justin adler, blog, buenos aires, bahia blanca, university of arizona, brooklyn, basketball, travel, paul mcpherson

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Keeping it underground

There isn't much worse in life than being on a jam-packed subte with people coughing all around you.

And I don't think I've ever been as uncomfortable as the time I rode the subte during rush hour and was forced to stand with my crotch firmly pressed against a 65-year-old, 4-foot-9-inch woman's chest for 30 minutes. However there are a lot of great elements of the subte that make it worth the ride downtown every day.

Here is my collection of the trill elements...

-- First and foremost is Casimiro (pictured above) who rocks my subte stop every weekday afternoon. To say that Casimiro inspires me and gives me hope for humanity would be an understatement.

I was first impressed with Casimiro when I saw him for the first time after I moved out to Palermo and began using the Ministro Carranza stop. I really liked his voice and he could carry a pretty solid tune, from the 30 seconds I listened to him every day. It's also great to watch him happily bop around the staircase playing his guitar with such emotion for hours a time, every day.

While trying to describe his style to my friend all I could come with is: "It's everything you like and nothing you don't."

After hearing him a couple of times I decided I should buy his cd, but for one reason or another I didn't end up buying it until four weeks later.

Finally I bought his cd and gave him some extra money just because I admired his incredible work ethic as much as his musical talent. It's also great because now I have my subte stop soundtrack forever.

Although I highly recommend catching his live shows because his acoustic guitar sounds great with the acoustics of the staircase, you can check out his MySpace.

Better yet, watch him sing my favorite song "Prefiero tu sonrisa (I prefer your smile)" and don't miss his interview and footage of him singing in the subte.

-- Although Casimiro is the best talent in all of the D-line, some times I'm treated to other acts, such as a saxophonist and an inferior guitarist. If I'm lucky I'll get two different sets in one day. And if I'm really lucky I get the Ministro Carranza all-stars, which is what happens when all the musicians come together to jam together (this amazing moment is captured in the video above), although I've never had the privilege of seeing the rapper.

-- The city tries to provide its own entertainment, but it ends up falling way short of Casimiro. But I do appreciate the "Mas cine en el subte" campaign just because it reminds me of the Ruffenach cinema series of Tucson.

For those of you who don't know about the Ruffenach cinema series it's an exclusive summer movie series put on by my family-friend Dr. Ruffenach, who from my understanding runs every hospital in Southern Arizona. Dr. Ruffenach spends all year thinking about which films he wants to showcase, then has his close friends over to watch the movies.

Then during the most crucial moment of the film Dr. Ruffenach will talk over the film to state an incredibly obvious fact, such as the bad guy from 10 minutes ago is the same guy whose on screen now, he's just wearing a different color hat.

Somehow this actually enhances the viewing experience.

Ministro Carranza's cinema series isn't as epic as the Ruffenach's, but it is nice that every day at 19:00 you can watch a some great film fragments.

-- When the subte televisions aren't playing classic film fragmentos they are normally playing this show which features the creepiest digitally animated elves I have ever seen.

--Other subte things that make me happy:

---- Getting a free newspaper every day.
---- Knowing that most of the time the newspaper will have topless Argentine models.
---- The day I read an article about Mike D'Antoni, whose name was spelled D'Antony for some reason. The article also called D'Antoni/y "el hombre con el bigote (the man with the mustache)."
---- I believe that I'll be immune to every South American common cold after living here for five months.

-- My final favorite part about the subte is seeing Utah Jazz powerforwad/center Mehmet Okur's tag everywhere. It was pretty sneaky move to purposely misspell his name, but fortunately I'm really good at detecting Turkish professional basketball players' tags.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My favorite things

A lot of people haven't asked what my favorite thing about Buenos Aires is. Well here would be my answer...

Is it being able to buy 24 ounces of quality steak for under $3 USD?

Is it being able to walk out on my patio and see the gorgeous view (pictured above) every night?

Is it paying just over $300 USD for a nice place in the middle of Palermo, where I can walk to hundreds of swank restaurants and bars?

Is it being able to go out to those nice restaurants and have a three course meal and a couple of drinks for $25 USD?

Is it being able to go to the clubs every night and know that hot Argentine girls are just one ecstasy pill away? (Note: I don't club that often and I've never done ecstasy, but that's a popular option for a lot of Porteños)

Is it meeting a million South Americans and learning about a new culture?

Is it watching an incredible tango shows at 2:00 in the morning?

Is it all the other stuff I have blogged about for the past month?

No, the greatest thing about Buenos Aires is that I can watch "House" five nights a week on the Universal channel. Not only do I get to enjoy the sheer insanity that every episode of "House" provides, such as in tonight's episode when Dr. House slid a cadaver out of the morgue then pulled a gun out of his coat and shot the cadaver in the head. But it's always broadcast with Spanish subtitles so I can learn the Spanish names for all 100 of the one-in-a-million diseases that are mentioned in every show.

So let's just say that on my subte ride to school I meet someone that has recently gone blind, had a heart transplant from somebody who had Erythropoietic protoporphyria and then begins bleeding from his eyes and ears, while his left leg goes numb. I could calmly say, "Este es un latum de diphyllobothrium que esta causando haemochormatosis," press play on my Zune and carry on with my day.

Monday, August 25, 2008


--The other day while walking around the city searching for a book store I stumbled across the Holocaust Memorial Museum. I figured I should check it out seeing as how I had nothing else to do and because it could offer me some more perspective on the Holocaust.

I walked inside ready to learn and be moved by a museum, which has the slogan, "Hay un museo, nada de arte (It's a museum, with no art)." The man at the entrance told me it would cost 10 pesos (3 USD) to get in. I really didn't feel like spending that kind of money, so I came up with a quick lie and left the museum.

--In case you were curious, I ended up dropping my migrations class, mainly because it was boring as hell and because the teacher looked like Colonel Sanders, which for some reason didn't work for me.

I also switched Spanish classes because although the first teacher was very nice she was Acunto. Tiki Barber agreed with my decision.

--On the subject of school, I got back some homework and aside from the teacher tearing up my Spanish grammar, she wrote TP2 on the top of the page. I have no idea what this means, but I took it as her recommending I listen to R. Kelly's "TP2.com." I'm not quite sure how listening to "I wish," "I wish (Remix to the homies that we lost)" and "Feelin' on you booty" will help my Spanish, but I'll take any excuse to listen to Kellz. If you have the time all those videos are must-watch.

--Great news! Turns out the South Mountain Justice Court was wrong and they sent me the letter threatening an arrest warrent by mistake.

--I see movie posters for the "Tripulacoin Dave" (called "Meet Dave" in the U.S.) all around the city which disgusts me as I feel America should not be spreading terrible Eddie Murphy movies to the world. In my mind this is akin to when the government gave the Indians blankets with Small Pox, there is no reason to subject South America to a film in which Eddie Murphy plays an alien inside an Eddie Murphy-shaped spaceship that wonders throughout New York City.

--After walking through the protest last week I checked the local newspapers' websites to see what was going on. Neither of them had anything about the riot, but Clarin, whose masthead looks exactly like the allergy-medicine Clarinex, had an article about Britney doing something.

It appears that I can't run away from Britney Spears or Eddie Murphy.

--I learned from my house "father/landlord" that the protests happen quite often, but they usually aren't dangerous any more. He also told me that the protesters are often paid by whoever is leading the cause or by crooked government officials who feel the need to express their thoughts in protests.

So from my understanding the protests/manifestaciones are really nothing more than a really gully form of lobbying. Although I'm sure if I knew half the real story of U.S. government lobbying the angry mobs of protesters would pale in comparison.

--Also after doing a little reading I learned that the group of homeless looking people who convene and take over Plaza de Mayo every Thursday are sitting in with hopes of getting answers for The Dirty War, in which 30,000 Argentine citizens who protested the government disappeared.

I've learned more from walking through Plaza de Mayo and talking to Argentines than I have from three weeks of classes.

--On a lighter note, I watched "Happy Gilmore" in Spanish the other day, so I can now check "Watch a movie that has Carl Weathers voice dubbed over" off my bucket list.

--Tarny dropped this in the WPM comments a couple days ago, but this needs to on the blog itself, because it's pure genius.

--After the frustrating realization that he was no longer the lead Onion reader of my friends, Spencer redeemed himself and passed along this link.

--I'd like to thank my Spanish adviser from U of A. Thanks for not replying to any of my multiple e-mails from four weeks ago. Thanks for not doing anything after I left you a voice mail. Thanks for finally sending me an e-mail three weeks later, that didn't answer any of my questions, but did tell me that a student in the department was trying to sell her Portuguese textbook. I look forward to meeting you when I return to Tucson.

--The other day I found this neat little shop called "Objetos Encontrados" which sells art made from random little trinkets. I ended up hanging out with shop owner, Luis, and an artist, Gustavo, who had a shaved head except for a dreaded rat tail in the back, for 45 minutes as we drank green tea and talked about the Buenos Aires art scene.

Luis told me that often him and the artists will sit and the shop and play with toys. He pointed to one of Gustavo's "works" he had created in the shop. It was a Matchbox car with three bottle caps, a straw and a screw attached to it. For some reason the car "art" was selling for twice the price of Gustavo's photography, which was actually impressive.

--One of the pieces of art that I particularly enjoyed in the shop was a "bombilla" the straw used for mate, stuck in the bottom of a lightbulb. Luis explained that it was a play on words as it was a bombilla in a bombilla de luz (lightbulb). This was my first time seeing double entendre art, which I believe is Spicker's favorite type of art.

Un-Argentine related items:

Quick album reviews:

--Murs & 9th Wonder - Sweet Lord

I am counting this as a throw-away album that is basically a bunch of b-sides the two sold to Hurley, still a decent album and better than most shit out right now.

I say a lot of rapper are my favorite, but if I really sat down and thought about Murs is definitely my favorite rapper. Aside from the fact that he created "3:16 the 9th Edition," Murs gets major props for saying stuff like this from "It's for real" off his newest album.

"Every day should be a new start, every time the sun rises, it should erase all the b.s. you went through yesterday, ain't no point in trippin' about what you went through in the past, because you can't change it, so you mine as well love what you got and appreciate the moment that you're in, because you might not get another one."

Murs is also ill because he hasn't cussed on his last two albums. I could go for another 500 words why I love Murs, but this is the short album review section.

--Game - L.A.X.

Lame, after two listens the only songs that stand out are "Dope boys (feat. Travis Barker)" and "Cali Sunshine (feat. Bilal)." Everyone on the internet always complains that Game name-drops too much and it actually does bother me on this album. His style is so formulaic, its absurd.

I wish he listened to 50 and switched his style up.

The greatest part of the whole album is DMX's out of place prayers that introduce and close the album.

I still have no idea why he named the album after the airport.

--Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. I probably should have put this way higher up in the post, but new Fast and Furious trailer. Only a few people know how huge this is to me.

--This is my favorite South American commercial if you were wondering.

--Craig Sager is the man.

--Another great YouTube made by someone who had way too much time on their hands.

--If we didn't already have "Off Constantly," I would name every one of my intramural teams the "Sean Bell All-Stars."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

8 million stories (vol. 2)

The bird watching class I signed up for meets once a month, so the first class of the semester started three weeks later than all the other classes began.

I showed up to Friday's class 20 minutes late because I had to watch the entire USA/Argentina basketball game and when I arrived the class seemed cool enough that I actually regretted being late to class.

Our teacher is a young guy named Horacio, who has a soul patch, which acceptable in my book because he meets the universal rules for having a soul patch; and in case you forgot the acceptable situations for having a soul patch, here they are:

1. You're the lead singer of Smashmouth.

2. Your name is Horacio, you bear a slight resemblance to Jeff Goldblum and you teach a bird watching class for exchange students in an Argentine university.

While it was great to learn the nomenclature of South American birds in Spanish it was even better to have a class that was a quasi-educational chill session.

The teacher went as far as providing the class with mate (pronounced ma-tae), which was dope because mate is ridiculously gangster.

Mate is an bitter tea that is drank only in Argentina and it's neighboring countries. You basically fill your wooden mate gourd with yerba mate, then add hot water, but carefully as only an asshole burns all the greens on the first cup, then repeat the process over and over again sharing the mate with all your friends.

After three hours of drinking mate, kicking it with Horacio and learning that Hummingbirds only exist in North and South America, I headed home for the night.

I checked my e-mail and found message from my mother alerting me that I received a letter claiming I didn't pay a speeding ticket (which is bullshit, because I paid it) and if I didn't pay it within a week, I'd have my license supsended and there would be a warrant for my arrest.

I could easily convince myself that this doesn't apply to me, since I'm living in a foreign country with no forms of identification. However after reading this amazing article, I'm slightly concerned, but I don't think a speeeding ticket compares to Frédéric Bourdin's crimes.

Normally getting robbed, just missing a riot and being told to pay up more money for speeding tickets would result in me being pissed off, but being Buenos Aires, bird watching and mate have me quite relaxed.

Saturday our bird watching class had to meet at the school at 9 a.m. for a full day of bird watching. This is probably the only way you could get me to school at 9 a.m. on a Saturday without me being irrate.

"Class" began with Horacio distributing a couple pairs of binoculars to those who were without the essential bird watching tool. Then he handed out some crackers and cookies, which we were supposed to use to lure birds, however my friends and I ended up just eating it ourselves.

We walked to the forest preserve that is 15 minutes from my campus and then after walking for an hour we sat down to really focus on bird watching.

After we covered the ground in broken crackers we all sat back and waited for the birds to come.

Horacio then looked at my friend Matt and with a big smile he whispered, "Matteo es la hora a tomar mate (Matt it's time to drink mate)."

Matt busted out his mate that he alway carries on him and hooked our professor up. Horacio was quite pleased with his yerba mate selection and promised Matt an A for the day. We walked around the beautiful preserve (pictured below) for a couple more hours, before stopping for a mid-day choripan break.

My personal highlight of the day was seeing Horacio's face light up after I spotted a Garza Blanca, or what you Yankees would call an Egret, flying high in the air.

We went back to the classroom, where Horacio and the dean of exhange students provided us with more cookies and chocolate bars to eat after a long day of bird watching. Horacio then kicked his shoes off and told us to bust the mate back out.

Toward the end of class, when I thought the day could not get any better, the dean came back into the class and asked, "Quieren media lunas? (Do you all want croissants?)"

Our class sadly came to an end until we meet again in the end of September when we go on a three-day bird watching trip to La Provincia de Entre Rios.

Horacio has already outlined the meals for the trip, which will be a medly of typical quisines from around the world. His other main concern for the upcoming trip is that someone brings a guitar.

8 million stories (vol. 1)

Saturday morning I achieved a level of serenity that can only be reached from bird watching after having all my credit cards stolen and discovering I have a pending arrest warrant in the United States.

How did I arrive at such an ethereal, quasi-fugitive state only one month into my trip, well sit down and I'll tell you the story of Justin Adler's last 96 hours.

It all began with a simple Facebook conversation with my friend Dan, my 31-year-old friend who made his riches during the dot-com boom and has since retired in South America. Dan had just returned from a month trip to Brazil and he invited me to meet him and the Quaffer Society at a bar across town.

This intrigued me since I wanted to catch up with Dan and this would be my introduction to the Quaffer Society, which is a group of beer enthusiasts who meet at the select bars in the city that serve quality beer.

The only rules to the Quaffer Society are that men are not allowed to shave one week prior to a meeting and use of the q-word (Quilmes, the shitty Bud Light of Argentina) is strictly prohibited.

The outting was enjoyable as it was great to mingle with a bunch of ex-pats and Porteños who enjoy great beer. Despite being the youngest person in the group by at least 10 years I had no problem fitting in and having a great time.

Then I decided to leave and take the bus back home with this girl I met at the bar, who happened to live near me.

We stood at the bus stop talking in English, which would prove to be a mistake three minutes later when some young kids decided to put me in a choke hold and rob me.

Fortunately her and I didn't get hurt, but I lost my wallet in the process, which didn't contain any cash but did have my driver's license, debit card, credit card and all my forms of health insurance. Among the more worthless things in my wallet were my University of Arizona student ID, my AAA card which expired two years ago, two of my business cards for a now defunct blog and an Island Ices stamped card which would get me a free medium Island Ice, if Island Ices didn't close five years ago.

Here is a list of the good that came from me being robbed:
1. I no longer have any way to obtain money in Buenos Aires, which is a sure-fire way to save money in the long run.
2. I no longer have any proof of health insurance, which will be good practice for when I'm out of college and I can no longer use my parents health insurance.
3. The actual wallet I lost was one I had found on the ground, so I didn't lose a really nice wallet.

Here is a list of the bad part of being robbed:
1. I no longer have any way to obtain money in Buenos Aires.
2. I no longer have any proof of health insurance.
3. I really liked that wallet.

The silliest part of the entire process was talking to Wells Fargo representatives as I told them where I wanted my new debit and credit card sent. I had to talk to different people for each card and both of them highlighted Americans great knowledge of world geography.

After clearly telling the credit card representative that I wanted my new card shipped to my current address in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she responded, "Is that in Mexico?"

Then after I told the debit card representative that I wanted my new card shipped to my current address in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he responded, "Is that in Spain?"

After talking to such brilliant Americans I decided I should live by the 9/11 mantra and carry on with my life, because if you stay inside the enemies win. I mumbled "Let's roll" to myself and left for school, with no forms of ID, a couple pesos I had stashed in my room and a new sense of paranoia.

I took my normal route to school, which involves taking the subte until it ends at Plaza de Mayo.

Here is what Plaza de Mayo looked like in its prime:

However in real life half the fountains don't work, there are always at least 500 pigeons in the plaza, there is a giant black barricade that runs through the plaza and there are always five police officers on each side of the barricade.

When I walked up to Plaza de Mayo on Thursday, it was eerily quiet. The usual six lanes of busy traffic surrounding the plaza were empty and all I could hear was some shouting off in the distance. I walked into the park and looked right to see a massive group of protesters headed in my direction.

First I just heard rambling chants which were accompanied by drumming. Then a five-second melody of m-80 explosions went off, which echoed throughout the entire plaza sending every pigeon in the park into the air at once.

If you were to Matrix-360-degree film my surroundings, it would have shown an angry mob of protesters filling the air with smoke, a giant metal barricade which cut the entire plaza completely in half, about 30 police officers in full riot gear, several police cars, and two police urban-assault vehicles, which looked like Batman's Tumbler ; all encompassed by a couple hundred pigeons simultaneously fleeing the plaza.

Then I the from the speaker-filled truck which lead the protesters, their conductor yelled, "Vamos a Plaza de Mayo con fuerza! (We'll go to Plaza de Mayo with force!)"

I decided it was in probably in my best interests to get out of Plaza de Mayo as fast as possible.

I got to class and asked my teacher what the hell was going on.

He laughed and told me he had no idea what's going on today, because crazy 'manifestaciones' happen almost every day in Plaza de Mayo.

There's a ton more madness about Plaza de Mayo and manifestaciones that I'll get to another day.

That night I did what any young ex-pat, who had just been robbed and walked through a crazy protest would do. I hung out with my friend Matt and the spirit of Josh Howard, then we ate massive bowls of noodles, drank chocolate milk and watched "House."

The next day I had my first Birds class of the semester... and that's where we'll pick up on the next post...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rosario y Cordoba

Last week my roommate Jonathan asked me if I wanted to join the first leg of his 15-week backpacking through South America tour. Without even hesitating I said sure because I had no other plans for the weekend.

We hopped on a bus Saturday morning and four hours later we were in the town of Rosario.

When I agreed to go to Rosario I knew nothing more about the town than the fact that it was the birthplace of Che Guevara, whose legacy I'll never understand. Apparently he was some revolutionary who killed thousands of people and is popular in the States with kids who want to rebel, but are only willing to go as far as wearing a t-shirt of a dude in a beret.

Other than that my only knowledge of Che is that he is kinda like Jay-Z, except Jay-Z has bling on and Jay-Z is complex.

Let me take you away from the dude with the Lexus and get back to Rosario.

On the bus ride I started reading what the travel guide Lonely Planet had to say about the town. I learned it's in a battle with Cordoba for the title of "second city" of Argentina and that Rosario is nicknamed "Chicago Argentino" because of its former ties to Chicago's meat-packing industry.

We arrived and started looking for a place to sleep for the night which was tough because it was a holiday weekend in Argentina and all the hostels were booked up.

Lonely Planet had a list of cheap hotels and described one of our options; "rooms don't have any air."

I figured this meant that at one point the cheap Rosarino hotel had supernova-ed, creating a black hole in which no air or matter could exist.

Upon arriving my black hole theory proved to be incorrect, but Lonely Planet was right as it was the stuffiest room I'd ever been in.

This was the first time I had ever walked in a hotel room and felt the need to buy a canary just so I could have an indicator on my oxygen levels.

But Jonathan and I didn't want to waste any more time looking for lodging so we dropped our bags in the air-tight room and left for the day.

Rosario was dope as it was just like a smaller and slightly cleaner version of Buenos Aires. There was this amazing monument to admire(I'll post some pics another day) and nice river to walk along.

There wasn't a ton to do but it was an alright day trip.

After watching Boca give up two goals in stoppage time and lose the game to Barcelona, Jonathan (in case you noticed this is correct spelling of his name unlike previous posts) and I decided to take a quick nap before we'd go out on the night.

Unfortunately we didn't wake up til the 1 a.m. at which point we were both too lazy and just said "fuck it."

Then I was woken up again by a text message from my roommate Laura who randomly showed up in Rosario at 4 a.m.

After an awkward conversation between her and I (my brain couldn't compute Spanish at this point in the morning) I tried to go back to sleep, which proved to be rather difficult because I had already been asleep for eight hours and because there was a steady stream of second-hand smoke and shitty American adult contemporary music flowing through our open window from the reception desk.

The smoke, Faith Hill and general fear of asphyxiation made it hard to fall back asleep, so I tried to call Laura again with equal intentions of helping her find a place for the night and hopes of banging her and her "amiga."

Unfortunately all of my motives were unsuccessful and I finally fell back asleep.

The next day we were out of our room by 9:00 after 13 hours of sleep and we explored more of the city. We got some incredible photos including the picture at the top of this post.

After 36 hours in the city we felt we had seen it all and we booked an overnight bus ride to Cordoba, which is another four hours more inland.

Cordoba was like a ghost town because of the national holiday and the town just sucked in general. Everything was closed for the holiday including this underground forgotten city/Jesuit bunker/batcave that I really wanted to see.

After walking around aimlessly for hours we sat in a park and tried to avoid getting the avion flu from the nine million pigeons around us.

Then we ran into some Dutch friends who we'd hung out with a couple nights earlier and we sat in a restaurant and played cards for a while.

Then I took a nap in Jonathan's hostel, then we ate dinner, then I hopped on a bus back to Buenos Aires.

In review, Rosario: fun for 24 hours; Cordoba: gay.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Photos and rants

I went to Tigre last weekend, which is a quaint touristy village that's a 40-minute train ride north of Capital Federal Buenos Aires. I didn't realize I was living Capital Federal or that Buenos Aires was a province and not just a city until I was on the train to Tigre. Now I know.

I say all that to say this, the photo above (taken in Tigre) is now my favorite photo I have taken since I've been in Buenos Aires. Normally seeing something as random as this happens only when I don't have a camera. But fortunately I had mine on me so I was able to capture the greatness of a man putting up purple letters while wearing purple pants.

I snapped the quick photo then walked away before I had to deal with his co-workers asking me a million questions.

Then I got home and drove myself crazy with Photoshop trying to get everything to look right. I estimate that I only know how to use maybe 0.0002 percent of Adobe Photoshop, so there's not much I can do to photos. I usually just crop them and mess with the levels and curves because I prefer slightly underexposed pictures.

The fun part is trying to get the colors and contrast absolutely perfect knowing that the picture will look different on everyone's computer based on their own monitor's contrast/brightness/screen tilt/8 million other factors.

The other great part of Photoshop is then printing the picture after hours of work and realizing your the color pallets of your printer and monitor aren't even close to matching.

So hopefully the picture above looks decent and for the hell of it, here's the original, which my friend Johnathon likes better. And because he went to Oxford and Princeton we should probably all just take his word for it.

In case you're curious V(missing e)latorios means funeral home, which kinda takes some fun out of the picture.

Johnathon also doesn't believe in photo post-production as he claims it ruins the integrity of the photo and he is also well aware that Photoshop can drive you mad.

That being said here a pic Johnathon took in Chinatown that I'm going to rank as my favorite photo taken in Buenos Aires by somebody I personally know.

It's dope because it has that whole Photoshopped black and white with only color showing look, even though it never touched Photoshop (OK I resized it on Photoshop). It's also a great photo because it captures my Nike Takashi Dunks, which are the only pair of Dunks I brought here.

I know nobody cares, but I'm just going to throw it out there that I'm in desperate need of another pair of those dunks and if anyone know anyone who can get them, put me in touch.

And if anybody give a fuck I'm using a Cannon SD-850IS and Johnathon is using a Cannon EOS 400D, or as it's called in the States a Digital Rebel XTI (because Americans "always have to give something a ridiculous name").

More photos I took:

Tigre is just a town built around a delta, everyone I talked to before I went told me it sucked. And they were kinda right, it wasn't that great, but for a 35-cent train ticket it was worth the trip and it provided for a good day of exploring

These are some shots from a catamaran we went on. It was the weirdest catamaran tour ever as they gunned in one direction for 20 minutes then turned around and gunned it back. Everyone in the narrow river was boating the same way they drive, so there were constantly giant wakes crashing up against the shores. Just weird shit all the way around.

Here some pics I quickly snapped while we jetted along at mach II. Mom, don't worry I have a lot more I'll show you another day.

This was a crazy stair case in Tigre.
This is my friend/enemy Jerome, some times I like him, some times I want to kill him. He's a crazy Frenchman who wore a Hugo Boss blazer over a nice polo and sweater to Tigre, which I thought was weirdest place you could wear a nice blazer to until he proved me wrong later.

He went around this market feeling every cow hide because he is set on buying a complete cow hide and taking it back to France. I'm not a PETA person by any means as I've already ate a couple cows since I've been here, but there was something bizarre about him going up to each cow hide, feeling it, saying "Zis is zshit," then walking away.

Jerome has been all over the world and one night he went on for 20 minutes talking about restaurants across Earth that have disappointed him. Every story ended with him telling the manager to "Fuck off" and him storming out of the restaurant without paying. I just hope that I'm doing half as good of living up to my country's stereotype as Jerome.

That concludes Tigre pics.

While everyone else rocked blue to neutral colors for the Boca game, Jerome again wore his Hugo Boss blazer over two nice sweaters with a pair of dress slacks.

This is a pic of Jerome and Yakub, who is a great guy despite sometimes looking like a smaller Vin Diesel.

These are my Colombian friends being Colombian.
Nike put on a huge show in Chinatown, which impressed from a marketing standpoint that Nike was willing to shut down an entire block in Buenos Aires' Chinatown just to simultaneously market their sportswear with the Olympics. I didn't really understand it at all because it was just a bunch of Chinamen dancing without wearing Nike product.

Here's the Nike shop in Chinatown.
I'm out for the weekend so don't waste your time checking the blog, but come back next week for my Rosario review, my essay comparing the Buenos Aires subway to Dr. Ruffenach and a list of things I miss about the US (spoiler 1 through 10 are Seth Janiga's smile).

Buscando a Ginobili

Here's my collection of Manu Ginobili advertisements. I thought I had them all but then I went on a train ride to a little town called Tigre and I came across a bunch more.

I hope there are more out there because finding Ginobilis has became one of my favorite Argentine pasttimes. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dream team dreams

--I came home from school Friday walked in the kitchen and dropped the biggest "Ay Dios mio!" of my life. Unexpectedly a microwave sat on our kitchen table. This is huge because living without out a microwave has been a mild inconvenience and even though every day I'm accosted by children under 12 begging for a peso or two, the fact that I've had to re-heat my steak on a hot plate has made me the real victim in Buenos Aires.

Of course I was kind of enjoying not using a microwave because I figured one day back in the States I could bring up the fact that I lived five months of my life without a microwave and somehow this would get me pussy. Of course if I'm delusional to believe a girl will be sleep with me for the sheer fact that she's amazed I endured five months without a novelty kitchen appliance, I could just pretend I never got the microwave and lie to a broad at a party, but at the end of the day it's going to be very hard to bring up food re-heating methods in any social scene.

--Choripan is this amazing sandwich in Buenos Aires that is bread and some kind of sausage that is filled with amazingness. The other day while watching the street vendor cook mine I noticed his secret recipe. As he stood there grilling the sausage he pulled his half-smoked cigarrette out of the coals that were cooking my choripan. He took one final drag, then flicked the butt into the street. It was the best choripan I've had in Buenos Aires. What they don't tell you in the those retarded Truth ads is that cigarrette smoke greatly enhances most South American sausages.

--I know there's nothing gayer or more boring than hearing about someone else's dreams, but last night I dreamed I was chosen by some secret government agency to travel via slides to the center of the Earth, again I was without Brendan Fraser, so I knew if shit went down I would be screwed (I never thought I'd need Brendon Fraser so much).

While sliding down to the center of the Earth I would stop at different levels just to check shit out. I clearly remember being at the near the outer core and encountering the 2008 USA Olympic basketball team. While talking to Amare Stoudemire (who isn't even on the team) I woke up. End lame dream talk.

--I read the other day that Suns season ticket holders will have troubles getting tickets to the 2009 All Star Game because the NBA takes so many tickets for their sponsors, which scares the shit out of me because I need to go to All-Star Saturday night or the game. So if any of you out there reading plan on having a connect for tickets please let me know. I'm giving you a 5-month warning.

--Speaking of things I need, does anybody have a product key code for Microsoft Office 2007? I'll Paypal you some money if you want. Or you could just hook it up for free and I'll give you a free 50x50-pixel ad on Wherespmac.

--It's really bizarre to listen to my great Dutch friend talk with my Colombian friends because they use the word "great" in every sentence. It's nice being around such positive people and I hope they realize that although I don't say "great" as often as them I'm doing my part by eating two bowls of Frosted Flakes every day.

--I've started to write WPM posts in my notebook because some times when I'm in the city I'll think of something noteworthy that I know I'll forget five minutes later. So don't be surprised this holiday season if you get an original 1 of 1 WPM hand-written draft, because after this trip I probably won't have enough money to get anybody anything else.

--The shopping carts at the market have 4 wheels that can all turn 360 degrees therefore enabling me to drift around every aisle. I'm now the DK of supermercado shopping.

--Before I left I asked those close to me to please make sure nothing happens to Bernie Mac while I'm in Buenos Aires. Then after being here for not even three weeks I find out he's dead. What the fuck. Could you guys at least watch after the other three original kings of comedy.

--Now Isaac Hayes is dead too. Come on.

--Finally I found this online and I've now changed my BsAs goal from attending a Boca game to being there for this (40 second mark of video below).

Monday, August 11, 2008


I never expected that I would get a new grandfather when coming to Argentina, but Ed was the coolest temporary grandpa I ever had.

He stood 180 degrees away from me on every possible view of the world and he was a bit racist, but in all he was an incredible guy.

It sounds like some lame-ass plot from a bad TV show but it really was amazing that we learned to tolerate and like each other. On the first day I told my roommate Johnathon that Ed was a fucking retarded conservative. And Jonathon told me that later the same day Ed asked him if he met me before describing me as a "lunatic Liberal who was fucking out of his mind."

It was great to constantly have a 78-year-old around the house just so we could get his reaction on everything that went down. Which would usually be Ed shaking his head and calling one of us an idiot. He would frequently put people on probation if he didn't like their views. I believe I held the record for being put on probation three times in one day.

He also hated our "landlords" or whatever you want to call the couple who rent the rooms of the house out to us. He started only calling our landlord Jorge "asshole" and he would frequently talk about how retarded "asshole" and his wife were.

In a move that is normally reserved for blacked-out college freshman living in dorms, Ed tore down every sign (our house had a bunch of signs with dumb rules) in the house as an act of protest against the "asshole."

I'm not really sure how to describe this, but here is the room Ed slept in. It was bright yellow with a ton of windows and you had to simultaneously step up and crouch to enter the room.

You also had to duck beneath two small doors just to get into the room. Which makes Ed look like a monster in this picture.

Still it's mind-blowing that somebody who has never spoke a lick of Spanish in his whole life would venture to South America t0 learn the language and for that I give Ed the ultimate respect.

It was also great to have somebody constantly remind you how great Buenos Aires is. Ed must have said "God, these people sure do know how to live right" at least five times a day.

On his way to the airport to return home last Sunday our "landlords" were kindly thanking him for his stay and wishing him well, Ed responded with, "Why don't you ditch that dropout loser (Jorge) and come back to New Mexico with me."

To which Sara (the wife, who doesn't speak English) just continued to smile and wish Ed the best.

On our final dinner at a great Argentine parilla, Ed looked at the two Colombian girls we live with, Laura, 23 and Ivonne, 19, across the table and said: "You girls should come back to New Mexico with me," before pausing. "Of course you wouldn't be allowed to wear any clothes in my house."

And that is what I loved most about Ed.

I hope to God that if I live to 78 I'll be in a position where I can solicit Latin American girls one-quarter my age to come back to my home on the condition they will never wear clothes.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Stadium status

One of my main goal for Buenos Aires was to attend a Boca Juniors football game because I was told that of crazy sports venues around the world, the Boca Juniors La Bombonera stadium is among the elite.

After my experience at the FC Barcelona versus Chivas match in Olympic Stadium in Los Angeles I learned that nothing State-side can come close to the fan experience of a good football match.

Although I've never attended a Superbowl, I can't imagine sitting next to Gary, who is only at the game because he works for sponsor #7,398, who gave him tickets as a reward for closing the most deals in January, is better than sitting next to some psychopath who has the team name tatted all over his body and acts like his life depends on getting his section as hyped as possible.

The fact that I even went to the Boca opener today was odd, as one minute I was enjoying some midday raviolis and the next minute I was propositioned my housemate Johnathon to attend the game. I felt like complete shit from the night before and from my fifth cold of my time here, but I didn't hesitate to confirm that I would be going.

We hopped on a bus and arrived at La Bombonera unsure we would even be able to get tickets. At first my friends wanted to get tickets in the seated area, but a 170-peso price tag put those out of the question.

We copped some 24-peso general admission tickets and started walking through the line. The line was relatively calm, which was surprising because I thought all the cops surrounding us in complete riot gear (shield, full mask and billy club) would have had more of a reason to be in full defense mode.

We walked into the north end of the stadium and took our "seats" which were really just huge, steep concrete steps because the general area is just that gully. Johnathon, who's from London, said that terrace style seating like in La Bombonera is now illegal in England after one stadium had several terrace-related deaths do to over-selling the section.

We were 90 minutes early and I was pretty bored with how quiet everything was. I started to think that maybe the whole experience was over-hyped and maybe La Bombonera would just be mild sporting event.

I decided to get my fix of choripan, an incredible sausage sandwich that probably takes three years off your life per sandwich. Unlike American sports they don't rip you off at sporting events as I could get my big choripan for 5 pesos.

I paid and the dude behind the counter grabbed my choripan off the grill with his hand that wasn't holding his cigarette and plopped my choripan sans any napkin or plate directly on the dirty counter between us. I ate up because choripan is that good. And yes, at a sporting event I'd rather pay 5 pesos (1.60 USD) for a choripan that breaks multiple US health codes than pay 12 USD for mediocre hotdog wrapped in foil.

I then sat again waiting for shit to get crazy not knowing that I was in the calm before the storm.

Twenty minutes before the game began everyone stood up as a band began to play from the top of our section commencing what would be two hours of madness. Confetti began to rain down as everyone sang various chants. Many balanced themselves on tiny ledges and railings that stood to offer some kind of balancing help in our section. They stood and jumped up and down on the railings balancing themselves with banners for the entire game.

Then the most massive flag I have ever seen in my life came down and covered our entire section, the flag literally covered an entire fourth of the stadium.

My personal favorite fan was the guy pictured to the left in the picture above. Throughout the entire game he was passionately singing along to every chant and staring everyone in the section down, shooting us all the "if you don't sing, I will fucking murder your family" look.

He also had "BOCA" tatted across his knuckles and he had Diego Maradona's Boca jersey tatted on his forearm.

Other danced with umbrellas in the stadium and I don't mean personal umbrellas you would use for a rainstorm, I'm talking about large restaurant patio-size umbrellas.

At one point I manned up and hopped on the ledge right beside me. As soon as I got up the man already on the ledge gave me the "Get. the. fuck. off. my. ledge." look of death. I promptly got off his ledge.

There was one chant which required everyone to bounce around like we were in a mosh pit, except that we were on a 70-degree slope of 10-inch wide cement stairs.

As for the actual game Boca was in control the entire time and after a 0-0 halftime, Boca came out and scored four goals to win, 4-0.

We all stood in our seats for 15 minutes after the game until I asked my friend why we hadn't started to exit yet.

"It's because they have to let the opposing team's fans out first or we'll murder them," he said.

Then I thought about it, although I couldn't tell you where the opposing team Gimnasia was from or name one player on their team, this was my first time watching them play and we won 4-0, strangely enough I wanted to fucking kill all the Gimnasia fans.

And that is the spirit of La Bombonera. Then the real spirit of La Bombonera began to show.

Despite winning the season-opening game 4-0, after being caged up in our section for 20 minutes some fans started to get edgy.

Then people began to push everyone down as fights broke out in the crowd. It was crazy to see gaps in the crowd roll through the crowd as everyone tried to back up from who ever was trying to kill each other.

Eventually we walked through the urine-covered hallways, got out safely and walked toward the buses taking us home.

I'm currently tossing around the idea of trying to make it to every Boca home game and work my way up to the Boca/Rio Plato game, which is supposed to be sheer insanity.

--The following are pics my friend Yakub took as he was brave enough to bring his camera to the game.

This is the huge 12th man flag.
A pic of the east side of the stadium.
Note the riot police in the background as a fan scales the barbwire fence.
Cheerleaders with their asses hanging out.
More Boca

Untitled from Justin Adler on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Some nice photos

This is the Monumento al General Carlos M de Alvear. For some reason I liked these photos enough to give them their own post. (click images to enlarge)

100 grand on my wrist, yeah life sucks

The following is a list of events and observations I have encountered over the past few days:

--The other day while hanging in the park with my friend Matt some local kids asked us if we wanted in on their football game. We walked over to the field and sat on the sidelines with all the other players on the bench. Apparently in Buenos Aires instead of downing Gatorade on the sidelines, they are firm believers in replenishing their energy with the power of a joint. It was incredible to watch players run off the field, just to take a hit and then run back on the pitch and play an intense pick-up game.

I can't confirm or deny my participation, but I ended up deciding to not play because I forgot I was asked to play and because I was engaged in a 10-minute conversation about Ryan Gomes with my friend who goes to Providence.

--I'm slowly trying to become a Porteño (Buenos Aires resident). I have ran into a friend on the bus and the other day I gave somebody directions in the city. And by gave directions I mean somebody asked me where Avenida Cordoba was and I told them they were on Avenida Cordoba. It took everything in me to not say, "Hey take it easy! You're on third street."

--I had my first day of class on Tuesday, which was a pleasant surprise considering I thought I had class Monday until 1:00 am Monday when I realized Martes was Tuesday.

Maybe I do belong in the pre-intermediate Spanish class.

--Back to Tuesday when I had my contemporary art class. It was fairly boring and I wouldn't even mention it if not for two noteworthy moments. One, I attend a Catholic university, which is fine because I'm pretty ambivalent toward all the crucifixes and pictures of Pope Benny 16 around campus. But upon sitting down in my first class at school I look out the window and see a huge swastika etched into the glass. This was the silliest part of class until the teacher started lecturing on an artist who last name was "Schvartz."

--I thought "Schvartz" would be the funniest name I'd encounter all week, but I was wrong. In my Spanish class on Wednesday, which pleasantly lacked any nazi propaganda, the teacher wrote her name, "D'Acunto" on the board. Being the immature kid I am, my instant reflex caused me to turn around and look for a smirk from Shiffy or Spencer, who were thousands of miles away.

I can now say that not my friends not being there for a great cunt joke was the first time I felt homesick.

--Driving in Buenos Aires is on a whole different level from anything I have ever seen. There are so many intersections that should have traffic lights or four-way stops, but instead have nothing. Cars literally gun it through the intersection and if there happens to be another car, they slam on the brakes at the last second possible. It is just incredible to see this happen over and over again, all day, every day.

Whenever I have to cross the street, I wait until I don't see any cars for at least three miles, then I sprint across the street.

Buses here do not give a fuck. About anyone or anything. I've been compiling a mental list of some of the more gully moves I have seen buses make and I'll run that another day. But just the other day I was crossing a street behind a family, because I figured a mother and three kids under the age of 10 would be a great shield that nobody would want to kill and because sometimes it's cool to have no shame and use a small family as a human shield. I was wrong. A bus came within 8 inches of wiping them all out before they jumped out of the way.

Two nights ago I went on the wildest ride of my life in a cab. Spencer, Spicker and Andy this ride beat our drive-through-the-streets-of-Oakland-with-no-headlights-at-high-speeds ride, which I thought would never be beat. The dude was flying through busy streets, dipping in and out of cars, blatantly running red lights. There were times when the lane merged from two to one lane and he would barely miss running into a wall and cut off a bus at the absolute last second.

He was cutting between buses like Walter Payton would cut through defensive linemen. If there were semis on the street, I have no doubt that the motherfucker would have Fast-and-Furious-ed his way under the semi.

My friends were talking to each other like the plane was going down, declaring their love for everyone. I just sat there in awe.

--There's a ton more that I don't have time for right now. Here's some quick photos:

Sunday in a park in Recoleta, where my friends and I messed around with some slacklines. My friend Matt is sick at it, my personal record was four steps.

There was Brazilian dance fighting going on, as people free-styled Brazilian music in the back.
This guy was crazy, he spent 45 minutes dancing by himself then went around the entire park on his knees shoveling cigarette butts into an empty Pepsi bottle with a stick.
This is Ezekiel, he was just a random guy at the park who killed the slacklines.
This is picture of him jumping from slackline to slackline, he would bounce around all of them, like a trampoline. He would jump from the slackline to tree and back the slackline. He was insane.