Sunday, September 06, 2009

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - 9/06/09

Time seems to go by so quickly -- another week gone in a flash. I remember when I was a child, time seemed to almost stand still. Nowadays, I blink my eyes and it's time to pay the rent once again. So, it's Sunday and time for my journey through the past week in words and photographs I've taken. If you're looking for the Big Brother news, use this BB blog link to get there. Otherwise, grab a cup of joe and settle in.

This week's weather here in Plainfield (NJ) was almost picture perfect for the first time since May. We had comfortable daytime highs, cool evenings, and not a one tremendous downpour. It reminded me of the weather in San Diego, but without the early morning fog. Low humidity and clear skies. I love it!

I started taking both of my halfway decent digital cameras with me (I also have a $15 one, but that one doesn't count) as I did my days. My Canon PowerShot A560 is technically a better camera -- 7.1 megapixels, a better zoom and all. But my first digital camera, my Pentax Optio 33L, with its lowly 3.2 megapixels, does much better macro shots and has cool filters the Canon doesn't. It was the Pentax which got me hooked on photography.

On the home front, I don't have much news. I worked, I did my Big Brother blog posts for here and TV Squad, I slept, I ate ... and then I did it all over again. On Tuesday in the early evening, I went to yet another meeting at City Hall regarding my landlord. While my building's elevator is fixed, there are other issues still outstanding. One thing I complained about was the main fire alarm for the building -- many of the sensors have been dismantled and I said it wasn't operating.

Okay, try to make a liar out me, eh? The day after I complained, there I was peacefully watching television when the building fire alarm sounded. And it went on and on. I called the landlord's number, got the answering service. Of course, I had checked for fire first! Finally, after nearly an hour of the loud alarm, I called the non-emergency number for the fire department. No, they didn't have a signal coming from our building. They sent their trucks over and the firemen turned off the alarm. The next night, the alarm sounded again at 12:30 AM. Again, the fire department didn't get the signal.

I stand by my statement that it doesn't work. The way it's supposed to work is an alarm going into the fire department. There are about 40 apartments in the building. If, heaven forbid, there's ever a real fire, we need the fire department response. Just because it makes a lot of noise now here in the building does not mean it's functioning properly. By the way, there was a faulty sensor head or something like that causing the alarm to sound -- no fire.

Enough of that. Onto the week in photos (clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window) --

Sitting in illustrator mode

I took this shot with the illustrator mode of the Pentax. Now, my Canon can't do this kind of shot. It was taken out the train window in Dunellen, NJ.

Uh-oh -- bigger and meaner

The fairly innocent carpenter bees on the flowers were replaced by bigger, nastier, and more evil-looking blacker carpenter bees. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe the initial ones I photographed were bumblebees. They seemed really small, though. These new bees are a good inch long. And, they're not thrilled with the paparazzi.

It's a sweater vest!

The new bees look like they're wearing fuzzy sweater vests with a big black circle on the back.

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

And the sign said everybody welcome, come in, kneel down and pray

But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all,
I didn't have a penny to pay, so I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign
I said thank you Lord for thinking about me, I'm alive and doing fine
-- "Signs" by The Five Man Electrical Band

The Friends Meeting House sign, Plainfield, NJ

Is it John, Paul, Ringo, or George?

All I know is that it's a beatle ... er, beetle. It was teeny and an iridescent blue in the sunlight. I took this shot with the Pentax -- the Canon would have blurred it. The beetle was only about an eighth of an inch long. Bridgewater, NJ.

I see dead people

While school started Wednesday in Plainfield, most of the other schools around the area aren't starting until after Labor Day. This lad slept each morning on the train this week. He wasn't dressed for school, nor did he seem to be going off to work. I don't know where he got on or where he got off. He could be a cipher. NJ Transit, Raritan Valley Line.

That rocks!

Er, those rocks. Just some landscaping rocks. But I like them. Bridgewater, NJ.

Plainfield YMCA in sepia

I took this shot from the Plainfield City Hall steps in the early evening on Tuesday.

More powerful than a speeding locomotive

Okay, it wasn't speeding. This is my train as it pulls into the NJ Transit Plainfield Train Station. I'm faced with too many decisions each trip as we're getting almost all double-deckers these days. On the single level train, I usually grabbed the same seat each trip. Now I have to decide upstairs, downstairs, main level ... ack!

Oh no, you din't!

Yes, Pete. I did. This is my dear train buddy Pete. He hasn't been taking the train lately since they dropped his station to the ... well, wherever dead train stations go. He only lives a few blocks away from me, but I haven't seen him in a while. It was like a reunion as he and I were both stuck at the station with a canceled train on Friday.

Roofus Weather

The weather this week is the kind which brings out a certain roof cat. North Street, Plainfield, NJ.

The Latina Jesus Ladies

I told you about them before. This is the Hispanic contingent of the Jesus Ladies of Downtown Plainfield. Armed with their Watchtowers, they're a bit like a street gang roaming about looking for converts.

Roofus finally faces the camera

I get few front-on shots of Roofus the cat. But, here's one! North Street, Plainfield, NJ

A steeple and an almost full moon

Now, I took this with the Canon. I should have stuck to the Pentax. It was taken early evening from the steps of Plainfield City Hall -- the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church steeple with the moon lighting the way. My goal with the shot is obvious. Alas, it didn't come out as good as I wanted. I blame the Canon.


RyzandShyn said...

I've had questions about fire alarm systems too in my past. I was trying to follow the chain-of-command, which became murky.
Is a building hard-wired directly to the fire department or does it go through an alarm company first?
If the fire department comes because the alarm is sounding in the building, but they didn't know until someone called, does the fire department report that? To whom...the owner, or the alarm company, or the city inspector?

One might think that this type of problem would have an immediate response and resolution, that it wouldn't be allowed to happen twice.

Roofus was finally ready for his close-up. No lady in the window, guess the cooler weather kept her inside.

Susan in FL said...

My son lives in a 5th floor walk up in Manhattan. Yesterday there was a fire. I don't know about the alarms, but I can speak to lack of fire escapes. His building used to have two apartments on each floor which spanned the building front to back. The fire escapes were on the front of the building. The landlord remodelled as the apartments were vacated splitting each apartment into two - front and rear. Rear apartments had no fire escapes. How could this be? Will my sons building be declared unlivable until the landlord installs fire escapes in the rear?

Jackie said...

RyzandShyn - I think it may work differently for different buildings. I know in the past if our alarm went off, my scanner would announce a "central station" alarm within a few minutes. Whether it came into their station or a company which calls them, I don't know. I do know that most of the fire sensors I see are still dismantled with the wires tied off with electrical tape. That can't be good.

Susan in FL - It's been many years since I lived in NY, but it seems to me that they should be like CT and NJ -- two exits required and, if not ground floor, a fire escape. In CT, my apartment got nailed by a city fire inspector. They had to build a separate exit with a deck, knocking a hole in my kitchen for a new door. I loved it as it gave me a deck for a lawn chair! I continued to live there through the renovations, but there never was a fire ... just an inspection turned up the problem.

In my apartment building here, each apartment from the second story up has a fire escape. I know there are all kinds of rules and regulations about them. The only time I used mine is when I let the folks upstairs crawl out my window because they locked their keys in their apartment and couldn't reach the landlord to let them in.

Anonymous said...

you tell pete he's looking real cute to the ladies out here in california LOL!!!
debbie in calif
p.s., all the pics were great!!

Jackie said...

Heh. That will go to his head. He's a real nice guy -- good husband (not mine), good father to one recent college grad and a young 'un. His father is a Newark cop now retired. His parents instilled some great qualities and Pete keeps it up with his children. He was one of the first train friends I made back when I started taking the train.

Anonymous said...


Your photographs are fabulous!! I am amazed at how charming they are.

Rebecca (a fellow Plainfield resident)

Bernice said...

I'm totally jealous of your photography skills! Are you going to enter this year's Plainfield Public Library photo contest?

Jackie said...

Yay, Plainfield people!

Rebecca - Would you be the bathrobe blogger? If so, great blog! If not, still pleased to have you here. Thank you for the kind words. Living in this area means there's always something to photograph!

Bernice - Yes, I plan to enter this year. My vacation is the week after this one and I'll be going through my digital photos which reflect seasons in Plainfield, getting some prints, etc. And, don't downplay your own photos -- I love 'em!

joy n said...

Ah, Roofus, enjoying a non-laborious weekend just like me.

Pics are wonderful as always, Jackie. Pete sounds like a great guy.

We've had the same comfortable weather here in upstate NY. Enjoying it immensely.

I'm sure you're already doing it, but I'd take notes about the dates and times of that defective alarm system and present them at the next city hall meeting.

I think that beetle looks like George.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Jackie--yes, I am the bathrobe blogger--thanks! Mutual admiration--I look forward to your BB postings--I can't escape this show!! I think that your beautiful photo of the kid sleeping on the train should be one of your entries--I am assuming the train was passing through Plainfield when you snapped that shot? Although the trees in the picture window are a bit blurry, to me they look like Plainfield trees (ask Plfd tree blogger!) in late summer--so, technically, it can qualify for one of the four seasons, right? Heh. Good luck with whatever you choose.


Dottie in NC said...

Jackie, I look forward to Sundays Off Topic/The Week That Was. Thanks for spoiling us with this weekly treat! I've wondered how you're doing physically with your knee and how you're doing emotionally with your grief over the untimely death of your beloved cat.

lynn1 said...

Jackie, great photos. I am glad to hear you will be entering some of your work in the library contest. I feel sure you will be chosen as a winner.

Jackie said...

Dottie - I woke up with what seems to be a summer cold today, but the knees are behaving. I hardly think of the replacement knee except for its odd occasional lurching forward. No pain at all. The other knee has been doing better in the warmer weather. How it will be once the cold sets in, I don't know. I'm having financial doubts about getting it replaced this winter.

As for psychological health, I'm probably always hovering borderline there. ;-)
Seriously, I'm okay. I miss my cat and I might have another companion by this time next week (if all goes well).

Sallly said...

Enjoyed the Sunday visit Jackie, especially the pictures of Roofus. Clever cat, to know when the roof was again cool enough to perch upon.

Lars said...

Love your photos, love seeing Roofus.

PDX Granny said...

Jackie, it was so nice to know I could come here today and know there's going to be some great pictures, and a glimps of your life in Plainfield.

I love your outlook and your pictures! Thanks for sharing!

Laurie said...

Love the Sunday photos, Jackie. Keep 'em coming. Rufus looks healthy and the bees are amazing. I've never seen any like that. Guess those fur coats would be too warm in California!

Sally said...

So glad to hear that you might have a new companion soon! I love it when cats find good homes, and I'm sure you're at the top of the chart in that respect.