Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Survivor: Redemption Island - 3/30 Episode Blog Party


The show will be starting in about five minutes here on the East Coast. As it airs, I'll update this post with major news while sharing some opinions on what I see both here and in comments. Of course, the comments area is where the real party is! Everyone is welcome to join in, the water's fine! Oh. And bring snacks. Snacks are always good.

Matt won the duel on Redemption Island AGAIN.

Omatepe won Immunity and Reward. Rob and Phillip will live to entertain us another week.

Bye-bye Sarita!

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Few Brief Notes

My review for last night's The Amazing Race is up on TV Squad. Please check it out! (And, no. I have nothing against deaf folks. As a matter of fact I have a deaf friend who could have run circles around Luke! And she's a SHE and even younger.)

I know there's a Presidential address tonight at 7:30 PM ET. I'm not sure it will delay television. But, if you're a fan of Dancing With the Stars, head on over to the new discussion post for this season!

I hope television isn't really delayed a lot. Jack Hanna is on David Letterman tonight and he's my absolute favorite guest on the show.

Oh. I'll also be watching Castle tonight. I love that one. Anyone else watching it?

Happy TV to you!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business 3/27 Episode Blog Party

The show is delayed here in the east due to March Madness basketball. 60 Minutes started at 7:19 PM ET, so I expect 8:19 PM ET for us.

Once it starts, everyone is welcome to join in with comments as it airs -- that's where the real fun is! I'll be updating this post with any big news as I watch it here on the East Coast. My full review of the show will be posted on TV Squad either late this evening or early tomorrow. I'd love to have you visit there, too!

Pit Stop -
1. Gary and Mallory - won a million rupees
2. Cowboys
3. Ron and Christina
4. Zev and Justin
5. Kent and Vyxsin
6. Jen and Kisha
7. Flight Time and Big Eas
8. Margie and Luke -- Philiminated

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - March 27, 2011

It's Sunday once again. You know what that means. It's time for my weekly off television topic look back on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken.

On the work front, I had a change of pace this past week. Instead of doing my normal thing, I was trained on new workforce management software and had to work to set up for my workplace. Gah. No, I don't have real problems learning new technology. My "gah" is because, knowing the corporate environment, this latest "best thing since sliced bread" will be taken over by a newer program within a few years. There's still a lot of tweaking which needs to be done to get it in synch with our actual needs, too. Oh well.

Then there's the weather here in New Jersey. In the beginning of the week we had warm temperatures and rain. Then we had two days of snow, rain, hail, ice and then snow again. It's ended with a deep freeze. Well, deep freeze for this time of the year. I just want spring. I want to retire my winter coat for the season. That's all.

Talking television for a moment -- I'm still liking Breakout Kings and the Lloyd Lowery character in particular. I totally missed Celebrity Apprentice last week due to my blogging job Amazing Race show being delayed. I'll have to try to catch that online today. My blog pool pick on Dancing With the Stars, Ralph Maccio, seems a natural. I just wonder how he can still look 14 when he's 49! Casey Abrams, whose talents I love, got the save on American Idol. I haven't liked his last two performances so much, though.

As for my apartment living stuff, the new neighbors are much better than the old. I do hear them more than I've heard some of the other folks in that apartment, but they're definitely bearable. And, they quiet down early in the evening. I'm starting to think they go to bed at 8 PM. That's fine by me. Maintenance people have been painting the entrance door trim, doors, pillars, the wood on the stair cases. Okay, dark red. It wouldn't be my choice, but whatever. After a quiet lull, there seem to be children running the halls once again. Sigh.

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

Rest in peace, Lt. Lattimore

The flag at the Plainfield Police Station flies at half-mast while bunting is displayed over the entrance. Although I know a few folks on the department, I didn't know him. I had, however, heard of him and his family's legacy in Plainfield. My condolences to his family, friends and fellow officers.

My luck, I dropped off shirts in 1893.

That's when they had worse dry cleaning. But you don't see them advertising THAT! Westfield, NJ.

The sound of music.

Also in Westfield, I could sit on that bench for an hour just listening to the music emanating from the New Jersey Workshop for the Arts building.

Typical Yankees Fan

I spotted him in a store window in Westfield.

Tuesday morning.

This was the only really nice day we had this past week. The storm clouds were lifting and the temperatures were moderate. Those security gates on the stores aren't because they're vacant businesses. It's a Chinese restaurant and a fried chicken place. They just weren't open yet. East Front Street, Plainfield.


Church Street is still budding.

These trees will soon (I hope) have glorious blooms making it look like a flowery wonderland. Plainfield.

Old tree, new shoots.

This old tree in Bridgewater has new growth coming from a split in its trunk.


The forsythia is blooming ... yay! Bridgewater, but it's all around Plainfield, too.

A robin checks me out.

Either that or he's thinking "where am I and what I am doing in this handbasket?" The robins have claimed the field of geese area as their own ... until the geese return from their outing, that is. Bridgewater.

And, so I'll continue to continue to pretend
That my life will never end
And flowers never bend with the rainfall
- Simon and Garfunkel

Daffodils can't take the weight of Monday's rains. Berckman Street, Plainfield.



New growth!

Plainfield Train Station.


Plainfield YWCA, East Front Street.


A planter on Church Street, Plainfield.

Ice drops!

Say what? This is one of the buds on the trees on Church Street. That's an ice droplet, not water. Wah.

Snow on the roof.

Yes, spring in New Jersey. Plainfield Train Station.

What's that white stuff?

Bridgewater Train Station.


My train approaching on Wednesday morning. Plainfield Train Station.

Didn't we have enough of this already?

Plainfield Train Station.

Snow on the forsythia.

Snow on the YWCA flowers.

Snow in my 'hood.

Remember, despite the snow, it is late March. It's about time the lights on the 14th floor balcony on the left come down. Or, just stop lighting them. It's not Christmas anymore! East Front Street, Plainfield.

Snow on the branches.

Wintry commute in March.

Approaching the Plainfield Train Station from East Third Street. No, that's not my train. Due to my software training, I caught a later train than normal. That train up there starts in Plainfield heading to Newark/NYC instead of Plainfield being merely a stop. It sits there every day for about fifteen minutes before it moves. Mine goes the other way.

Ice, Ice, Baby.

Keeping Plainfield Clean!

They've given him a number and taken 'way his name. East Third Street, Plainfield.

Have a seat!

East Second Street, Plainfield. Oh, I should mention the price of gas has stayed the same all week here.

More snow in my 'hood.

The Presbyterian Church looks classically pretty in the snow. But it would look fine with green grass, too! East Front Street, Plainfield.

No Snow

The sunshine has gotten rid of the snow. But it's way cold. I guess I'll take shots of twirly old vines again. Bridgewater Train Station.

Leave me alone. I'm watching Animal Planet.

To be honest, he was watching a film of baby elephants on my computer. Every now and then Vincent actually does check out the television or computer. It's fun to get him going playing bird calls from the Internet. I know. I'm cruel.

How was your week?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Survivor: Redemption Island - 3/23 Episode Blog Party


The show will be starting in about five minutes here on the East Coast. As it airs, I'll update this post with major news while sharing some opinions on what I see both here and in comments. Of course, the comments area is where the real party is! Everyone is welcome to join in, the water's fine! Oh. And bring snacks. Snacks are always good.

Wow, Matt won yet another duel! He stays to fight another day.

Ometape won Immunity and Reward again!

Gah. Stephanie was voted out instead of Sarita.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business 3/20 Episode Blog Party

The show is delayed here in the east due to March Madness basketball. 60 Minutes started at 7:19 PM ET, so I expect 8:19 PM ET for us. In the meantime, you can get into the pool on the Dancing With the Stars post if you so desire!

Once it starts, everyone is welcome to join in with comments as it airs -- that's where the real fun is! I'll be updating this post with any big news as I watch it here on the East Coast. My full review of the show will be posted on TV Squad either late this evening or early tomorrow. I'd love to have you visit there, too!

Kent and Vyxsin went back for the fanny pack and are at the Detour. They made it to Phil -- 30 minute penalty at next Pit Stop for taking the wrong plane.

Kent and Vyxsin u-turned Cara and Jaime ... right in front of Cara and Jaime! Cara and Jaime u-turned the Globetrotters.

Gary and Mallory, running dead last, used their Express Pass.

1. Jet and Cord! - won $5000 each
2. Gary and Mallory
3. Margie and Luke
4. Kent and Vyxsin -- must now wait out 30 minute penalty
4. Jen and Kisha
5. Kent and Vyxsin
6. Globetrotters
7. Ron and Christina
8. Zev and Justin
9. Jaime and Cara - Philiminated

Dancing With the Stars - Spring 2011 Blog Discussion

Yes, it's that time again! Dancing With the Stars has its big two-hour season premiere Monday night, March 21. The official website for the show can be found here.

Will Kirstie get down to a size ten with her dancing efforts? Why does Ralph Maccio still look fourteen? I guess we'll see soon enough! Margo has been kind enough to run the blog pool and everyone is invited to stop by and discuss the show right here. There's a link in the sidebar to this post or you can do an onsite blog search for "Dancing With the Stars" to come back to this post.

Here's what Margo has on the blog pool --

**POOL MATCH-UPS final**
Chris & Cheryl - ML, Becky
Kirstie & Maks - Nana in NW, Sydney
Sugar Ray & Anna - Delee, Donna in FL
Wendy & Tony - Jennasmom, Monty 924
Petra & Dmitry - Joy N, meb
Psycho Mike & Lacey - Donna in AL, dlb
Chelsea & Mark - Merrilee, PDXGranny
Hines & Kym - Terry in PA, Brent McKee
Romeo & Chelsie - Rbennie
Kendra & Louis - Suzanne, Margo
Ralph & Karina - Jackie, Estelle

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - March 20, 2011


Sorry ... I had to get that out of my system. My absolute favorite season is autumn, but spring is second to that. I love temperatures in the 60s, crisp and cool mornings. In spring, when everything comes alive and the greens are light and vibrant, it can be a wondrous world for a photography addict.

We're not quite there, though.

But, since it's Sunday, it's time for my off television weekly reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. However ... mentioning television -- I'm now hooked on the new A&E series Breakout Kings. And, the guy who plays David Letterman's "Lyle the Intern" is my favorite character. "I'm NOT a mouth-breather! I have a deviated septum!"

As for the week, well it was one. We've had very chilly temperatures and one day (Friday) when the high hit near 80 degrees. But then it turned again yesterday and there might even be a slight wintry mix coming down early in the week.

In the 'field (Plainfield), there was another murder and a separate shooting. Both incidents were a bit closer to home than usual. The majority of gang issues and shootings are generally on the west side of town. I live on the east side. This week's violence was on the east. While neither shooting was all that far from me, where they occurred is no way my 'hood.

I continue to have folks (ahem, Dan and Pete, not together) yell hello to me from cars. One of the skateboard kids I previously featured went zooming down East Front street on his board yelling, "Hi, Miss Jackie!" Folks say hello on the sidewalks. I realize I'm far from the demographic involved in the violence in town, yet it worries me. There are so many good people in Plainfield that we shouldn't have this going on! Yet I have no solutions.

Another homicide(s) delayed my commute home last night. Trains on the Raritan Valley Line were suspended due to what I was told was a double homicide execution style on the railroad tracks in Bound Brook. I ended up hanging out at the Bridgewater Train Station for over an hour while police helicopters kept buzzing me and shining spotlights on me.

I finally got a train over an hour later than usual (the train before mine was canceled). I saw the scene with a gazillion cops in Bound Brook. When I got out in Plainfield, two NJ Transit cops boarded the train. That just doesn't happen. I mean, occasionally they'll be around the station. But I've never seen them actually come aboard and ride. When I got home, the NJT website said trains were suspended once again.

As I get this written up, details are very sketchy. The police are being very tight-lipped about it all. Some sources said one person is dead, another airlifted to a trauma hospital. One bit I read said the incident happened at the laundromat across the street and they ran onto the tracks. All I really know is exactly where whatever went down happened as we went by it -- by the sitting freight train cars on the eastbound track just past the Bound Brook Train Station partway to Bridgewater. Oh ... and the fact that I was very late getting home. Grr.

Oh, well. At least I've had a bit better photo fodder this week. And, the days it was a bit warmer, I was a bit more inspired. Clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window, then hit your browser's back button to get back to the blog.

Police Activity

I spliced these two together to show the whole message. What you don't get is the voice of the announcement -- "Attention, Raritan Valley passengers, may I have your attention please. Attention. Attention, New Jersey Raritan Valley Line passengers, attention, attention ..."

Whenever I hear her voice and her numerous mentions of "attention," I think I'm watching a Blue Man Group show. All I need to do is flash the floppie the banjo clown hand puppet, Rock Concert Movement #37.

So, I took a photo of the train wheel.

This was the train before mine, sitting at the Bridgewater Train Station. They said a bus would take us to Dunellen, but they didn't know when it would get there. Meanwhile, they announced that an eastbound train would pick us up on the westbound tracks. The bus came and went (full of folks) as we saw the train light in the distance. We took the train. My train buddy Donald was stuck with me, so all was good. Oh, just okay. I would have rather have gotten home on time.

I shot the moon.

I'm disappointed that I didn't get detail. It was so bright and the sky was so dark. I suppose I could have played with my settings. It didn't help that police helicopters kept flying over me with their spotlights. I tried shooting them (with my camera), but none of those shots came out well.


Now, on Friday, this would have been fine. But this is Saturday morning. It was 42 degrees with gusty winds making it feel colder. Not quite shorts weather, no matter if they're long floppy shorts! That boy needs a jacket.

Plainfield Train Station

I forgot to mention -- my train into work on Saturday was delayed a half-hour, too! So I lurked taking photos.

When is Plainfield going to take care of this?

Although boarded up on the side facing North Avenue, this place is about to crumble. Since the town already spent a fortune taking down the other building on North Avenue last year without going through proper bidding for the lowest demolition price ... is that what's going to happen with this one, too?

Looking through the window

This is peeking into the window from the train station platform. Can you say asbestos? I thought you could! While I'd love to explore some old abandoned places (but have a fear of being arrested), I wouldn't trust this building. Not at all.

Two doors down

And even worse as I think people live in this one. That roof is about to cave in.

Maybe he's calling Jenny?

867-5309. The corner of North Avenue and Gavett Place, Plainfield.

Why are these people lining up?

They're waiting for the bus to Atlantic City. I don't do that. I'm not big on gambling. Unfortunately, a lot of folks I see taking the bus regularly are the very ones who don't really have money to lose. Just like the folks who spend a small fortune every day on the lottery, it's sad. Speaking of which, I need to get my quick pick for the Mega Millions. I blow a good ten dollars a year on the lottery! East Second Street and Gavett Place.

Grown man / bicycle / sidewalk

AAAAAAAAARGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHH! As a pedestrian, I'm so sick of this. It might help to have bilingual signs instead of just the ones in English banning this practice. I've gotten to the point that I just hold my ground and they need to go around me. Unless they're flying (which most don't), if they hit me, they'll fall and I'll remain upright. I can be a very solid object. East Front Street.



I'm eating. Leave me alone.

The price of gas

Gas went up two cents here this week. If you get a brake, let me know the price where you live. Remember to check your alingment! Church and East Second Streets, Plainfield. Saturday morning.

This is it!

Last week I photographed fresh green little shoots coming up. Here they are! Plainfield YWCA, East Front Street.

This, too!

And this!

The geese love the new greenery.

Although this is the "field of geese" near the Bridgewater Train Station complete with a pond in the background, they can't get too comfortable. This is the field where the ball stadium sets up their fireworks.

No Right Turn

Now, if you turn upside down to read it, your left is a right. Watchung Avenue and East Third Street looking towards Danny's Bakery.

I see dead things.

Early in the week when it was still so chilly, I saw little fresh life. So I shot dead things. Bridgewater Train Station.

More dead stuff

These are all but petrified poison ivy vines. As you'll see, I found them fun foto fodder. Bridgewater Train Station.

And the pigeons all flew away.

Just before my train arrived Tuesday morning, this fellow swooped over onto a TV antenna. Before he could get close, all of the pigeons on the Chotola building took off. The last hawk I photographed on North Avenue was a red-tailed hawk. I'm not sure if this is a Cooper's hawk or a sharp-shinned hawk. The banded long tail feathers indicate one or the other, but he didn't turn around before my train arrived. Both hawks look a lot alike. He, although likely a she due to size, was bigger than a large crow but nowhere near as large as the red-tailed hawk.


I'm waiting for the trees to bloom on Church Street. It's always such a beautiful sight to behold.

You just wish you were this flexible!

"Yes, my back foot is attached to my body. You're just jealous that you never get as comfortable as a cat while in bizarre positions!"

"Whatever, Vincent."

How was your week? Don't forget to stop back for the blog party tonight at 8 PM ET!