Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fun, Diversión, Family, Familia (2)

We're still at Newington's annual Mill Pond Extravaganza, so let's continue with our stroll around the park.

I'm sure you're quite hungry, and as you can see, we have a great selection of foods that you gorge yourself on. Be careful though as the heaviness of all those great carnival foods will become downright lethal in that hot New England sun (yes, the temps are still kissing that infamous triple digit).

This is another view of some of those carnival rides from last week. This pic was taken from the half of the park where no one was wandering through save a few of the vendors. The sky is mighty fantastic looking blue, don't you think?

Now I'm thinking that you think I'm pulling your leg about the hot summer day, but if you compare this picture of the pond with one from this particular post, you'll see that I am definitely not pulling your leg (as a matter of fact, the 3rd picture in the link was taken almost from the exact same spot as the one you're currently looking at). That white looking stuff on top of the pond is actually algae. During this particular week, Newington was suffering through a spate of exquisitely hot weather sans rainfall, and this was the end result. Because of this algae, there were no paddle boats rides during the Extravaganza either.

Again, this is a view from the seldom used section of the park showing just how many vendors (arts and crafts, local businesses, and even the politicos that were campaigning) there were that weekend.

A random shot of another street vendor's wares. No idea who the guy is off to the right, because beyond the general purpose crowd shots, I made a concentrated effort not to get any individuals in my shots.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fun, Diversión, Family, Familia (1)

And we're back with yet another series of photos designed to keep you warm through these cold December/January days, for that's how long this particular series will last. The first part of the series will concentrate on fun, with the second part concentrating on family.

The first batch of photos were taken during Newington's July 4th (held on July 19th) Extravaganza, so of course we start off with a shot of the old red, white and blue. On this day, where this flag was hanging, this was the only naturally cool spot that my weary bones actually enjoyed. Why?

Well...if you click on the photo to enlarge, you will see that the lunchtime temperature starts with the number 9. Did I mention that there was absolutely no breeze that day? Did I also mention that they were no clouds in the sky to speak of? Did I mention that the air was just a tad moist? Finally, did I mention that it got hotter and the temperature briefly started with the number 1? Factoid: The bank sign that you see stands for the Connecticut Bank & Trust, of which back when I was a child was a well respected bank. However, corruption back then caused the bank to become seized by the FDIC and thus was merged out of its 100+ year existence by Connecticut National Bank, which was eventually merged into Fleet Bank, which merged with BankBoston, which finally merged into Skank of America.

Anyways, every year its held in Mill Pond Park, but this year was the first time that in addition to the arts & crafts, assorted vendors, beer garden and sound stage, a carnival and a petting zoo were added to the mix. This shot was taken from across the public library which even though people were partaking of the Extravaganza, was used as a temporary cooling off place by the various visitors of the Extravaganza (like myself).

I took this shot because I wanted to give everyone a basic idea of how many visitors we had to the Extravaganza that day, as well as what kind of rides there were. Not much really to add other than you can see just how cloudless it was that day. I'm telling you, it was extremely hot, and fortunately for me, I didn't shave my head that day, so I wasn't forced to choose between razor burn and sunburn.

This wasn't really one of my best crowd shots, but to the right was one of those vendors that you usually see wandering about during parades. The yellow tent is where people sat to eat, rest and/or watch the various performers on the concert stage.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Furlough Weekend (5)

After an unfortunate hiatus, due mostly to this, I now present to you the fifth and final post of my Furlough Weekend. Considering how cold its starting to become in certain sections in the U.S, as well as the mighty snow dump being foisted on the general public in the U.K., I figured everyone appreciated the summer season in which these series of photos were taken. And don't be concerned with the summer ending here at Shooting Suburbia because next week's series of post pick up where this one ends, as our annual Mill Pond Extravaganza will be in full swing next week. I guarantee that you'll be sweating up a storm, in spite of the lo double digit weather that you're currently suffering through.

When I got back to work on Tuesday (that would be July 6th peoples), I had my camera with me, simply because I had a few pictures left and I figured work would be a good place as any to waste them. So here are five silly pictures to hopefully brighten your day. Picture number one features a few of my non-human friends, because they're the only ones who never give me grief. The line up that you see there is almost the same now, with the only exceptions being that the teddy bear is normally on the extreme left of the window sill (click here for what my cube usually looks like), and the raccoon being directly behind the chair. The other items, specifically the card and the promo for my chapbook are still there as well.
One of the unique characters that calls my cubicle "home" is Mr. Sunshine. Mr. Sunshine is quite the versatile character. For instance, Mr. Sunshine's favorite bud is some strange feller who goes by the name of Georgie. And if you ask him if Georgie is his favorite potato spud, he'll let you know by giving you a thumbs up.

One of Mr. Sunshine's favorite games is Hide and Seek. Unfortunately, Mr. Sunshine has quite the circular shape and thus is unable to hide very well from prying eyes. Fortunately, the sunglasses came in handy to block out the blinding light of the camera flash when his best spud Georgie took his photo as proof positive that he won the game, because you know Georgie isn't the sharpest tool in the shed on most days, which of course makes him the perfect employee for his current employer

One of Mr. Sunshines's favorite sports is whale surfing. He likes surfing on this particular whale, which he gives his whole hearted approval on. Mr. Sunshine would like to point out the various items that you can see through the back window. The planter is a scrawny little thing and very rarely is it healthy during the spring and summer. The small plot of land that you see surrounded by the crumbling wall has been in the same sorry state of disrepair since Mr. Sunshine's potato spud Georgie started working at this latest truck stop in 2006. That's 4 1/2 years of non-repair performed by another state agency who is notorious for having 17 people on a job site of which 14 are supervising and 3 are "working". D'oh!!

And finally, we come to another one of Mr. Sunshine's favorite pastimes, hanging ten on the police tape. Mr. Sunshines's best potato spud Georgie would like to point out that this big fancy schmancy metallic object that Mr. Sunshine is currently hanging ten on, is a metal detector. This was installed shortly after the state of Connecticut suffered a modified version of going postal when a employee of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation snapped and murdered four of his coworkers before killing himself. Unfortunately, just like everything else the state purchases, this was purchased without the appropriate software, so in essence, this building has two giant metal detectors that cost over $200K gathering dust and taking up space.

On that note, Mr. Sunshine and his best potato spud Georgie (not to be confused with the lunatic called Sweet Potato that harasses people in the chat rooms) will not only talk to you tomorrow but talk to ya later.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Furlough Weekend (4)

Here we is today, at part 4 of our tidy little series called Furlough Weekend. Shall we begin at the beginning? Damn, even got stale cliches at this blog as well.

This is the road that leads to the campground. As you can see, the thing is 100% rocks and gravel. Great for destroy tires and the undercarriages of cars. Also great for getting stuck in the side should you be foolhardy enough to make room for someone to go by.
This was more of a drive by shot than anything else. That blurry sculpture belongs to that blurred image of a local art gallery. The yard itself contains a few funky steel oriented sculptures and the gallery is housed in a converted barn, I think. The reason as to why I sound so unsure is that for the past several years, I've never really paid any attention to the actual building, only the sculptures in the front yard. This art (or sculpture gallery, I guess) is the first thing you see when you make a quick right after that farm from the previous week's post.

I'm pretty sure I took this shot on the weekend. Not sure whether it was Saturday or Sunday, but apparently I was sitting in my favorite summertime writing spot in the backyard sometime in the late afternoon or early evening when this shot presented itself to me. The reason as to why I can narrow down the time is that the sun often doesn't hit my side of the street until after 3p. Gotta admit though, it really is a fantastic shot of the sun weaving its way through the trees.
Another shot of the front bay window with all the stuffed aminals looking quite forlorn.

Sometime ago, I showed you a shot of what my cubicle was like. I would dig it out for a comparison, but frankly, I'm wasn't in the mood to go wondering through my Picassa Web gallery to find it. Anyways, back in April, the person who had this cube retired and because it is a window cube (highly desirable real estate), it was offered to the person with the most seniority left in the unit. Since he didn't want it (mostly because his current cube allowed him to be closer to upper management), it was offered to the next person in line: me. This is only a temporary home as whoever gets to be a supervisor in the unit will get this cubicle, but until then, its all MINE. Anyways, it took me less then three days to move all of my stuff in, which considering how much crap I really accumulated in the past four years is quite remarkable.

And finally, the obligatory bird in the birdbath shot, taken in conjunction with the obligatory shot of the car.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Furlough Weekend (3)

And thus, we begin at the exact center of the picture series, part three of five. You could call it "3" but this isn't STTNG nor am I Locutus. Anywho, please enjoy the view.

This particular picture was taken at one of the local farms that dot the surrounding rural countryside where the campsite is located. Yup, in this fascinating little town called Litchfield, you have farms side by side with $400K houses, a wonderful 18 hole golf course, and a couple of wineries (this winery I believe is the one that we drive by all the time) are nestled in here as well. Anyways, it was a gorgeous Friday afternoon as you can see and the atmosphere was just about perfect. No, there weren't any cows to speak off, as this particular farm specializes in horses and corn. As a matter of fact, the particular farm in the early fall has, you guessed it, a big fat corn maze and a Great Pumpkin Patch.
Another shot of the same farm. I took two because I wanted to make sure that I got it right in the first place. The story behind this and previous shot is quite interesting. The road that I took this shot from is pretty much the width of two cars plus a couple of feet. In order to take this shot without getting clipped, I had to pull over to the side and make sure I didn't go into the drainage ditch, then I opened the door and stood on the seat and runner to get this shot. I would sat that I used the door to balance myself, but a key bolt that normally holds the door in place once you open it part of the way was gone, so I had to have my wife grab hold of my leg to make sure I didn't fall over.
This was shot was taken at one of the side roads that dot the area where we were driving. Most of the side roads are this funky mix of gravel and tar and no curbs to speak off. I took this one because I wanted to give everyone a good idea of what kind of rural is mixed in with the suburbia that is Litchfield. And just like the previous one, I stood on the runner and seat to take this picture.
This is looking down the road we were driving on just moments ago. As you can see, the width of the road is about two car lengths and its incredibly winding and scenic.

The entrance to the campground called Hemlock Hills. Mother dearest has her RV stored up here (season passes start at $2K) and about 96% of the clientele are long termers, which is what this campground specializes in. It's open from about April thru mid-October, and in the winter time, the roads leading into are closed. You can tell when you're in the general proximity of the campground because regular road that you travel on to get there instantly changes at the entrance to road that is about as wide as your car and 100% dirt with enough of drop off on either side to get stuck for hours on end (mother dearest got her RV stuck for five hours or so). Anyways, the kids love it, mother loves it, and Joanne, well...lets just say that in keeping with what I've been bitchin' about behind the scenes and what occasionally makes it to this blog and Facebook about certain aspects of my life, she feels roughly the same way about that campground. Sort of a love/despise relationship you might say.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Furlough Weekend (2)

So here we are for part two of the incredibly depressing and financially devastating July 4th Furlough weekend. Won't you come join for a moment of the cool refreshing detachment known as "the unreality check"?

This picture was taken on the way back from the credit union. I had walked all the way to Burger King (about 3 1/4 miles or so) in about an hour and a half and took a brief pit stop to scarf down a soda and make a call to the wife for something. After refreshing my palate, I tripped over to the credit union where I joined about a dozen other fellow co-workers who were doing the same thing as I was (bitchin', moanin', groanin' and commiserating) that day. After I'd gotten my money and spent about five minutes playing hopscotch across eight lanes of highway, I continued on my journey back home, this time taking a ton of side roads. This picture was the only one I took walking down the side road because I was carrying to much crap that day and it would've been to much a problem to drop my stuff, take out my camera, take a shot, put my camera away and pick up my schtuff. The main focus of this shot (such as it was) was the floral arrangement around the mailbox.

Again, one of my favorite subjects to shoot: Keeny Manufacturing. This time it was that old standby, the water sculptures. Some twenty minutes after I took this shot, I stopped at Subway for lunch, which I ate in the center of town on the local green. That particular stop was last of two occasions (Burger King was the first) of the first half of my day that I actually sat. So basically from about 8:30a through 1:30p I was on my feet doing foot patrol. Don't worry, it doesn't get any better.
About twice a month I frequently walk all the way down Main Street before turning down a side road to go home. This shot of my finger with the nifty landscaping in the background was taken on one of the many side streets that dot my neighborhood. The landscaping on this street is quite interesting and this was the best of the bunch. Unfortunately, my thumb/finger thought otherwise.
Remember I said it doesn't get any better? Well, it don't. Shortly after I got home (like 15 minutes) I had to drive to Litchfield and drop off my wife at the campsite. So here I am, driving in a car after spending about 4 1/2 very hard and very tiring hours walking (keep in mind that yours truly has muscle weakness in his legs and walks in order to maintain the status quo). Anyways, this shot was taken by the wife as I was driving up route 118 in Litchfield. This section of roadway is located about three minutes from route 8 and about a half hour from that ever popular Lourdes In Litchfield.
This shot was again taken by the wife as I was driving through the mountains of Litchfield. In all honesty, the picture really doesn't do the view justice, especially that day, because even though I was dog tired that day, the view driving up this particular section of 118 was incredible. And yes, this was the view that inspired me to write a short story based on the 23rd Psalms.

This monument is on the town green (or at least for this section of town) that is found at the intersection of US 202 and CT 63 in historic Litchfield CT. This particular green was (and still is to a degree) known for anti-war protests that were held protesting the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. I will admit that for the most part, even though I didn't agree with the protests, they were very orderly and didn't disrupt the flow of traffic. For those of you who are music aficionados, Litchfield is the home of the prestigious Jazz Festival.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Furlough Weekend

Welcome to the humdrum life of a state employee. Come with me on a journey of enlightenment where we explore what its like to spend a day out of work on our own dime, because the powers that be in state guv'ment decreed that (at least for me) the other eighteen thousand three hundred ninety-nine dimes and one nickel with three cents should be given back so as to help COUGH! COUGH! balance the budget.

Anywho, this entire series of posts, which will be spanning five weeks, was taken over the course of the July 4th weekend. Scratch that, it was taken on July 2nd through July 6th (which is when I got back to work). So we shall begin at the beginning.

Oh, did I mention that I was stupidly carrying a folder of blank paper and a notebook filled with my latest story that day? So not only was I carrying the camera, I was prior to the squirrel pics, carrying a folder of blank paper, a notebook, a bottle water and a bag of chips.

This and the following pics were taken on Friday morning during my now legendary 8+ mile walk to the credit union (which I started at around 8:30) and back (mapquest stated that the driving route was 2.3 miles but the walking route that I took was at least an extra .8 of a mile). Anyways, this little statue of a fireman (with a functional fire hose I might add), is located directly behind the old firehouse that was featured in this post. The main reason as to why I took this picture is simple: I needed to find out once and for all, which picture was numero uno once my disposable camera got developed. Turns out that number 27 on the picture disc is numero uno.

You'll have to enlarge this picture to see the squirrel standing on the hill just to the right of the tree. He was gathering nuts (I think) and was taking a breather underneath the shady portion of the tree (it was in the lo 90's I believe). Very rarely do I get the opportunity to get this up close and personal to a squirrel, so of the opportunity did I take advantage thereof.

Another view of the same squirrel, and let me tell you, I took full advantage of that particular section of shade. As a matter of fact, I was very fortunate that my entire route of Main Street was shady that day, because it got to be hotter than frying pan that day.

Traffic was incredibly heavy that Friday morning (trust me, the phrase "playing in traffic" was the topic of choice that day), so after dodging all kinds of cars, I crossed the street to the local firehouse to take this picture of a old fashioned fire hose/fire truck memorial.

If you enlarge the picture, you'll see that its a memorial dedicated to those volunteer firemen who made the supreme sacrifice. And yes, that shadow at the bottom is me, which is due to the fact that I wanted to get a detailed shot of the memorial plaque, thus I had to get up close and personal.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Round & Round (4)

And finally, we come to the final part of this latest series. So let's begin at the ending and see what we shall see. And as always, the journey starts after you take that initial step.

The weather was definitely more agreeable this time around as the tiger lilies were in full bloom around the pond. With the way the sun was breaking through the trees in the backyard, I would venture to guess that this shot was taken around 6 in the evening (remember, we're still in the beginning of summer here, so the days are super duper long).

The Keeney Manufacturing plant (they make plumbing parts and supplies) has always been one of my favorite subjects for photographing since I started blogging back in 2008. They have the funkiest water sculpture that I've seen in quite sometime and the landscaping is second to none. I think the reason as to why it looks so immaculate and inviting, is that all the parades that happen here (Memorial day and Veteran's day) take place right on this particular section of Main Street. And I can always get a fantastic shot of those two majestic flags flapping away in the breeze.

Now, you'll probably have to click on the picture to enlarge it, but that is a helicopter in the upper middle of this photo. Apparently some kind of celebration was going on (not sure what, but it definitely wasn't the Extravaganza that will be popping up here in a couple of months), but there were a lot cars and of course, the helicopter, which I thought was pretty neat. Yeah, that is TD Bank(north) to your left.

Now, this is another one of those pictures that I took that I don't have a clue as to why I did. But, let's try to narrow it down, shall we? It could be that I like taking pictures of white picket fences. Or, it could be that I enjoy taking pictures of flowers and trees in bloom. Or....well, I don't know what the third "or" is, but in any event, you gotta admit that its a great picture of what a typical homeowner here in Newington does with their property.

I was going through my birdy phase this summer when mother dearest moved the birdbath from the side of the yard to the front yard. So I took it upon myself to make sure that it was filled with clean water every day this past summer (every day boys and girls. M-F I filled it up once I pulled into the driveway after work and S & S before I took off for my morning and afternoon errands respectively). And as you can see, I had some fantastic feathered friends visit the bird bath. Once I added birdseed, I pretty much had a constant steady stream from May thru early September.

A shot of a solitary bird taken after its companions flew the coop. I did have some fantastic looking birds partake of the refreshments for the summer in great quantities. And yes, that is my hunk o' junk car that you see just off to the right, and my neighbor's house was for sale, but he eventually took it off the market. That little stump is all that remains of the hedge that used to clutter up the front yard for the past forty odd years or so. And if the birdbath looks crooked, you're right. Because the front yard slopes downwards, I had to eventually level off the birdbath with a piece of metal. This is prior to the leveling.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Round & Round (3)

After a ton of problems trying to upload these seven photos the way I wanted to do it but Blogger didn't want to let me do it the way I wanted (mainly, trying to upload one at time as opposed to all in one shot), I now bring to you the end of the middle.

I would like to say that this is one of my stock shots of the mountain that I took over a year ago, but it isn't. It is a current photo that was taken for this particular set of photos. Note the lush greeness of the mountain and the trees that line both sides of the street. This was taken on the tail end of the incredible long walk that was highlighted in last week's post, and let me tell you, my dogs were barking and growling by the time I got home.... this lovely front yard image. This is the bay window on the left side of the porch (the right side was shown last week, which featured my cat Holly. In this photo, you can see the thingamabob from last week, along with a teddy, a electronic parrot (trust me, we don't need an electronic parrot), a drawing of a potato head, another teddy bear and the reflection of the trees from across the street.
The world famous looking-up-into-the-tree-canopy shot. This one came about in much the same way as the one from a couple of weeks ago. A little while after I got home from my long walk and after the previous picture, I decided to sit in my backyard and write (HA!!). In addition to the pen, paper, lap desk and whatever story I happen to be working on, I also have my camera. Because nothing of note was bleeding from my brain to the paper, I decided to sit back and vegetate for a while. This shot came from that one hour's worth of vegetating.

This picture was taken while I was driving back from Middletown one Friday afternoon, which of course was during rush hour. Anyways, I decided to take a crack at taking a few shots of the boats that were sailing down the Connecticut river. However, a small problem quickly emerged. In addition to having no manual dexterity to speak of anymore, I also can't hold a camera and press the button with the same hand. End result is what you see here: a guardrail, a couple of trees, a few boats, my side mirror and my very dirty and worn out interior of the passenger door.

Another one of my world famous redundantly non-stock photo of the main intersection of downtown Newington. I say redundant because this one features the the flag at half staff, which most of you know is for when a U.S. soldier from Connecticut dies overseas in either Iraq or Afghanistan. I'm pretty sure that this is the reason as to why, simply because of the blue sign that you see in the center trumpeting the fact that one stream recycling is coming to town (which hit us in late July) and these photos were taken in late May/early June.

Another one of my world famous (redundant, ain't it?) non-stock photos of the backyard pond. Not sure why I took this one, other than the background weather looks a tad gloomy, which turn gives the photo a particular gloomy feel, especially around the edges of the photo. Anywho, you can see a great shot of the shed and a few of the wind chimes.
And a shot of my young two year old nephew Bryce. I would like to give a status update as it applies to our relationship. Previously I mentioned that whenever Bryce sees me, he flips out and runs to the nearest relative screaming his tiny little head off. I am happy to announce that he no long flips out and goes screaming off into the night whenever he sees me. Now when he sees me, he says, "Uh-oh!" then goes back to whatever it was that he was doing prior to me walking into the room.

Not sure if this "Uh-oh!" is an improvement over the screaming anxiety attacks, but I'll take the tiny little victories wherever I can grab them.