June 23, 2007: Standing in the Subway Stations

Today was crazy Manhattan day. We were up fairly early – Dominica way earlier than me. She got up and cooked two different fruity breakfast treats for everyone – one blueberry and one peach. There were so many people trying to get into the shower that I just went down to the gym and used the nice showers down there. They even provide soap and shampoo and everything. Including towels. That really helps on days like these. It is only available to the people who pay for the extra gym membership but the price is really good and this is a great feature. A normal gym membership doesn’t give you extended shower capacity in your own home like this. In a pinch Dominica could have showered in her locker room too.

Last evening I had planned ahead and charged up the Nikon D50. I haven’t been using it too much recently and I hate not getting to. But today we don’t have any plans that would keep me from just using it all that I want so I decided to take it along with us. So it is all charged up and ready to go.

Everyone wanted to take NJ Transit this morning instead of the PATH. I am not sure why this is. We did the same thing last week with the Ralstons and the PATH was quick and easy and NJ Transit was slow and insanely overcrowded. There are few scenarios where taking NJ Transit from Manhattan to Newark seems to make sense. And it costs more than the PATH, I believe. It is definitely much harder to deal with logistically if nothing else and riding it is far less comfortable as it is not designed to be used like a subway which is how everyone uses it for that stretch.

We got into Penn Station in Manhattan and then it was off to the American Girls Store on Fifth Avenue near Rockefeller Center. Half of us just went to Rockefeller Center and did some window shopping while the girls did their doll shopping. It took over an hour for the doll shopping. While they were doing that I did poke my head into the Nintendo World Store just to be sure that there were no Wiis since Dominica still really wants one even if she won’t admit it but, of course, there are none to be found. If I was a third party software maker for Nintendo I would be canceling any projects I was working on for them too if they aren’t going to bother making the consoles at all. We also found a camera store where I was able to buy an SD card for my Nikon as the card that used to be in it is now in the Kodak camera.

After the American Girls Store the plan was to head for the American Museum of Natural History which everyone wanted to see after watching the movie Night at the Museum. We walked several blocks to get onto the subway and then took the metro over to the 50th Street Station and then caught the northbound line which took as much as half an hour to catch. While we were there we realized that all that we could do to get to 81st Street, where the museum is located, was to ride all of the way north to 125th in Harlem and then come back down on another line because of track and station construction. So after an incredibly long wait at the station we got on the train and headed north.

Once we arrived in Harlem we had a lot of time to stand around on the crowded platform and watch the sewer rats playing down by the tracks. It was at least another half an hour before a train arrived there. We were getting very concerned by this point. We were very happy to finally get to get back onto a subway car again. By the time we got down to 81st it had been well over an hour since we had first gotten onto a subway car. It was ridiculous. We lost a huge chunk of our day just standing around waiting for trains that were very poorly labeled.

We finally got to the American Museum of Natural History and everyone was starving so we decided to just eat right there in the cafeteria. That took forever as well as the place was totally packed with sheeple just standing around in lines, dawdling and not being able to decide what to eat. That took probably forty-five minutes or more just to grab the fastest thing and eat.

We made a mad dash around about two-thirds of the museum attempting to glimpse the most significant parts that were used as inspiration for Night at the Museum which, while loosely based on the AMNH, is not about that museum in particular. We didn’t get a chance to actually stop and see many of the exhibits which was disappointing but that would have taken a lot of time as the museum is very large. The dinosaur stuff is really top notch and quite interesting. We spent more time there then at any other exhibit.

A lot of the exhibits were really poor or just weird. Like all of the mammal exhibits. They didn’t seem to be about education but were like a really cheap and morbid version of a zoo. But zoos have real animals which is much nicer and more interesting. And NYC has several world class zoos so it is quite strange that so much money is going into this exhibition of carcasses. A lot of museum seems to be nothing but evolution propaganda. The only point of huge exhibits is to demonstrate evolution as if it was observed (ergo science) and not assumed. A lot of money is going into promoting dogma rather than research. And to what benefit? Of all of science it seems that evolution has become the only bit anyone cares to teach (sounds like religious fanatics) and chemistry, physics, biology (biology is NOT the study of evolution as people would be lead to believe today but is actually the study of living things,) etc. But we can’t use evolution as a basis for furthering the advancement of humanity. We are using it to pull critical resources away from studies that are good for us and help us advance. We are using evolution as an excuse to stop looking forward and to always look behind.

The museum had some interesting exhibits on the American Indians, the African rainforest and other things but we didn’t get to see them long enough to even know what was there. We just walked through them. Maybe Min and I will make it back sometime to see what there really is in the museum. It is pretty close to us. Sometime when the museum is not full of little kids would be good. Most of the people at the museum seemed to be too young to even grasp why they were there. The rainforest exhibit was really cool, what little we saw, and we definitely want to go back and see that because it is a large scale replica of a portion of the rainforest in the area of Africa where the Ralstons are moving later this year. It is too bad that we didn’t know that that was there a week ago when they were here or we would have gone there so that they could have seen it.

We did the whole museum in about an hour which means that we spent as much time getting to the museum (when we were only half an hour away by foot) as we did in the museum! Everyone was exhausted by this point and we just headed back to Newark. We took the subway down to the World Trade Center this time so that we could take the PATH which proved to be much, much better than taking NJ Transit and much faster.

Oreo had a really long day alone in the apartment but he took it well and was a very good dog all day. We all came back and hung around in the apartment until eight. Before leaving we had dinner delivered from Nino’s since Italian was about the only thing that everyone could agree on. We had wanted to take everyone over to Food for Life so that they could see where we eat all of the time and try the amazing food but no one wanted to not have meat and FFL doesn’t do meat so Italian it was. Nino’s was very good though.

After dinner we all went down to the bowling alley and the media room. Dominica and Francesca played Guitar Hero II while everyone else bowled. I took the camera down and took pictures since I can’t bowl. I got over a hundred pictures while we were down there. The girls seemed to have a good time bowling. We were surprised to find that the bowling alley in our building has “auto bumpers” that come up when the girls would come up to bowl! The system kept track of whose turn it was and it knew when they were up and the bumpers would just pop up. It was very cool. It made it a lot more fun.

After the bowling and the Guitar Hero we all did some karaoke on the PS2 and then it was time for bed. Everyone is getting up early tomorrow so they need to get to bed tonight.

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