The 2003 Post-comps bon fire! Fire!! FIRE!!!!

   (Note: I wanted to use red for a background for this page, but the colors, just didn't work, 'n stuff.  :P)

   For the past two years, we have been celebrating the end of the comprehensive exams with a very large bonfire! Fire!! FIRE!!!! (Um, heh-heh.  Sorry about that.) We celebrate---win, lose, or draw.  After hundreds (if not thousands (no--I'm not kidding)) hours of preparation over a few years, and 4 consecutive days of 3 hour tests, the sense of relief is . . . well-nigh indescribable.  :)

   Here is a picture of the 2002 Post-comps bonfire:

   This was a pretty good fire--it killed the grass for a couple of yards in every direction, caused the bark on some nearby trees to smoke, and almost burned down the cabin you can just see in the picture.  For this one, though, we wanted to have a fire! Fire!! FIRE!!!! (Um, heh-heh.  Sorry about that.) that was quite large.

   There was an almost surrealistic amount of "logistics" (for lack of a better thing to call them) involved in the planning of this fire.  First off, we had to know if what we were planning on doing was legal.  In my longish quest to wrest the answer to such a simple question from government employees paid to know such things, I had one of the most amazing conversations I have ever had in my entire life.  Click here to read about that one.

   Then, we wanted to know if our fire was, quite literally, visible from orbit.  I went on the web, and found a schedule date and time for a suitable passover.  (Isn't it *AMAZING* the amount of info one can find on the web?) I thought I had a good "html-ready" thingie of that (It was cool.  :) )---but then I realized that all the "meat" info was somehow lost.  I found something in the html, "no hardcopy"---so, I may be stepping on someone's toes, showing that sort of thing.  So, [there is] no cool satellite passover thingie.  However, in the course of all this, I had an email exchange with a satellite-dude, here at the G.I. (Geophysical Institute).  Click here for the weird request, and click here for his very amusing response.  I think they're a riot.  :)

   Finally, the night of the fire! Fire!! FIRE!!!! arrived.  We had chosen Olnes Pond---up on the Elliot Highway.  Along the way, we stopped at the end of Farmer's Loop Road for . . . er, "supplies." (You know---the kind with either the tabs or caps.  :) ) We were just fine, until Rosie decided that she wanted to drive.  RO-SIE! :)

   We had a little trouble getting to the spot we had chosen---as it was flooded.  It turned out that it was only approximately one inch deep--and even the Honda behind me had no trouble whatsoever.  However, as soon as the truck stopped and I opened the door, a certain hyperactive malamute-cross--feeling constrained by the long drive--positively burst out of the truck at the first opportunity.  This was fine---but, when the truck started to move with me in it (and her out of it)--she TOTALLY FREAKED.  Poor ROSIE!! :O

   A picture of the setup.

   Another picture of the setup:

   The pile contained: A few hundred pounds of old lumber, about 75 pounds of recent "construction ends," over a ton of tree stumps, 5 pounds of wood shavings (They go up like a house trailer.  (!) )---and several hundred pounds of sub-bitumious coal.


   Next year, we're gonner' have to do this puppy RIGHT!

   FINALLY! -The moment of truth:

   The fire begins. . . .

   Hmmmmm. -Sharp lookin' guy.  

   fire! Fire!! FIRE!!!! (I really like how this picture captured the reflections in the lake just behind where we set up.)

   Heh-heh.  Heh.  Heh.

   Some . . . interesting things were going on as the fire was burning.  There were a lot of people heard moving (and driving---without lights) out and about in the woods around us.  (As it turns out, there was quite a bit more going on than I was aware of---the others told me about it later.) Jokes about "Deliverance" abounded.  "That's not a pig, that's Ned Beatty!" :) Later, the people I was going home with were in--pretty much unanimous--agreement that there was a group out in the woods, wondering if they could "take" our group . . . for whatever ( :P )---held off only by what we could potentially do to defend ourselves.  For what may very well be the first time in my entire life, I actually toyed with the idea of wishing that there was a policeman or two about.  Then I remembered the knuckle-down "police state" of Upstate New York and the East Coast---and quickly came to my senses! I would--quite literally--rather have to be prepared to defend myself 1 out of every 10 times I go out (and thus have to carry my blunderbuss handgun (a Casull 454) with me all the time), than deal with that:

   "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

               Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)

   -Couldn't 'ave said it better meself (sic), Benny.

   A little aftermath about the fire: We had the fire! Fire!! FIRE!!!! (Um, heh-heh.  Sorry about that.) on a Thursday, and when I went to clean up the ashes on the following Sunday, it was still smoldering away.  -I guess a couple of hundred pounds of coal will do that.  :) I cleaned up the ashes either the next Sunday, or the Sunday after that. . . .

   And we never did get any satellite picks.  -We'll have to get that right next year. . . .  :)