Week 8: Revolución Interior (Or, The Time I Unknowingly Joined an International Improvisation Festival)
Greetings, readers! Five weeks have passed since my last post, and I apologize for the inconsistency. A few weeks were full of school, and a few weeks were so mundane that I didn't feel I had much to share. This week's blog was supposed to be about how my honeymoon period is over and things are finally settling down.....then the week lost all consistency. I'd like to tell you about it.
This chunky collage is a pretty good summary of the past month. But then...
Wednesday: Un día normal
Wednesday night, Irene and I go to an improv show, part of Córdoba's first ever improv festival, Revolución Interior. It's pretty nifty. The show is Improlucha, a cage-match improv battle between two teams of two improv actors. Actors from Chile, Colombia, México, and Argentina duke it out (with, you know, costumes and body language and rapid fire Spanish humor), and the audience votes for the winner.
It 's my first Spanish live comedy experience (and my second public Spanish media exposure, the first being Oz the Great and Powerful in theater with Spanish dubs), and I'm glad Irene came with me to explain all the jokes that whizzed past my ears. All in all, it's a fantastic show, and I'm glad I got to go and support a friend, Gustavo, who represents Team Argentina.
Thursday: El comienzo de las locuras
Thursday finds me in my only class from 9-11 am. Afterward, due to an impressive combination of tiredness, moving to a new home (no room for that backstory), moving away from Irene, and caffeine deprivation leaves me homesick and mopey. I'm having one of those rare "Ally, what the hell are you doing in Córdoba?" moments; they don't happen often, but when they do, they come out of nowhere like a sucker punch to the self-confidence gland.
I do the only sensible thing a homesick girl can do in her 8th week abroad: I talk with the other Wartburg girls and buy an impressive amount of ice cream. After the girls go back to the uni for their afternoon class, I walk through Nueva Córdoba, still feeling a little amiss. My new home is about an hour's walk away from school, so if I walk home at 2 pm, I'd be home alone of the rest of the day...not a tempting option. Instead, I text Gustavo, my improv actor friend, and ask if we can meet up for a few minutes.
I guess it's important to mention at this point that Gustavo is the head coordinator for the festival, the international festival, the first ever international teatro improv festival in Córdoba. I know he's super-busy, so I ask for five minutes of his time, just to see a familiar face. We meet at the hostel where all the actors are staying, and after a good pep talk, Gustavo has to jump to his next offically stressful administrative duty.
Then he asks me if I'll go with him and two other performers to a theater workshop and take photos. No big deal. Without knowing what I'm getting myself into, I say yes.
Quite suddenly, I'm in a taxi with Gustavo, a Colombian from Improlucha the night before, and Gustavo's Argentine improv partner. We go to the theater workshop at a private arts college close to the university. The Colombian, Juan, hands me a large, fancy Nikon camera, tells me to point and shoot, and leaves me to my new role as publicist/photographer. Students come, Gus and company instruct, games are played, and I snap photos.
Not too bad for my first gig, huh?
After the workshop, Gustavo asks if I can go with him to help with some errands. Again, with nothing better in mind to do, I say yes. Long story short, I spend the rest of Thursday night venue-hopping with Gustavo, doing little tareas to help prepare the two shows planned for the evening.
Clase A, an improv show in the context of a fútbol match. 100% Argentina.
By the time the night ends, I've met most of the actors I've seen previously in Improlucha and been behind the scenes for the shows, helping out. I don't know how funny or quirky this seems to you, dear reader, but to put things into perspective, here's the conversation I encounter every time I meet an actor or festival worker or patron:
Person: So, you work with Gustavo?
Me: Uh, no.
Person: Oh, you're performing!
Me: Me? No.
Me: I helped out with the workshop earlier, I took some photos.
Person: So you're a photographer?
Person: ...what are you doing here?
Me: ...me encontré acá por casualidad. I'm just here to help.
Friday: Las locuras siguen y me convertí en (casi) una cordobesa
I return to the hostel home base Friday afternoon for another day of undetermined festival madness, my only instructions from Gustavo, "Talk to Jill."
Jill, an American improv performer from Minneapolis, arrived Friday morning at 5 am after a two day hold-up in Lima. I find her eating ravioli with the rest of the actors, smiling and nodding at the mix of Spanish and entry-level English spoken to her. She speaks some Spanish and has a lot of gusto, but I thought it might be nice for her to have a fellow estadounidense to help her out with little things. We spend the afternoon together at the hostel, chatting. Then around five, Gustavo appears, asks Jill if she's ready for her interview, turns to me, and says, "You're coming, right? You can translate." ...Why not?
Jill and I follow Gus to Teatro Real, where a group of six teens/adults are waiting for us. We join them, sit cross-legged on the studio floor, and start a Spanish discussion about improv. Gustavo represents Team Festival and does most of the talking, but the students are eager to talk to Jill, too. I get a little practice with translating, and Jill's elated to get to explain improv and why she loves it.
And then Gustavo leaves to take phone calls, leaving Jill and I with six Argentine actors. They turn to Jill expectantly, Jill turns to me, and I whisper to her, "Did you bring any games?" And Jill exclaims, "Games! Juegos! Si!" So we play improv games.
And, you know, one of the games involved hiding and turning inanimate.
By the time the workshop ends, everyone is laughing and jumping around and giddy with improv fever. One thing I learn is that improv is universal; there's definitely a language barrier between Jill and the students (and I'm no gold-medal interpreter), but it doesn't matter. Everyone understood the games, and everyone participated. Nothing kills improv like the one person that doesn't want to do something silly, but these students gave it their all. This is their first time with improv...and did I mention that Jill taught the workshop her first day in Córdoba after a two-day headahce in the Peruvian airport?!
But of course the story can't end there. The workshop ends, the students thank us, and then Gustavo reappears to take Jill to her sound check...because in addition to arriving two days late and teaching a workshop, she has to get ready for her own improv show due to start in about 2 hours. Actors, man. I don't know how they do it.
Although it appears they do it like this.
After seeing Jill's sound check and running around with Gustavo for some more miscellaneous errands, I head home for the night, more than satisfied with Day 2 as assistant/culture guide/walking buddy/translator. By now, I've refined the What are you doing here? conversation down to, "I'm not an actress and I'm not really part of the festival. I'm Gustavo's friend and I'm here to help Jill and do whatever." Everyone seems pretty okay with this.
Sábado: Güia y actriz de improv, nivel básico
Saturday afternoon, I meet Jill at the hostel. She has a few hours to kill before a workshop she wants to attend, so I adopt the role of Cordobesian and take her out to see the sights. We don't have a lot of time, but we make it to the rings at Parque Sarmiento--a perfect photo op and demonstration of Cordoba's uniqueness.
I suspended my immersion status in favor of some touristy fun.
After seeing Sarmiento, we head to the workshop in Luz Urbana, the same building where the English Talk group I go to meets every week. Jill and I arrive about twenty-five minutes early, walk into Luz Urbana, and see Gus giving improv lessons to a few students. We do not see Juan, the Colombian who's giving the workshop. After a frenzied schedule-check, we see that the workshop is listed at a completely different building; my spidey-senses were wrong. My only job for the day is to hang with Jill and make sure she's in the right place at the right time, and I've already managed to fail. Jill and I flag a taxi and make it to the listed venue, only to stand outside, again Juan-less. A man and woman approach us and ask if we're here for the taller, and we tell them we are and that we're not exactly sure what's going on. Suddenly, I remember that I have the phone number of a festival coordinator, so I call him. "¿Estás en Luz Urbana y no hay nadie?" He asks me. "No, we're on Roca, where the sheet says to be," I tell him. "No, el taller está en Luz Urbana," he insists. Cool. Well, at least my sixth sense wasn't out of whack. Jill and I find the two Argentines who were also waiting, I explain what's going on, and thankfully, they offer us a ride back to Luz Urbana. We make it in time for the taller, and the Colombians are excited to see Jill stepping up to the plate and doing a workshop in Spanish.
Arturo, Julio, Juan, (happy Colombians) and Jill.
I sit the first few activities out, but Gustavo pushes me into the mix after the name game icebreakers are over (I am nervous as hell, but thankful that I skipped the name game icebreaker. Those are not my favorite).
The next two hours pass quickly in a rush of lucha libre fighting (an old woman takes me down with impressive timing), swordfighting, yoga, calisthenics, vocal activities, and reflex games. For Jill and I, the taller is also a Spanish lesson, because all the instructions and explanations come delivered en español. One of the last games we play is a cirle-rhythm-say it fast or you're out game that went like this:
Person 1 says a day of the week, a number, and a month.
Person 2 responds with the previous day, number, and month (all within a three-beat count).
Persona 1: sábado, el cinco de noviembre.
Persona 2: viernes, el cuatro de octubre.
Easy, right? This is how it goes for a Spanish immersion student who finds herself in an improv workshop por casualidad:
Juan: jueves, el veintiocho de abril.
Ally: *juevesjueves what day comes before* uh miércoles, el veintisiete de--de-- *Diosmio abrilabrilabrilmayo?!no! marzo.
Seriously. I know people who have trouble counting months backward in English, and here I attempt the feat in Spanish. But again, my flukes don't matter; everyone is patient, I play plenty of games that don't demand excessive mental overload, and I laugh, jump around, and sing fearlessly with South Americans. And now I know a few more Spanish theatrical phrases.
The woman in the red and white stripes was my lucha libre partner. She took me down faster than you can say how-in-the-world-did-I-get-to-a-Spanish-improv-workshop?
Instructor Juan and I
By now, it's seven o'clock and time to head to the 8 o'clock función, the Mexicans' show at Teatro Real. I head to the theater with Gus, Jill, and the Colombians. While we walk, they ask who I am and why I've been tagging along with the company for the past two days. Finally, I get the chance to explain myself clearly, doing away once and for all with the I am not a performer, instructor, or festival worker, I just kinda wandered into this explanation. I also get to hear the Colombians' stories; how they travel for shows and festivals, the founding of their company Si! Solución Improv, and their impression of Córdoba. They've been in town for six days, and I'm finishing my eighth week. Compared to them, I'm quasi-Cordobesian.
The Mexicans' show is the first time I see long-form, dramatic improv. I've seen my fair share of Whose Line and been to a Second City show in Chicago, so I'm used to short, guffaw-producing scenes, but this show is different. The girls had audience members write words on a chalkboard before the show, and they use those words to create three distinct stories that interweave and join at the end. Their only props are a ladder and two chairs.
From Teatro Real, the group, a mix of Mexicans, Argentines, Colombians and Statesians, walks to Okupas, a resto/bar that's hosting the last festival show of the night--Late Night Show Incredible Mix. It starts around midnight and follows the familiar Whose Line setup.
The Colombians & Juli, a Cordobesian, doing their thing.
Domingo: El fin del finde
Sunday was a day of relaxation after a week of exciting locuras. In all reality, I spent Sunday as a festival patron. Jill and I walked around a pit before the Colombians' show, and then we experienced Ritus, un viaje al más allá.
Solución Improv finishes the dress rehersal and gathers for a powwow before the show
he show was in the playback style
of improv, another first for me. It encompassed drama, comedy, and genuine emotion...I guess that's the best way I can describe it, and you can check to link above to get a better idea. The house was full, the audience was satisfied, and the Colombians delivered an amazing closing show to the festival.F
ollowing the wrap up and tear down, the Colombians, Gustavo, Jill, and I headed back to home base hostel, where we got ready for the long-anticipated fin del festival asado
. After a few hours of cooking and grilling and waiting and talking about how hungry we were, everything was prepared. Then I had to go home before I could eat (8 weeks in Córdoba and STILL the asado evades me!), but I know the Colombians and all the workers from the festival had a hard-earned celebration!
Me with the asado that I actually didn't eat. Life, thou art cruel.
Before I left Wartburg, I remember my advisor telling me I would have crazy, once-in-a-lifetime adventures. I consider myself adventurous, but I'm also pretty skeptical and not one to hop blindly into endeavors. ...Always listen to your faculty advisors, kids. They know what they're talking about.
My week as an honorary improv assistant was, without a doubt, the most memorable thing that's happened to me throughout these two months in Córdoba. For the first time, I was around people that I knew--lots of people that I knew--lots of native Spanish speakers that I knew--speaking Spanish 24/7. It was 100% language immersion, but I felt comfortable enough to express myself (and sometimes it was necessary that I expressed myself, when interpeting for Jill or helping out the actors).
It was something rare, something incredible, and something muy, muy chevere.
As I expected, this week went smoother than last week. This week also passed much more quickly, probably because a steady routine builds momentum. But then again, no week in a study abroad program is complete without a few surprises.
Right now, my only class is an intensive Spanish course that lasts through March 13 to prepare me for all the other classes that I'll take. In addition to taking classes through PECLA, the study-abroad program, I have the option of taking classes directly through the university. In order to get into university classes, though, I have to pass a standardized test: the CELU, or Certificado de Español, Lengua y Uso. It's a two-part exam with written and oral parts, and with a score of intermediate or advanced, I can get the green-light for university classes.
I knew from my first day of classes that I'd have to take the CELU in March; I didn't know the format of the test. On Thursday, I had an informational meeting/practice CELU, and it gave me a little culture shock. You know how US standardized tests (ACT, SAT, GRE, etc) are mainly multiple choice exams with minimal or optional writing portions?
CELU is nothing like that.
The CELU has two parts: written and oral. The writing portion is composed of four activities that involve creating different types of writing; prompts include things like "write a letter to the editor concering x---- news article" or "write an email to your friend about your vacation to x--, describing x---." The writing portion also contains a section of listening to a recording and producing a written piece based on that info.
The oral part of the test is a twenty-minute interview-style interaction with two proctors. The first five minutes are a brief introduction. Then I'll get a laminate sheet with information to look over & answer questions about. And the last part? An interactive role play between me and one of the proctors.
But not this kind of role play.
Yep. Part of my certification for speaking Spanish will be based on roleplaying.
The CELU is this Thursday, and I'm stuck between knowing I want to study and knowing I don't quite know how to. So far, I've asked a few Spanish-speaking friends if they'll just speak paragraphs to me sot that I can get accustomed to attentive listening.
...And if you get an email from me pertaining to a vacation we've never taken, that is also just practice.
I've only been in Argentina for three full weeks, so it's not surprising that almost every day, I eat something new. Most of the time, I can relate my new foods to something comparable from the US. However, a few of my culinary encounters this week have been, um, genuine.
Pastel de polenta con carne:"Polenta is coarsely or finely ground yellow or white cornmeal boiled with water or stock into a porridge and eaten directly or baked, fried or grilled before serving. As is common with many foods, the term may refer either to the ingredient or a cooked dish made with it." (Thanks, Wikipedia).
Tuesday night, Betty cooked pastel de polenta with a beefy sauce to put on top. The texture was unlike anything I'd ever tasted; it was too light to be cornbread, but too dense to be...I don't know, corn fluff. It was odd.
"Gnudi (pronounced "nu-dee") is a type of gnocchi
made from ricotta cheese
and a little bit of flour. The result is a dumpling that some describe as "nude" ravioli, or filling without the pasta — that is to say, light, fluffy, and creamy." (Thanks, yumsugar.com)A
t a restaurant on Friday, I opted for the vegetarian plate, and this is what I got. At the time, I had no clue what I was eating; I assumed at first glance that it was shell-noodles in tomato sauce. My first bite was incredibly soft, and I thought, Huh. The noodles must be cheese filled.
Someone sitting near me told me I was eating gnudi, and after a Google search a few hours later, I sat back in my chair, bemused. Huh,
I thought, I just ate about half a pound of pure cheese.
No complaints here.
Thursday after class, I was sitting in a park near school with two friends. A woman and her daughter were selling these little desserts, and we bought 4 for $8 (pesos). I can't remember what they're called, but, like most desserts I've tried here, they're amazing. You can see that they're fried, flaky pastry-type things; what you can't see is the sugar glaze on top, the sprinkles on the bottom two, and the fruit filling inside. Rico!
Best surprise all week!
On Thursday, la casa de Betty accepted a new member! Betty casually mentioned to my housemates and I Tuesday night that there'd be a new girl moving in on Thursday. Thanks for the heads up, host mom!
Irene is from Ecuador, and she's moved to Córdoba to take classes at the university to pursue an especialidad in literature. Instead of doing an intercambio portion for part of her college career, though, Irene is here for five years to complete all of her schooling. I admire her determination and bravery to come from home for such a long time. And it's great to have a new friend at home :)
Surprise #4--Jonas Brothers?!
So, chances are that if you're reading this blog, you might not know who the Jonas Brothers are. Go ask your sisters/cousins. Alright. Good. You're in the know.
Oddly enough, the brothers Jonas came to Córdoba on Saturday for a show; also, oddly, it was held in Parque Sarmiento...for free. Much to the chagrin of my friends in the States, I went. This article confirms what I've just written.
And just in case you're as skeptical about these things as my dad is about everything, here are 25 seconds of Jonas gold for you, taken with my dinky Nikon.
There are many surprising elements of this concert: One is the sheer coincidence that the Jonas Brothers and I both wound up in Córdoba, Argentina at the same time. Another is that they decided to play a show here, as Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, isn't too far away. And the fact that The Jonas Brothers played for free? ...that's just strange, and kind of funny, when I thought about how expensive JoBros tickets are in the States.
I'd never listened to a single Jonas Brothers song by choice before Saturday, but I went to the concert anyway, partially because it was free, but mostly because this will make a great story in a few years.
This photo also serves as proof (or damning evidence, I suppose) of my JoBros experience.
Week 3 flew by--class kept me busy all day and long runs in the afternoon mixed with errands and homework and shenanigans busied the night. Friday was a tourist day in Alta Gracia, a nearby province. My group visited La Estancia Jesuitica, remains of a Jesuit community, as well as Che Guevara's childhood home. Sunday, I enjoyed tea time with Irene and even managed to get some writing done.
Things are easier and calmer now, and I have a nice routine in place. Of course, that doesn't mean that I'm used to everything...as the blog for this week demonstrates, there's always going to be a surprise or
Last week, I was homesick and lacking a lot of self-confidence with my Spanish. This week, I got out of the house and into a routine. Every day I take a pass through the city after class, try a new food, and take a new photo. Here's a summary of my week:
Sunday, a friend and I met at Patio Olmos, a mall in Córdoba. We walked around the city, looking for landmarks (and my bus stop). Eventually, we sat down on some steps; this is the street view of Av. Colón.
Monday, class began for real. Right now, I'm in an intensive Spanish class (5 hours of the same class) to prep for the actual classes that start in March. This is my classroom--it's in the economics building of the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba.
Tuesday, I stopped by the bakery near my house after school. This dessert cost 2 pesos ($1 USD = 5 pesos!). In the US, I'm used to going to Walmart/ Target/ Schnucks/ Walgreens for whatever I need. In Córdoba, every store is particular: there is the panadería for bread, the heladería for ice cream, the papelería for school supplies...you get the gist. While it sometimes seems like a hassle to visit multiple stores for multiple things, the advantage is that the bread and pastries at the bakery are Always fresh!
Wednesday, I discovered that licensing agreements prohibit Pandora from functioning in Argentina. My favorite part of this very professional apology is the second paragraph; the founder of Pandora cautiously accuses me of living in Argentina.
Thursday, I went into the city and grabbed a picture of this huge Christmas tree. It's in the Plaza España, and a week ago, the cinderblocks in the photo were decorated to look like Christmas gifts. This is just one of the many nifty pieces of art in the downtown area...it's also close to the university, so it's a good landmark for me (it's Really hard to miss the giant Christmas tree when you're looking to the horizon for directions).
Friday, I will admit, was a boring day. There are no classes at the university on Fridays, and I'm still trying to adjust to a three-day weekend (I would be jumping for joy for three-day weekends at Wartburg). Anyway, I went to the super near my house and bought two pens. Turns out the bottom utensil is actually a green marker.
*Culture difference* In Córdoba, many items in grocery stores are kept behind a counter, similar to the way alochol and cigarettes are in gas stations...only here, things like paper, notebooks, binders, pens, and school supplies are also roped off to civilians. Getting these writing implements was a comical scene as the somewhat exasperated worker would reach for a pen and I tried to explain, "No! A la izquier--derecha! No! Izquierda!"
*This is not my photo because I didn't take my camera to town on Saturday night.*
Saturday night, I went with a friend to walk around town. We found a street full of craft vendors and, around midnight, sat down at Buen Pastor. At 12:00, a water/light/music show started with the fountains in the front of the place. It felt pretty magical. The rest of the people around us must've known what was coming and were hanging around Buen Pastor because of it, but Megan and I were caught completely by surprise at this moment.
Sunday, I went to this park for a bit in the afternoon. I don't know the name of the park and my Google skills aren't up to par today, but this park is located near Parque Sarmiento and is also close to good 'ol Plaza España. The park is full of these nifty ring sculptures that remind me of the Olympics.
So this is the Caholic church that I go to; it's a five-minute walk from my house. It's small, simple, and awesome.
Things feel more familiar to me now, and I think I'm getting used to living in Córdoba. One major difference between life here and life back in the US is that literally every day, I try something new:
-el colectivo is the public bus system in Córdoba. The buses are infamously unreliable for steady schedules, but for only $4.1 (pesos) a ride, it's cheap transport.
-Walking. I walk to and from school every day, and it takes about half an hour one way. If I have a lot of motivation, I walk home from the city. I don't have a pedometer, but I know I'm racking up the miles.
-Taxis. Taxis are more than preferable after dark; they're recommended. Unfortunately, snatch-and-run robberies are common in Córdoba. Walking around solo at night isn't an option, so if I don't have a group to walk with, I take a taxi. Driving. In. Argentina. Is. Not. Like. Driving. In. The. US.
-Cuidate! It means "take care of yourself," and I think including a little about street smarts is relevant. As I mentioned in the taxi note, ladrones are common in Córdoba; they'll grab bags, purses, and vulnerable valuables. If I'd grown up in a city, the adjustment to personal safety here wouldn't be too difficult for me. As it its, though, I'm from a small town in Missouri and my college is located in small-town Iowa. Nevertheless, I've got enough skepticism and level headedness to stay safe and comfortable in this mammoth of a ciudad.
Week 2, my daily life ignited; I was past the trying phase of getting lost all the time and stuttering literally every time I asked a question. This week, classes and that annoying "buckle down" sense of education set in, I made new friends, I went to an intercambio
mixer sort of thing, and I found a great volunteer group to join.
I went from having no social life to creating a new one; I haven't felt this sort of social combustion since freshman
The ground here is not actually orange.
Preface: By the way, I've moved to South America until July for study abroad. My new home is Córdoba, Argentina.
Where I am: Where I'm from:
City/Country: Córdoba, Argentina City: Waverly, Iowa
Population: 1.3 million Population: 9,876
My school: PECLA-- Programa de Español My school: Wartburg Collegey Cultura Latinoamericana, a part of La My home: A very small campus.
Universidad Nacional de Córdoba.
My home: I live with a very nice woman named Betty.
Living Abroad: They Forgot to Mention...
I have a few friends who have already participated in this study abroad program in Córdoba, and they recommended it to me when I had to choose (Argentina v. Spain v. Costa Rica). Of course, the stories I heard before leaving were brief snapshots of iconic parts of Argentina--mate, the favorite drink of the Argentines, meeting people from all over the US and from other countries, and the chance to travel until my suitcase falls apart from heedless baggage handlers at the airport.
So I left the US on February 10 and arrived in Argentina on February 11 after layovers in Florida and Chile. For the past week, I've been to a few orientation activities, taken a placement test, started a month-long intensive Spanish program, and tried to adjust to living in a new place.
All of the friends who recommended this program to me told me I'd love it and that it would be the best decision of my life. They obviously had amazing semesters, learning great Spanish and meeting people. Six months is a few years short of a long-term move, but five months long of a vacation. By the time my friends arrived back in the States to rave about Argentina's infamous asados, they'd forgotten the pangs of homesickness and culture shock that came with their arrival in Córdoba. There were a few things they forgot to tell me about, little aspects of daily life that you wouldn't think would make a difference in the long run, but really seem to matter the first few weeks.
Forgetful by nature, I lacked both the correct adaptor for this outlet and, at first glance, the ability to realize that you plug things in here.
On Day 1, when all you want to do is plug your computer in and Skype with your mom and boyfriend about how weird everything is, outlets are important. Trust me.
Electricity conservation is pretty important here.
And house keys look more like castle keys.
This doesn't seem saludable, but so far I haven't gotten sick from sketchy eggs.
Poco a poco
My first week in Córdoba has felt as though it's lasted ten years; everything is new and unfamiliar, and the simplest tasks are now pretty challenging. As you can guess, speaking Spanish with native speakers is A Lot different from speaking Spanish in the classroom. Buying credit for my pay-as-you-go phone, asking for the bus stop, and sorting out paperwork to get my student visa are formidable tasks as I get tongue-tied and frustrated.
The good news, though, is that things will get easier; I'll get a routine, I'll meet new people, and everything will be fine
"Broke down and got a Snapchat,"
Tweeted a classmate of mine a few days ago. "Add me."
This media message summed up my experience with the app rated "better than Instagram" and "better than Facebook because it's NOT Facebook
"--until I reread this Tweet and decided to delve into what Snapchat is really about. The verdict? Probably sexting, but also for the freedom that comes with sending a fleeting photo.
(For anyone over age 22)Snapchat: Free app for Apples and Androids that allows you to take a photo and send it to a receiver of your choice. They see it for a limited amount of time (1-10 seconds; you choose) before it self-deletes off their device. Because viewing the image requires finger-to-screen contact, they can't take a screenshot. Except most people have two hands and have figured their way around Snapchat's weak 'security.'
Almost as adorable as a Playboy cover girl.
I did a Tumblr search for Snapchat, and the results weren't shocking. Of the photos tagged under "Snapchat," there were 5 categories:
Vagina or Chin Fat? (only 1 of those at a quick glance, but I couldn't resist giving it its own slot on the board.)
I know, I know, I know. You also Snapchat photos of your cat(s).
I suppose the appeal of Snapchat is the freedom felt in sending a photo--be it risque or Instagramesque or feline--and knowing it's only temporary. But why should a sender feel relieved that their photo will only exist for 10 seconds? I know I'd only hold my breath about the length of a photo's existence if it happened to portray my, uh....sister’s rabbit; he's really shy and doesn't think any of his photos turn out well.
On the other hand, you only have to endure this for 10 seconds before you can try to erase the mental image and unfriend Rudolph.
Or perhaps Snapchat feeds the feeling of whimsy inside us--it's one more fun, quirky, activity accessible on the phone, perfect for the short-attention span people we've become. After 5 failed attempts at Temple Run, taking an adorable selfie that your bff will only see for 7 seconds is the only logical thing to do, right?This Forbes article
slates Snapchat in a more positive light: Basically, people try to make their online image perfect, a portfolio of red-carpet profile pics that let any potential partners or stalkers believe they've got a real catch on their screen. Employers scope the Facebook pages of their applicants, which means those silly photos from Cabo last spring break have to go. Snapchat, then, is a way for users to express themselves as they really are--silly, weird, random (and nude), without having to fear future repercussions in the form of scathing Facebook comments.
Of course, Snapchat users have found ways around the mortality of a 10-second pic. Snapchat co-creator Evan Spiegel admits that the "no-screenshot" feature isn't foolproof, and it's not meant to be. Again, from Forbes
, "The goal, says Spiegel, isn’t to eliminate the possibility that someone could make a permanent copy of a private photo, but to set transparent expectations around the conversation. 'A little friction is powerful,' he says."
Beware, Snapchatters: There might be friction between you and your crush when you screenshot their hoohahs.
I successfully guilted you into only peeping for 10 seconds, right?
The megaminds at Snapchat also say through this CNN piece
that "We believe in sharing authentic moments with friends," it read. "It's not all about fancy vacations, sushi dinners, or beautiful sunsets. Sometimes it's an inside joke, a silly face, or greetings from a pet fish."
These things the Snapchat bigwigs hold in esteem--jokes, faces, and pet fish--seem pretty inclusive to me. I don't share inside jokes with outsiders, and NOBODY gets their hands on a photo of my beta without my say. So, Snapchat gives a way to share comfortable, real moments with the people to whom we're comfortable and real; so comfortable and real that we can't have them see our photos for more than 1/6 of a minute. I understand completely.
Nobody trusts you with their 'real' moments.....or their genitals.
The Bottom Line
The largest swatch of Snapchat users are between the ages of 13-24, which prompts and perpetuates an immature, easy-to-maneuver app. This is the one app that parents won't invade (except for Anthony Weiner). Ghostface Chillah, the adorable mascot wallpapering every tween's mobile screen, promotes a few things:
1. Unaccountability: I feel no shame. Oh, they'll only see this picture of me for a few seconds. It really doesn't matter that I'm sending this intimate photo to someone I'd be embarassed to fart in front of.
2. Unity Via Technology: I am feeling bored and lonely....I know! I'll send a photo of my bored and lonely face to my bff. Knowing I'll be their sole focus for 4 seconds makes me feel better already.
3. Unaccountability: It's your fault! Yeah, I know that you can take a screenshot by using your free hand to press "menu, take screenshot," but I trusted you not to! Does our friendship mean nothing?
4. There's An App for That. When every media article about Snapchat first has to address how it's NOT made for sexting before telling the reader what it IS made for, there's dissonance between what the creators wanted and what the kids are doing. Now there's a colorful, friendly, seemingly hitch-free way to sext.
All you can do is hope that your viewer will be too lazy to screenshot your junk (or too awed by its glory to do anything but stare). Say cheese.
I, personally, am hoping that Snapchat usage creates subliminal messaging in the minds of its users; deja vu for everyone! Tyler Durden would be proud.
Did I really see a picture of a dick, or am I just craving bratwurst?
There is something to be said for college students: they are poor, and more importantly, industrious. Let's face it: the average meal plan gets you, the undergrad, what? 15 or so meals in the campus caffs every week. Out of those meals, how many do you find a) healthy, b) tasty, or c) worth the swipe of your ID that it takes to get you into the buffet style, lamp-heated showcase of mass-produced foodstuffs? Exactly.
What are your alternatives? The microwave and mini fridge in your apartment can only get you so far. That, and your part time job barely gets you enough gas money, let alone dough to splurge on groceries. We have a culinary dilemma here.
Needless to say, you will become a microwave chef by the time you graduate. As you walk across the stage at graduation to receive your BA, they might as well hand you a golden spatula as well to signify that you can feed yourself and your friends edible food from the rawest forms of food life.
When you turn eighteen, you inherit the new food pyramid.
If You Can't Be Rich, Be Creative.
I figured that it might be worthwhile to give my own insights on college cooking. If you can't be rich enough to buy turkey arugula wraps to accompany your lunchtime fair trade organic blend coffee with cactus sugar, you'd better get creative. Or you'd better develop a taste for cafeteria-made lukewarm, overcooked spaghetti.
You don't have to be this much of an engineer.
1. Be an Engineer. Don't rely on frozen dinners or all-in-one dry food packets that require two tablespoons of margarine and a cup of water. Buy staple ingredients that you can keep on hand. Then, when you buy your fresh fruits or veggies, you can create your own meals. Noodles, beans, or rice go good with just about any vegetable. Don't be afraid to create your own dishes. Even if things head south in the kitchen, remember: it will make a great story when you reminisce about your undergrad days.
I could live on white rice if I have enough spice. And lemon.
2. Don't Forget The Secret Ingredient(s): Spaghetti may not sound interesting, and rice with broccoli won't be knocking anyone's socks off anytime soon. However, the cheapest secret ingredient that's guaranteed to make your food pack a punch (in a good way) is at your fingertips: spice.
Garlic powder, oregano, cumin, red pepper, tumeric, paprika--even salt--you can buy these herbs powdered for about a dollar each. It's well worth the investment. I'm steering my college cooking away from the recipe book and more toward a "do what feels right" approach, so I offer the same advice to you. Buy what smells good. Season your chicken, your veggies, your pasta, your rice--season everything. That's what makes a meal taste good.
"These were white when I bought them...last semester."
3. Think About Quantity. Chances are, your college years are the formative times for you to figure out how much 1/4 pound of beef is and the magic of cooked/uncooked rice servings. When you are buying perishable foods, factor in how many people will be eating it and how much time you have before it'll grow spots or a beard. Keeping milk in a fridge won't preserve it forever. You can have a free-for-all when spending on dry cereal and granola bars, but watch out for the perishable stuff.
If you've got it, flaunt it.
4. Share the Love. If you can cook, reveal your mojo power to your friends. They will revere you for your skillz, and you won't have to eat alone, watching reruns of Battlestar Galactica on Netflix. If you're a guy, this advantage doubles for you, as many of your counterparts claim to be terrible cooks. Women like men who can hold their own in the kitchen, trust me.
5. Buy The Necessities. If you plan on cooking your way through four years of college, I recommend you buy a few appliances to make your experience a little less painful:
-a crock pot
-a casserole dish
-Tupperware. LOTS of Tupperware.
The only thing in college you can abandon for 6 hours without ruining your life.
Remember: Your college years are not defined by the food you eat, but by the friends you nearly break the law with and the tests you ace by God's grace. At some point, you'll cook something fancy and impress everyone, yourself included. At some point, you'll slurp Ramen noodles and lay on your futon, moaning about your paper due for X---- class due in eight hours. Keep a contingency plan. Save money for pizza. Be like Justin, this site's head editor--develop a deep, abiding love for PBJ.
Should we need to pay for downloading or obtaining music these days?
A friend posed these questions to me in his vlog this week, expecting me to answer in a similarly visual manner. However, his questions are deep. They are complicated. They delve into the particulars of copyright law, cultural values, and moral fiber. Rather than subject you to a ten-minute rant (and subject myself to the subsequent comments of YouTubers), I'll give you a few facts as well as my opinion on the matter. It's better this way. My argument will make more sense written down--and I don't have to wear makeup to blog.
The How & The Why
You probably don't recognize these.
Thanks to the internet, finding free music is as easy as "right click, save target as," but that's nothing new. Whether you remember the early days of Napster, fueled your middle school days with the tunes of LimeWire, or navigated the dark tunnels of the internet for sites like this
, you're familiar with how to get the goods with minimum hassle. Digital music, saved in Itunes or begging for your one-click download, is here to stay. And is that a bad thing? No! Why should you pay $12.99 for an album at Walmart when you can download it at home for free.....wait a minute....
Downloading music off of a public domain IS illegal-we'll establish that right away. If you don't take my word for it, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has summarized copyright law infringement
in non-lawyer speak. True, the summary doesn't directly cite the law--it merely summarizes. To satisfy my own curiosity, I delved deeper and waded through some U.S. copyright law. Mostly, though, I did it for you, the reader, because I figured you'd want proof. "Anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner as provided by sections 106 through 122 or of the author as provided in section 106A(a), or who imports copies or phonorecords into the United States in violation of section 602, is an infringer of the copyright or right of the author, as the case may be." Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code (Ch 5, 5.01) Why Do We Do That?
1. We'll also establish that, for most people, downloading "Wonderwall" so that you have a song to sing along to while sobbing gently into your beer bottle doesn't FEEL illegal. [We will also, ALSO establish that I'm not lecturing you. I'm not innocent in this massive sin pot.] And since it doesn't feel illegal to download music, people don't If listening to Oasis is wrong, then I think twice about doing it. Therein lies the don't want to be right!!" problem, I suppose.
"Gee Barney, thanks for this copy of Big Band Classics!"
2. Obtaining music for free has happened for a long, long time, and it started long before Napster went online. My dad mentioned that in the 70s, you could record songs from an album to a cassette (the pre-CD burn). Incidentally, the practice of obtaining music illegally has wiggled its way into our culture not as something unlawful, not as a vice...more as something that you "just do." Like declining to leave a tip at a restaurant. It's impolite and you know you should leave a few bucks on the table, but you'd rather finish your soda and leave. It's a little social faux pas that most people won't comment on.
Probably prompted the creation of Limewire.
3. Blame Computers. When you download an album illegally onto your laptop, you're essentially* stealing that album. Thank goodness you don't have to saunter into Target, snatch the jewel case, place it in my oversized purse, and whistle tactlessly until you make it to your car!
No, really. Getting your music from the internet makes the interaction feel strictly one-sided: you and the computer. For many people, there's a distinct gap between the virtual world of the internet and the 'real world' that encompasses it. If your computer click causes something catastrophic for another computer user thousands of miles away, you might not care. You probably won't notice, and you can always claim that you had no idea what effect your actions would cause.
4. It's not a shocker that you probably won't be held responsible for your actions
. Regulating what happens online isn't easy, and there are more important crimes that need the attention of the law. Although there are consequences of illegal downloading outlined in copyright law, most people still download illegally. (Most people probably don't know what those consequences are, but you can thank the good people at the RIAA for letting you know
Just be thankful, U.S. citizens, that Congress hasn't adopted the British tendencies. Due to start in 2014, British citizens suspected of uploading or downloading media illegally will have to prove their innocence to the media companies accusing them...and also pay a £20 fee. Internet service providers will send warning letters to customers suspected of illegal uploading/downloading, and if customers receive 3 letters in a year's time, they must provide adequate proof that the media in question wasn't obtained / given illegally. For more information on the crackdown, read this Dailymail.co.uk
article from June of this year.
The average Joe downloading the latest Katy Perry single probably won't be prosecuted. We all believe this. Maybe that's what makes the well-meaning anti-download ads retrospectively funny.
I laughed the first time I saw this.
Should we? ...probably not.
I can think of a few good reasons we shouldn't get all the music we want for free besides
the whole 'against the law' thing (hooray for white collar crime!)1. Music is a good. We have this curious system set up in the US where in order to use goods, you have to pay for them. Crazy, right? You pay for the Ipod you play your music on, you pay for the headphones, you pay for the pants that have the pockets that you place the Ipod and headphones in.2. Most people are not serious musicians. Therefore, spending money on music helps to support the serious musicians who need to pay for new guitar strings and booze and exclusively red gummy bears. Seriously, though. Musicians have a talent that you don't possess, and paying for their creative work shows your support.3. You buy it = you value it more. In June of this year, 20-year old NPR intern Emily White wrote that of the 11,000 songs in her music library, she's only paid for 15 CDs' worth. [
Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven frontman David Lowery's response here
] I bet she doesn't listen to most of those songs because she didn't spend the time and money to select and buy the songs individually.
Concessions & Closing Comments
1. There are many, many facets of the debate that I didn't touch here. I'm not an economist, a label rep with accurate information, or a musician.
2. Music downloading is popular because it's easy. If you could steal a car with the ease and anonymity that you could steal music, would you?
3. But Radiohead let customers choose how much they wanted to pay for their seventh studio album, In Rainbows! Radiohead is successful enough to make this arrangement work.
4. It all goes to the music executives and record labels anyway. Don't hate someone for being rich. Hating someone for being rich is as immature as hating someone because they're skinny or left-handed.
5. Why should music be free? Is music an unalienable right, akin to liberty and pursuit of happiness?
6. You have YouTube, Spotify, Spotify mobile, Spotify premium on your computer desktop, and independent music stores to support. Aren't you satisfied? ...I won't even mention the radio.9
Day 27: New Low
Directed By: Adam Bowers
Starring: Adam Bowers, Jayme Ratzer, Valerie Jones, and Toby "Tobuscus" Turner
Genre: Indie dramedy
Look who made it to the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
The Lazy Viewer
I was, on most accounts, a very passive viewer when I watched this movie. But that's not completely my fault.
My brother played a very nasty trick on me, you see. He turned fourteen years old, hit puberty, and entered the pop culture sphere. Imagine my surprise when I get home from Iowa to see this five-foot-something guy in my house, talking about Skyrim and his favorite vloggers. My brother is connected to the internet?! I digress.
We watched this movie together, my little brother and I, upon his recommendation. Everyone has their favorite YouTube personality (or three, if you're like me and divide your attention between beardy Chicago men, brilliant authors, or British nerds), and Toby "Tobuscus" Turner
, my brother's vlog god, plays a supporting role in New Low
. And so we watched.
A. The Timing Was Ripe
New Low is only about 80 minutes long, and watching a movie after 11 pm is always a gamble for me, a desperate gamble between movie-viewing consciousness and dreammaking-sleep.
And it's viewable via Netflix, so this film held me to my Mayterm Challenge.
B. Low Budget = High Credibility
One twenty-five year old writer/actor/director wrote, acted, and directed this film, with the help of a few fellow arts lovers and, I imagine, some technology. None of the actors were paid, and the movie is shot in standard definition on Tobuscus' camera.What does this mean? This movie is the mos realistic cinematic look at everyday life that I've seen in my short span in the cina-sphere. From the characters to the plot to the actual media of the movie itself, New Low breathes "this-is-real-life." So, if you're a lazy viewer like me and don't want to suspend your disbelief,
you'll like New Low
. If you watch movies to escape reality, you might want to turn your attention toward talking animals and vengeful truck tires
This movie doesn't have explosions?
I have extra time on my hands, so New Low is going to get the thorough review it deserves.
The man on the left is not Valerie, I promise.
Vicky, an artistic, emotionally disturbed bartender. Her relationship with Wendell starts when he fails in his suave attempt to light her cigarette. Their love stint lasts longer than it should, probably because Wendell doesn't care one way or the other about most things in his life. Vicky is spunky, creative, a bit of a slob, and one of those girls that can wrap guys around her finger by verbally abusing them.
Valerie is the one character in New Low with the potential to move away from her hometown and never look back. She is simultaneously self-aware and ready to pay attention to the world's needs, embarking on endless crusades. While we get a glimpse of her fights in New Low (eg, female empowerment and world hunger), Valerie's main enemy is apathy. Which is funny, because she takes quite a liking to Wendell, apathy's poster boy. With a steady job, a caring heart, and endless tolerance, Valerie's a pretty stable character. But nobody's perfect, and Valerie's tendency to have a gaggle of hipster friends is an irreversible character flaw.
- Wendell, our young adult degenerate with an affinity for all things average. He works in a video store, is oh-so suave with the ladies (has his best friend break up with girls for him on occasion), and keeps his goals realistic. Very realistic. He soon finds himself caught between an angry, artistic bartender chic and a homely social worker on a crusade to grow a community garden and rid the city streets of plastic wrappers. What's a guy to do?
- Dave, the supporting funny man who exudes a semi-mystical aura. His witty one-liners and uncanny ability to remain unperturbed in every scenario (granted, he lives in a boring town, but still) convince me that Dave is the omniscient character sent to guide his struggling best friend. Plus, he wears Heelys.
The movie takes place in Nondescript Cityville. Wendell divides his time between his video store, a bar, art gallery that gives away free food, and various apartments. Nondescript Cityville isn't a uptoic suburb, nor is it crime-ridden Gotham City. It is precise and perfect for young adults who can't pay rent and rely on their bicycles for primary transportation.
Riding in a car is habit. Bike riding is a romantic date. 'Romantic' used loosely.
- Food & Drink: Food scrounged from dumpsters and art galleries is popular for Wendell and Vicky. Wendell also has a soft spot for ice cream and cookies. The characters wash their junk food of choice down with liquor. Lots of liquor.
- Accessories: Vicky and Valerie are both artists, so they have their respective mediums. Dave has a sweet set of Heelys that actually roll into the spotlight toward the end of the movie for Dave's single (but inconclusive) moment of decisiveness.
- Vices & Virtues: Vicky is often seen with cigarettes, rocking the lifestyle of a young adult artist who has no food budget because every tip she gets from her job is poured into booze and smokes. Valerie has an affinity for social awareness videos that she regularly rents from Wendell's store.
- The reality of love: Do I have one true soulmate? Does the attraction I have for the cute grocery boy have the potential to bloom into the feelings I have for the best friend I've been loving for years? How versatile is love? How much is the average young adult willing to stretch their personalities and values to make a relationship work? Will our romantic pursuits have a picture-perfect ending? New Low echoes how love works in the real world: it can appear out of nowhere and disappear as quickly as it came. It can sneak its way into everyday moments, making something ordinary feel very extraordinary. It can be confusing, it can be shared, it can be abused and broken very easily. New Low keeps the love outlook real.
- Introverts / Extroverts: None of the characters in New Low are particularly extroverted. In fact, they all seem relatively content to coexist peacefully in Nondescript Cityville with personal interaction as an elective activity. In most movies, the dashing, extroverted alpha male gets the girl. In New Low, Wendell, the quiet semi-jerk, gets plenty of action. Plenty.
- This is real life. Really, it is. The characters are average Joes that still have their own defining quirks. The setting is variable because it's so basic. And the movie is shot standard-def, which gives it a very rough feel at times. Then again, life has a very rough feel sometimes.
Day 22: David's List
Directed By: Travis Bockenstedt
Starring: Ted Leuck, Hollis Hanson-Pollock, Brandon Hosch, Jacqueline Schutte, and Hans Pregler
My boss Justin S. helped to direct this movie.
Even Better Than Netflix!
When he's not posing, he's directing. Movies.
David's List is a 30 minute dramedy not accessible on Netflix. Its premiere tonight at the Palace Theatre in Waverly, Iowa, was met with roaring applause from Wartburg students and faculty. New communication arts faculty member Travis Bockenstedt and a team of five students taking an independent study endeavored the task of writing, casting, shooting, and producing the dramedy. They succeeded. One of those five persevering students is Justin Szykowny, aka The Owner of This Blog!
David's List is a story of college seniors making their last hurrah before tossing their graduation caps. Much loved David dies a third of the way through the film, leaving his three-item bucket list for his best friends to accomplish. Through completing the three tasks--watching a meteor shower atop Old Main, breaking into the W for a midnight swim, and taking a road trip--David's three best friends and odd-duck, lost cause friend Chad form an inseparable bond. How sweet, sappy, and well-executed.
Fact or Fiction?
One aspect of David's List that has led me to a half-formed mental debate concerns its setting, Wartburg College.
The producers of the movie seemed to tamper with Wartburg slightly, leaving some aspects of the college the same, but changing others. How much did they twist reality to fit their movie? How important were the changes they made?
For instance, the building Old Main is still referred to as Old Main. But the W (Wartburg-Waverly Sports & Wellness Center, technically) is dubbed "the rec center," a generic replacement title for something singularly Wartburg. Professor Bouzard is still Professor Bouzard, but his class is a leadership capstone rather than a religion class. The Wartburg squirrels still existed, but are ceramic (ha).
Call me a picky critic, but it just got me wondering. What purpose did it serve to make minor changes (like changing the name of the gym)?
David's List operates in some sort of Waverly-limbo for me (much like the Midworld experienced by Roland and his katet in the Dark Tower books), because it's almost the Wartburg I wake up to every morning. However, there are subtle differences--not enough to jar me off course, but enough to make me do a double-take.
9 Cool Things About David's List:
1. It was created completely by five college students!2. It was conceived, written, filmed, and produced within three weeks!3. It showcased the acting talent of Wartburg students, faculty, and staff!4. The communication arts department got its hands on a DCLR camera, which shoots a pretty picture for all you techies.5. The producers snuck plenty of jabs at Wartburg into the movie.6. None of the principal actors are theater majors, and ALL of them did a great, convincing job. You won't be disappointed.7. There are some awesome montage / panorama scenes.8. My blog boss Justin S. directed a very large chunk, and he's got the magic touch when it comes to digital media.9. You can watch it for FREE right NOW by indulging in one simple click!
Day 20: Everything Must Go
Directed By: Dan Rush
Starring: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, and Christopher Wallace
Will Ferrell isn't happy.
The movie drought ends now, with Everything Must Go, a 2010 Will Ferrell flick that will surprise you. For one thing, Will Ferrell isn't somebody's sidekick. He's also not a bumbling, happy sap. He's graduated to the role of degenerate adult male, fitting into the niche of indie movies about men who need to find themselves at the age of 35.
Introducing: Will Ferrell and Alternate Living
Did I forget to mention he's homeless too?
Would you like to live like Will's character in Everything Must Go?
[Alcoholism + [(once-alcoholic-wife) (boring corporate job) 16 years] + suburban Arizona] / failed AA program = Nick Halsey.
In case you're not mathematically inclined, I have a simple recipe:
You will need:
50 cans Pabst Blue Ribbon
1 monogrammed pocketknife that you will slash your ex-boss's tires with...and leave at the scene of the crime
75 vinyl records
1 helpful loner teenager who wants to be your friend
7 koi fish
16 years worth of dissatisfying work
1 poor marriage
2 weird neighbors
Preheat oven to 85 degrees, dry, Arizona heat.
Combine the poor marriage, dissatisfying work, and weird neighbors together in a large suburban house. Let sit approximately 10 years. Then add 10 cans PBR.
Sprinkle in vinyl records in a sporadic manner. Next, add the koi fish at once, preferably after adding a few more cans PBR. Add one weird neighbor. Refrigerate 4 months.
Add the monogrammed pocketknife to the concoction for five minutes, then remove and place in the front left tire of your employers' car.
Mix the helpful loner teen to the concoction, as well as 10 more cans PBR. You should smell a rich aroma of sour beer, fresh grass, dry heat, and beef jerky.
Bake in a clay oven in the sun for 3 days. Drink the extra PBR. Yield: one unhappy human.
Viola! You're now the freshly unemployed divorcee Nick Halsey, a man with seemingly little life purpose. Your only friend is a teenager named Kenny who has nothing better to do all day but ride his bike. Your wife has left you for your lousy AA sponsor, and all of your possessions reside on your front lawn because your ex-wife changed all the locks on your house. You have 3 days to sell / get rid of everything before the police come for you. Good luck!