Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ask Boyfriend

Dear Boyfriend,

How do you carve a pumpkin?

Thanks!
New to holidays


Dear New to Holidays,

You have hit upon one of my favorite yearly traditions, perhaps second only to the wanton gluttony of Thanksgiving. While my skills as an artist are debatable, I am a passable draftsman and inevitably, when All Hallows Eve rolls around I tend to get quite excited and overly ambitious about the impending squash dissection. Each year I conceive of ever more complicated designs that have ended in abject failure as often as resounding success. Take my last three years of pumpkin perforation.  2007 was a logo of a sports franchise, replete with all artistic flourishes that in the end undermined all structural support and thusly created a yawning abyss dead center, failure. 2008 was a cherubic little demon with barbed trident, pointy tail and adorable horns, and with extensive planning (more on this below) it turned out perfectly. This year I contemplated a few options; first, a logo of a different sports team, but decided that the gaping-void syndrome that plagued my earlier efforts was bound to repeat itself, not to mention the somewhat unimaginative quality to such a choice. My second thought, which struck when I was at the pumpkin patch, was a lovingly crafted map of the world reaching around the entire pumpkin, necessitating a plump, globular canvass. I picked just such a beast, weighing no less than 31 lbs. Had I done the prep work that I did last year, this would have been an entirely feasible idea and undoubtedly been sung of in dulcet tones of awe for generations to come as part of Boyfriend Lore. Unfortunately I did not, but the good news is I believe my pumpkin came out fine this year albeit not as I had originally anticipated.

The key to success in pumpkin carving is all in the planning. Well, planning along with an unwavering hand, uncompromising faith in one's own skill and a conviction of preeminence among humankind's pantheon of artistry, to be precise. My 2008 success hinged upon a few steps and some essential material considerations. I first created my vision in photoshop, contemplating carefully what parts would be negative space, thus lit by the candle, and essential to the design coming out properly. Once done with that, I determined what size print would fit well on my pumpkin, printed it, cut out the relevant portion and affixed it to my pumpkin with a series of pins. With a smallish marker, I then outlined the paper and subsequently removed it, leaving a trail for my intrepid hands to follow with the edged weapon of my choice. For the occasion I had purchased a relatively inexpensive but ultimately fantastic tool for carving, an art knife with removable blades, along with a selection of curved and straight blades. The straight blades were essential for getting the initial cuts in, where I cut from different vertices along straight lines within the bounds of the portion to be cut out, then followed the outline with my rounded blades to effectively remove the negative portion in small chunks. Viola! With some minimal cleaning of ragged cuts you are done.

This year I had something of a Halloween revelation, that I should simply freehand a whimsical if somewhat scary face and go at it with a steak knife, something of a childhood renaissance complete with all the sliced fingers and immediate regrets. This is also a completely viable alternative to the measured approach I described before and would have saved you all the time it took to read it.The following are a couple of pictures of my pumpkin (left) beside that of the blogess, both in light and darkness.

Thank you,
Boyfriend

[ED Note: I made a CAT!]


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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Boyfriend,

What should I be for Halloween? The previous two years I went as Clark Kent and the "Brawny Man" (the lumberjack on the Brawny brand paper towels).

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Boyfriend,

When is the appropriate time to let your parents know about a new boyfriend/girlfriend in the relationship?

XOXO,
Gossip Girl

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Boyfriend,

Any good book recommendations?

Best,
Needs something to read

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Boyfriend,

Should I give beggers money?

Thanks,
Concerned

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Boyfriend,

Does it trouble you when people can't answer their own simple questions?

Thanks,
Unconcerned

1:53 PM  

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