November 18, 2006: A Day in Newark

My goal for the day was to drive around the city of Newark and to get some video footage to work with to put together a short video about the city. I have not done any real video editing before and I want to try it out. So we started the day out by taking Oreo out for a walk in Military Park and getting some breakfast at the hot dog truck that parks on the park – he sells egg and cheese sandwiches for breakfast. We had the BMW brought around and put the top down so that we could enjoy one of the last semi-warm days of the season before our chances are all gone.

Dominica drove around Newark while I did some video taping from the passenger seat. We tried driving into the Ironbound but we discovered that that area of the city is so busy on Saturdays that there is no way to drive through it at all. The traffic was totally insane! It was lunch time on a weekend and it was total gridlock and mayhem. We had no idea that it got like that during the weekends down there. On weekday evenings it is very quiet and easy to get around. It would never have occurred to me that the weekends could be like this.

After putting in an hour or two of driving around with Oreo bundled up in the back seat we decided to have the car parked and to walk up to the NJPAC Light Rail station and to take a ride on the Newark Trolley that has just recently been put into service. The Light Rail / Trolley is a major part of the city’s attempts at downtown revitalization and we wanted to take a test ride on it to see how it was. We were very impressed. It is inexpensive and travels over a pretty useful piece of downtown. The cars are very clean and nice and the whole experience is very comfortable and easy. I do wish that they had some information at the stops to let you know the expected arrival time of the trolley though. On the weekends it can be half an hour before it comes by and if you are like us and the only people at the station and there is no one around you can convince yourself that the trolley doesn’t even run on weekends and never see it go by.

Once we returned to our home station we walked by NJPAC and around the north side of Military Park. We stopped at the NJPAC Cafe which is actually in Military Park and had PB&J sandwiches, some muffins and coffee since it was into the afternoon and we had had nothing but egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches so far today. The NJPAC Cafe serves as a shelter for people entering and exiting the parking garage that is located under Military Park. It was nice to be able to just sit comfortably in the park right in the middle of downtown. The views from there are pretty good. It would be a good place to start an on-foot exploration of downtown. It would give a tourist a great opportunity to orient oneself before setting off into the city. The selection is awfully thin there with just a few pre-made sandwiches, scones and muffins but everything was good. The muffins were especially good. And the view was nice.

We hung around the apartment for a few hours and then walked over to Food for Life for some dinner. I tried their “Wrap it Up” for the first time today and have finally found another item there that I might like as much as their infamous BLT! I am very happy.

After dinner we drove up to Clifton to do some shopping. I needed some video editing supplies and we were hoping to be able to get some shoes. We need new shoes for going to the gym. Both of us are having issues with our feet hurting. We discovered that the sports store there was so busy that we really couldn’t even consider going there. There was just no way. So we just went to Target where we managed to do some early Christmas shopping and got ourselves the video game “Children of Mana” for the Nintendo DS. That is one of the top games for that platform that we have been waiting for. “Final Fantasy III” is the next really big game that we want. Target did not have what I needed at all though so we ran over to Staples too. At Staples I managed to get the IEEE 1394 cable that I needed to be able to transfer videos off of the video camera onto the desktop (the cable I had before would only work with my laptop.) I also got an SD card reader so that I can easily move pictures from my Nikon camera to the computer. Dominica found some pink headphones that she liked and so we both picked up new headphones (mine are not pink) since I have been trying to find a pair that won’t fall out of my ears all of the time while I am working out.

We got back and we played with some of our new toys for about an hour. I got a video transfer started and we headed down to the gym for our daily work out. I am still on a roll without having missed a single day yet since the gym opened. Today was my ninth day in a row.

After working out we just relaxed in the apartment. I worked on the SGL Daily and on the video that we took today. I started trying out the Pinnacle Studio 10 that dad uses but I quickly discovered that it was one of the worst, most amateur pieces of software that I have had to deal with in a long time. Nothing in that package worked at all. It took me quite some time just to get it to not crash the first moment that I clicked anywhere in the application. Totally pathetic. No wonder they hide their trial download so well. They dare not let anyone attempt to use it! But I found a solution. I immediately downloaded Ulead’s video studio to see how that would work. I won’t say that I am amazingly impressed but at least it worked and I was able to start working with the video right away. Not exactly knocking my socks off but for being $30 less expensive the Ulead is taking a major lead over Pinnacle who made me very unhappy by placing very misleading pricing on their site. (They list their prices as “with mail in rebate” but very carefully hide the fact that the rebate is only available to upgrade customers, not to new customers. So the actual price of the products is not clearly listed anywhere except for places with a strikethrough through is as in: $99 $69 “with mail in rebate*”)

Dominica stayed up for a little while playing video games and then was off to bed. Tomorrow she is going to be doing a lot of homework so she needs her rest tonight. Oreo has done little but sleep all day. We are worried that he is falling farther and farther behind on sleep and just isn’t getting enough opportunity to rest up between bouts at doggie daycare where he can’t help himself and has to play hard all day long.

Weight Loss: -2.0 🙁

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