free to succeed!

the only fireworks i recall playing with growing up were sparklers. and i only remember playing with sparklers in texas. when i was in high school. clearly i was deprived.

texas was the first place i remember booths set up at intersections for selling fireworks. usually buy 1 get 12 free. i’m not sure how it was that we never stopped at any booths or bought any fireworks. was it the prevailing sense of safety in our family coupled with a tendency for watt’s to lose fingers? was it the expense? $50 for a snack pack of fireworks that spit out sparks and flames for all of 15 minutes. but who among us would not have loved 15 minutes of sparks and flames in our driveway? maybe it was illegal to set off fireworks within the city limits.

i think the first time i bought my own fireworks was at a tent set up in new hope commons, the strip mall between chapel hill and durham. this was a big, inviting white tent. i couldn’t help myself. i had never stopped at or been to one of those booths before. i had to see what was in the tent. they had fireworks. many, many fireworks. so many i didn’t even know where to start. buy a box set? i’m sure i got a variety for $20 or 30 dollars. i remember setting them off on campus in the bricked in pavillion behind the psychology building.

tonight i went to joy and kyle’s 4th of july bbq in sebastopol, replete with drink monkeys and blended beverages. after some frisbee we walked over to the safeway for fireworks. and saw this guy’s wicked tat:

july 4th tattoo

he was buying fireworks at the same time that we picked up the “nite thriller” (regularly priced at $63.42!!!), but for a limited time only, $39.99. i’m pretty sure conrad was playing air guitar with our fireworks. he was that psyched.

conrad fireworks air guitar

after getting back we put a whole lotta meat on the grill and with the help of a wireless meat thermometer, we knew when to sit down to eat. from left to right that’s dawn, conrad, marcia, joy, and kyle.

everyone sitting down to a fourth of july feast

then we drank until the sun went down, and did this:

picture of fireworks

and this:

picture of fireworks

for 15 minutes. until we smelled of sulfur and had the garbage can set fire. it was loud, and smoky, but made for loverly night photos. finally the fireworks were spent and we were spent and it was time to clean up and head home.

update: joy’s photos (some of me in there, mostly making faces)



It was prevailing sense of safety in our family, and our family tendency lose fingers that was partly the reason. However it was illegal to set off fireworks within the Austin city limits which was the clincher. Yet as a kid growing up in Buffalo it was illegal to have fireworks, but I distinctly remember the times when cherry-bombs, M80s, and other nasty fireworks were available to us kids. Canada was nearby and they were legal there and people would smuggle them in to the States. We would remotely detonate old plastic models, etc. using a large battery, and a wire filament wrapped around the fuse. We would sink old ships in my backyard above-the-ground pool. What fun! In high school I even had a friend who made in his basement an exposive mixture with sulpher and aluminum powder which we bought at a nearby industrial concern. Yet another buddy of mine from college had done one further and lost a hand in his explosives experimentation. Gosh, now just where are those ol’ days now.


so that’s what Californians look like :o)

yikes, i just realized that all the non-fireworks photos were mad-underexposed. should be better now (may require a shift+reload).


I’d like to point out that I’m pretty sure it was you who set the garbage can on fire.

i’m not so sure about that. however i was definitely the one who put the fire out, as everyone looked on in drunken horror.


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