Saturday, June 26, 2010

Newington Center...And Beyond (2)

Note: Most of these pics were taking in the early spring, around March or April as near as I can put it.

This is looking north down Mountain road, and as you can see, the trees are incredibly bare, and yes, believe it or not, that is a bridge. There is a small mountain stream that trickles underneath when there is a decent rainstorm in the area. It's hard to tell from this shot, but the width of the road is about one car plus the door open. When two are driving in opposite directions, both more often than not, will pull all the way over to the side to let each other pass. The fortunate thing about this road is that there is no troublesome spots to worry about, save for the shallow (about three feet deep with a gradual incline) ditch that starts about where you see that white house on the right (a local group home for the developmentally disabled).

This is a shot further up the street, taken from the closed section of the road. The closed section is a popular walkway for people who are looking for a quiet area to walk in, a decent shortcut if you're on foot patrol and walking from the highway that's a couple of miles away to the southern border of Newington/Hartford, or if you want a place to walk your dog without having to curb or pick up their doo-doo.

This is the beginning of the closed off section of Mountain Road. There are two stories that are currently circulating as to why this road is closed, each of them containing a kernel of truth somewhere. Story #1 is that the town and the state claim the other is responsible for maintaining that particular section of roadway. Since neither would budge, concrete barriers were put up, this one here and one about half mile or so up the road near the Hartford Regional Center (an institution for the moderately to severely developmentally disabled). Story #2 is that before the barriers were installed, there were the appropriate signs posted saying that the road was legally closed and that to drive it was at your own risk. An elderly woman ignored the signs, drove on the road, crashed and died. The reason as to why the road looks so clean is that around December/January, it was cleared out by a developer in anticipation of building luxury condos on the mountain ridge. It never came to fruition.

The graffiti in the previous picture and this one has a sadder story to it. Back in the summer of 2008, a young man (about 16 or 17) who was suffering from depression, chose to end his life by driving his car into this particular concrete barrier. Since 2008, this particular graffiti has been more or less unchanged, untouched and unremoved from this barrier. For about a year and a half, there used to be a small stuffed Barney and a small cross sitting on the top of this barrier. Off to the right of this pic, there is a perpetual dried out bouquet of flowers tied to a tree.

This is Mill Pond, the centerpiece of Mill Pond park and waterfalls. The island that you see is usually populated with ducks and geese in the summertime. To the left out of the picture, is a man made fountain that helps when Mother Nature can't. To the extreme left is a dock, where they hold a small fishing derby during the Newington Extravaganza that will held sometime in mid July (and was the backdrop for my short story The Right Thing) The building directly behind the island is where you enter the town pool at.

The ducks (along with the geese) that call Mill Pond Park their home, have absolutely no fear of people, and as such, it's incredibly easy to get up close and take candid shots of them. So long as you approach them quietly and carefully, you can get some pretty remarkable shots (which you'll see in the upcoming weeks). This particular one was probably searching for some grub to eat. I'm not quite sure whereabouts this particular shot was taken, but if I had to take a guess, I would say it was at section of the pond that has no water flowing into it most of the time and thus it was usually drained and/or barren.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Newington Center....And Beyond (1)

I thought I would call this latest batch of photos (taken about the same time as Twinkletoes Ted, since I had a special two-fer disposable cameras) "Newington Center....And Beyond" simply because part of the roll involved Newington center and part of the roll involved elsewhere in the town and neighboring communities.

Up first is where I started getting silly again. This time it was my easter bunny doing a handstand in an empty plastic bucket. To the right was a dish of jelly beans that probably was full a few hours prior to me taking this picture. Our unit has a thing for candy: jelly beans, tootsie rolls, lollys, you name it, if it has sugar, it got consumed. I don't remember what's in the open box in the front but it was probably some kind of sugary snack as well. Ain't nothing worse than a hyped up payroll unit.

This was another shot of my Easter bunny, this time he was relaxing on a co-worker's chair. Not sure what I was thinking about when I originally took this shot, but as you can see, I wasn't thinking of much.

Lunch time! Yes boys and girls, believe it or not, this is a typical work day lunch for me. Not very pretty is it. Let me describe to you what my lunch is for today. First up is two, count 'em 1-2, pickle spears. Next, the main entree: a SPAM single slice, lovingly nuked for 45 seconds in the microwave. A 50 cent bag of nacho cheese flavor Doritos. Lipton Chicken Noodle cup-a-soup. A bottle of unsweetened ice tea and for dessert, a granny smith apple. The joy of being a diabetic means that I usually eat the same type of food Monday thru Friday. The joy of being a member of the working class poor means that the total cost of this lunch was about three dollars. And in the background on the wall is my Pooh calendar; a flower drawn by my daughter and a cutout drawing, also by my daughter, along with the various piles of schtuff that makes up my work day.

I was standing in the parking lot of my local gas station one Sunday afternoon. I usually play my numbers at this place because my usual place (the package store) is closed on Sundays. Anyways, this is looking across the street. And yes, this part of town is usually like this on a Sunday. The main building that you see is a closed and abandoned Mobil mart. Been like that for three years or so, but the space just beyond is a relatively new kind of empty. There used to be a small group of buildings that housed an antique store, a martial arts studio and a HVAC repair company. Now, the businesses are gone, the buildings razed and no idea if anything will ever go in there. The bridge that you see crosses the Hartford, New Haven & New York rail line.

On the weekends when I need to take a break from writing or blogging, I will frequently go to my local mall to stretch my legs, window shop, and people watch (and yes, I watch the kind of people that become characters and plot ideas for my stories). This shot is looking across the parking lot on a typical weekend. The building that you see in the background is a parking garage that they built when they added a Nordstroms to the mix. Westfarms mall contains quite a few high end speciality stores (In addition to Nordstroms, Lord & Taylor's, Tiffany, and Luis Vuitton are also there, to name a few) and the owners of the mall were involved in nasty and protracted legal battle with the town of West Hartford over their plans to open a downtown shopping area called Blue Black Square.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Twinkletoes Ted (5)

...and he still managed to slip away. Cursing, I ran after him, but I slipped on the whale's bodily fluids. Ted ran up the fifty-seven flights of stairs and hopped on the first elevator that opened. I dove after the elevator, but the stinker closed on my fingers. Writhing around on the floor in agony, I heard Ted say, "Fast as fast can be, you'll never find a way to catch me."


My friends, I ran out of words for the short story, thus the lame finish. What I now present to you is a brief descriptive journey for the rest of the pics. Hope you like.

First up is this pic of my mother's parrot. Named "Kaylie", most of the family wants to make parrot fricassee out it. Correction, I want to make parrot fricassee out of it. The rest of the family just wants it to expire either by natural or unnatural means. She picked up this bad boy some ten years ago and it's been a pain in the buttocks ever since. This pic was taken in the dining room, and yes, underneath all of that clutter is an old-fashioned upright piano. And yes, I actually dislike this parrot. Immensely. This parrot though, does have an outstanding vocabulary and likes to talk about our dead dog Cinders.

This is a better picture of my daughter Jenelle. Same cluttered dining room and same upright piano. At this particular point, the parrot was probably in the living room irritating everyone.

This was a poorly taken shot of Mill Brook stream. I was trying to shoot between the links on the fence, and as you can plainly see, I failed. This part of the stream actually runs behind one of the local elementary schools.

This is my cat Holly, or rather this is Holly, whose caretaker is yours truly. Her bed is really on the back of the couch, with her new favorite resting place, the bay window in the rear. Her favorite resting place used to be up in my bedroom, but since the central air went kaput two weeks ago (and won't be fixed until next week), she moved to where it's much cooler.

Same couch, different pose. The items next to the couch are skeins of yarn, which are my wife's. She crochets, mostly blankets and is very good at it.
So my friends, this concludes the silly portion of this blog. Tune in next week when I'll be starting the travelogue in earnest.