February 28, 2006

orange crush

Many cities all over Italy celebrate Carnivale, most in the traditional Mardi Gras fashion, but several in other ways as well. Somehow I ran across a website for one that was about an hour train ride from Torino and I knew I had to go to there after the Olympics ended. In the little village of Ivrea, they celebrate 'the Battle of the Oranges'. Apparently it is the commemoration of ancient battles in the city that has turned into a festival, and over time, weapons have been replaced by oranges.

My gist on it from being there is that there are many groups that act almost like gangs or tribes - they each have defining symbols, colors, uniforms, songs. Each stakes a claim on a piazza or other location within the city, and they all also go throughout the city in horsedrawn wagons with about ten people on them. When they ride into another groups turf, they literally just pelt the hell out of each other with oranges. Wagon after wagon travels this route so in a certain area one rival goes through after another. The streets get filled with orange slush that is probably six inches deep in places. At some point a parade with kings and queens strolls through as well - I don't know the exact significance, but there are clearly other symbolic things going on. They just weren't as fun!

When I first got there I passed several vendors selling red caps and scarves and hats - finally I stopped to ask about them and between my broken Italian and their broken English, I found out that a red cap means "non-player - no oranges." He pointed me to the most traditional of the caps. Good thing I asked. If you get close to the action there's no avoiding being pelted with a few anyway because they're flying everywhere fast and furious, but at least you're not a target.

I managed to have a few beers along the way (who, me?), some local punch with grappa and who knows what else in it, and a couple of food vendor foods that - well I really don't know what they were either. I always try to pick out the things that clearly aren't something I know or that look to be the most local. At one booth after watching several orders, I figured out just to ask for a "mista" to get a mix of all the toppings and the meat together, whatever they were. Yum.

This little side trip was the best thing I've done in a long time. I couldn't have found a better way to start the vacation portion of this adventure....

February 27, 2006

pulp nonfiction

I can't wait to post about Monday's adventures, but right now I have a train to catch to Paris! stay tuned...

parting glances

The view from inside Closing Ceremonies. After seeing how we (NBC) edited out most of the Opening Ceremonies (remember that hour of skiing trials and up close and personal segments?), I'm curious how much of Closing got played in the States. It was definitely a made for tv event and hard to follow when in person, as well as best viewed from an upper angle (I did catch part of CBC's coverage on Monday morning). Nonetheless, it was very cool being there and being part of it. {Mom, Andre Bocelli's car drove right past me - I don't think he saw me :) }

February 26, 2006

grand finale

One thing I was determined to do here was to make it to the Closing Ceremony. I made one last check with my bosses here before buying a "cheap seat" for $250 yesterday (that's face value), and they started making calls. These just arrived. I'm pretty grateful and excited. I'm leaving the "office" for the last time now for some well earned birra, but it's also the end of my internet access. I will try to book hotels with internet access, so will continue to post as close to daily as possible, depending on access and time... ciao!

finale (wait, is that italian?)

Appropriately enough, my final project here for the games is a Closing Ceremony rejoin bumper...

February 25, 2006

ibc-ing you

Since I covered where I "live" while in Torino, I should cover where I spend the other half of my time here! I work at the International Broadcast Center, or IBC. NBC has its huge area here, including the studio and our own free commissary, but other networks from around the world are also here, along with snack bars, post office, etc. This area is apparently normally a convention center. Attached is a mall, hotel, and supermarket. The entire complex is called Lingotto.

Lingotto was the original Fiat factory and is a huge amazing building. The roof still has the test track Fiat used, and the mall includes the circular ramp for vehicles (now a pedestrian part of the mall). Renzo Piano led the redevelopment of the site after the factory closed. It still houses Fiat's headquarters, along with a glass globe conference room and heliport and an art museum in true Renzo style.

I found a site with Piano's descriptions of the project - be sure to check out 'photos' for pics of how Lingotto normally looks:

  • Lingotto Factory conversion photos

  • Renzo Piano conversion project description
  • February 24, 2006

    village people

    We're counting down the days til we're done here, and I still haven't written about some of the basics of being here. I only have 3 nights left there, but my place of residence is the beautiful Riberi Media Village. Most call it the prison, but I've seen other blogs that call it the Asylum.

    Riberi used to be a Military Hospital. While it's really not that bad of a place, when you're there for a whole month, it gets to be pretty dismal. The complex actually in a way is kind of cool - its very "Dr Zhivago" with these elaborate glass colonnades that connect most of the building around the main courtyard. If it weren't so stark and barren (complete with high brick walls and barbed wire stantions), maybe we wouldn't refer to our buildings as "Block M" or "Block B". It is clean and it is extremely warm - in temperature (to the point of giving everyone lizard skin). It could be a whole lot worse.

    The rooms are basic four white walls and grey tile floor. Furniture is a very narrow twin bed and a desk and a bureau, ikea style. I was a rare case in that I got a bathroom with a window, but the rooms don't come with curtains. For the first week, I just let the nearby apartment buildings see whatever they might.

    After about a week, I hiked over to the local Carrefour (small version of a Kmart) and bought a sheet for a curtain and a clear drop cloth for the bathroom window, as well as a bathmat to use as a bedroom rug (it was all I could find) and I hung a poster that I got from the Media Center. Not quite home, but a little more tolerable. (Don't let the coziness of the picture above fool you!)

    Honestly, my biggest disappointment is that the entire Riberi Village is all NBC employees, so there is no opportunity to meet people from all over the globe. I think I had romanticized the idea of a social "village" where people met and hung out as well, but its pretty much just draggin yourself to your room, closin the door, sleepin, showerin, and then sloggin back to the bus stop...

    I am staying in Torino Monday night as well, I'm really looking forward to experiencing that one night in a hotel downtown as the real beginning of my European experience.

    February 23, 2006

    more figure skating

    Two more bumpers for today and tonight's broadcasts, both similar versions of this - the other version has shots of several of the skaters added...

    attack of the marshmallows!

    Me at the hockey game being accosted by Neve and Gliz, the mascots for the Torino Olympics. Neve is a snowball, and Gliz is an Ice Cube. Yeah okay, they're a little creepy, but they kind of grow on you after a while.

  • Neve and Gliz
  • February 22, 2006


    sorry I havent posted anything for a bit, between lotsa work and trying to figure out my travel in order to get my Eurail pass at the last possible hour, I have neglected the blog a little. And now I just got handed more hockey tickets at the end of my shift(score!) so I'm off to that now.... Switzerland vs Sweden. Its a 4:30 game, right in the middle of normal sleeping time... so tonight is gonna be a rough one! Oh well, so it goes... and so do I. More later. All is well. 4 days to go! woohoo!

    February 19, 2006

    another bumper

    Another bumper here for Sunday's broadcast...

    February 18, 2006

    new project

    I got to jump away from the bumpers for the last couple days. (woohoo!) These are some pieces I did for the 3 stacked monitors on the set. The are meant as a "rejoin" - as in, the camera pans past the monitors with the host in the background as we come from a commercial back into the program (or as we leave the program and go to a commercial). The single panel at the top is meant to be projected on the big cylinder section of the set to go along with the matching monitor graphics. This is a little bit of a departure from the big glass 3D on black that is used for most of the look, but they were looking for some pieces to depart from that, yet coexist with it in order to help mix it up and freshen things as we go into the second week of programming. Hopefully it works for em.

    February 17, 2006

    the turnaround?

    Yesterday my boss came in at the end of my shift and dropped a hockey ticket on my desk for a game that was just starting. Boris, one of the other designers I work with, got one too, so we hustled out of work, grabbed a taxi and went straight to the arena. Once again, it already felt like we had broken out of the bubble. Just being at an event was cool. The crowd was unlike anything in the US. When did American's get so repressed?! Our seats were second row to the ice - obviously other NBC workers sitting around us. The game was a great one with the Swiss team closely beating the Czech Republic.

    Afterward, Boris and I wandered looking for another beer to top off the ones we had at the game. We ended up in this corner bar with a bunch of dishes of small foods in the window. After buying our drinks she told us to "eat all you want" (I'm guessing these were apertifs?). We didn't, but what we did eat was by far the best bit of food that I have had here. It was amazing.

    Those few hours let us feel like we had actually experienced part of the Olympics in Italy.

    Then, after days of feeling like I was just doing production work and not getting to do any real design, I got to work and was told to come up with some new formats for some new elements. Finally some free rein to work with. I'll post more on that later, but it made for a fun night actually having a cool design project.

    Maybe this is the turnaround? If not, it was at least a good day...

    February 16, 2006


    a couple images from around Torino. These sculptures have appeared randomly all over the city - there are large ones with the LED strips in them and smaller ones without. They help theme the whole city... I just got handed a ticket to a hockey game that starts now - Czech vs Switz - (I'm at the end of my shift) - so I'm outta here to get there!