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May (holy shit!) 23, 2009
First off happy birthday to the most beautiful girl on the planet, my incredibly smart and creative daughter Maria Stephanie that is. Just in case something ever happens to me, this shall be my public proclamation that I love her more than anything on the planet and I literally cherish the day she was born. I miss her right now, so much that the slightest reminder brings me to tears. If y'all still know me or even give a shit, then you know that it doesn't take much to remind me of my babies, especially when they're too far away from me.

Okay some original verse...

suicide smile
juicy eyes
from the bottom of something sweet

lofty lines
above the rest
losing it while i look for the mirror

saving grace
happy faces smile
but it's still the long road to nowhere

caught in your web
bought by boss
bloody and juicy just for you

So That Is All For Now
Um...


April 5, 2009 (02:45am Moscow time, that is)
Well, as promised here's my drunken, maudlin post...happy to say I'm not feeling aggressive, just kinda sappy and touchy-feely albeit almost to the aforementioned oblivion as I write this. Had a good night out, hit the bottle where it needed to be hit, and it's hit back right where I needed to be hit. Just to put a bit of perspective on my life, please note I ain't so stupid and arrogant to think I have it worse than my former colleagues in the US military getting shit done for better or worse reasons in Afghanistan and the rest of the world's shitholes, nor do I forget for one second about the loss Dong Yun Yoon suffered, a galaxies-more graceful man than I could ever hope to be (see my Dec-13 post below).

...but got-DAMN shit at work be whipping my Louisiana ass like nobody's bidness! As of Friday I was negotiating 4 contracts by myself, inserting changes to terms & conditions, arguing with my client's legal staff every single f..cking night about risk mitigation, having to print 120+ page contracts cuz my client fired my admin assistant, and all the while fielding calls from every shitbird on the planet wanting to know why I didn't get THEIR most important thing on the planet finished. To put it a bit more succinctly, Daddy be stressin and shit...

But now I has perspective, and the proper one. I got two gorgeous kids, y'all - and all the shit I put up with I do for them and them alone. Holy shit those two little farts are as close to perfect as they come, they both love their Papa, they're so incredibly intelligent and creative, each in their own unique ways. Masha is taking art classes right now, and some of the paintings she does are simply frame-able art, and I say that as objectively as I can! Misha is just a little scamp, such a cool sense of humor...I know already I'm going to have to teach that boy very early the merits of being a gentleman.

And goddamn they're both such sweet, affectionate kids, they make me the center of attention more often than not...well shit it's better than having a damn teddy bear with those two little sweeties around me. Misha climbs in my lap sometimes, puts his hands on my shoulders, looks me in the eye and says in Russian "I love you Papa." Then he slams me on both shoulders and says "AAARRGGHH...tough guy!" in English. Papa's little badass.

The bottom line is that I'm lucky to have such wonderful children, what I've wanted my entire life. Who gives a shit about the Powerball, I've won the lottery in the way that matters the most.

Dass right,
Proud (yeah, again) Papa


April 4, 2009

WATCH THIS SPACE


...that is if you give a flying shit, cuz it's Sat-dy and Daddy bout to go out and get a start on drinking last week into oblivion. Tough week at work, and as any surly, 42 year old bald guy with the inevitable paunch and a level of cynicism well over the redline, alcohol has become my crutch and my refuge and the candle that burns me into a drooling, driveling, blogging fool.

More to come...

March 27, 2009
I said goodby to a friend of mine this week, even though I didn't get to say my farewell in person, much to my regret. My childhood friend and neighbor Mark Parker passed away last week and was laid to rest on Tuesday. I won't go into the events leading to his passing other than to say he was brave and strong for a hell of a lot longer than I woud have been able.

So how do you say goodbye to somebody you love? How do you let go of a person at whose side you've been for over 20 years? How do you open that door and say goodbye to the pain? Goddamn I just don't have any answer...or maybe I do. Maybe the answer is somewhere in the ones who are left behind, the ones you can pull into your lap and love, while you think of all the ways they remind you of the one who has said goodbye, you tell them you love them and you wait those agonizing seconds until they tell you they love you too, and you cry the tears of goodbye while you relish the joy of having somebody left behind who carries just that little piece of your departed beloved in them.

Colleen, I don't know if it's enough but it's the best I can come up with - look at the girls and try to think of the ways Mark lives in them. He was a brave man, one of the most interesting people I've ever known, and I think he'd be proud to know his memory lives on inside the people you love and care about the most.

I apologize for this bit of unoriginality on my part, but I think U2 says it well enough here.

I'm not afraid
Of anything in this world
There's nothing you can throw at me
That I haven't already heard
I'm just trying to find
A decent melody
A song that I can sing
In my own company

I never thought you were a fool
But darling, look at you. Ooh.
You gotta stand up straight, carry your own weight
'Cause tears are going nowhere baby

You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a moment
And now you can't get out of it
Don't say that later will be better
Now you're stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it

I will not forsake
The colors that you bring
The nights you filled with fireworks
They left you with nothing
I am still enchanted
By the light you brought to me
I listen through your ears
Through your eyes I can see

You are such a fool
To worry like you do.. Oh
I know it's tough
And you can never get enough
Of what you don't really need now
My, oh my

You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it
Oh love, look at you now
You've got yourself stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it
Oh lord look at you now
You've got yourself stuck in a moment
And you cant gt out of it

I was unconscious, half asleep
The water is warm 'til you discover how deep
I wasn't jumping, for me it was a fall
It's a long way down to nothing at all

You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it
Don't say that later will be better
Now you're stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it

And if the night runs over
And if the day won't last
And if your way should falter
Along this stony pass

It's just a moment
This time will pass

March 8, 2009
Happy International Women's Day and all that, here's a lil sump'n sump'n for you broads out there...

the tears roll as my trust dies
real and imagined blood pours from my fake veins
ashamed of the indifference i've cultivated
just another mirror of my failure to give

another line drawn between us
my fear of your indifference on one side
your fear of failure stands on the other
the furry, bloody line a rape between us

in deference to my failure
in honor of your indifference
i give up

walking away, i pretend i'll never look back
my hands raised in supplication to the gods of everything gone wrong
the ashes of my intentions scattered at your feet
my skin tattooed once again by the fire of your ambition

awed by your inability to overcome my failures
resolved never again to hurt you this way
never again will I mar your perfect countenance
my inability to please you finally in repose

reveling in the mastery of my shortcomings
i bask in the consequences of you

these tears, this blood, this world of skin on fire, this deadly trust
pour from me and i am just another fool
torn apart by your absence
nothing clear, nothing real, pretending i am the meaning

next to you i am a scientist
making two and two come out right
daring to violate the fissile distance
daring to see what happens if you let me get too close

we got too close, now the coin has turned
never will i take the new you for granted
counting every stolen moment until the bank seems full
until the next time your all too real absence tears me again

so this my new you i ask in earnest
do you promise, do you really promise
can you drag from you what i die to give to us
your promise to love me with the passion and commitment
your promise i will feel them both forever as i swallow them whole now?

DO YOU PROMISE?!

so i agree to you with the replacement
i let you fill the potholes with greedy desire
wanton clutch of what makes me love you with a vengeance borne of envy
(a connection saved but not for me)

i love you with the passion borne of a rude awakening
i love the queen begging my bed to make it all right

you are my vengeance with the edges dulled
you are my silent pilgrim
you know it all
but how did you know where to find my heart?

i love you with belief
i love you from a blackened stairway
i love you down to the depths of what i almost kept secret
i love my belief that you will always be there

so i say yes to you
i let you inside and outside
i welcome the warmth of somebody who cries with me
we cry to the sappy moments, to the meaningful pauses, to the eyes...

the eyes that smile, that cry, that scream,
that make me drown in bright, icy moments of clarity
eyes that ask the questions i ask myself
the only eyes that know the answer to it all

make me feel the way you make me feel,
cry at the silly shit with me,
make me feel they're with me and ME ALONE

now that you're not next to me makes me wish
extra minutes and hours and days and weeks
a shortened life gets me close to you sooner
moments given away just to have the here and now

right here right now

i love you with all my heart
i cherish the very thought that we're meant for each other
i live for the day we never have to say goodbye again.
you are mine and i am yours

and the mirror in between us counts the days
until we are together
we set the mirror free
let it find and bind the other lost souls

waiting for their answer
the way we've found ours

the way i've found you...

February 1, 2009
As I write this it's midnight here in the City of Dreams...aka the Tatarstan Shithole to where my lack of +$1m in lottery winnings during my R&R in Houston has forced me to return to work as a regular Joe. I'm staying up all night, trying to get a slight head start on getting tanked for the Soupey Bowl which is being aired live at 03:30 here. No favorite for me this year, though I lean toward the Cards cuz I is an underdawg kinda guy, plus I still reserve a dislike of the StEAlers borne of several years of friendly childhood rivalry with my mom, a StEAlers fan who had the hots for Terry Bradshaw.

Bald sumbitch.

So anyway the reason I is here is to remind those of you (3-4 of you left, no?) reading this shit just how goddamn lucky you are to be living in the US. I personally am sick and tired of every place that ain't my beloved country, as having lived abroad for going on 10 years I am convinced everywhere except home sucks rancid donkey balls. That ain't no nationalism, ain't no racist horseshit, ain't no Bushim even...just the truth of experience and a longing for where the streets and sidewalks are paved (mostly) evenly (mostly) and the cars and pedestrians know where the fuck they s'posed to be.

Holy mother of dog I could take that whole line for a touchdown, but I won't cuz at heart I is happy. I interviewed with my functional manager while I was in Houston on R&R, and assuming few semi-minor details get ironed out, I be moving to Houston sometime around May-June. Already scouting out houses and have found a shitload of fabulous listings in my price range. Max square footage for minimum dollaresses...to put it another way, the resurrection of Club Johnson seem to be well in the works, replete with a brand-new 9-footer and a beer keg/cooler. I look forward to beginning a new life of hardcore tunes, 8-ball, all of it washed down by repeated pints of Guiness.

Most of all I look forward to driving nails in my own walls, taking my kids to a park where I don't have to worry about them stepping in human piss and shit (dogshit's okay, to an extent), where I can own a firearm and teach my kids to safely shoot it, where I can make a random, friendly comment to somebody else in the checkout line at the grocery store and get something other than a sneer, where every place I choose to spend my money is manned by people who can at leat convincingly pretend they give a flying shit at a rolling donut whether I come back to spend more of my money in their establishment.

Yep, Big Daddy's ready to get the hell out of...hell...and come home.

Gotta admit, though, I'll miss being able to walk down any public, city street with a bottle of beer/wine/vodka in my hands without anybody shitting their drawers. I'll miss being able to get in a fight whenever I want just by making eye contact. I'll miss being able to get a full-body massage with a prostate-manipulated happy ending for less than $50 equivalent by a girl who looks like she just stepped out of a Victoria's Secret catalogue. I'll miss the smell of piss and shit in the entryway of my apartment building...you just can never replace those comforting smells of home, no matter how twisted they are. I'll miss taking shit from reckless taxi drivers who play the "you offend me, you sissy American choad" game when I try to put my frequently-nonexistent seatbelt on. On that note, I'll miss dodging and weaving through slower-moving cars on the MKAD (Moscow Beltway) at 135 kilometers an hour (85mph)...then paying the asshole cab driver 1500 rubles ($50 equivalent) for the privelege.

Guess I did take the bait a bit, dint I?

So on that positive note I'll close, got a couple of hours to surf free porn on my satellite channel before the Bowl starts. Y'all enjoy the game and more so enjoy doing so in civilization surrounded by civilized people.

Peace, love, drugs,
Your Favorite Cynical Bastard


January 16, 2009
A day has arrived that I often despaired of ever living to see...my last workday before my 3-week R&R. I'm on the ass-end of the workday, i.e. behind several bottle of something Baltika. Beer. Numma 6 that is.

Happy birthday to an actor from one of my favorite Russian movies. Vasily Lanovoy is 75 today, and he was in the movie 'Officers' about a couple of Russian military cadets who meet just after the Revolution. The movie follows their divergent careers through the 'China Problem', through Russia's Great Patriotic War (WW-II), and the peacetime afterward. Such a great movie, and what an incredible actor...even today he has serious presence. Not to mention that he lived through WW-II as an infant in Ukraine, surviving the Nazi atrocities committed on so many others. They're showing a cool expose' on him on one of the Russian TV channels right now, what a cool guy.

So anyway I'm mosty-toasty on the eve of my trip to the US, where I will rest from everything and everybody.

Yeah, sometimes I need a break even from them. Go figure.

Computer starting to take a squat, so I'm gonna close this one. I'll write more next week under the throes of various alcogolick bev-er-adjeseses. Until then, y'all maintain yer brains and shit.

Inspired But Thwarted

Texas Johnson


January 2, 2009
Been a while since I posted, so Merry Schism and Heppy New Year and all the rest to y'all. Despite my vow below to re-center and quit bitching, work making me freaking psychotic most days so most days...well all days so far, I just can't be assed to come up with something for my adoring public. In fact, most days after work I'm doing good to paste a fake smile on my face before I walk in the door so as not to scare the bejesus outta my kids. When in fact, I'd be just as happy in a clock tower with a scoped weapon and at least 3 hours of FMJ for the masses.

But as usual I digress...

So anyway a penguin walks into a bar...just kidding I can't be assed for humor even now. Had a good New Year at least inasmuch as the alcogol flowed freed-ly and I was on the receiving end and such. Been taking the kids out to the park to slide on the ice slides they set up over here, pretty cool not to mention this shithole I live in has something like 85% single moms so the admiration factor ain't bad on my ego. Just cool, though, to be with the monkeys and watching them have fun and not thinking about my shitstain client.

See, no caps for you, asshole.

Sorry wanted to post something not too maudlin but just can't escape the bastard. Makes me also remember bad shit from my past, so here's a closer with a dedication to my ex. I'm listening to another one called 'Under My Umbrella' and it ain't the upbeat Riannon version this one is from Incubus who the bitch hated and I'm glad so here's for you, hay there's the bright side, as a good friend of mine said your ass was always minor league you ain't good enough to make the big boys' team so piss right on off to your broker dick you sad excuse.

when i close my eyes... i can see for miles
there's comfort in my dark seat... and chaos in the aisles

these eyes are not your eyes
and these eyes are not the color that your arid eyes might be
no, i was not around
when those eyes of yours decided so
i refuse to kneel before the sights you choose to see

when i close my eyes... i remember why i smile
under my umbrella... i'm an accomplished exile

these eyes are not your eyes
and these eyes are not the color that your arid eyes might be
no, i was not around
when those eyes of yours decided so
i refuse to kneel before the sights you choose to see!

if this is right, i'd rather be wrong
if this is sight, i'd rather be blind

Something or Other
The Antichrist


December 13, 2008
Today we talk about grace and inspiration. I've been reading all week about Dong Yun Yoon, the Korean father and husband who lost his entire family when an F-18 fighter crashed into his house while he was at work. Before I even heard about Mr. Yoon's response, all I could think of was what an unimaginably horrible loss, how could one man ever be expected to bear up under such a tragedy...holy hell, I torture myself with every twisted fantasy-fear imaginable every time my wife takes the kids out for a walk, so my heart was and still is broken for him, what a loss of everything that really matters to a man.

But then, just a day after I heard about the crash, I read about Mr. Yoon's comments on his tragedy, his stoic forgiveness of the pilot, his profession of love for our great country and his faith in his god...and his belief that his god will see him through this, and folks I am simply awed by this man. I am humbled...to the very core of my being, I am humbled by the faith and strength of a man who has lost more than I ever want to imagine losing.

Most of all, though, I am inspired...inspired to quit bitching about my petty problems, no more whining about my job or the economy...none of this shit stacks up even close to what Mr. Yoon is bearing right now, and his head held high and his forgiveness make me ashamed of the meager breadth of my own problems.

So even being the atheist I am, I pray for Mr. Yoon. I pray to his god to give Mr. Yoon the strength to keep walking that razor's edge between hope and oblivion. I pray that he continues to find the strength he needs from his faith, from his god...and I hope that just this once, time does manage to heal a bit quicker.

And lastly, I thank Mr. Yoon for giving me and the rest of the world, the earthly world, a picture of true grace.

Inspired
Another Father


November 01, 2008
off the cuff and down a bottle so here i am and i want you to lay back and let me take your punches for you. i want to hurt and i don't want to hurt for anybody for you, i want the world to read your signature in the scars and know you own me because you signed for me like the finest on your hotel tab. then i want to walk outside and scream your name to the world and make every motherfucker on the planet know who hurt me.

we deserve that

the thing is, and it's a long time coming, i accept what i deserved so long ago, my blood down the front of me, staining my head and my chest and my heart and your hands, scared like hell cuz i knew the bullet was the next thing coming...and by the way, i wonder if that hole is still in the wall. goddamn i've tried for 30 years and i just can't walk away i can't run away you beat it into me and i can't steal it out of me so fuckit i give up my blood and my bruises are yours for keeps, i can't hide em any more.

next time y'all get the whole story, sonofabitch it's tearing me apart and well you see it, hell not sure what to do but try to flog it like a dead horse.

some people you just can't reach


October 10, 2008 - last time
Okay, really mean it this time I'm outta here...

just one small sound from your lying lips
scares me more than your silent appeal



October 10, 2008 - second time
I'm listening to some tunes, ready for my R&R, high on the fact that I managed to add some more to that story I'm tuning...and damn it all to hell, I miss my mom so friggin' much.

The thing is that of all people, she'd have understood me and my tattoos more than anybody, my momma would have know what made me tick tick tick tick tick tock, she'd get it, that I want to paint myself so nobody ever makes the mistake of thinking I'm like them, so I could always stand outside and safe from you, all of you who want to fuck with me and hurt me, this ink it keeps me safe and it makes me NOT...MOTHERFUCKING...LIKE...YOU!!!!

Funny or not, the 'p' key is all fucked up on my laptop cuz I slammed that bitch good. Anyway, sorry if I offend you but you who get me and love me, well I know who you are and I promise I love you back.

But I still miss my mommy making it all better...
Still Me


October 10, 2008
So here I am on the verge of my R&R, ready to get the hell out of dodge and what does Daddy do...Daddy does his usual flee behind a bottle of something sweetness, Daddy's sweetness, Pinot Noir 2004 and then some other shit I'm too drunk to pronouce or remember the year, but either way I am hearing the voices again...

i'm so tired of me and you
suppressed by all my childish fears
if you have to leave...i wish that you would just leave
'cause your presence still lingers here
and it won't leave me alone

these wounds won't seem to heal
this pain is just too real
there's just too much that time cannot erase

when you cried i'd wipe away all of your tears
when you screamed i'd fight away all of your fears
and i held your hand through all of these years
but you still held over me...

...OR MAYBE JUST FUCK THAT SWEET SHIT, LET'S SWING THINGS A BIT TO THE OTHER SIDE...

if i could have my wasted days back
would i use them to get back on track?
stop to warm and karma's burning
or look ahead , but keep on turning?

do i have the strength
to know how i'll go?
can i find it inside
to deal with what i shouldn't know?

could i have my wasted days back
would i use them to get back on track?

you live it or lie it!

my lifestyle determines my deathstyle

keep searching, keep on searching
this search goes on, this search goes on

frantic tick tick tick tick tick tick tock
frantic tick tick tick tick tick tick tock

...either way, here's the updated version, guess you'll figure what Daddy's feeling. I'm outta' here until around 2 November, y'all getcha much love and kisses just for reading this bullshit.

Oooh Lawdy Troubles So Hard!
The Seeker


October 3, 2008
Okay, looks like I'm on a Cure kick this week, listening to 'Pictures of You' right now and really flying me back to long ago when I was looking SO goddamn hard for somebody to share life with me, somebody who felt the same bullshit I was hating and fearing...damn, is it true that Robert Smith was my flagship for sharing my misery with other people?

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't a completely depressive EMO-type shit-for-brains...I definitely liked the harder stuff like Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Surf Punks, and the rockers like Molly Hatchet, Triumph, Saxon, Van Halen (tough shit, they were the bomb in my old-ass day), hell I even caught Foghat in concert once.

I'll pause so you little whippersnappers can go Google half my list...

So anyway, my point was/is that The Cure painted the deeper, darker side of what I was feeling back then, the shit I was carrying inside and still carry to this day. I just identified with what they were saying, and it felt sometimes that they were saying it just to me. Sometimes you just need something or somebody to reach out to, and hell, even if they don't let you in at least they give you a piece of center to grab on to.

Aw bloody hell, I just can't pick the words to make you understand what I mean. Greg gets it, Doug probably gets it, but just because they were rejects like me. BTW Greg - do you have any tattoos yet? You ought to, you sexy bitch!Okay, I need to get back to my Baltika No. 6. Y'all maintain yer brains and I'll do the...ahem...same.

Slow Ride Take It Easy
Old Fartness

PS: Be on the lookout, I'll be posting the second installment of the famous novel-in-the-works here before too long.


October 1, 2008
This one goes out to all the lovers on the dance floor, and take your pick either The Cure or the 311 version...

whenever I'm alone with you
you make me feel like i am home again
whenever i'm alone with you
you make me feel like i am home again

whenever i'm alone with you
you make me feel like i am young again
whenever i'm alone with you
you make me feel like i am fun again

however far away
i will always love you
however long i stay
i will always love you
whatever words i say
i will always love you

i will always love you

whenever i'm alone with you
you make me feel like i am free again
whenever i'm alone with you
you make me feel like i am free again

however far away
i will always love you
however long i stay
i will always love you
whatever words i say
i will always love you

i will always love you


September 27, 2008
I've been dreading this day for quite a while, the day one of my own childhood heroes died...and more importantly, an actor I most closely associate with my mom. Paul Newman is gone, and in my opinion the world has lost something significant, a man who gave us all a worthwhile thing, a talent, a truckload of memories.

I remember watching Cool Hand Luke on the late show with my mom and dad when I was a tyke. I remember watching 'Butch and Sundance' and singing along to 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' and crying when they went out fighting in the very end. I remember laughing my ass off at 'Slapshot'. My kids, even though they don't know who he is, certainly know him as the voice of 'Doc Hudson' in Cars.

What a loss, but on the brightest side - what an incredible life lived. I remember his philanthroy, which even though could be said to be a self-serving advertisement still had to trickle down to where somebody got some good out of it. Not to mention inspiring others to give just a little bit. He was an avid racecar driver, and I remember reading about him in the 24 Hours of Daytona race when I was a kid.

He just impressed me as such a laid-back kind of guy. He was one of my heroes, and as I wrote elsewhere on his site, he was and will always be the personification of cool, and NOBODY ever did it the way he did.

So rest well, Mr. Newman, you will definitely be missed. And say hello to my mom while you're up there, if you don't mind, and don't be surprised if she tries to pick you up.

Sometimes Nothing Can Be A Real Cool Hand
Kathleen Johnson's Son


September 20, 2008
Remember back in kindergarten, wiggling a loose tooth around, afraid to make it hurt but dying to pull that sucker out? Remember how cool it felt to flick it back and forth, how much it made you feel like a big kid? Remember looking forward to (here's where I show my age) a dime under your pillow from the tooth fairy?

Holy shiz-nit, anybody freakin remember stores called, in general terms, the 'Five and Dime?' Remember getting a dime (ten cents for those of you whippersnappers reading my ancient shit) and actually being able to buy something from the TG&Y with it?

Back on subject...remember waitig in ambush for the tooth fairy, figuring what the hell, you'd just mug her sweet little ass and steal all the other kids' dimes?

Well ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the second generation of tooth fairy-mugging Johnsons, the incredibly smart, sweet, gorgeous Miss Maria Frederickovna Stephanie Johnson, aka as my Daddy used to call me 'SnaggleTooth'.

Gotta laugh, even if it means spending the weekend with a couple of pissed-off Russian broads...Masha is going to a dance class twice a week, and is definitely proving herself the rebel. All the other kids sit quietly until they're told what to do, then they do it. Not so for the daughter of 'Papa With The Shitload of Tattoos and Attitude'...hell no, my daughter is too busy trying to climb the latticework in the corner, or reading the bulletin board for the older kids' class, or telling the teacher she can't dance, that her papa told her rock and roll is the best music and Britney Spears is a used-up old hag.

Okay, maybe she didn't exactly capture the 'old hag' piece, but Masha's teachers and her grandmother sure as hell got the picture. Grandma comes home this evening ranting about how bad Masha behaved, how the teacher had to pull her and another kid off the latticework and tried her damnedest to make her keep quiet. Grandma goes on to ask 'can you believe such a child?', to which Papa's answer is to simply hold our his tattoo-covered (fuck YEAH!) arms and say 'yes, I can believe it quite easily.'

Needless to say, as I write this both the adult women in this apartment think I'm an asshole, but frankly I give slightly south of a flying shit, I'm too busy being proud of my daughter for not coloring inside the lines, questioning authority, going where the moment takes her, eating something that everybody else says tastes like shit but goddammit she'll decide that for herself, looking when they tell her not to look, listening to the voices inside her head, especially the one that tells her fuck the world do what feels good to YOU, climbing over the rock the hill the fence out the window...just so she can always find out for herself what's on the other side.

Yep, I'm fulfilling my parental obligations on exactly MY OWN GODDAMN TERMS and I'm giving my precious daughter a framework but letting her set her own terms, and goddamn she is making me so proud. Guess I should start thinking about what will make a good first tattoo for her, since she's bound to ask me someday. In honor of my daughter and her fledgling quest to never fucking EVER accept things at face value...

You have the right to remain silent...fuck that, I want the right to talk!
Proud As Hell Papa


September 14, 2008
Okay folks, I'm mostly back in my right head again, thanks for indulging the temporary (I hope) psychopathy. Even more, thanks to my friends and family who wrote to express their empathy and/or to tell me to quit whining like a little bitch and keep all the good things in my life in view. I've got some good friends, no shit about that.

On a very serious note, y'all please say a prayer for the entire Houston area to whichever god you believe in (I'm partial to my personal creation, Magumba). I've got some close friends, a few relatives, and a horde of coworkers in my Project home office there, and I hope every one of them is safe. I know what "they" say when they talk about hurricane fatigue...if I get one more of these running across the path of those I love, I'm gonna have to up my quaalude intake. Heaven or Hell knows how the people actually in the middle of this shit can take it.

BTW, just kidding about the quaaludes, drugs bad...drugs very very bad, just say no. I'm strictly a tequila freak anyway when it comes to the need for seriously mind-altering substance abuse. Quaaludes don't let you forget the shit you're running from, whereas a good tequila pissup is like hitting the CTRL-ALT-DEL combo on your brain for a few days.

Hmmm...maybe that's what I need, a mini-bender, what the Russian call a "zapoi". Hard to do with the family unit around, sure as hell don't want my kids to witness their father semi-conscious on the couch, bathing in his own drool while he mumble-mouths the words to "Luckenbach, Texas" in his best spaced-out Waylon Jennings imitation and a porno dvd spits out its carnal mayhem in the background.

Hmmm...maybe not.

Aight, enough levity and enough whatever else. Y'all be good, I'll pretend to do the same.

I Won't Forget To Put Roses On Your Grave,
Somebody's Son


September 6, 2008
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night feeling like some dumbass cliche out of a shitty chick movie. I mean, I just feel so godamn lonely in a house full of people, I feel like everything I do really doesn't mean shit. I try to keep in touch with my friends, and when I manage the effort the true ones of them I can feed off of, they give me that jolt of energy and temporary belief in myself that gets me to the next sleepless night.

But most of the time it just ain't enough, when I'm all tits-up in those deepest nights, I let bad shit creep in, the shit I'm deathly afraid to remember in the daylight...that it all just isn't enough, I'll never get over the things that keep killing me inside, the shit that begs me to bite a bullet once and for all and just quit fucking around but do it and spare myself the misery.

And I know there are scads of people worse off than me, I'm not trying to be full of self-indulgent shit, all the starving children in Africa are welcome to my full plate, just get me off of this goddamn flying useless rock. I just feel not up to it any more, god damn this 40 year old horseshit, christ in a fucking sidecar next I'll be buying some lameass convertible and wearing gold chains and playing Neil Diamond at full blast as I pull up to the local high school looking for something in a plaid skirt and bobby socks.

But hell with that, I think I'd rather just quit fucking with it all, quit trying to chase away the bad shit, just leave a nice goodbye note and a fat check for their pain and pick it up and exit stage left.

All the words that I've been reading have now started the act of bleeding into one.


September 4, 2008
Haven't heard from my parents since before Gustav hit Louisiana, and the news is that their area got hit hard. Somebody please get in touch with them and email me to let me know they're okay. Jason, Tammy, Troy, Mike, Marica, Edna...anybody, I don't care, just want to know they're okay.

Thanks
Me


August 31, 2008
Back to our normal programming. Thanks for allowing me to vent, at least partially. Greg was a good and fascinating person, and although we'd been out of touch for several years, I feel the loss deeply nonethess.

Looks like y'all on the US Gulf Coast are about to get pimp-smacked by Mother Nature again. I made sure to check in with my parents in Louisiana, and they're all stocked up and ready to batten down the hatches against the storm. But hell, they're the lucky ones - they're a good way up from the coast and 75 miles from N'awlins, so no danger of storm surge for them. I see the mayor of N'awlins has ordered mandatory evac well ahead of things this time, and made it public NO emergency services will be rendered if the storm does hit. I doubt they'll actually just leave anybody out in the rain who decided not to evac, but the libertarian side of me sings "Fair warning, the decision is yours, o free, American adults!"

Getting pimp-smacked myself these days, at work that is, and by a Prime Client who is...ahem...rather difficult. I keep turning setbacks into challenges, and of course I never forget the bank I'm putting away, though most days I check my balance sheets several times a day for that vitally motivating reminder of why I'm putting up with this bullshit. But dang ones patience doth runneth shorteth, and a return to the fast-moving career ladder of a McDonalds fry cook looks all too attractive some days. I would LOVE for my worst job-related stress to be something akin to hearing "Goddammit Johnson, I need those fries NOW, I've got a pissed-off redneck threatening to drive his monster truck through the pickup window if I don't get his order to him!" BTW, that's Doug's line from a long time ago, back when we were doing what we did in the Air Force.

Glad I got that off my chest, but 'nuff whining and enough for one day altogether. Y'all be cool, enjoy whatever lives you have out there, and I'll do my best to do the same. And y'all in N'awlins - get your ass outta town!

You, Me - Parking Lot, No Witnesses
Big Daddy


August 9, 2008
Just a quick post to let y'all know I'm okay, despite the Russian-Georgian conflict going on. There's some scuttlebutt floating around they may evac us if things get too weird, but I'll just go sit in Moscow if that happens, can't stand the thought of being separated from my family again like that.

Anyway, I'll try to pop something up here every few days so you know I'm still robbing your oxygen. Let's all hope this little scuffle doesn't escalate into something more serious.

Peace, out
Mimino


August 3, 2008
A few pictures from Papa and Masha's vacation.

Y'all enjoy
Me


August 2, 2008
Today is Russian Paratroopers Day, or in the local vernacular, Den' Desantnikov. Everybody over here, at least the wussy-ass expats who've never seen a day of military service, are pulling up their diapers for a good pants-shitting cuz this day has a reputation among just about everybody here in Russia as being one on which you need to stay the hell out of public places as much as possible lest you get your lily-white ass whipped. Especially Gorky Park in Moscow, as the past and present paratroopers gather to celebrate their belonging and kick the everloving shit out of...well, frankly, whoever isn't one of them.

The fact of the matter for me, though, is that regardless of their drunken revelry, in spite of the prevalent perception (among expats and many Russians alike) that these are nothing but a bunch of sorry-ass Russian hooligans taking advantage of just another excuse to get hammered and raise hell, I respect each and every one of these men. These men who have served in peacetime and in war. These men who have given up a part of their lives to something else, something greater than each of them.

But the reason I respect them the most, and perhaps even love them for it, is that they were willing to take a bullet, they were (and probably still are) willing to put their asses, bodies, minds, and their LIVES on the line. That alone is worthy of respect, but is NOT the reason to which I am leading...hell no, I think their shit don't stink cuz they were ready to give themselves not to the greater good, not to Mother Russia or the Sovietsky Soyuz, not to their God or their Mama...but just like every other soldier worth his merit the world over, they were ready to die for the man standing or sitting or lying wounded next to them. In other words, their buddies, their brothers, their fellow soldiers. That alone, above all other reasons, is why I respect the Russian paratrooper the exact way I respect my American compatriates who practice the same selfless love for their unit brothers.

I think that's 'nuff said. And if you don't agree, well to quote Flo the Mel's Diner waitress and John Wayne the great American patriot, y'all can kiss my grits, pilgrim!

On Course, On Glidepath
Snaiper 1-vo ranga


July 27, 2008
We're On A Mission to write a novel. I borrowed the title from my Daddy, who has been a constant inspiration and who will definitely figure in the story.

If you give a micron of shit, give me your Feedback Here. Keep in mind this is a first pass, which I will embellish with my usual drunken flair later when I am more drunken.

180 On Board, You Are Free To Enter The Zone
Aldan


July 1, 2008
Got back in touch not too long ago with a true friend who is single-handedly responsible for giving me the inspiration and motivation to ever begin writing. You folks may thank him for just about everything you've ever read here...for better or worse he instilled in me a desire to express myself through writing, to string words and phrases and sentences together in an attempt to inspire myself and, hopefully, the world.

And my friend had one of the most incredible, unique, creative, and most importantly OPEN-MINDED senses of humor I've ever known, yet another facet of his personality that inspired me regularly. Funny Doug story: we're in Germany (we were stationed together there as Russian linguists) about to head out for a road trip to Germany's walled city Rothenberg. In the car are me, my ex, Doug, and his wife Faye. Our girls were/are very intelligent, free-thinking, modern women, particularly as concerns women's rights and an inherent dislike of what, at that time, was buzzword-edly referred to as the glass ceiling. As always in our little pseudo-intellectual knitting circle, we had already embarked on yet another lengthy debate on some deep subject; this time, women's right to enjoy the same responsibilities and compensation as men.

Now keep in mind that neither Doug and I disagreed, we were all for allowing our spousal units to make their way in the big bad world while we sat at home on our expanding male asses and bitched about the mailman who was rude to us. But circumstances being what they were back then during the dregs of the Cold War on an American fighter airbase in good ol' Germany, the ladies were forced to take a back seat to our immenintly more significant (and appropriately compensated) male prowess and employment.

So we're still in the parking lot, having imbibed some coffee or something before our road trip so we'd have to stop to piss as soon as possible, and the ladies are both in the throes of something similar to when religious freaks start speaking in tongues and french-kissing rattlesnakes. I mean they're worked up to a purple-tinged froth over the inequities of manhood versus their fair-and-uncompensated maidenhood. In other words, they're bitching about how badly it sucks that they are perfectly capable of doing a man's job but rarely allowed the opportunity, and moreoever never ever ever ever ever EVER compensated for it on anything resembling equality.

About this time, we're esconced firmly in my ex-wife's 1984 Nissan Sentra, Doug and I in the front, the girls in the back, appropriately (and ironically) to the gist of the conversation, when Doug turns to me and says in all earnest....

..."I guess now wouldn't be the best time to tell them about the Penis Bonus we're getting from the Air Force."

Even now as I write this, some 14 years later, it still resonates in me, that irreverent look on Doug's face, the same irreverent tone in his voice, the complete and utter originality of such a line, and most of all, the solidarity of a couple of guys who had always connected from the start.

So in closing this entry, let me raise a toast to my wonderful, inspirational, kind, intelligent friend who has remained a part of my life even through the years we weren't actually in touch with each other. I add this to the list of reasons I am a blessed man, and I assure you that list means honorable company.

My Momma Talkin' To Me Tryin' To Tell Me How To Live
Feet One


June 23, 2008
Ladies and Gentlemen, please put your kids in another room...

SHIT PISS FUCK CUNT COCKSUCKER MOTHERFUCKER TITS!!!!!

...and added on just a few years later...

FART TURD TWAT!!!!!

One of my idols since childhood, George Carlin, has died. I knew him not as a pioneer for American Freedom of Speech, which he was. I knew him not as a champion for man's right and need to express himself, which he was. I knew him not as a foul-mouthed at-times cretin for whom nothing was sacred, which he was. And which I, as evidenced more often than not on this website, aspire to in my wildest dreams.

No, I knew him as a gifted orator, a diarist, a man with such a command of our beautiful language as to make me ashamed of my meager gifts forever. And I'm not saying that because of "The Seven (Make That Ten) Words You Aren't Supposed To Say On Television". I'm saying it because the man could talk the entire world in circles.

I recall as recent as just a year ago, I was high on my blogging horse, thinking I might have what it takes to write a book...when I flip on HBO whilst at a hotel in Warsaw, and here is my hero in a standup concert, more or less off the cuff speaking a language that, while the same English I know, was so far more gifted than I or anybody else I know is capable that he might as well have been from another English planet.

So rest in peace, Sir George, and know that I and a host of others on your other planet will remember you with nothing but the fondest memories, and will recall all the times you've made us laugh...and most importantly, all the times you've drilled us deeply with a well-placed barb of expression and made us think.

My Sincerest Love and Respect,
A True Admirer


June ze eeee-leh-venth, 2008
Man, what a paradox I be stuck in the middle of...

Sorry, proper grammatick-al-ee spaking...it is such a paradox, withi the middle of which I appear to be fraught...

Sheeriushly spea-aking...on one hand I'm getting my everloving ass kicked down here in the Russian Oil Bid-Ness, and I mean not on a daily basis but on an hoursly sometimes a 15-minutesly bsasis. I'm talking, it gits so bad I sometimes have to self-medicate on publicaly-accessible medications like aolcohol like a bottle...

...okay maybe two...

...of Chianti. I been in Florence and I knows the good shit.

So anyway yeah I'm hammered right now (gee ain't y'all surprise, all friggin two of ya stil reading this shee-it) and expository-ating or some sheet, so anyway what a week I'm having.

...but on the other hend, damn to hall ain't I never bored evera?! I really do have a chalngingaing client who chang his their/his/its modus operandi at a momentus noticus, but the truth is we both in a learning-offa-other procesuss...and even I admit we make some progress to the middle ground. It dont hurht , of course, that our client procurement manger is a smart iopen mind guy. Oh guess what, he was inc the missle corps russian when the Us Russia signed the INF treaty and he lst his job.

realy intarsting but i;m sleepy.In other words, I'm diggin the shizz-nit outta my job, kiddies.

And right now I be listening to the Beasties. We all switch places when i ring the bell.

Aw fookit y'all figger it out.

...the cabriver said he recognized my girlie by the back of head
Peach F.K.N Keen


June Something'th, 2008

Been getting a ton of spam so decided to play a little game. Thanks to my friend Yor-Hay for more than just a little inspiration for this endeavour...

Dear fisczeap@richasfook.com,

I sincerely appreciate your offer of the 'best counterfeit watches available on the web', and moreover am still to this very moment in awe of the picture you sent me a few weeks ago depicting the...ahem...priapic grandeur resulting from (holy shit was that YOU???) use of your proffered 'rhino horny-horn weiner enhancing power powder.'

But fisczeap@hardmail.com, my dear, beautiful, TRULY SINCERE friend (and I believe in my heart you have only my best interests in mind), I must respectfully decline your most generous offers. You see,as regards the former, I am already in possession of one sweet but fake as bloody hell Rolex I bought off of a scantily-clad (and probably underaged) whore in Bangkok just a few months back. Funnily enough, the goddamn thing is actually still ticking, so I'm sure you can understand the fake watch (and let's face it, one helluva righteous knobber) I got from that lil slant-eyed skank were more than a bargain for the $15 I shelled out in whatever the hell that local weird-ass currency that was.

As regards your offer of endless days and nights spent rutting like the most randy of mountain goats should I purchase your spermadocious peter-puffer powder for my 40 year old weiner to enjoy a curtain call...well, my dear fisczeap@hardmail.com, the truth of the matter is...

...I is a Johnson!!!

Yep, I is a Texas Johnson, and Magumba-be-praised thanks to the gift of effective genetics, my weiner already be enjoying the benefit of eternal life, extended warranty, free coffee in the morning, and the discreet services of a 10-ton crane should the need arise. Not to mention a stack of forged letters from a multitude of admirers attesting that I, Mister Texas 'Won Hong Lo' Johnson did so wantonly and repeatedly torture their maidenhead with my genetically-endowed prowess.

In closing, I repeat my gratitude for your offers, and urge that you continue your attempts to angle that ubiquitous 'Big Fish'. Who knows, maybe I'll be the one to bite should Mr. Johnson Junior someday decide to head south with no remorse or goodbye note.

Yeah folks, I'm drunk as shit and thinking about all kinds of shit. Cool-as-grits memory of the moment: I'm at the Albion sitting on the bar with Johnny and Bob, singing 'Wonderwall' at the top of our lungs while every damn person in the bar sings along with us.

Here's number two: my 40th birthday when my friends gave me a Predator pool cue. Man, when I opened that thing...hell, I can't describe the emotions that flooded through me when I realized the extent to which my friends know and love me.

"...but I'm a creep, I'm a wierdo...what the hell am I doing here?"

First time I heard that song was in late September 1992, right before my mom went into the hospital never to come out, and to this day the damn song echoes down to my bits.

"...I want a perfect body, I want a perfect soul..."

Ta hell with that, I'll just settle for a prostitute with no face control policy who'll give me the works and tell me I'm her number one.

Do I digress or what? As the Russians say, "Pit' nado menshe". Which means "don't drink so goddamn much, wanking wanker!"

Take Me Down, Lil' Suzy, Take Me Down
Texas Johnson


May 1, 2008
Happy Russian Labor Day...pick up a drill or a rake or a broom and get off yer ass and do some labor, bee-yotch!

Ladies and geldings, I'm stuckl as f..k in Houston Tey-hass waiting for the Russian Fey-der-ay-shun to quit ficking around and give me my work permit visa so I can get back to work and...ahem...get back to work.

So anyway, I've been sitting in Houston Tey-hass working my ass off while my family is in Moscow without me and me without them.

'Scuse me while I walk off to the side to bee-yatch a bit to the great something...

...so anyway, I'm here and they're there and thank the Great Something i'm still earning good ol expat uplift salary cuz fuck that shee-it this sucks ass most dee-lux

...scuse-ay, did I digress?

...so anyway, I'm at this moment on a 3-day weekend cuz it's Russian Labor Day and I'm on the Russian Holiday Contract thang...and I'm pissing around on the 'puter listening to old cool shit and of course doing my tequila melancholy thang...remembering my mom, cuz now that I have the luxury of age and perspective I realize what a cool broad she was and goddamn I wish she was around to see my kids and my tattoos...

...so here's a song just for her and me...

In a little while
Surely you'll be back
In a little while I'll be there

In a little while
This hurt will hurt no more
I'll be home, love

When the night takes a deep breath
And the daylight has no end
If I crawl, if I come crawling home
WiIl you be there

In a little while
I will blow by every breeze
Friday night running
To Sunday on my knees

That girl, that girl
She's mine
And I've know her since

Since you were a little girl
With Spanish eyes
Oh, when I saw her
In a pram they pushed her by

My, how you've grown
Well it's been
It's been a little while

Slow down my bleeding heart
Man dreams one day to fly
A man takes a rocketship into the skys
He lives on starlets dying in the night
And follows in the trail
The scatter of light

Turn it on
Turn it on
You turn me on

Slow down my bleeding heart
Slowly, slowly love
Slow down my bleeding heart
Slowly, slowly love
Slow down my beating heart
Slowly, slowly love

...so with another bottle of tequila and some Metallica making my ears cringe...

Mama, will you be there?
Hardcase


January 1, 2008
Happy New Year, y'all!!!!!! I'm sitting here listening to my favorite Russian punk group, Tequila Jazzz, buzzed halfway to the gills on Baltika No. 6 (beer, that is), and all is simply right with my world. Yep folkses, mister sappity ass is having another one of his epiphany moments yet again. Seriously, all really is right with my world, I have everything I possibly want (and in no fookin way is this in order of importance):

  • An interesting and challenging career that pays me enough money that I feel like some hick who hit the lottery


  • Daddy and Susan and Troy and Mike


  • Enough uncertainty in my life to keep me from getting bored off my tits


  • Enough money saved from busting my ass the last 5 years that I don't have to feed my family ramen noodles and tuna sammitches for at least a couple of unemployed years if it comes to that


  • ...and I ain't in college anymore, thank fook for that!


  • ...but I DOES be working on me a MBA (yes I is bragging)


  • Two unbelievably smart kids who are walking works of genetic art


  • ...and yes I'm proud of my genes, piss off if it bugs ya!


  • A ton o' free-ens whom I believe in from the bottom of my heart and who I know would slit whatever throat I ax 'em to if I axed 'em: Marica, Rob, Bob my "Redneck Mofo", Chris, Lee, David G, Erol, Mario, Mike V, Len, Dave M, Nate, Andy, Sam, Marc


  • Tequila, Baileys, Baltika No. 6, Russkiy Standart Platinum, Amaretto, Johnny Blue, Vyshnovka...


  • Being good enough to run 5, 6, 7 and 8 balls down the table off of break


  • Meeting Evgeny Fedorov, lead singer of my favorite Russian punk group, Tequila Jazzz


  • Having the balls to write touchy-feely shit like this with absolutely no fear of getting my ass kicked by some knuckle-dragging shithead


  • Some cool-ass tattoos with plenty more to come, just as soon as I find the time


  • Did I mention my incredible kids?


So maybe that was better suited for a month ago on Turkey Day, but tough shizz-nit y'all, it's my mothafookin website and I writes what I wants. And one other thing that bears some discussion: my overly sensitive nature. This shouldn't be anywhere near a revelation for those of you who've been following my drivel over the years, and frankly it embarrasses the living shit outta me at times such as national anthems, New Year's Eve, garden-variety toasts around the dinner table, nights out with the above-mentioned good friends, music of widely differing varieties, family moments, long runs on the pool table, and myriad other times...

...but to hell and beyond with it all, I wouldn't trade this sappy shit for a thing. As much as I'd prefer not to break into sissy-ass tears in front of all the manly men of the planet at the most inopportune times, I freaking LOVE the fact that some of the simplest shit touches me to my very core, that any given moment can be the one that means the most until the next second when something grabs me by my soul and makes me happy(er) again...and again...and again. Yeah baby yeah, fuggitall, I'll take my perpetual happy-sappy shit over manic depressive BULLshit any ol' day!

And a nod to my bro Rob and all the other punkers from our day....

...hallucinate desegregate mediate alleviate try not to hate love your mate don't suffocate on your own hate designate your love as fate a one-world state as human freight the number eight a white-black state a gentle trait a broken crate a heavy weight just too late like pretty Kate as sex ornate devastate appreciate depreciate fabricate emulate truth dilate a special date the animal we ate the guilt debate the edge serrate a better rate youth irate deliberate fascinate deviate reinstate liberate to moderate recreate or designate annihilate atomic fate mediate clear the slate activate now radiate a perfect state food on plate graviate the earth's own weight designate your love as fate at ninety-eight we all rotate hallucinate desegregate mediate alleviate try not to hate love your mate don't suffocate on your own hate designate your love as fate a one-world state as human freight the number eight a white-black state a gentle trait a broken crate a heavy weight just too late like pretty Kate as sex ornate now devastate appreciate depreciate fabricate emulate truth dilate a special date the animals we ate the guilt debate the edge serrate a better rate youth irate to liberate to fascinate deviate and reinstate and liberate to liberate and liberate...

You Bet Your Ass, Beeyotch!
Mr. Baltika

PS: R.I.P. Michael Hutchence


December 30, 2007
Well folks, I have reached what for me is a personal Nirvana. I'm sitting here buzzed from a few bottles of very good Chianti, reflecting on what an incredible evening I have enjoyed just a day away from the New Year. As I've written here ad nauseum ad infinitum, over here in Russia, they (we) celebrate New Year the way y'all celebrate Christmas - a tree with decorations and lights, lots of presents underneath and elsewhere, and of course Santa Claus to deliver it all, but over here we call him Father Frost. And by the way, Father Frost's assistant, Snegourochka (Snow Maiden) is pretty freakin' hot.

Ess-scuse-say for I digress...

So anyway, Father Frost does the same thang that Santa Claus does, which is haul ass around the world to drop off presents to all the good little kiddies. Unlike Santa Claus having to haul ass around the world in just one night, though, Father Frost has the luxury of a few days prior to 31 December to get around, thereby negating the physical impossibility of fuel burn-rate, reindeer poop blinding the air traffic control system, atmospheric friction, and all that other scientific jazz that sez ain't no stinkin way Santa can actually get around in one night to all them kiddies.

I doth digress again...sorry!

Anyway again, Papa Frost made a stop to our Moscow apartment tonight, being so kind as to drop off all the presents Papa Johnson was so kind as to walk all over freakin Moscow to find and buy. Pseudo-cynicism aside, my Nirvana was the look on my daughter Masha's face when she looked up and saw Father Frost standing in the doorway to our apartment. I remember long ago seeing a picture of one of my girfriend's, taken by her parents, at the very moment she looked up to see Santa Claus...and this was no different, the utter joy on Masha's face was simply priceless, something which will live in my loving memory for as long as I live.

Ess-scuse-say for I'm crying like a little beeyotch again...

And on another personal level, today being 30 December amounts to Christmas Eve over here. When I was a kid, on Christmas Eve my parents would take my brother and me out to our Grannie's, where we would open up all the presents she bought for us. And bang on her piano. And hassle Paw-Paw's beagles. And get into all of Paw-Paw's World War II stuff and try to steal some .45 bullets to show our friends. And eat blackberry-peach cobbler. And scream when Paw- Paw would scare us by pulling his false teeth out of his mouth and smiling at us.

Ess-scuse-say for I am awash in a flood of incredibly beautiful memories that I wish my kids to share...

So let me end this with another wish: may all of you reading this bask in the glow of your own wonderful childhood memories, may you all share the warm love from the people YOU love, and may you be blessed with the affection and innocence of those sweet, little, perfect creations you've brought into this world.

That is my most sincere wish
Papa Stephen


December 25, 2007
In the immortal words of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman...

Happy Birthday To You
Happy Birthday To You
Happy Birthday Dear Jesus
Happy Birthday To You

I'm stuck in Chelyabinsk by myself, unfortunately having recently given up alcohol thus wallowing in self-induced, miserable depression. They don't do Macy's Parades here. They don't do Bowl Games here. They wouldn't know a friggin stuffed turkey if they were sexually abusing one.

Ummm...sorry, not quite sure where I was going with that one.

Anyhoo, Merry Xmas y'all, hope every one of you has a good one and more importantly that you are surrounded by the warmth of those you love the most.

Bollocks!
Stephen "Bitchy Little Titties In A Twist" Johnson


November 30, 2007
Once again a lotta' water under zee bridge, so let me do another bullet kinda thang:

  • I'm the f..k outta Russia effective 21 December, unless something comes through for me with another company doing bidness over heah...keep y'all's fingers crossed, wouldja?


  • Got two offers from my current company - one in Indiana, the other in Aiken, South Carolina. The Aiken job is my serious jones, I freakin LOVE that place, went there twice when I was in the AF and fell in love then.


  • Listening to Rihanna's 'Umbrella' and just dig the piss out of it. Makes me think of my mom...wish she was alive so I could tell her, "Hey Mama, no matter what happens, I'll always be your friend and I'll do whatever it take to take care of you...you can always stand under my umbrella."


  • Yeah, I'm drunk as shit right now.


  • BTW, I'm in Warsaw again, long story the short of which the Project is picking up the tab for me to get another Russian visa.


  • My bro Rob came for a visit last week, and it was absolute sweetness. He's one of the true friends for whom I reserve a digit. I was very pleasantly reminded just how incredibly intelligent and well-spoken he is, and moreover what a privilege it is to have him as a friend.


  • We decided that being forty kinda kicks ass in certain ways.


  • Barons de Rothschild 2003 Reserve Medoc Speciale, in case you're wondering what gots me up here. Memba' dat, Rob...it's a keeper!


  • My cynicism meter is so far beyond the redline the shit just ain't funny.


  • Still shooting pool whenever I get the chance, and damn it rules knocking those balls with the Predator cue my boys gave me last year for my birthday. Goddamn it kicks ass having friends who know me.


  • When the sun shines we'll shine together
    Told you I'll be here forever
    Said I'll always be your friend
    Took an oath I'm a' stick it out to the end
    Now that it's raining more than ever
    Know that we`ll still have each other
    You can stand under my umbrella
    ...you can stand under my umbrella

  • Sorry, had to throw that in there since it's one of my favorite lyrics in years. Makes me miss my mom like hell, wish she was around so we could go get "Burning bridges lost for evermore" tattoos together.


  • My daughter is the closest thing to perfect on our planet, followed very closely by my son. My children are the only reason I haven't eaten a bullet by now.

Okay, better cut that one short before I get all maudlin and shit, missing my kiddies, so let's go on free-flow mode. I'm torn as shit about this job situation, I've got two solid offers to stay with my current company, and a nebulous prospect on a big-ass project in the oil bidness which would allow me to remain here in Russia. It kinda boils down to timing and linked very much to my own paranoia about being unemployed...a bird in the hand wanting to hear a commitment versus 'the bush' calling to me to say "keep youre Louisiana hick ass over here in The Motherland"...and for all my bitching, when the rubber's about to meet the road, I find I just ain't ready to walk away from here dangit.

This shit would all be a lot easier if JJ would quit pissing around and win the damn lottery!

Ha ha, but ONLY slightly...

Okay dokay y'all, I'm getting too damn drunk to type much more, really concentrating on not making a spelling ass of myself this time. So time for me to pull the plug.

Rob, damn it was so cool to see you. Wish every one of my readers cool friends like mine, I mean that.

Okay no more pissing around, really gonna f..k off now. Y'all maintain yer brain and maybe I'll see you in the US before too long.

Oh well, whatever, nevermind
The Umbrella


October 17, 2007
Sorry for not posting in forever, been mostly too busy and moreover just no creative juice to motivate me. Things getting weird in the office, looks like our Client may want to dump a few extra bodies to save budget, and my department is usually the first place they look in times like this. All I want to do is hold tight til April, when I'll be fully vested in my company's retirement stock option plan. Anybody still reading this tripe, if you've got any good leads for me with companies looking for an experienced Senior Subcontract Administrator, please let me know.

Things on the home front going well. Vika and the kids just got back last week from a month in Turkey, the first two weeks of which I spent with them. Had a very nice time down there, just sat on my ass and tanned and played with the kids. Finally managed to get Masha in the ocean, then could hardly drag her out. Misha too. Nice to know both my kids love the ocean as much as I do...now I just have to get them down to Pennekamp to look at all the fish and coral structures there. Masha's a shark freak now, too. When we got back from our trip, I showed her some old pics of me in the water with a shark during one of my trips to Johnston Atoll when I was in the military. She was impressed, and says she wants to swim with the sharks too. Cool kid.

Gonna be in the US for the New Year, visiting my parents for a few weeks. Looking forward to spending some time in civilization, watching a few bowl games, lighting off some fireworks, eating oysters...hell, the list just goes on and I can't wait for all of it.

That's all I've got for now. Vika and the kids are going back to Moscow at the end of the month for some more passport stuff, and since I'll be here alone and drunk most of the time, look for some (hopefully) better subsance-inspired posting from me then. Especially if I manage to get off my ass and get a high-speed connection hooked up at home.

Over and out
Me


August 23, 2007
Holy shiz-nit it's been a bit since my last post. Sorry, been very busy closing out 5 major construction contracts, and the end is barely in sight. Be patient with the sparse posting, puh-leeze.

Anyway, couldn't go without popping my head up today, and it's entirely appropriate that I do, to toss a quick "thank you" up to the Great Something In The Sky for bringing the shuttle and its crew safely home yesterday. They showed the footage over here on Russian tv of the bird touching down, and it just gave me goosebumps. Was really worried about that foam insulation problem...hope they quit pissing around and fix that once and for all, this drama is giving me the hives.

Awright, I've robbed enough time off of Peter to pay Paul for this post, so I'm outta here. I'll duck back in when/if I have a spare millisecond.

One Step For Man...
Me


July 20 (again a bit early in the morning), 2007


Folks, I'm literally in tears as I write this, this YouTube thing is a goddamn mixed blessing. I've found some really cool stuff...and I've found some that really sent shivers down my spine. I was just surfing through some clips of carrier flight ops, and I stumbled across a video of the Challenger disaster...y'all remember that?

I sure as hell do, how could ANYbody forget it? I had just started my first semester at Louisiana State and was working at my dad's store between classes and had the tv on watching the launch live while I posted inventory. I remember watching this terrible, horrible...THING...unfold on tv, and I all I could do was just fall numb and dumb, thinking how could this possibly be happening? I waded through the rest of that day somehow, but the next day I had classes and I remember going to the student union that morning just absolutely horrified, still numb from sitting through the news coverage of the day before, and I also remember the stricken expression on the faces of my fellow students...and this overall feeling of quiet over the entire campus.

But you know, for all the grief I observed, it all just felt so personal to me...for me the shuttle was a family member, as it was for many of the friends I grew up with. We grew up in Florida, and our teachers would ALWAYS let us out of class whenever a launch was on so we could watch it (Marica, remember going outside at Lakeview whenever they launched a shuttle?). Hell, before the first actual launch, I remember my mom driving my brother and I over to Cape Canaveral to see the shuttle on top of a 747. So we all kind of adopted the shuttles, we all felt like they somehow belonged to us, and I honestly don't remember any of my friends NOT being interested in them, it was just such a cool thing for us kids to witness.

Shit, I'm sorry, I can't keep writing. I already laid a wreath a long time ago at the Challenger memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, so I guess I'll just call this my blog tribute to the Challenger crew. I still love the shuttle program and everything to do with it, so bless you Challenger crew and bless you astronauts who still have a launch ahead of you. President Reagan said it best...the future doesn't belong to the faint-hearted, it belongs to the brave. At 40 years old I still remember the inspiration your bravery gave me and my friends...may your god speed you and may you continue to inspire me and my own children.

With Throttle Up
A Thrilled (Still) Little Kid


July 15 (very early in the morning), 2007
I am abso-f..kin-lutely addicted to YouTube. This is the song I was listening to on Monday that got me so melancholy about my divorce. Enjoy...

...and I'm toasty again, though nowhere near as bad as Monday. Found myself a pool hall here in Warsaw, and just got back 45 minutes ago from winning about $120 from some poor innocent Polish college students. Don't get me wrong, I ain't feeling guilty for shit, they're grownups and I didn't sandbag em or anything...in fact, was playing straight pool by myself with my mp3 stuck in my ears when they came up to ME and asked for a money game. So I gave it to them...and I took it from em. They were cool about it, and after they lost their money we chatted a bit. Good kids, not bad pool players either, I was just better. Nice time, particulary considering they weren't shitfaced or aggressive in the least.

Getting my tits in a twist about the prospect of seeing Gregg Allman in concert on Tuesday. Shee-it, it'll just be my luck if I end up snagging my visa on Monday and flying out too early. As I asked below, please keep your fingers crossed, that would just be sweeter than teenaged titties if I get to see him live. Definitely will be channeling my mama's spirit through that one, can I get an ay-men?!

Sleepy and ready to quit pissing around on the 'net and get me some sleepies. Y'all do the same old shit and I'll do the same old shit.

Good Lord I Feel Like I'm Dyin...
The Me

PS: Think I'm gonna go buy me another bass guitar tomorrow...at least it'll keep me from whacking off to internet porn so damn much.


July...ummm..what the hell day is it today...2007
Oh shit here it comes again, another inebriated diatribe by your favorite rambling pain in the ass. I assume I'm your favorite diatriber, since it can't possibly be the size of my .... that keeps bringing you back.

Important message - if by some bloody freakin miracle some of you are emailing me, you're obviously sending to my work email address. CUT THAT OUT, I'm still stuck in VARSHAVA (Warsaw po-russki) and don't have access to office email (thank Vishnu for small miracles), so send your missives of love and devotion to the Email me link over there to your right.

Duh

Sorry, just blowing off steam, as well as a few fumes from the second bottle of '05 Valpolicella I'm working my way through. Oh shit I just ended a sentence with a preposition...I'm on the bloody feckin 'ell express, I are!

So anyway, yeah I'm still stuck over here in the heart of Polack jokes. Shouldn't really joke, though, since so far (that is, in the past 4 years I've been coming here to renew my RF visa) everybody I've met has been the absolute picture of friendly hospitality. Not to knock Russia (no matter how easy they make it at times), but these folks have a firm grasp on the concept of winning more flies with honey than with vinegar. I'm staying at the Hyatt Regency in Warsaw, and man they are really earning every bit of the money I'm spending to stay here (the money my company is blowing for this fiasco, that is). Nice to walk down to breakfast and be met with a smile from every service staff-member I meet...not to mention that they honestly make it seem sincere. Christabove, I've said this dozens of times before but it always bears repeating - I prefer even the fakest of smiles over the constant sneers with which (got the preposition right that time?) I'm met in establishments where I go to spend, let's face it, a fair shitload of money. Okay 'nuff said lest I start on another rant.

One quick favor to ask...y'all keep yer fingers crossed for me that if this visa renewal fiasco has to continue that it do so until at LEAST next Wednesday. Why? Because Gregg Allman is in concert here in Warsaw on Tuesday night, can I get a shout and an amen?! Holy shit, the man's very name brings back some great memories from my childhood, my mom was totally into the Allman Brothers, so naturally I grew up listening to them. No idea what he'll play at this concert, I'll be happy just to take in the vibe...the guy is just that freakin cool, and frankly I'll feel privileged just to breathe the same air as him for a couple of hours. Though I gotta admit I wouldn't mind hearing 'Whipping Post' or 'Statesboro Blues' one more time.

Well butter my ass and call me Burger King, guess that's a pretty good note on which (this preposition shit gets easier, dunnit?) to call it a night...got the last half of my wine to finish anyway. Y'all do what you do best and I'll do the same.

On second thought, they say doing that too much causes blindness and hairy palms, so y'all do something else ya hear?

Love, hugs, drugs, puppydogs and raw oysters
Midnight Rider


July 0, 2007
HFS my babies, that's holy f...n shit for y'all not in the know...been a long time since I rolled a good ol' drunken filosofical post on the joint here but here it is one more for the kids in the back row. I'm stuck in Warsaw on my visa renewal trip cuz the broads in the office took their friggn time putting in the request for an invitation letter to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs so my visa is expired and I'm stuck. Put quotes around stuck cuz for the first time in 5 years of doin this shit I'm getting the company-paid vacation. Diggin the shit outta that, needless to say.

So what's the first thing junior does but have himself a nice grilled seabass dinner with a coupla bottles of Pinot Grigio to wash it down. And no I ain't a fag cuz I know Pinot Grigio...although gotta admit I'm usuaally a red wine and red meat kinda real man type...anyway I'm nice and hammered on the company's nickel and life could be much fookn worse can ya dig it!? Okay more for the fag-bait...I also had a 90-minute massage and a pedicure and a manicure so now I'm all smooth and just too fookin sexy for myself. I don't givashit who don't like it, I'm in major-league relax mode and enjoying that I get to SIT ON MY ASS ON THE COMPANY'S GODDAMN DIME!

Sorry for yelling.

So anyway I asked a question the other day, that is "who the hell is still reading this shEE-IT" or something similar, and wouldja believe I got a shout from Kiev??? Man, that is totally freakin cool! Know what is coolest of all, the gal who emailed me tripped onto my site cuz she was looking for some hits on Roman Viktyuk, my abso-favorite Russian playwright, and strangest of strange ended up with lil ol meeeee. Even cooler is that her boyfriend is an actor in Viktyuk's troupe...chances are I've seen him not once but several times, since Vika and I have attended more than just a few of his plays. So here's a little shout back to you - Natalya and mom, hope you both are happy and hope like hell I can make you laugh at least a bit.

Cool, I'm listening to my MP3 and the Beasties are on....Hey Ladies...kinda appropopriate...

Being drunk with no responsibilities or alarm clock fuckin with you kinda kicks ass. Okay not kinda it really DOES kick ass. Since I'm on a drooling roll with this hammered shit, lemme give another shot to my bro Rob, who I hope like hell to see in the semi-near future.

Have I ever mentioned how blessed I feel for the friends I have? Well if not here goes...used to be I could count the real ones on one hand with a few digits amputated for good measure, but since I moved over here seems I've been collectingt the real ones for real. Nice that my old bros have stayed in touch, and cool that I've managed to pick up some new ones along the way. Mainly my Moscow drinking bros, those guys totally kick ass. In that regaredd, had a great time Saturday night meeting up with somoe of my friends from Club Johnson and Albion days...and ended up shooting pool with the same 3 fuckers I end up with about oevery time.

Cool, I almost wrote ouevre which is some kinda French fancy-ass word which means (and I'm pulling this one outta my ass) something like "interesting abstract personality-esque...ummmm...thing". Guess I kinds squirted that one down my leg.

I'm all deep and meaningful feeling right now...Coldplay is on, take me back to the start...I remember when this song first came out I was just on the tail end of my divorce from my first wife, and man I remember how sad it made me feel, that idea of things being so shit at the end that I just couldn't help but wish like hell I could go back to the very beginning when I would do anything for her...die for her, write poetry for her, have sex on a pool table with not a care in the world, get drunk together and do a striptease for her, sing out loud at the top ofo my lungs for her...actually it makes me sad for all the world's romance, guess everybody (hell I hope so) has that all-abandon feeling in the beginning. Goddamn don't you wish we never had to give that up? What comes between us and that abandon...can't possibly be work, at least not for me...maybe just that gradual element creeping in from both sides, that familiarity that makes you feel comfortable instead of passionate.

Well fuck comfort, I want the passion, I want to make your toes curl, I want to hear you say "ow mister, that hurts...but if you stop I'll bite your shoulder and draw blood," I want to get it on in the back seat of a Volkswagen with my best friend driving and not give a shit cuz I just want you soooo bad....and you to want me back, I want to sit in a darkened movie theater and watch Citizen Kane or some other old shit and be taken away by the emotions we're sharing with the screen, I want the tears to roll down our face when we listen to a song that belongs to us, I want to share a bottle of wine while we watch the sun go down over Monterey Bay, I want to stagger home with you after stuffing ourselves on crab and Napa Valley chardonnay, I want to get in a fight with some guy for looking at you wrong, I want to feel you touch my arm just because you want to make sure I'm still there, I want to take you upstairs and do it like they do on the Discovery channel, I want to hear you bitch at me because some girl looked at me wrong and you still give a shit enough to be jealous, I want to see the glow in your eyes when I come staggering back to the beach after staying out surfing shore-break for 4 hours and you've been watching me cutback and you just (STILL) think I'm so fucking cool, I want to laugh with you when I feed you your first raw oyster in New Orleans and you gag then ask for another, I want to have sex again in the middle of a rocking rowboat in the middle of a bay where there isn't another soul around but we talk about how cool it would be if somebody were watching us without us knowing about it cuz we're a coupla fuckin porn-star wannabes, I want to eat red beans and rice on a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street while a girl with a tattoo of Isis on her leg serves us, I want US to get tattooes together again, I want to roll through 3/4 of a bottle of tequila and go home and make each other scream and bite, I want to talk until 4am about how fucked up the world is and how we're the only refuge left for each other...then get up and hop in the Jeep with the top down and drive to some shitty diner for an early breakfast, I want to hear you scream my name because it's either that or you dig even deeper lines in my back...and I want some more scars on my back because of THAT, I want to drive home drunk with you from a party singing Van Morrison's "Into The Mystic" at the top of our lungs while we weave onto the median...and I want to believe just for one more second you want the same things I do and you're not just saying that shit cuz you don't know what else to say, I want to sit with you and hate everything that isn't us because it isn't us, I want to want you the way I used to want you...

...in other words, I want us to feel each other again all the way down inside the way we used to do when it was so strong we left bruises and bitemarks on each other...I want to bleed for you just one more time.

Yeah, Fuck The Comfort I Want The Passion
Faded Primadonna


July 4, 2007
I scored myself a few free seconds to spare so I can wish you all a Happy Independence Day for real, wish like hell I could share it with you. I always long for home, most acutely on this holiday, so here's a list of the things I miss the most...

  • My Daddy and step-mom, without whose understanding and example I'd be working at McDonalds right now


  • Rock radio, instead of the pop crapola you just can't escape here


  • Marine Corps Twilight Parade at 8th & I Barracks


  • Smiles from strangers, whether they mean it or not


  • My aunt Edna and cousin Leslie, without whose sanctuary as a child growing up I would have either committed suicide or be in a mental institution right now


  • My brother Jason, with whom I share parents and a few interesting childhood survival experiences


  • Grocery stores


  • Fishing...chasing bass with a jelly-worm in my grannie's pond or trolling for bull dolphin on a deep-sea trip with my Daddy


  • Gulf Shores, Alabama; Winter Garden, Florida; Vernon, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Monterey, California; Washington, DC (especially today!!!);


  • Speaking of DC...fireworks on the Mall tonight in front of the Reflecting Pool, with the National Symphony Orchestra in the background playing '1812 Overture' from the front lawn of the Capitol Building


  • Paying $1200/month and getting not only a large, clean apartment, but well-maintained grounds and an entryway free of damaged stairs and human piss


  • Finding fossil shark teeth at Rock Springs, FL


  • Dawn patrol surfing at New Smyrna beach, FL


  • Raw oysters, crawfish boiled in Zatairan's, barbecued ribs, Zellwood white corn, iced tea, decent hamburgers (Fuddruckers!!!), and fajitas and Negro Modela at Ninfa's Mexican restaurant in Baton Rouge, LA!


  • DRIVING DRIVING DRIVING...top down in a random direction with Creedence on the radio, a cigar in my hand, and a can of Bud tucked 'twixt my legs so the cops won't see it


  • My kids having a clean playground with no broken beer bottles to contend with or vodka-sodden parents nearby shouting profanity at their own kids for just being kids (better shut up...this one could easily become a rant)


  • Sam Adams Double Bock


  • Arlingtion National Ceremony, Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns


  • LSU football


  • Baseball...especially the OOOOOOOOOOO's!!!


  • Polite people who act like they sincerely want me to come back and spend money in their establishment again


  • Not having to carry my damn passport around with me everywhere...


  • ...and not having to worry about being arrested when I don't


  • Sharing coffee and the Morning Advocate with my Daddy on the back deck


  • Safe sidewalks with no cars driving on them


  • English-language television


  • The Oprah Winfrey Show


  • Breakfast at Denny's or Waffle House after a night out partying


Far from inclusive list, and just kidding about the beer-while-driving (Budweiser tastes, I imagine, like piss) and even more so about Oprah. Y'all raise a beer for me, and accept my blessings and share my conviction that ours is the greatest country on the planet.

Sigh
Samuel Adams


July 3, 2007
Hit counter at the very bottom says I've had 40+ visitors since last Friday, begging the question...who the hell is still reading this thing???

In the likely event that I won't post anything tomorrow, Happy Independence Day everybody! My favorite holiday, and I'll be working my ass off as usual.

Over and Out
Uncle Sam


June 29, 2007
Somebody asked me what I love and hate about Moscow and/or Russia in general, so here's this week's love/hate bitch session:

Love it...

  • Access to such an amazing variety of culture - theaters and museums everywhere! Without a doubt, this will be what I miss the most when/if I ever move back to the US, unless I live somewhere like San Francisco, DC, or New York.


  • War monuments and museums, and Russians' overall respect toward any military veteran


  • Parks and spending weekends there "on the nature."


  • Diversity...although this applies pretty much to any large city, I adore being around so many different cultures and nationalities, and for all my bitches and gripes about this that and the other, it makes life SO much more interesting. I'm very thankful my kids are getting their start in this environment, it'll open up those little minds from the very beginning!


  • Holy crap there are a ton of different restaurants here!


  • Moscow as a looking glass on insane wealth...never been so close to such ungodly rich people, and absent any jealousy or other enmity, it's interesting to watch how they spend their money, seeing all these cool cars everywhere (they have Lamborghini rallies fer chrissake!), well-dressed (or at least trendily so) people behaving without a care in the world...kinda nice to see em firsthand and live vicariously through the crazy bastards.


  • As a counter to the previous but no less entertaining, Moscow as a source of laughter...what a blast to watch how the less (and much-less) wealthy but no less trend-conscious Muscovites try to outdo one another...such as the guy who leverages his hovel of an apartment into a Mercedes, which he drives whilst dressed in the cheapest pointy-toed shoes he bought at his local Uzbeki market hoping like hell they'll go with his black net shirt he wears with the baggy pin-striped pants he thinks look so cool. Gotta love em!


  • As a responsible drinker, having the liberty to sit on a park bench enjoying a nice, cold bottle of beer while watching the scenery stroll by in its miniskirts and high heels.


Hate it...

  • Having a drunken complete stranger plop his ass at my table thinking I REALLY am interested in drinking with him, then getting into a fight with the turdcutter because of this lovely Russian male phrase "ty menya ne uvazhaezh" which means "you don't respect me." You're right, Sparky, I DON'T respect you or any of your butt-buddies who come dragging their knuckles and half-empty vodka bottle to my table, so fook off!


  • Rudeness and a general lack of courtesy or respect toward others...and I am growing more convinced that this is NOT just a "big-city" phenomenon!


  • No concept of cleaning up after oneself, manifested chiefly by the way people here will litter exactly where they visit regularly (aka the "shit where you eat" syndrome).


  • Nosy-ass old ladies (called "babushki" in Russian) who think their age automatically bestows on them the right to give me shit for not putting a sweater on my kid when it's 85F degrees out, as well as a host of other useful advice to a complete stranger on how he should be living his life. Piss off, you Wicked Witch Of The West fartypants crotchety old hags!!!


  • Pollution no matter where you turn, and the corruption that allows big industry to avoid any accountability whatsoever.


  • Russia's entire police force (referred to as militia) and all the other forms of institutionalized corruption over here.


At least the good shit still outnumbers the bad shit, and damn wasn't that a long post?! Hopefully you'll be seeing more of them, cuz Big Daddy just got the ink laid down on the $275M contract he's been negotiating since last November! Yeah, I'm bad...and what a whoosh of fresh air to have that freakin monkey off my back. Now if I can just lay the contract management for that beast off on some other poor unsuspecting soul....

Aight, that's all she gits for now. Y'all do your thing and I'll do mine.

War and Peace, Out
The Negotiator


June 4, 2007
Back from vacation and back in the saddle at work. Had a great time in Turkey, very laid-back and relaxing place to be, got a great suntan and gorged on tons of delicious food. People incredibly friendly, seems one of the few European/Middle Eastern groups of people these days who don't hiss and fork the hex sign at you when they find out you're American. Refreshing, to say the least. Of course brought back a ton of souvenirs, to include a hookah pipe and some delicious strawberry and apple flavored tobacco. Gonna work me up a new addiction...

Fresh from the Department of Deja Vu All Over Again...it's freakin snowing in June!!! I nit you shot, outside my office window right now is a curtain of white, puffy, fluffy snowflakes falling. Too warm on the ground for any accumulation, but it sure as hell ain't for lack of Mother Nature tryin! Guess I won't be water skiing this weekend after all. Dammit.

Work still smacking my ass and calling me Suzie, been working 07:30 until 18:30 every day but Sunday, and never can seem to catch up. So damned tired at the end of the day, all I want to do is pop a pizza in the oven and the caps off a couple bottles of beer, then hit the sack. The good side, though, is all the OT I'm getting...gonna have those vacation bills paid off in a jiffy.

Guess that's all I got for y'all for now. Wish me luck keeping up this pace, I really need it.

Sigh and Nod...
Stephen "Budding Narcoleptic" Johnson


May 10, 2007
YIPPEEEEEEEE!!!! Just 10 minutes til quittin time and I'm on R&R for 2 weeks! To say "I can't wait" is an understatement. To say "Get me the f..k out of this stressful goddamn place" is yet another. To say "This repetitive shit is rather tiresome and trite, innit?" is my final.

See y'all in a couple weeks, unless I manage to log in from the Mediterranean.

Until That Day
Me


May 5, 2007
Another week, another Saturday in the office, another 30 minutes and I'm drinking tequila and lining the cueball against my first rack of the night. What a week this was, I can't imagine how lottery winners deal with the utter lack of stress in their lives from sitting around and doing whatever...the f--k...they please. Lucky pissheads. I ain't bullshittin, this week went medieval on my ass, but I don't even want to go into detail lest I induce some sorta post-traumatic stress freakout attack and start shopping for an AK.

On the bright side...

...aw fuggit, I gots a bad attitude, might as well embrace it and get smashed and nasty. Shooting some 8-ball will definitely help, not so sure about the tequila since it 1) makes me want to kick everybody's ass for real and 2) I don't remember jack diddly shit the next morning.

Okay, here's a bright side...taking Vika and the kids to Turkey in a week, 2 weeks in a nice resort on the Mediterranean. Will be very relaxing to spend all that time with my little monkeys, miss the piss outta them. Vika put Michael on the phone a few hours ago, and he babbled his little heart out, to include a fair share of "Papa!" Of course ol Sappy-ass laid on the waterworks as usual. Miss Masha was too busy to talk to Papa, though...even I gotta admit it's tough work sitting through your 339th showing of whatever-the-hell cartoon is your ad nauseum favorite this week. She did talk to me a bit yesterday, though, told me she misses me and that she's writing me a poem that she'll give to me next week. Also mentioned she wants me to take her swimming...little poot still remembers our week in Florida, glad it made as much an impression on her as it did on me.

Long time, no weather report, so...definitely gearing up for spring and summer here. Temps floating around 55-60F, which after yet another snotsicle-esque winter feels like the dadgum tropics. Of course the Russians keep their coats on until well into May, too paranoid about flash temperature drops. Not me, I tell Mama Nature to bite the big one, I'm in shorts the first time it gets above 60. Even got in a little rollerblading last week, and looking forward to doing more soon.

Well hallelujah it's quittin time on Tara, so I'm pulling chocks. Y'all do the same ol shit and I'll do the same ol shit.

Ooh Lawdy Trouble So High
Stephen "Malcontent Extraordinaire" Johnson


April 30, 2007
Just a quick post to show you my heart's in the right place or some equally pithy horseshit. This finds me at work on a holiday (Russian May Day is tomorrow and we're "off" of work today for the long weekend) but luckily about out the door. Stayed out til 3am this morning shooting pool...that damn game is simply addictive to me, it just relaxes me so much. Can't wait to settle down permanently someday so I can build my own pool room.

Watched Yeltsin's funeral a few nights ago, very touching how many people showed up, as well as some of the comments they made. Was very cool also to see Bush Sr. there, saying goodbye to his old buddy. Was even glad to see Clinton on hand doing his best Oscar-moment crying with Naina Yelstin, though I had to laugh at one point - here's ol' Willie J comforting Mrs. Yeltsin with a well-placed hug, while at the same time looking very studiously at something (someone...?) off to one side. I could just read his mind...hmmmmm...that lil old gal'd look purty sweet if she'd take that dang scarf off and move that durned candle outta the way. Ol Willie the hound dog. Heh heh, I'd love to see his reaction if he managed to sneak out to the Arbat for a little babe watching, bet his lil Willie Jr. woulda headed north in a hurruy. Rob and Tom know what I'm on about.

Okay I said it was quick so 'tis, I'm pulling the wheel chocks and busting outta this dump. Y'all maintain yer brains as usual, I'll do the same. Pork with pepper cream sauce and au gratin potatoes for dinner in a couple hours, with a nice bottle of Bordeaux to wash it down.

Hugs and Kisses
Slick Willie


April 24, 2007
Jeezus pleezus, it's been quite a while since I was here!!! Good news, though - I've transferred off of my construction site, where there is NO internet, to my project's city office in Chelyabinsk, where there is. Still too busy to post much or often, not to mention I no longer indulge in those 3-beer lunches that gave wings to so many substance-abuse-esque ranting bullshit philosophical posts of the past, but I'll try to be a bit better, maybe shoot for once a week. Saturday would be a good day for updates, since it's a bit slower inasmuch as I don't have anybody handing me their "urgent" shit that has to be done yesterday.

So having proffered such long-winded excuses for my absence, this finds me...well, put it this way, JJ always says it best: Same Shit Different Day, or SSDD if you're too busy to spare the extra few syllables. That is, I'm busier'n a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, busier'n a one-armed paper hanger, busier'n a big-titty German lass in a September bier hall. You get the picture.

Yawn.

One of the advantages of working on the construction site is that when my alarm went off in the morning, I got up knowing I just had to stumble through a shit-shower-shave, then I could get in the van and have another 2 hours of sleep on the ride to work. Now when that little bastard rings, though, that's friggin IT, my ass is outta the bed with no reprieve. Can't bitch too much, though, cuz now I'm committing the same amount of time per day to work, and getting paid for ALL of it versus how I gave up 3 hours of my day for free.

But gott-DAMN my ass be sleepy!

Vika and the rugrats doing great. They're all still in Moscow for now, but I'm still sneaking back every 2-3 weeks to see them. Michael is walking and running and gaggling his little baby-talk all over the place, cute little fart. He definitely takes to me in a hurry whenever I'm there, won't leave me alone and I freakin LOVE it. Masha is still the Little Princess and becoming even more so. Also still a little smartass and also becoming even more so...to the point that even I have had to try to rein her in just a bit. Guess it'll all balance out in the end.

Nothing else to report just now. Y'all hang in there, and whoever the hell you are still reading this - thanks for being faithful.

Don't Stand So Close To Me
Stephen "BZZZZZZZ" Johnson

PS: R.I.P. Boris Yeltsin and David Halberstam, two people I greatly admired and who both influenced my life for the better.


March 7, 2007

Hey Marica!!!

...better now?


Ha ha,
Stephen


March 2, 2007
I am Stephen's bruised and battered youthful idealism.

Been away for a while, off doing busy and important things such as having the shit kicked out of me by the hid-jusss dee-mons of cynicism. Seriously, I've been very busy at work, to the point that all I want to do when I get home after my 2-hour ride on the Kidney-Punch Expressway is either cook something fast and drink lots of beer with it or go out and shoot some pool and drink lots of beer with it. So in the interest of covering a lot of ground in as little time/space as possible, here's another one of my patented list-esque life story excerpts:

  • Still living the pseudo-bachelor life; Vika and the kids still living in Moscow awaiting that waste-of-my-tax-dollars US Consulate to get around to reviewing her US reentry permit.


  • Vika and Masha came out to visit me in early December and again last week, had a great time hitting all our favorite Chelaybinsk spots.


  • Had a great New Year in Moscow with the family, then...


  • ...took Masha to Orlando, FL for a week of sun-n-fun, just the two of us. Had a house party with old friends, swam with Masha in the pool all week, visited my aunts n uncles n cousins who fell in love with Masha and she with them, took her to Sea World and Gatorland and on a helicopter ride that SHE asked for, then cried like a baby when I had to come back to Chel a week later by myself.


  • ...grumble grumble grumble...shitty bachelor bullshit...

  • Lotta changes coming to my construction project, not sure how much longer I or anybody else will be employed on it. On a half-assed job hunting spree, so if anybody has any bright ideas, look above and right and go from there.


  • Enjoyed a fabulous weekend in Moscow celebrating my 40th (no f..king WAY!) birthday the weekend of 9 Feb. Two parties - one with family, the next with friends, cool presents and much warmth all around. Turning 40 kicks ass!


  • Heh heh...I have wood.


  • And I still like the taste of tequila too much.


  • Had a solid week of -18 Fahrenheit last week...what I like to call snotsicle weather.


  • In Moscow now for a couple of days of negotiations, nice to be able to see the family a bit more.


  • Rob is a fartypants and so am I cuz we like to see our names on each other's websites.


  • Hi Pat and JC and Edna and Wyman and Leslie and John!!!! Figured y'all would like to see your names here too.


  • Tom is a fartypants too, who better send me a damn picture of himself with long hair and a beard. Cute daughter, though, which is surprising cuz she looks so much like him.


  • Just kidding, Thomas!


  • Reading the very last volume of Stephen King's Dark Tower saga. Have liked individual volumes and storylines therein a bit more, but jury still out deciding my overall opinion.


Guess dassall for now. Y'all maintain yer brains. I'm going shoot some pool and lubricate my attitude.

Your Tax Dollars At Work,
Mr. Soon-To-Be Unemployed Smartass


December 16, 2006
Yes I'm still alive. Haven't been posting because I'm back working on the construction site instead of in our Chelyabinsk city office, and site internet is restricted to limit bandwidth useage on our satellite uplink. I snuck into the Chel office just to use internet, so here I is.

Things at work going swimmingly, been busy as hell and still rocking and rolling. Significant news - looks like I might be moving back to Moscow to work for a different company, interviewed successfully and it's all down to waiting for the offer letter. Wish me luck.

Family life going well, though everybody is in Moscow and I'm living the pseudo bachelor life out here. Fill up my time by shooting pool most nights, beer and a movie at home on the other nights. Miss the hell out of my girls and boy, though I did have a nice treat when Vika and Masha came out for a week last week. Took Masha to a children's play, bowling, her favorite playground, and dining & dancing at a couple of our favorite restaurants. Sucked to see them go, but I'll see em ALL in just a couple of weeks because...

...I'm flying to Moscow on the 30th to celebrate the New Year with them, then Masha and I are going to Orlando from 4-12 January, just the two of us!!! Vika can't go due to some issues with her reentry, and of course no way I'd attempt to handle Masha AND her 8-month old baby brother on my own. Gonna take her to Disney and Sea World, as well as a few other local attractions, and am also planning to see a lot of old friends. My folks are driving down from Louisiana for the week too, so needless to say, I'm looking forward to this trip.

That's all the news I have, hope to post at least once more in the next few weeks. Y'all do the usual.

At A Loss
Mr. Magoo


November 16, 2006
This post is dedicated to my friend Jack Mann, who I just found out passed away on Monday. Jack was a former Army type with serious time on the ground in Viet Nam. He was also a polyglot...Russian, French, German, Chinese, and who the hell knows how many other languages. I met him in Moscow, and loved him as a friend from the start. He was the gnome, the Kniga, the "book", the wealth of all knowledge, and worthy of my undying respect and admiration. I will miss him greatly, as I'm sure will everybody who was, like me, blessed to know him. I'm also proud of the fact that he met Masha, and thenceforth acted as if she was his own granddaughter. The approval of such a man goes a long way toward making me feel like I've done something right.

So I bid you fair winds and happy trails Jack, my friend. I consider my life wholly enriched by the way-too-short time I knew you, and cherish every conversation over every beer you and I shared.

Your friend,
Stephen


October 17, 2006
You know, I've been a big fan of Russia since I was in high school. My love of the country extended through my time in the Air Force, becoming even more acute through my many temporary assignments during my last six years I was in the service, and finally flourished even more once I moved over here, married Vika, and had two beautiful Russian-American children. It would appear, though, that this love is on the wane, as I am of late finding myself much less tolerant of the bullshit. Hell, who am I kidding - I seem to notice the bullshit where before I either ignored it or didn't see it at all. A few examples:

  • Were I in the United States or any other remotely civilized country, the $1200/month I pay over here to rent a 915ft2 apartment would be more than effective at pricing out the psychotics, alcoholics, slimeballs in general, busted pipes leaking from the apartment above to flood mine and ruin the lighting system, coming home to find somebody has pissed in the stairwell, finding my next door neighbor's homeless and shit-stained daughter asleep on my doorstep...the list goes on. I realize there are exceptions, but even in those cases I would have nearly immediate legal recourse.


  • People spitting, pissing, shitting (I shit you not!), and otherwise dumping garbage wherever they please, including but not limited to the stairwell of my apartment building, the elevator, sidewalks, middle of the street, etc.


  • Drunken, aggressive assholes who hear me speaking English and plop their asses at my table uninvited and start badgering me to drink with them. I actually got into a goddamned fight this way a couple of weeks ago, AFTER I spent 20 minutes trying to politely extricate myself from the situation.


  • Finding a product I like and trust at the store, only to go back the next weeks after weeks never to see it again. Supply logistics are for shit here.


  • Having to dodge cars...when I'm on the goddamned sidewalk! God forbid I should have my kids with me, that don't mean shit to the assholes behind the wheel over here.


  • Filth. More filth. And even more filth. Did I mention it's disgustingly filthy over here. Just about everywhere you turn, and much of it within arms length of the empty garbage can, or at worse, half a flight of stairs from the garbage chute.


  • As I've mentioned before, hot water is supplied from central boiler plants and pipe-routed to all the apartment buildings. I've had hot water a cumulative total of three months since the first of this year.


So where am I going with my little tirade? First off to say that the money is about all that keeps me here any more. Second, I'm missing the US even more. Thirdly...well, I miss the US, period.

Sorry, I realize that's all quite negative and more or less unlike my usual upbeat "I Love Russia" self, but I'm really growing tired of it all. I've heard all kinds of horeshit justification for some of this bullshit, for example "Russia is still a growing capitalism and folks just aren't used to...yada yada yada...WHAT???" What the hell is it that they aren't used to - wiping their own asses and not slinging the shit-stained toilet paper where they eat??? Or how about "It's a dog-eat-dog atmosphere over here where the average person is just too preoccupied with the bottom rung of Maslow's hierarchy." Blah blah blah...too goddamned preoccupied to do what - wipe your ass with paper and flush the toilet instead of shitting on your neighbor's doorstep and wiping your shitty handprints all over his front door?

Okay, maybe I'm not so sorry. I just don't see what's so friggin difficult about exercising common courtesy, personal hygiene, taking 2-3 extra steps and actually hitting the garbage can, crossing your legs a few seconds more so you can piss/shit in your own toilet instead of emptying your bladder in the goddamned elevator or the stairwell, and most of all, understanding that being shitfaced on vodka does NOT make you the epitome of charm and class, thus you should plant your smelly ass at your own table and not bother other people uninvited.

Guess you could call this a bit of a vent. I'm just sick of this me-first bullshit, this utter lack of consideration for anybody but oneself, and I sure as hell do NOT buy the crappy survival mentality explanations people throw at me, either. We Americans get a lot of criticism for supposedly being full of bullshit bon homie, with our so-called "fake smiles" and false manners, that is, we're accused of not really giving a shit what the answer is to "Hey how ya doing?" That's true, it's just a surface veneer, a mask of civility...one that keeps us from beating the piss out of each other, and I'll take it ANY goddamned day over the (next) asshole who spits on the sidewalk right in my path, or plants his dumb ass at my table when I'm trying to enjoy a nice game of pool and a few beers to unwind.

In other words, just leave it at "Have a nice day" and fuck off.

Over and Out
Disgruntled Postal Worker


October 15, 2006
A teardrop has finally fallen...Freddy Fender has died, and with him a major part of good childhood and adult memories. My mom used to pile my little brother and me into our big rocker when we were kids, and we'd rock together and sing, among other great songs, Freddy's "Before The Last Teardrop Falls." I in turn sang it to Masha whenever she was being a fussy little baby, and it calmed her down every time. Thanks for that little bit of happiness, Freddy.

I'll Be There...
A Son And A Papa


October 10, 2006
Yeah yeah yeah, I know I'm terrible about posting. Just so damned jaded these days, seem to have lost the creative sense behind so many of my earlier posts. Or maybe I'm just so fat dumb and happy that I'm living the unexamined life not worth writing about. Or maybe I've just stopped giving a shit. Or...aw fuggit, I don't have any pat answer for why I don't post as much.

I know...it's the time of year. Autumn, my least favorite no matter where I've lived to experience it. Back when I was a kid, it meant the end of summer fun, the death of good times and back to the grindstone of school. And trust me, I sure as shit was NOT one of those geeks who looked forward to going back to school and getting off my ass and not sleeping late after staying up watching late movies until 4am all summer.

As an adult, and particularly having lived in places where there are distinct seasonal changes, autumn still represents death to me, both metaphorical and real. Again, the death of summer fun, no more evening walks in the park followed by dinner at some outdoor cafe. Hell, where I'm living now, I hardly see the sun on workdays, it gets light so late and dark so early. Death in the literal sense means watching the trees go bare, and unlike the Northeastern US where you get several weeks of fall color, it pretty much happens in a blink here. Gray and dismal and bare and deadly.

Shit, somebody pass me a bottle of tequila and a shotgun.

Missing my family a bit, to make it all worse. They're all in Moscow taking care of Michael's citizenship paperwork. I'll fly up for a week pretty soon, but in the meantime am cooking for myself and turning the tv volume all the way to 11 to try and drown the horrendous silence.

Holy shit I'm a pathetic whining depressive bastard.

Plus side - I'm getting in plenty of pool. Not that it's making me a better player, just gives me a chance to unwind and think. Actually, kinda brings back memories of Club Johnson...I go to my local club, pop on my headphones with some hardcore on my MP3, and shoot and drink tequila until stupid hours of the morning. Gotta watch that shit, though; got so hammered Sunday that I'm still not sure if I paid my pool bill before I left. Hopefully they won't have their security waiting for me next time I go.

Aaiight, guess I've depressed you all enough for today. Y'all take it easy and keep being patient. Or something.

Pppphhhhtt
Me and Baltika 6


September 9, 2006 - second entry
Uploaded a couple of pics of my monkeys: Michael alone and Michael and Maria. Y'all enjoy.

September 9, 2006
In the chair on a Saturday, decided to take a break from writing somebody else's urgent contract to jot a few words just so y'all know I'm still robbing oxygen from you. Same shit different day, in other words. Things at home back to whatever passes for normal when you got two squalling kiddies and your mother-in-law in the joint with you. Chaotic might describe it, if one were inclined to be lenient. Took everybody to dinner last night, had a nice time. Masha got to dance, I got to enjoy the warm glow of admiration and envy of my incredibly beautiful kids, and Vika and I both got to pig out on some great food. Good stuff.

Today is City Day in Chelyabinsk, in celebration of 270 years since the city was founded. Lots of festivities, to include a free performance by one of my favorite Russian singers, Valery Meladze. Rob and Tom and Jack know who I'm talking about. Tonight I'll take Masha up to the bridge near our house to watch the fireworks. Since it's a "round" number year celebration, they're reportedly going to last at least an hour. Should be a nice experience, Masha and I both love fireworks.

Nothing else to report. Kinda down lately, not exactly sure why, so motivation ain't exactly giving me the kick in the ass I need to make shit up for this site. But as always, y'all keep checking in on occasion, and I'll keep dragging something outta my nether regions for you to peruse.

Until That Day
Me-Oh


August 21, 2006
Jeezus pleezus, it's been a solid month since my last post. This time last month I was desperately counting the days, hours and minutes till my R&R. Right now finds me post-vacation and still trying to get my head back in the "you work for a living, sucker!" frame of mind. Gotta admit it's a very slow process. 'Twixt the jet lag and the fact that I spent 2 weeks pretty living like a lottery winner, putting in time at a desk is more painful than ever. But I'm getting there. Enjoyed myself so much that I'm considering buying a condo on the beach there. Be pretty cool to have some good rental income, not to mention I can pack ass and flee to the beach to a place I own more or less whenever the whim strikes me.

Was good to see the family when I came back. Masha in particular seemed to have missed me, wouldn't let go of me the entire time she was home at the weekend. She and grandma are still up at the lakeside place, will be there 'til 3 September. Vika and I took the littlest rugrat up there over the weekend to join them, had a nice time. Went waterskiing yesterday, twice in fact, and am painfully reminded today that I ain't 18 no mo! Sucks, I remember when I was young and my friend Jim Goff and I would ski from about 09:00 until the sun went down and we couldn't see. Might have stopped a bit for a lunch break, but other than that it was an all-day thing, and I NEVER got tired or sore. Not the case nowadays, hell I was doing good yesterday not to barf after about 20 minutes up. Can't complain, it was worth it to do something I remember from sunny days in Florida as a kid, and I'm certainly not too sore to look forward to doing it again next weekend.

Vika actually took the munchkin up Friday morning and I joined them Saturday cuz I had to work. Friday night I went out and shot some pool, and am proud to say I kept the tequila monster at bay. Had quite the stressful week after just coming back from vacation, so was very tempted to get a bottle and and sink those lovely clicking little balls and get all antisocial inside til the acid inside burned off, but I figured I'm getting to goddamn old to ride that horse. Plus they were out of tequila.

On the plussest side of it all, the weather here has been quite nice. Not as cold as while I was in the US, which is a relief cuz that'd probably push my ass right over the "aw fuggitall" edge. The trees are, however, starting to change colors...autumn rears its head a bit earlier over here. After 2 weeks in the sunshine and a tan still all over me, can't say I'm looking forward to autumn and its bitchy aunt miss winter. On the other hand, be good to have some cold weather and make a big pot of gumbo or red beans and rice.

Shit...just realized I forgot to bring back some cornbread mix. Bloody hell! Guess on that note I'll call it a wrap. Y'all do the usual.

Insane In The Membrane!
John Gillette


July 18, 2006
Same shit, different day, albeit a long one from the last time I posted. Anybody still read this damn thing? If so, my apologies for no posts in forever. You see, on 2 June I began negotiation and award of a very important contract, one which I am still working on and which robs me of most of my free time. 12-hour days are my norm, some Saturdays and Sundays find me stuck in the office, and I have now become a grouchy old bastard who snarls at his family and drowns his sorrow/tiredness/nerves in whiskey.

Just kidding about the whiskey.

Anyyyyywaaaaayyyyy...I am still alive but yes busy and tired as hell for it. I write SO much these days for work that I don't even want to hear about no damn keyboard...no motivation to update the site. Put it this way - it is truly a small victory and no small emotional uplift for me every time I come back to my desk to find a) no new email other than the usual offers for Viagra and "beeyotefool Rasheen neemfetka" porno sites; and 2) the message light on my phone is not flashing. Yep, small victories.

I did get a bit of a break this past weekend, went to Warsaw for a couple of days to renew my Russian visa. Didn't do any sightseeing while I was there, too damn hot to go anywhere. Instead, I treated myself to a sauna, 2-hour massage, followed by a 3-hour nap in the middle of the day. Felt like a hellbound sinner for THAT, lemme tell you, but it was worth it.

In other news, the family unit is thriving. Masha and her grandmother are up-country at a lakeside resort until mid-August. Vika and Michael and I have been sneaking up there most weekends to visit, nice place for a weekend getaway. Or any other time, for that matter. If you're interested, check it out. I water-skiied last week for the first time in 6 years, still got the touch. Shamefully wasted effort at showing off, though. The chicks were impressed, but ain't no smart man gonna get clever when his wife is bird-dogging his every move.

Ha ha or something.

Okay, the grindstone beckons so that's it. I won't even bother with bullshit promises to post more often, they just come back to bite me in the ass. Y'all maintain yer brains.

All That Happy Crappy,
The Shithead


6 June 2006, 2006
Insanely busy, so time for another synopsis thingie:

  • Michael growing like a weed, up to 11 lbs now, lifts his head freely, and likes to smile at his Papa


  • Masha is officially a "Little Princess" who likes pink and frills and chasing little boys


  • Vika getting back her pre-pregnancy shape in a hurry


  • Hubba hubba...


  • Summer has finally settled in, temps staying above 75F. Funny how that used to seem cold to me when I lived in Florida oh so long ago


  • Ran 8 balls straight the other night shooting pool, figures it was the one time I was NOT playing for money


  • Still digging the hell outta my job


Seriously, that's all there is, been doing nothing but waking up, working, playing a few hours with the kids, then falling asleep and waking up to do it again. Weekends are a bit more relaxed, particularly Sundays when I take Masha to the park for some one-on-one time. So on that note lemme run, check back occasionally and maybe I'll find time to post again.

Sighhhhhh...
Tired Papa


May 10, 2006
Been a while, sorry for the delay, as usual the excuse is that I'm busier than hell. Work is keeping me hopping as usual, though no complaints there. Home is constantly abuzz...and actually pretty damn cool. My son is awesome, such a little trooper and strong as hell. He can already hold his head up when I put him on his stomach, albeit not for very long. He's funny too, grunts like a little piglet when he's at the boob or the bottle. Come to think of it, so do I.

Masha is her usual incredible self, getting prettier seems like every day. Been doing a lot of Proud Papa shit with her lately. We just had a 3-day weekend (actually Sun-Tue since I worked on Sat), and I took her to the park every day. She's a blast, very active and precocious, quite fun to get on rides and stuff with her. Yesterday was especially cool, 'twas Russian's Victory Day (WWII) holiday and we took her out to greet the veterans and congratulate them on their holiday. Last night was just the two of us, I took her over to a nearby bridge to watch the fireworks go off downtown. She was adorable, sat in my arms the entire time oohing and ahhing, and smiling and waving at the fireworks whenever they lit up. I love that kid so much it brings tears to my eyes.

Finally got around to updating my resume, figured I might as well post my new title. Already getting some queries, one job up somewhere in Connecticut, another in Huntsville, Alabama. Wouldn't mind living in either place, though the Connecticut job sounds much more interesting. Gonna be tough to leave this project someday, I'm so used to the hectic and dynamic work pace that anything less will be HORRIBLY boring by comparison. Hope like hell I can find something as frenetic as what I do now. Guess if I manage to stay connected to defense work one way or another, I'll be covered. Wouldn't mind working for Pratt & Whitney down in Stuart, Florida...that'd be sweeter'n milk boobies, I could get back to surfing on my lunch hour again!

In other news, dare I say it...the weather has turned to early summer warmth.

Five - four - three - two - one...hmmmm, no snow. Maybe I'll really get lucky this time. At any rate, I'm doing my first run of the warm season tonight, so please wish my almost-40 ass a LOT of luck. My shit be breakin down a lot easier lately, I did a shoulder workout last week that pissed my back off something fierce. Can't rock and roll the way I used to, dangit!

Well, that's all the news that's fit to print so I'm bugging out.

Peace, Love, Drugs
The Real Me


April 19, 2006
Very quick entry to say I brought Vika and Michael home from the hospital yesterday, making last night my first sleepless one of many to come. No worries, though, I think the kid is way cool and I am enjoying every minute I spend with him. Masha was quite taken with him as well, she kept bringing him toys and trying to hug him or stroke his head. I'm being careful to pay plenty of attention to her, want to minimize as much as possible any jealousy issues, though I know they'll rear their heads at some point anyway.

Slammed at work, wish I had an extra 4 hours each day, at least. Either that or that I'd win the lottery...that'd sure as shee-it solve my workload problems. Anyway, that's the reason for the quick entry. Y'all do the usual and I will too. As soon as I figure out what that is.

Run Like Hell,
Proud Papa


April 15, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen!!!

Please join me in congratulating myself for my 15-minute contribution to what took Vika 9 months of carrying and 5 hours in a hospital delivery room to do...give the world another Johnson!

Michael James, that is, born at 04:00 on 14 April 2006, weighing 8.9 lbs and measuring 21.25 inches. Homeboy is doing just fine, so is Mommy. I'm so damned proud of her, she is truly a trooper! I was present the entire time, including during the delivery, proud to say I didn't pass out or any other weak shit like that. Pretty cool thing to witness, very emotional moment to hold my son within minutes after he was born, I highly recommend it to any prospective fathers out there.

I've gotten about 4 hours of sleep since Wednesday, plus I'm in the office right now just trying to organize a few productive things to do, so lemme step on outta here. Gonna be very busy in the next 2 weeks, got 3 major contracts to write up, so allow me to beg off in advance of posting once a week minimum. But I'll try.

WAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!
MJ

PS1: The kid is definitely a Texas Johnson.
PS2: Okay, it was probably closer to 5 minutes, I seem to recall being a little over-excited.


April 8, 2006
We're on baby watch in the Johnson household, lil bugger's gonna pop out any day (or hour!) now, so 'scuse what will be even sporadic-er posts than ever. Deciding between Michael and Evan for his name, votes accepted. Vika wasn't amused by my proposal: Tyler Christian, that way his initials will be T.C. and someday I can tell him they stand for "Thunder Cock".

Um...kids, pretend you didn't read that.

Getting my ass kicked at work, but keeping up and getting the attention of higher elements in the food chain - never a bad ting, mon! Got the second phase of my raise this last paycheck, can you say "trailer trash wins the Powerball" anyone?

Shooting pool tonight. Again. Told Vika if she gives birth before we get to shoot, I'll...do something drastic but relatively acceptable for punishing an innocent pregnant broad. Whatever.

Time to fly, sunshine and blue skies around heah and I don't wanna miss em. Oh yeah, I made a big-ass mistake last week, sent an email to Susan telling her about how "it's finally true Springtime warm around here and all the snow is melted off." True enough, 'cept about 9 hours after I hit the 'send' button on that one, we had 2 full days of blizzard that dropped a foot and a half of snow on the ground (I nit you shot), and temps below freezing. Guess that'll teach me to ask Mother Nature for a lil kiss.

Okay, really outta here. Smoke em if ya got em.

Peace, out
Grandmaster Stephen


April 1, 2006
Just a quick post to say Happy April Fools' Day. I didn't pull any pranks this year, unless you count giving poor Vika the Dutch Oven treatment at 12:01 this morning. I'm sure my boys in Moscow are the epitome of mischief run amok today, wouldn't mind being there with them.

Aaaaaaaand....Happy Major League Baseball Opening Day! Sure do miss it, to the point that I almost completely quit trying to keep up cuz it's just so darn frustrating that I can't catch any games whatsoever over here. Poopies!

Last but not least, good luck to LSU in tonight's Final Four game. Another one I won't get to watch, dadgummit!

Time for me to fly, peace y'all.

Geaux Tigers!
Me


March 29, 2006 - a bit later...

...fresh in from the Department of Eerily Appropriate to Stephen's Life Lately, a coupla definitions:

GUTS:

arriving home late after a night out with the guys, being assaulted by your wife with a broom, and having the guts to ask: "You still cleaning, or are you flying somewhere?"

BALLS: coming home late after a night out with the guys, smelling of perfume and beer, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the ass and saying: "You're next."

I hope this clears up any confusion on the subject.

But We've Got The Biggest Balls Of Them All!
Brian and Angus and The Boys

PS: Thanks to Rodney for that one.


March 29, 2006
I owe a deep and humble apology to every kid I have ever called a geek for their silly medievel-sounding name, an abject plea of forgiveness from everyone I've slapped with a wet towel for interrupting my mid-day tea with their animated talk of "fate according to twelve-sided dice," in fact I bow in humility before every member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (especially the ones I dumped a case of grape Nehi all over back in 1991 when they were practicing below my apartment window and I had just come off of a mid-watch)...for I have finally discovered the joys of Dungeons & Dragons.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, yours truly is now an elf boy, a slayer of dragons, a caster of devious spells, the defender of fair maidens hither and yon. In other words, the Seventh Eftig of Finsterwalde is in da house!

Aw shit and helldamfire, I just ain't convincing you, am I? Truth is, I saw some dork dressed up like one of those SCA twinks on my way in to the office this morning (07:00 fer chrissake!), which gave me a goofy idea I figured I'd try to run with. Unfortunately, I know and care so little about that fantasy crapola that I can't summon the creativity to pull it off.

BTW, I really did dump a coupla bottles of grape soda on some SCA geeks when I was stationed in Germany. Morons were all dressed in chain mail and shit, hollering and clackng their damn wooden swords right under my window at 08:00 when I was just laying down to sleep after working a 12-hour mid-watch. Buncha freakin nerds.

Man I'm so stinking busy with work, dis shit ain't even funny! The magic of repeating in my head ad nauseum "there are no obstacles, only challenges" sure as hell better never wear off, otherwise homey be in a world of shee-it!

Heh, that reminds me of Full Metal Jacket..What is your major malfunction, numbnuts!

Rob mentioned on his site a few posts ago that he was listening to Dead Kennedys, thereby sealing once and for all my eternal loyalty to our friendship. Probably get a shout-out from my daughter as well, soon as she learns enough English. Kid likes the Kennedys too...especially when Papa sings the Reagan version of California Uber Alles Frank Sinatra style the whole way through. I gots cool friends and cool family, y'all!

Oh well, same shit different day gotta run etc. Smoke em if ya got em.

Drink Up - Happy Hour Is Now Enforced By Law!
Tricky Dicky


March 24, 2006

GO GRANNY GO!!!

Just a quick shout to Marica, one of my closest friends since the 8th grade...her daughter-in-law gave birth to a 9lb (frickin OUCH!) baby boy last night. That makes Marica not only a young grandma, but a very HOT one as well. Congrats to proud parents Kristine and DJ as well, I'm sure you two will be great parents.

Busier than...ya know, y'all need to send me some new metaphors, I'm running a bit dry and pretty tired of using the same shit over and over again. Anyway, busting ass at work, got two contract negotiated so now I have to write em up, rather time consuming. Really do love my job, so full of constant challenges, even at its most frustrating. I'm damn lucky, I tells ya!

We're on our own baby countdown too, less than three week. Junior's kicking like crazy, woke me up the other night cuz my arm was apparently infringing on his space, man! Got a 3-D ultrasound video a couple weeks ago, damn cool to see and amazing what technology can do these days. What the hell is a blue tooth?

Just kidding, I know it's what happens when you don't brush the ones in the back well enough.

Okay, enough bullshit, Big Daddy's pulling chocks to go earn his paycheck. Y'all maintain yer brains.

Everything To Everyone,
Big Daddy


March 17, 2006
Happy St Patrick's Day, wish you all the utmost of fun and success faking Irish ancestry and drinking shitty green beer tonight. Was that a bit cynical of me? Sorry, guess I appreciate the Irish holiday as much as the next guy, it's just I get annoyed at all these assholes running around wearing green and pretending they're "from the auld sod, aye!" Hell, I piss more real Irish out the end of Mr Wiggly the morning after a Guinness crawl, and I sure as shit don't need somebody else's holiday to give me an excuse.

Anyway.

Heh heh, y'all fartypantses must be getting spoilt, figuring I have all this time on my hands and shit, three updates in a week. Nope, solly cholly, just taking a break after writing up 5 pages of records for negotiations I didn't participate in. Why they pay me the big bucks and all that yark...

Working in the Chelyabinsk office today instead of at the construction site. Pretty cool, I get up at the same time and leave the house at the same time, but get to work and on the clock 1.5 hours earlier than when I make the commute to the site, for which I am NOT paid. On the other hand, though, kinda hard to get outta the bed when you DON'T have the luxury of sleeping another hour or so on the road. Ibid, "...big bucks..." comment above.

One of the translators loaned me her New Yorker magazine to read at lunch today, first time I've cracked those pages in 10 or so years. Guess I've grown up and perhaps even gotten a bit more sophisticated since then, cuz I actually understood all of that shit, and even found some of it interesting. Doesn't change, however, my opinion that New York is the only place on the planet with more fruits and nuts than California. God bless em or something like it.

Nice hopping-off point for me, back to the grind. Y'all do the usual, as will I...Baltika No. 6 with pork chops tonight.

Lay Lady Lay
Bobbie D.


March 15, 2006
Aiight, let's not commence shittin yer drawers cuz I'm posting twice in one week, I just have a big negotiation in 'bout an hour and figured to relax for it by writing something that ain't work-related for a bit. Good times on the way here in River City, temps are climbing above 32F, Spring is really IS rearing her sexy ass and getting me all hot and bothered. Seriously, 32F and above feels like a heat wave after living through 3 months of below-freezing weather, I nit you shot. Lots of sunshine and blue skies on top of that, guess I'll be doing my evening 3-miler again before too long, instead of downing a couple bottles of Baltika No. 6 to relax!

In other news...Masha! Masha! Masha! Oh, and also...Masha! Holy shitless, that kid is a handful but a good 'un. I come home in the evenings, and assuming she isn't locked in her highchair being fed (and I ain't bullshittin when I say "locked"), she comes running up to the front door with this big mischevious grin on her face, and jumps into my arms. Little fart, gettin Papa all teared up like that. Oh yeah, speaking of fart...whenever she cranks one, she yells "Papa - FART!!!" Her mother is considerably less amused by it than I am....guess if she had a bit o' Texas Johnson blood in her like I do, she'd appreciate the subtle humor to be found in bodily functions.

Masha's also recently gotten into playing hide-n-seek with me, what a hilarious blast that is for both of us. I'll chase her into her hiding place by making a scary vampire face and hissing at her, then I'll go run and hide somewhere and wait for her to give up and come look for me. She always yells (in Russian), "Hey YOU, YOU - where are you?! Come out...I said come OUT!!!" Probably less funny here in writing than hearing it firsthand, but just imagine this little slightly-less-than-three year old and her pipsqueak-ish voice commanding Papa like she means bidness.

Damn I love my kid!

In other other news, gotta give a distinct shoutout to my bro Rob for reminding me that translation geeks have a slightly different sense of humor. I too rememember some of the doozies we came across, as well as a few we created ourselves - wish I still had some of them, they'd be worth posting here. Vika (the translator who, as Rob noted, I turned into a wife) and I once had an especially good time translating biographies of several Moscow government officials...irreverence is SUCH fun!

Okay, I'm all coffee'd up and creative-ish and ready to go cut some heads. Y'all wish me luck and maintain yer brains.

Peace, Out
Zee Papa

March 11, 2006
Really sorry for breaking my promise to post more often! I once thought, quite stupidly as it turns out, that I couldn't possible have any more workload...ha ha freakin HA, are they ever making me earn my new title and raise. Ironically, I'm so damned busy that I've neglected to fill out my timesheet (we do ours on an intra-web system), and had to go in and do an emergency "correction" and almost missed getting paid.

At any rate, here I am, thankfully working on a Saturday in my Chelyabinsk office. Um...about that "thankfully" part, I mean that there aren't 42 construction engineers here to bug me for status updates on their various contract modifications. That means I can get some of my real work done, not to mention piss around just a bit giving you some boring drivel to read. If I had my choice, though, I'd be a damned lottery winner at home eating breakfast and chasing Masha around the house, instead of sitting here bleary-eyed and trying to concoct a coherent sentence for a buck or two.

BTW, thanks Rob, for shaming me into writing.

In other news...Spring is here!!! Yessir, the snowdrifts are a-melting and I'm picking my way through/around puddles of water everywhere. I love mud, really I do. The best news is that skirts are already making their way back up North of the knees in Chelly, gotta' love that warm-weather view!

Had an "incident" a couple weeks ago...got in a lil tiff with the missus, flew outta the house to a pool joint and shot til 4am, knocking back most of a bottle of tequila in the process. Tequila makes me mean. Lived to tell about it, though.

Masha's apparently a late-blooming "terrible two" with a very good command of "No No No No No!" Frustrating at times, funny at others, hope like hell she grows out of it soon. She started a toddlers' playschool yesterday, be interesting to see how her social development goes. Cool kid, even if she is already a card-carrying smartass like her Papa.

Okay, I'm tapped for now. Really gotta start doing this when I'm drunk again, seems much easier.

Who Are You?
Papa's Little Pootstain! (yep, Masha is learning English at a fast clip)


February 18, 2006

Airman Johnson reporting as ordered, SIR!

Herewith my compulsory at-least-one-a-week update. First and foremost, I am no longer Stephen Johnson, Senior Subcontract Administrator...you may now refer to me as Big Daddy Cool Wit Da Party Goin On!!! Seriously, my gig last Saturday went over better than a fart in church, everybody had as much fun as watching paint dry, and I drank so much I skiied home from the restaurant.

Two questions: 1) Who's been pissing on my metaphors? and 2) Did I spell the past-tense form of the verb "to ski" correctly???

Seriously serious this time, the party was an absolute blast. Lots of good food and wine and (for you, Rob) Russky Standart "Platina" vodka, 'bout the only one I can drink without just tossing it past my palate to keep from gagging. Good music, too, and Masha impressed everybody with her little baby dance moves. She kept trying to drag all the guys in my party out on the dance floor, which of course charmed the socks off of everybody. I love doing all that Proud Papa shit, it's TOTALLY good for my soul to witness my incredible little Cookie Monster in action.

Oops, I forgot - herself has informed us she is not Cookie Monster, Big Bird, or Fuzzy Blue Monster (what she calls Grover)...she is now Ernie. One of the bigger treats of last weekend was Vika's and my friend Mike coming all the way from Moscow for the weekend, just to visit lil ol us. Mikey brought an Ernie puppet doll for Masha, the kind with openings in the hands and mouth like a real puppet. Masha was absolutely adorable about the whole thing. Now keep in mind that Masha had been watching the Sesame Street video I brought back from the US for a couple of weeks, so she already knew who most of the characters were, and Ernie was one of her favorites (she likes it when he sings Rubber Ducky).

When Mike first brought Ernie out, he was doing Ernie's voice and making hand movements to go along with it, so here's Masha suddenly seeing one of her favorite Sesame Street characters "in person" in her own kitchen. At first she was kind of shy, even hid under the table, but nonetheless kept peeking out at Ernie, seemed she was utterly convinced that he was real and had come to visit her. After about 20 minutes, she overcame her shyness and started bringing different toys to show to him. Mike was a PERFECT sport about it, too, he kept up the act for over an hour, and of course Masha was engrossed. If you're reading this, Mikey, bless you, you're a great uncle and Masha LOVES you (and so do we, of course!)

The most charming part, though, was the next day when I get home from work to find that Masha has dressed in a striped shirt very similar to Ernie's, jeans, and her red sneakers...and was running around the house carrying her buddy Ernie. Ol sappy-ass did his usual, I probably needn't tell you.

Okay, enough about my perfect daughter. Gotta run, right about quittin time on a Saturday and I'm ready to head home and start tanking up on Baltika No. 6. Y'all enjoy the rest of yer weekends, heah?!

Cookie-Cookie-Cookie Starts With C,
Papa and Masha (in duet last Monday)


February 11, 2006
Don't go getting all spoiled and happy cuz I'm posting twice in a week, I just want to blab a bit about my birthday on Thursday, which compared to last year's fiasco totally kicked ass! Check it:

  • Wake up with no headache, manage to get out of bed and to the shower without tripping on anything or busting my head on the damn door. This happens embarrassingly more often than I should probably admit.


  • Head shaving day, no nicks.


  • Feelin all smooth and too sexy for myself and it's 06:20 and nobody's awake to catch me, so just for shits n grins I tuck my weiner 'twixt my legs and dance in the mirror like the bad guy in Silence of the Lambs.


  • Just kidding.


  • Walk into my weight/dressing room and find a soft case containing a bass guitar leaning against my weight set. Vika has written quotes from some of our favorite U2 and DDT songs all over it, which causes my sappy ass to cry like a little beeyotch. I run in the bedroom and give her kisses and thank-you's.


  • SHIT - my car is already waiting downstairs, no time to bang on the damn guitar, gotta wait til I come home from work.


  • Sleep the entire 1.5-hour ride to the construction site. Nobody farts, snores, burps or talks on their f...king cell phone. Can this day possibly get any better?


  • Yes it can. E-card waiting from Daddy & Susan, telling me they "wish they could celebrate with me." Sappy-ass me barely avoids the waterworks...just wouldn't be cricket at work, now wuddit?!


  • It's tradition here in Russia for the birthday boy/girl to bring in cakes to work, rather than everybody else doing it for them. I've brought in 9 cakes and 6 containers of some little mini-eclairs. I send out my birthday cakes in the kitchen message, and the hawgs are at em within minutes. Nobody passes up free food 'round these here parts.


  • One of my friends gives me a licensed (as opposed to cheap-ass bootleg) Director's Cut DVD set of Master and Margerita (adaptation of the novel by Mikhail Bulgakov). To say I am thrilled is a huge understatement.


  • My girls give me a big-ass bottle of my favorite cologne, Acqua di Gio. I am now a walking pheromone, attracting the chicks like bees to honey, like butterflies to daisies, like hound dogs to a bitch in...um....heat.


  • Damn, that one went south in a hurry, dinnit?!


  • My co-workers file in to congratulate me on my b-day, and I get handshakes from the guys, cool enough, and kisses from the girls - way freakin cool, though I wouldn't have minded being groped a bit more.


  • Still kidding...


  • Busy as hell workday but nothing stressful, followed by another 1.5-hour ride back home with no sleep-disturbing bodily emissions from my car mates. Excited as hell cuz I know I don't have to wash dishes tonight. Ahhhh...the blessings of being easily amused...


  • Get home and Masha greets me at the door with her usual big grin and hugs-n-kisses for Papa. She also tells me "Happy Birthday Papa, I love you!" in Russian.


  • More tears from ol' sappy-ass.


  • The smell of fried potatoes-onions-mushrooms wafts in from the kitchen. I begin salivating like Pavlov's dawgs.


  • Get undressed, put on some comfies, then open up one of the five bottles of Chianti I bought on the way home and pour a round for us, which we sip while I'm cooking pork cutlets with pepper cream sauce (recipe to be posted here in the near future).


  • Dinner, birthday toasts, more food and Chianti, more toasts, more Chianti...beginning to get the picture?


It really was a great birthday, felt warm and loved the entire day. Having a huge-ass party tonight (Saturday) to celebrate both my birthday and my promotion. Still follow that old military tradition of "wetting" my promotion (new rank), and this is gonna be a good one. Back to the birthday thing...I just realized - only one more year til I turn 40, then I can apply for a Grumpy Old Pain In The Ass internship. And on that note...

Insert Typically Asinine But At Least Mildy Amusing Saying Here
Insert Clever Nickname Here


February 7, 2006
Ummm...Happy New Year. I apologize for going longer without an update than ever before, see the one-legged, ass-kicking man metaphor below and multiply it by three. Add also an unbelievable desire to just sit on my ass and thoughtlessly veg any time I DID happen to have time to spare, and you have the reason for my long absence. I'm not any less busy right now, mind you, it's just that the guilt has piled up high enough to spur me to create time I don't really have in order to at least throw a few lines out here.

At any rate, this finds me kicking ass and taking names (metaphors abound, I'm on a roll). Work has been 100% fabulous for me, no sarcasm intended. I'm busy as hell, no bullshit there, but I enjoy my work more and more each day. My enthusiasm has paid off in the sincerest way possible: effective 28 January, I was promoted to Senior Subcontract Administrator. In other worlds, that and a quarter might allow me to buy a cup of McDonalds' coffee to spill in my lap after the drive-thru and sue and retire...etc. Not in my world, though - they gave me an 18% raise to go with the new title!!! It's a stepped raise, 10% now and the other 18 in March, but I'm as far away as bitching about that as a pain-in-the-ass like me can get. As I told my management chain long before I even KNEW I was being considered for promotion, I really and truly enjoy my work, even at its most busy and frustrating, for which I number among a very lucky few. Nice to see they find value in that.

The home front is gliding along smoothly as well. Not sure if I've mentioned here (and no time to look), but Vika and I are expecting a boy. Gonna' be a Mikhail on his Russian birth certificate, Michael on his US docs. Actually, we're in the midst of a slight argument over whether or not we're going to register him at all for Russian citizenship. Military service is still compulsory for males here (THE DRAFT!!!), and the thought of allowing ANY country to send my child to be chewed up and spit out in a bullshit war like Chechnya is not a palatable one. I feel the same way to a large extent about America's recent "foreign excursions", but at least in the US, service is voluntary, and furthermore he still has the choice to choose a military career field other than cannon-fodder. I'm not devaluing or denigrating what our servicemen do, and though I don't agree with all of our recent war efforts, I do see much of the same long-range goals our administration purports are its "true" reasons for waging them. But since I am still a citizen of an as-yet free country, then I would prefer to pass that freedom along, in its entirety, to my child(ren).

Damn, got a bit too close to one of my soapboxes, when all I intended to do was post a few inanities to let you know I'm alive. Oh well, inanities intact and I'm still robbing oxygen from you, so I'm outta here. I'll try to make time for this at least once a week, so check back occasionally.

Badda-Bing!
Big Daddy

PS: Masha informed us that she is no longer Masha, she is the Cookie Monster.


December 24, 2005
Been busier'n a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest at home and at work...notice the date, i.e. Christmas Eve fer chrissakes and I'm in the office. Sooooo....here's another down-and-dirty list of what I be's upta:

  • Still alive and breathing, and most importantly - no longer actively trying to flush my life down the toilet.


  • In fact, things going quite swimmingly between Vika and I.


  • Except for mom-in-law, who seems to hate me. Perhaps I deserve it...


  • Pregnant chicks are sexy as hell. Either that or I really am a card-carrying perv.


  • Found out this past Monday that Number Two's gonna be a boy, lil shit'll prolly pop out with a tattoo on his arm and a cigar in his mouth, little badass son of a Texas-Loozyanna-Floyda-Russia Johnson!


  • Masha is madly in love with her Papa.


  • Papa is madly in love with his Masha.


  • Kid still has great taste in tunes - fond of Metallica, U2, Concrete Blonde, Blackeyed Peas, Dead Kennedys, Green Day, Linkin Park, Incubus, Johnny Cash, Chris Isaak...the kid is a musical polyglot and she can dance her ass off.


  • ...and da-amn, she gots more toys than you can shake a stick at, begging the question "whatchoo gon' do wit all dat junk?!" (Peas fans will get that one)


  • Covering contracts for 4 guys who are out on vacation, hence the aforementioned ass-kicking metaphor. Buried in negotiations for a multi-million dollar construction let. Making waves.


  • ...but damn I could use some rest.


  • Gonna be a white Christmas here, snow's been on the ground permanently for a month now. Temps hovering at or below zero during the day, well below zero at night.


  • For Christmas this year, Vika's getting me a bass guitar and an amp. I'm getting her some perfume, some dangly diamond earrings, and I'm having another tattoo done in her honour. Any excuse for more ink is a good excuse...


  • Got cultural again...went to see a play called Solomeya, the Oscar Wilde version. Director Roman Viktyuk is a bit on the gay-centric side, not everybody's cup of tea I admit, but damn he puts on a good play.


  • Heading to N'awlins to visit the folks last week of January. Been over a year, be good to see them. Not sure how I'm gonna handle being there for the first time without Granny, though.


  • Sniff-sniff-sigh...


  • Still shooting pool and drinking beer whenever I get the chance. Vika's gotten good, kicks my ass soundly about 30% of the time.


  • Masha well on her way to being the same independent smartass her Papa is. To say I'm proud is a doofus understatement...but I envision quite a few parent-teacher conferences in the Johnson Family Future. 'S cool, though, cuz I'd rather clean up that kind of mess than raise a sheep.


Tons o' other bullshit I could probably bore you with, but I need to get to work, got 4 contract mods to write before I can go play Christmas Eve games. We're going to a great Russian restaurant tonight and taking Masha, it's the place where she likes to dance. Good family times, can't wait. We're also giving her half the presents we bought her, the other half she gets on New Years (the Russians celebrate NY the way we celebrate xmas, yada yada yada you've heard me say it before...).

So on that note, I am jolly well outta heah! Y'all have a lovely Christmas tomorrow, enjoy the company of your friends and family, and what the hell - try to preserve that goodwill feeling for the whole year, eh?

Did Somebody Say 'HO'?
The Ubiquitous Me

PS: Rob, happy fookin December, aaiight?!


November 27, 2005
Recipe for bringing back the romance in my married life: get home Saturday, take a nice afternoon nap and even sleep for part of it, wake up and have dinner together while watching your favorite Russian movie "S Legkim Parom" for the hundredth time, sit on the couch and nibble on sunflower seeds while watching the rest of the movie, then fall asleep in each other's arms. Wake up late on Sunday, cook blini (crepes) and have them with the two jars of black caviar you bought yesterday, all the while watching a dvd of your favorite band, DDT, performing the very concert you attended two years ago. Get teary-eyed when they play 'Metel' and 'Ehto Vse' and 'Ocen' and 'Dozhd'. Reminisce about your month-long vacation together in July 2000 when you drove from Washington, DC to Orlando to New Orleans to Chattanooga and back to DC. Remember every time you cried when you had to say goodbye temporarily. Remember how happy your tears were every time you saw each other again.

That's what I'm getting back, the happily dedicated family man I used to be, the man who loathed every second I spent away from Vika. I have a lot of memories to live for and to protect...how beautiful she was and how she took my breath away when she pulled up in the limo the day of our wedding. How magical it felt to walk up Moscow's main street, Tverskaya, in our wedding clothes the night of our wedding, and making love for the first time to my wife a short time later. Sitting outside the delivery room for 3 hours smoking a pack of Camels that I didn't even notice because I was busy listening to her scream while she was having Masha. Standing outside her maternity room sharing a bottle of wine through the window with her. The look on her face whenever I come home from work...pure refuge each and every time.

I'm confident again; confident in myself, in the things I once stood for and now stand again, and most of all in my ability to love my wife the way she deserves to be loved - with complete and utter abandon.

Guess Who's In Da House!
Daddy's Back!


November 24, 2005
Happy Thanksgiving. Appropriately, here are some things for which I'm thankful:

  • My beautiful wife and daughter.
  • Daddy and Susan. Not sure if I know anybody more non-judgemental.
  • The 38.5 years I knew my grannie.
  • Being alive, especially after the last few weeks.
  • My friends: Marica and her entire family, Rob, Alan, Bob, Nathan, Jerry, Anya, Masha, and Daddy & Susan.
  • Vika's seeminly inexhaustible supply of patience, understanding and forgiveness.
  • Having a sense of humor, warped as it is.
  • Olmeca Gold, Captain Morgan Black, Spaten and Guinness, and Chianti. The fact that I keep my booze in the highest kitchen cabinet give me friends in high places.
  • The bright, blue sky outside my office window and the sun reflecting off the snow.

Much more where that came from, but we're about to lose comms to the site so I gotta post now. I'm at work today, flying to Moscow in a couple hours to pick up Vika and bring her back out here. Y'all enjoy your turkey, I'm taking the little woman out for fried veal brains and Georgian red wine tonight. Wish us luck.

Somethin somethin
Big Daddy


November 19, 2005
I've been all dee-pressed and shit the past few weeks, but I'm better now, so I'm gonna indulge myself and cleanse my soul by throwing out a bit o troof at youse: last week I was suicidal. Not that I had a gun in my hand, but I was sure as hell envisioning in no uncertain terms how to put one there and do the deed. Again without going into detail, I came home from my Italy trip to an empty apartment - no Vika, no Masha, most of their shit gone too, nothing but a big goddamn empty hole. Kinda drove home the cost of my stupid-ass indiscretions.

Gee, what a dipshit understatement..."indiscretions." Nothing like a cutesie goddamn little euphemism to pour syrup on the fact that I was an utter card-carrying prickasaurus to my sweet, innocent, beautifully pregnant-with-our-second-child wife. But I digress slightly.

So I make it through that first Sunday alone, walking around feeling like I was dealing with another death in the family. There were some of Masha's toys strewn around the apartment, and as I went about picking them up to put them in a box to ship to Vika in Moscow, it really did feel as if I were gathering up the belongings of my deceased child. Couldn't shake that feeling, no matter how hard I tried. The fact that I was the one who fucked it all up in the first place made it that much worse.

So along comes Monday, horribly busy workday because as usual nobody covers my shit for me while I'm gone the way I do for them. Following the shitball workday comes an even worse evening - I get home from work and am turning the key in the doorlock when I notice with painful clarity the absence of the sound of little feet beating up to the other side of the door to the tune of a voice screaming "Papa Papa Papa." I break down. Then I get the door open and break down some more inside that fucking black hole. Stumble through getting undressed, can't see for shit cuz I'm hysterically crying. Later, still more toys to pick up, so yes I break down some more. These ain't no cathartic tears, either, these sumbitches drip like shards of glass from my eyes and tear trenches out of my soul. And no, I ain't being all literary and shit, that's how it felt.

Then I drag myself tiredly through Tuesday, spend the ride home from work dreading the next turn of the key in that door. The key turns, my heart breaks into those little cracker crumbs that will fit through the crossed wire of the finest flour sifter, and I start thinking about which is the best Chelyabinsk-Moscow-New York-Atlanta-New Orleans flight schedule that'll get me back home so I can off myself next to Grannie's pond with a bottle of tequila in one hand, JJ's .38 S&W in the other, and a more-than-likely-shitty explanatory note to Masha in a ziploc bag so it won't get bloodstains on it. I piss around the apartment that evening, no idea what I did cuz it's all a blur, then fall asleep for the only 5 hours of refuge I can possess so far.

Wednesday, same shit different day. I call Vika that evening and tell her how I feel, that life has boiled down for me to two choices: she and Masha or nothingness followed by my ride to hell. Honestly not trying to emotionally blackmail her, I'm dead ass serious about this and just want her to understand the stakes I've finally figured out for myself. I beg for a tiny thread of hope, it's all I need. She isn't sure. Neither am I, in nothing at all other than the clarity of vision for my final bang-up.

Thursday, and I am completely out of touch with the awake world all day, even now I'm not sure how I got through that day, had to have been on one hell of a friggin autopilot. But I make it through to the evening, and that's when I make my way back to the surface and take that desperately thankful gasp of breath - Vika tells me in no uncertain terms that she doesn't want to walk away from us, she wants us to make it work again.

To say I am happy would be an inane understatement. To say I am recalcitrant would be another - I feel I am so unworthy of such a woman as Vika that I am willing to do anything and everything it takes to keep her and keep her happy. She's my number one, and I am committed to becoming a winner again. Very few people get second chances, even fewer get thirds, and I'm the only dumbass I know of who's on number four. I fuck this one up, all bets are off and I know it, so yours truly has just become a choirboy.

Them: What'd you do this weekend, Stephen?
Me: Stayed home and read my bible and drank mineral water.

Okay, let's have an abrupt change of subject, got another good fart joke that ain't really a joke. Check it, I'm sitting at my desk yesterday after a lunch of homemade spaghetti. Now I'm not sure what I put into my sauce to make this happen, but I've got gas to beat the band. I sit in an isolated-enough corner of the office that I feel pretty safe crankin em out without having to worry about killing a neighbor. So I do. That is, I let one that lingers for 5 minutes, the kind that saturates the cloth of my coaster chair and stays for dinner. Then I let another, same type. Fifteen seconds later, the office maid walks in to empty our waste can, and mine happens to sit on the floor right behind my chair, ergo in way-too-friggin-close proximity to my smelly gaseous ass. The frogs have a term 'savoir faire', I think it pretty much means grace under pressure, but I'm not sure which of us had more of it - me for pretending I hadn't just practically shit my pants or the maid for pretending she hadn't noticed. Poor old broad.

Rob will tell me I'm being scatalogical again. I don't mind, though, I already looked it up in the dictionary. And on that note...

He Who Breaks The Law Must Go Back To The House Of Pain!
Dr. Moreau

PS: Yes, you read correctly, we're expecting Number Two, due mid-April. No idea yet if we're having a Mikhail or a Sophia, we should find out when Vika has her next ultrasound in a couple of weeks. Watch this space for some more giddy-ass proud Papa bullshit from me, second verse same as the first!


November 15, 2005
Sorry for not writing in so long, but I?ve been studiously engaged in fucking up my life and must say the results I have achieved are nothing short of astounding. The past two months have been torturous for me at times, breathtaking at others, but overall layered with a sheen of filth that I myself created. It is only by the grace of a woman much smarter and insightful than myself that I am even alive to write this.

I have wronged Vika, so badly that I deserve to have my ass kicked. In fact, let this be my appeal to whomever of you just needs a good target on a bad day ? next time you lay eyeballs on me, just kick me square in the nuts. I will thank you for it, though it frankly won?t even come close to my just desserts. I don?t want to go into any more detail, I?ve humiliated her enough as it is. I suppose you can read between the lines well enough on that, so ?nuff said.

Now on to the silver lining, the grace that has seen fit to remain in my life ? my incredibly beautiful wife, my love, my angel, my Vika. She is working to forgive me and to help me fix what I?ve broken. She and Masha are in Moscow right now, they fled nearly 2 weeks ago; I?m in Chelyabinsk, still working on the construction site 6 days a week. Vika?s coming back out on Friday the 25th or thereabout to spend a week wherein it will be just the two of us. We?re gonna work on getting back that red-hot couple we used to be. Then a week or so later, she?ll come back out with Masha, and I?m gonna work on being the father and family man I used to be.

You see, I look back about a year and a half ago and remember the person I was then, I remember comments my friends used to make about how much they admired me for the way I put my family first. My boys always get together on Fridays for drinks, and more often than not I would tell them ?Sorry, I?d love to join you but I?ve got to get home to my girls.? And I FELT it, I felt this sense of urgency to rush home and be in the embrace of my wife and daughter. I felt really good about myself back then, I felt like I was a part of something more important than myself. I want that person back, I HAVE to become that family man again or I will quite literally die.

So that?s what I?m up to now, what I?m up against. I have a lot of wrongs to right, a lot of work to do in order to get back what I hope is the real me. Not sure when I'll write again, but in the meantime, y'all wish me luck.

Humbly Yours,
Stephen


October 26, 2005

    

My grannie is gone. I have no regrets because she lived a long time and did a lot of things in her life. The most important thing she did for me was to love me unequivocally, and believe me when I say I never doubted it. Everybody should have at least one person in their life who always loves them and thinks they walk on water, no matter how badly they screw up. I've tried in just about every way possible to turn my life to shit at one time or another, stepped on no small number of toes in the process, but through it all my grannie was always there with her non-judgemental love. About the strongest reproach I ever heard from her was a semi-laughing "oh the things you kids get into!" For that, I am lucky.

Some things I remember about her:

  • How proud she was of Masha and how much she loved Vika


  • Fishing in the pond, and how proud she was the time I caught two 4-pound bass in a row on a purple jelly worm


  • Spending the night and falling asleep to the sound of bullfrogs croaking


  • Being scared shitless when the frogs stopped croaking cuz it meant something big was pissing around out there


  • Wading through her front yard during the spring floods of 1983, pushing a floating freezer onto a flatbed trailer


  • Pancakes, fried catfish, fried chicken, hush puppies, green beans and taters, peach & blackberry cobbler with homemade ice cream, corn on the cob, squash, butter beans...the list of homegrown and home-cooked food is endless


  • Trips to Winn Dixie grocery store so she could show Jason and me off to her friends


  • Vicks vapor rub in the humidifier when Jason or I got sick


  • Puzzles on the coffee table


  • Opening presents on Christmas Eve at her house


  • Climbing on the haybales in the barn


  • Digging up taters and carrots and picking okra and corn in the garden, and carrying around a salt shaker to sprinkle on any baby ears we found


  • She honest-to-goodness insisted on making us change our underwear and wash our faces just to drive to the post box, cuz "no ambulance driver would pick us up if we got in a wreck with dirty drawers!"


  • Having an entirely separate circle of friends by going to her church for Sunday school and worship services, then softball and frisbee and barbecue afterwards


  • How happy she was when I came back from Germany a couple weeks early and surprised her


  • Climbing the tree and playing on the tire swing next to her house. Oughta' be a cliche, almost


  • Getting thrown off the pony she and my pawpaw bought me for my birthday one year


  • Slinging haybales and picking up pecans in the old grove


  • Sitting at her kitchen table listening to 'Eddard' tell yarns


  • Catching snakes and turtles and minnows around the pond


  • Collecting chicken eggs all over the damn place


  • Rummaging through all the old stuff she had in the house, looking for pawpaws old army stuff


  • The way she drove me NUTS when she drove a car - pumping the accelerator up and down til it felt like your neck was going to break


  • Jason and I playing with all the Tonka trucks she bought him for birthdays and Christmas's


  • The time she tricked me into trying mountain oysters, then finding out they're pretty damned tasty


  • The way she could sometimes talk without seeming to take a breath


  • Her simple but unwavering belief in God


  • Watching her up in the choir on Sundays


  • How many times I heard "This is my grandson, he lives in Russia!"


  • Her banging on the door at 06:00 so she could see her grandbabies


  • Staying with her for a month once when my mom went in the hospital


  • Plum and peach preserves in Mason jars for Christmas presents


  • The only cusswords I ever heard her say were "shit" and "dammit" and they were usually because PawPaw had pissed her off enough to say em


  • How much she always liked to go to Picadilly


  • Chasing the cats around her house


  • Collecting freshwater mussel shells from her pond


  • Going with her to visit Miss Addie or Miss Harris


  • Bowing my head for grace before meals at her table


  • Shooting guns in the back of her property


  • Cow poop squishing between our toes cuz we played barefoot all the time at her place


  • Getting chased by that mean-ass rooster in the back yard


  • Going to TG&Y (Wal Mart's ancestor) and getting a dime to buy anything we wanted, and actually being able to buy something with it


  • She taught me to cook scrambled eggs


  • The time she caught Jason and me playing with matches under the back porch, man she whipped our asses for that!


  • Picking blackberries from the vines along the 3/4-mile driveway to the main road


  • She always had Sears and JC Penny catalogues to browse through, of course with tons of toys


  • She never ever EVER missed a birthday or anniversary!


  • Feeling like a big boy because she let me mow the lawn with the riding mower


  • Sitting on the big swing under the tree shelling beans

  • ...and best of all

  • She knew I loved her too.


Needless to say, I'm gonna miss her, but I can at least say I'm happy that I got to enjoy a storybook grandmother in real life. She was a source of peace, a haven for my brother and I when we were kids. I'd give anything to hear her say one more time "I declare!" or "My bladder's flarin up!" or "Tell Granny!" On the other hand, there isn't a doubt in my mind that she's with her God and he's letting her know he's mighty pleased with her.

Gotta go run to the bathroom for another cry, so y'all take er easy. Hopefully this dude can abide...

Goodbye, Granny - I love you!
Your grandson


October 3, 2005
Busy as always, but just gotta tell you something that happened to me on Saturday when I was in the office to work on my 'potent bidness. Ladies, you may leave the room now, cuz I am about to tell something that will be funny only to the guys. Well, only to the knuckle-dragging guys. Okay, probably funny only to my dad, who appreciates sick, coarse humor and whose apple has most certainly not fallen far from the tree.

So anyway, I'm sitting at my desk Sat'dy morning, enjoying my second cup of coffee while I deleted all my spam emails from overnight, when I was interrupted by my nine o'clock sneeze. I sneeze so hard, in fact, that I involuntarily fart (involuntarily, i.e. as opposed to my usual no-holds-barred let em rip approach to personal methane control). Now this ain't no rooster toot, no girlish poot, no sissy-ass little "hee hee, scuse me I let a smell-ee" kinda grinder...hell no, this is a 100% manly rip-ass rambling smokey-Joe chiliburger yanker cranker of a bullfrog's mating call. In fact, it's SO damned hard that yours truly be thinkin he mighta just shit hisself.

Now being the true son of a swingin-dingle Texas Johnson all the way down to my mitochondria, I find things a la farts and shit pretty damn funny, even when one of them is potentially dribbling down my leg. So even in the grip of panic at the prospect of soon finding a squishy pantload, I am nonetheless laughing at what amounts to a fart joke at my own expense. I get up from my desk, gingerly so because, remember, I am 2 hours from the nearest pair of clean underwear in my size. I continue gingerly down the hall, even more gingerly (sorry, the word just seems perfect for the prancy-ass way I had to mince my way to the can) down the stairs, then up another hall to the shitter, still giggling like a girls' slumber party, then lo and behold I drop trou and find....drum roll please...

...absolutely nothing. Certain truckstop stall graffiti ending in "...came to shit but only farted..." comes to mind, spurring me to laugh even harder. I mumble a half-assed prayer of gratitude to my personal god Magumba for keeping my drawers skidmark-less, and head back to my desk to do more 'potent bidness stuff.

Ladies, you can come back now, I was just telling the boys about the lovely dinner party I enjoyed last night with Vika and the baby, and how the little tyke was the picture of grace and charm and dancing ability, and how I drank my tea in little sips with my pinky finger sticking out nice and proper.

Okay, gotta work some mo. Y'all do the usual and I'll do my usual. My new sane usual, that is, instead of the old version that would find me waking up tomorrow morning in a pool of my own vomit.

Who Let The Frogs Out!
My Flapping Keister


September 30, 2005
Last day of the month, been busier'n some appropriate metaphor can convey. Howzabout I do one of those short list thingies, eh?

  • Work going great, but really and truly busy - am now managing $25,403,798.00 in construction subcontracts. Not bad for a skinny white kid from Loozyanna.

  • Vika and Masha seem to be well settled in. Baby loves her papa. She's starting to speak more and more English.

  • Chelyabinsk has several family-friendly restaurants and entertainment complexes, most with supervised children's play areas. Mama and Papa been known to actually get in five or six uninterrupted bites of still-hot food. Life's little pleasures.

  • Weather here's been remarkable...should have dropped to deadass winter already, but Indian Summer lasting an extra few weeks thus far.

  • Oh yeah, Masha loves to dance, major chick magnet action when she and I are on the dance floor, seems the ladies over here like seeing a papa paying attention to his little girl. Life's little thrills.

  • I've somehow made it onto Russian-language spam email lists. Luckily, no nude pictures. Yet.

  • Going to Florence, Italy the first week of November for R&R. Much needed R&R, that is. What I used to call not "Leave" but "Leave Me The Hell Alone" when I was in the military.

  • Found a restaurant in Chelyabinsk that serves REAL German Spaten beer, not the locally-produced-under-license shit that tastes like...well, SHIT!

  • I still like tequila but I ain't drinking as much of it. In fact, my weekday meal beverage consists of only Baltika Number Zero, their non-alcoholic beer and a pretty damned tasty one at that. Weekends are either Chianti or real beer.

  • I'm still bald but still don't need Viagra. Life's little victories.

And on that note, I shall duly piss off outta here. Y'all have a great weekend, I'm working tomorrow on a big contract modification. 'Portant shit, mang!

Life Is Too Short, So Love The One Ya Got!
Me-oh


September 7, 2005
Hey all you fartypantses! I'm in Moscow for a couple of days to work, then I'm flying back to Chelyabinsk on Friday and dragging my girls with me. Saw them yesterday for the first time in a month, Masha is growing like a dang weed. 'Twas quite cool the way she came running up to me after she first spotted me, then wouldn't let me go. She took me to the playground and showed me all her tricks on the monkeybars, damn kid is as bold as they come. Papa's Buddy. Cool Baby.

Got an email from my folks earlier telling me the juice is back on where they live, which means the a/c is back on and they can replenish all the shit they lost from the freezer and fridge. I kinda' envy them that trip, grocery shopping is something I actually quite enjoy. Can't say I envy them the vig on that one, though...they lost a lot of stuff. Again, I count their/our blessing that this was the extent of their "suffering", looks like my beloved N'Awlins and its citizens are pretty much off the map. I threw some dollars to a couple of websites, but damn if it doesn't feel like they were but drops in the bucket. Money simply can't replace the faith and spirit a lot of these people have lost, and I admire any of them who is still able to walk with their head up. My prayers, or what passes for them, are with every one of them.

Okay, mundane change of subject. Moscow is in its first week of Indian Summer, called "Grannie's Summer" by the Russians. What this means is that in another week, the temps are going to drop down around 45oF and it's going to get windy & rainy, and we're going to start feeling that winter is tapping on our shoulders. That's the time I start gearing up to make pots of seafood gumbo, red beans & rice, chicken & dumplings, JJ's quick jambalaya recipe...basically all that good, warm, winter comfort food that tastes progressively better each time you reheat it. Of course, it all makes you progressively fatter...

Okay, time for me to pull chocks for the day. More later, stay tuned...

Papa Watch This!
Masha the Daredevil


September 2, 2005
Looks like I'm back in the saddle again. I don't want to go into the detail of my myriad screwups in the recent past; many of you know enough already, the rest of you will find out in person later. The bottom line is that next Friday, Vika and the baby are finally moving out here to Chelyabinsk and we're going to be a real family again. I am happy, excited, and must admit also somewhat nervous; I've been a bachelor for three straight months, more than long enough to pick up a few different habits and do the ubiquitous manly 'get set in my ways' thing. Guess I'll have to learn to say "yes, dear" again. 'Twill be much worth it, though, to have my daughter raising hell in the house again.

Sure sad to read all the news about New Orleans. Not much else I can say about it that hasn't been said already. I am very lucky - my parents live about an hour from N'awlins proper, so they made it through the actual storm just fine, not to mention being spared the horror going on there now. Don't mean to be flippant, but had to laugh a bit...talked to Susan this morning (10:00pm in Louisiana, that is), she said they're burning up due to August in Louisiana with no a/c, so all the windows are wide open and Daddy is sleeping on the couch with his .38 clutched firmly in his hand. I can just see him, though I gotta admit I'd be doing the same damn thing.

If any of you are inclined to be charitable, please check out my friend Rob's joint, he has a bunch of links to sites/ways you can help the New Orleans victims. Also, check out The Baton Rouge Advocate web newspaper listing, it has many as well. I'm going to send a few buckarooskis myself, so y'all get on the bandwagon,wouldja'?

Cool weekend for the folks who can manage it...my fellow classmates from West Orange High School class of '85 are getting together in Winter Garden, Florida for their(our) 20-year reunion. Hard to believe it's been that long. Wish I could be there, but duty binds me here. Hope to see the DVD of the slide show they're putting on.

Well, it's quitting time so I'm outta here. Y'all have a good weekend. I've cut back on my drinking, so will most likely entertain myself with some pool and sparkling water. The life of a fallen Rock and Roll hero and all that.

Kumbaya
Me and my liver


August 24, 2005
Just a quick post to say I want y'all to quit worrying. I'm working hard to get this all figured out and stowed before my liver and sanity give out, and I think I can win.

Gotta tell you, though, it's great to see how many of you really do give a shit. Puts tears in my eyes, was even embarrassed at work today. JJ (of course), Marica, Bob, Rob, my two Heathers (holy shit, who do I love more?!), Suki, Alan, Masha K. and a host of others wrote to ask if I'm okay and offer whatever assistance they can. I think all of you kick ass, I love every damn one of you. Weeellll...maybe I shouldn't love Rob, wouldn't do to have him thinking I'm some faggot commie sympathizer or some shit. But seriously, it warms my heart to know the people I've long considered friends are stepping up to the plate when I need 'em the most. Just knowing you remember me and think enough of me to press a few extra keystrokes is a large part of why I believe I'm gonna make it through this bullshit.

Thassall kiddies, I've said the most important shite to be said. Last words of advice: hang onto your friends, don't ever let 'em go, you'll need 'em someday I gar-on-tee.

Hi My Name Is Stephen And I'm Feeling Better Now
Um...Stephen...That's The Ticket!

PS: Rob, hope you're feeling better, sorry I was too farked up to say it sooner.


August 19, 2005
After midnight in Chelyabinsk and I'm firmly esconced in the warmth of my new endeavour...drinking myself to oblivion. Many of you will have no trouble believing me when I say I've really fucked things up again. I ain't going into detail cuz it ain't yet everybody's business, tho I guess a few of you know....full circle...and I ain't surprised.

You know what? This self destruction gig ain't half bad when you do it right. Most nights I ain't drinking alone, I'm sitting down at that Tex Mex place I told you about with a few other tequila lovers, listening to a pretty fucking good bluegrass band slap out tunes I remember from childhood. It gets a bit tough occasionally, since quite a few of those songs remind me of my mom and the better memories I still hang on to of her.

That was one of those maudlin moments. Sorry. Fuck that noise.

So wear were we? Oh yeah, I was describing my new prediliction for coasting thru my downward spriral. Right now I'm doing the other thing, which is to continue working my way through a pretty big fucking bottle of Olmeca Gold. Tasty shit, that is, not sure why I didn't get started on this gig a lot earlier, seeing as how I've had the fuckup gene in me from the git-go. Not sure where it came from, since both my parents more or less had/have their shit squared away. Maybe it's the rejection thing...been afraid of being alone for a long time, so any time I start feeling like somebody's gonna leave me that way I lash out and try to hurt them first. First strike doctrine or some other military MAD bullshit. Yeah, whatever.

It's all just excuses, I do understand that now. Excuses for me to indulge myself in whatever I feel like without taking any blame. Except I already blame myself for everything anyway, whether I manage to fuck things up or not. Shit, i'm on that maudlin train again.

Asshole. Need to cut out that bullshit. Enjoy this drunken ass ride. I'm all warm. Teguila makes you very warm. It's kinda spicy too, I can taste what I guess cactus tastes like. Warm. Makes me feel like I'm on a dusty dirt road in an old chevy pickup with a couple bales of gold in the back outrunning the cops and throwing the empty bottle out the window with one hand and clutching the weel with the other. Yeah the pirate life. My uncles used to be pireates, baddest mothers I ever new. Goergia Jim and Uncle jAmes. My dad ran with James for a while, he was abad ass too. Proud to be son.

Okya getting harder to type with two hands. so I quit it. Yeah. Hey email me if you give a shit. If you dont then that's cool, too. We understand. It ain'tn all fun and games.

Will You Plant Dead Flowers On My Grave?
The Demon


July 25, 2005
I have decided to take a sabbatical, so this will be my last post for a while. I am too busy most of the time at work to even think about posting something. Worse, I just have too many sad things going on in my personal life, all of them my own damn fault, so more often than not whatever I start to write ends up being some weepy, self-pitying maudlin shit. Y'all deserve better than that. Hell, I deserve better than that. Anyway, feel free to check back occasionally, maybe free time and the whim to post will collide a few times and I'll throw something out halfway literate and nominally worth reading.

Kurt Cobain said it best: Oh well, whatever...nevermind.


July 13, 2005

I am Jack's abject sense of failure...

Back in Chelyabinsk for a coupla days, don't ask. Heading out to Warsaw tomorrow for visa renewal, via Moscow of course. Already got a lunch engagement set up with my friends, looking forward to seeing them again, hell it's been 3 months, long time away from some of the best friends I've ever known. I'm sure "lunch" tomorrow will last well into the morning on Thursday, so wish me luck making it to my flight, my boys know how to hammer.

Speaking of people I respect and value as friends, Rob has been damn near the single source of my laughter recently, not to mention as fine a source of accurate and well-balanced wine reviewing as any Mobile Four-Star Guide could ever produce. I've never had a Nighthawk dinner, Rob, but I can say that Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill goes absolutely GREAT with the Swanson's Salisbury Steak dinner, the one with the peas-n-carrots and tater tots. It also goes great with tuna sammitches and Ramen noodles. Scrambled eggs. Cold leftover pizza. Yummy, all that makes me want to wa

ohmygod, you oughta see the hot little blonde with the horizontal chest walking across the courtyard right now!!! 'scuze please, need to grab my binoculars...ah screw that, lemme pop the 200mm on the Nikon ...homegirl's worth saving for later. [...pauses to adjust suddenly uncomfortable shorts...]

Where was I? Oh yeah, talking about Rob's recent posting style.

Seriously speaking, though I have enjoyed Rob's political commentary as much as I did when we were in the military sitting around debating with Jim and Bob and Chris and Chester and Chief Martin, I must say the Rob I'm reading most recently is the one I remember the best from those days, a really cool, funny, witty smartass Navy guy with a twisted sense of humor. We really had a great mix of guys back then, all of us leaned a bit toward the warped humor side. We'd all take the piss out of each other regularly and nobody would get offended, and you could always count on one of us to make a perfectly inappropriate joke at the right moment. Especially Chief Martin, what a guy...

Anyway, Rob, glad you're enjoying your break from politics, cuz I sure as hell am. Keep it coming, I need that stuff a bit more these days. And try that Boone's Farm. Don't bother with any Mad Dog, that crap's too expensive for downhome boys like us.

Hubba hubba, the blond honey is back. I'm off to the bathroom now for a bit o' the ol' TLC, y'all entertain yourselves yourselves. Be back on Thursday...got a little scheme planned for a twist on my usual post.

Stole A Thousand Beggars' Change And Gave It To The Rich
Your Robin Hood


July 7, 2005
Hellaciously busy week, been too busy to piss around with the site, sorry 'bout that. Will be out of pocket from tomorrow until at least next Friday...flying down to Anapa to spend the girls' last week there with them, then we all head back to Moscow on Thursday, and on Friday I fly to Warsaw for visa renewal. Looking forward to seeing everybody, seems I hardly know em anymore. This is the last time Papa lets this bullshit happen, I tells ya.

Busting ass at work, same old same old, lotsa job satisfaction, picking up tons of cool experience, using my Russian on a constant basis to include contract negotiations in Russian, and best of all getting paid for it. Almost as good a feeling I had as my last 6 years in the Air Force when I was working as a "real" interpreter. Woulda' stayed in for the full 20 if they'da let me keep doing what I was doing...water under the bridge and all that.

In other news...I am Jack's free cab ride to the Salvation Army. I have discovered that I actually like the taste of tequila. Last weekend I went to La Cucaracha, a pretty passable Tex-Mex joint in Chelyabinsk, which has a Tequila Girl. Yeah she's hot, and yeah I ordered my first round so she could lick my hand and pour the salt on it...but after that it was all downhill. Hey, someday y'all can say you knew me at the top of my downhill slide into alcoholism and rehab centers. Just kidding, I don't envision myself getting out of control, but damn, that shit's delicious!

Anyhoo, y'all have fun, I'll be back in a week unless I find (and actually decide to use) an internet cafe. Not likely, since the beach is a block or two away from where I'll be staying down there.

Open To Falling From Grace
Satan Himself


June 29, 2005
...short on words, long on things to say...

A bit after midnight, gotta get up in about 4 hours to shower-shave-shit and git in the car for the ride out to the construction site. Don't feel like sleeping, got that middle of the summer feeling where it's still somewhat light outside and I'm still ready to get busy. Yeah, right in my pocket. Feeling all bloated and meaningful, or is that what I really mean? Not drunk, high on life and all that hippy horseshit. Okay yeah I have a Baltika #4 down the hatch but I'm just cruising and bored-ish.

Meaningful pause.

Had dinner tonight at a restaurant called Titanik. Pretty good place, all decorated in nautical ship disaster theme. Well maybe not the disaster part, but all them damn pictures of Leo Caprio and Kate barking at you everywhere, kinda hard to forget they all croaked in the end. Disaster. Anyway the food. The food was good, Brazilian cuisine. I had a shrimp and avocado salad that was the closest to real cevische that I've gotten over here, absolutely divine. I was tempted to cancel the rest of my order and tell em to just keep bringing more salads. But no gotta have my meat for dinner. The meat was a ribeye done "with blood" (how they say rare, Rob knows what I mean) and it was deelish, particularly since they didn't burn the shit outta the poor thing. I also ordered a side dish, which on the menu just said potato with bacon and cheese, but which turned out to be frickin tasty twice-bakers. Yummy.

What else can I flap my gob about? Oh yeah, JJ said he turned on to the Baltika #9 I sent him for Papa's day, said he got tuned right in post haste. Glad you liked it, Daddy, and I promise I'll bring some with me next time I come home for a visit.

Shit on a stick, just writing that last sentence makes me homesick. Somebody send me an email and sing me some Kristofferson or Hank Sr. and tell me it's all gonna be all right. Sniff.

Well the locals are howling at the moon outside, so I better go down and square the little shits away so I can get some fake sleep. Oh yeah, I negotiated a 78% price reduction on some pretty critical work on my project this past week, my moon is rising or some other positive astrological bullshit.

I'm history. Y'all do the same old same old. Or not, if you've got the substances to abuse.

Everybody Knows That You Love Me Baby...
Aw Fook It

PS: No idea, just thought it'd be fun to write 'PS' and tease you. Sucker.


June 25, 2005
Short post, not much seems appropriate to the utterly horrible news I got yesterday: one of my close circle of friends in Moscow and a regular drinking buddy, Bill, and his wife, Julia lost their newborn baby girl, Sofia. I don't want to go into the details, just want all you believers out there to pray for Sofia's soul, and pray for my friend and his wife and otherwise keep them in your thoughts as they endure what must be the most painful of personal hells.


June 24, 2005

Politics Shmolitics!!!

My buddy Rob has decided to give politics a rest and concentrate on drinking more and exploring less frustrating shit. I say good on ya, brothah - we gots more than enough in our lives to piss us off as it is! I'm glad to see Rob hasn't given up the ghost on his site...in fact on the contrary - he is posting quite voluminously, and on much more interesting subjects (to me). Glad to see you staying around, Rob baby. When you get a chance, try out a Shiraz by either Yellowtail (cheap) or Rosemount Estate (not so cheap) with grapes, kiwi, and some good ol stinky Gorgonzola. And a good ol stinky Cohiba. I'll look for your "thank you" email, though if I know you well enough it'll be more along the lines of "been there done that, flyboy!"

Dang, is it really true, is this month almost over? Holy crow, we're on the downhill slope toward xmas, the first ads oughta be coming on tv pretty soon, no? Before ya know it, I'll be back to constantly bitching about being cold and eating snotsicles for breakfast! In other time-related news...just a couple more weeks til I see my little munchkin, can't wait for that. Missing the hell out of her, though by now that's become such a redundant statement.

Yeah, I'll shut my piehole about that one, thank you very much. Not.

Sorry I haven't posted any pictures of her as I promised, just not so easy since I now put in 12-hour, 6-day workweeks. My evening priorities are working out, cooking and eating dinner, putting together my lunch for the next day, then hitting the sack and hopefully getting 5-6 hours of shuteye. Sundays are my only day off, and as long as the weather is halfway decent, the last thing I'm inclined to do is park my ass at a computer, be it at home or traipsing to an internet cafe with broadband. Be patient, though, I'll get something up eventually.

Some good news...my Granny is going into a nursing home and she's actually excited about it. My pops has been taking care of her full time for about 4 years now, and the last 6 months have worn him down pretty hard, to the point that I was more worried about him than about her. Turns out they found a really good place with all the bells and whistles: whirlpool, bingo, quilting bees, socials, church...you know, all the usual sexy senior citizen shit. Best of all, Granny knows about half the folks in there already, so she'll have plenty of social life to keep her busy. She's quite the social butterfly anyway, just been held back by her growing immobility. I'm glad to see everything working out for all parties concerned. Oh yeah - thanks again for those of you who sent me words of support a few months ago when things were considerably grimmer.

Anybody got any good movie suggestions? I'm too damned busy over here to pay attention to new shit coming out in the states, much less read any reviews. Check it, I'm standing at a DVD kiosk over here yesterday (you can get pirate copies of most first-run stuff for about 150 rooby-doobys, $5.25 in bucksi) and realize I know about jack shit from the titles I see. I'm not overly particular...like comedies (no Adam Sandler though, puh-leez!), dramas if they ain't too chicky, war movies as long as they ain't too cheesy, and can even tolerate the occasional mindless action flick. Anything but horror films, all the good ones have already been made. Anyway, throw me some bones, wouldja?

And yeah, I like porno, too, but I probably got that angle covered already, unless you have some funny titles that'll give me a sick larf, a la Edward Penishands or The Bitches of Madison County.

I'd say thaaaaaat's a good note to pull chocks. Y'all do...whatever the hell makes you dance and blows your skirt up and curls your toes and makes you go "harder harder harder." Guess I kinda set the bar a bit high on that one, no?

Give It To Me Baby!
Uh-huh, Uh-huh


June 20, 2005
What a stinking pant-load...my family forgot Father's Day! At least Daddy & Susan remembered to say it. Now I ain't one to niggle over chump change, most holidays are pretty much throwaways to me, but Father's Day...well let's just say I waited a long damn time to be eligible to celebrate that one, and I'm pretty friggin proud of the fact that I'm a Dad. 'Twould be nice to be recognized in my own family for it. And yes, I know Masha is too young to know or care, but Vika...

Awright Stephen, shut the f..k up before you end up going off on one of those shit-slingin rants of yours.

Gee, that sure was easy, just flip the switch and I'm over it. Yeah right.

Shitball weather in these here parts today, nothing but grey skies and drizzling rain and wind. Feels like one of those autumn days I hate so much, that aura of impending death and doom and gloom. Yep, one of those days you just want to put on some Cure and paint your fingernails black and curl up on the couch with a bottle of something that'll make you warm and blurry.

This is some half-ass rant, ain't it?

Why'd I even bother? Somebody email me with some reasons to give a shit, seems I'm fresh out of 'em. I have ceased to matter. Cool, that makes me anti-matter.

Poetry In Motion
T.Dolby


June 18, 2005
I ain't believing this shit...I'm actually caught up at work. Granted, I have four more outstanding proposals to evaluate and negotiate, but for now that's on hold until our estimators run their check estimate on all of them. I just pushed a couple of contract modifications out the door yesterday, both of which I've been working on (mostly negotiations) since January. Heady stuff, always a pleasure when a lot of hard work pays off with results. Damn do I ever love my job, and they really pay me for this!

Yeppers, it's a Sat'dy and Big Daddy is sitting at work busting ass as usual. Just got the last of several urgent letters knocked out, plus finally finished my taxes and sent the info off to my accountant, so now I'm mostly on easy street...just a few small contract reviews to do until the end of the day. Sigh.

Hey, congratulations to a very good friend of mine in Moscow, who just proposed to his girlfriend and she accepted. Good on ya, my brother.

Squirrelly weathah ovah heah...I get all hot and bothered on the ride home thinking I'll be able to put in a few miles of roadwork, then get to the house and it's drizzling rain. Still hitting the weights, though, and check this out...I bought a pair of "Stephen has become a fatass" jeans back in December, the suckers were 2 sizes larger than my usual and still somewhat snug, but hey, I was being optimistic. Well my optimism and exercise have paid off; I put them on the other day and they fell down my hips! I looked like a gangsa rapper, I swear. Way cool and motivating as hell.

Not much else to report. I'll toast my Papa-ness for real tomorrow, since I'm out here alone with nobody else to do it. Whine. Bitch. Piss. And. Moan. Tough tittie for me, guess that's why I'm making the big bones.

Y'all be cool and all that. Do something I wouldn't do. Or something I would. Or did. Or something.

Peace, Out!
Big Daddy Yo


June 15, 2005
Y'all oughta quit worrying, I'm not an alcoholic and I really don't drink as much as it seems. I'm just too damn busy at work to jot anything down, and evenings I've been hitting the weights hard most days, so no inclination to park my sexy ass at the computer to post, unless it's an off day and I decide to have a tipple or two. Which I've had tonight, even after putting in about 4 miles of roadwork. I can see my abs again. I make me so horny.

What did I just say...?

Had a fabulous time in St Pete. Guess what? I got my oyster fix, and I ain't talkin' bout Tinkoff. They're not on my shit list or anything, I still went there and got tanked on some pretty good beer...but I found another place. If y'all ever make it to St Pete, ya gotta' check out a place called Zov Il'icha, which they translated as Lenin's Mating Call. This place is totally cool, all Lenin-Soviet kitsch decor with busts of Lenin literally everywhere and old Soviet-era harangues playing on several video moniters...interspersed by softcore porno clips. Somebody in the marketing department for this place has a sense of humor and irony and...whatever the hell else, but the place kicked ass.

I had a variety of arshters called 'Le Meriden', which suggests a French variety which implies North Atlantic which avers the damn things are from cold water and safe to eat and fershlugginheimerin' de-frickin-lishus!!! I knocked down a dozen and a half, stopping only cuz I wanted to save room for the venison fondue I ordered. Nit you shot, I ate about a pound of deer meat all by myself and the shee-it was as tasty as the oysters. This place was so great, the rest of the trip coulda' sucked ass and I wouldn'a cared.

Hit a few other haunts, plus tripped up to Peterhof on the hydrofoil boat, always a cool treat. Overall, the trip rocked, it was nice to get away from work and all other responsibilities and be a bachelor or some funky shit like that. And yes, the honeys were out like flies and I smelled like a pile of shit so they were all over me.

Wait a second, that didn't come out exactly the way it sounded in my gefickt-up head...

Anyway, I'm back in the saddle at work, came back immediately to some pretty serious and busy issues. Still loving my job, even though I'd like to strangle my construction subcontractor at times.

Okay, enough deep and meaningful shit for one day. Let's do a little summary rundown in case I can't answer emails and all that other shit:

  • Masha - I owe you for just being there, hope you know I do love you. You deserve the best, gorgeous.
  • K-girl - you'll be among the first to know, you know that. Thanks for the kind words, you know I love you too.
  • Marica - you ain't bullshittin'..."If I was there..." I'd break if off, heh heh heh...
  • What would I do without the angels in my life???
  • JJ - call me when it gets there, we'll crack one together over the phone.
  • Jason - you's a stank-ass redneck, wish I could get muddy witcha', my freaky got-damn brothah!
  • Rob - gimme' more fodder, homes...once an interpreter, always...
  • Myself - I hope you know what the f..k you're getting yourself into, shithead!

Aiight, on that note, I'm outta' here. Y'all do the usual.

Puff Puff Pass
The Head

PS: Damn, don't I wish...


June 7, 2005
Aw hell, fell off again. J.P. Chenet Eleve' en Barriques Chardonnay this time. Not that I'm a fag, that's just what was open. You figure it out.

Whatever.

I can't stop thinking. Ever. You have to put up with what comes out of the drunken end. Rob said it best, and I paraphrase: Whose mothaf..kin house is this? Run's house!!!

Hey....hooooo....hey....hoooo....

No, I digress not. I am the expert at saying the crazy shit Rob really means, but is too polite to actually put in writing. I respect him for that, and wish he'd let me decode him more often.

Damn, I'm drunk as shit. Life is good, I'm up at an ungodly hour on a workday, and I'm shouting out (literally, tho y'all farkers can't hear me) kudoes to my buddy at the top of my lungs. Hell, these hick peckerheads ain't gonna notice, they're too busy tanking on Baltika No4. At least they better, everything else is perfect shite.

Hanging around too many damn Brits. Mr. Bradley if you be reading this, I miss you crazy bar stewards.

Delores' voice is simply haunting, and the song fits my melancholy like a velvet glove...You got me wrapped around your finger...did you have to let it linger? Yeah, missing my baby again, all that maudlin drunken shite that goes with it.

Clue for the few: ice blue eyes. Some people don't stand a chance.

Here's another one: Someday...somehow...it'll be all right...just not right now.

That's the way it is right now. Rob, I'm taking your advice, which is nominally working...from the point of view that I feel sooooo symbolic and for once I ain't crying and apparently my fingers are in better control than the wine is. In other words, yeah I'm drinking enough for a change.

Oh yeah, thanks for Daisy June or Mary May or whatever the excessively endowed little vixen's name was/is. Frankly, her name was the furthest thing from my mind. How did they get them things in there?

Okay, now somebody got me to tears...I wish you'd unclench your fist and unpack your suitcase...how the bloody hell do you listen to a song like that and not feel it wrap around your heart and soul and teach you the meaning of pain? I hear it and am comforted by the thought that I am not sharing this alone, somebody else felt the absence of love and affection and even the presence of pain, and they managed to write it down. Like I'm doing now. Share it with me, would you?

If I Knew A Picasso...
Your Grey Guitar


June 6, 2005
Busy as hell, so quick and dirty style...

  • Rob...thanks, I know I can always count on you.


  • Susan...love you too!


  • Masha...remember me? Papa? Doe, a deer, a female deer...?


  • Sigh.......


  • Vika...dammit, but...!


  • Coen Brothers...thanks again.


  • The rug really tied the room together!


  • JJ...something wicked your way comes...


  • Marica...it's your eyes and your hands, honey. Dey knocks me d-e-a-d every time.


  • Alona...those gals just keep gettting gorgeousererererer - molotsy!


  • Ken...OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO's!!!!!!!


  • Jason...where da fook you at, honky?


  • MatthewTattoo...and where da fook you at, brotha?


  • Janey...ditto ditto! Check yer damn email!


  • Vot Ze Bladdy Hell Veel Zey Sink Of Neksht?


  • Pat & gang...any chance y'all could drop some biscuits-n-gravy thru the mail?


  • Chester & Chris...OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO's!!!!!!!


  • Heather...have fun, be safe, and send me some pictures. Nude, if you get any.


  • Just kidding!


  • Mike P...tell Sveta hi, and email me so we can hook up in July.


  • Archive partially restored.


Just Another Day Spent Waiting For My Toe Tag
The Cleveland Steamer


June 4, 2005
I think I'm safe in saying most people can count their true friends using only the upper appendages' worth of digits. Hell, I only need one of 'em, and I doubt I'm alone there. True friends, like the one who'll pick up the phone at 2am and tell you "don't shit your pants, don't move, don't talk to anyone, I'll be there in 20 minutes", the one who'll travel cross-country with you in a goddamn-uncomfortable Jeep and call it the coolest adventure they've ever had, the one who felt just as bad as you did when your dog Pepi ran away and never came back, the one who helped you beat up the neighborhood bully, the one who didn't laugh at you and call you a fag for crying over a girl, and most simply - all the ones who stick with you and are there for you whether you're gold-plated or shitstained...they are the few and far between, the diamonds you want to hang onto and treasure and never forget about.

I've had five true friends in my life: Daddy, Susan, Chip, my ex-wife Nina, and Vika. Chip was my childhood best friend, the one who helped me beat up Timmy Creehan and steal his Popsicle, the one with whom I used to daydream about someday moving to Disney World with my dachsund Pepi and his basset hound Leo and live in tents and work driving the monorails all day, that is, when we weren't out driving around in our 302-Windsor Mustangs picking up girls. Susan is the one who has always been there for me, listening to every one of my heartbreaks, every one of my f..kups, and every one of my bullshit dreams, never judging me for either. Nina...well, she may be my ex-wife, but even if everything else went down the shitter, I still look back on our marriage as two best friends having a sleepover every single night. Vika you've heard me yack on about ad nauseum...she's just the one who "gets" me in every possible aspect.

My dad is the special one, though. Like Susan, I can talk to him about damn near anything. Unlike Susan, he's an opinionated old SOB who almost always manages to express it with some hilarious but appropriate redneck-ass aphorism. I got every single fart joke I know from him. I got my eyes from him. I got my love of long-ass road trips from him. I got my...well, that too, god bless those Texas Johnsons. Most of all, though, I got my sense of myself as somebody who is capable, who never needs to fear trying something new...and I got that because he's always been there for me. I sometimes didn't see it, a few times didn't even quite believe it, but hindsight these days makes it perfectly clear that I've had a 100% reliable safety net my entire life, in the form of my true friend Jim Johnson.

So now I want to be there for him, because he needs a friend. I'm asking you all to think about him, pray for him if that's what you believe in, or just silently wish him well. My dad just lost his childhood best friend, Perk...the ol Percolator. I haven't heard but a few of the stories about daddy and Perk's younger hell-raising days, just enough to get a mental image of a couple of crazy-ass cowboys. What I have heard on more than one occasion, though, is how Perk was always there in Vernon, Texas, waiting for my dad to get back from whichever relative he'd been shuffled off to that month. I got to meet Perk, whom I remember as a very laconically funny guy. I met him in Vernon, Texas, which just seems appropriate...years after he and my dad had more or less "settled down", there was Perk, still waiting for Daddy in Vernon.

So do me that favor and just give at least a silent nod toward the state of Louisiana for my dad. He's hurting, and I love him very much and don't know what else I can do to make him stop hurting, except to ask us all to share a little of the pain with him.

Sad Days
Stephen


June 3, 2005
Straight up Friday, can I get a ay-men or some other non-denominational, non-offensive exclamatory phrase denoting a somewhat spiritual (but not mandatorily so) expression of a happiness garnered thru no intentional harm to man or beast?

No I didn't drink last night. Or this morning, for that matter.

Yeah, Friday...lived through another week of carpooling on Satan's Highway. Working tomorrow...Why? you ask...cuz homey is going to St Pete next Friday for a long weekend, bay-bee! Can't wait, haven't been since November '03, and furthermore my first time up for white nights since June '00. What a blast...thissun's gonna be a "Piss Off World Cuz This One Is Just For Stephen With No Distractions" kinda trip. No animals, no kids, no wives, no contract negotiations, no jars of canola oil, no bosses, no olives, no celery stalks with peanut butter, no computers, no cousins of Osama Bin Laden, and no responsibilities other than drinking a shitload of beer and eating like a pig at Tinkoff, playing pool and drinking another shitload of beer until obscene hours of the morning and hanging out talking tattooes with the cool-as-hell tattooed bouncer at the very smokey pool hall next to Kazansky Sobor (just imagine the skankiest redneck bar in Louisiana and add Russians), eyeballing gorgeous women and maybe even buying a few of them a drink or two, partying with total strangers on the street at 2:00am when they raise the bridges...and I'm sure I can figure out plenty else to get into when I'm actually there. It's just that kinda place.

One question: Are you cool?

Rob obliged my alcohol-induced minging the other day, sez says I'm just not drinking enough. Nice to know at least one person thinks so.

In other important news...I am Jack's got-damn cold feet!!! Day 'fore yesterday was the official 1st day of summer by Russians' reckoning (they go by calendar date instead of solstices), but damn if there ain't a bit of summer to be found around these here parts. You'd think I'd get used to this shit and quit bitching about it every year, but sorry - it ain't easy waking up every morning freezing my ass off, then have to add insult to injury with a cold shower. Hot water over here is generated by centralized steam plants and piped through distribution lines to the individual apartment buildings, and they turn off the hot water everywhere for line maintenance this time of year, hence a month of cold showers. Great for the ol libido...not...Willie be on some kinda damn holiday these mornings.

Another question: How'd you like to get your ass kicked by a chick?

On the "home" front, Vika called Wednesday from Anapa, my girls made their flight down there and got settled in with no hitches. She said the room they're in (I mistakenly thought I was paying for an entire house) is pretty small but livable. Hopefully they'll have a good time and the baby will get all those urgent benefits she supposedly can't get any other way but spending the entire month of June and most of July away from her father.

Last question: Who let all this sarcasm into the room?! (respect to Floyd's Run Like Hell).

Aaight, the gittin's still got a scrap of good hanging, so I better git a gittin'. Y'all do the usual...whatever that amounts to. I'm gonna do the same. Actually I'm not, but...

Here's Your Effin Email!
Rob Baby

PS: Watching Apocalypse Now again......Charlie still don't surf.


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