Sunday, July 11, 2010

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - July 11, 2010

I realize I have an influx of Big Brother 12 fans aboard this week. Just to let you know, every Sunday morning I reflect on the week gone by in words and photos I've taken. I will be posting the latest live feeds news from the house a bit later. But, for now, I'm off topic.

This week was one of the hottest ones I can recall in my lifetime. The high on Tuesday was 105. Even when the heat wave broke late in the week, it was 89 with very high humidity. I actually like the winter better than what I went through this week. I'm SO dreading my electricity bill because I kept my AC on so much! We need rain, too. I surely thought I sweated enough to take care of that, but apparently not.

The west side of town and its shootings seemed to have calmed down some. Perhaps the heat kept people indoors more. I guess if folks can afford handguns, they can afford air conditioners.

Beside the heat, the big event of the week was the season premiere and kick-off of Big Brother 12 on Thursday night. For me, it marks the start of a rather grueling three months or so of reporting live feed happenings and reviewing show episodes three times a week for TV Squad. Don't get me wrong, I anticipate the challenge each season! How long can Jackie survive on little to no sleep? ;-)

We tested the elevator at my apartment building. One day this week, the rather large man who lives directly above me, a woman who regularly visits someone in the building, Steve and his bicycle from upstairs and I all got in at the same time. It got us to our destinations! However, I noticed the door doesn't always go all the way into its groove once it opens on the second floor. Today I came home with groceries and ended up running upstairs to push the door into place so it would know to close, then downstairs to load my groceries in once it arrived. I'll have to let the people running the place know.

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

As high as an elephant's eye ...

The sunflowers on East Front Street (Plainfield) are way taller than I am. That top peak one has to be over 8 feet high! Alas, due to the lack of rain, I'm seeing a lot of browning and dying leaves at the bottom. The plants themselves aren't as fat as in previous years, either.

Up against the tree, squirrel! Hands up!

Resting on the base of an oak tree at the Plainfield Train Station.

You'll never catch me, copper!

Blue damselfly on a poison ivy vine

These damselflies really need to stay still longer! It's hard to get a shot of them.

Blue fly on a stinkhorn mushroom

Oh my. He seems to be eating the stuff that supposedly smells like carrion off of the mushroom. The stinkhorns have been making rapid appearances and shriveling away within a day lately. No. No sexual innuendo there. Really!

Sign(s) of the times

Open windows and air conditioners. I'm not sure how folks do without screens. I know that I get the occasional outside bug in here and I have screens. Don't birds fly in? North Avenue, Plainfield.

In which I risk my life once again for the shot

This is a yellow jacket, a member of the wasp family. I am allergic. Yet I'm strangely drawn to photograph stuff. And, there he was. I edited the shot to make the background black and white (really, gray) and leave the yellow jacket in color. Do you know that they're one of the most likely to sting and they can sting multiple times? Bridgewater, NJ.

Could he be the culprit?

I'm seeing a lot of beetle-type damage to the poison ivy and other plants at the Bridgewater Train Station -- obviously not so much on the leaves pictured here. I haven't seen the usual suspects, Japanese beetles, around. Yet this tiny kind of iridescent blue beetles are there. By the way, not only the leaves of three, but the "hairy" vines are indicative of poison ivy.

The yellow jackets have appropriated some real estate

This is where I'm getting the yellow jacket photos from. I think they're building a nest or something in there. The two on the right side are dead. Almost like a whale beaching, they nudged themselves into that crevice and got stuck. I wasn't about to rescue them! There are about ten honor boxes in a row there. Only this one has yellow jackets in it. No one has tried to fill it lately. I wonder why?

Just a weed

But if you look closely, there's a small bee and a large ant on it!

Trouble ahead, trouble behind

"And you know that notion just crossed my mind." - 'Casey Jones' by The Grateful Dead. Nah, nothing to do with drug troubles. I'm talking heat problems. I never realized that intense heat will swell railroad tracks and slow down the trains. Plus, the new engines running these double-deckers automatically shut down (and stop the train) when they reach 140 degrees. The railroad lines with electric engines had more trouble than mine with diesel. But we were still late a lot. Plainfield Train Station in the early morning haze.

Yay, sunflower in bloom!

Can you find the honeybee in the shot? I saw chocolate-covered sunflower seeds in a store. Now, had they been dark chocolate-covered, I would have had to give them a go. East Front Street.

In which I mess with the colors

East Second Street in Plainfield.

Dog Day Afternoon

The black chihuahua is my downstairs neighbor. He has a friend staying with him. Yes, I hear yaps and yips. I could send Vincent down to put them in their place! Notice how brown the grass is. We're not under any water restrictions here (that I know of), but many places in New Jersey are. "Man, it's a hot one, like seven inches from the midday sun ..." - 'Smooth' by Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas

More sunflower action

These are really great! I love me some sunflowers.

No, I'm not going inside!

I played a bit with the editing of this shot. I liked the sun and shadows on the building and its letters. I've never been inside. I'm sure my knee would set off the metal detectors. Watchung Avenue.

Hot town, summer in the city

"Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty, been down, isn't it a pity, doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city ..." - 'Summer in the City' by The Lovin' Spoonful. I messed a bit with this one, too. Watchung Avenue and Court Place, Plainfield.

Gravity-defying moth

He's just hanging around.

There he is, right-side up!

Some kind of wasp ritual?

The Real Estate yellow jackets are forming a new society, I guess.

Quiet morning

I worked on Monday, a holiday for many people. The streets of Plainfield were deserted. Watchung Avenue. And, yes, I edited it just to leave the railroad bridge in color.

Johnny on the Spot

Thankfully these only remained up three days after the parade. One year one sat on the lawn at my building for almost two weeks! East Front and Richmond.

What? You say it's hot outside?

Vincent remains comfortable during this horrid weather. If you recall he was a stray picked up in Riverside Park in Manhattan. I adopted him from New York City Animal Care and Control, the shelter system which covers all of the boroughs. Well, some creep is beating up women in the park now. I'm so glad Vincent isn't wandering the streets of NYC these days. He probably is, too.

How was your week?


Petals said...

G'morning Ms Jackie & E'one!
I love your photos, they make me homesick for NJ.
I am pet, plant & house-sitting for my best friend, and being here is like being on vacation from "real life". Love it here, is so peaceful.
Jackie, the kitty here is Anime', and she is a Scottish Fold-mix, with the teensiest, highest-pitched squeek of a meow. I love hearing her "talk", LOL.
How is Vincent fairing in the heat wave you have? How about Roofus?

Delee said...

I agree the heat was overbearing! We finally received rain Fri night into Sat morning.

Yellow jacket stings are horrible. One time when small was eating a creamsicle and did not know one was on the underside. Yep it stung me inside my mouth.

Bugs-flowers-dogs and all the other shots start my week in a happy mood!!!

See all 2nite for BB!

meb said...

Morning all. Jackie, the pictures are great, especially the one of Vincent. He is a hunk! LOL

The heat has been unbearable for most here in NC as well, but I love it. Don't care that I sweat... I hate the cold, so this season was made especially for me.

Our inside pets are so fortunate. Feel sorry for the pets people leave outside in this kind of heat. Even my squirrels in the back yard don't venture out. My Buddy, who likes to chase them back up in their trees, is getting absolutely no exercise.


RJM in SC said...

Good Morning Jackie,
Thanks for clarifying that blue fly was on a stinkhorn mushroom! lol. Now going to get my mind out of the gutter. Great pics as usual.

Laurie said...

Good Sunday morning, Jackie. I love the sunflowers. For some reason ours bloomed early and faded quickly this year. I miss them as do the birds and the bees.

As always, I enjoyed your pictures and your humor. Oh, and Vincent, the most fortunate cat of all!

PS Just saw the horseshoe crabs mating at the end of CBS Sunday morning and imagined your take on that!

PDX Granny said...

Lovin' your week in review, as usual. Glad your heat wave is over, if you consider 89 not part of a heat wave. I certainly would!!

I've been wondering about Roofus too. Have there been any sightings lately?

Jackie said...

Roofus seems to be gone. He hasn't been able to access the roof in months and doesn't seem to be in the old rental car garage, either. I've looked and both Roofus and the gray cat are gone or into hiding.

Officially a heat wave has to have 90 degrees or more on consecutive days.

joy n said...

Loved the pix, especially the squirrels and sunflowers. Those stinkhorn mushrooms are so weird looking. Vincent looking very comfy as usual. Guess we won't be seeing Roofus anymore. Very sad. Just hope he has a safe place to hang out.

Our heat wave never got above 90. We've had two days of 80's but 96 is possible for manana. I hate this sweaty weather, too. So lucky to have AC.