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Kites a good way to get high

MELISSA HALTERMAN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Jason Strom, a Hobbytown USA employee, sells a remote control car on Wednesday in their store at 3700 E. Speedway Blvd.
By Lindsey Muth
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, November 13, 2003

The weather is finally cooling off! In fact, it's so gorgeous outside that many of you may be searching for outdoor activities, something to get you out of your stuffy living quarters and into the newly-chilly air.

Athletic-types may decide a jog in the park or a game of tag football are ideal. Asthmatics and couch potatoes may require something a little less sporty to drag them out the front door. But being lethargic does not necessarily mean being dull. Fly a kite, radio control a small airplane or launch some rockets! Get out there and take to the skies, people. It's easy!

"The stunt kites are just an incredible, incredible amount of fun," said Adam Crippen, owner of HobbyTown USA at 3700 E. Speedway Blvd. "I love the kites. I actually fly the kites myself."

These aren't just boring, classic, diamond-shaped kites, either. Boasting tags like "flying kite machine" and "bandit stunt kite" and including details like 68-inch wingspans, pinwheels and colorful decorations, these kites are hip and fun-looking.

Prices on the kites range from just under $5 to about as much as you're willing to spend. The fun of launching a kite up high into the sky and taking control could be just the thing you're looking for to get you outside and enjoying the weather.

If you're into the idea, but not into spending money, you could always use items around the house to create your own kite. At, you can learn to make a kite just like Benjamin Franklin's using sticks, paper and string (among other household items). The Web site gives detailed instructions with visual aids.

If you don't mind spending money, then maybe you could step it up a notch and upgrade to a remote control airplane or model rocket. "You can get a radio control airplane for about 70 bucks," Crippen said. "And that's something that's made out of foam or plastic or stuff that's virtually crash-proof."

This could mean endless hours outdoors, just you and your virtually indestructible flying machine. "You can crash it over and over and over again - maybe a little bottle of glue to put it back together, some toothpicks or something," Crippen said. "But literally, you can go learn on your own. Go to a park and just go self-teach.

"You're not going to take an R/C airplane and probably be the Red Baron the first time that you take it up. It's one of those things that it comes with practice and experience; and the more you do it, the better you get," Crippen said.

Crashing things is fun, though. So, even if you never attain Baron status, you're guaranteed a good time whether it's soaring and doing tricks with your plane or just barreling it to the ground. And, if you're really into crashing things, then there's always the model rocket.

There's nothing like lying belly-down in the dewy grass and covering your head while you ignite the fuse on a small, somewhat dangerous projectile; watching the rocket take off and soar into the air, fueled by not only the explosion, but by your intense passion; running to it as it plummets to the ground and hoping that it will survive the fall so you can blow it up again!

"They really have come up with some super-duper great reliable products out there that anybody could get into," Crippen said.

So, whether you're an asthmatic, a couch potato or just a red-blooded American, it's about time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful skies. Kite, plane or rocket? To crash or not to crash? These will be up to you.

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