Sunday, January 17, 2010

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - 01/17/10

It's Sunday morning -- time for me to kick back, perhaps enjoy a mug of hot cocoa, watch CBS Sunday Morning and relax a bit. In other words, it's a day off from work! But, more importantly, it's time for my weekly off topic reflection on the week gone by in words and photographs I've taken.

Let's see. What happened this week? Well, it started off bitter cold with high winds here, but that's par for the course this winter. We had no new snow. Most of the snow we have had this season is gone with the exception of nasty-looking dirty snowbanks and patches on the ground here and there. The last few days brought a heat wave. Yep, we got in the 40s! Hey, anything above freezing is good for me. I've decided I'd rather have bitter cold than snow and ice, though. I can always put on more layers and I can't slip and fall on cold.

The big news in the world is the Haiti earthquake. I can't imagine what those folks are going through. The only folks I've known from Haiti over the years have been strong people who've worked hard to achieve success here in America (or, more precisely, New Jersey). I only pray that the people in Haiti are as strong as they can be and that the entire world helps the victims.

On a lighter note, but with some serious considerations behind it, I've been amused by the great Late Night Television Debacle. It's really perked up the after primetime viewing! I've been channel-surfing, catching bits and pieces of every late show just to see what they're saying. I think I've watched more Jimmy Kimmel this week than I have in my lifetime -- he's not half-bad.

My late night choice has always been Letterman, even back to when he was much later at night. Jay Leno has always annoyed me, kind of like David Caruso's melodramatic acting annoys me. I just have trouble watching him, so I don't. I wasn't keen on him back in his stand-up comedy days either. Conan O'Brien? I've watched him on and off since he first appeared on late nights. He never clicked with me like Letterman did. However, he has made me laugh. Right there, he's done better by me than Jay Leno.

But what gets me about the debacle is that it's so entirely wrong. A deal is a deal. Sure, they're paying off Conan. But it's not all just about Conan, either. What of the staff? What of the folks who made the cross-country move with him? They made the decision five years ago he would get the show. All of a sudden when the time comes, Jay doesn't want to leave? Instead of having him go primetime with a doomed show, that would have been time to break the deal right then and there before Conan and company even took over the show. Poo on NBC. Poo on Jay Leno. (I told them, didn't I?)

I hear that NBC isn't even letting O'Brien use the "intellectual property" much as they tried to stop Letterman from The Top Ten and other standard acts/skits. I think in the end, Conan will do all right for himself. I think Leno, never funny to me, is now tarnished with a taint which just won't fade.

So, from this bit I've written, you're correct in assuming nothing much is happening in MY life. I've worked, eaten, slept, and worked again. My highlight was on my last day off (Wednesday) when I finished writing up that gazillion AOL celebrity bios. I had to rewrite the bunch I lost in my computer crash. But, there I was, two days before deadline doing my "I'm done! The albatross is gone!" happy dance. Usually writing projects are fun for me. But this was so limited in word-count for each one and there were so many ... it's was just tedious and not a lot of fun. And now, I have my first day off since I finished and I can actually relax and houseclean and play with a certain cat!

Enough blathering -- onto the week in photos I've taken. Clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window.

Plainfield (NJ) Train Station Lights

These lamps have been a recurring theme in a lot of my photos since I started walking around with a digital camera. The style and symmetry attract my eye. Plus, if I'm at the train station, I'm not hurrying to get there. I'm either waiting for a train or getting off of work. So I have time to take photos. This shot was taken in the late afternoon. Yes, I'm actually seeing some daylight as my work hours scaled back a bit.

I'm walking, yes indeed, I'm walking

Another shot taken at the Plainfield Train Station. The walking man is originally from Gautemala. He and I have chatted a bit over the past few years. I might know more Spanish than he knows English, but he tries. Sometimes he really makes me smile when he boldly tries to express himself in English without hesitating. Last night he was on the later train (odd as he tends to be a weekday morning commuter). He made a point of saying hello. When we got off in Plainfield, he bid me a cheery, "Happy night to you!" as we parted ways. Of course, the expression is "good" night. But his "happy" night made me smile. I used photo editing to make this a bit grainier.

They're always watching us

Yep, conspiring to take over the world. This was taken out the train window in Dunellen, NJ.

In which I mess with the birds

I used the GIMP "illusion" effect to do this with the previous photo. Hmm ... I kind of like it. It's creepy and eerie. You know, kind like birds are when they plot to overthrow mankind.

Late day sun in Bridgewater, NJ

I like taking photos in the winter as the sun's angles tend to be more dramatic. I'm also out in more sunrises and sunsets during to the winter.

Uh-oh, they brought the big guns in

A flock of geese holding a summit meeting. They're probably discussing how to bring down more aircraft. Yes, this week marks the anniversary of "the miracle on the Hudson." Bridgewater, NJ.

Shadows of summer gone by

The ball stadium where the Somerset Patriots play baseball is cold and deserted. The early morning sun sun casts some cool shadows. Bridgewater, NJ.

Let me pose for you

The squirrels are really busy as of late. Everywhere I look, they're scampering and chasing each other. Sydney said this is the time of year the babies are born. I've been watching the nest in the tree outside my window. It seems quiet. The only weird thing there is that a squirrel actually fell asleep sitting on the branch near the nest. He was in the same position for a good two hours! Photo taken on East Front Street in Plainfield.

Vincent thinking he's oh-so-cute

And he is. He's on the edge of my bed with his head actually kind of hanging off the bed. Well, in this shot he is. Actually he's curled up on the chair next to me because I won't let him get on my shoulder as I try to get this entry done.

Boneless cat!

See! See! He's still on the bed but with his head hanging off looking at the floor! This is the kind of thing he does over my shoulder although he's generally not on his back when he does it.

Train in the sunset

This is at the Bridgewater Train Station. Unlike Plainfield, it's not a raised platform. Okay, it's raised to curb height. But that's it.

Setting sun

Love the shadows of the contrail in this one.

Diggin' with a Cat

This is construction, or actually deconstruction, where they just took down some buildings in an old car lot on the corner of Cleveland and East Fourth (Fifth?) Streets in Plainfield. I edited it to leave only the Cat machine in color. Doesn't it almost look like a cat is driving the Cat?

Plainfield Municipal Court

I edited this one also, leaving the sky as it really was yet messing with the courthouse. This was a bitterly cold day early in the week with high winds and an oncoming sunset. I've never been in the courthouse. I wonder if my knee would set off the alarms.

Same day, other side of the same building

The flag looks great in the wind outside the Plainfield Police Department. But, trust me, it's better to look at the photo than to be standing outside in the winter wind taking the photo! This one I didn't mess with except to bring up the contrast a bit.

More Plainfield Train Station Lamps

This one I played with -- black and white except for the golden hue of the lamps.


I hate when people do this -- on the old trains, you could feel their knees in your back. With the new trains, it just jostles your seat not in the same jostle the train does. Some people can't sit like normal people.

Maybe he just doesn't know how to sit

Same guy a moment later. I mean, c'mon. It's not like a cross-country journey. It's the Raritan Vally Line of New Jersey Transit. From one end to the other, it may be what ... 50 minutes? An hour? And this was in the late afternoon!

Conspiracy theories abound

I know they're talking about us.

Practicing symmetry

Uh-oh. Advanced thinking processes!

Great work

Someone (not me) stuck this sticker on my train window. Yeah, it's great work until the cleaner guy has to scrape it off.

I told you she's alive

Either that or someone has changed her scarf.

Plainfield sunset

As seen from the Fourth Avenue side of the Plainfield Train Station,

Plainfield Train Station lamps (again)

In black and white.

Same shot in color

I told you I like the lamps! Better in B&W or color?

I've shot this sign before

And, I'll probably shoot it again. It's at the Bridgewater Train Station, a remnant of the old Calco (?) plant. With age, I find the sign very intriguing. It's beginning to have a weird story effect on me or something.

Before the dawn

The corner of Watchung and North in Plainfield before the dawn, taken from the westbound platform of the train station. That red line in the street is the taillights of a passing car. The evil bench (my bruise is STILL evidence) is sitting there in front of Danny's trying to look innocent.

Welp, that was my week. How was yours? What's your opinion on the latenight debacle?


Nana from the NW said...

Love the pics. It doesn't look to be bitter cold....yay! Here in the NW it has been so mild(mid 50's) that my Cherry Blossom tree is budding and I saw a Pussy Willow in bloom! These usually don't bloom until late Feb. We have had LOTS of rain which has caused many mudslides on the hillsides and major traffic headaches on our mountain passes.

I don't watch the late night shows so it really doesn't affect my viewing. However, if was a risk NBC took moving Leno and now Conan is paying the price!

Tonight is the Golden anyone watching?? I will be gone but have it programmed on the DVR....and also the red carpet show, love to see what they all wear! I had never heard of Ricky Gervais(the host) so that should be interesting.

This is a short week for me. I daycare my grandkids and Monday is MLK day so they will be home with their Mom. Then Tues. is a staff day so I won't have the normal school day schedule.

Have a great week all and thanks as always to Jackie for all she does.

joy n said...

The train station lights are beautiful. Love the starkness of the b&w shots but also love the blue sky background in the color ones. The whole station looks wonderful. Still sad that they tore down the Rochester station years ago and left a plain, stark and ugly one in its place.

Also love the foggy, eerie photo of "The Birds". Seeing a lot of them around here, too. It really IS kind of creepy.

Vincent, the star, the ham, waiting for his closeup, Mr. Demille, er, Ms Schnoop. What a wonderful cat you've found, Jackie.

And sunsets (and sunrises) are always beautiful to see.

Thanks, as always, for the Sunday morning pick-me-up.

joy n said...

Also love your references to music. I'll be singing Fats Domino songs in my head all day.

Becky said...

Vincent is such a cutie. Abigail sleeps like that on my lap, with her head hanging over the knees. She is such a love-bug. I am surprised that she really makes no effort to get out, especially since we have a doggy door. She did push it part way open this morning and was laying half in and half out, surveying the back yard.

Another great week of pictures. It would be hard to choose my favorite (after Vincent, that is). I do like the different modes of the lamp posts. And again I agree with you that those blasted birds ARE plotting.

Sally said...

Congratulations on finishing that massive AOL project!

Your photos of the train station lights are really nice. The lights are attractive to begin with, and your photos really empasize their elegant lines. I especially like the first photo, and prefer the color version of the two later pics.

Loved the "cat driving the Cat" comment. It does almost look that way.

I'm a big Letterman fan and like Craig Ferguson too. But between Leno and O'Brien, I'm definately Team Conan! Leno just irritates me: he stikes me as self-centered and condescending, and seems to laugh harder at his own jokes than anyone else. I think NBC really mishandled this situation and that they'll likely regret it. Conan will land on his feet somewhere else, taking with him all those fans in the demographic groups advertisers love.

I'm praying that massive support pours in for Haiti and that delivery systems can get the supplies out to the people who need them. Happy Night to all!

meb said...

Certainly our prayers go out to all the Hatian people and others who were there during the quake. Over 100,000 dead. How do you understand that number? Impossible.

As for your great pix... the lamps, I like them both, but the ones in color would be my choice. Well, you asked.

Those sunsets are gorgeous and the pink and blue hues over the Municipal Bldg. is beautiful.

Boneless Vincent. I still want you to get a pix of you with him draped over you... in a mirror. If you don't want to show you, do it from the side. Now that would be clever.

I'm not a late night watcher of tv, but have seen some of the clips from all of them. They'll be on this one for a long time.

And yes Jackie... it does look like a cat driving that cat. Too funny!

Enjoy what's left of the day Jackie... I Need to go comment on Project Runway now that I finally had a chance to watch it.

joy n said...

Just a little OT. Michael C. Hall and John Lithgow both won Golden Globes for their DEXTER roles.

Laurie said...

Interesting, Leno irritates me, too! I think Letterman has a charm that shows through and he seems a bit smarter, too!

The lamps are so nice. I'm surprised to see them in such a public place. You have presented them so interestingly, too.

Love boneless Vincent. I can just imagine him as your neck warmer!

joy n said...

Just wanted to add that Michael C. Hall has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, is in remission and is continuing treatment. I'm so happy he won because he is a fabulous actor. And John Lithgow is a fabulous actor also.

NC in GA said...

The photos were great! I loved the station lamps. I'm drawn more to the ones in color, but the black and white have a wonderful classic look about them. As far as the late night shows go, I'm more of a Letterman person. Leno just wasn't as funny to me. And as always, a certain cat named Vincent was as cute as ever!

meb said...

joyn: I didn't know that about Michael C Hall, that he has Hodgkins. Doesn't make any difference WHO you are, anyone is a potential victim of these horrific diseases.

I also didn't know he and Lithgow earned Golden Globes for their work in Dexter. They deserve it.

Who was it that told us that Dexter is married to the girl who plays his sister in the series. That was a surprise for me. But I like them as a couple.

And the actress who played his wife is joining Desperate Housewifes, so I guess I won't be seeing her as I don't watch that series. Maybe some day I'll catch it on reruns.

Since this is the OT post, I'll add that 24 was pretty good last night and it continues tonight I think. Poor Jack Bauer can't get away from CTU. He doesn't even work for them anymore and there he is in the midst of it... of course.

meb said...

Oh, and the little girl who plays 24's Jack Bauer's granddaughter is absolutely adorable. She is so young and yet she is truly acting. What a cutie and she has the biggest smile. Hope we see more of her than just last night's episode.

My wv: rechoutt

Reach out to the people of Haiti!

joy n said...

Madmen won best TV drama. I know there are fans here.

meb said...

American Idol seems to be finding it hard to get good talent. Chicago only had a few who made it to Hollywood. Where are they going from here?

Shaniya Twaine (and I'm sure I spelled it wrong) was the guest judge tonight. She was good. I liked her and I think Simon did too.

Damages is coming on soon. Anyone else watching that?

magil said...

Love your photos, really like the colorized b/w photos. I like how you think! I live in Houston, wish they had 'trains' for mass transit here. I've ridden the commuter one in Washing DC then from there to Penn Station in NYC and also in Chicago. Love trains. I love Conan OBrien, I think he is an awesome talent and I was watching his show almost every night. I'm not 'young' I'm 40 something...and know great talent when I see it! NBC has made several 'mistakes' in this. With the recession affecting every American citizen, sometimes I think NBC's complaint of "lower ratings" likens itself to a spoiled child whose getting all his 'treats' taken away. Hey, NBC, we have ALL suffered loss...I may be wrong...but I won't be watching Leno, and I'll be looking for Conan's next show, wherever it comes from :)
Thanks for sharing your talent and thoughts Jackie <3

Sydney said...

Jackie, I was totally surprised to see Leno back on with a new show... I thought he had all kinds of plans for his retirement, but not that one.

As to why this is happening though, isn't it somewhat due to that Conan is failing in the ratings too?