Sunday, December 08, 2013

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - December 8, 2013

Good Sunday morning to all y'all! Y'see, I've been working with someone originally from Alabama. You're lucky I'm not calling y'all "darling." As it is Sunday, this is my off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way. If you're looking for TV talk, tonight is the season finale of The Amazing Race and I'll have a blog party post up by 8pm ET for that. Plus, yesterday, I revealed the cast of next season's TAR in this post.

After I posted last week's photo post, the news came in about the train derailment at Spuyten Duyvil. As some of my Facebook friends were worried, I thought I should mention it here -- although I commute by train to work, I take NJ Transit, not Metro North. And, other than the cool name of Spuyten Duyvil (which means Spouting Devil), little in the Bronx holds reason for me to visit that area.

My own regular train line, NJT Raritan Valley Line, isn't as lengthy a trip end to end as is that Hudson River Metro North line. I have ridden that train once, but it was about thirty years ago heading into the city from the Poughkeepsie area. My regular commute train doesn't have any huge curves in it, either. We do have some gentle bends and there have been times that new engineers miss or almost miss the shorter train platforms due to going too fast, but nothing of crash or derailment level that I've ever experienced in the past ten years.

While I can tell if the train is going either faster or slower than usual, I really couldn't tell you the speed. Even going slow, we tend to go faster than cars on the nearby parallel roads. Those roads tend to be 30mph speed limits, so that doesn't say much. I don't believe that NJ Transit has had any passenger or crew deaths this year although I think I read that there have been 27 suicides with people jumping in front of trains, etc. That isn't enough to derail a train. Heck, once my train hit a car and that didn't derail it. Passengers do stand a chance of falling over during rough stops, but that's about it. I always hang onto something as the train is stopping.

I don't think my train line has that technology they've been talking about which automatically slows the train down per conditions although it's supposedly being tested on NJT. We do go over a detector doohickey outside of Dunellen which broadcasts over the walkies the conductors have. Hmm -- there's actually a very short YouTube bit on it. That detector checks the journal boxes for heat and dragging equipment to make sure a wheel isn't going to fall off or anything. I asked one of the conductors if it has ever sensed a defect. He told me every time he's had a defect, it's been a defect in the detector itself, not the train! It would creep me out if my own job had something called a "dead man's switch" -- but that's standard equipment on trains. That detects that the engineer's hands or feet (?) have dropped off the controls and stops the train.

On the whole, even though NJ Transit was SO foolish when Sandy hit (storing all the rail equipment in the flood zone), I feel safe on the trains and have faith in the quality of the equipment and the crews. I know older train cars are in use on the NJT rails, but my line is all the fairly new (some even newer as they're Sandy replacements) double-deckers. Every now and then heading into the city, I'll get the old Comet cars with the brown seats on the Northeast Corridor line. But I mainly stick to my own train line and I have no worries -- it's far safer than being in a car!

After all this train talk, it's evident that not much happened in the Life of Jackie this week, huh? True dat! Work, eat, sleep, had a stomach bug for a couple of days, icky weather going back and forth to work ... not any great photo opportunities to speak of. Today we're supposed to get a bit of snow and the cold has set in once again. At least snow will be pretty, but it's not guaranteed to be a white Christmas at all. It rarely is around here.

Anyway ... onto the photos I took this week --

 photo IMG_1183s_zps486bda6e.jpg
Gobble Gobble!

I don't recall this being there Thanksgiving week. But it did indeed show up this past week on a porch on Berckman Street in Plainfield.

 photo IMG_1198a_zpscf66a11e.jpg

While I do enjoy it, the house at the corner of Richmond and East Front is looking a bit like Clark Griswold (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation/Chevy Chase) had a hand in it. If it seeps to the upper floors, we'll know for sure. Plainfield.


 photo IMG_1197a_zps538d9bef.jpg
Foggy 'hood

Just about every early morning walk to the train station had darkness and fog.

 photo IMG_1185a_zps055bd3bd.jpg
Um. Okay. No.

However, if someone wants to wire ME money, who am I to say no? New billboard outside my local bodega on East Second Street in Plainfield, NJ.

 photo IMG_1202a_zpsc062424c.jpg
Berries in the rain

Lots of rain this past week. It could be worse. It could have been ice or snow. Bridgewater, NJ.

 photo IMG_1211a_zps25629ba5.jpg
Hi Mom

If I were "Mom," that door would have been repainted immediately! Graffiti on an apartment door on North Avenue in Plainfield.

 photo IMG_1206a_zps96cf57d9.jpg
Not fooling me!

This Plainfield police car has been sitting in the exact same spot 24/7 for over a month now. I realize a common tactic of police departments is to park an empty police car in various areas to make thugs and ne'er-do-wells think there's a cop in the area. But, sheesh. Move it now and then! This one appeared as the one set of projects in town started getting emptied. As this is in front of subsidized senior citizen and disabled housing, perhaps they're worried the criminals would move to there. However, I haven't seen any increase in riff-raff in the neighborhood. East Front Street, Plainfield.

 photo IMG_1214a_zpsa7f5b667.jpg
The bush doesn't want to de-leaf

While most of the bushes and trees are barren, this bush is determined to remain in an array of colors. Bridgewater, NJ.

 photo IMG_1215a_zps5e7a316e.jpg
Looking a lot like Christmas

The trees by the Plainfield Police Department's memorial are all decorated for the holidays. The flag is at half-staff as I took it last night, the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Obviously, there was no wind. Thankfully so as it was FREEZING out! Watchung Avenue, Plainfield.

 photo IMG_1180s_zps3dab3d4e.jpg
Sunset in da 'hood

Lots of clouds this week. I caught this little bit of color one day coming home from work. Alas, grey seemed to be the Color of the Week otherwise. East Front Street, Plainfield.

 photo IMG_1189a_zps4e4a0bb6.jpg
Hard at work sleeping

No signs of mice in the walls, so Vincent is doing his second favorite thing in the world -- napping. Ah, to live the life of a pampered indoor cat! Can you imagine how well-rested we would be?


Anonymous said...

Good Morning, Jackie! Wanted to tell you that the Flag is at half mast because of Nelson Mandela. I wish it were to remember Pearl Harbor. This old lady remembers it quite well. Terrible day. Stay warm.

Jackie said...

According to news sources and, it was already planned to have the flags fly at half-staff in remembrance of Pearl Harbor. The death of Nelson Mandela is added in now, but Pearl Harbor remembrance had already been in motion for the day.

Jackie said...

At least, here in NJ, that's the case. (Above.)

lynn1 said...

Jackie I had to laugh about your Alabama coworker saying y'all and darling. People from Louisiana call everyone Baby. When I am out doing errands I bet I am called Baby 5 to 6 times. My husband, Al, hates for strangers to call him Baby. I don't like it so much myself. The first time a man called me Baby I thought he was hitting on me! LOL
I hope to join y'all tonight for the Tar finale. ;)

Jackie said...

Here in NJ where I live, I've experienced a few different regional "endearments." The Hispanic folks tend to call women "Mami" and men "Papi." The first time I was called Mami, I almost said, "I'm NOT your mother!" Then there are a lot of older (okay, some my age even) black folks with southern roots. With them, it's "Miss Jackie." I've picked up a bit of that, referring to the elderly woman the floor above me as "Miss Mary." On the streets, I get many "Ma'am" kind of greetings.

Becky said...

Jackie, I enjoyed the comment about the coworker saying y'all and darling (actually it is darlin'). I confess that I do it all the time, along with Sugar or Sweetie (don't use Mamma or Baby). And I still call my elders Mr. or Mrs. (Miss.). The "Darling" brings to mind the old song sung by David Allan Coe, You Don't Have to Call Me Darling, Darlin'. If you check it out be sure to listen to the last verse which makes it "the perfect country and western song".

Now to the pictures. The "Griswolds" reminds me of a house on the next block that is over-decorated EVERY holiday and "The bush doesn't want to de-leaf" because it is so beautiful were my favorite non-Vincent shots.

BTW, I sent you an email about two dogs who received bad news yesterday. Check it out.

See you tonight for TAR.

~~Silk said...

My other house is about 30 miles north of Poughkeepsie, so I took Metro North to Grand Central on the rare occasions I went into NYC from there.

I do remember slowing down at that curve, but, believe it or not, it didn't occur to me that we were slowing for the curve. That was the first densely populated area we entered, so I thought we were slowing for people and junk on the tracks.

Witt said...

Hi Jackie! Schools in my section of Maryland are cancelled due to yesterday's snow/sleet/freezing rain mess (and more snow is forecast for tomorrow morning) so I thought I'd drop you a line!

In Maryland (especially Baltimore) the term of endearment is "Hon" (short for "honey," I imagine). At a restaurant a waitress asked me recently, "And what would you like with that, hon?" I've taken to using the "Miss" for all ages of ladies, both the young and the not-so-young, since it blends formality with familiarity. People seem to like it.

I loved your pictures, as always! (specially loved the colorful bush, now that most of the trees here are empty or just have crinkled leaves hanging on for dear life)

Have a great week and Happy Holidays in case I don't wander back soon!

Witt :)