Sunday, January 31, 2016

Survivor: Kaoh Rong - Meeting the Cast Part One

The latest season of Survivor will be here with us soon! Although filmed before the season we saw this past autumn, it's not set to debut until Wednesday, February 17 at 8pm ET/PT. My gosh, that's a long time for the castaways to not know the winner or to change minds, isn't it? Heck, it's been a year or so by now!

We have another Brains, Brawn and Beauty scheme ahead although it doesn't look like the lines are all that clear to me. Caleb Reynolds is on the Beauty tribe? I wonder what that does to his ego. He's sure to believe he's knock-dead gorgeous (just ask him), but he also thinks he's a physical powerhouse.  Some of the Brains tribe seem a bit brawny to me, too. I guess we'll see how it all plays out.

In the days ahead, I'll be looking at each tribe's castaways and telling you my thoughts on them and/or their possibilities in the game. Please check back for the posts! Yeah, I'll be talking television once again! I'll also be breaking down the new teams for the upcoming season of The Amazing Race during the week ahead.

For now, I'll leave you with a few videos from the CBS official website:

Oh my. It looks like we might have a very interesting season ahead! Lifeguard Laurie has volunteered to run the pool once again this season. (She rocks!) I'll be putting up a separate post just for signing up for the pool this week. I want it to be closer to the season premiere than we are at this time. I ask that you wait and watch for that sign-up post and only sign up for the pool on that one. Otherwise, your request might be missed. And, we wouldn't want that!

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - January 31, 2016

Good morning! Welcome to my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way. If you're a television fan, keep tuned for my Survivor cast posts starting later today! Yes, I'll be posting television once again! Woohoo!

As you might recall, we had a bit of a snowstorm last week. With the temperatures going above freezing and lots of sunshine, we've lost a lot of the snow cover. Instead of the nearly thirty inches of snow we had, we're probably down to a foot. Naturally, there are still huge snow drifts and piles. And, in the mornings after the temperatures go below freezing overnight, we have plenty of slippery spots and black ice. However, it's been an easier recovery from a nearly record-breaking storm than we could have expected. Yay, us.

That said, it's enough snow for the winter. We don't need any more. Thank you.

Random stuff and junk:
  • They've announced that they will rebuild Trader Joe's at its Westfield location. Good. I like that location -- it's very convenient for me either by two bus lines or train. They say the building, roof collapsed in the snow and walls buckling, will have to be torn down. Despite the folks fussing about the parking lot (or lack thereof), the Westfield location comes with a liquor license and they're hard to get. I think the liquor license, as well as how busy the location is, will keep it there. It's just a matter of waiting for the tear down and rebuild.
  • Wah.
  • A friend said to me that I'll have to go to Whole Foods now. No, I won't. I went to Trader Joe's because it's TRADER JOE'S. I have no desire to go to Whole Foods. I use Peapod grocery delivery for my normal groceries, plus there's a Supremo Supermarket a few blocks down the street. You don't go to Trader Joe's for regular groceries. You go because it's Trader Joe's and it has all kinds of cool stuff!
  • I'm on staycation this week. Yay.
  • The temperatures are supposed to peak up near sixty midweek! Super yay!
  • I plan on binge watching The Walking Dead episodes I recorded during its marathon a few weeks back. That will be returning on Valentine's Day. What a romantic thought!
  • Money is a bit tight at the moment, so I don't really have any plans for trips. I'll probably get an early start at spring cleaning right here at home. I have books and other diversions. I might go over to Westfield to check out the ruined Trader Joe's or the park. Maybe I'll finally pull the hard drives on my old computers and retrieve some of my lost (but not really lost) photos, music and writing from them.
That's it for now. It's onto the photos! Clicking on an image will bring up a larger version in a gallery.

No Parking when road is snow covered

You don't say. Why do we even bother having the signs on East Front Street in Plainfield? Every big snowstorm, some cars become snowbirds sitting there until the snowcap melts. Others are dug out but leave little private snow alcoves in which to park. Plows have to leave a bit of clearance so they don't hit the parked cars. The cars and snow extend further into the street than a normal parked cars in the summertime. Thus, with a storm of this magnitude, the street itself gets down to a tricky one-way plus rather than a free and easy two-way. And, it's a major drag in town. During the beginning of the week, traffic ended up just sitting there a lot. Even now as I write this up, if two large vehicles try to pass in opposite directions, one ends up pulling over as much as it can so the other can pass by.

Smiling no matter what

This guy is a regular on my morning trains. He's always smiling and pleasant. While a language barrier between us makes any extended conversations futile, I always get an enthusiastic greeting from him and it makes my day start off on a good note. Once I found a five-dollar bill on the bench near where he had been sitting. When I asked him if he may have lost it, he misunderstood and opened his wallet to give me money! Of course, I didn't take it. And, I ended up keeping the fiver for myself. He's a good guy indeed. By the way, despite the snow, it wasn't all that cold out when I took this shot. He's not woefully underdressed for the weather. He has on layers. Someone in Florida or Southern California might call it cold, but it wasn't bad at all for here in January.

The aftermath

Although a plow had traveled down the street, due to parked cars things were down to one snowy lane as some people started to dig their cars out. Of course, they didn't want to MOVE their cars. They didn't want anyone else to steal the space they cleared! Some people just left their cars there for nature (or the city) to do its work.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - January 24, 2016

Good morning! For my fellow East Coast and Mid-Atlantic Jonas veterans ... we made it and lived to tell the tale! Welcome to my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way. Next weekend I'll be starting cast posts on both The Amazing Race and Survivor as both shows make their season debuts in about three weeks. Stay tuned for that.

Some random musings from the week:
  • That storm was ridiculous! The predictions for snowfall amounts just kept going up. We ended up getting maybe an inch or two less than 30 inches from what I've read. It's hard to tell because there was so much blowing and drifting.
  • I'm seriously crushed that my favorite store -- Trader Joe's in Westfield -- is, at the moment, no longer. The roof collapsed under the weight of the snow and major walls are buckling. It sounds like the entire building is a goner. I hope they repair or rebuild in the same location. Thankfully, when the roof went down at 2pm, they were closed due to the storm and nobody was inside the store.
  • I want to go rummage through the ruins for some Bacon Ganache bars.
  • Wah.
  • I was set for storm groceries because I got in a Peapod grocery delivery order on Wednesday.
  • But it's not the same as Trader Joe's. WAH!
  • Our high temperatures this week are predicted to be above freezing every day. Good. Make that snow go away. It was cool yesterday and it's nice to have something other than barren trees to photograph, but I want those streets and sidewalks cleared!
  • I watched a bit of the Kojak marathon on Decades TV -- oh my. That show is seriously outdated. I don't remember why I liked it in its original run.
  • On the other hand, I found Lost in Space on ME TV late last night. I still get a kick out of that one!
That's about it. Onto the photos for the week -- clicking on an image will open it in a larger gallery version. Who loves ya, baby?

That lizard hit us good!

I went out for five minutes or so yesterday in outright blizzard, at times whiteout conditions, weather. I couldn't take photos in the other direction because the snow was coming sideways from there -- I didn't want to get my lens wet. This is my street. Someone had shoveled a diagonal path to that SUV from the front door. While it was filled in by several inches of snow, it was the best way for me to go. My street, a major one in town, was down to one lane and was filling in once again with snow.

Those cars actually shouldn't be there as there are signs that it's a snow emergency route and they'll be towed. I've never seen them tow the parked cars after a storm. Many will sit there snowbound until it melts while moving vehicles vie for space on the narrowed street. More storm photos after the jump!

Aw, a deer

A small deer came within five feet of me at the Bridgewater Train Station. The photos I took aren't the best. But the deer took the flash in stride. She only frightened when a bunch of rowdy NJ Devils (hockey) fans came up to catch the train. More deer encounter photos after the jump!

Chotola chilly birds

It was very frigid early in the weeks. When it's cold and sunny like that, pigeons gather on the facade of the Chotola Apartments building across from the Plainfield Train Station on North Avenue. I guess, with the sun shining on it, the bricks heat up a bit. On this day, starlings joined the pigeons. On the lower right, where it looks like starlings are atop a pigeon's back, that's a bit deceiving. There's some sort of plant growing from the cracks there and they're on that.

Yay! It isn't generic!

They have Watchung Avenue near the Plainfield Train Station closed down as they put the end-pieces (bookends?) on the new bridge. I fussed that the same work on the Park Avenue bridge was generic and just pointed to the train station. The Watchung Avenue one has "Plainfield" and "The Queen City" on it much like the original. It's so blocked off with cranes and construction stuff that I didn't notice if the city seal was on it or not.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - January 17, 2016

Good morning! Yes, it's Sunday morning -- time for my weekly off television topic reflection of the week gone by in both words and photos I've taken along the way. I swear I'll get back to posting about television soon! I promise!

Here are some random observations from this past week:
  • I was saddened to hear on Monday morning that David Bowie had passed away on Sunday last week. I had just quoted one of his songs in last week's photo post not knowing he was even in ill health. A true innovator and such a talent ... he will be missed.
  • My upstairs neighbor now seems to have a new girlfriend living up there and a new stereo as well. Lots of thumping around, arguments and loud music. One night as they were fighting late into the night and I contemplated calling the police, someone beat me to it and the police came. It's so much better (and quieter) when people live alone! Sigh.
  • Our winter weather here remains very weird. We've only had snow flurries and it's past mid-January now. We'll have record-setting warm temperatures followed by cold snaps. Even the cold hasn't been as cold as it could be! All the precipitation has been coming during the warm periods, so we've had plenty of rain. Mind you, I'm not complaining. I could do without ice and snow for a season. Small children will have the opportunity to see snow in their lifetimes. My wish isn't to deprive them permanently of such. Just one winter. That's all I want.
  • That said, it does limit my photo fodder when most of the trees are barren and there are no flowers nor bugs to shoot.
  • I've a few short weeks (four days, not five) ahead at work. Yay! This coming week I'm taking a paid day off mid-week and next week I have a vacation day to start off my staycation the following week. Yay! It's not as good as retirement because I won the Powerball, but I'll take it.
  • Yes, I played the Powerball. I lost four dollars doing it. But, when I bought the tickets I didn't spend any more than I minded losing. Heck, I could have gone higher. However, I'm rarely lucky at winning stuff. I'm not much of a gambler at all. I probably spend a whole ten dollars a year on lottery. I was never into casinos or betting. At least, by working I'm guaranteed a paycheck! My 401K is the most "gambling" I do and I let other people do that for me.
Onto this week's photos. Clicking on an image will bring it up in a larger gallery version.

Y'know ... we need new bulbs

NJ Transit's haphazard maintenance at the Plainfield Train Station is ruining the possibility of symmetry and balance if I want to take shots of the rows of lamps on the platforms. Yet the ne'er-do-wells and denizens of the streets have found access to power outlets enabling them to loiter more at the station. 

Saturday night's moon

Yep, I shot the moon. It's been mostly overcast as of late when I've been out in the dark. At least clear skies give me the challenge of moon shot with my carry around point and shoot digital camera.

Every step you take, every move you make ...

... I'll be watching you. I got out of work in the daylight for the first time in ages. As I got to the top of the stairs at the Bridgewater Train Station I had that uncomfortable feeling that someone was watching me. Sure enough, I looked at the fence and there were three deer, two of them intent on watching me.

I believe they're the same ones I've photographed before. They're quite curious about either me or the camera, not sure which. They don't seem to have fear of humans as much as they have curiosity about us. They're in the "field of geese" -- a fenced-in field at the Superfund toxic waste site adjacent to the train station. There is no hunting, nor trespassing, allowed in that area. They don't have much to fear from humans at all. They hopefully have a healthy fear of fireworks, cars and trains. Oh ... and geese. I've seen the geese charge at them. More deer shots (and closer ones) after the jump.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - January 10, 2016

Good morning! It's Sunday morning once again -- time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way. I really don't have all that much for you this week.

It's the after-holidays doldrums. We haven't any snow as of yet. So I don't have a heck of a lot of photo fodder. It's dark when I get out of work. We actually had a few days of bitter cold this week after record warmth bookends. (Today is a record setting day with the high expected to be 60 degrees or more, but pouring rain most of the day.) I'd rather not have snow just because life is easier without it. But, photo-wise, snow would give me some inspiration.

Okay, it can snow for me to take photos. But then it must go away overnight. How's that?

Thankfully many television shows are back to first-run episodes this past week. I've been watching the start of American Idol which I'll stop following once Survivor arrives. New episodes of Blue Bloods, Elementary, The Big Bang Theory and more kept me occupied this week. Plus, I got in some books ordered from -- Stephen King's Bazaar of Bad Dreams and Brooklyn Noir short story anthologies. So, hey ... I'm set to be snowed in if need be!

Then the snow can go away.


Oh ... I've also been watching some OLD shows. Antenna TV on cable now has The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson original episodes airing at 11pm weekdays. Way cool time warp going on with that! Now, I just wish they'd pick up the old Letterman NBC shows from the 80s when he was in his wild and crazy late night guy days.

Hmm. I do have plenty of soup here, lots of stuff to read and watch, bubble baths and bath salts (not the drug kind, the BATH kind!). Y'know, I wouldn't mind being snowed in for a few days. But then it would need to go away. I hate walking (or riding or driving) on ice and snow. My next staycation is at the end of the month. I guess I'll just look forward to that. I don't really WANT winter. I just like being stuck at home, I guess.

I've rambled on enough. Onto the photos (or lack thereof) for the week. Clicking on an image will bring it up in a larger gallery version. I hope you all have a good week!

What if the Hokey-Pokey is what it's all about?


"We are the goon squad and we're coming to town. Beep-beep." - David Bowie, 'Fashion' -- as seen on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield.


Sunday, January 03, 2016

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - January 3, 2016

Good morning! I hope 2016 brings everyone happy and prosperous days ahead! Of course, I also hope it brings us some entertaining television seasons. Since today is Sunday, this is my weekly (except last week) off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photos I've taken along the way.

My apologies for the lack of posts lately and for even missing the photo post last week. The holidays aren't a great time for me on a personal level, my workplace gets overwhelming and I've been running on empty. It all ends up with a lack of inspiration to do much other than sleep in what little free time I have on hand.

Well, this week I did end up watching the huge The Walking Dead marathon instead of sleeping during my off work hours. It lasted for days! Eek. I really should have slept instead! What do the kids say? Oh, I'll sleep when I'm undead. Heh.

Although we're in for a chilly week ahead, we had the warmest December on record. I have no real complaints about that. Even this week's chill isn't deep freeze surrounded by ice and snow. I don't really mind the cold weather; it's the dangerous walking and driving on icy/snowy streets and sidewalks. My heat for my apartment is included in the rent. My electricity is not included. Thus, the air conditioning season brings about higher bills for me than the heating season.

That's about all I have for you. You'll probably note the lack of real inspiring photo fodder in the photos below. But, hey ... I showed up this week!

Clicking on an image will bring it up in a larger version.

Looks almost like buds on the tree

But things haven't gotten quite that crazy. It's actually grey clouds and fog lifting and the angle of the morning sun. Photo taken in my 'hood. But that's not my castle. It's not a castle at all. It's a church.

Plainfield Train Station

My last train ride home in 2015. 

Winter dandelion

This weather's been unbelievable. Despite a dip in temperatures, dandelions continue to grow.


Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has a happy and prosperous New Year!

May 2016 give us some great television watching times!