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The Localized Nationalism of Sports Jerseys
|| 9/30/2009 || 6:47 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

On Sunday I snapped this photograph of a vendor’s rack of soccer jerseys at FiestaDC. As a Latin American street festival, FiestaDC is not only about the sharing of culture, its also about taking pride in one’s own cultural heritage. Many people wore their country’s traditional clothing and brandished flags of their home country, and when I spotted these jerseys, I began thinking about the relationship between sports and cultural identity. I like soccer and all, but I don’t think I’d ever wear a soccer jersey with the American flag on it. Same with a sports team from my hometown, not wearing it.




Rhetorical Question: Which jersey above is an American territory that is treated like Washington, DC as far as congressional representation, but doesn’t have to pay Federal taxes?



Timelapse YouTube Video of the Crowd at FiestaDC
|| 9/29/2009 || 4:48 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

On Sunday afternoon I filmed this timelapse video of the crowd of people at FiestaDC walking down Mount Pleasant Street in Northwest, Washington, DC. My good friend has an apartment right above the street which made for some awesome people watching (I think I called it “people watching caviar”). This elevated perspective allowed me to capture this unique footage of the festival participants. The audio in the video is from a separate recording of the same location played at normal speed. I did this to capture the sound of the festival without having to resort to some cheesy music playing over the timelapse video. As for the opening title sequence, I decided to play around with the fonts of the title for 15 frames each. I don’t really know why I did that except to add some random flair to the footage.



Growing a Jaloro plant on my back deck – Part Five [The Second Harvest]
|| 9/28/2009 || 4:47 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Photographs of my Jaloro plant with multi-colored peppers

This set of pictures is the final part of the series showing my Jaloro plant. As you can see from the previous entries (below), this Jaloro plant has been quite bountiful this summer. I germinated the seed indoors sometime in February which allowed the plant to grow larger than it would have under normal outdoor growing conditions. In all, even with the spider mite infestation, this plant has yielded over 80 beautifully colored peppers. I have saved many of the seeds and I hope to grow this plant again next year.

View the rest of the photos:

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Map of Westminster Street NW in Washington, DC from 1921
|| 9/27/2009 || 4:46 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Last year I published Then & Now Birds-Eye Views of the Westminster Neighborhood in Washington, DC [1884 & 2005] and earlier today I came across some new maps of the street I’ve lived on for the last 5 years. This map comes from the 1921 edition of Baist’s real estate atlas of surveys of Washington, District of Columbia. It shows the neighborhood pretty much as it is today except for the neighborhood playground that currently sits where houses 193-196 used to be and some of the stables & garages people had constructed in their backyards have been removed.

Below is the citation from the Library of Congress entry:

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Who Carries 8 Quarters? Photographs of the Wall Street Journal Newspaper Vending Machine Which Takes Credit Cards
|| 9/26/2009 || 4:42 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Photograph of the Wall Street Journal Newspaper Vending Machine

The other day I was outside of a Metro station in Clarendon, Virginia and noticed this unique Wall Street Journal vending machine. Its the first time I’ve seen a newspaper vending machine take credit cards. But then again, who carries 8 quarters in their pocket?

View the other two photos:

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The Scourge of this Summer’s Garden: Spider Mites
|| 9/25/2009 || 4:43 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

I first noticed the green bean plants in my backyard starting die but didn’t realize that it was a pest. I simply thought the plant was receiving too much sunlight and not enough water. As the leaves wilted on the green bean plant, I sincerely wondered if the ground might have been contaminated by some foreign chemical. On my 3rd floor deck, where I was already growing my Basil plant and my Jaloro pepper plant, I decided to plant some of the seeds harvested from first green bean plant in my backyard. About a month later the green bean plant was showing the same discoloration on the leaves. Again, I didn’t think much of it. I simply thought the green bean plant was not suited to either this climate or the soil I was using. I continued to let the green bean plant grow and the rest of the leaves slowly wilted. Then I noticed that my Jaloro plant was showing discoloration on the leaves. As a pepper plant, I knew it was designed to receive ample sunlight, and the discoloration raised the final flag. I decided to turn the leaf over, squint my eyes, and there they were, spider mites.

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In the classroom #5 – Iceland Academy of the Arts
|| 9/24/2009 || 1:41 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

About 5 minutes after I woke up this morning I noticed someone had entered the chat room on my website. Apparently I was discussed during the class lecture and a student decided to ask me some questions. Below is a brief snippet of the conversation:


Guest has joined.
Nikolas Schiller: hello
Guest: hello
Im an art student from Iceland
Nikolas Schiller: ahhh, cool
Guest: and I am now sitting in class listening to a lecture about you
Nikolas Schiller: really?
Guest: Yes, about is art a geological thing, differs from you place off living
it seams you live on the internet
Nikolas Schiller: well more than other people— its 9:36am in Washington, DC
I just woke up
Guest: good morning, its after one in the afternoon here
Nikolas Schiller: I am rather surprised to hear that I’m being taught about in Iceland. I don’t have any maps of Reykjavik.
Guest: this is unreal. do you think art is art if no one can see it? this is the class question?
Nikolas Schiller: art is a personal journey. if you draw something in the sand for your eyes only, you still are able to enjoy it. The question is, is art only art if it can be shared?
Guest: yeh, so if more than one persone can enyoe it, or …ok, good to hear from you
Nikolas Schiller: I think art is a personal thing— its always in the eye of the beholder. Like you can have a sketchbook full of your own art, but you are under no obligation to share it because once you do, you must face the criticism of others. If you keep it to yourself, its still your art, just only you know about it.
Nikolas Schiller: Your IP address says that you are at Iceland Academy of the Arts.
Guest: it was a class lecture for a course called Art In Translation.
Nikolas Schiller: Very cool. Have a great day!


Related Classroom Entries:



Map of Teacher Starting Salary vs. Annual Amount Spent on Inmates
|| 9/23/2009 || 11:50 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Map of Teacher Starting Salary vs. Annual Amount Spent on Inmates

I found this map through a friend’s link on Facebook. It shows how each state pays it’s new teachers compared to the amount that each state spends on each inmate. I was quite surprised to see the variance in starting pay throughout the United States.

In summary:

  • Alabama is the only state to pay their new teachers $20,000 more than what is spent on each inmate
  • 23 states pay their new teachers $10,000 – $19,999 more than what is spent on each inmate
  • 6 states pay their new teachers $5,000 – $9,999 more than what is spent on each inmate
  • 8 states pay their new teachers $2,000-$2,999 more than what is spent on each inmate
  • 6 states pay their new teachers about the same that is spent on each inmate (+/- $1,999)
  • Massachusetts & Oregon spend $2,000-$2,999 more on each inmate than each new teacher
  • Wisconsin spends $3,000-$3,999 more on each inmate than each new teacher
  • Rhode Island spends $4,000-$4,999 more on each inmate than each new teacher
  • Maine & Minnesota spend $5,000 more on each inmate than each new teacher

Fortunately, more states (38) pay their new teachers more than inmates. But the larger issues comes to my mind. Do these inmates even belong in jail? Are they being incarcerated due to a non-violent crime? Conversely, do violent criminals need more attention and therefore more money needs to be spent on them? Should we, as a society, be paying our new teachers more money in order to prevent people from not receiving a complete education, resorting to crime, and ending up in jail? I will not attempt to answer these questions, but I will say that America has more people incarcerated than any other country in the world and I hope this changes.


*The District of Columbia is excluded from this map



Violent Crime In My Neighborhood Has Increased Over 100% in the Last Year
|| 9/22/2009 || 1:43 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Last week my City Councilmember, Jim Graham, sent an e-mail about the drop in crime over the last 30 days to my neighborhood association listserv and included various local government officials like the DC Police Chief, Cathy Lanier. The e-mail featured two graphs of data from DC’s Crime Map that covered the police service area of my neighborhood and showed the crime statistics of August to September of 2008 compared to August to September of 2009. What the graph lacked, however, was the hyperlocal angle of the crime taking place in the immediate vicinity of the block that we live on and the larger picture showing the other 11 months of crime data.

As a two-time victim of violent crime last year in my neighborhood, on my front doorstep & at the end of the block, I was fully aware that the data in the graphs included me, so I felt compelled to use the very same tool my councilmember used to analyze the extent of the crimes that have recently taken place. The result genuinely stunned me and I proceeded to respond to his e-mail (text below) with the two maps (above & below) that show the various crimes that have taken place in my neighborhood.

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Photographs from Park(ing) Day DC 2009
|| 9/21/2009 || 11:05 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Photograph from Parking Day DC 2009

Last Friday I attended the first celebration of Park(ing) Day in Washington, DC. Originally conceived & celebrated in 2005 by the artist/activism group ReBar in San Francisco, the concept behind Park(ing) Day is quite simple: reclaim urban space normally taken by cars by taking over different parking spaces for the day and turning them into temporary parks.

Organized by the contributors of the blogs ReadysetDC & F1RSTNR, the original concept for last week’s inaugural Park(ing) Day DC involved four locations around Washington, DC, but at the last minute the DC Department of Transportation threw up some large impediments that made the day’s planned celebration nearly impossible to execute. According to one of the organizers, among the various obstacles that DCDOT came up with was that they wanted the organizers to have large concrete jersey barriers to prevent cars from plowing through the temporary park (really?!).

After hearing about this issue, I mentioned the old direct action maxim: it’s easy to beg for forgiveness, then to beg for permission. As in, if the organizers would have just gone ahead and setup their temporary park(ing) spots and let the police and DCDOT deal with the matter in real-time, they could have ‘begged for forgiveness’ and made a scene in the process. The other way around, being lawful citizens that is, involves going to the DCDOT asking for permission (aka permits) and if the authority isn’t too keen on the concept (which it appears they weren’t) they can make it impossible to undertake.

Thus result was more of a Park(ing) Lot Day than a Park(ing) Day, but that didn’t stop the fun that was had by all the participants. The day’s savior was the owner of the local business Garden District, who currently owns a vacant lot at the corner of 14th & S streets, and allowed the Park(ing) Day organizers to set up there. The organizers drove out to Virginia and picked up 1,500 pounds of sod and laid it down over the asphalt and created their own temporary urban park, which ended up being much larger than a parking space would have been! They also sourced some plants, furniture, books, 3D chalk, christmas lights, and even a badminton set; all of which made the lot more of a corner park for people to hang out at.

Photograph from Parking Day DC 2009

I arrived around 3pm and hung out with everyone, took a few photos (above & below) and even made a couple new friends. Around 5:30pm I left and went to a friend’s house to get equipment for the show at the Black Cat later in the evening. And after setting up for the show, I went back to the Park(ing) [Lot] and helped them cleanup park. In all, I had a great time. Next year, however, I am aiming for having a park in the central business district. Check the other photographs I took:

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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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