Excursion 53, Part 2 (Eat Dessert First)

Try and think of the earliest dessert you ever ate.  Can you think of anything?  The earliest things I can remember, all from the time I was four or less, are animal crackers, vanilla wafers, ice cream (the earliest word I learned to spell, because my parents would ask one another, “Do you want to go get some i-c-e-c-r-e-a-m?”), and chocolate shakes.  The latter I remember because I got sick with some sort of stomach bug and had to go for several days without eating or drinking anything except for sips of water—that was how sensitive my stomach was.  I started fantasizing about a milkshake and, when I could finally eat again, I pleaded for a milkshake.  My parents, bless them, obliged—and I promptly threw it up.

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Excursion 46, Part 2 (They Took All Their Things And Never Came Back)

(with apologies to Tom Waits)

Abandoned houses seem to the the theme of this set of photographs and accompanying rambling commentary.  The block on which I grew up in El Paso did not have any abandoned houses; indeed, I’m hard-pressed to think of any in my childhood neighborhood. Of course, El Paso was a rapidly growing city and our house was located in the direction of greatest growth. It wasn’t until I moved to Columbus, Ohio, that old abandoned residences first made an impression on me—not that Columbus had any great number of them, but any older center city residential area will have at least some.

In more recent years, thanks to the great recession, abandoned homes have become such a big thing that squatting in them has also become a big thing, including by some of the extremists I study professionally in my “day” job. But the old homes pictured here are not recently abandoned, at least in the majority of cases.  They are older homes and many were clearly abandoned decades ago. Why?  In some cases, the buildings became decrepit and new houses were built on the same property. In some other cases, new owners may have bought the land—for farming or grazing—but did not need the house on the land.  In some cases, houses fell into decay during the owners’ lives and became more or less unsellable in that state, especially in small towns that might have suffered significant population loss.  There are a lot of ways homes can become derelict and I may have seen all of them.

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Excursion 44, Part 1 (Every House a Home, Every Home a Haven)

So a dozen or so years ago I bought my first house.  I had lived in a series of apartments for 16 years and was sick and tired of not having enough room for my books (of course, back then I did not quite realize that I was on the hoarding spectrum and would accumulate books to fill any space).  Plus, after a long period of financial travail, I had finally gotten out of a huge amount of debt, everything from credit card debt to student loan debt to tax debt, while my job situation seemed to have stabilized.  It just seemed like the time to do it.  It is hard to believe I have lived in this house 12 years; it really doesn’t seem like it.  In fact, I never did fully unpack from the move.  I guess it is that way with most people.  But somewhere along the line my house became my home.  This excursion, taken on a very cold and icy February day into the wilds of northeastern Ohio, has a lot of photographs of houses—and homes, if you take my meaning.  It is a very building-intensive entry, but it’s worth the effort.

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Excursion 23, Part 1 (Northern Exposures)

In which our intrepid hero journeys into the northern wilds of Ohio…

During the course of 2013, I was able to visit several stretches of Ohio’s Lake Erie shore, but one stretch had eluded me—the area roughly from Sandusky to Cleveland (the central shore).  So, on a bright but cold day at the end of November, I decided to complete the chain and headed north across Ohio’s farmland to Lake Erie.

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Excursion 12, Part 4 (Relics of Yesteryear)

In which our intrepid hero finds himself transported to days long past…

I am always aware of my photographic limitations.  Not only does the methodology I employ (roadside photography) have many drawbacks that limit the number of good photographs I can take, but my own inherent limitations reduce that number still further.  As of this writing, I have been taking these sorts of photographs for only around eight months; these particular photographs were taken after only three months.  So much of my photography is either of the “even a broken clock is right twice a day” variety or of the “interesting subject, not so good photograph” variety.  I acknowledge that.  On the other hand…

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Excursion 12, Part 3 (All Roads Lead to Coshocton)

In which our intrepid hero discovers a lonely house on a hill…

Having always basically been a city boy, some aspects of living in the country seem very different to me, including basic issues of convenience.  For example, for many years I lived in a townhouse apartment in Grandview, a Columbus neighborhood/incorporated town.  My apartment was not just in walking distance but within ridiculously easy walking distance of a grocery store, a pharmacy, several ATMs, a gas station, a number of restaurants from fast food to fancy, two bookstores, a couple of coffee places, two bakeries, a post office, a produce store, and much more.  I live in a more typical suburb now, which means that only a few things are that close, but essentially everything is just a short car ride away.  But if you live in the countryside, nothing is going to be close, and your options will be fewer.  There are many places in Ohio so far away from a gas station that unless you maintain a gas tank on your property you essentially have to plan when you are going to get gas.  Do you have a late night craving?  Better hope you took that into account when you bought groceries two weeks ago, because no store within many miles will be open.

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Excursion 12, Part 1 (A Man of No People)

In which our intrepid hero explains his hermit ways…

One reaction that I’ve had to the photographs posted in these blog entries has been to wonder why my photos rarely ever contain people in them.  One person who viewed some of the photos in the blog wondered jokingly if they were images taken after the Zombie Apocalypse.  It’s true that human beings are far and few between in my photos.  One reason is that my photos are all developed using Soylent Green software.  But there are other reasons, too.

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