Donation Box.. throw in a buck or two if you choose.

Monday, November 29, 2010

This Saturday

I have the materials ordered, but am not sure how shipping is going to be affected by the Thanksgiving holiday and such.  I am hoping everything gets here by Wednesday or so, that way I can have all the bombs completed in time for Saturday.  If I do not have everything here by Thursday, we will have to shuffle some events and it might push us to after Christmas.

I will keep everyone posted.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

American Meadows

American Meadows just emailed me to say they are sending 4 lbs of Wildflower Seeds for the project!  If you want seeds, bulbs, or live plants for your garden, give them a call!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Playhouse on the Square / Circuit Playhouse offer extended.

For a 100.00 cash (or CC through the blog) donation to Bomb The Blight (to cover overhead), I have 2 tickets to any show on the schedule for Circuit or Playhouse.  The face price of the tickets go between 33.00 and 38.00 each, so you are only giving between 24.00 and 34.00 over what you would pay at the box office.  Also, if you go to Bosco's afterwards, you get 10% off your meal!

Help us meet our goal of 10,000,000 seeds and have a night on the town!

Whats left at POTS:

Take your pick!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A call for volunteers

I had a brief discussion with one of the people from the local Sierra Club about the project and working together.  He had an interesting fact.  I have been promoting the fact that wildflowers help with pollution.  What I did not know is that on sites such as the one I have proposed for site number 6, the old Firestone plant, the plants themselves suck up heavy metals from the soil and trap them in the plant fibers. 

What needs to be done is every 14 weeks (about 3 1/2 months) through the growing season, the plants need to be cut down and removed.  The plant matter itself is hazardous waste and will be transported and disposed of as such.

If we can put together a group willing to go harvest these plants gather them for disposal, I believe the Sierra Club will get on board and we can start developing a blueprint to clean up areas of Memphis that are otherwise unusable.

It does take about three years of this type of treatment to remove the heavy metals from the soil.  The other option is to just pave over the land and seal the pollution in for future generations to deal with.

So, who will enlist and help with this?

A two week break..

I have a bit under two weeks from the last engagement to the next.  So, the cannon is getting a little bit of a makeover.. new paint job, new legs, rubber at the contact points (legs and bottom of the tank/barrel assembly), and a shiny new full color Bomb The Blight decal on the barrel to replace those boring letters I had on it.

Also, I am going to be changing some of the structural elements so we can go to higher pressures and throw further.

I will not be posting pictures of the remodeled device on the blog.  To see the changes and see how far we can throw, you will have to come out to the event on December 4 at the field near P&H cafe. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our First People Powered Event!!!

I have not done the final tally, but I am just going to call it complete.  We will be having our first People Powered Event, funded solely by your donations soon.

I am going to take input.  I know the holiday season is insane for most people and we already have one scheduled for December 4 (Field beside of P&H) and December 11 (South side of Sam Cooper where it meets Parkway) The December 11 one is pending clearance, though I do not think it will be a problem.

So, where do we go next and when do we do it?  Do we want to do an event the week before Christmas or should we start 2011 as the year of People Powered Beautification?  You folks made this happen, you tell me where we are going!

Post comments here or on Facebook.  I will be reading them and working this week.  The sooner we can decide on a site, the sooner I can get started on clearances and planning.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Donation Offer

I have a season subscription to Playhouse on The Square and Circuit Playhouse.  I am willing to trade a ticket for any show that is not sold out for a 50.00 donation.  I love the theater, so I am giving away two tickets.  Donate 100.00 at Broad or through the blog tomorrow, and get both tickets!

I will receive an email when the donation is done through the blog, and will post immediately to the blog, twitter, or facebook if these tickets are taken.  First come first serve!

If you donate through the blog, email with a first and second choice for the shows you would like to see and a couple of dates for each.  I will pick the tickets up on Monday and immediately put them in the mail to you!

At Broad, I will take the information personally and maybe even do a little joy dance! 

Broad Avenue - Day 1.

Met some of the longtime followers of the project today.  It was so good to talk to all of you.  Also picked up some new fans today!!  Drake and Zeke this morning was a blast, those guys are so super cool.  If you ever have the chance to talk to them or even go on their show, I highly recommend it!

During the event today,we raised 78.00, so we are roughly 1/3 the way to another bombing event.  Tomorrow we will be doing one at 1:45 at the corner of Merton and Sam Cooper, slightly east of the map I posted earlier in the week.  Come out and join in!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Awesome Individuals.

The following are people who have donated goods, services, time, whatever to help this project move forward...

  • Candice Hawkinson - Time and expertise navigating the ways of property clearances and general helpfulness.
  • Krista Endres - Donation of a Battery Powered portable air compressor and two batteries!
  • Holly Hagan - Donation of two extra batteries for the compressor!
  • Margot McNeeley / Project Green Fork - Compostable cups to be used as wadding for the cannon! 
  • Mike Lizotte / American Meadows - 4 pounds of seed for the project.  So super cool! 
  • The attendees of the events, all your pocket change and small bills DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Saturday at Broad.. Your input needed!

For the event Saturday at broad avenue, we have an option. We can either do the narrow strip along Sam Cooper as planned, or we do have an option to use a small lot that is surrounded by a fence at the corner of Merton and Sam Cooper. The fence will be coming down soon and the lot will not be mowed, allowing the flowers their best chance for coming up.

Either way, we will be using the cannon. This is a definite. The owner of the property has given us permission to open the fence and go into the lot, and it will concentrate the paint to create more of a color effect.

So, which should we do? I really need to know today!

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Promo Video!

Paint Sprayer and other exciting things..

The garden sprayer repurposed to pump paint into the bombs works beautifully!  Thanks to Gwyn Fisher for sparking the idea.

In other news.. I have been hard at work compiling a promotional video for the project.  I will post it as soon as I finish it, though I hope that will be in the next few minutes.. considering it is 20 minutes to Midnight right now!

As I said last Sunday, we will be skipping Thanksgiving weekend.  I need to sleep! :)

Another experiment.

So, I need to move a massive amount of paint to fill the balloons. I am now experimenting with a garden sprayer, 2 gallons of paint will fill 32 balloons. Much better than refilling the cake decorating gun for each balloon. If this works, I can enlist others to help fill balloons without feeling sorry for them getting paint all over themselves like I do each week!

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Echinacea tennesseensis

This is what vacant lots in Memphis can look like next Spring if we can accomplish the Tennessee Coneflower part of the plan.  These plants normally grow in the cedar glades of Central Tennessee in a range where all plants are within 14 miles of each other.  In case you do not know, Cedar Glades are areas where the bedrock is close to exposed.  It has tons of hot sun and hard soil.  The plant develops a taproot which digs deep for water and nutrition.  Sound familiar?

Let's see if we can bring this endangered species to Memphis!


We are now on Kickstarter, there are so many ways to help us accomplish this goal of 10,000,000 wildflowers. Help if you can.. or just come out to the events and have fun!

Kickstarter Campaign.

Broad Avenue - Saturday - 1:45 PM

This is the battle plan for Saturday.  We will be meeting at 1:45 at the X on the map, just west of the house located at Merton and Sam Cooper.  We will be firing 50 projectiles at this event, due to the small size.

I will have the cannon set up for short range, but we will throw them pretty high!  This will be a tricky engagement zone, very narrow with buildings and a highway on either side.  But, I believe we can make this a successful one.

Also, we will be passing around the bucket to buy more seeds from the America the Beautiful Fund.  Seed order will go out on Monday, to allow time for the seeds to arrive before our next engagement on (Holy Crap) December 4th??  The year is slipping away from us and the window to get the spring growth phase of the project is closing.  We will have one more engagement on December 11, though the location has not been selected yet. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Greening the project further.

So, the new paint worked beautifully today.  I went back over later and the water was already being sucked out of the paint, gluing the seeds to the ground.

I am constantly trying to figure out ways to improve the ecology of the project.  Today, we removed about 10 lbs of garbage from the site, none of it recyclable unfortunately.. but its a start. 

Ok, now the interesting part.. I have found a battery powered, portable compressor for the cannon.  I will admit, it bugged me having the gasoline powered compressor at Washington Bottoms last Saturday, but it was a necessary evil.  A fan of the project has offered to help with this and I hope we have it up and running by Saturday at Broad Avenue.

So, we have now had two of these events.  Most of you know how this works.  Is there any way that I am missing that I can make the project have less environmental impact?  I know most projects like mine strive for Carbon Neutrality, but I am trying for Carbon Negative. 

Some of the ways we are doing it now..

  • Switching to electric powered compressor equipment (In the works)
  • "Paint" is made from food based materials.  Yes, I buy them at the supermarket, but if someone will tell me a locally based source of cornstarch, I will gladly switch over.
  • Cleaning up sites and sorting for recycling.
  • Biodegradable balloons made from renewable latex.
  • Extra postage paid to UPS for things shipped in to purchase carbon credits for the shipments.
So, how can we improve?  I would love to hear your suggestions.

Step 2

We had our second engagement today.  Lots of great people showed up and if you didn't make it.. where were you!!?

 We started off as planned with a good cleanup.  Nothing recyclable.. but we did pick up about 10 lbs of garbage.

One lone flower and another which may bloom soon stand in the middle of the lot.  But, it will soon have plenty of friends!

The new paint works great!  Before we even left the site, the water was beginning to be sucked out, gluing the seeds to the ground.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quick change for tomorrow.

The field at P&H is big.. big enough to use the cannon.  So, we are going to move it to after Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow, we will only be doing where Andertons once stood.  I will still have 100 balloons and we will give that spot a good coating.  This will be the most visible place and probably the most missed in the minds of many Midtowners. (and other Memphians.)  So, come out to the corner of Barksdale and Madison tomorrow at 1 PM and let's do this thing right!

P.S.  I have about 5 different colors of balloons for tomorrow and probably 5 more colors of paint cooling.  This thing is going to be colorful!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Going forward

I have done some more reading and research.  If we change the seed blends, we can carry this thing throughout the year, with the exception of maybe June, July, and August.  Just fire spring blends in winter, summer blends in spring, and fall blends in the early summer.  Rinse and repeat.

Of course, that is depending on funding.  But I think its a good plan going forward.

Paint making...

So today will be paint making day. The new paint formula worked better than expected, yielding really nice colors and tons considering it is about 75% water.

The problem is, it takes about three or four additional ingredients to get it to this point, so.. the cost of paint has went up.

On a side note, who knew industrial strength food coloring was so damned expensive?

Totally worth it though. Just FYI, these two colors are yellow and purple.. though the purple hasn't gotten the last batch of starch added, so it is quite dark. It will be a really nice shade when we throw them out on Sunday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An opportunity to help...

I have been informed by a non-profit out of Washington that I can obtain TN native wildflower seeds for the project for the cost of shipping. Each packet of seeds is .05 shipping, but I can get up to 6,000 packets. In other words.. 300.00 = tens of thousands of seeds. We will be passing around the buckets again Saturday asking for support.. of course, there is absolutely no obligation.


Another national article on the project. I had not heard of Grist, but it is a really cool news source. Check them out!


GOOD Magazine

I am so happy that this project is getting so much attention. Good Magazine just published an awesome article. Let's see how far we can take this!

GOOD Magazine

Art and Bears.

Should have posted this yesterday.

So, I spent a couple hours down at FedEx Forum with the guys from the Grizzlies marketing department. We shot the cannon from multiple locations inside of the Forum, literally trying to reach for the rafters. We came pretty close.. not bad for a cannon designed to fire paint and water balloons instead of t-shirts.

We are going to talk on Tuesday again, they want to formulate some ideas.. and I have some of my own.

Some people have said that my project and the Grizzlies would not be compatible. I think otherwise. Here's why.

Since the Grizzlies came to town, they have participated in many different community activities which have benefited the city. They sponsor clean-ups, schools, sports, and educational programs. The main focus of my project is art and city beautification. However, there is the direct impact of bringing nature and ecology to the forefront and into these neglected urban neighborhoods. As I have said many times, when a young child experiences nature right outside their front door, be it flowers or the wildlife attracted by them, it puts a spark of eco-consciousness in their mind which no television program or classroom experience can replicate.

Also, for a revitalization of the arts community to fully take hold in Memphis, we need to bring up a generation of people from all races, creeds,and socio-economic groups which have appreciation for the arts. There are tons of groups in Memphis trying to affect this change, I would like to think I am contributing to this as well. By expanding the project, I can cover more ground.. literally and figuratively.

Just my 2 cents.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Good News Everyone!...

The new air tank has been tested and pressurized to 80psi without leaking. Looks like we are good to go for both the Grizzlies this afternoon, but more importantly for Sunday and the following Saturday at Broad Avenue.

Why the photo of Professor Farnsworth? If you get the joke.. you are just as much of a nerd as I am. That's why.

Off we go!...

Question for non-profits

A very ardent supporter of the project told me yesterday that a registered Non Profit could act as a fiduciary agent for the project.. collecting funds, providing tax deductions to donors, and granting the project the money to keep it going.

Any of you great organizations want to partner to make this happen? I am totally willing to make this a win-win for both of us!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Guess who has a shiny new air tank?

Just in time too, because tomorrow, I will be down at FedEx Forum demonstrating the cannon for the Grizzlies. We are going to discuss working together on the project, but that is all the detail I have right now.

The cement has to set for 3 hours, after which there will be a new coat of paint and pressure testing.

Also, I have figured out what the fun stuff for Sunday in the cannon will be. Sunflower seeds, flour, and confetti made from biodegradable leaf paper (yes, paper made from leaves.)

Come on out Sunday and join in. Just to recap-- we will be starting at 1 PM at the former site of Andertons at the corner of Madison and Barksdale.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The current plan for Sunday

So, we have another event coming up Sunday. We will be hitting two areas, about a mile from each other.

1) The former Andertons' site. This is at Madison and Barksdale in Midtown. It is a small site, mostly gravel, and largely hostile to the project, but it is better to try and fail than not try at all.. correct?

We will meet there at 1 PM. Here is the plan. I will be there a bit early handing out balloons. We are going to do 50 at this site and 50 or more at the other site. Everyone can ring the small plot of land that is surrounded by Concrete. I will fire the cannon loaded with confetti, flour and other fun stuff. That will be your queue to start.

2) Vacant lot across the street from Minglewood Hall and East of P&H. We will move to this site shortly after the event at Andertons. What we will be doing here is the area shaded in red on the image at right. This is a rise which leads from the pit up to P&H. People do park on the grass, but this hill is not good for parking and perfect for our needs! I will attempt to get some of those pink "construction flags" to mark the area we are going to be doing. Again, I will set up the cannon and load it with some fun stuff to mark time when we are going to be doing this.

I think this is going to be alot of fun, but we do have to be mindful of a couple things.

1) Please do not throw paint on anything not soil. This includes cars, other people, concrete, or buildings. Not only will it waste the seeds, it could hack someone off and get the project into trouble.

2) One balloon per person please.. unless we do have extras. This time, I will have someone handing them out, so everyone gets a turn. I do not think this was an issue on Saturday, but better safe than sorry.

3) These sites are much more public than the Washington Bottoms area. Please be mindful of parking at the Andertons site, though I do not think it will be a problem at the P&H site. The City and the Police Department are being pretty chill about this whole thing, lets not give them a reason to think otherwise!



Memphis Flyer

I am getting lax on updating this thing with all the media coverage. Here is the Memphis Flyer cover story from last week with an interview by Bianca Phillips.

Flyer Cover Story

Also, Check out Mary Cashiola's piece posted today on the Memphis Flyer website.

Flyer Article

Sunday, November 7, 2010

ABC 24 - 2

Here is ABC24/CW30 coverage of yesterday's event.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Some notes...

I totally love the coverage from both WREG and WPTY we got today. I do feel that I need to correct some things...

1) Today's event planted 100,000+ seeds. Not One Million. At current, I do not even have 1,000,000 seeds in stock.

2) The cannon was used because its fun. Also, with the reformulated balloons I am working on for next weekend, we should have the abstract painting all of us want.

3) At no point was the request made to go on the property. I think it was pretty clear that it was an active demolition site and it would have just been unsafe. I intend to use the cannon on clear ground too, it is part of the whole. In the interest of transparency, I did ask about opening the gate so we could use the edge of the road as a staging area, but that was turned down citing completely understandable safety concerns. Great thing is, fences are no issue, now are they? :)

Folks, we have a lot of work ahead of us, today was just the tip of the iceberg. I am hoping to find more sponsors to keep this rolling and we can keep going as long as we want! All I have to do is just change the seed blends to match what time of year we are planting them. Those of you who threw in the buckets today are appreciated so much... we have budget for 4 more events. Hopefully, if I can beat the bushes and find more sponsors we can have 40 more.

Thanks so much for all of your support, financially or otherwise.



The cannon has already been disassembled... there are some modifications I want to do, as well as fixing the pressure leak that developed, was fixed, tested fine then reappeared overnight. Luckily, I had a few spare parts and I am recycling as much as possible. So, everything will be set for the next cannon event on the 20th.

Remember, next weekend we will be at the Andertons site on Madison then doing the lot beside of P&H.

By the way, we raised $58.00 during the event today. That is enough to fix the cannon AND buy about 25,000 - 50,000 more seeds! Thank you all so much!

We will have the buckets at the events... But, as always.. There is no obligation! This is supposed to be fun!

Thanks again,

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Last Minute...

Lehman Brothers (the owners of Washington Bottoms) will have a rep on site today. If they give a direction, we have to follow it. They do have the ability to shut things down. 2.5 hours till go time!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Some notes and changes for tomorrow.

A couple of notes before I crash from an exceedingly long day.

1) This round of Gelatin that I purchased is not "blooming" like the last one. This means the pigment inside of the balloons is getting somewhat lost and the coating is coming out somewhat clear. I could up the temperature to make the paint more opaque, but that is at the risk of premature germination of the seeds, so I would rather have plants in the spring than a temporary paint on the ground now. I think most of you would agree.

2) Some of you may notice that when we fire the cannon tomorrow, you will see white cups flying along with the balloons. This is the required "wadding" for the balloons to keep them from popping and increase their flight.

IMPORTANT: These cups are compostable and biodegradable. They are look just like normal styrofoam cups, but they are made from corn and they will biodegrade at the same rate as the balloons. I will admit I was fooled myself, but the distributor I bought them from has assured me that they will biodegrade.

3) The cannon was designed, built, and tested when it was much warmer than it will be tomorrow morning. In fact, we have not had a day since last winter when it has been this cool. I totally expect the cannon to perform as designed and tested, but there may be a chance that it just refuses. In that event, we will still bomb the blight and throw the balloons into the field. I also believe someone is bringing a very big slingshot as a backup. The net effect is the same, I just am a bit neurotic about the cannon. :)

Just to be clear, we are NOT allowed to go past the fence or to attempt to enter the property. Agreeing to this is the only way Lehman Brothers would allow this to go forward. Also, I or someone assisting me will be spotting the field. In the event that someone is spotted in the line of fire, everything will come to a halt until everything is clear. I strongly believe in this project as do many of you, but it is not worth possible risk to life or property. I think we can all agree on this.

Now, with all this said.... Lets have fun tomorrow! I just have to cross my i's and dot my t's.

Dress warm and I shall see you all tomorrow to kick this thing off.


Details tomorrow.

So, here is my plan for tomorrow. Tell me if you think it should be modified.

I will have the balloons broken into two groups. One will be sized for the cannon and will be for long range into Washington Bottoms. The other will be slightly larger and more full for hand throwing over the fence to create some color right on the other side of the fence.

First, we will do the hand grenades, establishing part of the work closest to the fence. This will be about 50 balloons.

Then we will power up the cannon and do the other 50. This will give us reach further into the field.

For safety sake (though this thing is designed to be totally safe) children will be asked to participate in the first half of the event, if any show up. Parents, you can pick your kids up to help them get the balloons over the fence, but please do not lean on or over the fence. Lehman Brothers has given some tacit approval to this, but with the requirement that we do not disturb the work, if any, that is going on and that we leave the fence alone. So, lets play nice!

The second half will be with the cannon. Anyone who wants a turn firing the cannon, I (or someone helping me) will have a signup sheet that you can sign when you arrive at noon or a little before. It will be done first come first serve until we run out of balloons.

I think this sounds fair and makes things alot easier to organize. What do you folks think?

Thursday, November 4, 2010


The Edge Coffeehouse stepped up and offered to bring Coffee to the event Saturday. Not only is it good coffee, it will be awesome when it is 50 degrees and we are all out there!

Show some love and go by.

ABC 24

Doing the midday newscast was a blast! (no pun intended.. well, maybe a little) The folks over there are super nice and though I was a bit nervous once the camera start rolling, but overall it was fun.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Community support

So, since the Commercial Appeal article today, I have had contact from many parts of Memphis. It is truly humbling to hear so many people voicing their support for this project.

Two exciting things which I think would be good to share.

First, I have been contacted by the city department in charge of demolition of derelict and blighted buildings. They are interested in adapting my idea for use citywide on land cleared of these buildings. The belief is that by replacing the weeds and grass with wildflowers, it would reduce the need for mowing and maintenance of these areas, saving the city money.

Second, I have had an early contact from a certain professional sports team downtown. They are interested in supporting and promoting the project. I will be following up on this tomorrow and hopefully will have some more information coming up.

That's it for now, 3.5 days until launch of the first offensive. Hope to see you all Saturday!

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Let's Do This.

November 14th (Sunday) at 1300 hours. (1 P.M.)

Target: Former Anderton's site and the former Bell telephone building near P&H.

This will be a hand to hand engagement. The cannon is just to powerful for close urban combat. Meet at the corner of Madison and Barksdale, where Anderton's once stood (and is sorely missed).

We will be using the balloons as hand grenades. While the paint is biodegradable and should wash out, I cannot guarantee it. Wear clothing that you just don't care about.

Please note that at these two sites are near other buildings, people, vehicles, and homes. BE RESPECTFUL OF THESE! This is a bit of a risk, going close quarters like this, and if it goes wrong the entire project could be at risk.

Hope to see you all there!

Hand to Hand Combat

What would you folks think about some "hand to hand" combat without the cannon? I have seen a couple of small sites which would not be suitable for the cannon. (Think the lot beside of P&H or where Andertons used to stand) Using the balloons to spread seeds by throwing them like grenades.

So, does this sound fun?