Sunday, July 13, 2008

Flame On!

Note: This is a repost of my last post at the old blog site. It's sort of a proof of concept to prove I can do this. Or not.

There's a nice guy I work with. He's polite, smart, and pretty normal looking (especially considering he's a software engineer - and I mean that in the nicest possible way).
It turns out he has an interesting hobby - creati
ng flame throwers and letting people shoot them for fun at heavily attended public events. (Yes, I will call him "sir" a bit more often now and won't make as many snarky remarks at his expense. Who know what other hobbies he might have...) You can see more of his work here.

The Boy and I went to the Crucible's Fire Arts Festival last night.

Important Note: If you are thinking of going tonight (the last night), you should try to get tickets ASAP, since Saturday nights tend to sell out. Tickets aren’t cheap though at $55 or so for general admission. If you live in the area you can see a lot of this for free by walking around the perimeter fence - not a perfect experience, but pretty good considering. Also, the fire stuff does not start until 9PM, when it is good and dark.

If you think flames are pretty cool, you would like this event. You would also find that flames are hot - it was a cool evening with cold breezes interrupted by intense heat events. It is amazing how a 40 foot flame could shoot up 100 yards away and instantly warm you right up.

It’s a little hard to appreciate how cool this Fire Vortex (which looked disturbingly like a fire tornado) was. Inside a circle of fans, two guys in heavily protective suits would shoot flames into a spinning, intense, towering column of fire. Behind them (and the flame throwers) were the elevated BART tracks. It was fun to see the passengers staring out in disbelief as flames danced just outside their windows.

And of course the event would not be complete without the “fire truck shooting flames” display. (As a side note, there were several Oakland fire trucks on the street for “just in case.” There were a couple of intense-looking fire marshals wandering around, but the actual fire fighters seemed to be in awe and thrilled by the exhibits.)

This one was a bit odd. This is a 300 pound block of ice with a hole in the middle that that these flames are shooting from. This had something to do with global warming and was named Exxothermia (their website is here).

There were several places where real people could participate. (Sadly, the fire marshall would not let normal people use the flame throwers. Some sort of safety or liability issue he said. Harumph!)

If you look carefully on the lower-left, you see a guy playing a keyboard. This controlled the array of flames that you see on the right. Very clever. In the upper left you can see a ring of flames. In this case, you would get in the middle of the ring and hold a sensor against your skin - your heart rate then controlled the flames. You would see people jumping around trying to get their hearts beating faster for a better show.

There were many other exhibits, like the Tesla coil that had two girls in extremely protective outfits wandering around while getting struck by bolts of lightening, but after a bit it was all kind of overwhelming.

We had a fun time and The Boy got some ideas. And the propane tanks at home are now safely locked away.

That's it - move along...

PS: This was a challenge to put together. I hope there are some tricks to making it easier to add pictures. But it's done. Whew.


mary ann said...

Wow, great job here, notthat! It took me FOREVER to get to this level. I like the layout and congratulations on transferring your work over. This flame post was so interesting, I never new this kind of thing even existed. My fave was the big ice block with fire inside ~ amazing indeed.

mary ann said...

I meant "knew", not new. Nu?

DAK said...

Well! Welcome to the 'hood! I think you'll find this site really, really easy to use, and if there's any problem, why, me 'n Mush are absolute experts. Of course, we write The Great Dancenik and ask her before we write back to you. I like your design on the site too.

notthatlucas said...

Well, as far as the design I just chose from the templates, but it seems nice.

I still need to learn some stuff, but being able to post something via email is WAY cool (even if pictures don't come over that way).

The flaming ice was, ahem, cool indeed.