Friday, May 16, 2014



Something people agonize about with sporting events and such but they never think about their personal statistics.

Since I'm a weird fucker, I've thought about some of mine.

Hopefully, this will inspire other people to put up interesting ones about themselves.

Current age, approximately 48.  Though arguably my brain stopped maturing long ago.

From least amount to most:

About 2 years:  Working for the US Government in intelligence.

4 years:  Military service, intelligence.  Yes, we all know the joke.

6 years:  International travel and living abroad (including my time in the military spent in Korea and Germany).

10 years:  LARP'ing.  Primarily NERO though I have done a couple other LARP's (they were lame) whose names elude me at present.

20 years:  Working at various jobs ranging from corporate purchasing to temp work (go, America!) with a few cool people and the rest I'd gladly set on fire if I thought I could escape prosecution.

26 years:  Computer games, including FPS, MMORPG's (16 years in just those), strategy.  Does not include many years doing arcade games which pretty much don't exist any more due to the rise of the personal computer.

33 years:  Table top roleplaying games.

What are YOUR statistics?


In Eastern Europe, they have something called "the Voice of Authority" (VOA).  Not sure if this is a real term or just one the Evil Cat used once and it became a standard term.  This is usually the person who is either in or seems themselves in a position of authority.  They tell other people what to do.  Because a couple generations of  people got their heads fucked up by the USSR, they usually listen unquestioningly.

Since I was raised in the 'be an individual' rather than 'obey or off to Siberia for you' country, the VOA is usually ineffectual on me.

My headphones died.  Apparently life sitting on the table was too hard for them and they gave up the ghost.  The backup pair had been previously broken and stuffed into a bag to rot.  Time to get new headphones.  Unlike many other people I've been with, I prefer to keep my stuff to myself even when living in my own apartment.  No noise pollution.  Besides, people hearing ESO sounds of combat may get the wrong idea.

After walking a few blocks to an electronics store and finding some amazingly shitty 5 lev headphones that appear to have been made during a really off decade in China, it was off to the largest electronic store in the city.  My friend Tito called a cab and set things up for it to take me there, wait and return.

They didn't have the exact headphones I wanted so I grabbed three.  At the counter, I set two off to one side.  I slapped the money down on the counter and with the cashier's box cutter went to work on the packaging so I could try out the headphones while waiting my turn in line.

At this point, an older lady attempted to use the VOA on me.  It was in Bulgarian but I got the message.  You can't open that till you've paid for it.  I gestured at the money on the counter and replied with a big smile "I don't know what you're saying, but I also don't care."

One of the customers in line started laughing.

After wrenching out the headphones and trying them on, I got back in line, bought the other two and jumped in to the cab.

Going to stock up on my normal brand next time I'm in Asia.

As a side note, in the USA I've taken this up a notch.  Sometimes, I grab things off the counter and eat them as I shop.  Shopping is hungry work.  At the register, they ring up the wrappers.  Although it gets some looks as long as you pay for it, who cares?  That is so far out of the ordinary for most countries that I don't do it.  They would think I'm trying to steal stuff and freak out.


I was wandering around up and down side streets as I am wont to do.  Passing a couple old men sitting on a park bench, I politely said "Dobry den" (formal, 'good day').  No response but they eyed me warily.

At this point, my brain kicked in and immediately gave them names (Ivan and Georgi) and supplied their conversation.

Ivan:  "Isn't that an imperialist running dog Americanski that our old Soviet masters warned us of?"
Georgi:  "Look at his stomach!  He may have eaten our old Soviet masters!"


A simple plan to irritate, annoy and baffle the police.

Lock all of the doors and windows to your house. Go into a room. (Note, if you say you can't because the house is all locked up, you are doing it wrong.) Barricade the door. If possible, nail up the windows.

Put a chair in the center of the room with a small table and a telephone.

Dress bizarrely. Scuba fins, clown pants, suit jacket with a Mohawk wig all together is a good start.

From the center of the room, sprinkle a fine lair of talcum powder in a circle at least three meters wide that goes right up to the chair. Be sure not to touch or disturb the powder in any way.

Have a cryptic note on the table next to you saying something like "The person who is about to murder me says that the police are stupid and will probably arrest the wrong person if they even make an arrest. You will never stop me from my current lucrative counterfeiting operation which shall be used to finance terrorism and the slaying of the US president who I like but want to kill anyway. Bwahahaa."

That note will bring in the ATF, Secret Service, Homeland Security and others. This will be a nightmare in jurisdictional issues for the police. They will hate you for it.

Call emergency, tell them your address in a clear voice and that you are in the process of being murdered.  "Please send help."

Set the phone on the table, leave it on. Say "Do your worst, you piece of shit!"

Die of a sudden brain aneurysm.

I can personally guarantee that if you can pull this off (it only have one complicated part, after all. And you have to assemble a costume) it will annoy the shit out of the police.

 Before you are too hard on the prankster, remember, he is dead.

For an advanced prank, return to life just before the autopsy and run off naked. Show up in a picture with Snowden for good measure later.

This will irritate the police and doctors as well.


When I first started to travel, there was a lot of talk about 'should I claim to be Canadian, eh?'  Nobody is pissed at the Canadians and if they've bombed anyone it is only in the most polite way.

In the last three years, I've not found one person who was angry that I was from the USA.  In fact, most people seem very pleased and want to discuss their friends or relatives who have moved there.

If someone is dubious, you can always say "I am from the USA but honestly, I'm not too happy with some of the things the government is doing."

And everything is fine.


Friendly and hospitable.  In the top five for that of any country I've been to thus far.  For the record, in no particular order the top four countries thus far have been:

Georgia, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Ecuador and unknown.

I'm thinking I'm missing one country so am leaving one slot as 'unknown'.  If you're extremely nationalistic, you can mentally put your country in there.

Also, I'm not counting the USA simply because when I am fortunate enough to stay with friends.


Crossing Plovdiv in a methane powered (really) taxi, 5 lev

Sunday, May 11, 2014



What does Logan do during the average day in Bulgaria?

Not much - but I'm enjoying that.

To be more specific,

I wake up at some point during the day.  Usually it is late as I like to stay up late.  Sometimes it is pretty early as my medical condition has insomnia as one of the many side effects.  That and pain.  So whenever my insomnia and pain tell me it is time to get out of bed, I do.

I have a couple cups of coffee and some cigarettes to punish my body for waking me.

Then, I wander over to  a nearby grocery.  There, I get to talk to my new friend.  He use to work in the UK and his English is excellent.  He and his girlfriend co-own the grocery store.  There we smoke and talk about anything from recent Bulgarian politics to MMO's.  I think we'll be good friends.

After this is "Logan's fat ass exercise time".  This is  a futile attempt to burn some of the calories I've taken in.  I wander around, maybe snap some photos.

On the way home, grab food for my night meal at one of the restaurants and any other supplies I need at my friend's grocery store.

Shower and tell myself I am a sexy beast in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Play MMO's until I get hungry.

Eat food.  Continue to play MMO's until I become too tired or drunk to continue.

Maybe watch a movie.

Work on them pearly whites!

Either go to sleep or pass out, depending on the alcohol content.

Get up several times during the night to make sure nobody has stolen my toilet.  Curse old age every time.



Good Article on travel scams.  Also read through wiki travel of the country, city you are going to find out what current scams they are using on the unwary, unlucky and tediously stupid.

ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE (ESO) - my initial impressions

If you have no interest in MMORPG's (AKA MMO's), skip this section.

I've been playing MMO's since 1998.  That's sixteen years.  Holy crap, I've had conversations with people who are younger than that.

Many people won't play a game unless it looks pretty.  I'm playing on low settings, this still looks amazing.

After installing the game

Go here and get this addon.  There are easy to follow instructions there on how to do it.  I'm not even going to go into why to do it but apparently this is a legal addon, as well as the only one I seem to be able to get to work.  Once you start playing the game and figuring out what is going on, you will call my name 'blessed' for having you get it.  My thanks go to my old friend TJ for telling me to get it.  Also, go here and follow these instructions.  They remove the four or five 'splash screens' that only the game developers give a crap about.

Starting out

Not a huge learning curve.  You only have three factions.  Find out which one your friends are playing and join that.  If you pick unwisely, you can still have characters in the other two factions.  You get eight characters per server and they all share one bank account.  Note that there are two different servers, 'American' and 'European'.  Hence, if you really wanted, you can have sixteen total characters.

You heard that right - all of your characters are secret traitors to their factions.  Heck, you can even mail stuff to people in different factions.

Once you've got your faction, there are three races within each.  Pick the one that seems best for whatever class you're going to play.  Or don't - it's not a huge deal.  Some races are more fit for some of the classes but if you want to play a dark elf (who are good at magic) as a tank, you can without being crippled.

Once you get your faction and race, you choose your class.  With all of these things, simply hovering your cursor over it will give you the basic information.

For your first character, there is a bondage tutorial.  For your first character, I recommend it.  Because the people who made ESO like naughty prison movies, once again you start out in a cage.  This is something you are pretty much on your own with.  There may be other confused newbies around running into walls and getting violated with toilet brushes but overall, you're on your own.

As soon as possible within the tutorial, you'll want to go into your controls and game play options.  There is an autoloot box in there.  Clicking yes to that will make you a happy camper - trust me on this.

Once you've gotten out of that, you are in the real world with all the other PC's.

The tutorial is moderately interesting the first time but fortunately subsequent characters have the option of opting out of it.

Character development

When you level up, you get a statistic point.  Just one and you get to pick one of three different easy to figure out statistics to put it in.  Again, you can't really cripple your character by the wrong choice.  If you consistently pick the wrong stat, yes but until you learn about the game (say the first five or ten levels out of fifty) it is not going to kill you.

After putting a point into a statistic, the game will automatically open your skills screen.  This is where you get to read and ponder.

Within each character class are three different ways to play that class.  Find the one that suits you.  Put points into that stuff.  Note that unless you want to put lots and lots of your character's skill points into crafting, you will be stuck on the newbie stuff.  Personally, I love that.  It means that not everyone will be a crafter.  You can gather and sell resources but to get above the newbie level of crafting requires a lot of valuable character points.


The questing system is fairly standard.  You go to someone and they have stuff for you to do.  "You go fight the hordes of evil, I'll go home!"  Unlike many MMO's, these are much more story based.  Should you feel like reading (I usually don't) you find that you are going through various stories.  They don't seem to have "go fetch me a dozen wolf legs" type quests.

There is a huge drawback for the 'casual player' in the quests.  The quests you do change the world for your character.  If you are solo'ing, this is awesome.  Watch as your actions have an actual impact upon the world!  However, if you group with someone who has already done the quest, it might not work.  Those guys you need to kill?  Not there for him.  He can't see nor interact with them.  Of course you can still get with your buddies and go into 'public dungeons' and have a killing spree or just wander around the amazing world together.  For people who have 'significant others' or buddies they want to adventure with, my advice is for both to make a character who only adventures with that character - that way you are on the same proverbial page.

Fighting and looting

They did it right in this game.  In many MMO's, the person who did either the most damage or final blow to the character gets the loot.  This leads to 'assholeism' of the highest order.  In this game, if you kill something solo, you have about a one in two or one in three chance of getting some sort of loot.  If thirty people all unleash hell upon a hapless critter in the wild, they all still have the same loot chance.  This leads to people 'drive by assisting' you, leading to happy feelings toward other adventurers rather than extreme hatred.  Aside from the harvesting.

Also, very few experience points are to be gained by killing monsters - most comes from questing.  Hence, you never feel as though you are 'grinding'.

Fighting itself is a lot more interesting than standing there and pressing buttons.  There is some 'twitch' to it, but not a lot.  I think they did a good job balancing it to make it more interesting.


This is where it gets competitive.  There is a lot of shit lying around the world waiting for you to grab.  Some acts like the critters - everyone gets a go.  That includes all of the backpacks, sacks, dressers, bookcases (read as potential free skill point in some random skill), urns, barrels and so on.  Other stuff you get to compete for such as herbs, special chests, wood (Got Wood?), ore and so on.  Hunt for these well away from the roads.  The world is big enough that if you go off of the well beaten paths you can feel completely alone.

Getting back to the addon you will hopefully download, those are 'sky shards'.  Using three gives you a free skill point.  The addon simply adds the locations of them to your normal map.

Player vs player (PVP)

I'm not a huge fan of PVP so don't know much about it but here's what I have discovered.

I've not participated in any PVP but once I went with my buddy to the PVP lands.  They are huge.  There are a bunch of castles and forts to capture.  There are a bunch of sky shards to get.  Using points gained in PVP, players can buy siege weapons they keep in their backpack to pull out for use in war.  These help destroy walls and such but have an amazingly short range.

Everyone gets boosted to a very weak level fifty for PVP.  The people who are much stronger are the ones who have hit level fifty are stronger.  The ones who have kept adventuring after level fifty are even stronger.

Since my friend TJ knows a lot more about the PVP area, here's what he says:

"I for one need New things to explore and for some one like me who really enjoys adventuring and exploration ESO Is great. Full voice narration for all quests. Issues and bugs are replied to and worked on within 24 hours. Massive DAOC inspired PVP region thats so large it reminds me of what it must have felt like to be an early explorer in the medieval days. Massive rolling plains and mountains doted by small towns and castles. You may see no one for a hour or so while exploring then you may have a small army of mounted knights with a long tail of squires following behind suddenly ride up over the top of a hill near you causing your heart to skip a beat until you hopefully notice they are friendly and just heading off to siege an enemy fortification in some far off location. Yes there are quests and caves to be explored and found in the PVP area too."

Other activities

In addition to a robust crafting system, there is a ton of exploring to be done.  The world is cool enough to warrant it.  There seems to be a lot of little interesting things but I'm still new to the game.


They did them right.  Rather than your character joining a guild, your account does.  So much better.  You can join up to five guilds at once.  This is necessary because the only 'auction house' is the 'guild store'.  You can only sell up to thirty items at one time.  Hence, belonging to one 'adventuring guild' and four 'trading guilds' seems a good way to do it.  This probably also keeps down the number of annoying small guilds.  For a trading guild, it wouldn't make sense to join a small one - less bought and sold.

End game

After a week or two of intensive play I'm no where close to any sort of 'end game', hence know nothing about it.


If you liked any of the Elder Scrolls games or are a fan of MMO's, I'd recommend picking up this game.  It will cost between $40 and $60 (maybe less by the time you read this).  You get a free month of game play with that.  If you decide you like it, each month is $15 or less.

Saturday, May 3, 2014



The old town is a world UNESCO Heritage site.  That means that some committee thought "Hey - this is alright.  We should probably give it some fame so the locals don't destroy it."

The old town, however, is tiny.  Very tiny.  It is so tiny that a fat man who isn't in any real hurry can plod over all of it in a day, two at most.

Since it is such a special place, the prices within are jacked up two or three times.  Locals and tourists usually only have a beer or tea there because nobody wants to pay those sorts of food prices.

Of the stuff I saw only the amphitheater struck me as 'pretty nifty'.  The rest is alright but even for the nifty Roman stuff (and I do like me some Roman ruins) you're still done after a day.  So it was either time to move on or get an apartment.

Found a 'tourist information agency'.  These are run by the government and make no money.  As a result, they are usually closed or staffed by people who only speak a rare dialect of the local language spoken by a handful of people carefully kept in hiding by the government.  To my great surprise, this was neither.  Both English and German were spoken - not with fluency but certainly enough to have a basic conversation and find some things out.  They also had useful maps.  Contrast this to the usual 'we are out of maps' or the maps people are given which are corporate sponsored and of use only to find the business which sponsored the maps.

Feeling saucy, I inquired within if they knew of a place I could rent an apartment for a month.  The very nice lady had the junior member of the staff take me to the rental agency.  From there, the renter and I viewed the property and it was perfect for my simple needs.  I confess I took the first place I viewed - but it was perfect.  You can actually view the property on the video link below.

It should be noted that there was pretty much no paperwork other than a 'could you write down the name you'd like to be called' sort.  Cash was handed over and apartment keys given.  For someone wanting to lay low who somehow found themselves in Bulgaria, this would be preferable to a hostel as they want to see your passport.

Or what's in your bags.
This is not what is in my bags.


Logan Vs the Cafeteria of Doom!

Logan wanders into one of those cafeteria style restaurants where they charge per hundred grams of food.

Staff lady:  "Can I help you?"
Logan:  "Ah, I'm just looking to see what all you have.  I ate a couple hours ago and am looking for somewhere to eat tonight."
Staff lady:  "OK, we close at eight."

This is suspicious to me as there is a sign on my downstairs door in Bulgarian that says "After 8:30PM lock the door."  I'm guessing that's what it says as nobody will give me Google Glasses with the translating function.  This makes me think that the CHUD's come out around eight or nine in the evening.

After about five minutes after Logan left the cafeteria, he bursts back in startling the Staff Lady.

Logan:  "I just remembered!  I have a microwave!"  Note, the oven is not something Logan wants any part of.

Logan:  "I want two of those!"

The staff lady wraps it up and begins to ring it up.

Logan:  "What are you doing?"

Staff Lady (surprised):  "You...wanted something else?"

Logan:  (pointing at huge gut):  "You see this?  It is called 'Ongoing bad judgement!"

The staff lady dissolved into laughter.


After just a couple days here, I got stopped by a group of old men hanging around drinking coffee outside of a bar.  One spoke to me at length (German, thank you old USSR!) about who I was, what I was up to and so on.  He may be a friend of my landlord - same age range.

I'm also getting to know the names of various shop keepers and such I deal with.

The Bulgarians seem to span the entire range between those that are very friendly and those that laugh at my wrap pants.


The landlord has quite a clever set up going.  He and his wife are the grandparents.  Not sure if all of their kids or just some of them live in the same building.  It could either be reduced rent or everyone chips in to pay for things.  Either way, as a grandparent, you have easy daily access to the grand kids - something American grandparents would shiv people for.  On the ground floor of the building they have a small store.  The store doesn't seem to sell much but stocks beer and coffee - giving their friends a rally point.

For those wanting to settle down, this seems pretty darned idyllic.

PEACE AURA - a story from Logan's distant past.

I'd started training in martial arts when I was in my early teens.  It was something my parents had gotten me into, probably to teach me some discipline.  The discipline part didn't hold but it did have the bonus of making me slightly less clumsy.  When I got into the military, I trained under a guy named Bob Spears in Hapkido.  Only after I'd left Germany and the military did I find out this guy was a famous practitioner of that art.

We didn't have the internet in those days.

But at the time I was about twenty and pretty violent - and decently skilled at violence.  Quite a change from now where I am moderately mellow, fat, cripply and old.  The problem at that time was I didn't get into fights.

Not for lack of wanting to get into fights.

I'm not a superstitious man.  If someone tells me they've seen a ghost, my immediate thought is they suffered a delusion or are telling me a 'tall tale'.  But some of my friends were.  They came up with the idea that I was surrounded by a 'peace aura'.

If tensions were starting to ratchet up in the bar and some horrible comment about someone's mother's sexual preferences had just been dropped, me walking in would suddenly have people apologizing to each other.  Not from anything I did.  Hell, I might be completely unaware of it.  Not from any 'charisma' or 'presence'.  I've never walked into a room and had everyone suddenly stop what they were doing and look at me other than to say things like "What is he wearing" and "Why can't he hit his mouth with his food?"

No.  Just some weird "Logan's in the area, we'll kill each other later."

Naturally, this frustrated the hell out of my twenty year old "let's kick some ass" self.

There was a bar called "Richies" in Munich, Germany.  Owned by an English couple, three different groups frequented the place.  US soldiers from the nearby base, American college students and Germans.  At that time, all three groups absolutely hated each other.  With the exception of me.  I was a soldier, hung out and did table top gaming with many of the students and spoke German.  Yes, I've always been a social person.

Anyway, tension started to ratchet up and up in Richies.

I started going nightly, hoping that there would be a big brawl and at last, I'd get to participate.

Up and up the tension went.

My special forces soldier friends began to plot.  Eventually, I think they drew lots.  The loser was instructed to take me and some other friends out to some different German clubs and keep me out of Richies for one night.

When the soldier initially proposed this, I was against it.  A brawl might happen any night in Richies!  He offered to pay for my drinks.  Reluctant acceptance.

The next day before they opened, I stopped by to visit with the owner, Richie.

The bar was trashed.  Broken furniture.  Blood on the walls.  Shards of glass embedded in the walls.  My face fell.

"I've never seen anything like it before." said the pale faced Richie.  "Everyone just snapped."

To the soldiers, this 'proved' the theory of the peace aura.  Personally, I still think it's bunk.  And, naturally as soon as I left, things started to heat up in Odessa...



Where am I?


My address for the next month is

Street Polk. Sava Mutkurov # 20, 2nd floor Chunchurovi family Plovdiv, Bulgaria 4003

What?  You crazy?  You can't just put your address up on the internet!

Who the fuck is going to come here, break into a secured building just to fucking steal my alcohol?  Hell, if any of my friends or fans visit, I'll buy extra and drink it with them!


{{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

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{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

For videos with a Loganesque slant, be sure to visit here. You can also Facebook Logan.