Tuesday, May 31, 2011

more art coming to Rosslyn

The Arlington Blvd/Courthouse Rd/10th St Interchange construction will include art that adds to the experience of the many persons coming into Rosslyn.  Artist Vicki Scuri describes her design thus:
I took inspiration from the heart-shaped leaves of the native red bud to create abstract patterns that add texture to the concrete walls along Route 50.  The bridge spans located at Courthouse Road and 10th Street will be accentuated with laser-cut, weathered steel grills based on the same design.  The patterns flow along the walls and the bridges like theatrical curtains, adding drama, scale, and content to the new infrastructure.
You can see detailed sketches of Scuri's design in an exhibit, Design for the Civic Realm, at Artisphere through June 19.

Monday, May 30, 2011

monster chased out of Rosslyn

What looks like a huge, mutant daddy long-legs spider was chased out of Rosslyn by a volley of cannon fire from the Old Guard and a platoon of Rolling Thunder riders.  Leonel Alvarez, a student at the Art Institute in Rosslyn, reportedly created the monster in a class project that went awry.  Other students' projects stayed confined to the program and were shown in the Art Institute's Visually Wired festival at Artisphere.

Rosslyn is both a center for the arts and home ground to the toughest fighting forces in the world.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

water main breaks

According to Arlington's The Citizen, more than 60% of Arlington water mains are 50 years old or older. Water main breaks are thus common.  From the beginning of this year to the beginning of April, 63 water main leaks were repaired.  Most repairs are made within a day after the break is reported. 

Rosslyn, however, does not have just ordinary water main breaks.  The colossal Deep Soil Rosslyn Water Spill took a full ten days to plug.  Big things happen in Rosslyn.

Report all water emergencies and possible water main breaks to the Water, Sewer, and Streets 24-hour hotline at 703 228-6555.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

about those zepfest signs

You may have noticed some "zepfest" signs in the neighborhood recently.  ZepFest was a Led Zeppelin-themed rock festival scheduled for May 27-29 at National Harbor.  ZepFest was recently cancelled in what appears to be a huge debacle for an Arlington promoter.  He's clearly got big problems.  Still, I hope he'll take the time to clean up the zepfest signs in Rosslyn. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fios in the neighborhood

Residents in some apartment buildings around Westmoreland Terrace can choose to have Fios services.  Memorial Overlook, at the corner of 12th St. N. and N. Nash St., has Fios available.  So too does Prospect House at 1200 N. Nash St.  The big new Gables 1221 complex, at 1221 N. Pierce St., has Fios.   All these buildings are upscale luxury apartment complexes.  Westmoreland, while not as luxurious, is more historically important.  Despite signing an agreement with Verizon for Fios availability in 2008, Westmoreland still doesn't have Fios available.

Update:  A highly knowledgeable reader has stated that Prospect House doesn't have Fios. See correction above.  Another reader notes that the Weldon at Arlington Blvd./N. Rolfe has Fios.  See comment below.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

sketch in 3-D at Artisphere

Artisphere has a 3-D sketching machine freely available in the Town Hall through August 31.  The 3-D sketcher is hidden to the right of Here Cafe, behind a Peeps display.  Check it out!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

flooding on Mt. Vernon trail

A short section on the Mt. Vernon trail between Roosevelt Bridge and Memorial Bridge near Rosslyn was heavily flooded this past Friday morning.  A cyclist sporting the fashionable kit of local bike racing team Squadra Coppi rode right through the water.  Other cyclists detoured around on a dirt path.  One of the detouring cyclists, inspired by a Bike to Work Day stunt show, attempted to ride up a short, bumpy dirt incline on the detour.  He was riding a fixed gear bike with 700x23cm tires inflated to 95 psi.   He received a serious, but not life-threatening injury in that ill-advised stunt attempt.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bike to Work Day -- heavy traffic, no delays

Bike to Work Day drew heavy traffic through the Rosslyn pit stop yesterday.  Despite the heavy cycle traffic, no delays were reported on major bike routes, and bike drivers seemed to be enjoying being outside on the roads and trails.

The Ode Street Tribune spoke with bike commuter Sarah at the Rosslyn pit stop.  She commutes from Courthouse to Foggy Bottom using Capital Bikeshare (CaBi).  Sarah said sometimes she and her friends take CaBi bikes from Foggy Bottom to Farragut West to take advantage of better lunch choices there.  Taking the CaBi bike saves them valuable lunch break time, plus the ride doesn't cost them anything because they drop off the bike before lunch and pick up a new one after lunch.  Sarah is taking good advantage of CaBi.  You should, too!

Mike Steidley put on an amazing mountain bike stunt show at the Rosslyn pit stop.  Video highlights included below.  Bike nerds were thrilled when Mike said that a lot of people ask him what tire pressure he runs.  He said he's got 27 psi in the front and 22 psi in the back.   In case you don't know, that's way too low tire pressure for bicycle commuting.  But go with that pressure in your dreams, when you're stunt riding.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Contain, Maintain, Sustain rises at Artisphere

Contain, Maintain, Sustain opened today in Artisphere's Terrace Gallery.  The wide-ranging works in this exhibit has been collected around the idea of environmental sustainability.  Dan Steinhilber's sparkling Untitled (2009) gestures to the void as it fire-dances above a steel trashcan.  Its consuming flame is constructed from black plastic trashbags.  Steinhilber's wonderful sculpture is a particularly apt work to bring to Rosslyn.  As local art mavens know, Rosslyn distinguished itself in black plastic trashbag art back in 2007, when a Rosslyn resident had a piece placed in a private collection

Another particularly notable work is the red space in Lina Vargas De La Hoz's Blue and Red Space (2010).  This sensuous red space, bounded by sweaters, invites exhibit participants to poke into it. It's highly stimulating.

Contain, Maintain, Sustain will be at Artisphere through July 17, 2011.  Entrance is free.  Curators' talks will take place at the gallery at 3pm on Saturday, May 21 (with Sara Reisman), Saturday, June 11 (with Welmoed Laanstra), and Saturday, June 25 (with Ernesto M. Santalla).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

obey all traffic signals

About a week ago, styling bicycle stoplights were installed on the Custis Trail in Rosslyn.  Rosslyn is a world leader in artistic bicycle racks.  Having these stoplights installed in Rosslyn is thus quite fitting.  Keep in mind, however, that cyclists are required to obey all traffic signals, not just styling bicycling stoplights.  It's not just the law.  It's a good idea.

Cyclists are also required to yield to pedestrians.  Cyclists should treat pedestrians as they would like motor vehicle drivers to treat them.  For me, that means treat pedestrians with great concern for their safety and enjoyment.  Don't ring your bell aggressively at them or shout at them as you go by.

Bike To Work Day is this Friday.  Expect a huge crowd at the Rosslyn pitstop.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rosslyn has strawberries

Rosslyn's blackberry patch is well-known.  Rosslyn also has a secret strawberry patch.  Want a Rosslyn strawberry?  Add a comment explaining and justifying your desire.  If the hungry Ode Street Tribune staff finds its readers' desires sufficiently compelling, the Tribune will reveal the location of Rosslyn's secret strawberry patch.

Monday, May 16, 2011

avoiding overflowing crap

When you flush your toilet or run your garbage disposal, crap doesn't just magically disappear.  Well-functioning public infrastructure makes that happen.  So be thankful for our sewer system, and for the fine Arlington County workers who maintain it.  Without them, you would be buried in crap.

Because of the high productivity of residents in our neighborhood, our sewer lines are cleared every three months.  You can help keep our sewer system running effectively by drinking plenty of fluids and not pouring grease down the drain.  Pour grease and pan scouring into a cup, and then throw the cup into your garbage can.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

red roses in Rosslyn's romantic Gateway Park

Whether its Gateway Park or the Iwo Jima Memorial, Rosslyn is a legendary destination for DC-area lovers.  Thanks to the landscaping efforts of the Rosslyn BID, Gateway Park is now particularly lovely.  Its spectacular array of red roses beckons lovers to come.  Rosslyn is for red-hot lovers! 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

peep show at Artisphere attracting big crowds

The opening of a multi-scene peep show at Artisphere on last Saturday attracted over 1000 viewers.  A large number of enthusiastic and happy children made their own peep shows at free Artisphere workshops today.  Another set of family peep-show workshops will be held next Saturday, May 21, at noon, 1:30pm and 3pm (no registration required).  If you have kids ages 6 to 12, you should also check out Artisphere's Art Brains, a Saturday afternoon creative camp for kids.

Peep shows are not only fun to view, but also educational. The exhibit program noted:
Americans ate more than 600 million Marshmellow Peeps and Bunnies this Easter.
Peeps®, which are like marshmellows with some extra sugar decoration, have the following ingredients:
sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and less than 0.5% potassium sorbate (a preservative), natural flavors, Red #3 (dye), and Carnauba wax.
Play with this "food," don't eat it.  Peep shows help to teach children and adults the difference between colorful toys and real, truly satisfying food.

Above is a photo of one of the finest peep scenes in Artisphere's peep show.  It's "Escalator Collapse at Peepy Bottom Station," by Elliot Seibert and Claudine Roshanian.  It re-presents the escalator collapse at Foggy Bottom Metro Stop on Feb. 18, 2011.  Rosslyn's escalators fortunately have been performing impressively.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rosslyn BID highlights Rosslyn's leading metro position

The 9th Annual Meeting of the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) yesterday evening featured as guest speaker Richard Sarles, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) General Manager.  As a primary gateway to northern Virginia, Rosslyn has a key position in regional transportation networks.  Rosslyn is also a model of metro-centered development and one of the busiest metro stations. 

Some notes from Mr. Sarles presentation (included in full in the video below):
  • Top priorities are creating a safety culture at WMATA and improving reliability.
  • WMATA is acquiring some new cars that will be among the best railroad cars in the country.
  • WMATA on Wednesday finalized an agreement with Google for online WMATA routes and timetables.  Mr. Sarles was enthusiastic about new information technologies.
  • A virtual tunnel (passing between the stations above ground at no fare cost) will be implemented between Farragut West and Farragut North this fall.
  • WMATA has no plans for a general reduction in late evening hours; selected reductions at particular metro stops may occur if needed for particular repairs.

Arlington County Board Member Mary Hynes introduced Mr. Sarles.  She noted that if the area were to implement a "Take Your Car to Work Day," anyone who didn't understand the importance of metro surely would then.

Cecilia Cassidy, Rosslyn BID Executive Director, reviewed BID activities over the past year. These activities include helping homeless persons in Rosslyn, community welcoming and cleaning services, beautification and landscaping, concerts and community events, parking and pedestrian safety improvements, and work with and financial support for Artisphere.  Rosslyn's Gateway Park Film Fest last year attracted 15,000 viewers.  This year it's happening every Friday night through August 26.

Artisphere is crucial for 24/7, Rosslyn-round-the-clock community vibrancy.  Rosslyn BID seems to recognize that reality and is contributing significantly to making Artisphere a success.  Ms. Cassidy noted that Artisphere is a highly distinctive space that's available for rental for events.  Businesses, organizations, and individuals that want to have an event within an environment of creativity and high-quality media technology should explore Artisphere.   How about a dramatic descent down the open, curving stairway in the Town Hall and a huge video wall of childhood scenes for your over-the-top, blowout wedding?

Rosslyn BID President Stuart H. Miller conducted the election of new 2011-2012 members of the BID Board of Directors. The new members are: Bryan Moll (JBG Companies), Leigh Carter (Vornado/Charles E. Smith), Peter N. Greenwald (Penzance Companies), Stuart H. Miller (The Miller Companies), Greg Raines (Holiday Inn Rosslyn), Linda Cogburn (Monday Properties), Kevin O'Tool (ABC 7/News Channel 8), Debby Ruffin (BAE Systems), Kip Laramie (Santa Fe Cafe), and Peter W. Berk (Waterview Residences).

Note: The Ode Street Tribune's hard-working staff was up late last night to serve the public with this important local news.  Unfortunately, the Tribune's printer was apparently having equipment difficulties.  If these problems persist, we will consider switching to a hand press or a  mimeograph.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

lessen mistakes with a one-way sign

Twice in the past few years an Ode Street Tribune reporter has seen a car exit from the Rosslyn Safeway parking lot with a left turn onto Wilson Blvd.  That's going the wrong way on a one-way street.  Fortunately Wilson is wide, but the situation nonetheless could create a bad accident.  Adding a one-way sign on the pole across the street would help lessen the frequency of wrong-way mistakes.  A white arrow on the road right in front of the exit would be even better.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

reuse building material

Just like a flatted bike inner tube remains highly useful, the ReBuild Warehouse in Springfield is showing that building materials from stripped down or renovated buildings still have a lot use.  The ReBuild website explains:
Rebuild is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed in 2008 to receive and sell reclaimed building material donations in order to provide funds to train unemployed and underemployed unskilled workers for “green collar” jobs and to educate the community in affordable ways to live sustainably.
The ReBuild Warehouse offers refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, kitchen cabinets, counters, bathroom fixtures, interior and exterior doors, lumber and flooring, landscaping materials, and many other home materials. At the Potomac Overlook Park Heritage Festival, ReBuild's director showed some small plant incubators built from recycled timber and windows. If you want to build your own massive, rebar-re-enforced, brick with concrete bottom, raised-bed gardens complete with an automatic water system, ReBuild can also supply all the materials you need.

ReBuild Warehouse looks like a great organization.  If you have building materials you don't need, ReBuild also accepts donations

Monday, May 9, 2011

excellence in street repair

The 14th St. north hill on the major, trans-Arlington cycle transit route was paved just over two weeks ago.  That's a huge improvement.  Sometime between Friday morning and this morning, the pothole on 12th St, between Ft. Myer Dr. and Oak St., was repaired.  That's a small but appreciated improvement. 
From wide expanses to small details, Arlington roads are ready for you.  Bike to work.  Friday, May 20, is Bike to Work Day, so if you don't already bike to work, that's a good day to give it a try.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

generate power with exercise

A bicycle connected to a lightboard at the Potomac Overlook Park Heritage Festival demonstrated that incandescent lights consume a lot more energy than florescent lights, which in turn consume a lot more energy than LED lights. Even a little girl who could barely reach the pedals could generate enough electricity from the bike to light the LED lights.  Her fit-looking father had to make an effort to light the incandescent lights.

Serious cycling can generate a lot of energy.  Gary M., a 49-year-old marvel of physical fitness, last weekend generated 230 watts on average for three hours during the local, intense Laterne-Rouge/Whole-Wheel-Velo-Club/whoever-else-wants-to-come ride.  Total power consumption in the Ode Street Tribune's world headquarters for the month of March was 141 kilowatt-hours.  Hence in a single morning's ride, Gary generated about 15% of a March day's power consumption in the Tribune's headquarters, which also serves as the living quarters for the Tribune's impecunious staff.

Cycling need not be just for fun and transportation.  By cycling, you could power an emergency sump pump to keep your basement dry during a storm that knocks out electrical power.  You could pedal-power a sewing machine, as many persons around the world have done since the invention of sewing thousands of years ago.  You could also power a blender to make yourself a smoothie.  David Butcher's wonderful pedal-power website provides insights and concrete technical details for you to do much more with your cycling exercises.

Just in the Rosslyn area, many person-hours of exercising are ongoing in Gold's Gym and the Synergy Fitness Center.  Why not have persons in gyms use their exercise to contribute energy to the community? This would be more impressive and more innovative than the green-colored envirocabs that now drive the streets of Arlington.  A Danish Hotel gives guests a $36 meal voucher for generating a mere 40 watts for 15 minutes.  Here in Arlington, many cyclists regularly put out hundreds of watts for hours.  Cycling can be an important local power source.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

walk down the Artisphere's Mezz Gallery

Artisphere's Mezz Gallery is now hosting Alberto Gait├ín's installation, Carrier.  The little red robot travels back and forth across the long, narrow Mezz Gallery.  The installation calls to mind an office worker stuck in a rut.  Yet possibilities for creativity exist even for this robot in a rut.  Look closely and listen, and you will perceive a huge, stringed instrument.  The bottom arm of the robot plays a long, thin metal wire.  The robot is not in reality merely stuck in a rut.  The robot responds to the number and activity of persons in the Mezz Gallery. 

After a frustrating day of work, walk to the Artisphere and walk down the Mezz Gallery.  You will be inspired with possibilities for creativity.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

local cycling team Squadra Coppi ready to race

Local cycling team Squadra Coppi takes bike racing very seriously.  In preparation for this year's bike racing season, the team put in an order for custom Squadra Coppi socks to go along with its styling team uniform.  You've got to look good if you want to ride fast.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

English Ivy is a menace to plant society

At the Potomac Regional Park Heritage Festival this past Sunday, Master Naturalists had an exhibit on English Ivy's menace to other plants in the ecosystem.  English Ivy crowds out other plants, doesn't feed birds and insects, and kills trees.  To combat this menace, Portland, Oregon has formed a No Ivy League and commissioned ivy-killing commandos.  Here in Arlington, we have a Remove Invasive Plants (RiP) program.  We also have Invasives Man, who apparently patrols parks and woods and fights dominating invaders.  Check out his instructions on how to remove English Ivy and admire his work ethic.

In Rosslyn's rural hinterlands, English Ivy presents a serious threat.  English Ivy is expanding behind 1301 Ft. Myer Dr. and has established isolated root-holds on the Westmoreland Terrace property.  English Ivy carpets sections of the renovated Hillside Park and is prevalent in the wilderness area along Arlington Blvd. just west of Ft. Myer Heights Park.  In the later area a magnificent old tree is under attack.  Defenders beware, knowledgeable sources report that this area contains much poison oak.   

At the very least, don't admire Ivy-covered buildings.   If you're looking for some ground cover, check out the Arlington Library's information on alternatives to English Ivy and Alternatives Demo Garden.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Artisphere should consult the library

This past Sunday afternoon, Arlington Central Library was filled with persons.  It's a great example of a highly successful county institution.  The library makes a great range of materials available to residents in a variety of ways.  It hosts lectures and readings and meetings, and art exhibits, too.  Now it even has a garden out in front ("Arlington reads...Arlington grows").  The garden includes a rain-water collection barrel painted by Arlington elementary schools students.

This July will mark the 75th anniversary of the Arlington Public LibraryArtisphere should consult the library on how to attract a crowd and build an enduring position in the community.

Monday, May 2, 2011

a Cooper's Hawk probably ate beloved dove

As part of its ongoing investigation into Paci's death and the death of a neighborhood squirrel, the Ode Street Tribune spoke with an expert from the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia.  He was holding a friendly and peaceful red-tailed hawk that had become gravely ill from an infected foot wound.  The Raptor Conservancy nursed the hawk back to good health.

Red-tailed hawks eat squirrels.  The hawk that ate a squirrel in Ft. Myer Heights Park clearly was red-tailed hawk.  This hawk probably got its foot wound from eating a hard-fighting squirrel.  The Ode Street Tribune believes that squirrels in our neighborhood are more courageous and fiercer fighters than squirrels in other neighborhoods.  We thus suspect that this hawk had been preying on squirrels in our neighborhood. We don't hold that against it.

We don't believe that this hawk ate the beloved dove Paci.  This hawk just doesn't have a mean look in its eyes.  Maybe it didn't know that that the dove was a beloved pet.  In any case, red-tailed hawks don't tend to eat birds, because red-tails are too big and not agile enough to fly through a maze of tree branches.  Cooper's hawks are smaller and have a tail that gives them greater maneuverability.  Hence the hawk that ate Paci probably was a Cooper's hawk.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Potomac Overlook Park worth visiting

If you need a vacation from the hustle and bustle of your daily life, take a trip to Potomac Overlook Park off Military Rd. in north Arlington. In the 1930s the park area contained a group of farm buildings.  That was one of the largest developments in north Arlington at the time.  Now the park contains a Nature Center, several educational gardens, and more than two miles of hiking trails that offer scenic views of the Potomac.  Potomac Overlook Park is a great place to take a quiet walk in the woods.

If you had gone to Potomac Overlook Park on Sunday, you could have also enjoyed the 26th Annual Potomac Overlook Park Heritage Festival.  There's always next year!