Sunday, December 27, 2015

Taking a Photo Week Off



I'm taking this week off from the photo post. I took this shot at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan (near the tree) back in 2011. Unfortunately, this past week hasn't been photo-productive and yet has been totally exhausting for me.

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season! 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - December 20, 2015

Good morning! It's Sunday morning -- time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photos I've taken along the way.

Unfortunately, I'm a bit under the weather (which was very warm until the last few days) and seem to have caught the stomach bug going around at my workplace. I don't have a ton of photos for you, but here we go:

Clicking on an image will bring up a larger image in a gallery ...

Watchung Avenue on a rainy evening

I miss the wreaths, but the huge lighted snowflakes are festive when they light up and don't have gaps in working bulbs.

Close-up of a flake

Not all are working

**CLICK THE 'READ MORE' LINK TO SEE THE REST OF THE PHOTOS**

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Survivor: Cambodia, Second Chance - Season Finale Blog Party


Good evening! As the show airs here on the East Coast, I'll update this entry with the major happenings. Refresh the page to get the latest! As always, the real party is in the comments area -- come join in on the fun!

I hope you brought plenty of beverages and snacks! It's going to be three hours, four Tribal Councils and a reunion show! Thankfully, Abi-Maria is NOT among the crowd left going into the finale tonight. Phew!

Here's the latest blog pool update from the Lovable Lifeguard Laurie:

Jeremy Collins - Brian, meb, Nickelpeed
Keith Nale - Tammy, gaylos, Margo
Kelley Wentworth - monty 924, Grandi, RENOthunder
Kimmi Kappenberg - Glenn, Nana in the NW, Rbennie
Spencer Bledsoe - Ellen vdW, Nancerella, Terry is a Texan
Tasha Fox - Donna in AL, Jennamom, Stephanie in Baltimore

Jury
Kass McQuillen - Donna NY, Marlo, Petals
Andrew Savage - Jennasmom, JoyzJenn, Silk
Kelly Wiglesworth - ML, Sharon N, Indiana Jane
Ciera Eastin - chrob61, Jackie, Russ
Stephen Fishbach - Brenda, Matt, Rochelle
Joe Anglim - Delee, Mother Guru, PDX Granny
Abi-Maria Gomes - Nobody is stuck with her!

Survivor fans ready?

Kimmi, thinking she's low man on the totem pole with her own alliance, wants to flip the game and join Keith and Kelley in a scheme to blindside her allies. Hmm.

It's straight to the first Immunity Challenge -- racing to collect puzzle steps, get to the top and solve a slide puzzle. Every challenge from now on will be fresh to this season, no second chance repeat challenges. The stairs they have to assemble have holes in them which will only fit one step. Spencer is the first working on the slide puzzle. Tasha and Kimmi are trailing behind.

Spencer wins Immunity!  

Tasha wants Keith or Kelley gone. She thinks that Kimmi is still with them. Kimmi tells Keith that they'll blindside Jeremy. Spencer is suspicious of Kimmi getting close to the other two.

The four agree to split the vote in case there's an idol. That's Kimmi with Jeremy, Tasha and Spencer. Both Spencer and Tasha distrust Kimmi. Jeremy is way too trusting! Uh-oh. This could be interesting!

Tribal Council time. 

Spencer says that he, Jeremy and Tasha are voting three strong. He left Kimmi out. Keith promises a showdown.  

The tally - Kelley plays her idol because she doesn't trust anybody! Good move, I'd say.

The tally --
Wait ... Jeremy plays his idol, too!

The tally --
Kelley, Jeremy, Kelley, Jeremy, Kelley, Jeremy.

No votes count! I'd say they need to go to Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock!

No, it's a revote -- they can only vote for Tasha, Keith or Kimmi. 

Heh, Jeremy finger-wagged at Kimmi much like Alicia did in her season! 

The tally --
Tasha, Kimmi, Tasha, Kimmi, Tasha, Kimmi.

It's a tie. No revote as they claim they're good with their votes. Everyone must come up with an unanimous decision on who goes home. If they can't decide, Keith will go. What? Keith says he'll go? Yikes! Kelley wants him to stay. Kimmi is unanimously voted out.

Time for Immunity once again. Race through a giant obstacle course gathering six bags of puzzle pieces, solve puzzle. 

Kelley is in the lead, Spencer is running last.  Whoops ... he passes Tasha! Kelley and Keith are leading. Spencer is sucking at this. Kelley Wentworth wins Immunity! Keith is sure it seals his doom in the game.

Kelley makes a fake idol for Keith to hopefully keep him in the game. Jeremy is very worried that one of them will use an idol and go after him. (Exactly what they want him to think!) 

Jeremy hinted to Keith that he and Kelley should vote for Spencer to go. 

Tribal Council time once again. Keith hints that he has an idol.

The tally:
Spencer, Keith, Spencer, Keith, Keith.

It didn't work. Keith is out.  

Final Immunity Challenge -- One hand tied behind back, drop a ball down a chute which is like a roller coaster and catch it. After a while, another ball added. Then another. Gates in the chute will open to divert balls to trhow them off. They're up to four balls and Kelley is the first out. Tasha out. Spencer out!

Jeremy wins his first individual Immunity Challenge ... and cries. Kelley cries too, but mainly because she probably just lost her chance at the million.

Will Jeremy turn on either Spencer or Tasha to improve his own chances of winning? Hmm. 

Tribal Council time. Yeah, again. Whoa! Spencer says that if they decide to take Kelley to the final three, she would win and he'd vote for her. Spencer is really laying it on thick. That alone might do him in.

The tally:
Spencer, Kelley, Kelley, Kelley

She fought hard and played a good game. But it's a final three of Tasha, Jeremy and Spencer.  

Final Tribal --

Savage up first, talks about honesty. Calls Spencer out on his arrogance against Jeremy, almost threatening him at the last tribal. Spencer doesn't regret the move, but does regret his presentation. He calls Jeremy out on his arrogance about Kimmi. He claims it's because she hurt his feelings.

Stephen -- Jeremy, trust, honor and integrity. Tasha did Jeremy's dirty work? No one dictates anything to her! Spencer, willing to betray people? Didn't really have relationships, had to do what I had to do.

Ciera -- Flippers rarely make it to the end. This season voting blocks which require flipping. Why should it be rewarded? Jeremy thinks it was the blocks moving not individuals. Tasha said it was due to the tribe swithes. Spencer said he had to take advantage of blurred lines to move forward.

Keith -- Being humble. Jeremy, convince me that Spencer should win. If you do, then I'll vote for you. Spencer had to do the same thing.

Abi -- She has notes. What was your subtle move that got you here. Tasha said working with Spencer. Spencer said Joe because they were both in the middle and he had to shift distrust. Jeremy said he hunted for idols and saved Stephen.

Kimmi - Spencer, you were a bully at tribal. Jeremy, what happened to our alliance -- you, me and Tasha?   

Joe -- My vote is open tonight. Tasha, game within a game. What did you do other than work under Jeremy? 

Wiglesworth -- Pick a number between one and ten. Jer, 2, Tasha 3, Spencer 4

Kass -- You played like Chaos Kass (to Spencer). He believes he's changed. 

Kelley -- Still processing, wanted to play as an individual. Tasha, build and maintain relationships. Spencer teetering between his past and present, working on his people skills. Jeremy is here for Val and his children, all for them. (Plays the pregnant wife card.)     

Time to vote ...

And it's off to Los Angeles! No jetski. 

Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy 

Jeremy wins! No surprise there. He played the game well AND had the family angle.  All ten votes were for him.

Next season, number 32 ... the cast is introduced. Sigh, it's Caleb. Most punishing season in Survivor history. Looks like lots of medical issues. Brain vs. Brawn vs. Beauty. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - December 13, 2015

Good morning! Since it's Sunday morning, you know what that means -- it's time for my off television topic weekly reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way. Remember to drop by Wednesday evening for the big Survivor finale blog party! Be here or be square.

We're still having record setting warmth here in this part of the country. I won't complain at all. Sure, it would be nice to have an inch of snow on Christmas Eve for the kids. But, before that and after that, I welcome NO SNOW NOR ICE on the streets and sidewalks! Who's with me?

My own week on a personal level was rather tedious and boring. I worked too much. I slept too little. Oh, well.

Onto the photos from this week -- clicking on an image will bring up a larger version in a gallery ...

Ready for winter

The planters near my workplace which boasted the hibiscus blooms all summer are now redone for the season. One year these berries fed extremely early returning robins through horrible cold and snow.

Busy, busy

Looking towards the Rialto Theatre at the intersection of Elm and East Broad Streets in Westfield. 

Keyboard Man works the trumpet

The man I've dubbed Keyboard Man at the Plainfield Train Station had a trumpet in addition to his keyboard one evening this week. I'm beginning to think he can't practice his music where he lives due to the noise factor and has found the power outlets and acoustics just fine at the station. He's not asking for money. And, while I'm really irked about all the people who hang out at the station, he's a pleasant addition.

**CLICK THE 'READ MORE' LINK TO SEE THE REST OF THE PHOTOS**

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Amazing Race 27 Season Finale Blog Party


Hi, everybody! Are you ready with snacks and beverages? It's the season finale! As the show airs here tonight, I'll be updating this entry with the major happenings. Refresh the page to get the latest news. As always, the real party is in the comments area. Come join in on the fun!

The Marvelous Margo's blog pool update:

Justin and Diana #TheGreenTeam - Chauncey, Cherry Pie, Monty924, Nickelpeed
Kelsey and Joey #TheReporters - beachmom, ChicMc, David, Grandi in MD,
Logan and Chris #ThePaparazzi - Delee, PDX Granny, Rbennie, SueGee

Philiminated
TMZ girls (not in pool)
Adam and Alex #TheCousins -Anonymouse, DKNYNC, Jackie, Kelsey, Sharon C
Ernest and Jin #TheDancers - Glenn, Marlo, Nancerella, Russ
Jazmine and Danielle #TheTrackStars - Joanie, LafayetteLisanne, Margo, Merrilee
Cindy and Rick #ChacAttack - Donna in AL, Donna in FL, Jennasmom, Sharon N
Tanner and Josh #TeamTexas - Buzzmaam, chrob61, meb, ML
Denise and James Earl #TeamAlabama - Becky, Ginniejulie, ORKMommy, Willie J
Tiffany and Krista #TheCheerleaders - Brenda, Brian, Cheryl in NC, Ed in OH, Nana in NW

Ready? Let's GO!

Teams are flying to Long Island, NY. (Or, as the locals call it, Lawn Guyland.) They're heading to Randall's Island, all teams were on the same plane.

Justin quibbled with his cabbie and let the cab go. He and Diana are at the Roadblock first -- a firefighting training exercise. "Who wants to play with fire?" Logan/Chris are on their tails with Joey and Kelsey only a few minutes behind. The other two teams have their cabs waiting. Oops to Justin. Call Uber?

After dong a rescue, they have to put all the capitols of places they visited in order. 

Justin is through first. They have to make their way to the site of the final race of the Triple Crown. Justin knows it's Belmont, so do I. The two waiting cabs won't take them. Now Kelsey and Joey are through, then Chris.

Uh-oh. Logan and Chris fight for Kelsey and Joey's cab. Now they're wandering around -- Logan and Chris, that is. They gave up the cab. 

Both Justin/Diana and Chris/Logan are taking different buses back to Manhattan to snag cabs. 

They will fly to the Hamptons in private helicopters to get the next clue. Joey and Kelsey are in the lead. Chris dumps his fireman pants and boots. Justin/Diana are in last place.

They're taking jetskis to a lobster boat for their next clue. They have to pull up seven lobster cages and put new ones in. Then it's a second memory test -- arranging flags of the countries visited in the proper order.

Joey and Kelsey are in the lead and know their flags order. Logan and Chris are stumped on the flags a bit. There's one extra flag to throw them off. Justin and Diana realize it, Kelsey and Joey figured it out. K/J off to the next clue first, with J/D right behind them. L/C stuck on the flags.

They have to assemble six Adirondack chairs and put them in order. 

Joey and Kelsey WIN THE AMAZING RACE! They didn't take second place for a change!

Justin cries some more with his second place finish -- he knows letting that cab go cost them the million. 

Logan and Chris are still arguing. 

Next season, it's all social media "stars" racing. 

No, Vincent and I weren't invited to partake.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Survivor: Cambodia, Second Chance - December 9 Blog Party


Good evening! As the show airs here on the East Coast, I'll update this entry with the major happenings. Refresh the page to get the latest! As always, the real party is in the comments area -- come join in on the fun!

Here's the latest blog pool update from the Lovable Lifeguard Laurie:

Abi-Maria Gomes - Nobody is stuck with her!
Jeremy Collins - Brian, meb, Nickelpeed
Keith Nale - Tammy, gaylos, Margo
Kelley Wentworth - monty 924, Grandi, RENOthunder
Kimmi Kappenberg - Glenn, Nana in the NW, Rbennie
Spencer Bledsoe - Ellen vdW, Nancerella, Terry is a Texan
Tasha Fox - Donna in AL, Jennamom, Stephanie in Baltimore

Jury
Kass McQuillen - Donna NY, Marlo, Petals
Andrew Savage - Jennasmom, JoyzJenn, Silk
Kelly Wiglesworth - ML, Sharon N, Indiana Jane
Ciera Eastin - chrob61, Jackie, Russ
Stephen Fishbach - Brenda, Matt, Rochelle
Joe Anglim - Delee, Mother Guru, PDX Granny

Survivor fans ready?

Abi thinks everybody is happy Joe is gone. (I'd be happier if she was gone, but that's how I roll.) The girls do have a point that they now all have a better chance of winning Immunity. Tasha knows Keith voted for her to go and places that ol' target on his back. Spencer and Jeremy are (rightfully) worried about things now. They must make sure they have Tasha and Kimmi in their corner.

Reward Challenge time! Attached to a rope, unspool it, assemble a bridge, knock over blocks with sandbags. The winner will be brought to a temple, blessed by monks, eat, sleep in a temple. Keith won this very same challenge during his original season.

KEITH WINS! He chooses Kelley because she chose his wife last week, then he chooses Spencer as the second person. He said he chose Spencer because Spencer didn't get a chance for much time with his girlfriend last week. He forgot Tasha's name. Not a good move there. 

At camp they decide that Keith should be the next one to go. Abi is calm while the rest are nervous -- she says it's more fun to be a villain.  

Of course, a final three deal is made by those on Reward. Spencer is trying to think things through. Gah, Abi as their fourth might be a bit problematic. 

Now Tasha is thinking Abi should go rather than Keith. She knows that Abi could just switch alliance at the drop of a hat. Jeremy and Tasha are a bit leery of trusting Spencer. 

Time for the Immunity Challenge! Back to one person winning. Race across water through obstacles, retrieve key, solve puzzle. Tasha is doing horribly.

SPENCER wins Immunity! 

Tasha has to be pulled out of the water by medical. 

Kelley, Keith, Spencer and Abi talk about Tasha going. Tasha wants Abi out and gets Jeremy and Spencer in her corner. Or, so she thinks. Kimmi is in with Abi. Meanwhile, Abi is confident she's going to win. Spencer knows he's a swing vote and tonight he will have to show where his loyalty lies. 

The tally:
Abi, Tasha, Abi, Tasha, Abi, Keith, Abi.

Ding dong, the witch is dead! Abi is outta there! 

Abi was the sole vote for Keith. Next week is the season finale!