Thursday, January 31, 2008

Last Chance for Slush Romance

University photographer Joe Pyykkonen stopped by the site today & offered some pointers on slush patching. We tried his combo method of misting and slushing to further prepare the base for tomorrows positioning event. The Nova is slated to be lowered in the middle of the box appx 7:30 AM Feb 1st. The bucket was loaned to us by the MUB cafeteria. The lady who gave it to us said "Hope you don't mind your sculpture smelling like pickles."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Blizzard Brick Diptych

This afternoon we went out twice, very briefly, to take advantage of the weather conditions. We made some progress and the Nova might be lifted into position tomorrow, no later than Friday. We tried to take pictures at the site but the camera batteries were frozen.

-6º Wind Chill -29º

If Michigan Tech closes the University it means weather conditions are severe. However, Buster, a grounds technician, stopped by to advise us to strike while the iron is hot (cold.) His daily tasks include snow removal & he's gained special insight on how ice behaves. Today our biggest problem is seeking shelter from the blizzard as the Library is closed due to the weather.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Back from the Howling Blizzard

Returning for the night. The next few days are dedicated to dealing with water issues. There is about 1-1/2 to 2 feet of frozen slush in the tank. Building up a thicker crust of ice is necessary before we are ready to lower the NoVA into the tank. We are hoping this will make it look as though it is suspended in the ice.

No More Piddlin' Around

That's Buster fixing us up with virgin powder snow from the football field. We were drenched & frozen after working all day in the blizzard. Stopped in to get dry clothes.

It's 8:50 PM and we must go back to work now.

But we really just want to go to bed!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Plowed Landscape in Houghton

We packed another few inches of snow into the base of the form & are waiting for the freezing rain due this evening. Our hope is that it solidifies by the morning. Then the plan is to use a splitter on the hose w/ two spray attachments. Both of us working at the same time should build up the layers evenly. With the falling temperatures predicted we figure laying down an inch every hour should build enough ice to support the Nova & hopefully it can be lowered into place before the weekend.

Focus the Nation @ MTU, GMU & UofL ======> A Winter Carnival Statue for You to View

On our break we visited with Jennifer Donovan who brought to our attention MTU's participation in Focus the Nation. For more details on what's happening specifically at MTU click here! Both of our schools, George Mason University and University of Louisville, are participating in events this week as well.

In the meantime the statues for MTU's Winter Carnival are being diligently worked on and we pass this one on our walk home every evening ...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunny, Warmer Today

Although the weather today is pleasant it created a new set of questions for us. Should we continue filling the tank with water and risk an uneven freeze? Or should we wait & see what the weather does tomorrow? The forecast predicts showers and 40 degrees.

Vinny Morin's visit

Vinny Morin stopped by on his way to work. He was with his father who has experience building ice rinks. This was fortuitous! He suggested packing down about 4 inches of snow and spraying water on it, allowing it to freeze overnight and returning in the morning to pack more snow. This will build up a sound base and once that's accomplished the water will find its own level and we can begin freezing layers of solid ice from that point.

Vinny helped us shovel in the snow and pack it down. With the temperature fluctuations and the prediction of rain, the weather may work in our favor (providing we are careful with our timing and snow to water ratios.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Walking Back From Town

The road winds up the hill to the apartment. This is the last bend before reaching the apartment. Let's just say it's easier getting to the site than coming back from it.

Tree in Snow Pile & Ice Crystals on Drain

After adding water we walked over to Jim's Market where they have an extraordinary chocolate selection. We were fine until noticing Dolfin Chocolat NOIR Au Poivre Rose (dark chocolate with pink peppercorn) Hopefully this will not become a habit.

This morning ...

Our plan is to build layers of ice over the course of the day. This morning we went out to find that although the ice is freezing- air pockets are occurring. We smashed down the ice before putting in more water.

We thought spraying the water over the 2x4 braces would help avoid making holes in the ice. A garden spray nozzle might be the ticket. Also a tarp over the top to keep out debris.

Gutting the Nova

Mark Mathe (CE), Tyler "T-Bear" Bair (MET), Mike Palermo (CM) and Eric Nohr (MET) are the MTU engineering students are shown here preparing to strip the Nova of its engine, transmission, fuel tank and upholstery.

They worked several hours, from the afternoon into the evening, taking care not to do unnecessary damage the Nova.

A few interesting artifacts. Pack of "Old Kentucky" cigarettes found buried in the bowels of the Nova. We appreciated Mark's use of duct tape!

Mary & Sue & Nova

Arrival at MTU's Motor Pool .. That's their ski slope behind us.

Nova in Transport

Nova leaving Kevin's Storage .... On its way to the Motor Pool

Many Thanks to Dave's Towing ...

Dave's Tow Truck ... 482-3410

Pulling the Nova out of Kevin's Storage

Our Drivers Chad Wakeham & Derek Wuebben

Chad Wakeham drove the truck for Dave’s Towing. Hancock High School student Derek Wuebben agreed to drive us out to the storage area, retrieve the Nova and follow the Dave's tow truck back to MTU.

Out at the Storage site Derek noticed the deer head in the front seat. He looks a bit worried!

Chad at work.

Tank Construction

Little did we know that the guys from Hancock High School had been busy all morning building the bottom half of the tank. We were surprised by the leap in progress but also impressed by their speed. They had purchased the material and constructed the tank in less than 24 hours.

Here are some shots of the tank being lined and the upper half being constructed.

The tank is being filled with slush to adhere to the foundation which was laid previously.

Andy Johnson's Design

Based on conversations between Mark Koski and Andy Johnson (ME from Louisville ... A.K.A. Mary's husband) Andy offered to draft a design that Mark could refer to.

A Few Houghton Landscapes

View of frozen Portage Lake from the Dow Environmental Sciences & Engineering Building.

Daniell Heights Apartments. Some of what we see on our daily walk down the hill.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Matt Hardigree from Jalopnik called us last night ... We enjoyed talking to him about the project & little did we know that there was a whole cult of folks who obsess over mobility the same way we do! Click here to Check it out . . .

Shelter for Hose!

Sub-freezing temperatures demand extra special measures ... Check out the little shelter that was built for the hose.

Snow Removal in Houghton

On our walk back home, we noticed mounds of the road's compacted snow plowed to the side. This is the first collaborative project we've done without wheels.

Transportation from a pedestrian's point of view!

Working on the Base

Mark Koski sprays down the packed snow in the base of the form. A tank will be constructed on this foundation.

At the end of the day we had a 4 inch base.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Leaving the Old Site for the New Site

Here is a view of what is no longer the site for the Frozen Car. It turned out that the area had a lot of foot traffic and could potentially create a host of problems for pedestrians if we worked on the project there ....

Mark Koski's team relocating the frame to the new site which is under the curved set of windows of the library .. Relocating also meant our webcam will have to be repositioned. A difficult but not impossible task since it is hard wired & finding an appropriate site will not be easy.

This is a view of the new site looking east. That speck between the trees is Mary filling up the frame with water to lay down the first layer of ice.

Moving to New Site & View from Library

This picture is of the frame being built which was later relocated to the site below ...

The Hancock High School carpentry students spreading the plastic for the relocated frame ...

We like our new site as the cars in the background will provide an interesting background the sculpture once completed. This was shot through the curved set of windows from inside the library.

Andy Niemi, Mark Koski, Jeni Jewell and a ... Frozen Sue

When Andy Niemi, MTU's facilities engineer/grounds supervisor came to the site we introduced him to Mark. Mark laughed and said "We're related!" It turns our their grandmothers are sisters ...

Jeni Jewell visited us today to capture more of the action. She's a reporter for WLUCTV6 out of Marquette & covering the story for the local news.

After disconnecting the hose we went to warm up & get some lunch while nature did it's thing with ice. Upon returning we found the spigot frozen. Andy called one of his crew who used a blow torch to open it up. He wanted to know what we were going to do with the car afterwards. It remains a mystery. Stay tuned . . .

It's cold!!