I started making figurines with plastic-wrapped wire twisty ties when I was four. Actually, I forget when I officially started. Worked the ladder first with the wonders of tinfoil and duct tape and toilet paper for fillings of stuffed dollies. I recall a couple mini stealth fighters composed of paper and a base of toothpicks lathed in clear tape.Garbage Gods and Two Decades (via MeFi)
Then there was some yellow scrappy old ties from a pack of Hefty. I'd mangled the things just curious about the structure, literally two and two and two together until it resembled a stick guy. Then one of the wires broke making a limp leg, attached by plastic alone. It became an ancient skeleton. The first thing I ever made...
There were phases. I'd get a couple columns of yellow and I'd have to make them last for a while, and often take other things apart for something better, more competent. Then I'd find an archaic set of crappy green paper ties and suddenly everyone was wearing combat damage scale mail or army fatigues. I'd save up the single reds and blues from bread bags for one coordinated figurine. And then there was orange.
I miss Lobsterman, and the Behemoth, and the Great Gutsman Sigma Tank. So many old figurines I regret scuttling for parts and progress. It also didn't help that all of those were orange. The first time I shared the existence of these things with people was for an Elementary school art project where everyone was making crap with odd wood shapes. I wished to make a playset complete with actors but was sorely short on resources to work with, to my surprise the next day when I was pulled out of class by my art teacher and the janitor whom gave me a freaking log of orange. At least a couple pounds of long ties. It took years to exhaust.
I recall a mild, cloudy Saturday mid-morning next door with my mother. Our kindly neighbor, Nana Kay, was having a yard sale. I would find the strangest toy race car I'd ever seen, made of painted tin, with thin button-like unpainted tin wheels (had to have been antique.) But the amazing discovery was a sandwich bag of assorted ties. In hindsight, I'm not sure why that would be there other than mom mentioning what I was doing some time prior, but there they were. My first pine green ties, and to this day, I've never seen another pink.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.