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UER Forum > Journal Index > Citizen's blundering pseudo-UE journal > 27/6/04 - Minor Thoughts. (Viewed 2642 times)
27/6/04 - Minor Thoughts.
entry by Citizen 
6/27/2004 12:26 PM

Having thus far written two entries chock full useless crap (and wasn't it just such a thrilling read?) I guess I should move on to the stated subject matter of this journal, being urban exploration. In between everthing else, I've been trying to think of where I should go for my first trip.
I pretty much ruled out the idea of doing a major abandonment or drain from the outset. Both places require at least two people for safety reasons, and given the environmental hazards involved would be a poor choice for the first-time explorer. The Cave Clan actually runs 'introductory tours' of the drains at sporadic intervals, but I suspect going along, letting someone else do all the work, then jumping back here to triumphantly report my achievement and demand due respect as one of the UE uber-elite probably isn't going to cut it with some people. That said, I do plan on going along to one of these things, but it's probably a bit further off into the future.
Whenever I think about exploring, in the context of actually getting off my arse and doing it myself, my thoughts always drift over to how much fun it would be to visit a construction site. Not some lame suburban housing development in the slab and plywood stages, mind you, but something worthy, like one of the skyscrapers slowly taking shape in this city's centre. I can trace the origin of this idea back to a specific construction site here in Melbourne, right next to where I used to work. My last job was at a firm whose offices sprawled along several of the fifty or so floors of a multi-leased office tower. Next door used to be a car park, but by the end of my employment, work was begun there on a twin to the existing tower.
What a perfect target. Visiting it would be like stepping back into my workplace's past. I could roam the floors at will, without the irritation of those damn keycards, admire all the big, bright yellow heavy machinery and look at the embryonic forms of everything I passed by every day of the last few years and never gave a thought to. I could peer through massive holes in each of the floors and realise that these will one day be the elevator shafts and see the bleak concrete chambers that will one day be bathrooms and tearooms. I could stand on the second-floor mezzanine and gaze upon the huge, grey, concrete and steel cathedral that will become a sculpted, warm and welcoming lobby. I'd photograph everything, then go back to the existing building and take a second set of photos of from the exact same locations. Like a set of before and after shots, I could contrast the bare bones with the plastered, tastefully painted and pot-planted interior of the finished building - showing a desolate cell in one shot, and in the next the airy, modern office that Mark from accounting had to spend ten years kissing arse and crawling up the corporate ladder to earn. I'd write all sorts of lucious prose on the place, mentioning the archaeological site that was excavated for the last time before being scooped out to make way for the basement levels. Given that said archaeological site consisted of the remains of Melbourne's red-light district, circa the nineteenth century, it'd make for some interesting reading. All of this I would then shovel into a website somewhere, before taking my bows and basking in the acclaim, nay, adulation, my bold deeds would bring. Maybe.
Going to such a construction site would also be safer, in my opinion, than the drains or abandoned buildings, and within the reach of the lone explorer. At the end of the day, whatever it will eventually become, a construction site is currently the living and breathing workplace of human beings. Human beings who have a union and government OH&S types to jump up and down and cause a terrible fuss should one of them, say, fall thirty floors down an unprotected elevator shaft. In contrast, a drain is really only ever meant to be seen by rainwater, along with the odd derelict supermarket trolley (shopping cart). That abandoned factory down the road was once someone's workplace, but those days are gone, and the building will never again play host to an (authorised) person. Ever. And so it sits there, its ruptured insulation leaking a river of asbestos onto crumbling floorboards, because nobody cares - no one has to care. As far as the owners are concerned, nobody will ever set foot inside it again. It's merely waiting to die - gradually biodegrading as it marks off the days and months until the land on which it stands rises sufficiently in value to justify paying a demolition crew to clear the way for yet another block of crappy townhouses.
That's not to say there aren't dangers. Despite all the theoretical safeguards and meaningless platitudes from politicians, the building industry continues to record a steady trickle of employee deaths and injury. Nonetheless, so long as you kept your wits about you and stayed within the lines, I'm sure the risk would be minimal. (I'm sure many will argue the same for the drains and abandonments, but I'd rather not push things too far the first time around.)
The best aspect, other than the virtual guarantee of seeing something worthy during your trip, is reliable vacancy. The workers have set hours and they're hardly there when they're supposed to be. Show up in the evenings or weekend, dress appropriately, and you can roam all over the place at will and completely unchallenged. If the building has yet to receive its glass cladding or doors, then only a portable fence will be there to resist you, and no passing pedestrian would think it too untoward if they saw someone with the full hardhat and safety vest treatment clambering over. Of course, pick your times properly, and you could reduce the chances of being spotted in the first place to a very agreeable number.
The reason I'm not walking out the door right now to check out some of these urban wonderlands is money. Before setting out I'd need some navy blue clothes, safety vest, hard hat, and maybe a better torch. A set of work boots wouldn't hurt either. All up, I'd probably end up on the bad side of AU$200, which I can't really justify shelling out on a hobby until I have an income, which brings me back to them job interviews...

One tantalising prospect is doing a live infiltration of an office tower. It would be, after all, semi-familiar turf, and, physically at least, sites don't come any safer. The (live) security presence, and electronic inconveniences like alarms and cameras are another matter, but it'd be a cheap thrill to stand in one of the mechanical floors while above and below you hundreds of people obliviously go about their daily lives. All the equipment you need (a business shirt, trousers, maybe a small torch and some sort of credibility prop) is already sitting in my cupboards, making for a refreshingly cheap date.
The best prospect for a first infiltration of this type, I think, would be the blandest multi-leased building you could find. I always imagine buildings occupied by a single company as being more insular and secure than one that's shared by many, but I guess the reverse may well be true instead. Bland would be good simply because if you did end up getting caught or doing something so you could never return, it wouldn't be that great a loss. In terms of size, I'd want at least 30 floors, preferably 40 or more. Not because smaller buildings aren't as interesting or anything, but being big it's unlikely anyone there will be totally familiar with it, and it also spells greater transit times between and around floors, which may just delay any response should that "WARNING: Door Alarmed" sign turn out not to be lying after all.
The big problem is that you can really only go when these places are open and full of people to both mask your presence, and obligingly open those cardkey-controlled doors for you. That means going during business hours weekdays, which is precisely the time most explorers have to be at work themselves. I feel like I'm wasting a lifetime opportunity or something since I'm unemployed right now, but really my chance has already come and gone. From now on, my weekdays will be spent visiting recruitment agencies, waiting by the phone to get interview times, going to the damn interviews themselves and then, eventually, actually working at my new job. I should have taken advantage of all that wonderful free time when I had it. (idiot). On the other hand, I am applying through employment agencies, as I want a temporary position, and from everything I've heard, those places have enough trouble trying to find their own arses with a torch, let alone jobs for their clients. So I might just have more free weekdays in future than I originally anticipated.


[last edit 12/5/2006 2:37 AM by Citizen - edited 6 times]
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The Hitman's Daughter 

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hot pavement.

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Re: 27/6/04 - I Hate eBay.
< Reply # 1 on 6/27/2004 10:28 PM >
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Haha, well written.

I'm sorry you had to go through this crap. I've sworn off ebay for a while now. I occasionally poke around, but I found out the hard way what assholes people on there can be.

(long story)

I bid on an item and won an auction. The seller then contacted me and told me she didn't accept cheques or paypal (even though the auction description said she did) and that she wanted me to send her cash through the mail. I wrote her back, saying that I'm sorry but I don't send cash through the mail, and that the auction description said she would accept paypal. I told her that I won't be sending her cash. I might add, too, that I was very polite about it. I gently explained that I have had money stolen from the mail before.

She then wrote me an email saying that if I didn't send her the cash, she would be forced to report me to eBay as a "non-paying bidder" and that my account could be revoked. She was complaining about being recouperated for her seller's fees (the fifty cent fee or so that you're charged when you put something up for auction) I was infuriated! I told her that it was her fault for changing the method of payment after the auction was over, and that she should offer the item to one of the other people who had bid on it.

She kept emailing me and harassing me. She left negative feedback on my profile, saying "Poor baby, bid on an item and then couldn't pay for it, boo hoo"... I was so upset...
Finally I tried to seek help on eBay... good lord... could they make it any more freaking impossible to get help? I posted on one of the community boards, asking people what I should do. All the people who responded to me told me not to worry, that I wasn't at fault and I wouldn't be tagged as a non-paying bidder. I was relieved, until i got an email in my inbox from eBay stating that I have just been reported! I was so pissed off, I couldn't understand how that could have happened. I wrote them back, explaining the entire situation. Three days later, I recieve an email back from them saying that I have been reported. I just about threw my computer out the window. I wrote them back again, saying "I KNOW I HAVE BEEN REPORTED" and explained my story to them again. A couple days later they write me back, saying that they need more information from me, and that if I don't give them all the information they need (copies of emails sent back and forth between me and the seller, etc) that my account could be terminated. I just about exploded. I wrote them back saying that I couldn't believe this was happening to me. I said something like "This has really made me reconsider ever doing business with eBay again, you people aren't even trying to help me at all." Next thing I know, there's an email in my inbox from eBay saying "We understand that you have requested to have your account terminated. Thank you". &*#^*@&^*&@$%^@#%##%@^#@$^*&#(*@&*^$@*&!!!!!!

I haven't gone back since.

anyway, sorry I just took up like an entire page here ranting, but I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.



[last edit 6/27/2004 10:41 PM by The Hitman's Daughter - edited 3 times]

richellesart.com
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Re: 27/6/04 - I Hate eBay.
< Reply # 2 on 6/28/2004 5:59 AM >
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Posted on Forum: UER Forum
Hey, there's no need to apologise, it's comforting to know I'm not alone, and really cool to have concrete proof that people do actually read my prattlings (and don't falling asleep halfway. )

I had actually written a couple of extra paragraphs for that entry attacking eBay itself, but I decided to cut those out for fairness' sake since I'd never bothered taking my problems all the way to them.
Having read your story though, I can see that they really are as hopeless as I suspected. FWIW, I think you now need to get three "non-payer" warnings before they can your account, not that that makes what happened to you okay.




The Hitman's Daughter 

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hot pavement.

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Re: 27/6/04 - I Hate eBay.
< Reply # 3 on 6/28/2004 7:13 PM >
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Yup. eBay's customer service is the biggest pile of crap ever. BE WARNED, people!





richellesart.com
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Re: 27/6/04 - I Hate eBay.
< Reply # 4 on 7/2/2004 8:56 PM >
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Thats why when ever I buy somthing on ebay I make sure to use paypal, and also get it shipped USPS. If they don't ship it or it comes as it was not discribed, 90% of the time PayPal will get the money back and if they can't you sue the seller for mail fraud, because they are using the USPS to mail a fradulent item. but yea I have been screwed on ebay before.

Conundrum




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Re: 27/6/04 - I Hate eBay.
< Reply # 5 on 7/4/2004 6:18 PM >
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Posted on Forum: UER Forum
Posted by The Hitman's Daughter
Yup. eBay's customer service is the biggest pile of crap ever. BE WARNED, people!




that's becuase there is sooo much fraud on that site!




UER Forum > Journal Index > Citizen's blundering pseudo-UE journal > 27/6/04 - Minor Thoughts. (Viewed 2642 times)


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