Sunday, February 23, 2014

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - February 23, 2014

Good Sunday morning to y'all! Since it is indeed Sunday morning, 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.

Before we get started with that, I want to mention that blog pool sign ups for both The Amazing Race and Survivor are up! If you want to be in the pool, please sign up on the appropriate post (just click on the links below); requests on other posts might not be noticed --
The season premiere of The Amazing Race is tonight, 8pm ET/PT. We'll see if it starts on time! It's only an hour premiere, so be there or be square. Or something like that. I'll have the blog party post set up shortly before 8pm ET, so come join in on the fun!

Other than that, not a heck of a lot going on here. I actually did a full work week with no snowstorms keeping me from work (although it snowed some early in the week), no health issues keeping me from work (although the sciatica is still making its presence known), no deaths in the family. Oh my. I did have to deal with bad weather including, of all things, a tornado watch this week.

It's supposed to snow or "wintry mix" a bit tonight although the daytime hours are going to be nice with a high in the 40s. Tuesday night into Wednesday, they're talking about a "plowable" snow storm coming. Argh.

We've had such an extreme winter that I've decided I want an extreme spring. No, I'm not talking rain and flooding. I want flowers blocking the sidewalks! Flowers blocking the streets! A cacophony of bird songs to the point of madness! I want SPRING!


Without further ado, onto the photos for the week. Similar to last week, I didn't really have a lot of artsy shots. It's more like showing you what I'm seeing here. For those folks like Lifeguard Laurie over there in always wonderful weather San Diego, it's a view of how the other half lives!

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Happy robin

With the rain and warmer temperatures at the end of the week, much of the snowpack on top of the planters in Bridgewater melted so that the robins no longer needed to peck caves into the snow to get at the berries. Surprisingly, most of the berries were still in good shape after the snow left!

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"Accessible walkway"

I'm surprised NJ Transit is keeping this walkway on the westbound platform side of the Plainfield Train Station in this good of a condition this year. One year with bad snows, it was like a luge run for months. On the eastbound side, the similar walk isn't cleared at all. But, what I like about this shot is that I didn't mess with the colors at all. Taken with no flash just before dawn, it came up with the blue for the snow and the yellow for the light on its own. Note the parking meter poles at the top of the photo. No one can put money in them because NO ONE SHOVELS THAT CITY SIDEWALK ON NORTH AND WATCHUNG AVENUES! I saw two people fall on ice there last night. I won't walk on it. I will walk on the street instead. This has been going on for years. IT NEEDS TO BE SHOVELED. IT'S DANGEROUS! Sorry for shouting ...

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More yellows into blue

Catching the early train at the Plainfield Train Station shortly before dawn.


One thing I do like about fresh snow is that you can see where animals have been. In the city, I see a lot of squirrel, rabbit and cat prints, perhaps some opossum and raccoon, too. But, out by the Bridgewater Train Station, there's a lot more wildlife roaming about. Here are some of the footprints from this week --

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Bunnies! Bunnies!

With more fresh snow early in the week, you could really see the rabbit tracks at the Bridgewater Train Station.

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Hmm ...

I have no clue what made these prints. It's not a likely place for a dog to be -- no residences anywhere nearby. The prints themselves are about 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide. I was thinking they might be bear prints as there are bears around, but they don't look right. Four toes and a base pad. Hmm. Too big for raccoon, for sure. Coyote? In looking at animal prints online, the closest I came to this was large cats. I don't think it's that. Anyone care to venture a guess?

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Deer prints in the snow

Also at the Bridgewater Train Station.

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This is a close-up of the deer prints above, but in a slushy spot near the walkway. It had rained on it, so it wasn't as defined as it once was.

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Not only is this shoveled walk very narrow, that's all ice. When the temperatures warmed up towards the end of the week, it was water atop ice. Thankfully, a few days of decent temperatures brought it back to pavement, but black ice in the early morning hours.  Oh ... and that's a bus stop for NJ Transit 113 bus to NYC. You have to stand out in the street to catch it. East Front Street, Plainfield.

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A car, suspended in time and ice (and snow), on East Front Street in Plainfield. Despite them putting up the red snow emergency signs that there was no parking during the large snowstorm last week, it remained untowed. East Front, a main thoroughfare in Plainfield, is narrowed down to about a lane and a half in many places due to cars which haven't been moved in months. It's not just easy snow encasing them and encroaching on the street -- it's now a tomb of ice. A pick ax would be needed to get through it ... or a really good yank from a strong tow truck.

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Shouldn't have been parked at all!

These "No Parking while road is snow-covered" signs are up and down East Front Street year 'round. It's supposed to be a snow emergency route for firetrucks, ambulances and the like. Yet, they never tow during snowstorms! Since this shot was taken in between snows, the two cars near the sign are okay. But what are those lumps beyond the sign?

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Could they be ... cars?

I know that bit o' green you see is a car with Maryland plates and a flat tire that's been there since October! Why isn't it long gone before now?

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On either Wednesday or Thursday, possibly during the dead of night, all of the abandoned snowbird cars were yanked from their icy tombs. This is roughly ths same shot as above. Woot! Yet the snow caves remain. They need to get ALL the cars off the street and do a decent job with the plow. This is just as bad as when the cars were still there.

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Using the flash on snow

This is what happens when I use my camera flash and it's snowing. In the pre-dawn of my Jersey 'hood earlier this week.

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In the early morning snow

"You can't jump a jet plane like you can a freight train
So, I'd best be on my way in the early morning rain er, snow" - my apologies to Gordon Lightfoot
Plainfield Train Station

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Oh ... dangerous!

Plainfield Train Station

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I lived to tell the tale!

From the other side of the ice.

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The train! The train!

Oh, wait. That's supposed to be "The plane! The plane!" My afternoon train approaching the Bridgewater Train Station.

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Plainfield Train Station

You need to get off the stairs quickly! Don't get caught when the ice falls!

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Ice, Ice

Baby. Watchung Avenue in Plainfield. They finally brought in machinery to get the snowbanks off the corner and the nearby benches. But, as you can see, only the corner got done.

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It's almost sunrise for the early train

Yes, the days are getting longer. I just wish they'd keep melting the snow cover! Plainfield Train Station.

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You can't get there from here

I've seen some snow piles that have to be twenty or twenty-five feet high! This is looking at the solar-paneled parking lot of the Bridgewater Train Station. On Thursday, when the sun warmed things up a bit, I saw all of the ice and snow fall from one of those humongous parking lot solar panel doohickeys. Well, I heard it before I saw it. It just kept coming down for a good minute.

If it had hit the cars underneath or any people, there would have been damage. Unfortunately, I was across the train tracks on the far platform or I would have taken some video. It created a three foot snowbank the width of the parking lot in front of that one um ... doohickey.

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Psst ... wanna buy some salt?

Yep, there's a huge rock salt shortage here in New Jersey. I know where this 40lb bag is. For $20, I'll tell you.

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Snowy Big Top set-up

They had to clear more snow for the arrival of the Big Apple Circus and all of its related vehicles. I believe its opening is supposed to be towards the end of this week. We might have a major-ish snowstorm before then. I hope they keep those dogs and ponies warm! The clowns can fend for themselves. Bridgewater, NJ.

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Me and my shadow

Saturday morning ... sunshine and a patch of dry pavement! Yet, I have on my trusty waterproof Airwalk winter boots. There are still plenty of slush puddles and snow out there for pedestrians. I've gotten more use out of these boots this season than for the past three or four years I've owned them. Bridgewater, NJ.

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Um, buddy, it's 39 degrees out

Well, at least he has his boots on. North Avenue, Plainfield.

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Caught in the act!

This isn't the best photo focus-wise. But I thought it turned out fairly cool, catching a robin berry in mouth. This is the first year they've had these planters at Bridgewater and they're the early robins' lifeline.

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"Bring home some catnip."

Yes, Vincent. I will bring home both catnip and Temptations cat treats. I already brought home a new scratching thingee for you this week. I refuse to buy any more balls for you as you keep sending them under the furniture for me to retrieve.


Laurie said...

Jackie, I thank you for the beautiful pictures of your world. I know it must be awful to be living through this long and wet winter but the images are just amazing. I'm honored to be given a nod with the gorgeous robin. I love that image and may need to get it from you so I can frame it.

Thanks for letting people know where to sign up for the Survivor Pool. We are going to have some fun this year. Maybe even some brand new snacks!

Jackie said...

Laurie, when I think of all this snow, I think how much you'd enjoy it. Well, for a short time anyway. If it were a short time here, I'd love it. But it's a bit too much this winter. Normal years have us getting snow, it melts, then it snows some more. This season, it's just kept on building up. Thanks for the kind words on the photos!