great tax-filing mishap of 2011. It’s the world’s cheapest workout. It’s the world’s cheapest therapy. It’s the surest cure for creative block I’ve ever found. The way you remember running is entirely different to what running really is. I don’t know why it works this way, but it does.
 
Deep in the mind’s eye, running is a sweat-stained horror. Sole pounding on pavement, force and shock zigzagging up rapidly dulling shins and knees, face turning an angry, bloated red – and all just to wobble another metre forward. It’s sweaty, it’s itchy, it’s miserable.
 
That we remember running in this bastard way is a trick of the mind. A preventative concoction. Maybe the brain doesn’t want us to swelter and gasp and have our heart thud back and forth a hundred-odd times a minute. (Maybe we’re lazy.). And then there’s the idea of running, which also sucks. What could take less mastery, less finesse, less grunt and masculinity? Damn, son – you might say to your jog-happy kid – learn to throw a ball, kick a ball, belt a cross-court baseline winner. Running? One leg then the other? Talentless. Charmless. Chump-ish. Vanilla.

There’s that thing about men and sports: you do it to be demonstrably good at something. Preferably, you need to have the chance to kick someone’s ass. It’s maybe the whole point. For that game, that race, that goal – whatever – you’re superior. Here’s crux of running: there’s no competition. There’s no payoff. There’s no win or lose. Nobody will be impressed that you can run 20 kilometres non-stop. (It won't get you laid.). The run is entirely between you and yourself. This, of course, is where the beauty begins.

I’ve run while worried about work. While worried about girls. Worried about what’s happened, what’s going to happen, what I’d like to happen and whether or not I can make it happen. 
Running makes you force the question. Without anything to distract, you stare your anxieties, conundrums and options dead in the eye. It’s confrontational. Moreover, it’s confrontational in a society that regularly leaves us too distracted to confront ourselves.

I can’t remember a time when I haven’t finished a run and been a little clearer-minded, a little grittier or more serene or whatever it was the situation most called for. It works. I’ve run seriously for ten years. Apart from a few half-marathons, I’ve always run alone. There are two especially good times to take a run.

First, when you’re elated.You find adrenaline and joy lengthening your gait, propelling you forward like a life-drunk locomotive. For some reason, running happy allows your body to temporarily ignore its aerobic capacity. For a few miles, you’ll breeze past foot traffic, giddily try to keep pace with cyclists, and take furious pride in each gasp of air. For a few miles, you’re the most euphoric dickhead in the world.

The other especially good time to take a run is when you’re miserable. Yes, it’s counterintuitive. But it’s one of life’s happy accidents, like the creation of penicillin or that time you forgot you left 50 quid in your winter jacket. Running miserable bears a heap of resemblance to running happy. But it leans heavier on pride. In this case, the run is cathartic: the torture of the body to distract from the pain of the mind. Sometimes you’ll run away from a problem. More often, you’ll run through it. Sometimes you mightn’t know if it’s sweat or rain or tear rolling down your face. You’ll always arrive home slightly better.

Running can gift you all of these things. Probably more.

I haven’t found a better way to clear my mind, to kickstart an idea, to break through a sticking point.
"Like Nietzsche, I tend to distrust thoughts that have not come to me when in physical motion," the poet Charles Tomlinson told The Paris Review. 
 
Haruki Murakami, the brilliant Japanese novelist who wrote Norwegian Wood, has also run an ultramarathon – 62 goddamn miles. He treats his running religiously.
“Most of what I know about writing I’ve learned through running every day,” he wrote. “These are practical, physical lessons.”
For Murakami, focus and endurance are paramount to creating anything of worth.
“Focus and endurance are different from talent, since they can be acquired and sharpened through training. You’ll naturally learn both concentration and endurance when you sit down every day at your desk and train yourself to focus on one point. This is a lot like the training of muscles.”
What he’s getting at, of course, is that, to be a better runner is to be a better thinker.
For all the praising of the shower – and, come on, we praise the hell out of the shower – I’ve had almost every single one of my Big Ideas on a long, slow run.
Entire stories have trickled out of my mind, a gently unravelling thread of crisp, satisfying sentences. It’s so consistently effective, it feels like cheating.
There’s a trance point. When everything that was once smudged across your mind comes into sharp focus. Really, it’s just like – stay with me – meditation.
The key is repetition.
Repeating the same action over and over – a chant, a breath, or, yes, a jog – allows the mind to relax. You, literally, become mesmerised.
And when your mind can relax, excellent things happen. Some liken it to a body of water: if you’re constantly moving around it, dirt gets kicked up and the water becomes cloudy. But, be still, let the water settle, and everything can be seen clearly. 
It's the same reason your mind wanders when you try to go to sleep – because it's finally been given a chance to breathe. Maybe you've been frustrated that your most brilliant ideas and crucial ephiphanies only visit before sleeping – go running, and they'll happen on your schedule. It's a very real weapon.
So, let’s talk practicalities. First things first: you need gear that a) works and b) won’t get in the way. You need to zone the hell out, remember? This means those decade-old too-small football shorts that chafe like nasty can’t be in your running wardrobe. Too distracting, too fiddly, too infuriating. 

For the most part, your kit is unimportant. Comfy shorts, solid socks, a tee that breathes. Done.
If you are determined, though, to invest some cash into your new pursuit – so as to guilt yourself into committing to it, because that technique has never not worked – free running shoes are a worthy investment. Naturally, we need to talk accessories, too. There can’t be any. 
 
You can’t fall into a trance if you’re fiddling with your new, overpowered in-ear headphones or jostling with your iPhone for that perfect song. Unfortunately, it’s gotta be you and the asphalt. No buts. No maybes. No variation.
 
I can’t promise that running will be any different than you remember it. It might still be aching shins and itching and prolonged, monotonous torture. But if you stick it out it will, eventually, happen.
In a few weeks, or a few months, you’ll find yourself running a tree-lined street on a cold, fresh morning. You’ll be on the home stretch. You’ll be sweat-drenched and clear-minded – perfectly at ease. And you’ll decide that you don’t need to go home yet.

By Adam Baidawi / 28 August 2013

Δευτέρα, 21 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Three short stories that show the unbelievable powers associated with Marathon Running …



1. Whilst things in Greece are difficult for many people see below how sports - and Marathon specifically - can change people and situations, and not just simple bad financial situations (like we have in Greece), but even more difficult situations:

Lebanon (once, “The Switzerland” of the Middle East, as my Grandmother used to call it), has been torn apart by a horrendous civil war and on the other hand a lady called May who once ran marathons but a terrible accident sent her to a hospital bed for more than 2 years. Listen to her experience and her faith ...
 




2. Many men hide “things” from their wifes, some hide a secret affair but this guy Wilf,  has secretly raced in six Marathons - after telling wife Sylvia he was just going to stand on the sidelines and watch as a spectator however he has been caught out - after a neighbour told his wife they'd seen him on TV, the issue you see is that Wilf is 90 years old … Read more here.






3. An American guy – of Greek origin Dean Karnesis – an athlete already at the age of 15. He stopped running at the age of 15 for 15 years at as he got into a fight & disagreement with his coach. However, 15 years later he ran 30 klm to celebrate his 30th Birthday. Since then he seems not to have stopped running. He ran 255 klm without sleep and has done the 50-50-50, in simple human language: he ran 50 marathons, in 50 days in 50 US States!!! He is from outer space… Read more here

Πέμπτη, 17 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Years After Mayor's Death, Killer Remains on Payroll


No - No - No, this cant be true ... but yes it is, read on...

"...ANGAIO, Greece—A local treasury employee in this mountain community shot the mayor with an Uzi submachine gun in late 2009, in the grisly conclusion to a suspected embezzlement scheme.
Nearly three years after he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, Savvas Saltouridis remains on the municipal payroll.
Co-worker Ioakeim Monos, sentenced to 16 years for complicity in the murder, also remains on the payroll. The two men, who are appealing their convictions, have been in prison for years.
International creditors—now evaluating Greece's adherence to terms of two bailouts and weighing a possible third—have called on the country to shape up its public-sector workforce and dismiss thousands of workers deemed unsuitable. The case in Pangaio suggests how hard that is likely to be.
To many locals, among them retired clerk Apostolos Tsiakiris, the two men's continued employment paints the government as feckless. "You can't be a murderer and keep getting paid," says Mr. Tsiakiris, who took over as acting mayor for a time after the killing. "That doesn't happen in any other government." The Greek government says about 2,100 public workers are under disciplinary review, about half accused of criminal conduct. They continue receiving either full or partial pay during a labyrinthine disciplinary process...''

Full article here

Τρίτη, 15 Οκτωβρίου 2013

einai2030.gr

Πρέπει όλοι να καταλάβουμε ότι το σχολείο και η εκπαίδευση δεν είναι το ίδιο πράγμα. Γιατί, ακριβώς επειδή πιστεύουμε ότι σχολείο και εκπαίδευση ταυτίζονται, για αυτό και έχουμε αναπτύξει μια εντελώς λάθος αντίληψη για την εκπαίδευση…“

Δείτε το: http://einai2030.gr/

 Διαβάστε για το ποιοι είναι το: http://einai2030.gr
...Είμαστε μια ομάδα εθελοντών, που αποφασίσαμε να μην είμαστε άλλο συνένοχοι σε μία εκπαίδευση-συνταγή, σχεδιασμένη από βαρετούς γραφειοκράτες. Η δράση μας είναι εθελοντική και θα βρίσκεται πάντα έξω από κάθε θεσμικό πλαίσιο, χωρίς καμμία σύνδεση με κρατικούς ή πολιτικούς φορείς...

Οταν μου είπε ο γίος μου ότι αύριο κάποια μεγαλύτερα παιδιά θέλουν να κάνουν ΚΑΤΑΛΗΨΗ αλλά δεν ξέραν γιατί σκευτικάν ότι θα έπρεπε να μιλήσουν με την Μαλάλα...

Σάββατο, 5 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Family Run

A good Concept, a great organizer (Leuteris & Team) and a wonderful hotel...

See the 1st Family Run that took place at the end of September in Thallata Resort in Northen Evia. For more photos check of their web site here

Read about this brilliant Thallata hotel by clicking here






Παρασκευή, 4 Οκτωβρίου 2013

By FAR the best family hotel in Greece



I am not an easy person to please, but this hotel (I have been twice in 2 years) has demonstrated exceptional and consistently, that it is a unique place, its clean, the service is remarkable the food is great and finally the location is monadic.

I strongly recommend the Thalatta Seaside Hotel in North Evia.

See: http://www.thalattahotel.gr/en
 



(especially check out the early season -spring - and late season -September- for some special deals that represent excellent value for money)

Have a look at some pictures below:
Also see the post on "Family Run"
















Τρίτη, 1 Οκτωβρίου 2013

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Testing times


Over the past decade, drug testing in the workplace has gone from virtual nonexistence to being commonplace, particularly within certain sectors.
This growth is particularly significant within the construction industry due to the high-risk, safety-sensitive nature of the job.
A major driving force in this increase is the legislative requirements for employees in the nuclear, petrochemical and transportation sectors to be tested before they are employed for the first time and during various circumstances throughout their employment. This has had a knock on effect with increased vigilance in the testing of construction workers.
Research has also shown that construction has the highest percentage of problem drinkers, with nearly one in seven workers having a serious alcohol problem, and it's well proven that being under the influence of either drugs or alcohol has both physical effects – such as reduced co-ordination or reaction times – and mental effects, such as reduced concentration and the perception of risk. This of course, increases the potential of accidents or ill-health, particularly in a high risk environment such as a construction site, not only of the individuals involved but also those working around them.
Employees in the construction and manufacturing industries are also constrained to a number of different regulations, including the Road Traffic Act (1988) and the Transport and Works Act (1992) which outline that drivers cannot exceed statutory limits of drug and alcohol consumption.
Currently in the UK, the alcohol limit for drivers is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood while in most other European countries, the limit is less, usually 50mg per 100 ml of blood. Some countries have lower limits for learner drivers, newly qualified drivers and professional drivers, which all must be considered.
And with employers now facing personal liability for preventable occupational accidents through the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act (2007), it is clear that firms need to be proactive and take necessary steps to avoid drug and alcohol related incidents before they occur.
While research has found that construction companies that test for drugs appear to have a reduction in workplace injuries, with the average company experiencing a 51% reduction in its injury rate within two years of implementing a drug testing program, drug testing in the construction sector is not required by law.
Instead companies that choose to test employees do so based on their own company policies. The number one reason for employers in the construction industry drug testing their employees and job applicants is to promote the safety of their workers and those who use their products and services.
Many company officials also believe that drug testing contributes positively to a company’s image and is an effective deterrent in preventing drug abuse.
SkyBlue, part of the Carillion Group, is one such firm that has had a robust drug and alcohol policy in place for many years now.
As a recruiter with thousands of people working on its behalf across customer projects, the firm recognises its statutory duty under the Health & Safety at Work Act to protect their health and safety. At the same time, the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations require the firm to assess risk and put in place arrangements to control them.
The recruitment firm operates random testing in many of the sectors it recruits for, depending on specific risks, legislation or other requirements such as customer needs.
"A workforce that takes its role seriously and professionally will naturally abide by the rules and individuals that are willing to use either illegal substances or to operate machinery with alcohol in their system in excess of the legal driving limits clearly do not have a healthy approach to safety”, says Alistair McIntyre, senior health and safety manager at SkyBlue.
He adds: "The ability to conduct random testing tackles the risks of drug and alcohol before they lead to an accident and is part of a range of tools that keeps our workforce safe, healthy and free from harm. To ensure a fair selection processes office staff also have to be include in any genuinely random testing regime.”
Skyblue’s policy clearly sets out the firm’s commitments regarding drugs and alcohol at work, standards and procedures that define substances, cut-off levels, testing methods and standards as well as the processes for conducting testing and dealing with the results.
And the firm also has guidance that helps people understand the consequences of taking drugs or alcohol along with various support mechanisms that can assist individuals with any personal problems.
McIntyre adds: “Testing equipment is getting cheaper and more readily available. Already you can get fingerprint type scanners that can give a result every 20 seconds or so and could become part of the signing in process. I think random testing will become the norm rather than the exception and workers will expect it to happen.”

Source: http://www.builderandengineer.co.uk/feature/testing-times-0