I understand your frustration with the long balloons. Having made a bunch of balloon animals, I discovered that if you stretch them lengthwise several times before you inflate them they don't burst so bad. It exercises the rubber and makes it more flexible so they don't burst. I went through a few balloons myself before I discovered this. Good luck with the propane cylinders, and remember even an empty one still has a volume of propane in it, so be careful.
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If you don't care for reality, just wait a while; another will be along shortly. --A Rose