I should explain myself for missing a second HNT in a row. It’s Halloween again, and I have in the past carved a few pumpkins that turned out to not be half bad. So when the company announced a contest for pumpkin carving, I was eager to join in. This would be different than my pumpkins of the past though; the most obvious would be using a pseudo-pumpkin instead of the real thing. Less obvious would be this “carving” contest has very few pumpkins actually carved. Several entries are painted, molded with clay, and even decorated with Christmas lights. While I’d much rather have a classic pumpkin carving, I decided to embrace this new type of contest.
I decided to carve the Apache Tomcat logo. I had done a Tux in the past, and since I was hired to be a Java/Tomcat guru, it fit. I would have to create the pattern myself, which would be a first for me and I was up to the challenge. I also had an idea to give myself an edge: use a black light lamp. I would paint the inside of the pumpkin with black light paint and use it as the lamp shade, and then also paint or stamp Halloween images on the base of the lamp. It was a good idea.
It lacked in execution. The first problem is the pseudo pumpkin is not easy to shave, in fact it’s near impossible. I had wanted to only shave the body of the tomcat so that I could put black light paint on the outside that would glow. EDL was very helpful in making the lamp skirt and painting awesome little cats, bats and spiders using the black light paint. Sadly, the black light didn’t really set off the skirt – not enough UV rays going down I suppose. Worse was the bulb I bought. I first tried to buy one of the 99 cent black light bulbs. A bit of advice to anyone getting a black light, get a fluorescent or get nothing.
After getting the fluorescent bulb, I encountered another problem… it was much larger than the incandescent bulb, and would not fit in the lamp without modification. These modifications ended up causing the pumpkin to sit much higher than I would have liked. Still, while it wasn’t what I hoped, it was quite a learning experience, and I’ll be that much more prepared next year.