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… http://www.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/2006-01-30-brokeback-tourism_x.htm

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.