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Backpacking Photos from Pike National Forest in Colorado
|| 8/4/2010 || 12:04 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Random Photograph from my backpacking trip in Pike National Forest in Colorado

Last month while I was in Colorado I spent about 14 hours in Pike National Forest. The plan was to leave Monday, July 26th, hike into the state park, find an appropriate camping spot, spend the night, in the morning attempt to climb Sentinel Point, and then return in the afternoon of Tuesday, July 27th. We were able to accomplish some of those plans, but not all of them.

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A T-Rex Google Map On My Neighborhood Via Twitter
|| 3/15/2010 || 11:23 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

The other day I allowed Twitter to track my location. Much to my chagrin, the map that was created looks awful. At first I thought it looked like PacMan and now I’ve come to the conclusion that it looks like T-Rex, and that ‘T’ stands for Twitter.



Twitter T-Shirt Design: “I PREFER TO BE FOLLOWED @USERNAME”
|| 8/24/2009 || 8:15 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

An Animated GIF of a t-shirt for Twitter Users

I recently saw a photo on-line of someone’s hand-written white shirt that basically said “follow me @USERNAME” and was inspired to modify his concept. Thus the image above is by no means an original design. However, I was looking through other t-shirts featuring roughly the same notion, and very few used the concept of following @USERNAME placed on the back side of the shirt. Most of the tacky shirts on customization websites merely mention that the wearer is on twitter or ‘huge or twitter,’ but since they are generic and don’t mention the user’s actual name, they have little practical use. In this design, the Twitter Bird (does she have a name?) extends the branding to visually legitimize the @USERNAME. Replace the stylized Twitter Bird with your company’s logo and, in theory, you’ve got a brand & social marketing t-shirt campaign. Or what about an entirely fake URL? “I PREFER TO BE FOLLOWED BY @JESUS” Or “I PREFER TO BE FOLLOWED BY @SPAM” By using an incorrect @USERNAME the wearer is poking fun at the nature of the website, but paradoxically advertising the @USERNAME. Since I joined Twitter I’ve taken issue with the lexical aspect of following people and while I’ll eventually start following (in name) people, I am curious about how this t-shirt design will slowly creep into the mainstream. On the other hand, I hope its not from people buying this shirt, which is cool in concept, but also somewhat aesthetically tacky.



Google Maps: Add the Contour Interval to the Legend of your Terrain maps
|| 8/6/2009 || 3:56 pm || 5 Comments Rendered || ||

Nearly every printed topographic map I’ve ever looked at has the contour interval, otherwise known as the distance between contour lines, listed in the legend. Depending on the scale of the map, the contour interval ranges from 1 foot to hundreds of feet between each successive contour line. The contour interval allows the map reader to instantly know the relative steepness & flatness of the topography in the map at one quick glance. Because of this crucial information, a topographic map is considered incomplete when it does not disclose this information to the reader.

Enter the Terrain feature of Google Maps. Released to the public in November of 2007, the contour lines were subsequently added in April of 2008. I hadn’t really given the feature much use until last week when I was planning my weekend excursion to the Shenandoah mountains. I was trying to figure out the altitude variation on my friends property by finding where their property line started & ended and calculating the elevation change. Since their property lies on the side of a mountain, I wanted to know the altitude at the bottom of the property and the altitude of the highest portion of the property, and subtract the difference to find the total elevation variance.

What I found out instead was that Terrain function of Google Maps was lacking the contour interval declaration in the legend. As with all their maps, the lower left-hand corner showed the units of distance on the map, but was missing the topographical information provided by the contour interval declaration.

In lieu of ever getting a response from Google Maps after previous queries, I decided to send a tweet to Google Maps:

Screen grab of my tweet to Google Maps

I wasn’t really expecting a response, but a couple hours later I received this response on Twitter:

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Dreaming of being on the Metro then one hour & seventeen minutes later a Metro train crashes
|| 6/22/2009 || 10:29 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

So around 3:30pm I awoke from my afternoon nap and Twittered that I had two vivid dreams at 3:45pm. About an hour and seventeen minutes after I posted that, while I was sitting on my front porch reading today’s paper, the worst train crash in the history of Metro took place. This type of dream prescience has happened before, so before the dream goes into the deep recesses of my memory, I am going to briefly transcribe what I remember. The following recollection was written at shortly after 6:05pm on June 22nd:

The dream started out inside of a train that looked and felt like a Metro train traveling at somewhat high speeds. However it seemed to be moving faster than normal, or maybe that was just the nature of the dream. Behind me was what looked like an airline pilot and a lady in a business suit. We were talking about how it was nice to be traveling on the train and then the conversation made its way to Accela. Where I turned around and said, “But it still uses the same rail lines as the regular trains.” They both laughed and then the train went completely silent as we rolled on. The silence reminded me of when I am on the Metro and the AC goes off and this audible static goes away for a brief moment. As we roll on down the track in silence this portion of the dream ends….

I then found myself floating above Nationals Stadium. A batter has hit a baseball deep into the outfield. Instead of a normal wall, there a crowd of teenagers who are in the field with baseball mitts and one of them catches the ball and then the crowd of teenagers disperses. No once can see who took the baseball. Then the crowd of the stadium starts to sing in unison to the tune of “Happy Birthday To You,” a phrase that causes those in the stadium to break out in laughter, “Where is the baseball, Where is the baseball, Where IS the baseballllll, Where is the baseball?” Shortly after this scene the dream ends.

I found it interesting that my mind had created something both funny and completely new in the context that I tend to think of dreams as a subconcious means of rehashing ideas and visions that have taken place in my waking life. Every part of the train sequence was rehashed from experiences of being on Metro and Accela trains, but the baseball portion was different. I have never created a somewhat humorous song while sleeping. However, its the train portion of the dream that is still haunting me.



UPDATE: To make matters more eerie, it turns out that two of the fatalities in the train actually resemble the two people I was talking to on the train in my dream. The pilot who died, Maj. Gen. David F. Wherley Jr., was involved in protecting Washington, DC during the whack events on 9/11, which is the source of my previous dream and he was sitting next to his wife, who also died. I got a chill down my spine after looking at their photos. However, unlike my dream, we were all sitting in the back of the train, not the front where they were actually sitting. I specifically remember turning around to speak with them because they were behind me and from my experiences on Metro trains the seats at the end of the car tend face the direction of the trains movement. Moreover, the lead cars, where the conductor is located and where they were sitting, have fewer seats than the back of the train. Regardless, I’m still a bit shaken by this synchronicity.





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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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