Criminal Minds – Season 2

Criminal Minds – Season 2

Amidst the horror movies I was also watching the second season of Criminal Minds. It’s been many months since Season One hit the shelves so I’m glad this one is finally out. I had only caught the show in hit or miss fashion during Season One and enjoyed getting a lot more of the character development by watching the whole series. Season Two continues the fine trend of acting and great stories. There is a lot more revealed about the characters through the episodes from Reed’s family life with his ill mother and Morgan with his childhood abuses. We also begin to see the strain of Hotch and his family. His constant absence and how his wife and son are becoming distant to him play key roles to his character.

The stories are still excellent and compelling with plenty of modern threats woven in. Many times we hear of Bundy, Dahmer, Manson and others who let us know the elements in the show are based on the strange happenings of reality.

A couple episodes are a little hit and miss, but overall it’s an excellent season with a variety of stories and challenges for the team. Bombers, arsonists, kidnappers, religious fanatics and “Frank”, Gideon’s new arch nemesis keep the team busy trying to save humanity from itself.

We also see the departure of Elle as her shooting from Season One gets the better of her and she is too hate driven and vengeful to do her job effectively. Elle is replaced with Emily who doesn’t actually have the job when she first shows up. When she shows up with folders in hand ready to get to work she is greeted coldly by Hotch who doesn’t understand why she’s here. But luckily she has something to add to the current investigation and she begins to make inroads into the team.

There is a lot to like about this show and for anyone who remembers “Millennium” the episodes can be just as dark and foreboding as they investigate the truly dark side of man and woman. Excellent chemistry and no end of dangerous and terrifying suspects keep this show moving. It’s well done on so many levels and has become one of my favorite shows.

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So here is the tally

So here is the tally

After all is said and done here’s what it takes to have a flaming good time at Halloween.

1 gallon of lamp oil – $6.99 a gal
2 gallons of kerosene – $2.99 a gal
13 rolls of toilet paper – $8.99 for 12
13 festive pumpkins 3 for $10 at local market = ~$35
1 video camera to take footage
1 digital still camera to record the massive flames
6 or so giddy teenagers to marvel at your work and to say you’re cool :)

You were expecting the MasterCard slogan at the end of that list weren’t you? It’t not exactly cheap, but you have to pay to indulge in this kind of excitement!

So there you have it, 13 pumpkins met their demise at my hands. The last batch did have templates from which were pretty easy to work with. I didn’t roast the seeds since I’m not that big of a fan. Although maybe next year I will have to roast them over the open fire of the pumpkin itself, that would be cool! :)

I have already begun my plans of what to do for next year. I believe I will build a stage for my demonic cast or at least something a little better than having them sit on the dirt in a line.

A big thanks once again to Tom Nardone over at for his fun and spirited ideas.
And to for their cool templates.

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The big Halloween finale!

You knew it was coming. You knew I was going to do something spectacular and ridiculous this Halloween and here it is!

6 little pumpkins all in a row
All filled with kerosene ready to go
Strike the match and run like hell
These little babies give off a good napalm smell

I had the kids help me carve up 6 pumpkins. We lined them up in the yard and let them rip. I have to say, it’s a pretty impressive sight!

For the big finale we had Hannibal Lecter, Edward Scissorhands, Scream, and two ghosts from A Nightmare Before Christmas.

Quite frankly these pumpkins looked amazing all lit up together. The flames easily hit 3 feet and with that much light the carvings looked great!

I’m so disappointed I won’t get to do anymore this year. I was really just starting to hit my stride. Oh well, I already have some new plans for next year so you just wait and see!

See the full gallery here:

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How to photograph pumpkins

Wahoo! Tonight is the night! I get to really tear one up tonight with several flaming pumpkins, lots of candy, creepy music and some scary movies. I’m all excited.

But, the big question is, how do you take pictures of pumpkins that look good, but don’t have a 3 foot flame shooting out of them? There are several things to do depending on what equipment you want to take with you.

Unless you have a stabilizing lens, the sure fire method is the tripod. Shutter speeds of 1/5 sec give great results if you want the pumpkin to really glow or if there isn’t much light inside it. In most cases the longer exposure the better. Most of my pumpkins are taken at 1/5 sec – 2 sec exposures with a setting of ISO 100. It’s best to use a remote trigger/shutter release to make sure you don’t bump the camera.

If you don’t want to wander around with a tripod, set the camera to ISO 400 or so and you should be able to get 1/80 sec or higher shutter speeds. This should allow you to capture the pumpkin with plenty of detail and no blur. They’re stationary so you just need to worry about your own hand shake.

You can also turn on the porch light, shine a flashlight near the pumpkin or get low and focus right on the light source. Using a flash will take out of a lot of the warm orange color and give you an obvious bright spot so make sure it’s off. If there are multiple pumpkins together, try to use the light of all of them to grab the shot. They will help illuminate each other.

If you have a small point and shoot camera like my Sony WC100 you can use one of the minature tripods to hold the camera. They’re about $12-15 from places like BestBuy, they’re collapsible and lightweight. Very easy to take with you.

If you’re not using a tripod the best time for the photos is right at dusk. You can use the light to grab all the details.

I will hopefully have several new specimens for my gallery tonight. We’ll see what dastardly creations I can come up with.

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