Author Archives: Kelly

Forgiveness & Acceptance

I was listening to Mike Shinoda’s album, Post Traumatic, an (excellent, powerful) album written in the time following his bandmate’s suicide, and one song really stuck out for me. “Over Again” deals with the idea that saying goodbye isn’t something you do just once, but again and again each time you are confronted with your loss. Definitely true. After contemplating this for a time, it seemed to me that forgiveness works the same way.

When it comes to something big–something that has caused a great deal of strife–I’m not sure “forgive and forget” is really possible. Some things you just don’t forget. Some things might take years to work through. When you make the decision to forgive someone for something they’ve done, it isn’t a one-time, immediate erasure of all that pain. It’s a difficult process that takes time and effort. You may reach a point at which you feel better about the past and take a few steps forward, and the next day you might be reading or cooking or showering and it’ll hit you again.

How could that person have done that? How can you ever get over it? You’re so angry and hurt! And at this point you have to decide to forgive them all over again. You have to remember why you chose forgiveness the first time and evaluate whether that’s still the best option. You have to keep in mind your role in the incident if any of the blame is yours. You have to go through the process until you are calm again and can treat them normally. It wouldn’t be fair to confront someone again and again with their mistake when you’ve already decided to work past it, after all.

People seem to think of forgiveness as the end goal, but I think of forgiveness as the entire process–the decision to move forward and all the hard work that entails. Acceptance is a better term for the end goal, and forgiving (or not) is the path along which you choose to get there. It determines whether whatever relationship can continue after acceptance–whether reconciliation can occur.

Whether or not you can forgive someone for the pain they’ve caused, acceptance of what has happened will stop the cycle of those feelings of anger or sadness returning again and again. Acceptance is when the memory of the hurt comes suddenly back to you and you don’t experience that surge of unpleasant emotion; instead, you acknowledge that it happened, terrible as it was, and move along. And whether it takes weeks or years to finally reach that point, the most important part of acceptance is growing from the experience to make sure, whether together with that person or not, that whatever awful thing never happens again.

By the way, I recommend listening to the Post Traumatic album from start to finish to really experience the whole journey from despair to hope.

Mechagodzilla Designs

Mechagodzilla has been one of my favorite kaiju since its first appearance in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. Its design has undergone several changes throughout the years, some better than others.

Showa era Mechagodzilla
The original Mechagodzilla was a remotely controlled robot designed by the aliens of Black Hole Planet 3 whose aim it was to take over Earth. Later, they controlled it through a link to the brain of a cybernetically enhanced human. Its introduction was unique in that it wore a Godzilla disguise and shocked fans during a brutal fight with Godzilla’s ally Anguirus. It shed its disguise when facing the true Godzilla to utilize an arsenal of weapons including lasers, feet jets for flight, an energy shield, and, my favorite, finger missiles. The design is dated but features classic elements and is instantly recognizable as a mechanical replica of Godzilla.

Heisei era Mechagodzilla/Super Mechagodzilla
The first major overhaul to Mechagodzilla’s design. This robot was built by humans as an anti-Godzilla weapon using salvaged future technology from Mecha King Ghidorah. It could link up with another future-tech machine called Garuda to form Super Mechagodzilla and combine their weapons. The design is very smoothed out compared to the Showa Mechagodzilla and is overall less appealing, though the changes in its form did reflect the changes in Godzilla’s design during the same time. I would rank it last among the three older Toho designs. However, the Power Rangers style combining of mechs into a super mech is always fun.

Millennium Mechagodzilla/Kiryu
Kiryu is a cyborg built using the skeleton of the original 1954 Godzilla as its support structure. It uses Godzilla’s DNA combined with advanced technology to give it the ability to act and react with Godzilla-like instincts. Unfortunately, when it hears the current Godzilla’s roar, the original Godzilla’s spirit is awakened within it, and it is able to resist the control of its creators. This design keeps some elements from Super Mechagodzilla’s look such as the over-the-shoulder cannons, but it returns to using slightly more angular shapes and looks more like Godzilla than ever. It takes the “mechanical Godzilla” concept to its epitome. It has a great balance of complexity for interest vs. simplicity for recognizability. Kiryu is easily my favorite design.

All of these versions had in common the base idea that Mechagodzilla’s appearance should be based on Godzilla’s, and they all succeed in that. There was another similar mecha, M.O.G.U.E.R.A, which was constructed from the remains of the destroyed Heisei Mechagodzilla, but it clearly did not resemble Godzilla and so wasn’t given the Mechagodzilla name. Even the Mechagodzilla seen in Ready Player One is instantly recognizable as such, pulling in all kinds of elements from the original Showa era look, especially in the neck/head design and the inclusion of the finger missiles. It’s an agile update to the character that doesn’t toss aside the signature elements of the source.

Ready Player One Mechagodzilla concept art by Jared Krichevsky.

GODZILLA anime Mechagodzilla
This, however. . . .   This machine was co-created by humans and aliens to be the ultimate anti-Godzilla weapon, and by just the aliens to eventually assimilate Earth through the spread of its nanometal technology. Like with the new anime Godzilla, I feel this role should have been played by an original kaiju. Its appearance and abilities are such a departure from the Mechagodzilla we know that it should simply have been given its own name like M.O.G.U.E.R.A.
On its own, without comparison to the previous Mechagodzillas, this design is overwrought and cluttered. Because of the high level of complexity, it’s difficult to identify its overall form (an issue also plaguing the transformers in their 2007 movie series). To improve this design, I would make sure details which are included to look cool and complex also appear utilitarian. This is a machine designed for a purpose, not for display. I would include larger plates of armor over portions of the frame. Not only would this help clean up the busy design, it would, like actual plate armor, aid in deflecting attacks rather than providing hundreds of little crevices/weak points.

As it is, this new Mechagodzilla is a disappointment that makes me wonder what could have been. I look forward to the next iteration of the character in hopes it will be an improvement.

Period Space Space

Writing is how I fill much of my time whether with stories or e-mails or the occasional blog essay. I try my best to keep in mind all the various rules for punctuation and format. However, I just typed two spaces after that period. Sigh. One space following a period has always been the proper way, but the monospaced typefaces used by typewriters required two for clarity. Thus, a portion of our population learned to type incorrectly. This included my keyboarding teacher in high school and whoever programmed the software she used for our class. Two spaces after a period was drilled into me. I can’t stop double-tapping that space bar even when I’m thinking about it.

I get irritated every time my phone edits out the extra space from my texts. This blog post will automatically leave out the extra space when I post it. The problem I have with only one space is that it actually makes text slightly harder for to read. I think I may have learned to recognize the spacing rather than the punctuation mark itself. I tend to give the same weight to a period that I would a comma because the spacing is the same. Sentences tend to run together, forcing me to slow down to avoid confusion. I wonder if there’s a measurable difference between people who learn to type with one space following periods and colons versus two (using proportional fonts). I definitely have an easier time editing my own writing when sentences are well separated. Oh, I’ll go ahead and conform to the proper one-space format when I polish up a finished piece, but I don’t have to like it.

Fortunately, the find & replace function in my word processor allows me to instantly replace every two-space with a single space. I never would have thought to use it for non-words until now. It also works for all that tabbing I was taught to do at the beginning of each paragraph (which is also wrong).

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters Review

I’ve had pretty good luck with Netflix originals. I’ve enjoyed most of those I’ve watched. I actually got my hopes up for the new Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters movie/trilogy of which 1/3 is available, and well, that was a mistake.

This is the first official Godzilla movie from Toho which is animated. The three-parter is done in the same CG anime style that I’m seeing a lot of on Netflix. It was strange to see at first in the Knights of Sidonia series (which pulled an Attack on Titan by starting off really intriguing before majorly derailing). I got used to the style while watching BLAME, a much better movie. So I didn’t mind the CG look at all while watching Godzilla. I think it actually made the smooth, gliding walk of the exifs (alien humanoids) stand out well. It’s also fantastic for depicting the complex mechs and machinery used in fast-paced combat, and the action in the movie looks great.

Unfortunately, the intro to the movie wasn’t paced well. There’s in medias res and then there’s garbled mess. We’re thrown into the middle of a stand-off between Character Man and Other People. There’s something at stake. It’s a big deal. It gets resolved. Some people blow up. Character Man is very distraught. From what I gathered during my viewing, the humans living in space wanted to get rid of the elderly to conserve resources, the grandson of one of the old men, Captain Haruo, thinks this is wrong and tries to stop it but fails. Then the story starts and we get some flashback explanation of what’s happening. Earth was razed by Godzilla. Two sketchy alien races showed up in ships claiming they could help, but they failed, and humans and aliens had to escape together on one ship to try to find somewhere else to live. However, the details are still vague and I didn’t feel like I got a chance to get to know any of the characters, much less their names, before the halfway point of the movie. Haruo and his exif priest friend concoct some plan to return for another try at defeating Godzilla.

Here’s the weird part: The humans have been wandering around looking for a habitable planet or hanging around a non-habitable planet. It’s unclear. But they say their plan was to find another planet, and they’ve been searching out there in space for 20 years with no success. Their backup plan was to live on the moon and salvage resources from Earth. So once this plan to have another go at Godzilla is presented, they decide to give it a try. They push a button, and instantly warp back to Earth. Just like that. Twenty years they’ve been struggling to survive out there, they had a safe backup plan, but they decided to terminate a huge portion of their population and keep starving out in space when they had the ability to immediately return to Earth. Why didn’t they use that warp ability to check out the known planets in habitable zones of their stars? They traveled 12 light years in a minute. Proxima Centauri b is only 4.2 light years away. We have a huge list of possibly habitable planets that this group could easily have reached in 20 long years. It’s stated that they’re currently at Tau Ceti e which is on that list, but it’s far from the best candidate. Apparently only the stupid humanoids managed to escape Godzilla’s initial destruction.


They get back to Earth and start their mission to locate and destroy Godzilla if he still exists. For Earth, it’s been 20,000 years since the ship left, and the entire planet is apparently covered in a fog enshrouding a metallic forest. Also, there are dragons now which supposedly evolved from Godzilla cells just like the metal trees. There is no real explanation given for this huge difference in the passage of time or this extremely quick evolution of life on the planet. Roll with it, I guess. Our scientist character waffles between speculating that the Godzilla we encounter is the original and reasoning that he’s a descendant. Not sure where he’s getting his information. The plan immediately goes wrong and it’s a big heroic struggle to take down Godzilla once and for all. I finally caught the name of the guy in charge, whom everyone was complaining about, just before he died. I’m still not clear on who the girl soldier is or what her connection to Captain Haruo is though they speak as if they know each other pretty well. I wished somebody had given me some background on these people so I could care about at least one of them. Haruo is the only one with even a slight backstory, but he’s very flat. He’s full of rage and wants to kill Godzilla. That’s all I’ve got.

I have no idea why this is a Godzilla film. In King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), the script was originally written for Frankenstein’s monster instead of King Kong. He would be enlarged by the supercharging power of electricity allowing him to hold his own against the king of the monsters. Somewhere along the way, it was decided that King Kong would be a better choice for role of the western monster. However, they replaced him without reworking the script. So, inexplicably, in this movie King Kong is powered up by electricity. Even though it was a fun bout, it’s clear that he’s the wrong monster for the story because this electricity stuff makes no sense. Similarly, I feel that another, perhaps original, monster would have better suited for Planet of the Monsters. They’ve removed the one vital, trademark trait of Godzilla; his radioactivity. There is no mention at all of radioactivity in this movie. On top of this, he’s given completely new characteristics and abilities apart from the Godzilla we know. He emits EMP, he creates an electromagnetic shield, his hide is metallic, and his fiery atomic breath is now more a laser beam than anything. Aside from his appearance, which is very much akin to Legendary’s Godzilla rather than Toho’s, there’s nothing here which makes me think Godzilla. It’s disappointing.

Their vague, confusing plan works and they defeat Godzilla. But wait! The mountain behind him shakes and the REAL Godzilla rises from beneath it towering a ridiculous 200m taller than any previous incarnation of the character. He blows everyone up except Haruo, and we wait to see part 2. I can only suspend disbelief so far. A 100m tall Godzilla slowly lumbering through Tokyo, okay. But this new mountain-sized behemoth . . . I can only picture him plastered to the surface of the Earth, unable to move due to his enormous mass. It might serve to make him more intimidating if it weren’t so silly. He doesn’t compare to Shin Godzilla when it comes to intimidation, anyway. Out of nowhere, the exif priest tells us he’s seen planets create monsters like Godzilla hundreds of times to quell the pride of the dominant species which is overpopulating the planet, and that no one has ever defeated their monster. First of all, why mention this only now? Second, this concept was done better in Blue Gender (1999).

All-in-all, this movie was just bad. Again, great visuals, but that doesn’t make up for the frustrating, boring experience. I don’t have hope for the next one to be better, but I’ll probably set my bar low and give it a watch just to see Mechagodzilla.

No Flowers, Please

I’ve never liked receiving flowers, not that it’s happened too many times. I get that “give pretty object to person I like” is just something lots of people are inclined to do, but why would anyone want to receive authentic plant pieces as a gift? Several years ago I happened upon one of those demotivational posters with the phrase “Nothing says ‘I love you’ like slowly dying reproductive organs” and I said, “Hey, perfect! If anyone ever doubts me when I tell them I don’t like getting flowers, I’ll quote this!”

I kept that phrase handy, but the situation didn’t really come up much. I ran into a nonbeliever or two who thought I was just trying to be difficult I guess, but generally there was no need to explain myself. Then I got married. As it turns out, people will usually believe a lady when she insists she doesn’t want a certain gift, but nobody believes a poor husband when he’s asked what he got his wife for Valentine’s Day and he doesn’t say flowers. “She doesn’t like flowers,” he tries to explain, but his coworkers or acquaintances or dialysis nurses scoff at him. “Every woman likes getting flowers,” they say. “If she says she doesn’t want any, she’s just trying to be polite and save money or something. You should surprise her with flowers anyway! She’ll love them!” Fortunately, my husband is not an idiot and takes me at my word. He’s had to quote me quoting that poster just to get people to stop giving him a hard time.

Flowers can be pretty, but I really like when they’re attached to whole plants. (The plants like that, too.) I don’t want a handful of them to slowly wither and rot on my table. Not to mention the smell is just never that good. The grocery store I frequent has recently moved the flower section to the front entrance, and I get smacked in the face with pungent, musty, sweetness right when I walk in. I have to dodge the displays and zoom through to the milk before my eyes start watering.

A load of chocolate truffles or peanut butter cups; now there’s a fine Valentine’s gift! Not those chalky, chewy assorted boxes of junk in the Valentine’s aisle, mind you. If you’re going to give someone candy, it should be a bag of their favorite kind. Anyway, moral of the story: People like different things. Also, if you’re the type to give perfectly thoughtful husbands flak for not buying this or doing that for their wives, knock it off.

FFXIV Furnishing Contest Win

I love entering these contests, and I’m always amazed at the artistic skill and creativity of the finalists and winners. I’m so excited to have had a submission chosen as a winner in the latest contest for furnishing designs! I’ve thought there should be a curtain object in-game for a long time, so I tried to create one that could be doubled up to frame a window or painting, but that could also serve as a wall decoration on its own. A player could even use the floating wall object glitch to create a curtained division in a room. Sangeet stage backdrops were my inspiration, so I tried to make my design as brightly colored and pretty as possible without being too busy or too difficult to model. It may not happen, but I hope someday I can see my design in Final Fantasy XIV.

I also submitted a trapezoidal bench which could be placed in a variety of arrangements due to the shape. And my third submission was a portrait of the character of Ser Aymeric. This was mostly to remind Square Enix that the player community is still waiting for such an item more than anything. He’s the only Eorzean Alliance leader without a portrait item, and I know I’m not alone in wanting his nation of Ishgard represented on my digital house’s wall. These submissions were all fun to draw up, and I got to practice with GIMP while making them. It’s not as intuitive as Photoshop, but it’s growing on me.

There are so many cool designs among the other contest winners. The aetheryte chandelier, the koi pond, and the kitchenettes are my favorites. I’m already planning on where to put each new object in my house!

These materials are property of SQUARE ENIX

Kidneys and Things 2

After about five years of waiting, my husband finally got the call! He was a backup choice for a donor kidney and the first couple people were unable to take it/turned it down, so off we went. His surgery went really well, and his new kidney got right to work as soon as it was hooked up. It was a long two weeks in hospital and hotel rooms, but we’re back home and his recovery is going nicely too. It’s so strange that he’s not having to get up at 4:30 in the morning for dialysis every other day anymore. I can imagine how it will be moving forward. No struggling to schedule with clinics if we want a week away from town. No cancelling plans due to his being totally drained and desperate for rest on dialysis days. No more waiting and wondering if life can ever get back to normal. It was like being caught in a dark, hazy pit together just waiting and waiting for someone to throw us a rope. For now we’ll have to deal with quite a drive every couple weeks, and of course he’ll need to avoid people for a while since he’s got practically no immune system, but already I can see an enormous jump in his energy level. I hope the smooth sailing continues.

After a waiting period they’ll let us send a thank-you letter to that anonymous family that so generously agreed to donate their loved-one’s organs. There’s no better choice to make in that difficult position. Instead of your loved-one dying and that’s it, you’re enabling them to go out saving the lives of other people just like my husband. Who wouldn’t want that? If you haven’t already, please consider registering as an organ donor, and talk to your family about what you’d want if that situation should ever come up. Save some people or don’t. It seems like a pretty clear choice to me.

Full-sized Applique Quilt

Early last year my closest friend told me she was getting married. I knew I had to come up with a really great gift. I combined two things she really likes; art and warmth, and decided on a quilt. She’s Anne McCaffrey’s biggest fan, so I knew it would have to have a dragonrider in there somewhere. I reread Dragonflight to get a scene in my head and then came up with a design:

I had a slight problem though. I had no idea how to use my little sewing machine much less make a quilt with it. I have a bad habit of choosing the most difficult thing I can come up with when trying something new. I took my design to my esteemed mother-in-law to ask if it was possible, and she suggested using applique might be best. To the internet I went! I read tutorials and watched videos to learn of this mysterious applique technique. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any examples of projects larger than a place mat, so I knew I would have to adapt as I worked.

I began by printing out my design in full size, taping together several 8 X 11 sheets of paper (R.I.P. my ink cartridge). I think it might have been worth it to use a projector and trace or even pay a copy/print service to do it, but let’s not dwell. I kept a stack of notes handy along with my original design to help me select the ~80 colors of fabric I used. I only needed small pieces of most, so scraps came in very handy. My design was fairly busy, so I used only solids or very subtle textures.

This was the hard part. I went through and numbered each of my notes, lowest layer to top layer to keep track of which shapes would need to be laid down first, and which would be saved for last. I used a very thin, plain white sheet as my base. Then, I cut off a piece of my paper-backed fusible webbing large enough to cover my first piece–the yellow background sky–leaving an inch or so outside the lines for extra wiggle room. I traced the approximate shape I needed onto the glue side of the paper. Next, I cut out a piece of the yellow sky fabric large enough to fit the webbing, and ironed them together glue-side to wrong-side of the fabric. After it cooled, I cut out the shape using the lines I had drawn on the transparent webbing.

After ironing the backing onto several shapes and cutting them out, I laid them in place with the paper still on to make sure I didn’t have any gaps through which the white sheet could show. Once I had all my pieces cut out, it was time to glue them down.

I laid my white sheet over my printed template and marked the corners with a pen so that I could take it up and put it back in the same place every time. I marked the positioning for my first layer (the yellow sky) and then put it up on the ironing board. I removed the paper backing from my piece, situated it according to my marks, and steam-ironed it into place. I closely followed the directions on my fusible webbing for what settings to use on my iron.

Layer by layer I glued down clouds and grass until I had it looking like the original design, pausing here and there to make sure it all still lined up.

I really wanted the dragon and rider to look right, and this was the most intricate couple of pieces in my design, so I saved it for last. I traced the shapes with a marker to make them show through the back and traced from there onto the paper side of the webbing. That way it was easy to carefully follow my lines and fit the pieces together.

Trace each piece onto the webbing and iron onto the wrong-side of the fabric.

Cut out each shape, peel off the webbing, fit into position, and iron down.

With everything cut out and ironed on, I was ready for the next big step. I chose to use solid, dark blue for borders and backing to hold my busy design together. I squared up the edges, sewed on the border, and put together the top, batting, and backing. I decided to sew them together in one go instead of doing the top by itself because I didn’t want to go back over and clutter the design with a single color of thread if putting the backing on later. Plus, just sewing the edges of each shape was plenty to secure the whole thing well.

My mother-in-law gave me a rundown on how sewing machines work, and I pored over the instruction manual to mine before beginning. I collected thread of each color I would need to match or nearly match each color of fabric, I threaded my bobbin with dark blue for the back, and I zig-zag stitched the life out of that quilt.

Difficulties! My machine was quite small, so I really had to roll and bunch up my quilt to fit it in there and turn it this way and that. I’m lucky I had a nice big dining table on which to work. The number of layers of fabric my needle was punching through varied from three up to eight or so, so I had to adjust the tension quite a bit to make sure my bright top thread wasn’t showing through the backing and vice versa. The glue between layers also added some stiffness, so I bent three needles and snapped another clean in half along my way. Nevertheless, after some problem-solving and perseverance, I successfully finished all the major sewing.

All that was left was to trim it up and add the binding. It was strange switching to a straight stitch after months of zig-zagging, but finally it was complete. The thicker layers of applique and lots of ironing made the quilt a little stiff here and there, but I picked a nice soft fabric for the backing to counter that issue, and it seems to become more flexible the more it’s folded and bunched. It would make a nice weighty bed quilt or look great hanging up on a wall.

I’m pretty proud of my first quilt. It was fun and challenging, and I’m probably never doing all that again. Whew! Maybe this will be useful if someone out there needs help figuring out a large applique project. Oh, and my wedding gift was very well-received!

Versions of Holmes

It’s difficult to remember my first introduction to the character of Sherlock Holmes. I recall Daffy Duck sporting a deerstalker hat, solving a mystery with Porky Pig as “Watkins.” Cartoon characters in various shows would, when confronted by a mystery, occasionally blow bubbles from a pipe and remark that their deductions were “elementary.”
In 1988 Data played the role of Holmes for some holodeck high jinks in Star Trek: TNG‘s “Elementary, Dear Data.” Wishbone solved the mystery of The Hound of the Baskervilles in “The Slobbery Hound” in 1995. I had a sense of who the great detective was before ever reading the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In recent years there have been hugely popular adaptions of the character played by Robert Downey jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch, but I find that I must enjoy them as totally separate characters from the original Holmes. While the detectives in Sherlock Holmes (2009) and the BBC’s series Sherlock are interesting and compelling, they both have a failing that the canon Holmes didn’t. They can’t seem to interact normally with people. Yes, Holmes is eccentric and can sometimes offend people with Spock-like dismissal of emotions as hindrances, but he’s also very clever and observant. He’s a master of disguise who can anticipate the reactions of others. He has no trouble with acting politely and properly in public. Whether or not he has any respect for someone, he could surely make them think so.
When I see the more recent versions of the character, I’m missing the dignified air I pick up from canon Holmes. I miss the awareness he should have of the social setting around him. I miss the version of Holmes that can be smug and superior but also charming at the same time.

This is why I am thrilled when I discover new Sherlock Holmes adaptions that deliver the same feel as an authentic Doyle mystery.

Mr. Holmes, starring Sir Ian McKellen as an aged version of the detective, is a fascinating take on the character. It’s based on A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin and follows Holmes struggling against a failing memory whilst trying to recall his very last case. The pivotal case itself, though short and simple, could have been one among Doyle’s own short stories, and the character felt like the real deal. I especially appreciated the very believable growth of the character along with its conclusion.

In Sherlock Holmes video games, of which there are many, there is one I’ve found that not only feels authentic but is also an excellent game overall: Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments by the developer Frogwares. The player assumes the role of Holmes and is tasked with solving six cases by piecing together the evidence using the player’s own logic. With multiple possible conclusions in each case, and the complete trust of Scotland Yard, it’s possible for the player to pin the crime on either the true criminal or an innocent person. The player can also choose to condemn or absolve the culprits, moral choices that affect the rest of the game. This encourages the player to carefully examine every detail before him/her, much as the real Holmes would. Frogwares has put out several similar Sherlock Holmes games, but none that capture the essence of Doyle’s work quite as well.

Whether or not you enjoy the edgier more bumbling Sherlocks of recent series, if you crave a more classic take, I highly recommend both Mr. Holmes and Crimes & Punishments.

Pumpkin Carving 4

Pumpkin Time! This year’s Gloria/Kelly pumpkin is all finished. It took us a while to come up with the subject matter this time, but we settled on a couple of weedy seadragons. Those still count for our usual dragon theme, right?

This time we tried doing the whole thing in outlines. It works if the pumpkin is thick enough to let loose cut-out parts sit in place. There were no serious injuries, and I think we got it all done in record time. Unfortunately, Gloria quickly diagnosed this pumpkin with some kind of fungal infection. Its condition deteriorated quickly. There was nothing we could do. It has already been given a proper send-off. We celebrated its short life in the only way we knew how: chocolate and Mario Kart.