Thursday, September 27, 2007

Well . . .

A billboard here in town for Vladimir Putin's political party, Edinaya Rossia (United Russia) reads:

Победа России

Translated, that means:

Putin's Plan, Russia's Victory!

Uh. . . well that about says it all, doesn't it?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pillow Talk

"You know, your penis has an interesting shape."

"Why thank you."

"It's . . . wider at the top. . . did you do something to it?"

"DO something to it??!! What could I DO to it?"

"Some men. . . uh, cut them. . ."

"CUT THEM??!!"

She struggled to explain, and I spent an uncomfortable few minutes, with my head full of images of disenchanted men whittling their penises into different shapes, until I finally realized she was talking about circumcision.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Homeward Bound, I Wish I Was

I had pizza and a few beers with a couple of co-workers last night, then headed home at midnight. Got on one of the last share-taxis and this drunk 50-ish woman got on at the same time; she was completely drunk.

The taxi stopped suddenly and her overweight drunk ass flopped on the floor of the share-taxi like a dead moose.

I wasn't sure if I should offer to help; she eventually managed to get back into her seat.

I arrived at my bus stop and started the five minute walk back to my house; I heard hysterical bloodcurdling screams even from a block away.

Carefully heading down the street, I soon saw the cause of the screaming, a drunk young man in an orange hooded sweatshirt lying flopping on the ground screaming hysterically -- "Olya! Olya!" (That's a woman's name, by the way.) I carefully made my way around him as he got drunkenly to his feet and got his mobile out and dialed and began screaming into it -- "Olya! Please! Please! Talk to me!"

It reminded me a little of that scene from THE BASKETBALL DIARIES movie where Leonardo DiCapprio is screaming outside his mother's door.

Got safely home and watched a bootleg DVD of the movie KNOCKED UP -- my experiences with accidentally impregnated girlfriends of co-workers kind of prevented me from enjoying it fully.

Then I slept surprisingly well, and had a very interesting dream that I was part of a group of super-heroes -- fancifully named the "Super Secret Squadron Bureau" or somesuch -- living in the Colombian jungle in a cool bungalow complex, where I was literally swinging from the rafters while laughing hysterically.

Woke up feeling really good. . .

Friday, September 07, 2007

On Xenophobia

Someone asked, a few post ago, whether these recent events of hostility directed towards us specifically as foreigners were isolated incidents or a widespread trend.

I have no idea, but I know this:

I have been in Russia about exactly seven years.

Of the two dozen or so times we have been approached us in a critical or hostile way about being foreigners, 99 percent of these incidents have happened in the last two years.

Now on the one hand, there are more of us now; on the other hand, we were always a very visible group, as I used to hang around with African students and tatooed guys, etc.

I mean, I'm kind of glad that Russia has gotten its shit together and developed a sense of national pride; when I first got here all the Russians HATED Russia and were ready to flee it like rats leaving a sinking ship. (There are still a few people like that, but most of the ones I know left already. Perhaps all the people who felt like that left already.)

Regarding the park incident, I have been subsequently informed (by the guy with the 4 venereal diseases, by the way, who was there but escaped unharmed) that the attacking orcs (described as teenage boys, actually) were in fact yelling "Amerikanski! Amerikanski!" as a battle cry.

There are logical elements to this hatred of foreigners, by the way -- the city's metal plant was purchased by Alcoa Company, which put a good number of people out of work, while a huge clot of Alcoa executives are staying in the Renaissance Hotel in $300-a-night suites; $300 would be only a bit less than what the average metal plant employee makes in a month.

But of course, those guys take taxis and go to nice clubs, so they don't have to worry about getting beat up. . .

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Hardest I've Laughed Recently

I have no hesitation in admitting I've gotten serious and boring in the last year and a half of so; my body simply can't take being the life of the party anymore, and my mind isn't too enthusiastic about it either.

Most of the old guys are equally burnt out and the new young guys are of the self-consciously snarky generation that finds it difficult to enjoy anything beyond sitting around making sarcastic remarks.

Nonetheless, one of the new young guys around here is a real model of Old School English Teacher Crazy -- a lecherous degenerate of the first order.

The other week he sat down at the outdoor cafe with us and announced he had somehow contracted four separate venereal diseases at the same time from one woman. They were not diseases he'd ever heard of, and not especially serious, but he was taking anti-biotics for them.

"My balls are swollen and it hurts to pee," he said.

"How swollen?" I asked.

He thought about it. "About twenty percent."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Some Unusual Things I Saw This Week

A rubber duckie abandoned in a puddle in a concrete block.

A bunch of beer bottle tops smashed into a tree stump. I suppose it's like a memorial to something or someone. . .

I guess there's really nothing that unusual about this -- beach benches being rounded up to be put away for the winter -- but I thought it was cool looking.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Behind The Curve

I've never been much for the latest gadgets and such that most people my age like a lot; I comfortably get along with mostly outdated technical equipment. I buy all my phones used and cheap, because of a tendency to lose and break them; I only bought my first CD player in the year 2000, getting by with casettes before that.

I got out my old Playstation (1) the other night when I was home ill -- what was not particularly state-of-the-art in 1999 when I bought it is positively a retro pleasure now, along the lines of the text-only adventure games from my childhood.

My computer is a Pentium 3 notebook, which I inherited from my step-sister, which I guess probably came into being sometime around the Millenium. (This is a considerable step up from the Pentium 1 desktop I was using from 2001 - 2003, which was a gift from a student.)

I use a dial-up connection -- 48 kbps -- and I'm pretty good at opening three pages at the same time so I've got something to look at while the others load.

Last week, however, I finally decided to get cable internet, as it's come down in price considerably. After paying $50 and waiting around for three hours for the guy to come install it, he came and drilled holes in the wall and fed the cable in and led it to my computer . . .

And then informed me that my computer was too old to use it, didn't have the right hardware or ports. I asked if there was some kind of adaptor that I could buy -- he rolled his eyes like, "Yeah right, some magical adaptor that will make an old crappy computer new."