Ever wonder how much propane you have left for your barbecue? We have this pressure gauge thing that mostly works to let us know, but these new transparent propane cylinders have been a long time coming. I have to have one.

Update: Looks like they’re between $80-100. You can get one here or here.

It’s going to be a long day today. I am every shade of aching, from my head down to the small of my back. I can type well enough, which is good, but I can’t write because I can’t frickin’ grip anything. Just goes to show how much of a desk jockey I am, that the fireworks show on the fourth took it out of me that badly. In my defense, it is a lot of hard work. I normally don’t go out digging trenches and whatnot.

I’m also vastly undercaffeinated, so it’s time to fire up the ol’ Mountain Dew train and get on board.

Greg was awesome enough to get Jenn and I some Western Display Fireworks crew shirts so we’ll look all official next time we’re working (Western is who we do the shows for).

Big Cheese of the South
SeasIn other news, I have been playing Hexic on Xbox 360 and finally got a black pearl cluster, giving me 20 pride-filled Gamerpoints. It’s been a long time in the works getting there, so I’m pretty stoked. You should have seen the [pain-ridden] victory dance last night.

I’ve taken a loooong weekend, from June 30 - July 5, for a couple of reasons. The first is my sister’s wedding. The second is fireworks… but that’ll be a different entry.

Tori and
BrandonMy sister Tori was married to a fellow named Brandon on Saturday, July 1. The ceremony was held in the Mormon temple in Bellevue, WA, so I didn’t actually get to see it. Instead, Jenn and I made the three-and-a-half-hour-each-way trip up and back on Saturday to be at the reception, also held in Bellevue, on Saturday afternoon.

Friday (the 30th) was Jenn and I getting things done so we were ready for the trip Saturday.

Saturday around 11:00a we left so we could be there at 3:00p for pictures (and maybe stop on the way for something to eat). We got there in time to have some lunch at Burgermaster (Jenn’s first time!) and did, in fact, make it for the pictures.

At the reception we got to meet a lot of Brandon’s family and we saw a few folks from ours that we don’t normally get to see, which was good. It was hot, so we mostly tried to stay in the shade, but there was a nice garden setup with some tables and such in shady areas, so Jenn and I relaxed and enjoyed the festivities.

At about 6:30p, the reception was over, Tori and Brandon left, and Jenn and I were once again on the road for a long drive home. We got home a little after 10:00p.

Congratulations, Brandon and Tori!

traffic comments edit

We haven’t done a Traffic Asshole of the Week for a while, so let’s give you two in one shot.

The setup: Once a year in my neighborhood they advertise in the paper for a development-wide garage sale. Everyone with something to sell can pop their garage doors open and hawk their wares. This causes a parking nightmare as everyone in the neighboring states floods into my development to buy up junk.

The photo: Taken through my front window blinds. Let’s study this one:

Two parking assholes in
one

There are two (2) assholes in this one.

The first one is the blue minivan clearly parked right in front of my driveway. That’s parked - not “we let someone off and kept the engine running,” but fully “we shut off the engine and don’t plan on moving while people with us are walking up and down the block.” (These folks watched me stare them down through my front window and ignored me… until they saw me pull the camera out, then decided maybe parking illegally in front of my driveway wasn’t the greatest idea and pulled out.)

The second asshole is the green SUV across the street. Two issues with this guy. First, he’s parked facing the wrong way (at least in Oregon, you must park in the direction cars travel; this is a two-way street, so he’s parked facing the wrong way). Second, he’s facing the wrong way whilst (and at the same time) being parked on a block marked “No Parking.”

Sometimes, you have to wish you drove a tow truck.

Once again, as is the seeming custom for the past three years, Jenn and I trekked out to Clatskanie to do the fireworks show with Greg.

This time, I got some photos of the trip, so folks who aren’t native Oregonians, or even folks who are, who somehow always tell me about how “beautiful the drive is” around these parts… I got photos to show you it’s not all that.

First, we packed up the car with all nature of interesting things:

The car, packed with tools and
goodies.

We updated the list from last year, removing a few things we didn’t end up needing and adding a few we decided we did:

  • Two (2) shovels - One scoop, one spade
  • Two (2) pairs leather gloves (one for each of us)
  • Two (2) folding camp chairs
  • One (1) folding camp table
  • One (1) cooler filled with:
    • Six (6) bottles water, two (2) frozen
    • Six (6) bottles Gatorade (fruit punch flavor)
  • Two (2) moist wash cloths in plastic bags
  • One (1) army surplus canvas jacket (for Travis to wear during show; Jenn to borrow fire uniform)
  • One (1) pair knee pads (for Travis to wear during show; Jenn doesn’t own any)
  • One (1) digital camera
  • Two (2) books (for reading during off-times)
  • One (1) iPod
  • Two (2) cell phones with car chargers for each
  • One (1) bottle Excedrin Migraine
  • One (1) box pseudoephedrine
  • One (1) box DayQuil
  • One (1) bottle SPF 45 sport sunscreen
  • One (1) can of spray mosquito repellant
  • Two (2) pairs sunglasses (one each for Travis and Jenn, respectively)
  • One (1) beach umbrella
  • Two (2) hats (one each for Travis and Jenn, respectively)
  • One (1) pocketknife
  • One (1) metal rake
  • One (1) container Wet Wipes moist towelettes
  • Assorted boxes dry food (crackers, granola bars, etc.)

To that list next year, we need to add one (1) box Imodium (don’t ask) and we will probably have to substitute some pseudoephedrine analog since Oregon has screwed all cold and allergy sufferers with their new anti-meth laws and now pseudoephedrine, the only working decongestant, requires a prescription. Thanks, Oregon, that’s really solving the issue. But I digress.

We packed up shop and set out for Clatskanie.

Jenn driving us to
Clatskanie

The next two photos show what the trip looks like. Again, this is for those folks who keep insisting the drive is “so beautiful” or whatever. The whole trip is one of these two ways:

Rolling brown grass
hillsTreesTreesTreesTrees

Either you get “beautiful” rolling brown grass fields, or you get the “excitement” of seeing trees trees trees trees trees for miles on end. Let me tell you, you grow up in Oregon, the drive’s not so awesome. Been there, done that.

Once you get to the small town of Clatskanie, you are welcomed with a sign:

Welcome to Clatskanie Heritage Days - July
4

The sign - “Welcome to Clatskanie Heritage Days” - is interesting because it’s only one day, to my knowledge. Just the Fourth. Not “days,” but “day.” Heh.

Okay, so you get into Clatskanie and you have to wait to go down to the fireworks site because people are lining the streets to watch the parade go down the only major street in town. The town’s effectively shut down because you can’t get to an entire side of it, due to the parade.

People line the street to watch the
parade.

So Jenn and I end up eating at Subway. When the lunch rush shows up to Subway, you know the parade is over and you can get down to the fireworks site.

The wastewater treatment plant is through town and down a gravel road.

The road to
Shitville

In that picture, you can kind of see the yellow fireworks truck in the field on the right. If you can’t make it out, that’s okay - here’s what it looks like when you get there:

The truck, first thing in the
morning.

The dirt is the trench we get to fill with mortar tubes. The black pile is a few of the tubes - the rest are in the truck.

And, of course, for those curious, here’s the wastewater treatment plant proper (this was taken later, when the truck had been moved away from the trench):

Wastewater treatment plant -
fun!

So the big part of the day is putting mortar tubes into the trench that the city dug out with a backhoe for us. Here are the mortars getting set up at various stages of progression:

Burying the
mortars... A side view of the
trench.

Once you get the mortars buried, you load the shells into them. Here’s the whole thing, set up and ready to go:

Shells loaded, ready to
light.

The ones at the end have aluminum foil over them to ensure they don’t go off inadvertently during the show due to debris accidentally lighting them. In the middle of the show, if one goes off early, folks won’t generally notice. If the finale goes off early, you’ll notice.

Greg actually kept a decent running blog of the loading process and has some good pictures, if you’re interested. Definitely worth checking out. I think he’ll later be putting up a time lapse video of the setup. I’m stoked to see that. Anyway…

The rest of the day is spent “camping,” sort of hanging out waiting for the show to start. Here’s the group of us in front of the trench. You can see how big the trench really is in this one. It’s gotta be a good couple of hundred feet.

Camping by the
trench.

Camping there isn’t too exciting, hence why you bring a book or whatever. I spent some time harassing a nearby llama (talking to it, walking around calling to it, etc.), which was kind of fun.

The llama really wanted nothing to do with
me.

10:00p was showtime, and the show went well (as usual). I lit several and also stood back to supervise some and make sure all the people who wanted to light shells got to, helping Greg swap people in and out.

Cleanup was a pain (also as usual) and my back and neck are sore today from pulling the mortar tubes out of the trench. We ended up getting home about 1:00a, exhausted, dirty, ready for shower and bed.

I’ll definitely be doing it again, but I’m hoping Greg gets off his lazy ass and gets his commercial driver’s license so we can do a different show. The Clatskanie show is fun (and hard work), but it’d be neat to see something different next year.