November 2012 Sampler

by Jim on 2022/11/01

Greetings, and welcome to the November 2012 Sampler essay, which continues to document a time of transition, as did the “September 2012 Sampler” essay and the “October 2012 Sampler” essay.

As stated in the October 2012 essay, my grandmother died at the end of September, and we funeralized and buried her in early October as I was trying to search for jobs in my old employing school district just outside of New Orleans and was trying to quit an interesting but low-paying and not-great-for-my-health job by the Atchafalaya River.

This month would also be the month that a metaphorical bomb was dropped on me, even though I didn’t react at the time as if I had been bombed.  This was the month that I learned that I would eventually lose my home, which – both the impending loss and the knowledge of its eventuality – would change my life forever.  I lost my home in 2019, and, from late November 2012 until then, this dark cloud hung over me, making me more reclusive and ashamed.  I tried to ignore it or fight it, which is contradictory, I know, and that may be part of the problem.

Friday, The 2nd

This was the day of the job interview.  I must have been on the way there when I photographed the Chip Local coming through Live Oak Junction in Waggaman.

I don’t know if Chip was in the cab, but what I do know is that, if I took the job, I’d be foregoing remaining opportunities to photograph the Chip Local west of Raceland except for any holidays that I had from school, but I also figured that Chip would be retiring soon.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I had already photographed Chip working west of Raceland – and west of Paradís, really – for the last time, on October 19.

After the interview, I was able to get some shots of action on the Norfolk Southern Railway Back Belt line in New Orleans, an eastbound CSX grain train (which may have actually been a Union Pacific Railroad train on its way to interchange with CSX.)

Well, I got to spend the full weekend in Whoadieville!  That would soon become the norm, though, but I wasn’t sure at the time.  I had a good hunch, though, because the principal said “When can you start?  Because we need somebody today.”

Saturday, The 3rd

I am not sure what I was doing in The Metrys on this Saturday afternoon.  Perhaps I had gotten my truck’s oil changed and tires rotated. I then saw a license plate that immediately made me think of the phrase “some people are so poor, all they have is money.”

I passed by the KCS yard.

It’s good to be back, man.  It’s so good to be back.

Sunday, The 4th

In retrospect, I see that I was trying to reclaim some of the faded, lost glory of what I had done out here in the late aughts.  It mostly didn’t work, but at least that writing this is therapeutic and cathartic for me.

On this morning, to signify a probable return to Whoadieville, I chased the outbound Crescent, an old fall-winter tradition.

When I returned, I got this view of the morningly NS transfer run to the Canadian National Railway making its way back to NS Oliver Yard with cars that it grabbed from CN Mays Yard.

Yeah, that’s a new shot.

Tuesday, The 6th

I had forgotten – and I am including this sentence only after I have completed this entire essay – that there was a rather unremarkeable Presidential election that happened on this day.

Waiting to get confirmation from the school district that I was going to be offered the position was agonizing.  I don’t remember exactly when confirmation came, but I informed the employer by the Atchafalaya River some time on Tuesday, likely after I took the pictures by the river that I took at about 08:20 on this morning, that I’d be leaving because I accepted another job.

I was beyond ready to tell the people here at work at this job by the Atchafalaya River – partly for their own good – that I was leaving, but I didn’t want to do that until I got some confirmation from the school and/or school system that I really have an offer.

I wanted to move forward with this, wanted to make certain that I didn’t need to keep looking tirelessly for jobs, and I wanted to be able to tell my then-current employer that I was leaving so that it would stop throwing more work at me, which is what was being done up until I announced on Tuesday that I was leaving. 

I didn’t want to start something that I couldn’t finish, and I furthermore didn’t want to give anyone the impression that I could start things.  Such are the perverse incentives that our system creates.

There would then be more bad lessons from this job, though.  Ideally, I wanted the people there with whom I had worked both the closest and longest to be the first to know of my impending departure.  However, due to the fact that I was giving less than one week’s notice, that I wanted to give them as much time as possible, the first persons whom I told were the boss and my immediate supervisor, who was someone who had only arrived there relatively recently and, as such, with whom I didn’t have nearly as strong of a relationship.

What pissed me off was that the supervisor didn’t even give me a chance to tell the people there to whom I had been closest from the beginning.  He insisted on being the one to tell them.

When I complained to him about this, he said that it was his place to tell everyone.  Says who?  I don’t remember what I told him in response, but I think that I mumbled it, being caught off guard by his response in addition to what prompted it.

All that this taught me is to not give employers this courtesy that I was giving them.  To hell with that.  Let your work friends be the first to know that you’re leaving before you tell the boss, no matter how little notice that you’re giving for leaving.

Anyway, I was still glad that all of that was done, that I could move forward.

So, I am grateful for my time at the confluence of the Teche and the Atchafalaya.

Thursday, The 8th

This was a much more relaxing day!

I got to visit the Berwick Lock.

This was a great way to go out from my time in an area defined precisely by the confluence of two flowing bodies of water that are the reason for this lock’s existence.

So, as pissed off as I was about the personnel stuff that I mentioned, I am nonetheless grateful for the opportunity – and opportunities – that I had here.

That was fun.

Friday, The 9th

This was my last day at the job by the Atchafalaya, and, unfortunately, what I remember most from the day is the rude treatment that I got from a couple of catty coworkers – but, significantly, not the bosses – for prioritizing something that I was doing for myself and got cleared from management to do at least two days prior.

On this day, something special was happening on the tracks.  A pair of EMD F units dressed up in Santa Fe “Warbonnet” livery were to be among the power consist of a train moving west out of New Orleans on the Lafayette Subdivision. 

I got excited!  Never in my life had I seen F units on a train on my hometown mainline railroad, and I have hardly ever seen them at all anywhere, and now was my chance!

This would be such an appropriate way to celebrate my last day working at the confluence of the Teche and the Atchafalaya, to be able to photograph F units crossing that waterway!

We would alternate half days on Fridays, and this Friday, my last day there, was to be my half day, meaning that, per normal schedule, I would depart the job for good at midday on this Friday.

I had told the office – including the person who ended up treating me the most rudely and also the supervisor – no later than Wednesday, the day after I announced that I was quitting, that there was this special train that I wanted to chase on this day.  I also said that I’d work there to the end of the day Friday to make up for it if this was a problem.  Had this been a problem for them, I’d have just made the day before, Thursday, The 8th, my last day, and, given that I was quitting and that they may have figured that I could just move up my quit day by one day, no objection was made to my assertion that I’d leave the office in the morning to find and chase the train and then come back and work in the afternoon to finish my work.

I am trying to solidify to you, the reader, the impression that the office, including the supervisor who was no lower than the third-most-important person in the entire operation and including the colleague who would be most rude to me over this two or three days later, knew at least two days in advance – it’s possible that I said this as early as Tuesday when I announced that I’d be quitting – that this was what I had planned to do and that they expressed no problem with it.  Given what I am about to write about what happened later that day, I want to make the fact that I had made my intentions about what I was going to do on this morning and why I was going to do it abundantly clear at least two days prior.

So, I went out to find the train, and it was late.  I first caught it crossing Bayou Boeuf in a shot that I have never done before, have never done since, and almost certainly will never again do. 

Somehow, I don’t know how, I beat the train from there to Berwick Bay, which it crossed 13 minutes later.

I must have known that the train would have to wait for the Berwick Bay bridge.  Anyway, it was right at around this time that I got a telephone call that I didn’t answer and some text messages from a particular coworker.

There was a cake made on my behalf and presented at the office, I wasn’t there to receive it, and I was being summoned to be there so that I could be presented this cake.  I had not been warned about this, but, critically, as I had said, I had warned the relevant people two days prior that I would be out of the office for much of Friday, including late morning.

I have reflected on these events many times since then.  When I got those calls and text messages, I was right at the spot, geographically, in which it would have made the most sense to return to the office, but I wanted to chase this train, and I did, almost into Franklin after I got a shot of it stopped in the siding at Bayou Sale.

One of the many reasons that I have reflected on what happened this day is that I am not as impressed with the pictures – and, critically, the scenes that they recorded, because my issue here is not about ‘photographic’ quality per se – as I was with the thought that I had of the scene before it happened; this is primarily due to the fact that the F units were not leading the train and secondarily due to the fact that, even if they had been, a westbound train running here in the sunny morning would not have looked all that great anyway.

But what if they had?  What, then, do we make of my decision?

I returned to the office to see a few pieces left of a cake made on my behalf and took a piece for, appropriately, myself.  Imagine that!  I got a piece of cake made on my behalf without all of the anxiety-inducing sensory barrage and small talk that would have accompanied it had I been there.

Apparently, it was highly “inconsiderate” that I was not at the office when a cake for my behalf was presented to me, and especially inconsiderate when I did not return right away, even though it was put on me with no warning, even though I had done my part by telling the newsroom a few days prior that I would be out and about photographing that train mid-late Friday morning (it’s not the newsroom who gets the cake, more the advertising people), and even though nobody else ever asked me where I’d be or if I’d be at the office around that time! 

Apparently, the fact that I had no control over when that special train ran (just like I don’t have control over or even the remotest influence over any other train movement) did not matter, unlike cake, which would still be there when I returned, but what really is stupid about it is that many of those people probably (I can’t really say for sure) wouldn’t try to make plans for me during, say, the Super Bowl or an LSU game or some crap like that. 

Before “Kasey” – that’s what we’ll call her – fussed at me, she asked what I had been photographing at what the significance of it was.  I told her about is as best as I could, why F units running in the year 2012 were significant, that I had never seen this before here. 

She then just kind of stared and paused for a minute.  Then she said rather sternly, with the supervisor in the room, “I’m not your boss, but . .  ”  and I don’t really remember what she said next, but it was something about people waiting around in the office for me, to which I think I replied that, okay, but I was, as I had told everyone a few days prior that I would be doing, out doing X thing, and that’s the only time ever that it could be done. 

She then said, rather sternly, “I texted you!” 

Okay?  I know, but, as I just said, I was doing something that could be done only at this time ever, and I just told you that it was significant.  Why are you even asking me about the significance of it if no answer that I give will be satisfactory or exculpatory?

It’s not like what I was doing was a “you can do that later” thing!  The conversation just abruptly ended.  I was appalled, because this is my last day, and on top of that, if you want to do something good and nice for me, just let me do my damn thing without any grief!!  Hello?!?!?!??!  How hypocritical is that?!?!?!??! 

When have F-units been on the Lafayette Sub in my lifetime, and when will they ever return?  How dare you go do something that you want to do that can only be done at that specific time instead of receiving with no warning some gift from people at a specific time that, unlike the train move, does not have to be set???  Dammit!!

And why are you fussing me on my last day for this?  I could see if there was some breaking news event to cover, it would be different.  Had she texted me and said that, say, city hall was on fire and that I needed to go cover it, that would be different, and I would have done it (and I could see why you’d give me legitimate grief if I continued photographing a train while that happened), but what good would it have done for the production of the newspaper if I had broken off from my chase of something that I’ll never see again – something that obviously means something to me, which is the point – to go receive a cake at a specific time?

That’s the lasting impression in my mind that this colleague left on me, my last memory of her.  That’s what I will always think of her and how I will always remember her.

I think that it was erroneously interpreted as that I was punking them or that I did not care or that I was disrespecting their gesture, and that reminds me of a friend’s issues with people seeing that he has three cats and no dogs and making the stupid “logical” leap that he doesn’t like dogs.  (Ironically, he later got rid of the cats and replaced them with dogs.)

No, I am very honored by the cake and what people think of me to put it there, and I had a desire to be there for it, but I also had a great desire to do something else that could be done only at that time ever.  I had never known of F-units moving on the Lafayette Sub before, it has not happened since then as far as I know, and it is highly unlikely to ever happen again.  Even if it does, it might be in the middle of the night or might be at a time when I can’t be there. 

Actually, just as I typed that, it made me think of how all of this fits into that Nietzschean “slave morality” and “master morality” thing, how slave morality focuses on “intention” whereas master morality focuses on “outcome” – and, no, that’s not a fascist thing at all

I’m more focused on the outcome of getting my shots – and the experience of getting them and the memories thereof – and receiving your nice goodbye gesture than the intention of being there when you want me to receive them.  I can receive your good gestures any time.

But, damn, apparently, how DARE you not take our compliments the way we give them at the specific time that we give them when we gave you no warning that it was coming!!!  And I found it kind of funny how, before “Kasey” fussed me, she asked me what was so important about it and then paused for about a minute, like she was judging how important what I decided was important was.  (Yes, that syntax was intentional, and it might take you a few times to read it to get it.) 

That’s where we can bring up the Super Bowl or some big-time college game.  Whatever the case, what I did was obviously something that was important to me – well, maybe not, maybe if people erroneously interpret that I’m punking them, or something; it’s basically my big-time Fiesta Bowl moment, when you can’t bother me for anything.  I should throw a party for “Kasey” (and other people) in a place that has no televisions while the Super Bowl is playing. 

When I got back to the office, most of the cake was consumed.  That’s fine.  I’m grateful for the gesture, but apparently just saying that doesn’t count for some people.  It was only “Kasey” and also “Tebby” – that’s what we’ll call her – who said anything, the latter saying it was “inconsiderate” when she, unlike “Kasey”, had not at all asked me herself what I was doing!  Roberta and Cathy did not seem to care, and Harlan, who had heard “Kasey”’s tirade to me, asked me, shortly after “Kasey” had left and as if nothing had happened between her and me, if I had gotten the shots of the train that I wanted to get! 

Yes, he did not seem the least bit bothered by my not having returned to the office! And he is the boss!  Also, Friday was my half-day, and, basically, to make up for what I did, I stayed there working until finally leaving for the last time at 15:13, but I’d have probably done that anyway.  I got my big story on the possible huge Chinese container port in St. Mary Parish submitted, and I cleaned off my desk and the work table near it, which seemed to impress Harlan.

And, that’s my last memory of “Kasey”!  F*cking thanks.  When she left at around 12:30 – it was her half-day too – she just said as she was walking out, “goodbye, good luck,” and that was it, and, had I not written all of this two days later in a long e-mail message – from which I copied most of this text – to a friend, I would not have remembered her “goodbye, good luck” salutation, but I would still remember her fussing me right before it, which is why it’s my last real memory of her.

How would that have been different if, say, the special train had run on Saturday?  Every other woman in that place (who was there when I left) got a hug from me, including “Tebby”.

I don’t think that “Kasey” realizes how utterly hypocritical her rude words to me were.  On my last day, isn’t letting me do something like I did – something that I want to do – the best way to honor me, especially when I’m coming back to the office right afterward and staying there until most of the newsroom leaves anyway?  Especially when I could have simply made the previous day my last day had the powers-that-be indicated to me that they had any problem with me leaving the office on this Friday morning for doing what I had told them that I was going to do?

Again, the bosses didn’t seem to give a crap, and I wouldn’t have cared if they had docked my pay (partly because it’s so low, and that is a large part of why I was leaving), but a few women did. 

Over the years, I have reflected on this incident plenty and discussed it with a few persons, who were totally supportive of my position, though, obviously, they are biased. Still, I have thought about how it’s important to allow people who want to do things for you to do things for you, that allowing people who want to do things for you to do things for you is a gift that you’re giving them, and that you should give that gift to people.

Still, when I expressed to “Tebby” that I didn’t think that I even deserved a going-away cake since I had worked there for less than a year, her response was “we do that for everybody [who leaves.]” Well, okay, then! That means that there is nothing really remarkable about it! It means that it’s just a habit, not really heartfelt.

So, while I have come to better see the importance of allowing people who want to do things for you to do things for you, I still, even upon all of this reflection, don’t think that I acted inappropriately and do think that I was treated unfairly, especially because this was the only time ever that F units were running on that track. It would be different had I been painting a fence and people told me to stop and clean up so that I could go and receive some gift, since I could just finish painting the fence later, but such was not the case here.

So, you see, in a way it is appropriate, since, on my last day of what is essentially an office job, I had further proof of why such work – more specifically, why such a workplace, because I liked the work itself – is not for me, why I needed to get the hell out of there.  I would not, I told my friend two days later in that e-mail message, have problems with adults’ codependency when I’m working as a teacher at a school.  Office work is not bad, but office culture is for the birds.

Saturday, The 10th

There is no picture to present for this day, even though I took plenty of pictures on this day.

Anyway, I was glad that that experience of that job in that area is now in my past.  I am glad that I did it.  I then-now had plenty to do for the future.  It would be difficult and challenging. 

I went for a walk on the NSU campus on this morning, then photographed a girls’ soccer game in which some friends’ child was playing, and then returned to Whoadieville.

I got back to my apartment on this afternoon, and I bought a larger than “normal” amount of groceries, which means that I really just bought a normal amount!  It was great to be essentially moving back there rather than just staying for weekends, for which I didn’t need to buy many groceries.

I went for an evening walk on the levee of the Mississippi River.

Sunday, The 11th

I made a dawn walk along Mississippi River levee.

Back in teacher mode, I had several chores to do now in anticipation for the new job the next day and the rest of the week, including school supplies!

At about midday, though, I managed to get by the track to take some pictures.

I started out at the KCS yard and got some shots of NOPB 1504 coupled to a cut of six cars and not moving, maybe with no crew aboard, and then saw KCS 3940 (grey) and KCS 3910 (heritage) at the shop. 

Then, I went to Marconi, where I found a westbound UP or UP-bound manifest train with the following power: UP 4020, UP 8210, UP 4977, EMDX 1203, and EMDX 1202.

I photographed it leaving Marconi.

I then photographed it again at Canal Boulevard.

An hour later, I was at France Road photographing the eastbound Z train passing a stopped NOPB job with just NOPB 1001 and one tank car as it approached the canal draw bridge to enter the yard.

Monday, The 12th

I went to the school system’s “human capital” office on this morning to do all paperwork (which was minimal, since I was still an employee, on leave of absence) and drug tests and fingerprinting, but new rules (I don’t know if from the state or from the district) dictated that I not be “around students” until the results of the drug tests return, which I think is ridiculous.  That sentence was copied almost verbatim from an e-mail message that I sent to a cousin two days later, early on a Wednesday morning when I would rather be at work! 

As I researched the information for this post, I wondered why I had many pictures taken during the typical school day on the week of the 12th when other old e-mail messages from days prior had me telling people that I was starting the new job on Monday, that I quit the Atchafalaya job with only a few days’ notice so that I could come to work at the school that really needed a teacher right away.

The next week, starting on the 19th, was the Thanksgiving holiday, and I had wanted to start before that to give both the kids and myself peace of mind going into the holidays about who their teacher was and, respectively, who my students were. 

So, apparently, after going to the “human capital” office and perhaps after doing a drug test, too, I was, of course, out by the track.  I found, at Bayou Saint John, a short – appropriate for Monday, I guess – CSX transfer run to-and-from the Canadian National Railway with both interesting and too many locomotives.

I just chased this only from Bayou Saint John to Alvar Street.  The locomotives were UP 7940, UP 4985, CN 5405, and BCOL 4605.

I got it at Elysian Fields Avenue on NS trackage.

I got them again at Alvar Street on CSX trackage.

I guess that the CN power is horsepower-hour repays.

I would see this locomotive on this train again.

Tuesday, The 13th

I guess that I should be happy about this delay caused by the drug test (I can’t remember how it affected my pay), because it allowed me what would be and what was unbeknown to me at the time my final opportunity to photograph Chip Ledet doing railroad work, and on his birthday, no less.

Just like I did in the week before I started working at the newspaper when I deliberately took time off between jobs during the part of the year with good light and cool temperatures, when I chased Chip’s train all day from its going on duty until it went off duty or got dark, whichever came first, I did that here – minus the part about it being a deliberate day off of work – and tried to chase the train from its start, and I started at Avondale.

It may be Engineer Sean Smith who waves at me from the BNSF train at Willswood, which you’re not going to see here.

Chip and a trainee – trainees often work with Chip – shoved two tank cars from the Vallier track across the highway and into the gas plant.

Chip turned 63 years old on this day, and this is a picture of him in Paradís showing what he did on this day, which is what he has done on most days in the last four decades.

As far as I’m concerned, Chip is fortunate, having been able to do something that he loves on his birthday and not get a ridiculous amount of attention for it. He will not have to suffer the indignity of the “office party” wherein other people put their own projections onto the person for whom they are supposedly doing something of service, as Beth at The Introvert Entrepreneur recently wrote.

If that seems a bit hypocritical of me, especially considering that Chip remind me of myself today when he changed the subject both times that I brought up the fact that it was his birthday, keep in mind that Chip will probably never see this picture nor your comments. The attention in the form that it is given to him will likely not bother him. It beats being forced to gather around for cake and artificial praise, doesn’t it?

Oh, that reminds me that someone in that job that I had just quit went to the administrative office and found out my birthday against my will, which pissed me off.  That’s private information.

Delays to Chip’s train getting out around midday today caused by Maintenance-of-Way activity at Live Oak, and then the MNSEW going into emergency braking (with another train behind it) as it slowed to meet Chip in Raceland while Amtrak‘s eastbound Sunset Limited was on the way all worked to make this a long day just to set out two LPG tank cars (seen at right in the picture) and pull one loaded molasses tank car from Raceland.

Chip was still on duty at nearly 20:00, with his train arriving just then at Avondale.  If the yardmaster expected him to yard his train, he could easily have been there for another half-hour, but he had already been at work for 10 hours on this day. That’s typical – or even really good – for most railroaders; think about that next time you touch any manufactured item or flip on a light switch (and try going a day without doing any of that!)

Oh, well, I don’t like saying this, but one of the last things that I saw Chip do was an illegal move at Raceland, and I think that factors like that were what prompted him to retire at the end of that month.  That was Chip, and I am just being real.

Anyway, so ended my Chip photography, and I am grateful for it all.  I hope, too, that you have been enlightened by it all.

Thursday, The 15th

Well, it’s the middle of the day on a school day, and I am by the track in New Orleans, which means that the drug test results still must not have arrived at the school system.

That’s the westbound Z train on the NS Back Belt at Marconi, a neat place.

Friday, The 16th

I can’t remember what I did in the daytime on this day, if I finally started working at the school, but I remember what I did that night very well, and there are pictures.

I got to meet Apollo 16 moonwalker Charlie Duke.

It was very interesting.

That’s a good start to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Saturday, The 17th

Here in the early afternoon is a CSX job entering New Orleans Public Belt Railroad’s France Yard with the daily interchange train between those two railroads that also includes all local interchange between CSX and the Kansas City Southern Railway from CSX Gentilly Yard.

That’s the I-10 High Rise in the background.

Sunday, The 18th

Hoo, boy!  What a day this was!

I got some train pictures.  I got the NS-CN transfer train, and it had four loaded lumber cars on it.  NS 6104 was the power.

Then, I got some NOPB action.

The NOPB action starts with me photographing NOPB 1504 departing the Holcim facility on the western bank of the Inner-Harbor Navigational Canal after delivering one or two cars there and then catching him coming through the floodgate as he returned to France Yard.

I think that that was the only time that I got any such shots.

Then, I got the CSX CN transfer with the CN 5405 leading the BCOL 4605.

Then, I got some parked train westbound at Bayou Saint John, which had EMDX 1205 and EMDX 1204 after CSXT 645, an AC6000 (I think), and CSXT 5301.  This may have been when that woman with the raft company came confront me about taking pictures.

Then, it was time for the Oak Street PoBoy Festival!

I got an almost iconic – okay, maybe cliché – view of three dudes eating poboys next to an overstuffed garbage can.

It’s crazy.  Something about a middle-aged guy playing guitar that I photographed just made me sad.

As he was playing, he said – not really sang – “who dat say they gonna beat them Saints,” and I felt so bad for him and for society.

I got to see my friend Will and saw a few other people I know, and I put many of the pictures that I took there that day on that New-Orleans-based photo publication that I could now give more attention even though the whole project – really, a front for Jimbaux’s Journal – was doomed.

Monday, The 19th

We are at Central Avenue on this Monday morning of Thanksgiving week, and here is an empty Norfolk Southern Railway grain train on CN trackage waiting to head to home rails.

Yes, I love the old power!

Tuesday, The 20th

Doctor Diesel really liked this picture, and that he liked it meant plenty to me.

Foaming on Tuesday, here’s a shot that I got on this afternoon, a new shot, “new” meaning that I’ve never shot this view or any other one at this location, that I’ve envisioned for a long time, and I don’t think that I was able to ever replicate it afterward either, because, even though trains on that track in that direction are frequent, this shot can be done only in a certain window of the time of day in certain times of year, and, then, there are often trains parked on the other track blocking the view.  Furthermore, that neat old Southern Railway signal bridge has since been replaced.

This is at East City Junction along the NS Back Belt, and this train, appearing to be CSX’s Q605, just had a UP yard crew board it and is moving up to I-10. 

This shot can only be done in the fall and winter and only in early-midafternoon, and you can see that it’s maybe a little too late in the day for it, the lighting being a little too head-on. You also have to know that a train is coming, and you have to have the track in the foreground clear too!

The signals for the junction here at East City Junction are for the track to New Orleans Union Passenger terminal, which is used only by Amtrak’s Crescent train, and the NS Bernadotte Line, which only has one remaining customer, a brickyard that gets deliveries sometimes less often than weekly. The signals are controlled by the NO&NE dispatcher at the Norfolk Southern Corp’s dispatching center in Birmingham.

At that time, the Q605 became Union Pacific Railroad’s MCXLI, mostly, but it appears that at least the lead locomotive on this train went out of Avondale with the MAVAX that night.

Friday, The 23rd

On this day, I went fishing with Nonc.

It felt both good and lonely, and I am glad that I did it.  I wish that I had done it many more times before.

Sunday, The 25th

Oh, wow, I remember this day so well.  What I most remember about it is how I felt about what I was doing on the trip on which I made a brief diversion and stop to take pictures of these two trains at one location.

More recently, the trio of recently-reprocessed shots that I have presented in the original blog post have the distinction of being an exception to a pattern that started in 2021 when I started learning better photo-processing techniques in Adobe Photoshop, especially with the newest version.  Almost invariably, processing the old cr2 shots in Photoshop with my new skills creates a better image than processing an old TIFF file that I created from that same cr2 image by using Canon’s Digital Photo Professional years before.  It got to the point that I was about to start deleting the old TIFF files without even bothering attempting to process them, but these pictures were the exception!  The old TIFF files – and what I could now do with them in Photoshop – were better than what I could do with the cr2s today, and, so, recent processings of the old TIFF files are what you see in post from this day, like this.

The old TIFF files actually came to my rescue here.

This picture and the other two from that day were made as I made my way back to Whoadieland from Bayouland, from home, and I remember just feeling bad.  The bad feeling was a mix of anxiety about the intense, exhausting, and all-consuming work – so all-consuming that the next DSLR-camera picture that I took after this day was not taken until December 16 – that I would have to do over the next few weeks and about the bomb that had been dropped on me very recently.

I cannot remember the date on which the bomb was dropped on me, as it could have been as early as the 10th, but it had definitely been dropped on me by this day when I was returning to Whoadieville from Bayouland, because the bomb was dropped on me in Bayouland.  I think that the profound shame that learning that I would lose my home – and, especially, why I would lose it – made me feel caused me to not document what I learned when I learned it.  It was shocking, but it was also all so embarrassing that, for years, I didn’t tell even my closest friends about what was going to happen almost until it became impossible to conceal starting in about 2017.

I made these pictures with that news, the news that I would eventually permanently lose my home, weighing on my mind, not acute but just omnipresent.  It made me question what I was doing.  It made me confused.  It made me do things in order to try and preempt losing my home, to make it irrelevant, which may have come at the cost of doing things to keep my home.

To this day, a decade later, I don’t know anything, I don’t know what I could have done to stop the outcome of losing my home given the options (not) available, but I know that I was flailing for years.

That’s why the Pearl Jam song “Indifference” was such an appropriate song for this day’s post.  News that I would lose my home made me feel a mix of nihilism and that I should just press on despite the nihilism.

That is how November 2012 ended for me, except that it was all subsumed by my reimmersion in working in a profession that I knew that I had outgrown.

That’s all.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 David Kruschwitz November 6, 2022 at 09:37

Sorry for my ignorance, but what is a cr2 file?


2 Chip Kennedy June 6, 2023 at 05:09

It’s the original raw file format recorded my most canon camera’s.


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