7/30/2009

Neologism Of The Dead

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:33 pm

As stated previously, I’m a big fan of the Sci Fi (no, I most certainly will not refer to it as “SyFy”; if they want to dumb down their name in a feeble attempt to attract the young, hip, fresh—-and apparently phonetically codependent—Youf-O’-Todayz, that’s their problem, but I’ll have none of it) Channel’s hit series Ghost Hunters. I am somewhat less enamored of the spinoff series Ghost Hunters International, but that doesn’t mean I don’t DVR a nd watch it every week. I continue to watch in the hope that the show will mature into itself and become the compelling program I find its progenitor to be. Hasn’t happened yet, but what the fuck; it’s only the precious and fleeting gift of life, right? 😀

One of the things I find really vexing about GHI is the tendency of the investigators to jump to really ridiculous conclusions with seemingly no evidence whatsoever. Where a member of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (the group around which Ghost Hunters revolves) might describe an experience as “I felt a sensation of pressure against my back”, an investigator from GHI would instead say “I felt a hand on my back”. GHI seems to find “voices” with shocking regularity in their EVP sessions where the viewer at home can only hear faint sibilants or scratching noises, and “shadowy figures” in photographs that resemble nothing so much as crappy photographs. And time after time, the team from Ghost Hunter International will take their rag-tag aggregation of spooky noises, eerie sensations and blurry video and use it as the basis to proclaim that yes, indeed, the place is haunted.

But beyond the seemingly unwarranted presumption of the existence of supernatural beings in certain locales and situations, Ghost Hunters International sometimes displays a ludicrous tendency to claim to understand the feelings and motivations of the spirits they uncover.

This week’s episode was a classic in that vein. A woman who curates a castle in Austria that was allegedly the site of some of the most horrific witch trials in Europe is afraid to be alone at work, and in fact won’t even enter some of the rooms in the castle. GHI comes in to help her find answers and assuage her fears. After wandering around the grounds all night, experiencing knocks, creaks and some other phenomena that might actually be unexplained in a 13th-century building made of stone and wood, they return to let her know their findings. Lead investigator Rob wraps the whole experience up by telling her that the spirits in the castle “just want recognition.” He suggest that she call out a greeting when entering rooms where she feels an otherwordly presence may lie.

Huh. An ancient building that would seem to be imprinted with the negative energy of dozens or even hundreds of torture victims, a presence that is suspected to be the head torturer himself, not to mention the admittedly-minuscule possibility that some of those mordered actually were witches….ya know, he’s right; whatever roams those halls probably just wants a hug. 🙄

Which brings me to this installment’s neologism: parapsychobabble. The practice of assigning touchy-feely psychological motives to paranormal phenomena.

7/26/2009

The Beginning Of The End

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:02 am

This was going to be a fairly decent year for us, financially. We’d paid off the car, fought the credit card into a holding action and were well in place to start really knocking down the home-equity line of credit. In the coming years we hoped to pay for a new roof, maybe an extension of the concrete pad in the back yard, possibly even spring for a new TV.

Alas, all that is probably so much dust in the wind now. In all likelihood, we will be funneling that money into a new and wholly unanticipated expense: suet.

Allow me to elaborate. Yesterday, Margaret and I were going about our time-honored Saturday rituals; pouring coffee, fixing breakfast, and listening to Car Talk. I happened to be looking out the window into the back yard at our bird feeders, a complex of seed feeders, fruit hangers and a suet basket for the Chickadees, Bushtits and Flickers. The only birds we try not to feed are the Starlings.

It’s not that we don’t appreciate Starlings. We both happen to love their squeebly video-game vocalizations and their gregarious natures. It’s just that they are voracious consumers of suet. Worse, they are horribly messy and wasteful consumers of suet. Watching a Starling go after a suet block is like watching Cookie Monster go after a plate of Chips Ahoy. And it’s never just one. If you have one Starling on your suet feeder, in half an hour you will have twenty, grinding and flailing their way through your rendered-cow wafers like a pack of chainsaw artists on crystal meth attacking a cedar log.

Our suet basket is designed to be “Starling proof”. It is commonly understood that Starlings cannot—or will not, I’m not completely sure which—hang upside down to feed. This has been supported by our observations. So in order to prevent Starlings from eating us out of house and home, the suet basket we use can only be accessed from the underside. While a Starling might occasionally grab a furtive nibble by madly flapping its wings and hovering under the feeder for a few seconds, they seem to quickly learn that the number of calories expended in such endeavors equal or exceed the number brought in by same, and they quickly give up.

Until yesterday, that is, when I happened to witness the beginning of the end. I looked out at our feeders and watched in horror as a young male Starling crept out to the edge of the roof of our suet basket and climbed down onto the grate that held the block of suet suspended. There, the little bastard hung upside-down from the grate and happily om-nom-nommed away for a good ten minutes before flying off.

At the time, I was too paralyzed with horror to run outside and impale him on my Grampa’s Weeder before he could get away.

Because you just know where this is heading. This guy is going to be the fattest, sleekest, sassiest Starling in our neighborhood. As such is going to attract a serious number of potential mates. Each generation of progeny is likely to be blessed with both the genetic propensity and the parental instruction to be able to hang upside-down to feed. Within a few generations, inbreeding and self-reinforcement will mean the advent of a whole new subspecies: Sturnus pendeo-conversus. The Hanging Upside-Down Starling. At this point, we might as well just give up and take out another mortgage for the sole purpose of keeping the damn suet basket filled. Might as well enjoy our last year of financial security before the invasion begins.

Ah well; middle class was fun while it lasted.

7/25/2009

Why Veterinary Medicine is Uber Cool Part IV

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 7:34 pm

Last Wednesday I was doing some boning (heh, pardon the pun) up on a surgical procedure that I’ve not done fairly often. The procedure is called a femoral head osteotomy (FHO) and it involves amputating the femoral head, that part of the femur that, along with the pelvic acetabulum, forms the hip joint.
One does an FHO for a number of reason. In this case I was performing an FHO on a young Cocker Spaniel whose hip had been dislocated the previous week. An injury that old, heck a luxated hip more than a few hours old can’t be repaired except surgically. The point of this surgery is not to repair the joint because it is assumed that the joint is beyond repair. The point of the FHO surgery is to provide the animal a pain free life of mostly normal function. And weirdly, removing the femoral head in these situations does provide the animal with almost 100% normal function.
Anyway, I don’t do this type of surgery much. I think the one I did last Thursday was -maybe- the third that I’ve done. I spent as much of Wednesday as possible reading surgery books, consulting anatomy books, surgical atlases, and my online veterinary community’s database for tips, details, and horrors to watch out for.
In doing my online research I went to VIN’s searchable database and entered the term “femoral head osteotomy”. I got about 300 hits on that term and started to scan the discussions of this particular procedure that have been archived over VIN’s 15 year lifespan.
In that list were discussions about, and requests for tips on, doing an FHO on a goose, a hedgehog, a ferret, a parrot, and a great blue heron.
I love my profession. 😀

7/18/2009

Phew!

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 8:32 am

Can I be done now?
I realize it may sound like unabashed whinging, and perhaps it is being as I only work three days a week, but y’all gotta believe me that I’ve been running around like a particularly caffeinated chicken with its head chopped off.

June 10th (Wednesday): Got back from Hawaii — late — not so late if you’re on Hawaiian time, but late enough if you’ve been up and about since 0530 and have been packed into a godforsaken aluminum CEE-gar tube for 5 or 6 hours. Spent two days getting back onto Washington time, unpacking, putting the house back together, soothing ruffled kittens, and picking up the organizational threads of the upcoming 50th wedding anniversary party.
Discovered that while Shawn & Annie had taken meticulous and excellent care of house, cats, and garden, the garden had taken advantage of the meticulous watering and the nice hot weather to grow every weed in the south end of King County so I spent the weekend pulling weeds….. and only managed to get about a fifth of the back garden weeded.

June 15th (Monday): Back to work. Cracking busy schedule with only just enough time to check my e-mail at lunch and discover that the caterer for the party (here not named. My mamma taught me that if you can’t say something nice about someone you shouldn’t say anything at all) had gone particularly pear shaped. See, when I engaged said caterer I was told that they wouldn’t be able to provide me a formal estimate until I had a head count for the party. Well that’s reasonable I guess…. I was working numbers out on my own and had a basic idea of about what the catering should cost based on the caterer’s “price per person” list on their website. EXCEPT that when I got the estimate from the caterer on the 16th (four days before the party for those not keeping track) their estimate came up to about two times what I had estimated and I had no, absolutely none, time to deal with working out WHY until that Thursday (June 18th and only TWO days before the party).
Enter my semi-sister Renee. The godsend. Despite being six months pregnant and having a two year old, Renee was able to take the estimate to pieces, rinse the pieces out, hang them out to dry, and get the caterer to agree to something MUCH more within my price range. Renee and the caterer worked things out to the point that all I had to do on the two days I had off between the end of my work week on Wednesday and the party on Saturday was…. laundry, party shopping, more party shopping, and a hundred million other little details that are involved with being a functional adult and planning a party for nearly 100 people.

June 20th (Saturday): Par-TAY. If I must say so myself it was a lovely party. We were there at the church (the Bellevue Unitarian church where my parents have been members for nearly 40 years) to do setup two hours before the party was set to start and two hours was only JUST enough time.
The caterer was late.

More working and an insane schedule. Instead of getting up in the morning and lifting weights or walking for half an hour before going to work I was getting up and weeding the garden for half an hour before I went to work because I never have the energy to do so after work and I wanted to get the garden done before our annual July 4th party. Andrew thinks I’m nuts.

Got a bit of a break the next week. Went to Sheri’s birthday party the next weekend but when we weren’t partying with Sheri et al we were winding up (including a mad bout of weeding) for our July 4th party.

I was absolutely insanely grateful that I didn’t work on July 3rd. For those who don’t live with a veterinarian, you’ll not be familiar with the phenomenon of The Last Two Weeks of June. TLTWJ is a mass insanity that takes people who haven’t had their pets to see any veterinarian, let alone you in anything less than two years. As a veterinarian TLTWJ ensures that your schedule will be FULL with those people who are willing to have their invariably ancient pet examined before getting a prescription for sedatives to keep them calm during the noise storm of the 4th. TLTWJ will also ensure that any time you have in between your scheduled appointments will be filled with arguing with people about why you will absolutely NOT prescribe sedatives for their invariably ancient pet who hasn’t been examined, let alone had any blood work done to be sure the sedative won’t kill them, in at least 2 years without at least examining the creature in question. Our best example of TLTWJ this year was a woman that didn’t even have paper records for her dog, let alone computer records (making it at least 8 years since her dog had even smelled our building) , who wanted to get “just a few pills” until she could bring him in “next month when I get some money”. When she got the standard spiel from our office manager, that we couldn’t prescribe medications for a pet we’d not examined within the last year because we wanted to be sure the dog was healthy, she countered with “Well you wouldn’t prescribe a drug if it was bad for his health, right?” She didn’t like being told that we had no idea of the state of her dog’s health and we absolutely wouldn’t prescribe meds for him without an exam and started to swear at the office manager before (gosh, I wonder how that happened), the phone connection got cut. The cusp of TLTWJ is July 3rd, and being far, far away from the office on July 3rd is the place to be.

July 4th (Saturday): Par-TAY. It was a great kaboom.

The 146th annual convention of the American Veterinary Medical Association started on July 10th in Seattle. My schedule has shifted so that I’m now working Wednesday through Fridays. Convention opened on the evening of the 10th. I had 0800 lectures on July 11th and July 13th. Last Sunday I actually got a break, my first lecture wasn’t until 0900. I’ve got a whole different piece to write, inspired by one of the lecturers that I was there to hear, but I’ll get to that later. Suffice it to say that I managed to sit fifteen hours of lectures in three days taking care of half of my continuing education requirement for the next three years.
Having been out of school for a while, I’d forgotten what sort of a pain sitting for eight hours can be. Literal pain, not figurative. Those convention center chairs are HARD and the padding is almost non existent.

So this is the first weekend in almost six weeks where I can spend a good deal of time with *gasp* my husband. And what am I doing? Tomorrow morning I’m packing a mini-van full of garden fanatics and driving 100 or so miles to the Dungeness coast to smell lavender all day.

Andrew may be right.

7/14/2009

Disaster Pr0n

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 12:25 pm

Okay, this is just too funny. My friend Jayson sent this along; it’s a trailer for a new film from the director of The Day After Tomorrow, the epic CGI-fest about the flash-freezing of the world and Jake Gyllenhaal getting his first girlfriend, though he doesn’t even get to first base in the movie. Oh, and some of the crappiest animated wolves you will ever see in your lifetime.

Anyway, here’s the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hz86TsGx3fc

Now, take a look at this fan remix:

High-effin’-larious. 😆

7/12/2009

Looking For A New ISP

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 10:59 am

I’ve just about had it with my current Internet Service Provider, Zhonka Broadband. They used to be a great company but in the last month or so we have experienced something like ten or twenty instances where their DNS has crapped out, leaving me with no email. Worse, they never answer their support line, and the voice mailbox is always full, presumably with other customers’ complaints. So fuck ’em, I’m pretty much done.

Anyone have any suggestions? I’d like to stay with DSL (no FiOS in my area, and local cable Internet provider Comcast is an evil ISP), host my Web and possibly mail servers out of my home on static IPs, and work with a company that has a reasonable idea of what constitutes acceptable use of their pipes. I don’t torrent or operate a TOR proxy or anything; I just don’t want my bandwidth throttled or my service cut off because I did something in violation of line 8,729 of their Terms of Service contract.

So please, offer me up your gems of wisdom, O Gentle Reader. Quickly, while my service is still up.

7/11/2009

Food Fright, Part 24

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 4:32 pm

foodfright-24

This episode of Food Fright is brought to you by the letters B and K. Also by Dalek and Fisherbear, who saw these at the store on their way to our July 4 barbecue and couldn’t resist.

I guess I can’t really blame Burger King for trying to weasel its way into the fickle home-snack market. After all, their market share in the arena of fast food restaurants is tiny, 4% in 2008 as compared to their closest competitor, the Evil M-pire. Seems like all poor old BK ever does is play catch-up to its arch nemesis but never quite hitting the mark. This product would seem to be another one of those near-misses for which this company is so rightly famous. It’s not always good to be the King.

To start off, I am usually openly suspicious of any comestible that attempts to conceal itself in the guise of something else. There are two main exceptions to this rule of thumb. One is the obvious exception of works of true artistry such as the piece of chocolate sushi that was delivered anonymously to me some years ago (and which I have maintained, mint in box, on a shelf in our living room). The other is any foodstuff that is pretending to be something else entirely, like a gourmet chocolate bar in the shape of a gun, or anything from The Erotic Bakery. But despite these divergences, as a rule foods masquerading as other foods tend to be a gross disappointment to aficionados of either.

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A potato chip is not a french fry. And these only barely qualify as potato chips. They are sclerotia of dehydrated potatoes, potato starch and other binders. The overall mouth-feel is very similar to the one that Pringles‘ parent company Procter & Gamble pioneered in the 1970s with their distinctive “pre-chewed for your enjoyment” snacking experience. Not horrible by any means (I happen to enjoy the occasional Pringle), but reminiscent of neither potato chip nor french fry, these things seem to dwell in some secretive twilight domain between food groups. Perhaps they need their own unique designation: prototato. Starchestrol. Something, anyway. Despite what you may think of them culinarily, a Tim’s Cascade Style Potato Chip looks and tastes exactly like what it is; a slice of potato boiled in oil. A Burger King Ketchup & Fries Flavored Potato Snack (and doesn’t that name alone ring some alarm bells? Not “Potato Chip”, but “Flavored Potato Snack”. Like reading “Processed Cheese Food” instead of just “Cheese”, the name seems like a gustatory prevarication all by itself) looks like fragments of flash-fried sticks of Doublemint Gum accidentally exposed to an auto detailer’s red touch-up spray gun.

As for the flavor: once again, it’s not bad. But it sure ain’t ketchup. In fact, selling this flavor as “ketchup” is to do it a bit of a disservice. There are notes of garlic, onion and other spices in there somewhere. It’s rather more like a barbecue flavor. Which I’m sure was the goal all along. Ketchup is too bland, too tomato-and-sugar flavored to really “pop” on a chip. Give a Pringle a quick dunk in a shallow pool of ketchup and you’ll likely wish you hadn’t. I think the wiser heads at the Inventure Group (progenitors of this fine flavored potato snack) decided that they needed to furnish the consumer with a “ketchup-like” sensation without actually exposing them to ketchup, which in this instance would have detracted from the overall experience. Like watching an action-packed gunfight sequence in a movie as opposed to being in an actual gunfight, sometimes an approximation is preferable to the actuality.

So what this all boils down to, Food Frightwise, is a massive deception on the part of Burger King, perpetrated on both the consumer and upon the company itself. These things bear no relationship whatsoever to their namesake, nor to anything one might find in any respectable burger joint (or even a Burger King) except perhaps a food-spattered plastic place mat. Had this product been marketed under any other name, it would just be yet another failed venture into the inhospitable, heart-of-darkness wilderness of modern food marketing: not great by any means, but not truly awful either. It’s the pretension—no, that’s not quite it—the hallucination that this product has even the remotest scintilla to do with a piping-hot basket of crispy fries dunked in ketchup that demotes Ketchup & Fries Flavored Potato Snacks from a mere failure to a Food Fright. God only knows where this desperate turf battle will take Burger King next. Can’t wait to try their Whopper-flavored all-day suckers. 😯

7/6/2009

A Few Details

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 11:33 am

That Andrew left out. I’ll get around to a whole post on my own account at some point relatively soon…. My loganberry canes are still groaning loaded, I’ve got three loads of laundry pending, I’ve got bits of the refrigerator still to reorganize (anyone want some leftover hamburger buns?), and there’s sections of the garden that still need attention, but there are a few things that Andrew left out of his comments about the past weekend that need publicity.

First being that as we were walking down the street marveling at the crowd –the first time that is– we ran across a woman on a bicycle with a heavy germanic accent (Austrian?). All four of us were in makeup, but since we were on the *other* side of the street from the massive pileup of zombies and since we were speaking in some sort of rational English instead of moaning and drooling, I guess she thought we were the safest ones to approach. She asked what it was that was going on, when we told her it was a zombie walk for charity, and, for the record, the amount of canned food to say nothing of the financial donations that were collected Friday evening was quite impressive, she seemed a little less confused, but a lot more stymied. Americans, apparently, are very weird.
Secondly, if you watch the video you’ll see the zombie in the bathrobe with a can in his hand who was railing at people about sitting on the other side of the road just watching. The can was not beer. There were several advertising vehicles around the Freemont Outdoor Cinema as well as along the route that were handing out free cans of *shudder* energy drink. The stuff was flat out nasty, but, as with all energy drinks, loaded with sugar, caffeine, and other herbal energy boosters that all leant a wee bit more oomph to the weirdness that was thick in the air that evening. Bathrobe Zombie was trying his damnedest to get the onlookers on our side of the street to get up, get made up, and join the fun.
There was also a large presence of religious zombies. From Zombie Catholic Schoolgirls, to Zombie Priests, a Zombie Nun who didn’t walk because she had one leg in a cast, all the way up to Zombie Jesus complete with crucifixion wounds and a crown of thorns.
And law enforcement was even getting involved. There was a car full of SPD officers (crowd control and traffic directors as it turned out) who stopped outside the cinema and spent oh, half an hour getting their photos taken before they took up their official duties. But also, as we were waiting to walk, a fire truck turned off of 36th and started heading north up Phinney (right outside the cinema). When they saw what was going on, the two dudes in back started laughing their heads off. The driver pulled the mike for his loudspeaker and, driving very slowly past the spectacle, started moaning theatrically to the great approbation of the crowd.
I love, I absolutely LOVE living in a town where mass silliness is not only tolerated, but appreciated.
There were whole zombie families. An entire zombie wedding party had some of the most clever makeup. There are photos, even video, of the zombie family that I most appreciated. Mom, aunt, daughter, and possibly an older cousin. The daughter was tween-ish. Eleven or twelve maybe, and in a wheelchair. Her speech wasn’t good, I think she probably has cerebral palsy, but by god the kid has moxie. She was the one in the video that you see waving the leg around… although you don’t really see her, you more see the foot waving in front of the camera. She was moaning better than anyone and was obviously enjoying herself.

As we were leaving and wandering back to the car Andrew commented that it was the scattered random zombies that seemed the most entertaining. We came around a corner just as he was saying this and we spotted, across the street, a pair of zombies sitting on the corner up against a street sign. I mentioned, purposely loudly, that yes, it was the random scattered zombies that were the most entertaining as I was getting the camera to take their photo.
The man of the couple, as I had intended, heard me and laughed.
“We’re here because Zombie #1 (pointing to his female companion) locked Zombie #2’s keys in the car and we’re waiting for the AAA!”
We laughed, and commiserated and he went on with:
“Yeah, when I talked to the AAA dispatcher she asked if I was in a safe neighborhood. I told her that the neighborhood was safe enough. I didn’t think she needed the details.” “She asked what I was wearing so she could tell the tow truck driver what to look for. When I told her “I’m wearing ragged jeans, a white shirt, and I’m covered in…. Well, it’s FAKE blood” she just started laughing.”
Now that’s a story that the tow truck driver will dine out on for a while. I can just see it “Yeah, I responded to this lock-out on Friday night and you would not BELIEVE…..”

Municipal silliness rocks.

7/5/2009

Another Fun-Filled Weekend

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:47 pm

….and this time I’m not even being sarcastic! :mrgreen:

We kicked things off this Friday with, as I previously reported, the Seattle Zombie Walk sponsored by the Fremont Outdoor Cinema. It was a hoot and a half. Turnout was nothing short of amazing: the line to register for the walk (only registered participants would count towards the Guinness Book World Record attempt) wrapped around the corner and two blocks down the street. The variety of costumes was staggering: there were punk zombies, homeless zombies (one carrying a sign reading “WILL WORK FOR BRAINS”), more than a few bridal zombies, a cornucopia of Elvi, and even a zombie Billy Mays. The number of children participating was also amazing, from babies up to tweens….some of them could really get their creepy on, too. Once registered, the zombies were sent out in groups of—oh, I don’t know, two hundred or so?—to roam the neighborhood of Fremont in a more or less organized fashion for a few square blocks before being rounded up and returned to the Fremont Outdoor Cinema. It was quite a wonderful exercise in Freaking the Mundanes: we shuffled along, moaning and lolling our heads around on our necks. Every once in a while there would be a rallying cry of “What do we want?” “BRAINS.” “When do we want them?” “BRAAAAAAAINS.” Zombies would reach through the decorative greenery of streetside cafes towards the (remarkably tolerant) diners within, or paw at the windows of local ice cream shops, staring vacantly at the folks inside. A few of the more adventurous and less well-mannered zombies stepped into the streets to mob passing cars that were stuck at traffic lights….a breach of zombie walk etiquette that was taken in stride by the motorists.

The numbers aren’t fully tabulated yet, but barring some sort of massive miscount—or intervention by the Supreme Court—we easily topped the previous record of 3,370 participants. Eat my entrails, Grand Rapids! 😈 There was also an attempt at the world’s largest group of people doing the Michael Jackson “Thriller” zombie dance, which I understand we also achieved, but by that time we had bagged out because we had to get to bed at a reasonable hour. We also missed an outdoor showing of the classic flick Shaun of the Dead. Here’s a page of photos from the event. I’ve also put together a highlight reel for you to check out. Requires Apple’s QuickTime.

The second big shebang (heh heh) this weekend was, of course, our annual 4th of July party. We aren’t horribly social people, but two or three times a year we put on a serious bash, and this was one of those. They’re nothing like my sister Meg’s shindigs, where she and her husband choose themes for the party and the two hundred people attending all come in lavish and outlandish costumes, but for people who have neither the stomach for such brobdingnagian endeavors nor two hundred friends to invite, we do seem to hold our own. We had about 24 people over for barbecue and kaboomables, both of which were present in truly epic quantities. We made hamburgers, bratwurst, hot dogs, and something that looks and tastes suspiciously like Huli Huli Chicken. For those who did not grow up in Hawaii, Huli Huli Chicken is a staple of charity fundraisers all over the islands. The recipe is fairly straightforward:

  1. Marinate chicken in some sort of liquid
  2. Place chicken over fire
  3. Burn holy bejeezus out of chicken

Tastier than it sounds. Other folks brought their own contributions such as baked beans, veggie plates, dips, cookies, extra beer, ice cream, and even fresh oysters to grill. Folks ate, drank and made flammable until about midnight.

Just a sample....

The sheer volume of ordinance we brought together for this year’s extravaganza was….well, disturbing. Three separate members of our party emptied their piggy banks at the local indigenous fireworks stands.

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This year we concentrated most of our buying power on artillery shells and canisters—things that launch from a mortar-style tube and detonate high in the air with a shower of sparks and an earth-shattering kaboom—and cakes: large multi-shot boogers that shoot flaming balls high into the air, with various sound and light effects. Comparatively few bottle rockets or propellers this year, which was a boon to the after-party cleanup, lemmetellyou.

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Everyone seemed to have a good time, and we really enjoyed having our friends and family over. Thanks to everyone who helped make this year’s Independence Day hullabaloo a rip-roaring success. 🙂


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