People, when I say “MRA” I refer to folks who call themselves “Men’s Rights Advocates.”

I never write about the NRA because I have absolutely no knowledge about it.

Steam Has to Go

I don’t understand why it’s so hard to give away a really kick-ass Steam account for free. Come on, folks, help a fellow out, just take it. Here is a more detailed announcement:

I am giving away my Steam account with the following games:
Black Ops I
Black Ops II with all four map packs
Metro 2033
Supreme Commander 2
James Cameron’s Avatar
What you need to do:
1) Login into this Yahoo email account:
Password:  DoNotCamp777   (case-sensitive)
If it doesn’t work, it means someone already got the account.
2) Change the email’s password.
3) Find Steam online and install it on your PC.
4) Login into the following Steam account:
Login: niktuz
Password: same as for the email
5) Because you are logging in from a new computer, Steam will send a verification code to the Yahoo email above.
6) After you enter the verification code, change the Steam password as well.
7) GLHF!

A Confused Armored Vehicle

All of a sudden, I’m a person with a house, a mortgage, a driver’s license, and a car. And it’s not just any car either (details to follow).

This is too much in too short a period of time. It’s too confusing, and I haven’t had the time to process it.

“Congratulations! You have now moved into a different social class!” an American friend announced with a look of extreme satisfaction after I drove her to look at The Hedgehogs. I went to the bathroom and threw up. And I concealed it from her because I didn’t want to make my utter terror public .

When I moved into my current rented townhouse I thought it was the height of luxury. I had never lived in such an enormous space. It had two floors and household appliances I had never even seen before. I laughed for a week about the weirdness of having a dishwasher. I’m not one of the people who have dishwashers. I never wanted to be one of these people. A dishwasher is one of these completely superfluous, weird items that make me feel like a spoiled princess. And not in a good way.

And now I’m moving into an even more luxurious lifestyle. I’m freaked out beyond what I can tell you. I even have a gym membership now. To two different gyms! People say I now need to buy a parking spot on campus. I’m also hearing that the neighbors in The Hedgehogs’ subdivision are dying to meet me. They might even bring pies (or is it just something I have seen on TV? Does this happen in real life?), and the idea freaks both me and N out enormously. And what are you supposed to do when people bring you pies? I can emigrate twice, get divorced and remarried, raise a teenager, have 4 part-time jobs at the same time,  deal with having -4$ in my checking account and no savings account at all, but I have never dealt with friendly neighbors who want to know my name, and that shit is scary when you have to face it at 38.

I’m a proletarian by nature. Wherever I go, I always pick the most low-class place to patronize by instinct, and I love it. I like people who take buses, I get them, they get me. I like having dinner at 5 pm. I’m terrified of the very concept of coffee-tables and having a formal dining room (which I will never have, unless I’m sentenced to do so by a court of law, believe me.) These middle-class Americans confuse me. I mean, they are great people, but I’m so different from them. They go to church, and they pay for horse-riding and tennis lessons. This is just freaky.

I’m scared, I’m confused. I’m disturbed by this talk of retirement accounts and mortgages. I feel the need to make some spaghetti and eat them with my hands just to reaffirm my low-class identity. And I don’t even want any spaghetti. Plus I’m working hard not to develop Type II diabetes, and how middle-class is that?

I don’t even recognize myself any longer! I look in the mirror and I see a stranger. She has a husband, a banker, a psychoanalyst, a handyman, and actual jewelry. And she prefers to stay at home and read to going out to a bar, and that’s just not normal. I don’t even have a favorite bar any longer and I barely ever drink.

And you know what? I worked so hard on moving on and not being the me who is shiftless, messy, poor, irresponsible, debt-ridden, profligate, spontaneous, lazy, and freaky but now that I achieved my goal, I’m terrified of letting her go. It wasn’t all bad. She had some really good times, and it’s very hard to accept that it’s time to let her go.

I spent the entire night walking around the house, crying and trying to accept that it’s OK to let her go because I’m not that person any longer. I don’t do any of the things she used to, but it’s still hard, it’s too hard.

As a Russian-language novel I like says, “enjoy the unusual experience of seeing an armored vehicle in a state of utter confusion.”

Your favorite armored vehicle is in a state of utter confusion right now.

My People

Somebody wrote an email to me the other day that I found curious and wanted to respond to it publicly. Here is the relevant bit (quoted with the author’s permission, of course):

You are brilliant, that goes without saying, and fascinating, too. But, God, if I may say so and I hope you don’t take it the wrong way, but how can people tolerate to be around you? You are so radical, and manichaean, everything is just black and white with you. People must be terrified of saying something wrong and have you tear into them!

Yes, it’s true. People often say they are afraid of me. But they are wrong.

I always subdivide everybody into “my people” and “not my people.” The moment I decide that somebody is one of “my people”, that’s it, there will never be any more criticism or judgment of them, ever. “My people” can do nothing wrong. They can espouse any political beliefs, lead any lifestyle, do anything, say anything, have any opinion they want of me, but I will always be on their side, loyal as a dog.

It’s usually a very small thing that convinces me that somebody is “my people.” And it works the same way in real life and here on the blog. I can rant and rave against somebody, but then they say something that makes me decide they are “my people”, and that’s it. The ranting and the judgment end that moment. I’m still me, so I will argue and debate, but “my people” don’t get banned.

Sometimes, the recognition is immediate. Sometimes, it takes years or even decades for me to decide that he or she is “my people.” It might take something really enormous for me to see somebody this way. But it can also be a tiny little thing.

If I believe that one of “my people” is really messing up, I will speak to him or her about it. I will be very direct and say exactly what I think but I will only do it once. If I see that what I have to say is not welcome, I will never repeat it. I will never even think it, so people don’t have to fear a constant pitying or judging stare from me.

Of course, it is possible to fall out of the “my people” group but you really need to try because it’s not very easy to do. I had a very close friend, for instance, who let me down in a big way. And then did it two more times. I’m not Jesus, so the third time was it. There weren’t any scenes or big proclamations, I just moved her into the category of “not my people” inside my own mind, and that was the end of it. But then we met several years later and when we were saying good-bye, I saw tears in her eyes. And she was back on the list of “my people” immediately.

I hope this will help clarify things for those who keep asking me, “But why do you keep tolerating this guy on your blog when he’s such a jerk?”, “Why do you keep hanging out with her when she is such a loser?”,  and “After everything she’s done you are still not even capable of criticizing her?” I do it because they are “my people.” And that’s just how it is.