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Friday, July 1, 2016

WINTER IS COMING

WINTERING

Had the good fortune to get to chat with Sorin last night (one of my hosts here) and he suggested a clever bit of lateral thinking.

I wish I could take credit for it but honestly, I didn't even come close to thinking of it.

From about September or October until April (when I want to be back in the USA), Europe sucks for the cold. Unless you have plenty of money and want to go to some rich people hang out like the south of France or Greece.

He suggested that I leave Europe early for somewhere else in North America. Spend time in the southern part then move north when it is time.

Later, I'm going to have to do some research on Mexico.

What a great scene!

Aside from 'Fun with Kidnappers' I am not sure how much it would actually cost to do Mexico. I remember it is a bit more expensive than other places in Central (nope!) and South America but they are almost guaranteed to have Mexican food.



ENCOUNTER

Exploring a town within Romania, a mother waited awkwardly for her son. Half hidden in the brush on a hillside he squatted, his bowels having taken him by surprise.

Three strides past the mother, stopping, turning and returning. She watches nervously as my bag is opened. A plastic small bundle is offered. She shakes her head. I glance at the child and offer it again. She takes it, realizing it is toilet paper, smiles.


Careful not to add to the embarrassment of the child by glancing his direction, my journey resumed, thoughts of similar within my own past - both distant and recent.



BREXIT - what's Logan's opinion?

Yes, believe it or not, I have had some Romanians ask me this.  Like I even know what country I'm in half the time.

First point:  The day after Brexit was voted 'lets leave the EU', the second most popular Google search term in the UK was 'what is the EU'.   Hilarious.   That is one of the funny sad things - like a clown falling into a wood chipper and his monkey turns it on.


Second point:  Logan thinks (may or may not be right) that much of it (Brexit) was about racism, nationalism and possibly some other -ism's.  Logan doesn't think much of people who like -ism's.  When the BPS (their money) went down to the lowest rate since 1985, I'm thinking "I wish I had more money so I could buy some of theirs".

Third point:  If the BPS dropped down to where it was 1 to 1 with the USD (who knows - Logan could get lucky and the UK taken with 'surprise buttsex') it would make an affordable vacation there for Logan.  Hell, I could even afford to get Matthew drunk.


Fourth point:  Enough people are now whining that they didn't know what the vote was for, didn't realize that their vote counted and wishing they could go back in time that I wonder if they will have another vote.  Keep voting till you get the result you want?

Last point:  Will one country leaving the EU cause the rest of them to fall out?  I doubt it.  I know a lot of people seem really paranoid about that but it makes you wonder what kind of idiots think that things that are together will always stay together.  Just because the USA has been around for 200 years, do I think it will be around forever?  That is ignorant.  If it survives another hundred (less if Trump is elected) that would be impressive.  Things fall apart and become other things.  That's just how it seems to work.



GOSH LOGAN, WHY ARE SOME COUNTRIES POOR?

The sad thing is that the beggar in this pic is dressed better than I do.  I'll have to steal his clothing later...

When a country is poor, there are usually reasons.  Fairly obvious ones.

Most often it is high levels of corruption coupled with low levels of education.  Anyone thinking politicians want educated voters haven't really figured out that stupid people count the same.  Sadly.

When I was in the USA, I worked in purchasing/supply chain/logistics for about a dozen (?) years.  Here's roughly how it works in the USA.  When you buy something in a store, it gets scanned.  In most countries, this tells the person how much you owe and computes the change they should give you - as otherwise they'd have no clue.  In the USA, it goes a step further and marks off unit(s) sold into a data base.  This data base also has levels for reordering - often automated.  When they get down to five units left, reorder.  One unit left, emergency rush reorder.

Because in the USA, businesses want your damn money.  As much of it as they can get.

Sadly, the same thing doesn't take place in non 'westernized' countries in the rest of the world.  If stock gets sold, it seems to rely on them going completely out of stock and a manager to eventually wander out of their office - possibly lost and confused - to see the gaping hole in the inventory before maybe thinking they should reorder that shit some day.

A lot of the behaviors I've seen in retail around the world would get you instantly fired in the USA.  Horsewhipped too, if they could get away with it.


And that's why - despite the heat - three stores don't carry mutherfucking fans.  That's right.  I asked where they were and when they would have them in.  They explained it has been hot and they sold out a week or two ago and they didn't know when they'd get more in.

I'm always thinking "With their business practices, how in the fuck do these stores stay open?  They have to pay rent, employees, utilities and so on."  In the USA I know they'd have closed long ago and the owners would be sitting around wondering what happened.  In much of the world, I suspect leprechauns (like my buddy Matthew L. who is an evil one) of using magic to keep these places open somehow.

Fucking fans.  It is like having rain for the last few weeks and everyone having been sold out of umbrellas for the last few weeks.  Then bitching they are fucking poor.  Yeah.  It must just be one of those strange things.  You know any leprechauns?



I'M A FAN

But for me change it to "A fan at last, a fan at last - thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster I have a fan at last."  Not to take away from the great MLK but I am very thankful to have at last found a fan.

I had wandered over to the big mall (via bus) and was traipsing around there when I came across a fan.  It's 35 cm across - not huge but enough and a floor model for 'easy to trip over' features.  Immediately grabbing it, I glared about to make sure hordes of no central air peasants were about to mob me for my prize.

None were.

I scarpered.

After arriving home and removing it from the box I was sad to discover that some bright spark had chosen to save less than a dollar in packaging by making it 'some assembly required'.  I looked at the multi-lingual instructions.


Nine languages and you mutherfuckers can't be bothered to do the 'international language'?  Really?

OK.  Got to put it together in French.  Hint - I used the pictures.  Downside - not many pictures.

But fortunately only a couple of pieces to put together.  Cool.

When staying at a friends house, going through all their shit looking for tools is not cool so I gave my buddy Sorin a call.  No tools at this house.  Maybe the people at the tattoo shop downstairs.

Stunned, I hung up.

This was a huge culture shock.

In the USA, if you don't have tools and materials to make your own trebuchet (add that word to my dictionary online - why doesn't it have it?) then how will you defend yourself in the upcoming zombie apocalypse?

If you can't build one of these from things lying around your dwelling, you aren't even seen as human among zombie survivalists.

Also, pretty much every household in the USA has tools.  In some, they are the male equivalent of the little delicate china figurines that some women collect; in other homes they are penis replacements.

If you remember this, you are either an old fucker or watch too many reruns.

In homes of henpecked men they are the simple justification for having a workshop somewhere on the property they can retreat to, leaving their shrew behind.

For some law enforcement officers, they are used in the hobby that keeps them from just executing everyone.

The real mystery is always how he gets the boats OUT.  I suspect a huge secret door and tunnel.

For some men, they are not used - just bought for display in case anyone wants to see if they are real men.

Who the hell is this and why is he in my blog and what is up with his hair and crazy look?  His appearance does remind me of one of my friends though.

Some men just get tools just to masturbate over.

And I would like to point out that for LGBT people (as that is a hot topic these days) I do not believe that confines them to the Hello Kitty tool set.


Though honestly if they are decent tools (and I had a fixed abode) I'd accept them as gifts, sure.  I really don't care what the tools look like.

So...  No tools.

Screw going downstairs until I had to.  Roll your jury rig skill!  Success!  You have found things you can temporarily use as tools!

The fan was assembled.

I'm really happy about it partially because I have been keeping the place pretty closed up.  They don't  have screens (for some unknowable reason) in Europe and every time I open a window mosquitoes come to visit.

After nearly dying from one biting me, I am a bit on the paranoid side.

The fan will remain here after I leave.  Since I will be here for a month for sure (probably two - they keep urging me to stay any time I ask if they have a place in mind I can go rent) the fan will be a nice 'thanks for letting me squat at your house' gift.



BOOK REVIEW


Review on the book "1632".

The title is descriptive as it is the year the book is set in and honestly, much more creative than many of the titles I've seen. If you can search for your title on Goodreads and find it a half dozen times, here's a hint: Try harder.

Anyway, the good, bad and ugly format.

The good: I like the stories where a stalwart band of Yanks (it's always yanks - apparently other nations just don't have the gumption to get sucked back in time) get sucked back in time (like the "Islands in the Sea of Time" series  ) to 'show them how it's done'.

The bad: Unlike pretty much every other time travel book out there, nobody seems to either care or even mention (in the first book, later it's mentioned and dismissed) the whole 'might we start a really fucked up paradox by not only marrying the locals but killing several of them, starting revolutions and introducing tech a few hundred years early? Nope. Nobody even thinks about it. Mind you, I don't think it would have changed anything. Being told "You know, we should destroy all our stuff and kill ourselves so we don't potentially cause a paradox" is not something that is going to go over big with too many crowds. But you'd think someone would at least mention, speculate or possibly even fret a bit about it. For half a page even... Another problem - sometimes the book starts to sound like a dull history textbook. Once they move away from what I think the interesting part of history is (history is the stories of individual often interesting people) and onto more abstract stuff (here is a discussion of the strategic military hard points that only a history nerd with a map could follow and nobody will actually give a shit about it), you feel like you are just wading through crap to get to the interesting parts.

The ugly: Holy shit, it's like the Game of Thrones stuff. Sure, there are some people who can keep track of characters that appear every now and then but there are so many of them you end up fixating on your favorites and feeling like you're just wading through the rest. It makes me with they'd trimmed down the cast of who the story is actually told through.

In summation - I'm into the second book (strangely named 1633 - didn't see that one coming, can't wait to see what the third book is named) right now. Looking back on the first - there is some interesting stuff but you have to do some wading to get to it. Sometimes fairly deep wading. Is it historically accurate? Probably more than I care about.

5/10. Decent but not sure if I'd go back and re-read it.

Follow up - I made it up to the third book before giving up.  Some good parts but just too much bullshit to wade through to get there.



PRICES

750ml bottle of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, 60 lei

35cm fan - about 30-40 USD - not sure.



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PICTURES

{{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

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