Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Amazing Race - Nov. 28 Episode Blog Party Post

Jackie's TV Blog, Amazing Race, TAR

I'm in shock. The show will air on time here on the East Coast. Now, THAT is AMAZING. As it airs here, 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. Everyone is welcome to join in!

1. Nat and Kat - won trip to Rio de Janeiro
2. Jill and Thomas
3. Brook and Claire

Nick quit the Detour! It's the final non-elim, so they have a six-hour penalty and a speed bump in the next leg.

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - November 28, 2010

What? It's Sunday already? Thanksgiving has come and gone? Santa will be here soon? Well, if it's Sunday, it must be time for my weekly look back on the week gone by in words and photos I've taken. I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. Mine was nice ... quiet, thankfully!

With a shortened work week, I really didn't take a gazillion photos. Once again, I often seemed to be running later than I wanted to be, too. That usually makes it hard for me to put things in pause to take photos. Trains wait for no one.

I noticed that A&E had a marathon of The First 48 on Thanksgiving Day. Oh my. Now, that's a show I watch. But I find it an odd choice for the holiday. My apartment building was fairly quiet for the holiday, with one exception.

I had bumped into a neighbor from down the hall while grocery shopping last week. She told me she was having several family members and friends over for dinner and extended me an invitation. I turned her down as I had my own plans. It turns out I'm very glad I didn't go. I'd probably still have a headache.

You see, my building has long corridors, kind of like a hotel. This young woman lives across the hall from me and down one apartment. While I hear noise from the next door apartment, I only hear people coming and going directly across the hall. She isn't directly across from me.

I could hear the music with my door and her doors both shut. Whenever people entered or left .... BLAST O' MUSIC. I actually like my own music louder than I'm willing to play it in an apartment setting. But I just can't grasp having a dinner party where people are probably trying to talk with that kind of volume. They must have been shouting at each other. So not my scene these days, or even never. For me, that kind of volume is reserved for bars or rock concerts. Although I'm fussing here, I didn't complain to her. After all, she did invite me.

Onto this week's photos ... er, well, the first two are follow-ups to my Thanksgiving post, the squirrel in the pumpkin. I took those shots back in 2004 at the edge of North Plainfield. The home across from this one fell into the Green Brook a while back, but this one was always kept nice. That is, until a squirrel claimed their porch pumpkin.

I saw this first. A pumpkin with a fluffy tail.

Oh. It's a squirrel!

Pollo Campero

A new chicken place is down the street from me, across from yet another chicken place. It's kind of like the two Chinese restaurants four buildings away from each other on the same block. But this chicken place might be a bit different.

Located in the old senior citizens center, Pollo Campero had its start in Guatemala, then El Salvador. Then it seems to have taken on much of the world. With demographic shifts around here, I think it's going to be more popular than the fried chicken restaurant across the street. East Front Street, Plainfield.

Plainfield Police Station

I always liked the old school green lights on the police sign. East Fourth Street, Plainfield.

Speaking of old school

I know I've shot this sign before. But now the leaves are gone so it can be seen from Watchung Avenue. A street must have run through there before. The railroad station and tracks are to the right. But the sign makes absolutely no sense where it is unless there had been a street there at one time.

Everyting 99¢ or less & up

Local bloggers Bernice and Dan Damon have posted this sign before. But not all of you folks are local and you deserve to get a gander at it. It's actually a decent dollar store and everting is 99¢ or more or less. East Front Street, Plainfield.

Into the fog

One morning this week, it was very foggy. As I started out on my walk to the train station, I could see it ahead of me. For a moment, the Stephen King story "The Mist" came to mind. But I had no time for monsters attacking me in the fog. I had a train to catch. East Front Street, Plainfield.


I'm standing RIGHT IN FRONT OF the Richmond Towers, a twin tower (14 floors each, I think) apartment complex. If nothing else, fog makes for different views of things, eh? East Front Street, Plainfield.

Eerie downtown Plainfield

East Front Street near the Church Street intersection.

Fading into white

Looking down Watchung Avenue by the post office. I know the railroad overpass is there. It is. Plainfield, NJ.

Foggy station

I'm just across the street on North Avenue, Plainfield.

Looking one way

Looking the other way

Looking across North Avenue.

Silhouetted in the fog

Plainfield Train Station, of course.

No more fog! The eagle soars!

Um. Okay. It's not an eagle. It's a hawk. I really wish they'd stay still so I could focus on them better.


I told you last week that the dead tree fell over and they put the bird feeder atop the child's jungle gym (whatever). Well, here's the latest. Hopefully it survived the high winds on Saturday. It was still up Saturday morning. East Front Street, Plainfield. Next I think I'll see them digging a deep hole to replant the dead tree so the bird feeder can hang!

Are you on that computer AGAIN?

Isn't it time to play with me? Can I get on your shoulder? May I have a treat? Wait, did you feed me today? Someone ate all the cat food!

Yes, Vincent, whatever you want ...

I know I mentioned this on Facebook, but not sure if I posted here -- The Plainfield Library 2010 Photo Contest is now posted online.

I hope everyone stops back for The Amazing Race blog party at 8 PM ET! How was your week?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for the friends I've made here (amongst other things, of course)!

Wishing everybody a fantastic day full of family, friends, food and love!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Survivor: Nicaragua - November 24th Episode Blog Party Post


Survivors Ready?

Welcome one, welcome all! 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. As the show airs, I'll post major events here, but the real fun and most of the reactions are in the comments section. See you there!

It's the Thanksgiving clips show, so there won't be much real action.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Amazing Race - Nov. 21 Episode Blog Party Post

Jackie's TV Blog, Amazing Race, TAR

The show is delayed in this area due to football. It should start at about 7:12 PM ET. Once the show starts, as it airs here, 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. Everyone is welcome to join in!

Jill and Thomas U-turned Brook and Claire.

Jill and Thomas with a seven-hour lead due to an early flight, came in first. They won a $15,000 Discover gift card.

Nat and Kat U-turned Chad and Stephanie.

2. Nick and Vicki
3. Nat and Kat
4. Brook and Claire!
5. Chad and Stephanie - Philiminated!

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - November 21, 2010

Another Sunday, once again time for my off television topic reflection on the week gone by in words and photographs I've taken. We're into the kind of weather I really enjoy here -- a chill in the air, perhaps a touch of frost in the overnight hours. I'd definitely take this over the heat and high humidity levels of the summertime. I like sweaters. Yet we don't have to worry about snow and ice yet.

Once again, my week was basically routine. Work, home, eat, give Vincent his quality time with me, television, reading and then do it all over again the next day. Work has been extremely hectic and once again I'm running around putting out fires when my preferred approach is to prevent the fires in the first place. Er, no. I'm not a fireman. I was speaking figuratively. I'd rather be proactive than reactive. My stress level works so much better that way.

Here in town, they arrested two people for the murder of the 17-year-old I mentioned last week. I find it interesting that the victim keeps getting reported as a "boy" while the suspects, only a year older, are said to be "men." To me, they're all kids. That one year doesn't make a real difference. Most young children know right from wrong and realize murder is wrong.

I have no solutions. Is it society? The parenting? I just don't know. There are conflicting reports and rumors about the victim. He was either an angel or a problem depending on who's doing the talking. I didn't know him, so I can't say. Almost all of the shootings in the city are either drug or gang related ... or both. The fact that witnesses won't speak up either due to a silly "no snitching" code or a real fear of retaliation doesn't help matters.

Something has to be done about the gangs. Parents definitely need to take more interest in the lives of their children -- who they're with, where they are, what they're doing. I grew up without that scrutiny in my childhood. However, we had woods, lakes, places to explore although we didn't have structured "places to go" or activities. It was a different world then. We had some rough kids with leather jackets and switchblades, bullies and such. But they weren't organized gangs.

In other news, I saw someone tagged a blank church sign in my neighborhood with MS13. We still have old "GF" graffiti on mailboxes from several years back when a drug-dealing gang calling themselves "Goodfellaz" did their business here. They're still in jail six years after being rounded up. If arrests and jail are what needs to be done, so be it. But the young kids need parental supervision! It all goes back to my theory of being proactive rather than reactive. Alas, right now there are fires which need to be put out.


Anyway, it's Thanksgiving week upon us. I have a four day work week instead of five. YES! I expect tonight's The Amazing Race will be delayed due to football. However, I'll get a blog party post up for it at 8 PM ET. I hope to see you then!

Okay, onto the photos I've taken this week. Clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window ...

Framed by Fall

Several trees are still either colorful or just hanging onto their leaves. This is looking at the house on the corner of East Front and Richmond Streets in Plainfield. When enlarged, you can see the start of the Christmas decorations going up, including the candy cane porch pillars. She has the most beautiful flowers all summer and decorates for every holiday.

NJ Transit, "The Way to Go"

The way to go late, that is! On Thursday morning, trains in both directions were held up for over a half-hour. This (apparent) business man was heading towards the city. At least the delay gave me photo fodder! Plainfield Train Station.

You get up every morning
From your alarm clock’s warning
Take the 8:15 into the city
There’s a whistle up above
And people pushin’, people shovin’
And the girls who try to look pretty
And if your train’s on time
You can get to work by nine.
-- "Takin' Care of Business" by Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Suits, Jeans, Short and Tall ... we all waited.

Same morning, same Plainfield Train Station.

I see the train a'comin' ...

Er, no you don't. What you see are TWO trains just sitting there not moving. And, one moved first just passing through not picking up anyone. It was ten minutes later that the next one came through and stopped.

Supposedly the delays were due to a disabled train in the next town over. When that happens, they have to remove the passengers and then they go down to one track ... kind of like that old math problem about two trains heading towards each other. The delays continue as trains are held back to let one pass through at a time. As there are only so many places a train can cross to the other track, thus more delays.

The man in the gabardine suit is a spy
His bow-tie is really a camera.
--"America" by Simon and Garfunkel

A Little Off the Top

With dark coming so much earlier, I enjoying playing with night shots. I don't like to use the flash, but it takes a very steady hand to get clear images. I hold my breath while shooting. A barbershop on East Front Street in Plainfield.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The decorations in Plainfield went up this week. This is Watchung Avenue looking towards East Front Street.

Autumn Canopy

Church Street, Plainfield. The Heard Building is on the right with the Quaker Cemetery just beyond it.

Putting out fires

It's the real firemen. There was no fire, though. An alarm was coming from the little restaurant on the corner. Since the woman who works there was standing looking confused, I believe it was a false alarm. The corner of Church and East Second Streets, Plainfield.

More trucks arrive

There is still no fire.

Sad Scene

This is the tree which sports the bird feeder I often photograph. I also shot it and its man decorating it for Christmas one year. I mentioned that I thought the tree was dead this spring when there were no blossoms ... then no leaves. Sigh. We had extremely heavy winds on Wednesday and they did it in. If you look, you'll see the bird feeder sitting atop the child's play jungle (or whatever that is). East Front Street, Plainfield.

In which I play with a photo editor

A bike rack at the Bridgewater (NJ) Train Station.

Uh-oh! They've taken over the tree!

The birds rally at a tree nearby the Plainfield Train Station. Next, they'll take over the world.

Talkin' Trash?

Nah, they're just standing by a trash can. Early morning working dudes at the corner of North and Watchung Avenues, Plainfield.

Watching the early morning world

A man on the second floor of the Chotola building watches over North Avenue as folks head off to work. I edited this to leave him in color, the rest in B&W.

Ahem, NJT. What's up with this?

Bricks are coming apart by the stairway leading to Track One. It's better than when the stairs themselves fell apart at the Bridgewater Station, but it needs attention. Plainfield Train Station.

The Dark, Shadows and Light

Although it's not pitch-black on my early Mondays since the time change, with overcast skies this past Monday, it was indeed dark-ish. The corner of Church Street and East Front in Plainfield.

Now they've taken over the Chotola

Pigeons hang out on the decorative doohickey-thingee atop the Chotola apartment building on North Avenue, Plainfield. I wonder how their hierarchy works with which pigeon getting what spot. Did the top pigeon bully the others or are they just respecting him for being a fine bird?

This one only conquered a branch

I don't think sparrows will lead the battle cry.

The Bays Beckon

Playing again with night/light shots. This is a garage on East Fourth Street, Plainfield.

Gliding, Soaring and ... Hunting

I hope he's not hunting for humans! A hawk in flight. Bridgewater, NJ.

Nap Time!

It's often nap time for Vincent. This is his favorite spot when I don't want him draped across my shoulder or on my lap while I'm at the computer. Since he has to be near me, I brought him his own chair so he can be next to me. He doesn't think it's as good as being ON me, but he suffers through it okay.

How was your week?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Survivor: Nicaragua - November 17th Episode Blog Party Post


Survivors Ready?

Welcome one, welcome all! 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. As the show airs, I'll post major events here, but the real fun and most of the reactions are in the comments section. See you there!

Half of the group won reward -- a helicopter trip to a volcano and feast. Jane, Na'onka, Chase, Kelly and Fabio.

Whoa! Jane won immunity -- a physical one at that!

Brenda was voted out. Sash didn't save her with the hidden idol!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Amazing Race - Nov. 14 Episode Blog Party Post

Jackie's TV Blog, Amazing Race, TAR

I'm in shock. The show will air on time here on the East Coast. Now, THAT is AMAZING. As it airs here, 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. Everyone is welcome to join in!

Oh, geez. Stephanie accepted Chad's proposal.

1. Jill and Thomas, then got socked with a 30 minute penalty for paying a cab to lead them.

1. Chad and Stephanie - won a trip to Belize
2. Jill and Thomas
3. Nick and Vicki
4. Brook and Claire
5. Nat and Kat
6. Gary and Mallory -- Philiminated

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - November 14, 2010

Welcome to my weekly off television topic look back on the week gone by in words and photographs I've taken. Later tonight, we'll have The Amazing Race blog party going on -- everyone is invited to join in with comments! Hopefully the show will air sometime around the time it's scheduled. The football delays are killing me. On Mondays I go into work an hour earlier than the other weekdays and work later. I'm up before 5 AM and don't get home until past 6 PM. When the show ends at 10 PM and I have to write it up late, I'm all groggy for my busiest day on my "real" job.

Enough whining, I guess. In other news, the weather this week has been glorious! The daytime highs have been in the fifties and even a few trips into the low sixties. It's been cold at night, most nights below freezing. The skies have been clear, too. I call it absolutely perfect!

Unfortunately the crime scene hasn't been as pleasant where I live. A 17-year-old boy and a 23-year-old man were fatally shot on the other side of town from where I live -- two homicides only about 24 hours apart. Both murders happened in broad daylight. Now, not to worry about me. I'm just about the least likely demographic in town to encounter this kind of violence.

I think if I were young, black and male, I'd seriously consider agoraphobia as a way of life. That or getting out of the west side of town. I myself live on the east side. I still won't wander around at night, but consider my own neighborhood quite safe.

In general, now that the dark is coming earlier, where I travel on foot is safe enough because I know many of the shopkeepers, residents and probably some of the criminals, too. They're not going to go for me and I also have doors to run to if needed.

In yet other stuff, I hear that New York is now clamping down on those FourLoko energy/alcohol drinks. I bought one to see what the fuss is all about. I can see why they're dangerous for the college kids and such. But for me? Um, well ... I took all day to drink the can (on my day off, mind you). I'm not a huge drinker.

It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. Where does the time go? When I was a child it took an eternity to get to the holiday season. I'm going to have to dig out Vincent's Santa suit for a new shot soon!

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

Nighttime is the right time?

Well, I'm not sure if it's the right time, but it was indeed nighttime. This is the corner of Watchung and North Avenues in Plainfield by the train station Saturday evening.

Berries and barren branches

They're not barren of berries, of course! But the leaves have all vanished and the berries have taken over. Since I never see birds nibbling at these, they might be poisonous.

Pants on the Ground Again

This is a grown man. This whole look makes 'em look so silly. Yet I'm sure he thinks he looks cool. Blech. North Avenue, Plainfield.

Golden Leaves by the Golden House

Although the colors have peaked for the season, we still have lots of golds and scattered reds still ... along with some green. In another few weeks, there will be a ton of raking ahead. This is in my neighborhood. East Front Street, Plainfield.

So, California had a "missile" sighting, eh?

I have THREE of them! It's actually the same as the California mystery one -- contrails. The air was so dry here that clouds were evaporating before they formed. These three extremely short contrails were caught in the waning sun at sunset. Normally the contrails go a lot longer. These almost seemed like small brilliant scratches in the sky.

Losing my religion

A tattered well-worn paperback edition of the New Testament is perched atop a garbage can in front of Union County College at Church and East Second Streets in Plainfield. No, it's not mine, nor did I put it there. It just was.

"That's me in the corner,
That's me in the spotlight,
Losing my religion ..."
--"Losing My Religion" by REM

Morning Sun in the Alley

This alley can be a bit intimidating at night. I've seen denizens of the night there, drug dealers in the shadows, etc. But the dawn's bright sunshine makes it go gold. Off of East Front Street, Plainfield.

What's that? Is it food for me?

No, squirrel. It's a camera and I just shot you! (If I had food on me, I would have given him some.) Right outside my apartment building door, Plainfield.


But no vampires.

Satellite News Truck Setting Up

He's parked by the police station. This was the day of the first homicide. I saw the scene from the train as we passed by, a gazillion police cars and a news helicopter overhead. But no one except this one truck was hanging out at the police station. On East Fourth looking towards Watchung Avenue, Plainfield.

Birds Hiding in Plain Sight

They think I don't see them.

Still some color at the train station

Looking towards Watchung Avenue from the Plainfield Train Station.

Autumn flowers

They just planted these last week. I don't think they're going to last long with the nighttime temperatures going below freezing most nights. East Front Street, Plainfield.

Autumn hangs in there

My 'hood again, but I don't live in that building (nor the one from earlier). East Front Street, Plainfield.

Next Station

This train coming from Newark is just about empty. Bridgewater Train Station.

Wired Hawk

Bridgewater, NJ

Black and White Lamps

Looking towards Gavett Place from the Plainfield Train Station.

This one even looks evil!

Unlike that cute fluffy almost Christmas card bird I shot last week, I bring you a European Starling. Killer beak ... and just check out those claws! Run for your lives!

We have crabs!

No, I don't have crabs. Pete does. Pete's Fish Market (which does have great fish) on East Second Street, Plainfield.

You saw squirrels and birds
and didn't bring any home?

Hmmm ... there's nothing wrong with Vincent's eye. Both of his eyes are usually the same size. I think he did this just for attention. Or, he wants me to sing the Vincent Song to him.

How was your week?