Text Box: The Tale of the Ninja & the Pirate!

My daughter and I have been doing this “Urban Exploration” thing for over a year now. It started with the discovery of an abandoned house near where we live in the southern suburbs of Chicago. It is the kind of location that is right in the middle of everything, yet is hard to see unless you are really looking for it.
Now it all started by my daughter and my wife and their ongoing “discussion” about this cool house she had found that she thought would be really neat to photograph. She kept up a consistent dialog about this house, and how she could just walk over there and give it a look see.
“You don’t know what kind of nasty people are back there”, her Mom would say. “It’s defiantly NOT the kind of place a young lady should be tramping around in ‘all by her Onesies’”. Finally dad stepped in and agreed to tag along; this made it alright with mom.
We felt so sneaky! So stealthy and mysterious! We walked through the garage, and the yard, and into the back foyer (What was left of it…) to the back door which had scribbled on it “Nothing inside worth dying for”. It was then that we (or rather I…) chickened out and refused to allow her to go any farther.
But in the end, we got some good pictures and had a great time together. 
Since then, come rain or shine, we have tried to go out every Saturday to see what we can find. We have had some great success in the last year and have been able to explore and experience some fascinating and wonderful locations. This web site is a record of some of our more successful adventures.
Now, being a member of the “Royal Order of the Urban Exploration league, Chicago Chapter” (Don’t look for it, I just made it up…), we have come to understand and honor “The UrbEx Code”:
“Touch Nothing, Take Nothing, don’t leave a trace…”
As such, we have learned that it is important to keep quite while doing our explorations. We have learned to walk silently, like the Bull: To be stealthy and to hide in the shadows, like the South American Wart Hog. Our color is black and our visibility is hidden. This way, we are able to get in, get our photos and get out… unseen, undetected, without a trace –like the Ninja.
The reality of it all, as I have tried to show with the descriptions of our “Ninja Capabilities”, is quite the opposite.
Usually she will enter through a broken window all silent and sneaky like, followed by me getting my foot caught on the sill. This causes me to stomp to the floor to keep my balance. She will turn around, look me up and down and simply comment “…Nice!”, and then three steps later trip over a loose piece of refuse with a clang that echoes through the empty halls like a bomb went off. This is usually followed by the both of us laughing like fools until we can’t breathe anymore.

This loud ruckus style and careless regard for our surroundings is more to the liking of a Pirate than a Ninja. It’s gotten to the point where one of us will trip or kick something, and the other will look over and exclaim: “Argh… Welcome aboard Matey!” in a traditional Pirate growl. And then, if one of us just happens to get through a door or window in an exceptionally silent and hidden manner, we comment: “Oooo, I see the ninja is a foot”, followed by a traditional Ninja bow.
Since then we have come to the conclusion that we together are really a little of both: A little Ninja, and a little Pirate, and not really too good at being either… But we have fun, and she has gotten some great photos.
This split UrbEx personality is where we got the name for her studio: Half & Half Studio, because we are Urban Explorers extraordinaire: Part Ninja… Part Pirate, and all good times.

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