feb activity: urban spelunking in berlin

Posted in berlin, photography, street art on March 10th, 2008 by fabienne

adding machine

so first of all it’s not really spelunking because most of it was above ground, but it sounds better than “exploring abandoned buildings”. i think that february activities can best be summed up as adventuresome. first i had the chance to tour a mostly-empty-for-a-long-time building on unter den linden which used to house various embassies and ddr offices. i snagged the green version of the adding machine shown above, which does plug into the wall but uses a system of rotors to do calculations. when you multiply the rotors go “clunk clunk clunk chunka clunk” for a long time because it is just iterating over addition. the building also featured a huge phone switch complete with hand soldered circuits and ddr era manuals with circuit board layouts so you can clone the whole switch. in other parts of the building there were abandoned piles of keys, holes in the floor, parallel ports in the walls, interflug rotary phones and bullet proof doors. you can see where some electronics were hastily ripped out of the wall, ah to think what sorts of spying was going on in that building.

next up on the docket of urban exploration comes der Flaschenturm, the bottle tower. it is a testament to the power of the graffiti and street artists who reside and travel through this fine city. (photos here). the entire inside is completely blanketed in spray art. the guys i went with were there to do some urban rappelling, who was i to say no? i brought along my climbing harness but as the light was fading fast the photos of the rope stuff were not as well documented as the street art.


i would venture to say that you haven’t really seen berlin unless you’ve been inside at least a few abandoned buildings — that doesn’t even include the squats, converted factories, and spontaneous parties. berlin is rife with left-over structures begging to be reanimated.

so klingt berlin

sweet sweet commenting

Posted in blawging on March 9th, 2008 by fabienne

tesla quote

comments are finally enabled. yes they are a bit crude (everyone is labeled anonymous so leave your name if you do want me to actually know who you might be).

oh and if you already knew about this before i posted, either i told you or you are more in the know than most. *cough* twitterers *cough*.

my shadow weighs 42 pounds

Posted in running on March 8th, 2008 by fabienne

running shoes

the pic above is a vintage one, of pre-camera-owning me in april of 2001. at the time i was in great shape, and i still considered myself a long distance runner. seven years later, it’s a different story. a little over two weeks ago i calculated my bmi and my bfp. the scary thing is, for the first time (i think), i am officially in the overweight category for both measurements. as weird al says, You know I’m fat, I’m fat, you know it. i freaked out and in my pudgy haze i signed up for a 10k race in may here in berlin complete with an order for a championchip timing thingy. next i checked out the nike running online training tools that i had been meaning to try for over a year (a friend of mine helped design the site, warning: coded in flash). i put in my desired pace, my running level, and my race day and out popped a training plan. (note: keep the interface with weeks starting on sunday otherwise it is kind of wonky.) so has it worked? has my auto-generated training schedule and the fact that i signed up for a race in may helped? the answer is: so far so good. it has been two weeks now and i haven’t missed a run and have logged all the mileage on the training schedule. (16 miles/25.5 km the first week, 18 miles/29 km the second).

i have blogged before about running tips and such, but there are a few more “mods” that i use when i run. i hate it when keys or zippers clank and jangle during a run. i use a hair rubber band on my keys and electrical tape on the zipper pulls to dampen the sound. secondly, i safety pin the rubber-banded keys to the inside of a pocket so they won’t accidentally fall out when i run. in the summer i tie the keys into the tie on my shorts and some of my shorts have built in key pockets. i also hand-sew some mini pockets into the inside bottom corner of my zip hoodies near the zipper. one mini pocket is for paper money, the other is for the keys. i use spring loaded toggles on my shoe laces, and then tie the ends to the front of my laces and tuck in the excess. i hate having shoes come untied (once my cross country team lost the qualifying race to go to california all-state by 2 points because one girl on my team had her laces come undone, ever since then i only do toggles), and it’s much faster to shoe-up and get the lace tension right with the toggles. more recently i have had the need to calculate distance, and someone asked me how i know how far i’ve run. i’m waiting on the garmin forerunner 405 to come out this summer, and i’ve ordered the forerunner 50 (no gps, just pace and distance from a foot pod pedometer). in the meantime, there are a bunch of google maps / click-the-route-calculate-distance mashups, this one is fairly intuitive (here is my 5 miler from this week, the park is the one pictured here below: volkspark am friedrichshain).

fernsehturm sunset

so my goals are to get out of the obese category and to beat my last 10k race time (my last race was in 2002, ouch! it’s been a while). as of this week, i am just out of the overweight category with regards to bfp, but for my bmi i have about three kilos left to go. (my overall goal is to lose 15.5 pounds/7 kilos and lower my body fat percentage by six percent). i am considering starting a separate fitness log/blog, but that will have to wait until april i’m afraid. other soldering matters are at hand.

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