My first shuttle launch: What a blast! (video of Discovery launch)

I've lived in Florida for most of my life and aside from killer sunsets or the splendor of seeing dolphins frolic in the bay, being able to actually witness the launch of the Space Shuttle — the fire of the engines and the vapor trail, from nearly any corner of the state — has always been one my favorite things.

Ever since I took residence in the Sunshine State way back in 1987, I've always wanted to witness a launch from the Kennedy Space Center, but could never seem to make it happen.  Whether it be... well, the weather, my schedule or an unwillingness to wager a three-hour drive for a 60% liftoff probability, I just couldn't find my way over there.

Well, that all changed this past Friday. (Video after the break.)