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 --
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!
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.
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!
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?
Another window in the antique shop. Maybe he should ask Santa for the rest of his body.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
These lamps always hook me.
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.
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?