Sunday, June 27, 2010

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - June 27, 2010

It's time for my weekly off television topic look back at the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. Huh. Oh my. I haven't posted anything about television this week! How could that be? I guess it's a mix of being weather-related lethargic and perhaps just not overly excited about anything I have watched.

That will surely change by the end of this week as I expect the cast announcements for Big Brother to be made. The show starts on July 8, so they'll probably be in the house without active feeds by next weekend. My guess is that they'll be in sequester and doing promo bits as early as tomorrow. The official website has removed the hamster photos from last year and stuck up generic ones, thirteen in all. We could have thirteen in the house, or they might just be filling the spots from last season's photos. All the mysteries will be revealed soon.

Sigh. I so hate high temperatures accompanied by high humidity levels. I don't like to sweat unless I'm doing something physical. To stand outside not moving and sweat is annoying. I've been running my air conditioning way too much. That bill is going to be interesting! In the winter, my heat is included in my rent. However, my electricity is all on me. I told Vincent (my cat) that he needs to go out and get a job if he wants the air conditioning on while I'm at work. He scoffed.

I don't even get cross-ventilation from my windows as they all face the same direction. Well, my bathroom window (which is basically just for plain old ventilation) faces a shaft in the middle of the building. That doesn't really count. There's nothing I enjoy more than a comfortable evening with the windows open and maybe a fan going. But those nights have been few and far between this past week.

Let's see ... what else can I whine about? Hmm. Well, I was quoted in an article in the New Jersey Star Ledger (the state's main all-encompassing newspaper). My name was misspelled and the street I live on was totally off. While the news reporter was pleasant enough, he was no Mark Spivey (the more local Courier News reporter) on the case.

Of course, this was all in relation to the landlord woes of my building and so many others properties all flummoxed up by mismanagement. My quote was about knowing where my deposit is and filing a 1099 for for the first time so I can reap the gazillions in interest. Okay, not gazillions. I'm just happy to know my security deposit still exists! Oh ... and I also noted some eviction notices going up in my building. None for me. But, then again, I pay my rent.

My town (Plainfield) is still having gang-related shooting issues on the west side. Supposedly the mayor has declared a state of emergency, but I see no differences here or in my travels around downtown to the train station and such. I'm still in the situation where a teenage boy from my building exits, sees me approaching, runs back to unlock and open the front door for me with a grand gesture and a friendly greeting. I guess, although it's the people causing the problems on the west side, it's the people who make this town such a friendly place for me on the east side. I have no answers.

I missed a good photo opportunity in town yesterday as I work on Saturdays. They had a big street fair downtown. Local blogger Bernice got some good shots. I'll also miss next Saturday's 4th of July parade for the first time since I moved here nine years ago. It goes right by my building, so it's hard to miss. They always have it on the 4th and I always have the 4th off as a paid holiday (or a Sunday with another day off). This year, they're having the parade on the 3rd, a Saturday. Vincent is going to be entertained at the windows. I'll be at work.

Onto this week's shots -- clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window ...

Synchronized Squirrels

Yep, it's the Olympics of the animals! I took this shot as the squirrels frolicked on the oak trees by the Plainfield Train Station.

Just call me Butterfly Whisperer

The shots I had this spring of butterflies were in a butterfly enclosure. This one was "real life" near the Bridgewater Train Station. I had just missed shooting (with my camera) both a chipmunk and a rabbit as they ran by me. Not together, of course. I decided to stand under a tree for shade when this butterfly joined me. I took several shots. I could almost swear he was panting in the heat. He just sat on the leaf slowly opening and closing his wings.

I don't know what kind of butterfly he is. He has most of the colors of an Eastern Swallowtail, but is missing the bold definition, the orange spot, and the wing shape. With his wings outstretched, we're talking maybe around three inches. He flew away and my train came. It made my day that I got a wild butterfly without chasing it all over the place in the heat.

Added note: I found out what the butterfly is --
'Astyanax' Red-spotted Purple. Its red spots are just very muted, yet show when the photo is enlarged.

Yes, it's a New Jersey Transit bus

I still can't get used the these shrink-wrapped ads on buses (nor on buildings in the city). If you try to look out the windows from within, it's all dots obscuring the view. If you're waiting for a bus, the appearance can throw you off. I guess they make money from the ads, yet they raise the fares. That's life. On Watchung Avenue in Plainfield.

Another Day, Another Dollar

I edited this one, muting the colors on the man and making the background black and white. Early in the morning at the Plainfield Train Station.

Downtown flower

Yet another flower from the planters on East Front Street in Plainfield. Although the planters themselves aren't all that great on an aesthetic level, the flowers are very pretty this year.

East Front at Richmond

The house on the corner always has the prettiest flowers, winter decorations, and more. The one next to it is where the sunflowers are. Well, will be. Right now all the plants are much taller than me, but no flowers yet. Soon. Plainfield.

Westfield Trader Joe's

I went out to dinner then a Trader Joe's run with a friend early this week. Yes, they had my sea-salt brownies! I didn't buy any of the Two Buck Chuck you see in cases in the window (the Charles Shaw wine). I'm not a big wine drinker -- it gives me a headache. But the wine, at $2.99 a bottle, seems to have quite a group of fans. And, apparently it's decent quality, unlike Boone's Farm which I recall from my college days. (Hiccup.)

Red Sky at Night

Sailor's delight? After a quick storm passed, the clouds at sunset were nothing short of magnificent. Tuesday evening.

Lone Lily

A lone tiger lily has burst through a hedge on Berckman Street in Plainfield.

Breakfast of champions ...

... cheesy popcorn. Plainfield Train Station, early in the morning. Yes, I edited it to leave him in color, the rest black and white and "posterized."

Fuzzy Wuzzy

No wonder I'm sneezing! Not dandelions, but we're talking seed spore activity here. Bridgewater Train Station.

I Will Survive

Or, perhaps "Against All Odds." It's amazing that plants can take root in the middle of cement.

Cute Weed

I haven't a clue what it is.

Yet another weed

This plant is very tall ... some are well over three feet. The blooms are dandelion-esque, yet not quite the same. Bridgewater Train Station.

Disrepair at the YWCA

The mayor of Plainfield actually wanted to buy the building for 5.5 million dollars (when the town needs so much more important things and has budget woes). I see a lot of deterioration with the YWCA building on East Front Street in Plainfield. I understand that the Y itself is having financial woes (aren't we all?). But I can't help but think that those who benefit so much from the programs the Y offers could get together, chip the paint off, paint the window frames, and replace missing glass without a great expense. It's a gorgeous and cool building. Why are they allowing it to go to ruin?

Start spreading the News ...

Meanwhile, the State News convenience store at the corner of Watchung and East Front has new signage. I don't know whose skyline it is on the sign ... certainly not Plainfield's! I took this early in the morning before most of the businesses open.

Sittin' in the railway station ...

... got a ticket for my destination ("Homeward Bound" by Simon and Garfunkel). This young man started taking the train a few months back. He has severe vision problems and a white cane. He always wears suits, sneakers, and tucks his pants legs into his socks. I follow him getting off the train in the evening as he shouts "Let me out! Let me out!" and waves his cane around. Hey, it clears the way for me, too! Proper train etiquette is that boarding passengers wait for people to detrain, but they don't always wait.

African braids

Many of the hand-painted signs on downtown businesses look like they're decades old. It's kind of a neat trip back in time. Watchung Avenue in Plainfield.

Let me look in my (not so) crystal ball

The orange building scheme from the corner of Watchung Avenue and East Second Street as reflected in the lamp at the Plainfield Post Office.

Busy bee

I've been getting a lot of bumblebee shots as these bushes are alive with them. Most are cooperative. They're more interested in what they're doing than they are in me.

Accidental flash

These are the same weeds as I posted above, but my flash went off. I liked the darkened background.

Rent a bird feeder

Oh. I guess they mean an apartment in the house, eh? East Front Street in Plainfield, edited (obviously). I guess the tree is dead as it didn't bloom this season. It usually has pretty pink-purple blossoms. It doesn't even have a leaf this year.

East Second Street rowhouses

I don't think "rowhouse" really applies, but I can't think of another name for them. They round the corner at Church Street and have a bit of a courtyard in the back. Alas, although some details are nice such as the painting of the trim, they're rundown. When I walk by and a door is open into a hallway, they're rough. No wonder the landlord offers two free months of rent!

Also, when I go by, all I can think of is a line from an old Supremes song, "Love Child" -- "I started my life in a old cold rundown tenement slum (tenement slum), my father left and never even married Mom (married Mom) ..." Oh, great. Now I'm singing.

I will just lie here and look listless

This is part of Vincent's morning routine on a workday (of mine, not his). I pay attention to him when I get up. He sits on my lap or shoulder as I have coffee. But once I have to actually get ready, he goes to his chair, literally falls over to his side, and looks listless and forlorn. I can only think that he believes I go off having great adventures every day and leave him home.

How was your week?


Anonymous said...

I don't tell you enough how much I enjoy your weekly pictures and posts....and especially Vincents pic.
I started reading your blog a few years ago with Big Brother and have enjoyed so much more than that since. Thanks for all you write and do.

Sally said...

Another enjoyable installment of your slice-of-live commentary snd photos! And now I have a Simon and Garfunkel tune running though my mind...certainly not a bad thing.

The houses with all the flowers are neat. I've always though it would be fun to have a turret room, to read or write or just look out the windows. And wrap-around porches look so inviting.

Another great pic of Vincent. What a handsome dude.

Laurie said...

Well, it was fun singing all those songs as I read the blog this morning. You have such a good eye for composition and I can "see" you with that camera focused and ready for the shot.

So sorry about that terrible heat. I think Vincent is just lying there thinking about what he'll do during the day while you are gone. Do you ever find him in the sink or in the tub when you get home?

Anonymous said...

another great non tv week;y blog! love the butterfly and the bird feeder for rent photos! vincent looks so relaxed and content! -jeannemarie