Monday, January 30, 2006

The Party's End: Sad Musings

After several years, the language school I work at has finally started to suck nearly as much as all the other ones I've worked at.

Schedules, formerly always a very reasonable 4:30 - 9:30pm, Monday through Friday, are now scattered around mornings, evenings and weekends with all-too-typical disregard for human sleep, social and dining patterns.

There are a lot of women running around the administrative offices, but none of them seem to know who's supposed to do what.

Our salaries continue to be devalued by inflation and the weak dollar, while benefits are slowly whittled away.

Typical prices for a beer in a nightclub or restaurant are now about the same as you'd find in America, perhaps a bit more. Food at such places costs about 30 - 50 percent more than a similar place in America.

Russia's economy is booming; fortunes are being made and spent quickly -- but not on infrastructure for the country or anything, just on fancy, shitty, boring,expensive new restaurants and nightclubs.

People can't really remember communism anymore. Five years ago the thought of going to a nightclub was as exotic as going to Turkey or Egypt; now having fun is a right, not a privilege. People don't appreciate it anymore.

And what's more, people are now eager to work on the weekends so they'll have money to buy more expensive clothes and jewelry they don't need, rather then just (more sensibly) blowing the money on vodka.

Yes, they've gained some prosperity, but they've lost something precious and beautiful. . .

Friday, January 27, 2006

Heal! And I don't give a damn if you have faith!

A friend of mine's father fell extremely ill one day and was rushed to the hospital. He was diagnosed first with blood poisoning of unknown origin; a bit later they discovered he had a tumour in his stomach that was blocking a bile duct (or something) and causing it to back up into his blood.

He was extremely sick; unable to do more than lie in bed and groan, and he was visibly yellow, apparently.

They had heard about a herbalist and psyhcic healer in a village near here, and after he got out of the hospital they decided to go to her, after a friend swore by her.

She put him on some different herbs and did whatever psychic healers do. He was skeptical, said my friend; but the psychic replied, "It doesn't matter whether you believe it or not, I can heal you."

Now of course, that's the right answer, as far as I'm concerned.

Within a week the amound of white blood cells (that is, infective matter) in his system was halved, and then she said she would remove the tumour.

And damned if she didn't. The next x-ray showed the tumour was completely gone.

He's now back at work and feeling fine.

I of course said to my friend, "Uh, now why isn't this person world famous?"

"I asked her that, and she said that she had more than enough work to do around here and wouldn't have nearly enough time to cope with travelling around the world healing people."


Monday, January 16, 2006

A Bit Nipply

It was 30 degrees below zero, celsius, at 1:00pm today. (That's about the same, farenheit.) Somewhere around 35 below now, at 8:04pm. With windchill, who the fuck knows, probably like 50 below zero.

You have to tape the cracks around the windows, that's the first thing. Then, put on the old long undies and move briskly . . . no time to linger. . .

There's a whole segment on the news devoted to identifying the various old people and drunks who freeze to death in the winter; they show their boots and watches and stuff and say where they were found, etc.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Disclaimer, Blood and Vomit

My friend in LR just sent me an angry email so I offer the following disclaimer:

1) He has perfectly legitimate reasons for being polyaddicted to anti-depressants
2) He's not polyaddicted, he's polydependent
3) We had a perfectly good time sitting around playing video games and eating Taco Bell.

In fact, one of the first things that my American friends asked me when I got back here was "Did you eat a lot of Taco Bell? Yumm!" Subway sandwiches and Denny's breakfasts also have similarly high affection in my heart of hearts. As well as tater-tots. But you can get tater-tots in Russia now.

Went out last night to celebrate; last night was the "Old Russian New Year" (by the old calendar) so the House of Pain was packed, and really lived up to its nickname -- it was packed with blonde strumpets, there were at least three fights that broke out, and the bathroom was covered with blood and vomit.

I made a joke to English Teacher P about how you can judge the amount of fun you're going to have by the amount of blood in the sink in the men's toilet. "Not quite Slaughterhouse 5 tonight," I said. "More like slaughterhouse three."

Monday, January 09, 2006

Only One More Day of Bacon Left!!

Yeah, America, I don't know, man.

Been a pretty quiet holiday; seen my old high school buddies, but those that don't have wives and kids have massive mental illnesses and polyaddictions to various prescription medications, so I haven't gone out to any bars or anything like that.

Just spent the last three days with an old friend in Little Rock, AR playing GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY and eating Taco Bell, while drinking Red Stripe beer and occasionally downloading some good old porn from the 70's and 80's off the Intnernet. Love those damn hi-speed connections.

I'm serious, we did absolutely nothing else. Except sleeping, of course.

Anyway, no time to get all sentimental! I'm back to Russia on the tenth. I need to eat more bacon!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Real World: Hell

The best thing about America is that there are a lot of reality shows, so you don't have to worry about having a real life of your own anymore.

I think there should be a reality show about people sitting around watching reality shows.