Sunday, November 02, 2014

Halloween 2014 and Commander Chris Hadfield

This post is sort of in two parts.  Part I is the pumpkin carving competition from work.  I'm not really part of that part of the post as I had a lot of interviewing to do for interns, so I wasn't at the party for more than a few moments. My co-manager told me my costume would have done well at the party if I could have been seen by more people.  His team costume won.  Guess who coordinated my meetings.  I knew they were likely - it's intern-interviewing season and Fridays tend to disappear and, out of all the things I do, I rate interviewing the highest.  Nothing sets the culture of a company (or department) as much as who you choose to bring in in the first place.

Part II is my costume.  Regardless of whether it placed at the company Halloween Party, I'm still sort of proud of it.  I based it on some DIY designs on line, and then modified it significantly.

Part I - The Pumpkin Contest

Team 12 was the team I was supposed to be on until interviews intervened.  The dropped-on-the-head motif was my idea.  Primarily because I'm lazy and the puking its own guts out pumpkin was done last year - twice - per Mike.  Mike thought they should have a category for no props in the future.  You'll see why soon - that toothpick toothed one next to Team 12 isn't even close to what he means.

Another picture of Team 12, but with Team 2's castle in the photo.  A little more prop, but still not the full extent.

The inside out pumpkin.  Very clever!  Props, but still minimal.  I think Team 6 won the competition.  I like team 11 - very minimal Nightmare Before Christmas.

This one got scariest.  Not the emoticon one, but the one eating a child.

A few more.  A couple teams went with a secondary mini pumpkin.  Team 5 has a 101 Sct. 1 citation pumpkin.  That's really only funny if you use online legal research products a lot.

Friday the 13th Jason pumpkin.  A pretty good behind the mask.  It looks a little like when Jason loses his mask in the movies.

Pumpkin Pi.  Nerd, developer/project manager pumpkin in the middle.  And the one closest in frame (on the right) is a police scanner pumpkin.  They spelled scanner wrong, but they made up for it by strapping a mobile device to the back so it would flash and make police scanner noises.  They were proud of having the most expensive carved pumpkin in existence.

Part II - My costume.

I think my costume ended up costing me more than it would have if I had just bought a finished costume on line.  There were two 12 volt battery packs as one was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and wouldn't be here on time, a painter suit, oven mitts, led lights, and several bottles of wood glue.  Ah, and a broken guitar string, a music purchase from iTunes, and an iPod portable speaker, and batteries.  And balloons.  And some wood putty I didn't need.  And paint, both white and silver spray.  And velcro straps.  You can see where it started to build up a cumulative cost.

So here's my helmet created from paper wrapped around a balloon that was supposed to be round but was more oblong.  I did not like the fact that it looked like a thorax on a bee or an ant, so eventually I chopped the top off and re-papered it so it was flatter/rounder overall.  Looked much better.

This is the piece that was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  8 AA batteries wired into an LED light strip.  I considered lights that changed colors, but that seemed like it would be a waste if I destroyed them.  And there's no getting them out of the helmet.  They're in there pretty solid.

Here it is with the top a little flatter and the LED lights installed against a silver spray-painted interior.  Believe me, with the batteries, it gets pretty warm.  Sort of like having your head in the world's most mild oven.

Test phase or Phase Selfie.  I post two pictures that are similar because... this one it looks like my head is exploding with energy.  You don't realize there's that much light in there when you're in a bright area, although when you take it off, your eyes take a moment to adjust to normal.  But when it's dark, it's like there's a screen made out of light across the opening.  I'm sure it's not good for your eyes.  I tended to carry it under my arm and only put it on for a few minutes at a time, just in case it might be damaging to my vision.

And here it is so you can see my face.  I could have used half as many lights, but what would I have done with the other half?  A kid who came to the door to trick or treat told me my helmet was "on point."  I wasn't sure what he meant.  His sister wasn't sure either, so at least it's not an old person thing.

What's missing in that last picture is the mustache.  Why a mustache?  Because my costume wasn't just "astronaut", it was Canadian Astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield playing Space Oddity op his guitar on the International Space Station.  Now you know why I needed the iTunes purchase and portable iPod speaker.  The oven mitts allowed me to hide the speaker and iPod, although you couldn't really hear it over the music at the party.  My Canadian friends knew who I was, but most people thought I was some sort of Ebola hazmat doctor.  Why I'd be a Canadian Ebola doctor (I had patches for the arms) with a guitar is beyond me - I'm not sure that makes any sort of sense.

And here's the whole effect, although it pre-dates the mustache.  I hate the mustache.  Sorry Commander Hadfield.  It's itchy.  And I think the LED lights act like grow lights.  It got busy fast.  Fortunately I get to shave it tomorrow as a Movember kickoff event.  Unfortunately I then have to grow a new mustache for Movember.  I haven't decided what I want to grow yet.  No Shah Rukh Khan this year.  Has to be something new.

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