PictureOver the Seine to our Apt.
Over last weekend, my two friends, John and Pete, and I made a last-minute decision to jump on a plane and spend a few days in Paris. Sleepless, we left for the airport early Thursday morning at 4am via the N16 bus from Plaza de Espana. Our flight left at 6:25am and we touched down in France at the Paris-Beauvais airport before 9am. From there, we had an hour-long bus ride to the city center. Upon arrival, we immediately began the search for a patisserie (bakery) to inhale authentic French baguettes. We then continued to explore the city on foot, meandering our way to the Eiffel Tower. We checked into our hotel around 1pm and passed out as soon as we got into our room. I even slept on the floor until my sofa bed arrived an hour or so later. We woke up around 5pm and decided to explore more. We journeyed on into the Pigalle neighborhood, away from the expensive downtown area. Here we had great Vietnamese Kebobs and began to observe the lively nightlife. We were already tired, so we didn’t stay out too late and returned to the hotel around midnight.

Ruben Alcantara is a legend within the BMX community. He has been a major pioneer of the sport in the past twenty years and continues to ride at a very high level in the his late 30s. Ruben is also from Spain and recently became involved with the design of bike and skate parks. It seems very fitting for such a high-level athlete to become involved with the design process of the medium on which he performs. 

My friend shot this Instagram video last night while riding back to the apartment from El Xampanyet, a very good tapas bar. The first spot is right on Via Laietana, and the rest is in the narrow streets of the Gothic neighborhood. 
Every morning, I check a couple BMX websites to find out what's new and watch a couple web-videos to help myself wake up. This morning, I went to a popular blog-style website called The Come Up and saw the photo above in their "Photo of the Week" segment. I immediately remembered the scene. 
This photo was shot in Liverpool, NY maybe a year ago. The photographer, Mario Martin-Alciati, took the photo from afar, capturing the whole scene. He shot this with his Cannon AE-1 film camera. A friend of mine, Jack Hartje, is the man on the BMX bike, jumping the motorcycles as they burn-out. In true BMX fashion, Jack's idea behind the photo was to capture Fire, Beer, and Mayhem. A popular BMX company from Binghamton, FBM, sometimes goes by this mantra. I am trying to film the scene on my phone, standing next to the gas tank. Next to me, my friend Korey is shooting a photo with his Nikon D7000 DSLR Digital Camera, explaining the flashes scattered about.
Taken a few minutes after Mario's photo, here is Korey's take on the scene.
Mario is from Spain and Korey has a crazy job protecting America from missile attack. They both travel a lot. Korey is currently in Kazakhstan. Both Mario and Korey are experienced photographers, much more than myself. Check out more of their work below.
The video below is hilarious, so I strongly suggest that you watch it solely based on that. However, this is also a true and somewhat sad story, with over 9 million views. 

Last weekend I shot a roll of black and white Tri-X film and a roll of Kodak Color film. Abiding by the save the best for last principle, here are three photos from the color roll. I actually really wish the first two were shot in black and white as well, for more texture and more of a sense of timelessness. I wanted to stay away from the typical mountain vistas for this post; those are magnificent but too common. 

Photo 1: The cable hook driven into the bedrock is symbolically strong. The Molieres Refuge Hut survives avalanches, high winds, and other extreme alpine conditions at 2390m. Eleven of these metal cables secure the small edifice.

To go along with my last post, this is my favorite web video of all time. Its about a year and a half old, with clips from the Tenerife Islands, which are owned by Spain, Israel, and most likely the U.K.. This guy rides really fast and his tricks are simple. Simplicity, speed, and great filming/editing in diverse locations make for an amazing video. It has 633,878 views, but you will have to do your own math on that one.
It's hard to imagine any other group of people, besides the locals, that knows the landscapes of Barcelona better than BMX riders. 
PictureThe Forum on the cover of a magazine.
I watch a new video from Barcelona nearly every day. There have been literally hundreds of BMX videos out of Barcelona. Every major DVD has clips from Barcelona in it. I could go on, but the audience of this blog wouldn't understand the BMX lingo and subculture. For example, I first saw the MACBA Big Four stair set about 7 years ago in a video with some pro killing it. 

The total views on Vimeo alone for the seven videos below is 842,500 and rising.  One alone got 316K views. That one video is 3 minutes, 43 seconds long. After doing the math, that one video has been watched for the equivalent of 19,574 hours. If watched on a single computer, it would take well over 2 years to continuously watch that one short video for the same amount of time!

The following is an exerpt from my sketchbook written immediately after the challenging ascent to the Molieres Refuge from Tunel Vielha during the afternoon of October 4th, 2013. 

17:00: Molieres Refuge Hut (2390m):

PictureBus drop-off location, notice the low cloud level

“I thought I was a goner just a couple hours ago in the Val d’Aran region of the Spanish Pyrenees. I started hiking tired and slightly sick from not sleeping and drinking the night before, followed by a 6-hour bus ride. The mountain forecast for today called for light rain with about 10mm total rainfall in the afternoon."

For today, I have decided to record the amount of bicycles available and open bicycle parking spots at Bicing Rental Stations around the city. Bicing is a bike rental program run by the City of Barcelona aimed at providing cheap rental services to local inhabitants, not tourists. City officials didn't want to interfere with the bicycle tourism economy, so in order to get a subscription to Bicing, you need to have a spanish bank account. However, with the help of an app for smartphones that is free and designed to help Bicing subscribers find bikes, I was able to keep track of this information from our apartment using our wifi. Every three hours today, I will record this information in my notebook. It being a Tuesday, this data will provide insight into midweek bicycle rental use. I will also go through the same procedure on a future weekend day to compare.