Monday, May 12, 2008

The Kaboom Bird

Written 6 May, 2008

The Kaboom Bird

Before there was a steam engine, there was the Kaboom bird.

The Giant Whimsy bobbing bird is named Bob, Kaboom’s bobbing bird was to be named Rocky.

That was my plan, anyway. But Rocky turned out to be a girl bird.

I didn’t set out to make her female. She just turned out that way. One of those mysteries of creation, I guess.

It probably wouldn’t be fair to name a giant bobbing girl bird Rocky; all the other giant bobbing birds would make fun of her. So we’re at a loss for a name. I would appreciate any suggestions. Until her christening, she’ll just be the Kaboom bird.

Nah, let’s not be sexist. Girls can be called Rocky, too. So it’s decided. Her name, or maybe her nickname, is Rocky.

Rocky it is.

Nope, nope, nope. Rocky was just vetoed by Sweetie, who has veto power at Whimsy and hates the name Rocky for both boy and girl giant bobbing birds. I think it’s because she hasn’t quite yet surpassed Sylvester Stallone’s body count in Rambo.

She was one-up on Stallone, but then they releasedthe new Rambo movie and she’s been moping about every since, polishing her katana and looking at passing avies as if they were candidates for her head count. As they might be. She hates the name Rocky by extension.

We tossed around a lot of girls’ names, looking for one that conveyed motion, and settled on Ilene.

Ilene is my first prim sculpture—or sculpture of any type. I can’t even make a donut out of Play Doh; how I made Rocky—I mean Ilene— will always puzzle me. Even Sweetie was impressed.

“This from a person who is forever telling me she has trouble visualizing things in three dimensions,” she snorted.

Ilene stands about half again as tall as her cousin Bob, and she perches on a platform which raises her an additional six or seven meters. The cart does the actual rocking; Ilene just goes along for the ride.

When I started work, I had but a vague notion about Ilene. She would be a giant bobbing bird, and she would have steampunk elements. That’s about all I knew about her. But from the moment I rezzed her first prim, she seemed to direct my movements. In little more than 30 minutes, there she was in full metal glory, complete from red flexy eyes to a tail made from peacock feathers to feet with a reptilian scale texture I found on the internet and made seamless.

But how to make her bob? Unlike Cousin Bob, she wasn’t hinged in the middle; she was a statue.

Sweetie helped out by building the platform on which Ilene stands and laid in prims for gears and rods to provide motion.

I let Ilene sit for a couple of days while my brain sorted through various ways of constructing a way-cool apparatus to power her.

By day two, I had it—or most of it. And “it” would require a steam engine.

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