Sunday, December 13, 2009

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was 12/13/09

Another Sunday is here, another trip through a bit of what I've seen in both photographs I've taken and words. The weather this past week didn't cooperate for a lot of photo-taking. It was either gusty winds, rain, or bitter cold. Or, at times, a mix of the three. Nothing incredibly exciting happened to me this week. It was work as usual and life as usual.

I'd like to wish everyone out there a happy Chanukah. I realize it started Friday evening and I'm a bit late. But it's still on and will be for most of the week. Plenty of time to bring out the dreidel! It's hard to believe as I type this up that winter is only eight days away.

On the home front, they put in new fire extinguishers (the old ones had service tags dating back to 2005), the front door to the building now latches (thus locking), and yesterday in the bitter cold early Saturday morning wind, there were some men painting the fire escapes black. That would be as in -- "I see a rusty fire escape, I want to paint it black." Believe it or not, painting the fire escapes is some kind of code issue. I recall they painted them around the time the building was sold some years back. Thankfully the trash is still being picked up and the water remains on. They never did the leaves in the parking lot, so now the leaves are molded into huge dense lumps due to cars driving over them.

At least my own apartment is warm and cozy. It comes with a cat, too! It's supposed to get a bit warmer here today but the rain will start. Since I'm still working on that AOL bios project (which now has an extended deadline to the end of the month), I will be inside most of the day. No Amazing Race tonight, which seems very weird. I haven't looked at the TV schedule. But if there's nothing which interests me, I have new screeners of The Closer, Leverage, and Men of a Certain Age which I haven't had time to watch.

Anyway, onto my week --

NJ Transit sexist advertising

Now, this is just silly on all levels. Three people cannot fit out a train door. If you're taking a step down to the platform and it's not a low platform (which is more the height of a tractor trailer cab), your platform has sunk. Raised platforms are flush with the train. Third, it's rare you see women with stiletto heels on trains and subways. Well, there could be some hookers, I guess. But most commuting women tend to wear sneakers or flat walking shoes, perhaps carrying heels in their bags. Commuting by train often includes some walking time, too.

All of the trains coming through here now are the double-deckers. In the handicapped/bike and don't want to climb stairs seating the other day, there was a mother and her toddler. She did a fist bump with the kid and, as I passed, he held out his fist to me. Okay, fist bump. But what I started was priceless -- every single passenger after me took a moment to give the kid a fist bump as they went by. You don't know how thrilled that toddler was!

Well, Well, Well ...

While I haven't seen Roofus up on his roofs, he is still frequenting the old ex-Budget Car Rental place. Although it was sold to developers, someone (the elderly man who used to run it, most likely) is still coming by leaving fresh food and water. That's a combination of frost and dirty windows you see. I took this yesterday morning when it was way cold.


I tell you ... the birds are conspiring to overthrow the human race. I took this shot of a sea gull recruiting some crows for the cause.

When will people learn?

They should know they shouldn't sleep on the train near me! This guy gets on at my station in Plainfield and is out like a light within two minutes every day. In his favor, he has a hat and something between his head and the window. It irks me to no end to see hair product all over the windows. If I want to take a shot of something out of the train, it's often worse than the ex-Budget Rental Car!

Plainfield (NJ) Christmas Windows

I haven't had a chance to go into the city for the windows yet this year. But, one day after work, I decided to walk a few blocks to see the town's Christmas tree and get some shots. I know they had a tree-lighting gala, but the tree was dark when I got there. So, I shot the windows of an antique store on Watching Avenue. It's an odd conglomeration of things, but what do you expect from an antique store?

He hasn't a leg to stand on!

Another window in the antique shop. Maybe he should ask Santa for the rest of his body.

Ohhh ... new NJ Transit ticket machines!

How exciting! These machines were installed after I bought my monthly train pass. They're bright with bigger screens. At the end of the month, I'll see how easy they are to use. Right now I see no big advantage except to the conductors. There's a scrolling marquee on each machine which says if the machine is in service (taking all payment types) or credit/debit only. It can be seen from the platform. The old machines just had a tiny green or red light and green didn't necessarily mean it's working. You see, if the conductor sees working machines, they'll charge a five-dollar surcharge even for a $1.75 fare if you buy the ticket on the train. It doesn't affect me as I always get a monthly pass and the conductors all know me anyway.

Santa Claws is coming to town!

Oh, this is so wrong. Vincent is probably thinking, "Hey, I didn't sign up for this!" I do have a plan, though. We need another photo session.

My commute

I see exciting scenery like this while riding the train to work. The changes can be interesting. In the more rural areas, I can now see the deer because the leaves are down. I've watched homeless go in and out the back of an old building in Bound Brook for years. This past week, they tore down the Bolmer Building. Oh, goody. Now I can see the Pillars of Fire building so much better! I've seen how messy and what odd things people put in their yards. And, on the cooler side, ever since I've ridden the train, every season, someone leaves a ton of huge bread crumbs near this little river which dumps into the Raritan River. Geese, ducks, and birds all gather daily for the feast. (They're probably planning the overthrow of humanity while chomping down.)

Blast from the past

Since I really don't have any artsy photos this week, I'm including this "self-portrait over New York City" I took a few years back. A friend of mine was visiting the city. I took this from her room on the 45th floor of the Millenium Hilton in lower Manhattan (nearby the WTC site). One bad thing about living close to the city is I don't really know the hotels unless a friend is visiting. If I'm stuck in the city overnight, it means I was out too late and missed the last train home. In that case, I wait out the two hours or so in Penn Station waiting for the first train of the morning. The trains stop running from about 2 AM until 5 AM although the station remains opens and even has a comfy place for ticketed passengers. I won't, can't, refuse to pay the over $550 a night fee for the room I took this picture from!

Years and years ago (back when I lived in CT), I got stuck at Grand Central Station overnight. Now, they close overnight. But the Metro North cops took pity on me and let me stay rather than roam the streets. So I was locked in with cleaning crews and cops throwing firecrackers at each other. One cop even brought me coffee.

Plainfield Train Station at sunset

These lamps always hook me.

Halal Meats, Gyros, and Falafel Sandwiches

This is on Somerset Street in North Plainfield, just outside of Plainfield. Yes, we're the Plainfields -- in three different counties. North Plainfield is Somerset, Plainfield is Union, and South Plainfield is Middlesex. I was all kinds of confused when I moved here.

Windows and lack thereof

These are the windows on an old factory building on North Street in Plainfield. Some are replaced with metal, some are broken. But you know me. I like to photograph the decrepit. If I were thirty years younger (and much more daring and foolish), I'd go for urban exploring -- taking illegal trespassing photo trips through abandoned buildings.

That's about it. How was your week?


joy n said...

So glad to hear your building is making an effort to get up to snuff, safety-wise. Though painting over rusty fire escapes leaves something to be desired.

Checked my TV listings and was disappointed to remember that there is no TAR tonight. An oh, yeah moment.

Lovely pictures, as always.

Have to say it made my day to see Roofus all warm, safe and sound. He is one street-savvy cat. Out of the cold, a free meal and there he is, all comfy at the door, watching the world go by. Perfect timing for you to walk by, get a pic and we can all rest easy that he's okay. Thanks, especially for that one, Jackie.

And then, there's Vincent! He's actually looking very comfortable in that Santa suit. Vincent is a star! He actually seems to be posing again. I think he knows about your blog and knows he has a following here. Can't wait to see more if you're serious about that photo session.

The birds. Out here in the country, I see the seagulls, the crows in large numbers,too, and have to say, I think of your blog comments every time I see them gather now. I'm staying on alert.

I loved your paragraph about the toddler and the fist bumps. I can just imagine the smiles it brought to his little face. That had to make your day! And your Sunday Off Topic page makes my day. Always something there to make me smile. Thank you!

Delee said...

I would say 3 STICK-THIN models could probably fit through the doors! Just saying. I would agree that the stilettos are staged.

I believe that the "crows" are starlings. If those are crows that is a "huge" seagull. HAHA

It was really raw here this week...the winds made it worse. My 4-5 inches of slush turned to ice and with the rain tis AM is back to slush.

I hope we get more pics of "Vincent Claus" How cute! I found an elf hat that Amanda had gotten puppy-Starry last year tried to put it on and it stayed there a nano-sec! So wanted a pic of her in it.

I look forward to your scenes of the week. Since no AR this makes Sunday worthwhile. New Cold Case tonight!

Sally said...

A Roofus sighting! That's a special treat. Hope the developers don't evict the cats and the supplies provided by that kindly man.

I really like the photo you took from that New York City hotel room, but those room prices are incredible. And yet, I bet the hotels are adequately filled each night.

Thanks for another interesting walk though Jackie's neighborhood and another look at the life of Vincent.

Becky said...

Hooray! A Roofus spotting! If that little -- well, big guy knew how many people across America that are concerned about him and his well being his chest would be so puffed out!

Again, wonderful pictures. Of course Vincent was my favorite. I will have to show our little rescue Abigail Van Kitty-Kat the picture and tell her that Santa Claws is watching her.

A mite of a cat, but ruling the roost here. Both dogs go the other way when she enters the room. I think her almost taking off Pebbles face might have had something to do with Pebs caution. Maggie is just terrified of cats period. What is funny is watch our territorial cat Calvin Coolidge's reaction around her. He has been doing a lot of cussing since I began letting her out of the computer room. I have found that she has one really bad habit. I have heard of other stray animals who lived on the street gobbling up any food because they don't know when they would eat again. Well, Miss Abby jumped on the kitchen cabinet and tore open a loaf of bread. I do not want a cat on my counters! And all bread is now kept in the microwave.

I certainly hope the birds are not coming together to take over the world. I remember when I saw that movie when it came out. I wouldn't let my kids play outside if birds were lined up on the wires. Before any of you think how silly I was, I will tell you I am deathly afraid of birds up close and personal. I would pick up a spider -- heck even a mouse or snake before I would touch a bird. I love to sit outside and watch the doves, but I want them to respect my distance just like I respect their's!

I loved the fist bump story. The baby will not remember it, but you can be sure the mother will cherish the thought of all the strangers taking a moment to make her baby smile. Your words painted a visual that I think all of us saw. I love this time of year because of the kindness that people show to each other.

Now, about Leverage..... please, please, please post ASAP about the opening show. Also tell us which station again. As you know, I love that show.

(sigh) It's seven o'clock and no Amazing Race to watch. Will go read email I guess.

Jackie, settle down with a nice cup of hot chocolate and watch Leverage. Have a great week, gal. Catch you later.

meb said...

People obviously are busy, busy Jackie, since I see few made it over here Sunday.

It's supposed to get up to 57 today here in Raleigh, NC... we'll see if that will appease me, since I am not a fan of the cold.

Yay for Roofus... and Vincent was a doll baby, peaking out of that hat, but I can see why he's called 'Santa Claws'... he looks like he's reaching to grasp onto something.

The toddler story reminded me of one Bill Cosby told years ago about a child on a plane who was a terror and his mother must have called his name (Jeffery) 100 times during the flight in an attempt to get him to behave. Jeffrey this and Jeffrey that... Just as it was time for the plane to land, Jeffrey fell asleep and the passengers had great delight in waking him up each time one passed by with... Bye Jeffrey, goodbye Jeffrey... Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Jeffrey... Well...OK.. so Cosby told it better.

Glad your building is coming under code...for part of it.

Cannot wait for Leverage..Jan 13 I think. Lost is coming back as well..Jan or Feb?? The Closer was good but not as good as I felt an opening season should have been.
I watched Men of A Certain Age, and the jury is still out on that one... wasn't anything special. I'll give it one more try.

Happy Hanukkah and soon to be Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...


Pix are great.

Did anybody here that Jeff and Jordan from big brother are going
to be on the amazing race?


RJM in SC said...

Hey Jackie,
Haven't had a chance to post lately but I am still around. Loved the story about the fist bump. Great pictures as always.

RJM said...

Hey Meb,
Took the kids to Great Wolfe Lodge in Concord NC this past week end. It was an awesome place and the kids had a wonderful time. Is that near you?

Sydney said...

Jackie --look at that Santa Claws costume! Will look forward to the next photo session of that!!