Saturday, September 26, 2009

Southern Hemisphere Spared...Literally

If there is one thing I have learned from this challenge, it's that bowling alleys ain't what they used to be. If Strike Bowling Bar at Fox Studios in Sydney is anything to go by, bowling alleys are now a great place to kick on of a Saturday morning, once your favourite dance club has closed - loud music, video screens everywhere, low lighting, comfortable booths and a bit of smashed food on the carpet. In fact, if it weren't for the hoards of pre-teens tearing around, corralled unsuccessfully by the occasional haggard looking parent/guardian, I would've been tempted to whip my shirt off and have a dance on the nearest table.

Anyway, I arrived at the venue with my video documentarian (a.k.a. my wife) and my stills photographer (our next door neighbour) at 1150. After slipping on our space age bowling shoes (mine on the wrong feet, of course), we proceeded to our lane.

I selected a ball with an 11 on it, representing the equal halves of this challenge. I was also wearing a blue bowling style shirt to mark the occasion.

As the clock ticked over to 1202, my documentarians activated their devices and I propelled my ball down the lane. The release of the ball felt good and my ball-side foot seemed to instinctively swing around behind the other in a classic 'I know what I'm doing here, I bowl all the time' action. Note also the woman in the video clip on the right, seemingly cheering the ball on. It was a charmed moment.

The ball continued straight and true right up to the last, and ultimately felled 7 of the 10 pins.

Mainly to complete the challenge, but also a little bit to celebrate this most unlikely of results, I fell to the floor and busted what could accurately be described as one of the most ungainly backspin of all time. In doing so, I strained at least 5 muscles in my back. Indeed, as I write this, my right hamstring and left hip are still in shock.

Alas, it was discovered after this most physically destructive of challenges that the video taking machine failed in its operation. Thankfully, the trusty camera did its thing and we are able to bring still images to you.

For the statisticians out there, my next ball knocked over the remaining pins, giving me a spare. The next frame also produced a spare, but the following 8 frames saw some of the most mediocre action ever to grace the lanes. I ended up with a total score of 80, but played my part in correcting the earth's spin and thus the time anomaly.

Challenges Met, Obstacles Overcome

Most people that show up to Kenmore Lanes on a Friday evening are looking to have a little fun and unwind from a long week of work. I however, was there for business. Little did they know that the man in lane 48 was there on a mission. A mission that would have a major impact of each and every one of their Miller High Life drinking lives.

Upon arrival I secured a lane, laced up my shoes and chose a serviceable, 14 pound house ball with a swirling pink pattern. My wife and camerawoman then brought over two oat sodas to ease our tension as the time drew near. We nonchalantly bowled a few frames, as if nothing extraordinary were about to happen, and then with 5 minutes until the appointed time we began our preparations. First, I removed my shoes and put them on the opposite feet. Next we framed the shot and took a test video to ensure that our equipment was in working order. Finally I stepped onto the hardwood, pink ball in hand, and awaited the countdown.
The pressure was immense. As I stood there I realized that I had neglected to practice with this awkward shoe configuration. I'd also learned through some last minute calculations that rolling a gutterball could wreak havoc on the Earth's orbit, sending us hurtling into space away from the sun. Add to that the distraction of a small boy kicking his bowling ball in the lane next to me and you can understand my concern.

With two seconds until the appointed time, I made my approach, releasing the ball at precisely 19:02 PST. I could immediately tell that the ball was not headed for the gutter and despite being a bit left of center it managed to dislodge 7 pins. But I had no time to celebrate as it was now time to speed the Earth's rotation by executing a precise backspin. As you can see in the video, my awkward backspin achieved exactly one revolution which, despite its apparent failure, was actually the exact speed and rotation required for the proper adjustment to the Earth's rotation.

Having succeeded in my half of the mission I finished the game, posting a very respectable (for me) 128 total score. But it's not all about me (or Gibson-OZ). The real winner here is mankind. We are only answering our calling — fighting against the forces that threaten to disrupt order in the universe, humble servants to the greater good. Amen.

Monday, September 21, 2009

(No) Time To Spare


Mounting data compiled by ourselves, in conjunction with the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, appears to indicate a growing menace from forces almost beyond our control - time itself.

Boiling down a complex model to simple terms, it goes something like this: for the past several decades, leap seconds have been quietly introduced to compensate for the fact that the earth's rotation speed is diminishing. And while theoretical proposals and conceptual remedies have been on the international table for some time, no real action has taken place.

Well, it's time to end the inaction.

On Saturday, September 26th (GMT), the Gibsons will take the following steps to speed up the earth and put an end to international debate:

1) Having secured a lane at bowling alleys in Seattle and Sydney, we will ensure our bowling shoes are worn on the opposite feet to those intended. This will ensure that both hemispheres are in sync for a short period (Seriously, it will. We've done the math).
2) At 0202 GMT (1202 on Saturday in Sydney, 1902 on Friday in Seattle), we both bowl a ball (representing the earth) at a full rack of 12 10 pins.
3) No matter what the result of the bowl is, we will drop to the floor and do an old school backspin. This crucial move should serve to speed the earth's rotation just enough to eliminate the need for leap seconds in the future.
4) Photo and/or video evidence will be provided both of the pins left standing after the bowl, and of the subsequent backspin.

**NOTE** It has been brought to our attention that a full rack of bowling pins contains 10, not 12 pins. It seems that while our math is infallible when it comes to complex equations, mere double digit integers sometimes fall through the cracks.