Friday, November 27, 2009

I Know What I'm Kicking Away

So, my resolution to be a better blogger fell flat. All my blog wants is my love and attention, but I just can't commit.

You know what else I can't commit to? My graduate school. It turns out that the program I'm enrolled in is not a good fit for what I want to do with my career, so I decided to take a step back before I toss more money at something that's not working for me. At the end of this semester, I will be taking a leave of absence from CCA. This means that if I change my mind, I can come back in Spring of 2011 without having to reapply.

I am going to take some time to get out in the working world and build my portfolio before I take up school again. The unfortunate part is that I already have a job, but am resigning my position at Cumulus because I cannot afford to continue living in SF without student loans. Until I figure out when and where I want to finish my degree, I will be moving back to PA and looking for another job.

It was a really difficult decision to make, especially since I like my job and I am already attached to my new friends out here. A few of us were even planning on getting an apartment together in the next few weeks. But, I think all in all, this is the best decision for me.

I guess I won't be a ginger by the bay anymore!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Snazzy Shoes!

When I Googled "cioce" to see if my wix site would come up (it does not. darn.) i stumbled across an interesting article that references "la ciocia," the shoes that the peasants of Ciociaria (a region in Italy) wore in ancient times:

La ciocia, plural cioce, was the traditional footwear of the contadini (peasants) and pastori(shepherds), being worn by both men and women alike. It consists of a tough treated leather sole which is bound to the foot and ankle by means of leather thongs.

I always thought I was a Goody-Two-Shoes. But I guess I'm actually Paulina Peasant-Shoes.

This footwear is still worn as part of the traditional attire of the region. The zampognari, musicians who play an archaic type of bagpipe, can be seen wearing "le cioce"

When I was writing a journal entry for one of my classes, I decided to adapted a classic lighthearted Sicilian song I like. I only changed a few words, to make the verse about a zampognaro rather than a barber or famer like in some of the traditional verses. But considering I don't know Sicilian, I'm sure I butchered it (sorry, Nana).

Here's a rough translation. It's like a conversation between mother and daughter:

- There's a moon in the middle of the sea. Mother, I must get married.

- My daughter, who shall I choose for you?

- Mother, I leave it up to you.

- If I give you the bagpipe player, he will come and he will go with a bagpipe in his hands. If he gets the idea, he will bagpipe you my daughter.

It makes more sense with the original verses (like the barber, who might "razor" the daughter). It seems like one of those morbid comical folksy songs like Darling Clementine.

If this all sounds strange and you just don't get it, listen to Louis Prima's "Angelina/Zooma Zooma." It's a medley and he starts singing "C'e la luna" after a few verses about Angelina. I bet it'll make you smile!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It Pays to Clean

When I was sorting through a bunch of papers (that stuff definitely multiplies when i'm not looking), i found 20 bucks! Ka-ching!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Name That Muppet

This post would have been up yesterday if I hadn't fallen asleep in the middle of writing it. bummer.

I really don't have any breaking news, so wasn't sure what I was going to write about yesterday. But then Katie sent me this link:

This page has a nicely illustrated interactive compilation of 101 Sesame Street Muppets. You can roll over the image to see the names of the characters.

I'm not going to lie. I love children's programming, so my first thought was, "How many of these can I name before rolling over the image?" The answer? A mediocre 51! Keep in mind that I spent my formative years in house where children's programming played round-the-clock, most of which was Sesame Steet, Disney, or Warner Brothers cartoons. I should have done better than that! Anyway, here are some of my favorites:

Lefty is a Rosemont favorite. My roommates and I enjoy this clip ("So buy-dee-O and take it home tonight"):

Although he looks kind of similar to Guy Smiley, this guy is more of the tortured artist type. With Kermit's help he wrote a lovely ditty that goes, "Mary had a bicycle. It was painted red as fire. But whenever Mary wanted a ride, the bicycle had a flat tire."

Sully is a testament to the expressiveness of Jim Henson's characters. Sully doesn't need a voice (or eyes?). The faces he makes say it all!

I think Sesame Street has been so successful because they throw in jokes and parodies that adults can appreciate, too. This guy was modeled after Vicent Price (who was the guest in a great episode of the Muppet Show)

Someone who forgets everything? Now who does that remind me of?

Have you ever seen a Muppet packing heat? It's probably best that they opted for milder monsters:

One of my favorite Sesame Street skits involves this guy busting in to the middle of an otherwise low-key rhyming session. Dig that crazy drumbeat!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yay for Veterans!

I know yesterday was Veteran's Day, but I'm going to do a little tribute today. Thank you to all of those who have served and protected our country! Your brave actions preserved the many rights that I often take for granted.

My maternal grandfather fought in WWII and although he has only mentioned it to me a few times, I know it made a lasting impact. When I saw him at Virginia Beach, he was wearing proudly wearing this tshirt.

Last year my grandfather was invited to go to Washington D.C. with a bunch of other veterans to honor their service to our country. I actually found an article from one of my grandparents' local newspapers that explains the Honor Flight event.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Best Soda? Yes it IZZE!

I've had IZZE drinks once or twice before, but never took the time to really evaluate the product.

Today while grabbing a yummy veggie Mexican salad at Chipotle, I bought a bottle of Sparkling Blackberry IZZE (and felt slightly guilty for not choosing the bottle water).

Then when I looked at the label, I found that there is no refined sugar in the drink. Score! Plus it's delicious! The drink is "70% pure fruit juice with a splash of sparkling water." (The design is great, too, which never hurts).

Of course, drinking plain water would save a bunch of sugar and carbs that come from the fruit, but if you're craving something fizzy, IZZE is it!

Also, there is a similar product on the market called Fizzy Lizzy, which I tried a few years ago when I worked at a cafe in Rosemont, PA. Same idea, mostly juice with sparking water added. When I looked them up online, I saw that they've gone through a big label change, and they have a cool website, too. Supposedly there are a few places in the Bay Area that carry it. Maybe I'll have to track down a bottle for old times sake.

Carnival Squash: A lot of work ... for not that much fun

When I was search of some healthy eats at Whole Foods recently, the display of colorful fall gourds caught my eye. The most vibrant of them all were the carnival squash. They were too hard to pass up! I bought one, and tried to prepare it last night. There weren't too many recipes online (which should have been my first clue) but from the options I saw, I decided to bake it.

After cutting the squash in half and scooping out the seeds, I seasoned it with olive oil and spices and placed the two halves on a baking pan and popped it in the oven. I was expecting it to take about half an hour to cook, but it was over an hour before it even started to get tender. I'm not patient enough for that kind of time commitment!

When I couldn't wait anymore, I pulled it out of the oven. It looked pretty yummy, but didn't really taste that great. It had the texture of an undercooked baked potato, but more stringy and not much flavor even with the added spices. hmm. Clearly I've done something wrong here. Hoping to redeem myself, I cut out the inside and mashed it up. It didn't improve the texture much. I also baked the seeds, which were kind of like pumpkin seeds. Not bad, but not worth the time it took to clean them and then scrub at the strainer for ten minutes trying to get the little fibers out.
Is my lack of culinary savvy to blame for this failed attempt? Certainly. Will I be running out to get another Carnival Squash to hone my skills? I'd rather join the circus.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Do You Have a Time Surplus?

I can help!

Here's what you do:

Move your mouse around the black screen
to create a flare.

Hit any key on your keyboard to fade the circle trail.

Also try holding down a key while you move the cursor.

Watch as all of your extra time magically disappears!

I coded this simple applet in a program called Processing.

yay school!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Web Work

After a minor panic attack this week about my poorly crafted website, I finally revised it...and revised it...and revised it. I'll probably just keep on making little revisions, so I welcome your comments and criticism.

Speaking of the web, I haven't said much about my job yet, so here goes...

I work for the Corporate Web Manager at Cumulus Media. She's really sweet and funny and quirky. The days go really fast because Cumulus owns hundreds of radio stations and there's a lot of turnover, so there's always lots to do with web and graphics maintenance. Mostly, I've been doing technical stuff, like organizing, cleaning up and formatting existing logos and layouts for the web. But my boss really wants to have me start doing more creative work so I can add to my portfolio. Yesterday I got to create a button for a Gospel radio station in Tallahassee.

It's only a little web graphic but it was exciting to see something I made somewhere other than blogger or facebook.

The other great part about work is I actually work at the station. KFOG, The Bone and KNBR all broadcast from the building where I work. So, on my first day, I got to sit in on a private performance by Snow Patrol that radio listeners won tickets to go to!

Also I can work promotional events and concerts for the radio stations, which is pretty cool. I worked at a football viewing party in Dublin, CA, giving out promotional materials for The Bone and the SF 49ers. I got to drive "the rig" which I was expecting to be a huge tractor trailer, but was really just a large van/truck/suv thing with the station's logo on the side.

Virginia Beach!

I had a splendid time at Virginia Beach last week! It was great getting to spend a few days back on the East Coast with some of my family.

Here are a few highlights of my vacation:

- watching my grandparents' first experience with Skype
- girl-talk with my aunts

- playing hostess in my hotel suite, which was the designated party room
- my southern taxi driver's view on weather: "Mother Nature can do whatever she wants, wherever she wants, and she don't have to ask the Weather Channel, the president, the UN, or nothin."

- walking on the beach
- eating lots and lots of food

- my grandmother telling me how worried they were when i first went out to the West Coast because i was like a "poor little lamb" in the big scary world. now she thinks i can handle myself. yay!

if you want to see more photos of the reunion, click here.

Resolving to be Resolute

oh, my poor neglected blog! i love you really. i've just been so busy!

but i realized that i'm coming home in less than 6 weeks, so starting today i'm resolving to be a better blogger. barring widespread power outages or natural disasters,

i will be posting at least one photo and one paragraph per day. starting....

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ginger Tracker

Since I haven't posted in weeks, some of you might be wondering where the heck I've been. I feel like I was sick for the majority of the month, and it really owned me. Then I had to play catch-up with schoolwork, and balance my time with my new job (I'll get to that describing that some other time).

Right now, I want to tell you how I bounced around the country to make my way back to the East Coast. Last week, I made an impulsive decision to travel to Virginia to celebrate my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see the cities I stopped in other than the wandering around the airport. People often comment on the fact that all airports kind of look the same. Not so! Here are the unique places where I caught connecting flights on the way to Virginia Beach.

Las Vegas!

The city lights were stunning flying into Vegas. Then when we entered the airport, the first thing I saw were row of slot machine and a giant neon sign. Very showy.

layovers are great excuses for snacks. Ethel's chocolate is locally-made deliciousness.


O'Hare had a different vibe. Rather than all the glitz and glamour of Vegas, the Chicago airport was very artsy. There was psychedelic corridor with flashing rainbow lights above the moving walkway, colorful wavy walls, and soothing music.

whoever designed this must've been a fan of Gaudí.

there were translucent painting on the wall in one of the corridors

one of many hand-painted benches. love the Alice in Wonderland theme!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


okay, so i just posted a few mintues ago, but i had to jump right back on again.

whenever i can't sleep (or when i used to pull a lot of all-nighters in college) there would always come a point of no reTU-URN (cue Kansas music) when it was like, "well, there's no point in going to bed now!" often i'm more tired if i get just a little sleep rather than none at all. so, i figured since i have to wake up in about 3 hours, i had reached that point (of know reTU-URN! - i just can't help myself!)

so, aaaanyway, i went to the kitchen to grab a little breakfast...i love Larabars and stock up regularly. they have all the satisfaction of a granola or bready bar, but they're unprocessed, mostly raw fruit, nuts, and spices. sooo delicious. i just took a bite of a new flavor, Apple Pie, and discovered it tastes just like a McDonald's apple pie, one of my childhood favorites! the texture's different, but it has that lovely cinnamony apple flavor! i love finding great alternatives to unhealthy food.

Wide-Eyed and Wired

always something interesting going on here in california! this week i had a visit from an old friend, my asthma. when i came out here, i didn't pack an inhaler because i haven't used one in so long, and whatever i had at home would have been expired anyway. evidently getting sick aggravated my asthma, and by the end of classes on thursday evening, i decided to go to the hospital because my chest was so tight. my kindhearted professor gave me a ride because public safety couldn't get a cab on the line for me.

the people at the hospital in the castro were super nice! i got a breathing treatment and they checked my lungs. in addition to sending me off with an inhaler, the doc also gave me a prescription for the steroid prednisone. After watching one of my friends bravely trudge through many rounds of the unpleasant drug, i was not thrilled with the idea and asked if it was absolutely necessary. he told me that he would only put me on it for three days to reduce inflamation in my lungs while i get over my cold. well, okay.

when i picked up the pills at walgreens today, i was warned by the pharmacist, "prednisone may make you jittery or have difficulty sleeping." uh-oh. that's the last thing i wanted to hear. sleeping? that's one of the most important things about getting over an illness. i've already been having trouble these past few days because of the constant coughing. i don't need any help not sleeping.

so, big surprise, after taking the pills this evening i am super jittery and cannot sleep. i did have two hour-long naps this evening, but they were actually rather unpleasant. so, now it's after 4:30am here, and i'm looking at very little time left to sleep before i have to go conduct an interview for design research class. (jeez, another weekend assignment??)

one thing is for sure. i'm going to have get some rest sometime this weekend, because i'm starting my new job at Cumulus Media on monday! more on that later.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Last Resort Soup

being sick is a drag. i dashed home right after my morning class because i felt too awful to try to do work in the studio. when i got back to the apartment, i was craving something yummy for lunch, but coughing so much kind of upset my stomach. so, i figured a light soup would be the way to go. however, i was out of my favorite Pad Thai soup, and only had lentil soup, which although delicious, was too heavy for the occassion.

so, i decided i had no choice but to make my own soup. i've never made soup, so i wasn't sure how that was going to go, because i've always heard it's such a long, complicated, and labor-intensive process to make soup from scratch (which i guess is why most people buy canned soup). not true! after referencing a few different online recipes, i made my own version of vegetable soup. it was quick, easy, and wonderful for a sick day. i didn't even have to measure or time anything!

i just boiled some water, chopped and sauteed whatever veggies i had in the fridge in a little olive oil (celery, carrots, tomato, zucchini), then added the boiling water once the veggies cooked for a little bit. to kick up the flavor, i snatched some pieces of dill and cilantro from an herb salad mix i had, added some tamari soy sauce, sea salt, spices, and some crushed up cashews and pecans. i boiled it for a few minutes, served it up and threw in some roasted seaweed flakes. the veggies were plenty soft without cooking them for hours (although i do like my soups on the crunchier side). voila!

best of all, it happened to be enough for two big bowls full, so tomorrow i'll just have to heat up the leftovers for an instant replay!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hello Moon!

The moon festival was lots of fun. We even we climbed up a little metal ladder to the rooftop to say hello to the moon. The view from the rooftop was awesome but it was chillllly! I know I've complained about this already, but for how warm it gets during the day, the morning and nights are COLD. Thanks to these drastic changes, I now have a miserable cough which has been messing up my much needed beauty sleep.

Monday morning I woke up freezing at 3am and couldn't fall back asleep. The apartment where I'm living is very old and stays very cold. I couldn't manage to drag myself out of bed until 5:30 to finish my paper for writing class. By 7:30 I finally made it to the kitchen to boil some water and was surprised to look out the window and see a very bright moon in the colorful morning sky.

It has always frustrated me that I can't take a good picture of the moon without special equipment, so the moon doesn't look as large or impressive as what I saw.

In other news, yesterday took the train down to visit Sophie and move the rest of my stuff back to San Francisco. We had a lovely dinner of fish and chips in downtown Campbell at Katie Bloom's Irish Pub. Good food, good laughs, good jams (while we were eating on the front patio of the restaurant, a strange man walked by with a boombox that was loudly playing "Wish You Were Here").

Every time I've been to the San Jose area, I've been struck by the beautiful mountains that look like swirling mounds of sand.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Easy Bake

Tonight my friend Jerry and his roommates are hosting a party for the Chinese moon festival. Perfect excuse to bake some treats! I went to Whole Foods today to get the ingredients for coconut macaroons, one of my all-time favorite desserts. Then as I was making them, I realized I would have extra egg yolks, so I found a recipe another recipe to use them up.

Both came out pretty well, and now they are all ready for the party. If you want to try the recipes follow the links below.

Click here for the Pecan Pie Cookie recipe! (They're actually called "Skillet Cookies," but I thought the with the pecans and the caramel-like taste of the dates, it tasted like pecan pie. Also, I changed the recipe a bit when I made it. I crushed up some Puffins Honey Rice cereal, and rolled the cookies in cane sugar rather than powdered sugar, and greased the cookie sheet with vegetable oil spread because I didn't have parchment paper).

mmm, look how perfectly golden brown the bottoms toasted in the oven...hopefully they'll be a hit at the party... speaking of which, it started already, so what am I still doing here? see ya!

Friday, October 2, 2009

That's a Wrap!

I didn't forget that I promised more pictures of my school, but it's been a busy week. So, here are two more for now, and more to come.

Below is the lounge directly outside of the Grad Design studio, where on any given morning you will come in to find at least half a dozen undergrad students sprawled out on the couches that they've rearranged to create makeshift beds.

This is the door to the Grad Design studio. Pretty exciting, I know. It's locked so that no one can come in and steal our stuff. However, if one of the other design students goes klepto on us, then all bets are off!

But who wants to talk about school on the weekend? I know what you really want to hear about are more interesting things like what I had for dinner, right?
A few weeks ago, I had bought this sushi kit from one of the little markets nearby. Little did I know what a delicious meal it would make. Inside the box is a rice bowl that steams when you microwave it. It also comes with little crispy seaweed pieces and a packet of soy sauce. Then you take whatever ingredients you want and make your own sushi.

I put together a bunch of ingredients to test out what tasted the best. Although I love raw fish, I thought that might be too advanced for me to start off with. Also, since Live Sushi is so close, I figure I can get my fix anytime, so why risk making myself sick on improperly prepared fish?

My favorite wrap was smoked salmon with avocado and carrots. Delicious! ... However, in the future I will probably just buy seaweed and cook my own rice to save money.

After dinner I went out to the back porch to photograph the lovely view of the city at dusk.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Happy Medium?

I have to say, the weather here is not fun.

I would always complain about weather in the northeast because it seems like half the year is really hot and the other half is freezing cold.

Now, I get both of those extremes in one day! At night and well into the morning, it is sooo cold. But just a few hours later, I am sitting in the sweltering design studio. The temperature fluctuates 20-30 degrees (or more!) throughout the day. Also it seems like air conditioning is not used anywhere in San Francisco. I am not a fan.

Surprisingly though, it has been mostly dry since I arrived. Maybe I'll wish for this weather back when it starts raining!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This Bird Tweets

i never thought i would get a twitter account until today when i read the following on their about page:

Twitter is a privately funded startup with offices in the SoMA neighborhood of San Francisco, CA. Started as a side project in March of 2006, Twitter has grown into a real-time short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices.

then i thought, "hey! i lived in SoMa."

so, to dive deeper into the san francisco culture, i decided it was time to start tweeting.

i had definitely considered getting a twitter account before, but i didn't think i could possibly have anything interesting enough to write about on a regular basis. i mean people CONSTANTLY update their twitter. i'm lucky if i can think of anything to say for my facebook status.

nevertheless, i'm going to give it a shot. so, if you really can't get enough of the paulina process, check out
my twitter to follow me throughout the day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Morning, Sitting in the Sun...

hoping and wishing for the mail to come!

I would like to announce that I finally got myself a mailbox. So if you would like to send me anything

- fan mail, love mail, hate mail - please address it to the following:

Paulina Cioce

PMB 207

1459 18th Street

San Francisco, CA 94107

Note that it's not a PO box, so I can receive mail from USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The End of Productivity

I would like to announce that I will not be doing any more work this semester. My wonderful parents took pity on my poor wretched guitarless self and decided I could go get myself a new instrument for an early Christmas present! I went to Guitar Center today and picked out a little 3/4 sized Laguna guitar. It's so cute and tiny, perfect for the grad-girl-on-the-go! I especially love the spruce top and the abalone inlay.

In other news, while I was waiting for my laundry to be done earlier today, I scurried over the Good Life grocery, a lovely little market near my apt, and picked up some of my new fav Japanese food for lunch: inari.

I had it for the first time yesterday at Wolfe's Lunch right down the street from my school. I had never eaten there before because it didn't look too promising, but when one of my classmates came into the studio with some delicious smelling takeout, so I decided to give it a try.

I got a delicious teriyaki salmon with salad, rice, two little california rolls, and something I didn't recognize. It looked like a little golden-brown pillow and was filled with sweet gingery-flavored rice. I learned that it's called inari when I saw it today at Good Life. After doing a quick internet search, this fried bean curd pocket filled with seasoned rice seems like a pretty popular/common Japanese food, so I don't know how I've missed it up until now. I guess I'll just have to make up for lost time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Walking Tour

Now that I'm settled into my new place, I thought I'd give you a glimpse of my commute to school.

It's a nice short walk. It gives me a few minutes to think and if I'm late, to scarf down some breakfast as I go. Since I live on pretty high up on Potrero Hill, there's a pretty nice view of the city, too. Today was a little foggy, but it's actually usually pretty clear in this part of San Francisco.

The times that I've wandered around the neighborhood, I've felt like I was on a tour of the country because most of the north-south roads in Potrero have state names. I live on Connecticut Street (just when I thought I left the north-east).

The funny thing is that there's no geographical correspondence to their order. For example, if you started all the way east near the water and walked west on 18th Street, you would cross Illinois, 3rd St, Tennessee, Minnesota, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Texas, Missouri, Connecticut, Arkansas, Winsconsin, Carolina, DeHaro, Rhode Island, Kansas, Vermont, etc.

Anyway, that doesn't have much to do with my walk. I just walk north on Connecticut until I reach 17th St. at the bottom of the hill. I turn left there, then right at Wisconsin when I reach Parkside, a CCA hangout.

Now the homestretch. My destination is the building at the end of the road, where Wisconsin meets 8th Street. I haven't timed it yet, but the walk is well under ten minutes - maybe 7 minutes there and closer to 10 back since it's uphill.

And here we are. I spend most of my time in this building because the Graduate Design studios are here, as well as other studio spaces, the library, cafe, galleries, lecture hall, classrooms, labs, woodshops and other workshops. Tune in next week and I'll take you inside the building for a closer look.