Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Clear Scan #2

Very good news! My thyroid scan went very well. I needed two clear scans in a row and that what we got! So now I am finished with thyroid scans and getting radioactive every six months-- I won't miss that at all... well... playing with the giegercounter was fun, and being called 'hot' and we were able to make a lot of jokes about it... But this is a good thing and six months from now will be much more fun than getting ready for another scan!

Also I never crashed off my hormones like I was told to expect. I caught a cold and so I had a sore throat and a cough which was no fun but nothing like the horror stories I've heard. It got to the point that Dennis decided that apparently I do not need a thyroid and that thyroids are surprisingly optional. Which is fun to joke about (I had thoughts of making a "thyroid optional" t-shirt to wear to my scan) but I feel the need to give credit where credit is due.

Since this is a public blog I will keep it brief. At the beginning of all this, before the surgery, I received a priesthood blessing (it's a very awesome Mormon thing... if you have questions about it let me know and we can talk about it). It was a powerful experience in which I was told that I would be alright and that I would have strength. I truly believe this made the difference, why the doctor would look at my blood work numbers and tell me I should be feeling sick.

I am Grateful.

...and radioactive...

Monday, November 15, 2010

... Before the Break... Part 4 More Work on the Fair Displays

These small figures where for another county display at the fair. This display had several windows with different vignettes.

Sleeping old man with snot-nosed kid. (note all the fun outdoors-ie equipment of all the fun things one might do in that county)

A gold miner (because there used to gold in the county and folks would mine for it). Each of these figures are about 12 inches tall.

For the train conductor I channel Stan Laurel/ Dick van Dyke. Makes a fun face to make.

The romantic wine couple are a larger scale. Each head is about six inches tall. If you look closely (or click on the picture) you will notice that the lady had a thyroidectomy scar. After she was sculpted I asked Richard if she could have a scar like me (I may have even mentioned that thyroidectomies are never represented at the fair). He looked at me (perhaps to see if I was serious) then he said okay. I was really surprised at how happy this made me. So when I took the figure to Francine for painting I showed her my scar and she was all for it too. I love the people I work with! It's subtle, just like the real thing.

This one is of a farmer on a tipping ladder. Check out the crazy detail Nina put into the costume-- overall clasps!

This was a quick assignment Richard had me do for another county where we needed two silhouettes inside the tent-- storytime.

The Mark Twain relief and jumbo book were for Calaveras county. I wish I got a good picture of the whole display but none of them turned out. Mark and Dave not only had to design and build a 5' platform that would hold a Jeep (with a pile of props and mechanics) but also design and build a way for the Jeep to get up there. They ended up building a special cradle that would allow a forklift to pick it up but only contact the jack points. That was an exciting day.

It was hard for me to bring myself to replicate the original cover art on the book because... well... it's weird lookin'.

Here is another one of our counties, we do several of them. For me work at the fair goes in several fairly distinct phases. First I carve and sculpt and make things (puppet-type things.. I seem to have a niche for people and animals mostly). When everything for me to make is made (although things to be made can pop up later in the process) I move over to painting. It takes me about a day and a half to change gears and get into the painting groove. Sometimes I paint the things I sculpted sometimes I don't-- we have a very very good crew so I don't feel overly possessive, although when I do have a pretty clear idea of what I would like to see I communicate it (i.e. thyroidectomy scar).

When the painting is winding down the work shifts to placement--setting up the items to be displayed-- often involves pins and hot glue-- sometimes involves artifacts I'm nervous about touching (Richard will often do the really important ones). Placement is like a puzzle. Getting all the items you need to display in a specific space in an aesthetically pleasing way. Sometimes you have too much product with too little space and sometimes you have to make what you have look like more than it is to fill the space you've got. This is also the time when everything starts coming together and starts looking like a fair display. The finishing touches. Then I'm on clean up, dusting and the like, and sometimes some paint touch ups etc.

Those are the main jobs I do. There are many other people doing many other things that get the display ready for judging. It's great to work such a group!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

... Before the Break... Part 3 Work on the Fair Displays

This is the main project I worked on this summer for the California State Fair County Displays. For this display I sculpted all the heads and hands that took about a week of work as I recall. This is the first time I've actually felt fast. I like to think it comes from years of being slow, but paying attentions to what I was doing. I also made the fish, the dog and the instruments (the fiddle took the longest) as well as a tiny little bird that pops up out of the lady's hat and the boat with oar.

Looking at these photos I really miss how the fair used to have theatrical lighting for the fair displays-- it look so much nicer-- but I'm amazed with all the budget cuts that they are still doing the county displays at all so i guess I should just be grateful... and take my photos before everything is in place.

This is how this display looked as a whole. My dear puppetry professor Richard Bay designs them and Mark Baker of Fantasy Builders heads up the carpentry/engineering/ animation. They are great to work with... and I'm not just saying that because they hire me... but I'm glad they do!

Monday, November 1, 2010

... Before the Break... Part 2 my birthday


This is the first time I've been home for my birthday for eight years. I must say it was quite nice. Games were played, cake was eaten, fun was had! It really was fun to get to spend some purely fun time with the family. It was even worth the sunburn (my fault for forgetting my hat).

The part I got pictures of (on my camera anyway) was the pinata Jayna made! Really how can I not love this girl!?


She said she chose a spider because she felt responsible for making me afraid of them-- which she totally is! ;P The inside was filled with fun little toys and Reese's peanut butter cups which just so happen to be my favorite... and I'm guessing someone knew that! Thanks everyone for a really fun day that I still look back on and smile!