Saturday, March 28, 2015

Those Damned Fellas Who Won't Fit In

Another promotional video, an emo-music-plus-holiday-snaps take on THE MEN WHO DON'T FIT IN, by Robert Service, which I used as an epigraph for my last memoir.



One of the few guys to make a fortune from poetry, Robert Service from his usual stomping grounds of Alaska to Paris, where he was known to stroll around the rough sections of town wearing a monocle with his former-cop bodyguard. The People's Poet indeed!




Sunday, March 22, 2015

Catching Up With Crazy Bob

Recently caught up with Crazy Bob in the Emirates. 







So rest assured, the flags of English teacher degeneracy are still flying out there.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Video Killed the Radio Star

A couple years ago I made a few crude videos (look at my YouTube channel here) using Microsoft Movie Maker, and I had left the world with a bit of a cliffhanger, with a video that illustrated a sucky speaking activity and then telling people to tune in for an illustration of a speaking activity that didn't suck.

Then I just sort of forgot about it.

But a few commenters kept requesting the sequel, so I finally completed it:



I had been trying to get a friend of mine to do some voice acting for it, but that never worked out, and then I sort of just forgot about it as I worked on porn e-books and started working in my next shitty job in the kingdom.

But hey, my fans ask for something, I'll try to give it to them.

This was a sequel to this particular video:



In which you can hear my sexy dulcet voice, actually, which has occasionally been compared to Kermit the Frog.

(I've been invited to be on a couple of podcasts, but I was rather afraid my Kermit-voice might utterly ruin people's image of me, which is no doubt highly virile.)

And just for shits and giggles, here's a promo for my most recent book, REQUIEM FOR A VAGABOND:



Get it HERE on Amazon



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Luckless, Part 2: The Lawsuit (Another Cautionary Tale)

As recounted in another post,  my former employers in the Kingdom were inclined to dismiss people with little warning and often little visible cause. I also shared with you the story of a luckless former colleague, and his sudden sacking, which occurred around the time I was leaving last July.


Imagine my surprise when I found he was still in the Kingdom, having hired lawyers to try to sue the contracting company he worked for.

This is a conversation that began in late November, 2014, and finished the last week of January this year. I present it as yet another cautionary tale.



11/29 11:35am
English Teacher X
I heard you were still in the Kingdom!

11/29 12:00am
English Teacher S
I'm sitting in (Redacted City in the Kingdom) waiting for my Dec 9 court hearing.

 11/29, 12:29am
English Teacher X
did you get another job somewhere?
December 24, 2014

 12/24, 10:12pm
English Teacher S
newp

 12/24, 11:23pm
English Teacher X
is that not kind of like throwing good money after bad?
January 23

 1/23, 4:19pm
English Teacher S
I don't really know what that means.

 1/23, 4:30pm
English Teacher X
just as well then

 1/23, 4:30pm
English Teacher S
I'm always happy to learn something new.

 1/23, 4:31pm
English Teacher X
well i mean are you using your own money to stay there?
isn't that going to just put you further in debt, even if you win?

 1/23, 4:32pm
English Teacher S
You think I'd have spent this long here if the settlement I'm fighting for wasn't going to cover things?

 1/23, 4:32pm
English Teacher X
well, i guess

 1/23, 4:33pm
English Teacher S
Is Peru everything I thought it would be?

 1/23, 4:33pm
English Teacher X
yeah, it was awesome and the galopogas islands were really great
gotta start thinking about employment again soon

 1/23, 4:34pm
English Teacher S
I'm over it.

 1/23, 4:34pm
English Teacher X
i'll be going to the TESOL Arabia conference in Dubai, it's in the middle of march

 1/23, 4:35pm
English Teacher S
I followed the guidelines of every school/administration/jackass who wanted me to teach kids to sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas for 15 years now. All it's gotten me is unfinished contracts.
If I were picking tomatoes in Cali, at least I could get some "meds" for my "back pain".

 1/23, 4:36pm
English Teacher X
heh heh, true enough

 1/23, 4:36pm
English Teacher S
and still be treated like a migrant tomato picker

 1/23, 4:36pm
English Teacher X
you gonna quit the life then?

 1/23, 4:38pm
English Teacher S
no idea

 1/23, 4:38pm
English Teacher X
probably too late to join the navy

 1/23, 4:38pm
English Teacher S
I don't wear white well.

 1/23, 4:40pm
English Teacher X
you're not cool enough to be a barrista
i guess it's got to be long-haul trucking


 1/23, 5:12pm
English Teacher X
is there a holiday because the king died?

 1/23, 5:12pm
English Teacher S
fuck if i know
i didnt know he had passed until i logged into fb
they're not tolling any bells or anything

 1/23, 5:13pm
English Teacher X
attempted coup in Yemen, that's more worriesome

 1/23, 5:14pm
English Teacher S
though, for a fri sermon, the imam's voice didn't sound as hateful and he kept things short and subdued compared tto his usual 45 rant which is usually easily confused with a michael vick kegger
45min*
I dont know. A new king.... shit could get cray-zee fast

 1/23, 5:16pm
English Teacher X
can't say I miss the place much

 1/23, 5:16pm
English Teacher S
I"m surprised to hear that.


 1/23, 5:17pm
English Teacher X
the price of gasoline is so low now, maybe that caused the king to die of a broken heart

 1/23, 5:17pm
English Teacher S
so why are you coming to tesol-con dubai?
the relationship of those two conditions might be closer than mentioning is comfortable

 1/23, 5:18pm
English Teacher X
i'll try for a decent job in the Emirates or Oman

 1/23, 5:18pm
English Teacher S
lol Saudi Lite.

 1/23, 5:19pm
English Teacher X
it's just too bad they pay 2 -3 times as much as any other country in the world

 1/23, 5:19pm
English Teacher S
sad thing is I actually like arabs for the most part...it's all the other fucks they hire that make it miserable

 1/23, 5:20pm
English Teacher X
although I hear you can make a decent living in parts of China now, being a communist country they pay teachers well

 1/23, 5:20pm
English Teacher S
i can do well without ever seeing another egyptian or filipino

 1/23, 5:20pm
English Teacher X
you didn't like the cute little filipinos?

 1/23, 5:22pm
English Teacher S





 1/23, 5:22pm
English Teacher S
dont trust 'em for a second

 1/23, 5:25pm
English Teacher X
trust no one

 1/23, 5:25pm
English Teacher S
I'm simply not equipped to get along in a world like that.

 1/23, 5:28pm
English Teacher X
a lot of the advice I hear for people going to prison are applicable there, also
don't get involved in too much stuff, do what you're told without comment, and find private ways to keep your sanity

 1/23, 5:43pm
English Teacher S
That is good advice. Unfortunately I am full of energy and curiosity, very expressive and always seeking to improve on things that are flawed, and let's face it, there is no privacy as long as You carry your Dick Tracy everywhere You go.
I'll put it on a post it on my door...see if it makes a difference to remind myself of it when I leave my sweet little hotel cell.

 1/23, 5:44pm
English Teacher X
http://www.lawcollective.org/article.php?id=48
Just Cause Law Collective : Going to Jail for the First Time
www.lawcollective.org
Don’t snitch. Snitches are not just unpopular—they’re unsafe. Don’t even refer to other prisoners when talking with correctional officers, because people will think you’re snitching or at least being manipulated by the officers. (The primary exception to this is that if you honestly believe you’re going to be raped…)

 1/23, 5:49pm
English Teacher S
Jesus, man. I'm not planning on going to jail. I haven't done anything wrong. What's with all the jail talk?
It's Isha.
Nice chatting with You.
Catch ya later

 1/23, 5:50pm
English Teacher X
ciao

 1/23, 5:50pm
English Teacher S
Seriously though...what's with all the jail talk?!

 1/23, 5:51pm
English Teacher X
http://www.wikihow.com/Deal-with-Being-in-Prison
as I said, it's good advice for the Kingdom

 1/23, 5:51pm
English Teacher S
Well it's a bit late for that.
take it easy, X

 1/23, 5:52pm
English Teacher X
salaam
Seen Jan 31



* * *

Given all the stuff about human trafficking in the news and the international courts recently, such a lawsuit is perhaps not nearly as hopeless as it might seem. I know my contractor was extremely paranoid about that sort of thing, with news stories about people being busted and fined for human trafficking on the bulletin boards of their office, and when I left provided me with very detailed paperwork showing that I'd been paid all the money I was owed and how the figures had been arrived at.

As far as suing schools in general, though, it can't really be recommended, as the lawyers you hire abroad are probably just as likely to rip you off as the language schools. (That was a big cottage industry in Korea.)

But I know a couple of people who have done it successfully, including one in Moscow, and I once used the threat of it to get a couple weeks salary from an employee in Thailand who dismissed me without much warning. 

Anybody else out there got any good lawsuit stories, drop me an e-mail or a comment.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Reviewing the Reviewers, Part 2: "Like A Bitter Shot of Poison to the Heart!"


I forgot to mention that my first memoir, TO TRAVEL HOPELESSLY, is available for FREE now.


Writing about your own life makes reading your reviews a rather tricky business; people are in many cases reviewing your life as much as they are your works. 

For the most part, the books have been well-received and well-considered by most of the people who have bothered to leave a review on Amazon. The reviews on Amazon UK are much more savage than the ones on Amazon US, though -- there are like three different people who say my books are "the worst book I've ever read!" (What a statistical anomaly!)

Recently a real confusingly WTF review got posted:  


So yeah, let me go ahead and just reveal my true identity. My real name is James Frey

(To the best of my knowledge, I don't know anybody who lives in Denmark, where that reviewer supposedly lives, nor can I think of anybody who might have written that.)

So just let me make a polite request: if you have read and liked my books, take a few minutes to leave a review on Amazon. 

If you DIDN'T like my books, then at least get your fucking facts straight before you review it. Don't complain that there's bad language, because I say that in the product description. The books may have some typos, but they ARE NOT full of grammatical errors.  If you say that I present a one-dimensional portrait of TEFL, please elaborate on where you are getting your information from. If you claim that you are a teacher and never had experiences like this, or met people like this, please tell me where you worked so I can apply there.

In fact, if you never met crazy people while teaching TEFL, odds are that YOU were the crazy one ...

(There was a review of my GUIDE TO TEACHING ENGLISH ABROAD that said it was "like a bitter shot of poison to the heart!"and if we look at all the other books this reviewer reviews, we see a lot of books about living with bipolar disorder.)



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Accidental Pornographer, Part Three: It Ain't Easy Being Sleazy

Everybody loves a good "get rich quick" scheme, and lately, writing pornography e-books is one of those schemes.

Read Part One: The Pornographer Rises
Read Part Two: The Fall of the Pornographer

The TL;DR version of that is that back in 2012, I, on a whim, posted an erotica short story on Kindle under another name and suddenly found myself deluged with sales. In 2013, however, Amazon began aggressively seeking out and blocking the kinds of "taboo" porn I was writing, and I found my sales never really recovered.


Nonetheless, I was still making good money from it, combined with my other books -- $500 - $1000 a month, generally --  so I decided that when I left my last job, I was going to really work at it a bit and see if I could get my income from books up over $2000 a month.

I visited a lot of cool places since I left my last job in July: Vietnam, Turkey, Peru and Ecuador. The fucking Golopogas Islands, man! Czech Republic and Hungary, too.

When I wasn't with my girlfriend, you know what I was doing in the evenings, usually?

Writing porn.

Writing enema porn.

Not that I find anything at all erotic about enemas, I should say, it was just a thing that clicked with readers and my largest selling titles all had enemas in them.

So I wrote enema porn.

In addition, you know, to cuckolding porn, gangbang porn, BDSM, etc.

I swam with hammerhead sharks at Kicker Rock, I traversed fabulous jungles in the Amazon basin of Peru, I surfed in Montanita. I bathed in the mineral waters at Karlovy Vary and in Budapest.

And I wrote enema porn.



ONE OF THE LONELIEST JOBS THERE IS

I didn't work nearly as hard at it, as I might have.

I did it, but I no longer enjoyed it.

It began to feel not really dirty or disgusting, but just ... tedious. Sad. Pathetic, even.

For inspiration, I immersed myself in exploration of 70s exploitation. I watched tons of old "sexploitation" films on YouTube to get ideas. I listened to lots of documentaries and podcasts about 70s and 80s porn, including the highly-recommended The Rialto Report podcast, which has a lot of funny and poignant tales of porn stars and directors of that era.

You can look at my Google Plus page to see a comprehensive look at the YouTube exploitation films I've watched recently, or at least commented on, but here's a really weird sleazy offensive demeaning one, just as an example:



DON'T GET ME WRONG

I always liked sleaze, don't get me wrong. I used to collect old men's adventure paperbacks when I was a teen, which usually leaned more towards tawdry violence than tawdry sexuality, but there was plenty of both. (People ask me which blogs I read - that's about the only one I follow loyally.)

But I can't say that I have recently felt like some awesome independent-location writer, surviving by my wits. Or even some sort of live-by-your-own rules bohemian.

I felt like a sad fucking middle-aged man doing what is probably one of the most solitary and perhaps one of the loneliest jobs there is.

I mean, all the stuff about how watching porn fucks up your amygdala -- imagine how much WRITING it fucks up your amygdala.



WE MAY TERMINATE YOUR ACCOUNT

As mentioned, Amazon has opaque and ever-changing standards of what is unacceptable. Towards the end of 2014, Amazon sent me an e-mail saying that if I submitted anything else that was blocked, my whole account would be banned:

During our review process, we found that this content is in violation of our content guidelines. As a result, we cannot offer this book for sale. If we identify additional submissions with similar content that violates our guidelines, we may terminate your account or you may lose access to optional KDP services.

So I had to back off, as I post the ETX books and the porn books from the same account, and I didn't want to get that blocked and lose ALL my income.

So I worked on building my brand, with an author's website, based around some of my more thriller-based erotica stuff -- five sex scenes and a fight scene, versus six fight scenes and a sex scene as in the men's adventure pulps -- but I haven't had any more success than usual yet. (I really kind of hate all that SEO and keyword stuff and I'm not good at it.)

Not posting much of anything in December or January, sales plummeted. In fact my 2014 total book sales were down about 20 percent from my 2013 sales, according to my tax records.

Porn sales seems to have really short half-life now; things will sell hundreds of copies for a month or two, if you're lucky, but then they seem to fall off quickly to nothing. I have one title that sold thousands of copies in 2012 and maybe like a few dozen copies total in 2014. One recent addition to my porn canon sold 100-something copies in October when it was released, with a similar number of Kindle Unlimited "rentals"; this month it has sold 5, with 4 rentals.



REALLY FOUL STUFF

The latest aspect of the erotica e-book scam is to put hardcore erotica in the "romance" and "short story" sections of Kindle, rather than "erotica" -- there's all kinds of really foul stuff there now.

But I'm guessing that within the next three to six months, possibly sooner, Amazon will go on another tear and start blocking and banning, like they did with erotica in 2013.

But there's still a few bucks to be made. One guy made more than $7000 in a month writing gay cuckold porn. (Maybe if I made that much I'd feel better about this. Maybe.)

Even the positive, wholesome young Robert at 30 Days to X seems to have switched from self-help to porn slinging, after becoming disillusioned with affiliate links and blogging.

So I don't know what to tell you, kids. Sure, there's money to be made there, surely more money than most English teaching positions, but ... I mean, shit you can probably make tons of money sucking cock down at the bus stop, too. Or cheating old ladies out of their pensions with promises of marriage.

Is this really all we aspire too, though?

Sigh. Anyway, back to my latest enema porn adventure.