pole tricks for fun and profit

Yesterday a bunch of my friends and i went down to the candid club. It’s a bikini bar in a crappy strip mall in Sunnyvale. We didn’t go there to gawk at half naked girls… instead we came to visit Helen who had just gotten a job there. well, ok, maybe we were hoping to do a bit of gawking, but it was much more of a “whoa! i cant believe someone i know works here!” kind of gawking, and not the drool running down the face lecherous old man kind of gawking.

Let me tell ya, the candid club is no fancy artsy strip club. it’s a hole in the wall. tiny, dark, dingy… it’s just a small room with a few (5 or 6) scattered dudes sitting all alone at tables. honestly the whole place just looked… sad. and then we saw helen. holy shit. so umm… this wasn’t the same helen that we’ve know for years. First off, she looked incredibly tall on her 8 inch high heels. Second off, she was wearing next to nothing. And then to top it off, she had just gotten double D implants which you just couldn’t help but notice.

The next hour was spent with all of us crowding around helen asking her hundreds of questions. personal questions. questions about salaries, bouncers, operations, pole tricks, and everything in between. i mean, i’m sure everyone has questions in their mind about strippers and boobjobs and other crazy shit that they will probably never find out the answers to. well, now was everyone’s chance to find out. so the questions poured out, and helen fielded ’em all. boobs were poked to determine firmness. basically it was all pretty crazy… but then…

helen went onstage. dude, this was when things got even weirder. so now, we’re all sitting around the stage watching… and everyone totally felt so weird. i mean, we wanna watch.. that’s why we’re here. but at the same time.. we so don’t want to watch!! it’s so uncomfortable. we can’t figure out, do we laugh, do we not laugh, do we look, not look, pay attention, not pay attention?? just what is the protocol for this situation? so, the thing is helen wants to be watched. that’s why she got the job. she loves it. she wants the attention, the stares, all of it. and yet… when someone you’ve know as a friend for over 7 years shoves her dental floss covered ass towards your face… you cant help but feeling like you really really just should *not* be seeing this.

after helen’s performance, we all chat briefly and then leave. whatta crazy night! we all wonder how long she’s gonna keep at this. It’s weird… people always think of strippers as sad sad girls who got forced into the trade trying to escape total poverty. but that’s really not the case here. helen has another job that pays her well, is well educated, etc etc. she’s just stripping cause she loves it. she looked so psyched up there. totally ecstatic to be doing what she does. i guess we’ll see what happens next….

-v

russia!!!

my trip to russia has been way fun so far. it’s my third day here and we just got to st petersburg today. the last 2 days we’ve spent in moscow. let me tell ya, russia is a crazy place. we’ve been rushing everywhere trying to see as much as we can in what little time we had. it’s such a trip to be back here and see the place that i’m from. everywhere i go people are speaking russian and it’s a trippy feeling to be able to hear that.

anyways… here are some random thoughts/happenings form the last few days:

In moscow, the main thing to go see is the Kremlin and the red square. we saw it the very first night that we arrived and then kept going there over and over for various reasons over the next 2 days. even though i’ve seen many many photos and pictures of it before, it was pretty unreal to see it live. st basils cathedral totally looks like something you’d only see in a fairy tale. in front of the kremlin is lenin’s tomb. dude, there is something way eerie about a huge mob of people walking around a room and staring at a dead body in a clear casket. i guess there’s some debate as to whether the body is really lenin or whether it’s just a wax replica. as you walk thru the room, all the armed guards glare and reprimand you if you speak or put your hands in your pockets.

actually, the police i russia are pretty damned scary. there’s people in a variety of different uniforms (police, camouflage, armed guard, you name it) all over the damn place. they do everything they possible can to make you feel really unwelcome. our first night there we got stopped by the police, who proceeded to ask us for our passports. now these cops weren’t like the cops back home…. they had submachine guns on strap around their shoulders and huge metal batons i their hands. dude, it was wayy scary. i think they were trying to get us to bribe them, but my dad never caught on so we ended up just being let go eventually.

Ã’h yeah, we sw a communist protest outside the red square. all these old people running around waving USSR flags and shouting. i found it pretty ironic that these people were protesting and asking for a government that would never allow anyone to protest. i was talking to my dad about it and actually it’s a pretty sad situation. all these people who lived their whole lives under communism… working for a cause that they believed in until they became old, should be receiving a pension now. but because communism ended, all of them are left w/ nothing and all these old people just have to beg in the streets for food.

The food here is super cheap. ridiculously cheap actually. the first meal we had came out to 4$ total for 3 people’s worth of food including beer! most of the food we’ve been eating (pirogis etc) comes form these street vendors and each item costs like a dollar or so. coke here costs 50 cents, beer is 60 cents. bottles of vodka are only $3!! oh, and they’ve got beer here that puts american 40 ouncers to shame. they’ve got 2.5 liter beer bottles! and they are only 1.50! unfortunately so far i’ve been way too jetlagged and tired to do much drinking so i havent bee able to make the most of this awesome situation.

So, nobody here wears shorts. i mean nobody. i think i’ve only seen like 9 people wearing shorts this whole time.. and i assume they were tourists. it’s actually pretty interesting to see how people are dressed here. the over 30 crowd dresses really plain and boring using a lot of drab colors. as far a the under 30 people: guys wear either jeans or slacks w/ dress shirts…. girls wear either super tight jeans, or shirt skirts and reveal as much skin as they possibly can. oh, and i havent seen a single girl wearing sneakers… only either open toed shoes or these insanely pointy high heeled shoes.

anyways there is tons more i want to write…. but my time on the net is running out. hopefully i’ll be able to add more tomorrow.

-vlad

russians lag…

i’ve totally noticed that every russian i know lags hella bad. they are always late to everything! i guess this doesn’t apply only to my friends…. cause when i got to the airport to catch my flight on aeroflot, they said the plane would be late. not just a little late. but 6 hours late!! sheeeez! so now it’s already 7pm, my flight should have left 2 hours ago, but instead i’m still back at home trying to kill time. *sigh*

-vlad

back to the motherland….

In two days i’m taking a 9 day trip back to russia. It’s hard to even begin to describe the excitement that i’m feeling. My parents took me out of russia when i was only 3 years old, and i have never been back since.

It’s weird. I’ve lived pretty much my whole life here, 23 years, and yet still i totally feel a strong connection to the country in which i was born. Even though i don’t really do russian activities, or talk in russian very often, i still definitely feel that i have this core russian-ness about me. I just feel that in so many ways, i really understand russian people. i know where they are coming from…. what their mindset is. And yeah, granted, pretty much all of the russians i know are also pretty americanized…. but there’s still this weird common bond that all of us have.

It’s gonna be so weird to all of a sudden be somewhere where *everybody* has that common bond. every person i see will have that same core and inner culture that around here i see so rarely. i’ll be hearing russian spoken everywhere. i’ll be eating russian food… and seeing russian sights. i’ll be totally immersed in it all.

It’s always nice in life when you can connect w/ people about your past. for instance, pretty much everyone i know now used to go to raves, and on a certain level we can all connect in that way. we all shared a certain lifestyle, certain experiences, and music together.. and because of that there’s this common feeling that we all have. even if i met someone i didn’t know, who used to go to parties, i’m sure we could have some great conversation and bond over past experiences that we shared… even though we didn’t share those experiences together. in that same way, i feel like there are so many russian past experiences that i share w/ millions of people that i don’t get to reflect on quite as often. and now here’s my chance. a dream come true…..

-vlad

am i a sucker?

i was driving thru a parking lot today when the car in front of me suddenly comes to a halt and then proceeds to just sit there like a dumbass for 2 minutes. as i’m getting more and more annoyed by this, the car then just backs straight into my car!! great. just fucking great. so we both park, and as i’m checking out the new large scratch on my car, the lady in the other vehicle just gets out of her car… and starts calmly walking away as if nothing happened! WTF!! i was *so* pissed!

so i yell at her to come back and start yelling about how she hit my car, and what the hell she thinks she’s doing etc etc. at this point she starts trying to say that the scratch i’m pointing at is old and that she didn’t make it. Luckily, there was a witness on the scene who saw the whole thing and confirmed that it was her fault. then she tries to say that if it was her car that made the scratch, why does her car have no damage? but, we walk around to the back of her car and sure enough, the back of her car is scratched up too. So as it stands, i’m right, she’s obviously dead wrong, and i’m also flaming pissed that she’s been trying to weasel her way out of this.

but then

she hands me a hundred, and starts begging me not to report it and gives me this whole sob story of how she’s only a lowly housekeeper and has no money and just cant afford to get in trouble for this. i start to say how 100 just isn’t gonna cut it… but then she just starts begging me and pleading w/ me. fuck. now what? so i stand there looking at this middle aged woman, with her thick accent and old beater car.. and all i can think is.. what if it’s true? what if she’s just some poor immigrant w/ a shitty job, barely scraping by, cleaning houses so she can support her family. meanwhile i’m on a break from my high-paying silicon valley tech job, driving an acura, and living the good life. can i really fuck her over just to fix a dumb scratch on my car? what’s the scratch worth to me? what’s the guilt worth to me?

the whole time that i’m thinking this, the woman is just muttering “sorry” over and over and begging more and more. what can i do? i just couldn’t do anything. i would’ve felt horrible. so i say fine and leave.

driving away… all i could think was as to whether or not she was telling the truth. was it all a lie? was she just pretending to be poor and win me over cause i’m such a sucker? who knows? i guess i’ll never know.

-vlad

ducky car….

I’m going to burning man again this year and the group that i’m camping with has actually decided to build something this year. we’re building this art-car that’s going to look like a huge rubber ducky. Not only that, but the car is going to be covered w/ small toy rubber duckies so it’ll basically end up a huge duck made out of smaller ones. It’s pretty exciting to be involved in an art project of this scale. I can’t wait to finally get it out to the playa and drive it around.

I’m including a few photos we took last night of the car. I know it looks like we’ve hardly made any progress, but keep in mind that a lot of parts of the project have been built, but just not attached yet…

-vlad

i hate cingular

i absolutely despise cingular. i signed up for a 1 year contract w/ them last year and have been counting down the days to finally end my service. they are the absolute *worst* cell phone provider of all time. my reception totally sucks and my calls are dropped every damn day. every single person who i’ve ever talked to that’s experienced cingular says the same thing too… “they suck!!”. in fact, they’re even getting sued now cause they suck so bad. sheez! so today i finally switched back to verizon. thank god! no more cingular for me. phew.

-vlad

popcorn anti-theater

i went on popcorn anti-theater w/ steph last night. it was soo fun! Basically, it’s wacky theater on wheels. you get on a bus, and they drive you to several totally random locations around the bay area where you get to see random bizarre performance art. Also there are performers on the bus that do crazy stuff the whole time too. By theater, they don’t mean hamlet and shit, it’s more like psychotic randomness. for instance:
at one stop the performers stood in front of a hotel and ended up waking up the hotel guests by singing songs about masturbation thru a megaphone.
at another stop, all of the people on the bus got to try out either shooting a real flamethrower or throwing molotov cocktails.
at another stop a performer plays dead kennedys punk tunes on an accordion.
at another there is some random puppet show about killing babies and eating sausage. total insanity.

The whole thing is such an adventure. you never know where you’re gonna end up next or what they’ll do (or make you do) next! Oh, and the whole time while you’re on the bus… everyone is getting completely drunk as hell, passing around beer, liquor, weed, etc. The popcorn crew do this once a month and every time they come up with a completely new show. i can’t wait to go to another one.

-vlad

love letters

I’ve been getting a lot of love letters in the mail recently. sometimes 2 or 3 of them roll in per day. Unfortunately, these letters are from the Washington Mutual Bank. see, washington mutual loves me a lot. they can’t get enough of me…. and each of their letters tells me of a new $18 overdraft fee. I hate Washington mutual.. and i wish i could just end my relationship with them. Unfortunately, i need them in my life, and just wont leave.

-vlad

to journal or not to journal?

so i’ve had this journal for a few weeks now. as you can see, it’s still completely empty. i’ve been trying to decide whether or not i really want to write in this. i mean, do i really want my private thoughts etc left on the internet for everyone to read?? anyways, i finally promised heather that i’d put in at least just one post. especially since she went out of her way to get me that little code. so here it is. my first post!! exciting eh?

-vlad