Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Changing Face of English Teaching, Part 2 (Or: This Shit is Ancient History)

Read Part 1 here

I was sitting and perusing my first book, the English Teacher X Guide to Teaching English Abroad.

I was considering doing a new edition for 2017.

But I'm thinking:

This shit is ancient history. English teaching just isn't like this anymore. 

The meat of that book was written between 2003 and 2007. English teaching (and the world) has changed a lot since it was published in 2011.

Of course my impression is colored by my current job, and my last job, where I was working with a lot of people with primary and high school teaching experience -- actual licensed teachers -- and words like "scaffolding" got tossed around a lot. Places where telling a story about a night at a go-go bar in Pattaya is more likely to get you a somber lecture about the realities of sex trafficking and AIDS rather than laughter.

But then I look at the want-ads on TEFL.com and so forth -- there damn sure are still a lot of $1000 a month jobs left out there, despite all the new requests for state teaching qualifications and master's degrees and all that.

They can't all be full of frumpy female teachers, can they? Married couples and people with kids?

Can they?

Give me some input. Are there still language institutes out there where most of the staff is drunk all the time, where the teachers and the students freely bump uglies, where words like "scaffolding" are reserved for something to watch out for when drunkenly wandering through construction sites?

Or are those days gone forever, a thing of the past like the three-martini lunches of MAD MEN?

I mean, I don't care -- I barely drink at all anymore. I'm not pining for the old days, particularly.

Just wondering,

I mean it's a whole new world in general, and not a particularly light-hearted one.

Just curious.

Anybody still having fun out there?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Oh, America, Now You've Gone and Done It

So which do you prefer, STAR WARS or STAR TREK?

A pretty easy question, on the face of it. Most people would say STAR WARS (dislike for the prequels aside.)


Well, it's more exciting.  It's passionate, it's thrilling, it's vibrant.


And what's the general theme of STAR WARS?

Well, it's about weak and ineffective republics which are constantly beset by civil war, trade conflicts, and the looming threat of fascism and sudden annihilation. It's about religious extremism -- my Force is better than your Force -- and especially about patricide. Science exists, but nobody seems to know or care much about it, beyond building weapons of mass destruction.

While the various planetary species and races are occasionally seen banding together, it's mostly old white guys who run the show, and it's a world where institutionalized prejudice is such that even robots are not allowed in bars.

It's a world where travel mainly just gets you attacked by monsters, and where problems are solved with blasters, light sabers, and telekinetic death-chokes.

And what's the general theme of STAR TREK?

It's about how the scientific method can solve most of our problems, and how globalism, gender equality and multiculturalism can allow a flourishing of peaceful and united civilization. It's about an interplanetary Federation of professional, intelligent, competent problem-solvers who are able to put aside their differences in the pursuit of lofty goals and in dealing with threats. They might use violence, but generally within strict guidelines and as the last resort.

So America has just cast a vote for a STAR WARS future.

Hardly a surprise, I guess, with that particular American logic: well, all those educated, intelligent politicians never managed to make the country perfect, so why not give a vulgar and stupid one a chance?

Thursday, November 03, 2016

My Sex Life, Part 2: Failing to Get Laid in 2013

Here's another story about me failing to get laid.

Since I so enjoyed the bewildered response to the last post, here's another post about that girl, and another Russian girl, and my Girlfriend. From my 2014 memoir REQUIEM FOR A VAGABOND, available now wherever self-published shoddy e-books are sold. The girl from the last post is referred to as Nadya in the book. And some added value -- more pictures. 

(In 2013, I had left one job in Saudi to take my Girlfriend to America, but she had been denied a visa. Unable to think of another plan we both agreed on, I accepted another job in Saudi, and while waiting for documents, went back to Russia to see her one last time before we broke up. This happened shortly before my 44th birthday. )


We had brief, spasming sex the morning after I arrived, and spent that weekend together, but the Girlfriend left me alone in the damp flat quite a bit. She had to study for some big test on banking regulations that was a major part of her new job.

So I met up with Nadya and Elena one night.

Elena’s pupils got big when she saw me. She looked much like she had in pictures; blonde and slutty.

I bought the drinks and we sat on a park bench for a while on Vodkaberg’s stab at a trendy downtown pedestrian thorough-fare; 10 years previously it had been an outdoor market where old ladies sold soap and clothes from Turkey. Now it was lined with restaurants and bars. Outdoor drinking was supposed to be illegal, but a lot of young people seemed to do it there.

Eventually I took them to a small bar, actually a pizza restaurant, that had music and dancing and we got drunk; Elena and I started doing tequila shots. Nadya held back a bit and I managed to stay relatively on top of things.

Elena was soon hanging all over me and squirming into my lap, occasionally dragging me out to the dance floor to stagger around a bit to the loud Russian pop music, unsteady on her high heels, her electric-blue thong panties pulling up over the top of her tight low-rider jeans.

Finally, while Nadya was in the toilet, I pulled Elena over and kissed her, getting a handful of tit. She slithered her tongue into my mouth and we made out a while, until finally she pulled away.

“Bad boy!” she said, the first English she had spoken to me, and cuddled against me until Nadya returned.

Elena had to work the next day – she had some kind of office job – and she tumbled drunkenly out of the taxi at 1:30 am.

“You like her?” said Nadya. “She’s a fun girl.” She used the Russian word for sociable.

“Yeah, that’s how I’d describe her.”

Nadya and I made out in the car a little on the way home, but then I got out and went into the dank apartment alone and she went home to her husband.


The Girlfriend spent a few nights at the flat – we had dinner together and watched TV and were mostly comfortable to hang around each other. But we didn’t have sex.

Then the next Saturday night came and again the Girlfriend was studying. She said she couldn’t get any serious studying done in the flat and had gone back to her village an hour away. The tests were very important, she said.

I took Elena and Nadya and another girl out to a new popular club. It was very much in the Russian style, with a bunch of tables around a dance floor and Russian pop music. We drank cocktails and smoked kalyan and danced. I spent a couple hundred bucks.

 Elena and I had a more complicated discussion using a translation program on her phone.

The message she gave me said, “I love to travel very much but I can’t afford it.” She smiled speculatively at me as she said this.

I responded, “Stay friends with me, and you can have more opportunities to travel.”

She knew I lived with a girlfriend. She didn’t mind too much, as she lived with a boyfriend. She wanted to travel more and couldn’t understand how my girlfriend didn’t want to.

She rubbed against me.

At 2:00 am or so we left that place and went to another place near where I’d used to live; a new Irish pub full of people in the kind of bohemian rock-group T-Shirts and leather jackets and beards and tattoos that had never been much of a thing in Russia.

At 3:00 am Nadya and I decided to go home; we left Elena there, as she’d met a bunch of people she knew.

Elena pulled me into an alcove to kiss goodbye; I grabbed her tits again.

“Don’t touch my breasts,” she said primly, “There are friends of my boyfriend here.”

In the taxi on the way home, Nadya pulled up her dress so I could see her underwear as we made out; then she went home to her husband and I went home to the cold dank empty flat.


We talked the next day on Vkontakte as I lay hungover around the musty flat.

She was off to another city with some friends for a few days, but in a few weeks she was going to Greece for a week-long holiday.

In America, my contract had arrived. They recommended I get back and sign it as soon as possible. I couldn’t get a crown for my tooth in Russia, as it turned out, because all the labs that made them were closed for the May holidays. It would take at least six more weeks, which I didn’t have.

I changed my ticket to go back to America early – and changed the route so I could spend a week in Greece.

Elena was very pleased. “We will set Greece on fire!” she said in Russian. “Did you book a room at the same hotel as us?”

I booked a room at that hotel for five days, and then at another hotel in the city center for the last three days. I didn’t want to seem too clingy.

I explained that the last three days, they could come there before they went to the club.
“Or go there after the club ;-)” she messaged.

Nadya was less pleased. She wanted to go but couldn’t get off work.


The weekend before I left the Girlfriend and I spent together.

It was sunny and warm so we walked down the embankment and then went out for a sushi dinner.
I told her I was going to Greece, although I omitted the Russian girl.

“I want to relax on a beach somewhere warm, and not think about the Kingdom,” I said. That part was certainly true enough.

We tried to have sex when we got home but I completely couldn’t get it up.

I’d had a few substandard performances in my time, but this was the first case of complete impotence that didn’t involve enormous amounts of alcohol.

Maybe it was the allergy pills.

“It’s okay,” she said, “I still don’t feel good after my menstruation.”