One of the other Christmastime things we always try doing is visit the Potter Park Zoo, in town. They put up a whole mess of lights and invite people to walk around the place for a couple of hours. Most of the animals aren't on display, as they're sensibly in winter quarters. But there are some to visit.
We spent more time in the recently-renovated gift shop than usual, which was also a good chance to warm up. Indeed, our visit was kind of marked by stopping in various buildings where we could warm up; this was the coldest Holiday Lights visit to the park in a couple years. And somehow we missed one building, the Visitors Center which has had various animal-encounter exhibits, chances to see and learn about and under supervision pet blue-tongued skinks and other nice animals that can be touched by scared kids. Probably just as well we missed it. In past years they've had a rabbit and it almost broke our heart after Stephen died; just after Columbo died it would have crushed us.
They rearrange where the lights are each year, so that it's never quite what you saw previous visits. Something lost this time was they'd had a tunnel of lights on a path near the walk-in aviary. They set the tunnel in another spot, and that was fine, but it left the aviary space without much interesting. On the bright side there was fresh snow on the ground, and on the trees, so the place looked really great, sparkling and delightful.
We also spent more time inside the enclosed and heated buildings for animals. They had more primates than I had realized, which are as always an interested set to watch. Also they've got a good enclosure with ring-tailed lemurs which I think we had stopped and watched before, but that I'd forgotten. They were huddling around the heat lamps anyway. In the same building they had a bunch of lions, sleeping huddled together with their paws on the other's chest; and tigers, just barely holding their eyes open. The bird house didn't have such striking exhibits, but it did have the mix of curious and interesting and, to my recollection, mostly African small birds that one ought to get. Also kids running around saying they didn't see the bird, and parents saying that no, they have to look closely and patiently.
We closed the zoo out. We always do; we're lingering kinds of people, to start. And the lights at the zoo end at 8 pm, which isn't very long after sunset. But it did mean we could get home early enough and warm back up. It had gotten really cold.
Trivia: Marco Mastrofini, an Italian priest, in 1834 made the first recorded proposal of putting a day outside the weekly cycle with a ``feria octava'' for the 365th day of the year, and the 366th the ``intercalary day'' in leap years. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.
Currently Reading: How To Write Cheesy Movies: The Only Screenwriting Guide You'll Never Need! Frank Conniff.
PS: hanging out at the Zoo and checking in with the Women's Tournament.
1959 Gottleib Race Time on the left is one of the handful of really old, woodrail-era, pinball games that turn up there. If you look close you can see some crenulated wood strips on either side of the table, about six inches from the front. They were spots to put your lit cigarette without harming the wood.
bunny_hugger being a good sport after coming in second in the Women's tournament thanks in part to a disappointing Vector game.
Gottlieb's 1969 Mibs, which the Internet Pinball Database explains is ``an American variation of the word 'marbles','' to which I can only quote Robert Benchley and answer ``You're a cock-eyed liar!''