Friday Is For Photos

It’s good to have an understanding wife. She is often willing to tag along when she knows there’s something I want to do. I’d like to think I indulge her on an equal basis. Who’s keeping score?

Today, she had to return something at the Outlet Center in Clinton, and I went along – taking my camera with me.

If you would have told me taking photos could become such an obsession, I’d have poo poo’ed you… until it happened to me.

Is this what crack is all about? I just can’t stop.

We headed west from Clinton along US Route 1. Through most of Connecticut, Route 1 is known as the Post Road or Boston Post Road. This is how the mail moved up the East Coast before Interstates and the Internet and anything else with ‘inter’ in it.

As we passed through the center of Clinton, we saw a 12 foot tall tractor trailer stuck under an 11″ 10′ bridge! Part of the trailer’s roof was peeled back like a sardine can. Not big news, but I phoned the station just in case.

Is Connecticut shoreline, from Clinton to Madison, Guilford and Branford has a very New England feel – much more so than where I live. There are many old homes – some actually historic, dating back to the Revolution. The roadway itself meanders along tidal marshes and estuaries and is canopied by tall trees.

We made a few turns, drove by homes we once considered buying (they both look very small now), mistakenly turned back to the east and headed under what has to be the world’s most dangerous underpass in Guilford. After a u-turn we were back on track.

I finally, we were at our destination, the town dock in the Stony Creek section of Branford. Just offshore are a small sprinkling of tiny islands, commonly known as the Thimble Islands.

Many of the Thimbles are little more than rocks protruding out of the water at high tide. Others are large enough for one house. A few are large enough for multiple dwellings.

When Steffie was a baby, we were invited out to a party on Governors Island. The home we visited was more of a cottage. Though it had telephone service and running water, there was no electricity.

Jane Pauley and Garry Trudeau lived in the house next door. I tried to be adult about it, but c’mon… it was Jane Pauley and Garry Trudeau! How cool is that?

I took some shots, trying out the new monopod&#185 I bought on EBay. A monopod is like a tripod after a double amputation. It helps steady the camera, but you can’t leave it to stand by itself.

I tried some panoramas – less than successful – and then shot away at the water and islands.

This is going to sound strange, but the colors of nature are off this time of year! With so many trees in bloom, they take on an unnatural shade and produce an unexpectedly high luminance.

Helaine needed to be home in time to watch the Daytime Emmy Awards, so I had time for one more photo stop. We drove over the Quinnipiac River Bridge, into New Haven and up to the top of East Rock.

At 359 feet above sea level, East Rock provides a great view of New Haven and the surrounding area. Unfortunately, much of the view isn’t that scenic.

New Haven’s harbor, which is deep and well protected is a ‘working harbor.’ So industry, enabled by shipping, has grown up on the waterfront.

Where there isn’t industry, there’s I-95. At New Haven, I-95 runs right along the Sound. It’s a shame, I suppose, but a little too late to change that.

Again, I wasn’t particularly successful with my panoramas, but I did manage to shoot off a few dozen more shots – some of which aren’t terribly bad.

On the way down we stopped at an overlook which pointed north, toward where we live. Usually, I think of East Rock’s unobstructed view across Long Island Sound (and today, Long Island itself was easily visible), but the view to the north can be very pretty and in many ways more ‘New England’ than what you’d see from ground level.

The northerly view also presents one of the few remaining unobstructed views of Sleeping Giant Mountain, where you can actually visualize the giant!

I’m not sure if any of today’s photos will make it to the printer. Still, I’m glad I tried. And, it was very nice spending the day with Helaine.

&#185 – The monopod is very cool and it comes in a cloth carry case with strap. However, think about the shape of a monopod. There’s the ‘head’ at the top for the camera and then it slims to a cylinder for the rest of the unit.

In its sack, it looks like I’m carrying a short rifle.

Maybe I Ticked Off Alexander Graham Bell

At the moment our long distance service is working properly. Well, I think it’s working properly. I could always drive over to customer service in India and check.

There is still pending a $40+ long distance bill from Sprint, a company I never asked to be my carrier, who somehow temporarily became my carrier and charged 40&#162 a minute for the privilege. I wrote to Sprint, who stopped the charge and told me (in one of the least friendly form letters I’ve ever seen) to contact my state DPUC, otherwise they’d put the charge back on!

Now, I’m fooling around with VOIP. Instead of plugging my telephone into a phone line, it is connected to a box which is in turn connected to my Internet connection. It works like a real telephone in every way. I can make and receive calls&#185.

The big advantage with VOIP is cost. For $19.95 I can have a phone with every imaginable feature and unlimited long distance. Not bad. It’s well under half what I’m paying now for my phone plus long distance charges.

Until recently one of the things VOIP couldn’t do was 911 service. That’s a big sticking point. As the house is burning, you’d like to be able to get the fire department without looking up the number.

Packet8, the company I decided to go with, said they had solved the 911 problem and our house was within their coverage area. Well, they said that before I got the equipment.

Dear Valued Packet8 Customer,

Thank you for your recent Packet8 order for residential or business telephone service with optional Enhanced 911(E911). Unfortunately we have found that your address is not yet set up for standard supported of E911 services yet. We are adding new E911 service centers everyday so it is likely that your area will be available shortly.

You do not have to take any action and you will be automatically provided the rate center requested without E911 and continue with your packet8 subscription. Your monthly bill will reflect that you are not subscribing to E911 and you will not be charged any fees associated with E911. If you elect to continue subscribing to Packet8 without E911 we will waive any activation fees associated with the optional E911when your area is available due to the inconvenience.

Or, you can cancel your order within 24 hours by contacting our customer service department at 888 898 8733 by referring your customer order number highlighted below. You will be required to also return your purchase to the retailer you recently visited. We urge you to check back frequently, as E911 service centers are regularly being added.

So, it looks like this nice new technology will get sent back. The voice quality was pretty good, though I noticed some distortion on voice peaks and that the background sound would cut out if the person you were speaking to was in a quiet location. I guess the time is not yet right for VOIP for me.

&#185 – Though I can receive calls now, my original correspondence from them had this:


Welcome to the Packet8 broadband telephone service from 8×8. Your

Packet8 account is now activated. You can now begin to enjoy your

Packet8 telephone service.

The following telephone number has been assigned to your account:

Not available

To access your account via the web, please visit

That’s probably a little too unlisted.