July 11, 2011

My Angry Birdcage

I play Angry Birds almost every day, and what of it, Blog? I will not go to rehab, no, no, no. In fact, I was determined to celebrate my addiction with some sort of appropriate craft project. Hence...my Angry Birdcage.

Obviously polymer clay was the medium of choice for making some Angry Birds, so I thought about what best to do with some Bird sculptures. I considered jewelry with Bird beads, but worried that their little crest and tail feathers might break off. To keep the bitty creatures safe, what better solution than a cage? Of course, that would require a cage in the proper scale...

Optimistically, while out on a walk with Davie, I scored a nice fallen branchlet to use for perches in my cage. And then Saturday, while shopping the 99% useless and pretty scary Everything Must Go sale at our local closing World Market, what should I find but a perfect cage for six bucks! Kismet.

So I modeled my birds to the scale of the cage, which I won't deny was a bit of a challenge, Blog. Itty bitty beaks, itty bitty tails, and almost invisibly small eye pupils, oh my. And that Blue Bird? Kinda maddening to sculpt.

Our cat Selke will demonstrate the size we are talking about here. Keep in mind she is a very small cat.

The Red Angry Bird looked nervous as well as angry. Even after he was joined by his brethren, he appeared quite on the verse of swooning. Life would be safer in a cat-proof cage.

And so I installed my twigs in the cage, lining the bottom with some moss. I mounted the Birds with Fabric Glue, which I have to tell you is awesome for an application like this. It acts as if you are creating tiny, gripping rubber bands on the fly, that can be moved around a bit to secure Bird to branch. Thank heavens for that glue...it was a real pain (ship in a bottle variety) arranging those Birds.

Quite a fine habitat if I do say so myself, and the Birds seemed pleased as well as angry.  Green Boomerang Bird looks elated, and Black Bomb Bird looks thrilled, don't you agree, Blog? I mean, as well as angry?

And here are Blue Splitting-into-Three-Birds Bird, White Egg-Dropping Bird, and Yellow Zipping Bird, getting their party on.

You'll be glad to know we have the perfect spot for this cage to hang, in the faux tree o' lights in the living room. Check out how totally awesome it looks at night, like an Angry Birdcage Disco:

Soooweet! Now our only challenge is to keep the Toast-Powered Levitating Cat from dive-bombing the little critters....

July 7, 2011

Aggie FTW! (Hollywood Book Festival, that is)

Awesome news, Blog...and I couldn't wait to share it! The Hollywood Book Festival just announced the 2011 winners of its book competition, and Aggie's Nine Heroes won honorable mention in the Fiction book category. And they say it was a huge field of competitors this year!

Winners are chosen based on the author's storytelling ability (blush, blush) and the book's deserving  recognition by the film, television, game and multimedia communities.

So far Aggie is one-for-one in book competitions, so let's hope this will encourage more people to find out what makes it such a great book. Hey, don't take the author's word for it...ask the judges! :-)

July 6, 2011

Sometimes I'm cranky especially at dorks like this

Blog, I'm the kind of person who can be livid and no one notices. I just seem way nice all the time, or at least mild-mannered. Nevertheless, I do get really mad, especially at incompetence. And what I call "incompetence" is sometimes stuff that no one else even notices, I'm sure. Here's an example...

I really hate it when people behind the wheel are oblivious to the needs of other drivers around them. Today I experienced a classic example of this during morning rush hour. Here's the scenario, Blog. There was this huge line in the left lane at the stoplight because everyone was needing, one intersection further on, to be on the left to enter the freeway. I decided rather than get in that long queue, what the heck, I would get in the middle lane. I kinda figured I'd be able to merge to the left in the short block before that freeway ramp.

Why did I figure this? Because there's always at least one dork who doesn't move forward. Either....

1. they feel that one must leave three car lengths when going 10 mph, or
2. they are putting on their makeup and need to finish the lipstick before pulling forward, or
3. they just don't watch for the light to change

It's 3 that really irks me. If you are in the all important position of watching for the green light, you owe it to the people behind you to initiate motion ASAP. Your dawdling could cost some person (like me) two minutes on their work time clock if the light goes red before their turn.

So, this morning, natch, there was one of these #3 dorks at the head of the line. Here's your aerial view, Blog:

I am SO glad I didn't get into the left lane.  Here's what happened:

So I got skips over like 25 cars.  And probably saved two sessions of lights worth of time. No harm to the waiting cars, that would have been unused empty space had I not gone ahead.  And who knows, Blog, it might have been my passing and moving into the left lane that tipped off Stupid Red Car to notice the light changed.

I gloated. I only wish there had been a way to transport that car to the end of the line.

People, people...when traffic is heavy and lights are short, get your car through as fast as you safely can. Some may think this is the raving of a Type A personality, but I just think it's courtesy. Right, Blog?

July 3, 2011

The Toast-Powered Cat Levitation Device

Blog, we all know about the mind-blowing paradox of what would happen if you affixed a piece of buttered toast on the back of a cat and then dropped said cat. Because there are two immutable principles in the Universe:

1. A cat always lands on its feet.

2. Toast always lands buttered-side down.

I am not the first to theorize that were you to strap toast to a cat, the only possible result would be that it would remain suspended in the air. Now, what if you were to also contrive headgear for said cat that would allow it, via brainwaves, to control the direction of the contradictory cat/toast forces?

Well, you would undoubtedly get something like this:

Today I built an experimental scale model of the Toast-Powered Cat Levitation Device, including Toast Pack and Control Headgear. Don't tell me this isn't just awesome. In case you are too stunned to believe your own eyes, look again:

Sure enough, it IS real, Blog! In an artificial sort of way! And theoretical! No doubt you are dying to know how you too can make your own T-PCLD, because that is the natural human response to these photos. Never fear, I am here to provide complete directions.

1. The next time you throw away an old calculator, be sure to do as I did: take it apart and save the clear plastic circuitry sheet. Because you just never know, do you? Ditto the weird green bottle top, scraps of aluminum and brass, odd hardware doohickeys, leather lacing, and copper wire.

2. While it is possible to do this with real toast and a real cat, remember you are making a scale model and resist the temptation. Find a cat Beanie Baby and open a seam to remove the beans. (Q: What color are the beans in a Beanie Baby? A: Pearly white. Or as Davie would reply, "Magic.") Replace the beans with fiberfill stuffing, and resew the open seam. You may also want to replace the lame thread whiskers with nice springy ones made from Tiger Tail type beading wire, as I did. And take off the Ty tag, it will interfere with the brain waves.

3. Make a piece of buttered toast from polymer clay. This requires ivory and brown clay, textured with a toothbrush and needles, then painted toasty with brown eyeshadow. Make a nice melty butter pat of light yellow, and be sure to paint the pat with Future for shininess after baking your clay toast.

4. For the Toast Pack, curve the brass sheet around the cat's body. Determine the spot above the cat's body + equipment. Remove sheet from cat and drill a hole at the spot with your Dremel tool. Affix the circuitry sheet with a little Super Glue at the edges. Wrap with the aluminum strip. String colorless thread, doubled, or fishing line through the hole, and tie to a piece of bent wire inside the device. Secure wire and thread with clear packing tape. Mount toast to top of Toast Pack with Gorilla Glue.

5. For the Headgear, curl the wire with round pliers and bend into scientifically appropriate shape. Leave a long end to stick inside bottle top, threading also through weird hardware, which should fit snugly on the bottle top tip. Bend end of wire under head bracket to hold bracked in place against bottle top. Pack inside of bottle top with foil to secure wire in position. Run leather lacing through holes in head bracket, pulling tight to hold bracket snugly against wire and bottle top.

6. Slip the cat, hind legs first, into the Toast Pack. Put Headgear on the cat's head and tie leather lacing to secure. Tie the other end of the colorless thread or fishing line to a strong magnet. Now you can hang the cat from iron or steel objects, or use a large steel washer and pinch a flat mounting object between magnet and washer. It's portable! Of course!

Then let your cat fly and watch the amazing results. Birds beware! Dog, pooh on you! Firemen, no need for those tree rescues! NASA, eat your heart out! Okay, so that was hyperbole.

Blog, don't you love science? It's so exciting.

July 1, 2011

Stuff I wouldn't buy even if I were filthy rich

Hey Blog, ever daydream about what you'd buy with your lottery winnings? I know, what can an anthropomorphized disembodied being use, really? Well, this week a person in my life spent a carpload of money on a luxury item and it got me to thinking about the Two Categories of Luxury Stuff. You know, "Stuff I would buy only if I were filthy rich" and "Stuff I wouldn't buy even if I were filthy rich."

See, Blog, to each of us there are some things that people get all hepped up about that we don't covet at all. Things that make a person say to herself, "Jeez, imagine the great stuff you could buy with the money you threw away on that lame thing!" I'm sure everyone in the blogosphere is wondering what luxury items just leave me cold, so here are a few:

1. Jewelry that features giant diamonds.

2. Memorabilia items owned by famous celebrities.

3. Sets of super expensive matching furniture, and/or stainless steel appliances.

4. A luxury car like a BMW.

5. An iPhone and/or a Mac. Yeah, I'm that way.

6. Front row seats to a concert by some hugely popular artist/band.

7. Designer clothes, shoes, and/or purses.

8. Celery. I really don't like celery at all.

9. A private plane.

10. Tickets to the Super Bowl for life.

So, because everyone in the blogosphere really wants to know, here are some things I would buy only if I were filthy rich:

1. A boat and a lake property where I could keep it. And also someone to take care of said boat.

2. Some really awesome art like maybe a glass piece by Dale Chululy.

3. A rock wall and water feature built into my living room.

4. A private seminar on polymer clay art with Christi Friesen.

5. A home theater system with leather recliners and stuff.

6. Lobster for dinner on a regular basis.

7. A wing in my house that I could convert to a home for a couple dozen shelter cats.

8. A ton of advertising in every possible medium for my books.

9. A vacation home in a warmer clime where I could live in the winter when Wisconsin sucks.

10. Two weeks in NYC and tickets to every show on Broadway and to the Tonys. Annually.

So readers, what do you think? Is there a luxury item you can't see ever wanting to own? What would be your first luxury purchase after the windfall?

Oh, and I would not keep the Chululy in the part of the house with the couple dozen cats.