I usually do a Jack O’ Lantern at Halloween. I’m no master of the art. Some of the ones I’ve seen are far, far out of my league, but I did fool around with trying to make some translucent layers for the first time.
Also, this is the largest pumpkin I’ve ever carved. It’s about 40 inches in its largest circumference — hardly enormous by any standard, but much bigger than any I’ve ever carved. I really had no plan when I started except I wanted a toothy face. I usually accidentally cut off about half the teeth I intended, which gives you a fair idea of my skill level. This time, thanks to a sharper paring knife than we’ve ever owned and the use of a couple of little x-acto knives in my studio as a sort of chisel, plus a tad more patience than I usually muster, I managed to get a toothy grin and a bit of translucency as well. And I didn’t lose any fingers!
The “third eye” was nothing I’d planned, but I like it. In some Hindu and Buddhist traditions, the “third eye” represents spiritual wisdom gained from a form of seeing that transcends the mundane realm of the senses. My Qui Gong teacher often references the third eye as a portal of chi energy — or something like that. I trust that with his spiritual wisdom our jack o’ lantern is suited to protect our domicile from any malevolent forces. The kids don’t usually even notice the pumpkin, let alone how many eyes are staring at them. They’re understandably focused on optimizing the maximum candy load. Such is capitalism.
Cameron and I enjoy seeing the kids in their costumes and handing out sugary junk. A horde of kids, many who I only see this time of year, descend on our neighborhood. I suspect our community’s got a good reputation among the knowledgable for dispensing chocolate. We must be giving the dentists plenty of work. It’s one way to stimulate the economy, I guess.
Our neighborhood really gets into decorations far and above the traditional jack o’ lantern. Graveyards, UFOs and aliens, spiders, rats, and skeletons, skeletons, skeletons! One house has maybe a dozen skeletons, not counting a pile of skulls.
We’re relatively modest by comparison. In addition to Jack, we have two window lights in the shape of cats that we’ve had for eons and three sets of blinking eyeballs that I added last year. In one of my upstairs studio windows I’ve got a batch of plastic bats that are too small for anyone but me to tell what they are. But they do give off a pleasant violet light.
We’re not much for horror movies or books. I do like the old Tod Browning Dracula movie and we sometimes listen to the wonderful piano album of Philip Glass’s music for the movie played by Michael Riesman. I do read some novels that border on horror.
One of my favorite science fiction series is The Expanse novels by James S. A. Corey, the pen name of collaborators Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Despite the pseudo-zombies in the early books, the series is immensely satisfying in terms of characters and a believable future where humans have colonized the moon, Mars, some of the asteroids and moons of the outer planets. he ScyFy television series is excellent and remarkably true to the books all things considered. I was elated that Amazon picked the series up after ScyFy cancelled it. much as I enjoy Star Trek and Star Wars, The Expanse is real science fiction by comparison and much more imaginative in my opinion. I just found out that the entire season four will air on December 13 and a season five is in the works. I will likely indulge in binge-watching! This is more like “Merry Christmas” than “Happy Halloween,” but anyway, “Happy Holidays.”
While we’re on the subject of science fiction, here’s some more silly sci-fi from “Asteroid Stu and the Mind-Duel:”
I do also enjoy the novels of Tim Powers. His books delve into the occult and often involve ghosts, black magic, and the supernatural. I never feel that I’m being manipulated to feel fear (although things can get pretty creepy). Powers is a great storyteller.
I’ve gabbed long enough. I’ll end with one more Halloween-type cartoon and wish you all a happy and safe holiday.
Asteroid Stu and the Mind-Duel, 54 pages, black and white interior, is also available in Kindle and hardcopy formats from Amazon. Both this comic and the one listed below include Edzl, the Nebboid from the Vague Nebula, who will be the lead character in a running feature story, “Edzl’s Awakening: Or, Yes We Have Some Nibbanas.” This will be part of Pause & Reflect Comics, currently in progress.
Multiverse Comics and Stories, 106 pages, full color, is available from Amazon in Kindle and hardcopy formats.