Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Amazing Race - 11/29/09 Episode Blog Party Post

I think the show is delayed slightly here -- I wasn't watching 60 Minutes, so I'm not sure.

As it 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. My actual show review will be posted over on TV Squad sometime late tonight.

Okay, 8:04 PM ET and we're starting.

Brian and Ericka got through their (easy) speed bump and passed out the slowest team (Globetrotters) at a roadblock. The Globetrotters chose to take a four-hour penalty in lieu of completing the roadblock. Big Easy couldn't unscramble five letters to spell "Franz."

Pit Stop
1. Megan and Cheyne - each won a 52" TV
2. Sam and Dan
3. Brian and Ericka

Instead of doing the next task, the Globetrotters were sent to the Pit Stop where they got Philiminated.

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was 11/29/09

It's Sunday morning. I hope you're having a pleasant and peaceful one. Of course, since it is Sunday, it's time for my off topic look back on the week past in words and photographs I've taken. On the whole, my week was a bit uneventful -- a shortened work week yet the time off from my day job ended up being consumed by a writing project. The weather here this week ranged from raw and rainy to high wind warnings. Today looks like it will be nice, but the temperature is 32 out there as I get this written.

I worked on Friday, thus didn't take part in any of the madness known as Black Friday shopping. I'm more of the type who will deal with the crowds on Cyber Monday. Virtual crowds are much less intimidating. I've never shopped on Black Friday. It wasn't a family tradition (we always went to visit our cousins that day) and I don't have a crowd of people to buy gifts for, nor any high ticket purchases planned. Did you shop on Friday?

Vincent and I had a nice quiet Thanksgiving day. We lazed about. I played my old Arlo Guthrie vinyl with "Alice's Restaurant" on it and, taking a break from writing, watched my DVD of Pieces of April. Both are holiday-themed. The Guthrie tune goes back to my teens when my brothers and I would play it and life was just a bit wilder. I cooked myself up a nice little feast and enjoyed the day. I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving.

Without further ado, it's onto the photos I've taken this week. Clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window.


I'm thankful he's in my life. I still miss Scherzo. But he's SO different from any cat ever in my life before. From the shoulder napping to ripping apart cardboard with his teeth like a caveman chowing down, he's a nut. He's also the best cat I've ever had with the camera. Scherzo used to close her eyes tight even when I wasn't using the flash. Teaser was good. But Vincent goes right into the modeling daze. I'm sure Vincent thanks all of his aunts out there. He seems very happy.

Look! The spaceships!

Last week I had a shot of the parking lot lights you see in the background here. This is as I walk to the Bridgewater Train Station (NJ) to get my ride home.

Urban Christmas

A lighted Christmas tree peeks out the window of an otherwise darkened apartment building pre-dawn. This is on North Avenue in Plainfield, NJ.

Mi Ranchito II

I edited this one for the mix of black and white and color. I only wish they had the gate on the left all the way up. This restaurant does a good business from pre-dawn into the evening.

Too Much Turkey!

Er, he did have some turkey cat food in honor of the day. Vincent sleeps on his back a lot. Knowing cats as I do, that's a sign that he feels safe by leaving his tummy vulnerable.

Does that star-spangled banner yet wave?

Why, yes it does. And now they seem to have sprouted flags amongst the holiday decorations up and down the length of the business district on East Front Street in Plainfield. This is pre-dawn, not evening.

Neon Rainbow

"The city lights, the pretty lights. They can warm the coldest nights." - 'Neon Rainbow' by the Boxtops. Well, again this is really pre-dawn. But the colors of the neon signs made me think of the song.

Best Donuts on Earth

I've been a regular customer of the Plainfield Donut Shop for several years now. They're also a luncheonette, but I'm a morning customer not usually wandering around for the lunch rush. Owned by Greek-American proprietors, Maria and Tom, the service is top-rate and friendly, the donuts are super-fresh, and the prices are very reasonable. I brought a dozen donuts to work on Friday and folks loved 'em!

Often there's a line right out the door during the morning rush. Yet Maria, almost an Energizer bunny, keeps things moving and the wait is never long. The breakfasts are also tasty, filling, and not too hard on the wallet. There is an ambiance with the morning regulars and staff which make it the Cheers of the donut world.

Bikes at Night

Some folks ride their bikes to the Plainfield Train Station. If they're taking off-peak trains (not in or out of NYC at rush hours), they can bring the bikes on the trains. However, rush hour trains are just too crowded for that practice.

East Side

Heh, the next Plainfield Library Photo Contest theme is "East Side, West Side, All Around the Town." I was on the east side (East Front Street) and noticed this "East Side" scrawled into the dirt on the hood of a U-Haul truck which is for sale. I did not scrawl it it. I don't want dirty fingers! Now, if they ever want to sell the truck, they really should wash it, don't you think? And, no ... it's not going to be one of my entries next year.


This sign is in the window of Pete's Fish Market on East Second Street in Plainfield, another business I frequent on and off. Fresh fish, reasonable prices. But what I'm wondering about is the "live eels" on the sign. Huh? Are live eels a holiday fare? What do you do with them? Raise them as pets? Throw them at guests you want to leave and yell, "Snake!"?

Threatening skies at sunset ... through chainlink

Another man vs. nature kind of thing. This photo didn't quite turn out the way I wanted it to, yet I wanted to share. Bridgewater, NJ.

Fashion Statement

Oh yes, I definitely messed with editing this shot. I left the one guy in color while everything else is black and white. I also played a bit with the black and white to make it a bit grainy. The result is that it looks like the fashion plate (ahem) dude is walking by a poster or something. Well, at least to me, it does. North Street, Plainfield, NJ.

Plainfield Main Train Station at Night

The station itself is only open from about five in the morning until noon. I rarely go inside and usually get my monthly train pass from the machines on the platform. My monthly train pass also allows me to ride the buses for a certain amount of zones. All in all, it's a bargain when you consider the cost of owning, maintaining, and paying insurance on a car in New Jersey. Plus, since becoming a pedestrian walking around with digital cameras, I've found photo opportunities around every corner in addition to the train friends, business owner friends, and just plain old pleasant commutes not dealing with NJ traffic.

Only 10 MNUTES!

Misspelled signs are always a favorite of mine. One of these days I'll have to go up Somerset Street in North Plainfield to see if the chicken place still has a sign which reads "foul." As a person who used to handpaint signs back in the 70s for extra cash, misspelling a word on a sign was one of my biggest fears. Nowadays, computers have taken over the business.

Fast Firetruck

This is at the corner of Watchung Avenue and East Fourth Street in Plainfield. It was Monday night after I got out of work. Something was happening. I saw at least four fire engines and two low-flying helicopters. Yet there was nothing on the news or in the papers. I dunno.

Thanksgiving Eve

It was rainy, misty, and drizzling in the start of the business district on Wednesday. While I'm not all that keen on rain if I'm out in it, I love the reflections it makes for photos. East Front Street in Plainfield.

Looking the Other Way

I think this is my photo of the week. I like the way it turned out -- almost like a painting when you enlarge it. East Front Street in Plainfield.

EEK! Vincent's EYES!

No, Vincent doesn't have two different-colored eyes. That is indeed a gene-induced thing in white cats, as is deafness. But he's not really a white cat as he has the gray on his head and tail. And, his eyes are green. This is the reflection of his pupils with the flash. I didn't edit the colors at all.

How was your week?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Survivor Samoa - Thanksgiving Day Episode Blog Party Post

The show is beginning here on the East Coast. Tonight's show is the clips show with "exciting unseen before footage." You know how that goes. Any real action here will be in the comments section! Please feel free to join in with your thoughts while having fun with friends. Late tonight (or early tomorrow) my show review will be posted on TV Squad.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Zoetawny made us this fine holiday graphic and, of course, I'm so thankful that she takes the time to do these for us. (She rocks, y'know!)

I'm thankful for many things, but this blog community just might top the list. The regular readers/commenters are spread across the country. But we've become friends just as much as if we lived around the corner from each other. I want to thank everyone who gathers here for your friendship and kindnesses. You all rock!

I'll be spending a large portion of the day trying to get caught up with that AOL bios writing project so that I finish it before the deadline (12/15). I'll take the time to have a mini-feast, of course. Over on TV Squad, there is an article I wrote up with things I'm thankful for as they regard to television. I think one of the main things I'me grateful for relating to television is that it's the reason behind the blog and all of the resulting friendships with great folks! Bless you!

Uh-oh. I just heard something on the television about kids in a school going around kicking red-headed children and it got out of hand. Gee, sounds like my school days!

Seize the day!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Amazing Race - 11/22/09 Episode Blog Party Post

Surprise, surprise ... the show has been delayed by football here in the NYC viewing area. 60 Minutes started about 30 minutes late, so we can expect TAR at about 8:30-ish PM ET.

As it 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. My actual show review will be posted over on
TV Squad sometime late tonight.

Pit Stop Order
1. Megan and Cheyne - trip to Hawaii
2. Sam and Dan
3. Flight Time and Big Easy
4. Brian and Ericka -- Non-Philimination, so they're still in it!

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - 11/22/09

It's Sunday morning and time to take an off topic look back at my week in words and photographs I've taken. It's hard to believe that we're coming up on Thanksgiving this week. The next thing you know, it will be Christmas. Remember how the time used to drag when we were young? I recall it was an eternity waiting for the holidays or my birthday. I really think the time-space continuum has been warped. It can't be that I'm getting older and time only seems to pass more quickly. I want an investigation!

On the home front, I've found no pocketbooks, nor have I won any awards. Dang it. I knew that wasn't going to continue! But I've eaten well, paid my bills, have a roof over my head (which includes the upstairs neighbors), and have a dependable job. I have a cat who's definitely a nut, but a lovable nut.

It looks like the H1N1 flu might have hit my workplace. A few folks who never call out have been out for days. I'm loving me my hand sanitizer and, while I'm still congested from a second cold when the first one recently ended, I'm fine. No flu, for sure. I've probably only had the flu a handful of times in my life. I really don't need to be reminded what it feels like.

I'm spending a lot more of my time in the dark. On the days I go to work early, it's dark when I leave and the sun rises by the time I get to work. The sun is setting or has already set by the time I get home. Thus, I've been able to experiment more with my night photography. I like light, dark, and shadows. While I edit some of my photos, most aren't edited except perhaps a bump up in contrast and/or a bit of sharpening to post online. You can tell (and I'll usually tell you) when I've messed with photos.

That said, here's this week's shots (clicking on them will open them larger in a new window) --

Plainfield (NJ) Train Station Tunnel

Yes, I messed with it. The yellowish tunnel is the original color of the tunnel. The building itself is red brick. But I made it black and white, then put it in a "moonlight" hue with my photo editing program. If you want to go to Newark or New York City, just go underground.

Road to Nowhere

With surreal lighting, I might add. This is the night view from the eastbound side of the Bridgewater (NJ) Train Station. There's a freight train track in the distance which you can't see -- the railfans love to gather at the Bound Brook Station to get nifty shots where the freight trains and commuter trains pass closer to each other. What I liked about this shot is how the lights turned out. They look like little alien spaceships taking off ... or something.

No! I want to keep my leaves!

Most of the trees are barren, but there are a few holdouts around. This is a tree on East Front Street in Plainfield earlier this week.


I tell you, they're plotting a takeover. They've already captured the Dunellen (NJ) water tower and are probably sabotaging the water supply. There could very well be more of them than there are of us. I took this out the window of the train.

Need to get fat, need to get fat!

If anyone can save us from the bird revolt, it's our friends -- the squirrels.

Flash Tattoo

I edited this one, can you tell? ;-)
Flash Tattooing on East Fourth Street in Plainfield, NJ. I spelled it right -- they spell it wrong. Two "o's"!

Car Repair in Sepia

The sepia seemed to suit this shot -- also on East Fourth Street in Plainfield.

Customized Custom Underground

I did my own customizing on this photo I took of the Custom Underground garage. I loved the lights and shadows. But in their original color, they just fell by the wayside overpowered by the inside of the garage. So, I changed the insides to sepia, the outside to a muted black and white. East Fourth Street in Plainfield.

Dunellen Train Station at Night

The shadowy figure walks to the exit. I didn't mess with this one that I took out the train window. Again, the lights and shadows intrigued me. The person just happened to walk into the shot and made it even better.

A Man vs. Nature Sunset

I took this shot with my older Pentax in its sunset mode. Bridgewater, NJ.

Same Sunset, Different Angle, Different Camera

This one was taken with my (supposedly) better Canon. I don't know. I think the Pentax definitely sharpens the sunset a bit better.

Tale of the Sunrise Contrail, Part One

On my early day, the sun was just about to rise as I left my apartment. I spotted this cool pink contrail. In and of itself, it might not be all that picture-worthy. But there's a tale to tell. Plainfield, NJ

Tale of the Sunrise Contrail, Part Two

By the time I reached the vicinity of the downtown area, it was much lighter out. Yet the contrail remained.

Tale of the Sunrise Contrail, Part Three

Oh, and then this is what it looked like at the Plainfield Train Station. The man leaning on the rail looking over Watchung Avenue probably had no clue he's standing silhouetted in a beam of red/orange light.

Portuguese BBQ at Night

East Fourth Street in Plainfield, NJ. I've never been there. It looks interesting, though. The town boasts so many restaurants from all over the world that one could spend weeks trying them all out. I don't think that 20 years ago you could have taken a culinary trip around the world in this town. It's the influx of folks from many other nations. You don't want me to get going on various bakeries.

Red, Red Berries

Um. Yeah. Berries. They were there, so I shot them.


Or, could he be SEXTING? Yikes! Although I love technology and I'm really a bit of a computer geek, I never got the whole texting fad. I was never all that into IMs, either. But with IMs, you're on a computer without a phone. The texting is ON a phone. I find it much easier to just talk if I have a phone in my hands. I'm silly like that. Bound Brook Train Station, NJ

Blocking Out the World

This woman is always all wrapped up and sleeping on the morning train. She gets in the single seat so no one will sit next to her. I don't believe I've ever seen her awake. NJ Transit, Raritan Valley Line

New and Old

Yes, I edited this leaving the NJ Transit Train in its original color while making the platform and people a muted sepia. The Plainfield Train Station at night.

Plotting, Plotting

More birds gather for their world domination. You've been warned.

Taking Control of the Streetlights

More are arriving in the distance. Eep.

A Cat Will Save the World!

Or not. I do get the feeling Vincent could be a hunter. The way he goes for his cat toys should put those birds on notice. A takeover will not be tolerated!

How was your week?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Survivor Samoa - 11/19 Episode Blog Party Post

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.

Reward, split into two teams -- Russell, Laura, Brett, Dave, and Natalie won. They get a flight to a nearby island with a waterfall, picnic, and a Palm Pre to take pictures ... hmm, that's a phone. Could there be more?

BWAHAHA! Russell found the THIRD idol!

Mick won immunity!

Laura is gone.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Amazing Race - 11/15 Episode Blog Party Post

Yikes, the show is actually starting on time here tonight. I might just faint.

As it 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. My actual show review will be posted over on TV Squad sometime late tonight.

Pit Stop
1. Megan and Cheyne -- won a red cedar sauna
2. Dan and Sam
3. Flight Time and Big Easy
4. Ericka and Brian
5. Gary and Matt -- Philiminated


Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was 11/15/09

Yep, yep, yep. It's Sunday and time for my off topic look back at the week in photos and words. I'm still not used to it getting dark so early in the evenings. But I guess winter is inevitable.

This fall here has been rainier than usual, perhaps in keeping with our early summer. Since Thursday we've had a nor'easter -- the remnants of Hurricane Ida. We didn't get tons of rain here, but the wind was pretty fierce for days. The shore got hit bad. However, since I'm at least ten or so miles from the nearest shore point (and that has Staten Island as a buffer), coastal flooding didn't affect me even though my county was under a warning. If my work schedule had allowed, I would have taken photos of the surf. But in the dark, no go.

Someone asked in my last Sunday post if my political candidate won for mayor. Nope. Hopefully the sizable turnout for him might be a wake-up call for the winning incumbent. I don't know. As for the governor race, I'm glad Corzine is out. I'm not all that keen on Christie, but we'll see. Bloomberg won again in NYC, so I expect the entire Lower East Side to be made into a pedestrian mall.

Work has been pretty much the same old-same old this week. But off work has been a bit impacted by more work I took on in terms of a writing project in relationship to the TV Squad gig. It's for AOL (which is going through huge layoffs once again before the holidays actually hit). It's money for me. But it's work. Scores of 200 word bios on various television celebrities with a deadline. I hope to get ahead of things today and push a whole slew out. I'm learning more about some celebrities than I ever wanted to know.

Let's see ... what else happened this week? My optical wireless mouse died. Ack. I had to buy a new one. With the photo editing, the old mouse(s) (mice?) I have with the cord and ball just don't work well. That was my big purchase of the week if you don't count groceries and bill paying. Gosh, an uneventful week. And, until I finish the AOL project, I'll be living the hermit life for the next few weeks, too.

Onto my photos -- clicking on them will open them larger in a new window.

Speak Softly

Yeah, 'cuz I have a lot of writing to do! This is my NJ Transit train. I wish people would take heed. They shout into their cell phones (if you like your cell phone so much, why do you yell at it all the time?). They sit across aisles from each other and shout to each other. I like the morning commute better than the evening one as folks are generally quieter, no sports fans or concert attendees.

Speaking of morning commutes ...

The train has arrived. And, yeah. I'm standing back from the yellow line.

It's a hovercraft!

This isn't good quality, but I like the car with no apparent wheels. The little Corner Store in the background are the folks who delivered me things when I was homebound for my knee recovery last year. No, they don't do deliveries. But they did for me and even gave me a nice fruit basket. The donut shop next door has the most reasonable best donuts on this earth even though their "o" is drooping. Maria there is a gem!

Be considerate

Or else. I don't know. This is New Jersey. Isn't that against the reputation of the state?

Wet night at the Plainfield Train Station

I guess this one might be my shot of the week. Although it's pretty, the evening was wet, windy, and raw.

Aw, he made me smile

I walk by this house all the time yet I've never met this man before. He was decorating the tree in his yard for Christmas -- red, white, and blue garlands and lights. I didn't comment on the color scheme but mentioned his bird feeder. He told me all the different kinds of birds he's seen feeding there and the fun his family has watching them. He told me I can come back anytime to take photos of the birds on the feeder.

In speaking with him, it's obvious that he wasn't born in the USA -- perhaps the reason for the red, white, and blue color scheme. He was very pleasant and friendly. I think it says a lot for the town, its friendliness, and its diversity when I encounter folks like him. This is more towards the downtown area on East Front Street in Plainfield.

Keep your eyes on the prize

Yes, I'm dangling a cat toy for Vincent. We celebrated his two-month "birthday" this past week and our relationship grows. He's definitely a shoulder cat reminiscent of Faron in the early Peanuts comics. Faron was the boneless cat owned by Frieda (the little girl with the naturally curly red hair). If Vincent had his way, he'd spend ten hours a day draped over my shoulder. He rips apart anything cardboard like a lion feeding off an unlucky gazelle. He runs, he plays, he sometimes runs into the wall while playing. He's a nut. But I'm so glad I have him as my companion here.

Latina Jesus Ladies

They don't even bother coming near me anymore.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Eek. Plainfield put up the holiday decorations this week. This is the intersection of Watchung and North. Alas, no sightings of Roofus. But the weather really hasn't been cooperating. Roofus knows better than to be on a wet roof! I think it was probably dry only once this week when I was there in daylight.

Veterans Day flags remain

They had a small parade and a gathering for the day which I didn't attend. I would have liked to have seen the Plainfield High School Marching Band. For some reason they're not in the July 4th parade as of late. This is East Front Street in Plainfield, NJ.

My father was a WWII veteran, my grandfather was both WWI (sneaked in at 15!) and re-upped in WWII. None of my brothers ever went into the service: one conscientious objector during Vietnam, one for medical reasons, the other ended up with the number 364 in the first year of the lottery for entry during Vietnam. I didn't serve. But I respect any who have and I've lost other friends and family to wars. I salute them ... and wish we lived in a world without wars.

I just don't get this

Here in many towns (this is Plainfield), leaves are in huge piles like snowbanks taking up parking spots on the streets. Isn't that a fire hazard? Isn't that how A.J. Soprano lost his SUV? Where I've lived in the past, they didn't do this. Of course, in my few childhood southern California years, we didn't have leaf debris all over.

Watchung Avenue at night

This was last night as I was coming home from work. Although it's not really late, a lot of shops were closed up and pedestrian traffic was a bit down. I blame the weather for the latter.

Looking the other way on Watchung

Okay, more foot traffic near the bar there, as well as police activity (the bright lights in the right lane).

Billboards available

Near the main train station in Plainfield.

Looking for hidden treasure

I think the squirrels will have a good year. I've gotten bopped on the head with lots of acorns this fall.

How way your week?