Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Shopping in the arctic

Big thanks to Jamas!

Got the number of comments to show up on the page. He went and did HTML magic. All I know is that I have NO plans for changing the look of the blog for fear that it might undo his careful work.

Foreign currency

As part of my ‘pare down the amount of shit I own’ I went through a bag of coins from foreign countries that I’ve had for awhile. I’m going to work on sending the foreign coins – including those from countries that no longer exist – to one of my nephews. His mom said he would enjoy them.

I’ve also been working on throwing out things that just aren’t needed any more. The garbage can is already filled for this week and I suspect it will be next week as well.

I’ve gotten ‘backup archives’ of my discs and will be dumping off the originals on one of my friends – he can pass on any unwanted ones to someone else.

Testing of the towel

Wow, check that out. If you click on it, you can see it. If you buy it - they might pay me some money. But read on...

Drying time, about 4 hours. Is this ‘super fast’ as I’d read about elsewhere? I don’t think so – but I suppose that is less time than a regular towel.

This one does bundle up nice – it will make a smaller bundle than a standard towel.

The worst thing about the towel I discovered on use – it feels like you are rubbing yourself down with a shammy – like what you clean your car with. I suppose it is, really.

But is it worth the money? Probably not. Perhaps a regular towel and a longer drying time is OK. Naturally, since I’ve already spent two or three times more on this than a nice towel would cost I am damned well doing to use it but I don’t recommend it.

Becoming an Amazon affiliate

I figured I linked enough of their products that I might as well get a small amount to fund my travels if someone actually wanted to click through this site to get to Amazon and buy it. But - if I don't like it, I am not going to recommend it. I'll still link it (look at the pretty towel picture!) and if you want to click on it and buy it anyway despite the fact that I'm telling you I'm not thrilled with it (aka "Screw you Logan, I'm buying it anyway!") well, go right ahead.

Part of the reason I did this was I listened to the Indie Travel Podcast and went to their webpage to see if they had stuff they recommended you get. They did but I couldn't figure out how to buy it and get them money. Heck, it doesn't cost ME anything to use their site for a 'click through' thing - it doesn't boost up my prices. But they didn't have it 'easy to use'. I sent them a message 'please make it easier for me to give YOU money.' I think after I get this blog entry done, I'll send them the link and show them what I've done. I think the pics the way I have them are a bit invasive but someone better with computers could probably make them look nicer. The Indie people seem nice and I really, really want them to make more money. Note that if you go listen to their stuff, it a) looks nicer b) is less 'stream of consciousness' than mine and c) they are actually currently on the move - whereas I am still in my 'get shit ready' phase. d) they swear less and are less politically (and in every other way) insensitive than I. They seem nice and would probably throw rotten fruit at me to drive me off and drive up property values from doing so. They may even have a statue erected in their honor. You know why I don't think I'll ever get a statue of me? Because it would use way too much material.

Anyway -

We were talking on the HC boards. I mentioned to Pete that he might consider taking something to allow him to see further - like opera glasses. Bert (I think it was Bert) came up with this nifty alternative site. No telling what people in the country you had traveled to would think if you whipped out on of these to look around.

Here's a more modern one I haven't tested - mainly because I don't have the bucks to buy it:

Yes - I realize that is two product links in the same blog. It's my new toy. Give me a friggin break here. There will be at least one more.

The Wisdom of the Computer God

I had asked Bert (aka the Computer God) what he thought I should get, laptop wise. After hearing my budgetary restrictions, I was downgraded to a 'netbook'. They just keep making up new words.

Now I am a stubborn, stubborn man. Despite the howling wind and snow (I'm not exaggerating) I walked my rear over to Best Buy and bugged some nice lady. My criteria for a netbook - "Which keyboard pisses me off the least". She suggested a nice Toshiba N455 and made me a copy of the stats with the resigned air of someone who knows the bastard you're giving it to is going to run home and get on the internet chop chop. Which I did.

For the exact same price as the one at Best Buy, I found what Bert assures me is an upgrade:

Man - putting in those links I'm starting to feel like Homer with the 'star wipe' thing.

Now, Bert has to figure out what kind of memory is in it because he thinks the stats on the Amazon web page are wrong. In fact he has found many different opinions on 'what's in the box'! So, he's going to commune with the internet and try to figure it out. I am wanting to order an upgrade to the memory (it'll be like $20-$30) when I get it because I figure it will need all the power it can get.

Tasks that I am planning on (attempting) to have the 'netbook' do:
1. Surf the internet
2. Post on blog, board so that people know I am not dead. Note if my 'netbook' gets lost/destroyed/stolen, then I may be dead. Call 911.
3. Watch not HD movies. Hope this works - I've seen some bitching on netbooks in general that they stutter on HD movies.
4. <<>> Record and talk on skype at the same frigging time.

If it can do all of those (and run a mouse - I dislike the mouse built in but may learn to use it eventually) then I am set for traveling. If not, we will panic.

Never forget the old adage: "When in trouble when in doubt - run in circles, scream and shout." ( - Unknown).


So I'm hanging out at the bus stop waiting on the bus ("wow - amazing!" STFU) and I started up a conversation with another guy who was there. He was from Colombia. (Hey - don't give me crap for pointing out where Colombia is - I have a lot of Americans who read this blog.) So this guy was talking about how he liked his country and I asked "So is it safe for guys like me to go visit?" He said "....Sure!"

I started laughing and said "Dude - you paused WAY too long." I'm thinking it's still pretty dangerous there. So, it's not on my list of places to visit. That doesn't mean I won't end up there some day, but if I do - it'll be a big surprise for me.

Other purchases

I am guessing that others are wondering - aside from the 'netbook' what else I picked up. I actually found some other things that might be useful. I got some carabiners to try to repair my packs in case the plastic should snap. Not sure how useful they will be but they are cheap and light.

I bought some small little luggage locks - like these (but the ones below look WAY nicer - and all use the same key)

After my failed attempt the first time of getting a lock, I got a combo one that is the same brand and looks the same as the one below - but mine is green for some reason. I also like it because it is a lot lighter (less weight) than the previous lock.

I also got 10yds of DUCK tape. No typo. It even has a picture of a duck on it. This stuff has flames, mine (sadly) does not.

And, because I know 'shit happens' I got this (and exactly this)

I also picked up 50' of nylon cord. Sorry - it seems Amazon doesn't have any. So if you've never seen nylon cord before, you'll just have to track me down in whatever country I am in and ask to see it.

I also got a 'peerless' plastic sink stopper because - get this - I could not buy a fucking ball at Walmart. That's right. I told the sales lady "I need a hard, rubber ball - preferably one that won't float." The only balls they had were bigger than a double clenched fist and sparkled with some weird crap in them. I couldn't fucking believe it. Have the kids today gotten so far away from basic toys that a 'ball' is not for sale? That's just weird. So - anyway I got a sink stopper and some incredulity.

I also got two 3-dial cable locks - they look a little like these (but aren't)

I have no idea what I'm going to do with them but it should be interesting.

A note on all of the locks. Since the government has stripped away our rights (and we let them because we were scared) all of the locks are now 'TSA approved' - which means that they have master keys. Which can be stolen/duplicated/etc. Now, I'm not a fanatic on locks themselves. I know how to pick them, how to do 'bumping', and - the easiest fastest way to get into someone's bag - cut the bag. But I'm still concerned about the further entrenchment of the TSA. I'm thinking we might never be rid of it.

And - the last item I picked up -

These are interesting. I've got to mess about with them then I'll let you know what I think of them. I got two three packs - you get one of each size in the three pack. I will either praise them or bitch about them when I get it opened. Looking more carefully at the pack, I do notice they say 'Water resistant' rather than 'water proof'. This is fancy talk for 'water fucking leaks into it'. Either way, it gives me something new to play with. I suspect I may have gotten them due to the bright, primary colors they are made from. Not really sure.

Movie review! (Well, it's more of a documentary)


This is another of those over sensationalist type of shows where the guy is talking about 'going off the grid/under the radar' and occasionally dramatic music plays. It seems that while he is on the run, EVERYONE he passes looks at him like "You gotta perdy mouth" or "I'm with the NSA and we are so stalking you!"

It's enough to make you cry.

Anyway, he does cover some decent information - it is worth watching from a security standpoint for the person who has no clue just how open their life is to anyone who really wants to find out everything about them. But he does have some weird stuff. One of his solutions for 'disappearing' is after abandoning your old life to petition the court for a name change. Excuse me? I think that any data base worth a crap will be able to connect your old name with the new. You pretty much have to buy a new identity, assume someone else's identity, etc in order to really vanish. He was also wandering around with alcohol wipes, careful to wipe off the doorknob after touching it because gloves were 'too conspicuous'. It I see some guy carefully wiping down the doorknob after touching it while going in, I'm thinking there is something shifty going on. This guy either hasn't heard of or wasn't allowed to mention fake finger prints. Note that the crap on the internet is how to make crude ones - there are some nice professional jobs available if you actually have 'street smarts' (as opposed to book smarts). Also, he mentioned lasers on the window (aka "Laser microphone") but failed to mention taping an 'electronic massager' (read as 'dildo') to the window and turning it on really does a nice job.

Overall review - if you haven't had any formal counter surveillance training, not horrible to watch. If you had formal training, skip it.


  1. In case you are not aware, adblock stops the Amazon things from showing.

  2. Figures.

    Well, you will have to use your imagination to see the Amazon things. Or click on the spaces - does that show them?

  3. Eh? I use adblock and still see the Amazon things.
    The most annoying thing about Amazon is that I can't get most of that stuff over here, and no idea what a suitable alternative would be...

  4. You can't get Amazon over there? That's weird - do they just not ship it to you if you ask for it?

  5. We can order in DVDs and books and some other stuff, but the bulk of it, no. (International items)

  6. Sucky. Well, I hope they eventually let you get stuff there eventually.



{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

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{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster | Thailand: Bangkok | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2018}} Ukraine: Kiev - Chernihiv - Uzhhorod

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