Archive for New Jersey Devil

Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, LA Kings vs NJ Devils

Posted in Daily Pictures with tags on June 22, 2012 by Verge

Well, I was there.  Saw them win to force a game 6, but alas, the lost in that game anyway.  It was a damn fine try, though.  Here are some shots from the last minute seats me and Jim scored for free (150 face value a piece).

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The Twenty First of September, Two Thousand and Ten (Devils Game with Monika)

Posted in Daily Pictures with tags , , on September 23, 2010 by Verge

Originally, it was supposed to be a guys night out with my boy Bruce.  But, things didn’t quite dovetail, and so, I got to bring my lovely wife instead, courtesy of Bruce’s saint-like generosity.  We headed to South Philly for the first pre-season game of the year, the Devils at Flyers.

Of course, we found the cheapest lot around, and at only ten bucks, we proceeded to tailgate and get our money's worth.

and what a beautiful view of Philadelphia it was from out car! Just look at that breathtaking view of Center City, that iconic skyline I love so much.

the view inside was much better

the seats were amazing. first level, like 14th row, and perfect vantage point. And, we didn't even get heckled too hard. Season ticket holders are so much cooler than your average Philly asshole sports fan. I think they respect the game more than the ridiculous banter and screaming obscenities.

There was a Phillies game going on also, which made it really easy to blend in with a crowd of red jerseys. Practically invisible.

and one more, possibly the last shot of the Spectrum I'll ever take. Poor, old arena. You were home to so many good memories...

Well, I guess they’ll blow ‘er up soon.  I almost considered buying  a pair of seats to this old dog, before they raze her.  Four hundred bucks.  But, my ticket stubs and hazy memories will have to suffice.

And anyway, it was an excellent night.  A night that was tonight, a great night, with my wife, in a new venue.  Once a year, my favorite sports team embarks upon a pre-season, on the verge of undetermined outcomes and an unsure future, as I watch on the sidelines with anticipation.

But every night, I get to enjoy a championship series game 7, with my emotions overflowing with awe of how beautiful and simple life should be.


Weekend Review # 3 – “Decoration Day”

Posted in Good Times with tags , , , on June 4, 2010 by Verge

After three years living in a town house it Atco, I had more than outgrown my garage/shed space.  I used to have a two car garage.  I turned 3/4ths of it into my recording studio two years ago, leaving not even a cars worth of space for my workbench, all my tools, my refrigerator and all my extra supplies (like paper towels, toilet paper, and a various multitude of kitchen gadgets that surely do not fit into the limited space of a town home set aside for culinary expertise).

The garage as it looked the week before I owned it!

This is how it looks now ( a bit messy)

This is why I needed a shed...

I also had a small outdoor storage shed.  This was actually just a small closet attached to my house and not really a shed at all but more of an outhouse.   This is where I’ve managed to stuff every bit of lawn furniture cushions, lawn and garden chemicals (yes, some of them organic, but not all), seeds, a rather large ceramic kiln, a lawnmower, weed whacker, blower, gas for all three (and some gas for I don’t even know what), and all kinds of various outdoor things that really don’t fit in a 4’X6′ closet.

So, I ordered a storage shed from here, and had it delivered last Thursday morning.  I had made some preparation in my backyard by removing the stones in my front yard and making a stone foundation in an appropriate place in the deep backyard.  In their place, I decided to plant corn with Monika.  It just started to come up by the time this weekend came to a close.

Having expanded my vegetable garden into my front yard is not only an intelligent use of my obviously limited space in a town home, but a hilarious trick to play on my neighbors.  I plan to make it up to them in the Fall by giving them all dried corn stalks for their Halloween and Autumn decorations.

Okay, in this photo, the corn is barely discernible, but it's there, I assure you.

In any case, I had an unbelievably long, 5 day weekend ahead of me without actually having to burn any vacation days.  I had intentionally left it completely free because I wanted enough time to build the shed I had ordered.  I arrived Thursday around noon, and that’s when I started building.  It took me that afternoon and evening, with some help from friends, and then I finished by the next afternoon.  It came out damn nice and I’m completely happy with the money I spent on it.

Now with the big project out of the way, and three entire days of vacation left, me and Monika headed to my parents house in Forked River for an evening of relaxation.  Obviously, we had some delicious cocktails on Friday night with my family.  the next morning, after a nice breakfast, we took my brother’s boat out for a swim.  There were seven of us, and we raced around with no destination, a cooler of beer and tunes blaring.  We really didn’t want to end up anywhere.  We just wanted to enjoy the crystal clear day, the calm bay and the calming ride.

Alas, after the ride was over, there was some obligatory work to do back at the house.  Working on the boat lift and fuel filter for a few hours is a decent exchange for hours of fun on the boat I’m sure I’ll cash in on later in the Summer.  Nevertheless, I crouched over the bay, balancing on a metal beam only four inches wide, trying with all my strength to loosen bolts that have partially corroded due to the salt water.  It was nerve racking and I enjoyed a much needed martini when we were finished.

We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on the top deck, in the sun, with our family.

And, I’d like to take a moment to point out that Decoration Day, otherwise known by its modern name of Memorial Day, is about paying homage and respect to those people who have served our country’s military in all facets of defense.  Originally, Decoration Day was a day of remembrance for those soldiers that died in the Civil War, and was celebrated on the anniversary of the armistice.  Much later, it was expanded first to the first World War, and then again, much later, for all fallen American service people.

Modern celebrations have drifted to the edge of meaningfulness.  The “bank holidays” of the United States have lost much of their potency to the coveted “three-day weekend” that we all treasure so much.  And, I certainly understand that it’s not always the best time to bring up the fact that our country was not only bitterly divided, but at war with itself, and many people were killed.   In fact, the tactics of the North versus the South near the end of the American Civil War were undoubtedly insane.

call me a patriot, but this alone sometimes can bring tears to my eyes...

Admittedly, we really did nothing more that fly a flag, which in reality, is the same thing we do every day.  Of course, we should have flown it at half staff.  Next year, I’d like to remember to do more.  Better still, I’ll try to do something today, or next week, or all year.  Personally, I’m not a fan of leaving carnations of grave sites, but sending letters, or supplies to entertain soldiers overseas suits me just fine.

That night was game one of the Stanley Cup Finals.  It was a crazy, high-scoring game that I watched with my Dad on the couch.  They Flyers lost, but it really doesn’t matter all that much to me since I’m a New Jersey fan.  However, if I’m at a bar watching the rest of the finals (game 4 tonight), I’d like to see Philadelphia win so everyone isn’t pissed off and upset.

Perhaps this'll be your year, Philly fans.

Sunday we planned to go home, so we didn’t get into anything too time consuming.  Monika drove home while I tried to convince my friend to go sky diving with us the next day.  I’ve wanted to for a few years now, and after talking to a friend of ours who had just done, she convinced me I needed to go sooner rather than later.  But, alas, the request was turned down due to lack of funds.

However, he did have a pretty damn fine idea that required no money at all.  I’ve been wanting to learn how to sail, and he has a sail boat!  He invited us both to meet him and his wife to the yacht club where he stores his boat for my first lesson and an afternoon on the Delaware River.

Getting in and out was a bit more adventure than I expected, but we got it done.  Once out in the water, my friend showed us some of the more important things, like how to not capsize by “hiking.” When the wind failed us, we broke out a bottle of champagne and some PBRs and took a break.  It was a perfect day for beginners:  sunny, not too crowded and light wind.  Hell of an adventure.

We wrapped up later that evening hanging out with Kreg and Kat and their families for memorial day BBQ at his house.  It was a great weekend.  I got a lot done, and had a ton of fun with my friends and family as well.  Can’t beat that.  I hope everyone else had a great deal of outdoor, familial, friendly, somewhat drunken fun at some point, too.

Rail Road Hiking

Posted in Good Times with tags , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by Verge

Over the weekend, Monika and I went on two afternoon hikes.  In our haste, we forgot to charge our camera the first day, and the second day it was raining, so we have no photos of our excursions, which suits me just fine because the hikes were more about collecting the experience rather than a few photos.

It’s hard to explain why I am so enamored by old railroad tracks and trains because I’m not really sure myself.  I can be reasonably assured that trains have always been a fascination of little boys.  My nephew loves them and has a sizable collection, some of which I contributed.  Of course he watches Tommy.  I remember setting up train tracks in our basement every Christmas when I was a kid.  They were my fathers, and I still have them in my attic, although they haven’t been set up in years.  I don’t have a basement, but someday…

There were a lot of “right-of-ways” that ran close or through Atco.  Most of these were, in the beginning, for cutting down trees  in the Pine Barrens and bringing them to Philadelphia for the expanding city.  They also transported the glass that was made in several glass furnace factories located in the woods to the city for windows in the newly built buildings.

In later years, the destinations reversed, and trains instead hurried passengers from Philadelphia to Atlantic City in a trip that formerly took over a day to make.  In fact, nearby Berlin, formerly Long-a-Coming, was originally an overnight stop on that trip.  When the name of the local train station there began to confuse travelers, they changed the name from Stratford Station to Berlin, along with the name of the town itself.

There are two active lines that still run latitudinally through Atco.  One is right through the Center of town and has been there for as long as Atco has existed.  These days, it’s run by NJ Transit and can technically bring you from 30th Street Station in Philadelphia all the way to Atlantic city.  It connects with PATCO at Lindenwold and Amtrak at 30th Street.  There, you can catch the Northeast Corridor Line that will bring you from D.C. to Boston.

The other one is to the south of Atco and was part of the Pennsylvania Reading Seashore Line, originally called the Pennsylvania Atlantic City Rail Road Line.  I’m no expert yet, and I’m always reading more and more, but I think at one point it may have been absorbed into the Central Rail Road of New Jersey, and perhaps again reabsorbed into Conrail in the 1970’s.

This line still operates as well, but it is not a passenger line and I believe only transports freight.  It runs from Camden in the West to Atlantic City in the East and you’ll rarely catch a glimpse of a train running on the tracks.  We’ve hiked on this line a bunch of times and I’ve never seen a train running on it.  This is the railway that runs through the center of Clementon right next to Harper’s Pub, and through downtown Haddon Heights, where the original station still stands and is maintained by the local Historical Society.

We parked on the corner of North grove Street and Norcross road, and hiked east on the rails.  We’ve never been on this particular stretch of tracks.  We always bring a backpack and plastic bag to hold anything of interest that we find.  Although it’s against a lot of hikers creeds, we sometimes bring back items that we may find.  We’ll never destroy parts of history, but some old trash, rocks, or rusty rail road spikes aren’t exactly a piece of history in general, and are just cool little collectibles that I like to decorate with.

We came across a horse farm that we never knew existed, and a woman in her forties was out back feeding the horses.  We said hello and asked if the half dozen horses that were there were all hers.  She said that she only owned one of them so I guess she was boarding the rest.  The horses came over to the fence to inspect the visitors (us) and we really wanted to pet them, but resisted.  Although the woman seemed nice enough, we were in the Pineys, and you just never know what kind of people you’re going to encounter.  There were a few men on the other side of the field that glanced our way, so I wasn’t about to invade anyone’s space.

There are old telegraph poles that run down this line, and I’m always looking for an intact insulator cap, which I have yet to find.  These lines have been hiked so many times over the years that a really good insulator cap is impossible to find.  I did find one that was in pretty good condition, but in two pieces.  There are always little shards and chunks that you can pick up, and I pondered whether or not my friend Eva, who is a glass blower, would be able to melt down this type of glass and make something with it.

Further down we ran into some people riding quads and they were nice enough.  A brief hello was all that was exchanged and that was fine with me.  Off the tracks a little bit, we found the remains of an old house of some kind.  There was a well that had been filled in, and a pretty good sized foundation.  around back was a few steps and a porch, and I wondered if this had been a station at some point.  It was made of concrete blocks that kids had clearly moved around and stacked up in various ways, and there was a pole nearby that must have provided telegraph, phone or electricity at some point.  Abandoned buildings are always a treasure to find.

I also found one really unique find.  It was a ceramic insulator cap that was still attached to the pole that had been downed.  I had to unscrew it and although it had a few chips on the rim I was amazed that no one else had come along and taken it before me.  Clearly the pole had been downed for some time and all the other caps had been taken.  I’m going to use it either as an ashtray or a candle holder.  We hiked probably a mile down and a mile back, and called it a day.

On Sunday, we wanted to look for signs of the old Williamstown Brach of the Pennsylvania Reading Line which, as far as I can find, had been torn up in the mid 60s.  It’s not hard to find where it ran and there are still signs of it on satellite images that I have looked up.   Plus, there’s still a section of town called Williamstown Junction with a little store called Junction Liquors, so that really narrows it down.

We’ve been back here before when geocaching. There’s an old weigh station of some sort that is along the path of the old rail line.  A little exploring turns up a ton of really cool, interesting remnants.  For some reason, when they tore up the rails of this line, they also tore up the ties, so there are huge piles of rotting rail lroad ties all along the right of way which you can recognize by the obviously artifically raised ground.  We found the concrete and wood remains of an old mile marker, the actual sign long gone.  There was another building back here as well that must have been some kind of station.  Huge sections of brick had been toppled, but it was at some point a sizable building.  At some point there was a lot of garbage being dumped back there, and that yielded some pretty interesting old bottles.

That day was raining, but it didn’t stop us from exploring.  We looked all around this patch of wood before stumbling into the back of a rock and sand supply yard nearby.  We hiked our way through the yard without incident and out onto New Brooklyn Road, which is loaded with curiosities.  All the houses on this street are from a different time, and one of them has a little farmer’s market out front.  We had to stop and take a look inside the barn that was there because it was just too damn interesting.  There was a barn cat inside that we did not disturb.  After poking around for a few minutes, a older gentleman, probably in his 70s, came out of the house to talk to us.  We bought a small bag of tomatoes from him for 2 dollars because they looked good and we needed them.  I forgot to ask the old man what the deal was with the sign on the barn that said “New Jersey Devil Scull.”  That alone warrants a return trip.

We hiked up the tracks back to our car parked at Williamstown Junction and headed home.  For our troubles we acquired:  1 cermaic insulator cap, 3 glass insulator caps, 5 interesting bottles, 9 iron screws, 2 iron bolts, 3 iron nuts, 1 piece of talc, 2 pieces of limestone, 1 flintstone, 15 glass marbles, 2 very heavy can-shaped weights, 6 assorted couplers, a pile or iron spikes, a pile of coal, and one bag of tomatoes.

Exploring places that are abandoned or are the remnants of a long ago reminds me how fleeting life is.  And just being there is proof to me that I’m not squandering what little time we all have.  It should be spent with people we love, doing the things that make us happy.  The rain and threat of crazy Piney’s wouldn’t stop us from going hiking this weekend, and it never will.  Tell us if you’d like to join us sometime for a hike and some exploring…and remember your camera.

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