Monday, December 11, 2006

Another Political Discussion, and Naked Woman

I was having a political discussion, again, with the English Groupie girl who is now a Putin Youth. This time the topic was the Ukrainian election of 2004. She feels that the election was unfairly influenced by America, and that Ukraine is historically and culturally a part of Russia, so should never be a part of NATO.

I pointed out that Stalin had killed around 20,000,000 Ukrainian peasants by engineering a famine there.

"Yeah," she admitted, "but how many people did he kill in Russia?"

"25,000,000 or so."

"See?" She said triumphantly. "There you go."

Here are a few camera-phone shots of a stripper at our favorite night club -- regrettably the battery died before I could get any shots of the girl with "fuck you" written on her t-shirt.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

My Number One Fan

Something weird has happened.

We got a new teacher at the school a couple of weeks ago; a young American guy.

And it turns out he's been a big fan of the English Teacher X website for a couple of years. He said he had figured out the actual name of Vodkaberg just using the Internet, and within an hour of meeting me had determined I was English Teacher X.

He said the website had inspired him to get into teaching.

"Good lord," I said. "How could that be? All I write about are the shitty things. . ."

"But you made it sound kind of . . . interesting."


"Although," he added. "I kind of pictured you as a tattooed skinhead."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

This Is What It's All Come To. . .

I was out with one of my female friends the other night, who we affectionately refer to as "Looney Tunes." She's been diagnosed as both schizophrenic and austistic, but I think that's just lazy diagnosing -- she's just wacky, that's all. She makes me laugh, which is all I really ask of anybody.

She's 22, but she, unlike most Russian girls, never wears high heels, too much makeup, short skirts, or leopard-skin tops with push-up bras, so she looks a lot younger.

We went to a bar near my house last Saturday to have a few drinks. I was rather hungover so I sat quietly and watched the scene while she flitted around like a hummingbird, talking to everybody she knew.

Later she came back: "If anybody asks you, tell them I'm 15 and you're my father. I've been telling everybody that."

I said, "Okay."

This is a picture of her imitating the little ghost girl from "The Ring."

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Nationalism: The New Black

Here's a good example of what I'm talking about -- one of our little English Groupie friends, who I've know for about four years, is now a snarling member of the Putin Youth, a political group called Nashe -- "Ours" -- don't know their website, but I can find it -- they have big patriotic rallies frequently, protest volubly against America, Israel, the Oligarchs and anyone who dares to criticize Putin. They wear red t-shirts when they march.

The other evening I was speaking with her and she shared her feeling that Anna Politkavskaya, the award-winning journalist critical of Putin's Kremlin who was shot to death by persons unknown a few months ago, was "a prostitute." To her credit, she doesn't believe the CIA killed her and that spy who was poisoned with Polonium; she thinks it's a plot by Boris Berzovsky

Here's a picture of this girl a few years ago at a party. Back then, she wanted little more than to marry a foreigner. Here she's trying on the gifts I bought her from America.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Prophet Has Spoken

Continuing our downward spiral: English Teacher P took home a girl from the House of Pain nightclub last night -- or rather this morning -- around 5:00am. He woke up around eleven, and she was gone, along with his notebook computer, his mobile phone, and 4000 rubles (about $150) from his wallet.

Yes, he did get laid, but as you could imagine he said it wasn't remotely worth it.

Cartoon on this very subject on the englishteacherx website, drawn three and a half years ago.
I'd heard this story quite a few times in Thailand, but this is the first time I've heard it in Russia.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Blast From the Past: Jan 19, 2004

I always, or at least usually, keep copies of all my old emails I send, especially now with the huge 3 GB inboxes: here's a cute one from the beginning of 2004. Ah, a young man of 34 then, I was, so innocent.

Sent Date 01-19-2004 2:24:41 PM
From "English Teacher X"

I don't know if I mentioned this before, I ended up with a quarter of a gram of Vodkaberg crank last week after English Teacher M went back to St. Pete. His friend got it for him, but she got it here the day before he left and he didn't want to take it on the train. It cost 250 rubles; 8 bucks or whatever.

I was hesitant to get into it on Saturday, as I generally behave badly enough with just alcohol coursing through my veins at (the Degenerate Bar), and rarely have problems maintaining my energy level -- but of course I told English Teacher R about it and that was pretty much all she wrote, he being a pre-teen IV drug user. We were just going to do a little of it, on a cigarette, but of course we ended up snorting thoe whole batch and then licking the mirror and tinfoil package clean. It wasn't any real heart-thumping spasm of energy, but I was pleasantly high and far more more positive and talkative than usual at aurora. I had drunk so much however that I dropped a full beer right after buying it, and then immediately went and bought another and dropped that one also. I think I dropped three, all told, during the night.

One thing about doing speed though, the evening ends so quickly. I mean, you're just drinking, you're pretty much at the end of your rope by 4:30 or 5:00, but with some stimulants you feel like you were just getting started when the lights go on

I got home at about 5:00am, and collapsed unconscious until about 10:00am, when I woke up with my heart thumping and immediately called ETR, who was in much the same state. HE'd had to go home to the wife and after a lot of chattering, just played computer games all night. I had a couple of vodka and tomato juices and then staggered over to ETR's with a bag full of Zhigulovsky beer. He cooked us some chicken kievs out of a box and we sat dazedly and watched Rob Zombie's directoral debut, "House of 1000 Corpses." I can't really say whether I thought it was good or not, but in the state I was in, it left a big impression. Evil clowns and weird masks and hostage cheerleaders and burned insane people . . yeesh.

Then we went out and built a snowman and a snow woman in the little playground in front of the abandoned building. Named Jim and Sharon. Regrettably my camera batteries died so I have no pictures of them. It was a lot harder work than you'd imagine, making snowpeople, and it took until 5:00pm. Sharon had vacuum cleaner lint for hair and rocks for eyes, and Jim's face was made from pieces of broken beer bottles, all of which we got out of the abandoned building.

Somebody apparently trashed them during the night though.

It's been a pretty mild winter, temperatures hovering around 30F. A reasonable amount of snow, but not so cold as to make playing in it uncomfortable. Nice winter.

Here's a picture of the abandoned building where we built the snowpeople while wrecked on speed:

Work Hard, Drink Harder

The ticket takers are usually pretty dour on the trams of Vodkaberg -- grouchy old women, hopeless old men, young drug addicts or single teenage moms.

I don't blame them for being grouchy -- in addition to their own problems, for a salary of a couple hundred bucks a month they have to walk back and forth on the tram all day, in the cold or heat, taking tickets from unconscious drunks, angry skinheads, and grouchy old people like themselves.

But today on the tram there was a cheerful middle-aged blonde woman wearing camo pants and coat who kept up a cheerful running commentary as she sold tickets. "Welcome aboard, handsome," she said to me (in Russian.) "Welcome to the happiest tram in Vodkaberg, where happiness can be purchased for only 9 rubles." (That's the current fare, I should add.) She moved on, cheerfully taking tickets, complimenting various children, university students, grandfathers who she described as the pride of the republic, etc.

It brightened up my day, but I suppose she was probably just drunk.