Halloween Pumpkin: Portal Turret!

I made a Portal turret for my Halloween pumpkin! I was trying to think of things to carve: vampire Android? R2-D2? Zoidberg? Then I thought: I could do a character from Portal 2! I was going to carve something like GLaDOS or Wheatley, but then I realized that a portal turret would be perfect:

To make the glowing red eye, I punched a small hole in the pumpkin, taped an LED to a battery, and pushed the LED from the center of the pumpkin through the small hole. I thought about doing an actual red laser, but 1) I don’t want to blind any kids walking by my pumpkin, and 2) laser beams aren’t visible unless there’s fog or smoke or something for the beam to hit.

To make the side “gun” sections of the pumpkin, I had a small dowel rod lying around, so I just cut two small stakes from the dowel rod and jammed them into the pumpkin sides. It’s a bit rickety, but it works. For the video, I played some turret sound effects and moved my red laser over the pumpkin as if another turret was locking onto it.

I didn’t want to take long to carve my pumpkin. I finished it in maybe an hour, but check out this really elaborate pumpkin that someone else did. And it turns out that they work at Google too!

I like how my pumpkin came out overall:

Portal 2 turret pumpkin for Halloween!

Happy Halloween, and I hope you’re getting creative with your pumpkin carving!

New Katamari game?

A Blockbuster employee uncovered a possible new XBox 360 game called Beautiful Katamari Damacy, and the date October 19th, 2007 is mentioned. Oh please, let this be real. 🙂

(via GameSpot).

March Sadness

North Carolina got knocked out of the 2007 NCAA basketball tournament by Georgetown today. The Hoyas played well, so I don’t begrudge them the win.

My usual litmus test for a good tournament is “Did one of my teams make it to the Final Four?” Kentucky got knocked out in the second round, but Kansas had a good team this year. And UNC almost made it to the Final Four but came up short in overtime today. Normally those two losses would count as a bad year in my book.

But Duke lost in the first round. To Virginia Commonwealth. And that tips it over to a good year for me. 🙂

March Madness! Go Heels! Go Wildcats!

The NCAA tournament brackets are done and I’m ready for March Madness! I don’t even mind watching Dick Vitale, baby! I went to undergrad at the University of Kentucky and grad school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, so I’ve got little orange basketballs in my blood. I’d love for either team to go all the way this year, but with North Carolina a #1 seed in its bracket, the odds might favor the Tarheels over the Wildcats this time. On the other hand, you should never, ever count out the Cats.

The World Cup last summer was awesome, but I do love a good game of basketball. 🙂 I just wish Roy Williams had come to UNC even earlier. Game on!

Play hockey at Google

I don’t do Googler-only posts that often, but this is one. Everyone who is not a Googler, please stop reading–thanks!

Okay, now it’s just me and 9,378 Googlers, according to the latest public numbers. Hola, recent Googlers! As Google gets bigger, it’s important to maintain our Googliness for as long as possible. But what can you do to help preserve Google’s culture? Well, there are lots of ways, but I’ll just suggest one for now.

I submit that if you work in Mountain View, you should try playing roller hockey. We play Tuesdays and Thursdays around 4pm or so. If you’d like more information, go to Google’s intranet search and search for [roller hockey]. Look for the page with “RollerHockey” in the title. It’s a little-known fact that once you play hockey 7-8 times (enough to show that you play regularly), Google will reimburse much of the cost of protective gear.

If you don’t work at Google (hey, why are you reading this post?!), first get a job at Google, then come join us for roller hockey. 🙂