Be Afraid…


Its officially time to be beside myself in giddiness.   The Dark Holiday Celebration is here!

Tonight is my annual Halloween party, and I’m really looking forward to it.   Tomorrow will be clean-up and I think some fang-crafting.  My new buddy is going to make me some custom fangs.

Sunday I will probably carve pumpkins.   Itching to try out some tools I picked up a couple of years ago and haven’t played with… including my Halloween Dremel.    I have a powered saw too.    Neither of which have felt the sensation of sinking into the flesh of a pumpkin.

Hopefully I’ll have some pics to share over the weekend too.  My photographer is slacking… ‘cause well, she’s a busy gal and its Halloween…  which makes us all busy.

So Dark Tidings to you all… remember your ancestors, as they remember you (and if your dearly departed are going to pop in for a visit…  this is the most likely time).    Put some food out on your porch for the spirits…   don a mask to confound troublesome goblins (or, you know, just scare some kids)…   and be afraid… be very afraid   (but in a good way.)

It surprised me too.


I met a guy over the weekend who I think may just be more into Halloween than I am.   Shocking!    At the very least he gives me good competition for dark-holiday obsession.   :)     Needless to say we hit it off extremely well, geeking out over skeletons and gargoyles.   Three of my gargoyles are also his.

Seems we have a lot of common interests too.    For you Radcliffians, I think its safe to say I have a new Jaffa to add to the ranks.    I may be getting ahead of myself, but I’m already anticipating an extra set of hands for next year’s setup.


Speaking of which, just some finishing touches to be made and the photo shoot can begin!   I’m particularly pleased with how the bathroom came out this year.    of course every time Leia barks (it was her five-year birthday yesterday), she sets off some sound-activated horror.    I, of course, can’t help but giggle about it.

It’s Crunch Time Mr. Kim


Did everyone see Kate Mulgrew on Warehouse 13 playing Reagent Jane?   I really miss Voyager.  Frak Fire-fly.  Bring back Voyager!

(and Fire-Fly.)

Animated series are conceivable folks.   SGU conclusion anyone?   The rest of Caprica maybe?   That Atlantis movie we were ‘promised?’  

Which reminds me…   If you didn’t know, Thundercats has been rebooted on Cartoon Network.  I’m still getting used to the new cats, but loving it.



On to the crunch.

Tis the last day of September and I’m sad to announce, that we remain behind schedule.   It is, conveinently, now officially going to be October come ‘morrow and that means I can feel better about doing things outdoors.   (For my neighbor’s sake, I try and wait until October before doing anything that impacts my curb appeal.   It may, however, last well into November.)

I have, in the past, completely done the interior over the course of a weekend.   I’m well into that already, so I’m going to put that same kind of busy-bodiedness into swing this weekend and hopefully knock the bulk of it out.   (If cobwebs aren’t going up by Sunday night, I’ve failed.)

Now where’s Ensign Kim when you need someone to boss around?


Post all this holiday franticness, expect some entries chronicling the new adventures of the Thunderans and their dark nemesis.   I’m gonna do a quick rewatch and post about each episode.   Spoilers will no doubt abound.

Hunting for Skeletons


As preparations continue, we realized we had a shortage of skeletons this year.   (I’m not really sure how that happened, as I seem to keep adding to the bone pile year after year.)

So Gabe and I hit the stores (well, those still open after 8PM) to find some.    We didn’t fare all that well.

Its not entirely unexpected, given the economic state of so many of us, that we jsut aren’t buying and so stores just aren’t supplying.    Its a really telling tale going down the halloween isles of your favorite stores.   About all you can find is candy and kids costumes.     Decorations?   Rather sparse. 

This year its expected that consumers will only shell out the bare minimum for the holiday.   Candy to pass out, and costumes for the little ones.   

Walmart’s selection is just sad.   What they do have is rather overpriced (with the exception of one item i’ll get to in a minute) for the quality it is.

Target, usually my savior in these things, has a better selection but its still rather scaled back from years past.  At least their price-points are more inline with what I’m willing to pay for the quality of the goods.    It’s clear their buyers did a better job than Walmart’s, as they managed to get some quality stuff at a price people would actually afford in the current market.    In fact there is a couple of things I think I’m going to have to head back for next payday.

They had some skeletons, but they were too large for our purposes (we need smaller ones for the tree of the dead).     So no luck there, though I did find this guy:


(Sorry, my cell has issues with lighting… so the detail isn’t all there…   he has a rather draconic visage, so naturally I had to have him.)

We’re looking around about to leave and Gabe asks “Is there anything you see you can’t live without?”

Of course I’m standing next to this guy, so I put my hand on him.     A slight roll of the eyes and some comment about needing another Gargoyle like I need another hole in my head…   but he loves me and let me make the buy…  provided I allowed him to use it in the graveyard outside.     Deal!

What can I say… this one wanted to come home with me.   Assuming he can devise adequate security, I’m thinking I’m going to be placing a lot of the gargoyles outside this year, on the porch’s railing.      (We’re a little concerned, especially in these desperate times, of people walking off with the cool things we have on display…but I just happen to live with a home security and life safety engineer, so I’m going to be well covered.)

Discouraged we grabbed dinner at In-N-Out before hitting up some drug stores on the way home.     Finally found what we wanted at the Walgreens.    Though the bone color is a little off though.    Looks like we’ll need some antiquing gel to fix them up to their proper horrific conditions.    

Of all the places we went too, Walgreens’ selection is the most comparable to what they had in seasons past, although even they have scaled down a bit.    Where they used to have a descent selection of lights, its now all candy.   Overall, a lot less shelf-space devoted to the things I spend my dollars on for Halloween.   (I don’t know why, but costuming is always so last minute for me.)

We did get home to discover a bit of a surprise in one of the acquisitions we made along the way.    I try to expand my animatronics each year with a new piece, but these are a tad pricey and I’ve been resigned to not being able to grow that the past couple of years.    The one thing I found at Walmart was this winged reaper (truly an angel of death).   We were talking on the way home and given the quality of the similar items on display, felt it was priced close to right, but slightly more expensive than it should have been.   Seemed like a $15 item, not a $20 one.    Well, I was wrong.   I knew it lit up and made noise, what I didn’t realize is it also moved.   (It’s also appears to be a bit higher-quality fabric than its companions on the display shelf.)

So I got to add a new animatronics to the mix this year after all, and at a real bargain.   Any other year, I’d have expected to pay at least $40 on something like this thing.   

I’m hoping to get some video of things this year to post, so I’ll try and make a point of filming him.

If you’re in the market for decor, though, don’t waste time on Walmart (unless you want a winged reaper).    Target has a few nice things reasonably priced, but in general the pickings are slim this year.



I successfully restored my disabled set of icicle lights to functioning order, but two sets isn’t enough.  I need at least three to complete the hall.

So I’ve had to suck it up and just pay to have some shipped to me as I’ve not been able to find orange icicle lights in any brick and mortar store.


The state of Halloween decorations is appalling.


No photos today, but I’ll try and take some as I spend all weekend setting things up.

As the month winds down…


I think I read Google+ has seen a 30% growth since going public?    Welcome newbies!


Progress continues to be slow on the reconfiguration of this house I live in, to its more ‘horrific’ form.   Seems like I could use some ancient spirits… to transform this charming dwelling… It’s my first Halloween here.   Might just be my last, one never knows.  

Check this out though.  It’s Gabe’s top-secret project.   He doesn’t want anyone to see it until its finished, because ‘people just don’t understand if they see it before its finished.’


I think he agonizes too much, but its artist’s prerogative.  So you’ll just have to wait, and/or guess.  We had a little dinner thing last night, so he covered it up.   Avoid dropping in unannounced.

Meanwhile I’ve been trying to trouble-shoot a line of icicle lights.  Even tried to find a replacement.   No luck.   There’s a new (to me) halloween store literally a block from my house  (Awesome!).   Stopped in on my way home from work.   I might check back for some costume accessories as their selection seemed rather vast.   Its nice to have competition for Spirit anyway.   But their lighting/décor selection left much to be desired.   (Not Awesome.)

There’s a place online that has what appears to be the same make and model of my sets, so I could order it there, but the shipping is as much as the product, which I hate.   



Someone was telling me today how they recently started a Voyager re-watch and were musing how much nicer it would be to live there…    that’s the one aspect of the star trek life that technology doesn’t seem to be making a reality with any degree of urgency…   a society without the need for money.

A long overdue check-in…


Well it has been a bit since I’ve graced the pages of my own blog.   I need to get myself back into the habit of more frequent updates.

What has life been throwing at me?    Mostly just work.   Been dealing with lots of performance issues with our database server.   Getting any reports to run has been really challenging.    But we’re making some progress, it would seem, as we actually got through last night’s updates before the start of business today.   For the first time in at least two weeks.

I’d like to think I had a hand in that, but aside from pushing two resource-hogging reports out to later in the day, I don’t think I really did.

Efforts continue, though, because while today went smooth, we’re not at a point yet we can consider sustainable.


On the home front not much is going on there.   Took Leia into the vet a week or so ago for her vaccinations.   She’s no longer rabid.   :)   Okay, well, she’s got her booster shots to ensure she never becomes rabid in the first place.    Along with canine distemper, porvo (or whatever that disease is called), and whatever else they injected her with.

She’s a trooper, but terrified of the whole affair.  Wouldn’t eat any of the treats she was offered.   Only wanted to be where I was holding her.    The look in her eyes while they were giving her the shot was kind of heart-wrenching.    I don’t like the “Daddy, please save me!” look.

After that, though, we stopped by the pet shop to get her food, and she got to take her first trip inside with me.   I’ve been reluctant as I was always worried she’d bark at everything and generally embarrass me.    She showed me just how well-mannered she can be.   (So now I know!  No excuses for misbehavior… much like you let it slip that yes, do you know how to sit and lay down!)     While we were there I checked in on grooming prices and decided to schedule her an appointment for later that day.

So we went back, and she was all happy about it until it was time to turn her over to the groomer.   Then it was back to the “Daddy!  Pick me up and Save Me!!” shenanigans.

She was, needless to say, quite thrilled when I came to retrieve her a few hours later.

For having no idea what I wanted her hair-cut to be, I think they did a great job.   Wish I had pictures, but she won’t hold still long enough.    (And now she needs another brushing.)


This past weekend I finally got all my Halloween stuff out of storage and to the house.   Started putting it all up, but it’s the 21st already and I’m really far behind.    Gonna be tough as I need to devote time this weekend to emptying out the rest of storage so i don’t have to keep paying for it.     This is my last weekend before my Oct 1 deadline.

On the plus side we figured out the tree situation for this year.   It’s stand was broken, and remains unrepaired.   Gabe insists he can fix it, but it’s been two years and he doesn’t seem inclined too… although I guess in a way, it kind of built me a new stand for it last night.   At least it has something to hold it up this year.   Won’t work outside Halloween though.    It’s black and is supposed to represent ‘space’ for my Star Trek Jewish Christmas Tree that goes up around yuletime.


The below photo (in addition to proving that I am indeed alive) I think best captures my reaction to the notion that I’ve been making any progress whatsoever on this Halloween thing:

Apparently the orange glow is flattering, as I was told this was a ‘hot picture’ of me.   So there’s that.   🙂

The wheels are in motion…


We just dropped off our rental app and deposit.   From our conversations with the homeowner today it all seems like a formality at this point.    She’s definitely sold on us.

So…  looks like I will probably start moving this weekend.

Originally we were aiming for mid-December, but she offered to start letting us move in sooner with discounted first-month’s rent…  since we could, we took her up on it.  Gives us ample breathing room to facilitate the move.   Things to do.

We’d like a functional alarm system before we have to actually sleep there, so now we won’t be so rushed to get that sort of thing done.    Busy weekend ahead though.

On the plus side… since we won’t be moving mid-month… and because having onsite storage means no more off-site storage, we’ll have Yule time décor readily accessible and it would now make sense to actually bother with expressing holiday cheer.   It didn’t make sense to bother with things like a tree when you knew you were going to do a tear-down mere days after completing the setup.    I like my holidays, but if you saw my Halloween pics, you might have a sense of the amount of effort that goes into it.   (This year I started Hallowmas at the beginning of September.   Next year, we were talking about, is looking more like August… although, now that we have garage (aka workshop) space, it might make for some more ambitious plans than we originally had.  That in turn may necessitate an even earlier start.   

2011 will mark the 13th anniversary of Radcliffe, so naturally we have a duty to celebrate and celebrate big this year.   Its all our 13th (mostly) Annual  [this or that event], for pretty much everything.   Speaking of which… I think it’s about time to call a board meeting and a broader staff meeting.  

Definitely one of those mixed emotions type of things.   I’m still sad about having to effectively leave this house abandoned.   Its served me well.   Guess all one can do is give thanks.  

I’m also kind of bummed that the Dowds will no longer be ‘just around the corner.’   Its been cool having them at hand.    All too short a time of such close-proximity-dwelling.   On the other hand this will force the issue in resuming regularly scheduled weekly services.  

Speaking of which… this new place is laid out a lot better in terms of hosting social occasions than the current place was.   I am looking forward to full resumption of all events and services.

Post Halloween Update


One thing I’ve learned about Halloween over the years… the stuff comes down a lot faster than it goes up.     We’re mostly all put away, but not before we had some fun.

This year I had a grand total of six children too scared to come get candy from me.   Three of these had to be physically picked up and placed on my porch, while the other three got-by with some hand-holding by the parents.

This guy gets much of the credit, sitting upon the porch and greeting the trick-or-treaters:

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One of the terrified children… who has actually been too scared to come visit me for over a month now.   Getting her to take the picture was a real challenge… she wanted to escape!


Really, does my house look all that scary to you?

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I didn’t think so either… but what do I know?

The exterior isn’t the only thing getting a make-over for the dark holidays…   now we have some pics from inside!


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We had more, but they didn’t turn out all that good.

All in all, a fun holiday for me.    You know you’ve done well when the people trick-or-treating at your house go gather their friends to come trick-or-treating at your place.  

But now its all taken down and my living room feels huge.

Happy Days!


Well today is a happy day, no matter what actually happens.   Gabe is finally coming home from his three week trip to Oregon to play handy-man for his mom and sister.

I’m pretty excited.  I’ve missed him.    The bachelor life is fun for a day or two, but then you start feeling the absence of the person you spend all your time with.  

He’s in for a bit of a surprise though.   Most of the house has been rearranged in his absence to make ready for Halloween.   I’ve managed to get all the stuff out of storage and to the house, and yet maintain some order and cleanliness in getting it setup.   (Definite improvement over last year when we literally had everything strung out across the house at once…   mostly due to the prior year’s packing up of stuff not being handled by me and thus not being sorted quite right to make it easy on us last year.)

Needless to say, I’ve been quite busy this month as the sole-decorator on duty.   Looking forward to having my manpower doubled.    Now to go find the rest of my staff and get them to work!