Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No Mullets, Please

From, the blog that goes with the Spanish video learning program:

How do I say, “Please Don’t Give Me a Mullet” in Spanish?

If you’re like me, you are already panicked before you even walk
in to the front door of a salon.  On that dreadful day, I have
visions of walking out of the hairdresser in Spain looking as if
I’ve played on a Canadian hockey team for years. Yeah, the mullet after four years is still going strong, and is still unattractive as ever!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Chavez Watch: More Nationalization

With all the election coverage, this is getting lost:

Chavez takes over biggest gold mine in Venezuela: minister

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's
government will take over and nationalize La Cristinas, the biggest
gold mine in the country owned by Canada's Crystallex, Mining Minister
Rodolfo Sanz said Wednesday.

The move is part of leftist Chavez's
socialist agenda that calls for nationalizing Venezuela's natural
resources. Over the past year, he has taken over the electricity, oil,
steelmaking, cement and telephone enterprises

"This mine will be seized and managed by a state administration," Sanz said in a statement.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


So I've been living here a year now, and my Spanish is coming along so-so. I can have a general conversation, which is good, but I must say I am learning slower than I should because I am not immersed in it all day. that said, I've found some online resources to help me out:


It has some great features, like a "slow" button an a built in dictionary. You can click on any word and the definition appears n the right. What's more, it has videos specifically with an Argentine accent. $10 a month subscription.


The lessons look like they are pretty new, and for beginner beginners. But they are free. There is also a forum, grammar reference, and chat.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

October 2, 2008: Shakespearean Candidates - Stephen Greenblatt

Clip from the Colbert Report comparing the presidential candidates to Shakespearean characters.


(I tried to embed the clip, but it doesn't seem to be working. Click on the link above.)

Odd disco craze: Free boob jobs

Argentine discotheques are trying a novel approach to attract more
clients -- young women in particular -- to their dance floors: a door
prize with the winner getting free breast-enhancement surgery.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Argentine farmers resume protests

Here we go again....

Farmers in Argentina are resuming nationwide protests against the
government over what they say is its inadequate support for them.

They want economic concessions for smaller farms, and say they will
suspend grain exports and limit the export of beef for the next six

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mom's Spanglish Lesson

My mother just got a Spanish dictionary, and has been practicing her Spanish. She called and left this voicemail tonight. You might want to listen to it first and try to figure out what she is saying, and then scroll down:








The towels are in the dryer. (The toallas are in the secadora.)

That is all. Lesson over.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Chavez-Watch: Armed and Dangerous

I know everybody's attention is on the U.S. election and debates, but let's not lose sight of this little tidbit:

Russia offers Chavez $1 billion for weapons


The Kremlin has decided to offer a $1 billion loan for arms purchases
to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is currently on a two-day
swing through Russia aimed at bolstering an already solid relationship
that has caused increasing discomfort in the West.

Link to Article

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I'm reviewing tons of parenting sites for a research project (I know, it's ironic that my work always revolves around children when I'm not going to have any).

Anyway, I found a great Dad Blog: MetroDad:


I recently realized that while the Peanut and I have been spending our afternoons farting on the dog, drawing funny pictures of the neighbors, and pretending to shop at Whole Foods so we can sample the free food, a lot of the other kids in the neighborhood are immersed in after-school activities like gymnastics, swim lessons, tae kwon do, or Super Soccer Stars. Really, I had no idea.

Fitness Check-in

The first week of the push-up challenge is done. I can now do over 10 push-ups in a row. Next week will be a little harder.

I've been consistently losing weight, although I don't have a scale to measure. My clothes are getting looser and looser, though. The Evo-fitness seems to be working. I have been lifting weights a couple of times a week (I wish I could do crossfit, but it doesn't exist here!), and eating a paleo-ish diet. No grains, no beans, little dairy. Just lean meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts, oils. I also have a mini-fast every few days- just eat dinner early and then not eat until about 2:00 the next day. Then I eat a little more later to make up for it.

It's pretty easy to eat this way here in Argentina, if you don't give in to the pizza and empanadas. The meat here is lean (beef is grass-fed), and it's easy to shop every couple of days for fresh fruits and vegetables. I eat very little processed or canned food.

Of course I'm not too strict about the diet- but I try to hit the 80% ratio. Things I've noticed;

  • I no longer have low blood sugar crashes. I get hungry if I don't eat, but it's a hunger that can be tolerated. No lightheadedness, or shakiness.
  • My energy level is generally higher, except the day after workouts, when I need extra sleep.
  • I have trouble digesting big starchy meals now. I no longer want to binge on bread or potatoes, because it just makes me feel bad.
  • Fasting (from 8:00PM to 2:00 Pm the next day) is no big deal- it seems to happen naturally anyway. When I'm not hungry, I don't eat much. When I'm hungry, I eat as much as it takes to satisfy me.
  • My alcohol tolerance is much lower (learned this the hard way)- two glasses of wine MAX. If it's a very long evening, maybe one more. That's it. Otherwise, I'm sick the next day. (This is probably a good thing.)
  • I've been losing fat without a lot of time spent exercising- I workout hard and fast. I walk through the city maybe once or twice a week to do errands, since I have no car.
So far so good.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Challenge

Having a hard time getting motivated to get in shape. Haven't been doing too bad, but because I'm so busy lately, I haven't been very consistent. Saw someone tweet this, and thought it is just the right trick: The 100 push-up challenge. A six week program to build yourself up to do 100 push-ups in a row. Let you know how it goes. Day 1 tomorrow. I know I can do about 8 push-ups in a row right now.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What is feminine?

The last time my hair cut, two porteñas came in when I was just about done, and complimented my haircut (a short bob with bangs.) They said how courageous I was for cutting it short. (And it's a bob- it's not that short.) Why not do the same? I asked. They were afraid it would look unfeminine.

This made me reflect on any differences the perception of femininity between Argentina and the United States. Here are some generalities:

Things considered feminine:

  • Long hair. Below the shoulders. Even the president has long hair.
  • Lots of make-up. Generally, a lot of made up faces here would be considered tacky in the U.S. (At least in the nature-loving areas of California I am used to. Maybe Argentines would fit right in in Dallas...)
  • Revealing shoulders. I see a lot of strapless tops, even on television hosts.
  • Big lips. This is usually considered feminine universally, but here, the plastic surgery is generally unnatural.
Things NOT considered feminine:

  • Sweating at the gym. Seriously, women chat and read magaznes while they are on the eliptical machines, and they lift weights less than five pounds.
  • Drinking. Women don't drink much- and if they do, it has to be a glass of wine or a fruity cocktail- no martinis or whiskey sours. Some of the younger ones drink beer.
Of course there are a myriad number of other differences about being a woman here: despite the fact that there is a woman in the presidential office, the roles women have in society are about thirty years behind the United States. But that is another post.

Think I'll go to the gym with my short haircut, no makeup, sweat a lot, and prove that it doesn't make me manly.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Memoriam

Can Kids do Boolean?

I think so. As long as the concepts are added one at a time, simply. Here is a five-minute tutorial I created about the difference between AND and OR in searching:

At the comisería....

Rob and I have started the process of getting our residency. Need a lot of paperwork gathered together. Apostilled birth certificates, yada yada. We have to get a letter of "good conduct" from the FBI, which requires sending in our fingerprints.

Fingerprints need to be taken by the local police station. So.....

We go to our comisería (the police "headquarters" for our barrio), and have to wait about an hour for the fingerprint person, because he is with smeone who has been detained (or so we are told).

Finally, we are taken through the parking lot, into a tiny back room, where four or five policemen are drinking mate and watching the Simpsons.

The officer takes some equipment out of an old cupboard, rolls ink onto a flat thingy, and has me ink my fingers up. He takes my fingerprints while glancing at the Simpsons to see what's going on and joking with the other officers. Same thing with Rob. Then I have to spend several minutes washing all the ink off my hands in a sink older than Moses.

Talk about OLD SCHOOL!

The last time I had a fingerprint done in the states (passport? driver's license?) I think it was digital. Definitely not int he digital age here. It's ink, paper, and who-do-you-know.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Friday, June 06, 2008

I've Got Music, I've Got (Spanish) Rhythm....

Had a thoroughly good time at Tiempo Gitanos last night. Dinner and a Flamenco show. A little pricey ($65 pesos per person- it's $85 on the weekends), but we learned that we can go and just have tapas instead of dinner in the future.

I love Flamenco. The guitar, singing, and dancing. It's so passionate. The singing has that haunting Arabic influence, the dancing has a gypsy-like influence, and the guitar, is intricate and dramatic at the same time.

It also has a complicated rhythm. Has anyone else noticed that Argentines are not very rhythmic? Tango does have rhythm, but I've noticed that nobody taps their foot, claps their hands, or otherwise visibly marks rhythm to the live music I've seen here. Even in clubs with a pounding beat, young Argentines don't dance much.

Last night, in contrast, the waiters were always clapping or tapping on something. Made me feel less of an outcast as I tapped and clapped along.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Evolutionary Fitness Argentine Style

Somehow, being gone has given me a motivation to get back in shape and get healthy. I've essentially been ignoring my body for the last six months, and I've put on a little padding around my waist. I'm also sluggish a lot.

I've been following Art Devany for quite a while, since I did Crossfit before I left CA. I'm going to start following his suggestions and see what happens. After reading his blog awhile, I think they make a lot of sense.

Eating a paleo-style diet here is easy and difficult at the same time. Easy because there are a lot of fresh ingredients, and a steak/salad combo here is a no-brainer. But it's also hard (at least for now) to ignore the pizzas, empanadas, pastas, etc.

Of course, I'm not completely anal about any diet- I figure I will try for 80% and go from there.

Back Home

I haven't blogged for a while because I have been on a three-week trip to California. What did I notice the most about CA after being gone for six months?

  • Wide open space. LA and San Diego are so spread out, compared to the density of BsAs.
  • People walking around with coffee cups. (Of course, this might change now that Starbucks is here.)
  • More strikingly obese people in CA than BsAs.
  • Efficiency at checkout lines.
  • The beauty of the rolling hills. I took it for granted when I lived there, but after being gone for a while, I realize how beautiful the rolling hills and orange groves are.
  • It's true nobody walks in LA. I went to a restaurant with friends, less than a mile from my friend's house, and we drove. (Of course, my friend was pregnant, so we probably would have driven anyway.) I'll walk a mile in BsAs with no problem, unless the weather is inclement.
    • By the way, I saw two celebrities that night in half an hour- Carson from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and the lady who is in all sorts of stuff, but I remember her as the tall, blond, lesbian companion in Best in Show-- Hollywood is so funny.
All in all, I'm glad to be back. I love the density of the city, the fact that it is getting cold enough to freeze the cockroaches and other bugs into hibernation, and of course, my hubby. :)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Colonia, Uruguay

Image: courtesy of raabenb @ Flickr

Went to Colonia, Uruguay for the weekend. A quaint little village on the mouth of the river. We took the fast boat, which got us there is about an hour.

Couple of lessons for next time:
  • Uruguay uses different plugs than Argentina. Only an hour away, but bring an adapter. (This is why I had to grab a photo from Flickr. Didn't have an adapter to charge camera battery.)
  • Avoid renting a dune buggy to get around. Although it is reminiscent of the Speed Buggy cartoon, it's loud and bumpy. Take a scooter or golf cart.
  • Instead of coming back Sunday night, we had to get an extra night in a hotel so I could empty the contents of my stomach. Not sure if it's the flu or bad food, but I will avoid seafood from a sleepy restaurant next time.
Overall, it's a nice little place for a weekend getaway. And it's true, our passports are stamped for another three months.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Matt Lauer in Buenos Aires

More evidence that Buenos Aires is appearing on the US radar......

Where in the World is Matt Lauer -

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Equalizer

I just realized that my boss, whom I have never met in person, doesn't know what I look like. He knows I'm a woman, clearly, because of my name, but he doesn't know my race or religion.

Come to think of it, I don't know his, either.

I was hired because he liked my resume, cover letter, and an essay published on my website.

Nice feeling to know I am appreciated for my ideas, independent of anything else.

Does anyone ever bring this up as a benefit of the networked world?

Cato-at-liberty » Argentina Decriminalizes Drug Consumption

Cato-at-liberty » Argentina Decriminalizes Drug Consumption: "This just in… A federal court in Argentina has decriminalized the personal consumption of drugs in that country. According to the court’s ruling, punishing drug users only “creates an avalanche of cases targeting consumers without climbing up in the ladder of [drug] trafficking.”"

Oh, no! Buenos Aires is going to have mobs of potheads running around and terrorizing the city ..... by...... sitting on their couch, watching Lord of the Rings, and ordering McDonald's.


Maybe they will all end up wearing turtlenecks, smoking cigarettes in dark cafés and improvising poetry while everyone snaps their fingers in applause.

Working from Home

This new job I have is the first experience I have working from home. It has its pluses and minuses.


  • I don't have to worry about what I wear. I have spent years scrambling through my closet in the morning, trying to find an appropriate outfit, putting on makeup, and furiously ironing at the last minute.
  • No commute.
  • I can listen to music while I work. Blast heavy metal or Reggae occasionally when I need to wake up.
  • Flexible schedule- I can fit in errands, grocery shopping, appointments during the day if I need to.
  • Power naps.
  • Husband works from home too, so we can have spontaneous "quality time" together. ;)

  • It's easy to let errands and whatever push my work later and later until I find it's late in the afternoon and still haven't gotten anything done. I have to be disciplined about my time.
  • Cabin fever- If I don't get out of the house once a day, I can get a little stir crazy. 5:00 rolls around, and I have to think: Did I take a shower today?
  • Social isolation- don't get the "water cooler" chat of an office. Sometimes it's nice to have random conversations.
  • Husband works from home, too, so we can get on each other's nerves.
I've found that being connected with people through chat and Twitter helps with the social isolation. I follow several people from all over the world on Twitter. And although at first I thought getting updates from random people about what they are doing was lame, I am starting to find it oddly refreshing. "Overhearing" snippets from people's everyday lives reminds me that I am not alone in the world. It replaces the ambient social atmosphere of a traditional workplace.

Here are some random tweets:

sara: Just used my first "I park like an idiot" sticker.

Confessionist: I never pull my pants down too far in a public bathroom because i think the people in the stalls next to me can see my underwear.

life_enthusiast: Okay, yard is finally mowed (procrastination phase over). Now, back to e-mails.

lordlikely: Huzzah! The sun has got his hat on, hip hip hip hip hooray!

We are not alone.

Monday, April 21, 2008

You mean it takes a Master's Degree to shelve books?

Today is the due-date for my e-portfolio work for the semester. I have to prove fifteen competencies, and I have ten written, and seven passed (I'm waiting to hear about three).
I'll have to finish the other five next semester. These are the pieces of evidence I've submitted so far:

Information Transfer at Cisco Systems — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-01-26 10:44
A power-point presentation created to present the results of an interview with an information architect at Cisco Systems. This was a group project with Meriam Smith.

Observations at a Public and Academic Library — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-01-26 10:48
A report on my observations of the reference desks of the Santa Cruz Public Library and the University of California Santa Cruz Library

Market Summary of Service Catalogs — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-01-26 10:49
A value-added deliverable I created for my seminar in Competitive Intelligence

CI in Latin America — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-02-06 10:05
A summary of a podcast that describes the unique qualities Competitive Intelligence practices in Latin America.

LIBR 202 Group Database Project — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-05 19:43
A group project in which we created a database for an inventory of a pet store.

LIBR 202 Group Query Project — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-05 19:48
A group project in which we created, based on several journal article abstracts, a keyword list, stop word list, and stemming algorithm. We then applied Boolean queries to our keyword index and simulated machine retrieval of relevant documents.

Evaluation of Ujiko Search Engine — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-05 19:49
An evaluation of a new search engine, Ujiko.

Thesis Proposal — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-06 13:02
My Thesis proposal created for Research Methods in Library and Information Science investigating the correlation of seeding a wiki to its growth.

Quicktime Movie of Narrated Power Point Presentation — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-09 09:56
A narrated critique of a case study presented in Research Methods for Library and Information Science.

Group Project for Reference Services — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-09 10:04
This was a group project in which we posed the same reference questions to eight different online sources, and compared the results.

Online Searching Assignment: Dialog Transcript and Summary — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-09 18:08
This assignment, for Online Searching, required me to conduct searches in Dialog and record the results.

Toward a Definition of Relevance — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-13 19:09
A paper written for Information Retrieval, in which I compare several definitions of relevance.

Vine's Information Model — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-13 19:11
A documented search using Rita Vine's suggested information model for search instruction.

Budget — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-14 13:20
A sample budget for a corporate library, cut by 20%

TQM Diet — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-14 13:21
A paper comparing different management methodologies.

Blogs vs. Wikis — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-14 13:22
A summary comparing blogs and wikis as library marketing tools.

Multiculturalism in Libraries: A Critical View — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-17 16:12
A paper written for Information and Society, exploring the issue of multiculturalism in libraries.

Copyright — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-17 16:15
A paper written for Information Organizations and Management, summarizing the copyright issues facing modern librarians.

The Legal and Ethical Boundaries of Misrepresentation — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-17 16:28
A paper written for my seminar in Competitive Intelligence, exploring the ethical issues of misrepresentation.

XML Assignment — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-21 06:55
These are three files for an XQuery assignment: evans_modsRecords.xml is the xml file with the sheet music records evans_mod.xq is the XQuery file evans_htmldoc.html is the out put of the XQuery displayed in a web page.

Screencast of website built for LIBR 240 — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-21 07:08
This is a screencast of a website I built as my final project for LIBR 240, Information Tools and Technologies.

Accessibility Assignment for LIBR 240- Iformation Tools and Applications — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-21 12:23
This is a review I made of two websites for principles of accessibility and cultural awareness.

Documented Search for LIBR 244, Online Searching — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-21 12:26
A search in which I documented my strategies for finding an answer to the question: What effect does music have on studying?

References Services Quiz — by juliaevans — last modified 2008-04-21 12:28
A quiz for Reference Services, in which I was required to find the best reference source for a variety of reference questions.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Back to the 80's

Someone down the hall is blasting "Eye of the Tiger."

I hear Air Supply and REO Speedwagon, occasionally as well.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Mistake, or on purpose?

Google knows I am searching from Argentina. So occasionally, I get error messages, etc. in Spanish.

I was doing a blog search, and the blog I found doesn't exist anymore. But I got this message from Blogger instead:

No se ha encontrado el blog.

Sorry, the blog you were looking for does not exist. However, the name shitted is available to register!
Register shitted

Mistake, or on purpose? What do you think?

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes...

For the last week or so, the skies in Buenos Aires have been extremely smoky. Supposedly, fields outside the city are being burned and some of the fires have gotten out of control.

Consequently, the air periodically gets as translucent as fog, and the smell is everywhere. This morning, I smelled it when I woke up, as it is seeping into our apartment through the cracks.

My eyes are puffy and my sinuses are swollen.

Don't want to go outside.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

¿Habla Castellano de Cocina?

I tried to make some oat bran this morning, but my measurements were off somehow.

"En dos tazas de leche fría agregar tres cucharadas soperas colmadas de Salvado de Avena Quaker y azúcar a gusto."

In two cups of cold milk, add three heaping tablespoons of oat bran and sugar to taste. Right?

"Revolver mientras hierve durante 1 o 2 minutos o hasta qe logre la consistencia deseada."

Stir while boiling one or two minutes or until desired consistency. Right?

Hrmm...... I ended up with way too much milk and too little oat bran. Of course, I don't have any measuring cups so I was eyeballing it. Time to get some measuring utensils, I think.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Went to the Kiosco tonight to buy some Coca-Light and keep the caffeine fuel burning.

The twenty-something sales clerk called me "Señorita."


Then, he gave me an extra candy because I'm very "bonita."

*smile, blink-blink*

I know this flirting is as common as ham and cheese around here, but it still makes a thirty-something lady who is tired and has been writing academic mumbo-jumbo all day feel good.

Buenos Aires Daily » Blog Archive » Funny race

Buenos Aires Daily » Blog Archive » Funny race: "Yesterday, at the Avenida de Mayo, lots was happening. Many cultural events took place in the afternoon. One of them was the traditional “carrera mozos y camareras” (waiters/waitresses race). Dressed in their traditional uniforms, around 400 waiters worked out the balance with their trays, for an audience, which exceeded some 150 people.

Photo from LaNacion."

Chavez-Watch: Countown to Dictatorship

Venezuela | Strategic move | "Oil, steel and cement have all been declared “strategic” industries, and must therefore, according to the government's economic and political programme, be placed under state control."

Another red flag: Nationalizing the steel and cement industries.

Reaching the Outside World

I had a visit from Tehran last month.

I wish they had commented. I'd like to know what they thought.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Drop it LIke It's Hot!

Try it.

Here's an example:

Add a note, picture, video, link, even a voicemail. Could be fun, could be useful.

Very Stigmergic.

Smack, Smack

My husband brought me some peanut butter. It means he loves me.

Remember what your mother always told you..

So it's about two weeks until the due date for my e-portfolio and I have a lot of last-minute writing to do. (I'm the Queen of Procrastination) I also have my new job to work at as well.

So after a 15-hour day, Rob and I come back from getting something to eat (at 4AM- I love this city), and I'm getting ready for bed, and I realize that I have my underwear on inside-out.

Good thing I wasn't hit by a car tonight.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

More Economic Myths: The Income Gap

Here is an excerpt from an article, again by Sowell, discussing the "income gap."

"Anyone who follows the media has probably heard many times that the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and incomes of the population in general are stagnating. Moreover, those who say such things can produce many statistics, including data from the Census Bureau, which seem to indicate that.

On the other hand, income tax data recently released by the Internal Revenue Service seem to show the exact opposite: People in the bottom fifth of income-tax filers in 1996 had their incomes increase by 91 percent by 2005.

The top one percent -- "the rich" who are supposed to be monopolizing the money, according to the left -- saw their incomes decline by a whopping 26 percent.

Meanwhile, the average taxpayers' real income increased by 24 percent between 1996 and 2005."

Sowell explains why IRS data is a better indicator for income statistics than census data:

"That is why the IRS data, which are for people 25 years old and older, and which follow the same individuals over time, find those in the bottom 20 percent of income-tax filers almost doubling their income in a decade. That is why they are no longer in the same bracket.

That is also why the share of income going to the bottom 20 percent bracket can be going down, as the Census Bureau data show, while the income going to the people who began the decade in that bracket is going up by large amounts.

Unfortunately, most income statistics, including those from the Census Bureau, do not follow individuals over time. The Internal Revenue Service does that and so does a study at the University of Michigan, but they are the exceptions rather than the rule.

Following trends among income brackets over the years creates the illusion of following people over time. But the only way to follow people is to follow people."

The complete article is Here

Econmic Myths

If you tell people they don't have enough money, they will usually agree. Reports like these always make the front pages of money magazines and websites:

Harder to handle widening income gap in recession - Apr. 9, 2008: "NEW YORK ( -- Poor and middle-class families are entering the recession in a precarious situation due in part to declining or stagnant income growth, a study released Wednesday has found."

Here is a video that briefly addresses the fallacy:

A longer podcast with Thomas Sowell discussing more economic myths is here

Sunday, April 06, 2008

But...But...Javier! Noooooooo!

Coppola character not for a man - "Javier Bardem has pulled out of Oscar-winning director Francis Ford Coppola’s upcoming flick “Tetro” and has been replaced by a woman, the Hollywood Reporter reports."

Oh, no! This is going to be filmed in Buenos Aires, and I was hoping to apply for the job of Javier Bardem's stalker!


Dealing with Abundance

People don't deal with abundance very well. It's why many lottery winners become broke after a few years, and why as American dinner servings have increased in size, so have Americans' waist lines.

It's why, when I found a pub two blocks from my apartment that offers free beer for women from noon to midnight (Yes, you read that correctly. FREE BEER for all ladies for TWELVE HOURS each day)- it resulted in more hangovers than I would like to admit. (I'm normally a once-a-year hangover type of person.)

Not to sound arrogant, but having more disposable income than most locals affords an abundance that I am not used to in the U.S. In addition to free beer, there seem to be social engagements every night that can keep me awake for a straight week, I can have whatever food I want delivered right to my door, at less cost than it would take for me to cook something back home. Or, I could just walk down the street to the schmorgusborg.

If Art Devany is right, humans haven't adapted genetically since we were hunter-gatherers 10,000 years ago, living with a series of boom and bust cycles. When offered all we want, we take all we can, because part of our wee brains is telling us that this won't happen again for a while.

What happens when you live boom to boom, and no bust?

When that part of your brain clicks on that says, "Oh my God! More XXXX (fill in the blank) than I ever imagined! When will this ever happen again?" You tell yourself, "Calm down. It can happen every night if you want. You don't have to say yes to everything."

Finally, things become clear. The mindset changes. My stomach is not a savings account. No more grasping for things like a kid in a candy store, or a person who rarely travels filling their suitcase with shampoo.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Hey, Kids! Learn Spanish and Get Married!

While reviewing online Spanish learning sites, I came across Spanish
for Kids.

Not that interesting, except for the advertisement on the left for an online service to help find an Indian bride. (You can click on the picture to make it bigger)

It says, "Looking for a homely Tamil bride? Register free! Chat & Marry"

Are they aware of what "homely" means in English?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Argentine government Seizing Private Property

This strike thing is heating up. Beyond the scarcity of meat here in the city, things are hot and heavy in the campo. Apparently, the Argentine government is seizing cattle of strike supporters. Yanqui mike (farmer) has stopped posting and receiving comments on the matter because of concerns for his own safety.

yanqui mike buenos aires argentina: My last post... for my own safety: "Today's print and web edition of La Nacion reports that 50 members of the Argentina's Federal Police forcibly seized five truckloads of cattle from the ranch of a strike supporter near the town of Brandsen, southeast of the provincial capital of Buenos Aires, La Plata.

The story has not appeared in any other media outlets."

Seizing private property? We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

BTW: As a self-decribed socialist, I wonder if Yanqui Mike still supports the tax increases.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Filed Under: Why didn't I think of that?

Libraries and the occult - Boing Boing: "Cecile Dubuis wrote a master's dissertation for University College London titled 'Libraries & The Occult.' I've only read bits of it, but the challenge she identifies is that occult books are, by their nature, anomalous and hard to categorize, much like the phenomena discussed in their pages. As a result, they are often unsearchable in the context of traditional library classification systems."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Irish Expat in Buenos Aires: Government in Argentina extends LENT

Irish Expat in Buenos Aires: Government in Argentina extends LENT: "In a drastic measure aimed at tackling the widespread food shortages in Argentina, the government here has extended the religious period of Lent."

"Czech" It Out

An invitation from the Czech embassy to see the inaugural film of the Czech film festival. It will be in Czech with Spanish subtitles. I hope there isn't a lot of dialog.

***** Update******
Just got back from the film, "Secretos," and it was fabulous. I understood enough to grasp what was going on. I'll have to keep my eye on this director, Alice Nellis

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

She Bangs! She Bangs!

Last night, as I went out to my friend's good-bye dinner, I was annoyed that the kid in the apartment above us was banging on pots and pans again. As I left, I realized it wasn't just the neighbor. It was the whole city, protesting the taxes levied on the farmers. (See yesterday's post.)

The stores are running out of meat and dairy products. Only entrails are left on the shelves. This hits home in a country that has the highest per capita meat consumption in the world. People are pretty angry.

My taxi driver was honking all the way across town, and every neighborhood we passed through had a group of people banging, singing, and shouting. By the time I was n my way home, the streets were blocked off, and this is what I found two blocks from our apartment:

The same thing is happening tonight: I can hear the banging and signing that started promptly at 8:00PM.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Where's the Beef? Latin America: "March 25 (Bloomberg) -- Argentina may face worsening food shortages, threatening to undermine support for President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's three-month-old government, as a farmers' strike over higher export taxes goes unresolved."

Export taxes have been raised in some cases as high as 44% and farmers are refusing to take their food to market. According to the above article, we're supposed to run out of meat and milk soon in the city.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Chavez Watch: Countdown to Dictatorship

Chávez raises heat on opposition TV - 03/21/2008 -

President Hugo Chávez's dismantling of the critical press looks to be continuing as the leftist leader whips up public support to shut down Globovisión -- less than a year after he refused to renew the license of the country's most popular TV station.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008


My eyes are dark brown. Really dark brown. About the darkest brown you can get without being black.

Today, Rob and I were in the café at the MALBA museum and we noticed that among the 30 people or so sitting at the tables around us, I was the only one with brown eyes.

Almost no one in the whole museum had brown eyes. The waiter, green eyes. I go into the restroom, and casually look at the women at the sink. All of them: blue eyes. Men and women walking past me: green, hazel, blue, gray.

Coming from southern California, this was a little twilight-zone for me.

I know most of the people here are descendants of Germans, Italians, and Spaniards. But WTF? I thought brown eyes were a dominant gene, no? Is everyone wearing contacts? or was it just a very Northern-European day at the MALBA?

Wow. I'm a minority.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


When Rob and I first arrived here a few months ago, I was spooked by every noise from outside. I slept lightly, and woke up between 7 and 8 every morning.

Oh, how times have changed.

This morning, there was an exchange about 8:00AM that went something like this:

BANG! BANG! BANG! (Noises from outside. Gunfire? Fireworks? Construction?)

Me (half asleep, rolling over in bed): What was that?

Rob: Armageddon.

Me: O.K. Just let me sleep another half an hour.

Rob: O.K.

(I roll over and go back to sleep.)

End Scene.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Stereotypical Americans

I saw an episode of Faulty Towers once, where a stereotypical American comes to the Inn- he is loud, obnoxious, and asks for things that they don't have.

Tonight, one of these stereotypically loud and obnoxious Americans was having dinner in the same restaurant as us. He was from Texas- I could tell by his accent. He was wearing cowboy boots, was tall, overweight, drunk, and his voice was about twice as loud as it needed to be. To top it off, he was talking loudly about money, and how inexpensive everything is. Not so endearing, I'm sure, to the other people in the restaurant who have suffered through the economic collapse.

He also callously called the delivery boy over and asked him to box things up at the end of the meal. First, the delivery boy doesn't speak English (yes, he asked in English), and second, it's not his job.

Everyone else in the restaurant was subtly rolling their eyes and was relieved when he left.

A local asked Rob in a bar a couple of months ago, "Why are Americans so loud?" I was surprised by this at the time, because I thought the stereotype was outdated and relegated to European sit-coms.

Now I realize it's not. *Sigh*

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Today at the Grocery Store

  • duraznos
  • ojo de bife
  • ensalada mixta
  • huevos
  • suprema de pollo
  • mortadella
  • salame
  • queso barra

Sound track at the store: "Thriller" by Michael Jackson.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Can't I name my baby Dweezil?

Supposedly, here in Argentina, when you have a baby you have to choose his or her name from a list of "approved" names (mostly Catholic saints). This explains why I have met at least five Augustins in three months. My name, Julia, is very familiar to people here- I guess there was a Saint Julia. Juliana and Julieta are also popular.

I haven't met any Summers, Karas, or Dylans.

If you want to name your baby something different, you have to get approval from the government. If you are a foreign national, you have to have a letter from your embassy stating that the name you are choosing for your child is "common" in your native country.

What I think is interesting about this is the original reason behind the law (I guess it goes back for quite a long time)- an attempt to control the culture- and I think not just of the culture that they are trying to maintain, but the cultures that they are trying to keep out.

Indiginous names are not on "the list."

A holler out to my Aunts Mareda, Wynona, and Mozelle (may she rest in peace.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


If it's "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise-" then I'm going to be sick, poor, and stupid.

On Saturday, some friends wanted to go to a club. So Rob and I basically slept all day in order to get ready, since the club scene here does not start until 2AM. (That's right. 2AM.) Here's how it went down:

12AM: Met at N.'s for a few drinks, waited for people to show up.

2AM: A few went to Pacha and we stayed behind waiting for S.

3AM: Text from people at Pacha- they are not getting in because the line is too long. We'll go to Ink instead.

3:30-ish? We take S. to her apartment so she can change and head over to Ink.

4AM: We're waiting in line at Ink to be let in. (It's the journey, not the destination....)

4:30AM: We finally get in. (That's right. We don't start the festivities until 4-frickin' THIRTY!)

4:30-7: Dancing, etc.

7AM: We all go to a café to have breakfast and watch the sun come up.

9AM: I finally get to sleep (because like a dumb-ass, I had coffee at breakfast.)

Sunday: Sleep all day.

O.K. Lessons from this? First, if we're going to go to a club, we need to pay in advance a bunch of money for a VIP table and not be humiliated by all the pretty people being let in ahead of us (Am I not skinny enough? What does she have that I don't..... etc.)

Second, I'm about ten years too old. Not just because the people at the club were probably about ten years younger than me (I'm 30 *ahem* something), but because it's taken me sooooo long to recover. It's Wednesday, and I'm just starting to feel normal. Club-Lag.

I'm sure I'll do it again, though, when I am overcome with the illusion that I am younger than I really am. It's all part of the time-shift that is Buenos Aires.

********* Update**********

After reading this post again, it seems a little cynical. But I actually did have a good time. Nicola gives another point of view on the same night here.

Out of Place....

I just got back from the local grocery store among the isles of dulce de leche (yum), bife de lomo, pollo milanesa, etc.

Where none of the employees speak a lick of English.

And yet...... Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" is playing on the speakers.


Habla Castellano?

My Castellano is improving bit by bit, so that I can let my needs be known to people at the grocery store, laundry, etc. I can order food over the phone (kind of). I can also tell people where I am from, about my family, where I live, etc.

There are some phrases though, that I wish there were a phrasebook for:

  1. I'd like a plain coffee, but put it in a large cup, and give me some milk (not steamed) on the side.
  2. This phone jack doesn't work.
  3. Does linen shrink?
  4. Don't put the frozen pizza directly on the oven shelf.
  5. Does this cleaner remove mildew?
  6. Do any of your bras come in a D-cup? (The answer is usually no.)
  7. No, thank you. Your food gave me diarrhea last time.
  8. When I try to go to Gmail, the page comes up all gobbledy-gook (at the locutorio).
  9. Please, do not cut my hair in a mullet.
  10. Do you have this in a "fat-ass American" size, or only an "anorexic porteña" size?
I'm sure there are many more. Maybe I should write my own phrasebook,

Friday, February 22, 2008

Would you let me pack your parachute?

I met someone at a function tonight. She's from San Jose, but her parents are Argentine. So when she speaks to people here they assume she is a local because her accent is perfect. But she said that it was very difficult to make Argentine friends because she didn't go to school or grow up with them.

This is a pattern that I have heard repeated quite often- Argentines are warm, friendly people. But to make it into their inner circle, you have to be trusted. And whom do you trust? Family, and those you have grown up with.

It's understandable in a country that has gone through a military dictatorship and an economic collapse that trust would not be forthcoming. Even the government economic data cannot be trusted (Inflation 8%? give me a break. Everyone knows it's at least 20%.)

There's even a gesture here for mistrust: they take a finger and pull down the corner of their eye. It means roughly "you better watch out" or "keep an eye on that guy." We don't have that gesture in the U.S. Maybe trust is something I take for granted. I trust most people implicitly. I trust them until they show me they cannot be trusted.

I feel sorry for the Argentine-American who has trouble making friends here. I've made friends with other Americans, Brits, Irish, and Canadians in just a few weeks whom I trust completely. I'd let them pack my parachute.

And we didn't even grow up together.

What is it that makes us trust others?

Lessons from the Bidet

No it's not a sink. It's a bidet. The Argentines love their bidet, which is pretty novel to most Americans, I think.

A handy lesson:

The handles in the back on the outside run a mixture of hot and cold water down the bowl from the holes in the back. so you can face the bidet, turn on the water, and adjust it t suit your liking. Then you can turn around and sit down. The handle in the middle switches the stream to go up from the spray on the bottom.
After you are done "sprinkling" your nether-regions, it's important to turn the water back so that it runs from the back of the bowl again. That way, the next person who bends over to turn on the water doesn't get squirted in the face. I'm just saying.....

(This is just in case anyone who happens to share an apartment with me- I'm not naming names- reads this.)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Anti-Semitism Unmasked

From the BA Newcomers forum, a mailing list dedicated to helping ex-pats and other visitors to BsAs find housing, services, talk about common problems, etc:


"Go back to the United Jews of America. Who asked you to usurp our country anyway."

All I can say is... Wow.

(The poster was put on moderated status and the pot was deleted from the archives. While I agree with moderating the poster, I think they should have kept this in the archives for the record.)

The Jewish population of Argentina, is the largest in Latin America and the sixth largest in the world.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Where's the @ at?

Twice now, I've been stuck in a locutorio trying to type an @ sign on a Spanish keyboard.They squish in three characters on one key! I see it next to the 2, but no combination of keys seems to coax it onto the screen. (You can click on the picture above to get a closer view.)

I don't feel so stupid, though, because Rob was with me once, and he couldn't figure it out either. (We ended up copying and pasting).

Monday, February 11, 2008

Beatbox Flute Sesame Street Theme

This has nothing to do with BsAs, it's just cool.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Am I French?

Yesterday, for the third time, I had a conversation that went something like this (in Spanish):

Me: How's that? Sorry, my Spanish isn't very good. I need to hear something twice before I understand.

Porteño: No problem. Where are you from? France?

France? This was the third time someone thought I was French, and I don't know why. It could be the way I speak- maybe my accent in Spanish sounds more like French than English. or perhaps I just look French. (What is a French look, anyway?) Maybe I do something French people do that I am not aware of. I was buying a bottle of wine, after all.

C'est la vie......

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Buenos Aires Field Notes: Staying Connected

If you remember, back on DECEMER 22, I talked about our frustration with trying to get our internet connection worked on. Rob has been going to a local café when he has to (whose internet access is perfect when their electricity is on).

After a getting someone who speaks Spanish to help us (who is an angel), and the technicians somehow always showing up when the restaurant next door is closed, or not getting permission from them to be able to get on the roof, today, finally, they went on the roof and fiddled with the wires for fifteen minutes, and now it seems our connection is stable. Fibertel says it will improve even more if we can get an amplifier box, which will take an untold number of weeks...

Meanwhile, we also have installed DSL as a back-up. However, only two of the four phone jacks in our apartment are active, and unfortunately the one by the desk is not one of them. So if Rob has to switch over to DSL he has to stretch a phone cord and ethernet cable across the living room floor. Of course, to get the other phone jacks active will take several weeks....

Well, at least for now, we have a stable connection (one day and counting), and we have a back-up, which is a HUGE improvement. We can work, consistently, without having to go to a café.

If only we could get services delivered as easily as chinese food. Or ice cream. Or beer. Or meat. Or coffee.

Big Stuff. 72 visits this month!

I had 72 visits to my blog this month from 11 different countries. 56 were new visitors. Thanks, Google Analytics!

(O.K. I realize that some of the 72 visits must be my own. But still- it's more than I imagined.)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Buenos Aires Field Notes: Cultural Isolation

A lot of Argentines are proud about the legacy of their country being a “melting pot” similar to the U.S. in that the people in this city are largely descendants of immigrants- from Spain, Germany, Italy, Ireland, etc. But as Rob pointed out, it seems to be a melting pot that has long since congealed in a culture that is uniquely Porteño.

We were having dinner one night with a couple of guys from D.C. and Toronto who were vacationing here for a couple of weeks. We were at a Porteño restaurant ordering a variety of empanadas to share between us, when our friend from D.C. starts objecting loudly and intently, “No jamón y queso! Anything but jamón y queso! I am sick and tired of the f**king jamón and queso on everything!”

I know what he means. Ham and cheese comes on and in practically everything- the empanadas, pizza, rolled chicken breasts, breaded veal, you name it. The hundreds of local cafes have menus that are virtually identical, with ham and cheese centrally prominent. I suppose I have felt the same sense of frustration driving across the U.S., stopping at diners along the way, growing weary of hamburgers, milkshakes, and pigs in a blanket. But you wouldn’t expect it in the eighth largest city in the world.

I must admit, you can get more creative food here that borders on ethnic (it’s usually some version of “fusion”), if you spend more than twenty pesos per plate. But the popular culture, the local culture, exhibits a homogeneousness I wouldn’t have expected. And it doesn’t end at the lack of ethnic cuisine. There is a definite pressure to conform- most people under 40 all wear the same jeans, the same shoes, and cut their hair the same.

A friend I met from England who is ethnically Lebanese has exotic curly black locks that perfectly compliment her strikingly GORGEOUS face. At an asado (a family barbecue), the porteña women advised her about chemically straightening her hair. It seems that straight hair is in, whether it’s appropriate for you or not.

Buenos Aires may be a big city, but it definitely has become culturally isolated from the rest of the world. Maybe I’m spoiled from Living in Los Angeles and being able to get Ethiopian food if I want. But in California I’ve never been pressured to change my hair to fit the current style, or been stared at for the brand of shoes I wear. Perhaps it has something to do with the lack of products available from overseas due to the policy of high tariffs. Perhaps it’s because BsAs is Geographically isolated as well, and most people here (except the rich) have not traveled much.

Whatever the reason, it’s a unique blend of both the metropolitan and provincial.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Buenos Aires Field Notes: A Night Out

The Living is a little nightclub just a couple of blocks away from our apartment that is essentially a big lounge with couches and easy chairs to relax, talk, and groove to the 80's videos shown on the big screen in front of the lounge. Weekdays are pretty mellow with a 20s-30s crowd, with a mixture of locals and tourists. Everyone loves the 8os here- they regularly play Depeche Mode, early Police, etc.

The weekends become livelier as it turns into more of a dance club late in the evening (or morning, as it were). They also serve dinner (which we haven't tried).

It's a good time, just a couple of blocks away- another hidden gem, since you wouldn't even know that it exists given it has no sign out front, just a doorway and a staircase. We only found it through a tip by a local.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

You know you're in a developing country when...

For all intents and purposes, Buenos Aires is like any other major world city. But there are a few reminders that it lags behind some of the other first-world cities:

1. Your water pressure disappears for no apparent reason. This has happened several times since we have been here. Once in a while, we have to take a cold shower with trickling water. We were worried this was a problem with the building, but yesterday I discovered that the café couldn't make any coffee and the laundry couldn't do any laundry either.

2. Dog poop falls from the sky. I was walking to the laundry when I saw some dog poop fall from the sky into the street. I think someone was sweeping their balcony.

3. Cigarettes can be bought individually. An interesting economic indicator that reminds me that goods are not in abundance here. People have very little money, and goods are sold in smaller portions.

4. Electricity outages are expected..... supposedly, there are occasional blackouts every summer. Haven't experienced one of these yet, but it's still early.