Tuesday, February 03, 2004



I am sitting here at the internet today one computer to the right from my normal position. Computer five crashed again this morning, some permanent fault in the C drive I guess. This would be about the fifth time the computer with my things on it went down taking everything I had saved there with it.
I don’t even feel the pain any more. I mean, it makes it all somewhat more inconvenient than it would have been, but it is not like I lost anything. Everything of value is elsewhere now, this lesson long ago learned.
It is hard to describe what it is like working with some sense of urgency and seriousness on a public computer. Little things that most wanna be writers would take for granted these days, such as privacy or quiet, must be simply unthought-of. But, what can I do?
I spend a lot of time at the computer. There are four regular young ladies who police the place during its working hours. Today Ira and Leanna are here. Leanna is obviously the sharp one should you think such things are important. Nadia and Alina will be working other shifts. Sveta, an older lady recently left for other employment. I have no problem with that development if you catch my drift, and Sergei, oft mentioned in connection with previous and relentless computer failures, is also gone now some five months.
I guess is going along with the wake like mood surrounding the current death of my computer there is no music today. Usually there is a group of perhaps 15 songs which they play here without change over and over, day after day. Billy Joel has sung for me about “Honesty” about 200 times. This one redundant disco song:

Its about your lips
Its about your kiss
And the way your body’s moving
Its about your style
You drive me wild
With the sexy things your doing
Come and dance with me tonight
It will make you feel alright
You’ll be my Casanova!!

I have heard about 200 times too many. And there are a selection of Russian pop songs like:

Ya ne magoo bez tebya… (I can’t do it without you)
Ya ne magoo… bez tebya, (I just cannot do it... without you)
Ya-nye-ma-goo… beztebyaaaaaa. (I-just-can’t-do- it…. whithoutyou)
Ya nye magooooooo bez tebya! (I just can’t doooooo it without you!)

You get the idea.

Generally, as I am doing now, I prepare the essay of the day first, before I check my mail. Usually I have made notes about what I am going to say the night before; I don’t sleep very well, so I do this along with studying Russian or music on a blanket on the floor under a desk lamp. Lately, before I turn on the internet I have also been prepping the court essays for blogging as well as the re-edits for the individual pages to reflect overall changes. When this is all done I open the internet and check my mail. This is not just choice you know; there is a difference in price between computer time with the internet and without so I try to do as much without as I can so as to keep the cost to a minimum. You always keep the costs to a minimum here.
When I do open the internet, I generally open three to five windows at the same time to try to move things along. The Russian server is to blame for this in that the pages don’t turn over so quickly, so doing five things at once allows me to keep moving. If I have a lot of mail, I copy everything onto a Word page and answer them with the internet off. I also prepare my mailing lists at this time, finding potential places to write to. I write all of my responses with the internet off and then try to send off all of the outgoing and upload the Blog stuff all at one time.
Including any other on-line business I might have, it takes three to four hours a day to do all of this.
It used to be about an hour a day but now it is more. I worry a lot about money.
I knew what I was doing when I started all of this. I knew that I would not be looking at a gold mine here in Belarus in the bike business. I wasn’t thinking about anything like that. But I was thinking about what my days would be like and that there would be a little more money to help out the family, to support the relationship. That was what I had wanted to be doing here. That, and doing my writing thing for the theatre here.
Bikes and theatre.
The theatre never makes plays anymore. They did a Chekov for Ivan Inaovich’s 50th birthday. The played “Uncle Vanya” twice, Ivan Ivanovich himself waxing poetic center-stage about being fifty and impotent. But there is nothing new coming out. And of course they were too busy to play Pod Kablukom half a year ago. One play in six months. I don’t need to say any more about them.
I went to the bike school with Egor yesterday afternoon. Egor was invited to work out with the junior bike club if he wants to. The clubhouse was really alive yesterday when we got there. There were more kids than usual and everyone seemed to be going to work for the first time. I guess that yesterday was the first day of spring training. Everybody was very competitive and serious. They pulled the bikes down from the walls and everybody did some time riding on rollers; the 30-year old bikes suddenly becoming again the lightweight racing machines they had been built to be so long ago. Maxim and Alexander, the two most dedicated riders of the club were both red faced in concentration as they practiced their cadence, spinning in place for half an hour. Sergei was barking orders to the young ones and Kolia, stop watch in hand, was fine tuning the riders like a sculptor smoothing rough edges with his gentle hands. I quickly tried to put together a bike for the rollers for Egor, his legs yet too short for the available machines. I know the bench at the bike club well, but the lack of good tools and the age of the bikes make the working very difficult. I pulled a front wheel off of one bike, ripped out the useless left brake whose cable would have clogged the front wheel, manually set the deraileurs for a light gear and pumped the tires. His legs were still too short even with the saddle all the way forward. There was no work for him to do. Tough day for the kid. No sympathy from the other bikers. Had to explain what had happened to him on the bus back across town.
Tanya and I have a small project going on and she reported to me her phone contacts when she got home after 7:30. The boy had Russian and English to do for homework and I was helping him study when she came home;

The father duck goes to take a swim
The mother duck comes along with him
Seven ducklings all nice and clean
Come out from the water where they had been…

Dinner was spaghetti and cabbage. I ate a little brown bread and raw onion with mine. I poured a little oil and vinegar over my noodles and mixed some juice from a jar of bottled plums into a liter jar of cold water for something to drink.
After diner I wrote my notes for this morning including a poem I am not going to print here today, watched some TV and went to bed at about 9:30 or so.

Ah… they finally started the music here this morning. It was so nice without it.

“Honesty, is such a lonely word
Most of it is so untrue
Honesty, is hardly ever heard
And is mostly what I want from you-oooo…”

Got to go shopping today after I am done here. We need oil, some sandwich meat, eggs, garlic, some beets (for me), perhaps only a kilogram of onions and some crème. I will also get two kilos of apples and some bananas or mandarins for the table. Spending this money is going to hurt, but what choice is there? I mean, you gotta eat, right?
After that I will go back to the bike club this afternoon.

That’s about all I want to say today.