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Monthly Archives: July 2012

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July 2nd is the start of National Pie Week. And I look forward to having a delicious, warm slice of apple pie topped with ice cream to celebrate the birth of the nation on July 4th.

My Apple Pie

But I would like to take issue with the people who set National Pie Week in July. The two most popular pies in the United States are apple pie and pumpkin pie, according to NPR. Apples and pumpkins are harvested in the fall. Shouldn’t we be celebrating National Pie Week in October?

If you know who I need to contact to have this travesty corrected, please leave a comment or use the contact form.  You can do so anonymously if you wish.

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After next week’s release of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, I’ll be looking forward to the movies coming out in October 2012. I thought it was about time that I put together a list of some to look forward to here. I’ve already covered Hotel Transylvania and Sinister. Here are six more October movies:

Frankenweenie – Disney Pictures and Tim Burton remake the 1984 short film about a boy that brings his dog back after death. It will be the first black and white 3D feature film.

Fun Size – This teen comedy features plenty of costumes to put you in the mood for trick or treating.

Vamps – The upcoming horror comedy starring Krysten Ritter, Alicia Silverstone, and Sigourney Weaver as vampires living it up in New York City. I don’t believe the trailer for this film has been released yet.

Butter – Jennifer Garner’s new film involves two competitors in an annual butter carving contest. Apparently, they didn’t receive clearance to work on pumpkins, which would have been more timely for an October release.

Cloud Atlas – Tom Hanks and Halle Berry star in “an epic story of humankind in which the actions and consequences of our lives impact one another throughout the past, present and future as one soul is shaped from a murderer into a savior and a single act of kindness ripples out for centuries to inspire a revolution.” It is based on the 2004 book by David Mitchell.

Atlas Shrugged Part II – I know that Part I was a bit of a bust, but the sequel has staffed up with Bill Lewis and Russell Schwartz recently to help promote the second installment.

Hocus Pocus II – It probably won’t be in theaters until October 2013.  But the rumor that Disney was developing a sequel to the popular 1983 movie starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy hit the internet in the past two weeks.  It is tentatively titled Hocus Pocus 2: Rise of the Elderwitch.  Because it would only be appropriate to release this movie in October, I’ve decided to include it on this list as a special preview of the movies that might be out in October 2013.  Here’s the trailer from the 1993 Hocus Pocus movie to refresh your recollection:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCnvjd_vvqM

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Halloween Time is the Fall attraction at Disneyland which runs from September 14th to October 31st. Enjoy spooky, Halloween appropriate twists to the Haunted Mansion, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Space Mountain. Tickets purchased in advance to Halloween Time are $46 for annual passholders and $54 for others. The cost for tickets to attend Halloween Time on October 29, 30 or 31st are $69 per person.

There is also an after hours event called Mickey’s Halloween Party on eleven nights for an additional fee. It includes a mini parade, trick or treat stations and the Halloween Screams fireworks show. Tickets to the general public go on sale July 16th. Annual passholders can buy their tickets for Halloween Time right now.

Halloween Screams Fireworks at Disneyland

The Walt Disney World Halloween event at Magic Kingdom is called Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. The event, which requires an additional ticket, will run from September 11th until November 2nd, 2012. It includes a parade and Happy HalloWishes fireworks show, among other Halloween themed events.

On Saturday, I stopped at a few beer stores to see if I could find any Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers.  After all, the fall seasonal beers start in July.  My personal goal is to try as many as possible this Fall.  For the website, of course!

At the first beer store, it was summer seasonals everywhere. But I did manage to find beers from five of the six Munich breweries that serve at Oktoberfest. I just couldn’t find Augustiner. So I picked the other five up to try.

The person I spoke to thought that I was a week too early.  They will start putting them out next week.  My second stop was more productive. At the beer distributor, I did manage to find the Stoudt’s Oktoberfest and Harpoon Octoberfest.

Along the way, I also bought some other bottles that seemed to fit the theme. The St. Pauli Girl, the Zombie Killer Cherry Cyser, the Wychwood Scarecrow Golden Pale Ale and the Wychwood Wychcraft Blonde Ale.

This is all part of my research into Octoberfest beers and pumpkin ales.  I’ll be putting together a list of them and doing a bunch of reviews here this Fall. As I started my research, I came across photos of a couple of beers that people were enjoying this month, so I thought I would also share them with you.

The Samuel Adams Octoberfest:

The Onion Pub and Brewery Pumpkin Ale:

I’ll be drinking the beer that I found over the course of the next week and let you know what I think soon. In the meantime, get ready for a party to finish off the rest of the beer!  This has to be one of the worst parts of running Funtober.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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?

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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/.

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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!