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I wanted to get this set finished before this weekend. I'll be in Atlanta presenting on Abandoned Site Photography for the third year at Frolicon on Saturday (4/7/12).

The remaining two sites my kids and I went to that day back in 2008 were much older but increasingly battered. The desert was actively wearing them down as evidenced by the rapidly increasing winds around us that day. The 3rd house was rapidly decaying. The 4th showed signs of ‘recent’ use, but in the desert, recent is a relative term.

Read more... )
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Here’s a blast from the past. In April 2008, I did several wanders into the desert around Lancaster with my kids. I recently recovered these images from a storage drive that failed.

These would be some of my last Southern California explorations before moving to the wilds of Northern Alabama. We explored 3 sites on this trip before the winds came up so strongly that they created a dust storm. The houses were all within sight of each other but not part of the same farm. In each case, they appear to have been departed in haste (foreclosed).

Lost Horizons… [19 behind the cut] )
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Notes from last week. I can’t believe that I wrote all this then forgot to post it.

This week has been interesting. I spent all day Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday with Chris recovering from a nasty flu like bug. When the last change in weather roared through here (Sunday/Monday), he started getting a sore throat and sniffle. When he got up on Tuesday, he was coughing and hacking, running a low fever and aching. No school, instead we went straight to the doctor who gave him antibiotics & heavy-duty cough suppressant. I also was doing everything to make sure that it didn’t progress beyond the cold/flu stage.

Friday morning was his first day back in school and my first back in the office. Oh just because I wasn’t in the office much this week, doesn’t mean I didn’t work. I took my work laptop home on Monday evening and connected into our network from there. While I’ll admit, I was a bit limited for what I could do, it’s not a bad arrangement to work from there.

While on the subject of work, I received my annual assessment from the company today. If anything, I got a major pat on the back – again. The very positive ratings will net me another pay raise. Given the on-going concerns about employment / contract support / bidding, this kind of rating and raise give me some ammo to use should things turn badly. It shows the positive impact I’ve had to the MDA organization and to my company. That being said, I’m going to try to stay focused and modest.

Lancaster House
So far work on the house in Lancaster is coming along well. With a bit of hope the place might be up for rental again very soon. The value of the house has been steadily going back up. Hopefully in 6 months to a year, it will be at a price I can finally sell it for a comfortable profit.
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As mentioned in my previous post, I’m back home from California after working on the engineering test. While I can’t give specifics, I think the contributions I made were substantial and very positive. I am supporting the test, but my government customer decided that I wasn’t needed back out there on the second go. Most days, I worked 9 to 10 hour days and got a remarkable amount done. I had hoped to be flying back on Sunday, but now I’ll be staying home and will support the test from here.

After Action Reports )
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Well, damn it. My follow-on trip to Southern California has been cancelled. I'm not coming back out on the 6th of February. Customer changed their mind about needing me there. To the folks I was planning to visit or shoot with during free time, I'm genuinely sorry.

Just to note, I'm more than a bit disappointed. I could explain a lot more behind this decision but it'll show a level of childishness I hadn't expected to see from professionals. No I'm not in trouble. If anything, I did my job too well.
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This trip has been interesting so far. I've worked my arse off so far and logged more than a bit of overtime so far. Yesterday I ended up being the lead engineer presenting to the foriegn customers on this test. I wasn't planning to or expecting to, but all the government folks looked at me and said, 'you're the expert' or 'you wrote the document, you should brief.' I also locked horns with the lead engineer who's "supposed to be" supporting us as a liason between the customer and us. He's been actively trying to sabatoge our branch's involvement. Instead he discovered that I'm fairly good at what I do and I disabled his arguments before he could make them.

I'm off tomorrow and part of Sunday. I already planning to hit several of my old favorite haunts here in SoCal. Right now, I'm planning to head to Descanso Gardens, The Getty Center, dinner in Van Nuys and then catch a show in Studio City. It'll be like the old days - well sorta. On Sunday, I'm planning to revisit several abandoned sites in the area before I have to be back for a teleconference (yes I have to work then). Damn it's going to feel good to visit some familiar places.

Unlike the previous trip, many of the old ghosts I felt lurking in the air seem gone now. It's almost like a cloud lifted when I realized/resolved that I'd forgiven someone. Whether it was deserved or not, I don't have the time or energy to nurse that kind of hate or anger. That didn't stop me from glancing at her journal to look in on her life. I guess it was a mix of catious and melancholy curiousity. Shrugs - you can't change the past, only learn from it and try to understand. Memories linger and soften but life moves on. Like Scott Pilgrim, I fought hard to earn another life and I'm using it well. I hope she is too.

I'm not sure I'm going to make it to Lancaster on this particular visit. That's going to be a full day. The Sheriff hasn't gotten the paperwork from the clerk so they can't lock them out yet. If I'm here, I want to be here for that. Again, morbid curiousity - its a Goth thing. I'm looking forward to visiting old friends (living and deceased), but I want to have enough time to do so. When I get back into town on the 6th, I know I'll have a few more free days then.

BTW, I'm now cross linking most of my Live Journal entries to Facebook. I've been testing out the process with the Nature Photo of the Day feature. I can't afford to double the work.
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If it hasn’t become obvious, I’m on the road again and back in Southern California. I was sent out to support an engineering test and help organize the madness at the site it’s being run from. My cat herding skills are being put to the test because half the assets we need to administratively do our job aren’t in place. I’m putting the administrative work ahead of the test execution side on this trip to gather more management and support experience.

Even though I’m on the road, I’ve had to prompt my manager (back in Huntsville) to schedule meetings and technical reviews; still following documentation for ops back in Huntsville; and watching developments there on the upcoming office move. While I may be a contractor, most of my coworkers regard me as the branch chief’s number 2. I haven’t jockeyed for it or done anything to shine the spotlight on myself. I just seem to be in the right place, or making the right decisions, or have earned the respect of my peers in this agency. I’m still a humble contractor and am working my tail off. The advantage is that in April, I’m supposed to be one of the few contractors moving into the new agency building on base.

Being here in SoCal is still surreal to me. The familiarity and the sensations are almost overwhelming. In a lot of ways, Los Angeles and the Southland will always be home. When I left Huntsville, it was 35 F and raining. When I landed at LAX, it was 74 F and mostly sunny. The drive out here was almost second nature; enough so that I tossed my Thomas Guide (map) aside and drove up to Oxnard from memory. Since I’m supposed to be here on and off for the next month, I’m planning to use my unscheduled time off creatively. Descanso Gardens, the Getty and a few abandoned site hunts are in the planning stage. Likewise, I plan to visit friends when & where possible. I intend to keep my connections here if I can manage it.
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I'm sitting in my hotel room following a very successful test exercise for work. Yea! The 'bad' news my flight from Atlanta to Hunstville (and technically the one from LA to Atlanta) was cancelled due to weather Friday. As a result, I'm flying back on Saturday morning from LA. Now I get to figure out what to do and where.
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Last Saturday was interesting and a challenge to the system. I drove down to Birmingham to meet with [livejournal.com profile] tayrune there, and then headed to Atlanta for The Mechanical Masquerade. The event was being sponsored by the Syrens of the South burlesque company and was much more than beautiful ladies in lace and ruffles. The event was being billed as a steampunk/Neo-Victorian event with merchants and musicians in the genre displaying or performing. It was a fun evening and I made more than a few contacts for my behalf and for ImagiCon. Oh and yes, there will be photos.

After show in Atlanta, [livejournal.com profile] tayrune and I drove back to Birmingham that evening through the rain, water, fog and wind, where I crashed on her couch. After a nap and good conversation the next morning, I headed back home to Huntsville. About halfway home, I got a text message from another B’ham friend, Kaley. Kaley’s a regular at SWYD, a former model and photographer. She was planning to do a horror shoot with her cousins the next day at Sloss Furnaces and invited me down to chat. Chuckles.. if it weren’t for work in Huntsville, I have the feeling I’d be in Birmingham almost constantly.

Monday being a US Federal holiday, my kids & I were off so I piled everyone into the car and we drove back to Birmingham. Halfway down, Kaley texted me that Sloss was closed. Every time I’ve tried to get my kids there to see the haunted former steel mill, I find it closed. Anyhow, we continued down and meet them in front of Sloss. I pointed out a nearby set of abandoned buildings which worked for the photos they wanted. While they shot, I led Brenna around the former power sub-station and shot a few reference pictures.

After finishing at Sloss, we contacted Glaus and the entire group got together for dinner at the Golden Rule BBQ (29th and Clairmont - http://www.goldenrulebbq.com/). Overall it was a good day.

For the last few days it’s rained here. No not the biblical downpours that are falling in Southern California, but the steady rains that fill the nearby ditches, creeks, swamps and rivers. Swamps? In the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains?.. Yup. The Huntsville area is graced / cursed by weird geological arrangements. The hills and low mountains here, are limestone & sandstone, so they are porous and riddled with caverns, underground streams and are effectively reservoirs. In the city limits there are no less than four major springs which are “mostly” channeled towards the Tennessee River just south of town. Byrd Springs, just east of Redstone Arsenal empties into a vast swamp. There are several other swamps, bogs and sloughs all along the north band of the Tennessee and nestled between the hills and ridges.

While thinking about this, my heart (and wallet) goes out to my many friends back in southern California. Below the San Gabriel and Ventura Mountains, they’ve gotten between 2 to 4 inches of rain. It’s come with high winds and even spawned a few coastal tornados. Higher up in the Coastal’s, Ventura’s and San Gabriel’s, heavy rain and snow has been falling for four days. These are the same areas that burned last summer so there’s nothing to draw in the moisture. Further over the mountains in the Antelope Valley, an inch and a half rain has fallen; and snow has also dropped on a few nights. This leads to my wallet comment. The roof is leaking – again. I’m not entirely surprised. I wanted to get a layer of sealant on the roof there in October, but the lack of a full deposit shot that down. The summer heat in Lancaster dries out and cracks the seals so when the winter rains come, the water finds a way into the low roof sections. Bleah..
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X-Posted from [livejournal.com profile] socal_abandoned

Ladies and gents, it's with a large measure of sadness that I'm in need of a
replacement moderator. Due to school and the loss of a close relative, [livejournal.com profile] cynisterfstop is stepping down from her moderator's position. I
want to first thank her for stepping up over the last year and the work that
went into it. With her departure, I'm accepting nominations and commentary
from the community for a replacement.

Desired skills/traits:

1. Must be willing to travel around the region.
2. Sensible enough not to encourage illegal or stupid actions which could
result in injuries, liability or legal entanglements.
3. A sense of adventure and positive character.
4. NO Drama Llamas! If I can't trust you to keep the peace, forcibly if
necessary to deal with trolls and such, then don't nominate yourself or

Put simply folks, the community needs someone there to take charge,
encourage others, and help lead. I know there's plenty of interest, but
inactivity (and transportation issues) has hamstrung the many leads. Some
folks have told me they don't think they can emulate my standards and
activities. I would much prefer that the moderators/maintainers of the
community and the members not be afraid to strike out in their own direction
versus following mine.

Along these same lines, our other local moderator [livejournal.com profile] fynoda has a
unique problem for southern California - she doesn't own a car. She is not
a native Californian and part of the car culture. Given that, how many
folks in the Los Angeles area would be willing to take her around on
explorations if she has leads to offer or can contribute a bit of cash for

I look forward to hearing from you and reviewing the nominations. Until
then, have fun, be careful, explore, document and photograph.
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Back in April of last year, when I still lived in California, I witnessed a truly unique site. The Los Angeles County Sheriff posted signs in our neighborhood that the main road behind my home at the time would be closed early one Sunday morning to facilitate an oversized load. The load?.. a long abandoned McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) YC-15 prototype transport plane which had sat abandoned and unloved for years at Palmdale Airport (USAF Production Plant 42). The authorities at Edwards Air Force Base decided the reclaim, restore and display the aircraft in the base museum. So bright and early on an April morning, the plane was towed through town and to the base.

Something you don’t see every morning [4 behind the cut] )
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The Wheel Inn - The passing of a legend

On what had been the original routing of US 101 (The 101 Freeway for most southern California residents) where Oxnard overlooks the Santa Clara River, is a California legend. The Wheel Inn was a warm cozy motor hotel catering to travelers of all sorts driving into and out of Los Angeles from the north.

Elvis has left the building [13 behind the cut] )
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Ah the memories and the fun. Stu just sent an update to the Boggards mailing list and I had to share it.

Ladies and Gents, the world famous Poxy Boggards! www.poxyboggards.com

NSFW lyrics

Play at your own risk, but definitely play it.
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The Scary Dairy (Part 1 of 2)

No trip out to Ventura would be complete without including a stop at the former Camarillo State Hospital (for the Insane) Dairy ruins. Known more commonly as “the Scary Dairy,” the site has a reputation for being a party magnet and for being haunted.

The past is written on the walls of time [15 behind the cut] )
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Enigma House (Part 2 of 2)

Why call it “Enigma House” ?.. One odd feature stood out. With one exception, every fixture in the house remained intact with light bulbs still in them.

Future Imperfect [11 behind the cut] )
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Enigma House (Part 1 of 2)

Back in may while I still lived in Southern California I happened to spy this house on the way to visit a friend in Ventura. Sitting all alone on a hill next to a very busy freeway sat this 1920’s ranch home. How could I pass it up?

Future Imperfect [10 behind the cut] )
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Rancho Palos Verdes House #2

The hesitance that I had about going to this house was that it was possibly still being lived in. As we looked around the place, it became apparent that despite the frantic attempts to prepare the house for a move, they gave up and like the first house, abandoned it to the mercies of nature and the use of others who could briefly enjoy the beautiful view.

Looking into the living room and up to one of the lofts

Slip, sliding away [19 behind the cut] )
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Rancho Palos Verdes House #2

[livejournal.com profile] fynoda and I wandered along the coast road. Our intent was to drive past the remains of Marineland of the Pacific and then find the wreck of the SS Dominator, which went aground off Whites Point. We never made it there. Instead we found two victims of the Portuguese Bend Slide area. Like the area around the Sunken City (San Pedro), the land is meeting the sea somewhat faster than the residents appreciate. In Los Angeles, one of the most expensive areas in the county is by the Pacific Ocean. The better the view, the higher the value. We were in million dollar territory.

Sliding slowly under the waves [8 behind the cut] )
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Rancho Palos Verdes House #1

[livejournal.com profile] fynoda and I wandered along the coast road. Our intent was to drive past the remains of Marineland of the Pacific and then find the wreck of the SS Dominator, which went aground off Whites Point. We never made it there. Instead we found two victims of the Portuguese Bend Slide area. Like the area around the Sunken City (San Pedro), the land is meeting the sea somewhat faster than the residents appreciate. In Los Angeles, one of the most expensive areas in the county is by the Pacific Ocean. The better the view, the higher the value. We were in million dollar territory. The slides have reduced the value of this and a second home we found.

Slip sliding away [20 behind the cut] )
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Fort MacArthur

At the southern end of Los Angeles lays the remains of the city’s military past. Fort MacArthur guarded the main sea approaches to San Pedro Bay. The Fort’s days as a defensive position ended in 1974 when the NIKE missile air defense site was deactivated. The upper and lower reservations of the fort were turned over to Los Angeles as parks. One of the most unique aspects of the former military site is the remains of the WW 1 era shore batteries. At one time, two pairs of 14 in (355mm) “disappearing rifles (canons)” were positioned to throw 1200 lb (544 Kg) anti-ship rounds as far as Catalina Island 18 miles (30 Km) distant. Two gun emplacements and their associated fire director building have been turned into a museum. [livejournal.com profile] fynoda and I started our abandoned site hunt amidst the abandoned shore batteries.

Memories of hot steel [13 behind the cut] )


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April 2017



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