The evening before the 4th of July this year --- so you know how far behind I'm running --- we were able to get to bunny_hugger's parents' home. Last year we were still flying back from New Jersey then. So this was our first time in two years that we could get down to see their town's fireworks, sitting in a park, beside the river, watching the city's show along with an incredible crowd, some of whom shot off fireworks of their own. Afterward we went back to bunny_hugger's parents' home where, among other things, her father set off several boxes full of fireworks. None of them had the catastrophic misfire that we saw last year, when two fireworks shot off sideways and the box smouldered afterwards until I insisted on soaking it. But between his fireworks and a bundle that bunny_hugger bought herself we had a heck of a show. Not to worry. We eventually saw the local feral cat again, prowling around on the far side of my car and glaring at the driveway (the launch site). The most interesting of these fireworks were some bowling-ball-sied jugs with names like 'Frog Prince' that gave rather interesting showers of sparks.
For the actual 4th we went to a different tradition. This one is meeting up with one of bunny_hugger's grad school friends to take in a Lansing Lugnuts game. They seem to have had home games the 4th of July several years running now and we're curious how that could be. We had some high hopes going into the game, too, since they were on top of the league and were something like 10-3 since the second half of the season began. They lost, 7-3.
But the actual outcome of the game --- which started a half-hour early, possibly reflecting last year's problem where the game ran so long the city fireworks had to go off during the eighth inning --- is only one part of a baseball game. There's also the atmosphere. It was impossibly hot, and incredibly muggy. This was in the start of the July heat wave that was so intense we set the air conditioner running full-time, so that Penelope in our bedroom could rest without intense heat taxing her elder body. Sunshine we gave frozen-water bottles during the day, and for the first time ever, we had a rabbit who seemed to understand that laying down near the frozen water bottle would make them a little bit cooler.
Here's how hot it was. Mid-game I went in search of drinks. bunny_hugger loves getting a frozen margarita at the game. When I got to the lone stand that actually sold them they explained, ah, sorry. Their cocktail-slushie machine was broken. It was too hot to work. Also they couldn't sell me a fountain soda; that was a whole separate line. I finally grabbed the only cold thing there wasn't too impossibly long a line for, Dippin' Dots frozen ice cream. That was darned good, melting tolerably well as we ate and the Lugnuts gave up four runs. And none of this is hyperbole.
In the evening sky there was almost nothing to afford any shelter from the heat. When the sun passed behind the lone cloud it was an incredible relief and people applauded. The setting of the sun brought not just the chance at fireworks but also the chance at air we could breathe again. I'm glad to have gotten to the game, and to have experienced such an extraordinary weather. Remember we'd also had the Lugnuts game cut short by monsoon. Just ... don't think we need every outing to be a story, either.
Trivia: New York City's American League baseball team --- not yet named the Yankees --- were evicted from their original ballpark in 1911 when the property owners, the New York Institute for the Blind, decided the property was too valuable to use on baseball. (The team had expected such and been searching for a new location for two years by then.) Source: Level Playing Fields: How the Groundskeeping Murphy Brothers Shaped Baseball, Peter Morris.
Currently Reading: Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America, Michael Ruhlman.
PS: And at iPlay America some more.
Oh, yeah, so, I got to trying out The Hobbit pinball and had a pretty good game.
Mind you, bunny_hugger also had a pretty darned good game; I only just caught part of the animation --- a glowing ring emerging from the center --- of her initials being entered on the high score table.
So here --- slightly right of center --- is where I got a ball stuck during my Grand Championship-qualifying game. The attendant didn't have keys, or didn't understand that he should get them, so he tried to shake the game around some and we worried he might tilt, locking the game into a state where I'd never get to enter my initials. (The tilt won't clear until the balls are accounted for or the game gives up looking for them.) Or worse, slam-tilt, which would end the game immediately and never give me a hope of entering my initials. But the game gave up looking for the ball, and let me proceed, and it just accepted that one of the balls has got stuck somewhere it can't recover them. (Balls sometimes take weird rebounds that bring them out of play, especially during multiball, which is how this one got off the metal track it should have been on here.)