Yesterday Was Great Fun
Friday morning: got up late… 9am. Lounged around in bed til 10. Had breakfast. I had soft boiled eggs. I haven’t had a soft boiled egg since I was a kid. It was great!
As we were finishing up breakfast, Lorie and Cindy (our next door neighbors) came by and we had a second breakfast. We cooked up a couple more soft boiled eggs… and with the buttered toast cut into strips that you dip into the egg… mmm! And then you use a tiny spoon to scoop out the barely hardened white. Yum! Cindy brought apple crisp and Lori apple pie and pumpkin pie. We chatted and frittered the morning away.
Charlotte and I went to geeking for a while. Charlotte fell asleep for a few hours while I geeked out. She got up at 3.
I didn’t get out of the house til 4 I had been planning on lighting stuff on fire at the Box Shop starting at 2pm. I was a little bummed at myself. I ran around looking for lamp oil; Bells didn’t have any but Cole’s Hardware came to the rescue. JDV had suggested lamp oil for my dangerous experiment.. it turned out to not be nearly flammable enough, but I’ll get to that soon enough…
Got to the Box Shop at 4:45 and set to cleaning out some Hudson sprayers I had gotten at
a yard sale a couple days ago. I got the sprayers for free after chatting with the owners about FLG and how beer and wine is made :-).
I just barely got one of the sprayers working when Ray told me how it was time we go on our beer run in the SWARM Mothership. It was just the two of us since Cory hadn’t shown up yet. So we were off to the Dogpatch Saloon in the Mothership. Ray had just installed a siren… a real woooooOOOOooooo siren along with the ground effects lighting and the ah-WOO-gah horn. It was a pretty nice (if somewhat strenuous) ride. We got to the Dogpatch and they said they were closed; they were only there because they were waiting for supplies for a party the next day. Standing around, a couple people gawked at our crazy transportation device including the lead singer of Spellbound, a Siouxsie and the Banshees cover band. The shorter person she was travelling with had a couple Full Metal Alchemist books under his arm: groovy.
Cory arrived so we decided to go to the wine bar just 2 doors down. We had fun not understanding the wine menu, paying $13 for 3 ity bity slivers of cheese and some $40 mediocre table rosé. At least the serving-lady was nice and they had some fire-art in the back corner. Charlotte showed up and we started having fun. We needed some food so we were off to The Ramp down the street.
The Ramp was dead… kitchen closed and heat off. When the guy called “last round!” (it was 8pm) we decided to head off. We had fun chatting with some people about the Mothership and exchanging wwwoooOOOOoooo’s with a guy in a van with a megaphone set to “woo”.
So it was off to Jordan’s House of Ribs on 3rd Ave. When we walked in (legs burning from the ride), I’ll admit that, at first, I felt a little like Flounder in Animal House. I thought some big black guy was going to walk up to us and ask, “Do you mind if we dance with your dates?” It puts one on edge when one is in an environment that one is not accustomed to. After a few minutes, all was well. Our food arrived and all was well indeed. We talked for a while and had fun. After we finished, Corey asked about my fire experiment again… “Do you have everything you need at the shop?” “I’ve got a gallon of lamp oil in the trunk and a Hudson sprayer ready!” “Well, let’s go!” So we were on our way back to the Box Shop.
The plan was that I’d make an aerosol cloud of a flammable liquid a few feet over a flame. Eventually the cloud would settle onto the flame and [whooosh!] the cloud would ignite, burning from near the ground up a few feet. I was a bit worried that I’d create a fuel-air bomb, which wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. That’s when you get the fuel-air mix just right and it burns explosively, creating a blast wave that the Vietcong said was “no fun”.
We settled on spraying oil over a wood fire; getting all the piping for a propane fire going safely would have been a bother and… well, wood fires are easy. I poured 1/4 gallon of lamp oil into the Hudson sprayer and pumped it up. I had some trouble getting the mister nozzle to spray at all so I took it off. So I could spray a sharpie-thick stream of lamp oil onto the burning barrel. When a a 1/5 second blast hit the barrel, it would steam for a moment and then ignite, and the fire would spread quickly and then die down a few moments later. Pretty cool.
We all took turns at spreading the fire around and had quite a bit of fun. I played with the nozzle a bit and finally got it to spray a mist… oil is thicker than water so I had to loosen it a bit. But still no “whoosh”. We then switched to 50% oil / 50% gasoline. That was better. We could get the fire to jump a bit when the mister was working just so but feh. When we ran out of oil, we switched to 100% gasoline. Now that’s what I was talkin’ about! A couple times I was able to get the fire to ignite in mid-air and climb like… like nothing I’ve ever seen! It’s a tiny bit like Nate Smith’s Fire Vortex in the way that the fire sometimes climbs off the ground but certainly it is a very different effect! It’s very much of a “cloud on fire” kind of thing. There are many permutations that I’m going to have to try. I’m very excited about this effect!
We’d know we found a neat effect when we’d all go “Ooo!” at the same time. Or when the person with the sprayer would get “that laugh”. A little bit mad scientist, a little bit… mad hatter!
Ok, now I’ve got to get this going really well. I need MORE POWER! More pressure in the sprayer, finer droplets, more mist on the target, possibly a more flammable liquid like denatured ethyl alcohol. I’m going looking for these systems ASAP!
- Napped and ate the day away
- Went to 5 bars
- Drove a really cool art vehicle around town
- Got plenty of excercise
- Discovered and played with a new flame effect with friends
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