Thursday, August 31, 2017

Zip into Boston!

by Katy Rosen
Summer 2017 Intern

At the start of this summer, my first time alone in Boston, I felt some mild trepidation about having to ride the subway system fondly known as “the T.” Coming from rural Vermont, it was a completely foreign concept to me. But now Boston offers an even more eye-opening way of getting around.

“The Z,” a newly opened zip line in the heart of Boston, spans over 220 feet and carries one to two riders. Perched atop a 30-foot tower, it gives riders a unique view of downtown Boston, the waterfront and the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and for $8 a ride, you can have access to this unique viewing spot!

Functioning as the centerpiece of a temporarily revitalized parcel of undeveloped land, the zip line is an initiative by the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, a non-profit that looks for temporary ways to bring engaging experiences. The installation is scheduled to run through the middle of September, so come and enjoy it while you still can!

Image Credit: Danielle Walquist

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

PSG is Sweet: The Staff’s Favorite Desserts

by Rachel Matthews
Summer 2017 Intern

After a busy day at the office, it can be nice to unwind with something sweet. At PSG, we all have different ways of treating ourselves. Here are some of the staff’s favorite desserts.

  • Katy enjoys lemon squares and homemade banana “ice cream” (which is actually just blended, frozen bananas!).
  • Matthew is more into appetizers and entrees, but has a long-held love for zabaglione—a light, whipped treat made with sugar, egg yolks and wine.
  • Sarah makes s’mores in the summer, with golden-brown marshmallows and half-melted chocolate inside a graham cracker. Her treat isn’t complete without the smell of the campfire.
  • Don is a chocolate fan, but would usually turn down dessert in favor of a second helping of his meal!
  • Karla loves cheesecake, but it must have a classic cheesecake crust—no New York style for her. She’ll top it with strawberries or other kinds of fruit.  Cheesecake ice cream also has a special place in her heart.
  • Tess likes cheesecake too—it’s one of her many favorites! She also enjoys homemade jellyrolls, strawberry shortcake (especially in the summer) and anything chocolate.
  • Alyssa doesn’t have a huge sweet tooth, but sometimes she’ll indulge in a homemade cannoli.
  • Colleen’s favorite dessert is a local specialty called “Chocolate Decadence.” It’s a bit hard to describe—something like half-cooked brownie batter and half-baked cookie dough, all topped with homemade whipped cream. Yum!

I’m more of a savory type, but I have a habit of pouring myself a tall glass of chocolate milk before bed. It’s just the right amount of sweet to end my day. And as the summer winds down and the temperature drops, I might start turning to hot chocolate!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Dogs “Speak” in Comic Sans

by Karla Accorto
Summer 2017 Intern

Ever since I was a child, I have loved the Comic Sans font because of how much it resembled my own handwriting, even as my handwriting developed into a more adult-like form. But how did this childlike, whimsical font come into play?

Initially, Comic Sans was created for a digital dog named Rover. While testing a beta version of a Microsoft program, designer Vincent Connare noticed that all of Rover’s speech bubbles were written in Times New Roman, which he thought looked too formal. In his opinion, “Dogs don’t talk in Times New Roman!” and so he set out to remedy the situation.

Using comic books—specifically The Dark Night Returns—as references, Connare worked tirelessly to create a new font, and Comic Sans was born.

Since its inception, Comic Sans has found its way onto many a page, sign or digital interface. Those who favor it praise Comic Sans for being “casual” and “welcoming.” But did you know that Comic Sans is also one of the typefaces preferred by some dyslexic readers? Its unique sans serif quality, clear ascenders and descenders, and spacing between letters help some dyslexic readers distinguish the letters better than some other fonts.

And to think, it all started with a talking dog!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tracing History: A Literary Tour of Ireland’s Great Writers

by Sarah Terrazano
Summer 2017 Intern 

My mom and I are most similar in our Irish heritage and love of reading. We recently traveled to Ireland together and soaked up not just the cloudy countryside, but also Ireland’s rich literary history, by creating our own literary Dublin walking tour.

We began with the Dublin Writers Museum. In an unassuming yet charming eighteenth-century brick house in northern Dublin, we saw unique artifacts like an early edition of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and a rotary dial phone that belonged to Samuel Beckett.

We left the museum to see where many Irish writers got their start: Trinity College. It’s the alma mater of Swift, Beckett and other greats like Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker, and you can practically inhale the literary history from this beautiful, historic campus in the heart of Dublin.

Trinity is home to the Old Library, an eighteenth-century building of literary wonders. The Old Library’s massive Long Room is a breathtaking hall with leather-bound books stacked floor-to-ceiling and marble busts of notable Trinity figures placed at the end of each row. The Long Room is also home to the famous Book of Kells, a ninth-century illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels written in Latin.

For the final leg of the tour, we hit the streets of Dublin to find two iconic statues: James Joyce, leaning on a cane, and Oscar Wilde, lounging on a boulder—telltale smirk and all!

Image Credit: DAVID ILIFF

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Read Like PSG: Our Reading Habits

by Katy Rosen
Summer 2017 Intern

When I delve into a book, I like to read every chapter name before I start in. I always like to have some idea of what I’m getting into. This is a practice I sort of fell into, though I never realized the other PSG staff members might also have curious reading habits they’ve fallen into!
·      Alyssa’s main habit, which she gets a lot of flack about, is to read the last few pages or the final chapter of a book. She likes to make sure the main character meets a happy end before investing her time.
·      Matthew reads the summary on the jacket or the back cover, then flips to random pages to determine if the style and content is engaging. He is also using Audible more now these days, so he can listen and multitask.
·      Eileen will go months without reading, pick up a book, and finish it in a single sitting!
·      Rachel will often get so caught up in characters’ conversations that she’ll skim and only read dialogue. She wishes she could get out of this habit, but she always makes sure she goes back and reads what she skipped.
·      Sarah always starts with the “About the Author” section to determine who is pulling the strings of her book.
·      Colleen avoids spoilers at all costs, meaning she never looks at chapter titles ahead of time, and even goes so far as to put her hand over upcoming text on a page, in fear of spoiling something even seconds too soon. 
·      If Karla gets into a good mystery novel where the anticipation is killing her, she’ll flip to the end and read the last sentence. Most of the time, it doesn’t make sense, but she enjoys having some knowledge of the ending.

The PSG staff clearly have a love for all things literary, but the ways in which we express that love differ quite a bit!

Image Credit: Christopher Michel, Ladakh

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

See the World Without Leaving Times Square

by Rachel Matthews
Summer 2017 Intern

There’s something oddly comforting about seeing everyday objects scaled down to miniature size. It reminds me of the days of dollhouses and army men, when I controlled my own tiny worlds. I can only imagine the thrill of seeing Gulliver’s Gate: a tiny world of epic proportions.

Since May 9, 2017, visitors to Times Square could pay to enter the 50-thousand-square-foot exhibition of miniatures known as Gulliver’s Gate. Inside, they could see models of sites from all over the world—87 times smaller than the originals!

Gulliver’s Gate was named after Jonathan Swift’s fantastical novel Gulliver’s Travels, in which an adventurer encounters new places (including Lilliput, an island country where he is considered a giant) that change his view of the world. The project aims to create that change in its visitors.

The mini locations feature such landmarks as Grand Central Station and the Abbey Road crosswalk—complete with tiny Beatles! Visitors receive keys that they can turn within the exhibit to make things move. Turn one at Loch Ness, and a certain infamous monster just might pop out!

If you visit this magical world, and you find it too hard to leave, don’t worry: visitors can have their bodies scanned into mini-mes, and leave them as Gulliver’s Gate residents!