Monday, May 31, 2010

Electronic Crawdad Sock Screws

*Styrofoam is a strange material to work with in a sculptural setting. I've been playing around with blocks of expanded styrofoam and have had reasonable success carving them into basic shapes. The key that I found is to use a very sharp blade and slice into it. Trying to push carve like you'd do with a chisel just crushes the structure of the foam. I've had pretty good luck using both X-Acto knives and scalpels. The thought of using a heat wire had occurred to me, but the fumes from this stuff when you melt it are pretty darn nasty. And since it's not like model making foam or floral foam, you can't use a rasp on it either. Why would I choose to work with such a pain in the ass material? The same reason that I've wound up working with a lot of other pain in the ass materials-it's free and plentiful. And it intrigued me. But now it's getting past the initial interest stage and starting to get to the pain in the ass stage. The foam that I'm using is denser than most, but not the top end by any means. So, the cut surface looks like, well, styrofoam. You know, white and kinda pebbly. My though was that I could treat the surface so that it would harden up and give a different texture. I was hoping for something more stone-like in appearance and texture, which I could then paint or color with markers. Thought about using a weak acetone solution, but didn't really want to have to play around with trying to figure out the right concentration. Opted to use fire instead. Not a great leap forward in the safety arena, I must admit. Still, it's something widely available, and fairly easy to control. And it worked. Gently heating the surface of the styrofoam caused it to melt and draw up into a rather stonish look. The hard part thus far has been using something that heats gently enough to melt the foam without setting it on fire but also doesn't take forever. My best solution so far? Incense. One lit stick of that gives me a nice controllable heat source that I can easily hold like a pencil, without setting myself, or anything else in the immediate vicinity, on fire. We'll just have to wait and see how the carvings turn out, though.

*Thought for a brief second that I had found my way back onto Eve's list, but I'm guessing it was just an oversight on her part.

*The self titled debut album from the now defunct rock group Damn Yankees has been seeing a lot of play in my car stereo recently. For some reason this one really takes me back to certain Peoria summers. Cruising around in the white Probe. Hanging out at Lums till all hours of the night. Underage drinking. And of course, Vicky, Dee Dee, and Leesa. Had I spent a lot less time totally drunk during those years, who knows how things would have ended up turning out. Maybe they would have ended up just the way they are now. Maybe not. Oh, well. I think I've pretty much exhausted my analysis of that time period. My unfortunate conclusion is that I don't think there's much of anything left for me to discover there. Would it were that it was different.

*It really does seem like nobody plays cards anymore.

*Why is it that the plants I am really set to not like (not counting weeds) are the first ones to start popping up? Those freaking shasta daisies are already coming up, and I have yet to see evidence of either of the other two things I planted. And that reminds me that I need to get the ground on the side of the garage turned over if I have any realistic hope of getting the black eyed susans in over there this year. And now the Boss has expressed interest in that same patch of ground for planting lavender. Not that she would be the one doing the planting and tending, mind you.

*Three. That is the number of Chef mai tais it takes to get me looped. Solidly looped. How do I know? That is how many I had when we went out to a mini-meet at the Chef this past Sunday night, after which I was indeed quite solidy looped. Now, the ones I make at home get me solidly buzzed after 2, but the other FOM folks say the mai tais at the Chef are at the top of the heap as far as alcohol content goes. Go figure that's the drink I latched on to. Now that I know my mai tai limits, I have really got to get used to the time schedule these folks run on, since it is not the same one I run on. Showed up there right around 8, waited in the bar till 8:30, and then got ourselves a table. But, once we found out that the restaurant was open till 10:30 on Sunday night, time frames didn't seem to matter as much. Still, it's something I need to get used to. By the time Dave, Don, and Coalbe got there, the Boss and I had already pretty much finished our food and were debating a second round of cocktails. After they came in and got settled, things just rolled right along. Had a freakin blast. And to Don's wife, proprietor of Tortuga Tile Works (go check them out!), I swear I told your husband 'no tongue'. Pay no attention to any pictures that you may have occasion to see. Later on in the evening, Dime and his fiancé came by and the conversation began to wander wildly, taking in such topics as rebel flags, fetish wear, rattan, and craft fairs. Next thing I know, it's 11:30. By that time, I had pouted my way into scoring a couple of souvenir menus and a Fu Manchu mug. I had also contributed a small carving to the next 3rd Saturday get together raffle as a blatant act of self-promotion within the group. I also heard that there was an Adopt-A-Noob program for Ohana. That really grabbed my interest, since a big part of the reason I decided not to go in the first place was that I didn't really know anyone in the group. Now, I may have to change my mind. Festiki and the Chef's 35th are both on weekends I work. I may be able to get one or the other off, but it's unlikely that I will get both. Plus, Festiki is all the way out in Columbus, which isn't exactly a short drive from here. I'm already on vacation when Ohana is scheduled, so there's no real good reason I shoulldn't go. Just need to get my shit in gear and figure out how to get out there. Guess I'll be sending out some emails to some FOM folks to get some ideas of what I need to do to make it out there. I also need to get some recommendations of where to get bamboo, thatch, and woven matting.

*I had considered getting a scissor lift for the studio to make it easier for me to adjust the height of things I'm working on, but with prices that start around $300 and go well into the $5000+ range, I guess I'll just be going back to using endless numbers of 2X4's to jack stuff up. Not that it really matters a whole lot. The main thing is that I spent a good part of two days in a row out in the studio this weekend. That's a good start towards having a very productive summer. However, it is also true that not being squished under a 500 lb log would also be a good thing.

*The Boss has informed me that the mosquitoes are now out and active. And there are a lot of them. What this means is that if they are thick enough out there that she is getting bitten, the first time I dare wander outside after twilight I will be attacked without mercy by hordes of those tiny winged parasites and left a dry, welt-riddled corpse. Not really what I'm looking for out of my summer.

*OK, there really is no longer any 'think' about it. I am hooked on "Lost". Dammit.

*This is my week to do the shopping and cooking for the two of us. But, she's heading up to MN on Friday, so I might be able to get away with a short list of recipes. Gee, maybe I should use some of that extra time to get some of the paperwork done. Or to figure out just how the hell I'm going to get to Ohana.

*I have pawed my way through most of my boxed tiki collection and have yet to find my other Aku Aku rum barrel. Not that I want both of them on display, but the one that I can't find is the one that has the good luck coins that I do want to display inside of it. Could have sworn that I had more matchbooks than I have run across, too. And more ideas for redesigning various parts of the Blue Moai Room are starting to take shape. And that would mean that I left the design alone for all of 2 months before I started changing things around.


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