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project hot air balloon

Details #2 + #3 = ideal condition

By 9:32 PM ,

Detail #2 - It's early.
"Get here before sunrise." said Bob, the owner.

Not only did I have to get here early, here was 75 miles away. The most charming detail of all was that I forgot to set my alarm clock. Thankfully, I have a built-in panic button in my brain, so I rarely oversleep. Having worked in film production, early call times aren't a deal-breaker, but waking up at 5:42 when we had to leave at 6:00 was a heart-stopper.

This allowed no time for me to 1) wake up, 2) drive the speed limit or 3) get coffee. Three big strikes. Not to mention, the day Laura and I barely wash our faces or drag a comb across our heads ends up being the day that we take the most number of close-up shots of each other.

Again, details.
Detail #3 - It's freezing.
At the crack of dawn, when the air is coldest, hot air rises fast.

I'm very familiar with this lesson in physics, having lived in a poorly insulated Victorian house all these years. During the winter months, if I bother to turn on the most moronic heating device commonly found in San Franciscan homes, the wall unit, the heat goes everywhere I can't be - UP. And since I am not a spider, I get the short end of the stick. Even after a couple of hours of heat blasting, I am still freezing in my sweaters and socks. That's when I walk down the hallway and wave my arms above my head. My fingers immediately taste the 20°+ toasty sensation up there. While this phenomenon is misguided in heating my house, it's what lifted a basketful of people off the ground this morning, so it's a pretty powerful and exhilarating force when applied correctly.

Also, there's something about the air current and there being minimal wind at that time, or some such nonsense.

I arrived layered up like a super burrito, because I didn't want to be uncomfortable. But as we rose up into the sky, the sun followed us closely and wrapped its arm around us. And since we were traveling with the heat source as well as moving along with the wind, it all began to feel pretty perfect. Only once or twice when the pilot lit the fuel, I thought a baby dragon was breathing down my neck.

As we all know, the sun rises only once a day, therefore, the balloon takes off only once a day.

So you better not miss the flight. Because once the atmosphere warms up, there's nowhere for your hot air to go but back home...

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