Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Survivor: Nicaragua - Sept. 29 Episode Blog Party Post


Survivors Ready?

Welcome one, welcome all! It's the third episode and the blog party is ready to start! Everyone is welcome to join in with comments as the show airs here on the East Coast or even later in West Coast time.

Just a warning -- I'm SO sick with a killer cold and will try to post the major happenings in this entry. But, if I don't, the comments should have the latest.

Younger tribe wins immunity and reward.

Jimmy Johnson was voted out.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Amazing Race - Season Premiere Blog Party!

Jackie's TV Blog, Amazing Race, TAR

Yes, it's that time of year again! It's time for a whirlwind exciting and hopefully very entertaining trip around the world. I think that we'll all find teams to cheer on this season -- it looks like a good bunch for the most part. I think the show might be starting late due to football, but I'll get this up on time.

As the show airs here on the East Coast, I'll update this post with major happenings. Later tonight (or at least by morning) my show review should be posted over on TV Squad. But the real fun will be during showtime right here in the comments area. LifeGuard Laurie is running the pool and here are the pool picks for those who are taking the splash --

* Andie & Jenna ... Margo, Sally, Caela
* Brook & Claire ... Jackie, ML, Lynn1
* Chad & Stephanie ... Zoetawny, Dusty, Donna in AL
* Connor & Jonathan ... Sydney, Nana of the NW,Lisanne
* Gary & Mallory ... Monty 924, RBennie, Lars
* Jill & Thomas ... Laurie, Buzzman, JennasMom
* Katie & Rachel ... SueGee, SharonS Ben
* Michael & Kevin ... Donna in FL, DKNYNC, Brent
* Nat & Kat ... meb, PDX Granny, Delee
* Nick & Vicki ... Becky, Karen in CA, dla
* Ron & Tony ... Terry in CA, joy n, Merrilee

Teams ready? GO!

The Express Pass, new this season, will go to the winners of the first leg. It will allow them to bypass a challenge of their choice later on.

They are headed from Massachusetts to London.

Jill and Thomas were first to the pit stop, winning the Express Pass and apparently nothing else.
2. Nat and Kat
3. Connor and Jonathan
4. Brook and Clair
5. Katie and Rachel
6. Gary and Mallory
7. Kevin and Michael
8. Chad and Stephanie
9. Andie and Jenna
10. Nick and Vicki
11. Ron and Tony - Philiminated

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - September 26, 2010

It's Sunday morning, time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. This week is a bit image heavy so I'll be keeping the words part a bit light.

That's all.

Well, maybe not.

The majority of the photos I'm posting today were taken last Sunday when I spent the day at Skaters Circle in Central Park (Manhattan). The Central Park Dance Skaters Association throws a free skating shindig every weekend, weather permitting. I used to go regularly and skate, but the knees have done that in. Some of the folks remembered me, so that was nice.

In addition to photographing the rain, the park and other things (okay, no rain, but I'm thinking of the old Cowsills song "I love the flower girl ... dah, dah ..."), I took a lot of video. I posted a brief clip early in the week. However, I plan on making a mini-movie during the upcoming week as I am having another staycation.

About the only other thing of interest beside work is that I selected my shots for the Plainfield Library photo competition and had them printed into 8 by 10s. I don't really trust my own printer. I'll be dropping them off to the library just shy of the October 1st deadline.

Now, enough said and onto the (million) photos for this week. Clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window.

Police Activity

East Fourth Street in Plainfield. Hmmm ... three marked cars and an unmarked car. I don't think it's a run-of-the-mill traffic stop.

My Baby Takes the Morning Train ...

and then another home again. My apologies to Sheena Easton. Plainfield Train Station.

Busy Bee

It's time for the carpenter bees. Now if the weather would actually turn fall-like. It's actually supposed to cool off today. Yay! Bridgewater, NJ.

Into the city ...

Under Penn Station

I had a few errands to run downtown (in Plainfield), so I took the train into town. I took the bus home from Port Authority Bus Terminal near Times Square because that stops right in front of my apartment building.

Midtown Tourists

I like to take pictures of the tourists on the double-decker tourist buses as they take pictures. I'm not too keen on the ads on the buses (and everywhere else), but ad revenue sources are everywhere these days.

Gah. Gah. I can't breathe!

The subways are all out of whack this weekend and last for track work. Canceled trains, the One line shut entirely down, etc. As a result, the trains are jam-packed. I had to take a few different lines to get where I was going. I was shocked on one crowded train when a man stood up and offered me his seat. That has never happened to me! It was a seat by a door and a cop came along and stood in the doorway with his gun hitting my ear for two stops. But at least I was sitting!

Hubba hubba!

Ohhh, cute NYPD cops. Yeah, go ahead, call me a cougar.
Hubba ...

Waiting for the subway train

The price goes up, the service goes down. Soon we'll all be like Charlie on the MTA -- the man who never returned.

Migrating Monarch

Sure, they're all over the place on their 3,000 mile annual migration and the best photo I got of one was in Central Park.


The tribute to John Lennon in Strawberry Fields, Central Park. There was a tribute band playing just outside the quiet zone.

Call me a cab!

Although it looks like the pedi-cab is passing the horse, that's not going to happen. They're on a slight grade and the pedi-cabs all seem to be set in really low gears causing the human horses to pedal frantically and go almost nowhere up hills. The hansom cab (horse) can only travel in that lane.

Forget the wedding party in the cab!
I needs me some grass!

Sheep Meadow in Central Park

No, I don't sun, thank you very much.

Central Park is a peaceful oasis
surrounded by the city.

Looks are deceiving

This man can skate. Yes, he can. Once I get the video put together, you'll see.

Purty as a postcard

Fleet feet

Meeting of the skates

Balancing Act

This guy's been around for years at the Skaters Circle. He's usually with Bladie Flowness, a one-man tourist attraction (looks like George Clinton and drives a pimped-out tricycle while hawking his CDs), but he was solo Sunday. BTW - those are bottles of water and yes, he's on skates.

I forgot to mention the pants

Both this guy and Bladie wear these big harem pants. Actually, they should be great to skate in.

You can take the crosstown bus If it's raining or is cold The animals will love you if you do
"At the Zoo" - Simon and Garfunkel

It wasn't raining. It wasn't cold. But this is indeed a crosstown bus.


One building is mirrored in another building's windows. So I shot it.

Going nowhere fast

When I left Sunday evening from Port Authority, the traffic was worse than at the weekday rush hours. I have no clue. The buses have their own ramps out of Port Authority and don't deal with this.

Hey, Vincent! Look up!

Heehee. gotcha!
"That's not funny."

How was your week? Don't forget to stop by for The Amazing Race blog party later tonight!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Amazing Race - Looking at the New Teams, Part 2

Finally, I'm getting to the rest of the teams -- you can find my look at the first five teams right here. The season premiere is this Sunday evening. Of course (it should go without saying, but I'll say it) there will be an episode blog post party going on when the show starts (8:30 PM ET) -- everyone is invited to join in. LifeGuard Laurie is in charge of the blog pool. Who wants to cover the cyber drinks?

Jill and Thomas: A dating couple, I don't know if it's just my mood or what ... but is he really very monotone and did they say "We want to win" a quadrillion times? They sound like they might be Bickering Bickersons, but you can't tell from the monotony of this video. The video left me not caring about this team at all, good or bad. They're just kind of there.

Katie and Rachel: Jersey Girls! Like the one from Cranford on the Princeton team, Katie lives quite nearby me in Rahway. Note that she does NOT talk like Enzo from BB12! I have to give Rachel kudos in the video for not mentioning that Katie's hair kept blowing in her face. They're young, but they might be a strong female team. Once the season starts, I would appreciate name tags so I can tell them apart. SO many young blond women with roughly the same length hair this season!

Michael and Kevin: Now, THIS father is the oldest one in the race at 58 as opposed to Gary at 53. Kevin is the youngest contestant so far at 20 but he seems to be pretty driven for his age. If you can't tell, they're Texans. I found the videos. I think I'm going to enjoy these two, but it would take them a miracle to win the big prize. Here's one of the YouTube videos of Kevin's:

Nat and Kat: They're self-proclaimed nerds, two young women doctors heavily in debt with student loans. So, we know where the money would go if they were to win! I can't imagine the cost of becoming a doctor these days. I like these two based on the video. I particularly liked the "karma" reference. Hopefully they won't namby-pamby out, yet won't be underhanded either.

Nick and Vicki: After Nat and Pat, I want to dub these two Nicky and Vicki. I guess they're down to earth -- she said it enough, as well as the "judging a book by the cover bit." When she first spoke, she reminded me a bit of Rachel "I AM VEGAS!" But as it went on, not so much. I don't know. I'm not overly impressed by the mohawk and the tattoos, but floats his boat. Most men are over that by the time they're 30. However, he is a bartender so perhaps he thinks he's a rock star. Oh, wait ... I'm forming opinions. I'll stop that. I think this team could possibly do well. Maybe.

Ron and Tony: These two might be the closest we have to an alpha male team this season. That is if it's slightly aged (40s) theater circuit alphas. I do like them. I think they're going to be entertaining. I even laughed for a moment in the video. But do they have what it takes to win? I guess we'll see. Like Nick and Vicky, they plan to lay low in the beginning, then sprint to the finish.

So, there are the teams. I think we have some entertainment ahead of us, don't you?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

TV Tidbits and Stuff

My season premiere review of The Big Bang Theory is up over on CliqueClack TV. Sheldon had a date with Blossom ... er, Amy (played by Mayim Bialik). After the horrible skit on last night's The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, it's good to see they weren't tainted. I was so happy when Jim Parsons won the Emmy for his role. Although I do think it comes easy -- he seems quite Sheldon-ish himself.

If Tim Curry is going to have nasty funky teeth, he should just be Pennywise the Dancing Clown (from Stephen King's It). Last night's Criminal Minds finished off the storyline we left off with at the beginning of the summer. Curry, although a very twisted "unsub" who became "knownsub," was creepy ... but nowhere near the performance as Pennywise.

I loved the flashbacks in time with the mother and son (Curry) as a child, all playing Leonard Cohen tunes. The music just so fit into it all. Cohen's poetry and songs have intrigued me for decades. The best video for "Dance Me to the End of Love" (one of the songs featured in Criminal Minds) is this one. Trust me, it's very beautiful and touching.

In other show talk, I fear the new show The Defenders didn't keep my attention. I was looking forward to it as I've always liked Jerry O'Connell. But it just didn't do it for me. Sigh. Perhaps if they brought back the original The Defenders from the early 1960s with the Brady Bunch father Robert Reed and E.G. Marshall, I might watch.

Tomorrow night, besides getting the rest of The Amazing Race teams up, I plan on watching CSI:NY and Blue Bloods. I'll admit being a bit partial to NYC-based shows as it's cool to see places I've actually seen! I'm a cop show buff, so I do have high hopes for Blue Bloods. We'll see.

Don't forget ... only two nights left of dancing animals on The Late Show with David Letterman!

We all float down here ...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Survivor: Nicaragua - Sept. 22 Episode Blog Party Post


Survivors Ready?

Welcome one, welcome all! It's the second episode and the blog party is ready to start! Everyone is welcome to join in with comments as the show airs here on the East Coast or even later in West Coast time.

I may or may not be here tonight as a huge line of storms is coming this way. If I'm here, I'll be posting commentary and major happenings right here in this post as the show airs. If I'm not here, then I'm sitting in the dark watching the lightning outside. If that's the case, carry on!

Wait ... I know y'all like to carry on anyway!

Woohoo! The older tribe won reward and immunity! They chose fishing gear over a tarp for their reward.

The weather is wicked here. I may still be lost.

Shannon, the big-mouthed good-looking schemer, was voted out.

TV Tidbits and Stuff

I'll most likely be recording the show (above) as I'm not too good at staying up until almost 2 AM, then getting up at 6 AM to get ready for work. I'm a huge The Big Bang Theory fan, so I do need to see this! Tomorrow evening, I'll be writing up my review of the season premiere for CliqueClack TV. I'll post that link once the review is done and up.

I had planned to get the second batch of The Amazing Race teams up today, but you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men. I'm neither a mouse, nor a man ... yet it applies. I had an unexplained inexplicable power outage here which sort of set me awry. The power company sent someone who didn't bother to tell me what happened, but my power returned after he did something down in the basement.

Then I got looking through my gazillion photo files to decide on which ones I'm submitting to the Plainfield Library Photo Contest and get them on a disk so I can drop them off for printing tomorrow. I don't trust my printer so much with photos. The deadline is next week, so I needed to get it done.

As a result of my day, I'll be posting the remaining five TAR teams on Friday evening after work. My apologies to those who have been waiting with bated breath for them today!

I hope you'll stop back a bit later for the Survivor blog party. I'm actually going to get the post set and scheduled to post as soon as I finish this as extreme weather is due here right smack at the start of the show. So, if I'm really quiet after the initial post, you'll know the storm hit hard. Hopefully, that won't be the case. At least with the scheduling thingee, the post will pop up right when I schedule it. Cool.

The local radar from WCBS2 at 7:23 PM. I live where you see that red dot. Argh ... it's going to hit right when Survivor starts!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Closer Look at the TAR Teams - Part 1

The teams for The Amazing Race seem a bit different from past seasons. I'd say they're still trying to get away from the alpha male teams who seem to take over the wins. That's good and it's bad, too. While I never liked an alpha male advantage, I often enjoyed teams like the cowboys and the hippies. Now, in a way, it's more fair for all ages and physical abilities, but I found the challenges a bit less challenging. Oh, well ... it's still guaranteed to be a whirlwind trip.

The CBS videos of the first five teams and a brief commentary from me follows. I'll do the second five teams tomorrow. LifeGuard Laurie is still taking names for the blog pool, but get your name in soon!

Andie and Jenna: I'm not quite sure the show is really the place to make such an important relationship introduction -- often teams who have a fantastic relationship have rocky times on the show. I hope they do well as it's all noble on each of their parts. I guess we'll see.

Brook and Claire: Hmmm. They definitely have spunk. I think they might be entertaining and do fairly well. I don't ever watch any home shopping networks (my idea of home shopping is going to, so I have no clue who these two are even if they think they're celebrities. I was a bit turned off in the bio section for Brooke (the blond) when she said "I already earn a six figure salary and I'm in my twenties." Now, don't get me wrong -- I'm never a fan of the "needy" people on reality shows. But the bragging about how much one earns is a bit a bit rude in my eyes.

Chad and Stephanie: Oh my. They've known each other for eight months, been together for five months and have already bought a house. Impulsive much? I'm getting the feeling this might be a team you love to hate -- he's a yeller and she's emotional. Maybe we'll hate him and be irked by her, I don't know.

Connor and Jonathan: I guess this is my local team, the Princeton Boys. I don't think they quite qualify as an alpha male team in the sense of others in the past. But Connor was the student body president of his class and both must have some brights. I think they're going to be very entertaining if they hang in there. I want to see them burst into song! Jonathan (with the glasses) is from nearby Cranford, NJ. I guess he's going to burst the Jersey Shore Jersey stereotype. Sheesh, and we were trying to keep that a secret than NJ is mostly not the stereotype!

Gary and Mallory: The father and daughter team -- he's the "old guy" of the race at 53 (yet more physically involved in stuff than many twenty-somethings) and she's Miss Kentucky and came in 4th in the Miss USA pageant. They seem quite likable. Perhaps she's the girl for Lane from BB12, shooting an 8-point buck as a small child! What do you think? I do believe they might have a better shot at the win than some of the father/daughter teams in the past.

Part two tomorrow!

It's Almost TAR Time!

The Amazing Race premieres this Sunday at 8:30 PM ET (note that half-hour built in for most likely football). I'll be delving a bit into the teams over the next few days. However, I'd like to start things out with the Phil Keoghan video introduction to the the teams. LifeGuard Laurie should be along with the blog reader pool picks soon!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Not Quite TV

I have lots of footage and photos, but here's a brief taste of my Sunday entertainment.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - September 19, 2010

Yes, indeedy ... it's Sunday, time for my weekly reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. Alas, I have no really cool people commentary for you like I did last week with the jury adventure. This past week was the Big Brother wrap-up and then a minor collapse for me. I'm still not used to getting up way early and staying up much too late as I did for the last three months.

I'm in a bit of a television lull right now as far as shows I write about. Since this is a Sunday night without a show I must watch for either the blog, TV Squad or CliqueClack TV, I'm going to head into the city for at least a few hours. While the Feast of San Gennaro is going on in Little Italy, I believe I'll skip that -- it's a big crowd and much too many tasty fatty foods.

Instead, I'm going to take two cameras (count 'em, two) and head to Central Park. Every Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting, there's the Skate Circle going on. When I last attended, I didn't have digital cameras and I skated. The absolute last time I went there, I pulled a groin muscle. I think it's a lot safer to go armed with cameras instead of skates! It's definitely great photo and video fodder and entertaining whether you skate or not.

Oh, I'm talking roller skating -- both old school quad skates (like mine) and inline. They have a section of the park set up on Skater's Road with a DJ pumping disco music and it's a grand ol' party. Today's weather should be perfect for observing and skating. Roller skating and skiing addictions are probably why I have knee issues today.

Ack! It's been 29 years since I saw the Simon and Garfunkel concert in Central Park, then the next year at the now-defunct Shea Stadium? I cannot be that old!

This past week not only was the end of Big Brother, but it was indeed my birthday. I want to thank everyone who sent donations to the blog and cards -- hopefully I'll get my personal thanks out to everyone during the week. It's not that I'm not appreciative; I just tend to get overwhelmed a bit with covering the show and working full time at the same time.

Let's see ... what else? Oh, I know! On Thursday, late in the afternoon, it all of a sudden got black as night outside and a tremendous, yet brief, storm passed through. I had to quickly jump up and close the windows as rain was blowing in sideways. That same storm intensified as it passed through Elizabeth and Bayonne, then hit Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens ... and spawned tornadoes. Yikes! It only lasted about ten or fifteen minutes.

Onto the photos I took during the week -- clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window. I've been trying all week to get monarch butterflies (now in migration) or this egret which I see daily from the train, but no luck. It's been too windy to focus well on the butterflies and the train motion keeps making the egret a blur. I will get them!

Don't distract me while I'm texting!

She probably resents the actual human interaction. Folks are so addicted to texting every minute. I'm glad I have a "dumb" phone and texting takes more of an effort. I don't think I want to be in touch with the world every single minute. I don't know who these folks talk to and text at all hours of the day. Plainfield Train Station.

Hiding behind the flowers

A home on East Second Street in Plainfield is currently hiding behind a wall of flowers.

A call and a cup of joe

Again, at the Plainfield Train Station. I found all the lines in this shot eye-catching.

Uh-oh. They're plotting.

Obviously a summit meeting of the pigeons while atop the Chotola apartment building on North Street in Plainfield.

I will puff my neck up and threaten you!

Usually the puffed-neck routine is a mating thing. But this particular pigeon seemed to be using it to intimidate his fellow birds of a feather. Plainfield Train Station.

Whazzat? It's a CAT!

I spotted this feral (?) cat in a church lawn on East Front Street in Plainfield. It's really not a good place for a cat to roam as it's a main drag street in town. Although it looks like he's looking at me, he's staring elsewhere and could care less about the human with the camera. What's he staring at?

I am NOT a rabbit. I'm a statue!

Yep, there's the cat's target -- a rabbit almost the size of the cat, frozen in place on the church lawn. The rabbit seems to know the cat is staring at him and, while I got a bit close, I didn't want to make him bolt. I didn't want both the rabbit and the cat to run into the busy street in rush hour. I still think it's great that we have wild rabbits in my city neighborhood. They're much cuter than opossums.

Working for a living.

Three men await the train in Plainfield. For some reason, I believe two might work together and who knows what the third does?

Feeding time?

I wish I had this camera with its ability to zoom in the Roofus the Cat days on this roof. I can even pick up the details on the paint from the train station platform. North Street in Plainfield.

Birds not a feather together!

I guess available food destroys their need to segregate themselves by type. Either that or they're working together to take over the world. Gulp! North Avenue in Plainfield.

I didn't do it!

No, I didn't break the windows, but it makes for good photo fodder. In an alley off of Watchung Avenue in Plainfield. I like decrepit.

Every rose has its thorns ...

After the rain, a rose on East Front Street glistens with raindrops.

The Plainfield Police Department memorial.

Here's the memorial, still from across the street, but this time in the daylight. It's interesting to see folks pause to read it, even those who probably can't read in English. It's an attractive and well designed tribute. It would be great if no more names are ever added. Watchung Avenue, Plainfield.


My allergies have kicked up in the past few weeks. I blame stuff like this. Note the bug. Why does there always have to be a bug? I mean, if I'm deliberately shooting the bug, it's one thing. But sometimes I want no bug in my photo.

Okay, NOW I'm shooting a bug!

I believe it's a stink bug. That's their defense -- they stink when you smoosh 'em. They don't stink when you shoot 'em with a camera and they do pose well.

The stinkhorns also use the smelly defense

I've noticed they lose their reddish-orange color as the season goes on. Still, a huge bunch will pop up overnight and droop as the day wanes on.

Do you have anything for me?

Vincent, albeit a bit fuzzy in this but I like his facial expression, would like food, a toy, or just a shoulder to drape himself over. He often reminds me of a toddler, standing on his hind feet with his front paws up in the air expecting me to pick him up. Silly kitty!

How was your week?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Big Brother 12 - The Full Julie Chen Interview Video

I'm basically taking the entire day off -- read that as collapsed, even missed the FedEx man due to napping. But I figure folks would like to see the entire Julie Chen interview with Hayden, Lane and Enzo. Here goes:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Big Brother 12 Season Finale Blog Party!

big brother,jackiestvblog

The show is about to start here on the East Coast. As it airs, I'll post important updates in this entry. But the real fun is in the comments section. Everyone is invited to join in with your thoughts! Later tonight (or, worst case scenario, early in the morning), my full show review will be posted over on TV Squad.

Hayden won the third round. He's taking Lane, Enzo is gonzo.

Since we've gone over 200 comments, make sure you're hitting the "newest" link for comments as otherwise you're only seeing up to 200.

The votes:
Rachel --> Lane
Kathy --> Hayden
Matt --> Hayden
Brendon --> Lane
Ragan --> Hayden
Britney --> Lane
Enzo --> Hayden

Hayden wins, but it's one of the only votes this season not unanimous or near unanimous.

I take all the credit for Hayden's win. He was my pool boy.

Britney won the $25,000 prize voted for favorite.