Sunday, November 22, 2015

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - November 22, 2015

Good morning! Since it's indeed Sunday morning, it's time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photos I've taken along the way. If you're a television fan, please make sure to stop by on Wednesday and Friday evenings for the blog's Survivor and The Amazing Race live blogging parties!

Let's see ... what of any consequence happened last week? Hmm. Not really a heck of a lot. I worked (of course). I didn't go to any Broadway shows, nor did I win millions of dollars. I just worked, ate, slept, turned to computer and television diversions, read and such. You know, the normal, albeit boring, things of life.

Here's the Reader's Digest condensed version of the week:
  • We had good weather and we had bad weather. Thankfully, the bad weather was rain, not snow. It's trying to turn a bit more seasonable with the temperatures here, but we've had a warmer November than many.
  • I'm not complaining.
  • The biggest event of my week had to do with the NJ Transit replacement of the Park Avenue railroad bridge in Plainfield. That's actually still in progress as I write this up for you.
  • Due to the shutdown of the trains between Westfield and Dunellen, that bus shuttle thing was going on again this week. I was 45 minutes early to work and left work a half-hour early only to finally get home at about the same time I would have if I had left on time.
  • But I couldn't leave on time because the trains heading that way were running a half-hour early to make time for the busing. That should make the Westfield east to Newark/NYC trains run on time ... theoretically.
  • This time the trains were more screwed up than the shuttle buses! My train into work, once on the far side of the shutdown, kept stopping and/or slowing to almost a halt and creeping. My train back sat in the Bound Brook station for almost fifteen minutes, making me miss the (real) bus I had intended to take home from Dunellen instead of the shuttle.
  • Once again, I knew this whole bridge replacement/train shutdown was going to happen, but the general population was clueless. A woman stuck in Bound Brook was worried she'd miss her Greyhound bus at Newark Penn. I estimated she'd miss it, but didn't really share that with her. After all, it's not like I could help her. I was just sympathetic towards her and explained how she'd get back on the train in Westfield. 
  • She had been late onto the train as it sat in Bound Brook anyway. Had the trains been running regular and on time, she had given herself about five minutes to get to her bus. That ain't gonna cut it no matter what. She had luggage with her and everything. 
  • Why don't people plan better? If I'm traveling, I make sure to be very early for any connections. I'd rather have to wait for a half-hour than to be a minute late and miss a connection. Kind of like NY Penn Station, Newark Penn has restaurants, coffee places and such where you can waste some time waiting for a connection.
  • Some probably wait there for a totally different kind of connection, but we won't go there.
  • Heck, I always try to be ten minutes early for my own daily commute trains!
  • When people called NJ Transit, just like the situation three weeks back with the other bridge, they were told there were no alerts. But the information was on the website. This whole thing hasn't been handled right by NJ Transit. Once again, I saw NJ Transit people directing folks in Dunellen, but not a soul at the Plainfield Train Station (which is a busier station overall).
  • Gah. Frustrating!
  • It's supposed to be over by the time I go to work tomorrow.
  • Yay.
Onto the photos of the week! Clicking on an image will bring up a larger version.

Apt ad placement

What could be better than advertising Jersey Boys (Broadway show) on an NJ Transit train? That's our new Watchung Avenue bridge in Plainfield. They have yet to place the end-pieces, kind of like bookends, on it. The train is a morning one heading towards Newark/New York City. I'm surprised to see they've changed it to a single level train for that run this week. We've been double-deckers for a number of years now.

Who could it be now?

Men at work. (Get it? The rock group and song from the 80s?) With all these NJ Transit bridge workers, not one woman is on the crew. Hmm. I also have noted that hardhats have gone from simply functional to a fashion accessory with many of the guys.

No yolk about it!

Actually, more yolks than normal. As I was cooking up breakfast one day early in the week, one of the eggs had a double yolk. I haven't seen one of those since my childhood days when we bought eggs fresh from a farm. Out of curiosity, I looked it up on the internet to find that commercial eggs are usually "candled" (lighting up the egg through the shell) to remove any eggs with abnormalities. That would include double yolks. Any such eggs are usually discarded. This particular egg came from Eggland's Best Eggs. It's an "abnormality" I don't mind at all although I wonder what would happen if I used it in baking.


Monday night's moon

Thursday's moon

Spotted starlings in the grass

Assembling the bridge

Looks like fun!

North Avenue shut down by train station

Huh. They didn't shut it completely for the Watchung Avenue bridge a few weeks back. I'm assuming it's shut down because they need to use the west end of the street to move the bridge stuff to Park Avenue from Gavett Place. That would allow no entrance to the east end of North Avenue by the train station since they have one way signs up. However, if they allowed traffic to enter from Watchung Avenue and turn around in the wide street to exit from whence they came, the businesses, including the taxis, could have a little normality and not lose business.

My train awaits

The train has to sit and wait for the shuttle bus arrival at the Dunellen Train Station.

Low train platforms are annoying

Until all this bridge replacement stuff started up, I never got in or out at the Dunellen Train Station. Not only is it a low platform -- thus the steep stairs into the train, the door to the left is on level with the high platforms -- the station is the least accessible that I've seen! No matter how you get to the platform, there are a gazillion stairs. The platform is built up on a really high berm, higher than either Plainfield (which is accessible with ramps and elevators) or Bridgewater (also a low platform, but less than 12 stairs up/down on either side).

The daytime Raritan Valley Line shuttle

I took this shot from the Dunellen Train Station as the shuttle bus arrived from Plainfield. Yep, I beat the bus. It made more sense to me to walk out my door, cross the street and take the 113 bus to Dunellen. Its last stop is a short block from the train station there. On the other hand, my walk to the Plainfield Train Station to catch the shuttle there is about ten times as long. The 113 got me there about 20 minutes early and I had time to stop in a store for snacks. Plus, it was just as free as the shuttle for me with my monthly train pass. Note the Peapod grocery delivery ad on the bus. I must have helped pay for that!

The night Raritan Valley Line shuttle

My bus from Dunellen to Plainfield didn't even know where to stop. Had I not stood up, I don't think he would have stopped at all. As it is, he stopped on the wrong side of the intersection at East 4th and Watchung. The actual bus stop for many buses has temporary signage for the RVL shuttle buses this weekend. Once I stood up and the bus stopped, all of a sudden a bunch of people in the back of the bus realized they needed to get off. What a rigmarole!

As it should be

The house near my apartment building that was boarded up for almost a year is once again owned. It was a foreclosure and I had looked it up on the internet. The price asked was way low considering the size and condition of the property. Someone snagged it and have already painted the porch floor and steps. I believe the house has six or seven apartments within. The exterior is in great shape with a new roof about five or six years ago. Someone got a very good deal on a good investment property in a low crime neighborhood! And we no longer have a vacant home nearby which, in my opinion, attracts crime.

Wake up, Vincent!

It's time for your photo shoot! You don't want people thinking you spend 18 hours a day sleeping, do you?


RSchnoop said...

Low train platform? Did you consider the possibility of using a pogo stick? I'm beginning to think that Vincent has the right idea!

Jackie said...

If not for strong arms and handrails, I would have serious issues getting in and out of trains at low platforms. The stairs within the trains themselves to go either upstairs or downstairs aren't steep and there's only about five steps or so. That Dunellen Train Station had more stairs than I've ever seen at a rail station, including both Penn Newark and New York. Of course, they have escalators and elevators ... when they're working.