Monday, September 23, 2013

Music City

Every identifying sign in this place - restrooms, showers, lounge - has a guitar background. Even the garage door signs on the shop are in the shape of western hats.

It's over the top, but hey, this is Music City.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kansas City's Subtropolis

I lived in Wichita, Kansas for 15 years. I began a career there, at one of four enormous data centers belonging to - at the time - the second largest insurer in the world. Every day, we shipped a thousand - or often, many more - half-inch computer tapes to a secure underground facility 50 miles away to a Hutchinson facility called Underground Vaults & Storage. Google it. Fascinating. After transferring to a brand new data center in Rensselaer, New York, I became solely responsible for the procurement, development, and management of a local secure data storage facility. Enter Iron Mountain in Kingston, NY - another worthy Google.

My point is, I am very familiar with secure commercial underground storage. Yet, I've never visited one in person - until now.

The SubTropolis facility in Kansas City was completely unknown to me, and impressive as hell. We delivered pallets of preprinted material - likely product labels - to a company dock at pillar 243. Yes, that's their underground address system. Pillar number. We entered the facility via a single-wide tunnel carved into the limestone hill, and well over a mile later, over underground train tracks, past scores of company docks carved into the limestone and scores of tractors trailers backing into perfectly normal looking shipping and receiving bays, past employee parking lots and picnic tables and smoking areas, past underground intersections and stop signs, past thick columns of whitewashed limestone, we reached our consignee and completed delivery. Although I don't have pics, the interior looked much the same as the dock - carved of rock, painted white, with ample space between, but much better lit.

This delivery was an Unforgettable.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


These are only a smattering of what one will see when driving in the Southwest. The desert looms long and large. The desolation is humbling. Storms, when they occur, are epic. One can drive on an Interstate, fergawdssake, for well over a hundred miles without an oasis to buy a Pepsi or an oatmeal creme pie - or, even, sit down for a proper yew-know-what without perching on a stainless steel commode sans seat. Yet, it's beautiful and it beckons.

There is beauty in isolation.

West Texas

I'm not sure of the significance of dual large wheels and a platform, but it somehow seems closely related to freight shipping.

I know. I am, indeed, a genius.