Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

My Colossus Exploded and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt.

On December 6th at 3:35AM my Purple/Yellow Colossus exploded.....yes you read that right.

I had to get a bit of distance between then and now before I could post about this.  The week that this happened had to be one of the worst weeks of my life.  Here's the low down........

Monday....go to work to find that a power outage at work and as a result I had to deal with (I.T.) problems that resulted, not the worst day but a good start to a bad week as it took a couple hectic hours to get fixed up.

Tuesday....my little dog "Chia" whom I had had since she was six weeks old died....she had just turned sixteen the week before.  This coming just five weeks after the death of my 20.5 year old Chihuahua named Romeo.

Weds......more severe electrical issues at work which caused the failure of a battery backup device and the attached server.....total loss of the server hard discs.  Email and file server down!

Thursday.....server recovery mode all day.

Friday......more server recovery mode, all day again, and finally the end of a stressful work week (server back up and data restored).  

     Friday night I figured I needed some liquid wax motion to destress.  Came home from work and turned on the Colossus which had not run since last Spring this would be the first run for the cold season.  Oh, and FYI the lamp was in the master bedroom on my side of the bed.  My wife and I went out to dinner and we had a late evening on the town.  I came home at about 11pm the lamp was flowing and just beautiful.  I went to bed with the lamp running and planned on running it all weekend.

Saturday (3AM) wake up for a bathroom run.  The lamp was flowing great, I sat there on the bed and watched it for about 15 minutes and dozed back off.  3:35AM "BOOM!!!!!!!" suddenly we are awakened by the loud sound of the Colossus globe exploding, a slight concussive effect was even part of the event.  Oh, and I cannot forget to mention the sudden rush of 11 gallons of hot water and hot wax going EVERYWHERE!!!.  The lamp contents went across the floor covering about a 175 square foot area and all over the side of the bed, and under the bed and beyond.  Well, shit now we're up for the day!!!!  

The Clean Up:

Step one make coffee, lots of coffee!!!   Then to clean up this epic mess we had to basically move out of the room for two days.  My house has stained and sealed concrete floors and I can promise you that the wax and surfy water covering the floor was slicker than cat shit on linoleum.  I slipped and fell more than once during this event.  If we had carpeting in the room the room would have needed to have new carpeting installed without a doubt as the wax left its yellow stain on everything it touched....and it was permanent....as you will see in a bit.

I was instantly devastated by the loss of the lamp and just frigging confused as to how this could be happening.  The lamp had not run in at least seven months, it had the Lava Lite provided Phillips light bulb and had been fine for the last run the previous Spring.  Never-the-less, I decided to try to make the best of it and since our home is carpeting free as I cleaned up the wax (scraped it up with a metal pizza peel) I sat it aside.  It took us until about noon to get the wax and fluid up and have the floor be safe to walk on.  We had to get out a heavy duty wax stripper (liquid wax remover) to help get up the Colossus wax and have the floor be clean.  We had to reseal the concrete the next day and move furniture back in.

Well, the wax stained the wall paint on the wall near the lamp's location, we had to repaint that area of wall but we have plenty of touch up paint so no big deal.  

Well, while we cleaned up the room I noticed that our home's alarm system started to act up too and was giving off this annoying beep that it does when it needs a new backup battery or when one of the sensors is out.  I figured it was just par for the course as this week from Hell was still going full blast.

Saturday afternoon....needed to go to town and wash wax infused towels because those towels were not going in our washer!!!  We also needed to get a battery for the alarm system (or so I thought).  We were starving too so we decided to grab a quick bite to eat while we were in town.  I get the new battery, then we go to a local fast food joint and order a late lunch.  The restaurant staff were really slow and it took close to twenty minutes to get a few tacos and a coke.  Well just as they call my name and put my tray on the counter for me to pickup some old guy cuts in front of me, snatches the tray from my hands as I pick it up, and then he scurries off.  I tell the girl at the counter that he grabbed my tray.....she says "no, I'm pretty sure that was his".  Nope, he rummages through the food, bites into a taco and comes back up and angrily says "you got my order wrong". I look at this guy and say "no, you stole my tray and you should have to eat that as it should not go to waste".  Well, the clerk takes the tray and they take off the partially eaten taco and try to give me back the other items that while uneaten were opened by him and his wife.  I'm thinking "really? what the Hell else can happen this week?".  Well they decide I'm right and the order should be completely re-made (another 10 minutes) I finally get the tray of tacos, etc and go back to the table with my wife.  I sit down and just as I go to take a first bite my wife's phone rings and it's our neighbors calling.....the alarm system is going off and one of the other neighbors has called the cops.  "Aw F***" is what rings through my head as I tell my wife I'm headed back home to deal with the situation.  She stays at the restaurant and has her lunch.  I get home as the sheriff gets there and they check out the house....I've already told them that it's a malfunction but they just gotta look around.  Well, they were decent guys and they understood when I explained to them what was gong on.  We chat a bit and as they leave and back out of my driveway they back over my mail box knocking it to the ground and damaging the back of their vehicle.  HOLY CRAP!  Really???!!!!!   I go back to get my wife and maybe eat my lunch...nope cold, soggy tacos I gave up and just trashed them and went back home.

The new battery did not fix the alarm problem and I was a bit stumped, then I checked our phone lines and they showed to be busy without a phone being off of the receiver base.   I looked about for the problem and discovered that when the Colossus blew a tiny bit of wax had gotten into a phone jack that is behind my night stand, it completed the circuit making the line appear busy and the alarm system was going bonkers because it had been hours without a dial tone.  The Leviton brand phone jack was fried and I had to replace it....no biggie just a few bucks.

Sunday  spend the afternoon building a new mailbox stand, digging a new hole and getting that fixed so we can have mail delivery for the coming week.  Oh, and I pray hard that on Monday it's a new week and that Hell Week was over.

Well I called Lava Lite that following Monday just to tell them about my experience and see if they could shed light on what could have happened....no light was shed.  I also sent them a bunch of pics thinking that maybe it would help down the road if they decide to do a Colossus again.  Oh, and I wanted to see if they would help me replace the globe. Now I don't feel now (or then) that I was due a warranty replacement because this lamp was well past its 90 day warranty.  But I had been at Lava headquarters earlier in the year and saw a couple empty globes there and a returned globe or two as well.  I wanted to buy an empty globe so I could get the lamp going again.  Sadly that did not work out and I could not get an empty globe.  Lava L. did offer me to file an insurance claim for damages....but not to replace the damaged lamp just anything that the lamp might have damaged.  Well there was some minor repainting to do, a few bucks for a new phone jack and the bedspread had been ruined by wax staining it.  However, it was not an expensive ($70ish) bedspread and we had used it for a year or two and frankly I'm just not that petty.  There was one other casualty as I had dropped a white T-Shirt on the floor next to the bed when I went to sleep and it too got covered in yellow wax.

In the end I had a really CRAP Week at work, lost a beloved little dog and my favorite Colossus.  The gain....a newly yellow (tie dyed looking) T- Shirt and salvaged Colossus wax and Colossus coils.  Yep that's right all that wax I scraped up, I melted it and strained it three times through progressively smaller sieves and used it to refill my Princess....seen here:


I told you guys that the Princess got "Chinese Wax" and that the source of the wax was a "Shocker".....well is it?

I guess when life serves you Lemon colored wax you try to make Lemonade Wax out of it and refill another lamp. LOL

I didn't know if that wax would work after it had been on the floor and filled with lint, bunnies, etc but I just had to try.  I managed to get three good quarts of Colossus yellow wax out of this catastrophe.  Two quarts are in use in the Princess and the third is on reserve for another day.  Oh, and the T-Shirt, you can bet your ass that I am wearing that....probably the world's first fully Colossus Wax dyed shirt!

Here are a bunch of pictures of the whole fiasco, etc:

Lamp Before:

The aftermath:


The mailbox down:

What Came out of it


Cleaned up wax!  

In the end

A Yellow Shirt!

A happy Crestworth Rocket / Princess with wax donated from the Late P/Y Colossus:

My Precious Chia:

I now am trying to close the dark chapter that was 2014.  I really did have a kind of bad year last year and am looking forward to a better 2015.  I hope to pick up another yellow Colossus (Humongo) some time this spring/summer.  With 2015 being Lava's 50th Anniversary maybe there will be some cool new lamp or two to help make this a great year!


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Comment by Zapiao on February 24, 2021 at 8:43am

So it was a glass failure? Or it was long running lamp on?

Comment by Tim on May 31, 2015 at 5:49pm

I have no words! I just can't believe it!! I'm so sorry Bill! I have never heard of so many bad events happen in a sort amount of time like that. Life is a challenge and we just have to roll with the punches but it sucks! I'm also really sorry to hear about Chia as well. Our beloved pets unfortunately do not live as long as us but for as long as their with us we can only give them the best life possible. I have a bloodhound "Tucker" and I love him so much and I spoil him rotten! Well you surly deserve that awesome Humongo! Take care!

Comment by Critter on March 13, 2015 at 2:04pm

Thanks for your comments especially about my dog, Chia. The lamp's issues were nothing to do with cold temps. I built my house in 2008-2009 and it features 2×6 walls with spray foam insulation and thermal break windows. The house is super easy to heat and cool and we don't get varied temps inside it stays quite stable. The lamp was at full temperature and flowing when it blew. I suspect a small defect in the glass that could take no more just let loose. Still looks empty in the spot where it sat.

Comment by Deb on March 13, 2015 at 12:49pm

Holy shiz!!! That is the very thing I pictured happening to my original clear/black with the glass flaw. LL replaced it but that was early on when they still had plenty to sell. If you noticed no glass issues I'm wondering....since this happened in December, was that lamp next to a cold north wall??? Not sure how well insulated your house is but read you had a pretty brutal winter there. And from the pics the lamp looks like it's placed pretty close to the wall. I could see a hot lamp running for a few days near a wall radiating cold could cause that to happen. And I agree with Jim. Insurance should have compensated you somehow. Here's a pic of the glass flaw that was in my globe. I haven't run that one for a good long time. The other I just turned on a few days ago and the thought of it exploding for no good reason kinda freaks me out a bit. Yikes!!!!

And sorry again for the loss of your dog. I lost my Chi earlier in the year by a vicious neighbor dog who jumped my fence. It broke my heart but you can bet your ass I'm making the owner pay all the vet expenses and cost of a papered pup. $$ won't ever replace him but having all his dogs taken from him and compensating for the loss in my bank account is a small victory nonetheless. 

Comment by Critter on February 8, 2015 at 8:13pm
Mod. Thanks for that! Please let me say I am so sorry to hear that your father passed away recently. My dad died 14 years ago this past Feb 3rd and I still miss him dearly. I would give anything for more time with him.
Comment by Modulo '70 on February 8, 2015 at 7:57pm
That was a string of seriously crap happenings. Sorry about the little doggy too. You sound like a super determined and practical individual. Many others would have given up. Good luck with the new Colossus. You have the most amazing collection. Happy 2015, the last year was pretty crap as well for me what with my Dad's passing mainly. All the best to you.J
Comment by Critter on February 5, 2015 at 2:47pm
Yeah Pete. I must say it would be harder to lose the Princess or my Imperial. The Colossus is down right common in comparison to those two. I have another Colossus which is a purple pink color combo but I am now afraid to run it! LOL
Comment by Aladdin 2 Lava on February 5, 2015 at 2:20pm

Maybe... just maybe, some lamps can never be replaced.... if its any consolation your rare and much desired Crestworth Princess looks pretty amazing right now.

Comment by VOXul on February 5, 2015 at 10:25am

You should edit the wiki page to reflect this dangerous incident! I know it lists the time foolio tried to cook his globe, sealed, on the stove top! Get some shirts made up to say something like "I HAD seen the Colossus and it WAS good, very good." Insert glass shrapnel below text or something. Love the scene Pete brought up about American Beauty, it is all just stuff, and a lot of crap.

Comment by Critter on February 5, 2015 at 10:12am
Thanks Pete and Johnny. Oh I agree it's just stuff for sure. I would have traded that lamp in a heart beat for more time with little Chia or Romeo.

Johnny it bewildered me too as the lamp was fully hot and had been flowing for 3-4 hours when it failed. The dimmer was set to about the 6:30 position as always so even the bulb was not at full temp. If the lamp would have failed when it was cold (right after turning it on) the clean up would have been a snap because the wax would have been solid still.

As I said before it is what it is.

Say there whipper snapper did I ever tell you about the time my Colossus lamp exploded........



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