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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Many guests at the Taylor Ranch corn maze in Fletcher, North Carolina this Fall will probably do a double take as they walk through the field of corn. And I’m not referring to the fact that they are going to get lost. I’m talking about the pink corn that is on the stalks.

That’s right. I’m not hallucinating. You won’t be either. There will be a six acre pink corn maze. I thought that last week’s post about underwater pumpkin carving was an unusual find. But pink corn? That definitely tops it.

The pink corn is Indian corn developed by the Hopi Indians in the American Southwest and then enhanced with other varieties. As I searched around the internet, I discovered that it is generally called Hopi Pink and used for flour. But I think that the use of it by the Taylor Ranch for the first pink corn maze, while raising money for breast cancer treatment at Mission Hospital, is pretty awesome.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I can’t think of a better tie in for a corn maze than pink corn. I hope the design of the corn maze is equally amazing. The NFL is going to have to do much more than hot pink gloves and shoes if it is going to top this corn maze!

In other news, the second corn maze that I am aware of, the Sylvan Heights Corn Maze in Scotland Neck, North Carolina, opened a few weeks ago. The first corn maze opened in Pennsylvania around the Fourth of July. I didn’t have Sylvan Heights in my directory of North Carolina corn mazes. I’ve now added them (and the Taylor Ranch).

Since it is Friday, I have to leave you with something funny to put a smile on your face at work. Check out this photo of a corn maze for blondes.

There are a lot of fun things to do for the harvest in October. You can enjoy fresh cider at an apple orchard. Stop by a pumpkin patch and pick out your future jack-o-lantern. Or get lost in a corn maze. While spending the day on a farm is fun, it’s not required to enjoy the fresh produce from the harvest. Even those who live in town can enjoy a local harvest festival.

But this year, there’s been a lot of bad news for farmers and the harvest. A late frost hit apple orchards hard, forcing some to close for the year and others to import apples. And the warmer than usual weather which we enjoyed in the winter was followed by hotter and drier conditions in the summer. So the corn fields are struggling to produce a normal amount of corn, let alone the record amount that was predicted early in the season.

Pumpkins get planted later then apple trees blossom or corn is planted, so there was hope that pumpkins would not be affected by the weather. The past two years, heavy rains late in the season have resulted in limited pumpkin yields. This year, the culprit might be the heat and lack of rain. The latest reports from Indiana and Illinois this year haven’t been promising for pumpkins.

Stony Creek Farm in Noblesville, IN had to start their pumpkin seeds in pots because the soil was too dry and hard to plant the pumpkins there, according to Fox 59.

Bandy’s Pumpkin Patch in Johnson City, IL was the subject of a WSILTV news report. The drought delayed the planting of the pumpkin patch and they have to irrigate the field in order to encourage growth.

If you have a pumpkin patch, I would love to know how your field is doing at this point compared to other years. Photos would be appreciated, too!

I spent last week working on the pumpkin carving section of Funtober. And I’m hard at work on my pumpkin patch directory this week so I’m interested!

Opened up my Facebook page yesterday to discover pumpkin carving tattoo patterns from Pumpkin Wow.

I just mentioned on Friday that I had finished my section on pumpkin carving.  It may already be obsolete.  In the section on pumpkin carving patterns, I detailed the process of poking holes through the stencil onto the pumpkin and then using the holes to guide your cuts with the knife.  I’m not so sure that is the best way anymore.

Pumpkin carving tattoo patterns look like a substantially easier way to carve a pumpkin. You simply apply the tattoo to the pumpkin, then cut out the black sections. It eliminates confusion over which dots to connect and you no longer have to stab your pumpkin repeatedly with a push pin before caving. Pumpkin carving has been brought into the 21st Century! And they even have designs for carvings from Ray Villafane. I am going to have to buy one or two of those this Fall.

If you are going to release an electronics product to maximize sales and buzz during the Christmas selling season, October is the time to do it. And it seems likely that there will be a number of new products on store shelves this year. No where are we likely to see more new products available for sale than in the tablet market.

Microsoft has already announced that Windows 8 will be shipped starting on October 26, 2012. The publicity from the Microsoft Windows 8 release will probably be used to try to turn other Microsoft products into holiday gold. As such, the Microsoft Surface tablet will probably also hit the shelves this October. Here are the details for the new Microsoft tablet. At the same time as Windows 8 is released, Samsung will probably release its own tablet utilizing Windows 8 RT.

Given the launch of Google’s Nexus 7, the Microsoft Surface, and the success of the Kindle, it seems increasingly likely that Apple will announce a 7 inch Ipad mini this October, despite Steve Jobs famous proclamation that 7 inch tablets are “dead on arrival”. The amount of media attention that the 7 inch Apple tablet is getting are unreal. Analysts are predicting it (CNET). The New York Times has covered it. Wired has said that Apple would be crazy not to release one. Indeed, by this point, it might be the worst kept secret on the planet. Apple has been working on the device since 2009. Leaks suggest that the Ipad mini will have a 7.85 inch screen and an initial price of between $249 and $299. After reading this press coverage, I’m sure you’ll agree that the release of the Ipad mini in 2012 seems likely. Apple needs a new hit on the shelves to join its other blockbuster products.

iPhone, iPad & iPods = iGoodness

So … will you be adding a new device to your collection of electronics this October? Or will you be waiting for someone to get it for you for Christmas?

I noticed something strange about my blog results when I went to Google Blog Search today. It is displaying the url for a completely different page of my website below the title of my blog post.

The post on Funtober merchandise doesn’t have anything to do with Flintstones costumes.  And the post on Oktoberfest performers doesn’t deal with how to make a cat costume.  Here’s the closeup:

My first thought when I saw these results was that I had been hacked. But my feed looked normal. And a quick search of the standard Google search restults displayed the appropriate titles and urls to pages. So I decided to search for another blog on Google Blog Search.

As you can see, the results for Techcrunch are mixed up also. Something makes me suspect that the ending of the url for the Marissa Meyer article on Techcrunch isn’t famous-chinese-paintings.html.

And my search for the Marissa Meyer article confirms that. It comes up normal in the standard google search results.

Whew. It’s not me. It’s just Google. Oops!

There’s two days until the start of Real Escape Game‘s Escape from the Haunted House.

What is it? In video game speak, it’s an online narrative puzzle from the Escape the Room genre. You will find yourself in a locked room and must pickup items and information around the room to solve the puzzle and escape.

It is a race to see who can figure out the clues and escape the room first. The live main event costs $5 to play and starts at 13:00 GMT on July 24, 2012. That’s 8:00 AM EST according to my “don’t hold me accountable if I am wrong” conversion. You are advised to login at least ten minutes before the game begins. You may login up to one hour before the game if you wish. I would advise purchasing your ticket early if you are going to play. You’ll need to make sure that your computer meets the system requirements, as well as print out the answer sheet. The game also recommends a fully charged cell phone (or telephone) and pen/paper. There’s an hour time limit on the real game, so it is possible that you just won’t figure it out.

With that information in hand, I decided to give the free trial a spin. It puts you in a spooky, old room complete with eerie music and gives you a puzzle to solve to escape the room. The time limit on the free trial is just 15 minutes. Pen and paper in hand, let’s see how smart I am.

It was my first time playing a digital escape the room game. Here’s what I figured out:

You hover over objects with the mouse to examine or pick them up. There ended up being five objects around the room in the free trial, and I found them fairly fast. I also found the information that was needed to solve the puzzle pretty fast, too. But I made a big assumption about the game, which turned out to be false. That led me to spend most of the game looking around the room for the final piece of the puzzle. With about two minutes to go, I realized that there was no more information in the room. I put the clues together, unlocked the door (it had a five digit combination), and escaped with about a minute to spare. WHEW!

When I saw the first news story about this online game, I was a bit skeptical. I wasn’t sure that it would be any fun. But after doing the free trial, I think I’m hooked. I’d love to know how I do against the rest of the world and I definitely want bragging rights!

You can play the free trial and join me at http://regame.jp/ticket/en/.

Movie fans have been dressing up at opening night movie screenings for a while now. I have no idea when it started. But I can remember the television news coverage from the midnight showings of Harry Potter that seemed to have every fan wearing some sort of Harry Potter costume. There was also newspaper coverage of the phenomenon, such as this Daily Herald story. It apparently happened at Star Wars and Watchmen movies as well. And, this year, the Hunger Games and The Avengers.

However, the shooting in Aurora, Colorado on Friday at the midnight opening of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises will lead theaters to reconsider the appropriate policy toward these guests. AMC Loews quickly released a statement on Friday that masks and toy weapons are not allowed in theaters. The policy also bans any costume which makes other guests uncomfortable. I’m sure that other movie theaters will follow their lead and ban some or all costumes in the wake of the tragedy. Regal Entertainment, the nation’s largest theater chain operating Regal Cinemas and United Artists, hadn’t announced a specific policy as of Friday but said that moviegoers should expect “stricter controls over character attire and accessories ….”

If you were planning to attend the show in costume this weekend, I would recommend against it. There’s still too much uncertainty about how theaters, and moviegoers, will react. Here’s some coverage about the policies for costumes in theaters that I discovered, which may be of interest and helpful to you:

Some costumes banned at AMC theaters after ‘Dark Knight’ shooting – Los Angeles Times
AMC Theaters Bans Costumes at Screenings in Light of ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Shooting – MTV
MJR Theaters bans costumes, masks for moviegoers – The Detroit News
Wearing Costumes to Films Questioned – Fresno Bee

What do you think should happen in the long term? Should movie theaters ban costumes for good because of security concerns in the wake of the tragedy and spoil the party atmosphere that has developed around opening night? Should they extend the heightened restrictions found this weekend for all opening weekend shows or every show? Or should they implement other security measures and allow guests to continue to do what they love – see the film in the costume of their favorite character?

This fall I hope to have the opportunity to watch Screamer, a documentary about the haunted house industry.  Last month, I posted a few resources for entrepreneurs starting a haunted house.  You should add this movie to the list.  It interviews owners of haunted houses and follows two haunters as they setup a haunted house in 2006.  The documentary should be an excellent glimpse into the process of putting together a haunted house.

Here’s the trailer:

There’s been a lot of movie news here at Funtober recently.  Yesterday, the Dark Knight Rises hit the movie theaters.  Last week, I talked about six upcoming October 2012 movies.  Before that, it was the trailers for Hotel Transylvania and Sinister.  I hope you are enjoying them!

Last weekend, I spent some time researching pumpkin carving. Yes, in the middle of July. But I’m now ready for pumpkin painting and carving this October. Pretty excited about it, actually.

One of the things that I discovered during my research was the practice of underwater pumpkin carving. You definitely read that correctly. People voluntarily submerge pumpkins (which naturally float) and carve them at the bottom of a body of water. I had to see it to believe it.

Apparently, it’s a pretty popular thing. Across the country, scuba divers will participate in underwater pumpkin carving this October. In just a few minutes of research, I’ve found contests in New England, Ohio, Florida and Seattle. I’m sure that there are competitions in other states as well.

You don’t have to be certified to scuba dive to witness this event, either. Underwater pumpkin carving is held at a number of major aquariums where you can get a first hand look without getting wet. You should look into your local aquarium to see if they will have divers carving in the water this Halloween.

And now I have seen everything.

The dust is now settling from Comic Con in Los Angeles over the weekend. And the big winners were Iron Man and Oz.

We both knew that Iron Man was going to be hot. The success of The Avengers this spring ensured it. But when Robert Downey Jr. entered the Iron Man children’s costume contest for photographs with the kids and the Iron Man 3 costume was released during the director talk, it sealed the deal. Iron Man 3 generated the most discussion online. You can see the new Iron Man costume online at Yahoo’s MOVIEtalk blog. The Movie is scheduled for release next May.

But what is Oz? It’s the prequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Oz: The Great and Powerful follows the Wizard, played by James Franco, as he meets the three witches and transforms himself from Oscar Diggs into the Wizard of Oz. It got the best buzz over the weekend, according to the L.A. Times. It is currently scheduled for release in March 2013, so here’s the movie trailer:

I’m not sure what to think about the potential implications for the Dorothy costume. I don’t believe that Dorothy makes an appearance in the movie, so it is much more likely fans will dress up as the Wizard of Oz or one of the witches. But how could you have a group costume from Oz without Dorothy? I just don’t know how it will play out at this point. If I had to speculate, I’d guess that people go elsewhere for their costumes.

Superman also generated a substantial amount of publicity. Footage of the film was screened at the convention and the director answered fan questions during the Warner Bros. panel. You could also get a better look at the Man of Steel costume via a QR Code and the BrowsAR app. You can capture the image at ComicBook.com. The next Superman is scheduled for release in June 2013.

With only a few days before the open of the Dark Knight Rises, both Anne Hathaway and Christian Bale recently gave interviews discussing what it was like to wear the Batman and Catwoman costumes. Yawn. I’m eager to see the movie, but the interviews didn’t reveal anything new or interesting about the costume. That’s why I am not linking to them. I am, however, getting excited about the new selection of Catwoman and Batman costumes that the movie has generated. I remember looking at the catwoman costume for a website three or four years ago and the ones available from costume manufacturers were pretty bad. Now, they appear to have received a substantial upgrade. Selena Kyle would definitely approve. I also recently saw a Batman costume that retails for around $500. WOW! I expect that isn’t really aimed at the Halloween crowd. It seems to me the type of thing that would be purchased by a Batman fan that is going to wear it to a comic book convention. From the photos that I saw, it looks amazing.

After reading this discussion, you might want to check out Cinema Blend’s post detailing the Top 20 Superhero Costumes. The winning movie costume? Rorschach from the Watchmen. Rounding out the Top 5 were Iron Man (#2), Captain America (#3), Superman (#4) and Spider-Man (#5). If you are looking to replicate a superhero costume for Halloween, that would be a good place to start.

Similarly, ComicVine took a look at Spider-Man costumes throughout history. I love the look of the latest spiderman costume, by the way. I’ll have to think long and hard about whether I can choose Spiderman over Batman or one of The Avengers this Halloween.