Monday, May 31, 2010

The Bachelorette Summer 2010 Blog Discussion

I received a few requests for a blog discussion post for the new season of The Bachelorette which airs on Monday evenings at 8 PM on ABC. The official website is right here. I don't watch this one, so I won't be blogging about it. However, this is a place where you and your friends can comment on the episodes. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - 5/30/10

Sunday morning is upon us once again. Gee, it seems like this happens every week at this time! Go figure. What it means for me (and anyone reading this) is that it's time for me to take an off TV topic look back at the week gone by in words and photographs I've taken.

It's the Memorial Day holiday weekend and lots of folks are hitting the shore here in New Jersey (going down the shore, as they say), but I'm only a Jersey shore person when others aren't. I like the shore during stormy winter days, off season, and away from the sweaty crowds. I'm also a bit leery about swimming in the ocean since a rip tide at Jones Beach snagged me back in the early 80s. It took me away a good two hundred yards, almost drowned me and wrenched my arm in back of me so hard I thought it broke. It didn't. But my will to swim in the ocean has been broken ever since that incident.

I actually have two days off in a row from my workplace, an oddity for me. I plan to stay in today, catching up on some chores and watching TV shows I've recorded. Oh. I must give Vincent some quality time, too. That could mean anything from running around the apartment playing with him to sitting reading a book while he conks out on my lap or shoulder. Silly cat! It's supposed to be very hot with high humidity today, not my favorite weather to be out and about.

My living situation sans the landlord seems just about the same as when he was here. The elevator, not working for a month before the bank booted the landlord, hasn't been working. I came home one day through the front door of the building and immediately trudged up the stairs only to pass the elevator with its door open and fan blowing on my floor. Yay! The next morning, I gathered my trash to take out on my way to work only to find the door still open, yet the elevator car sitting about two feet low. Sigh. Now it's all closed up and turned off once again.

The elderly woman from upstairs had some sort of operation and is in the nursing home/rehab center across the street -- the one I was set to go to with my knee replacement rehab, but didn't go. They won't let her out until the elevator is fixed. I plan to visit her tomorrow.

Onto the photos I took during the week ... clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window:

New batch of deadly nightshade

This is on Church Street in Plainfield, NJ. The blossoms are tiny, but I wouldn't suggest eating them. I took the shot on the way to the train station after a night of rain.

Beauty in weeds

This was taken at the Bridgewater Train Station (NJ). It's not quite a clover, I don't think. The plants are fairly tall and quite rampant.

Spotted Knapweed

Also taken at the Bridgewater Train Station. I edited this photo to leave only the spotted knapweed in color while also muting the background some.

The return of the stinkhorn mushrooms

These popped up overnight in Bridgewater. No, I'm not going to smoosh that icky stuff on their ends. I'll take the word of the Internet that they smell like rotting carrion.


As I was walking to the train, I saw a flash of color. A quick shot and he was gone. I edited the shot, leaving only the cardinal in color. East Front Street, Plainfield.

Supermarket cacti

I swear this is the same cactus I saw growing wild all over Texas when I was there. I took this at Supremo Supermarket on East Front Street in Plainfield. They have a great produce department full of all kinds of Latino, Jamaican, and other ethnic favorite fruits and vegetables. I wouldn't know how to prepare cacti for consumption. All the card in front of it said was "Product of Mexico." Um. Okay.

Blue-eyed Grass

Thanks to Bernice, I now know what this cute little flower is! The shot I took of them last week was in bright sunshine. A cloudy day makes the colors turn out much more vibrant. Bridgewater Train Station.

New recruit

This young robin doesn't fly well yet. He kind of hopped/flew away from me, yet I shot him anyway.

Grown robin

Oh my, nowhere near as cute, eh? Plainfield Train Station.

Not the weekday crowd

I worked this past Sunday and noticed the crowd heading to Newark/New York City is much different from the business suit folks of the weekday mornings. Plainfield Train Station.

North Street Demolition Site

It's coming along. They've filled in the basement and have sealed the wall. Although someone other than the city of Plainfield owns the property, this is MY proposal for what should be done. I think grass should be planted, perhaps a small flower garden, too. Benches. And, people (artistic ones, not me) should paint a huge mural of what the block USED to look like on the side of building on the right of the cavity. On the left, perhaps a sunny scene with children playing? Anything is better than a plain wall and gap.

Mr. Lee in his Sunday Best

Well, he told me it's his pimp suit, but he was coming from church. The pants match and he's even wearing white shoes while showing off a pink Bic lighter. My downstairs neighbor -- he usually wears jeans, sweatshirts, or overalls. Plainfield, NJ.

My Elite Bus

Yep, it's my tour bus! Okay ... it's not. I saw it parked at the ball stadium in Bridgewater, NJ.

Flower in the rain

Vincent pays homage to Kliban Cats

I came home on Friday to find a little mouse body in one spot with its head a foot away. Who could have done this crime? Why, Vincent, Jaws of Death! Now, the exterminator was just in the building on Monday, so I'm glad the mouse was just brutally murdered and beheaded, not eaten. Thankfully, it's hardwood floors, not carpet. But I really want this to stop. While Vincent might think it's the best toy ever, I'm not into killing or having dead little bodies in my apartment. However, when I saw the mouse, I couldn't do anything other than think of Kliban Cats and the blues song. Although B. Kliban (a true cat genius artist) passed on some years back, his website lives on. And, it's on the domain. Heh.

How was your week? Doing anything exciting this holiday weekend?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

American Idol Finale Rocks the House

I watched in fear and admiration as Bret Michaels sang with Casey on the American Idol finale. I know his doctors were probably aghast about him doing the show. He rocked and looked good, too. With all that's been going on with him, I've developed a new respect for the man. Well, a respect, I guess. I wasn't a fan of his at all until his Celebrity Apprentice days and his health battles.

What a night on the show! Not only would either Crystal Bowersox or Lee DeWyze be crowned the new idol, but it's Simon Cowell's final hurrah on the show. Rock stars from the 70s were dredged up from wherever they've been all these years -- Hall and Oates, Chicago, Alice Cooper, Joe Cocker, and more. Joe Cocker looked like a real pale Fred Sanford playing a pirate. Janet Jackson, Cristina Aquilera, and every contestant ever on the show. Well, some were missing. I didn't see Corey Clark there, did you? Paula and Simon reunited and it felt so good.

The real shocker other than Bret's amazing performance was that Lee DeWyze won. I've been on the Lee train since early in the show, saying all along that there was something about his voice I like. But I like Crystal Bowersox, too. I think she's very special and has an incredible voice. I thought it would definitely be a Bowersox win, but nope. Lee got it! They'll both do well in their careers.

You don't have to win Idol to get a career jump start from it. In local news here, Diana DeGarmo is now starring in Hair on Broadway. I saw the announcements for ticket sales for the Jordin Sparks concert tour this summer.

I'm going to miss Simon on the show and, while I'll give the next season a shot, it won't be the same.

What do you think of the finale?


Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST Alternate Endings from Jimmy Kimmel Live

Being who I am, I like the Jeff Probst Survivor ending the best --

"Sayid, the tribe has spoken."
"I didn't spend five years in the Republican Guard, get shot, get drowned in a pond, take a bomb to the stomach on a submarine ... just to get eliminated by Jeff [bleeping] Probst!"

Loved the Newhart ending, too!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

LOST - "The End" Series Finale Blog Party

Well, this is it. It's the series finale for a show which brought us both smoke monsters and giant polar bears. Will our questions be answered?

What better time for me to include various Lost logos made for us by Zoetawny over the past five seasons? Enjoy!

Jackie's TV Blog, Lost

Jackie's TV Blog, Lost

Jackie's TV Blog, Lost

Jackie's TV Blog, Lost

Jackie's TV Blog, Lost

Jackie's TV Blog, Lost

I won't be live-blogging the show because I actually want to WATCH it without typing or taking notes, but I will be piping in during some commercials, for sure. Everyone is invited to party and hang out in the comments section. It's BYOB and snacks!

So far they're each reminiscing about their characters. "If we can't live together ... (dramatic pause) ... we're going to die alone!"

Ah, I was right. The smoke monster only threw Richard Alpert. He's still alive.

No. Wait. Everyone's dead. Um. Okay.

Lost Series Finale as done by cats

This was too cute not to share --

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - May 23, 2010

Another Sunday, another off TV topic look back at the week gone by in words and photographs I've taken. Tonight is the big Lost series finale. At about 7 PM ET, I'll be getting a post up for those who want to comment on the show. Since it's probably going to be the kind of show I seriously have to watch, not blog and watch, I won't be blogging it per se. But I'll be commenting during commercials.

Hmmm ... trying to remember the week. Huh. I guess nothing really exciting happened. It's strange with both The Amazing Race and Survivor finished up for the season. Letterman has been having on great guests for May Sweeps, but that will be over soon.

I almost got a snake photo this week, but he moved too quickly. It's amazing how fast they can go without legs. I didn't even notice him almost underfoot until he zoomed away. Oh, it wasn't a big snake, nor was it a dangerous snake. My guess would have been a small garter snake.

Work is still hectic. I really wish that would stop. Home life is still the same as it has been. Although the landlord lost the building and the bank took it over, we still have an inoperable elevator. Someone (don't know who) is still cleaning the hallways daily. Vincent and I still hear mice in the walls, but none have been caught by Vincent lately.

There have been a lot of shootings in my town lately. They've been concentrated on the other side of town away from where I live, supposedly some kind of gang war going on. No one has died, so they can't be too good with guns. It makes me appreciate my neighborhood all that much more, though. If fools driving into parked cars are the most prolific crimes in the 'hood, I guess that's not bad at all.

Onto the photos -- clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window.

Bird on a branch

Most of the dead tree the birds used to sit on came crashing down with high winds over the winter, but a bit remains. Of course, he's probably a sentry in the war against mankind. Bridgewater, NJ

Not a thistle

Nope, it's soft. It's a spotted knapweed. Sometimes weeds can be pretty ... even when they're classified as "invasive species."

Suspicious Acts, NJ

Next stop! Is the man suspicious? Or, could he be phoning in a suspicion? Maybe he's reporting ME! Aboard the NJ Transit Raritan Valley Line train waiting for a train to go by on the other track due to track construction, then we switched to their track. They were obviously more important than us.

So, what's wrong with these tracks?

Most of the wooden ties on my regular work route have been replaced with concrete-ish pieces. Taken out the window while at Suspicious Acts.


They really need to heal these billboards. It's odd that "heal" is just about the only word visible between the two. East Second Street, Plainfield.

Wet Bridgewater Bunny

He was just sitting there in the rain at the train station. Alas, my flash went off making his eye glow. I hate that.

Yeah, yeah ... it's still spring

Look! John Oates of Hall & Oates!

Er, maybe it's just a dude riding NJ Transit. People really shouldn't sleep near me on the train.

Still spring

Yes, I messed with this

North Street in Plainfield gets a clean sweep. I hear a new broom sweeps clean, yet they re-elected the previous mayor.

The Berckman Street Bunny

This is the rabbit I first started photographing last December. He's now on the other side of the street at the corner of Berckman and East Front. New people have moved into that house after it sat vacant for a while. They saw me taking pictures and told me that it seems to be living under the deck you see there. It comes to their door for food and munches their lawn.

They too think it was once someone's pet. If you compare it with the wild rabbit photo above, different colors, different face and ear shapes. Plus, he's HUGE. He has to be a Vincent and a half! Plainfield, NJ.

Yay, ticketed!

On East Fourth Street near Watchung Avenue, the garages have been parking disassembled cars on the street on whim. Two ticketed here. Now, let them ticket the vehicles constantly blocking the sidewalk at the same businesses. Across the street, the Plainfield Auto Body place is totally vacant and shut down.

In the sun under the moon while on a wire.

More weeds

I haven't a clue what these are. Growing along a fence on Church Street in Plainfield.

A Squirrel in the Sun

East Front Street, Plainfield

No, I won't pose! I want catnip!

Vincent is having a moment.

How was your week?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

American Idol - Just as I Hoped

Woohoo! We're in for a Bowersox/DeWyze showdown for the finale! Although I initially was cheering on Crystal, Lee DeWyze has grown on me more with each show. Dependent on what exactly he records, I could see me listening to him.

On the other hand, Casey sang "Daughters" again. I apologize, but both John Mayer's actions and that song both creep me out.

On the third hand, I'm a huge Leonard Cohen fan and was thrilled to see Lee sing "Hallelujah" last night. I'm not so keen on the back-up singers, but that's American Idol for you.

The real thing ... Leonard Cohen (King of the Back-Up Singers) performing "Hallelujah" during his recent concert tour:

Another of my favorite Leonard Cohen songs (again with back-up singers) --

Talking Lost and the Upcoming Series Finale

Jackie's TV Blog, Lost

It's coming soon ... Sunday night, to be precise. Yep, the series finale of Lost is in sight. All of our questions will be answered and we won't bemoan the fact that we spent five years invested in the show. Or, will we?

I'm not sure how satisfied I'm going to be. While last week's non-episode with the background of Jacob and the Man in Black left a bit to be desired, this week was much more intriguing.

My questions remain ...
-- Why does the Man in Black have no name, yet Jacob (his brother) does?
-- If Jacob was protecting the island from the smoke monster (that he created by throwing the Man in Black into the light), what was his non-mother protecting the island from?
-- What's so important about protecting the island anyway? I mean, unless you live there, is there something vital to all mankind, the universe and everything going on with the island?
-- Why is Desmond gathering the 815 passengers much like Jacob before him?
-- Ben was bad. Ben was good. Is he going to team up with FLocke or betray him?
-- Jacob said he chose the people as their own lives were going so rocky. But it seems he's watched them for years, often before their lives had such woes. What's up with that?
-- How does the Dharma Initiative tie in with this? Were they observing Jacob in the beginning?
-- The Man in Black is stuck in John Locke's body. If he indeed gets off the island, will he revert to being in a wheelchair?
-- Why did Jack so quickly assume the position of the Protector of the Island? Will he become Jacob in a new reality?
-- Where did the giant polar bears go?
-- Is Richard really dead, killed by the smoke monster last night? I don't think so. He seems eternal. He can only rest when he meets up with his beloved. Remember, we only saw him tossed in the air.
-- If Jack becomes the Protector of the Island, what happens to the others? Will the sideways universe become their only lives?

I have tons of questions and I'm not sure the finale will answer them all. But I'll be there. I plan on putting up a post for the finale Sunday night at 7 PM ET. However, I won't be posting a lot on it because I get the feeling it's something I'll have to pay close attention to so I don't miss anything. Yet, during commercials, we'll surely talk! All the Lost fans are welcome to drop by and comment during the 2 1/2 hour series finale. If nothing else, it certainly should be interesting!

Will you be watching?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains - Season Finale Blog Party Post

The show is starting in a few minutes. This post will be updated with the major events as they air here on the East Coast. Late tonight, my full review will be posted on TV Squad. But, until then, the real fun is in the comments area right here -- feel free to jump in with your thoughts on the show, everyone is welcome! Survivors ready? It's the final showdown!

Parvati wins immunity again!

Colby voted out - no surprises there.

Rites of Passage, the usual.

Russell won final immunity!

Jerri voted out.


Russell won the Sprint 100,000 -- it was between him and Rupert.

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - 5/16/10

It's Sunday morning, time for my weekly off TV topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. Tonight is the big Survivor finale. I was hoping to have a chance to cover the festivities in NYC for AOL, but someone a lot higher on the AOL TV ladder than I am is attending. That's okay. We'll have fun here on the blog as the show airs East Coast time and I'll be writing a big review of it for AOL's TV Squad.

It's been another hectic work week, yet quiet on the home front. The receiver appointed by the bank who took over my apartment building cashed my rent check. They want a copy of my lease. Hmm ... I never signed anything with the landlord, not that landlord anyway. I signed a lease with the original landlord when I first moved in nine years ago and it's just renewed yearly since then. Sigh. I hate hassles. I just want a roof over my head and no ongoing issues. Plus, I want that elevator fixed!

I'm thinking of going to the big Greek fair over in nearby Piscataway later today. The weather here is gorgeous and the owners of the Plainfield Donut Shop work the event. Or, maybe I'll just take a walk with my camera down some streets less traveled (by me) in the neighborhood.

I really have to call my orthopedic surgeon for my yearly follow-up on the knee replacement. Friday marked two years since the surgery. Yes, it's been that long! The knee itself is doing well. I can still hear its clunk-clunk if I walk in a quiet place and feel the inner workings shifting as I get comfortable in bed. From my recent trip, I know that extensive airline security will follow me all my days as I set off alarms. Yet, the pain is absolutely gone. It was the best decision I've made for myself in my life. Now I just have to get the other one done. (So, yeah, Laurie ... it could be an activity or hobby!)

My photography this week has been a bit mundane. I seem to have been running late most of the time or had my hands full of packages. But, here goes ... (clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window).

The Plainfield Shore

No, we're not a shore town. What I mean is they're shoring the remaining party wall of the not-so-recent North Avenue demolition of an historical building. It still looks like something has been ripped out by an evil force. Even when they finish, it's going to be ugly. Short of putting a new layer of wall atop the existing walls, it's not ever going to be aesthetically pleasing. Sigh.

Plainfield Auto Body shutting down?

One day as I was walking by, they were taking the barbed wire off the top of the fence. Then the cars (which have been there forever) were cleared out and the lot swept. A small group gathers in the far side of the lot daily and music blares ... but it's empty and no real work seems to be going on. East Fourth Street, Plainfield.

Flowery bush

Rain on the azalea

Their time is almost past in Bridgewater.


Men gather by the Plainfield train station on their way to work.

Dude! Where's my engine?

I hope he paid the meter! Outside of the Underground Custom car place. Now, if someone parked this car on the street in a residential area, it would immediately get ticketed and probably towed. Why is it acceptable on East Fourth Street when the car garage places do it? (No, it's not an abandoned stolen stripped car ... it's obviously one they're working on and needed it out of the bay.)

Reinforcing the nest

Nesting material in his mouth (as a cover, I'm sure), this bird watches the humans go by. Remember, the birds will take over the world. Maybe they'll do a better job with it than we have.

Poison ivy update

The poison ivy is growing like crazy at the Bridgewater Train Station. The little berries have turned into itsy blossom-like stuff. On this leaf, you can see the poison of the poison ivy in the rip. The black substance is the urushiol reacting to oxygen. It's the urushiol which makes you all itchy!

Okay ...

I noticed this free weekly paper in the boxes at the Bridgewater Train Station. I'll occasionally pick up the Spanish ones to see how much I can understand. But this is a totally lost cause for me!

Pretty as a picture

The clouds were beautiful Saturday morning by the Plainfield Train Station. Huh. The apartment on the top floor to the left of the building on the left is for rent. Um, no. Not for me!

What if the hokey-pokey is what it's all about?

Nifty keen orange and black bug

Don't ask me what it is. I don't know.

Blossoming stuff abounds

Let there be light

Early morning New Jersey cowboy

See? We have the cowboy hat thing going on here. But, take a horse down East Front Street and you get police attention.

I'm a sucker for wanting to shoot flowers when I see them.


I like when he sits in the window in front of that curtain for the lighting to take photos. But if I put him there, he doesn't want to be there.

How was your week?