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.