Letters to Holly

Monday, August 15

Make That Bird

We took a road trip to Greenville to see the Rollergirls. The home team is just starting, and their facilities are small. It's a county rec center, and the entire game -- bout, benches, audience, ticket booth -- was inside a hockey rink enclosure. You know the set-up the Asheville Civic Center uses for winter ice skating? We were in that in Greenville. Maybe three hundred people were in attendance, but I'm sure our team went through the same dues-paying foundation building.

I got to talk finally to my contest liaison, and she apologized for what happened with my logo design. I said I still consider the logo 90% my design (she agreed), and I still get to see it in action and on the streets. I told her I've worked for years in jobs where my artwork goes through committees. She seemed relieved.

Because this was the county pavilion, it's food bar catered to kids. No beer. We went to the afterparty to get our beer, and it was a karaoke party for the local team. Our team left early to drive back home, and we didn't stick around either. I did get to see four rollergirls table dance to Def Leppard, so I feel like I got my birthday party.

It was also the birthday of one of our rollergirls, and I congratulated her after the bout. Funny trivia: If you wanted to find anyone from the two teams in intermission or after the bouts, they were outside the pavilion smoking. How can they compete doing that?

Oh, and Your Sister gave me a six-pack of money to spend on the road trip.

A six-pack of money!

I spent Sunday fixing my DragonCon bird prop. My character, Shipwreck, has a green bird, and the one I bought in the Outer Banks is red.

It just wasn't close enough for my liking. I spent some lunch breaks buying glues and feathers and paints and devoted Sunday to my bird upgrade.

I peeled the feathers off the bird and arranged them in a vertical exploded fashion so I could see how many and in what arrangement I'd need to recreate with my new feathers.

But my new feathers were larger and fluffier -- more like duster feathers -- than the flat plastic originals. I could trim and cut, but the half-feathers fell apart. My bird would be fluffier. I couldn't avoid it.

The real trick was figuring how to apply them. The Elmer's glue I bought wouldn't adhere to the Styrofoam frame. By studying how the larger original feathers were attached, I saw that they were glued together and then glued to the bird. I was surprised the quills weren't jammed into the Styrofoam, but I decided to follow their method. I hot glued them together, and that was very successful. But applying hot glue to the frame was a problem because the hot glue ate into the frame. Eventually I tried rubber cement in the classic dry-to-dry method. That worked fine.

After periods of gluing feathers and frame and allowing them to dry before combining, I had a fully feathered bird.

The pictures make it look much less shaggy than it really is. It looks like it's molting. But it's now the proper colors.

I can trim and shape the feathers to smooth it out. That will be easy work after the experimentation of glues and paint. (Paint didn't work. I would need the plastic aerosol paint that you use for swing sets and metal benches. That would make the bird heavy and lacquered.)
Your Sister spent a lot of time this preparing her classroom for today's grand opening of the fall semester. I think she overplans, but I understand wanting to direct momentum.

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