Thursday, December 22, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Well, Not Really, Just Almost

"This is your one phone call? How am I gonna get you out of the slammer when I'm in New York?"

"I didn't really get arrested, but when I started to leave in my car there was a policeman. He shone his flashlight in my face."

"That's so you'd be blinded when he pepper sprayed you," I said.

"I told him the whole story," she said, "about the Miata and the airport and the safe and the key box and the outside key safe and the lost key and he let me go," she said.

"No doubt," I said. "Overexplaining is a great way to get the cops off your back. I think I read that in the Anarchist's Handbook."

So Rena happily got home without having to stop for fingerprinting, a booking photo, and a visit from the bail bondsman. Thank goodness!

I'm happy our police are on the job! Thank you, Pine Lake police force!


When I leave home I fill out a house watch report and list Rena as an authorized person, but when you get a phone call from a friend who says "I just got arrested!" it tends to be worrisome.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Just Got Arrested!

Last time I left town I got discombobulated and was running late and, worried I would miss my flight, drove my car to the airport.

I almost missed the flight anyway, since all the parking lots were full and I had to go find an off-site lot.

Since I was going to be away for several weeks I called my friend Rena, who watches my house whenever I'm away.

Rena, in Blue, at Caribbean Festival on the Lake

Friday, December 9, 2011

Little Honda

In 1969 I bought, brand new, a Honda CL70 exactly like the one pictured above.

With a 70-cc air-cooled single cylinder four-stroke engine, a four-street gearbox, high pipes, and top speed of about 55 mph, it was a sweet little machine. It cost me, to the best of my recollection, $430.

It was my only transportation. For more than a year I rode it daily from my parents house to college (about 20 miles each way) and to work (30 miles each way). Once a week I would change the oil, and about every 10,000 miles I would rebuild the top end-- an easy job, since the cylinder head was in the open; it cost me around $20 and took three hours, including the hour-long trip each way to get the cylinder honed.

That Honda was reliable and, for its displacement, fast. I zipped along for some 45,000 miles before the piston rod came out of the crankcase. It still looked brand new.

Before I could save enough to buy a replacement engine, I got married-- and that was that for the little Honda.

Of all the motorcycles I've owned-- and there have been plenty-- that CL70 was my favorite. And so, when I retired, I found one on eBay and bought it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Cottage Renewed

When I was house hunting in 1998 I stopped by this cabin on the lake and had a chance with Bruce Bartow, who was "renovating it."

Bruce talked up the house while I looked at sunbeams coming through holes in the roof. The house was a mess.

Still, though, it had in my opinion a lot going for it. First, it was on what I consider the best lot in Pine Lake. Second, it was a historic Pine Lake house, dating from the 1930s. That was easily determined by the living room, which clearly had at one time been a one-room cabin. There was a great fireplace and stonework, as I recall.

Now the house has been thoroughly remodeled, and it looks great from the street!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lower Road

The road over the dam is now a foot lower-- which will help to alleviate flooding in the future.

For some reason it's concrete instead of asphalt, so it doesn't quite match.

Still, it looks nice.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wildlife is Returning to the Lake

The lake has been full of geese and herons and turtles have been spotted on lake. I'm looking forward to spring.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Dredge is Finished!

The construction is finished, the workers and the heavy equipment gone, leaving only:

Divots in the Pavement

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Occupy Pine Lake

A few weeks ago I had a meeting in the West Village in Manhattan. Being in town, I took the subway to Wall Street and walked the few blocks to Zucotti Park, where Occupy Wall Street was taking place to see history being made. Here are some photos.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

New Jersey Botanical Gardens

I had every intention of driving up to the New Jersey Botanical Gardens yesterday to take pictures. It was a nice sunny day and I figured the fall foliage would be at its prime.

Instead, I spent the day dealing with a leaky tire. I had it repaired at Sears and it went flat on the road 30 minutes later. The gorillas in the service bay had tightened the lugs of my sweetie's car far more than I could handle with the short-handled lug wrench that came with her Honda Civic. After waiting for a service truck it was back to Sears, which was by then really busy, but thankfully they moved me to the head of the line and put on a brand new tire, no charge. By then it was too late to get to the gardens.

I figured it was all over because a huge October snowstorm was moving in-- but this morning we drove up to the Gardens just as the snow was starting-- show that is dumping up to 14 unseasonal inches on the Northeast. Here are the photos:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pine Lake Bums Reunion

I wasn't there, but the former residents of Pine Lake known as the Pine Lake bums had a reunion and picnic at the lake last week. People who hadn't seen one another in decades met again and had a great time.

Click Read More for a few of their photos:

The Lake Fills!


There's water in the lake!

Not much yet, to be sure, but the lake is filling!

The photo is from the Facebook group Pine Lake bums.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Duck Inn

Laura Smith tells me she believes this cute house on the southwest corner of the lake was once called Duck Inn.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


City worker Matt was whitewashing the wall at the beach last week and graciously let me take his picture.

Every time I see Matt he's smiling. :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I'm Casing the Joint, See?

If You See This Suspicious Person, Please Call the Authorities
We're Sure She's Up to No Good
Wait a Minute! Is That Me??? Yes, It's Me!!!

<<Language Advisory!>>


I was walking down Spruce with my camera, taking snapshots of flowers and houses and treehouses when a woman on a bicycle pulled up and demanded to know why I was taking pictures.

I understood why she had asked the question, but was put off by her utter lack of tact, grace, and charm. There were a thousand ways she could have been less offensive.

What I thought: "What the fuck is it to you?"

 What I said: "I'm taking pictures for my blog!"

She said: "Blog?"

What I thought: "Have you been hiding under a rock?"

What I said: "I'm taking pictures of houses and flowers. Google Pine Lake: The Blog and it will come up first in search."

She said: "I'm making sure you're not casing the place."

What I thought: "I am casing the place."

What I said. "I am casing the place."

Yep, I actually said it!

I managed to resist taking a photo of her backside as she rode away and posting it in the blog.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Favorite Band Performs

I love listening to the local band Vientos del Pueblo. They did a long set at the Lakefest on Saturday. It was cold as hell, even in a heavy jacket.

Here's my earlier post about the band. More photos below the fold.\

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Woo hoo, this is the weekend for the one and only Lakefest!

All weekend there will be live music, art vendors, and all sorts of food! There will be contests, tractor rides in the dry lake bed, henna tattooing and fortune telling, and a seven minute video by Melanie Hammett showing the history of the "big dredge."

So c'mon down and meet your neighbors-- and if you don't live here, c'mon down and see the folks who probably will be your neighbors after you see this place!

If you used to live here, come see how much the city hasn't changed--well, excepting the dry lake bed, of course. Soon enough there will be water in the lake again!

More photos below the fold...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

House Demolished

Remember the house on the north (back) side of the lake that was hit by a tree this spring? I posted about it here.

Here's the photo:

Below the fold are photos I took today. The house has been demolished and the lot is full of rubble. A caterpillar was pushing stuff around.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hijacked Hydrant

This water hydrant on Park Drive hasn't really been hijacked; there's a meter on it.

I guess they need a lot of water when they work on a road. See the meter reading.

Is that 677,200 gallons? Wonder how much that costs...

It's okay, though, the Feds are playing for it.

Still, ya gotta wonder why they don't just pump the water for free from the creek twenty feet away.

Abandoned Car?

Update (7 pm):

George phoned. He saw the driver last night. So did lots of other Pine Lake residents, who said the driving was very erratic up on Rockbridge. I called the police and the car has been tagged for towing.

As I was walking this morning I passed this car on Park Drive. It was sitting in front of George Treadwell's house, but I don't think it belongs to George (besides, he parks his cars in his drive).

The car in question is a tan or light brown Mercury.

I phoned George to ask him about it; he didn't answer, so I left a message.

What I find curious are the tires on the driver's side. The tire on the front appears to have been driven until it came apart.

 The tire on the rear appears to have large-caliber bullet holes in it.

I find it curious that the car's there.

As soon as I publish this I'm going to send out a message on Pine Lake Announce and phone the police department.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall at the NJ Botanical Gardens

Here are some fall photos I took two years ago at the New Jersey Botanical Gardens.

It was Saturday, Halloween, and we were about to go for a drive. My new (new for me, it was used; I bought it on e-Bay) digital SLR arrived just before we were going out the door. Fortunately, the battery was charged.

The colors were fabulous.

Beach Ready, Road Isn't

This morning when I went for a walk the sand piles on the beach were gone; the sand had been spread evenly. All the swimming area needs is for the lake to be refilled.

Things don't seem to be going as smoothly on Lakeshore/Park Drive on the downstream side of the lake.

Red Flower

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pine Lake Masonry: Part II

By the early 1940s the red stone of the '30s was replaced by granite (at least I think it's granite) quarried at nearby Stone Mountain.

Unlike the red rocks, where were rounded from being in a stream, these were rectangular, cut to a similar size.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pine Lake Masonry: Part I

As I've been walking around the city I've been paying attention to chimneys and house foundations. I've noticed how the stonework seems to have changed with the decades. Here's how:

Road Lowering

The lake restoration project includes the lowering of Lakeshore Drive by one foot along the western side of the lake.

This task seems to have been accomplished. I suspect the road will soon be re-paved.

With the lake bed finished and the stream banks restored and the swimming area re-sanded, I suspect the lake will soon be refilled.

I sure hope so!

The Swimming Hole Gets a Facelift

Last week I happened to be out walking and caught this little earthmover hard at work in the swimming area:

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Pine Lake Bum

Facebook has an active group for former residents of Pine Lake. It's called The Pine Lake Bum. It has 179 members.

All sorts of  one-time Pine Lakers have checked into the group to share old memories and photos.

Despite a concern that the lake will still be empty, The Bums are planning a reunion at the Lakehouse in October. Sounds like fun!

Here's a representative message:

Did anyone other than me struggle riding a bike up those Spring Dr hills to get to Hogan's [Grocery]? I needed a Coke to recover, particularly when I was carrying a carton of empty bottles to sell for the Coke--LOL

Hogan gave you 2 cents a bottle for empties but charged 3 cents for deposit--OUTRAGEOUS--LOL

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Lake is Still a Mess

Here are some photos of the lake bed, taken the second week of August. Despite trucks leaving full of dirt every few minutes, despite the thumps coming from the lake, despite all the soil that's getting moved around by those dozers and cranes, things don't look much different than they did in late July. I'm sure one day soon I'll walk down to the lake and it will all visually make sense.

(Late note: I walked down to the lake today (25th August) and it did make sense. Post will be up tomorrow)