Woke up this morning and my clock warned me it was -12°F. Terrible way to start a day. Or to start a year!
Everyone likes the windchill whiners, right? With the windchill now, the weather channel reports a "feels like" temperature of -29°F. The forecast high is a balmy -4°F, so we've got that going for us.
Most of us made it to midnight last night, to ring in the local New Year. The little little made it through watching the New York ball drop, and then passed out on the couch a few minutes later.
And what a lame thing that New York ball drop has become. We bounced between the offerings we could stream, which were ABC's New York, and CBS's Nashville country countdown. New York is an hour ahead, so that happens first, of course.
This is maybe because the streaming offering differs from the broadcast offering, but with the commercials, it seemed just as hard. We started watching about a half-hour before, and it was one of the 2021 review shows in a big nested view, with a shot of Times Square in a smaller view, and a countdown until the drop. They continued showing the retrospective until about 5 minutes before the drop. Then, after two minutes of full-screen commercials, they flipped to the Times Square view full-screen. It first struck me like someone in the control booth prematurely toggled to a ready camera, perhaps while real action happened elsewhere. It was one of those views they make fun of in movies, where you see the anchor doing voice exercises and face stretches, or telling a dirty joke, just before they expect to go live. Except this had no anchor, and was just a clumsy view of someone watching the musical act that was about to sing. Then the view shifted to someone saying KT Tunstall is going to sing Imagine. She did, and it was fine. The sound quality was like they were using the condenser microphone on the camera, instead of a feed from a sound board. That wasn't the worst sound quality of the night. She finished with seconds to spare before a masked crowd missed their minute-before countdown to slap the big red button to start the ball dropping. A minute-long countdown happened in relative silence, with a little crowd murmuring in the background. This hit an enthusiastic countdown starting when the clock hit 10, and someone near the camera mic joined in. The ball hit, and confetti started flying. A bouncing set of views started flurrying on the television, hitting wide crowd shots, big city views, too-close close-ups of people locking lips for a little too long (and clearly not thinking they'd be on camera for as long as they were). There were lots of probably intended to seem exciting or involving, maybe artistic shots of confetti flying past (maybe) landmark signs on Times Square, but that came off as just a chance to show the logos and ads on the screens. They zoomed in with that jittery long-distance hand-held to an unlit "Happy New Year" poster, with more confetti falling. It seemed a terrible mess to have to clean up. And all the shots of tounge-wrestling, with amateur porn actors wearing their goofy event sponsor gear made it feel very forced. Then some dudes get the screen and do a very clumsy Truman-esque product placement for the official sparkling drink of the New Year celebration. Then break for a few minutes of commercial.
Switching to the Tennessee event, we were welcomed to a mix of music we don't usually listen to, performed by people we don't know. Nothing wrong with the music, but just not our norm. I did recognize Luke Bryan from a company event, but just the name, not the man or his music. Darius Rucker was there, too, singing with the country band, not any of his mega music that we might have recognized. Good on him. There were some sound offs here, too. Again not sounding like it was mixed for television, or leveraging the sound that may have been being mixed for the live crowd, but sounding like it was picked up by microphones in the crowd. Maybe they were trying to catch more of the vibe than the performance?
Bouncing back to ABC revealed more news reviews. Both interrupting every ten minutes or so with commercials.
The little little passed out somewhere after the New York celebration ended. I lugged him upstairs and put him in bed, which allowed the dog that sleeps next to him to also finally go to bed (not sure why she didn't go by herself if she was so ready).
Just before midnight locally, we participated in tradition we'd heard of in the kids' school, where you eat 12 grapes, and make 12 wishes. There was confusion about when to do it (before or after midnight), and whether it was paced at all, or if the wishes were supposed to be shared. We decided to start a minute before, racing to get the 12 grapes down (which eating them one at a time is harder than it sounds to do in a minute...), keeping the wishes silent, birthday style.
We finished in time to see the musical note drop in Nashville. They had about a minute delay from our clocks to theirs, so we didn't miss anything. It had no more exciting build-up. Just the song ended, and someone said something like "let's do this thing!" The neon ♪ slid down its pillar, with its crowd-led countdown from 10, eliciting a flurry of confetti and cheer when it hit zero. Views of crowd, some kissing, confetti falling, and fireworks over the city. Made me think "did we see fireworks over New York?" They rang in the new year with a song I didn't know sung by people I didn't know, and broke for a commercial.
We turned the television off. Everyone went to bed, excited for the new year, hoping for the best, resolving to endure.