17 December, 2008
13 December, 2008
I got tagged in a meme by Sasha of Yankee in a New World, a resource for people living or traveling in Europe, targeted specifically to Americans who want to stay connected with home.
This is just for fun and has little to do with travel. Here are the Five Things Meme questions:
What are 5 things you were doing ten years ago?
- Studying in unit 6B at SBUES (South Brunswick Upper Elementary School) with Mr. Miller as my homeroom teacher.
- Dating a boy for 2 weeks, my longest relationship to that point.
- Hanging out with Mashaal Ahmed, Shweta Desai, Christina Amatto, Crystal Stepp, and a bunch of other now-distant friends.
- Being a smartie pants in math class.
- Looking forward to the next bomb scare so we could all get out of class early and go to Pierre's Italian Deli. This was pre-9/11 and post-Columbine.
What are 5 Things on your to do list for today?
- Work on my Technology in Marketing paper that's due Tuesday. I need to come up with an ethical issue in marketing that involves technology (such as privacy issues, security issues, etc) that is not terribly dry or boring to write about.
- Figure out a killer outfit for tonight's Heinously Atrocious Christmas Sweater Party.
- Update Facebook photos - people are bugging me and I'm only up to September.
- Eat dinner.
- Go to bed at a normal hour so I can be productive tomorrow.
What are your 5 Favorite Snacks?
- Avacoado in any form - guacamole with tortilla chips, sliced on a salad, etc.
- Cheese. Especially the Cracker Barrel cheddar sticks, but any kind I can get my hands on will do.
- Smartfood white cheddar popcorn.
- Almond Joy, when I'm in the mood for chocolate. Or Andes chocolate around the holidays.
- Dried cranberries. They're good for you (especially if they're "no sugar added" and easy to pack for on-the-go snacking.
What would you do if you were a Millionaire?
- Like Sasha, I'd love to pay off my student loans first.
- Buy an apartment so I wouldn't have to rent anymore. NYC would be nice, if a million dollars would even cover it.
- Invest some so I'd have an income with the interest.
- Go on a shopping spree.
- Buy a hybrid car.
Where are 5 places you have lived?
- My parent's house
- Several college dorms
- A sorority house / mansion on the side of a mountain
- An apartment in Philadelphia
- In Second Life
- And bonus: An apartment in Rome, Italy
12 December, 2008
The teens at my church in NJ are working with the community to collect lightly worn, cleaned prom dresses, long evening dresses, nice bridesmaid dresses and accessories (evening bags, shawls, formal shoes and costume jewelry). These will be given to juniors or seniors who may not be able to afford new gowns for the 2009 Proms. Please help give these young ladies the prom of their dreams by bringing your lightly-used dressed back from the winter break with you.
I will accept your donations during the spring semester before the donation days on Sat., 3/21/09 and Sun., 3/22/09. St.Barnabas Church is located on 142 Sand Hill Road, Monmouth Junction NJ, 08852, so you can also bring them there between 9am - Noon if you are nearby. For more information, visit the Church's website at www.stbarnabas-sbnj.org or get in touch with Wanda Garrin firstname.lastname@example.org or Linda Grant email@example.com.
Girls from the expanded community (South Brunswick, North Brunswick, Trenton, New Brunswick, Franklin etc…) are welcome to these dresses until our inventory runs out. Students must present a valid ID. "Shopping" days are Sat., April 18, 2009 and Sat., April 25, 2009 from 10 am – 1 pm at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.
09 December, 2008
- You know the difference between a mouse and mice.
- You know at least the first step in double-sided printing.
- You can send an e-mail with an attachment, without any attachment.
- You have thought about saying "lol" out loud, rather than actually laughing.
- You can put a white sock in the washing machine and take out a pink sock.
For those of us getting a bit stressed out over finals and life. I thought I'd write this to lighten the mood. Pass on if you liked it!
06 December, 2008
- The Numa Numa dance has its fourth anniversary tonight, actually at this very moment because I am posting the entry exactly 4 years after the original was uploaded on Newgrounds flash community, back when webcams still pixelated your face if you moved too much.
- The Romanian, "Dragostea Din Tea" song used in this video was recently resampled in Rihanna's song, "Live Your Life," a credit to its ubiquity and legacy.
- According to many sources, the Numa Numa video has been seen a few HUNDRED MILLION times around the web, making it one of the most popular "viral" videos of all time (according to a few sources, the second most popular). However, according to other statistics, such as the "NewNuma" channel on YouTube where this was found, Gary Brolsma didn't do as well in subsequent attempts at stardom. I think part of "viral" is how organic it all is. Many marketers are now realizing that you can't PLAN viral. Viral is a thing which occurs, not a thing that is. So, enjoy the laugh and the spontaneous entertainment provided here, and "miia hii miia haa" along.
If that's not enough, read Cesar Brea's "Dissecting Numa Numa" for some in-depth analysis and pondering on whether this Brolsma video may have been a bit more than just a happy accident.
04 December, 2008
Just learned of a new gadget via this press release: "SANYO Internet Radio Makes It Easy to Listen to Thousands of Free Internet Radio Stations, With No Computer Required."
Silly me, I've been searching "bluetooth speakers" for so long now I was beginning to give up on the idea of a wireless music-listening experience. But this solution uses your existing wifi connection to connect directly to the internet, giving you access to internet radio stations and your own shared music from anywhere in the house.
It's so quiet downstairs right now. We don't have a CD player / radio / mp3 dock. Just a TV with basic cable. And the only noise from that contraption comes on Sundays during the football games, now that the political debates are over. I'd love to bring some music into our lives without having to burn CDs all the time, or relying on traditional FM radio to play the songs we like. Unfortunately this Sanyo thingamajig (omg: ff spellchecker knows thingamajig - did I add that myself?) won't be out in the US until January 2009. So no pleading with Santa possible :-(
01 December, 2008
I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday break. Did you shop on Black Friday? I didn't make it out this year but I hope the sales continue to Christmas so I can shop in peace! All the "door busters" and "last minute sales" and "today only" things drive me a little nuts.
I saw a lot of good deals on Thanksgiving, but I haven't been in the shopping mood lately. There's a lot of stuff I'd "like to have" but I think I'll wait until December 26 to spend my hard-earned savings from my internship this semester. Plus I have to get my car fixed from the fender-bender I had a few weeks ago. I don't know if the economy is contagious or what, but I've been in a SAVING mood lately. So strange! (Che strano!)
Did you go out and shop or did you buy online? According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent an average of about 7% more this year than last over the Thanksgiving weekend. So despite this declining economy, retailers did well this weekend. They say online shoppers helped a lot.
25 November, 2008
Speaking of brands using social networks (not to beat a dead horse), Sharpie's PR manager got in touch with another group in our class about the prototype Flickr group and blog they had created for the presentation, which caused an unintended buzz in these social networks. The PR manager was very interested in what they had done, and has now offered them all positions as guest bloggers on the official site, launched a few weeks ago.
Seems that some brands are ripe for social media conquests, and draw users to them like a magnet, where others have to try harder. Does this all seem like one big popularity contest sometimes?
In my technology in marketing class this semester, we've been discussing social media and how companies can use this new platform to build their brands and relationships with consumers. My group did a breast cancer awareness plan for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure football game/fundraiser back in October, and a social media plan for the Kodak brand last week.
Our big idea for Kodak was to revitalize the brand by building on the "spontaneous" factor of a Kodak Moment. Our viral marketing would center around a "Make this Your Moment" contest encouraging uploads to the online photo-sharing service. Video clips of faceless characters in humorous situations would be propagated around the web to drive traffic to the contest site.
Here's the PowerPoint we presented to the class (some weird buggy things happened while uploading online, though):
Social Media Plan for Kodak by Jared Fink, Justin Goh, Sean McCulley, & Amy Pospiech Our Goal Today • Discuss the Kodak brand and discuss how it is currently perceived in the minds of consumers • Re-introduce the “Kodak Moment” • Discuss challenges and opportunities in leveraging this brand equity • Reveal the proposed Kodak Moments Social Media Campaign Background: The idea of a “Kodak moment” dates back to 1888, when George Eastman put the first simple camera into the hands of consumers. Our social media plan will revitalize this idea of an unexpected moment captured by an amateur photographer on film, using a buzz marketing campaign urging users to “Make this Your Kodak Moment.” What is Kodak now? • Kodak is known for its ease-of-use. With its Kodak EasyShare camera and PerfectTouch photo processing, it is aimed at the novice or busy individual. Even the essence of a “Kodak moment” is captured by this quick, even spontaneous theme. Brand Model: Old A Kodak Moment is… • An event for which you or someone wished someone nearby had a camera to take a picture. “When we went to the zoo Amanda fell into the gorilla cage. It was such a Kodak moment!” by kalley treay Jul 3, 2007 • A rare, one time, moment that is captured by a picture, or should have been captured by a picture. “Aww!.. They look soo happy sitting there by the lake! That's definetly a kodak moment!” by LiL' LAdY Nov 3, 2006 • Said when something funny happens Creative Consulting Current Web Presence: Snapshot • “Leading online digital photo developing service” • Secure and easy way to view, store and share photos with friends and family • Free editing and creative tools and specialty photo products • Similar to all other online tools Current Web Presence: A Thousand Words Blog • “What’s a picture worth?” • Off-brand, too general • Recent posts include topics as varied as pumpkin carving (incl. hardware tips), a flower photography class, and the end of a NASCAR sponsorship • Should be kept internal Current Web Presence: PluggedIn Blog • “A blog about Kodak products and customers” • Niche market (tech-y consumer) with a general description – needs better targeting • According to Technorati, the blog is ranked 150,646 and has an authority of 43 (in other words, 43 other sites have linked to it) Snapshot: Current Web Presence • Podcasts Twitter Facebook Youtube Flickr Delicious Professional Perceptual Map Cluttered Streamlined Amateur Moments Kodak Moments’ Target Audience • Those who remember the magic of the unexpected, spontaneous Kodak moment • Those old enough to appreciate the idea that life is fleeting, and have little time to preserve their moments through competitor’s cluttered, complicated websites • Those who appreciate a tactile experience like flipping through a photo album Brand Model: New Proposed Web 2.0 Presence Contest Details: “Make this Your Kodak • In order to create a buzz throughout our target market we are promoting a contest using short video clips • These clips will be distributed throughout the web on social networking sites • The winner of the contest will win a vacation tour of Italy were they can make of hilarious as well as special Kodak Moments Make this Your moment Online Ad Placement Mobile Marketing Make this Your moment Conclusion • Through the use of various social media channels, we will reinvent the Kodak brand image with Kodak Moments. • KodakMoments.com will touch the hearts and souls of the target market when they relive passionate still shots in a warming virtual atmosphere. • KodakMoments.com will simplify the online photo experience. Thank you
Ironically, Kodak had another agency come up with a similar idea about a month ago: Make Me Super. This site was created by an ad agency called EVB, owned by Omnicom Group. In reality, their idea is remarkably similar to the "Elf Yourself" OfficeMax campaign, and a lot like the earlier yearbookyourself site which inspired this series of Facebook photos (and our own project):
However, the Make Me Super project seems to lack that defining brand mark. That thing which makes Kodak, Kodak. Where have all the moments gone?
You can hear the entire presentation via a class capture of our group for as long as Temple keeps it up. Hope this isn't any type of privacy violation, haha. As far as I know, this is publicly available content. Anyway, enjoy.
24 November, 2008
So I don't know if it's because I'm now more aware of this social media craze, or if it actually is growing (at an insanely exponentially ridiculous rate), BUT:
- I'm now Tweeting. Follow me?
- Facebook has become standard lingo - I'm almost sick of hearing the word, especially in the context of, "let's create a facebook group to get people to love us!" Ho-hum.
- I've found so many blogs with interesting content, and even more that rip that content and re-post on their own blogs (with a credit link, of course), and so many tools to "sort through the clutter" that even the tools themselves are starting to add clutter to my life (StumbleUpon, Delicious, TweetDeck, FriendFeed, Google Reader, meta tags) ahhh!
- Ideas are being propagated, mashed-up, mish-moshed, re-syndicated, and re-created faster than you can find out where it even came from in the first place.
More on this in the next post.
19 November, 2008
Well... online, at least. I did an interview with fellow blogger Sasha from the Yankee In a New World blog about my study abroad experience. So my blog has someone linking to it and I feel really special. Go over and check it out!
Her blog offers tips for expat living and points to helpful online resources. I left a comment on one of her posts a while back and we started talking and now I know what it feels like to be a part of the blogging community-at-large :-)
And she's such a sweetheart. Leave her a comment and tell her thanks for me!
13 November, 2008
I recently discovered this 3D artist from France named Gilles Tran. I think his art is absolutely amazing from both a technical and artistic perspective. He uses a lot of the software and tools I use to create my own art, so it's truly an inspiration to look at his work. I really don't know anything about him other than what's posted on his website, have never heard of him before, and have no idea if he does this stuff commercially or just for fun (well of course most artists hope to make some sort of money doing what they love, right?), but I felt the need to post about him when I found this incredible statement in his online gallery.
Those of you who know me personally will probably laugh out loud when you see the title...
The 3D model he used is from Daz3D (see ad in my bright pink sidebar), and is a free resource for the 3D community.
The amazing part is, I have seen so much 3D art I'm almost sick of seeing these figures everywhere. But Gilles has managed to make me go "wow" at almost every piece of art in his gallery (or at least once per page). The environments he creates for his characters are stunning, as is the lighting, the composition, the textures, everything. For those who can't appreciate 3D art from a technical perspective, see this rendering of NYC and tell me it doesn't look like a photo:
Then, look at his description of how he made the image.
Okay, now you guys know why I love 3D.
09 November, 2008
Check out the work I've been doing lately for Temple's International Business Association... I was appointed webmaster for the semester and have been doing a lot of other oddjobs as well, including research/designs for getting coffee mugs and tee shirts printed with our logo.
The current IBA website is based on an archaic version which was used in the past. The entire site is essentially one graphic, with text overlapping in various places and poor coding. Not to mention the misspelling "Philidelphia" in the footer of every page:
The revamped,browser-friendly website looks like this:
It is updated with a Google Calendar on the "Events" page, a new membership application form, PayPal links for paying member dues, and more.
We're working on a whole new design with green as an accent color to generate the idea of a map or globe. This might change but it's a start. The design uses CSS so it loads quickly in most browsers.
04 November, 2008
I don't have tonsilitis (I don't think) but I did re-publish an old post by accident so it got sent to anyone with an e-mail subscription even though it was from about a year ago.
But I am sick. So your warm wishes are appreciated. I made myself some delicious chicken-less noodle soup last night (I should start a recipe book for the easiest no-measure college meals ever made) and have been drinking a lot of tea and resting, and I have a doctor's appointment bright and early tomorrow so we can figure out what's wrong with me. It feels like something is wrong with my sinuses, and my body is really achy, but it all started out with a sore throat two days ago. Last week's festivities took a toll on my health. I can't say it wasn't worth it, though.
Pictures to come.
Don't forget to vote. My absentee ballot was express mailed yesterday.
28 October, 2008
Messing around with Flickr a lot lately. I'm starting a group project in my Technology in Marketing class where we analyze how a brand of our choice can improve its use of social media (and all the Web 2.0 technologies). Our group chose Kodak. Remember those Kodak moments??
Anyway, I found so many cool things to do with my own photos while doing "research" online. A lot of them use Flickr's RSS stream. Check it out: Moo.com, QOOP.com, imagekind. And, finally, my own portfolio, now integrating my Flickr stream right in the webpage (whenever I upload a new photo to Flickr it will upload there as well).
I'm looking into getting a domain name so it's easier to find my homepage. Maybe amyinkonline.com ... what do you think? The ones I've seen are only about $25 / year.
On another note, I'm entering the photo contest for International Programs at our school. I have to print out the 3 photos that I choose, but I haven't decided which ones to enter yet! The deadline is this Friday and I just ran out of ink on my printer. Eeek.
UPDATE August 17, 2009: I meant to post the pictured that I entered into the contest above. Two won honorable mention and were displayed in the glass case outside of the International Programs office for the rest of the year!
If you guess correctly which two won in comments I'll give you a prize :-)
27 October, 2008
All this Philly energy has got me excited... we'll try again tomorrow!
25 October, 2008
24 October, 2008
Just signed up for a service called StumbledUpon, which lets you find cool things on the internet based on your interests and likes / dislikes (via a browser toolbar). So I clicked that I like art, graphic design, and other typical things. And the first page I was taken to was blank. "Huh? Stupid service," I think.
Until I moved my mouse around on the page!!!
Coooooooooool. Hey ya know what I like most about this? No one's trying to make any money, lol.
So I'm not sure if this is a post about StumbledUpon, Jackson Pollock, art, or the fact that the web is so cluttered with money-making schema, but enjoy. And have a good weekend!
Just though I'd shout out one of my favorite sites, WordReference.com because I use it so often and have found it to be one of the best sites for learning another language (specifically, Italian). It's not like "free translations" which gives you a botched-up, literal version of what you're trying to say. While you can't really search entire strings of text, this site allows you to type in one word at a time and see it used in different phrases and even in forum discussions, which I have found to be very active and helpful, and super friendly! There are both Italian and English speakers in the forum, who are glad to answer any questions or help with translation issues. You can learn a lot about popular expressions, slang, and even some pop culture. For example, do a search regarding the phrase "TVB" or "ti voglio bene" to learn whether it means "I like you" "I love you" "I want you" or "I wish well for you."
There's also a helpful "conjugator" which allows you to type in any verb in the infinitive (or if you're not sure about the infinitive, type in a verb and it will tell you the infinitive and what tense it's in!) and get more than enough tenses to satisfy any writing need. And best of all, this is a completely free site! The only thing you would need to do is register (also free) if you want to ask a question on the forum, but browsing the forum is completely open to the public.
Finally, there's a cool browser plug-in so that you can have WordReference.com in your search bar! It couldn't be any easier to install and use:
Like I said, this site is a great word-by-word educational tool. It's not a shortcut for slackers but it will help greatly with the lifelong process of learning a new language:
Note: I have NOT been paid to write this (I wish). I just figured it was time I gave a shout-out to one of my all-time favorite websites which probably deserves a lot more recognition than it gets. Thanks WordReference!
22 October, 2008
The official word isn't out about how many people attended last night's football game to benefit the Susan G. Komen Philadelphia affiliate, but I was there! So was alumnus Bill Cosby for the coin toss, and more supporters clad in pink for the "Pink Out" than I have seen at most Temple games. And the best part is, we won with a fourth-quarter comeback, making the final score 14-10. Read the official game notes in "Comeback Is The Cure For Owls In 14-10 Win Over Ohio."
I guess I'm a little biased, in that I did a group project about how to promote the game using social media, but I'm really glad to see everything turn out well, and for such a good cause. I'll let you know when I find out the official stats, and maybe I can even post the marketing plan our group did.
So happy right now :-)
14 October, 2008
Remember when I posted these Lolcats in June? (A few more to refresh your memory...)
Today, I found something remarkably similar, dating back to the 1900's. It's from an archive at Duke University. The illustration is part of a scrapbook collection of cut & pasted images - who knows where this one came from originally. But the comparison of humor in the 1900's to the humor of today is remarkable - seems we are still fascinated by the inner workings of our pets. Its caption reads, "HA! HA! HA! I'VE EATEN THE CANARY!" Click for a larger view:
Although I've never had a cat, I have always wondered what my dog Luci might be thinking. Here's a few images I made for a calendar I gave to my sister last year:
Some things never change. What would your pets say if we could hear them??
12 October, 2008
I started making two murals - which have stared me in the face as "works in progress" since high school. One is outlined on my sliding closet doors in black sharpie marker, waiting to be painted.
The other began as a collage on some scrap foamcore in the art room long ago, and has been sitting propped up against my bedroom wall for a few years now. I decided to pick it up again the other day and it was very inspirational, both as art therapy and as a confidence booster. I don't always like the way my art projects turn out, but this one seems to have all the workings of a great piece. It still has a way to go, but I've made significant progress on it over the past few weeks...(Envisioned by Amy at 03:03 Tuesday 12 August, 2008).
I finished! Just before moving back here. I had to get it done and nearly pulled an all-nighter on Saturday 30 August, but it's now complete and hanging in my apartment downstairs:
This is me when I finished... after getting home from V Lounge in New Brunswick, near daylight, still dressed up, smeared makeup, but very happy!
07 October, 2008
A DSLR camera. And the time to learn how to use it. Okay so it's a little far off but it pays to dream, right?
16 September, 2008
Support independent films! You can watch excerpts, trailers, and whole features for free, with short commercial interruptions. You'll also find links to relevant charities and websites. This one is about a Chinese / Canadian modern dance pair:
28 August, 2008
What will I do without my espresso every morning?
Which, by the way, I just ran out of. Time to find a US-based Italian espresso producer! Luckily I was able to get these locations for illy near Philly:
WHOLE FOODS-PENN. AVE 2001 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE PHILADELPHIA,PA 19130 Distance: 1.79 miles
WILLIAMS-SONOMA, INC. 200 S. BROAD STREET PHILADELPHIA, PA 19102 Distance: 2.45 miles
KITCHEN KAPERS 213 SOUTH 17TH STREET PHILADELPHIA,PA 19103 Distance: 2.49 miles
Thank goodness I will still be able to get my morning espresso boost, even if I can't enjoy it in my red-and-white cucina italiana.
20 August, 2008
Remember Gullah Gullah island? That Nick Jr. television series from the mid-90's? Laura showed me this video today. It was a much-needed relief from work on the Tri-State marketing plan and IBA web design which I have been working on wayy too much in the past few weeks.
One of the best remixes I have ever heard/seen to a music video, haha:
Original song here.
17 July, 2008
So I'm working on a marketing plan for my internship, which I am finally able to get back to now that summer classes and my birthday are over. By the way the party was a great time and I am soooo happy to have a social life again now that I am 21! Haha. Anyway I'm working on identifying the target market for Tri-State's future marketing efforts based on a bunch of membership data in an Excel spreadsheet. I wanted to post the Google map I made to see if it works, and looks like it does! This shows all the current member locations (zip codes, not exact addresses):
My marketing plan is gonna be hot hot hot. Gotta love Google!
Come to think of it, this automatically-generated map saves a lottt of time compared to when I had to make a Photoshop version to update the marketing materials for my internship at Vollmer a few years back. Even though it took me a while to enter in all the data for the cities and zipcodes on Google, you can always add or delete points easily and the map is totally interactive. If we had a database with exact office addresses, there is even a tool to turn the Excel spreadsheet right into a format Google can recognize. It didn't work with just the zipcodes but imagine the possibilities... what if people wanted to upload their own office information to the Tri-State map, so others could easily find them? Their privacy might be kaput but hey, who needs privacy anymore... read my entry "I See Hooters" for more.
16 July, 2008
I had to smile when I saw that even the 3D community is picking up on my favorite stiletto style of the moment...
Atardecer by Ravenhair
26 June, 2008
19 June, 2008
11 June, 2008
I'm already halfway through the first summer session (thank goodness I only decided to take one course and not four this summer)! We had our midterm today for Intro to Risk Management and Insurance. I think I did pretty well, considering I had pink eye and missed two out of four days last week. It really set me back but thankfully the midterm was all about concepts. My friend Ryan called me the "Concept Queen" once. I get concepts. Anyway we'll see what happens with this semester... by the way, last semester ended up with all A's. Maybe I should have done less studying abroad, haha.
03 June, 2008
21 April, 2008
Flight landed yesterday around 3:30 pm. I didn't exactly sleep on Saturday night as people were leaving at all hours of the night and I was packing pretty much the entire time, so I was able to sleep a little throughout the 8 1/2 hour flight. After going through baggage claim and customs and meeting up with mom and dad around 5 pm, we visited with Aunt Jeanne, Uncle Mike, and Alison. I ate a nice big juicy cheeseburger and fries!
Then we went to Uncle Michael and Aunt Lisa's house and visited with Avery and baby Jack - he is sooo cute! Finally we went home and I slept from 11 pm until 12 in the afternoon today. It's was so good to wake up in my own bedroom :-)
17 April, 2008
Things I Learned
While Living with an Italian Host Family
- You have to flip a switch for the hot water heater if you don't like taking cold showers.
- Don't you dare eat everything on the same plate. Use at least two plates at every meal.
- Do not eat while standing up. Also do not eat from a disposeable container. Or from a pan, pot, or tupperware. Basically do not eat like you are in college, even if you really are.
- Breakfast does not include eggs, waffles, pancakes, muffins, or bagels. But it does include the best espresso and an immesurable variety of biscotti.
- When learning a language, long awkward pauses are unavoidable. Embrace the awkwardness.
- Hanging out your laundry to dry takes a bit of skill combined with self-confidence: "I will not drop these panties on my neighbor's head below me. I will not drop these panties on my neighbor's head below me."
Things I Learned
While in Italy
- You can get by with ordering food in most bars and restaurants through pointing and saying "questo" or "quello" (this one, or that one) but sometimes it is better if you know how to ask what's in it as well.
- The "neutral" expression does not indicate that a person is unhappy, as in America's eager-to-please consumer society. Don't overuse the smile in public.
- Staring is okay. If you catch someone staring at you, and you quickly divert your glance or smile, chances are they will continue staring as you have revealed your foreign identity. Instead, stare directly back using aforementioned neutral expression.
- If a guy starts speaking to you in Italian and he seems nice and not too pushy, chances are he is not actually Italian but a bus driver from Turkey. And that is why you can understand his overly-enunciated dialect.
- If a girl starts speaking to you in Italian, you should probably get out of her way before she starts yelling at you in Italian instead.
- While the "fast food" options are limited, there is no shortage of pizza or panini. However, that's about all there is for lunch unless you go to sit down somewhere and pay considerably more.
- When asking for directions, don't rely on just one source. Some people may find it entertaining to misdirect you while others may act like they know what you're talking about even though they have no clue. Still other times, they may be pointing you in the right direction for the bridge named Matteoti instead of the street you're looking for - on the other side of town. Getting lost is sometimes inevitable, even with a map and a friend who speaks Italian fluently.
- Don't trust the cab drivers. The less Italian you know, the more likely they are to rip you off. However, there are also some nice cab drivers who tell you about things to do in Rome or talk with you about popular music. And still others who will do this while diverting your route and charging you for the second fare zone.
- "Index cards" or "flash cards" do not seem to exist. Study for midterms and finals using quarter-sheets of printer paper instead.
Things I Still Haven't Figured Out
- Why shopowners let the flower guys into their stores.
- How to properly pronounce "chiacchierare" (chit-chat).
- How to use a phone card to make calls from a public payphone.
- How to make pasta carbonara without it sticking to the pan!
- Why Italians insist on wearing their fur coats and boots in 70 degree weather.
- Why gelato is so much better than regular ice cream. And how skinny Italian women can eat it and still appear anorexically thin.
14 April, 2008
For dessert tonight we had strawberries with homemade whipped cream. Here is a snippet of some typical dinner-table conversation between the two brothers, which I am finally beginning to understand (they talk really quickly!):
Leo: "Who made the whipped cream? Ludovico?"
Ludo: "No, I didn't make it."
Leo: "Oh ok, in that case it's perfect."
Some things never change, huh?
09 April, 2008
In honor of our last week of class and finals and all that jazz, I thought it might be nice to share some information about my professors with you. Unbiased, professional information, taken from Temple's website. The real reviews will come later, wuahaha.
Aldo Patania | International Business Former senior economic specialist at the U.S. Embassy in Rome and senior country manager for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. MBA Director at the Rome Campus of the University of Malta. MA, Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies.
Greg Smith | Anthropology/Sociology Founding editor of the series Societa Mediterranea. Involved in a variety of Italian consulting projects. DPhil, Oxford University.
Mario Teleri | Printmaking Widely exhibited printmaker who has produced documentaries on the history and technique of printmaking for Italian television, and conducts seminars and lectures at the Italian National Institute for Graphics and other institutes throughout Europe.
Registilla Aloisi Masella | Italian Language Diploma, School for Interpreters and Translators of Rome.
04 April, 2008
I had been meaning to write this post since last week, but I have been so busy with finals coming up, a doctor visit, credit card issues, and registration for the summer and fall semesters at Temple - there just wasn't time! Anyway, I went to Ventotene last weekend with some other students. It's a little island near Naples about one square mile total. We left at 6 am on Friday morning by bus to the ferry in Naples, which took about 3 hours. Then the ferry took another 2 hours.
The weather that morning was a bit chilly and rainy, but by the time we got to Ventotene it had pretty much cleared up and was slightly warmer in the sun. However, our rooms were extremely cold, especially at night, as they had no heat. Most of us had not packed our winter jackets and I pretty much layered up all my shirts underneath a sweatshirt to stay warm. As long as we were in the sun, though, we were warm. Unless we were in the water of course, which was also freezing cold!
On Friday afternoon we met our tour dude for lunch, and later again for dinner which was a little pricey (as lunch had been) but still nice because all 18 of us ate together. Plus, the prices included water, bread, and wine, and primi- and secondi- plates (i.e. pasta, and then fish) and our accommodations were inexpensive and beautiful.
The terrace was so beautiful in the evening and at night, while enjoying some wine and star-gazing. I was feeling more relaxed than I have been since my arrival in Italy.
On Saturday morning we got an early start and headed to the beach. It wasn't raining anymore, and there was plenty of sun. Part of the group decided to take on the challenge that was clearly tempting: swim to the nearby volcanic rock island just off the shore. I stayed behind with everyone's towels and belongings, awaiting a call from our friend Tim who was organizing a tour for later that day. The group made it to the rock and stayed for about an hour, basking in the sunshine and taking in the views. Everything seemed to be fine except one person who stayed on another small rock about 10 feet away the entire time. Turns out, it was our friend Lindsey who had become slightly hypothermic due to the extremely cold water on the way over, and on the way back she refused to get into the water again. The rest of the group returned, explaining that they had stayed for so long to try and warm up again. I myself swam about halfway over to meet them as they were returning, and felt my chest constricting. Ultimately, an ex-lifeguard friend had to swim out and rescue Lindsey from her perch on the smaller rock with a type of surfboard.
After all these festivities, Tim came and told us where and when to meet for our tour of Santo Stefano, another volcanic island rising out of the Mediterranean, visible from Ventotene.
Several of us grabbed a quick lunch; delicious and outdoors!
After our long morning at the beach on Saturday, we took a little boat to visit Santo Stefano. At least, half of us took a boat... the other half took something that more closely resembled an inflatable raft with a motor, including myself.
The buildings sitting atop the Isola di Santo Stefano served as a prison from the early 1800's until the 1960's. They held many political, war, and other prisoners, under the precept that criminals could be redeemed. It is now privately owned and treacherous to visit! Since we'd experienced the chill of the water that morning, none of us really wanted to repeat the experience in the late afternoon as the sun was disappearing. Anyway, we safely arrived at the island, muscles tense from holding on so tight to the rope running around the raft.
Then we had to climb up some very uneven stone stairs.
It was a long way up!
At the top, we had a "tour" in Italian. There was a woman there who knew English and Italian so she translated some of it for us. When the other Italians on the tour realized some of us knew a little Italian, they asked us what the heck we were doing there from America. We told them we were studying in Rome so they kind of understood that, but few tourists visit Ventotene and even fewer ever see Santo Stefano, especially given how remote it is.
By the way, the whole complex is in a state of decay. In America, we would have had to sign a waiver for this...
But there are really some beautiful views.
The tour basically consisted of us walking up the stairs, entering the prison where the cells were located, making a circle around the outside of a middle courtyard where mass was normally held, viewing some old photos in a binder held by the tour guide, and then exiting and descending the numerous stairs to meet our raft and return to the mainland.
I wish I could say the way back to Ventotene was easier, but halfway to the mainland, in the open, rough water, our driver mentioned something along the lines of "si e rotto" which translates to, "it's broken" and those of us who knew some Italian freaked out a bit. However, we got back to the mainland safely with our driver manually steering by turning the motor with his bare hands. What a day!
We had another dinner with the group and our tour guide that night. Later on, we made a bonfire on the beach which was a lot of fun except for the part where I sat on a nail that was sticking out of my improvised wood bench. It was nice to feel some real heat, though. When we went back to our rooms they were slightly warmer than the night before since I had left all the windows open that day to let some sunshine and air in, but still very chilly.
The next day the weather was beautiful again. We spent some time on our terrace and some more time at the beach before heading home on the ferry at 15,00. So sad to leave!
The ferry back to Naples was super-crowded, as it was the last one leaving the island for the day.
We got back to Rome around 20,00 Sunday. And I got back to reality. As in, maybe I need to get a tetanus shot for that nail I sat on...