Friday, February 27, 2009


I've updated EFL blog: Chile, for anyone interested, though I still need to find a way to put documents on there that users can download. And I've also started again on my Chilensis blog.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'm not a slob, I'm a horizontal organizer.

All these years I've thought I was a slob. It's not true. I'm just a horizontal organizer in a vertically organizing world. It's a sad plight.

Check out this essay "A plea for the Horizontally Organized".
He also has a fantastic essay on Structured Procrastination. This is how I came across his website. I stumbled upon his procrastination essay first. I'll give you one guess what I was doing when I came across it.
I'm particularly fond of his logic in his "On Becoming Bilingual" essay. Might I add he has an incredibly intuitive essay on Procrastination and Perfectionism.

I highly recommend for your reading pleasure. Pure Genius.

Dude, John Perry rocks. He needs a fan club on facebook. I would totally start it, but would it be lame to be his only fan if it occurs to no one else to be a fan? Or would it be incredibly funny and original to be the only fan in someone's fan club? hahahaha. That makes me want to start a fan club for some random friend on facebook. Hilarious.

By the way, does anyone else identify with any of these essays? Any other perfectionist procrastinators or horizontal organizers out there?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Money does grow on trees

It's not that money doesn't grow on trees, it does. The problem is figuring out which trees it DOES grow on and climbing up and picking it. The other problem is getting over the fear of falling out of the tree and breaking your neck.

in search of my money tree(s)...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

LensCrafters es como el forro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My e-complaint that I sent to the Attorney General of Florida, Bill McCollum:

“I bought some lenses and frames at the Sawgrass Mills Mall Lenscrafters store on March 6th, 2008. The scotchgard coating on the lenses has wrinkled and thus I see blurrily through them now. They are ruined. I called Lenscrafters to have them replaced and they told me I would have to pay half the price of the lenses replacement because, as Gonzalo, the general manager told me, "Lenscrafters doesn't make the lenses." Apparently this means they don't guarantee their replacement. My question to you is, how is this legal? I live in Santiago, Chile, and here in the "third world", we have a consumer rights agency that protects us consumers from these kinds of sales practices. Despite what the companies here tell us about their policies, they have a legal responsibility to repair, replace, or refund faulty products up to 6 months after the sale. Since the United States of America is the "first world", I thought we might have a policy like that good for a year.

Is there a law that protects me against this sort of sales trick? The 30 day moneyback guarantee is all "show" to try to get the consumer to trust the company. And then the real guarantee, the one I'm counting on, ends up being a sales trick. I buy one pair of lenses, and I'm forced to buy the second pair at 50%. That sounds more like a sales tactic than a guarantee.”

I've forgotten the last paragraph of the e-complaint, but that basically sums it up.

(I love this third world/first world terminology. It’s so great at provoking shame and it works in both directions, pitting one theoretical world against another. E.g. “Here in the third world, consumers are better protected than there in the first world.” “Once again, we got typical third-world customer service.”)

If you only have “about an hour” (which is never about an hour, it’s more like a day) to buy glasses, you may be in a hurry and not read the back of the receipt that says the guarantee is horseshit after 30 days. You awe the consumer with the 30-day absolute, no-questions-asked complete refund guarantee. And we don’t even ask about what happens after that. I’ll tell you, your lenses break and you have to pay HALF of their replacement. What a great “buy-one,-be-forced-to-buy-a-second-pair-at-half-price sales model”. Kudos to whoever thought that one up.

My recipe for bringing down the box store:
Everyone go buy a couple pairs of lenses from Lenscrafters and then return them during the 30 day money back guarantee.

Did David Browne just wake up one day and say, “I’m going to sell crappy products. When they break, the consumer will have to pay to get them replaced.”? So ripping people off is the secret to success. And what's with the super Christian website? Geesh. I'll tell you a secret: find some self respect.

Any hackers out there with time to kill, please go to
and crash their site please. Pretty please, with cherries on top.

So after googling LensCrafters (what I should have done in the first place), I found other customers who weren’t pleased with the store.
LensCrafters or how I wasted a whole weekend

a report of LensCrafters on a forum
as well as a Sarah Palin, a LensCrafters model, and
on the BARF forum
Suck it, LensCrafters
why I think LensCrafters sucks
I guess working for them is no fun either
LensCrafters sucks ass.
and it can eat dick too
I'm not the only one who wanted to know who is the current CEO of LensCrafters.
Here's an interesting tidbit I got off wikipedia: LensCrafters maintains "corporate headquarters in Mason, Ohio (near Cincinnati), along with Sunglass Hut International; but, in fact, both firms are wholly owned subsidiaries of the Italian-based Luxottica. Luxottica also owns Pearle, Target Optical, JCPenney Optical, Sears Optical and EyeMed Vision Care."
I must concede that some customers are satisfied; apparently this doughy, middle-aged guy liked the store.

I've learned in the future I need to do my homework BEFORE I buy glasses. Cuak! This has not been my customer service month in either the "first" or "third" worlds.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Your average customer service in Chile

debo reconocer que en comparisión, EEUU, por lo general tiene mejor servicio, porque, a menudo te topay con alguien que te quiere ayudar, y INCLUSO que se pasa ayudándote, porque sí no más.

Nuestra experiencia comprando 2 pasajes en avión, lamentablemente, es MUY TÍPICA acá. Todo el mundo que vive en Chile ha tenido que tramitar weas de esta manera. Es una paja, pero qué se puede hacer? (ojala tuviera un junior, yo cacho que me sería mejor que una nana)

Pasos para comprar dos pasajes en avión Santiago – Iquique:

1) V trató de comprar los pasajes en con su tarjeta Ripley
2) no funcionó porque no tenía la clave de su tarjeta Ripley
3) se metió a Internet para encontrar un clave
4) allí dice llamar a 600 600 02 02
5) el número no funciona
6) llama de nuevo
7) el número no funciona
8) repita pasos 6 y 7 hasta aburrirse
9) V vuelve al trabajo
10) yo repito pasos 1-7.
11) voy a Ripley
12) me dan mi clave
13) voy a la casa a comprar pasajes
14) hay un problema con el pago a través de la tarjeta Ripley
15) Vuelvo a Ripley ya que el numero del servicio al consumidor no funciona, y tampoco el otro número para comprar
16) en Ripley me dan el número *super secreto* de Ripley, el cual es: 6941000 extensión 1755, por si alguien más no ha podido contactar con esta espléndida empresa
17) llamo el número super secreto y CONTESTAN ALTIRO
18) me arreglan la situación de no poder pagar la wea.
19) intento comprar pasajes de nuevo
20) no funciona el modo de pago
21) llamo a Ripley
22) me aseguran que no es culpa de la tarjeta, que mejor me contacto con Lanchile
23) llamo a Lanchile. decido comprar los pasajes por telefono
24) me sale 20 luka más para cada pasaje
25) llamo a Lanchile para hablar con la gerencia de Internet (ya que la señorita no me pudo conectar con la otra area)
26) marco la opción de hablar con la gente de pago por Internet, o algo por el estilo. hablo con la señorita. Necesita mi número de confimación, la cual nunca anoté porque no había pagado nada aún. No puedo retroceder en el sitio de Internet. Nos despidimos.
28) me meto a la pagina de lanchile de nuevo y hago otra reserva en otro horario porque ya han subido las tarifas y estan agotados los pasajes de vuelta para la hora que queríamos. (porque entre V y yo ya teníamos como 6 pares de pasajes de ida y vuelta reservados, pero no se podía entrar a “mi cuenta” ni ná para cachar que la wea estaba reservada) Asi que, nuevamente hago reserva, esta vez para dos semanas más tarde que lo que habiamos hablado.
29) llamo nuevamente, le doy el código de reserva, no se puede pagar con tarjeta Ripley. Me da la dirección de la oficina de Lanchile más cercana.
30) Imprimo hoja con la reserva y voy a Lanchile a completar la compra.
31) Espero unos diez minutos para que me atienden. En quince minutos más me tiene los pasajes.
32) Voy a Ripley y pago la cuenta Ripley.

Y todo esto en solamente 4 horas de mi tiempo.

A todo esto, debo decir, que toda la gente que me atendió fue buena onda conmigo. Solo que no se debe demorar 4 horas para comprar dos pasajes en avión.

Comentario de V al respeto: “Fue más fácil desbloquear el iphone.”

Sunday, February 8, 2009

25 things about me

so I've received this forward a bit and here are mine:

1. I want to start a business that sells quotidian things (cosas cotidianas), like food, clothing, cleaning products, what you need to live, basically. I imagine it like the old almacenes from the 1800s and beginning of the 1900s. Really good quality products, being as close to the source as possible, polluting as little as possible, as thrifty as possible. Clothing that lasts 20 years. Perhaps I'll eventually put myself out of business, because people won't have to buy any more clothing.

2. I perhaps will learn from the indigenous people, like for example, the Incas were masters at making fabrics. (White) people used to make there own clothing too, in the United States.
President John Adams sported homespun threads.

3. Estoy peinando la muñeca con el tema este. Se los juro. Llevo 5 años pensando en esto. He pelado harto cable ya. Asi que cambiamos el tema. jajajaja, o intentamos...

4. I have sooooooooooooooooooo many business ideas and writing ideas, I could give them away. My aunt just told me the other day that Jack Londan gave story ideas to F. Scott Fitzgerald.

5. I can tell I'm a writer because I could never decided what I wanted to college I took some RANDOM classes including C++ computer programing. I wish I would have known then that my interest was more experiential, than applicable. Duh. I almost bombed the dang class. And I love doing things for the experience of it, if for nothing else: trying out weevil-filled oatmeal, for example. YUCK! I didn't know there were weevils (little grain beetles) when I bought it. Cutting costs can be risky sometimes. I bought the oatmeal wholesale, for half the price per kilo as they sell in the supermarket where I shop. Probably won't do that again...but you never know!

6. I wish the gym I recently enrolled in had a hip-hop class. I would like to be part of a hip-hop troop some day.

7. I want a garden.

8. And fruit trees.

9. I have pastoral dreams.

10. Because I'm from a small town.

11. I think weed should be legal to grow for personal use. And hemp too.

12. Reading the book "Rich dad, poor dad" has almost made me go conservative (republican). The only bastion of right-wing thought I cling to as truth is the idea that education should be free for all, and food too - for those who study. Okay, so, I'm still a democrat, never so mean, but mostly because I think there are so many soul-less business people in this world who take advantage of workers and have no sense of ethics. It's sickening. All they think about is money, the dumbfucks. Could we be a little more creative please? And maybe enjoy ourselves now and then? Rather than chasing the buck non-stop...all the time. Until you die.

13. I'm writing an EFL book specifically for teaching English in Chile...we'll see if I ever finish.

14. If I had a restaurant in my home town, I would have “fictional things” on the menú…(to make it a bit more literary.) For example, The Up-North Roll: a sushi roll with walleye and raspberries, rolled in wild rice and drizzled with a mix of soy sauce and maple syrup. hahahahahahahaha. And the best part is that I might even try to make it.

15. I could also have a crappie roll and a Northern roll. eeewwww. I only say eeewww, because supposedly Northern tastes nasty, though I’ve never tried it.

16. I want to go home.

17. And have a huge pumpkin patch.

18. And prepare venison cazuela, with deer my brothers have shot, and pumpkin from my patch.

19. And start a blues band.

20. with Vuko on lead guitar.

21. I’d be on piano and vocals.

22. I’d have to take voice lessons again.

23. I like singing.

24. I dream about babies alot.

25. I refuse to believe my biological clock is ticking.

26. No, we aren’t planning on having a baby any time soon, so stop asking. or don't.

Friday, February 6, 2009

EFL Blog: Chile

I've started yet another blog, this one of the EFL variety. The idea is to share resources, tips, whathaveyou. If you are interested in contributing, let me know.

Tip of the day: Use America's Finest News Source as a reading for your intermediate/advanced students. Chileans appreciate humor. Who doesn't?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Jacques Torres ate my heart out!!

So the brownies aren't even done yet. But they smell so good I think I'm going to faint. The batter was spectacular! And actually the brownie mix is reasonably priced at $12.95 (that is if you live near the store...I got it as a gift from my mommy). They should import this brownie mix!!!! Specifically for the American expat community here in Chilito. It would sell like soy sauce does in China, like vino bigoteado in the Plaza Echaurren. Eeewww! Okay, I grossed myself out. I think I just ruined the post.

Now that the brownies are almost ready, and have a REALLY SHORT life expectancy, poor things, here, I figure out how to plagiarize this recipe.

Me, on the chocolate business:
Okay, so included in the brownie mix was 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) of REALLY good chocolate. Here in Chile, that runs me 4.500 pesos ($7.25)-at the grocery store. The mix costs $12.95. I think that leaves it clear that Torres isn't making money off selling brownie mix. He's making it selling chocolate, and, perhaps off these hummers. I would love getting into this industry. You need to cut out the middle man and get to the source. Check out this article which I have already posted, but I'm posting it again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Food budget in Chile

So Kyle's last post is about how much she spends on groceries a month in Chile. She said she was getting emails from people asking her that. I started commenting and realized I should just write my own post. Anyone else who's interested in blogging on your food budget in Chile (or elsewhere, I suppose), please do. We could make this topic into a group post if people are interested. I'll post the links to the other blogs on my entry.

So I'll be guesstimating. But I have been saving my receipts for the last 4-5 years, and when I get around to looking at them and figuring out what my food budget has been I will probably get back to you all. Back in Valpo, I easily spent 80.000-100.000 a month in groceries, but V and I were drinking lots of milk and eating lots of yogurt in those days. And we used to eat tons of chicken and beef. Now that I've gone flexitarian, I'm probably spending between 50.000-70.000 a month in groceries. Although I will know better if I ever organize my finances.

As Theresa in Mérida commented on Kyle's blog, this number will depend on what people eat. So to give you an ideea: I will cook cazuela de ave, for example, or porotos granados (apparently called cranberry beans?) (1500 the kilo-desgranados, peeled) and those dishes will last us like 3 days. Plus, if say, the green beans are out-of-season, I won't put them in the cazuela. I mostly use in-season food, which makes my cooking better and more economical. Another thing that makes my cooking much more economical, is that I cook lots of Chilean dishes, so I almost always use Chilean ingredients: zapallo (300 pesos the chunk), porotos granados, porotos verdes (can't remember), choclo humero (10 in 1000 pesos), etc. I even use typical Chilean ingredients in my own concoctions.

Also, when I get a chance, I do my shopping at the vega, which makes fruit, veggie, chicken shopping a bit more economical. And when I don't have time, I go to a market/vega that's a bit closer to home.

I also, am not a fan of chicken. I will eat it, if that's what's for lunch or dinner (hence flexitarian), but I think about the fact that it spent it's whole life in a cage and that it's been injected with hormones, and I would rather eat more pesticide-covered corn and pumpkin, rather than hormone-injected, cage-grown chicken. (Let's call a spade a spade.)

Other foods we eat a lot of and their current prices in Chilean pesos:
we eat bread (pan pita integral, 800) and avocado (1500 the kilo), or oatmeal (1300 the kilo), bananas (450 the kilo), yogurt (300 pesos for like 150 grams, I believe), fruit,
mote con huesillos or without huesillos (dried full-sized peaches, about 3000-4000 the kilo). I also like to have mote (can't remember the price) with coconut milk (1,100 the can) and pure maple syrup. Yummy. Speaking of, I go through a lot of coconut milk. (The maple syrup was given to me by my mom who was just in Chile. I don't buy maple syrup here.) Sarotti chocolate - 1400 for 100 grams, but waaaay more satisfying than Sahne-Nuss (1000 pesos for 180 grams). Although I still get a Sahne-Nuss fix from time-to-time. I do wish my supermarket would get this brand to try it out. I like getting my products as directly from the source as possible.

We also eat a fair amount of nuts. I just bought 2 kilos of cashews for 16,000 pesos. We eat almonds too, but I can't remember what they cost.

We eat lots of quinoa too, although not lately. (Over a year ago I bought 25 kilos for 25,000 pesos from a dealer in Parque Forestal - there was a bicycle culture festival, and people were selling things like quinoa and vegetarian empanadas). Normally quinoa costs (for quinoa negra) around 2000 pesos for half a kilo, if I'm not mistaken. You can get it at the tostudaria talca. Its uber-expensive at the grocery store, like 2000+ pesos for 200 grams of white quinoa. But 25,000 pesos for 25 kilos is quite the deal, even if we don't finish those last 5 kilos before they go bad.

We also eat pasta, beef, rice, beans-black and tórtola (perhaps around 2000 the kilo), garbanzo beans, crackers (300 for 180 grams or so), quesillo (around 1000), olive oil (maybe 5000 the liter?), regular oil, and lots of spices. When the corn's not in season, I get frozen corn (2000 the kilo?). These last prices I don't remember as well.

That's all I can think of for the moment. I'm sure we eat other foods as well.

Other gringas on their food budgets:

Kyle (the person who started the topic)