if it were a snake

my dad loved to remark, when we were looking for something that was under our noses, that if it were a snake it would have bit us.  he also liked to say people in hell want ice water, and we’d just point to our fridge, where we could get it out of the door.  it was a wry reflection on our subjugation, despite all modern conveniences.  well, i showed him later.  i make ice all summer long now, and use it in my drinks, and to make the point even more strongly, i refuse to turn the air conditioning on at all, meaning that i’m expressing my freedom to do it my way, the ultimate revenge on those who wanted you to do it their way.  and now hahahhahaaha my kid is doing it her way, so there.

right.  what did i do today?  i”ve got pictures.  i keep forgetting to get pictures of the phone; earlier i kept forgetting to mention the phone, and this reflects my distaste for cellphones.  that’s my inner luddite expressing herself.

one thing i did today was to burn the ice cream.  eh?  i always make a custard ice cream, and i’m getting sort of good at it, having been making a half gallon of ice cream about every two weeks for the past year.  a custard is boiled milk and eggs.  you make it with whatever flavorings you want (grown-up chocolate my way: 1/2 and 1/2, whipping cream, hershey’s special dark cocoa, utter, coconut milk, coconut oil, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, ground coffee, chili powder, vanilla, fructose crystals (diabetic), molasses, a pinch of salt), let it cool overnight, and next day do the churny thing with a bag of ice and a box of salt.  add nuts, pack into plastic ice cream box, freeze.  it’s not the same texture as boughten ice cream, but who the hell cares?  it tastes just like i want it to, and i know all the ingredients (because with ice cream it’s all voluntary – they don’t actually have to list the ingredients, because ice cream isn’t considered a food, so they don’t list all the ingredients. )

anyway, i burnt it.  during my lunch break, i put the bottom of the double boiler on the fire with plenty of water in the bottom, turned the heat down once it boiled so it would simmer, dumped the 1/2 and 1/2 in the upper pan on top of all the spices and fats and the cocoa, stirred desultorily because the butter and frozen coconut oil were still hard, and left it to go down to the studio.  and hours later came back upstairs and wondered who’d burned lunch.

and it was me.  the water had boiled away, and the air inside the double boiler superheated, and the upper pan overheated, and when i took the lid off the damned thing was boiling.  ak.  stuck to the bottom, scorched.  ruined.  you’d think.

but i transferred the lumpy mess to another bowl, tempered three eggs, and stirred them in, doing what i could to break up the lumps.  then i stuck it in the fridge.  it’ll be strong, and burnt.  i’ll call it charbucks coffee flavor.  and i’ll add nuts to offset, or enhance, or hide, the lumpiness.  and maybe i’ll add some mint oil, or cinnamon oil.  maybe a lot.

anyway, what i did downstairs.

the plans won’t fit all the way around, because they go underneath his arm and around the badge, and around the top and bottom joins of the pipe to the body.  so i’ve been cutting on the plans ever since i started fitting it up against the pipe.

so today i thinned some acrylic gel medium and spread it onto the back of the plans, and put it on the dolphin.  and it wouldn’t stick.  so i pulled it off and lay the paper on its back and let it dry.  the coat of acrylic would strengthen it.  turns out several of the panel insets pulled away from the holes.  i had only given them the barest sliver of an overlap when i cut and assembled them, and the first thing that happens when you get paper wet is that it stretches.  so i had to put several insets back into place and glue them together again.

when it was dry i tried again, putting more gel medium on.  and put it on the pipe.  because i’d cut things away precisely, it fit adequately around the obstacles.  but then the paper started stretching, getting like fabric, and i started getting airholes, and parts came apart, and parts had to be shifted.  and when i went to squeeze the air out, my hands started sticking, so i brushed acrylic over the top of the plans, and then the whole thing was wet and i could slide the air bubbles out, or at least cut a slit with a razor blade and squeeze them out there.  the stretching meant there are a lot of wrinkles.  you can sort of see them above.

but it’s not visible at a distance, especially not at 8-10′, where it’s meant to be seen from.  you can see that the shirt texture, for instance, looks pretty ragged from here.  even tho you’ve seen it lately looking pretty good from across the room.  remember, i don’t want it to look perfect.  slick is bad.

i did paint the edge, where the plans meet the back, and then went around the base and brushed on and wiped off the blue on the waves.  the blue-black was thick and went on very dark, and i only wiped off the most prominent humps.  it looks very nice now, very rich and deeply shaded.

then i took a paper towel and some alcohol and cleaned the paint off the hardhat.  it works really well, alcohol, and it’s almost entirely white again.

i noticed yesterday that there is still space inside the apron.  like, when you push in with your finger, it moves, alot.  and that’ll crack the topcoat.  i had to fill it.  so i took a kid’s medicine syringe, with a tiny opening, cut a hole in the fabric with a razor blade, pried it open, and squirted gel medium into the hole, squishing it around inside with a finger while carefully holding the hole shut with the other finger.

i finally got around to doing the white lettering on the home depot square.  i’d been putting it off, but with my glasses, a flashlight, and my smallest brush, i put titanium/lead white on, two coats.  you can also see the paintbrush looking more convincing, tho all i did was touch up the orange.

here’s the mckenney’s patch getting done.  yesterday i painted it roughly the shirt color, and today i went over all the cracks with dark gray, and then since that wasn’t good enough, black.  my smallest brush, my glasses, a flashlight in broad daylight.  and now you can read it.  yay.

i asked jim to do the shoelaces for me, because for some reason i have a fear of it.  no, what happened was that the first time i did the laces it was with goopy paint and a poor quality brush, and the results spooked me.  i’ve since gotten better at precision painting; it’s a learning curve.  anyway, didn’t he do a convincing job of bootlaces and whatever those metal shoelace grommets are called?

and then i worked on the badge, lettering in everything with that tiny brush, checking the reds before putting them on, there are my classes at the bottom, along with a blotting cloth, and there’s the jar of white.  what’s missing is the name of the dolphin.

note, all you mckenney’s employees.  i’ve been asked not to reveal the name of your dolphin, and i think it’s a good idea.  i mean, you had a contest, and out of that came what i consider to be the perfect name.  and it’s going on the badge.  but if i were to reveal it, somebody would clean up at the bookies’, and i don’t want that, so i’m cooperating to keep the name from you (see photoshopped black box?).  yeah.

i haven’t finished the phone, like i said, and there’s the olfa cutter, the boots need finishing, and the line on the khaki pants, the skin still needs adjusting.  touches on the pipes?  scraping the pins and badges.  the electric cord one more time in certain spots.  i don’t know what else.

but i have tomorrow and sunday to do it.  and that’s going to be the end of that.

time for the dog walk and my ice cream.  tomorrow i make more, because i’m finishing it off tonight. yeah.


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