General Archive

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween Recap 2009

Jack O'LanternI grew up in the country. Halloween for me was getting in the car, and driving around to friends' houses. A few friends lived on streets with enough houses that we could go up and down a bit, but not very much. This also meant that we were never visited by many trick or treaters, nor were the houses I knocked at, so I always got an entire handful of candy at every place I visited, and we always had plenty of left over candy at our house.

As I've gotten older, I've moved into progressively more urban environments, so I've gotten used to the more traditional Halloween. However, nothing prepared me for what to expect in the neighborhood I live in now. Somehow, the neighborhood has acquired a reputation as the place to go for trick or treaters. Our first year in the neighborhood, we were completely unprepared, and ran out of candy very early on. Last year, we did a bit better, but still ran out before the crowds had died down. This year, we were prepared. We started stocking up on candy about two months ago, so that we'd have enough to go around.

We still rationed our candy. For most of the night, we gave out between 2 and 3 pieces per kid. Only after 9:00 did we start to give out a bit more, around half a dozen pieces per kid. We ran out around 9:30.

Anyway, I weighed the candy at the start of the night, to have an idea of how much candy we gave away - 40 lbs. That's a bit of a rough estimate. I didn't subtract the weight of the plastic container, and a few kids we had over divied up the last dregs before we had a chance to give them away, but we also had a few people over who dumped in a few bags of candy after I did the initial weigh in. Anyway, it was a lot of sugar and chocolate.

I have no idea how many kids actually came by, but a family in another house on our street who had bought 1600 pieces of candy (rationed at 2 pieces per kid, i.e. 800 kids worth), ran out at 8:30. So, I'd guess that we had somewhere around a thousand kids come trick or treating at our house.

For the most part, it was fun. We decorated the house up pretty good, hung a plastic monster from a tree branch so that we could drop it on unsuspecting passers-by, and I dressed up like the grim reaper, scaring quite a few older kids and adults.

We did get a few teenagers in less than creative costumes, and around 10:30, when I went to see some friends out to their car and turned the porch light back on, a car immediately pulled up to our house hoping for candy. But, like I said, everything was fun for the most part.

Anyway, in addition to the jack o'lantern picture up above, here are a few more pictures of how we decorated the house. We didn't think to take any the night before in the dark, so these are all from the next morning. They're not quite as spooky, but at least they give a sense of what the house looked like.


Hippy Bus

Hippy Bus

Hippy Bus Michael Meyers

Updated 2009-11-05: Two new pictures added

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hands to Hands Community Fund

Hands to Hands Community FundApparently, the United Way has changed the requirements for organizations receiving funding. This has resulted in several local non-profits having to decline funding from the United Way (see here or here for more info). In an effort to make up the budget shortfalls, a new fundraising organization has been set up, the Hands to Hands Community Fund. If you live in the Wichita Falls area and would like support any of the following organizations, please follow that link.

  • The Arc of Wichita County
  • Camp Fire USA, North Texas Council
  • Child Advocates (CASA)
  • Children’s Aid Society (CAS)
  • Friendly Door Senior Center, Iowa Park
  • Girl Scouts USA of Texas Oklahoma Plains, Inc.
  • Boy Scouts of America, Northwest Texas Council

Friday, July 24, 2009

Back from Vacation

Sorry for no posts last week - I was on vacation (I didn't announce it beforehand because, well, even though this blog isn't very widely read, there's no sense in advertising that my house will be empty for a week). Anyway, we went to D.C. Yeah, I lived inside the beltway for a few years, so I've already seen most of the touristy stuff, but my wife had only ever been there once for an afternoon, and my daughter had never been there. So, we looked at all the monuments, went to the museums, and even got to see my family one day. I'll post photos when I get a chance to review them (my wife took over 1300 photos with her new digital camera). Anyway, back to regular posting.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is It Weird to Use 'Dear' in Formal Letters?

LetterI was looking up business letters to double check the formatting for a letter I was getting ready to send, when I was reminded of a thought I often have, that it seems really weird to use 'dear' at the start of a formal letter. I realize that 'dear' can mean valuable or precious (as in, 'you'll pay dearly'), but really, how often in spoken language do we refer to people as 'dear' unless it's, pardon the expression, a term of endearment? I would never dream of addressing another engineer as 'dear' when talking to them on the phone. In fact, I have a feeling they'd be a bit offended at the assumed familiarity. I know I'd be taken aback if someone other that a really, really close friend or relative called me 'dear.' So why does everyone do it at the start of letters?

Apparently, I'm not the first person to wonder this same thing.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Carter Wind Energy

Carter 300 Wind TurbineI just wanted to make a short post to advertise a new website, Carter Wind Energy. If the name sounds familiar to anybody who knows me, it should. The Carter family has been involved in wind turbines for quite a while, now. Jay Carter, Sr. has been making turbines for decades, and still has his company, Wind Eagle Turbines. Jay Carter, Jr. struck out on his own to make larger turbines with Carter Wind Systems in the 70s, which he later sold before starting Carter Aviation Technologies. Now, Matt Carter is trying to get into the business with Carter Wind Energy (he's targeting a different niche than Wind Eagle Turbines, so he's not competing with Jay Carter, Sr.) He's been working on the project for a while, now, but just recently asked me to create the website. (I've done a little analysis for him, as well, but haven't had the time to work on the project as much as I've wanted to.) Anyway, go take a look at the website. There are bound to be several small changes in the coming weeks as we tweak the layout. Constructive criticism is definitely welcome.


Selling Out