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.
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.
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!
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.
The squirrel on the post thinks I don't see him. East Front Street, Plainfield.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Again, I played with editing -- black and white posterized backgrounds, bikes in their original colors. I like that effect. Plainfield Train Station.
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.
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.
Another view of the train station. This was earlier this week -- most of that snow is gone now.
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?