Uh oh. I knew this would happen

You’re probably familiar with the St. John’s Church up in Arena, North Dakota. Well, it’s time to pay it a visit as soon as you can; it is unlikely to remain intact for much longer.  If you know what to look for you can see in the photo above.

 

The block foundation has collapsed on both sides, but that’s nothing new; it’s been like that for a couple of years.  But the back has collapsed as well, causing these support beams to shift and tilt backward.  They have been the only thing keeping the church from collapse.

 

As you can see, the entire church has settled backward and the front section is beginning to pull away from the main structure.  That means the entryway and steeple may not last much longer.

 

Seriously.  Once this settles back far enough and the beams give away, it’s all over.  If you have never seen this church before, now’s your time.  If you’re familiar with it, better pay it a visit before the inevitable occurs. I’ve got a fond connection with this place, and it’s going to be heartbreaking to see it go…but the clock is ticking.

Left the hood open

It’s been a while since I’ve been in the right place at the right time with the sunset and an old farmstead.  Now that the kids are old enough, it’s time to take them (and their new cameras) with me.  Sometimes an old farm will have a surprise, like an old car or tractor, to add to the mystique.  In this case, all the ingredients came together quite nicely.  And I needed it; I’ve been a bit of a workaholic lately.

Send in the clouds

After seeing so many of my counterparts out roaming and getting great cloud and storm shots, I finally decided to defy Dave Ramsey and blow some gas money with my boy.  We took our cameras out for a couple of hours and had a great time!   This is how our evening started, and it only got better from there.  More to come…

Grand

I don’t know why it struck me the way it did, but I suddenly found myself marveling at how large this barn is.  It must have been quite an undertaking to build it, and I bet it was a fantastic asset when this Fallen Farm was operating in its heyday.  That’s the sort of thing that, on its most basic level, enthrals so many people when they see old buildings in decay.

It’s a neat journey to imagine what the structures must have been like when they were a home, a business, and a way of life.  It’s remarkable what it must have taken to build them way back then, to get the materials and labor to a remote location and construct something that people would later drive by and photograph.  It’s nice to wonder how the mundane had become so enchanting over the years and even generations.  And, of course, to wonder how many lives had been affected by these buildings.

 

Finally, there’s the wistful realization that these structures don’t have much time left.  Many of my favorite Fallen Farms are no longer in existence.  Maybe later this year I’ll feature a few.

A few recent clouds

I don’t have much to say here…I just have seen some cool clouds lately, and pointed a camera up at them.

This and the first one are from tonight.

I’m not playing the “this cloud looks like…” game. I just like the shapes.

There have been a lot of really unusually shaped clouds lately.

I’m going to keep watching for more, and share them here when I find them.

(UPDATED) Might be time to hop off the sinking MoviePass ship

So, I went to the Grand to see a movie tonight.  I didn’t get to do so.  My plan was to use my MoviePass card; my buddy Dave Ramsey encouraged our family to get a budget on paper, and this month didn’t include any more movies.  Thanks to MoviePass, I went home while the other seven people in our party went in.

The cryptic message above leads me to believe that MoviePass has started to ration how many tickets it’ll allow at any given theater at any given time.  That isn’t the agreement I signed up for in Fall of 2017.  I’ve heard of them doing all kinds of funky stuff lately, from tracking a person’s movements before and after a movie to changing the number of movies a person can see with the subscription.  They’ve gone back and forth on some of these things, but they’re clearly messing with the terms of the service.

 

By the way, I decided to search by the movie (“Solo”, we’re nerds) instead of by theater to see if that would work.  Nope.  And, in fact, the app wouldn’t let me buy a ticket for that movie at the AMC theater across the way (as if I’d want to see a movie in a mall theater anyway, when we’ve got the awesome Grand Theaters).  So there’s clearly another game afoot.  I’d heard rumors that the service was going to selectively choose which movies it’d promote in some markets, presumably as a way to “encourage” the studios to buy-in to working with the service.  Now it’s affecting us here in Bismarck-Mandan.  It looks like I was mistaken on this part: the showings which were not supported were probably 3D, but I checked again the next morning to find that 2D showings were available.  I’d heard that MoviePass had blocked other movies in some markets, and jumped to conclusions.

I was an early adopter of MoviePass in its $9.99 iteration, and an evangelist to boot.  Now, I’m ready to cancel my subscription and advise against signing up for the service.  If you can arrive at a movie, MoviePass in hand, only to find out that it won’t allow you to purchase a ticket, you can end up like me with your evening plans dashed.  I can’t recommend a service like that.

Early on, company CEO Mitch Lowe said that they were targeting people like me, who only see a movie theater 1-3 times a year.  Even if we triple our movie consumption with a MoviePass card, seeing 3-9 movies a year, they come out ahead.  And let’s face it, 9 movies a year worth seeing is giving Hollywood way more credit than they deserve.   But hey, it looked like a decent way to see a movie even if I don’t have any cash in my pocket at the moment, and I could always make sure I see at least a movie a month so I can feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.

Well, that was conditional on the card and app working when I show up at the ticket counter.  Since that’s now a gamble, and our family has a bona fide budget that even Dave Ramsey will be proud of, why don’t I just budget for a movie or two each month and call it good?  Then I won’t have the uncertainty of MoviePass to contend with.

I’ve put in a support request with MoviePass to see if I can get an explanation.  Even so, I think I’m just going to cut out the uncertainty and set aside money for tickets to the movies I anticipate wanting to see.  I’ve looked ahead at the list of upcoming movie releases for 2018, and I can find maybe six movies that I’d rather see on a big screen instead of waiting for Redbox.  Even a couple of those are questionable…why not see them for a lot less money on the 60″ 4K TV in my home, with much more comfort and cheaper concessions?  And I won’t get turned away at the last minute; reserving a Redbox movie doesn’t have to be done within a geofenced area near the machine, and it guarantees I’ll be able to get the movie instead of sulking home empty-handed as I did tonight.

If you’ve been considering a MoviePass subscription, you might want to hold off until they get some more stability.  If you’ve already got one, I hope your experience has been better than mine.  I told every friend I knew about how great the service was when it worked, and even explained that I hadn’t experienced any weird issues that the Internet was buzzing about.  But now, with local proof that the service may not be what it promised, I’m one step away from walking away from it forever.

There weren’t any blowfish in sight, however

This is Hootie, the owl inhabiting a friend’s tree.  Here he’s striking pretty much the same pose I did this afternoon.  I was trashed from a late night urban mountain bike ride, so after church I went home to take a quick combat nap before heading to the church picnic.  Well, I ended up zonked out entirely through the potluck, but I did get a chance to visit Hootie for a few minutes.  I can tell right away we’re kindred spirits.

I expect that we’ll be spending more time together, since we appear to be somewhat in tune.  As such, I hope to share more photos of this little guy this summer.

Heave ho

Looks like some stress relief was in order on State Street, between Liechty Homes and The Woodhouse.  I noticed this Saturday night as I came into town and found two lanes coned off and a police car directing traffic through the remaining lane.  Looks like there’s a new addition to the summer construction season “to do” list.

On the wagon

This wagon was an unexpected find last weekend, and one of my favorite rainy day photos.  Actually, considering I had a very short window of time in which to operate, I had a very profitable day from a photo hobbyist standpoint!

Speaking of “on the wagon”, I have been abstaining from drinking pop for eight months now.  I sleep better, and I know it’s better for me.  I’ve had an appetite spike since ditching caffeinated fizzy stuff, so I have to be careful of that.  Headaches have diminished, though, and my wife is happy. But drinking water is so boring!