Archive for January, 2013

January 31, 2013


I-95 in the fog. Ooooo, creepy.

Fog is pretty!

About halfway through yesterday’s morning commute, I put down my book and stared out the window.

I didn’t see much. The fog was pretty dense, and visibility was maybe 100 yards. Barely anything I could take a picture of, if I’d wanted to.

We were lucky enough to pause directly under I-95. It’s one of my favorite scenes from NJ Transit anyway (I have low standards), but it looks awesome in fog.

January 30, 2013


Standin' on a groyne, yeah man

My mother tells me those rocky things on the beach that we’ve always called “jetties” are technically called “groynes.”

“Jetties” are found in pairs, while “groynes” can function individually. (I’m sure it’s much more complicated than that.)

But sheez Louise, when you talk about groins on the beach, rock structures aren’t what come to MY mind… but hey, to each his own.

January 29, 2013

Ice on a spillway

Ice ice ice ice ice ice ice.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: ICE ON A SPILLWAY. Because this is a spillway, and that is ice.

(It’s a little creek near Seeley’s Pond, right on the tri-border of Berkeley Heights, Scotch Plains, and Watchung.)

January 28, 2013



Annoying things about salt:

  1. Messes up cars
  2. Gets tracked into houses
  3. Obscures lines on roads (white paint on a white road is awfully hard to see)


Awesome things about salt:

  1. Melts snow
  2. Provides traction on ice
  3. Neat photo op
January 27, 2013

It fell from the sky

Snow in Summit

After Friday’s little snowfall, there’s supposed to be a “wintry mix” of some sort tomorrow. Which is, of course, going to make getting around into a big mess.

But y’know what? I’m just happy that the weather’s finally above 22°F (-5.5 C), which is where the temperature has sat for the past week. For New Jerseyans, that’s pretty darn cold.

I keep reminding myself that it’s still not cold enough to freeze nostril hairs, which was a thing we had to deal with in Chicago. And if I can get through that, then 22 degrees is nothing.

…”wintry mix,” on the other hand, I dunno.

January 26, 2013

Shallow snow

If a snow falls in the woods...

Last night, some coworkers and I left the office together, and we were surprised to find the world covered in half an inch of snow, with more falling as we walked.

“This is the first real snow we’ve had in, like, two years!” said one of my coworkers, excitedly.

I turned to her, to argue the point, and realized: New York City hasn’t had much of any snow for a couple of winters. All the snow has been falling in New Jersey.

We admittedly didn’t have much last year, but we’ve had two or three so far this winter. There was a nor’easter—which I took a vacation day for—and there was another four-or-five inch snowfall last month, which stuck around for the next three weeks. A couple weeks ago, I woke to the sound of snowplows at 4:30AM.

This may be the first snow that’s stuck to New York ground in two years, but New Jersey has been no stranger to snow during that time.

…And half an inch doesn’t count as “real snow!”

January 25, 2013


Just a section of the boardwalk.

This is the north end of the Ocean Grove boardwalk, which hasn’t seen much of any reconstruction. Maybe they’re planning on patching the rough areas and otherwise keeping it as is. I hear that the dunes protected the boards from a lot of harm!

January 24, 2013


There's the Ocean Grove fisherman!


For as long as I can remember, the Ocean Grove fishing pier has featured a cute little fisherman dummy, who just sits there, fishing.

Ocean Grove fisherman, summer 2007

Ocean Grove fisherman, captured on film in August 2007


Of course, the Ocean Grove fishing pier no longer exists, courtesy of Sandy.

Ocean Grove fishing pier: Still there on Monday morning

Ocean Grove fishing pier, during Sandy


But there’s still a little fisherman dummy there.

Ocean Grove fisherman, wayyyyy up high

“Wow,” said my dad, “someone went to a lot of work to strap that guy up there.”

“Nah,” I said, “they could’ve just walked down what’s left of the pier. Piece of cake.”

“No, look at it,” my dad replied, “this remnant of the pier isn’t connected to the rest of pier at all. They’d need 20-foot-long arms.”

He’s right. Hot damn.


(I wish I could read those signs posted next to him. The lower sign starts with “Every,” but I can’t read the rest.)


EDIT, MAY 2013: The fisherman dummy has a name: Ralph.

He was first put on the pier in 1992, by Bob Borders and Carol Boniello, when it was rebuilt after the Halloween nor’easter. Sandy took him out, somewhere to sea. So Borders and Boniello put a spare little Ralph as a symbol of good will.

Tracey James, who photographed the installation, explained why.

“Ralph is an acronym for ‘Rising Above the Long Pier of Hope,’” she said.
—Mark Di Ionno, April 2012, “Despite FEMA denial, Ocean Grove bands together for Sandy rebuilding,”

And the sign apparently reads “Down the Shore Everything’s All Right.”

January 23, 2013


Nails from the remnants of Ocean Grove boardwalk pilings, January 2013

I visited the shore last weekend, because that’s where my family lives, and we took a stroll along the Ocean Grove shoreline.

It’s been over two months since Sandy. I had assumed the boardwalk would be completely fenced off by now— you know, to dissuade stupid sightseers like us from skipping about on warped and dangerous boards— but no. And we weren’t the only thrill-seekers out for a warped-board stroll.

Ocean Grove boardwalk: not really open, but not exactly closed (January 2013)

It’s sad. The whole shore is sad. Everyone knows that. You were there, or you saw the pictures, or whatever. This is old news.

What’s new and encouraging is the reconstruction— or the beginnings of preparing for it, anyway.

Ocean Grove boards from the boardwalk, piled next to the pilings

Ocean Grove volunteers have begun tearing the unsalvageable planks from the underlying pilings.

It looks as though they’re trying to save as much of the existing boardwalk as possible.

Ocean Grove boardwalk: what can we save?

I’m told that even Belmar has turned its sights towards rebuilding the boardwalk. Although… I’d like to think that Belmar can start concentrating on its frivolous boardwalk now because the rest of the town is in such a good place, but there’s talk that beginning boardwalk reconstruction might be intended to create a distraction for still-overwhelmed Belmar residents.

Still. I like the idea of raising morale.

January 22, 2013

Baby evergreen

Tiny baby pine thing!

I dunno, sometimes I just think, “man, wouldn’t it be cool to get a close look at some kind of tiny budding pine-thing?” Doesn’t that ever cross YOUR mind?

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