(Sunday Paper, Volume II, Issue 44)
I know a lot of you have been waiting all year for this.
Over the past couple of years I've embraced my new talent of carving cool pumpkin designs.
This year the girls suggested we do an emoji design.
It came down to the emoji with the heart eyes, the emoji with the sunglasses, or the ghost one that you see pictured here.
We went with the Halloween-themed ghost.
In the unlikely event that you forgot how last year's pumpkin came out, here's a link to last year's Sunday Paper about the pumpkin design. (That Sunday Paper also has the link to the '365 New Things In 2013' with the original pumpkin design and how this all started.) I think I've shared each of the pumpkins on Facebook over the past few years, so maybe I'll make a point in the next couple of days to show each of them on the Facebook page.
Anyway, that image above is the text I sent Kathy when the girls decided on the pumpkin design for this year. (For those of you who, like me, are emoji-challenged, the conversation reads "Dear Kathy, Our jack-o-lantern this year will be in the form of this funny-looking ghost fellow. Love, John")
The tricky thing, with Halloween on a Tuesday this year, was when to actually do the carving. For Sunday Paper purposes I carved it on Saturday...but that's kind of pushing it. I feel like the pumpkin is going to get pretty rotty before Tuesday. (But I don't really care - I got some good pictures for social media and no one will remember the rotting pumpkin on the stoop in years to come...just the beautifully lit ghost emoji that pops up in my 'On This Day' memories for years to come.) For what it's worth, I'm already dreading how next year's 'Pumpkin Art' Sunday Paper post will go with Halloween on a Wednesday. I'm probably going to have to skip it.
Anyway, I did not have high hopes for this pumpkin - there were some tight cuts that I didn't think I'd be able to cut well. I lowered expectations around the house.
But I am really thrilled with how it went. I used one of those really cheap little pumpkin carvers with the orange handles that you see at the checkout counters of the supermarket and places like that (I bought them at Michael's back when we got the Halloween decorations). I didn't expect much out of them either - but holy cow! They carved right through that pumpkin and helped me make the tight cuts on the arms and the mouth and the top and bottom carvings that I thought would be really difficult.
I know I've said it before, but the next frontier is to carve one of those crazy pumpkins that have some of the pumpkin skin (shell?) shaved away and the light seems to shine through a light covering of pulp. I don't quite know how that happens, but I think I may now have some of the right tools to try it.
If I have a critique of my work it's that all of my designs tend to come out looking like a little more shorter and fatter version of themselves. This year's is no exception. You can take a look and see for yourselves when I post the pics of the last five years of pumpkins in the coming days. In the meantime - here's how this year's came out:
*Let's see...it felt like kind of a quiet writing week. Outside of my regular writing I did not do a whole lot. Monday was somewhat unstructured for some reason - I got more done on Tuesday. But I have a couple of ideas bouncing around in my head that I have yet to form into publishable pieces and I sure would like to submit a few more things before the end of the year.
*I pulled an audible after I told you what I was going to do this week - it turns out that I was able to hit two open mics on Monday night and then instead of going to watch the show I planned on watching I went to another mic in Worcester that was one of the best open mics I've been to. There was a big crowd that wasn't totally made up of comics and I got a good response to some new material and even though that was pretty much it for comedy this week I had a couple of really good nights.
*We'll see how this week goes. I'll do something Monday night but Tuesday is out because of Halloween. That might be it until Saturday, when I'm on a show up in Maine...And then next Sunday night 9pm I'm at Improv Boston.
What I've Been Enjoying
*The Mets introduced their new manager this week. Now, as loyal readers know, I was always a big fan of Terry Collins. When it became clear he wasn't coming back I worried the Mets would take a step backwards with their new hire. I can't pretend to know about all the candidates, but I know enough to understand that they definitely could have made a wrong move - but as it turns out I don't think they did that. It's hard to quantify these new managers because so many of them are young and taking over a team for the first time. But Mickey Callaway has been around Terry Francona, who is a great manager, and he's been a successful pitching coach, which is probably a good thing with the young arms the Mets have. If the Mets are healthy in 2018 they should still have the high expectations with which they began 2017. If they made a mistake in selecting a manager (like I believe the Nationals are on the cusp of making - I strongly believe they made a mistake not bringing back Dusty Baker) I wouldn't feel as confident about 2018 as I do. (And for what it's worth, Red Sox fans, I think Boston brought in a good manager too.)
*So I carved the pumpkin on Saturday afternoon and as I mentioned, it came out better than I expected. Then, Saturday night after dark, we lit the pumpkin with a small candle. It was underwhelming. Kathy had the idea to try a larger candle and that made it look a lot better. I know it's not the best pumpkin in the world, but I'm happy with it...and it sure does look a lot better than it did with the smaller candle.
*I mentioned above I might post on the Facebook page each of the five pumpkins. Keep an eye out for that - but if you're exploring the page, also look for the skeleton/coffee picture that I posted earlier this week. Due to Facebook algorithm stuff that I still don't understand I'm not sure it crossed everyone's feed..and it's still proven pretty popular even without everyone seeing it. So go check that out - I think it's funny and I'm proud of it. And, as always, if you don't already like the Facebook page, I'd appreciate it if you did. (And follow me on Twitter!)
*How about that future-predicting I did last week? The Astros won Games 6 (I did not seek out a working TV to watch this game) and 7 (I did watch this from the bar during and following my show last Saturday) and boom! New World Series matchup. I didn't stay up for the end of the super-exciting Game 2 this week, but I am enjoying what I get to see of the World Series.
*I should mention the Jets. I'm not sure when I scheduled last week's post on Friday night that I realized the Jets were going to be on TV here. I was excited to watch them because they are off to a much better start than I expected. Then they proceeded to blow a two-touchdown fourth quarter lead to prove that I don't need to waste my Sundays following them closely this season. (Further evidence that they really blew that game was given Thursday night when the Dolphins proceeded to get crushed by the not-very-good Baltimore Ravens.) But I guess it's made for a more fun first seven weeks of the season than I expected...and I'll still be watching them on this week's Thursday night game this week no matter what happens today.
*Remember how I've told you in the past that the thing that has suffered most recently with my more consistent work has been my exercise? That does not bode well for me with Halloween candy season upon us.
*How is next week November already?
*Make no mistake - despite the enjoyment I get out of carving the pumpkins and how much the kids love it, I still hate touching the inside of a pumpkin. And I strongly dislike the smell of a pumpkin.
*Start giving this some thought - last year I ended the year with a mailbag-type entry. It was a lot of fun, but it was all holiday-themed. I'd like to do that again this year with a general Q and A. So think about some questions you'd like me to answer. I'll post something on the Facebook page soon and you can post your Q's there. Or....you can just put a question in the comments below and I'll start compiling them. Thanks!