October 31, 2015
Halloween 2015

Cruft Manor has once again returned to our Halloween traditions. Every year, we give out full size candies, made a listing of all costumes, and made a timelapse movie.

~250 Full Size Candies, ready for the trick or treaters! This year I had sugar-free, gluten-free, and vegan options just in case.

Our happy Halloween pumpkins.

The night view of the decorated Cruft Manor.

Michele scaring children in her No-Face costume from Spirited Away.

I let the kids choose their favorite candy themselves. This can sometimes lead to a prolonged choosing process and discussion. It's awesome to hear them debate the pro and cons of various candies.

As has become tradition, I made a timelapse movie of handing out candy to the kids. This year, I started when the first trick or treaters appeared around 6:25 PM. Michele was here, as was our friends Kate & Syd to help. Piper & Lulu the dogs were supervising.

Children arrived in clumps, as usual. We had a great dinner of steak, salad, and corn to help prevent eating only candy. Syd made me a few delicious Manhattans to drink. We watched John Wick and the beginning of Inside Out.

When people come to the door, I ask every person what they were dressed as and wrote down their answers. I am careful to ask what they are, accepting their answers rather than interpreting what I see.

This Halloween makes it 11 years of data to compare, going back though 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Here are the top ten costumes for the last eleven years compared.

Surprisingly, perennial costumes like Cat & Witch were fairly low on the list compared to previous years. The Purge masks arrived in full force, surrounded by other common costumes.

Our total number of visitors was up a little, but not into the 200s as in previous years. Many kids in our neighborhood are growing up and out at parties and college now.

This year's complete costume list of 185 people:

6 Ninja
6 Skeleton
6 The Purge
5 Batman
5 Spiderman
4 Jason Voorhees
4 Minnie Mouse
3 Elsa
3 Princess
3 Scream
3 Superman
3 Witch
2 Angel
2 Bee
2 Belle
2 Chuckie
2 Clown
2 Construction Worker
2 Day of the Dead
2 Devil
2 Grapes
2 Grim Reaper
2 Indian
2 Iron Man
2 Kitten
2 Little Red Riding Hood
2 Pirate
2 Storm Trooper
2 Supergirl
2 The Joker
2 Vampire
2 Walker (Walking Dead)
2 Zombie
1 A Bush
1 Akatsuki from Naruto
1 Angry Bird
1 Anonymous
1 Ariel
1 Army Guy
1 Assassin
1 Bat Fairy
1 Baymax
1 Beta Pig
1 Blue Man
1 Blue Man Superhero
1 Boba Fett
1 Boogieman
1 Bunny
1 Buzz Lightyear
1 Cat
1 Cat in the Hat
1 Cavegirl
1 Charlie Brown in Costume
1 Cheetah
1 Cher from Clueless
1 Cheshire Cat
1 Chewbacca
1 Cinderella
1 Color Runner
1 Cop
1 Cowgirl
1 Creeper from Minecraft
1 Dead Basketball Player
1 Dead Clown
1 Dead Schoolgirl
1 Deadpool
1 Demon
1 Destructive Monster
1 Dinosaur
1 Doll
1 Elementary School Teacher
1 Emoji
1 Flash
1 Frankenstein
1 Friar
1 Gypsy
1 Half Reptile Half Woman
1 Harley Quinn
1 Harry Potter
1 Hippie
1 Hulk
1 Indiana Jones
1 Inmate
1 Invisible Man
1 Killjoy
1 Kung Fu Panda
1 La Muerta
1 Ladybug
1 Little Flower
1 Manga Character
1 Mardi Gras
1 Mary Lennox from the Secret Garden
1 Masquerade
1 Maybelle from Gravity Falls
1 Messi (football)
1 Minion
1 Napolean Dynamite
1 Nerd
1 Neymar (football)
1 Ninja Turtle
1 Ninja Turtle - Leonardo
1 Ninja Turtle - Michelangelo
1 Penguin
1 Phantom
1 Pin-up Girl
1 Police
1 Rapunzel
1 Ren
1 Ruby from Steven Universe
1 Sally (Nightmare Before Christmas)
1 Scorpion
1 Sinister Jester
1 Skeleton with red mowhawk
1 Soul Taker
1 Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
1 Supervillian
1 Timmy Turner
1 Tony Esposito (Blackhawks)
1 Unicorn with wings
1 Waldo
1 Wanda from Fairly Odd Parents
1 Wild Kratz
1 Wizard
1 Zombie Adam Sandler

185 Costumed Visitors

Posted by michael at 10:04 PM
October 07, 2015
Firearms are no longer a hobby of mine

Today I went to my local police station and asked for them to take my guns and have them destroyed.

The task was fairly simple. I explained I had guns I wanted to get rid of at the front desk. They made a copy of my driver's license and then walked out to my car with me to retrieve them. We went into the station to an interview room where we looked at the guns and they wrote down the serial numbers. They looked up the serial numbers to check for any issues, found none, and I left, no longer a gun owner.

Over ten years ago, I saw an ad in the paper for a WW II rifle on sale for under a hundred bucks and decided to buy one. As an engineer, almost everything about firearms is interesting; the history, the design, the operation, and the effects. I took it to ranges and shot it several times. I let friends shoot it. A few years later, I got the idea that I needed a shotgun to go hunting and shoot clays with. I took it to ranges and shot it alongside the rifle a few times. I even took photos of myself with them as gags on social media.

Most of the time, they sat in my attic, locks in place, with the ammo in another place. For a time, I pondered getting a handgun and browsed the internet.

Last week, I sat in a hotel room and watched the President talk about the latest mass shooting and how they had become routine and the concern that nothing would change. I started to shrug it off and pretend in my mind that there was nothing I could do. But the idea that gun culture doesn't bear some responsibility for these killings didn't make sense to me. I didn't want to be a part of gun culture anymore.

I was never going to use these guns for self-defense, they were safely locked and out of reach. I don't hunt. I don't shoot clays. There are no dangerous animals where I live. There are no zombies. I'm not a police officer or soldier. I am not part of a well regulated militia. There's no reason for me to have them.

So I got rid of them. Firearms are no longer a hobby of mine.

Posted by michael at 08:03 PM