29 May 2007

Dance with the Stars, Argentine Style

In the United States it's Dance with the Stars- in Argentina it's "Baile del Cano" or Dance with the Pole. Last night, the new twist to an existing program (called Dance for a Dream) debuted and as seen above, was quite sensual. In the new contest, couples pole dance together and a team of judges determines which duo has got the best stripper moves. Welcome to prime time non-cable television in Argentina. Signing off, Oh Susannah

23 May 2007

An apology

I'd like to apologize to all fans of my very first post, "Thanks to Dana." I removed the post in order to be more marketable to future employers.
Thank you for understanding.
Yours truly,
Oh Susannah

21 May 2007

Crate and Barrel's "Gaucho Chair"

Dear Crate and Barrel,

My name is Oh Susannah and I am writing you in response to something that came to my attention when your website spammed me their summer furniture collection weblink. As a lover of all things interior designy, I decided to click on the link that took me directly to your latest edition in summer lounging. The Gaucho Chair.

Now I must admit that the weblink was to your "hip and stylish" sister store, CB2; however, I feel that both stores strive for basically the same thing- quality, design-minded living.

If someone were to ask me, "What does the gaucho chair look like?", I would be left with no other response than, "If the movie Boogie Nights could throw up a chair, this would be it." I do not mean to offend this chair, or your company, really I don't, I'm just an honest person.

Speaking of honesty, I think you should be honest, too. It is my opinion that you are misleading your customers when you call this the "Gaucho Chair" for a couple of reasons:

First, gauchos are South American, and this chair says made in the USA.

Second, gauchos don't sit in chairs, they prefer the ground.

Third, gauchos are tough guys and not big into floral prints.

And fourth, no gaucho I know would spend $499 dollars on a place to park his horse riding butt.

All I am asking of you, Crate and Barrel, is to keep it real. If you want, feel free to leave me a comment and we can brainstorm new chair names together.

Oh Susannah

15 May 2007

Introducing Chili to my Argentine Family

This past Sunday we invited my husband's family over for the second half of Cristian's "USA Vacation Presentation". Pobrecitos, the first half involved a selected (yes, an actual selection) of 750 photos from our time up north. I love my husband, but he loves to explain and with every photo there was a story. Hence, "USA Vacation Presentation" part one took about 5 hours at my brother-in-law's house.

Part two of "USA Vacation Presentation" involved just the videos Cristian took in USA. He made 84 short films that he planned to show his family with full explanations during, after and replays. Admittedly, some of the videos are actually pretty cute, like us walking down Navy Pier in Chicago freezing our butts off......but some of the videos are terribly boring, like circling around a mini subdivision in Grafton, Wisconsin.

I decided to make chili to accompany the long video session. It sounded like a good idea- I don't know how you all eat chili, but I serve myself a few times and make each bowl a bit different. First round- spicy hot, second round- sour creamy and the third round or grand finale- cheese explosion. That way, our guests don't get bored. They can at least eat while they watch.

Knowing Argentines and knowing the cooking style of my mother-in-law, I decided to chill out on my chili recipe... they'd never heard of nor tried chili in their lives. I had to edit the recipe because contrary to popular belief, Argentine food does not consist of "ay caramba picante burritos". The food in Argentina is salty if anything, but never spicy or with lots of condiments. I held off on adding the second onion to my steamy cauldron, passed on the hot sauce, and added extra meat and tomatoes.

Well, apparently my chili was the hottest thing to hit Argentina since Che Guevara as I watched my family-in-law turn from happy to horrified. My mother-in-law's face turned bright red and she started to sweat! My nephew ditched his bowl in less than 1 minute's time and the others took small bites and tried to look pleased.

We ran out of beverages. We exchanged uncomfortable smiles. My chili was not received well by my Argentine in laws. To make matters worse, chili is the type of food that just keeps on giving- as they're all suffering from that beany American gas I failed to mention.

09 May 2007

The Eavesdrop Interview

I am currently looking for a job, which (yes, mom) is a full time job itself. Yesterday, I went to an interview for a "marketing assistant" gig for an Argentine based online real estate company. You can search houses and apartments to rent or to buy on their site. Basically, the company wants to hire a native English speaker, fluent in Spanish, to edit the website, handle phone calls and work on a couple of marketing projects. Sounds alright, right? Except that it's 44 hours a week for $366 US dollars a month. Nada.

FYI an average "office" salary (non bilingual) in Buenos Aires is around $500 US dollars a month.

I stuck with the interview just for the hell of it.... plus, I had already walked to their office building which takes roughly 45 minutes from our apartment and manditorily walked down Lavalle Street which is lined with numerous strip joints and brothels where women are openly soliciting married men on their lunch breaks.

So, I decided to stick it out.

Q: How do you work best?
A: With guidelines, but with some room for creativity.
Q: Give me an example of you doing that at Crate and Barrel.
A: Ah, ok, well, let's say you've got this glass. And the glass isn't selling. My manager says, 'the sales are not good on this glass- change that'. Guideline- change that. My creativity- finding the best way to accomplish that. I simply switch the shelf that the glass is on and clean the display and sales improve.
Q: Have you had real life challenges, talk about that.
A: Yes, moving to a foreign country, making a life for myself and learning a foreign language.
Q: What's your ideal working environment?
A: Professional, where they pay me on time.
Q: Have you experienced machismo in the workplace?
A: Yes, it was very unprofessional.
Q: Have you had trouble with payments?
A: Yes, I am currently going to court with my last employer for paying me with bad checks.
Q: Why do you want this job?
A: Because I saw it on Craig's List and need a job.

All of this is in Spanish, too. And not because my interviewer was Argentine (he was British), but so his two Argentine co-workers could "pretend work" at their desks 2 feet away from us and listen in on the whole interview. So annoying. I have no problem interviewing with all three of them, they could fire away with their questions, just don't eavesdrop interview me, ok?

Gotta go- time to check Craig's List job postings for the 12th time today.

07 May 2007

Joey, The Ghetto Cone Dog

Joey is our little adorable dog. His biological mother and father are Argentine street dogs, but Joey has always lived with us in our house and gone on regular walks around the neighborhood, played with Pet Co toys like "Dirty Rotten Kitten", and enjoyed a balanced diet of Pedigree meat and vegetables flavored dog food. However, what I have come to learn is that you can take the dog out of the street, but you can't take the street out of the dog. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Joey can be a little machista from time to time, and that ain't gonna fly in this household.

So, this past Saturday Joey was taken to the local vet to get fixed or "castrado" in hopes of dimming his macho behavior. Six stiches later, and lots of "No! Joey, no licking!", we returned back to the vet to check up on the recuperation of Joey and his baby boy nuts. Apparently, Joey ripped out and swallowed two of the stitches, which meant that if he were to snack on any others, we could have a problem.

The vet then wiped Joey with a disinfectant and poured sugar on his balls. I had one of my "Whoa, foreign country" moments and didn't really ask why. I think it's to seal them or create a sap or something, but I don't think it is for good flavor because that seems counterproductive.

Anyway, all of this warranted (drum roll please)......... the cone. It was necessary. You know what I am talking about. That plastic thing they put around our pets' necks to prevent them from scratching, licking or getting to their infected places. Good news- Joey is now protected. Bad news- the vet only had the cone in one size. Chihuahua size to be specific. Joey; however, is a medium sized dog, so the cone is way too small and looks more like a clown collar.

My husband Cristian and I were not about to go on a mad goose chase for the right sized cone and spend even more money on something that will last just a couple of days....instead, we knew that we had all of the materials at home, and that we just had to be a little creative in order to elongate the cone. Hence Joey, " The Ghetto Cone Dog" -- Joey's limited edition cone is made of plastic, blown up laminated photos of Lima, Peru (that I used for a high school Spanish presentation) and remains of a cardboard shopping bag I got from a purse store here in Buenos Aires.

Must go-- Joey is crashing into the walls.