Halloween Costume

A few days ago, I promised a photo of my costume from last weekend’s Halloween party.
This get up is, of course, very similar to how I was made up last year when I was chasing people through the cornfields, and that was quite deliberate. The Frederick Jaycees didn’t run their Haunted Hayride project this year, so this was my “Tribute Costume.” (You can’t tell from this photo, but the shirt is a Haunted Hayride “Event Staff” shirt from the 2006 season.)
There is also a series of photos from an adventure I went on during the party, but those will have to wait until at least this evening.

Carving the Meta-Lantern

The original plan was to draw a rabbit on it and carve the lantern so you could see the rabbit. There were a couple reasons for this, one was that everyone carves faces or ghosts or (if you’re really good) a witch on their Jack-o-lantern. So I was going to draw a rabbit.
The other part of the plan was to take a photo of the Jack-O-Lantern (with the rabbit on it) and put it on the Shore Leave web site for Halloween. (The convention is named for the Star Trek episode titled “Shore Leave.” The episode includes a brief appearance by the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, so the convention adopted the rabbit as a mascot.)
Carving a drawing of a rabbit onto a pumpkin was definitely ambitious, but I thought it was doable. I’ve been drawing rabbits and putting them on the convention web site for the past several years. This was just a new medium is all.

Reading Bunny
Bunny reading a book.
Ze Artisté
Art Show Bunny.
Costumer Bunny
Masquerade Bunny, aka 'Shades'.
Security Bunny
Security Bunny, wearing a red shirt.

It was easy enough to draw a rabbit on the pumpkin. It was an unfamiliar medium, but aside from a little extra waviness in the whiskers, it was pretty straight forward. That’s when I realized how much detail is involved in those rabbits. The teeth, the whiskers, the noses, ears, and so on. I’ve been getting better at carving pumpkins, but that amount of detail was going to take most of the night. (Note to self: It might be a good idea to start carving the jack-o-lantern a little earlier than 10:45pm on the night before Halloween.)
So, it was clearly time for Plan B:
The meta-lantern.
Yes. That’s right. I carved a jack-o-lantern with a jack-o-lantern on it. I call it the “Meta-Lantern.”
Those with a sharp eye may have noticed something amiss though. There’s a figure lurking in the shadows off to the meta-lantern’s left. What the heck could that be? Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
The meta-lantern, up close.
Could that be…? Let’s turn up the lights and see if that’s who I think it is….

Oh no! It’s a Captain Jack O-Lantern!!!

The meta-lantern and The Captain.


The past few nights have been hovering just a few degrees above freezing, with day time highs in the upper 50s to just barely 60s. So far, the plants are holding their own. The marigolds still look gorgeous.
Marigold flower.

Date Changes

When Tom commented recently that his schedule makes last-minute date changes difficult, it occurred to me that this could cause him serious difficulties.
Several folks (Hi Z! Hi SueP!) have taken me to task because I’m oftentimes awake when the date changes. This does leave me a bit sleepy from time to time, but it does put me in the position to make the occasional scientific observation. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but what I’ve observed is that date changes almost always take place not merely at the last minute of the day, but at the absolute end of the very last second of the last minute.
The sole exception I’ve noticed to this rule has been the occasional incident of a “leap second” in between years. At that point there’s no date whatsoever and you end up with not just the single transition between dates, but instead a transition from December 31 to no date at all, and then a second transition when January 1 finally arrives.
It would be remiss of me to ignore the fact that things would have gone quite badly for Indy midway through the first movie if Sallah hadn’t noticed that the dates had changed from tasty to deadly. That sort of date change is a problem for us all.


Tonight’s weather forecast includes the first possible frost of the season. I suspect the plants right up against the house (such as this one) will probably be OK for a little while longer, but this is probably close to the end for the tomatoes.
Cannas flower.

Revealing Luke's Secret Plan

A while back, I noticed that one of the posts on Luke’s “Toothface” blog starts off with the sentence, “I was introduced to Keith Olbermann from my BSG Seminary Collegue this past winter.” I’ve been intrigued by that statement ever since.
I’m by no means well-versed in the names of the various seminaries in existence, but a reference to a “BSG Seminary” definitely catches my eye. Particularly when it comes from Luke, because the two of us share an appreciation for the TV show Battlestar Galactica or, as it’s known in some circles, “BSG.”
I don’t recall anyone on the show ever mentioning a seminary, but the show has embraced religious themes from the first episode, so it’s not much of a stretch for there to have been a seminary somewhere along the line.
There’s also an interesting distinction to be made: Luke subscribes to a monotheistic belief system. The human survivors of the twelve colonies, for the most part, follow a polytheistic religion (it’s not entirely clear whether the colonials worship the Greek/Roman gods).
There are exceptions of course. Along with a few atheists, there are a few who believe in only one god. I believe Kara Thrace (“Starbuck”) is an example of the latter group.
Of course, there’s another group in Battlestar Galactica who worship only one god: The Cylons. And the Cylons also have religous leaders, such as Brother Cavil.

The Cylons were created by Man
They Rebelled
They Evolved
There are Many Copies
And They Have a Plan

I’m onto your plan Luke!!!

They Keep Pulling Me Back In

OK, maybe it’s not completely involuntary, but it’s certainly a case of old habits dying hard (minus Bruce Willis and the gratuitous explosions of course).
The Jaycees are an organization for people between the ages of 21 and 40. Once you turn 40, you’re out. It’s not like Logan’s Run mind you, none of this stuff where the day you turn 40 you go off to “Carousel” to “Renew”; it’s just that the year you turn 40 is the last time you can renew your membership. (So your Jaycee membership does go off to “Carousel”; in a manner of speaking anyhow.)
Having been there first hand, I can tell you that it’s a rough on the individual, but it’s good for the organization because it means you can’t have the same people doing the same thing forever. Sooner or later, the organization is forced to let someone new take over. Turning 40 didn’t bother me much, but hitting 41… that one bothered me a lot.
Of course, even after you turn 41, you don’t have to just go away. That’s where “associate members” come in. That’s the old folks who are still around to help out with things, but are no longer involved in running things on a daily basis.
There’s a strong temptation to tell people how they should be running things, and maybe even try to force your way back in, but I try to avoid that. I’ve seen too many cases of old folks sitting around complaining how things aren’t the same as they were “back in my time.” Yikes!
One of the best bits of advice I’ve ever been given was 15 years ago when a new group was taking over an event I cared a great deal about. My friend Sam told me, “You know, they’re not going to do things the way we think they should. It doesn’t mean they’re wrong, just different.” I’ve tried to take that to heart, if someone asks for advice, I’ll give it to them. If they don’t follow it, that’s their choice. It’s sometimes painful to watch the result, but I seem to recall some lessons from my own painful learning experiences. (Burning your finger on the car’s cigarette lighter is a lot more convincing than just being told that it’s hot. Not that I’d have any experience with that kind of thing mind you.) Similarly, if asked for help, I’ll provide it, but I try to avoid “parachuting in to save the day.” (Which is a heck of a colorful metaphor even if I don’t remember where I first heard it.)
But sometimes people do ask for advice, and then they follow-up by asking questions. That’s when you get to be a mentor. And that’s kind of cool. You don’t run the project for them: you answer questions, you give advice, and you help out. But you don’t take over. (It’s gotta be rough for momma bird when the baby bird takes that first step off the branch!) And most important (and as I’m finding, sometimes darn difficult) comes the part where you make sure the person who just learned all this stuff is also the person getting the credit for it.
So far, so good. It’s been nearly a year since I held any official role in the Jaycees. But in the past 10 months I’ve mentored a new person in the role of supplying food and beverages for a local high school’s AfterProm party and I’ve mentored someone to run the Paint-A-Pumpkin booth. With a bit of luck, this year’s “mentee” for each project will go on to become a mentor to someone else and so on down the line.
But my work here isn’t done quite yet. A couple months ago, the Board of Directors asked me for help with publicizing events. I’ve convinced a few people to write Jaycee Press Releases (and written a few myself).
Now I just have to find someone to take over keeping that torch lit too. It’s not supposed to be my turn any more.

Change of Scenery

A mere 48 hours ago, I was sitting on a second floor balcony overlooking the intersection of Bourbon Street and Orleans Avenue. Going back to work today was a definite letdown.
Although my aunt’s funeral wasn’t the happiest reason to visit New Orleans, I spent three days catching up with assorted friends, relatives, and various extended families. I’m glad I went.

Third Party Candidates

Paris Hilton has released a second campaign video for her (fake) presidential bid, with an endorsement from former President Jed Bartlet. Truthfully, I’m somewhat impressed by Ms. Hilton’s approach to the campaign season. Many celebrities openly endorse one candidate or another without laying out their reasons. Apparently they’d just have us vote one way or the other because someone famous said we should. Ms. Hilton is instead using her tongue-in-cheek presidential bid to bring up real issues that the real campaigns are ignoring.
Bearing that in mind, this seems like a good time to round up all the third-party candidates. Now if I could just get them to agree on a debate format….

Paris Hilton’s initial campaign video

Paris Hilton’s second campaign video

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Zaphod Beeblebrox’s Campaign Video

The Palin Presidential Campaign Announcement