Thursday, August 28, 2008

Watch Me.

I have a new appreciation for music videos.  I owe it all to my malfunctioning electronics that have abandoned me in a foreign country sans laptop and iPod (can you even imagine?). However, with the help of my still-technologically-equipped roommates, I have access to LOTS of visuals to aid my audios.  It's been fun, and I'd like to share.

I love Devendra Banhart. And Natalie Portman too. They look like they're having a freakin blast in this video. I wish I could be in it in all truthfulness.

Mates of State.


I'm sure they'll be more to come.  For now, you can send all donations for new technology to ME in The City With The Most Expensive Electronics.  Thank you.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Papelera Palermo

While we’re getting settled into our new neighborhood, I want to share one of my favorite stores here in Palermo. I originally came here in search of stationary to write letters home or to write various thank you notes. Well, that was a lofty goal. However, I have found myself wandering around Papelera Palermo wishing I wrote more and for some reason needed that handmade, Dutch-style pressed, blue and white Batik loose sheet of paper. I’m still thinking.

They do have things I would actually use - incredible stationeries, inspirational journals in leather or with unique designs, neat little pads of paper for everyday use. In addition, they have origami paper, sketchbooks, rolls of printed paper and courses to learn how to actually use them. The gift ideas are endless.

I am also intrigued by their large book selection, including limited edition artists’ books and some really neat coffee table books that I have nowhere to put.

It’s obviously not your typical stationary store. Every aspect of Papelera Palermo is handsome - right down to the structured display of all its’ contents - making the space itself worth a visit. Almost exotic. For anyone interested in design, like my pal Anna, this place is a dream come true. For me, while I continue to look for excuses to buy more paper, it is thrilling to have such creativity and inspiration right around the corner.

You can shop online here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Moving Day

Today is moving day. Very excited, can't wait to share all the dirty details about our new place in swanky Palermo. As for now, I leave you with the first man we met upon arrival in Buenos Aires, our doorman and protector, Miguel...

Also, tonight Argentina plays Nigeria for the gold in soccer. WATCH. You know who to cheer for.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Chinaman Pose

Apparently the Argentine women's soccer team was feeling left out and wanted to get in on a little of the Olympic foto fun like Spain. The Guardian UK article explains,

The footballers shown are Maria Potassa, Eva Gonzalez, Fabiana Vallejos and Andrea Ojeda, with the image originally appearing in the Argentine sports periodical Olé on August 5 as part of its Olympics coverage. It is thought,as has been the case previously, that the gesture was intended to be harmless. However, it is certain to prolong the debate about Spanish and South American attitudes towards ethnicity.

READ: "South American attitudes towards ethnicity." INSIGHT: Have you seen an Argentine commercial recently? Their idea of "PC" translates to one blonde kid trying really hard to fit in while eating his yogurt in a sea of brunettes. The foto didn't even raise an eyebrow when it was first published here 2 weeks ago. There's just not the same cultural sensitivity here, or in Spain for that matter, as in the US. Moreover, no one wants to hear what we Americans have to say about it anyways. Am I right or what? (No one answers "what" unless you're 12.)

Personally, I find the foto more comedic than racist. Obiviously they didn't intend any harm. I mean look at them, they're laughing like they just finished singing "me chinese, me play joke, me put peepee in your coke" at a slumber party (and who didn't do that?).

The irony is that the stink follows the Argentine's defeat to China; And that during all this Olympic, universal brotherhood sentiment (read previous post and watch this video), we all come from different cultures with different attitudes towards race.

Also, the short chick is a little too convincing, either she's been practicing really hard or is Oriental. I'm leaning towards the latter.

(image above via Guardian UK)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Olympic Fun

I do love the Olympics. I do I do. Which is why it is depressing that I havn’t been watching them (or any TV for that matter). I guess I was just too busy eating cookies and apartment hunting that the Elbow Incident and Micheal Phelps’ victories just slipped out right from under me.

However I do have some comments from last nights viewing…

Girlfriend kicks ass. Romania's Tomescu led the whole second half of the marathon AND ran like 17 victory laps. This is why the Olympics are so admirable – this group of superhumans transcends ethnicity to make us all realize we should go for a 20 min jog every now and then, like TODAY.

Inspired by swimming, Brighton went out and bought one of those wacky speedos, followed by a modeling session.

All in all I love the Olympics for the cheesy, universal sentiments they bring. That says cheesy not Chinese. Cheesy, as in we all live on this silly globe together and learn (mostly) the same life lessons. Now, that's not to say everybody is good at everything. While hometown player U.S.A. has won a sexy 65 medals, Argentina has won a whopping 1 (!) bronze medal for JUDO. I'm sure there are some cultural assertations to be made in that comparison somewhere. There's always futbol...

(images via Gawker, Denver Post,

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tea & El Gripe

So today I am sick. I guess this is what happens when you ignore the sore throat and opt to go out to a house party where crazy argentines end up karaoking to the DJ spinning “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” Um, WHAT? All I know is that I now have (ominous music, please) “EL GRIPE,” which sounds totally better than the flu.

Anyways, after sleeping for 15 hours, I decided to get my pathetic self out of bed and go get some tea. A bit of a walk away is the Tea Connection in Puerto Madero. They also have a full menu, but I didn’t get that far. The tea menu was enticing - blacks, reds, greens, infusions, herbals, fruities, regulars, floweries - while the atmosphere was nice. Personally, in my current condition, I would have preferred a homier atmosphere, but I can still appreciate the clean, modern presentation provided. As I sat in fetal with a slight feverish aura about me, I waiting for the charming little hourglass to tell me my sancha cammomile was now worthy of my tasting. The tea was just what the doctor ordered, a piping hot pot of immune boosting green tea. Next time I’ll get a pastry treat, since it is an ideal place to bring a computer and linger.

All in all, I’m going to start drinking tea more often to help with metabolism and digestion and whatnot. I then I’m going to start exercising more, adopt a biomicrobic diet, get really spiritual and next time you see me I’m going to be glowing. But for now I am just plain sick.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fotos from the 'hood

Today I was a tourist. I walked around and took some fotos. Here is some stuff around my current 'hood.

Plaza San Martin is very close, big and leafy.

Monumento al Libertador General San Martín by Frenchman Louis Damas

More from Plaza San Martin

El Obelisco = Buenos Aires : Eiffel Tower = Paris

Avenida 9 de Julio is the widest street in the world. It's hard to cross.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band at La Trastienda (July 19)

Yippee! I love having a blog just so I can write about things of this nature (and food, of course). So around 2 weeks ago, we went to see Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band at La Trastienda as part of the Nuevos Aires Folk III series. Not sure if he would play Bright Eyes songs or be some totally new BAND that plays “música house” or something crazy like that (which I didn’t REALLY think), it turned out to be one of our best nights here thus far.

It was, to steal a word from Conor himself, “mystical.” First off, La Trastienda is a spectacular venue – cozy with a great reputation (I base this on their lineup of this band, Broken Social Scene in August and regular tango performances). The first two bands were both enjoyable, the first really folky and in the second band one guy wore a Dino Jr. tee (that’s all I got). As for the main event, the show was absolutely wonderful. One of those where you can hear, see and appreciate the songs and the words being sung. Conor Oberst is truly a great performer and extremely talented, obvi. He said little in between songs, but the way he sings his thoughts make you want to cry with nostalgia. Especially songs like First Day of My Life, Lover I Don’t Have to Love and Bowl of Oranges…

So I sat with him a while and then I asked him how he felt.
He said, "I think I'm cured. No, in fact, I'm sure.
Thank you Stranger, for your therapeutic smile."
So that is how I learned the lesson that everyone is alone.
And your eyes must do some raining if you are ever going to grow.
When crying don't help and you can't compose yourself,
It's best to compose a poem:
An honest verse of longing,
Or a simple song of hope.

Several times I wanted to run on stage, hug him and plead, “I KNOW! But what are you doing reading your diary to all these foreigners!” Then I decided listening and tapping my foot would be more appropriate. But those Argentines DO love the song Lua. I am curious to the whole “lost in translation” idea applied to music. I guess I don’t listen to gobs of Spanish music to compare the theory, but I realize music is a personal interpretation in any case. This night, it didn’t matter, Conor certainly did not disappoint.

Pitchfork just reviewed his new CD, so here.

And here’s a video of the night (Hit the Switch), not the best but the only one that didn’t give me motion sickness.

p.s. - sorry for the bad foto. hopefully the video makes up for it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bye Bye BitBox

Today is a dark day in Buenos Aires. Not because the one time I tried to leave our teensy “studio” it was raining and cold. No. It is because when I turned on the tele to my staple station it was not the killer euro-english-indie music i was expecting, but something in (GASP!) Spanish. How could I have forgotten! Today they turned my beloved BitBox into “Quiero música en mi idioma” (I want music in my language).

Since I am still a novice on googling in other languages, I have only found one good source on the subject of the change, which also praises BitBox for its awesome and spot-on selection of music. This blog says the first song they played at 00:00 today was “Beverly Hills” by Weezer. LAME.

So I am writing a complaint letter and it’s going to go something like this:

Estimado Sr. “Quiero”:

I am writing in request that you return to playing my favorite music videos instead of what you are currently opting for (aka Argentine music from Sony, Warner, etc). Not that I have anything against your special type of rock or your suave VJs, I just really appreciated a little Feist and Broken Social Scene mixed into my digest of Spanish culture. I mean they even played Calexico and Nirvana! Por Favor! I am not currently aware of anything so cool in the states even. My point is what about what I want and my language? Eh?

Gracias por su tiempo – chau – Lauren

In conclusion, here is what I learned from BitBox:

Travis is still awesome.

The Knife is the coolest.

And columbia is hoarding Mark Ronson's "Just" video.


Welcome to my blog - an attempt to chronicle my days in Buenos Aires in a not so organized fashion.