Sorting

Genesee’s spring visit here got cut short, so she’s making up for it on this trip. She got to Ohio early last week and plans to stay through my birthday. She’ll be visiting this person and that person, but she’s using here as a “home base” for most of her stay.

That was the plan from quite a while ago actually, with her helping me go through all of the tubs of Batina family stuff. For both my grandparents and my aunt, when they passed away I ended up saving way too many of their things that were important or keepsakes to them but hold no meaning to anyone else. As much as I want to save all of those things, it only makes sense to narrow it all down to something manageable.

Cards that they had received from decades back, candles, keychains, weird little nick knacks, photos of their friends, photos of me… where each one seemed to have at least one duplicate of random size… heh… and then of course there were receipts and manuals galore… and you might ask, “Why did you save that stuff in the first place?” Well, if they had stuff stored or marked as something important, I assumed it was all important. But just knowing that they saved it made me feel like I had to save it.

So that’s where Gen comes in. Without assistance I don’t think I’d be able to get rid of any of that stuff… so she and I sat a couple nights and went through most of the tubs and boxes and finally got it to where I’m keeping only the stuff that needs to be kept. There’s still some more things to go through, but I’m betting that by time she leaves to head home we’ll have taken care of all of it. Plus it’s nice that it means we’re stopping and looking at each thing before deciding its fate, which I think they would be happy about.

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Stop Typing and Get Ready

When I talked to Aunt Sharon yesterday, she mentioned that she had finished writing what she wanted for her “family history” project that she’s been working on. I think it’s going to be a brief scrapbook or storybook from her, Mom, and Uncle Jay’s childhood. πŸ™‚ It started with us just talking about how so many old photos are unlabeled, and sometimes difficult to figure out who’s who and what’s going on, so she decided that she would start writing down memories that would then go with certain pictures, to eventually be assembled into a document that she could print and share.

It sounds like the writing is done, it’s been typed into a word document, and now she just needs to have the matching photos scanned and put into the it… and I think that’s where I’m supposed to come in. 🀨 It shouldn’t be too much trouble to do, it’s just getting the oomph to spend an afternoon over there talking it all through and making sure each picture is positioned with the right story. πŸ€“πŸ”ŽπŸ“• I mean, I absolutely love the idea, so all of us “younger” people will get to hear the stories and see the things that we might not have known about otherwise… so hopefully it all comes together.

If nothing else, at least I’ll be able to scan all of the pics that she gives me today, kinda like how I just did with all of the photos (of Mom) that she loaned me a few weeks back. I’d love to snap my fingers and have every old photo just magically appear on my hard drive, but at least as we do this little bits at a time they’ll start getting archived and saved for future Shepherd / Riecky / Snead / Batina / Klingler / Burnside / Meridith / Orlowicz generations to see. 😁

Oy… somebody send me some energy plz. πŸ˜₯ This is probably gonna be rough.

Abandoned Exploration

I’ve found myself getting lost in “abandoned buildings” videos on YouTube over the past week or two… and more specifically in the ones where everything was just left behind, as if someone got up and went to work one day and just never came home again. 😯 I’m not sure why it fascinates me so much. It might be because, like Mom, I can look at any old home and imagine what life it used to hold. ☺ Families, holidays, birthdays, ups, downs, day-to-day boring life, just everything

I think the saddest part about these videos though is thinking about each of the individual items that people come across. Because you have to think… each item had a purpose, a reason at some point. πŸ€” Some more sentimental than others, but yeah… whether it’s old photos, stuffed animals, dolls, toy cars, nick knacks, CDs or cassettes, maybe even VHS or 8mm movie reels… every one of those things has a story behind it, but now those things are forgotten by the world, dissolving to time. πŸ˜”

I think that I may relate a little too much to some of these videos. 😏 Granted, it’s only because of the story that I create in my mind, but when you see an old house that is basically untouched – you sort of suspect that whoever lived there last was likely old and alone, with no kids to gift his possessions to, so for whatever reason the property just sits. That’s why exploring feels important to me, so even when someone is gone and forgotten by time, someone else comes along and does a great documentary and shares it on YouTube for those people and memories to live on.

It actually creates a moral dilemma for me though. πŸ˜’ The “rules” of urban explorers dictate that you take pictures, you take video, but you never take stuff. In theory I agree, because it still does belong to someone else, whoever that person may be… but I struggle with that rule because of the asshats that inevitably discover and vandalize such places. There’s just a large segment of the human population that would rather destroy the things that they find rather than appreciate them for what they are and what they were.

Most of the time it’s stuff that I wouldn’t even want for myself. Just stuff that deserves a better fate than to be overtaken by weather and nature and eventually destroyed. 😟 Antiques, porcelain dolls, old books, and other vintage items… it would be so hard to not collect them up just to donate them away, knowing that they’d then live on in the hands of someone that appreciated them. But maybe that’s not meant to be their fate. Maybe, sometimes, our stuff is only meant to live as long as we do, and suffer the same fate once we’re gone. I dunno… I’ll have to work this one around in my head a while.


  • PS: Having watched enough videos to say this, I think that there’s a lot of folks who don’t know the difference between “abandoned” and “unused” when it comes to the buildings they come across. For example, if you find an office complex that hasn’t been operating for six months, going inside and going “Wow! Look at all this office stuff left behind!” I feel like you’re more “breaking and entering” rather than exploring something that’s truly been abandoned. I guess this hobby has lots of moral quandaries.

How Could I Not?

Here I’ve been, telling my friends “Nah, I’m not going out for Black Friday. I can’t even think of anything I need, and especially if I have to be out among the sea of people.”Β and I thought I was telling them the truth. 😏 Actually, most of those two sentences are still true… because no wayΒ would I consider going out to fight with the thousands of other assholes at the crack of dawn come this Friday – but it turns out that I did need something, and I didn’t even realize it until a just few minutes ago. (Deja vu… heh)

I’ll go ahead and describe the item, then I’ll get to the “deal” part of it. I already have a Playstation 4, and about a year ago Sony came out with a virtual reality headset for it which has been selling for $299. Also known as way too friggin’ much. Well, now that they’re preparing to come out with an updated version of the headset soon, prices in some places are dropping to $199 for the current model. Still expensive, but much more reasonable.

For me, any VR gaming that I end up doing will just be a bonus. Because, to be honest, I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve played a game on that system. πŸ˜• Things over the past couple of years have warped my brain, taking away the desire to do many of the things I used to find fun… but anyway…

I had actually given the PSVR system a brief look when it originally came out, but mainlyΒ  because of the photo and video applications. I have a 3D television, but I’ll now be able to watch 3D movies or videos on the headset. Same thing with 360Β° virtual realityΒ videos. 😎 Does anything start to sound familiar? πŸ€” At this price point, this thing sounds perfect for me since I’ve got a cheap 3D video recorder and a camera that can shoot 360° photos and videos. Honestly, the thing is made for me to own.

But it wasn’t even floating around in my brain as recently as 15 minutes ago, that is, until I saw a post from Cheap Ass Gamer that showed the system available at Kohl’s for $199 – plus for every $50 that you spent, you’d earn $15 in Kohl’s Cash which can be used for in-store purchases later. So I hit the site, put the PSVR in my cart, added a $1.00 foaming face mask (to push the total to just over $200) and boom… $60 in Kohl’s Cash, effectively making the final price only $140. πŸ€“ Giddyup.

This should really encourage my shooting in those alternative mediums.

Didn’t Know I’d Want It

Clicking around on YouTube, somehow I ended up finding a video of a couple of kids reviewing video games… but these kids just happened to be doing so in 1991 at the Bally’s Aladdin’s Castle in Atlantic City. 😯 I’d have liked to have seen the even older arcade though, because it’s the one of which I have the most memory. It was actually built into the front of Bally’s Park Place casino and looked out onto the boardwalk and ocean. πŸ™‚ Right next to the little art gallery shop where they had sculptures made of garbage on display.

That, of course, caused me to click around a bit longer… trying yet again to find pictures of any of those casino arcades from the mid-80s, but just like usual – I came up empty, other than a few random posts in dusty corners of the web, where people were requesting the same sort of photos that I’m looking for. 😟 And like one of those folks said, “It never occurred to me that I should take pictures of the boring old arcade that I went to every weekend.” And that way of thinking makes sense. πŸ€” Something that doesn’t seem like a big deal to you at the time…Β you’re unlikely to bother making a visual record of it, because your brain isn’t thinking ahead to consider that you (or anyone else) might one day wish that you could look back at that stuff from the future.

That refreshed my memory and added a little more spark to my current level of photographic motivation. When I got my 3D camera, I considered going around town and just taking random pictures of anything and everything… providing a 3D snapshot of Lancaster from “a couple of days back in 2014” or whenever, for people to look at in awe decades from now. πŸ˜ƒ But of course I never did it. 😏 Shit, even now there’s a couple local Facebook groups where people make a hobby of finding “vintage” pics of the city, the buildings, the stores, the people, and sharing them with everyone – which ends up getting them 100s of likes and shares.

I’m not worried about the popularity of any shots that I might take now, I’m just using that as an example of how photos that I take now may be looked back on in amazement several decades from now – especially if I compose shots that people haven’t thought of already taking. πŸ€“πŸ“· I’m just not sure if I’d be better off taking “normal” shots with my high megapixel dSLR, or if I should use the 3D or 360Β° cameras just to make them more unique. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I realize that it’ll be much, much easier for future generations to find digital photos from the current age – so if I want them to mean something or to get a special look in the future, I’ll have to figure out what tricks I wanna use. Whether by using an unusual type of camera, or by just giving extra thought to the location and composure of the shots themselves.

This is making my evening fun though… just running all of these things through my head, even when there’s probably only a 10% chance of me actually doing any of it. My brain hasn’t really cared to think about anything photo-wise for many months now, so it’s nice just to have a little bit of “that feeling” again. I’ll have to grab one of my notebooks here in a minute and start jotting down some ideas before it all starts to dissipate.

Mixed Emotions

While Genesee was here we were of course talking about all sorts of memories, and we even watched some old home videos that I’ve got uploaded to YouTube in an “unlisted” area. As we watched some of the Atlantic City videos we got to talking about the story behind how I found and got her a key from The Continental motel for Christmas last year, which just so happened to be a key to a room that we actually stayed in – with video proof, as I walked up to and recorded the number on the door (like the nerd that I am) with the camcorder. 😏 It really was amazing…

That then immediately made me remember how I made an awesome, lengthy blog post about it… but then due to certain people reading my blog and giving me shit about the choices I was making in my life – I ended up deleting the entire blog without archiving it. πŸ˜” So unless I find some internet archiving site that managed to capture it, that post (and all the others from that short era) is gone forever. And if you know me, you know that’s not like me at all – just impulsively wiping out a significant chunk of my own history. 😠

That’s what happens though when you’ve got someone who’s words meant everything to you, suddenly and repeatedly getting really fucking shitty about things. πŸ˜’ Rather than leaving my words up here to be picked apart and used against me, I just instinctively made them go away – theorizing that without a detailed view into my life, there’d be less for anyone to be shitty about. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Meh… I still deal with internal mental fallout from that (and other things) every single day. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ In fact, it’s usually the first thing on my mind when I wake up and the last thing I think about before falling asleep. Good times.

But anyway… speaking of memories… another fun thing to come from going through the old photos was discovering a stack that focused on school parties, birthdays, and holidays with friends when I was little. And thanks to Facebook, I’m still linked to a lot of the friends that were also in those photos – so it was a good time when I scanned and posted a bunch of them. πŸ™‚ My god… the outfits and haircuts are so embarrassing, but everyone was excited to see them and laugh.

That’s one thing that I’m glad of, and one thing that a lot of friends are jealous about… how Mom and Dad documented and saved so, so much stuff from when I was little. 😊 Tons of photos, stacks of old school papers, favorite books, favorite stuffed animals, baby books filled out with all sorts of details about me… it’s just an amazing amount of stuff from my birth onward that I’ve got here – stuff that a lot of people’s parents never bothered doing/saving. I’m lucky to have it all.

Bed and Breakfast

Over the past few days I’ve had 24/7 company here at the house. 😯 Genesee’s friend Tracie flew out to NJ for an extended visit with her, and then Gen provided the return trip home, depositing Tracie at her house and then starting her little break here in Ohio. I’m not sure it was really a break, now that I think about it, because she had plenty of people to see and lots of things to do. But yeah, for a few days I had her and Nesh here. πŸ˜πŸΊπŸ’πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Of course it was impossible for me to adjust… wait… let me start by saying that I was totally glad that she was here, so I’m not bitching about that at all… but when I have trouble just existing by myself here, trying to maintain a sleep schedule that doesn’t have me feeling like death, of course it’s gonna be challenging having company in the house. 😬 But the way I looked at it, the benefit outweighed the complications, and I knew (hoped) that I’d be able to regenerate after they left anyway.

Maven wasn’t thrilled about having a horse in the house, so she generally just avoided us… but on the last day she came into the living room and sat next to me, knowing that I’d keep him away from her if he tried – as if she was thumbing her nose at him. 😏 She’s been up my butt ever since they left… heh… I mean, even more than usual.

With Genesee’s help I finally sorted away all of the boxes of memories from Mom and Dad’s apartment. They’ve been stacked in an extra bedroom for months… but having someone “in the loop” to look through the pictures, school stuff, baby stuff… it just made it so much easier to stay motivated. 😎 She was a big help in sorting out the “old old” photos into a box for Aunt Sharon to go through. Most aren’t labeled… photos of what would be my great aunts and uncles, third cousins, etc – people that really only Aunt Sharon will be able to identify / tell stories about. πŸ‘΅πŸ» I’ve already told her this is the plan, and she’s hoping to make a scrapbook for her kids so the family history doesn’t get somewhat lost as it goes down the generations.