Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Amazing Race - Blog Party Post - 2/28/10 Episode

They're spoiling us so far this season -- the show has started on time each week and we're into the third episode! As the show airs here on the East Coast, I'll update this entry with major events including the Pit Stop order and Philimination (if any). My actual show review will be posted late tonight over on TV Squad. But the real fun (and most information) will be right here in the comments area. Everyone is invited to join in with your thoughts!

Pit Stop -
1. Jet and Cord - won a trip to Patagonia
2. Steve and Allie
3. Carol and Brandy
4. Joe and Heidi
5. Jeff and Jordan
6. Dan and Jordan
7. Brent and Caite
8. Louie and Michael
9. Monique and Shawne -- Philiminated

Friday, February 26, 2010

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - 2/28/10

"Sunday morning, lots of time with nothing to do, lots of time to spend with you." - "Sunday Morning" by Spanky and Our Gang. Hmmm ... wonder whatever happened to them. I liked that group. I know -- I'm dating myself a bit.

But it is Sunday morning and it's time for my off TV topic look back on the past week in words and photos I've taken. It's been quite a week. I started it off with a bit of a stomach bug earlier in the week. Grr. Early in the week we also had a tremendous time with rain. Then we had Snowzilla (whatever!), yet another major winter storm. This one didn't hit us with as much snow as the previous one (whose snow was finally gone to piles and big patches). But the problem with the latest one was duration. It came down, along with wind, sleet and snow, for two days straight.

My work schedule this week was changed. Instead of my usual Wednesday off, I had Thursday off as my relief person is on vacation. I actually called in sick on Tuesday with my stomach bug. I worked Wednesday, scheduled off Thursday for the start of Snowzilla, called work around dawn on Friday when Snowzilla was going strong canceling NJ Transit buses and delaying trains, and took that day off. I worked yesterday. Bless paid time off benefits! Had I been losing pay, well ... I probably would have gone into work sick and stressed out from the commute.

Before Snowzilla hit, I was loving the fact that my (jaywalking a bit) shortcuts were actually clear enough to cut down on my walk time both in Plainfield and in Bridgewater near my workplace. Yesterday I had to add ten minutes back on my walk leaving home to deal with icy sidewalks and snow pile barriers. Plus, going home, once again the entire sidewalk is both blocked and not shoveled near the Bridgewater Train Station forcing me to walk in the street, then scramble over a snowbank, then negotiate about 20 feet of not shoveled walkway. Oh yeah, that's great with one knee replacement already and a second one which needs doing!

Let's see ... what else happened this week? Hmm ... during my every Monday morning pre-dawn work journey, I bumped into local blogger Dan Damon (of Plainfield Today and CLIPS) at the Plainfield Donut Shop. Or, rather, he bumped into me as he was the one who noticed me first!

I don't really have much else to report on this week. My replacement for both my day off and my call outs did a horrendous job. I so don't like messy workers who think fast equals good work in my office. I had to spend about an hour finishing undone things, cleaning, and trying to figure out what he actually did.

We're due yet another winter storm this week. If the timing is on schedule, it should be coming down on my day off -- Tuesday night into Wednesday. I've really had enough. No one enjoys a good storm more than I do, but the aftermath is such a pain! I'm tired of having to be so careful not to fall each and every step. I want to just WALK.

Onto this week's photos --

Berckman Street Bunny is thriving

As I walked home last night, I heard a noise. Now, there have been issues with robberies and muggings throughout the city lately. I looked to my right, expecting pretty much anything except a giant rabbit! Whoa! It's the Berckman Street Bunny of Plainfield, still huge and healthy! It's been more than a couple of months since I first saw him. He's still a good fifteen pounds and larger than most cats.

Walk right in, sit right down

Walk right in, sit right down
Baby, let your hair hang down
Walk right in, sit right down
Baby, let your hair hang down
Everybody's talkin' 'bout a new way of walkin'
Do you want to lose your mind?
Walk right in, sit right down
Baby, let your hair hang down -- The Rooftop Singers

Yeah, everybody's talkin' about a new way of walking, indeed. It's called fear for your life on ice and snow! They just got these benches cleared from the last big storm and now they're like this again. Oh, sit right down, please. Watchung Avenue across from the police station in Plainfield.

The boys of summer are hibernating

The TD Ballpark in Bridgewater (NJ) is wintry white. It won't be long until the boys of summer return.


This SO ticks me off. There, to the right, where you see the nearly fifteen-feet high snowbank, is supposed to be a SIDEWALK leading to the Bridgewater Train Station. TD Ballpark/Somerset Sports Rehab shovels the snow to this point and stops. NJ Transit only shovels the snow down the stairs and directly under the rail overpasses leaving a 500 foot section of sidewalk untended. Going down stairs is still an issue with my knees. Dozens of people come from the same direction I do and face the same dilemma. Shame on the idiots with the snowblowers and mini-plows from the ball park who do this to pedestrians heading to the train station! Shame on NJ Transit for not stepping up and getting this taken care of. I don't care if it's a dispute over who's responsible. Trust me, if there is an accident, someone will be responsible!

I think it's a movement

These smiley face balloons were tied outside of Hugo's at the corner of East Front and Church Streets in downtown Plainfield. There's three, so it must be a movement. No, I don't think I'll smile until spring. I edited this to keep the balloons in color, the background black and white.

Work to do at the Y

This was Saturday morning looking at the YWCA on East Front Street -- still not shoveled, nor were any of the sidewalks around it. I love slipping and sliding, don't you? Heck, even my landlord had our walk shoveled before Saturday morning!

Richmond Towers shoveled the bench!

A rarity this season -- a cleared bench for pedestrians. Not that I really want to sit on a very cold bench, but ...! East Front Street in front of Richmond Towers on Saturday morning.

In da 'hood after Snowzilla

Looking between houses on East Front Street over to East Second Street in the early morning on Saturday. It's hard to tell how much snow we had as the wind blew a lot of it into drifts. I noticed on one sidewalk that there was a large path shoveled, then a narrower path down to actual pavement. There was a good inch of packed ice you could see where the narrower path was chipped away.

Eat your heart out, Gene Simmons

Vincent does his best KISS tongue impression. Gene Simmons can't put his tongue over the top of his nose! All Vincent needs is some make-up.

When the skies cleared ...

... all the birds came out. This was Friday after it stopped snowing. It was weird -- the trees outside my window were set upon by bluejays and woodpeckers. I rarely see bluejays right here. One bluejay went into the squirrels nest! Even more amazing was the sight of a good half-dozen red-bellied woodpeckers. I don't recall seeing any woodpeckers in these trees before this winter, now they're regulars.

Silhouette of a bird

From the terrace as Snowzilla started

This was from the recessed terrace of my building as the storm started on Thursday morning -- big moisture-laden snowflakes, a freakin' winter wonderland.


East Second Street in Plainfield on Thursday morning.

Pink tutu?

A young women with leggings and what really looks like a pink tutu walks by the old Lincoln School building on Berckman and East Second Streets in Plainfield. I think that the school's now the Barack Obama Academy, an alternative high school, these days. But don't quote me on that. My education days, at least those in a classroom, are long ago and far away, and I don't have children. So, I'm not all that much up on the schools here. Thursday morning.

Emergency on Berckman Street!

Emergency! Emergency! Oh ... just another snow emergency. Never mind. Move along, nothing to see here. Berckman Street looking towards East Front Street, Plainfield. Edited to leave the sign in color, the rest black and white.

Pedestrian crossing

Um, okay. Y'see how dirty the snow was before the storm? Bridgewater, NJ.

Yellow line

The Plainfield Train Station just after the rain early in the week. I edited it to leave "yellow line" on the sign and the actual yellow line in color. It didn't turn out as good as I had hoped.


Do not cross tracks! Well, I had no intention of doing so, thank you very much. Plainfield Train Station before the snow hit again.

Rainy morning street bench

By Union College, East Second and Church Streets, Plainfield. Before the snow, naturally.

Westfield kale

In dirty snow Monday ... pre-Snowzilla. Yeah, I guess we needed fresh clean snow, right? At the Westfield NJ Train Station.

What the heck was I thinking?

I spotted this robin (and a bunch of his friends) Monday late afternoon in Bridgewater. They're probably regretting the decision to return now!

Pre-dawn weiners

Texas Weiners on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield on Monday morning pre-dawn. I edited it with GIMP's "posterization" and a heightened contrast to make the colors a bit more dramatic and to cover for a lack of focus with a more grainy quality. ;-)

Just down the block from Texas Weiners #1

We have Pharoah's Texas Weiners. Now, not being from here, I never heard of a Texas Weiner before I came here. But mention Hot Dog Charlie's and I'm in nostalgic heaven.

Thu-Thu Night!

Obviously not a photo of mine. This was the image for the storm we had on Thu Thu Night.

How was your week?

American Idol - Where is the Talent?

I just can't get my enthusiasm going for this season. While I usually enjoy Ellen DeGeneres, there's something awry with the chemistry between the judges. Kara never worked her way into my heart. Maybe it's my old "I don't like change" quirk. However, I liked the original panel of judges -- Randy, Simon, and Paula. Now I just like Simon.

There are also scheduling flaws for watching the show. I still haven't watched the second hour of the girls from earlier in the week. Watch a bunch of wannabes sing like they're on a high school stage or watch Lost? I watched Lost, naturally. I have that second hour recorded and I might or might not watch it tonight. I wasn't too thrilled with the first hour, nor the two hours of the guys the next evening. Then the results show is up against Survivor. I need to watch that show live and record it (in case memory fails) as I write it up for TV Squad. So I missed the entire results show.

Then there's the talent ... or lack thereof. I did check out to see who went away -- Ashley, Tyler, Joe, and Janell. Um. Okay. I think Tim Urban should have gone before Joe, but none of them have IT anyway. I also wouldn't mind if smiley Haeley Vaughn would go smile somewhere else off my TV set. But she'll be gone soon enough even if it seems the judges think she's so unique. @@

There are only a few folks I kind of sort of like ... and none of them really rock my world or excite me. I like Lilly, Casey, and Andrew Garcia. I don't think the show is going to keep me wanting to watch it this year. How about you?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains - Blog Party Post - 2/25 Episode

As Snowzilla attacks outside, it's time for Survivor inside! This post will be updated with the major events as they air here on the East Coast. Late tonight, my full review will be posted on TV Squad. But, until then, the real fun is in the comments area right here -- feel free to jump in with your thoughts on the show, everyone is welcome! Survivors ready?

Heroes RULED the combined immunity/reward challenge, so the Villains finally go to Tribal this week.

Randy, the tribe has spoken. Buh-bye!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lost - "Lighthouse"

I'm befuddled. I missed the first few minutes due to a late changing of channel from American Idol. Jack has a son? Maybe my mind is deteriorating with age, but I don't recall a son. This was a sideways time bit. The son's quite the classical pianist. Jack and the mother are divorced. I'm lost. Yikes! In sideways time, the ninja dude from the temple is the father of another child at the recital. Jack didn't know his son still played piano. Curiouser and curiouser.

At least Jin is saved from the jungle by Claire and Hugo is still talking to dead Jacob. Okay, I'm down with that. Claire seems a changed woman, though. The black captor claims she'll kill both him and Jin. The people at the temple told Jack "something happened to her." Claire thinks the temple people have Aaron -- her father and her friend told her so.

Jim told Claire that Kate took Aaron three years ago. Whoa. She killed the black dude with the ax anyway. My, she's gotten surly since living in the jungle, eh?

Oh ... sideways time, Jack's father left Claire Littleton something in his will. Hmmm ...

Jack told Hugo he came back to the island because he's broken. I think they all are. Hugo, directed by Jacob, led him to a lighthouse. Again with 108. Hugo was instructed by Jacob to crank the wheel in the lighthouse to 108 degrees. Oh ... names and numbers on the wheel. Sheppard is 23 degrees. He can see the house he grew up in. Jack realizes Jacob has been watching all of them for years. So he smashes the heck out of the place. Okay.

Jack "broke the lighthouse," yet Jacob says someone is still coming to the island. Jacob told Hugo that Jack has something he has to do and must figure it out himself. He also says someone bad is coming to the temple. Jin is lying to murderous Claire saying that Aaron is at the temple. So is she the bad person? Or could it be Not Locke? Eep ... she says Not Locke isn't John, that's her friend.

Curiouser and curiouser ...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Amazing Race 16 - Blog Party Post - 2/21 Episode

Yay, the show is starting on time (wow, two weeks in a row) here on the East Coast! Everyone is invited to join in down in comments -- cheer on your favorite team or your pool team, grouse about bad moves, and more. I'll be posting the major show events here in this entry as they air. My full review of the show will be posted on TV Squad late tonight.

Pit Stop
1. Jet and Cord - each won a sailboat
2. Joe and Heidi
3. Carol and Brandy
4. Brent and Caite
5. Monique and Shawne
6. Jordan and Jeff
7. Steve and Allie
8. Dan and Jordan
9. Louie and Michael
10. Jody and Shannon, Philiminated

Off Topic - That Was the Week it Was - 02/21/10

Another week gone by, another Sunday morning here. Since I generally don't work on Sundays, the morning is my favorite one for relaxation -- a good breakfast and settling in to watch CBS Sunday Morning. But it's also time for an off TV topic look back on the past week in words and photos I've taken.

I'm tired of winter. It's really bothering the non-replaced knee. All of the snow, while beautiful when it's falling and fresh, creates all kinds of pedestrian obstacles. I've lost shortcuts due to snowbanks higher than my waist. The daytime temperatures have been rising above freezing (a good thing), but then dipping down low again every night. Thus, I have to deal with black ice patches. I've been having to leave earlier for my walk to the train every day. Grr.

I want spring. I want daffodils and crocuses. Yes, I'm getting some really good snow photos. However, I'd just as soon shoot flowers and bugs.

My return to work from vacation was pretty much what I expected -- more work trying to figure out what was done, rearranging my office back to my suiting, catching up on things which weren't done, reading a gazillion emails, and being exhausted by the end of each day. Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful to have a job with sort of decent pay, paid holidays, several weeks of paid vacation, retirement pension, paid sick time, short term disability pay, 401K, and all. But, gosh ... if time could just stand still when I go away on vacation, it would be so much easier when I return!

This week has really been uneventful. Go to work, come home, eat, sleep, rinse, repeat. My "happy night" guy (the one who speaks Spanish but has really been working on his English for more than a few years) on the train had a new language dilemma last night. He got a text message and couldn't understand it. He showed it to me. "I am in Philly." I told him whoever sent it says they're in Philadelphia. "Liar!," he said. Apparently it's a girl who's standing him up and he knew she was at work because someone else told him she was. So I had to teach him how to spell "you are lying." I don't think he's going to see that girl anymore. But he learned how to spell a new sentence in English!

Oh, well ... onto my photos for the week ...

Vincent in B&W

When he's not in color, he has a clown nose! No more mice this week, but that isn't for a lack of him staring at the radiator.

Stalactite/Stalagmite Chainlink Fence

Nope, this isn't regular ice. It's the radioactive (yes, I'm sure) stalactites and stalagmites growing under the New Jersey Transit Bridgewater railroad overpasses. Since part of the wall fell down last winter, they fenced it off. Yes, that's a great fix. Now the fence is growing these on it.

Sunset over the Plainfield (NJ) Train Station

Aw, purty, ain't it?


I edited this one to leave the police car in color while the rest is in black and white with slight "posterizing." The latter is the GIMP (photo editor) term for it. Is a criminal on the loose? Nope. It was "snow removal." All it means is that there were guys with shovels and a payloader doohickey shoveling off the benches and making paths through the snow. East Front and Roosevelt Streets in Plainfield, NJ.

New Jersey Transit - The Way to Go

I used the same effect on this shot, leaving the windows in color reflecting the Plainfield Train Station lamps.

More daylight is a good thing

Same day, no editing. It's nice to see daylight when I'm coming home from work. Will spring be here soon?

Bicycle Parking -- Vacancies!

Although these are unused, there are still plenty of folks on bikes. Unfortunately, so many think the sidewalks are acceptable while the law says STREET. Grown men are the worst offenders. With the sidewalks so narrowed by snow, it's almost impossible for both a pedestrian and an illegal bicycler to pass on them.


It looks like the birds are having a major gathering in their efforts to overthrow mankind. Taken from inside the train at the Dunellen (NJ) Train Station.

Plainfield Train Station lamp in snow

Because snow is EVERYWHERE!

The Queen City

Railroad underpass on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield, NJ. Elizabeth is the county seat while Raritan is where there's a railroad yard for NJ Transit. Now you know all about New Jersey. ;-)

Okay, it's pretty, but ENOUGH

Looking down East Third Street at the Watchung Avenue intersection after a clinging light snowfall one morning. I edited it to leave the yellow schoolbus and the golden glow from a streetlamp intact while the rest is black and white. I couldn't get to the sidewalk without climbing a snowbank. Traffic was light, so I was walking in the street. That's not my train at the station -- it's a delayed one going the other way.

No, that doesn't mean I'm a streetwalker. Sheesh!

Snow on Supremo

The snow is melting quicker on that side of the street. It gets more sun. Roosevelt and East Front Streets in Plainfield.


Heehee. I crack myself up.

Ahem. Never mind.

Chainlink Snow

Are you sensing a theme here? East Front Street, Plainfield.

Go Snow

East Front and Richmond Street in Plainfield.

Religious snow

I'm sure that solar panel in front of the Presbyterian Church on East Front Street is having a grand old time.

Branches and Wires ... and snow

I have no snowy words left to say.

Snow on the bush

This was taken from the driveway to my apartment building. Now, had I gone for rehab for my knee replacement, I was set to go right to the beige-ish building you see on the left (not the brick one -- that would be someone's apartment and they probably wouldn't want to put up with a knee replacement patient).

Eek! Psycho Killer Bunny!

Heh. This was at the Bridgewater Train Station. Apparently the rabbit doesn't like getting his sensitive little paws in the snow. Someone was coming up the path from the other direction and he was darting right along the path directly into ME. I think I stunned him with the flash. He quickly decided to take his chances with snowy paws.


What is wrong with them? I have to hang onto the fence to get over this! Bridgewater Train Station.

Plotting in strategic groups

Birds of a feather gathering together -- geese and sparrows (wrens? chickadees?) discussing just how they will take over the world.

Snow kidding

That's it. I'm out of snow humor!

I'll join Vincent for a cat nap.

Look at that Paw of Death! And, he looks so innocent, doesn't he?

How was YOUR week?