Sunday, 3 August 2008

I Like Trike

We just had to get Dylan a trike during the ongoing toy sales. Jo really likes the idea of those new style baby trikes that come with a stick at the back that allows the parent to push the baby, and I just like reminiscing about those good old days when I used to have a trike of my own. I rode it to its death, or rather to its murder: one fine days, coming back home from first grade school to take a spin on my trike, I found it broken. My parents broke it because they thought it was time I moved on. Talk about repressed childhood!
It took us time to get out minds into buying a trike. Perhaps we've procrastinated because Dylan is actually a good few months away from being ready to ride a trike... We've missed the Kmart toy sale altogether and were late enough to have Big W run out of stock on its $30 trike sale. Target offered a rather fancy option with a metal chassis, that in my opinion is totally redundant and serves for nothing but weight, but late beggars can't be choosers so we got one for $70 on the first day of the Target toy sales.

The story of this purchase is not that simple, though. A week before we were shopping at Target for a baby gate so we can seal Dylan off the kitchen where he's too much of a hazard. They had a few nice models that would do the job, starting from $100; then we noticed this new pile of Target baby gates at the side that sold for only $80 and did the same, so we bought one.
Coming home we realized that this gate we just purchased is actually a member of Target's toy sale catalog and that within a few days, once the sale starts, we'd be able to get it for only $40. So we returned it, only to get it back again for $40 together with the trike on the toy sale's first day.
The gate was well worth the $40 and significantly improved our living conditions. The trike's story, however, was different.
In typical Made in China fashion, the assembly instructions were as clear as the Liberal Party's policies on climate change. We've assembled the trike all the way, and I really liked its orange/blue color combination (mirroring the Dutch football team's shirts); but when playing with its pedal locking features I ended up with a pedal in my hand instead of on the trike where it should be.
So we returned the trike. The Target shop next to where we live had already ran out of the trikes, so it seemed like Dylan missed out on having a Dutch trike. Guess one way or another Dylan has had to learn that things in life don't always go the way you want them to.
I didn't give up, though, and during work time went to check on Target next to work (a much more interesting way to pass the time at the office than to actually work). It turned out that that shop didn't even bother unpacking their stock of trikes so I was actually their first customer. This time I was equipped with a $10 Target voucher that all shoppers at Target got on the first week of their toy sale, regardless of me returning the first trike, so I actually ended up paying $60 for Dylan's new trike. Was the $10 discount worth the hassle and me carrying this huge box home on the train? I don't think so.
At least it was an adventure. My point, however, is that this all affair - buying the gate twice, the breaking of the pedal - was caused by misinformation. At least in the case of assembly instructions, I really can't understand why brands fail to provide a manual that people can actually understand. I realize corners need to be cut in order for me to be able to buy a trike for a mere $60, but why the assembly instructions? Where is the cost cutting there? Are they cutting on the guy that can express himself using proper sentences, that evil bastard who earns more than everyone else?
It's not just Target and it's not just Chinese made products; IKEA could use a major boost in that clarity department, too. As new parents, we've stumbled upon many such cases, and the amount of quality weekend time we've wasted on such bullshit is way too vast for comfort.

By now it's a case of all's well that ends well. If you've already watched the video above you would see some of Dylan's impressions concerning said trike.
You may have also noticed this video is unique. It is actually an edited video, made out of six separately shot clips that were packed together into one "film" with some special effect added on top, made possible with the help of the Adobe Premiere Elements software. Come to think of it, it's the first time ever in my career that I do editing on a video, which is something I find quite surprising given my love affair with film. Not that the resulting video is a masterpiece of editing; I didn't go for flow or anything like that, I just put the pieces I wanted to remember Dylan by together.
Yet it is clearly obvious there is a major playground waiting for me to expose by using this Adobe product. The possibilities are endless: I could, for example, do what I wanted to do years ago and prepare a DVD out of our wedding video that would incorporate my "director's" comments. Not that I care much about our wedding video by now, it's just that it would be a fun thing to do (if I had the time). Or, alternatively, I could mix a few videos taken while traveling into a travel journal. It may sound complicated, but Adobe Premiere Elements is so easy to use that messing around with videos becomes as easy as figuring out what you want to achieve with them.
Mind you, Adobe doesn't release its software for the Linux environment and I had to use Windows instead. It didn't take much for me to remember why I've left Windows behind: Adobe Premiere is such a heavy application you can see the steam coming out of my four year old desktop's P4 CPU, and every time another application was used the Adobe application just disappeared with no trace. This made it really annoying when the Microsoft Defender software decided to run routine scans without asking me for permission three times during the creation of the above video (a task that overall took me a bit more than an hour, but bear in mind that when I started it was my first time ever use of the software).
Still, while I can complain about Adobe missing out on the Linux platform as much as I want, I will take my hat off to Adobe for releasing this mighty powerful software in the first place. Highly recommended for everyone serious about their home movies.

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