Sunday, August 16, 2009

OFF TOPIC: That Was the Week It Was 8/16/09

It's that time of the week again ... a look at the week behind me in words and photographs. If you're looking for the latest Big Brother news, hit the Big Brother blog tag and you'll be there.

"By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong ..." - Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. "The New York State Thruway is CLOSED, man!" Ah, the memories! No, I didn't go. My mother forbid me to do so even though I bought a ticket with my babysitting money. We lived about 90 minutes north of Bethel, NY at the time. My mother told me there would be too many drugs and things going on. Gee, y'think? On reflection, I wouldn't let an almost 14-year-old girl go to Woodstock either.

It's hard to believe that was forty years ago ... as were the Manson killings. I did manage to go to Watkins Glen a few years later and, while cool, it was no Woodstock. But I was in college by then. Life was different with free rein.

To this week -- bleh. It's been humid all week here, my cat adoption fell through (although some angles are still being worked on), the bank has foreclosed on my apartment building, and my landlord has declared bankruptcy. Life as usual, huh? Actually, while I prefer the landlord being bankrupt rather than me being bankrupt, I'm not sure what's going to happen.

I've never owed anyone over 40 million dollars. That, of course, is a good thing. As David Letterman would say, "I wouldn't give anyone his problems for a monkey on a rock." As long as a roof is over my head, I'll be fine. We're talking thousands of tenants in the major bankruptcy, plus his bankruptcy actions elsewhere. They can't kick us all out and a new landlord could only be an improvement. My water, trash pick-up, and heat (come winter) just better all stay on. Those are included in the rent.

As for my photography this week, I had nothing really great on an artsy perspective. So, these are more or less, a slice of life here in New Jersey ... clicking on any of the images will open them larger in a new window.

Yeah, it's the (probably) carpenter bees again.

Well ... they're there. I can't resist trying to shoot them. I just wish they'd pose!

While pretty, this can't be healthy for the building structure.

Can it? Doesn't that ivy eat into the brick? I don't know. Plainfield, NJ

Parking Wars Plainfield Style

Unlike the Philadephia Parking Authority folks featured on A&E's Parking Wars, the Plainfield Parking Bureau is just a tad more laidback. At least, in appearance, they are. I always see 'em out there issuing the tickets, though.

NJ Transit, the Way to Go

That's their logo, anyway. I caught the double-decker (also known as fancy-shmancy) commuter train and the bus working their way through the rush hour in downtown Plainfield, NJ.

Jesus Ladies on a Mission

They're really Jehovah's Witnesses spreading the word. I call 'em The Jesus Ladies. They're out pounding the sidewalks everyday in their sensible shoes. There are two contingents in force here -- the Black Jesus Ladies and the Latina Jesus Ladies. I do my best to avoid both groups. If I haven't made my own mind up about religion by this time in life, I don't need to be brainwashed. I don't mean to demean anyone's religion -- I just think that everyone should be free to follow their own faith without people bugging them on the streets or at home. Plainfield, NJ.

The Morning Commute

A cup of coffee and either the free Metro or AMNewYork on the train to work. Both papers are free, but I have no clue when or how they infiltrate the trains. I'd rather they infiltrate my life than the Jesus Ladies. In reference to this particular issue: I'll be able to watch Mad Men once again now that I once again have AMC on my cable due to going digital and I did not win that big Lotto. I'll spend two bucks again this week. You never know. But I will never be one of those fools who invest money in Lotto day after day.

You have to have a lot of gall to live on poison ivy.

Yep, they're called poison ivy gall mites. They're microscopic and what's visible is the plant's reaction to them. Have I mentioned how much I love the Internet? I wish all of this knowledge had been available to me so easily during my school days. I don't know something and I want to learn about it? I have not only the world, but the universe right here in my home! I remember when I was about 20 I wanted to be a professional student for life. Well, I am. But it's just not a paying profession.

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's product placement!

Usually these blimps are for MetLife or Saturn cars. I've never been in a blimp. Have you? (Disclaimer: I'm NOT endorsing DirectTV. I don't have DirectTV. Gee, if they want to give me free DirectTV, I'd glady endorse them. I'd even speak kindly of Comcast if they weren't charging me an arm and a leg for basic *now digital* cable.)

Where is the Plainfield Parking Bureau now?

This is just laziness. It's late enough that there are tons of spaces in the parking lot at the Plainfield Train Station. Behind the NJ Transit Police vehicle are street bums drinking their beers. Where's the cop? Oh, he's up on the Newark/NYC platform yawning and looking bored. And he's parked crooked taking up two handicapped spots. True, no one is using the others. But he should be setting the example, shouldn't he?

Mr. Toady

I found a toad near the Bridgewater (NJ) Train Station. I suppose it could be a frog, but I don't think so. There's no body of water in easy hopping distance. Hmm ... maybe one of those tree frogs? I'm just not sure. All I know is that he was tiny (perhaps 3/4 inch) and didn't like to stay still.


sizzie said...

Jackie, I love the off topic and your reports on your week. I, too, am choosing to see that the bankrupt landlord situation will come out in your favor. Really, there is strength in numbers and someone who has money will want all those rents that will be collected.

If I lived in your part of the world, I would not have a car. I only have a car now because it is necessary. We only recently got public transit in our town and it doesn't go where I go.

I didn't go to Woodstock but knew it was going on. I was old enough the mud and dirt and lack of parking in the news photos turned me off, but young enough I wished I had gone.

Our TV went digital without our noticing too much. You mentioned you had a police scanner. So do we and had to go digital with it. I have it working, but it took some research and lots of visits to experts to make it happen. What about yours?

Becky said...

Jackie, I too love your off topic week coverage. Are there many vacant apartments in your building? If it is 80-90% full, someone will snatch it up to get the income.

You might check NOW to see what your rights as an apartment renter are, I think the law protects you. If what you find out is good, type it up, run it off and tape it to the doors of your apartment tenants.

I am sure that someone more knowledgable than me can direct you who to contact.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programing.... err, blog.

Jackie said...

Thanks, Sizzie. I don't regret giving up my car about three (or four) years ago. But this is the only location I've ever lived where I can do without one. Between the NJ Transit trains and buses, I can get just about anywhere I want to go.

There's a large quite interestingly ethnic (Hispanic, Jamaican, Indian, etc.) supermarket a few blocks away with great produce and reasonable prices. The bus home from Trader Joe's and Stop and Shop (supermarket) stops across the street from my apartment while my monthly train pass pays for the bus ride. There are produce stores, a fish market, great butcher shops all in my range. Plus, anything can be delivered around here from Chinese food to groceries to prescriptions.

Living carless in one of the most expensive states in which to maintain a car on the road has saved me a lot of money. And, it's so much better for my health to be out and about walking.

In regard to the digital TV change, I don't mean that. I didn't get one of those government converter deal doohickies. My Comcast cable went digital itself nothing to do with the digital changeover. If I didn't get and hook up their digital thingees, I'd eventually lose most of the stations. By doing it, I'm paying a dollar more a month but getting stations I never had before or ones I lost last year (like AMC).

My scanner ... sigh. It's been on the fritz. I think something is wrong with the antenna. It picks up fire calls fine, but I have to have the squelch turned up (annoying) to get police calls. They're not digital -- it's just my 20+ years old scanner acting up. Purchasing a new one is on my "when I can afford" list. I enjoy hearing the action and I miss it only fighting squelch when I hear a lot of sirens.

~~Silk said...

I have a sign on my front door, covering things like what to do with packages and so on. I wrote and posted it when my late husband was ill, and people unnecessarily ringing the bell could disturb him. It worked, and I still have a version of it up. The last paragraph is:

"Religious Folks:

We are sure you are nice people doing what you think best, but we are strong in our beliefs, and resent your implication that our religion is not good enough. Please do not disturb."

It works.

Delee said...

I agree about the internet opening our world and I have people who have computers call me and ask me to research things for them (older peeps). Also my Mom's friend does not have a puter so I look up things for her. Now this is my gripe why is education in such a state when there are puters in school-home- on cell phones? What are these kids doing that the education system is so rotten? They have the world at their finger tips yet education stinks. Not for all, but many.

Jackie, I hope all works out for your apt problems. I agree with Becky that you and fellow apt-mates need to be informed on what your rights are and now. Not wait for someone to knock on your door and say adios. Seems you have everything you need within a short distance and that needs to be maintained.

Off-topic ends or starts my week...keep pics and commentary coming. We need a break from the BB drama...

RyzandShyn said...

I was 15 that summer. We were at a family gathering in Pound Ridge, NY. A bunch of my older cousins and some of their friends were all going to Woodstock together. They all must have been 17-20 years old back then. They asked my parents if I could stay and go with them. My first real concert, lots of hippies, that's all I remember thinking. My parents shot it down. Over the next few days, I read the newspaper accounts, watched tv coverage, and listened on my transister. I was so glad I wasn't there and I was scared for my cousins. It was the first time I really remember being made aware of the drugs, death, and sex that went with the peace and love.
(but...I also had no idea what a hickey was until 11th grade..I used to laugh about them with everyone else but had no idea what they were talking about and didn't want to go figure)

Susan in FL said...

By August of 69, I had been married six years and had two small (a four and a five year old) children. No Woodstock for me! A few years ago on one of our many trips from Florida to Indiana and back, we noticed small signs with arrows along interstate 24 in Tennessee about Bonaroo. We had no idea what it was. Now there are billboards along the interstate about Bonaroo and I finally looked it up on the web - it was just another Woodstock style outdoor music thingy.

Laurie said...

Jackie, it's always nice to read about your week and enjoy the pictures.

No, I can't imagine being that far in debt, either. From what you've said, your landlord is a man without a conscience. You know, the kind of guy who keeps doing what he does and not thinking about anything but right now. I hope the impact on you turns out to be a good one.

Woodstock wasn't that big a deal in the part of CA where I lived then. It was a big deal once it happened but not before. I honestly don't think I had a single friend or relative who gave a thought to going. Of course, many probably talk about it as though they were there.

Cars are a necessity here is San Diego. We are getting better with mass transit into the city but nothing is available for local travel unless you want to take an hour to get to something six miles away.

Hope this new week brings you much joy and good photo ops.

Anonymous said...

Jackie, sorry to hear about the cat situation. What happened that it fell though? Good luck with everything. I love your BB blog!

joy n said...
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joy n said...
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~~Silk said...

In 1969 I was four years out of college, living about an hour east of Bethel, and learning how to be a corporate clone. I was completely unaware that the Woodstock concert was going on until I went to a party Friday night, and other clones were taking about the incredible traffic that had shut down all roads within 10 miles of the farm. We all thought they were all nuts.

Yesterday The Bethel Woods concert center, built on the original site, had the 40th anniversary concert, starring the "Heros of Woodstock" (well, those still alive and performing), including Levon Helm Band, Jefferson Starship, Ten Years After, Canned Heat, Big Brother and the Holding Company (Snork! See? On topic!),
Mountain, Tom Constanten, and Country Joe McDonald. I had a ticket, but after finding out what the traffic, lines, and crowds were likely to be, I didn't go. Still the corporate clone, I guess. I saw some of the photos from the rest of the group (whom I expected I'd never find once there), and I had to laugh. Yes, it was very crowded, but very different from 1969. The entire field was full of paunches in folding chairs.

WV="pestipex". Wow! Describes Jess/Nat!

Donna in FL said...

Hey Jackie ! Enjoyed your off topic post.Hope all goes well for you regarding the apartment.
I was at Watkins Glen too...Maybe we saw each other and didn't even know it...I was a big " Deadhead" and liked the other bands playing as well. I went with some highschool friends and remember that it was a bit overwhelming and more than I could handle. Too many people and we left early.
As always your photos are fabulous!!!

lynn1 said...

I just have to share my Jesus ladies experience with you and the rest of my blog pals.
I was living in a small village just outside Stuttgart,Germany. One day when the doorbell rang I opened the door to find a lady and man carrying copies of the Watchtower in German. Luckily for me the couple did not speak English and I pretended to not understand what they saying.
Son of a gun the next day another lady and man show up with the English version of the Watchtower and both speaking the King's English! LOL

Nana from the NW said...

Yes, our weekly fix of life in Jackie's world. I look forward to your comments and pics every Sunday....Thanks!

Sally said...

You must have a good field of vision, Jackie, to spot the interesting picture possibilities in the air, on the ground, and at eye level. Don't know how you spotted that cute little frog, in his camo suit. I really like the casual attire and stance of the parking meter guy. Hope the angles you're pursuing regarding a cat adoption are successful.