Friday, June 30, 2006

My Shipsky Comes In

Welcome to the conclusion of my Russian Mail Order Bride story, comrades.

The boat that you see above, BTW, is the ACTUAL one that my mother arrived into Ellis Island on when she was less than one year old. Bolshevik, you say?! I ship you not. Okay, back to the story.

I left off with who the email was from. The body of which (... is in my other laptop, miles away, and is therefore currently unavailable for your viewing pleasure) contained 2-pictures of sexily clad women who apparently have nothing better to do than wait on their respective street corners, hoping that I will choose one of them from my "lineup of love".

But, alas, these women are too neo-exotic (in a Bond villainess sort of way) for me in my current state. This is because, during the summer my preferences migrate to times long ago. Black and white movies, sentimental journeys, classic profiles of women therein. So, my vision of the ideal Russian gal and the ensuing relationship - both waxing and waning - would be radically different.

In my fantasy, one of my numerous replies is eventually responded to and acted upon. They notify me that my ideal woman, based on my profile (same as my blog one because I'm incredibly lazy, after all - why would I be ordering a mate in the first place?) and 360 degree nude photographs (provided in the interest of full-dis-clothesure, get it?), has been located. And is eager to come to Amerika to start her new life with me, where her only conviction in this new country will be to our relationship.

Weeks pass, though we are still in the glory of summer. Finally! I am at the pier, Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago radiating from my iPod, marinating my soul. There I stand, dressed in authentic costume and headgear, ready to withstand the most furious Siberian winter. The love boat docks as I switch my iPod from headphones to speakers. There! Is that her in the babushka? Or is she still below decks with the cargo? And if so, did they remember to drill air holes in the crate this time (yes, I have done this before, and getting refunds are a nightmare from these people, having to prove that she was deceased BEFORE I took possession and all that)?

Finally, after almost everyone is off of the ship, my eyes catch hers. Even the lazy one. We confirm that we are who we are. She is fascinated with my iPod, and asks if she can hold onto it. Of course, my Anna Kournikova. Just don't screw with my playlist, my beloved.

Praise Lenin, she is exquisitely beautiful in her fake fur. And blonde. My Russian ABBA girl. There IS something in the air this night. Definitely, Fernando, definitely.

We make our way through the masses loading into their SUVs to the humble, honest oxcart that I have procured for this wondrous first meeting. To my dismay, the furs and pelts that I've arranged on the bench seat for our comfort have been purloined, and additional produce has been piled into the back, mingling with the beets and rutabagas that'd been carefully placed back there for effect. But nothing can dampen the occasion, and I chalk these acts up to tough times and desperate people.

For authenticity I must take my Maria Sharapova to a farm in order to become properly acquainted in a setting that would be familiar to her. We stop at one that is desolate, save for our rapidly percolating love for each other. We engage in deep chat by the meadow, taking in the summer breeze and delicious, fragrant farm aromas. She still has my iPod. Soon we arrive at that pregnant pause in the conversation where captivation becomes lust. We head for the hayloft. There we make love. The glorious, innocent, Blue Lagoony kind of sweet, sweet love. Not the cold, calculated, dirty, financially motivated variety that is all too prevalent with American women. Canadian women in particular.

We hold each other for what seems (to me) like eternity, then we head home to embark on our new life together. For better or borscht. Seasons pass, yet our love continues to rapidly blossom and expand in all directions, scattering shards of domestic bliss, not unlike a Molotov Cocktail. She is quite the firebrand, fiercely devoted and willing to kill for me if necessary. I hand her the list (no, none of you are on it ... nyet). Just kidding, I say, but keep it handy.

She has, under my careful tutelage, attained a level of unconditional love that is thoroughly intoxicating, yet so difficult to capture onto a traditional greeting card.

And yet, I come to realize that our cultural backgrounds are way too diverse, and never the two shall intersect. There will be no Glastnost for us. Our lives spiral downward into a suffocating gulag of disenchantment. She demands more than 2-minutes of my interest each day, something as an American man I am incapable of giving. Our relationship is doomed, much like Communism. Perfect and utopian in concept, yet ultimately sabotaged by negligence and greed (on her part, of course). That, and items start to disappear from the apartment, along with my iPod and my heart. Then, I happen upon an old acquaintance of hers, a previous suitor. He shares his tragic story of initial mutual lust and eventual deception. I insist that he stop, since ALL women are that way. But then, he goes on further, and soon I understand that his fateful arc matches my own.

We agree that we must go our separate ways, thus fulfilling the prophesy of the Journey song. Sorry baby, but I gots to Zhiva-GO. We embrace, we kiss. I gently plead one last time for the return of my iPod. She tearfully whispers that - as is with my love - she no longer has it. Distraught, I lead her to her departure dock, we part for the last time, and that is that. I lose my muse. I lose my tunes.

This is my story. I wish that the ending to this tale could be a happy one. But fear not. There is one. My resilience and persistence is as robust as ever. For you see, I didn't throw in the towel, and have since consummated a relationship with another Russian Mail Order Bride. This one is a keeper.

Thank you for your interest and your compassion.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Russian Mail Order Brides

Something that I've noticed about myself since starting this godforsaken blog, is the peculiar (to me, at least) way that I get my ideas.

I can't just pick a topic from current events or from other bloggers and run with it. It has to suddenly *pop* into my head from out of nowhere and lodge in firmly. Then I know it is time to post.

Another thing that I noticed immediately is that there are existing, time-tested blog posting formulas (no shit, Sherlock!) a plenty. Posting patterns and the usual subjects. Recurring themes. Which, to be honest, I do enjoy reading. This is "comfy old shoe" (see my Dreadful Bowling Analogy for further details on this fetish) territory that is kept perpetually fresh via the unique perspectives of each poster.

However, one thing that you should (as if you life depended on it, because if my doomsday machine is EVER functional - it shall) know about me, is that I am anti-fads (that's FADS, so please, get an eye exam and stop already with the angry emails and Diesel shoe coupons!). I try to avoid trendiness (tardiness too, but I was late on that deal), ensuring that my mojo reaches an audience with a maximum capacity of one. Ultimate exclusivity, I repeat softly to myself as I struggle to find temporary peace and nod off to sleep.

So, I do my best to march to a different beat. Beating to a different march, you say? Well no, I hadn't considered that. Is it trendy?

Anyhoo, by now you may be anxiously wondering when - for Rasputin's sake! - I'm going to get on the promised topic of Russian Mail Order Brides.

Is now a good time?

Okay, well the reason that I went off on the earlier "I'm a rebel because I avoid trends" tangent is to grease you all up for my inevitable SELL OUT. For you see, I'm about to use spam as my basis for today's topic, something that may have been done once or twice before.

So here goes.

But wait, you need a bit of background information first, in order to fully appreciate (who am I kidding, you cretins never appreciate anything that I do for you, why I even bother is beyond me) the magical effect that this has had upon me.

My mom was born in Russia (did I just hear a "well, THAT explains a lot"?), so I sort of have a fondness and interest in the old patch of ice (Russia, not mom). Dad was from Texas, BTW, so feel free to dispense with the Lee Harvey Oswald jokes.

Okay, okay, I sense a mutiny brewin', so here is the latest email (spaced for clarity) that I've received from these wonderful, international pimps:

Subject: ***Possible Spam*** you have new mail from Ksenia, 25 y.o., Russia, dating [Oooh, dating means ON THE PROWL. Yes!]

From: "Marina N." [from Germany, how cool is that? And from "Marina", no less, which of course instantly evokes images of exotic ports of call and Mrs. Oswald as well. Enough! You had me at "From:"!]

Date: Sat, June 24, 2006 3:49 am [someone ELSE was up that late agonizing over MY love life?! Usually this is a solo activity.]

To: [this, BTW, is no where even CLOSE to my actual email address. In fact, I get EVERY email where the "to" field starts with a "t". Thank you very much, Starband, for your competence with handling email, rocket scientists that you are.]

Priority: Normal [I would think, no, hope, that MY chances at a monotonous relationship would justify a "High" setting. But nooooo.]

Now here is where you are REALLY going to hate me. I have to go to dinner. My eldest sister once gave me these sage words of advice: "leave 'em wantin' more". Only now, later in life, did I realize that there are multiple ways to interpret this adage. And some are not flattering.

So there has to be a "Part II" to this story, unfortunately.

This is how I must leave you for now. Wanting more.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Brainstorming - Creative Business Ideas - Part I


In the short time I've been cruising the blogs, I have become absolutely amazed by the intelligence and creativity of many bloggers. They have set the bar extremely high for this newcomer. My first response was to be intimidated. But then I realized that this is a community, not a competition.

So in the spirit of community collaboration, I would like to mention a few business ideas, and see what you think.

Restaurant Idea: "Munch Haus by Proxy", a Bavarian Deli. Probably doomed to failure as a result of my compulsion to plant health code violations which I subsequently report.

Children's Book Idea: "The Bi-Polar Bear". Since 1 out of every 1 Americans (with even higher ratios for our Canadian brethren) will eventually be diagnosed as bipolar, this richly illustrated children's book will gently introduce our offspring to this affliction. With the help of his peers (Seal of Approval, Sanguine Penguin and I-Do-Caribou), Bernie the Bi-Polar Bear learns that it is okay to bite off more than you can chew.

Online Dating Service Idea: "". Not all of us are accomplished, squeaky-clean, built-a-great-career-now-just-need-a-mate types. Also, unlike eHarmony clientele (at least the couples in the commercials), most of us do not have a long-lost twin that we can inadvertently be paired up with. Many of us are unappealing in many, many ways. Many of us have already run out of socially acceptable options in our local area codes. This is the dating service for US.

Silent (very, please) partners are welcome. Ditto for easily-distracted investors. Thank you for your time.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Favorite Albums - Part I

By nature, I am a very self-conscious person, though - like some cheeses - I am getting better with age. I have many passions, but have to admit that music would wind up toward the top of my list.

It's more than an escape, it is part of who I am, imperfect as I may be. As such, I have learned through the years to be somewhat guarded in revealing to casual acquaintances my favorite artists, songs and albums. An unkind word here, a smirk there, and I feel diminished as a person. Degraded. Lacking in depth and worth.

Revealing my musical tastes is revealing a deep and tender part of my soul, and is therefore something I only do with great caution for select, trusted friends* (* in the purest sense of that word).

Now one of my current favorite toys, along with the rest of the planet it seems, is my humble iPod. There is so much that I love about it. But especially, I love the vagabond nature of this device. It is a blast "playing Nero" on a frequent basis, arbitrarily deciding on whim whether a song continues life in my iPod, or is executed into obscurity.

But I am also pragmatic, and realize that there are negative consequences as a result of this new-found capability. One that immediately comes to mind is that it seems to devalue artists and their creations to some extent, because they are now reduced to commodities which can be instantaneously obtained and discarded. They become momentary concepts rather than tangible, treasured items to be lovingly touched (well maybe not the artist ...... boy, didn't I have to learn that particular lesson the hard way), examined, treasured, and stored with gentle care.

This is why I often fondly recall and even pine for the return of the record album. Tangible, lasting, an investment of money, and more importantly, time. Time for me to decide WHICH album is worthy of my hard-earned cash, time to travel to "ye old record shoppe" to pluck it from obscurity and bring it into my world, time ... well, I better stop the time nonsense, or I'll start plagiarizing The Byrds.

But I remember my vow to myself, that if I ever started my own blog, I would be truthful, honest, and reveal even those tender, protected slivers of my psyche to the world. I can't - no, I WON'T - be a chickenshit and bail out from what I set out to do.

Oh, one more thing. Before I do this , you must promise me that you will not be judgmental, unkind, or mean-spirited about what I am about to show you. It would crush me, and I don't know if I could even go on with this blog. I would be too humiliated.

Agreed? Okay, then, I'll trust you. Click on the link below (thank you, doggerel, for helping me with the link!) for some of my favorite albums.

My Favorite Albums - Part I

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Dreadful Bowling Analogy

It's only proper that I warn potential victims right away that I am slightly "askew", before you get lulled into a false sense of security with the harmless drivel that is sure to follow in future posts.

Now, if you ARE like me, you occasionally get the overwhelming urge to slip into shoes richly imbued with a glossy patina from hundreds of different feet prior to your own. Perhaps your heart skips a beat or two, as you imagine a beautiful, rich princess* (* in my case) slipping said shoes onto your feet, passionately proclaiming that - yes! yes! - it is you and you alone for whom these shoes were intended to fit like proverbial gloves! (Ask me about my horrible glove joke sometime.) Princess and kingdom are now yours ... but first, the buffet, award ceremony and nicely engraved trophy (besides the princess, of course ;-).

This is the illusion that I create for myself in order to make bowling even MORE enjoyable.

*** Quick aside and thought to ponder: Diesel's closely resemble (to me, at least) traditional, dorky, multi-colored bowling shoes. I've yet to see a straight man wear them. And yet, I think we'd all agree that bowling traditionally is a blue-collar, macho, homophobic pastime. So what gives? Would "the next" Village Person be a bowler? Is this an infiltration attempt by the gay community in order to gain equal lane access? ***

But what if the lanes are horribly warped and in an advanced state of disrepair? Wouldn't you want to know this? Wouldn't it be great if the sign out front said so? That way you could decide if you are sober enough to drive to the next "fun center". Well, consider this a sign, because the posts may get creepier from here on out.

Obligatory awful related joke: "I'm giving up bowling for sex. The balls are lighter, and I don't have to rent shoes."

Sorry. Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Hello and Welcome!


Welcome. Let the de-programming begin.

Having a chronic interest in self-improvement, by virtue of my own motivation and the advice of numerous so-called "friends", I have perpetually been on the prowl for the "holy grail of personal growth books". THE book. Both life transformer and spiritual awakener. Emitting a modest but confident aura of positive energy from its humble perch next to the latest Ortho "Garden Trellises and Gazebos" tome in the Costco hardcover section.

Here's where I'm at right now.

My current read is "The Art of Happiness", an introductory interpretation of the Dalai Lama's teachings for those of us whose were raised in the western hemisphere. I am enjoying it. And I WANT to believe. It certainly "appears" that converting the multitudes into new streams of revenue (other than through book royalties, perhaps) are unlikely motives.

I do think that a Buddist theme park could be the coolest - or possibly the lamest - new concept in family entertainment. "Make me one with everything" hot dog stands and those leashes for invisible dogs would be two of the more obvious offerings. Refunds would exist only if you believe that they do.

But then my alter ego (Mr. Cynical) puts in his unsolicited 2-cents: what if this is all part of an elaborate and unnecessary hoax, carefully crafted in order to justify wearing a robe and sitting around all day? Then it dawned on me: put a television (tuned to one of the ESPN channels) in front of him, add some facial hair and body odor, and you now are looking at my cousin Mike.

I don't mean to disparage the Dalai Lama.

What if we do have it all wrong? What if we've been conditioned to believe that change must first come from within, when in fact the opposite may be true?

What if we must first confront and eliminate the insanities that exist in our daily lives, so that our true selves can - for the first time - emerge into a congruent state with a just and sensible world?

Did the world morph over time from the ideal to the absurd? Or has it always been this way?

I wonder. Would Ernest Hemmingway be able to comprehend the intricacies and dramas of an indoor mega-mall?

What would F. Scott Fitzgerald think of eHarmony?

Would Herman Melville start a blog?

Would anyone continue to follow it after the first installment? How about after the post where he describes all of the different types of whales?

The possibilities are intriguing.

For your homework assignment, I would like your responses to the following (supporting pictures and/or links are welcomed) questions:

1) Which enlightenment books would you like Costco to offer?

2) Which attractions would lure you to a Buddist theme park? Why?

3) Which daily insanity bothers you the most?

4) Who are the famous authors, politicians (or other notables) from the past would you like to see coping with incongruent present-day situations? Please describe.

Thank you so much for being here with me as I attempt to get this baby "off the ground". I look forward to hearing from you.

- puerileuwaite