Sunday, March 14, 2010

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - 03/14/10

It's Sunday morning, time for my weekly off TV topic reflection on the week gone by in words and photos I've taken. Unfortunately, between yesterday's wild weather events and the daylight saving time change, my mind is muddled. I know I wanted to talk about some things which happened earlier in the week.

I vaguely recall that the weather was gorgeous earlier in the week. The temperatures have steadily been above freezing. While I haven't seen any natural flowers (you'll see what I mean by that), I bet there are crocuses up somewhere around here. Unless, of course, they drowned last night.

Entertainment-related newsy items caught my attention this week. Cory Haim died of an accidental overdose. After watching some of the episodes of The Two Corys on A&E last year, I'm not surprised. The kid who was so strikingly handsome in The Lost Boys (a movie I own and enjoy a rewatch of now and again) had turned into a lost man. If he wasn't a childhood television star, he would have been one of the denizens of the night who roam the streets of every town and city in the country, looking for the next high. Very sad, but he reminds me of folks I've known over the years once severe drugs took hold.

The other entertainment news was more surprising -- Louie, the shorter cop in the Louie and Michael team on The Amazing Race, has been taken off the streets while an investigation into a cop-related drug ring is ongoing. Whoa! He's not one of the ones suspended, but he's confined to desk duty for the time being. He never gave me that kind of vibe. Greed, like drugs, can take over people. I hope they find that he's just a bystander or something.

Okay, I mentioned the storm yesterday, right. It actually started Friday night. It wasn't too bad coming home Friday or heading into work yesterday morning. All went kerflooey when I tried to leave last night. ("You can check out, but you can never leave ..." - "Hotel California" by The Eagles.) Now, I left work two hours early as someone offered me a ride to the nearby but oh-so-far train station. Y'see, it's only a ten minute walk. But with rain pouring sideways and up to 75 MPH wind gusts working against me, leaving two hours early just for a two-minute ride was a great idea.

As we approached the train station, a train heading west stopped. "Oh, good! The trains can still get through Bound Brook," I said. Another fear I had had was that flooding in Bound Brook would cancel eastbound trains from Bridgewater. So I went into the little building to await the train I expected in about ten minutes. Other people came. We ohhh-d at the weather raging outside.

NO ANNOUNCEMENTS THROUGH THE SPEAKERS. An hour went by, no trains from either direction. Someone was waiting on the other track to pick up a friend coming in from Newark. One by one, my little group of storm refugees gave up. One finally called her mother to check the New Jersey Transit website. All service suspended on major rail lines ... including my own Raritan Valley Line. Now, the right thing would have been to have announcements made at the stations, don't you think? We had no clue when service would be resumed and were even a bit iffy on the suspension as the mother who looked at the website was vague.

The remaining two people left and I was alone, wondering how I was going to get home and dreading the ten minute walk in the elements back to my workplace. I hung in a bit just in case a train magically appeared. But then it happened ... the huge, I mean HUGE, billboard which touted "Starships don't need keys" burst apart in one spectacular gust of wind, sounding like a giant balloon popping. As debris flew over Route 287, I thought I better get going. Somewhere just beyond the ballpark, a green-tinted explosion lighted up the sky. Then two lamps in the parking lot came down almost simultaneously.

With the wind at my back, poncho going wild, umbrella a lost cause, the weather just about blew me back uphill to work. There's a bus stop about a half-mile from work. I figured I could con someone into getting me to it. Instead, I was offered a ride all the way home. Yay! Ten minutes after she dropped me off, the Plainfield Police shut down my street at the corner. The street wasn't particularly flooded coming from the west to my building, but apparently from the east it was. I listened to my scanner for a good part of the night -- street closures, people stuck in their cars in high water, a lack of barricades, trees down ... on and on.

My power remained on through the night although it must have flickered before I got home because some of my things were flashing 12:00 and the elevator wasn't working. For the first time in the eight years I've lived here, water was coming in my exhaust fan in the kitchen and around my windows -- the sideways rain was heading right into them, was so long-lasting (hours), and intensive (MONSOON).

(ARGH - I interrupt this entry to announce it's once again pouring with thunder and lightning outside. OW OW ... chunks of hail the size of dimes are hitting my windows!) It's sideways once again hitting my windows, this time with thunder so deep it's shaking my building. Wah, wah. At least I don't have to go to work. Bound Brook, between work and me, is under a state of emergency and flooded by the Raritan River. We'll have to see if I can even get there tomorrow. Onto my photos before the power goes out -- they're basically from the most recent back to the beginning of the week, before the Storm of the Century.

Starships wouldn't be sitting ducks

The tatters of the huge "Starships don't need keys" lighted billboard flaps in the high winds last night after obliteration. This giant tri-sided billboard over Route 287 in Bridgewater exploded in the weather. The missing portion is about the length of two, maybe three, complete 18-wheeler tractor trailers nose-to-nose, and maybe five stacked tractor trailers high. It's WAY big and I'm surprised the debris didn't cause crashes on the highway. I had to duck pieces as I retreated from the train station.

Another view

You can see how completely alone I was being blown back to my workplace on foot. Wah, wah! Sniffle, sniffle, curse, curse. Bridgewater Train Station, NJ. There's a major highway between the remains of that huge billboard and me.

Worm Alert!

Yesterday, going into work, these were all over the sidewalks near the Bridgewater Train Station. Yeah, a sign of spring, but I hate playing Tip Toe Through the Worms or suffering worm mush on my boots.

I feel it's raining all over the world

Yep, just like the old song. I took this yesterday on my way to work. The rain was blowing against the plexi-glass shelter on the platform of the Plainfield Train Station. I was hiding in said shelter. You can see the light of my train in the distance. Had I known the later drama, I would have stayed home.

Friday night

This was my arrival home Friday night before all heck broke loose. Plainfield Train Station.

Whistlin' by the graveyard

I edited this shot of the cemetery behind the Friends Meeting House on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield. I left the fence pole in color while the background went black and white. I didn't whistle as I did it, though.

Plainfield Train Station Lamps

Plainfield Train Station Lamps on Drugs

Groovy, dude. I messed with one of the filters on the GIMP photo editor.

Riding on the rim

Can a bike ride on its back wheel rim? Would it squish the rim? Did someone steal the tire? Did someone ride it to the station without a tire? I just don't know. Bridgewater Train Station, NJ.

"There is nothing wrong with your television set ..."

" ... Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity." -- the opening statement of the 1960s show, The Outer Limits. The birds, in their ploy to overthrow mankind, have taken over the airwaves. Eep! North Street in Plainfield.

Oh no! They control mass transportation, too!

Birds overseeing the Plainfield Train Station in New Jersey.

The Supremo Restaurant

I frequently frequent the supermarket itself, but never have been in the restaurant. I edited this photo to only leave the canopy in color. East Front Street, Plainfield.

Who came up with the term "flea" market?

Why would someone even think that something named "flea" could be popular? East Front Street, Plainfield.

Mankind's betrayal

A home on East Front Street figures they'll be safe from the uprising of the birds just because they fed them.

Disappearing by the day

Pay phones all over are vanishing, most likely due to costs and the proliferation of cell phones. Heck, I noticed a hardcore homeless guy I've seen for years chatting on his cell phone. Despite the trend, this bank of pay phones on East Front Street in Plainfield usually have a customer or two. Yes, I messed with the editing of the photo.

The clouds move in

Plainfield Train Station under graying skies.

Into the light

A lamp at the Bridgewater Train Station.

Mobilizing the masses

Eep. The birds are gathering!

Too early!

These flowers were planted by landscapers last week in Bridgewater. This was taken early in the week. Most are dying. Now they're probably just washed into the Raritan River!

Once a 15-foot snowbank blocking my sidewalk

On Tuesday, this was what was left of the snowbank blocking my way to the Bridgewater Train Station. Now, of course, there's no snow left there at all.

Steppin' Out

I don't believe I've ever set MY shoes out on the windowsill! East Second Street, Plainfield.

Sew What?

An antique sewing machine in the window of Luigi's Tailors on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield, NJ.


I edited this shot. I love messing with editing! YWCA on East Front Street in Plainfield.

Urban Edited

This is the backside of a building which no longer boasts shipping and receiving. East Fourth Street, Plainfield.

When the weather outside is frightening ...

... Vincent will just curl up and nap.

How was your week?


Lars said...

Great blog, Great Photo's.
Hello to everyone.

14 Marts 2010

Donna in AL said...

That is probably the same storm system we have had ALL week here. We had 3 to 7 inches in a 24 hour period early in the week. It shut down roads and I delayed driving into work one morning as the local tv station was showing 2" hail and lots of cloud to ground lightening. It is still cloudy with off and on showers! I am sick of rain!
Great photos, love seeing and hearing about your week.

Margo said...

Your description on the storm sounded really scary. When the billboard exploded - I would have screamed and ran as fast as I could to some kind of shelter. Bless whoever drove you home. When you see this person next tell them your bloggy friends that them for getting our Jackie home safe.
Great photos as always.


Sally said...

I bet that's one Saturday afternoon you'll remember for quite some time! It sounds like a scene from a scary movie: alone at a train station, waiting for trains that don't come, horrible wet and windy weather outside, huge billboards explode, light posts topple over. Fortunatly your story had a happy ending. Bet home and Vincent never looked so good!

I felt like I was just getting to know the cops in last week's episode of The Amazing Race, so it's disappointing to read that Louie might be involved in a drug ring. Sure hope he's cleared by the investigation.

Sydney said...

You know who we haven't seen or heard of lately? Roofus.

Crazy storm!It's like a Hitchcock episode! Glad you're back home safe, sound and dry. And VIncent has no idea of what you'd been through right? He is now fat and happy... those scary-out-in-the-world days are over for him, thanks to you.

joy n said...

Holey Moley! What a Saturday you had. We had some strong gusts here and a some off and on rain but nothing like you endured. That had to be scary! Five years ago, we had a tornado (rare) come thru our town and it knocked over all the tall lamps in Ames parking lot and across the road from that, knocked over 12 semi trailers in the Tyco parking lot. But I was home and not IN it. Glad to hear you got home in one piece. Jeepers, that train station needs to find a way of notifying stranded people when their system shuts down.

I'm surprised that Vincent wasn't at the window trying to catch hailstones! Guess if it's not raining mice, he's not all that interested. And he definitely knows on which side his bread is buttered. He looks very comfy right where he is.

I'd read about Louis, too, and he doesn't strike me as that kind of cop either. Maybe someone with sour grapes just threw his name into it. Hope so.

Corey Haim's death wasn't exactly a shock to me either. That was a youngish man with a lot of demons. So sad.

My crocuses are finally pushing thru the dirt! The tulips will be next.

All the pix are great. LOVE the train station all wet and shiny. And the one of the drugged lights.

Thanks again for the Sunday recap of your week.

Delee said...

What an adventure you had on the way home from work yesterday and we get to share it! How did Vincent handle all the noise from the storm? Maybe all the birds have been blown away---that is what happens when they conspire to take over the world! HAHA

Around town photos always welcome...I thoroughly enjoy my weekly glimpse into your town. The flowers are pansy's and they are hardy in lower temps so I wonder why they were/are dying!

Laurie said...

Holy shit, Jackie! I read about the horrible storms online but your tale is so much more vibrant and personal. I'm so glad you are okay and that you got a ride home. Vincent is so smart to stay home where it's dry and all is provided for him!

meb said...

Jackie, you are a real trooper. I would have be terrified to go back outside once all that started happening. Thank Goodness someone took you home instead of to a bus stop.

Your story is awesome, the way you tell it. While I'm glad I wasn't in one, you made it sound like a scene from a movie, so it was neat! Guess you didn't think so, huh?

Pictures are great. I like the 'Into The Light'. It looks as though you caught the sun through a rim (not bicycle). Cool!

Thanks for the post. I enjoyed reading it.

NC in GA said...

Wow - I'm so glad you got a ride home from work! Once again a great week of photos and letting us see your part of the world! Vincent is as handsome as ever!!

Becky said...

I agree with Meb in that you turned your horrible Saturday into a remarkable read. God bless the good soul who drove you home.

As usual I really enjoyed the pictures. Thank you for capturing your world on film and letting us share it.