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    Weather Talk: Decks and driveways are bad places to measure snow – Grand Forks Herald - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Measuring snow accurately is hard. Many times, meteorologists get complaints from people who think the official snow measurement is too low compared to the picture they've sent of a ruler in the snow on their deck. However, backyard decks are notoriously bad places to measure snow. When the ground is warmer than 32 degrees, like it was this past week, melting snow will lower the deck surface temperature enough to accumulate more snow than sticks on the ground, but it's the ground accumulation that counts.

    Another problem with decks is their proximity to the roof. Even a gentle wind will blow a lot of snow off a roof and onto the deck, which can give a false impression of how much snow has actually accumulated. Driveways can also harbor a lot of roof-blown snow. Accurate snow measurements need to be made far away from any trees or structures.

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    Building Blocks on the USS Ford: Reshaping the Flight Deck and Ops Tempo – Second Line of Defense - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    By Robbin Laird

    In the last article on the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), I looked at one key building block which enhances both the ops tempo of the strike package on the USS Gerald R. Ford as well the flexibility of the weapons packages which can be moved to the flight deck and loaded on the strike aircraft.

    This is a key input into a significantly redesigned flight deck workflow which allows for a much more rapid turnaround of the launch and recovery of aircraft as well as more flexibility operating and arming the strike packages.

    My flight deck visit was facilitated by Fords Top Catapult Officer (TOPCAT), Lt. Cmdr. Andy Kirchert and by Aviation Boatswains Mate (Fuels) 2nd Class Thomas Drew Watson (from Winona, MS).

    Insights throughout with regard to the impacts of the workflow on operational tempo and combat impacts were provided by Lt. Christopher Warzinski, CSG-12s Joint Interface Control Officer, Rear Adm, Craig Clapperton, Commander Carrier Strike Group 12, and by the USS Gerald R. Fords (CVN 78) Commanding Officer, Capt. J.J. Cummings.

    A major difference can be seen right away when one steps onto the flight deck. Next to the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) during my visit was the USS John C. Stennis whose flight island can be seen in the rear of this photo.

    The island on the USS Gerald R. Ford has been moved 140 feet aft and is 30% smaller. What this allows is significant additional space for aircraft refueling and weapons loading operations, with the area forward of the island able to accommodate more combat aircraft.

    During flight operations, Fords design increases the amount of usable space forward of the island and reduces the amount unusable space aft.

    As the ships captain, Capt. J.J. Cummings, put it: If you think of the ship as a gun, and the strike force as bullets, then we have increased the size of the clip because we can load it with more bullets because of the island being further aft on Ford versus Nimitz.

    The clam shell form factor for the weapons elevator flight deck hatches also open with minimal flight deck interference.

    There is more operational space on the USS Gerald R. Fords flight deck and the new launch and landing systems as well as a significant redesign of how refueling is done on the flight deck provide key tools for a significant reshaping of the operational tempo for the large deck carrier.

    The new launch system allows for a wider range of aircraft to operate from the carrier; the new arresting gear system can recover them. The ability to mix and match the current air fleet and the future one is significantly enhanced with EMALS. The launch system has a larger aircraft weight envelope that exceeds what is available with steam, so EMALS can launch very light aircraft or heavy aircraft which means this system can accommodate future manned or unmanned aircraft.

    The same flexibility exists in the Advanced Arresting Gear with larger current operating wind and weight envelopes and the capability to recover future aircraft designs with minimal modifications required.

    The refueling system is designed to keep a clear path to the catapult by reducing flight deck obstructions caused by refueling hoses, weapons skids and weapons elevator access points. This highly efficient flight deck flow allows for the FORD to sustain higher launch and recovery rates.

    Let me turn to each of these capabilities which add up to a new workflow on the deck which provides for a more rapid pace of ops tempo and more flexibility to mix and match mission packages as well.

    Much of the press about USS Gerald R. Ford has been about its launch system, the electromagnetic aircraft launch system or EMALS.

    I discussed this system at some length with Lt. Cmdr. Andy Kirchert. There are several advantages of the system over the legacy steam catapult system which he highlighted.

    First is the flexibility and adaptability of the system. The EMALS system has more room for growth for future aircraft systems. Steam will not be able to shoot super light aircraft and it can shoot heavy aircraft but that is serious wear and tear on the CAT when it shoots heavy shots. Heavy/light shots not an issue at all with EMALS.

    Second, the new system has reduced manning requirements for the launch function. There is reduced manning by 50%.

    Third, longer fly days are enabled due to reduction in the pre-flight and post flight procedures. For example, steam catapults require a heat up to be ready for launch

    Fourth, the system is easier on aircraft which should led to reduction of stress on the aircraft due to launch. The system delivers very precise endspeeds for the launch process.

    Fifth, the system delivers enhanced safety margins. The system will not allow launch of an aircraft if it sees something wrong in the process.

    Obviously, there have been challenges with the system, but the Ford team is overcoming those challenges, but according Lt. Cmdr. Kirchert, We are in the fine-tuning phase.

    One might note that both the French and Indian navies are lining up to procure EMALS which suggests confidence in the system.

    The counterpart to the EMALS is the Advanced Arresting Gear system which provides capabilities to recover the current fleet of aircraft in environmental conditions that exceed what is possible with the Nimitz class system

    And similar to EMALS, AAG is designed to have the ability to operate with aircraft of varying weights, including future aircraft systems. When one visits the Advanced Arresting Gear system below deck, it is amazing to see how automated it is and how little manpower is required to operate it as well.

    The refueling system is a major aspect of the redesign of workflow on the flight deck. My guide to this aspect of the ship was provided by Aviation Boatswains Mate (Fuels) 2nd Class Thomas Drew Watson. Post flight, aircraft are parked along two isles for refueling one on the deck edge and the other just outside of the landing area. This parking arrangement allows unobstructed access to the catapults.

    The in deck refueling stations which are unique to the Ford keep refueling hoses out of the taxi paths to the catapult. (refueling stations which can refuel two aircraft at the at those stations.

    This has a major impact because on the Nimitz the refueling crew has to carry several, lengthy connected fuel hoses which are heavy from the starboard side of the Nimitz class to do mid-deck refueling. On the Ford, the hoses are right there beside the in-deck refueling stations and rather than having to have a crew of 5 people to bring the hoses 150 feet to mid-deck and do refueling, you only need two crew to man the in-deck refueling stations.

    Lt. Cmdr. Kirchert emphasized that the sensors that make up the system and the software which manages them have posed development challenges in the past, but that NAVAIR and General Atomics have worked effectively to provide for the software changes necessary to allow the system to function effectively. And many of the software changes are quickly phased into the system between underways.

    Also in common with almost all new systems, parts failures have emerged which were not anticipated but those parts are being rebuilt to provide for better performance as well.

    My topside visit ended with a discussion with by Rear Adm. Clapperton.

    He underscored that the USS Gerald R. Ford was going to be a key enabler for the maritime distributed force which the Navy was envisaging as its way ahead for the fleet.

    With an ability to provide flexible strike options to the fleet, and a capability to support new weapons, and new aircraft, the new generation carrier was a key infrastructure to support the way ahead facing the U.S. Navy, the joint and coalition force.

    Featured Photo: A T-45C Goshawk, attached to Training Air Wing 2, prepares to launch from USS Gerald R. Fords (CVN 78) flight deck Sept. 11, 2020. Ford is seen underway in the Atlantic Ocean conducting carrier qualifications. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Sarah Mead)

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    Magic: The Gathering Preconstructed Decks & Cards Leaked on Amazon – Epicstream - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The official preview season for Magic: The Gathering's Commander Legends will begin next week, but several leaks online have already given us a look at some of the new cards from the first-ever Commander set designed to be drafted. Commander Legends will also feature two preconstructed decks, andrecently, someone spotted the themon Amazon UK, giving us a look at the packaging of the upcoming product.

    On a Reddit post, a screenshot of the Amazon UK leak listing of a Commander Legends preconstructed deck reveals the box of a blue/green Commander deck, and features an unknown leviathan-looking legendary creature. Check it out:

    Several FrenchCommander Legends cards have also been leaked in the Amazon UK product pages, giving us a look at what we can expect from the Red/White and Blue/Green Commander Legends precons.

    Redditors shared the English translation of the cards:

    Wyleth, Soul of Steel (1RW)

    Legendary Creature- Human Warrior


    Whenever ~ attacks, draw a card for each aura and equipment attached to him.


    A warrior needs two things: a good sword and an iron will.

    Providential Guard Rune (2W)

    Enchantment- Aura

    You may cast this spell as though it had flash if it targets a commander.

    Enchant creature

    Enchanted creature has indestructible.

    Behind each general leading his men to the front is a nervous mage with a spell already ready.

    Glowing Solsteel(?) (1R)

    Artifact- Equipment

    Equipped creature gets +1/+0 for each opponent you have.

    Whenever equipped creature is dealt damage, it deals that much damage to any target.

    Equip (4)

    Wyleth emerged from the crater unscathed, the fury of the sun trapped in his hands.

    The Simic Legendary Snake is:

    You may play an additional land on your turn

    Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control draw a card

    The Boros human legendary is:


    Will you be picking up any of these Commander Legends precons? Expect Wizards of the Coast to fully reveal what they contain in the upcoming weeks.

    Commander Legendsproduct and events will be available onMagic Onlineon Thursday, November 19, 2020.

    Related:MTG Commander Legends Leaker Said They Helped Wizards Build Hype

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    Star Trek: Lower Decks – The 10 Worst Things Mariner Ever Did – Screen Rant - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Star Trek: Lower Decks isn't about the heroes of Starfleet - and Mariner is definitely no hero, as these actions of hers prove.

    Starfleet is generally filled with career-obsessed go-getters who want to climb the ranks and make big names for themselves. That's why Beckett Mariner on Star Trek: Lower Decks has proven to be sucha different character. She's honestly great at all things Starfleet, a brilliant and capable crew member on the U.S.S. Cerritos.

    RELATED:Star Trek TOS Movies: The 10 Best Fight Scenes, Ranked

    The problem is that Mariner honestly doesn't care about any of it. She likes the adventure of being in space, just not the rigmarole that comes with being in Starfleet. That's led her to doing some pretty crazy and dangerous things over the years.

    Onan away missions together, Boimler saw Mariner leaving the team behind in a suspicious fashion. Captain Freeman had secretly assigned him to watch Mariner and report back any time she did something that broke the rules. He followed her, thinking she was up to no good.

    Instead, Mariner was bypassing protocol to help the people on the planet quicker. For his trouble, she left him to be a soothing toy for a giant alien spider to suck on for an extended period. Boimler was being an officious jerk but he didn't deserve that.

    This one was more of a team effort, though still not a smart move. Mariner, Boimler, Rutherford, and Tendi all ended up tossed into an alien jail for no apparent reason. Then, those aliens dragged them into a courtroom and started making wild accusations.

    RELATED:Star Trek: The 10 Scariest Moments From The Entire Film Franchise

    As it turned out, the whole thing was a thank you party from an alien named Clar they had recently helped. Once the situation was cleared up, they left the party, running into and subsequently blowing Q off. Such a dismissive attitude towards a powerful being was the result of the other three directly taking their cues from Mariner.

    At first glance, Mariner seems like the kind of person who lives life out loud. She lays it all out there, letting all of her successes and failures flail in the breeze for all to see. Sometimes it's because she doesn't care enough to hide anything. Other times, it's just because she's drunk.

    But Mariner did keep a massive secret for most of the first season, specifically that Captain Freeman was her mother. When that bombshell finally dropped, it disrupted life on board the Cerritos. This was something she should have been honest about. It would have allowed everyone to move forward sooner.

    The best way to describe Boimler is that the stick up his butt has a stick up its butt. He's dedicated to following the rules to almost a detrimental degree. Mariner is the exact opposite, flouting the rules at every opportunity. Again, this has a lot to do with her mother being her current captain.

    RELATED:10 Battles That Would Have To Happen In A Star Wars & Star Trek Crossover

    Knowing that Boimler wants to be a captain someday and that being bold matters as much following the rules in Starfleet, Mariner volunteered to mentor Boimler. Most of her mentoring seemed to involve trying to convince Boimler to be a jerk, though he did get a promotion by the end of the season.

    When Captain Freeman was called away from the Cerritos, an old friend of Mariner's was sent to take temporary command of the ship. She's happy to see Captain Amina Ramsey but suddenly started acting incompetent around her. Mariner might not care about the rules but she's also not bad at her job. In fact, the opposite was generally true.

    It turned out that Mariner was worried that Ramsey would promote her out of the lower decks, something she desperately did not want. Mariner has done a lot of bad things but intentionally doing a terrible job could endanger her friends. It was a new level of selfishness.

    Mariner's bad attitude has proven to be the main reason her parents bounce her around between different ships. The problem is she's good at the work, so kicking her out of Starfleet is difficult to justify. One of Captain Freeman's plans was to promote her to a more officious position, one that would drive Mariner nuts and force her to quit.

    RELATED:Star Trek TOS Characters Sorted Into Their Hogwarts Houses

    It almost worked. But Mariner being Mariner, she found a way to get demoted back to the lower decks by openly mocking the way an admiral mispronounced the word "sensor." It was part of her plan but it was also incredibly rude and mean.

    For the most part, Ferengi have earned a well-deserved reputation as greedy little trolls who would drop their own mothers in a well for a couple of strips of gold-pressed latinum. As such, most people have common sense not to trust them.

    Apparently, that doesn't include Mariner. When a Klingon friend of hers stole Mariner and Boimler's shuttle, the duo was left stranded. A Ferengi offered to help them, which Mariner accepted against Boimler's warnings. The Ferengi then tried to mug them, only to be stopped by Boimler.

    Mariner's unrelenting abuse of Boimler disguised as mentoring him is a hallmark of the series. The worst example of this was when Boimler's girlfriend arrived on the Cerritos.

    RELATED:10 Star Trek Quotes That Are Hilarious Out-Of-Context

    First, Mariner refused to believe anyone would want to date Boimler. When Barb turned out to be real, Mariner set out on a mission to prove something was forcing Barb to love Boimler. It turned out she was right and an alien parasite was to blame. But it was still cruel to basically state that Boimler was completely unlovable.

    With an important interview on the horizon, Boimler created a holodeck program using the crew's private logs to create a practice scenario. That was already a dubious move. Mariner made things worse by taking over the program and making it all about her.

    She basically went nuts, turning the program into a movie where she was a villain named Vindicta. Even her friends thought she went too far, though the whole exercise did help her have some profound personal realizations that did not change her in the least. The whole episode on the holodeck also revealed that Freeman was Mariner's mother to Boimler. He was so stunned by the realization that he botched his interview.

    The cold open of the first episode told fans everything they needed to know about both Boimler and Mariner. Hecaught her drunkenly trying to sneak a huge crate of contraband on the ship. Despite being incredibly drunk, Mariner tried to show Boimler her skills with a Klingon bat'leth.

    Naturally, this resulted in Mariner stabbing Boimler through the leg with the bat'leth. Her lack of care with the deadly weaponand open hostility towards the rules demonstrated who she was, and would continue to be throughout the entire first season of the series.

    NEXT:Star Trek: Lower Decks: 10 Things You Need To Know Before Watching The Parody

    Next The Boys: 5 Things We Want In Season 3 (& 5 We Don't)

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    The Below Deck Med Reunion Finally Gave Hannah a Chance to Defend Herself – Vulture - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    For those of us with the willpower to keep watching this cursed season of Below Deck Mediterranean after the finale, the first part of the reunion on Watch What Happens Live featured the return of former chief stew Hannah Ferrier. Ferriers firing, for having undeclared Valium and CBD onboard, was the bombshell in a season of bombshells, bumping Christine Bugsy Drake up to chief stew and marking the end for a cast member whod been with Med from the start. The reunion marked Ferriers first chance to defend herself to her former crew members, some of whom had already wasted no time going on WWHL to shit-talk her.

    The biggest argument of the night happened between Ferrier and Yawn over those changed cabin arrangements, when Ferrier wouldnt let White room with her boyfriend, Tom Checketts, after he came aboard as chef in the middle of the season. When host Andy Cohen asked Yawn why she didnt go to Ferrier to talk about cabins before announcing over the radio that White could room with Checketts, Yawn insisted it was the first officers job to make room assignments. Did you not put me in charge of room assignments? Ferrier asked. After Yawn repeated herself, Ferrier said, You put me in charge of room assignments. Yawn replied, Do you have a problem with Bugsy? Ferrier reminded Yawn that she and Drake, who previously argued in season two, both agreed they shouldnt be roommates. I think that it would be respectful for you to call me and have a conversation about it, Ferrier said. That would be something that would be normal if you had any sort of respect. Yawn stopped arguing, then Cohen asked who would act as the first officer on her boat, which doesnt have the role. She said the role would go to White, but that she stepped in to stop her crew from fighting. Then White chimed in to defend Yawn, saying, If anyone wants to take a side of like, In yachting, this is what happens, theres no clear-cut answer.

    Throughout the night, Ferrier also faced accusations that she didnt want to be working on the yacht this season. At first, she explained, I like what I do, I go there to earn money, andwant to make sure the guests have the best holiday possible. I just dont want to be doing it when Im 40. Later, she added that former second stew Lara Flumianis dramatic departure contributed. [It] just made me go, You know what, youre probably not wanting to do yachting anymore, Ferrier said.

    Yawn at one point accused Ferrier of not coming to her with problems like Flumianis behavior, saying, Malia talked to me. Hannah really didnt ever do that. She would come to me and just give me like three sentences. Ferrier went on to claim that Yawn played favorites with crew members like White, and that she joined season two with preconceptions about Ferrier from season one. Within about a minute of meeting Sandy, she already started talking to me about a scene that had happened in the first season, Ferrier said, referring to a moment when she forgot a meals description. Well, it looked terrible, Yawn said, before adding, I havent thought about that first scene for years, and every time Hannah and I show up on a boat, we reset. Ferrier went on to say she thought her plans to eventually leave yachting bothered Yawn. Yawn tried to dismiss this, but eventually added, When you have people who are there just for a paycheck, eh, theyre there for a paycheck. When Cohen called Yawn out on the comment, she replied, I wouldnt use the word annoy. I cant explain it; its not personal. Its professional. The two went on to spar about Yawns support for former chef Hindrigo Kiko Lorran, whom she fired midway through the season.

    The first part of the reunion ended with just a flick at Ferriers firing. White claimed she still wouldve reported Ferrier even if shed agreed to the cabin assignments, and Ferrier admitted it was a mistake to not log the medications. Yawn claimed, People cannot be on Valium and work on a vessel, and that she didnt trust Ferrier. She then asked, So you didnt trust me because I had medication, or what? Yawn replied, I didnt trust you because you lie. Shortly after, Cohen added that Ferriers CBD pen was actually a THC pen, according to the manufacturer, raising questions of Ferriers trustworthiness. And he left us at that until part two of the reunion, leaving us strung along with this season of television for yet another week.

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    The Below Deck Med Reunion Finally Gave Hannah a Chance to Defend Herself - Vulture

    The Deck of Stories and NPC Cards Kickstarter Announced by 1985 Games – Benzinga - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The Deck of Stories and NPC cards Kickstarter has been announced. The Deck of Stories is a fresh new storytelling system that helps you create a legendary adventure in 15 minutes. NPC Cards feature pre-generated, beautifully illustrated characters that you can insert seamlessly into your game.

    Portland, OR, October 23, 2020 --( The Deck of Stories is a flexible storytelling system of story hooks that helps take you deeper into the moment. The unique ORC storytelling system suggests where it would fit best in a storyline. This can work in any campaign or an exciting one-shot session. The Deck of Stories is an easy to use tool for story-creation.

    This Kickstarter marks the release of several iterations of the Deck of Stories, including 5 Themed Boosters. The Gears Booster has 18 steampunk-themed story hooks only found in this expansion. This pack is perfect for anyone playing in the world of "Eberron" or others like it. The Gothic Booster has 18 gothic horror-themed story hooks only found in this expansion. This pack is perfect for anyone playing "The Curse of Strahd" or other adventures like it. The Hell Booster has 18 infernal-themed story hooks only found in this expansion. This pack is perfect for anyone playing "Decent into Avernus" or similar adventures. The High Water Booster has 18 sea-faring-themed story hooks only found in this expansion. This pack is perfect for anyone playing the "Ghosts of Saltmarsh" adventure or adventures like it. The Jungle Booster has 18 jungle-themed story hooks only found in this expansion. This pack is perfect for anyone playing the "Tomb of Annihilation" or if you'd like to play adventures like it.

    NPC Cards feature pre-generated, beautifully illustrated characters that can be inserted seamlessly into any game. Each NPC contains a collection of traits that help DM's role-play that character in the game. The traits develop the character yet keep their background vague enough to cast them in any role. Characters could be a Bartender, Noble, Bandit. You name it.

    Contact 1985 Games to learn more. For more information, visit: or follow the company on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. If you would like more information about this topic, please contact 1985 Games at 503-358-6552 or email at

    Contact Information:1985 GamesLenny Gotter503-358-6552Contact via

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    The Deck of Stories and NPC Cards Kickstarter Announced by 1985 Games - Benzinga

    Ideate Design Studio and Acorn Deck Housing Company craft an embedded home on the outskirts of Boston – The Architect’s Newspaper - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Inserting a large 5,500-square-foot home into a particularly jagged hillside is no small task. For expert local prefabrication firm Acorn Deck House Company, the seemingly daunting undertaking required excavating and leveling a massive ledged rock. It was all worth it,Ideate Design Studiofounder and principalSashya Thind said. The home has great views.

    Thind collaborated withAcorn Deck House Company Head of DesignMichael Hawke to create a holistic project that gives architecture and interior design equal footing.Located in Wellesley, Massachusettsa well-to-do suburb of Bostonthe new home casts an impressive profile but doesnt overwhelm its natural setting.

    Indicative of the companys prevalent style, the paired-back scheme ensures that the home seamlessly situates into its natural surroundings. Demonstrating the best of the companys modular and panelized expertise, a two-tone wooden-clad facade helps elucidate the modernist structures many interlocking volumes. Inside, an exposed metal and wooden beam system plays host to a double-height, open-plan living and dining space but also helps segment-off the homes more intimate six bedrooms and five bathrooms.

    Check out the full hilly house on our interiors and design website,

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    Deck the Halls and the Worcester Common: Locally-shot Christmas on Ice kicks off Lifetimes new holiday movies – Worcester Mag - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Christmas is coming early to Lifetime, and Worcester will be unwrapped right away on TV as "It's A Wonderful Lifetime" features a season of 30 new holiday movies.

    The season begins at 8 p.m. Oct. 23 with the romance "Christmas On Ice," which was shot at several locales in Worcester back in February including the Worcester Common Oval, Worcester City Hall, Worcester Ice Center and Birch Tree Bread Company.

    "It's fantastic. I can't believe they're starting the Christmas season before Halloween, but we'll take it," said John Stimpson of H9 Films, which has its studios located at the Printers Building, 44 Portland St.

    Stimpson wrote and directed "Christmas On Ice," which stars Abigail Klein as Courtney Bennett, a former Olympic skating hopeful who runs a municipal outdoor public skating oval that is threatened by Mayor Greenwood (Will Lyman) with imminent closing. Noah Tremblay (Ryan Cooper) is a former NHL player and single dad who runs a new indoor skating center. Courtney and Ryan might seem like mutual antagonists, but when they slide into love, the move is on to try to save the public rink and the Christmas Carnival Courtney hosts on the Common each holiday season.

    Actually, there's quite a Worcester movie binge going on right now with the Liam Neeson action flick Honest Thief, a good deal of which was filmed in and around the city in the fall of 2018, opening last Friday at the Blackstone Valley 14 Cinema de Lux in Millbury.

    "Christmas On Ice" will be repeated multiple times on Lifetime in the days ahead, Stimpson said. Just after 10 p.m. Oct. 23 on Lifetime you can watch Stimpson's 2019 holiday movie, also shot in the Worcester area, "Christmas a la Mode."

    "We're on a roll," Stimpson said about making holiday movies with credits that also include "A Christmas Kiss," "The March Sisters at Christmas" and "The Spruces and the Pines." In November, Stimpson will be filming a Christmas movie, "The Cape House," on Cape Cod.

    Stimpson, who grew up in Wellesley, lives in Princeton and is married to Carolyn Crowley Stimpson, vice president of Wachusett Mountain. An actor as well as a director and producer, Stimpson has spent time in Los Angeles, but likes the fact he has been able to make movies within a short commute from home.

    "Worcester's a fantastic place to shoot. We've made multiple movies here," he said. "It's a terrific locale in that it can be almost anything downtown, suburban, farms (close by)." Part of "Christmas a la Mode," about a struggling young dairy farmer, Emily, who enters an ice cream flavor contest, was shot at Whittier Farms in Sutton.

    "The city has welcomed us with open arms," Stimpson said. Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty even opened up his mayor's office for a scene for the seemingly mean Mayor Greenwood. The DCU Center sent over a Zamboni to clear the ice.

    Stimpson's creative output hasn't been confined to to films set around the holidays. A former president of Harvards Hasty Pudding Theatricals, Stimpson made his movie directorial debut in 1999 with the impressive political drama "The Gentleman from Boston," released internationally as "Beacon Hill," starring Michael Landes, Wendy Benson, Grainger Hines and Drea De Matteo of "Sopranos" fame.

    Inspired by a local ghost story, Stimpson wrote and directed The Legend of Lucy Keyes (2004) set in Princeton and starring Julie Delpy, Justin Theroux and Brooke Adams.

    Other films include "Sexting in Suburbia," "A Deadly Obsession," "Last Hours in Suburbia," "Betrayed" and "Sins of the Preacher." The drama/thriller "Black Car," later renamed "Vehicle for Revenge," was shot extensively in Worcester in 2015. Stimpson's films have been shown on platforms such as cable/satellite TV, direct online screening, DVD and through international deals. Stimpson has collaborated with area production companies including Moody Independent and Artigo/Ajemian Films and Andrea Ajemian, based in Worcester before moving to Los Angeles (Ajemian returned to Worcester to be unit production manager for "Honest Thief").

    "Ghost Light," which premiered last year, was a very amusing take on the curse of Shakespeare's "Scottish play" that was shot in Concord and Groton and headquartered at New England Studios in Devens. The Ghost Light troupe arrives by bus at the imaginary Riverside Resort and Theater set in the Berkshires, and, because of some heedless saying of the name of the play, everything proceeds to go wrong. Stimpson said he hoped that the film would get a larger theatrical release than it realized, but is glad "Ghost Light" got a two-year deal with Showtime. "The pandemic slowed things down in foreign sales. We'll see where it goes."

    Plenty can go wrong with the making of any movie, but with the holiday films Stimpson operates from a business model he feels comfortable with.

    "We operate independently. We finance these movies then we sell the movie after it's completed to the highest bidder. We know the market pretty well," Stimpson said. Besides Lifetime, it also includes the Hallmark Channel and Ion Television.

    Stimpson has collaborated with other writers but knows that the script, even though the story is a romance, has to be pragmatic and aware of the production needs. A given production typically runs on a short shooting schedule and "a modest budget," Stimpson said. "Christmas On Ice" was made for under $1 million.

    Regarding how he got the idea for the film, Stimpson said his office overlooks the Worcester Common Oval. "I walk across to grab lunch almost every day. I thought, 'Gosh, this is a perfect locale for a movie. Such a lovely spot.'" So I constructed a movie."

    Courtney "loves working with the kids. She has to figure out a way to keep it going." From his office Stimpson can also see the Worcester Ice Center. He thought the words "love interest."

    Ryan Cooper also starred in "Christmas a la Mode."

    "He's become a good friend and supporter of what we're doing up here," Stimpson said. "And Abigail Klein she's terrific."

    The rest of the cast are regional/local actors. Caroline Portu of New Hampshire plays Courtney's friend. "I think she's on the brink of being a star," Stimpson said.

    "Christmas On Ice" had its skates on for the shooting schedule, which was 13 days two five-day weeks, and one three-day week.

    "It's busy. It's a fast and aggressive schedule," Stimpson said.

    Even so, it just avoided what would be the pandemic shutdown.

    "We finished at the end of February, and boy it was in the nick of time. We pushed ahead post production with everyone working remotely."

    Stimpson was hoping to film "The Cape House" this past April, but with the pending November schedule he said, "we'll be able to shoot a Christmas movie closer to Christmas."

    With COVID-19 "the challenges are extraordinary. As an industry there are all kinds of new protocols to keep everyone safe and we're doing it to a 'T.' At Cape Cod we'll be in a bubble 12 days and test everyone multiple times."

    A desire for escapism coupled with the familiar comforts of the holidays might help explain why Lifetime is getting such a big jump start on holiday movies. The network is also showing some moving with the times in terms of inclusion and diversity. This year's movies will include the network's first-ever LGBTQ+ centered romance, "The Christmas Setup" (Dec. 12), which stars real-life couple Blake Lewis and Ben Lee. "Sugar & Spice" (Dec. 13) is the network's first holiday movie about a Chinese-American family. The film stars Jacky Lai, Tony Giroux and Tzi Ma

    Stimpson has been making plans during the COVID down time for his own future movies. "I've got multiple things lined up some of which I'm not at liberty to discuss," he said. "It's an exciting time. Things are starting to pop. It's exciting to think about doing more than one or two a year. It will allow us to have a much more vibrant company."

    With that, there is the ongoing debate about the merits of the Massachusetts film tax credit that gives incentives to filmmakers to shoot in the Bay State. There have been moves to eliminate it.

    "So much depends on the tax credit. We're talking with the Legislature to keep that in place," Stimpson said. "It's an important part of why Massachusetts is an attractive place (to make movies)."

    In Worcester, "We've had a lot of big projects coming in. It's going to be fun seeing the Liam Neeson. It's been exciting to see the giants of the film industry here in Massachusetts."

    Meanwhile, Stimpson plans to keep the cameras rolling in Worcester.

    "Yes, there will be many more," he said of shooting films here. "I've always embraced staying here and developing the talent and the crew because I'm here. This is home."

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    Deck the Halls and the Worcester Common: Locally-shot Christmas on Ice kicks off Lifetimes new holiday movies - Worcester Mag

    PHOTOS: Deck the Halls with Three NEW Holiday Spirit Jerseys at Walt Disney World – - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Even though its late October, Walt Disney World has already begun to haul out the holly with the release of new holiday merchandise, and today, weve found three new Spirit Jerseys inspired by the season!

    This forest green spirit jersey evokes thoughts of Christmas trees and my favorite thing to do with them: decorating!

    The back features the classic-style Walt Disney World logo with a Mickey Mouse-shaped ornament within the Disneys D.

    The front has the same D with the ornament above the phrase Est. 1971. With a big anniversary on the way, its a neat way to look forward to the coming new year.

    Even though Florida isnt known for getting a lot of snow (aside from the magic flurries Disney creates), you can shine up your winter with this white spirit jersey.

    Cinderella Castle appears in a few spots on the front and back of the Spirit Jersey, most prominently behind Walt Disney World written in gold.

    This is made with a soft plush material, hence the higher price.

    The front features a Mickey snowman decked out in its holiday finery.

    For the young ones, a new red youth Spirit Jersey stars Santas helper, Minnie Mouse!

    Speckled with sparkles, Minnie is decked out on the front like Old Saint Nick himself, wearing pointy shoes (and a peppermint in the middle of her bow) to show shes ready for the holidays.

    The back features the classic Walt Disney World logo in a glittery green.

    We found all three of these at BouTiki in Disneys Polynesian Village Resort, but theyre likely to appear elsewhere around resort property.

    Keep reading WDWNT as the holidays begin to arrive at Walt Disney World!


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    PHOTOS: Deck the Halls with Three NEW Holiday Spirit Jerseys at Walt Disney World -

    And Another Thing: The Grimly Funny Absurdity of Below Deck – Nashville Scene - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Ashley Spurgeon is a lifelong TV fan nay, expert and with her recurring television and pop-culture column "And Another Thing," she'll tell you what to watch, what to skip, and what's worth thinking more about.

    Life is busy, work is hard, and times are tough, so Ive been very, very intentional in my television viewing lately cruising for escapist smooth sailing. This includes gentle sitcom standbys like Frasier (the one with Derek Jacobi ), but sometimes, you (I) want to be bitchy too. As we all know, escapism and makin fun of dummies can best be found in one place: Bravo TV. Andy Cohens nightmare playground is chock-full of delightful human specimens, from Housewives to people who work for Housewives, but my household has fully spent the past couple weeks Below Deck.

    OK, so, apparently theres such a thing as a mega-yacht, and mega-yachts, like all yachts, need to be staffed. Below Deck follows the captain and crew of a series of hella-fancy party boats as they ferry the rich and not-so-famous from dinky little beach bar to dinky little beach bar across the bright blue seas. To be clear: The engine crew aka those who keep the boat from exploding (Tennessee is landlocked, bear with my definitions) dont really make appearances. When I say "staffed," I mean the stewards and deckhands who are expected to make tropical mega-yacht excursions the most exciting time of their guests lives, while also ensuring the guests continue to live life; there seems to be quite a bit of making sure over-served millionaires dont fall overboard. (Only funny when it happens to Goldie Hawn.)

    Were dealing with multiple subcultures in one show on Below Deck and its spinoffs: professionals in the hospitality industry who cater to the very wealthy; what Im going to refer to as Boat People, who were raised by the ocean and have varying degrees of nautical competency on deck; American counts and countesses (those who own successful small businesses in B-list cities no one cares about, tech turds, Im fairly sure a handful of pornographers); and attention-seeking functional alcoholics sometimes theyre the crew and sometimes theyre the guests.

    Obviously the guests change with every episode (though there are some repeat customers). But whats really fun is, most of the crew changes with every season too. Sometimes people get fired within a season and are replaced: I think this is a large part of the reason why Below Deck sometimes reminds me of early The Real World at its best. I dont want to say theres an innocence to the cast members theres definitely not but the stakes are very low for most of our stewards and deckhands: They want to hook up with hot roommates, get a little sand and sun, and try to work hungover.

    Friends, if you are in the mood for idiotic hardbody 20-somethings who are extremely confused by the concept of work after agreeing to be on a reality show about working have I got great news for you. Even better: Boats are extremely dangerous! So the tension between the Boat People (who grew up knowing about arms getting ripped off and whatnot) and the attention-seekers with poor impulse control who have been allowed (because Comcast said it was OK) to be in charge of potential life-or-death situations is palpable.

    One of my favorite reality TV cast members of the past few years is Kate Chastain, chief stew for most of our journey. She is, at heart, a Jeeves type: a professional servant with incredibly high standards. She knows shes good at what she does; most of the underlings can barely keep up. Id pity them if they didnt have such a bad attitude. Tips are on the line. Every episode culminates in the crew counting out a fat stack, sometimes $20,000-plus to split amongst 10 people.

    The sad fact is, most people dont deserve to be waited on by the likes of a woman like Kate even me, but especially most of these yacht-goers. And heres the fucked-up thing: Yeah, theyre rich. They can afford to rent a $50K mega-yacht for a week, fly all their friends out to the Caribbean, the good stuff. But still, these people are just renting mega-yachts. They dont own them. Theyre not having them custom-built. These guests dont own private islands; they own successful restaurants in Reno and Lake Tahoe. Theyre like, really good professional poker players.

    The sheer absurd pointlessness of it all is grimly funny; guests love the giant inflatable slide, which weighs hundreds of pounds and takes multiple people hours to assemble and disassemble, and is used for a grand total of 20 minutes. Lessons about responsibility are learned and forgotten in every episode. After hours, and if Captain Lee allows them off the boat, the crew immediately spends their tips, 20s trickling down to the same servers at the same dinky little beach bar the guests were enjoying the same Jack-and-Coke at, 12 hours earlier.

    See more here:
    And Another Thing: The Grimly Funny Absurdity of Below Deck - Nashville Scene

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