Sunday, September 23, 2007

Writing an essay to start a new year…

Âme qui entre dans le monde
All the images represented in today's blog are by Mr. Robert Laporte
Today was a nice day. Tanya got the weekend off for a change. She has a funky schedule which changes from week to week and she only gets to find out her days of f on Sundays. This sort of makes it hard to plan but as she had today free we went up to the dacha to make a little BBQ party. . Most everything has already been taken so there is not a whole lot left to do. I guess you could say that today was our harvest party. This is not to say that we had all that much of a harvest. We didn't plant as much as we normally would and the weather was crap all year; too much rain and the water never did drain off. There is a double whammy on this combination and I don't know really if we had done the right thing or not. True, most of what we grew turned out badly which makes us smart for not planting. But then again, because we didn't plant so much, weather or no weather there wasn't anything much to look forward to. Our beans were great though. I put up a fence especially for them and without too much fussing we grew enough for maybe 50 great soups. We also got a few watermelons this year which was very cool and our hot peppers, though not very large, were very tasty. And we had enough lettuce to keep us in leafy green vitamins, so all of this was fine and worth the effort of digging and weeding. But other than this and the golf course and transplanting the strawberries, there was not much of a harvest to speak of. And of course, there were hardly any apples.

But a day off on a Sunday is a day off on a Sunday so we made a party today. In the morning we took the carrots, our only real work of the day. I don't know how much; maybe 50 kilos. A lot of them were a bit spoiled from growing in too-wet earth for the summer. The work only took an hour and after that, we made a fire and dropped a couple of steaks on the grill. On the side we fried up some potatoes and carrots and boiled some small cabbage heads and ate like kings outside in the sunshine. For desert we had a couple of slices from the last remaining watermelon and that was that. It didn't really have a great party mood to it as it was only Tanya, Anya and I, but the food was very, very nice and making it was no particular burden. After that we picked a few stray apples, cleaned up and after swatting a few rotten carrots with my 55 degree Ram/Tom Watson sand wedge, we trudged off to the bus for a too-long ride home.


The blog this weekend was turned over to the story of Uri Star and his quest to be reunited with his son. I thought the story was really interesting but I was not prepared for the responses I got and specifically from Bob LaPort or from Steve. I have been away from America for a while and I guess I had forgotten about how awful the issues are between the men and the women. I have my relationship with Tanya and we have our daughter and Egor and without talking too much about any overly personal issues, we do what we do and for sure, none of it, the good or the bad is anything too complicated. But Laport's as-of-that-moment cry of outrage that he would be straight away losing his job and his family really hit home. G-d help the man, right? However, when I followed the link he offered which was supposed to tell his story inm French, what I found was a collection of his paintings represented on the arts2win website. Interesting marketing ploy. Now, this is not to say that the story is not true; it might very well be true. But the basic fact is that if you follow his lead, you end up looking at his paintings and not reading about the issue of his losing his job and family. So the obvious question is: Have we been had? I myself don't really know except to say that I am probably guilty of this same sort of diversion tactic. I mean, I make a website about Poland screwing me over and then present my brilliant prose and insights about the beautiful and interesting Republic of Belarus right along side just to cloud up the issues. So you know, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. But the paintings were pretty cool. I don't know if Yuri Start would think so at the moment. He might say that Robert LaPort blatantly lying about his life so as to generate some advertising for his paintings to be excessively tactless and insensitive but hey; what kind of world do we living in anyway, right?

I think I better write and ask him about this. I might have missed something.


Océan d'évolution
Another bit of strangeness came off of the web for me recently. If you have been reading the BHTimes, you might have run across a Russian language blog I have been featuring from a lady who goes by the pseudonym Sammy. Now I found Sammy's live journal through Google blog search and not by word of mouth or because I know her. I in fact have never met the woman, I just thought that I liked her writing style and because she was from here I decided to follow her. I had also never written in and commented until last week when I noticed that it was her birthday. So thinking this was the right time to introduce myself, and because I had covered her already perhaps five or six times, I sent along the message;

    Happy Birthday Sammy!!
    Congratulations on your birthday and many happy returns. And also, thank you for producing such a fine and thoughtful blog for us all. The BEING HAD Times ( has been proud to have followed you.
But what I still do not understand is her response, which was as follows:

    I know, that the answer anywhere - but all the same - it's very pleasant!
    Thanks "robots" and organizers of blogs!
Now, I can understand what she is saying in Russian, and in Russian, the first part is not so weird as it comes out in English. In fact it is a very normal, polite response. She might have even just used a translator program, which is also fine because I wrote to her in English and she might not know English except through a translator program, so like I say; this is not to be sweated. But what I can't get a handle on is whether she is referring to me as a robot> I also don't understand plural reference organizers of blogs. To me this sounds as if she is describing me as being somehow detached from the world. It seems sort of… I don't know, dehumanizing. And Belarus is not such a big country and the internet community is also not very big and I have been doing this for a long time so I don't think I would have been completely unknown to her. But what concerns me is this: Is this my reputation in Minsk? I understand that I am not much of a social entity in Minsk. I never particularly go to Minsk to hang out and I live in Pinsk which is at least five hours by bus or train. This is not to say that I wouldn't be social, it is just that I have never, ever had an extra penny in my pocket over the last several years to go and spend for a weekend in Minsk and since Poland screwed away my face (and broke me financially, I haven't had anything to even back myself up socially. I mean, would you like to be known as a pariah? Given a choice between being seen as an intelligent and decent person with a social conscious or as a fool who can't even muscle up to buy a new friend a beer, which would you choose?

So ok, according to this, I am socially out of the loop as far as the capital goes. And what? It's true. What can I say? But why am I a robot?

I am probably taking this the wrong way and probably nothing was meant here or it was just lost in the translation. In any case, I am not going to lose too much sleep over this. And also I didn't write her back and ask what this meant because this was her birthday and picking a potential argument on someone's special day is not my style. But I need to find out more about this. In the meantime, please do check out her blog…err… live journal because for one thing, it is really good and for another, there are a lot of other Belarusian live journalers who write in who also have interesting things to say and to show. Not political! and maybe this is the best thing about it; just people living their lives in Minsk and taking the time, just like any other bloggers in any other country, to write a little something about it.

More soon…