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15th Street on YouTube || North Meets South || A Game of Locational Awareness [part 2]
|| 12/3/2009 || 2:50 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

click image above to view

On August 5th, 2008 I made the first version of this mashup, East Meets West and with the newly created contraflow bicycle lane on 15th Street NWDC, I decided to make the second version, North Meets South.

The two videos were taken from one continuous video recording that I conducted while riding on my bicycle from U Street & 15th Street to Massachusetts Ave & 15th Street and back. At home I split the videos into North & South and used the crosswalks as the starting & ending points. The object of this video mashup is to find the exact time when the two recordings pass each other on opposite sides of the street.


A few notes:

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Squelched [A Sunday Comic from 1896]
|| 10/19/2009 || 3:57 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Squelched - A Bicycle Comic published on Sunday April 26th, 1896 in the Washington Times

Mr. Biker – You seem to think more of your bicycle than you do of me.
Mrs. Biker – Why not? It supports me nicely; besides it is not so easily broke.


Originally published by the Washington Times on Sunday, April 26th, 1896


My new internet addiction as of late has been trolling through the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers archive. It’s officially apart of the National Digital Newspaper Program, which is a joint project between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress to create and maintain a publicly available, online digital archive of historically significant newspapers published in the United States between 1836 and 1922. There are currently about a million pages to comb through and I’m only just starting!



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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YouTube Video of an Arrest Last Night Outside of the 7-11 at 12th & U Street, NW, DC
|| 8/31/2009 || 5:33 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Last night I had just finished playing movies at Restaurant Marvin and was heading home on my bicycle. I decided to get a snack before I arrived home and the only place open at that time was the nearby 7-11. As I arrived at the corner of 12th & U street, I saw the two men struggling on the ground, with one man in a headlock, and the 7-11 employee had just rushed back into the store. Right after I dismounted my bicycle, I could hear the police sirens approaching, so I pulled out my camera and began filming the moment they arrived. While I was recording, I was also trying to lock my bicycle to the pole, so there are a few times when I accidentally placed my finger over the microphone and/or the camera hits the pole itself. After I lock my bike up, and it looked as though the police had the area under control, I made my way inside and stopped recording. When I left the store I started recording again and made my way back over to where my bicycle was locked. This time I placed the camera on the ground below the pole while I unlocked my bicycle, and a few moments later I picked up the camera and rode home.

Being that I arrived at the scene after the two men had already begun struggling, I cannot remark on the nature of what happened before I got there. I’m am happy that no one was shot or killed and the police did not appear to use excessive force when detaining the man. I will update this entry if & when I find the police report.



What! A Bicycle Rifle? Yes?
|| 3/3/2009 || 7:14 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Click to view a larger version of the advertisement

So with Congress possibly changing DC gun laws to give DC colonists a token vote in the House of Representatives, I found this advertisement for a bicycle rifle to be somewhat humorous. With this rifle, I can lock & load & cycle and I make sure no one knocks me off my bicycle! I could discharge the rifle at a car’s wheels in case I feel that the car is getting too close to me. Imagine how I’ll be able to proactively protect my life and save myself from getting into accidents with larger vehicles with this handy rifle. I’ll have the most formidable bicycle ever!! The constitution might say we have a right to bear arms, but it doesn’t say anything about the right to have bicycles with arms. I predict the bicycle rifle will become the new Cycle Chic accessory item of Washington, DC cyclists. Just remember, you read it here first.


When I wrote about my neighborhood last year, I mentioned that the League of American Wheelmen competed on May 20th, 1884 on the land that would eventually become my current residence over a hundred years later. The advertisement above is from the program of the competition on the Library of Congress website.


Related Colonist Entries:

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YouTube Video of my bicycle ride through I-395’s 3rd Street Tunnel after Barack Obama’s Inauguration
|| 1/20/2009 || 1:29 pm || Comments Off on YouTube Video of my bicycle ride through I-395’s 3rd Street Tunnel after Barack Obama’s Inauguration || ||

Before Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremonies had finished, I decided to leave the National Mall so I could avoid the large crowds. After I picked up my bicycle near 3rd & Independence Ave SW, I decided to ride in the direction that seemed to have the least amount of people. After about 5 minutes of navigating the streets, I rode up to the 3rd Street tunnel, which had been closed off to vehicular traffic to allow people to enter the National Mall from the south side. Since bicyclists are normally not allowed on this stretch of highway, I decided to get out my camera and film my ride under the National Mall. This video starts as I go into the tunnel and finishes when I exit the tunnel.



A Bike Above The Rest
|| 11/22/2008 || 6:11 pm || Comments Off on A Bike Above The Rest || ||

The other night I was at the Black Cat and spotted this well-locked bicycle. It reminded me of when I spotted a bicycle locked to a tree in August.



Video of “Dub Prices” by Hutchy
|| 9/19/2008 || 11:30 pm || Comments Off on Video of “Dub Prices” by Hutchy || ||

Last month I posted Hutchy’s video of “Gas Prices” and today he released the video of the Gas Prices’ B side called “Dub Prices.” The dub sound consists predominantly of instrumental remixes of existing recordings and is created by significantly manipulating and reshaping the recordings, usually by removing the vocals from an existing music piece, emphasizing the drum and bass frequencies or ‘riddim’, adding extensive echo and reverb effects, and dubbing occasional snippets of lyrics from the original version. In regards to “Dub Prices,” the chorus can still be heard throughout the song, but the vocals have been removed in place of a more “dubbed out” sound. The video takes some of the funnier parts of the first video (like “I <3 Dub”) and mixes it up for one cute video. I especially like the visual reverb effect that the director uses near the end.


Related Music Entries:

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My Weekend in Photos [8/22-8/24]
|| 8/25/2008 || 6:46 am || Comments Off on My Weekend in Photos [8/22-8/24] || ||

The photos below document some of what I saw on Friday, Saturday, and early Sunday morning.

View the rest of the photographs:

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Streetfilms comes to Washington, DC and checks out SmartBikeDC
|| 8/22/2008 || 8:30 pm || Comments Off on Streetfilms comes to Washington, DC and checks out SmartBikeDC || ||

I stumbled on to this short video because I trying to find a Wikipedia entry on SmartBike DC (there isn’t one yet). I was originally going to post two Google Maps (see below) showing the number of stations in DC compared to the number of Velib stations in Paris. The point of the two maps was to show that Clear Channel, which was beat out in Paris by JCDecaux, went a little skimpy when planning and implementing DC’s SmartBike program.

Velib was launched just about a year ago on July 15, 2007, with 10,000 bicycles and 750 automated rental stations each with 15 or more bikes/spaces. This number has since grown to 20,000 bicycles and 1,450 stations, about 1 station every 300 m throughout the city centre, making Velib the largest system of its kind in the world. Washington, DC, on the other hand, started with 10 stations, about 120 bikes, and is the first program of its kind in North America.

While Paris is a much larger city, I am disappointed that with all the hype surrounding the SmartBike program, the planners were not as Smart as they could have been. Had they placed racks at *ALL* DC-based Metro stations before launching I would have bought my SmartBike pass immediately and I bet more would-be bicycle riders would have as well. Until then, I don’t see myself purchasing a pass because I can get to all the current locations on my own bike.

Washington, DC’s natural topography features a hill that surrounds the “Federal City,” or the old part of the city below Florida Ave, which was once called Boundary Street because it was the natural line of demarcation. This hill is what stops me from going to some places on my bike versus taking the Metro. Yet the locations of all the SmartBike stations are located below the hill, so why bother using the bikes when mine works fine for this area? For example, I’d rather take the Metro to Tenleytown, hop on a bike there, and take it down the hill to Georgetown.

Anyways, I still want to make a video called “Doing Dumb Things On A Smart Bike,” but I guess I am going to have to wait…

For a comparison of scale, check these two Google Map screen grabs featuring the locations of the Velib stations and the SmartBikeDC stations:


Velib




SmartBike DC

Related Bicycle Entries:

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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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