Happy Halloween 2018!

Boo!

From all of us here at SEB, here’s hoping you have a spooky and safe Halloween. 

We’ve got our candy cauldron filled with a couple of bags, down a bit from last year, because now that we have a house we actually get some kids that drop by. I don’t have a proper pumpkin this year, but I do have a fog machine to put behind the bushes. We’ve added a little to our Halloween decorations this year too. It was raining this morning, but it looks like it’ll just be overcast this evening so I expect we should see at least a few kids before the evening is done. 

This is an exciting day for me because, as far as I’m concerned, this is the official kick off of the holiday season. I am already thinking about possibly getting some outdoor lighting up for Christmas this coming weekend. The weather has been colder than usual as of late so I’d like to get some done before the snow starts flying. 

But for now I’ll be looking for little monsters to come knocking this evening demanding treats. 

It’s starting to look a little spooky around here.

I’ve always enjoyed the holidays and while Christmas is the one I focus the most attention on, I’ve been very excited to have a house to decorate for Halloween too. Our collection of Halloween decor is still small compared to Christmas, but we’re slowly adding to it. I have a white jack o’ lantern I picked up at a Cracker Barrel years ago that has an orange light bulb that flickers on and off. A couple of different door/wall hanging items, a lantern with a haunted house motif that I swap out for the usual solar lantern on the shepherd’s hook next to the front porch, and a fake tombstone with skull and skeleton arms that’s new this year. You get the idea.  

The one decoration I’m most excited about, however, is one I’ve owned the longest. It’s only a couple of years younger than I am and it fits in nicely with my retro house. An original Pumpkin Scarecrow blow mold from the Empire Plastics Company circa 1969. Check it:

How friggin cool is that? Still glows like he’s powered by a nuclear reactor. This will be his first Halloween in a couple of decades because he was packed away in boxes that were, until last summer, last stored in my Mother-in-Law’s basement. This will be his year to shine anew. In part because he has a brand new light fixture inside him as the original was lost ages ago. 

He’s not particularly collectable — the company made tons of them and you can find him on eBay for $15 or less depending on the condition he’s in — but he’s definitely nostalgic for me. The fact that I’ve had him for almost my entire life adds to that. OK, I’m not sure he was “mine” back when I was a kid, but he’s been with me for a long time and I’m putting him back into service. 

I hope to pick up a fog machine before the big day arrives as well. I used to have one, but forgot to empty it out one year after the evening was over and the fluid gummed it up. I’ve not gotten into the Halloween colored string lights yet as that’s too weirdly close to Christmas decor for me, but I’m softening on it. As I get more stuff put up I’ll probably do another entry with a few more pics. 

Happy Halloween 2017 and an update.

First up, here’s wishing everyone a Happy Halloween today!

Jack O'Lantern

This year’s classic take on the Jack O’Lantern on my front porch.

Second, it appears I am as bad at vlogging regularly as I am at blogging regularly. I’ve done a whole two videos and one of them is just me petting Cuddles. I really had planned on doing more, but I’m being overly critical of my own efforts and giving up. That said, I’ve learned a lot about editing videos and I’m probably going to try just picking a subject and talking about it instead of trying to cover multiple topics at once. Will make for shorter videos, but perhaps I need to ease into it.

I have made several gaming videos including the ones I put in my last post and I’m thinking I’d like to start streaming. Still trying to decide if I should stream on YouTube or Twitch. I have accounts on both platforms and I’d be starting off from zero either way so I suppose it doesn’t matter. One thing I need to develop is my ability to talk about what I’m doing as I play. I still get so caught up in playing that my only commentary tends to be me whinging a bit when I feel I died a cheap death. I’m also finding it difficult to monitor the stream on the same PC I’m streaming on so I may need to put together a secondary machine strictly for monitoring the stream at some point. I’m not sure how people who do this full time are doing it. I’m not even sure if I play anything compelling enough for people to want to watch.

This week sees the launch of Call of Duty: WWII and I’ve taken Friday off because A) I had the time to take and B) three day weekend and I was thinking of using that as a starting point for streaming. Of course the game unlocks at Midnight so if I stay up to play it right away then there’s likely not going to be anyone awake to watch the stream. If I wait until after a good nights sleep, well, it’s Friday and everyone will be working anyway so I doubt it makes any difference.

Spooky Lantern

Picked up a new Halloween themed lantern for the front yard.

Anyway, other than that I’ve been enjoying decorating the house for Halloween and looking forward to the upcoming holiday season. Also looking forward to handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters this evening. Being that I live in an actual house in an actual neighborhood and not an apartment complex for the first time in my adult life, I fully expect to see tons of kids. Or at least I hope so because we bought 3 bags of candy totalling over 700+ pieces that two diabetics really shouldn’t have access to if no one shows up at the door.

Also I did get a new Pixel 2 phone from Google. I’m very impressed with it so far and I’m debating trying to do a review of it either as a vlog or standard blog entry. Dunno that I have anything particularly profound to say about it.

So that’s it. Nothing major going on right now other than playing around with YouTube and video editing without producing much of anything in the process and getting ready for Halloween. What have you folks been up to?

Ruminations on old photographs and Halloween.

When my mother moved in with my sister one of the things she gave me was a big blue plastic container full of photos. I was digging through it to see if I could find any Halloween related pictures from when I was a kid. As I searched in vain for anything that might be interesting, two things occurred to me.
 
The first was that we live in an amazing time where practically everyone has a device in their pocket capable of taking not only crystal clear photos of whatever happens to be catching their eye, but crystal clear video too. Most of the photos I found of me as a kid are badly faded despite having been kept in boxes for most of their existence. In fact, the further back the photos went — quite a few of them are actually my grandparent’s albums full of people I haven’t a clue as to who they were — the worse that problem becomes. The lack of resolution becomes apparent too. The ones that survived the best, oddly enough, are the Polaroids that developed instantly, but they’re surprisingly dark compared to the faded traditional shots on film. 
 
The second was I can now see why none of my relatives became professional photographers. (My niece being excluded as she’s an excellent photographer, but has had the benefit of growing up just as digital cameras became ubiquitous.) I have a shitload of photos of random things where it’s not clear just what it was the photographer was trying to capture. A not particularly impressive hill with trees on it here. A random trailer someone in the family most have owned there. Lots and lots of pictures of people — some I barely recognize, some that may as well be extras in a movie — many of which only manage to capture half a head and an elbow that might not belong to the head in question. To be fair, alcohol has never been a stranger to my family tree and it’s entirely possible whoever was taking the pics at the time was more than three sheets to the wind. 
Alas, I didn’t find any adorably cute pics of me in grade school wearing that terrible store bought Spiderman costume with the plastic mask that had edges sharp enough to cut steel. So I’ll have to reuse something I know I’ve posted in the past.

Here’s me as a senior in highschool going as… fuck if I know what it was supposed to be. You can’t see it in the photo, but I had spread liquid latex all over my face while squinching it up and then blow drying it so it had this weird pattern to it. Then I put on silver facepaint, a robe with a hood, and my walking stick I picked up at a Renaissance Festival and that was it. Tah-dah!

Worst. Halloween. Costume. Ever.

Happy Halloween everyone!

It’s an office disaster waiting to happen.

As I mentioned on an earlier post, Halloween was a bust in terms of seeing any kids in costume. The last thing we need is to keep a shitload of candy in the house considering that neither of us should be eating it. What to do?

Inflict it on my office-mates, natch! This is what the coffee station at work looks like this morning:

Tremble at the sight of Candy Mountain!

Tremble at the sight of Candy Mountain!

I’m a little worried I may be responsible for multiple diabetic comas today so if you see me on the evening news, well, this would be why.

Happy Halloween 2015!

Boo!I’ve not posted in quite awhile so I thought I’d take a moment to drop a Happy Halloween on everyone. Here’s hoping you have a fun and safe spooky holiday.

I started the day watching The Lazarus Effect and laughing at how stupid it was. Tonight we’ll find out if we get any kids trick or treating at our new apartment. Most of the apartments I’ve lived in didn’t see much in the way of kids to hand out candy to, but we’ve got quite a few in the area so I’m optimistic we might see a decent number tonight. At least I hope so, because the last thing a diabetic needs is a lot of left-over Halloween candy.

Not sure when to expect kids as it doesn’t appear Canton sets specific hours, but I’m anticipating they’ll probably start around 6PM and last at least a couple of hours.

Time for this year’s Halloween light shows.

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are approaching and as such the holiday light shows have started up again. Originally a trend that started with Christmas displays it has since spread to Halloween. So let’s see what folks have come up with this year.

Mark H. kicks things off with a light show that features a 15 foot singing killer clown as the centerpiece:

The Thomas family in Naperville, IL have overstuffed their yard with figures this year and a light show featuring Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which is at least somewhat Halloween-ish:

We’re seeing an increasing incorporation of projection mapping into displays this year as is the case with Tyler D.’s light show that also features an original soundtrack:

Few things are scarier than dubstep so here’s one from a4luther in St. Louis that makes good use of it:

Of course, you could save a lot of time by foregoing the stringing of lights and just using projection mapping to do your whole house like the folks at Clover Shriek Haunt did:

These keep getting better with each year and I have to admire the time and dedication these folks are investing. They also must have some extremely patient neighbors.

If you can’t get enough of this sort of thing then there’s a ton more of these videos on YouTube including additional ones featuring different songs by the folks I’ve listed here as well as efforts from years past.

Dan Buckley’s impressive cover of “This Is Halloween.”

Who is Dan Buckley? I’ve no idea, but dude has mad talent as he sings This Is Halloween from A Nightmare Before Christmas. What’s so impressive about that? How about the fact that it involved 66 separate vocal tracks.

Check it:

If nothing else Dan’s got a good future in voice over work.

Happy Halloween 2013!

jackskellingtonmoonThis is just a quick post to wish you and yours a Happy Halloween!

Alas, we didn’t hand out candy this year in part because it just wasn’t in the budget and in part because it rained pretty much all day and we already don’t see a lot of kids as it is. With the rain I’m sure the turnout would’ve been even worse.

So we didn’t put on any costumes this year, no pumpkin in the window, no spooky soundtrack playing on the stereo. Kind of a bummer, really. Hopefully next year we’ll be in a proper house and will have the resources to do the holiday proud.

How about you folks? Did you do anything special for Halloween this year?

It’s almost Halloween so here’s some holiday light shows.

It all started with syncing Christmas lights to music and the past couple of years it’s migrated to Halloween much to the delight of the folks trying to sell Halloween colored Christmas lights. It’s the sort of spectacle that I’d love to do myself if A) I had a house and B) I had the talent, neither of which I posses. Still, they’re fun to watch.

FIrst up is the Thomas Halloween 2013 show featuring one of my current favorite songs Sail by AWOLnation: 

Or, if you prefer, something a bit more in-line with the season This Is Halloween from A Nightmare Before Christmas:

Not to be outdone, here’s Thriller by Creative Lighting Displays out in California:

The Hallett’s light show isn’t as elaborate as some others, but does feature some cool projected animation in addition to a 10 foot singing skull:

One more light show that incorporates a touch of projection mapping as part of the show:

It’s really amazing how much this has taken off over the past several years. There’s a lot of people out there devoting a massive amount of time and effort in designing and setting up these light shows. Whole house projection mapping appears to be the next big thing, but I couldn’t find any good examples from this year.

One of the best examples from last year is Bates Haunt’s 2012 show which runs a good 20 minutes:

The folks behind Bates Haunt have tutorials on their site showing how they do it for those of you interested in trying your hand at it.

If you’ve seen some cool Halloween displays this year, even if they’re just static, leave a comment and tell us about it. If you can link to pictures or a video that would be even better.