Friday, February 29, 2008


Last night was Tsiknopempti (Τσικνοπεμπτη) or "Burnt Thursday" when the whole of Greece turns into a huge outdoor bbq as part of the run up to Greek orthodox Lent. Also it's the time for everyone to dress up in fancy dress, dance and generally have a good time.

A picture I didn't take

The street near the school is full of kids having fun. Tonight the whole city is celebrating and everyone is in fancy dress, shouting, dancing full of mischief. Only the lines of riot police nonchalantly caressing their shields, warily eying those passing by seem not to notice today is a holiday. I wonder why so many armed men are needed to keep boisterous teenagers in check.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Last night's party



Last night's party at the Altromercato store in Vyranos 6 was a great success and didn't finish till the small hours of the next morning.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Party tonite

Party tonite, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Το κατάστημα Altromercato της Fair Trade Hellas στη Θεσσαλονίκη (Βύρωνος 6) σας προσκαλεί την Τετάρτη 27 Φεβρουαρίου 2008 σε ένα πάρτι μασκέ με μουσική από τη Λατινική Αμερική, με mojitos και γεύσεις από όλο τον αναπτυσσόμενο κόσμο.

Το πάρτι θα ξεκινήσει στις 20.00.

The Altromercato's Fair Trade Hellas store in Thessaloniki (Vyronos 6) invites you to a party maske with Latin music, mojitos on Wednesday 27th February with dishes from all over the developing world.

The party starts at 20.00

If you get there early you'll have the chance to sample my world renowned chilli con carne. Book early to avoid disappointment (the ER, that is).

A picture I didn't take

Rushing to work, I idle behind another scooter. The guy has a cage in his hand, flimsy, little more than plywood and chicken wire and in it is a bird, a pigeon or perhaps a dove. As he slows down and stops I look more carefully. It's an owl.

Open till late

, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Remembering Doisneau

Remembering Doisneau, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Inspired by the great, French photographer, Robert Doisneau.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Party on Wednesday

Το κατάστημα Altromercato της Fair Trade Hellas στη Θεσσαλονίκη (Βύρωνος 6) σας προσκαλεί την Τετάρτη 27 Φεβρουαρίου 2008 σε ένα πάρτι μασκέ με μουσική από τη Λατινική Αμερική, με mojitos και γεύσεις από όλο τον αναπτυσσόμενο κόσμο.

Το πάρτι θα ξεκινήσει στις 20.00.

The Altromercato's Fair Trade Hellas store in Thessaloniki (Vyronos 6) invites you to a party maske with Latin music, mojitos on Wednesday 27th February with dishes from all over the developing world.

The party starts at 20.00

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Skate for prosperity and a whiter smile

, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.


Lydia, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Today she is off to visit her grandparents. So I grabbed a few shots before she left.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The law of unintended consequences

I don't think I believe it either I don't think I could ever have conceived in my wildest dreams that a million people would want to see what started out as a simple, proof-of-concept project. Just over a year ago I came across Microsoft's Photostory 3 and decided to play around with this program that allows you to produce short movies using still pictures. Intrigued I made a few videos hoping to pick up skills that I could then use in class to help my students on their own projects.

Now I see that those videos have taken on a life of their own and more than a 1.000,000 people have viewed them.

The last train

The last train, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Carnavali is almost here

, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I was in school today when I bumped into one of my old students. He told me that he'd set up his own blog and then went on to show me a whole bunch of interesting sites. How times have changed. Only a couple of years ago it was an uphill struggle to get my students interested in using the internet. Either they didn't have access or they considered it the sole preserves of computer geeks. In vain I tried to show them all the real cool things they could do.

Now, within a matter of months most of the students I tutor have acquired fast internet and are dying to find out how to use this wonderful tool. They ask about sites and applications, and are discovering a whole new world.

Exam registration


For all of you taking either the Cambridge or Michigan exams this May the deadline for registration is fast approaching. For those taking the FCE, CPE etc it is 29th of february. For those taking the ECPE it's the 25th.

For more details on registering click here for Cambridge (you can now do this via the internet).

For Michigan click here. You can't register on the internet unless you do it via a school.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Abandoned train

, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

I came across this long line of abandoned train carriages. It would be the perfect place for a fashion shoot or music video. It has a real post - apocalyptic, end of the world feel of the whole place.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Back from court

Off to court

Just got back from court. It was a simple procedure in that all I had to do was tell a court official that everything I wanted to say was in the testimony I had already filed. The only thing they asked was if I had any more information on the names of the riot cops (MAT) who attacked me and since they refuse to reveal names, even to the ombudsman I had to say no. The reasons they gave for this refusal range from the absurd to the downright childish.

Interestingly, I saw in their reply to the ombudsman the reason why they choose me. It appears that

"προκλητικα και κατ' επαναληψη τους φωτογραφιζε τις κινησεις τους"

Meaning, I repeatedly and provocatively (?) photographed their movements. I never knew the goon squad was made up of such sensitive types.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A fugitive from justice

At long last my case against the riot police who attacked me in September simply for taking photos during a peaceful demonstration has shown signs of life. After spending a couple of months amassing evidence (including a doctor's report of my injuries that ran to more than two pages) I filed suit in December. This morning I found this taped to the front door of the apartment I live in.


Basically, it's a call to appear at the central police station within 48 hours or as it says I'll be taken there forcibly and fined the grand, if prosaic, sum of 14.67 Euros. Just one problem the date underneath is 18/01/2007 so technically I'm an outlaw subject to violent detention if caught.


Looks like I made a mistake in my translation as I have to go to the central courts and not the police station (got my megaros/halls mixed up). Phew!!!!!!!!!

For a full account of what happened click here.

For photos click here.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Pension reforms

Pension reforms, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

"Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis promised yesterday to carry through with pension reforms, despite strong union protest, saying an overhaul of the ailing system was imperative."


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cookery, red in tooth and claw

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I'm fuming. I just got off the phone with my daughter who was in tears because she had lost her notebook. I asked her why she was so upset since it's just a notebook. Then it came out. Her English teacher has been terrorising the eight year olds in her charge, pulling ears, pulling hair. My heart breaks when I hear her tell me such things.

I swear if she lays a finger on my daughter I will go first to the local police station to press charges and then hire a lawyer and make sure her life is very uncomfortable for the forseeable future.

This kind of low key violence is endemic in schools here.

Pensions strike to paralyze country

Today's anti-governement protests

Pensions strike to paralyze country

The country is set to grind to a halt today as public transport and state services shut down, joining a 24-hour general strike launched by unions in opposition to the government’s planned pension reforms.

Bus services will be suspended all day. Trolley buses will operate from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. while the metro, tram and urban electric railway (ISAP) will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

No aircraft will leave or arrive at Athens International Airport as air traffic controllers join the strike. Ports will not be served either.

Public service offices and banks will remain closed, as will schools. Hospitals will only handle emergency cases. Engineers and lawyers will be staying at home too. And there will be a media blackout as journalists join the action.

Traffic will be restricted in central Athens as two protest rallies are planned. The main one is to begin at 11 a.m. at the Pedion tou Areos and culminate outside Parliament. The second rally is to be held in Omonia Square.

The adverse weather forecast for tomorrow – it is expected to snow in central Athens – will probably result in a smaller turnout than the last general strike in December, which attracted some 100,000 protesters.

Employment and Social Security Minister Fani Palli-Petralia reportedly gave Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis her proposals for pensions reform. Karamanlis is to unveil the final proposal on Friday.

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General strike and marches

To protest the Greek government's policies on pension rights, privatisation and the Siemens and Zaxolpoulos scandals (see here and here) that have rocked the country over the last few weeks.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Quote of the day

Student a: But I don't know how to download stuff on the internet.

Me: Oh come on, it's easy. Then again, I've been using computers since I was 13.

Student b (in all seriousness): Υπηρχαν υπολογιστες τοτε; (Did they have computers then?)

Monday, February 11, 2008


What was I thinking? To expect to travel so far and not see an accident!!! How naive could I have been? Yep, the two serious crashes on the ring road are yet more testimony to a toxic mixture of inflated egos, aggression and a level of impulse control we usually associate with toddlers.

A Year of Driving Dangerously

I'm off to work in five minutes.I was just wondering if I'll manage to get from one end of the city to the other without witnessing an accident. If the past month is anything to go by, the answer is most definitely no.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Lydia, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Shooting up

Shooting up, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

I saw the one guy inject the other in the ankle then coming back and hour later the other one was injecting his friend in the neck. All this on the steps of a church in the heart of the city. Just metres away from hundreds of people waiting for their bus home.

Immediately afterwards I wandered passed a couple, students most probably, talking and looking at each other in a way that left me with very little doubt that they were very much in love.

Love in all its forms?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008



What are the odds against that. I bumped into Stavros, one of my Flickr friends whilst walking through the centre of the city. No big deal, until you realise that Stavros lives in Germany.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Hooligans, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

I've been looking through my photos with view to putting on an exhibition. Of all the pictures and all the tragic situations I've covered this is the one that brings back the worse memories. Minutes after I took this I was beaten badly enough that to be hospitalised and then arrested by the MAT (Greek riot police) simply for taking pictures during a peaceful demonstration (click here for more details).

Today in Athens members of the far right organisation Xrysi Avgi (I will not link to these b#st#rds)fought with left wing organisations. The TV has shown again and again these far right thugs joining the riot police in order to beat their "opponents".

If that wasn't enough there were pictures of the MAT beating bystanders even after the situation had calmed down (see here for the video).

Once again I see the representatives of the police unions saying that that they did nothing wrong. Whilst eye witnesses describe how the police handed out weapons and tear gas to the far right demonstrators.

School Award Ceremony

It's that time of year again. Time for me to put on a suit and pretend to be a fine, upstanding member of the community. Don't worry, it wasn't a court appearance, but rather the school's annual award ceremony. In between giving a speech and congratulating my hard working students I managed to take a few photos.

Just plain grooooooving

We're a grooooooving, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Lydia explaining her homework to me

Friday, February 01, 2008

Another day, another accident

I knew it was too good to be true. Once again rushing from one end of the city to the other today I was pleasantly surprised not to be caught up in another traffic jam on the ring road caused by an accident. I can't remember the last time that happened.

But, of course this wasn't to last, coming back along the same road I instantly hit a long tail back As I inched along I saw another accident on one of the side roads. A head on collision which must have just happened as both drivers were still screaming into their mobile phone, pausing briefly only to yell at each other. However, that wasn't the cause of the delay. Most of the ring road was thrown into grid - lock by another unconnected accident in which a lorry and a couple of passenger cars had collided.

Just please don't call these things accidents. These are the products of finely tuned, high performance human folly. When you bolt along at twice the permitted speed limit while;

Chatting on your mobile/picking your nose/texting your girlfriend/searching for a better radio station/using rude hand gestures to show your contempt for those drivers who don't feel the need to joining you in your suicide attempt/practicing your chicane handling skills,

And you crash, this is not an accident, it's probability telling you you're time is up.

The Dude Abides

The Dude Abides, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

"I'm the Dude.

So that's what you call me. That, or Duder. His Dudeness. Or El Duderino, if, you know, you're not into the whole brevity thing--"

Street preaching

Street preaching, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Actually, this guy's message was political rather than religious. He was berating the present government , a sentiment that many of those who walked passed him on Tsimiski St agreed with.


Lina, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.