Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Survivor: One World - March 28 Episode Blog Party

Survivor: One World, By Zoetawny for

Hey Survivor fans! Who are we going to boo and hiss about now that Colton's off the show? Oh wait. There's Alicia. To be honest, I'm not too enamored with any of the castaways so far. Usually, by this time in the season, I have a clear-cut favorite. Not so much this time around. How about you?

I'm also wondering how Tarzan can actually hold a medical degree. The man is just a tad bizarre and wonky. I think something must be afoot with him!

The show is about to start here on the East Coast. As it airs, I'll post updates on the major happenings in this entry. But the real fun is in the comments area! Everyone is welcome to jump in with thoughts on the show as it airs. Survivor fans ready?

Reward is an afternoon of pizza and cold beer, plus a secret note. They're divided into two random tribes going through obstacles, digging up bags of puzzle pieces and solving puzzles. The secret note tells them there is yet another hidden idol.

Troyzan found the idol. Hopefully he won't blab to anyone!

Immunity Challenge time. Perched on a small log while balancing ball(s) on a disc. More balls added as time goes on. Now he's doubly protected ... Troyzan wins the first individual immunity!

The mixed old Solani tribe wants to target Jonas as they think he's the strongest of the Manono tribe folks. Some want Tarzan gone mainly because he's annoying.

Tribal Council time!

The tally: Jonas, Mike, Mike, Jonas, Jonas, Jonas, Jonas, Jonas, Jonas ... first member of the jury. He had to be voted out because of his mouth at TC. Idiot. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Amazing Race 20 Blog Party - 03/25/12

I'm pretty sure the show is delayed, but I have no clue by how much as I wasn't watching. I'll be getting this post up for an 8pm EDT start. Once it starts here, I'll update with major happenings. Everyone is welcome to hang out in the comments area where the real fun is!

Okay ... Facebook announced it will start at 8:18pm. That's not as bad as I feared.

The teams are heading from Bavaria to Azerbaijan (sp?) -- don't ask me! It's the "Land of Fire" and apparently is just north of Iran, a part of the old USSR. I guess.

Once there at a cool fire temple celebration of sorts, teams got a Fast Forward clue which entails stacking hay bales.

The teams not vying for the FF are facing the Roadblock -- escaping a crash simulation of a helicopter under water. Rachel and Dave got the FF and are on their way to the Pit Stop.

Rachel and Dave are indeed the first at the Pit Stop -- they each won a new 2013 Ford.

Detour -- Apples or Oil. They must search through tons of apples to find one with a clue. In Oil, clean up a client who has soaked in black crude oil. (Ew. But easier, I would think.)

2. Art and JJ
3. Bopper and Mark
4. Brendon and Rachel
5. Nary and Jamie
6. Vanessa and Ralph
7. Joey Fitness and Danny ... Philiminated. 

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - March 25, 2012

It's Sunday morning, the start of a bit of a rainy day here. However, coming off of the glorious spring week we had last week, I can't complain. It's time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken.

It's SO definitely (and finally officially) spring here! Everything is coming to life. Despite our unusually warm winter and some early blooms, this past week proved that even a warm winter can't be spring! Sure, there were bits of nature's glory here and there, but for the most part winter was basically brown and grey. Now it's pretty wherever you look!

Of course, that tends to make me sneeze. But I'll live with that for the beauty of it all. The foggy morning starts leading to highs in the 70s made me think of San Diego weather. Perfect in my book.

While nature is being all exciting, my own life was nothing to write home about. For the most part, I worked, slept, ate, rinse and repeat. My computer software is STILL down at my workplace. It's been a month now. Finally the Helpless Desk decided they cannot fix it. Duh. So a new Web PC blade doohickey thing-a-ma-jig arrived Friday, a technician will arrive tomorrow and I'll get to re-set-up my program after he gets the hardware in. At least that nightmare will be over.

I visited local blogger Dan Damon as he rehabs across the street at the Norwood Terrace physical rehabilitation place. He's looking great -- probably the best color and healthiest looking I've seen him in a year or more. His spirits are excellent and he's taking his new challenge with gusto. I also met his other half Nat for the first time -- a nice fellow for sure. 

Norwood itself impresses me. Now, that's the place I would have gone with my first knee had I gone to rehab. A nice facility, definitely not a hospital atmosphere in decor and a very pleasant staff. Dan seems to be very pleased with the treatment and the food. I personally don't want the chance to go there myself as I have no more knees to replace, but it's good to know it's such a fine facility!

In television talk: I lost all track of American Idol this past week. I forgot it was on for the result show -- the singing show is opposite of Survivor, so I always miss that one. I don't even know who went home on AI. Furthermore, I don't really care. I guess my love affair with the show is over. On the other hand, I did catch the season finale of SouthLand as it aired. Man, these seasons are way too short!

The Survivor episode this week did come as a bit of a surprise. I know that Jeff Probst has been hyping Colton as the most villainous villain ever and didn't expect him to go out so soon with a medical issue. To me, Colton wasn't a villain anyway. He was a mean nasty little rich spoiled brat who needs to learn what the real world's like outside of his own sheltered little world. Although I never would wish acute appendicitis on anyone, you know what they say about karma. The bad thing is that I think Jeff will push for his return in another season. Sigh.

Tonight's episode of The Amazing Race is almost promised to be delayed by March Madness. I'll get a blog party post up for 8pm EDT, but I don't expect the show to start anywhere near on time. Perhaps we can all get cyber-drunk while anticipating Brenchel meltdowns ahead!

Onto the photos for the week -- clicking on an image will open a larger view in a gallery setting. So fancy-schmancy, eh? 

Different perspective on my 'hood

This is the view I saw crossing the street and heading into the Norwood Terrace rehab to visit Dan. Oh my ... the 'hood looks good from here! I actually live a bit off the left side of this photo.

Early morning solitude

East Front Street in Plainfield.

Magnolia blossom

The big magnolia tree across the street from my building hit full bloom towards the end of the week. Now the ground there is littered with magnolia blossom petals.

Forsythia by flash

Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, my walk to the train station in the morning is still mostly under the cloak of darkness. Of course, I do like the opportunity to use the phrase "cloak of darkness." Beside that, it does give me flash photo opportunities.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Survivor: One World - March 21 Episode Blog Party

Survivor: One World, By Zoetawny for

The show is about to start here on the East Coast. Now, tonight something horrible is supposed to happen at the end of the episode. From the promos, it looks like someone gets Medivac'd out. They're very hush-hush about it all, but we'll know soon!

As it airs, I'll be posting the major happenings here. But the real fun is in the comments area. I only ask that things are kept kind of PG-Rated. Other than that, cyber-drinking is fine and dandy ... you just have to drive your comfy chair home! Survivor fans ready?

Reward Challenge time -- They have to knock out five targets by bouncing a coconut off a trampoline at the targets. The reward is ice cream, any style they want. Salani won.

Colton is nasty and he's targeting Christina.

Oh, geez. Colton has a severe headache and Christina nurses him. @@

Medics arrive. He has to go to the hospital, possible appendicitis. He's out of the game, taking his idol with him. Now the tribe target focus will be changing to Alicia ... I hope.

Hmm ... tree mail tells them that both tribes will be going to Tribal Council tonight. Uh-oh.

At TC, Jeff announces Colton had acute appendicitis and had to have emergency surgery. Alicia is still bitter that Colton didn't give her his idol.

"Drop your buffs, we are merged."

Tarzan: "The game is afoot."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Amazing Race 20 Blog Party - 03/18/12

Sigh. We were getting spoiled with the show starting on time. March Madness basketball is now the sporting issue. To be honest, I have no clue when 60 Minutes started as I wasn't watching the game before it. Oh. Wait. That started at 7:44pm here on the East Coast. We can expect The Amazing Race at about 8:44pm. Argh.

Once it starts, I'll be updating this post with the major events. But the most action can be found in the comments section. I hope to see you there!

Teams are on their way to Bavaria via Austria.

The Detour deals with fairy tales and champion male (styling a man's beard). Bopper and Mark's Speed Bump has them yodeling. Most of the teams are going for the beard Detour.

The Border Patrol is first to the Roadblock -- sliding their roaming gnomes across ice to a bullseye. Meanwhile, most of the teams have gone to the wrong castle to find the Roadblock clue.

#1 AGAIN -- Art and JJ (Border Patrol) won a trip to Thailand.
2. Joey "Fitness" and Danny
3. Vanessa and Ralph
4. Rachel and Dave
5. Brendon and Rachel
6. Bopper and Mark!!!
7. Nary and Jamie
8. Kerri and Stacy -- Philiminated

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - March 18, 2012

Why yes ... it's Sunday morning once again! That means it's time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way.

Hmm. I've had a rather uneventful week. For the most part it seems to have been a bit chilly and rainy or just overcast. It was nice on my day off, but I had things I had to attend to around the apartment. Plus I napped. I'll admit it. Losing the hour makes it seem like I'm getting up before 4am for work! It's bad enough to be getting up before 5am daily! I'd prefer it if we just kept setting the clock BACK every six months instead of the "spring forward" part. I suppose that would screw up time for the future generations. Oh well. I'm quasi-used to getting up at FOUR in the morning now!

I hope everyone who's Irish (at least for the day) enjoyed St. Patrick's Day. I don't do this every year, but I did buy corned beef, cabbage, etc. to make myself an Irish feast (although I'm not Irish). Unfortunately, I worked late yesterday. So my feast is planned for today. Then I can live off of leftovers and not have to cook for a while.

Realizing how mundane my life is as I get older, I find bizarre things will get me excited. Yesterday in Target, I noticed they carry their store brand wet Swiffer refills scented with lavender. Now I'm looking forward to doing my floors today before I get the feast going on the stove. Sad, I know. 

I might also take a stroll looking for blooms and see if local blogger Dan Damon can have visitors over at the Norwood rehab place practically across the street from my apartment. That's the rehab I was going to go to for the first knee replacement, but my doctor thought I'd be okay not going to rehab. I was singng to myself, "They want me to go to rehab, I said NO NO NO." Of course, it's a way different kind of rehab than the one to which Amy Winehouse was referring to in her song.

In television, I've pretty much given up on American Idol this season. With it up against Survivor and the fact that no one on it rocks my world, it's easy to forget to watch. I keep actually forgetting Southland on Tuesday nights at 10pm and I don't want to forget that show! The finale is this week and I'll try to remember. I've ended up watching it online on Wednesdays during my day off. Since TNT hooked up with "cable providers" to watch the show on their site, the commercials are worse than watching it live on TV. Of course, we're still doing blog parties for both The Amazing Race and Survivor right here. So far, the March Madness basketball coverage hasn't affected them.

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

Dark mornings again

Just when I had gotten used to daylight for my early morning commute, I've been plunged into the darkness once again. This was Monday morning. Most of the other days, it was either overcast or drizzling. Plainfield Train Station.

Crocuses in bloom

Yes, I need to get better shots. It's been dark (and rainy) most mornings as I passed by the YWCA crocuses on East Front Street in Plainfield. And, alas, I was running a little late yesterday in actual daylight.

Waitin' on a train

I took this shot while on the handicap ramp access to the platform. Of course, that's the equivalent of placing the camera ON the platform. But I can see what I'm shooting, which is always a good thing. Yes, it was a wet morning. Plainfield Train Station.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Survivor: One World - March 14 Episode Blog Party

Survivor: One World, By Zoetawny for

The show is about to start here on the East Coast. Now, this week's promos have the tribes, if not merging, then just mixing it up. I'm predicting a schoolyard pick of new tribes. Of course, I could be very wrong. It also appears that "so-and-so" Colton will still be ruling the roost. Jeff seems to have him pegged for a Super Villain. We'll see.

As I mentioned on the Amazing Race blog party post, I'd appreciate folks restraining themselves a bit to keep things on at the very most, a PG level. No matter how annoying a castaway might be, let's not go all crude over it. We're better than that!

That said, let the party start! I'll be updating this post with major events. However, the real fun is in the comments area. C'mon by!

The Reward Challenge. Wait, drop your buffs, we're switching tribes. A random switch by breaking eggs against themselves for the colors of the new tribes. 

I can't keep up with the listing of who's on what tribe. Oh no!

Reward has them carrying water, plugging holes in a bucket, and filling a tank. Reward is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and continue living at the One World beach. The losing tribe must make a new camp elsewhere.

The new Salani tribe won. That's the tribe sans Colton. It does have most of the muscular guys on it. Manono has Colton and Tarzan (not Troyzan).

Kim found the hidden idol (originally) for the women in the ex-mens area. She told Chelsea. They're on the stronger Salani tribe with four women, three men. Monica, Alicia and Cristina are on the Colton tribe, he wants Cristina out.

Immunity Challenge time. Race to get a ball in the water, others try to get it in the basket while the opposing tribe tries to block baskets. Salani wins Immunity! Michael, Jay, the womens alliance and Troyzan!

Monica, the ONLY Manono person to score in the challenge, is Colton's latest target. Now they're saying a Tarzan blindside. I be so confused! Colton is telling Tarzan and Leif the target is Monica.

The tally: Tarzan, Tarzan, Monica, Monica, Monica, Monica ... Colton has his way again. Those foolish dolts! 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Amazing Race 20 Blog Party - 03/11/12

Wow. We must be going for a record with the show starting on time once again here on the East Coast! Once it starts, I'll update this entry with the major events. However, the real fun is in the comments area. Please jump on in and share your thoughts on the teams, locations and challenges!

I do have a request, though. I received comments from some folks offended by some of the language and crudeness of comments on the recent Survivor episode. I have to say that I agree with them. I've always tried to keep this blog PG-rated and some of the name-calling of castaways (or a particular castaway) have gone far beyond that. Please stop. I'd rather this place remain fun for all and there's no need to be really, really crude. Merci!

The teams are heading to Italy!

The Border dudes were first to the Fast Forward clue. The Roadblock has a team member rappelling down a scary distance for a clue. Ford Focus product placement.

The Border agents made their second first place showing, winning $5,000 each.

Rachel and Brendon are fighting. Why am I not surprised?

The Detour is Clean Statue or Name That Salami. The latter has them naming 14 salamis, the first definitely sounds easier!

2. Rachel and Dave
3. Joey Fitness and Danny
4. Vanessa and Ralph
5. Nary and Jamie
6. Brendon and Rachel
7. Kerry and Staci
8. Kentucky ... Bopper and Mark ...  the Border Agents are splitting their winnings with them! And it's non-elimination! They're still in it! I'd rather watch these two than Brenchel. 

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - March 11, 2012

It's Sunday morning, time for my weekly off television topic photo post chronicling the week gone by in both words and photos I've taken along the way. I have to say this ... I want my hour back. I don't care about the extra hour of sunshine. I want my hour back NOW. 

Oh my. I've had such a week here. With my apartment still not put together from the painting and renovation work, last Sunday I got a notice that there would be a city inspection on Tuesday. Gah. I had to move everything back, go into panic cleaning mode (mopped and waxed all my hardwood floors, cleaned closets, cleaned EVERYTHING). Then I ended up with a really long day at work Monday, getting home several hours later than usual. (There have been work issues all week long, too.)

All pretty much for naught. 

The city inspector came in with his list of things to check from the last inspection -- painting done, new bathroom ceiling, bathroom sink faucet fixed (although it's a whole new sink, vanity and medicine cabinet), new kitchen floor. It took him about a minute and a half. I felt like screaming, "LOOK AT HOW MY FLOORS SHINE! WANT TO CHECK MY CLOSETS?!?"

But I didn't. I napped.

I'm just glad it's all over. I really don't like interference in my home life. I'm quite the private person and when I get home from work, I don't want to have to worry about workmen, inspectors, property managers, etc. I want to be left alone. I'll call them if I need them. That said, the building itself (and my apartment) look better than they have since I've lived here. 

Now if they'd stop renting to riff-raff in the front of the building -- folks who let their children run wild in the hallways or, worse yet, the idiot father boy who plays ball in the hall with his toddlers letting them run, thump and scream in our section where he doesn't live! I pointed out to the property manager where he's already scuffed the newly-painted hallways with the ball. My own wing and floor of the building is fine. We all respect each other, have consideration for others and don't have children running the hallways.

At work, my computer software is still all messed up. It's a nightmare. I don't want to talk about it.  

Onto the photos -- clicking on an image will open a larger view.

Sunset train

I realize the sun will be setting even later tonight, but it's been a good month since I left work on a weekday at sunset anyway. But I worked late Monday and caught these great skies as I waited for my train home. The white trailers to the right are part of the Big Apple Circus entourage. I still haven't spotted stallions outside!

Sunrise reflected

These are the row homes on East Second Street in Plainfield. Last week I posted their rather dismal courtyard. Yet the way the early morning sun reflected in some of the windows caught my eye on the way to work one morning. I edited the shot to leave only the windows in color.

Pretty skies

Monday evening looking over the toxic superfund field of geese in Bridgewater.


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Survivor: One World - March 7 Episode Blog Party

Survivor: One World, By Zoetawny for

The show is about to start here on the East Coast! Have the women turned their bad luck (and bad choices) around? Will the men re-dominate the game? Will Colton remain an extremely annoying so-and-so ringleader of a solid alliance? 

As the show airs, I'll update this post with the major events. However, the real fun is in the comments area and everybody is welcome to chime in with your thoughts on the show! Survivors ready?

The Rewards Challenge has them using a slingshot to knock panels out of a "wall." The winners will take one of three rewards: Comfort (pillows, blankets), Protection (tarp), Luxury (donuts, coffee).

The WOMEN won! It's the third challenge in a row won by them! They chose the tarp.

The Immunity Challenge has them tied together in pairs, going over a teeter-totter, solving puzzles. Welp, the streak is over for the women. Men win Immunity.

Hmm ... Colton wants to volunteer the men to go to Tribal Council in lieu of the women just so he can get Bill voted out.

 And it's the MEN who show up at TC! Yoicks!

The tally: Leif, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill.

Colton did Bill in. Oh my. This is just odd.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

The Amazing Race 20 Blog Party - 03/04/12

Be still, my heart. The show is actually starting on time here on the East Coast! Oh my. I supposed we shouldn't get used to it, eh?

As it airs here, I'll be updating this post with the major events. However, the real fun is in the comments area. Everyone is welcome to join in to cheer or jeer the teams!

The teams are heading to Paraguay. The Detour is Stacked Up or Strung Out. Stacking watermelons or attaching strings to harps. The Border Patrol guys are way ahead of the other teams. The Roadblock is to perform a cultural dance with a water bottle balanced on their heads. Er, well ... one head.

Whoa! Art and JJ are at the Pit Stop and no other team has even finished the Detour! They won a trip to the Bahamas. Rachel and Dave used their Express Pass when they realized that all the other teams were already at the harps. Most of the teams switched from watermelons to harps.

Dave ended up breaking all the bottles in the dance. While they arrived second at the Pit Stop, they have to wait out a two-hour penalty. Rachel and Brendon came in third, which became second. Then the Jersey/Staten Island "Fitness" team came in third. Kentucky, four. Nary and Jamie, five. Rachel and Dave's penalty is up, six. Kerri and Stacy, seven.

Vanessa and Ralph made it to eight. The twins were last and were Philiminated. 

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - March 4, 2012

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. While my own week has been on the quiet side, my thoughts and prayers are with those folks in the Midwest and South who have suffered through horrible tornadoes on Friday. I heard there were 96 tornadoes in one single day while the average for the entire month of March is only 72. Unbelievable!

We did have rain and some chill here. But no severe weather, not eeven a thunderstorm. Nor did we have snow, something which came down north of this area. 

Local blogger Dan Damon is also still in my thoughts this week. How suddenly one's life can change! Hopefully his most recent surgery went okay and he's into rehab now. Shout out, Dan! Holla!  Now that I won't be having knee surgeries every three years with the accompanying medical tests, I guess it's a heads up to me to be checked for diabetes, etc., on a fairly regular basis.

My own week has been on the uneventful side. I'm still playing with furniture and decorations as I slowly put my apartment back together after its renovations. The building itself is painted throughout (interior, exterior is brick), mailboxes redone, new laundry machines along with the paint job there and more. It's in better shape than I've ever seen it in the almost eleven years I've lived here. Now they need to clamp down on the children from the front apartments thinking the hallways are a playground. I know we're due for another state re-inspection, plus it was supposedly bought at an auction last year although we're still paying the receiver from the bank after the last landlord went bankrupt.

My work computer software is still not functioning. I'm still working in the stone age with a chisel and piece of granite there. It's going to be dreadful when it's finally fixed and I have to sit and enter weeks worth of data. Wah.

Onto the photos ... clicking on an image will open it to a larger view!  

Blue sky, yellow glow

I like the blue and yellow hues in this photo I took while walking to the train just after the rain stopped early one morning. The sky is actually pretty light these days, but the clouds made it seem darker. This is on East Front Street near the YWCA in Plainfield.


The annual daffodils came up this week in the cemetery behind the Friends (Shaker) Meeting House on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield. These don't usually bloom until late March or early April here.

Synchronized geese

Honk. Bridgewater, NJ