Sunday, March 07, 2010

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - 03/07/10

It's Sunday, time to take an off TV topic at the week gone by in words and photographs I've taken. While the beginning of the week was still a bit cold and raw here, the sun has actually been out for more than a couple of days. Yesterday and today, we're hitting the 50s. Woohoo! We still have huge snow piles in shopping centers, some of the shaded areas still have snow cover, and some snow clumps are to be found here and there. It's not really spring. However, at this point, if we had a snowstorm, it wouldn't stay around long.

As I've been writing these up weekly, I realize how dull my life is. I spend a lot of time going to work and sleeping. Not enough time sleeping, for sure! Now that the weather is letting up a bit, maybe I'll be more interested in going places and doing things. This has been a winter for hibernation.

Let's see ... what interesting tidbit slice of life happenings have there been this week? Well, I was training a deaf person, giving her tests and such on the computer. I don't sign, but she can read just fine and knows how to use a computer. I found that texting technology on a cell phone is a boon for her. I was writing on a notepad while she texted and held up her phone when she had questions. I also noticed she did the equivalent of reading out loud -- she signed as she read the words on the screen. Interesting.

It's been decades since I spent any time with a deaf person. That was Teddy, a mountain of a man up in Connecticut. He was more verbal than the woman I was training, but hard to understand. He took a liking to me, bringing me newspaper articles about his boxing career in the 1940s. Apparently his deafness was related to his boxing. He started out life hearing just fine. He's probably gone of old age now. But he never would have caught on to texting. I swear his thumbs were the size of a cell-phone keypad.

On another diversity of peoples kind of note, I had one of those probably only in New Jersey or New York City moments on the train one day this week. I had chosen the "ground level" handicapped/bikes section, not the upstairs or downstairs of the double-decker train as I was carrying heavy things. There was a train quasi-friend (someone I've chatted with for a few years, but don't sit with) and strangers in the section.

All in all, we were a United Nations of passengers -- me (white, from the USA), a black man from Nigeria, a young woman raised in Puerto Rico, a woman from Jamaica, a young guy from Newark, a pasty-white young train conductor ... and we had a rip-roaring discussion. Our topic? Ethnic foods our parents and grandparents ate which we find disgusting! From pickled pigs feet to fish heads with the eyeballs to haggis, we all strained to outdo each other with the weirdest food. Perhaps it's one of those "you had to be there" times, but (to me) it was such a fantastic insight to other cultures, yet showing that we share more in common than one would think.

Onto the photos -- clicking on them will open them up larger in a new window.


The snow has hidden a multitude of sins, the detritus of mankind. Now that it's melting, there are no secrets. I thought one of the lamps had gone missing. But the snow was up over the lamp bases for weeks in this shady area. Murder by snowplow, I assume. Bridgewater, New Jersey.

Guess whose landlord?

Yep, the article on the right is about my landlord once again. If you really want to read it online, here's the link. But, just thinking -- his spokesman said something about they'll be paying February's payment (as agreed to in the bankruptcy) on Monday. Um, Monday is March 8. If I paid my March rent on that date, I'd be slapped with a late fee. I noticed that they all but ran to the bank with my rent I sent this month. I mailed it last Saturday, so they got it Monday (the 1st). The money was out of my account first thing Tuesday morning. Usually it isn't gone until sometime between the third and fifth of each month.

What would foreclosure mean to me? My biggest fear is that I wouldn't be able to get my security deposit back or would have a real legal hassle to do so. I actually think that new owners would want decent tenants to remain. But, if not, I'd have a minimum of 90 days to move. Also, it's possible that conditions and services might deteriorate under a receivership. I'm not as much worried about that as I've been dealing with the current owner ignoring things. I usually fix things in my own apartment anyway (and I'm not a destructive person). I've fixed my own toilet, but don't ask me the name of the parts. I've fixed loose doorknobs. I don't want to move. I hate moving. I like this location. I like my neighborhood. We'll see.

Watching, they're always watching

Two pigeon outposts (in the fight to overthrow mankind) observe the goings on from atop the Plainfield YWCA on East Front Street. Oh, I can think of a spring project -- scrape those window frames and fresh paint!

Man vs. nature

The clouds were great one day, so I viewed them through man's marring of the scenery. East Second Street near Union County College, Plainfield.

Hiding in plain sight

The squirrel on the post thinks I don't see him. East Front Street, Plainfield.

Ahem - car carcass?

Yes, I put the arrow in this one. This is a city lot where buildings were recently razed. What is a half of a car carcass doing in it? No, this isn't the kind of area where stolen stripped cars are all over the place. I believe the car carcass is from one of the two auto repair garages in the area. In the daytime, they park them on the street, too. East Fourth Street and Cleveland, Plainfield.

Sidenote: When I was a child living in the country, abandoned car shells in the woods were amongst our favorite play settings. Rusty springs poking through the seats, broken glass all over ... it's a wonder my generation lived to adulthood.

Today's Spanish lesson

"10 minutos para dar un paseo" means "10 minutes for a walk or stroll." Um. Well. Not sure why they came up with that. Until I looked it up, I thought it was ten minutes to answer some questions and be a part of the US Census. I guess if they said that, it would take up too much white space on the sign! Outside of Everybody's Food Market on East Front Street, Plainfield.

"I'm not talking to YOU!"

It looks like these bird soldiers on a wire are on the outs with each other. Back to back, they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other.

Birds of a feather?

You know they're plotting against us when the geese ally with the robins! I found this scene really odd as I've seen the geese chase off deer in this location. When geese chase, they're hilarious -- head and neck down horizontal to the ground and CHARGE! Bridgewater, NJ near the train station.

Payless (who'd want to Paymore?)

I edited this, making the background black and white, posterizing it a bit, while leaving the lighted windows and sign in original condition. I like this store. It's convenient and I have fat feet as well as a budget. They always have a selection of comfortable shoes for wide women feet. East Front Street and Watchung Avenue, Plainfield.

Time, time, time

See what's become of me? Obviously, I messed with the editing of this parking meter shot. I kept the meter as original, posterized the background and messed with its colors. I like experimenting with editing. Church Street in Plainfield, looking at the back of the Post Office and side of Heard One.

Jus' bikes

Again, I played with editing -- black and white posterized backgrounds, bikes in their original colors. I like that effect. Plainfield Train Station.

Stop staring at me, Regis!

Regis and Kelly greet me every morning when I get off the train in Bridgewater at the TD Bank Ball Park, home of the Somerset Patriots.


This is the elevator on Track 2. The orange box you see contains bags of salt. They're at every train station. I'm surprised they don't lock them up. Huh. With budget cuts, they may expect the passengers to maintain the platforms! Notice the trash can is clear -- that's so no bombs can be hidden. (Sure, they'll put the bombs in the unlocked salt bag bins!)

NJ Transit is in financial woes. They've done layoffs, plan a fare hike, plan to have fewer trains and buses, and have cut the company's contribution to their 401K. Even with a fare hike, it will be cheaper than owning and maintaining (and worry about shoveling out, people breaking in, hit and runs, etc.) a car for me. Meanwhile, I got a notice from my company regarding my own 401K last week. Because they had such a good year, they're increasing their contribution to my (and other 401K participants, not JUST me) 401K by 15% for my 2009 earnings. As the kids would say, "WOOT!"

NJ Transit could increase revenue by actually enforcing the $5 surcharge for buying a ticket on the train when machines or a ticket agent are available. Also, some of the conductors DO NOT DO THEIR JOBS. At least once a week, I sit in a car that no conductor bothers to come through. On the whole, most are good. But some of the deadwood needs to be thinned.

Plainfield Train Station again

This time I kept the yellow/black Plainfield sign in color, and just posterized the background a bit while not turning it black and white.

Sepia snow tracks

Another view of the train station. This was earlier this week -- most of that snow is gone now.

Vincent in profile

He caught another mouse. He still stares at the radiator a lot. I have to buy some steel wool and get down there to see where they're coming through. I keep forgetting the steel wool. Who has steel wool other than crack addicts these days?

That's it! How was your weather and week?


olddoc said...

Vincent in profile- the frame was blank but when I clicked on it an enlarged Vincent appeared.

My recent experience posting pictures from an email ended ina disaster which I am trying to remedy, since the whole package was out of this world.

Seriously I admire your ability to tweak photos and wish I had time (and patience) to do so with some of mine.

Becky said...

Ah, my favorite time of the week. Time to settle in and enjoy The Week that Was, an opportunity to peep into the life of someone else through their eyes..

Jackie, hope things work out with the apartment. I think most of us hate to move. Sometimes I like to "play like" I am going to "move" just so I get motivated to get rid of "stuff"

You wrote: It looks like these bird soldiers on a wire are on the outs with each other. Back to back, they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other.

Is this the one where the deaf policeman heard the noise? Can't remember the next line. Jackie? Was it "and came to arrest the two dead boys". I remember saying that during my long ago childhood.

I love what you do to different photographs. You are very talented. Writing, photography... do you cook?

What a handsome cat Mr. V is. I don't think you have to worry about the birds taking over your part of the world with Vincent around. I would bet you a dollar to a donut that he would be just as good a birder as a mouser.

Weather here is finally going to get in the high 70s this week. I am more than ready for a bit of spring.

Jackie said...

Becky - Unattributed folklore poetry --

One bright day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other

One was blind and the other couldn't see
So they chose a dummy for a referee
A blind man went to see fair play
A dumb man went to shout "hooray!"

A paralyzed donkey passing by
Kicked the blind man in the eye
Knocked him through a 9 inch wall
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all

A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came to arrest the 2 dead boys
If you don't believe this story's true
Ask the blind man, he saw it, too!

Jackie said...

olddoc - Always pleased to have a visit from you! I've been pondering touching on 50s television as you mentioned in your blog. I vaguely recall the advent of color television -- you remember those plastic doohickeys people would put over black and white TVs to act like they were color? Thanks for the comments on my photos.

Becky - Thanks for the comments and compliments! I do cook. However, since I'm an odd eater due to allergy and just picky eating, I tend to cook/bake what I enjoy eating. That might be a bit bland for some.

Margo said...

Yea we made it another week. Sounds like you had as much fun as me this week. I did got to see August Osage County (a play) on Tuesday. It was 3 acts 3 1/2 hours. WOW that is a late night for me. My furry babies came home from camp yesterday. They went when Mom broke her ankle so I did not have to worry about getting home to walk them and such. They were very glad to come home. Mom got her hard cast so she can walk with a walker and thinks she may come home this week. Pumpkin will be excited - she has been worried about where is Mom.
mom and I will be watching the Oscars tonight so I will have to check in late on the TAR post.
They laundry is beckoning.

Sally said...

Murder by snowplow, turkeys fraternizing with robins and dueling birds on a wire--thanks for another enjoyable Sunday visit. It's always fun to get your views of the week and to see what's caught your eye. And of course I look forward to that weekly dose of Vincent.

You're right that texting technology is a wonderful tool for people with hearing loss. A friend's teenage daughter is deaf, but cell phone/texting lets her communicate like a "normal" teenager (no TDD or special equipment needed) and her parents have peace of mind knowing they can readily reach her when she's off with friends.

I read the article about your landlord, and some of the linked articles. Sounds like a poorly managed company that's created a real mess. I'm glad to see that some of the maintenance issues have gotten media coverage and public attention--that pressure might help.

Somehow I doubt your life will ever be dull, Jackie. These weekly posts show that you're very aware of life and nature and art around you, have keen observation skills and wide-ranging interests and knowledge, are able to spot the humor or absurdity of situations, and are wonderfully clever and creative. Dull does not apply!

olddoc said...

Jackie, of course I remember the colored plastic (celluloid) sheets to palce over the 5" tobe face yo colorize the picture. Of course there was only possible one color-usually pink. There was also sheets that had magnification power, which of course increased distortion.

SueGee said...

Love the Week that was! The Deaf sure do have it better now with IM's and texting. Many, many years ago (before PC's and cell phones) a deaf friend died suddenly in a car wreck and we needed to get the word out immediately about the funeral and it was almost impossible.

1950's TV Question for us oldsters. Anyone remember a show on Saturday mornings where you had to put a plastic screen over the TV and use a "special" pen to connect the dots and get the secret messages? Pretty sure the show was out of NY and not a local Chicago one.


Jan said...

Jackie...I still haven't figured out how to do the photo editing. I did download GIMP and I do sit down and mess with it every now and then! :)

I know you are a TV person, but are you affected by the Oscar blackout?

Thanks again for entertaining us with your knowledge of all things TV!

Delee said...

Aluminum foil works if put into the holes/cracks around pipes. Plus you probably have some already!

Great week of pictures as always. Vincent looks so noble in his shot and alert to something.

I too hope and pray that the landlord mess clears up and you can stay where you are. Moving is a huge pain not counting the looking for a new place can be.

I agree about the gives me hope that the worst is over but I am not holding my breath. March can throw some deep snow our way.

wv is sweet.

Jackie said...

Jan - It's Cablevision with the WABC 7 blackout. I have Comcast. I can SO bet a lot of people will go wild on Cablevision if they don't air the Oscars. I'll miss the beginning due to The Amazing Race, but then flip over, I'm a big Steve Martin fan.

Laurie said...

Jackie, my grandmother had something to put over her tv screen that was blue on top fading as your eye looked down and turning to green on the bottom. I remember this working only on Bonanza and only sometimes there. Ah, the olden days!

You have now made me notice all the birds hanging out on the wires. Yesterday we had seagulls and we are too far inland for that. I told my husband they were plotting!

Thanks for sharing your world with us. Hugs and treats for Mr. V.

Sydney said...

Awwww, Vincent makes his appearance on schedule! I loved the silhouettes of the birds too. And your caption!

joy n said...

Lovely photos as always, Jackie.

Vincent is worth his weight in gold. Catching mice, saving the mistress of the house from those feral creatures. Good boy, Vincent!

What a wonderful train ride that must have been! If only it could be like that everyday. We all have so much to learn from each other.

That bird plotting... thick as thieves, they are. And it sounds like they are all over the country doing this. Be afraid everyone, be VERY afraid.

Well, back to the Oscars.

Arvind Chayal said...

Nice Photo Collections
Thanks for sharing with us.