I helped Jodi today with his website. He’s ambitious enough to want to learn how to maintain it instead of just having me set it up for him. We’ll see how much he retains. Part of the challenge of doing this was that he’s on Mac and I’m PC. Things are different in Mac land, so we had to start off by finding an FTP server and an HTML editor for him. Everything looks fancy, but I found myself wishing that it would just go ahead do what I wanted it to, instead of swirling first. But all the swooshes and swoops were fun. I guess.
Anyway, the site is far from finished, but you can at least see his demo reel. He did this all by himself.
Installation went very well. The guys the University sent with the ladder were great and very friendly. They got my pulleys up, and the lines installed. The fish goes up and down like a dream. The fellow who hired me is ecstatic.
The show is Saturday night, I’ll try to get some good pictures. For those readers in Portland, Carp et Diva plays at 7:30, Saturday the 16th of April at Lewis & Clark College.
David and Eve invited us down to their home last night for a dinner that was not in honor of Rob’s fortieth birthday. Don and Yan joined us in not celebrating Rob’s birthday, which is on Tuesday, so this could not possibly have been a birthday party.
Eve gave Rob a leather jacket, not for his birthday, of course. Don gave Rob a bottle of wine from his birth year–coincidence, I’m sure.
The meal was lovely, Eve made a Morrocan feast with stuffed eggplant, a rice pilaf with pistachios, a spinach dish which I’ll need to get the recipe for, grilled vegetables and chicken kebabs. It was all delicious.
But had nothing to do with Rob’s birthday. Which is Tuesday.
I am building a giant carp for a new opera called Carp and Diva. I haven’t heard it yet, but the libretto is as silly as the title sounds. Since some people have asked what it is that I do, exactly, for a living, I thought I would show a bit of process. I start by meeting with the director, in this case the composer,and talking about the project. Then I do a drawing for their approval.
Once that is approved, I do a technical drawing, usually at full scale. This one is not very complicated since there are no mechanisms and the puppet is essentially a tube with decorations.
Next I make a pattern from the technical drawing and assemble the pieces. I’m using two types of foam here. The blue stuff is a polyethelyne foam and is fairly stiff, but still flexible. The white stuff is a reticulated foam called Dri-fast. I’m using it for the outer layer of the fish because it has some stretch to it. The pieces are held together with either hotglue, a contact cement called Barge (strong but toxic) or, ironically, fishing line.
After I get the shape built then I begin the process of covering the puppet with fabric. Most of the work is hand-stitched. At this point in the process of the fish I’ve done about seven hours of work. You’ll notice a small figure on the fish’s dorsal fin.
That’s a Flat Stanley that a friend has sent to visit me. I thought I’d take Stanley to work before sending him back to New York.
So there you go. That’s what I do for a living. I’ll post a picture of the fish when it’s finished.
All of the work that I’ve been doing with the Historic Irvington Home Tour has inspired us to start thinking about the next phase in home improvement. We love the new light fixture in the front hall, and the restored floor in the kitchen, so we’re looking at other ways to take the house back to its original state.
The first thing to tackle is the bathroom. Since the house originally had no running water, we’ve decided to remove the bathroom and replace it with an outhouse in the back yard. We think that will be more in keeping with the year, 1907, the house was built in and will cut down on water bills considerably. The biggest challenge will be installing a hand pump in the kitchen to pump water from the street. Although I’m excited by the renovations, I’m not sure how long it will take to heat water on our new woodstove for baths.
We found a lovely tin and enamel washbasin for the bath. We had considered using an old winebarrel as a nod to Rob’s days at the winery, but decided that it really didn’t fit with the rest of what we were trying to do.
Don’t worry, we won’t go crazy with this. I’m not ready to give up central heating yet! It’s just a little foolishness for April.
I had to run out to the studio tonight to pin together a piece for Martha to stitch tomorrow. When I got there, I turned on the florescent lights and immediately heard a crackling sound followed by a burning smell. Yikes. I turned them off and turned on the flashlight that Rob had brought from the Boeing Surplus Store for me. No flames, no smoke. The smell continued to be bad. I called the building manager while the smell proceeded to get worse. He didn’t answer his cell phone, so I finally called the non-emergency fire department number to ask for advice.
They said that the only way to make certain that had not started an electrical fire was to send a team out to check. Moments later–I mean really, I had time to walk to the front of the building–a fire truck pulled up and four members of the fire department trooped inside.
One of them said, “Looks like Little Shop of Horrors,” and then, “Does it always smell like this?”
The consensus was that it was a light ballast gone bad, but that I’d done the right thing by calling to be certain. Whew.
While Rob went off to play tennis, I spent a happy day editing short stories and my novel. I have to write a summary for it and a query letter, but I think I’ll be able to start sending it out in a couple of months.
I’ve done all of the grout work but…we had an issue with the faucet. Rob had taken the faucet off to allow me better access to the backsplash. We needed to get a new part for it while it was off so we went up to Home Depot. While we were gone, the water came back on. Mind you it had been off for the hour before we left. Rob had turned it off. We were home. We left. When we came back, the stub of the kitchen sink was trickling across the newly installed tiles and into the open hole where the sink belongs.
So. Two tiles have come off. We are running a fan in the space below the sink and trying to dry things out. Once it’s dry. I’ll place the missing two tiles, grout them and then we can install the sink. Sigh.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. Our kitchen counter has been decaying around the sink since before I bought the house. In fact, at one point things were actually sprouting in it. I pulled the counter apart, which, since it was rotten, mostly involved vacuuming it away. I’ve got the new frame in place as well as the new plywood underlayment. I’m working on the cement backerboard which will be followed by tile.
We went down to the Celsi’s last night to visit. We watched the Decline of the American Empire, which was good. Sadly, about half-way through it I discovered that I was jet-lagged and falling asleep.
The real highlight was seeing their daughter’s room, which Eve has just redone. It’s beautiful and makes me want to do more updates to our home. Not the best course of action if we are planning on moving. Which isn’t going to stop me from putting the new baseboards in. I’m heading out to buy the lumber today. I’ll just have to unearth the Shopsmith when I get home.
The latest Lazytown rumor is November, December with a break for Christmas, and then back for January, February. As always, I’ll believe it when I have a contract in hand.
(Tor Books — August 21, 2018) Continuing the grand sweep of alternate history laid out in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars. Of course, the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, […]