Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I hope everybody has a spooktacular day! And, take a look at what Zoetawny made for us ... she rocks, y'know.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Survivor Samoa: 10/29 Show 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.

The guys of Galu elected Shambo their leader so they can use her. Galu won reward -- a sailboat/lunch outing as well as tarp and a fire making kit. Shambo sent Laura to Foa Foa for the "spy mission."

Galu wins immunity again.

Liz was voted out.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Amazing Race Blog Party Post 10/25/09

Yikes, the show is actually starting roughly on time here tonight. Football only delayed the start of 60 Minutes by a few minutes.

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 -- each won a personal watercraft
2. Maria and Tiffany
3. Sam and Dan
4. Brian and Ericka
5. Gary and Matt
6. Flight Time and Big Easy
7. Mika and Canaan last and didn't complete the water slide -- Philiminated

Yeah, she did let Canaan down and herself, too. But I'm glad the Globetrotters are still in.

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - 10/25/09

Another Sunday morning, another off topic look at the past week in photos I've taken and words. My cough is better this week but I've been SO sleepy! Friday night after I came home from work, I curled up on the couch after dinner to watch the weekly mini-marathon of Criminal Minds on A&E. I'm talking 8 PM. I woke up at 4 AM and went to bed. This morning I slept past 9 AM. I usually wake up my own before 7.

The weather here yesterday was horrible. Any baseball fan must have seen the rain at Yankees Stadium which canceled last night's play-off game. Well, I got caught in that. My umbrella didn't help much at all when the rain was blowing sideways. I was totally soaked by the time I got home. Thankfully the temperatures weren't bad and I wasn't chilled to the bone -- just dripping wet. Vincent, in his "Jackie's home, I must leap on her shoulder" routine seemed to think it was a bit odd that I was actually dripping, but it didn't stop him.

I'll be glad when the elections are over. I'm getting way annoyed with the Bloomberg/Thompson race in NYC, albeit finding Bill Thompson's expressive eyebrows way cool. In the NJ governor race, I don't really like Corzine, I don't like Chris Christie, and the independent candidate Chris Daggett is not going to win. I'm tired of the ad campaigns for both races on television. November 3 can't come soon enough and get it over.

That said, I'm still pitching my extremely local vote for Jim Pivnichny for mayor here in Plainfield, New Jersey. The incumbent, Sharon Robinson-Briggs and her mentor Jerry Green seem totally ineffective, more reactive to photo opportunities than proactive to solving issues in town. Piv, although not experienced in the political arena, seems to be full of passion and a love of Plainfield. I don't expect miracles, but it's time for a change. He's offering to do a full-time job, complete with all of its headaches, for no monetary cost to taxpayers. Perhaps he's insane, but I really think he's intent on improving the city. I hope he makes it. At least we don't have annoying TV commercials for this mayoral race!

The autumn leaves are going wild here this week. After fifteen years in New Jersey, I'm still not used to how late they turn. Back in my stomping grounds of upstate New York, the leaves are long past peak. Even in my adopted for decades state of Connecticut, they're mostly down by now. But here, they haven't peaked yet and are still around for the kids on Halloween.

I so love the fall -- brilliant bursts of color against grey skies, the crunch of leaves under my feet, (often) crisp and cool temperatures with sunny skies, enough chill in the evening air to warrant a nice cup of hot cocoa. I actually miss the days when folks burned leaf piles. I know it's dangerous and probably polluting, but I loved the smell of burning leaves.

When I was young, we used to make bike paths through the fallen leaves and have our own little motocross events on our bicycles long before motocross really had its title. Here in NJ, they sweep all the leaves into piles in the streets. Then they get matted down and people park on them creating a fire risk and definitely unsightly. I find that odd. Often the first snow hits before the city scoops up piles.

Enough -- onto this week's photos. Clicking on a photo will open it larger in a new window.

Get that camera out of my nose

And stop calling me "Vincles."

Photo op with Vincent

Unlike Scherzo who always closed her eyes and wasn't a great photo subject, Vincent is tolerant of the camera.

More Vincent

He's being comfortable, what can I say?

Morning Journey

Looking up Richmond Street from East Front (Plainfield, NJ) in the pre-dawn hours on the way to my train.

Signs of the times

Autumn leaves and politics -- they go together like milk and cookies. Plainfield Train Station.

Weeds and a rusted fence

I don't know. It was there.

Watchung Avenue entrance to the Plainfield Train Station

I love the steps cut into stone, but don't use them due to the knees.

Jus' a parkin' lot

But the reds and yellows make it all so awesome, don't they? The Union County College parking lot in Plainfield this week.

Jackie's 'hood in Autumn

No, I don't live in the high-rise towers you see. But I do live very nearby. This is my block, this is my Plainfield 'hood.

Supremo at dawn

They're still closed. Yes, Plainfield's Supremo has a restaurant. But more importantly, it's my local supermarket. They have a fantastic produce section, an amazing array of ethnic and foreign foods, and reasonable prices. They slice the packaged steaks too thin for my liking, though.

Creeping poison ivy at night

Yes, I used the flash on this one. I think the colorful autumn poison ivy leaves creeping up the rather ill pine tree interesting photo fodder. Bridgewater Train Station.

The Methodist Church in my neighborhood

I liked the shot and the clouds, but didn't like the wires and power pole. What to do? What to do? East Front Street in Plainfield, NJ.


I took out the wires and power pole using the clone feature on my not-Photoshop program. This was a relatively easy task because the clouds were so random and simple to recreate in place of the wires and pole.

Are you going to let me sleep now?

Vincent being comfortable in front of the camera. He thinks he's a star.

Last hurrah of the stinkhorns

They had this burst of activity this week. But I think they're now gone for the season.

More playing with photo editing

The people in this shot came out slightly blurry, making the photo not so great. But I played with it some -- making the leaves stay in color, all else black and white. Then I found out I could make the black and white part even blurrier while keeping the leaves relatively in focus. With editing, a bad shot became a bit intriguing, I think. North Street in Plainfield across for the train station.

My typical editing

North Street in Plainfield across from the train station, as well. This is more of what I've been doing leaving some in color, the rest in black and white. No blurring on this one.


I saw this plaque in Marshalls. I really wanted to buy it for my office at work. But I fear they'd realize that I'm really not a team player.

How was your week?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Survivor Samoa Blog Party Post - 10/22/09

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.

"Good" Russell passed out during reward as shown in the promos. To Commercial.

Jeff decided no one wins reward, both tribes to TC, both will vote someone out. Russ still with medics.
"Good" Russell is out -- dangerously low blood pressure, passed out twice.

At Tribal, Jeff announced no one would be going home from either tribe.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Amazing Race DELAYED 10/18 Blog Party

It's almost time the show SHOULD start but football is still on here in the NYC area. That means that once the football ends, we still have 60 Minutes to go until they air TAR. I hate this.

Once it starts, 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 or tomorrow morning. If the show is airing on time in your area, feel free to fill us in! I don't mind episode spoilers.

UPDATE 8:15 PM ET -- The Jets lost and 60 Minutes is just starting. So we can expect TAR at 9:15 PM ET. Sigh.

9:15 PM ET and we're starting.

Megan and Cheyne got the only Fast Forward for this season. They came in first, winning a trip to Jamaica.

Pit Stop
2. Brian and Ericka
3. Flight Time and Big Easy
4. Gary and Matt
5. Sam and Dan
6. Maria and Tiffany
7. Mika and Canaan
8. Lance and Keri -- PHILIMINATED (and they were almost bearable tonight)

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was 10/18/09

Yes, it's Sunday morning and an off topic look back at the week in photos I've taken and in words. Once again, I have no "I'm thrilled by this" photographs. The weather has been icky this week here. Right now we're in our second nor'easter in a row. For those of you on the left coast, that's a storm with heavy northeast winds and rain (or snow) heading up the coast and socking the area with a huge punch. It's rain here, but a wicked cold rain as the temperatures are in the low 40s. Thankfully I'm in for the day. Between all the rain and dark morning commutes, I haven't had much fodder for fotos.

CBS Sunday Morning has a segment on nerds being the In Crowd these days. Hey, where was that popularity back in high school when it would have meant something to me? I so wanted to be in with the in crowd back then. Now, it doesn't really matter anymore. I've gotta be me; I've grown accustomed to being me. It would have been nice to be me with Mega Millions, but that didn't happen. I lost two bucks! (You must understand I'm never a big gambler.)

On the home front, my Bernie Madoff in NJ and PA real estate "investment company" wannabe landlord hasn't paid the water bill for my apartment building. A notice was posted (now gone) on the front door Friday when I got home from work. The water for the building will go off on November 3 if payment isn't made. Of course, the trash people might stop, too. I pay what bills I'm responsible for -- rent, electric, cable TV, phone, Internet ... I don't have the money to pay his bills. At least the heat finally came on. ARGH! I want my old landlord Fred Tedesco back! I also want the front door of the building fixed so I don't have to call the police because a homeless person is sleeping on the back staircase. Well, sleeping or dead. I didn't investigate. I had to go to work so I can pay my bills.

Healthwise this week, my cough still wants to bother me from the bout with bronchitis. Bless Riccola. My knee replacement knee is doing great, but the other one has been painful with all the rain and cold. I've postponed the knee replacement for the time being, though. I really have to have more of a nest egg gathered.

Local Plainfield blogger Bernice, the wonder that she is, found my bug from last week -- it's a crane fly. I was right that it doesn't bite but I counted its legs wrong.

Onto the photos for the week -- clicking on them will open them larger in a new window --

Where have all the squirrels gone?

Vincent, just about a half hour ago, watching the rain and wind from his perch. As you see, I don't have much color in the leaves here yet. You can also see why he loves the window -- for him, it's like TV for cats. Some of the local autumn reds are showing here, red maple I believe. But none of those are in my window view. Whatever kind of trees those are at the parking lot edge and in the neighbor's back yard only turn yellow each year. The leaves on them turn late in the autumn and bloom late in the spring.

North Street in Plainfield at night

Yes, I messed with editing this one. I take most of my night images without a flash. The key is to hold your breath so whatever lights in the photo don't blur a lot or show motion. I took this last night waiting for a bus by the train station as I returned home from work. It was between rain storms. The (still gray) building on the right is a mosque. The changes around Plainfield are interesting to observe. When I first moved to the area, there were the bow-tied Black Muslim men handing out pamphlets on the streets. Now, it's more Moslem than Muslim. I haven't seen the bow-tie guys in a long time. But I do see a lot of burqas and men with long flowing garments (along with high-top sneakers which look a bit incongruous, but if they're good with it, so am I).

More catnip please

This is what happens when you use a flash on a (mostly) white cat. This is Vincent's little catnipped cardboard chaise lounge. He loves it, but I'm sweeping up cardboard multiple times daily.

Plainfield NJ Transit Train Station

As I was getting off the train ... and a momentary respite from rain! The conductor in the shot is Scotty. He's a kindred spirit -- we both growl about NJ Devils fans on the train.

Let's get Mikey!

Mikey will eat anything! Berries of some sort growing near the Bridgewater (NJ) Train Station. Not even the birds or deer are eating these.

Autumn poison ivy colors

The urushiol veins really show in the poison ivy right now. If you were to rip the leaf, the black poison inside is still there. You do not want to rip the leaf. You do not want to eat the leaf. The advent of the poison ivy leaf gall mite has done a job on many of the plants this season.

More autumn poison ivy

I'm weird for liking this plant, eh?

Squirrel on a wire

Downtown Plainfield near the East 4th entrance to the train station.

Don't do it!

He kept wanting to make the leap to the point of making false starts. His goal was a nearby tree. Finally he climbed down and then ran up the tree. Wise choice, little squirrel.

Sunrise via billboards in Bridgewater

The sun is rising even later and, on my early mornings, it's just coming up as I hit Bridgewater, NJ. I tried to remove the billboards with my non-Photoshop program but it didn't look right. I don't have those mad Photoshop skillz. So, the billboards over the highway remain.

Why I'm not seeing Roofus

It's DARK when I get to the Plainfield Train Station a few mornings a week when I must go in early. And, this week, it's been raining on the days I get there in the daylight.

Predawn at the Plainfield Train Station

Remember, hold your breath and take the shot without a flash. ;-)

It lies

It is NOT open. But I had a nice talk with the scarecrow anyway. A business on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield in the predawn hours.

Hey, more predawn!

This is a section of East Front Street near the YWCA (not to be confused with the YMCA on Watchung Avenue). I actually enjoy the walk at this hour. Any denizens of the night are off the streets and what few people are around are heading to work.

Mums the word

A little more blurry than I like, plus there are pesky raindrops.

I do NOT like sharing my train with these people!

Yes, I said "these people." I'm talking NJ Devils fans. No normal human being outside of Halloween appears wearing little devil horns and creating a ruckus on the trains! The only thing worse than drunken loud NJ Devils fans going to the games are more drunken louder NJ Devils fans coming home from the games. Some of us are just plain commuters coming home after a long day of work. These devils should be isolated to their own cars on the trains.

A study of North Street in Plainfield

I used layers to keep the neon window and its glow on the wet street in color while making the rest black and white. This is the view from the westbound platform of the Plainfield Train Station. And, gee ... it's raining.

Newark-bound doubledecker

This car is empty as it's a closed car. Once they hit Westfield, I'm sure it will be open and filled. NJ Transit at the Plainfield Train Station.

Friend or F.O.E.

The old Fraternal Order of Elks building on Church Street in Plainfield. I love the sign and am glad they didn't remove it. Right now the building houses not only the Investors Mutual, but a banquet hall, too.

We needed ...

... a new Chinese restaurant less than six buildings away from another Chinese restaurant. Hmm ... not sure what's up with that. Neither Chinese place delivers. So, even though this is on the next (long) block away from where I live, I probably won't be frequenting them. For me, the joy of Chinese food at home is the delivery. Even though they don't deliver, somehow their menu ended up under my door. Remember, anyone can get in the building through the unlocked front door. They don't have shrimp toast. Now I can see no reason to go there at all! I would have preferred a Five Guys burger place in that spot. I took this shot fairly early in the morning when only the laundromat and Mi Ranchito restaurant were open.

How was your week?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Survivor Samoa - 10/15 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.

Galu won reward -- a BBQ. "Good" Russell sent Shambo to Foa Foa until immunity.

Galu wins immunity.

Ashley was voted out.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Amazing Race - 10/11/09 Episode Blog Party

Sigh. I don't like football. I don't watch football. But football has delayed the show here in the NYC area. 60 Minutes started at 7:45 PM ET instead of 7 PM. So, we're running forty-five minutes late.

Once it starts, 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.

Who wants to bet pre-show that since they're showing Zev and Justin with lost passport problems, they'll find the documents?

8:43 PM ET and we're starting.

Pit Stop Order

1. Zev and Justin -- however, they lost their passports (or maybe just Zev's) and were told they must find them or leave the race.
2. Sam and Dan
3. Flight Time and Big Easy
1. Sam and Dan
2. Flight Time and Big Easy
3. Brian and Ericka
4. Gary and Matt
5. Megan and Chyne
6. Lance and Keri
7. Mika and Canaan
8. Tiffany and Maria

SIGH ... Zev and Justin couldn't find Zev's passport. They were eliminated. Rats -- I really enjoyed them.

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was 10/11/09

It's Sunday morning. You know what that means -- it's time to reflect back on the week gone by in words and photos I've taken on my daily travels. Not that I've had any really exciting traveling going on this past week, mind you. As I recover from my bout with bronchitis, I've just been going back and forth from home to work and vice versa. Although I think I gathered some decent slice-of-life photos, I have no stunning artworks this week.

I had yet another hectic work week. I'd like that to stop, please. I just want a quiet work week ... just one. Thank you.

In the Dumb Criminals Department:
I have a police scanner (they can be both entertaining and informative) and listened to this going on the other night in town (Plainfield, NJ) --
An officer was sent to investigate a robbery report regarding one of the local taxi companies. Apparently a group of four called a cab to pick them up a few blocks away from where I live, rode across town with him, and robbed the driver. They got away with his money. Now, they should have stopped there, right? Nope.

The same group called the same cab company from the same phone from the same location less than two hours later. Duh. Of course, the cabbie who responded was a cop in the cab with back-up all around. They got nabbed. How stupid are these thug-wannabees? There are at least five local cab companies. They called the same one they just robbed? To respond to the same pick-up location? From the same phone number? Talk about deserving to be caught! No one got hurt and four dummies will be facing the judge. Heh.

Also on the local front, I'm doing something I don't usually do. I'm going to go political for a moment. With the issues going on with my landlord (the largest one in the city), I've become a lot more cognizant of the local government. While the current mayor of Plainfield seems to give lip service and appears to be involved, nothing is really happening. If not for the Courier News (local paper) reporter on the story, Mark Spivey, I think absolutely nothing would even be known about issues with Connolly Properties. In investigating more about the local powers that be, I'm actually going to come out and support a candidate for mayor, a Republican one at that. And, I'm not a Republican. I just think he seems to have the passion to improve the city -- Jim Pivnichny for mayor! There. I said it.

Onto the photos I've taken, clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window --


I took these photos over a three week period and stitched them together. This is an abandoned bicycle at the Bridgewater (NJ) Train Station. The back wheel disappeared first. Then the seat, handlebars, and the front wheel (couldn't fit five photos in the image neatly), so it was just a frame sitting there with a rusted chain. Then it was just a single handlegrip and pedal. Bye-bye bike.

The train! The train!

Oh. Wait. That was Tattoo with "The plane! The plane!" My train arrives at the Plainfield Train Station last Saturday morning. The weekdays tend to have too many people to take decent arrival shots.

Blue in a sea of brick

I sometimes feel like this -- a blue home surrounded by larger red brick buildings on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield, NJ.

Full Moon

We had a full moon earlier this week. I believe it was the Harvest Moon, but don't quote me on that.

Not a full moon

Nope, it's the MetLife blimp over Bridgewater, NJ. Snoopy seems dressed for the holidays. What's up with that?

Squirrel Watching

Vincent prefers to sit in the open window. But today, he'll just have to sit and look through a closed window. It's too chilly! Vincent is doing well and his personality is really coming out more every day. I feared in the first week or two that I had a cat who only loved to sleep. Well, sleep and purr. But no ... he has really been getting into running around and playing with his toys. Yay! He has also decided he likes to experiment with getting up high. Not so yay. But he responds well to "No" and a motion to get down. Yay! In the time I've had him, he's gained a little bit of weight (he's still kind of lanky) and his fur has gone from very coarse to soft.

I've looked in at the NYC ACC website -- the cats they're offering are around 2,000 deeper in the numbers. Sigh. So many won't get adopted. I don't think Vincent would be alive right now had I not adopted him. But he's such a love. I think he's happy, too. Well, maybe not so much when I tell him he cannot be atop the entertainment center up near the ceiling. But then he runs around batting his lighted ball or with a catnip mouse in his mouth (dropping it, throwing it up in the air, batting it under the bookcase, then scrambling to get it back) ... and he's forgotten his aspiration for higher heights. As I type this, he's sleeping on my lap.

It's a 1957 Ford Fairlane

Yes, I spotted that car once again. This time I got close to the back of it and found out its make. It's related to the Custom Underground car folks in Plainfield, NJ.

This one is in my 'hood

This car appeared nearby my apartment building this week. It's a 1965 Pontiac Catalina. Only $5,000! Of course, brand new back in 1965, it cost a lot less than that. But, in looking around the Internet, the price seems to be a steal.

You Will Be Towed

Yes, you, you trespasser. We're gonna put you personally on a rig and tow you on outta here! I think this sign in Plainfield should specify no parking or your car will be towed or no trespassing -- but not an odd mix of both messages.

Mutant New Jersey Bug

I have no clue what this is. It's not a grasshopper, nor is it a Praying Mantis. It sits on four huge legs like a tripod (but four - a quadropod?) It jumps and it flies. It has rather dubious eyes. It doesn't look like it bites, though. That's a good thing.

Here One Day

Gone the next. This group of mushrooms sprouted up in one day, the next they looked like a pile of excrement.

More Odd Nature

In the summer this plant has off-white blooms nothing like this bizarre red ball with spiky thingees.

As the Sun Rises

The view from the train station as the sun was about to rise one day this week. Tomorrow I expect my morning journey to be totally dark.

A notable Plainfield-born person passed away this week -- photographer Irving Penn. What a tremendous talent! While he and I obviously share a passion for images, he knew what he was doing! Plus, it's nice to know that someone famous other than George Clinton (P-Funk) comes from Plainfield.

Oh ... and in other news this week -- Marge Simpson is going to be a Playboy centerfold. Um. Okay.

How was your week?