23 November 2011

Mayberry Growing and Moving to OTR

My favorite restaurant, Mayberry, which has been in a very small space at 915 Vine for several years is expanding and moving to 1211 Main Street in Over-the-Rhine, which was the Couryard Cafe.  Best of luck to the chef and owner, Josh Campbell. Before he opened at 915 Vine, this was there:

22 November 2011

Hide Freeways


21 November 2011

More Highway Waste

Unfortunately, I recently drove most of the eastern portions of I-275.  I noticed that miles and miles of precast concrete sound barrier has been installed and continues to be installed.  A quick internet search shows that these walls cost in the range of $3 million per mile, and effectively reduce the sound by 4 decibels within a few hundred feet of the walls.  But the walls also sometimes bounce sound and have negative effects further out.

I understand that living near a interstate sucks and that they REDUCE property value, so I can understand the lobbying to mitigate the hazard.   But no walls are proposed to help residents anywhere near downtown.

I once considered living on historic Dayton Street in the West End.  But the house was on the western end of the street, and the highway noise was oppressive.  I've never seen sound barriers on any of the western half of I-275.  Just wondering.. Why would  Milford, Loveland, Indian Hill, Blue Ash and Springdale get more attention than say Colerain, Harrison, Mt Airy and Northside?  Gee I couldn't begin to guess...

But despite the inequity of the chosen locations, is this really an important priority for transportation dollars? Seems extremely wasteful to me.

Also related, vehicle miles traveled  (VMT) is decreasing for the first time in the history of the automobile, and Millennials have less interest in cars than previous generations.

Also, car / truck oil consumption graphs here. And why we should dismantle freeways here.

20 November 2011

High Security

Security camera with antennae at corner of 13th and Vine.

Ugliest on Upper Main

Yes, it is green. Real green.
[where: 1722 Main Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202]
I have no idea who Michael Chambers is, but he owns some ugly stuff.

19 November 2011

Coptor Video Warsaw

Apparently there were some riots in Poland :

"Several thousand right-wing nationalists and football fans were opposed by about nearly 2000 anarchists, anti-Nazi and gay-rights activists as they tried to stage a march in central Warsaw."

I would love to figure out how to make videos like this.  another coptor video

Afganistan Video

Wow.  Watch on a full size screen if possible:

Afghanistan – touch down in flight from Augustin Pictures on Vimeo.

08 November 2011

American Quirks

Things foreigners find strange when visiting the US:.
Those yellow school buses from the movies are everywhere! 
Windows that only open straight up (and not in/out)
Cities where streets follow a grid. And almost all streets allow cars. As a European I'm accustomed to look for the city center; a place where there are no cars, where streets are meandering, where there are terraces to sit outside and have a coffee. A place that's amenable to walking, to hanging out and enjoying the atmosphere. I did not find such a space in the american cities I've been to. And it prevented me from enjoying the place. 
Riding a bike is dangerous and an enterprise, not a mindless means of transport. 
Working people are afraid of medical bills. 
Catching the bus seems to be an activity reserved exclusively for disabled and poor people. 
The surbuban parking lots! Yeah everyone's heard of them, but nothing will prepare you for the overwhelming size and quantity 
The importance of team sports in American schools is surprising. My friends' children were involved in football, wrestling (unheard of in British schools), football, basketball, baseball ... with coaches for all those sports and a massive amount of parental involvement. 
The lack of pedestrians. A couple of weeks ago I got off the bus in Worthington, OH and walked about a mile up High St and then down some residential streets back to a friend's house and I did not see another pedestrian - this was at 5pm on a weekday, on a street with wide, wide sidewalks. When I told my friend where I'd walked from, she was truly shocked. She thought I was weird to get the bus downtown in the first place because only poor people take buses 
American drivers are far more likely to stop and let a pedestrian cross the road, even when there is no marked crossing. Possibly due to the novelty of seeing someone on foot. 
Unless you live in a big metro area, if you don't drive or at least have a car, you'll be hard put to get food or other necessities 
The huge amount of text-based road signs we have in the U.S. Every mile or so you're barraged with information about the speed limit, the next exit, the name or route number of the road you're on, and other miscellaneous information. In the UK you can drive for miles with no signs at all, and when you do see them they're likely to just be symbols of some sort. 
Walking across the road in the wrong place can be a crime. 
Stores have their own parking lot and you cannot run errands in medium towns without driving between different shops.  
Lawyers have much more cultural cachet than in almost any other country. The idea that lawyers are on a par with doctors as far as people with high-class occupations. Note the perennial appeal of law school, or of lawyer shows on television. Also, a majority of elected officials have at least graduated from law school, whether or not they actually practiced as a lawyer for any significant amount of time. (Compare this to the number of engineers in power in China.) 
Power lines above ground. 
People look at you weirdly if you tell them you walk to work.

01 November 2011

Homemaking as Art

While folding laundry I was thinking about how to build some shelves for the towels. Then I imagined all the different nooks and crannies in which I could build some custom shelves, And I start to imagine the whole house fitted with structures to hold all of the physical memories of our growing children; clay sculptures, pinewood derby cars, soccer trophies, class photos, valentines day cards, favorite sea shells, etc... and in the kids room, shelves everywhere filled with toys, books, puzzles. What a wonderful place this house could be if I could just start adding some shelving.. Sometimes you visit a house, and it really has that lived-in beautiful family feel. It may not be the cleanest place, but it is full of life, happening now. Happening every moment it is filled with growing children. There are pets, toys, and half-completed projects all over the place. The kitchen is like a big pantry, full of stuff at arms-reach for the cook of the house. And sets are gathered around the kitchen with homework books on the counter with the splattered cookbooks. Recently, a former classmate had his house published in an architectural magazine, and when my wife and I saw this, we laughed, because in our mixed up confused life, it seems so empty it was absurd:
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I may not want a house that is spare and white as this, but I do think it can be purposely built and continually improved much more than we have done so far. Our house now is more of a jumble of backround thoughts that were never completed. I want to do better in this regard. I think a good home, whether an apartment, a condor or a house, needs constant attention. Never-ending repair, rebuilding, and improving, similar to the constant attention a child demands... or your spouse. And I guess what I am making peace with is that this is a worthy project. Worthy of just as much attention and respect as a career. Home-making is an art, like any other. So give it the attention and hard work that it deserves. That is why,even though it has just turned midnight, and I could expand on these thoughts for another hour, I will now stop this writing and go give some love and attention to some shelves in the bathroom. BTW; below are two images of the Soane Museum in London. This was the personal house of Sir John Soane. He was an avid collector of antiquities and he was continually rebuilding and improving his house to display his incredible collection:  
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