Sunday, June 6, 2010

Vacation reading listtttttt

So this 4 months study abroad experience has become more of a 4 month vacation. Not what I expected. But the exchange program is a joke and so here I have been with very much too much time on my hands. One thing I am proud of having accomplished is a veritable list of books read. Talk to me, Goose. I'd like to start a discussion on any one of them. But no one ever comments on my blog. So mainly I just want to gloat on my accomplishment publicly.

Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Ian Fleming's 2nd James Bond novel, From Russia With Love
Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire
Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and After Many a Summer Dies the Swan
Henry James' The Turn of the Screw
Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin
D.H. Lawrence's The Virgin and the Gypsy and The Fox
Daphne DuMaurier's The Scapegoat

and I'm now working on Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. Pretty fuckin a lot if you ask me. But then, what the hell else am I doing.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yeah, I know my place

Ok the mathematics post was a bust. It was fun wearing Mommy's heels while it lasted and I can humbly accept my role in life as existing well outside the math community.

...and INSIDE the LINGUIST community! That's right people, get excited, here comes some linguistics-ball! AGHHH Are YOU excited?? I know IIII AMMMM

But really though, let's talk about the word nother. I hear so many people use this word as an adjective all on its own, as an odd, abbreviated, red-headed stepchild of another. I've even heard weird nerdy dictionary rumors that nother is soon to be added to the American vocabulary canon as a spin-off of its legitimate older sister. But that is false. And nother actually falls under another rule altogether, one that every person on earth can relate to and appreciate.

The rule that Linguistics calls "the Fuckin' rule" is also known more modestly as "the Expletive rule" or simply "the Infix rule." I was following up on one of my favorite blogs (a joint-project between modern linguists Mark Liberman and Geoffrey K. Pullum called The Language Log), and remembered my favorite linguistic rule! AGHHHH MAH FAVORITE LINGUISTIC RULE because it proves that it is possible for English and Language geeks (lak me!) to be cool enough to cuss! And I realized that this is exactly where nother exists! AMAZING

So in a nutshell, the Fuckin' Rule dictates the ways in which emphasis words, most commonly fuckin, may be entered into the middle of another word (or phrase) usually to add fervor to its exclamation. Everyone recognizes Abso-fuckin-lutely, yes?? And all of its family members (ri-goddam-diculous, Every fuckin day, etc.)? How FUN is it to use them.

Moving on. So nother is used in exactly the same way. The only way I've heard the word used is in the phrase, "A whole nother...". But when you consider the Fuckin' rule, "A whole nother" is actually "A-whole-nother," where whole is the infix and nother is not its own word but simply the last half of the infixed word another. GAH IT'S LANGUAGE MAGIC

Anyway, check out this site for a great explanation of the Fuckin' Rule:
Linguistics: An introduction to linguistic theory

I hope I've redeemed myself.

Please leave off regarding me as a piece of meat

Aggggh is this not the cutest creature you have ever seen? And yes, we DID get this close to these irresistibly fuzzy animales. You are jealous.

(By the way, picture to the left is (c) Jordan Mynarcik.)

So you are asking yourself how this DOPESAUCE experience was made possible. I will elucidate. Firstly, the goal of visiting Argentina's Lujan Zoo was not attained without incredible feats of Spanish-speaking and various accent-interpreting (including northern-Argentine, Chilean, slang, drunk, and speaking-through-dentures, among other varieties) on the part of Hannah and myself. One wonderful thing I have come to appreciate about home is that when you ask a person for directions and they honestly do not know how to help you, they admit it. Contrarily-wise, Argentines will pretend they know exactly what you're talking about and in turn tell you directional LIES. But, hard feelings aside, and omitting what totaled to approximately six hours of being lost in the tiny BFE northern pueblito of Lujan, Argentina, the trip was amazing.

Secondly, that is in fact a picture of me petting a tiger. No, it's not photo-shopped, I really am an OG. But I couldn't help displaying a certain amount of incredulity and terror on my face, as I'm sure you've noticed. The paws were as big as my hands, baby!!! Crazy.

Thirdly, let's talk about proper Zoo management and organization. Haha. Really though, I'm not trying ta catch a case here, I just thought it was super funny to see camels hanging out with sheep and ducks. So odd. At one point, under the cover of darkness, we watched as a team of two overall-ed men wheelbarrowed a gang of meat chunks over to one of the enclosures, lifted a giant metal door on the wall, and commenced shoveling anatomically-distinguishable chicken parts into the compound. We realized a moment later that it was the Puma cage. Strangely reminiscent of watching Muldoon's team lower a live cow into the Velociraptor paddock in Jurassic Park. So inconsiderate of these animals' regular eating habits. And yet, so badass.

Finally, Holy Crap. Giant lions are seriously stealthy. While we were organizing our group, trying to exit the park and figure out how the hell to avoid getting lost on our trip home now that it was dark, unbeknownst to us the large nocturnal cats were assembling. Imagine you are a friggin Lion, captured from the wild and set up in way-too-small-of-a cage, living on raw chicken all day. You know you wanna attack something. That shit is just in your blood. My advice to anyone who wishes to avoid nearly peeing their pants at a zoo at night is to never absentmindedly find yourself standing next to the full-grown lion enclosure in the dark. I thought I heard something behind me and peered into the darkness of the cage at my rear, when finally I distinguished that, through the shoddy protection of a chain-link fence, a giant-ass lion was staring at my body from a mere few feet away. Um, NOT COOL. Once I discerned his enormous efficient bulk, I slowly moved to my left, then to my right, and watched his head almost imperceptibly follow my movements. Again, just like one's tour jeep breaking down right in front of the T-Rex compound. NOT COOL. So, yeah. National Geographic is real and don't ever lose respect for the wildlife. Ever. Because they want to eat you.

Similar advice from Katt Williams (who is the Bomb) below.

My last attempt at mathematics, ever

It was just a few days ago, and it was the only time in my life I can EVER remember thinking that what I was trying to explain at the moment would be far more clear in mathematical terms. So here is the sum of my experiences in Argentina:

Ev ↓ Sv ↑

(where Ev is the extent of my English vocabulary and Sv is the extent of my Spanish vocabulary.)

touching baby Tigers > touching baby Lions
Rhinocerii = active at night = dangerous

Ratio of An to Ad = 1/1

(where An is the Amount of Argentines who have No idea what they are talking about and Ad is the Amount of Argentines who will give you Directions to a place anyway.)

Dm ↑ Am ↓

(where Dm is my Desire to eat Marshmallows and Am is the Availability of Marshmallows.)

Sp ⇒ Ft
Ft ↑ Rt ↑

(where Sp is my completely lax and absolutely NOT challenging Shitty school Program, Ft is the amount of Free Time I have as a result of said Shitty Program, and Rt is the amount of Time I spend Reading classic literature in my apartment.)

Crema de Maní ≠ nor does it → Regular Good Old Fashioned A-mur-ican Peanut Butter

Brujería ≠ good witch magic

(...and old superstitious Argentine ladies will be angry if you suggest otherwise.)

Mate cocido = awesome

Skype ≡ the bomb

and finally,

(1 Bl + 1 Bv + 1 Bf + 2 Bc + 1 Nz) / 3 Og = E

(where Bl is Bottle of Caña Legui, Bv is Bottle of Vodka, Bf is Bottle of Fernet, Bc is Bottle of Coca Cola, Nz is Night Tour of the Buenos Aires Zoo, Og is Original Gangster, and E is Éxito, which is Spanish for Success Success Success.)

Basic math, I know, but let's not expect leaps and bounds from an English major who never made it past Intro to Stats. I must admit that simple math language is the perfect medium for blandly expressing my frustration and elation at certain moments of this Argentina trip. Also, it was fun to pretend I have any business in the math world, even for just thirty minutes while I drafted this blog post.


Saturday, April 10, 2010


... as a follow up to my last post, I'd like to mention that BOOOOOYAH you can find a HIP HOP section in Norton Anthology's African American Literature canon.

Check out the Table of Contents if you don't believe me:

The Norton Anthology of African American Literature: Book Contents

Scroll down. Works include some Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Queen Latifah, Public Enemy, Biggie, Nas, and Rakim. Not to mention Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder appear in the Rhythm & Blues section. WHUT WHUT hip hop, legitimized. Now, if we could only introduce it into the larger, American Lit canon... but that might still be a while.

What are our favorite old school rappers doing now?

Well, I'll tell you.

Funny some of the ways these roots-of-hip-hop-as-we-know-it stars are popping up in the mainstream world today. Who knew that Tone-Loc played an animated lizard in a kid's film, or Biz Markie is now teaching children to beat box on Nick Jr. every week. I'm sure you can share my sentiments, and laugh with me now as we see what began as a highly controversial noise-pollution movement evolve into a legitimate section of culture that the 70s, 80s, and 90s generations are now teaching their kids. It goes to show that every movement received with negative feedback in one stage of its existence ultimately lives on and perhaps even prospers, as those rebellious youths who embraced it inevitably have children and pass on what they dug. Cheers, hip hop.

We got Tone-Loc bustin' a fat beat in the 20th Century Fox Australian film Fern Gully as Goanna the purple lizard singing, "If I'm Gonna Eat Somebody, It Might As Well Be You." Favorite lines: "Kick it one time," and "Welcome to da food chain".

We got Schoolly D breakin' it out in the Cartoon Network Adult Swim cult hit Aqua Teen Hunger Force theme song.
"Meatwad makin' money, see, Meatwad get the honeys, see...
Ice on my fingers and my toes and I'm a Taurus":

...and finally, "Just a Friend" star Biz Markie appears on Nick Jr.'s Yo Gabba Gabba with his own segment called "Biz's Beat of the Day." He marks out simple beat boxing so that children can follow along. WHO KNEW this is amazing!!!

Also, lemme just throw out there that Yo Gabba Gabba sounds like it's kind of the bomb. It's a hit kids show hosted by one "DJ Lance Rock" (score) that's recently gained steam with college students and even older crowds for its retro stylistic taste, with regular guest appearances from super cool music and film stars like Jack Black, The Shins, Andy Samberg, Shiny Toy Guns, Sugarland, Tony Hawk, The Roots, Laila Ali, Elijah Wood, Mýa, Sean Kingston, The Aquabats, MGMT, The Ting Tings, "Weird Al" Yankovic, The Killers, Weezer, and Devo.

Here's the opening theme song: I'm just saying, no wonder so many little babies have ADD.


Sunday, April 4, 2010


Ummmm I found Dexter episodes online.

HOLY CRAP How will I ever get myself to leave my room now.

Yessssss get on it... as long as you don't mind Spanish subtitles

We are on Argentine TV, people !!!


That's right, St. Patty's day Night, our cute little group of American touries headed out to the strip... Night was described a few posts back.


I failed to mention that we were met at one point by a reporter... with a camera... which we naturally assumed was off... but then he started asking us questions...

Watch Da Clip!

Katie is the first to speak on camera, blonde-ing-ly introducing us with, "Somos de los Estados Unidos!" Haha love you Katie ;).

Then Tia is on the scene speakin' her sexy French to the reporter, sayin' "Zis is my fif-ss beerghhh" 'n shit. LIES it was her very first illegally bought (and over-priced) beer of the evening. HOTT

MY favorite part is when Katie leans in and corrects her on the "Fifth" with "EIGHTYTH" as only Katie could. Hahaha I'm dyin.

Also featured in video: Benedict (house British guy), Kayla (green sweater-ed momma), Danielle (brown hair, makes crazy faces), and Weird Creepy Guy Who We All Recognize From Our Program But Who Is Totally Weird And Creepy And Followed Us Around All Night (far right, blond hair, creepy gaze).

AND DON'T MISS: Danielle's cameo appearance at the beginning of the video, in which she starts off the news report's "Short Clips To Show How Crazy These People Be Gettin In The Streets" montage with some rap hands in the air and a trademark "Crunkface" WHUT WHUT WE IS ARRIVED

I, unfortunately, am nowhere to be found.


Number one in the hood, G.

Siamese cats are everywhere

One more: What is up with Siamese cats in this biznatch?? Anyone who has been to Buenos Aires, don't try and tell me you haven't noticed an Argentine fascination for these fuzzy oddly-shaded creatures. And also calicos. The cats are goddam everywhere, like the dogs, wandering about the streets with presumably no homes nor families. Lounging in shady spots. Asking for pets. Chilling out in old-ass tombs with dead guys... wait, WHAT

Yes, that is a Satan kitteh chillin in a broken ass crypt with a dead guy on some glass. In the words of a criminal psychology friend:

"OK, with my psychological experience, this one has antisocial personality disorder with depressive tendencies. This one experienced a troubled kittenhood. This one doesn't have buddies and enjoys the presence of tombs, laying on glass, and being behind bars... very troubled fuzzaaayy."

I couldn't have said it better mah-self. Pobresito little killing devil kitteh.

That was a lil detour from the real focus here: What's with Argentines loving Siamese cats. This is another of the little cultural issues that keep popping up... my Nona had a Siamese kitteh when we were growing up named Chirra (DECEIVING. I thought her name was Cheetah my entire life, because with an Argentine accent the two words are almost exact homonyms. 'Bout two years ago my aunt mentions her, and I find out it's Chirra, short for chirrola, which is slang for cash monayyy. That's another thing. What's up with Argentines and pet names. I mean, Colita? "Little butt?" How rude). Just one more odd connection.

This one's name is Domi.

And this is a video of me now that I'm settled in to life in Buenos Aires.

That's right. I like it here. And I've found a great fish place to eat at. And I have a twin. Oh, and I'm a cat now.


On Argentine plantitas

I haven't mentioned yet how this trip reminds me so much of home in a lot of ways. In coming to Argentina, something has happened which I never expected to in the way it has... Of course I knew I would recognize things in the culture from home, from my Nona's house and the rest of my dad's side of the family. But the phenomenon is totally manifesting in things I would never have guessed it to. Example: Everywhere I look, the plantitas on the street and in parks are ones I recognize almost exclusively from my Nona's backyard in Pasadena, as well as in my Tio Alberto's (her younger brother's) front garden in Córdoba: geraniums, hoya blossoms, spider plants, particular ivys, crown of thorns, everything is the same. It's like when my Nona transplanted to California she recreated Argentine landscape in her own backyard.

Not to mention everyone has a frikkin crazy green thumb out here... every high rise apartment balcony has some kind of greenery on it, and looking up at Buenos Aires from the streets you would never know it was a tall place for all the tree-lined avenues. It's only when looking out on the city from the 19th floor of your university tower that you notice the height and amount of gray man-made all around and above you. Large patches of super low greenery mark the spots from which street-level masses do not notice the concrete rising in canyons all about them in the way New York City displays.

Interesting. So Nona's ridiculous green thumb springs from her culture and perhaps not her personal being. Maybe that's why it's not hereditary, and I have to stick to succulents if any green thing in my house is to survive.

Another observation: I always wondered why some people on my dad's side of the family took so many showers. Like, 2 and 3 times a day, my cousins are in the shower when they wake up, after they hit the gym, and again before they come over for dinner. Well that question was answered almost immediately when I arrived in sticky, hot, humid Buenos Aires. Seriously, if I didn't shower three times a day in this kind of weather and grime from living in the city, I would just want to kill myself. There have been times when I've waited in line at the doctor's, toured around with friends, or lounged at the RoadHouse just wishing I could take a scraper and slough off my own skin. Ugh then thought about having to ride the subte full of other grimy miserable people in order to reach an appropriate showering location. Mmmmmarinating in sweat. And I wanted to barf. So I now understand where the extreme showering cultural trait comes from.

Also: "Why is there rice in Nona's salt shakers?" three-year-old Ginita brain used to ask itself. Here in Argentina there are many variations of this trick, I've even seen coffee beans in salt shakers at some restaurants. It's so the salt doesn't congeal from the constant moisture in the air. Genius.

As I think of more I'll let you know, but these are interesting lil' factitos, no?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

There's no way I'm Bohemian enough for this city

Having cultivated in the last few years a decidedly edgy urban look for myself, I realized as soon as I landed in this city that I was walking in a fashion-foreign land... If there is one word that sums up the trends mobilized in the streets of Buenos Aires, the word is bohemian. Bleach-blonde streak-chunks in one's hair, super dark grey skinny jeans, a wardrobe confined largely to black, greaser leather jacket, and way-too-many piercings translates to Ugly Duckling, Odd Man Out, Ostracized From Society in the hippie-chic naturally beautiful and above all bohemian world of Buenos Aires fashion. Pretty much the only accessory on me that would count toward rendering this California suburbanite "acceptable" is my toe ring. Edgy is not cool. Being super beautiful while wearing no makeup is cool, and I think that's cool. Probably the best way to describe the difference in fashion vibe here as compared with the United States, at least in the womens department, is to showcase footwear. I've provided examples:

And I'm not joking when I say this is ALL people wear here. If any womens shoe defers from the bohemian-chic sandal program, it is for this fashion gem right here:

That's right, Nike makes a SPLIT TOE sneaker. And it is ACTUALLY POPULAR in parts of this world. It is called the "Air Rift" and apparently, it is excellent walking gear. But it does look like you're wearing Ninja Turtle feet, or a camel toe, or a cow patty. Either way, it causes uncomfortable images and comparisons to emerge from the collective unconscious. But I guess that doesn't bother them here.

Really, I'm just jealous of Argentine beauty... Anyone who can do what they do they way they do it with their hair and clothes and shit can pull off Ninja Turtle feet, too...


Irish Liquor is Very Expensive Here

Happy San Patrick's Día! What is up, and who could have guessed that Argentines love to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day just as much as us immigrant-y Americans. Not a single Irish person existed on the streets besides perhaps a sixteenth of one here and there floating about within our group, but man, can those Argentines wear green, drink Quilmes, and have a very Argentine St. Patrick's Day or what. They close off an entire matrix of streets in the Retiro area and don't allow cars or outside beverages. Then, because drinking in public is NOT a crime (fuck yeah!), hoards gather in the strip between the bar-walk, centered around the Irish pub McKinney's. Street vendors secretly sell beer out of black plastic trash bags at horrifying prices (10 pesos??? whatttt that's like $4.... wahhhhhhhat are we whining about again? Oh ya, now that we've been living here two weeks we are spoiled by how far the dollar goes) and Argentine crazies climb lampposts and do strip teases on them. Also, when men realize that you are speaking English with your friends, they kangaroo-hop up to you with whatever English phrase they have stored in their brains (and it's surprising some of the random words they know. Among the awesome-est: "Americans, crazy!" "Beautiful!" "I have need" "What the fuck!") and the scene inevitably goes something like this:

Argentine man: "Ohhhhh hellllo Americans"
Gina, trying not to allow him into our friend circle: "Hola, como estás..."
Argentine man: "Ohhhohoho! Muy bién, American Lady! Helllooo"
Gina and friends: (laugh.)
Argentine man: "You! Have! Biiiiiig tits! Hahaha"
Gina: "What the fuck"

So that was funny. You know how those scenes go, you always replay them in your head the next day like, "Oh man, if a guy ever does that to me again, I'm gonna put on my hardest face and not say anything and then just... Imma just... Just gonna PUNCH him ya, so hard, and then when he's on the ground be like, 'Have some reSPECT'" But no matter what, the next time it happens, you just squish your face up like "ew" and kind of lightly push his body away and hope he stops harassing you. Dammit. When will Kung-fu Gina ever take over my body and do the things I wish I could make it do.

In other news, we were planning on having Irish liquor night in lieu of the holidayyyy but Bailey's is like $20 US here, soooo def ended up having Irish knock-off liquor night for $8 US! Hoorayyy for creativity and being broke! In the end, BOLS brand boasting "de año 1575" "Licor de Café" tasted fine to me. Huzzah!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Totally Irrelevant Post

I just want to take a moment to say that I have a serious history crush on Young Mutton-Chops Shirtless Physically Fit Teddy Roosevelt (see photo below and believe).

Hellllllls yeahhhhh

In other news

I dyed my hair black.

BITCHES!!! bahhhhh

I realize that's totally cliché, like I'm an American studying abroad in a foreign country for the first time, want a big change, so, like, AWWWIMMA DYE MAH HAIR! But seriously, eat my powder, because now I can wear colorful lipstick like I never could before and WHAT. Also, Danielle made me do it.

HOLYYY SHEEEEIT I almost just died over here

Hooray for being a big dumb ass. See, the great and healthy United States of America runs all their electricity on a 125 volt system, because it is fucking SAFER in case someone fucking gets ELECTROCUTED, but here in this, the technically third world country of my people, sacrifices in safety mean a more efficient system, run at 250 volts. Jesus Chr%^&*st. Like, twice what we run in the US, that's right.

So I had forgotten (though I neh-behr thought it possible) my Tia Lita's unremitting cuidados to “Neh-behr, NEH-behr to not wearing” shoes when you’re plugging/unplugging something because you’re gonna fry your ass off. It’s so hot and humid out here that I was BUCK in my room drying my hair, with the fan on to boot because without it you sweat so much your hair never dries anyway. I unplugged the hair dryer and I swear to god I had the quickest weirdest creepiest black-out of a millisecond ever. I blacked in and my hairbrush was on the floor… don’t remember dropping it. There was a general odd haze over my vision... The head-high was like I'd just puffed out eighteen cigarettes at once... Ugh and the creepiest part was for a good fifteen minutes my finger through my hand and my arm a ways stung like I’d fried my veins up in there like Percy done to Delacroix’s eye-balls in The Green Mile. I swear my heart was beating kind of funky…

And I still think the veins on my left arm are looking a little bluer than the ones on my right.

And my hair stands up all day long like some Alfalfa from The Rascals shit.

Just kidding, some of those sentences are lies. But really, watch the fuck out for foreign electricity systems. That is no joke, man. Jesus.

Que interesante: Cumbio

Oh haaaaay In Spanish class we read a cultural piece describing a rising adolescent fad similar to US blogging, or in Spanish, fotologing. The jovenes who engage in fotologing, los floggers for short, pay homage to the spear-head of their urban cult style, Cumbio, a seventeen-year-old Argentine star made famous by her fotolog site. That's right, people, is a bigger social web than Facebook or MySpace. What the hell??? Read the New York Times article here:

In Argentina, a Camera and a Blog Make a Star

What a crazy interesting random ass movement in Argentina! Tiiiiiight

Check out her fotolog phe-nom at:

Don't worry, you don't have to know Spanish to check out the site, unlike "blogging" here in the states fotologing pretty much only involves posting pictures, the goal being to get the most comments and followers. Sooooo ya what the heck! If you want to check out a totally random other-world pop culture phenomenon, check out Cumbio. Top image is the photo cover for her autobiography ...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

brief note on scars

...Impressive, everyone here has a crazy-ass scar on their body. There are lots of left-shoulder round and seriously epic vaccination scars, extreme machete chop arm scars, someone-beat-me-over-the-head-with-a-shovel-but-then-I-probably-killed-them-afterward forehead scars, I-put-my-hand-too-close-to-a-vagrant-dog-and-it-ripped-a-hole-in-me scars, any kind of scar you can think of, and so what I'm trying to say is everyone here looks way more badass than me, and it's very intimidating.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mmmmmm Body Ooze.

Once again fulfilling a most amazing stereotype, some of my family in Argentina is buried in an old all-Italian cemetery in Córdoba in a 4 X 4 wall plot with 16 slots for coffins. The section is labeled "Flia. Pensso" after my great great relative (uncle? grandpa? ex-roomate's cousin's father? Seriously, who fuckin even knows at this point) José ‘Pepe’ Pensso, and we went to visit my Nona Elisa there in the graveyard... Came across some very interesting grave sites. The VIP families like to place their loved ones in coffins made of wood, inside small-roomed upright tombs super antique style. But wooden coffins, my Tio Alberto explained to us, means that every few years when the body has decayed enough, existing relatives must pay to re-coffin the person. Like, buy a new coffin, scoop out their beloved's remains, pop them into the new one, and put it back on the shelf. This brings up so many logistical problems... Do they line the coffins so that the body ooze doesn't drip out onto the floor? How much money does it take to find someone who is willing to do that job for you? How do they hide the smell of the rotting bodies everywhere?

This last question is super key... Because half the tomb-rooms have open windows or only curtains covering small slots in the walls... So my dad and I kept sticking our noses in the windows to see if we could smell anything... Touché, my Italian paisans... I do not know how you work your magic, but you successfully mask our race's natural death odors. Or maybe the Italians really are as superior as we believe ourselves to be... Just watch Jersey Shore. You'll know.

Guess you can't see so well in this shot, but up close and in person that bottom coffin is sagggggggin... time to change Aunt Oozy-Face-Juices. It's like something straight out of Faulkner. Yum.

Existe el "changing of the guard"?

Took the subte out to Plaza de Mayo, al microcentro, the very center of Buenos Aires, where all the business people run around all day in and out of their very business-y offices. I felt like I was in the way most of the time, and I'm sure we were... I thought maybe they would be mad that my parents and I were smoking in the majestic and famous Plaza, but no importa I guess. My mom kept goin on about seeing the "changing of the guard," so we posted up under a tree so that she could get out her tour book and read to us about what we were seeing. With her little glorified fanny-pack with extra useful pockets that says "California Institute of Technology" written all black and white and bold down the front of it... and sunglasses... hahaha yes. "The changing of the guard is an Argentine tradition at the historic Casa Rosada which takes place each hour, on the hour..."

More like every once in a while when they feel like it. And usually they don't feel like walking so you don't even really see it happen. Apparently the changing of the guards only really happens at one o' clock on certain days (and they're usually late, no surprise there), which we were lucky enough to actually witness, but when we did witness it and it was a bunch of guys hopping into a van to carpool about 40 meters away to the Cathedral, then sauntering about and onto their lunch break, we were kind of like, "Oh. Well fuck that," and pretty anticlimactically lit some more cigarettes. Done and done.

My pops and me, posing in front of the Cathedral where you can see the van on the right pulling up. And so we successfully captured the majestic "changing of the guards" on camera...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Pinche

Feliz cumpleaños a ti, feliz cumpleaños a ti, feliz cumpleaños a

JAYYYYYNENNEYYYYJAYNEJAYNEJAYNEJAYNEYYYJAYNEEEEEEEE Jayne is now 22 years old and has no birthday to ever look forward to againnnnnnnn

, feliz cumpleaños a ti

Hope you enjoyed mah birthday song… here’s to drinkin’ with bow-legged women. Cheers to Jayne.

Also, hooray for Chinese markets existing all over the world!

How cool is it that today I met a bunch of Asian kids speaking better Spanish than me. Awesome.

No really though, there is a Chinatown here on Juramento Street and all the restaurants are called things like, "El Dragon Rojo (The Red Dragon)" and "La Gran Muralla China (The Great Wall of China)." How awesome that I am now translating one culture into another's language and then ordering food off of the menu. I didn't really know what Chop Suey was before I came to this place, and now I have to figure out how to order it in Spanish. That is seriously beautiful. It is also beautiful knowing that I do not have to go without Chinese food for 4 months. Discoveries!

No Pones el Windex in your Mouth!

Walking home from class today around 22:00, that is 10:00pm for all you A-murrr-icans, I came upon a family rummaging through some garbage bags full of old stuff on the side of the street. As I got a little closer I realized the little brother, who was only about 4 years old, had found a bottle of Windex and was shooting it into his mouth. Like, directly in there, just tasting the fuckin thing, with his little backpack on, just hangin out. I ran up super quick yelling, "OYE! CHICO! No pones esto en la boca!" He looked at me like I was a crazy lady who spoke only broken Spanish with an excellent accent, which is what I am, and I guess that confuses people. Especially small children who have just embarked on an enormous Windex-induced head high and need to see an emergency room immediately. The momma stood up and grabbed him away from my vicinity. Well IN AMERICA we don't let little children die of poison ingestion. Needless to say, I was embarrassed that I had made a scene. But when I got home I realized that saving a baby's life is nothing to be embarrassed about what the hell. So I wrote a blog about it. Hope it was as good for you as it was for me.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


You know your Tio is badass when he brings a full cow's head, a full goat (chivo), and half-pigs out of the freezer to show you what he's gonna barbeque for dinner. I LOVE ARGENTINA There's something amazing about being totally primal sometimes.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The International Subway Soundtrack

A couple of months back I visited one of my old time friends from grade school up at her college in Moraga, just a few towns away from big ol' San Francisco. It was my very first time riding the subway up in those parts and I was excited to figure out how this kick-ass system that I'd been hearing so much about worked. Haggled for a few moments with the little ticket machine and felt like an idiot a little, which invariably happens when you're trying something like that for the first time and there are every-day commuters all around you gettin all pissed off that you're stupid. So that was scary. But we felt really great about ourselves, even though we'd just popped out $9 for a 3 mile one-way ticket or something a little retarded like that, as we swam along with the rest of the veteran-rider school and reached the escalator up to the platform.

Welcome to the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, Gina Caprari. Because, almost like the wafting music Disneyland plays while you're in line for the Matterhorn or something, there was a distinct soundtrack to the Walnut Creek BART platform, too. The escalator ascended, and just as all the anticipation was rising and all previous thoughts and prejudices and exhaltations about the Bay Area Rapid Transit system were sequencing through my head, the soundtrack came drifting down the escalator to us... almost magically...

"Well FUCK YOU THEN Jesus don't love you.
Jesus don't LOVE YOU. You think Jesus love you? You wrong! You damn wrong.
FUCK you. fuckyoufuckyoufuckyoufuckyoufuckyou and thank you very much, too.
Cus you said 'Fuck Jesus' so now he gon come fuck you. JESUS Don't LOVE you..."

Aaaaaand that was my first impression of the subway system in San Francisco. Reminds me of LA. It's cool, cus I felt right at home.

So what's up with subway systems havin a soundtrack then. "Fuck you fuckin Jesus" guy at San Francisco, and then the very first day I hit the Subte in Buenos Aires we get this crazy little puchero jumpin on our ass-packed (and I've never seen a more packed subway car. Like, other people's bodies stickin to my body.) car, with his headphones on, verily screeching into a business card as if that shields his fuckin voice from the rest of us and makes it okay to rape and pillage all of our senses at once. Oh ya, I'm talking a bonafide five-sense-er, baby, smell sound sight touch, most definitely touch, and he probably would taste funky, too. And I love that he traveled from his arrival spot on the train through the already heaving and dismal crowd to the absolute other end of the car, as if to spread the beautiful love which emanated from his cat-scratched voice and general person. Ah, what an allure. Makes me wanna try the subway in New York City. Who knows what talented people reside in subways there.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

the Ceibo

Tia Lita informed me that this, the majestic Ceibo, is the beautiful national flower of Argentina. Hell yeah! That's bomb! Enjoy.


Quick correction to yesterday's humidity post: you actually totally DO need lotion here, to hide your peeling leper skin from staring eyes after the terrible Argentine sun has burned it off.

That is all.

You can't argue "gustos"

So Argentines have all these weird little sayings that they use all the time to give you advice indirectly or say something very important about life... these "dichos" often don't translate correctly or make very much sense to us out-cultured people until someone fully describes exactly what the meaning is behind them... and even then, you're usually like, "where the fuck did they make that connection." But I guess it's cool, it's just the difference between cultures and the way people's minds have grown up working and all that jazz. So here's a cute little one from Tio Alberto:

'Gustos son gustos,' dijo la vieja y se sentió en un hormiguera, y estaba contenta.

Basically the phrase is something like our "You can't argue taste" saying, but literally translated, the phrase goes:

'Taste is taste,' said the old woman and she sat upon an anthill, and she was happy.

Hahahahaha yes. So even if you are an old Argentine lady who likes gettin her ass bit, or it very well may be that there's the allusion to gettin her ass pinched here (because the Cordobese love their naughty jokes), you just can't argue "gustos."

In return, I gave Tio Alberto an American gem, which is really just a phrase my dad says all the time, I have no idea where it's from or what it's talking about but it's friggin funny and weird too:

"I see," said the blind man to the deaf horse, pissing in the wind. "It's all coming back to me now."

But this one doesn't really translate to Spanish very well either, and it doesn't even really have a deeper meaning, it's just funny. So I failed at the culture exchange in this instance, and succeeded in confusing Tio Alberto into laughter instead. Hopefully it's a better day tomorrow.

brief note on humidity

One nice thing about the constant face-wiping, ass-dripping, pants-dropping, extreme humidity I am feeling here in Buenos Aires is that body lotion and chapstick are virtually remnants of the past. Here's to one more thing I won't have to spend my low funds on. And EAT IT, ever-corporate 1984-status watchful-eye-on-the-world evil American company Victoria's Secret! In Argentina, your entire beauty line is out of business. But too bad for Burt's Bees. I actually like him.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Loro who cried Puta

So my (great) Tio Alberto has a parrot he calls Toti, he's pretty much amazing, he likes to talk a lot... Toti loves to say "Que pasa Toti?" to himself, and cry "Albeeeeeerto," and dance and whistle along to old school tango albums my tio plays on the record player next to his stoop. One day, Tia Lita explained, she came home and went over to say hello to little Toti, who at the time was still very shy and had not learned very many words yet. Tia Lita was cooing and trying to make Toti say something, and when she reached her hand out to little Toti, he suddenly cried, "PUTA PUTA PUTA PUTA PUTA PUTA PUTA PUTA PUTA" over and over and over again. "AYYY Toti!" she cried. "Cochino, Toti!" And now Toti knew the word for "bitch." Amazing animals, loros. He's gonna be a charmer, I just know it.

Que pasa, Tooootiiiiii

ooooooh crap

So I made it to Buenos Aires. Except for the past week, while we've been visiting w/ various members day-in day-out of our extensive Argentine family network, I've been super-battling this raging beast of a kidney infection inside my body... most of my Argentine family subscribes to either a tough-love you'll-be-fine sort of medicina or a brujeria/naturaleza approach, which is to serve me leaves brewing in a glass, massage my back, whisper dichos to me, light candles, and pray for my dolor "please to go away"... Or tell me all week that I don't have a fever, then when their husband mentions that I feel a little calientita actually dig out that thermometer and realize that I'm burnin the freak up. So the first thing I did when I got to da big city was hobble to the nearest hospital, pee in a cup, and pay for some over-the-counter antibiotics. And shove them all up in my mouth like I hadn't eaten in eight thousand days. So I was a little lightheaded from overdosing, but it's cool cus I feel pretty much a lot better right about now... (j/k, don't worry family, I'm fine.) It's just lucky (or maybe unlucky, I can't make up my mind on this yet) that I didn't have to get that infamous Argentine shot-in-the-butt full of antibiotics right on the spot in the hospital room.

So hopefully I can say hasta la vista to this flippin enfermedad (sickness).

Please light some candles and say some prayers for my kidneys.