Here are my random thoughts, happenings and observations on this past week:
- My apologies for being so late with this today. I was exhausted after coming home last night and it continued through this morning. Also, I've been having to go downstairs every half-hour looking for my Sunday newspaper. This makes three weeks out of four with no Sunday paper -- the ONLY day I have delivery. Courier-News SUCKS.
- It was the big Halloween week. On Friday I went by the City Hall Trunk or Treat event. While it was great for the costumed car owners and the costumed kids, it wasn't good for photo taking as it was so dark there. I didn't want to run around with my flash going off. I ended up taking the bus home from there accompanied by a rather strange woman who snagged her own huge bag of candy at the event. A man sitting nearby and I had rolling eye contests going on as she talked about each piece of candy.
- This is also the weekend of the big Watchung Avenue bridge replacement with no rail service between Westfield and Dunellen train stations. I planned ahead. It did no good. Saturday morning was a debacle. Ack.
- While I plan and watch out for these things, many commuters don't or don't have internet access to see details. If you called NJ Transit on the phone over the weekend, they said there were no traffic alerts.
- Meanwhile, special buses were shuttling passengers from Westfield, Fanwood, Netherwood and Plainfield train stations to the Dunellen Train Station where rail service west of the shutdown resumed (and, the reverse trip as well). Going eastbound from before Dunellen, the trains were running a half-hour or so early to make up for the wasted half-hour bus commute and the trains from Westfield east were supposedly to run on time. Arrival at points Dunellen and west was a half-hour or so later than it should be.
- I had new hires to start at my workplace, so I figured I'd go in early and tried for the first bus/train combo west.
- My bus for that was late after one went whizzing right by and the bus going the other direction was right on time.
- Then two buses came (late for that second run) and no bus for the other direction came anywhere near on time.
- The bus driver was going crazy as people were all shouting at her. She had just been asked to work the day as overtime and thought she was running a regular bus route. She had a bus following her that had no idea where he was going and she didn't dare lose him in traffic.
- She told the screaming eastbound people to get on her bus and she was just doing the turn in Dunellen and then would be heading to Westfield. She had no idea where the bus(es) headed to Westfield were but would get them there.
- One woman was totally unreasonable. Now, I had talked with her while we're were waiting and I knew she was unreasonable. I just decided I wasn't going to argue with a stranger. She had arrived five minutes after the first Westfield-bound bus left and kept insisting it never came. It did. I saw it. It was on time to the minute. I even asked the driver where it was going. (That's when a bunch of people realized they boarded the wrong bus and got back off.)
- While I wasn't foolish enough to argue with an unreasonable crazy woman, another woman on the bus did. It almost got to fisticuffs. Meanwhile, the bus driver just kept pleading with them to stop fighting.
- I suggested singing "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall." The guy next to me and the driver joined in as we tried to sing over the arguing women.
- Then this Jamaican dude decided to ring the bell to get off.
- "No stops! Dunellen Train Station only!"
- "These ladies are giving me a headache!"
- The night trip home went better as NJ Transit actually had a guy at the Dunellen Train Station communicating with the bus drivers and passengers. Once again we led a second bus (inexplicably with the lighted sign for IVY HILL, NEWARK on its front while all the rest read RARITAN VALLEY LINE) who didn't know where he was going.
- As it was Halloween night and costumed people were heading to the Village (NYC) for the big costume parade, some of the people on the bus were in costume. It made for a rather surreal trip to Plainfield. Unfortunately, people were so grouchy over the bus/train situation that I didn't think it a good idea to try to get photos.
- While I knew what was going on, NJ Transit dropped the ball with the lack of communication with its bus drivers (who know nothing of rail services) and its customers on the whole.
- We'll see if everything is really back to normal Monday.
|Vincent conquered his Halloween costume|
There are more photos of his Halloween costume adventure after the jump. I had to bribe him with catnip to slip it on. But it didn't last long. He thinks it's a cat toy and was walking around with it in his mouth last night, throwing it up in the air and then pouncing on it. Silly cat.
|Not taken this week, but ...|
... since I didn't get any good Halloween-themed photos this past week, I thought I'd add this one in. I took it a few years ago in Manhattan. It's the skeleton costume in a store display with the reflection of nearby buildings in the window.
|The new bridge sections await placement|
More photos of the big Watchung Avenue bridge replacement project are after the jump. In this one, taken last night after I got home from work, the old bridge is out and the new sections are lined up on Watchung Avenue and North Avenue awaiting their mission in life.
|Monday night's full supermoon|
|By Richmond Towers|
|East Front Street oranges|
|Sturdy little morning glory|
|East Front gold and red|
|By the Plainfield Train Station|
|Fall poison ivy|
|Fly your fall foliage flag high|
|At the Plainfield Train Station|
|Poison ivy in its fall colors over the bridge|
This was taken at the Bridgewater Train Station.
This deer and its buddy (probably the same two I've been seeing since they had their spots) were grazing in the field by the Bridgewater Train Station. Right in back of that fence is the Superfund toxic waste site due to a long gone chemical company not properly disposing of its waste. There are holding pools of the waste with "membranes" placed over them. When we have a lot of rain, the ducks hang out on the ponds created atop the membrane. I usually call the field where this deer is the "field of geese" because there are usually dozens of Canada geese hanging out there. If the geese are there, they chase away the deer. Aren't his little antler nubs adorable?
|My train home|
This week all will be dark all the time. Wah.
|NJ Transit #RudeZone poster|
|Poster child for #rudezone|
Hogging four-seater. Drink on seat. Bag on seat. Fast food on seat. Headphones blasting. FEETS ON SEAT.
|I see dead people|
|Bribed with catnip|
|What's THIS on me?!?!|
|I will rip it from your hand!|
|I will kick it and claw it!|
|I will BITE it!|
|Last look at the bridge intact|
|Our new bridge sitting in pieces|
|Big crane removing sections of the bridge|
|Eek! Fallen photogenic train station lamps!|
|Men at work|
|One section gone|
Huh. I never noticed that camera on the light pole. (Maybe because the bridge blocked my view?) Then, I was headed off to work.
|Gavett Place bridge staging ground|
|Where'd the bridge go?|
By Saturday evening, the old bridge is outta there! Supposedly, the new one will be in action by Monday morning. As a friend said to me, "Now, nothing can go wrong here, right?" We'll see.