Sunday, December 04, 2011

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - December 4, 2011

It's Sunday morning, time for my weekly off television topic jaunt through the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. We've really been lucky temperature-wise here. For early December, we're definitely warmer than average. In the beginning of the week it was almost warm. Now we're back to temperatures in the low 50s going down into the high 20s in the overnight hours. I could certainly deal with that all winter! Unfortunately, it's not likely to happen.

This is the fifth nice weekend in a row here, too. But it has rained just about every Tuesday night into Wednesday. Guess when my day off is? Wednesday! Well, Wednesday and Sunday.

Unless the forecast changes, it's to be that way this week, too. It's a shame because (until I saw the forecast) I was thinking I'd just ride the train all the way into the city (Manhattan) after work on Tuesday to go photo stomping. As I'm off on Wednesday, I could lurk late without worrying about getting up at five in the morning. But they're saying rain for Tuesday night and Wednesday, so that's probably not going to happen. Maybe a week from Tuesday! I could go today, but weekends are more crowded than weeknights and I'd have to be home for The Amazing Race because you never know when it's going to start.

I feel the need to post a correction about stating last week that bikes are allowed on the NJ Transit trains during off peak hours. Well, they kind of are. But, while I was on my medical leave, they changed the rules. No more bikes boarding or getting off at low platforms. My hesitancy about getting my own bike going was due to the low platform at my workplace station. If I took a bike aboard, I'd have to go all the way to Somerville, then bike it three or four miles back to work. 

The new rule is putting a cramp on my new shift train buddies -- a group of tree workers. One has taken to leaving his bike locked at Bridgewater and carrying his seat back and forth on the train. Another is riding his bike from Fanwood to the Plainfield Station, passing two stations with low platforms, then getting out at Somerville and biking five miles to work. 

I feel obligated (personally) to add that the latter dude doing that huge bike hike (and is a tree worker climbing trees, etc.) has an NJ Transit disability card and rides for half-fare. I've looked over the paperwork that you need to bring to a doctor to fill out and submit and I'm not seeing how he gets away with it! I probably would have qualified before my knee replacement(s) or definitely during recovery when I wasn't riding the train. He claims to have a metal plate in his foot. Um, I have metal and plastic knees! Yet I don't think I'd qualify. But then, I did have the operations so I wouldn't be disabled!

Enough grousing, I guess. He's a nice enough guy and also a photo-taker albeit with his smart phone. I just don't like it when people take advantage of the system. Onto the photos for the week ...

The sky is a hazy shade of winter

My apologies to Paul Simon, but it's fitting for the early morning skies this week. This is looking to the west as the sun rises in the east. Bridgewater, NJ.

Sunset with train

The skies were gorgeous when I got home from work early Friday evening. Plainfield Train Station.

Sunset without train

After the train pulled away. I have no clue why only one side of the station has its lamps on. It happens in the morning when they go off, too. It's always the westbound side which is dark first in the morning, last lighted in the evening. 

It's my own theory that they cater to NYC bound passengers just like the full stations are always on that side, ticket machines on that side, etc. Even the buses favor NYC-bound with shelters and benches on that side while folks going westbound stand in the rain. Perhaps they're working under the misconception that most folks just get off trains and buses going westbound and don't have to wait to board them. Huh!


Almost sunset over toxic superfund site

This is Bridgewater where it was flooded for a few months after Irene. When I returned to work last month they still had the road to the eastbound tracks blocked to cars, yet the walkway was open. The geese have returned to the field, but the part of the field near the station is full of tree debris, wooden frames and you-name-it. 

While I'm seeing geese, ducks and other birds there, I haven't seen any rabbits, groundhogs, deer, squirrels or chipmunks since my return. That area used to boast a large array of wildlife. I had no clue it was a toxic superfund site due to a long defunct and closed chemical plant until Irene flooded it for three months.

Early morning train stairs

Although my knees still aren't real great on stairs, these particular stairs on Watchung Avenue leading to the westbound platform at the Plainfield Train Station are always cool. The cut-into-stone appearance is what attracts me to them. So I look, then go around to the entrance on North Avenue!

The train approaches

The train! The train! Plainfield Train Station.

Walking with a purpose

This man walked with a determined stride along North Avenue in Plainfield. But I really should point out that the school bus yellow security gate is what they did to the new gray gate which replaced the old graffiti-laden one on that building. Oh ... why bright yellow? It frightens me early in the morning!


He's no Bernadette Peters! Bound Brook Train Station.

Gray skies

Nope, I didn't do my color/black & white editing with this shot. The sky was that gray and the lamp had a greenish hue on Tuesday morning. Bridgewater, NJ.

I don't want to know the electric bill

It would be way cool if she synchronized the lights with holiday music. After all, I live far enough away that it wouldn't bother me. Corner of East Front and Richmond, Plainfield.


I used the "illusion" filter of the GIMP photo editor to funk up this shot of the rear of the Friends Meeting House (Quakers) in Plainfield. Off of Watchung Avenue.


Her's the real shot. I took it Tuesday morning when the clouds kept the sun from rising before I hit the train station. Lately I'm hitting the station just before dawn. When it's cloudy, the skies are still dark. On clear days, it's pretty.

Ho Ho Ho

The reindeer legs actually move. She's got so much going on at this house that I can't take it all in with one shot! East Front and Richmond again.

Late afternoon clouds, barren trees

I took this one from the Fourth Street side of the Plainfield Train Station Monday when I got home from work.

Shortcut to dawn

Obviously one of the aforementioned clear days! This is a shortcut I take between the U-Haul buildings on the way to the train station. Last winter there was a good thirty feet of snow shoved there blocking my way. I edited this shot to leave only the pre-dawn skies in color.

Lot of lots of U-Haul trucks

I didn't take the between buildings shortcut on this morning and walked alongside the lot instead. This is on Roosevelt Avenue, Plainfield. U-Haul itself is on East Second.

HELP! I'm stuck under a cat!

He was drooped over my shoulder until he realized I was trying to get a photo of him. Silly Vincent! And ... help!


Delee said...

Makes one wonder about the bikes being prohibited! Govt wants us all to use less oil/fuel--exercise more and then the authorities ban people power! My Dad could get a handicap parking pass but refuses. He says many use ones from family that has passed on! Has to be a better system so people who actually need them, have them! Again this comes from people who have learned to use the system!

Illusion is so strange yet eye capturing! You need to do more of these!

Hopefully AR will be on time, but I am not holding my breathe!

Sally said...

Really nice photos this week. I especially like the Sunset with Train and Late Afternon Clouds/Barren Trees photos. And Vincent, of course.

Hope you can make it to New York City--I look forward to seeing the holiday photos.

monty924 said...

Wonderful photos this week as usual. I love driving around my town at this time of year to see all the houses decorated. We do have one near me with the lights synced to an FM radio station so you can listen from your car. Our house is still a work in progress but should be done, hopefully, by mid-week.

Everyone have a fun time at the blog party and I'll catch up on the race when I get home.

Happy Sunday!!

Becky said...

Jackie, you never cease to amaze me with your photography skills. I was drawn to the one of the actual gray skies and street light.

The decorated house is what we call a Griswold Creation. The lady at the end of Momma's street goes too far every holiday. If she cut the decorations in half it would be more eye pleasing.

WV: raver -- I am a raver when I see your photos.

Janice said...


Your photos are amazing and I think you should do a book of them!! I bet the people in your town would love it!!

Honest you have a talent with words and pictures!!


Karma┼ča said...

Beautiful pictures beautiful places. But i couldnt see the difference of sunset with rain and without rain :) By the way where did u take these pics