This Doesn't Add Up.

Winter 2008

So I went to St. Louis for 3 or 4 days, I spent a day in Toronto, I had that Tiger Stadium day - but that doesn't add up to 19 days of winter vacation...what did I do the rest of the time?

Did I partake in Boxing Day sales? Did I sit on my ass and eat leftover stuffing? Did I dilute my blood with gin in downtown Windsor?


Well...yeah, I did do all those things...but those weren't the highlights of my Christmas vacation.

Of course I got back over to the D and got into some other things besides the real 0 home of the Tigers.

0 - As opposed to weaksauce Comerica.

The problem with most of the things I got inside was that there just wasn't any story behind them. No interesting entrances, no trials, no tribulations, no danger - just run of the mill visits.

Now when there's no story, you can sometimes go to the historical angle; but the problem with the historical angle was the lack of history. For example, take the church of the last 7 photos: I read another 'historical' write up about the place; from a dude who knows quite a bit and can turn a small amount of facts into a lot of information; and even he had one of the shortest write ups I've ever seen him produce.

Therefore, no history and just a brief blurb to try and please those people who wish to see my photos.

The visit to the church involved Don & I already spending about 2 hours inside, before talking to UJ and realizing she wanted to see the church as well. Joining us 30 minutes later, the 3 of us stayed for another hour and a half, making it about a 4 hour stay for Don & I.

Needless to say, we were ready to get a move on and we both were a bit thirsty. UJ had the next destination and told us to follow her. Since we were thirsty, I asked her to stop at a liquor store along the way. Now her group tends to stop at shadier liquor stores than Don & I frequent, plus we were in a somewhat sketchy neighbourhood already, so I gave notice to UJ to try and stop at a (relatively) safer liquor store.

Sure enough, she pulls in front of a liquor store with 3 beat down cars and a hoard of people. Going inside, someone started to inquire about 'the movie we were shooting' because of the giant tripod sticking out of her backpack.

This after making us stick around in that church for an extra 90 minutes! God UJ!1

1 - You see what I did there? Using the lord's name in vain in reference to visiting a church? You like that?

She made up for it with promises of a nearby elementary school.

There are a few paths to entry in my good book and one is definitely vacant schools.

Stewart Elementary closed in 2007.

The D Public Schools website gives the reason as, "The building will require significant investment in order to remain open. Stewart has lost 34% of its enrollment over the past 6 years." There was a proposal to keep Stewart open, but it was rejected because [the] "proposal did not offer a viable option for increasing student
enrollment or addressing the building issues.

The children now attend MacCulloch Elementary.

Stewart had the most boring auditorium you can imagine (think Canadian school auditorium...GASP!) & the rest of it looked like the above hallway picture.

We combed through quickly and found the roof ladder. We had found some new malt liquor energy drinks called 4 Loco with graffiti on the can and 10% alcohol by volume - so I'm pretty sure you could have given us a burnt out gas station and we'd have been happy.

By the way, Don liked the 4 loco and personally, I found it to be some straight foul ass, varnish and vinegar tasting crap.

Winter causes you to move a little quicker with buildings because you want to stay warm and since the days are shorter.

Therefore, we only stayed on the roof for about 13 minutes before making our way down. As we climbed down, through the halls and out onto the street; I continued to thank UJ & Don because I love schools and they were putting up with the lameness of this specific one.

UJ reminded me how she's happy to do anything off the beaten path and Don reminded me how he enjoys basically anything new, so I wasn't that upset with myself - they seemed to enjoy it.

Chad had finished up work by this time and we met up with him as well.

We started to rack our brains as to a destination and I suggested this other school I knew about which Chad & UJ both wanted to see. Don & I had already been here, but we weren't opposed to returning since it was nighttime anyway and we just wanted to relax and have a few drinks.

I do want to do a historical write up about this school in the future and I would have left it out of this write up, but I really like the above picture of UJ and Chad.

After that we were pretty cold and tired, so we just went to our bar in the Corridor.

Pretty good advice in the D.

Some days later, Steve & The Fondeler joined us as well.

When I was away, I started to see pictures and came to find out this theater which had eluded us for years; was open. I felt a sense of helplessness as I couldn't just fly down to see it; so I prayed that it would be still open when I got back at Christmas.

Thankfully the theatre was still open, but it was also a bit depressing. The fact that the place kept us out that long was sort of warming because it gave you hope that it would be saved someday.

Now, it doesn't appear that way. Scrappers have been inside, a million people too; it looks like the old girl finally gave up.

A couple more years and it'll be an 'eyesore' that we'll need to tear down because the land is all too valuable. Ugh.

When we first got there it was overwhelming. 5 of us just sat in the cheap seats and took it all in as Don & UJ ran around artfagging.

The highlight was Don constantly moving all over the balcony with his tripod and being heavily heckled by both The Fondeler and Steve. I was dying laughing as The Fondeler made steady cracks about how Don will run home and update his facebook and how he'll post pictures talking about how 'this decay represents his soul' and how 'the building was so moving.'

He went on and on for about 40 minutes and I can only remember about 2% of it. Nonetheless, it was absolutely hysterical.

Eventually, I just had to get up (after I finished my 211).

This theatre was just too good and I had wanted to get in here for too long.

Plaster details amongst the ice.

The Fondeler is not impressed with the artfaggyness of this shot.

I was doing the standard walking around and taking pictures when I noticed a giant, rickety fire escape behind the stage screen. I decided to wander up it nervously, since I knew it would be awesome to get on the roof.

So I slowly made my way up, quite scared, to find another rickety ladder setup to a roof door. Mind over matter, I pushed forward to...the...locked door!


The theatre is huge and we stayed in there for quite a while, before deciding that we should head along to somewhere else.

Walking to a nearby liquor store, we had a very nice D sunset.

Once we grabbed some refreshments, we made our way over to a closed police station we knew about.

The cell block was neat, but I didn't get very many good pictures because it was nighttime. The only other thing of interest was the above holding cell which made the trademark grinding sound into 'clink-clank' boom noise when closed.

UJ would later head back with her Chad and get some good pictures which I'm jealous of.

I'm also jealous because UJ found this!

A little blueprint of Briggs Stadium...a.k.a. Tiger Stadium!

This was found on the inside of an electrical box and Don found a 1974 Detroit dog tag atop a cabinet - further proving the, 'search odd places and you'll find cool stuff' theory.

Leaving the police station, it was hipster night at the bar we frequent, so I was ecstatic that we'd be staying outside until 3 or 4 a.m.

Good times in the cold temps.

Another couple days and we were back again.

UJ had a church for us on the eastside, but that didn't work out. Checking her list, she knew of a neighborhood Masonic temple building in the immediate area. This sounded really good and she told us to temper our enthusiasm - but she did want to see what was actually inside, so she was all for it.

When I came here and when I was inside, I thought this place HAD to have a ridiculous amount of history just because it's a Masonic building.

Then I found a website which lists the Acacia as just another neighbourhood Masonic Lodge.

I'm sure there's some history here, but I'm likely to find it at the D Public Library and not on the interweb.

As you can see, the interior is stripped to the bare bones. It took all of 5 minutes to see everything there was to the structure; but since I was so enthralled with the history, I rushed around with a tripod and meticulously shot everything.

Since it was my Christmas vacation and the rest of the group always have this city; they told me to take my time.

It was during this time that Don told the rest of the group about the time he abducted his cousin Darrell and how funny it was. It was definitely one of those 'funny to those involved' stories and the rest of the group gave the "slow-nod-wide-eyes-and-smile" look to Don.

I found this quite amusing.

The house next door.

I've always meant to spend a day just driving around capturing all of the unbelievable houses which die slowly in the same fashion as the one above.

Continuing on to our next destination, I wasn't impressed enough to even break out the tripod. I instead broke out the laid back position and enjoyed my 40.

The artfags keep artfagging, the drunks keep drinking.

I told you I didn't take too many pictures of that church.

We continued on and couldn't think of anything, so I proposed a boring looking building since we were struggling to think of anything. In all truthfulness, I had ulterior motives in that I wanted to go here for a long time to get on the roof to take a picture of the roof graffiti.

I only found boring modern interiors and no roof entrance.

Don's going to be pissed when I make him go back.

I actually really like the above picture of the drywall and the building also had a really neat crane system - so it wasn't a total wash.

Some entertainment was also gained watching Crawl & Chad try and get this Red Wings banner which hung in the rafters of the place. I would actually have a picture with Crawl atop that ladder but UJ yelled at me to go steady the shelving unit instead of just snapping pictures.

The hipsters weren't at our bar this night and we made our way over there for karaoke.

A couple other days were spent doing fun things like checking out this hospital in Michigan and of course, going to JC's for New Years; but overall...

...overall, it was back to Newfoundland too soon.

If you're wondering why I'm not being more verbose and more lengthy, it's that I spent more of my time catching up with friends and enjoying myself than framing shots and making sure I had well composed pictures.

When you're secluded from your friends for any period of time, you come to cherish them just that much more when you're back in their presence. It was much more important to me to sit back and enjoy their company than to wander off and lightpaint boilers in some backroom by myself for hours at a time.


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