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Alek Komarnitsky
Alek Komarnitsky

Internet-Controllable Halloween Display - Tonight!

Alek Komarnitsky
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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The Princess Ride: Here's What a Princess Bride Theme Park Attraction Might Look Like
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Do you fight the urge to say “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya” when introducing yourself? Have you spent the past 30 years mispronouncing the word “marriage”? If so, you may be a diehard fan of The Princess Bride. The cult film (and the book on which it’s based) has inspired board games, merchandise, and countless pop culture references. Now, two theme park designers from Universal have conceived the inconceivable. As Nerdist reports, Jon Plsek and Olivia West have designed the plans for a hypothetical attraction called “The Princess Ride.

Their idea follows the classic river boat ride structure and adds highlights from the movie around each corner. After watching Buttercup and Wesley’s love story unfold, riders are taken past the Cliffs of Insanity, through the Fire Swamp, and into the Pit of Despair. The climax unfolds at Prince Humperdinck’s castle and leads up to the two protagonists riding off into the sunset. The last thing the passengers see is Miracle Max and Valerie waving goodbye saying, “Hope ya had fun stormin’ the castle!”

The ride’s designers make a living turning stories into thrilling attractions. Plsek works as a concept artist for Universal Creative, the group behind Universal’s theme parks, and West works there as a concept writer. While The Princess Ride was just a fun side project for the pair, it isn’t hard to imagine their ride bringing Princess Bride fans to the parks in real life.

For more of Jon Plesk’s concept rides inspired by classics like Dr. Strangelove (1964) and National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), check out his website.

[h/t Nerdist]

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fun
Watch a Chain of Dominos Climb a Flight of Stairs
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iStock

Dominos are made to fall down—it's what they do. But in the hands of 19-year-old professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, known as Hevesh5 on YouTube, the tiny plastic tiles can be arranged to fall up a flight of stairs in spectacular fashion.

The video spotted by Thrillist shows the chain reaction being set off at the top a staircase. The momentum travels to the bottom of the stairs and is then carried back up through a Rube Goldberg machine of balls, cups, dominos, and other toys spanning the steps. The contraption leads back up to the platform where it began, only to end with a basketball bouncing down the steps and toppling a wall of dominos below.

The domino art seems to flow effortlessly, but it took more than a few shots to get it right. The footage below shows the 32nd attempt at having all the elements come together in one, unbroken take. (You can catch the blooper at the end of an uncooperative basketball ruining a near-perfect run.)

Hevesh’s domino chains that don't appear to defy gravity are no less impressive. Check out this ambitious rainbow domino spiral that took her 25 hours to construct.

[h/t Thrillist]

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