Saturday, August 7, 2010

Francisca Valenzuela

Francisca Valenzuela playing a set at the Centro Cultural Amanda from her disc, Muerdete la Lengua, recorded here in Chile in 2007 (she was born and raised in San Francisco, Cali).  The songs "Dulce" (sweet) and "Peces" (fishes)(written at age 13) from said album, are the most widely recognized with the first achieving the #2 spot on Chilean national radio rankings, and the latter being nominated by Rolling Stone for being one of the best songs of 2006. 

She was mesmerizing live-- her voice sounded exactly as it does on her CD (which, duh, you should check out even if you don't speak Spanish).  And not to mention, she's super nice.  Yeah, LL and I met her.  In times like those, being a DJ has its perks, and now she has my email.  Score.

Disc available here

Happy listening!  

Monday, August 2, 2010

50 first days

I have, not recklessly rather strategically, been tossing a lot of "first days" in the bag lately and today was not an exception.  Let's just leave it at I did a lil switcheroo on the job front and am SO STOKED!  Working in what I dig, in an industry that will never cease to pique my interest, score + score!!

Without divulging too many details of my entry into dream-jobdom, I'll just say that this morning I collided face to face with one of my nearly forgotten, yet veritable and debilitating weaknesses:

Grocery-cart selling, $500 peso costing, on-the-go street OJ:
OMG.  Cue canine-eque salivation... You have not begun to live if you haven't gulped a glass of this goodness... Not to mention it was my first purchase here in Chilito-- ever-- on January 12, 2009, and for being a lifelong OJ hater, it's first sips up that straw knocked my prior opinions on their vitamin C negligent arses. 

SO, here's to street vendors, newness, and doin' what makes ya happy--

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

If I Could Teleport Myself Anywhere.......

It would be to the magical, time-stealing, comfier than heaven on morphine, more reliable than your BFF wrapped in your childhood blankie eating a PB&J, big green 917 couch:

The number of hours spent holed up in that living room cuddled between those cushions are uncountable-- as are the conversations, games of rummikub, laughs, cries, and, inevitably, ANTM mega marathons that lead to hour after hour friendship enlaced bliss.  

It's been a bit over two years since my body has been molded to its fluffy form and it's odd to consider the fact that those were, al fondo, fleeting moments that wont return to be a reality-- not to be grim, just unfortunately realistic.  When the seven of us were living in that house, passing those episodes of hours together, it seemed as if the series would never end; a separation was the part they'd written out of the script, that would never be screened.  Nevertheless, all good things seem to come to a materialized end and when the curtain calls, the roses are thrown and the group disperses.  

It's been recent that all I've wanted is to transport myself to the past and share some hours, a day, with those 7 amigas, and those cushions that always acted like an 8th-- always there like the best of 'em. 

//Your place of teleportation?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I am NOT "preciosa" you gross, trashy piropo-ing POS

This could sound offensive to those of you who have not spent extensive time in a Latin American country, but jesus, mary, and joseph am I sicker than sh¡t of nasty, no-class, "flaite," appalling, stinky, etc men who think it's somehow appropriate to cat-call women to the extent of their heart's desire. 
Get a life.  And some manners. 
Maybe you should read the Spanish version of The Goops.

I mean, when it's 829374° below zero at 7:30 in the morning, snot happily streaming down my face, with cheeks rosier than a bb's butt, the last thing I wanna hear "oooooyi precioooooosa." 

And trust me: I am in NO way, by any means, whatSOever flattered by these verbal erections, nor am I somehow implying that I'm, um, hot or something because I'm about 98% positive that the same dirtbags would do the same thing to a female looking like this:
Not kidding.

My most recent recurring response to these disgraces is to say "F¿CK OFF" or "UGH, G(uh)ROSS" because, going out on a limb here, I'm gonna make the conjecture that the only "Englich" these bros know is "yes (jes)" or maybe even "I no speak Englich."  Sorry, sounds harsh but at this point I lack the will to be diplomatic.  I used to just try and ignore it and turn up the volume on my ipodski but, amigos, I'm not longer interested in molding my mannerisms around these humans.  Not worth the effort.  

So today, walking to work in said freezing, unflattering temperatures, I was piropo-ed on various occasions.  The first actually totally freaked me out (for no reason) because I walked by 2 creepers while they were verbally leering me and I said in an annoyed, pissed, and very audible tone: "F¿CK OFF."  And approx 1 second later I suffered a mild heart attack because I thought that one of them had turned around and grabbed my purse when really one of my purses' clasps snagged my jeans......Whoops.  The body flailing/weird Irish jig-spasm that occurred in turn was quite embarrassing.  Tried to play it cool.  Couldn't really recover gracefully so I just stood on the corner like a dummy and stared at the sky, avoiding eye contact with the millions of traffic-going passengers.  Durr.

And let me just take the time to note:  can't you dudes come up with any more creative material??  If you're attempting to lure a lady into your "lios" don't you imagine we might appreciate something more zesty and unique than a breathy "preciosa" and customary whistle?  UGH. Get. A. Life.

The next "piropo" that followed demanded a tad more exuberance on the part of the piropo-er seeing as he used the magic button on the car door (a straight up genius of the 20th century) to roll down the window and YELL "preciosa" to me as I was nonchalantly crosswalking towards the other side.  I furiously flipped him a black-gloved bird and mouthed an (american-ally) obvious "F¿UCK YOU" right in his face as he obliviously swerved the corner. 

Now, my mother would not be the least bit pleased to hear of my anti-attention tactics, and even yours truly am willing to admit that I am somewhat lowing myself to the deep, dark, depths of their "level," but can anyone else come up with a more creative, spur-of the-moment response?? 
//What would YOU do??  HUh, huh???

It's not fair that I'm just trouncing along to a Jay-Z beat, minding my own biznass, and have to deal with these creeps who errantly believe that they can just blurt out whatever nasty noun that occurs to their pea-size noggin'.  Not fair I tell you.  Feelings of complete uncomfort, insecurity (safety, not vanity, wise), and pure disgust are none of which I enjoy experiencing on a daily basis.. let alone at 7:45am. 

So please, get creative, or get a muzzle.
Or get The Goops.
Or a life.
//Four very viable options.
"¡Eres un weón, lavate la boca! Es SUCIA!"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dreams... Weird Dreams....

Can someone please enlighten me as to what the FRAK this most recent freak-on-a-leash dream of mine means??

I'm back working in the rad FoCo restaurant where I used to be a stellar lil server and I'm in a panic because I can't find my shirt.  I mean, I had a shirt ON but I really just needed my perfectly ironed, starched to oblivion, white-button down (with buttons on the collar and a pocket on the breast per strict protocol) men's shirt.  Run around like a crazy person in search of said itme.  Can't remember if it was actually found... not really important to the story.... BUT the most mental-patient part of the dream was when I found myself peering out of a tiny little Alice "Eat Me" in Wonderland (in clear reference to the size-shrinking cake she consumes, not a porno) window in said restaurant face to face with, again, a miniature version of a deer.  With GIANT red eyes like this:
But the thing was suuuuper tiny, mini pocket-sized and with the fur of a llama-- like this (but cleaner, fluffier, and yellower):
 So it essentially looked like this:

//What does that mean???? 
(And when should I check into the looney bin??)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chile: 1, US: 0... Thoughts on Healthcare...

Although I tend to prefer my "vida santiagüina" to life in the US (tend, my friends, tennnd), I usually feel that there are many aspects of Chilean life that have kept one foot very strongly planted in the 80s.  Lavender tie-dyed skinny jeans (on men...) and shoulder supported boom boxes aside, there are several quirks of Chilean society that have a complete leg up on our American counterparts who have their foot firmly planted in bureaucracy.  And having read another recent blog post, I thought I'd elaborate on my personal experiences in the field of (drum-roll) Chilean health services. Sounds dry, but read ahead and I guarantee that you gringo readers out there will be stricken with a tad pang of jealousy....

Now, with respect to the US health system, I'm the first to admit that I lack a surprising amount of knowledge-- somewhat shameful seeing as my pops is a doctor with his own practice who's getting absolutely slaughtered by the insurance companies and the government (nice work Barak!), and is having to accept patients who can't pay him due to their inability to afford insurance or their already downtrodden economic state (unemployment, reduced wages, increasing costs... again, thanks O-bomb-a...). 

Leaving the political follies to the political follies, it's obvious that the US healthcare system is not working.  And while it sounds "nice," I'm not sure that universal healthcare is the right answer......

ANYWAY!!  -->

The system that these crazy lil Chileans have concocted actually seems to be working quite well.  Now-- I'm peering at this from the view of an "extranjera," of someone who's pops is a doc, and someone who does not like to pay a lot of money for things (necklaces, electronics, kidney transplants, etc).  And someone who essentially only visits the doctor if I'm feeling an imminent death.  Not for a cough, not for a tummy ache, none of that baby bullshit.  (Kind of a lie because the one time that I went running to a doctor here in Chile has been due to a 4 month long "tummy ache"-- otra cosa).  But I'm a fan of toughing it out.  And tough it out I do...

But on the occasion that my body gets the best of me, my teeth need a shinin', or I need to buy some pillz of a non-baby-making sort, I suck it up and make a trip. 

For example: my mama had been bugging me to go to the dentist (every 6 months... ugh!) so I finally gave in to her fancies and can you imagine my delighted surprise when my bill for: 1 cavity (oops), 1 cleaning, and 6 sealants cost me around $160??  Elated!!  Bring it on cavities cuz in the states its like $200 to fix just one of those bitches!!  Oh- and my complimentary work insurance is covering about $70 of it.  CA- CHING!!!

So- yes- I have one of the highest ranking private insurance plans for which I pay about $80 a month (which doesn't even get taken out of my salary, it is factored in in-place of the state run insurance (think Medicaid) so it's like I'm not even paying for it at all!), PLUS my job provides a complimentary, FREE, insurance that covers the left overs (usually 50%) of what my private insurance does not reimburse.  When I went to the doc for my prolonged and wildly unpleasant "tummy ache" it was FREE!!  Freeeee! 

Not to mention (unabashedly), that my BC pills stateside were costing me a tad more than $50 a month, 50 frakkin bucks-- and that was including a "discount" from my insurance.  But here, they cost me FIVE DOLLARS.  Not kidding.  I've seriously thought of just going to, like, every pharmacy in the Región Metropolitana and purchasing said pills to sell for a profit in the states (unnervingly unethical?? who knows, but a killer business plan, yes).  And did I need a prescription??  No!!  This is somewhat questionable but all I did was bring a box of my US pills to the Chilean pharmacy and say, "I need something that resembles this, porfis."  And they were like, "sí mi niña, en seguida.." and didn't bat an eyelash!!  Over the moon.  

It is exactly for these reasons that many elderly Americans are choosing to retire abroad rather than in the states.  If you have medical problems and require constant medication and treatments, and are drowning in the economic climate in which we find ourselves, it should be of no surprise that grams and gramps are heading south, east, or west to both be able to afford healthcare and maintain a decent quality of life. 

If you don't believe me, read this New York Times article which states: "Offshore medical care is usually significantly less expensive than in the United States, and the wait times are often shorter. A heart operation that might cost $130,000 in this country could cost $18,500 in Singapore or $10,000 in India."

So, amigos, some food for thought for this Wednesday the 14th of July.  Would love to hear your thoughts/personal experiences.....


Monday, July 12, 2010

Dear World...

At some point, I forgot I had a blog.  Oops.  I dismissed writing because I've been too busy relentlessly pestering all people who are in, surround, or even border my social circle with a topic that I have been uberly stressing about.  Yet another big change is in the air amigos... oh, and did I mention that I no longer live in the PPapt?  Yeah, I'm now on to my 5th apartment in a year and a half but that's beside the point and too embarrassing to further elaborate upon. 

In other news:
  • My entire family is just arriving back to the "mainland" from Hawaii.  And in case you're geographically challenged, it's winter in the Southern Hemisphere.  And Chile is not Brazil, does not have rainforests, or boreder the Amazon.  It's freezing and makes you look fat and not because of the excess "winter weight" but because of the 13 layers of clothes you have to pile on to maintain even a low level of body heat.
  • Spain won the world cup.  I was hoping Holland would pull through for the sheer fact that their fans were the most jovial I witnessed in Germany in 2006.  I you haven't born witness to my nerd-dom please refer to this post regarding said futból tournament.  Will miss Pulpo Paul.  Or Paul the Octopus... not really sure if he's achieved translation for the "I could careless about soccer" US.
  • If you didn't hear me screaming it from the tops of my lungs from the tops of this giant building... me 'n LL are GOING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!  Yes I have my typical "death row" calendar started, yes I'm already planning the vacation, and yes I like almost shed a tear with excitement every time I think about it.  Stoked to the bones.  
  • 4th of July was semi-uneventful.  Obviously this holiday cannot exist without fireworks.  But I did finagle my way into being invited to the (now former) US Ambassador's house/mansion/literally a fortress to rub noses with the Rich & Famou$ $antiaguino$.  I was, by far (and by far I mean, BY FAR) the youngest person there and felt wildly out of place but in the mean time enjoyed chowing on cheddar cheese (a delicacy in these parts) and other weird hors d'oeuvres that accompany such "fancy" events.  Felt proud of my country (rare) and the work they did after the earthquake.  OH- and met the Chilean First Lady, Cecilia Morel.  Freaked out per usual.  Forgive me, but when else am I gonna meet a first lady??  To round the fake holiday out, I was invited to broadcast live from the Embassy for the annual flag raising ceremony.  Easily the most exciting part of this event was eating PAPA JOHNS (who knew they deliver to Chile??? baha).  Mmm the taste of college on my lips.... 
That'll do it for today peeps, interesting material is on the way and to the 3 of you who read this, sorry for bein' a big lazy non-blogging bum.-