Blowing Sh*t Up For Fun And Profit

For those of you who don’t know it, I like fire. All kinds of fire. Flamethrowers, road flares, Bic lighters, candles, fully engulfed oceangoing oil tankers, the sun.

Of all forms of fire, I think I love fireworks the very best. How can such small things contain such massive amounts of fiery goodness? One word. Chemicals. I love chemicals! Ok, back to fireworks. I have had a serious obsession with fireworks since I was a wee lad in short pants. My earliest memory must be from the womb when mom went to a firework show at Griffith park. I remember it like the day…

Last year a friend (who really likes espresso) suggested to me that I earn my pyrotechnician’s license. I thought this was a magnificent idea! He brought it up again last month and I went ahead and registered.

I went to my first class today and I’m going to ace this thing. We spent the day focusing on safety for the crew, crowd, and ground based flammable objects other than flammable people. We were regaled with stories of people who, for one reason or another, were made to pay the stupid tax. Some of them were good enough to pay their own while others made bystanders pay it for them (the slimy bastards!)…

Ok, enough with the words. Y’all know how much little Foxfur loves him some photos, so, let’s get on with it!

Look! It’s a buffet!

A canister shell, triple-break shell, 2 inch through 12 inch round shells, electric matches, salutes (LOUD bangs), mines, and tools.


Mortars are the tubes used to launch the shells and are usually buried up to their necks in the ground or in sand filled boxes. When you hear the “Thump!” and see a dim trail of sparks heading upwards, it’s a shell that came from a mortar. The cylindrical base under the ball is filled with black powder, coarse grains unlike sporting powder, and functions in the mortar tube just like a cannon launching a cannon ball. Most of the time the shell goes up, goes bang, and the crowd goes “Ooh!”, “Ahh!”, or “Wheeeeee!”. In this instance the crowd probably went “WTF???”. The shell burst prematurely in the tube and kind of blew it to hell. I say kind of because that while it is obviously trashed, 95% of the tube is still there though not where it was when manufactured. The tube is made of HDPE which does not shatter or splinter. Instead, it deforms and largely stays intact preventing the nice fireworks man from being perforated and being made terribly unhappy.

A bank of three 5 inch mortar tubes.

The Foxfur shell… Swells until it bursts in a cloud of yay!

12 inch aerial fireworks shellI’m thinking of adopting! A fine example of a 12 inch aerial shell. The pattern (burst) is a bit over 500 feet in diameter.

Oh that silly Foxfur!

The next two classes will involve live firing of shells. After that I’ll be firing a show at a major northwest sporting event and one at a firefighting training facility. I’ll give them some good practice…

I’ve been told that I’ll be given a place on a team of pyrotechnicians at Burning Man 2012 to work on some major fireworks shows this year. This would be a true honor and privilege and would be one of the highlights of my burn. As goofy as I come off, you can bet your last dollar that I’m dead serious about safety, hard work, and attention to detail. If I’m going to put my name to something, I’m gonna do it right.

Updates to come…

How To Make A Glass Bottle

Today in 1895: Michael Joseph Owens patented an automatic glass blowing machine that could make multiple bottles at the same time. A represented a huge advance in bottle making, spurring the mass sale of beer, alcohol, and sodas.

I learned the above from a post on a great food blog I recently found, Foodimentary, whose author recently found my blog.

Intrigued by all machinery, I simply had to find details about automatic glass blowing. I found the following video and it is absolutely fascinating. The cinematography and soundtrack truly make the video outstanding. The real action begins at 1:30.

I’ll never look at glass bottles the same…

Burning Man’s Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) Policy Change

Burning Man’s Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) Policy Change

Posted by

Photo by Gina Hansen

Last week we announced (in “Rebuilding Black Rock City 2012”) changes to the sales process for Burning Man 2012 tickets, including adjustments to the Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP). At that time we announced a policy of allowing people to purchase only one (1) non-transferable ticket per person through STEP.

However, after further consideration and much feedback from you, we’ve decided that this policy is unfair to people who originally registered for two tickets in the Main Sale, one for themselves and one for their significant other, family member, friend, or campmate.

We hear you, and we’re listening. That’s why we’re adjusting this policy to allow people who originally registered for two tickets in the Main Sale to request a maximum of two tickets per person through STEP. (If our records show that you originally registered for only one ticket in the Main Sale, you can only request one ticket through STEP.) All tickets purchased through STEP are non-transferable, and will be held at Will Call only. These tickets should be for you (or you and an identified guest).

Also, it’s important to note that STEP will have only as many tickets available as there are people who sell their tickets into it. We believe that people will also be selling/giving tickets within their immediate circle of friends and local community- and we aren’t trying to change that. It’s likely that few will find themselves holding “extra” tickets without already having a friend or camp mate in need, so we don’t anticipate STEP will have a high, regular flow of tickets; we anticipate an early influx and then a trickle as people’s plans develop, though we’d be happy to be proven wrong on this. We also know that in any typical year, there is a fair amount of summertime turnover as the event gets closer and life events cause Burners’ plans to change. We encourage you to first seek out tickets from your immediate community of friends and cohorts, as well as any other avenues for acquiring face-value, legitimate tickets as you can find, without patronizing scalpers.

If you are eligible to participate in STEP, you’ll be receiving an email at the end of February with information about how to sign up. For more information about Burning Man tickets and STEP, please see our ticket page.

[UPDATED: 2/23/12] Burning Man will be staffing up the on-playa Box Office to accommodate however many tickets are being held at Will Call in order to keep wait times to a minimum.

Children are amaaazing…..


I found this amazing, unique, but brilliant installation online. It´s installed at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Ar, artist Yayoi Kusama. The installation, entitled The Obliteration Room, is part of Kusama’s Look Now, See Forever exhibition that runs through March 12.  I was inspired by: ThisisColossal

“The first four images courtesy Queensland Art Gallery and photographer Mark Sherwood. Additional images from Stuart Addelsee and hey bubbles.”

View original post

Hello! My name is Dan Brown…

Helena, of Project Vitriol, has a great post this morning.

She’s found an interesting website that analyzes your writing. You simply cut and paste text from your, or someone else’s, writing and it will tell you who you, or they, write like.

I pasted the text of my infamous epic tale of sushi betrayal into the text box and…

The expert analytical engine concluded that I am Dan Brown.

I suppose, in a way, that it might have a point. That seared albacore roll truly did engage in a rather complicated conspiracy against my taste buds and blew me away with a complex deception that I never would have foreseen. Who would have thought that a simple sushi roll could have participated in such treachery? Not I…

That entry left the mother of all legacies to fester within these pages. It is responsible for directing well over 700 people to my blog with the search terms “mouth shitting” and “shitting in mouth”. Yep. You heard me right. I want to know who the hell searches using this search string and what the hell they are hoping to find with it. I rather doubt that they are looking for my tale after hearing of it from a friend. Perhaps I should include a link to a German porn site here. Or not.

I will have to dig deeper in the future. As the next Dan Brown, heh heh, I owe conspiracy fans a compelling tale of intrigue and betrayal. I am staying in Portland this weekend, home to many enigmatic epicurean establishments. I shall sally forth in search of a dysphoric dining experience to be spun into a horrendous fable of facial food fornication.

26 Days of Freedom!

I had my last cigarette on January 15th at 8:30 in the morning.
My absolute favorite part about quitting is that I smell great! The odd thing is that I don’t smell it on other smokers. I went camping last week with a friend who smokes. Whether she smoked at her house, in the truck, or out in the open, it didn’t bother me in the least. I’m glad of this as I don’t want to become a smoking nazi. Secondhand smoke? Please… It is infinitely better than firsthand and is of no concern to me whatsoever as a health risk. If I had to spend the day in a refrigerator box with a smoker, my biggest concern would be that of odor.

My e-juice flavor library is ever expanding. As of today it includes:
Virginia Tobacco 24mg
Jolly Melon 24mg
Vanilla Cupcake 0mg & 24mg
Caramel Apple 24mg
Lemonade 24mg
Lemon-Lime 12mg

Johnson Creek:
Original 24mg
Bacon 18mg
Cola 36mg
Root Beer 36mg
Black Licorice 24 & 36mg
Honeydew 36mg
Cantaloupe 36mg
Watermelon 36mg
Melon Explosion 24 &36mg
Unflavored PG 36mg
Unflavored VG 36mg
Strawberry 36mg
Dekang Tobacco 36mg
Butter Rum 36mg
Coffee 36mg
Hangseng RY4 36mg (Tobacco, vanilla, caramel blend)

The milligram rating indicates the concentration of nicotine per milliliter. 36mg = 36mg/ml or 3.6% nicotine. 36mg is pretty much the top end in the spectrum. Not many people vape at 36mg but some of us like our nic-fix a bit stiff. All flavors from most vendors are available in multiple concentrations. Typically, these are 0mg, 6-8mg, 10-12mg, 18mg, 24mg, and 36mg. A few vendors have 48mg blends which seems like rocket fuel to me…

Amongst some of my favorites so far are:

Honeydew. A mildly sweet melony flavor that’s a dead ringer for a slice of honeydew right from the fridge. Amazing.

Lemon-Lime. More 7-Uppity than Spritely. Actually, it is very reminiscent of 7-Up from the 1970’s before they started replacing sugar with corn syrup.

Lemonade. Very similar in tast to homemade lemonade. A genuine lemony flavor that includes a little bit of sour and even gives you a teensy bit of pucker. Sweet and sour in just the right proportions.

Vanilla cupcake. It really does taste like a yummy cupcake with a hint of spice similar to gingerbread.

Hangseng RY4. Tastes like a fine cigarette with a cup of earl grey tea with honey. The slight citrus note is very pleasant and enhances the overall taste of it.

A note about RY4 blends. Almost every vendor makes an RY4 flavor. The flavor is characterized by a blend of tobacco, of which there are at least 100 flavors industry wide, with vanilla and caramel flavors added. The base tobacco flavor accounts for 50% or more of the blend with vanilla and caramel rounding out the balance in varying amounts. Not all flavorings are identical from maker to maker. One’s caramel will focus on the burnt sugar while another will focus on the buttery part of the flavor.

The juices cost from $1.89 per 5ml bottle to $13.99 per 50ml bottle from Madvapes. Goodprophets juices are $4 per 10ml bottle.

If you’ve ever wanted to quit smoking, this is the way. Consider trying e-cigarettes. I would highly recommend the CIG2O for a small cigarette look alike or a tank-fed model like the eGo-C for extended battery life and the ability to refill. Seriously think about getting the eGo-C as that’s what most folks discover they prefer. Some folks prefer other styles which I’ll go over in another post.

I love not smoking as much as I used to love somking.

I’m buying my e-cigarette supplies from Northwest Vapors. If you choose to shop at Northwest Vapors be sure to use the redemption code FOXFUR and receive a 10% discount on your entire order. You can use this on your first and every order after that. I told them I blog about E-Cigs (it is the most frequently accessed topic on this blog) and would like to be able to offer my readers a discount. They immediately created the Foxfur code. I am not paid or compensated by them for traffic directed over there. I simply want y’all to save some money and your health.

Smoking Bacon At Home (and on the go)

Last week I received my Ovale eGo-C personal vaporizer (e-cigarette) and am thoroughly enjoying it. I’m down to 2 smokes a day! More on that in another post. I’m now eagerly awaiting a tasty shipment from Johnson Creek Smoke Juice. They’re the folks that provide Blu e-cigarettes with all of their yummy flavors. And just what is this delicious flavor that I’m so eagerly anticipating?
Yep. Now there’s a way to get your USRDA of both bacon AND nicotine in one simple inhalation. Only a Luddite would fail to recognize how technological advancements like this can enhance our well-being and improve the overall human condition. Bacon with no fat, tar, carbon monoxide, or sodium. Amazing…

Bacon Smokers Rejoice!

I’m buying my e-cigarette supplies from Northwest Vapors. If you choose to shop at Northwest Vapors be sure to use the redemption code FOXFUR and receive a 10% discount on your entire order. You can use this on your first and every order after that. I told them I blog about E-Cigs (it is the most frequently accessed topic on this blog) and would like to be able to offer my readers a discount. They immediately created the Foxfur code. I am not paid or compensated by them for traffic directed over there. I simply want y’all to save some money and your health.

E-Cigarettes and Harm Reduction

Last New Year’s Eve I stopped into a Walgreens drug store and bought a disposable electronic cigarette. That one action has changed my life.

A Blu disposable cigarette

Being curious by nature, I just had to autopsy the disposable once done:

The Anatomy of a Blu Disposable Electronic Cigarette

I’ve been a smoker for nearly 34 years. Yeah, that’s what I said too. Until recently I was smoking a pack to a pack and a half a day. I’m now down to 3 cigarettes a day!
I didn’t buy the Blu e-cig with a plan to quit smoking in mind. No New Year’s resolution. Nope. It was just something that kind of intrigued me. Miss Bee, whom longtime readers of this blog know is a very close friend of mine, bought herself a Blu starter kit. It features rechargeable battery modules and replaceable vapor (smoke) cartridges that can be purchased online or at many retailers in the analog world.

Blu Reusable Electronic Cigarette

A Blu Starter Kit

I really liked the disposable units so i decided to pick up a starter kit. I wasn’t very impressed with the volume of vapor or the strength of the nicotine in the cartridges of the Blu reuseables. I am used to high nicotine and need the feeling of the “throat hit” when inhaling normal tobacco smoke and these were just not doing it for me. I’m different in this way I guess. Everyone I know who has the Blu’s enjoys them and I really do, to a point…

I learned that you can’t draw on an e-cig as you’d do on a normal one. You need to draw slowly and for 3 to 5 seconds to get a decent amount of vapor in your mouth before inhaling. That did help a bit but I was still craving more vapor and throat feeling.

Last night I found another brand, Cig20. A basic starter kit cost around $17 (vs $50 for the Blu) but comes with just one battery module and two cartridges along with a USB powered charger.
While Blu brand cartridges top out at the 16mg level, the Cig20’s go up to 24mg! The difference is dramatic. Much more vapor and a very definite “throat hit” that feels identical to smoking a genuine flame driven tobacco cigarette.

A Cig20 Electronic Cigarette

While I’m quite satisfied with the Cig20, I know I can do better. The main drawback to the Blu and Cig20 systems is that the cartridges are consumable thus requiring constant purchase of new ones. Although the math works out to around $2 per pack equivalent, a refillable cartridge system would be much less expensive. It just so happens that there is such an animal…
The Joye eGo-C Personal Vaporizer!

The eGo-C Personal Vaporizer

The Ego-C looks much different that the previous examples of electronic cigarettery I’ve shown you. Instead of being activated when you draw on it, it has a manual pushbutton that powers the heating element which vaporizes the nicotine bearing e-smoke fluid.
The only consumable in this system is the fluid and an occaisional battery or atomizer. BUT, the battery will last much longer in use, the vapor produced will be much more substantial, and the satisfaction of cravings will be awesome.
I am not intending to quit nicotine but rather quit the manifold chemicals that accompany traditional smoking. Electronic cigarettes eliminate smoke, tar, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, benzene, phosgene, and many other (1000’s) of chemicals and compounds that are produced by cigarettes. The e-cigs have very few ingredients and very few chemicals emitted and in quantities that are below typical exposure to traffic while driving. Nicotine in the amounts used here is not carcinogenic or toxic. I’m not pretending that it is 100% safe but I will say that it is 1000’s of times safer than inhaling smoke several hundred times per day
I’ve tried not to get too technical in this post but will go into more details after the eGo-C arrives and I learn more about it.

Oh yes. The fluid? 30 – 50ml is enough to last a month or so. Cost? $12 – $15, PER MONTH. The cost of cigarettes? At 1 1/2 packs a day, $270 PER MONTH!
Yeah. Really.
I’ll keep you posted.

I get my e-cigarette supplies at Northwest Vapors. If you choose to shop at Northwest Vapors be sure to use the redemption code FOXFUR and receive a 10% discount on your entire order. You can use this on your first and every order after that. I told them I blog about E-Cigs (it is the most frequently accessed topic on this blog) and would like to be able to offer my readers a discount. They immediately created the Foxfur code. I am not paid or compensated by them for traffic directed over there. I simply want y’all to save some money and your health.

Army Days, Part 1

Recently I’ve been thinking about stories from my army days that are pretty entertaining. I have a bunch of them that I’ll share over time. Here’s one that involves both Sweetpea and I (we met each other in the army).

Sweetpea and I served in a MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit. Our unit was participating in a combined arms training exercise at Fort Drum, New York. It was as close to combat as it comes with the only element missing being a hostile enemy shooting at you. There were armor, infantry, mechanized infantry, mechanized cavalry, artillery, signal, and close air support assets participating. At any moment of the day you could hear tanks rumbling by, the thukada thukada of helicopters skimming the treetops, tremendously loud and low fighters streaking through the sky, the booms and crumps of mortar and artillery fire, and the crackling of small arms fire from every quarter. Special forces units provided troops acting as ground based infantry opposition forces (OPFOR) to simulate enemy forces who would attack us as well as any other unit, stationary or on the move. Needless to say, it was fun as hell, at least for me…

I was the armorer for the unit. I provided weapons, ammunition, and weapons repair services to the troops in my unit as well as supplying them with rocket flares, smoke grenades, grenade simulators, and trip flares.

Packed with flash powder, these things make M-80’s sound like a fart in a hurricane…


Sweetpea was a combat medic. She would deploy in a HMMWV (Humvee) ambulance to assess, treat, and transport casualties back to the unit for medical services as required. She not only participated in simulated missions but also treated field injuries sustained by the troops in the exercise of which there were many. These included 3rd degree burns, broken bones, head trauma, and severed fingers. Training, especially combined arms exercises, produce plenty of real injuries and many are unfortunately unavoidable.

Sweetpea also served as our medical supply officer. As such, she was stationed with my section, unit supply, and was co-located in our area. This was a coed unit that provided separate bunking areas for the male and female soldiers. This policy was not rigidly adhered to. Sweetpea and I had our cots right next to each other in the supply tent (the better to provide manual support services at arm’s length…).

As a squared away supply section member I brought along fluorescent lighting fixtures from my shop, a refrigerator (for the beer that I did not bring, heh), and a TV / VCR combo unit among other comforts. Our tent became the defacto comfort station for visiting officers, observers, and dignitaries who did not enjoy the beer that we did not bring…
I also outfitted my weapons carrier with similar furnishings so that when the weapons racks were moved outside it became a posh little apartment, especially with the locking bolt that I installed on the inside of the door.
Sweetpea and I would use the carrier as needed to provide comfort to each other as needed. It quickly earned the title of “The Honeymoon Suite”. Sometimes, as we were performing duties together in the carrier, troops would come by and hit the sides of the truck with the butts of their rifles, jealous motherfuckers. Nothing throws off your rhythm quite like that does…
An important and crucial part of my personal gear was obtained in magic shops, joke shops, and firework stands. I brought everything from blackface soap to fish oil candy (butterscotch candy with a fish oil center), whoopie cushions to pull string poppers (a little black powder and duct tape made great tent flap surprise devices), and firecrackers to whistling petes. I dug and camouflaged a gung-ho fighting position (foxhole) behind our tent facing the outer perimeter and strung said perimeter with multiple lines of tripwire flares, flashbangs, and improvised devices. The fighting position even had overhead protection and was so well camouflaged that several times the OPFOR soldiers walked right up and over without noticing it which allowed us to shoot them in the back. Yay for the element of surprise! I dug a recessed shelf in the position to hold fireworks, smoke grenades, spare blank ammunition, and wrist rockets for Sweetpea and I to use against the filthy vermin who made it through our perimeter defenses.
One afternoon I heard the tak Tak TAK, TAKA-TAKA-TAKA-TAK! of small arms fire approaching our area. I immediately recognized the signature as being that of AK-47’s, the weapons employed by the slimy OPFOR operators. I informed the others in the tent, grabbed Sgt. Sweetpea by the hand, and bailed out the back of the tent with our weapons in hand. We beat feet out to the fighting position and dove in. Within seconds, the evildoers made it to the tent, stuck their muzzles inside, and dumped their magazines into the tent.
 Our supply sergeant, his assistant, and our commander, not believing my warning and remaining inside, were immediately “killed” and were marched to the holding area where they were held for the next few hours. Me and the Sweet One were laughing our asses off which drew two of the pukes to our position whereupon we immediately cut them down. Amateurs…
The best moment of the exercise, other than when I nudged over several trees with my truck to make room for our tent, was a nighttime raid. The OPFOR breached our perimeter thus setting off multiple pyrotechnic catastrophes and in the process totally blew their cover. Amongst some of the standard issue devices and methods of perimeter protection were some of my own non-regulation surprises. Included were whistling petes whose fuses had been duct taped over the ends of trip flares, broad and deep cat’s cradles of rope at ankle level, and tripwired soup cans filled with gravel. Right after the seedy bastards thought they’d passed the only regulation sentry devices and thought they could blend back into the night to conceal their positions, they hit our improvised defenses and became bogged down in confusion and chaos. At that time we began showering them with an unconventional fireworks barrage and bewildered the hell out of them.
We fired M-80’s by the dozen at them with our wrist rockets, sent volleys of tennis balls at them with remotely fired homemade mortars, and cut off their vision with smoke bombs and smoke grenades. With their senses totally overloaded by the shitstorm they set off, we started picking them off one by one. By the time we were through we’d knocked out the entire opposing force numbering fifteen. Remember, these were special forces soldiers sent up from Fort Bragg to show our pussy asses a thing or two about combat. Fuck yer day!
The next day, there was an enemy prisoner of war handling class at which we learned, you guessed it, how to handle enemy prisoners of war. Somehow, as it always seemed to happen, I was “volunteered” to be the EPW upon whom the SF soldiers would demonstrate. They picked me up, threw me down on my face, sat on my back, and trussed me up like a wild prairie chicken. They also courteously provided my mouth with gag and duct tape. “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” I mumbled through the tape.
They then began searching through my pockets. In my blouse pocket they found a love letter from Sweetpea which they read to the whole unit. Thanks special soldier. As they continued to search they happened upon a bar of blackface soap in my trouser pocket. Yep, another muffled “Fuck!”. My cover had been blown and the mess sergeant (who still had remaining traces of black by his ears and hairline) shouted in indignation that I would be getting nothing but oatmeal for the remaining duration of my time in the field.
The pièce de résistance came when the SF soldier withdrew a handful of M-80’s and firecrackers from my cargo pocket.
“Well no shit, this is what must have hit us out on the perimeter last night! Were you on the northeast perimeter?” he said.
“Fuck yeah I was, you damned dirty ape!” I mumbled.
The whole class busted up in hoots and hollers.
The SF guy tossed an M-80 to the colonel. He turned it over in his hands, shook his head smiling, then tossed it back to the soldier saying “I believe that belongs to specialist Fox. Be sure to put em all back where you found em.”
That was a singular moment in my army career and remains one of my proudest accomplishments.
I miss the army…

Playing With Food

My folks moved west from Vermont to California in the 1960s. Mom found some artichokes at the market and was intrigued. She bought two and took them home to cook them for that night’s dinner. She put them in the oven and baked them for 30 minutes, seemed long enough. She cut them in half and served them up. They chewed and chewed and chewed. She thought to herself that these damned things must be an acquired taste. “I think I overcooked them.”

When I was in the sixth grade I got all A’s and a B+ on a report card (first and last time that ever happened). Mom took me out to the steakhouse for an “Atta Boy” dinner. I ordered some wide-cut fries with my steak. I grabbed the ketchup and shook it up. I didn’t realize the cap was off… The folks to the side and in back of us got some free ketchup that night…

20 years ago we had a power outage during a big winter storm. After a few hours we began to get pretty hungry. I wrapped some sweet potatoes in foil, put some rice and broth in a pot, and pulled a canned ham from the cabinet. I placed them all on top of the wood stove to cook while we were outside pulling each other around on skis with the truck. When we were thoroughly exhausted we went back inside. Food was all over the fucking living room! I forgot to remove the lid from the damned caned ham… We asked the neighbor if we could borrow his dog to help clean up. Best dog trick ever!

Flammable People

For some time now I’ve been playing with a phrase in my mind. Flammable People. It popped into my brain last year and I had nothing to do with it other than giggle when I think about it. I’ve decided that it will be the name of a flame effects collective that I’d like to assemble. It would consist of people who build and operate both propane and liquid fueled (gasoline, diesel, kerosene, alcohol) flame effects devices.

I was messing around with MSpaint and came up with some concept graphics to use for the collective. I pulled an image of a DOT flammable placard from a safety supply website. In the second version I added a pedestrian icon from I’d like to find someone with the capability to print some prototype (small run, 5 – 10 pieces) placards and / or vinyl decals.

Flammable People Rev 1


Flammable People Rev 3

I’ve also thought of using Flammable People as a Burning Man camp name. It wouldn’t necessarily mean that everyone who would be part of it would have to build or operate flame effects. Fire admirers, junkies, and groupies would be 100% welcome. The next graphic might just become a gift sticker at the burn in 2012. Depending on the length of the name of 2012’s theme, it may be included as well.

Flammable People Rev 3 Burning Man 2012 Gift Sticker


Big Love with an Old Flame

It seems like only yesterday, but I fell in love with her many years ago. Our relationship has been on and off over the years. It wasn’t her, it was me. You know how it is, sometimes life gets in the way. My priorities got confused and at times I even forgot her. When I first discovered her she was hot, real hot. As with many relationships it mellowed as I got used to her initially overpowering presence. I began to see her as more sweet than hot, not that she minded. She’s always had good taste but the nature of it changes, always for the better though. And I absolutely love her body! Silky, smooth, salty, fragrant, and with a reddish complexion that truly defines her.

I met another saucy individual in the last twelve months, Frank. Initially he appeared hot, I’m talking red hot. But you know the old saw about books and covers, eh? Yeah, I’m subject to falling for it, building something up and being disappointed by the end result. Frank appeared to be red hot, I mean he had it written all over him, really. My first experience with him was lukewarm at best. Not too hot. He just didn’t taste like I thought he would. He’s really sweet but I was expecting more character from him. It was my own fault. At least I didn’t have much invested in him. He was pretty cheap, all things considered, but his sweet and salty taste is appealing nevertheless. I still keep him on the side as he can provide me with pleasures that my old flame cannot. Their bodies are totally different. I cannot realistically expect him to deliver the satisfaction to me that she does and vice versa.

I am thankful that the person that I am is able to love blindly. I do not discriminate by appearances and if I fall in love it’s just that, love. Love allows one to challenge assumptions, to open their mind, to accept differences, and to follow their heart no matter what others opinions are. If someone disapproves of my idea of love or how I choose to express it, it’s on them, not me. My love is fluid. It doesn’t matter where it comes from as long as it’s hot. I know it turns some folks off completely, but hey, you don’t have to engage in my kind of love if it makes you uncomfortable. Some cannot believe the ease with which I practice my love. Others believe it takes great bravery. A few even see it as masochistic, exposing myself to pain unnecessarily. They just don’t get it. They could easily do it if they simply let go of prejudicial notions that they’ve grown up with.

Back to my old flame. I’ve been seeing her pretty regularly for the past few years. Quality is said to be better than quantity but I beg to differ. I really needed to see more of her. That has proved difficult. She is, how do I say this, rather expensive. Yeah, I pay for it. There’s no shame in it. Neither of us feel cheapened by it. It is a mutually consenting business transaction after all. I pay for her and she satisfies me and my needs. She is totally unique in the world. I’ve been around the country many times and have yet to find another so satisfying to me. If you want the best you’re going to have to pay for it.

Last week I told my wife that I had to see more of this old flame. She rolled her eyes and asked why I needed more of her than I already had. I told her that I need what I need and that it’s difficult for me to articulate those needs. Sweetpea doesn’t care for her but she doesn’t mind if I have her in the house. I also spend quite a bit of time with the old flame out in the travel trailer where things can get really hot without bringing tears to Sweetpea’s eyes. So I decided to head into town to see if I could get a bigger helping of her. I should state here that I’m a honorable man. Sometimes I’ll pick her up in a restaurant and use her but I always leave her there. Others love her and I don’t feel right in taking her home in situations like that. It’s just not right. But in this case I was going to find her in a new location and I was prepared to lay down good money to take her home. Again, with my wife’s understanding and support.

I drove to the big city and went to a district where I thought I might be able to locate her. My hunch turned out to be correct! I saw her, money changed hands, I brought her to my rig, got her comfortably settled in the back seat and headed for home. Several times I looked over my shoulder to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. No sir! She was as real as real gets. She was much bigger than I’d ever seen her but that’s a turn on and very appealing.

I finally arrived home and opened the truck’s rear door. I picked her up and carried her into the house. I set her down in the kitchen and just couldn’t help myself. I started in on her right there while my wife slept just yards away. After we had some sloppy fun I decided it was time to wake Sweetpea and show her my old flame. When she walked into the kitchen she gasped. Then she giggled. She was amazed at how big my old flame was. I still hadn’t gotten over that myself. Sweetpea asked if I was happy and I sighed and agreed that I was. I didn’t really think Sweetpea would mind but with these things you just never know. Even though she said it was ok beforehand, I was still nervous that she might be upset. It was mainly the money that I thought she’d mind. Once I told her how much it cost me she was totally cool with it! She told me it was better to pay the price I had rather than to pay for it in smaller amounts for briefer encounters that never seemed to last. She was excited for me that I would not have to pay for it for some time to come. She headed back to bed and told me to have fun.

My old flame...

The Great Teddybear Massacre

A group of burners (Burning Man junkies, not pot smokers) extended an invitation to me to come to their “Cute Shoot”. This is a wholesome family event that features exploding teddy bears. These bears are unstuffed and restuffed with Tannerite (a legal impact sensitive explosive compound), 1lb propane cannisters, cans of V8, and numerous combinations of the above items. The animals are bought for about a dollar a pound at the Goodwill bins distribution centers. After stuffing, the animals are placed a safe distance downrange and engaged with high velocity rifles. Rimfire rounds and pistol rounds will not usually detonate Tannerite. One exception is my friend Anne. She detonated a bear with a Glock 17 (9mm) pistol. That’s not an easy shot with a 5.5 inch barreled handgun fired from an unsupported position at 30 meters. Nice shooting Anne!

I rigged up a portable flamethrower with a tank that you strap on like a backpack. I made it specifically to help with the cleanup of the bits of fluff generated by exploding teddy bears. It worked nicely and the land owner was pleased with how it burned up the scraps. I was originally going to drop a 20lb propane tank into an REI expedition backpack but it wouldn’t fit through the top entry! Then I figured I’d buy a smaller diameter 10lb tank that would fit into the pack. I spotted a hank of rope I had in the back of my truck and decided to use it to rig up shoulder straps and save 90 bucks by not buying a new tank. I used an 8 foot long piece of that rope, fit each end with hot melt adhesive lined heat shrink tubing, doubled the rope, looped it through the collar handle on top of the tank, passed the ends through a gardening kneeling pad, and threaded the rope through holes in the tank’s base ring. I also made a 90 degree adapter for the propane tank to ease mechanical stresses on the tank valve. An 8 foot hose leading to the Manchester Power Jet hand burner completed the rig. It’s easy and cheap and really works well. You can also use this setup for walking your driveway, logging road, or cow pasture to burn weeds and it’s a dandy and fun way to get your burn piles lit up in the fall when they’re a bit wet. I have removed the gas orifice from the top tube which is the burner gas delivery tube. This allows a longer and fuller bodied flame. If you’re only burning weeds, you can leave the orifice in place to conserve propane.

Mixing 1 pound Tannerite charges to stuff the bears with.

Mixing 1 pound Tannerite charges to stuff the bears with.

A Tannerite stuffed teddybear ready for the firing squad...

A Tannerite stuffed teddybear ready for the firing squad...

He shoots, he scores!

No more teddybear...

Teaching a panda bear to defend herself from propane crazed teddybears.

Teaching a panda bear to defend herself from habitat destroying teddybears.

Another rabid teddybear taken out of action!

Another rabid teddybear taken out of action!

I was a little heartbroken by this one...

I was a little heartbroken by this one...

Cleanup is always more fun with a flamethrower!

Cleanup is always more fun with a flamethrower!


Spam and Corn Pancakes

Here’s another Spam recipe that’s popular in the Foxes Den.

Spam and Corn Pancakes

1 Can Spam, chopped (12 oz.)
2 Eggs
2 (More or less…) Cups Milk
2 Cups Corn, cooked
2 c Flour

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Heat griddle and ladle one scoop on the pre-heated surface. Turn when bubbles appear on top Yield: 12

I like to cube the Spam into 1/4 inch (7mm) cubes. I then brown them in a skillet. You may like this for your pancakes. Try it both ways. Milk: the recipe as I received it indicated 1/2 cup milk! This results in a thick biscuit type batter. Start with 1 1/2 cups milk and work up from there until you achieve a batter that is just a bit thicker than normal pancake batter. I have not measured the exact amount as I only use recipes as a guideline when I use them at all.

Serve with butter and syrup. Apple sauce, cranberry sauce, or jams / jellies are very tasty as well.

These pancakes are quite dense, denser than pancakes that you are used to. They are sort of like some european pancakes that I’ve had. I think you’ll like them!

Creative Cooking with Spam

Call me silly, many do, but I absolutely adore Spam. The wife and I go through 3 cans a week. Really. The most popular consumption method in our house is “Spambled” eggs.

Spambled Eggs

  • 1/3 to 1/2 can of spam, cubed (1/4 to 3/8 inch cubes)
  • 1/2 medium white onion, sliced or minced
  • 4 medium or 2 jumbo eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Lightly brown the Spam cubes in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir / toss every 30 seconds. Add the onions to the Spam and cook until translucent. Crack eggs into the pan and add the vinegar quickly. Stir eggs to incorporate everything into the mix. Cook until it’s done to your taste.

The vinegar keeps the scrambled egg “clumps” smaller, gives a creamier texture, and adds a nice tang to the eggs. I use rice vinegar, usually seasoned (has salt & sugar in it), but I’ve been using garlic rice vinegar lately. White, cider, and wine vinegar work just as well, it makes no difference at all. You can omit it entirely if it creeps you out but it won’t be the same…

Onions. I typically use white onions. I’ve used yellow, red, Walla Walla sweets, Hermiston sweets, And Maui sweets and they’re all wonderful, especially the WW’s.

Flamethrower Spam

  • 1 Can of Spam, sliced
  • 1 Coat hanger
  • 1 Propane flamethrower

Pull the Spam loaf from the can intact. Stand upright. Slice into 6 slices. Use wire cutters to remove the hook and neck of hanger. Straighten hanger then fold in half. Put a few twists in it 6-8 inches from the pointy end and sightly spread end. Slide a slice onto hanger. Light flamethrower (it helps to have a friend run the flamethrower) and hold the Spam in the middle of the flame, turning and moving constantly. Cook until browned. Serve with your favorite side dish.

A medium flame works best until you perfect your technique. Knowmad the bunny runs the ‘thrower in this photo.


If you don’t have a flamethrower, a charcoal fire, camp fire, house fire, or burn barrel will do just fine. Here’s a link to an episode of my cooking show that shows the technique: 

Enjoy the Spam. Don’t be afraid of it. The ingredients are listed right on the can. Don’t believe the bullshit about ‘mystery meat’, lousy quality, or the rumor that it’s made from people. If it was good enough for grandpa, it’s good enough for you.

Fire Toys

Here’s some photos of propane burning fire toys I have built. While I’d love to make a step by step tutorial, the nature of these systems prevents me from doing so. They aren’t inherently dangerous, quite the opposite actually. Rather, the construction and operation of them by individuals unfamiliar with building systems like these may lead to accidents that can be prevented by a little bit of knowledge. I built this “fire poofer” based on seeing photos and diagrams elsewhere on the net. The first two photos show the construction details of poofers. These are from The Department Of Spontaneous Combustion. The concept is simple. The poofer consists of an accumulator tank that also serves as a base. Rising from the accumulator is a manifold consisting of an inlet for the propane gas, a safety valve to shut off flow to the solenoid valve (or hand operated whistle valve), a solenoid valve (or whistle valve – a quick opening and closing valve typically used on steam whistles and air horns), a vertical ‘stack’ or pipe leading upwards, and a pilot light to ignite the released propane as it emerges from the top of the stack. My manifold is truly overbuilt. It is made up of stainless steel and 5,000 PSI hydraulic fittings (propane gas pressures seldom exceed 150-160 PSI). It’s what I had laying about in my workshop. It can easily be built from plumbing fittings available at most home improvement stores for less that $100.

Poofer fired by electric solenoid valve. It allows multiple poofers to be fired individually or simultaneously by remote control or programmable controllers. Of course, it can run a single fire poofer using a button like I do with mine.

A manually operated poofer. I’d recommend stepping up to a whistle valve for smoother operation.

The rest of the pictures are of my fire poofer.

Yes, yes I can!

Overall view

A closeup shot of the manifold

The pilot light

A wide open blast. It sounds like a jet engine. Has a deep throaty whistle / roar.

At Burning Man. Running it with short bursts or ‘poofs’

Controlling the solenoid valve with a signal generator

My “Auto-Fire” control

A finished view of the “Auto-Fire” controller box. The 10-turn pot allows fine control of the firing rate. It ranges from around 1 shot per second to 17 per second. On and off periods are identical, i.e. 1 second open, one second closed. Future iterations will allow adjustable periods independent of each other.
The timer circuit is based on a 555 timer IC and a solid state relay. It’s a 4 channel relay so it has expansion possibilities.

A video of the poofer running in Auto-Fire mode:

In manual burst operation it will produce fire rings in still air

I don’t know what this one came from but it’s from something of ours and looks cool

One of our propane flamethrowers (modified Manchester Power Jet commercial weed / brush burner)…

The Manchester Power Jet hand burner puts out 750,000 BTUs. See details at Manchester’s website. They’re not cheap. Expect to spend around $200. Here’s one for $130. That’s just the burner, no hose or regulator. They have a package deal including them which costs $220. I don’t use a regulator with mine, never have, not needed. I want wide open, right now, burn it all kind of flames. You can get a 10 foot hose online or at a propane dealer. The valve that it uses is what’s referred to as a whistle valve. It allows nearly instant full opening as well as infinitely variable flame adjustment.

A whistle valve available online from McMaster-Carr.

Here I’m running two Power Jets and the fire poofer at the same time. I’m using a foot switch to run the solenoid valve on the poofer.


A manually operated poofer:

The manually operated poofers can use a whistle valve (best due to the speed of operation) or a ball valve (less expensive). Electrically operated (using a solenoid valve) poofers cost the most to build and require a power source to operate the valve. I like them due to their adaptability to automation and remote operation. Manual ones are quite safe to operate but you are so close that you can’t appreciate the look of the fireballs and flares.

Be careful and have fun. Wear all cotton, wool, denim or aramid clothing when operating any fire toy. Synthetic fabrics melted onto skin are decidedly un-fun…

Update, May 5th, 2017. Nick Poole, another flame effects and electronics enthusiast, has a poofer build at Sparkfun you should check out. He listed this page as reference used in his research, AND, he’s still alive! If you’d like to improve your chances of survival and integrate a microcontroller into your project, go and learn how here.

Feel free to leave a question or comment below. I’ll try to answer your questions. Be sure to click “Notify me of responses” or whatever it says so you’ll know when I answer it. You’ll have to enter your email address to use this option but don’t worry, you won’t get any spam from me.

Concealed Carry Handguns – Foxfur’s Picks

Here’s a subject that I’ve been wanting to blog about for a while now. Self defense. Specifically, the most effective self defense option: Handguns. I am a gun lover plain and simple. I was a gunsmith and federally licensed firearms dealer and manufacturer. I was a unit armorer in the United States Army, a military gunsmith, serving with the field artillery, “King of Battle”. I have been collecting firearms for more than 20 years. I live in the forest where I, and my friends, can shoot on the property at any time we like. I met my wife in the Army on a firing range. She can outshoot me with many of the weapons we own. We are up to five gunsafes now and really need a sixth. We likes our guns!

Handguns are an effective means of self defense that can be employed by anyone. I have trained a wheelchair bound woman, who is darned close to quadraplegic, to use, and use well, a revolver. The only person I can’t train is one who refuses, for whatever reason, to touch a firearm. Good luck with that pepper spray… The first rule of a gunfight is to bring a gun. Nuff said?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman, straight, gay, or bi, we all are potential victims of violent crimes. Steps can, and should, be taken to reduce our exposure to these crimes but there is always the chance of a random encounter that might just put your life on the line.

Carrying a firearm for self defense carries great responsibility. I won’t go into this as there are many who are more qualified to give you that information better than I could ever could. A quick google search will return many options. I may post some links on this in a future post.

This post is simply to share what works for me and Sweetpea. Handguns that suit our tastes and needs. Here are a couple of handguns that we own and carry for defensive purposes.

My preferred piece is the Taurus Millenium Pro PT-145 in .45ACP (.45 Auto). It is lightweight, ultra compact, has a high capacity (10 rounds), can fit in the waistband of virtually everything I wear, and has a cavernous bore that can throw a very big bullet at very bad people. 

Taurus Millenium Pro PT-145 Sub-Compact .45 Automatic

Taurus Millenium Pro PT-145 on the Taurus website                                   It’s about the largest caliber in the smallest package that you can carry. 10 rounds is a lot. I hope I never even have to fire one round, but it’s good to know that round has 9 brothers to back him up if he needs it. This is not designed to be a target grade handgun but it can hold its own. It will shoot a 3 inch group at 25 yards if I do my part. 

Another handgun we carry is the Ruger LCP in .380ACP (.380 Auto). LCP stands for Lightweight Compact Pistol though I like to call it the “Little Cute Pistol”. Cute but effective… Some debate the effectiveness of the .380 Auto as a defensive round. I don’t know about your tolerance but I don’t function well with any size holes in me and would quickly lose my motivation after the first hole was installed in me. Chances are that bad people have similar preferences to mine with regard to close range lead poisoning. This handgun is incredibly small, small enough to be entirely concealed behind my open hand, super lightweight, I can carry it in a shirt pocket quite easily, and has a capacity of seven rounds.

The Ruger LCP in .380 Automatic

 The Ruger LCP on Ruger’s website

This is the one I drop in my pocket when I’m making a large cash withdrawl at the ATM, running into the quik-mart, or even just strolling around the property. It’s only a touch over 5 inches in length and a hair over 3/4 inch thick. Teensy.

Feel free to leave questions with the comment feature. I’d be happy to offer what advice I can to those interested. If there’s any interest, I may, in a future post, share some home defense options in the way of shotguns and rifles.

You’ll note that I do not refer to any “less than lethal” options for self defense. It’s because I don’t believe in them. Period. If you want to face down a desperate thug, someone desperate enough to pull a knife or a gun on you, with a can of Mace, a puny knife, or a flimsy baton, that’s your choice. I will do everything in my power to return home each day when I leave the house. It’s not a matter of killing, it’s a matter of surviving.

Foxfur plinking with a Professional Ordnance Carbon-15 pistol in .223 Remington. A Ruger Vaquero in .45 Long Colt is slung around his waist.

The Carbon-15 is a carbon fiber, instead of aluminum, AR-15 pistol that fires the .223 Remington / 5.56mm NATO rifle round, the same round as our soldiers fire in their M16 / M4's.

 This is another favorite pistol I carry when hiking around on our property. Fun!