Every year for Halloween, Joy and I get together with some friends to carve jack-o-lanterns. We usually eat take-out, chat for a bit, then jump right into the carving. If we finish early enough, we’ll play some board games.
In years past, I’ve always just picked up one of the $4.99 stencil kits you see in the grocery store. You know the ones… they have the tiny jig-saw blades with the handles on them and a guts scraper/scoop. Over the last couple of years, I’ve started going “off the rails” as they say and coming up with my own, often more complex patterns. One year I even did what I call a “partial carve” pumpkin where you carve into the pumpkin but not all the way, so that the candle inside causes the flesh to illuminate.
This year I decided to carve internet superstar “Grumpy Cat” on our pumpkin. I would have loved to do a partial carve and just cut the eyes all the way through, but our pumpkin was WAY too thick! I can’t take all the credit for how well it turned out since I pretty much copied someone else’s pattern.Our friends’ pumpkin was also pretty amazing. He did “Doc Hudson” from the Cars movies. I would probably guess his design was a little harder to cut. He probably also had a time getting the pattern transferred.
After we finished and cleaned up our pumpkins, we played a round of King of Tokyo with the new Halloween expansion pack I got for my birthday. It’s a pretty cool mod that adds 2 new characters: Pumpkin Jack and Boogie Woogie. There’s also 6 orange dice to replace the green ones and new costume cards. We even managed to get a game of 7 Wonders in before Joy and I turned into pumpkins around 11:30.
Now, if Grumpy-o-lantern can just last until the Friday without molding or shriveling up too much, he will gladly proudly adorn our front porch welcoming trick-or-treaters with a healthy dose of disdain and contempt for their candy collection.
Here’s some step-by-step photos of the carving process.
By Day 4, we were Dragon Con’d out and ready to head home for some rest before starting the work week. We had no idea what kind of traffic to expect in Atlanta on a Memorial Day weekend as a lot of the other 60k Dragon Conners were also heading home. We skipped breakfast at the hotel and headed North on I-75. We stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast, then topped off the tank and resumed our northward journey. I was using Waze to navigate home and throughout Atlanta all we heard was “Watch out… police reported ahead” about every 45 seconds. They were out in force trying to catch people heading home a little faster than they ought to be.
With our first Dragon Con behind us, We thought we’d share a few of our thoughts and observations.
By Sunday, Joy and I had settled into a morning routine. Waking up around 6:30 and get showered and dress so we could run down to the lobby for a donut or bagel with some hot tea for me and a latte for Joy. Then it’s onto the shuttle to the Con. Our first stop for the day was to check out the artists’ gallery and comic illustrators at 10am. We had the good fortune of getting there early enough to get 3rd and 4th place in line. There was a group of Avengers roller-derby girls near the doors but we couldn’t tell if they were trying to get in or were just there to pose for photos.
Today we tried to get up early enough to have breakfast down in the hotel restaurant but after walking around the buffet and seeing what kind of food they were offering for $20 person, we decided to just have bagels and fruit from the Starbucks counter again. We then took the shuttle from the hotel and went to the Con arriving a little after 8:30 a.m. The Dragon Con parade was today and it started at 10 AM. and the sides of the streets were already filling up. It was a beautiful morning so we hiked up to where the staging area was. The closer we got, the thinner the crowd became. We found a good spot on a hill where the parade would be marching up. The sun was going to be at our back and we had a nice soft pile of mulch to sit in. Win!
It was going to be about an hour before the parade started, so we sat down and I got my camera ready. I bought a new digital camera several months ago, a Panasonic Lumix LX7. It’s a great camera, almost a cross between a DSLR and a micro 4:3. It only has the one lens, but it has a large image sensor and full control over the aperture and shutter. The only problem is there’s no viewfinder, which makes taking pictures in bright daylight a little hard. Fortunately for my birthday, Joy’s parents bought me an electronic viewfinder for it!