Monday, April 26, 2010

From Perth, Adieu

Having an infant daughter can impede one's efforts to save the world. Or so I discovered en route to this latest and final mission when my little lass decided that screaming for a feed was more important that the collective fate of the planet. But despite the 10 minutes spent by the side of the road for Breakfast 3.2, my photographer/wife and I made it to Hyde Park with 4 minutes to spare.

Luckily it was a slightly cooler day than at this time last year, and the swing set was in the shade, so marauding children were nowhere to be seen. I took my position and, after a few pumps of the arms, achieved the correct liftoff velocity.

At the precise moment, I released my grip and sailed through the air into legend.

Tucked safely into my pocket was a fantastic drawing by our friend's lovely daughter LouLou who, despite claiming that happiness was not having to eat her porridge for breakfast, drew me a nature scene with red flowers and fluffy clouds.

It has been a pleasure to serve you one and all. I hope that our combined efforts will inspire you to commit monthly acts of heroism in the name of humanity.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Signing Off in Seattle

It was a blustery Spring day in Seattle when I set out to fix the universe for the last time. The park was bustling with children playing on every piece of equipment except for one — the swing. Amidst the mayhem, the swing somehow remained unoccupied — beckoning me back to complete my mission.

No one paid much attention as I began to gather momentum in preparation for the launch. No one paid any mind to my intrepid wife and photographer as she prepared the camera to capture the momentous event. And when I hit the ground after a successful flight, the kids were still playing, the parents were still engrossed with their kids and the universe received a final simultaneous dual hemisphere adjustment (given success by Gibson-OZ).

Of course, I had the proper document tucked in my back left pocket as required. A wonderful drawing on the theme of "Happiness" by the daughter of a friend of mine. Let's hope that a universe in perfect balance will make it easier for happiness to find us all.

Thanks for following along with our adventures over the past year. It's been a pleasure saving the world for you.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Final Challenge

Please excuse our lengthy silence. Since our last challenge much has changed. Gibson-US has been busy drinking beer and working on a formula to unlock infinity. Gibson-OZ hasn't really been doing much, just sitting around drinking cocktails and FATHERING A HUMAN BABY!! That's right, on Sunday, March 28th, Gibson-OZ and his lovely wife welcomed little Betty into the world. For those of you paying attention, that is almost exactly one year from the beginning of the Gibson vs. Gibson project. Although she might not understand it now, perhaps someday Betty will come to know and appreciate the great work that was done by her father and a man with the same name on the other side of the world. But, alas, our work is not finished! According to our instruments the universe needs one final adjustment before it will proceed on a course of perfect balance that should last until the sun burns out in a spectacular supernova.

In this challenge, we must revisit the original swings from which we launched ourselves and the project. When we both hit the ground it will complete the cycle of our challenges, creating a perfect circle of synergy that will finally result in the universal harmony we've sought during the last year. Here are the details:

At precisely 1:23 GMT on Sunday, April 25th we both must launch ourselves from the exact same park swings that we used for our first challenge (see photos here and here). However, this time we must each be carrying a child's drawing on the topic of "Happiness" in a pocket of our pants. Gibson-OZ will keep the drawing in his front right pocket. Gibson-US will keep the drawing in his back left pocket.

As usual, photographic documentation will be provided along with a debriefing. This is the big one, folks. Wish us luck!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sailing Over Sydney

With the day shaping up like one imported directly from Seattle, I proceeded to print and trim a photo of Gibson-US's face (I had to trim because here in Oz, we use standard A4 paper, rather than the imperial legal format).

I elected to fold a traditional schoolroom paper airplane, rather than taking the time to construct a more elaborate one. I figured this would be easier to conceal up a sleeve, seems as I would be launching from the top of a Westfield carpark, renowned for their tight security.

I drove to the second top level of the parking lot (the top being reserved for employees and blocked by a boom gate) and made my way on foot to the top level, watching all the time for security guards. With no guards in sight, I loitered until just before the appointed hour, before making my way to the edge for the official launch.

As you can see, the view from the top of the carpark was less than impressive. On a clear day, you get a good view of the city and of Sydney Harbour Bridge but on this day there was a clear view of the grey horizon. Still, the mission was a complete success.

Original Video- More videos at TinyPic

Plummeting Towards Success

Sometimes the hardest part of challenge is not the execution, but the preparation. Such was the case with this paper airplane challenge. Printing out a picture of Gibson-OZ on a sheet of paper was easy (as you can see from the picture, I went with a faked polaroid style), but after that things got far more difficult. I mean, who knew paper airplanes were so complicated? After significant research I decided to try out a range of six styles, varying from the standard "dart" to the sleek "proto omni-wing". After a series of test flights I decided on a design simply called "the champ." It outperformed all of the other challengers and seemed to have the best opportunity for a long flight from atop a parking garage. With a name like "the champ" it had to be special, right?

I was confident and excited as my wife/assistant and I embarked on our trip to the Northgate Mall parking garage. The 48 hour delay from the original scheduled flight was a true blessing as last Friday it was pouring rain, while today it was perfect paper airplane flying weather — partly cloudy with a slight breeze. After dropping E off on street level, I wound my way up 5 levels of the parking garage to the top. It was desolate up there, just me, my paper airplane and a bunch of signs announcing that the premises were being monitored by cameras for my safety. Would a lone figure in a red hat holding a paper airplane on the top floor of the parking garage look suspicious? Would I be confronted by mall security? These were my anxious thoughts as I waited for the last 8 minutes to tick away before liftoff.

Security must have been busy busting teenage shoplifters, because as the clock turned over to 4:03 PST, I launched the airplane into the great wide open without a hitch. Unfortunately, the flight was not all that I had hoped.

"The champ" flew approximately 15 feet horizontally and then plummeted straight to the ground, crashing into the asphalt and startling a pedestrian in the process. But, while the flight did not meet my lofty expectations, we must remember that the success of these challenges is measured purely by whether or not Gibson-OZ and myself manage to execute the same task at the same time. Assuming that G-OZ was successful on his end, you can all rest assured that all is right with the world.
(video below)

Perhaps "the champ" was just taking one for the team — its violent crash on the pavement merely a sacrifice to assure that each of us don't befall the same fate? Yeah, that's it — a noble sacrifice. Good job "champ," we will remember you fondly as we safely travel from here to there and back again!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Liftoff Delayed

Passengers, please note: due to circumstances beyond our control, the departure of this challenge has been delayed by exactly 48 hours. We do hope you understand, and appreciate your patience.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Flying the Friendly Skies

Greetings friends and followers,

Clear, sunny and warm in Seattle. Yes, you read that right. It's February in Seattle and the weather is absolutely flawless. This is obviously a direct result of the efforts of the GvsG project. Our data indicates that the positive effects of GvsG have had the biggest impact in areas closest to where the actual challenges take place. So those of you that live in Seattle and Sydney are no doubt experiencing a run of good fortune and existential bliss. To those of you in outlying areas, we suggest that you make a trip to either of our fine cities in an effort to soak up some of these positive forces. And to help you with your travels, wherever you choose to go, we have devised a special challenge that should make your next journey smooth and hassle-free.

Here are the details of the challenge:

1. Print out a picture of the other Gibson on a sheet of 8.5" x 11" (216 x 279 mm) paper.
2. Use this sheet to make a paper airplane.
3. At precisely 0:03 GMT on Saturday, February 27th launch the paper airplane from the highest level of a parking garage.
4. Record the event with photo and/or video footage.

Although this challenge focuses mainly on Airline travel, the numbers suggest that all means of travel should see marked improvement. Flights should see less turbulence, road trips should see less traffic delays, trains should see less derailments and boats should see less capsizing!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Geoduck Deployed

While nowhere near as difficult as a Greater Bilby, balloon Geoduck construction is not for slouches. Sure, the dangly appendage (apparently a siphon for feeding), was a walk in the park, but the shell proved tricky. Ultimately, I constructed a 'cage' around the coiled body of the Geoduck, simulating a shell. I only broke 1 balloon in the construction process, though the inflation was a feat in itself.

With 30 minutes to go before the challenge, my assistants and I made our way to the Sparrow cafe in Bondi, where we enjoyed coffee and fresh juices while waiting for GMT 2200 (0900 local time). The only person to give any notice to my phallic-shaped animal likeness was a small child, who laughed at the colour scheme, of all things. Clearly, the little fella was angling to get his mits on the beast, but I was going to leave that in the lap of the gods.

While sipping a lovely cap, I penned the note. I named the Geoduck Holmes - a nod to its human likeness.

At precisely 0900, having already paid for our beverages, I finished the remains of my cap, placed the note and the Geoduck on the table (anchoring them against the wind), and vacated the premises. As we were walking away, a waitress was heard to say 'What's this?' before a slight pause, and then 'Oh, that makes sense.' I can only surmise that the importance of the event was somehow communicated to her by osmosis.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Doing My Part for the Bandicoots

You don't really get to know an animal until you try to make it out of a balloon. That is what I discovered on this dreary Saturday morning as I struggled to coax a Greater Bilby (the largest bandicoot) out of a long balloon with a series of pinch twists, double bubbles and lock twists. After creating some five or six mangled mutant animals I eventually ended up with something that vaguely resembled a Greater Bilby. As you can see, I managed to capture the pointy nose and big ears, but the body was a bit awkward. I never did figure out how to get him to stand on his hind legs, so I ended up using a piece of tape to stick him to the table at the coffee shop. Since I was a bit wary of taking photos of the critter at the coffee shop, I snapped the above pic at home before I left with my wife/assistant.

I chose the Neptune Coffee house as my venue since it is within walking distance from our house and seems to be moderately busy at all times of the day. Sure enough, it was about half full of your usual coffee house laptop users and students highlighting things in thick textbooks. I ordered a Morning Glory Chai and a Ginger Twinkle cookie. The barista asked me what I was up to today. I tried to act casual and said, "nothing much." It was a tense moment.

We found a seat and I quickly began writing my note on the napkin. I named my Bilby, Hogan, after the Golden Globe winning actor who played everyone's favorite Australian caricature, Crocodile Dundee! The charity I chose was the Save the Bilby Fund, so if all goes according to plan, ten US dollars will be donated to the cause.

At exactly 2 pm PST, I placed my cup down on the napkin next to the bright orange Bilby and we left immediately with the sounds of "have a nice day" following us out the door. Based on the people around us, I'd say there is not a great chance that the little Bilby will make the postal journey, but who knows? Either way, I did my part which will undoubtedly have a positive effect on our relations with those in the animal kingdom. You may notice that your pets are especially affectionate and you might even have a meaningful encounter with a butterfly or bear.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Animal Kingdom

Loyal followers and casual observers,

Many of you will have noted that, to date, the Gibson vs. Gibson challenges have been rightly focused on saving the world at large. However, we have been noticing blips of data which, in the somewhat coincidental absence of a monthly global catastrophe, we have decided to act upon.

Animals across the world need our help, some because they are endangered though ecological destruction, and others because they are hideously ugly. So, friends, it is time for the Gibsons to act!

In the name of animal conservation, liberation and beautification, we will, having each constructed the likeness of an animal, native to the other Gibson's country, using only balloons (GibsonUS, a Greater Bilby, GibsonOZ, a Geoduck), undertake the following challenge:

1) Prior to GMT 2200 on Saturday, January 30th, enter a local coffee shop with our balloon animal, and order a beverage.

2) Write on a napkin the following: “Hello, my name is (insert strange name here). I am a (insert animal's common name here). I am lost. If found, please post me home to (insert other Gibson's address here). If I make it home, my owner will donate $10 to the (insert animal charity name here). Thank you. PS. I don't have to be inflated to make it home.

3) At precisely GMT 2200, place the beverage receptacle atop the napkin note, close to the balloon animal, and leave the coffee shop.

If all goes according to plan, the combination of local commerce, craft, technology, and human spirit will combine to speed the balloon animals across the globe, spreading positive ions as they go, and will result in a slight turn in fortunes for the animal kingdom.

Oh, and if the animals make it, we will honour our $10 pledges.