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Another Portland Blog

Thursday, November 18, 2004

 

And now for something completely different...

A few weeks back, I asked you, the readers of Welcome to Blog to determine the fate of a pair of pumpkins that have been sitting on my porch since mid-October. You were given the option of setting them free but, overwhelmingly, you chose one of the far more macabre options. Shame on you. This is all your fault and these pumpkin guts on your hands too.

Until Wednesday night, I can say with some certainty, I have never ignited a pumpkin. Oh, the opportunities this blog has allowed me. Thanks, internet!




Setting two pumpkins aflame is a more difficult than it sounds. Initially, I was going to try cheap whiskey but two readers wrote into suggest a combination of Styrofoam and gasoline instead. Tim went so far as recommend a lengthy process involving drying the pumpkins and using something called "silica gel beads." Not willing to risk blowing myself up, I went with Dan's idea.




Years ago, an enterprising high school friend of ours discovered that rubber cement is extremely flammable. It would be perfect for this executi...er, innocent art project. The next challenge was how to deal with the neighbors. I'm currently renting a house and the landlord owns a workshop next door. The neighbor on the opposite side glares a lot. To pull this off without running the risk of eviction or a visit from the fire department, I was going to have to conduct this lil' photo shoot under the cover of darkness.

I waited until after midnight on Wednesday while I was in the middle of editing photos for the IKEA story. Not sure what would happen, I applied on a small amount of glue to both pumpkins. I pulled the trigger on a campfire lighter. [QUICK DISCLAIMER: I am a professional or something. Don't try this at home, kids. If you do, don't tell your parents how you came up with the idea.] The result:




Pretty impressive, if I do say so myself. The flames reached an apex of about 8 inches and burned for roughly a minute. Still, the pumpkins remained only slightly charred. With 3/4 of a bottle of rubber cement left and nothing better to do with it, I decided to be more adventurous for the second round. I poured on the remaing adhesive and decided to pose them alongside a coconut pirate I bought in Newport.




I've asked once and I'll probably ask a million times more: can I please have some sort of a federal arts grant? Doesn't this shot belong in the MOMA? C'mon! If not, how about this next one?




I'm so glad my parents found the link to this blog. Hi, Mom! The flames this time initially grew to two feet and came close the pirate's wicker hat. In case you're curious, I only applied the cement to the top of the pumpkins, it was raining at the time, the wooden walkway was slopping wet and I had two water buckets waiting in the wings in case things got out of hand. Was it wise to stage this there rather than on the lawn? Probably not but I needed an elevated surface in order to take pictures.

The second wave lasted around two minutes. Because I'm sure you're curious, here's how they looked afterwards. If you're under the age of 18, avert your eyes.




I think these pumpkins have learned their lesson. May God have mercy on us all.

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