Was It Good For You?

Now it is worth noting, there is a law of diminishing returns on the appearance and effect of explosives and their weight.  If you ever pay attention and just keep increasing the weight by the same amount it doesn’t actually increase by the same punch every time.

That said,  I would have loved to feel the thump in my chest from that one.  I’d ask Joe if we could recreate it, but I know the answer would be an emphatic “NO!”  Though that one had a pretty weak shock-wave.

A Boomershoot Story…

To protect the identities of the guilty we are going to use the following names, A, B, and C.

A is often considered to be the sane one, while his attraction to explosives could be considered insane by some, he operates with a much more conservative view when deciding safe areas, good distances, and making generally good decisions.  That isn’t to say that he hasn’t had a Page Fault like B has been known to do and forget recent experiences.  A has even been known to give the dad look indicating, “No, and stop even thinking about it,” for things that overall might be a little questionable but certainly not all that bad.

B is considered to be a little more crazy and more willing to take risks.  It should be noted that B is more than willing though to point out dangerous items of concern when he sees them.  Often if he is mentioning concern, it’s usually worthy of note.  Most of the time A agrees with the assessment prior to moving forward.

C however is considered unbelievably smart but with a very buggy operating system.  He holds the current record for detonating Boomerite at close range, a record that B will not even consider attempting to break and actually isn’t quite sure how it would be accomplished.

I describe the above so the following story you will hopefully find the humor in it.

You see, it has been a fantastically dry past couple months in the Palouse.  How dry?  We finally got rain for the first time about a week ago since before the 4th of July.  Forest fires are still raging and while we have had rain, none of it has been “substantial.”  It also must be remembered that this is just after harvest so the fields are full of dry stubble and due to the lack of rain many haven’t been tilled yet.  The weekend prior A explained to B why they haven’t been tilled yet.  All conversations are synopsized from memory.

So when B showed up at the berm and noticed that A was preparing a fireball his eyebrows raised.  B left his buddy to take care of other preparations for the explosives and went over to A and said, “We’re doing a fireball?”

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Yes some of that grass was 5 feet tall… the person in the picture is not necessarily an individual involved in this story…

To which A replied to B, “Yeah it has rained, there shouldn’t be any real danger.” And he’s talking over the gusting winds that are common at the Boomershoot site.

B then replies back to A, “I remember the last time we did something like this and we were lucky enough to be in the spring and next to a creek and had 10 or so bloggers on hand.”

A replies, “Yeah but overall there’s not much fuel around and what is here isn’t super dry.”

B just resigns and says mentally to himself, “This should be interesting.”

A short while later the story of the second fireball that should have never been is told by B to A and his companions.  Detailing how it resulted in 30 minutes of fire fighting and the question is posted to B by A, “When should we shoot the fireball?”

B without hesitation says, “First, so we’re not exhausted while trying to put out the fire.”

A agrees but still thinks there shouldn’t be much of a fire and it should be relatively calm…

The explosion and fireball doesn’t even finish after the detonation and B can already hear the familiar crackle of a grass fire.

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Entertainingly the fireball shot more out than up. (Video will be coming later.)  It shot straight towards A as if to “enlighten him”.  Promptly we put down our recording equipment, though I’m sure B wished to keep documenting the entertainment that followed.  For you see the wind was blowing the fire down through the grass, towards the stubble behind the field.  A promptly ran to the back side of the berm to do damage control.

After

What the hill looked like after the fire.

I tell the above because later that night B was having dinner with C since he was in town… C asks B, “So how was the pumpkins?”

B replies to C, “The pumpkins were great, though the fireball was a bit interesting.”

C freezes and looks at B and says, “A did a fireball? That’s got to be some fluke, there’s no way A would do that.  How did you talk him into it?”

B replies to A, “I didn’t, but I did point out my concern.”

C replies to B, “That’s interesting though there is this theory of addicts reverting to the mental state of when they started their addiction, maybe A reverted and was showing off.”

B laughs, then while driving home B remembers something else A told him about one time.

Researchers have begun to explore the cognitive impairment that men experience before and after interacting with women. A 2009 study demonstrated that after a short interaction with an attractive woman, men experienced a decline in mental performance.

I think B may have found another data point for the study.

*I will neither confirm or deny that I am any of the three parties in that story.  I will have video up later.  I’m spending today migrating my last two websites from my old hosting provider that is about to expire.

Two Questions…

One, where can I recreate this.  I don’t think that Joe’s neighbors would appreciate it.

Two, is Ry willing to arrange the fireball for it.

I love seeing the shockwave roll across the sand, that’s just awesome.  I came across this one too:

The raining phosphorus at the end was down right neat, though I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near it when it went off.

Sometimes It Just Doesn’t Make Sense

I had a crazy dream last night.  By crazy, I mean the following mantra was applied:

There are very few problems that cannot be solved by the suitable application of high explosives.

Overall there’s nothing wrong with the above statement.  The reason it is crazy is because it violated all laws of physics.  Here’s how it went down:

I’m called on site for some issue a utility is having with a recloser.  For some reason they ground only two phases of the recloser while working on it.  The third phase, for what ever reason was packed with explosives and detonated… this fixed the problem.  It’s crazy because it defied all laws of physics since the recloser wasn’t rendered to its molecular components.

Now it is worth noting though, explosives are used in the power system.

Had I been involved in that, or shock testing, things would have been a lot more normal and note worthy.

It’s a bummer I cannot find a way to combine my job with the above, that would just be AWESOME!

Getting back to the dream, using explosives and not annihilating a complex mechanical mechanism just doesn’t seem right.

Random Thought of the Day (08/30/2012)

You know you’ve made a fantastic choice of friends when you get an email about taking delivery of 1.5 tons of Ammonium Nitrate…

It makes you realize you’ve made some very smart choices in your.  Sure, you’re stuck lugging around 50 pound bags, but I’d rather do that than burn fuel, lug someone’s couch into my truck, and move it while everyone else eats the pizza so there’s no left by the time you get there.*

Yeah, I prefer dealing with the Ammonium Nitrate, the effort is quite worth it.

*After that my standing rule is “if you want to use me and my truck in your move, it will arrive with a full tank and it will be full again once we’re done.”

What Stupid Looks Like

I have done some not too bright things around explosives.  Last week a particular individual did something incredibly stupid.

Initially I was going to just leave it at the comment I made over at Caleb’s place.  Then there was this incident brought to my attention by Lyle.  That gave me the inkling to do a post, then Weer’d posted the video of what exactly happened in the FPS Russia incident.   After watching the video I had to pick my jaw up off the floor at this idiocy.

First a note, do not recreate anything in this video, if you survive it will be either because of blind dumb luck or because God has a soft spot for you and your idiocy.

If you want to skip to 4:46 to save yourself 4 minutes and 46 seconds of pure garbage.

Does anyone see what he did wrong there?  Anyone?  Bueller?

He violated the first rule of explosives.  He placed something between him and the explosive.  You see when you detonate an explosive inside of something it propels the surrounding material out at extremely high velocity.  This is the basic principle behind a pipe bomb.  The pipe itself becomes extra shrapnel in the explosion.

This is why when we Idaho Stress test an object we ALWAYS place the explosives in front of the target.  We never place the object in front of the explosive, that is how you take shrapnel to the face.

This is serious and this isn’t a joke.  That camera man is lucky he isn’t dead or more seriously injured right now.  Just because the object is larger in size doesn’t mean that it’s safe.  What is a safe distance then?  Lets use the 2008 toilet as an example.

We shot that toilet from approximately 400 yards away.  When I say we in this case, I mean the entire shooting line.  We found pieces of that toilet well over 100 yards away.  Note we found them in a field meaning they had to be big enough to be easily seen above the grass.

We can also look at the pumpkin examples.

I know we had approximately 6 lbs inside the large pumpkin in the second video.  We found chunks, not bits, 125 yards away.  Many of those chunks were also relatively light in weight and had a lower B.C.  In that case we were shooting from about 30 yards, however it should be noted the object was not metal or dense in nature.   Metal merely rips and turns in to shrapnel which is nothing more than a knife flying through the air.

Given those above examples, I honestly wouldn’t blow anything up that had metal in it from within 200 yards, and due to my love of cushion, I’d double it to 400 for extra safety.

Joe, Ry, and I all almost made this fatal mistake by accident.  That is a wonderful example of how much power and force there is behind explosives and why you really need to pay attention.  So please, if you want to go out and play with explosives, pay attention and pay heed to the first rule:

Never Place Anything Between You and The Explosive.

Remember to be careful out there and use your head.  Sometimes well all forget to think things through, but the more you think about it, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

Update: Ry just posted a reminder of the results of an experiment he and Lyle did.  Note what it did to the steel and how far it went.

How I Came to Love ESS Eyewear

I will state this up front.  Janelle and I received a free pair of ESS frames and lenses with no attachment to them.  They were ours to keep and use.  I have worn them constantly since I got them at Boomershoot this year.  So while I did get free stuff, there was no request for a review, and I was not compensated for this.  In other words, the following is entirely my opinion and no one paid for any of this so the FCC can go suck an egg.

Lately we have had a few reminders of why wearing your eye protection is important and others doing reviews of eye protection themselves.  Well I’m going to do both.

The Review

My previous eyewear was no slouch however they left something to be desired, doubly so since I was spending considerably more time with ear muffs on.  For those who haven’t spent all day wearing hearing protection while wearing sunglasses, let me enlighten you.  There is the frame which runs back behind the ear.  Your ear muffs sit around your ear attempting to create a tight seal.

Two things happen because of that frame.  Extra pressure is applied from the muffs pinching your head between your frames and a decrease in noise reduction from the hearing protection.  Enter ESS’s Cross Series.

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I have two of the three frames, the Cross Bow and Suppressor.

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The Cross Bow frames are your everyday frames and I have worn them every day since Boomershoot and they have been amazingly comfortable.  The rubber pads maintain the comfort while also helping to keep them from sliding off your head.  I also use these when working in the shop doing things that don’t require hearing protection.  That includes cleaning the toys, I just swap out for the clear lenses.

Every part of the series in individually replaceable.  Scratch or destroy the lenses order new ones.  Break a frame, order a new frame.  Break a nose piece, order a replacement.

Now the Suppressor frames are why I fell in love with ESS, plus a little story I’ll get to here in a minute.

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Notice how thin the ear pieces are on the frame?  They are unbelievably flexible and well are wide and thin to help distribute pressure.  Not only do they solve the pressure problem but the fact they are thin helps hearing protection form a good seal around your head.  In other words they solve the two main problems you find with most safety glasses.  The visibility while shooting with the copper lenses I might add is amazing.  The rear strap effectively keeps the glasses in place while you’re not wearing hearing protection.

The comfort and visibility are quite nice.  With most glasses if there is a gap anywhere I can see out, I will most often find myself using that to look, completely defeating the purpose of the safety glasses.  These however I just look as I normally would, my peripheral vision remains while I cannot effectively look through gaps to try to skirt around the glasses.

These have become my go to glasses for yard and shop work where I need hearing protection.  Even my father-in-law, who is a machinist, is going to be ordering a prescription set that he can use at work.  My mother-in-law is getting a pair as well.  I’m going to get a complete kit to toss in my range bag so I know I’ll always have a set with me when going to the range.

As a FYI for how much use these things see for those who haven’t met me, I am actually unbelievably anal when it comes to eye and hearing protection around tools and equipment.  I know growing up with many 4th of July’s I’m sure I’ve done a decent amount of hearing loss.  To top that off I enjoy my weekends by spending time shooting guns and blowing up explosives.  I regularly wear plugs on top of wearing muffs specifically because I’m around such loud impulses.

It has become such a habit I wear hearing protection if I’m going to be around loud noises, it’s just easier to wear eye and ear protection than to buy hearing aids and hope the doc can repair my eyes… which brings us around to the story.

The Story

You see, your humble host has spent so much of his time around explosives, entertainingly close is entertaining for me.  For many it’s terrifying but I’ve been around explosives enough that as long as you remember the cardinal rule I’m not that afraid.  In other words a box on the ground with nothing between me and it doesn’t cause me discomfort being close.

Now I won’t go as close as the current record holder and never will.

That said, even without stuff between you and the explosive, odds are you’re going to get peppered.  Some time’s you’re lucky and your optic catches the mud destined for your eye.

Sometimes you just end up turning your clothes a nice shade of brown.  So now you’re asking yourself, where is all this going?  Well Tango got my earlier entertainingly close excursion on video.

Now, towards the end, the video doesn’t show it too well but I was easily with 10-15 feet of a bunch of those boomers.  If you don’t understand how close that was, let me say, I should have been wearing my Carhartt jacket.  What do you mean I hear you ask, well let me show you.

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That wasn’t from the mud, that was from the ammonium nitrate prills.  There were more injuries on the other side of my arm too.  That peppering occurred during one of the last couple shots.  So at this point I found my limit of how close I was willing to go.

But you see, your humble scribe often acts before the page fault has allowed all the necessary data to be returned to memory for the correct decision.  Even more than that, often the page fault doesn’t occur until after the fact where the event itself causes the page fault.

Can you guess what happened?  I’m sure you can, especially since this is a post about eyewear.  Well let me set the stage for you.

It is the last day of Boomershoot.  Everyone but staff has left and we are rounding up piles upon piles upon piles of explosives.  There were so many explosives I said, and I quote,

You know something is horribly wrong with you when you’re finding it tedious and exhausting to set off hundreds of explosives.

If you’ve never been there for staff cleanup and haven’t worked the days preceding the event you just can’t really fully understand it.  I seriously don’t know how Joe does it but I’m grateful that he does.

So I’m tired and exhausted and we’re tailing down the end of a very long week.

Continuing on though, we have to look for boxes of Boomerite that may have skipped over the berm, while walking behind the berm I discover an ant hill that is by no means small.  Well to demolish said ant hill we place a couple of targets of Boomerite on it.  I place them in such a manner as to give me the maximum distance without placing anything between me and it.

We start shooting explosives.  We shoot more explosives.  We shoot three waves of explosives  most of us extremely tired and exhausted by the end.  We call the range safe after the “last” boomers go off and we start cleaning up.  Then as someone walks behind the berm, “Barron, we forgot the ant hill.”

Frick, Joe is already up on the hill in the direction I was originally going to shoot, well I only have one other option.  I move about 120 degrees to give myself maximum distance from the target.  Without realizing it though I have now inadvertently broken the cardinal rule.  Parts of the anthill are between me and some of the explosive.

I squeeze off that round and immediately I’m encased in a cloud and my left hand, arm, and face feel like they’re on fire.  It freaking hurts. I start falling off the top of the berm and immediately drop the muzzle and flip the safety on.  Tango is behind me and I take off the rifle and hand it to him asking him to clear to make life easier.  I probably could have cleared it, but at the time I was wanting to do it one-handed.  One handed hand off is easier.  I didn’t need to compound this with shooting myself or someone else.

Again for those who don’t know, my pain scale is screwed up compared to most people.  There is a reason for that and I have done serious damage and then showed up to the doctor 2 day’s later with him saying “WTF!?”.  I would take my pocket knife and dig out glass from my arm and hand when I would find it.  In this case my arm felt like I had just take it to a belt sander with 120 grit on it.

I had a high number of pain exceptions and overloaded the system. It took a visual inspection to clear the faults.  My brain registered a high number of impacts, thankfully only a few broke the skin, the two most notably.

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You can’t really see it but the spot I’m bleeding out of on my knuckle is a ripped open scar, (it’s bigger now), and my lower arm and hand are both bright red from being peppered with smaller spots bleeding.  The hit below my left eye was a solid hit, I washed some crap out of it when we got back to the hotel. Inspection of the ant hill after the fact indicated that I was also blowing up a stump.  Also not visible in the picture was dirt and marks from larger debris that had obviously impacted the glasses.

I am extremely grateful I wasn’t any closer, given the few major cuts I had along with the peppering of bleeding I was on the hairy edge.

At the time I wasn’t so sure I was going to document my stupidity.  I realized though now it actually is one of those things that speaks well for ESS.  The glasses didn’t really end up with any pitting and they did  their job.  I will say I wish I had been at least wearing my flight gloves to save my hand.

So in closing a big thank you to the guys at ESS, especially Steve Dondero and Ari Drougas from ESS.

*Also I forgot to mention, there were a couple of folks shooting next to Shelly and Anette, and thus next to the ESS guys, who were shooting without eye protection.  Yeah the ESS guys tried to give them free suppressors to wear but they turned them down.  I’m of the mind that an extra 50 bucks in my pocket won’t make a lick if difference if the time comes my glasses have to do their job.  In fact, I’ll probably wish I had sprung for the more expensive set.

Independence Day 2012 Part II

So Sebastian said the following on Monday.

I think it’s the right of every American to celebrate our nation’s independence by blowing up a small chunk of it.

At which point I started laughing because honestly not everyone can effectively blow up a chunk of America.  The good news is, I am capable and have resources to do exactly that.  Not only do I have resources though, but the method of detonation provides a method of celebration endorsed by John Adams himself.

However, it must be said, please do not attempt to recreate any of this.  I am trained and experienced in mixing and handling explosives.  Just watch Caleb’s PSA.  Where ever he says “Gun”, replace it with “Guns or Explosives”.  

So without further ado, I give you the 4th of July, Boomershoot style.

I’m sure Mr. Adams would have approved.

As a note, it seems Sebastian knows this, but I still think my graphical display helps spread the joy.

*Sorry for the delayed post, Murphy hates me.  YouTube was constantly quitting mid-download.  I finally achieved success using IE.  I left to go to a BBQ and my computer went to sleep.  Thus it finally went up a day late.