Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dan on Russian soil -- kinda

I ended up at a cocktail party at the Russian consulate in San Francisco, which is -- according to international law -- technically sovereign Russian territory. I'm sure this doesn't stop Uncle Sam from bugging the holy crap out of the place, but hey, this is international relations. Of all the reasons for a cocktail party at the Casa de Putin, this was a party thrown by a Russian videogame company.

The consulate was full of miniature CIS flags and dour-looking diplomats in horribly bad suits. These guys all looked straight out of central casting; if you'd challenged me to pick the seven guys who were consulate diplomats out of the 100 people present at the party, I swear to God that I would've successfully picked all seven out of the lineup. Not that they made it hard for us; in a crowd of videogame-industry people, these Kremlin apparatchiks stood out like priests at a porn convention.

The comrades seemed genuinely delighted to be hosting a cocktail party with videogame folks. After all, their usual parties must be dismally dull affairs filled with semiconductor salesmen and trade representatives and the like. On this night, there were hot rent-a-blondes milling about and computer games to be played. Talk about diplomacy! And nothing warms the heart like seeing a Russian bureaucrat in a bad suit having the time of his life playing a racing game with a life-size steering wheel.

Passing by the security checkpoint where a grim young dude was stationed, I was tempted to walk up to him and say, "I wish to defect -- the knowledge I possess could advance the Soviet videogame industry by ten years." But I couldn't work up the nerve to try out the joke.

When I left the party, I was presented with an actual Russian babushka hat to keep as a gift. That's some hospitality! These guys aren't so bad...and watching their faces light up at the sight of videogames makes me wonder what that whole Cold War thing was all about anyway.


Rob said...

Next blog photo: Mr. 8XU wearing new babushka hat.

You owe it to your public.

Rannie said...

I second Rob.

Sarah said...

Diplomatic relations demand it.

rakiel said...

LOL - you can just wear the hat the next time you come home son.

Casa de Putin - :) :) - hey eventually the old guard of russian pre-boomers and early baby boomers gotta retire or die just like their american counterparts - then, nobody will remember what the hell the Cold War was all about...

First great equalizer was TV; then the internet; now video games. Imagine, foreign relations based on those funny little baseball players .... gotta love it. capitalism at work.

Brotherman said...

We do need to see the hat, but only after you're deep into a 1/5 of vodka, and don't be smiling.

I'll let you in on a little secret. The cold war was about fear. I still can't figure out how the F@*! I could be 30. I was certain as a kid that I would be incinerated by WWIII. I suppose I should be grateful to the Reagan administration for allowing me to live a lawless youth, living every day as if it were my last.
Oh and priests at a porn convention, who else do you think goes to those.
I've been a bit preoccupied with moving, work and water boarding myself with alchohol but now that I'm settled and back to smoke( for sanity's sake) I have posted comments to last few blogs in case you've missed my perspective.

Daniel Morris said...

Your perspective is always missed, Brotherman. I know the feeling, I've been neck-deep in it myself lately.

Miss Z's Classroom said...

Arrow - - your perspective is ONLY to be missed. And since when did you ever think of things like WWIII, that's our older bro's department.

Dan, hat, on, posted, now. OOOOH...take it to Paris with you, and wear it in your obligatory photo under the Eiffel Tower, and THEN post it. Sweet.

Pickled Northern said...

Damn, I wish it were that easy over here to pick out the Russian dips. Everyone including me has a bad suit, so no luck there. There are basically two things to look for. First are the brown stains on their noses from having their heads so far up the asses of anybody they think is important enough to warrant some official attention.

Second is the arrogance directed toward everyone else. All that Gazprom wealth and ultra nationalism has got them strutting around humming the old CCCP national anthem again. The Red Army might not be what it used to be, but the special services never downsized after the cold war. Just a rebranding. Half those diplomats would probably love to cut you a deal on your source code. :)