Tuesday, October 30, 2007

B And H Photo Superstore New Digital Photography Department

B and H Photo, the NYC photo mecca at 34th St. and 9th Ave, opened their new Digital Photo department today. I am proud to be one of the first customers of the new department (a Hoya 62MM Digital UV Protective filter)

Although it's not fully completed yet, it is HUGE! It encompasses the entire second floor, and has a lot more digital photography equipment on display, as well as more counter people and new technologies to make the buying process even easier. The new department is really, really impressive!

I was sure suprised when I walked in, I didn't even know they were doing this expanision! If you ever need anything related to digital photography, or want a nice place to browse, check out B and H!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Coffee Milk

After living a couple years in Woburn, MA (suburb of Boston), I grew to love coffee milk. Those that know me know I am a choclate milk addict, and this twist on that really tasted good!

Now, I don't drink regular coffee, and never have, but coffee milk grew to be my morning beverage of choice. After moving back home to NY, I couldn't find it anywhere else in the whole country. I'd have to drive up I-95 to central CT a little when I had a craving. But now, like other New England regional products, I can find it in Stop And Shop, since they're based in Boston, MA.

Here's my favorite version of it:

And, as usual, Wikipedia gives us the lowdown....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

30 Days Coming Back!

Last night, while watching the incredible season finale of "Damages", I saw a promo for a new season of one of my favorite shows, "30 Days". It is a reality show produced by Morgan Spurlock ("Supersize Me"). The test subject, sometimes Morgan himself, puts himself into a sitation for 30 days, while the camera documents it. In past episodes, he's spent 30 days living in poverty, living as an illegal immigrant, and in jail, amongts other things.

Such a great show, very well done and it gives a unique perspective to current events. I can't wait to see this new season on FX!

Information On The Show From Wikipedia:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Metro North Railroad Harmon Shops Open House 10-20-07

On Saturday, October 20th 2007 I had the pleasure of attending the Metro North Railroad Open House, which took place at their Harmon Shops facility in Croton.

When I arrived at 10AM, the line for the shuttle bus was already long. Arriving at the shops, Peekskill VAC had 75-B-2 on display, and Metro North ESU had their radio truck and equipment out.

Upon entering the shops, I was given a map to guide me through the various exhibits in the shop. All divisions of Metro North had some sort of exhibit, and many trains and related equipment were on display. Although I've been to this facility a few times before, it always impresses me.

The hospitality of the Metro North staff at the event was amazing. Very friendly and knowlegable, which is not a suprise at all as the staff encountered on the trains- the people of Metro North that are seen the most- are always very friendly, pleasant, and outgoing.

I learned and saw some cool things at this open house, and am very appreciative that Metro North puts on such a comprehensive event for families and enthusiasts.

However, I did have one idea for the event.

I think that Metro North should open the event 1 hour early to those who want to take photographs. Several times throughout the event, I was berated by obnoxious, territorial "railfans" who had their tripods out and, in a gang like fashion, would't let anyone near some of the train displays for several minutes while they got their shots. They even yelled at little kids trying to look over the massive locomotives. This event had a huge turnout, including a lot of families and kids. A great event for all, but maybe a portion should be reserved for those who really want to lookover the displays without having to wade through little kids running everywhere and crowding each display and train. Although if I was a kid, I'd probaly behave the same way, because this event was awesome.

Anyways, I am VERY appreciative to Metro North for holding such a comprehensive event for people of all ages, especially nowadays. Very unique, and that's what makes it THE best commuter railroad in the world.

Safety Sign At Metro North Harmon Shops

This was the October safety banner hanging at Metro-North Railroad's Harmon Shops on 10-20-07. Interesting and somewhat comical way to deliver a safety message.
More on the open house a little later, just wanted to share this pic.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bully Of The 8:02 To Penn Station

Definetly an interesting story....

October 14, 2007 -- He's the self-appointed etiquette enforcer of the Long
Island Rail Road - only he's more Charles Bronson than Emily Post.
Chat too loudly or yap on your cellphone too long near John Clifford, and the hulking, 6-foot-4 ex-cop will get in your face.
Protest or persist, and he's apt to
get ugly.
Cowering commuters on the 8:02 a.m. from Long Beach to Penn
Station say they've witnessed Clifford scream, punch and poke, swat cellphones,
pour coffee over heads, and even throw an egg sandwich - an incident he denies
but which earned him the nickname "The Eggman" among fellow travelers.


Brian Williams To Host "SNL" Tommorow Night

Brian Williams, anchor of NBC Nightly New With Brian Williams, the succesor to Tom Brokaw, will be hosting Saturday Night Live tommorow on NBC at 11:30PM.

From what I am told, Brian Williams was a former volunteer FF in New Jersey (he actually hosted a series on NBC about Fire Departments a while back), and also- I'm not sure if this is true- a resident of New Caanan and grand marshall of their FD's 125th anniversary parade.

Definetly a unique host, SNL, for the most part, has really sucked the past couple of seasons- hopefully Brian Williams will show the funny side of a man we trust to bring us the most critical of news.

"Into The Wild"

Last night, I saw what had to be one of, if not, the best movie I have ever seen.

It's entitled "Into The Wild". It's a motion picture based on the book of the same name. The movie is about the life and death of Christopher McCandless , who, in April 1992, graduated from Emory University. He came from a wealthy family, and instead of taking on a career, he decided to give up all his money and wordly possesions to become a "wanderer", and eventually live alone in the wilderness of Alaska.

From the time he abandoned his life as he knew it, to the moment he died, it was a complete adventure. He kept a detailed journal which dramatically portrayed his days on his way to and in Alaska, and the people he met along the way. His spiritual journey and some of his reflections on life were fascinating, and I can completly indetify with some.

I don't want to give too much away, but go see the movie-it's one of the ones where you HAVE to see it on the big screen, especially with the beauty of the wilderness of Alaska as the background for portions of the movie.

The movie was EXCELLENT, the acting and the photography was amazing and beautiful (as was the landscape) I highly reccomend it. Now, I'm going to read the book.

If you want more information on this amazing story, there are excellent articles on Wikipedia:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

NBC plans to sell Burbank studio, move to Universal City

WOW. HUGE news. NBC's Burbank facilty is massive. I'm shocked, this seems to have come out of nowhere.

Also, the NY changes are equally dramatic.

Really a shakeup in infastructure. Could be a really good thing though.

And I guess that NBC let the cat out of the bag that Conan "is slated" to move to LA when he takes over "The Tonight Show" from Jay Leno in 2009.

NBC plans to sell Burbank studio, move to Universal City
AP Posted: 2007-10-11 18:05:37

BURBANK, California (AP) - NBC Universal plans to sell part of its site in
"beautiful downtown Burbank," home to the studio housing "The Tonight Show With
Jay Leno," and move to a new broadcast facility across the street from Universal

NBC (which is owned by General Electric Co.) will take the "Access
Hollywood" set, local news operations and other facilities with it when it moves
into the new location in 2011.

Meanwhile, it plans to move "The Tonight Show" to the nearby Universal
Studios' Stage One lot when Conan O'Brien takes over hosting duties upon Leno's
departure in 2009.

The new facilities will be located in a new building adjacent to a subway
line connecting Universal City, in the southeast corner of the San Fernando
Valley, to downtown Los Angeles.

They will be across the street from Universal Studios, the Universal
Studios Hollywood theme park and the CityWalk tourist destination.

"When looking at our long-term business operations, we realized there are
very real strategic and synergistic opportunities in bringing our production
facilities and talent together to grow in Los Angeles," Tom Smith, senior vice
president of West Coast real estate for NBC Universal said in a statement posted
Thursday on the KNBC-TV Web cite.

Company officials said they are pursuing opportunities to sell part of the
34-acre studio lot in the Burbank Media District. They would lease it back for
news operations until the University City facility is finished.

NBC also announced that, starting Oct. 22, MSNBC will begin originating
from its new home at Manhattan's 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

The switchover from MSNBC's old Secaucus, N.J., home base will solidify an
effort to combine the New York-based operations of NBC News and MSNBC under one
roof. The centralized newsgathering facility will include the editorial and
production staffs for nearly all NBC News and MSNBC programs.

MSNBC will air from an 8,500-square-foot studio equipped with a motorized
platform for the anchors that can travel on a 50-foot-long track.

Also on Oct. 22, "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" will christen its
refurbished Studio 3C, the network said.

NBC's Burbank complex, purchased in 1951, was made famous by the late
"Tonight" show host Johnny Carson's frequent tongue-in-cheek references to its
location in "beautiful downtown Burbank."

Burbank Mayor Marsha Ramos said she was sad to learn the show is leaving
the Los Angeles suburb of some 105,000 residents.

"`The Tonight Show' put us on the map," she told the Los Angeles Times.
"Without that line from Johnny Carson about beautiful downtown Burbank, most
people wouldn't even know that we exist."

NBC officials say the new facility will include virtual studios,
interactive graphic capabilities, a glass-walled newsroom and other modern

Its news set will be modeled in part after the network's "Today" show set
in New York and will host the "Today" show and NBC's "Nightly News" whenever
those programs broadcast from Los Angeles.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Third Watch: The Complete First Season On DVD Feb '08

According to TVShowsOnDVD.com, Third Watch: The Complete First Season will be released on DVD in Febuary of '08.

This will include the entire first season, including the pilot episode, and many special features.

I liked the first season a lot, I'm glad to see a lot of my favorite shows getting released on DVD (like the recent release of CHiPs, and Emergency.

Third Watch On DVD:

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Apparatus Of The City Of Hackensack, NJ FD

Today, I had the pleasure of shooting most of the fleet of the Hackensack, NJ FD.

I also got several other Bergen County departments, of which I'll post at a later date.

Hackensack is a lot closer then I thought it was, and has a very interesting setup. Busy department, is the county seat of Bergen County and is very densly populated with a mix of residential, commerical, industrial, and highways. The apparatus is definetly put through it's paces, and though it won't win any parades, it shows how hard the FF's of Hackensack FD work.

Northern NJ in general has some very nice apparatus, and I think I'm going to start shooting over there some more!

Special thanks to FF Mike Martinelli of Hackensack Truck 1 Platoon 1 for the invite. It's really appreciated, and helps to take my mind off other things going on and gives me somthing to do.

Also, thanks to the members of Hackensack FD and the other departments I shot (keeping them a secret for now) for their AWESOME hospitality! If it wasn't for my tight gas budget, and limited time, I could have stayed all week shooting apparatus!

Anyways, I had a great day today, the photos are posted on http://www.EMTBravo.com

Tappan Zee Bridge News

In Tappan Zee Bridge news:

Today, I notice they are placing new barricade/side rails on the bridge to replace the small, low obosolete (IMO) grate-type rail currently there. I can't get a photo, but the barriers look like a steel or heavy aluminum tall "Jersey Barrier", with a rail along the top. These seem much better then what they have now. It seems it would contain a car or truck from plunging off the bridge, and also make anybody contemplating jumping off the bridge think twice, as it will be harder to scale this new style barrier.

It's currently installed on the northbound side, on the causeway portion of the bridge right before you enter Nyack. I don't know if they're going to do the whole bridge, or those are just prototypes. I hope they do the whole bridge, because it's sorely needed.

Also, a new Wrecker 1 is about to be placed into service for the Tappan Zee Bridge Patrol. It's currently being readied at the NYSTA West Nyack Equipment Maintainence Section. Photos on http://www.EMTBravo.com.

Chasis is a Sterling Acterra, body is by Weld-Built, a Long Island based company that specializes in special service wreckers for tunnel and bridge patrols. Although this appears like it can tow a medium size truck, I'm suprised they didn't get one of those self loading wheel lift wreckers, where the operator doesn't even have to get out of the truck to load the car. Seems that would be safer and more efficient.

Anways, it's good to see a new addition to the Bridge Patrol fleet, it's sorely needed and deserved as there current fleet is showing its age...and mileage. These guys deserve top notch equipment and staffing, just like the George Washington Bridge has.

This is a heavily trafficed, (proven) dangerous bridge, and needs more funding for the Bridge Patrol program.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Orange County Choppers New World Heaquarters Progress Newburgh NY OCC American Chopper

This morning, I decided to take a ride up to Newburgh, to check out the progress of Orange County Choppers (of "American Chopper" fame) new World Headquarters, located off Route 17K by the I-87/I-84 interchange in Newburgh.

I had passed it on my way home from Montreal last week, suprised knowing it was being built but actually seeing it, and was too tired to backtrack and get photos.

Initially, I had heard that this project was being funded by the Discovery Channel, and it was going to be a production studio coupled with a tourist attraction (viewing area for visitors to watch bikes being built, etc) as well as OCC's headquarters and manufacturing facilty. I thought this was supposed to be completed months agos.

Also, apparently the OCC owners have their own construction company, "Full Throttle Construction", or at least it seems because they have a similar logo.

I don't know if "American Chopper" still has the same popularity it once did, especially since they switched from Discovery to TLC. Also, whenever I tune in it's always a repeat or the same old stuff.

That's why I think this building came a little too late for fans, but maybe chopper enthusiasts are now the main target.

Impressive looking building, and I look foward to visiting the completed "OCC World Headquarters"

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Little Taste Of Virgin America

Yesterday, I had the oppurunity to check out a brand new Virgin AMERICA plane. As many of you know, Virgin AMERICA launched last month, with daily service between New York JFK, Washington-Dulles, San Francisico, Las Vegas, and my favorite, Los Angeles LAX. Although they share a name, this is a seperate airline from Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin AMERICA is a low-cost, domestic US carrier, but you wouldn't know it. They've set themselves up to compete with jetBlue, and as much as I love 'Blue, I must admit I'm excited for when the time comes that I can try flying Virgin AMERICA .

Virgin America is currently using brand new Airbus A-320's.

Departing from Terminal 4 at JFK, you check in at either a kiosk or the ticketing agent, if you haven't checking in online. The kiosk is very stylish, and prints you out a unique boarding card. Not a flimsy piece of reciept-like paper that some other airlines do.

The boarding process is quick and smooth. You walk down a long ramp that has large glass skylights all around. As you go into the tube and approach the plane, you see a purple glow. It's mood lighting that changes colors. Once your on the plane, there's some variations in the colors, and it's kind of soothing.

As you enter the plane, the stylishly dressed young crew gives you a warm welcome. The carpeting is black. You pass through a small "First class" cabin, which has some extra ameneties such as larger seats, but isn't a full first class. As you approach the coach section, the brand new plane is impressive. The black all leather seats are very nicely contoured, and seem very comfortable. The white plastic seatbacks add to the style. There were plenty of blankets to go around once, if not twice. Overhead space seems plentiful.

The in-flight entertainment system is called "Red", and is interactive. Not only can you watch TV (not as many channels as jetBlue), but you can order a ton of movies, music, play games by yourself or against other passengers, or even IM anyone in the cabin. The RED system can be used to order food or drink with your credit card after the initial complimentary beverage service. The flight attendant will bring your selection within 5 minutes. From what I'm told, the RED system is experiencing a few glitches, but VA is working to resolve them.

One feature I really liked is each row has two 110V outlets. So, if your laptop or iPod battery dies you can re-charge in in flight.

The Customer Service and staff that showed me the plane were extremly friendly, and I have a good feeling about this airline.

Virgin America is COOL!

Related Article On Virgin America On Wikipedia: