October 14, 2006: A Simple Saturday at Home

I slept in this morning for a total of nearly eleven hours of sleep! I guess that I was seriously tired. And I don’t feel as if I slept too much either. I actually needed all of that sleep. Wow.

After I got up Dominica and I took Oreo out to the park for his morning walk. He was so sleepy we weren’t sure if he was going to be able to make it out to the park. He wasn’t running like normal and we didn’t stay in the park for long. We brought him home and then walked over to Food for Life for some breakfast. We discovered today that they do delivery here in downtown Newark so people in our building could be getting food delivered by them.

Dominica and Oreo took a midday nap and then at three we went down to Elizabeth to attempt to do some shopping. We were trying to find Bed, Bath and Beyond and ended up at the New Jersey Garden Center Outlet Mall. Had we known that it was a tacky outlet mall we would never have gone there – especially not in New Jersey. There is no place worse to go than huge shopping centers in New Jersey. Jersey is the “mob” state where everyone just follows the car in front of them, parks in huge parking lots and all shop at the same store and eat at the same restaurants. The land of bland chain restaurants and huge retail stores. And outlet malls are far more popular than in other places because they offer less variety so that everyone in New Jersey can buy the same clothes, furnishings, toys, gadgets, jewelry, etc. as everyone else in New Jersey. This is the cookie cutter state. Needless to say, shopping in the outlet mall is horrible.

Our first challenge was finding the “mall” as it was way out in the middle of nowhere. Completely not where you would have thought that retail shopping centers would have been located. Once we finally found the place we realized that it was an outlet mall and spent probably half an hour just trying to figure out if BB&B was even there. We eventually got a parking spot and hiked into the mall. We attempted to shop at the Borders there but all that had were a million copies each of ten different books – it was closer to being in the book section of Sam’s Club. So we left there right away and got some pretzels. Then we tried EB Games to see if there was anything for the NDSL that we wanted. I couldn’t stand being in the store. There were some kids playing video games blocking half the stuff that you might want to see. Old people just loitering blocking the rest and little kids running around like proverbial chickens crashing into everything and everyone so that it wasn’t even a real option just to stand there waiting for rude people to move. Dominica finally took the initiative to go in there herself and quickly discovered that they had just about nothing to even look at. It was a total waste. I decided to try looking at the shelves from outside of the store because I was able to get closer from there.

Our final stop was BB&B where we fought our way through the store that was clearly laid out with the express intention of causing you to crash into displays, have to carefully negotiate around people shopping as there is no room to pass people in the aisles and overall just feel uncomfortable and want to lease as soon as possible. (This feeling of cramped, closterphobic discomfort is the precise shopping experience that I have observed to be desired by most New Jersians so this layout on the part of BB&B was probably intential although insane.) We did manage to find what we were looking for (even though we had to stand around waiting for people loitering in front of the boxes to actually be able to get one) and were able to escape from the horrid outlet mall never to return again. Even Dominica who, I feel, loves shopping under really uncomfortable conditions said that it was awful and that she would never return to any store there.

We headed across the street to Ikea which Dominica was really excited about as she has never been to one before. I have never been to one either but I just can’t get excited about shopping for furniture no matter how nice it is or how inexpensive. Needless to say, Ikea’s furniture is quite impressive. They have higher quality furniture than most furniture stores in Upstate New York at prices often lower than Walmart! Ikea is a major reason why people are able to afford to live in expensive cities. It really cuts the cost of furnishing a dwelling by 75% and is extremely fashionable. Shopping in the Ikea store is a completely different story though. I thought that it was much better than the outlet mall but Dominica actually started to panic that there were too many people and there was no clear way to exit the structure. It took a good fifteen minutes to get out of there once we attempted to just leave but before we did we did find some stuff that we really liked and will definitely be getting. But it was so uncomfortable to shop there that even though we were right there we wouldn’t buy anything. It is much better to buy online and have it shipped to us. There was even a really cool little Swedish grocery on the way out with tons of items that we wanted to get but the crowd buying foodstuffs was so crazy that we weren’t even willing to face that.

We returned to Newark after several hours having done nothing but frustrate ourselves and having bought a towel rack for the bathroom. That took almost four hours! The biggest problem is not the stores themselves but the people. It seems like the only passtime in New Jersey is shopping but not actually shopping – just standing around like a herd of cattle chewing cud. Everywhere you go, any item that you want to look at or buy there is someone standing there not shopping at all nor paying attention to the people waiting for them to move along just standing looking at the ceiling or the carpeting or the inside of their glasses. I have no idea what these people are doing. Apparently standing in stores is cheaper than buying coffee and sounds more exciting than watching television. Maybe their homelives are so awful that they would rather just hide in the dark recesses of a furniture display rather than have to face the realities of their own homes. All I know is I would rather drive to Rochester to shop than have to do it in New Jersey.

We still needed supplies so to escape the insanity we drove up to Nutley and shopped at Target Greatland. For some reason people in Nutley aren’t like people around most of New Jersey and, for the most part, shop like normal, same human beings. Who knows how Nutley escaped the brain fungus that seems to have infected everyone else down here but thank goodness. It took no more than half an hour at Target to do ten to twenty hours worth of Elizabeth shopping and it took less time to get there even though, I believe, it is farther away in mileage. We got some food and bottled water, candy (for halloween), etc. I found some really good looking Christmas CDs including a new one from Bette Midler. We also got three DVDs: A Prairie Home Companion, Click and Season Six of The Gilmore Girls. We haven’t bought any DVDs for at least a month. Our DVD buying has massively subsided now that we are in Newark. It had slowed down considerably once we were in New Jersey but this is even more dramatic.

We got back home and ordered in from Steakhouse 1. They actually didn’t take all that long this time and they didn’t mess up our order but the sub that I got just wasn’t up to the quality of the one that I got the first time that we ordered from there. It was still a good sub but not the same at all. That first one was just so perfect.

We watched Click with Adam Sandler which turned out to be a really good light drama that we both really enjoyed. We weren’t in the mood to go to bed yet so we also watched A Prairie Home Companion which I had had really high hopes about but turned out to pretty much just be a dud. It was mildly entertaining but mostly it was just weird and quirky but without any real plot or story and it definitely didn’t draw you in at all. It seemed mostly like an experiment in just being weird and seeing if anyone would notice that they really didn’t make a movie. We were really disappointed since we had been looking forward to this one for so long.

I spent a good chunk of the night working on getting my “new” SUN Blade 100 up and running. After several hours of work the answer is “no”. I am not much closer to getting it to work than I was when I started. I am not sure if the issue is that the CD-ROM simply doesn’t work or what. But that appears to be the case. But the fact that I am using a regular keyboard instead of a Sun keyboard isn’t helping as I am missing important keys. So I am trying to get this figured out. The CD-ROM drive wasn’t even connected when the first opened up the box so I am suspicious that that must be the issue. I will need to find another CD-ROM drive.

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