Sunday, April 30, 2017

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - April 30, 2017

Good morning! Welcome to my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photos I took along the way. If you're here for Survivor -- you can find any Survivor posts I make at this link right here You can find any posts I make about TAR at this link -- The Amazing Race.

Yup, yup ... it was certainly a week. 

The landlord/management company has indeed REALLY cracked down on the children running amok in the hallways. It's been so peaceful that I had forgotten what real peace outside my apartment door was like. Another long-term tenant shared that she was told that parents of one of the kids are being made to pay for the security glass in the broken door down on the first floor. Good!

But they're still not being good parents. (I should note that some parents here are good parents -- it wasn't their children creating the chaos.) Now the same bunch of kids who were unchaperoned in the hallways and staircases are now hanging out unchaperoned in the parking lot -- outside my windows for the most part. It turns out that my neighbor downstairs is one with one of the ringleaders of the Kid Crew. Last night they were out there past 10pm. That's dangerous! The oldest kids in the crew are about ten or eleven! It's a PARKING LOT. People drive fast through there sometimes! No parent is out there with them. The youngest kids are about four or five years old! Have these people no parenting skills? Do they not care about their kids as long as they're not bothering them in their apartments? Have they no common sense? I decided if they were still out in the lot at 11pm I'd call the police to have them round them up. It's dangerous for unsupervised children to be out there that late at night. It's child neglect if nothing else.

But it's not as loud when they're out there as when they're in the hallways.

I can sympathize that rents are high and many probably cannot afford larger apartments. I know that's why people are cramming kids into one-bedroom and studio units. I don't really have the answers other than, if they do that, they can't just let their kids run loose. They need to spend time with them, take them to parks, get them involved in some of the low-cost or free programs offered by the city of Plainfield. They need to be PARENTS. I never lived in apartments as a child. But my parents didn't let us go crazy in the house, had set bedtimes and taught us to be responsible in public.

Oh, well. Nothing much else going on this past week. I'm tired. But I'm always tired these days. I worked and then worked some more. I'm tired of working but don't see money falling from the skies.

In today's photos I'm posting, it's a lot of squirrel pictures. Y'see, once again this year, a squirrel family has a nest up under the eaves of the overpass at the Bridgewater Train Station. Kind of like the apartment kids, the young squirrels were left home alone and decided to have adventures. I took many shots as their antics were so entertaining. I hope the photos entertain you, too.

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

Starling with nest fodder

Bridgewater Train Station -- the birds and squirrels share nesting spaces under the eaves of the two overpasses.

THE SQUIRREL CHILDREN HOME ALONE
(continued after the jump, don't miss it!)

Yes, Sis ... there's a world out here!

Y'know, I want to explore!

What's up there?

I really want to go up there to see!

I know I can climb up there!

What Mom and Dad don't know won't hurt them! I'm BIG now!

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

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Amazing Race: Blog Party April 27, 2017


Thankfully we're back to just an hour episode tonight! I'll be live bloggig the show's events as they air here on the East Coast. The real party is in the comments area -- come join in on the fun!

The Lovely Lifeguard Sharon C has made the random match-ups for the blog pool:

London/Logan - Delee, Sharon N
Brooke/Scott - Chrob61, Becky
Tara/Joey - SueGee, Willie J, Monty924
Becca/Floyd - Janice, Brian
Liz/Michael - Judi Sweeney, Dolores in Hollywood, Ed in Ohio
Matt/Redmond - MerriLee, Jackie
Vanck/Ashton - Nickelpeed, Donna in FL

PHILIMINATED:
Jessica/Francesca - Brenda, David, Sharon C
Seth/Olive - ML, Cheryl in NC
Shamir/Sara - Indiana Jane, Jenna's Mom

Are we ready? Yes, we are! 

The teams were given the clue to the next destination as they arrived at the Pit Stop. They're heading to Italy and going in the order they finished last at the Welcome Mat. Caution: Double U-Turn ahead. 

Liz and Michael hugged it out. We'll see how long that lasts! Brooke and Scott started the movement to oust Vanck and Ashton on the U-Turn. Supposedly, all teams agree. Plus they want to blank out the second option so that Vanck and Ashton couldn't U-Turn another team.

Roadblock: Who's hungry for the next clue? Teams do a lap around the city in a roaming restaurant trying to locate three signs and eat the meal at the same time. Logan has to wait for the next tram.

They're next on the way to Lake Como, a cruise across the lake. 

Joey and Tara are in the lead, but are indecisive about whether to U-Turn or not. Into commercial. They don't use it.

Make a Move or Grab Ahold - Make s ghost appear or climb up a vertical rock wall. Michael and Liz U-Turn Vanck and Ashton. Becca and Floyd U-Turn Michael and Liz because they know that those two can't be U-Turned. Becca is excited about the rock climbing because she's a rock climbing instructor. She gives Floyd a quick rundown.

Matt/Redmond and Becca/Floyd have taken over the lead and are heading neck in neck to the Pit Stop. Brooke is freaking out that she won't be able to do the climb. She certainly can be annoying.

Pit Stop:
1. Becca and Floyd - won a trip to Argentina
2. Matt and Redmond 
3. Tara and Joey
4. Liz and Michael
5. Brooke and Scott
6. London and Logan 
7. Vanck and Ashton -- Philiminated

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Survivor: Game Changers - April 26 Blog Party


Everybody ready? Got your snacks? Got your tasty adult beverages? As the show airs here on the east coast, I'll be live-blogging with all the major happenings. Refresh the page to see the latest news! But, as always, the real party is in the comments area. I hope to see you there!

Here's the updated pool! Lifeguard Laurie is rockin' as always!
Andrea Boehlke - Indiana Jane, ML
Aubry Bracco - Ed in Ohio, meb
Brad Culpepper - Brian, Sharon N
Cirie Fields - Leonia Hart, Terry is a Texan
Debbie Wanner - Glenn, tbc
Michaela Bradshaw - David, Jackie
Sarah Lacina - Delee, Rbennie
Sierra Thomas - Becky, monty924
Tai Trang - Cheryl in NC, Sharon C
Troyzan Robertson - Donna in Alabama, Lifeguard Laurie
Zeke Smith - Janice from GA, Paula Bell

JURY
Hali Ford
Ozzy Lusth

 Survivor fans ready?

Debbie thinks she and her allies are six strong and will systematically vote the other five out one by one. Zeke knows Andrea is targeting him. Is Sarah still on his side? It's hard to say in this game. It's everyone for themselves.

Reward Challenge -- Two teams of five, each individually race through series of obstacles in water, ring toss. Schoolyard pick, one will sit out. Michaela sits out and can't be eligible for reward -- a trip to an island and picnic. 

Brad, Sierra, Debbie, Aubry and Andrea win Reward. Cirie did terrible and they're letting her complete it. Michaela really should have been chosen over Cirie. They're making a big deal over Cirie pushing her way through it. 

All the time Michaela sat there, she had a secret advantage at her feet. She never noticed it, but Sarah did. Sarah snagged it. It's an extra vote at Tribal which can be used only until the final five.

cirie tries to convince Sarah that she (Sarah) is at the bottom of the Brad/Sierra, etc. alliance. Cirie has her thinking. But she is wondering if the time is right for a big move or not. 

Immunity Challenge time! Pull on a rope balancing wobbly table, stack letters spelling "Immunity." 

Troyzan wins Immunity! 

Sierra is glad part of her Power Six won. She is sure Andrea will go home. (So it probably won't be Andrea going home!) 

Brad is annoyed by Michaela, as is Debbie. But they agree Andrea is a bigger strategic threat. Sarah takes being left out of the decision as another hint she's at the bottom of the pack. She talks to Zeke. They need to bring in Zeke's nemesis Andrea.

Uh-oh. Sierra tells Sarah that she wants the final three to be them along with Debbie. Now, will Sarah flip or not? Debbie still wants Michaela out. 

Now they're all turning against Debbie. 

What a quandary!

It's time for Tribal Council. Lots of talk of the six at the top. Andrea and Michaela's names have come up. Debbie is being too smug. 

The tally:
Andrea, Debbie, Andrea, Debbie, Andrea, Debbie, Andrea, Debbie, Andrea, Debbie, Debbie.

Debbie is voted out! Troyzan looks stunned as was Brad!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - April 23, 2017

Good morning! Welcome to my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photos I took along the way. If you're here for Survivor -- you can find any Survivor posts I make at this link right here You can find any posts I make about TAR at this link -- The Amazing Race.

Random stuff o' the past week:
  • My health insurance company has approved the procedure to do the vein work on my right leg. The vascular surgeon will be inserting a foam to close off the saphenous vein in the lower part of my leg -- the source of the worst swelling and a bundle of veins that stick out like a bunch of snakes under my skin. This will take a few treatments to do the entire leg and the left leg will most likely be laser treatment. I go on May 12, a procedure done right in his office. He tells me I'll walk out feeling better.
  • I got stuck in the elevator at the Plainfield Train Station late Monday night (about 10:15pm) -- the doors wouldn't open in the tunnel and it wouldn't return to any other floor (ground or platform). The smell was HORRENDOUS! I usually hold my breath to take the elevator down to the tunnel that late at night as I catch a taxi home. Thankfully, it's the Plainfield Police dispatcher answering the emergency phone from the elevator and the Plainfield Fire Department who rescued me. Had I had to wait for NJ Transit, I'd probably still be stuck in the elevator, probably deceased from the odor. As of last night, the elevator still hasn't been fixed. Get on the ball, NJT! 
  • On the home front, I complained to the landlord's office about the kids running amok in the hallways for hours daily into the night, littering, breaking things, scuffing up the walls, staining the hallway carpet, etc. -- and all the people (kids and adults) crammed into one one-bedroom apartment which doesn't even have the child window guards. Those kids are the ringleaders of the Hallway Hellions. Within a few days after my phoned/then written complaint, the kids haven't been hanging out in the hallways. Instead, they're hanging out in the parking lot, mostly under my windows. My complaint or nicer weather? They're not supposed to be in the parking lot either -- it's dangerous. But their parents obviously don't care. At least it's not as loud as them right outside my door in the building. If I had a car out there, I'd be yelling at them, though.
  • Also on the home front, my upstairs neighbor has sporadically been booming his stereo once again. You'd think if the cops come to his door twice withing 12 hours, he wouldn't do it again. How many times have the police been at my door in my 40+ years of apartment living due to complaints from neighbors? NONE. NADA. NEVER. Maybe if I make it that bad for him to play his music so loud, he'll move on his own. Since I just complained about the kids, I don't want to file another complaint about him right now. I don't want the landlord to think I'm some sort of chronic complainer. But, sheesh. Have people no consideration for others these days? Right now as I write this up, his stereo is vibrating my ceiling with its bass. Every Sunday morning. I only get one day off at a time and Sunday is one of them. I'm tired of this idiot. No one else in my wing of the building does it and no other tenant up there has made the kind of noise he makes. And he's the first one with carpet instead of hardwood up there! Grr.
  • Rant over
 Onto this week's photos. Clicking on an image will open a larger version. 
 
Let there be spring pink!

Plainfield Train Station

Earth Day

Volunteers cleaned the grounds of the Plainfield Train Station. All of the bums went away as they cleaned. Of course, they'll return and litter all over again. Sigh. Something seriously needs to be done to keep unticketed passengers from loitering around the train station!

A patch of pretty

Bridgewater, NJ

Play ball!

It's baseball season once again at the home of the Somerset Patriots -- TD Bank Ball Park in Bridgewater. The game seemed to be in a rain delay as I headed to the train station after work. As I walked up the steps leading to my platform, they were playing the theme to 'Jaws.' NOT COOL! I expected to find a bear at the top of the stairs smiling at me or something!
 
**CLICK THE 'READ MORE' LINK TO SEE THE REST OF THE PHOTOS**

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Amazing Race: Double Episode Blog Party - April 20, 2017


We're in for a double episode tonight. And, I'm coming into this tired and a bit under the weather. I will do my best to live blog the show's events as they air here on the East Coast. The real party is in the comments area -- come join in on the fun!

The Lovely Lifeguard Sharon C has made the random match-ups for the blog pool:
 
Shamir/Sara - Indiana Jane, Jenna's Mom
London/Logan - Delee, Sharon N
Brooke/Scott - Chrob61, Becky
Tara/Joey - SueGee, Willie J, Monty924
Becca/Floyd - Janice, Brian
Liz/Michael - Judi Sweeney, Dolores in Hollywood, Ed in Ohio
Matt/Redmond - MerriLee, Jackie
Vanck/Ashton - Nickelpeed, Donna in FL

PHILIMINATED:
Jessica/Francesca - Brenda, David, Sharon C
Seth/Olive - ML, Cheryl in NC

Are we ready? Yes, we are! 

Teams are off to Stonetown, also in Tanzania ... they're going to the childhood home of Freddie Mercury in Zanzibar.

Detour - Lock or Knock. Looking for a key in a hidden compartment in a room of chests or looking for one of three royal doors, then delivering.

Uh-oh -- Vanck and Ashton are arguing. 

Michael and Liz are leading the pack, first to find the clue in the detour.  Vanck and Ashton continue to disintegrate. They're in a marketplace, not near the detour choices. 

Cool. Scott had two keys and gave one to Becca and Floyd. I like Becca and Floyd. But Brooke is ticked at Scott. Shamir is being an idiot again. London and Logan are totally lost in the chests, they switch. Teams are all boarding the ferry except for Sara and Shamir.

Back in Tanzania, they face the Roadblock -- making a ladle from a sheet of aluminum. Brooke is almost in hysterics because she doesn't think she has the strength to do it. Finally Shamir and Sara find the key back in Zanzibar. Becca helps Brooke do the cutting because Scott had given them the key. How sweet. Brooke continues to freak.

Joey and Tara, then Becca/Floyd head to the Pit Stop. 

1. Tara and Joey -- won five grand each
2. Becca and Floyd 
3. Michael and Liz
4. Matt and Redmond
5. Logan and London  
6. Vanck and Ashton 
7. Brooke and Scott

Shamir and Sare are still at the Roadblock as Phil approaches them. They're Philiminated.  

Second episode --
Teams are on the way to Norway. It's the last chance for Becca and Floyd to use the Express Pass. All teams are on the same flight.

They have to eat very salty fish before getting the next clue. Brooke is once again freaking. 

Becca and Floyd go for the Fast Forward. They don't know they'll have to skydive 10,000 feet. 

Roadblock - Who wants to break a world record? Stacking wooden pallets that will be the world's tallest bonfire. 

Teams then must search for fire trolls (protecting the buildings) and then recite a poem to free them or go fishing in a kayak. Then they'll be on their way to the next Pit Stop.

Yikes! Ashton's pack is missing. And, Michael and Liz are falling apart. Uh-oh.

Becca and Floyd are in 7th heaven after the jump. They earned their Fast Forward.

The teams on the kayaks are having all sorts of problems. 

Pit Stop
1. Tara and Joey
2. Matt and Redmond
3. Becca and Floyd
Michael had a car accident. Will it be the end for them? (Or course, I'm thinking this might be a non-Philimination leg.) Great! The other vehicle owner said it was no problem!

4. Vanck and Ashton.

Michael and Liz take an elevator!

5. Logan and London
6. Brooke and Scott
7. Liz and Michael

NON-Philimination!  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Survivor: Game Changers - April 19 Double Episode Blog Party


Everybody ready? Got your snacks? Got your tasty adult beverages? As the show airs here on the east coast, I'll be live-blogging with all the major happenings. Refresh the page to see the latest news! But, as always, the real party is in the comments area. I hope to see you there!

I don't think anything could be so astounding as last week's Tribal Council. But tonight we see the reactions of Zeke's tribe and the merge will be on. We're in for two episodes in a row. Bring on the cyber-beverages!

Here's the updated pool! Lifeguard Laurie is back from Paradise --

MANA
Aubry Bracco - Ed in Ohio, meb
Brad Culpepper - Brian, Sharon N
Cirie Fields - Leonia Hart, Terry is a Texan
Hali Ford - Buzzmaam, Nana in the NW
Michaela Bradshaw - David, Jackie
Sierra Thomas - Becky, monty924
Troyzan Robertson - Donna in Alabama, Lifeguard Laurie

NUKU
Andrea Boehlke - Indiana Jane, ML
Debbie Wanner - Glenn, tbc
Ozzy Lusth - KelseyNY, Margo, PDX Granny
Sarah Lacina - Delee, Rbennie
Tai Trang - Cheryl in NC, Sharon C
Zeke Smith - Janice from GA, Paula Bell

No more fire!
Ciera Eastin
Tony Vlachos
Caleb Reynolds
Malcolm Freberg
JT Thomas 
Sandra Diaz-Twine
Jeff Varner

Survivor fans ready?

We see Varner getting voted out again although there never was a vote. Sarah and Tai are talking. Her eyes have been opened. She loves Zeke and thinks that, if anything, it makes him stronger. Zeke tells them he's touched by how everyone spoke up for him. But he still didn't want to be seen as anything other than Zeke.

Right to a challenge we go. A covered table, a table of food, hmm ...  Before they merge and feast, one person from each tribe must volunteer to not take part. Hmm. If two don't volunteer the merge will go on and all they'll get is a cracker and tea. Brad volunteers. Zeke thinks it's purely a game move. Tai volunteered for his tribe. Different reaction from a tribemate -- he's selfless.

The merge is on. Brad and Tai are off down the beach to get their yellow buffs.

Brad thinks he's taken over Tai's Caleb position. He starts talking strategy with Tai. 

Ick. As one of them said, "Debbie is going Debbie on us." She thinks it's the alcohol. Debbie told us she didn't drink any, it's strategy.  

Debbie plays nicey-nice with Brad. Zeke tells the Varner Tribal story. All seemed to support him as his own tribe did.

Uh-oh. The move is on to get Michaela (my blog pool pick) first. They all seem good with it. Ah, but Zeke wants to work with Cirie and Sarah. Should they try to recruit Michaela? 

A hen lays an egg on the roof of the shelter. "The laughs before the bloodbath." 

Hali wants to work with Michaela. Michaela thinks she needs to approach Cirie and needs people on her side. Cirie is giving her good advice.

Time for the first individual Immunity Challenge. Stand on toes with a block wedged between their heads and frame. Last blockhead wins! Heehee. I couldn't resist that.  

Hali, Troyzan, Zeke, out soon. Cirie out. Debbie out. Michaela out. This was all in the first five minutes. Ozzy out. Aubry out. Brad out. Sierra out. Tai and Andrea remain. Tai out! Andrea wins Immunity, the first woman to ever win this challenge!

Andrea thinks Hali might have an idol. She wants to flush it out -- leaning towards Michaela leaving.  They're telling Hali and Micahela that Zeke is the target because he has such a good backstory. Cirie is Cirie-ously trying to save Michaela. 

Tribal Council time. Hali tells them they can pat her down -- she doesn't have an idol. Hmm. Cirie votes Michaela to save them both.

The tally:
Zeke, Zeke, Michaela, Hali, Michaela, Hali, Michaela, Hali, Michaela, Hali, Hali, Hali ...

Hali is voted out.  She's the first member of the jury.

Cirie is ready for war. She, Zeke and Aubry want to target Brad and Sierra. Andrea also wants to get them out. Is it a coup? 

Zeke thinks that Andrea and Cirie are actually bigger threats in the game. Will he be a game changer? 

Reward Challenge -- Two teams of six -- two swim out, retrieve fish puzzle pieces, two hook them up and the other two put it together. Schoolyard pick. A day of luxury is the prize.

Andrea, Zeke, Debbie, Troyzan, Ozzy and Tai win Reward! 

Oh my, the Marshalls Spa is from Marshalls the store -- all kinds of products from Marshalls. Tai streaked. 

Zeke takes his Andrea target to Debbie and Tai. Debbie is skeptical. 

Immunity Challenge -- Hang onto a pole the longest you can. The classic wrap yourself around a pole -- Ozzy has won it the two times he did it. Cirie lost it before. It's new to the others.

Cirie out first. Brad is out. Aubry out. Debbie out. Zeke out. Sierra out. Troyzan out. Sierra out. 
Andrea, Michaela, Tai and Ozzy remain. 

Michaela drops saying Ozzy won't come down. He's told them that he plans on beating his own record. 

Andrea falls hard.  Ozzy is OUT!

Tai wins Immunity! It's like he was Tai-ed onto the pole! 

Zeke pushes his Andrea agenda to Sierra. She doesn't trust him. Andrea hears it and is now ticked at Zeke. Ozzy is with Cirie. Now they're all abuzz about voting out Zeke. Whoa! Debbie has started a blindside Ozzy movement.  

Tribal Council time. They talk about how the game seems higher stake and cagier this season.  

Debbie uses her Advantage of an extra vote. 

The tally --
Ozzy, Zeke, Sierra, Ozzy, Zeke, Ozzy, Zeke, Ozzy, Zeke, Ozzy, Ozzy, Ozzy 

Sorry, Petals. Ozzy is outsy.