Thursday, June 29, 2006

Site Redesign

Or more appropriately, I picked a different template. It used to be really green. Then I realized I couldn't "own" green. But I kept it anyway until I got sick of looking at it. This has more white space, which works for Tropicana and Google (until I customized the simplicity out of it - I can't even find the search box anymore... but I do know how to "Convert an Old TV into a fishtank" thanks to Wikipedia How To's.

Friday, June 23, 2006

U.S. Soccer Needs A Doctor

With the United States' disappointing World Cup performance, I'm worried about the MLS. It's been struggling since 2002 when interest peaked due to our run to the quarterfinals, and was thus in need of some surgery, shock, resuscitation. MLS and U.S. performance aside though, I was most unpleasantly surprised by the lack of American fans. But now I realize that maybe I shouldn't have been... Simpson's World Cup

I guess it's just as Daryl Jenkins (played by Eriq LaSalle in Coming To America) said: "Personally, I don't like any sport where you can't use your hands."

Let Your Soul Glo

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Forget Superman

Read about our local hero in action:

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Getting Immersed In A Brand

In advertising, we often talk about brand immersion as a necessary step in (and often the starting pt. to) the strategic process. If you don't know the company/product/service inside and out, how can you possibly understand its strengths, weaknesses, unique selling propositions, personality, etc.? Those working on the KitchenAid account spend a lovely week in Benton Harbor, MI at their corporate offices; Purina team members get to visit St. Louis (as well as Wal-Mart's and Petsmart's); other employees here did actually "stay in a Holiday Inn Express" last night (needless to say, they are the smartest people in the office). So The Islands Of The Bahamas is not an exception. 4 days in Nassau and Harbour Island-it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it...

Monday, May 08, 2006

In My Hood

OOH (out of home) media is at a premium in Minneapolis. Wouldn't you expect to see such billboard advertising (sitting at 3 stories high) in New York City? But of course if you know me, you know why I snapped this photo - notsomuch for the medium as the message. It's hard to believe no one in SuperAmerica's marketing department knows the slang meaning of Hot Lunch. Well, on second thought, maybe it's not that hard to believe. Either way, thanks for giving me a giggle at the bus stop.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Where I've Been #2

Some random March day in Boston.

Where I've Been #1

The Brickyard - Indianapolis Motor Speedway. No racing, but got the track tour in a Corvette and went through the racecar museum.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I'm (Way) Below Average

Until today, that is.

According to Technorati, which now tracks over 35.3 Million blogs, 19.4 million bloggers (55%) are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created.

So now that I'm back in the game, I guess I can go back to being part of the majority. Though I don't know the stats on blog resurrection, I do have to believe that I'm part of a smaller group of "fighters" who believe it's better late than never. Kind of like the Dwayne Wade commercial for Converse, except that I've only fallen once and it took about 2 months to get up rather than 2 seconds. (In my defense, the lapse period included St. Patty's Day and a sprained ankle... unrelated incidents.) Anyway, I'm back (I think) and reporting live on - wait, what was my original vision/dream for this site... something about my life in Minneapolis. I've gotta change the heading, 'cause these next facts have nothing to do with the Salvador slogan.

Other interesting facts about blogs:

  • The blogosphere is doubling in size every 6 months
  • It is now over 60 times bigger than it was 3 years ago
  • On average, a new weblog is created every second of every day
  • Technorati tracks about 1.2 Million new blog posts each day, about 50,000 per hour
Weather in Minneapolis: Clear skies, 65 and sunny.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Week in the Inbox of Immaturity

Here are the 7 links which made their way amongst my guy friends and thus may be circulating around other jackasses like us:

7. 24 Fans, a little dated, but just in case you haven't seen:
6. It was a big shot:
5. The new Farrell trailer:
4. Don't even say it reminds you of someone:
3. Beirut/Beer pong and bridging the gap:
2. Free viewing of March Madness:
1. Accomplishments in literature:

Yes, this week was sports heavy for sure. I guess the upcoming NCAA bball tourney is having more of an impact than the Oscars... on most of us at least. I started this as a weekly glimpse into the 23-26 year old young "professional" male's life for Fallon's planning blog. And it has been met with pure enthusiasm: El Gaffney, what you've just added are some of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever seen. At no point in your rambling, incoherent post were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone who visits this blog is now dumber for having clicked on these links. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Best Thing for a Tuesday Morning

Are you having a tough time getting back to work this week? Did the short last week put you even farther behind (farther or further - need to ask Jamaal Wallace)? Well, I'm not going to answer for myself. But suffice to say, I'm still full from the meals I had this weekend with my parents: 112 Eatery, Manny's Steakhouse, and French Meadow Bakery (as well as some spinach and artichoke dip at Champp's in Richfield - the only place within 10 miles with ESPN Plus) and moving a little slowly as a result. Since I have to get up at 6:30 for a Purina meeting - no, they're on CST as well, just like to get an early start - I wanted to give everyone a look at one of my favorite video clips of all-time. I haven't figured out how to embed it into my blog, so enjoy the link...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Happy Birthday Yesterday, Mom

No, I didn't forget Ila's bday; I did call last night. However, I never gave her a shout out on the blog though. So here it is... with a picture I know my whole family can appreciate. They may have the cool Guinness ads in Ireland's pubs, but they don't have gems like this found in Gate E of MSP airport. Other notes from ayer: Gtown beats Rutgers, Ila and Vince see show in NYC, started reading Catcher in the Rye (I may be the only person who hasn't ever read it nor have I had to or else I'd have read the Cliff's Notes), Project Runway reunion special left much to be desired (though seeing Daniel V. say "it's a mothafin' walkoff, never gets old), Nantucket Nectars Half & Half at lunch (great drink), and speaking of favorite beverages, began working a bit on a new biz project for VitaminWater. It was also George Washington's bday, but he can't receive bluemoutain cards over email. Happy Birthday again, Mom. Can't wait to see you and Dad tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Trent's Wedding

From Friday morning arrival Minneapolis to Friday afternoon arrival in Cleveland to tux shop (where they told me that my left leg is 1" longer than my right) to rehearsal dinner to bars to pizza to cell phone to pass out to wake up to freezing to bar to shower and dress to seating people to rolling out the cloth to walking down the aisle to I do's to releasing guests to pictures to drinking to reception entrance to long ass speeches and one "awesome" one from the best man to grace (which I believe is still going) to eating to more drinking to dancing and back to the bar to the after party in the hotel to serving (and chanting) to hard work to bathroom floor to bed to hotel waffles to bye's to Cleveland airport to Minneapolis. Enjoy...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Weak Week Delay

Back in the U.S. for good now... actually since late Thurs night/early Fri morn. Venezuela was a wonderful place to end the viaje with its delicious local dishes, sunny days (which I experience through windows in the office and at outdoor lunches) and beautiful scenery on our two long rides from and to the airport (pictured above). At higher points in the drive through the mountains there was about 10 feet of visability with the fog that you can see at the top of this pic. And for the record, the ride back didn't feel nearly as Proof of Life-esque. The local team was extremely hospitable and outgoing and took us out for drinks - they're known for their rum, so I had to sample it - and talked frankly (Steven A. Smith style, except it was interesting, not annoying) about the country's current situation with Chavez. For someone who's pretty politically uninformed, I knew the basics of his reign, but stories of mandated folk music on the radio and pictures in restaurants coupled with the powerful images of ranchos (shacks built up on top of each other on the hills) and other obvious poverty really were quite moving. Overall, it's hard to ignore the hardships and condition of the lower class in the countries I visited (especially close to the airports), but while parts of Caracas were incredibly nice, the poorness was impossible to deny. I had a fantastic trip and memorable experience and will be back in the U.S. and Minneapolis now after spending the weekend in Akron, Ohio at my friend's wedding. More on this coming shortly...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Last Stop: Venezuela

Left Sunday morning for Miami. Watched Georgetown lose on last night in the Hilton near the airport where I slept. Got on a plane at 7:30 this morning to Venezuela. On time. So far so good. Until we (Kim, Purina's head of research for Latin America, and I) arrived here. Were supposed to have a car waiting, but that's wasn't in the car(d)s. Finally got in touch with the driver and he was running a couple hours late. Yes, a couple hours. No, why would he call? Yes, we probably should have just taken a different taxi. No, it wasn't that simple. Because the major highway/bridge is not open, it takes anywhere from 1.5 to 5 hours to get into downtown Caracas. So, we waited it out... until of course we got a call from Nestle Venezuela saying the driver would not, in fact, be coming to get us. 12PM in meeting spot at airport. 2PM have another car set up. 215 on the road in a Ford SUV. 215-345 winding up and around the mountain, through haze, enclosed by steep mountain on our left and all types of vegetation on our right. 4PM first view of Caracas (the Western and poorer part according to our driver). 515PM arrive at the Embassy Suites. I would go into the drive, but I'll wait until I'm back in the U.S. to explain (and compare it to one movie in particular) so as not to freak my parents out any more than they should be. So the actual drive took about 3 hours - about average. At the hotel, went for a little run on the treadmill - was inspired by the other man in metallic light green spandex on the bike next to me. (Not metallic mint green like the convertible(s) that pulled up to the Sac O'Suds conveeenyence store. (Ralph Macchio went to my Middle School.)) Then went out to a restaurant in la castellana and ate some serious arepas and cachapas and drank melocoton juice. Now I'm back and feeling fat and tired and watching VH1 top 60 something video countdown - #56 is The Calling "Wherever You Will Go." And I know this was probably said thousands of times before but probably not in the last year: How does this kid who looks like Aaron Carter have a voice like Creed's lead singer? And speaking of Latin TV, why does every other channel have 1 of 2 shows on it: One is completely hectic with sirens going off, a live studio audience, 2 MCs - 1 short, pudgy old man in a suit and one 30 year old hot woman with fake boobs and minimal clothing and The Other is a soap opera with 2 characters with similar but less extreme features arguing about something very serious as the camera moves from close up of face to face. At least there's soccer. Time to sleep.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Shave the Day

With all the Super Bowl ad hype winding down, I still haven't purchase Gillete's new razor, which I fully intended to... that is, until receiving an email (thank, Jake) with this link - - yesterday morning (and pictured left). Now I'm thinking I should just stick with my Mach3 Power and use this already allocated $ from my "male grooming products" budget on something that can also help in the kitchen. Talk about killing 2 birds with one stone. Yes, I refrained from revising that idiom. Anyway, I'll probably end up getting both, but not because of Gillete's SB spot... rather because it was prophesized by The Onion a couple years ago in this article: Got my hair cut yesterday, finally (it was cornrow length) for Trent's wedding next weekend. Next question: do I shave on the wedding day or go with more manly stubble?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Back from Colombia Update: Still Alive, More Tired

Meet Michel. Friend of my friend, Omar, from college. Met him a couple times in Madrid when I studied abroad. Other than that, haven't seen or heard about him in 5 years... until during an IM conversation with omarp7, I learned that Michel now lives in Bogota. So I got his number (the easy part), and after work on Wednesday figured out how to call his cell phone from my hotel (the hard part). (The kind of easy and kind of hard part was deciding to actually holler at him - didn't really know him at all and would have been completely content going to the pool in my hotel and getting a decent night's sleep.) Back to the story though, he told me to meet him at his apartment (pictured above - yes, you get even more for your money than in Minneapolis) and we'd go out from there. And that's what I, and we, did.

First we went to dinner at a nice little restaurant around his apartment (Calle 81), had some Club Colombian beers and empanadas. Then we picked up a friend of his and made our way to the center of town (26th Street) where we went to a bar/club called Socorro. There we quickly switched from beers to a bottle of whiskey, which you buy from the bar with a few plastic cups of ice, and went into the basement to dance it up to the spinning of some British DJ whose been living in Bogota for the past 15 years. Yes, you will get some details that you don't care about at all, but some time down the line, I may be trying to find out the DJ's name and be looking for a Latin American rather than European name. You will also get the story as a list of events because 1. my English gets worse and worse the longer I'm out of the country and 2. I'm too tired to recount the events so that you feel like you were there. Lo siento. At about 1, I considered leaving solo, but at the suggestion was handed a beer and told that we had to go to one more place, "the Wednesday night hot spot in Bogota," before heading back to the hotel. And once again, that's what I/we did. More drinking (whiskey straight in plastic cup, bottle in Michel's back pocket) and more dancing until about 3 when we all (thankfully) decided to leave. (I may have had to get picked up at 5AM for my flight, but they all had to work full days, getting up only a couple hours later. Michel for the EU.)

Sorry about the lack of details, back let me say one more thing before I go (to sleep). I started off this post saying meet Michel, with the full intention of introducing him properly. I know I've failed, but at least understand this: Not only did he go out of his way to show me a great and authentic time (though out in Bogota at 2AM, there's not really a "touristy" thing), but he made me feel like we'd been friends for those 5 years, during which we probably never even heard each other's names. I was not just a guest or a guy he was bringing along, but a friend. He would not let me pay for a thing (minus the bottle of whiskey, which I insisted I had to do for the experience of being handed a bottle from behind the bar), he made sure I was having fun and made sure I felt included even if I couldn't keep up with the Spanish. So, though he'll never see this (though I should learn to never say never since I probably didn't think I'd be partying in Colombia on a Wednesday night), I want to say thanks to him and let you know how much respect and care I was treated with in the "scary, gang/ kidnapper/ drug dealer infested" city. So, hotel a little after 3. Up a little after 5. Cab at 5:45. Flight at 9. Home at 6. Goodnight.

P.S. Update on Bahamas advertising: With posters coming down and others continuing to be stolen, The Bahamas has now made selected campaign creative available for download (legally) on their website. Use the link to the right or click here to go directly:

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Colombia Update: I'm Alive

And in the Hotel Casa Dann Carlton on Calle 94. Got in at around midnight last night - had to deplane after boarding in Houston because of faulty brakes - one of those times you're happy to get the f off and walk across the airport to a new gate. Seriously, the announcement went something like this 15 minutes after boarding: "Hi, this is the captain speaking, we're currently experiencing an issue with our brakes, they're not completely working, and we have a team below the aircraft working on the issue. I'll get back to you with details once I know if we'll be on our way or have to get a different plane." And even more seriously, when he announced 8 minutes later that we'd be deboarding and going to another gate to a plane without problems, everyone within shouting distance from me was complaining, huffing and puffing and really pissed. Sure, it sucks, but what's crazy was that they didn't seem nearly as (visibly) upset when the first announcement was made. If the captain got on and said, "Great news. These brakes should hold up at least til we land in 4 and a half hours. So let's leave 15 minutes late rather than 50!", would there have been cheers? This may be a good time to recap my travel issues over the last 3 weeks, not that you care, but because you may be surprised that I've remained so calm throughout (or you won't, but I am and I want to brag, and yes, you just have to take my word for it)...
Brazil: Arrive at Caesar Business 2 hours late (9AM) only to be told that there is no room for me yet. They think it should open in an hour or so. Can I use your business center? Sure, internet cards are "x" reias. You're kidding. Give me one for the hassle. No, okay, I'll go take a walk in my jeans and sweater and carry my laptop because I don't trust you.
Chile: Arrive at Hotel Intercontinental at 11PM. Sorry, we don't have your reservation. Why, it was made with these people from Nestle. We have theirs, just not yours... and we're completely booked. It was made with this person by the same person. Call your manager. Okay, we can get you a room tonight, but not yet. Go to the bar and wait. 1AM, your room is ready, but you have to check out tomorrow, we are full. Check into other hotel mid-afternoon the next day.
Argentina: Can I have a late checkout my flight's not til 10PM? Sure, it will be $100. You're not full, can I just stay til 4 or 5 or so. Yes, for $100. But a night is only $150... okay, just hold my bags while I walk around the city sweating and getting blisters (my sneaks are packed) for 6 hours and then overcharge me for the cab to the airport. Thanks.
Mexico: Minneapolis to Houston - sorry running a little late because there's a problem with the pressure on the plane. Actually, new plane, new gate, but not too late. No big deal... yet. I only have 1 hour to get off the plane in Houston and get on the plane to Mexico though. 45 minutes from land time, 35 from deplane, told I won't make it, sprint across airport, on tram, sprint more, make it just in time. Way back, Mexico gate changed 3 times. Had a full row to myself though, until a dude not only sat in the aisle seat, but put his large carry-on under the middle seat in front of us. Thanks Dick. (Dick was not his name, but that's what I'm calling him - capital D.)
Colombia: Minneapolis to Houston - no problem!!! Houston, you know the drill. Got into Bogota at 11PM, supposed to have a car. Not there. Phone - not working. Took a taxi, which was fine, but was a little nervous since I was told that our Citibank team never rolls around without security and in an armored car.
So anyway, now I’m here. After a day of 3 groups, starting at 8AM and ending at 9PM. Hopefully will have a chance to see the city tomorrow. Then get on a 9AM plane Thursday morning, supposed to get back to MN at 5PM. I’ll take the over on that bet. Looking like a promising or even "cant-miss"miss in Houston with only 1 hour to get across the airport and through customs. Either way, as I said, it’s all good… I’m chill. Though that word makes me a little annoyed. Relax.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Pittsburgh Loses

Georgetown beat Pittsburgh 61-58 this morning (or afternoon depending on time zone and how late you sleep on weekends). Hit up a bar Champp's (yes, 2 p's) in Richfield, MN - a little outside of Minneapolis. Total local bar, but after a couple Sunday mornings in a row there, we're totally in with Barb, the bartender. Only people interested in watching ESPN Full Court games - Big East action - and I was clearly the only person in the entire bar excited when Gtown hung on to oust the #9 team in the nation (barely). So threw back some brewski's, celebrated quickly and more quietly then normal, and came back to the pad for a solid 2 hour nap. Watched the Super Bowl with a bunch of peeps at a friends house. Pittsburgh won that less important game. At least that city won't be totally depressed tonight. Off to Colombia in the A.M.

Oh Mexico

Now do you see why Ricardo's "really proud of my Mexican heritage" and thus decided to make maracas and churros and wear a poncho on his multiple NEXT dates? Note yellow billboard - this is why I'm there - Pedigree, spending like crazy and stealing share from all Purina's brands both high and low priced. View's from my hotel room at the Intercontinental in Mexico City. Thinking about bringing my racquet next time. Tampa Bay Bucs cheerleaders were staying there as well... don't know why since I didn't want to interrupt their breakfast... and I was too much of a wimp to approach the table of 15. 4 countries down, 2 to go.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Controversial Bahamas

As you know, one of my clients is The Bahamas, specifically its Ministry of Tourism. Well, we recently launched our new OOH (out of home) campaign in New York City. With our "Escape Everyday Life" message, we've targeted heavily one place New Yorkers look to escape (and are part of their daily routine/life): The subway. Stations and trains alike. The rush hour commute. The weekday grind. Penn Station crowds. Our goal is to provide an escape (in the beautiful shots of The Bahamas and witty advertising) and remind you that an incredible and unique vacation destination is waiting for you (and not too far away - less than 60 miles from Florida). However when I was in Mexico, I learned that a few of our ads were stirring the pot so to speak. (And that's not how I usually speak.) This one shown in particular has caused the most hullabaloo. (That's definitely not how I speak.) Providing an "Instant Escape" this ad shows subway riders how to pass the time practicing their bonefishing technique. Harmless fun? Not at all. Read one recent review:
Quick response: I can assure you that The Bahamas does not want you dead. Neither does Fallon. Just as the title's quite clever, our communications were meant to be and thus, should not be taken literally.
However, a couple other ads have also been found "in contradiction to the rules and regulations of the MTA." Note: CBS Outdoor/Viacom and the MTA both approved every single ad before posting. Those in question - turning your subway seat into a hammock (against one seat per person policy - Is it true they are now ticketing $50 for putting your bag down on an empty seat in an empty train?) and subway scuba (against moving from car to car while train is in motion), have been taken down (which we and The Bahamas advised - wouldn't want the same people who didn't know coffee was hot to actually toss their scarf and cell phone out onto the tracks).
Our ad that reads, "Just so no to pants," is still up... for now. Please be advised that you should not hop onto the A train with your bottom half exposed. You can wear shorts... though you'd be more comfortable in minimal attire in The Bahamas.
See the NY Times article as well:
These bloggers may be in need of a vacation. Don't worry many of Bahamas' hotels have wireless internet.
P.S. For those concerned about our proposed NYC escapes, know this: it's safer in The Bahamas.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

First Half Recap

Here's the link to my photos/fotos from Rio, Santiago and Buenos Aires. I'm off on a quick trip to Mexico City tonight. I'll try to get a shot of me in a sombrero before leaving but can't make any promises since the city is actually quite modern. Hope you enjoy the show. Email (or comment I guess) if you have any questions about what each picture is of. I should know, but was definitely too lazy to label each of the 90 shots.

Monday, January 30, 2006

First Movie Review

Yesterday’s plan was to catch up on sleep, work out and go see Glory Road with a friend. 2 out of 3 happened. So when my friend bailed on the bball movie, I was faced with some new decisions. And the process went: Really want to see a movie, what’s playing close, do I really want to see any of those, yes, do I want to see that one alone, hell yes. So I went to see Brokeback Mountain last night… and saw it solo, which I believe is the way to go for a straight 24 year old guy. (I wouldn’t know about 25 though.) Also, if you happen to catch E!’s The Soup, you’ll see an amazing skit on marketing the movies to men – “a movie with no gay monkeys.” The long and short of it (no pun intended): Definitely recommend, not just because it’s up for an Oscar, but it’s a great story, terrifically acted (and I think as a straight male, you can appreciate how difficult it would be to make your man love believable, and especially not overact), and thoroughly interesting and exhausting.

That’s all I’ve got. I’m an awful critic. If I really was one I’d use bad puns (see above) or quotes from other (and often unrelated) movies and shows to critique (i.e. I wish I had 4 hands so I could give that movie 4 thumbs up). Thus, rather than provide a plot summary, note on symbolism or a social commentary, I’ll stick to what caught me most – the beauty and serenity of the actual geography - and how it positively changed my perception of Wyoming. I remember wanting to hit up a ranch after City Slickers. Now I'm not just aware of Wyoming, but am compelled to put this type of travel (lake and mountain America) into my vacation consideration set. And it seems I’m not the only one…

Who cares if it was shot in Canada? I’m already sold on Wyoming. And just so you know The Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3 are being filmed in The Bahamas… at least one or two scenes.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

And Drink Plenty of This

That's right. Apple Gatorade. If there was going to be any sneaky smuggling back into the U.S., it was going to be with this product. Note: there's really no other way to smuggle than sneakily, but I'm giving a shout out to my sneaky steals in bball games as well as to John Turturro in Mr. Deeds, whose sneakiness was constantly being underestimated. I bet he and Liam probably drank a bunch before rolling too. So this, and the Pomelo flavor, kept me going during my tour of the city. The ultimate electrolaxative. Perfect for a hungover morning. Sorry, but it's true. Photo: Gatorade Manzana in Patio Bullrich mall.


My multi-hour walk was mostly concentrated in Palomera and specifically an area called "Soho". It's more like the West Village with the tree-lined, cobblestone streets filled with small shops, both local and international (as shown by the Nike store above). And shown above above, is my favorite store in the city, Felix. With such gems as "Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down" and "Recreation", it provides great fits and entertainment. Okay, so just I like shopping there doesn't mean I talked about it the night before. But I will say that this is a must-visit area in Buenos Aires, especially for brunch and a stroll on a nice day. Wear comfortable shoes...

Three Amigos

I’m Lucky Day, I’m Dusty Bottoms, I’m Ned Needlender… and together we are the (smack, smack, smack, uh huh cough)… So, Thursday night went to dinner in a really cool, up-and-coming area called Las Canitas with Hernan, the locall Purina brand mgr. (right) and his friend Ramiro, who’s currently doing his residency (left – in case you were confused by the chest hair). We stuffed ourselves with provoleta, chorizo, and of course, steak and were barely able to muster up enough energy to go to a bar for a couple drinks right after. Dinner and drinks discussion, during which they spoke in English and I, in Spanish, included the World Cup - they have some respect for the US team but still didn't believe that anyone in the US really likes soccer, Women - both single, they wanted the opportunity to test their luck with American women (I got a flashback to Love Actually at this point), and Work - but only as it related to how much they got to sleep each night and how often they went out during the week. Additional conversation included more sports, food, and travel and excluded politics, our favorite romantic comedies (don't tell them about Love Actually) and where I bought my jeans. Overall, the highlight of my time in Buenos Aires, though my 5 hour/15 mile walk the next day came in a close second.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Humor es Humor en Espanol

How ridiculous are these guys? I watched this movie on my flight from Rio to Santiago. Honestly when I turned it on, I was hoping that it would be in Spanish with English subtitles. Can you imagine who they get to be the Latin voices of Vince and Owen? Plus, I would have loved to hear the translations of “meatloaf, fuck” and “play a little just the tip.” Sorry for the cloudy picture (pathetic is probably the best word to describe it), I was running away from some gypsies as I snapped it. Not really, but they still have late fees, so I didn't want to hang out too long. Plus, the Blockbuster owner may have thought it was a little creepy. And maybe he's right, I guess it is a little creepy...when a young man, who happens to be an only child, loses both of his parents in a tragic accident one month before his birthday and then has his best friend make a vow that he will never spend his birthday alone. Yeah, maybe that would fall under the category of creepy. I could go on, but here's my first entertainment recommendation: Buy Wedding Crashers or Los Rompebodas - those 2 plus Walken, Ferrell and McAdams (who does love Gosling) is as quotable as Zoolander and Old School.

Welcome to Buenos Aires

Here is Avenida 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world, which runs from Plaza Constitución to Avenida del Libertador and up to the northern suburbs. Though it doesn't matter how wide it is from a traffic perspective when hundreds of Argentinian protesters parade across it as I witnessed this Friday. What were they protesting? No idea, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't a pro-EEUU demonstration.

So I'm back in good (c)old Minneapolis now. Just watched Georgetown manhandle Cincy. And am planning on unpacking, napping, and updating you on the rest of my time in BA.

Proving My Age, Again

An an ariel (7th Floor) view of the Caesar Business hotel's pool on the 2nd floor. I couldn't help it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

What’s My Age Again?

Was Blink 182 traveling on business trips when they wrote this song? Or were they getting tattoos and piercings? Well, either way, Megan was a huge fan of this number, and it leads me to my big question of this late evening: Why do I continue to tell people that I’m 25 when asked “how old are you?” in any work environment? Does this extra 9 and a half months make me more legit? Does the big two-five make mean that now I’ve graduated into adulthood? Those 23 and 24 year old young professionals living the crazy life don’t know about responsibility – paying the bills, feeding the kids. Honestly, I get the same reaction every single time – surprised look, asking really? To which I turn slightly red, do an awkward 4-5 abbreviated nods, and contemplate asking how ancient they are. Instead I break the more awkward silence and inquire, “Why, hold old did you think I was?” And the answer is always the same, so always as unsurprising, yet just as confounding – “25, 26 or so.” Then why do you look so astonished!?! So, now the real question: Why do I lie? If I said 24, I’d get the same thing. So why do I put myself in the position to get caught? I’ve asked myself this before, but now that I’ve written it down, it really makes no sense. Okay, I’ll stop. Though, if Kiran asks me if I have Missy Elliot’s first CD, I’ll continue saying I bought it and lost it. (Pointless inside joke since he doesn’t even know I have this blog. I haven’t told him since he’s been living on a tropical island for the past 2 years so wouldn’t be as impressed with my pictures of beaches. Talk about doing med school right!) If you work with me, then here it goes: I’m 24. If you’ve never asked, thanks, and now you know the truth. If you have, you shouldn’t be reading this. Back to the rant…

The real real questions are why do these people feel comfortable asking me that and why don’t I ask them right back? I guess the new response could be, “Not old enough to be asking you your age.” Or maybe, “Old enough not to be your son… unless of course you had some crazy high school years.” This would preempt the even worse, but thankfully very rare response to the question I haven’t asked, “I’m old enough to be your mother.” No, men don’t answer that. But yes, they do ask the question about 1/3 as often. Their response: The closed-mouth half-smile/smirk abbreviated-nod that says, “I remember that age. Life was good.” Then I open my computer and show them pictures of Rio, cornrows and co-ed flip cup.

In and Out

Don't you feel like you were in Rio with me? Okay, maybe not. But at least I gave you a little taste of the culture. Well, here goes the exact opposite for Santiago, Chile. Got in Sunday late at night, to the hotel at about 11PM, they didn't have my reservation at the Hotel Intercontinental, persuaded them to put me up for just one night even though the hotel was full, waited another hour and a half to get into my room, woke up early for focus groups, had them all day, checked out of the hotel and into another called Plaza el Bosque, had a nice dinner, slept, woke up early, groups, had a nice lunch, and left for the airport at about 4PM on Tuesday. That said, from this and my last quick visit, it is an amazingly safe, clean and picturesque city with tree lined streets and surrounded by mountains. Unfortunately I didn't get to take many shots. Here's one I snapped from the top (17th) floor of my second hotel. Apologies Jay, if you thought this post was going to be about your second favorite movie (behind Notting Hill). We can talk about Hugh when I get back to the U.S.

A Minor Scare

I'm too far away to have a heart attack in my hotel room and expect to be found and saved. So either it's ESPN's fault or my own suspect translation, but before going to commercial break this morning, I heard (translated), "Leading by 4 points with less than 4 seconds left, did Georgetown manage to lose to Notre Dame?" I pounded my chest a couple times Farley- not King Kong-style and waited patiently for the show's return. 2 minutes later I was watching Bowman foul Colin (something, he's white) and believed all my suspicions were true. OT1 - had a chance to lose the game. OT2 - thankfully we got out with a win. I think it's because I didn't do the Jesus pose and post.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

To Sum It Up

Life was good in Rio. I got down to business and to the business of gettin' down. And I definitely will return for Carnaval when I can afford it outside of a business trip. Though there's nothing like good clean business... and a little monkey business. Name that movie. No chance, huh? Back to School - conversation between Thornton Melon and Dean Martin. Next trivia: Who else makes an appearance in that movie and is responsible for the name of this blog? Answer coming upon my return to the U.S. Photo: Me eating Biscoito Globo on Ipanema Beach, where I also drank coconut water (and ate its "meat"), Matte Leão (a nice cold tea), and of course, a lime caipirinha with sake. That's all for Brazil. Beachseth Out.

One Last Stop in Rio

On my final day in Rio, I decided to go to Corcovado to see Santo Cristo and the beautiful view, both of which are shown above. From up you could see the whole city: Sugar Loaf (Pão de Açúcar), Rodrigo de Freitas lake, Gavea's Rock (from where people jump to fly with asa delta - hang-gliding), and all the various beaches I've been bragging about for the last few days. I got some pretty good shots of Sugar Loaf, the soccer stadium, some long bridge (like the one they blew up in the original Bad Boys), and other parts of the city, but will save those for KodakGallery (formerly known as Ofoto). Furthermore, it's fair to say that besides for my brief Copacabana association, I didn't think about Bar Mitzvahs that long. And for those wondering: yes, of course my first inclination was to replicate his pose, but using better judgment, I decided against it and stood respectfully in front of JC. After all, Jesus was a Jew, so I was in good company. In all seriousness though, it was extremely powerful (and gigantic and way up high) and it was the perfect place to finish my trip. If you don't believe me Google Earth it or use Google Maps to get there. Those are the best. Verdad eso. Doble verdad.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sambas: Not Just the Name of a Sneaker (Introduzindo Crazy Legs)

That night we went to Junior's house and then to the Beija-Flôr show. Above is a picture of the samba school, whose colors are blue and white and whose name means kisses flower. The show took place in a theater called Claro Hall (located under a mall). Opening acts were Monobloco and MC Marcinho. Above that is Crazy Legs (thanks Jake for the nickname), doing some dancing Brazilian "funky" steps. Those paolistas (from Sao Paolo) had some moves, but were definitely not prepared for the serving that this gringo could do. If BDR had been there with the spin moves, we may have been able to change the Americano stereotype double-handedly. But in true, late night weekend fashion, we finished off the night with some slices made of palmito and calabreza in Pizzaria Guanabara. ETPO (Estimated Time of Pass Out): 5AM. DTEO (Definite Time of Eye Opening): 1PM, which was fine with me since I managed to burn my entire face within 2 hours the previous day. You could call me Porco like a Portuguese version of Lord of the Flies.

100% Real Brazilians

Let me introduce my new Brazilian amigos… From left to right: Caroline, Me, Junior, Danielle, Adolfo. No, they’re not just random peeps from the street (or beach in this case). I met them through Caroline (pronounced Cah-roh-lean-ehy), who is Brazil’s brand manager for Kanina dog food and thus, one of the people with whom I worked. Still with me? She works with Danielle who’s dating Junior (I don’t know his real name) who’s friends with Adolfo.

Yes, the name Adolfo makes me a bit uncomfortable, but I managed to shift my thinking so that images of Ralph from the Muppet Babies would be triggered rather than those of that guy with the strange moustache. Don’t ask me how or why. Or do. I'm not sure. I just know it wasn’t because he was playing piano.

Anyway, here are the facts, diary style: We had a great afternoon at Prainha, a remote beach half enclosed by big green mountains. To get there, we passed trough Barra, an area that looks a lot like Miami and where people were kitesurfing. (Not where all the beautiful people come to be gay. Yay. Huh? - okay, that's from an obscure Bruno/Ali G segment.) I tasted açaí, a typical brazilian fruit, prepared with granola and drank a Skol beer. After the beach, Junior drove us to a small seafood restaurant where we ate bolinho de bacalhau, a portuguese dish prepared with cod. On the way, we heard brazilian music: Seu Jorge (Life Aquatic), Gilberto Gil, Roberto Carlos (not the soccer player) and Zeca Pagodinho. We also heard 50 Cent, Chemical Brothers, MIA and The Rolling Stones at my request.

Details of our evening coming later tonight...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Deep Thought for the Night

I just arrived in Santiago, Chile a couple hours ago to find that the hotel did not have my reservation. Rather than tell them how incompetent they were (which would have forced me to speak in English for maximum impact), I took a deep breath, spoke Spanish and got myself a room in what had minutes before been a "completamente lleno" (full) hotel. Earlier last week in Brazil I witnessed an angry American guest complaining (in English) that she could not understand how the entire hotel did not have a iron and she'd have to pay $4US (8.something Reais) to have her pants pressed. Before checking out today, I watched the same receptionist give an iron to a Brazilian guest. Let me be Reverend Run for a hot second (though it's not easy without laying in a candle-surrounded bubble-filled bathtub). Sure speaking the local language makes a difference. But your body movements, tone (not Loc), volume, and general demeanor can make a bigger statement. There's an international language... and it's called respect. Do you remember how Doogie Howser used to end his shows with a lesson learned/recap? More importantly, how about NPH's comeback? And what's Max Casella been up to lately? (Yes I had to look up his last name, but I knew it was something like that.) I'll try and catch up on a couple Rio days and nights tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Back In the U.S.

I interrupt the (fairly) regularly scheduled posting for this tardy, yet continually satisfying announcement: Georgetown beat Duke on Saturday afternoon, 87-84. If I had to miss this extraordinary event, I can't think of a better place to have been. But I have to admit it is a little difficult holding in my excitement because I'm probably the only person south of the US that cares (and part of the 2% who know what college bball even is - 1% tourists, 1% expats). I can't say I had a good feeling going into it, considering we had beated South Florida by 3 points earlier in the week. Regardless, I'm waiting to celebrate upon return with some cold light beer in clear plastic cups. Members of TheFellas should expect drunk "Strokeitup" calls on Saturday evening (1 week late). By the way, I've heard that the Big Pun stormed the court. Unfortunately there is no photo evidence similar to his live on-screen debut last year as the last person in the entire MCI Center to stand-up for a big play. To his credit, he did need to secure his beer before starting his half-assed clap. And finally, it wouldn't be a Hoya bball post from me if I didn't quickly mention that we would have never won this game had Drew Hall still been on our squad. He threw more games (and passes out of bounds) than Butch McRae. They should have made Blue Chips video game featuring Calbert Cheaney and Bobby Hurley vs. Shaq and Matt Nover. Good movie. Better win.

Yes, I Said Copa, Copacabanaaa

Is it wrong that upon seeing this beautiful hotel, I was immediately taken back to 2 places: 1. My Bar Mitzvah reception in middle school - I started reciting the song in my mind and became EJ the DJ mixing it right into Macho Man; and 2. My couch in high school - where I was watching Can't Hardly Wait. That's right, who's gonna want you know, A-man-da? Somebody. More like nobody. You really got me there Mike. Fag! Well, thanks Barry Manilow for this hit and for that song about your dog. Remember: music and passion were always in fashion.

First of Many Beaches

Second if you count the little one in Botafogo where the training took place. I know what you're thinking though... and yes, there was cause for the ellipses after water in the last post. After making my way through the 6 layers/rows of umbrellas between the volleyball courts and the ocean, here was the scene. No, that's not David Hasselhoff swinging from the helicopter, and no those are not Germans either, but they rushed to the scene as if both were the case. And all this hype for what I was later informed is a relatively routine occurrence: the current is so strong, waves big and undertoe severe, that people get swept out to a point beyond which they'll be able to swim back (unless we're talking about Liz or Genna) and have to be rescued/scooped up like fish in this giant net and flown the 50 feet or so to be dropped off back on shore. And yes, Jimmy, that is a Hines Ward jersey bottom mid-left of photo. Once again, this is Copacabana Beach.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Point Is, They’ve Got Us Beat

I was going to continue posting reasons Brazil will continue to dominate the international soccer scene, but one, I ran out of ways to tie it into dreams; two, I . Three, and most importantly, when I went to Copocabana Beach two days ago thinking I’d hop into a social game of soccer volleyball (sports being the international language and all), I went to the court which seemed to have the least athletic looking players and much to my surprise, they were all 50x more skilled with this lighter and bouncier ball than I would have prayed I’d be. Thus, I saved myself, and the U.S., the embarrassment, took the picture above, and kept moving toward the water…
Note: It’s called futebol here, but as I would have written in a new post, we just sound silly calling it football (same goes for boots, pitch, nil, and many other phrases uttered by Rob Swain).

Friday, January 20, 2006

Reason #76646

They don't dominate the all-you-can-eat "Brazilian steakhouses" like we do. I may not have posted the 11 lb. weight gain from my previous dining experience at Churrascaria Plataforma (thanks, Katz for bringing a scale to the restaurant), but when you look around and see you're the only one who is still "green-buttoned" it says something. And that something is: "You are a fat American pig." (See the name of the restaurant, and its classy logo, above.) I've been washing all dinners down with their infamous (like El Guapo) Caipirinhas. They have all the bob flavors.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Reason #37326 Brazil Will Continue to Kick Our Asses in Soccer

Time: 10:14AM
Location: Playa Botofago, Rio de Janeiro
Tempature: 91 degrees Fahrenheit, 32.7 repeating degrees Celsius
Who: 7-11 year old boys
Activity: Jumping over, weaving through and running to cones... repeat. Playing soccer is the reward.

A Quick Nightmare

Yes, this is a dramatic (and unwarranted) heading, but I'm trying to ride this "dream" thing out so please bear with the dream-themed titles... and the rhyming. I'm not a "bad flyer," but I do manage to get into some pretty frustrating situations in and around airplanes and subsequently manage to get myself pretty worked up. So here's the most recent case. Background: I'm super-pumped that I've managed to fit all my clothes for a 2 week "business" trip in a carry-on suitcase. (Note 1: I use the term super now because I'm so Midwestern. Note 2: I'll stop using quotes like I'm Bennett Brower.) I made it through check-in with no problem and past the pink-tagging-ticket-scanner-person with the same grace and sneakiness and onto the plane, only to realize that my bag actually did not fit into the overhead compartment because we were on one of those 3 person-per-row mofos. Thus, I headed back off the plane, through the hall and to the counter to get myself a pink ticket. No big deal, I thought - it will put right below the plane and will be waiting for me when i get off. I was right. What I didn't plan for was the torrential downpours in Atlanta. If a shaky, anxiety- and nauseau-inducing flight (remember I'm on the remote controlled jet), I set down into this wet mess to find my bag sitting solo on the top of the 4 leveled cart. The exclamation point: I traded my seat 4B for 11A, so some chaunce could sit next to his girlfriend. And she had bangs.
Photo: "That bag is back on the escalator." (Bag shown after being carried from Gate B1 to D14, which included a 3 minute AC-filled tram ride.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Dreams Turn to Sonhos

Here's me in Minneapolis this weekend. I'm off to somewhere a whole lot warmer and less icy (I'm talking about frozen water), where the sun is red and the flag is as yellow as the beach-goers' banana hammocks. Where in the world is Seth Gaffney? Hit it Rockapella. Stay classy Carmen Sandiego.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Sweet Dreams

Goodnight, God bless you, I love you.
-Another passionate and creative Vincent (with two ears intact, only one of which has been known to become bright red)

Google's Dreams

I really like how they change their logo and the flexibilty those O's provide for almost daily alterations. I was a big fan of the Van Gogh one they had on Vincent's bday. It reminded me of every single girl apt/house in college. Moreso than the Belushi "College" poster does of guys' apts. P.S. Would anyone be surprised if you read the headline in 10 years, "Google cures cancer"? Maybe Google Health or Dr.oogle actually. Another display of its name's power in simplicity, differentiation and versatility.


I'm one of those fortunate people who often remembers my dreams. They are, for the most part, vivid and realistic. They often relate to the last thing I thought about before going to sleep. (Is there research that proves this happens? I think it's pretty common.) They always affect my sleep. Sometimes the more real they seem, the more I'm freaked out and wake myself up. Other times I really want to see what happens (like on Bravo's Project Runway), so I force myself to sleep longer and force some sort of resolution that let's me open my eyes without regret. But dreams are only part of the reason I've created this blog.

I rarely fall asleep easily. I can go a day without a significantly creative or unique idea. Quoting Three Amigos in meetings, referencing and relating life experiences MTV's Next or Gauntlet 2, or lipsyncing The Best of Both Worlds as I run on the treadmill, originality is something that takes a little work or removal from it. Thus, when I get into bed, all those ideas (great and awful) that alluded me during the day, enter my mind like pop-up video. But that's not really why I'm blogging either.

Basically, I want a place to store my thoughts, ideas, rants and pictures, and I want a means for connection. It's been about 6 months since I've moved to Minneapolis and I want to give people (my friends and family) a taste of my life here. And true to form, I want to make sure they don't forget me... and if possible, I remain on center stage. In other words, it was easier for the world to revolve around me in NY than MN. (Though the U.S. can revolve around me better here.)

So without further ado, and how fittingly historic and cheesily pun-y for my inaugural blog day, I bring to you my dream... hollisterings of Salvador Walleye.