Sunday, January 15, 2017

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - January 15, 2017

Good morning! Since it's Sunday morning, this is my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photos I took along the way. Right now I'm still in between seasons of the television shows I regularly cover. That's not to say I'm not watching ANY television, but ...! 

Once again, my photos aren't all that great this week. I've had little inspiration and I'm still a bit in an overworked and not feeling well kind of funk. Nothing has really been going on in my life that's all that interesting and absolutely nothing all that exciting. Work, home, eat, sleep, cater to a certain Vincent cat. Oh, well. In about three weeks I'll have a week off. Yay.

Random observations:
  • Apparently the Plainfield Police accomplished my upstairs neighbor's loud stereo issue when the landlord didn't. I've been saying all along that he had sub-woofers sitting on the floor and needed to get them off the floor as the thumping bass was shaking my whole apartment. Well, I called the police about 1am one night about two months ago. He had turned it off before they arrived. But, talking to the police via the intercom, I mentioned the speakers on the floor bit. They went up to talk to him even though he had turned the music off. It worked! They must have said the bit about the speakers on the floor! Since that night, I can hear his music (often), but it's not life-disturbing thumping. I can deal with that. Yes! Now, had the landlord actually said "speakers up off the floor" to him, I wouldn't have had to go through months of torture.
  • I'm tired of everyone snipping at each other over local and federal politics. Obviously, the Trump fiasco is divisive. Yet, here in Plainfield, there's all sorts of nastiness going on. I'm tired of it all. Overall, I think Plainfield has made tremendous strides in moving forward during the nearly twenty years I've lived in town. I know there are projects and people living in poverty. Yet, the kids have more organized stuff to do than anywhere I've ever lived and more resources available to them. There are poor areas and wealthy areas in town ... but more people just living, working and trying to peacefully live here. 
  • As an observer of stuff, I see friction between some people who grew up here and didn't take part in any enriching of the city and the immigrants who have opened all kinds of businesses. I can get along with anyone out there trying to do the right thing for the city. But a few folks are determined to think their particular group is more important than any other. The city needs to keep moving forward. It's actually the working class people who are the vast majority in town -- and we are black, white, Latino, Asian, etc. We're not the ones shooting each other or hanging out on the streets at night drinking or doing drugs. We don't live in lofty mansions either. We all just keep working and paying the bills. All we want is a decent town in which to live.
  • I'm looking forward to the upcoming week's winter weather after today. Yes, you heard me! The forecast is for the low 50s for most of the week. I can deal with that. I don't ski anymore. I don't need snow.
  • I was an unwilling bit of someone's Facebook Live session yesterday. Grr. A young woman got off the train in front of me and an older man was right there to hug her (in my way, mind you!). As I tried to get around them, I heard a woman say, "Wave to everyone in Georgia and tell them you arrived safely." Gah. There was an older woman filming this reunion (or whatever). That would have been fine had the man/young woman reunion had not blocked everyone else trying to exit the train! So, hello, Georgia.
That's it. Onto the photos, none of them all that great this week. If you click on an image, it opens up in a larger version. 

As seen from Track 1

The view of North Avenue from the platform at the Plainfield Train Station on Monday before our big snow meltdown. I edited this very ordinary shot with a "nostalgic" filter on Google's Color Efex photo editor. I like how it turned out.

Home to the icy snow last night

We didn't get anything like the midwest got yesterday, but it sure was slick walking getting home from work last night! I'd say maybe a half-inch of snow covered by a layer of ice. The streets seemed to be just wet. However, the sidewalks were treacherous. Plainfield Train Station.

**CLICK THE 'READ MORE' LINK TO SEE THE REST OF THE PHOTOS**

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was and I'm Back - January 8, 2017

Yes, I'm alive. My apologies for the two-week hiatus I took from the blog. I've just been running on empty and with little photographic inspiration, as well. I never fare all that well during the holiday seasons for a number of reasons, both personal and work-related. This year, all came colliding together as well as some health issues made worse by my workload on the job.

I still don't have much to report. Thank you all for your concern, though. 

Onto the photos from the week ... at least snow gave me some photo fodder. Clicking on an image will bring up a larger version.

Saturday snow

The snow was already coming down pretty steady as I headed off to work yesterday. Plainfield Train Station.

Salt doing its job

NJ Transit had already salted the walks Thursday evening when I came home from work. On Friday, pre-dawn, as I headed back into work, the walks at the train station itself were clear. Of course, it would be nice if someone, whether NJ Transit or the city of Plainfield, would realize that the North Avenue walk itself along the train station grounds needs attention, too. No wonder people feel they have to walk in the street!

My train home ...

... approaching the Bridgewater Train Station yesterday afternoon. 

**CLICK THE 'READ MORE' LINK TO SEE THE REST OF THE PHOTOS**

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - December 18, 2016

Good morning! Since it's Sunday morning, it's time for my weekly off television topic reflection of the week gone by in both words and photos I've taken along the way. This past week we saw the finale of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X along with just shy of 400 comments on my live blog post. Near a record amount of comments on one of my single blog posts, but not quite. Now I'm a bit in between seasons of shows. I need a rest anyway -- going from coverage of BB right into BBOTT/Survivor made me even more exhausted than my usual exhausted state!

This past week, I went into Manhattan Monday evening after work to meet up with an online friend of over twenty years. Due to some health issues with my back, I didn't make the rounds of the holiday doings in town. I've seen them all before, many times. And, while Christmas in NYC is amazing, when you've seen it many years, it tends to look and photograph the same year to year. It's different if you're there with friends. But I just didn't have the desire or strength to deal with the mobs and do more walking than needed. Next Sunday, on Christmas Day, I'll be posting some of the photos of the city I've taken in previous years. I did take photos on Monday, but they're more along the lines of basic Manhattan kind of photos, not holiday.

I didn't get a heck of a lot of shots in Plainfield this week, either! The bitter cold a few days (1) killed the battery in my camera and/or (2) made my lens fog. Then, yesterday, I actually forgot my camera! I felt naked without it! Plus, I missed snow and ice-lined trees shots! Oh, well. I'm sure to have plenty of that ahead in the next few months.

We had a couple of inches of snow, then ice (maybe a quarter inch of ice) yesterday. Today we're getting rain and the temperature might go up near 60 degrees. Um. Okay. That will make this snowy slushy mess melt. But then tomorrow, we're back to seasonal temps. So, that means icy sidewalks. It's not even really winter yet but I want spring.

Anyway ... onto the photos from the week. Clicking on an image will open it in a larger version.

Little Miss Ripped Jeans and Red

At the subway entrance corner of 8th Avenue and West 33rd Street.

Winter freakin' wonderland

I took this shot out my kitchen window Saturday morning. At that point, a fine snow was coming down starting to mix with freezing rain and sleet. Then I accidentally left my camera in the kitchen and left for work without it.

**CLICK THE 'READ MORE' LINK TO SEE THE REST OF THE PHOTOS**

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X Season Finale Blog Party - December 14


As the Survivor season finale airs here on the East Coast, I'll be live-blogging with the major events. The season finale is two hours followed by an hour-long reunion show. As always, the real party is in the comments area. Please feel free to join in on the fun! It's been a good season with many blindsides, twists and turns!
 
Here are the blog pool match updates from our good buddy, Lifeguard Laurie:

Survivors
Adam Klein - Brian, Kelsey NY, Sharon N
Bret LaBelle - Brandi Peralta, Judi Sweeney, Skyriverblue
David Wright - Buzzmaam, MikesGirl, Sharon C
Hannah Shapiro - David, meb, Terry is a Texan
Jay Starrett - Becky, Jackie, Shayne
Ken McNickle - Dolores in Hollywood, Margo, Russ

Jury
Michelle Shubert
Taylor Lee Stocker 
Chris Hammons 
Jessica Lewis
Zeke Smith 
Will Wahl 
Sunday Burquest

Survivor fans ready?

Jeff tells us that we'll have a sneak peek at the cast for the next season. The castaways are all gathered with him to watch the finale together and then do the reunion show. I've heard rumors that Michaela is in the next season.

We're starting with a look back on the season and a look at the remaining castaways.

Jay is regretting playing his idol for nothing. He figures he'll look for a new one tomorrow. Bret is shocked they didn't go with the plan to get rid of David. He's sure either Jay or David will win and they both need to go. David thinks he needs to create some chaos. He doesn't think there are any idols left in the game, so he's been working on making a fake idol ... for someone else to find.

Jay spots the fake idol and thinks it's real. Oopsie, Jay! 

Whoa! Ken opens up the Legacy Advantage left to him by Jessica -- immunity at the next Tribal Council. He's keeping it a secret.

Immunity Challenge time ...race through obstacles collecting bags of tiles, solve a combination lock, retrieve a key to puzzle pieces, solve puzzle. The first to finish also wins reward -- a steak with all the fixings.  

Jay got the combo and left it showing ... David goes to look, then they all do. 

DAVID wins Immunity (and steak)! Ooo ... Jay takes over the reward and takes David because he beat him. He can choose one other, goes for Adam because Adam gave him the Reward Takeover Advantage.

Jay tells them that he will take them both to the final three. He wants them to take Bret out. David is tempted. Of course, David knows that Jay's "idol" won't save him. Ken is worried that Jay will win and they -- Bret, Ken and Hannah -- think Jay should go. Adam thinks they should leave Bret in. Oh my ... looks like we night head into another Tribal not having a clue who will really go out. 

Tribal Council time. Again, good questions posed. 

Suspense ...

The tally: 
Wait! Jay plays the fake idol! Oopsie! Ken pulls out his Legacy Advantage and claims his immunity. 

Ken, Jay, Jay, Jay.

He takes it best of anyone I've ever seen! But Jay is now on the jury.  

Right into Immunity challenge. David is worried ... it's swimming. Maneuver a buoy through obstacles, take wood pieces over teeter-totter and solving a puzzle.

KEN wins Immunity!  

Of course, Adam wants David to go home. He thinks he has both Bret and Hannah on his side, but wants to find an idol. He thinks if he doesn't find one, David must have it. Meanwhile, David thinks that Adam must go and that he (D) has Hannah and Ken to keep him safe.

Adam indeed does find an idol. Uh-oh, David. Adam tells Bret he has an idol. Then he tells Hannah! Stupid move. She can switch Ken's and David's vote to Bret.

Off to Tribal we go! 

The tally ... Adam plays his idol. 

David, Bret, David, Bret, Bret.

Bret is OUT! He doesn't take it as well as Jay. He told David congratulations and told them the rest of them lost a million dollars.  

David is overjoyed that Hannah and Ken saved him. Adam not so much. Adam tells Hannah she made a big mistake. He's so fearful of David winning that he's obsessive about it.

Immunity Challenge time  ... the final one of the season. Long pole to maneuver bowl through a channel. Thirteen bows placed wins. Tallest stack in thirty minutes wins if no one gets to thirteen. It's between Ken and Adam. Gah. Ken, then Adam, lose their stacks.

Yikes! It's tie between Ken and HANNAH. They do a tiebreaker five minute version of the challenge. 

KEN wins the Final Immunity! 

David thinks Ken will remain loyal to him. He's thinking the worse case scenario will be a fire-making challenge against Adam. Hannah thinks she needs to make Ken target David. Again, nothing is a sure bet.

Penultimate Tribal Council --  Jeff pumps up Hannah. He asks about David's pitch to Ken. David talks loyalty, honesty and integrity from Ken.

The tally --
David, Adam, David, David.

GAH! David is gone. He takes it well, though. 

Final Tribal Council time. 

Taylor - His vote isn't set, wants them to pitch. Hannah talks about her strategic cut-throat game, went from being a mess. Ken said two sides to the game, human being, moved forward. Adam says he played the best game of the three remaining.

Sunday - Tried to be adaptable and flexible. Were you? Did you play like a millennial or Gen-Xer. Ohh ... Ken makes a flipper comment. Adam thinks he's a combination of both. Hannah claims that she made decisions that she thought were right for the time.

Jessica - Ken, put on a pedestal for loyalty and honesty. You took out David. Ken says his number one alliance was his daughter (in tears).

Will - Respects David for voting Ken out. Adam, reason you couldn't get your moves to work? Adam blames Hannah. Hannah speaks up for herself.

Zeke - Evolution of Survivor strategy. Ken did nothing to evolve the game. Adam, Hannah what did you do to evolve it? Adam did some double-talk. Hannah actually pleas a good case for herself.

Michelle - Hannah, how many votes on the wrong side? Michaela only. Adam - why your victories overtake your blunders? He blames Hannah again. 

Bret - Ken, when did you really start playing? Ken says at the start when he felt he was at the bottom of Gen-X. Adam, how long did it take for you to vote out David? Adam blames Hannah, but didn't answer the question. 

Jay - Adam, we're brothers why didn't you use me to take out David? Tears. You were in the way.

Chris - I'm a trial lawyer, never served on a jury. He talks about David as the most dangerous person in the game. He tells Adam he should win because he changed Ken's mind. 

David - Experience was transforming. What evolution did you undergo? Hannah says what we'd expect. Ken was socially awkward, ticks and twitches, talks about his daughter. Adam personal dream, two years ago applied with mother, cries and tells of his mother's cancer.      

Jay obviously votes Adam as he says "Love you, buddy." after voting.

It's onto the live part in Los Angeles.   

The final tally:
Adam, Adam, Adam, Adam, Adam, Adam.

Adam wins. Jeff says it was a clean sweep, unanimous.

I know from news reports that his mother passed away a day or two after filming ended. So, she never knew he'd win it all. My gosh, she died an hour after he got home. It's a sad tale. He's now involved in Stand Up to Cancer. His mother never smoked, always lived a healthy life, yet died of lung cancer.

The Bret/Zeke "we're gay" bit comes up. Then the Hannah crush on Ken. Onto Michaela ... did she know how good she was? Nope! Ohh ... now we know why Figgy dropped Taylor due to something on the outside world she didn't know .. he has a new baby.

Jeff promises us familiar faces on next season. 

Next season -- Fiji. Most competitive ever. Survivor: Gamechangers. And, yes ... Michaela, Tony, Tai, Caleb, Cierra, Cirie, Sandra, Ozzy! It will premiere in March.

Also in it are Aubry, JT, Zeke and Malcolm.