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   Amazing weather for November and rather than skate tonight (which I had initially planned) I went on a 26 mile ride.  The temperature was 70 °F (21 °C) and curiously not much wind.  I biked out to Indian Lake County Park.  Most of the fall color was gone but it was a lovely ride nonetheless.  I found a couple of women using the weather to paint and asked if I could take this picture. 
   On today's trip I completed my 3,000th mile for the year.  This is double what I did last year, and I imagine I will have a few rides left.  Seems I ride about 16 days a month with a summer average of around 25-29 miles each riding day.  In October I again broke 400 miles, which means that except for August, when I was on vacation half the month, I biked 400+ miles 5 of the last 6 months.  I am by no means I hardcore biker—there are people who can bike over 1,000 miles in a month—but I'm pretty happy about these numbers.
   On my ride home today I noticed the Babcock Hall Dairy Store was open.  The dairy is well known on campus for having the best ice cream anywhere.  But it seems natural that when you have cows on site, PhD students in a world class educational facility, and located in the dairy state, you are going to get good ice cream.  I have enjoyed their ice cream several times in the past.  I had heard rumors of a pumpkin pie flavor and today I decided I needed to find out if they were true.  Much to my delight, I found they were.  I have never had ice cream that good.
Come to the Lab!

Come to the Lab!

   We ran a Mad Scientist's Laboratory in the garage of Elmwood Park and had several visitors.  All seemed to enjoy it and were quite impressed.  I thought our setup was rather scant and I know we can do better.  Everyone's favorite item was the Jacob's Ladder—my 15,000 volt spark gap made from a neon sign transformer and copper pipe.  Nothing says Mad Scientist like a Jacob's Ladder and the sound alone sets the tone.  I don't like to run it continuously because of the head generated and in the future would like to connect it to a motion sensor.
   The lab was made by covering the garage with our painted canvas.  We have several canvases that are either painted to dyed black, and then painted with florescent paint.  These are group creations made at events like our Black Light and Bass gathering where we setup the living room as a black light lite painting area, so we have several.  I made a tunnel out of the canvas on one side of the garage from the canvas and used two black light fixtures with illuminate the area.  Then I used Xipho's lighting truss to form a drop-down fixture that hung over the monster.  Jumper cables and other random wires ran from the truss to the monster.  The truss also held a couple lighting interments so illuminate the monster.
   Our plan was to have a lab where our scientist was building a monster, so we wanted additional body parts laying around.  We setup a miter saw with a severed arm in it, but we didn't have a collections of "spare body parts."  We also had several large bottles full of liquid sitting on a table in the back that was suppose to look like chemistry experiments.  Having run out of time, this didn't come across so well.  I've done this in the past to good effect by filling jars with water, adding a bit of food coloring, and a touch of laundary detergent.  Laundry detergent contains phosphors which glow under a black light.  At some point we ran out of food coloring so I had to skip that.  The setup could have used more plastic tubing, and bubbling.
   Austin had found a baby crib on and we turned it upside down into into a cage for our experiment.  Inside was a baby with gloving eyes and a fork with blood all over the floor around it.  But that was about it for the setup.  I had considered doing something with the basement stairwell, but didn't have time to implement anything.  I also didn't do anything with lasers which probably would have gone over well. 
   One item we need to address for next time is advertisement.  Our street gets a lot of trick-or-treat traffic, but the garage is not on the main street.  So most people didn't know we had a setup in the garage.  We need a sign or something to get people to come have a look.
   But the kids who visited loved the setup.  It wasn't overly scary or gory and something I think set a good mood to enjoy the holiday.  So hopefully this will become a tradition and improve each year.
   Our monster on the slab prepares to rise.  We just need 1.21 jigawatts.
   I learned a fair bit about making a dummy from this exercise.  The pants were stuffed with news paper, but for the top I used leaves.  Leaves were a lot easier.  For hands I found a set of work gloves that were really cheap.  I tried an experiment where I inflated a latex glove inside the fabric glove, and that worked alright.  Leaves probably would have worked too, but this way I didn't have to clean out leaves from the gloves and that can be used for other things.  We were not sure what to do about the head so right now it is a ball with a mask.
   Our Halloween gathering this evening.  I started decorating at noon and didn't stop until around 8:00pm, but the house looked great.  We setup a mad scientist's lab in the Garage, put up patio string lights in the back yard around the fire pit, painted the house with powerful LED flood lights, and had music piped into all rooms of the house.  People got a late start (typical for our gatherings) but with the perfect weather it was a great night that didn't start to shutdown until around 4:00 am.
   Pictured is my pumpkin (left) based on a dragon pattern and Xen's pumpkin (right).
Pumpkins in Costume

Pumpkins in Costume

   Our pumpkins have dressed up for Halloween.  Last night it was decorating night.  I carved my pumpkin and decorated several more.  The results were a lot of fun.
   I had a training session in Milwaukee today and after getting back to work I decided I complete the 1 3/4 hours I had left for the week so I could take tomorrow off.  We have a pretty good gathering planned for tomorrow and I need setup time.