A Jack-O-Lantern, guarding the HumphouseThis past week was Halloween. But I didn’t really have to tell you that.

This is Malin’s favorite time of year and her favorite holiday. We brought out the giant eyeballs again (4′ beach balls that have been painted to look like giant eyeballs). We tie up in the front yard so they stare at everyone entering the neighborhood. We usually get a fair amount of compliments. They went up a little late this past Wednesday, so some kids, hoping to see them on their ride back from school, were disappointed. But everyone that actually went out trick-or-treating got to see them.

Like last year, we had a giant spider on the house. Last year it was a ridiculously big spider (basically a big trash bag that you fill full of leaves and eight, long, flimsy legs attached). This year it was a little more reasonable – about two feet long. Its setup was more intricate this year though. Last year, the giant black bag of a spider was simply hiding in the shadows on the bushes outside of our garage. This year, it was on display in a big web (of white yarn) by the corner of the house near the garage. It was not in the shadows, but directly in the path of the garage floodlight, so that all of the kids could see it.

I worked from home on Wednesday – partly to avoid the horrible, hellish, Halloween traffic; and partly because I try to work from home nearly ever Wednesday. I was finally able to pull myself from the home office to participate in the pumpkin-carving festivities about 5:30pm.

Will, making Halloween cookiesAfter opening and gutting a li’l pumpkin, I busied myself with catching up on blogs and such while Malin and Will made Halloween cookies. Malin’s mother joined us at our house, and she helped Malin and Will with the cookie decorations. We bought a few thin-crust California Pizza Kitchen pies from the grocery store, tossed them in the oven, and were eating shortly thereafter.

Shortly after 6pm, we received our first trick-or-treaters. Soon after, Malin and I took Will out to get his fair share of the loot. Malin’s mom was nice enough to stay at the house, giving out our candy to the neighborhood kids. Meanwhile, we were off to pillage and plunder the neighbors’ supply of candy.

I did not dress up at all (surprise, surprise). Will dressed up as a pirate (surprise, surprise). Malin dressed up as a silly high schooler. She put her hair in pigtails, bought some gaudy, white & black striped, knee-high socks, and then pulled her jeans up to show off the socks. She said that was the same kind of lame “costume” that she and friends would wear trick-or-treating when she was in high school.

Malin and Will - as Pimpy Longstockings and Cap'n Jack

Will had a good time trick-or-treating. He finally understood why Malin likes this day so much – you get to go up to strangers, act like a fool, and be rewarded with candy for so doing. What could be better!? Whenever the neighbors would comment on Will’s outfit, we would prompt him, “What does a pirate say?”

“Aaarggghh!! Avast, yee matey!!” he would reply, waving his plastic sword around. Very funny.

We are in a pretty small neighborhood, and we didn’t bother trying to pillage any other nearby ‘hoods. So the take was a bit light. That’s okay: it’s still more than Will could possibly eat all by himself (that’s what Malin and I tell ourselves as we sneak off with some of his candy).

In other news this week, my Camaro’s speedometer is still screwed up. The doohickey I bought on eBay was too old – it was unable to recognize the stock ECU settings in the onboard computer and, thus, refused to work. Luckily, the guy who sold it to me understood my situation and was willing to take the item back and give me a refund. I’ve since found a mechanic who may be able to actually fix it the right way – replacing the speedometer gear in the transmission. He wanted to take a look before giving me a quote, but said it would likely be under $100. That’s a lot cheaper than buying a new Hypertech Power Programmer (a new one is guaranteed to work by the manufacturer, but once the unit is resold – as in the case of the used one I bought – their warranty is void). If this guy can fix it this week, I’ll be sending the bill to the other mechanic (the one who sold me the new ring and pinion gears in the first place, assuring me that they wouldn’t mess up the speedometer).

My sister’s birthday was the day after Halloween: All Saint’s Day – the one for which Halloween is actually named (“All Hallow’s Eve” -> “Hallow’s Eve” -> “Halloween”). I was unable to get a hold of her on the phone, but left a message with happy birthday salutations. She, my dad, and Will are all in the triple-one club (1/11, 11/1). Luckily for them, Malin and I don’t mind being excluded from the club, as long as we’re allowed to fraternize with the members.

And, of course, today is our wonderful 25-hour day. This one day (and its 23-hour counterpart in the Spring) gives me and my team at work many head aches. This is because there is no real standard in software for how to handle DST. Since we write software that has to integrate with other systems, we always encounter some sort of issue on how to accommodate the way that system handles (or fails to handle) the DST days: no two systems do it the same way. And this year was even worse thanks to the new DST laws. We all got two extra weeks of Daylight Savings Time here in the US, but my group at work had to issue software patches to all of our clients so that their big, expensive, software systems would handle the new DST rules correctly. Obviously, many, many vendors got to do this (Windows had updates for DST 2007, as did Sun’s Java, and many others).

So hopefully I will not arrive at work tomorrow to see an inbox full of messages regarding client issues that occurred at 2am today…

We hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!