Weekly Reading, Vol. 11

1) Here’s a fun gallery of cats who served in WWI.  In contrast, our resident stray, Fred, seems to just steal the chicken bones from our trash and sunbathe. 🙂

2) Here’s a great article that focuses on motherhood in Chile, but really just goes into the whole culture. There are lots of similarities to Argentinian culture!

3) Your (and my!) bucket list just got longer. Here’s 52 awesome places to visit in the world.

4) In my fashion blog perusing, I happened upon The Lingerie Addict’s series on the history of Vanity Fair. No, not the magazine–the apparel company! The post piqued my interest because our wedding was maybe five miles away from the original factory. A fun Berks County, PA history experience! I’m excited to see where the series continues.

5) Because I cannot emphasize it enough–it’s back to school time, and that means a whole new discussion on herd immunity and anti-vaxxers. iO9 delves into why anti-vaxxers are misinterpreting that whole “herd immunity” thing, and how it’s an incredibly harmful mindset. Again–it’s been proven time and again that vaccines do not cause autism. Do not listen to Jenny McCarthy.

6) Finally, iO9 has a great article about hidden paintings. In other words, famous artists re-used canvases (which could be incredibly expensive!), and new technology is allowing us to see what they painted over. It’s really mesmerizing.

 

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From the Corporate Archive: Industrial Musicals

I’m going to go off on a tangent today. Those who know me well, know I am an unashamed history geek. I participated in National History Day for years in middle and high school, and have served as a regional judge in my adulthood.

If I still had the opportunity to do a History Day project, I know exactly what I would focus on:  industrial musicals. An off-shoot of the musical frenzy of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, these were musicals written and performed for specific companies and industries. More than just simple jingles for a commercial, these were fully staged productions with high caliber writers and performers. After the rousing performance, you were either given or cold purchase a record of the catchy songs you had just heard at the national sales meeting.  It was supposed to pump up the sales force to go out and sell more and more of the product–and boost morale (and ostensibly productivity) in the employees in general. They’re an oft-forgotten facet of the corporate career experience of the post-WWII era.

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Here’s a link to an article/podcast NPR’s Fresh Air did back in 2013 about industrial musicals. The interview is with Steve Young and Sport Murphy, who wrote what sounds like a fascinating book on the ubect. I have the book in my Amazon cart, and I can’t wait to read it. (as a side note, if I had to do anything in the world, this is what I would do–write books about obscure corporate and popular Americana.)

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In another related note, IBM apparently had a full songbook for its employees.

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Compared to today’s sober work environments, it’s amazing to think about how much time and energy were placed into these musicals that the public would never see.

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Check out Young and Murphy’s official website to hear more songs from industrial musicals.

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Bonus to those back in our home of York, PA–York Air Conditioners (now Johnson Controls) was big into these musicals. Check out the link above to hear a song or two!

 

Weekly Reading, Vol. 10

1) Texas Monthly has a haunting, powerful story of the woman who witnessed hundred of lethal injections in the Texas prison system.

2) Delaware just passed a new law about digital inheritance–or what happens to your digital life and property when you’re gone. It’s excellent, and it’s time for states to start thinking about this very real issue.

3) Ever wonder where the five day work week came from? So did the Atlantic. I had to laugh at the predictions that by now we’d have a 15-hour workweek!

4) The Atlantic continues on a stream of great career-themed articles by talking about something I’ve known forever: no one is actually listening on a conference call.

5) Bolivia now boasts the world’s longest urban cable car system. What a cool way to commute to work! Linking the very disparate La Paz and El Alto, the system is as much an experiment in urban planning and social change as it is a fun, easy way to solve a mass transit issue.

It’s the weekend! Sit back, relax, and enjoy what’s left of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, or one of the last few weeks before it get insanely hot in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Paraguayan Visas!

As of today, we officially will have our Paraguayan visas! And, boy, was it a trick to get them.

Normally, prior to a trip, a US citizen just gets all of their visas at the various embassies in the States. Doing it in another country was an entirely different experience. We had to visit Posadas to go to the Paraguayan consulate, submit $160 in actual hard US currency (no checks, no credit cards–cold, hard cash only!), have the correct photos (always, always, always on a white background), and–horrors–leave our passports there for a day.

Giving up the passport in the States isn’t a problem. But down here, without our DNIs yet (they are still mysteriously lost in the mail since April)–they are our IDs. We have our legal paperwork for our one-year temporary residencies, but apparently these aren’t a common thing, and it’s always helpful to have the passport to explain to the various officials of what our situation is.  I was not amused by the Paraguayan consulate–they made me fill out the form that I had already printed out from online and filled out to save time–three different times in the office. They didn’t understand that we lived in Ituzaingo, came to Posadas regularly, and would want to just be able to go back and forth occasionally over the next 2.5 years.  This would be no issue for a MERCOSUR person (someone who lives in a South American country)–they just need a quick stamp on their passport every time they travel.  After we finally finished the paperwork, the consulate official told us to come back at 2pm. Fantastic–we figured we would grab lunch and run some quick work errands in town. However, on the way out, the hours said the consulate closes at 2pm.  We had to run back to site, but left our trusty Argentinian admin to try the embassy right before 2pm. They ended up being closed for the rest of the afternoon–so I think the gentleman was just messing with us.

Regardless, now we can legally cross into Paraguay. We’re excited to see the Jesuit ruins, and we’ve heard that Encarnacion, which is directly across from Posadas, is a pretty nice city. I’m just excited because Paraguay is the least visited country in South America. The people we’ve met are incredibly friendly–and it doesn’t hurt that they have some pretty good shopping compared to Argentina. They don’t suffer from the “partially-closed economy” problem–so lots of people run over to Paraguay to buy the things that just aren’t available in Argentina!

Weekly Reading, Vol. 9

It’s finally Friday! We’re high-tailing it out of work early today, and taking Saturday and Sunday off to celebrate T’s birthday! I think this counts as our second full weekend off (excluding our trip back to the States in July) since we started here. Maybe our third. Regardless–it’s well-deserved.

He doesn’t read the blog, so it won’t ruin the surprise when I say that we’re going to have a party/asado with the coworkers, drink some beers, and have some ice cream cake. We may even be able to talk him into going to the club!

1) To Work Better, Work Less feels entirely appropriate given the above statement–but it’s a sentiment I highly support. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m tired of pulling endless hours just to keep up appearances. Do your job, do it well, and do it in 40 hours. Give yourself the gift of a personal life.

2) A Salmon Cannon helps get fish over the biggest dams in the Pacific Northwest. I think it sounds like a zany Monty Python weapon. Somewhere, there are bears planning a field trip to these dams for the flung food.

3) This is an excellent article from NPR about parenting styles around the world. I can definitely attest to the late bedtimes children have here! It’s not abnormal at all to have a toddler at a midnight party. I’m not sure I’m fully up to leaving a child outside of a store while I shop (Denmark), but I have definitely admired the independence children exhibit down here.

4) In light of the absolutely tragic events this week, here’s a 2013 Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) with Robin Williams that is pure gold from start to finish. The world lost one of its best.

5) The Smithsonian Libraries’ Tumblr is posting all sorts of wonderful GIFs of historical etchings, drawings, etc.

6)  I love this infographic about the five levels of business attire from Business Insider. I hate when companies just say “business casual” because there are just so many geographical and generational variations–particularly for ladies!

7) Owls are weighed while wrapped up in little blankets like bird burritos. This made my day.

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Happy weekend, everyone!

Driving around Posadas

Hello everyone!

I’ve been a little more AWOL than usual on the blog. It wasn’t for any good reason–life just happened!

This past weekend, Thomas and I went to Posadas (the nearest “real” city) in Misiones province. We needed to buy a new, better made bucket for our house cleaners. Our old one completely shattered on the floor when it was full of water! We made sure to get a much sturdier one this time!

We also wanted to catch a movie in the only movie theatre in a two-hour radius: Cine Sunstar. I checked their website, and it said that they would do a Sunday matinee at 3pm. We decided on seeing “Neighbors” (“Buenos Vecinos” in Spanish)–which was released in the States back in May, but just getting here now. The decision was pretty easy, since that was the only movie subtitulado in Spanish with the original dialog in English. Apparently, a lot of movies are shown with subtitles the first week, and then the rest of the run is dubbed into Spanish.  Well, we got to the movie theatre… only to realize that their online schedule was completely wrong, and the movie didn’t start until 6:30!

With some time to kill, we decided to drive a little bit around Posadas. We ended up down at the coast/boardwalk, known as La Costañera. A lot of money has been pumped into developing this area–and it shows! There are some beautiful luxury apartments and homes, plus some lovely looking cafes and asados that we are bookmarking to frequent in the coming warmer months!

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There were lots of people out drinking mate with friends, going for a walk, or playing with their children. We couldn’t find an open parking spot in time to do any walking, but got to drive almost the whole length.

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Directly across the river is Encarnación, Paraguay. We didn’t drive all the way down to the border crossing. At some point, we’ll get our Paraguayan visas so we can do some real exploring there too!

Sunday was also Día de los Niños, or Children’s Day. When we were driving to Libertad, we noticed lots of little gatherings with kids’ activities, and even a carnival. Argentinians are extremely family-oriented, and it shows. Children have a lot of independence down here–and we see lots of kids in the 6-12 age range walking around in groups alone and playing with the rest of the neighborhood kids–but there is a real “it takes a village” mentality that is incredible.

Weekly Reading, Vol. 8

1) I love the show Archer. It’s fun, it’s smart, and it’s incredibly edgy. Here’s a Q and A with one of its hilarious stars, Aisha Tyler.

2) One of the best documentaries I’ve seen in a while was “20 Feet From Stardom” about background singers. And I was transfixed by Merry Clayton’s story of recording one of my favorite songs–“Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones. Here’s Gizmodo’s story on it.

3)  I’m currently in the throes of reviewing all of the math I’ve ever learned in preparation for the GMAT. As I was getting my butt kicked by a review of quadratic equations, I found this article from the New York Times on why Americans are so bad at math. Apparently I am not alone.

4) On that note, T and I have been enjoying doing our math review over at Khan Academy, an online learning resource that allows you to learn all sorts of things in an interactive format, complete with badges and points.

5) A recent study found that women were more likely to be lied to during negotiations. This particular study focused on large-dollar transactions (cars, real estate), but the same’s been found in salaries.

 

Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution

Okay, I’m throwing down the gauntlet publicly–so I can’t back out.

As of Sunday, I’ve started Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution program. It’s 90 days composed of 15 workouts (12 workouts, 3 cardio discs). I’m kind of ignoring her diet portion, since neither hummus nor quinoa are readily available items down here.  The program recommends doing six workouts a week, six days straight with Sunday as a rest day. I love my Sunday workouts, so I’m debating where I’ll put my rest day each week. Last night was my “I just can’t talk myself into this” rest day–so that solves this week!

So far, I’m enjoying the larger “class” size in this program, and finding the workouts to be challenging, but not nearly as daunting as our ill-fated attempt at P90x was. (Maybe someday, but we barely made it through 20 minutes the first time we tried it.)  At the end, I might write a “blow by blow” account of the program–but that’s 13 weeks away.

Let’s see how this goes! I will, of course, still be blogging about life in Argentina–this is just my own way of making sure I stay true to the program and keep with it!