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Totally Blowing Shit Up Tuesdays: A Little Late Coming

July 7, 2009

I realize that we've just passed the prime fireworks celebrations round this here grand continent of ours, with July 1st being Canada Day and July 4th being New & Creative Ways of Blowing Your Fingers Off Day here in America. At my joint, I shot off some fountains and the kids got to experience the joys of Pop-Its. We even took them outside after dark so they could see the little burst of light that comes when you throw those little white bags against some solid object. Pyromania starts early round the Jenks household.

I'll readily admit that I'm an amateur when it comes to these fun time explosives. For the big, brutal stuff, I tend to leave that to the professionals, and so Saturday evening we crowded into a parking lot with a three thousand other sweaty southerners and watched as mortars and fountains flew hundreds of yards into the sky. might get things wrong here and there, but you always know how to throw a party.

While I freely revel in my amateur fireworks nature, some people don't. There's this thing called the Pyrotechnics Guild International, which has a membership of around 5000 people, and a lot of them are amateurs who make their own fireworks. They then gather together somewhere flat and open and shoot these things off, which is cool. And, most of the time, they do it without costing anybody an eye or a finger or a testicle, which is even cooler.

Given that I work with stuff that, if I fuck up, will go boom, I would shy away from making my own fireworks. That doesn't mean I'm not fascinated. Aside from the obvious fascination with fireworks--they go boom!--the chemist in me is appeased by how you can take some finely powdered minerals and, when they burn, they burn with pretty colors. Awesome. A practical application for that lab you did in high school where you dipped a copper ring in a solution of something and then shoved it into a bunsen burner and observed the color that it glowed.

The following video is from the PGI convention in 2002, and it features a couple of big "creamora bombs" and a whole shit ton of firecrackers. This is blowing shit up in a most elegant way. And by elegant I mean loud.

I saw that there was this dude named Fred who made an aerial rocket that featured fourteen or fifteen (or maybe more) different colors in the rocket when it fired off, one right after the other. Unfortunately, I couldn't find that video. Fred is a bit of a notorious character within the PGI because one year he made a mortar shell that didn't go off quite right and detonated on the ground, tearing a gaping hole in the earth about the size of a horse. Unfortunately, I couldn't find that video, either.

However, we here at Totally Blowing Shit Up Tuesdays salute you, Fred, for your tireless devotion to making things go boom on a grander and more vibrant scale than anyone else. And for having all ten fingers and toes.


Eric said...

Keeping the digits are the prime directive... I've read that they compress the powders and aluminum powder with hydraulic presses. Yikes! If that is not asking for trouble...

Jess said...

I don't understand why more people don't want to be chemists.

dg said...

OK, I really hope there was a giant firetruck sitting outside the frame of that video. AND, some asshat in my town tried to create homemade fireworks in his basement using a mixture of something or other + gunpowder and it totally blew his fucking face off.

He's dead now.

I'm glad I don't have that video.

Nej said...

I guess there's some big hoity toity fireworks manufacturers convention here in Omaha every year. Mot was on duty that day, and ended up sitting in the field with all of the sales reps. The companies launch each firework, one by one, and the merchants write on a clip board which ones and how many of them they want. He said it was fun to watch.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

All I have to say to your final salute to Fred is, "no shit, right?"

That was a mighty righteous video of shit totally blowing up.

snowelf said...

I suppose this is very old school because I saw it years ago, but have you ever seen the video where they attempt to blow up a beached whale?

It was not pretty.


the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Eric: I assume that if you gradually put pressure on these, they don't go boom right away. However, you won't find ME trying that any time soon.

@ Jess: Because then they have to work with assholes like me.

@ dg: This is blowing shit up Tuesdays, not fatally mutilating yourself by being an idiot Tuesdays. You'll find no such explosions here with me. Hopefully.

@ Nej: Do any of them write "All of them...and an army of evil robots to do my bidding" on their clipboards? That would rule. Also, it would tell me where my friend Phil ended up.

@ Candy: Fred seemed like a pretty funny guy, in that aw shucks kind of way. When I saw him interviewed, he sort of bashfully admitted to rending the Earth asunder with the awesome power of his explosives. He's not allowed to make mortar shells for the convention any more.

@ Snowelf: You mean this one?

All I had to say to that was "Thar she blows!" Yeah, it's a tired joke at this point, but one of my crowning achievements when it comes to internet comedy.

Scope said...

I tend to let other blow themselves up good.

And thanks for the link.

LiLu said...

"All ten fingers and toes..."

That means he has five of each, doesn't it?

snowelf said...

Yes! I did mean that one! :)