Monday, July 7, 2008

I'm back!

Well, vacation was pretty good, though it's possible that driving 600 miles to go home and back
for the holiday may be incompatible with the carfree lifestyle I am trying to achieve. I think that long trips should be allowed on widely-spaced occasions, though.

I ate way too much over the weekend. Not just during the festivities, but pretty much every other meal, too. I gained back all the weight I had lost and amc now back to 260. Drat. I just need to figure out how to control my eating. And go on longer rides.

Speaking of longer rides, I decided to take somewhat of a detour on my ride home today and ride to Xenia Station, which is the old railway station in Xenia, Ohio that acts as a hub for several very long rail trails in the area. I hadn't ever been to Xenia, so I wasn't sure exactly how far it would be. Turns out to be a little over 6 miles out of my way to the east, and therefore 12 miles from home--so I basically added 12 miles miles today. It's a pretty good ride, though next time I think I'll try to have a goal in mind for something to do when I get there. I don't know if there's actually anything to do in Xenia, but I guess I'll find out.

Since I'm shooting for a solid month of going car free and I drove yesterday to come home from vacation, I am going to try to go without driving for the next 29 days. It could be interesting.

And as a reward (or punishment) for reading this far, I bring you a story.


My parents and the family next door have always hosted a big 4th of July picnic in our neighborhood. It has expanded from a neighborhood gathering to a huge and unnameable beast of reveling--if by reveling one means playing horseshoes, throwing washers, and participating in the newly popular game of cornholing. Anyway, there are a lot of people that show up. They aren't important right now.

For the first time ever in 28 years of having this party, it was a rainy day. Not constant downpours, but it never went very long without dropping some form of rain on our heads. In many ways we thought this was a favor to us, because wet ground = safer fireworks.

What? Fireworks, you ask? Why yes, we happened to have a bag of those. It was kind of interesting getting them lit since it was lightly raining, but the neighbors had a propane torch that did an excellent job of simultaneously drying and igniting the fuses.

Someone happened to purchase a Large Thing. I don't remember exactly what model it might have been, but it was of this variety. Those are totally the coolest fireworks ever. It is possible that one should think carefully about placement before setting them off, though.

The box was set on the sawhorse we were using as a bas for firework-lighting. The blowtorch was ignited. The fuse was lit. Got got away. We aimed it away from our faces. We cheered as the first shot showed us that it was worth the price of admission.

We watched the second shot fire at a 45 degree angle. Some confusion existed, though I just assumed we had ended up buying the one that had a few shots that fired at angles. It was rather hard to see the box of firework since our eyes were somewhat dazed. It became clear that somethign was amiss though when we saw that the box was in fact facing downward toward the ground, and fired a shell straight in.

"Oh crap, RUN!" shouted a nearby person who apparently was not ready to become a corpse. It was decided that this was good advice, so we followed it as quickly as we could.

Events chose this moment to speed up.

I turned to run, slipping on the wet grass and going to all fours. The shot that had fired into the ground went off, flipping the box just upright enough to fire the next shell at pretty much the location where I was trying to find my feet.

I heard a "thunk" and look to my left to see a 3"...thing. It is emitting orange sparks. It is about three feet from my face. In other circumstances it might be considered quite pretty, though at this time it rather reminded me of a live grenade. After a few more (unsuccessful) attempts to regain my feet, I decide that the best bet is probably to duck and cover. I roll away from it and cover my had with my arms.

BOOOM is what the firecracker has to say about the situation.

At this point the firework seems to have settled on firing into the empty field adjacent to the house, so we watch the last shot or two explode at ground level.

I for one am laughing madly at this point.

That was AWESOME, I state. America is the BEST.

It was all fun and games, because no one lost an eye.

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