Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Survivor: Redemption Island - 4/27 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.

Remember to bring your drinks for SAM events -- every mention Phillip makes about being a SAM (special agent man), we drink. Even if it's close. I hope everyone has their designated drivers with them!

Phillip found his shorts and SAM! Three SAMs in the first ten minutes.

Matt's in rough shape out on RI.

Duel time -- Phillip showed off his shorts to Julie. Survivor shuffleboard. Matt is about as unenthusiastic as it gets. Apparently he thinks God's work is done. Whoops! God's not through with him -- Matt stays on Redemption Island. Mike stays with him, Julie goes to the jury.

Andrea feels bad about playing Matt. Grant wants her out, even before Steve and Ralph.

Immunity challenge - log roll. Reward is chocolate cake and milk. There's a "twist package" to be awarded, too.

Rob and Grant -- Grant wins
Andrea and Ashley -- Ashley wins
Ralph and Steve -- Ralph wins
Natalie and Phillip -- Phillip wins

Next round --
Grant and Ashley -- Grant wins
Ralph and Phillip -- Ralph wins

Grant against Ralph -- Grant wins Immunity!

Grant chose Rob then Andrea to share the cake.
The twist will be opened at Tribal.

Rob wants Ralph out next. Grant still wants Andrea, the cake treat was just political.

Rob has his minions thinking if the twist is two players out -- Ralph, then Andrea. Steve is trying to work it against Rob and "Nimrod." They ran to Rob. Now he's thinking Steve should go.

Tribal Council

The tally - Rob, Rob, Ralph, Ralph, Ralph, Ralph, Ralph ... bye-bye, Ralph! Redemption Island for him.

The twist -- a second immunity challenge NOW and another voted off!

Series of symbols on cards. Rob wins! The vote is on. Andrea voted Steve.

The tally -- Grant, Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve.

Now the slaughter will begin. Steve is gone to Redemption. No more Zapeteras left.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business 4/24 Episode Blog Party

Wow, it's actually starting on time this week here in the East! 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. Stop on by and jump in the pool!

Liechtenstein ahead, as well as a double U-turn! The Roadblock has them riding a motorized bike measuring the country. Gary and Mallory's Speed Bump has them coming up with the right mix of gas for the motorized bike.

Cowboy and Globetrotter both made errors, Jen (or is it Kisha?) lost her map.

Justin through first, then Jen (Kisha?). Jet's answer is wrong.

It's off to Switzerland next! Justin told Flight Time the right answer for the Roadblock and he told Gary. Uh-oh -- looks like the other teams are blocking out Jet and Cord.

Detour - Cheese or Wheeze. Eat fondue or deliver luggage.

Whoa! Despite issues with the eating, Zev and Justin are first to the next clue. Jen and Kisha next.

Zev and Justin chose not to U-Turn anyone. Nor do Jen and Kisha.

First to Pit Stop - Zev and Justin! They won a trip!
2. Kisha and Jen

Uh-oh, Kent and Vyxsin moving on and the Globetrotters lost two tickets. Kent and Vyxsin didn't use the U-Turn.

3. Kent and Vyxsin
4. Gary and Mallory

Globes and Cowboys racing for last, the Globes U-Turned the cowboys.

5. Flight Time and Big Easy

The Cowboys are enjoying a brew.

6. Jet and Cord - Philiminated.

Gee, they didn't throw themselves to the ground crying like Luke did!

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - April 24, 2011

It's Sunday morning, time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photos I've taken. Although the weather still isn't cooperating to any great extent, spring is trying to come nonetheless. Weather-wise, we've run the gambit this past week. Some nights below freezing, lots of rain, a few nice days (or nice parts of a day) and more chilly than it should be for the most part.

Work is still work. I don't want to talk about it. Seeing how hectic and stressful it's been, thinking of the summer off recovering from knee replacement is actually a relaxing vision. Sure, forget about the pain and stress from that, just think of the time off! I swear, since I made the surgery date, the knee is acting up even more. It doesn't help that my apartment building's elevator isn't working once again.

Let's see ... what happened this week? Oh, I know! I almost got in an altercation! Yes, innocent sweet me! Here's what happened -- I was innocently walking down what's one way street when I saw a car going the wrong way. I waved down the driver and told her. Since she was near the intersection, she went ahead to it and put on her right turn signal.

Was my almost altercation with her? Nope.

Cars headed the right way on the one way street were sitting across the intersection awaiting the traffic light. Mind you, the woman had her turn signal on and it's likely that the oncoming cars saw me stop her and point at the signs.

The JERK directly across the street from her LEAPED before she even had the light to cross and tried to ram the wrong way woman. What? The wrong way woman was practically up on the sidewalk trying to take her turn to get off of the one way street. The JERK kept lurching her car at her trying to bully and intimidate her ... maybe hit her, I don't know.

Another pedestrian and I started yelling at the JERK to let the woman turn. She kept screaming "Mind your own business!" What? What is wrong with her? Sheesh! I yelled, "Or what? Are you going to try to hit me with your car, too? If you do hit her, I will tell the police it was deliberate!" She screamed once more at me then zoomed around the wrong way woman almost hitting the side of her car.

I know the wrong way woman was in the wrong, but her actions obviously weren't deliberate. Once she knew of her mistake, she was trying to get off the one way street. But what the other woman did was on the verge of road rage bullying and very dangerous. There was no need to go berserk and terrorize the woman with her car. What is wrong with people?

Oh, yeah. And that was on Good Friday. Happy Easter!

But it was also the day I bumped into Plainfield blogger Bernice. So I had pleasant people dealings, too.

I hope everyone has a nice Easter. If you click on an image, it will open larger in a new window -- just hit your back button on your browser to return to the blog.

Ain't that cute?

The poison ivy which overcame its chopping is sprouting all over the Bridgewater Train Station.

First complete "leaves of three" of the season!

I know many folks don't care for poison ivy. But it's always an interesting photo subject. These tiny red leaves will turn green within a few weeks. Note the hairy vines. Leaves of three, let 'em be. Unless you're like me -- not allergic. Although I'll admit I don't try to test the non-allergic status too often.

Rainy Saturday

Wet spores

Some the weeds have gone to spore, although not many. A lot of the trees and flowers don't seem to realize it's really spring.

Sure, now they're there.

Saturday morning, in the pouring rain, the NJ Transit cops decide to sit at the Plainfield Train Station. They don't come on nice days or early evenings when all the street people gather drinking and yelling on the benches!

Wet crow on a stick.

A new tasty treat? Plainfield Train Station

Dream if you can a courtyard
An ocean of violets in bloom ...
--Prince "When Doves Cry"

Violets growing on Berckman Street in Plainfield.

Tree blossoms!


Notice the tent caterpillars in the tree. This tree, at the Bridgewater Train Station, got hit very hard with them one year and some branches still show the effects.

Tulips and pansies

I have yet to see a fully-opened tulip this season. I took this shot in 32-degree temperatures.

Just a weed

But it has its own beauty, doesn't it?

It's the EASTER BUNNY! Yay!

This huge rabbit was at the Bridgewater Train Station. He had to go fifteen pounds! He actually scared me. I was photographing something else when I startled him. I didn't realize he was on the other side of the fence.

Rub-a-dub dub, three men in a ...

... er, ON a bench. North Avenue at Watchung, Plainfield.


What's up with that? They redid the whole interior of Supremo's Food Market. I still have trouble finding stuff. Now the outside? I notice the signs for the scaffolding indicate it comes from the Bronx. I guess NJ doesn't have its own? But we do have Jersey barriers on the highways!

They're periwinkle!

East Front Street, Plainfield.

I still don't know what they are.

Unless they're non-fruiting crab apple trees, like the ginko trees used in cities, I don't know. They're all over the place and very pretty, though. East Front Street.

Da magnolias in da hood

This magnolia tree (thanks, Silk) hangs out in my neighborhood. East Front Street, Plainfield.

Magnolia blossoms

I still don't know.

For Survivor fans -- I feel like Rudy in that first season when he said "I don't know" to every piece of the puzzle! Church Street, Plainfield.

The price of gas.

Gas remained steady at 3.65 a gallon all week here until Saturday morning when I saw it was up to 3.67. I didn't take a shot because it was pouring rain. The corner of East Second and Church Streets. What's the price of gas where you are?

Sign on my apartment building's elevator.

Now, I try to translate and teach myself Spanish using signs and Spanish language newspapers. If I didn't have the English there, I would have guessed "Sorry for the molestation." Oh my.

Hawk in flight

This was over the Plainfield Police Department on a sunny day this week. Whenever I tried to zoom more on him, he'd fly too fast and I'd lose him.


The large patch of mushrooms returned to its same spot at the Bridgewater Train Station. Last year they only lasted a day. Since it's been raining, they're still there after two days.

Azalea to be

You pansies!


The below freezing temps one night even made the dandelions shrivel.

I don't know.

I do know that these trees at the Plainfield Train Station will sport gorgeous lush pink blossoms soon!

Fresh Seafood

Um, from the sidewalk? In front of Pete's Fish Market on East Second Street. It's likely the high winds from the night before blew it there. So I shot it. I know. I'm weird.

One bottle of beer on the wall
One bottle of beer
Take it down and pass it around
No more bottles of beer on the wall

Yep, it's an unopened, yet apparently shaken, bottle of beer on the wall of Pete's Fish Market (just a few feet from the Fresh Seafood box). No, it's not mine. No, I didn't take it. I left it there. I figured it would find a home. This was at 7:20 AM. I can't do beer at that hour.

Look! No snow!

The sidewalk "plaza" was buried under a mountain of snow for months. That's the sidewalk no one would own up to shoveling whether it's Plainfield or NJ Transit responsibility.

Spring colors

I should have used my superhuman strength to straighten that fence. It throws off the shot. East Second Street, Plainfield.

Church Street

I'm a sucker for Church Street in the spring. I still don't know what the trees are. Call me Rudy.

STOP bad spelling!

Now, if I were running for the Plainfield School Board, I'd destroy any signs which said "Plainfeld School Board." It's a matter of credibility or something, isn't it?
I'm sure it's a typo, but I'd recall the signs. The corner of Berckman and East Front.

Just a bird in the rain

Weeds over rocks

Bridgewater Train Station

I'll hide here in the dense brush.


Closer up

I am SQUIRREL! I look down on puny humans!

East Third Street, Plainfield

Nifty keen shiny blue beetle.

Yeah, I know it's destructive. It's really tiny, less than a quarter inch long, probably closer to an eighth of an inch. But its almost metallic blue covering makes it nifty keen shiny.

There he is again.

What's that, Vincent?
There's a bug up there?

I hope everyone has a great Easter and please stop back for the Amazing Race blog party! How was your week?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Survivor: Redemption Island - 4/20 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.

I wonder if they're over-hyping the race issues for tonight. This could be interesting!

The recap started off with a SAM! Drink up!

Duel time - everyone is there to watch. Loser will be first member of jury. All three are participating. They have to build a traditional house of cards with slate pieces. Going for eight feet. They don't need to be first, but it needs to last. Mike and Matt stay alive, David goes to jury. Matt and Mike return to Redemption Island.

Whoa! Phillip stole most of Zapetera's rice, then is upset that Zap doesn't want them putting their contaminated rice into Zap's container.

Steve called Phillip a lunatic, so Phillip decided it was racial. @@

Immunity -- puzzles in rounds. First six moving on. They're spinning around, getting dizzy, as they remove a threaded disk from a spool, then onto a puzzle.

Rob, Julie, Ralph, Andrea, Steve and Grant move on to next puzzle.

Boston Rob wins Immunity!

Julie stole Phillip's shorts and buried them. He's stuck in his pink underwear. The Zapetera members want Phillip out tonight and think they need two Ometepe to flip. I doubt that will happen.

Tribal Council - Phillip is sure that Steve stole his clothes. They talked out the race and rice war. Julie admitted taking Phillip's shorts when Jeff asked.

The tally: Phillip, Phillip, Phillip, Julie, Julie, Julie, Julie, Julie.

Julie is out and no way will Phillip get his shorts again!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business 4/17 Episode Blog Party

Wow, it's actually starting on time this week here in the East! 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. Stop on by and jump in the pool!

It's off to Vienna, Austria! All on the same flight except the cowboys. They took one with fewer connections, but a half-hour later arrival. This leg is a Ford Focus focus -- winners of the leg each win one. Lots of product placement. Gary and Mallory off to a rough start with the car clue and now the cowboys have arrived.

Zev and Justin have a short lead ... things could change. Onto the library!

Detour - Long Hard Walk (Freud, transport analyst's couch) or Quick and Easy Meal - meals on a Ferris Wheel, eat all in one rotation of wheel.

Jen and Kisha didn't finish their food and are heading to the couch. Same with Zev and Justin. Cowboys are just getting to the detour. Gary and Mallory failed on the meal, too.

Since everybody is switching detours, the cowboys (who went with the couch) are now back in the pack. The Globes have taken over the lead. Gary and Mallory are now in last place and Kent keeps whining. Kent and Vyxsin are having a bickerfest leg. Grr.

Roadblock - chimney sweeping! Globes in the lead heading to the pit stop. They missed the turn allowing Zev and Justin to beat them!

Pit Stop -
1. Zev and Justin! Won the cars.
2. Globetrotters
3. Kent and Vyxsin
4. Jen and Kisha
5. Jet and Cord
6. Gary and Mallory -- NON-PHILIMINATION LEG! They're still in it!

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - April 17, 2011

Is it Sunday already? Why, yes it is! That means it's time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs. Although we only had a few days of really nice spring weather here, at least I have more photo fodder as things come to life after the long and heavy-duty winter.

Work is still very hectic, something I find a bit perturbing as this isn't the usual time of year for hectic. I'm usually fine-tuning things, cleaning out files and such this time of year. Oh, not this year. Gah.

I shouldn't fuss, though. I'll be having the entire summer off. I made the plunge and set up the date for my right knee replacement. My left knee will be three years old on May 14. My right knee, as it is now, will be history on June 16. I'm using the same surgeon, same hospital and the same physical therapist. Heck, with the exception of the DVT, I was very satisfied. Hopefully there will be no DVT this time around and I'll heal well enough to mosey the beaches of the Outer Banks in late September!

Even if it's still a bit rough, I'm going to take that vacation. I'm committed. I have bought tickets for the flights. Swimming is great for a knee replacement and there's a pool. I'm going and I'm going to have a fantastic time with friends I've met right here through this blog. Woohoo! I'm not overly keen on facing the TSA with two knee replacements, but I'll do it.

In other news, I finally did my taxes this week. With the writing income, it's not as simple as things used to be. At my day job I have extra monies taken out weekly to cover no taxes taken out on my 1099s. While my return is more than enough to pay for the above airline tickets, I can't help but wonder what a $3,000 tax return is like. I keep hearing that's the average. It must not be the average for a single person with no dependents unless they're earning huge bucks or have way too much taken out in the first place!

My upstairs neighbors have their grandchild again for the weekend. They don't do it often, but I definitely know it when they do. Nothing like a child above my head running and stomping on hardwood floors. Vincent is irked, too. The couple who live up there, despite always wearing shoes or hard-soled slippers, generally walk fairly lightly. So, I can't really complain. Oops. I already complained.

I tend to kick off my shoes the moment I come in the door and, even though I'm not a light-weight, I walk quietly. My downstairs neighbor sometimes thinks I've moved because he doesn't hear me. I'd love an upstairs neighbor like that! That said, the current couple upstairs (who have lived there maybe six years or so) are the quietest that have been up there since I moved here. So, that's good.

Well, onto the photos I've taken this week. Clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window. Then just go back to the blog using your browser's "back" function.

A rainy night in Plainfield

This is last night on Watchung Avenue as the rain came down. What a dismal day we had! Heavy rain, gusty winds and flood warnings. Lots of areas in town had their streets flooded. I was fine here. While we had some lightning and thunder, the storms didn't hit us anywhere near as bad as other areas of the country. But it was enough to have some businesses close their doors and the streets were practically deserted as I returned home from work.

Standing guard

A bird outpost has been set up in Bridgewater, NJ, as the birds plan their takeover of the planet.

Stuff is growing

Remember the snow wall?

Yep, this is the same bench which had the 15-foot mountain of snow behind it for most of the winter! Church Street (Plainfield), early morning on our sunny day this week.

Almost open

The holiday decorated yard at East Front and Richmond in Plainfield has traded in Santa for flowers.

Now the fire hydrant looks silly again.

But when the snow was shoulder-high on the corner, it wasn't looking silly. Um, I think it was buried even though it's raised anyway. Watchung Avenue and East Fourth Street, Plainfield.

More stuff growing.

Hindi summer camp!

Now I know what I'll do with myself for the summer! I know how to say thank you, hello, good night and goodbye in Hindi. But don't ask me how to spell them. It comes from working in Edison, NJ for a few years.

More stuff growing!

Exit to street

This was taken from the westbound platform of the Plainfield Train Station. A sad note is that the Xpress Mart convenience store shut down over the winter. I thought it was business-related due to sales. I know that although I liked the convenience to the station and the folks who worked there, the prices were extremely high, the service tended to be slow and they weren't dependable as far as being open their posted hours.

An ex-worker told me they closed due to issues amongst the owners/workers. Sigh. I try to patronize local small businesses as I know it's not easy for them to survive.


Several hawks were circling over North Avenue in Plainfield on Saturday morning. I only caught a few of them in this shot (on the left), but there were a good half-dozen. Something must have caught their attention.

Church Street in its spring glory

The trees lining this street are beautiful this time of year!

Oh my

I believe this is my find for the week. This head on the porch railing can be found on East Fifth Street near the corner of Richmond (unless Saturday's winds blew it down). I saw no signs of petechial hemorrhaging, so it's doubtful it was strangulation. Wait, I've watching too many C.S.I. shows! I have no idea what the head is all about. But it's kind of creepy!


Looking down on a flower on Berckman Street in Plainfield.

The scourge of summer is back

No, not the Berckman Street crew o' kids. I'm talking that ice cream truck! They've outlawed "Turkey in the Straw" here. So they've got an even more annoying tune playing LOUDLY, then it stops and a voice shouts out LOUDLY, "Hello! HELLO! HELLO!" Then the music starts all over once again. This was our one really nice day this week. No, I didn't buy ice cream. If I buy ice cream, it will be decent stuff ... like Godiva!


No, you can't kill the poison ivy by chopping at it over the winter! Kind of like a starfish regenerating a lost limb (point? whatever!), the poison ivy recreates itself. Bridgewater, NJ.

Looking up

Looking at the tree blossoms on Church Street. Obviously, not yesterday!

Da 'hood is budding

Quite a difference from the last time I posted this scene, eh?

Masonic Temple

Back in the day, they used to do things all fancy-like. 105 East Seventh Street (naturally), Plainfield.

Pretty in pink

Looking at West Eighth Street from the Plainfield Library steps.

These sandals were made for ...

... um, sticking in rails? Plainfield Train Station.


A closer look at the blossoms on the Church Street trees. I'm not really sure what they are. Dogwood? Oh, Bernice ... what are they?

Square within a violet

Not the best focus, but I found the square pretty cool. East Front Street, Plainfield.

Into the belly of the beast

Dandelion extreme.

Foggy morning

Tuesday morning was extremely foggy, then it rained. Such is spring. But, sheesh, it would be nice to have a run of GOOD days, wouldn't it? Bridgewater Train Station.

I'm too sexy for my whiskers

Okay, Vincent. You do realize you're not "sexy" at all, don't you?

By the way, in case you missed it -- I posted on Survivor's Seven Most Outlandish Characters the other day. Let me know your thoughts!
How was your week?