TJam 01. Thursday, Day -1

part of Balloon fun : Bork at TJam 01

The Jamming Commences

More and more folks arrived during the course of the day. I think I counted at least 40-50 in the hotel lobby before I gave up for the night. Some folks where holding impromptu mini-classes around the lobby or in their rooms. Others were teaching, learning, or just goofing off. The hotel crew was starting to get into the swing of things, playing with (and popping) balloons behind the desk. I do feel sorry for the staff there. Late in the day some poor soul was pushing a big broom around the lobby gathering up stray scraps of popped balloon. No sooner did she leave an area before something would pop, explode, or leave some kind of dropping.

It was a day of gradual overload. As more and more folks arrived much of the stuff got more and more advanced. There was also so much going on at one time, it was hard to decide what to watch, what to try, who to talk to, and whether to have lunch or not.

The Pictures

This is what I brought to Austin with me, all neatly organized by color for the 260's, and by type for the rest.
And here are the bags colleted together on metal rings from the office supply store for easy transport
Last night I turned in before the rest of the crew. When I came downstairs to the lobby, this happy (?) face greeted me (and anyone else that came into the hotel) A Hans creation. Holland!
Someone had put a little frog in at the base of the big balloon clown made yesterday
Another thing that was down there was this wonderful little bluebird (something to make for Mr. Bob in Leechburg). Since I was up before everyone else (this was around 9:00 am), my first task was to try to duplicate it.
And here's a couple of attempts (the othe couple of attempts are hiding under the table.
I am definitely in the presence of genius down here. Raul came down, saw the birds I was making, and came up with this pigeon. First time (no practice models. He just did this one!)
And here's a front view of it.
A number of folks had home-brewed balloon keepers. There were tackleboxes with balloons, gym bags with solid color balloons packed end-to-end. Home-made aprons, pants with plenty o' pockets. And this one which is 3 gallon ziplog bags stapled in the center, forming a rigid freestanding structure.
Raul at it again, this time with happy early morning sunshine.
My second attempt at Raul's pigeon
Mark Verge was there in the morning too, demonstrating some things that can be done with the 321 bee-bodies, inclduing this dragon fly, a really cute ladybug, and a snowman.
Larry Hirsch demonstrating a small motor bike, designed by Russ Sutton of Arizona.
More dragonflies
Miscellanous debris during the morning jam.
One of Mark's V's 321 bugs. It's amazing the repertoire of bugs this guy has.
A quick-n-easy 6 balloon top hat (especially compared to a fully-woven top hat)
A hand puppet by Raul.
And a rattlesnake by Raul. Sugar was poured into the balloon and put into the rattle portion, making a pretty nice rattlesnake noise.
Larry showed us how to make pretty realistic balloon cigarettes. Some French dudes were making Chicken Run Hats. Larry combined them into this smoked chicken.
And another chicken. bawk bawk.
And a close-up.
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterhat.
Stacey Schmude building a large red ant. you can see someone else's attempt at Raul's pigeon sitting on the table.
Wearable angel wings and halo.
There was some kind of big corporation marketing / motivational / HR meeting going on at the Hotel meeting facilities while the day's playtime in the lobby was going on. I'm sure they thought we were nuts. Here is one of the lawyers attending the classes (or maybe part of the group putting on their sessions) taking a critter home for his kids. He tried (unsuccessfully) blowing up a 260, and I think he managed to make a 3-fold dog.
A couple of kids who wanted something, and picked out some goodies from the morning's discards
Since we had a native Australian there, I asked Lynn how she does a kangaroo. This is a 160 version. I did a 260 version too, and tried attaching a tiny 160 kangaroo for a 'pouch', but it ended up looking a little too obscene.
A Love Heart flower.
Amanda holding one of the little dragons that were really popular and ended up everywhere as the day progressed. I didn't have a chance to sit in on the making of one of them yet.
The Amazing Giant Goldfish Hat.
More and more folks arrived as the day wore on. The hotel finally got wise and provided a large trash container for the broken balloon scraps.
Raul at it again. This time a fish.
The fish in profile
Do not taunt happy fun fruit-head.
Monkey-up-a-tree hat.
More random jamming.
In the afternoon, T brough a quantity of the new BETALLATEX (not sure of the spelling) balloons, which were really strong, had nice colors, stand up to a lot of abuse, and were impossible (for me) to mouth-inflate. They're strong and longer than the Qualatex 260s. If they can keep the quality up, Qualatex may have a interesting battle on its hands.
Hans and his dog hat.
Hans and his cow outfit.
John Holmes' scuba diver, prior to completion (he added a face mask and hose from the tanks. There was a tiny face in the mask when he was done.)
Doug after a long meeting.
Fred Hershberger making a big cartoon hat. When he was done, it had articulated arms on clear-260 supports, which made for some amusing marionette action.
This was probably the most amazing thing I saw today. Pull on the frogs's tongue, and it extends. Let it snap back, and it returns into the mouth. I have no idea how it actually works. The design of this has been attributed to Uncle Curt.
Some kind of weird dude.
Weird dude on a hat. These are
An angel done with (primarily) heart balloons.
Another balloon Harley (by John Holmes), being held by its new owner.
John Holmes and his Christ on the Cross. John was walking me and another through the building of this when he stopped to make the Harley (since the lady on the hotel staff would pay for it), which made for a pretty surreal time. Even if you're not into the religion thing, John's "JC" is an amazing study of doing a realistic human figure with balloons and contains a huge pile of advanced techniques.
Random bugs piled in the lobby.
Scorpion Hat.
Mark V's Gigantic Pelican.
Football helmet and dragon masks.
Yet Another Bug.
I went out to dinner with Rob Mayoff, a cow-orker at arsDigita who lives in Austin. When I came back to the hotel I saw this giant spider hanging from the ceiling. The Spider was Mark V's, and someone else did the web.

Other Random Notes

Got to jot these down before my handwriting becomes completely unreadable (I'm convinced it decays with time).