Halloween 2010…The distant future.

4 11 2010

A quick blog post—this is a mash up of a couple of internet posts I did about this Halloween and the costume I made. So the post will likely be a bit “rough”

In other words, all errors and typos are intentional ๐Ÿ™‚



So I was inspired by a friend who did a cardboard robot versions ofย  star wars storm troopers***…wanted to do a cardboard robot with the iPad as my chest piece playing clips of robots from classic movies…it all got a little complicated as cardboard became plastic trashcan, arms are drainage ducts, eyes are infinity pendants, got an old compression, oil pressure, vacuum pressure dial off ebay… etc etc…It is now over six feet tall and insanely uncomfortable and hot…gah, what we do for art.

The legs never came together, so I did a last minute box thingy…the last minute box thingy was horrid to walk in, so that was scrapped for silver body suit–a left over from last year when Deanna and I went as “Hole in the Wall” contestants. Might save the robot costume for next year and do the legs and feet right.

Anyways…will post some video later…one good thing is that the costume kept me from getting too drunk…almost impossible to drink in…obviously a Halloween costume flaw.

Here is the pumpkin I did…my first “scrapping, not cutting” pumpkin. My daughter hasn’t been able to play any Fallout 3 for a couple of months and is missing it…so I made this for her as she came home for the weekend just to hit the Halloween party.

Needed a bit of touch up.ย  Lightening of the face and hand…but not bad for a first effort…heck, only cut one of my fingers doing it. Of course I think I probably will end up getting a tetanus shot next week anyways as my robot costume has nuts and bolts and a few screws sticking into the habitation compartment. (edit. covered exposed screws with foam and managed to go the whole night without cutting myself with my costume…so probably don’t need a tetanus shot…yea, teh win).

(side note: Heck we were invited to 3 adult Halloween parties this year…does anybody remember when Halloween was for kids?)

As for Halloween trick or treaters coming to the door on Sunday, surprisingly had a ton of kids this year. Only a few from our neighborhood and we usually get maybe 10 kids on Halloween…not this year…lots of parents bringing their kids by car to our neighborhood…had to run out and get more candy as we thought we had over-stocked, but went through 4 bags of candy very fast…needed double the amount we had on hand.. Huge groups of 15 kids at a time, then a group of 7, then a group of 15 etc etc…was fun though…I think the parents brought their kids from less safe neighborhoods to ours…which is cool…don’t want kids trick or treating in the war zone if the parents can get them to an area with less car traffic and less gun fire

The final cleaned up version of my first scraping pumpkin. A bit of scraping behind the face and hand to thin the pumpkin “meat” and lighten up those areas so the shirt and pants would appear as darker clothing. I used a cord and 60w light bulb to get good illumination from the pumpkin. One, candles don’t put out as much light. Two, the light of a candle is less focused. Three, a strong light allows me to not have to scrape as deep into the pumpkin…easier on me and the pumpkin ๐Ÿ™‚

The pipboy lasted well all weekend and went to 3 parties and was on display for the trick or treaters (along with my robot costume sitting on the porch outside). I thought for sure it would get smashed, but still “alive” this morning. I think I will do a scrapping not cutting pumpkin for a couple of more years…was fun.

(sorry for the bad image…love my iPhone, but she doesn’t do low lighting photos well)

As for my costume…everybody loved it…I think the eyes are killer and the size is more impressive when you are at a party and suddenly see me walk in or walk by. And the kids REALLY loved it… at first they were afraid of it, but then gah, they followed me everywhere like baby ducklings…hugging me and yelling, “we love you robot”…it was borderline surreal. and a bit tiring…after about an hour of non-stop being either herded or followed by children I pleading with other adults, “please help me, why isn’t anybody else interacting with the children?” they were, “oh, you’r doing a great job.” finally had to tell the kids that robot needed to power-down. which meant get drunk.

(Robbie the Robot from Forbidden Planet was my inspiration)

The ipad had clips from about 10 robot movies…an hour long loop…no movie sound, instead I inserted clips of robot noises and robot phrases (“i am a robot”, “warning warning”, “powering down”, “you are a man, i am a machine, other than that slight difference we have much in common”… etc etc)

My eyes pulsed and had insane depth due to led magic…the mouth was my area for vision, but you couldn’t see in, just out. and i loved my steampunk dial console…had temp, oil pressure and vacuum pressure…real gauges. It’s the little details that make it more fun for me. But the kids loved the robot hands the best. Grabbing them, shaking them.

going for some cupcakes.

If I use this again I will work on getting the robot legs…tried a couple of things…didn’t work out like I wanted…so went with simple silver legs…

body…trash can, head…Halloween cauldron, arms….drainage pipe, hand…robot claws with real ratchet sound…

But enough about me….

my wife, who is constantly cleaning and we all make fun of her for it, went as a super hero called Mighty Maid. And yes I am a lucky man. Beautiful, smart and very very cleanly. She is the wind beneath my wings and the cleanser on all the counter tops.


Deanna had a good photo of the pumpkin without the light on–or her flash overpowered the light…either way, good image of just the pumpkin and scrapped pipboy image.

Bonus photo and link.

*** drew is my hero….and the inspiration for my being a robot this year.


(love seeing them in front of “real storm troopers”)


Second bonus…. Cardboard super heroes done up with paint and precision…

(quite impressive. some mad skills there.)

Winter Gloves.

27 10 2010

Sigh…Yesterday I had to break out the winter gloves.

Why? Especially so early in the year? Usually I”m not rocking the winter gloves till December. And no it’s not that I’m getting old and frail. Well not completely.

This is why…

33 degrees is just a bit cold, so time to put away the fall gloves and go for my “high tech” winter riding gloves…yep, regular old ski gloves.

Luckily I was back to my fall gloves this morning, and hopefully for many more weeks. What is crazy is that I was riding just a week or so ago up to the top of Sandia and getting a sunburn. I actually rode that day in light leather coat and even without a glove on my left hand as I was trying to film some of the ride while holding my iPhone….Yes, very dumb.

side note:

***Kids, don’t do what Donny Don’t does***

End side note:

But it was hella warm compared to yesterday. And that is up another 5 thousand feet and usually 20 degrees colder. Hopefully yesterday was an aberration, and that the winter gloves say hidden under the seat in storage until at least Thanksgiving.ย  Time, and my increasing frailty, will tell.

Here is the short video from the mountain ride…Yes I was driving slow…and yes the video is a bit jerky….you try driving one handed while videoing with an iPhone.

Again, iPhone…Scooter…twisty mountain road…filming…one handed. That said, I will duct tape the phone to my helmet next time ๐Ÿ™‚

This was nearer the bottom and not as twisty as the top…I hoped to film going all the way up but: one, it really was less than safe. two, I wasn’t having nearly as much fun as I do when I get to ride the turns fast. So it is what it is.

On a second side note:

Went with Daniel and Zack this weekend on a ride up to Madrid and the Mine Shaft Tavern (surprisingly not a gay bar). Good ride, good company…Nice buffalo burger. Fall gloves ๐Ÿ™‚

Third freakin’ side note (isn’t everything in essence a side note when it comes to blogs?):

Last night heading home from Geeks who Drink (we got 1st place…yea, randon knowledge and drinking…thank god the Irish are good at something ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I hit 10,000 miles on my bigger scooter.

Will put a few more miles on her this weekend as Daniel, Zack and I (and maybe I can convince some of the scooter people?) head down to Los Lunas and visit The Tractor Brew Company. We will try not to “Get Plowed” as we will have to ride back and get ready for the Halloween Party at the McCullough-Aaron household.



This time of year is beautiful down along the Rio Grande…All the cottonwoods should be nice and yellow.ย  So getting a few good rides in before the leaves all fall is my plan…that and the weather (when not 33 degrees in the morning) is great this time of year for nice long rides.

That will be three weekend rides in a row…sweetness. And all the scooter people are riding down to Tucson the weekend after that. Not sure I can make it, but the thought of driving 480 miles with a bunch of crazy scooter people is almost too good to turn down. I feel a fever brewing around thursdays the 4th and might need a couple of days off work ๐Ÿ™‚

8 hours of riding a scooter one day, followed by 8 hours of riding a scooter the next…ah, a painful bliss that calls to me. Sure by Sunday I will have to watch football laying on my belly with frozen peas duct taped to my ass, but the upside is hard to pass up.


ps…yes I know I still have my solar panels to discuss and a blog to post on electric vehicles….soon…

Found Weekend, Jellyfish Clouds and Surrounded by Joyous Moments.

27 09 2010

Ok, I had hoped to write a few blog posts this weekend and get them up today…Sigh

Well this weekend was a bit of a “Found Weekend” (as opposed to a Lost Weekend). Actually they are quite similar: booze and weekend being two key components, but without the Lost part.

As described by this English class test question,

“While it was a booze-filled weekend, Gavin actually remembers almost every key event that happened.”

Now class can anybody tell me whether “remembers” is an active or passive verb?

And does the adjective “booze-filled” describe A) the weekend, B) Gavin or C) Both?

So fun in the blistering sun at the State Fair (90 degrees and endless sun mixed with cattle crap and alpaca urine…sweet sweet nectar…if you’re a fly. Otherwise not so lovely…though still quite nice. Good company. Roasted Corn on the Cob, Navajo Taco and Funnel Cake. What’s not to like? ) and then heading over to my brothers two nights in a row to watch football, listen to albums (yes people still play albums. Well at least my brother ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and kill a bottle of Tequila and a few beers. Well it was all fun, but not conducive to writing. Unless you’re Charles freakin’ Bukowski. Which I sadly am not.

So I am behind. Luckily the boss of this blog is a bit of a push over and I can get away with murder ๐Ÿ™‚

So today I will make a quick early morning post…this one. And hopefully get time to write up my Solar Panel post this evening. Or maybe in the morning, which seems more realistic. Of course realistic isn’t a very natural state for me.


Since this a just a quick blog out to the universe thingy, I thought I would talk about my favorite rain clouds of the desert. That and I found some photos on my phone that I took a while ago.

Desert rain is very different than any other rain I’ve seen. In Santa Monica, Berkeley, Pennsylvania and Maryland; other places I’ve lived for some time, the rain tended to always cover the whole sky. As far as the eye could see you would have clouds and rain. A gray day.

Now we have days like that here in New Mexico too, though not nearly as often. And All-Day Rains are a once a year event. Usually the rains are short and wide spread. Here the sky stretches so far that these short rains cover only a small area of that sky. Heck we will have rain that is so localized that it will be raining in the backyard, but not out the front door. Crazy….Cool……Crazy Cool. Kinda like Charles freakin’ Bukowski.

Because of this combination of big, wide sky and short spread out rain, we have rain clouds that seem to float across the sky at a distance with blue sky on either side. Cloud “body” floating, rain dangling down from cloudy belly to ground.

And I call these clouds, obviously, Jellyfish clouds.

Last month I was riding my bike home from work and stopped to take a few photos of a group of Jellyfish clouds floating across the sky. Since I just re-found these photos yesterday I thought, heck let me share (an easy way out of actual research and fact checking that I need to do with my solar panels blog, or weekend trip blog…etc etc)

iPhone photos…so not great, but ok. And it seems lightning will interfere with my iPhone camera sensor.ย  Here two Jellies combined into one larger mass.

Now to me the best Jellyfish clouds are solitary. A lone mass of water vapor and electrons quietly gliding across sky and crying down to a desperately thirsty ground. Blue on either side and flashes of angry light (sometimes contained within the belly, sometimes striking outward, down, across).

This was not a day like that. Three Jellys converged to cover a wide expanse of sky. Still quite lovely.

Two Jellies floating.

They make me quite happy for some reason. So it seemed quite normal to stop bike on overpass, then begin taking both photos and video. Winds kicking up and lightning moving slowly closer and I knew I should get on bike and ride home. I’ve been in hail and lightning on bicycle before and I know it is not fun. Still I wait and watch for far too long. I know the ride home might be wet. I know the lightning will strike much too close more than once on the ride home.

But those moments of happiness and peace come far too infrequent to pass up*. And riding in the rain is a guilty pleasure anyways ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Sure the bike’s brakes won’t work for crap. Sure cars will purposely veer through puddles to splash you. But riding with warm fat raindrops pelting you relentless like a 2 year old at a Chucky Cheese asking for tokens to activate the Animatronic Band so they can play that damn Chucky Cheese theme song for the 37th time in the last hour (and only 2 more hours to go), well you know you’re going to be freezing cold later, soaking clothes clinging to body like week old fly paper, but it feels so right at the time.

A Jelly raining down on the west side Volcanoes**. Jellyfish clouds and Volcanoes, gah, what’s not to love about that?


*far too infrequent is HIGHLY variable. If you witness 10 miracles and day and miss the 11th, well that is a shame. Never skip any joyous moment, even if that moment is surrounded by other joyous moments. Mmmm, surrounded by joyous moments…how could that ever be a bad thing? “Honey, you know life is just too dang good right now…I’m going to go outside and drop a very large stone on my left big toe. Be right back.”

**yes we have a few volcanoes in New Mexico. All, I think, are extinct. This small cluster haven’t erupted in 200,000 years. Still fun to have them around to walk and climb.

Hello world!

22 09 2010

Ah, to Blog or Not to Blog…and yes I can hear my wife yelling from the other room, “Not to Blog please…the world doesn’t really need another self absorbed middle aged man adding his voice to the cacophony of digital noise polluting cyberspace”…or maybe she was just coughing.

So yes I will drone on a bit about myself, my life, my hopes and fears…and maybe have a bit of random fun too.

And while this blog will be geared toward Scooters and Electric Motorcycles and Solar Power and Electric Cars too, well random family quips and dog photos and such will pop up from time to time.

So just a hello for now. Hopefully a bunch of stuff this weekend if I can figure out a way to get the thoughts from head to flow correctly into the computer thingy sitting in front of me.