I'm not quite brave or bold enough to be a true urban explorer. Maybe if I wasn't always alone and wearing open shoes (Croc knock-offs) I would venture inside places. But, I'm not someone who looks for confrontations and I don't lie well at all. Besides, what I really love are the outsides of buildings. I love the architecture, the carved stone and the natural bricks. I love window trims, leaded panes and stained glass. I love the fancy bits and the broken and old bits best of all. Everything I can see from outside is what I like best of all.

No one minds if you stand outside and take pictures. Even if you tresspass, you're still just outside, out in the open, not infiltrating the dark and derelict places where anyone or any creature could be hiding or just relaxing after a good night out hunting prey. I think if you go inside you're more of a threat. You're invading what was or is private space. I don't think people feel the same about excursions around the outside of a building.

Even if someone does mention my picture taking they don't seem aggressive in asking their questions, mainly curious. Then, they ask if they can see my pictures. Of course, I just say my camera doesn't have a review feature. I can lie about some things. My camera is private, for my fingers only. Strange isn't it that someone who keeps so private and self contained as I am feels ok about tresspassing, or at least invading the outside space of someone else.

But, you see, I must get those pictures. The buildings and places haunt me. I'm not sure if I just need to document their existence or if I want to treasure something old and permanent, something broken yet still dependable. Still there after all these years and a lot of weathering.

I've just moved to Toronto now. The city has so many broken and mouldering buildings. I took the streetcar down Queen Street on Sunday and was amazed at all the places I could have stopped and swung out my camera. Now that I have rechargeable batteries and the extra 512 MB chip I have unlimited picture taking ability. I can take pictures till my fingers go numb from the cold. I do try to remember to keep the camera strap on my wrist, so far no accidents but likely it's just a matter of time. That will be a day of suspense. I get lucky with things quite often though. Like the time I accidentally knocked a glass of water on my husband's computer monitor. After a day or two of rest it started right back up as if it never had a shower at all.

Anyway, I went to CanZine on Sunday. That was my reason to ride the rails, not just being a gawky tourist. Being new to the city and having no idea where I was going or if I would ever actually get there (ignoring the whole getting back thing) I over compensated and arrived at CanZine at least an hour early. Many of the tables were not yet set up. I browsed and felt very conspicuous, being one of the only fat grrls there. I knew moving to Toronto was going to be tough on my self esteem but I felt so out of place there. It was all in my own head, no one said "please move your enormous ass". I tried not to be embarrassed even though I felt like a whale in a goldfish tank. I wasn't even dressed trendy or fashiionably. My hair was just it's usual mess and I think my pants were too short.

Don't misunderstand, I did enjoy CanZine and I'm glad I went. I do regret that I was too early to see the set up for the Torontoist table. Maybe TOBlog was there too, I didn't notice a tag saying that on any table though. It is my plan to write for one of those Toronto blogs. Maybe people would like to hear from someone new to the city, someone born in Toronto and vagabonding all over Ontario and farther, now back to Toronto. I grew up mainly in the Rouge, part of Scarborough for those who have never been farther east than Jarvis or so.

I can hear the streetcar going by from my place, the new place without windows. I don't know how I will adjust to living in a basement. I like seeing the daylight or even something of the sky at night. I miss that after living far outside of the city for so many years. The shower here doesn't seem to get very hot and all my stuff is still flopped around, lazily, just expecting me to organize and put it all away. If ever there was a time for one of those good fairies... But, we all know there are no such thing. Still, I can't quite stop a stray hope.

I met Liz of Infiltration at CanZine. That was a real highlight for me. She may not see herself as a star but she was for me. I bought Ninjalicious's book and two of the zines. Even though his idea of urban exploration is much bolder (dirtier and dustier too) than mine, I still admire and enjoy reading about his adventures. Did you know Pickering is right next to the Rouge? He grew up very near to where I grew up. Kind of a that feeling of 'home boy does good'. It's really too bad he had so little time. Yet he did a lot with his time. I'm already older than he was and I feel I've done so very little. Maybe it's wrong to keep running list in your mind of all the things you want to do. I just end up flogging myself with them all.

Anyway, Liz was interested in seeing my urban exploration photos. I guess they would be rural exploration to be accurate. Abandoned and derelict farmhouses, to be specific. I have quite a lot of them up on the Flickr site. Some of them didn't turn out great, I was a digital amateur. I had a few lucky shots. The content of the photos made it easier to get a good picture. I think it must be hard to take a really boring photo of an abandoned building. The drama is all there for the pixels to absorb. It would take real effort to blunder badly.

So that's my babble today. It's coming up to mid-morning now and I set myself the goal of assembling my bookshelves today. If I get all my books loaded on there that will be a lot of the clutter disappeared. It is truly awe inspiring how many books I have. Even though at least two boxes full have disappeared during my vagabonding in the past few years. It's sad, but I'm not even sure which ones are gone, though I have some feeling of missing something, not anything specific.

I like the way this photo looks. I took it to get a closer look at whatever that is in the field behind the shed. I think it's a car. Anyone looking for a ride?



The farmhouse was quite far back from the barn and shed, without any kind of path or road to it I couldn't get closer. I didn't want to walk through the field and muck up whatever was planted there. Also, as usual, I wasn't wearing good footwear for walking through mud, prickly weeds and whatever else inhabited the area.

The farm was off a side road outside of Cookstown. I noticed it when we were driving on the #400. It is visible from the highway if you are looking for a dark old house in a field. The house is nearer the highway than the side road I drove to get there. Maybe the house was approached by the road which was once the highway, before it became so huge and cut off the old farm.

I would have liked to see more of the house. I drove around looking for another backroad but only found a road which ended at the highway, no exit. Maybe someone else with big boots to trek back there will get more photos.



There was a strong smell of skunk as I got out of the car. Kind of intimidating when you are just about to poke around an abandoned site all by yourself and you just know you won't run far or fast enough.



Not an abandoned ruin, this is being redone outside and inside. It's open each Tuesday for a few hours for the public. I've missed it or forgotten to go in.



This site has older pictures of the Gibson Centre, before the renovations began. It also has photos of the Alliston area, including the main street.