Tod's Blog

Adventures with family & friends and other things I'm passionate about…

Archive for December, 2009

2009 Douglas County Top Sports Story

Posted by todblog on December 28, 2009

Here’s a pretty cool story on the past year in prep sports in Douglas County. The local newspaper (The News Review) bills the Umpqua Valley Christian School’s Varsity Baseball Team as the top sports story of 2009! That is a great honor especially since UVC is a tiny 1A school. Here’s a link to the story…


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Pisttt- Why God Really Created Hair Spray

Posted by todblog on December 20, 2009

December 11, 2009

It’s an American tradition to grow up enjoying a nice juicy burger with a side of french fries. Take that tradition and add a boy’s fascination with launching things in the air and you’ve got the makings of a potato gun (much easier than launching a cow in the air). If you do a search on YouTube, you’ll find hundreds of videos on how to make a potato gun, spud gun/cannon/launcher, etc.  It seems that it is somewhat a rite of passage for many young kids with ignorant or cool parents (depending if the parents have knowledge of it’s construction or not).

First stop, Sherm’s Thunderbird Grocery Store for a large sack of good quality Idaho spuds.

Next stop, Lowe’s Home Improvement Store for black sewer pipe and fittings. As we walked down the plumbing section picking out parts and pieces, a store employee came by and asked if we were finding everything okay. With a slight hesitation in our response, the Lowe’s lady with the red vest saw what items were in our possession and said, “looks like you’re making a potato gun, aren’t you?”

We looked at each other and smiled. I thought to myself- is it that obvious and popular of a thing to build that the Lowe’s lady knows? I answered, “Yeah, we’re making something like that.”

She smiled at us and said a lot of people come to Lowe’s to get their potato gun parts. I wondered why they didn’t have that listed on the Saturday Do-It-Yourself Demonstration Schedule near the front entrance of the store. Still, I believed her as her eyes twinkled at us. I also wondered if she was an FBI informant and would be placing a monitoring device on our pipe and plumbing parts. From that day on, I would have to keep my eyes open for the black-windowed van cruising the neighborhood…

Stop #3, Bi-Mart Store (just like Long’s Drugs only better, they sell guns and ammo too!) for a Coleman lantern spark igniter and some fuel. I walked down the camping section aisle and found the spark igniter. All we needed now was the propellant to sail those spuds on high. Where would that be in Bi-Mart? Just a couple of aisles away from Sporting Goods in the Cosmetics section. It was on the hair products shelf- shampoo, creme rinse,…ah, hairspray. Aqua Net to be sure. There was only one can left on the shelf and an older woman with stiff poofy hair was homing in on my spot in the aisle… She would have to shop elsewhere or settle on using the White Rain hair products as a close substitute.

I wondered if the cashier would recognize the telltale ingredients as I placed them on the check-out counter. Would she ask me the same question as the Lowe’s lady. I suddenly realized that’s why they sell miscellaneous items on the rack nearby the check-out, it’s to help conceal the real reason people buy things. So, I grabbed a pack of gum and tossed it on the counter next to the spark igniter. Apparently it worked, she was clueless or at least she pretended to be so as she rang our bill up and asked, “Did you find everything okay today?”

I thought about telling her that Bi-Mart needed to expand their selection of plumbing parts and start selling potatoes, only then would I have found everything okay. “Yes, I found just what I was looking for thank you.”

A couple of days later we had everything cut, glued, screwed and assembled to make a seven foot long potato launcher. It was a good exercise for Jacob as he utilized his knowledge of math and chemistry to develop the most efficient dimensions (with the materials we had) to send a spud skyward.

Jacob walked down the street with his new creation and a large dark van pulled-up alongside him and slowed down. The lady inside asked, “Is that a potato gun?” It was the UPS van delivering packages in the neighborhood and I guess she had seen her share of potato guns and apparently the large black pipe in a boys hands is a dead give-away.

Recently, at my office Christmas party, Santa visited and delivered gifts to all the kids. He had a special gift for Jacob- a sack of potatoes. Funny how he always knows what the kids want for Christmas.

It was another fun father-son project and another great reason why we live in the country where occasional loud booms and screams of “Whoa, did you see that!” are not uncommon.

Here are some pictures of my spud buddy’s adventure…

The completed potato launcher

Loading the potato

Ramming the potato down the barrel

View of the chamber (potato loaded in background)

Loading the hair spray into the chamber

Friendly competition with our friends the Shorts

Touching one off and watching it GO!!!

Plenty of ammo!

Where did my sister go…

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