That’s No Gourd – The Death Pumpkin

Obi-Wan Kenobi: That’s no gourd… It’s a space pumpkin!
Han Solo: It’s too big to be a space pumpkin!

This is, I am not ashamed to say, the best pumpkin I have ever carved.  Usually my attempts have been simple faces — which almost always look… barely like a face.  I attribute this to, what I like to call, “my complete lack of any artistic talent whatsoever”.

This year, I gave in and went full Star Wars.  The result pleased me.  Death Pumpkin looks awesome when illuminated in the dark.


Oh, and in case you’ve ever wondered what a Death Pumpkin looks like on the inside…


Also, here’s an in-progress shot.  I am merely sharing it because it amused me.


Had a hard time deciding on a name.  Death Pumpkin is what I settled on.  “Death Gourd”, “Death-O-Lantern” and “Alderaan-Kablooey-inator” were also in the running.


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Dark colors are cool.

I updated the look of  The old theme was groovy… but a bit too bright.

So I made it darker.  And tweaked it a bit.

That is all.

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The new year – 5774. Just in time.

Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for me and my family.

This last year (5773), was filled with some amazing moments… and some terribly difficult ones.  With so many big events and changes on the horizon for the Lunduke clan, this turned out to be the perfect time for a little soul searching.  To think back on the previous year — the highs and lows, the victories and mistakes — to try to learn from them to make this new year (5774) a more excellent one.

This year we went down to a beach on Lake Washington for Tashlikh

Tashlikh is a pretty simple idea really — symbolically “casting off” your sins (aka “things you did that hurt other people that you are, hopefully, trying to make amends for”) by pulling bread crumbs out of your pocket and tossing them into a body of water.  It’s not a tradition all Jews practice — but it’s a nice tradition that encourages a bit of introspection.  Plus it makes for a fun afternoon.

The number of ducks that came out to greet us was pretty awesome.  An army of ducks, waiting patiently for their bread.  It seemed to be generally accepted that either the ducks simply knew it was Rosh Hashanah and were waiting for the yearly bread buffet to begin… or they were observant Jew-Ducks and they were there to mark the occasion with us.

AfterTashlikh2013-2The event was half “cast off your sins” and half “let’s feed the ducks a lot of stale bread”.  Either way the ducks weren’t objecting.

That’s a picture of my daughter, Josie, sucking on a honey straw after having exhausted daddies bread supply.  Which, I’ll be honest, consisted mostly of a flour tortilla — because we forgot to bring bread with us when we left the house… and there was a tortilla in the car already.

“Why was there a tortilla in the car?”

That’s, really, the wrong question.  A better question would be “Why isn’t there always a spare tortilla in every car?”.  A tortilla is a bit like a towel in that way.  Douglas Adams taught me the value of a towel.  Mexican restaurants taught me the value of a tortilla.  The two are linked in my mind.  I have no idea why.

Luckily there was a lot of old, stale bread to share among the families there.  By the end the ducks were content and, dare I say, bored of eating — and the kids were happy to have helped them get there.

Was a good day.  And a good start to a new year.

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Some sad, strange times.

Holy moly.  What a freaking weird week it’s been.  Hell.  The last 3+ weeks have just been… surreal.

Not just weird.  Hard.  Been a hard few weeks.

Side note: This is not a teaser for something.  Nor a lead-up to an announcement.  Nor an opinion piece about this or that.  It’s just been a really damned weird few weeks.  And I feel like expressing some of it for the simple sake of having it be expressed.  And, I realized, I don’t talk often about my personal life.  To be honest, I’m pretty sure very few of you are terribly interested.  But I’m thinking I’m going to write a bit more about that anyway.  Don’t feel any obligation to respond in any way.  Sometimes words simply need to be said.

We lost the man that was going to become my brother-in-law to a motorcycle accident a few weeks back.  Chris Wiebe. A truly great dude.  Hell.  This was a guy I deemed to be good enough for my sister.  That’s saying something.  Chris was sweet.  Kind.  Smart.  Humble.  And goofy as all heck.  Damned lovable.

Chris was the second brother-in-law that I’ve lost due to motorcycle accidents.  A few years back, my wife’s brother, Joe (another amazing young man that I was proud to call my brother), was lost riding his bike just a few blocks from my home.  Both were good, alert riders.

Both in their 20’s.  Just… too tragic to do justice in words (at least for me).  Both losses were difficult for me, to be sure.  But so much more difficult for my sister.  And my wife.  To see the heartache that they’ve had to endure… it’s too much.  But they pull through.  The women in my life are truly amazing.  Strong, powerful women.

I suppose there isn’t much else to say on any of that.  Needless to say I’m not the biggest fan of motorcycles at this point.  I have a few family members that cling to their motorcycles determinedly.  At some point they’re all probably going to get a stern talking to from me.  Which I don’t really think will effect any change… but I’ll probably do it anyway.  Perhaps just to make myself feel a bit better having expressed my concern.

I was going to write about a few other topics as well — about some various other (rather odd and rather surprising) events in my families life over the last few weeks… but I think I’ll just stop there.  Following the previous four paragraphs up with any other topic feels… cheap and out of place.  For now I’ll just leave it right where it is and talk about other topics another time.

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Procrastinating and Online Storage

I’ve been using DropBox for 207 Thousand years (give or take).  Over that time I have accumulated 17 jiggabytes of data.  And I am paying for it.

And, even worse, those jiggabytes are being copied to every single machine I own.

It’s a mess.  I’ve attempted to clean that bastard (that’s the short technical term for “that bastard of a backup drive that I can’t find a damned thing on”) about a dozen times [for those keeping track at home, that is the first number I have used that has any vague resemblance to reality whatsoever].  And, with each subsequent (failed) attempt to clean up and organize things, El Bastardo became simply more and more terrible.

It was a monster that I had created.  That this perversion of file structures existed within our world… this was my fault.

About this point I should probably mention that I had 18 kajilion other online drive/backup type accounts.  Ranging from Google Drive to a simple FTP site that I sometimes worked from.

You see, as each system became more unmanageable, I simply decided to try out a new service.  And the cycle continued.

Tonight I decided to clean it all up.  Consolidate it down to one single folder structured, backed up by on system.  Would even free up a bunch of cpu cycles by getting rid of all those unnecessary backup apps.

Instead I decided to write this.  Because this is easier.

This makes me wonder…

If I pared down all of my various files… down to the bare minimum that I felt was 100% necessary…  How big would it be?

Could I get it down to, say, 500mb?  Hell… could I get it down to 50mb?

Back in the 80’s I had a 286 with a big, hulking 50 mb mfm hard drive.  Could I pare my files down to fit on there?  In the 80’s (and a good way in to the ’90’s) I sure could.  Right now I’m having a hell of a time getting my Drop Box down to less than 127 gigs.  Getting to 126 is going to be painful.

I could really go for a no bake chocolate cookie right now…

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