crazy exploring dream: i was going to check out a new location that was supposed to be a school before my friend came into town. i googled it and the satellite view/street view made it look just like central terminal, and i was like “come on now google, that can’t be right” but then i realized it was just the same general shape as the terminal, it was located near by, but it was an actual different building. so i went by to check it out, it was late in the day, so i wasn’t going to spend much time there. i was making my way through a bunch of rubble and 2 other people showed up, these explorers i knew from instagram, and then 2 others, one gay guy and a female. i was like, well for this being a “new” location it’s pretty popular. so we found a broken open wall and went inside. and it was no school. it was an entire abandoned town inside the walls of this building. there must have been some harry potter cloaking shit going on, like hogwarts, to make it look like this entire town was just an abandoned school. the town looked like it was just completely abandoned all at once, like everyone just walked away. there were tons of cars all over, mostly 57 chevys in perfect condition, and then some vw buses. we got in one of the cars and started driving for miles through this town. i thought we were making way too much noise but no one else was worried about it. i figured someone would still hear us “inside the school” and call the cops. we drove by a bunch of row houses, all full of people’s personal stuff, but none of the buildings had windows. like all the windows had been removed and reused when the town was abandoned, not that they were all broken. because this town was perfectly intact. no one knew that it was there, no graffiti, no vandalism. so we wandered around, but i didn’t get my photo gear out since the daylight was fading and i was going to come back the next day with my friend. i took some cell phone shots but that was it. there was so much cool stuff to see, and it was so big i kept saying i was gonna come back and just camp there for a week, exploring everything. i kept being amazed that this town was sitting there unknown in the middle of buffalo. at one point we were walking around and you could see the brink of niagara falls and i was like, how is this possible that we are on the edge of the falls. then we realized there was some sort of glass we were looking through and we were actually below river level. there was some really nice ballroom we found, and the gay guy started playing a pipe organ, and again i was like, dude, not stealth, we’re making way too much noise. we finally decided to leave and ended up going out a door that ended up on the sidewalk, i turned to the others and said, we can’t tell ANYONE about this, since other explorers suck and ruin everything. of course we walk outside just as a security guard is walking by. he didn’t seem to mind that we were clearly coming out of the place, but he did say that on monday a bunch of dirt was getting delivered to bury all the entrances. we were bummed that this town was going to disappear again.

then i dreamed i was being held down in bed by invisible forces i assumed to be demons. i was trying to fight them and get them to let me go but it was too hard. then i heard my friend mary’s voice saying that i couldn’t give up and i had to fight them off.

then i dreamed that pano’s restaurant was in niagara falls and more like salvatore’s italian gardens, with these weird giant talking head statues. i was trying to find my mom’s car to put mr kitty in it while we ate and couldn’t find it. i kept wandering the parking lot that kept getting bigger and bigger, and i walked by groups of tourists who came in on buses. there were a bunch of kids trying to catch an all white flying squirrel. there were lots of power lines and a bunch of animals had gotten caught in them and were being electrocuted, and so much electricity was coming off these animals that any kids that were underneath them looking at them started getting electrocuted too.


dream about exploring again. this time 2 dreams about the steel plant in ohio i went to with alex last summer. we were there again, and i think almost getting caught again. we split up to try to make it out, he went alone, and i went with old friend angela. we ended up walking through a little neighborhood on site, it must have been the company town where the workers lived. supposedly it was abandoned too, but there were newish cars/trucks in every driveway still. but no people anywhere. so we’re walking through, and a car is suddenly coming toward us, so i say “it’s time to do what we normally do, and act like we belong here” and it drove by. then a security truck comes by, same thing, we just act like there is no reason for us not to be there and it ignores us. so we get back to the blast furnaces where we have to exit, alex is waiting for us, and unlike when we came in the sun had burned away the last of the rusty metal, so there are tons and tons of holes in the metal walkway that we have to go on that weren’t there when we entered. some are so big we have to find alternate ways to get around. one we couldn’t pass so i’m like, turn around and go in that room, maybe there is something we can put across to walk on. the room is a little kids bedroom, with a bed and toys and stuff. so we grab some books thinking we can layer them across the hole, as if it’s going to support our weight. at least we found tape to tape the books together haha.

and dream i was late for work because i fell asleep while driving there twice.


dreamed i was exploring some factory with alex and coworker monika, but it was semi active and we got caught ( i think it was her fault). the security guard took us into the main office of the factory, and was going to cuff us, but for some reason didn’t. i kept thinking, this isn’t a cop, this is just a security guard so he can’t cuff us, and he can’t himself arrest us. so we’re in the office, and finally i’m like, can you please let us go, we aren’t like normal explorers who come to steal and vandalize, we’re just photographers, we weren’t harming anything. but the guy was all like shut up we don’t care we’re gonna arrest you. so we’re in the office still, and now it’s been an hour, and the manager is there, and i’m like “god it’s been an hour and you haven’t done anything yet, just let us go” and i guess he did, after a bit longer wait, cuz then we just left.

then dreamed i was exploring the richardson complex, but it too was semi active as a hospital still, and i was almost caught again. i went into some area, that used to be the chapel and used to be locked up (but it was really the chapel area from Eastern State Penitentiary that Lei and I talked our guide into letting us go in). the fact that it wasn’t locked tipped me off to the idea the area was being used. sure enough saw some people, so i had to hide. i ended up hiding in someone’s therapy group and participating in the session. after i went out nonchalantly like i belonged there, and went looking for my car. i got stopped by one of the people from the group who asked me what i thought about it, so i made stuff up about how helpful i thought it was and blahblahblah (and this guy was actually one of my white bacc players from work). i told him i lost my car and had to go to the other side to look for it, so i left before he got suspicious, but somehow ended up on a roof of the building. i had to climb through a window in a ceramics classroom (because apparently, it was also being used as a school). and the roof was covered in hay, like a thatched roof. i guess i wanted an above look at the lots for my car. so i’m on the roof and i run into another patient from the group, sitting over the edge of the roof on this part that is jutting out. i didn’t know what to do, if she was suicidal or whatever, and if i should tell someone. so i was just like, oh i’m looking for my car i think it’s that one over there cuz the bumper stickers looked familiar (obama stickers) but then i realized it wasn’t my car, so i left to go back through the window. i had to lift myself up into it though, and it was hard to do, plus there were ceramic things on the window sil that i was sure i was going to break and some kid was going to be sad, and they were going to know that someone went through the window. i managed to get in, and then i heard meowing, and mr kitty was on the roof too. he was going to have to jump a long way to get into the window, but he managed.


dream: i was exploring with david. we were going to this hospital that was really really easy to get into, which meant everyone went, but i wanted to go anyway. it was called cargill even though it was not related to the grain elevator or company. so we had to climb a ton of stairs to get to the top floor of the hospital, and i was on the phone with my mom getting irritated that she wouldn’t hang up. when we got to the top floor, it was still at sea level, or a few stories above, and it was on an island so there was water all around. the hospital had floor to ceiling windows, so you could see all around, and i was trying to take a photo of the city, presumably detroit, with my cell phone. but it was windy, so the buildings kept swaying, and i couldn’t hold my hand still to get a clear photo. then my mom was there, and it was her first exploration. the floor was an open plan, with hospital beds and desks scattered around. looking out the window there were 3 boats parked really close to the building/island, and since we were pretty much at sea level, i was pretty sure they could see in the hospital and see us. one boat was like a tug boat, one was military looking, and another was just a boat with people on it. then we could see a guy coming off the boat and into the building, and i was like, yeah, crap, they see us and we’re gonna get in trouble. david insisted they couldn’t see in cuz of the glare on the windows. but then the guy came in, obviously he could see us. i told my mom to drop down on the ground, and we tried to hide, but it was stupid cuz he clearly saw us. but he didn’t say anything. then 2 other military guys came in and joined the first guy. they crouched in front of the windows and then just open fired through the glass to the boat below. i was like omg, they’re shooting them. but there didn’t seem to be anyone getting hit with bullets, so i thought they must be shooting blanks, even though something had gone through the window and made holes. i think i tried to get up, and the one gun man turned his gun on me and shot. again i wasn’t sure there were real bullets in the guns since i didn’t get it, (well he didn’t aim at me, he aimed next to me, as if just to scare me, but there was no bullet that hit the floor near me either). finally we were like, we gotta get out of here, so we started running away and back down the stairs with a bunch of other people, who i guess had been in the hopsital with us. on kid was playing with the empty shells from the guns, so i was like, oh i guess they must have had real bullets, and i want a shell as a souvenir!

ohio road trip

Spent 3 days driving around Ohio and sightseeing, in my strange way, with Alex for my first vacation of the year. Headed out early Monday for the first stop, Youngstown Ohio. Youngstown is your typical dying rust belt city. Sean had given me a heads up on a few potential exploration locations, and the first stop was the most promising of them – Republic Rubber. Wow is this place wide open. A handful of buildings, with not much, if any, machinery left inside, but your usual decay level and some interesting dumped debris (namely, a 1968 newspaper about Robert Kennedy’s assassination). Spent a few hours there, before heading out when Alex spotted someone that looked like a cop. After ducking aside and deciding what to do, we figured we’d risk it. Then I saw the cop car, ducked aside again. Went over a debris pile towards the street and thankfully the fence had fallen down, so we got out no problem. Sean later told us a cop had rolled up on him too and didn’t care they were on property. Oh well, even if we had know about Sean’s experience, I probably would have reacted the same.

The day was very hot, 93, we were mighty unprepared with no water, and we hadn’t eaten before getting to Republic, so after escaping we found a Chick fil A for lunch before checking out a few more bust locations. First was an old highschool that we bailed on because of cars parked around, and an old coal breaker that no longer exists. So it was off to Mansfield. We were already going to get into town much too late to visit the Mansfield Reformatory that day, but the 2 hour traffic jam because of an innocent looking car accident that closed all 3 lanes of the highway didn’t help. We went by the prison anyway, so pretty, then found a hotel and some food for the night.

Tuesday was the prison. They offer self guided tours Mon – Fri, closed Saturday, and 3 different guided tours on Sundays. Their website said no “professional photography” and no tripods were allowed on the self guided tours, but they offered a “photographer tour” for 4 hours for $150…no thanks. Stuck to the self guided tour and suffered through low light photo attempts with no tripod. There was no sign at the ticket area about the tripod thing, so maybe if I went again I’d try to bring it and see if anything was said.The lady did immediately ask if we were professionals upon seeing SLRs, but I assured here that couldn’t be further from the truth. Hopefully some photos turn out not blurry. The prison is designed more hospital like, with 2 cell block wings and a central admin/warden section, rather than something like Eastern State with it’s wheel and spoke design. It closed in 1990, and several movies have been filmed there, most famously the Shawshank Redemption, and (I was not aware) Air Force One. It is a pretty nice place, and I recommend stopping by for sure.

After a few hours at the prison, we started on our way to Columbus and Taco Trucks. Had a few issues with that – I had mapped out the 3 that Carolyn had gone to last year, but 2 were not present, and 1 didn’t open until 4:30. Arg. Ended up finding one after consulting the internet again, and stopped for lunch. I love Taco Trucks. Had an el pastor (think gyro but with pork only) burrito that was huge and delicious. I had wanted to go back to the 4:30 opening truck after our next stop, the zoo, but in the end we didn’t. The Columbus Zoo is pretty nice, no San Diego, but a decent size with a nice mix of animals (when they were present in their habitats, which apparently none of the various bears were). We only had about 2 hours before it closed, but it was really all the time we needed. It was way too hot to be walking around so much haha.

So then it was off to Cincinnati for the night, stopping for night shots of the Cincinnati Union Station (designed by BCT architects) before having a bit of an adventure trying to find someplace open to eat late (everything closes at 10 which seems super early to me, even if it was a Tuesday).

Wednesday was the other main reason for the trip (1st being Mansfield) – the Creation Museum in Kentucky…

Here is my fair review of the Creation Museum: It’s a pretty nice place, and very well done. Clearly a lot of money was spent, and it is not some half ass hack job like I sorta expected. It’s pretty large, with a large nice garden outside, and sorta lame petting zoo. And it was very busy. Oddly, they had 2 guys outside that looked like Troopers (but were probably only museum hired security) directing parking and pedestrian traffic, then I noticed a public safety vehicle, and once inside 2 more guards with a k-9 unit…really? Are they really threatened that they need all this security? What’s the dog for, to sniff out drugs or bombs? Is someone really going to suicide bomb them? I just was really surprised by it. They really play up the dinosaur aspect of the museum, which in reality should be pretty small – all based on the idea that god created everything, and noah saved 2 of every animal, thus humans lived with dinos and dinos were saved in the flood…It’s really not a big deal, but there are freaking dinosaurs everywhere.

So the exhibits are based on Genesis, (duh) the opinion that god created everything in the last 6000 years, and then all the “proof” from the bible and earth records to support this opinion. What surprised me was that they actually do sort of show both sides of the coin. They had info graphics with one side being “rational man’s thought” (aka science) and “god’s” on the other. So for example they’d have the time line of the universe being created millions of years ago, and it’s evolution to present day, vs the time line of god’s 7 days of creation (7 right? You’d think I’d know this after today lol). I don’t think I’m explaining it well, but they did show both sides of the issue. They probably did conveniently leave things out on the “rational” side of the coin, but…I respect that they had both sides, because I really didn’t expect it and it would have been very easy to not do it. There were some things I had issue with, just because I don’t think the conclusions they drew were valid from their premise, but I’m sure no one else is questioning it haha.

While the wax dummies were pretty bad, the exhibits were pretty professional, almost Disney-esque. There were 2 video presentations that we didn’t watch, and various short video clips that went along with each part of the exhibit. The museum was solely focused on creation and Genesis, and seemed to end abruptly because of it, with few references to Jesus, no real reference to the rest of Christianity, and surprisingly no effort to convert (maybe they think everyone there is already Christian). I actually didn’t find it to be a complete waste of time and money, it was interesting and entertaining. Though I think Alex was angered more than I was, I really wasn’t that angry haha. Just amused.

Here is my Atheist review of the Creation Museum: it’s sort of sad and upsetting that so many people were there, obviously religious people, believing everything that was shown and likely not questioning the “other side of the coin” that was presented. Some of it was very hilarious, like how obviously the wax statues of Isaiah, Moses and King David were made to look stereotypically Jewish, and all the talk about dinosaurs and humans living together. They just won’t let that go!! It’s so completely unimportant! Their attempts to show the scientific side of things was impressive, but I suspect altered or incomplete figuring that no one will question it. And the most important fault of all….the dinosaur with the saddle, because obviously humans rode dinosaurs, was only for children under 12 years old. Gah!

The gift shop was large, and filled with a ton of books…books I didn’t attempt to even look at, because I know those WOULD make me angry, where the museum did not. We walked around the gardens, which are pretty nice, for a bit but again, it was way too hot out lol. Once I get my pics done up I’ll post with commentary, but at this point, this is all I can really think of to say about it.

Headed home after that, deciding not to pursue any exploring in Cincinnati. A fairly easy but long drive home followed, and now I’ve got one more day of vacation left, then back to work. Time to find some food!

Ohio Photos

Europe 2010 – part 1 – Ukraine

Here goes….

My flights took me to Ohare, and then Frankfurt before finally Kiev. Uneventful but long, with long layovers in Chicago and Frankfurt. Borispol airport in Kiev is not at all what I expected. I just assumed it was a big modern airport, so when I saw that it had only 2 jetways I was sort of shocked. But an airport is an airport and it works and it does it’s job. Found Dan and Jamie, with our driver from Solo East, Igor, and we were off to our apartment at 22b Mikhailivska St. The apartment was in a pretty good location, up the street from Independence square, the main street of Kiev Kreschatik Street, and St Michael’s church. It was in walking distance of St Andrew’s and St Andrew’s Descent, and St Sophia’s.

Upon arriving and unpacking I discovered my lens was no longer attached to my camera body. 2 pieces of plastic from the lens mount had broken off en route. shiiiiit. So the first night was spent trying to find camera shops or repair shops that would fix it. We weren’t really successful, one place had a lens but it would have cost more than if I got it here. So in the end, we found some super glue and Dan glued the pieces back on. Had to do it twice, but in the end it was a pretty solid repair job, the lens stayed on and worked.

First impressions of Kiev, it’s a massive sprawling city, with a combination of old architecture and depressing Soviet architecture. Like other European cities, instead of crossing major intersections, you go under them, but all of their under intersection walkways contain stores…you can pretty much get anything. Some intersections were “small” and would have just sort of convenience stores, food, drinks, cigarettes, gum, etc. Other ones had practical malls, with furniture stores and souvenirs and anything you would need. Imagine how much nicer American cities would look if our convenience stores and strip malls were underground. The entire underground of Independence Square is a normal mall, with your usual clothes stores and mall stuff. Kinda cool.

2nd day we went off to the Pecherska Lavra, an Orthodox Church monastery. It’s a huuuge place, and we spent most of the afternoon there and didn’t see it all. There are caves which hold old monks, tons of buildings (which we didn’t go in any), and a miniature display that we missed. Very cool place, very pretty. On the way there we walked past and stopped at the Famine memorial, and then after the Lavra continued down the street to the Motherland Statue and War Memorial. By then it was getting dark, so we caught some dinner (I got a drink/shot called a Hiroshima – sambuca, baileys and absinthe…strooooong) and headed back to the apartment. We went out for drinks later, though it was a Wednesday so there weren’t alot of people “out”. The first bar had shots of high end vodka for $9 hryvnia = $1.12!! Score. Stopped at 2 other places, and Jamie had terrible luck at drinks – he ordered a mojito at the first place which had no alcohol in it, and at the 3rd he tried to order a Tornado, which was similar to the Hiroshima, and then never got the drink…I had ordered some food, so when bringing the food we assumed they’d bring his drink, only they brought him a big silver platter…containing food. Beef tournado’s LOL. The perils of language difficulties.

The next 3 days were spent in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. The town of Chernobyl has about 250 residents, mostly military I think, and you need permission to be there. Visitors are only allowed to go around with a military guide, so when we were in town and not on the “tour” we were pretty much confined to the hotel, or walking to the military building for our meals. The drive to town was about 2 hours, and we began with lunch before heading out to see the actual power plant. We had our military guide, Vladimir, who didn’t speak english, and our tour guide, Sergei from Solo East who did, so it went well. The plant looks really cool and you get pretty close – way closer than you’d get to any plant in the US. You can only point your camera and take pictures of the sarcophagus though, despite the fact the rest of the plant is now decommissioned. Then it was off to the town of Pripyat, which was the closest major town to the plant, and completely evacuated after the accident. Other towns in the area were evacuated and then buried after the accident, but it was decided that burying didn’t really help the spread of radioactivity so they gave it up, and it would probably have been impossible to bury Pripyat with all it’s high rise buildings (some 16 stories).

What can really be said about this? It’s an explorers dream, and when I tried to count all the buildings I could see from the top of the hotel in the main square, I gave up at 40. There is just sooo much, and the tour takes you to the highlights, you don’t even begin to see most of the residential highrises (we climbed to the top of one of them the 2nd day, but it was just to the top and back, no time to see the floors). So the first day I believe we saw…hotel rooftop, bookstore, and hospital. The hospital was huge and sweet, but there is a 4:30 curfew which I didn’t realize, and our guides had gone in to find me haha. In the end, I barely saw any of the main hospital (I guess I had gone into some off wing or even other building haha). We had been told to make a list of what we wanted to revisit for the 3rd day, so that was on the list for sure. I added the bookstore to the list as well, because after we had been there someone mentioned the stack of wrapped postcards still there, which Sergei said I could take. Cassie had asked for a postcard, so I freaked out that I was actually going to have a real postcard to send her from Pripyat!

Second day we started earlier of course, no drive there, and had asked to skip lunch so we had all day (until 4 haha). The first stop was on the water, but I had lagged behind so I don’t know the significance. Then was the music school, which was cool, but again I was rushed out of – I only needed 5 more minutes! We went to the oldest school in town, but we couldn’t go in because one section had collapsed. Bummer too because looking in the windows one classroom had the most amazing, totally sterotypical Soviet propaganda mural. Then a music store, with a bunch of left over pianos, and a 2nd school. Then a very cool athletic center with gym and pool, and climbed the 16 story apartment building to see the view. Next, the amusement park with left over bumper cars, swing type ride, and ferris wheel. After that was another school, which they called a “kindergarten” but was maybe more like American preschool, or perhaps even an orphanage. There were 2 floors, lots of left over toys so it was definitely for young kids (compared to the other school which was clearly a normal school), but there were also rooms of cribs…the cribs make me think orphanage, but I’m not sure a town like that would need such a big orphanage haha. Will have to look up some more history on the town. Sergei had to leave, so he instructed Vladimir to take us to a few other places – the police station and jail, and department store in the main square – before heading back.

By the end of the 2nd day, one plastic piece had broken off the lens. It was still staying on the camera, but it was no longer sitting close enough to the sensors to work super good – lost autofocus to infinity, and sometimes it wouldn’t recognize that the lens was there. Holding it and jiggling it made it usable, so I was able to continue the day and the 3rd day. But after returning to Kiev the camera went away, and I ended up buying a nikon coolpix point and shoot to use for the 2nd week. Lighter and easier to carry for sure haha.

The 3rd day we only had our military guide, a different guy named Evengi maybe? He spoke ok english, good enough! The problem was that he was coming into town from outside, and the bus was late for some reason, so we didn’t get “on the road” until 11 instead of 9. After breakfast Vladmir took us around town to kill time, to the town sign, a park, and to see the harbor with rusted dead boats. When our guide made it, we started by stopping at what he called a “fish factory” near the cooling towers and cooling pool, then a real factory in Pripyat. He was funny, because he said officially the factory made small plastic parts for cassette tape recorders, but unofficially he didn’t know what they did. And it did seem like a rather huge and strange place for just making plastic parts. There were posters about radiation, that didn’t seem like it was just because they were near a plant. Ahh the secretive soviets! We left town and stopped at the bus station, and then train station which was REUSED!!! An abandoned and radioactive town has a train station that was reused into a work shop. Crazy! The last stop was his “secret location” that most tourists don’t see, which was a sort of small vehicle grave yard, and included a derailed train. We then headed back to Chernobyl and home, an hour early 🙁 We didn’t get to go back to the hospital and bookstore and I’M SO BUMMED I COULDN’T GET THE POSTCARD FOR CASSIE!!! GAAAH (souvenir bummer #1).

So my overall impression of the Exclusion zone – clearly awesome from the explorer/photographer perspective. It was great to see, but the work that still needs to be done is overwhelming. The environment and nature is flourishing, they said there are wolves again, wild boars, and a wild horse population (and cats haha), but it all needs to be cleaned up still. I don’t know if/how that will ever happen. It’s beyond me. Pripyat is a dream of course, but I was sort of surprised that it had been scrapped. Sergie explained that under communism you waited in a line for 4 hours to get a toilet – it was so difficult to get what you needed – that despite the contamination and the danger, people went in and took everything (it was not always as secure as it is now). If you expected apartments and buildings to be just as they were left in 1986, they really aren’t. In one sense it is a freeze frame of 1986 but it is not the perfect untouched place you might expect.

Back in Kiev, hung around the apartment, and I took a walk up to St Michael’s and St Sophia’s real quick (it was cold), before Dan and I went out for some food and drinks. We were leaving Kiev for Tallinn in the afternoon, so we went to St Andrew’s (which you can’t go in because it’s being restored) and did some souvenir shopping at the booths along the Descent (cobblestone hill down the side of the church).

So what I saw of Kiev was cool, it was very inexpensive, Chernobyl was clearly awesome, but I did lose my sunglasses somewhere in Pripyiat haha (good thing it was gloomy and rainy most of the trip).

Kiev Photos

Chernobyl Photos

West Virginia

So tuesday brought following david and his gf up to weston wv to trans allegany lunatic asylum, a kirkbride that is open daily for tours. yay for legal access. it was my first aslyum and first kirkbride i’ve ever been in. we took the 4 floor tour, and got to see a lot of the building (but not any of the out buildings like the TB and general hospitals). it was interesting, and pretty, but in way better shape than i was expecting. and i don’t really know why i expected it to be more ruined, since i saw it on ghosthunters last summer. i departed from them after the tour and headed to moundsville/wheeling to go to WV state penn. only problem is that google maps lies. they sent me the “quickest” way, which was directly across all the mountains instead of going all highway. while the road was fun (dad would love it) and it was pretty (though raining), no way was it quicker than if i had gone all highway. so i didn’t make it into town in time for the last penn tour boo. drove up to wheeling and found the wheeling island casino. i was going to get a room there, but turns out they were sold out. what? on a tuesday? eh that’s ok, they were expensive anyway. i did run into an ex coworker, which was a complete surprise because last anyone at work had known he was down in the carolinas attempting to flip houses. well that didn’t work out for him hahah, bad economic timing. left there and got a room in downtown wheeling for the night.

thursday it was back to wv state penn just missing the 11am tour, but that was ok because it was a big middle school field trip. no thanks. lady at the counter says the noon tour was a field trip too, so i had to wait til 1 cuz no way was i going along with a bunch of kids. i had passed a sign for the Marx Toy Museum so i headed there to kill some time. marx toys went out of business in 1980 so i didn’t have any, but they were the company who made rock em sock em robots, and invented the big wheel. neat stuff to look at, and nice lady took me through the whole place (not sure if that is normal or not, i was the only one there). back to the prison again, and there were only 3 of us on the tour. nice. older man who was our guide ends up being the husband of the lady at the toy museum lol. tour was about an hour long, through a few cell blocks, the yard, cafeteria etc. again, much better shape than i was expecting but then again it was only closed since the mid 90s. i think i was expecting more like Eastern State.

headed out after the tour for home. took a long way so i could go to sonic again hahahahah. got home just before 8. wicked headache that won’t go away tho.

and i have to say, yay for legal access to buildings, but i think i prefer self tours…both weston and the prison would have been better if i could wander on my own like you can at Eastern State. spend however much time you want looking at whatever you want and taking as many pics as you could. in the end i don’t think i took very many photos at either site because the guide wanted you to move along with the group (even tho both groups were small). both trips to eastern state were way more relaxed and i could spend hours there. i’ve been thinking about this a lot in regards to the terminal too. i think we may be getting to the point where we’ll want to have some basic open hours but not necessarily with a tour guide…i don’t see why we couldn’t offer both (open a few days a week, a real tour once a month as we do now). maybe the open hours is just the concourse, and the tour goes other extra areas. i don’t know. but the open hours would allow for photographers and others to have the time they need, and the tours for people who want more in depth discussion of the building’s history.


vacation week.

started with 5 days in a row at the terminal, as my last hurrah of sorts. wed night to meet a caterer. thurs night board meeting, then the TAPS ghost hunt on Fri and Sat, and finally our own ghost hunt Sunday. the weekend was pretty fun, and we made some money. they started with a meet and greet for the people who bought tickets, and then went into a lecture by John Zaffa, a demonologist, which was…interesting. a bunch of stuff about exorcisms etc. jason and grant followed that with their own presentation/lecture, and some video from some of their shows and other non tv investigations. once it got dark, about 9pm they broke into groups and the rest of the night was the actual hunt. friday night i got a psychic reading done on para-x radio haha. interesting and mostly bull, of course. saturday night was much the same, only i didn’t stay the whole time cuz i was tired and bored. sunday was without celebs, and 200$ cheaper hahaha. we had about 40 people and WNY Ghost Hunters brought in some people to speak, and then at dark again, broke into much much smaller groups to investigate the floors. i don’t really think the terminal is haunted, but they’ve been finding some interesting things. someone on the hunt got a pretty impressive EVP in fedele’s apartment.

anyway. it was a good weekend for us, and technically my last one for a long while. i don’t want to see that place again for months haha

so today i left for a real vacation for the last 4 days i have off. i ended up deciding on braddock pa, trans allegany asylum and west virginia penn in WV. turns out david was going to be in wv with his gf at the same time, and decided to meet me in braddock.

well…braddock was not what i was expecting 1. it is way close to pittsburgh and i pictured it farther out, sorta middle of nowhere mountains. 2. it is bigger than i thought it would be. i was expecting a main street and then houses spread out over several other streets. instead it was crowded with buildings (yes mostly empty, especially main street) 3. since it was crowded with buildings, and most of them were houses, there wasn’t anything to really photograph. 4. they still have a US Steel mill?!!? i don’t quite understand what this city’s problem is. i thought they were ruined and the population had left because industry had left, but they have a big steel plant and a large hospital and it is very close to pittsburgh. i don’t get it. it’s also right next to rankine, which i didn’t realize til i was driving and suddenly realized i had been there before, with dan 2 years ago haha. so i met up with david in braddock and we drove around a bit, but then left to some places he knew of in nearby mckeesport. visited an old hotel, steel fabricator (i think) factory and a church. so it ended up being successful. i then followed him down into WV and am now spending the night in morganstown.

tomorrow is weston and trans allegany lunatic asylum. woo. i’m excited tho i hear the tour goes way too fast for good photo taking, but i suppose i can always take the tour twice 🙂

my one and only april fools day prank! i rock.

i’ve never really enjoyed april fools day, mainly because i have enough trust issues as it is, i don’t like to be tricked. i’ve fallen for a few ninhotline tricks in the beginning of my nin fandom (like nin touring with filter ha!), but smartened up since.

but i pulled off the best prank yesterday. my first attempt ever. the key to pulling off a good prank is believability. so updating facebook to say i got arrested at the aud was pure brilliance on my part. completely believable!! a few people were observant and smelled a rat right away, but i got quite a few txts and comments from people asking if i was ok. the best part of all was getting a txt from phil, who’s not even on facebook, asking what happened. thanks to desi everyone at work thought i really was arrested LOL. phil’s like, you’re gonna have some explaining to do. what’s to explain, you’re all fools! 🙂


exploring sat did not go as planned…houdaille is now an EPA clean up site, cops drove by us before going to the orphanage, so in the end, the terminal it was…ug so boring lol. so i have no new pictures to edit or upload, the terminal is just not inspiring anymore. and it was very cold and dark.

never made it to the aud farewell party either. oh well.

watching the godfather on tv for the 10047th time, horse head part coming right up 🙂

new nin drummer is 20…he was 1 when pretty hate machine came out…trent could be his father. LOL!