Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Amazing Race Season Premiere Blog Party Post

Yes! It's almost here! Yep, you got it ... the premiere is delayed. Sigh. I think it's running about fifteen minutes late. So it should be starting at 8:15 PM ET ... or in that vicinity.

Zoetawny has made us a new blog logo and we have a two-hour season premiere tonight. As the show airs here on the East Coast, I'll update any major happenings in this entry. However, the real fun (and most of the information) will be in the comments. Everyone is welcome to join in.

The lovely Margo is running the blog pool and here is her latest update:

Swimming Suits are NOT optional

NO Running (suspended for TAR Pool)

NO Roughhousing

NO Horseplay

NO Name Calling (of fellow posters)
NO Swearing

NO Glass containers

NO Spitting

NO candy bars in the pool

NO public displays of affection in the pool

We are only here to have fun so everyone please PLAY NICE. Which ever team wins the Pool gets bragging rites until the next season starts.
The Teams are:

Meghan & Cheyne
- DKNYNC, ChicMc, Joanie
Maria & Tiffany
- Margo, Becky, Donna in FL
Marcy & Ronald
- Meb, Laurie, Monty924
Gary & Matt
- Delee, Lisanne, Brent McKee
Ericka & Brian - jennasmom, Caroline, Zoetawny
Eric & Lisa
- Lynn1, Jackie, Joe in NY
Lance & Keri
- Dusty, Donna in AL, Petals
Herbert & Nathaniel
- EileenM, Sizzie,
Garrett & Jessica
- Rbennie, Tessa,
Dan & Sam
- Sydney, PDXGranny
Zev & Justin
- Nana in NW, Karen in CA,
Mika & Canaan
- SueGee, ML

Good Luck to all participants.

They have to find a correct region Tokyo plate and the last team (who won't find a plate because there are only 11 of them) will be eliminated before the srart line. Right now it's down to (my team in the pool) Eric and Lisa and one other team.-- one of the dating couples, Lance and Keri. One won't make it

Welp, I'm out of the pool already and it hasn't even started. Eric and Lisa are gone.

First Pit Stop order:
1. Cheyne and Megan (won trip to Vail and Aspen
2. Zev and Justin
3. Lance and Keri
4. Marcy and Ron
5. Globetrotters
6. Brian and Ericka
7. Gary and Matt
8. Garrett and Jessica
9. Sam and Dan
10. Mika and Canaan

Maria and Tiffany are missing two of the folks they were leading and are in last place. Two-hour penalty - non-elimination leg, they're still in it. They will have to do a speed bump.

Pit Stop 2
1. Gary and Matt (each wins a kayak)
2. Globetrotters
3. Sam and Dan
4. Lance and Keri
5. Zev and Justin
6. Meghan and Cheyne
7. Tiffany and Maria
8. Mika and Canaan
9. Marcy and Ron
10. Brian and Ericka

Garrett and Jessica Philiminated

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was 9/27/09

It's Sunday morning, time to take an off topic look back at the week gone by in images and words. As I go about my day, I always have my camera with me. You never know when that Pulitzer moment might come up, right?

My week started off on a great note -- a walk downtown to the second day of the First Annual Central American Independence Festival (celebrating the independence of Central America from Mexico) in Plainfield (NJ). The day was gorgeous, the food was tasty, and the atmosphere of the crowd made me smile.

Then, with a return to work after my staycation, things went downhill. Monday morning I had that tickle in the back of my throat warning me a cold was coming. My allergies decided to kick in full force along with the Killer Cold. A lot of things had to get done at work -- things left for me while I was on vacation, a new trainee to train, and bizarre happenings. I went in before the dawn most mornings this week returning home twelve hours later. Blech. I ended up awake during the nights because of congestion. Woe is me!

That's why I was a bit quiet this week. I was a coughing, sniffling zombie. Last night and today I'm super-medicating -- Dayquil, Nightquil,cough drops, tissues, and an extended nap! After all, I have to be on my toes (or at least alert) for the two-hour season premiere of The Amazing Race!

On the home front, Vincent is doing well. He's playing a bit more and really enjoys sitting in the window. Wait until the leaves are off the tree and he can see the squirrels chase each other on the branches. He's going to love that. He's definitely a love-bug kind of cat. If he had his way, he'd be somehow attached to me at all times. I told him they haven't declared a "take your cat to work" day yet.

Due to an over abundance of work and an under abundance of good health this week, I really didn't do much other than work and sleep (with the exception of the festival last Sunday). However, something happened on the train that I know you guys will appreciate --

Thursday as I headed home from work I noticed there were many more women than usual getting on the train. My ride home goes to Newark, New York City. Usually I can tell what the crowds are heading towards the city in the evening -- Devils game people with their make-up, Giants, Jets, Yankees, Mets, Rangers ... you name it fans ... with their jerseys on, rock concert attendees. It's usually easy to figure out the crowds.

But every stop, more women. The ages ranged from late twenties to sixties. Women all over the train. A plethora of women. And, they were all going to Newark. Huh? What's up with that? Thankfully, it wasn't just me noticing the influx. The conductor finally asked the women seated across the aisle from me, "What's going on in Newark tonight?"

It was the So You Think You Can Dance tour. The male conductor was clueless. But I joined in on talk about the show with some of the influx. I could actually imagine some of them might be readers of the blog. But I didn't mention it. We talked about Evan and his brother, as well as this week's audition show.

Onto this week's photographs I've taken ... clicking on an image will open it larger in its own window.

El Primer Festival Centro Americano

Sunday in Plainfield, New Jersey. This was a lot of fun and I believe it had to be a huge success as far as events in the city. Great food, a live band, a mechanical bull, bouncy castles for the kids, beer for the adults, and goods of all kinds. This city has an ever-growing population of Hispanics from more countries than I can name. While at times I find the language a barrier to getting to know some of the folks, most I speak to or greet on the sidewalks are friendly and pleasant people.

Cowboy Boots Flourish in New Jersey

I swear I see more cowboy boots in town than I did when I lived in Southern California. Cowboy boots, cowboy hats, and those humongous shiny belt buckles. Plainfield, NJ. Who woulda thunk it? These boots were on sale at the festival. I made the background black and white to bring out the color in the boots.

The Smiles of Children

What a great day for the kids! I was surprised that more folks outside of the Latino culture didn't attend in droves. Black and Latino folks make up most of the population here. As a white middle-aged woman, I'm probably low on the demographics chart. Hey, I went and had a good time. You didn't have to be a Latino to enjoy the food and the day.

The Bull Claims a Victim

This mechanical bull was much more safe than ones I've seen in bars. It was mounted on and surrounded by a huge bouncy castle. I'm sure they adjusted its speed and bucking to mild for the kids. They all had a good time on it.

Laughing at Defeat

It doesn't matter that the bull threw him on his head.

Fantasy Furniture Warehouse

This was early in the day before the crowds arrived. This company doesn't exist anymore, nor has it been around since I've been in the area. But, apparently once it was "as seen on TV."

The Corn Man

Mmm ... roasted corn. I bought some of that and pollo on a stick. Er, chicken on a stick.

Food, Food, Glorious Food

Thankfully my cold hadn't kicked in and I could still taste food on Sunday. The rest of the week it was all cardboard to me.


Why don't we date our buildings these days? Are we thinking planned obsolescence? Do we think they won't last into the next century? This is a building on East Front Street in Plainfield.

We Should Do This More Often, Too

Where have all the gargoyles gone? I like ornate doohickeys on buildings. When did they stop doing that? I want them back! Another East Front Street building in Plainfield.

In a crosswalk, but no markings

They painted the curbs yellow, but this intersection at Roosevelt and East Front in Plainfield has absolutely NO markings for the crosswalk. Thankfully there is a traffic light there. I cannot fathom why painting the curbs was important but the crosswalks are ignored.

Gone to Seed

Nature's beauty in a weed. Achoo.

Honeybee on Spotted Knapweed

I've seen more honeybees this week than I have all summer. I had to look up the plant. Spotted knapweed, it's all over the place and it's an "invasive" plant which is taking over the terrain. For me, this was my shot of the week. That bee is probably less than a half-inch long and he came out looking fine and detailed. That is, if I do say so myself.

I Can't Do This

I can never sleep in public places. I just can't. But so many do it on the train. It's their own fault they end up in blogs like this. NJ Transit train, Raritan Valley Line.

Sunrise Through the Trees

This is the Plainfield Train Station just as the sun was rising.

Man Versus Nature

A flower struggles to escape its fence on East Second Street in Plainfield.

Sunrise on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield

As I approached the train station one morning.

No Bicycles on Sidewalk

As a pedestrian, I'm really getting irked at all the adult men riding bicycles on the sidewalks in Plainfield. Not women, not even children (the kids on sidewalks are more understandable) ... I'm talking the men who use bikes as their means of transport. They are supposed to follow the same rules of the road (and be ON the road) as cars. They don't belong on the sidewalk. Well, unless they're parked, of course.

Vincent in Black and White

A white with a touch of grey cat in black and white. Yeah, we had a photo session.

You Are SO Not Putting That on the Blog

Well, I did.

Really Settled In

I can't imagine what this cat has gone through which left him a stray on the streets of New York City. His nightmares are behind him and he seems to be very contented and comfortable here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Survivor: Samoa Episode 2 Blog Party Post - 9/24

The show is about to begin here on the East Coast. As it airs, I'll update this post with any major happenings. However, the real action is in the comments section! Please feel free to join in with your thoughts while having fun with friends. Late tonight my show review will be posted on TV Squad.

Ack. Evil Russell went looking for a hidden idol just in case there was one ... and found it. He's allied with Jaison.

Galu won immunity and fishing gear. Ben (Foa Foa) was kicked out of the challenge for cheap shots. Good Russell chose Yasmin to visit camp.

Mike was removed from the game due to dangerously low blood pressure after the challenge.

Evil Russ's target Betsy was voted out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Amazing Race 15 - Meet the Cast - Part 3

I asked Vincent if he'd do The Amazing Race with me. Sure, he wants me to do all of the tasks and carry him around, too. He offered to flirt with the girls and eat in any fish or mice meal roadblocks. I guess I'm not going on the show.

This is the final installment taking a gander at the teams we see this Sunday night. If you missed the first two parts, you can get to them easily by clicking on the TAR blog tag at the bottom of this post. Margo should be coming along with pool information and we're just about all set to go!

I don't know. I was a Connecticut resident for many years. I don't think I can get used to a guy named after a small town there. Perhaps that's not why the name is, but it is for me. In their bio, they sound like nice kids -- dating for two months and so deeply in love. But then, she cries and breaks down under pressure. So, why did they go on the most high pressure, high adrenalin race around the world you can do? Hmmm.

Sam and Dan look older than they really are. They're kids, too! Although they're brothers and both gay, they claim to be polar opposites. What's up with the "polar opposites" this season? This is the third pair claiming to be such. They seem smart enough, in good physical shape, but I question how worldly they might be and whether that may hold them back.

Now, this is an interesting team. I haven't read National Lampoon in decades. But just seeing Justin's job, I have the give him a tip of the hat. That is, if I were to wear a hat. And Zev has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism. (That's what Goren is supposed to have on Law and Order: Criminal Intent.) I'm looking forward to watching this team. I believe I'd be very happy if they do well.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dancing With the Stars Blog Discussion Post - Fall 2009

Yes, it's a new season of Dancing With the Stars! This is YOUR place for discussion about the show with friends. Grab your comfy chair, bring snacks and beverages ... and, most of all ... have a good time. Oh -- there is a dance floor over there if you want to practice your moves, too.

The show's official website is here, but the real action is right here in comments!

The Amazing Race 15 - Meet the Cast - Part 2

Welcome to the second installment taking a look at the new season's cast on The Amazing Race! The season premiere is this coming Sunday at 8 PM ET/PT (when sports permit on the East Coast -- grr -- wins an Emmy every year and is on the most delayed night of the week).

If you missed the first five teams, you can use the blog tag for the show located at the bottom of this post to bring up all the posts for TAR. Please, if you want to be in the blog pool and weren't on Margo's list in the last post, post a comment here stating you want to join. Other than bragging rights if your team wins. Teams are assigned randomly.

Married for 18 years, so they're not testing their relationship, good. But that want to "solidify their marriage which they consider a blessing." They like to help people. Vegans. Oh, that might cause a problem with the cultural food task we see each season. Oh, they sound all new wave and enlightened, My jury is out on them.

Sure, the first interracial couple on the show includes a Miss America winner. That's typical, eh? They sound like very nice people. I hope they don't go all new wave on us! They've been married for two years, yet they are not "testing their relationship." However, they want t prove love is colorblind. Um, okay. I think it's several decades late on that stance, but whatever floats their boat.

Both are residents of California, yet they met in Barcelona. They've been dating on and off for seven years with three major break-ups. Uh-oh. I sense a brouhaha! They're both well-traveled and seem athletic. She's climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Wow. But if they can't work together as a team, they aren't going to make it to the end.

Father and son still trying to work out the kinks. While Brian and Ericka claim to be polar opposites, these two could probably teach them a lesson. It sounds very generational, though. They claim to have the same approach to settling problems which is something which can only help them on the race. They're not looking to mend fences or anything like that. They want to run the race together. Hmmm ... maybe a good team here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Discussion Post

I know I promised the next installment of the TAR cast. I'll be getting to that tomorrow after work. I thought I'd put up an open discussion post for the Emmy Awards tonight as many of you are sure to be watching. I really enjoy Neil Patrick Harris and I'm rooting for a Jim Parsons win! How about you? I won't be updating this post with each and every win, but invite everyone to comment on the awards show!

Sniffle. Jim Parsons didn't win. Alec Baldwin won. Argh.

Jeff Probst won for the best reality show host!

The Amazing Race won AGAIN for best reality competition show. Woohoo!

Michael Emerson won for LOST. He does do the best Ben since the rat.

30 Rock won for best comedy, Mad Men for best drama.

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was 9/20/09

It's Sunday morning and that means it's time to take a look back at my week in words and photos. I was on a staycation this week -- a vacation during which I just relaxed and basically stayed home. Thus, I really didn't get too many tremendous awe-inspiring shots.

My week was spent pretty much with a cat, my new best pal Vincent. I think he's still adjusting to a safe life after living on the streets of New York City and in the shelter. When I first brought him home, he was very leery of a three-foot tall skinny wooden painted cat next to a bookcase.

He still alerts when he hears noises in the hallway. A dog barked in the hallway and he looked outright startled. I can't imagine how he felt at NYC Animal Care and Control with all those dogs barking 24/7.

But mainly, Vincent sleeps. He loves to sleep ... usually on me or next to me. I feel a bit guilty right now because I wouldn't let him on my lap as I write this up. He's a dear, but he is going to have to get used to the fact that he can't be on me all the time! Then he purrs and looks at me, then on my lap again. However, I return to work tomorrow and he will have to be alone. I think he'll be fine. He'll sleep and save up his purrs for the evening.

Vincent is very well-behaved. Although he can jump, he doesn't get on the kitchen counters or in the trash. He doesn't scratch the furniture and only uses his sisal cat scratch pad for that. He doesn't meow, although I know he can. The night I got him home, he jumped in the carrier and let out a loud meow as if to say "Put this away! I'm HOME now!"

The NYC AC&C gave me a bag of Science Diet cat food telling me it's what he's been eating. Well, that's because that's what they were giving him! I decided to open one of the cans of food I had bought in preparation for him and he went crazy for it! Why, he all but meowed! He does make the chirping sounds that cats tend to make.

I believe I made a good choice with Vincent. He seems thrilled to be in a safe home and has definitely decided he idolizes me. I know the relationship will grow. He is certainly a lovebug kind of cat. Onto my week ... clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window.

Track Five 5 Five

I took this shot last Saturday at Newark Penn Station while waiting with Vincent to get our transfer train home. One of these days I'm going to have to walk around Newark Penn. These days it's a lot more historical and cool-looking than New York Penn. When I was a child, New York Penn Station was supremely cool. Then they tore it down and gave us a cheap substitute.

Who's that cat?

Why, it's Vincent and he's sleeping! I really love that touch of a gray toupee that he wears.

City Hall Flowers

I took a walk downtown and noticed these flowers growing in planters outside of the Plainfield (NJ) City Hall building. Naturally, they became photo fodder.

Eek! Deadly nightshade coming out of the sewers!

Yes, the deadly nightshade has taken root in this sewer. I love the colors of the plant and know it's not all that deadly. Perhaps ill-advised, but it would take a lot to kill.

Look! Vincent is sleeping!

I tell you, he's doing a lot of that. He gets sleeping really soundly, too. I believe that will wear off after a while. Seeing him at home makes me think he had a really rough time of it on the streets and in the shelter.

Farmer's Market in Plainfield

I deliberately made a trip downtown for this as I'm always scheduled to work the days they're in Plainfield (and all the other local farmers markets in nearby towns, too). Wednesday and Sunday. Why can't the farmer's markets be set up for my days off? Wednesday isn't a bad day ... why not? Why Monday and Thursday while I'm at work? This is the Stillwell Farms of Robbinsville -- great NJ fruits and vegetables!

Mmm, mmm, good

I bought some peppers, strawberries, green grapes, and potatoes while there.

Plainfield City Hall

"Erected by the people to inspire zeal for the common welfare and dedicated by them to the cause of just and capable government." Um, okay. Seems to be a lot of brouhahas about the local government these days. The mayoral race should be interesting. BTW -- Mayoral candidate Jim Pivnichny commented on my photos last week. I'm not sure about my vote yet, but I have to say he's out and about really trying to get involved. That's a good thing.

Latino Heat and Flash Tattooing Car

Watchung Avenue in Plainfield. I think the Flash Tattooing car had to be painted by the Custom Underground folks -- both businesses are just around the corner. The Latino Heat bar used to be the Rusty Nail, if memory serves. I haven't been in it in either name. Thinking about it, I've lived here for about eight years and never have been in a bar in town. I have indeed been in the Plainfield Donut Shop, though. Maria rules and she'll see me at 6:20 tomorrow morning!

Please get that camera out of my face

This is as much as I'm going to open my eyes for your camera. Quit it. I'm sleepy.

I SAID ...

Darned paparazzi!

Mi Bodega

While I don't frequent the local bars, I do frequent the closest bodega. They tout it as a supermarket and, while they're really nice folks, it's not really a supermarket. The frozen foods are mainly ice cream and ices related. They have bananas, onions, and potatoes for produce. They do have a selection of fresh meats and deli items. Canned goods, soda, milk, juice, bread, cigarettes, and newspapers, as well as deli sandwiches, seem to be the real meat of the store.

Look! I'm an EAGLE! Master of my domain!

King of all he sees, a pigeon perches on a chimney at the corner of Berckman and East Second in Plainfield.

Rest in peace: Patrick Swayze, Mary Travers, and Henry Gibson. I feel some of my childhood (with the latter two) has been taken away.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Amazing Race 15 - Meet the Cast - Part 1

Well, Phil is excited about the season ahead ... strongest cast ever? Hmmm. Let's check them out!

Aw, met in elementary school, almost inseparable for the past five years. At least they're not "testing" their relationship. I hate that with dating couples on TAR. They both seem athletic and are into sports. She doesn't like that he tries to quell disagreements with humor rather than seriously talking things through. But they're head over heels in love. Who wants to bet one or both of them call each other "babe"?

Oh, no ... a ho on the show? I'm sorry. I couldn't resist. What's with these professional poker player careers going on these days? I don't recall that being a career option during my school days! That said, I think I like these two. They're smart, Maria speaks Mandarin Chinese if they travel out that way, they're both well-traveled. And, more importantly, they have spunk. Even Lou Grant would call that a good quality for the show.

Marcy and Ron want to prove that 60 can be sexy and energetic. These two met on an online dating site and have been dating a year. Uh-oh, they want the race to strengthen their relationship and identify potential areas of conflict. Now, that doesn't sit well with me -- the pressure of the race is nothing like anything they will encounter down the relationship road. They're both into athletic activities. I'd like to see sexy 60 do well.

Dating for over two years, Lance proposed to Keri last winter. Argh -- they use the words "test their relationship" in the bio. I told you before, I don't want to hear those words. I'd rather someone say, "Let's see if we don't kill each other in a foreign country." Putting that aside, Lance is said to have an
"├╝ber-aggressive personality and is admittedly confrontational." I say brouhahas.

Keep in mind that the short guy is 6'3". The sheer size of these guys might work against them in some flights, detours, and roadblocks. I always have a bit of a soft spot for the work of the Harlem Globetrotters. I think I'd like to see them do well. I leave now humming "Sweet Georgia Brown."

The rest of the cast will be up before long. However, it is inadvisable for you to sit holding your breath. I'm thinking along the lines of another entry tomorrow, then one midweek to finish it up. I don't want to be responsible for any breath-holding until Wednesday!