Monday, August 31, 2009

Two Bummers: Festival of Lights & the Zune HD Premiere

So this is a funny story... we were sitting around the living room Saturday morning, and I was online looking for things to do... since it was raining, I was mostly checking out museums and the like. We didn't really have any specific goal in mind for the day, when Jonathan (out of the blue) mentions that there's a "Festival of Lights" in New Jersey somewhere. Apparently a kid who lived on his floor during his first year of college was from a town that "gets all kinds of traffic for this festival." Well, I knew nothing of it it, so I googled it. Low and behold, it was taking place that same day. And it was only 25 minutes away. Well, that decided that!

We did a few various things during the day, hoping the rain would die down. We left around 4pm for this festival, which has a carnival and food vendors, merchants, and games like a "diaper derby." Well, we get there and it's still kinda wet, but at least no new rain was falling. The inclement weather seemed to keep everyone away though, and we ended up walking everything in a short amount of time. The ferris wheel that graced the publicity poster wasn't up, I'm imagining because of the wind? We asked a few people about whether the boat parade (and the lights) would be making an appearance, and whether the fireworks would go up. Nobody seemed to know.

It began to rain before long, and luckily we had packed our ponchos. We put them on, and hung around for another ten minutes or so, before deciding that our time was better spent elsewhere.

We popped over to Mount Laurel for a little shopping. Costco is over there, as is a Jos A Bank (which gives Jonathan a corporate discount), and there's a DSW shoes (although not as big as our local one). I called the festival number several times, waiting for an announcement that they would be going to the "raindate" of the following night. No such change in the message was made. We went on home, since the rain was just getting worse.

The next morning, I called again, hoping that the message would either be gone, or it would be modified to indicate that they would be doing everything that night. No such luck... it was still the same message. The internet did not seem to help with this strange scenario (partly because the event is so popular that they "hardly need to advertise"), and at 7pm I gave up calling.

The plan after church on Sunday was to head down to NE Philly, where there was a Best Buy that would be featuring the new Zune HD (Microsoft's mp3 player). The item hasn't come out yet (mid-September), but many people have pre-ordered it (including us). Now, we're big fans of the Zune... Jonathan's had his almost three years, I got mine shortly after we were married, and both of my siblings also got them Christmas before last. I follow several Zune feeds on my Google Reader, and found out on Friday that among the few Best Buys selected to showcase the new product, one was near us. So we drove the 10 miles and arrived without fighting too much traffic.

We walk in with high expectations, and there were no signs pointing us to the item! After scouring the mp3 section, I asked a worker about it... she was puzzled as to how I heard about it, but mentioned that a table had been set up in the middle of the store. We headed over there to find no crowd, no lines, and just one Zune HD. The promoter wouldn't let us touch it, and wouldn't really discuss the applications/marketplace features. He made a brief comment about its internet capabilities, but had very little to show us. It does make a great output in HD to a television (or projector, apparently), but he only had a few things on there, so no great demonstration could be given. They did have the non-working version you could hold to get a feel for the size/weight(lessness), but our plan of being there for an hour or so was squelched when there was little to see and little to learn.

We wandered the store for a few minutes, and I did pick up the 25th anniversary edition of The Last Unicorn, which is flawed as I find out (they've censored a few scenes in what was a G-rated movie in 1982), so now I need to decide if I want the remastered video and audio, or if I want the full version (an earlier dvd did come out five or so years ago)...

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