Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sorry about the toilet, Beejay

Maybe your homeowners insurance will cover it? Anyway, thanks for the blast and putting on the feed for us.  It was good to see familiar faces, especially you and Biggie D all the way up from Florida.  See all y'all at one gathering or another.

The Art of the Scare

It's Halloween season, time for a good scare. Last night, I went to Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens in Tampa. I was interested in seeing it since I worked at one of the first Howl-O-Screams in 2000 (I was Dr. Livingsdoom, "an event icon" according to Wikipedia).

Things have changed a great deal. There are many more haunted houses, more live shows and more roving monsters. The haunted houses looked great. The budget they have now looks a lot bigger. The density of people inside the actors inside the houses is pretty high. They probably had more in one house than we did in all houses combined when I worked there.

But more is not always better. With the constant scares, you could almost always see what was coming if you looked ahead. Many of the actors would scare too often. I could see them scare someone, then go back into their hiding place before I got there. Now way they could get a scare if you knew where they were. You need patience for the good scare! This was also a problem outside at times. A couple of paths had lots of people camouflaged in the bushes. Once the first person did a scare, you could see all the others. They would try a scare every few seconds, way too often.

Now there were a few truly excellent actors there. One of the houses was called "Nevermore" based on Edgar Allan Poe. They had an actor playing Poe in a tower at the beginning. He didn't get scares, but he did a great job of setting the tone for the house with his monologue. Another really outstanding actor was the greeter at the Vampire Casino. This vampire was greeting patrons with a series of wonderfully bad, ghoulish vampire jokes. One of the great effects in Nevermore is a fancy ball scene. The actors moved only when the strobe lights were off so the scene would change every time the lights came on. Wonderfully creepy.

Another problem with the houses is they were too loud. That limited the interaction you could have with the actors. I loved that part when I worked there. It's not just the scare, but what you can do after the scare.

Dr. Livingdoom's (my characters) lab was in the old koala bear house. The guests entered on a moving sidewalk and my creatures I created were in the old cages. My lab was on a platform above the sidewalk. I could hide and jump out (I had a wireless mic). They only let groups of about 30 through at one time separated by about a minute. Now the clever part. They setup a light pointing at the wall by the entrance. I could see people's silhouettes as they entered and that's how I knew when to go for the scare. You can learn a lot about people by looking at their shadows. You can usually tell men from women, adults from teens and kids. You can watch body language and tell how they are likely to react to a scare by the way they carry themselves. That's how I choose my targets. I didn't just go for the first person because I knew I got one good scare per group because after that, everyone knew where I was. Tailoring the scare to your target is key to the really good scare (and was hard for many actors to do they way some of the houses were designed).

I didn't just say "boo" or yell. I had a wide variety of bad one line jokes, appropriate for a mad genetic scientist ("Show me your genes") to get the scare. Once I got the scare, then I had ~30 people standing there. That should be showtime. I had a lot of set pieces (I had songs I riffed on like "You wont' survive", "(You won't be) Stayin' Alive" and a very warped version of Dem Bones). I could riff with people in the crowd, shake hands if they wanted (and let them know about my contagious skin diseases afterwards) or warn them that the Infinimaze was coming up (Guess how long it is? Well, we don't call it the Really Short-Amaze, let's just put it that way!) That's the type of interaction I really wanted to see more of. The host at the Vampire Casino was the only one that really nailed that (although the busty bartender at the casino did pretty good as well!) That's why I wanted a little less noise in the houses, a little more interaction.

Okay, I have to tell you about my best scare (and what may still hold the all time record for knocking the most people off their feet at once). I saw the shadows come in. They were all girls, about the same age and I could hear a lot of chatter which indicated they all knew each other, possibly a youth group of some type (yes, you learn how to tell those things when you pay attention). I waited until a most of them were on the moving sidewalk. I jumped out for my scare. I was right, there were a bunch of girls all wearing matching yellow t-shirts, obviously part of a group visit. The first two girls in the line got so scared, they fell down and the entire rest of the group went down like a row of dominoes! I mentioned you had to do follow up. I said (in character of course) "Wow! I have never seen that happen in real life before. You must be the 30 stooges!" Fortunately, no one was hurt and they all got up and were laughing hysterically as they went on their way.

So what do you find scary?

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Contractor arrested for confrontation with Waukesha mayor"

From JSOnline:

"By Jesse Garza of the Journal Sentinel
Oct. 21, 2011

"A 61-year-old Waterford man was arrested at Waukesha City Hall Friday afternoon after he barged into Mayor Jeff Scrima's office and demanded to speak with the mayor about a permit dispute, police said.

"The man, identified as a contractor who owns a building company, first went to the city's building inspector's office because he was upset about a permit application that was denied in June, Waukesha police Sgt. Jerry Habanek said.

"According to Habanek, the man started yelling before storming over to Scrima's office, where he demanded to speak with the mayor. After being told he would need an appointment the man saw Scrima in his office, barged in, threw a folder on the mayor's desk and started screaming.

"Scrima called police, who arrested the man without incident, Habanek said.

"'He was not your normal, "I-got-a-problem-can-you-help-me?" kind of guy,' Habanek said.

"'He scared a lot of people at City Hall.'

"The man was in custody Friday evening facing a possible state charge of disorderly conduct, Habanek said."

In the words of the inimitable Mme. Zoltar, "Oh my."

Fall Gathering

Reminder....Fall gathering at my place Saturday. Food, drink, fun.

KK has directions... Two p.m. on....Biggie D and I would love to see you all.

Another Good Cause

Duff Ramos is SER's son-in-law's sisters husband. Duff spent many months in the hospital and it has been a slow recovery.

So if you are out and about Saturday it would be nice if you could stop and donate $10.00.

Dickie's is just down the street (east) of Cham Tap where the Police K9 thingie is going on.


Four for Fridays

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Four for Fridays after a long,long week. It's been cold and damp all week-looking forward to the warmth of the weekend and a special occasion. Anyways here are some random questions....

1) What are your favorite kind of chips?

2) What board games do you know how to play?

3) Are you prepared for winter yet?

4) What is your favorite time of the day?

Enjoy your weekend!

"Racine Police Department Fundraiser-October 22nd!"

Bump - - - This takes place tomorrow. It's a great cause.

Originally posted Thursday, October 13, 2011, at 7:21 PM:

From Racine Uncovered:

"It’s official! The first family orientated Racine Police Department K9 unit fundraiser is being held October 22nd. It’s being held at Champ Tap (inside and outside) 2511 Durand Ave. Racine. The event is running from noon till ???. There will be food, music, 50/50 raffles, baskets for raffle, baked items for sale. Tap beer all you can drink $10. Hot dog plates, hamburger plates, nachos and more. Face painting for the kids. Racine Police K9 unit will be out during the afternoon for all the kids, along with additional presentations from German Shepherd clubs! More surprises to come! Bring your friends and family out to this event!If you would like to donate items for raffle baskets or baked items. Please email me at the site. Admission is free and all proceeds from everything are being donated directly to the Racine Police Department K9 Fund. Lets show the police department that residents stand behind them!

"(A very big thank you to Carri from the Cham Tap. Deputy Chief Smetana, RPD K9 unit, Officer Dave A., Cathy C with the RPD, Jody Wagner and Desiree Davis….we will git-r-done!):

That's the same day as the next JTI gathering. No worries - you can stop by the fundraiser on the way to Beejay's house or on the way back.

Open Blog - Friday & Weekend

Have a great Friday, and a better Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Mother of All Hot Wheels Tracks - Part 1"

From YouTube:

"Watch it in 720p/HD and in full screen mode. This is a 3 minute long video of a 2,000 feet long powered Hot Wheels track that goes up and down the stairs, through 14 rooms of a house, around the outside of the house, and a jump over a hot tub. Email us at . Be sure to subscribe to my channel so that you will be notified when we complete the next video.

"Please share this video with others to help us raise money for this charity. If it makes you smile or laugh, you have to make at least a $1 donation :-) "

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Riders on the Storm

Today's weather was just nasty out there! 46 degrees-windy, rainy, cold-just plain miserable...Kind of day just to stay at home curled up in a blanket and watch a good movie, except the fact I was out to the library to pick up more CD's. While there, I noticed monstrous waves crashing onto the rocks on the lakefront. A perfect photo opportunity.

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my heavenly hydrangeas! How are you? Our weather has turned appropriate for the season. That’s too bad. Fall is leaves falling, the temperature falling, the sun falling, we all fall down. Oh my. I am still getting some tomatoes. Mid-October and I am enjoying August’s fruit. I am keeping an eye out for the first frost so I’ll pick the remaining green ones, but there are less and less.

Sadly, our beloved Brewers fell in the sixth game of the National League Championship Series to the St. Louis Cardinals. Bravo, Brewers, bravo! You have nothing to be ashamed of. You gave us a great season. Thank you very much.

Our majestic Green Bay Packers crushed the St. Louis Rams last Sunday, thereby maintaining their undefeated status. Hail, hail, mighty Packers! This Sunday, October 23, the Minnesota Vikings will feel the wrath of our warriors at 3:15 PM in the Metrodome. Have no mercy, Green Bay.

Well, my dears, I am in a quandary as how to proceed with my blog this week. I read about Mayor Dickert’s budget address yesterday, and I got so upset that I decided to launch a screed here. But today I feel differently. What’s the point? Jackals and hyenas run Racine, and they have no shame, no souls. It is only sorrow, sorrow, and sorrow if I contemplate that, so I will not. Fie on the beasts!

I did notice an image on the internet while perusing some sites earlier this week. It made me think of Mr. OrbsCorbs, and I hope that he understands that I post it with only the kindest intentions:

Sometimes the best solutions to our problems are the simplest: feed the monkey on your back. Or is it, get rid of the monkey on your back? Or maybe it’s, listen to the monkey on your back? Oh my.

I wanted to embed a music video here of Van Morrison’s “Autumn Song.” Unfortunately, they are not allowing it. I recommend checking it out:

Just think, only 3 more days until the next JTI gathering. It sends shivers up and down my spine. I can’t wait to see you all again. Thank you so much for stopping by today to visit my blog. My readers are my family. I love you all.

Say hi to the rest of the family:

I don’t know why, but I keep hearing the music from Jaws leading up to the bash at Beejay’s. Does that mean I should feed the shark? Ignore the shark? Jump the shark? Oh dear. Have a wonderful week everyone. See you Saturday. Galactophagist!

Open Blog - Wednesday & Thursday

Have a Wascally Wabbit Wednesday, and a Tooter Turtle Thursday.

Monday, October 17, 2011

"Racine native to sign book"

From The Journal

"RACINE - A Racine native with a $650,000 book deal will visit with local readers at the library Tuesday night.

"Chad Harbach, author of 'The Art of Fielding,' will hold a book signing at 6:30 p.m. at the Racine Public Library, 75 Seventh St.

"Harbach, a Racine native, graduated from St. Catherine's High School in 1993 and from Harvard University in 1997.

"Sports Illustrated, which ran an excerpt of the book in the Aug. 29 issue, said it was 'written with wit and grace and the true fan's eye and ear for the subtleties of the game ... the book will knock out baseball and literature fans alike.'"

Congratulations to Chad Harbach on his success. The book is his first and took him ten years to write, while juggling other jobs. That's an amazing amount of dedication and discipline.

For Lizard Mom...

I don't know. I think it's kind of a bright idea to wait until AFTER they reproduce to ensure future food supply.

Open Blog - Monday & Tuesday

And a terrific Tuesday!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Invites Are Out There

The details have been sent for the upcoming Fall party.  Please check your email.   (the one you provided to the JTI when signing up)   Let me know if you haven't received the email and you intend to party with us.

If you  haven't yet indicated your RSVP, please do so in the comments here. We hope to see all bloggers at this get together!