July 2nd, 2011

#2785: I'm not even sure what day it is!

Words alone cannot convey how tired I have felt, the past few days. Even worse, I thought today was Sunday for a few moments--but then realized that no, yesterday was Friday and today is Saturday. I just brought the mail in for cripes' sake. *sigh*

Well--I spent a lot of time over the past couple weeks working on the motorcycle. Every day I'd either work on the motorcycle, or else I'd work on cleaning the garage, or-or-or.

There's still a lot to do out there, of course. And in the basement. I'm going to continue this trend because A) it makes me happy, and B) it's going to have to get done one way or another.

And I want to get the fun cars usable, and the MGB sold. Need room and such to do that.

* * *

...anyway, the news stories about fireworks always crop up around this time of year.

The "anti" faction always has some idiot who's willing to stand up and say, "Save me from my own stupidity!"
one of the most publicized opponents is a guy who was severely burned in 2004 because he was launching mortar-style fireworks from his moving car, and one blew back in through the window and set his stash on fire.
Emphasis theirs.

Next sentence: "...you'd think the anti-legalization opponents could find a better spokesperson."

Because it's impossible to mandate that everyone have COMMON FREAKING SENSE the "anti" folks think it's best just to ban everything. This is true even about things like diet foods: the "Center for 'Science' in the Public Interest" insisted that Olestra had to be banned because the "no fat" label would make people gorge themselves on potato chips instead of "healthy food". (And they came up with that ludicrous assertion that Olestra caused "anal leakage"; it was scaremongering. Sadly, it worked.)

In a just and sane world, the idiot quoted in that article would be ashamed to talk about why he's all scarred: "Uh, well, a...thing...happened." C'mon; the guy was doing something egregiously stupid. The only way he could have been more stupid would have been to have an open container of Everclear in the car. Shit.

...but because of fuckin' retards like that guy, fireworks have to be illegal and the rest of us have to suffer? WTF.

Consumer Reports has the usual busybody "you're too stupid to handle sharp objects" list of "safety tips". "Leave the fireworks to the professionals!" *sigh*

#8: "Keep fireworks flat. And never ignite them in a container, especially one made of glass or metal." Bottle rockets, you assholes?

What on God's green Earth can class C fireworks do to a metal container? Sure, if you're one of those motherfucking morons who insists that he can't have fun unless he's mucking around with dynamite--but class C fireworks are specifically designed to make a lot of noise and light without dissipating too much energy.

If you're in danger because you threw a pack of ladyfingers into a garbage can, you're not dealing with class C fireworks--that's for damn sure.

I don't know how many times I've said it: there is no substitute for basic safety precautions. But part of that means not doing incredibly stupid crap like putting a fountain on your head and having a friend light it, you know, or sticking lit firecrackers in your mouth, or what-the-hell-ever stupid crap people do that lands them in the freaking emergency room.

Keeping this kind of thing in mind, I will not buy anything that's not DOT Class C. I don't want M-80s or partial sticks of dynamite. I don't give a rat's ass about impressing anyone; I just want to light fuses and have fun. And to me "fun" means no one goes to the hospital, damn it.

* * *

I find it surprising that there are so few states with Illinois-level restrictions on fireworks. Ace has a link to a Gizmodo article with a map of the US showing what's legal where, and I've taken the liberty of ganking and reposting the image here:

That entire map ought to be green, damn it. Failing that, there shouldn't be any grey or red on it. *sigh*

...but in most of the US, DOT Class C fireworks are legal. In fact, the states which ban everything amount to a handful, and even if you combine that handful with the idiot states like Illinois where all you can get are sparklers and smoke bombs, it's still approximately single digits.

* * *

Last night I was surfing around Mangareader and found Yandere Kanojo, which is pretty funny. It's about a milquetoast guy who falls in love with the toughest gangster girl at school...and she falls in love with him at the same time.

It suffers from disjointed narrative, because (I gather from translator comments) the untranslated pages are hard to come by, and the library of "raws" is therefore incomplete. But it's not too hard to catch up with the missing information and it's a fun read.

* * *

The spring season of anime finally finished downloading, but for a couple of stragglers, and the summer season has several series that I'm going to give a try:
Yuru Yuri
Morita-san wa Mukuchi
Usagi Drop
Mawaru Penguin Drum ??
Mayo Chiki!
Primary criteria for inclusion on the list were things like "cute girls" and "interesting synopsis". Mawaru Penguin Drum is the wild card, as even the previews contain almost no information on character designs or plot, but I saw enough in one preview to convince me that it probably won't be made of egregious suck, so I'll try it.

I haven't even started on the spring anime yet. In fact, the only anime I've watched since June 11 has been one ep of Yawara!, so I guess I'd better do less WoW and more anime for a while.

Crap, this otaku stuff is really hard to manage.

#2786: I've told this story here before

But it bears repeating, just for the hell of it.

See, back when I was single-digits old--I don't remember the year--Dad found some firecrackers in his closet and gave them to my brother and I.

1975? 1974? It wasn't 1976 because we were at Disneyworld on July 4th, 1976. And I'm pretty sure it wasn't 1977 because in 1977 Dad was in the process of shopping for and buying a boat.

Anyway: Dad found a pack or two of Black Cat firecrackers. Typical "ladyfinger" crackers, nothing dangerous, and because my brother was 12 or 13 Dad probably figured we'd be okay, and there weren't very many of them anyway.

I remember going out into the street in front of our house. It was a beastly hot day, the sun was beating down on the tar-and-gravel-asphalt road like it was trying to turn the place into Death Valley, and a hot wind rolled off the field across the street from our house. The gravel on the road was pretty new--they had put on a new layer recently--so the road was white in the noonday sun.

So my brother took four firecrackers and twisted them together, and put an aluminum cup over them, and lit the fuse. And poom! the cup rocketed into the air, going perhaps 10 or 15 feet before clattering to the tarmac.

And its bottom was bulged outward. I was afraid we were going to get into trouble, but my brother nonchalantly got a hammer and tapped the bottom back in, and then took the cup inside and put it in the sink as if nothing had happened.

This was the height of that 4th of July.

* * *

Many times, the 4th of July was spent at the boat; and then we drove home in the evening with my head craning around trying to see the fireworks displays we drove past. I think that happened once or twice before I started going to Beecher with my friends, after I got my driver's license.

Dad didn't like dealing with the crowds and the traffic. Considering the situation, I don't blame him--he worked very, very hard, and wanted only to relax when he had time off. If I hadn't experienced it myself I nonetheless would understand that mental labor is just as tiring as physical labor solely because I saw how tired Dad was at the end of a day's work. He wore a suit and tie to work every day but his brain went at full speed the entire time. It was like that for me at R-C, too, minus the suit and tie. After eight hours of rattling keys and reading schematics, I was done.

...I didn't like that we hardly ever went to see fireworks displays, but I'd been raised to learn to accept that sometimes you couldn't do what you wanted to do. Dad wasn't interested, Mom didn't really care, so unless I could get my older siblings to take me with them I was stuck at home. "Your day will come," I was told.


But prior to getting the boat, a lot of the time we were on vacation around July 4th, so it's not like my childhood was a wasteland bereft of pyrotechnics. Like Disneyworld in 1976--I'd like to borrow a time machine and see that display again.

After the boat, we spent our summer weekends in Indiana...and of course at the time Indiana restricted fireworks to non-explosive, non-flying stuff. No bottle rockets, no firecrackers...but all kinds of other neat things. Dad's "no fireworks!" rule began to crumble when he discovered ground bloom flowers; he loved how energetic they were: "It's like it's atomic!"

Sometime in the late '80s--I want to say 1984 or so--this one nursery over in the Dyer area began selling everything, including firecrackers and bottle rockets--the good stuff--and all you had to do was sign a piece of paper saying that you were intending to take the fireworks out of Indiana within the next five days...and they didn't even verify the information you wrote on the paper.

From then on, there was nothing keeping me and my friends from having a lot of fun on the 4th. Light fuses for a while, go to Beecher, come home, light fuses...it was a grand old time.

In 1985 we did that. When it came to be time to go to Beecher, I parked the Blue Bomb where I usually parked it, on the street; it was warm and sunny and I saw no reason to roll up the windows.

(I tried unsuccessfully to find the post on the Blue Bomb. But I did find this.)

Beecher was good as always. And after the fireworks, the rain started. It had been a hot one, and it had been hot for a few days (hence me leaving the windows down) and all that heat energy came out of the atmosphere in a rush. It was pounding rain by the time we got to Route 1 headed north.

...wasn't until we turned onto my street that I remembered Oh shit I left all the Bomb's windows down! so I had my friend let me out by my car so I could roll up the windows. It was still a freakin' monsoon out there, and the seats were already soaked, but at least I could keep the entire interior from getting sopping wet.

I, of course, could not have gotten more wet if I'd jumped into a swimming pool. "Monsoon."

The guys ran inside while I was rolling up my car windows, and I hurried in once that was done; after I got toweled off and into dry clothes, the lights went out. They came on really dim, something outside went pow!, and the lights stayed off for 14 hours. Fortunately the next day was breezy and cool.

Turned out the wind blew a tree over, right onto the power line that fed the house two of my brother's friends lived in with their mother. The short-circuit blew a 3" hole in their fuse box and set the place on fire; the house was fixable but they lost a lot of stuff, including their clothes. Because of how things worked out, line fuses blew all over town from backfeeding and sneak circuits. We all could have done without those fireworks, let me tell you.

The Bomb dried out with nary a problem, though. And the day after that, Mom made me and my friends pick up all our fireworks litter. Heh.

* * *

I can tell all kinds of stories like these. Anyone can. The point is, fireworks have played a part in my life to a surprising extent, and they somehow cement things in my memory. Considering how scatterbrained I am, that's usually a good thing.