30 January 2014


Double-dipping, the practice of taking from the food tray more than once while other people haven't had their turn, is something frowned upon.  Especially at a party or some public event.  In some cases though, thanks to cut-and-paste technology, it's OK, at least I think so.  I'm thinking of course about both updating my blog and having something to hand out at tonight's Art Night at Jack Rabbit Sports in Union Square, https://www.facebook.com/events/618021894935571

Jack Rabbit Sports is a chain of stores in the NYC that fills the needs of runners and other fitness-minded people.  It regularly hosts events about the various sports and related services, but last year saw the first Art Night, where runners etc with artistic talents get to showcase their work.  I participated with my running-themed sonobes, one with 30 units showing various photos and words about running.  A few participants showed photographs, one had a video of trail running, some wood-printing, some sort of knitting, and vector-drawing.  See the photos at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151485803853713.1073741825.48482283712&type=3 .

There was some interests in my sonobes but I didn't win.  The honor went to a photographer.  I'm entering the contest this year with something a lot more related to running and quite artistic, IMHO.  I'm talking of course GPS art.  From the interactions I have with people on Facebook etc I know a few questions that are regularly asked about my GPS art.  Maybe knowing how the work is done will give me more votes to win the $50 gift card...

Here it is, Qaptain Qwerty's Frequently Asked Questions on GPS Art, as done by me and my Garmin watch:

  1. How do you make it?  With a Garmin GPS watch and my pair of legs.  Back from the run, I sync the route to Garmin Connect then take a screenshot from the Player view, such as http://connect.garmin.com/jsPlayer/386410198 .  While the path can be traced out while walking or cycling, running gives that intermediate speed.  Walking is too slow and cycling would sometimes requiring going against traffic, something a law-abiding citizen like me doesn't like to do.
  2. Did you actually run all that distance?  Most of the time, yes.  In the "Claudia" example below, I actually ran all that red route.  Note that for some letter, like C and u, I had to run the route twice, up to the top then back down.
  3. Do you have the path traced out on paper etc?  No, while I look at a map before the run I don't have it traced out, on paper or otherwise.  I occasionally use Google Map on my iPhone to check my progress, but I never use any visual aide that shows the completed path.
  4. How long does it take?  Between one hour and two, depending on the letters.  Some letters are easy to complete, like n or r, since they require only one pass, but others like u or l requires going up and down the same block more than once.  "Al Goldstein", which refers to the ex-President of Prospect Park Track Club, not that other screwy guy, took over two hours, and I even got e before i .
  5. How did you make the "e"?  It looks like you cut through a city block!  I didn't trespass any properties, trust me.  It's a trick I discovered with the Garmin watch.  When you pause the watch it knows where you were.  When you get to another place and unpause, it simply draws a straight line between where you were and your new location.  It can be considered cheating, but as far as exercising I wouldn't cheat myself in any way since I end up running a longer distance in reality.
  6. You use city streets a lot, why don't you use a big open field?  The rectangular city grid provides an easy reference, especially the numbered streets.  In a big open field, I find it hard to track the distance and one tree that earlier looked unique would later on look just like other trees.  Also, a field may look big in person can turn out to lack enough "height" for the letters.
  7. How do you know what to write?  Whatever happening that day.  Someone's birthday, some holiday, or whatever puns I think of.  Or if someone would offer me a lot of money, I suppose I can sell my soles.

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