Mini Thesis Survival Kit

I’ve been absent, I know.

My thesis is due on Monday– the final, final draft– and after a semester and a half of researching it, writing it, rewriting it, rewriting it again, and now finally reorganizing the entire thing a week before it is due, I can’t say I will be sad to be done with it. I love my topic and it’s been a fun time, but all good things must end.

In case anyone else is struggling their way through thesis/work/a slump/rough times, here are a few things that have been getting me through this week:

 

1. A chill grooveshark playlist (it’s repetitive, but it gets the job done): http://grooveshark.com/playlist/Studying/85491420

2. Cute puppies: http://imgur.com/gallery/ZDUTy

3. Coffee.

4. A daily– hourly– reminder from many someones that it’s almost over, I can totally do this, and that there is no doubt that I will make it out okay.

5. And this: Image

Yes, this is as adorable as it looks. This is a real live Thesis Survival Kit, a box filled with a pick-me-up a day for this last week before my thesis is due. If someone you love is going through tough times, struggling with work, or could use the closest thing to a week-long hug, make one of these for them. It will brighten their (many) day(s).

 

My break time is over and I’m heading back to thesising, but good luck to everyone out there who is also chugging along. Catch you on the flip side of this milestone.

 

-Chicca

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I Got My Feet On the Ground

Hello, hello! I have a huge project due for my internship early this coming week so I am working away, but I wanted to pop in to post something because I have been neglectful.

Here are a couple of videos to keep you entertained while I toil away:



1. Sleep to Dream– Fiona Apple

The reason I made it through this week.





2.  For Women Who Are Difficult to Love

A poem, a treatise on love, and a beautiful reminder.Thank you, Alex.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone! Be back soon.

The Cult of TOMS

My week in a word: Overwhelming.

In the past week, I’ve caught up with a friend I haven’t talked to in about three years, I’ve learned about a lot of cool music, and I’ve gotten extra-psyched for my college’s spring weekend. I made it through said spring weekend even though it rained and was cold, and I am mega sore from playing on so many gigantic blow-up obstacle-course-like things. My computer screen has died and then miraculously (and probably temporarily) come back from the dead. I have been excited, spectacularly happy, and confused. And I’ve made it out alive.

So much excitement, though, means that I am having the worst trouble concentrating. As some of you know, one of the things I absolutely love to do when I can’t concentrate is shop online, so I’ve been doing that quite a bit in the past few days. I don’t actually buy everything I shop for– I am a college student, after all– but I think it’s fun to look around and see what companies have to offer. It’s more like online window shopping, really, and the things I like the most are the things I come back to.

I somehow happened upon the TOMS website sometime late last week, and even though I was in full-out procrastination mode I was pretty surprised that I was even entertaining the idea of buying a pair of them. For all of you who are not as up to date on women’s (and men’s) fashion, TOMS is a company that sells espadrille-like shoes. For every pair someone buys, the company donates a pair of shoes to a child in need.

Don’t get me wrong. I am totally all for helping the needy. I think it’s great, and it’s cool that a company that does such a great-sounding thing has been able to acquire such a following. But that following is also kind of the reason I’ve stayed away from them. It sounds awfully hipster of me now that I think about it, but the main reason I’ve stayed off the TOMS bandwagon for such a long time is that it seems too much like a cult for my liking.

What I mean by that is that TOMS seems to have amassed a group that blindly follows its trends. When you go to other store websites– or shop in stores, or hear things about them, etc– people react to the products they’re buying. Browse almost any website and you’ll find scores of people who either love what they’ve bought or hate it now that they’ve finally gotten it and tried it on. They give the product a rating and then detail what they liked and didn’t like about it. I actually pay attention to these reviews when reading something; I find them really helpful. And you bet that if I order something that doesn’t fit right, or immediately falls apart with use, I’m going to return it as soon as possible and leave a review saying why I did.

TOMS is not like these other, normal stores. It seems like the people who review their recent TOMS purchases are always giddily satisfied with their purchase, even when something with the product has gone disastrously wrong. There are reviews all over the site of women purchasing shoes that have a major defect– or, at least, they present it as such– and yet they are still magnificently happy with the shoe and want to recommend it to the entire shoe-loving world.

For example, one reviewer complained about their shoe sprouting a random “gaping hole” in its side “about an inch wide.” She claims that it “wasn’t obtained due to roughness” and just appeared in her shoe. If the hole wasn’t caused by rough treatment, how would it have spouted if not for a manufacturing defect? And yet the reviewer still gave the product a four-star rating. Another reviewer on another set of shoes complained that after the first day of wearing her new wedges, the rubber sole started peeling off. Instead of contacting the company like I think any other consumer would do, the reviewer gave the shoe a four-star rating and held onto them, saying that she was “hoping a little super glue” would fix the problem.

I just don’t understand why TOMS is so different. At any other company, if the product someone orders either isn’t what they expected or is defective in some way, they return it. They don’t go to the website and give a four-star rating to something that could have (should have?) been better, something that would have been rated on a higher scale somewhere else.

I don’t know. Maybe TOMS customers will give good reviews to just about anything as long as they’re slapped with a TOMS label. Or maybe the shoes actually are so comfortable that even if they fall apart, they are better than any normal shoe. I couldn’t tell you yet, but I might be able to soon. Who knows if finals week will drive me to finally join the cult of TOMS?

Featured: Inspire, Create

I’m procrastinating, as usual, and wanted to pop in to call your attention to this lovely new art blog my good friend Clara just started. She’s a wonderful painter and photographer and you should all check out her work!

Below is something she painted for me for my 21st birthday (click it to go to the page on her website):

Isn’t it wonderful? She has more art up on her site and has been uploading something new daily. Go show her some love!

Some Things

1. I have not updated in a bajillion years. Sorry about that. My parents (and brother!!) came and I spent all my time with them instead of blogging… whoops.

2. I’ve had a LOT of fun adventures since I last posted! They include, but are not limited to, a trip to Mendoza, Thanksgiving in Uruguay, and family shenanigans.

3. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to write a real post right now because I am finishing (starting) my last paper for tomorrow.

4. I’m leaving for Salta on Sunday!! So I probably won’t post then, either.

5. Hopefully, I’ll write up something short tomorrow for you all. I miss you, readers. And I have so many great photos to share, eeek!!

6. Here is a picture from this weekend in Punta del Diablo to tide you over:

 

Until soon, love,

Chicca

Busy (non-posting) bee

I know, I know. I know. I have been neglecting you all lately and for that I am very sorry. I know I owe you a post on Iguazu, at the very least, but it is going to have to wait at least another couple of days. Last week instead of posting I decided to continue on my explorer streak and this week that same streak is kicking me in the butt with all the work I didn’t do. For example, still have 1.5 essays to write for tomorrow. Whoops.

So… sorry guys. I know I’ve been absent. I will be better about it… soon. Y’all just gotta hang tight for another little bit.  😦

In the meantime, here is another picture of Iguazu, this time the BIG fall called La Garganta del Diablo, or the Devil’s Throat. Cool, huh?

(ALSO HELL YEAH I MANUALLY FOCUSED THIS SHOT BOO-YAHHH.)

I promise soon I will be back with a vengeance!!

Shoe Problem

Okay, first of all, before the post I originally wrote and which will follow this brief freak-out– my second midterm is tomorrow. The first one was yesterday and it went totally fine. I can’t say that I did a stellar, knock-it-out-of-the-park job on it but I just need to get a 4/10 to pass and it doesn’t count towards my final grade. Which is pretty cool. My midterm for tomorrow for my class on Latin American Politics, on the other hand, is going to be the biggest bloodbath of a midterm I have ever taken. It is going to be an open-book, open-note test, which seems nice at first but just means that it is going to be incredibly difficult. What will make it even more difficult is that I don’t understand the majority of the readings. The test will be one essay question about one of the themes of the class– the left, populism, or structural reforms– and we are going to have to go through what each author says on the subject while using different countries as examples. Bloodbath, am I right?

Anyway, the reason I am legitimately freaking out is that we leave for Iguazu right after my exam, as you know. We just realized, however, that even though we watched the guy click the correct return date when we were buying the tickets we are currently scheduled to return a week later than we intended. Which means that another two hours of my incredibly crunched study time is going to go down the drain trying to fix it. Womp, womp.

Now, without further ado, my other current problem. It is quite a big problem. You see, I have what we call a shoe problem. It’s embarrassing how long it’s been going on, really, and that’s why I’ve avoided writing about it until now.

This might sound misleading because I don’t actually buy lots of shoes. I’ve actually only bought one pair of shoes, my wonderful, wonderful leather boots that my mom likened to desert boots:

Other than those, though, I haven’t bought a single pair. It’s surprising, really, because on the shoe front I seriously did not prepare well to come to Argentina. In fact, I am in what you could say dire need of a new pair of sneakers. And this is where my problem comes in.

Or, if, like in the past few days, my problem is rain, it comes in from many places. Like here:

And oh yeah this kind of important place:


In case you guys weren’t aware, that latter part is called the sole of the shoe, and having a hole in the sole of your shoe while it is pouring outside means your foot gets pretty freakin’ wet.

Plus, see how in the picture below there are actually two parts to the sole-beneath-the-sole? The black part and the beige part?

That is because I have actually worn through the protective rubber part of the inner sole, and it turns out that under that is a squishy inner inner sole has just been sucking up water like a sponge on a field day. Seriously. While walking from class to the subte today my right foot gained about three pounds and my shoe squeaked so much it sounded like I was wearing a dying mouse.

Honestly, I love these sneakers to death (obviously) but that isn’t the reason I haven’t bought new ones. Well, it’s only part of the reason. The other part is that I am so busy doing other things that I really just haven’t gotten around to it. I know, I know. Shoes are kind of important. But once I got through the heel pain these lovely Converse were causing it just kind of dropped off my list of uber-urgent things to do.  And because I am leaving for Iguazu after my bloodbath of a parcial tomorrow it is just going to have to wait a bit longer.

What? What is that you ask? Of course I’m bringing these guys to Iguazu. What are a few more days of wet socks among friends?

Te Quiero Cada Día Más

Hey! The blahhg has a new layout!

This new format has a wider post area, which means I can fit pictures into it more easily. It also fixes a bunch of things that I didn’t like about the old layout, like that the comments to the side of the post. I miss certain things about it but I think this one is pretty neat. Do you all like it? Thoughts?

In other news, I have decided that I really like a bunch of Argentine music. I hope to start sharing some with you guys! My Spanish class focuses on música urbana (urban music), so for every class we listen to a few CDs and then discuss them. Our professor basically made us a 2gb mix CD and I’m slowly going through it on my own in addition to what he assigns us each week.

Today’s post is dedicated to Charly Garcia. Recently we’ve been studying his music and the anti-dictatorship movement… and I’ve discovered that I really, really like him! He was apparently a child prodigy and studied a boatload of classical music before becoming a rock star. Who knew?

Basically, I haven’t been able to get this song– the one below– out of my head, and I’m sure my host family is sick of listening to the same tune floating out of my room every day. The title of this post is a lyric (letra) from another of his songs, No llores por mí, Argentina, which is another wonderfully catchy song if you’re interested in looking it up.

I know I’ve been pretty prolific in the past few days, which is rare, but unfortunately I will probably go back to being a bit quiet for the next two weeks. I have my two parciales— midterms– next week and GOSH they are going to be a lot harder than I expected.

I guess at the bottom of it, it’s just learning all the material so I can discuss it on the tests, but somehow the whole process is about a million times more difficult in Spanish. It’s harder to understand on the first try and it’s certainly harder to figure out the main points of readings. More than that, though, it’s hard to retain things and it’s almost impossible to connect multiple points together.

And after my last midterm next week, a bunch of friends and I are leaving for a trip to Iguazu Falls! It is my first time on a big trip and I am SO excited. It’s officially October which means that I don’t have a lot of time left here, so I am trying to enjoy as much of it as I can.

So this weekend I am going to have a bit of fun– keep an eye out for some pictures of El Tigre, where I’m going on Saturday if I get enough work done beforehand– but other than that I will be buckling down. And maybe procrastinating a bit, like I’m doing now. Er. Yes. Back to work, for now.

Wish me luck, guys!

We Interrupt the Previously Scheduled Program

In other words, I have another paper due tomorrow for which the inspiration has STILL not arrived. I’m postponing parts III and IV of the Week-Long Saga in favor of finishing this monstruo. And, er, starting. Starting is important, too. Wow, it is going to be a long 24+ hours.

Instead, please enjoy this picture of the sunset from my bedroom window:

So, I tried to upload a photo for you all, but my internet has been on the fritz for the past couple of days and WordPress is starting to not take its crap anymore. WordPress, please don’t start treating my shittily like Blogger did. Thanks.

Anyway, until… soon. Wish me luck.

Some Things Never Change

(So this makes sense… I wrote this at 3AM on blogger and forgot to post it here, too. whoops!)

Yes, that is right. It is currently after 3 AM here and I am up, writing a paper on the day it is due. Did I start this one ahead of time? Yes. Which is new. Did I finish in a timely manner? No. Which is not new. Somehow being in Argentina and developing actual study habits has done nothing for the amount I still need to procrastinate while writing a paper. Yes, that is also right– I said study habits! I actually spend time doing reading instead of watching 30 Rock and cooking elaborate meals. And yet somehow it is still after 3. Oh, well.

For the amount they play, Argentines do a surprising amount of work. I have more reading now than I’ve ever had to do in my life– part of this, I’m sure, is that I dropped premed this semester and so am taking all reading-intensive classes, but WOW. This whole reading-all-the-time thing is HARD. And only about half of it is interesting, ugh.

Also, an update and an apology– sorry to everyone who has been trying to comment and can’t. I have no idea what is going on and really wish I could fix it, especially considering that Blogger won’t let me comment on my own blog. Damn Google gremlins and their faulty technology.

I am going to whip up a bibliography and hit the sack. Until this weekend, dears, when I have more time to write…!