Rochester Lightning Storm

It’s a good thing the RIT Big Shot took place earlier in the evening because shortly after it was all over a storm moved through the area so quickly and forcefully it felt like a hurricane.

I took the (rare) opportunity of being out alone and with my camera to attempt some lightning shots.

Boy am I glad I did!

Timelapse Junkie

I’m a timelapse junkie.  I like creating them, I like watching them, I find (good ones) absolutely stunning.  Not sure when this started but it is what it is.

Recently I’ve noticed a whole slew of them popping up on the ‘tubes and I thought I’d share a few of the good ones.   You’ve probably seen at least one or two of them.   I can watch them all over and over again though, and I’d bet I”m not the only one.

Rochester NY Winter Timelapse by Rochester’s own Mindrelic Photography:

NYC by the same artist:

The Aurora by TSO Photography:

Le Flâneur by Luke Shepard

 

Corn Truck Cleanup

This past Tuesday A semi filled with corn tipped over on interstate 490 downtown.  Since the news didn’t have any up to date pictures I went searching for webcams that showed it.  Soon enough I found 2 that had decent shots of the incedent.  It took about 6 hours from the time of the accident before traffic resumed.  Just in time for rush hour.  So much for a speedy cleanup.  Since I’ve been in the mood for some timelapses lately, I used the WebCam Tracker I wrote a while back to grab some shots throughout the day.

Kinda interesting.  In the process I found a few things I need to do to the app to fix some annoyances.

Rochester's Broad Street

The plans to rip up Broad Street and reconstruct the original Canal Aqueduct over the river are progressing.  I’ve mentioned the plans before and I’ve always thought it was kind of a neat idea but never thought it would get anywhere.  Now that it seems to be getting some traction it deserves more thought.

I for one think it’s completely ridiculous, and the City has more important things to do with its money.

The following is a letter I sent to:

  • Louise Slaughter
  • Paul.Holahan@cityofrochester.gov
  • info@broadstreetcorridor.com
  • Hackt@cityofrochester.gov
  • info@cityofrochester.gov (The closest I could find to Mayor Bob Duffy)
  • Patricia.malgieri@cityofrochester.gov
  • darryl.porter@cityofrochester.gov

Regardless of how you stand on the issue, I suggest you do the same.

Broad St Closure – A Concerned Citizen

The closing of the broad street bridge this week has me frustrated.  It’s something I cross on the bus at least once a day and has increased my bus commute time by about 5-10 minutes in each direction. In the morning due to the detour, and in the afternoon due to the additional build up of traffic on Exchange st.  Even in the past two days, the inconvenience this has created has been significant.  This has also been during a week of school closures and lighter than usual traffic.  I’m concerned how the effects would be during events at the Convention Center and War Memorial.

Why is the bridge closed anyway? Are we really going to tear out the bridge and flood the original aqueduct to create a POND over the RIVER?  Or are we just going to blow millions of dollars planning it and studying the effects of possibly doing it and then do nothing?

Rochester citizens have watched many other big projects fail and cost them millions of dollars with no gain.  Sure we got a new port building from the Fast Ferry debacle, but now it sits mostly unused and unoccupied.  One of the few ideas (The Casino) which stood to bring in direct revenue for the city was even voted down.  Now we plan on sinking millions into a plan to create another Manhatten square Park or another Genesee Crossroads with a manmade water feature in the middle instead of a river.

Rochester has proven time and time again that it can’t deliver on ideas like this.  Therefor we need to spend the money on things like better public transportation systems, Better education, maintaining (or improving) the parks we do have.

We don’t need another money pit, we need something with some real return on investment.

Stop wasting our money and end the study of the Broad St bridge closure early.

A Concerned Citizen,
Randy Aldrich

Protest in Rochester NY Erupts in Violence

Those who make peaceful revolution protest impossible, make violent revolution protest inevitable ~JFK

I’m not sure how I missed this but it seems last Wednesday October 7th there was a protest by the Students for a Democratic Society in Downtown Rochester NY that ended in a lot of violence and brutality.

If you read section 240.20 of the New York State Penal Code it’s pretty clear that the protesters broke the law. To me it’s also pretty clear that the police overstepped their bounds.

Although it’s pretty hard to tell exactly what happened, it’s pretty easy to see the police were excessively violent.  Two protesters were even sent to the hospital and 12 were arrested by brutal means like throwing them to the ground.  The video clearly shows several officers pushing and shoving, yelling, screaming and pulling out their billy clubs.

Frankly, I don’t see how this type of blatant power trip can be tolerated.  They should all be fired.

The following is a press conference the SDS gave after the protest.  There’s tons more interviews and articles about the SDS protest online if you’re interested in reading more.

http://blip.tv/play/AYGmpAYC

Raymonds Pectoral Plaster and other Goodies

We live in an old duplex built before the turn of the LAST century.  As a result, we find some interesting things sometimes.  A recent construction project which involved tearing out our kitchen ceiling resulted in some very cool finds.

What we found:

  • ceiling stuffA sheet of paper describing Raymond’s Pectoral Plaster and its’ uses
  • A Postcard from Meriden Connecticut postmarked 1909
  • A bible lesson copyrighted 1896
  • A piece of glass with a label from Monroe Pharmacal co in Rochester NY
  • Bits and pieces of glass, some labeled some not, one which had ‘Buffalo NY’ etched in it
  • 3 ceramic white tubes with knobs at the end
  • a clothespin
  • some very short lengths of copper piping
  • A metal mesh ball with a hole at the bottom and a spike at the top

I have no idea what most of this stuff is but I find it fascinating that it was all piled up together in our ceiling.  If you have any thoughts let us know!  More Detailed Pictures Below:

Downtown Portland and 3 Things Everyone Should Know

From a bicyclist somewhere along the Tom McCall Waterfront Park:

There are 3 things you need to tell everyone about Portland when you get back home

  1. Portland Sucks
  2. The Weather is Horrible
  3. The People are @$$ holes

Keller-FountainI don’t think I can agree with the 3rd one. We met several different people today and all of them were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met anywhere.

The Bicyclist – What he said was all in good fun, but it stems from a reality. Portland is a victim of huge population growth. It’s probably one of the reasons Oregon has one of the worst unemployment rates in the country right now. From what I understand, people from southern california and other places with high taxes (*cough* NY *cough*) are flocking to Oregon in droves. People who live in Oregon now like it the way it is, and don’t want it to change. Naturally, the more people Oregon gets the less like the current wilderness it will become.

Keller-BikerThe Trick-Biker – We wandered the city a while until we happened upon the Ira Keller Fountain. It’s probably one of the coolest fountains I’ve ver seen. It’s very abstract and modern, with many different levels and cascades, as well as many different viewing platforms of various sizes, orientations and locations. Just as we were about to leave 2 kids showed up on trick bikes and started jumping from platform to platform while doing tricks. After chatting for a bit we learned that they like to come down at least once a week by bus just to ride around the city. Keller Fountain is one of their favorite spots. I asked if I could take their picture and they were ecstatic, especially after I showed them the result. I got their e-mail address and told them I’d send them copies.

Zweigles man – Zweigles hot dogs are definitely a local Rochester NY thing. I didn’t even think anyone outside of our area had heard of them, or would even care. However; for some reason SuperDog in downtown Potland OR carries them, claiming in their menu: “Zweigles white hot – direct from Rochester.” When we saw that it floored us, and naturally we had to eat there. While doing so I struck up a conversation with the cook who was just as shocked as we were to find out we were from Rochester NY.

mills-endWe struck out with the goal of seeing Mills End Park, the worlds smallest park and we saw it (don’t blink, seriously, one square foot of park is easy to miss) however we saw and learned much more along the way. Just the way we like it.

Genesee Bike Ride

Preferred Care is putting on what they call Nature Nights every Tuesday at 6pm from May 26th through August 25th.  These nights include biking, (canoe) paddling, hiking and walking in the different areas Rochester has to offer.

Tuesday Rachel and I, along with my mother and several other of their coworkers, participated in a 10 (ish) mile bike ride along the Genesee River.  We started at the Seneca Park Zoo parking lot.  From there we crossed a walking/riding bridge to the other side of the Genesee.  We rode along Lake ave for a short distance and then through Turning Point Park.  From there we rode on to Ontario Beach Park.  We took a short break at abbots and then headed back along the same route.  Some people got a longer break than others, due to a lost rider… but that’s a story for another day.

I intended to record video of the whole thing.  However; the battery in my camera died after crossing the bridge so this is all I got:

The pace was very leisurely (a bit slow for my taste) but it was a great ride with a great group.  Everyone was very friendly and we’ll probably participate again.

Enjoy some  of the scenery the Genesee Riverway Trail has to offer below.  Please note, these were shot with my iPhone so the quality is a little… well the quality is little.

Two Discoveries

turning-point-boardwalkI made two discoveries today.  Well really, my friend Mike made one discovery yesterday (which I realized today) and I made another one today.  I’m going to use my discovery today to illustrate Mike’s from Yesterday.  If you’re less inclined to a little geekery skip to the map below.

GPS Tracking isn’t all that new, there are many devices to do this, and every mobile GPS unit that I know has the ability.  The iPhone doesn’t, or at least not natively.  Mike and I were exploring an area of Rochester today which I’d never heard of or seen before today.  Because of this I thought it would be neat to track where we were and how far we went etc.  Also because I tend to take a lot of photos I figured I could use the GPS tracking information to geo-tag my pictures.

My criteria for GPS tracking was that it could use my iPhone, that it was free, and that it could track my coordinates over time.  This isn’t a lot, I know, I was trying to be flexible.  I did a little searching in the iTunes app store and came up with InstaMapper.

InstaMapper fit the bill perfectly.  Not only is instamapper free, but it pushes the data direct to a website (which requiers an account that is also free) allowing you to export it in any format you wish.  It also interfaces directly with Google Maps letting you see all your waypoint data on a very nice Google Maps interface.

Overall I’m impressed.  My only complaint is that the the waypoint data is not cached locally to send later if you don’t have a connection.  While this isn’t a problem around Rochester, this will be a problem if I were to try to use this application in a more rural area such as the Adirondacks.  Of course, there is another downfall to the iPhone app version, and that is the app has to be running in the foreground for your waypoints to get tracked.  This is a limitation of the iPhone however; and in my opinion can’t detract from the value of the application itself.  The app is available for iPhone, Blackberry, Android & Motorola iDEN(whatever that is) at this point.

The following is the GPS waypoint map created and embedded using InstaMapper’s tools of our trek today.

GPS tracking powered by InstaMapper.com

http://www.instamapper.com/trk?key=17792608895854370827&width=500&height=350&type=roadmap

This is all in a park called Turning Point Park.  It’s quite nice and apparently they’ve spent a large chunk of change in the past few years putting in the 4,000ft boardwalk.  I’m awefully happy with whoever spent all the effort to push for the new boardwalk, it made the entire experience vary enjoyable and the park would be all but useless without it.

I will be visiting again.