Monday, December 12, 2011

Brazil! Getting there - Day 1

Hello children.  The cat is officially out of the bag now and goddamn, it feels good.  Call me dramatic, but it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off of my chest.  The one thing in the world I enjoy more than anything is going on vacation and if you know me well enough , I facebook the HELL out of it.  “Brazil in 3 days!”  “OMG, one week until Sweden”.  This time, due to the super secret nature of my trip, I could only tell a few friends back in the States that I was going and only one person in Argentina.  Kudos to Erin for being the BSKE (Best Secret Keeper Ever).  Anyways, do you understand how difficult it was not to be able to check in at DFW Airport while waiting for my flight?  Even when I got to DTW and I was at the gate waiting to board my flight to GRU,  I felt my hands independently reach  for my phone to check myself in.  I would normally be a tad bit embarrassed to say that, but I know I’m not the only one who suffers from this disorder.  Why do we have the need to check ourselves in at every given moment?  Does anyone really care that I’m drunk off my ass at Mansion in Miami?  The only person who probably cares about my whereabouts on a 24/7 basis is my mother and I’m sure it delights her every time she reads her son is bitch passed out or dancing on top of a car on Bourbon Street.  My ultimate goal for 2012  next to learning Hebrew and visiting all seven ancient wonders of the world is to do less check ins.  Complete lie. #Cantdoitwontdoit.

Anyways, I had a HELL of an adventure to  Sao Paulo.  The flight from DFW-DTW was pretty routine.  I shed a small tear when I noticed that the plane was obviously an old Northwest aircraft that had been raped and branded with the disgusting, horrendous Delta logo.  I loved Northwest more than the world and I seriously considered suicide when they merged with Delta.  The AOL-Time Warner merger was also another serious milestone in my life. Anyways, I landed in Detroit and luckily I was right in front of my gate.   I always hate when I’m flying domestic but I end up in the international terminal because I get so jealous looking at the destinations of other passengers.  Gate 32C London Gatwick, Gate 33C Doha, Qatar, Gate 34C Tel Aviv, Gate 35C Minneapolis.  Why would someone be so cruel to put Minneapolis next to Tel Aviv?  Even before I traveled internationally, on my domestic layovers if I had enough time, I’d walk to the international terminal just to take a look at the international passengers. I’d get really jealous if I saw a young black guy around my age heading somewhere wonderful. “What the FUCK are you going to do in Sydney?” Luckily, this time, there was absolutely zero gate envy on my side because I plopped my black ass down right at Sao Paulo.    On a side note, the Detroit Wayne Airport has really turned itself around.  It’s cleaner, there are MUCH more food options and I noticed a 35% increase in hot Arabs walking around.  I don’t know if the increase in Arab presence was a part of the reconstruction efforts (given that it’s an airport, I’m guessing no), but it sure worked for me.  If that many Arabs actually live in Detroit, you better believe I’ve found my next home.

At the check-in counter I wooed t he Korean agent with my smile and charm, and ended up getting a row of three seats to myself. Wiiii! I feel like I have this special connection to Koreans all of a sudden since I’m moving there.  Even though we have nothing in common, I feel like we connect at a different level, as in like a future connection (aka I know I can’t speak to you in your native tongue now, but give me 10 months and you’ll LOVE me). 
Anyways I took my seat,  got my shit together, took of my shoes and relaxed.  Shit ass Delta Airlines of course doesn’t have personal TV screens, so my choices were severely limited to whatever random movies and TV series my friend Ricky the TV guru put on my compu at the moment (which ended up being Cougar Town, HILARIOUS series, I’m really shocked, hilarious).   Delta did win itself some serious points with me when the flight attendant announced that beer and wine would be complimentary throughout the flight.  I don’t know if they knew they were dealing with Rob, because surely they would have  charged me a wine tax in addition to the other taxes and fees. When there is free RED WINE, I’m completely open to and capable of drinking myself slap silly.  To make things even better, one of the flight attendants came by and asked me if I would give him my crossword puzzle out of my USA Today.  I gladly handed it over for the unspoken agreement for no judgment or discussing with the other cabin crew that the passenger in 33E was on his 6th glass of box Merlot. Yes it happened and no I am not ashamed. 

The wine must have been non-alcoholic because after 5 glasses, I was still feeling no effect. Horseshit!  To make matters worse, I popped a vicodin to fall asleep but I don’t think that had any effect either.  I have this theory that out of all medicine bottles, lets say qty 20, at least 2 are sugar pills.  I don’t know why I have come to this conclusion, but I’ve thought this way since I was a child and no one could (or will) tell me otherwise.  Well kids, I got the non-alcoholic wine and the fucking sugar pill.  Awful. Awful.  Bitch pissed and completely wide awake, I resorted to making lists when my computers ran out of batt.  I even titled them. “Foreign Countries I have been to more than once”  “Buenos Aires metro stations” “Buenos Aires streets from A-Z””World’s best metro stations in order””Hottest Nationalities”.  At this time I hadcompletely given up on the wine and damned Phizer to hell for my sugar pill (not even sure if Phizer makes Vicodin, but I hate Phizer anyways for unrelated reasons), so I decided to sleep the natural way by just laying down and bitch stretching out over all three seats.  It semi-worked I guess because I woke up to Delta’s version of breakfast (read SHIT ASS egg sandwich and small cup of orange juice) and prepared myself for arrival.  The landing was smooth as baby’s ass.

I couldn’t help but smile upon arrival in Sao Paulo.  It’s one of my favorite cities on the planet, so cool, so big, so bold and so unapologetic for it ‘s terrible weather, moody Paulistas, expensive prices and horrendous traffic Take it or leave it, Sao Paulo really doesn’t give a fuck.. and that’s why I love it.  More to come tomorrow on my 8 hour adventure in Sao Paulo!  Obrigado and Gig’Em!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Um, what about the bus?

Hello Children!
   As some of you know, I just returned home last week from a trip to New Orleans.   This is actually the second vacation this summer (refuse to accept that it's fall/borderline winter even though it now gets bitch dark at 17:30) that I've gone to by bus, which I love.  Who in their right mind would drive somewhere when there is a bus that goes DIRECT, for even cheaper?  Why is the reputation of Greyhound so bad? Ok, I get it. The Greyhound stations are kinda trashy and I'm not exactly rubbin' elbows with the Kardashians (Is that America's new royal family? I'm having trouble keeping up (no pun intended)), but I do know that I can pop a vicodin and 6 dreamy hours later, I'm in my destination.  My heart even sank a little bit when that poor guy got his head sawed off, for his sake and for the future of the reputation of Greyhound.  I immediately found myself doing damage control for Greyhound after that incident, struggling to remind everyone that that took place in Canada and not the grand ol' USA. If that's not dedication, then I don't know what is. Some of you may be confused if you've read    My Formal Letter Complaint to Greyhound . No children, I am not two-faced, I just really love bus travel.

America, especially Texas, has never really has gotten comfortable with public transportation. Our time-crunched image conscious culture doesn't really have room for Greyhound, which is quite sad because it's actually not a bad way to get around.  I quickly discovered this in college when my friends used to stare at me blankly when I asked if they could pick me up from the Greyhound Station.  I'm sure it didn't help that the station was stuck in a dark semi-abandoned area behind the railroad tracks, but I don't mind! The only thing that really irked me (and only from time to time) was the lone, borderline senile, tooth-missing representative who was always rude and slow as fuck. If you're old and having trouble typing, fair enough, but why should I have to wait for you to finish your afternoon snack before I check in? If I could put up with that, surely I will have no trouble chillin' in 36A while a trashy pregnant teen, recovering and/or current crackhead, or better yet, a "normal" person like me is beside me in 36B.  I even once put up with a six year old Mexican child sleeping in my lap for two and a half hours once on a  Greyhound ride in college.  I continuously poked him throughout the ride in hopes that he'd stay off my lap, but his head kept bitch bobbing back down, so I said fuck it and treated him like he were one of my own. I tried to keep the head petting to a minimum, but what else are you supposed to do with a child is in your lap? Beat it?  I even had a brilliant excuse crafted, in Spanish, just in case mommy came from a few rows behind and was horrified at little Antonio curled up on Rob's thigh. This incident quickly prompted me to write a letter to Greyhound expressing the need for complimentary pillows.  No response.

Anyways, I never got the whole concept of "dealing" with people on the Greyhound bus.  This is 21st century America, and last time I checked we were not on the Indian caste system.  So why are the people who ride the Greyhound deemed untouchable? Are people really freaked out by sharing a row with someone of less fortunate financial status? I think that people have forgotten the serious pros to bus travel.  Greyhound now has new renovated buses with outlets, wifi, more legroom, and Trapiche Malbec on tap.  Ok, the part about the wine may or may not be true, but if you want to crack open a bottle (or two) in the middle of your journey, I guarantee you no one will say SHIT. Especially if you're sitting next to children. Imagine doing that if you're behind the wheel on the way to Dallas.

I recently just did the voyage from Houston-New Orleans. I'm still alive, I'm still borderline sane, I'm clean and no one robbed me. I even ate well. Quite possibly the best part about the journey is the beforehand preparation.... call me a freak, but I truly get a thrill out of preparing for my trip.  Three sandwiches at Tom Thumb, check. Chocolate chip cookies, check.  Dr. Pepper, check.  Fully charged phone & computer, check (although I do secretly get off on wondering if my undercharged battery will make it to the next stop so I can quickly charge it just in time not to miss my bus), book that I'll never read because I sleep the entire journey, check.  I arrived in New Orleans a few short hours later, well rested, ready to party and unhungry (I really wish there were a word for that... not quite full, but just not hungry, you know?)  The journey on the way back was pretty interesting.  I won't go into depth because I don't want to ruin my lesson of why bus travel is so damn cool, but let's just say I was sitting on the floor , stuck between the legs of a fat ass sous chef from Lafayette, while munching on catfish discussing the future of the New Orleans Saints like I actually gave a damn about football. If you're willing to sacrifice a bit of comfort for a unique experience, better price and fun, call me up and I'll show you how to let Greyhound (or even Megabus) take you to places you've never been before.  Or just stay sleepy behind the wheel listening to shitty American pop music and struggle to keep yourself awake by singing at the top of your lungs while your "co-pilot" is passed out next to you. I bet that catfish and wine sounds pretty delicious now, doesn't it? Go Saints!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Why I Hate Sushi

For those who weren't disgusted by the title and actually made it here, welcome to why I hate sushi. I hate it. A long time ago, back when I was naive and foolish, I used to always say that I wish I liked sushi.  Why? Does anyone realize how much shit one gets for hating the taste of sushi?  THIS IS WHY I HATE IT. Let me explain.

As a small child growing up in the ghetto of Chicago, one could say that my experience with sushi, wasabi, ginger, and soy sauce was minimal, if non-existent (the soy sauce is a blatant lie, blacks love shrimp fried rice).  This probably explains my awkward handling of chopsticks as well, which I also hate.  Once I went on a date in Houston at a Vietnamese restaurant and I had to order the soup because I was too embarrassed to have my date deem me as "Steak and Potatoes Rob" upon realization that I needed a fork and a knife. Want an egg roll Rob? Oh no thanks, I'll just watch you eat. I only eat soup. Freak. Anyways, long story short, 0 exposure to sushi. 

I finally decided to give sushi a try. Absolutely foul. I'm being a bit dramatic here to drive in my point as there are some rolls that I do enjoy.  However, I believe my first piece was eel, which in my opinion needs to be banned in 49 states.   Ever since then, I have been ridiculed for not making sushi part of my diet.  However, the taste is only 25% of what I hate about sushi.  The other 75% of my hatred consists of bitchy sushi fans who think that they are somehow better, more cultured and more open minded because they opt for the $5.99 ($6.46 w/tax) shitty sushi box at H-E-B while I casually stroll out with a chicken salad sandwich.  I don't understand it! Why is sushi so damn special?  Are you really that shocked and appalled that I don't like a fat ass piece of raw fish , hopelessly strapped to a bed of rice by black seaweed? And why do people care about others' tastes in food? Let's say I hosted a dinner party, with my speciality: Blackened catfish and black-eyed peas and rice.   If one of my guests declared to me that he/she didn't like black-eyed peas, do you know what my reaction would be?  I'd shrug my shoulders and just give them fish and rice, because I honestly don't give a flying fuck. And this is coming from Rob, who believes that black-eyed peas are one of the true gems of this earth, right behind the Ecuadorian banana. I'd rather rip my insides out than eat a green olive, luckily for me this is socially acceptable. Unfortunately, hating sushi is not.  Here are some of the ridiculous things I've heard in the past for my opinion on sushi.. and this is how I feel about it.

1. "Oh Rob, you need to open up your mind".
          Response:  Open up my mind? Are you crazy? I'm one of the most liberal people I've ever met. I'd even munch on a golden retriever if it were seasoned properly. Horseshit. Do you even know me?

2. "Oh Rob, you just haven't had the right kind of sushi."
          Response:  Ok, I don't know the names for all of the rolls I've tried, but I've tried A LOT and there are few that really tickle my fancy. I've tried so many that I can even come up with crafty alliterative names for what I hate.  Shitty sashimi, terrible tuna, untouchable unagi.  I think you get the point.  An A+ to me for those being in alphabetical order.

3. "Oh Rob, you just haven't had sushi in the right places"
        Response:  Bitch! What? I've eaten sushi in bad ass restaurants in San Francisco (HELLA ASIAN),    New York City, Paris, Montreal, Miami and the list goes on. Hell, I've eaten sushi in f'in Sao Paulo, which last time I checked has the highest Japanese population outside of Japan.  Guess what? Still disgusting.   How authentic do you want me to get??!?! If you're willing to prove your point by buying me a round-trip ticket to NRT (learn your airport codes), be my guest.

4.  "Ok Rob, I know you don't like sushi, but we can eat at this Japanese restaurant. Come on, I promise they have other options."
        Response: Great, I'm getting shitfaced again on Sapporo and sake while struggling to down the same ol' tired ass chicken teriyaki.  Best Friday Ever!

When I was left alone with zero judgement, thanks to my friend Andres Mignola, I did try sushi in Buenos Aires and I liked what I tried.  I subsequently went on an outrageous sushi binge, ordering sushi delivery from every restaurant that was willing to deliver to the barrio Congreso for no fee.  As I finally began to come to the realization that I might like sushi, I decided to share my happiness with the world.  My happiness level would soon come crashing down when my sister informed me that that california rolls, philadelphia rolls or anything with cream cheese in it doesn't "count as real sushi". WTF? This makes absolutely no sense.  Is a blueberry muffin less of a muffin because it has blueberries in it that enhance its flavor? This is the stupidest shit I've ever heard and it's exactly the reason why I hate sushi and its fans.

Bottom line, just because you claim that you could eat sushi for breakfast, lunch and dinner does not make you any more interesting, cultured, adventurous or sophisticated than you actually are.  The same goes for oysters, beef tartar and other off -the-wall foods that have become so damn "cool" to eat. If just means you like fish a lot more than I do. Probably the same way I like chocolate chip cookies more than you (this is a fact).  

With all that being said, last week I walked into Tom Thumb and I purchased a 5.99 delicious crusted crab and avocado roll sushi box for lunch.  Two words: Commendable Crab.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hoes in Different Airport Codes

 Roberto Jeremías Bútler on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 1:55pm

Hello children! It's another beautiful day in Dallas, Texas and I'm stuck inside my home, grading speakers who have serious problems differentiating between L and R.  If you all didn't know what I do for a living (keeping up is a bit confusing), ONE of my jobs is grading English exams over the internet.  Although it sounds like it's right up my alley, listening to people talk about "lice" as their favorite meal or "making a Light on this street"(where does one purchase photons?) is no longer amusing. Anyways the exam is super secret, so I can't speak about it or I'll be fired.  It's my bread and butter right now, so if I lose that, I'm fucked.  People say working from home is the key to freedom but sometimes I consider it a ticket to hell. Ok, sorry a bit dramatic, I actually do enjoy working from home, but when the sun is shining and it's 90 degrees outside, this is the last thing I want to be doing right about now.  In addition to grading, I have two more jobs.  I'm working in accounting for an art consulting firm, which occupies the other half of my day when I'm not grading English.  And last, the job that I really need to not consider a job anymore.. Playboy TV.  I don't want to let go of that job because it just sounds so cool.. but face it Rob, it's over.   In addition to being the most ridiculous job that I've ever had (watching porn and translating), it paid extremely well and I got paid in COLD HARD Argentine pesos.  However since I'm no longer in the country they've stopped giving me work.  However, the production manager did contact me not too long ago asking if I was in the country because he was interested in my "black voice" for a playboy voiceover.  I don't know what role I would have been voicing  (mystery mandingo?) over since I've seen all of the videos and not once is there a person of color, but I'll take what I can get.   I also don't know how that job will look on my resume if I ever decide to go into the field of business again, but let me tell you kids, it makes for damn good conversation at a cocktail party!

Now that I only have two jobs instead of three, I have more time to plan for my upcoming adventures. If we have the pleasure of being friends, you probably know that my plans change at an average calculated rate of 2.6 major life /travel plans per week.  On weeks that I'm particularly bored, it can average up to six.  Some call it an unstable life disaster (I call them bitches), however the way I have looked at it is that if I make 100000 ridiculous travel plans and only ONE of them works out, I've still got something to look forward to.  Let's do a quick recap of my current year and failed plans versus what actually happened:  Sao Paulo for six months, Cordoba, Sweden for a month, Burning man Festival in Nevada, moving to Dubai to work for Emirates. Fail across the board.  What actually happened: Buenos Aires for 5 months, Dallas, New York City, Miami, Chicago, and Iowa City.  Vegas and LA are coming soon to a theater near you.

However, all of that is child's play compared to my next, unconfirmed adventure.  Kids, buckle your seatbelts because I'm about to take you on a ride. I'm about to go on the trip of a lifetime!  Warning: I only speak in official IATA airport codes, so if you can't keep up, tough titty.  Ok, just kidding, some of them are really hard to decipher so I will include the city, however if you don't know that BKK is Bangkok, you should be shot (just kidding again, kinda!)

DFW (Dallas) - EZE (Buenos Aires) - GIG (Rio de Janeiro) - DXB (Dubai) - BEY (Beirut) - DXB (Dubai) - BKK (Bangkok) - ICN (Seoul)!!!

If this actually works out, I'll be the happiest man on planet earth.  I've always said that I have a major attraction to B cities (Buenos Aires, Beirut, and Bangkok) and if I could knock out all three of those bombshells in the same trip, I could go ahead and slit my wrist knowing that I've completed a successful life.   This is all set to take place between the dates of December - Feb 2012.  Here's a short explanation of how I came up with this route.

DFW-  Well, I live here (cringe), so obviously I don't really have a choice for this. No brainer. 

EZE-  No world trip is complete without making Buenos Aires one of the stops.  EZE is so good that I'm considering getting an apartment and staying a few months to plan for the rest of my trip.  Given my track record I will probably deplete my savings and have to skip a few legs of this trip or sit in the hostel and eat "lice" for the duration of the vacation, but having my 5th consecutive Argentine summer is an absolute must.

GIG -  Rio a mandatory stopover on my way to DXB, so why not?  I could just stay at the airport, however I plan to make a mini vacation out of it.  How many caipirinhas, coixinhas, and Ipanema beach bodies can I cram in a 24 hour period? BCE. Best challenge ever.

DXB - The one that failed me. Up until two weeks ago, I thought I was moving here for good, but things have a funny way of working out.  I do want to go see what all the hype is about and I have some friends I really need to visit. I've been saying I'd go for ages, and now the perfect opportunity has presented itself.  If I do spend all of my money in Buenos Aires, I truly have no idea what the HELL I'm going to do here since I really don't care for the beach and the city is expensive as hell, but whatever, its Dubai!!!

BEY - Ahhh, the land of the play. Did that even make sense? Don't know, don't care.  Lebanon makes me go crazy!  It's beautiful, the weather is awesome, the people are GORGEOUS and the food is the fuckin' bomb. I have wanted to go to Beirut longer than Hezbollah even knew what Lebanon was.  Ok, that's a lie but I told you, Lebanon makes me say and do stupid shit.  Pretty seductive power for a place I've never been to but baby, I'm coming!

DXB - Back to the desert.  I also have a plan to storm the shiekh's palace to demand answers as to why he did not sign off on my application.  I may be shot before I even step foot on the lawns but it's worth it, bitch curious.

BKK - Khao Sao Road, Pad Thai, Phuket, cheap massages, full moon parties.  OK Ok OK, call me the typical tourist, but I don't care.  I've never been to BKK and since I have this mental image in my head of what  Bangkok looks like, I am dying to go to see if its actually true.  I plan to do nothing but sit on my ass, visit temples, eat thai street food and get touched in every way by magical Thai hands.  This is another place I would strongly consider moving without even having stepped foot in it.  I have a good feeling about this place and I'm hardly ever wrong.  I still have a 99.4% success rate when it comes to predicting my experience in cities, so I've got good hope. Budapest, you fucked up my average!

ICN - To be continued.  Kind of a secret.  Not really. You guess.  Obviously something is up if the journey ends here.

Of course I don't have tickets for any of this and the planning is still in the EXTREME preliminary stages, but out of all the plans I've had this year, this one is the closest one to being sealed.  Even closer than Dubai, which was pretty close. If this works out, I deserve a prize in strategy and planning.  Does an award exist for that? Why do I deserve it? Because if this all works out, I will pay nothing for airfare. Wiiiii!

Stay tuned!  


22 Random Facts about Rob

 Roberto Jeremías Bútler on Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 5:38pm

1. I'm completely ok with listening to three songs at one time. Or less. The song Movie Star by Rascalz has been dominating the Rob charts for the past year and a half.

2. I've been living in Buenos Aires for the past 2 years. However, if I had unlimited cash and could pack up and go anywhere, I'd move to Sao Paulo or Melbourne, Australia.

3. I have an unhealthy obsession with foreign languages.  I have formally studied: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Farsi, and Catalan. When I was a child, and I used to read the bible and hear about people speaking in tongues, I used to pray to god to give me the gift of fluent Italian.

4.  I could probably count on my hand the number of times that I have actually folded up my clothes and put them away after I've done lanundry. 

5. I sometimes love things that I have never experienced, been to or tried.  I can say without hesitation that I love Ethiopian food, Tel Aviv, and Cedar Poitn Amusment Park in Sandusky, Ohio.  I have never eaten Ethiopian food nor do I have any idea of what it consists of.

6. I once did an interview for an article in Playboy Magazine but begged the journalist not to publish my interview because he gave me awfully raunchy questions that I didn't feel comfortable answering.

7. I once dyed my hair blonde when I was 14 and worked at Tom Thumb. Complete fail.

8. If I could go back and meet anyone in time, it would mostly likely be Vlad the Impaler, Caligula, or Stalin. Weird. Also, I would like to experience life in the Byzantine Empire.

9. I have a weird love/ hate relationship with the assistant of Geena Davis' husband, Dr. Reza Jarrahy. I speak to her daily on the phone.

10. I am surprisingly simple when it comes to food. The percentage of my lunches that have consisted of baked chicken and rice over the past 365 days is probably around 70%.

11. My preferred way to speak about travel is in airport codes.  If you can follow this next paragraph, we should probably get married.
  Dude, after 29 hours i finally landed at EZE. 
  What happened?
  Well, at SFO i had to go through hella security checks.. Shortly after takeoff, we made an emergency landing in LAS. I ended up getting on another flight that went through IAD, but of course I had to go to ORD first, because well, its United.  After a brief layover in PTY (a United flight would never do this, sounds like COPA but whatever), I finally made it to EZE.  Hopefully I'll have better luck next time from EZE-GIG.

12. One time I left bananas for so long on the kitchen counter that they turned black and blended into the kitchen counter.  I accused my roommate of eating my bananas and we found out that they were actually on the counter, we just couldn't see them.

13. I once worked as a beggar on a street corner in Stockholm, Sweden.  I made enough money that day to go out that night and get drunk. I think this is what beggars do.

14. My knowledge of current and classic movies/music is awful. I can only name one Rolling Stones song, I've never heard anything from U2, and I honestly couldn't pick Bruce Springsteen out of a lineup. I've never seen Godfather, Gone with the Wind, and my only attempt at Pulp Fiction ended in an accidental nap. However, if you ask me to name any R&B song between 1990-2000 or any country hit from 1995-2005, you'll be amazed at my knowledge.

15. The top 10 places, in order, where I have spent the most time in life are the following:
  1. Chicago, Illinois  2.Dallas, Texas  3. College Station, Texas  4. Buenos Aires, Argentina 5. Madrid, Spain 6. Barcelona, Spain 7. Lynchburg, Virginia 8. Houston, Texas 9. Sioux Falls, South Dakota 10. London, England

16.  I used to make this disgusting sandwich as a child called TBJ.  Toast, bologna and jelly (grape). It was a real winner but quite disgusting now that I think about it.

17. The quickest way to my heart is to learn Italian.  Non-native speakers who have learned Italian pretty much have complete control over me.

18. I have a large birthmark on the side of my head that you can only see when I shave my head.  People say that your birthmark is a symbol of how you died in your past life.  I think someone shot me at point blank range in the skull shortly after gunpowder was invented in ancient China.

19.  I was VERY close to living in Hong Kong. Papers finalized, school accpetance, everything.  One day, i watched a weird Discovery Channel special about the dangers of bird flu.  The special freaked me out because it was set in Hong Kong. I foolishly canceled my Hong Kong plans and moved to Barcelona.

20. I love Lebanese people and I automatically hold them to a higher standard, more so than any nationality on earth.

21. I have diagnosed myself with a new mental illness called Location Obsession Disorder. I have to know where I am, at all hours of the day.This is why it makes it extremely difficult to fall asleep on the city bus because I have to know which streets I am crossing. Because of this, I have memorized every street in order in Buenos Aires from Leandro Alem to Dorrego, and I'm currently working on expanding my knowledge to Cabildo.

22. IF you were to find me carrying ten library books, they would most likely be the following:
   A Lonely Planet guide to some random place I've never been, Forensic Science (particularly blood spatter ala Dexter), Everything you want to know about Monopoly, 501 Russian Verbs, 501 Italian Verbs, 501 French Verbs, Tennis strokes, Ancient World Civilizations, and Currencies of the World

Life in Argentina- Day 400+ something - Broken Playstation and new goals

 Roberto Jeremías Bútler on Monday, April 19, 2010 at 7:07pm

Hola kids! Well, since my 24th birthday is approaching, I guess I do deserve the right to call some of my readers children or kids. 24 on Saturday. What should I do for my birthday? Should I have an all out party bash? Should I rent a party bus? Too many ideas and too little time to plan. Acutally, this is Argentina, nothing is really planned until the day before or even the same day. It’s the only place in the world that I know (maybe Spain) where I’ve been invited to a birthday party with 12 hours notice and all the people on the invite list show up. How is that possible?! Don’t these people have other things going on? That would make me really stressed out which is pretty hard to do since I never get stressed. Anyways , if you have any cool ideas for my birthday, please let me know and soon as possible and I will try to accommodate your requests. So how is everyone? I’m doing well, I guess. Very calm weekend given that I only went out once (I think that should be in the Guiness Book of World Records). Can you believe I didn’t go out on Friday? I remember that I once said that it would take an act of god for me not to go out on Fridays.

Well children, I’ve reached that point. What is wrong with me? Am I getting sick? Am I getting old? Why in Sam’s hell (love that phrase, is that southern only?) did I not go out on Friday? And you know what.. I secretly loved it. I curled up on the couch with my illegal internet, a few empanadas and some good ol’fashioned Coke (the soft drink, you freaks!) and had a good night in. And you know what the best part was? I woke up bitch early on Saturday , went ot the grocery store and got everything done that I needed to do over the past week. It felt really good.There’s just way too much pressure for me to live a wild, crazy, stay up all night lifestyle in BA because that’s what I feel like I should be doing if I’m living in a foreign country. I mean, why not? I won’t get this kind of nightlife in the states, so I might as well soak it up, right? As a temporary tourist I guess it’s cool, but I work and live here now. Ok, I know this is nothing new, I’ve been working here for a good 7 months but I think I just came to this realization. The key is to see how long it lasts. Here’s Robs new weekly plan for BA:
Monday: Dinner, study Portuguese and Russian
Tuesday: Study Russian and Portuguese, hang out with friends , maybe see a movie
Wednesday: Dinner with friends, study Portuguese and Russian
Thursday: Drinking unlimited amounts of Fernet and Coke, gin and tonics and Quilmes and dancing until the wee hours of the morning in one of the ridiculous, outrageous, scandalous boliches of Buenos Aires, returning home plastered, chowing down on Wednesday’s leftovers, passing out with my clothes and shoes still on and counting on my small alarm clock on my ipod touch to wake me up in 3 hours to make it to work on time on Friday.
Friday: A few drinks with friends or another movie, sleeppppppppp
Saturday: Take advantage of the day, walk around Palermo, go to Zona Norte, go to Belgrano, just enjoy the wonderful city of Buenos Aires. Then repeat Thursday night except for the alarm clock on the ipod touch part.
Sunday: San Telmo Sundays, relax in a park, drink mate, nurse hangover, cook for the rest of the week.

How does that sound? Does that sound reasonable? I need people to help me accomplish these goals. So far I’m doing good. I’m going to dinner tonight and when I get home I will study Russian and Portuguese. I’m considering hiring a small servant/slave/mentor to help me not go out on Tuesdays. If anyone knows anything about me, Tuesday is one of, if not my favorite day of the week to get crazy… but this is going to stop.. Ok, well, what about every third Tuesday of the month I’m allowed to go out? Does that work? Somebody help me!

In other news, my f’in Playstation doesn’t work. Why? If I had more time I would explain how irate I am, but I’m sure you guys can imagine. I smuggled two Guitar Hero guitars in fron the USA (it wasn’t illegal but I just love the sound and the thought of smuggling things through customs, makes me feel like a rebel) and I have everything set up… just no working Playstation. God knows what they are going ot charge me here too to fix it. You never know with this damn country. They could fix in 3 hours and it costs 10 Argentine pesos or they could fix it in 6 weeks and it costs 300 US dollars. I’m serious. Prices here are just so unstable and unpredictable it’s just best to close your eyes, put in earplugs and just hand them your credit card. I wish I were still in the states so I could drive to that fucker’s house and demand my money back. That is the last time I will buy something on Craigslist. Ok, that’s a lie too, but still, how could he sell me a broken Playstation? I should have just paid the extra 20 dollars and bought a Playstation from a non-shady, well known Playstation reselling establishment (Gamestop).. but noooo, I had to be cheap and get the 30 dollar Playstation I found on Craigslist. If anyone knows the guy I bought it from, I will be willing to give you a small fee to bash in his front windows. If you are interested, send me a private facebook message. Ok kids I’m out of here. Off to my favorite resto in BA called Lo De Mateo. All you can eat Argentine steak, chicken, salad, fried cheese and French fries for $10 dollars… don’t forget the Argentine malbec wine.. Oops…it’s Monday. No wine.. right? I don’t know.. I need advice!

Ciao Ciao

Life in Argentina- Somewhere around day 410 - Kinda Stopped Counting

 Roberto Jeremías Bútler on Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 4:52pm

Life in Argentina

What’s up kiddos? First post of the year. Sad. I don’t know what has brought me out of my writer’s block, but I suddenly feel like blogging again. Ok, I know I’m talking like I’m some bigtime blogger, but the reality is that I only post about 5 times/ year, and when I do post, I create long run on sentences, pay little attention to grammar, and start 95% of my posts talking about how long it has been since I blogged last. One of my New Year’s Resolutions (for 2011 of course) is to write more and not start every post the same way. Well now that I got all of that out of the way, let’s get down to business. What’s going on in my life? Well, for starters, I still live in Argentina. Surprise surprise!

De vez en cuando, I ask myself, what the HELL am I doing here still? I can’t describe it but the feeling that BA gives me is incredible. I feel so at home here. Does anyone believe in the afterlife? Or previous lives? (I guess if you believe in afterlife , you believe in past lives), but I think I was a latino in my past life, currently black, and I will return back to my latino roots when I perish. Actually, although I’m black, I could totally pass for latino. Domincan anyone? Cubano? Colombiano? See bitches, I have tons of countries to choose from! Btw, does anyone hate the check boxes for Hispanic Non White, Hispanic White, Hispanic on the census and various standardized tests? It’s so confusing! Actually, I’ve never had to check one, but I really feel for the poor mulattos who probably end up checking all three. Anyways, enough about me and my latino ways, let’s get down to business again. I’ll talk about 5 random things that are going on in my life. Feedback is always appreciated.

1) El Centro – The film of the year?
So, I’m really embarrassed. I called 3 of my good friends up last week and asked them to see this supposedly amazing film at the Buenos Aires International Film Festival with me. I’ve always wanted to live in a city that was cool enough to attract those really artsy looking people who camp out and watch really cutting edge documentaries and bizarre foreign films.. well children, I finally got it..Buenos Aires has its own film festival! So, a few weeks ago, I went to the website and tried to select a few movies that I thought would be great. I ran across a movie titled Centro, which refers to the barrio of Microcentro in Buenos Aires. Since I’m obsessed with that barrio and the city in general, I naturally became obsessed with seeing the movie. I even went as far as putting a post it note on my monitor reminding myself to buy the tickets online. I finally purchased the tickets and met up @ the theater with Molly, Erin and Ricky. The next 2 hours can only be described as painful, shameful, and weird. The film wasn’t actually a film. It was just a collection of random images from around the Microcentro. At one point they focused on needles and thread for a solid minute. I thought things might get better, but then they showed a few guys counting stacks of 10 dollar bills. Imagine if someone took a camera around a city and filmed everything they saw for 3 years. But no no, not the interesting things. I’m talking about paper towels blowing in the wind, water running into a sewer and bricks falling on top of a malnourished cat. This is exactly what this movie was. I was so tired too during the movie, but the only thing that helped my head from bitch bobbing was the fact that the director was sitting RIGHT behind me. Note to self, research movies a little more. But seriously, how could I have prevented that? They m ade it out to seem amazing. Argentines have a pretty good talent for talking shit up!

2) Babyface – Oldies

What the hell is wrong with me? Why do I keep listening to old music? Actually, nothing is wrong with me, it’s you freaks that have the problem. To me , music never gets old. That’s why I like country. You can turn on 99.5 the Wolf and hear the latest Lady Antebellum with an equal chance of hearing Boot Scootin Boogie. Country songs never get old. Well, nothing gets old for me obviously if I’m still jamming to Babyface. How is Whip Appeal still in my Top 25 Playlist? And how is Love Lockdown in there twice? The biggest flaw with ITunes is that you can’t edit your Top 25 Playlist, it tries to be as accurate as possible. Well you know something Apple, your shit is not accurate! Is anyone else but me obsessed with the song counts on ITunes? Sometimes I purposely avoid listening to a song because I don’t want it to enter my top 25. For all of you freaks who agree with me, I’ve found a way to get around this. Two seconds before the song is going to end just change the song! That way you can listen to it and your number doesn’t go up. However, I still haven’t gotten around to figuring out what the HELL to do if you leave your IPod on repeat on accident and the song plays all night. I LOVE Inside Out by Eve 6, but you and I (and Apple) both know that 1) it is NOT in 28th place and 2) I did NOT listen to that 186 consecutive times.

3) Seedless grapes, who doesn’t love em?!?!

4) Rice A Roni, the San Francisco Treat.

5) Ciao Ciao!