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Sorry folks, I would have posted these photos almost two weeks ago, but I got called away on a very short notice business trip. That also why several moderated posts didn’t get approved till this morning.

Location #3 – The Swift Meat Packing Complex
 photo DSC06230FCa.jpg
It was hard to find a wall or surface that didn’t have a fresh coat of paint. If anything, as discouraged as it should be, the paint sealed walls were actually better preserved and wear was limited in those areas. That said tagging is a felony in some areas.

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Abandoned Places – Fort Worth, TX (Dec 12) – part 3

By the 1960’s, the Swift Fort Worth plant had already suffered through several major strikes and the site was in need of major modernization. The former Armour Meat Plant to the north of this complex was already closed as ranchers increasingly moved their herds to smaller markets by truck and smaller local railheads. The Swift Company had also diversified substantially into soap, transportation (they owned Greyhound Bus Company) and even insurance. In 1963-4, Swift began the process of shutting down the plant. As has been said, now the former complex is like a small ghost town tucked into the heart of Fort Worth.

Location #3 – The Swift Meat Packing Complex

 photo DSC06226FCa.jpg

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Abandoned Places – Fort Worth, TX (Dec 12) – part 3

There are limited advantages to going on an abandoned site hunt on a weekday. People are at work, traffic is greater and the risk of being seen at some sites is much higher. Going to a location adjacent to one of Fort Worth’s biggest entertainment and tourist draws on a weekday worked beautifully. Being the dead of winter helped too but as mentioned, it really wasn’t cold.

Ft Worth was built as a cattle town. The stockyards and slaughterhouses processed millions of cattle and was on of the primary point that ranchers and cowboys would bring their products to market for the southwest. There were over 20 slaughterhouses and meat packing plants in and around the stockyards, but by the 1920’s Armour Meats and Swift Meat Company were the biggest and most influential.

Location #3 – The Swift Meat Packing Complex
Swift Sigh Sign photo DSC06266FCa.jpg

In it’s heyday, the Ft Worth Swift plant was the company’s second largest operation (Chicago was the largest). To the north of the complex was it’s biggest rival, Armour and Company. In the 1950’s that dramatically changed when Swift bought Armour’s meat business.

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On that warmer than expected afternoon progressed, my companion and I started wandering north through downtown Fort Worth. Warmer than average was probably a misnomer; because it was in the upper-60’s and pleasant… in mid December. The next place we found was unexpected but worth a quick walk around. The Ellis Bros Pecan Company was one of Texas’ premiere nut vendors. Their warehouse was along the same train sidings and spurs that handled cargo, cattle and such heading ‘back east.’

Location #2 – Ellis Pecan Co
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This building has a remarkable history I never would have imagined:
http://www.fortwortharchitecture.com/north/ellispecan.htm . For me it’s a rare thing to give out a location, but this site is scheduled to be renovated and it was also VERY securely locked up. This is a Texas historical site and situated amidst a number of very active businesses.

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Last winter, I went to Ft. Worth to visit a dear friend and do an extended modeling shoot with her. While I was visiting this amazing lady, she indulged my passion for abandoned sites. Given Ft. Worth’s history as a gateway to the old west and its slow change from a blue collar meat packing town to a technology and manufacturing center; I knew there had to be some cool site. I researched a few places, on-line, checked several community & photo blogs and asked her for ideas of things she’d seen. The results for a day’s wander were exceptional.

Location #1 – Downtown
Fort Worth grew for up as a cow town and the rail hub. Cattle were shipped east to a hungry nation and goods were shipped west to build the growing communities on the frontier. Times change and the transportation hub shifted away from downtown leaving this monument to those days.

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Texas Express Company AKA The Texas and Pacific Freight Terminal

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Hi there LJ land and what few people are actually still out there.

K, just a quick note or two. Firstly I haven't fallen off the face of the world I just don't get here as much as I planned to.

Work is kicking my arse but in a good way. I'm still working in engineering, but the senior management customer and contract has heaped a bunch of additional responsibilities and authority on to my plate. This is making the day job oh so much more 'interesting.' For example, I was supposed to be in Colorado right now, but that work related trip has slipped several times and is wreaking havoc on the family schedule.

Speaking of family, we've made two trips to Atlanta to do some fun, summery stuff. Last weekend we ended up going to the Georgia Aquarium for the day. I say ended up because we got caught in torrential rains and couldn't go to the primary destination - Six Flags. We got there this past Saturday. I rarely have been able to treat the kids to amusements this year and honestly, we all needed the stress relief.

I'm in the process of a major reorganization on my computer and files. My computer is slowly but steadily growing feeble. It was last rebuilt in 2007-8 just before I lost my job with Lockheed. Recently, I started having storage and retrieval issues on files so I moved everything on short notice to an external drive to archive it. Archival files can't be edited so I've been doing work arounds which haven't been optimal. Today I'm shifting 100's of files (photos, documents, etc) around and setting up a hopefully better file use arrangement. One that will help when I have to replace or rebuild the current desktop computer.

Life is good, but I have been having major cases of the California homesicks.
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Wow it's been a while. Not intended either... Life has that habit of sneaking up on me and running off with my spare hours and days.

Let's make this a quick update as I try to play catch up (and let the anti-virus scans catch up to the computer).

If you didn't catch the news, the Lancaster house is finally up for sale. We've had a few hits in the last week or so, but the offers fell through. I expect to have a solid offer within the next month if things keep going this way. Why sell it? I never intended to be an absentee landlord when I had to move away from SoCal in 2008 (OMG it's been THAT long?!). I didn't have the choice in the matter. It was rent it or lose it entirely. I've struggled hard to keep making payments and lost thousands of dollars on the place due to bad renters. Another reason I'm selling it is the memories. Some are very bad, some are good, but many are too intense for me to ever move back into it. When that day comes again, I'd rather have a place where I have a bit more quiet and privacy.

The kids are doing well. Brenna has decided that she wants to work on pottery and ceramics as her degree emphasis at college. I swear I haven't seen her this happy and upbeat about doing something with herself and her future since she was 9. The work she's done is pretty incredible so far. Chris is having mild issues with classes. This was the first report card in which he's gotten C's or lower in several classes. I wonder if all the games and on-line distractions are affecting things or whether the after school activities are instead. What after school activities you ask? Track. My little boy who nearly died of asthma and pneumonia is running track (sprints mainly) very competitively for his middle school. He's also learning to play bass. The boy's got some serious skillz there too.

Work has been going well, though this constant Federal budget crap is getting seriously old. As a Federal contractor (day job), I'm constantly tired of wondering whether we're going to lose or keep our contracts. That being said, I must be doing something right. I was recommended for a 4.5% pay raise when most people only were recommended for 3.0 to 3.5%. HR cut everyone's recommendation down by 1% across the board so I got 3.5%. I also got a bonus from the prime contractor for the many compliments. The other benefit is I've been moved into a job where I will be working with industry executives for high level test reviews. Without going into details, I'm working my tail off.

Photo stuff has gone well. I just did a shoot with a teenage model for a second shoot. Her parents were there and were happy with how I'm working with her and the manner in which the shoots are drawing her out of her shell. We're planning a very creative special effects set with her and my regular make-up artist in May. I've also had a number of local and regional business opportunities for shooting. Another local body painter (former photog) also approached me about hosting a workshop to display his work with my photos. That's next weekend.

Frolicon was also this weekend. The adult/fantasy/educational convention for debauchery was a blast. Once again, I shot as a staff photographer and presented two classes on abandoned site photography. Unfortunately I went solo. I gave my wife the choice between this event and a quilt show in April. She took the quilt show. I contented myself chatting with many old friends and making some cook new ones. Showed a few rope tricks and made some new contacts. I also worked my ass off. I shot approximately 2000 images in 4 days. I have already deleted 400+ images and expect to drop more. I have to give the Con my top 100 photos by next Sunday. Given how much I worked, I did bruise/torque a knee. I'll heal.

I'm going to start a new workout routine by the end of the week. I don't like the shape my body's gotten into and I want to be more trim and fit by this summer. I have the feeling that I'll need to be in better shape by then no matter what.
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Thank you!

Those two simple but truly heartfelt words express my appreciation and joy after the show last night in Birmingham. After last year's scheduled show in Huntsville collapsed due to scheduling miscues and descended briefly into acrimony, I was genuinely concerned that the only way I’d ever be able to see this incredibly talented, creative and electric performer on stage would be to travel hours to venues outside of Alabama. Equally I was concerned that once again, this area would be by-passed by another talented performer. I was even more concerned that her management would tell her not to attempt a reschedule in the state to avoid the potential bad feelings. Thankfully Lindsey and her management scheduled a show at Birmingham’s Workplay Theater, one of the best intimate small (live) venues in the region.

The show was my birthday present to myself and a much needed treat for my family. I couldn’t afford the VIP passes, and instead brought four regular tickets for my family and a close friend. Because the show was general admission, I was concerned that my wife (who has major medical issues) would be able to attend. I contacted the venue management to ask about seating and was graciously offered a booth where she could watch the show in comfort and away from the press of the crowd. For myself, I found a small opening on the edge of the stage near the drum set. There, leaning against the stage were two little girls, dressed as miniature versions of Lindsey including costume glasses. A relative kept coming by to check on them and I offered to shield them from the press of the crowd if I could. At 240 and 6’2” I tend to make an effective roadblock for things like that and I can say the girls weren’t pushed away from the stage. It wasn’t necessary.

The audience was as unique as the performer we were waiting for. I saw yuppies, ravers, hipsters, dub-step folks, at least two bikers, a few Goths, a few senior citizens, business professionals, college kids and every one of them mellow and happy… Lindsey’s music cuts completely across the spectrum and doesn’t appeal to just one manner of audience. She appeals to them all.

The opening act was a Los Angeles area musician and rapper in the Long Beach style (dub – SKA). Much to my own chagrin, I never caught his name, but his skills were impressive. He wound up the crowd with a fun, clean set. I caught a number of images of the audience swelling into the venue and the growing energy. After the opening act, the floor crew came out to adjust the lighting, check the stage and prep some of the special effects (including an LED background screen). These were the hallmarks of a slick and very professional show. The lights went down and then it began…

Lindsey opened her set dressed in a white tailcoat that hinted at burlesque and steampunk all at the same time. It was the first of several costumes worn throughout the show. It’s amazing to think that this young woman was only just getting her first real exposure a little over two years ago. I remember seeing her performance videos from shows last year without her band, without the various lights and special FX. Just a tiny sprite of a woman bouncing across stages making incredible music. Yes, for those unfortunate enough to have never seen her perform live, Miss Sterling is very petite (my guess is merely 5’2” at best). Size means little in this case. Skill, showmanship, energy and heart exponentially made her 10 feet tall and produced enough energy to light up the room. This is the same young woman who has had the # 1 Classical Album and #1 Dance/Electronic Album at times last year according to Billboard.

Backed by Jason and Drews’ thunder and lighting, Lindsey was the whirling, pulsing center of the musical storm on the Workplay stage. Moreover, this woman who’s been selling out venues across the country was a seasoned professional graciously and playfully working the audience. Lindsey performed most the songs on her EP as well as the medleys from Zelda, Phantom of the Opera. Another pleasant surprise was when she tore through a medley of Michael Jackson classics including “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” from Thriller. The one part of the performance I was most taken was when she played "Song of the Caged Bird" preceded by a brief video introduction (while she slipped into a ballet costume). I stood there mostly transfixed and found tears on my cheeks by the end of the song. In her encore Lindsey performed a heartfelt version of Evanescence’s “My Immortal” as well as her own “Crystallize.”

As the show let out and we walked out into a stormy ‘Bama evening, I could easily say I’d just seen and heard one of the best shows in my life. This is no idle boast as I’ve seen scores of acts performing in small venues to arenas and festivals. This was in my top five all time and that includes some remarkable shows over 36 years of concert attendance (including Pink Floyd, .38 Special, Huey Lewis, ZZ Top to Marilyn Manson, Hole, Type O Negative to Beats Antique, Gogol Bordello and Evanescence). Contrary to certain performers who judged her once, Lindsey Sterling has the potential to fill medium to large scale venues. She is a force to be reckoned with in the future of music and is one of the best new artists to hit the music scene.

My tweets

Feb. 13th, 2013 12:00 pm
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Viewing the front side of the buildings on Main Street, Louisville, put it into perspective for me. Many of the businesses invested heavily in the appearance to impress potential customers. On much of Main Street, these frontages contain a surprise. They aren’t the original entrances.

1
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Here’s another gem from the past I’d forgotten about. Several years ago, while visiting family in the area, I took my daughter to explore a series of buildings in downtown Louisville I was surprised to see derelict. They were only a few blocks away from the YUM Center (Basketball arena) and in an area that had been full of clubs.

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Walking down the alley behind these buildings we spied an unusual sight

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My tweets

Feb. 10th, 2013 12:00 pm
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A quandry

Feb. 10th, 2013 10:07 am
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I miss someone. I know I'll likely not see her again, but I miss them none the less.

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This is something I wrote in reply to an SCA-Snark post on another board. I'm copying my reply here because it stands to remind me and any of the SCA folks who still read this blog, of what we have, what's changed and why we (I) play.

----------------------------------

Wow.. I had to read, re-read and then go through the comments. I didn't know whether to be angry, lament or laugh. Over 20 years of play (some very active and some not so much), I've seen much of what you mentioned and I think I understand what your point is.

We all play in the SCA. We play at costumes. We play at fighting styles. We play at creating objects. We play at creating a society (small "s" intended) that makes "The Dream" as we think it should be. Notice how many times I used "play" in this? I say play because we can't and don't want to recreate period accurately. "The Dream" is different for everyone.

We create a measure of fantasy in everything we do because the reality of some aspects of period would be horrifying. The Python's were right when they said "no-one expects the Inquisition.." Our Kingdoms, Barony's and Shires mirror our world now; our attitudes now and our circumstances now. The SCA has always been a haven for those of us either seeking to escape the mundane, or the excesses & the limitations of where and how we live. Yeah, sadly some people bring those attitudes or mindsets of the mundane world into the Society. Some kingdoms are known for the hedonism, some for the plastic personalities, some for the warmth. We try to recreate and enjoy in a measure that's not always equal.

The division between the fun mavens and the authenticity police was there 20 years ago when I first got my membership and will probably still be there in whatever incarnation the SCA becomes in 20 years hence. In a sense, that Yin and Yang has always fueled the Society and the creative tension that kept it growing. It fueled my participation in many respects. I've taught historical styles and techniques of fighting and tempered every lesson with the knowledge that if I taught it as the period fencing or weapons masters did, I would have permanently disabled or killed people even with tipped points and dulled blades. Sometimes we have to give ground from the authentic to have the fun.

We used to police our own but as we grew bigger and faster, we seem to have lost ourselves in the process. We forgot how to teach people we brought into the SCA. The comment made that the Society changed ten years ago is fairly accurate. That was when the BoD became very corporate. I petitioned and pleaded for greater transparency in the BoD member selection process then. It didn't happen. I was one of the folks heavily involved in the 4th peerage petition. It's slowly being killed by committee. On a personal sense, over 20 years, I've watched many undeserving but well connected people get rewards and recognitions, while I've seen just as many deserving individuals be ignored. I've seen personal vendettas and personal triumphs. That's just like life.. Just like the very real and very mundane world.

So why keep doing it?... If we mirror the mundane world in many of our behaviors, attitudes and faults, why do I personally keep putting on funny clothes and drag my ass out onto the field to fight? It's not the recognitions (after 20 years you'd think I'd have more)... It's not the clothes or position... It's the people, the friendships I've made and the sheer joy I get for playing. I can if only briefly, become another person, pit skill versus skill and believe that things can be better or different.

My tweets

Jan. 28th, 2013 12:00 pm
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  • Sun, 13:31: At Guitar Center for Chris's bass lesson.
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Yeah, just when you probably thought I was going to disappear again for a month or so, I'm posting a few more pictures.

In this case, the images are from this past September ('12) of friend and model Brittany. These were taken on a warm afternoon in the Moss Rock Preserve south of Birmingham. What is amusing about this, is about a month ago, we offered Brittany sanctuary at the house and she moved in with us. That said, I expect that we're probably going to shoot together more in the near future.

 photo DSC05304FCHDb_zpsc89366b2.jpg

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My tweets

Jan. 26th, 2013 12:00 pm
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So for those of you who might not have noticed, I'm posting again to Live Journal again. I'm not making any guarantees on how often or even the content. I've got modeling pic, abandoned site pics and stories that have been swirling around for a while. There's too many reasons to note why I haven't been around here as much.

I hope to change that.

There's some folks I used to associate with here I miss and would like to hear from. Others I know have faded away. Time to restore some connections and reboot my creativity.

My tweets

Jan. 25th, 2013 12:00 pm
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