July 3, 2017

On Rainbow Penguins, Nails and Birds

Work on kanzashi continues apace, with a record 35 different styles to be completed by convention time, at least. I’ve been knuckle deep in Sculpey, making everything from superhero emblems to faces to 8-bit scenery to candies.

Oh, and rainbow penguins. I swear that’s not as much of a non sequitur as it sounds. You see, last year my friend Jenn (of Dsgngrl crochet fame) made a penguin out of this great rainbow yarn.  It was adorable, and when she posted the preview of it on Instagram to let people know it would be for sale at the Womanthology Artist’s Alley table, the response was…enthused, to say the least.

For all four days of the convention, people tracked down the table, looking for that penguin.  They had to make a sign saying they were sold out (Jenn even frantically made more in the hotel room at night).  There was community-wide disappointment.  My artist friend Chandra (of Greystone Studios fame) started doing rainbow penguin sketches to alleviate some of the pain.

You know how they say that you don’t choose what you become famous for?  Well, people are already asking for the rainbow penguins again. It’s become something of a symbol for our group (Studio?  Conclave? Guild?). Jenn is crocheting penguins, Chandra is drawing penguins, so I figured I had better ought to make us some brightly colored rainbow penguins.

I think I succeeded? They are definitely rainbow.  And penguins. Alas, they lack the dapper top hat.

So if you happen to see a bright rainbow penguin in someone’s hair during Comic-Con, you’ve found us.  In all our rainbow penguin glory.  Thereby to gain crocheted, drawn, or folded fabric cuteness for the greater good of all.

(I promise I will do a full post for the nerdy kanzashi soon. They’re mostly still in process, but they are coming out FABULOUS.)

In somewhat unfortunate news, my geek crafty schedule was somewhat hampered by a manifestation of my bizarre injury curse. My day job involves the local transit company and the engineering of new light rail lines, so I ride the bus and train a lot (for free, which is nice since I can’t afford parking). Because seats are at a premium, I walk many, many blocks to get to the stations early enough on the line for there to be places to plant my butt.  These walks are usually about 12-15 blocks, roughly 3/4 of a mile.  Having invested in proper hiking sandals makes this walk very tolerable, and I get my daily step count in with a minimum of bloody injury. In the usual course of things.

There is a construction site along said route, and for the most part they are neat and tidy about their wanton demolition of historic brick buildings. This day, however, neither they nor I could avoid the curse. The curse says that if too much time passes between bizarre accidents, the simulation will recognize itself and we all die, so the Matrix must glitch with regularity.

All this fancy lead up is to explain that I stepped on a nail. But not in the normal way, because that would make sense. ANYONE can step on a nail THROUGH their shoe. That kind of injury is for amateurs. Not for me, and unsatisfactory for the fulfillment of the curse criteria. In some magic convergence of physics, I managed to kick a random nail (probably a byproduct of the aforementioned construction site) with my sandal, pick up my foot to catch it in a perfect arc in the heel cup of my sandal, and wedge it between my foot and the sandal at the perfect angle to impale me. So in spite of all the evolutionary advantages gained by the invention of footwear, I still stepped on a nail with my bare foot…in shoes.

Not only did I step on it, I also didn’t recognize it for what it was. My brain went, “Ow, there is a rock in my sandal!” and I raised my foot, shook it vigorously to dislodge the foreign object, and stepped down again, further impaling my foot on said tiny weapon.

You know that moment when your brain goes, “Oh dear. This is not the normal amount of pain I expected in this situation” and you start to break out in a cold sweat? Yeah, that, but with questing fingers to find a bloody goddamned nail in your heel, sunk in about half its length. Then your brain abruptly jolts into fight or flight, and you stupidly yank out the nail because you don’t want to step on it again, forgetting that you are in the middle of a sidewalk with no access to medical care and nothing to stem the blood that comes spurting out now that you’ve removed the blockage.

Bless the people at the Chipotle on the corner next to the train station. Bless them for not asking questions as I hopped in, gore-dripping hands clenched around one foot.  They handed me a fist full of napkins and the bathroom code in about 10 seconds flat. Five minutes later, about 20 napkins wedged under my foot and relatively cleansed of bloody smears, I returned to the counter to buy dinner, because hell if I was going to stop anywhere else along the way home to get food.

They gave me a discount, because sympathy is worth 15% off carnitas bowls with a side of hobbling.

Luckily this is not my first impalement this decade, so I am current on my Tetanus shot. I got home, chucked the sandal in a bucket of Oxiclean, did a Epsom salt soak for the wound and bandaged the hell out of it. A week later and I’m relatively limp free. Glitch thrown, Matrix rebooted, simulation continues. UNTIL NEXT TIME.

We attempt to return to our regular crafting channel, wherein fabric is shaped and sewn and things are sculpted, but it is not to be.

Because birds.

My house got re-roofed about two years ago, and the guys doing it installed all new vents to our HVAC system. These vents are apparently not bird-proof, because the little feathered monsters regularly make their way into the ducting of the house, scratching and fluttering and generally making a menace of themselves while driving my dogs loudly insane. Fortunately until now, their single path through the system has been from the roof by my bedroom straight down to the furnace, and out into the garage, where I can turn them loose by opening the door. I’ve seen birds as large as doves do this, which seems impossible but somehow keeps happening (the vent slots are like an inch wide.  Just…how?!).

This has been an every other week occurrence, until last night.

The dogs were restless, I heard the usual scratching in the wall, and I waited, periodically checking the garage for feathered intruders. Sophie, my terrier, got more and more agitated, running laps around the downstairs and barking at nothing. I walked into the living room to shush her, and the floor vent started rattling.

Most people don’t have to put up with a Hitchcockian incursion from their freaking floor vents, feathers and claws stabbing through, trying to get at your eyeballs. Houses were invented to prevent any Nature from gouging at your mucous membranes, dammit. Nature is not allowed in my living room. There is a clause in the mortgage paperwork. I’m almost certain of this.

Not only was the bird trying to get in through the floor vent, it couldn’t make up its mind which vent it wanted to invade through, so I (and my increasingly panicked dogs) had to guard them all. What do you in this situation? Leave it to die in there? No, then its corpse will contaminate the system, and I acquire a new set of guilty nightmares. Call animal control? No dice, they leave bird handling to the Audubon Society. Sure, the bird people can come out. Middle of next week, after the bird is long dead.  Great.

WAIT. There was a place in the kitchen, where the installation of the flooring made the vent area too small for a cover. It was wide open for class Aves invasion. Shit. SHIT.

It was time for desperate measures. I picked my vent (in the dining room, because there are hardwood floors in there), grabbed a mesh laundry basket, yanked up the vent cover, and threw the basket over the top. Just in time. Like a Xenomorph in wait, the bird exploded out of the vent right as my hands clamped the basket down. I had the demon by the horns, now. Throwing open the back door, I hurled the whole affair out the airlock and slammed it shut, watching as the beast flew to the nearest tree, and then hung there, watching me as I was watching it. In that moment, I knew. That little pestilence is coming back. She’s biding her time, watching, waiting. Next time, she thinks. Next time, straight for the eyeballs.

So that was my week. How was yours?

(week 2 of ? in my writing challenge)