Cha-ching

Ok, so credit cards don’t make any sound when you pay for things online but I still needed some title for this post.

Yep, I just tried renewing my registration for this domain. It said I couldn’t. What? I wanted to renew it for 9 years. Instead I just got some other thing that hides my identity or something. For 9 years. Longer than this domain is registered for.

Yep.

Oh well. I’ll try again.

The music is going well!

Mr Popularity

This site’s been getting a bit of spam lately. I can’t tell whether or not it’s due to my anti-spam plugins being out of date or if I’ve majestically started getting more traffic. Unbelieveable.

Anyway, I made a few updates and now I just have to wait and see.

So, Lucy is having a good time over here. Too bad she has to leave next month some time.  Tallinn’s much nicer than Estonia.

Holy shit, wait, I just realised my fucking Estonian slaves are the ones visiting this site. Now they keep asking to see the embarrassing childhood videos of me. Fat chance. 3 days of publicly displayed shame is enough.

Today is meant to be my day off. The first thing I did when I woke up at noon was fix everything that had gone wrong in the last 4 hours. At least I got to sleep in a bed for once. I only dream when I sleep in beds. Probably because it’s the only deep sleep I get, particularly in the basement.

Marika’s playing in the forest listening to Nick Cave. I hope she’s taking drugs as well to complete the experience.

This weekend there’s going to be barely any staff. Everyone’s decided to all fuck off at once. I think we’ll manage but it’ll be a pain in the hole.

Speaking of pains in the hole, Dave came to visit and then pissed off to Vilnius 2 days later with Egle. I still don’t have my Uus key back so I’m a little teary.

We’ve got another volunteer here, Phil. He’s from Australia, of course. He’s a bit older but a really nice guy. I think my favourite thing about him is that he actually gets up really early. Worth his weight in gold.

Goody, I have to take people to Viru later. Fucking Viru. Where’s the bloody repairman for this place, anyway?

Itchy noggin'

I need to wash my hair again, methinks.

I’ve spent a few hours the last few days plodding through my old LiveJournal posts that I imported to this blog. Basically I’ve decided to categorise all of them. I don’t know why. I just feel like I should. It’s nice taking a trip down memory lane. There’s only 120 entries left to do. No problem.

For some reason I’ve been feeling really, really tired this last week. Maybe it’s because I’m eating shitty food. I’m not sure. Maybe a little bit of me has died inside since my beloved tofu left Estonia. Maybe it’s because we have a big group of students staying in the hostel for 2 weeks. I really don’t know. It’s nice to curl up and nap, though.

Marika has exams. Lots of exams. I hope she passes them all. I’m sure she does, too. Maybe I’ll get a chance to go down to Tartu with Tim in the next week or two. That would be nice. He’s drinking like a maniac lately. I can’t keep up. It hurts.

So, instead, I think I’ll go running tomorrow and yes, wash my hair. I like the route I take. I run around the outside of Old Town, through the park and up the hill to Toompea then back down and through the Old Town itself. It’s fun jogging over cobblestones. It’s not fun jogging up the bloody hill.

I forgot to mention I won a foosball tournament that the kids organised here. I was in a team with Thomas. He was mainly inspired to play because apparently there was 500 EEK in prize money. In the end we weren’t awarded that, but I was happy anyway. It wasn’t really a fair competition, we were all over them. I’d have felt embarrassed if ended up taking money from them. I don’t think Tom was too impressed, however.

They did, however, give us funny little gold medals. A nice souvenir.

I got drunk last night and fell down some stairs after Bella (new girl volunteering at Monk’s Bunk) asked me if I had a bed while I was walking around in the dark. It sounded like a proposition but it was only intended innocently. I realised this at the time but it didn’t stop me giggling at the situation. Falling on my arse down three stairs only made it worse.

We were drinking what I call White Estonians. It’s like a White Russian, but with Vana Tallinn instead of Kahlua. Potent stuff. Quite tasty when done right. Nearly lethal, too.

The other day I read through The Watchmen. It was cool. I should read it a second time but I’m probably too lazy to get around to it. I also have a shitload of e-books to read that I haven’t even started yet. Not to mention I got all three series of Arrested Development again so I can show people how good it is. Now that I just googled for that link, I see I could have just watched streaming versions. Fuck. Oh well.

Frosties are a fucking awesome breakfast cereal.

In the swing

I’ve been jogging. Well, three times. Only once a week so far (but I didn’t go last week, tofu distracted me). Tomorrow I think I shall. Indeed.

Yes, tofu came to visit! That was nice. I seem to have a lot of friends that want to come over here and see me. Not bad for a guy that doesn’t really use MSN or Facebook or email people. I guess my personality is just too attractive.

The only negative side of his stay was the fact that I ended up eating pizza with him nearly every day, because he wouldn’t eat anything else. Picky bastard. Well, he did have two pancakes. Still. That, combined with no real exercise didn’t really help my fitness routine. Never mind, there’s still time to look great for summer and not go to the beach anyway.

My cooking hasn’t really progressed at all. I have expanded my repertoire though by attempting to perfect a “big breakfast”. It’s pretty good, actually. Definitely big enough. Definitely unhealthy enough. I suppose that isn’t really doing much for my attempted health kick, either.

Marika’s not going to be in town for a while due to exams. That sucks because now no one will make coffee for me all the time. I guess you can’t win them all.

We opened a new hostel called The Monk’s Bunk at the end of April. Tim’s been running it. So far it’s doing quite well. It’s a funny little place and in my opinion rather quirky, but certainly not without its charms. I’ve got a feeling it’ll be quite popular over summer.

I think I’ll try to start posting more, about random shit, like dumb ideas I’m having. These update posts are getting a bit boring, even for me.

Funny search terms that produce this blog

As the name says. These are some of the terms that have led people here (I found them in my stats):

  • pics of mushroom cock knobs
  • a cheap price for a baby black knob saw back map tourtle
  • uvula piercings
  • kotooshu bought his parents satellite TV
  • knob atoms nice
  • Led around the Knob
  • olevimägi juuksur
  • what do the knobs on my chair do

There have been others in the past and there will be more in the future. I’ll add more in a while…

Knobguide: How to be a backpacker

Someone asked me earlier today about some tips for getting around Europe as a backpacker. Since I’ve been over here nearly a year, both as a backpacker and as a kid working in a hostel, I feel like I may have some extra insight as to what you need and what you don’t.

Note, this is intended for first timers who plan to basically go hostel hopping over warm weather.

So, here’s the quick and nasty of it:

What to bring

If you do it right, you can get by with an average sized travel pack. I bought a big 90 litre Macpac and while it’s great, it’s also so big it meant I took too much. Using a 60 or 70 litre pack should be plenty if you only take along the things you’ll actually use regularly, such as:

  • 5 t-shirts
  • 1 jumper or light jacket
  • 4-5 pairs of underwear
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 pair of jeans or long pants
  • 1 decent pair of sneakers (or boots if you’re going to do some hiking)
  • 1 pair of thongs or sandals
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 1 towel
  • toothbrush; toothpaste; 2 in 1 shampoo & conditioner; roll-on deodourant and shower gel
  • pocket mirror (try to find a thin plastic one)
  • pocket knife (it only has to come in useful once to be worth it)

Optional:

  • hair brush
  • speedos/board shorts/bikini
  • heavy/warm jacket (if you’re travelling in colder weather)
  • razors or an electric razor (they’re a bit heavier and take up more space, but are faster and you can use them whenever you please)

This is backpacking, not holidaying. You should be expecting (and prepared) to live like more of a grot than you normally would at home. That means recycling t-shirts and underwear for a few days at a time and not showering every day. It also means you shouldn’t expect to take great care of your hair. Only prissy girls take hairdryers with them (or really weird guys).

Don’t bother with a sleeping bag or sleeping sheet or any of that crap unless you’re actually intending to sleep in a tent occasionally. Most hostels can provide you with sheets if you want them, either for free or for a small fee. Personally I’ve never bothered using them. Sleeping on dirty mattresses is part of the fun. It’s good for your immune system, too.

Passport pouches and carriers are generally a waste of money. Just keep your passport and wallet in your pockets and be mindful of them. If you have pants with zippers on the pockets, even better. I used to carry around my valuables in a pair of cargo pants that had 6 zipped pockets and had no problems. If you’re a good clothes shopper, you should be able to find clothing that’s not only practical, but stylish. Just because you’re a dirty, smelly backpacker doesn’t mean you can’t at least look nice.

It’s a good idea to use a day pack, either separate or adjoined to your travel pack. They let you carry around whatever you may want during your sightseeing and day-to-day stuff, such as your camera, MP3 player, maps and whatever else. They’re also a good place to keep your pocket knife and other gadgets, especially if you don’t have many pockets in your pants or jacket.

Resources

You’re thinking Lonely Planet, or something like it, right? Wrong. Fuck them. They’re typically out of date or full of bad information. Most of the opinions in them on accommodation paint hostels in certain lights based off one experience and don’t always have the best ones listed. Sure, they’re good books if you want to read a bit on the history of where you’re visiting, what local phrases to use and what’s worth seeing. That’s great, except if you’re doing more than one or two countries you’ll either need a book for each place or a big fat regional edition which only has tidbits of information on where you are.

If you really want to learn about where you’re going or where you are, it’s easier to just read tourist information pamphlets, brochures and signs. You can even ask staff in the hostels you stay in because they’ll know what most people want to see when they visit, plus they probably know the cool local places to explore and check out that you won’t find in guidebooks.

Another option is to read about it on the web. Wikitravel and Wikipedia should have most of the general information that you could ever imagine, while tourism websites for cities and countries are only a Google search away and can provide you with any other specific details you were wondering about.

Beds and planes

For flying around, all you really need to use is SkyScanner. They take away almost all the hassle of finding cheap flights around Europe. Use them.

If you want to book hostels online, which is recommended if you don’t want to run around looking for a bed when you arrive (although it can be really fun and you might find a brand new, cool place that isn’t even listed on the Internet yet, during the summer months places are almost always full), there are two real options.

Hostelworld has a bastard of an interface, is horrible to administer from the backend for hostel staff and they also charge you a booking fee, but it’s also the largest hostel website and lists virtually everyone. Another interesting thing about Hostelworld is that most of the other, smaller hostel booking websites are actually run through the Hostelworld network, so any bookings made by them actually function as bookings made through Hostelworld.

Hostelbookers is a nicer, slicker website, is much nicer to run from an administrative point of view and doesn’t charge a booking fee; however, it isn’t as widely used.

Other hostel booking sites are either (as previously mentioned) run through Hostelworld, aren’t as popular and thus have less hostels listed and even less reviews.

That should be enough for now. If I think of more I’ll make a second edition, or something.

Galleries and CSS

I’ve spent the last 16 hours or so mucking around with my gallery‘s theme. I didn’t like the way the dev-testing theme looked which is fair enough since it’s designed for experimentation rather than aesthetics.

I think it looks rather spiffy at the moment. Nearly seamless, you might say. I’ve barely slept since I started hacking away at it last night. The individual picture pages haven’t been touched yet, so ignore their look for now.

On the hostel front, it looks like we’ll be living in the Viru rooms for at least the next 2 months. I had a feeling we’d end up in here for a while anyway so it came as no surprise when Hugo mentioned it. He’s going back to Holland on the 11th so then there’ll only be four of us looking after both these places now that Valerie’s back.  Well, Ben will be around too, I guess.

I haven’t been to the gym since Tuesday. We were meant to go today but it doesn’t look likely. Not with me feeling buggered from last night and Emily having been fast asleep on the bed for the last hour or two. Damn it, I really could use a shower and a good old scrub of the teeth. What a mess.

Today I caught up with Swedish Martin. He wanted me to see if there was any free WiFi signals that could be detected from his flat in the old town. The building is fantastic, a real Soviet style, scungy dump with dark, narrow hallways and toilets comparable to the one from Trainspotting. His room was freezing as well, I can only imagine how horrible it’d be inside during winter. He shares it with Tambet, an Estonian guy who works in Levist and plays in a relatively famous local rock band. Apparently Tambet has been living there for about seven years. Hardcore.

There were only secure wireless networks available so I was unable to help Martin out. Instead we had a beer and listened to some music while he told me some of his crazy stories. It would have been nice to kick back and relax for a few hours but I had to get back and clean the toilets.

Post calendar

Another plugin-related post.

I installed the latest version of this Ajax Calendar but it seemed to crap itself when it came to linking to posts. Unfortunately it kept trying to attach my WordPress install directory as a prefix to all my permalinks when it didn’t have to. The default version of wp_calendar didn’t have this problem and worked fine, but it wasn’t sexy like Ajax!

The solution was fairly easy, I just removed two of the site prefix + segments from the livecalendar.js file and now it’s working perfectly. Isn’t it nice when things are simple?

Unfortunately, the Quoter plugin I installed isn’t compatible with the threaded comments plugin that Gus has made look so nice on his site. To be honest I don’t know if I even need both of them but I like each for their own reasons. Perhaps I’ll hack away at them some more and see if I can get quotes integrated with threaded comments. It could be cool. Maybe.