Costume Fun on Halloween

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved Halloween.  As a kid, of course, everyone seems to love Halloween.  You dress up in fun costumes, go around the neighborhood, and get tons of candy.  What’s not to love?  I still remember my mother putting makeup on my face to complete my hobo costume as I couldn’t wait to fill my sack with sweets.

In college, I still loved Halloween, but my love of dressing up was diminished because all of the costume shops seemed to only stock costumes for thin people.  Any costume I tried on, I would have trouble squeezing into.  Finding a costume that fit meant that this would be my costume for years to come.

In my adult years, costume makers seemed to have accepted that people came in sizes other than Medium and Small.  Large and XL costumes began to be more common.  Furthermore, with the birth of my kids, getting dressed up for Halloween became even more fun as I experienced the wonders of Halloween as a child through their eyes.

My costuming wasn’t all store-bought, though.  One year, when NHL was little, he dressed as a monkey.  I decided to complement his outfit by dressing as The Man In The Yellow Hat.  I did some shopping and got a yellow shirt and yellow tie, but couldn’t find yellow pants or, more importantly, a tall yellow hat.  I wound up compromising the pants by wearing tan (as close to yellow as I could get).  For the hat, I took a cheap hat and added foam blocks and yellow felt until it was a yellow hat.  Quite honestly, the outfit looked ridiculous.  Still, I made it myself and NHL loved seeing me in it.

Last year, I decided to dress as Matt Smith’s Doctor from Doctor Who.  I had the pants, shoes (well, as close as I was going to get to them), and shirt.  I bought a pair of red suspenders.  As for the bow tie and fez, well, I made those.  I liked it so much that it has been my Twitter avatar ever since.

This year, I’ll be breaking out my Doctor outfit for another year.  I’ll scan people with my sonic as the boys go trick or treating.  Then, as people ring our doorbell.  I’ll greet them with my small TARDIS and a bowl of candy.

No matter the occasion, I love dressing up and pretending that I’m someone else.  Someone who has grand adventures and doesn’t need to worry about such mundane matters like jobs and bills.  It’s like putting on a costume helps awaken the kid in me.

Who are you dressing up as for Halloween?

Addicted To Perler Beads

We seem to have a new addiction in our household: Perler beads.

Have you ever used these?  If not, let me explain what they are.  Perler beads are tiny plastic beads.


You place them on a plastic pin board to make designs.


When your design is done, you use an iron to slightly melt the beads, keeping perler bead ironing paper – or just parchment paper – between the beads and the iron.  (If you don’t, the beads might melt ONTO the iron and this would obviously not be good.)


When the ironing is done, and your creation cools, you have something very cool to play with.

My first creation, of course, was David Tennant’s Doctor.


While I was making this, NHL made an ice cream sundae.


Later, JSL joined in the fun.  He wanted to make Robin from the Teen Titans TV show.  We looked up an image online and worked on it together.  I told him what colors to use and he placed them in.  Then, I ironed it for him.


After this, I decided to look up Autism awareness patterns.  I found a nice small one of the Autism "puzzle pieces."  It turned out so nice that I glued it onto one of the blank tie clips I have.  Yes, I plan on wearing this into the office.


I’ve also considered making more of these and attaching them to pins to wear when I don’t have a tie on.

I also made a larger one that we’ll turn into a magnet.


JSL worked on some fireman pieces (which aren’t completed enough to make for a good photo) and NHL worked on a gaming system.


Finally, B got into the act also.  Previously, she been the "designated sorter" – sorting beads from the huge bucket into individual color bins.


She decided to make a butterfly for JSL to go with his Robin figure.  (Long story.  Basically, there’s a Teen Titans Go episode that JSL loves where Robin tries to survive in the wilderness by constantly eating butterflies and shouting "PURE PROTEIN!")


Here’s a perler bead shopping tip:  You can get big buckets of beads from Amazon but we’ve found that going to local craft stores such as Jo-Ann with 40% or 50% off coupons (look in the paper or online) can help you beat that price.

As far as inspiration goes, there is a vast store of perler bead creations online that people have posted.  Some are in the form of patterns for you to follow.  Others are just photos that you can use to recreate the creation for yourself.  These can go from the very small to the very big.  The sheer variety of perler bead possibilities means that we’ll be making perler bead crafts for a long time to come.

Have you ever worked with perler beads?  If so, what have you made with them?

Random Thoughts: Mayim Bialik/Frozen, Pina Colada Song, Doctor Who, and Pirates

random_brainI sat down to write my next blog post and there were a couple of topics swirling about my brain.  None of them seemed enough to constitute an entire blog post, so I thought I’d just mash them all together into one post comprised of four mini-posts.

Mayim Bialik and Frozen Misconceptions

Actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik recently posted about why she and her sons hate Frozen.  I recognize that tastes vary from person to person and what one lauds as a great movie, another will view as a piece of trash.  I’m sure Mayim could name a movie that she loves that I’d hate to have to sit through.  That being said, the reasons she gave for hating it seemed misguided to me.  (Note:  If you haven’t seen Frozen – WHY HAVEN’T YOU?!!! Also, spoilers are ahead.)

First off, she cited the movie’s "reigning plot line" of Anna trying to find a man to marry.  What I think she missed is that this plot line was there for the sole purpose of subverting it.  Anna thinks she needs "true love" in the form of marrying the first guy who acts nice towards her.  She doesn’t bother to get to know him beyond one night of talking.  Later, when he turns out to be the villain, she makes the same mistake a second time and thinks she needs Kristoff.  Granted, she *is* being turned to ice and sees Kristoff racing back towards her.  Once she sees her sister is in danger, though, she drops the "gotta find a man" quest in favor of "must save my sister."  THIS turns out to be what, in turn, saves Anna, not some guy’s kiss.  Trope subverted.

Next, Mayim worries about the portrayal of men as scheming villains.  Except Prince Hans wasn’t a scheming villain because he was a man.  He was a scheming villain because he was a scheming villain. Kristoff was a man and also a nice guy.  So was Anna’s father.  Widening our definition of "man", we might even include Olaf and Sven.  Prince Hans *was* using Anna to gain power, but it’s not male bashing to have a male villain.

Mayim’s third gripe was the "doll-like" figures and faces of Anna and Elsa.  I’ll admit that, on looking at it again, they do have a certain doll-like quality about them.  Then again, so does Prince Hans.  Kristoff, being a mountain man and not someone who lives in a castle, seems built more ruggedly.  I write this off as animator’s license.  There are many different styles of animation.  Not all look 100% realistic.  That being said, I can understand being pulled out of a movie or show because of the animation.  I’m generally not a fan of shows that flip between "normal" and "anime" modes.  (Such as the old Teen Titans show.)

Do You Like Pina Coladas?  And Getting Caught Cheating On Your Spouse?

I’ve been listening to the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack a lot recently.  Perhaps a bit too much.  I’ve started pondering meanings in the Pina Colada song.  In case you’ve forgotten it, the song tells the tale of a guy and his "lovely lady" who fell into a boring routine.  He was reading the personal ads in the newspaper (to the youngins out there, this was the old-style when he came upon a listing that intrigued him.  Ignoring the fact that he’s was planning on cheating on his lady, he answers the ad and arranges to meet this woman.  He waits for his mystery woman in a bar and then sees his lady walk in.  It turns out she was the one who placed the personal ad.  They share a laugh at having tried to cheat on one another and everyone is happy.  The End.

Wait, what?!!!  Is the Pina Colada song seriously suggesting that cheating on your significant other will relieve relationship doldrums?  Granted it might, but only to replace them with a relationship tornado that rips everything (i.e. your relationship) to shreds.  Pretty much any other action other than cheating (or attempted cheating) will be better that this.

Like I said, I might have been listening to this a bit too much.

Bored By The Doctor

I feel traitorous saying this, but I’m not liking the new episodes of Doctor Who.  The first one seemed confused, but I chalked that up to the Doctor having just regenerated and not quite being all there mentally.  However, the following episodes didn’t seem up to par either.  I’m not sure if this is all part of Steven Moffat’s Season 8 Grand Plan, but he’d better kick it up a notch soon.  Take, for example, Listen.  (Spoilers ahead.)  The episode seemed promising.  It started getting interesting.  And then it seemed to go nowhere.  The Great Villain evaporated into nothingness and was never there at all.  It was a big letdown.  It doesn’t even seem to be Peter Capaldi’s fault.  I actually like his Doctor.  I’m not sure I like him more than Matt Smith’s and definitely not more than David Tennant’s, but he’s good.  However, he doesn’t seem to be getting good episodes.  Capaldi can only do so much.  Here’s hoping these Doctor Doldrums let up soon.  (Meanwhile, I’ll be "cheating" on the Doctor with Sherlock.  Amazing show!)

Avast, me Hearties

Arrrr… Today be International Talk Like A Pirate Day, ye swabs.  So hoist the colors and grab ye treasure maps or ye shall be keel hauled!


There you have it.  Four completely different topics mashed together into one nice post!  Hope your weekend is great, and slightly random in only the best of ways.

NOTE: The image above is comprised of "Brain" by trubinial guru, "Pirate’s Boat – Navire Pirate" by cyberscooty, "Tardis" by tatica, "Single Snowflake" by erik_, and "Music Note" by cyberscooty.  All of these images are available via

Television Eras Ending And Beginning

TelevisionLast week saw the ending of one geeky era and the beginning of another.

First the ending.  For the past ten(?) years, Grant Imahara, Kari Byron, and Tory Belleci have been entertaining and enlightening us by busting myths alongside Jamie and Adam on Mythbusters.  They brought life to the Hwacha, showed that the Ewoks really could crush an AT walker with logs, and proved that you really can catch a greased pig.  Now, however, the announcement has gone out that the Mythbusters will go in a new direction – or, rather, and old one.  In the beginning of the show, the focus was on Jamie and Adam.  Now, Kari, Grant, and Tory are leaving so the focus can move back to just Jamie and Adam.

This might wind up being a good thing.  Perhaps, fewer myths will be tested but with more depth shown per myth.  Or, maybe they will just cram more fluff into each episode to fill the time left vacant by the loss of "the Build team."  Given how good they work together, I’m hoping that Discovery Channel gives them their own show.  I’m not sure what they could do, but I’m sure there’s plenty of topics that they could cover involving science and requiring interesting builds.  Whatever they do, though, I wish them luck and can’t wait to see them in action again.

In happier news, a new era of geekiness began on Saturday night.  That’s when Peter Capaldi officially began his reign as the madman in the box on Doctor Who.  Yes, Capaldi has now begun his turn as the twelfth Doctor.  Though, depending on how you count, he might be the thirteenth Doctor.  It’s all very wibbly-wobbly.  Without giving too many spoilers, I found Capaldi’s first episode good, but uneven.  It’s hard to get a handle on a Doctor’s first episode post-regeneration.  As each Doctor regenerates, he takes some time to get to know what kind of person (Time Lord) he is.  So we can’t quite tell from the first episode how the new actor will be.  With Matt Smith, it took me until his fourth episode before I accepted him as the Doctor.  I did, however, think that the first Capaldi episode was a good "bridge" between Matt Smith’s Doctor and Peter Capaldi’s Doctor.

NOTE: The "Hi-Def Television" image above is by bnsonger47 and is available via

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