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Adding my Shared Items from Google Reader as daily blog entries
|| 12/22/2008 || 5:25 pm || Comments Off on Adding my Shared Items from Google Reader as daily blog entries || ||

I’ve found that the number one reason why I don’t post more blog entries is that I’m busy reading other blogs. For the last moth I’ve been working on a means to add these blog entries here, and I’ve finally gone ahead & troubleshooted all the bells & whistles to begin doing this.

First I added a widget from Google that shows my 10 most recent shared items to the sidebar on the right side of the blog. These show up in realtime and link to the various blog entries that I’ve liked. Secondly, I’ve added the Postalicious plugin that subscribes to my Shared Items RSS feed and will aggregate the shared items each day. Then they will automatically be posted in the mornings at 8am under the title “DAILY LINKS.” I’m hoping they’ll become a nice feature for this website that will not require too much extra effort.

One issue that I’ve found to be slightly annoying with this route is that since I am reading the blogs through an RSS reader that is subscribed to blogs that use Feedburner, many of the links that I’ll be posting are not the direct links themselves, but forwarding links. This means that over time these links are likely to degrade more quickly than the actual blog URLs because Feedburner might upgrade their permalink structure rendering these links useless in a couple years. I guess I’ll just have to deal with this issue as times go on, but I’m aware of it and will try to figure out a means to share the direct URLs in the future.



Geospatial art created by exploiting search engine aggregation algorithms
|| 12/10/2008 || 6:22 pm || Comments Off on Geospatial art created by exploiting search engine aggregation algorithms || ||

The other day I noticed that there were literally hundreds of search engine results that contain a fictitious url to a page on my website that didn’t exist. It appears that Internet bots have exploited an issue with search engine aggregation algorithms to trick them into showing a bogus search result for a page that never existed on my website. Throughout the internet there are numerous pages that contain https://nikolasschiller.com/showthread.php?XXXXX and when people clicked on the bogus link they were brought to a 404 page. Last night I created a copy of this website’s splash page and renamed the file showthread.php. Now when people click on the fake link in the fraudulently created search engine result, they are brought to my website’s beautifully abstract splash page. Today I’ve been receiving all sorts of random visitors!



UPDATE – 12/13/08 – I’ve decided to change the page slightly and add the word FAIL to the landing page. The reason for this is because the person landing on the page failed to find what they were looking for.



Found RSS Art in the Grand Juxtaposition
|| 11/18/2008 || 4:11 pm || Comments Off on Found RSS Art in the Grand Juxtaposition || ||

Screen grab of the juxtaposition of a detail from Good Hope Quilt #2 and my RSS Art

The image above was generated by my recent creation “the Grand Juxtaposition.” I’m posting it because I have not been blogging lately and one of the best ways to stay up to date with what is being posted to my blog is through Really Simple Syndication aka RSS. Click the graphic above to subscribe.



My New York Map Society Presentation at the New York Public Library
|| 10/4/2008 || 7:03 pm || Comments Off on My New York Map Society Presentation at the New York Public Library || ||

Below are the “slides” used in my presentation for the New York Map Society. Culled from the last four years of entries on this website, the selected maps show the range of my cartographic endeavors. What is missing, however, is my explanation of why I chose each slide.

The presentation was was supposed to go for about 45 minutes and have about 15 minutes of Q&A, instead it went for about 75 minutes and had about 15 minutes of Q&A. In all, I felt it was a very successful presentation and I deeply grateful for the New York Map Society for inviting me and the wonderful staff at the New York Public Library for their assistance.






Sensor Spatial Analysis





Park Circle Quilt – Quicktime Virtual Reality





North, South, East, Westminster – Outdoor Installation

View the entire presentation:

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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.


Related Crime Entries:



Vacation
|| 6/29/2008 || 10:06 am || Comments Off on Vacation || ||

I just realized that I never published this entry before I went on vacation from both the daily entries to this blog and out of the DC area. Often I write entries to this blog and keep it private until I am ready to publish it. This allows me to refine the content before it’s captured for eternity by search engines. I am back dating this entry to the date it was supposed to appear. I should resume activity sometime in late July…



This week is the four year anniversary of my geospatial art
|| 6/27/2008 || 5:27 pm || Comments Off on This week is the four year anniversary of my geospatial art || ||

Random geospatial art from somewhere on this website

This week marks the fourth year anniversary of when I started to publish my geographic designs on a this website. In the time since, which feels like only yesterday, I’ve published over 750 different creations on this website, which amounts to nearly 2,500 different image details. At first I started creating them partly as a quest for self-discovery and partly as a reaction to the fact that I was not able to graduate from college due financial circumstances. I wanted to document what I had learned, produced, researched, and published while on permanent sabbatical. After witnessing how my old housemate had to deal with on-line strangers on her now-defunct blog, I decided to do something that no other blogger had ever done before, I chose to keep the contents of my website hidden from web crawlers and subsequently, most strangers. This kept this website off the map of the internet for nearly 4 years. Only recently in March of this year, exactly one year after an internationally syndicated article was published about this website, did I open my website up to the dreaded robots. I don’t know where this year will lead me, but I’m glad I’ve made enough maps to point me in the right direction.

Check the aggregate listings: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008.



Definitely not Comcastic
|| 6/23/2008 || 1:12 pm || Comments Off on Definitely not Comcastic || ||

For the last two weeks the internet has been down at my house. This makes it nearly impossible to do daily blog entries. I hope to get back to the regular routine once the internet is back up….



In Praise of a Contented Mind / My Mind to me a Kingdom is
|| 6/12/2008 || 12:19 am || Comments Off on In Praise of a Contented Mind / My Mind to me a Kingdom is || ||

Edward de Vere – 17th Earl of Oxford
from an engraving by J. Brown after G.P. Harding 1575
via Wikipedia


In Praise of a Contented Mind
My mind to me a kingdom is;
Such perfect joy therein I find
That it excels all other bliss
That world affords or grows by kind.
Though much I want which most men have,
Yet still my mind forbids to crave.

No princely pomp, no wealthy store,
No force to win the victory,
No wily wit to salve a sore,
No shape to feed each gazing eye;
To none of these I yield as thrall.
For why my mind doth serve for all.

I see how plenty suffers oft,
How hasty climbers soon do fall;
I see that those that are aloft
Mishap doth threaten most of all;
They get with toil, they keep with fear.
Such cares my mind could never bear.

Content I live, this is my stay;
I seek no more than may suffice;
I press to bear no haughty sway;
Look what I lack my mind supplies;
Lo, thus I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring.

Some have too much, yet still do crave;
I little have, and seek no more.
They are but poor, though much they have,
And I am rich with little store.
They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
They lack, I leave; they pine, I live.

I laugh not at another’s loss;
I grudge not at another’s gain;
No worldly waves my mind can toss;
My state at one doth still remain.
I fear no foe, nor fawning friend;
I loathe not life, nor dread my end.

Some weigh their pleasure by their lust,
Their wisdom by their rage of will,
Their treasure is their only trust;
And cloaked craft their store of skill.
But all the pleasure that I find
Is to maintain a quiet mind.

My wealth is health and perfect ease;
My conscience clear my chief defense;
I neither seek by bribes to please,
Nor by deceit to breed offense.
Thus do I live, thus will I die.
Would all did so as well as I!



Last night I was adding some new books to my shelves and decided to look at my old copy of the Norton Anthology of English Literature. I opened it up, turned a few pages and stumbled on to In Praise of a Contented Mind. It’s anonymous poem most commonly attributed to Edward Dyer but according to Norton, it was possibly written by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (painting above). According to the Oxfordian Theory, some believe that Edward de Vere was the poet who’s pseudonym was Shakespeare. I hold the opinion that Shakespeare was most likely a group of nobles who collaborated together to write under the pseudonym of Shakespeare because their status as nobles prevented their official authorship.

In 1588 William Byrd set the poem to music in Psalms, Sonnets, and Songs of Sadness and Piety, as “My Mind to me a Kingdom is.” This version (below) is attributed to Sir Edward Dyer and includes some modification to the original prose.



My Mind to me a Kingdom is
My minde to me a kingdome is,
such perfect joy therin I find,
That it excells all other blisse,
which God or Nature hath assign’d.
Though much I want, that most would have,
yet still my mind forbids to crave.

No princely port nor welthie store,
no force to winne a victorie,
no wyly wit to salve a sore,
no shape to winne a loving eye:
to none of these I yeld as thrall,
for why my minde despise them all.

I see that plentie surfeits oft,
and hastie clymbers soonest fall:
I see that such as are a loft,
mishap doth threaten most of all:
these get with toyle and keepe with feare,
such cares my minde can never beare.

I presse to beare no haughtie sway,
I wish no more then may suffice:
I doe no more than well I may,
look what I want my minde supplies,
loe thus I triumph like a King,
my minde content with any thing.

I laugh not at anothers losse,
nor grudge not at anothers gaine:
no worldly waves my minde can tosse,
I brooke that is anothers bane:
I feare no foe nor fawne on friend,
I loth not lyfe nor dread mine end.

My wealth is health and perfect ease,
and conscience cleere my chiefe defence,
I never seeke by brybes to please,
nor by desert to give offence:
thus doe I live, thus will I dye,
would all did so as well as I.



The score was mass produced as a broadside where it remained popular for over 100 more years. According to google, this posting is between the 15th and 30th mention of this poem on the internets.


click below to download a PDF of the score:


Related Poetry Entries:

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A coded message in the last article from the Washington Post’s Linton Weeks
|| 5/29/2008 || 3:23 pm || Comments Off on A coded message in the last article from the Washington Post’s Linton Weeks || ||

Yesterday I stumbled across this article on Reddit. Its a simple article about John Updike, but it’s also the author’s last article for the Washington Post because the newspaper is laying off / buying out a number of their journalists. As you can see below, Linton Weeks included a cute coded message for his long-time readers:

Updike Reads The Lines in American Art
Jefferson Lecturer Tackles Nation’s Quest for Identity
By Linton Weeks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 24, 2008; Page C07

Give novelist and sometime art critic John Updike credit. The 2008 National Endowment for the Humanities Jefferson Lecturer tried to answer the thorny question: “What is American about American art?”

Onstage at the Warner Theatre Thursday night, in front of 1,900 culture lovers, the angular, silver-haired Updike used more than 60 images, ranging from formal mid-18th-century portraits by Bostonian John Singleton Copley to the hyper-realistic late-20th-century renderings of Richard Estes, to make his point: “The American artist . . . born into a continent without museums and art schools, took nature as his only instructor, and things as his principal study.”

One of the salient traits of this country, he told the gathering, is an urge to define what is American. To delineate the romantic wildness of our nature. To search for a national self-image. That desire to map the New World is reflected in the tight classicist tradition of American art.

Drawing rules in this country’s artwork, Updike said. He quoted a European-trained artist who criticized Copley — the first American to exhibit a painting in Europe — for being too “liney.” That is, too reliant on the drawing in his paintings and not free enough with color and light.

By tracing that harsh “lineyness” in American painting, and juxtaposing it against a freer, more colorful romantic “painterliness” in other work, Updike laid out a convincing answer to his overarching what-is-American question.

Yet he did it subtly. Flashing slides of well-knowns, such as Gilbert Stuart, Winslow Homer, Grant Wood and Norman Rockwell, Updike pointed out the distinctions.

European-influenced artists, such as Homer and John Singer Sargent, tended toward the painterly; more purely American artists, such as Copley and Thomas Hart Benton, toward the liney.

Reading from a text, Updike, 76, spoke in a raspy voice. The presentation moved quickly. An invitation to deliver the Jefferson Lecture is the loftiest award given by the federal government for “distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities,” and there was a patriotic air to the affair.

Even the U.S. Marine Band showed up to play before the ceremony.

At no point during the speech did Updike, or the slideshow technology, falter. The address was based on “Picturing America,” an NEH initiative to distribute reproductions of American paintings to schools and libraries.

Diversity was nearly absent in Updike’s presentation. The painters he referred to were mostly males of European descent, a cohort he referred to as “that least hip of demographic groups.” He did not, for instance, mention the extraordinary American painter Mary Cassatt, who became an expatriate.

Either ignored or overlooked, as well, was any reference to a 19th-century European debate — similar to the liney-painterly dichotomy — between classicist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and romanticist Eugène Delacroix.

Regardless, Updike’s lecture was high-minded and provocative — like most of his work.

Soon after the talk ended, the patrons repaired to the Willard Hotel for a wine-and-sweets reception. So did Updike.

All I can say is: well done and I hope the next job is even better!





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  • thank you,
    come again!