Payless Shopping Center, 78th Ave SE, Mercer Island; Vashon Plaza, 176th St and 100th Ave SW, Vashon Island; or for more locations

Call me a pyromaniac, but I FUCKING LOVE the Fourth of July! Every year I spend more money on fireworks than on Christmas. For the last few years I've had a black-market dealer send me up hundreds of dollars in wholesale fireworks from a warehouse somewhere south of Seattle.

I know. It's crazy. But ever since I was a child in Spokane, the alluring flash and bang of fireworks has worked its wonderful gunpowder-scented spell on me. Last year my Fourth celebration started at around noon and didn't end until 2:00 a.m.

My own illegal stash isn't the only thing I set off. Yearly I visit my local TNT/Freedom Fireworks stands to purchase kiddie fireworks for my son. You know what I'm talking about, right? Tanks, Aircraft Carriers, Climbing Pandas, Friendship Pagodas, Monster Trucks, Mr. Turtles, Fire Engines, Parachutes, and of course Ground Blooms (which we light off three at a time in a giant wheelbarrow to great effect!). Depending on how much money you drop at the stands, they sometimes give you free stuff. Last year at the stand on Vashon Island, they threw in loads of sparklers, which my son and his friends spent hours lighting off!

In 2004 I bought so many (roughly $900 worth) that my partner actually had to put a stop to my celebrations early, leaving me with $300 worth of unlit GIANT bottle rockets. (YES, folks, the elusive and illegal giant bottle rockets whose sticks are actual bamboo stalks). Now that I'm living fulltime in Seattle, I will not be able to set them off this year either, but they'll wait!

NOTE: It is illegal to set off fireworks in the City of Seattle and it is also illegal to bring fireworks on a ferryboat. So by no means should anyone buy fireworks on Vashon to bring back here to Seattle to