Time Off for Halloween

HalloweenI’m out of town. I had to go down and visit my sister. Her daughter (my niece) is getting married next Tuesday, and I am here to help. Or I’m on vacation. It isn’t really clear. The truth is that when I’m at home, I have a very hard time not working. It’s just so easy to slip into work for lack of anything better to do. But given that the last couple of years have been pretty thin on paying work, it is welcome. Of course, I am working, as you can tell from this post. And I’m doing some of the paying stuff too.

As I’ve noted before, Halloween is probably my favorite holiday. I just love the iconograph. I also love that it is a nighttime thing so the world doesn’t come to a stop for it. And I love decorating for it and giving out candy. That’s another thing. I’m well known for being a “bad influence” on children. It’s really just that I have no trouble getting into the same head-space as kids. And given that I don’t have to be responsible, I can encourage them to be just what they want to be. Fun for me — but not generally for their parents.

So it is nice to be able to give candy to children in a socially acceptable way. And it is nice to be able to scare them in a totally non-threatening way. My favorite things are ghosts. They are fun to make. But I did something different this year. My brother-in-law is way into pumpkins. So we carved three pumpkins. I don’t remember doing this since I was a kid. This is odd. But I just don’t think in terms of pumpkins, even though they are one of the best things about the holiday.

I noticed that the bigger you make a mouth the friendlier it is. If you limit the amount of light that gets gets out of the pumpkin, the more sinister that it gets. I could see myself getting into this — buying a dozen pumpkins and trying different things. And that’s what it would take, given that I’m not that good with visual stuff. Speaking of which…

My sister recently got distance glasses. I tried them on and I was amazed: the world had returned! My eyes have gotten steadily worse and worse. I’m to the point of using my reading glasses all the time. That means the world more than a couple of meters out is blurry — whether I have glasses on or not. But wearing these distance glasses made my eyes young again. It was wonderful. And not just because I could see long distances, but because I knew that there was a technological fix to my problem. Very exciting — a wonderful holiday gift!

So I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween. Decorate your home. Stockpile loads of candy so you will have plenty left over so you have plenty candy — What are you going to do? Throw it away?! — while you watch a “scary” film. I recommend House on Haunted Hill:

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

23 thoughts on “Time Off for Halloween

  1. All hail Satan, Prince of Darkness, Father of Lies, Beelzebub, Mephistopheles, Lord of the Flies (baseball tie-in, right there) and whatever other names we give “scary feelings about night time.” And all hail holidays where we make night time less scary by delighting in it and encouraging kids to delight in it, too.

    There are monsters in the dark. Predators. In pre-modern times, they were nocturnal animals. Today, they are crazed ex-boyfriends who abduct kids (pretty much the only abduction threat parents should be scared of) and cars.

    Cars are a real danger to trick-or-treaters, but that can be managed by making every kid think if she/he crosses a street unsafely the other kids will rat her/him out. Naturally almost no kid will rat another kid out, but you don’t need this scare tactic to be real to be effective, and it worked like Dark Magick when I was of trick-or-treating age. We all shouted “car!” at one another and ended up perfectly safe.

  2. Mazel Tov on the niece getting married.

    My All Hallow’s Eve was odd. I rarely go to parties. But I went to two in a row: Friday and Saturday. The first one was good-I had something to actually do (card people and pester them to do a silent auction) and a decent enough costume of Agnes Nitt from Terry Pratchett plus I knew multiple people. The second party reminds me why I don’t go to parties-I am bad at small talk, half the geek stuff that people talk about I have not watched/read/care about. I was dressed as Catelyn Stark in a very uncomfortable costume. Plus since I barely knew anyone, I annoyed the two people I knew by spending all of my time around them. Add in the fact that I don’t drink…well it was different in that I did not stay home alone. The other thing that was very odd was how tired I was when I was at home-just absolutely drained of energy.

    I only had some caramel candy but since today is now Half Off Candy Day, I will probably eat an entire bag of Reese’s Mini Cups.

    • Oh, the Catelyn Stark thing hit me so hard when I read the books. I get that R.R. is trying to show how power is soulless, and I respect that. After the “RW”, though, I’m just plodding through the books as a masochistic exercise. It’s really become sadder than sad. Now that I have to wait a zillion years for the next one, the power of R.R. Martin’s storytelling is wearing off (I read every book from first to last in a rush) and I have a harder time putting up with plot-machination sad when all kinds of real sad are going on around us. Unless that’s the point, which would be a good point.

      • For me the books were too sad because in real life, yes that would actually happen. The good guys did get killed that way even though they shouldn’t have. Richard the Duke of York, who I think Eddard Stark is partly based on, was by most accounts a decent man who was trying to do his best for King Henry VI (Aerys II Targaryen) who was easily led astray by Margaret (Cersi Lannister/Elizabeth Woodville) of Anjou and her group.

        I read novels to escape and while Martin knows how to weave a tale, it was just simply too sad and he killed off all of my favorite characters by the end of the second book. Oh and I hate Sansa (Isabelle and Anne Neville.) But according to a friend who met Martin, he is really nice in person.

        • Oh and I mean that Cersi is a mix of Margaret of Anjou and Elizabeth Woodville.

          That probably was not clear.

    • Cool costume. If I could lose some weight, I wouldn’t mind dressing up like Rincewind. I feel a kinship with him. Otherwise, I’m with you at parties. I only like them if I have something to do. That’s why I often find myself working as bartender. You might try that. It’s a good gig if you don’t drink.

      • You could do Rincewind now I would say-wizards robes forgive a great many sins of the waistline.

        I would tend bar however most of the time they are staffed by people who know how to mix drinks properly. So I woman the door and scare the teenagers from drinking.

        • Here’s a great old trick. Learn to make one drink. Mine was the Manhattan. Then, regardless what people order, give them the Manhattan. They aren’t paying, so they can’t complain.

  3. Here’s some lazy-ass shit. It has no research. It is not serious in any way. I just was unusually happy today — maybe because Halloween makes me happy — I watched an old baseball movie, and I had a lovely time typing about it.

    I could have probably sat on it, refined it, and made it better, but fuck it — Halloween is a happy day, one for grooving on spooky impossible supernatural stuff. It’s not worth a lot of serious thought, more the un-serious sort. It’s also way long, but screw it! Day Of The Dead, All Saints Day! Winter kinda blows, get yer rants out, feel sad for the lost, get happy with silly shit, whatever ya gotta do.

    As always, not asking for pimping on your site. In this case, with no citations, merely ranting, I’d prefer it if you did not pimp it.

    But I would appreciate much much if you gave your take in the responses here, or privately. I had so much fun writing that. It’s Halloween, folks!

    The Two Movies Of “Angels In The Outfield”

    • Heehee bleepbasket.

      I would love to see armies of physicists battling it out in Angels Field. That would make a very funny film.

    • That was dynamite! Ask your people if you can do a cross post. I’d love to put it up here. I really liked it. I think it could be tightened a tad in editing, but I really enjoyed it. It doesn’t seem lazy at all. Let me know.

      • Yes, indeed he did. Good catch. Lots of good talent in that terrible movie.

        Thanks so much for the nice words! I was kinda trolling for nice words, if you couldn’t tell.

        As for some cross-post, fuck it, SB would never go for that (unless it’s a cross-post with another SB site.) This is bizness, baby.

        I was just delirious with sleep deprivation and enjoyed writing for the first time in a while. Oh, yeah, it was over-long. Who cares. Nobody reads this shit anyway, and I spent six months editing the hell out of every post I made, working harder and harder on research as I went, obsessing over photo choices to make the posts more clickable, etc.

        What a waste of effort.

        • So you are saying I have permission to cross post? I want to be careful. I don’t want to get a DMCA notice from them. What kind of agreement do you have with them? Normally with a book, the author maintains copyright, but it is loaned to the publisher while the book is in print. I don’t know how it works with these sites. But I suppose if I put up that I have your permission, that will muddy the water enough for them to let it alone. I guess I’ll go away and do it. It’s very good — and much more a Frankly Curious thing than an SB Nation thing.

          • OMG, this made me laugh so hard. Thanks — that really cheered up my night.

            I’m reasonably sure the second you hit “post” on a SB Nation site, it becomes their property. However . . . if one were to take a post off there and edit it to make it better, then it’s not stealing, right? The content’s changed.

            You’re right, though . . . it was more a “FC” post than an “SB” post. But then again nothing I’ve ever written fits anywhere. The mod at the Twins SB site has been very kind about permitting my crap.

            A better society would pay people like me a living wage to spend two years researching the history of screwdrivers or some such. I’d kill it! (Hmm, screwdrivers. Wait, isn’t there a whole “right-handed” thing going on with particle spin? NOPE, TOO HARD.)

            • After I get back home, I will look into it. I’m afraid the editing would not help my case.

              Screwdrivers? So you don’t mean the drink?

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