Sunday, March 21, 2010

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - 3/21/10

Happy Sunday morning to everyone! Since it's Sunday, it's time for my weekly off TV topic reflection back on the week gone by in words and photographs I've taken. After a rough start with rain, wind, and cold temperatures, spring burst upon us before the calendar declared it. From Wednesday until this morning, it's been sunny with temperatures in the 60s and even low 70s. That's my kind of weather! I don't care for the hot days of summer, but this is perfect for me.

As I commuted to work this week, the town of Bound Brook was bypassed due to the flooding. I had hoped to get some decent shots, but the train sped through the town. It's sad to see personal belongings stacked on the curbs, the fluorescent orange "Danger - Don't Enter" stickers on some doors, as the townspeople go about doing flood clean up once again. A restaurant which had been abandoned after the last flood had just reopened under new ownership a few months back. Now it's closed again. The actual waters had receded from the Main Street area by Monday. However, the town's power was shut down and they weren't letting folks drive or come by train.

I found out that flood waters weren't all that far away from my own place. While I didn't go out last Sunday when the weather was still bad, I could see the debris line where street flooding (not river, like Bound Brook) hit from next door to next door and east down my very own street. At the nearby church and the home on the other side, water had flooded a good thirty feet to the front steps. No wonder my street got shut down!

Outside of the weather, nothing eventful has really happened this week for me. No good news, no bad news, just kind of rolling on. Well, you know, that's how I roll. I was reminded one day how much I'm enjoying living in this town and how friendly the people are when compared to other places I've lived. I know a big part of it is my pedestrian ways -- you see the same people day after day exchanging pleasantries and the next thing you know, it's a friendly world after all. Throw in the diversity factor you encounter living in Plainfield, and it's always interesting, too.

On the Internet, I'm quite vocal. However, I'm more of a loner in life. By getting out and about on foot, I've met more people and become friends than I have in years outside of friends I've made through the workplace. I don't go to bars; I don't carouse.

One day this week, I chatted and mocked passersby with "pants on the ground" with a long time bus stop friend. I got off the bus, stopped in the bodega where I was greeted with "Mommy!" and asked if I wanted to run off to Guatemala by the man behind the counter (who seems to have some sort of odd crush on me). Then I bumped into Big Marvin and his little dog Princess as I walked home from the bodega. He looks like some kind of linebacker and is a corrections officer. The dog is a lhasa apso, usually wearing bows. We talked about the Storm of the Century for a bit, then went our separate ways. Then I was joined by Steve from upstairs with his son Christian (of the snowman fame) and the new baby boy (whose name I haven't a clue). Christian told me tales of going outside to play at school for the first time since fall. As we talked, Jake rode by on his bike shouting a hello. For me, this is a wondrous thing.

Heck, Plainfield tends to have a bad reputation spread by people who don't live here. Yet, it's the friendliest place I've lived in decades and the friendly people come from all races, cultures, and walks of life. I like that. I spent my childhood years in an area where everyone was pretty much the same. As an observer of people type person, this is much more intriguing and rewarding.

Onto the photos I've taken this week -- clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window ...


This is the view out the train window in Dunellen, NJ. I don't think that police incident command van has moved since I've lived here. I guess Dunellen doesn't have many incidents, eh? I edited this shot leaving the sign in color, background black and white and "posterized."

Seagull Incident Command

Yep, the seagulls are guarding East Front Street in Plainfield. No, we're not a shore town. But that never stops seagulls. I recall them hanging out at dumps in way upstate New York, as landlocked as you can get without being in the Midwest. Of course, these seagulls are probably soldiers in the war to overthrow mankind.

I Keep Looking for Dog, the Bounty Hunter

But he's never at these bail bond places. Strategically placed near the police station, I guess Action does get some action. But not from me. I'd have to drastically change my lifestyle to get arrested these days and I don't like hassles. Thus, I won't be stepping in the door. Watchung Avenue and East Fourth Street in Plainfield. I edited the shot, obviously.

Wired Sunset

I took this last night from near the Bridgewater Train Station as I was heading home from work. It would be nice if the ball park kept all of their lights lit as the dark one annoys me. But they don't care.

Ohh! Flowers!

Nope, not naturally growing -- someone planted these daffodils. I'm still looking for natural flowers blooming and haven't even come across a crocus yet. I know they must be out there! This is in the cemetery behind the Friends Meeting House on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield. They probably should have raked, too. I couldn't get close as there's a fence between the flowers and me.

Ohh! BUD!

Yes, spring is on the way! The trees on Church Street all of a sudden sprouted buds. Soon the trees lining both sides of the street will be in full bloom. It makes me sneeze, but they're so pretty every spring. Church Street in Plainfield, outside of the Union County College building.

Sunset over the Field of Geese

Back to the sunset from last night in Bridgewater. The geese were honking, soon the ducks will join in quacking. Then it's a cacophony of honk, honk, quack, quack. I'm awaiting the return of the chipmunks, groundhogs, and the occasional fox.

When is a tree not a tree?

When it's a shadow! The harsh angles of the winter sun are lessening and this could be my last chance shot of this for a while. The side of the Friends Meeting House (Quakers) on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield.

Those kids!

I met these two high school kids on East Front Street in downtown Plainfield on Wednesday. Alas, the sun was so bright that it washed out the green of the girl's pants. They looked so SPRING that I asked if I could take their photo. They cheerfully obliged and seemed to be very nice kids. Their parents should be proud. And, of course, she's the epitome of teenage fashion with those glasses and the outfit! I edited the shot to make the background black and white.

You can take that to the bank

Um, is this a secure way to transport your millions? Could it be a crime in progress? I just don't know. But it's not every day you see and armored truck being hauled away. East Front Street in Plainfield.

How many PPD dudes does it take to change a light bulb?

Okay, I'm joking. I believe they're doing more than changing the light bulb. I caught this scene on the corner of East Second Street and Watchung Avenue in Plainfield.

Huh? A relatively empty Plainfield Post Office?

I was shocked when I went to mail a certified letter this past Wednesday. I dread going to the main Post Office on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield because there's usually a line of twenty or thirty people and everyone has an involved transaction. But I went in and only one person was being waited on and no one else was in line! Unfortunately, only one window was open and the clerk was CHATTING with the person being waited on. So, I still had a wait. But nowhere near as long. This is a long shot of the mailbox area. I don't have a mailbox there.

Mother Lucky Spot Deli

This deli on the corner of East Second and Richmond in Plainfield has changed hands more than a few times since I've lived in town. Yet, the original old "Lucky Spot Deli" sign remains no matter the name change. Yes, another edited photo.

Early morning yellow

This is the scene on North Avenue and Gavett Place early one morning this week. I edited it to leave the cab and street cleaner machines in their brilliant yellows while the background went sepia.

Ohh! More spring!

It's nice to see green again.

Fire Alarm Telegraph Cable Box

Sigh. When I got my first digital camera in 2003, I roamed about town taking photos of as many of the police and fire boxes I could find. Many are cool and sort of historical like this one. In the years since, most of the doors to them have vanished, either being sold on eBay or for scrap metal by druggies. I have to find my old files of the photos. This one is on Watchung Avenue near the Plainfield Train Station. I've closed its door twice this week. I bet the door will vanish before long. Why can't people just leave cool things alone?

Starling standing guard

He's working his assigned post, I'm sure.

Mourning doves marching on

Perhaps reluctant soldiers in their plot to overthrow mankind, the doves are pacifists at heart. I edited this shot taken at the Bridgewater Train Station overpass.

Men in Pink

I'm sure they were originally red. This is a junkyard I see from the train near the Dunellen - Bound Brook area. I edited the shot to leave the men pink.

Don't judge me by the color, confuse it for another
You might regret what you let slip away
Like the geek in the pink
Like the geek in the pink, pink, pink
The geek in the pink, yeah -"Geek in the Pink" by Jason Mraz

Status of the "Starships Don't Need Keys" billboard

The rest of the sign remained intact, yet no one has repaired the missing section obliterated in last week's storm.

Bound Brook pre-dawn Monday morning

The train actually made a stop in Bound Brook before the daylight on Monday. It was the last stop made there until late Friday afternoon. I have no clue why they stopped there Monday. The town's power had been cut off although the flood waters had receded. I had to lighten this shot some just so it didn't look like a rectangle of black. The light in the background comes from one of the trucks with lights like you see at night construction spots. Those were placed every few blocks up on the hill.

My local aftermath

It was raining (again, still, whatever) as I headed to the train Monday morning. Thanks to daylight saving time, it's also dark again at that hour. This is the west corner of my street, not where the flooding was its worst. Plainfield Police, who scrambled for their barriers during the flooding, left the sawhorses there all week. No wonder they can't find them when they need them. The corner of East Front and Richmond in Plainfield.

Vincent takes yet another catnap

Trust me, he's active enough, though! He's no longer the lanky street stray with the coarse fur I adopted six months ago. He's to the point where I'm going to have to start watching his weight and his fur has gone all glossy and soft. He's a happy cat and I'm happy to know him ... and be owned by him.

How was your week?


Margo said...

Hey Jackie -
We made it thru another week!! I'm glad to read about all your friends you visited with this week. I love when the weather gets nice and people venture out more and are friendly.
I posted the DWTS Pool Match-ups on your last post and I somehow left a few people off the list. I will be updating it today if anyone else wants to play.
This is who I have:
Aiden & Edyta - Delee
Buzz & Ashley - ML, Donna in AL
Chad & Cheryl - Donna in FL
Erin & Maks - Rbennie
Evan & Anna - Margo
Jake & Chelsie - PDXGranny, JoyN
Kate & Tony - Tessa
Nicole & Derek - Meb
Niecy & Louis - Becky
Pamela & Damian - Sydney, Monty 924
Shannon & Mark - Jennasmom, Nana in NW

And I am adding Laurie and Terry in CA


Jackie said...

Margo - I'll be setting up a discussion post for the show later today. Thanks for doing the pool!

Sally said...

The Plainfield Chammber of Commerce should hire you! Your photos and words promote the city very nicely. Especially liked your description of the friends and neighbors you encounter on your way home from the train.

It's great to see the early buds of spring, and the sepia pictures are nice. And Vincent--what a difference a few months of love, good nutrition and the comforts of home can make!

Becky said...

Another week of great pictures. I agree with Sally the CoC should hire you. I know you have sparked an interest for me to see Plainfield someday.

Margo, thanks for doing the pool again. Why isn't your Mom playing this time? How is she doing?

Margo said...

Mom is fine she is sharing Evan with me. And we are gonna WIN!! Unless he spreads himself to thin by doing a ice show tour at the same time. That sounds really stupid to me.

I saw Pamela and her dance partner on Ellen last week. He is from Australia and very cute.


meb said...

As usual, great photos Jackie. And you amaze me that you can pick the words to a song 'out of a hat' so to speak and just write them down to go with what story you may be telling.

Vincent looks so content. He's glad HE adopted YOU, too.

I loved the yellow house with the tree shadow. My favorite of the week.

Weather here was beautiful this weekend but understand it's going to get cold again. Ahhhhh! NC has been cold long enough!