Sunday, February 8, 2009

fire coming out of the monkey's head

sadly, tonight is not the first time my eyelashes and nose hairs have been fried by something blowing up in my face. literally.

tonight's incidence involving fire in my face is thanks to my desire for popcorn. i'm not sure if people are aware of this, but my family is a popcorn family. we eat and eat and eat popcorn. well, no. it's not like we eat popcorn ALL the time (which is what i just made it sound like). but when we do eat popcorn, we love it. this one time, at band camp... jk. at my cousin's wedding in ashley, nd, population 14, a few years ago, my brothers and i were walking from the wedding chapel (church? i have no idea the difference) to the VFW, where the reception was, and we got a big whiff and all of a sudden we all said, "mmmm, popcorn." we could smell it from the movie theater a block away. so, yeah, we like popcorn. and it was this need for popcorn that cinged the left side of my face.

so we have a theater style popcorn maker which is well-worn. its a tin pot with a cover and a handle that you turn to keep the popcorn kernels rotating. it sits atop the oven and is waaay better than microwave popcorn. my dad taught me a new trick for how to cook popcorn - put the oil in and turn it up to high. add only 3 kernels and once they have popped, the oil is hot enough to add a cup or so to pop. so this is what i do and i wasn't really stirring because its only 3 kernels - do they really need to be stirred? we will never know. smoke starts coming up from inside the kettle and i'm thinking, 'well, it's old, it'll calm down once the kernels start to pop.' i don't know why i thought this. i don't hear any popping, so i open the cover and the whole thing is filled with smoke. i'm peering inside and all of a sudden, there is a huge bursting sound, a red-turned-orange flame and then the whole inside turns bright red, burning from all sides. i instantly close the cover, but not before my eyelashes, some of my eyebrow and nose hairs are toasted. the flames eventually go out after about 5 seconds without air. i didn't want the smoke detector to go off, so i didn't open the top again. i went to warn my parents so they wouldn't be afraid. my mom was in bed, she seemed unimpressed when i told her, so my dad came downstairs. he was amazed. he took it outside to let the smoke out. it was incredible. and yet, my craving had not subsided. i still wanted popcorn. so i put it in a pot and figured i would just shake it while on the burner. it doesn't really work - the kernnels didn't get full pop and half were burnt, anyway. i still ate it, but could only breathe out of my right nostril because my nose hairs in my left were all prickly. the next day i said to my dad, "look, aren't my eyelashes a different lennth on my left side?" kind of half-joking. turns out they really are. grrr!

so this reminds me of the first time i fought with flames back in november '06. i had moved into my fancy new apartment in california in august of that year. since i don't cook a lot, i hadn't really used the oven. my mother came to visit me one weekend and we couldn't get the oven to start. actually, rephrase... prior to her arrival, i hadn't cooked because i didn't know how to use it. it was gas. or was it electric? the kind where you have to light the burners. i think that's gas. anyway, someone told me over the phone how to use the burners, so i used those frequently - about twice a month - but had yet to use the oven part. i figured my mom could show me how. well, it turns out i'm not as big of an idiot as i thought. the oven didn't work. so i called my landlord and one night while my mom and i are watching tv, the repair dudes came. i watched them as they discovered that the little pipe-like thing that was supposed to give the oven gas had been clogged. so they cleaned it out and showed me how to use the oven. i don't think we ended up using it while my mom was there.

a week or so later, the night before i was to head to boston for work, i figured i'd make something to eat. again, the oven didn't work. when i put the match up to the starter hole thingie (i forget what its called), nothing happened. i had seen when the workers were there where the gas came in, so i figured if i could get that part lit, the whole thing would work. i had no idea how right i was. i took a match and stuck my hand into the oven, under the grill. all of a sudden, big bright blue flames erupted just in time for me to realize i should close my eyes. i was frozen with my hand in the oven. after a good 2 seconds, i pulled it out and slammed the door shut. i stood there in my kitchen thinking, "ok, i'm alive. check. i'm not on fire. check. what is that smell??" i went to look in the mirror and my hair, which had been bangless, was standing 3 inches into the hair completely fried. my eyelashes were gone and my eyebrows were crinkly. i touched my hair and it fell to the ground. the hair on my right arm was practically gone.

luckily, i had a hair appointment the next day before my red eye flight to boston. she attempted to fix the hair, but for months until it grew back, the hair around my part was less than an inch tall. i had to change my hair styles to cover it up. long sleeves covered my hair and i reshaped my brows and bought 'lengthening' mascara. only a slight few actually noticed.

combined with my candle fire with my brother, i wonder, do other people have this many incidences with fire??


  1. ha ha...I remember when you called me to tell me about your accident in CA...ha ha ha. Man that was a funny moment! I had an incident where I was playing with fire and lit some rubbing alcohol on fire and it erupted in a fire ball and burnt all the hair off my left shin...ha. Dont play with fire kids!!

  2. Nobody told me that you're not supposed to clean the metal popcorn popper with a degreaser. Maybe we should have rinsed it better.

  3. do I have to do this again? I already made a response, so I quit.

  4. I think it is a family thing. A couple years ago when I was in high school, I was fooling around with a match. I struck a match, then lit a kleenex on fire. Little did I know (what an idiot) that the kleenex burned VERY rapidly and the fire was approaching my fingers. I dropped it on the carpet, burned the carpet and then somehow carried more burning tissues to the kitchen faucet. There was a good sized burn in the carpet. My parents couldn't afford to replace the carpet so we put a rug over the area. :( So danielle is genetically prone to pyromania. ha

  5. I am a pyro!

  6. guess everyone likes to play with fire including the gorillaz with their song "fire coming out of the moneky's head" (subject)

  7. i agree with it being a family thing. Some people break bones b/c they are accident prone. I burn myself. I have more scars on my body from burns than I actually care to admit and how I obtained these burns is even more embarrassing.