I’ve been working in the lab again, doing character development. I am looking forward to working with these fine folks.
Here are some newish characters. Two of a kind, to be sure.
Almost 7 years in, the Giant Circus Peanut™ is still standing in my kids’ backyard. Squirrels and birds live in, which makes me feel a lot better about some of the materials I used to make it.
May, 2017. The peanut has fallen. Due to the weeds and fencing, I cannot see why it fell. It’s been overgrown and neglected for years. Maybe the animals finally gnawed through the base.
September 2017. This just in:
For years, I’ve been bringing dead raccoons home to bury them in a makeshift pet cemetery. It is a nice thing to do for them, and it provides a safe way for me to interact with them.
I recently started a new taxidermy experiment. I’m not so interested in stuffing them at this point (although I would love to own some stuffed raccoons), but I AM interested in their bones.
Instead of burying them and reclaiming the bones later, I am trying a new approach, which is to keep them in a cage above ground until they fully decompose.
The photo below is from a few weeks ago. Living in such a rural place has been a big advantage. There is a sad abundance of dead raccoons, and the nearest neighbors are far enough away that smell hasn’t been an issue.
I introduced meal worms to the bodies shown above. Once the bones are exposed, I’ll put them in a box with more meal worms, as they are supposed to rapidly clean the bones. My cage has successfully frustrated visiting vultures and other critters.
I will make 3D scans of my clean bones. I’ll process those scans into .stl files, which I can then print using a MakerBot or similar (as I do with action figures).
I’ll have new, plastic skeletons to use in my work. They can be armatures, charters or sculptures.
Some years ago, I wrote about how to “Make your own Action Figures.” When I was a boy, I used to melt various plastic figures into new, fantastic creatures. In a celebration of the last Sunday of August, Leezle and I created prototypes of new monsters using dinosaurs from the dollar isle at Target.
First, we dissected the figures using X-acto blades. Then, we attempted to melt/fuse the parts together with a magnifying glass and the sun. It was late afternoon, and we didn’t have much success (although we did let the smoke out of a couple of leaves and twigs).
We ended up using a mini-butane torch, which worked really well.
I must say the following: ANY KIDS READING THIS – DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT ADULT SUPERVISION. MAKE ALL FIGURES IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA. The plastic is really smelly and bad for you. And the butane flame is not good for general health, either.
Luckily, I had Leezle to supervise me.
More to follow.
I helped Leezle explore a STEM science project for school. She designed a roller coaster. She wanted it to be music based. I found an old guitar in some trash (where else would a raccoon be?) and picked up an old, used violin. She decided the guitar body worked better.
We were able to meet the requirements of the assignment, and we proved that SCIENCE does, in fact, exist.
Mount Royal Avenue is now circus peanut free. It returned home safely after being on display in Baltimore city for 149 days.
There are several features about this piece that I haven’t yet shared – the PVC backbone contains actual circus peanuts. And the inside of the sculpture base is manned by these two fellows who kept an eye on things for me, since I obviously couldn’t be there.
Now you know.
And, there’s more to the story.