Why Do We Like History?

Do you have something you tell people when they ask you why you explore the old places? I can say a few words about history, a love for the old workmanship, etc. But, there is more to it. Things I don’t put into words because they make me seem a sad and lonely person. I don’t feel that way about myself. But, if my photographs are about preserving the past and feelings of things lost, fading and forgotten… I think that says something about me. It makes me seem needy, vulnerable. So, I don’t have an answer for the question of why I explore, other than touching the surface about liking history.

The email I’ve cut and pasted below was from 2011. I thought it would be easy to send a reply back, but I’ve never managed to answer the question without feeling vulnerable or lacking sincerity. I could have sent a fluff answer. But, I don’t want to. Some day there will be nothing left of me but what I did, wrote or photographed. None of those things are permanent. My existence will slip through history, like most people. The least I can do is put integrity and honesty into the very little remnants there will be.

I think about this still. The question I thought would be simple to answer, but isn’t.

Thanks for sending the link. Your photos look wonderful. You’ve definitely got a better eye through the lens than I.

I’ve spoken to a couple of environmental historians and the message seems to be the same. For your collection to be of use to a historian for research purposes, it would need extensive metadata about exactly where and when the photos were taken. Preferably following a standard metadata convension used by professional archivists (eg, Dublin Core http://dublincore.org/).

The historians also believed that your collection is much more likely to be of interest to someone for research purposes in 30 or 40 years and that perhaps then the interest would be in you as a photographer interested in old buildings, as opposed to the contents of the photos themselves.

Having said that, the photos are great and if you’d like to write a few paragraphs about why you’ve decided to take them and why you think it’s important to preserve these types of buildings on film, we’d be happy to share the story and a link to your photos on our news feed. Our readers tend to have a keen interest in the past and how we can understand the past. Your knowledge of photography and preserving would certainly be worth understanding further.

Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Adam Crymble

Stop Calling them Uniforms

mountiecostumeWhen a uniform becomes customized for various cultures it stops being a uniform. A uniform is… uniform. When it isn’t uniform, all the same, then it becomes similar, not uniform. If the Mounties, police, fire fighters, etc. want to adapt their uniform doesn’t it become a costume? I think allowing various cultures (I am purposely not being specific because the specific culture is not the issue) to have different uniforms makes the uniform mean less.

The original point of a uniform was identification, everyone looking the same, being recognizable and having respect. You see the Mounties and know who they are by the uniform. If you see someone wearing a Mountie costume, you think they are on the way to a party and you don’t consider them someone you need to pay much attention to. Badges don’t mean much from a distance, behind a door or to anyone who couldn’t tell a real badge from a fake one.

People in authority like Mounties, military and government employees need to be recognizable in order to have that authority and be trusted. Since we were children we have seen Mounties in their dress uniforms and we expect a Mountie to be in that uniform.

But, more than the public, what about the Mounties themselves? Why change the uniform which has severed generations of Mounties of all cultures up until now? I’m assuming all Mounties have two arms, two legs, one head so they should all be able to wear the standard uniform. What is the real need for change in this very old tradition worn with pride by generations of people.

I don’t know. But, I do think they should stop calling them uniforms, because they aren’t uniforms any more. That tradition has been lost. mountie

The Labyrinth of Ordinary Humans

Found a nice quote on another lost urbex site. The direct link is hijacked by the Webring code. I found the site thanks to the Wayback Machine.

“It’s not about busting into businesses and bragging about trespassing. It’s about living a time that is rapidly disappearing, sinking under a new city. The undoctored past is a rare thing to have the privilege to experience, especially because this is not the past of kings or generals or millionaire mansions. This is the past of sewer and drain workers,  factory workers, builders, tunnelers – ordinary people who built the labyrinthine hive of humans, that maze of rooms and halls above ground and under that we know as – a city.”

– Jacques

urbanwanderers
Source: Exploring The Twin Cities’ Underground

From Fred, the Missing Strange Traveler

The following is cut and pasted from an abandoned site, on Tripod. I would have reposted more newsletters, but I only found two.

Welcome, to The STRANGE TRAVELER

Adobe Photoshop Image

Hi. I’m Fred, the Robin Leach of haunted castles, alien landing fields, mystical monoliths and really cool bars. You have just stumbled into the only travel Website on the Internet that takes a “Twilight Zone” approach to vacation planning.

This is how it works: First, dim the lights.

Stare deeply into your computer screen.

Then imagine you are in the black-and-white world of early 1960s television, sitting in a AAA travel office filled with happy brochures on Disneyland, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.

Suddenly, you realize that the terse, thin-lipped agent marking up your TripTik is actually Rod Serling, host of “The Twilight Zone” and one of modern society’s first supernatural tour guides.

In your head, you hear his clipped, dramatically inflected words offering guidance in your search for vacation ideas that don’t center on theme parks, relatives or all-inclusive resorts:

“You’re traveling through another dimension – a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead. Your next stop …Alton, Illinois.”

Or Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Or Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Paris, Roswell, Loch Ness, the Nazca Plain, Stonehenge, Area 51, The Queen Mary or that spooky old house everyone whispered about in the neighborhood you grew up in.

The Strange Traveler thinks vacations should be more than sunscreen and lengthy discussions about where to eat dinner. Your travel tales should make jaws drop around the office water cooler, and widen the eyes of fellow parents on the T-ball sidelines.

You see, the world is filled with Strange Travel possibilities: destinations reputed to be haunted, cursed, charmed, visited by aliens, inhabited by monsters, worshiped by strange cults, or infested by vampires, faeries and zombies. Some of these places are the doorways to true mysteries. Others are heavily hyped tourist traps. Most have overnight accommodations, lots of local color, and at least one decent bar.

That’s where The Strange Traveler comes in.

This Website and its newsletter are your tour guides to bizarre, out-of-the-way destinations. This e-zine both guides readers to strange places they can visit, and advises them of the supernatural undercurrents flowing beneath traditional getaways.

Read more

Intolerance is the New Black

Intolerance is black. Not black and white and no room at all for shades of grey. Intolerance is a dictatorship.

To me it seems intolerance has become more important than respect, love or anything else. If you read the intolerance manual you would believe it was my generation and those before us who were intolerant, bigots, and so on. But, that isn’t true. We may have been racist, but we were not intolerant. We had black, white, shades of grey, men, women, old and young.

Now there is just one way everything is allowed to be and everyone must stick to the right rules. I see only black, there can be no exception. Any feelings or thoughts (and certainly any actions!) to the contrary will not be tolerated. Even those you love will choose the rules over you. Don’t get in the way, don’t have any other opinion and don’t complain.

Writing this, this morning, I wonder how people have gotten this way.

I have tolerance. I’m sad, I’m angry and I’m disappointed but I am not throwing rocks at anyone. I am not insisting on having my way or ignoring someone else who does not agree with me. I am tolerating someone who ignored my beliefs, my feelings and everything I am. I am not throwing anyone out, or under a bus. I am not screaming, hurting someone else, or insisting on a boycott. I am not using social media to gather others to my witch hunt.

I am of the generation who believe in human rights, including the human right to be human. Being human means everyone is entitled to be imperfect. Being human I expect people to not have all the same thoughts, feelings, culture or experiences. I like to explore other cultures and experiences. I like knowing there are people who disagree with me but listen to how I think and care enough to tolerate me when I feel or think differently.

You have to be entitled to be so firmly intolerant.

Today people have a feeling of entitlement they say. I have seen this in the younger generation, but not just there. The feeling of entitlement is part of the blackness of intolerance. I think it backs it up, keeps it from letting in any of those other colours. You have to be entitled in order to be so firmly intolerant.

Where did we lose the idea that it is ok to say no and have that respected? Of course, you can say no to the acceptable things: rape, bullying, racism, homophobia and transphobia. To a much smaller extent you can still say no to religious discrimination and a few other, older and less popular in the media discriminations we are still allowed to say no to. Racism is not tolerated, if you are black. If you are any other race, culture or colour, you will need to have tolerance. I’m not sure why. Why are some causes supported so fervently and others almost forgotten and ignored? Why do only some people matter?

We have lost the right to respectfully disagree.

I wish people could remember, or care, or respect the fact that we do not all agree. We do not all have to agree. But, with intolerance there is no right to respectfully disagree. I respectfully disagreed but I was not respectfully tolerated, instead I faced the intolerance and being family, years of love, respect and everything else could not overcome the intolerance which is held up like a solid, black wall, higher and thicker than any human being can ever hope to come across, or around.

I am sad and sad is grey, not black.

Indians in a Snow Storm

I will have to look up more about John Innes and see what else he painted. I like this one. Just happened to notice it for sale on Etsy.

My Grandfather told my Mother about meeting Canadian native people on the Saskatchewan prairies when he was a young man and the family were just off the boat from Austria. It’s too bad she doesn’t remember more about it. He (my Grandfather) thought very well of the native people and dealt with them often.

The art is called Indians in a Snow Storm. I’m not changing it to reflect modern political correctness. It is, as it was. johninnespostcard

This art postcard features the work of Canadian artist John Innes and was published by W G Macfarlane for Linton Brothers of Calgary. It is part of the Troilene Indians series and shows several Indian riders bundled up and making their way through blowing snow. “The blizzard is not a snow storm. The snow frozen by the intense cold to the consistency of sand is picked up by the fierce Northwest hurricanes and travels at terrific speed. Many lives are lost during these blizzards yearly”.
The card has an undivided back although the sender thoughtfully created one. The card is postally used and cancelled in 1906. Good overall condition makes this a wonderful addition to a collection.

via – Canadian Artist John Innes Indians in a Snow by TheOldBarnDoor

The Untapped Potential of Rooftop Solar Energy

Why don’t more people produce solar energy from their own homes? If you have a roof over your head you could also have solar panels producing energy. Save on the energy you pay for each month and use a source of energy which does not cause pollution to produce or deliver to your home.

I’m sure a lack of knowledge is a big part of the reason we don’t see more solar energy panels. There is also some feeling of making change, taking the time to learn about solar for the home and the cost and effectiveness of solar panels versus just leaving things as they are.

I think it would help solar energy if people were aware of how it all works and how it benefits themselves.

In the future we may see buildings with built-in solar power.

Apartments, office towers, tall condominiums would be smart to utilize all those windows as a source for collecting solar energy. Will someone come up with a way to turn windows into solar panels? Or, does this already exist? No one would want to give up their view but there should be some way to keep the windows functional while also harvesting solar power. I’ve seen ads fully covering the sides of city buses. But, from inside the bus you can still see out the windows due to small holes in the painted on ad. Could that also work for solar windows?

The answer to America’s energy problems could be right under our noses—or, rather, right over our heads. According to a recent study by the Energy Department’s Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), America’s rooftops are full of untapped potential. In fact, up to 39 percent of America’s energy could be generated just by installing photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on urban rooftops.

Popular Science reports that NREL analyzed rooftops in 128 cities across the United States, representing about 23 percent of all buildings in the U.S., according to an NREL press statement. The researchers assessed the buildings’ suitability for hosting PV solar panels and measured how much power could be generated by each location. They found that 83 percent of small buildings had the technical potential to host PV panels on part of their rooftop areas, while 26 percent could host an entire rooftop’s worth of panels.

Source: 39% of America’s Energy Could One Day Be Generated by Rooftop Solar Panels | Mental Floss

More information: ConsumerAffairs solar energy guide

What’s Lost in Your Backyard?

I read this post (link follows) about items found by people at their own homes. Some of them dug something up. Some of them found something lost and forgotten and some just got lucky. In every case people took an interest and explored.

An explorer should not neglect their own backyard.

If you found something would you hope it was valuable, mysterious or historical? Would you feel a bit let down without a mix of all of those? I would!

While digging up their backyard, looking for worms to take on an upcoming fishing trip, two sisters from Kitchener, Canada stumbled upon a curious object. Deep in the ground, they found something transparent and shiny, with a bluish hue. At first they thought that it was part of a meteorite, however, earth sciences professor Phil McCausland disagreed, saying that the visible layer of the object should have been much darker if it really was part of a meteorite. Then, a gem expert, Gary Winkler, was contacted and asked to analyze the object. He found that it was definitely not a gem of any known kind. He also speculated that the object was not of natural origins but that a person deliberately buried it. No matter what it was, the sisters were going to keep it.

  • gold coins
  • a machine gun
  • church bell
  • ancient stone
  • forgotten graves
  • fossils
  • lost loot
  • cursed objects
  • rocks from outer space
  • unexploded bombs
  • jewellery
  • mysterious objects
  • forgotten shelters
  • drugs
  • cars

Source: 25 Unusual Things You Won’t Believe Were Found In A Backyard

Barrie in the Ontario Highway 11 Blog

The following is my comment on the post about Barrie, on the site about places along Highway 11 in Ontario.

I think your review of Barrie was good. I’ve been here about 10 years now. I grew up in Port Union, Ontario, before it became Scarborough, and after. Barrie is pretty suburban still. Downtown Barrie still has a lot of bars and drinking night life. The box malls and shopping in general didn’t get into downtown Barrie, just the outskirts. It helps keep traffic from being completely locked up during weekends when there are people out shopping and even more people navigating the cottage highway. There is a new mall going up not far from where I am. It will be right at the highway turn off for Duckworth, where the hospital and Georgian College are. The two lane bridge which ran under the highway is being done over. A big project but it has been needed for a long time. Living in Barrie I especially like being on the lake and actually seeing it. I grew up on Lake Ontario and I have missed having a big lake nearby – it was one of the reasons I picked Barrie. Last note, for anyone traveling to Barrie in the winter, it does get colder here as we are at least a couple of snow belts up from the weather in the GTA.

Source: Barrie | Ontario Highway 11 Blog

Nice idea for a blog/ site. If you are along the highway have a look at your town.

Pierced for Frameless Eyeglasses

It is a good idea. An option for people who don’t want to wear contact lenses on their eyeball but don’t like the frames of eyeglasses on their face either. Still, I feel squicked at the idea of having my face (other than ear lobes) pierced. So, as good as it could be for some people… I won’t be trading in my eyeglasses, with frames.

Image source: Never Lose Your Focus – All About Colored Contacts