Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Anything a Scentist Can Do, I Can Do Better

I am on a bus that I lovingly call 'Land Boat.' It's like I'm riding a vibrator through an ocean during a hurricane/earthquake combo. Somehow they even oversold this 1000 degree relic and people are  sitting/roasting in the isles for the first 45 minutes or so. Luckily I was smart enough to buy a 10 peso rock bread sandwich to nourish myself for the 6+ hour ride. 

It's really no worse than an AirTran flight. 

We took a 6 hour bus to a city called Bahia Blanca, a city not worth staying in. So we got an overnight bus (the pinkeye? The blackeye? The stinkeye?) to Neuquen. 

The city of Neuquen- skip it. But they do have the Giantsaur - the world's biggest carnivorous dinosaur. And that's not his name. You can google that ass.  

 In the museum that holds the actual fossils from this monster, things start to shift away from giant lizards and towards HYDROELECTRIC POWER! that's right kids, they bait you with dinosaurs and switch to a dam. I was really confused. "this is a dino egg, this is a gajillion-year-old mosquito....and this is a model of our power plant." 

Then the guy that drove us to dinoland was all "let's go SEE the hydroelectric power plant, very important" (as a side note, 'very important' is thrown around down here like 'genius' is in LA, neither words have any meaning to me now)

So we see the dam and then get a picture with a really cheesy dinosaur on a hill (better than dam) and then drive back in silence (also better than dam) 

We actually did have a conversation on the ride  that we have with whoever we meet, from any country. Health Care. We always end up talking about healt care. maybe people like to hear that Americans have it shitty and the future looks grim.  

After a visit to a nice river beach, it was time to leave this town. we decided to leave early in the morning. 

That evening, we talked to some older Argentina/Brits. we talked about hiking and the horrors of instant coffee.  The nice old man (he was a non-dinosaur scientist) told us to hike a mountain called Colorado in San Martin de Los Andes, our next destination.   His wife told us so many things I can't recall a single one. But I did watch a giant flying bug sit on her head as she prattled on. I couldn't take my eyes off it. I was going to tell her but I didn't know the etiquette and hoped it might sting her to liven things up. 

Early in the morning at the bus station I saw 30, maybe 40 kids about 13 years old lined up for my bus. Kids that age are the same all over the world. They suck. So I made myself sleep by saying  "this isn't happening" over and over like I was a victim of home invasion as they went to the bus bathroom giggling in pairs. 

When I got off the bus in San Martin I was confused why I had not been there the whole time. It's in the Lake District of the province and is surrounded by the Andes mountains. Everywhere you look is like a postcard; snow capped mountains, that Colorado ski town architecture, crystal clear lakes and stray dogs everywhere. Perfecto

I had already lined up a place to stay, but we met Mario at the bus station. 

Oh, Mario. 

 Mario is about 5'1", the son of Italian immigrants and kind of a round man.  He looks to be 60-65 years old. And his pants sag like little wayne. 

Mario is the kind of guy that would sell you a book off his bookshelf rather than let you borrow it. When you find your own name in it, and remember you loaned it to him last summer- he would be no where in sight. 

After no haggling at all we had a room at Casa de Mario; private room, private bath, "breakfast", and cable TV full of terrible Larry Levinson movies- for $25 a night. (I say "breakfast" because instant coffee and a piece of toast is only breakfast in prison.)

San Martin reminds me of Park City. -it's full of assholes in bad hats.  I kid.  It's a ski town with one small main drag full of shops and restaurants.

Food- amazing and cheap: Wild boar, giant steaks from different animals, trout

I'm pretty much always prepared to fill my fat face with food- that's a given. But having heard it was summer in South America I wasn't prepared for anything but sunshine. 

"let's hike that Colorado Mountain the scientist told us about", katie said to me early in the day. 

Sure, I thought. If that old scientist can do it and keep such a nonchalant attitude, it should be easy. 

Before you hike a mountain you sign in at the forest ranger station so they know where to look for your body. Seemed normal. 

This mountain was about 1800 meters straight up. At first it was nice and fun. 

After a while the wind picked up and then there was snow everywhere. Just as I has feared, we lost the trail. 

The sun started to set so we took shelter in a small cave. We found the remnants of other dumb dead hikers from long ago: bones covered by tattered No Fear t shirts, a pile of flat faced children huddled together for warmth. They were long dead so we searched their pockets for food and only found frozen bottles of Fanta. (Fanta stays in business solely from Argentina. They even put it in their beers) I could tell Katie was starting to loose it because she was talking nonsense. About how she wanted to watch Conan even if he was on TBS and when were tube tops gonna come back in. I built a sad fire out of a teepee of Marlborough Reds and a precocious mountain goat stomped it out. I wanted to feast on his haunches.  On the brink of hypothermia I drifted off to sleep. 

At daybreak I could tell by the smile on Katie's face that she was dead. That bitch is not a morning person. In the sun I saw that our cave was just a sewage drain, and we slept no more than 200 meters from a Howard Johnson. I chuckled to myself as I removed Katie's jewelry and headed to the pawn shop. 

I'll actually have a video that breaks down the barren, windy, subzero apocalypse that is the summit. I'll add it to the blog if I can find a decent Internet connection anywhere. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Treasures of Tandil

If you worked at a grocery store and a moron walked up to you holding laundry detergent  and said "I no no speak me like. Is this...uhhhhh?" then the moron rubbed the box on his clothes and nodded- would you help him or get him to wash his clothes with toothpaste?

If you were a waiter and you went over the specials to a moron and his moron wife and they smiled and replied "yes" to several choices, then you trick the morons to make a decision and they reduce your menu to pointing at their mouths and saying. "fish. Meat. Beer" and then after the meal dump a pile of bills on the table and let you sort through them for what you need- would you help them or rob them? Poison them?

Luckily the kind people of Tandil helped us with smiles. Even in this smaller city (about 100,000 people) everyone is gorgeous, so you can spot me at a 1/4 mile. 

The bus from Buenos Aires was unexpectedly pleasant.  You can almost lie down totally flat, which is good because the bus ride was about 5.5 hours to Tandil; on the way to Patagonia. Before the bus I went and saw a cemetery of tombs and took some asshole arty pictures.  I decided that I would like to be buried in a tomb and all my living relatives should handle the painstaking upkeep instead of moving on with their lives. 

Tandil! What a pretty town. Quiet. Good food. a nice change of pace. BA is the loudest town I have ever tried to sleep in. 

The first night we found our amazing hostel (seriously amazing) and got a private room and went for dinner. We ate a nice meal (fish  meat  beer)  Walking back we saw a small packed music venue where some high school kids were playing jazz. They were really good and everyone was drinking Quilmes and cheering and clapping. A monsoon started as we walked home. All a good time. Katie tried to buy an umbrella and realized too late she kept asking people if we could purchase a "question water" 

Then next morning we met a British couple that quit they're jobs and were traveling around South America for a year. They were nice but didn't really like us and avoided us as much as possible. I will take that out on the next Limey I meet. 

We hiked up a small mountain that overlooked the town and had some kind of half assed castle on top of it. The whole way we were followed by one of the many sweet and pretty stray dogs of the town. They really are nice dogs and there's one in every doorway sleeping. 

We then walked over to a lake full of people boating and swimming and having great times. When we got to it a sign said it was private. Booo

Tandil is famous for a Salami and cheese joint called Epoca de Quesos, so we went there. It's the oldest standing building in the town. Ordering dinner was it's usual fiasco of communication so we asked for "the most popular good good thank you" and got a great bottle of Malbec and a little slab of wood covered in what had to be 4 lbs of cured meats and cheeses. We didn't finish it so the waitress put it in a paper bag that is now a grease soaked disaster that I am eating on the bus. Amazing. 

After a heart hug dinner like that the best thing to do is to throw a scotch on it. So we went to a little bar and had one and started to chat with a nice local man who also liked scotch. 

What followed is what you would expect. Luckily I took about 500 pictures so I can piece together this evening for you.  

The local man's english was not great, our Spanish is shit; So there was a lot of talk about language and excitement over successful communication. 

Here are the bullet points for the rest:

-Taking with hands

-Exchanging favorite authors

-Besos - these are little kisses on the cheek that I really never see too much here. 

-Photoshoot with a malaise 23 yr old bartender that doesn't look too into it

-Talking with hands escalate to full on nonsense charades

-Exchanging of favorite musicians

-Exchanging of how to tell people to fuck off in our native tongues

-travel advice

-General agreement that the bartender was a beautiful human being 

-Gifts- each more special than the last

THE FIRST GIFT was a pack of the local man's cigarettes because mine were bullshit he said. Then we smoked in the bathroom because he said we should. I shrugged and went along with it.  Jr High all over again. 

THE SECOND GIFT was a gross sweet cake thing in a gold foil wrapper. He forced Katie and I to eat it in front of him because at that time it was of grave importance. We lied and said it was delicious all 49 times he asked. Another cake was forced into Katie's purse. 

THE THIRD GIFT was very important to our new friend. It took him a long time to even decide if he wanted to give it to me, even longer to explain how much I should care to be this lucky.  He gave it to me and I remember lots of hugging, serious advice and a solid handshake.   I put the treasure in my pocket for safe keeping. I told our new Freindo the pocket had a zipper, so the treasure could not be lost or stolen by thieves. He inspected the pocket and agreed. 

He offered us a ride home in his truck he said he was allowed to drive drunk because his buddy was Chief of Police. then he said we were allowed to live on his farm forever. 

We declined both and went to bed. 

The next morning in my pockets were notes of misspelled author's names.  Our friend's name (Horacio) and email. A note from the bartender asking for copies of the pictures we took and to be facebook friends. (of course) and The Prized Gift. 

When I held the gift up the morning light danced off it magically. I would cherish it always and one day pass it on to another friend in a faraway land. It meant so much that night and hopefully would on another. 

It was a .25 cent coca cola bottle opener. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Veggie dinner

Apparently when I eat a 2 lb.  chateaubriand and a pile of goat sweetbreads covered in a broccoli purée after midnight it doesn't agree with my sleep. 

I knew this in the back of my mind. Red meat plus late night equals a nightmare of me trapped in a zombie apocalypse. 

Last night was no different. Brian Dennehey and I were trying to get a suitcase of money to his pickup truck before one of us were bitten then caught a bullet in his head. (secretly I think Dennehey wanted me dead so he could keep the money. But all the money in the world wasn't going to bring his family back)

So I ran from zombies all night and woke up and knew two things. 

1. After 10,000 zombie nightmares I'm kinda over it. It's stressful, the opposite of what I'm looking for when I sleep. 

2. For a whataburger, it might not be worth it. For another taste of late night glands, I'm prepared to load my dream shotgun with slugs one more time....if not 10. 

Taxi to Boca, a faraway Barrio. (expensive taxi- $5)

This place is a classic tourist trap. Lots of people accosting you to buy trinkets. We wandered around had a 'pressure beer' aka draft. In the late 1800s the small town of Boca tried to secede from the country. Thank god they didn't let them go. That would be like the US not holding onto West Virginia. 

I'm surprised that there's really not a lot of haggling here. (I'm still going to do it, but it isn't part of the culture) that's because everything is crazy cheap. I mean crazy cheap if you get out of tourist town. It's pretty great. 

The Diary of Anne Frank was on sell near a train station. I thought I heard a guy call it the Diarrhea of Anne Frank. I repeated it several hundred times

Walked and walked and had ice cream. Ice cream is for serious here. 

Saw a guy getting really weird with some Tango people on the street. There are people doing the Tango everywhere. A normal person tips them, tales a picture and moves on. This freak show was directing his own photo shoot with two barely willing participants. 

Bought sone Bus tickets to the next town and got some help from a nice missionary guy. 

It Rained. A lot. So we ate empanadas and waited it out. Then left the cafe and it started raining again. How exciting is that!!!!??

I took a Nap. Which is something I would never normally do when traveling. I would normally be driving myself into the ground seeing sights and partying at night. But not so much partying this time. you're suppose to party here. But I think you're suppose to party in every city. I don't mind the nap and late dinner business. 

After my nap I met a girl Katie was talking to from Australia. She was on a 10 month trip. Australians really go for it when they travel. I'm not sure why.  

Had a veggie dinner at a restaurant called Bio. Really great. Cold raw veggie soup- amazing. Empanada filled with mustard greens and olives and whatnot. Yes. Then a quinoa and risotto fresh veggie mixture with local goat cheese. Holy shit. Add some fresh fruit juices, water and the fact that two people could never eat all that....$35. Score.

Maybe tonight I will dream I have hair like Maradona and two watches. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Argentina: Glocks and Glands

Day travel and one: 

Always check your bags when you borrow a bag from someone BEFORE you travel. Dont let TSA check the bag before you gave it a solid search  

That bag may have something in it you don't want to travel with. Like a loaded Glock 40 clip. 

Apparently if you just have the bullets and no gun, it's just a fine. So no biggie. And it's amazing how well that loaded clip hid itself in the bag

Right before that little bit o fun. Had to rebook return tickets a few days early for work. Got upgraded to first class, but had to come back 4 days early. Almost a wash. 

Landed in BA, got a cab then scored a hotel room. The V&S hostel. I recommend. Then naptime. 

Then I ate a steak. #1 for the day and I learned I should eat this organs in BA. Glands, entrials- all that. It's Luke watching the Tango. You just have to do it

Now I'm tired so into shorthand. 

Museum. Modern. One highlight were two people (real live gorgeous people-everyone is gorgeous here) in a bedroom, in bed reading each other stories. It shook me to the bone. 

$4 bottle of wine (honestly, better than museum)

Entertained by a poodle with lots of character (also better than museum)

Lots of walking. 

A beer by a good looming cemetery that will be visited tomorrow. 

A shower. 

Another cab. 

A glass of wine in an Italian restaurant. (no Italian food in BA for me)

Then one of the best meals of my life. 

Goat sweetbreads. 
Cheeses and Malbec

LITERALLY the best steak I ever  had. In a place called CHILA (best joint in Buenos Ares 2 years running according to the staff)

The waiter gave us travel advice while the busboy gave him hell. He spoke of a magical place to have dinner on top of a mountain. Only able to reach by hiking and mountain bike. He said it was good. We promised him we would find it like it was his long lost father. 

Then a ride with a lost cabbie that called me the "university of phonetics" after I butchered his language a bit. 

After a full day in atlanta, a 10 hour flight and a 16 hour day in BA, I'd have to say I like it

Monday, June 14, 2010

back in NYC, not really- Queens

I am coming down with, or fighting off- a little sicknees so I got some of this stuff:

It is raw, unpasteurized milk. Not just any any milk, but milk from a cow that just gave birth to a calf. It provides the calf's entire immune system. called Colostrum. It is really, really hard to drink.

Why would I drink something like that?

I read this article. in Harper's. It's a MUST READ. Milk secret ops action. I love it. I get this illegal milk at my farmer's market. It's awesome. The milk is awesome. This stuff is like drinking butter, but worse. But I am super healthy for this grueling road trip.

After I forced that down, I sold my window seat on a delta flight for a $100 to some guy. yeah, for real. Took a nap, then I saw this painting in the holiday inn

that is mine. Somehow, someway. It comes with me

Time to finish emailing and than I hunt down pork buns and good times. Because tomorrow I may have stuff to do

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I am a Carney

I have lived in my apt for about 6 days this year. I was in NY from X-mas till May 1st. and since I have been back my apt has been sublet, so I have just been hopping around, and every couple for weeks I'm out of town shooting TV, so it works.

I think ill start blogging about eating food and random shits and whatnot to get in the habit of writing something that is not a call sheet (boooo, set joke)

so I decided to give you some photos of where I have been and what I have been up to in some pictures.

These are in the opposite of chronological order too

Last week i went back to Vegas for a half day. Ate some soul food. Best place in Vegas

This is a place in Silver Springs, MD called Tastee Diner. It gave me nightmares, but it was worth it. Here's the nightmare:
I was on a location scout in Vegas and I was watching a documentary about how depressed people that made bombs were. Then I was on a bus playing a drum machine arguing about Sesame Street and whether or not arsenic was something found in a normal kitchen. Someone got stabbed in an apt with a glass floor. I asked the guy how much windex he went through and he just kept nodding at me and combing his mustache. Add a parrot and a laundromat owner that wanted to hire some ninjas because he hated the Phillies.

I had to sell that baby.

Carney's can't have it all, sometimes they get replaced.

When I got back to LA, i went on a tear of picking up Dodger tickets for next to nothing.

This was my last day on a show in NYC. It was nice out that day.

COWBELLMAN @ Citi field. Saw this guy at my first double header. The dodgers lost em both.

I shot a Boxing episode

and one about Education

These cats were in charge of the NY show

It was cold there.


Really solid crews in NY

this was me getting hired at the job interview to start the year.

So this next week, I'm back to NYC, then to Alabama, Vegas, Denver and back home. I'll blog some somethings