Tuesday, Apr. 17, 2007 - 5:37 p.m.

Virginia Tech, a reminder

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The tragic events that transpired yesterday at Virginia Tech, and what we later learned today about the shooter and his apparent macabre and violent writings, reminded me of something that happened, or rather more importantly DIDN'T happen in Houston several years ago.  Back in 1992 I worked a contract position at Marathon Oil on the Sakhalin Island Feasibility Study project.  It was the perfect opportunity for me being just out of college with a Russian degree, and wanting exposure and work relating to that area of the world.  I did work with several Russians, many of whom were expats over here for the project, and many were residents of the US who had emigrated from the Soviet Union.  There was one man who worked as a translator and interpreter who I will (unfortunately) never forget.  I am only going to write his first name here as I would hate for him to do a search of himself and and find his name mentioned here, because to put it frankly, he scares me.  His first name is Fabian and his last name starts with a V.  You can see his full name in the links I will provide in this entry.

I will say one positive thing about him in that he provided me an excellent opportunity to practice my spoken Russian skills and was actually very complimentary of the progress I made during my tenure at Marathon.  But all niceties will end there.  He was, for all intents and purposes a wacko. He emigrated to the US in the 80's from Moscow, and had been a university student here for a while.   I had once asked him about himself and he replied that he was a doctoral candidate in History at the University of Houston and when I replied with a genuinely interested query as to the topic of his thesis, he very rudely, snidely, and condescendingly retorted that it was too complicated and complex for me to understand.  Well, turns out he was having a bit of a problem completing his dissertation, but was instead writing an epic poem.  Since I don't want to include his full name, just scroll down in the article link I have enclosed to this headline:  "DEATH POEM HITS HOME IN HISTORY DEPT."  I worked with this man.  Yes, yes I did.  Fortunately he never acted on his lunatic rantings.  I saw him several years later and recognized him.  Fortunately, he didn't recognize me.

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