We parked, early and so in a nice legal-looking location, in the parking garage by the City Market, a couple blocks from the Silver Bells parade route, which shouldn't be regarded as far at all. And we got a pretty solid spot, right next to the area roped off for the TV cameras, where we could see the reviewing stand and the parade with only a couple people in the way, despite getting in place only maybe ten minutes before the parade was to start. We failed to appreciate that it was really cold. The bank thermometers said it was in the mid-20s, which shouldn't be that bad, and bunny_hugger was able to mostly avoid standing in a mound of packed icy snow, but it was still breezy and boy did we realize we were freezing.
The parade is, as a parade, quite successful: more and more groups add their lighted floats to it every year, with stuff that ranges from reconstructions of Lansing landmarks to a Reo Speedwagon that the community college has restored to the CATA-piller bendy-bus and so on. And they had a dozen or so marching bands, also wearing lights. When we watched the parade later, on TV, she said on watching one band, ``Oh God, what are their flugelhorns doing?'', which tells you something of how seriously she still takes marching band protocol. In person, though, what we really thought was that the parade was getting kind of long --- it went on for close to an hour and a half --- for the weather, which bunny_hugger believes has been unseasonably cold every single time she's seen Silver Bells in person.
When the parade ended there was to be a short ``community sing-along'', of two songs, one of which was Silver Bells, and the other of which I forget. At this point the crowd was getting a little rebelliously cold: different groups started chanting ``LIGHT THE TREE!'' and I don't believe anyone joined the a capella group leading the songs. I believe the group rushed through both songs, as well, possibly because they were cold too, possibly because they were surrounded by the people who were, due to the tape ribbons for the parade route, trapped on the lawn around the capitol and unable to dash inside anywhere to warm up even if they wanted to give up their spot.
But the song ended and they mercifully lit the state tree. It is a little narrow, but it's far from scrawny. It's also lit entirely in white bulbs, suggesting that the tree-decorators are still feeling burned after the toxic reception their experiment in 2012 got. And then the fireworks started.
In a fairer world we've had stuck it out through all the fireworks, but, it was just too, too bitterly cold. We were not just chilly; our feet were freezing. We were retreating to the City Center, where we might be warm, and that was difficult; our feet were barely working in the terrible cold. bunny_hugger worried she was frostbit, though when we got indoors and pulled our boots off she verified that her feet weren't. They were just that horribly, horribly cold. Every step was painful.
We took our time to warm up in the City Center, and debated whether to head back out to the shopping village, or take in anything else, and we decided that our feet were just too bitterly cold to walk around so much. We went back to the City Market and picked up a couple little things (we don't buy vegetables or cheeses or such from there often enough) for dinner, got back to the car, and blasted the heat for the not-too-long drive home.
In theory we could have headed to the Arcade and caught maybe the tail end of the night, as the groups of the most-experienced players finally finished up their rounds --- five games between four of the most-talented pinball players can take upwards of a week to play out --- but we thought the remnants of the night would be too depressing to witness. So we stayed home, and there, we got a shock.
Trivia: Fewer than ten manufacturing concerns were traded on the main United States stock exchanges in 1890; most were connected with railroads, for example, the Pullman's Palace Car Company. Source: The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea, John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge.
Currently Reading: The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science, Armand Marie Leroi.
PS: Reading the Comics, December 5, 2014: Good Questions Edition, first of these since the last roundup, and one that let me get into orbital perturbation theory!