halloween, costumes comments edit

I’ve always enjoyed the concept of highly detailed and accurate costumes. This crap they sell on the market for $15 that includes the shirt, hat, boot covers, and a laser gun all in one package might fly for less detail-oriented folks or people short on time, but I’m a big fan of authenticity.

The problem is, I generally end up being one of the “short on time” crowd, so I half-ass myself a costume at the last minute involving a quick trip to the military surplus store and a liberal application of creativity involving everyday household items. Halloween shows up altogether too quickly and the night before I’m cobbling something together. It kills me, too - I’d like to have something better than that. If I’m going as Dracula, I want a pair of custom fangs and a high-quality cape. I have yet to be a Ghostbuster because I need accurate props with real working electronics.

This year I’m taking the project on early, though: I’m going to be Willy Wonka (from the new movie).

Jenn and I went last night to the fabric store and I ended up picking up three patterns - one for a coat (which will need to have the collar slightly modified); one for a shirt (I’ll have to find some paisley fabric); and one for a civil war jacket which, once the sleeves and collar are removed, looks just like his vest. I’ve also purchased some finials that can be used as the handle on his walking stick and I’ve ordered some clear PVC pipe for the body of it.

I’m getting a head start so I can actually make all this stuff and go for the authentic look. Now, admittedly, I’m already conceding a few of the details. I won’t be able to get the “W” pin he has at his collar. I’m not a good enough tailor to make a coat that has pinstripes that match up so I’m going to go with a solid color instead. The shoes probably won’t be quite right, and the bottom of the pants (if I go with a pair I have already) won’t be right, either. And I can’t find the actual finial that was on his cane, nor can I find quite the right tip for it, either, but we’ll make due. Oh, and there’s no way I’m springing for a real top hat. The point is, it’ll be of a much higher quality (and will be much more fun) than the $15 kit.

Of course, the patterns already cost me $25, the finials were $15, and the PVC pipe was $30 with shipping (it only comes in 10’ sections). So budget-wise, I’m way over the typical Halloween costume budget already. It’ll be fun to make, though, and I think that’s really what matters. Plus I’ll be happier with it when it’s done. I’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE 10/02/05: The costume came out well. Here are the details.

General Ramblings comments edit

ScoobaIt appears that the latest from iRobot - the Scooba, a floor-mopping robot - will be available for purchase online in November and should be in retail stores in early 2006. I’m actually pretty stoked. I have a Roomba (their vacuuming robot) and feel like it was definitely $200 well spent.

For $399, you’ll get the Scooba, some cleaning solution, a measuring cup, a battery, a battery charger, a virtual wall, and what appears to be an AC adapter of some nature (probably to charge the Scooba while the battery’s still in it).

The virtual walls used by Scooba look different than the ones used by Roomba - they look more like the new scheduling walls, actually. I’m curious if the virtual walls with Scooba are compatible with the Roomba walls or if I’m going to have to buy a bunch of Scooba walls, too.

Scooba doesn’t come with a “home base” the way Roomba does (or, at least, some Roomba models), and the batteries look different. One of the things I like about Roomba is that when it’s done, it goes home to charge up. I can’t tell if Scooba has that ability or not. It almost certainly doesn’t out of the box, as it doesn’t come with the requisite charging station, only manual chargers.

None of that really deters me, though - it’s the $400 price tag that’s got me. $200 was the perfect price for Roomba (admittedly, that was with a 20% off coupon at Bed Bath and Beyond). I’m just not sure about Scooba for double the price. I’d have to see it in action in person, or at least hear from someone who has one.

I’ll have to think about it. I do have some 20% off coupons burning a hole in my pocket, and $320 is a lot better than $400…

media, movies, tv comments edit

Jessica Simpson is Daisy
DukeSaturday Stu and Tif joined Jenn and I in checking out The Dukes of Hazzard.

I didn’t go in expecting too much. I was a fan of the show even when I was a little kid, but knowing that the whole thing revolves around escaping the county sheriff by jumping your car over the local ravine didn’t seem like it was going to lend itself to film too well - I mean, it’s a great, fun show, but a movie?

They rocked the house with this one.

Again, keep in mind that a Dukes movie has to address certain points:

  • Boss Hogg is a rich, greedy asshole
  • Sheriff Coltrane is Boss Hogg’s pawn and doesn’t actually uphold any laws
  • Cooter fixes the General Lee
  • Fight breaks out at the Boar’s Nest
  • Daisy looks hot and kicks someone’s ass
  • Poorly conceived jailbreak
  • Car chases, several jumps
  • Something goes down involving Uncle Jesse
  • Random freeze-frame in the middle of a climactic moment with the narrator saying something that would lead you into commercial

All points were addressed, and the cast did an excellent job. I particularly loved Burt Reynolds as Boss Hogg - he updated the character and really just executed it with style.

Something I didn’t get, which was funny but didn’t really have bearing on the show (so far as I recall)… They really played up how Bo always drives the car and loves the General Lee but never gets a girl, and Luke gets all the girls but doesn’t know how to drive. Maybe that’s something they sort of inferred from the show that I guess I missed, but they really played it up like it was a major part of the series.

I would be remiss in failing to mention how hot Jessica Simpson is in this one. She may or may not be dumb as a box of hammers, but she is fiiiiiine.

Stu says he’s going to buy it when it comes out on DVD. I’m not sure if I’ll buy it or not, but it was a hell of a lot of fun. Several laughs, great excitement. If I see it on the “previously viewed” rack for a discount, I’ll grab it. Do you have to see it in the theater? No - there really weren’t any scenes that required a big screen. But do see it, especially if you liked the show. It’s a great time.