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24 Hours in Rocky Mountain National Park
|| 7/21/2008 || 4:49 pm || Comments Off on 24 Hours in Rocky Mountain National Park || ||

Click here to view the video on the Vimeo website

From 7/10/08 to 7/17/08 I was in Colorado visiting family & friends. On 7/13/08 I went to Boulder to visit my old summer camp buddy, Jourdan. I had originally planned to spend Monday (7/14) in Boulder, but that morning Jourdan suggested a different plan- a plan that involved driving up to Rocky Mountain National Park and checking the backcountry office to see if there were any available campsites. To our chagrin, there was a spot available at Fern Lake, which is located about 4.7 miles from the Bear Lake trailhead.

This video documents our journey into the park, hiking through the park, and driving out of the park. Along the way I showcase the Bear Lake trailhead, the demise of my hiking boots, hiking through snowfields near treeline, waterfalls at the base of the continental divide, fish swimming in a beaver dam at the foot of Fern Lake, and the grand vistas that can be seen in Rocky Mountain National Park.

This video is minimally edited using Quicktime Pro and is composed of a series of video clips taken with my Canon SD750 digital camera at 640×480 at 30 frames per second with mono audio recording.

Had I surrendered my digital camera late Thursday night when I was assaulted, this video would not have been possible.



National Harbor 2006 – A Quicktime Virtual Reality Environment
|| 7/20/2008 || 4:42 pm || Comments Off on National Harbor 2006 – A Quicktime Virtual Reality Environment || ||

76.5mb QTVR showing a 6,000 x 6,000 tessellation of aerial photography featuring the construction site of National Harbor in 2006


This interactive environment was created in late June, but I had forgotten to put it on-line!


On June 21st I was invited to come and check out the new Art Whino gallery in the newly developed plot of land called National Harbor. There is an upcoming new media exhibit and I decided to make this interactive map. More details on the exhibit forthcoming.

There are three different ways to view this map:
1) You can click on the image above and have it load in your browser
2) You can right click on the image above and save the file to your computer
3) Copying the URL above, opening up Quicktime, and pasting the URL into the “Open Url..”

I recommend going with option #2 or #3 because it allows you to resize the window and view more of the map on your computer screen. By going with route #1 you are forced to view it at roughly 320×240 in size (at least using FireFox) which does not full show the size of the map as easily and it also increases the risk of having your browser crash. Route #3 does not permanently save the file on to your hard drive like route #2, but it gives you the same control over the size of the viewing environment.

Since these types of maps are easy to make I think I should start making more of them. I wonder what the largest size I can render is? I shall find out in due time.

Related QTVR:



First Amendment Violation in Lafayette Park yesterday; ACLU contacted
|| 7/19/2008 || 3:29 pm || Comments Off on First Amendment Violation in Lafayette Park yesterday; ACLU contacted || ||

Brave New Voices in Lafayette Park

Youth poets from around the country pose for a group picture at Lafayette Park

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by my friend who owns a sound system that is frequently used for outdoor demonstrations, rallies, and press conferences. Since he has a couple of businesses that siphon much of his time, he normally contacts me about doing the sound for these events. Over the years I’ve helped a wide array of disparate groups amplify their voices and help facilitate their freedom of speech through my sound engineering skills.

Yesterday’s event was organized by a DC non-profit Sol y Soul in conjunction with Youth Speaks‘s 2008 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam. Throughout last week over 450 different youths between the ages of 13 & 19 from around the world came to DC to compete, learn, and forge new friendships through spoken word poetry. This competition culminated into a final competition tonight in Lincoln Theater that will be recorded by HBO for a future episode of their Def Poetry series.

Friday afternoon’s event was called “Hear the Children Speak” and the theme of the poetry was about No Child Left Behind and America’s educational system. The permits allowed the organizers to construct a stage on the west side of Lafayette Park and have me setup a sound system that allowed each student the ability to recite their poetry on the microphone.

For the first two hours everything went superb, then a National Park Police Officer decided that their poetry, their 1st amendment, was too much and told one of the organizers we need to turn off the sound system.

I have done sound at Lafayette Park (also known as President’s Park, which is located just north of the White House) over a dozen times in the last few years and never before I have been told to turn off the sound system. I’ve been told to turn it down, but never off. After consulting with the organizers, I decided to contact the ACLU about what transpired and below is my initial e-mail which lays out exactly what happened:

+ MORE



Assaulted on my doorstep [2 hours after returning to DC]
|| 7/18/2008 || 9:30 am || 11 Comments Rendered || ||

Instead of rewriting the entire account, I am posting the e-mail I wrote to the listserv of my neighborhood association:

Neighbors,

I’m sorry to be writing my ‘return to DC’ e-mail in this context but I feel compelled to share this since it just happened.

For the last 7 days I’ve been in Colorado; first for my mother’s wedding, then for a night in the backcountry of Rocky Mountain National Park, and finally to spend some time with friends in Boulder & Denver. I arrived back on Westminster Street at 12:30am after being delayed for 2 hours in Denver. Since I was not tired yet, I decided to go to my favorite nearby watering hole on 14th & T. After one hour and one drink, I decided to ride my bike back to my house.

Upon arriving on Westminster Street, at approximately 1:36am I dismounted my bicycle behind Mr. Lewis’ white pickup truck parked in front of Mr. Brown’s house. As I passed behind my the truck and was turning toward my front door, I noticed 3 African Americans in their mid-20’s had stopped their car in the middle of the street and started to approach me. The tallest of the three wearing a white tank top and khaki jeans pretended to have a pistol in his back pocket and demanded what I had in my pockets. I backed up to my doorstep refusing their request, using my bicycle as a wall (which did not help much). They came up the steps continuing to demand what I had in my pockets. After refusing again, telling them to go away and that I was at my home, I was punched in the face & body multiple times by the three and was able to fend them off by fighting back and because I was not being knocked out cold by the punches to the face. They did not steal anything from me because I refused and fought back.

Before they drove off, I was able to run into the street and catch much of their license plate: A102108 / A101208 / A108021 (one of the variations [all turned out to be incorrect]), which was a Maryland plate with the orange, yellow, and black hues known as the “agricultural plate.” If my memory serves me, it was a mid/late-90’s gold Ford Thunderbird that they were driving (the car has a uniquely shaped trunk). I called the police who arrived within 5 minutes. Since I was bleeding from the lip the officer had the fire & ambulance come, but I signed the document refusing service ($$!!). There was one woman down the block who witnessed it all and ran inside for her safety. I have her contact information but I don’t think it will matter much because she was so far away and was scared enough to run inside– “I knew something was up when I saw them approach you, so I ran inside” (which I would have done too in her position– by herself at night).

In conclusion, this was the type of freak assault that is really really really hard to prevent. If you have people willing to commit that type of crime, there is very little we can do as a community to prevent it. I ride my bicycle at night for this very reason. Its one thing to be jumped because you are walking down the street alone at night, its a completely different issue when you are literally assaulted on your front doorstep. I moved to the neighborhood in May of 2004 and this is the first time something like this has happened to me. Its just very frustrating because I had just arrived back in the city and was refreshed after being in a place I cherish. Tomorrow I expect to receive a call from the MPD’s detective and I hope to hear some good news, but I’m not keeping my hopes up. If there is any type of follow-up, I will share it.

Your neighbor with cut lips & very sore jaw,
Nikolas Schiller

ps
Keep an eye out for this car:
https://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/bm/94-97tbird.htm
I don’t think that’s the exact car, but its as close as my memory recalls.


I ultimately received dozens of kind e-mails from my neighbors, multiple e-mails from my city councilmember, e-mails from the DC Police, and even a hand written note from a police sergeant explaining why they parked a cop car in front of my house.

This type of response was downright flattering and it made me realize that while I might live a somewhat dangerous city, I live in a community that cares about the wellbeing of its residents.


Why the caption: “sometimes memories are worth fighting for” ?

Well in my pockets were not only my wallet and cellphone, but my brand new digital camera that I had purchased to document my mother’s wedding & excursions in Colorado. Had the thugs pulled out a gun or a knife I would have surrendered everything, but they didn’t, and I knew that if I would have voluntarily handed them the contents I would have lost all the photographs & video clips forever. I’ve heard of stories where thugs have allowed their victims the opportunity to remove the camera’s memory card before stealing the camera, but I was not about to take that chance. I held my ground, got a least one solid punch off (my ring left a scare on my hand indicating that I punched the guy hard enough for the ring dig into my skin), and was able to fight to retain my memories. Memories which I hope to share on this blog in the next few days.


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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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  • thank you,
    come again!