Green Meadows / Halloween

Yesterday I helped chaperone Kevin’s Kindergarten class for a field trip to Green Meadows Farm. We had a great time, got to pet, hold and visit lots of animals, ride the ponies, took a hay ride, had lunch, and even got to pick pumpkins out of the pumpkin patch to bring home. I’ve posted a few highlight photos in my moblog and also posted the entire collection of images in our photo albums, along with all of our Halloween photos from this year. Here they are:

Green Meadows Field Trip

Halloween 2004

Still Motion

A friend of mine sent me a very disturbing illusion today. I thought I’d share it with you. It’s amazing how the mind works and what it can do when challenged. I couldn’t believe it myself, so I loaded the image into Animation Shop and yes, it is just one UNANIMATED frame! It’s a large image, but even just looking at a portion of it at a time works fine. Can this mess up your eyes??

Click here to view the illusion. If you have a popup blocker you may have to hold CTRL when clicking, or a different special key to allow the window to open.

Origin of Halloween

Does anyone know why Kenosha and a couple other surrounding towns are having trick-or-treat on October 27th?? The kids have Thursday and Friday off school next week anyway, so even if they were trying to maintain the “safety” hours of 1-4 pm it would have been fine to keep it on the 31st. Every other community seems to always have trick-or-treat on Halloween though. Kenosha’s just gotta be different I guess.

Anyway, with tomorrow being the “big day” for most kids in this area, I thought it appropriate to explain just where Halloween came from and why we do what we do on Halloween. Here goes…

The ancient Celtic festival called Samhain is considered by many to be a predecessor of our contemporary Halloween. Samhain was the New Year’s Day of the Celts and was celebrated on November 1st. It was a joyful harvest festival that marked the death of the old year and the beginning of a new one. It was also a day of the dead, a time when it was believed that the souls of those who had died during the year were allowed access to the land of the dead. It was related to the season, by Samhain the crops should be harvested and the animals brought in from the distant fields.

Many traditional beliefs and customs were associated with Samhain. Most notable was that night was the time of the wandering dead, the practice of leaving offerings of food and drink to masked and costumed revelers, and the lighting of bonfires, continued to be practiced on October 31, known as the Eve of All Saints, the Eve of All Hallows, or Hallow Even. It is the glossing of the name Hallow Even that has given us the name Hallow e’en.

Come evening, evil spirits were everywhere. Charms and spells were said to have more power on the eve of Samhain. The spirits of Samhain, once thought to be wild and powerful, were now said to be something worse: Evil. The church maintained that the gods and goddesses and other spiritual beings of traditional religions were diabolical deceptions, that the spiritual forces that people had experienced were real, but they were manifestations of the Devil, the Prince of Liars, who misled people toward the worship of false idols. Thus, the customs associated with Halloween included representations of ghosts and human skeletons–symbols of the dead–and of the devil and other malevolent, evil creatures, such as witches were said to be.

The original festival for the pagan Lord of the Dead became a festival of Christian dead. People went on expecting the arrival of ghosts on Oct. 31st. Halloween has become one of the most widely celebrated festivals on the contemporary American calendar, and it is not even officially a holiday. No day off is given for Halloween, no federal decree is proclaimed establishing it as a national holiday. People just celebrate it!

Spooky things

Kevin’s all revved up for Halloween. He’s got his Incredible Hulk costume ready, complete with talking Hulk Hands, and he can’t wait to get out there and show it off. Speaking of Halloween, you should check out our favorite collection of Halloween decorations all in one haunted yard!

That’s the kid that greets you at the door. Make any sudden noise and he dances and says “trick or treat!” or several other things. There are several other sound-activated devices throughout the yard, so it’s pretty neat and spooky.

Speaking of spooky, we watched DreamCatcher tonight… Whoa. VERY spooky. I loved it! It’s based on a Stephen King novel, one of the few I haven’t read. King originally wrote it by hand, on paper, after his horrible accident. He was unable to sit at a desk to type, so he wrote it out on paper instead while he healed. Amazing. The movie was great, so the book must be even better! I’d like to read it some time.

Live commercial

I think I saw a commercial last night. No, not on TV, on Highway 50. As I was driving home from Union Grove on the highway I came up behind one of those Mitsubishi SUVs. It was black in color (just like in the commercial) and believe it or not the flip-down tv screen was down and they were actually watching SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!! So eerily like the commercial that it kinda freaked me out. I laughed most of the way home. If you’ve seen the commercial you know the one I’m talking about.

Close computer call

I nearly fried a computer this weekend. My homemade Athlon XP 1800 box overheated when the case fan died. This is a desktop case sitting under my main monitor. I noticed the problem when I reached for something sitting on the case. It was extremely hot to the touch, so I knew something was seriously wrong. I immediately powered down and opened it up.

It was amazing to feel just how hot things were. I touched various components–the hard drive, the inside metal frame of the case, the CD-ROM drives–all of them were so hot to the touch that they burned me. I let it cool down for awhile and then powered it up with the cover off to find the problem. Sure enough, the case fan was froze and wouldn’t budge. I picked up a new fan today and replaced it, and now it’s running very cool.

I rechecked the BIOS settings for Temperature Shutdown and found out it was disabled! Whoops! I thought I had enabled it when I originally installed the motherboard a year ago. Hmmm. Well, it’s on now, so it should shut down before it gets too hot next time. Hopefully nothing was weakened due to heat stress this time though, or I may be rebuilding this thing again real soon.

Larinda will be back

As I mentioned in a previous entry, Larinda, one of the awesome ships that visited Kenosha during our Tall Ships Festival this summer, sunk in Hurricane Juan. A fund has been set up to assist in the recovery effort. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. All of the details are on Larinda’s Site.

Ok, Sandy’s turn. She had a sweatshirt made for herself at the same time she had my CRS shirt made. Here’s a picture. I cropped the ole lady out of the picture to give you a better look at the detail. Here comes the frying pan!!

CRS Shirt

Sandy had a new t-shirt made for me today

Don’t I look thrilled? Seriously though, I do like it. I thought it might have been about me being “Mr. Mom” when she first mentioned it, but this is better. I like it.

Coincidentally, I saw a much MORE amusing shirt today as well. It said simply: “My IQ test came back NEGATIVE.” I don’t know why, but I laugh every time I think about that one. I’d like to get a stack of those for a few people I know. Not YOU, of course…

Fall Colors

I went around town the other day looking at the fall colors and snapping photos. Here’s a few of the better ones I took.

We’re off to Happ’s Pumpkin Farm today, so I’ll be posting the photos from that shortly! This family farm is more than just a pumpkin patch. Fall fun at Happ’s includes a five-acre corn maze, spooky school bus, country carnival games and, new for 2002, the Twinkleville Train. For $4 enjoy the corn maze, a hayride, the “Ghoul Bus,” a small pumpkin, two gourds and a prize! See farm animals, themed Halloween displays and indulge in some fresh apple cider and a homemade taffy apple. Open daily, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. through November 1st. 24129 Wilmot Rd. Trevor. (One block west of Hwy. 83 on Hwy. C in Trevor.) (262) 862-6515

BLT Pizza Day

We had one of our favorites for lunch today–BLT Pizza from Gurnee Pizza! It was excellent, as usual. If you haven’t tried it before we highly recommend it. There are a few variations, and even a few here in Kenosha, but Gurnee Pizza’s got the best-tasting version we’ve ever had! And when you order, make sure you order extra bacon! Mmmmm! It’s defiintely worth leaving the state for!

We took a trip to Walmart later on in the day and they had a fire prevention display for the kids. Coloring sheets, information, stickers, and even face painting! They paint either a fire extinguisher or a smoke alarm (go figure) on the kids, either on their face or arm. Kevin chose his face with the fire extinguisher. Here he is:

KevinExtinguisher (32k image)

That’s his name in his favorite color–yellow