Follow by Email

Friday, December 8, 2017

Born in the USSR. Somebody that I used to know

We never forget about our first love, do we? Some of us are lucky and their first love is the love of their lives (the story of my grand-parents), but most of us either search for the one (real love with sparkles), or settle for the mediocrity, such as ‘settling’ with someone for the sake of being settled, or looking for someone who can provide (women) or clean the house (men).

I will never forget my first love because he was a very interesting guy, and I can’t forget him because he gave me confidence. Confidence that I wasn’t that bad-looking, was ‘datable’, and could get the best guy on earth if only I wouldn’t ruin it, like I did with him, something which, unfortunately, stayed with me till the day. 

Present me with ‘the one’, and I will find a reason to ruin it.
Misha wasn’t the best guy on earth but he was definitely the most popular guy at our school. I was fourteen when I met him, he was sixteen, joining our school to finish final year after having lived on the other side of Moscow. His mother was our teacher in chemistry.

He soon became the talk of the whole school, among both girls and boys alike. Not only he was very good-looking, funny and smart, he was also different from everyone else. Like, for instance, he didn’t give a fuck about any rules and would smoke a cigarette right at the entrance to the school, where his mother was giving classes and where he was supposed to study.
I didn’t pay any attention to him (apart from making a mental note that I should dare an act of smoking right in front of the school when I reached my final year, instead of hiding behind the entrance at the back at that time), because there was no chance he would ever notice me. Why should he? I was two years younger, in a class that older boys usually ignored (too studious, etc…not me and my best friend, but he wouldn’t know), with pimples, having a weird hair-do, wearing terrible clothes, and not the prettiest girl in the school. Probably, the opposite.
(me at that time)

But it was me he addressed once we approached the entrance of the school with my best friend.
“Got any lighter?” he asked me, and I was so shocked by the request (more like by the fact that he was talking to me) that I answered the first thing which came into my mind, which should be a lesson to hold my tongue in the future…to no avail.

“Not on me at this moment, unless I try to push it out of me”.

I, obviously, thought about my reply for the rest of the day, and days after, because I couldn’t believe that I could be so stupid. I also reckoned that I had turned totally red when I had spoken, which was another disaster. It wasn’t anymore about just paying attention to Misha, it was about thinking about him all the bloody time from that moment on.
Soon it became the talk of the whole school, Misha and me.
Girls from my class would run to me and whisper into my ear: “We heard Misha discussing with other boys whether Netchitailova should become his girlfriend!”
Misha himself would come into our class, for some reason during maths, when the whole class was waiting in fear for the appearance of our scary teacher in maths, with on one occasion, his own mum, a teacher in chemistry, coming in, in order to drag him out back into the corridor.
I became the best pupil in chemistry. Well, I had to, since I fancied the son of the teacher. It took me a month of sleepless nights but I arrived. The teacher (the mum) was so impressed that she didn’t drag Misha from our class in maths next time, once she saw that Misha was chatting to me, with the whole class (mostly girls) watching the scene in total bewilderment.

All nice and rosy until Misha invited me on a date.
The idea was to spend the Easter together. It was weird, but never mind. After that, I find it boring when someone offers a normal date. A dinner and a drink? Thank you very much but I rather spend a night marching five kilometres in Moscow. That’s what we did, with Misha. We met in the centre and just walked and walked until we reached my apartment, five kilometres further, where my step-mother was pouring my dad some vodka, keeping him away in the kitchen, so that he doesn’t kill Misha the moment he meets him. At two o'clock in the morning. 
We went to the living room. My step-mum brought us some cakes, tea and other treats, closing the door behind and managing to continue calming my dad. Misha was supposed to sleep where I was, in the same room, not that anyone would sleep with each other, which was the main concern of my dad, and he made sure to visit the toilette every five minutes for the rest of the night, making sure that no one would get any sleep in any case. In retrospect I realise now that it was a perfect moment for me to loose my virginity, with a guy with whom I was in love and who fancied me back.
But no, I pretended to be an idiot. The moment when we finally ended up in the room together, I became so shy that for some reason I decided to ransack one of my cupboards and drag out my collection of barbies (two dolls) and show them to Misha. I still remember the reaction on his face. It was that unclear stare, a stage in between ‘shall I laugh, or run home?’ All transport was sleeping with the rest of Moscow’s population, making running impossible. But he should have laughed. He didn’t.
He then kissed me good-night, asking whether he could kiss me on the forehead. I said yes, without kissing him back on the lips.
Well, you know the story. A shy girl and a Casanova. Only in my case, Casanova ended up with a ‘difficult’ case.
Misha dropped the talk about the possibility of me becoming his girlfriend after that night, and maybe for a good reason. Last time I checked he is now a spiritual yogi somewhere in India. Great, but I prefer more comfort in my daily life.
Still while Misha looked exactly like that singer Gotye, he isn’t just ‘Somebody that I used to know’ (which is, ironically, a favourite song of my dad). I named my son after him.
As they say it, first love never dies. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

A Twitter’s Tale. A Play about the dumb, dumber and the dumbest

Dear Spectators of a Play called ‘A Twitter’s Tale’. Since it is a play (a tragedy), I will first introduce the characters, and a setting, before outlining the plot.
The setting is happening in winter (reminiscent of Shakespeare’s ‘A Winter’s Tale), and across three countries, let’s name them: The United States of America, North Korea and Ukraine, and two white houses. The characters are a President of the United States, a Leader of North Korea, several leaders of Ukraine, a feature called ‘Twitter’, and the modern press.

Having presented the characters, let’s proceed to the plot.
It started with the election of a CEO into a new role, such as being a President of one of the greatest empires on earth, the magnificent country of the United States. Due to a lack of the looks of a model (something to which we will return in due term), the new president (let’s call him ‘The Ghost of Twitter’) became unpopular even before he moved into his new castle, called the ‘White House’. The modern press was criticising his every move and every word, with even famous writers re-tweeting fake material posted about the President (a certain J. K. Rowling), such as a video where the President was shown as if he had ignored a toddler eager to talk with him, with the video going viral, until someone uploaded a correct version of the video where the same President is shown to approach the toddler first thing once he enters the room. The J.K. Rowling apologised the next day but it went into oblivion. No one was interested, and who would dare to criticise Rowling?
The President on the other hand, that was much more interesting. An easy prey.

Anyway, The President thought hard about how to deal with a witch-hunt and decided to play a madman. Especially that he had discovered a feature called ‘Twitter’ and was spending all his time on it. The author of this script once, as an experiment, watched how long the President tends to be on Twitter, but gave up after three hours, due to own obligations in one’s own life. In these three hours the President left Twitter for a break of twenty minutes (maybe a short lunch).

In order to appear as a madman it took the President to make three re-tweets of some outrageous material, without first checking where it had come from. The modern press was watching and went ballistic, because this was a moment the world was waiting for. Like finally, Norway troops can enter Denmark and free the country from the impeding evil. The only thing the press did forget about is that unlike the times when ‘Hamlet’ was set up as a play, the troops in the modern times are in ‘Denmark’, as well as in North Korea, which is getting ready to answer to the recent insult of the President, who called the leader of North Korea ‘a sick puppy’. And once you get the response, you will probably forget about the President and his Twitter problem, which is indeed a problem. Having tagged a wrong Prime Minister (in fact, a totally wrong person all together) in one of his tweets, the President showed quite clearly that he has no idea how Twitter works and what he is actually doing on there.

But let’s move to the third character in the play, such as Ukraine. You see, in this play of the ‘dumb, dumber, and the dumbest’, it isn’t the President who is the worst culprit. The worst culprit is the press, with even Jonathan Pie, whom I find usually funny, making the stupidest rant ever, asking Prince Harry to say to the President ‘You aren’t welcome in our country’. Pie probably forgot about Brexit and that in case it does happen (seems likely), the only income the UK will still have is the financial market (Hello ‘Paradise Papers’) and special relationship with the US. He also forgot, as well as the whole modern press that the world is not about Twitter. There are other things on this earth which happen in real life and not in virtual reality.
For instance, while the same press was totally ballistic about Ukraine a year ago, it all went quiet to such an extent that the recent news about Ukraine I heard only today from a Dutch friend while having my coffee at my favourite cafe in town. She told me about the most outrageous conflict in Eastern Ukraine where the President of the self-declared republic, and who, ironically so, has his residence in a house called also ‘White’, had fired his Defense Minister, which led to a riot.
But who is interested in Ukraine and people who are starving there and are facing death and real war, while today’s wars all happen on Twitter?
Enjoy your peaceful weekend, while the world still stands by.

P.S. Facebook app says that Trump does have looks of a model. The picture is for entertainment purposes only, and in case you want to speak to my lawyer, click on the link to locate him on the map

Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy New Year Resolutions! Tips on Being Mental #4!

Hello Everyone, and good luck with starting to make New Year Resolutions. I know, it is only November, and you are still super busy with all that Christmas preparations (not me, I have to admit, as I organise it in such a way that I end up being invited somewhere, nice and easy, all relaxed and in great style - at my mum’s), but knowing how it all works, you are already thinking. Especially that it is Black Friday when, after over-spending one’s money on useless things, the world of Western Hemisphere moves to its next step of capitalistic drama (on zombielism).

Such as, what kind of New Year Resolution should I make this year? It usually involves loosing weight, trying a new diet, starting to run, quitting smoking, joining a gym, or to summarize all the above bullshit- all kinds of plans which never, ever work.

I decided to write this post early this year as well, because once it really begins (in the news, on social media, on TV, or on Twitter), I am usually so bewildered that by the time I find something really meaningful to reply, it all stops without properly starting, ‘in shambles and tears’, because of failure to stick to resolutions for more than three months at the maximum. Except the gyms, of course, as they do redeem their obligation of your yearly discount, provided you pay for a year ahead, but fail to show up there after the month of January.

And therefore, in the future, I will just send a link to this post, where I explain, and hopefully, clearly, why these resolutions never work.

To tell you the reason, let me first notify you (in case you missed this fact) that I come from Russia. A country,where, at least when I was growing up, this weird habit (I will restrain for now from calling it ‘stupid’, as much I want) would never cross anyone’s mind because New Year celebration was the main feast everyone was looking forward to. Official religion was only beginning, and even if Christmas is now back on the State’s agenda, it is in January (the seventh), which is a smart move on the part of Christian Orthodox religion (let’s skip the history part), since no one, in their right mind, will ever decide to start dieting when there is another major party in the making.

Not here though. It took me a long time, bloody ages in fact, to figure out as to why the New Year, or rather the New Year’s Eve is such a miserable affair here in the UK (especially, that I lived in the Netherlands before, where it kind of, very slowly catches up, but not quite, since they are protestants and therefore, mostly slim,  and don’t diet, and Belgium, where they laugh it off, thanks God).
In this country though (and I love it with all my heart, as most of you know), ask anyone what they do on New Year’s Eve and the response is usually, such as: “Oh, you know, I think we will just stay at home and try to go to bed early”, or “I might go to that party, in case it is still on.”


You see, I am used since my years in Russia that it is New Year’s Eve which is the main party of the year, and not Christmas that people here are totally obsessed with, and I know why.

BECAUSE people here celebrate the final day of more or less nice life full of food and other treats (Christmas) before counting days to New Year and their resolutions. I mean, who can ever have fun if you know that the next day you have to stop smoking, go on a diet, start saving for the new house, or say goodbye to that cheeky red wine? No one!!!

You see, resolutions never work when you over-prepare. The best resolutions, as far as my experience shows, works on the spur of the moment, when you suddenly decide: it is time. For instance, while it was my dad who had forced me to stop smoking by buying me electric cigarettes, it was such an unexpected move (on my part) that after my visit to Russia (where it all happened), I ended up briefly in a psychiatric hospital, so much I missed my cigarettes. But once there, where I put myself (the hospital), a decision I now deeply regret, while sitting in the garden and smoking my cigarette, I kind of had a revelation. If I had managed to stay away from cigarettes with the help of vaping, even as briefly as a month, why not to try it again? The next day I went to the e-cigarette shop and bought myself the vaping material. That was more than three years ago and I hadn’t touched a single cigarette since. Because it was more than a resolution, it was a decision.

The same goes to gyms or all sorts of dieting. They work only if you decide to lead a healthy life. You don’t even need the gym! I stopped going there more than ten years ago (except for a trip to jacuzzi), and have never been slimmer or felt better. I walk and do yoga, which doesn’t need any yearly subscription.
The same with eating. Eat slightly less, and you won’t need any diets. Having said that, the dieting industry works by brainwashing our brains as to how we should look. While, in reality, the ideal weight is the one in which you feel happy.

As simple as that.
Or to paraphrase Nietzsche: Insanity in individuals is rare, but in groups, parties, societies and nations, it is a rule. Just follow the crowd.
Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Born in The Soviet Union. Becoming a Pioneer

With such an interest in Russia from the world most recently, I can’t help but reminisce about my past. I am Russian after all, even if I was born in the country under a different name. And having so many memories, with most of them, quite ironically, being relatively good, I decided to share some of them here.
In this post I would like to tell you about the moment I consciously became a pioneer. We had that interesting gradation system back in the Soviet Union, where one’s achievement, in terms of allegiance to the socialist regime, was marked in three stages. First, one had to become a pioneer, usually at the age of eight, unless one was lagging on the scale of good behaviour (my case), then a komsomol (around fourteen, a level I missed due to the change of the regime), and finally, a communist, provided one was really showing some zeal for the belief in the cause, of was simply a hypocrite (a big majority).
(Picture taken from Pinterest)

I managed to become a pioneer. The moment when I officially became one escapes me at this moment, as hard as I try to tap into my memory. I remember that I definitely wasn’t among those who got the status in its absolute glory, such as facing inauguration at the Red Square. The best children (those who not only had the best marks but also impeccable behaviour) were honoured with the first grade in communism right in front of Mausoleum, with the corpse of Lenin giving its blessing. My grades were okay, but I lacked in the domain of behaviour. I had developed a bad habit of throwing the cooked semolina under the table back when I had been in the kinder-garden, and while no one had noticed it then (I remember the day when they were looking for a culprit, and I was sitting with a grin on my face, pretending I liked that awful porridge), a fellow pupil mentioned that it was me, who was creating the mess at school canteen every time they served ‘the dish of the day’. Unfortunately, my behaviour was lacking in other domains as well, and therefore, I reckon I was the last to receive the rank, right when I approached nine, at the end of year 3.
The problem of being a pioneer came back to chase me a year later when I ended up at a different school, a linguistic college with specialism in French. The thing is, I was back in year 3 all over again, thanks to the efforts of my mum. She loved French (and me studying it) to such an extent that when she had showed me to the selection committee of that prestigious school, the committee said that I was great but didn’t know any French. “We could put her in year 3, I guess”, the head-teacher was speculating aloud, a statement which, to my greatest horror, my mum took seriously.
You see, I had started my first school (also with French as the main subject), 4 kilometers away from home, at the age of seven, and which had required taking a bus, but the school was changed to our local one, around the corner from our house, when instead of taking the bus back home, I took the bus in the opposite direction, two weeks into starting the school. No mobile phones existed at that time, and when I, finally, returned home around seven in the evening, I found the family sitting around a table, with a policeman keeping company to their crying faces, drinking vodka along with my dad.

But the ambition (of my mum) stayed, and therefore, at the age of nine, instead of being in year 4, I had to repeat the year 3. My grades were fine, but here I was, a double-taker. All for the sake of the French language.

Being second time in a row in the same year, even if at a different school, was, obviously, a huge secret. The head-teacher gave a wow, my own teacher, as to me, I was smart enough at that stage to say to my fellow classmates that I was eight.
But then the selection for pioneers came all over again. No one knew that I was already a pioneer, and I had missed yet again, the opportunity for being sent to the Red Square. My mum had made in fact one of her best decisions in life, as even if I hated my teacher, I made a friend for life in my new school. Masha was quite similar to me, a rebel, who was also looking for opportunities to bend the rules which were stupid. I was put next to her at the same desk, since she was also new, and I remember the precise moment we bonded. Our teacher, an angry woman who hated children, entered the class, holding her strict, no-compromise, unkind posture, but stumbled at the last moment, because someone had dropped a sausage on the floor. Masha’s face turned red, before her whole body, as well as herself, burst into uncontrollable laughing. Stupefied at first (as well as slightly horrified, as I knew there would be consequences), I joined her in the procedure, because it was beyond contagious. And while the whole class kept quiet, the two of us spent on laughing good ten minutes, before the head-teacher was called in. That was then that we were banned from the Red Square but became best friends, which was, in all honesty, a much better prize.
The next day, however, the teacher decided to retaliate, and she chose me, knowing my vulnerability in terms of my secret.
“Netchitailova, to the board!” Pupils were called by their last name, which at some point turned against the school (in respect of my name and Masha’s, but I will elaborate on it in another post).
“Show us your knowledge in maths!” She was very angry and when I looked at the board I knew it was a revenge, since it was a challenge that I was struggling with, even if I was doubling the year.
“You see, you repeat the year, and you still know nothing in maths, NOTHING! Zero, I give you zero!” She was shouting for the benefit of the whole class.
I do remember my reaction. At first I was scared, then terrified, then ashamed, looking at the floor and avoiding crossing the eyes with anyone in the class. I kept quiet for the rest of the day, with Masha sitting quiet next to me and saying nothing, feeling my panic (hibernating her own revenge as I learned later). At home I cried and cried, thinking that it was the end of my world, my friendships, my childhood.

In the morning I put my red tie of a pioneer and went to school. The teacher opened her mouth when she saw me, to probably say something, but then closed it. The whole class was watching me when I proceeded wearing my tie to my desk with Masha, at the end of the classroom. And once I was getting closer, Masha started to clap, louder and louder.
“Here comes Netchitailova, the first pioneer in class 3A,” she exclaimed loudly, winking at me when I finally sat next to her.
We got our reward when we got our new teacher next year, a marvellous Nataliya ‘X’ who (not willingly) encouraged Masha’s and my laughing till we finished the school.
(me, around the time I became a pioneer)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

On our population being half-asleep

Having discussed briefly the term Zombielism as far away as 2015, I forgot all about it for a while, but decided that now is a good time to come back to my own invention (the term itself). This follows on revelation of several newspapers about how rich and famous avoid paying taxes (Paradise Papers), and a complaint by The Guardian newspaper in one of its tweets, that there is no reaction from ordinary people whatsoever. I have to admit, quite humbly now, that I didn’t even expect any response from the people, because I figured out, like quite long time ago, that most citizens are ‘zombiefied’ to such an extent, that apart from shopping for Christmas months in advance, there isn’t much that occupies their minds.

Having accused the population of our world of being half-asleep, I will, however, start with my own example. You see, we all suffer from this condition at one point or another.

The state of zombielism affected me around the age of thirty in Amsterdam.
Not that I wasn’t suffering from it before, but there was a moment when it reached its critical stage.

I remember that I was sitting at a university desk, thinking about changing to a different job, but more about changing the general way of my life. What was the point of reading the news, I asked myself while trying to read a news item in Dutch, then: first, I found it boring, and second, I didn’t believe in its effect.

Mind you, the decision to stop reading the news and be, in general, interested in what was happening in the world around me, was probably partly influenced by the changes the university was undergoing at that time. I had just started doing a PhD right when a commercial company took over, in terms of running the administration of the uni (including the catering facilities).
(picture taken from International Liberty site)

The aim (of the commercial organisation) was to make the university more productive, business-like and profitable. All universities are under the same pressure nowadays (at least, in the Western hemisphere) but that particular organisation was implementing changes with a remarkable zeal. All staff members were placed in a new large room, with tables spread out for the maximum usage of space and with our backs facing the door. Whoever was working for the organisation, it was pretty obvious, that they didn’t have a psychologist in their team.

Other, no less unpleasant, changes were happening around the university. The food in the cafeteria was definitely becoming less pleasant and when they stopped serving my favourite dish (a soup, if I am not mistaken), I decided to immigrate to the nearest sandwich shop for my lunch provisions.

Of course, instead of observing the changes in a silent way and deciding to apply for another job, I could do something. Not that my decision to drop everything and move to Brussels was due to the commercial transformation of the university entirely, but it certainly affected the final outcome.

My boss, at that time, a remarkable professor in financial geography, tried to get us to act somehow. On a stroll to the sandwich shop he was enthusiastically thinking aloud as to what could be done. “We should write an official letter, make a scene at the cafeteria, do something!” He was gesticulating his hands with the passionate drive of someone who cares about the world. I didn’t. While I joined in, agreeing verbally to what he was saying, I never did a single thing. I stopped caring at that point as it was totally futile. Years before, I was outraged by the upcoming war on Iraq, and while a large number of the world's population felt exactly the same, nothing, absolutely nothing stopped it. How could we, a single teacher and a couple of PhD students fight with this force? Capitalism was spreading through the lives of people like a venomous and invisible snake and only some kind of revolution could stop its advance. But, of course, no one would do anything revolutionary these days because the majority of the world's population is half-asleep.

I decided to join the masses.
While I remember that time as a definite turn-around period for my choice, it was simply building up inside of me to push me in the direction of zombielism in all its glory, when I struck thirty (thankfully, only for a short period of time). I joined zombielism whole-heartedly (there was some resistance at the start) relatively late in life, all things considered, but nevertheless, effectively. That day when my boss was lamenting about what universities were becoming, once at home I forgot all about it and went shopping. It was Thursday, the shops were open late and visiting them and buying stuff was much more entertaining than thinking about petitions, trade-unions and sit-ups.
But of course, I don’t remember anything I bought that day but I do remember, very well, that talk with the professor and the choice I made then.

So, what is zombielism, to remind you of the definition?
Zombielism is a virus affecting the current population of the world. It is the force through which capitalism operates in society as we gradually moved into the age where no one gives a damn anymore about whether it is capitalism or something else, and spend our time on shopping, watching reality TV, and checking the likes on Facebook and Instagram posts. It is a state in which the world population finds itself, happily and uncomplainingly, while being half-asleep.
(picture taken from Funny Picture of the Day)

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Russian Intrigue (on American elections and Facebook)

Hello the Citizens of our (I want to say ‘beautiful’, but let’s keep it as it is) fucked up world.
While we still have this situation with North Korea (which, personally, troubles me much more than some gossip and hysteria), as well as ongoing total disaster in Syria, with refugees and people starving in the remote places of what remains of the world gone by, the media, as usual, blames Russia.

While if we look at the components of the story, where we can clearly see it starting to resemble the most astonishing thriller of our times (definition of thriller), with Homer himself turning in his grave from missing on something even bigger than his ‘Odyssey’, let’s rather explain things as they are.

True, the tale changes everyday (unlike that Brexit Affair). 
First, there was that hacking scandal, not really confirmed, but with the result that Russian cyber-security specialists are now being headhunted by companies (and governments) around the world. I have a proof of it since I have some contacts in that Russian company which was named as ‘culprit’. Ha-ha-ha. Talking about ‘Crime and Punishment’ (Dostoyevsky).
Then there was the mysterious professor (as reported by ‘independent’ Guardian) who apparently had met with all possible contacts in The UK, US, Spain and Russia, but doesn’t speak any Russian (dilemma).

But all this doesn’t really matter, since the core of this matter lies in the simple fact that Russia understands the dynamics of capitalism better than its own creators.
In order to explain my argument, I will present you first with a quote from Twitter by John McCain, who said the following:
“We must see Putin’s attack on our election for what it is: a campaign to weaken & destabilize democracies everywhere".
This kind of statement begs though a question as to which ‘democracy’ John McCain refers (surely, not America?), since Donald Trump’s tweets imply that his national security team consists of volunteers? 
If we quote Trump, he said the following about his national security adviser (accused of having contact with the Russians): ““Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar.” I already discussed Trump and his Twitter problem elsewhere, but having had a quick look at the democracy problem, let’s proceed to capitalism, in which most ‘democracies’ currently operate (including Russia).

If I take my own definition of capitalism from my PHD thesis (or everything you need to know on Facebook and Capitalism), “from a critical perspective”, capitalism is rooted in the idea that everything can be recycled into profit, where sites such as Facebook, Google, Youtube, etc, operate within ‘informational capitalism’ (Fuchs). “In this respect, Web 2.0 tools, including Facebook advance the current ideology of capitalism (Cheers for Mark Zuckerberg), by processing data of users and selling it to advertisers. It also reinforces the current ideology of capitalism by inciting users to certain patterns of behaviour.” (Netchitailova 2013).

Or to put it in more simple, plain words, Facebook and other sites sell their ads to whoever buys them, and if Russia did conduct a massive publicity campaign and therefore, had any influence on any elections, then it operated within its right of the rules of capitalism.
That’s it, nothing else to decipher from it. A country which saw a revolution, knows how to do the trick. In terms of facilitating revolutions elsewhere. It isn't the attack on non-existing democracies which is a problem, but the existence of greed in capitalistic 'democracies'. 
Or as Lord Snoutintrough (his website) says on Twitter:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Porcupine’s Scary Halloween Story

While the human world is preparing for the yearly festivities of the Halloween day, here, in the animal kingdom, we have been busy as well.

The idea was to organize a party indeed, but while we don’t know how to party like a Russian (I was petrified when I watched the clip of Robbie Williams, thinking, like really? Until someone sent me another music clip, showing how Russian women really look, which gave me some hope in the matter) -still we tried to do the best to our abilities.
But it is all going rather wrong, a point I will elaborate on at the end of my story.

I will rather start from the beginning.
Last year both the Eagle and Magical Raven made their comeback. Or to be more precise, Eagle made his return, as to the Raven, it was thanks to me that we found him at all.

The Eagle was all solemn and more or less reasonable at the start. He brought the Bible and asked us all to read it, with services and hymns for the occasion. It was going okay for a while, until it became only about the Bible.

“I am God,” the Eagle was proclaiming at each service, and outside as well, a point which started to become slightly annoying and get on the nerves of each of us, the representatives of the animal kingdom. 
There was no question about Eagle being the God, as we, unlike, the humans, do know that he is indeed real, but for how long were we supposed to be denied of any fun? Services and hymns, waiting for some sort of miracle, to an extent that me, Ektie the Porcupine, was ready to proclaim to be Jesus Christ myself, so tired I was of, well, waiting.
Until I came up with an idea as to how to get rid of the eternal boredom the Eagle seemed to have as vision for a perfect life, and go and fetch the Magical Raven (remember my dilemma in terms of where he was?). I went to Amsterdam, and Boom Clap, the Magical Raven was indeed located in one of the coffeeshops, an establishment he wasn’t ready to leave until I promised him a party.

“Halloween is coming!!!!” I tried to reason with him in between his dinner of marijuana and a dessert of psychedelic mushrooms. “We all know that Amsterdam is a magical city and it is the Devil’s domain, but still, we kind of need you back in our kingdom.”
And fetching lots and lots of bottles of vodka and other spirit the Magical Raven flew with me back to the animal kingdom.

A mistake on my part?
I don’t really know. The thing is, there is indeed a party going on now, with Eagle and Raven being both drunk, with the rest of the animal kingdom. And it would be all right if they could just agree on some matters.

“I am God!” The Eagle is saying in between his vodka shots.

“I am the Devil!” is the answer of the Magical Raven, “and you can’t do without me!”

“But we need to follow the story!” says the Eagle in return, while clearly enjoying the company of the Magical Raven (with the rest of us, I have to admit, as it has become really much less boring).

“Oh, fuck up your story, we need a new one, in order to survive!” the Raven retaliates while vaping (we did manage to cut down his Marijuana intake).

As to me, poor Ektie the Porcupine, the one who always believed in the Great Spirit but also Magic and wonders of this world, I don’t know what to make out of this.

In fact, I am just sitting at the GATE as Jesus would do, waiting for some sobriety and the world coming to its senses. What if, Jesus was female, and Jesus was in love with the Devil?
Happy Halloween, everyone, the human and animal kingdoms alike!
The Porcupine, Jesus.

Friday, October 20, 2017

And the biggest SCAM on Internet goes to ‘Keanu Reeves’!

Not real Keanu Reeves, obviously. I need to say it quite clearly from the start that Keanu Reeves is a nice man, a terrific actor, who, while being famous, takes underground in New York, and eats alone in the park. Well, not quite, if we look more carefully at the picture, we can see a bird.

So, all those who accused Keanu Reeves of being sad, clearly lost the plot. Keanu Reeves just leads a life full of dignity.

He also hasn’t used his Twitter account since 2012 (forgot the password?), a fact which didn’t escape the attention of some spammers or black magicians as I call them, and I will explain why I named them as such through the story of this post. Just read on.

Last Thursday evening I noticed that a certain Keanu Reeves 
started to follow me on Twitter (let’s call him Keanu Number 4 for the simplicity of the argument). I followed him back, just out of curiosity, even if friends who are his followers did warn me of a certain danger (like an account of selfies of celebrities). But still I decided to carry on, once we struck a private conversation via direct messaging. Not that I had nothing better to do (embellish a short story to submit for a writing competition, fine-tune my first grant research, read a book, watch a movie, do my nails). But since my research is at a point where I collect academic references (a task that all students and academics dread), chatting with Keanu, even if not real, appeared as a fun distraction.
But fun it wasn’t. He started with sending me some selfies, trying to convince me to believe that he was real. Here is the first selfie.

Impressive, right? Especially that indeed a Google search doesn’t show these pictures of Keanu at once (hopefully, it will, after my post). He said that he was having a bad day, was feeling sad and that talking to a fan was a way to improve his mood. I quickly specified that I am not a fan, I just like Keanu. This was followed by another selfie showing a radical transformation of the man in a matter of minutes. All shaved, younger and at home, not at some sort of MacDonald’s as hints the first selfie.

By that time I knew, of course, that I was dealing with a spammer, but instead of just distraction, a simple academic curiosity kicked in. Was I dealing with someone from Nigeria trying to send lots of money on my account following the death of a deceased relative, or a gypsy using gypsy wisdom in a bad way? Mind you, I have nothing against gypsies, I exercise their own magic on a daily basis. But in a good way. But when I see a black magician trying to capitalise on the misery and trust of people, my witchery curiosity also kicks in. So, what was it about, I wondered?

It became soon quite clear. Keanu asked me whether I was ready to send some money, just to show little bit of love. He was ready to marry me the same day, so much he loved me. I replied that I wasn’t ready to marry him as yet, until we met in real life, and that all my donations towards celebrities go via Omaze (check their site for amazing experiences with the stars where all money goes to charities). He started to get angry, accusing me of not trusting him.
I was getting angry as well, because I could see how this kind of accounts could be used against slightly more naïve people.
And therefore, before concluding our conversation and sending Keanu Number 4 to hell, I reported him to Twitter, and pointed out that when you want to say ‘do you know you are beautiful’, you don’t type ‘you no you beautiful.’

Anyway, the evil action of Keanu Number 4 will have its consequences, as specified in ‘Russian Gypsy Fortune Telling Cards’. The scales in position 4 (reversed) mean the following:

“Your evil action will have consequences. This could be a serious offense that you are committing…I’ve never done a reading for anyone who has committed a serious crime, but I presume that for those people, the repercussion would be imprisonment or an unhappy life.” (Touchkoff 1992, p. 147).

Let’s all pray on this matter, as Jesus would say.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Meditation. What I think of it. On Bullshit

I honestly think that all sorts of meditation suck, and big time so. Don’t confuse it with yoga, please, since it is a historical well-proven practice, which at least involves some movement, in addition to opening chakras (don’t ask me which, I am not an expert).

Meditation, however, is, how to say it, is rather negation or absence of total mediation between critical thinking and thinking about what matters.

Let  me give you an example. Meditation involves the torture of clearing one’s mind, in order to stop thinking and going into the void. In my humble opinion, the only person who could benefit from this bullshit is either someone who is constantly glued on to the reality TV, spends all his/her time in the shops, or has based one’s life on gossip.

Otherwise, why should we meditate in the first place? I tried it, of course. I tried it in fact several times, because the amount of all sorts of apps, books,  and gurus in the matter, should indicate that there might be something there. Yes, there is, a huge market which is busy making profit out the misery of the world. As usual.

But let’s stop for a moment and indeed think. How can one meditate when we have so much misery, indeed, on the planet? The first time I went to the gym to attend a class on meditation, September 11 happened. I was shocked that people could even stay in the gym once seeing the image on the TV at all. Crashing towers, flying planes, and dying people. My first reaction was to get out and puke all over the street. I never came back to that gym.

Another meditation I ever tried was at home, but after five, and even ten minutes of trying,  I gave up, realising that I simply have better things to do, such as having a nice cup of coffee, reading a book (it was Saturday or Sunday, I can’t even remember), meeting with friends, and going out for a walk, in order to well, meditate. 

One can hear the universe only when communicating with nature, while shutting away one’s thoughts, well…we all know where it can lead. It leads to the world turning upside down upon itself.  As Nietzsche once said:  “Whatever a priest regards as true must be false: there you have almost a definition of truth.
I am already Buddha.  I don’t need to meditate.

Stop meditating and simply become AWAKE

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Dima, where are you? Or advice on how not to fuck up…in the love area

I was sixteen, and still studying at school. On the day when I encountered Dima I was taking the metro to deliver my body for a photo session. It was the time, which lasted for a year at most, when I was dreaming of becoming a model. In other words, I was completely, totally insecure in both my body and my head.
When I entered the wagon at one remote station in the beautiful Moscow metro, I immediately spotted Dima. The guy was charming, had dark hair and was laughing in a very sure way with two girls sitting next to him.
A cute guy and a student, I sighed. No way a person like him will ever notice my presence. I was wearing a terrible fur cap (to safeguard my hair for the photo session), while the only piece of style in my wardrobe was limited to the boots, which half of Moscow was wearing at that time. It was the period when limited pieces of fashion were attacking Moscow shops in masses. I might have skipped the rainbow coat (worn by the other half of the city’s population) but I had the boots.
I sat next to the guy, however, as there was a vacant place. Taking out of my suitcase a book, I tried to lose myself in studying French grammar - the subject I was supposed to know perfectly, while attending a privileged linguistic college in my native town.
            “You speak French?” I heard a second later, and to my greatest amazement, this comment was coming from the cute dark-haired guy. He turned away from his fellow blonde student girlfriends and was looking intensely at me.
            “Yes, professionally,” I gave the most stupid answer, while removing my fur cap with my right hand and hiding a pimple on my check with my left.
            “Interesting,” the guy moved closer to me to look at my book. “Where?”
            “At the University,” I said in a confident way, while trying to adjust the position of my face in such a way that he wouldn’t notice my pimple.
            “Which university?”
Despite the fact that I was only sixteen (and still at school), and blessed with pimples I knew which were the best universities, at that time, to learn French in Moscow.
            “The Institute for Foreign Languages,” I said proudly, forecasting my future at that moment, as it’s exactly where I landed for a year before moving to Brussels, let me think … three years later?
            “Oh …” I could see that the guy’s interest in me was growing. Which was fine by me, as never in my life had a guy like him talked to me for such a long time, and yes, he was the cutest guy I had met so far.
            “Well …” he continued, “I also study French, at the University for Foreign Relations.”
Not only was he cute, he was also smart. At that time the institution he was attending was renowned as the ‘hottest’ place to get your degree.
            “Really?” I said. “I love French. It’s the love of my life,” I lied, since the biggest love of my life at that period was George Michael and Wham!
            “My name is Dima”, said the guy, while trying to hold my gaze for more than two seconds. It was exactly what I was trying to avoid, as my biggest problem at that time, apart from pimples, was that I was blushing on every possible and impossible occasion.
“My name is Ekaterina,” I answered, while wondering what on earth Dima saw in me, as the look on the faces of his two fellow girlfriends was suggesting that they were asking exactly the same question, and not in a very pleasant way. “Voudriez-vous diner avec moi ce soir?” the eyes of Dima were really too close to mine this time.
I blushed. The thing was … I didn’t understand a word of what Dima had said. In perfect French. I was so blown away by his intense stare that it didn’t occur to me that I should also use my brain and my ears.
            “Fuck!!!!” was my answer in perfect Russian, when I noticed the name of the metro stop. “I missed my station!”
And without giving it an additional, mature, balanced thought I literally jumped from the train.
And only on the platform seeing the departing train and Dima in the train looking (sadly?) at me did the meaning of his sentence entered my teenage brain. “Would you like to have a dinner with me tonight?”

Below is the picture from my modelling session. I suppose I did get something from that day. Fucked up in the love sphere, but having gotten rid of my pimples. Well, sort of…