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Alek Komarnitsky

Internet-Controllable Halloween Display - Tonight!

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Alek Komarnitsky

This year, my Halloween "decorations" involve putting out a single red "party bulb" on the front porch. And I might put on a hat. In any case, I'm just letting my natural spookiness carry the evening...which is why I'm pleased to tell you that Alek Komarnitsky's front yard is awesome. Komarnitsky has rigged up his Colorado home with an unbelievable array of lights, inflatable monsters, and other spooky stuff. But the best part is you can control all that stuff online.

Yes, during prime trick-or-treating hours (starting at 5pm MDT), Komarnitsky enables control buttons that let you mess with the lights and decorations, as multiple webcams let you watch the action live. Even now, with nothing happening and all the controls disabled, I'm watching the grass grow on his front lawn with 75 other people. Imagine how rad this will get when actual trick-or-treaters wander up and we all start clicking the "Hulk GRRRRR!!" button. Komarnitsky explains:

You can not only view the 10,000 lights and inflatables via three webcams, but you can control them - i.e. inflate/deflate the giant Frankenstein, Pumpkins, Grim Reaper, Skull, Headless Horseman, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Homer Simpson - D'OH! ;-)

The design of the page is hilariously geeky, a GeoCities-esque collection of Comic Sans, animations that follow your cursor, and plenty of animated GIFs. (Though, unlike GeoCities, it actually works!) Not only is the site fun, it's for a good cause -- Komarnitsky is encouraging visitors to support Celiac Disease research, and has raised over $75,000 for the cause already. Now enjoy the show.

If you miss tonight's display, don't worry -- the big show is Christmas, and even when there's no special event running, you can watch the grass grow. Here's one more view of the yard, from a few weeks back when snow covered the Halloween display (the snow has since melted):

Image courtesy of Alek Komarnitsky

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Hamilton Broadway
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Food
A Hamilton-Themed Cookbook is Coming
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Hamilton Broadway

Fans of Broadway hit Hamilton will soon be able to dine like the Founding Fathers: As Eater reports, a new Alexander Hamilton-inspired cookbook is slated for release in fall 2017.

Cover art for Laura Kumin's forthcoming cookbook
Amazon

Called The Hamilton Cookbook: Cooking, Eating, and Entertaining in Hamilton’s World, the recipe collection by author Laura Kumin “takes you into Hamilton’s home and to his table, with historical information, recipes, and tips on how you can prepare food and serve the food that our founding fathers enjoyed in their day,” according to the Amazon description. It also recounts Hamilton’s favorite dishes, how he enjoyed them, and which ingredients were used.

Recipes included are cauliflower florets two ways, fried sausages and apples, gingerbread cake, and apple pie. (Cue the "young, scrappy, and hungry" references.) The cookbook’s official release is on November 21—but until then, you can stave off your appetite for all things Hamilton-related by downloading the musical’s new app.

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fun
Never Buy Drawing Paper Again With This Endlessly Reusable Art Notebook
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Art supplies can get pricey when you’re letting your kid’s creativity run wild. But with an endlessly reusable notebook, you never have to worry about running out of paper during that after-school coloring session.

The creators of the erasable Rocketbook Wave have come out with a new version of their signature product meant especially for color drawings. The connected Rocketbook Color notebook allows you to send images drawn on its pages to Google Drive or other cloud services with your phone, then erase the pages by sticking the whole notebook in the microwave. You get a digital copy of your work (one that, with more vibrant colors, might look even better than the original) and get to go on drawing almost immediately after you fill the book.

An animated view of a notebook’s pages changing between different drawings.

There’s no special equipment involved beyond the notebook itself. The Rocketbook Color works with Crayola and other brands’ washable crayons and colored pencils, plus dry-erase markers. The pages are designed to be smudge-proof, so turning the page won’t ruin the art on the other side even if you are using dry-erase markers.

Rocketbook’s marketing is aimed at kids, but adults like to save paper, too. Break away from the adult coloring books and go free-form. If it doesn’t quite work out, you can just erase it forever.

The notebooks are $20 each on Kickstarter.

All images courtesy Rocketbook

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