Sunday, May 29, 2011

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - May 29, 2011

Happy Sunday! My apologies for getting this up later than usual today. But, since it is Sunday, it's time for my weekly reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. I've had the past week off from work but not from my camera!

For a week off, I've definitely had enough to do. While I didn't travel anywhere, this was my week to "get stuff done." The verdict? Well, I got a lot of stuff done but not everything I planned. Isn't that always how it goes?

Most of the stuff I wanted to get done ties in with my anticipated knee replacement surgery. I know I'm not going to want to do any extensive housekeeping for a few weeks, so all floor waxing and strenuous stuff needs to be done before the surgery. That's stuff which still needs to be worked on!

I did get other things accomplished such as financial stuff. I paid off the few hundred remaining on an older 401K loan so that, if need be, I can take another one out if money gets tight while out on short term disability. That's my best route to finance help -- I don't (won't) pay any penalties as I won't be leaving my job for retirement until after I pay it back. Just a bit out of my paycheck every week and no hassles. Yeah, I know the 401K is for retirement, but I enjoy having it now, too.

I also got Vincent all squared away with his current shots and check-up. The vet and assistant said he was beautiful and so well behaved! He got a clean bill of health, some gunk in his ears tested negative for mites. Now I know I'm going to have to occasionally swab his ears. I was so proud of how good he was there! It's amazing how well behaved he is out and about in public. In cars (and his one train trip), he's quiet and even purrs when petted. And, in public places, he's a bit curious but not really scared. I've always had cats who were terrified and cried in public. What a change!

After his shots, he was a bit lethargic for about a day. But he's back to his old Vincent self now. He doesn't know he's going to be boarded in a few weeks while I have the surgery, but he's all set for it. I'm going to board him at Best Friends, the same place he went while I was on vacation last year.

While they seem to favor dogs, the cats have their own place with individual 3-story cat condos away from the noise of dogs. They let each cat out to play in the big glass-enclosed cat room and email photos of the cat to his owner daily. They have vets on call if needed, cost no more than boarding at a veterinarian and seem to be a better environment for cats than boarding at a vet. I was very happy with them last year and Vincent didn't seem too upset either.

I also got the photos for the upcoming library summer photo exhibition (not to be confused with the contest) all squared away. All I have yet to do is write a brief bio of me (which I will get done today Jeff, if you're reading this). I'm pleased with the selection and will make it to the opening, even on crutches! Since the date of my knee operation is later than I had planned when initially discussing this, I'll likely be on pain meds and crutches. More on the show as I know more ...

Work on my vacation was necessary this week as I had to go in one day to do pre-work on a new software program. I coincided the work with a conference call I wasn't going to take otherwise. It went well although I wasn't really keen on going in on my vacation. I felt like some sort of work-a-holic and I'm not! But I will be away all summer. Now is the time for them to need me to do these things as I know I won't be able to do work things for at least two or three months ... or longer!

If you TV fans haven't been checking the blog, I have a So You Think You Can Dance season premiere post up. I hope to be following that show through the summer but might have to juggle it against the Big Brother schedule as far as posting. It might end up getting recorded. I don't watch Dancing With the Stars, but I'm always hooked on SYTYCD. You're all invited!

Since my summer plans are basically rest, elevate, ice, do my exercises, go to physical therapy ... I will have plenty of time for TV watching and posting! Of course, after this summer, I'll be out of knees to do this on every three years.

I received a letter from my health insurance company. They're approving hospitalization for my knee replacement surgery. That's probably more advisable than the "do it at home" approach, right? Of course, they will be consulting more with my doctor to make sure it's medically necessary. Sheesh, if they actually knew me, they'd know that I don't want to be in the hospital any longer than needed. The hospital part the last time was when I was most miserable of the other knee replacement.

Enough! Onto the photos! Clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window, then just hit your browser's back button to return to the blog.

Arches to summer

We went pretty much from winter to summer with just a rainy cold spring separating them. I took this shot at the Plainfield Train Station, editing it to leave just the greenery at the end. I love the angles and shots I can get at train stations and Plainfield is always giving me new fodder.

Ready to be born

This will be a stunning iris soon. Berckman Street, Plainfield.

On your mark, get set ...

A squirrel poses for me on an East Front Street sidewalk.

Nature is so fantastic, isn't it?

Is there anything more glorious than this iris on Berckman Street?

Or these?

Also on Berckman Street amongst the neglected grass at a recently vacated home.

Not irises, but still works of wonder.

Also on Berckman Street in Plainfield.

New beetle this year.

In photographs I've taken of this one, it's obvious it has a clear covering over it. By eye only, it seems to be purely a shiny gold beetle. Perhaps, since under the clear cover, it looks like a stink bug, that might be what it is -- baby stink bug. It's smaller than a lady bug and they seem to be doing a lot of greenery eating at the Bridgewater Train Station.

Not a trusting soul?

Heh, wallet in hand, it looks like the one man is concerned about the other coming up behind him. But that's not really the case. He had his wallet out as he bought tickets at the Plainfield Train Station. And, the man coming up behind him is only Omar.

I've long contended that, although some folks are leery of him, Omar is not trouble at the station. I found out NJ Transit workers feel the same way about him. On this particular day, not only was Omar helping people at the machines, he was telling everyone that the trains were running on the opposite track due to track work. At one point the clerk working inside came out and checked on him to make sure he was directing people to the right track! No, he's not a New Jersey Transit employee. Yes, he is a fixture at the station.


I'm not sure why so many of the Latino bodegas in town refer to themselves as "supermarkets." To me, the mere word "super" in there indicates a vast space with never-ending aisles ... a Stop and Shop, a Wegmans, something on that order. These ones in town are bodegas or convenience stores, not supermarkets! Twin City and Supremo are supermarkets in town. I also can't help but wonder if these small markets all got together and invested in bright yellow paint. Park Avenue, Plainfield.

Vintage neon

There is no longer a liquor store at this location on Watchung Avenue, yet the old neon sign remains. There is a lot of working neon in town, but I love seeing these old school signs. Oh, not to worry ... there are liquor stores down the block either way from this sign without a store.

Some people go both ways.

I like the illusion that these one way signs are sending out a contradictory message. I took this shot from near the library looking towards West Eighth Street as the little street behind the library emptied into it.

The lamps of Library Park

They seem to be leading folks to the historical home but I don't think the folks who live there want us to stop by. The homes surrounding Library Park are fantastic and most are very well-kept. Plainfield, NJ.

The sneakers of Library Park

Alas, the urban sneak(er)s in ...

All it needs is eyes and apples to throw!

I must be on a Wizard of Oz kick this week! Doesn't this tree look like one of the ones ruled by the Wicked Witch? I found it at the Plainfield Public Library.

Hog in da 'hood, hog in da 'hood!

For just being down the block from the sign which touts the start of the Plainfield Business District, we have a lot of critters in my neighborhood. Raccoons, ground hogs, opossum, occasional deer, geese, hawks, woodpeckers ... you name it. The huge lawns and nearby Green Brook seem to offer cover.

I'm CUTER than that ol' groundhog!

Yes, yes you are. East Front Street, Plainfield.

Against all odds

Nature wins over mankind every day. East Third Street in Plainfield just up from the train station.

Who's this on the sidewalk?

Why, it's Vincent in his sport carrier awaiting a ride home from the vet! That carrier is great -- it weighs practically nothing and has a shoulder strap. While it's too small for a long haul, it's perfect for short trips and he enjoys it. It also collapses so you can put it in a purse.

He was great in this as dogs and people passed by. Yet when a chipmunk ran by the carrier, Vincent actually tipped it over! The chipmunk was too fast for me to take a shot.

What have I done to deserve this?

Vincent on the table in the vet's office. I put another photo up on Facebook -- I hope this link works for that. He was so good! We watched another cat get all toweled up just to have his nails clipped. That cat screamed like they were killing him. Now, Vincent's not thrilled when I clip his claws and I rarely get them done all in one sitting, but he doesn't fuss like that! He just wants to get down by the time I get the first paw done. Wait until the first time I swab his ears now that I know his ears get gunky!

Update: The link to the Vincent photo doesn't work, but the link to all of the wall photos I've put on FB is this one. The Vincent shot is near the end of the photos.

I hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day Weekend. Please take some time to reflect on the meaning behind the day. My own father was a veteran, as was my grandfather. I salute all who have served our country!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

So You Think You Can Dance Season Premiere

While I don't watch Dancing With the Stars, I am addicted to So You Think You Can Dance. Tonight is the 2-hour season premiere. If you're watching, please feel free to chime in with comments! Alas, Blogger is going all kinds of whacko. I can't access my blog on Firefox, nor comment. I seem to be okay if I use Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. If you have problems posting comments, try to get in that way.

Are you ready for the hot tamale train?

Mary Murphy is back. Where are my ear plugs?
Whoa, starting off right -- this salsa couple is amazing! They're very young, the guy can't go on this season but she's on to choreography.

Melanie Moore up next. Decent contemporary. Judges didn't seem excited as they watched, but Nigel has "fallen in love" with her. Mary is overwhelmed. Lil C likes it, too. Onto Vegas.

Heh. Cat Deeley says, "Atlanter." Yes, these auditions are in Atlanta.

Dion and Damon - Hip hop. I enjoyed that! The two obviously had fun! Yay! They're both through to Vegas!

Here goes the people we won't know for a while -- several clips of folks going onto Vegas. A record of ten in a row sent straight through.

Marci has a sob story about being shot in a robbery with a bullet remaining in his shoulder. He's "gonna be a beast." Contemporary. Very smooth. Onto choreography. In choreography, Bianca (salsa girl) is onto Vegas. Marco moves on as well. I like him and I'm not a huge contemporary dance fan.

Kimberly with her non-competing partner. Another contemporary with lots of control. Excellent with the partner ... hmm. I wish he was competing! She moves on to Vegas.

Mary has a new word - "organtic." Lil C comes up with "gracefully clumsy" and "submissive to your own dominance."

White Chocolate, John, is up next. Already he's annoying me. Make him go away. "Very juvenile," says Nigel. Right. Buh-bye!

Kyre Walker has his grandmother in the audience. She dances her way up front. Miss Mandy, the grandmother, joined the judges. YES! He danced hip hop to "Sweet Dreams are Made of This." His grandmother is rough on him. Gah, Mary and Nigel say no. Lil C and Miss Mandy say yes to choreography so he moves on. He doesn't go to Vegas but I enjoyed his audition so much!

Hotlanta is over and it's onto San Francisco.

Tyce and another ballroom choreographer (Toni?) join Nigel to judge.

Amber Williams - contemporary - starts things off on a good note! "White girl freaky with ghetto funky" says the woman judge. Gah. WHO IS SHE? Amber goes to Vegas.

A tremendous B Boy dancer ... name? Ah, Timothy! The ballroom judge (now clarified as Toni Redpath, thanks Caela!) says no to choreography, Tyce and Nigel say yes. I hope he makes it. I like B Boys!

Aisha is scary. I might have nightmares now. Freestyle? Ex-stripper? EEK! The next dancer, Marcos, should partner with her. Bad auditions ensue.

Danielle has a sob story, so she should be good. Lost home, father deserted her. Contemporary. Toni is being rough on her. But Toni and Nigel send her onto choreography.

Ashley does "Ashley-style" which is contemporary. No formal training, it seems, but she's powerful. I thought she'd be a loser. Nigel sends her onto Vegas after he got the other two to say yes to choreography.

Time for a bunch of Vegas bound snippets sans names.

Sobbing dude who's here for dance is next. His last name is Addison, first name something like D'om'in'c. Painful to watch. He needs to cry some more.

In choreography B-Boy Timothy dropped out due to a "tweaked knee." Danielle, however, does just fine. She's onto Vegas.

A B-Boy with a rough life behind him, Jeffery, is up. WOW! Straight to Vegas!

Ryan (female) who almost made it last year, tries again. "Controlled abandon," says Toni. Onto Vegas.

Lilly, a mix of B-Girl and contemporary, makes it as do some others.

Turf dancing, a style from Oakland, is up next. They try to "take up the floor." Turfing has swagger, feetwork, pantomiming, storytelling. Levi does his audition. Very interesting. Pretty amazing stuff! Onto choreography. Aw, he doesn't make it.

All in all, a promising start to the season. NYC and Salt Lake City are the next cities. Your thoughts?

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Bachelorette Starts Tonight

Is anyone interested in having a discussion post made here for the show?

I swear ... this lull in TV posting will end soon!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - May 22, 2011

It's Sunday morning, time for my off television topic look back on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. I realize I haven't been talking a lot about television as of late, but that will change. I've been excessively busy at work and getting prepared for my knee replacement, too.

I'm on vacation this week and plan to work on housecleaning (as that will suffer while I'm post-surgery). I'll also be meeting up with the library folks to go over photos for the summer exhibition. Plus, lucky me, on my vacation I get to go to work one day to do pre-work software set-up for a new program we'll be using. I may or may not take a conference call that same day. I'm also going to be stocking my place with non-perishables, stuff I need (or want) and cooking/freezing some dinners ahead. I know the first few weeks I'm not going to want to do any cooking more strenuous than popping something into the microwave.

We've had yet another week of rain here. When it wasn't raining, it was grey or just dramatic stormy looking clouds. Every now and then, the sun would peek through the clouds. Most days it was chilly. But when it wasn't chilly it was humid. At times it was both humid and chilly. I can only hope my vacation week is better!

Like most people I know, I've been joking about the Rapture which didn't happen on Saturday. Amidst my joking, a friend of mine passed away yesterday. Allan P. Lappin was one of the first people I met on the Internet (about 16 years ago) that I ended up being friends with in person. Such a good guy -- intelligent, kind and witty. His hero, his son Jake (ex-military sergeant who served in Afghanistan and is now on the NYFD), posted the news on Facebook. I don't know the details, but it must have been sudden as Allan was just joking on FB late Friday afternoon. I have to give Jake a call to see about arrangements. It's a shock. Allan was my age, a software/computer programmer who had to recently reinvent himself as a teacher in these rough economic times. So long, APL ... I'll keep reading and enjoying.

Sigh. But we do go on. I already had photos with ascension in mind before I got the news about Allan Saturday night. I know he would have appreciated them, so they're still a go.

Clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window. To get back to the blog, just hit your "back" button on your browser.

6 PM Saturday

There was a man there enjoying his drink just a moment ago! North Avenue, Plainfield.

5:59 PM Saturday

"I'm ready!"

6:01 PM Saturday

"So, Joe ... Joe? Where'd he go? His coat's still here!" My apartment elevator actually on Saturday morning, but the six o'clock hour is better for the story.


Tying the dead tree to the fence with cable worked for the bird feeder folks of East Front Street. The birds are back!

Gloomy skies, wet bird.

Bridgewater Train Station.

Almost June?

People are still wearing cold weather gear in the morning only to shed it in the afternoon. North Avenue, Plainfield.

Dramatic skies

The skies over Plainfield Friday as I returned home from work.

Wet azaleas

Ohh ... new security gates!

Finally I can take photos of these buildings without the graffiti! North Avenue, Plainfield. By the way, it seems the building on the right has been empty for months. Their roof still looks a bit shaky from the removal of the attached building that used to be on the right.

Ivy in the sky

A look from the underside of poison ivy at the Bridgewater Train Station. Thanks to the rain, the poison ivy is lush and dense with some leaves much larger than my hand!

Just a weed, but beautiful in its own way.

Help me! Help me!

Fly on poison ivy. He was actually a good model. Look! He has suction-cup feet!

He's got the worm.

But he wasn't an early bird. He was a dinner-time, Jackie arrive home from work time bird. No, he didn't get it on the sidewalk. He got it from the grassy area nearby but I startled him as I walked by and he dropped it. So I passed by, then whipped around with the camera to catch him retrieving it. I knew he wouldn't go without it! The worm, alas, didn't survive although it was definitely trying to escape. Berckman Street, Plainfield.

Iris in the rain

East Front Street, Plainfield.

Berckman Street allium and friends.

Thanks to Plainfield blogger Dan Damon for naming that flower!

Gee, more rain.

What's with the teeny bikes these days?

I plan on biking (I own a bike which needs new tires, plus a stationary bike) to rehab from my surgery this summer. But the amount of bend in the knee to operate these small wheels with a low seat would kill me! North Avenue, Plainfield.

Plainfield Train Station, North Avenue side

The other side (NYC/Newark bound) has the main station building. This side at least has cover from the rain. Note the dramatic skies once again! But at least it wasn't raining.

Somerset Medical Center ambulance

That's the hospital where I'll have my knee replacement done, but I won't get to ride in the ambulance. No emergency here, though. The ambulance attends every game of the Somerset Patriots at the TD Ball Park in Bridgewater (adjacent to the train station). I edited it to leave only the ambulance in color.

Little miracles underfoot

Teensy blue and yellow flowers grow in the grass between mowings.

Mr. Annoying Man

This man has been showing up at the Plainfield Train Station on Saturday mornings asking people for cigarettes and/or money. He's not aggressive, but he looks in disbelief when you say no to him. You pretty much have to shoo him away after you say no. Every car that goes by, every person walking ... he goes after them all. After being turned down for a cigarette, I watched him walk away and pull his own new pack out of his pocket. He probably has more money on him than the people he's asking have on them. Annoying man. I only see him on Saturdays but he can still go away.

Now growing at the Plainfield Train Station

Friends Meeting House

From the East Third Street side in a rare moment of sunshine. The rain has made everything lush and green. But enough is enough!


He's going to love me being home all summer. But he's not going to like the fact that I won't be able to carry him around all the time.

How was your week? Anyone out there? Are you still here?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Survivor: Redemption Island - Season Finale 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! We're into the penultimate evening of the series.

I don't know how the Redemption Island Four will work out. I guess we'll see. I have a feeling Matt or Rob will win the fan prize -- Matt because of his exile on Redemption for nearly the entire season or Rob because he's played a fantastic game. Phillip, of course, will be toasted with shouts of "SAM" throughout the country. Let's watch ...

They got tree mail for the final duel -- three will go on the jury, one back into the game. They have to balance a vase with their foot on a teeter-totter doohickey. Last vase standing wins.

Grant's out. Oh, geez ... Matt is out. Mike is out. Andrea goes back into the game! Who woulda thunk it?

Andrea is planting the seed they should vote Phillip out. Now the women actually outnumber the men -- bad news for Rob and Phillip!

Immunity -- Walking across a balance beam collecting bags of numbered tiles. They then must arrange the tiles in order - 1 to 100. Ashley, Rob's nemesis, won immunity. This can't be good for him. But he has one last chance to use that idol. He might need it.

Uh-oh -- Rob doesn't think he needs to use the idol. He wants Andrea out and the four (sans Andrea) supposedly made a deal. Ashley and Natalie have their pact. Now the girls are thinking of taking Rob out. Duh. About time someone thought of it!

Tribal Council. Rob uses idol! The votes: Rob, Andrea, Andrea, Andrea ... Andrea is gone once again, this time for good. Rob would have been safe as his lone vote came from Andrea. These folks are so dumb!

Rob told the girls he's going to win the next immunity and take the both of them to the final three ... leaving SAM out.

Final immunity challenge -- maze race, four bags of puzzle pieces, solve word phrase. Ashley stayed on Rob's heels throughout the maze. They're "working together" but not really on the puzzle - Rob wins Immunity with Only You Are Safe. Rob is all emotional.

The girls think Phillip is going. I think Rob wants to keep him, get rid of Ashley. Rob told Natalie he wants Ashley out. It's working. Natalie just lied to Ashley and said the plan is Phillip.

Tribal Council. The tally: Ashley, Phillip, Ashley, Ashley ... Ashley is outta there!

Phillips plan with the jury is to put salt on the wound reminding them why they're on the jury and he's in the finals. I don't think that's a great approach, do you? But he did burn the pink underwear (calling them "plum" colored). That's good.

JURY: Opening statements first --

Natalie - Made it 39 days, best game I could, social skills, Rob and I from the beginning. Been loyal, youngest female winner if you vote for me,

Phillip - Rob's appearance changed strategy, thanks him. Stealth strategy. Rob was mastermind and I implemented it, loyal to Rob.

Rob - Was competitive, put together alliances. Hard worker, did my part. What really matters is what the jury thinks. Trying so long -- ten years to get to the top. All about his wife and child. Hope he gets the vote.

The questioning:

Andrea - Phillip, you're weird. Who is the real Phillip Sheppard? You don't know me, if you don't don't vote for me. Natalie -- Betray, weird relationship with Rob.

Ashley - Sick of hearing Phillip's voice. Argues, Phillip refuses to shut up. Natalie - betrayed me. Natalie claims she was the bigger threat. Rob - you deceived a lot of people.

Grant - Natalie, alliance with Rob? Dynamics of alliance. Rob says if Natalie did what she said, it would be to the end. Rob didn't want to go to end with Grant because he'd kick his ass.

Ralph - Natalie, can't do anything without Rob. Phillip. you let me down. The feathers. Do you like me? Phillip does.

Matt: Rob - Where is the line drawn? Liar, etc. How do you keep yourself together? Rob - it's necessary. Harsh but effective.

Julie - You three should be humble, none of you played a respectable game. Do you think your parents would be proud? Nat, servant to Rob. Phillip, none of us like or respect you.

Mike: Closer to God, friendhips, inner peace. You learned to decieve and trick, anything else? Natalie - Learned a lot, just out of high school, strong and capable, confidence with life. Rob - need to stop playing s, no more after this. Phillip - blessed, can stand on my own, an outcast, left home at 16, a beacon the Sheppard family.

Steve: Natalie, commend at 19, Rob hat off to you, Phillip I'm sorry for you shameful for who you are and what you've grown into.

Dave: Cut off Phillip. Rob did everything. He controlled all of you, you all bought it, ruthless but brilliant. Easy to say who deserves to get your vote tonight.

David votes for Rob, Ralph for Phillip. No other votes shown. Off to NYC.

The votes: Rob, Phillip, Rob, Rob, Rob, Rob --

Boston Rob finally won Survivor!!

Boston Rob and Matt got 76% of the fan vote. The winner is Rob.

Redemption Island again next season -- South Pacific, two returning players. Hmmm ...

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - May 15, 2011

It's Sunday morning, time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. Compared to last week, things have been a bit tame here. We actually had a fantastic weather week, a bit warm for spring, but not hot. No rain for a week? How will we cope?

Oh. We'll cope by having at least some rain for a six day stretch or so. Oh well.

Midweek there was some sort of huge Blogger breakdown. While they managed to restore posts, all of the comments from the Survivor blog party on Wednesday have been cast off the island. I'm not sure if they'll return from Redemption Island or not. But I didn't vote them off! Remember, tonight is the big three-hour finale and reunion! Bring snacks and beverages!

On the home front, I'll have yet another landlord before long. The apartment building is going up on the auction block in a few weeks. On Wednesdays, which are usually my day off, they've been having building inspections for prospective bidders. I didn't hear anyone until this week. I peeked out the peephole. Eh, middle-aged in a suit. Okay. I did hear him ask the super if it's always this quiet here (supposedly 92% occupancy). I felt like telling him, "Yes. Except when the riff-raff children from the front of the building whose parents don't care run screaming through the hallways."

But I kept quiet. I usually let Crazy Joe across the hall scream right back at the kids. Yes, Crazy Joe is what they call him. I'm not sure why. He only seems crazy when he's yelling at kids playing in the hallways. I figure he scares them more than I would because he goes a bit berserk telling them to get out of "in front of my house." He's older and retired so I can usually depend on him to give them what for!

My left knee had its 3rd birthday yesterday. I still think of it as one of the scariest best things I've ever done for myself. I've named it "Smith." Now, the right knee's date is creeping up (June 16). Once that's done, I'll call that one "Nephew." I'm not all that imaginative. Both knees are manufactured by Smith and Nephew. I picked my surgeon and that's the brand he works with. I have no complaints about the first one, so the second one will likely be the exact same.

I got my pre-admission testing date as well as the required knee replacement class. Interesting ... it's the Tuesday after Memorial Day. I'm taking a week's vacation the week before. So it looks like it's extended a bit. Eventually I'll have to go donate blood to be transfused back into myself if needed. I'd rather they take my blood than give me random blood. I am a bit nervous about all of this, but not scared to death like I was the first time. I keep telling myself I'll have the summer off.

That's about it. This week hasn't been a thrill a minute. Onto the photos! Clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window. Then you can hit the back button on your browser to return to the blog.

It must be the early bird

Why? Because it looks like it's had plenty of worms! Chubby little guy, eh? East Front Street, Plainfield.

I want to go!

Promo poster at the Bound Brook Train Station. They never put Broadway/Radio City stuff up at Plainfield even though we're closer to the city. We keep getting Union County College posters. Sigh.

Oh no! How sad! A crashed bird!

Not really ... he's fine.

He was just taking a dust bath at the Plainfield Train Station.

New tree blossoms this week

During the winter these small trees bear red berries which not even birds eat.

Fleeing felons?

Nope, I just happened to scare a couple of rabbits as I climbed the stairs at the Bridgewater Train Station.

"If I turn my back to her, she can't see me."

Stadium lights

The ball park in Bridgewater is all active once again. The green shadowing was the reflection off the scoreboard.

Not cool, buddy.

THIS is why the train windows have head glop and smudges on them. Since I DON'T sleep on the train and I sometimes DO want to take photos out the window, it annoys me. The whole line probably takes an hour from start to finish. People who do this tend to get irked when they miss their stop and blame the conductors. Raritan Valley Line of NJ Transit.

Amongst the tombstones

The Friends Meeting House cemetery sports this beautiful flower. East Third Street, Plainfield.

Coffee klatch sans coffee

Usually railfans gather in that corner at the Bound Brook Train station, but I don't see any tripods or other equipment with this bunch. Railfans love the place as they're sandwiched between NJ Transit commuter trains and freight trains.

I must be a railing fan!

Looking up the railing at the Plainfield Train Station.

El Especialito

North Avenue, Plainfield. Edited for the black and white/color effect. The man had way greasy hair. If he gets on a train, he just better not lean his head on the window!

One of Dave's pigeons

The Indian gentleman, Dave (yeah, I know), who runs The Corner Store on Watchung and East Second puts bread out for his pigeons every day. The Corner Store is an interesting place -- incense burning, some Hindi chanting, some Spanish dialect and lots of lottery players.

A peaceful Plainfield Train Station

It's not always peaceful. I have noticed more NJ Transit cops around, as well as Plainfield officers, since the increased terror worries on trains. I still contend that street drunks, panhandlers and druggies are more likely than terrorists. I know one regular, Omar, seems to worry folks a bit. But Omar does really help people unfamiliar with the ticket machines and such. He probably HOPES someone will give him a tip, but never voices it. Oh. And he's not like Omar in The Wire although he could be a character on that show! He'd be more of a Bubbles.

The babies have arrived

Walking under the railroad overpass in Bridgewater is a trip now -- there have to be fifty (or more) bird nests with baby birds calling for food. The bird parents are constantly swooping around bringing in food.

Wildflowers on a lawn

Berckman Street, Plainfield. They'll last until it's mowed.


More pansies


Lots o' azaleas

Plainfield Police Gang Unit Gathering

I know I'll never be a client! It's a shame that such a unit is needed in a relatively small town. East Fourth Street by the police station.

Even MORE uncool!

What part of "no feet on seats" is so hard to understand? As a rider I not only don't want to sit where your nasty feet in shoes were, nor your nasty socked feet! Can't folks act like adults and just sit quietly? Why do they have to sprawl out all over the place? Speaking of which ... why can't the buses heading to the city have seats that actually sit upright? They recline too much to begin with -- I don't know why people must lie down for a trip into the city as it's not that far. But even when not reclined, I feel like I'm in a gangsta car or something.

Uh-oh. Spellcheck recognizes "gangsta." That can't be good for vocabulary on the whole, can it?

Hey, Vincent.

Vincent might end up with a bit of culture shock when I have the knee done. I won't be able to carry him around for at least a few weeks. Shhh ... don't tell him. Let him sleep.

How was your week?