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My letter to Councilmember Graham
|| 11/30/2004 || 1:45 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

In response to Zoe’s letter, I drafted one of my own:

Councilmember Graham,

I would like to inform you of my positions these two current matters:
Public funds for the DC Baseball & SW Homeless shelter

As a former Saint Louis, Missouri resident I have recent experience dealing with public financing of sports. Recently Saint Louis residents voted to make sure they were allowed to vote by referendum on the use public funds for sports teams. Right now in Saint Louis, the completely operational and artistically significant Busch Stadium is being replaced by another massive giveaway to the sports industry. Much in the same way that RFK is being passed up for the home of the Nationals.

In the 1990s, to help finance the Rams and the new domed stadium, Saint Louis residents purchased personal seat licenses to help finances. Giving those that care about sports the chance to have limited in ownership, these seat licenses were in essence a direct tax on the people who wanted the sports team. I feel this option is a decent & balanced way for the city to raise funds. The current proposal, from what I’ve read, is a raw deal for the city. If the city is going to flip most of bill it should have more power over its operation to allow poorer DC residents access to the facility. There is no reason that the new stadium can be a mixed use quasi-government facility. However these personal seat licenses favor the wealthy & privileged and I strongly feel that there needs to be price guarantees on all future sports events to allow poorer people access to events which are technically being funded by the government.

I think that the current stadium, RFK, already suits DC’s needs better- why reinvent the wheel? The stadium might not hold as many people, but this can be changed. The Nationals can play in Baltimore on days that the Oriels are playing away games while RFK is expanded & refurbished. Lastly, from a geographical aesthetic standpoint, I like how RFK lies in line with the other DC monuments, and I feel that the new stadium in SE will blemish the water front and reduce the grandeur of the Mall. Also the flight path of planes taking off & landing at DCA might cause sound problems. I can only imagine the National Anthem being muffled by planes.

I have been following the news about the Randall Homeless shelter in SW. I strongly feel that this facility should remain open and properly funded by both the city government and potentially the Corcoran. I think the concept of using city funds to transport impoverished people to another part of the city is reprehensible. Why mask problems by relocation instead of dealing with the issue proactively? As a former child of the welfare system, I believe we need to do our best on behalf of people that are less fortunate and I believe the reopening of the Randall Homeless shelter is very important and a significant step in making Washington, DC the beacon of decency & democracy worldwide.

Thank you very much for your time,
Nikolas Schiller



Back in the belly of the Beast
|| 11/29/2004 || 11:59 pm || Comments Off on Back in the belly of the Beast || ||

I touched back down in DC earlier tonight. I was a great trip, one that went perfectly. I planted my feet in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa. In one week, I spent more time confined in a motor vehicle than all of the time spent in car the entire last year and a half. I took a 20 hour Greyhound bus ride to my hometown of Saint Louis, Missouri. I ended up reading an old college textbook I obtained called “Military Geography,” although much of the content was basic, there was quite a bit of historical military geography examples which made the book slightly more dynamic. I choose it simply because I wanted to become more aware of what might be going through military planners heads.

After arriving in Saint Louis, I met up with one of my best friends and picked up my sister Serena from the airport. The following day my sister, my mom’s fiancé, and I drove through a freak snowstorm to pick up my mother in Quincy, Illinois. I was able to see her new apartment in the historic section of Quincy. She lives in that part of town indigenous to nearly every ante-bellum river town, where the homes have wrap around porches, a carriage house in the back, and are at least 3 stories. If I ever rurally retire it will be in one of these homes.

From Quincy we began driving northwest towards the opposite corner of Iowa; my mom’s hometown of Sioux City. Located on the Missouri river, it was the place where the first person on the Lewis & Clark expedition died- Sergent Floyd. There is even a mini-obelisk (about 150 feet) marking his grave.

This is the 200 year anniversary of their expedition, and I find this pilgrimage back to see my ailing grandfather very poignant. I was in Saint Louis for the beginning of 04, New Years 2004, in STL, home of the Arch- the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and also the site of the 1904 World’s Fair (the 100 year celebration of the expedition!), and to close out 2004, I traveled back to the site of the expedition’s first death to see my dying grandfather.

In all respects he looked surprisingly well being that he had just had a cancerous growth the size of grapefruit removed from his colon, but due to the stroke he suffered a few years back he still isn’t the grandpa I remember from my youth. At the other end of the life spectrum, the pilgrimage back to Sioux City also allowed me to meet the newest members of my disconnected extended family, my two new cousins Connor & Rory. My mother’s brother Richard and his wife Kris adopted Connor over 10 years ago and this was first time we’ve met. He is your quintessential freckled red head with a good deal of wit and intelligence- I can’t wait to see him again. My aunt & uncle also recently adopted Rory, and he really stole the show for me. At just under two years old, he was just a buddle of laughs the entire 3 day stay.

Both my Aunt & Uncle work for Boeing and, from what I understand, work primarily with NASA and private companies making sure the rocket payloads get into space properly. It was pretty damn synchronous finding out that they are directly responsible for the artwork that I’ve been creating. It was also interesting that my uncle is working on getting Digital Globe’s next satellite in space- a satellite that has both commercial and military sensors- I believe it’s called “World View,” (you bet I am going to research this some!).

As for the Thanksgiving meal, I stuffed myself with my grandma’s creamy mashed potatoes and my mom’s special green bean casserole. It was delicious!

Friday, Buy Nothing Day was spent at the Siouxland Mall. I was not really protesting, but actually trying to find my cousin Steve, who works at a sporting goods store in the mall. Being my third Buy Nothing Day, I am slightly disappointed that I didn’t follow up with my original news garnering idea- that being sending a press release to the Sioux City paper about an activist in front of the mall wearing a gas mask with a sign that says “Debt Stinks.” Year One was the credit card drag (the best Buy Nothing Day ever in Saint Louis!). Year Two was me by myself walking around Georgetown with an Adbusters corporate flag cape, a suit, and Dan Quayle Mask handing out Gift Exemption Vouchers….and Year Three? What I did was find that Adbusters Magazine was stocked at the bookstore in the Siouxland Mall. It was even placed in same section as The New Republic and The Weekly Standard, however the magazines were still sealed in the protective plastic and none had been sold. So I took a magazine out of the wrapper and placed it in a different part of the shelf- so on Buy Nothing Day I not only bought nothing, I staged a magazine jam with the hopes that someone picks up the magazine and reads it. I waited until I arrived home to read mine, which had arrived in the mail during my trip, and I must say the “The Big Ideas 2005” is my favorite issue yet. If you haven’t picked up a copy, please do.

We left Saturday morning to drive back to Saint Louis by way of Quincy. Since it was the last leg of my travels by car I took notice of a few things more actively. First off, due to Iowa’s corn subsidies and over production of corn, all premium gasoline (the kind that gives you 2 extra octane and has a 10% ethanol mixture) was the exact same price as the regular gasoline! Gas prices were around $1.69 to $1.89, compared to the $2.15 here in DC. Secondly, I was flabbergasted by the number of “Support Our Troops” ribbons people had on their cars. After 911 the predominant car decorations were bumper stickers that said “Power of Pride” & “God Bless American” and oversized magnetic American flags. The “Support Our Troops” ribbons come in your standard canary yellow, red, white & blue, and even camouflage! 95% of them were place horizontally (instead of the standard vertical) so that passerby’s could read the “Support of Troops” text. I found it interesting that the message was more important than the actual symbol of the ribbon. I mean, what else could a camouflage ribbon signify? There were so many decorated cars that a few times at intersections I found that every card around me had one! Lastly, I only heard one police/ambulance/fire truck siren the ENTIRE trip. It was sonically amazing. When I got off the plane tonight here in DC, I was not outside for more than 30 seconds before I heard the first siren blare. I am going to have to readjust.

I traveled home to Saint Louis by what is known as the poor man’s carriage and I returned back to DC flying first class on American Airlines. In between, I sat in a car more than anytime one time in over a year. And throughout the trip I felt blessed that I was able to realign my fast-paced city perspective and ground myself in the slow moving rural lifestyle, even if it was only for a few days.

While I was gone Adam commandeered the DC Baseball press conference(well done!) and my housemate Jill helped take over a homeless shelter to save it from being sold off. So while I was off in my Red State bliss my friends were busy.

Wednesday I start my new job and I am ridiculously excited. In the past two weeks, I’ve had over 4 different dreams about it and I am anxious/nervous/excited/eager about moving into the 9-5 culture. I am so ready it hurts.

I am going to resume the near daily renderings. I got an idea for creating a “Mother Earth” series while in the middle of Indiana. Although untested, I am going to attempt to load 3D human “poser” figures and attempt to use satellite imagery as textures on their bodies or clothes. I hope it works out- it could turn out to be a very interesting progression in my renderings. As I end most of my posts it seems- We’ll see!



Abstract Saint Louis
|| 11/21/2004 || 3:45 pm || Comments Off on Abstract Saint Louis || ||

I leave tonight to go back to Saint Louis via Greyhound. Its about 20 hours of fun fun fun. I need to go buy a book to read. I got a nifty pocket sized atlas from NIMA last week at the GWU Geography Department’s GIS Day. I look forward to reading that some, but I’ll need something a little more in depth. Regardless, I can’t wait to see my family and more importantly, get out of DC for a week!



Star of Saint Louis
|| 11/20/2004 || 3:48 pm || Comments Off on Star of Saint Louis || ||

I snagged this satellite image of downtown Saint Louis from the National Map a long time ago, but for some reason Bryce would not accept it. I ended up tweaking the image the “right way” and now I have another satellite image to use for my renderings:-) I actually want to make a special rendering with this image when I get back from Sioux City, Iowa. I already know the name I am going to use: “Shadow of Greatness”

Why? Well there are 3 shadows represented in the actual image- one visible, two slightly visible. The visible one is the shadow of the Gateway Arch, and the other two are the Eads Bridge and the TWA logo on the dome.

The Gateway Arch is my favorite monument in the world. Topping out at 630 feet, its 75 feet taller than the Washington Monument, but its the message that it carries that I like the most. Its the same message that the Eads Bridge carries as well- the Gateway to the West.

The Eads Bridge was the first bridge built over the Mississippi River and it was also the first bridge to have both rail and human traffic. After its completion people & goods could finally go coast to coast. Its now used for the Saint Louis Metrolink and the first stop in Illinois is the Casino Queen(also a shadow of a casino!). You gotta love mass transit that takes you places- like casinos!

As for theTWA logo, it has since been replaced with the Edward Jones logo and the airlines, which was once one of the largest airlines in the world, has been purchased by American Airlines. My father has worked for TWA/AA since 1994 and I proudly own quite a bit of vintage TWA apparel.

I think the image will have one large shadow and use the satellite image, but I’m not sure what primitives to use for the actual rendering… Should look pretty cool though :-)



Abstract Brussels
|| 11/19/2004 || 12:59 pm || Comments Off on Abstract Brussels || ||



Abstract DC
|| 11/18/2004 || 12:30 am || Comments Off on Abstract DC || ||

Now compare with a photo of me taken yesterday-



Abstract Netherlands
|| 11/16/2004 || 7:22 pm || Comments Off on Abstract Netherlands || ||

This image kinda looks like a dude in a gas mask. I had no intentions of it looking remotely like that. The wierd part is that it finished rendering on the same day my gask mask was delivered. It took about 10 days, but NBC Gask Masks sold me a nifty product. I’ve practiced putting it on (pretend fire drill style) a few times, but lets hope I never have to use it. Yet living in DC with 4 more years of Bush, I am expecting some acid reflux in the belly of the beast, and Mr. Ridge told me to be prepared, or was that scared? Regardless, I have my gask mask stowed away in my emergency medical kit. I guess you could say I’m a bonofide uncertified first responder.



Star of Brussels
|| 11/13/2004 || 11:39 pm || Comments Off on Star of Brussels || ||



Star of Ganges River Delta
|| || 10:54 am || Comments Off on Star of Ganges River Delta || ||

Star of the Ganges River Delta by Nikolas Schiller

Currently on display at the George Washington University’s Geography Department.



Careers in Geography Project Coordinator
|| 11/10/2004 || 8:45 pm || Comments Off on Careers in Geography Project Coordinator || ||

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WASHINGTON 20009. The Association of American Geographers has a position available for immediate placement at the AAG’s Washington, D.C. office.

Careers in Geography Project Coordinator.

We seek an individual with strong research and Web/graphic design skills to develop a Careers in Geography database and associated set of outreach materials for schools and departments. Partial funding for this position comes from the Geography Education National Implementation Project (GENIP).

The successful applicant will be able to design and analyze detailed surveys and interviews to identify potential and actual career trends, patterns, and opportunities for individuals with 2-year, 4-year, and graduate degrees in geography. This information will be used to construct a statistical database that will be accessible through the Web. The Careers in Geography website will serve many purposes:

1) as a careers advising resource for parents, schools, and departments,
2) as a careers planning resource for middle school, high school, and college students,
3) as a recruiting and outreach tool for geography programs, and
4) as a reference for the public, government agencies, and private industry. Related publications will be produced in a variety of media formats, including CD, print, and online.

The project coordinator will serve as the AAG’s point-person on jobs and careers and will constructively engage the media, private organizations, and federal agencies to communicate the value of geography in the modern workforce. A highly-qualified candidate will have an undergraduate or graduate degree, preferably in geography; possess strong graphic and written communication skills; be experienced in quantitative and qualitative research; and have strong interpersonal skills. Desirable computer skills include proficiency with database, Web, and graphic software. Salary is commensurate with experience.

I am so excited! I think this job is perfect for me!
I can’t wait to start!





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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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