happy christmas

Christmas went well. We drove down to Thatcher on the evening of the 22nd and just got back around midnight twenty last night. Loot was pretty standard fare of clothing and candy bars. Outstanding toys included a flour mill from my in-laws (and 5 #10 cans of wheat to grind) and an old (1978) Farewell Space Battleship Yamato (さらば宇宙戦艦ヤマト 愛の戦士たち) artbook. For a 27-year-old picture book, it’s in remarkable condition.

I am sore beyond reason after yesterday’s festivities. Penny’s father (Kirk) has been wooed by the siren call of the paintball gun (his best friend is something of a junkie for that sort of thing). I was somehow caught up in all of this and got to spend the majority of yesterday afternoon running around in a sandy river bottom getting shot at by people in entirely better shape than me. Most notable injuries include an almost point-blank shot to my left shoulder (golf ball sized bruise) and a series of three shots to the back of the head by some dufus who didn’t hear time out called (one kid twisted his ankle and we were seeing if he was ok). But mostly, I’m just sore from using muscles I’ve not used in a while – I’ve not done any sort of good simulated combat in about 10 years.

Oh, that and Danny (brother-in-law, ArbyFish person) almost killed everyone with his attempt at building a model rocket. Kirk had an evil idea for uses of their leftover wrapping paper tubes… we spent most of the time leading up to Christmas in figuring out how to launch the things. Eventually a standard design was settled on:

  • Cardboard tube from wrapping paper for body
  • Hard styrofoam ball for nose
  • Cardboard fins glued on tangentially to the tube for stabilization and stuff
  • Pipe insulation to hold the motor in place
  • Motors of size C through E, because overkill is not enough

Our first successful launch was interesting in that it ejected the foam insulation and motor out the back two seconds after the engine cut off – leaving a sulphurous crater in the neighboring cotton field. Our funniest launch (with the exception of Danny’s) was tantamount to a declaration of war on our neighbors (the Bishop) as rocket bits rained down on his house.

Danny… built a little rocket (10″ long or so) and named it Gimpy. He put three huge fins on it and tried to attach them perpendicular to the tube in stead of tangentially. He stuffed an E9 in the back. Upon ignition, the rocket got about 6 feet off of the ground before one of the fins was torn off, at which point, the thing began spinning in loops. The overall flight path took it barely over the house and dove it into the ground on the other side. There was much fear that one of its revolutions would take it in the direction of the spectators. Once catastrophe was acknowledged as averted, there was much hilarity and rejoicing.

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