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.

Happy Halloween 2012!

Jasper got bored waiting for the kids to show up.

It took some time to get underway this year — it was an hour and 20 minutes after the scheduled start time before we saw the first couple of kids — but it was a pretty decent Halloween in the end. The weather was cold and damp, but not rainy and there were plenty of trick and treaters dropping by to collect their empty calories.

We pulled double duty this year as one of the neighbors came up to ask if we’d had out her candy as well because she had to to go work and her husband wouldn’t be home in time to do the honors. She had the same problem last year and had just set the bowl out on the honor system only to have the first couple of kids who showed up clean it out completely. We said we’d be happy to do so and she dropped by with a bowl full of suckers a short while later.

This proved to be more problematic than I first thought as several kids didn’t pick up on my invitation to take a couple of items from each bowl and thought that they could only choose from one bowl or take just one thing from each bowl. As a result, we both have left over candy again even though we bought less than last year. Good thing it’s stuff I like to eat.

Here’s hoping your Halloween was as festive and fun as ours was! I enjoyed it so much that I think I’ll do it again next year.

Annual “Halloween is evil” message comes with a new homosexual twist!

Boo!If it’s October then it must be time for the annual “Satan loves Halloween” message from overly credulous Evangelicals. This year’s warning comes from Linda Harvey of Mission America as posted on the WingNut Daily website.

Not only does she engage in the usual demons-will-get-you nonsense, but she manages to one-up previous year’s warning by linking it to homosexuality:

2. Halloween is now the second-most popular American celebration right behind Christmas. Why the growing magnetism of Halloween? Spiritual deception on a grand scale, using every enticing trick in the book, may be at work. And such trends call for heightened Christian discernment.

This event has become a huge annual celebration in the “LGBT” world, especially for the transgender/ gender-confused folks. Their affinity illustrates some of the problem: The core of Halloween is glittering artificiality. You can be pretend to be someone you aren’t for a night, you can flirt with danger, you can divine a different destiny – but it’s all void of the love or will of God. This “seduction unto death” is enticing: Don’t be afraid, do what you want, there’s nothing to fear. It’s one of Satan’s oldest tricks. Costume parties can be fun, but these costumes dare to disguise even our very souls.

via 10 reasons to fast from Halloween.

Icky gay people like it so you know it’s icky!

Though it’s not just the gays that get the guilt-by-association treatment here. Reason #1 on the list makes sure that witches aren’t forgotten:

1. Let’s be honest about the spiritual force at the center of Halloween. The modern celebration retains its decidedly occult origin. Some say the “All Hallows Eve” designation on some church calendars marks it as a Christian holiday, but an eighth-century accommodation to local pagan traditions for appeasing evil spirits is very thin gruel, Gospel-wise.

Halloween remains the highest sacred day of the year for modern witches and pagans, called “Samhain” (pronounced, “sow-een”). Some rationalize that Halloween transforms ghouls and goblins into light-hearted fun, but is Halloween’s makeover into a big joke a biblical approach? While Christians need not cringe in fear of the demonic realm, nor be overly preoccupied, neither are we to mock and scoff, cavalierly entering Satan’s territory while dismissing the danger. We are especially not to encourage our children in such recklessness.

Keep in mind that this woman, and many other Evangelical Christians like her, literally believes that demons are real and are lurking in the shadows in anticipation of your kid playing with an Ouija board so they can swallow their souls. She must lead a very stressful life worrying about nonsense like that all the time.

That said, she and her like-minded brethren are free to keep their kids safely at home on Halloween if they really want to. It’s not like anyone has ended up psychologically scarred for not having been allowed to trick or treat as a kid. All they’re missing out on is a bit of harmless fun. It just means more candy for the rest of us.