Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Even More Free Stuff! (Or; The Slippery Slope of Whoring)

"Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and finally you do it for money."  -- Moliere

I'm offering this little chapbook CHRISTMAS IN BANGKOK as part of the Kindle Prime program, and I'm making it available FREE to everybody as a promotion, for the next five days.


DOWNLOAD IT HERE ON AMAZON

English Teacher X, 15-year veteran of some of the worst language schools in the world, is back to share some memories of the several years he spent in Thailand in the 90s.

Can the True Meaning of Christmas be found in the tourist-clogged streets of Bangkok, or on the stage of a seedy go-go bar? English Teacher X finds out the hard way in the short story "Christmas in Bangkok."

This chapbook also includes the cartoon strips, "The Pig Incident," "The Excrement Incident," "A Conversation With A Thai Secretary About Hangovers" and several others.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

More Free Stuff! (So, You Say You Want More Narratives. . .)


I'm so fucking cool that even my secret identity has a secret identity.

http://www.pacsquad.blogspot.com/

You see, back in the early 90's, English Teacher Q and I, during a lazy hazy druggy summer in America, collaborated on a series of action / horror stories. Kind of a deal where I'd write one paragraph, he'd write another while I was rolling the joint.

(Read an interview from 2002 with English Teacher Q from the old website)

Over the course of several months, we created our own little mythology.

The adventures concern a disparate group of psychics and hitmen recruited as government agents to fight paranormal menaces. This was actually a few years before THE X-FILES and BUFFY made this stuff pretty commonplace -- but we bring a particular drugged-out goofiness to it that makes it seem, now, like a good satire of that kind of thing.

I've always been pleased with the results; if you're a fan of THE VENTURE BROTHERS or any of that ADULT SWIM stuff, you'd probably like this.

So I transcribed some of them and wrapped them up nice in a bow, after the success of my other indie ebooks, and now I've made three of the books -- at less than 10,000 words, more like long short stories or novellas, actually -- available on Kindle Prime, and you can read them for free if you're an Amazon Prime member.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/?docId=1000739811

This one I entered into a free promotion and I think anybody with a Kindle can read it.



Halloween, 1986:


A hideous evil is lurking in America's heartland... and the Paranormal Activities Control Squad is powerless to stop it.

It started as a simple mission: investigate a war between a werewolf biker gang and a cult of voodoo drug dealers. Child's play for the rough-and-tumble psychics and hardcases from the PAC Squad.

But when several members of the PAC Squad find themselves captives of a crazed zealot, an ancient and unstoppable monstrosity is unleashed upon the parched earth... and even telekinesis and high-explosive rounds might not be able to stop it.

This is #7 in the electrifying adventures of the PAC Squad. Look for the other stories soon.





September 23, 1986 -- the Autumnal Equinox


One member of the Paranormal Activities Control Squad hasn't been acting like himself lately.

Because he's not.

An insidious evil has taken control of the one person that everyone trusts, and the PAC Squad finds itself attacked from within by a sinister and unstoppable killer who knows all of their secrets and all of their weaknesses.

One by one, the PAC Squad members fall; meanwhile, the very nation itself is under threat, as the blood supplies of a major hospital are infected with a deadly virus that threatens to transform the population into mindless undead bloodsucking freaks.

This autumnal equinox, the fate of the PAC Squad and the world hang in the balance. Spring forward, fall down and die...

This is #5 in the horrifying adventures of the PAC Squad. Look for the other stories soon.



March, 1989 --


A shape-changing protoplasmic mutant. A 9-year-old super-genius with astonishing telekinetic abilities. A man with cynbernetic eyes. A psychotic killer in an advanced biomechanical battle suit. A chair-shaped alien entity from a distant galaxy.

These and others have assembled - a small army of mutants and super-powered villains - with only one thing in common - a bloodthirsty lust to destroy the Paranormal Activities Control Squad.

But the plan to attack the PAC Squad Funpark headquarters has one flaw -- the PAC Squad aren't there. The Funpark stands empty, except for the crotchety and eccentric scientist Dr. Venerius, trying to get some desperately-needed quiet time.
As the assembled forces of evil attack, Venerius stands alone - alone except for his penetrating superior intellect, an arsenal of bizarre inventions, and the less than willing assistance of the two French sensitives Boudreaux and Lemamboue.

As the deadly contents of this crucible of blood come to a boil, a shocking secret stands to be revealed. . .if anyone survives.

Meanwhile, at their isolated mountain retreat, the other members of the PAC Squad, as usual, are having problems of their own . . .

This is #10 in the shattering adventures of the PAC Squad. Look for more adventures soon.


All this is off-topic I realize, but I do sometimes get emails from people asking me if I ever write fiction. So indulge yourself. Back to stories about international alcoholics and sluts soon. (And read that interview with English Teacher Q. It's pretty fucking funny.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Polite Request From The Management (And A Free Gift)


Hello Internet! Thanks for buying those books. . .

I'm getting nice checks every month now; not "fuck-you" money, by any stretch of the imagination, but definitely, "fuck yeah!" money.

One thing though -- I've gotten very few reviews or comments about them, so I don't know what people think about them. If you enjoyed them or hated them, drop a review on Amazon, let me know what I'm doing right or wrong.

I mean, come on. Don't make me hire a Chinese guy to do it.

I'm working on the memoir about my 9 years in Russia, which will definitely be off-the-hook aweseome degenerate; it will be the ULYSSES of memoirs about drunk English teachers and teenage Russian sluts.

I also want to get into graphic novels, or at least books full of cartoons -- but there are a lot of formatting problems to deal with, and I'm hardly an expert at all this shit.

Could I ask the help of the audience here?

I've uploaded a short book of cartoons -- my much-beloved (by me, anyway) DOOFUS AND VALIANT series -- on Smashwords.


http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/135613

It's 100 percent free.

(Although if you were so inclined, you could get it on Amazon Kindle for $0.99 -- http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007CV9UZG)

Now, so far it looks okay to me as a downloaded file -but might I ask of the audience, if you have a Kindle Fire or Ipad, could you try to download this and see if it's legible and the images aren't broken up or anything?

I think it won't work on the old-style Kindle, but it should work on Ipad if you download it onto Stanza or whatever.

Then leave a comment here, let me know if it looks okay; after some feedback I'll do more.

As I said: free free free. A little Russian Day of Men and Patriots gift for you.

(EDIT, FEB 24: Uploaded again; if your epub version showed lines, try it again now.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Alpha Mystique: Why I'm Not an Alpha And You Probably Aren't Either


So I've received some attention and good reviews from the site In Mala Fide, which has a lot of interesting and varied articles about the nature of modern manhood. (This is a really good one.)

This blog was my introduction to the (rather unfortunately named) "manosphere," the blog groups basically concerned with the idea that modern men are gelded and oppressed by feminists who have become the dominant force in society. (I suppose the name "He-Man Woman Hater's Club" was taken.)



The term "alpha" is bandied around a lot -- referring generally to dominant, confident males. Guys like Tucker Max and Mystery, who have dedicated their lives to randomly fucking as many women as possible, are often considered to be exemplary "alphas." One writer on the subject postulates that an alpha male is all about self-gratification and dominance and does whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

Recently, shockwaves have been running through the "manosphere" -- sex-and-alcohol icon Tucker Max announced in an article in Forbes magazine that he was giving up drinking and fucking around, and had taken up yoga and psychoanalysis and gotten a girlfriend. (I guess he hit his fornicating "max" as I postulated in another post.)

The Forbes article is rather unfortunately couched in self-pitying Oprah-speak, but most of the points in it are valid and can't really be argued.

I thought it was pretty self-evident that running around drunk all the time, fornicating randomly, is pretty much the OPPOSITE of "Alpha" behavior.

It's like nobody every bothered to look up the word "alpha" on Wikipedia.

This is from the Wikpedia article about chimpanzees:

The Alpha male is the highest-ranking male who controls the group and maintains order during any disputes. In chimpanzee society the ‘dominant male’ does not always have to be the largest or strongest male but rather the most manipulative and political male who can influence the goings on within a group. Male chimpanzees typically attain dominance through cultivating allies who will provide support for that individual in case of future ambitions for power.

So basically, if you don't have a "pack" you are leading, you're not an "alpha."

Equally misused is the word "beta," when referring to the submissive, ineffectual modern man -- the beta, in animal hierchies, actually has a very important position:

A beta animal is an animal that is second-in-command to the reigning alpha and will act as a new alpha animal if the old alpha dies.


It's the omega animal that is last in line for food and sex. (But of course referring to "omega males" just brings to mind the fucking awesome Charleton Heston movie OMEGA MAN.)

I quote from the website of former bodyguard and correction officer Marc MacYoung, www.nononsenseselfdefense.com, in the section on alpha behavior:

“Being an alpha has to do with one’s involvement in a group. More specifically, it’s about helping develop and maintaining a group dynamic, hierarchy and the functionality of the group. And this not just for your own benefit.

Being an alpha is about leadership and taking care of others.”


So doing “whatever you want, whenever you want” is pretty much the opposite of being a leader. There are a complex web of responsibilities and relationships that are navigated to get to that point.

You know who does whatever they want, whenever they want? Spoiled Western college kids with absentee fathers.

You know who does what they NEED to do?

Alpha males.

ALL people in a position of power or leadership reach that position by navigating a series of responsibilities and relationships with their superiors, their subordinates, their rivals, and their enemies. Sometimes violence and immorality will get to that point, sometimes not; but pure self-indulgence and irresponsibility?

No way.

Yeah, sure, once you ACHIEVE a position of power and responsibility, some self-indulgence probably comes with it — of course you get the best women and so forth. But that’s a RESULT, not a CAUSE.

This all has nothing to do with morals, being an asshole, polygamy or monogamy, ruling with an iron fist, whatever; sometimes that’s an expedient to achieving the goals of leadership, sometimes not. They got to their position by dealing intelligently and effectively (perhaps brutally, perhaps not) with threats to the good of the group they were in, not by fucking around indulging their every whim.

Then there's the issue of the fact that it's not really too difficult to LOSE alpha status:

“Before you can understand what an alpha is, you first need to understand something about the nature of power. Namely: Power is granted to you by the group. You don’t have power unless other people give it to you.

Here’s the catch, the group gives you power on the condition that you look out for their needs. That’s the deal. You get extra power to serve them. If you violate this trust then you will be stripped of your power by the group.”


One website mentions Caesar, John Gotti, and Pablo Escobar as classic alpha males, but they're also good examples of guys who lost power by not serving the group. Caesar was assassinated by the Senators. Gotti doomed himself by pissing off longtime lieutenant Sammy the Bull. Pablo Escobar was chased down by police hit squads and vigilante groups when his reprisals became too brutal. Certain sources even have Atilla being murdered by a wife!

And you think those guys spent a lot of time doing whatever they wanted when they were young? Not working hard to establish themselves in their particular spheres?

Fuhgeddaboutit.

Too much self-indulgence and not enough leadership will eventually get your ass kicked by the people you used to lead — that’s true of everybody from Tony Montana in SCARFACE to Muammar Gadaffi.

Blaming "civilization" misses the point entirely -- "civilization" is just the order that we have adopted and the power we have given to our "alphas."

Now of course -- the metaphor begins to grind down -- human society is a lot more complicated and stratified than monkey society. And these guys are ignoring the fact that there are "alpha females" in the animal kingdom -- elephants, for example, are a matriarchal society, and it's common in primates like bonobos as well. Female chimps sometimes choose (or oust) the alpha male. Alphas do mate with one female, also -- the concept of the "alpha pair" is common.

We have in human society a lot of unfortunate examples of "insecure alphas" -- betas thrust into leadership positions who clearly have no idea how to fucking lead. (Yeah, you know who I'm talking about. The last two American presidents, and many others.) And clearly, the supposed "alphas" -- leaders of the world, are WAY too busy self-gratifying and not leading. That's why the streets are full of rioters all over the world.

That's why guys like Tucker Max and the PUAs (and me!) are (were?) basically miserable -- they've succeeded at nothing other than getting drunk and getting laid. They only get respect from other fuckups. That kind of rootless fucking never led to any kind of dominance, except over "beta" college-age chicks. (I suppose you could argue that Tucker Max and Mystery have a pack of fans and followers on the Internet, and Mystery has his students.)

Basically, it's beta behavior. Jockeying for position in the pack.

I was kind of the "alpha" in my community in Vodkaberg, at least in the early years -- I had some respect as a teacher, as a foreigner, among the foreigners as a guy who knew the nightlife and lots of girls.

But it was more like a zombie movie -- I was the guy who was leading the group not because I was a natural leader, but because I was less helpless and hysterical than the others.

If we want to define the kind of nomadic, rootless, selfish drinking and fucking that characterizes that behavior and dream life of so many of the guys in this world, we could instead look to the idea of the "lone wolf" --

In the animal kingdom, lone wolves are typically older wolves driven from the pack, perhaps by an alpha male, or young adults in search of new territory. Rather than openly challenge the dominance of the pack leaders, many young wolves between the ages of 1 and 4 years leave their family to search for a pack of their own. Some wolves will simply remain lone wolves; as such, these lone wolves may be stronger, more aggressive and far more dangerous than the average wolf that is a member of a pack. However, lone wolves have difficulty hunting, as wolves’ favorite prey, large ungulates, are nearly impossible for a single wolf to bring down alone. Instead, lone wolves will generally hunt smaller animals and scavenge carrion.

So, I make no bones about it -- I left America because I was scared of responsibilities, and was frightened of the "rules of the pack" and wanted to go out on my own and indulge myself.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it sure as fuck isn't "alpha" behavior. Better to be a lone wolf than an "insecure alpha!"

So basically -- any guy with a family or a business is probably a LOT more alpha than a guy with no responsibilities, just by definition.

Take it from a guy who spent many years hunting smaller animals and scavenging carrion.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happiness To Go

While I was in Thailand a few weeks ago, I happened to run into an American guy that I used to work with in Russia. He was there with his Russian wife -- they're both currently working in China.

Over beers, he asked me how I was getting along with no alcohol or nightclubs.

"Well, you know, funny thing about that. After all those years of drinking and carousing, when I stopped, something strange happened."

"You missed it."

"No, actually -- I felt fucking great!"

"Really?"

"Here's how it unwound. I mean, remember life there in Russia -- not just the constant drinking, the day-time drinking on the weekend, the all-night sessions at those nightclubs with no ventilation . . . the second-hand smoke alone was enough to kill a lesser man at some of those places."

"No doubt about that."

"And the quality of the alcohol. The cheap draft beer, the fake vodka. You remember the hangovers. You'd wake up at 1:00pm on Saturday afternoon, freezing cold, blind in one eye -- "

"Miserable," he agreed.

"And you're like ten years younger than me. And the weather -- below freezing 6 or 7 months of year, the rest of the time varying between rainy and muddy and a few weeks of too fucking hot."

"Mud in the spring, dust in the summer, plenty of pollution all of the time."

"And the hours at work -- no sleep on the weekend, irregular hours during the week, rarely getting a full eight hours."

"Very rarely."

"And my social life, which tended towards the . . ."

"Unfulfilling?" he offered.

"Well, stressful and sordid, at least. So I rolled up in Saudi -- I arrived at the end of summer, and there was no work. I was sleeping 9 hours a night, it's sunny and warm pretty much every single fucking day."

"Too hot?"

"Well, yeah, but the ocean is right there also. So . . . suddenly I stop drinking alcohol. All my blood chemistry is suddenly normal again. I'm swimming in the ocean every day, exercising a lot, eating healthy food, very little work to do. I have no social obligations -- I was reading, watching movies, researching interesting stuff on the internet and playing computer games . . ."

"Most people travel to get away from that stuff."

"Well you know I spent very little of my adult life doing those things. And every two months, there are holidays, with the girlfriend I somehow managed to get, the week I left."

"Yeah, that's pretty freaky."

"But I think mainly it was just a question of chemistry. All the assault on my blood and brain chemistry by cheap alcohol, lack of sleep, stress and pollution suddenly halted. My seratonin and blood sugar and vitamin B and D levels and such all got back to normal and I woke up every day feeling fucking awesome."

"Inspiring," he said.

"Happiness -- an involuntary physical reaction."


(I was unable to find a better version of this old 80's indie rock song from Boston band Scruffy the Cat, and it's hard to understand the lyrics, but happiness attacking you at unexpected times seems to be the idea of it.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Cat

So I don't receive much mail from fans -- or foes -- but a good 75 percent of it, recently, is along the lines of, "I BOUGHT YOUR BOOK, TO TRAVEL HOPELESSLY, AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CAT?" or "Was that really the ending of the book, or was some part missing? The last line just has you taking a cat home!"  

So yeah, the book ends rather suddenly -- but it seemed like the correct place to stop, since that was the beginning of a second part of my life -- living full-time in Russia for nine years -- between 2000 and 2009. 

Somehow the cat seemed like the beginning of it all.  

The next book, VODKABERG, will be about all of that; some of it will be stories I posted on the old website, but probably half of it will be new material.

So without further ado, here is a story I wrote in 2005 about THE CAT.  



I've known some pretty disturbed and difficult Russian girls over the last few years here in Russia.


And then there's my cat.


I found my cat the second day I arrived here in Vodkaberg.  It was the second week in September and it was cold and raining.  I was walking through an area of old wooden gingerbread houses not far from my apartment.  They were cute as hell, though crumbling and lacking conveniences -- there were public pumps around for the ones that didn't have running water. 


A tiny kitten, no more than a month or so old, ran out from beneath the crooked wooden gate of one house.


It didn't look like your average mangy street cat -- it had tiger stripes and long hair that suggested good breeding.  Although its hysteria certainly did not.  It screamed and peeped and cried as I picked it up and scratched it behind the ears.


I put it down, but it kept running pitifully after me.


I decided to take it to the market and buy it some fish.  There was a small market -- not really a market, actually, just a bunch of old women with metal teeth selling vegetables and fish off of tables, protected from the light rain by yellow plastic tarps -- at the end of the street.


As we got there, it became frightened by the traffic noises and ran off.


The next day I was walking in much the same area -- and saw it again, crouched under a step.  It was raining harder that day, and it was crying pitifully.
 
I scooped it up.  "Come on, shithead, let's go home."


I think that was a gesture to karma, as much as anything.  I'd been recently rescued, literally at the 25th hour, from a crappy job in a crappy city, where I'd been all but broke, by my current employers in Vodkaberg.  I was feeling very emotional.


I considered what to name it.  I wasn't sure whether it was a boy or a girl -- I'm not the kind of guy that likes to go around looking at cats' genitals -- but was informed by a friend that it was a girl.


It was the most emotional and frightened little cat I'd ever seen, and we'd owned plenty when I'd been a kid.  Probably more than twenty.  


Most of them had died in a series of accidents of ever-increasing horror, ranging from getting ground up in the car engine to being savaged by my brother's retarded dog, to strange feline diseases to being trapped in the tumble dryer during a spin cycle.  (To my mother's credit, she had the tact to conceal that last accident from us until fairly recently, saying the cat had been run over by a car.)  


After awhile, we'd stopped naming them, not wanting, perhaps, to get too attached; we simply referred to them as "the black cat" or "the brown and grey cat" or just, if there only happened to be one, "cat."  
  
But I thought my current cat deserved a name.  I thought about naming it after an old girlfriend who whined adorably all the time, but somehow it didn't stick -- then I thought about naming it after this hyperactive Thai kid I'd taught in Phuket, who had, as his parents said, "trouble controlling his emotions."  That didn't stick either.


Finally I named it "Doofus." 


The first trial was the worms.


Most of my guests commented that Doofus' belly was huge (for such a small animal) -- it looked like she'd swallowed a baseball.


I, typically, ignored the problem until one evening Doofus was lying on my chest while I watched TV, and I couldn't help but notice when a shiny white worm oozed out her asshole.


Naturally I got her to the veterinarian as quickly as I could.  Speaking no Russian, this required the assistance of the landlady's daughter, who was then pursuing me, despite the fact I was 31 to her barely 18. 


Doofus was treated with some kind of medicine that I had to grind up and put in her food -- I don't know what it was exactly, but the poor little animal was knocked into a stupor by this.  It rarely moved, only perhaps to seek me out and sit on top of me motionless.  I can remember walking around a park on a bright October Russian morning, Doofus perched peacefully on my palm, peering around with a dazed, smacked-out interest. 


Eventually she recovered from this, and to say the least, her energy levels improved dramatically.  


She was a constant nuisance.  She slept on top of me, then cried when I rolled over in the night and knocked her off.  She climbed up my back while I was cooking dinner and sat on my shoulder.  She perched on the edge of the bathtub while I was showering.  To effect a better view, she even clawed holes in the old plastic shower curtain.  Sometimes she would get her head caught in there. 


Of course, a young growing kitten loves to claw things.  Most of my furniture has proven fairly indestructible, but the wallpaper didn't share those properties.  It was extremely old and falling off the walls in places anyway -- the cat made quick work of ripping whole sections off.  


I tried to punish her in different ways.  Following the advice of my students, I tried squirting her with a water gun when she misbehaved.  The only thing she seemed to learn from this, however, was that if I stood up quickly, she had to run away.   


She had a thing for books, too.  She managed to rip up most of the books or paper that I left unattended -- she even managed to claw my visa to pieces.  I was impressed with the ingenuity it showed in getting it out of the drawer -- like a FBI profiler trying to outwit a clever psychopath, I couldn't help but respect my foe.


In September of 2001, I went to St. Petersberg for a few days.  When I left Vodkaberg here, the hot water had not been working, around the whole neighborhood -- as often happens in Russia. 


Regrettably, when I left the house, I left the hot water tap open. 


Sometime in the next few days, the hot water came back on.  And began filling the bathtub.


And stupidly, I'd left the plug in the tub, and put some water in it, so the cat would have a lot of water to drink while I was gone. 


The bathtub didn't flood the house, thanks to the overflow valve, but it filled up with steaming hot water.  After a day or two of this, fortunately, the neighbors called the landlady to tell her about the rushing water noises, and she came to find poor little Doofus laying quietly near death in the sauna-like conditions of the flat, large sections of wallpaper steamed off, and then clawed apart by the poor hysterical little cat.


I had to pay about $175 for new wallpaper and paint, in the end.  I had a lot of conflict with the school about that -- the wallpaper was at least twenty years old, according to the redecorator, and I didn't think I should pay for a complete redecoration -- but in the end I paid it.  They refused to actually put the wallpaper up until the cat was gone. 


There were more stresses, after that -- she had a fondness for getting up at 3:00am and running wildly in circles around the flat.  I usually locked her in the kitchen when she did this.


One time I heard her moaning even more hysterically than usual, and went to check on her -- one of the gas jets on the stove was still slightly on.
 
Little did the cat know, when she'd started bothering me, that the gas chamber was an option.
 
Then in 2003, she got a fungus.  This required numerous trips to the vet for more shots.  Not having a carrier basket, I just stuck her in my backpack.  This generally ended up with me getting scratched a lot, and ending up with a lot of hair all over me and in my backpack. 


So finally, last summer, 2004, they agreed to put up the new wallpaper I'd paid for, without me having to pay for the  cost.  While they did so, I had to live at the flat of one of my colleagues while she was in England.


The flat was on the first floor -- and this was the dead of summer, August.  It was scorching hot.  Keeping the windows closed was impossible.  My colleague had no fan or air conditioning, of course.  This is Russia.  I tried to keep the lower windows closed, so the cat couldn't get out, but it didn't work.  My cat isn't emotionally stable, but it's clever.  Diabolically so. 


It got out.  There were enough other cats wandering around outside there that the end result was a foregone conclusion.  I walked outside one day to see, in the bushes, a big Siamese carefully trying to mount my little Doofus, both of them making those strange cat sex noises. 


I decided that the time might be right for Doofus and I to part ways.  She could live comfortably enough in the bushes outside, and under the building, with the other cats.  The old women in the building fed the cats, throwing them scrap meat and such. 


Doofus would be happier here.  Friends of similar interests, maybe even true love.  Although I wasn't sure the big Siamese was her type. 


I went to a nightclub one night, and came back at five a.m.  There were two 18-year-old drunk girls with me.  We went into the kitchen and sat down to drink beer, as is customary.   I was waiting for African Student S to arrive, thinking that I might be able to get both of the girls into bed if he didn't arrive soon.


Then I heard the familiar crying, a plaintive peeping.  Doofus was sitting on the outside windowsill, looking through the bars at us. 


I went and let her in. 


"What a cute kitty!" said the girls. 


"Yeah," I said. 


We moved back home together. 


She gave birth to three babies two month later -- actually four, but one died -- and I managed to find homes for all of them after a couple of months.
 
So now, it's just me and the cat again.  What does the future hold?  Obviously our relationship is doomed.  It's doubtful that I'd be able to take her back to America, for example.  But that's the future.  Now is now. 


Until then, we just have to make do with each other.  


* * * 
(As to the current whereabouts of the cat -- when I left Russia, I gave it to a colleague who is probably a much better master than I ever was.)

Monday, February 06, 2012

Greed is Good (Excerpt from HOW TO SURVIVE LIVING ABROAD)

(This is an excerpt from my newest book, HOW TO SURVIVE LIVING ABROAD, in the chapter DATING, ROMANCE, AND FUCKING, in a section specifically concerning marrying foreign women.)

GREED IS GOOD

To me, the saddest of all are the guys who go abroad with this constant refrain of “American (or British) women are too greedy, I can’t stand them anymore!”

Poor bastards.

Once, another teacher and I got a ride to a language school exhibition with one of the young women who worked in the administration of our school.

We were surprised when she picked us up in a new Toyota SUV.

"Damn, I wish I got your salary," joked the other teacher to the pretty administration girl, who was a former artistic gymnast.

"My boyfriend bought me this. He's very rich," she added, unnecessarily.

We knew there's virtually no way she'd go out with a guy who wasn't. Like many Russian girls of the Glasnost era – she was about 26 – she was taught by her parents to find a rich husband by any means necessary. (Her salary at our language school was probably no more than $500 a month or so. That might have covered her makeup money every month, but not much else.)

"Nice," we agreed.

"But you don't know how hard I worked for this," she said, without a trace of self-consciousness or humor.

Now – here’s the thing – you should be GLAD that women in other countries are greedy. I mean really, what OTHER reason would there be for some girl from the village in the middle of Kazakhstan to marry you? Because you’re so fucking awesome?

So let’s face facts – if a foreign girl wants to marry you, it is almost surely because she figures you for being a better economic bet than the guys around her.

If you don’t make a lot of money, it might just mean that you’re her chance to live in a foreign country where there are more opportunities for women, or for the children she intends to have.

Perhaps she just loves you because by local standards, you’re kind of a pussy. You don’t beat your woman, or scream at her for talking to other men, and actually help out around the house a little bit.

You better get that straight from the jump, if you have some misguided idea about settling down in the village or continuing your life of bohemianism as a broke drunkard in the capital city of whatever country she’s from.

Because I suspect your girl has other ideas.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Now of course, the pick-up artist community talks a lot about “demonstrating value.”

Traditionally, as a foreigner – you were already demonstrating value, just by being a foreigner.

Regrettably that’s changed a lot in the last five or 10 years.

As countries like Brazil, Russia, and China turn into the economic powerhouses of the 21st century, the value of your stock as a foreign guy is just going down down down. There’s a whole generation of college-age people in Russia and China who can’t even REMEMBER the Cold War and isolationism of the ‘80s.

And what’s more – there used to be plenty of thin, beautiful girls in villages all over the world who had no real idea how desirable they were.

Then the internet came along, and then Myspace came along, followed immediately by Facebook, and suddenly the homeliest girl in the village now has 5,000 friend requests a day and 54 marriage proposals a month.

Of course in Eastern Europe and some parts of Africa, there are statistically more women than men, and even fewer men that have any money.

So that’s a useful demographic to keep in mind.

Now another depressing fact about the Western world is its aging population; not only are we fat, we’re old. The developing world has a much younger skew to its population.

Fortunately, in developing countries, there tends to be much less stigma connected to an older man going out with a younger woman. (Not that there’s a tremendous amount of stigma attached to it in America or Britain, but a 10- or 15-year age difference will raise even fewer eyebrows in developing countries.)

But alas, still, the more money you have and the better looking you are, or at the very least the more charm you have, the more luck you’re going to have with women. Don’t expect miracles.

ETERNAL LOVE AND LOYALTY

So, after you find your lovely slim feminine child-bride from the village, is she more likely to stay with you than an American or British woman?

In my experience, no.

I’ve known dozens of guys married to foreign women – Koreans, Chinese, Ethiopians, Russians – and I’d say better than half ended in divorce. Some of the marriages were extremely short and spectacularly disastrous.

(If the girls didn’t take half of the guys’ money, in these divorces – it was mainly because the guys didn’t HAVE any money.)

Check out this list of statistics from Divorce.com.

Divorce rates in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union are even HIGHER than they are in America and Britain. In my experience, Russians were some of the LEAST faithful spouses I’ve ever seen. (Just because their men are such dicks and they’re looking for a nice guy like you? Well, be my guest and give it a try.)

So in conclusion, for every story from a guy praising his happiness with a foreign wife, you’ll hear at least one other guy with a horrifying story of how he was drained dry by a vindictive and cold-hearted foreign woman with whom he shared no cultural background and practically no language.

Ask Mel Gibson about how fucking awesome it was to be married to a Russian. And, you know, ask her how much she enjoyed being married to a foreigner.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

How to Survive Living Abroad (The Fourth Book)


Newest book available now as an ebook:

BUY IT HERE FOR THE AMAZON KINDLE

BUT IT HERE FOR OTHER EBOOK FORMATS ON SMASHWORDS

BUY IT HERE AS A PAPERBACK AT CREATESPACE

(Or, hell, you know, just email me with a sob story, englishteacherx@yahoo.com, and I can probably just give you a copy for free.)

The good news? It's now easier than ever for anyone to move abroad to live and work.

The bad news? It's now easier than ever for anyone to move abroad to live and work.

In response to the mass exodus of the disaffected and disenfranchised from Western countries, English Teacher X is back again, to cast his bitter and cynical but always perceptive eye on the concept of moving abroad.

After more than fifteen years of living away from his home country, English Teacher X brings a special perspective earned from long and hard experience. He offers suggestions and warnings for current and future expats about money, health, documents, and security, as well as more prurient topics such as alcohol, drugs, and your sex life abroad.

Part survival guide, part memoir, part self-help book, and part blistering parody of all of the above, this book is required reading for anybody thinking of leaving their everyday problems behind and taking on a whole new world of problems abroad.

* * *

Now I should say -- like my last book, this is pretty much all new material that's never been on this blog before.(But I admit I recycled a couple of blog posts for it, though it's more than 90 percent new material.)