My Secret Crush: Smart Advertising

The following images represent a few samples from “Catch of the Day,” a guerrilla ad campaign sponsored by Surfrider Foundation, targeting farmers’ market frequenters to educate them on the quantity, as well as the variety, of pollution dumped into our seas.

Styrofoam Bites from Long Beach, California

Plastic Surprise from Galveston Beach, Texas

Aerosol Cans from South Padre Island, Texas

Condom Strips are from Newport Beach, California

Butts and Bits from Venice Beach, California

Brilliant I say, just simply brilliant.


Vigilia di Natale '08

It's Christmas Eve and I'm home for the holidays. Although my father is 100 percent Italian, the authentic Italian traditions that most families have, have faded into the past. But that's something I'm hoping to change.
I've always had a sense of pride about my Italian heritage, which seems strange with a lack of traditions, right? Well, I had a great uncle, my uncle Frank, who was my first real exposure to the Italian language, homegrown food, pasta e fagioli, and the following life lessons: (1) Don't ever tell anyone how much money you have and (2) Be careful of road rage. The man was frugal: he'd use the same napkin over an over again, would travel 20 extra miles just to save a penny and the man practically grew everything he ate--his entire backyard was a flourishing garden. He passed years ago leaving me with priceless family values and my most prized possession: a record player that included records of Frank Sinatra, Italian Disco, Italian Gold and many other audible treasures. For the past few years I've pushed for a Christmas Eve that is full of wine and sauce making like most Italian homes are on this night (although if we were really doing it right, we'd have a fish dinner, but we've got to start someplace). So I've documented the making of the sauce. It's a lengthy process but well worth it...

The Italian Rue: Olive oil, garlic, oregano, onions, salt, pepper, sweet basil and tomato paste.

Sauce needs TLC.

Some diced tomato, more oregano, garlic powder...

And then the addition of the meat. First are the pork chops.
Some fresh parsley....
And then the making of meatballs, browning of sausage, pounding and browning of braciole, 1/3 cup of red wine, more spices, some sugar...


Simmer, simmer, simmer.

We won't be eating sauce tonight, the eve is just for the creating of the sauce. Tomorrow we shall feast on a dinner of pasta and some darn good, homemade Italian sauce. Oh, and lots of vino. I think I'll have another glass as a night cap--gosh I love being Italian.


I'm that person...

I was in line the other day, yes at the grocery store, and there was a father and his young, pink puffy coat wearing daughter. She wandered over to the books, that were conveniently at eye level to her, and pointed to a bright, glittery book titled something like "The Ultimate Sleepover Kit." Her father declined the request to get it and told her to put it on her list to Santa. Then he grabbed a chocolate Santa pop and threw it on the belt. Beep. One stick of sugar purchased. It was immediately handed to the child. "Is this candy?" she asked with excitement. And there it was, yet another parent shutting their child up with candy, a.k.a. baby crack. I wondered if such an act was really necessary. Then I looked at the child's father. He looked worn out. He looked defeated. I began to feel sorry for him. And then decided I should give the guy a break...maybe he just needs a midafternoon respite from the whining, and the "can I, can I, can I?"

Now I know how this man felt, and I will admit I am now guilty of committing a similar act. It's been almost one full week of puppy. There have been early morning pee breaks in the snow, crying for attention, along with sweet cuddles, angelic stares and, well, lots of licking and nibbling. Needless to say, I've gotten a glimpse into the world of parenting a toddler. Although the feeling of caring for someone who is so dependent fulfills a part of you you didn't know existed, there are also occasions where you stop to ponder what you were thinking when you decided to bring this other individual (puppy) into your life. And then those eyes look up with those wrinkles...the little wet kisses cover your face and that puppy smell hits your nose...and you remember.

I had to do some recordings at the TV station only minutes from my home this morning. Afterwards I planned to head to the office, however, it is snowing like crazy outside and I made the decision to just head home and stay in; my company ended up closing at 1:00. Yay, adult snow day! This also means, home alone with pup. She went outside to go dookie and pee, we played...played more...she got excited...continued to keep her excitement and I began to see no end in sight. It was at that moment where I crossed over to a land I'd never thought I'd visit: I reached for her bone, a.k.a puppy crack, and dropped it in front of her. Done. Continuous amusement and gnawing ensued for minutes. It worked. Did I feel guilty? No, not at first. Then I realized I made a selfish decision, and although I'm sure she LOVED having her bone and loved me for giving it to her, I finally took it away. She did a nice job on it. After sniffing for awhile for it she resumed the nipping at my socks.

I still have all my toes, and I've discovered I have a pup that is awesome at fetch at 9 weeks old. It's still snowing filling my view from the window with specs of white, and as I write this last line my pup sleeps quietly in her little den giving us both a much needed cozy winter day break. I think we'll both be ready for playtime, round 2 soon...


I'm a Doggy Mama to the Cutest Puppy Ever...Yes...Ever.

Me and Puppy

Yesterday was the day I became a doggy mama. Not a baby mama, a doggy mama. This beautiful creature is my first pup ever and was an early Christmas gift from my hub--best Christmas gift I've ever received. Those eyes, those wrinkles...I finally understand why people have no shame in picking up their dog's dookie in public; in a matter of weeks I'll be joining them.
She is the most precious thing I've ever set my eyes on--speaking like a true mama. I seriously believe she will beat the cuteness of any future first born of mine ha! At the moment she is nameless. A name is important. It defines who you are and who you will become, well, to some degree. There's no need to name her immediately for the sake of naming her. She shall be named in time and when she is it will be a name that deserves to represent all that this little pup is: playful, adorable, eager and sweet. She's going to be a heartbreaker, I just know it.

See, I wasn't kidding....EVER.


Evil Green Pen

My evil green pen of choice.

It's late. I'm exhausted. I've been proofreading all day. Proofing health care jargon, all written in mumbo, jumbo legal throw up. At least I have my handy sidekick, the evil green pen, to keep me company. Really it could be worse. I could scribble my edits in red. But I choose green. Green looks prettier against the white pages, plus I've always thought red looks way too harsh. Wouldn't you agree? I mean come on. Those of you who use the red marker, give it a break. Who do you think you are? Try a different color. I bet you'll like it. Better yet, I bet you'll find yourself smiling a bit more too.

Okay, so maybe my pen isn't evil, it just sounds cooler "evil green pen" arrrhhh.


nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond -- e.e. cummings

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

This poem was mentioned in the Woody Allen movie I watched last night, Hannah and Her Sisters. Although his movies often follow the same love triangle story line, I do feel as though I walk away from his flicks with something. This time it was a poem.


Gotta Love It

Snow.  How can you not enjoy it?  If it's going to be cold embrace it.  Go out in it.  Find the beauty it has to offer instead of dwelling on the negative.  So it's cold and wet, big deal.  There's so much more to that white stuff.  No flake is the same (something that will always amaze me), each one is a magical masterpiece from Mother Nature.  Last night, while watching the world go by with a glass of red wine, I watched the fattest, fluffiest snow fall. It was as if during the journey from cloud to ground, these flakes found one another and decided to enjoy the trip together: those enormous flakes were just hundreds of individual flecks of snow floating as one. I was convinced that I had become a part of some fixed holiday scene in a snow globe; I found myself lost in the moment. I love, what I call "snow globe snow": it looks like cotton balls and floats like feathers.  In fact, the snow last night was falling so slowly that my eyes could catch a falling flake and guide it down until it disappeared into the illuminated ground cover.  The picture below is one I took last night.  I was amused by how the lights inside reflected in the glass front, making it look as if the lights were strung across the street outside.  (Sorry for the quality, it's a camera phone shot.)

On the way home a trip to the co-op was in need to grab some apples.  I don't think I've gone a day without having at least one apple.  I'm a bit obsessed with the fruit...  As I approached the doors I was delighted--and a bit surprised--to see the bike racks outside being put to good use, very good use actually.  I believe there were more bikes there last night than I've ever seen, even throughout the summer months--very impressive Buffalo.  I love this city, not only for the food, the art, the free entertainment and hidden gems tucked in dark corners, but most of all, for the people: they don't let snow stop their way of life.  

Bike on Buffalo!


New Art Terms. New Art.

Upon my visit to the NEW Burchfield Penney Art Center this weekend, I picked up two new art terms and discovered some local artists whose work made me smile.

Giclée: commonly pronounced "zhee-clay," is an invented name for the process of making fine art prints from a digital source using ink-jet printing The term is often used instead of Inkjet in art shops. The word "giclée," from the French language word "le gicleur" meaning "nozzle," or more specifically "gicler" meaning "to squirt, spurt, or spray." It was coined by Jack Duganne, a printmaker working in the field, to represent any inkjet based digital print used as fine art. The intent of that name was to distinguish commonly known industrial "Iris proofs" from the type of fine art prints artists were producing on those same types of printers. The name was originally applied to fine art prints created on Iris printers in a process invented in the early 1990s but has since come to mean any high quality ink-jet print.

Gouache: Pronounced "Gwash" (rhymes with "squash") (from the Italian guazzo, "water paint, splash") or bodycolor (the term preferred by art historians) is a type of paint consisting of pigment suspended in water. Gouache differs from watercolor in that the particles are larger, the ratio of pigment to water is much higher, and an additional, inert, white pigment such as chalk is also present. Like all watermedia, it is diluted with water. (Gum Arabic is also present as a binding agent just like in water color.) This makes gouache heavier and more opaque, with greater reflective qualities.

This piece by Michael Zwack, entitled Abstract Wilderness (oil on wood), caught my eye. I've always been attracted to muted, earth tones. My decor, my clothes, accessories all tend to stay within a natural palette. Once the colors drew me in, I found it notepad worthy because of the image. It's uninhibited and that splash of spontaneity in the bottom corner settles well with me. It's a piece I'd hang in my home. Why? Because it would blend well with my surroundings. It wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb. I like my art to be complimentary. Not a bold statement. At least for the art I'd choose to display on my walls. Because at the same time, I also find myself drawn to what may be the extreme opposite: brightly colored pop, modern and contemporary art. Which leads me to the next two pieces I scribbled down in pen...

Okay so I have an obsession with polka dots, so I naturally loved this. Plus the colors, I must admit, are incredibly fun. It's Ani Hoover's Unhinged. Materials: ink, acrylic and spray-paint on Yupo paper. Dimensions: 5' X 30'. Yupo paper is a synthetic plastic paper and it's essential to the development of her paintings as it allows her to add and remove paint from its surface. Also, the slickness of the paper aids in creating lines from drips and shapes from puddles of color. Visit Ani Hoover's website for more drippy, trippy circle fun.

I rounded the corner...and BAM! Wholly Twinkies?! I'm not a Twinkie eater myself, but I found this larger than life painting of them quite appetizing. Up close those little cakes (well big cakes) looked perfectly moist and golden. Bravo A.J. Fries. By the way, the piece is called Crush. Fries has a thing for highlighting the mass consumerism of American popular culture. I have yet to see his oversized paintings of Oreos and Ring Pops. Yum.
Okay, so I don't eat Twinkies now, but I once consumed them as a youth, along with those great Little Debbie snacks too, so yes, there just so happens to be a bit of nostalgia bouncing off that shiny plastic package. Thanks A.J. for making me feel like a kid again.
So there it is. My new nugget of knowledge from this weekend. I've realized, although I've grown out of many things like Barbies, collecting stickers and eating Twinkies, there is something I know I will never outgrown: the desire to learn more and ask the question "why?"


My Grocery Store Fascination Continues

The people. The smells. The colorful produce. The overwhelming amount of packaged food items. A baking sheet, a mango, a box of bow tie spaghetti, sushi, frozen turkey, PB&J, an ice cream cake, garbage bags, Tylenol, hairspray, Kiss My Face soap, soy crisps, tofu, bulk candy, Windex, dog food, granola, curry, mittens, a bouquet of flowers, a tree of rosemary, herbal tea, the alphabet in pretzels...none of which I bought on my last quick run to the grocery store, but all things I could have walked away with...oh along with a non-fat chai latte, Lisa Frank themed notebook and new paperback book, too.
Today it was the people. It was so amusing to watch...young and old zigzag throughout the store, some with a definite plan of attack, others casually strolling. The weather calls for layers this time of year and folks look a bit more plump in their stature. Rouge cheeks enter the automatic doors, only to later fade beneath florescent bulbs somewhere between aisle 5 and 13. A child detaches from her mother's pinkie and heads toward the checkout line's ascending rows of candy. While old ladies (yes, plural) eat grapes straight from the vented plastic ziplocked baggies.
This last observation was not the first, but rather one I've had countless times. The clincher, to what I thought may be a commonality of this population, was seeing more than one elderly woman pop a grape in her mouth today, which has allowed me to conclude that 1.) old ladies love grapes and 2.) don't give a shit where those grapes have been, they'll still eat them straight from the bag. Maybe it's the generation. It has to be. I've grown up in a world that is overly sensitive about germs and hygiene: hand sanitizer on every desk, Clorox bleach wipes in every home, etc. We're germaphobes. That's all there is to it. Maybe all that alcohol and bleach isn't so good for us. Have we ever thought about that? I have. But am I ready to eat my grapes sans a rinse? Let's not get crazy now.
The next time I go to buy grapes...maybe...just maybe...I'll sample one from the bag...if they're organic...


The First...

Apparently I had once thought blogging would be an interesting "something."  A hobby, maybe a creative outlet but then I guess I changed my mind: I found when signing up for this Blog that I had started the process only to abandon it after the initial step. After months without giving it a thought, here I am again. I by no means have any intention of creating some narcissistic world of copy. What's brought me back to this blogging concept is more or less a desire to learn. Learn from myself. Learn from others.  Document my thoughts so that I may reflect on them at a later time. Thoughts Punctuated will be my digital version of the little floral notepad with elastic closure I stow away in my shoulder bag until something unexpected and new brings me to pull it out and jot or draw something down. A documentation of a memory I hope to never forget. A new word that hasn't yet made it to my internal vocab. list. Or words to a song, that song, the song that keeps flashing itself at me without revealing who and what it really is.  But with the lyrics scribbled haphazardly upon those little nude pages, I know a Google search of the lyrics will connect us...finally.  

And I suppose this blog will also provide a creative outlet. One for word doodlings, experimentation with computer graphics programs and possibly a home for some of my photos.  I have no real expectations, hopes or desires.  I like that.  It's liberating.  It's refreshing.  Sort of like a no- strings-attached relationship.  Hmm.

Enough babble.  The images I've posted are a result of my need for creative expression this weekend.  Nothing fancy. But it was fun and it did the trick.  "The Best American Essays of the Century" by Joyce Carol Oates is a wonderful collection of essays from the twentieth century's most beloved writers, and it just so happens to contain within its pages "The Figure a Poem Makes" by Robert Frost.  I've been enamored with it lately.  And I find the figure his poem makes completely and utterly sexy.  Words are sexy to me. Words strung together in harmony even more sexy.  I wanted to take his words and visually  shape them.  Give them sex appeal.