Please share links to your equally halfassed squash carving and decorating skills in the comments.

My mom got me a pumpkin while she and dad were visiting last week. To make a Jack-o-Lantern. I wasn't going to bother but then when I got home last night and the pumpkin is all sitting there sad and uncarved I felt kinda sorry for it.

Pumpkins are a bit pointless. In fact Hallowe'en as the drunken commercial candy coma evening we know today was probably perpetrated solely by the pumpkin manufacturers of North America to shill their unwieldy and tasteless squash. Without it pumpkins would have become extinct centuries ago. The same would have happened to broccoli if it had not been "discovered" to "help prevent cancer".

Pumpkins do not prevent cancer. The only thing that pumpkins prevent is a good night's sleep due to the guilt you feel for not making a jack-0-lantern with the one your mom bought you because really she would like to think you are still ten years old and all the things that are wrong with you can still be fixed.

The thing about carving a pumpkin is that when you are done all the things that are wrong with it are there to stay. Especially if you use permanent marker to draw on it and then change your mind and actually carve it some other how.

Suddenly feelings of failure loom. If only you had thought more about it. Planned. Bought the Right Tools. If only. It could have been something like you get on all the techie pop culture web sites this time of year with the pumpkin carving art.

Do not be decieved. These people are nerds.

Do not be sad that your pumpkin does not achieve this standard which is only accomplished with massive amounts of effort, planning, and time spent not leaving the house or interacting with other human beings.

My pumpkin falls short of just about every standard there is. Even the It's Crap standard. Even I was surprised at the sheer and monumentally pathetic half-assedness of it.

But then stick a cheap scented candle in it and cut the lights...


Pumpkins as a metaphor for life. We are all useless and pointless organic matter. We get beat up and have holes poked in us. But then someone comes along and cuts off the top of your head, stuffs a light inside it, and you rampage through the country side devouring bunnies and small children.

The circle of life is complete.

Day of the Tripods: A Half Assed Analysis of BBC SciFi Programming of the 1980s and the Role of Popular Culture in Human Interaction

Believe it or not there was actually a show on the BBC around 1984 called The Day of the Tripods. It was a science fiction series set in the not so distant dystopian future. A horrible future in which people used Dep, wore neon, and were enslaved by giant horrible (you guessed it) TRIPODs.

 Yup, that is indeed a Tripod

As dire as it looks I don't think its reputation can at all be helped by the fact that it was based on a series of young adult books of the same name by a chap called John Christopher. Who must have been suffering from a serious case of writer's block at the time and forgot to change the "working title".

So how do I even know that this obscure piece of wasted BBC TV license fee crap ever existed?

Cue recent conversation with the Bear:

e-s: Yes, I think I will go. It will probably help my headache. You off for a walk?
Bear: Me and Mr. Phillip will probably have a stroll after tea
e-s: More curry?
Bear: No! Phil's not as bad as he used to be. It's taken a lot of wearing down but he will actually eat salad now. Well, not A salad but you know...
e-s: Green stuff on the side
Bear: He has kind of gotten used to it
e-s: You know I have often wondered if English people Phil's age hate vegetables because they were like exposed to the Triffids at the wrong age.
Bear: You mean tripods
e-s: uh, no, you know Day of the Triffids. John Wyndham. Giant man-eating lettuces.
Bear: No! No! I am sure there was something called Day of the Tripods!
e-s: Bear, I think that was a dream. You dreamed that. It wasn't real. They were Triffids
Bear: You GOOGLE Day of the Tripods
e-s: *tap tap tappity* mumble crazy bear *tap* mumble 
e-s: 8-0
e-s: Day... of the Tripods... I... don't believe it
Bear: So it is real? Really?
e-s: Yes Bear, I have to apologise, it is real. It says here it was based on a young adult book series
Bear: I never read that. I read Famous Five. And later something by Stephen King
e-s: It looks pretty dire
Bear:What, like BBC in the eighties?
e-s: Oh dear lord yes. It says here that although the show had "good" special effects its biggest draw back was that the Tripods never appeared in it. In spite of being pictured in promotional material
Bear: Really? I am sure I saw a tripod
e-s: It was meant to replace Dr. Who. I am surprised you got to see it. If Dr. Who was banned because it freaked your sister out I can't imagine what this would have done to her
Bear: Mustta done. Can't remember
e-s: I don't get it. Why were they called Tripods
Bear: Because they... were tripods?
e-s: So an evil race of camera accessories lands on the earth in order enslave humanity and the best this Christopher dood could come up with for a name is Tripod
Bear: But that's what they are!
e-s: But they didn't call themselves Tripods surely? I mean that is what HUmans called them. Maybe they were just misunderstood and didn't want to enslave humanity at all! Did anyone ask?
Bear: uh...
e-s: No of course not because if they had then we would know that the Tripods are not called Tripods but called something else in clicky clicky whistle language from beyond the stars
Bear: No they were evil
e-s: pffft. For what purpose would a Tripod enslave a human?
Bear: They WERE evil. Anyways better let you get off. Love you!
e-s: yeah whatever

One thing you never get used to if you move to another country as an adult is the popular culture void. So much of our interaction is based on shared childhood experiences. In-Jokes. I can tell you that A LOT of British pop culture did NOT make it to Canada.

This has resulted in A LOT of blank looks and awkward silences. Mostly, I think, because the British still can't get over the fact that they don't have an empire with which to permeate what they perceive to be the best culture in the world. An oblique Captain Pogwash reference met with a bemused stare reminds them that the colonies are not really paying attention any more.

There are exceptions of course. Dr. Who being a notable feature of my childhood television viewing. Bear and I are still big fans. Except for those couple of years with that insufferable pouty mopey chick. What on EARTH and Gallifrey did the Dr. see in that useless humourless bit of baggage I will never know.

And it works the other way around. Or it would if Canada were America. Which it isn't. It is actually a pretty lonely feeling. Figures that loomed large in my formative years don't exist here. There is no one with whom I can reminisce about Mr. Dressup, Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Rogers (ok he was American), The Polka-Dot Door, John Tesh (yes he was American too, Entertainment Tonight! Weeknights at 7:30!).

This has actually lead to my losing a good portion of my own pop cultural memory. Because there is no one to talk to about it. To keep it fresh. If I tell someone their ring tone sounds like Trolley a vast gaping cultural chasm opens up between us. I have just called attention to the fact that I am not from around here. It makes some people uncomfortable.

Where people generally come together is Star Wars and Star Trek.Which is weird. How stories about people a million miles and a million years away can give us all some common ground. I suppose it is a type of conformity but one that I can be comfortable with because when I was that age I didn't really know any better.

Live long and prosper.