All posts by casper

Angry as a life philosophy

Sooo, I decided to do things in the wrong order, and only figured it out after I’d done it, and then it was too late – as with most things in my life …

I stopped smoking (maybe I’ll let the world know how I feel about specific thing), but I had all the symptoms as most people who give up their lifeline to sanity; eating (bring it on), not too happy with anything, and in general just a pain in the bottom for a few months (I’m amazed that I still have a job, but hey I tried).

Now after not having my life extension between my fingers every 1 hour (on avg.) during waking hours left some space which needed to be filled with other things, and as I’ve always been quite outspoken about stupidity I decided to get Angry with stupidity.

Like; why the f… can’t you figure out not to throw your cigaret buds on the street, or don’t throw you Mac D. wrap paper on the street, shithead. Stuff like that, and what I found is that I actually don’t get along with most people in the world. Actually I do get along with the world, but as the world is so filled with stupidity it’s amazing that we as a species have survived this long…

So most people would probably say that I should chill and relax… right read about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, it mostly exist because people just throw plastic (cans, bags, dipers, etc.) over their left or right shoulder instead of disposing of it in a secible way. Or an article I read some time ago which stated that if you eat more than 170g of Tuna (or salmon/laks) every week then there is a risk that you will die from heavy metal poisoning (Japan will cease to exist in the near future). Not saying that you should eat Tuna anyway as there aren’t too many of them left.

Then it comes to behaviour towards other people, everyday I’ll see people who will J-walk, and give cars the finger if they honk at them … hey you should know better. Or if I hit a bicyclist who is running a red light then it’s my fault automatically as I should know that the Darwin Award would do that.

So yes, I’m angry as I know that most people actually have a brain, and should know better, but they are too lazy or don’t give a hoot about what happens around them – that really pisses me off.

Only thing which is worse than all of this are inconsiderate people …

And after been angry for months I actually am a lot better … the world is unfortunately still stuffed with too many stupid people.

Are Danish Embassies actually Danish ?

On Facebook, the group for Danes in The Netherlands shared a job opening for a chauffeur at the Danish Embassy in Den Haag, The Netherlands.

New Colleague
05.08.2014 10:31
We are looking for a new driver.
We are looking for a driver with driver certificate CCV-D1, who also is expected to take care of administrative and practical tasks in the embassy and in the residency of the ambassador in The Hague.

Flexibility, loyalty and reliability are important aspects in the choice of our new presentable colleague. Some experience is desirable.

It concerns a full-time job. Working hours also in the evening and during the weekends according to agreement.
Working languages: English and Dutch.
Start: as soon as possible.

I read it and stopped at “Working languages: English and Dutch.”, no mentioning of Danish. I would expect that Danish would be a required language, in addition to English and Dutch. So just to have a go at it, and send an email to Dansk Folkeparti (the most right wing party in the parliament, and one would expect them to be very much on top of something like this, but), and was told that there are not requirements for Danish as a work language on the Danish embassies. What!!!, hey, hang on a second. So as a Danish citizen calling a Danish embassy I can be forced to speak English, or a local Language to be able to communicate with people on the Embassy, until I get to the officials from Denmark, like the ambassador, or maybe the military attache, of similar officials.

Then I contacted Venstre (liberal, largest party with seats in the Parliament), and was told to contact the foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as they are responsible for the Danish Embassies … that was not what I was trying to get out of this.

As a Danish Citizen, I am very disappointed that I have to speak a foreign language to communicate with people who work at the Embassies of my home Country. And if I by chance get to talk to someone who speak Danish then I should be happy.

I called the Danish Embassy in Den Haag in 2001, the person who picked up the phone spoke English, I asked politely if I could speak Danish … the answer was “No!!!”, I apologized and hanged up…

Opinions without substance

I’ve always been told to make sure that I do my best to know the background before I comment complain about something (the weather is exempt). But with the introduction of Facebook we now have “amateur” specialists, who will “like”, “share” etc., anything which they think make any sence. Unfortunately it is not only the “amateur” specialists on Facebook which do this, also Journalists who write for previously recognized broadsheet papers have started to do this, which means that we cat opinions without substance.

I quite often (until I dis-friended them), got forwarded (shared) information about animal rights on Facebook, though being interesting, but the information in general terms came from fanatical people who only have one reason in publicizing this information; to tell other people what they SHOULD think, there is no room for creating ones own opinion, nor to criticize their opinion – it’s very much; either you’re with us, or you’re against us. Not saying that the people who shared the information with me where fanatically, but I sometimes think that taking what other people write is easier than to sit down and research the subject and then write something else – which can cause people to like or share things which they might not agree with when they are questioned about it. And it also makes me comment and question the shared material….

We have always, as far as I can understand, had fanatical people, the problem is that in todays society it is too easy to agree with them without actually having to understand what they talk about, and it is too easy for them to spread their “broadcast”.

Remember before you “like” or “share” contents that knowing what it’s about might teach you something, and maybe you’ll choose something else….

Klim D30 Armor ….

Bikers, are a stange group of people, we will happily spends large amount of money on things which other people tell us is the right stuff … I remember years ago, everyone had the buy Rukka (most still do), then and now it is Klim, both of them have been bought up by large corporations. And on the sideline one finds Stadler (the last of the big ones), then of the “B” like there are companies like RevIT, Alpinstarts, and so one. We are not discussing clothing for fast bikes, this is the “real” stuff for the traveler who wants to go and see the world.

Now as usual I’ve listened to the wrong people, and ended up with something which I should not have spend money on….

First back in February I decided to get an Klim Overland Jacket, as everyone rave about the price / quality, it did not fit me at all, and due to the wonderful customer service from where I got it from I could not return it (I was stupid enough to drive 35km with it on), which cost me 50% of the price – as funny enough no one else was interested in buying it … hummmm….

But as I really needed a new jacket, and my favorite; Stadler Tour was too expensive (+1100€), I decided to try with a Klim Latitude, which is a very nice jacket, which comes with the right amount of pockets, almost the right amount of ventilation (very few do – read; Stadler), and I was happy.

Now a few weeks back I was on my way to HUM Germany, and due to a brain fart I ended up face down on the asphalt sliding a few meters, which I would expect would not be a big problem. Ok, it did hurt like a bitch, but I was ok, my right leg took most of the impact, but my crap boots and trousers (BMW with good protection) left me with a black n’ blue leg, but otherwise ok.

The problem was (is) my right arm …. now back to a few facts;

– Klim only provide D3O Level 1 armor in their jackets (even Overland is only an upgrade, but still level 1).

– D30 is impact resistant
– D30 is NOT abrasive resistant

This means that if it hist something it will dispert the power of the impact, but when you slide over a surface it can fold up and not give any protection. That is a massive issue, as most of the problems comes from sliding ….

Our skin is made up of 5 layers, and my “small” spill where I landed with my arm underneath my body, the D3O albow proctetion folded up or slid away and did not provide any proction to my arm and the layer of skin which sits ontop of the muschle has lost the connecton to the muschle … this is reasonable painful… and according to my doctor who does diagnostics from the other side of the table this will eventually heal…. (do not get me started on Dutch Doctors – all of them)

But I have a used Stadler Jacket (which is too small) which comes with Level 2 back protection and hard shell shoulder and elbow protectors … so I could just move them across. Nop, no such luck, Klim’s pockets for protectors are too small.

So now I have a very nice jacket which looks like it should do, but it scares the living daylights out of wearing as there is practically no protection in it.

So what is it with a company like Klim, for me it looks like we’re all stupid enough to believe what they tell us – ie. they use the best possible proctors; they do not – they are the cheapest one can get from D3O, they have the best warranty; actually if the garment have been close to the ground at any speed they might refuse any warranty claims, lucky enough Gore-Text will help out. Most of their cloth fit like it was made for a cow, but we’re still happy to buy it, which I do not understand – we much be stupid.

Adventure-Spec Magadan Panniers (mk2)

As the market in my part of the world makes it difficult to actually have a look at products before I buy them I have to rely on the internet for information on what to buy – also what people tell me, but as we’re not all the same, I sometimes have to rely on people who might see things differently.

I have for year been using hard panniers (aluminium boxes), but due to getting a different bike (BMW g650 xChallange) it was advisable to switch to soft luggage – based on the broken bone theory, and also if an alu box is dent it’s leaking and it’s difficult to fix on the road…. I’m not sure I’m a strong believer of the first theory, the other one I know all about. After hitting a “small” rock in Bulgaria in 2012 I spend 6 hours getting my panniers waterproof again….

Then enter the soft luggage, there are a number of producers, and due the exploits of Walter Colbatch (who can nearly walk on water – or so I’ve been told), everyone rave about the Adventure-Spec Magadan Panniers (mk2), so after seeing them first hand (they look right way), I decided to just in with both my feet pointing downwards…. right…

What I discovered after getting them on the bike was:

  • they sag, meaning there isn’t much in them to keep the form (square), which is partly ok but …
  • they are closed with Velcro, and as we know there is an active and passive side to Velcro, on the panniers the active side is pointing outwards when they are open … bye, bye synthetic t-shirts….
  • Now I have a pair of Wolfmans Teton’s they are too small for use for much more than a long weekend, but they are so much easier to deal with, strap them to the bike, and they stay there

  • the Magadans, will require one vertical strap (possible), but definitely a horizontal strap to keep them in place
  • And at the price they charge for them, one start to wonder what one is actually paying for

  • I had a very low speed spill on asphalt a few weeks back, and even without having anything with sharp edges in the bags, the outer fabric is worn through in random places
  • Now they have an Cordura 500 outer shell (fabric), then a kevlar layer which is supposed to make them secure to be cut open with a knife (someone told me that this is not the case … can’t remember who, so I say that is a verified fact), and then an inner shell (fabric) of Cordura 500. Cordura 500 is very resistant, and should not wear through, but it did…

  • the inner bags are obnoxious, who ever came up with the idea… oh, well, the material is so thick that they will take up around 10% of the bags volume
  • Getting some Sea to Summit, or Ortlieb bags is the only option to fix this issue, but that is even more money on top of the extra straps, and with the initial price of +400€ this is starting to become a very expensive friendship

  • the over the seat straps are annoying to say the least
  • Velco, who ever came up with that idea… it rips very easily, that is one thing, the other one is that with that idea out goes the idea of using proper straps and buckles (someone might have a brilliant idea)

  • outside pockets are 2x for Touratech 2 liter fuel plastic canisters, and 2x 1.5 liter for whatever kind of bottle which is 1.5 liter or less
  • The pockets for the fuel bottles I can live with, but pockets for 1.5 liter bottles, that is just plain … (I’m not even going to say it out loud), I drink a lot of water, and it comes in 0.5, 1, 1.5 and 2 liter bottles, not I have to remember not to buy the 2 liter bottles again, which is silly. They could have thought that through a bit more….

  • did I mention the price
  • I bought them because I was convinced by other people that they were the right thing, after had them on the bike, I am just very annoyed that I ever bought them as they are very expensive and not very vell thought through.

    Due to this and other things, I am probably not going to use my xChallange on my upcoming vacation trip, I know that the Magadan’s will drive me insane and that will ruin part of my vacation.

    I am not saying anyone should not buy them, but be sure you know why you spend your money on.

    Lowland Sleeping bags….

    So, my sleeping bag reached the end of it’s life, and this time I decided to spend a bit of money to get a Down bag, and and I like space for my feed I was specifically looking for a blanket model.

    After some time I found and decided on a Lowland Ranger Lite, sizewise it was perfect 220cm long, and 80cm wide, and reasonable cheap.

    So I get the thing, 20 minutes before I’m about to leave for a long weekend in a tent, perfect.

    Later that day, I crawl into my new (very nice) sleeping bag, and it’s a bit tight…. like I lack a bite space around my shoulders, hummmm.

    When I get home I decide to messure it, and it comes to 71cm, not 80cm.

    Right, something is a bit strange, I contact the shop where I got it from, they are a bit taken aback, ok, I go there, and they have a look at, yes, very strange, and compare to other Lowland Sleeping Bags… non of them are 80cm wide.

    The end of the story is that they will take it back, and I’ll get a Yeti instead.

    In the mean time I contacted Lowland Tends, am more or less told (when I ask why the specifications does not add up) to go somewhere else, and they cannot be bother about false marketing.

    Now, I liked the Lowland sleeping bag, it was nice, but there are limits, they know that their specifications does not add up, but continue to use these specifications. And when one ask why, one is told to bleep off.

    I suggest to stop buying from them….

    2013 was Another trip to Balkan….

    So another came around the corner, and yet another vacation to enjoy and look forward to…. (and yes, I’m a bit late writing this – been preoccupied with other more interesting things) …

    So due to things outside my influence the bank account was not as filled as it was supposed to, and I had to change my route a bit, but it wasn’t that much ….

    Big change was that due to being a nice guy, and being told off by the nice people who pay my salary I had to leave one month later than planned (FFS), but then well, shit happens.

    One early August morning (more precise 10. Aug. 2013) I left home for a few weeks of seeing interesting things.

    This years big adventure would be to follow the Carpathian mountains from Poland into Ukraine then via Moldova into Romania … the rest was more up to wishful thinking, and hope, and a prayer to the gods that I would break any bones, or catch something really nasty – hey, the world is a dangerous place…..

    I think this is the most dangerous thing I saw the who 5 weeks …

    Oh, he was a mean customer, but more about that later :-D

    First stop was somewhere in Harz (Germany, where I found a nice camping, actually it’s nice enough for me to think about going back, which is why I will not share it’s location with anyone), next was a really nice place just south of Görlitz and 300 meters from the Polish border, nice filled with flies … and as discovered Ants .. just an advice never ever get Ants into your helmet, you will live to regret it, and you will regret it, f… painful…

    I had a pleasant evening, talk to and old lady who turned out to be a survivor of the Dresden bombings, and grew up in the East (Germany). She had some interesting comments on our current society, most of them I agree with; we are unfortunately more interested in our self than we are in how people around us are … sad.

    Next was Poland… hummm, interesting place, both in a pleasant surprise, and what adjectives comes up when one drive through it, most of the words are not of the positive kind. I stopped at some point to get a picture of an old tower, and roughly 5 seconds I was yelled at.. I was not allowed to part there, and was mostly told to piss off ….

    The tower was kind of nice, but it didn’t really make me look at that place with positive eyes…

    I decided that Auschwitz, probably wasn’t too bad a place to visit, history and all that. And I’ve reached a conclusion; really bad people make good people do bad things… as for the rest, read history and learn from it, as it will repeat itself.

    There is a Hotel / Camping close by, where I meet a young Dutchman, who had been stuck for 3 days with a broken bike, talked a bit to him, but not much help could be offered….

    Then to the High Tatras (Polish side), which is a tourist trap, and for further reference should be avoided.

    At that point I had enough of Poland and decided (well my GPS decided to act up, and I didn’t really know where I was, and my map did not line up with my thought process), so I ended up driving a bit in Slovakia – which is pleasant ;)

    Now having endured so much just to see some mountains, I finally got to the Carpathian Mountains in Poland, hummmm, hummmm. What can I say; cloud cover …. nice roads though. Found a cabin for the night, and continued to Ukraine…. Next year though….

    More to follow…. (photos as usual)