Monday, June 29, 2015

Yet Another Cautionary Tale

So if all the bombs and guns going off in the Middle East weren't enough to scare you off of going there, here's yet another cautionary tale. I thought about this a lot when I was deciding to leave my last job in the Kingdom.

English Teacher S was in his 50s when I arrived at my first position in the Kingdom. He was pretty normal as far as English teachers go; he kept to himself and avoided the intrigues of the school, just as I did.

He had been teaching abroad most of his life, also, and he was married to a Turkish woman. As many middle-aged English teachers realize, the Kingdom was his only pension plan. His wife lived with him in the Kingdom the first couple of years he was there (apparently - that was before I got there) but when she got pregnant, she went back to Turkey so her mom could help her raise the kid, and the kid could go to a Turkish school.

So he lived like that for about seven years, seeing his wife and kid during the summers and holidays, as he continued to work 9 months of the year in the Kingdom. He was sending most of his salary and going home to watch TV at night; if he partied in Bahrain or Dubai, I never heard about it.

Then as he hit age 60, the mandatory retirement age in Saudi, he decided to quit and finally go to Turkey. They'd saved enough money to buy a nice house in Turkey, so he was moving with a purpose, finally to be with his family.

He dropped dead suddenly of a heart attack about 6 months after he got to Turkey.

RIP, English Teacher S

Friday, June 19, 2015

Blatant Self Promo (Or: Shit Sells, Literally)

E-book publishing has a lot more in common with computer hacking than traditional publishing.

Producing content is hard enough. But quality is not particularly the name of the game, you just have to produce something people are looking for. Shit sells, LITERALLY.

So writing it only a small part of it -- then you have to edit and format and publish, and make it possible for people to find it, and that's the hard part. It's all about finding the right keywords and titles and links and outlets, and of course social engineering. 

In my never-ending attempts to navigate the world of indie e-book sales, I've re-enrolled my initial seminal work ENGLISH TEACHER X GUIDE TO TEACHING ENGLISH ABROAD into Kindle Unlimited:

FREE FOR EVERYBODY from June 20th to June 25th

This is the updated 2015 version, which differs from the 2013 version by a few dozen pages.
Click HERE for more information and buying options

As well, you can get my COMPLETE COLLECTED CARTOONS on Kindle Unlimited, and that shit is also FREE until the 24th.

Get it HERE on Amazon, FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Don't forget, also that I've been giving away TO TRAVEL HOPELESSLY, my first memoir, COMPLETELY FREE for the last few months, so check that out if you haven't. 

FREE as an e-book at :
Buy it as a paperback at:

As for me? In Mallorca with the Girlfriend, so that's okay, but still going through the increasingly-ugly process of job hunting. Uploading all my life history onto employment portals. I even took a psychological profile (the CPI 260) for one job. I'd be quite curious to see the results of that; it would seem I passed it, since they moved me on to the interview stage. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Gear Review: Snugpak Kit Monster

As a little change of pace, here's something I've never done before: a gear review.

Finding a bag that meets my criteria has been difficult.

Bags / suitcases with wheels I've found to be completely impractical, because I'm not going over smooth surfaces most of the time. A real full-on backpack has a couple of disadvantages -- one, it kind of looks stupid on a middle-aged guy. Two, in general travel, you're often slinging your bag on and off frequently, and getting a backpack properly sitting and strapped on takes a bit longer than I liked. A usual one-shoulder-strap duffle bag, however, is inconvenient for periods of longer carry, putting you off balance and also usually pretty uncomfortable.

So I had hopes for this baby:

The Snugpak Kit Monster. I was off course eager to put some affiliate links to Amazon up, but my account is based in a home state that doesn't permit such chicanery. C'est la vie. (I got mine at the Sportsman's Guide website, which will also not give me any percentage if you buy something there.)

I of course liked the name Snugpak Kit Monster! but it also had a lot of things that I'd always been looking for. It has a padded shoulder strap AND a couple of padded chest straps for the heavy-duty walking. Compression straps? Nice idea. Heavy duty handles fore and aft, so that you can pick it up from different angles? Yeah now there you go! That's something I'd been looking for. 

And you can usually find one on sale for $50, so it won't break the bank of even the most underemployed of English teacher. 

I've been using it basically since last October, and been on the road pretty steadily all that time. A 2-month heavy duty backpacking expedition in Peru and Ecuador, a one-month easy duty trip to Prague, Karlovy Vary and Budapest, a one-month easy-travel in Cyrus, and then a 3-week moderately-heavy-duty voyage to Sri Lanka, followed by an easy week in Dubai and then a month in Thailand. 

I liked the design and carry of it pretty well. The side flap-opening allowed easy access, the zippers were heavy-duty and you could lock the zipper tabs to a steel loop for security, and the padded straps were pretty damn fucking comfy. The abundance of straps and loops and hoists meant you could easily pick it up from any angle. The only thing I didn't like were the outer pockets, which were too small for my tastes. There's a mesh compartment on the underside of the opening flap though, which is quite cool.  

Sadly though, the fucker is already failing on me. The canvas flap over the zipper is ripped and starting to come off, and it's got a rapidly-widening hole in it on one of the seams near the strap I usually carry it by. I sewed the bastard shut with dental floss, as you do, but I'm not sure if I'll be buying another one of these. Not exactly a catastrophic failure, but you think it would last at least a year. 

Anybody have any recommendations about a backpack / carryall that really kicks ass, drop a comment. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Who Needs a Job When You've Got Friends

TEFLpocolypse 2015 continues. Nothing but eerie silence from three different contracting companies who took my resume and assured me that my qualifications and experience were great. I'm "on the bench" for a job in America but what does that mean other than that I don't have a job offer yet.

I seem not to be the only one in the sinking boat; a lot of the contractors at my last job in the Kingdom are not having their contracts renewed (or they're being put on 6-month contracts) at the end of the summer, and I've gotten several e-mails from people looking for jobs who tell me they are experiencing the same complete lack of response.

But things are tough all over, and when the going gets tough, the tough write porn. Here's an IM conversation with old school friend in America, Buck, a video editor who also faces unemployment. We discuss my new career and how to succeed in job interviews. And there are special Easter egg links in there to a couple of my porn projects, FREE for a limited time ... if you've got the guts.

* * * 

Where are you right now?


Budapest hungary, where else?
waiting to see if I have a job in China and writing gay werewolf porn


That was gonna be my first guess! Take a pic of a real gypsy for me.


i find the European ambiance really helps me keep my gay werewolf enema porn real
gives it a certain joie de vivre


Gays need love based beast porn too! You may able to get a grant for providing a diverse service.

i think amazon doesn't block gay porn, no matter how horrific, because they don't want to be accused of being homophobic

If I don't get any job offers, I'll be back in America in August, probably, to get a master's at (REDACTED) there's also a possibility of a job in America, teaching Saudis


Is banking a few more years in the Middle East still the main plan?

well, it was the plan, thy wouldn't give me job in Abu Dhabi
i was planning to settle there, they have 3 year contracts. but not for me, apparently
i don't know if I'm getting too creepy from porn writing or my qualifications are out of date, or maybe both


It's your eye. I've been meaning to tell you. It's began to googly.

well, I squinted the whole time, it was bright in there.
how's your job, is it going to continue?


It's gonna continue until December out of shear stubbornness on (my boss's) part. At least so know I have 7 months to find another.

it really surprised me to find I'm not a prime candidate anymore
three interviews and no job offers. Or rather, one shitty job offer in rural Saudi.
Three companies took my resume and NO RESPONSE AT ALL.
Thank god for werewolf enema porn.


Do you make eye contact during the interviews? My dad once called you, "shifty" due to your lack of eye contact. I nervous talk which makes me seem desperate.

well that's nice to know your dad is prejudiced against autistics
i didn't think the interviews were any worse than the ones that got me my last couple jobs
although one, they had my head broadcast on a huge screen during it while they recorded it. It looked like Max Headroom


Yeah, I would get rattled in that situation. Any situation where I have to see myself though.

i mean okay they record it, do they need to broadcast it on a giant screen TV?
I thought about asking them to turn it off, but I thought maybe it was some kind of stress test


It totally was. I'm surprised they didn't run it through all the Photo Booth effects to see when you'd crack. I always crack at the effect where it makes my head look like it's squeezed between Bea Authur's tits.

maybe they analyze eye movements and stuff to see if you're lying
microscopic face twitches


I'm gonna have start interviewing in the fall. I've got a few months to study the techniques and work on my flop sweats.


I like to go in and announce, "You know, I don't need this job. I have a CONSIDERABLE income from enema porn. But, I thought maybe you could use a guy like me."
That, and wear a Cosby sweater


I like to be critical but I see no flaw in that approach

you know, you have to take control. I sit on the table, also, so I'm looking down at the interviewers.
And I criticize their footwear, also
"Those shoes look ... comfortable."


Another thing to try is to re-tie their necktie for them if they're wearing one
If they aren't, bring one for them

the contractors i talked to said that there's a lot of applications now from real teachers with master's degrees and stuff, who got downsized out of their jobs in the US and UK school system.
I'm kind of like, "So they DON'T have two year gaps between all their jobs?"
And like change jobs every year?"

Yeah, employers don't like proof of of employment instability. How fucked up is that?

I mean, jesus christ, that's a sign of mental illness, as far as I'm concerned, a sane man needs a holiday after teaching dickheads in an industrial zone


Mad Men praises Don Draper for his vanishing acts

i liked to think of myself as the Don Draper of english teaching
except without the nice suits, or the square jaw, or the charm
or the talent, or the management skills


I really should have tried to pick up a skill or two over the years. The only thing I have experience in and could be hired for, I no longer want to do.

i know that fucking feeling
at least I thought, well, the job needs me more than I need it, but now I get a wake up call.
i mean, gay biker werewolf enema porn saved my life really
I would have done a kurt cobain


Yeah, that's sobering. I wonder how much experience is required for a pit boss.

I'd have watched the Foo Fighters on Letterman and killed myself as the last note played

but then as my finger tightened on the trigger, I thought of all those fat housewives who want to read about gay bikers fucking


Yeah but you watched it on a delay so no one would have gotten the timing

well, yeah, it just would have been another thing in my youtube list with Savannah Smiles and Rape Squad


You've been baptized by the vaginal juices of horny housewives. Saved by lustful panty moisture, one precious drop at a time

it's not a job, it's a calling
i mean, i' am just the vessel


You are a pipeline, providing orgasms from the gods of perversion.


i will shew them the way
i'm off to cruise the mean streets bro peace out


Later hossenfeffer
Chat Conversation End

Read more about my friends in America and my experiences in porn writing in:

Get it here on Amazon, FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Alternate History X (Part 1)

As I mentioned I recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of my not-especially-considered choice to begin teaching English, and soon I'll be celebrating my 46th birthday. I've been looking at my life as it is, but of course one also considers the paths one didn't take in life.

With that in mind, here's a new feature called Alternate History X, in which I examine what might have been.

Now, possibilities are infinite. Any fucking thing might happen, and any fucking thing could have happened.

But I feel like I see one particular "future past" very clearly.

In Alternate History #1, I return from my backpacking expedition of 1994 exhausted, broke, and parasite-ridden, just as in real life. But instead of returning to Asia to teach English, I receive a phone call from my ex-girlfriend in New Orleans.

Alternate 1995 -- 

A tearful reconciliation ensues when I decide to visit, and I decide I want a home and a girlfriend. I use my last $1000 to get an apartment, and I find a job as a bartender at a restaurant in New Orleans. I promise her not to stray again and we move in together. I am 25, she is 20 at this time, finishing up college.

Alternate Late 90s -- 

We try to be kind of bohemian in our apartment in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and in addition to some moderate drug use, I'm trying to write a horror novel. I start several but finish none. I finish some stories and send them to small horror magazines; but the late 80s / early 90s horror paperback craze is cooling and they find no takers, especially as the internet kills magazines. 

I don't especially like working at the restaurant, where I'm a day bartender, but the money is okay; my girlfriend finishes grad school and becomes a speech pathologist, which, as I approach age 30, makes me sort of realize with bewliderment that there are people with jobs both professional, useful, and well-paid. 

Alternate 2000 -- 

The best I can manage in terms of upgrading my life, however, is getting a job in a bookstore, which I manage in the year 2000 as I turn 30, something I always wanted to do. But of course the reality of it isn't particularly bohemian or literary, and my salary hovers slightly above minimum wage, even when I become a manager.

Alternate Early 00s -- 

I finish another novel, an autobiographical one about my college days in New Orleans, but it also doesn't find any home with traditional publishers. Discouraged, I quit writing, although I start spending a lot of time bitching about life on internet forums.

I eventually start a blog entitled, "Bookshop Guy X" but it is abandoned fairly quickly.

The girlfriend wants to get married and have a kid as she approaches age 30 in 2005, but I'm hesitant about it, feeling trapped and stifled.

Alternate 2005 -- 

Finally, Hurricane Katrina makes the choice for us. In 2005 we evacuate to Memphis during the storm. The bookstore I work at is destroyed, never to re-open, but her job at the hospital continues. We return to New Orleans but I am unemployed.

She eventually reveals she has been having an affair with a doctor she works with, and he has offered to marry her. She breaks up with me and gets married.

I am 36. 

Alternate 2006 --

I take it as a sign. I try to get a job at a bookstore in Memphis for a while, but it's clear, with Amazon, which way the wind is blowing. I do a bit of day bar-tending and hang out with my equally dissolute school friends, taking prescription pills and playing video games and watching TV. 

Then I decide to make a major life change ... and I get my CELTA.

I apply for jobs in Russia, having always been enamored of the Russian women who occasionally came into the bookstore. They hire me at a city I never heard of ... in provincial Russia ...

Alternate 2007 --

I arrive in Vodkaberg in January, just in time to meet Crazy Bob. The currency begins to tank shortly after I arrive, so I can't save any money, but I don't care. Other guys there tell me I missed the peak years, but I certainly don't feel like it.

Alternate 2009 --

I'm drunk as hell and partying like a rock star as I turn 40. They make me Director of Studies at Lingua-Fucks, since nobody else stays long. I meet the girl who is now my Girlfriend; she is horrified by this drunk-ass version of me, and we do not go out more than a few times.

Alternate 2012 --

The years pass in a drunken flash. Russians seem to intensely dislike Americans and the last remnants of the party-down mentality die out. Crazy Bob gets a job in the Middle East to support his children. I'm scornful of his choice, which sounds boring. I continue drinking a lot, peeing on the rug and blacking out frequently. A few more years roll by.

I wallow in my middle-aged party-boy existence in Vodkaberg, tolerated with a kind of affectionate contempt by the locals and my colleagues ... until the currency crashes yet again and the sanctions begin in 2014.

Alternate 2015 --

I realize (after eight years) that I'm stuck in a dead end job and completely broke at age 45. Finally fed up with it, I try to get a job in the Middle East to save some cash ... but my applications all go unanswered. 

In this terrifying alternate future present, I am stuck, broke, in Vodkaberg, Russia.