Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sarah's Top Three lines for today

Sarah ruled the verbal roost today, so in honor of her achievements, here are her Top Three statements.

3) I'm staring at my grilled cheese sandwich, and I'm getting quite excited.

2) That reminds me of a butter dish I've been coveting.
And, in first place is the line she said just before the above comment:
1) I'm just sayin', I don't want to hear any more about Kyle's penis on a butter dish.
Yes, you had to be there.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Today, I

finally got around to paying my bills and cleaning up my personal finances. The reason is that I am on day one of my vacation; tomorrow, we head to the beach. I intend to avoid email during this time, try to blog something silly and beach-y each day, relax, and heal from my fatigue and what feels like a very large, very inflamed soul bruise.

In the course of dealing with the stack of paperwork I had foolishly let build into a small but menacing tower, I also sent a little money to the reading charity for which I did some fund-raising at Balticon and a rather larger amount to Falling Whistles to get the Children No More program rolling. I hope we can be lucky enough to sell a lot of hardbacks and raise a lot of money.

Now, though, I must crash, for despite the timestamp on this entry, it's actually well past three a.m., and I am exhausted.

My next entry will come from the beach.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Those Fourth of July pictures I've been promising

are now available here. My thanks to Gina for supplying them.

Still photos can never even come close to capturing all that happens during a fireworks show; for that matter, video can't, either. The experience of being right there with the fireworks and the noise is something qualitatively different. That said, Gina's pictures are lovely and provide a sense of some of the individual rounds and a few of the more complex groupings that we fired into the heavens that beautiful Sunday evening.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The day after the day after

was, as Dave noted when he sent me this photo, rather impressive in its own right. Parts of the ash pile were still glowing hot.

As I trust is obvious, the show and the party are a great deal of work for me--and for a lot of other folks. It's also expensive: my share of the fireworks plus various party foods (e.g., hot dogs and hamburgers for a hundred people) and supplies runs about $1.5K. Many folks who are aware of these facts have asked me why I keep doing it.

The short and easy answer is that it's awesome and it's clearly worth what it costs me.

The longer version sounds dopey, but I'll tell you anyway: it touches my heart profoundly and in many ways at once.

I scream with primal release during some of the rounds. I smile and laugh with joy during others.

My world reduces to the glorious, exploding sky.

I paint the sky and my art--the art of all of us in the field--blazes and shrieks and stuns dozens and dozens of friends.

Time compresses amazingly; forty minutes in the real world feels like ten when you're out there under the fireworks.

The danger rush is always present at a cellular level; even though your brain knows you're doing everything safely, your body is convinced you're at severe risk.
I could stand under those shooting stars all night long.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Some Fourth pictures

As many of you pointed out, the link I posted did not work. It appears that Kodak's gallery, which Gina uses for her photos online, does not want to let her share those pictures with the world. So, while she looks around for another Web-based home for her lovely photographs, I thought I'd pass on a few that are available now.

Almost all come courtesy of Steve, who posted over a dozen on a Flickr page. Check them out here.

The exception is this lovely day-after photo, which Dave supplied.

Dave sets up the launch area before we arrive, which is a nice treat. A far bigger treat, however, is the work he does after every show: he hauls in the tarps and launch pallets, polices the area, and then burns the trash. As you can probably tell from this picture, the burn pile is impressive.

I'm already looking forward to next year's show!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Blowing up 1,300 pounds of fireworks

is an insane amount of fun, but it's also a great deal of work--at least to do safely and in a choreographed manner, as we did. (Pouring gas on them and dropping one match would also yield a cool result, but a differently cool one. We'll stick with what we're doing now.) Our annual Fourth of July party was the biggest ever, with well over a hundred people coming for the food and many more arriving just for the show.

I've written before in this blog about how amazing it is to stand under the fireworks and watch them soar and explode over your head, so I won't go into it much this evening, but I must note this: It is one of the most primal, joy-filled experiences I have each year. I believe most, if not all, of the others on the launch team feel the same way.

Gina was gracious enough to assemble a photo album of some of her shots of the show. Though I can barely stand to look at my fat, old self, the pictures without me are so good that I have to pass it to you all. CORRECTION: I had a link here, but it was to a Kodak photo-sharing site, and we could never make it work. Sorry.
The show lasted about forty minutes. Out in the field, in the noise and the color and the world exploding overhead, it felt like ten. Magic, sheer magic. I wish you all could have been there.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

UFC 116: How we did

With the exception of the main event, last night's card looked to be one of weaker recent UFC offerings. Instead, it proved to be a very entertaining set of fights; only the first televised fight was at all dull.

For Kyle and me, it was a rare tie: we disagreed on two fights, and we each got one right.

Let's see how we did, starting with the undercard.

Jon Madsen vs. Karlos Vemola

I expected Madsen to take down Vemola repeatedly and grind out a decision. Kyle thought Vemola would be able to stuff Madsen's take-downs and land a KO. I was right, at least from what I read; we did not get to see this fight. Madsen won a unanimous decision and carried every round.

Daniel Roberts vs. Forrest Petz

Another fight we didn't see. We both chose Roberts, with Kyle expecting a submission win and me going for a decision victory. Roberts indeed won, and with a split decision.

Dave Branch vs. Gerald Harris

Spike TV's fights ran short, so we got to watch this one. Both fighters looked good, but Harris dominated the fight. Halfway through the third round, Branch pulled a standing guard by leaping onto Harris. Harris lodged his forearm across Branch's neck and then slammed Branch onto the canvas for an amazing knock-out victory. Wow.

Kendall Grove vs. Goran Reljic

After what Grove said about Spike, I'm surprised the UFC showed this fight, but at the very end of the PPV, it did. I'm glad. We both picked Grove, and I thought he would win handily. He didn't dominate Reljic, but he did win via split decision. These guys put on a heck of a fight and left it all in the cage.

On to the two fights that Spike TV committed to broadcast; as I noted above, Spike ended up showing three.

Ricardo Romero vs. Seth Petruzelli

We both chose Romero, and consequently we both spent most of the first round sweating this fight. Petruzelli dominated him for most of that five minutes, and Romero looked tired and out of shape. He didn't look much better in the second, but then he managed to slap on an arm bar and hurt Petruzellis badly enough that he screamed as he submitted. So, we were right, but barely so.

Brendan Schaub vs. Chris Tuchscherer

Schaub didn't need a full round to fulfill our victory prediction. He destroyed Tuchscherer, and if he sweated at all, it was because he was punching so fast.

The main card's five matches brought several big surprises.

Kurt Pellegrino vs. George Sotiropoulos

Sotiropoulos won, as we expected, but it took all three rounds and a unanimous decision. Man, that guy is great on the ground--but Pellegrino put up a superb fight.

Stephan Bonnar vs. Krzysztof Soszynski

In the first shocker of the main card, Stephan Bonnar, bleeding and looking weak, rallied in the second round and defeated Soszynski by TKO. The American Psycho proved both of us wrong and kept his UFC job.

Chris Lytle vs. Matt Brown

We both chose Lytle, which was the right pick, but no one expected him to win by submission, as he did. These two tore into one another, and Brown won the first round. No matter; Lytle locked on an arm-bar well before the end of the second.

Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Chris Leben

The big surprise of this fight was just how great it was. These two guys gave it everything they had, and neither of them ever backed up an inch. For almost all of three rounds they beat the snot out of one another, with Akiyama probably slightly ahead. With twenty seconds to go, however, Leben pulled out a triangle choke and submitted Akiyama--giving Kyle the victory in this disputed fight and leaving the two of us tied.

Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin

Holy shit. Carwin rocked Lesnar in the first, took him down, and beat on him for several minutes. Lesnar was bloody and looked at times as if he couldn't take more, but every time one of us was about to say the ref should stop it, Lesnar defended himself just enough to keep the bout going.

At the break between rounds, Lesnar looked calm, and Carwin looked gassed.

In the second round, Carwin hit Lesnar with a hard right, but Lesnar stayed up and ultimately took down Carwin. Once Lesnar was on top, he quickly passed to mount, moved to side control, got an arm triangle, and eventually gained enough leverage to cause Carwin to tap. Lesnar then leapt on the fence and punched himself in the face many times.

At the post-fight interviews, Carwin was still fighting for air, while Lesnar did a face turn and spoke as if he hadn't even worked out.


Though we did pretty darn well once again, as always, don't use us for betting advice!


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